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EPITOME OF NEWS.: ----+--:=



HEALTH AND TREATMENT OF „ JEFFERSON DAVIS. Kecent adviees from New York give some interesting details as to the state of Mr. Davis's health and general condition. A correspondent of the Herald in a letter dated the 17th July says:—From all the sources of information I am able to command, there xs no Jeff. Davis is slowly, but surely, declining in health from his protracted imprisonment. He will not even avail himself of the opportunities of exercise afforded him, he has a space of about 20 by 20 feet he could walk about in if he chose; but all the long hours of eai^ weary day he sits at the barred embrasure of sullen, silent, speechless. With his chin alternately resting on one hand and then on both, he lookst Ulhntermittinglythrough this opening. Where rest Jhia'eyes and what thoughts atir that brain 5?, • • • I have been told to-day that Jeff, l^avis, it he keeps up his present prison habits and despondency, will not live six weeks longer. Yesterday Mr. Davis requested per- mission for a. chaplain to see him. This is the second request of this kind he has made smce his arrival. Chaplain Kerfoot was sent to his cell. He greeted the chaplain with warmth. "It is to you and to this book" (holding the Bible in his hand) "I must look," he said, for consolation now." The chaplain talked to him of his spiritual eondition,tead to him passages from the Bible, and prayed with him. After the chaplain left, Davis appeared to be in much better spirits than he has been in for some time past. He reads the Bible morning I and evening. Recently, I am told, he protracts these readings much more than at the commencement of his imprisonment. He confesses his belief in the Bible, and professes to have made it the ruling guide of his life. It is evident that he does not fancy being confined ex- clusi-vely to reading the Scriptures, for he sometimes clamours for a different style of literature; but his request in this regard thut far has not been complied with. This refusal to extend his reading privileges, and not permitting him to write to his wife or see letters from her, have formed the burden of his com- plaints. If permission were given Mm to have all the books he wished he could not read much himself, and for the comfort derived from them woald have to rely mainly on others reading to him. One eye is now (almost totally blind, and the other gives indications of !rapidly becoming so. He has complained lately of iseeing objects double. There is every reason jto believe that the execution of the assassination con- jspiratqrs in Washington has been communicated to :Davis within the past three or four days. It is certain (that a great and marked change has come over him, land to'his undoubted knowledge of this execution,the ichange is attributed. His food is of the best quality, ,he has abundance of pure air, and there is no special reason otherwise accounting for present gloominess and decreasing health. The New York correspondent of the Times says:- 'Unless the'statements which are issued eveiy day toonceriiing the health of Mr. Davis aro very false, it ;is not likely that he will remain much longer a cause ;of contention among the Northern people. Hisheaith iis said to be fast failing, and the rigorous nature of this imprisonment daily reduces his shanoes of re- covery. He is not allowed to ,see any one, except the man who brings him his food, and occasionally a doctor. All books are denied him, except the Bible, and he is not permitted to "receive letters, or to write- any, even to his own counsel. It was thought that by postponing his trial public opinion in the North would 'soften towards Davis, but there is no indication of isuch a change; on the contrary, circumstances are i always occurring which strengthen the generall desire to sec the heaviest of punishments fal upon his head. Nothing will satisfy a very large portion of the people but Mr. Davis's life. Even the most moderate men express a feeling of anxiety lest the Government should be contented with his banishment. This eager craving for ven- geance on an individual, notwithstanding the awful visitation which has fallen upon the entire South, and which might seem enough to appease the demands of the most vindictive, may appear very reprehensible to people in England, but it is not so unreasonable as it looks at a distance. Not only can it be explained, but justified; it does not arise from party passion, but from the remembrance of deeds which are more horrible than the English public can have any idea of, and it is constantly fed by new proofs of barbarity perpetrated upon Federal prisoners. If there is any bitterness entertained by the Northern people towards the South—and very rarely indeed have I seen evi- dences of it—it springs from the same cause which makes them talk of Davis as of a being scarcely human. That oause is the incredible and infamous treatment which the Northern captured soldiers re- ceived in Southern prisons. The evidence upon which the charges of cruelty' rest is overwhelming and unanswerable. A sanitary' commission was appointed by the Government to | inquire into the circumstances, and the members of it examined a great many men who had i),eea,prisoners in the South, some of whom were at death's door when they told their story. The testimony has been, published by official sanction, and photographs of a few of the prisoners are prefixed to the narrative. Photographs do not lie, and these pictures of living, skeletons, -covered with and wounds speak for themselves. But stili more painful witnesses against