Gold Panic


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 21, 1863

This site features all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This collection serves as an invaluable research tool for the serious student of the Civil War, and offers a new perspective on the key elements of the conflict.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Union Meeting

Union Meeting

Army Hospital

US Army Hospital

Nashville Destroyed

Destruction of the Nashville

Lake Providence

Lake Providence

New Orleans Levee

Repairing the New Orleans Levee

Building Levee

Building the New Orleans Levee

Gold Panic

Gold Panic


Rappahannock River Cartoon

Wall Street

Wall Street

The "Florda"

The Pirate "Florida" Destroys the Jacob Bell

Levee in New Orleans

Picture of the New Orleans Levee





MARCH 21, 1863.]



(Previous Page) were the two not equivalent, his wife's honor would be dearer to him than his own.

Miss Hetty did make the wedding-dress, after all, and it fitted very nearly as stylishly as the Parisian robes which were imported for the occasion; but Marian would have worn it had it been far less successful; and Miss Hetty yet insists that all the girls in Wilton are envious of Marian.


THE Persians have been renowned as story-tellers throughout the East for many ages. It is a great art that which can bring even fiction to the aid of truth, and robing her in a transparent dress, render us enamored of her even when coldest and sternest. Let us see how the modern Persians, who have succeeded to this grand inheritance, know how to enjoy it. Most Persian stories have a merit—if it be a merit, as our railway times suppose—of being short. For my part, I should like to lie down in an arbor and listen to wise and pleasant tales from sunrise to sundown, now and again.


1. A married man presented himself, trembling and sorrowful, at the gates of paradise. He had heard so often of his faults and shortcomings while upon earth, that he believed in them devotedly, and had no hope of being admitted to the habitations of the blessed. One wife, he had been repeatedly informed, was a blessing far beyond his merits while in the flesh; how, then, could he hope for the smiles of seventy houries. But the prophet, when he presented himself at the gates of heaven, to his great surprise greeted him with a smile of ineffable compassion. "Pass on, poor martyr," said Mohammed. "You have been indeed a great sinner, but you have suffered enough upon the earth, so be of good cheer, for you will not meet your wife here."

A man who had hitherto crept up to heaven, now stood up confidently and presented himself to the prophet, upon the ground that he had been twice married. "Nay," said the prophet, angrily, "paradise is no place for fools."

2. A ruffling young fellow married the wealthy widow of a great Khan. On the wedding-night she determined to assert her authority over him. So she treated him with great contempt when he came into the anderoon, and sat luxuriously embedded in rose-leaf cushions, caressing a large white cat, of which she pretended to be dotingly fond. She appeared to be annoyed by her husband's entrance, and looked at him out of the corners of her eyes with a glance of cold disdain.

"I dislike cats," remarked the young soldier, blandly, as if he was making a mere casual observation; "they offend my sight."

If his wife had looked at him with a glance of cold disdain before, her eyes now wore an expression of anger and contempt such as no words can express. She did not even deign to answer him, but she took the cat to her bosom and fondled it passionately. Her whole heart seemed to be in the cat, and cold was the shoulder which she turned to her husband. Bitter was the sneer upon her beautiful lips.

"When any one offends me," continued her gallant, gayly, "I cut off his head. It is a peculiarity of mine which I am sure will only make me dearer to you." Then, drawing his sword, he took the cat gently but firmly from her arms, cut off his head, wiped the blade, sheathed it, and sat down, continuing to talk affectionately to his wife as if nothing had happened. After which, says tradition, she became the best and most submissive wife in the world.

A hen-pecked fellow, meeting him next day as he rode with a gallant train through the market-place, began to condole with him. "Ah!" said the hen-pecked, with deep feeling, "you, too, have taken a wife and got a tyrant. You had better have remained the poor soldier that you were. I pity you from my very heart."

"Not so," replied the ruffler, jollily; "keep your sighs to cool yourself next summer." He then related the events of his wedding-night, with their satisfactory results.

The hen-pecked man listened attentively, and pondered long. "I also have a sword," said he, "though it is rusty, and my wife is likewise fond of cats. I will cut off the head of my wife's favorite cat at once." He did so, and received a sound beating. His wife, moreover, made him go down upon his knees and tell her what ghin, or evil spirit, had prompted him to commit the bloody deed.

"Fool!" said the lady, with a vixenish smile, when she had possessed herself of the hen-pecked's secret, "you should have done it the first night."

MORAL—Advice is useless to fools.


It is said that once upon a time, in the grand old fable days, a Persian king who fell sick consulted a magician of great reputation who lived in his dominions. The magician, a worthy gentleman who flourished in much personal comfort upon popular opinion, received the king with great respect and the most flowery language his imagination could invent. Having listened to his majesty's ailments with profound attention, the magician at length informed the king, that if he could succeed in obtaining the shirt of a happy man he had only to put on the precious garment to be cured immediately of his malady, and so long as he wore it he would never know sorrow nor disease.

