Monthly Record of Current Events, February 8.
This bill differs in some particulars from the draft given in our last Record. The following is a synopsis of it as finally passed:
Sec. 1. The Secretary of the Treasury to issue Notes to the amount of $180,000,000, not bearing interest, payable in Washington and New York, none to be less than $5. But $50,000,000 of these to be in lieu of the same amount of Treasury Notes previously authorized; the whole of both kinds at no time to exceed $150,000,000: these Notes to be a legal tender for all debts and demands, public and private. The holder of these Notes depositing them with the United States Treasurer, in sums of $50 or its multiple, to receive certificates entitling him to an equal amount in United States 6 per cent. bonds payable after 30 years, or of 7 per cent. bonds payable after 5 years; the Secretary of the Treasury having the option which bonds shall be given. The Notes to be received as coin for all Government loans.
Sec. 2. Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue Treasury bonds to the amount of $500,000,000, bearing interest at the rate of 6 per cent., payable semi-annually, redeemable at the pleasure of Government after 20 years from date. These bonds, and all other securities of the United States, to be exempt from taxation by any State or county.
Sec. 3. Prescribes the manner of preparing and signing these bonds and notes.
Secs. 4 and 5. Impose a fine not exceeding $5000, and imprisonment not exceeding 15 years at hard labor, for counterfeiting these notes and bonds; or for passing or attempting to pass counterfeits; or for using the genuine plates in any illegal way: or for having in charge or custody any counterfeit plates, or impressions from them; or for photographing or printing any copy of the notes; or for having in possession, with intent to use for counterfeiting them, any paper adapted for that purpose.
Senators Johnson and Polk, of Missouri, who have
850joined the Confederates, were expelled from the Senate by a unanimous vote. A resolution expelling Senator Bright, of Indiana, was referred to a Committee, who reported against it. The principal charge against him was that, on the 1st of March, 1861, he wrote a letter addressed to "Hon. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States," introducing a Mr. Lincoln as the inventor of an improved fire-arm. Protracted debates followed. Mr. Bright said that at the time when that letter was written war did not exist, and he did not believe any would exist; he certainly would not have written such a letter after the attack upon Fort Sumter. The question was taken on the 5th, and Mr. Bright was expelled by a vote of 32 to 14.
Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, has resigned, and has been appointed to the mission to Russia, in place of Mr. Clay, who returns. Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Attorney-General during the last months of Mr. Buchanan's Administration, was appointed Secretary of War. — The President has decided that captured privateersmen are to be considered prisoners of war; all of these in our hands, including three convicted in Philadelphia of piracy, have accordingly been sent to Fort Lafayette. — Hon. Hamilton Fish, formerly Governor of New York, and Bishop Ames, of Ohio, have been appointed by the Secretary of War as Commissioners to proceed to the Confederate States to attend to the comfort of our prisoners of war. It is, however, not probable that they will be received. — John Tyler, President of the United States, died at Richmond, January 17, aged 72. At the time of his death he was Senator in the Confederate Congress.
A powerful naval and military expedition, which had been for some weeks concentrating at Annapolis, under General Burnside, sailed from Hampton Roads on the 12th of January. Its destination was kept secret; and for a fortnight no tidings were received from it. It finally appeared that it was designed to enter Pamlico Sound, by way of Hatteras Inlet. A violent storm sprung up shortly after the departure, and the greater part of the vessels only reached the Inlet on the 15th and 16th. The channel into the Sound is narrow and intricate, and the storm, which still continued, occasioned much damage. The steamer New York was lost, with a great quantity of arms and stores, the crew being saved; the Pocahontas went on shore and was wrecked, and some 75 horses on board were drowned; several other vessels went ashore, but we have not yet received authentic intelligence of the entire loss. The depth of water in the channel was less than had been supposed, and many days were spent in getting the vessels into the Sound. Early in February this was accomplished, and a considerable part of the military force was landed; and at the time when our Record closes a forward movement was hourly anticipated.
