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Special Message

March 08, 1842

To the House of Representatives.

I feel it to be my duty to invite your attention to the accompanying communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to the probable demands which will be made upon the Treasury for the present quarter. It will be seen that, without arresting the requisitions which will be made by the War and Navy Departments for the months of March, April, and May, there will be an unprovided for deficit of upward of three millions.

I can not bring myself, however, to believe that it will enter into the view of any department of the Government to arrest works of defense now in progress of completion or vessels under construction or preparation for sea. Having due regard to the unsettled condition of our foreign relations and the exposed situation of our inland and maritime frontier, I should feel myself wanting in my duty to the country if I could hesitate in urging upon Congress all necessary appropriations for placing it in an attitude of strength and security. Such recommendation, however, has heretofore been made in full reliance as well on Congress as on the well-known patriotism of the people, their high sense of national honor, and their determination to defend our soil from the possibility, however remote, of a hostile invasion.

The diminution in the revenue arising from the great diminution of duties under what is commonly called the compromise act necessarily involves the Treasury in embarrassments, which have been for some years palliated by the temporary expedient of issuing Treasury notes--an expedient which, affording no permanent relief, has imposed upon Congress from time to time the necessity of replacing the old by a new issue. The amount outstanding on the 4th of March, 1840, varies in no great degree from the amount which will be outstanding on the 1st of January next, while in the interim the new issues are rendered equivalent to the redemption of the old, and at the end of the fiscal year leave an augmented pressure on the finances by the accumulation of interest.

The contemplated revision of the tariff of duties may, and doubtless will, lead in the end to a relief of the Treasury from these constantly recurring embarrassments, but it must be obvious that time will be necessary to realize the full anticipations of financial benefit from any modification of the tariff laws. In the meantime I submit to Congress the suggestions made by the Secretary, and invite its prompt and speedy action.


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

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