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SUNDAY
DECEMBER
27, 1863
THE DAILY PICAYUNE (LA)

Notes on Trade–The Week.

The commercial week commenced without the receipt of those advices per the regular steamer from New York due, or considered due on every Monday morning. There was nothing lost or interrupted by the delay. The movements for the week, commercially, have not been to an extent calling for more than a brief notice. The holiday season has arrived, and the annual festivities, thus far, have been commensurate with the financial condition of our community. The memorable 23d of December, 1814, has been overlooked–its remembrance swallowed up by the momentous crisis through which we are now passing. Commercially speaking, the course of trade for the week has been regular. Our great staple, cotton, has been in active request, commanding good prices, which have from day to day been advancing, so that the sales by auction yesterday of a few hundred bales attained the highest prices of the season, indicating strong confidence in the article, sustained as it were by one or two operators who have recently appeared on our stage, whose presence and movements are regarded as giving a tone and influence to the market. It is refreshing, encouraging and enlivening to note the confidence and boldness with which some of the old operators of former days now enter the market. True, the stock and the receipts are limited, yet, the belief in the great staples gives a tone to the general market. The receipts are fully up to expectations, and in some cases are in excess. The packet Ida May, from Natchez, brought in yesterday 524 bales. This cargo, with 172 bales by the steamer Chenango, from Vicksburg on Thursday last, makes the total receipts from the two places, Natchez and Vicksburg and vicinity since the 2d instant, foot up 4279 (four thousand two hundred and seventy-nine) bales, which cover our estimates made on the 2d instant for this month. Nevertheless, the receipts of cotton in bales have been light. The sugar market has been under good supplies during the week; in fact, the depot yesterday was under large receipts from the coast above, as well as the daily quantum via the Opelousas Railroad. The rangers and factors (principals) complained of general quietness. Whether there is a deficiency in capital, or lack of resources and facilities to move the crop as received, or whether prices are too high, we cannot say, but suffice it to say the views of the buyers, for the past four or five days, are not commensurate with the enhanced prices attending the production of the article for the past year, and the two cents per pound internal revenue tax added.

The intercourse with the West is assuming some degree of regularity. The arrivals from St. Louis during the week, though not numerous, lead to the hope of steady supplies, regular stocks, and we hope regular low prices for the season. One encouraging feature noted is a decline in the rates of freight; flour from St. Louis is delivered at two dollars per barrel freight, and still lower prices from Cairo. The price of flour is well maintained, though we observe that the best brands command in Boston $9-11, and something less in New York; these figures do not embrace shipping or merchantable flour. Our family grocers charge $10, $11 and $12 per barrel. It, therefore, is a fixed fact that dear bread is an institution for New Orleans. There have been no arrivals during the week from Louisville, Cincinnati nor out of the Ohio. We cannot account for this, unless they have nothing in the way of produce or Western notions to send hither. ->

We have to note some novel movements in the course and caprices of trade. The custom-house records inform us of the shipment of apples and potatoes by steamboats up the river, whether as return cargo and the want of a market we are not directly informed. We are aware that some articles of Western productions have been sold at great loss on our levee, and for some kinds there is very little encouragement.

The coal market appears to be under good supply for the time being only. Unless dealers in the black diamonds are willing to sell at a loss, present rates or yard selling prices may be considered as steady. The Levee presents several large parcels, but a good share is on account of Government.

In the general dry goods and associate branches of trade we have very little improvement to note. Sales are confined to cash only, and for plantation supplies. Our wholesale grocers have ample stocks; so have our clothing, shoe and hat dealers, as well as fancy dealers. Canal street was thronged yesterday; in fact, the turn-out appeared to be general, and indicated something of gala times.

•••••

Provost Court.–John M. Wintz was examined on a charge of taking goods from the city without a pass, and landing them outside of the lines. The shipment was one of those taken up the river by the steamboat Ben Franklin, and consisted of five barrels of potatoes, eight barrels of whiskey, two casks of wine, seventy-five pounds of powder, and some other articles, part of which were marked “stores for the Ben Franklin.” Wintz pleased, through his counsel, Mr. Earhart, that a certain custom-house officer was deeper in the matter than he was, and that he was placed on shore to take charge of the goods, rather than because he had any financial interest in them. After a full investigation the matter was taken under advisement by the court.

