Latest Northern News.Messrs, Mason and Slidell — from Washington — Affairs on the Potomac — Revelations of a deserter — oath of Allegiance in Alexandria, &c., &c.
We present to the reader this morning some additional items of interest cullied from the columns of the latest Northern papers which have come to hand: The Imprisonment of Mason and Slidell in Port Warren — their Conduct During the Voyage to Boston, &c. Although much has been published with regard to the arrest and imprisonment of our Commissioners to Europe, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, still the subject is fraught with interest to the Southern public, and we present the following extract from the letter of a correspondent on board the U. S. steamer San Jacinto to the New York Herald, as comprising the latest accounts in connection with these gentlemen: The rebel Commissioners and their Secretaries occupied the captain's cabin and messed with him at table. When they first came on board the San Jacinto Capt. Wilkes made the following address to the Commissioners: ‘"Gentlemen — I shall endeavor to make you as comfortable on board as my means will permit. I wish to have it distinctly understood, however, that this is a vessel be longing to the Government of the United States. There must be no political talk on board."’ Acting upon this gentle hint, the Commissioners refrained from political talk, and, indeed, said little or nothing. They responded to the introduction of the Marshall with a simple nod, and had no conversation with him during the voyage from this city. Slidell kept his room during most of the time.--Occasionally he and Mason played a game of backgammon in the cabin. Eustis and McFarlan were frequently in the wardroom, and conversed freely with the officers on general subjects. They behaved very well; but none of the persons on board enjoyed the long and rough passage of one week between New York and Boston.
The procession to Fort Warren.From the Boston correspondent of the New York Herald we make the following extracts: ‘ The dock is a quarter of a mile from the fort and when the party landed several officers were in waiting to receive the prisoners. After their "traps" were on shore, the Commissioners were escorted to the fort in the following. ’
Order of procession.Marshal Murray and Ambassador Slidell. Lieutenant Fairfax and Ambassador Mason. Secretary Eustis. Deputy Marshal Sampson. Secretary MacFarlane Officers from the fort, Police from the fort, In charge of the following ‘"traps"’ belonging to the Commissioners, which were conveyed in two carts: Six or eight trunks, six valises, several cases of brandies, wines and liquors, a dozen or more boxes of cigars, two casks (pints and quarts) of bottled Stolen are. The imposing procession wended its way to Fort warren, and on arriving at the entrance the prisoners were introduced to Col. Dimmick, who made the following.
Address of Welcome.‘"Gentlemen, I am most happy to receive you in Fort Warren."’ The Marshal then informed the prisoners that it would be his duty to examine their baggage, and requested them to give up their keys. A thorough search of their effects was made in their presence, and no papers or dispatches of any sort were round. Their keys and baggage were then delivered to the prisoners, who were shown to their quarters. Commodore Wilkes has not yet made his official report of the capture of the rebel Commissioners. We shall not be surprised if his report should state that he authorized Lieut. Fairfax not only to take the Commissioners, but also to seize the steamer Trent. It is certain that he sent engineers with Lieut. Fairfax to the Trent for the purpose of taking charge of her. When the Lieutenant returned to the San Jacinto with his prisoners, he reported that there were many passengers on the Trent, who were undoubtedly anxious to proceed at once to England, and the Commodore concluded to let her go. It is not at all strange that no dispatches or papers were found in the language of the rebel Commissioners. If they took credentials with them, they were either in the Trent's mails or on the persons of the ladies of the party.
Fort Warren is situated on Governor's Island, in Boston harbor, and about seven miles from the city. The island first bore the name of ‘"Conant's Island."’ It was demised to Governor Winthrop in 1632, and for many years afterwards was known as the ‘"Governor's Garden."’ A large portion of it still remains in the possession of James Winthrop, Esq., the remainder being that portion which was conveyed to the United States for the purpose of erecting the work known as Fort Warren. Its situation is eminently commanding, and vessels to pass up the harbor must pass within a short range of its guns. The work has two tiers of guns--one in casemates and the other en barbelle. The guns in the casemates are eight-inch seacoast stand columbiads, and the barbette guns range from 32-pounders to eight-inch shell guns. The post is in command of Colonel Dimmick, United States artillery, an officer who, by his foresight and loyalty, saved Fortress Monroe from falling into the hands of the rebels. The garrison now consists of four companies of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers. The garrison will, however, be changed in the course of a few days, when it will be somewhat increased. A large number of the heavy guns of the fort are now in position, and artisans and laborers are very busy in putting it in a complete state of defence.
