Monthly Record of Current Events, September 5.

OUR Record closes on the 5th of September. Public thought has turned mainly upon the different questions involved in the re-construction of the Union. The only event of considerable importance is the action of the Mississippi Convention, which met on the 17th of August. It passed an ordinance declaring the ordinance of secession null and void; prohibited slavery or involuntary servitude, except for crime; made it the duty of the next Legislature to provide by law for the protection of the person and property of the freedmen of the State, and to guard them and the State against any evil that may arise from their sudden emancipation; and appointed the first Monday in October for the election of State officers and members of Congress. They also adopted a memorial urging the President to remove the colored troops from the State. The members, acting apparently in their individual capacity, not as a Convention, united in a petition to the President for the pardon of Jefferson Davis and, Governor Clark. The Constitutional amendment providing that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime whereof the party shall have been convicted, shall hereafter exist in the State," was adopted by the decisive vote of 86 to 11. Mississippi, next after South Carolina, is the State containing the largest proportion of slaves. These are the only States in which the slaves outnumber the whites. In South Carolina there were, in 1860, 402,000 slaves and 291,000 whites — a little more than four to three; in Mississippi, 436,000 slaves and 353,000 whites — a little less than four to three. In absolute number of slaves Mississippi stood third: Virginia exceeding it by 54,000, and Georgia by 26,000. The interests of Mississippi were more deeply involved in the slave system than those of any other State. If emancipation can be effected here, it can be effected more easily in every other State. Some portions of the action of Governor Sharkey have been disapproved by the military authorities and Government. He ordered a State militia to be organized in every county; this was forbidden by General Slocum. The Governor also complained that the military authorities refused to obey writs of habeas corpus issued by local judges. To this the Secretary of War replied that the grant of a Provisional Government did not affect the proper jurisdiction of the military courts, and that this jurisdiction was still called for in cases of wrongs done to soldiers, whether white or colored, and in cases of wrong done to colored citizens, and where the local authorities were unable or unwilling to do justice, either from defective machinery, or because some State law declared colored persons incompetent as witnesses. Mississippi was to a considerable extent still under military law, and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus had not been revoked. To a similar remonstrance the Secretary of State replied that the State was still under martial law, and the military authority was supreme. The efforts to adjust the relations between the two great classes of Southern society — the white and the colored population — meet with innumerable obstacles. On the one had, it is alleged that the freedmen are indisposed to labor, and throng to the towns and military posts, expecting to be supported in idleness by the Government. On the other hand, it is complained that the former masters are unwilling to recognize the altered state of things, and are determined that the Freedmen shall be actually slaves as much as of old. Instances, almost without number, are put forward sustaining each of these propositions; but the general drift of information evinces that both whites and blacks are endeavoring, in the mass, to accommodate themselves to the new state of things. It is especially notable that the soldiers and officers who did most to uphold the Confederacy are foremost to recommend prompt and cheerful acquiescence in the results of the issues which were decided on the field of battle. Thus General Joseph E&d ot; Johnston, who will, when the whole history of the war comes to be fairly studied and written, prove to have been the ablest Confederate commander, writes, the date being August 17:
"We of the South referred the question at issue between us and the United States to the arbitrament of the sword. The decision has been made, and it is against us. We must acquiesce in that decision, accept it as final, and recognize the fact that Virginia is again one of the United States. Our duties and our interests coincide. We shall consult, the one and perform the other by doing all we can to promote the welfare of our neighbors and to restore prosperity to the country. We should at once commence the duties of peaceful citizens by entering upon some useful pursuit, qualifying ourselves to vote, if possible; and at the polls our votes should be cast for Conservative men — men who understand and will maintain the interests of Virginia as one of the United States. This is the course which I have recommended to all those with whom I have conversed on the subject, and that which I have adopted for myself as far as practicable."

General Wade Hampton, who was among the last of the Confederate commanders who surrendered, has published a letter in reply to inquiries addressed to him by persons who proposed to emigrate. He dissuades his correspondents from any general emigration: advises them to remain at home and devote their energies to the restoration of law and order, the re-establishment of agriculture and commerce, the promotion of education, and the rebuilding of the dwellings and cities which have been laid in ashes. To accomplish these objects he urges that "all who can do so should take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government, so that they may participate in the restoration of civil government to our State. A distinguished citizen of our State," he says, "an honest man, and a true patriot, has been appointed Governor. He will soon call a Convention of the people which will be charged with the most vital interests of our State." He urges that the delegates elected to this Convention should be men "who have laid their all upon the altar of their country." He himself should pursue the course which he recommends to others "devoting himself earnestly, if permitted to do so, to the discharge of these obligations, public and private," but in the mean time he should obtain all the information desirable in the establishment of a colony in case they were obliged to leave the country.

