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Special Message

February 09, 1842

To the House of Representatives:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th of February, 1842, in the following words--

Resolved , That the President of the United States inform this House under what authority the commission, consisting of George Poindexter and others, for the investigation of the concerns of the New York custom-house was raised; what were the purposes and objects of said commission; how many persons have in any way been connected with it, and the compensation received or to be received by each; and the aggregate amount of every description of said commission, and out of what fund the said expenditures have been or are to be paid--

I have to state that the authority for instituting the commission mentioned in said resolution is the authority vested in the President of the United States to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and to give to Congress from time to time information on the state of the Union, and to recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

The expediency, if not the necessity, of inquiries into the transactions of our custom-houses, especially in cases where abuses and real practices are alleged, must be obvious to Congress, and that investigations of this kind were expected to be made appears from the provision in the twenty-first section of the act of 1799, "which enjoins collectors of the customs to submit their books, papers, and accounts to the inspection of such persons as shall be appointed for that purpose."

The purposes and objects of the commission will be explained by the commission itself, a copy of which, together with information on the other subjects mentioned in the resolution, will at the proper time be laid before Congress.


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

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