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 Presidential inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes
  Cartoonist:  N/A
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   March 24, 1877, p. 221

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Caption: Our new president - Taking the oath

Our New President

The inaugural ceremonies held at Washington on the 5th of march were brilliant and imposing, despite the cloudy skies and occasional light flurries of snow. Fortunately there was no wind, and the air was not cold enough to keep many people within-doors. Consequently the streets were thronged with eager sight-seers, and many ofthe Capitol for a glimpse of the new President. There were nearly as many men in the military organizations as ever marched down the avenue together except in the days of the war.

The ceremonies of the inaugural, except in the military display, are marked by a severe simplicity and even plainness. The foreign diplomatic corps appear in gorgeous uniforms and glittering decorations, but not a bit of gold-lace, not a badge or decoration of any kind, distinguished any one of our own civil officers. With the military it was, of course, different. The higher officers wore richly ornamented uniforms. But notwithstanding the simplicity of the proceedings, the spectacle was one of great interest.

Early in the morning crowds of people lined the avenue, seizing upon the most eligible places from which to witness it. The avenue in front of the Presidential mansion was a point where a vast crowd gathered and almost completely blocked the way. Of course the colored people insisted on their rights, and they composed fully half the throng. Every body pressed toward the gates of the White House grounds. Every body stoop on tiptoe, straining their necks to look over the heads of the people in front. They could only see, in the distance, the heads of a small band of mounted police. At last the crowd began to fall back, as the police advanced, opening a wide passage in the middle of the avenue, and the procession, headed by a band of music, advanced slowly, while the air was rent with enthusiastic cheers for the new President, who occupied a carriage with ex-President Grant and Senator morrill, chairman of the Senate committee of arrangements. Following it came carriages containing the Vice-President, Secretary of the Treasury Morrill, and Senator M'Creery, the heads of departments, and other distinguished persons. The Presidential party was placed immediately behind the Washington Light Guards and in front of a battery of light artillery, and in this order drove down the avenue toward the Capitol. As they proceeded, Mr. Hayes and General Grant were received with the utmost enthusiasm. People crowded upon the carriage at different points to such an extentas to interfere with its progress.

The space in front of the Capitol was packed with spectators. At least 30,000 people were gathered there, waiting fro the approach of the procession. Its coming was heralded by hearty shouts of welcome and applause; and when the Presidential party entered the building, the popular feeling was manifested by loud and prolonged cheering. When the ceremony of administering the earth of officeto Vice-President Wheeler was concluded in the Senate-chamber, a sketch of which is given by our artist on page 224, the doors leading to the platform were thrown open, and a large party of ladies and gentlemen who accompanied Mrs. Hayes came out upon the stand. "Modestly, but with no air of shrinking or timidity," says the correspondent of the Times, "the charming wife of the new Chief Magistrate took the seat assigned to her, and for a few moments received the congratulations showered upon hher with a cordiality and freedom from affectation which won all hearts." Soon afterward the judges of the Supreme Court appeared in their black robes of office, and following them came the diplomatic corps, in bright uniforms and glittering decorations. They were accompanied by a large party of ladies, Madam Mantilla, the wife of the Spanish minister, being conspicuous for her beauty and affability. After the foreign ministers, the Supreme Court judges, the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and other distinguished persons had taken seats, the Pesident elect and General Grant appeared, arm in arm, preceeded by the clerk of the Supreme Court, bearing the Bible upon which the oath of office was to be taken.

As the new President of the Untied States walked down to the front of the platform and took his place, he was again cheered with a heartiness that displayed the popular satisfaction his appearance awakened. When silence was restored, he at once commenced the delivery of his inaugural address. It was listened to with marked attention, and was at many points loudly applauded. The President spoke in a clear and deliberate tone, and his words were heard even by those who stood on the outer edge of the vast throng of people assembled to witness the ceremony.

When the address was concluded, the oath of office was administered to the new President by Chief Justice Waite. A sketch of this scene will be found on our first page. The President then re-entered his carriage. The ringing bells, the firing of cannon, and the cheers of the great multitude greeted him as he passed from the Capitol to the White House.

In the evening the streets of Washington were so thronged with people that it was difficult to move about except with the genral mass. All the public buildings and many private houses were brilliantly illuminated. Bands were playing, rockets flying, and cannon firing. Pennsylvania Avenue from end to end was one sea of light; across the street in many places arches of Chinese lanterns were hung; and these, together with the illuminated windows and the brilliant streams from many calcium lights placed at intervals along the main thoroughfares, turned night into day. An immense torch-light proocession ended the ceremonies. The demonstration was under the direction of the Central Republican Commiittee of the District, and many colored people were in the ranks. The line of march was taken up at the City Hall, and from there the column passedthrough Pennsylvania Avenue to theWhite House, from the grounds of which our sketch of the procession on page 224 was taken. After passing the President's mansion in review order, the procession proceeded to a number of the principal hotels, where prominent Senators and others were serenaded.

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