J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen.

The Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner online

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Z. TAYLOR,
Maj. Gen. U. S. Army.

No. 17.
TO THE CITIZENS OF MONTGOMERY.

Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 23, 1848.

Gentlemen: Your complimentary communica-
tion of the 10th inst, enclosing to me a copy of the
preamble and resolut ons adopted on the Slh inst.,
by a public meeting of my fellow-citizens, without
distinction of party, in Montgomery, Alabama,
has been received.

For the high honor which they have been pleased
to confer upon me by thus nominating me for the
Presidency of the United States, and for the very
kind language in which they have seen fit to notice
my past life and services, I beg you, as their repre-
sentatives, to accept my profound' acknowledgments,
and to assure my fellow-citizens who composed this
meeting that I shall offer no active opposition to the use
of vuj name in coniiection with this responsible office, us
long as they continue to use it thus independent (f parly
distinctions.

I am, gentlemen, with high respect, your obedient
servant, Z. TAYLOR.

Messrs. Wm. M. Murphy, M. Harris, A. F. Hop-
kins, and others, Montgomery, Alabama.

No. 18.
TO GOV. OWSLEY, OF KENTUCKY.

Baton Rovguc, La., Jan. 24, 1848.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt
of your Excellency's letter of the 12tii inst. enclosing
to me a copy of the preamble and resolutions adopted
by the Legislature of Kentucky, in which they have
been pleased to invite me to visit that body during
its present session.



POLITICAL LETTERS.



1?.



I beg to assure you that this high evidence of the
kind r.'gard which exists toward me among my fel-
low-citizens of Kentucity, has been received l)y me
with emotions of the liveliest gratitude ; and I have
to request that you will convey to them, through this
distinguished body, my profound acknowledgments
for so unmerited an honor.

• A just sense of my obligations to your patriotic
State, and a recollection of the many old friends and
acquaintances that I have among you, strongly urge
me to yield to the flattering request contained in the
resolutions before me ; but I regret to mform you
that the circumstances under which my present
leave of absence was obtained render it so clearly
proper, in my opinion, that 1 should remain in or
near this place imtil I am again required for duty,
that 1 am constrained to forego this |)leasure.

With my best wishes for your health and success
through life, I have the honor to be, with great re-
spect, your Excellency's obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR.

To His Excellency, Wm. Owsley, Governor of
Kentucky, Frankfort, Ky.

No. 19.
TO GEN. PETER SKEN SMITH.

Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 30, 1848.

Sir : Your communication of the 17th instant has
been received, and the suggestions therein offered
duly considered.

In reply to your inquiries, I have again to repeat
that I have neither the power nor the desire to dic-
tate to the American people the exact manner in
which they should proceed to nominate me for the
Presidency of the United States. If they desire such
% result, they must adopt the means best suited, in
their opinion, to the consummation of the purpose;
and if they think fit to bring me before them for this
office, through their legislatures, mass meetings or
conventions, I cannot object to their designating
these bodies as whig, democratic or native. But in
being thus nominated, I must insist on the condition,
and my position on this point is immutable — that I
shall not be brought forward by them as the candi-
date of their party doctrines.

In conclusion, I have to repeat, that if I were
nominated for the Presidency, by any body of my
fgllow-citizens, designated by any name they might
choose to adopt, 1 should esteem it an honor, and
would accept such nomination; provided it had been
made entirely independent of party consideration.
1 am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR.

Peter Sken Smith, Esq., Philadelphia.

No. 20.
TO COL. A. M. MITCHELL, CINCINNATI.
Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 12, 1848.
My Dear Colonel: Your very kind communica-
tion, and the accompanying newspaper, have duly
reached me.

In reply to the closing remarks of your letter, I
have no hesitation in stating, as I have stated on for-
mer occasions, that 1 am a Whig, though not an ultra
one; and that I have no desire to conceal this fact
from any portion of the people of the United States.
I deem it but candid, however, to add, that if the
I Whig party desire at the next Presidential election,
I to cast their votes for me, they must do so on their



own responsibility, and without any pjej^es from me.

Should I be elected to that office, I should deem it
to be my duty, and should most eert;iiiily clami the
right, to look to the Constitution and the high inter-
ests of our common country, and not to the princi-
ples of a party for my rule of action.

