, 1862

 “Chalk Your Bobbins.”

The Boston Commercial Bulletin is publishing a series of quite interesting articles on “The Romance of Trade and Invention.” From the first of these articles we extract the following:

All inventions are by no means the offspring of some severe mental toil—it may be said of some of the most important discoveries that they were “not the hasty product of a day, but the well-ripened fruit of wise delay.” While what we call chance, or accident, has led to incalculably beneficial results It is strange, too, to observe how an apparently wooden-headed fellow, who we might think could not say, “boo to a goose,” will sometimes stumble on a contrivance, to discover which had, it may have been for years, baffled the most ingenious mechanics. Some years since, while travelling in Lancashire, England, I was told a story strikingly illustrative of this, and which, as I believe it has never appeared in print, I will relate.

Every one knows that old Sir Robert Peel, father of the late Prime Minister of England, and grandfather of the present baronet, made big money by cotton spinning. In the early part of his career his business was not remarkably extensive. But suddenly he made a tremendous start, and soon distanced all his rivals. He grew immensely rich, as we all know,  but we do not all know the lucky accident to which he was indebted for his enormous wealth.

In the early days of the cotton spinning machinery, a great deal of trouble used to be caused by filaments of cotton adhering to the bobbins, which then formed portions of the looms. These filaments accumulating, soon clogged the wheels and other parts of the machinery, and rendered it necessary that they should be cleared, which involved frequent stoppages and much loss of time.

The great desideratum was to find out some plan of preventing this clogging by the cotton, and Sir Robert, or Mr. Peel as he was then, spent vast sums in experiments. He employed some of the ablest machinists in the kingdom—among them James Watt—who suggested various corrections, but spite of all they could do, the inconveniences remained—the cotton would adhere to the bobbins, and the evil appeared to be insurmountable.

Of course, these delays seriously affected the wages of the operatives, who, on Saturdays, generally came short in proportion to the stoppages during the previous days. It was noticed, however, that one man always drew his full pay—his work was always accomplished; in fact, his loom never had to stop while every other in the factory was idle. Mr. Peel was informed of this, and he knew there must be a secret somewhere. It was important that it should be discovered if possible.

The man was watched, but all to no purpose; his fellow workers tried to “pump” him, but they couldn’t; at last, Mr. Peel sent for the man into his private office.

He was a rough looking Lancashire man—unable to read or write—little better, indeed, than a mere animal. He entered the “presence,” pulling his forelock, and shuffling on the ground with his great clumsy wooden shoes.

“Dick,” said Mr. Peel, “Ferguson, the overlooker, tells me that your bobbins are always clean—is that so?”

“Yes, master, ‘t be.”

“Well, Dick, how do you manage it—have you any objection to let me know?”

“Why, Master Pill, ‘t be a soart o’ secret loike, ye see, and if oi told, t’others’d know as much as oi,” replied Dick, with a cunning grin.

“Of course, Dick, I’ll give you something if you tell me—and if you can make all the looms in the factory work as smoothly as yours.”

“Ev’ry one of ‘em, Master Pill.”

“Well, what shall I give you? Name your price, Dick, and let me have your secret.”

Dick grinned, scratched his great shock head, and shuffled for a few minutes, while Mr. Peel anxiously awaited his reply. The cotton lord thought his servant would probably ask for a few hundred pounds or so, which he would most willingly have given him. Presently Dick said:

“Well, Master Pill, I’ll tell ‘ee all about it, if you’ll gi’ me a quart o’ beer a day as long as I’m in the Mills—you’ll have thatten.”

Mr. Peel rather thought he should, and quickly agreed to the terms.

“You shall have it, Dick, and a half a gallon every Sunday into the bargain.”

“Well, then, said Dick, first looking cautiously ‘round to see that no one was near, “this be it.” Putting his lips close to Mr. Peel’s ear, he whispered, “Chalk your bobbins!”

That was indeed the great secret. Dick had been in the habit of furtively chalking his bobbins, which simple contrivance had effectually prevented the adherence of the cotton. As the bobbins were white, the chalking had escaped detection.

Mr. Peel was a generous man, and saw through the affair at a glance. He at once patented the invention—had “chalking” machinery contrived, and soon took the lead in the cotton spinning department. This was the foundation f his princely fortune. It is but right to add that he pensioned off Dick handsomely.

