From The Constitution, Wednesday, January 20, 1864 (volume 27, number 1360)

War News.

Captain P. C. Scott of the 85th Illinois regiment, who was captured at Chattanooga Nov. 14th, arrived at Fortress Monroe, 17th inst. He escaped from Libby prison on the 7th, and reached Gloucester Point the 16th.  He had been four days without food, traveling nights and lying concealed during the day. Captain Scott reports that a Dr. Lane of Georgia, now attending to the prisoners at Richmond, told him that President Lincoln’s amnesty proclamation had caused great excitement among the confederate government officials, and that he (the Dr.) had no doubt that one half their men would be fools enough to avail themselves of the advantages held out in that proclamation by taking the oath of allegiance to the United States. The captain also reports that he recently heard the guard at Libby prison say that Davis and General Lee had made a secret proposition to the rebel Congress, to give up the rebellion and bring the war to a close, which however, he regards as a mere camp rumor. There are indications that the rebels have only a small force in or about Richmond at the present time.

Captain Scott leaves for Tennessee to rejoin his regiment.

Richmond papers of the 15th inst. were received Saturday at Fortress Monroe. They contain telegrams from Charleston as late as Thursday last, when the bombardment was progressing with increased fury, several new Parrotts having opened upon the city from Fort Gregg. During the two days preceding the date of the dispatch, 471 shells had been fired at the place, but with what effect is not mentioned. The telegrams report the number of vessels at Hilton Head to be very large, and say that a fleet has recently gone Southward. Mosby is reported to have been badly whipped in the recent affair at Harper’s Ferry, but notwithstanding his losses he is said to be still harassing our men.

Admiral Lee has officially reported the destruction of the new first-class rebel steamer Dave. This was the vessel’s first trip, and on the 7th inst., finding it impossible to escape falling a prize to our blockaders off Wilmington, her captain ran her ashore, when she bilged, becoming a total wreck. The Dave is the twentieth steamer destroyed or captured off Wilmington since July last.

The United States steamship Vanderbilt, Capt. Baldwin, arrived at Sandy Hook Sunday night, from her long and unsuccessful cruise in search of the pirate Alabama.

Bishop Polk commands the Department of the Mississippi, in place of Gen. Johnston, whose assumption of the command of the army was very imposing, while their denunciation of Bragg was bitter. Bragg’s army is completely demoralized, and scattered throughout the country, and the men were deserting in large numbers. It is the intention of the rebel Government to concentrate all the forces possible at that point, check the advance of Grant, and drive him back, if possible.

The number of rebel troops west of the Mississippi is estimated at 30,000.

Change in Public Opinion.

There has been a decided change in public opinion in reference to the war during the past year. The tone of the southern press shows that there is a despondency and a want of confidence in their cause. Their leaders are beginning to receive a large share of anathemas. In the rebel congress it has been proclaimed that Jeff. Davis is incapable; that each visit he paid to the army was sure to be followed by defeat; and that if he had been hired to injure the rebel cause he could not more effectively have done that work. The rebel newspapers, which were once filled with the warmest eulogies of his courage, judgment and patriotism, have changed their tune, treat him with coldness, and many unhesitatingly proclaim that he is not the right man for the peace. The press is but the mouth-piece of the public and shows that the people are finding out that he who promised them so much, who sustained and raised their hopes by promising brilliant victories and the plunder of the northern cities, has brought out no result; but instead, privations, a currency not worth its weight in lead, and a debt which has not the slightest chance of ever being redeemed.

In Europe there has also been a change. The language with which Earl Russell more than once insulted us, has been practically retracted by the firmness with which he has lately insisted that British neutrality should be indeed a reality. The present law officers of the crown avow that not only their moral sympathy but their legal convictions are altogether with the north, and many members of the ministry now ridicule the idea of considering the south as any thing less than rebellious. Public opinion in England was greatly changed by the plain truths which Mr. Beecher so eloquently and boldly placed before crowds of well-educated persons who thronged to hear him, and which received the hearty approval of Bright and Cobden, the true and tried friends of the masses. Look at the captured correspondence of the rebel agents in England and France. From it we find that they have paid enormous sums in purchasing the press in those countries in order to change public opinion in favor of the rebellion. Their object has not been accomplished. Civilized nations have not and will not recognize them, and they are forced at last to look to their resources at home to accomplish their wicked designs.

