Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  454

Fragment: What General Taylor Ought to Say [1]

[March ?] 1848

The question of a national bank is at rest; were I President I should not urge it's reagitation upon Congress; but should Congress see fit to pass an act to establish such an institution, I should not arrest it by the veto, unless I should consider it subject to some constitutional objection, from which I believe the two former banks to have been free.

It appears to me that the national debt created by the war, renders a modification of the existing tariff indispensable; and when it shall be modified, I should be pleased to see it adjusted with a due reference to the protection of our home industry. The particulars, it appears to me, must and should be left to the untramelled discretion of Congress.

As to the Mexican war, I still think the defensive line policy the best to terminate it. In a final treaty of peace, we shall probably be under a sort of necessity of taking some teritory; but it is my desire that we shall not acquire any extending so far South, as to enlarge and agrivate the distracting question of slavery. Should I come into the presidency before these questions shall be settled, I should act in relation to them in accordance with the views here expressed.

Finally, were I president, I should desire the legislation of the country to rest with Congress, uninfluenced by the executive in it's origin or progress, and undisturbed by the veto unless in very special and clear cases.


[1]   ADf, DLC-RTL. The date given to this document by Nicolay and Hay is ``July 1?'' Since the third paragraph indicates that termination of the Mexican War is in the future, the July date is untenable, peace having been made in May. The tenor of Lincoln's suggestions leads to the conclusion that the fragment was written several weeks earlier, while Lincoln was actively supporting Taylor in his correspondence with fellow Whigs. The date assigned here seems as appropriate as can be assigned on the available evidence. The title given is taken from what seems to have been supplied on the document by John Hay, ``What Gen Taylor ought to say.''