A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Tyler
Compiled by James D. Richardson

Part 1 out of 11

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Garcia and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.



John Tyler

April 4, 1841, to March 4, 1848

John Tyler

JOHN TYLER, second son of Judge John Tyler, governor of Virginia from
1808 to 1811, and Mary Armistead, was born at Greenway, Charles City
County, Va., March 29, 1790. He was graduated at William and Mary
College in 1807. At college he showed a strong interest in ancient
history; was also fond of poetry and music, and was a skillful performer
on the violin. In 1809 he was admitted to the bar, and had already begun
to obtain a good practice when he was elected to the legislature. Took
his seat in that body in December, 1811. Was here a firm supporter of
Mr. Madison's Administration; and the war with Great Britain, which
soon followed, afforded him an opportunity to become conspicuous as
a forcible and persuasive orator. March 29, 1813, he married Letitia,
daughter of Robert Christian, and a few weeks afterwards was called
into the field at the head of a company of militia to take part in the
defense of Richmond, threatened by the British. This military service
lasted but a month. He was reelected to the legislature annually until,
in November, 1816, he was chosen to fill a vacancy in the United States
House of Representatives. Was reelected to the Fifteenth and Sixteenth
Congresses. In 1821, his health being seriously impaired, he declined
a reelection and retired to private life. In 1823 he was again elected
to the Virginia legislature. Here he was a friend to the candidacy of
William H. Crawford for the Presidency. In 1824 he was a candidate to
fill a vacancy in the United States Senate, but was defeated. He opposed
in 1825 the attempt to remove William and Mary College to Richmond, and
was afterwards made successively rector and chancellor of the college,
which prospered signally under his management. In December, 1825, he was
chosen by the legislature to the governorship of Virginia, and in the
following year was reelected by a unanimous vote. In December, 1826, the
friends of Clay and Adams combined with the Democrats opposed to John
Randolph and elected Mr. Tyler to the United States Senate. In February,
1830, after taking part in the Virginia convention for revising the
State constitution, he returned to his seat in the Senate, and found
himself first drawn toward Jackson by the veto message (May 27) upon the
Maysville turnpike bill; supported Jackson in the Presidential election
of 1832, but broke with the Administration on the question of the
removal of the deposits from the United States Bank, and voted for Mr.
Clay's resolution to censure the President. He was nominated by the
State-rights Whigs for Vice-President in 1835, and at the election on
November 8, 1836, received 47 electoral votes; but no candidate having
a majority of electoral votes, the Senate elected Richard M. Johnson,
of Kentucky. The legislature of Virginia having instructed the Senators
from that State to vote for expunging the resolutions of censure upon
President Jackson, Mr. Tyler refused to obey the instructions, resigned
his seat, and returned home February 29, 1836. On January 10, 1838,
he was chosen president of the Virginia Colonization Society. In the
spring of 1838 he was returned to the Virginia legislature. In January,
1839, he was a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate;
the result was a deadlock, and the question was indefinitely postponed
before any choice had been made. December 4, 1839, the Whig national
convention, at Harrisburg, Pa., nominated him for Vice-President on the
ticket with William Henry Harrison, and at the election on November 10,
1840, he was elected, receiving 234 electoral votes to 48 for Richard M.
Johnson, of Kentucky. By the death of President Harrison April 4, 1841,
Mr. Tyler became President of the United States. He took the oath of
office on April 6. Among the more important events of his Administration
were the "Ashburton treaty" with Great Britain, the termination of
the Indian war in Florida, the passage of the resolutions by Congress
providing for the annexation of Texas, and the treaty with China. On May
27, 1844, he was nominated for President at a convention in Baltimore,
but although at first he accepted the nomination, he subsequently
withdrew his name. On June 26, 1844, Mr. Tyler married Miss Julia
Gardiner, of New York, his first wife having died September 9, 1842.
After leaving the White House he took up his residence on his estate,
Sherwood Forest, near Greenway, Va., on the bank of the James River. Was
president of the Peace Convention held at Washington February 4, 1861.
Afterwards, as a delegate to the Virginia State convention, he advocated
the passage of an ordinance of secession. In May, 1861, he was
unanimously elected a member of the provisional congress of the
Confederate States. In the following autumn he was elected to the
permanent congress, but died at Richmond January 18, 1862, before
taking his seat, and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, in that city.

* * * * *


WASHINGTON, _April 9, 1841_.

_To the People of the United States_.

FELLOW-CITIZENS: Before my arrival at the seat of Government the painful
communication was made to you by the officers presiding over the several
Departments of the deeply regretted death of William Henry Harrison,
late President of the United States. Upon him you had conferred your
suffrages for the first office in your gift, and had selected him as
your chosen instrument to correct and reform all such errors and abuses
as had manifested themselves from time to time in the practical
operation of the Government. While standing at the threshold of this
great work he has by the dispensation of an all-wise Providence been
removed from amongst us, and by the provisions of the Constitution the
efforts to be directed to the accomplishing of this vitally important
task have devolved upon myself. This same occurrence has subjected the
wisdom and sufficiency of our institutions to a new test. For the first
time in our history the person elected to the Vice-Presidency of the
United States, by the happening of a contingency provided for in the
Constitution, has had devolved upon him the Presidential office.
The spirit of faction, which is directly opposed to the spirit of
a lofty patriotism, may find in this occasion for assaults upon my
Administration; and in succeeding, under circumstances so sudden
and unexpected and to responsibilities so greatly augmented, to the
administration of public affairs I shall place in the intelligence and
patriotism of the people my only sure reliance. My earnest prayer shall
be constantly addressed to the all-wise and all-powerful Being who
made me, and by whose dispensation I am called to the high office
of President of this Confederacy, understandingly to carry out the
principles of that Constitution which I have sworn "to protect,
preserve, and defend."

The usual opportunity which is afforded to a Chief Magistrate upon his
induction to office of presenting to his countrymen an exposition of the
policy which would guide his Administration, in the form of an inaugural
address, not having, under the peculiar circumstances which have brought
me to the discharge of the high duties of President of the United
States, been afforded to me, a brief exposition of the principles which
will govern me in the general course of my administration of public
affairs would seem to be due as well to myself as to you.

In regard to foreign nations, the groundwork of my policy will be
justice on our part to all, submitting to injustice from none. While
I shall sedulously cultivate the relations of peace and amity with one
and all, it will be my most imperative duty to see that the honor of the
country shall sustain no blemish. With a view to this, the condition of
our military defenses will become a matter of anxious solicitude. The
Army, which has in other days covered itself with renown, and the Navy,
not inappropriately termed the right arm of the public defense, which
has spread a light of glory over the American standard in all the waters
of the earth, should be rendered replete with efficiency.

In view of the fact, well avouched by history, that the tendency of all
human institutions is to concentrate power in the hands of a single man,
and that their ultimate downfall has proceeded from this cause, I deem
it of the most essential importance that a complete separation should
take place between the sword and the purse. No matter where or how the
public moneys shall be deposited, so long as the President can exert the
power of appointing and removing at his pleasure the agents selected for
their custody the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy is in fact the
treasurer. A permanent and radical change should therefore be decreed.
The patronage incident to the Presidential office, already great, is
constantly increasing. Such increase is destined to keep pace with the
growth of our population, until, without a figure of speech, an army
of officeholders may be spread over the land. The unrestrained power
exerted by a selfishly ambitious man in order either to perpetuate his
authority or to hand it over to some favorite as his successor may lead
to the employment of all the means within his control to accomplish his
object. The right to remove from office, while subjected to no just
restraint, is inevitably destined to produce a spirit of crouching
servility with the official corps, which, in order to uphold the hand
which feeds them, would lead to direct and active interference in the
elections, both State and Federal, thereby subjecting the course of
State legislation to the dictation of the chief executive officer and
making the will of that officer absolute and supreme. I will at a proper
time invoke the action of Congress upon this subject, and shall readily
acquiesce in the adoption of all proper measures which are calculated to
arrest these evils, so full of danger in their tendency. I will remove
no incumbent from office who has faithfully and honestly acquitted
himself of the duties of his office, except in such cases where
such officer has been guilty of an active partisanship or by secret
means--the less manly, and therefore the more objectionable--has given
his official influence to the purposes of party, thereby bringing the
patronage of the Government in conflict with the freedom of elections.
Numerous removals may become necessary under this rule. These will
be made by me through no acerbity of feeling--I have had no cause to
cherish or indulge unkind feelings toward any--but my conduct will be
regulated by a profound sense of what is due to the country and its
institutions; nor shall I neglect to apply the same unbending rule
to those of my own appointment. Freedom of opinion will be tolerated,
the full enjoyment of the right of suffrage will be maintained as the
birthright of every American citizen; but I say emphatically to the
official corps, "Thus far and no farther." I have dwelt the longer upon
this subject because removals from office are likely often to arise,
and I would have my countrymen to understand the principle of the
Executive action.

In all public expenditures the most rigid economy should be resorted to,
and, as one of its results, a public debt in time of peace be sedulously
avoided. A wise and patriotic constituency will never object to the
imposition of necessary burdens for useful ends, and true wisdom
dictates the resort to such means in order to supply deficiencies in the
revenue, rather than to those doubtful expedients which, ultimating in
a public debt, serve to embarrass the resources of the country and to
lessen its ability to meet any great emergency which may arise. All
sinecures should be abolished. The appropriations should be direct
and explicit, so as to leave as limited a share of discretion to the
disbursing agents as may be found compatible with the public service.
A strict responsibility on the part of all the agents of the Government
should be maintained and peculation or defalcation visited with
immediate expulsion from office and the most condign punishment.