Joseph Delaney and Dr. Samuel J. Lacook, who reside near Baton Rouge, outside of the lines, were examined in relation to four hogsheads of sugar and two teams, which had been arrested for going towards Dixie. As, however, the parties live beyond the lines, it was held that they, being loyal citizens, might trade among themselves. The case was therefore dismissed, and the sugar and teams were ordered to be returned to their owner.

MONDAY
DECEMBER 28, 1863
THE DAILY RICHMOND EXAMINER (VA)

The Averill Raid.

To the Editor of the Examiner:

The raid is over. Averill has gone, not back up the spout, but back into his den. Cast your eye upon a map, and I’ll tell you how he went and how he came. He came from New creek, a depot on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, in the county of Hardy, along the western base of the Shenandoah mountains, through Covington to Salem, burnt things generally, and returned over nearly the same route. Imboden seized the gap where the Parkersburg turnpike crosses the Shenandoah, and prevented a raid on Staunton. Averill left five hundred men to hold Imboden there and pushed on towards Salem. That general could not pursue without uncovering Staunton–the force threatening nearly equalling his own. General Lee was informed of the situation of affairs.

Hence commences the reign of major-generals and military science. Major-General Jubal A. Early came. Major-General Fitzhugh Lee came. Brigadier-General Walker came. Brigadier-General Thomas came. Their staffs came. They all took a drink. General Early took two. Brigadier-General Wickham came. Colonel Chambliss, commanding brigade, came. They smiled also.

When Averill was opposite Staunton, Fitz Lee was at Ivy depot, on the Virginia Central railroad, a day’s march from that town. A fortunate occurrence, indeed. Everybody thought Averill was “treed” now. Lee was ordered across the Blue Ridge. He passed through Brown’s gap, and struck the Valley turnpike at Mount Crawford, eight miles above Harrisonburg–a miserable mistake. One day’s march lost. He then marched towards Harrisonburg, then towards Staunton. Another day gone for nothing. He finally reached Staunton, where he ought to have been on the first night. Still there was plenty of time to cut Averill off. Lee and Imboden marched day and night to Lexington, and then towards Covington. They had yet time enough to intercept him. Here was committed the fatal and foolish blunder. While Lee and Imboden were on the road to Covington, in striking distance of that place, word was sent the Yankees were marching towards Buchanan, instead of Covington. No man ought to have put credence in a statement so utterly absurd as that the enemy were going from Salem to that place. Such a statement pre-supposes Averill deliberately placing himself past escape, and, therefore, run raving mad. Such improbable rumors should never be entertained for a moment, much less made the basis of important military movements. The order was obeyed. The troops turned and marched back, and at night were neither at Buchanan or Covington.

The story is told in a few words. The Yankees passed through Covington, and, to their great amazement, escaped. The rumor about Buchanan was the tale of some frightened fool. The enemy, in terror and demoralization, fled from Sale at full speed–destroying their train and artillery. Jackson knocked some in the head; the citizens beat the brains out of some others; one famer in Alleghany killed six; some were scattered in the mountains, and are being picked up here and there; the rapid streams drowned many; but the main part have gone whence they came, wondering how they did get away. It is hardly necessary to add, the humblest private in the ranks, if he possessed enough sense to eat and drink, not only could, but would have managed better. Old Stonewall would have marched on, caught and killed the Yankees. What Lee thought, this writer don’t know. They who know say Imboden begged to go to Covington. He made it plain to the dullest mind that the Buchanan story was beyond belief. What’s done is done.

No language can tell the suffering of our men. They were in saddle day and night, save a few hours between midnight and day. They were beat up by their officers with their swords–the only means of arousing them–numb and sleepy. Some froze to death, others were taken from horses senseless. They forded swollen streams, and their clothes stiff frozen, rattled as they rode. It rained in torrents and froze as it fell. In the mountain paths the ice was cut from the roads before they ventured to ride over it. One horse slipped over the precipice–the rider was leading him–he never looked over after him. ->

The whole matter is summed up in a couple of sentences. Averill was penned up. McCausland, Echols and Jackson at one gate, Lee and Imboden at the other. Some ass suggested he might escape by jumping down the well and coming out in Japan, i.e., go to Buchanan. Early ordered them to leave a gate open and guard the well. He did not jump in.

