unanimous in the opinion that the States have no such taxing power. That claim, so dangerous to the public credit, is I hope, now put to rest forever.
I have the honor to be
Your obt servt
|1.||The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decisions on March 10. At issue in the Prize Cases (four suits considered by the court as a group) was the legality of a blockade based on presidential declaration and the authority of the Federal government to seize Confederate properly on the high seas. Originating in New York, the two "tax cases" decided whether states had power to tax Federal securities. People ex rel. B ank of Commerce v. Commissioner of Taxes, 2 Black 620 ( 1863); Prize Cases, 2 Black 635 ( 1863); Carl B. Swisher, The Taney Period, 1836-64, vol. 5 of Paul A. gen. ed. Freund, The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States ( New York, 1974), 889-93, 939-40.|
|2.||John Catron, Nathan Clifford, and Roger B. Taney concurred with Samuel Nelson's dissent that presidential declaration alone--prior to congressional action on July 13, 1861, to close Confederate ports--did not legitimate the blockade. Swisher, Taney Period, 892.|
|3.||Robert C. Grier.|
Autograph letter. Chase Papers, Library of Congress (micro 25:0818).
New York March 20. 1863.
My dear Sir:
In compliance with your request, I will proceed to state as briefly as possible my views on the financial questions discussed at our last interview.1
These discussions involved the relative merits of the various alternatives for supplying the national exchequer which the recent legislation of Congress has confided to your discretion,--the question to be determined being this: What line of policy, within the limits of your authority, will be most conducive to the interests of the government and the people?
It is obvious that the interests of both will be best promoted by whatever policy will most certainly and promptly approximate the market value of gold and greenbacks, without sensibly depressing the market price of government securities. Therefore, the problem to be solved is, how can you effect the greatest reduction in the premium on gold without producing an undue stringency in the money market, and without affecting, adversely, the market value of your securities?
The chief alternatives left to your discretion, are:
First, The issue of $400.000.000 int. bearing treasury notes, legal tender for their face.