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Letter to Archibald Williams, April 30, 1848

WASHINGTON, April 30, 1848.

Dear Williams: I have not seen in the papers any evidence of a movement to send a delegate from your circuit to the June convention. I wish to say that I think it all-important that a delegate should be sent. Mr. Clay's chance for an election is just no chance at all. He might get New York, and that would have elected in 1844, but it will not now, because he must now, at the least, lose Tennessee, which he had then, and in addition the fifteen new votes of Florida, Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. I know our good friend Browning is a great admirer of Mr. Clay, and I therefore fear he is favoring his nomination. If he is, ask him to discard feeling, and try if he can possibly, as a matter of judgment, count the votes necessary to elect him.

In my judgment we can elect nobody but General Taylor; and we cannot elect him without a nomination. Therefore don't fail to send a delegate.

Your friend as ever,



1. A good example of Lincoln's political shrewdness is afforded in this letter to his henchman, Williams. The Browning referred to was Orville H. Browning, a life-long friend of Lincoln's, who during his congressional career was eager for the emancipation of slaves. It was this, perhaps, that gave point to Lincoln's fear that his sympathies might run away with him in the case of Clay in 1848.