Civil War News from January 19, 1861


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Harper's Weekly, January 19, 1861

Other Pages From this Newspaper Include:

Governor Pickens (Cont.) | Civil War Map of Fort Sumter |  Civil War News from January 19, 1861 |  Civil War Ship "Brooklyn" | Star of the West |  Civil War Letters Between Major Anderson and Governor Pickens

Below we present a leaf from the January 19, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly.  We have digitized an image of the original leaf, and have converted it to readable text.  This leaf presents biographies of important people in Charleston South Carolina, and news of the day.



JANUARY 19, 1861.]



then proceeded to the consideration of District of Columbia ' business, but adjourned without effecting any thing. On Friday, 11th, in the Senate, Senator Hunter, of Virginia, on the present condition of affairs in the country. tie was followed by Senator Harlan, of Iowa.—In the House, Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, asked leave to offer a resolution recommending the President to confer temporarily upon General Scott the power of Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, with a charge to see that the Republic receives no detriment. Objection was made, and no action was taken on it. The House, then, after the consideretion of private bills, passed the Civil and Miscellaneous Appropriation bill, and adjourned.


The Special Message of President Buchanan in reference to the present agitated condition of the country, and particularly regarding the recent action of South Carolina, was on 9th sent to Congress. The Message was prepared immediately on the departure of the South Carolina Commissioners from Washington, after their ineffectual endeavor to induce the Administration to surrender the fortifications in Charleston Harbor to the new State. The most important feature of the document is in reference to the execution of the Federal laws and the protection of the Federal property. The President says there is no alternative but to collect the revenue at Charleston, and to protect the public property as far as practicable under existing laws. The right and duty to use the military and naval forces against those who illegally assail the Government are clear and indisputable; but he considers the present state of things revolutionary, and beyond Executive control, and throws the whole responsibility of action in the emergency upon Congress, which alone has the power to declare war, or to remove a grievance which might lead to war. He therefore appeals to Congress to take some measures to preserve the Union, and suggests the restoration of the old 36° 30' Compromise line as calculated to produce a good result. He alleges, as a reason for the delay in sending reinforcements to Major Anderson, that such an action would have furnished the pretext, if not the provocation, for aggression on the part of South Carolina, and at the same time admits that had Fort Moultrie been attacked Major Anderson could not have held possession more than sixty hours.


The House Special Committee of Thirty-three have closed their deliberations, and will probably soon be ready to report. The two propositions submitted by Mr. Dunn, of Indiana—that laws be passed to protect the States from armed invasion, and to secure the safety of citizens of the several States while traveling or sojourning in other States—were the last ones agreed to. The propositions which had been previously adopted, provided for the admission of New Mexico ; for the amendment of the Fugitive Slave Law, by giving a trial by jury at the place of escape, and requesting Northern States to repeal the Personal Liberty Laws, and for such an amendment of the Constitution as will make it impossible ever hereafter to amend it so as to interfere with Slavery in the States.


The select treason committee of the House has been named by the Speaker, as follows: Howard, of Michigan, Republican ; Hickman, of Pennsylvania, Republican ; Dawes, of Massachusetts, Republican ; John Cochrane, of New York, Democrat ; Branch, of North Carolina, Democrat.


The correspondence between the South Carolina Commissioners and President Buchanan appears in the papers. It consists of three letters, the first dated December 29, from the Commissioners to the President, in which they demand, as a preliminary to all negotiations, a disapproval by the President of the act of Major Anderson in seizing Fort Sumter; the second, dated December 30, from the President, in which, while admitting that Major Anderson acted without express orders, he yet refuses to repudiate the act ; and the third, dated January 1, in which the Commissioners attempt to refute the allegations of the President's letter in which he justifies Major Anderson's conduct. This last letter the President returned to the Commissioners with the following endorsement on its back: "This paper, just presented to the President, is of such a character that he declines to receive it."


Since our last several changes have been made in the Cabinet. Secretary Thompson, of the Interior, resigned on 8th ; he has not been replaced. On 11th, Secretary Thomas resigned, and was succeeded by John A. Dix, of New York. Mr. Holt continues to act as Secretary of War.


The following correspondence has been published:

" WASHINGTON, January 8, 1861.