Meanwhile, the Yankees coolly came up the Valley, through Edenburg, New Market, up to Harrisonburg, within twenty-five miles of Staunton. This was bearding the lion in his den. Jubal took the field, at the head of company Q and a party of substitute men, farmers and plow boys, called “home guards.” The Yankees got after him, and the “major-general commanding” lost his hat in the race. The last heard of him he was pursuing the enemy with part of his division–footmen after cavalry–with fine prospects of overtaking them somewhere in China, perhaps about the “great wall.” The Yankees were retreating towards the “Devil Hole,” Early bound for the same place! They did very little damage in the Valley.

Here is the moral. The marshals under Napoleon’s eye were invincible–with separate commands, blunderers. A general of division, with General Robert E. Lee to plan and put him in the right place, does well. Mosby would plan and execute a fight or strategic movement better than Longstreet at Suffolk and Knoxville, Jubal Early at Staunton.

Jackson’s blunt response to some parlor or bar-room strategist in Richmond, “More men, but fewer orders,” was wisdom in an axiom–true then, just as true now as when the Hero of the Valley uttered it. It is difficult to direct, especially by couriers, the movement of troops a hundred miles distant, among mountains the “ranking” general never saw except on an inaccurate map. It is not every commander that can point out roads he never heard of, and by paths he never dreamed of, as the proper ones to cut off an enemy. Bullets, not brains, are needed here.

•••••

Christmas passed without any particular event stirring the community. Almost everybody kept Christmas after a fashion peculiar to himself. There was a great deal of drinking and guzzling, both in public and private, and, per consequence, numerous exhibitions of drunkenness among the young men. There were several small riots in as many quarters of the town, resulting in the disfigurement of a half-dozen faces, but no deaths. The upper and lower cages were tenanted to their  capacity on Christmas eve; and, no court sitting on Christmas morning, all who could not give bail spent Christmas where they least expected it–in the lock-up. Christmas night wound up with a carnival at the theatre, which overflowed with boozy men and boys. The spectacular and volcanic play of “Massaneillo” on the stage, was varied by fighting, cursing, and pulling and hauling in the parquetted.

All the bar-rooms took in more money than they wanted during the day, and closed early in the evening. Drunken men went to bed, and the merry ones bawled through the streets until midnight came down, and threw her mantle of silence over the exhausted city.

Saturday morning, Richmond rose with a headache and disordered stomach, and made a mental calculation of the loss and gain, pleasure and pain experienced and yet in store for the merry Christmas keepers.

TUESDAY
DECEMBER 29,
1863
THE BOSTON DAILY ADVERTISER

The $300 Exemption:
Is it for the Benefit of the Rich or the Poor?

To the Editors of the Boston Daily Advertiser:

We can answer this by appealing to general principles and to particular instances.

Take away this limitation: set every conscript and his broker to finding substitutes, and the result can only be a panic, which will run up the price of procuring substitutes (chiefly absorbed by runners) to much more than the fair price.

Now for particular instances.

In ’62 the first two days’ drawings in Boston carried up the price of substitutes from only $100 or $200 to $500. The draft was suspended to try volunteering, when bounties, after reaching in a few cases $250, went down to $50, as the quotas filled.

Nobody can doubt then that the repeal of the exemption clause will raise the price of substitutes. Will this benefit the rich?

This depends somewhat upon the proportion which the able bodied rich men bear to the other able bodied men of the community; but those who have had experience in recruiting here, and who know how the experiment worked in France, believe that the chief benefit of the repeal will inure to the claim of middle men known as man brokers, runners and land sharks. Some of these are doubtless poor now, but if we repeal the exemption clause and thus distribute fifty millions among them, they will become rich and will rival Shoddy!

There is a halfway measure proposed of raising the exemption fee, which ought to be looked carefully into.

The theory upon which we call upon the able bodied class is, that they own all the physical military capital of the country; but we are making the draft, (as we ought to do,) upon the combined monied and physical capital, for we allow money to procure either an exemption or a substitute.

It having then become a mixed question of a draft of money and men–why should the able-bodied class bear the whole burthen of it in addition to their full share of other taxes?

The property of the country is probably much more than half owned by women, children, and men over 45 or otherwise exempted.

Why not put on this exempt class a fair share of the burden?

To do this we ought rather to decrease than increase the exemption fee and make up the price of a substitute by a bounty out of the common fund, that is out of the U. S. Treasury.

As it stands today, the price of a substitute is evidently something over $625, for this bounty does not bring them very freely in Massachusetts, although it is believed that it would if we take the whole country.

The true way to divide the burden fairly would be–

1st. To determine what price would bring in substitutes out of the old soldiers and the community.

