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be borrowed in Europe for the pur- up in one short year to more poses of the strife, and that Euro- than double the sum; and before pean capitalists, chary of American. the war was ended, in the early ventures at the best, positively re- spring of 1865, had reached the fused to advance a sixpence in sup- ascertained amount of 3000 millions port of the contest-neither party to of dollars, or just twelve times as which enlisted much of their sym- much as General Scott had anticipathy, and the North least of all— pated. the Federal Government saw that Towards the middle of the year there was nothing to be done but 1861, up to which time the Governto borrow as much as it could of ment had not resorted to the exthe Northern people, and to issue pedient of printing inconvertible inconvertible paper-money to sup- greenbacks, and when it relied ply all possible deficiencies. When solely upon the produce of loans the war first broke out, the North- for carrying on the war, the vulern people and their Government tures, who sniff carnage from afar had but little idea of the magni- off, and delight in the odour of tude of the task they had under- blood the knavish contractors taken. Mr Lincoln, a modest and and jobbers, who are, unfortiltimid man, was loath or afraid to nately, to be found in all countries, call for so many as 75,000 men and who think it no sin to rob a for the castigation of the rebels ; nation, however great may be its and Mr Seward, as all the world distress and peril were busily knows, thought ninety days suffi- engaged in the work of plunder. cient time in which to “whip the The Government was greatly in South”-using the vulgar Yankee want of steamships for the transphrase which both Northern and port of troops, and it was in the Southern Americans employ, where matter of steamships that the an Englishman would say to " first organised villanies of the quer." General Winfield Scott, “patriots,” who thirsted to grow who, being a Virginian, better knew suddenly rich at the expense of a the temper of his people than Mr nation battling for its life, were Lincoln of Ohio, or Mr Seward of displayed. The sale to the GovernNew York, considered that three ment of two steamers, the Cataline years, three hundred thousand men, and the Kill van Kull, excited at and two hundred and fifty millions this time particular remark. The of dollars (fifty millions sterling), Cataline, an unseaworthy boat, it would be done too much for so appears, with which the insurance great a work, and that even all offices would have nothing to do exthese might be unavailing if a cept at a very exceptional premium, young, an able, and more especially was purchased of her owners for a fortunate general were not dis- 18,000 dollars, though not worth covered to lead his countrymen to 12,000, and transferred to the servictory. The estimate was con- vice of the Government for 10,000 sidered at the time to be highly dollars per month, for the conveyextravagant. Experience, however, ance of troops between New York soon proved its moderation in every and Annapolis. At the end of two element except that of time. The months and a half, after making three years stretched into four. these handsome earnings, she was The killed, the wounded, and the accidentally destroyed by fire. As disabled alone amounted, before she was no insured against this all was over, to the full three risk, the Government, that had hundred thousand that General undertaken to pay 50,000 dollars Scott considered ample for vic- for her in the event of her detory; and the modest two hundred struction or loss by any peril not and fifty millions of dollars ran covered by her insurance, had to
provide this handsome sum; and themselves the task of visiting the the speculators — leading patriots various localities where it was supall of them-went on their way posed that examinations would be rejoicing, willing, no doubt, to sup- necessary. They had held sittings, ply the Government with as many and examined witnesses, in Washmore steamships as it might desire, ington, New York, Boston, New on equally favourable terms. This Bedford, St Louis, Cairo, Chicago, was but one specimen out of scores, and Harrisburg, and in all travel. and by no means the worst. The led between six thousand and seven brood of contractors and specula- thousand miles. They examined tors did not, however, confine no less than two hundred and themselves to this particular mode sixty-five witnesses, whose testiof plunder. Army stores, horses, mony in the Report covered 1109 mules, fodder, and firearms, were closely-printed octavo pages. Disall in hot request, and all these graceful as the facts were supposed articles were supplied by greedy to be before the inquiry was instipatriots, desirous of growing rich tuted, the Report and evidence by a single operation. Shoes that proved that for once Rumour had wore out in a three-days' march been less of a liar than usual, and were supplied at a price three or that she had under rather than four hundred per cent above the over-stated the swindling, the pecumarket value of the best article lation, the fraud, and the robbery that could be manufactured; thou- perpetrated upon the Government. sands of stands of old-fashioned It was not merely the sellers of and useless firearms were foisted ships, of stores, of guns, and all upon the War Office; and spavined such as had anything to dispose old mules, fit for nothing but the of at as high a price as they could knacker, were disposed of at prince- get, but the confidential agents ly prices. So great was the scandal of the Government itself, who created—for naturally every needy scented the plunder with keen olscoundrel who could not get his factories, and grabbed it without