I had been uncertain about the story of Colonel Dick Taylor, related in an obscure book, “Lincoln: Money Martyred” by the pseudonymous “Dr. R.E. Search.” (Palmdale, CA: Omni Publications, first published in 1935) The mysterious “Dr. Search” had claimed that Abraham Lincoln, needing money to finance the Union, had approached New York City money lenders. The bankers had replied, “War is a hazardous business. We can lend money to the Union at 24 to 36 percent interest.”
These were the same Wall Streeters who much later cried how they needed a government bailout! But back then, they had lorded it over President Lincoln. However Lincoln indignantly refused the usurious loan offered by the New York bankers.
Still, what was “Old Abe” to do? Money was urgently needed to help preserve the Union. It was then that President Abraham Lincoln remembered a knowledgeable friend in Chicago, Col. Dick Taylor (image above).
According to the pseudonymous “Dr. R.E. Search”, Col. Taylor came to Washington and advised Lincoln as follows: “Why, Lincoln, that is easy; just get Congress to pass a bill authorizing the printing of full legal tender treasury notes or greenbacks, and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also.”
Taylor went on to explain how full legal tender money would be just as good as any money and that Congress is given the express right to coin and issue money. (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have the power to… To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;”)
Of course nowadays this power over the money has been ceded to a privately-owned creature disguising itself as a “Federal” Reserve. But back in Old Abe’s time, the “full legal tender” money was under the control of the U.S. Congress.
Dr. Search had cited a letter from Abraham Lincoln in which the “rail splitter” President (Background: “Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry, Jan. 7, 2013) acknowledges the help he had received from Col. Taylor. But I was uncertain how reliable Dr. R.E. Search was as a source.
However I have today verified that the claim of Dr. Search is at least substantially correct. In the Logansport Pharos Tribune (Logansport, IN) of June 14, 1890 has been found an article (“Greenback’s Dad”) which reproduces the Abraham Lincoln letter acknowledging Col. Dick Taylor. That letter is given verbatim below:
MY DEAR COLONEL DICK:
I have long determined to make public the origin of the greenback and tell the world that it is one of Dick Taylor’s creations. You had always been friendly to me, and when troublous times fell upon us, and my shoulders, though broad and willing, were weak, and myself surrounded by such circumstances and such people that I knew not whom to trust, then I said in my extremity, “I will send for Col. Taylor; he will know what to do.” I think it was in January, 1862, on or about the 16th, that I did so.
You came and I said to you, “What can we do?” Said you, “Why issue treasury notes bearing no interest, printed on the best banking paper. Issue enough to pay off the army expenses and declare it legal tender.” [Salmon] Chase thought it a hazardous thing, but we finally accomplished it, and gave to the people of this republic the greatest blessing they ever had – their own paper to pay their own debts.
It is due to you, the father of the present greenback, that the people should know it, and I take great pleasure in making it known. How many times have I laughed at you telling me plainly that I was too lazy to be anything but a lawyer. Yours truly,
Abraham Lincoln, President