President Lincoln Meets with General Ulysses S. Grant

April 20, 1864

After posing for some photographs earlier, in the afternoon, President Lincoln meets with General Ulysses S. Grant. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton transmits orders from the President: “That in all cases of sentences of death, by court-martial, for the crime of desertion, in the Army of the Potomac, Major General George G. Meade, commanding, is authorized and empowered to commute the sentence of death to imprisonment (with forfeiture of all pay due) in the Dry Tortugas Fort during the present war, or to make such other commutation of sentence, in lieu of the sentence of death, as in each case justice and the benefit of the service may, in his judgment, require.”

President Lincoln also meets with Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Bailey and former Ohio Lieutenant Governor Thomas H. Ford

Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Returns to Washington

April 19, 1864

After delivering short speech to Sanitary Commission Fair on Monday, President Lincoln comes back to Washington by train in the morning – missing the regular Tuesday morning cabinet meeting. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles complains in his diary: “He has a fondness for attending these shows only surpassed by [Secretary of State William H.] Seward. Neither Seward, nor Blair, not Chase was present with us to-day. Blair was with the President at Baltimore. Being a Marylander, there was propriety in his attendance.”   With Congress about to adjourn, President Lincoln attends the final levee of the congressional season which is well attended.

President aide John G. Nicolay writes Union General Benjamin F. Butler regarding President Lincoln’s Confederate sister-in-law, Martha Todd White, who had recently returned to her home in Alabama: “I find the following statement floating about the newspapers.

‘Mrs. J. Todd White, a sister to Mrs. President Lincoln, was a rebel spy and sympathizer. When she was passed into the confederacy a few days ago, by way of Fortress Monroe, she carried with her in trunks all kinds of contraband goods, together with medicines, papers, letters, etc. which will be doubtless of the greatest assistance to those with whom she consorts.

[‘]When Gen. Butler wished to open her trunks, as the regulations of transit there prescribe, this woman showed him an autograph pass or order from President Lincoln, enjoining upon the Federal officers not to open any of her trunks and not subject the bear of the pass, her packages, parcels, or trunks, to any inspection or annoyance.

[‘]Mrs. White said to General Butler, or the officers in charge there, in substance, as follows: ‘My trunks are filled iwth contraband, but I defy you to touch them. Here (passing it under their noses)

[‘]Mrs. White said to General Butler, or the officers in charge there, in substance, as follows: ‘My trnks are filled with contraband, but I defy you to touch them. Here (passing it under their noses) here is the positive order of your master!’

[‘]Mrs. White was thus allowed to pass without the inspection and annoyance so premeptorily forbidden by President Lincoln, in an order written and signed by his own hand, and to-day the contents of his wife’s sister’s trunks are giving aid and comfort to the enemy – nor least is the shock which these facts will give to the loyal hearts whose hopes and prayers and labors sustain the cause which is thus betrayed in the very White House [.]

Now the President is not conscious of having given this lady a pass which permitted her to take any ting more than the ordinary baggage allowed, nor which exempted her from the existing rates of inspection. He certainly gave her no such extraordinary privileges as are above describe and implied.

“Will you please inform me whether Mrs White presented to you what purported to be anything more than the usual pass on which persons have been sent through our lines, or which purported to entitle her to carry more than ordinary baggage?

2d Did she take with her more than ordinary baggage?

3d Was or was not her baggage inspected?

4th Did she use the language alleged in the above statement?

P.S. Are such passes usually taken up by our Officers? If so, please send me this pass, or a copy of it.

President Lincoln is sent a communication from West Tennessee leaders: “The undersigned, citizens of West Tennessee, unconditional Supporters of the Federal government and of your Administration, hereby accredit to you, Col. P. E. Bland and J M Tomeny Esq. Of Memphis, for the purpose of conferring with you, and others in Authority, in relation to the interests of the Government and the loyal people of West Tennessee in their mutual relations to each other.

Having implicit confidence in the integrity, loyalty and intelligence of these gentlemen, we have prevailed on them to proceed to Washington, and represent to you and others in Authority the Situation, Sentiments and necessities of the people of the Western Division of our State, and to request of you the adoption and enforcement of such measures of policy as may, in your judgement, be conducive to the welfare and happiness of the people whom they represent, and calculated to effect the early restoration of Tennessee to her proper position in the Federal Union, upon a Sound and loyal basis.

