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Garfield, by Emma Elizabeth Brown

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Title: The Life and Public Services of James A. Garfield
       Twentieth President of the United States.

Author: Emma Elizabeth Brown

Release Date: November 6, 2010 [EBook #34217]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Curtis Weyant, Josephine Paolucci and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at














Copyright, 1881,
By D. Lothrop & Co.


"To one who joined with us in sorrow true,
And bowed her crowned head above our slain."

[Pg v]



More eloquent voices for Christ and the gospel have never come from the grave of a dead President than those which we hear from the tomb of our lamented chief magistrate.

Twenty six years ago this summer a company of college students had gone to the top of Greylock Mountain, in Western Massachusetts, to spend the night. A very wide outlook can be gained from that summit. But if you will stand there with that little company to-day, you can see farther than the bounds of Massachusetts or the bounds of New England, or the bounds of the Union. James A. Garfield is one of that band of students, and as the evening shades gather, he rises up among the group and says, "Classmates, it is my habit to read a portion of God's Word before retiring to rest. Will you permit me to read aloud?" And then taking in his hand a pocket Testament, he reads in that clear, strong voice a chapter of Holy Writ, and calls upon a brother student to offer prayer. "How far the little candle throws its beams!" It required real principle to take that stand even in such a company. Was that candle of the Lord afterward put out amid the dampening and unfriendly influences of a long political life? It would not be strange. Many a Christian man has had his religious testimony smothered amid the stifling and vitiated air of party politics, till[Pg vi] instead of a clear light, it has given out only the flicker and foulness of a "smoking wick."

But pass on for a quarter of a century. The young student has become a man. He has been in contact for years with the corrupting influences of political life. Let us see where he stands now. In the great Republican Convention at Chicago he is a leading figure. The meetings have been attended with unprecedented excitement through the week. Sunday has come, and such is the strain of rivalry between contending factions that most of the politicians spend the entire day in pushing the interests of their favorite candidates. But on that Lord's day morning Mr. Garfield is seen quietly wending his way to the house of God. His absence being remarked upon to him next day, he said, in reply, "I have more confidence in the prayers to God which ascended in the churches yesterday, than in all the caucusing which went on in the hotels."

He had great interests at stake as the promoter of the nomination of a favorite candidate When so much was pending, might he not be allowed to use the Sunday for defending his interest? So many would have reasoned But no! amid the clash of contending factions and the tumult of conflicting interests, there is one politician that heard the Word of God sounding in his ear "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shall not do any work." And, at the bidding of the Divine command, his conscience marches him away to the house of God. Not, indeed, to enjoy the luxury of hearing some famous preacher, or of listening to some superb singing, but he goes to one of the obscurest and humblest churches[Pg vii] in the city, because there is where he belongs, and that is the church which he has covenanted to walk with, as a disciple of Jesus Christ. "How far" again "that little candle threw its beams!" It was a little thing, but it was the index of a principle, an index that pointed the whole American people upward when they heard of it. Here was a man who did not carry a pocket conscience—a bundle of portable convictions tied up with a thread of expediency. Nay! here was a man whose conscience carried him—his master, not his menial, his sovereign, not his servant.

And when, during the last days in his home at Mentor, just before going to Washington to assume his office, he was entertaining some political friends at tea, he did not forego evening prayers, for fear he might be charged with cant, but, according to his custom, drew his family together and opened the Scriptures and bowed in prayer in the midst of his guests. And his was a religious principle that found expression in action as well as in prayer. A lady residing in Washington told us that while a member of the House of Representatives, he was accustomed to work faithfully in the Sunday school, and that among his last acts was the recruiting of a class of young men and teaching them in the Bible. We know from his pastor that he was not too busy to be found often in the social meetings of the church, nor too great to be above praying and exhorting in the little group of Christians with whom he met. A practical Christian, did we say? He must have been a spiritual Christian also. There is one address of his in Congress that made a great impression on our mind as we read it. He was delivering a brief eulogy on some deceased Senator—I[Pg viii] think it was Senator Ferry. He spoke of him as a Christian, not a formalist, but a devout and godly disciple of Christ. And then he spoke of the rest into which he had entered, and quoted with great effect that beautiful hymn of Bonar's—

"Beyond the smiling and the weeping,
I shall be soon.
Beyond the waking and the sleeping,
Beyond the sowing and the reaping,
I shall be soon.
Love rest, and home sweet home,
Lord, tarry not, but come."

