Mason and Slidell Affair


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 8, 1862

We have posted our entire collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers are formatted so that they look just like the original page. They contain a wealth of resources to help you develop a more in depth understanding of the Civil War. We hope you find this extensive archive useful in your research and study.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


Mill's Spring

Battle of Mill Spring

Battle of Somerset

Battle of Somerset

Mason and Slidell

Mason and Slidell Affair

Secretary Stanton and General Zollicoffer

Secretary Stanton and General Zollicoffer

Virginia Cavalry

Virginia Cavalry Charge

Rebel Cartoon

Rebel Cartoon

Battle of Somerset, Mill Spring, Kentucky

Battle of Somerset, Mill Spring

Bombardment of Fort Pickens

Kentucky Battle Map

Battle Map Mill Spring

Map of the Battle of Mill Spring

East River

East River Picture



FEBRUARY 8, 1862.]



(Previous Page) saying, 'I told you so ; gone to the bottom,' when he returned with a new continent. The descendants of those people shake their heads in the old way, and prattle the old twaddle, only they do it in newspapers now ; and just as they are saying, 'Stuff! nonsense ! It always was night, and it always will be'—pop ! up comes the sun !"

"Possibly," answered I, as patiently as I could; "but hadn't you better save your lecture for those who will pay for it?" Yet I knew he was right.


THERE comes occasionally a painful rumor that many officers of the army are not really in earnest in the war ; that they think it is an error of the rebels to take up arms to overthrow the best of governments ; to shoot their fellow-citizens, and to do all they can to ruin the prosperity of the country, and to blast the hope of constitutional liberty —an error, but still a venial error ; an error to be borne with, to be extenuated, to be guarded as much as possible from its natural consequences: in fine, that although most of the people in the Slave States are in open rebellion, it is the people of the Free States who are really guilty. As a consequence of this view, the story is that such officers are nervously anxious to show that they do not share the guilt of loyal citizens, who believe slavery to be the root of rebellion, and try to prove it by the most unscrupulous servility to slave masters.

This may be true of some officers. It is doubtless true of the Colonel who advertised, after the election of Mr. Lincoln, that he was raising a regiment to resist the Government. But it certainly is not true of many officers who had, before the war, been politically allied with the South. It is not true, for instance, of General Burnside ; and the war will winnow the earnest men from the trifling—the patriots from the compromisers—fast enough. This nation has been dragged long enough at the tail of slavery. Every other question has long enough been lost in that one : Is he sure for slavery ? Every one of the myriad national offices has been long enough a loophole from which a shot was fired at the principles of the Government and at human rights. Not a postmaster, not a custom-house officer, not a man who was paid ten dollars or ten thousand by the national Government, but has been the slave or the apologist of slavery, or has held his tongue and bowed his head in a silence that shamed himself.

The first gun fired at Sumter shot all this stuff away. Henceforth the word Liberty, and not Slavery, is the test word of nationality. Henceforth an American gentleman is a man who pays other men for the labor they do for him ; and who does not sell other people's wives and children, or his own, to pay his debts. Henceforth it is not treasonable to repeat the Declaration of Independence, nor fanatical and incendiary to believe it. The people of this country have smothered their convictions—have apologized, and shirked, and submitted to the unscrupulous tyranny of slavery in the Government and in society—because they wanted peace at any price. Now they see precisely what its character is. They know that it can never do any thing worse than it is doing now, and therefore they have no inducement to cringe any longer. They have done licking Mr. Slidell's shoes, and kissing the toe of Mr. Mason's boot. Of course they are not so foolish as to suppose that all slaveholders are bad people ; but they are sagacious enough to know that they are all more or less sophisticated. You can not breathe mephitic air and not be poisoned.

Neither are the people of this country so exquisitely silly as to suppose that those who have said that when the fire reached the powder there would be an explosion are responsible for the explosion. To say, "Don't discuss the Slavery question: do let it be : let it take care of itself," was to say, " Don't think : don't feel : don't have any conscience, or reason, or common sense : the devil has the best of it ; so let's all go to pot together."

