From The Constitution, Wednesday, December 18, 1861 (volume 24, number 1251)

Startling News from England !

The Affair of the Trent regarded as a Ground of War

The steamship Europa reached Halifax on Sunday forenoon and brings the startling intelligence that the English Government have decided to demand reparation for the seizure of the rebel commissioners.

The London Observer, a Ministerial organ, says in its issue of Saturday Evening, Nov. 30: A special Messenger of the Foreign Office has been ordered to carry our demands to Lord Lyons and will proceed by the packet from Queenstown to-day. The public will be satisfied to know that these demands are for an apology, and to insist on the restitution to the protection of the British flag of those who were violently and illegally torn from that sacred asylum.

The Times, of the 30th ult., makes the important announcement that the Cabinet has come to the conclusion that the act of the Captain of the San Jacinto in seizing passengers on a British vessel and carrying them forcibly away, is a clear violation of the law of nations, and one for which reparation must be at once demanded. In all probability the first steamer will carry out instructions to Lord Lyons to demand reparation for the ill-advised act of seizing Mason and Slidell while under the protection of the British flag. Should this just demand not be complied with, we cannot doubt that Lord Lyons will, under the instructions of his Government, withdraw with the British delegation from Washington. The Times expresses the belief that the Cabinet has taken a view of the matter which will be satisfactory alike to the patriotism and reason of the country. The Times says the principle on which the Government rests its demand is that a British ship must, until her violation of neutral rights is fully proved, held to be British ground as much as if she were an actual piece of British soil, and the right of protection to all persons on board is as valid as on British territory.

There appears to be some discrepancy in the accounts, for—

The Morning Star declares the statement of instruction having been sent to Lord Lyons to obtain the restitution of the Confederate Commissioners or to take his leave of Washington was premature, and so exaggerated as to be virtually untrue.

The Affair at Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens, Monday, Nov. 25, 1861

The long agony is, I hope, over, and well over. We have had as much success as I could reasonably hope for, and with much less loss and damage than I could have expected. We were under a continuous and heavy fire from the forts and batteries of the enemy, fourteen or fifteen in number, for two days, with a loss of only one private killed, and one sergeant, one corporal and four privates wounded, and which is singular but one man was hurt on the ramparts, the most exposed place.

You can have some idea of the amount of fire we have and received when I tell you that we consumed fifty thousand pounds of powder, and that three guns were fired every minute for two days. The avalanche of shot and shell was terrible, but our soldiers did their duty, as Union soldiers fighting for their country should, and most ably did officers and men perform their whole duty.

The Navy, unfortunately, could not give us the assistance we expected, in consequence of drawing too much water, and we therefore failed in the great object of our hopes; the capture of Fort McRae.

About two-thirds of Warrentown is burned, and although we cannot see it, I think as much of Woolsey, a village north of the Navy-yard ; and a good many buildings in the yard are burned, and the remainder must be shattered by the heavy shot and shell so unceasingly poured upon them.

Two steamers, the Time and Bradford, had become particularly obnoxious to our soldiers, who ardently desired to destroy them, but Bragg, afraid of losing them, always kept them at night at Pensacola, and only sent them down when loaded. At nine o’clock they accordingly came steaming down, little dreaming of the salutation that awaited them. The Time is one of those three-story Mississippi steamers, pictures of which you see in children’s books, and the Bradford is a small low gunboat. We waited quietly until they had both fastened to the wharf and let off their steam, when the word was given to fire, and fire did belch forth simultaneously upon them from twenty guns. We were immediately enveloped in smoke, and so continued for an hour ; when at length we could see, we found the Time still there, but the Bradford had gone.

The former continued exposed to our fire all day, and was probably ruined, but her hull being only a scow, we could not sink her, and at night she was towed off.

We think we have done a most important service to the country. In the first place, we have fully avenged the gross insult offered to our flag by the rebels attacking Billy Wilson’s camp, and then trying to attack our batteries ; and no one with truth can say that a spot or blemish has been received by the glorious old Star-Spangled Banner, while in our keeping, that has not been fully wiped out.

In the second place, by attacking Bragg at this time, we think we have made an important diversion in favor of Gen. Sherman at Beaufort, not only by preventing Bragg from sending more troops there, (he has sent some,) but by compelling him to bring others here ; he was also daily strengthening his batteries. We have very effectually weakened him for some time to come, and have compelled him to expend a vast amount of ammunition which he can ill afford to lose.

We have, therefore, with eight hundred men, with one fort nearly surrounded by forts and batteries, (two forts, and at least fifteen batteries,) successfully attacked him, with his eight or nine thousand troops.

