President Lincoln Consolidates Personal Assets

June 10, 1864

President Lincoln tries to straighten his finances and takes his assorted assets to the Treasury Department next door to the White House. Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase promises to consolidate them. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Maunsell B. Field recalled: “I happened once to be with the Secretary when the President, without knocking, and unannounced, as was his habit, entered the room. His rusty black hat was on the back of his head, and he wore, as was his custom, an old gray shawl across his shoulders…I saw good morning to Mr. Lincoln, and then, as was the established etiquette when the President called, withdrew…In less than five minutes I was summoned to return to the Secretary. Mr Schuckers, his private secretary entered the room at the same time that I did. The President was gone, and there was lying upon one end of Mr. Chase’s desk a confused mass of Treasury notes, Demand notes, Seven-thirty notes, and other representatives of value. Mr. Chase told us that this lot of money had just been brought by Mr. Lincoln, who desired to have it converted into bonds.”

Historian Harry E. Pratt wrote in The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln: “Lincoln’s holdings in government obligations totaled $54,515.07, and he brought along a bag of gold amounting to $883.30. Chase turned the securities over to Harrington, Assistant Secretary, for investment. In addition to the gold Harrington found five different kinds of assets: $16,000 of 7-30 notes; $26,181.40 of Certificates of Deposit; $8,000 of 5-20 bonds; $4,044.67 in salary warrants, and 489 in greenbacks.”

Historians Harry. J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin wrote in Lincoln and the Patronage: the “day witnessed a repetition of the scenes of the previous day. Again Lincoln was continuously occupied in giving audiences. ‘Numbers of delegates,’ ran the news from Washington, ‘are still anxiously awaiting their turn to present themselves before the throne and claim a share of the benefits expected to be derived from the work done at Baltimore.   Some, of course, had already been rewarded with patronage favors.

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary:“The Baltimore Convention (National Union I believe, it{‘]s called itself) has surprised and mortified me greatly.   It did indeed nominate Mr. Lincoln, but in a manner and with attendant circumstances, as if the object were to defeat their own nomination. They were all (nearly) instructed to vote for Mr. Lincoln, but many of them hated to do it, and only ‘kept the word of promise to the them hated to do it, and only ‘kept the word of promise to the ear’ doing their worst to break it to the hope. They rejected the only delegates from Mo. who were instructed and pledged for Lincoln, and admitted the destructives, who were pledged against Lincoln, and, in fact, voted against him, falsely alleging that they were instructed to vote for Grant! The conservative was chosen in a manner more legitimate and regular than the destructive Radicals; for the Radical convention in Mo. (which appointed those delegates) was, substantially annulled, by the defection of the whole German element, they preferring to go to Cleveland and support Fremont, rather than go to the packed Lincoln gathering, at Baltimore. Their res did desert the Mo: Convention: and every[one] knows that the Germans constitute the heart and nucl[e]us – the body and strength of the Radicals of Mo. The remaining part of the convention (about 2/3 in no.) Resolved to send delegates to Baltimore, because they could better serve the destructive cause, and support Fremont, at Baltimore than at Cleveland. And they judged rightly – for they ‘are wiser, in their generation than the children of light.’” He added: “I shall tell the Prest: in all frankness that his best nomination is not that at Baltimore, but his nomination spontaneously, by the People, by which the convention, was constrained to name him. That if he chose to unite with his enemies, he and they can easily accomplish his defeat.”

President Lincoln writes General William S. Rosecrans: “Major John Hay, the bearer, is one of my Private Secretaries, to whom please communicate, in writing, or verbally, anything you would think proper to say to me.” Hay gets the note while he is still in bed.

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Published in: on June 10, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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