Millard Fillmore photo

Special Message

July 10, 1850

Fellow- Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

A great man has fallen among us, and a whole country is called to an occasion of unexpected, deep, and general mourning.

I recommend to the two Houses of Congress to adopt such measures as in their discretion may seem proper to perform with due solemnities the funeral obsequies of Zachary Taylor, late President of the United States, and thereby to signify the great and affectionate regard of the American people for the memory of one whose life has been devoted to the public service, whose career in arms has not been surpassed in usefulness or brilliancy, who has been so recently raised by the unsolicited voice of the people to the highest civil authority in the Government, which he administered with so much honor and advantage to his country, and by whose sudden death so many hopes of future usefulness have been blighted forever.

To you, Senators and Representatives of a nation in tears, I can say nothing which can alleviate the sorrow with which you are oppressed. I appeal to you to aid me, under the trying circumstances which surround me, in the discharge of the duties from which, however much I may be oppressed by them, I dare not shrink; and I rely upon Him who holds in His hands the destinies of nations to endow me with the requisite strength for the task and to avert from our country the evils apprehended from the heavy calamity which has befallen us.

I shall most readily concur in whatever measures the wisdom of the two Houses may suggest as befitting this deeply melancholy occasion.


Millard Fillmore, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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