President Grover Cleveland appointed Daniel Manning (1831 - 1887) Secretary of the Treasury in 1885. The pressing issue of the period was government currency, specifically, how much currency should be in circulation and whether it should be backed by gold or silver. Conservative Eastern financiers urged a currency backed by gold, while Western speculators, in need of a large, more plentiful money supply to build railroads and businesses on the frontier, wanted a currency backed by readily available silver.
Sec. Daniel Manning
Robert C. Hinckley
Oil on canvas
69 1/4 x 57 1/4 x 4 1/2"
Manning advocated a compromise currency based on both gold and silver which would be redeemable in gold. He stated that "every dollar note shall be the representative certificate of a coin dollar actually in the Treasury and payable on demand; a currency in which our monetary unit coined in gold ... and its equivalent coined in silver-shall not be suffered to part company." In the international arena, Manning began work on what eventually became the McKinley Tariff of 1890, which significantly lowered Customs duties. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1887 due to ill health.
About the Artist
Robert C. Hinckley (1853 - 1941) was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1853 and studied art in Paris with Carolus-Duran at the same time John Singer Sargent was working in Paris. He also studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, spending a total of seventeen years in France before returning to the United States. Hinckley settled in Washington, D.C., painting commissioned portraits for the Federal Government and teaching for a while at the Corcoran School of Art. His portrait of Daniel Manning was most likely painted from life during the 1880's.