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The Mourning for President Lincoln in Broadway, New York

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1314, p. 462.

May 13, 1865


The aspect of the principal streets in the city of New York for two or three days after the news of the death of President Lincoln was full of signs of public grief and consternation. Our New York correspondent sends a sketch of the appearance of Broadway on the 18th ult., which is reproduced in our Engraving. He observes that this sad scene afforded a striking contrast to that which had been displayed in the same city immediately before. "For several days previously," he says, "New York had presented quite a carnival appearance; for the surrender of Lee with his army was hailed as the harbinger of peace, which has so long been earnestly desired by the mass of the people. The great thoroughfares of the city were all a-flutter with flags, and one or two days of this week were to have been devoted to the celebration of the recent successes with which the Federal arms had been crowned. But Easter Sunday dawned upon a city dark and sepulchral as a city of the dead. Scarce a house in it but has been draped in the deepest mourning since three days ago, when the news of the great national calamity fell like a thunderbolt upon the whole American community. Long festoons of black and white muslin are drooping sadly everywhere, and even the gay show-cases that stand outside the shop doors are dressed with funereal rosettes. Street boys are selling little mourning badges, consisting of ambrotype likenesses of the murdered chief magistrate, tied up with knots of crape." Another correspondent says, "there still seems no desire to resume business until after the funeral of the lamented President. Each hour increases the gloomy appearance of the city. In every street the houses are decked with crape, with portraits of Mr. Lincoln hung about with garlands entwined with black, while in many places huge black crosses are in the windows of houses winch remain closed all day, seemingly deserted. It is inexpressibly sad, this outward show of grief; while that it is sincere is proved by the gloomy looks, the tearful eyes, of those who are to be met in the streets. In many places the decorations, though sombre, are exceedingly picturesque, the dark tones being relieved by the bright red and blue of the national colours entwined with crape. The public buildings are many of them hung from dome to basement with long folds of black cloth disposed most artistically; and, as these buildings are of white marble, the effect may be imagined. On Broadway some of the stores are thus decorated, while others have huge palls hanging from the roof to the street. All is dark, gloomy, grand. The expression of grief is, I dare assert, the most universal, most sincere, most impressive ever witnessed."

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