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Northern news.

We continue to make extracts from the late Federal papers which have reached us:

Destructive fires and heavy losses in New York.

There were no less than eight fires in New York on Saturday and Sunday of last week, involving an aggregate loss of about $800,000. The first fire broke out on Saturday afternoon, in a bonded warehouse, of R. H. Wyatt, on Bridge street, which resulted in the destruction of $300,000 worth of property. The building was entirely destroyed. When the fire reached the cellar, where a large quantity of Scotch and Irish whiskey was stored, an explosion took place, the effect of which was terrific. Bricks, boards, pieces of barrels, and other fragments, were thrown in all directions. The immense crowd which had gathered to view the conflagration endeavored to withdraw quickly, but a large number were thrown down and trampled upon. At one o'clock on Sunday morning the building adjoining that fire, and burned out some $25,000 more.

On Sunday morning another fire started at the corner of Fulton and Pearl streets, which resulted in the destruction of ten buildings, used for commercial and manufacturing purposes, together with the Fulton bank building. The loss at this fire is estimated at about $210,000.

Witnesses and investigating committees.

Washington, Jan. 27.
--The President has approved the bill repealing the provision of the law which exempts witnesses who have been examined before an investigating committee of either House of Congress from testifying before court.

Baltimore news.

The Sun, of the 28th, contains the following:

Rev. Joshua Wells, the oldest clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died on Saturday last, at the residence of Mr. Wm. Fite, in Baltimore county, in the 98th year of his ages Mr. W. was a native of Maryland, born, in 1764, and in early life connected himself with the Methodist Church. He was contemporary with Wesley, Asbury, Whitefield, Coke, and other pioneers of that denomination, having become an itinerant preacher in 1788.

Yesterday afternoon Maj. Gilbian, Lieuts. Wm H. Ward, Wm. Shaw, and W. B. Wise, all of whom had been confined as prisoners of war in Fort Warren, left by the Georgeanna for Old Point, on route for the South. A large police force was at the wharf when the steamer left.

From Alexandria, Va.

The correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, under date of the 27th, gives the following news from Alexandria:

‘ A new Union paper, started at Alexandria, says the Methodist Episcopal Church South is now occupied by the military forces of the United States. The basement of the church will be used as barracks, but it is said there will be no interference with the upper part of the edifice.

A portion of the Illinois cavalry are now in quarters at the lower end of Wolfe street, occupying a portion of the old brewery, and stabling their horses in the wharf sheds of Smith & Perkins's locomotive establishment. Other houses in that vicinity have been taken for the same purpose, as has the machine shop and foundry of Mr Thomas Jamieson, corner of Royal and Wilkes streets.

The fuel market is still quiet, the supply and demand being about equal Coal — Anthracite; $9 per ton; Cumberland, (lump,) $7.60; run of mine, $6.60. Wood — Oak and pine, $7 per cord; maple, &c., mixed, not seasoned, $5.50.

Maryland Senate.

In this legislative body, on the 27th ult., Mr. Goldsborough, from the Committee on Federal Relations, reported that the committee had had the memorial of Dr. A. A. Lynch Senator from Baltimore county, before them, and that some of the committee had communicated with the State Department at Washington in reference to the imprisonment of Dr. Lynch. The Department had returned an answer that measures had been taken for his release on certain conditions.

From Washington--Yankee hospitals — promotions — Aids De-camp.

Washington, Jan. 27.
--The Sanitary Commission have had several conferences recently, both with the War Department and the military committees of Congress, relative to a reorganization of the Hospital Department. It appears that they desire the selection of officers of the regular medical staff, more with regard to efficiency than to the prevalent usages of seniority. The Commission say they are acting on the principle that they had better take precautionary measures against sickness in camp than fill the hospitals.

General Kelm, of Pa., recently appointed Brigadier General, has been assigned to a brigade in General Casey's division of the army of the Potomac.

Captain Gregg, U. S. Army, has been appointed Colonel of the regiment of Pennsylvania cavalry formerly commanded by Col. Chantry.

It is understood that the Senate to-day, in Executive session, decided the following point, namely: That a confirmation of aide-de-camp of Major-Generals is not necessary, for the reason that they are in the nature of temporary appointments, and may be made by the President on the recommendation of any Major-General, without the concurrence of the Senate, according to the act of August last. More share fifty aide-de-camp had been submitted for consideration.

A Facetious Secretary.

Stanton, the new Federal Secretary of War, seems to transact business in quite an original and good-humored way, judging from the following paragraph in a Washington letter:

‘ A Colonel of a regiment called and made complaint that his command had not been mounted as cavalry, as they had expected.

The Secretary remarked that they had more cavalry now than they knew what to do with--eighty regiments, when fifty were ample. But said the Colonel, another regiment has got the horses we were to have — Oh, this is a horse case, then. You want me to unhorse one set and mount another," responded the Secretary. ‘"A one horse case is generally long enough, but this would be too much, I can't undertake it."’ By and by came an ingenious patriot with a patent breastplate, sure to turn a rifle ball. The Secretary could hardly see the use of it, as there had been very little shooting done so far in the war — and the fact was, they wanted hereafter that men should go in and shoot and be shot at. But was the invention of any value? Oh, yes! says the inventor; it had been tested. The Secretary thought, however, that the surest test would be afforded by the patriotic inventor donning the vest, and allowing a trial by marksmen.

Federal appropriations.

The bill passed by the Federal House of Representatives, making appropriations for the Military Academy for the year ending June, 1863, appropriates as follows:

For pay of officers, instructors, cadets and musicians, $100,000; for commutation of subsistence, $4,160; for forage for officers' horses, $1,410; for pay in lieu of clothing to officers' servants, $60; for current and ordinary expenses as follows: repairs and improvements, fuel and apparatus, forage, postage, stationery, transportation, printing, clerks, miscellaneous and incidental expenses, and departments of instruction, $35,000; for gradual increase and expenses of library, $1,000; for expenses of the board of visitors, $1,500; for forage of artillery and cavalry horses, $5,000; for supplying horses for artillery and cavalry practice, $1,000; for repairs of officers' quarters, $1,500; for targets and batteries for artillery exercise, $150; for furniture for hospital for cadets, $100; for annual repairs of gas pipes and retorts, $300; for warming apparatus for academic and other buildings, $3,000; for the kitchen of cadets mess hall, $1,000; for laborers at cadets camp ground, $1,000.

Federal Treasury note bill.

A Washington correspondent on the 27th says:

‘ To-morrow the treasury note and loan bill will be considered in the House. It is supposed that it will pass under the prompting of stern necessity. But there will be a vehement opposition in some quarter to the legal tender clause. Some say that it shows a want of confidence on the part of the Government in its own credit, others say that it is necessary only to put down factions on speculative bank corporations to discredit the Government. The truth is that if the tax bills pass and the payment of the notes be provided for, the notes will be equally good, whether with or without the legal tender clause.

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