Ex-automaker John DeLorean's newspaper advertisement appeal for money to pay his legal bill may have brought about the results he wanted. The head of his defense fund said the money hasn't been counted yet but that a "ton of mail" came in . . . Actor Paul Newman answered the plea of a school in rural Florida and bought a bus to enable the children of migrant farm workers to attend class . . . Elizabeth Johns of the University of Maryland will be the first woman to receive the Mitchell Prize for the History of Art for her book "Thomas Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life" . . . The hawks will be out tonight when Paul Nitze, special representative for arms control and disarmament, is honored at the third annual Ethics and Public Policy Center dinner at the Washington Hilton. Some of the big guns on the program include Ernest W. Lefever, president of the center; retired admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., former chief of naval operations; Harold Brown, former Carter defense secretary; Sen. John Tower; and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger . . . Veteran film actor James Cagney continues to recover in a New York hospital from lung congestion and received a get-well telegram Tuesday from a former colleague who gave up the business and became president of the United States . . .