Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.
of the War, specie, including even the nickels and copper pennies, had disappeared from circulation, and the people had been utilising for the small change necessary for current operations the postage stamps, a use which, in connection with the large percentage of destruction, was profitable to the government, but extravagant for the community.  A little later, the postal department was considerate enough to bring into print a series of postage stamps without any gum on the back.  These could, of course, be handled more easily, but were still seriously perishable.  Towards the close of the year, the Treasury department printed from artistically engraved plates a baby currency in notes of about two and a half inches long by one and a half inches wide.  The denominations comprised ten cents, fifteen cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, and seventy-five cents.  The fifteen cents and the seventy-five cents were not much called for, and were probably not printed more than once.  They would now be scarce as curiosities.  The postal currency was well printed on substantial paper, but in connection with the large requirement for handling that is always placed upon small currency, these little paper notes became very dirty and were easily used up.  The government must have made a large profit from the percentage that was destroyed.  The necessary effect of this distribution of government “I.O.U.’s,” based not upon any redemption fund of gold but merely upon the general credit of the government, was to appreciate the value of gold.  In June, 1863, just before the battle of Gettysburg, the depreciation of this paper currency, which represented of course the appreciation of gold, was in the ratio of 100 to 290.  It happened that the number 290, which marked the highest price reached by gold during the War, was the number that had been given in Laird’s ship-yard (on the Mersey) to the Confederate cruiser Alabama.

Chase was not only a hard-working Secretary of the Treasury but an ambitious, active-minded, and intriguing politician.  He represented in the administration the more extreme anti-slavery group.  He was one of those who favoured from the beginning immediate action on the part of the government in regard to the slaves in the territory that was still controlled by the government.  It is doubtless the case that he held these anti-slavery views as a matter of honest conviction.  It is in evidence also from his correspondence that he connected with these views the hope and the expectation of becoming President.  His scheming for the nomination for 1864 was carried on with the machinery that he had at his disposal as Secretary of the Treasury.  The issues between Chase and Seward and between Chase and Stanton were many and bitter.  The pressure on the part of the conservative Republicans to get Chase out of the Cabinet was considerable.  Lincoln, believing that his service was valuable, refused to be influenced by any feeling of personal

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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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