"SIR,—It is with extreme regret I have just learned that additional troops have been ordered to Charleston. This subject has been frequently discussed in Cabinet Council ; and when, on Monday night, 31st December ultimo, the orders for reinforcements to Fort Sumter were countermanded, I distinctly understood from you that no order of the kind would be made without being previously considered and decided in Cabinet. It is true that on Wednesday, January 2, this subject was again discussed in Cabinet, but certainly no conclusion was reached, and the War Department was not justified in ordering reinforcements without something more than was then said. I learn, however, this morning, for the first time, that the steamer Star of the West sailed from New York last Saturday night with two hundred and fifty men, under Lieutenant Bartlett, bound for Fort Sumter. Under these circumstances I feel myself bound to resign my commission, as one of your Constitutional advisers, into your hands. With high respect, your obedient servant,


" His Excellency, JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United



" WASHINGTON, January 9, 1861.

"SIR,—I have received and accepted your resignation, on yesterday, of the office of Secretary of the Interior.

" On Monday evening, 31st December, 1860, I suspended the orders which had been issued by the War and Navy Departments to send the Brooklyn with reinforcements to Fort Sumter. Of this I informed you on the same evening. I stated to you my reason for this suspension, which you knew, from its nature, would be speedily removed. In consequence of your request, however, I promised that these orders should not be renewed ' without being previously considered and decided in Cabinet.' This promise was faithfully observed on my part. In order to carry it into effect I called a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 2d January, 1861, in which the question of sending reinforcements to Fort Sumter was amply discussed both by yourself and others. The decided majority of opinions was against you. At this moment the answer of the South Carolina ' Commissioners' to my communication to them of 31st December was received and read. It produced much indignation among the members of the Cabinet. After a farther brief conversation I employed the following language : ' It is now all over, and reinforcements must be sent.' Judge Black said, at the moment of my decision, that after this letter the Cabinet would be unanimous, and I heard no dissenting voice. Indeed, the spirit and tone of the letter left no doubt on my mind that Fort Sumter would be immediately attacked, and hence the necessity of sending reinforcements there without delay.

" While you admit 'that on Wednesday, January 2, this subject was again discussed in Cabinet,' you say, ' but certainly no conclusion was reached, and the War Department was not justified in ordering reinforcements without something more than was then said.' You are certainly mistaken in alleging that no conclusion was reached.' In this your recollection is entirely different from that of your four oldest colleagues in the Cabinet. Indeed, my language was so unmistakable that the Secretaries of War and the Navy proceeded to act upon it without any further intercourse with myself than what you heard or might have heard me say. You had been so emphatic in opposing these reinforcements that I thought you would resign

in consequence of my decision. I deeply regret that you have been mistaken in point of fact, though I firmly believe honestly mistaken. Still it is certain you have not the less been mistaken.

"Yours, very respectfully,   JAMES BUCHANAN.



The Mississippi State Convention on 8th adopted an ordinance providing for immediate secession from the Union. Reports from Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, confirm this news. On 10th, Florida seceded by 62 to 7. On 11th, Alabama seceded by 61 to 39.


Governor Hicks has published an address to the citizens of Maryland, giving his reasons for refusing to convene the Legislature. It fills two columns of the American, and abounds in the most emphatic Union sentiments. The following are extracts:

"I firmly believe that a division of this Government would inevitably produce civil war. The secession leaders in South Carolina, and the fanatical demagogues of the North, have alike proclaimed that such would be the result, and no man of sense, in my opinion, can question it. What could the Legislature do in this crisis, if convened, to remove the present troubles which beset the Union? We are told by the leading spirits of the South Carolina Convention, that neither the election of Mr. Lincoln nor the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave law, nor both combined, constitute their grievances. They declare that the real cause of their discontent dates as far back as 1833. Maryland, and every other State in the Union, with a united voice, then declared the cause insufficient to justify the course of South Carolina. Can it be that this people, who then unanimously supported the cause of General Jackson, will now yield their opinions at the bidding of modern Secessionists. I have been told that the position of Maryland should be defined, so that both sections can understand it. Do any really understand her position? Who that wishes to understand it can fail to do so? If the action of the Legislature would be simply to declare that Maryland is with the South in sympathy and feeling ; that she demands from the North the repeal of offensive, unconstitutional statutes, and appeals to it for new guaranties; that she will wait reasonable time for the North to purge her statute books and to do justice to her Southern brethren, and if her appeals are vain, will make common cause with her sister border States in resistance to tyranny if need be, it would only be saying what the whole country well knows, and what may be said much more effectually by her people themselves in their meetings than by the Legislature chosen eighteen months since, when none of these questions were raised before them. That Maryland is a conservative Southern State all know who know any thing of her people or her history. The business and agricultural classes—planters, merchants, mechanics, and laboring men—those who have a real stake in the community, who would be forced to pay the taxes and do the fighting, are the persons who should be heard in preference to ex-cited politicians, many of whom, having nothing to lose from the destruction of the Government, may hope to de-rive some gain from the ruin of the State. Such men will naturally urge you to pull down the pillars of this ' ac-cursed Union,' which their allies at the North have de-nominated a ' covenant with hell.'