The public interest also demands that if any war has existed between
the Government and the currency it shall cease. Measures of a financial
character now having the sanction of legal enactment shall be faithfully
enforced until repealed by the legislative authority. But I owe it to
myself to declare that I regard existing enactments as unwise and
impolitic and in a high degree oppressive. I shall promptly give my
sanction to any constitutional measure which, originating in Congress,
shall have for its object the restoration of a sound circulating medium,
so essentially necessary to give confidence in all the transactions
of life, to secure to industry its just and adequate rewards, and to
reestablish the public prosperity. In deciding upon the adaptation of
any such measure to the end proposed, as well as its conformity to the
Constitution, I shall resort to the fathers of the great republican
school for advice and instruction, to be drawn from their sage views of
our system of government and the light of their ever-glorious example.

The institutions under which we live, my countrymen, secure each person
in the perfect enjoyment of all his rights. The spectacle is exhibited
to the world of a government deriving its powers from the consent of the
governed and having imparted to it only so much power as is necessary
for its successful operation. Those who are charged with its
administration should carefully abstain from all attempts to enlarge
the range of powers thus granted to the several departments of the
Government other than by an appeal to the people for additional grants,
lest by so doing they disturb that balance which the patriots and
statesmen who framed the Constitution designed to establish between the
Federal Government and the States composing the Union. The observance
of these rules is enjoined upon us by that feeling of reverence and
affection which finds a place in the heart of every patriot for the
preservation of union and the blessings of union--for the good of our
children and our children's children through countless generations.
An opposite course could not fail to generate factions intent upon
the gratification of their selfish ends, to give birth to local and
sectional jealousies, and to ultimate either in breaking asunder the
bonds of union or in building up a central system which would inevitably
end in a bloody scepter and an iron crown.

In conclusion I beg you to be assured that I shall exert myself to carry
the foregoing principles into practice during my administration of the
Government, and, confiding in the protecting care of an everwatchful and
overruling Providence, it shall be my first and highest duty to preserve
unimpaired the free institutions under which we live and transmit them
to those who shall succeed me in their full force and vigor.


[For proclamation of President Tyler recommending, in consequence of the
death of President Harrison, a day of fasting and prayer, see p. 32.]


WASHINGTON, _June 1, 1841_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_.

FELLOW CITIZENS: You have been assembled in your respective halls of
legislation under a proclamation bearing the signature of the
illustrious citizen who was so lately called by the direct suffrages of
the people to the discharge of the important functions of their chief
executive office. Upon the expiration of a single month from the day of
his installation he has paid the great debt of nature, leaving behind
him a name associated with the recollection of numerous benefits
conferred upon the country during a long life of patriotic devotion.
With this public bereavement are connected other considerations which
will not escape the attention of Congress. The preparations necessary
for his removal to the seat of Government in view of a residence of four
years must have devolved upon the late President heavy expenditures,
which, if permitted to burthen the limited resources of his private
fortune, may tend seriously to the embarrassment of his surviving
family; and it is therefore respectfully submitted to Congress whether
the ordinary principles of justice would not dictate the propriety of
its legislative interposition. By the provisions of the fundamental law
the powers and duties of the high station to which he was elected have
devolved upon me, and in the dispositions of the representatives of the
States and of the people will be found, to a great extent, a solution of
the problem to which our institutions are for the first time subjected.

In entering upon the duties of this office I did not feel that it would
be becoming in me to disturb what had been ordered by my lamented
predecessor. Whatever, therefore, may have been my opinion originally as
to the propriety of convening Congress at so early a day from that of
its late adjournment, I found a new and controlling inducement not to
interfere with the patriotic desires of the late President in the
novelty of the situation in which I was so unexpectedly placed. My first
wish under such circumstances would necessarily have been to have called
to my aid in the administration of public affairs the combined wisdom of
the two Houses of Congress, in order to take their counsel and advice as
to the best mode of extricating the Government and the country from the
embarrassments weighing heavily on both. I am, then, most happy in
finding myself so soon after my accession to the Presidency surrounded
by the immediate representatives of the States and people.

No important changes having taken place in our foreign relations since
the last session of Congress, it is not deemed necessary on this
occasion to go into a detailed statement in regard to them. I am happy
to say that I see nothing to destroy the hope of being able to preserve
peace, The ratification of the treaty with Portugal has been duly
exchanged between the two Governments. This Government has not been
inattentive to the interests of those of our citizens who have claims on
the Government of Spain founded on express treaty stipulations, and a
hope is indulged that the representations which have been made to that
Government on this subject may lead ere long to beneficial results.

A correspondence has taken place between the Secretary of State and the
minister of Her Britannic Majesty accredited to this Government on the
subject of Alexander McLeod's indictment and imprisonment, copies of
which are herewith communicated to Congress.

In addition to what appears from these papers, it may be proper to state
that Alexander McLeod has been heard by the supreme court of the State
of New York on his motion to be discharged from imprisonment, and that
the decision of that court has not as yet been pronounced.

The Secretary of State has addressed to me a paper upon two subjects
interesting to the commerce of the country, which will receive my
consideration, and which I have the honor to communicate to Congress.

So far as it depends on the course of this Government, our relations of
good will and friendship will be sedulously cultivated with all nations.
The true American policy will be found to consist in the exercise of
a spirit of justice, to be manifested in the discharge of all our
international obligations to the weakest of the family of nations as
well as to the most powerful. Occasional conflicts of opinion may arise,
but when the discussions incident to them are conducted in the language
of truth and with a strict regard to justice the scourge of war will for
the most part be avoided. The time ought to be regarded as having gone
by when a resort to arms is to be esteemed as the only proper arbiter
of national differences.

The census recently taken shows a regularly progressive increase in
our population. Upon the breaking out of the War of the Revolution
our numbers scarcely equaled 3,000,000 souls; they already exceed
17,000,000, and will continue to progress in a ratio which duplicates in
a period of about twenty-three years. The old States contain a territory
sufficient in itself to maintain a population of additional millions,
and the most populous of the new States may even yet be regarded as but
partially settled, while of the new lands on this side of the Rocky
Mountains, to say nothing of the immense region which stretches from
the base of those mountains to the mouth of the Columbia River, about
770,000,000 acres, ceded and unceded, still remain to be brought into
market. We hold out to the people of other countries an invitation to
come and settle among us as members of our rapidly growing family, and
for the blessings which we offer them we require of them to look upon
our country as their country and to unite with us in the great task of
preserving our institutions and thereby perpetuating our liberties. No
motive exists for foreign conquest; we desire but to reclaim our almost
illimitable wildernesses and to introduce into their depths the lights
of civilization. While we shall at all times be prepared to vindicate
the national honor, our most earnest desire will be to maintain an
unbroken peace.

In presenting the foregoing views I can not withhold the expression of
the opinion that there exists nothing in the extension of our Empire
over our acknowledged possessions to excite the alarm of the patriot for
the safety of our institutions. The federative system, leaving to each
State the care of its domestic concerns and devolving on the Federal
Government those of general import, admits in safety of the greatest
expansion; but at the same time I deem it proper to add that there will
be found to exist at all times an imperious necessity for restraining
all the functionaries of this Government within the range of their
respective powers, thereby preserving a just balance between the powers
granted to this Government and those reserved to the States and to the

From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury you will perceive that
the fiscal means, present and accruing, are insufficient to supply the
wants of the Government for the current year. The balance in the
Treasury on the 4th day of March last not covered by outstanding drafts,
and exclusive of trust funds, is estimated at $860,000. This includes
the sum of $215,000 deposited in the Mint and its branches to procure
metal for coining and in process of coinage, and which could not be
withdrawn without inconvenience, thus leaving subject to draft in the
various depositories the sum of $645,000. By virtue of two several acts
of Congress the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to issue on and
after the 4th day of March last Treasury notes to the amount of
$5,413,000, making an aggregate available fund of $6,058,000 on hand.

But this fund was chargeable, with outstanding Treasury notes redeemable
in the current year and interest thereon, to the estimated amount of
$5,280,000. There is also thrown upon the Treasury the payment of a
large amount of demands accrued in whole or in part in former years,
which will exhaust the available means of the Treasury and leave the
accruing revenue, reduced as it is in amount, burthened with debt and
charged with the current expenses of the Government.

The aggregate amount of outstanding appropriations on the 4th day of
March last was $33,429,616.50, of which $24,210,000 will be required
during the current year; and there will also be required for the
use of the War Department additional appropriations to the amount of
$2,511,132.98, the special objects of which will be seen by reference
to the report of the Secretary of War. The anticipated means of the
Treasury are greatly inadequate to this demand. The receipts from
customs for the last three quarters of the last year and first quarter
of the present year amounted to $12,100,000; the receipts for lands
for the same time to $2,742,450, shewing an average revenue from both
sources of $1,236,870 per month.

A gradual expansion of trade, growing out of a restoration of
confidence, together with a reduction in the expenses of collecting and
punctuality on the part of collecting officers, may cause an addition
to the monthly receipts from the customs. They are estimated for the
residue of the year from the 4th of March at $12,000,000. The receipts
from the public lands for the same time are estimated at $2,500,000, and
from miscellaneous sources at $170,000, making an aggregate of available
fund within the year of $15,315,000, which will leave a probable deficit
of $11,406,132.98. To meet this some temporary provision is necessary
until the amount can be absorbed by the excess of revenues which are
anticipated to accrue at no distant day.

There will fall due within the next three months Treasury notes of
the issues of 1840, including interest, about $2,850,000. There is
chargeable in the same period for arrearages for taking the Sixth Census
$294,000, and the estimated expenditures for the current service are
about $8,100,000, making the aggregate demand upon the Treasury prior
to the 1st of September next about $11,340,000.