finger into this beautiful pie was remorse. indignant at, as well as envious A few of the many exposures of, those who did, and made a made in this Report, sample bricks great clamour, through the press of the whole edifice of fraud, will and otherwise, about the man- serve to show the mingled audacity ner in which the country was and cunning, and the entire success being robbed—that Congress was of the “smart” men who aided alarmed. The result was, that in the United States in getting rid of the summer of 1861 a special com- the money which it had borrowed mittee of seven members of the of the people, and enabled the enHouse of Representatives was ap- thusiastic Yankees, who considered pointed, under the presidency of England "slow,” to boast of their Mr Van Wyck of New York, to own surprising “fastness.” In May “inquire into all the facts and 1861, when people unwilling to becircumstances connected with con- lieve in unpleasant facts had at last tracts and agreements by or with begun to open their eyes and their the Government, growing out of minds to the magnitude of the war its efforts in suppressing the re- in wbich the two sections of thecounbellion." On the 17th of Decem- try were arrayed against each other, ber the Committee presented its the Federal Government, being in report, in which they stated that, want of two or three sailing-ships instead of summoning witnesses for coaling purposes, and thinking from all parts of the country to that whaling-vessels then out of Washington, they had deemed it employment, and lying idle at the to be their duty to take upon wharves of New Bedford, could be advantageously purchased for that General telegraphed back immedipurpose, authorised the naval officer ately to say that he would " take in command at Brooklyn to employ the lot," and they were forwarded such competent shipbroker as he accordingly. By this little operamight select to proceed to New tion, allowing for the seventy-five Bedford to make purchases. The cents for each carbine expended on broker was found ; and purchased the alterations, whatever they were, a ship called the Roman, for 4000 the Government lost, or was dedollars, and another ship called the frauded of, 89,750 dollars, or close William Badger, for 2500 dollars. upon £18,000. This was not, howBy a little manæuvring, all of ever, the worst part of the business. which is fully explained in the The Committee reported that “GeReport, this agent of the Govern- neral Fremont manifestly underment managed to charge his em- stood from Mr Stevens's telegraphic ployers 14,500 dollars for these despatch that the arms were new, two vessels ; and had the coolness, and ready for delivery, when in moreover, to demand five per cent truth, and at the time Stevens made on this sum for his personal ser- the purchase, a part of these arms vices. The Secretary of the Navy, were still in the possession of the anxious to do a good turn to his Government, and unpaid for—a fact friends, appointed his brother-in- of which he was necessarily informlaw, a wholesale grocer in New ed, for he advanced the money to York, to act as agent for the pur- enable Eastman to obtain them.” chase of ships generally for the In other words, the Government needs of the Government, although was made to sell its useless carbines he knew nothing whatever of their for three dollars and a half, and buy build, their quality, or their value. them back again immediately for In four months and a balf the twenty-two! Bad as was this case, favoured grocer made no less a sum it did not stand alone. Some time than 91,000 dollars, or £18,000 ster- before the outbreak of the war, a ling, as his commission upon the pur- firm of foreign merchants and genechases he effected. The Committee ral dealers in Broadway had rereported also the very notorious ceived from Vienna a consignment case of what were called “ The of 25,000 muskets, which had been Hall Carbines.” It appeared that rejected as unserviceable by the in the month of June, a Mr East Austrian Government. These musman, a very sharp “Yankee,” from kets were invoiced at two dollars Manchester, in the State of New each. General Fremont was shown Hampshire, had purchased of the a specimen, when in New York, on Ordnance Bureau 5400 of a useless his way to take command in the arm called Hall's Carbines, at the West, and on the advice of an Ausprice of three and a half dollars trian officer, then in the Federal each. He slightly altered and im- service, who explained the uselessproved them at a cost of less than ness of the arm, declined to purthree-quarters of a dollar, and found chase, though greatly in need of a customer for them in the person arms for his men. On reaching of a Mr Simon Stevens, who gave St Louis he telegraphed back to him twelve dollars and a half for each New York, for “arms ! arms ! carbine. Stevens, hearing that Gene- arms ! send us arms ! anything !” ral Fremont, then in command at St And this lot, by some means or Louis, Missouri, was greatly in want other, was sent on to him, at six of arms, telegraphed to him to the dollars and a half each, in all 162,500 effect that he had 5000 rifled cast. dollars, or £32,500 sterling. These steel carbines, breech-loading, new, arms were never used. The Comat twenty-two dollars, and asking mittee reported that they found a whether he would purchase. The large number of them at Cairo, on the Mississippi, and that notwith- tors to extort from and defraud the standing the urgent necessity for Government, where is this system arms at that point, whole regiments of peculation to end, and how soon being destitute, these muskets were may not the finances of the Govleft in the boxes in which they ernment be reduced to woeful were shipped from the arsenal at bankruptcy?” This was a pregSt Louis.
