Lincoln Inaugural (Cont.)


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 16, 1861

The March 16, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured a fascinating picture and stories on the first Inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln.  We have posted the newspaper below.  Simply Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest of the newspaper.


The Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

The Navy-Yard at Norfolk Virginia

Abraham Lincoln Inauguration

Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address

Lincoln Inaugural Cont.

Texas Forts

Texas Forts

Washington Arsenal

The Washington Arsenal

Abraham Lincoln Inaugural

Winslow Homer Illustration of Abraham Lincoln Inaugural






MARCH 16, 1861.]



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interests among the States to comprise a new Union as to produce harmony only and to prevent renewed secession. Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.

A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible. So that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.


I do not forget the position assumed by some, that Constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding, in any case, upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the Government ; and while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon the vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own, unless having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the Court or the Judges.

It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.


One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute and the fugitive slave clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry, legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived, without restriction in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other.


Physically speaking, we can not separate—we can not remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other ; but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws ? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war ; you can not fight always, and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.


This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the national Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendment, I freely recognize the full authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others not specially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish themselves to accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of most I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.


The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix the terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves also can do this if they choose, but the Executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present government as it came to his hands, and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people ? Is there any better or equal hope in the world ? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right ? If the Almighty ruler of nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal—the American people. By the frame of the government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.

If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time ; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it, while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.


In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, Is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend" it. I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth-stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.


On Tuesday, 5th, at noon, the Senate met in executive session, and confirmed President Lincoln's cabinet,

On Wednesday, 6th, a resolution was offered by Senator Dixon, of Connecticut, providing for the printing of the usual number of copies of the President's Inaugural Address. Senator Clingman, of North Carolina, in giving his assent to the motion, took occasion to say that he did not indorse the sentiments of the Address, which, if carried out, would lead to war. Senator Douglas, on the contrary, had come to the conclusion that the message was one of peace rather than war. This speech is a magnanimous indorsement of the peaceful intent of the Inaugural. The motion was not disposed of when the Senate went into executive session.

On 7th, in the Senate, the debate of Wednesday was continued on the motion to print extra copies of the President's Inaugural. Senator Wigfall opened the debate, and spoke at considerable length. He did not look upon the inaugural in the light in which Senator Douglas viewed it, as meaning peace. He regarded it as somewhat vague; but if the course laid down in it by the President should be pursued war was inevitable. Forts Sumter and Pickens, and all the other places now held by the United States within the limits of the Confederate States, must be given up, and that very soon, or the South would proceed to take them. "The Union," he said, "is dead, and has to be buried." Senator Douglas replied, saying that he had examined carefully the remarks of the President, and could see no reason to change the opinion expressed by him on the previous day, that Mr. Lincoln meant peace. Senator Mason also participated in the debate, construing the inaugural as calculated to lead to war. The Senate adjourned without coming to a vote or transacting any other 'business.


The President on 5th sent to the Senate the names of his Cabinet officers as follows:

Secretary of State   WILLIAM H. SEWARD of N. Y. Secretary of the Treasury. SALMON P. CHASE of Ohio.

Secretary of War   SIMON CAMERON of Penn. Secretary of the Navy ....GIDEON WELLES of Conn. Post-master-General   MONTGOMERY BLAIR of Maryl'd. Attorney-General   EDWARD BATES of Missouri. Secretary of the Interior.. CALEB B. SMITH of Indiana.

They were unanimously confirmed, except Messrs. Blair and Bates, against whom four or five Southern Senators voted because they reside in slave States.