Not if that is not a romantic incident I do not know what is. Dick may not be a very dignified hero—but let that pass.


Wonders of the Telegraph.—The San Francisco Alta California, of Oct. 1st, says:

The dispatches which we publish to-day were transmitted from Chicago, Illinois to Carson City, Nevada Territory, direct—a distance of two thousand three hundred miles—the longest circuit overland that the current has ever worked over. Were it not for the atmospherical phenomena of the Sierra Nevada, whose altitude is 6000 feet above the sea, the connection to this city would have been maintained; even as it was, the operator at Sacramento informed us that he distinctly felt the current and was able to read some of the news in transmission. Sacramento is two hundred miles west of Carson. It is difficult to realize this wonderful achievement.

NOVEMBER 17, 1862

The Real Motives.

It long ago became manifest that the freedom of the Negro race, living in thralldom to Southern masters, had little, if anything at all, to do with the war now so fiercely waging between the United States and the Confederate States. That object was at the first prominently put forth, and the unprincipled and ignoble people who are attempting to compass our subjugation and destruction still hold it up as the prime motive that actuates them to urge forward this stupid and wicked contest. But they themselves discovered their real objects, and they stand convicted, in the sight of Heaven and earth, of deliberate, bare-faced falsehood.

It was not sympathy with the condition of the slaves; it was not indignation at the wrongs and cruelties our bondsmen were represented as suffering; it was not because they believed that the black man would be more happy and more useful in a state of freedom. They cared not a whit whether the stories they read and heard were mere fabrications or narratives drawn from actual occurrences. The Negro might weep and bleed under the iron hand of his master, but the groans he heaved and the anguish he suffered touched no chord of sympathy in the bosom of those who were moving heaven and earth in order to overthrow that institution which the hand of the Creator had planted, and the power of the Almighty had perpetuated through thousands of centuries.

It was not love for the Negro that originated and sustained the movement against the welfare and existence of the Southern States f the old Union, and which led to the terrific struggle now going on. Hatred for the master—deep, dire, implacable hatred—was the feeling under whose influence they began the infamous work they are at present endeavoring to perform with a reckless expenditure of blood and treasure.

But while that demoniac motive predominated, there were others less potent that lent their aid to their crafty hand-maids, and corrupt hearts and mean spirits, composing a combination of moral forces, the vastness of whose power is seen in this gigantic war, which has filled the nations of the earth with astonishment and horror.

Envy of those traits and qualities that have always distinguished the inhabitants of that portion of the old United States lying South of Mason’s and Dixon’s line, bred enmity against us in their mean, contracted hearts. They felt their inferiority to us in those elements that compose the lofty character of gentlemen, and because they could not bear comparison with us in the gentler graces and stronger qualities of manhood, they slandered the dignity and easy courtesy and refined air that marked our bearing and deportment, as pride and haughtiness, and burned with desire to mortify and humiliate us.

Our fair and fertile heritage also had to do with the hue and cry raised against the slavery of the black man. They were not content with receiving the largest profits from the ample yield of compulsory labor. It did not satisfy them that the section that produced cotton, rice and tobacco bore the larger portion of the expenses of Government, and that our tradesmen and seekers after pleasure poured millions of dollars every year into the coffers of their shopmen and into the pockets of their hotel keepers. Under the pretext of making out the damning sin of slavery, they desired to impoverish and destroy us that they might get possession of those fields whose produce made the South so wealthy, important and powerful.

The people with whom we are now at war excell all other nations that ever existed in craft and subtlety. They laid their plans with wondrous art, and have carried them out with an energy that never grew weary. They were perfectly certain that the continued and violent agitation of the subject of slavery must lead to a dissolution of the Union; they were aware that that would cause war, and war is the great agent that is to enable them to gratify their bitter hatred, their mean jealousy, their insatiable avarice. This terrible contest, waged on so tremendous a scale, red with the heart’s blood of hundreds of thousands, that has inflicted untold woes and miseries on millions of people, is a fitting expression of these accursed feelings, and the successful consummation of a purpose formed when the party now in power in the Yankee States first began its career.

