The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 44
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
cured his papers and began correspondence with the United
States Treasury officials in Houston. In letters marked confiden-
tial, Orviss expressed a desire to assist the Agent in his work and
that he, Orviss, could produce the Wagon Receipts which the
officials needed to determine the correctness of the claims.62 Orviss
proposed that the amount received be divided three ways with
equal parts to the claimant, the Treasury Agent, and to himself.
The propositioner would be willing to travel to Washington with
his receipts if the Treasury Agent would assist him in reclaiming
the cotton.63 It is not known what the outcome of this venture
was because the subject is not mentioned again in the Orviss
The ratio of coin to currency was frequently recorded in the
customers' accounts and the effect of the inflated greenback is
perspicuous. Credit became exceedingly tight as interest rates in-
creased. Orviss cited the case of a "perfectly safe friend" who had
to pay five per cent per month for a loan.64 Silver became the
medium of exchange in use in Texas during the summer of 1869,
and Orviss wrote that gold was used less and less because of the
difficulty of exchanging for it except at high discount.6 Through-
out the summer, there were extraordinary fluctuations in the
price of gold which were caused by the speculative activities of
Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr."B The culmination of this combina-
tion to force the premium on gold to an artificially high point
was "Black Friday," September 24, 1869. On that day, the pre-
mium on gold dropped from 16o to 133 in about fifteen minutes,
thus causing many speculators to be ruined."
The effects of "Black Friday" reached out into Central Texas.
Orviss wrote in March, 1870, that the result of gold reaching a
low premium of 115 in New York would be to advance the price
of goods in all markets where they were sold for coin. "But even
thus, it will not repair the evil of the past, they are most certain
3albid., October ig, 1872; April 21, 1874.
64D. A. Orviss to Moore and McFarland, Alvarado, November 14, 1868, ibid.
65D. A. Orviss to W. B. Sorley Company, Galveston, May 29, 1869, ibid.
66Don C. Barrett, The Greenbacks and Resumption of Specie Payments, 1862-
1879 (Cambridge, 1931; Harvard Economic Series, Volume XXXVI), 86-93.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/58/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.