The policy of the Government is clearly expressed. It will, as far as possible, protect them from outrage or injury; but will not maintain them in idleness. The rations given to whites and blacks will be withdrawn as rapidly as possible.


Applications for pardon by persons belonging to the excepted classes are very numerous, but as yet only a very few have been granted. It is officially announced that counsel and brokers in the case of those applying for pardon will retard instead of advancing their object. — Governor Perry, of South Carolina, writes to William Porcher Miles, formerly a member of the Federal Congress, and subsequently of the Confederate Congress: "If you take the oath of amnesty and apply for a pardon, it is to be assumed, after approval by me, that it is granted, and you are entitled to vote or serve in the Convention, although your pardon may not have been returned or received by you." — Governor Payne, of Alabama, announces the manner in which those who are entitled to pardon under the President's proclamation must proceed. They must take the oath before some competent authority, and then, in order to qualify themselves for voting, must repeat the oath, and have it registered before some county magistrate. "No one is eligible to a seat in the Convention who is not a loyal citizen of the United States," and as those who, like Mr. Miles, are excluded from the general amnesty are not citizens of the United States, they can not be voters or members of the Convention.

Some of the ecclesiastical bodies at the South have assumed positions of apparent hostility to the return of good feeling. Thus, Bishops Andrew, Paine, and Pierce, of the Methodist Church South, in a pastoral, while urging their people "to adjust themselves, as citizens of the United States, promptly, cheerfully, and in good faith, to all their duties and responsibilities, whatever may have been the opinions, positions, or prejudices of any of them concerning the political changes which have occurred in the Government," bitterly oppose the reunion of the two bodies of the Church. They declare that "a large proportion of the Northern Methodists have become incurably radical. They teach for doctrine the commandments of men. They preach another Gospel. They have incorporated social dogmas and political tests into their church creeds. "Without such a change as we see no immediate prospect of in their tone, temper, and practice, we can anticipate no good result from even entertaining the subject of reunion with them." — Mr. Wilmer, Episcopal Bishop of Alabama, in a Pastoral Address, says, "The lapse of the Confederate Government requires of necessity the omission of the prayers for the President of the Confederate States, and all in civil authority; but the immediate substitution of another form of prayer does not follow of the same necessity." To pray for "all in authority," he say, "is a duty;" but the mode of it must be determined by ecclesiastical authority, "The Church in this country has established a form of prayer for the President and all in civil authority. The language of that prayer was selected with careful reference to the subject of the prayer — all civil authority; and she desires for that authority prosperity and long continuance. No one can be expected to desire a long continuance of military rule. Therefore the prayer is altogether inappropriate and inapplicable to the present condition of things, when no civil authority exists in the exercise of its functions. My conclusion is, therefore, and my direction, which I hereby give, that when civil authority shall be restored in the State of Alabama, the clergy shall use the form entitled A Prayer for the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority, as it stands in the Book of Common Prayer." The Bishop, however, says that "it is the duty of every citizen to render faithful allegiance to the Government under which he lives, and as an oath of fidelity to the Government is only the formal and solemn acknowledgment of an already existing obligation, if therefore the oath of allegiance should be lawfully required of all citizens, there is no good reason why it should not be taken, provided that all things be done in justice, judgment, and truth. All false swearing is an abomination." Civil union, the Bishop says, does not necessarily involve ecclesiastical unity. Whether the Church in the South shall reunite with that in the North is a question for future ecclesiastical determination. — At the recent Convention of the Episcopal Church in the diocese of Georgia it was resolved that the diocese would resume its connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, whenever the Bishop shall consider such course consistent with the good faith which this diocese owes to the bishops in the late Confederate States. Another resolution provides that deputies shall be elected to the General Council of the Church in the Southern States, with the understanding that, if in the judgment of the Bishop, any contingency shall arise to render necessary a representation in the General Convention of the United States, the same deputies shall attend that body — The Presbytery of Lexington, Virginia, adopted, at a meeting on the 10th of August, a report, declaring that "The General Assembly in the United States required all its members to submit to their ecclesiastical interpretation of the doctrine of State Eights and Slavery. This changed a religions body into a political meeting, necessitated the withdrawal of the Southern part of the Presbyterian Church, and the continued political character of that professedly ecclesiastical body prevents a reunion."