The ways and means in the Treasury and estimated to accrue within the
above-named period consist of about $694,000 of funds available on the
28th ultimo, an unissued balance of Treasury notes authorized by the act
of 1841 amounting to $1,955,000, and estimated receipts from all sources
of $3,800,000, making an aggregate of about $6,450,000, and leaving a
probable deficit on the 1st of September next of $4,845,000.

In order to supply the wants of the Government, an intelligent
constituency, in view of their best interests, will without hesitation
submit to all necessary burthens. But it is nevertheless important so to
impose them as to avoid defeating the just expectations of the country
growing out of preexisting laws. The act of the 2d of March, 1833,
commonly called the "compromise act," should not be altered except under
urgent necessities, which are not believed at this time to exist. One
year only remains to complete the series of reductions provided for by
that law, at which time provisions made by the same law, and which then
will be brought actively in aid of the manufacturing interests of the
Union, will not fail to produce the most beneficial results. Under a
system of discriminating duties imposed for purposes of revenue, in
unison with the provisions of existing laws, it is to be hoped that our
policy will in the future be fixed and permanent, so as to avoid those
constant fluctuations which defeat the very objects they have in view.
We shall thus best maintain a position which, while it will enable us
the more readily to meet the advances of other countries calculated to
promote our trade and commerce, will at the same time leave in our own
hands the means of retaliating with greater effect unjust regulations.

In intimate connection with the question of revenue is that which makes
provision for a suitable fiscal agent, capable of adding increased
facilities in the collection and disbursement of the public revenues,
rendering more secure their custody, and consulting a true economy
in the great, multiplied, and delicate operations of the Treasury
Department. Upon such an agent depends in an eminent degree the
establishment of a currency of uniform value, which is of so great
importance to all the essential interests of society, and on the wisdom
to be manifested in its creation much depends. So intimately interwoven
are its operations, not only with the interests of individuals, but of
States, that it may be regarded to a great degree as controlling both.
If paper be used as the chief medium of circulation, and the power be
vested in the Government of issuing it at pleasure, either in the form
of Treasury drafts or any other, or if banks be used as the public
depositories, with liberty to regard all surpluses from day to day as
so much added to their active capital, prices are exposed to constant
fluctuations and industry to severe suffering. In the one case political
considerations directed to party purposes may control, while excessive
cupidity may prevail in the other. The public is thus constantly liable
to imposition. Expansions and contractions may follow each other in
rapid succession--the one engendering a reckless spirit of adventure and
speculation, which embraces States as well as individuals, the other
causing a fall in prices and accomplishing an entire change in the
aspect of affairs. Stocks of all sorts rapidly decline, individuals
are ruined, and States embarrassed even in their efforts to meet with
punctuality the interest on their debts. Such, unhappily, is the
condition of things now existing in the United States. These effects may
readily be traced to the causes above referred to. The public revenues,
being removed from the then Bank of the United States, under an order of
a late President, were placed in selected State banks, which, actuated
by the double motive of conciliating the Government and augmenting their
profits to the greatest possible extent, enlarged extravagantly their
discounts, thus enabling all other existing banks to do the same; large
dividends were declared, which, stimulating the cupidity of capitalists,
caused a rush to be made to the legislatures of the respective States
for similar acts of incorporation, which by many of the States, under a
temporary infatuation, were readily granted, and thus the augmentation
of the circulating medium, consisting almost exclusively of paper,
produced a most fatal delusion. An illustration derived from the land
sales of the period alluded to will serve best to show the effect of the
whole system. The average sales of the public lands for a period of ten
years prior to 1834 had not much exceeded $2,000,000 per annum. In 1834
they attained in round numbers to the amount of $6,000,000; in the
succeeding year of 1835 they reached $16,000,000, and the next year of
1836 they amounted to the enormous sum of $25,000,000, thus crowding
into the short space of three years upward of twenty-three years'
purchase of the public domain. So apparent had become the necessity of
arresting this course of things that the executive department assumed
the highly questionable power of discriminating in the funds to be used
in payment by different classes of public debtors--a discrimination
which was doubtless designed to correct this most ruinous state of
things by the exaction of specie in all payments for the public lands,
but which could not at once arrest the tide which had so strongly set
in. Hence the demands for specie became unceasing, and corresponding
prostration rapidly ensued under the necessities created with the banks
to curtail their discounts and thereby to reduce their circulation.
I recur to these things with no disposition to censure preexisting
Administrations of the Government, but simply in exemplification of the
truth of the position which I have assumed. If, then, any fiscal agent
which may be created shall be placed, without due restrictions, either
in the hands of the administrators of the Government or those of private
individuals, the temptation to abuse will prove to be resistless.
Objects of political aggrandizement may seduce the first, and the
promptings of a boundless cupidity will assail the last. Aided by the
experience of the past, it will be the pleasure of Congress so to guard
and fortify the public interests in the creation of any new agent as to
place them, so far as human wisdom can accomplish it, on a footing of
perfect security. Within a few years past three different schemes have
been before the country. The charter of the Bank of the United States
expired by its own limitations in 1836. An effort was made to renew
it, which received the sanction of the two Houses of Congress, but the
then President of the United States exercised his _veto_ power and the
measure was defeated. A regard to truth requires me to say that the
President was fully sustained in the course he had taken by the popular
voice. His successor to the chair of state unqualifiedly pronounced his
opposition to any new charter of a similar institution, and not only the
popular election which brought him into power, but the elections through
much of his term, seemed clearly to indicate a concurrence with him
in sentiment on the part of the people. After the public moneys were
withdrawn from the United States Bank they were placed in deposit with
the State banks, and the result of that policy has been before the
country. To say nothing as to the question whether that experiment
was made under propitious or adverse circumstances, it may safely be
asserted that it did receive the unqualified condemnation of most of its
early advocates, and, it is believed, was also condemned by the popular
sentiment. The existing subtreasury system does not seem to stand in
higher favor with the people, but has recently been condemned in a
manner too plainly indicated to admit of a doubt. Thus in the short
period of eight years the popular voice may be regarded as having
successively condemned each of the three schemes of finance to which
I have adverted. As to the first, it was introduced at a time (1816)
when the State banks, then comparatively few in number, had been forced
to suspend specie payments by reason of the war which had previously
prevailed with Great Britain. Whether if the United States Bank charter,
which expired in 1811, had been renewed in due season it would have been
enabled to continue specie payments during the war and the disastrous
period to the commerce of the country which immediately succeeded is, to
say the least, problematical, and whether the United States Bank of 1816
produced a restoration of specie payments or the same was accomplished
through the instrumentality of other means was a matter of some
difficulty at that time to determine. Certain it is that for the first
years of the operation of that bank its course was as disastrous as
for the greater part of its subsequent career it became eminently
successful. As to the second, the experiment was tried with a redundant
Treasury, which continued to increase until it seemed to be the part
of wisdom to distribute the surplus revenue among the States, which,
operating at the same time with the specie circular and the causes
before adverted to, caused them to suspend specie payments and involved
the country in the greatest embarrassment. And as to the third, if
carried through all the stages of its transmutation from paper and
specie to nothing but the precious metals, to say nothing of the
insecurity of the public moneys, its injurious effects have been
anticipated by the country in its unqualified condemnation. What is now
to be regarded as the judgment of the American people on this whole
subject I have no accurate means of determining but by appealing to
their more immediate representatives. The late contest, which terminated
in the election of General Harrison to the Presidency, was decided on
principles well known and openly declared, and while the subtreasury
received in the result the most decided condemnation, yet no other
scheme of finance seemed to have been concurred in. To you, then, who
have come more directly from the body of our common constituents, I
submit the entire question, as best qualified to give a full exposition
of their wishes and opinions. I shall be ready to concur with you in the
adoption of such system as you may propose, reserving to myself the
ultimate power of rejecting any measure which may, in my view of it,
conflict with the Constitution or otherwise jeopardize the prosperity of
the country--a power which I could not part with even if I would, but
which I will not believe any act of yours will call into requisition.

I can not avoid recurring, in connection with this subject, to the
necessity which exists for adopting some suitable measure whereby the
unlimited creation of banks by the States may be corrected in future.
Such result can be most readily achieved by the consent of the States,
to be expressed in the form of a compact among themselves, which
they can only enter into with the consent and approbation of this
Government--a consent which might in the present emergency of the
public demands justifiably be given by Congress in advance of any action
by the States, as an inducement to such action, upon terms well defined
by the act of tender. Such a measure, addressing itself to the calm
reflection of the States, would find in the experience of the past and
the condition of the present much to sustain it; and it is greatly to be
doubted whether any scheme of finance can prove for any length of time
successful while the States shall continue in the unrestrained exercise
of the power of creating banking corporations. This power can only be
limited by their consent.

