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Latest from the North.
the Mason-Slidell affair.
Senator Hale's War Speech.
General News items.

From Northern papers as late as the 27th we make up the following items of interest:

The Mason Slidell Cave —— reported Sailing of the commissioners.

Boston, Dec. 26.
--The Cunard steamer Europa, which sailed for Liverpool yesterday, stopped at Fort Warren, and, it is rumored, with some appearance of truth, that Messrs. Mason and Slidell were put on board.

The authorities at the fort refuse to say anything about the matter. It was rumored here also yesterday that they were to take passage in the Europa, and her stopping at the fort gives color to it.

Second Dispatch.

Boston, Dec. 26.
--The rumored departure of Slidell and Mason is discredit,. It is said that the report arose from her stopping at the fort to discharge her pilot.

Third Dispatch.

Boston, Dec. 26.
--It is certain that the report about Mason and Slidell having sailed for Europe is not correct.

Gen. Scott as a mediator.

The New York Herald's special Washington correspondent, dated Dec. 26th, says:

‘ In connection with the report that, before leaving Paris, Gen. Scott had a long interview with the Prince Napoleon, and that the General was the bearer to America or the French Emperor's desire for the maintenance of peace between England and the United States, the National Intelligencer thinks it possible that Louis Napoleon may consider "the danger of war so imminent as to justify his making an informal proffer through Gen. Scott, to which the latter attaches so much importance as to think he will serve his country by submitting it in person to our government.

The War feeling in England — a Lookout for Mason and Slidell on board a British fleet.

[From the London Chronicle, Dec. 4] No middle course is open, Either our demands, as stated by Lord Russell, must be compiled with to the letter, or they must be enforced by the action or a fleet which, as the Yankees will learn rather too soon for their dignity, is not the same as that which encountered threefold odds in 1812. In this emergency they naturally glance at the immense material resources of the French empire, and speculate upon the probabilities of an imperial alliance. For once these astute adventurers are out in their calculations.

The crime of which they have been guilty is one that offends, not England alone, but every maritime Power. It is a blow struck against the commerce of the world. France has no less an interest in resenting it than Great Britain herself. In point of fact, every Government that signed the treaty of Paris in 1856 is bound by the principles of political consistency to denounce as piratical the achievement of the San Jacinto. Every important journal in the empire has given its adhesion to the doctrine of international law upon which Lord Russell's dispatch to Lord Lyons has been founded. Therefore, if the Americans want an ally, they must seek one beyond Behring Straits, and not on the other side of the British Channel. England indubitably commands resources which in the worst event would enable her to hold her own both in Europe and in the New World; but there are ten chances to one that France would seize upon the opportunity to co-operate with her, and share her triumphs in the American waters.

It is a marvel where those individuals had their origin who are at present counselling us to adopt the language of conciliation towards the North, as though the North had been the victim and England the aggressor. Mr. Bright's followers suggest that if we cancel all that has been said, admit our national errors, and send our love to New York, we may hope that the Federal faction will consent not to fight. Of course, there may be picked up any where half a dozen scribes willing to recommend humiliation and ignominy; but the wonder is that five hundred Englishmen can be found to endure their degrading can't. Still, it is worth something to know what is thought at the fag end of political society, and when the four commissioners arrive in the United Kingdom, whether surrendered at our summons or brought home by a victorious fleet, they may be introduced to those curiosities of Quakerdom, who esteem the British Union Jack no more than they would the handkerchief of a begging Lascar. In the meantime, the general unanimity of public opinion is unwavering. Excepting the paltry knot of sectarians, who in variably turn their backs against the light, every respectable journal in the country has, however tardily, arrived at a conclusion hostile to the American claim, and a similar harmony of sentiment will unquestionably prevail should the Northern States drive us into war.

A suspicion most dishonoring to the American character is naturally engendered by what has transpired at New York. In no version of the proceedings on board the Trent do we discover the trace of an allusion to any seizure of dispatches. And yet certain documents have conveniently turned up for transmission to President Lincoln. We have no right to suggest how these papers may have been obtained, but there would be little inconsistency on the part of the North were it to fabricate a set of spurious dispatches, and palm them off as the contraband which justified the arrest of the Trent.--Dispatches or no dispatches, however, the kidnapping of the four commissioners stand inexcusable, and upon this point the whole controversy turns. The Yankee press informs its constituents that, as usual, we shall exhaust ourselves and our indignation in empty words; but for once they have been too confident.

The North will be wise if it convinces itself, beyond a possibility of doubt, that Great Britain is serious in this matter, that her resolve has been taken, that she has uttered no word by which she will not abide, and that the one alternative of the Federal Government is to give way with procrastinating, or trust to the arbitrament of war.

