From The Constitution, Wednesday, June 11, 1862 (volume 25, number 1276)
There is good news from the west. Immediately after Beauregard’s flight from Corinth, we learn of the surrender of Memphis to our Upper Mississippi flotilla and its quiet possession by our forces. Capt. Davis, in command of the federal fleet, states that he arrived on the evening of the 5th, and engaged the rebel fleet the next morning. The fight was a furious one and lasted all day. Of the eight rebel vessels, seven were destroyed or captured, and the eighth escaped. Our fleet of rams ably supported the gunboats.
Since the battle of Fair Oaks there has been no important movement before Richmond. A dispatch from Gen. McClellan gives a statement of our aggregate losses at the battle of Fair Oaks. He gives the total killed as 890, total wounded 3627, missing 1222, and aggregate being 5,739.
The rebel army of Jackson has been reduced to about 5,000 men, the rest having scattered through the mountains to save themselves. Gen. Fremont was harassing Jackson’s rear, and capturing prisoners, wagons and supplies.
It is stated that our forces are virtually investing Charleston. Gen. Hunter had organized a brigade of contrabands, and was about to assign them to building intrenchments and fortifications. Dispatches from Flag officer Dupont state that the gunboats have possession of Stone, near Charleston.
Gen. Wool has arrived in Baltimore.
Secretary Chase will ask Congress to authorize a further issue of $150,000,000 of demand Treasury notes.
Southern papers received in Baltimore say the federal gunboats on the 3d inst., were moving up to engage the rebel batteries at Charleston, and on the 4th the federals landed 2000 troops opposite the city. A battle took place in which the national forces were repulsed with a loss of 20 men taken prisoners by Gen. Gist.
Gov. Stanley’s Proceedings
The first official act of Gov. Stanley in North Carolina was to close the schools which had been opened for colored children. It was an ominous beginning ; and what followed was in perfect harmony with it. He immediately set about the task of restoring fugitive slaves to such white men as claimed to own them, and at least in one instance restored a “chattel” to a man who had been a rank secessionist, and had never taken the oath of allegiance. The principal business of the new Governor since he reached Newbern has been to restore the supremacy of the slave code.
One or two interesting enquiries are suggested by these remarkable proceedings. Gov. Stanley is simply military Governor of North Carolina. His office is not recognized by the constitution and laws of the state, and he has no civil authority. He rules by martial law. Under such circumstances, his orders must be carried out entirely by soldiers of the U. States. But Congress has passed a law that no officer or soldier in our armies shall engage in the business of slave catching. By what right then does Mr. Stanley employ them for this purpose ? The country would like to know. An explicit answer and explanation will be demanded.
Is this course to be continued, and is this the method by which the rebels of North Carolina and of other southern states are to be reconciled to the Federal Government ? If so, the old subservient policy of the democratic party of making concessions to the slavery interest is to be adopted again, and slavery is to be elevated anew to political power. Gov. Stanley has made the peculiar institution the first object of his care, and has used his authority to satisfy the demands of slaveholding traitors. Is this thing to continue, and is treason in North Carolina to be disarmed by further concessions, compromises, and humiliations on the part of the north ? We cannot believe this. President Lincoln is not the man to do it, or to sanction it in any of his officers. The attention of the country is now directed to the President to know whether his instructions to Gov. Stanley will warrant any such proceedings as have taken place. One branch of Congress has taken the matter in hand, and the subject will not be dropped until the enquiry is satisfactorily answered whether the armies of the Union are for the future to be employed in supporting the national constitution or in upholding and cherishing the peculiar sectional institutions of the rebel states.
Stanley’s proceedings have caused great dissatisfaction among the troops. It is no wonder. A large part of Gen. Burnside’s army is composed of New England men. They are men who cannot be converted into slave catchers, and the Governor will be likely to find obstacles in his way if he proposes to carry on the business of negro catching for the benefit of rebels with the aid of Massachusetts and Connecticut troops.
Gov. Stanley’s Instructions
Inquiries have been instituted at headquarters in Washington to know what sort of instructions Gov. Stanley is acting under in North Carolina. Secretary Stanton responds that the instructions under which Stanley professed to have acted when he closed the colored schools were the same as those given to Gov. Johnson of Tennessee, and only enforced the duty of establishing the authority of the federal government. No specific instructions were given, and nothing was said about enforcing the local laws of North Carolina. Nothing was farther from the intention of the President than to enforce the black code of the state, and orders have been sent countermanding the action of the Governor.
Recognition of Hayti
Last week the House passed the Senate bill recognizing Hayti and Liberia and establishing diplomatic relations with them. We are therefore soon to have official representatives in Washington from these two republics. Will these representatives be white men or black men ? If they are black men will they be admitted to all the courtesies and privileges of other foreign officials ? These questions can be answered better a few weeks hence than now. They have disturbed the imaginations of pro-slavery Congressmen, who have predicted nothing short of immediate amalgamation as the result of recognizing these two republics. We shall see what will happen, and whether “society” at Washington is to sustain any violent shock from the new measure.
