Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 05, 1864The State Savings Institution (Editorial)
In yesterday's Evening Journal, the following notice appeared under the above heading:
"The undersigned merchants and businessmen of Chicago do hereby unite in condemning the course pursued by the Illinois Staats-Zeitung in creating a panic and causing a 'run' on the above-named institution. We have every reason to believe that the bank is sound--that it is able and willing to pay all its obligations on demand--and that it has a large surplus of assets (readily convertible into cash) in excess of all liabilities. Depositors who have any doubts concerning the solvency of the bank, and who have any fears for their money, can verify the sound condition of the bank and its ability to pay by calling upon any merchant or banker in Chicago."2
Since the Illinois Staats-Zeitung is published in the German language, and since none of the signers of the above notice is, to our knowledge, sufficiently conversant with that tongue, we should like to ask, with all due respect, whether the gentlemen who have united in condemning the course of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung have any positive knowledge of the course which they are so prompt in condemning? From the assurance given in the above notice that the bank is sound, we have every reason to believe, indeed we are firmly convinced, that our self-appointed judges were incorrectly led to the opinion that we had attacked the solvency or soundness of the State Savings Institution. Anybody who is able to read the Illinois-Staats-Zeitung can see that such was not the case, and that nobody would regret the inability of this bank to pay its liabilities more than we, inasmuch as all the creditors of said institution are our own countrymen.
The signers of the above notice are, of course aware, that the Illinois Savings Institution has for the last four years used the advertising columns of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung to recommend its services, and that the Illinois 3Staats-Zeitung often commented very favorably upon the safety of the charter of said financial institution. This advertisement was not changed after August 1, 1863, when the Illinois Savings Institution began to operate under a new charter. In January, 1864, the accounts of the depositors were transferred from the Illinois Savings Institution to the State Savings Institution without any notice whatever to the depositors. In fact, none of the depositors were aware that the Institution has been changed from a savings bank to a discount bank. The advertisement of the Illinois Savings Institution was not withdrawn or altered in our columns, and depositors who could not read English were led, under the circumstances, to believe from the advertisements still appearing in our columns that they had invested in the Illinois Savings Institution, whereas in reality their funds had been transferred to the State Savings Institution.
We would have justly been considered guilty of gross negligence in the performance of our duties as public journalists if, by withholding notice of this transfer from our readers, we had assisted in persuading our countrymen to 4believe that they still had their money in a savings bank when in reality it was deposited in a discount bank.
We hope the signers of the above notice have exercised greater care in their investigation of the affairs of the State Savings Institution, before vouching for its solvency and soundness, than in their determination of the course taken by the Illinois Staats-Zeitung before uniting to condemn that course. Would not the gentlemen who have appointed themselves judges of our procedure do better to unite in condemning the course of the managers of the State Savings Institution?
II A 2, II B 2 d 1
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