2d. To distribute this price fairly.

Suppose $700 to be the necessary price. Let the able-bodied class pay $300 as now, ether in service or in money, but let the whole exemption fee be used as a bonus to veterans as is done now in France. Then let the Treasury give a bounty of $400 to all recruits.->

Even in this case the able-bodied men bear their full share of the burthen, for they pay in taxes part of the exemption fee and in addition the $400 bounty.

In this connection, another condition comes up. Why not extend the enrolment to men of 50 years? Are they not quite as able to bear exposure as the very young conscripts who make so large a part of our armies? They certainly are better able to pay the exemption fee.

•••••

The Exchange of Prisoners.

Washington, Dec. 27.–The Richmond Enquirer of the 17th inst. says that our Government has abandoned every point except the treatment of Negro prisoners. Now the simple truth is our Government has not abandoned any point. It is known that Major-Gen. Butler, who has superseded Gen. Meredith as the agent or medium for the exchange of prisoners, has no such instructions. The prisoners at Forts Norfolk and McHenry and Point Lookout have been placed under his orders, and he is authorized to conduct the exchange man for man and officer for officer of equal rank with those paroled and sent forward by himself.

The object is to make an even exchange as far as the prisoners in the rebel possession will permit, and, governed by humane motives, the effort will be made to procure the release of those who have for the longest time been held as prisoners. Colored troops and their officers, in conducting the exchange, will be placed on an equality with all other troops, and so of colored men in civil employment. The honor and dignity of the Government in the protection of such colored persons and their officers will not be compromised. The recent visit of General Hitchcock to Fortress Monroe was to confer with General Butler and to communicate to him the orders of the government upon this subject.

•••••

A Dog Mail Train.—The following extract from a private letter from Pembina shows how the mail is transported from that point to Crow Wing:

I should have written to you four days ago, but the mail had to lay over one trip on account of the lameness of one of the carrier dogs. You will probably think it strange that the great United States mail should be delayed several days for such a cause, but nevertheless it was. The mail is carried from here to Crow Wing, a distance of three hundred and fifty miles, by dog trains, and if one set of dogs get foot sore when their turn comes, the mail has to lay over. Tomorrow they say the dogs will be right and the mail will go forward. I saw the first dog mail train leave here on last mail day. It consisted of three middling dogs. They looked more like wolves than dogs. They had regular harness, very fancifully ornamented, and buckskin saddles, gorgeously worked with beads. The dogs are driven in tandem style. They go from forty to fifty miles per day, the half breed driver trotting behind most of the way.–St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer, Dec. 20.

WEDNESDAY
DECEMBER 30, 1863

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PATRIOT & GAZETTE

True Bill.

The Democratic Association of Camden, New Jersey, have adopted and promulgated a declaration of views and principles worthy of the patriotic reputation of the “Jersey Blues.” They rebuke in a manly and patriotic spirit the unlawful acts and alarming usurpations of the President and his subordinates, and urge upon the people the duty of lawfully resisting an restraining these gross infringements of their rights and liberties. They truly declare that the “Constitution has been overthrown, and a despotism of the most tyrannous character has been established in its place,” and in support of this assertion they present the following “bill of particulars,” which every intelligent reader must say is “a true bill:”–

I. The freedom of speech has been violated by the arrest and imprisonment of a number of persons, charged with no crime, and whose only offense was the utterance of sentiments distasteful to the men in power.

II. The freedom of the press has been subverted by the suppression of a number of newspapers.

III. The right to security from arrest, when no crime is charged, has been disregarded in the arrest and incarceration of a large number of persons, denounced by the parasites of the Administration as “sympathizers with the rebellion.”

IV. The right to security from unlawful searches and seizures has been violated in numerous instances, in which domiciles have been visited, and papers, &c., seized without legal authority.

V. The right to a trial by jury has been refused in the cases of citizens arrested and imprisoned, or banished by military orders or courts-martial.

VI. The right to personal freedom has been taken from poor men by the Conscription act, which compels persons who are unable to pay $300 to enter the army. This act is an assumption of power not given by the Constitution, and it makes a grossly unjust distinction between the rich and the poor man.

VII. The freedom of every citizen has been taken from him, by the illegal and unnecessary suspension of the right to demand the writ of habeas corpus.

VIII. The right of property has been abrogated by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Confiscation act.

IX. The inviolability of contracts has been destroyed by the act, which makes depreciated Treasury notes a legal tender for all debts.

