Letter from Zachary Taylor to T. S. Bronson, August 10, 1847.
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF OCCUPATION,
Camp near Monterey August 10th, 1947.
SIR: — Your letter of the 17th ultimo, requesting of me an exposition of my views on the question of national policy now at issue between the political parties of the United States, has duly reached me.
I must take occasion to say that many of my letters, addressed to gentlemen in the United States in answer to similar inquiries, have already been made public, and I had greatly hoped that all persons interested, had by this time, obtained from them a sufficiently accurate knowledge of my views and desires in relation to this subject. As it appears, however, that such is not the case, I deem it proper, in reply to your letter, distinctly to repeat that I am not before the People of the United States as a candidate for the next Presidency. It is my great desire to return at the close of this war, to the discharge of those professional duties and to the enjoyments of those domestic pursuits from which I was called at its commencement, and for which my tastes and education best fit me.
I deem it but due to candor to state, at the same time, that, if I were called to the Presidential chair, by the general voice of the people, without regard to their political differences, I should deem it to be my duty to accept the office. But while I freely avow my attachment to the administrative policy of our early Presidents, I desire it to be understood that I cannot submit, even in thus accepting it, to the exaction of any other pledge as to the course I should pursue than that of discharging its functions to the best of my ability, and strictly in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.
I have thus given you the circumstances under which only can I be induced to accept the high and responsible office of President of the United States. I need hardly add that I cannot, in any case, permit myself to be brought before the people exclusively by any of the political parties that now so unfortunately divide our country as their candidate for this office.
It affords me great pleasure, in conclusion, fully to concur with you in your high and just estimate of the virtues, both of head and heart, of the distingiuished citizens (Messrs. Clay, Webster, Adams, McDuffie and Calhoun) mentioned in your letter. I have never exercised the privilege of voting; but had I been called upon at the last Presidential election to do so, I should most certainly have cast my vote for Mr. Clay.
I am sir, very respectfully,
Major General U. S. Army.
T. S. Bronson, M. D., Charleston, S. C.