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[198] apprehension of officials and citizens, and renewed its business and public activity. The mob frenzy of Baltimore and the Maryland towns subsided almost as quickly as it had risen. The Union leaders and newspapers asserted themselves,, and soon demonstrated their superiority in numbers and activity.

Serious embarrassment had been created by the timidity of Governor Hicks, who, while Baltimore remained under mob terrorism, officially protested against the landing of Union troops at Annapolis; and, still worse, summoned the Maryland legislature to meet on April 26-a step which he had theretofore stubbornly refused to take. This event had become doubly dangerous, because a Baltimore city election held during the same terror week had reinforced the legislature with ten secession members, creating a majority eager to pass a secession ordinance at the first opportunity. The question of either arresting or dispersing the body by military force was one of the problems which the crisis forced upon President Lincoln. On full reflection, he decided against either measure.

“I think it would not be justifiable,” he wrote to General Scott, “nor efficient for the desired object. First, they have a clearly legal right to assemble; and we cannot know in advance that their action will not be lawful and peaceful. And if we wait until they shall have acted, their arrest or dispersion will not lessen the effect of their action. Secondly, we cannot permanently prevent their action. If we arrest them, we cannot long hold them as prisoners; and, when liberated, they will immediately reassemble and take their action. And precisely the same if we simply disperse them: they will immediately reassemble in some other place. I therefore conclude that it is only left to the commanding general to watch and await their action, ”

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