Friday, July 4, 2014

Francis Key Howard - "The despot's heel is on thy shore, Maryland!"

During the War Between the States, Francis Key Howard, grandson of Francis Scott Key, was the editor of the Baltimore Exchange.  He, along with many others, were arrested for writing and speaking out against Lincoln.  He was imprisoned at Fort McHenry, and wrote these words:  

'When I looked out in the morning, I could not help being struck by an odd and not pleasant coincidence. On that day, forty-seven years before, my grandfather, Mr. F. S. Key, the prisoner on a British ship, had witnessed the bombardment of Ft. McHenry. When on the following morning the hospital fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular throughout the country, the Star Spangled Banner. As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed."

When he was finally released on November 27, 1862 he wrote:

"We came out of prison just as we had gone in, holding the same just scorn and detestation [for] the despotism under which the country was prostrate, and with a stronger resolution that ever to oppose it by every means to which, as American freemen, we had the right to resort."

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