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To ensure Gould would have an ear on the government’s actions, Corbin used his political influence to help install General Daniel Butterfield as the U. Corbin also used his family connections to cozy up to Grant and try to persuade him that high gold prices would benefit U. Jay Gould and a few other conspirators had been secretly stockpiling gold since August, but upon learning that the fix was in, they disguised their identities behind an army of brokers and proceeded to gobble up all the gold they could.
Gould also enlisted the help of his fellow financial buccaneer Jim Fisk, who promptly dropped million on gold and became one of the cabal’s leading members.
If a speculator like Gould tried to corner the market, Grant could simply order the Treasury to sell off huge amounts of gold and drive the price through the floor.
For his gold scheme to work, Gould needed President Grant to keep a tight grip on his purse strings.
Competing currencies—gold and greenbacks—had been in circulation ever since, and Wall Street had formed a special “Gold Room” where brokers could trade them.Gould was stunned, but in true robber baron fashion, he neglected to divulge the new information to Fisk or his other partners.Instead, when the buying bonanza resumed on September 23, he began secretly selling off as much of his own gold as he could.Gold had closed the previous day at 4 ½, but shortly after trading resumed, it took a tremendous leap to 0. Grant resolved to bust Gould and Fisk’s corner on the gold market.Unaware that the game might soon be up, Fisk continued buying like a madman and bragged that gold would soon top 0. Shortly before noon, he met with Treasury Secretary George Boutwell, who had been following the chaos via telegraph.