Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1127, p. 59.
January 18, 1862
By the arrival of the Edinburgh and Nova Scotian we have news from New York to the 4th inst. The chief points of interest are the departure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their secretaries, and the suspension of cash payments by the United States' Treasury and the banks.
The Boston Traveller of the 30th ult. says:—
There was no communication with Port Warren on the 28th, in consequence of the gale, and the prisoners taken from the Trent were ignorant of the decision of the National Government in favour of their release. Next day newspapers were carried down, containing the official correspondence, and Mr. Mason was noticed at the window of his room perusing the intelligence with a smile of satisfaction upon his countenance.
On the 1st inst., at eleven o'clock, the four prisoners left Fort Warren, in Boston Harbour, very quietly, and went on board the steam tug-boat Starlight, and were conveyed to Provincetown, on the northern extremity of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where they were received by the British steam gun-boat Rinaldo, which was to convey them to Halifax, Nova Scotia, whence they would be conveyed to England by the Cunard steamer.
Orders have been given by the Government for the release of Messrs. Zacchiri and Rogers, taken from the British schooner Eugenia Smith by the United States' steamer Santiago de Cuba.
A usually well-informed correspondent of the New York Tribune gives the following account of what passed within the White House in reference to the Trent affair:—
At the first Cabinet meeting held after the seizure of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, the President expressed himself in favour of restoring them to the protection of the British flag if it should be demanded. He said it was doubtful if the course of Captain Wilks could be justified by international law; and that, at all events, he could not afford to have two wars on his hands at the same time. Attorney-General Bates echoed this opinion. He thought the seizure unjustifiable, and was in favour of giving up the men upon demand. Secretary Seward was non-committal. The other members of the Cabinet disagreed with Mr. Lincoln positively; and Secretary Chase argued forcibly and with warmth that the course recommended by the President would be dishonourable to the United States as a nation. Thus matters stood until the first belligerent note from England. No further discussions took place, nor was the question again mooted in the Cabinet until Christmas Day. The despatch from Earl Russell to Lord Lyons was delivered at the State department on Saturday, as we telegraphed the next day, and Mr. Seward immediately went to work on his reply. Remembering the views of the Cabinet previously expressed, Mr. Lincoln was not in haste to call them together. One meeting was adjourned to prevent premature discussion, and another on the regular day did not take place. The first was on Christmas Day, and after Lord Lyons had made his communication. Immediately M. Thouvenel's despatch had been delivered, Mr. Seward's reply was read to the Council, in a session prolonged for five hours. The despatch of M. Thouvenel had convinced the opponents of the policy of surrender that the public opinion of Europe would sustain England, and it was used to secure unanimity in that policy. Mr. Seward's despatch, however, was subjected to much criticism. Many alterations and modifications were suggested. The next day a revised copy was read to the adjourned Cabinet meeting; further changes were suggested; and the despatch, as a whole, was not approved and adopted until Friday morning.
The tone of the American press, taken as a whole, is much less hostile to England since the settlement of the Trent difficulty than it had been for many months previous. The Philadelphia papers are more bitter than those of New York and Boston. There is, however, an uneasy impression abroad that the British Government is only seeking an opportunity for breaking the blockade of the Southern ports for the sake of dismembering the Union and procuring a supply of cotton.
On Saturday evening, the 28th ult., the New York bankers held a meeting and agreed to suspend cash payments from the 30th ult. This example was followed by the banks throughout the country. The specie in the vaults of the New York banks had fallen from 50,000,000 to 24,000,000 dols. Exchange on England had risen to 113, gold was already at a premium of l½ to 2 per cent. The banks had informed the Government that they could give it no more aid. They refused to take the fourth loan of 50,000,000 dols. asked by the Federal Government. The scheme of Mr. Chase for superseding the ordinary bank currency by an issue of Government notes had been dropped. The commercial classes were pressing on Congress the necessity of providing a revenue to the amount of at least 150,000,000 dols. The popular subscriptions to the national loan are now merely nominal in New York, not amounting to 100,000 dols. a week.
The Senate has agreed to Mr. Sumner's resolution, asking the President to transmit to the Senate all the correspondence which has taken place since the Paris Congress in relation to neutral and belligerent rights upon the ocean.
Mr. Stevens had introduced into the House of Representatives a bill for abolishing Southern ports of entry.
The Navy Department had sent out specifications inviting proposals from shipbuilders throughout the country for the construction of ironclad steam-batteries. The commission appointed to examine the Stevens floating-battery had reported against it.
General M'Clellan had been confined to his bed for ten days by a depressing attack of low typhoid fever. At last accounts his health had somewhat improved.
The Comte de Paris and the Duc de Chartres, acting, it is said, on the advice of their mother, had resigned their commissions in the Federal service.
New-Year's Day was marked by especial cordiality on the part of the diplomatic corps. All the Foreign Ministers, with their Legations, were present at the official reception at the White House, and all subsequently called on the Secretary of State. The presence of the entire British and French Legations at both places was especially noticed.
There have been destructive fires both in Nashville, Charleston, and Richmond. In the former city the commissary stores, including a portion of the Ordnance Department, and valued at one million dollars, were destroyed. In Richmond the theatre had been destroyed.
The Confederates in Kentucky had destroyed a large portion of the railway between Louisville and Nashville.
The Charleston Mercury states that a large Federal force from Beaufort had landed at North Edisto, on the South Carolina [sic]
The return of the chief emigration agent of the Canadian Government for the year 1861 shows that the troubles in the neighbouring country have partially turned the tide of European emigration towards Canada. The gross total of persons landed in 1861 was 19,923, against only 10,150 in 1860. This gives an increase of nearly 100 per cent; and the agent "has every reason to believe" that the year just entered upon will show, if Canada is spared the calamity of war, as large an increase of immigration in 1862 over that of 1861 as that of 1861 was in excess of the previous year. The nationalities of the immigrants were:—Norwegians, 8814; English, 3579; Irish, 3160; Scotch, 2011; Germans, 2182; Russian Poles, 27; French, 10; United States' Citizens, 12; Canadians and others, 371. The destination of about half was the United States.