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pear to me in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the United States.

“The constitution provides :

“ 1st article, 5th section : That 'neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.'

“ 1st article, 7th section : That every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the senate and house of

representatives may

be necessary (except on the question of adjournment), shall be presented to the president of the United States, and, before the same shall take effect, shall be approved of by him,' &c.

“2d article, 3d section : That' he [the president] may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses of Congress, or either of them; and, in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such times as he thinks proper,' &c.

“ According to these provisions, the day of the adjournment of Congress is not the subject of legislative enactment. Except in the event of disagreement between the senate and house of representatives, the president has no right to meddle with the question, and, in that event, his power is exclusive, but confined to fixing the adjournment of the Congress whose branches have disagreed. The question of adjournment is obviously to be decided by each Congress for itself, by the separate action of each house for the time being, and is one of those subjects upon which the framers of that instrument did not intend one Congress should act, with or without the executive aid, for its successors. As a substitute for the present rule, which requires the two houses by consent to fix the day of adjourninent, and, in the event of disagreement, the president to decide, it is proposed to fix the day by law, to be binding in all future time, unless changed by consent of both houses of Congress, and to take away the contingent power of the executive, which, in anticipated cases of disagreement, is vested in him. This substitute is to apply, not to the present Congress and executive, but to our successors. Considering, therefore, that this subject exclusively belongs to the two houses of Congress, whose day of adjournment is to be fixed, and that each has at that time the right to maintain and insist upon its own opinion, and to require the president to decide in the event of disagreement with the other, I am constrained to deny my sanction to the act herewith respectfully returned to the senate. I do so with greater reluctance, as, apart from this constitutional difficully, the other provisions of it do not appear to me objectionable.”

After the adjournment of Congress, the public mind was much agitated by the promulgation of an executive order from the treasury department, called “ the specie circular.” During the session, Mr. Benton, of Missouri, had offered a resolution in the senate, on the 22d of April, declaring that nothing ought to be received but gold and silver in payment for the public lands, and that the committee on the public lands be instructed to report a bill accordingly. This resolution was not acted upon in the senate ; but soon after Congress had adjourned, a circular was issued by Mr. Woodbury, secretary of the treasury, dated the 11th of July, 1836 (by order of the president), directing the receivers of the public moneys to receive, in payment of the public lands, nothing but gold and silver (and Virginia land scrip in certain cases). As the sales of the public lands had been very large for two or three years, and many of the purchases had been made on speculation, through the facilities afforded by the state banks, the operation of this specie circular from the treasury department, proved very disastrous in its effects upon the business community.

When it was ascertained that the bank of the United States would not be rechartered as a national institution, numerous banks were incorporated by the several state legislatures, to supply the supposed want of banking capital. The bank of the United States was chartered by the legislature of Pennsylvania, in 1836, with the same amount of capital as the national institution (the charter of which expired the same year), viz., thirty-five millions of dollars. The panic occasioned by the removal of the deposites having subsided, and the state banks being without the check of a national regulator to prevent excessive issues of paper circulation, the facilities of bank accommodations occasioned a scene of speculation which extended far and wide, over the whole Union, and all classes of citizens were more or less entangled in the operations which ensued. Extensive purchases of the public lands, by individuals and companies, were among the schemes of the day, for the employment of the abundance of bank paper.

The immediate effect of the treasury circular, requiring specie to be paid for purchases of the public lands, was to divert the flow of specie from the legitimate channels of commerce, and otherwise to derange the currency, thus embarrassing the operations of the business community. So far as the circular tended to check the tide of speculation, particularly in the public lands, its operation was deemed salutary.

In March, 1836, the senate confirmed the nomination of Roger B. Taney as chief justice of the supreme court, in place of John Marshall, deceased; also Philip P. Barbour, to fill a vacancy on the same bench; Amos Kendall, postmaster-general ; and John H. Eaton, minister to Spain. Mr. Kendall succeeded William T. Barry in May, 1835, but was not confirmed until 1836. In June, 1834, the senate passed a vote of censure unanimously (yeas 41), on Mr. Barry, for borrowing money illegally of banks, on account of the postoffice department. When he resigned the office of postmaster-general, President Jackson appointed him minister to Spain, in 1835; his health at the time was precarious, and he died at Liverpool, in England, on the 30th of August, the same year. Mr. Eaton, formerly secretary of war, was appointed to succeed him.

The presidential election, which took place in the fall of 1836, was warmly contested. The different sections of the opposition, although they were unable to concentrate their forces upon a single candidate for president, had strong hopes of defeating the election of Mr. Van Buren by throwing the final choice into the house of representatives, and it was not believed that Mr. Van Buren could obtain a majority of the electoral votes, over all his opponents. The result was contrary to all reasonable calculations, and proved the potency of party discipline, even in electing the chief magistrate of the American republic. The great portion of the opposition supported General William H. Harrison, of Ohio, for president, but Judge White, of Tennessee, was preferred in some of the southern and southwestern states, and in several states the friends of Harrison and White united on the same electoral tickets ; in no instance did they run in opposition to each other, in the same state. The friends of General Harrison, generally, nominated for vice president, Francis Granger, of New York, while the supporters of Judge White nominated John Tyler, of Virginia, who also received the votes of the Harrison men in Maryland, and the state-rights men in South Carolina. Massachusetts supported Daniel Webster for president, and the vote of South Carolina was given to Willie P. Mangum, of North Carolina.