The change has been a gradual one, and will therefore be permanent. The hopes held out in the brilliant speeches of the southern leaders in the commencement of the war, have like many of those who gave utterance to them, vanished and passed away. The only one which will bear the test of time, is that of Alexander H. Stevens. He well knew that this Union is not a partnership to be dissolved at pleasure. Weak and helpless as it appeared, there were elements in it which would bravely meet the threatened storm, and fight its way through in triumph. He may yet live to see the Union restored, in its new worth and splendor.

Japan.

There was danger, at one time, that the insolence of the Japanese, in attacking one of our steam vessels last June, the Pembroke, would cause serious trouble. Our government demanded a suitable indemnity, through our Minister at Japan, and the advisers of the Tycoon has consented to pay it. The precise terms of the reparation have yet to be decided, but the affair may be considered as amicably settled. The British, however, are less fortunate. They are now preparing a formidable military and naval force to be used against Japan, and five regiments had been ordered from India still further to strengthen it, for it was likely that long before Parliament could interfere, actual war between England and Japan would have been commenced. The French are also concerned in this difficulty, and actually occupy a position which commands the city of Kanagawa, and was being strongly fortified by them at the beginning of December, the date of the last advices.

The Japanese are a strong and warlike nation, with a surprising aptitude for acquiring the arts of civilization; which include the building of steamboats, the casting of artillery, the scientific use of fire arms, and the manufacture of gun powder. They see what England and France have done in China, India and Cochin China, and unless guarded against, apprehend that measures will be taken for their own subjection. They are sagacious enough to know that in almost every instance, where foreign nations have conquered an Eastern country, commerce is the wedge first introduced, after that, quarrels, war, and subjugation follow. The Japanese know that there is one nation, largely commercial, which has set itself against the acquisition of any territory save on its own continent, and may safely be trusted when its traders carry their goods to remote markets. Therefore, while Japan does not fear, but respects the United States, it is prepared to resist any but the most distant relations with England and France.

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George Peabody, some time since, donated one hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, for the erection of houses for the respectable poor of London. One of the buildings has just been completed. It is built entirely of brick, with a frontage of 213 feet and 140 feet rear. It is divided into numerous tenements all amply furnished with modern conveniences. The rents are graded according to the size and location, but are made accessible to the poorest of the industrial classes. After the payment of expenses, the surplus is to be laid aside to accumulate, and as sufficient sums are raised, other buildings will be erected in various parts of the city.

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A Large Fire occurred in New York, on Monday night, the 11th inst. It was discovered a little past eleven o’clock, in the basement of the large paper warehouse, No. 55 Beekman street, and extended across 175 feet to Ann street. The building was five stories high, marble front, and was totally destroyed. A large quantity of rags were stored in the cellar, and the fire is supposed to have originated among them. No. 53 Beekman, occupied by Lampson, Goodnow & Co., hardware manufacturers, five stories, marble front, was also destroyed. No. 57 Beekman, extending to Ann, was almost wholly consumed. The estimated loss is $200,000.

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The health of the Potomac army is reported as being quite good. During the late cold spell five cases of death by freezing among the soldiers were reported to the medical authorities.

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Col. Pardee, while recently in New York attending to official business, in crossing a street was run into by an express wagon, severely injuring him.

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In Hartford on Saturday afternoon, a horse ran, tipping over a sleigh, by which accident the wife of Wm. A. Royce (a compositor in the Press office) was thrown out and severely injured.

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Tuesday morning, about half past 1 o’clock a large and brilliant meteor arched in the heavens from the northwest, and disappeared in the southeast. …

The widow of Stephen A. Douglas is engaged as a clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington. …

Miss Calista Mather, daughter of a Chicago merchant has instituted a suit to recover from S. Aaron Pliney, of that city, the sum of $25,000 for an alleged breach of promise to marry. The plaintiff is young and fair, and the defendant an old man.

Local News.

CITY ELECTION.

Copperheads Defeated ! !

UNION MAJORITY 184.

At the City Election on Monday the Union ticket was elected by a large majority. The vote polled is larger than on any previous year. The copperheads worked hard. Every available man of them was brought to the polls, but to no purpose! The City of Middletown stands firm for the Union, the maintenance of the Constitution and laws, and in firm support of the Administration at Washington to prosecute the war until the rebellion is crushed! The record is good—let us do still better in April. Find the vote below:

UNION

DEMOCRATIC.

xxx

For Mayor,

Samuel L. Warner,

473

   Edward A. Russell,

306

xxx

For Clerk and Treasurer,

Chas. A. Boardman.