X. The freedom of religious worship has been violated on repeated occasions by the interference of military officers.

XI. The right of the States to the management of their militia has been taken from them by the Conscription act, which places the whole military power of the country at the disposal of the President.

XII. The formation of the State of “West Virginia” was a violation of the 3d section of the 4th article of the Constitution.

XIII. The heretofore undisputed right of the people to elect their legislators and rulers has been taken from them, and the will of majorities disregarded, as is abundantly manifested in the manner in which elections have recently been carried by the grossest corruption in Northern States, and by military orders in the border States of the South.->

This is truly a fearful arraignment, but every item of it is true to the letter; and yet every man who complains of these outrages upon the Constitution and the sacred rights of the citizen, is coarsely denounced a “traitor” or “rebel sympathizer” by the tools of power who are daily growing rich upon the ruin of their country. Let candid and patriotic men read these plain statements and reflect carefully upon them. Let them then consider their duty to themselves, their children and their country. The men of New Hampshire and the men of New Jersey are alike in this matter; the whole country and all its people are imperiled. Let us then act in accordance with the declaration of our New Jersey friends, who say:

It therefore becomes us as men “who know our rights, and have the courage to maintain them,” to speak to these recreants to truth, justice and honor, who have filched from us “all those noble rights which freemen love,” in tones which may not be misunderstood, telling them that our Constitution must and shall be restored; and that we will not be deterred by threats, menaces, insults and outrages, from maintaining the noble heritage which we have received from the hands of the patriots and sages of the purer days of the Republic.

•••••

The War.

There is no “war news” of any account. We hear nothing from Tennessee. The rebels report that in a skirmish at Bean’s Station, Longstreet forced our forces to retreat, and captured 70 wagon loads of stores and some prisoners, but lost 800 in killed and wounded. Longstreet still remains in East Tennessee. It is stated that Gen. Johnston has taken command of the rebel army near Chattanooga.

Gen. Averill recently made a very successful raid into Southwestern Virginia. He cut the railroad at Salem, 60 miles southwest of Lynchburg, and he reports:

“At Salem three depots were burned, containing 20,000 barrels flour, 10,000 bushels wheat, 100,000 bushels shelled corn, 50,000 bushels oats, 2000 pounds meat, several cords of leather, 1000 sacks of salt, 31 boxes of clothing, 20 bales of cotton, a large amount of hampers, shoes and saddles, equipments, tools, oil, tar, and various other stores, and 100 wagons. The water station, turn-table and three cars were burned, and the railroad track torn up and the rails destroyed as much as possible in six hours. Five bridges and several culverts were destroyed over an extent of fifteen miles. A large quantity of bridge-timber and repairing materials were also destroyed.”

On his return he encountered strong forces of the enemy, but managed to escape with small loss. He says:

“My loss is six men drowned, one officer and four men wounded, and four officers and ninety men missing.

“We captured about 200 prisoners, but have retained but four officers and 60 men on account of their inability to walk. We took also about 150 horses.”

From Charleston we learn that Gen. Gilmore continues to throw shells into the city, destroying some buildings daily, and that firing between the batteries and ships continues as usual, without any practical results.

The army of the Potomac is quiet, and will continue so for some months probably.

THURSDAY
DECEMBER 31,
1863
DAILY EASTERN ARGUS (ME)

What Might Happen from an Error in a Newspaper.
[From the Yedoi Democrat, December, A. D. 5201.]

As some workmen were excavating the other day, near the city of Sigwi, they discovered a very ancient box, which was found to contain a large sheet of paper covered over with hieroglyphics. They were about to throw the paper away, when, fortunately, Professor Yamwidi happening to pass, they submitted it to his examination. No sooner did it meet his eye than, uttering an exclamation of joy, he cried out, “A proof! A proof!” Our readers will remember that the learned Professor has long maintained that our present Empire of Vidoo was formerly inhabited by a race of savages called Yankees, with whose language he professes to have come acquaintance. The learned world, however, has treated this hypothesis as a myth, based upon knowledge purely empirical, denying the existence of data sufficient to establish such a theory. The data hitherto have certainly been rather scanty, consisting merely of a Dictionary of hieroglyphics, which was discovered some few years ago, and said to be the work of an ancient astrologer named Webster. By dint of untiring energy and vast erudition, Prof. Yamwidi succeeded in acquiring some knowledge of the remarkable language it treats of, but, in spite of great historical research, was unable to obtain any definite information of the people by whom it was spoken. The learned gentleman’s joy may, therefore, be conceived, when, in the characters traced upon the paper in question, he recognized the same language he had so ardently studied from his Dictionary. Wrapping the treasure carefully up, he hurried home to his study, where for seven days and nights he labored incessantly at its translation. The result is that he has given to the world the most startling evidence of what he has in vain endeavored to prove, namely, that this very Empire, Vidoo, was formerly called the United States, whose people spoke a barbarous tongue called English.