A few moments before 12 o'clock, on 4th, Mr. Breckinridge came into the Senate with Mr Hamlin upon his arm, and together they sat by the side of the President's desk until noon, when, assuming the Chair, Mr. Breckinridge said:

"SENATORS,—In taking final leave of this position, I shall ask a few moments in which to tender to you my grateful acknowledgments for the resolution declaring your approval of the manner in which I have discharged my duties, and to express my deep sense of the uniform courtesy which, as the presiding officer, I have received from the members of this body. If I have committed errors, your generous forbearance refused to rebuke them; and during the whole period of my service I have never appealed in vain to your justice or charity. The memory of these acts will ever be cherished among the most grateful recollections of my life, and for my successor I can ex-press no better wish than that he may enjoy the relations of mutual confidence which so happily have marked our intercourse. Now, gentlemen of the Senate and officers of the Senate, from whom I have received so many kind offices, accept my gratitude and cordial wishes for your prosperity and welfare."


The oath was then administered to Vice-President Hamlin, who announced his readiness to take it in a full, firm tone. Mr. Breckinridge took him by the hand, and led him to the chair, after which, crossing over to Mr. Seward, he shook hands and extended greetings with him, and took his seat as the newly-elected Senator. The Vice-President rapped to order, and addressed the Senate as follows :

"SENATORS—The experience of several years in this body has taught me something of the duties of the presiding officer, and with a stern, inflexible purpose to discharge these duties faithfully, relying upon the courtesy and cooperation of Senators, and invoking the aid of Divine Providence, I am now ready to take the oath required by the Constitution, and to enter upon the discharge of the official duties assigned me by the confidence of a generous people."


The Inauguration Ball, for which such extensive preparations had been made, was a great success. It was very fully attended, and passed off in a manner satisfactory to all. Mr. Lincoln, with his family, accompanied by Vice-President Hamlin and family, Senator Douglas, and other distinguished personages, entered the Ball about eleven o'clock, and after a brief promenade, received the personal congratulations of such as chose to be presented to him. Soon afterward the Presidential party proceeded to the supper-room ; and subsequently some of the party, including Senator Douglas and Mrs. Lincoln, who were partners, danced a quadrille.


The following is announced as the list of Chairmen of the new Senate Committees :

Foreign Relations'    Mr. SUMNER. Finance    Mr. FESSENDEN. Commerce Mr. CHANDLER. Military Affairs    Mr. WILSON. Naval Affairs    Mr. HALE.

Judiciary    Mr. TRUMBULL.

Post-Office    Mr. COLLAMER.

Public Lands    Mr. HARLAN.

Private Land Claims    Mr. HARRIS.

Indian Affairs    Mr. DOOLITTLE.

Pensions    Mr. FOSTER.

Revolutionary Claims   Mr. KING.

Claims    Mr. CLARK.

District of Columbia    Mr. GRIMES.

Patents    Mr. SIMMONS.

Public Buildings    Mr. FOOT.

Territories    Mr. WADE.

Senate Expenses    Mr. DIXON.

Printing    Mr. ANTHONY.

Enrolled Bills    Mr. BINGHAM.

Engrossed Bills    Mr. BAKER.


The accounts laid before Mr. Chase on his assuming the charge of the Treasury show that there are funds on hand applicable to the current expenses of the Government to the amount of $6,000,000. Besides this, the current receipts from the customs amount to $80,000 daily.


The State of Texas is out of the Union. From New Orleans it is stated that the people have ratified the ordinance of secession by a majority of from 40,000 to 45,000. General Houston has resigned the Governorship.


The following is the Cabinet of the Southern Confederacy, as at present constituted:

Secretary of State   Robert Toombs of Georgia.
Secretary of the Treasury ....C. L. Memminger of S. C.

Secretary of War   —Leroy P. Walker of Ala.

Secretary of the Navy   Stephen M. Mallory of Fla.

Postmaster- General    —John H. Reagan of Texas.


Advices from Arkansas, by way of Louisville, announce the assembling of the State Convention on the 4th instant, and the election of Union officers by 6 majority. This indicates that the hopes of the Secessionists in that State have been defeated.


Returns from sixty-two out of the eighty-four counties of North Carolina have been received, which indicate the election of sixty-five Unionists and only thirty-three Secessionists as delegates to a State Convention, should it be decided to hold sue, which will probably have to be determined by the official count. The whole number of delegates

 to the Convention will consist of about 130, and the returns still to come in front twenty-two counties can not possibly overcome the Union majority.