"The people of Maryland, if left to themselves, would decide, with scarcely an exception, that there is nothing in the present causes of complaint to justify immediate secession; and yet, against our judgments and solemn convictions of duty, we are to be precipitated into this revolution, because South Carolina thinks differently. Are we not equals ? Or shall her opinions control our actions ? After we have solemnly declared for ourselves, as every man must do, are we to be forced to yield our opinions to those of another State, and thus, in effect, obey her mandates ? She refuses to wait for our counsels. Are we bound to obey her commands ?

The men who have embarked in this scheme to convene the Legislature will spare no pains to carry their point. The whole plan of operations in the event of the assembling of the Legislature is, as I have been informed, already marked out, the list of Ambassadors who are to visit the other States is agreed on, and the resolutions which they hope will be passed by the Legislature, fully committing this State to secession, are said to be already prepared.

" In the course of nature I can not have long to live, and I fervently trust to be allowed to end my days a citizen of this glorious Union. But should I be compelled to witness the downfall of that Government inherited from our fathers, established, as it were, by the special favor of God, I will at least have the consolation, at my dying hour, that I neither by word or deed assisted in hastening its disruption.   THOMAS H. HICKS."


Governor Letcher's Message, alluding to the condition of the country, says: All see, know, and feel that danger is imminent, and all true patriots are exerting themselves to save us from impending perils. He renews his proposition in his last Message for a convention of all the States, and says : "It is monstrous to see a government like ours destroyed merely because men can not agree about a domestic institution. It becomes our State to be mindful of her own interests. Disruption is inevitable, and if confederations are to be formed we must have the best guarantees before we can attach Virginia to either." He condemns the hasty action of South Carolina, which has taken her Southern sisters by surprise. He would make no special reference to her course had he not been invited to do so by her late Executive in uncalled-for reference to Virginia. The non-slaveholding States are chargeable for the present condition of affairs, and if the Union is disrupted, upon them rest the solemn responsibility. He alludes at length to their aggressions, and says they have the power to end the strife and restore confidence. Will they do it? He awaits their response, not without apprehension. He says, Our action should be based on the wrongs done our own people." He opposes a State Convention at this time, and suggests, "First: That a commission of two of the most discreet statesmen visit the Legislatures of the States which have passed Personal Liberty Bills, and insist on their unconditional repeal, except the New England States. Second: We must have proper and effective guarantees for the protection of slavery in the District of Columbia. Third: Our equality in the States and Territories must be fully recognized, and the rights of person and property adequately protected and secured; that we must be permitted to pass through the free States and Territories unmolested; and if a slave be abducted, the State where it is lost must pay its value. Fourth : Like guarantees that the transmission of slaves between the slaveholding States by land or water shall not be interfered with. Fifth : The passage and enforcement of right laws for the punishment of such persons in the free States as organize, or aid and abet in any mode whatsoever in organizing, companies with a view to assail the slaveholding States, and to incite the slaves to insurrection. Sixth: The general Government to be deprived of the power of appointing to local offices in the slaveholding States persons hostile to their institutions or inimical to their rights." The Governor further says he will regard the attempt of the Federal troops to pass across Virginia for the purpose of coercing a Southern State as an act of invasion which must be repelled. He is not without a hope that the present difficulties will find a satisfactory solution. Let New England and Western New York be sloughed off, and let them form an alliance with Canada."


