“Our Financial Situation- First Duty of Our Re-Elected”

new york herald

November 11, 1864

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The New York Herald
Date: November 11, 1864
Title: OurFinancialSituation – First Duty of Our Re-Elected
OurFinancialSituation – First Duty of Our Re-Elected
Mr. Lincoln enters upon his renewed term of office under
very different circumstances from those in which he assumed the
Presidency. Then he was the nominee of a minority, whose
success was secured only by the divisions in the democratic
party. Now he is the elected of a large majority of the loyal
States and the representative of the Union sentiment of the
country. Then he had but little or no official experience, was
surrounded by difficulties of every kind, and had to choose his
counsellors from among men who were either tools or fanatics.
Now he is full of the ripe experience which such a severe
ordeal as he has passed through must necessarily give, and he
is at liberty to select his advisors from among men of both
parties. None of his predecessors have ever occupied a freer
or more independent position. If he fails in realizing what he
has been a second time chosen for, it will be from a weakness
in his character, and not from the lack of a generous and
unselfish support on the part of the people.
A man of even less ability than Mr. Lincoln ought, thus
sustained, to be able to fulfill the expectations of the
country. The military situation is divested of all cause for
anxiety. Within a given time it is mathematically certain that
the resisting power of the rebellion must give way. With
Grant, Sherman and Sheridan at the head of our armies, and
Farragut and Porter at the head o four fleets, there can be no
ground for apprehending that we shall witness further failures
in the conduct of the war. In that regard, therefore,
President Lincoln will have no reason to dread the renewal of
those vexations which the inexperience of his advisers and his
own mistakes at one time caused him. All will be plain sailing
so long as he continues to confide in the officers whose
capacity and patriotism have been tested in so many trying
situations. This anxiety removed, he must take steps to do
away with another, which, unprovided against, will harass his
administration. The financialsituation of the country, it
must now be admitted, is one that gives room for the deepest
apprehension to every patriotic mind. Although we have
contrived to carry on one of the most stupendous wars that the
world has ever witnessed entirely out of our own means, and
without borrowing a dollar abroad, it has long been patent to
every one that our finances have been grievously mismanaged.
With enormous resources of every kind, in the shape of money,
commercial products, and a patriotism on the part of our people
that shrank from no calls upon it, Secretary Chase so
experimented and blundered as to bring them into a most
dangerous and discreditable condition. He neither understood
the position of affairs when he entered office nor the
character of the work that lay before him, and so he floundered
on, trying all sorts of expedients to repair his mistakes, and
only making bad worse. The epoch of his administration cannot
fail to be characterized in the future as one of the most
unfortunate that this country has ever known. His successor,
Mr. Fessenden, seems to be content to follow in his footsteps.
The financial smartness which he displayed in the Senate only
serves to prove how difficult it is for theorists to carry out
their own views. Mr. Lincolnfirst duty, as the elect of the
nation, is to remedy the confusion and suffering created by the
blunders of these prentice hands at financiering, by placing at
the head of the Treasury a man in whose talents, honesty and
experience the country can feel confidence, and whose knowledge
of the resources of the country will enable him to restore
order in our finances, to protect those who have invested their
money in government securities, and to bring down the
necessaries of life within reach of all by establishing
something like a fair equivalent between the value of
greenbacks and gold. This done, we may indulge a reasonable
hope of crushing out the rebellion with thee resources that we
possess, without being compelled to go begging for financial
aid abroad.
When we hear doubts expressed as to our ability to carry on
this war much longer, because of the heaviness of our
expenditure, it seems to us like a willful despairing. Our
whole debt at the present time is little over $2,000,000,000.
England, with a territory no larger than one of our States,
owes $4,000,000,000 – just double the amount. We have a dozen
States equal to her in a size, rich in undeveloped resources,
and with a population willing to pay any amount of taxes for
the support of a government honestly administered. Why, then,
should any one question our capacity to do all that England has
done in that way? The doubt can be induced only be want of
faith in the men to whom the management of our finances has
hitherto been entrusted. Let one of Mr. Lincolnfirst acts
be to place at the head of the Treasury a financier whose
genius, experience and honesty will give assurance to the
country that this department will be properly administered for
the future, and his remaining difficulties will at once vanish.
To a vigorous conduct of the war, under our present energetic
military and naval commanders, let him but add a skilful and
conscientious management of the countryresources, and the
nation will universally recognize the wisdom of the choice that
it has just made in his person.
These two conspicuous, but misguided and unlucky peace
agitators, have now all parts of the world before them from
which to choose. Very little sympathy is expressed for the
Hon. Fernando, in falling short of a re-election to Congress
for the idea has become prevalent among the politicians that he
is a cold, calculating, cruel, remorseless and unscrupulous
intriguer, with whom end justifies the means.”We think
he would do well now to give up the cares, turmoils, expenses
and disappointments of New York politics, and indulge himself
in an airing abroad. He has the manners, graces and
accomplishments of the polished gentleman, and would doubtless
be received in this character among the courtly circles of
Europe, beginning with a return visit to his distinguished
guest of 1860, the Prince of Wales. The Hon. Fernando has in
his day been a busy, enterprising and successful man, in
various occupations, steadily rising from his first
unpretending appearance on the stage as the right hind leg of
elephant”to his present position. Why, then, should he
not retire from business, and make the tour of Europe?
As for the Hon. Ben. Wood, he is regarded rather as the
victim than the victimizer of the party cormorants surrounding
him. He has the reputation of good, frank, clever fellow,”
generous to a fault, but unfortunately too apt to follow a
secession constitutional abstraction into the miasmatic swamps
of South Carolina. Let him give up politics, and if he has any
constitutional scruples against lottery tickets, there are
various other profitable pursuits in which his practical
business talents may be turned to a good account. It would be
better to turn the Daily News into a house of refuge for
political and literary Bohemians, than to maintain it longer as
a Jeff. Davis organ of peace- at-any-price.

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