With the adoption of a financial agency of a satisfactory character the
hope may be indulged that the country may once more return to a state of
prosperity. Measures auxiliary thereto, and in some measure inseparably
connected with its success, will doubtless claim the attention of
Congress. Among such, a distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the
public lands, provided such distribution does not force upon Congress
the necessity of imposing upon commerce heavier burthens than those
contemplated by the act of 1833, would act as an efficient remedial
measure by being brought directly in aid of the States. As one sincerely
devoted to the task of preserving a just balance in our system of
Government by the maintenance of the States in a condition the most free
and respectable and in the full possession of all their power, I can no
otherwise than feel desirous for their emancipation from the situation
to which the pressure on their finances now subjects them. And while I
must repudiate, as a measure founded in error and wanting constitutional
sanction, the slightest approach to an assumption by this Government of
the debts of the States, yet I can see in the distribution adverted to
much to recommend it. The compacts between the proprietor States and
this Government expressly guarantee to the States all the benefits which
may arise from the sales. The mode by which this is to be effected
addresses itself to the discretion of Congress as the trustee for the
States, and its exercise after the most beneficial manner is restrained
by nothing in the grants or in the Constitution so long as Congress
shall consult that equality in the distribution which the compacts
require. In the present condition of some of the States the question of
distribution may be regarded as substantially a question between direct
and indirect taxation. If the distribution be not made in some form
or other, the necessity will daily become more urgent with the debtor
States for a resort to an oppressive system of direct taxation, or their
credit, and necessarily their power and influence, will be greatly
diminished. The payment of taxes after the most inconvenient and
oppressive mode will be exacted in place of contributions for the most
part voluntarily made, and therefore comparatively unoppressive. The
States are emphatically the constituents of this Government, and we
should be entirely regardless of the objects held in view by them in
the creation of this Government if we could be indifferent to their
good. The happy effects of such a measure upon all the States would
immediately be manifested. With the debtor States it would effect the
relief to a great extent of the citizens from a heavy burthen of direct
taxation, which presses with severity on the laboring classes, and
eminently assist in restoring the general prosperity. An immediate
advance would take place in the price of the State securities, and the
attitude of the States would become once more, as it should ever be,
lofty and erect. With States laboring under no extreme pressure from
debt, the fund which they would derive from this source would enable
them to improve their condition in an eminent degree. So far as this
Government is concerned, appropriations to domestic objects approaching
in amount the revenue derived from the land sales might be abandoned,
and thus a system of unequal, and therefore unjust, legislation would
be substituted by one dispensing equality to all the members of this
Confederacy. Whether such distribution should be made directly to the
States in the proceeds of the sales or in the form of profits by virtue
of the operations of any fiscal agency having those proceeds as its
basis, should such measure be contemplated by Congress, would well
deserve its consideration. Nor would such disposition of the proceeds of
the sales in any manner prevent Congress from time to time from passing
all necessary preemption laws for the benefit of actual settlers, or
from making any new arrangement as to the price of the public lands
which might in future be esteemed desirable.

I beg leave particularly to call your attention to the accompanying
report from the Secretary of War. Besides the present state of the war
which has so long afflicted the Territory of Florida, and the various
other matters of interest therein referred to, you will learn from it
that the Secretary has instituted an inquiry into abuses, which promises
to develop gross enormities in connection with Indian treaties which
have been negotiated, as well as in the expenditures for the removal and
subsistence of the Indians. He represents also other irregularities
of a serious nature that have grown up in the practice of the Indian
Department, which will require the appropriation of upward of $200,000
to correct, and which claim the immediate attention of Congress.

In reflecting on the proper means of defending the country we can not
shut our eyes to the consequences which the introduction and use of the
power of steam upon the ocean are likely to produce in wars between
maritime states. We can not yet see the extent to which this power may
be applied in belligerent operations, connecting itself as it does with
recent improvements in the science of gunnery and projectiles; but we
need have no fear of being left, in regard to these things, behind the
most active and skillful of other nations if the genius and enterprise
of our fellow-citizens receive proper encouragement and direction from

True wisdom would nevertheless seem to dictate the necessity of placing
in perfect condition those fortifications which are designed for the
protection of our principal cities and roadsteads. For the defense of
our extended maritime coast our chief reliance should be placed on
our Navy, aided by those inventions which are destined to recommend
themselves to public adoption, but no time should be lost in placing our
principal cities on the seaboard and the Lakes in a state of entire
security from foreign assault. Separated as we are from the countries of
the Old World, and in much unaffected by their policy, we are happily
relieved from the necessity of maintaining large standing armies in
times of peace. The policy which was adopted by Mr. Monroe shortly after
the conclusion of the late war with Great Britain of preserving a
regularly organized staff sufficient for the command of a large military
force should a necessity for one arise is founded as well in economy as
in true wisdom. Provision is thus made, upon filling up the rank and
file, which can readily be done on any emergency, for the introduction
of a system of discipline both promptly and efficiently. All that is
required in time of peace is to maintain a sufficient number of men
to guard our fortifications, to meet any sudden contingency, and to
encounter the first shock of war. Our chief reliance must be placed on
the militia; they constitute the great body of national guards, and,
inspired by an ardent love of country, will be found ready at all times
and at all seasons to repair with alacrity to its defense. It will be
regarded by Congress, I doubt not, at a suitable time as one of its
highest duties to attend to their complete organization and discipline.

The state of the navy pension fund requires the immediate attention of
Congress. By the operation of the act of the 3d of March, 1837, entitled
"An act for the more equitable administration of the navy pension fund,"
that fund has been exhausted. It will be seen from the accompanying
report of the Commissioner of Pensions that there will be required for
the payment of navy pensions on the 1st of July next $88,706.06-1/3, and
on the 1st of January, 1842, the sum of $69,000. In addition to these
sums, about $6,000 will be required to pay arrears of pensions which
will probably be allowed between the 1st of July and the 1st of January,
1842, making in the whole $163,706.06-1/3. To meet these payments there
is within the control of the Department the sum of $28,040, leaving a
deficiency of $139,666.06-1/3. The public faith requires that immediate
provision should be made for the payment of these sums.

In order to introduce into the Navy a desirable efficiency, a new system
of accountability may be found to be indispensably necessary. To mature
a plan having for its object the accomplishment of an end so important
and to meet the just expectations of the country require more time than
has yet been allowed to the Secretary at the head of the Department. The
hope is indulged that by the time of your next regular session measures
of importance in connection with this branch of the public service may
be matured for your consideration.

Although the laws regulating the Post-Office Department only require
from the officer charged with its direction to report at the usual
annual session of Congress, the Postmaster-General has presented to me
some facts connected with the financial condition of the Department
which are deemed worthy the attention of Congress. By the accompanying
report of that officer it appears the existing liabilities of that
Department beyond the means of payment at its command can not be less
than $500,000. As the laws organizing that branch of the public service
confine the expenditure to its own revenues, deficiencies therein
can not be presented under the usual estimates for the expenses of
Government. It must therefore be left to Congress to determine whether
the moneys now due the contractors shall be paid from the public
Treasury or whether that Department shall continue under its present
embarrassments. It will be seen by the report of the Postmaster-General
that the recent lettings of contracts in several of the States have been
made at such reduced rates of compensation as to encourage the belief
that if the Department was relieved from existing difficulties its
future operations might be conducted without any further call upon the
general Treasury.

The power of appointing to office is one of a character the most
delicate and responsible. The appointing power is evermore exposed to be
led into error. With anxious solicitude to select the most trustworthy
for official station, I can not be supposed to possess a personal
knowledge of the qualifications of every applicant. I deem it,
therefore, proper in this most public manner to invite on the part of
the Senate a just scrutiny into the character and pretensions of every
person I may bring to their notice in the regular form of a nomination
for office. Unless persons every way trustworthy are employed in the
public service, corruption and irregularity will inevitably follow.
I shall with the greatest cheerfulness acquiesce in the decision of
that body, and, regarding it as wisely constituted to aid the executive
department in the performance of this delicate duty, I shall look to its
"consent and advice" as given only in furtherance of the best interests
of the country. I shall also at the earliest proper occasion invite the
attention of Congress to such measures as in my judgment will be best
calculated to regulate and control the Executive power in reference to
this vitally important subject.

I shall also at the proper season invite your attention to the
statutory enactments for the suppression of the slave trade, which may
require to be rendered more efficient in their provisions. There is
reason to believe that the traffic is on the increase. Whether such
increase is to be ascribed to the abolition of slave labor in the
British possessions in our vicinity and an attendant diminution in the
supply of those articles which enter into the general consumption of
the world, thereby augmenting the demand from other quarters, and thus
calling for additional labor, it were needless to inquire. The highest
considerations of public honor as well as the strongest promptings of
humanity require a resort to the most vigorous efforts to suppress the

In conclusion I beg to invite your particular attention to the interests
of this District; nor do I doubt but that in a liberal spirit of
legislation you will seek to advance its commercial as well as its local
interests. Should Congress deem it to be its duty to repeal the existing
subtreasury law, the necessity of providing a suitable place of deposit
of the public moneys which may be required within the District must be
apparent to all.

I have felt it due to the country to present the foregoing topics to
your consideration and reflection. Others with which it might not seem
proper to trouble you at an extraordinary session will be laid before
you at a future day. I am happy in committing the important affairs of
the country into your hands. The tendency of public sentiment, I am
pleased to believe, is toward the adoption, in a spirit of union and
harmony, of such measures as will fortify the public interests. To
cherish such a tendency of public opinion is the task of an elevated
patriotism. That differences of opinion as to the means of accomplishing
these desirable objects should exist is reasonably to be expected. Nor
can all be made satisfied with any system of measures; but I flatter
myself with the hope that the great body of the people will readily
unite in support of those whose efforts spring from a disinterested
desire to promote their happiness, to preserve the Federal and State
Governments within their respective orbits; to cultivate peace with
all the nations of the earth on just and honorable grounds; to exact
obedience to the laws; to intrench liberty and property in full
security; and, consulting the most rigid economy, to abolish all
useless expenses.



CITY OF WASHINGTON, _June 2, 1841_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting certain transfers of appropriations that have been made in
that Department in pursuance of the power vested in the President of the
United States by the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1809, entitled
"An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment and
regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."


WASHINGTON, _June 17, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_

I transmit to the Senate the inclosed communication[1] from the
Secretary of State, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 12th


[Footnote 1: Relating to the commissioners appointed to investigate the
condition of the public works in Washington, D.C., and transmitting
copy of the letter of instructions issued to them.]

WASHINGTON, _June 17, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate the inclosed communication from the Secretary
of State, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, _June 15, 1841_.


