Primary tabs


Monthly Record of Current Events, February 9.

OUR Record closes on the 9th of February. The month has been marked by several serious reverses and some considerable successes.

The repulse of our attack upon Vicksburg was severe and decisive. The expedition, under the immediate command of General W. T. Sherman, rendezvoused at Memphis and Helena, and set out on its passage down the river on the 21st of December; passing down the Mississippi, it entered the Yazoo, which empties into the Mississippi about ten miles above Vicksburg, on the 26th. The design was to attack the city from the rear. Our troops advanced, but found the rear of the town strongly fortified. Severe fighting took place on the three following days, our troops forcing their way to within two miles of the city. The enemy in the mean while having received large reinforcements, made a determined attack upon our troops, forced them from the positions which they had won, and on Tuesday, the 30th, we occupied just the position of Saturday. The fleet took little part in the operations. The gun-boat Benton engaged a battery on the river; but after an hour's action was hauled off, having received some damage. Commodore Gwin, her commander, was mortally wounded. On the 2d of January General M'Clernand arrived and assumed the command. A council of war was held, at which the principal naval and military officers were present. It was determined that it was useless to attack Vicksburg with the present force, and the attempt was abandoned. Our loss is stated at 600 killed and 1400 wounded, and 400 prisoners. The loss of the enemy is unknown; their own accounts represent it to have been considerably less. — The expedition then set out up the Arkansas and White rivers, into Arkansas. Port Arkansas was captured on the 11th, with about 5000 prisoners; this was followed on the 20th by the capture of three other forts on the White River — St. Charles, Duval's Bluff, and Des Arc. The main body of the expedition returned to the front of Vicksburg, and having been largely reinforced, operations there have been recommenced. The troops were landed on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi, and an attempt was commenced to open the canal, begun last year, across the isthmus formed by a bend of the river, and thus turn the channel of the river from before Vicksburg. If this succeeds, Vicksburg will be left some miles distant from the channel, and its importance as commanding the navigation of the river will be destroyed. Port Hudson, 228 miles below Vicksburg, and 164 miles above New Orleans, will in that case be the only strong point commanding the Mississippi in the hands of the insurgents.

Galveston, Texas, was recaptured by the Confederates on New-Year's Day. Early in the morning four gun-boats, protected by cotton bales, came down the river, and commenced an attack upon the steamer Harriet Lane; this was captured by boarding, after her commander, Captain Wainwright, and almost all of his crew had been killed. The flag-ship Wesitfield was ashore in another channel, and took no part in the action. Commodore Renshaw, fearing that the vessel would fall into the hands of the enemy, ordered the crew to be transferred to transports, and the ship to be blown up. By some accident the explosion took place before the boat containing the Commodore himself got away, and he, with his first lieutenant and the whole boat's crew, perished. A simultaneous attack was made by land upon our small force in the town, numbering only a few hundred, while the enemy, under General Magruder, are estimated at 5000. Our entire loss is stated at 160 killed, and 300 prisoners; though General Magruder, in his dispatch says, "I have taken 600 prisoners, and a large quantity of valuable stores, arms, etc. The Harriet Lane is but little injured." It is reported that this vessel has succeeded in escaping the blockade, and is at sea, ready to prey upon our commerce. — On the 17th of January our fleet cruising off Galveston discovered a steamer, which on being hailed from the Hatteras, a small gun-boat, announced herself to be the English steam-sloop Spitfire. A boat was dispatched toward her, but it had hardly left the Hatteras when the stranger opened fire, and in a few minutes sunk our vessel; the boat's crew was subsequently picked up by another vessel of our fleet. It is not certainly known what vessel the stranger was; at first it was presumed to be the Alabama; but it is now generally supposed that it was the Confederate steamer Florida, formerly known as the Oreto, built at Liverpool, and sold to the enemy. It is known that she had escaped the blockade at Mobile. — On the 22d of January Sabine Pass, near Galveston, was also possessed by the Confederate fleet, upon which occasion, according to the dispatch of the commander, one ship, one schooner, a large amount of stores and ammunition, and 109 prisoners fell into their hands.