They sought to obtain freedom for the slave, because in that was involved the impoverishment, humiliation and ruin of the master. They aimed to overthrow slavery, because they knew that any attempt to disturb that institution would be resisted to the death by the high-spirited men of the South, and reckoning confidently upon firm, fierce resistance to that unlawful measure, considering their superior numbers and resources and power, they were assured that a conflict with arms would speedily result in the overthrow of our liberties, and in this way they proposed to accomplish their nefarious ends.

What care they for the Negro? Look at the miserable creatures in their cities and towns, starving and naked, because no man will hire them—objects of universal contempt and loathing. Householders will not employ them in doing domestic service, and all the crafts league together against them, pledging their oath not to allow the black man to pursue their calling. . . And yet the Yankees have the effrontery to declare that the sin of slavery sits heavily upon their conscience, and justify the stealing of our slaves, by promising to elevate them to a level with the white man. They desire to emancipate the slave, because in so doing they will inflict the greatest evil upon his master, and it is the master at whom the blow is aimed.


A Patriotic Proposition.—A beneficent boiler of salt, who has the interest of the soldier at heart, and one by the way who has but recently engaged in the business of salt-boiling, has requested us to suggest to all the makers of salt in the city and State the setting apart one day in the seven, giving not the profits, but the proceeds of that day’s business to the benefit of soldiers’ families. This will be a laudable and, indeed, charitable undertaking. We will gladly chronicle the names of the parties, with the quantity of salt so appropriated. Who will respond first to this proposition?

, 1862

Not to be Stuck.

Some excitement was produced at one time by a Government order that soiled postage stamps were not to be made use of for postal purposes; and some natural indignation was felt and expressed in view of the probabilities that these little shinplasters would be repudiated and go unredeemed by the late P. O. Department. It is with satisfaction therefore that the public receives the announcement that while it is forbidden to stick the soiled postage stamps, it is also not to be “stuck” by them. They are to be honorably and we hope promptly redeemed, for what is to be well done in this direction, should be quickly done. Here indeed, we are far less interested in this matter, than are the communities of the great cities. Thousands of people in New York, Philadelphia a d Boston have much of their little fortunes in the shape of postage stamps, which are not available at the Post Office; and to all such the relief now proposed by the Post Office Department, is a simple act of justice, which should not be marred in its performance by the least unnecessary delay or tardiness in the doing of it.

We must not let the decadence of the postage stamp currency go without an acknowledgement of its utility and convenience for so many months past. In spite of all the objections to it, and of all the obloquy which has been heaped upon it, “it has done the State some service,” and the people more. What we should have done without these little sticky fractions of quarters and dimes we cannot imagine, and now that the mucil-“age” is drawing to its close, we would chronicle its lapse with appropriate tributes of thankfulness for the relief it brought to an otherwise changeless community, and with still more grateful words for the substitution of a less evil in the un-sticking national shinplasters which have taken the place of the stamps, of which we write the obituary in a word: “Exeunt."1


Coercing America.—In the verbatim report of Mr. Coben’s Rochdale speech we find the following pertinent remarks:

“For my part I think the language which is used sometimes in certain quarters with regard to the power of this country to go and impose its will upon the population of America almost savors of the ludicrous. When America had but 2,500,000 of population we could not enforce our will upon it, and when you have to deal with civilized people, having the same mechanical appliances as yourselves, and when that people number ten or twenty millions, it is next to impossible for any force to be transported across the Atlantic which will effect a conquest. Englishmen are very apt to think that they can do anything by force; let them banish that idea. Their interference in this case could only do harm, and in the end you would not get your cotton. Even if you could, what price would you pay for it? I know something of the way in which money is voted in the House of Commons for warlike armaments, even in a time of peace, and I venture to ay it would be cheaper to keep all the population engaged in cotton manufacture—aye, to keep them on turtle, champagne and venison—than to send to America to obtain that cotton by force of arms. (Laughter and cheers.) It would involve you in a war, six months of a war would cost you more money than would be required to maintain this population comfortably for ten years. (Cheers.)

The cost of a telegraphic dispatch of ten words from New York to Oregon is $8.70, and for each additional word seventy-eight cents.


Punch suggests that a sufficient excuse for a man marrying his deceased wife’s sister is that he will have only one mother-in-law.


Massachusetts has 37,000 more females than males, while California has 67,000 more males than females, and Illinois 92,000 more males than females. One person in 1,335 of our population is insane, one in 2,470 blind, one in 1,920 deaf and dumb, one in 1,700 idiotic. Ohio is the greatest wool growing State, New York and Pennsylvania next, Michigan ranks fourth. New Jersey raises more potatoes than any other States by two to one.