The almost impassable condition of the roads in Virginia has prevented, and will probably for some time prevent, any important movement of troops on either side in that quarter. The main military operations of early spring will be confined to the coast and the West; and public attention will be directed toward Kentucky and Tennessee. In both these States the National forces have met with decided success. In the former State the Confederates, under Crittenden and Zollicofter, have for some time occupied a strongly fortified position at Mill Spring, on the Cumberland River, covering the route into Eastern Tennessee. Two divisions of our troops, under Generals Thomas and Schoepff, advanced by different routes upon this point. On the 18th of January they were within a few miles of Mill Spring, when the enemy marched out from his entrenchments to attack General Thomas. The action commenced before daylight on the 19th, lasting till afternoon, and was bravely contested on both sides. At length General Zollicoffer, who, though under Crittenden, seems to have been actually in command, was killed, and a vigorous bayonet charge decided the fate of the day. The enemy broke, and fled in disorder back to their intrenchments. These were abandoned during the night, the enemy crossing the river in the darkness, and dispersing in all directions. Our loss is officially reported at 39 killed and 127 wounded. Of the Confederates 115 dead were found and buried by our forces directly after the battle; and it subsequently appeared that this was only a part of their loss. It is said also that large numbers were drowned in crossing the river. We captured 10 cannon with caissons filled with ammunition, 100 wagons, 1200 horses and mules, and a large amount of small arms, ammunition, and stores. This battle is regarded as the most important which has been fought thus far, with the exception of that of Bull Run.
In Tennessee a very important success has been gained. Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, a post of great strategical value, has been taken from the Confederates by a naval expedition consisting of seven gun-boats, under command of Captain Foote, on the 6th of February. The fort, which mounted 17 guns and 20 mortars, was actually occupied by only a sufficient number of men to work the guns; but outside of it was encamped a force of 5000 men, who decamped before the surrender, leaving behind them all their camp and ordnance stores. The victory was wholly a naval one, the land force which was designed to co-operate not coming up until after the surrender of the fort. The gun-boats boldly engaged the fortification; one of them, the Essex, was soon disabled by a shot striking her boiler, and a number of persons on board were scalded to death. General Tighlman, who commanded, together with his staff and sixty men, surrendered as prisoners of war.
551attracted by rumors that such a proceeding was in contemplation, and that Lord Lyons had been instructed to say that "such a cruel plan would seem to imply despair of the restoration of the Union, the professed object of the war; for it could never be the wish of the United States Government to destroy cities from which their own country was to derive a portion of its riches and prosperity. Such a plan could only be adopted as a measure of revenge and of irremediable injury against an enemy. And even as a scheme of embittered and sanguinary revenge, such a measure would not be justifiable. It would be a plot against the commerce of all maritime nations, and against the free intercourse of the Southern States of America with the civilized world." After learning that the project had been carried into effect at Charleston, the Government had instructed Lord Lyons "to make a further representation to Mr. Seward, with a view to prevent similar acts of destruction in other ports."
The English papers are meantime filled with statements showing the benefits which would result from the acknowledgment of the Southern Confederacy and breaking the blockade. An armed intervention similar to that of the Allied Powers between Turkey and Greece, which led to the battle of Navarino, has been suggested; and reports are industriously circulated that the French Emperor has repeatedly urged the British Government to unite with him in active measures of intervention. — There can be no doubt that the war in America operates very unfavorably upon the interests of France and Great Britain. Tims, the silk manufactories of Lyons are so greatly depressed that subscriptions have been raised in Paris for the relief of the suffering artisans. In England the cotton mills are wholly closing or working on short time, and the weekly consumption of the raw material has diminished 60 per cent. At the present rate, it is estimated that the supply on hand will last until August. Of course the distress among the manufacturing population is great, and constantly increasing, as is shown by the augmentation of pauperism, which at the end of October showed an increase of 6 per cent., and at the end of November of 8Ë per cent., above the corresponding periods of last year. At this last date there was one pauper to every twenty-three persons throughout England and Wales; and the next returns are expected to show a much larger proportion. It is argued that the recognition of the Southern Confederacy and the disregarding of the blockade would give immediate relief by furnishing an ample supply of cotton and opening a market for British manufactures of almost every kind. To propitiate the anti-slavery sentiment of England, it is hinted that the intervention might be accompanied by stipulations absolutely prohibiting the slave-trade, and providing for the ultimate abolition of slavery. Meanwhile there is no intermission in the naval and military preparations carried on in the arsenals and navy-yards. — The Confederate steamer Nashville lies at the Southampton docks, watched by the United States steamer Tuscarora, which is in turn watched by British armed steamers. The Sumter, having been ordered from the Spanish port of Cadiz, went to Gibraltar, and was expected to proceed to England.