Late Northern news.

From the late Yankee papers in our hands we continue to make up a summary of the news:

Masters of the situation — what will be done with us.

The Herald says:

We are now masters of the situation. We have a magnificent army of 700,000 men, including an ordnance force which, if properly employed, will prove the justice of Napoleon's well known saying, that ‘"Heaven is on the side of the heaviest artillery,"’ and a cavalry corps of 50,000 men composed of as fine material as any in the world, the whole recently reorganized in respect to its field and line officers in a manner to render it equal to the emergencies of the most trying campaigns.--We have a navy which, in the number of vessels and sailors daily added to it, is rapidly advancing to the same state of strength and efficiency. Now, all that is wanted is energetic and vigorous action on the part of Congress to obtain from this immense development of military and naval strength the speedy results that are expected.

To accomplish the great object which the nation has in view — of reconstructing the Union as it stood before this rebellion — it becomes a political necessity and a duty on the part of President Lincoln, who has already won the admiration and applause of the country by the conscientious and conservative course he has pursued, to proclaim, after the first great victory obtained by on arms, that it is his determination and that of his administration to maintain the constitutional rights of every State inviolate, and on the return of the rebels to their allegiance to guarantee to them their rights as citizens in the States in which they now exist. Such a proclamation, following close on the heels of a great victory, will prove that the war has not been undertaken from vindictiveness or a thirst of power, as English politicians pretend, and that the position of this country is one of great strength and conservatism, important alike to the cause of good Government and to the interests of republicanism throughout the world.

English arms.

If it were not fully demonstrated by advices from the South that the Confederates are only partially provided with long-range muskets, there would not be much room for doubt upon the point, from the fact that the English papers state that, after the stoppage of the exportation of arms to America, some of the manufacturers, who were filling American orders, applied to the British authorities to take the arms they had on hand. In reply, specimens were asked for, and, upon examination and trial, they were found to be of most inferior make, and many of the so-called ‘"rifles"’ were merely grooved a few inches from the muzzle.

It is found in practice that grooving the smooth-bore Springfield musket greatly increases the danger of bursting the barrel, &c., and in this view Captain Dahlgren stated, at the beginning of the war, that even cannon would not well bear grooving, unless cast specially for that purpose.

A dangerous crisis at hand.

An officer from Cairo states that he visited Columbus lately under a flag of truce, and had an interview with Gen. Polk and others, who expressed a firm reliance upon aid from Great Britain at an early day. The Trent affair was their opportunity, but its conclusion is, as the London Times remarks, an omen of their defeat. The same officer mentions that a citizen of New Orleans and President of the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad, against whom sympathy with. Federal prisoners had been alleged, gave the opinion that the financial embarrassments of the Confederates and the necessity of reenlistments would produce a dangerous crisis in their affairs.

The Purchase of vessels for the Government,

According to the New York Tribune, some new developments in reference to the Morgan purchases of vessels for the Government have just been made. The Tribune says:

‘ It appears that certain parties were authorized to sell to the Government the New York and Savannah line of steamers, for which they were to have 2 per cent. brokerage on the gross amount of the sales. In the meantime Mr. Morgan purchased them for the department, for which he was paid by the same party 2 ½ per cent. The broker now comes forward and sues the owner of the steamer for his 2 per cent. The defendant claims that he is not bound to pay, and insists that he can establish the fact that a ‘"ring"’ was formed to prevent the Government from getting the New York steamers except at an exorbitant price established by the ring.

Military Prison at Alton.

The military prison at Alton, Ill., is now nearly ready for the reception of the rebel prisoners now confined at McDowell's College, in St. Louis, and others who are daily being brought in by Gen. Halleck's troops. Comfortable quarters have been provided in the old penitentiary, and as they will have ample grounds for exercise and fresh air, the health of the inmates will be greatly improved. Nothing remains now but to make the transfer, which can be done in a single day. McDowell's College, it is presumed, will still be occupied as a receiving station, from which prisoners can be transferred in any direction.

Interesting Miscellaneous news.

The following paragraphs are condensed from the various letter writers to the Northern press, from Washington:

The Government, it is stated, has issued an order prohibiting the exportation of quinine and opium to Cuba for the future. It seems that immense quantities have been recently sent from New York to Havana, the real destination of which is the Southern States.

It is stated that, as a means of raising additional revenue for the Post-Office Department, a bill will be introduced in the House reducing the letter postage to two cents per half-ounce and providing for the free delivery of letters in the large cities.

The new hospitals for the use of the army have been built, and are now ready for use They are capable of accommodating several thousand patients, and are arranged with all the modern improvements. The health of the army has greatly improved. The statistics for the past two weeks show that deaths are fewer and that disease is on the decrease.

The stories in Northern papers in relation to small-pox here were greatly exaggerated. A reference to the record at the Eruptive Fever Hospital, shows but two deaths from that disease in the last week, and a very limited number of cases besides, none of which were of a malignant type.

The condition of the roads across the Potomac is worse than ever. Since the history January they have been almost impassable, and now that the frost is out, and the ground well soaked with water, it will take many days for the soil to dry so that army wa ons and artillery can be moved with any degree of celerity.

The recently enacted law providing for the return of all letters to their owners, sent as dead or uncalled for to the Post-Office Department, is about to be put into operation. The Postmaster-General claims that the revenue from the postage on these returned letters will fully compensate the Department for all the extra expenditure. It is stated that lady clerks are to be employed to read and return these letters.

The number of applicants for a few vacancies of minor importance in the Department is almost without a parallel. Senators and Members of the House are literally overrun with these office- seekers, besieging them at the doors of the Capital, their private quarters, or the streets, and it is said even on their way to church. The rush is simply occasioned by the passion for office, as the salaries are barely sufficient for a livelihood with the present high rates of living.

A report from Richmond via Fortress Monroe states that General Beauregard left for Kentucky, taking with him fifteen thousand men, and that President Davis is to take command of the troops of Manassas in person after the inauguration on the 22d inst.

It may be a consolation to the ‘"onward to Richmond"’ people to know that during the past week one of our light batteries essayed an advance as an experiment, with a result that would probably be discouraging to Gen. Horace Greeley himself.

Dr. F, C. Neale, of St. Marys county, Md., was arrested at his home, by Federal authority, some week or more since, and at latest accounts was still held as a prisoner. We have not learned the ground for his arrest.

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