And taking the key from these last words, he said: "Yes, when the Lord comes there will be no more weeping, no more sorrow, no more death. 'Even so come, Lord Jesus.'"

We believe that only a man of real spiritual, evangelical faith could have uttered those words. And when we think how rarely such a man has filled the presidential chair, we feel overwhelmed at the loss.

Let us praise God that for once we have had a President who could shine in the most illustrious position in the nation, and yet light up for us the humblest walks of Christian obedience. Here is one who ruled and who served, who was a leader of the people and a follower of Christ. The seat where he sat as ruler of fifty millions will speak to generations yet to come, telling them how righteousness exalteth a ruler, and the little stream where he was baptized will tell perpetually, as it flows on, how it "becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."

[Pg ix]



The "Great Heart of the People."—Bereaved of their Chief.—Universal Mourning.—Wondering Query of Foreign Nations.—Humble Birth in Log Cabin.—The Frontier Settlements in Ohio.—Untimely death of Father.—Struggles of the Family. 11


Boyhood of James.—Attempts at Carpentry.—First Earnings.—His Thirst for Knowledge.—The Garfield Coat-of-Arms.—Ancestry, etc. 21


Life at the "Black-Salter's".—James wants to go to Sea.—His Mother will not give her Consent.—Hires out as a Woodchopper.—His Powerful Physique.—His Strength of Character. 25


James still longs for the Sea.—Experience with a Drunken Captain.—Change of Base.—Life on the Canal. 30


Narrow Escape from Drowning.—Return Home.—Severe Illness.—James determines to fit himself for a Teacher.—Geauga Seminary.—Personal Appearance.—Dr Robinson's Verdict. 36


Low state of Finances.—James takes up Carpentry again.—The [Pg x]Debating Club.—Bread and Milk Diet.—First Experience in School-Teaching.—Becomes Interested in Religious Topics.—Creed of the Disciples.—James joins the New Sect. 42


Return to Geauga Seminary.—Works at Haying through the Vacation.—Teaches a Higher Grade of School.—First Oration.—Determines to go to College.—He visits the State Capitol at Columbus. 48


Hiram Institute.—The faithful Janitor.—Miss Almeda Booth.—James is appointed Assistant Teacher.—Critical habit of Reading.—Moral and Religious Growth.—Debating Club. 53


Ready for College.—His Uncle lends him Five Hundred Dollars.—Why he decides to go to Williams.—College Life. 58


Return Home.—Appointed Professor, then President, of Hiram Institute.—His Popularity as a Teacher.—Answers Prof Denton.—Marriage. 67


Law Studies.—Becomes Interested in Politics.—Delivers Oration at the Williams Commencement.—Elected State Senator.—His Courage and Eloquence. 74


War Declared Between the North and South.—Garfield Forms a Regiment from the Western Reserve.—Is Appointed Colonel.—General Buell's Order.—Garfield Takes Charge of the 18th Brigade.—Jordan's Perilous Journey.—Bradley Brown.—Plan of a Campaign.—March Against Marshall, 80


Opening of Hostilities.—Brave Charge of the Hiram Students.—Giving the Rebels "Hail Columbia".—Sheldon's Reinforcement.—The Rebel Commander Falls.—His Army [Pg xi]Retreats in Confusion. 93


