Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter B: Bim-Bla





The use of two metals as money at relative values set by legislative enactment: the doctrine that two metals can and ought, at the same time and i the same country, to be adopted as standards of value and bear to each other a fixed ratio established by the Government. As used in this country, the term usually refers to the use of gold and silver at a fixed relative value established by law. Monometallism is the doctrine that only one metal ought to be so used.

Black Cockades

A badge first worn by the American soldiers during the Revolution and later, during the hostility toward France (about 1797) occasioned by the X.Y.Z. dispatches, adopted by the Federalists as a patriotic emblem and as a rejoinder to the tricolored cockade worn by the Republicans as a mark of affection toward France. Its significance in some degree lay in the fact that it had been a part of the Continental uniform.

Black Friday

There have been several Black Fridays. The term is often used to designate a dark financial day. In England it has special reference to Friday, Dec. 6, 1745, the day on which news came to London that the young Pretender, Charles Edward had reached Derby; and also to Friday, May 11, 1866, which was the height of the commercial panic in London through the failure of Overend, Gurney & Co. Sept. 24, 1869, is sometimes referred to as Black Friday in the United States. On this day a syndicate of New York bankers advanced the price of gold to 162 1/2, causing a panic. It sold at 143 1/8 the previous evening. Another such day was Friday, Sept. 19, 1873, when Jay Cooke & Co., leading American bankers, failed. A great crash ensued in Wall street, the center of financial operations in America, and the historic panic of 1873 began. Credit generally was impaired and many financial institutions were forced into bankruptcy.

Black Hawk War (1830)

By a treaty signed at Prairie du Chien, Wis., July 15, 1830, the Sac and Fox Indians ceded all their lands in Illinois and Wisconsin to the United States. Black Hawk, a noted chief of the tribe, refused to abide by the treaty and made war upon the whites. He resisted the survey of the land at Rock island, Ill., although most of the Sacs and Foxes were west of the Mississippi. In 1831 he attacked some Illinois villages, but was driven off by the militia under Gen. Gaines in June of that year. The next spring he returned with a strong force and began to massacre the whites. Gen. Scott was sent against him with a force of United States troops. Black Hawk was defeated at the Wisconsin River July 21, 1832, by a detachment of troops under Gen. Dodge, and again at Bad Axe River, Aug. 2 of the same year, by Gen. Atkinson. After these successive defeats Black Hawk was compelled to surrender.

Black Rock (N.Y.) Battles of (1813)

Lieut. Col. Bishop, with about 400 men from the British camp at Lundys Lane, crossed the Niagara River July 11, 1813, and attacked the blockhouse at Black Rock, where the Americans had a considerable quantity of naval stores and ammunition. The blockhouse was in charge of Gen. Peter B. Porter, with less than a dozen artillerists. About 300 militia and a small band of Indians were scattered about in the neighborhood. The militia fled at Bishop's approach and Porter narrowly escaped capture. On his way to Buffalo, meeting re-enforcements of 100 regulars, he returned and attacked the invaders. After a short struggle the British were driven with loss to their boats. Lieut. Col. Bishop was mortally wounded. In August 1814, Black Rock was again attacked by the British and successfully defended by the Americans. After the battle of Lundys Lane the American army retired to Fort Erie and vicinity. Gen. Drummond, having received re-enforcements, went in pursuit. As a preliminary step toward attacking Fort Erie, the British general resolved to take possession of Black Rock. About 1,200 men under Lieut. Col. Tucker crossed the river on Aug. 3, 1814, and were met and driven back by 300 Americans under Lieutenants Ryan, Smith, and Armstrong. The British lost a considerable number; the American loss was slight.

Black Warrior, The

An American merchant vessel which was seized at Havana by Cuban customs officials Feb. 28, 1854, and with its cargo was declared confiscated. The proceeding aroused a bitter feeling against Spain, and a special messenger was dispatched instructing the American minister at Madrid to demand, as immediate redress, indemnification to the owners in the sum of $300,000. The reluctance of Spain to accede led to the Ostend manifesto. Spain afterwards made compensation for the seizure, but the incident was used as a pretext for later filibustering expeditions into Cuba.

Blackstock's (S.C.), Battle of. (1780)

In November, 1780, Gen. Sumter started for Fort Ninety-Six to attempt its capture. He was pursued by Col. Tarleton. A skirmish took place Nov. 20 at Blackstock's plantation, on the Tyger River, Union District, S.C. Tarleton fled, leaving nearly 200 dead and wounded upon the field. The American loss was only 3 killed and 5 wounded.

Bladensburg (Md.), Battle of. (1814)

As early as January, 1814, intelligence was received at Washington that 4,000 British troops had landed at Bermuda, destined for the United States. The British Admiral Cockburn arrived at Lynnhaven Bay, Va., in March with 1 ship, 2 frigates, and 1 brig. Early in August he was joined by Vice-Admiral Cochrane, who took command, and was later joined in the Chesapeake by 4,000 veterans of Wellington's army, under Gen. Ross. The civil government at Washington was apathetic in the face of impending danger. Washington, with its public buildings and records, was entirely unprotected. At the suggestion of Gen. Winder the President called a Cabinet co7uncil in July and proposed raising an army for the defense of the Federal capital. This comprehended a requisition on the States for militia aggregating 93,000 men. The naval defenses were entrusted to Commodore Barney, with a small flotilla of gunboats carrying 400 men. By Aug. 1 Gen. Winder, who was assigned to the defense of the capital, had 1,000 regulars and almost 4,000 militia under his command for the defense of Washington and Baltimore. The remainder of the army was on paper. The British moved up the Patuxent by land and water to Upper Marlboro. Barney destroyed his flotilla at Pig Point and crossed toward the Eastern Branch of the Potomac, forming a junction with Winder's advance, which had proceeded to Bladensburg, about 5 miles from Washington, on the post road to Baltimore. Here at noon Aug. 24, 1814, the two armies faced each other, the British, under Gen. Ross, nearly 5,000 strong, 4,000 of them seasoned by service in continental Europe, while the defenders of the capital consisted mainly of undisciplined, untried militia, many of them only 3 days from their homes. The battle lasted from about half-past 12 till 4 o'clock and resulted in the utter rout of the Americans. The British lost upward of 500 men in the engagement. The Americans had only 26 killed and 51 wounded. After this battle the invaders marched to the capital, seized it, and burned the public buildings.

Bland Dollar

A name sometimes applied to the silver dollar of the United States the coinage of which began in 1878. during that year Congress passed the act providing for such coinage. A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Richard P. Bland, of Missouri, July 25, 1876, providing for the free and unlimited coinage of silver, which had been suspended since 1873. Mr. Bland's bill passed the House providing for free coinage, but was modified in the Senate by the Allison amendment. As the bill became a law it provided that instead of free coinage the Secretary of the Treasury should purchase each month not less then $2,000,000 nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver bullion to be coined into silver dollars of 412 1/2 grains each. President Hayes returned the bill with his veto Feb. 28, 1878 (VII,486), but on the same day both House and Senate passed the bill over his veto. The effects of the law were discussed by the Chief Executives from time to time. (See Bland-Allison Act.) This act was repealed in 1890 by the act of Congress known as the Sherman law.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter B: Bim-Bla
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of books: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 by James D. Richardson, A Representative from the State of Tennessee published by the authority of Congress 1899.
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