Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIV.
PIERCE AT THE HELM.

INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT PIERCE--VICE-PRESIDENT KING--THE
CABINET--POPULARITY OF THE NEW PRESIDENT--PRYOR, OF VIR-
GiNIA--RARE OLD WINES--PEALE'S PORTRAITS OF WASHINGTON--
BRADY' PORTRAITS--VISIT OF THACKERAY--A COPYRIGHT VICTIM--
JULLIEN'S CONCERTS.

GENERAL PIERCE received a severe blow after his election, a railroad accident in Massachusetts depriving him of his only child, a promising boy, to whom he was devotedly attached. A week before the inauguration he escorted his sorrowstricken wife to Baltimore, where he left her, and then went to Washington, accompanied by his private secretary, Mr. Sidney Webster. President Fillmore invited them to dine socially at the White House, and in the evening they were present at a numerously attended public reception in the East Room.

The inauguration of General Pierce attracted crowds from the cities on the Atlantic coast, with some from the western slope of the Alleghanies. It was a cold, raw day, and the President-elect rode in a carriage with President Fillmore, surrounded by a body-guard of young gentlemen, mounted on fine horses, and serving for that day as Deputy United States Marshals. There was a military escort, composed of the Marine Corps, the uniformed militia of the District, and visiting companies from Baltimore and Alexandria. Behind the

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