Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, May 12, 1864

Late last night, Mr. Byington, a newspaper correspondent, called at my house. He left General Grant's headquarters at 8 A.M. yesterday. Reports hard fighting on Tuesday, but represents our troops to have had the best of it. General Robinson, severely wounded, arrived in Washington.

Secretary Chase sends me a letter that the Treasury is unwilling to pay bills drawn abroad in coin, and wishes the Department to buy coin and pay the bills independent of the Treasury. In other words, the Treasury Department declines to meet government obligations as heretofore. It is incapable of discharging its fiscal duties, is no longer to be a fiscal but a brokerage establishment for borrowing money and issuing a baseless, fictitious paper currency. These are the inglorious results of the schemes and speculations of our financier, and the end is not yet. There will be a general breakdown under this management.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 29

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