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Extracts from Northern journals.

We publish below some interesting items of Northern news obtained from the columns of late papers which our neighbors of the Enquirer were fortunate enough to obtain in time for their issue of yesterday.

[Special Washington Dispatch to the New York Herald dated Dec. 7.]

The capture of Mason and Slidell.

The personal friends of Secretary Seward are confident that the remark made by him in his speech on Tuesday evening, in response to a serenade, that the country would, within ten days, be electrified by more welcome news than they have yet heard, referred to the probability that within that time the entire acquiescence of the British Government in the taking of Mason and Slidell would be received. It is believed that Lord Lyons has intimated to Mr. Seward that his Government will assure him that they mean neutrality on board their vessels and every where else.

Probable exchange of prisoners.

It having transpired that the treatment of numbers of the prisoners in the hands of the Confederates in most atrocious, the Government is beginning to consider seriously the propriety of an exchange. The details of the sufferings of some Union officers, recently made known, are absolutely loathsome: and, as no principle would be sacrificed, some step seems necessary for their relief. When the rebellion has been crushed out it will be easy to arrest and punish the ringleaders. including those who have been imprisoned. As there are instances on record of our having exchanged prisoners even with the Algerine pirates, why should it not be done for the advantage of brave and loyal men, who are guilty of no other crime than that of faith fully defending their country.

Secretary Welles on naval Precedents.

Navy Department, Nov. 30, 1861.
Copt. Chas. Wilkes, Commanding the U. S. Steamer San Jacinto: Sir:
I congratulate you on your safe arrival, and especially do I congratulate you on the great public service you have rendered in the capture of the Confederate emissaries. Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been conspicuous in this conspiracy to dissolve the Union, and it is well known that when seized by you they were on a mission hostile to the Government of the country. Your conduct in seizing these public enemies was marked by intelligence, ability, decision, and firmness, and has the emphatic approval of this department.

It is not necessary that I should, in this communication — which is intended to be one of congratulation to yourself, officers, and crew — expression opinion on the course pursued in omitting to capture the vessel which had these public enemies on board, further than to say that the forbearance exercised in this instance must not be permitted to constitute a precedent here after for infractions of neutral obligations.

I am, respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Gideon Welles.

Trade with the South.

Upon the strength of permits issued, or at least-promised by Government some time since, certain parties in the North, among them Senator Simmons, fitted out vessels to trade with the South, exchanging articles with the loyal men on the seaboard required for cotton and rice. Government, however, has since had the matter under advisement, and now refuses to give any permits, and the vessels, some of which have reached Fortress Monroe, were a day or two since brought to Baltimore, and there disposed of their cargoes.

Present for Seward.

Prince Napoleon has selected, at the Imperial Manufactory, an elegant service of Sevreschina, as a present to the Secretary of State, in acknowledgment of the attentions which the Prince received here.

The recent release.

Messrs. Gwin, Berham, and Brent, arrived this evening. Their release upon parole is not final, but their case is to be recommended here by the President.

The secession Court.

Although Mrs. Jefferson Davis has not as yet been able to hold her promised reception at the White House, Mrs. John C. Breckinridge is said to be at Baltimore reciting the homage of the fair yet treasonable secessionists of that nearly humbled city. Some of the few female traitors here went over a few days since to attend a party given in honor of the wife of the recreant Kentuckian, at which all the ladies wore neck bows of red and white ribbon, and the cake was frosted with those revolutionary colors.

Funeral Gratian — slavery to be abolished--
Startling ones Predicted.

We learn that next Wednesday is fixed for announcing the death of Senator Baker, and Tuesday of Mr. Bingham, in the Senate. Senator Sumner is expected to deliver the funeral oration. He to- day expressed the opinion that the present Congress would take such action as would abolish slavery in the Southern States, and it cannot then live in the Border States any length of time.

To verify the predictions of distinguished officials, we will, before another week, have some starling and glorious news. Your readers will not have to look long in vain.

Instructions to M'Clellan respecting Fugitive slaves.

The following has just been made public Department of State,
Dec. 4, 1861.
To Major-General George B. McClellan, Washington City: General:
--I am directed by the President to call your attention to the following subject:

Persons claiming to be held to service or labor under the laws of the State of Virginia, and actually employed in hostile service against the Government of the United States, frequently escape from the lines of the enemy's forces, and are received within the lines of the Army of the Potomac. This Department understands that such persons, afterwards coming into the city of Washington, are liable to be arrested by the city police, upon the presumption, arising from color, that they are fugitives from service or labor.

By the fourth section of the act of Congress, approved August 6, 86, entitled ‘"an act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes, "’ such hostile employment is made a full and sufficient answer to any further claim to service or labor. Persons thus employed, and escaping, are received into military protection of the United States, and their arrest as fugitives from labor or service should be immediately followed by the military arrest of the parties making the seizure.

Copies of this communication will be sent to the Mayor of the City of Washington and to the Marshal of the District of Columbia, that any collision between the military and civil authorities may be avoided.

I am, General, your ob't serv't,
Wm. H. Seward.

[from the New York world]
Rumored Contemplated Purchase.

Secretary Cameron, it is said, on his recent visit to Hartford, had a conversation with Col. Sam. Colt, about buying his whole works in the South Meadow, for the Government, and asked the Col. for his terms for factory, machinery, grounds and all. Col. Colt wished time for consideration, and the story is he has quite recently sent a letter to Mr. Cameron, offering his whole concern for five millions of dollars — every thing to be Included for this sum, except his own private dwellings and grounds contiguous. We give the story as it goes, without vouching for its accuracy.

The Western Virginia Convention.

Wheeling, Dec. 5
--The Convention to day abolished the system of voting viva voce in the Legislature, substituting that of voting by ballot.

Mr. Burley, of Marshall county, offered a resolution to inquire into the expediency of requiring all attorneys to take the oath of allegiance. Also of allowing no person to sue in the courts who is disloyal to the Government.

A Confederate steamer passed at sea.

New York, Dec. 6.
--The ship Yorkshire, from Liverpool, reports: "Nov. 28, passed a steamer, bark rigged, showing the Confederate flag. She appeared to have lost her bulwarks. Had a spread eagle on her stern and a white wheel-house. She was steering Southeast.

Northern Markets.

The New York Herald, of Friday last, says:

‘ Stocks were quiet to-day. Business remains dull, operators generally being anxious to hear from England and to read the report of the Secretary of the Treasury before buying. Virginia 6's rose 1 per cent.; Missouri's were steady. The movement in the railroad shares was irregular.

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