the compelled slowness of his advance on Atlanta
's unresisted swoop down the Valley
, his defeat of Wallace
at the Monocacy
, and his unpunished demonstration against the defenses of Washington itself — the raids of his troopers up to the suburbs of Baltimore
, on the Philadelphia Railroad, and even up into Pennsylvania
; burning Chambersburg
and alarming even Pittsburg
— and finally the bloody, wretched fiasco of the Mine
explosion before Petersburg-these, and other reverses, relieved by a few and unimpressive triumphs-rendered the midsummer of 1864 one of the gloomiest seasons of our great struggle for the upholders of the National
An impudent and treasonable stock-jobbing forgery, purporting to be a Proclamation by the President1
--confessing the failure of Grant
's advance on Richmond
and the cooperating efforts, and ordering a fresh levy of men to recruit our decimated armies — though speedily detected and exposed, had meantime been flashed over the country; and had, while producing its intended effect on the prices of the National
and other securities, caused a momentary sinking of the popular heart, which its exposure did not wholly countervail.
Another and profounder shock to public confidence followed; in the resignation2
of Hon. Salmon P. Chase
as Secretary of the Treasury
. Gov. Chase
had filled in the public service, through years of doubt, depression, and disaster, the second place in importance, and the first in the magnitude of its requirements, and had discharged its duties with preeminent ability, energy, and courage.
When he accepted it, on the accession of Mr. Lincoln
, the Finances were already in chaos; the current revenue being inadequate, even in the absence of all expenditure or preparation for war; his predecessor3
having attempted to borrow $10,000,000 in October, 1860, and obtained only $7,022,000-the bidders to whom the balance was awarded choosing to forfeit their initial deposit rather than take and pay for their bonds.
Thenceforth, he had tided over till his resignation, by selling treasury notes payable a year from date at 6 to 12 per cent. discount; and when, after he had vanished from the scene, Gen. Dix
, who succeeded him in Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet, attempted4
to borrow a small sum on twenty-year bonds at 6 per cent., he was obliged to sell those bonds at an average discount of 9 1/2 per cent. Hence, of Mr. Chase
's first loan of $8,000,000, for which bids were opened5
ten days before Beauregard
first fired on Fort Sumter
, the offerings ranged from 5 to 10 per cent. discount; and only $3,099,000 were tendered at or under 6 per cent. discount-he, in the face of a vehement clamor, declining all bids at higher rates of discount than 6 per cent., and placing, soon afterward, the balance of the $8,000,000 in two-year treasury notes at par or a fraction over.
Such were the financial auspices under which the Republic
commenced the most gigantic and costly struggle that the world had ever known — a struggle in which it was ultimately required to keep on foot an army of one million men, with a