War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0032 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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to come to our aid. The course of events and the suspension of the South Carolina and Georgia banks will create more or less uneasiness in the minds of bill-holders, and will induce many of them to draw the specie from the banks to the extent of the notes they may hold, and thus render the banks unable to aid the State as they otherwise could do. I am strongly urged, from various parts of the State, to convene the Legislature for the purpose of authorizing the banks to suspend specie payments and thus enable them to retain their specie for the purposes suggested. I have reflected much and anxiously upon the subject. Ia m satisfied, were I to convene the Legislature for the purpose stated, that it would produce a run on the banks and in a great measure exhaust their specie and defeat the object I have in view.

" 'With the view, then, of enabling the banks to retain their specie for the purpose aforesaid, I deem it my duty, under the circumstances, to advise and request them to suspend, all at the same time. The high and patriotic motives which would induce the act would sustain the banks and me. There can be no doubt that the convention and Legislature, soon to meet, will sustain and legalize the act. I will sanction it, and will institute no proceedings against them; ad in my message to the Legislature and convention will urge them to sanction the act, which I am sure they will do. If need be, after the suspension, I will write an address to the people of the State, stating the facts and circumstances under which the step was taken. I am satisfied that the banks are in a sound condition and can maintain it through the present crisis, but it will render them unable to give the State that aid she will need. I have written similar letters to all the banks. The contents of this communication are respectfully submitted to your consideration.

" 'Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

" 'A. B. MOORE. '

"At my suggestion and request, and for the purposes stated in my letter, the Commercial Bank at Selma, the Central Bank at Montgomery, and the Eastern Bank at Eufaula suspended this day. It is due to those banks that I should say (their condition) that they are able to sustain themselves though the crisis, and that t hey have taken this important step with the high and patriotic motive of sustaining the State, as shown by the response of each of them to my letter. Their letters are filled in my office, and would have been published but for the length they would give this communication. There is no necessity for any depreciation in their notes, as there can be no question of their solvency. The circumstances under which they have suspended should relieve them from any censure. If censure is to fall upon any one it should be upon me, and I rely for my justification upon the manifest propriety and necessity of the act, as well as the motives which induced it. The Bank of Mobile and the Southern Bank of Alabama decline to suspend, but patriotically pledge themselves to raise their proportion of the amount suggested in my letter should there be a necessity for it. These two banks being located in Mobile and the Southern Bank of Alabama decline to suspend, but patriotically pledge themselves to raise their proportion of the amount suggested in my letter should there be a necessity for it. These two banks being located in Mobile can procure specie and exchange with more facility then the banks in the interior, and are not so liable to be prejudiced by the suspended banks of South Carolina and Georgia. Hence their ability to aid the State without suspending specie payments. The Northern Bank at Huntsville also declines to suspend, on account of peculiar circumstances which surround it. I have now briefly stated the circumstances and facts connected with the suspension of three of our banks, in accordance with the promise contained in my letter, and hope they will be satisfactory to the enlightened and patriotic people of Alabama, for whose benefit this great responsibility has been assumed.

"A. B. MOORE. "

I am authorized to say that the banks are prepared to loan the State their proportionate share of $1,000necessities require it. The convention is aware that I have had Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, and Mount Vernon [Arsenal] occupied by the troops of Alabama. My reasons for this important step are briefly and plainly set forth in the following letter to the President of the United States as soon as I was officially informed that the forts and arsenal had been occupied. *

The forts and arsenal will be held subject to such instructions and directions as the convention may think proper to give. Strict orders have been given the officers in command at the places mentioned to take an inventory of the arms and ammunition and public stores, and see that all are protected and preserved.


*For the Governor's letter (here omitted), dated January 4, 1861, see Series I, VOL. I, p. 327.