Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- May 31, 1861The Duty of the State Auditor (Editorial)
As matters are now, only Chicago banks may use "wildcat money" which they buy from the people at miserably low prices to purchase notes of the State. If the State Auditor does his duty, and we hope that he will, this money-making scheme will cease to exist. The State Auditor should demand that the money barons of Chicago, who live in plenty and wallow in luxury, furnish security for the money deposited in their banks. If the bankers do this and make their currency notes as good as gold, well and good. If they do not, then the people should have the right to take these notes to Springfield and exchange them for State bonds. These securities sell at a much higher price than the poor people receive for "wildcat money."
We have heard that the wildcat bankers of Chicago, whose notes are selling for 80 or 90 cents, have enlisted the aid of courthouse officers and other influential people in a frantic effort to have their financial institutions exempted 2from furnishing security. That would be an infamous swindle, since just these notes are used to defraud the laboring class of its money.
These hypocritical bankers who but a few months ago were so patriotic as to demand that the people sign a document obligating themselves (the people) to use "wildcat money" as a medium of exchange during wartime, pretend to fear that the reputation of our State will suffer, if the New York money market is flooded with Illinois State debentures. Listen to the devil preach about the disastrous consequences of sin! People, who rob widows and orphans of their mite, are anxious about the credit of our State!
These wildcat bankers had altogether too much influence at Springfield. They had complete control of the last legislature and did enough damage.
Now the State Auditor should do his duty toward all of them without fear or favor.3
He should demand that one and all purchase and sell their currency notes at a price which is at par with gold and silver, and if they do not do so, the people should be permitted to do what the bankers do--buy bonds in New York.
We hope that the Auditor will treat these banks just as he does the others. It is his duty to put extreme pressure upon every bank that does not comply with the law.
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