The Imprisoned in Fort Warren--their condition.At present there are one hundred and twenty political prisoners, between fifty and sixty rebel officers and over six hundred prisoners of war confined in the fort. On Thursday last the number was increased by the arrival of two officers and twenty-five soldiers who were taken prisoners in the night attack on Santa Rosa Island. The soldier prisoners of war are quartered on the northern side of the Fort, in the fine stone barracks which have been built for the garrison. These men have considerable liberty allowed them, and a portion of the parade ground is set aside for their uses. Their cooks prepare their rations by camp fires located in close proximity to their quarters.--Most of them seem quite well contented with their treatment. The political prisoners and the rebel army and navy officers are quartered in the rooms on the west side of the parade ground, intended for the garrison officers. These individuals have all subscribed to a parole of honor, in which they promise not to go upon the ramparts, converse with the sentinels, or make any attempt to communicate with the shore, in person or otherwise. Their privileges are ample, and no such restrictions are placed upon them as our brave fellows are subject to in Southern prisons. Among the prisoners are many officers lately connected with the army and navy of the United States. Before the arrival of the rebel ministers the following were the most prominent personages confined here: Ex-Minister to France Faulkner; ex-Governor Morehead, of Kentucky; Mayor Brown, of Baltimore, a most perfect counterpart of the rebel General Beauregard; Marshal Kane, Messrs. Howard, Catchell, and Davis, Police Commissioners of Baltimore; Parker H. French, of Nicaragua notoriety; Colonel Tyler, of Bull Run Black Horse Cavalry; Colonels Pegram and Deleguil, and Commodore Barron. The scene of the parade ground during the day is quite animated and full of interest.--Men of all ranks and professions are here thrown together, all in a greater or less degree connected with the event which has attracted the attention of the whole world, and which has caused the blood of brothers to flow as water. A group of naval officers, recreant to their flag and their oath, may be seen pacing to and fro as if upon the deck of some noble vessel. Many of the groups are enjoying themselves in earnest conversation, while here and there may be seen little knots of persons, some rather indifferent, but yet you can almost see a lurking and revengeful fire in their eyes. As a general thing their personal appearance is not at all prepossessing. Seedy apparel is by no means uncommon, and if one did not know the character of the place he would be led to think that it was an asylum for broken down gentlemen. A clean shaven face is rarely to be met with This is passed away by those unhappy mortals in playing games of chance. A large portion of the day is spent in this kind of amusement, and the entire evening is spent in the same way. At ten o'clock the lights are put out, and after that time nothing is heard save the sentinels' regular call of ‘"All's well."’--They are allowed newspapers and to receive letters from their friends, but previous to their being delivered to them they are carefully read by officers of the garrison. I can not conclude the description of the personnel of the prisoners without remarking that the soldier prisoners are terribly annoyed with vermin, and, despite the efforts of the officers, the evil does not seem to diminish. The quarters selected for the use of the rebel Commissioners are precisely the same as those occupied by the other political prisoners. This room is a few doors from Colonel Dimmick's headquarters, in the same row, or, rather, under the same roof. The building is of beautiful New Hampshire granite, the roof forming the Tremain of the work. It has but one story above ground, which is divided into several fine and airy apartments. The basement contains all the necessaries for culinary operations, with quarters for servants &c. The largest rooms are about sixteen fact square, with high billings, and lighted by two large windows. A marble mantle adorns, the room, and a large grate furnishes the convenience for a good fire. The furniture of the room consists of a plain pine table, a few camp stools, the baggage of the occupants and a low wooden bedstead. A good straw mattress, with pillows of the same material, and heavy army blankets, make up the furniture of the room.--To say the least, the quarters are much better than they deserve. As to living, they can mess with their friends at the rate of one dollar per diem, having all the staple products of the market on the table. If they are given to the use of the weed they can indulge that taste, for smoking is allowed, but liquors are prohibited. In fact, almost everything but liberty is granted to them. Owing to the decision of the Government in relation to the usage of political prisoners, I think that some of these enjoyments will be curtailed until we can learn that the gallant Corcoran and others are treated better than they have been. Since the arrival of the rebel Commissioners at Fort Warren, an order has been issued by the War Department to allow no one to land upon the island except those connected with the garrison or persons in the discharge of official duties.