The realms of the monarch were wide. His armies were mighty upon the land, and his fleets were supreme upon the seas. His banners had never known defeat. His treasury was full to overflowing, and his subjects were loyal and obedient. But whenever he ate a bowl of cream, or a dozen skewers of kabobs, or a few water-melons, he had suffered so much of late years from indigestion that he could not consider himself happy; so it was obvious that his majesty himself had no shirt in his wardrobe which would answer the purpose.

"But," thought the king, very naturally, "there is my prime minister a fellow who can put any quantity of cream, sweet or sour, under the robe of honor which I gave him last Nooroos, and as for kabobs, why, yesterday, I thought he would never have done munching them. He is married to my daughter. His horses are far better than mine. He has no end of money" (his majesty thought of this with a peculiar look, which might mean many things), "and he has just built himself a palace fairer than the British Embassy. Whose dog is he that he should not be happy?" So the king sent for the prime minister and asked him at once for his shirt. The statesman, glad to oblige his master on such easy terms, and slyly resolving to obtain any number of equivalents whenever occasion should offer to indemnify himself, immediately sent the king the very best shirt in his wardrobe. It was made of the finest and lightest silk, thin as a spider's web, and beautifully embroidered; but wonderful as it appeared to his majesty, he suffered from indigestion more than ever after putting it on; and, far worse, he felt a tightness about the neck as of a person apprehensive of being bow-strung, or actually undergoing that process—a sensation which he never remembered to have felt since he had been at war for the crown with his three hundred and ten brothers after his father's death; and as all those brothers had been long ago disposed of in various ways which his majesty did not care to remember, he could not account for the return of the old sensation in his throat, and hastened to take off the prime minister's shirt as soon as possible.

Feeling, however, that he had been imposed upon, and that the prime minister must have sent him somebody else's shirt instead of his own, the king ordered his ferroshes to seize that politician, and bring him bound into his presence.

"To hear is to obey," said the ferroshes.

When the prime minister appeared the king received him with a terrible countenance: "Dog!" said his majesty, in an awful voice, "why have you deceived me, and sent the shirt of some other man accursed of Allah instead of your own?"

The prime minister tremblingly endeavored to exculpate himself.

"Son of an owl and a spider," pursued the king, "Meerza Snooza, the magician, assured me that if I could obtain the shirt of a happy man I should be delivered from my ailments. You must be happy. Why did you withhold from me your shirt?"

"Alas! sire," replied the statesman, "how can I be happy, with the fear of your sublime displeasure ever before me? The most I can now hope is to keep my head where Nature has placed it from day to day. The humblest of your majesty's subjects is happier than I. The scorching sun blazes upon the hill-top, and there the tempest roars; but the zephyr and the shadow love the valley. Not among such as I can your majesty hope to find bliss. I have upon my estate a farmer, however, who is the happest of mankind. If your majesty will but suffer me to go in search of him the talisman will be found."

So the king, resolving to allow the prime minister to get still richer before he was bow-strung, commanded him to bring the farmer.

The farmer came. He was a sour, sturdy fellow from the neighborhood of Khoi, the garden of Persia. He immediately took off his shirt at the royal command. It was a coarse, rough garment, and appeared to be thickly inhabited. The king, though he put it on, was obliged to take it off again in less than half an hour, in a state of intolerable irritation; for, reasoned his majesty, it is impossible any one can be happy who wears such a shirt as that.

The farmer, who was recalled to the royal presence, confirmed the opinion, and told a long dreary story about droughts, and locusts, and taxes; so that the king would have ordered his head to be cut off at once to get rid of him; but the farmer, seeing himself in such imminent peril, assured the king that the merchant to whom he sold his corn was a happy man without doubt, and begged to be allowed to fetch him, and so got out of danger in the same manner as the prime minister had.

The merchant came. The king, now warned by experience, determined to interrogate him before putting on his shirt. The merchant complained, as much as the farmer had, of taxes, and had, besides, another class of grievances peculiarly his own. He was particularly eloquent about custom-houses, the extortions of officials, and a variety of other things, which made the king so angry that he determined at least to comfort his disappointment by ordering the merchant to be executed. This ceremony over, the king felt something better; but still the talismanic shirt was not found.

For a long time the king sought the shirt of happiness through every class of society, and sought it in vain. Although innumerable persons were beheaded, bow-strung, and tortured every day, yet, surprising to relate, happiness could not be found among his subjects.

One day, however, when his majesty, being encamped in his summer quarters near Sultanieh, was out for an afternoon's ride, he saw a careless, red-nosed fellow sitting on a post, and every now and then taking a bottle from under his sash, applying his lips with intense satisfaction to its contents. Still, there was a sturdy air about the man, and a merry light in his eye, which did not point him out as a habitual wine-bibber. He seemed rather to be keeping festival, or enjoying himself upon some occasion of good fortune.

