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MVB to Isaac S[toutenburgh] Hone et al., 4 May 1837

Gentlemen,

I have bestowed on your communication the attentive consideration which is due to the opinions, wishes, and interests of the respectable portion of my fellow citizens in whose behalf you act.

In the correctness of the judgment which, in the exercise of an undoubted right you have, in such general terms, pronounced upon particular points in the policy of the late and present administrations, you cannot expect me to concur. My opinions on these points were distinctly announced to the American people before my election, and I have seen no reason to change them. But however much I may differ with you upon them, as well as in respect to the causes of the existing evil, you may be assured of the warm interest I shall ever feel, in whatever concerns the mercantile community, of my deep sympathy with those who are now suffering from the pressure of the times, and of my readiness to adopt any measures for their relief consistent with my convictions of duty.

The propriety of giving to the Collectors of the Customs, instructions of the character desired, necessarily involves inquiries into the extent of the power of the Executive over the subject, the present condition of the treasury, and its probable receipts and expenditures, for the remainder of the year.— These examinations have been directed, and are in progress, and the result will be communicated by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Collector at New York, who will be instructed to give it publicity. A few days will be required to arrive at a safe conclusion upon some parts of the investigation, but there shall be no unnecessary delay.

The other subjects to which you have called my attention, are, first, an immediate repeal of the order requiring specie in payment, on sales of public lands, issued by my predecessor, for the purpose of enforcing a strict execution of the act of Congress, which forbids the allowance of credit on such sales; and, secondly, an extra session of Congress. I have not been able to satisfy myself that I ought, under existing circumstances, to interfere with the order referred to.

You must be aware of the obstacles to an immediate convocation of Congress, arising from the imperfect state of the representation in one branch of that body. Several of the States have not yet chosen their Representatives, and are not to do so for some months to come. Independent of that consideration, I do not see at present, sufficient reasons to justify me in requiring an earlier meeting than that appointed by the constitution.

I am, gentlemen, very respectfully,

Your obedient Servant,

M. VAN BUREN

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Source: New-York (NY) Spectator
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 8 (4 March 1837-31 December 1837)