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Letter to Usher F. Linder


WASHINGTON, February 20, 1848.

U. F. Linder:... In law, it is good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you cannot. Reflect on this well before you proceed. The application I mean to make of this rule is that you should simply go for General Taylor, because you can take some Democrats and lost no Whigs; but if you go also for Mr. Polk, on the origin and mode of prosecuting the war, you will still take some Democrats, but you will lose more Whigs; so that in the sum of the operation, you will be the loser. This is at least my opinion; and if you will look around, I doubt if you do not discover such to be the fact among your own neighbors. Further than this: by justifying Mr. Polk's mode of prosecuting the war, you put yourself in opposition to General Taylor himself,


for we all know he has declared for, and in fact originated, the defensive line of policy.