Garfield's Address to his Soldiers.—Starvation Stares them in the Face.—Garfield Takes Command of the Sandy Valley.—Perilous Trip up the River.—Garfield's Address to the Citizens of Sandy Valley.—Pound Gap.—Garfield Resolves to Seize the Guerillas.—The Old Mountaineer.—Successful Attack.—General Buell's Message.—Garfield is Appointed Brigadier General. 100


Garfield takes Command of the Twentieth Brigade.—Battles of Shiloh and Corinth.—The Fugitive Slave.—Attack of Malaria.—Home Furlough.—Summoned to Washington.—Death of his Child.—Ordered to Join General Rosecrans.—Kirke's Description of Garfield. 110


Rosecrans Quarrels with the War Department.—Garfield as Mediator.—Remarkable Military Document.—The Tullahoma Campaign.—Insurrection Averted.—Chattanooga.—Battle of Chickamauga.—Brave Defence of Gen. Thomas.—Garfield's Famous Ride. 115


Rosecran's Official Report.—Sixteen Years Later.—Promotion to Major General.—Elected to Congress.—Resigns his Commission in the Army.—Endowed by Nature and Education for a Public Speaker.—Moral Character.—Youngest Member of House of Representatives.—One Secret of Success.—First Speech.—Wade Davis Manifesto.—Extracts from Various Speeches. 125


Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.—The New York Mob.—Garfield's Memorable Words.—Eulogy upon Lincoln.—Memorial Oration.—Eulogy upon Senator Morton.—Extracts from other Orations. 138


The Home in Washington.—Fruit Between Leaves.—Classical Studies.—Mrs. Garfield.—Variety of Reading.—Favorite [Pg xii]Verses. 147


Tide of Unpopularity.—Misjudged.—Vindicated.—Re-elected.—The De Golyer Contract.—The Salary Increase Question.—Incident Related by President Hinsdale. 154


The Credit Mobilier.—Garfield entirely Cleared of all Charges Against him.—Tribute to him in Cincinnati Gazette.—Elected U. S. Senator.—Extract from Speech.—Sonnet. 160


After the Ordeal.—Unanimous Vote of the General Assembly of Ohio.—Extract from Garfield's Speech of Acceptance.—Purchase of the Farm at Mentor.—Description of the New House.—Life at Mentor.—The Garfield Household.—Longing for Home in his Last Hours. 167


Republican Convention at Chicago.—The Three Prominent Candidates.—Description of Conkling.—Logan.—Cameron.—Description of Garfield.—Resolution Introduced by Conkling.—Opposition of West Virginians.—Garfield's Conciliatory Speech.—His Oration in Behalf of Sherman.—Opinions of the Press. 174


The Battle still Undecided.—Sunday among the delegates.—Garfield's Remark.—Monday another Day of Doubt.—The Dark Horse.—The Balloting on Tuesday.—Garfield's Remonstrance.—He is Unanimously Elected on the Thirty-sixth Ballot.—Enthusiastic Demonstrations, Congratulatory Speeches and Telegrams.—His Speech of Acceptance. 187


Return Home.—Ovations on the Way.—Address at Hiram Institute.—Impromptu Speech at Washington.—Incident of the Eagle.—The Tract Distributor. 196


News of the Nomination Received with Delight.—Mr Robeson speaks for the Democrats in the House of Representatives.—Ratification [Pg xiii]Meeting at Williams College.—Governor Long's Opinion.—Hotly-contested Campaign.—Garfield Receives the Majority of Votes.—Is Elected President on the Second of November, 1880.—Extract from Letter of an Old Pupil.—Review of Garfield's Congressional Life.—His own Feelings in Regard to the Election. 201


At Mentor.—The Journey to Washington.—Inauguration Day.—Immense Concourse of People.—The Address.—Sworn into Office.—Touching Scene.—Grand Display.—Inauguration Ball.—Announcement of the Members of the Cabinet.—Two Great Problems.—How they were Solved.—Disgraceful Rupture in the Senate.—Prerogative of the Executive Office vindicated. 207