Henry Wirz, late commander of the Confederate military prison at Andersonville, Georgia, is on trial before a Military Court, of which General Low Wallace is President. Wirz; who is a Swiss by birth, resided for many years in Louisiana, and entered the Confederate army. Having been disabled for service in the field, he was placed in command of the prison at Andersonville in April, 1864. The indictment consists of two charges. By the first Wirz was charged with ponspiring with Robert E. Lee, James A. Seddon, then Confederate Secretary of War, John H. Winder, Lucius D. Northrop, Richard B. Winder, Joseph White, W. S. Winder, and others, to injure the health and destroy the lives of Union prisoners in violation of the laws and customs of war. The specification under this charge is long and elaborate. The principal points are — confining the prisoners in small and unhealthy quarters; neglecting to provide proper shelter; depriving them of their own clothing and blankets; refusing to furnish food sufficient in quantity and quality to sustain life, and to provide fuel for cooking and warming; compelling them to subsist upon filthy and unwholesome water; permitting the bodies of the dead to remain unburied, thus poisoning the atmosphere; refusing medicines and medical attendance; inflicting cruel and unusual punishments: setting up a "dead line," always indistinct and often imaginary, and causing prisoners who crossed or even touched it to be shot; employing bloodhounds to hunt down prisoners who had escaped; and using poisonous matter for the purpose of


vaccination. This charge was subsequently modified by omitting the names of Leo and Seddon. — The second charge is for "Murder, in violation of the laws and customs of war." Under this charge are thirteen distinct specifications, all relating to murders and outrages committed by himself or by his express order. Wirz protests his innocence of these charges. He denies that he ever personally misused a prisoner; and affirms that for the rest he acted under the orders of his military superiors, and should therefore not be held responsible. He also affirms that he was included in the surrender by General Johnston, and so should not be held to answer for what he had done.

According to the official report of the Secretary of the Treasury, the public debt, on the 31st of August, was as follows:

  Amount. Interest.
Debt bearing interest in coin $1,108,310,101 80 $64,500,590 53
Debt bearing interest in lawful money 1,274,478,103 16 73,531,037 74
Debt on which interest has ceased 1,503,020 09  
Debt bearing no interest 373,398,256 38  
Total, Aug. 31 $2,757,689,571 43 $138,031,620 24
Total, July 31 2,757,253,275 86 139,262,468 28

Henry B. Jenkins, the paying teller of the Phoenix Bank, is a man past middle age; had been many years connected with the bank in various capacities; was supposed to live within his income; and was not known to have engaged in speculations. But something more than $300,000 in his keeping was missing. He was arrested, and it came out that he had engaged in stock speculations, and being unsuccessful, had from time to time appropriated the bank funds to cover his losses. He was, moreover, a frequenter of "concert saloons" and other disreputable haunts, squandering large sums upon loose women. One of these, named Genevieve Lyons, with sundry aliases, he had established in apartments as his mistress, making her considerable presents in money. This woman had a paramour named Brower, ones a butcher, but describing himself as a "merchant, "who also received large sums of money from Jenkins, who asserted that it was extorted from him as "black mail," under threat of exposing him. Brower, however, asserted that the money was lent to him by Jenkins out of friendship, they having met at places of public resort, and contracted a close intimacy. Another person implicated was James H. Earle, who acted as the agent of Jenkins in his speculations. He was arrested, and shortly after committed suicide in prison.