The Colonization Ship Mary Caroline Stevens, owned by the American Colonization Society, sails this morning for Liberia. She takes out as passengers Rev. John Seys, United States agent for the return of captured Africans; Miss hunt, of the Episcopal Mission; Rev. Mr. Ambs, of the Presbyterian Mission; Mrs. Cromwell, and family, wife of Rev. Mr. Cromwell, now in Liberia, besides fifty colored persons. About a dozen of the parties going are from this State, the others are all from the Northern States. It is intended to stop at Cape de Verde for the purpose of taking on board a number of animals for use in the colony. The ship sails under her old commander, Capt. Heaps, than whom no one is more conversant with the African coast.—Baltimore Gazette, 14th.


A Woman Appointed Light House Keeper.—Mrs. Carolina Stubbs has been appointed Keeper of the Palmer’s Island Light House, vice her deceased husband.


Shameful Waste of Public Property.—The master of a vessel in this port a few days since, who has discharged several cargoes at Fortress Monroe, describes the waste of public property by the officials in that locality as absolutely fearful. In the matter of coal alone, thousands of dollars are lost to government. Scarcely a vessel is cleaned out entirely, from five to twenty tons being frequently left in the hold when the vessel is ordered away to make room for another. This coal is taken away and falls to the lot of the master., Of course these latter have no cause for complaint, and the matter escapes the notice of the government.


A Candidate for auditor of public accounts was suddenly called upon for a speech. On rising, he commenced: “Gentlemen, you have called upon me for a few remarks. I have none to make—I have no prepared speech. Indeed, I am no speaker; I do not desire to be a speaker; I only want to be an auditor.”

, 1862

Military Hospitals in Washington.

The Washington Chronicle is publishing a series of articles descriptive of the Military Hospitals in Washington, which are full of interest. We copy below the impressions made on the writer by a visit to the Douglas Hospital, not only because they are of general concern, but because they are of special interest to many of our readers by reason of the fact that two of the officers of this model institution are New Hampshire boys, Dr. Warren Webster, the Surgeon in charge, being from Gilmanton, and Dr. Woodbury, one of the Assistant Surgeons, being from Francestown:

Our first visit was to Douglas Hospital, on I street, between Second and Third streets. This hospital, which comprises three large first-class brick houses, formerly occupied respectively by the families of the late Senator Douglas, ex-Vice President Breckinridge, and another Senator, whose name escapes us for the present, is situated on high, healthy ground, is lighted throughout with gas, warmed by furnaces in the basement, and is replete with every “modern improvement” to be found in the best conducted hotels. In the way of sewerage, baths, laundry conveniences, water closets, &c., it is all that could be desired. The Douglas Hospital contains, at present, 233 patients, but has accommodations for a much larger number; besides which, two buildings, each 270 feet long, are being conducted in an adjoining lot, in place of the tents formerly occupied by patients when the brick building was crowded. These new wooden buildings will accommodate 180 patients.

Nearly every loyal State is represented among the sick and wounded inmates; and in one of the wards we observed a member of the 1st Louisiana regiment, who was severely wounded in the leg at the battle of Fair Oaks. His leg had been amputated, but he is doing well, and appears to be in excellent spirits, and appreciates the kindness and efficiency of the “Yankee” surgeons and nurses who have saved his life.

In all the wards everything was like wax-work. The floors were so painfully clean as to make an outsider hesitate to tread on them, and the bedding of the patients was neat and comfortable. The atmosphere was as pure in one of these large wards full of sick men as we have ever seen it in the sick room of a private family.

We were agreeably impressed by the respectful deference paid by the patients and nurses to the medical officers. Whenever a surgeon approached a group of convalescents, they saluted him, ceased their conversation, and stood at “attention” until he had passed. The quiet, gentlemanly tone in which the surgeons addressed the convalescents was also pleasing to observe. There was no pomposity in their intercourse, but closely resembled a somewhat reserved professor in college, while addressing an undergraduate. To the sick in bed, however, the tone and manner of the surgeons was as friendly and encouraging as that of the courteous family physician to his patients in civil life. In short, the surgeons of this hospital have certainly contrived, as far as we have yet seen, to make themselves beloved and  respected by the patients and nurses; the result of which is order and discipline, without which the very highest order of medical and surgical talent would be of comparatively little service in a military hospital. And this is the more remarkable, when it is considered that the patients are from volunteer regiments, most of which are notorious for the laxity of their discipline.


