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Special Message

August 14, 1876

To the House of Representatives:

In affixing my signature to the river and harbor bill, No. 3822, I deem it my duty to announce to the House of Representatives my objections to some features of the bill, and the reason I sign it. If it was obligatory upon the Executive to expend all the money appropriated by Congress, I should return the river and harbor bill with my objections, notwithstanding the great inconvenience to the public interests resulting therefrom and the loss of expenditures from previous Congresses upon incompleted works. Without enumerating, many appropriations are made for works of purely private or local interest, in no sense national. I can not give my sanction to these, and will take care that during my term of office no public money shall be expended upon them.

There is very great necessity for economy of expenditures at this time, growing out of the loss of revenue likely to arise from a deficiency of appropriations to insure a thorough collection of the same. The reduction of revenue districts, diminution of special agents, and total abolition of supervisors may result in great falling off of the revenue. It may be a question to consider whether any expenditure can be authorized under the river and harbor appropriation further than to protect works already done and paid for. Under no circumstances will I allow expenditures upon works not clearly national.


Ulysses S. Grant, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/204661

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