News from Texas renders it probable that a conflict has already taken place in that State between the United States forces and those of the State of Texas. Galveston dates of the 26th ult. state that Captain Nichols, commander of the State troops, had demanded of Captain Hill, of the United States Army, the surrender of Fort Brown. Captain Hill refused to entertain the proposition, called Captain Nichols and his men traitors, and expressed his determination to defend the fort to the last extremity. Captain Hill refused to obey any order of General Twiggs, and had sent to Fort Ringgold for two hundred men. Troops were on the way from Galveston to reinforce the Texan army.


The late Treasurer of the Mint and Assistant-Treasurer of the United States at New Orleans, has just refused to honor the drafts of the Post-office Department for $300,000 for postal services, on the ground that Louisiana has forbidden such payments.


The Louisiana State Convention on 7th, in secret session passed an ordinance transferring to the government of the Confederate States the sum of five hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars, the amount of customs received and moneys seized by the State.


The following is part of a letter which has been published :

"The troops are leaving the opposite shore, disgusted at playing soldier, I suppose. They say there are only about three hundred remaining, and these are regulars, having enlisted for one year. My messenger to the yard this morning said they were afraid we would attack them now. We could do so, and get possession again of every thing in an hour, if we were only permitted to take such a course. I have now mounted nearly all the guns—that is, all that are really necessary to enable this work to be defended by a force of 500 men. We have worked like horses to accomplish this, but great things can be done by small means when one knows how. This small command has done more than Chase or Lomax could have done with their 2000 men, and they know it. Having seen our guns go up so rapidly, they swear we have had reinforcements. In fact, the papers say nothing else could be expected—that we have smuggled in men from the vessels. It is true we could have done so, and they be none the wiser; but not a man has been added to this command from them. In fact, so particular are we that not even an officer has come ashore with the exception of Captain Vodges, and he only once, when the vessels first came.

"Colonel Chase was putting up a battery near the light-house, and mounting eight-inch Columbiads on it. This battery would have raked our front, so I wrote protesting against its continuance at present, and also against the erection of all batteries bearing on the fort. Colonel Chase told the secretary of War that if he would not land the troops in the Brooklyn, he, on his part, would not attack the fort, and would immediately discontinue all preparations for so doing. Of course this battery building was violating the agreement, and they have admitted it by not going on. They think I have no right to mount any more guns either, but that is all they know about it. There was no armistice on my side at all, except about the landing of the troops, and that was the Secretary's. I am at perfect liberty to mount every gun in the fort if I choose, and to make such other defenses as I can invent or copy.


"First Lieutenant, First Artillery, Commanding Fort Pickens."


The Montgomery Mail has carefully compiled, from personal knowledge, the number of guns, etc., at present in the forts at Pensacola, Florida, which is as follows:

Fort Pickens.—In bastion, twenty-six 24-pound howitzers; casemate, two 42-pounders; sixty-four 32-pounders; fifty-nine 24-pounders. In barbette, twenty-four 8-inch howitzers; six 1S-pounders; twelve 12-pounders; one 10-inch Columbiad, mounted ; three 10-inch Columbiads, not mounted ; four 10-inch mortars, in bad order.

Fort Barrancas.—Eleven 32-pounders ; three S-inch Paixhans; two 8-inch Columbiads; eight 24-pounders; four 18-pounders; two 12-pounders ; eight 12-pound howitzers. Flank defenses—two 18-inch mortars.

Fort McRae.—Lower tier, twenty-two 42-pounders. Second tier, twelve 8-inch Columbiads; eighteen 32-pounders. Barbette, sixty-two 24-pounders; three 10-inch Columbiads—none mounted.

In addition to the 500 barrels of powder recently brought to this State, there still remains in the magazine at the Navy-yard 600 pounds of cannon powder, and 3500 pounds of musket powder. In sand battery A there are two 8-inch Columbiads.