On the 8th of January the Confederates, 6000 strong, under General Marmaduke, made an attack upon Springfield, Missouri, the scene of several previous battles, in one of which the gallant General Lyon was killed. Our forces were greatly inferior in number, but succeeded in repulsing the attack, the enemy retreating with considerable loss, leaving their wounded in our hands. — A skirmish took place on the 29th of January near Suffolk, in Virginia, in which a body of the enemy, under General Pryor, were repulsed in an attempt to cross the Blackwater, by our troops under General Corcoran. — The iron-clad steamer Montauk has had two or three engagements with the Confederate battery M'Allister, near Savannah, which defends the Ogeechee River, where the steamer Nashville is lying. The Confederate papers state that the turret of the Montauk was seriously injured; this, however, is contradicted by dispatches received by our Government, which say that she lay for hours under the guns of the fort, whose guns had no effect upon her. The immediate design of this attack by a single vessel appears to have been to test the qualities of the new "Monitors," to which class the Montauk belongs. — The enemy, in considerable force, made an attack, on the 3d of February, upon Fort Donelson, but were repulsed with considerable loss, while our own was very slight.

The Army of the Potomac has remained almost entirely quiet during the month. A second attempt to cross the Rappahannock was arranged by General Burnside to be made on the 20th of January. It was hoped that the enemy would be taken by surprise. The Commanding General issued an order of the day announcing that the Army of the Potomac was "about to meet the enemy once more," and that the "auspicious moment had arrived to strike a great and mortal blow to the rebellion, and gain that decisive victory which is due to the country." But on the previous night a severe rain-storm


set in, which in a few hours rendered the roads impassable for artillery. The bridges over which the passage was to be made were not ready; and the enemy were found to be ready to dispute our passage; and the order for the advance was countermanded. It is affirmed, however, with apparent probability, that the failure to carry out the movement was owing to dissatisfaction on the part of some of our leading generals, quite as much as to the unfavorable change in the weather. At all events, on the morning of the 24th of January General Burnside, at his own request, was relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Hooker was appointed in his place. Generals Franklin and Sumner were at the same time "relieved" from the command of the right and left grand divisions of this army, and ordered to report to headquarters at Washington. The real grounds for this change still remain to be developed. General Burnside, in taking leave of his command, said to the army that "the short time that he has directed its movements had not been fruitful of victory, nor any considerable advancement of our line; but it has again demonstrated an amount of courage, patience, and endurance that, under more favorable circumstances, would have accomplished great results. Continue to exercise these virtues; give to the brave and skillful General who has so long been identified with your organization, and who is now to command you, your full and cordial support and co-operation, and you will deserve success." General Hooker, in assuming the command, said that he should require the cheerful and zealous co-operation of every officer and soldier. The enemy, he said, "in equipment, intelligence, and valor, is our inferior. Let us never hesitate to give him battle wherever we can find him." This order of the day closes with a cordial tribute to the late commander of this army.