Slavery in this country is doomed ; and the rebel leaders knew it, or they would have raised no insurrection. After this rebellion no man of sense will doubt whether or not there is an irrepressible conflict between the rights of man and the wrongs of man. Do you say that it can not be touched? My friend, every thing that withstands the supremacy of the Government can be touched. The log on which you rest your rifle to shoot an honest citizen can be knocked away, and the slave who stands by with another rifle for you, or who stays at home and does your work while you come up to murder us for defending our Government, he also can be knocked away. And he will be.

If any General of the United States army supposes that this nation is going to return to grovel in obsequiousness to slavery, like a dog to his vomit; that a young, vigorous, sagacious people is going to forge again the chains it has once broken—and thinks that the road to the Presidency, it were better for him that he had remained an ensign all the days of his life. Not unconstitutionally—not against the law—but by the will of the people Slavery is doomed. If the bond allow it a pound of flesh, the pound of flesh it shall have, but not a drop of blood. Henceforth, O General, if you would be President, take the road marked " To the Right," not that " To the Wrong."


A GOOD many years ago, the Irish barrister Philips, in a famous speech declared that whenever any slave, of whatever race or color, touched the soil of Great Britain, he rose "redeemed, regenerated, disenthralled." At the present time Great Britain is the especial ally and friend of a faction which is trying to establish a system of society of which the following are incidents. Can a decent Englishman read such things without bitter shame and loathing, that his nation throws the mantle of its sympathy over them ? And this war is waged by the rebellion because the people

of this country wished that the area in which such things are possible should not be extended.

—" The question of the status of Edward S. Gentry, who is claimed to be both a white man and a darkey, was still further argued before Judge William H. Lyons, on yesterday, but no decision was rendered. The Mayor condemned Gentry to some penalty as a colored person, and he appealed to Judge Lyons to determine his standing."

—" Alec Taylor, an emancipated slave, was brought before the Mayor yesterday for remaining in the State contrary to law; and it being proved that one year since he had been tried and allowed one month to vamose the ranche, the Mayor sent him before the Hustings court, which tribunal will, no doubt, in pursuance of law, order him to be sold into perpetual slavery. The prospect before the darkey is gloomy or gay, as he may choose to regard it."

How justly says the Memphis Avalanche, that "the civilized nations of the earth are beginning to open their eyes to the elevating and salutary effects upon society of this ennobling institution. They see a people reared under its influences displaying * * * all that justice, humanity, magnanimity, moderation, and stainless chivalry, which enter into the highest type of human civilization."


CONSOLING A WIDOW.—A clergyman, consoling a young widow on the death of her husband, remarked that she could not find his equal. " I don't know about that," remarked the sobbing fair one, " but I'll try."

Many "contrabands" are very pious in their way, though they have an odd way of expressing themselves even in prayer. We all know about the good darkey who prayed that his beloved mistress might be "like a great roarin' lion seekin' somebody to devour." Down at Port Royal, the other day, an old negro was heard pouring out his soul in a company of his fellows.

"O Lord !" he cried, "bress them Yankee bobolitionist mudsills !"

"Amen !" was shouted vigorously by all his companions.

"De Lord bress ebery one of the dear good mudsills. Dey pays us for pickin' cotton, and massa don't!"

Poor old Sambo had never heard his new Yankee friends designated in any other terms, and so he used the words in his prayer in their behalf.

A Scotch pedestrian, attacked by three highwaymen, defended himself with great courage and obstinacy, and was at last overpowered and his pockets rifled. The robbers expected, from the extraordinary resistance they had experienced, to lay their hands on some rich booty; but were not a little surprised to discover that the whole treasure which the sturdy Caledonian had been defending at the hazard of life consisted of no more than a crooked six-pence. " The deuce is in him," said one of the rogues; "if he had had eighteenpence I suppose he would have killed the whole of us."

