THE SAFEGUARDING OF LINCOLN
DRIVEN down the wide blankness of Pennsylvania Avenue, with its fringe of ailanthus trees in whitewashed wooden boxes, Lincoln was delivered at the unadorned six-storied pile of Willard's ("Water and gas in each room"). When he had served a term as representative, back in Polk's administration, he had lodged in a boarding-house on the Hill. It was then that he breakfasted with Webster, opposed the Mexican War, introduced his bill for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. The city had been slowly growing since then but was little improved.
Despite a most liberal provision of cuspidors, the marbles of the Capitol were freckled with tobacco juice. Cheek by jowl with the dingy home of the State Department stood the Presidential stables. The City Hall, architecturally pleasing, was known as "the Washington Slave-Pen"; for within sat three commissioners issuing orders to a United States marshal and a corps of deputies whose chief business was the catching of runaway slaves at $50 a head. While the physicist Henry, the hydrographer Maury, and the archivist Force lent to the town the distinction of their unselfish labors, spoilsmen wrangled like hawks over patronage.
"Society" there was, to be sure--the society of Mrs. Clay- Clopton's nostalgic reminiscences, "A Belle of the Fifties." Her first husband was Senator Clement C. Clay of Alabama, and she always looked back regretfully to that proud era when a lady simply had to have a pier glass for the right adjustment of hoopskirts. Her coterie, largely Southern in tone, agreed heartily that a week of Washington was better than a year of New York. During sessions of Congress a continual exchange of hospitalities pre-