The President Plans a Ten-Days' Pleasure-Trip.—Morning of the Fateful Day.—Secretary Blame Accompanies him to the Station.—A Mysterious-looking Character.—Sudden Report of a Pistol.—The President Turns and Receives the Fatal Shot.—Arrest of the Assassin.—The President Recovers Consciousness and is Taken Back to the White House. 214


At the White House.—The Anxious Throngs.—Examination of the Wounds.—The President's Questions.—His Willingness to Die.—Waiting for his Wife.—Sudden Relapse.—A Glimmer of Hope.—A Sunday of Doubt.—Independence Day.—Remarks of George William Curtis. 218


The Assassin.—What were his motives.—His own Confessions.—Statement of District-Attorney Corkhill.—Sketch of Guiteau's Early Life. 227


Night of the Fourth.—Extreme Solicitude at the White House.—Description of an Eye-witness.—Attorney McVeagh's Remark.—Sudden Change for the Better.—Steady Improvement.—The Medical Attendance. 233


A Relapse.—Cooling Apparatus at the White House.—The [Pg xiv]President writes a Letter to his Mother.—Evidences of Blood Poisoning.—Symptoms of Malaria.—Removal to Long Branch.—Preparation for the Journey.—Incidents by the Way. 238


Description of the Francklyn Cottage.—The Arrival at Long Branch.—The President is Drawn up to the Open Window.—Enjoys the Sea View and the Sea Breezes.—The Surgical Force Reduced.—Incident on the Day of Prayer. 245


Hopeful Symptoms.—Official Bulletin.—Telegram to Minister Lowell.—Incidents at Long Branch.—Sudden Change for the Worse.—Touching Scene with his Daughter.—Another Gleam of Hope.—Death ends the Brave Heroic Struggle.—The Closing Scene. 252


The Midnight Bells.—Universal Sorrow.—Queen Victoria's Message.—Extract from a London Letter.—The Whitby Fishermen.—The Yorkshire Peasant.—World wide Demonstrations of Grief. 260


The Services at Elberon.—Journey to Washington.—Lying in State.—Queen Victoria's Offering.—Impressive Ceremonies in the Capitol Rotunda. 266


Journey to Cleveland.—Lying in State in the Catafalque in the Park.—Immense Concourse.—Funeral Ceremonies.—Favorite Hymn.—At the Cemetery. 273


Lakeview Cemetery.—Talk with Garfield's Mother.—First Church where he Preached.—His Religious Experience.—Garfield as a Preacher. 280


The Sunday Preceding the Burial.—The Crowded Churches.—The one Theme that Absorbed all Hearts.—Across the Water.—At Alexandra Palace.—At St. Paul's Cathedral.—At Westminster Abbey.—Paris.—Berlin.—Extract from [Pg xv]London Times. 287


National Day of Mourning.—Draping of Public Buildings and Private Residences.—Touching Incident.—Tributes to Garfield.—Senator Hoar's Address.—Whittier's Letter.—Senator Dawes' Remarks. 290


Subscription Fund for the President's Family.—Ready Generosity of the People.—Touching Incident.—Total Amount of the Fund.—How the Money was Invested.—Project for Memorial Hospital in Washington.—Cyrus W. Field's Gift of Memorial Window to Williams College.—Garfield's Affection for his Alma Mater.—Reception given Mark Hopkins and the Williams Graduates.—Garfield's Address to his Classmates. 301


Removal of the President's Remains.—Monument Fund Committee.—Garfield Memorial in Boston.—Extracts from Address by Hon. N. P. Banks. 306


Southern Feeling.—Memorial Services at Jefferson, Kentucky.—Extracts from Address by Henry Watterson.—Senator Bayard.—Ex-Speaker Randall.—Senator Hill.—Extracts from some of the Southern Journals. 328