Two Irishmen were in prison, the one for stealing a cow, and the other for stealing a watch. "Hallo, Mike! what o'clock is it ? said the cow-stealer to the other. "And sure, Pat, I haven't any time-piece handy, but I think it is most milking time."

"Silence! keep silence in Court!" said an angry Judge. " Here we have judged a dozen cases this morning, and I have not heard one of them." Justice was blind as well as deaf.

Lord Campbell, it is well known, was fond of a joke, and sometimes had the tables turned upon himself. A few days before his death he met a barrister who had grown very stout of late, and remarked," Why, Mr. —, you are getting as fat as a porpoise." " Fit company, my lord, for the great seal," was the ready repartee.

John Hunter, in demonstrating the jaw-bone, observed that the bone was known to abound in proportion to the want of brains. Some students at the time were talking instead of attending to the lecture, upon which Hunter exclaimed, "Gentlemen, let us have more intellect, and less jaw."

The latest advertisement of an air-tight coffin is, that it protects the form from decomposition, "and can be retained in the parlor as an elegant piece of furniture, without any annoyance whatever."

What is society, after all, but a mixture of mister-ies and miss-eries?

Collins, the sweet poet, was much attached to a young lady who was born the day before him, and who did not return his passion. " Yours is a hard case," said a friend. "It is so indeed," replied Collins, "for I came into the world a day after the fair."

A TIGHT FIX.—They say there is a man living in this city who attends church regularly, and clasps his hands so tight during praying-time that he can't get them open when the contribution-box comes round.

" Wife," said a man, looking for his bootjack, "I have places where I keep my things, and you ought to know it." "Yes," said she, "I ought to know where you keep your late hours."

"Give me a nice polish, you young scamp," said a dirty swell with a pipe and pork pie cap. "I can't give you one," said the lad ; " it would take a cleverer 'man' nor me to do that. But I can polish your boots, Sir."

"I have turned many a woman's head," boasted a young nobleman of France. " Yes," replied Talleyrand, "away from you."

"It is very curious," said a young lady, "that a tortoise, from whom we get all our shell combs, has no hair."

"A man who'll maliciously set fire to a shed," said Mr. Slow, " and burn up twenty cows, ought to be kicked to death by a donkey—and I'd like to do it myself!" Slow is very severe sometimes.



ON Tuesday, January 21, in the Senate, petitions for a continuance of the Coast Survey, for a naval depot at Sandusky, Ohio, and in favor of the emancipation of slaves, were presented. The resolution to allow certain naval officers to receive presents from Japan was adopted. The Judiciary Committee was instructed to consider the expediency of amending the naturalization laws so as to confer the right of citizenship upon foreigners serving in our army. Bills to regulate the compensation of District-Attorneys, and to authorize the examination of certain parties in the Courts of the United States, were presented and referred. The amendment of the House to the bill for the completion of the defenses of Washington was agreed to. An amendment to the act allowing the discharge from the army of enlisted minors was agreed to, providing that no persons under eighteen years of age should be enlisted, and that the oath of enlistment should be conclusive as to age. The amendment imposing the death penalty upon spies and those forcing safe-guards was agreed to. A bill authorizing the President to appoint two Assistant Secretaries of War, to serve one year, at a salary of $3000, was passed. A resolution regulating the compensation

of Customs Collectors and Naval Officers was referred. The report of the Judiciary Committee against the expulsion of Senator Bright, of Indiana, was then debated, and Senators Sumner, Lane, of Indiana, and Bright made speeches.—In the House, the Senate bill authorizing the appointment of Assistant Secretaries of War was passed. The bill requiring postage upon printed matter carried outside the mails was debated, and, on motion of Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, it was laid on the table, 75 against 66, thus killing it. Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, gave notice that the Committee proposed levying a tax—perhaps by stamp—on newspapers, and a tax on telegraphic communications.