President Lincoln hosts the finalTuesday reception of the winter season. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary the next day: “The last public evening reception of the season took place last evening at the Executive Mansion. It was a jam, not creditable in its arrangements to the authorities. The multitude were not misbehaved, farther than crowding together in disorder and confusion may be so regarded. Had there been a small guard, or even a few police officers, present, there might have been regulations which would have been readily acquiesced in and observed. There has always been a want of order and proper management at these levees or receptions, which I hope may soon be corrected.”

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President Lincoln Addresses Sanitary Fair in Baltimore

April 18, 1864

President Lincoln takes train to Baltimore. In a 15-minute speech, he tells attendees at the Sanitary Commission Fair: “Ladies and Gentlemen–Calling to mind that we are in Baltimore, we can not fail to note that the world moves. Looking upon these many people, assembled here, to serve, as they best may, the soldiers of the Union, it occurs at once that three years ago, the same soldiers could not so much as pass through Baltimore. The change from then till now, is both great, and gratifying. Blessings on the brave men who have wrought the change, and the fair women who strive to reward them for it.

But Baltimore suggests more than could happen within Baltimore. The change within Baltimore is part only of a far wider change. When the war began, three years ago, neither party, no any man, expected it would last till now. Each looked ofr the end, in some way, long ere to-day. Neither did any anticipate that domestic slavery would be much affected by the war. But here we are; the war has not ended, and slavery has been much affected–how much needs not now to be recounted. So true is it that man proposes, and God disposes.

But we can the past, though we may not claim to have directed it; and seeing it, in this case, we feel more hopeful and confident for the future.

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name–liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two difference and incompatable names–liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing something to define liberty; and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf’s dictionary, has been repudiated.

It is not very becoming for one in my position to make speeches at great length; but there is another subject upon which I feel that I ought to say a word. A painful rumor, true I fear, has reached us of the massacre, by the rebel forces, at Fort Pillow, in the West end of Tennessee, on the Mississippi river, of some three hundred colored soldiers and white officers, who had just been overpowered by their assailants. There seems to be some anxiety in the public mind whether the government is doing it’s duty to the colored soldier, and to the service, at this point. At the beginning of the war, and for some time, the use of colored troops was not contemplated; and how the change of purpose was wrought, I will not now take time to explain. Upon a clear conviction of duty I resolved to turn that element of strength to account; and I am responsible for it to the American people, to the christian world, to history, and on my final account to God. Having determined to use the negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give him all the protection given to any other soldier. The difficulty is not in stating the principle, but in practically applying it. It is a mistake to suppose the government is indiffe[r]ent to this matter, or is not doing the best it can in regard to it. We do not to-day know that a colored soldier, or white officer commanding colored soldiers, has been massacred by the rebels when made a prisoner. We fear it, believe it, I may say, but we do not know it. To take the life of one of their prisoners, on the assumption that they murder ours, when it is short of certainty that they do murder ours, might be too serious, too cruel a mistake. We are having the Fort-Pillow affair thoroughly investigated; and such investigationwill probably show conclusively how the truth is. If, after all that has been said, it shall turn out that there has been no massacre at Fort-Pillow, it will be almost safe to say there has been none, and will be none elsewhere. If there has been the massacre of three hundred there, or even the tenth part of three hundred, it will be conclusively proved; and being so proved, the retribution, shall as surely come. It will be matter of grave consideration in what exact course to apply the retribution; but in the suppose case, it must come.

Presidential aide William O. Stoddard writes in a newspaper dispatch: “More rains and another installment of mud may have interfered with Grant’s plans somewhat; but then again they may not, for it is more than likely that he was not ready to strike in any direction yet. The sky still looks threatening, and we are hoping and praying for fair weather.”

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Quiet Day at the White House at President Lincoln Recovers from Illness

April 17, 1864

From Washington Territory a letter is sent to President Lincoln: “The charges against Superintendent [of Indian Affairs] Calvin H.] Hale are all false Do not remove him If necessary let him come & defend Send answer.”   President Lincoln is preparing for a short address in Baltimore the next day.

