The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

By John Niven; James P. McClure et al. | Go to book overview
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A word to the brave old Commanding General will do the work of prevention, and you alone can give the word.2Yours faithfully S: P: CHASE President Lincoln.I enclose an article from the New York Times. It has too much truth in it.3
1. At the entrance to Baltimore harbor. Miers, Lincoln Day by Day, 3:35.
2. Winfield Scott commanded the U.S. Army until October 31, 1861. DAB, 16:510.
3. The enclosed clipping included an editorial piece, entitled "The People Demand Action," from the New York Times of April 23, 1861. According to the essay, the national government was slow to recognize and meet the threat posed by the seceded states, which had aggressively seized Federal munitions and supplies "while our Government has had almost its entire thoughts occupied in the distribution of offices." Lincoln and his cabinet "are like a person just aroused from sleep, and in a state of dreamy half- consciousness," noted the editorial: "Let them consider that we are in a contest of life and death."


Letterbook copy in clerk's hand. Record of Secretary's Private Correspondence, Records of the Bureau of the Public Debt (Record Group 53), National Archives (micro 15:0202).

Treasury Department April 27. 1861.

My Dear Sir:

It is indispensable, in my judgment, to the success of the operations of the Treasury, and to the vigorous prosecution of the necessary measures for the preservation of the Capital, the defence of the Government and the maintenance of the Union, that the balance of the loan authorized by the act of June 22, 1860, namely, $13.978,000, be taken at par.1 No treasury notes can be issued under existing laws, until after proposals have been advertised for loans on bonds. The only loan large enough for present emergencies now authorized is that to which I have just referred. It must be advertised for before treasury notes for the same amount can be issued, and the law prohibits the acceptance of any bid below par. Advertisement and failure to obtain the money on the bonds, must, as you will readily see, be very injurious to the public credit as well as to all other interests involved.

I might, indeed, advertise the balance of the loan under the act of the 8th of February,2 namely, $8.994,000, and might accept bids at any rate however unfavorable to the Government; or I might reject bids, if not satisfactory, and resort to treasury notes. These will be my only alternatives under the law. Your clear intelligence needs no suggestion of mine to indicate the probably disastrous consequences of this course.

I write in haste, in order to send my letter by a special messenger just about to depart.


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The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3
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