Lincoln Memo to Chase

On June 11, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln collected all his bonds, notes, cash and gold, and walked from the White House to Secretary Chase's office in the Treasury Department.  Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Maunsell Field described the scene:

"I happened once to be with the Secretary when the President, without knocking and unannounced, as was his habit, entered the room.  His rusty black hat was on the back of his head, and he wore, as was his custom, an old gray shawl across his shoulders…  I said good morning to Mr. Lincoln, and then, as was the established etiquette when the President called, withdrew…  In less than five minutes I was summoned to return to the Secretary…  The President was gone, and there was lying upon one end of Mr. Chase’s desk a confused mass of Treasury notes, Demand notes, Seven-thirty notes, and other representatives of value.  Mr. Chase told us that this lot of money had just been brought by Mr. Lincoln, who desired to have it converted into bonds."

Along with this "confused mass" of paper and coins was a note listing the items left behind and a request for Chase to "fix up" what was there.  Lincoln’s inventory consisted of $16,200 in Seven-Thirty notes, $26,181.40 in Temporary Loan certificates, $8,000 in Five-Twenty bonds, $4,044.67 in uncashed Treasury salary warrants, and $89.00 in greenbacks.  To this inventory Lincoln added at the last minute a bag of gold coins worth $883.30, resulting in a collection of assets worth $55,398.37.

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