A cartridge manufactory in Jackson, Miss., exploded recently, killing over thirty persons who were employed in it.

A discharged prisoner from Illinois, who was taken from that State, conveyed to Washington, and then confined in the “Old Capitol” without ever being informed what crime he had committed, writes to the Dubuque Herald as follows:

During my confinement in the “Old Capitol Prison” there were perhaps one hundred men carried before the Judge Advocate for trial, and against not one of them was there a single charge sustained—not a single thing proven against them of sufficient importance in the mind of the Court to hold them in custody.

Yet many of these men had been ironed, transported over a thousand miles from their homes, and kept in close confinement from one to five months. Not only did it appear that these men were never guilty of any disloyalty, but it was clearly proved that many had given all their influence and rendered active assistance in putting down the rebellion and sustaining the Government on its constitutional basis.


Our 15th Regiment has already had a fight—not with the enemy, but with a Massachusetts regiment encamped with them on Long Island. The fight was about rations—which should be served first. Col. Kingman, in attempting to “stop the row,” bent his sword, cut his hand and lost his spectacles! That is the sum total of the casualties, so far as is reported.


Note it.—Gen. Halleck wrote a long letter to show that Gen. McClellan’s army was well supplied with everything necessary for advancing on Richmond, and he declared that there was no such lack of supplies as to prevent an advance weeks ago—and Gen. McClellan was removed for not advancing. Yet now, ten days since his removal, and three weeks since Halleck said there was no lack of supplies, we are told that Gen. Burnside has made no advance on account of a lack of supplies!


The Tax Law.—There have been seven thousand collectors and deputy collectors, assessors and deputy assessors, appointed to collect the internal tax. The best judges estimate that $150,000,000 would be produced under the tax bill, but further investigation shows that it will exceed this amount by at least $50,000,000, besides the expenses of collection.


Immense frauds have been discovered in the New York Custom House by which it is stated that Republican officials have swindled Uncle Sam to the extent of $750,000! Yet it is a criminal offence to charge corruption upon our immaculate rulers!


A dispatch from Washington says:

“Gen. Burnside was formally placed in command of the army of the Potomac, at a cabinet meeting, in which his merits and those of Gen. Hooker were fully discussed. Secretary Stanton warmly favored the appointment of Gen. Hooker to the position, but he was overruled by the other members.”


The Campaign Plans.—The Washington correspondent of the Boston Traveller writes:

“Gen. Halleck is too much inclined to scatter his forces. This is what our best generals say. He does not concentrate sufficiently. This was his mistake last summer in the West. If he fails in the present campaign in the East it will be from this policy. For every one now understands that it is Gen. Halleck who now plans for the army of the Potomac. Gen. Burnside executes the plans of Gen. Halleck. McClellan doubtless was loath to do so, and trouble arose. We are now to see what Gen. Halleck can do in Virginia—Halleck planning, and Burnside fighting.”

A few ugly ifs are all that interfere with the value of the sentences which follow:

“If our army is not demoralized by the removal of McClellan, I have the utmost confidence that it will win a victory before New Year’s and perhaps will be in Richmond to spend Christmas. Halleck is certainly a man of parts, and it is only this scattering of troops which makes one doubt his abilities and his final success. It is rumored that he means to push a heavy column of troops directly overland upon Richmond via Fredericksburg. Whether another column is to go up the James river is not yet known outside of the War Department.

“Of course, if Burnside is to attempt the capture of Richmond before winter sets in, he must be about his work. We may have six weeks before winter sets in, but the roads may be in a terrible condition in a week. F everything goes according to the plans agreed upon in the War and Navy Departments, there will be lively times before New Years. Charleston will be ours, if all goes well, before Christmas. It cannot well be otherwise, as the preparations for the capture of the rebel city are well made.”


A New Lead Mine.—A rich lead mine has been discovered on the Shawangunk Mountain, Orange county, New York. The Port Jervis Union of the 7th says: “It is now ascertained beyond cavil or question that the mine recently opened is rich in re of great purity, and will form a source of great wealth to the owners. The vein was struck at six feet below the surface and has been penetrated to the depth of eight feet. The product is lead nearly pure.”


