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The New Secretary to the Treasury of the United States

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1313, p. 428.

May 6, 1865

The Treasury of the United States.

The Hon. Hugh M'Culloch, who was lately appointed by President Lincoln to the office of Secretary to the Treasury, vacated by the retirement of Mr. Fessenden, is a native of Kennebunk, York County, in the State of Maine. He was educated for the legal profession, and, in 1838, removed to Fort Wayne, in the State of Indiana, where he has resided above thirty years, filling at one time the office of Probate Judge. But he soon left the paths of legal practice and judicial promotion for the banking business, and became cashier of the Branch Bank of Indiana at Fort Wayne. He was subsequently made one of the Board of Control of the State Bank system of that State, and it is asserted by his friends that there was not one of the measures devised for the security and efficiency of that system but was inspired or shaped by his sound judgment and financial sagacity. He early established a reputation as a skilful and most reliable financier, which each succeeding year enlarged; and on the incorporation of the State Bank in Indianapolis, with its twenty branches, in 1855, he was made president under the most encouraging auspices, and, despite the crash of 1857, gave a character to the banks of Indiana which made, unmistakably, a favourable impression on financial circles. When the office of Comptroller of the Currency was instituted, he was recommended for it with general unanimity, and the moneyed interests of the country felt that in his hands the conversion of the State banks into national institutions was entirely secure. This great financial revolution, by which the national currency is passing from under a divided, irregular State control to that of a national system which is to secure a uniform American currency, has been superintended by Mr. M'Culloch. Already five hundred of these State creations have assumed the prefix of national banks, and the change is going on rapidly and healthfully. That much of this is due to the tact and masterly management of Mr. M'Culloch those best qualified to judge will readily concede. Mr. M'Culloch had agreed to take the position of president of the Fourth National Bank of New York, with its capital of 4,000,000 dols., organised by a number of the leading men of that city, but they reluctantly released him on finding that there was a general conviction that the office of Secretary to the Treasury could be placed in no more efficient hands.

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