The Baton Rouge arsenal (Louisiana) was taken possession of by the State troops on 11th. All the fortifications are now in possession of the Louisiana troops. The United States arsenal at Baton Rouge, in command of Major Haskins and two companies, refused to surrender. The arsenal was surrounded by six hundred State troops, and a parley was held between Governor Moore and Major Haskins, which finally resulted in the surrender of the garrison. There was no opposition in taking the other forts.

The State of Georgia has seized Fort Pulaski, in the Savannah River.

A private dispatch to the Courier says that the Federal troops have abandoned all the forte in Pensacola harbor,

except Fort Pickens, where they are concentrated, and that three hundred men have left Mobile to surprise Fort Pickens.

A telegram, dated Wilmington, North Carolina, January 10, says : Forts Johnson and Caswell were taken possession of on the night of the 8th by the Smithville Guard.


The Baltimore American has the following story : One of the Baltimoreans who recently returned from Fort Sumter details an impressive incident that took place there on Major Anderson taking possession. It is known that the American flag brought away from Fort Moultrie was raised at Sumter precisely at noon on the 27th ultimo, but the incidents of that 'flag raising' have not been related. It was a scene that will be a memorable reminiscence in the lives of those who witnessed it. A short time before noon, Major Anderson assembled the whole of his little force, with the workmen employed on the fort, around the foot of the flag-staff. The national ensign was attached to the cord, and Major Anderson, holding the end of the lines in his hands, knelt reverently down. The officers, soldiers, and men clustered around, many of them on their knees, all deeply impressed with the solemnity of the scene. The chaplain made an earnest prayer such an appeal for support, encouragement, and mercy, as one would make who felt that ' Man's extremity is God's opportunity.' As the earnest, solemn words of the speaker ceased, and the men responded Amen with a fervency that perhaps they had never before experienced, Major Anderson drew the ' Star Spangled Banner' up to the top of the staff, the band broke out with the national air of ' Hail Columbia,' and loud and exultant cheers, repeated again and again, were given by the officers, soldiers, and workmen. ' If,' said the narrator, 'South Carolina had at that moment attacked the fort, there would have been no hesitation upon the part of any man within it about defending that flag.'"


An immense Union meeting was held at Baltimore on Thursday night, at which the secessionists, who attempted to make a disturbance, were promptly hustled out, amidst cheers for the Union and for Major Anderson.


Both branches of the New York State Legislature, on 11th, concurred in adopting a preamble and resolutions presented by Speaker Littlejohn, commending the recent Message of President Buchanan, tendering to him what-ever aid in men and money he may require to enforce the laws, complimenting the Union-loving Representatives and citizens of the Border Slave States upon the patriotism and courage with which they stand by the Union, and requesting the Governor to send copies of the resolutions to the President and the Governors of all the States. In the Senate they were amended by declaring that treason exists in one or more States, and only Mr. Grant voted against them. In the Assembly there were 117 votes in favor of, and only 2—Messrs. Cozans and Varian—against them.


According to a dispatch in the Herald, terrible suffering already exists at Charleston. The " troops who have volunteered and presented themselves for service are camped in unhealthy locations, and, in consequence of rain, swamps, and miasma, are suffering from disease. No vessels loading, no business doing, women weeping, and men overcome by sickness, and the city in the hands of a mob, is the bulletin travelers present of the condition of things at the present time."


A gentleman in Troy has received a private letter dated at Hayneville, Alabama, December 25, which says : "Our people are greatly excited now on two subjects, the certain withdrawal of Alabama from the Union and negro insurrections. About twenty miles from here they have discovered a plot among the negroes, headed by a white man, or perhaps more than one, to rise on the 26th of this month and murder all the white folks they could find. The plot was providentially discovered, the white men arrested, and, after establishing their guilt beyond a doubt, they were hung up, together with five or six negroes. To-day I hear of another plot about thirty miles from here, in another direction. Three white men have been arrested and about thirty negroes—report says they will hang today. The white men are Northern men."


A dispatch from Baltimore confirms the report of the murder of Mr. Lucius Woodruff, in Northampton County, Virginia, on Monday last, by four of his slaves. The principal in the murder had escaped, but the other three were in custody. Great excitement prevailed in the neighbor-hood, and a determination was expressed to hang the negroes at once.