Salary Reduced.—The city of Cambridge, Mass., has reduced the salary of the Mayor for the next year from $1,500 to $1,000, on account of the times.


New States Preparing for Admission.—The Philadelphia North American calls attention to the question of admitting new states into the Union this winter. It says:

“We have now attached to the Union the territories of Dacotah, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Washington, seven in all, the whole of whose governmental expenses are paid out of the national treasury. These territories had the following amount of population when the census of 1860 was taken: Colorado, 36,538, Dacotah, 2,576, Nebraska, 28,841, Nevada, 17,364, New Mexico, 83,000, Utah 40,690, Washington, 11, 168. None of these have the population required by the ratio of representation. New Mexico has once before made application for admission as a free state, and would no doubt do so again if there were any chance for admission. The case of Utah is anomalous, and cannot be treated of at present.”

The manufacture of salt at the New York State works in Onondaga County continues to increase in amount over that of any previous year. The number of bushels inspected this year, up to the 8th inst., is 7,080,000, which is an increase over last year to the same date of 1,350,000 bushels.


Illinois does not want, and will not have, within her borders any of the contrabands escaping into our lines, and Secretary Stanton has accordingly issued orders that no more be sent to that State.


Vermont is behind in the appointment of Thanksgiving day. This is owing to the protracted session of the Legislature of that State, as it is a custom there never to have thanksgiving till after its adjournment. The 27th inst. has been appointed thanksgiving day in eighteen States.

P.S.—The Governor of Vermont has appointed the 4th of December as a day of Thanksgiving.


It is very evident that the rebels possess extraordinary facilities for obtaining news of the movements of our army. It appears that the change of base determined between Halleck and Burnside, of which we had the first news two or three days ago, was known in Richmond before it was here. There is base treachery somewhere, and it seems strange that it cannot be ferreted out.


Promissory Shinplasters.—The present deplorable state of the currency is fertile in impositions. The Rochester Union states that engravers are sending agents through that section selling shinplasters imitating the appearance of the new postage currency. Some kinds are sold printed on blanks in promissory form, and are filled up payable in goods. It is stated that some are circulated payable in strawberries if the next crop does not fail!


A Terrible explosion took place at the Government Arsenal at Washington, on Saturday, which startled the whole city. The cartridges which become wet or otherwise damaged in the hands of the soldiers are collected and returned to the Arsenal, there to be overhauled, and the balls and good powder separated from such as has become worthless, and the refuse is put into a pile to be burned. It was while burning a lot of this refuse cartridge material on a vacant lot near the arsenal, that eh explosion took place on Saturday. So violent was the concussion, that the windows in the buildings for a considerable distance around were nearly all broken out. It was supposed that a number of unopened cartridges must have got into the refuse pile.


The Gulf to be Relighted.—The schooner Pharos, which sailed from this port to-day, on her way from Portland south, carries out materials for the reconstruction of light houses destroyed by the Confederate vandals. She will report to the Light House Inspector at Ship Island, who will proceed to repair such light houses as the interests of navigation most urgently require.—New Bedford Standard, 19th.

, 1862

From the Army of the Potomac.

Washington, Nov. 20.—Information from the Army of the Potomac today is to the effect that rebel cavalry frequently approached Warrenton to reconnoitre, but Gen. Pleasanton with his cavalry gave them a  severe check near that place.

Accounts from Falmouth, dated today, state that during yesterday afternoon the enemy’s pickets were scattered along the bank of the Rappahannock and conversed freely with our men, but no firing took place.


It is an interesting question now for printers to know, what became of all the rags? Some of them go to make bandages for the wounded soldiers, and so far as the recent extraordinary rise in the price of white paper is due to this cause, of course we submit not only with patience but with joy. There cannot, however, be a very large consumption in this way. Something of the scarcity no doubt is due to the enhanced cost of cotton goods. People wear their old shirts somewhat more threadbare than usual. But this would only postpone for a brief period the inevitable day when they must fall into the rag-bag. Some people throw cotton aside and wear flannel altogether. This would account for a lack of cotton rags day-by-day, but not just now. So that these two things would seem to balance one another.