the prisons of the South are to be met with in almost every village in the presence of poor young' fellows who have returned in a state of idiocy, or; paralysed, or eaten up with scurvy. When it is con-i sidered that at Andersonville the Confederates put the! Northern prisoners on a piece (if land without even a; teat to cover them, that a tropical ann beat down' upoa their heads, and that they had not food enough: given them to keep a dog alive, it cannot cause! surprise that mind and body alike broke down. It is, a fact, and an awful one to realise, that around| that prison field of Andersonville 15,000 Northern' soldiers, taken captive, lie buried. Fever and starva- tion laid them all low. In the regular prisons, where; at least shelter from heat or cold was provided, the, men were huddled together so that it was almost im-; possible to breathe in the rooms. When they went to; the windows to get a little fresh air, they were shot; down from outside by the sentinels. This crime is proved to have been committed in scores of cases.! The evidence, as I have said, is before the world; the! Southern leaders do not attempt to contradict it. They only say they did as well as they could, and all' one's wishes and hopes would lead one to beHevef them. Bat here, again# unfortunately, the evidence is -too strong in disproof of their words. At Libby, closer to Davis's house, the prisoners were literally starving.' Their friends in the North heard of this, and sent- them boxes of provisions. These boxes were stored m¡ sheds directly in front of the prison, so that the men) could see them from their windows, but the authorities refused to distribute them. The prisoners died froiii hunger in the sight of plenty. The Southern defence; is that this was a retaliatory measure, used because there had been a complaint about the treatment of Southern men in the North. Bat it is proved beyondj all doubt—and every Confederate soldier, private orj officer, who is questioned on the subject admits it— that in the Northern, prisons no distinction whatever was made between Fedeta.1and Confederate: both were carefully looked after, and always had proper clothing and food. When a Northern prisoner was carried-SoutiL it was common to strip him. of every trinket he possessed, and in many instances to take his clothes from him. "They even took our coata from us," deposed Franklin Dismore, of the 8th Tennessee Cavalry, ¡¡ and,'part of us, had to lie there on the floorin our shirt sleeves." And the same man stated—his words being confirmed by numerous others—" many a man just fell dead walking round trying to keep himself warm, or as he was lying on the floor died during the night; and if you looked out of a window a sentinel would shoot you. They shot some five or six of our boys who were looking out." Colonel Dahlgren was shot at a window in this. way, and buried naked. A man who saw the body swore that the little finger was cat off in order to get at-a ring which Colonel Dahlgren had worn upon it. A doctor who had seen upwards of 6,000 paroled men states that they were all in a half-famished condition when they came to him, and that the lightest diet was almost too much for them at first. The grief in bereaved families for those who fell in battle is slight compared with that which is felt by mothers who know that their sons perished slowly and miserably of hunger and disease. It in easy for you Englishmen to talk about metoy and forgiveness," said alaay, talking of this subjeot, "but how would you have felt towards the Russians if they had starved and murdered 15,000 of your soldiers in one prison P" It is this feeling which extends through every class of society in the North. To condemn it without Weighing the circumstances which produce it is to do less than justice to a people who are ready to shake hands with every Southern man, and to help him with money, provided he was not a leader among them. As a body the Northern people are impatient to be friends with the South. It al is only against the leaders that they bear animosity,, and it is chiefly concentrated upon the head of Davis; for he lived within a stone's throw of Libby Prison, whence the corpses of starved men were daily carried out in large numbers. It may be asked did Davis or General Lee know .of the manner in which Southern prisoners were treated F The North believe they did, and, therefore, as I have said, the cry for their lives, however repulsive it may sound, is not a cry raised without provocation. It is not the wild clamour of a mob; and it is so far deep and general that I believe the Government will have to resist the whole force of public. opinion in the North if Mr. Davis is to save his life. "If," says a writer who truly reflects the views of the people on this subject, "General Lee had been de- termined not to have prisoners starved. or abused, does any one doubt that he could have prevented these things f Nobody ddubts it." And so of Davis —" The chief of a so-called Confederacy who could calmly consider among his official documents in- cendiary plots for the secret destruction of ships, hotels, and cities fall of peaceable people is a chief well worthy to preside over such cruelties; but his only just title is President of Assassins, and the whole civilised world should make common cause against such a miscreant." I do not know whether this argu- ment and this language will be deemed conclusive or satisfactory in England; they are certainly held to be so here, and, after all, it is in America that Mr. Davis l is to be tried. His friends might see a worse fate befall him than hiti deatkrin Fortress Monroe