On the 31st of January two Confederate iron-clad gun-boats, with three steamers, issued from the port of Charleston to attack our blockading fleet lying off the harbor. Our accounts of this affair came at first from Confederate sources, and must be taken with considerable allowance. According to these accounts the gun-boats first attacked the national gun-boat Mercedita, and in a few minutes sunk her, and also disabled another vessel, the Keystone State, when the remainder of our blockading fleet put out to sea and disappeared. "Whereupon General Beauregard, commanding at Charleston, and Commodore Ingraham, the naval commander, issued a proclamation declaring that "About five o'clock this morning the Confederate States naval force on this station attacked the United States blockading fleet off the harbor of the city of Charleston, and sunk, dispersed, and drove off and out of sight for the time the entire hostile fleet. Therefore we, the undersigned commanders respectively of the Confederate States naval and land forces in this quarter, do here-by formally declare the blockade by the United States of the said city of Charleston, South Carolina, to be raised by a superior force of the Confederate States from and after this 31st day of January, 1863." It is further added that a vessel was placed by General Beauregard at the disposal of the foreign consuls at Charleston, in order that they might see for themselves that no blockade existed; that the French, British, and Spanish consuls accepted the invitation, and proceeding five miles beyond the usual anchorage of the blockaders could see nothing of them; that upon their return they held a meeting and unanimously agreed that the blockade had been legally raised. — Our own later reports, however, put a very different aspect upon the whole affair. According to them, the Anglo-Southern iron steamer Princess Royal, loaded with arms and ammunition, and having on board all the machinery for the construction of an iron ram, was captured in attempting to run the blockade; her captain and pilot made their escape in a small boat, got to Charleston, and the attack of the Confederate rams was made mainly for the purpose of recapturing the steamer. They attacked the Mercedita first. One ram, the Palmetto State, struck her, causing her to heel over, and at the same time firing a shot which entered one of her boilers, causing the death of three persons. The Palmetto, supposing that the Mercedita was sinking, went against the steamer Keystone. State, and sent a shot through her steam-drum, causing the death of 21 persons by shot and steam. The other ram advanced upon our gun-boat Housatonic, which was guarding the captured Princess Royal, which was got off safely and sent to Philadelphia, where, she has arrived. She is a very valuable prize, having unusual speed. Thus foiled in their main object, the assailing rams returned to Charleston. Both the Mercedita and Keystone State were got off, the latter being disabled, the former scarcely injured. The Keystone State, in tow of another steamer, put out to sea, followed for a while by the other vessels to ascertain if she needed assistance. They resumed their position the same day; and on the next were joined by the Ironsides, our new mailed steamer. Thus it appears that there was no legal raising of the blockade. An attack was made, under cover of a heavy fog, upon our blockading fleet, which simply changed its position, and was for a time invisible in the fog, but never abandoned the blockade; but on the contrary reappeared off the harbor on the same day, augmented by reinforcements from our iron-clads, and were about to open a determined assault upon the defenses of Charleston. We record the different reports of this affair before Charleston because grave international complications may possibly grow out of it. If, as is claimed by the Confederate proclamation, the blockade was legally raised, then according to the interpretation which they put upon the law of nations in this respect, it can not be renewed until after an interval of sixty days, with due notice given, so that for this time Charleston will be a free port open to the traffic of the world. The cotton which remains in the Confederate States may be shipped, through this port to Europe, and arms, ammunition, and clothing be received in exchange to any extent. We can not doubt that both France and England would gladly avail themselves of any plausible pretext for declaring the port of Charleston legally opened.

In Congress the principal business has been the consideration of the subject of raising funds for the support of the Government and for carrying on the war. Various modifications have been made in the bill reported by the Committee of Ways and Means, of which an abstract was given in our last Record. These amendments relate to points of detail, the general principles being retained. A joint resolution, appropriating $100,000,000, to be reckoned in as a part of the amount to be raised under the proposed financial bill, passed both Houses. In his message approving of the resolution the President urged upon Congress the necessity of restricting the issue of paper currency, and of taxing the circulation of bank notes. — The debates have taken a wide range, covering, in effect, the whole conduct of the


war and the general policy of the Government. They embrace the general emancipation, scheme, the employment of colored soldiers, and the arbitrary arrests made by authority of Government. In the discussion upon the bill for indemnifying the President and others for acts done in consequence of the suspension of the habeas corpus act Senator Saulsbury, of Maryland, in the course of a violent speech, styled the President "an imbecile;" he was called to order, and, persisting in his violent conduct, was placed in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, and a motion for his expulsion was introduced. He subsequently apologized for his conduct, and the motion was withdrawn. Exciting debates have taken place upon bills introduced for indemnifying the States of Maryland, Missouri, and Western Virginia for the emancipation of their slaves. No definite action has been had as yet upon these important measures.

The Court-Martial appointed to try Major-General Fitz John Porter upon charges preferred by General Pope of grave misconduct before the enemy, and disobedience of orders, after a session of 45 days, found the accused guilty of the main points in the charge, and sentenced him to be "cashiered, and to be forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States." The sentence was formally approved and indorsed by the President on the 21st of January.

