William H. Taft (1857-1930)


Typed letter signed AS PRESIDENT “assist him in his fight (Harding)”

Typed letter signed "Wm H Taft”. 2pp., 6.75 x 8.75 inch, Beverly, Mass., 1910 August 7. On watermarked "The White House, Washington" letterhead. Signed at top of the second page. President Taft wrote this lengthy letter to his long-time friend and colleague Pastor John Wesley Hill (1863-1936). In the letter, President Taft discusses the fall-out of the recent 1910 midterm elections, and also endorses Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) as the Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio. In full: ”I have your letter of August 4th, and thank you sincerely for writing. I could not tell you how cheery your letter is and how glad I am that you are in the fight. I expect to see Harding, our candidate for Governor in Ohio, during the next week, and am delighted to know that you will assist him in his fight. I think, as you indicated in your previous letter, that he is likely to prove a very much more formidable candidate than has been supposed. I am not sitting up nights and mourning at what has happened in Kansas or Iowa. What is done has been done, and I am not making any apologies for it, and if the people do not like it, they can register their dissent; but my impression is that after two years things look a little differently from what they do in the light of the misrepresentations which have been the chief stock in trade of our insurgent muck-raking friends. I thank you for relieving me in Winona, and I appreciate your motive in desiring me to go there, but I find myself so loaded down that I must use a surgical operation to get rid of my burdens.” With expected paper folds and overall light weathering, else fine condition. Despite Taft's and Hill's hopes, Republican candidate Harding would lose the Ohio gubernatorial race to incumbent and Democratic candidate Judson Harmon (1846-1927) by a margin of approximately 175,000 votes. (Just eleven years later, however, Harding would win the biggest election of his political career when he became 29th U.S. President...). Ideological differences between former President Roosevelt's progressive brand of Republicanism and the sitting President's had divided the Republican Party, with real consequences. In the 1910 midterm elections, Republicans lost 10 Senate seats and 57 places in the House of Representatives. The states Taft mentions in this letter, Iowa and Kansas, did not lose any seats, but there was also no net change; it is possible that Taft was disappointed that Republicans had not gained seats there. The 1910 midterm elections anticipated the outcome of the 1912 presidential election. Taft couldn't compete against 3rd party Progressive candidate Roosevelt, resulting in the election of Democratic candidate and 28th U.S. President of Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). Taft and his correspondent Hill had known each other for a long time. Both Taft's presidential predecessors McKinley and Roosevelt relied on Hill's counsel as a Methodist preacher, and he served as a sort of religious advisor to Taft on his Western presidential campaign. The two were also officers of the peace organization International Peace Forum. Hill was the pastor at the Metropolitan Temple in New York City for many years.

 

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Autographed letter signed

Autographed letter signed "Wm. H. Taft”. 2pp., recto and verso, 6.0 x 9.25 inch, Cincinnati, 1899 June 1. On United States Circuit Court of Appeal letterhead. A letter to E.D. Worcester, a fellow Yale alumnus. In part: "I have your favor of the 30th ult. I am very complimented to 'hang' in such distinguished company. I wish I could consider it prophetic but I see nothing before me but a circuit judgeship. I am content however for the duties delight me. I enclose the card with my signature (not present) as you request. Hadley’s election was a great day for Yale. It means that we shall take our proper place at the head of the educational procession…" Fine condition with bold ink resulting in some showthrough. From the Estate of Malcolm S. Forbes.

 

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