The Charleston Mercury, at the close of an appeal to the Floridians to seize the defenses at Pensacola and Key West, threatens the seizure of the California treasure-ships by Southern privateers. We copy :

" To our friends in Florida we would respectfully pass a word. There are two powerful strong-holds and most important points of military offense and defense in Florida—Pensacola and Key West. The States both of Georgia and Alabama have wisely taken time by the forelock, and put themselves in possession of such fortresses as lie within their borders, simply because they do not choose that their territories should be occupied, their commerce cut off, and the lives of their people put in jeopardy by General Scott's or Mr. Buchanan's despotic theory of the powers and duties of the executive officer of a consolidated, vulgar mobocracy. They have chosen to ward off violence and out-rage by a timely precaution. If any thing could tend to demonstrate to the executive at Washington the folly of attempting the blockading of Southern ports, it would be the late action of Georgia and Alabama in regard to their forts. Yet it is impossible to tell to what extremities folly and desperation may drive men. In this view, it is important for the people of Florida to reflect that there are, perhaps, no fortresses along our whole Southern coast more important than those of Florida. These forts can command the whole Gulf trade. And should Mr. Buchanan carry out what appears to be his present plan, he certainly must desire to hold possession of these forts. He may thus, with the assistance of war-steamers, block up the whole Gulf. But let Florida hold these forts, and the entire aspect of affairs is changed. Such vessels, in time of war, will have no port of entry, and must be supplied in every way from a very long distance, and that at sea ; while the commerce of the North in the Gulf will fall an easy prey to our bold privateers; and California gold will pay all such little expenses on our part.

"We leave the matter for the reflection and decision of the people of Florida."


The War Department is in possession of information that the Governor of South Carolina has forbidden the United States Sub-Treasurer at Charleston paying the drafts of the Paymaster in favor of Major Anderson and his command, and the Sub-Treasurer has refused accordingly.


A dispatch dated Springfield, Illinois, January 10, says: The Journal of tomorrow will contain an authorized announcement of Mr. Seward's acceptance of the Secretaryship of State. Mr. Lincoln received it by this morning's mail. The offer was made through Mr. Weed. The Republicans are in ecstasies.

My statement that Mr. Cameron received no appointment is correct to the letter.

Advices have reached here that Mr. Chase withdraws his definite declination of the Secretaryship of the Treasury, and that he will make his ultimate decision known after consultation with his friends.

The Tribune says that Winter Davis, of Maryland, has been offered a seat in the Cabinet.


The Pennsylvania Legislature has elected Edgar Cowan, Republican, of Westmoreland County, United States Senator, in place of Mr. Bigler, whose term expires on the 4th of March next.

Ex-Governor Morrill was on 9th elected to the United States Senate, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Hamlin, of Maine. The vote in the Senate was unanimous.


Captain Hartstein, of the navy, from South Carolina, has resigned, and will, it is said, embark his fortunes with the people of the Palmetto State.



IT was hinted that the Emperor's address on New-Year's Day would be eminently pacific. The Nuncio being absent, the Russian Ambassador will be spokesman for the corps diplomatique.


The Journal des Debats, speaking of the application of South Carolina to the Emperor of France, says : "There is no doubt but that the Southern States earnestly desire to secure the countenance of France ; and what shall we do in this matter ? We have already done far too much in aiding formerly the American States to obtain their in-dependence. Louis XVI. was rewarded only with the in-gratitude of the Americans, and the revolutionary contagion brought over by our officers was speedily inoculated throughout the whole of France. Can the nation which has abolished slavery in its colonies lend its assistance to these pseudo-republicans, who prefer a revolution to a mere examination as to whether there exists any means by which, in a near or distant future, the emancipation of blacks may be accomplished P These cotton-planters address the Emperor as the protector of nationalities. What, then, is the nationality oppressed at Charles-ton? We see only one oppression—that of four millions of Africans who are held in slavery. And shall we lend our strength to this liberal movement ? We have no interest in doing so. The Slave States would not come any quicker to our assistance, while the Northern States would harbor toward us an inveterate rancor. Now these latter States are more numerous,. rich, and populous than the future confederation of the South can ever be. It is the North principally which is the customer for our silks and articles of luxury, and which sends us its Hour in ex-change. Every mark of sympathy given by France to the Slave States would he followed by commercial reprisals by the Northern States, and tariff and custom-house duties would soon interfere with our products. Let us, therefore, remain neutral in regard to dissensions which do not affect us. Let us leave the Americans to weaken themselves by their quarrels, and show to the world the impotence of re-publican forms to found a solid and permanent government. This is the case, if ever, in which to apply the principle of nonintervention."


