White House Concern for Financial and Military Matters Continues

May 16, 1864

President Lincoln writes Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: “Evening before last two gentlemen called on me, and talked so earnestly about financial matters, as to set me thinking of them a little more particularly since. And yet only one idea has occurred, which I think worth while even to suggest to you. It is this: Suppose you change your five per cent loan to six, allowing the holders of the fives already out to convert them into sixes, upon taking each an equal additional amount at six. You will understand, better than I all the reasons pro and con, among which probably will be, the rise of the rate of interest in Europe.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “Preparations are being made for the demolition of the old State Department building, and for the completion of the north wing of the Treasury building, whose magnificent proportions will thus include rather more ground, is addition to the present structure, than is now occupied by the old ‘grey brick.’ There are many associations connected with that (for America) ancient and modest-looking affair on the corner by the President’s house. Webster, and Marcy, and a long list of our distinguished names, have by turns ruled in its shabby halls and offices, and from there have sent out documents to determine peace or war, and influence the destiny of nations and races. No doubt, future history will unearth strange things from the musty piles of documents stored away in those dusty archives.”

Stoddard adds: “Now that Messrs. [Benjamin F.] Wade and [Daniel] Gooch have made their terrible report about the Fort Pillow tragedy, the question is, ‘How shall we retaliate?’ and few believe that our merciful and kindly Chief Magistrate can so far harden his heart as to do justice to these offenders against all laws, human and divine. The retaliation will come, however, and it is a relief to be certain at the same time that nothing will be done in cruel and heathenish revenge, and that what is done will be in such a manner tha the whole civilized world will be compelled to approve the sentence and its execution.”

Presidential aide John Hay writes a friend: “Grant has fought one of the most wonderful series of battles on record during the past fortnight. No armies that the world has heretofore produced have stood pounding like that in Spottsylvania. He is waiting now for the mud to dry a little so that he can move upon Lee again.”

Former Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes in his diary: “At night Mr Ewing and I went to Presidents about the Wilkes & Black cases, but did not see him.”

Published in: on May 16, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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