The British Consul's account of the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.From the New York Herald's Havana correspondence, dated November 22d, we take the following: ‘ The news by the English steamer, which arrived here this morning from St. Thomas, has thrown the whole city into a state of great excitement. By this time of course, the news of the capture of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, with their Secretaries, is old, but we have heard nothing of it until this morning. The British Consul was kind enough to read me the official dispatch he received in relation to the affair from the office in charge of the mails on board the Trent. That gentleman's version of the affairs is, briefly that the steamer Trent left Havana on the 7th inst. On the following day a steamer was observed nearing them, which presently fired a round shot across the bows of the Trent, whereupon the latter hoisted her flag and continued on her way; shortly afterwards a shell exploded at about half a cable's length from her, upon which she hove to. The stranger showed no flag until about the time the shell was fired, and it was then discovered that she was an American. Presently an armed party of marines under command of a Lieutenant came alongside the Trent, and the officers, on boarding her, demanded a list of her passengers, which the captain refused. The former then stated that he had positive knowledge that Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their secretaries, Messrs. Eustis and MacFarlane, were on board; that he had orders to arrest them, and, if necessary, use force. The party immediately surrendered themselves, under protest, the captain joining in the protest. The Federal officer wanted to take the Captain of the Trent, but for some reason or other refrained, and both steamers went their respective ways.--The whole affair occupied but a few minutes and occurred at about three o'clock in the afternoon. Southerners, Southern sympathizers, and Englishmen, are apparently rejoiced at the event. The former because it may bring about an immediate war with Great Britain, which, will relieve the blockade of Southern ports, and the latter because they hope "the Yankees will be made to pay for their insolence." ’
Opinions of the Northern press with regard to the arrest.The Northern press are by no means so unanimous in their justification of the outrage, as our first advices indicated. The St. Louis News thinks it will lead to a war with Great Britain, and the Republican discourses on it in the following doubtful manner: ‘ We suppose that in the statement of the points of any controversy which may arise upon the matter of the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, there can be no doubt of the correctness of the position that our rights to make this capture cannot be asserted without admitting the fact of belligerency in favor of the South. As a belligerent right the act may, it is believed, be well defended. But not on the contrary supposition. We shall look, therefore, to see so much granted by our Government. The admission involves no serious consequence whatever. It carries with it many advantages to ourselves. It is simply the acknowledgement of a fact whose non-existence it would be puerile seriously to assert. We are glad to see, therefore, that such an acknowledgement must soon be forthcoming in some shape which shall be intelligible, and such as to leave no doubt or question as to its having become a rule of action. ’
From Washington — a valuable publication from the Census Bureau--Culture of Grain, &c.‘"Aga,"’ the Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, writing under date of the 27th ult., communicates the following information: ‘ Mr. Kennedy, Superintendent of the Census, is causing the preparation of a work at his Bureau which is of greatest interest. Taking some sets of large maps of States which are in possession of the Government, he causes to be written over the spaces designating counties the number of whites, free colored, slaves, and men between eighteen and forty five years of age in such counties; also, valuable animals within such limits, as horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, &c. The quantity of leading agricultural products is also noted, and railroads, canals, turnpikes, and high roads are accurately delineated, with distances between principal places. The maps in question are of great military value at this time, and hence Gen. McClellan has detailed several competent persons to make transcripts for the use of the army.--Just now the work is confined to States which are seats of war, but it is intended to extend it to all the States, and in the end to have appropriate shadings to represent mineral regions, &c., &c. As the Congress of the Confederate States has formally recommended to the people of the South to devote less breadths of land to the culture of cotton than usual, and more to grains and grasses, so the necessities of the North, springing from the want of "cotton wool," suggest the pretermitting at this time of the usual slaughter of sheep and lambs, to the end that in future the wool crop may be made as large as possible. The percentage of increase in this species of animals since 1856 is not yet precisely known, or what proportion of them is in States adhering to the Federal Government. But it is clear that the wool crop may be amazingly increased by acting upon the policy above suggested. ’
The Banking House of Cairo and course — the Number of Women out of Employment — illness of Dr. Sunderland.From a Washington letter in the Sun, signed ‘"Ura,"’ we extract the following: ‘ The report of a committee of three to an adjourned meeting of the creditors of the late banking firm of Cairo and Nourse, shows that out of the $195,000 of indebtedness in September, 1857, $116,000 has been extinguished, leaving an existing indebtedness of nearly $90,000, independently of interest. To meet this are some 30,000 acres of agricultural lands in Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, &c., and other assets. The report was accepted, and the committee increased to five for future like action. The Secretary of the Treasury has appointed Lewis Johnson, Esq., agent for the Government loan in this city. The Rev. Dr. Sunderland, of the First Presbyterian Church, is quite ill at this time. In the agricultural division of the Patent Office, generally there are in the months of December, January, and February, about sixty females employed in putting up seeds for distribution in the Spring. They are paid one dollar per day for working from nine till three, and for months previous to engaging them they pour in their applications upon the Superintendent, Mr. Newton. The rule is to receive no application until a week before the time, and as December is now so near, the applicants, nearly one thousand, have already called. There seem to be more women out of employment this winter than ever before, who claim to need situations. ’