On Wednesday, 22d, in the Senate, the resolution appropriating $10,000 for expenses of the Joint Committee on the War was passed. The House bill repealing the act exempting witnesses before Congressional committees from criminal prosecution was passed. A bill authorizing the President to take military possession of certain railroad and telegraph lines was referred. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, made a strong speech in favor of the expulsion of Senator Bright, of Indians, and against the Abolitionists.

In the House, the bill for the increase of the clerical force of the War and Navy Departments was passed, and also the Senate bill authorizing certain naval officers to receive presents from Japan. The Committee on Ways and Means reported a bill authorizing the issue of United States notes, and providing for the redemption and funding thereof, and for the funding of the national floating debt, which was made the special order for Tuesday, 28th. A bill was reported from the Military Committee for the paying of field-officers of volunteer regiments for services rendered prior to the complete organization of their regiments. The President was requested to inform the House if the act requiring officers of new regular regiments appointed from civil life to be assigned to recruiting service had been complied with, and how many officers had been thus employed. A resolution was adopted asking the Secretary of War whether and when a military force can he detailed to guard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, so that the road may be repaired. Messrs. Diven, of New York, and Stevens, of Pennsylvania, spoke upon rebellion and slavery.

On Thursday, 23d, in the Senate, petitions for the employment of homeopathic physicians in the army, a joint resolution of the Michigan Legislature in favor of exchanging prisoners of war, and a remonstrance against suspending the Coast Survey were presented. The amendments to the Washington Defense bill, providing that no new works be commenced, and imposing the death-penalty upon spies and those forcing safe-guards, were agreed to and the bill passed. The House amendment to the bill increasing the clerical force of the War and Navy Departments was concurred in, and the bill passed. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, concluded his speech in favor of expelling Senator Bright, of Indiana, and advocated the hanging of secessionists and abolitionists in pairs.—In the House, the Naval Appropriation bill, a bill establishing a postal money-order system, a bill regulating the prize laws, and a bill for a military and mail railroad from Kentucky to Tennessee, were reported. Mr. Alley, of Massachusetts, Mr. Harrison, of Ohio, Mr. Van Horn, of New York, and Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, made speeches.

On Friday, 24th, in the Senate, the credentials of Robert Wilson, appointed Senator from Missouri, vice Senator Polk expelled, were presented, and Mr. Wilson took the oath and his seat. The resolution appropriating $10,000 for expenses of the House Special War Contract Investigating Committee was passed. The bill relating to judicial districts of United States Circuit Courts was passed. Bills creating two new naval bureaux and granting charters for banks in the District of Columbia were referred. Senators Davis, Harlan, Sumner, Cowan, Harris, Ten Eyck, and Clark, debated the resolution regarding the expulsion of Bright, of Indiana. The Senate went into executive session.-In the House the joint resolution appropriating $10,000 for expenses of the War Contract Investigating Committee was adopted. The Senate bill appropriating $25,000 for protection of emigrants on overland routes to the Pacific was passed. The bill providing more stringent regulations of the sale of liquors to Indians was passed. Resolutions of the Legislature of New York in favor of enactments to prevent frauds in furnishing Government supplies, were referred to the Special Committee on the Investigation of War Contracts. The House non-concurred in the Senate's amendments to the Consular and Diplomatic Appropriation bill including Florence among the Consul Generalships and striking out Hayti and Liberia. Mr. Blair's bill for the emancipation and colonization of slaves of rebels was postponed till Tuesday, and both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, 28th, in the Senate, petitions for the establishment of a national armory west of the Alleghenies; against all traffic in public lands; in favor of continuing the coast survey ; for the employment of homeopathy in the army, and in favor of the emancipation of slaves, were presented. Resolutions of the New York Assembly in regard to frauds upon the Government were received. Committee on Naval Affairs reported upon the reply of the Secretary of the Navy in regard to vessels purchased for the Government, censuring the action of the Secretary. By joint resolution the Superintendent of the Census Bureau was ordered to furnish the War Department with statistical information. A resolution inquiring whether the ship-of-the-line Alabama can be converted into a steamer was laid over. Senator Wilson introduced a bill providing for the more effectual suppression of the slave-trade. An amendment to the joint rules providing that both Houses may go into secret session, upon certain contingencies, to act upon matters pertaining to the rebellion, was discussed. Senator Latham, of California, opposed the expulsion of Bright, of Indiana. Executive session followed.—In the House, a bill for the construction of a military road to Denver City was referred. Mr. Colfax introduced a bill to render postage on printed matter more uniform. A debate on rebellion and slavery took place, and the Military Appropriation, bill was passed without amendment. The appropriations for the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Government were discussed, but the House adjourned without action.