Extracts from some of the President's Private Letters to a Friend in Boston, bearing the same Family Name.—To Corydon E. Fuller, a College Classmate. 336


Reminiscences of Corydon E. Fuller.—Of one of the Pupils at Hiram Institute.—Garfield's Keen Observation.—His Kindness of Heart.—Anecdote of the Game of Ball.—Of the Lame Girl in Washington.—Of Brown the ex-Scout and old Boat Companion. 353


Remarks of a Personal Friend.—Reminiscences of the President's [Pg xvi]Cousin, Henry Boynton.—Garfield as a Freemason.360


Poems in Memory of Garfield, by Longfellow.—George Parsons Lathrop.—From London Spectator.—Oliver Wendell Holmes.—H. Bernard Carpenter—John Boyle O'Reilly—Joaquin Miller.—M. J. Savage.—Julia Ward Howe.—Rose Terry Cooke.—Prize Ode.—Kate Tannett Woods. 368


Currency.—Lincoln.—The Draft.—Slavery.—Independence.—The Rebellion.—Protection and Free-Trade.—Education.—William H. Seward.—Fourteenth Amendment.—Classical Studies.—History.—Liberty.—Statistics.—Poverty.—The Salary Question.—The Railway Problem.—Elements of Success.—Law.—The Revenue.—Statesmanship.—Relation of Government to Science.—Gustave Schleicher.—Suffrage.—Union of the North and South.—Appeal to Young Men.—Inaugural. 388


Remarkable Military Document by Garfield 494

Official report of the post-mortem examination of Garfield's body 505

Senator Hoar's Address 520

Hon. James G. Blame's Eulogy 544

A Threnody 584

[Pg 11]



The "Great Heart of the People."—Bereaved of their Chief.—Universal Mourning.—Wondering Query of Foreign Nations.—Humble Birth in Log Cabin.—The Frontier Settlements in Ohio.—Untimely Death of Father.—Struggles of the Family.

"The great heart of the people will not let the old soldier die!"

So murmured the brave, patient sufferer in his sleep that terrible July night, when the whole nation, stricken down with grief and consternation at the assassin's deed, watched, waited, prayed—as one man—for the life of their beloved President.

And all through those weary eighty days that followed, of alternate hope and fear, how truly the great, loving, sympathetic heart of the people did battle, with millions of unseen weapons, for the strong, heroic spirit that never faltered, never gave up "the one chance," even while he whispered: "God's will be done; I am ready to go if my time has come."

Party differences were all forgotten; there was no longer any North or South—only one common[Pg 12] brotherhood, one great, sorrowing household watching with tender solicitude beside the death-bed of their loved one.

How anxiously the varying bulletins were studied! How eagerly the faintest glimmer of hope was seized! And when, on that never-to-be-forgotten anniversary of Chickamauga's battle, the midnight bells tolled out their solemn requiem,

"The nation sent
Like Egypt, in her tenth and final blow.
Through all the land a loud and bitter cry;
And felt, like her, as o'er her dead she bent,
There is in every home a present woe!"

And yet, with renewed fervor, we repeat those pathetic words:

"The great heart of the people will not let the old soldier die!"

While bowing reverently, submissively to the decree of the Almighty Disposer of human affairs, the nation feels that "no canon of earth or Heaven can forbid the enshrining of his manly virtues and grand character, so that after-generations may profit by the contemplation of them."

A halo of immortal glory already gathers around the name of James A. Garfield.

The remembrance of his brave, self-forgetting endurance of pain, his strong, indomitable will, his tender regard for his aged mother, his simple,[Pg 13] unaffected piety, his cheerful resignation, will never be effaced from the heart of the people.

And when expressions of sympathy and regret came to America from all parts of the world, the wondering query arose:

"How is it that republican manners and republican institutions can produce such a king among men as President Garfield?"

Let us go back to that humble log cabin in the wilds of Ohio where, fifty years ago, a little fair-haired, blue-eyed boy was born.

