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necessities, which are not believed at this time to exist." l But the tariff question had become involved with partisan politics in 1828, and it now presented itself in a more purely political guise than ever; for the effort to readjust became merged in the general quarrel between Tyler and the Whigs. Clay's programme resolutions of June 7, 1841, included "The provision of an adequate revenue for the Government by the imposition of duties." They included, too, it should be observed, "The prospective distribution of the proceeds of the public lands." This also the president had approved, in a guarded way, in order to relieve the great financial pressure on the states, provided it did not involve the increase of duties so as to violate the compromise of 1833.2
In accordance with the programme, a bill was passed at the special session to increase the revenue by extending the tariff, and was approved by the president, September 11, 1841. But the extension was made by laying the twenty per cent., which was to be the ultimate maximum of the compromise tariff, on many articles then paying less than the maximum or entirely free. Another bill provided for the distribution of the proceeds of the public lands, but on condition that it should be suspended if the duties were raised above the compromise maximum.3 Benton claims that both the bank and distribution bills of the extra session were passed only by conceding the enactment of a bankrupt law, which was not in Clay's programme, but was supported by a multitude of insolvents throughout the Union.1
1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV., 43. * Ibid., 47.
• U. S. Statutes at Large, V., 453-458.
When Congress met for the regular session in December, 1841, the state of the finances was anything but encouraging. The report of the secretary of the treasury put the total revenue for the year at a little over thirty millions, of which nearly half was from treasury notes and loans. The estimated deficit for 1841 was over six hundred thousand dollars, and for 1842 more than fourteen millions.2 The president recommended nothing definite in his annual message; but in a special message of March 25, 1842, he stated his conviction that Congress would find it necessary to raise the duties above twenty per cent., and expressed his regret that this would prevent distribution under the act of 1841.3
It is hardly to be supposed that the Whig majority in Congress at that time would have been inclined to do anything that Tyler recommended unless it saw other reasons for such action. Its reluctance, however, to follow the way he was willing to go caused it ultimately the humiliation of being driven in that direction. In spite of his urging, Congress delayed the passage of a revenue bill until June, 1842. Early in that month two bills were introduced in the lower House, one for a permanent, and the other for a provisional tariff. The latter was intended apparently to meet the view held by many that no duties at all could be collected under the compromise tariff of 1833 unless authorized by a new law. It provided for the postponement until August 1 of the final reduction under the act of 1833, which was to take place July 1; and also fixed the same date for distribution, in spite of the fact that many duties would still be above the twenty per cent, level.1 This process was nominally intended to give time for the passage of a permanent tariff bill. The delay, however, seems to have been a part of the political game. It was creating a difficult situation for the president, but it was also throwing a heavy responsibility on the Whigs.2 The bill was passed June 25, 1842; and four days later Tyler returned it with his veto, on the ground that it cut off a source of revenue then sorely needed, and that it contravened both the compromise and the distribution acts.3 He had, in fact, recommended in his message of March 25, in pursuance of a suggestion made by Secretary Forward, of the treasury, in a report accompanying the message of March 8, that the proceeds of the public lands be pledged to secure a loan which was considered necessary, and which was finally provided for by an act of April 15. But several days earlier than the date of his veto message he had obtained an opinion from Attorney-General Legare to the effect that the duties fixed.by the compromise tariff would be collectable after June 30, and their collection was accordingly continued.1 On August 5 the permanent tariff bill was ready for the president's consideration, and on August 9 he returned that also without his signature. His main objection to it lay in the fact that, while raising the tariff above the twenty per cent, level, it still provided for distributioik2
1 Benton, Thirty Years' View, II., 229-231.
1 Niles' Register, LXI., 275.
'Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV., 108.
1 Niles' Register, LXII., 389, 285.
1 Von Hoist, United States, II., 452-455: Tyler, Tylers, II., 166.
'Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV., 180-183.
This veto message was referred to a select committee headed by John Quincy Adams, which reported August 16. The majority report, signed by the chairman and nine other Whigs, reviewed the relations of the president and the existing Congress, condemned his course in the strongest terms, and offered a resolution recommending an amendment to the Constitution that would enable a simple majority to pass a bill over the executive veto.3 A minority report signed by two Democrats, and a "protest and counter report" signed by one of the "Corporal's Guard" of Tyler Whigs, were also presented, both of which defended the president and denied the propriety of referring the message for consideration at all.1 The majority report was adopted by a vote of 98 to 90. The president then sent a protest to the House himself, but it was refused entry on the journal.2
1 House Exec. Docs., 31 Cong., 3 Sess., VII., pt. ii., No. 55, pp. 1505-1513.
1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV., 186. • Niles' Register, LXIL, 395-397.
Meanwhile, Tyler had won his fight; for the Whigs, not daring to face their constituents without having passed some kind of a revenue measure, finally broke ranks and allowed a bill to pass without the distribution clause. Most of them voted for it, and enough Democrats joined them to give the bill a majority of two in the House and one in the Senate. On August 30, the same day on which the president's protest against the report criticising his veto message was dated, he signed this permanent tariff bill, and the stormy contest was over.
The tariff of 1842 was quite satisfactory to the protectionists of the country at large. It raised the impost to the general level of that of 1832, and on various important articles there were laid specific duties sufficiently high to make the percentage on an ad valorem basis quite heavy.3
The Democratic triumph of 1844 was soon followed by another readjustment. The platform of the party for that year declared positively against distribution, and in rather vague and general terms
1 Niles' Register, LXII., 407-411; cf. Mason, Veto Power (Harvard Historical Monographs, No. 1), 69-71.
2 Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV., 190-193.
• Niles' Register, LXIII., 40; Taussig, Tariff Hist, of U. S., 113; Dewey, Financial Hist, of U. S., 238.