From The Constitution, Wednesday, July 23, 1862 (volume 25, number 1282)
On Thursday, a portion of the army of Gen. Pope entered the important town of Gordonsville, Va., unopposed, and destroyed all the railroad paraphernalia at that point, the junction of the Orange and Alexandria and Virginia Central railroads. It is stated that three-fourths of the troops and munitions of every description for the rebel army at Richmond passed through Gordonsville by rail, and the blow is therefore a most important one.
Gen. Pope has issued orders that our troops shall subsist upon the country which they occupy, giving vouchers for the supplies they obtain, payable at the end of the war upon proof of the loyalty of the owners. The use of army trains will be dispensed with in districts where it is known supplies can be had. He also orders that the inhabitants, wherever the army operates, shall be held responsible for any outrages in their neighborhood, injury to telegraph or railroad lines or guerrilla attacks.
The Richmond Enquirer says of Gen. Pope “that he is notoriously one of the most dangerous of the Union commanders. An officer of great activity and daring, and is very apt to do unexpected things.”
The town of Cynthiana, Ky., 66 miles from Cincinnati, surrendered on Thursday after an hour’s fight to 2500 of Morgan’s men. The excitement at Newport and Covington was very great. Two more towns, Henderson, Ky., and Newburg, Ind., are reported taken by the rebels.
Gov. Morgan of New York has issued a proclamation offering a bounty of $50 for each volunteer. The bounty is to be paid promptly on enlistment.
The Richmond Whig of the 17th states that the rebel ram Arkansas came out of the Yazoo river and ran through the federal fleet of 18 vessels, but was badly cut up before she reached the cover of the batteries at Vicksburg, losing about 20 men. She ran the Benton ashore in a sinking condition, blew up a ram, burnt up one vessel and damaged others.
Negotiations were commenced on the 17th between Gen. Dix and the rebel General Hill, with a view to a general exchange of prisoners. The interviews between the two generals are understood to have been highly satisfactory. Some of our wounded men who were taken prisoners in the recent battles have already been released on parole and are on their way North.
Advices from Warrenton, Va., to Sunday, are to the effect that the rebel General Ewell was at Gordonsville with his command. It is inferred, therefore, that Gen. Pope has not yet permanently occupied the place, but expects a battle in the vicinity.
Gen. Twiggs died at Augusta on the 15th. His death is announced in the Richmond papers.
Prompt measures are being taken to suppress the demonstrations of the rebel guerrillas in Tennessee and Kentucky. Gen. Nelson arrived at Nashville on Thursday, with a large force and took command there. Gen. G. C. Smith is in command of the national forces at Lexington, Ky., and he will soon put a stop to Morgan’s operations in that section.
The Governor of Ohio has issued a call for thirty days volunteers to operate against Morgan in Kentucky.
In New Orleans two young ladies had presented the 13th Conn. with a beautiful U. S. flag. Flour there was reduced to $24 a barrel. It had been $38. Gen. Shipley had received his appointment as military Governor of Louisiana.
Intelligence of the late battles before Richmond had reached England. Very little is said of the intervention, but the opinion is that these battles will tend to lengthen the war.
A communication from Gen. Pope to the Secretary of War, dated Monday the 21st, states that there was a successful cavalry reconnoisance on the 20th upon the Virginia Central Railroad, 25 miles west of Hanover Junction and 25 from Richmond. They destroyed the railroad and telegraph, burned the depot which contained forty thousand rounds of musket munitions, flour and other valuable property.
Gen. Halleck is expected in Washington today.
Scarcity of Specie.
For a fortnight or more the business community has suffered much from the want of small change. Silver fractions of a dollar, and all manner of coin, seems to have disappeared suddenly and almost miraculously. It is next to impossible to obtain change for a dollar bill, and in making purchases every expedient is resorted to in order to escape the necessity of paying out silver coin. As a consequence, a vast amount of inconvenience is encountered in ordinary business transactions, and the result must be to hinder and depress retail trade. Various expedients are resorted to for the purpose of getting rid of the difficulty. The most plausible of them all is the use of postage stamps in place of change. These stamps are the only fractions of a dollar in the shape of paper money which the government issues, and to a certain extent they may be made to serve a useful purpose.
