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Points out economic problems yet to come in aftermath of war - hopes Chase will start now to meet the difficulties so change will be gradual. Understands war will be kept open for a year to ease the problem but this is not constitutional; this enclosure with 63-12-11
letter, Norwood, McIlvaine, economy, Civl War
Norwood, A G., "Letter to C. P. McIlvaine" (1863). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 92.
From A.G. Norwood Esq.
New York. Dec. 1, 1863
My dear Friend,
After a certain lapse of time I feel that I have a certain pleasurable wish ungratified, until I have written you a few lines. The recent victories of Grant, so full of promise in regard to the one great result, have not had the influence on Commercial [?] which the country anticipated.
We still feel great anxiety in regard to Meade. If he is successful, the public eye will then be fastened with more eager interest on the policy of Mr. Chase than on the programmes of the war department.
Thus far, your friend the [Seely] has acquired the distinction of being the great luminary of the administration. In my opinion, if all things go right with the army then will come the day of real trial for Mr. Chase’s reputation. I consider it presumptuous in so many humble individuals like myself to be obtruding their advice upon Government, yet, there is one point upon which I should like to have my mind satisfied. And may I ask your views? You may have the advantage of being able to form a correct opinion.
It strikes me that now is the time for Mr. Chase to begin to prepare for the great change that the country must meet, as the consequences of complete success. If further inflation is to be used, it seems to me, that Mr. Chase will then make the fatal mistake. That the revulsion must come with a shock seems to me inadvisable, and it also seems, as if that shock should be made by gradual preparations as light as possible.
I have very lately heard with astonishment, the opinion expressed by some of our bank officers that more inflation would occur, and for some reason that I can not understand, Bank offices by many people are considered no authority. Does it come within the province of a Revd. Bishop to express an opinion upon such subjects? and may I ask yours?
A gentleman who is on intimate terms with some members of the administration told me this week, that it would be the policy of this Government to keep the war open for at least a year, even with immediate military successes, and he gave as a reason, that Administration would insist that Emancipatory laws should be passed by each and all of the states in rebellion, before they would be readmitted to their old fellowship in the Union. This ground, I can not well appreciate with any idea of constitutional obligations, and is antagonistic to the [constitution] officially promulgated by Mr. Seward; yet, my informant speaks as with authority. Do you believe this to be so? Large fortunes have been made by and through the War, while the whole country is in process of conforming to the next change, how desirable it would be that only such, should be affected by it. But, I fear that distress will be imposed alike upon the innocent as well as the guilty. Yet, I hope that now, and then Mr. Chase will prove equal to his great responsibility, far, far greater, and far more still to his reputation for sagacity as a Statesman than anything he has done in the past.