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Doc. 100.-Gen. Butler's order on currency.

headquarters Department of the Gulf, New-Orleans, May 19, 1862.
General orders, No. 30.

it is represented to the Commanding General that great distress, hunger, and even starvation, has been brought upon the people of New-Orleans and its vicinity by the course taken by the banks and dealers in currency.

He has been urged to take measures to provide, as far as may be, for the relief of the citizens, so that the loss may fall, in part at least, on those who have caused and ought to bear it.

The General sees with regret that the banks and bankers causelessly suspended specie payments in September last, in contravention of the laws of the State and of the United States. Having done so, they introduced confederate notes as currency, which they bought at a discount, in place of their own bills, receiving them on deposit, paying them out for their discounts, and collecting their customers' notes and drafts in them as money, sometimes even against their will, thus giving these notes credit and a wide general circulation, so that they were substituted in the hands of the middling men, the poor and unwary as currency, in place of that provided by the Constitution and laws of the country, or of any valuable equivalent.

The banks and bankers now endeavor to take advantage of the reestablishment of the United States there, to throw the depreciation and loss from this worthless stuff of their own creation and fostering upon their creditors, depositors and bill-holders.

They refuse to receive these bills, while they pay them over their counters.

They require their depositors to take them.

They change the obligation of currency by stamping their bills, “redeemable in confederate notes.”

They have invested the savings of labor and the pittance of the widow in this paper.

They sent away or hid their specie, so that the people could have nothing but these notes, which they now depreciate, with which to buy bread.

All other property here has become nearly valueless from the calamities of this iniquitous and unjust war, begun by rebellious guns, turned on the flag of our prosperous and happy country, floating over Fort Sumter. Saved from the general ruin by this system of financiering, their stocks alone are now selling at great premiums in the market, while the stockholders have received large dividends. [340]

To equalize as far as may be this general loss, to have it fall at least in part where it ought to be, to enable the people of this city and vicinity to have a currency which shall at least be a semblance to that which the wisdom of the Constitution provides for all citizens of the United States, it is therefore

Ordered, 1. That the several incorporated banks pay out no more confederate notes, to their depositors or creditors, but that all deposits be paid in the bills of the bank, United States Treasury Notes, gold or silver.

2. That all private bankers receiving deposits, pay out to their depositors only the current bills of city banks, or United States Treasury Notes, gold or silver.

3. That the Savings Banks pay to their depositors or creditors, only gold, silver, or United States Treasury Notes, current bills of city banks, or their own bills, to an amount not exceeding one third of their deposits, and of denominations not less than one dollar, which they are authorized to issue, and for the redemption of which their assets shall be held liable.

4. The incorporated banks are authorized to issue bills of a less denomination than five dollars, but not less than one dollar, any thing in their charters to the contrary notwithstanding, and are authorized to receive confederate notes for any of their bills till the twenty-seventh day of May next.

5. That all persons and firms having issued small notes, or “shinplasters,” so called, are required to redeem them on presentation at their places of business, between the hours of nine A. M. and three P. M., either in gold, silver, United States Treasury Notes, or current bills of city banks, under penalty of confiscation of their property and sale thereof for the purpose of redemption of the notes so issued, and imprisonment for a term of hard labor.

Private bankers may issue notes of denominations not less than one nor more than ten dollars, to two thirds of the amount of specie which they show to a Commissioner appointed from these headquarters, in their vaults, and actually kept there for the redemption of such notes.

By command of

Major-General Butler. Geo. G. Strong, Assistant Adjutant-General.


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