SIR: In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant,
calling for "any orders which may have been issued to the officers of
the Army and Navy in relation to political offenses in elections," etc.,
I inclose a copy of the circular letter addressed, under the direction
of the President, by this Department to the heads of the other
Departments, and know of no other order to which the resolution can be
supposed to have reference.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



DEPARTMENT OF STATE, _March 20, 1841_.

SIR: The President is of opinion that it is a great abuse to bring the
patronage of the General Government into conflict with the freedom of
elections, and that this abuse ought to be corrected wherever it may
have been permitted to exist, and to be prevented for the future.

He therefore directs that information be given to all officers and
agents in your department of the public service that partisan
interference in popular elections, whether of State officers or officers
of this Government, and for whomsoever or against whomsoever it may be
exercised, or the payment of any contribution or assessment on salaries,
or official compensation for party or election purposes, will be
regarded by him as cause of removal.

It is not intended that any officer shall be restrained in the free and
proper expression and maintenance of his opinions respecting public men
or public measures, or in the exercise to the fullest degree of the
constitutional right of suffrage. But persons employed under the
Government and paid for their services out of the public Treasury are
not expected to take an active or officious part in attempts to
influence the minds or votes of others, such conduct being deemed
inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution and the duties of
public agents acting under it; and the President is resolved, so far as
depends upon him, that while the exercise of the elective franchise by
the people shall be free from undue influences of official station and
authority, opinion shall also be free among the officers and agents of
the Government.

The President wishes it further to be announced and distinctly
understood that from all collecting and disbursing officers promptitude
in rendering accounts and entire punctuality in paying balances will be
rigorously exacted. In his opinion it is time to return in this respect
to the early practice of the Government, and to hold any degree of
delinquency on the part of those intrusted with the public money just
cause of immediate removal. He deems the severe observance of this rule
to be essential to the public service, as every dollar lost to the
Treasury by unfaithfulness in office creates a necessity for a new
charge upon the people.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, D.C., _June 18, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of the Navy, with
accompanying documents,[2] in answer to their resolution of the 12th


[Footnote 2: Correspondence of the minister in England with the officers
of the Mediterranean Squadron, in consequence of which the squadron left
that station, and the dispatches of Captain Bolton to the Secretary of
the Navy connected with that movement.]

WASHINGTON, _June, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have the honor to transmit to the Senate the accompanying letter[3]
from the Secretary of the Treasury, in pursuance of its resolution of the
8th instant.


[Footnote 3: Relating to allowances since March 4, 1841, of claims
arising under the invasion of East Florida in 1812.]

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1841_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_:

I have the honor to submit the accompanying correspondence between
myself and the Hon. J. Burnet, J.C. Wright, and others, who arrived
some days ago in this city as a committee on behalf of the people of
Cincinnati for the purpose, with the assent of the family, of removing
the remains of the late President of the United States to North Bend for
interment. I have thought it to be my duty thus to apprise Congress of
the contemplated proceedings.


WASHINGTON CITY, _June 16, 1841_.


DEAR SIR: The undersigned were appointed by the citizens and the
city council of Cincinnati and by many of the surviving soldiers
of the late war to apply to the widow and family of our distinguished
fellow-citizen, the late President of the United States, for permission
to remove his remains from the city of Washington to the State of Ohio
for interment. They have made the application directed, and have
received permission to perform that sacred trust. They have now the
honor of reporting to you their arrival in this city, and of asking your
approbation of the measure contemplated and your cooperation in carrying
it into effect.

We are fully aware of the high estimate you placed on the talents and
virtues of our lamented friend and fellow-citizen, the late Chief
Magistrate of the Union, whose friendship and confidence you possessed
many years. We saw the tear fall from your eye and mingle with the tears
of the nation when the inscrutable will of Heaven removed him from us.

Knowing these things, we approach you with confidence, well assured that
you will justly appreciate our motive for undertaking the mournful duty
we have been deputed to perform, and that the same kind feeling which
has marked your course through life will prompt you on this occasion to
afford us your countenance, and, if necessary, your cooperation.

If it meet your approbation, the committee will do themselves the honor
of waiting upon you at the President's house at any hour you may please
to designate.

With high respect, we are, your friends and fellow-citizens,


WASHINGTON, _June 17, 1841_.


GENTLEMEN: Your letter of the 16th was duly handed me, and I lose
no time in responding to the feelings and sentiments which you have
expressed for yourselves and those you represent, and which you have
correctly ascribed to me in regard to the lamented death of the late
President. As a citizen I respected him; as a patriot I honored him;
as a friend he was near and dear to me. That the people of Cincinnati
should desire to keep watch over his remains by entombing them near
their city is both natural and becoming; that the entire West, where so
many evidences of his public usefulness are to be found, should unite in
the same wish was to have been expected; and that the surviving soldiers
of his many battles, led on by him to victory and to glory, should sigh
to perform the last melancholy duties to the remains of their old
commander is fully in consonance with the promptings of a noble and
generous sympathy. I could not, if I was authorized to do so, oppose
myself to their wishes. I might find something to urge on behalf of his
native State in my knowledge of his continued attachment to her through
the whole period of his useful life; in the claims of his relatives
there, whose desire it would be that the mortal remains of the
illustrious son should sleep under the same turf with those of his
distinguished father, one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence; in the wish of the citizens of his native county to claim
all that is now left of him for whom they so lately cast their almost
unanimous suffrage; to say nothing of my own feelings, allied as I am
by blood to many of his near relatives, and with our names so closely
associated in much connected with the late exciting political contest.
These considerations might present some reasonable ground for opposing
your wishes; but the assent which has been given by his respected widow
and nearest relatives to the request of the people of Cincinnati admits
of no opposition on my part, neither in my individual nor official

I shall feel it to be my duty, however, to submit our correspondence to
the two Houses of Congress, now in session, but anticipating no effort
from that quarter to thwart the wishes expressed by yourselves in
consonance with those of the widow and nearest relatives of the late
President. I readily promise you my cooperation toward enabling you to
fulfill the sacred trust which brought you to this city.

I tender to each of you, gentlemen, my cordial salutations.


[NOTE.--The remains of the late President of the United States were
removed from Washington to North Bend, Ohio, June 26, 1841.]

WASHINGTON, _June 29, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant, I
have the honor to submit the accompanying reports from the Secretary of
State and Secretary of the Treasury, which embrace all the information
possessed by the executive department upon that subject.[4]


[Footnote 4: Payment or assumption of State stocks by the General

WASHINGTON, _June 30, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

The accompanying memorial in favor of the passage of a bankrupt law,
signed by nearly 3,000 of the inhabitants of the city of New York, has
been forwarded to me, attended by a request that I would submit it to
the consideration of Congress. I can not waive a compliance with a
request urged upon me by so large and respectable a number of my
fellow-citizens. That a bankrupt law, carefully guarded against
fraudulent practices and embracing as far as practicable all classes of
society--the failure to do which has heretofore constituted a prominent
objection to the measure--would afford extensive relief I do not doubt.
The distress incident to the derangements of some years past has visited
large numbers of our fellow-citizens with hopeless insolvency, whose
energies, both mental and physical, by reason of the load of debt
pressing upon them, are lost to the country. Whether Congress shall deem
it proper to enter upon the consideration of this subject at its present
extraordinary session it will doubtless wisely determine. I have
fulfilled my duty to the memorialists in submitting their petition to
your consideration.


WASHINGTON, _July 1, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have the honor herewith to submit to the Senate the copy of a letter
addressed by myself to Mrs. Harrison in compliance with the resolutions
of Congress, and her reply thereto.


[The same message was sent to the House of Representatives.]

WASHINGTON, _June 13, 1841_.


MY DEAR MADAM: The accompanying resolutions, adopted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the United States, will convey to you an
expression of the deep sympathy felt by the representatives of the
States and of the people in the sad bereavement which yourself and the
country have sustained in the death of your illustrious husband. It
may now be justly considered that the public archives constitute his
enduring monument, on which are inscribed in characters not to be
effaced the proudest evidences of public gratitude for services rendered
and of sorrow for his death. A great and united people shed their tears
over the bier of a devoted patriot and distinguished public benefactor.

In conveying to you, my dear madam, the profound respect of the two
Houses of Congress for your person and character, and their sincere
condolence on the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, permit me
to mingle my feelings with theirs and to tender you my fervent wishes
for your health, happiness, and long life.


A RESOLUTION manifesting the sensibility of Congress upon the event
of the death of William Henry Harrison, late President of the United

The melancholy event of the death of William Henry Harrison, the late
President of the United States, having occurred during the recess of
Congress, and the two Houses sharing in the general grief and desiring
to manifest their sensibility upon the occasion of that public
bereavement: Therefore,

_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That the chairs of the
President of the Senate and of the Speaker of the House of
Representatives be shrouded in black during the residue of the session,
and that the President _pro tempore_ of the Senate, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, and the members and officers of both Houses
wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested to
transmit a copy of these resolutions to Mrs. Harrison, and to assure her
of the profound respect of the two Houses of Congress for her person and
character, and of their sincere condolence on the late afflicting
dispensation of Providence.

NORTH BEND, _June 24, 1841_.

His Excellency JOHN TYLER,

_President United States, Washington City, D.C._

DEAR SIR: I have received with sentiments of deep emotion the
resolutions of the Senate and House of Representatives which you have
done me the honor of forwarding, relative to the decease of my lamented

I can not sufficiently express the thanks I owe to the nation and its
assembled representatives for their condolence, so feelingly expressed,
of my individual calamity and the national bereavement; but, mingling my
tears with the sighs of the many patriots of the land, pray to Heaven
for the enduring happiness and prosperity of our beloved country.


WASHINGTON, _July 3, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 9th instant
[ultimo], I communicate to that body a report from the Secretary of
State, conveying copies of the correspondence,[5] which contains all the
information called for by said resolution.


