TAYLOR, Zachary. Autograph letter signed ("Z.Taylor") to his son-in-law, Dr. Robert C. Wood, "Camp near Monterey Mexico," 14 September 1847. 4 pages, 4to (9 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.), in very fine condition.
A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY PROCLAIMS "I DO NOT CARE A FIG ABOUT THE OFFICE" AND REPORTS "SCOTT HAS TAKEN...THE CITY OF MEXICO"
Writing from Mexico to his son-in-law, Taylor describes American military successes in the War with Mexico, considers the political prospects of Jefferson Davis and vows that he himself has no desire to seek the Presidency. Since his key victory at Buena Vista, Taylor had been hounded by both the Democratic and Whig parties hoping to capitalize on his celebrity by adding his name to their Presidential tickets for 1848. Taylor wanted no part of the job: "On the subject of the presidency I do not care a fig about the office, I would much rather remain in the army in Command of the Southern divisions or even if necessary retire from public life, rather than go to Washington, so they the editors & others may publish my letters & make as many comments on them as they please. I think my friend Genl. Hunt a goodeal [sic] visionary, an excellent man, yet I would not commit myself with him; let politicians determine on who they will elect for Vice as well as President, & so they are honest & capable is all I care about. As to [Winfield] Scotts & [William] Worths falling out, unless to mask some dirty work, I do not believe a word of it." Worth, one of Scott's officers, had presidential ambitions of his own which conflicted with those of his commanding officer.
Putting political concerns aside, Taylor reports on the war: "We have just recd...the gratifying intelligence...that Genl. Scott defeated one division of the Mexican army 5000 strong within a few miles of the Capital, killing & capturing nearly the whole, which had resulted in an armistice to afford an opportunity to enter into negotiations for peace, which I sincerely hope will grow out of it & that it is brought to a close by this time if not before, if so it will enable some of us at least...to return to the U. States; should negotiations be broken off as soon as I ascertain the fact, & hear that Genl Scott has taken possession of the City of Mexico. I will apply for permission to return to the United States & hope to be able to join my family by the first of Decr, or soon after." In regards to Wood's assignment, Taylor concludes that it is much better than those "to be occupied by us in this quarter, Santa Fe, California & Oregon & on the route to that country."
Taylor dismisses Texan Sam Houston's comments on the U.S. dispute with Great Britain over the boundary of the Oregon Territory: "As to Genl. Houston it is a matter of no moment what his opinion is of me, as they can be but of little importance...I apprehend no outbreak with England be her cause of grievances what they may; she cannot do without our trade..." He cautions that "our people might be ready to rush into war with her since our unprecedented success in Mexico; but should we have to measure strength with John Bull, we will find some difference between him & the Mexicans."
In regard to a fellow officer, Jefferson Davis, who had just returned home being wounded at Buena Vista, he writes: "I hope Col. Davis will enter into no pledges in order to go to the Senate, or anywhere else, & am satisfied he will not if at all improper." On August 10, Davis was elected Senator from Mississippi. Taylor also comments on the naval career of his grandson, John Taylor Wood: "if John gets on board a good vessel with a proper commander he will do well in taking the contemplated voyage...he has selected a profession which is a highly honorable one." John Wood would eventually serve in the Confederate Navy aboard the CSS Virginia and as commander of the raider Tallahassee.