The need of financial retrenchment led to his opposing the proposal that war veterans should receive a cash bonus.
The drastic measures taken by the government against the National Union of Taxpayers, and against the newspapers which assisted it in advocating resistance to taxation until sweeping and proper retrenchment had been effected in the national expenditure, checked this campaign in favor of reform and retrenchment for a while.
Retrenchment in expenditure formed a major item in his programme, together with a prompt and thorough revision of taxation.
War between Great Britain and Russia was declared on the 27th of March 1854, and it thus fell to the lot of the most pacific of ministers, the devotee of retrenchment, and the anxious cultivator of all industrial arts, to prepare a war budget, and to meet as well as he might the exigencies of a conflict which had so cruelly dislocated all the ingenious devices of financial optimism.
The claims of the railways, however, necessitated retrenchment on official salaries, and the president's plan for conversion of the debt roused unexpected and successful opposition in an ordinarily subservient Congress.