It appears that the above paper was a sort of register of passing events, and is called the Republican Clarion, published at the ancient city of Skowhegan. From various information it contains, the probability is that it will effect a complete revolution in our notions of the past, especially in our ideas of civilization in the 19th century. We present to our readers one short paragraph which, whilst it throws a light upon the darkness of that benighted age, will strike them with horror and amazement, and will render them thankful that it has pleased Heaven to cast their lot in the 52d century. This is the translation:

“Last year 1,000,000 hags were slaughtered and packed in Chicago, worth $10,000,000. The number for the present year will reach the value of $20,000,000.”

Now, Professor Yamwidi informs us that this word “hag” is defined in the dictionary as meaning a “witch;” that is, an ugly old woman, [who,] for certain unhallowed purposes, was believed to have communication with the Devil, which crime was punishable by death under circumstances of great barbarity. We had imagined this gross superstition to have died out early in the 18th century, but we here find proofs of its existing many years later, and in the most enlightened country of that remote age. ->

One million human beings slaughtered in one year, and upon such a deplorable charge; and yet, occasioning so little notice that the only record we find of it is in the obscure paragraph quoted! Such frightful atrocities strike us dumb with horror, which is mingled with the most unmitigated disgust, when the horrible suspicion creeps into our mind that these “hags” were actually converted into human food; for we are plainly told that they were packed in barrels and estimated at a market value. We tremble to think of the estimation in which our species will be held when this intelligence reaches our contemporaries of the sun and moon. What language can express our detestation of such fiendish practices? We now understand the ancient but enlightened sage crying that “man’s inhumanity to old women makes countless thousands mourn.” We would fain draw a veil over this appalling picture, saying with a sigh, “O, mores! O tempora!” for our horror culminates at the writer’s diabolical exultation over the prospect of the number of victims being doubled in the following year.1

It is with infinite relief that we turn to other ideas suggested by this paragraph. We refer to the amazing populations these ancient cities must have contained; for judging by this analogy, this city of Chicago must have contained at least fifty millions of people, which is just double the population of the largest city of the present day, namely, our capital Xodi, which contains only twenty-five millions. And yet there appear to have been other cities still larger than Chicago, such as London, New York, &c. Truly, when we leave superstition out of the question, we know not whether to consider ourselves in advance or behind that age, for although we have our Electric Propeller, by which we can visit the heavenly bodies, and in a few moments explore the regions of space, yet we have no cities at all to be compared with those of yore. We cannot take leave of this interesting subject without pointing out the great uncertainty which hangs over all human knowledge. It was thought we had reared a noble historical structure replete with truth, yet we find it crumbling away before a statement contained in five lines, which upsets all our preconceived opinions as to the progress of civilization. It would seem that we are not only ignorant of the future, but also of the past, and we are sure of nothing save that we live.

•••••

Very Bogus Looking.—The statement that Lord Lyons wrote to Earl Russell predicting the close of the war in three months. It may be another of Seward’s ninety day predictions, and just as reliable as the rest. We see no republican who expresses any such expectation that the war will be closed the coming year. Secretary Chase has made his estimate for two more years of war.

FRIDAY
JANUARY
1, 1864
THE LIBERATOR (MA)

Cowards and Slaves.

The effort now making to amend the Constitution proceeds from motives which are to be respected, but indicates how far the people of the North have degenerated from the independence of their sires. Our King George is the Constitution, which we lack the courage to confront. Ask those who favor the amendment to abolish and prohibit slavery how they propose to regard the compromises, and they must tell you, either as rubbish or as vital obligations. If the former, what need to stop now, amid the destruction of slavery, to effect a partial revision of the Constitution, which is hereafter to be thoroughly remodeled? If the latter, then it is manifest that we are afraid to pronounce the compromises decreed three years ago. And as these can be valid, if valid at all, only for the loyal slaveholders of the Border States, it follows that we are slaves at this hour to the rule of less than sixty thousand men–a handful [of] which, concentrated upon the battle-field or within a fortified city like Charleston, we should sweep out of existence without remorse in order to recover for the national authority a few acres of rebellious soil.