The connection of Count de Morny with financial speculations in mines, and the occurrences which had taken place in connection therewith, were attracting considerable attention in Paris. Cabinet councils had been held upon the subject, and it was thought that legislative inquiry would result.



Reports relative to the state of affairs at Gaeta continue contradictory. A dispatch from Gaeta, of the 22d, says: The bombardment of the city is continued with vigor. The Spanish embassador left his palace on account of its being riddled with bullets. Two officers were struck while standing near the King. New Sardinian batteries can be seen, and are evidently ready to take part in the bombardment.

The garrison at Gaeta has been diminished in number by the dismissal of a portion of the Royal Guard, whose fidelity was doubtful. The remaining defenders were in a deplorable state, but their resistance could be carried on still further for a considerable time.


The Times correspondent, at Vienna, is confident that nothing but brute force can induce the Austrian Government to quit the quadrilateral.

There was a report that England and France had come to an understanding with regard to Venetia, and that It joint Commission would shortly be sent to Vienna, urging the cession of Venetia without any territorial recompense.



The treaty of Tien-tsin was ratified and the convention signed at Pekin, on the 24th of October, by Lord Elgin and Prince Kung. The same formalities were gone through with Baron Gros on the following day.

The indemnity to be paid by the Chinese has been fixed at eight million taels in all.

The following is a summary of the convention: In article 1 the Emperor regrets the misunderstanding at the Taku forts last year. Article 2 stipulates that a British Minister shall reside at Pekin. Article 3 arranges the payment of the indemnity by installments. Article 4 opens the port of Tien-tsin to trade. Article 5 removes the interdict on emigration. Article 6 cedes Cowloon to the British Crown. Article 7 provides for the immediate operation of the treaty of Tien-tsin. Article 8 orders the promulgation of the treaty throughout China. Article 9 stipulates for the evacuation of Chusan by the, British force.


The fate of the entire party of prisoners taken September 18 has been ascertained. The death of Captain Brabazon occurred on the 1st, and he was saved much suffering that others underwent. He was beheaded by the or-der of a Tartar General. The Abbe De Luc was beheaded at the same time. It was resolved that the Summer Palace of the Emperor should be burned to the ground, as it was the spot where some of the cruelties toward the prisoners had been perpetrated. Proclamations were posted in Pekin informing the people of the measures that were to be taken, and the reasons for their adoption. The gardens, palaces, temples, and pagodas occupied a space of six or seven miles in extent. Two days were required effectually to set fire to and destroy all the buildings.

The loss on the property destroyed exceeded £2,000,000, exclusive of the buildings.


The Chinese were brought to terms on other points by proclamations from Sir Hope Grant, threatening to sack Pekin.

On the day peace was signed Lord Elgin and Sir hope Grant entered Pekin, accompanied by an escort of 600 men and 100 officers of regiments. Lord Elgin was carried in his state chair by the Chinese, dressed in scarlet. Sir Robert Napier's division lined the streets as Lord El-gin passed, and followed at intervals, taking up a strategetical position in case of treachery. His Lordship was received by Prince Kung. Lord Elgin's manner was stern and calm. e motioned Kung to a scat on his right, which is considered the lowest sent. On the return of the Embassador and Commander-in-Chief the streets were occupied by the troops, so that the capital of the Chinese Empire was in actual possession of the British. Prince Kung said to Lord Elgin that many mistakes had been made in their intercourse with foreigners, but he hoped for a new state of things.



The Liberal forces, for some time past converging on the capital, encountered and routed the army of Miramon on the 22d ult., and the defeated chief was obliged forth-with to evacuate the city, which was entered without resistance by the Liberals on Christmas-Day. The triumph was believed to be complete, and Juarez, the Constitution. al President, was to leave Vera Cruz for the capital on the 8d inst. So we trust the strife is at an end.



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