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An Indisposed President Attends to Business

April 16, 1864

Although sick, President Lincoln issues several orders: To Adjutant General James Fry, he writes: “The within paper was written at my suggestion by gentlemen representing Philadelphia, to present their views of the subject embraced and to be signed by me if I could approve it. I am not prepared to assent to all that it asks at present, but I do order that the Philadelphia quotas be adjusted for the calls of 1863 and 1864 already made, upon the basis that that City was under no deficit on November 3d. 1862, and allowing full credits for all since that date; and further that all other questions presented on said paper are left open for future adjustment.”

In agreement with an Indian agent report, President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Interior John Palmer Usher to withhold certain public lands from sale and added to the Little Traverse Indian Reservation. Lincoln writes General Henry W. Halleck that Fort Smith and the Indian Territory should be transferred to the military Department of Arkansas.

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Financial Speculation Undermines Government

April 15, 1864

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase writes President Lincoln from New York about the problems of gold speculation: “Two topics seem to occupy exclusively the attention of New York — Speculation and the Metropolitan Fair. Today the tidings from Paducah create a momentary diversion — something this way “A horrible affair that at Paducah”. “Yes, really ’twas terrible”. Then a little pause — then, “how’s gold now?”

The sales which have been made here yesterday & today seem to have reduced the price; but the reduction is only temporary, unless most decisive measures for reducing the amount of circulation & arresting the rapid increase of debt be adopted. These measures can only be put in operation by Congress, and Congress will be slow to act with the promptude absolutely indispensable unless you manifest a deep sense of their importance and make members feel that you regard their cooperation as essential to the success of your administration.

Thus far every financial measure has been crowned with success; but I have always warned gentlemen in Congress and in the Administration that debt could not be increased indefinitely by selling bonds & issuing notes; and the time has come when taxation and retrenchment must play their parts. They ought to have been called into activity a year ago; but is not yet too late. Without them it is my duty to say emphatically there is no hope of continued financial success.

Next to taxation and retrenchment a uniform national currency is most important. This can be accomplished only through the passage of the National Banking Law now before Congress; or by some bill embracing its leading amendments of the act of last year. In my judgment the Banks organized under this law should pay their full share of taxation; but they should be taxed under National & not under State laws. The National Government will need to pay interest on debt, current expences, &, as long as the war lasts, its extraordinary expences, vast sums from taxes. Duties on imports are the only exclusive resource of the Nation as distinguished from the States. Why should not the National Banks & their property and franchises be added? I see no good reason: while uniform taxation by Congress would put all the Banks throughout the Country upon a equal footing and secure the unity & completeness of the system. Some of the New York Members have urged their objection to state taxes, & some concessions have, I think unwisely, been made to their wishes. It would be much better could they be prevailed on to yield their wishes to the public good.

The National Banking bill should be followed by the bill to tax local bank circulation & prohibit after some fixed period its further issue.4

These two bills will give us what we must have, if success is wanted, a national currency.

If you concur with me in these judgments, may I not hope that you will send for such members as are disposed, from any cause, to be lukewarm or opposed & urge them to give the needful support to the bills– Mr. Hooper5 in the House and Mr Sherman6 in the Senate will gladly furnish you all necessary information as to the views of Senators & Representatives.

Since I have been writing a gentleman has come in who tells me that gold after declining to 171 & 170 was carried up again on the news of the disaster at Paducah, exaggerated as much as possible, interested & unfriendly persons, to 174.

President Lincoln receives an invitation to speak at the upcoming Sanitary Fair in Pittsburgh. House Speaker Schuyler Colfax writes President Lincoln about his upcoming trip to Baltimore to speak at the Sanitary Fair there: “I gladdened the hearts of the officers of the Maryland State Fair by informing them of your promise to me to attend next Monday evening at its opening, & they enclosed are letters they directed me to lay before you. But for other previous engagements I would have come up in person this morning to deliver them.”

Mr. [William J.] Albert expects you & Mrs Lincoln to stay with him. I understand he has very ample accommodations.