A special messenger, with dispatches from General Burnside, reached Washington on the morning of the 28th Jan. They are dated "Head-quarters, Department of North Carolina, Hatteras Inlet, Jan. 26, 1862."

General Burnside states : We left our anchorage at Annapolis on Thursday, the 9th, and, after a protracted passage, owing to dense fogs, arrived at Fortress Monroe on Friday night, at twelve o'clock. Leaving Fortress Monroe on Saturday, at ten o'clock in the morning, we proceeded at once to sea, but, owing to fogs on Sunday night, our progress was very slow. On Monday, the 13th, the weather cleared, with a heavy wind and a rough sea, which caused our vessels to labor very heavily, and some were obliged to cut loose from the vessels they were towing. Most of them, however, passed over the bar, and anchored inside the harbor about twelve o'clock noon on the 15th, just in time to escape the severe gale of Monday night and Tuesday.

The propeller New York ran on the bar at the entrance to the harbor, and, owing to the severe weather and want of small boats, we could render her no assistance. She was laden with stores, and was lost.

The General also says he had been led to believe that he would find experienced pilots at Hatteras, but had great difficulty in accomplishing his wish for want of proper accommodations. He adds that he would commence that day to build a wharf for landing supplies. The men were cheerful and patient, and he would proceed with confidence.

An accident occurred in an effort to relieve the steamer New York, by which a boat was swamped, and the lives of Colonel Allen, of the Ninth New Jersey, his surgeon, and a mate of the boat were lost.

After the arrival of the expedition at Hatteras the enemy made their appearance in one or two vessels, on a reconnoitering expedition. Our boats gave chase and drove them back.

The health of the men is excellent: the deaths from disease unusually few. The troops are cheerful, and full of confidence in the General commanding, who is at work night and day. There can be little doubt that in a few days every thing will be ready for the advance.


All the members of the gun-boat navy are ordered to report at Cairo immediately, as a sudden and speedy movement is expected.


The French residents of New Orleans have applied to our Government through General Phelps, at Ship Island, for permission to leave New Orleans in a body, as they despair of the blockade being raised or the Confederacy recognized.


The Southern journals are calling upon the rebel government to save Lincoln's stone fleet" trouble by obstructing Southern harbors and rivers for us, so as to prevent the entrance of our expeditions. The London Times will please make a note of this.


The Richmond Examiner of the 23d rebukes Governor Letcher for entering the legislative chamber drunk, and sitting with a cigar in his mouth during the session—"a spectacle for the whole house, and a butt for the jokes of the gallery."


We have intelligence, via Savannah, of the capture of Cedar Keys, a group of islands on the west coast of Florida, by the Union forces. These islands form the western termines of the Florida railroad, which runs across the Peninsula, and their capture cuts off a most important route of rebel communication between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.


General McClellan has fully recovered his health and resumed his duties. In spite of the prevalent inclement weather the amount of sickness in the army does not exceed that of any community of the same number of persons. The Hutchinson band of minstrels were turned out of the camps recently for singing Abolition songs to the soldiers. Governor Sprague has offered three regiments of infantry and two batteries of artillery to defend Washington when the forward movement is made.


