|1.||A wealthy New York merchant, Aspinwall had agreed to visit England with Forbes to encourage British confiscation of two ironclad "rams," warships with underwater spikes on their prows, under construction for the Confederacy in the Laird shipyards of Liverpool. The pair had also agreed to assist in raising funds in Europe. Forbes sailed from Boston on March 18. Aspinwall waited a week for the Treasury to prepare bonds to be used as collateral for a temporary loan in England, then left from New York. DAB, 1:396; MacPherson, Ordeal by Fire, 342-44; Aspinwall to Chase, Mar. 19, , 1863, Chase to Aspinwall, Mar. 20, 21, 1863 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.).|
|2.||Aspinwall and Forbes had authority to perform two tasks for the Treasury. The first was to negotiate a one-year loan of five million dollars from the English banking house of Baring Brothers, to be secured by ten million dollars' worth of 5-20 bonds. Sentiment in Britain did not favor strong support of the U.S., and in April 1863 the Baring firm agreed only to a six-month loan of five hundred pounds sterling, with the option to extend both the amount and the term depending on relations between the U.S. and England in the coming months. Chase also authorized Forbes and Aspinwall to negotiate for the sale of bonds to the value of ten million pounds sterling or fifty million U.S. dollars. The pair sounded financial opinion in England and elsewhere, and in May they reported to Chase that European financiers distrusted the financial condition of the U.S.: prospects of raising large sums in Europe at the time seemed weak. Chase replied optimistically that he was now meeting the country's demands with current means and there was no immediate need for a big European loan: "My financial measures have thus been crowned with more than expected success." Chase to Aspinwall and Forbes, Mar. 16 (three letters), Mar. 21, May 14, Chase to Baring Bros., Mar. 16, Aspinwall to Chase, Mar. 20, Aspinwall and Forbes to Chase, Apr. 18, May 2, 1863 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.).|
|3.||Chase evidently referred to the retirement of the debt during Andrew Jackson's presidency and to the strides made by Albert Gallatin, as secretary of the Treasury, 1801-14, in eliminating the debt. William J. Schultz and M. R. Caine, Financial Development of the U.S. ( New York, 1937), 112, 165, 218; DAB, 7:106-7.|
|4.||See Chase to Walker, March 30 (below).|
|5.||If one considered the compounding of interest along with initial purchase cost, Aspinwall argued, 5 percent bonds could be appealing to investors. The 5-20 bonds were fixed by law at 6 percent interest, but the March 1863 act that authorized issue of 10-40 bonds allowed them to carry annual interest "not exceeding" 6 percent. Aspinwall to Chase, Mar. 21, 22, 1863 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.); Statutes at Large, 12:345, 532, 710.|
|6.||Joseph M. Price, Interest Tables, at Five, Six, and, Seven Per Cent. Per Annum . . .( New York, 1863).|
|7.||Inventor and shipbuilder Ross Winans ( 1796-1877) sympathized with the Confederacy. DAB, 20:371-72.|
|8.||Shipbuilder John Laird ( 1805-74), a member of Parliament, 1861-74. DNB, 11:406.|
|9.||CSS Alabama and CSS Florida, noted Confederate raiders, were wooden propeller-driven steamers constructed by the Laird and Miller shipyards, respectively, of Liverpool. ORN, ser. 2, v. 1:252, 297.|
|10.||The article, written by Massachusetts orator and politician Edward Everett, criticized secession as an "arch-blunder" that insured the Confederacy's fragmentation and thus threatened the European balance of power by inviting British and French intrigue in the western hemisphere. New York Ledger, Mar. 28, 1863.|
Letter in clerk's hand on letterhead stationery, signed by Chase. Misc. Mss. Walker, The New-York Historical Society (micro 25:0988).
March 30, 1863.
It is thought by many whose judgments are entitled to great consideration, that much good may flow from clear and statements,1 in Europe, in relation to American Affairs, made by persons whose