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The Life and Public Service of General Zachary Taylor: An Address
written by "Barton, William Eleazar, 1861-1930"
..., who having undertaken to discover in the[Pg 17] Chicago Historical Society another matter relating to Lincoln, in which we were both interested, found this address and reported it to me, with an inquiry whether I had knowledge of it. I made search of the daily papers of the period and found not only the address, but the correspondence and notable items as here given. Lincoln must have been glad of this opportunity to speak out of his heart his words of sincere admiration for a man whom he had helped to elect President of the United States. From the outset Lincoln had believed in Taylor, while many other Whigs refused to support, or supported with languid interest, a candidate who was a slave-holder and who had borne a conspicuous part in the Mexican War. Taylor was nominated by a Whig Convention, which met in Philadelphia, June 7, 1848. The party was so divided that it could[Pg 18] not put forth a distinctive platform. Even an attempt to unite upon an expression concerning the Wilmot Proviso was regarded as so divisive that it was not permitted to come to a vote. The real platform was General Taylor, and his popular nickname, "Old Rough and Ready." Although Taylor was no politician and a stranger even to the ballot-box, he regarded himself as a Whig, but he took pains to explain that he was not an "ultra Whig." Daniel Webster called him "an ignorant old frontier Colonel," but not only Webster, but Clay and Seward, joined in his support. Many a Whig who voted for Taylor accepted him as the choice of two evils. Lincoln, however, was enthusiastic in his support of the nominee. He went into the campaign, as Nicolay and Hay remind us, with "exultant alacrity." They say: He could not even wait for the adjournment of Congress to begin his [Pg 19] stump speaking. Following the bad example of the rest of his colleagues, he obtained the floor on the 27th of July and made a long, brilliant and humorous speech, upon the merits of the two c...

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