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Special Message

June 30, 1879

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The bill making provision for the payment of the fees of United States marshals and their general deputies, which I have this day returned to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, with my objections, having upon its reconsideration by that body failed to become a law, I respectfully call your attention to the immediate necessity of making some adequate provision for the due and efficient execution by the marshals and deputy marshals of the United States of the constant and important duties enjoined upon them by the existing laws. All appropriations to provide for the performance of these indispensable duties expire to-day. Under the laws prohibiting public officers from involving the Government in contract liabilities beyond actual appropriations, it is apparent that the means at the disposal of the executive department for executing the laws through the regular ministerial officers will after to-day be left inadequate. The suspension of these necessary functions in the orderly administration of the first duties of government for the shortest period is inconsistent with the public interests, and at any moment may prove inconsistent with the public safety.

It is impossible for me to look without grave concern upon a state of things which will leave the public service thus unprovided for and the public interests thus unprotected, and I earnestly urge upon your attention the necessity of making immediate appropriations for the maintenance of the service of the marshals and deputy marshals for the fiscal year which commences to-morrow.


Rutherford B. Hayes, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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