Confederates in England.

The London Observer informs us that steps have been taken to put a stop to what it calls "American espionage in England"--that is to say the system of sending out detective policemen to watch Southern rebels in English cities and towns. The editor says: Mr. Adams, the United States Minister in London, is understood all along to have protested against these doings, and they appear to have been carried on through the instrumentality of another Ambassador of the United States at a foreign Court; but it is expected that the disclosures that have taken place will have the effect of putting an end to proceedings that have caused so much public outcry and indignation.

Senator Hale's War Speech.

In the United States Senate, on Thursday, the 26th,

Mr. Hale, of N. H., introduced a resolution relative to our affairs with Great Britain, as follows:

Resolved. That the President of the United States be requested (if not incompatible with the public interest) to transmit to the Senate copies of dispatches and instructions which have passed between this Government and the Government of Great Britain, or between the Government or any of its functionaries, relative to the seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell on board the steamer Trent, to be transmitted either in open or executive session, as he may judge best.

Mr. Hale said he had read in the public papers, and heard from various sources — for he had no confidential relations with the administration — which was not his fault, he being disposed to be as confidential as any body — he had heard, he said, that the Cabinet had yesterday under consideration a public question of more importance to this country than any that had ever arisen. The administration, he heard, was about to commit what to his mind appeared a most fatal act in the surrender, upon the imperious demand of Great Britain, the persons, Mason and Slidell, who were seized on board the Trent. If we did that we should surrender all that had been won by the Revolution. It would make us vassals of Great Britain. We should lose the respect of foreign nations, and be humbled in our own eyes.

He would go as far as any one to preserve peace, if it could be done with honor. But if Great Britain had demanded the surrender of these prisoners, he would meet it at once by a declaration of war. He would not wait for her to make war. Peace at such a price would be too dear. It would be more dangerous than war. He repeated, that peace was desirable if it could be preserved with honor. He would be willing even to abide by an arbitration of the question.

But if Great Britain had made this demand, it was because she was predetermined to wage war. If we were to be humiliated let it be after a war, and not before it. But let us not be humiliated first, and destroyed afterwards. Talking with the Senator from Indiana, Mr. Lane, at breakfast this morning, that Senator remarked that his State had furnished sixty thousand troops for the civil war, and would double that number immediately to meet this quarrel with England. That was the feeling of the whole North, and he would tell this administration that if they trifled with the public sentiment on this question they would encounter a fire in the rear that would utterly confound them. On the motion of pettifoggers, whom they call law officers of the crown, aware was to be made; but he did not believe that in such a war our cause would be hopeless.

There will be one advantage in a war with England. We can proclaim to every individual on the earth, with an appeal which shall strike to the heart of all. Some fears had been thrown out that Louis Napoleon would join in a contest with us — he had no fears of it. If Louis Napoleon had one desire stronger than another, it was that he might have the opportunity of wiping out the stain of disaster to the French at Water-loo. There were innumerable men everywhere who would rejoice in the occurrence of such a war, that they might vindicate their own rights and the principles of liberty.

The people of Canada, the people of Ireland, the French nation, the lovers of liberty even in England, would sympathize with us. Let England make this war, and his word for it, it would be the beginning of her downfall. This country would come safely out of such a contest; but even if it should be disastrous, we would yet save our honor. Francis I, after the battle of Pavia, wrote back, "We have lost all but honor." That honor which he had saved was the foundation of the future glory of France. So would it be with us. If we saved our honor we could lose all else, and rise again in power and glory. It the war must come, let it come, and let us thank God that he had made us instruments in His hands to work out His own cause.

Mr. Hale now said he would withdraw his resolution; but

Mr. Sumner (who is chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs) desired to say that he thought the Senator had spoken too swiftly on this subject. Mr. Hale had asserted that England had made an arrogant demand; this was hypothetical. How, he asked, did that gentleman know it — how did the Senate know it — how did the country know? He did not so know, and he thought the time for speaking and action would be when the facts were presented — when the case came practically before them. The gentleman had said he was in favor of arbitration; Mr. S. rejoiced to hear it, and he would say that he himself was in favor of doing all in that regard that it became us to do. He doubted not the matter was in safe hands. But he wished not to be considered as saying that even arbitration had been suggested, or was under consideration. He made no utterances in behalf of any at this time, but that a spirit of conciliation consistent with honor would be manifested, we had every reason to believe; of that we could feel confident.

Serious aspect of the Mexican question.

