repairing the leaves around the fort and distributed elsewhere in a manner to afford no facility of approach to an enemy.
JOHN C. PALFREY,
First Lieutenant, United States Engineer.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, No. 30.
New Orleans, May 19, 1862.
It is represented to the commanding general that great distress, privation, suffering, hunger, and even starvation, have been brought upon the people of New Orleans and vicinage by the course taken by the banks and dealers of currency.
He has been urged to take measures to provide as far as may be for the relief of the citizens, so that the loss may fall in part at least on those who have caused and ought to bear it. The general sees with regret that the banks and bankers causelessly suspended spice payments in September last, in contravention of the laws of the State and of the United States. Having done so, they introduced Confederate notes as currency, which they brought at a discount in place of their own bills, receiving them on deposit, paying out for their discounts, and collecting their customers' notes and drafts as theirs in money, sometimes even against their will, thus giving these notes credit and a wide general circulation, so that they were substituted in the hands of the middle-men, the poor, and unwary as currency, in place of that provided by the Constitution and laws of the country or of any valuable equivalent.
The banks and bankers now endeavor to take advantage of the re-establishment of the authority of the United States here to thrown the depreciation and loss from this worthless stuff of their own creation and fostering upon their creditors, depositors, and bill-holders. They refuse to receive these bills, while they pay them over their counters. They require their depositors to take them. They change the obligation of contracts by stamping their bills "Redeemable in Confederate notes." They have invested the savings of labor and the pittance of the widow in this paper. They sent away or did their specie so that the people could have nothing but these notes - which they now depreciate - with which to buy bread.
All other property has become nearly valueless from the calamities of this iniquitous and unjust war, begun by rebellious guns turned on the flag of our prosperous and happy country floating over Fort Sumter. Saved from the general ruin by this system of financiering, bank stocks alone are now selling at great premiums in the market, while the stock-holders have received large dividends.
To equalize as far as may be this general loss to have it fall at least in part where it ought to lie, to enable the people of this city and vicinage to have a currency which shall at least be a semblance to that which the wisdom of the Constitution provides for all citizens of the United States, it is therefore ordered-
I. That the several incorporated banks pay out no more Confederate notes to their depositors or credits, but that all deposits be paid in the bills of the bank, United States Treasury notes, gold, or silver.
II. That all private bankers receiving deposits pay out to their depositors only the current bills of the city banks or United States Treasury notes, gold, or silver.