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The Crowd Waiting for Mr. Lincoln at Baltimore

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1080, p. 267.

March 23, 1861


Mr. Lincoln, in his progress from his village home on the prairies of Illinois to Washington, in order to take upon himself the duties of President of the United States, did not make, as had been anticipated, a public entry into Baltimore, Maryland. The people of Baltimore, however, not being aware of Mr. Lincoln's sudden flight to the capital, crowded the streets during the greater part of the day on the 23rd ult., to catch a glimpse of the new President. At the Calvert Station, where he was expected from Harrisburg, there was an assemblage of persons such as had probably never before been seen in that city. At one o'clock it was impossible to approach within a square of the dépôt from any direction, and the ascent of Franklin-street was crowded up to Courtland-street. We engrave on page 266 a lively sketch of the busy scene forwarded by a Correspondent. The crowds were, however, doomed to disappointment. It became at length generally known that Mr. Lincoln had passed through Baltimore by an early train, and was then at Washington, and the crodws [sic] gradually dispersed. There were various conjectures afloat as to the cause of this hasty and secret movement of Mr. Lincoln. One of the rumours was to the effect that he had received a despatch from Washington requiring his presence in that city, in order to use his influence with the Peace Congress in favour of conciliation and compromise. Another rumour was that his friends thought there was danger of a disturbance in Baltimore. A third rumour darkly hinted at attempts to assassinate the President elect. The fact that Mr. Lincoln called on President Buchanan immediately after reaching Washington might, however, lead to the inference that he was called to that city by the President.

According to a local print, the prevailing feeling excited by Mr. Lincoln's quiet passage through Baltimore was one of relief and of gratification, though expressions of disappointed curiosity were frequently heard. The injudicious determination of certain political friends of the President elect in that city to mark his arrival with a public demonstration had excited a spirit of stern opposition, which it was feared would manifest itself in acts which, though designed directly to rebuke the ill-advised zeal of the parties referred to, might yet have been misconstrued into a personal affront to the President elect, and so have reflected discreditably upon the good repute of Baltimore.

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