"Dog of a toper," asked the king, abruptly, struck with a sudden thought, "are you happy?"

"Thy servant is happy, O king!" said the man.

The king then ordered the royal ferroshes to seize him and give him five hundred lashes to cause him to relate the reasons of his happiness. The red-nosed man limped a little when subsequently brought to the king's tent in the evening, but still persisted in saying that he was happy; for, said he, "My wife has only been dead three weeks." Meerza Snooza, the magician, who, since

he had been consulted, always accompanied the king in his search, and dined at the royal table, on being appealed to, decided that the red-nosed man had good reasons for his happiness, for that he might have been hen-pecked, and was, perhaps, just then under the first impression of joy at his deliverance.

Upon this the king immediately ordered the red-nosed man to be stripped, in order to obtain the garment which he required, when, wonderful to relate, it appeared that the only happy man in his dominions had no shirt.


WE illustrate on page 188 the Gold Panic which occurred last week, when gold fell in Wall Street in two days from 173 to 149, ruining half the Jew speculators who had been buying specie, and improving the national currency some fifteen per cent. The scene on Thursday, at noon, in William Street, outside the new public Board, beggars description. The street was thronged from the houses on one side to the houses on the other. Half a dozen policemen endeavored vainly to keep order, and made arrests right and left without much judgment, discretion, or effect. Every body was raging to sell his gold. Hundreds of speculators who had bought gold within a week appeared with blanched faces and trembling gait, vainly offering their gold to every one they met. Among the crowd the Jew element rather preponderated. There were frightened, panting Jews, who were evidently holders of gold, and there were exultant joyful Jews, who had foreseen the crash and "sold gold short." There were New Testament Jews, too, by the score, with a bilious Southern aspect, who had bought gold in the belief and hope that the Northern finances would collapse, and who now saw that they and their funds were likely to anticipate the Government in that catastrophe. Fortunes were made and lost in a day in that seething caldron of speculation.

The Herald reporter said:

So great was the rush that it was almost impossible for any one to elbow his way through the excited mass, who fumed, and fretted, and pulled their hair, and cursed with a confusion of tongues that would have shamed the gathering of Babel. Millionaires—old adepts at the game of speculation — traders, shop-keepers, lottery-ticket men, Peter Funks, clerks, cooks, waiters, old-clo' men, and the thousand others that the deranged state of the finances of the country inoculated with the gold purchasing epidemic, all rushed into William Street, and completely blocked up that thoroughfare for some distance on either side of Wall Street. There never was seen such a deplorable crew of disappointed money-grabbers on the rampage since the days of Titus. Many ludicrous scenes were enacted around the brokers' offices. Jostling, and crowding, and trampling—some endeavoring to get in, some to get out, all impatient and all resolutely bent on falsifying the old aphorism, which says, "a fellow-feeling makes us wondrous kind." Though kindred spirits, there was nothing of a kindred feeling among them, save in the great desire to get rid of their gold, which they had been previously so anxious to hold over for higher prices. Most of the heavy speculators were Jews, and they cut miserable figures as they rushed to and fro, foaming at the mouth, cursing with impotent rage Old Abe and Secretary Chase, who had brought this ruin on the house of their fathers. One incident is worth relating. A Jew, named Meyers, having some gold transaction with a Christian, the latter, on closing the business, asked Meyers his name. "Meyers," replied the other. "What's your Christian name?" "I've got no Christian name, I'm a Chew." Another ancient-looking Hebrew was so astonished at the state of affairs in Wall Street—the impetuous rush of people flying as if pursued by an army with banners, the amount of gold they carried, and the alarm exhibited in their countenances, as if fearing to be left behind in the race—that, after some time contemplating the scene with lowered brow, he raised his head and exclaimed, "Mein Gott! dere ish been noting like dish since de crossing of de Red Sea."


WE republish on page 180 a set of sketches, by Mr. Theodore R. Davis, illustrating THE CANAL AT LAKE PROVIDENCE, which is now being cut by our troops. By the aid of this canal it is expected that we shall be able to send boats into the Gulf, by the Black, Red, and Atchafalaya rivers, without entering the Mississippi below Lake Providence. Mr. Davis writes:

"The sketch at the top of the page is of the town of Providence from the lake, showing the canal, now rapidly nearing completion.

"The map shows series of bayous, rivers, etc., by which we shall be enabled to reach the mouth of the Red River, and on by the Atchafalaya River to the Gulf of Mexico. Entering Lake Providence from the Mississippi River, through Macon and Tensas bayous into the Black River; Ouchita and Tensas into the Red River, our boats can avoid the strong-holds of the Mississippi. The lower sketch shows the cutting of the levee on the Mississippi River at Providence.

