TAYLOR, Zachary. Autograph letter signed (''Z. Taylor''), as President-elect, to John Ewing, Baton Rouge, La., 15 January 1849. 1 page, 4to, blue paper, three punch holes along left edge, catching portion of one letter.
TAYLOR, Zachary. Autograph letter signed ("Z. Taylor"), as President-elect, to John Ewing, Baton Rouge, La., 15 January 1849. 1 page, 4to, blue paper, three punch holes along left edge, catching portion of one letter.
TAYLOR TURNS DOWN A LOAN REQUEST, SAYING HE HAS "BARELY ENOUGH ON HAND TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSES" OF HIS TRIP TO WASHINGTON FOR HIS UPCOMING INAUGURATION
"I HAVE ONLY THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS ON HAND." Taylor was busy tending to his affairs "preparatory to leaving for the North" and his inauguration as President when he received Ewing's loan request. "Not expecting any call for money from friends, or in any other way, it is entirely out of my power to make you the loan in question, as I have barely enough on hand to defray the expenses of my family and self to our places of destination, or to Louisville Kentucky, where I have so arranged as to have funds carry me to Washington. I must say I have only three hundred dollars on hand, or all I can command at this time."
Taylor may have had his own reasons for pleading poverty in the face of Ewing's request, but much of his wealth was indeed tied up, either in land or slaves. He owned about 140 slaves on his Cypress Grove plantation in Louisiana, and also had interests in warehouses in Louisville, Kentucky, his wife's hometown. Taylor complicated his finances post mortem, by making the bequests in his will conditional on his death in battle. When he died instead from gastroenteritis in the White House in July 1850, an administrator had to be appointed, and his estate was apportioned between Taylor's widow and their three children.