With my sincerest thunks for your expressions of
friendship, and my best wishes for your success
through life, I remain, very truly, your friend and
obedient servant, Z. TAYLOR.

Col. A. M. Mitchell, Cincinnati, Ohio.

No.21.
TO THE CITIZENS OF ADAMS COUNTY, ILL.

Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 28, 1848.

Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge
the receipt of your communication of the 18th of
January, enclosing a preamble and resolution adopt-
ed at a late meeting of the citizens o4' Adams county,
Illinois.

To you, gentlemen, as the comnaittee appointed by
the meeting, 1 have respectfully to reply, that I can-
not feel that 1 am permitted at this time to respond
to your inquiry in other terms than those which as-
sert the obligation of all who hold military authority
in any country, to put their shoulders to the wheel
and do all they can to bring aboiU a speedy peace.

These expressions, I trust, will be deemed suffi-
cient for declining to express my opinions in regard
to the justness and propriety of the war in which the
country is engaged.

I am, gentlemen, with great respect, your most
obedient servant, Z. TAYLOR.



No. 22.

TAYLOR A MAN OF PEACE.

Extract from a letter datedat Baton Rouge, March 4, 1843.

" To your concluding inquiry, I need hardly reply
that 1 am a Peace Man, and that I deem a state of
Peace to be absolutely necessary to the proper and
healthful action of our republican institutions. On
this important topic I freely confess myself to be the
unqualified advocate of the principles so often laid
down by the Father of his Country, and so urgently
recommended by him in his Farewell Address to the
American people. Indeed 1 think 1 may say that no
man can feel a more complete faith than I do in the
wisdom of his advice, when he urged on us the pro-
priety of always standing on ' our own soil.'" — ^Ib.
Ev. Jour.



No. 23.
TO A GENTLEMAN IN IOWA.

The following extract of a letter from Gen. Taylor, loas
written on the 12th of^pril, and addressed to a gentle'
man of Iowa:

" I now consider myself in the hands of the people
— a portion of whom, at least, have placed my name
before the country, for the office in question, and
who alone are authorised to withdraw it from the
canvass ; which they ought to do, provided they cin
find any other who would be more available, and
better qualified to serve them, and cast their votes
for him at the proper time. And should they suc-
ceed in electing him, I shall neither be disappointed
nor mortified at the result; on the contrary, if he is
honest, truthful and patriotic, I will rejoice at the



14



POLITICAL LETTERS.



No. 24.
TO THE RICHMOND REPUBLICAN.

Baton Rouge, La., .ipril 20, 1848.
Dear Sir: Your letter of the ]Oth inst., which al-
ludes to certain statements that have recently been
made in some of the papers at the North, and which
submits several inquiries for my consideration, has
been received.
To your inquiries I have respectfully to reply :
First.— That, if nominated by the Whig National
Conventioti, I shall not refuse acceptance, provided
I am left free of ail pledges, and permitted to main-
tain the position of independence of ail parties in
which the people and my own sense of duty have
placed me; otherwise, I shall refuse the nomination
of any convenlionor party.

Secondly. — I do not design to withdraw my name
if Mr. Clay be the nominee of the Whig National
Convention ; and in tiiis connexion, I beg permission
to remark that the statements which have been so
positively made in some of the Northern prints, to
liie effect "that should Mr. Clay be the nominee of
the Whig National Convention," I had stated "that
I would not suffer my name to be used," are not cor-
rect, and have no foundation in any oral or written
remark of mine. It has not been my intention, at
any moment, to change my position, or to withdraw
my name from the canvass, whoever may be the
nominee of the National Convention, either of the
Whig or Dsmocratic party.

Thirdly. — I have never stated to any one that I
was in favor of the Tariff of '46— of the Sub-Trea-
sury, nor that I originated the war with Mexico.
Nor, finally, that I should, (if elected) select my
cabinet from both parties. No such admissions or
statements were made by me, at any time, to any
person.

Permit me, however, to add, that should such high
distinction be conferred upon me as that of elevation
to the Executive office, the constitution, in a strict
and honest interpretation, and in the spirit and mode
in xvhich it was acted upon by the earlier Presidents,
would be my chief guide. In this, I conceive to be
all that is necessary iti the way of pledges.

The election of another candidate would occasion
no mortification to me, but to such a result, as the
will of the people, 1 should willingly and calmly sub-
mit. As I have had no ambition to serve, but in the
desire to serve the country, it would bring to me no
disappointment.