It is a bleak, bitter day in November, and the whistling of the winds through the crevices, mingles with the howl of hungry wolves in the woods close by.

But the new baby finds a warm welcome waiting him in that rough cabin home. The mother's love is fully reflected in the honest face of the great, warm-hearted father, as he folds the little stranger in his strong arms, and declares he is "worth his weight in gold."

Thomas, a boy of nine years, with Mehetabel and Mary, the two little sisters, look wonderingly upon their baby brother, and then run out to spread the good news through the neighborhood.

In those early days the frontier settlements seemed like one family, so interested were all in the joys and sorrows of each.

Eighteen months later, when the brave, strong[Pg 14] father was cut down in the midst of his work, a circle of true-hearted, sympathizing friends stood, like a body-guard, around the little family.

One of those dreaded forest fires had been raging for days through the tract of country adjoining the Garfield farm. With the aid of his older children, Mehetabel and Thomas, the father had at last checked the flames, but, sitting down to rest by the open door, he took a severe cold which brought on congestion of the throat.

Before a physician could be called he was past all human aid, and, looking wistfully upon his children and heart-broken wife, he said, with dying breath,—

"I am going to leave you, Eliza. I have planted four saplings in these woods, and I must now leave them to your care."

The blue-eyed baby, who bore his father's name, could not understand the sorrowful faces about him, and, toddling up to the bedside, he put his little hands on the cold lips, and called "Papa! Papa!" till the weeping mother bore him out of the room.

"What will become of those poor, fatherless children?" said one neighbor to another.

"It is a strange providence," was the reply. "The mother is too young and too frail to carry on the farm alone. She will have to sell everything, and find homes for the children among her friends."[Pg 15]

But Eliza Garfield was not the weak, dependent woman they had imagined. Moreover, she had one brave little helper close at hand.

"Don't cry, mother dear," said Thomas, making a great effort to keep back his own tears. "I am ten years old now, you know. I will take care of you. I am big enough to plough and plant, and cut the wood and milk the cows. Don't let us give up the farm. I will work ever so hard if we can only keep together!"

Noble little fellow! No wonder the mother's heart grew lighter as she watched his earnest face.

"You are not strong enough, dear child, to do all that," she said, "but God helping us, we will keep together. I will sell off part of the farm to pay our debts, and we shall then have thirty acres left, which will be quite enough for you and me to take care of."

It was now late in the spring, but Thomas managed to sow the wheat, plant the corn and potatoes and with the help of a kind neighbor complete the little barn his father had begun to build.

In cultivating the ground, his mother and sisters were always ready to help, and together they split the rails, and drove the stakes for the heavy fence around the wheat-field.

With such example of untiring industry and perseverance constantly before his eyes, it is no[Pg 16] wonder the restless baby brother soon tried to lend a helping hand.

"Me do it too," he would cry, when Thomas took down the rake or the hoe, and started off for his work in the fields.

"One of these days, Jimmy," the boy-farmer would reply, with a merry smile: though even then he could not help hoping there might be better things in store for the little brother he loved so dearly.

Walking all the way to Cleveland, Thomas secures a little job, and brings home his first earnings, with a bounding heart.

"Now Jimmy can have a pair of shoes," he says to his mother who cannot keep back her tears as she looks at his own bare feet.

The old cobbler comes and boards at the cabin while he makes the little shoes, and when they are completed it is hard to tell which is the happier boy,—Thomas or little Jimmy.

Four years after the father's death, a school-house is built a mile and a half away.

"Jimmy and the girls must go," says Thomas.

"Yes," replies the mother, "but I wish you could go, too."

"It wouldn't do for me to leave the farm, mother dear," says the noble boy. "One of these days, perhaps I can study at home."

The mile and a half walk to the school-house[Pg 17] was a long, hard pull for little Jimmy, in spite of those new shoes; and many a time Mehetabel might have been seen, carrying him back and forth on her broad shoulders.