"To the right of the map is sketched an exploit of one of negro soldiers, who went out in company with a small force of soldiers a few days since, shot one rebel soldier, captured two more, and taking their guns from them, brought the captured twain through the swamp to the party. The name of this bold African is Jim—'Union Jim' the soldiers call him—and there are many more like him, brave and ready, who are to be armed and schooled as soldiers. Upon the other side of the map a sketch of the constantly recurring event, the coming in of what the soldiers call recruits of color; a stalwart negro with his little one riding 'pig-a-back,' and the family trudging along after."


WE reproduce on page 181 a drawing by Mr. McCullagh of the Cincinnati Commercial, representing THE CAPTURE OF THE "QUEEN OF THE WEST." Mr. M'Cullagh was on board at the time of her capture, and escaped on top of a cotton bale—more fortunate than his colleague, Anderson of the Herald, who was caught. Mr. M'C. writes:

"The Queen of the West was the most formidable

vessel in the Western ram fleet. She was captured by the rebels at Gordon's Landing on Red River, eighty miles from the mouth, on the night of the 14th of February. Her commander, Colonel Ellet, had been informed that the fort was very weakly garrisoned, that but two guns were mounted, and that the conscripts who manned them would not make any resistance. Once above the fort, he was sure of capturing a number of steam-boats employed in the rebel service. The Queen arrived within five hundred yards of the battery shortly after sundown on the 14th. The rebels opened fire immediately with three guns. The fourth shot struck her deck, plunged through, and cut her escape pipe. Orders were then given to back her out of range; but while doing so she ran aground directly in front of the battery. The rebels kept up an accurate fire, and in a few moments a second shot plunged through her deck, cutting her steam, and thereby disabling her. One man only was severely scalded. Out of fifty-one —officers and crew—twenty-six escaped by floating down the river, on cotton bales and in skiffs, to where a small ferry-boat, which had accompanied the Queen, lay. Twenty-five were taken prisoners. A number of negroes were captured, and several drowned.


WE illustrate on page 189 THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MAGNIFICENT CLIPPER SHIP "JACOB BELL" BY THE BRITISH PIRATE "FLORIDA." The Florida is a British vessel built by Laird, of Liverpool, and launched last spring under the name of the Oreto. Laird, and the other parties concerned in her construction, swore that she was intended for the King of Sardinia. It was well known, however, that she was all along intended to be a pirate, and to sail under the Confederate flag. She underwent the farce of a detention at Nassau on her first arrival there, but was of course soon released by the rebel sympathizers who govern that island, and made her way safely to Mobile. She is now afloat, burning our vessels. Our picture is from a photograph taken while she was in Liverpool.

The Jacob Bell, which she destroyed at sea, was one of the finest vessels that sail out of this port. She was a model of beauty and symmetry, and one of the most popular vessels among tea shippers. She belonged to Messrs. A. A. Low & Co., who kindly placed at our disposition the model of her from which our picture is taken. When she was destroyed she had on board 9000 chests of tea belonging to Englishmen and insured in England.



O DOVER! O Dover!

What a place for a rover,

Not a bit of clover

For a poor old soldier!


O sad Donelson Fort!

Dear Lord, what a dreary port!

The very archfiend's court

For a poor old soldier!


O the field of glory!

What a blazing story

Shall shine, when time is hoary,

For the poor old soldier!


O the silvery waves!

O the lonely graves!

That pillow war-worn braves—

That wrap the fallen soldier!


O Lincoln gun-boats grim!

Peal out your stormy hymn

Till it rings to Heaven's rim

For the poor old soldier!


O sighing, shot-torn tree!

Wail for the fallen free:

O wail while tears shall be,

For the poor old soldier!


O rusted, battered ball!

That felt the hero fall,

You shrieked out life's last call

For the poor old soldier!


O shivered, splintered bone!

Where have your fellows gone?

Is this the trophy won

By the poor old soldier?


O bloody, blackened rock!

Here broke the battle's shock,

Here star-eyed victory woke

For the poor old soldier!


O wall, and trench, and mound!

Each part is hallowed ground,

Till the last trump shall sound

For the poor buried soldier!


O the silent river!

Will sing her song forever,

Sighing and ceasing never,

For the war-broken soldier!


O spirits of the brave!

There is no prouder grave

Than this rampart by the wave

For the poor old soldier!

NOTE.—Dover is a mean little town on the bank of the Cumberland, within the intrenchments at Fort Donelson. It is the scene of two desperate battles, and bears the marks of shot and shell on every house and tree.

The above lines were written by one of the boys in General Granger's army, when lying on steamboat at the fort, on the first anniversary of the battle of 1862, illustrated by the prowess and immortalized by the patriotism of Illinois soldiers.




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