Affairs on the lower Potomac — arrest of Confederates in Maryland, &c.A letter in the New York Herald, from its special Washington correspondent, dated 23th November, furnishes us with the following items: ‘ The detachment of the 3d Indiana regiment, commanded by Capt. Keister, in the neighborhood of Budd's Ferry, which proceeded to the Lower Patuxent, encamped at Great Mills the first night, and at midnight proceeded on their way. Seventeen men of the detachment surrounded a house, out of which they took two prisoners charged with overt acts of rebellion. A Government detective, who accompanied the detachment, arrested two men in another house. A rebel Captain, who had crossed over to see his friends, was among the unfortunates. Another victim was a Doctor, charged with sending arms and munitions over to the rebels. The names of four of them are E. W. Sissell, E. H. Jones, B. L. Hayden, and W. H. Abel. They are from the hot-bed of rebel-sympathy in Maryland, St. Mary's county. That locality is the last refuge of treason in the State. It has "paled its ineffectual fires" in Baltimore, and been trodden out by the Union men almost everywhere in the State, except St. Mary's county, which may have to be converted into an oyster bed, where the tide will ebb and flow over it, before the South Carolina hereby that infects the people there will be drowned out. As far as trading vessels are concerned, the blockade of the Potomac is no longer effective. The rebels find the waste of powder upon oyster and bay transports is an unprofitable investment. The venture of the rebel steamer Page to leave her berth up Quantico creek was too hazardous to be often repeated. ’
Interesting statement of a deserter--one hundred thousand Confederate soldiers on the Potomac.The Herald's Washington correspondent says: ‘ A deserter from the rebels, by the name of William West, a son of a clerk in the Treasury Department, who was impressed five months ago at Winchester, and at the time he left the rebel camp was an orderly to one of their Brigadier-Generals, came into our lines to-day. He reports that the headquarters of the enemy is still at Centreville, and that the force immediately around that point is sixty thousand, and that that number is supposed to less than half of the whole rebel force on the Potomac. General Johnston is in command. Provisions are plenty — that is, bread and meat; coffee and sugar deficient; salt very scarce. The troops are living in tents. They are tolerably well clothed and pretty well armed. Some of their arms they lately received from Europe. The troops, he says, are in good spirits. They express the belief that they can maintain their line of occupation in front of us against any force we can bring. The troops, he says, are told constantly by their officers, and especially by their Chaplains, that this is a war of subjugation, devastation, and abolition. There are formidable entrenchments at Centreville, but no siege guns. There are fine entrenchments at Manassas, and some heavy guns. He says that no troops have gone Southward to his knowledge, the coast operations not causing any dispersion of their forces. This is contradicted by other authority. He brought with him a good horse, is well clothed — double woolen underclothing, heavy woolen overcoat, one Sharpe's rifle — and presented as good an appearance as our orderless generally. ’
Oath of Allegiance Administered to Lawyers Practicing in the Courts of Alexandria.Judge Freese, of the Provost Court, at Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, the 27th ult., made the following order in open court, and directed the Clerk of the Court to enter it upon the records: ‘ "No person shall be permitted to practice in this court as an attorney or counsellor-at-law until he shall have first taken the following oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign; and that I will bear true faith, allegiance, and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any State Convention or Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding; and that I do this with a full determination, pledge, and purpose, without any mental reservation or evasion whatever. "And I do further swear that, as an attorney or counsellor-at-law, I will, in all cases, prove faithful to my client, and implicitly respect and obey the orders of this court." ’
Plans for the defence of the city of Charleston, South Carolina.Among the documents which the Yankees found in Fort Walker was a long order, dated October 12, from General DeSaussure, providing for the defence of Charleston in case of an attach. The Northern papers are ventilating it with a great flourish of trumpets; and, as a matter of interest to our readers, we copy from the main plan of defence as follows:
- I. In case of an alarm, requiring the prompt assembling of all the troops in the city of Charleston, signal for each assembling will be fifteen strokes upon all the fire belts; an interval of one minute and fifteen strokes will be repeated. The strokes, will be repeated five times.
- II. Upon the sounding of such a signal the troops in the city will immediately assemble, under arms, and in marching order, at the respective regimental master grounds, and being formed in a line will a wait further orders.
- III. The regiment of the reserves will assemble on the street immediately in front of the Citadel, the color company resting on the gate of the Citadel, and will be retained in the city for its immediate defence, unless otherwise specially ordered.
- IV. The officers commanding the 10th and 17th Regiments of Infantry, 1st Regiment of Rifles, and 1st Regiment of Artillery, will have their transportation wagons turned out and loaded with the regimental tents and stores, and will proceed to press horses and mules, as may be required for the transportation.
- V. Upon an alarm being communicated to the country, the officers commanding companies will immediately extend the same in the mode pointed out in section CXLI, A. A., 1841.
- VI. The alarm being communicated, the several companies composing the 18th and 19th regiments infantry will promptly assemble at their respective muster grounds.