The trains go up at 3 P. m, 4.30 P. m & 5.20. I suppose they would prefer your coming at 3. I shall go over with my family, & stop at a friend’s, Mr. Shoemakers.

Mr. Albert says he received no reply to his invitation. I suppose because you had not decided it till recently. Please apprise them of the time when you will come that they may make the necessary arrangements

New Arkansas Governor Isaac Murphy writes President Lincoln: “Both houses of the Legislature have organized today a quorum being present The vote for Constitution twelve thousand one-hundred and seventy nine against it Two hundred & twenty six (226) For Govr Twelve thousand four hundred & thirty1 we ask your sympathy & aid The Country north & south of the Arkansas River is full of Guerillas One (1) member killed coming here If reinforcements are not sent soon or Gen [Frederick] Steele ordered to return we are in great danger.”

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President Lincoln Works Through 67 Courtmartial Cases

April 14, 1864

President Lincoln spent much of the day working through courtmartial cases with Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt. On one case he wrote: “Pardon—proof being insufficient, except for short absence without leave.” On another he wrote: “This man is pardoned, and hereby ordered to be discharged from the service.”

Union League activist Henry C. Lea meets with President Lincoln. Four days later, he writes Lincoln: “Enclosed you will find two little pamphlets which I wrote a few weeks since for the “Union League” of Phila– At our interview on Friday evening, I was much gratified to find from your remarks that in one of them — “The Will of the People” — I had to some extent correctly appreciated the motives which have guided your policy.– It appeared to me to present a line of arguement likely to be effective before the people, & I confess to surprise that it should not have been long since brought more prominently into notice to repel the attacks of radicals & Copperheads.–

To prevent misconstruction, perhaps I should add that I am a man of independent position, with nothing to ask at your hands, except the preservation of our institutions.–

My colleague, Mr Miller, desires to join with me in thanking you for the courtesy & despatch which enabled us to accomplish our mission so promptly.–

Ohio lawyer Hezekiah S. Bundy, a prominent Republican, writes President Lincoln regarding the upcoming Republican political convention: “Permit one of your friends and the elector for the 11th Ohio District in 1860 to address you a word without perhaps imparting any information or suggestion worthy attention on your part. You no doubt are aware that great effort is being made to postpone the meeting of the National C. ostensibly to observe the working of the army to put down the rebellion but really to consumate plans to defeat you in the nomination The union men with us are Almost a unit for you, and the army is with us so far as I am advised and my knowledge is somewhat extensive in that direction Having a number of personal friends & relations in the service in different departments whose opportunities are good for knowing the sentiment of the army I think I speak advisedly in relation to it I think there is more danger from a diversion in favor of Freemont if McClellan is your opponent (and of which there can be no doubt) than from any other source. In view of this matter can you not with safety to the interests of the service give Freemont an important command somewhere? It will not do to give McClellan a command any where because the Vallandigham3 peace men will take him as their man in the end and the war democrats of the peace party prefer him to any one else on the score of policy I think we will be able to give you the entire delegation from this state at Baltimore– I propose making Ex Gov Dennison one of the delegates at and I know he is for you–

I hope that we may have several important victories in the field before the Balto Convention if so there will be no question as to the result of the deliberations of that body. I think there cannot be much doubt at any rate

Captain Charles Garretson to Abraham Lincoln to protest his dismissal from the army: “On the 5th of March last I was dismissed the service of the Government on the charge of disloyalty, which I beg leave to assure your Exellency is totally false and groundless, as I am prepared to prove, and herewith have the honor to submit as series of letters from distinguished officers and gentlemen with whom I have associated during the past three years, expressing the estimation in which I have been held, and testifying to the manner in which I have performed my duty during that time.”