 Dispatches were received by the War Department, on 6th, from Major Anderson, which contradict rumors that he apprehended an attack; and relieved some other misgivings as to his situation. All the recent correspondence between him and Governor Pickens has been far more friendly than heretofore, and no unusual preparations have been made which indicate any present purpose of collision. The coast-guard outside and in the harbor of Charleston has been considerably increased by gun-boats, which exercise constant surveillance, and are intended to prevent reinforcements. In Major Anderson's judgment, this force is sufficient for that purpose.


The Herald correspondent telegraphs : " I am informed by an officer of the army that information has been received from Major Anderson to the effect that it is useless to send less than twenty thousand soldiers to Charleston. Less than that number can not enter the harbor and destroy the batteries on either side. This information, it is said, is also in possession of the Government.

" The Charleston Courier, of the 5th inst., states that Brigadier-General Beauregard has expressed perfect confidence, after viewing the fortifications in Charleston harbor, that Fort Sumter can be reduced. He says that it is only a question of time."


Ex-President Buchanan reached his home in Lancaster on 6th, and was received by a large concourse of his fellow-citizens, with a fine display of military and civic societies. In response to an address of welcome, Mr. Buchanan made a speech, in which he congratulated himself on his retirement from public life, and announced his intention to pass the remainder of his existence as a " good citizen, a faithful friend, an adviser of those who need advice, and a benefactor of the widows and the fatherless." His only allusion to public affairs was a hope that the Constitution and the Union might be preserved.


 The following circular has been issued by the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina:

"CHARLESTON, February 19, " To the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina;

"BELOVED BRETHREN,—South Carolina having now be-come one of the ' Confederate States of America,' a Provisional Government having been established, and the President inaugurated, permit me to request that hereafter, in the prayer for 'all in civil authority' now used, you substitute for the words ' Governor of South Carolina,' the words ' President of the Confederate States of America;' and that in the ' prayer for Congress,' instead of the words ' United States,' the words Confederate States' be used. and the words ' Senate and' omitted.

" I remain, very truly, your Brother in Christ,

"THOMAS F. DAVIS, "Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina."


The Secretary of War has published an official order dismissing General Twiggs from the Army, "for treachery

to the flag of his country," in having surrendered, on demand of the authorities of Texas, the military posts and other property of the United States in his department, and under his charge.


The story runs that a gentleman living at St. Joseph's Island, out West, was engaged to be married to a pretty French girl, and the bans were published in the Catholic Church on a certain Sunday. The next day a Yankee made a bet of $100 with a friend that he would marry the girl himself. The money was placed in the hand of a third party; the Yankee then called upon the young lady and made a proposition of marriage. She told him that her intended had already given her $40 to buy clothes but that she didn't like him very well. At this her new suitor handed her a like amount, and then placing $40 more with it, remarked: "There's his forty dollars, and I'll go forty better." The young lady could resist no longer, and taking the money returned the amount given her by her first lover, and married his competitor within an hour, well satisfied with the bargain. The bet was won, and in the course of a month the St. Joseph Islander married the sister of his first fiancee.


Messrs. Crawford, Forsyth, and Roman, the Commissioners sent by the Southern Confederacy to demand the surrender of the United States forts, are in Washington, and will make their demand on the President on Tuesday next.

General Beauregard, lately a Major in the United States Army, now a leader of the Secessionist forces, has been appointed by President Davis to the command of the troops assembled at Charleston for the attack on Fort Sumter.

Mr. Frederick W. Seward, a son of the Secretary of State, and lately one of the editors of the Albany Evening Journal, has been appointed by the President, and confirmed by the Senate, as Assistant Secretary of State.

Illinois has drawn the first diplomatic prize in the person of N. B. Judd, as Minister to Berlin ; Hernrann Kreisman, of Chicago, goes as Secretary of legation.

Ex-Secretary of War Floyd arrived in Washington on 7th, for the purpose of appearing before the Criminal Court to answer the indictment found against him by the Grand Jury in connection with the stolen Indian Trust Fund bonds.



