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Title:[Letter] 1815 Jul 26 [Knoxville] Tennessee [to Willie] Blount [Nashville] Tennessee / H.L.White : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:White, H.L.

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: July 26, 1815
Extent: 4p
Summary:This is a letter to Governor Willie Blount from H.L. White, dated July 26, 1815. White is the president of the state bank in Knoxville. The letter refers to the banking policy of suspending payments in specie, as a result of the financial strain of the War of 1812. White writes that his bank has decided to follow the suspension, as to not would cause the bank to call in too many loans, thereby putting too much financial strain on the local community. The letter contains a brief summary of the political, martial, and financial situation in the U.S. and Europe as explanation for the change in policy.
Collection:Governor William Blount Papers
Document: sl766

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[added: copy]

Bank of the state of Tennessee July 26th 1815
Dear Sir

upon being informed that the Banks in most if not all the principal cities and towns in the United States had suspended the payment of specie, the directors of this institution took into consideration the effect which such a measure would probably have upon them, and endeavoured to satisfy themselves what course it was their duty to pursue _ owing to the circumstance of this Bank being then in its infancy _ its notes not having an extensive circulation, and the sum they had on loan not being very large connected with its local situation, they believed it most correct to support a character for punctuality by promptly paying all demands against them in specie when required at the same time confidently expecting that and[added: in] consequence of a termination of the war in which the United States were then engaged would be the resuming of payments in specie by all the Banks they accordingly determined to continue specie__ payments _ they soon found that to enable them to act up to this determination, they must call in some of the monies they had on loan__ this they did do, and in every instance paid with readiness all demands upon them_ In the early part of the present year the

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the welcome news of peace with Great Britain was received, and not very long afterwards reading an amount of what was passing in the British parliament they found it Stated that in the year 1816 the Banks in that country might be compelled to redeem their tokens with specie as the call for which that government had for that article on the contenent [continent] of Europe had ceased with the European war_ they then flattered themselves that as peace was restored to their own country and as there was no such demand for specie in Great Britain, as would endude[added: induce] the transportation of it from the United States with a hope of receiving a premium that the time had nearly arrived when the vaults of the different Banks would be unlocked, and the pressure which they had indured [endured] would be removed __ not long afterwards in common with others they were astonished with the intelligence that Napoleon was again in Paris and Emperor of the French_ all calculations were to begin anew a combination was formed to crush him, and probably before this time a war the duration of which no one can pretend to measure has actually commenced in Europe _ late information enduss[added: induces] the belief that the demands of specie in Great Britain are such that it commands a premium of at least thirty

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thirty per cent__ that large sums of it are now actually shipping from the United States with a hope of receiving this advance premium__ In this state of things it may well be doubted whether the Banks will resume payments in specie at a period which furnishes such strong inducement to drain it from them, and transport it to our late Enemy__ now (legally speaking) our friend__

Latterly people of other states and in our own, having found this the only Bank accessible to them, have procured of our notes, and as we have reason to believe are in search of more with a view to drain the amount in specie & carry it to places from [added: which we]notcan expect no return

The Situation of the institution is now promising it is more than equal to all demands upon it but the present state of things is such that no person can doubt, if payments in specie are continued we must express[added: oppress] those who owe us by calling in money sufficient to satisfy the extraordinary demands that have been and are now about to be made___

Under those circumstances the Directors have felt it their duty for the present to suspend payments in

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in specie determining at the same time to resume such payments, the moment other Banks shall have done so or at an earlier period should such a state of things be produced as will justify them in such a measure__

As the state has a considerable interest in the Bank I have been instructed to explain to your Excellency not only how this business has been conducted but like wise the reasons and information by which the Directors have been governed___

Whether the order of this day suspending specie payments shall be proved or not we will always feel anxious[added: conscious]of having done that which we believed to be our duty under existing circumstances and we cannot suppose that the people of Tennessee and especially those interested in the Bank will ever wish it so conducted, as to harrass [harass], perhaps ruin our own citizens by compelling them to pay in money for the purpose of enabling others to have it transported to countries, from which we can drain no specie whatever

I have the honor to be with great
respect your Excellencys
most obedient servant
HL White
[added: Pres of the Bank]
Governor Blount

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