The Legislature of New York convened on the 1st of January. In the Senate there is a large Republican majority. In the House there are an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. A long struggle, marked at times by scones of disgraceful confusion and excitement, took place for the election of Speaker. At length the Republicans agreed to vote for Mr. Callicot, a Democrat, for Speaker, with an understanding that they should have the Clerk, and that the remaining offices should be equally divided. Two Democrats, abandoning their party candidate, voted for Mr. Callicot, who was thus elected on the 26th, on the ninety-third ballot. A number of Democrats refused to act upon the Committees to which they were appointed by the Speaker. On the 3d of February the Legislature proceeded to the election of a United States Senator in place of Mr. King. In the House, on the first ballot, 64 votes were cast for Mr. Morgan, Republican, late Governor of the State, 62 for Mr. Corning, Democrat, and one each for Fernando Wood and General Dix. On the second ballot the Republicans all voted for General Dix, in order that a nomination could be made, so that the two Houses could go into joint ballot. At the joint session Mr. Morgan, who had been nominated by the Senate, was elected, receiving 86 votes, and Mr. Corning 70. — In Pennsylvania Charles R. Buckalew, Democrat, was elected to fill the seat, in the United States Senate, of David Wilmot, Republican, by two majority over Mr. Cameron, late Secretary of War, and now Minister to Russia. — In New Jersey James W. Wall, Democrat, was chosen by a vote of 53 to 22 for Mr. Field to fill the place of the late Senator Thompson. Mr. Wall was a few months ago arrested on charge of disloyalty. — In Illinois Wm. R. Richardson, Democrat, has been elected Senator, to fill the scat now occupied by Mr. Browning, Republican, whose term, however, does cot expire until 1865.

The Message of President Davis, delivered on the 13th of January, gives a general summary of the affairs of the Confederacy, from a Southern point of view. He thinks if the South act with the same vigor which they have already manifested that this will be the closing year of the war, which he says is now carried on for no other purpose than revenge and plunder. Though the advent of peace would be hailed with joy, yet the determination of the South was becoming stronger every day not to surrender their sovereignty and independence. The decision of the powers of Europe not to recognize the Southern Confederacy is severely condemned, and they are declared to be responsible for the continuance of the war and for the sufferings which it has caused to their subjects. Moreover, their decision prohibiting either party from bringing prizes into their ports was in reality effective against the Confederates alone, depriving them of the only means of maintaining with any approach to equality the struggle on the ocean. Another cause of grievance against the European Powers is their policy respecting the blockade, which Mr. Davis declares to be in direct contravention of the principles agreed upon in 1856, and to which the Southern Government had formally acceded. "Neutral Europe," he says, "remained passive when the United States, with a naval force insufficient to blockade the coast of a single State, proclaimed a paper blockade of thousands of miles of coast;" and the few ports before which any naval force was stationed were so insufficiently guarded that hundreds of entries have been effected. Upon a review of the whole matter, Mr. Davis asserts that foreign Governments, while proclaiming neutrality, have made this nominal rather than real, and that they have alternately waived and asserted the rights of neutrals "in such a manner as to bear with great severity upon us and to confer signal advantages upon the enemy." He adds, however, that the Governments of Europe are beginning to appreciate the true interests of mankind as involved in the war on this continent, and that it may be safely concluded that the claims of the Confederacy to a recognition will soon be acknowledged. Mr. Davis then goes on to charge the United States with having conducted the war with every conceivable atrocity. The emancipation proclamation of President Lincoln is especially denounced, and Mr. Davis reiterates his purpose, unless otherwise directed by Congress, "to deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in this proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States, providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection." This proclamation, he adds, renders any idea of a reconstruction of the Union impossible; for "it has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three possible consequences — the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population of the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States. — In regard to the finances of the Confederacy, increased taxation is recommended, which he thinks will be cheerfully borne. He says in conclusion, that the armies of the Confederacy are larger and better equipped and disciplined than ever before; and that the war and blockade have stimulated the production of many articles for which the people had heretofore looked abroad; "our fields no longer whitened by cotton that can not be exported are devoted to the production of cereals and the growth of stock formerly purchased with the proceeds of cotton." — The report of the Secretary of the Treasury shows that the expenditures of the War Department for


the year were $340,000,000, and the whole expenditure of the Government $417,000,000, while its revenues, derived almost entirely from loans, were $458,000,000. — A resolution has been introduced into the Confederate Congress for taking possession by the Government of all the cotton in the country, beyond the quantity required for domestic use. It makes it felony to sell, buy, or conceal cotton; punishes with death the sale or transfer of it to a citizen of the United States, or its exportation by any person, this right being vested in the Government. Owners of cotton are to deliver it to the Government at such times and places as may be directed by the President, and are to be paid for it in Confederate bonds at the rate of fifteen cents per pound.

