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Foreign and Colonial Intelligence

The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1323, p. 2.

July 8, 1865


The blockade of all United States ports, including Galveston, has been raised, and they are now open to foreign commerce.

Mr. Seward has announced that, in consequence of England not absolutely withdrawing the twenty-four hours' rule, the Federal vessels will not pay the customary courtesies to vessels of the British Navy. The Federal Government also refuses to recognise any transfer of rebel cruisers, and claims the right to capture them under whatever flag they may be placed.

President Johnson has appointed Andrew Hamilton of Texas, James Johnson of Georgia, and Louis E. Parsons of Alabama, provisional Governors of those States, in accordance with the programme adopted in North Carolina and Mississippi.

Immense numbers of negroes, past work, have been expelled from the cities of Georgia. Great mortality prevails among the negroes in Charleston.

Provisional Governor Holden, of North Carolina, has issued a proclamation calling for a Convention to amend the State Constitution, to elect a Governor and Legislature, and to restore the complete rule of civil law in that State. The Governor exhorts the people to become loyal, good, and useful citizens. He officially announces to the coloured people their freedom, and hopes they will become industrious, as otherwise their race cannot escape extinction. He promises to be their friend if they do right, but declares that he will aid in inflicting prompt punishment upon the idle and vicious.

The message of the Governor to the Virginia Legislature urges the avoidance of all legislation calculated unnecessarily to irritate the people. He recommends fewer restrictions in the regulation of the white elective franchise. As neither himself nor the Legislature has the control of the negro suffrage, they will not deliberate on that question. An extra Session of the Virginia Legislature was convened on the 19th ult. at Richmond.

The Governor of Tennessee has ordered the election of a full Congressional delegation.

Orders have been issued to dismantle the defensive works around Washington, except twenty-two forts and three batteries, which will be strengthened and permanently garrisoned.

The Government had ordered a further reduction of the army by 50,000 men.

The 25 per cent restriction duty on cotton west of the Mississippi had been removed.

The country is now divided into five grand military divisions--the Atlantic, under General Meade; the Mississippi, under Sherman; the Tennessee, under General Thomas; the South-west, under General Sheridan; and the Pacific, under General Halleck.

The grand jury of San Francisco has dismissed the complaint against the parties charged with organising an expedition to Mexico.

Mr. Breckenridge and six others reached Cuba, on the 11th ult., from the Florida coast. They crossed in an open boat.

Mrs. Lincoln has taken up her residence, for the summer, at Hyde Park, six miles from Chicago.

Mrs. Seward, wife of Secretary Seward, has died of bilious fever, at Washington.

A delegation of Poles has had an interview with President Johnson. They say that 20,000 expatriated Poles desire to emigrate to America. Efforts are being made to get them to settle in Virginia.

The reading of the argument for the defence, in the conspiracy trials, was continued before the military court in Washington on the 21st ult. Mr. Doster, counsel for Payne and Atzerott, admitted the guilt of Payne, but urged the Court to consider how far his punishment should be mitigated on account of his manifest conviction that he was doing right in attempting to kill Mr. Seward. Payne had, by reason of his Southern education, his participation at a tender age in war, and by his residence in districts wherein the Federal troops had caused great devastation and suffering, become a deadly enemy to the North. He had erroneously regarded Mr. Lincoln as a tyrant and usurper, and Mr. Seward as a mortal enemy to the South and her institutions, and he therefore believed himself right in attempting his life. The accused was, in his guilt, only a consequence of the evil teachings of slaveholders, and was no hired tool, but a fanatic, an enthusiast, and a hero. Apart from his crime, which he (Mr. Doster) abhorred, he saw much in Payne's character to admire. Mr. Doster strongly urged the Court to consider the extenuating circumstances of the case before pronouncing sentence, although the prisoner desired to die, in the fanatical belief that, by suffering execution, he would gain a crown of martyrdom.

In behalf of Atzerott, Mr. Doster claimed that the prisoner had, although at first he considered Booth's propositions, finally shrank from participation in their execution, merely maintaining an appearance of co-operation therein to escape Booth's indignation.

An additional argument was read by Mr. Aiken in behalf of Mrs. Surratt, and the Court adjourned. In consequence of her serious illness, Mrs. Surratt has been removed from her cell to more comfortable quarters in the penitentiary.

Mr. Reverdy Johnson has submitted an argument denying the jurisdiction of the military court for the conspiracy trial.

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