The firm of "Morris Ketchum, Son, and Company" was one of the wealthiest private bankinghouses of New York. The "Son" was Edward B. Ketchum, a young man of about five-and-twenty, who was esteemed one of the shrewdest financiers on Change. About the first of August Mr. Swan, one of the junior members of the firm, discovered that securities to the amount of nearly a million dollars had been abstracted from the firm. He communicated his discovery to Belknap, another partner. Various circumstances enabled them to fasten the abstraction upon Edward Ketchum, who acknowledged the fact, but said that the securities were still under his control, and that he could recover them in a short time. He promised to do this, and to abandon the speculations upon his own account in which he had been engaged. The matter was not revealed to the senior member of the firm. A few days passed, and the missing securities not being replaced, Swan and Belknap wrote to young Ketchum, on the 4th of August, to the effect that unless the deficiency was made good by the 15th they should expose him. Two days after the expiration of this term it was announced that Edward Ketchum had disappeared on the previous day; that the firm of which he was a member had suspended payment; and that Forged "gold checks" to a large amount were in the hands of banks and brokers which could be traced to him. These "gold checks" are a contrivance instituted by prominent money-dealers to conduct their business without making an actual transfer of gold bought and sold. The Bank of New York was selected as the place in which the gold was to be deposited. The bank agreed to receive the gold, keep it, count it, and pay it out as demanded, upon certain conditions. Each dealer, upon the payment of $1000, received a check-book filled with a certain number of blank checks for $5000 each. These, when filled out with the signature of the drawer, the registrar, the teller, and of the indorser, pass in the market as equivalent to the corresponding amounts in gold. Edward Ketchum purchased one of these books of checks, filled them out with the forged signatures of established firms, and deposited them as security for loans which he required to carry on his operations. The book contained 500 blank checks, representing $2,500,000. How many of these had been actually negotiated is unknown. The District Attorney, in making his charge, estimates the number at 800, representing an amount of $1,500,000. Ketchum remained undiscovered for nearly a fortnight; then he was found at lodgings in New York, which he had all the time occupied under the assumed name of C. R. Lowry, of Cincinnati. He had with him about $60,000. The abstracted securities belonged partly to the firm of Ketchum and Company, and partly to others. The former, amounting to $1,300,000, were replaced, and the remaining assets of the house were declared to be $3,093,000, and its liabilities $3,985,000, leaving a deficit of nearly $900,000. The total amount of abstractions was stated by the senior partner to be "not less than $2,800,000." It was probably quite $3,500,000. In addition to this were the forged gold checks, amounting possibly to $1,500,000, the loss of which must fall upon the banks and brokers who held them: a probable total of $5,000,000.

Within the eight months from January to September 130 "accidents" have occurred to trains on the different railroads in the United States, by which about 300 persons have been killed outright, and about 1200 wounded. Every one of these was the result of gross carelessness. There is a general demand that the guilty persons shall be held to criminal prosecution. In a few cases coroner's juries have approximated to their duties in this respect. Thus, on the 15th of August, on the Housatonic Railroad, 13 were killed and 20 wounded by a locomotive, which was making a trial trip, running into a train. The coroner's jury found a verdict censuring Charles Hunt, the President, Henry L. Plumb, the Superintendent, as well as the engineer and conductor of the locomotive. — On the Long Island Railroad, August 29, 5 persons were killed and 18 wounded by collision between two trains, one or both of which was recklessly running out of time. The jury differed as to the culpability attached to the conductors of the two trains — some charging it upon both, some upon one, and some upon the ether; but


ten of the jurors united to "censure Oliver Charlick, the President of the railroad, for the careless and irregular manner in which the trains are run, and consider that he is indirectly responsible for the catastrophe." — On the Oil Creek Railroad, August 24, 7 were killed and 8 wounded by a collision between two trains. The jury found the conductor and engineer of one of the trains guilty of culpable negligence, the president and directors of the road guilty of culpable negligence, and requested the coroner to issue his warrant for the apprehension and trial not only of the conductor and engineer, but also of the president and directors of the road.

