FILLMORE, Millard (1800-1874), President. Autograph letter signed ("Millard Fillmore") as Congressman, to Ephraim Goss, Albany, 1 September 1839. 1 2/3 pages, 4to (9 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.), integral address leaf, in very fine condition.
CRITICIZING PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS HARRISON AND CLAY: "THE DOOM OF WHIGGERY IS SEALED FOREVER"
A cordial letter in which Fillmore candidly assesses Whig presidential hopefuls in the election of 1840. Writing to future New York State Senator Goss, Fillmore considers several local political issues before critically surveying the upcoming presidential campaign: "There seems to be a very general conviction here that [Henry] Clay ought not, and can not be our candidate for the Presidency. The elections in Tennessee and Indiana have brushed the scales from the eyes of his most blind and enthusiastic advisors and supporters. The only thing to be apprehended is that they have seen their errors too late..." The most likely scenario, he predicts, "is that Clay and [William Henry] Harrison will both be dropped and [Winfield] Scott taken up. Either his name will run like a prairie fire or the nomination will fall still born from the convention." If Scott is the nomineee, Fillmore writes, "the doom of whiggery is sealed forever, and we may as well at once bow our necks to the galling and servile yoke of loco focoism. But my note is not to despair of the Republic."
In spite of Fillmore's critical comments, he ultimately endorsed Harrison, who became the Whig's choice for President (see following lot). Both Clay and Scott would, in the future, garner Whig presidential nominations, but neither would succeeed in wiining office. The Loco-Focos, to whom Fillmore refers, were a faction of New York anti-bank Democrats, famous for toting "Loco-Foco" matches to meetings in Tammany Hall in case their opponents extinguished the gaslights. Eventually the name was used by the Whigs to stigmatize the national Democratic party.