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Panics, Depressions and Economic Crisis Prior to 1930
The Panic of 1819
Panic and Depression 1832

Panic and Depression 1836

The Panic of 1837

Six Year Depression 1837-1843

The Panic of 1857

Panic and Depression 1869-1871

The Panic of 1873

The Panic of 1893-Financial World

The Panic of 1893-Presidential Papers

The Panic of 1901-Market Fails, Panic Reigns-Part I

The Panic of 1901-Market Fails, Panic Reigns-Part II

The Panic of 1901- At The Stock Exchange

Panic and Depression of 1929

Brief Financial Notes based on 1875-1907

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Niagara Reservation became the first state park in the United States.




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I know that it has been objected that the system would be liable to be abused by the Legislature, by whom alone it could be abused, in the party conflicts of the day; that such abuse would manifest itself in a change of the law which would authorize an excessive issue of paper for the purpose of inflating prices and winning popular favor. To that it may be answered that the ascription of such a motive to Congress is altogether gratuitous and inadmissible. The theory of our institutions would lead us to a different conclusion. But a perfect security against a proceeding so reckless would be found to exist in the very nature of things. 

The political party which should be so blind to the true interests of the country as to resort to such an expedient would inevitably meet with final overthrow in the fact that the moment the paper ceased to be convertible into specie or otherwise promptly redeemed it would become worthless, and would in the end dishonor the Government, involve the people in ruin and such political party in hopeless disgrace. At the same time, such a view involves the utter impossibility of furnishing any currency other than that of the precious metals; for if the Government itself can not forego the temptation of excessive paper issues what reliance can be placed in corporations upon whom the temptations of individual aggrandizement would most strongly operate? The people would have to blame none but themselves for any injury that might arise from a course so reckless, since their agents would be the wrongdoers and they the passive spectators.

There can be but three kinds of public currency first, gold and silver; second, the paper of State institutions; or, third, a representative of the precious metals provided by the General Government or under its authority. The sub-treasury system rejected the last in any form, and as it was believed that no reliance could be placed on the issues of local institutions for the purposes of general circulation it necessarily and unavoidably adopted specie as the exclusive currency for its own use; and this must ever be the case unless one of the other kinds be used.

The choice in the present state of public sentiment lies between an exclusive specie currency on the one hand and Government issues of some kind on the other. That these issues can not be made by a chartered institution is supposed to be conclusively settled. They must be made, then, directly by Government agents. For several years past they have been thus made in the form of Treasury notes, and have answered a valuable purpose. Their usefulness has been limited by their being transient and temporary; their ceasing to bear interest at given periods necessarily causes their speedy return and thus restricts their range of circulation, and being used only in the disbursements of Government they can not reach those points where they are most required. By rendering their use permanent, to the moderate extent already mentioned, by offering no inducement for their return and by exchanging them for coin and other values, they will constitute to a certain extent the general currency so much needed to maintain the internal trade of the country. And this the exchequer plan so far as it may operate in furnishing a currency.

Volume: IV Pages: 204-209 (extract) "I can not forego the occasion to urge its importance to the credit of the Government in a financial point of view. The great necessity of resorting to every proper and becoming expedient in order to place the Treasury on a footing of the highest respectability is entirely obvious. The credit of the Government may be regarded as the very soul of the Government itself, a principle of vitality without which all its movements are languid and all its operations embarrassed. In this spirit the Executive felt itself bound by the most imperative sense of duty to submit to Congress at its last session the propriety of making a specific pledge of the land fund as the basis for the negotiation of the loans authorized to be contracted.

I then thought that such an application of the public domain would without doubt have placed at the command of the Government ample funds to relieve the Treasury from the temporary embarrassments under which it labored. American credit has suffered a considerable shock in Europe from the large indebtedness of the States and the temporary inability of some of them to meet the interest on their debts. The utter and disastrous prostration of the United States Bank of Pennsylvania had contributed largely to increase the sentiment of distrust by reason of the loss and ruin sustained by the holders of its stock, a large portion of whom were foreigners and many of whom were alike ignorant of our political organization and of our actual responsibilities.

It was the anxious desire of the Executive that in the effort to negotiate the loan abroad the American negotiator might be able to point the money lender to the fund mortgaged for the redemption of the principal and interest of any loan he might contract, and thereby vindicate the Government from all suspicion of bad faith or inability to meet its engagements. Congress differed from the Executive in this view of the subject. It became, nevertheless, the duty of the Executive to resort to every expedient in its power to do so.

After a failure in the American market a citizen of high character and talent was sent to Europe, with no better success; and thus the mortifying spectacle has been presented of the inability of this Government to obtain a loan so small as not in the whole to amount to more than one-fourth of its ordinary annual income, at a time when the Governments of Europe, although involved in debt and with their subjects heavily burdened with taxation, readily obtained loans of any amount at a greatly reduced rate of interest. It would be unprofitable to look further into this anomalous state of things, but I can not conclude without adding that for a Government which has paid off its debts of two wars with the largest maritime power of Europe, and now owing a debt which is almost next to nothing when compared with its boundless resource, a Government the strongest in the world, because emanating from the popular will and firmly rooted in the affections of a great and free people, and whose fidelity to its engagements has never been questioned for such a Government to have tendered to the capitalists of other countries an opportunity for a small investment in its stock, and yet to have failed, implies either the most unfounded distrust in its good faith or a purpose to obtain which the course pursued is the most fatal which could have been adopted. It has now become obvious to all men that the Government must look to its own means for supplying its wants, and it is consoling to know that these means are altogether adequate for the object.

The exchequer, if adopted, will greatly aid in bringing about this result. Upon what I regard as a well-founded supposition that its bills would be readily sought for by the public creditors and that the issue would in a short time reach the maximum of $15,000,000, it is obvious that $10,000,000 would thereby be added to the available means of the Treasury without cost or charge. Nor can I fail to urge the great and beneficial effects which would be produced in aid of all the active pursuits of life. Its effects upon the solvent State banks, while it would force into liquidation those of an opposite character through its weekly settlements, would be highly beneficial; and with the advantages of a sound currency the restoration of confidence and credit would follow with a numerous train of blessings. My convictions are most strong that these benefits would flow from the adoption of this measure; but if the result should be adverse there is this security in connection with it---that the law creating it may be repealed at the pleasure of the Legislature without the slightest implication of its good faith.



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