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[663]

Congress adjourned on the very day it voted the new call for three hundred thousand men. By this call the Federal armies were supplied with men during the entire fall of 1862, which was marked by so many sanguinary battles, and the third session of the Thirty-seventh Congress, which opened on the 1st of December, 1862, found these new soldiers already trained by the experience they had gone through. This session belongs to a period we have not yet touched upon; its most important work in a military point of view, the conscription law above alluded to, was enacted in the month of July, 1863; consequently, we shall not speak of it until after the great events which caused the American people to accept such a burden.

We shall now proceed to the consideration of another subject, and point out, without entering into long details, the financial measures adopted by Congress during the first two years, in order to meet the enormous expenses of the war; the limits of this work will not allow us to comment upon this interesting subject at length.

At the time of the presidential election of 1860, Mr. Howell Cobb, who subsequently became a general in the Confederate service, had been Mr. Buchanan's Secretary of the Treasury since 1857. He had seriously compromised the credit of the United States during his administration. The government of Washington, since its foundation, had formed the practice of promptly liquidating the debts contracted in times of emergency. Its financial condition in 1857, therefore, was very prosperous. The revenue derived from custom-house duties was abundantly sufficient to defray all its expenses, and reduce the national debt, the amount of which was daily diminishing. But after the expiration of one year, Mr. Cobb was obliged to borrow twenty million dollars at five per cent., and in the month of June, 1860, before the civil war could have been foreseen, he found himself under the necessity of asking the sanction of Congress for a new loan, merely to pay the interest on the first and to meet the national expenses. Although authorized to negotiate another loan for twenty-one millions on the same conditions as the first, he only succeeded in raising a little over seven millions. This issue took place in October. Two months later Mr. Cobb retired from the department,

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