Guess whose picture graces the largest banknote in US history? Why Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury during the Civil War, who came from Ohio and didn’t own any shares of the powerful New York bank, but its executives were so happy with Chase’s policies they decided to re-name their corporation after him! Chase printed the first greenbacks and put his own image on those as well.
But before Chase Bank was born, it was known as The Bank of the Manhattan Company, and founded by Aaron Burr, the greatest British spy who never got caught. Although Burr was tried for treason, he escaped the gallows due to his advanced cipher technologies. His encryption of all his correspondence saved his life, for had his full relationship with England been revealed, Burr would have lost his life during the Revolutionary War. Washington wisely removed him from command sensing his duplicity and penchant for intrigue.
Here’s the Matthew Brady portrait of Chase, who supposedly had a “religious conversion” that turned him into the most rabid abolitionist in America.
Most Americans don’t realize it, but the overwhelming majority of Americans prior to the Civil War viewed John Brown as an insane terrorist and abolitionists were shunned as fanatics, yet by the war’s end almost every Northerner would be singing his battle hymn.
Chase created the Republican Party and led its radical abolitionist wing, a cabal that took over the country when the South seceded. But then he got into a tiff with Lincoln toward the end of the war and submitted his resignation in a huff, but was a bit blindsided when Lincoln accepted it. Lincoln tried to smooth over the insult by making him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but that job carried zero patronage, which meant Chase’s power base was shattered.
Chase would be the only member of the Cabinet who didn’t care to visit Lincoln’s bedside during his last night on earth, but he did pass by the Peterson house just as Lincoln was drawing his last breath. Upon hearing the news Lincoln still lived, Chase “kept walking, his eyes bloodshot and his features twisted in a strange contortion.” (Twenty Days by Dorothy M. Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr. Castle Books, 1965).
Yes, a small cabal of Radical Republicans fomented the Civil War and a possible reason some Northern banks funded their movement may have been a realization the Southern economy would eventually outpace the North due to the economic advantages of slavery. Cotton was King and it was growing cash in the South much faster than anything the North could produce. But without slaves, the South would lose hundreds of billions in assets and never out-compete the North. So while it’s really terrific we got rid of slavery, and it was the proper and humane thing to do, please don’t think all banksters did it for noble motives.
The reason the Civil War had to last so long and be so bloody was so the North would embrace the abolitionist cause and allow this cabal to punish the South as a conquered nation afterwards. Had General George B. McClellan been simply left alone, Richmond may have surrendered early, and the South welcomed back into Congress with slavery intact. For this reason, the Civil War was engineered to be long and bloody. McClellan never would have waged “total war” on civilians like General Sherman did.
And that’s why Secretary of War Edwin Stanton sabotaged his old pal McClellan, and ran him off his command, because McClellan believed slavery was legal under the Constitution, and while the South shouldn’t be allowed to secede, in his view, they should have been allowed to keep the slaves.
After General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox, President Lincoln and his Secretary of State began working on plans for total forgiveness, which meant the cabal of Radical Republicans who’d been running the country (and looting it six-ways-to-Sunday) were about to lose power once the Southerners were restored to vote with the moderate Republicans. Instead of plundering the South for patronage, bribes and booty, the Radicals were about to be left with the short end of every Congressional stick. And they knew it. And to give you an idea of the plan Thaddeus Stevens was proposing: they wanted to seize all property owned by the 70,000 richest Southerners. But Lincoln blocked the bill.
The obvious solution was to get rid of Lincoln, who’d just been re-elected for another four years, and that’s exactly what happened.
Just about everything you know about the assassination is wrong because it was a script carefully plotted out with no facts to support it, except ones that were obviously manufactured. You’ve been told there was an aborted attempt on Vice President Johnson that night, as well as assassinations planned on General Ulysses S. Grant and Secretary of War Stanton. But those allegations were concocted by perjurers, some of whom had been paid to lay down testimony implicating Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the ultimate scapegoat, just as Fidel Castro was initially designed to be the scapegoat for JFK’s assassination (hence Oswald’s alleged bus ride to Mexico City).
Forgotten today is the fact Davis was also convicted of the Lincoln assassination by Stanton’s illegal military tribunal, the same one that hanged poor Mary Surratt, but at the time, Davis was in Union custody in Virginia and he was eventually released without any trial. This was because a trial would have opened even more wormholes in tribunal’s parade of manufactured evidence, something exposed soon enough during Johnson’s impeachment hearings and the trial of Confederate spy John Surratt, Booth’s courier who was captured in Egypt. Surratt’s mother was a complete innocent in the murder plot, although she was an intelligence asset reporting to Col. John Mosby. No matter, she was swiftly hanged by Stanton’s military court as the primary scapegoat, while her son, a Confederate courier, walked free because there was no evidence linking him to the assassination.
The only people who benefited from Lincoln’s death were the leaders of his own party, who quickly reversed his pledge of forgiveness and began looting the South to enrich themselves, something Lincoln was blocking.
But the most overlooked aspect of this story was the shift in the financial center of power during Chase’s tenure. At the start of the Civil War, Philadelphia was the center of North American finance. Jay Cooke was a partner in E.W. Clark & Company during the Mexican War. By financing that war, the bank had risen to become one of the country’s most influential institutions. But in January 1861, Cooke and his brother-in-law created Jay Cooke & Company. By September of that year, the new firm was made the financial agent for all government loans and bonds, and the Civil War soon transformed it into the most powerful bank in the country. This was accomplished through the elevation of Cooke’s toadie Salmon Chase to the position of Secretary of Treasury.
Cooke’s bank established branches in New York City and Washington DC during the war and prospered greatly. Strangely enough, however, within a decade Cooke was bankrupted through an immense railroad deal gone sour. In early 1874, Cooke received a letter from one of his former European executives, George B. Sargent, explaining the cause of the downfall of his once-prosperous company. “The negotiation of the 50 millions by the Darmstadt Bank, Sol Oppenheim and Company and Bischoffsheim and Goldsmith, was a sure and entire success had Mr. Fahnestock been at Cologne on the day agreed upon for the ratification of the contract instead of delaying the time for two days…. The truth is, Mr. Cooke, that in the Northern Pacific business as well as in your regular business you were ruined and slaughtered by parties you believed to be your confidential friends….The second negotiation with the Union Bank of Vienna would have succeeded but for bad faith on the part of your London house.”