For the sake of such loyal and well-meaning minds as are still bound by the fetters of the Constitution, the following views are presented of our situation in regard to that instrument, and of the powers which we may employ in behalf of universal emancipation.

I. “The Union as it was” having perished at the hands of slavery, a party to the contract of ’87, the Constitution, which was but the record of that contract, perished at the same time; and to-day we are either sailing without a written charter or for convenience we retain as many of the old forms as are subservient to our interests. In this view of the posture of affairs, there is nothing in the Constitution but what we choose to keep or to place there; and it is either no obstacle to our action against slavery, or we are morally culpable for making it so.

II. There used to be some who contended that slavery found no foothold in the Constitution, because the word slave was nowhere expressed; and others who admitted the design of the framers to give security to the system in the clauses familiarly known as the compromises, but who claimed a right to avail themselves of the letter of the text in opposition to its spirit, and to turn the decorous language adopted through shame to the defeat of the odorous purpose which it concealed. Those who still entertain these opinions have no excuse for opposition to a general emancipation act on the part of Congress.

III. The rebellion of slavery, which was designed to destroy every vestige of the Constitution, may be considered simply to have purged it of all complicity with the system. In that case, we have a charter amended by Jefferson Davis & Co., who withdrew from the protection it afforded to slavery, in order to defend the sum of all villainies with cannon and bayonet. Then we are not only empowered to proceed against slavery, but to fail to do so is to disregard the plainest injunctions of the Constitution, viz (among others) the clause which directs the United States to guarantee each State a Republican form of government. Inaction, as well as action in support of slavery, becomes unconstitutional. ->

IV. Grant, however, that the compromises remain in full force for that portion of slavery which has not rebelled, then,

1. We are no more obliged to respect them than we are many other clauses of the same instrument, to wit, the clause just quoted, which the President is applying to the seceded States in process of return to the Union, and which, by the same logic, he ought to apply to every anti-republican State in the union; the clause which secures to the citizens of each State the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; the clause which ensures freedom of speech and of the press, that which instructs Congress to provide for the general welfare, &c., &c. If here arises a conflict of duties, we certainly have the right to choose between them, and if our choice involves the overthrow of slavery, we cannot be charged with unconstitutional procedure.

2. But were we never so faithful in maintaining the compromises, this would not be to stand by the Constitution. For our adherence to those criminal bargains in the past has been the cause of the present deadly assault upon that instrument, and the erection of a rival which has challenged the allegiance of one half the continent.

3. Even though, because slavery still lives in the Constitution, freedom is utterly banished from it or stifled, still the War Power–the right of the nation to defend itself from commotion or destruction–is left us, to be employed as necessity shall dictate. And the same logic which justified its use in the seceded States would have sustained the President in extending his Proclamation of Freedom to the Border Slave States as well. What he left undone may yet be done by the Executive alone, or in conjunction with Congress. It is never too late to mend. The President acts wisely in reminding us that the War Power is constitutional that it is an invaluable instrumentality, and that he does not mean to relinquish it.

V. Yet if we were best and hampered in every way, and there appeared no issue from the toils of the Constitution, we possess the same right that was inherent in our fathers, to form a new government whenever the old has failed to secure the ends for which it was framed. Read the preamble to the Constitution. You find there the justification of the establishment which follows, and also its condemnation, whenever a breach is opened between the preamble and the text. The welfare of the people is ever the highest law. If the Constitution of a previous century is destructive of that welfare, we have the revolutionary right to return to first principles. We might redeem our character from the imputation of cowardice and servility, if we did but acknowledge what the election of Abraham Lincoln proves to have been a fact, that the rebellion of the South was merely a counter to the revolution at the North in opposition to slavery.

SATURDAY
JANUARY 2, 1864

THE STOUGHTON SENTINEL (MA)

Spruce Youngster.—Bybus has a little four-year old, a powerful, athletic, dumpy little thing with flaxenest hair and the azurest eyes ever seen. Little Jacky has a pewter squirt, a gift bestowed upon him by his grandmother against a rainy day. With this weapon he is very expert, and will steal way every drop of tea out of your cup before your face. One day, his mother observing the range of the piece from two cups–one filled with tea, the other with cocoa–upon asking Jack why he did so, says he in reply: “You see, mar, I heard par say, yesterday, that cocoa goes twice as far as tea, and I’m just trying a forty-rod spiffick with both to see whether the old man has got the hang of it.” Which of us would not gladly be father, or even grandmother, of such a four-year-old as that?