The disappearance of coin from circulation is remarkable from its having taken place so suddenly and without any apparent cause. It is but a few days since there was an abundance. Now a silver half dollar has become a curiosity. Men find themselves with pocketsfull of paper money, but the specie is not to be had without paying an exorbitant premium for it. What is the reason of this ? There has been no material change in business. In New England and New York business affairs are as prosperous as they have been any time for a year past. What then is the reason of this extraordinary disappearance of coin from the circulation ?
One reason, and probably the principal reason, is that an enormous amount of government paper is in circulation. One hundred and fifty millions of demand notes have been issued by authority of Congress in addition to the issue of last year. The first issue seemed to be required, and was a great relief particularly at the west where there was previously but little good paper money in circulation. Secretary Chase thought that an additional $150,000,000 was necessary to meet the requirements of the government. Objections were urged that it would depreciate the value of eastern bank bills and drive specie out of circulation. The effect is precisely what was predicted. Paper money of all kinds has suddenly become depreciated. It is so disproportionate to the amount of coin in circulation that public confidence in its value is shaken and people prefer to hold on to their coin and hoard it up rather than exchange it for notes of equal denomination.
The new issue of government notes has been made in advance of the operation of the tax law, and so on the basis of an empty treasury. Another unfavorable circumstance is the recent reverse before Richmond. For although our army is not defeated, and nobly repelled the enemy, yet the result of those battles, it is believed, will be to prolong the war at least for several months more than was expected. These circumstances have their influence and combine to impair public confidence.
It is thought that the present scarcity of coin will be but temporary, that the Treasury Department will see the necessity of withdrawing a considerable portion of its issues from circulation, and that our eastern banks, which are as sound as ever they were, will be able to meet all reasonable demands.
P. S. The law just passed by Congress making government stamps currency will relieve the present demands of trade, and may help to restore some of the hoarded silver to circulation.
In Hartford a man on Asylum street, who had been buying up change at low price, started with some six thousand dollars worth for New York, where he could sell it for a higher premium, but before he got there some one smarter than himself stole about $500.
For the Constitution.
Who Postponed the War Meeting?
For the credit of the town of Middletown we think it should be stated to the public that the handbill put out yesterday noon postponing the War meeting, as stated, on account of the weather, and want of speakers, which had been previously called for last evening by a handbill numerously signed by our citizens was entirely unauthorized by those calling the meeting, and the work of some whose motives were best known to themselves, and much to the regret and disgust of the signers of the call. If we expect to do our part as a town in putting down this great rebellion, we must not be afraid of encountering clouds and rain, as we may, if we delay to do our duty much longer, have to encounter, not only clouds and rain, but fire and leaden hail to save our liberties and homes ; and if we wait for speakers from out of town to tell us that one end of our country is on fire, and needs our help to extinguish the flames, our own dwellings may be in flames before we arouse from our slumbers.
Men and money both are needed, and our country calls ! Shall not Middletown have the honor of doing her part in this great struggle ! this crisis in our Nation’s History ?
Help is needed now, to-day, to-morrow or next week may be too late. Why then procrastinate, if our liberties are worth anything they are worth a sacrifice and struggle, and that at once. Why this delay ?
On Thursday Evening.
There will be a mass meeting of the citizens of Middletown next Thursday evening at McDonough Hall, to consider what may be done in answer to the call of the President for more men. In view of the danger which now impends over the country this meeting is a most important one. The call is signed by numbers of our most prominent citizens. Let all go who can, and let us have such a meeting as has never before been seen in Middletown.
There was a large number of visitors present this year at commencement, and many more of the alumni than have usually come to the annual gathering. The exercises through the week excited more than ordinary interest, and were well attended. Commencement day, Thursday, was cool and pleasant. The Methodist church was filled at an early hour, excepting a portion of the seats in the body of the house reserved for the alumni and students. At nine o’clock the procession formed on the college green, and accompanied by Colt’s Band marched down Court street to Main, through Main to the church. It was under charge of Curtiss Bacon, Esq. All the members of the graduating class took part in the exercises, which were as follows :
Salutatory Address in Latin. P. Shumway.
