Friday, April 4, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (2)

Topic: Absences of Presidents of the U.S. from the Nation's Capital

President Washington was frequently absent from the capital; he appears to have been thus absent at least one hundred and eighty-one days during his term. During his several absences he discharged official and executive duties; among them: In March, 1791, he issued a proclamation, dated at Georgetown, in reference to running the boundary for the territory of the permanent seat of the Government; From Mount Vernon he signed an official letter to the Emperor of Morocco, and from the same place the commission of Oliver Wolcott as Comptroller of the Treasury and the proclamation respecting the whisky insurrection in Pennsylvania; also various sea letters, the proclamation of the treaty of 1795 between the United States and Spain, the Executive order of August 4, 1792, relative to the duties on distilled spirits, etc.

President Madison was absent from the seat of Government during his two Presidential terms six hundred and thirty-seven days. He signed and issued from Montpelier during his absence from the capital seventy-one commissions, one proclamation, and nine letters of credence to ministers, accrediting them to foreign governments, and, as it appears, transacted generally all the necessary routine business incident to the Executive office.

President Monroe was absent from the capital during his Presidential service of eight years seven hundred and eight days, independent of the year 1824 and the two months of 1825, for which period no data are found. He transacted public business wherever he happened to be, sometimes at his farm in Virginia, again at his summer resort on the Chesapeake, and sometimes while traveling. He signed and issued from these several places, away from the capital, numerous commissions to civil officers of the Government, exequaturs to foreign consuls, letters of credence, two letters to sovereigns, and thirty-seven pardons.

President Van Buren was absent from the capital during his Presidential term one hundred and thirty-one days. He discharged executive duties and performed official and public acts during these absences. Among the papers signed by President Van Buren during his absence from the seat of Government are commission (one of these being for a United States judge of a district
court), pardons, etc.

President Jackson was absent from the capital during his Presidential service of eight years five hundred and two days. He also performed executive duties and public acts while absent. He appears to have signed and issued while absent from the capital very many public papers, embracing commissions, letters of credence, exequaturs, pardons, and among them four Executive proclamations. On the 26th of June, 1833, he addressed a letter from Boston to Mr. Duane, Secretary of the Treasury, giving his views at large on the removal of the "deposits" from the United States Bank and placing them in the State banks, directing that the change, with all its arrangements, should be, if possible, completed by the 15th September following, and recommending that Amos Kendall should be appointed an agent of the Treasury Department to make the necessary arrangements with the State banks. Soon after, September 23, a paper signed by the President and purporting to have been read to the Cabinet was published in the newspapers of the day.

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste Of History


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