Reid Sanders, son of George N. Sanders, who was formerly a prominent politician in New York, bearer of dispatches from the Confederate Government, was intercepted by our blockading fleet off Charleston, and a part of his dispatches secured. Portions of these have been made public. One from Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of War, to Mr. Slidell at Paris, dated September 26, gives a resume of the events of the preceding three months. It estimates the losses of the United States forces, by sickness, casualty, and capture during the campaign, at 349,500 men. Of these 100,000 are attributed to M'Clellan's army in the Peninsula; Halleck's, in the West, at 100,000; Pope's, in Virginia, 30,000; and the partisan war in Missouri and Arkansas at 25,000. M'Clellan, it is said, entered the Peninsula with 100,000 men, received 58,000 reinforcements, and escaped with only 55,000. — Another dispatch to Slidell at Paris and Mason at London intimates that MM. Theron and Tabouele, French consuls at Galveston and Richmond, had been detected in an attempt to induce the State of Texas to secede from the Confederacy and form a separate nation. Mr. Benjamin endeavors to explain this action on the theory that the French Emperor, having determined to conquer Mexico and retain it as a colony, was desirous of interposing a weak power between the Confederate States and his new colony, in order that he might be secure against any interference with his plans in Mexico; or that the French Government, wishing to secure an independent source of cotton supply to offset that possessed by Great Britain in India and Egypt, desired to take under its protection the State of Texas, which, after having been acknowledged as an independent republic, would be in effect a mere French colony. The Secretary, by direction of the President, had ordered both of these consuls to leave the country, but had subsequently, having received satisfactory explanations, rescinded the order as respected M. Tabouele, the consul at Richmond; and he thinks it possible that M. Theron may have acted in the matter on his own responsibility, without orders from his Government. The whole matter, he adds, is one of great delicacy, and its treatment is left to Mr. Slidell, after having ascertained whether these movements were dictated by the French Cabinet. — In a dispatch to Mr. Mason, the Secretary expresses his gratification that Mr. Mason had not withdrawn from London in consequence of the discourtesy with which he had been treated by Earl Russell, "which exhibits a marked contrast between the conduct of the English and French statesmen now in office; the contrast is striking," he adds, "between the polished courtesy of M. Thouvenel and the rude incivility of Earl Russell." Further comments on this matter are delayed, because the President is busy in endeavoring to "repair the ill effects of the failure of the Kentucky campaign, which had resulted in none of the happy consequences which had been anticipated, the only gain having been the capture of a large amount of supplies. — Dispatches from Mr. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury, relating to sales of cotton, show that at the close of October 5 pence sterling, the price fixed upon for cotton, was considered equivalent to 25 cents; or in effect that a dollar in Confederate notes was reckoned to be worth 20 pence in London. He has two and a half millions in gold which he wishes to use in paying for articles purchased in England; but as exchange can be had only in small quantities and at high rates, he proposes to transfer it to British creditors, in which case he presumes that the British Government would allow any of its vessels to convey it for them. — Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, writes that Mr. George N. Sanders has contracted in England for the construction of six iron-clad steamers, combining the capacities of freighting and lighting ships in a manner which will enable them to force the blockade, — Mr. St. John, the superintend ent of the nitre and mining bureau, offers to purchase 3000 tons of nitre, to be paid for in Confederate notes or bonds at the rate of 90 cents a pound if delivered at any port east of the Mississippi River, or 50 cents if delivered at any port between the Rio Grande and the Mississippi. — Mr. Sanders writes to his son, "My steamers are really the only thing abroad in which the nation has really much interest. It is the only thing that offers succor and relief. Sinclair and Bullock" steamers are only preying on the enemy's commerce. We want more than that, now. We want succor or we must die. All other projects sink into insignificance compared to the construction of my six steamers. So thinks Congress, and so thinks every intelligent man with whom I have conversed. These steamers can open and keep open the port of New Orleans to our commerce, and one week's trade will pay the nation three times their cost."