•••••

The Cotton Prospects for 1864.—The English journals continue to discuss the subject of the cotton prospects for 1864. The latest and fullest paper on the subject appears in the Manchester Examiner, in which the writer, after an exhaustive review of the facts in the case, presents the following results: first, that the production of cotton in other countries than the southern States of America is steadily increasing, the imports of 1863 exceeding probably those of 1862 by one million bales, thus lessening exclusive dependence upon one source of supply; secondly, that the three countries which have shown the most desire to contribute to this result–Egypt, Turkey and Italy–possess advantages in climate, soil, and facility of access to the English market which enable them to compete successfully with the southern States of America not only in quality, but also in cost of production. The writer is confident that in a few years the coast of the Mediterranean will furnish an annual supply of two million bales. Of India he does not take so hopeful a view.

•••••

Watch Lock.—A German watchmaker has recently invented a wonderful guard against burglars. It is a sort of watch which is applied under locks to prevent them from being opened by Chubb himself. The door is locked as usual, taking care to wind up the watch until the key points to the hour at which the shopkeeper wishes to open the door. After this is done, nobody can open the door until the appointed time. Is not this system more inconvenient than the apprehension of robbery, which is a most distant danger? If the shopkeeper forgets anything, if a fire breaks out at his next door neighbor’s, or in his own shop, if any one of those thousand accidents of this sort which are constantly occurring takes place, what is the shopkeeper with the watch-lock to do?–Home Journal.

•••••

The Greatest Gold Diggings in the World.—A letter from Captain Fisk’s expedition to ascertain the nest northern route to the gold diggings, dated Bannock City, Grasshopper creek, Idaho Territory, says the expeditionary party arrived  at that place a week previously, all well. The diggings near that place are yielding $500,000 per week. The party expect to winter there, as the road to Wall-Walla (en route for the Pacific) is almost impassable. The writer adds that the gold mines now being discovered in that region are some of the richest in the world.

•••••

The Town’s Quota, under the late call for volunteers, is now nearly filled. It is a credit to the town and also to those men who have used every means in their power to advance enlistments and save the authorities from resorting to a draft upon the town. While many towns are yet far behind, Stoughton will, by the 5th of January, we doubt not, have its 60 men all sworn into the service. The plan adopted for raising volunteers by the committee chosen for that purpose, was heartily entered into by the enrolled men, and each squad felt the responsibility of one volunteer resting upon them. On Wednesday evening the citizens of East Stoughton, accompanied by the Quincy band, came to this village and a large assembly met at Chemung Hall, where the reports of the several squads were listened to. Eleven squads reported their man “all right.” Another meeting will be held to-night at East Stoughton, and on Monday evening the doors of Chemung Hall will be thrown open for the grand finale.

•••••

An Apotheosis of Old John Brown.—A Parisian artist has just finished painting which was ordered by the Haytien government, and is to be placed in the Senate chamber. The subject is “John Brown, crowned by a Negro and a mulatto.” The work is very fairly done, but the details are rather curious, abounding in absurd anachronisms. The principal figure–that of John Brown–is almost colossal. Upon his right stands the Negro, dressed in a costume of Louis the Sixteenth, and on the left a mulatto, with dark face but purely Caucasian features. He is dressed in the full uniform of a Haytien general. The two hold a laurel wreath, which they are about placing upon the head of the hero of Harper’s Ferry. In the back ground are palm and other tropical fruit trees, while, peeping through clouds above, is a face, intended to represent that of the Divine Father, looking approvingly upon the apotheosis. The design of the picture was forwarded to the artist from Hayti.

•••••

Royal Deaths on Saturday.—The English throne was declared vacant on Saturday, Feb. 16th, 1688. William III died on Saturday, March 8th, 1702; Queen Anne died on Saturday, Aug. 1st, 1774; George I at two o’clock on Sunday morning, June 11th, 1727 (which in common parlance is called Saturday night); George II died on Saturday, Oct. 25th, 1700; George the IV on Saturday, June 6th, 1835; the Prince Consort died on Saturday, Dec. 14th, 1861.

1 “O mores, o tempora” is Latin for “Oh, the customs! Oh, the times!”

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