475

   E. W. N. Starr,

311

xxx

For Aldermen,

Wm. G. Hackstaff,

477

  Charles Woodward,

307

Samuel C. Hubbard,

477

   Charles R. Alsop,

302

Ira K. Penfield,

478

   Michael H. Griffin,

302

Horace D. Hall,

476

   J. S. Dickinson,

306

xxx

For Councilmen,

Henry S. White,

477

   Frederick Brewer,

308

John M. Douglas,

483

   George W. Atkins,

303

S. W. Russell,

479

   Aaron C. Arnold,

306

Andrew A. Cody,

479

   Joseph A. Fuller,

301

George M. Pratt,

481

   Patrick Ashton,

290

Horace Leonard,

478

   Oliver F. Grover,

308

Evan Davis,

476

   William Tidgewell,

303

Chas. F. Browning,

477

   Henry L. Ford,

307

Charles Gabrielle

469

   Henry J. Turner,

303

Ephraim B. Chaffee,

472

   Henry Babcock,

307

Elijah Ackley,

477

   John Haskell,

306

xxx

For Recorder,

William W. Pride,

478

   Elijah H. Roberts,

308

xxx

For City Attorney,

William T. Elmer,

473

   Arthur W. Bacon,

308

xxx

For Sheriffs,

Arba Hyde,

473

   Samuel D. Barnes,

305

Asahel H. Brooks,

471

   C. C. Cornwell,

306

xxx

For Assessor,

George W. Burke,

473

   Joseph E. Lathrop,

309

xxx

For Collector,

Leverett Dimock,

473

   Thomas A. Neale,

305

xxx

For Constables,

Augustus Kelsey,

477

   Charles H. Austin,

307

Edgar B. Prior,

478

   Felix Prior,

305

Nicholas D. Tucker,

478

   Edward C. Starr,

306

John A. Turner,

478

   James Coyle,

303

Edward Treadway,

486

   William McDonald,

303

Zadock Morgan,

476

   Bennett Dyer,

305

John Charles Fray,

476

   John Costello,

299

Thomas Stothart,

478

  Charles Lineweber,

302

 

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Fire.—A barn situated on the meadows in Cromwell, belonging to Henry A. Hall of this city, was burnt to the ground on Monday night of last week. It contained about ten tons of hay. It was without doubt, the work of an incendiary. Mr. Hall offers the sum of fifty dollars for information which will lead to the conviction of the incendiary.

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Runaway.—A pair of horses belonging to Elijah Loveland, ran on Saturday last. No damage done except to the sleigh, which became defunct of one runner and some smaller matters.

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Accident.—Wilbur F. Burr, while walking in his yard on Sunday, slipped and fell on the ice with such force as to break his arm.

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The Weather.—There has been a change in the weather the past week compared with the week before, the mercury indicating the difference of 37 degrees. We had clear sunshine, intermingled with a little rain and hail on Friday. Sunday was the coldest morning of the week, the mercury being at 5 degrees. On Monday at 27 degrees, the snow fast disappearing. Average temperature of the week at sunrise was 15 degrees.

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Sleighing.—The sleighing for two or three weeks, has been very good in this vicinity. The past week, however, has been the gayest of the season. Our citizens, both old and young, have patronized the highways, and enjoyed themselves. Parties, large and small, have visited the neighboring towns, received excellent treatment, plenty of good cheer, and returned home in excellent condition. On Thursday evening, our city received a visit from quite a number of our New Britain neighbors. They put up at the McDonough House, hired the hall, had a dance, and after partaking of one of Baker & Reed’s good suppers, departed in good spirits to their homes.

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To the Girls—Interesting, Very.—The boys of the old Conn. Fifth, have a word for the girls, dated Cowan, Tenn., Jan. 6th. Here it is:

Attention, Ladies!

Now is the Time to Get a Husband!—In a short time from now, the old 5th Conn. Regiment will return to the State on a thirty days’ furlough, as they have enlisted in the Veteran Corps in a body. The most of the boys have made up their minds to get married before they leave again for the seat of war. Every one of them has $500 in greenbacks in his pocket, and gets a new gum blanket, so he is able to put up a comfortable home for his love. The State of Connecticut provides $6 per month for a wife, and $8 for wife and one child. This is a rare chance for patriotic young ladies to unite themselves to the defenders of our glorious Union. None with copperhead sentiments need apply.

The Veterans of the 5th.

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Marriage, Death Notices