There seems to be a strong determination on the part of the Mexicans to resist to the utmost the French invasion. This is expressed in the address of President Juarez to Congress, and in the reply of that body. Indirect reports have been received that the French received a severe check about the middle of December, near Jalapa. Acapulco, on the Pacific, was bombarded by four French vessels of war for three days, commencing on the 16th of January. The fire was returned from the forts, but the range of the guns was too small to be effective. The town was then abandoned, and the forts having been silenced, a party of the assailants landed and spiked or disabled the guns, after which the fleet departed.

The French Chambers were opened on the 12th of January by a speech from the Emperor detailing the domestic and foreign affairs of the empire. He says in substance that his policy has been to increase the prosperity of France without abusing the power placed in his hands; and to maintain abroad, within the limits of treaties, the legitimate aspirations of nations toward a better position. In the East he has supported the Danubian Principalities in their desire for a union, and has given his support to the Christians in Syria and Montenegro in their grievances, without disavowing the supremacy of the Porte. He had defended the independence of Italy without tampering with revolution, and without abandoning the Pope, whom past engagements


bound him to support. Expeditions to China, Cochin China, and Mexico proved that there are no countries, no matter how far distant, where any attempt against the honor of France could remain unpunished. Personal interviews with most of the reigning sovereigns of Europe had given rise to friendly relations which were so many guarantees for the peace of Europe; and this peace could not be disturbed by the events which have just taken place in Greece. The army and navy expenses had been considerably diminished, and the floating debt of the empire had been reduced. The indirect revenues showed a continual increase, and the condition of the country would be flourishing if the war in America, had not dried up one of the most fruitful sources of industry. The forced stagnation of labor had caused, in many districts, an amount of destitution to relieve which a grant would be asked, for the aid of those who were suffering from a misfortune to which it was not in the power of the Government to put a stop, "Nevertheless," adds the Emperor, "I have made the attempt to send beyond the Atlantic advices inspired by a sincere sympathy; but the great maritime Powers not having thought it advisable as yet to act in concert with me, I have been obliged to postpone to a more suitable opportunity the offer of mediation, the object of which was to stop the effusion of blood, and to prevent the exhaustion of a country the future of which can not be looked upon with indifference." In addition to the speech an official review of the foreign policy of the empire was issued in which the following passage occurs: "The Emperor has not refrained from acquainting the Cabinet at Washington that his Government is still ready to mediate, provided the American Government desires that France should facilitate the task of peace, either alone or collectively, in whatever form may be pointed out to her." — In respect to Mexico, the review says: "The Mexican question has entered an entirely military phase of which it will be requisite to await the issue. The Government of the Emperor confines itself to expressing its confidence that the expedition will soon terminate gloriously for our flag. The moment is not far distant when the success of our arms will secure the interests which have led our troops to Mexico, and those permanent guarantees which we have so long demanded." — The motives and objects of the French expedition to Mexico are more explicitly set forth in letter from the Emperor to General Forey the commander of the forces. He says:
"There will not be wanting people who will ask you why we go to lavish men and money for the establishment of a regular government in Mexico. In the present state civilization of the world, the prosperity of America is not a matter of indifference to Europe, for it is she who feeds our manufactories and gives life to our commerce. We have an interest in this — that the Republic of the United States be powerful and prosperous; but we have none in this — that she should seize possession of all the Mexican Gulf, dominate from thence the Antilles, as well South America, and be the sole dispenser of the products of the New World. We see now by sad experience how precarious is the fate of an industry which is reduced to seeking its chief raw material in one market alone, to all the vissitudes of which it has to submit. If, on the other hand, Mexico preserves its independence, and maintains the integrity of its territory — if a stable Government is constituted with the assistance of France, we shall have restored to the Latin race on the other side of the ocean its strength and prestige; we shall have established our beneficent influence in the centre of America, and this influence, by presenting immense openings for our commerce, will procure us the materials indispensable to our industry. Mexico, thus regenerated, will always be favorable to us, not only from gratitude, but also because her interests will be in harmony with ours, and she will find a powerful support in her good relations with the European Powers. To-day, then, our pledged military honor, the exigency of our policy, the interests of our industry and of our commerce, all make it a duty to march upon Mexico, and boldly plant there our flag; to establish either a monarchy, if it is not incompatible with the national sentiment of the country, or, at all events, a Government which promises some stability."

