henceforth for our National vessels in foreign ports, on penalty of retaliation, those privileges and immunities which had hitherto been denied them on the plea of according equal belligerent rights to the Republic
and its internal foes.
He made, next evening,1
to a vast crowd assembled before the Executive Mansion
expressly to hear it, an address on Reconstruction, whereof it is only pertinent here to say that — while carefully remitting to Congress all questions connected with the representation of the revolted States in either House
, and avowing his desire that a qualified Right of Suffrage be accorded to the Blacks of those States--he evinced an utter absence of resentment or bitterness toward the late Rebels, and an anxious wish that the Confederate States
should be restored to all the functions of self-government and equal power in the Union
at the earliest day consistent with the National
integrity, tranquillity, and safety.
On the following day, an order issued from the War Department, previously approved by Gen. Grant
, which appeared throughout the land in the journals of next morning,2
putting a stop to all drafting and recruiting for our armies, with the purchase of arms, munitions, provisions, &c.; and it was announced that the number of our general and staff officers would be reduced, and all military restrictions on trade and commerce removed forthwith.
That day was the fourth anniversary of the surrender of Fort Sumter
to the Rebels
by Maj. Anderson
; and a large number of loyal citizens, who rejoiced the more heartily in the downfall of the Rebellion
because it involved the overthrow of Slavery, had gone down to Port Royal
to raise, with fitting observances, over the ruins of the historic fortress, the identical flag which had waved over it during its first bombardment, and which had been thoughtfully preserved for this purpose.
The whole country was aglow with loyal rejoicings and congratulations; and the President
, after attending a meeting of his Cabinet to receive a personal report from Gen. Grant
, just arrived from Appomattox
, listening to the story of Lee
's surrender from his son, Capt. Robert Lincoln
, who, being on Grant
's staff, had been an eye-witness of the scene, and giving audience to several public men — among them John P. Hale
, just appointed Minister to Madrid
, and Speaker Colfax
, who was taking leave for an overland journey to California
--concluded to seek relaxation from his many and weighty cares by spending the evening at Ford
's Theater, where Gen. Grant
and he had been publicly announced as probable visitors that night, while the former had been compelled by inexorable duties to disappoint the expectation thus excited.
At 8 P. M., the President
and his wife, with two others, rode to the theater, and were ushered into the private box previously secured by him; where, at 10 1/2 P. M., while all were intent on the play, an actor of Baltimore
birth — John Wilkes Booth
by name, son of the more eminent English-born tragedian, Junius Brutus Booth
— availing himself of that freedom of the house usually accorded at theaters to actors, entered at the