With sentiments of high respect and regard, I re-
main your most obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR.
O. P. B.^LDwiN, Esq., or Ro. H. Gallagher, Edi-
tor of Richmond Republican, Richmond, Va.

No 25.
TO CAPT. J. S. ALLISON.

Baton Rouge, .Qpril 22, 1848.

Dear Sir: My opinions have so often been mis-
conceived and misrepresented, that I deem it due to
myself, if not to my friends, to make a brief exposi-
t ion of them upon the topics to which you have called
my attention.

1 have consented to the use of my name as a can-
didate for tlie Presidency. I have frankly avowed
my own distrust of my fitness for that high station ;
but having, at the solicitation of many of my coun-
trymen, taken my position as a candidate, 1 do not
feel at liberty to surrender that position until my
friends manifest a wish that 1 should retire from it.



I will then most gladly do so. I have no private
purposes to accomplish, no party projects to build
up, no enemies to punish — nothing to serve but my
country.

I have been very often addressed by letter, and my
opinions have been asked upon almost every ques-
tion that might occur to the writers as affecting the
interest of their country or their party. I have not
always responded to these inquiries, for various
reasons.

1 confess, whilst I have great cardinal principles
which will regulate my political life, I am not suffi-
ciently familiar with all the minute details of politi-
cal legislation to give solemn pledges to exert myself
to carry out this or defeat that measure. I have no
concealment. I hold no opinion which I would not
readily proclaim to my assembled countrymen; but
crude impressions upon matters of policy, which may
be right to-day and wrong to-morrow, are, perhaps,
not the best test of fitness for office. One who can-
not be trusted without pledges, cannot be confided in
merely on account of them.

I will proceed, however, now to respond to your
inquiries.

First. — I reiterate what I have so often said — I
am a Whig— but not an ultra Whig. If elected, I
would not be the mere President of a party. 1
would endeavor to act independent of party domina-
tion. I should feel bound to administer the govern-
ment untrammelled by party schemes.

Second. — The veto power. The power given by
the Constitution to the Executive to interpose his
veto, is a high conservative power; but in my opin-
ion should never be exercised except in cases of
clear violation of the Constitution, or manifest haste
and want of consideration by Congress. Indeed, I
have thought that for many years past the known
opinions and wishes of the Executive have exercised
undue and injurious influence upon the legislative
department of the government; and for this cause 1
have thought our system was in danger of undergoing
a great change from its true theory. Tlie personal
opinions of the individual icho may happen to occupy the
Executiae chair, ought not to control the action of Con-
gress upon questions of domestic policy ; nor ought his ob-
jections to he interposed where questions of constitutional
poicer have been settled by the various departments of go-
vernment, and acquiesced in by the people.

Third. — Upon the subject of the tariff, the curren-
cy, the improvement of our great highways, rivers,
lakes and fiarbors, the will of the people, as express-
ed through their representatives in Congress, ought
to he respected and carried out by the Executive.

Fourth. — The Mexican war. 1 sincerely rejoice
at the prospect of peace. My life has been devoted
to arms, yet I look upon war at all times, and under
all circumstances, as a national calamity, to be avoid-
ed if compatible with the national honor. The prin-
ciples of our government, as well as its trne policy is
opposed to the subjugation of other nations and the
dismemberment of other countries by conquest. In
the language of the great Washington, " Why should
wc quit our own to stand on foreign ground." In
the Mexican war our national honor has been vindi-
cated ; and in dictating terms of peace we may well
afford to be forbearing and even magnanimous to a
fallen foe.

These arc my opinions upon the subjects referred
to by you, and any reports or publications, written
or verbal, from any source, differing in any essential
particular from what is here written, are unauthor-
ized and untrue.



MILITARY.



IS



I do not know that I-shall again write upon the
subject of national politics. I shall engage in no
schemes, no combi«iations, no intrigues. If the
Atnerican people have not confidence in me, they
ought not to give me their suffrages. If thuy do not,
you know me well enough to believe me, when I de-
clare I shall be content. 1 am too old a soldier to
murmur against such high authority.

Z. TAYLOR.

To Capt. J. S. Allison.



No. 26.
TO BRANTZ MAYER, ESQ.

Baton Rouge, La., May 1, 1848.