The Herald's Washington correspondent, dated, Dec. 26, writes as follows:

‘ The Mexican imbroglio is beginning to assume a most serious aspect. The Government here addressed a friendly letter to the Ministers of England, France, and Spain, informing their Governments, through them, that the United States could not join the tripartite treaty, but that arrangements were about being made between the United States and Mexico, whereby England and France would be able to get the interest on the bones which those Governments held, and which would obviate the necessity of those two Governments, at least, in joining said expatiation. But it appears from their answer, that this is not satisfactory to them. They have other designs. They say it is their purpose to restore law and order throughout that country, so that not only foreign subjects, our foreign interests will be safe and under ample protection.

’ There is more in this than appears upon the mere face, and it therefore becomes a serious question for the Government to consider. What action the Administration will take has not been determined. The matter is under advisement.

Why the hostile armies do not advance — News from the lower Potomac.

The telegraphic correspondent of the New York Herald, under date of Washington, Dec. 26, furnishes the following items:

‘ The prisoners at Richmond are frequently asked "why don't the Yankees come down this way and fight us?" the reply is, "why don't you go up and fight the Yankees?" the reply as, "for the same reason that you don't advance; you are afraid of our batteries, and we are afraid of yours."

’ There has been no arrival from the flotilla since our last report. Three barges, with provisions for the army, arrived at Alexandria yesterday morning in tow or a steaming, having passed the batteries during the dark hours of the night before. One of the barges lost her deck load in Chesapeake Bay, and one of the others lost also a portion of her cargo. They report that the Confederate batteries sunk, day before yesterday, a large schooner attempting to run the blockade.

Capture of Confederate vessels and agents on the coast of Texas.

Washington, Dec. 26.
--Dispatches from Commander Ridgeley, cruising off the coast of Texas, have been received at the Navy department, from which it appears that early in December he captured the English schooner Victoria, of 72 tons, from Point Isabel, with a clearance from the rebel authorities, having run the blockade. The vessel was sent to Key West Seven of those on board took the oath of allegiance, and six were detailed as enemies of the United States.

The schooner Eugenia Smith was also overhauled, but permitted to depart, no contraband articles being found on board. The persons of two rebel agents were, however, searched, namely: Thomas S. Rogers, of Texas, and Mr. Zachary, of New Orleans — The papers found clearly implicate them as rebel agents sacking to make their way to Mexico, and thence to other points.

Later from Fort Pickens and Key West.

New York, Dec. 26.
--The steamship Baltic from Fort Pickens, where she landed the 75th New York Regiment, and sailed thence on the 19th inst., and from Key West on the 22d inst., has arrived. She left at Fort Pickens the steam frigate Niagara.

The gun-boat Wisahickon left on the 17th for Ship Island. The sloop-of-war Richmond left Key West on the 21st for New York, to repair her machinery.

Affairs at Fort Pickens were unchanged. Some deserters had reached there, who report great distress and discontent in the rebel forces.

Intelligence has been received that the United States gun-boat Iroquois has the pirate Sumter blockaded in Cienfuegos harbor. The gun-boat Flambean was also in the port of Nassau, N. P., where the rebel steamer Isabel was.

From the South side of the Potomac.

Washington, December 26.
--Information received here to-day from Gen. McCall's division is to the effect that early this morning our pickets extending toward Drainsville were driven in. At the latter place the rebel forces, it is believed, have been largely reinforced. Hence increased watchfulness on the part of our troops has become necessary.

Affairs at Panama.

Washington, Dec. 26.
--The flag officer of the Pacific squadron, writing from Panama under date of December 13th, says: ‘"All remains quiet at Panama and throughout the Isthmus. The recent recognition of the Mosquito Government by the authorities of Panama seems to have tranquilized the public mind, and produced a general feeling of security not experienced for many years past."’

Heavy cannonading heard on the coast of long Island.

Stonington, Conn., Dec. 26.
--All day heavy cannonading has been heard in the direction of Gardner's Bay. Long Island. A messenger from Fisher's Island reports a mysterious light last evening in that vicinity.

Arrival of the Arago.

New York, Dec. 26.
--The steamer Arago with Gen. Scott among her passengers arrived here at 5:30 P. M. Her news is anticipated. She brought full files of papers but no mails, which are on the Edinburgh.

A rebel vessel captured.

New York, Dec. 26.
--The rebel schooner Fashion was captured by the U. S. sloop-of-war Ethan Allen, November 25, and sent to Key West.

Army order.

Washington, Dec. 26.
--The War Department has issued an order that no additional cavalry regiments be organized.--Those that have not been mustered into service will necessarily be transferred to some other arm of the military service.

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