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The beginning of the Revolution.

The election of Abraham Lincoln brought on the issue between North and South, which sagacious men had foreseen for years, and which the events of the two preceding presidential terms had shown to superficial observers to be near at hand.

While the more distant Southern States were moving promptly in defence of their institutions, the people of Maryland were not behind hand in such steps, as their political and geographical position enabled them to take. Their situation was peculiar. The people intensely Southern, with all their hearts, with their brethren of the Cotton States, they were on the frontier of the immense Northern empire exposed to the first assaults of its powers, with the certainty of being overwhelmed in the first shock of arms, and while they were ready to make common cause with the seceding States, the uncertainty of the action of the middle States--North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee--rendered it impossible to concert any action with those on the Gulf until the intervening States had taken their position. At the same time large portions of the people were unable to appreciate the presence of the crisis, and still clung to the hope that the storm might blow over and the Union be preserved. Once convinced that it was lost, they would have been nearly unanimous in taking sides with the ,South. While this was the condition of the people, the State Government occupied a position more equivocal. Thomas Holliday Hicks thrust into the gubernatorial chair against the popular vote by the fraud and bloodshed of the clubs of Baltimore, was regarded by many as utterly unworthy of belief or trust. His political antecedents made him an object not of distrust, but of absolute aversion and contempt to a large portion of the Southern men. On the other hand, a small, but respectable part of them, believed him to be true at heart to the South. This part was strong, from its political and social position, and by it the remainder was obliged to be checked in order to procure harmonious action.

The legislature was known to be nearly unanimously true to the South. Under these circumstances, all that could be done was to apply to the governor to convene the legislature in extra session, which was done in the latter part of November. On the 3d of December, 1860, he replied with the first of those remarkable specimens of subterfuge, which he subsequently followed up with such masterpieces as have embalmed his reputation as a trickster among the most distinguished that history records.

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