THE London Star of the 16th has the following. 'It was said that Mr. Cobden had proposed the Swiss Confederation as mediator in the American conflict. The following is the truth of the matter: Mr. Cobden, who is merely a private gentleman, has no authority to propose a mediator Having been consulted on the subject of the disruption of the Union by some of his numerous friends on the other side of the Atlantic, he suggested that they should choose the Swiss Confederation as an arbitrator. This fact was communicated to M. Fomrod, a member of the Federal Council. This is what took place, but nothing more was nor could have been done. If the American Government should claim the mediation of Switzerland, the Confederation would no doubt give the proposal the consideration it merits, but it is not probable that such will be the case."


The steamship Great Eastern is advertised to sail the first week in March for Norfolk, Virginia, where she has been guaranteed a cargo of cotton, the freight on which amounts to $75,000.




The Civil Tribunal of the Seine on the 15th ult. delivered judgment in the Bonaparte-Patterson case in favor of Prince Napoleon. The Court ground, its judgment upon the fact that the question was conclusively settled by the Emperor's family council in 1860. It abstains from pronouncing any opinion on the merits of the case, which, it will be remembered, M. Merveilleux, the Crown Advocate, admitted to be entirely in favor of the Pattersons. The latter will no doubt appeal.


The Journal of Monaco, of the 10th, says: " On the 2d of February a treaty was signed at Paris by which the Prince of Monaco cedes the communes of Mentone and Roquebrune to the Emperor of the French. The exchange of ratifications will take place within ten days. This cession is made by the Prince for an indemnity of 160,000, as also the restitution of the private properties belonging to his Highness in the communes of Mentone and Roquebrune, and of which the Prince was despoiled in 1848. The treaty stipulates the establishment of a customs-union between France and the Principality, and the engagement on the part of the Imperial government, to construct a carriage-road between Nice and Monaca."


M. Mires, the great capitalist, has been arrested at Paris and placed in the Conciergerie. It is not clear on what charge the arrest was made, though it is supposed to be connected with the prosecution some time since brought against him by M. de Pontalba, but which was then compromised.



The Monitettr publishes the following:

"The King and Queen of Naples arrived at Rome on the 14th. Their Majesties alighted at the Quirinal, where his Highness Pope Pius IX. paid them a visit on the 15th. It appears that the bombardment of the 11th and 12th was of extreme violence, rendering the rifled cannon useless. From the demand to surrender to the moment the capitulation was signed, the Piedmontese threw 50,000 shells into the fortress. The King passed the Neapolitan troops in review before leaving, who wept on presenting arms to him. An immense crowd was assembled, and the population sited tears. Royal honors were paid to Francis II. as he embarked. As the vessel left, a salute of 21 guns was fired, and the flags were lowered, while the garrison shouted 'Long live the King!' though in presence of the Piedmontese, already in possession."


In Rome the fall of Gaeta has caused immense excitement. The people are greatly agitated, and the national movement increases in strength. On Thursday last a strong popular demonstration took place, the crowd shouted " Victor Emanuel and the unity of Italy forever!" and even some priests joined in the cheering. The French general offered no opposition to these proceedings, but the crowd finally dispersed at the request of some French patrols. It is thought the Papal government will be unable to resist the movement. The Giornale di Roma denies that there has been any arrangement between the Holy See and Piedmont. The departure of Mgr. Sacconi, Papal Nuncio to the Court of the Tuileries, is postponed. The position of his Holiness becomes daily more isolated.



The Liberal Government, recently triumphant in Mexico, has begun the work of Church reform by suppressing thirteen out of twenty-two nunneries in the capital, and ordering their estates to be put to some practical use. These proceedings led to a slight fanatical outbreak on the part of the lowest class of the population, instigated by the priests, but the affair was easily suppressed, with little bloodshed. From the returns of the votes at the recent Presidential election, it appears that Juarez has a plurality over his competitors, Lerdo and Ortega, but as an absolute majority is requisite, the choice of President will devolve on Congress.



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