Abraham Lincoln to James Smith, [17 August] 18481
The Whig Members of Congress have, as heretofore, appointed an “Executive Committee” to watch over the interests of the Whig party in the present canvass.2
In the discharge of their duties, the Committee have already made arrangements to supply every section of the country with useful information, such as is usually contained in political pamphlets and Congressional speeches.
It is highly important, especially as the labors of the Committee will continue without interruption from this time until the election in November, that full lists of names, to whom their publications may be sent, should be furnished them as soon as practicable. You cannot fail to estimate the excellent results which have been and may be produced by this plan of operation, nor yet to understand that its efficiency will be controlled, in a great degree, by the promptitude with which their Whig friends second the efforts of those entrusted with its execution. It is believed that all that is necessary to secure the election of Gen. Taylor, is for correct information to reach the mass of the people.
I therefore earnestly request that you will lose no time in forwarding lists for your neighborhood to Hon. Wm. B. Preston, Hon. Truman Smith, Hon. T. Butler King, or Hon. C. B. Smith, at Washington City, D.C.[District of Columbia] I would suggest that the names of the Whigs be distinguished from those of the more moderate of our opponents, and that the most active and influential Whigs be also designated from the general number. The names of individuals, and their Post Office and County, should also be distinctly written.
Your immediate attention to this subject will be gratifying to the Committee, who will be glad to hear from you, occasionally, the condition of the Whig cause in your immediate section. Should you write, direct your letters to the gentlemen, or either of them, whose names have been given you.
I have the honor to be, with high respect, yours, &c.[etc],A. LincolnPS. your name has been given us by Mr Griffith of va3 Respfy yrs &c[Respectfully yours etc]
1This circular letter bears Abraham Lincoln’s signature, but the actual author is unknown. The person who wrote the word “neighborhood” in the blank space in the third paragraph also penned the postscript. Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, notes that the letter was addressed to James Smith of King and Queen County, Virginia. Apparently, the "franked address leaf" once with this document was separated from it between 1928 and 2009. The franked sheet may have sold separately.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:518.
2With the backing of Thurlow Weed and John J. Crittenden, Truman Smith founded this Whig Executive Committee in the spring of 1847 to provide the Whig Party with a unified national organization for the imminent presidential campaign of 1848. Largely a pro-Taylor group, it included principally but not exclusively Southern Whigs. Known as the “Young Indians,” the committee was Alexander H. Stephens, Robert A. Toombs, John S. Pendleton, Thomas S. Flournoy, William B. Preston, Henry W. Hilliard, Edward C. Cabell, and Abraham Lincoln.
Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor: Soldier in the White House (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1966), 63-64.
3Mr. Griffith has not been positively identified.

Partially Printed Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Private Collection, Unknown.