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The National Crisis.

speech from Attorney General Benjamin--movements at the Brooklyn Navy-Yard-- the free navigation of the Mississippi — postage of the Southern Confederacy, &c.

A speech from Attorney General Benjamin.

The 22d of February was celebrated with great spirit in New Orleans. Among other incidents, ex-Senator Benjamin presented the military with a flag on behalf of the ladies.--In his speech, he said:

‘ I speak, gentlemen, in the belief that our independence is not to be maintained without the shedding of our blood. I know that the conviction is not shared by others. Heaven grant that I may prove mistaken. Yet, fearful as is the ordeal, and much as war is to be deplored, it is not the unmixed evil which many consider it to be. By a beneficent dispensation of the Creator, that which to mortals seems most calamitous is not unfrequently converted into a blessing at His hands. The fire sweeps over the stubble, and the charred and blackened surface of the field attests its ravage. Yet a little while, and the spring rains descend, and the heated earth quickens into vigorous growth the germs that else had lain dormant in its bosom. Even so the hot passions and the fiery excesses of martial strife, whilst seeming to destroy, oft times but serve to stimulate into active development the nobler impulses and more elevated sentiments, which else had remained torpid in our souls. So the fierce assaults to which the principles of free government are now exposed can but serve to ensure their immortality, just as the torrents of molten lava which threatened the total destruction of the miracles of ancient sculpture have been the very means of preserving for posterity, in marvellous perfection, the beauty of their forms, and the harmony of their proportions.

In the sacred duty of defending your country — her rights and her honor — take good heed. I charge you, in the name of those for whom I speak, take good heed that this, their gift, be ever borne upon the battle's crest; that it returns not with its shining gloss undimmed, nor its ample folds untorn and unsoiled; but let its smoke-stained and tattered fragments attest the daring gallantry with which it was borne, and the steady courage with which it was defended. And yet again, and still in the gentle names of those for whom I speak, I charge you that you forget not, in the hottest passion of the strife, the mercy due to the yielding foe, nor so tarnish, with a single cruel act, the flag which they have wrought, as to cause their sorrowing hearts one pang of grief or shame. Remember that nature herself weeps with pitying showers over the havoc caused by the descending bolt, and that sunny smiles chase the tears from the cheek as soon as the elemental war is ended.

The free navigation of the Mississippi.

The following is the bill passed by the Southern Congress concerning the free navigation of the Mississippi:

  1. Sec. 1. Provides that the Mississippi River and all its tributaries, are free to the citizens of any States upon their borders.
  2. Sec. 2. Provides that all vessels or boats from any other place beyond the limits of the Confederacy shall be subject to no hindrance or charge, except for light money, pilotage and other like charges; but it shall not be lawful for such vessels or boat to sell or deliver her cargo in the limits of the Confederacy, on pain of forfeiture of the cargo.
  3. Sec. 3. Provides punishment for frauds on the revenues.
  4. Sec. 4. Provides that goods may be landed by entering them under bond and seal, and getting a license from the Collector to land them, and when goods are entered as aforesaid the owner or importer shall be allowed to draw back duties, as is provided by law.
  5. Sec. 5. Provides that shipmasters shall deposit manifests of their cargoes with the Collector, who transmits it to the officer with whom the entries are made; and the Collector may put an inspector on board any vessel or boat to see that a manifest is deposited, and a failure of such deposit subjects the shipmaster to a penalty of $500, provided that until ports of entry are established above Vicksburg, on the Mississippi, the penalty shall not extend to the delivery of goods by boats descending the river from above that port.

Postage in the Southern Confederacy.

The Montgomery correspondent of the Columbus Times, says:

‘ The Congress has passed the Postal Bill, which regulates the rate of postage and all matters connected with the carrying of the mails, &c. It will go into effect very soon.--It provides the following rates of postage: On letters for 300 miles five cents; over 300 miles ten cents; advertised letters two cents extra instead of one. On newspapers (other than those sent direct to actual subscribers from the office of publication) two cents each, and the entire rates of newspaper and magazine postage is doubled on present U. S. rates. The registration letter system and the franking privilege is abolished. All the Government Departments will be conducted on the principle of strict economy. No more clerks will be employed in any Department than are actually necessary, and they will, I learn, be required to work at least ten or twelve hours per day instead of six, as is the case at Washington.

Major Anderson's bill of Fare.

A gentleman who was in Charleston last week, and who went to Morris' Island, saw on board the boat the following supplies for Fort Sumter, which, with his mails, were taken to Fort Sumter by Major Anderson's boats:--2 kegs (200 lbs.) Goshen butter; 2 cheeses (50 lbs.); 2 barrels potatoes; 1 bag (160 lbs.) coffee; 2 quarters beef; half a mutton; 1 box eggs; 4 boxes candles (40 lbs.;) 1 bushel turnips; 1 large package celery; 50 Northern cabbages; 2 bbls. assorted vegetables; 1 sack salt, and 1 barrel molasses.

Old Abe. says ‘"nobody's suffering."’ We don't think Major Anderson is, at all events.

Movements at the Brooklyn Navy-Yard — getting ready for a fight.

The activity which has been manifested in the Brooklyn Navy-Yard of late is on the increase, and all hands are busily employed in the work of fitting out the vessels at present in the Yard.

The Mohawk has been thoroughly overhauled and two medium 32-pounders added to her battery, so that now she mounts six 32's, besides having two 12-pound howitzers, which can be used as forecastle guns. In addition to this she has a 9-pound mortar on her forecastle. Her stores are nearly all on board, and she is ready for sea. Her full complement of men and marines are on board.

The Supply is loaded, and only awaits her ship stores and the conclusion of the court-martial in the case of Capt. Walke, who will probably be acquitted of any mal-administration, and ordered to the command of the ship.

The Corwin has been hauled alongside of the wharf and is to be fitted with a battery as soon as possible. She will be of good service as an attache of a blockading squadron. The other vessels are being overhauled and will be put in order as soon as possible.

The Harriet Lane left the Navy-Yard yesterday at 2 o'clock. Considerable difficulty was encountered in getting the ship from her berth, owing to the lowness of the tide, but Capt. Faunce succeeded in taking her out. A very large number of persons were congregated on the decks to see her go out, many supposing that she was to proceed direct to sea, or to some of the Southern ports. This was not the case, as she steamed down the East river in fine style, saluted by the boats along the route; and turning the battery she came to anchor near the Jersey flats, where she awaits the reception of her powder and coal, which will be taken on board to-day.--She then will be ready for any service that the Government may require of her. She has had her armament strengthened by two medium thirty-two's. Her personnel has been increased by detailing ten marines to her list, and Surgeon N. L. Campbell, who is a native of this city. Capt. Faunce is now awaiting orders from Washington.--N. Y. World.

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