President Jackson's Message to the Senate Clarifying the Protest Message; April 21, 1834

APRIL, 21, 1834.

To the Senate of the United States:

Having reason to believe that certain passages contained in my message and protest transmitted to the Senate on the 17th [15th] instant may be misunderstood, I think it proper to state that it was not my intention to deny in the said message the power and right of the legislative department to provide by law for the custody, safe-keeping, and disposition of the public money and property of the United States.

Although I am well satisfied that such a construction is not warranted by anything contained in that message, yet aware from experience that detached passages of an argumentative document, when disconnected from their context and considered without reference to previous limitations and the particular positions they were intended to refute or to establish, may be made to bear a construction varying altogether from the sentiments really entertained and intended to be expressed, and deeply solicitous that my views on this point should not, either now or hereafter, be misapprehended, I have deemed it due to the gravity of the subject, to the great interests it involves, and to the Senate as well as to myself to embrace the earliest opportunity to make this communication.

I admit without reserve, as I have before done, the constitutional power of the Legislature to prescribe by law the place or places in which the public money or other property is to be deposited, and to make such regulations concerning its custody, removal, or disposition as they may think proper to enact. Nor do I claim for the Executive any right to the possession or disposition of the public property or treasure or any authority to interfere with the same, except when such possession, disposition, or authority is given to him by lava. Nor do I claim the right in any manner to supervise or interfere with the person intrusted with such property or treasure, unless he be an officer whose appointment, under the Constitution and laws, is devolved upon the President alone or in conjunction with the Senate, and for whose conduct he is constitutionally responsible.

As the message and protest referred to may appear on the Journal of the Senate and remain among the recorded documents of the nation, I am unwilling that opinions should be imputed to me, even through misconstruction, which are not entertained, and more particularly am I solicitous that I may not be supposed to claim for myself or my successors any power or authority not clearly granted by the Constitution and laws to the President. I have therefore respectfully to request that this communication may be considered a part of that message and that it may be entered therewith on the journals of the Senate.


A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Prepared under the direction of the Joint Committee on printing, of the House and Senate
Pursuant to an Act of the Fifty-Second Congress of the United States.
New York : Bureau of National Literature, Inc., 1897

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.