I entered the service as a Volunteer in April, 1861, passed from the position of Private to that of Qr. Masters Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Acting Regtl. Qr. Master, of the 16th Penn’a. Vols., returned with my Regiment at the expiration of the three Months Service, immediately aided in the organization of the 76th Penn’a Vols., accompanied it as Regimental Qr. Master, via Fortress Monroe, to Hilton Head, S. C., as a part of Genl. Sherman’s forces, was shortly after our arrival there appointed Post Qr. Master, and in June, 1862, at the request of Col. Shaffer, Chief Qr. Master, Dept. of the South, was promoted Captain and Asst. Qr. Master of Vols., was placed in charge of the Depot, and continued in that position until June, 1863, when, my health having failed, I was ordered north on sick leave, upon the expiration of which I was assigned to duty in the Depot of Washington, first in the land transportation office, and afterwards in that of the Rail Road transportation, 209 G Street, which office I had charge of when dismissed.

I have always been a firm and faithful supporter of my Government, both by actions and words, and have done every thing in my power to aid the Administration and the Service in every measure presented, to crush this cursed rebellion, and challenge a single word, action, or deed of mine to the contrary, while by a faithful, earnest, and continued performance of my duties as a Soldier I have tried to give the best possible evidence of the truthfulness of this Statement, and feeling the consciousness of my own innocence, and that a great injustice has been done me, I am satisfied that my case needs but an examination at your hands to secure the revocation of the order, or at least a hearing before some military court of inquiry.

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President Lincoln Receives Socks and Book

April 13, 1864

J. Rutherford Worster writes President Lincoln: “Herewith please receive another pair of Sandal-Socks, which, I think will suit your foot better, as they are somewhat higher in the heel and the material, not quite so heavy. I would suggest wearing the lighter description of cotton or silk socks, which, strange as it may seem, I have found to be much cooler in summer and warmer in Winter. Mr President, if you will please endorse me to Genl. Grant, on the accompanying paper, with your views of the utility of the sandal, for the preservation of the feet, on long marches, of infantry, and the prevention of strag’ling &c — I will put a pair on the Genl. as I am going out to the front this evening, and present to him the views those Genls and other men of distinction entertain, who wear them.

Publishers T. B. Peterson & Brothers send President Lincoln a campaign biography by David B. Williamson: “We have this day sent you per mail two copies of the “Life of President Lincoln,” to be published to-morrow by us, which we should be pleased to have you accept, and if you a moments leisure look over it, and if there is any errors in it, advise us & we shall be pleased to make the corrections before printing another edition.” New York Times editor Henry J. Raymond was also working on a campaign biography of the President.

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary: “Just as I began to write the President (as he suggested I should) about Genl. Wilde’s, confiscation order, of Norfolk, comes a package from the War Department (Genl. Canby) with the Report of Genl. Wilde to Genl. Butler, and Genl. B[utler]’s to [the] sec: [of] war, upon the case of the confiscation of Williams’ estate.”

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Economic Problems Preoccupy Lincoln Cabinet

April 12, 1864

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary about regular Cabinet meeting at the White House: “To-day have a letter from Admiral Lee respecting the exportation of French tobacco from Richmond. This is an arrangement of Mr. Seward to which I have always objected, but to which the President was persuaded to yield his assent some months ago. The subject has lingered until now. Admiral Lee says the French naval vessels and transports are at the Roads and about to proceed up the James River, and inquires if he shall keep an account of their export.

I took the dispatch to the Cabinet-meeting to ascertain from Mr. Seward what his arrangements were, but he was not present. When the little business on hand was disposed of, I introduced the subject to the President, who told me he had seen the dispatch to me and also one to Mr. Stanton from General Butler. He saw them both at the telegraph office, and after he got home he had sent for Fred Seward and Mr. Stanton. They appear neither of them to think the subject of much consequence, but after Stanton had returned to the War Department and read Butler’s dispatch, he sent the President word that Mr. Seward ought to give the subject attention. The President had therefore told Fred Seward to telegraph his father, who is in New York, to return.

It is curious that the President, who saw Admiral Lee’s dispatch to me, should have consulted the Secretary of War and Assistant Secretary of State without advising me, or consulting me on the subject. He was annoyed, I saw, when I introduced the topic. The reason for all this I well understood. He knew full well my opposition to this whole proceeding, which I had fought off two or three times, until he finally gave in to Seward. When, therefore, some of the difficulties which I had suggested began to arise, the President preferred not to see me. It will not surprise me if this is but the beginning of the trouble we shall experience.

Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase writes Senator William P. Fessenden, the Senate’s leading financial expert about gold speculation: “Notwithstanding the diminished amount of United States notes in circulation, and the gradual withdrawal from use as currency of interest bearing United States Notes made a legal tender for their face, the price of gold continues to advance. This effect can only be attributed to one of two causes, and is probably due in part to each: First, to the increase of notes of local banks; and Secondly, to the efforts of Speculators. I have already submitted through you to the consideration of the Committee of Ways and Means a bill intended as a remedy for the first evil. I now beg leave to submit to its consideration a bill intended as a remedy for the second.”

The first bill, if it becomes a law, will have, I doubt not the most salutary consequences. The effects of the second will probably be more immediate, though perhaps not of such permanent importance.

I ask for both a candid consideration, and if approved, the favorable action of Congress.

It must not be thought, however, that I regard either or both of these measures as adequate remedies for financial disorders. Nothing short of taxation to one-half of the amount of our current expenditures and a reduction of those expenditures to the lowest point compatible with efficiency will ensure financial success to the government. And without military successes, all measures must fail.

Black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow are massacred by Confederate troops led by General Nathan B. Forrest.

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Trip to Fortress Monroe Cancelled

April 11, 1864

President Lincoln decides against planned visit to Fortress Monroe, VA because Mrs. Lincoln is sick. He writes to Benjamin F. Butler: “Mrs. L. is so unwell that I now think we will not make the contemplated trip this week. Will notify you in time. Will probably get a Boat here, but will accept yours if necessary. Thanks for your kind interest in the case. “

President Lincoln writes to Edwin M. Stanton: “Hon. Sec. of War, please see L.H. Putnam, whom you will find a very intelligent colored man; and who wishes to talk about our colored forces, their organization, &c.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes to New York journalist and businessman James R. Gilmore: “I brought your letter to the notice of the President as requested. He said he no longer distinctly remembered what he said to you at the interview referred to, and that he could better answer your question, if you were to write out and submit to him, what you propose to publish, concerning the same.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “The past two weeks have been for the most part stormy and inclement, to such a degree as to render extensive army movements next door to an impossibility. The rain has fallen in torrents, and the roads have been rivers of mud. So you see that at the very outset of his career in Vriginia, General Grant has been met by our old enemy in full force, for the red mud of the Old Dominion has from the first been as good as another army corps added to the strength of Lee’s army. Mud it was that scared McClellan away from Manassas, crippled him on the Peninsula, delayed Burnside’s pontoons, drove back one of Meade advances, and did more than anything else to facilitate Lee’s escape at Falling Waters, after the Gettysburg fight.”

From Arkansas comes the report from General Nathan Kimball regarding recent elections: “The inaugiration of the Governor of the free state of Arkansas today was preceeded by a grand civil & military procession participated in by upward of ten thousand (10.000) people including citizens troops & freed people, the procession was three (3) miles in length & is acknowledged to be the greatest civil & military demonstration that was ever received in arkansas. God has granted us a magnificent triumph & Arkansas is once more an organized state with National union free from slavery.”

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase writes Senator William P. Fessenden about problems with money in circulation: “The circulation of corporation notes as money under dissimilar laws of different States contributes largely to the depreciation of the National Currency and constitutes at this moment a most serious danger to the National Finances.

The law making United States Notes a legal tender in payment of debts did not except debts evidenced by these notes; and therefore operated as a virtual repeal of the State laws by which the corporations issuing them were required to redeem them in coin.– Availing themselves of this legislation, these corporations have made the United States notes the basis of their own issues; and inasmuch as these notes themselves cannot at present be exchanged for coin, redemption has become merely nominal.

No reduction in the volume of national issues, under these circumstances, can work material benefit to the circulation; for every such reduction merely makes room for fresh corporations issues, which are not always or even generally restricted to the amount of United States notes withdrawn. Thus the issues of the State Corporations create a constantly increasing excess in the volume of currency as compared with the requirements of actual transactions: and this excess works progressive depreciation.

To arrest this depreciation is an absolute necessity, and to effect this object I see no better or more certain means than judicious measures for the exclusion from circulation of all notes intended to circulate as money, and not authorized by national legislation.

Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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