Abraham Lincoln to Edward J. Morris and Others1
Your letter inviting me to attend a meeting on the 22d instant, at Philadelphia, to nominate General Taylor for the Presidency, subject to the decision of a National Convention, has been received.2 It will not be convenient for me to attend, yet I take the occasion to say, I am decidedly in favor of General Taylor as the Whig candidate for the next Presidency. I am the only Whig member of Congress from Illinois, so that the meeting will probably hear nothing from that State, unless it be from me through the medium of this letter.3 For this reason I think proper to say, that during the last summer a convention was held in that State for the purpose of amending her constitution; that, in that convention, there were, as I remember, some more than seventy Whig members; that, at a meeting of those Whig members, they nominated General Taylor for the Presidency; and that, with the exception of a very few, (not more than six I believe,) they subscribed their names to that nomination and published it to the world. These delegates of course were not elected to nominate a candidate for the Presidency, nor did they, in the matter, assume to act in any capacity other than as so many individuals expressing their own preferences; still, coming from all parts of the State as they did, their action, together with other facts falling within my observation, leave no doubt in my mind that the preference of the Whigs of the State is the same.4
Those Whig delegates said nothing as to a National Convention, as far as I can remember, nor has any thing transpired since enabling me to determine what is the disposition of the Whigs of Illinois on the subject; still it is my expectation that they will send delegates to the Convention, as I think it will be proper that they should.
Very respectfully,A. LINCOLN.
1This letter was attributed to Abraham Lincoln. The original in Lincoln’s hand has not been located.
2The original letter of invitation to Lincoln has not been located. Distributed to distinguished Whigs in late January or early February, the letter invited Lincoln and his fellow Whigs to a public dinner in Philadelphia on February 22 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, commemorate the first anniversary of the U.S. victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, and, as Lincoln indicated, nominate Zachary Taylor as the Whig candidate for president in the 1848 presidential election. Published on February 1, the letter of invitation was signed by the committee of invitation, which consisted of prominent Philadelphians Edward J. Morris, Charles Gilpin, Samuel S. Kelly, George A. Landell, Peter Glasgow, John Wistar Jr., William B. Mann, and George Erety.
Great Whig Demonstration in Favor of the Nomination of Gen. Taylor to the Presidency. The Buena Vista Festival, at Philadelphia, February 22, 1848 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, [1848]), 1, 11-32.
3Lincoln had been actively working to advance Taylor’s candidacy as a member of the so-called “Young Indians,” a Whig Executive Committee founded by Truman Smith in the spring of 1847 to provide the Whig Party with a unified national organization for the imminent presidential campaign. Including principally but not exclusively Southern Whigs, the Young Indians made it their goal to nominate Zachary Taylor as the Whig Party standard bearer in 1848.
Lincoln was otherwise engaged on February 22: he and Stephen A. Douglas were the Illinois representatives on the list of managers for the National Birth-Night Ball scheduled to be held at Jackson Hall in Washington, DC on that night. On February 21, moreover, John Quincy Adams was stricken with a massive cerebral hemorrhage on the floor of the House of Representatives, and he died two days later in the Speaker’s room in the Capitol. On February 24, Speaker Robert C. Winthrop named Lincoln to a committee of thirty to superintend the funeral solemnities.
The Daily Union (Washington, DC), 2 February 1848, 3:6; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:275-76; Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor: Soldier in the White House (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1966), 63-64; Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 309-30, 333-39; K. Jack Bauer, Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985), 233-34; U.S. House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 445-46; Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 387 (1848); Paul C. Nagel, John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), 414-15.
4In elections for the convention in August 1847, Whigs secured seventy-one of the 162 seats. On August 30, 1847, the Whig delegates held a meeting and adopted a resolution nominating Taylor for president. Fifty-six delegates signed the resolution. The Sangamo Journal published the resolution on September 2.
Arthur Charles Cole, ed., The Constitutional Debates of 1847 , vol. 14 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, Constitutional Series (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1919), 2:xvi; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 460-63; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 2 September 1847, 3:4.

Printed Letter, 1 page(s), Great Whig Demonstration in Favor of the Nomination of Gen. Taylor to the Presidency ([Washington, DC]: J. & G. S. Gideon, [1848]), 26.