[Footnote 5: Relating to the duties levied on American tobacco imported
into the States composing the German Commercial and Custom-House Union.]

WASHINGTON, _July 9, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to the
resolution of the Senate of the 2d instant, calling for information as
to the progress and actual condition of the commission[6] under the
convention with the Mexican Republic.


[Footnote 6: Appointed under the convention of April 11, 1839, for
adjusting the claims of citizens of the United States upon the Republic
of Mexico.]

WASHINGTON, _July, 14, 1841_.

_To the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
21st ultimo, I have the honor to submit the accompanying communication[7]
from the Secretary of State.


[Footnote 7: Transmitting correspondence with Great Britain relative to
the seizure of American vessels by British armed cruisers under the
pretense that they were engaged in the slave trade; also correspondence
with N.P. Trist, United States consul at Habana, upon the subject of
the slave trade, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _July 16, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in reply to their
resolution of the 21st ultimo, a report[8] from the Secretary of State,
with accompanying papers.


[Footnote 8: Stating that there is no correspondence in his office
showing that any American citizens are British prisoners of state in Van
Diemens Land; transmitting correspondence with the British minister on
the subject of the detention or imprisonment of citizens of the United
States on account of occurrences in Canada, instructions issued to the
special agent appointed to inquire into such detention or imprisonment,
and report of said special agent.]

WASHINGTON, _July 19, 1841_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_:

The act of Congress of the 10th of March, 1838, entitled "An act
supplementary to an act entitled 'An act in addition to the act for the
punishment of certain crimes against the United States and to repeal the
acts therein mentioned,' approved 20th of April, 1818," expired by its
own limitation on the 10th of March, 1840. The object of this act was to
make further provision for preventing military expeditions or
enterprises against the territory or dominions of any prince or state or
of any colony, district, or people conterminous with the United States
and with whom they are at peace, contrary to the act of April 20, 1818,
entitled "An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain
crimes against the United States and to repeal the acts therein

The act of Congress of March 10, 1838, appears to have had a very
salutary effect, and it is respectfully recommended to Congress that it
be now revived or its provisions be reenacted.


WASHINGTON, _July 27, 1841_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to Congress a communication from the Secretary of
State, on the subject of appropriations required for outfits and
salaries of diplomatic agents of the United States.


WASHINGTON, _August 2, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

On the 18th of February, 1832, the House of Representatives adopted a
resolution in the following words:

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be authorized to
employ Horatio Greenough, of Massachusetts, to execute in marble a
full-length pedestrian statue of Washington, to be placed in the center
of the Rotunda of the Capitol; the head to be a copy of Houdon's
Washington, and the accessories to be left to the judgment of the

On the 23d of the same month the Secretary of State, by direction of
the President, addressed to Mr. Greenough a letter of instructions for
carrying into effect the resolution of the House.

On the 14th of July, 1832, an appropriation of the sum of $5,000 was
made "to enable the President of the United States to contract with
a skillful artist to execute in marble a pedestrian statue of George
Washington, to be placed in the center of the Rotunda of the Capitol,"
and several appropriations were made at the succeeding sessions in
furtherance of the same object.

Mr. Greenough, having been employed upon the work for several years at
Florence, completed it some months ago.

By a resolution of Congress of the 27th of May, 1840, it was directed
"that the Secretary of the Navy be authorized and instructed to take
measures for the importation and erection of the statue of Washington
by Greenough." In pursuance of this authority the Navy Department held
a correspondence with Commodore Hull, commanding on the Mediterranean
station, who entered into an agreement with the owners or master of the
ship _Sea_ for the transportation of the statue to the United States.
This ship, with the statue on board, arrived in this city on the 31st
ultimo, and now lies at the navy-yard.

As appropriations have become necessary for the payment of the freight
and other expenses, I communicate to Congress such papers as may enable
it to judge of the amount required.


AUGUST 3, 1841.


_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I herewith transmit a communication[9] received from the
Postmaster-General, to which I would invite the attention of Congress.


[Footnote 9: Asking for a further appropriation for completing the new
General Post-Office building.]

AUGUST 3, 1841.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, to whom
I referred the resolution of the House calling for a communication[10]
addressed to him by the French minister.


[Footnote 10: Relating to the commerce and navigation between France and
the United States.]

WASHINGTON, _August 6, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
16th of July, 1841, I communicate reports[11] from the several Executive
Departments, containing the information requested by said resolution.


[Footnote 11: Transmitting list of officers deriving their appointments
from the nomination of the President and the concurrence of the Senate
who were removed from office since March 4, 1841, and also those who
were removed from March 4, 1829, to March 4, 1841.]

WASHINGTON, _August 25, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, in pursuance of their resolution of
the 22d ultimo, copies of the several reports of the commissioners
appointed in March last to examine into certain matters connected with
the public buildings in this city and the conduct of those employed in
their erection.


WASHINGTON, _August 27, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, bearing
date this day, with the accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution
of the House of Representatives of the 16th ultimo, relative to removals
from office, etc.

These statements should have accompanied those from the other
Departments on the same subject transmitted in my message to the House
on the 7th ultimo,[12] but which have been delayed for reasons stated in
the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury above referred to.


[Footnote 12: Not found. Evidently refers to message of August 6, 1841,
on preceding page.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _September 1, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit to the Senate, for its consideration and constitutional action,
a treaty concluded at Oeyoowasha, on Minneesota (or St. Peters) River,
in the Territory of Iowa, on the 31st day of July last, between James
Duane Doty, commissioner on the part of the United States, and the
Seeseeahto, Wofpato, and Wofpakoota bands of the Dakota (or Sioux)
Nation of Indians.

The accompanying communication from the Secretary of War fully sets
forth the considerations which have called for the negotiation of this
treaty, and which have induced me to recommend its confirmation, with
such exceptions and modifications as the Senate may advise.


DEPARTMENT OF WAR, _August 31, 1841_.


SIR: I transmit herewith a treaty concluded with certain bands of
the Dahcota Nation of Indians, commonly called Sioux, which has been
received at this Department from His Excellency James D. Doty, governor
of Wisconsin, who was appointed a commissioner on the part of the United
States for the purpose of negotiating the treaty; and I desire to submit
the following facts and opinions inducing me to request its favorable

It was known on my entering upon the duties of the Department of War
that some provision must speedily be made for the Winnebago Indians in
the Northwest. By the treaty with those Indians in 1837 it was provided
that they should move temporarily upon a narrow strip of country west of
the Mississippi River, called the neutral ground, from the object of its
purchase in 1830. That strip of country is only 40 miles in width, 20
miles of it having been purchased from the Sac and Fox Indians and 20
miles from the Sioux, the object of the purchase having been to place a
barrier between those tribes, which had been for many years at war and
parties of which were continually meeting and destroying each other upon
or adjacent to the country purchased.

When the delegation of Winnebago chiefs was in Washington negotiating
a sale of all their lands east of the Mississippi River, in 1837, a
permanent location for those Indians was not fixed upon, and a temporary
expedient was adopted, and acceded to by the Indians, by which they
agreed, within eight months from the ratification of the treaty, to move
upon and occupy a portion of the neutral ground until they should select
a permanent home.

Owing to the small extent of country thus temporarily assigned to the
Winnebagoes, utterly destitute of all preparation for the reception of
them, slenderly supplied with game, and, above all, the circumstance
that the Sac and Fox Indians were continually at war with the Sioux,
the object of the purchase having utterly failed, the neutral ground,
so called, proving literally the fighting ground of the hostile
tribes--owing to all these circumstances the Winnebagoes were extremely
reluctant to comply with the treaty. It was in part a dictate of
humanity to give them more time for removal than that allotted in the
treaty, in the hope of effecting their permanent removal beyond the
Missouri or elsewhere; but as no steps were taken to select their future
home, and as the white settlers in Wisconsin were fast crowding upon the
Indians, overrunning the country, as usual, in search of town sites,
water privileges, and farming districts, it became absolutely necessary
to make some efforts toward carrying the treaty into effect. Owing to
the excited state of the Indians and the apprehension of disturbance,
the Eighth Regiment of Infantry, in 1840, more than two years, instead
of eight months, after the ratification of the treaty, was ordered upon
the Winnebago frontier, the greater part of the Fifth Regiment being
already there, and in the presence of that force the Indians were
required to comply with the treaty. They reluctantly removed from the
banks of the Wisconsin River and crossed the Mississippi, but did not
go to that portion of the neutral ground agreed upon, which commenced
20 miles from the river, but instead of it they spread themselves along
the bank of the Mississippi, some of them recrossing that river and
ascending the Chippewa and Black rivers. Only a small portion of the
tribe has yet removed to the portion of the neutral ground assigned to
them, and it is perhaps fortunate that local attachments have not been
formed, since, from the position of the country, it was not and never
could have been intended as their permanent home.

After a careful examination of the country in the Northwest the
importance of providing for the Winnebago Indians, though immediate,
became secondary in a more national and wider prospect of benefits in
future years by arrangements which presented themselves to my mind as
not only practicable, but of easy accomplishment.

A glance at the map and at the efforts hitherto made in emigration will
show an extensive body of Indians accumulated upon the Southwestern
frontier, and, looking to the numbers yet to be emigrated from within
the circle of territory soon to become States of the American Union, it
will appear upon very many considerations to be of the utmost importance
to separate the Indians and to interpose a barrier between the masses
which are destined to be placed upon the western frontier, instead of
accumulating them within limits enabling them to unite and in concert
spread desolation over the States of Missouri and Arkansas to, perhaps,
the banks of the Mississippi.

