This country was just settling up marvellous accounts

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This country was just settling up. Marvellous accounts had gone forth of the fertility of its virgin lands; and the
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productions of the soil were commanding a price remunerating to slave labor as it had never been remunerated before. Emigrants came flocking in from all quarters of the Union, especially from the slaveholding States. The new country seemed to be a reservoir, and every road leading to it a vagrant stream of enterprise and adventure. Money, or what passed for money, was the only cheap thing to be had. Every cross road and every avocation presented an opening-- through which a fortune was seen by the adventurer in near perspective. Credit was a thing of course. To refuse it--if the thing was ever done--were an insult for which a bowie knife were not a too summary or exemplary a means of redress. The State banks were issuing their bills by the sheet, like a patent steam printing-press its issues; and no other showing was asked of the applicant for the loan than an authentication of his great distress for money. Finance, even in its most exclusive quarter, had thus already got, in this wonderful revolution, to work upon the principles of the charity hospital. . . . Under this stimulating process prices rose like smoke. Lots in obscure villages were held at city prices; lands, bought at the minimum cost of government, were sold at from thirty to forty dollars per acre, and considered dirt cheap at that. . . . The old rules of business and the calculations of prudence
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were alike disregarded, and profligacy, in all the departments of the crimen falso, held riotous carnival. Larceny grew not only respectable, but genteel, and ruffled it in all the pomp of purple and fine linen. . . . "Commerce was king"--and Rags, Tag and Bobtail his cabinet council. Rags were treasurer. Banks, chartered on a specie basis, did a very flourishing business on the promissory notes of the individual stockholders ingeniously substituted in lieu of cash. They issued ten for one, the one being fictitious. They generously loaned all the directors could not use themselves. . . . The Jupiter Tonans of the White House saw the monster of a free credit prowling about like a beast of apocalyptic vision, and marked him for his prey. Gathering all his bolts in his sinewy grasp, and standing back on his heels, and waving his
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  • Fall '19
  • Specie Circular, Joseph G. Baldwin

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