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St. Louis, Dec. 13.—The Mississippi and Missouri rivers have been placed under military control and surveillance, and no boat will be permitted to take freight or passengers, or allowed a clearance, except those authorized and commissioned by the proper military authority. All owners and all others interested will be required to take the oath of allegiance, the violation of which subject the boat and cargo to forfeiture, and the owners to penalties prescribed to those giving aid to the enemy.

Late news from Gen. Price places him still at Osceola with ten or fifteen thousand men, intending to move north soon. He has 53 cannon, and lately received 2,500 new tents. The men are well clothed and armed.

Gen. Slack’s division has crossed the Osage river, and another division was crossing last Friday.

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At the November State election in Kansas, 14,461 votes were cast, and Topeka was selected as the capital by about 2000 majority. The Anti-Robinson State ticket, for Governor and other officers, received 7,427 votes, or a majority of the whole number cast, and the Supreme Court will be called upon to decide whether or not Gov. Robinson, elected in 1859, has completed his two years’ term under the Constitution. He and his friends claim that he has yet another year to serve, and they consequently repudiated the idea of an election for his successor. Indeed, in Lawrence, Leavenworth and some other counties, the canvassers refused to consider the vote at all. Geo. A. Crawford (Douglas Democrat) nominated upon a Union Anti-Robinson ticket, is the Governor elect.

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A great many cunning expedients are resorted to down at Fortress Monroe, to get letters back and forth. A few days since, the provost-marshal discovered a package of letters in the unmentionables of an infant which he was holding, while the mother was getting her band-boxes on board the truce-boat. A new style of mailbag that. “It takes the women,” after all.

The Fourth Conn. Regiment

This regiment is undoubtedly one of the best in the army of the United States. Every one who has visited their camp and made his report has spoken in terms of the highest praise of the officers and men. A gentleman from this city Rev. Samuel Hurlbert, visited Washington and the camp of the Fourth a few days since, with gifts of clothing to the members of the two companies from Middletown, from their friends here, and reports that every man in the regiment has now two blankets, and that they are furnished with every thing necessary for their comfort. They are quite contented except that they would like a chance of burning some powder in the face and eyes of “secesh.” Connecticut may well feel proud of the Fourth. The following from the New York Times shows what is thought of the regiment by the highest authority in the army :

Lieut. Col. Hudson, of Maj. Gen. McClellan’s Staff, has reported, as the result of his late inspection of the Fourth Connecticut Volunteers, Col. Tyler, that they more nearly approach the condition of efficient regulars than any other regiment he has so far had occasion to inspect.

Death of a Centenarian

Mr. Jacob Hurd, of Middle Haddam, died on Sunday last, at the remarkable age of ninety-nine years and nine months. If he had lived until about the middle of March, he would have seen his one hundredth birth-day. Mr. Hurd, in the early part of his life, followed the sea, and in the revolutionary war engaged in privateering. He was in several sea-fights, and was once taken prisoner by the British. He was at one time drafted into the army, and served under Gen. Putnam. To the last he retained his bodily and mental facilities to a remarkable degree. A few years ago, a sister of Mr. Hurd died in the same town whose age was one hundred years and eight months.

Runaways

Some things happened on High street yesterday afternoon which came pretty near proving serious—as it was no one got hurt. A lady was driving in a carriage, when the horse became unruly, and Mr. Timothy Boardman, who was riding by on horseback, went to her assistance. While engaged in this good work some one else passing by in a carriage hit his horse’s heels, which made the heels aforesaid fly up in the air, and Mr. B. was turned over into the street. The establishment with the lady started off at a 2.40 speed. It was stopped after going a short distance without damage. Our friend, Mr. B. escaped without injury, but he would rather not go through another such piece of gymnastics.

College Term

The vacation in Wesleyan University ends this week, and the winter term commences on Thursday.

A Rainbow

On Wednesday morning about eight o’clock, a rainbow of remarkable beauty and brilliancy appeared in the northwest. It attracted a good deal of attention, as well it might, for such a visitor doesn’t come very often. It was seen in Hartford.

Christmas Rooms

It is a curiosity at this season to visit the rooms which J. C. Ferre and C. E. Putnam have appropriated to Christmas and New Year’s presents. Each of them is a regular “curiosity shop,” and contains almost every thing in that line you can think of. These rooms are open to public inspection. Give them a visit.

Christmas

The Universalists are decorating their Church for the celebration of the Savior’s natal day. There will be appropriate religious exercises there on Christmas Eve, the 24th, at 7 1/2 o’clock.

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Bundy & Williams offer some holiday presents which will keep till next year, and be worth more then than they are now. A good picture is like money on interest. An investment may be made at Bundy’s.