Entertaining these views, it was determined to open negotiations with
the Sioux Indians north and northwest of the purchase of 1830, the
neutral ground, so called, with the purpose of purchasing sufficient
territory beyond the reasonable limits of Iowa to provide a resting
place for the Winnebagoes, intending to treat also with the Sac and Fox
Indians and with the Potawatamies north of the State of Missouri, and
thus enable our citizens to expand west of the Missouri River north of
the State.

It is difficult to state in a condensed report all the reasons now
imperatively urging the adoption of these measures. Besides the absolute
necessity of providing a home for the Winnebagoes, the citizens of Iowa
and of Missouri are crowding upon the territory of the Sac and Fox
Indians and already producing those irritations which in former times
have led to bloody wars. It is not to be for a moment concealed that our
enterprising and hardy population must and will occupy the territory
adjacent to that purchased in 1837 from the Sacs and Foxes, and the only
possible mode of its being done in peace is by another purchase from
those Indians. But the position of the Potawatamies will then become
relatively what that of the Sac and Fox Indians now is, with the
difference that access to their country by the Missouri River will
hasten its occupancy by our people. The only mode of guarding against
future collision, near at hand if not provided against, is by emigrating
not only the Sac and Fox Indians, but also the Potawatamies.

Great efforts have been made to induce those Indians, as also the
Winnebagoes, to move south of the Missouri, but without effect, their
opposition to it being apparently insurmountable, the Potawatamies
expressing the most decided aversion to it on being urged to join other
bands of Potawatamies on the Marais de Cygne, declaring that they would
rather at once go to California, being determined not to unite with
those bands, but to maintain an independence of them. By the purchase
from the Sioux no doubt is entertained that their prejudices may be
advantageously accommodated, for among the objects in contemplation
before adverted to it is to my mind of primary importance so to dispose
of those Indians as to enable this Government to interpose a State
between the Northern and Southern Indians along the Missouri River,
and thus, by dividing the Indians on the frontier and separating the
divisions, prevent a combination and concert of action which future
progress in civilization might otherwise enable them to effect in the
prosecution of revenge for real or imagined grievances.

Great importance is attached to this view of the subject, but scarcely
less to the means provided by the treaty for inducing the remnants of
other Northern tribes to remove to a climate congenial to their habits
and disposition.

From the earliest efforts at emigration certain Northern Indians have
strenuously objected to a removal south of the Missouri on account
of the climate; and where tribes have been induced to dispose of all
right to live east of the Mississippi within the United States, many
individuals, dreading their southern destination, have wandered to the
north and are now living in Canada, annually in the receipt of presents
from the British Government, and will be ready without doubt to side
with that power in any future conflict with this Government. In this
manner considerable numbers of the Delawares and Shawnees and other
Indians have disappeared from our settlements--a fact of great
importance, and which I apprehend has not been heretofore sufficiently
considered. There are many Potawatamies and Ottawas, as also Winnebagoes
and Menomonees, who may be easily induced to move into Canada by
seductive bribes, in the use of which the British Government has always
displayed a remarkable foresight.

Of the Chippewas and Ottawas now in the northern part of Michigan
it is believed there are over 5,000 under treaty obligations to remove
to the Southwest, the greater portion of whom openly declared their
determination to cross the line into Canada and put themselves under
the protection of the British Government in preference to a removal
to that country. These Indians may be accommodated by the arrangements
in contemplation, not only to their own satisfaction, but under
circumstances promising the greatest permanent advantages to the
United States, and separating them from all inducements and even the
possibility of entering the British service. I am not without hope,
also, that through this treaty some suitable and acceptable arrangement
may be made with the New York Indians by which they may be removed with
safety to themselves and benefit to the people of that State. The very
peculiar situation of these Indians is well known; that while they are
under treaty obligation to remove, the treaty being by the Constitution
the supreme law of the land and perfecting in this instance the title
of the land they occupy in a private land company, there is yet every
reason to sympathize with them and the highest moral inducements for
extending every possible relief to them within the legitimate powers of
the Government. I have been assured from sources entitled to my fullest
confidence that although these Indians have hitherto expressed the most
decided aversion to a removal south of the Missouri, there will probably
be no difficulty in persuading them to occupy a more northern region in
the West. I have every reason for believing that a benevolent interest
in their behalf among a portion of our own people, which, it is
supposed, has heretofore presented an obstacle to their emigration, will
be exerted to effect their removal if a portion of the Sioux country can
be appropriated to them.

It will be perceived, therefore, that a multitude of objects thus rest
upon the success of this one treaty, now submitted for examination and

Of the Sioux Indians I will but remark that they occupy an immense
country spreading from the Mississippi north of the neutral ground west
and northwest, crossing the Missouri River more than 1,200 miles above
the city of St. Louis. They are divided into bands, which have various
names, the generic name for the whole being the Dahcota Nation. These
bands, though speaking a common language, are independent in their
occupancy of portions of country, and separate treaties may be made with
them. Treaties are already subsisting with some of the bands both on the
Mississippi and Missouri. The treaty now submitted is believed to be
advantageous, and from its provisions contemplates the reduction of
those wandering Indians from their nomadic habits to those of an
agricultural people.

If some of the provisions seem not such as might be desired, it will be
recollected that many interests have to be accommodated in framing an
Indian treaty which can only be fully known to the commissioner, who
derives his information directly from the Indians in the country which
is the object of the purchase.

It is proper to add that I had instructed the commissioner expressly not
to take into consideration what are called traders' claims, in the hope
of correcting a practice which, it is believed, has been attended with
mischievous consequences; but the commissioner has by a letter of
explanations fully satisfied me that in this instance it was absolutely
necessary to accommodate those claims as an indispensable means of
obtaining the assent of the Indians to the treaty. This results,
doubtless, from their dependence upon the traders for articles, in a
measure necessaries, which are for the most part furnished without
competition, and of the proper value of which the Indians are ignorant.

To compensate in some degree for the article in this treaty providing
for the payment of traders' claims, very judicious guards are introduced
into the treaty, calculated effectually to exclude that source of
interest adverse to the Government in all future time within the
purchase under this treaty.

There are other articles in the treaty which I have not been able fully
to realize as judicious or necessary, but for reasons already stated
they deserve respectful consideration.

Notwithstanding the article stipulating that a rejection of any of the
provisions of the treaty should render the whole null and void, I would
respectfully recommend such modified acceptance of the treaty as in the
wisdom of the Senate may seem just and proper, conditioned upon the
assent of the Indians subsequently to be obtained, the Senate making
provision for its reference back to the Indians if necessary.

It will be seen that the treaty provides for a power of regulation in
the Indian Territory by the United States Government under circumstances
not hitherto attempted, presenting an opportunity for an experiment well
worthy of mature consideration.

I ought not to dismiss this subject without adverting to one other
important consideration connected with the integrity of our Northwest
Indians and Territory. The Sioux treaty will effectually withdraw from
British influence all those who are a party to it by making them
stipendiaries of the United States and by operating a change in their
wandering habits and establishing them at known and fixed points under
the observation of Government agents, and as the British can only have
access to that region by the way of Fond du Lac, one or two small
military posts in a direction west and south from that point, it is
believed, will completely control all intercourse with the Indians in
that section of country.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, _September 6, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have the honor, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the
8th June, to communicate a letter[13] from the Secretary of the Treasury
and the correspondence accompanying it.


[Footnote 13: Relating to the deposits of public moneys in banks by
disbursing officers and agents.]

WASHINGTON, _September 13, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 14th July last,
I communicate to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State,
accompanied by copies of the correspondence[14] called for by said


[Footnote 14: Relating to the origin, progress, and conclusion of the
treaty of November 26, 1838, between Sardinia and the United States.]


WASHINGTON, _August 16, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The bill entitled "An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Fiscal
Bank of the United States," which originated in the Senate, has been
considered by me with a sincere desire to conform my action in regard
to it to that of the two Houses of Congress. By the Constitution it
is made my duty either to approve the bill by signing it or to return
it with my objections to the House in which it originated. I can not
conscientiously give it my approval, and I proceed to discharge the duty
required of me by the Constitution--to give my reasons for disapproving.

The power of Congress to create a national bank to operate _per se_
over the Union has been a question of dispute from the origin of the
Government. Men most justly and deservedly esteemed for their high
intellectual endowments, their virtue, and their patriotism have in
regard to it entertained different and conflicting opinions; Congresses
have differed; the approval of one President has been followed by the
disapproval of another; the people at different times have acquiesced in
decisions both for and against. The country has been and still is deeply
agitated by this unsettled question. It will suffice for me to say that
my own opinion has been uniformly proclaimed to be against the exercise
of any such power by this Government. On all suitable occasions during
a period of twenty-five years the opinion thus entertained has been
unreservedly expressed. I declared it in the legislature of my native
State; in the House of Representatives of the United States it has been
openly vindicated by me; in the Senate Chamber, in the presence and
hearing of many who are at this time members of that body, it has been
affirmed and reaffirmed in speeches and reports there made and by votes
there recorded; in popular assemblies I have unhesitatingly announced
it, and the last public declaration which I made--and that but a short
time before the late Presidential election--I referred to my previously
expressed opinions as being those then entertained by me. With a full
knowledge of the opinions thus entertained and never concealed, I was
elected by the people Vice-President of the United States. By the
occurrence of a contingency provided for in the Constitution and arising
under an impressive dispensation of Providence I succeeded to the
Presidential office. Before entering upon the duties of that office
I took an oath that I would "preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States." Entertaining the opinions alluded
to and having taken this oath, the Senate and the country will see that
I could not give my sanction to a measure of the character described
without surrendering all claim to the respect of honorable men, all
confidence on the part of the people, all self-respect, all regard for
moral and religious obligations, without an observance of which no
government can be prosperous and no people can be happy. It would be to
commit a crime which I would not willfully commit to gain any earthly
reward, and which would justly subject me to the ridicule and scorn of
all virtuous men.