Oration. Selfishness, the Chief Element of Reform. T. F. Barnswell.
Oration. Aesthetics. W. F. Comfort.
Poem. The Student. J. M. Caldwell.
Oration. The French Revolution. H. M. Blake.
First Class Oration. European Nationalities. C. T. Reed.
First Class Oration. Emancipation. S. S. Etheridge.
Oration. Mathematics. E. Y. Landis.
Modern Classical Oration. The Right of Revolution. E. Hall.
First Class Oration. The Revelations of Geology. J. M. King.
Ancient Classical Oration. The Philosophy of Ancient Greece. A. P. Aiken.
Oration. The Crisis. G. A. England.
Oration. Philosophy and Religion. J. E. Andrus.
First Class Oration. The Aborigines of America. S. Williams.
Oration. Mahomat. W. I. Johnson.
First Class Oration. Dante. H. L. Dickinson.
First Class Oration. Secondary Causes. H. W. Bennett.
Philosophical Oration. Power a Prerogative of Mind. W. R. Baldwin.
Valedictory Oration. Success. C. Jost.
T. F. Barnswell, of the class, is a colored man, and has pursued a scientific course. He took the degree of Bachelor of Science, as also did W. I. Johnson. The degree of A. B. was conferred on the other members of the class.
The degree of A. M. was conferred in course on H. C. Abbott, D. Allison, F. S. Barnum, A. Boothby, R. P. Bucknam, G. G. Dains, S. R. Fuller, W. C. Ginn, E. B. Harvey, W. F. Hatfield, S. Jackson, J. L. Morse, I. E. Powers, S. E. Quimby, G. L. Roberts, A. H. Saxe, W. H. Starr, H. S. Tarbell, F. Woods, J. W. Young, of the class of 1859; and on H. A. Collin, T. Fuller, J. W. Hoyt, N. Stutson, G. H. Tracy, of the class of 1858.
The degree of A. M. was also conferred on J. N. Dorris and I. Gibbard, graduates of Genessee College, and on John McDowell Rice, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
The honorary degree of A. M. was conferred on Rev. Albert Ethridge, of Dover, Ill.; Rev. George S. Hare, New York ; Rev. Chas. K. Vickers of Quincy, Ill.; Charles H. Stocking, Rhinebeck, N. Y. ; and J. J. Roberts of Liberia College.
The degree of D. D. was conferred on Rev. John Lanahan, of the Baltimore Conference.
The degree of LL.D. was conferred on John Eriesson, of New York.
After the degrees were conferred, the procession was formed again, and proceeded to the McDonough House, where a most excellent dinner was provided by the proprietors, Messrs. Baker and Reed. About 200 guests sat down at the tables which were spread in the Hall, and were covered with a profusion of delicacies and substantial viands. It was the grand climax of commencement, and reflected great credit upon the culinary skills and resources of ‘mine hosts’ of the McDonough.
Finances of the University
We see no reason why the Wesleyan University may not be set down as respectably well off. It has at any rate a considerable portion of this world’s goods. The real estate of the college is estimated $53,000. The apparatus, Library and Cabinet of Natural History are worth $20,117. Other funds are set down at $135,261. Total property, $208,878. It is understood, however, that the college is not so rich but that it can make a good use of any additional funds its friends may donate to it. A gift of $100,000 this year would be well applied.
A gentleman left a rifle ball at our office on Monday which he had out from a tree close to his house in South Main street. It was probably a glancing ball fired by some one in Mill Hollow on Saturday. Persons firing should never aim towards a house, even with a hill between the gun and the house, unless there are secesh in it.
New Haven R. R. Depot.—All who enter this hole wonder how they came out of it alive and unhurt. The Courant, speaking of the dark concern has the following hit :
A little girl stopped at the station with her mother a short time since, near evening, the darkness being of course, dense, and seeing the conductor and brakeman hurrying around with their lanterns, the hackmen lustily calling and beckoning at the same time for passengers, she looked up to her mother and wonderingly asked : “Is this hell ?”