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Special Message

May 10, 1838

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I submit to the consideration of Congress a statement prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury, by which it appears that the United States, with over twenty-eight millions in deposit with the States and over fifteen millions due from individuals and banks, are, from the situation in which those funds are placed, in immediate danger of being rendered unable to discharge with good faith and promptitude the various pecuniary obligations of the Government. The occurrence of this result has for some time been apprehended, and efforts made to avert it. As the principal difficulty arises from a prohibition in the present law to reissue such Treasury notes as might be paid in before they fell due, and may be effectually obviated by giving the Treasury during the whole year the benefit of the full amount originally authorized, the remedy would seem to be obvious and easy.

The serious embarrassments likely to arise from a longer continuance of the present state of things induces me respectfully to invite the earliest attention of Congress to the subject which may be consistent with a due regard to other public interests.


Martin van Buren, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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