The attempt to lay the Atlantic Telegraph Cable has been unsuccessful. The heavy shore end, 26 miles long, was laid on the 22d July. On the next day, the splice with the ocean cable on board the Great Eastern made, and at a quarter past 7 in the evening the work of paying out began. The following is a condensed journal of each subsequent day's operations up to the time when the cable parted: — Second Day, July 24. At 3.15 A.M., when 84 miles had been payed out, it was discovered that some "fault" existed in the cable, which interfered with its insulation. The whole day was taken up in endeavors to discover the nature and location of the "fault," and in picking up the cable, which was a work of great difficulty. The final conclusion was that it was not more than ten or eleven miles from the Great Eastern. — Third Day, July 25. At 8 A.M., when a little more than ten miles had been picked up, the "fault" came on board. A crooked bit of wire, about the size of a straw, two inches long, had somehow got into the coils of the cable, and been forced through the coating till it came in contact with the conducting wires, tapping the electric current. The ten miles of cable which had been hauled in, being strained was cut out, and the work of paying out recommenced a little before 3 P.M. A mile and a half had hardly gone over when communications from the shore grew fainter, and at length ceased. Preparations were made to "pick up" again, but in the mean while the signals recommenced, and the work was resumed. The cause of this temporary interruption has never been ascertained. At 4.15 P.M. paying out was resumed. — Fourth Day, July 25. By 8 A.M. the steamer was 150 miles from Valentia, having payed out 161˝ miles of cable, at the rate of about six miles an hour. In the course of the day deep water, 2000 fathoms, was reached. — Fifth Day, July 27. At 8.30 A.M. 302 miles from the shore had been run; every thing went on successfully during the day. — Sixth Day, July 28. At noon 476 miles had been made, 531˝ miles of cable having been payed out; every thing going on well. — Seventh Day, July 29. All went well until noon, when 634 miles in all had been run, leaving 1020 to be made. An hour after all signals suddenly ceased. Electricians reported not merely a "fault," but "dead earth," that is, a total loss of insulation. It was ascertained that the trouble lay in some part of the cable which had been payed out, and was not far from the ship. This was picked up, the defective portion cut out, a splice made, and the work of paying out was to be commenced at dawn. — Eighth Day, July 30. — At 8.10, after some accidents, the cable was fairly running out again, the insulation tests being excellent. By noon 650 miles had been run; 745 miles of cable payed out. Every thing went well during the afternoon and night. — Ninth Day, July 31. All went well. At noon 753 miles had been run, 903 miles of cable payed out. The signals passed through the cable grew stronger and stronger, showing that the insulation was increased by the pressure of submersion in deep water. An examination of the defective part of the cable which had been cut out showed that the "fault" was of the same nature as that of the 24th; a piece of wire had been driven through the covering into the centre of the cable. — Tenth Day, August 1. At noon 946 miles had been run; 1081 miles of cable payed out; there remained 717 miles to be accomplished. The soundings varied from 1975 to 2250 fathoms. — Eleventh Day, August 2. At 5.35 A.M. it was discovered that there was another "fault." The tests indicated that it was not far from the ship. The work of picking up was resumed. The cable is payed out from the stern, while the machinery for picking up is at the bows. To transfer the cable from one end of the ship to the other required some hours. At 10 A.M. the work of picking up commenced. An hour and three quarters was spent in taking up a mile. Then several accidents occurred to the machinery, and the work was suspended. The steamer having been stopped could not be kept steady, but veered around with the shifting wind; the cable chafed against the projecting rims of the hawse-holes, and finally broke, the end flying overboard, and in a few minutes was lost in the ocean. This took place at 35 minutes past noon, in latitude 51° 25', longitude 30° 6', 1062 miles from Valentia and 607 from Heart's Content, the American terminus; 1312 miles of cable had been payed out. A little more than five-eighths of the distance had been accomplished. About one-half of the entire length of the cable was overboard. Still it was hoped that it might be recovered, although the depth of water was 2500 fathoms, almost three miles. The Great Eastern steamed back a dozen miles and threw over a grapnel, attached to a wire rope, capable of supporting a strain of ten tons; and the vessel steamed back and forth across the line in which the cable must lie. At 4 A.M. next day, August 3, it was evident that the grapnel had caught the cable, and the rope was hauled in. The strain of course increased with every foot of cable that was raised. In six hours 1150 fathoms had been brought on board, when the rope parted, and cable and grapnel and rope sank again to the bottom. But the experiment showed that it was possible to fish up the cable from the bottom of the ocean. During the next four days the weather was unfavorable, and nothing was accomplished. Just before noon of the 7th another grapnel was flung over, and after dragging until 6 P.M. the cable was again caught, and at 8 the hauling-in was begun. At 7.50 next morning 1000 fathoms had been brought in when the rope broke. The 9th and 10th were spent in unavailing attempts to grapple the cable. In the afternoon of the 11th it was again caught by the grapnel, which was now attached to a rope composed of 1600 fathoms of wire, the remainder of hemp. In three hours, when 760 fathoms had been hauled in, the rope broke, leaving 1750 fathoms overboard. The Great Eastern having no more rope on board for grappling then returned to England. The managers of the Cable Company appear to consider that this experiment, demonstrates the practicability of the enterprise. They expect to fish up the line. If they succeed in doing this, and find it uninjured, the work will be three-fifths accomplished. But the necessary repairs to the Great Eastern, and the construction of proper grappling machinery, can not be performed in time to renew the attempt the present season.