The recognition of Liberia and Hayti by our Government has been due from us for a long time. A valuable trade is carried on between the United States and each of these countries, a trade which is increasing in value every year, and which was being imperiled by the neglect to take the step which Congress has just taken. Nothing but the bugbear of an absurd prejudice stood in the way. The slave power forbid the recognition of an African nationality, and as long as the slave power ruled this country such a recognition was impossible. But now that a new order of things is established, and the southern oligarchy is deposed, the claim of an extensive commerce to protection is respected, and diplomatic relations will be established with two republics whose nationality has been unhesitatingly acknowledged by the leading powers of Europe.
Congress has passed a bill to suppress polygamy, which provides as a punishment for the offence a fine of $500 and imprisonment not less than five years. It is also provided, with special reference to Utah, that no church in any territory shall own more than $50,000 worth of property.
Eclipse of the Moon
A total eclipse of the moon, visible throughout the United States, occurs on Wednesday night this week. It begins here about 10 minutes before midnight. The duration of the whole eclipse will be three hours and seventeen minutes, and during sixty-two minutes the moon will be wholly immersed in the shadow of the earth.
A Contraband Orator.—On Sunday evening the Baptist church was crowded by an audience who went to hear a contraband talk. Mr. William Davis, until recently a slave in Hampton, Va., was deserted by his owner, and came under the protection of the U. States forces at Fortress Monroe. He gave an interesting narrative of his life as a slave, and of the manner in which he with the other slaves became free. As a speaker he has remarkable talents, and for about an hour held the close attention of the audience. He was accompanied by Rev. Mr. Coan, a missionary agent, who made some introductory remarks. Rev. Mr. Dudley, of New Haven, connected with the National Freedman’s Association, was present, and made an appeal in behalf of the Association. A collection was taken at the close of the service, and twenty-five dollars were contributed.
On Thursday evening there will be another meeting at McDonough Hall, the object of which will be the same as that on Sunday night. At the meeting Thursday evening, Mr. William Thornton, another contraband from Fortress Monroe, will make an address. He is said to be an excellent speaker.
The storm on Wednesday and Wednesday night inflected some slight damage here and there as well as produced an incalculable amount of good. Many cellars in the neighborhood were filled. Some of the public drains were too small for so much water, and several cataracts of very respectable size were extemporized in places which were never designed as water courses. In such cases light soils had to give in before water power, and changed owners without asking any permission. Near the Pameacha a German was surprised when he got up on Thursday morning to find that a large part of the highway close by his house had “skedaddled” during the night. Where the sidewalk had been there was a hole big enough to take in a yoke of oxen, and so near the corner of his dwelling that he will hereafter feel a little unsafe when it rains hard, like the man who built his house on the sand and the floods came, &c. However, a Hollander better than anybody else can stand a flood, and won’t complain much as long as it does not put out his pipe.
Pameacha.—Any man in the south part of the town who attempts to take a walk finds his steps gravitate towards the Pameacha. On a pleasant evening about sundown an interested crowd always gathers at that particular point of the city limits and gazes good naturedly into the abyss that is to be spanned by the bridge that is to be built. The idea of having a new bridge, and a new stone bridge, and a new stone bridge that will not fall down within a hundred years, is a novel one. People are not used to it. They hardly believed it. They looked on incredulously when the old structure was pulled down. They were a good deal more incredulous when the workmen began to dig away the rubbish after a foundation that was’nt there. When the spiles went down they rather thought the thing cound’nt be done that way. But on top of the spiles massive sandstone blocks have been laid, and the foundation of the northern abutment looks strong enough to sustain any conceivable pressure. As a consequence, the peripatetic public has changed its mind a little. It thinks the bridge possible, but still expresses a doubt whether it can be done in less than an indefinite time, or for less than an indefinite amount of money.
Griffin’s Band, on Thursday evening, occupied the balcony in front of the McDonough House, and discoursed eloquently with their instruments. The evening was a pleasant one, and Main street was filled with a goodly number who appeared to enjoy the moon and the music. The band is in excellent condition, and under the leadership of Mr. Stack will compare favorably with the best bands in the state.
A Centenarian.—Mrs. Lucy Brainerd, of Haddam, died last month at the advanced age of 102 years and 5 months.
Wesleyan University.—The triennial catalogue of the alumni of Wesleyan University is just out. It is in the Latin language. The whole number of alumni is 707. Seventy-eight have died, leaving the whole number now living 629. Of these 250 are ministers of the gospel. The first class graduated in 1833. It consisted of six members, one of whom was Daniel H. Chase, LL.D. of this city. The college has had six Presidents, four of whom are not living.
The River.—The great amount of rain which fell last week produced an immediate rise in the river. In Hartford it rose ten or eleven feet, while here the rise was three or four feet.