The accounts from interior Missouri are indefinite, but Price is probably still in retreat. General Halleck has issued an order that any attempt to interfere with the execution of an order from head-quarters will be regarded and punished as a military offense; and he has ordered Mr. Engel, a wealthy secessionist, to leave the Department of Missouri, for resisting, by civil process, the assessment ordered upon all secessionists for the benefit of Union refugees. General Jim Lane has arrived at Chicago on his way to take command of his Southern overland expedition. In a speech he promised to give each one of his 34,000 soldiers a freed slave to wait upon him. General Price has written to ask whether General Halleck intends to hang bridge-burners and received an affirmative reply.


Secretary Stanton has ordered that two United States Commissioners be appointed to visit the cities of the South where our officers and men are confined, and adopt such measures for their comfort as the rebel authorities will permit. This action looks toward an exchange of prisoners, and is received with great rejoicing. Ex-Governor Hamilton Fish, of New York, and Bishop Ames, of Ohio, have been appointed as the Commissioners, have accepted, and will go South with the next batch of exchanged rebels.


The rebel journals are still attacking Jeff Davis's Government, and complain of inactivity, disease, and want, in and out of the army. The rebel government has prohibited the publication of any war news, except by authority, to suppress, probably, the news of the Kentucky defeat. Ex-President Tyler deceased, at Richmond, Virginia, on the 17th inst. A plan for governmental smuggling was broached at Richmond.


Besides Captain Porter's mortar fleet, not yet sailed, there appears to be another expedition in embryo, as the War Department has inquired of the authorities of Massachusetts and Rhode Island what number of troops from these States can be put in active service within seven days.


The Treasury Note Bill reported to Congress by the Committee of Ways and Means provides for the issue of $100,000,000 of demand notes without interest, and $500,000,000 of twenty years' six per cent. bonds, the demand notes to be fundable. The Secretary of the Treasury approves the bill.


The Hon. Caleb Lyons has discovered, at Arlington House, Virginia, a set of porcelains presented to Washington by the Society of Cincinnati; pieces of a tea set presented to Mrs. Washington by Lafayette; Washington's field tent, portmanteau, tea-table, cabinet, punch-bowl, treasure chest; two vases presented by Mr. Vaughn, of London ; two candelabra, presented by Count Rochambeau, and the blanket under which Washington died. Arlington House was the residence of General Lee (rebel), whose wife was the daughter of G. W. P. Custis, the favorite of Washington. The articles are deposited at the Patent Office.


In his recent report, General Arthur, Engineer-in-Chief of the State of New York, recommends a large increase of our harbor and lake fortifications; the immediate manufacture of guns of large calibre; the construction of iron-clad steam gun-boats for the lakes, and the exercise of the militia in the management of heavy sea-coast artillery.



THE City of Washington arrived at Queenstown on the 8th instant with the news of the surrender of Mason and Slidell by the United States Government. The news was gratifyingly received in financial and commercial circles.

The London Times and other English journals state that the settlement of the Trent affair is perfectly satisfactory. The Times hopes that no ovation will be given to Mason and Slidell, whom it pronounces "blind and habitual haters and revilers of England;" and it adds, "England would have done as much to rescue two negroes." The Tuscarora is still watching the Nashville at Southampton. The expenses of England in the Trent affair are estimated at £2,000,000.


French official circles felt much satisfaction at the settlement of the Trent affair, and on the Bourse there was an immediate rise of one per cent. The Moniteur says that profound regret and indignation has been aroused by our destroying the port of Charleston. The Emperor has appointed Marshall Magnan grand master of the Free Masons in France. The Masons have hitherto chosen their own grand masters.


The American consul has received orders to protest against the admission of the Sumter to the port of Cadiz. It was said that Spain would protect the American prisoners made by the Sumter.


It was reported that Russia had threatened to recognize the Kingdom of Italy if the Pope does not condemn the Polish clergy. The St. Petersburg Journal (official organ) congratulates Mr. Seward upon his upright policy, and demands that England shall solemnly guarantee neutral rights, apropos to the Trent affair.


We have news from Canton to the 30th November. Prince Kun, Chief of the Regency, had executed an imperial coup d'etat in Pekin, by imprisoning all the members of the Cabinet of the Emperor, and organizing a new Ministry.




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