Mr. Milner Gibson, President of the British Board of Trade, and member of Parliament, addressed his constituents on the 20th of January, explaining and defending the conduct of the Cabinet, of which he is an important member. He said that during the year 1862, Great Britain had to import 11,632,000 quarters of wheat, an increase of one-third over the importations of the previous year, which were unprecedentedly large; besides this there were large imports of other provisions. About one-third of the whole came from the United States.

"Now," continues Mr. Gibson, "these large importations of foreign wheat and flour and other provisions into this country must to some extent have tended to mitigate the distress, and have enabled many to provide for the wants of others out of their own surplus means. But supposing that the Government of this country had been induced, as they were urged frequently, to involve themselves in interference in the affairs of the United States — supposing by some rash and precipitate recognition of those who are conducting hostilities against the United States — called the Confederate States of America — we had brought ourselves into collision with the United States, where would have been this flour, and ham, and bacon, and eggs? I suppose if we had been compelled to take up arms against the United States by any unfortunate policy blockading would have been resorted to, and we should have been obliged to establish a blockade of the coast of America tor the very purpose of keeping out of this country all this wheat, flour, and eggs which have gone to mitigate the distress of the cotton industry in the present alarming state of affairs. We have from the commencement carried out the doctrine of non-intervention. We have endeavored to preserve a strict neutrality between the two contending parties. It was impossible to avoid recognizing the belligerent rights of the South at the outset of the contest, because it was a contest of such magnitude, and the insurgents, as they were called, were so numerous and so powerful, that it would have been impossible to recognize them in any other capacity but as persona entitled to bear arms; and if we had not done so, and if their armed vessels found on the seas were treated as pirates, it must be obvious to every one that this would have been an unparalleled course of action. We were compelled to recognize the belligerent rights of the South, but there has been no desire on the part of the Government to favor either the one side or the other. My earnest desire is to preserve strict neutrality; and, whatever may be my individual feelings — for we must have our sympathies on the one side or the other — whatever may be my feelings as a member of Parliament and the executive administration, I believe it to be for the interest of England that this neutrality should be observed; and therefore, making the interest of my country paramount to all other considerations, I should suppress any feelings of sympathy for one side or the other, and endeavor to pursue a course of strict neutrality."

After arguing at length that the real cause of the war was the determination to establish a nation having slavery as its basis — declaring that he did not believe an empire having this foundation could be prosperous, happy, and enduring, and that therefore he could not desire to see such an one established in any part of the world — Mr. Gibson concluded:

"I will not predict the course which the events of this war may take; but looking at the map, which I did to-day, it appears to me that the geographical position of the North, so far as territory is concerned, ia stronger than it was twelve months ago. They have suffered great defeats, and they have had some successes; but I find that the North are now possessed of larger territory than they were twelve months ago. Missouri, which was then debatable ground, they now possess: also Kentucky and West Virginia, and a portion of Louisiana. It therefore appears that the territory which the North possessed at the beginning of last year has not been lessened but increased in extent. These are facts which all may ascertain for themselves." The right honorable gentleman then stated that our policy must be strictly neutral, that the proposal from France for mediation had been respectfully declined, that


he should rejoice to see the war terminated, but that he thought we should abstain from interfering until the time came when we might be asked to give our good offices. If we were invited by the proper parties to take part in any negotiations for peace then we might do so: but if we underlook that office without being asked, and before the proper time, it would not tend to the promotion of our amicable relations with America.