Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1136, p. 280.
Belligerent Operations By Sea and Land
The Montreal Company's steamer Hibernian brings news to the 8th instant. The Government allows hardly any news of the movements of the army and navy to transpire for publication. Columbus, the last point held in Kentucky by the Confederates, has been abandoned. The Confederates carried away their stores and artillery, and burnt their barracks, but spared the town. It was immediately afterwards occupied by the Federals.
In Tennessee the Federals have advanced to Murfreesboro', from which the Confederates, under General Sidney Johnson, retreated to Decatur, a town on the Tennessee River, in Northern Alabama, the report that the Confederates were surrounded at Murfreesboro' by General Buell being unfounded. It is admitted that the people of Nashville show no sympathy for the Union troops, and studiously avoid all intercourse with them. The Mayor had issued a proclamation assuring the citizens that General Buell was desirous that industry should resume its course, and urging the country people to bring in their supplies to the Federal troops, who would remunerate them for the same. The Federal mails now run to Nashville. Andrew Johnson, the loyal senator from East Tennessee, has been appointed by the President Provisional Governor of the State. He will repair to Nashville to organise a loyal State Government there.
The Confederates, on evacuating Mudtown, in Arkansas, poisoned the provisions they were obliged to abandon. On entering the village the hungry Federals ate of the same, and died to the number of forty-two officers and men.
General Banks's division on the Upper Potomac had crossed that river without resistance, and the main body of the Federals had moved forward, but a heavy fall of snow has put a stop to any further advance for the present.
In Western Virginia General Lander had breathed his last. He died from over exertion and the effects of a wound in the leg received at Edward's Ferry. General Shields has been appointed his successor.
The expeditions on the coast line are heard of at two points. General Burnside is threatening the town of Suffolk, in the south-east corner of Virginia. The troops of the Port Royal expedition were within seven miles of Savannah, where they are confronted by a force of Confederates. An obstruction of timber-rafts has been placed across the river to keep the Union gun-boats at bay.
From the blockading squadrons we have to report several items. A British steamer, Labuan, has been taken in Mexican waters, under circumstances likely to give rise to diplomatic correspondence. The Labuan has been taken into New York, while her captain is on his way to Washington to lay the case before Lord Lyons. The steamer was loading with cotton at Metamoras, a Mexican port, and the charge made is that she was engaged in trade with the Texan port on the opposite side of the Rio Grande.
The Federal steamer South Carolina captured the Confederate steamer Magnolia while attempting to run out of Mobile with a cargo of 400 bales of cotton. The engineer attempted to blow her up, but only succeeded in killing himself.
The steamer Nashville, after coaling at the Bermudas, has arrived safely at Wilmington, North Carolina. She approached the blockading vessel with the Union flag flying. After passing her she raised the Confederate flag and moved towards Fort Macon. The blockading vessel having discovered the deception gave chase, following her within range of the guns of the fort, but did her no damage.
Mr. Davis has sent another message to Congress. He admits that "the Government had attempted more than it had power successfully to achieve." The effort to protect the whole territory of the Confederacy, seaboard and inland, had brought on them serious disasters. After reciting the difficulties of procuring the means of defence under which the Government laboured, and the absence of a navy, he speaks of the surrender of Roanoke Island as "deeply humiliating." Of the capitulation at Fort Donnelson he says he is "not only unwilling but unable to believe that a large army of our people have surrendered without a desperate effort to cut its way through the investing forces whatever may have been their numbers." He thinks that bitter disappointments will nerve the people to still greater exertions. He blames the policy of enlistments for short terms, and says that the quotes called for from the different States will soon be ready. The numbers in the field are 400 regiments of infantry, with proportionate cavalry and artillery. The total expenditure of the Government for the year has been only 175,000,000 dols., less than one-third of the expenditure of the enemy.
Congress has passed a resolution recommending the military commanders to destroy all tobacco and cotton, to prevent its falling into the enemy's hands; and another, by a unanimous vote, that the existing war be prosecuted until the enemy shall be expelled from every foot of soil within each of the Confederate States, and that no proposition of peace contemplating any other result be listened to.
Richmond nas [sic] has been put under martial law by President Davis, and a society of Union men, consisting chiefly of Germans, has been arrested. Gold is at 40 to 50 per cent premium.
The Governor of Georgia has called for 13,000 troops by the 4th of March. If not raised by that time, draughting would follow.
Mr. Lincoln has sent a message to Congress recommending that body to pass a joint resolution offering to purchase the freedom of the slaves in any State willing to emancipate on these conditions. The message does not propose any forcible interference with any Slave State, and the President thinks that only the border Slave States are likely to entertain the subject; but he thinks that if these States were detached from the other Slave States the rebellion would be at an end, as it is only buoyed up by the hope of erecting a great empire consisting of all the now Slave States. The message concludes with a vague threat:—"If resistance continues, war must continue, and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may follow it. Such means as may seem indispensable or may obviously promise great efficiency towards ending the struggle must and will come."
In the House of Representatives, on the 3rd inst., the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means produced the long-expected tax bill. Its promoters estimate that it will produce 100,000,000 dols. It includes duties on spirituous and malt liquors, tobacco and cigars, oils, gas, paper, advertisements, soap, salt, ginger, pepper, and leather. Flour is taxed ten cents the barrel. Railroad, steam-boat, omnibus, and horse-railroad passengers are threatened with a mulct. Carriages, watches, gold and silver plate, and billiard-tables are included in another series of clauses. Slaughtered cattle, hogs, and sheep constitute another category. Then follow licence taxes for a large number of trades and occupations, from a banker taxed 100 dols. to a photographer taxed 10 dols. per annum. The income tax of 3 per cent is extended to all incomes over 600 dols. The dividends of railroad and bank stock are taxed 3 per cent, so are Government salaries. A legacy duty on the personal property of deceased persons of from 1 to 5 per cent is to be levied, and the bill winds up with stamp duties on all kinds of legal and commercial papers, all patent medicines, telegraph messages, and goods by express. In other respects the proceedings of Congress have been unimportant.
Mr. Seward has discontinued the passport system which he created a few months ago. He has also written a letter to a club of his admirers in Philadelphia declaring that he will not be a candidate at the next Presidential election.
The house of M. Mercier, the French Ambassador, was burnt to the ground on the night of the 5th inst., and all the papers of the embassy destroyed.
The Chamber of Commerce of this city has passed resolutions complimenting Mr. Bright for his friendly attitude towards the United States.
The British steamer Stella left New York on the 25th ult., with the chief part of the American contributions to the World's Fair. These were about 500 parcels weighing in the aggregate nearly 150 tons, and comprising a great variety of ingenious and useful inventions.
Professor Felton, President of Harvard University, died on the 26th ult., at Chester, Pennsylvania. He was in his fifty-fifth year, and was generally esteemed the first Greek scholar in the United States.