Dear Sir : I have by this day's mail received a
copy (duplicate) of your letter of March 21, with an
enclosed copy of the proceedings of a meeting held
by the citizens of Baltimore who are friendly to my
election to the Presidency.

The political sentiments embraced in the pream-
ble and resolutions adopted at that meeting, I rejoice
to say, meet with my cordial approval and assent.
No movements in any part of the country, having
the object to offer testimonials of honor and respect
towards myself, or to advocate my election to the



Presidency, have caused in me more lively pleasure,
or demand more my gratitude.

You will please do me tlie favor to make known
my acknowledgments to the citizens of Baltimore
for the unexpected and unmeritei honors they have
conferred upon me, in such manner and terms as you
may deem most proper.

They are obligations which, should the irotes of
the country be cast in my favor, it will most surely
be my endeavor to redeem to themselves and to all
the people of our country.

I must be permitted to add, that, as they have,
with so much confidence placed my name in nomina-
tion before the country on their own responsibility,
free from party action and the exaction of pledges
from myself. I shall serve ihem strictly as a constitu-
tional and not as a party President (in the event al-
ready aUuded to) — and as my ability will permit.

Please accept my thanks for the kind sentiments
you have, in forwarding the proceedings of the meet-
ing, been pleased to express to me.

With sentiments of cordial respect and regard,
Your most obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR.

Brantz Mayer, E=q., Secretary Public Meeting
in Baltimore.



CAPT. Z.\CHARY TAYLOR AT THE SIEGE
OF FORT HARRISON IN 1812.

Extract of a letter fi-om Capt. Zachai~y Taylor , commanil-
ing Fort Harrison, Indiana Teiritory, to Gov. Harri-
son, dated

Fort Harrison, Sept. 10, 1812.
Dear Sir : As I had not been able to mount a guard
of more than six privates and two non-commissioned
officers for some lime past, and sometimes part of
them every other day, from the unhealthiness of the
company, I had not conceived my force adequate to
the defence of this post, should it be vigorously at-
tacked. As I had just recovered from a severe at-
tack of the fever, I was not able to keep up much
through the night. After tattoo I cautioned the guard
to be vigilant, and ordered one of the non-commis-
sioned officers (as the sentinels could not see every
part of the garrison,) to walk around the inside
during the whole of the night, to prevent the Indians
taking any advantage of us, provided they had any
idea of attacking us. About 11 o'clock, 1 was
awakened by the firing of one of the sentinels. 1
sprang up, ran out, and ordered the men to their
posts, when my orderly serjeant, who had charge of
the upper block house, called out that the Indians
had fired the lower block house, which contained the
property of the contractor, deposited in the lower
part, the upper part having been assigned to a cor-
poral and ten privates as an alarm post. The guns
had begun to fire pretty smartly from both sides. 1
directed the buckets to be got ready, and water
brought from the well, and the fire extinguished im-
mediately, as it was hardly perceivable at that time.
" But from debility, or some other cause, the men were
very slow in executing my orders. The word fire



I appeared to throw the whole of them into confusion;
.and by the time they had got the water and broken
open the door, the fire had unfortunately communi-
cated to a quantity of whiskey, the stock having
licked several holes through the lower part of the
building, after; the salt which was stored there,
through which the Indians had introduced the fire,
without being discovered, as the night was very
dark; and in spite of every exertion we could make
use of, in less than a moment it ascended to the roof,
and bafiled every effort to extinguish it. As that
block house adjoined the barracks that made part of
the fortifications, most of the men gave themselves
up for lost, and I had the greatest difficulty in getting
any of my orders executed. And, sir, what from
the raging of the fire, the yelling and howling of
several hundred Indians, the cries of nine women and
children, (a part soldiers' and a part citizens' wives,
who had taken shelter in the fort,) and the despond-
ing of so many men, which was worse than all, I
can assure you that my feelings were very unplea-
sant; and in fact there were not more than ten or
fifteen men able to do a great deal, the others being
either sick or convalescent; and to add to our other
misfortunes, two of the stoutest men in the fort, that
I had every confidence in, jumped the pickets and
left us. But my presence of mind did not for a mo-
ment forsake me. I saw that by throwing off a part
of the roof that joined the block house which was on
fire, and keeping this end perfectly wet, that the
whole row of buildings might be saved, and leave
only an entrance of l6 or 20 feet for the Indians, af-
ter the house was consumed, and that a temporiry
breastwork might be erected to prevent their even
entering there. I convinced the men that this could
be accomplished, and it appeared to inspire them