The result of the election was as follows : For president, Martin Van Buren 170, William H. Harrison 73, Hugh L. White 26, Daniel Webster 14, Willie P. Mangum 11. Total opposition, 124 votes: majority for Van Buren, 46. For vice-president, Richard M. Johnson 147, Francis Granger 77, John Tyler 47, William Smith, of Alabama (the vote of Virginia), 23. Michigan (3 votes, included in the above) was not formally admitted into the Union as a state at the time when the electors were chosen. After the votes for president and vice-president were counted in Congress, in February, 1837, the president of the senate declared Martin Van Buren elected president of the United States; and that no person had been elected vice-president. The senate, in conformity to the provisions of the constitution, then proceeded to elect a vice-president, and made choice of Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky, he having 33 votes, and Francis Granger 16.

The second session of the twenty-fourth Congress commenced on the 5th of December, 1836, and terminated on the 3d of March, 1837. But few acts of general interest were passed; among them were an act to admit the state of Michigan into the Union; and acts making appropriations for harbors, rivers, roads, and lighthouses. Mr. King was continued as president of the senate pro tem. The most exciting subject of the session was the passage, by the senate, after a warm debate, of a resolution, on the 16th of January, offered by Mr. Benton, to expunge from the records (by drawing black lines around it) the resolution offered by Mr. Clay, and adopted on the 28th of March, 1834, viz. : Resolved, That the president, in the late executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.” The expunging resolution which was now adopted, by a vote of 24 to 19, and immediately carried into effect, by the secretary of the senate, was offered by Mr. Benton at a previous session, but was not pressed to a decision until an administration majority was secured in the senate. In consequence of the dissatisfaction felt in the country with the

operation of the specie circular of the treasury department, before mentioned, a bill passed both houses at this session, designating and limiting the funds receivable for the revenues of the United States. This bill, which provi. ded for the reception of the notes of specie-paying banks, in certain cases, was warmly debated, and particularly opposed by Mr. Benton. The president prevented it from becoming a law, by retaining it in his hands after the adjournment of Congress ; and this informal veto formed the last act of his administration. His reasons are set forth in the following paper, which was published in the Globe (the official gazette), after General Jackson retired from the presidency :


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Reasons of the president for retaining the bill designating and limiting the funds receivable for the revenues of the United States.

" WASHINGTON, March 3, 1837,

1 before 12, P. M. S “ The bill from the senate entitled, 'An act designating and limiting the funds receivable for the revenues of the United States,' came to my hands yesterday, at 2 o'clock, P. M. On perusing it, I found its provisions so complex and uncertain, that I deemed it necessary to obtain the opinion of the attorney-general of the United States, on several important questions, touching its construction and effect, before I could decide on the disposition to be made of it. The attorney-general took up the subject immediately, and his reply was reported to me this day, at 5 o'clock, P. M. As this officer, after a careful and laborious examination of the bill, and a distinct expression of his opinion on the points proposed to him, still came to the conclusion that the construction of the bill, should it become a law, would be a subject of much perplexity and doubt (a view of the bill entirely coincident with my own), and as I can not think it proper, in a matter of such vital interest, and of such constant application, to approve a bill so liable to diversity of interpretation, and more especially, as I have not had time, amid the duties constantly pressing on me, to give the subject that deliberate consideration which its importance demands, I am constrained to retain the bill, without acting definitively thereon; and to the end that my reasons for this step may be fully understood, I shall cause

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this paper, with the opinion of the attorney-general, and the bill in question, to be deposited in the department of state.

ANDREW Jackson." Having issued to his countrymen the farewell address which is to be found in the preceding pages, and which is to be considered as imbodying his political views and principles, General Jackson remained at Washington, to witness the inauguration of his chosen friend and successor, into whose hands he cheerfully committed the reins of government, and immediately went into retirement, at the Hermitage, in Tennessee.

Thus terminated the administration of Andrew Jackson; of which it may be remarked, that the space it occupies in our history is one which must always be considered an eventful era, characterized by scenes of continued agitation and excitement of the public mind. At no period since the formation of our government, have the principles of free institutions and particularly our constitution, as well as important measures bearing on the interests of the people, been discussed with more ardor and ability. The exciting topics agitated during the presidential terms of General Jackson, are too intimately connected with the partisan politics of the present day, and the events we have related are too near, to admit of impartial comment at this time. The American people are still divided in opinion, and will probably long continue so, with regard to the merits of General Jackson's administration.

We present a summary of some of the arguments on both sides, for future reference. It is claimed by his admirers, and the supporters of a similar policy, that his course as a statesman was wise, and beneficial to the country, inasmuch as the firm and decided tone displayed in the intercourse of the government with foreign powers elevated the national character, and effected the settlement of the long and protracted claims of our citizens for the former acts of injustice of those nations toward Americans ; that Jackson's administration was energetic, and of a positive not negative character; that under it the national debt was extinguished, and the attention of the people turned toward a specie currency, instead of depending on the uncertainty of bank-paper exclusively for a circulation ; that the firmness of General Jackson in refusing to sanction a renewal of the charter of the United States bank, and his subsequent course toward that institution, particularly in the removal of the deposites, effected the destruction of a dangerous monopoly ; and that his vetoes of the Maysville road bill and other schemes of internal improvement, as well as the land bill introduced by Mr. Clay, arrested the progress of extravagance and speculation in the states and among the people.

The political opponents of General Jackson, on the contrary, contend, that inasmuch as the policy and plan of extinguishing the public debt by annual payments, had been adopted by President Monroe, twenty years

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