Herndon, William H.
Not to be published–Herndon
Abraham Lincoln to William H. Herndon, 12 June 18481Washington, June 12. 1848–Dear William
On my return from Philadelphia, where I had been attending the nomination of "Old Rough"–2 I found your letter in a mass of others, which had accumulated in my absence.3 By many, and often, it had been said they would not abide the nomination of Taylor; but since the deed has been done, they are fast falling in, and in my opinion we shall have a most overwhelming, glorious, triumph–4 One unmistakable sign is, that all the odds and ends are with us—Barnburners, Native Americans, Tyler men ^disappointed office seeking locofocos,^ and the Lord knows what–5 This is important, if in nothing else, in showing which way the wind blows– Some of the sanguine men here, set down all the states as certain for Taylor, but Illinois, and it ^as^ doubtful–6 Can not something be done, even in Illinois? Taylor's nomination takes the locos on the blind side– It turns the war thunder against them–7 The war is now to them, the gallows of Haman, [
on?] which they built for us, and on which
<Page 2>they are doomed to be hanged themselves–8
Excuse this short letter– I have so many to write, that I can not devote much time to any oneYours as everA Lincoln
2Lincoln, who supported General Zachary Taylor for president in 1848 over his former political idol Henry Clay, left Washington to attend the Whig Party’s national convention on June 6 and he returned on June 11. At the convention, Whigs nominated Taylor for president and Millard Fillmore for vice president.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 6 June 1848, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-06-06; 9 June 1848, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-06-09; 11 June 1848, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-06-11; 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), 288, 325-26, 329.
4At the election on November 7, 1848, Americans elected Taylor to the presidency over Lewis Cass and Martin Van Buren, with Taylor earning 163 electoral votes to Cass’s 127.
Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War, 368.
5“Barnburners” were Democrats who supported Martin Van Buren.
6At the election, Illinoisans gave Cass nearly 45% of the vote, with Taylor earning just over 42%.
Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 123.
7Taylor’s status as a hero of the Mexican War made him immensely popular across the political spectrum.
Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War, 269-70.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).