published in the newspapers, a mass meeting was held at the Maryland Institute for the adoption of measures favorable to the perpetuation of the Union of the States.
This. meeting was one of the largest and most enthusiastic which had ever been held in the city.
Every available spot was occupied, and the officers and speakers comprised some of the best citizens of Baltimore
, among them Reverdy Johnson
, Governor Bradford
, and Judge Pearre
Subsequently, another mass meeting was held of citizens in favor of restoring the constitutional union of the States, in which the Hon. R. M. McLane
, Mr. S. Teackle Wallis
, Hon. Joshua Vansant
, Dr. A. C. Robinson
, and other well-known Southern sympathizers took an active part.
Even as late as April 12th, when the siege of Fort Sumter
.had begun, and only one week before the riot, two men were assaulted and mobbed, one on Baltimore
, the other on South
street,for wearing a Southern cockade
. On Sunday, April 14th, five days only before the riot, a secession flag was displayed from the mast of the Fanny Crenshaw
lying at Chase
's wharf, but was hauled down by a party of men from the city, who boarded the vessel.
The flag was run up again, however, but the vessel had to be placed under the protection of the police authorities.
These facts go to show, in the almost utter absence of manifestations to the contrary, that Baltimore
was not at that time a secessionist city; and, had the subsequent policy of the government been one of conciliation, instead of coercion, it is doubtful whether serious trouble would have resulted.
Notwithstanding the strong Union feeling which prevailed in Baltimore
, there was a decided under-current of sympathy for the South
This was to be expected.
has always been a Southern city in feeling, customs, and associations.
The population is largely made up of immigrants from Virginia
and North Carolina
, while the rural population of Maryland
, particularly of the lower counties, is Southern in methods of life, sympathies, social habits, amusements, as that of any of the Southern States
The slaveholding element, too, were excited over the prospective loss of their slaves.
Still, there were very few who were disposed to go the length of opposition to the General Government
, and those few were overawed and held in check by the strong anti-secession element.
The secession element, however, was aggressive, sometimes boisterous, and never failed to take advantage of any accident or mistake which was calculated to inflame the passions of the more moderate men. They were unintentionally assisted in their schemes by President Lincoln
himself, whose secret passage through Baltimore
was undoubtedly the result of a misconception.