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The Inauguration of President Lincoln

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1081, p. 300.

March 30, 1861


The inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States was celebrated on the 4th inst. with the usual honours, and with more than the usual solemnity. No disturbance marred the august proceedings, and all went off harmoniously, and to the general satisfaction. The appearance of the President elect on the platform erected in front of the eastern portico of the Capitol was greeted with cheering by the many thousand citizens assembled in the grounds, filling the square and open space, and perching on every tree, fence, or stone affording a convenient point from which to see or hear. In a few minutes the portico was also densely crowded with both sexes. On the front of the steps was erected a wooden canopy, under which were seated Mr. Buchanan, Chief Justice Taney, Senators Chase and Baker, and the President elect, while at the left of the small table on which was placed the Inaugural stood Colonel Selden, Marshal of the District. At the left of the canopy sat the entire Diplomatic Corps. Beyond them was the Marine band, which played several patriotic airs before and after the reading of the Address. To the right of the diplomatists sat, in silk gowns and hats, the members of the Supreme Court. Then came senators, members of the House, distinguished guests, and fair ladies by the score; while the immediate right of the canopy was occupied by the son and Private Secretaries of Mr. Lincoln. Everything being in readiness, Senator Baker came forward and said:- "Fellow-citizens, I introduce to you Abraham Lincoln, the President elect of the United States of America." Whereupon Mr. Lincoln arose, walked deliberately and composedly to the table, and bent low in honour of the repeated cheering of the countless host before him. Having put on his spectacles, he arranged his manuscript on the small table, keeping the paper thereon by the aid of his cane, and commenced, in a clear, ringing voice, that was easily heard by those on the outer limits of the crowd, to read his inaugural address to the people of the United States. After the delivery of the Address Judge Taney stood up, and all removed their hats, while he administered to Mr. Lincoln the oath of office as follows:—"I, Abraham Lincoln, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

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