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Executive Order

March 31, 1871



The act of June 15, 1852, section 1 (10 U. S. Statutes at Large, p. 10), provides:

That whenever any officer of either of the Territories of the United States shall be absent therefrom and from the duties of his office no salary shall be paid him during the year in which such absence shall occur, unless good cause therefor shall be shown to the President of the United States, who shall officially certify his opinion of such cause to the proper accounting officer of the Treasury, to be filed in his office.

It has been the practice under this law for the Territorial officers who have desired to be absent from their respective Territories to apply for leaves to the head of the proper Department at Washington, and when such leave has been given the required certificate of the President has been granted as a matter of course.

The unusual number of applications for leave of absence which have been lately made by Territorial officers has induced the President to announce that he expects the gentlemen who hold those offices to stay in their respective Territories and to attend strictly to their official duties. They have been appointed for service in the Territory and for the benefit and convenience of the Territorial population. He expects them by their personal presence to identify themselves with the people and acquire local information, without which their duties can not be well performed. Frequent or long absence makes them in some degree strangers, and therefore less acceptable to the people. Their absence, no matter with what substitution, must often put the people to inconvenience. Executive officers may be required for emergencies which could not be foreseen. Judges should be at hand, not only when the courts are in session, but for matters of bail, habeas corpus , orders in equity, examination of persons charged with crime, and other similar business, which often arises in vacation.

These and similar considerations no doubt induced Congress to pass the law above quoted.

It is therefore directed that in future the heads of Departments shall grant leaves of absence to Territorial officers only for reasons of the most urgent character, and then only for the shortest possible time.

By order of the President:


Secretary of State .

Ulysses S. Grant, Executive Order Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/204390

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