16



MILITARY.



with new life, and never did men act with more
firmness and desperation. Those that were able,
(while the others kept up a constant fire from the
other block house and the two bastions,) mounted
the roofs of the houses, with Dr. Clark at their head,
(who acted with the greatest firmness and presence
of mind while the attack lasted, which was seven
hours,) under a shower of bullets, and in less than a
moment threw ofl'as much of the roof as was neces-
sary. This was done with the loss of only one man,
and two wounded, and I am in hopes neither of them
dangerously. The man that was killed was a little
deranged, and did not get ofi'the house as soon as di-
rected or he would not have been hurt. Although
the barracks were several times in a blaze, and an
immense quantity of fire against them, the men used
such exertions that they kept it under, and before
day raised temporory breastworks as high as a man's
head. The Indians continued to pour in a heavy
fire of ball, and an innumerable quantity of arrows,
during the time the attack lasted, in every part of
the parade. 1 had but one other man killed, (nor
any other wounded inside the fort,) and he lost his
life by being too anxious. He got into one of the
gallies in the bastion, and fired over the pickets, and
called out to his comrades that he had killed an In-
dian, and neglecting to stoop down, in an instant was
shot dead. After keeping up a constant fire till 6
o'clock next morning, which we began to return with
some effect after daylight, they removed out of the
reach of our guns. The Indians suffered smartly,
but were so numerous as to take off all that were
shot. They continued with us until the next morn-
ing, but made no further attempts on the fort, nor
have we seen any mpre of them since. We lost the
whole of our provisions, but must make out to live
on green corn until we can get a supply, which I
hope will not be long.



If you carry on the expedition against the Prophet
this fall, you ought to be well provided with every
thing, as you may calculate on having every inch of
ground disputed, between this and there, that they
can defend with advantage.

Fort Harrison, Sept. 13th, 1812.

Dear Sir : I wrote you on the 10th inst., giving you
an account of the attack on this place, as well as of
ray situation, which account I attempted to send by
water, but the two men that I dispatched in a canoe
after night found the river so well guarded that they
were obliged to return. The Indians had built a fire
on the bank of the river, a short distance below the
garrison, which gave them an opportunity of seeing
any craft that might attempt to pass, and were wait-
ing with a canoe ready to intercept it. I expect the
fort, as well as the road to Vincennes, is as well or
better watched than the river; * # *
but my situation compels me to make one other at-
tempt by land, and my orderly sergeant with one
other man, set out with strict orders to avoid the
road in the day time, and depend entirely on the
•woods ; although neither of them have ever been to
Vincennes by land, nor do they know any thing of
the country; but I am in hopes they will reach you
in safety. I send them with great reluctance from
their ignorance of the woods. I think that it is very
probable there is a large body of Indians waylaying
the road between this and Vincennes, likely about
the Narrows, for the purpose of intercepting any
party that may be coming to this place, as the cattle



they got here will supply them with provisions for
some time to come. Please, Stc,

Z. TAYLOR.
His Excellency, Gov. Harrison.

The paper containing the above letter has the fol-
lowing paragraph:

"In addition to the above account of the gallant
defence of Fort Harrison, from an attack of a party
of Indians, perhaps ten times their number, we have
pleasure in stating that there is every reason to be-
lieve that the Post was relieved before the Indiana
could reassemble to attack it. On Thursday even-
ing, the 10th, Col. William Kuasell arrived at Vin-
cennes from Illinois, with about 600 mounted Ran^
gers and 500 Infantry, with which he marched on
the 113th, to succour Fort Harrison. On the 13th he
encamped within 35 miles of the Fort, which he ex-
pected to reach on the 16th."'

The attack on the Fort was on the night of Sep-
tember 4.



Battle of Okee-Cho-Bee.

Headquarter<;, 1st Brigade, J

.flrmy South of the If'ithlacoochee, >

Fort Gardner, Jan. 4, 1838. )

Sir : — On the 19th ultimo I received at this place
a communication from Major General Jessup, in-
forming me that all hopes of bringing the war to a
close by negotiation, through the interference or


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Online LibraryJ. G. (John Gideon) MillingenThe Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner → online text (page 4 of 16)