The “$1,000 note” satirizing a Massachusetts politician from the late
1800s sold in a Nov. 26 Weekly Internet Rare Books and Autographs
auction conducted by Heritage Auctions.
The 3.5-inch by 7.75-inch piece known as “The Peoples Money” was
printed with green ink. It mocked one of Benjamin F. Butler’s many
bids to become governor of Massachusetts.
Part of the text on the piece reads, “All who desire a change can
vote for B.F. Butler, who has already changed from soft to hard money,
and back again, and whose election would change him from a congressman
into a governor. Some persons claim that as Mr. B. has held public
office for more twenty-five years, and has become a very rich man, it
would be a greater and more economical change to compel him to retire
to private life. With such persons it is useless to argue.”
Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler was best known as “Beast Butler” by the
citizens of New Orleans during the Civil War. Butler was in charge of
Union occupying forces in that city and his administration caused
quite a stir among Confederates and Union supporters alike.
He was known for issuing the infamous Order 28, which stated any
lady in New Orleans that showed contempt for Union soldiers would
effectively be treated as though she was a prostitute.
His “reign” in New Orleans was blessedly short — May to December
1862. A series of military failures followed and he resigned his
commission in November 1865.
Before his military service Butler had served in the Massachusetts
House and Senate. He was elected governor of his home state in 1882
and was a presidential candidate in 1884.
For more information visit the Heritage website.
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