I deem it entirely unnecessary at this time to enter upon the reasons
which have brought my mind to the convictions I feel and entertain on
this subject. They have been over and over again repeated. If some of
those who have preceded me in this high office have entertained and
avowed different opinions, I yield all confidence that their convictions
were sincere. I claim only to have the same measure meted out to myself.
Without going further into the argument, I will say that in looking to
the powers of this Government to collect, safely keep, and disburse the
public revenue, and incidentally to regulate the commerce and exchanges,
I have not been able to satisfy myself that the establishment by this
Government of a bank of discount in the ordinary acceptation of that
term was a necessary means or one demanded by propriety to execute those
powers. What can the local discounts of the bank have to do with the
collecting, safe-keeping, and disbursing of the revenue? So far as the
mere discounting of paper is concerned, it is quite immaterial to this
question whether the discount is obtained at a State bank or a United
States bank. They are both equally local, both beginning and both ending
in a local accommodation. What influence have local discounts granted by
any form of bank in the regulating of the currency and the exchanges?
Let the history of the late United States Bank aid us in answering this

For several years after the establishment of that institution it dealt
almost exclusively in local discounts, and during that period the
country was for the most part disappointed in the consequences
anticipated from its incorporation. A uniform currency was not provided,
exchanges were not regulated, and little or nothing was added to the
general circulation, and in 1820 its embarrassments had become so great
that the directors petitioned Congress to repeal that article of the
charter which made its notes receivable everywhere in payment of the
public dues. It had up to that period dealt to but a very small extent
in exchanges, either foreign or domestic, and as late as 1823 its
operations in that line amounted to a little more than $7,000,000 per
annum. A very rapid augmentation soon after occurred, and in 1833 its
dealings in the exchanges amounted to upward of $100,000,000, including
the sales of its own drafts; and all these immense transactions were
effected without the employment of extraordinary means. The currency of
the country became sound, and the negotiations in the exchanges were
carried on at the lowest possible rates. The circulation was increased
to more than $22,000,000 and the notes of the bank were regarded as
equal to specie all over the country, thus showing almost conclusively
that it was the capacity to deal in exchanges, and not in local
discounts, which furnished these facilities and advantages. It may be
remarked, too, that notwithstanding the immense transactions of the bank
in the purchase of exchange, the losses sustained were merely nominal,
while in the line of discounts the suspended debt was enormous and
proved most disastrous to the bank and the country. Its power of local
discount has in fact proved to be a fruitful source of favoritism and
corruption, alike destructive to the public morals and to the general

The capital invested in banks of discount in the United States, created
by the States, at this time exceeds $350,000,000, and if the discounting
of local paper could have produced any beneficial effects the United
States ought to possess the soundest currency in the world; but the
reverse is lamentably the fact.

Is the measure now under consideration of the objectionable character
to which I have alluded? It is clearly so unless by the sixteenth
fundamental article of the eleventh section it is made otherwise. That
article is in the following words:

The directors of the said corporation shall establish one competent
office of discount and deposit in any State in which two thousand shares
shall have been subscribed or may be held, whenever, upon application of
the legislature of such State, Congress may by law require the same. And
the said directors may also establish one or more competent offices of
discount and deposit in any Territory or District of the United States,
and in any State with the assent of such State, and when established the
said office or offices shall be only withdrawn or removed by the said
directors prior to the expiration of this charter with the previous
assent of Congress: _Provided_, In respect to any State which shall not,
at the first session of the legislature thereof held after the passage
of this act, by resolution or other usual legislative proceeding,
unconditionally assent or dissent to the establishment of such office
or offices within it, such assent of the said State shall be thereafter
presumed: _And provided, nevertheless_, That whenever it shall become
necessary and proper for carrying into execution any of the powers
granted by the Constitution to establish an office or offices in any of
the States whatever, and the establishment thereof shall be directed by
law, it shall be the duty of the said directors to establish such office
or offices accordingly.

It will be seen that by this clause the directors are invested with the
fullest power to establish a branch in any State which has yielded its
assent; and having once established such branch, it shall not afterwards
be withdrawn except by order of Congress. Such assent is to be _implied_
and to have the force and sanction of an actually expressed assent,
"provided, in respect to any State which shall not, at _the first
session_ of the legislature thereof held after the passage of this act,
by _resolution_ or _other usual legislative proceeding, unconditionally_
assent or dissent to the establishment of such office or offices within
it, such assent of said State shall be thereafter presumed." The assent
or dissent is to be expressed _unconditionally at the first session of
the legislature, by some formal legislative act;_ and if not so
expressed its assent is to be _implied_, and the directors are thereupon
invested with power, at such time thereafter as they may please, to
establish branches, which can not afterwards be withdrawn except by
resolve of Congress. No matter what may be the cause which may operate
with the legislature, which either prevents it from speaking or
addresses itself to its wisdom, to induce delay, its assent is to be
implied. This iron rule is to give way to no circumstances; it is
unbending and inflexible. It is the language of the master to the
vassal; an unconditional answer is claimed forthwith, and delay,
postponement, or incapacity to answer produces an implied assent which
is ever after irrevocable. Many of the State elections have already
taken place without any knowledge on the part of the people that such a
question was to come up. The representatives may desire a submission of
the question to their constituents preparatory to final action upon it,
but this high privilege is denied; whatever may be the motives and views
entertained by the representatives of the people to induce delay, their
assent is to be presumed, and is ever afterwards binding unless their
dissent shall be unconditionally expressed at their first session after
the passage of this bill into a law. They may by formal resolution
declare the question of assent or dissent to be undecided and postponed,
and yet, in opposition to their express declaration to the contrary,
their assent is to be implied. Cases innumerable might be cited to
manifest the irrationality of such an inference. Let one or two in
addition suffice. The popular branch of the legislature may express its
dissent by an unanimous vote, and its resolution may be defeated by
a tie vote of the senate, and yet the assent is to be implied. Both
branches of the legislature may concur in a resolution of decided
dissent, and yet the governor may exert the _veto_ power conferred on
him by the State constitution, and their legislative action be defeated,
and yet the assent of the legislative authority is implied, and the
directors of this contemplated institution are authorized to establish a
branch or branches in such State whenever they may find it conducive to
the interest of the stockholders to do so; and having once established
it they can under no circumstances withdraw it except by act of
Congress. The State may afterwards protest against such unjust
inference, but its authority is gone. Its assent is implied by its
failure or inability to act at its first session, and its voice can
never afterwards be heard. To inferences so violent and, as they seem to
me, irrational I can not yield my consent. No court of justice would
or could sanction them without reversing all that is established in
judicial proceeding by introducing presumptions at variance with fact
and inferences at the expense of reason. A State in a condition of
duress would be _presumed_ to speak as an individual manacled and in
prison might be presumed to be in the enjoyment of freedom. Far better
to say to the States boldly and frankly, Congress wills and submission
is demanded.

It may be said that the directors may not establish branches under such
circumstances; but this is a question of power, and this bill invests
them with full authority to do so. If the legislature of New York or
Pennsylvania or any other State should be found to be in such condition
as I have supposed, could there be any security furnished against such a
step on the part of the directors? Nay, is it not fairly to be presumed
that this proviso was introduced for the sole purpose of meeting the
contingency referred to? Why else should it have been introduced? And
I submit to the Senate whether it can be believed that any State would
be likely to sit quietly down under such a state of things. In a great
measure of public interest their patriotism may be successfully appealed
to, but to infer their assent from circumstances at war with such
inference I can not but regard as calculated to excite a feeling at
fatal enmity with the peace and harmony of the country. I must therefore
regard this clause as asserting the power to be in Congress to establish
offices of discount in a State not only without its assent, but against
its dissent, and so regarding it I can not sanction it. On general
principles the right in Congress to prescribe terms to any State implies
a superiority of power and control, deprives the transaction of all
pretense to compact between them, and terminates, as we have seen, in
the total abrogation of freedom of action on the part of the States.
But, further, the State may express, after the most solemn form of
legislation, its dissent, which may from time to time thereafter be
repeated in full view of its own interest, which can never be separated
from the wise and beneficent operation of this Government, and yet
Congress may by virtue of the last proviso overrule its law, and upon
grounds which to such State will appear to rest on a constructive
necessity and propriety and nothing more. I regard the bill as asserting
for Congress the right to incorporate a United States bank with power
and right to establish offices of discount and deposit in the several
States of this Union with or without their consent--a principle to which
I have always heretofore been opposed and which can never obtain my
sanction; and waiving all other considerations growing out of its other
provisions, I return it to the House in which it originated with these
my objections to its approval.


WASHINGTON, _September 9, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

It is with extreme regret that I feel myself constrained by the duty
faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States
and to the best of my ability to "preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States" to return to the House in which it
originated the bill "to provide for the better collection, safe-keeping,
and disbursement of the public revenue by means of a corporation to be
styled the Fiscal Corporation of the United States," with my written

In my message sent to the Senate on the 16th day of August last,
returning the bill "to incorporate the subscribers to the Fiscal Bank
of the United States," I distinctly declared that my own opinion had
been uniformly proclaimed to be against the exercise "of the power of
Congress to create a national bank to operate _per se_ over the Union,"
and, entertaining that opinion, my main objection to that bill was based
upon the highest moral and religious obligations of conscience and the
Constitution. I readily admit that whilst the qualified _veto_ with
which the Chief Magistrate is invested should be regarded and was
intended by the wise men who made it a part of the Constitution as a
great conservative principle of our system, without the exercise of
which on important occasions a mere representative majority might urge
the Government in its legislation beyond the limits fixed by its framers


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