A great many rags are imported into America. Our people read so much, that they require more paper than they can wear out cotton to furnish rags to make it of. The ignorant peasantry of less favored lands are called upon to supply their cast-off clothing to be transformed into the bright white pages that our universal education carries into every American dwelling. Among the somewhat limited list of exports forming the direct trade between Egypt and the United States, rags occupy a high place. The bandages placed thousands of years ago about the dead bodies which Egyptian art has preserved, are pulled from the mummy-pits to travel thousands of miles, to make paper for a new race boasting a new civilization. The mummy rags, however, are not very highly esteemed by the paper makers, on account of their want of tenacity. If they could only become vocal like Memnon’s statue of old! The reader might be startled to hear from the sheet this moment lying under his eye, some tale of the times of Sesostris.

Foreign rags have advanced very quickly in price; probably too quickly. The newspapers themselves have unconsciously done something to promote the high price of paper, as the birds furnish feathers to tip the very arrows that wound them. So much has been said about the enhanced cost of paper (which is dreadful to contemplate) and the proprietors of the leading journals have rushed so eagerly in the market to purchase large supplies, that the dealers in paper stock have got the notion that there is no limit to their possible profits if only they will emulate Oliver Twist in demanding, “More, More.” Even the country housewife expects a new pan, or a nutmeg grater at least, to be thrown in to boot in addition to the supply of tin ware which she had expected to obtain in exchange for the carefully preserved contents of her rag-bag.

The system of collecting domestic rags is somewhat peculiar, but is thought to be more perfect than any substitute that could be contrived. It is all done by the tin-pedlars, who pay in kind. They go about from house to house throughout the country and collect the rags, which they deliver at the paper mills in their course, or sell to intermediate dealers. Payment in money for rags might bring out a larger supply than the exchange of tin ware, but it is thought that the expenses of collecting the material in any new way would absorb all the profit. So the tin-pedlars are masters of that field.

It takes about two pounds of stock to make a pound of paper. A single sheet of our paper weighs a trifle less than one and one half ounces. From these figures any reader may calculate for himself what an enormous quantity of stock is needed to supply the twenty millions of people in the loyal States with their papers three hundred and ten times a year; to say nothing of books, or of weekly, monthly and quarterly publications. It would no doubt be a fine thing if somebody would invent a practicable substitute for rags as a material for paper making. But this cannot be done in a hurry. We must for the present simply secure the largest possible supply of the standard article. Sell your old manuscripts, newspapers and pamphlets; they are as valuable as stock in the manufacture of the coarser kinds of paper. But look them over carefully before you sell them, and perhaps you will find something valuable mixed up with what you thought to be rubbish. We heard a few days ago of an important ledger belonging to a mercantile house, found in this way among the purchases of a paper-maker. But above all, look after your rags carefully. If you want cheap books and cheap newspapers, wear out your cotton clothing as fast as you can; and send to the nearest paper makers all that you do not send to the army.


Captain Andrews, Geo. D. Wilson, Marion Ross, P.D. Shadock and Wm. Campbell of the 2d Ohio, J.M. Scott of the 21st Ohio, and Sam Stavas of the 33d Ohio, were tried at Knoxville and hung in Atlanta, Ga., June 18. The others remained in confinement until 22 days since, when they broke jail, but as they scattered as soon as they got out of confinement it is impossible to tell what became of them.2


Mutiny at Sea.—The ship Robert L. Lane, from Liverpool, reports a mutiny occurred aboard November 1st, in attempting to quell which Captain Bryer was stabbed, so that he afterwards died, by two sailors named Moore and Patsey. The latter was instantly killed by the first mate Leonard, who, with the aid of the passengers, secured the ringleaders, who were brought in irons. Caption Bryer leaves a wife and three children in Liverpool.

NOVEMBER 22, 1862


Will the Rebels Emancipate?

Some weeks ago, a report came by way of Kentucky that Jeff Davis and his cabinet were seriously considering the project of emancipating the slaves of the confederacy, in order to secure recognition from the European powers. The Kentucky papers continue to repeat the statement as if they believed it, and they now say further that the plan of the rebel leaders is to employ the slaves in the war, promising them their liberty at its close; and they add that the only consideration that prevents the adoption of this policy is the fear that the southern people will rebel against it. What basis of truth there may be for these reports it is impossible to say. They may be used by Kentucky Unionists in order to reconcile their own slaveholders to President Lincoln’s emancipation policy, on the presumption that abolition will eventually come through the rebel leaders if it does not come from the federal government, and that it is better to have abolition in the Union than outside of it.