nant question, which there was These specimens of the reckless- none to answer. Perhaps the most ness with which arms were bought, monstrous job of all was the forand of the rapacity of those who tification of the city of St Louis, sold them, may suffice. Turning when General Fremont was in to the contracts for the supply of command-a fortification that, after cattle, we find the same carelessness it had made considerable progress, on the one hand, and roguery on was declared by competent military the other. * In this matter," said authority to be wholly unnecesthe Committee, there is much sary, and ordered to be disconevidence of gross mismanagement, tinued by the War Office. Five culpable carelessness, and reck- forts were built in a few days, less improvidence. Evidence exists under the direction of a Hungarian of large contracts for cattle having engineer officer on Fremont's staff, been made without any advertise- at a cost of 60,000 dollars. Other ments for bids, or any effort on the five forts smaller than these were part of the agents of the Govern- intrusted to a Mr Beard, one of the ment to satisfy themselves whether General's Californian friends, who the prices to be paid were exorbi- speedily ran up a bill for 246,000 tant, or even extortionate. Cattle dollars, and received 171,000 dol. were furnished at prices, per live lars of the money. After the War weight, very little, if any, below Department had ordered the cessathe retail prices of the meat in any tion of the works, Beard claimed of the markets of the country; and 60,000 dollars more, and the sum the contractors, without themselves was ordered to be paid by General furnishing a single hoof to the Gov- Fremont. Major Allen, the Quarterernment, made large sums of money master to whom the order was sent, by subletting the contracts to other refused to obey; "and thus,” reparties, who assumed all the re- ported the Committee, after a comsponsibilities and all the risks, and pliment to the Quartermaster for his still made in profits sums nearly as vigilance and firmness, “this last large as the original contractors.” sum of 60,000 dollars was saved “ There is every reason to believe," from going into the capacious and added the Committee," that there already gorged pockets of Beard.” was collusion on the part of the In concluding this part of their employés of the Government to subject, the Committee, after stigassist in robbing the Treasury; for matising Beard as “a cormorant,' when a conscientious officer refused expressed a hope that means might to pass cattle not in accordance be found to make the parties to with the contract, he was supersed- the “ atrocious contract disgorge ed by one who had no conscientious the sums out of which they had scruples in the matter ; and cattle defrauded the Government. Who that were rejected by his prede- the parties were, besides Beard himcessor were at once accepted. With self, the Committee did not state ; such a state of things existing, if and whether they did or did not officers of the Government, who disgorge, the muse of history has should be imbued with patriotism omitted to record. and integrity enough to have a care It will serve no useful purpose to of the means of the Treasury, are enter into further details of these ready to assist speculating contrac- and other frauds quite as gigantic
and heartless. Any one who is pended specie payments, and therecurious on the subject may refer to by forfeited their charters of inthe Report presented in the second corporation. Before the war, the session of the thirty-seventh Con- bank-note system of the States was gress by Mr Washbourne, and or- a crying evil. There was no nadered to be printed for the use of tional currency except gold and silmembers. It may be sufficient to ver, and gold disappeared at the add, however, that no action was first cannon-shot, while silver, and taken on the document, unless it even copper, followed the example were in the case of Mr Simon Cam- after a short interval. The notes eron, Secretary at War, who was not of one State did not circulate in any accused of any personal corruption, other, except at a discount; and a but was pointed at by public opin- man who travelled a couple of thouion as being a little too easy, too sand miles, and traversed five or six good-natured, and too anxious to States, had to lose a very considerserve his personal friends at the ex- able percentage on his notes in pense of the public Treasury. This every one of them. But the greengentleman found it necessary, or ex- back, based upon the credit of the pedient, or comfortable—it is diffi- United States, and equally good in cult to decide upon the exact word all the States, recommended itself to apply—to resign the portfolio of as a great convenience, and found the War Office, and was forthwith universal acceptance. It did not appointed, as a solatium to his displace the notes of the various wounded feelings, to the post of State and City banks, but did serAmbassador at the Court of St vice as a supplement and addendum, Petersburg
and, being sown broadcast over the At this time the war was but land in payment of the army and young, and all the plunder possible navy, and of army and navy stores, to contractors was but little com- and all the accoutrements and parapared with the chances that after- phernalia of war, had the temporary wards presented themselves, when effect of real wealth in stimulating Mr Lincoln found it necessary to every kind of trade and enterprise. call for levies of men, 300,000 at a The Northern people, having no time, and to order the construction hostile armies tramping over their of monitors and ironclads as rapidly soil, no squadrons and armadas of as all the available hands, energy, the enemy blockading their ports, and science in the country could and throwing red-hot shot and fiery produce them. As yet, also, the shell into their maritime cities, saw dollar was a dollar, and gold was at nothing but the bright side of war par; no immense issues of paper- —the side of its profuse expendimoney having been made to inflate ture. Everything went merrily prices, and puff up the country when the green backs made their with ideas of immense wealth con- appearance-everything except the sequent upon immense expenditure. price of gold, that soon began to “ Greenbacks” — called from lift its back against its unwelcome being printed on the back with a rival, and persisted in reaching a green colour which those who premium that the loyal people of the forged bank-notes by means of pho- North took pleasure in stigmatistography could not reproduce - ing as in the highest degree disloyal were not issued until 1862, and and rebellious. When 900 millions proved a great success. At the of inconvertible paper-money had very first outbreak of the war, all the been thrust into circulation, gold, banks throughout the Union, with that up to May 1862 had been at the exception of two small but par, advanced by rapid steps to a highly esteemed and respectable premium of 2, 5, 10, 20, and 30, concerns in New York, had sus- and reached, at the commencement