And there is pertinence and force in this view of the matter. Whether Jeff Davis is already thinking of emancipation as a last resort or not, when all other means fail, and the prospects of his experiment become as desperate as they can be, it is evident enough that the measure is one that would naturally occur to him. Indeed, we consider it not improbable that President Lincoln anticipated and defeated the project by his own proclamation of emancipation. It was hinted at the time that the president had information of the  intention of Jeff Davis to get ahead of him in this measure, and so secure the advantages of the moral position before the world. This may not have been strictly true, but it is well-known that the European powers—France very distinctly—have intimated to the agents of the confederacy that the promise of the future and gradual abolition of slavery would do more than anything else to further their cause abroad, and that without it indeed they could not hope for any material assistance.

It is objected that it would be absurd to suppose that the rebels, after having seceded and made war for the avowed object of strengthening slavery and making it the basis of their new government, should voluntarily destroy the very institution for which they are fighting. But the prime object of the rebel leaders now is their own salvation, which can only be made sure by success, and though they may not willingly destroy slavery, they will do that or anything else rather than fall. If emancipation should appear to Jeff Davis to be the last and only means of insuring the success of the rebellion he would declare the southern slaves free to-morrow. There can be no doubt of that. As to the use of the slaves in the war, we may be sure the rebels will have no scruples on that subject if they think they can make soldiers of them. And the Negroes themselves would have no choice of course as to which side they fight for, if so be they have the reliable assurance of freedom as their reward. That they would add much to the strength of the rebellion as a fighting force we do not believe: they are invaluable to us as a producing force, but the rebel leaders will not hesitate to use them as soldiers to any available extent, more especially as they have now nearly exhausted their white reserves. The rebel papers give many indications of alarm at the new and formidable armies marching into their territory. They acknowledge that the crisis of their fate is just upon them. If the leaders at Richmond take the same view of affairs, they may be ready for any desperate measure, and there is nothing incredible in the suggestion that they may emancipate and arm the Negroes in the last resort.

If there should prove to be anything in these conjectures, it may before long be evident to us all that president Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation was issued not a day too soon. But if,  as we have often been told, the slaves of the South have a  private system of information and obtain general ideas of what is going on, they know by this time that they can be free by getting within the lines of our armies, and that they will all be legally free on New Year’s day. Any promise of liberty now on condition of their fighting for Jeff Davis will be likely to find their minds pre-occupied. They have long looked for deliverance from the Yankees, and it will not be very easy for the rebels to persuade them that their long-time oppressors are their real friends and will do better by them than “the abolitionists”—as the rebel leaders, by suggestion of Beauregard, now call the Union armies, not considering what assurances they are thus giving to the slaves. If Jeff Davis thinks he can beat President Lincoln at the emancipation game, let him try. Nobody will object but his own slaveholding subjects.


An Adroit Fraud on the Government.—Several enterprising fellows in Connecticut have gone into the collection and restoration of old postage stamps on a large scale. One of their modes of procedure is to visit unsuspecting clergymen in needy circumstances and state that as a matter of curiosity they desire to procure a million postage stamps, for which they will give two hundred dollars. The minister, thinking it worth while to make an effort for the two hundred dollars in these hard times, opens his files of letters and carefully cuts off the stamps; sets the Sabbath school children at work in all the country around, and eventually earns his money. In one instance the girls in a boarding school were set at work collecting stamps, with the understanding that the money obtained for them should be devoted to a certain object of benevolence, and they were very industrious in hunting and begging old stamps all over the country among their acquaintances. How many millions of stamps the speculators obtained it is impossible to say, but it is now understood that they clean and sell the stamps, and thus defraud the government. And it is a business that pays well, for a million three cent stamps are worth $30,000, and the collection and restoration of them does not probably cost one tenth that sum. This is a matter that some government detective should investigate. We are told that a large business has been done in this way, and it cannot be difficult to trace the matter back from some of the innocent collectors to the guilty parties and cause their arrest and punishment.

1 exuent: Latin for “they go out.”

2 The result of Andrews’ Raid or “The Great Locomotive Chase.” See the initial report on 20 April 1862.

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