It was a happy day for all the children when the new log school-house was put up on one corner of the Garfield farm. The land had been given by Mrs. Garfield, and the neighbors clubbed together and built the house, which was only twenty feet square, with a slab roof, a puncheon floor, and log benches without backs.

The master was a young man from New Hampshire. He boarded with Mrs. Garfield, and between him and little James a warm friendship was soon established.

The bright active child was never tired of asking questions.

"He will make his mark in the world, one of these days—you may take my word for it!" exclaimed the teacher, as he recounted James' wonderful progress at school.

The happy mother never forgot these words, and determined to give her little boy every possible advantage.

But the Ohio schools in those days were very poor. The three "R's," with spelling and geography, were the only branches taught, and oftentimes the teachers knew but little more than the scholars.

As soon as James could read, he eagerly devoured[Pg 18] every book that came within his reach. The family library comprised not more than half a dozen volumes, but among these, Weems' "Life of Marion" and Grimshaw's "Napoleon" were especial favorites with the eager enthusiastic boy.

Every night the mother would read to her children from her old, well-worn Bible: and oftentimes James would puzzle his little playmates with unexpected scripture questions. His wonderful memory held a strange variety of information in its tenacious grasp. He delighted to hear his mother read poetry, and would often commit long passages by heart. His vivid imagination peopled the old orchard with all sorts of strange characters. Each tree was named after some noted Indian chief, or some favorite hero he had read about; and from a high ledge of rocks in the neighborhood, he would sometimes deliver long harangues to his imaginary audiences. Thomas watched the progress of his little brother with fatherly pride and admiration, and James looked up to him with loving confidence.

He could now help about the farm in many ways, and when Thomas got an opportunity to work out and earn a few extra pennies, James would look after the stock, chop the wood, hoe the corn, and help his mother churn and milk.

"One of these days, James," she said to him, as he was working diligently by her side, "I expect[Pg 19] Thomas will go out into the world to earn his living, and then you will have to take his place here on the farm."

"But, how soon will that be, mother?" asked the little fellow, who felt then that he could not possibly get along without his big brother.

"Not until Thomas is twenty-one, and then you will be twelve years old—older by two years than Thomas was when your father died."

"I wish I could be as good a farmer as he," said James; "but I think I would rather be a carpenter."

"And I would rather have you a teacher or a preacher," said his mother; "but we must take our work just as Providence gives it to us, and farming, my boy, comes first to you."

It was a trying day to the whole family when Thomas left the little home to work on a clearing, "way off in Michigan." He would be gone six months, at least, and there was very little communication in those days between Ohio and the farther west.

"I wish you could have found work nearer home," said the fond mother.

"But I shall earn higher wages there—twelve dollars a month,"—answered the self-forgetting son; "and, when I get back, I shall have money enough to build you a frame house."

The little log cabin was fast coming to pieces,[Pg 20] and for five years Thomas had been cutting and seasoning lumber for the new house, but they had never been able to hire a carpenter to put it up.

James tried very hard to fill his brother's place, but he could never throw his whole soul into farming as Thomas had done. He read and studied all the time he could get out of working hours, and his thirst for knowledge was constantly increasing. But how was he to procure the education for which he longed?

"Providence will open the way," said the good mother; "though how and when I cannot tell."

[Pg 21]


Boyhood of James.—Attempts at Carpentry.—First Earnings.—His Thirst for Knowledge.—The Garfield Coat-of-Arms.—Ancestry, etc.

True to his promise, Thomas returned in a few months with seventy-five dollars in gold, which seemed a great sum to the little family.

"Now you shall have the new house, mother," he exclaimed; and it was not many days after, that the carpenter was hired and the work begun.

James watched the building with keen, observant eyes. Before the house was completed he had learned a good part of the trade and practised it besides.

"I think I'll have to employ you when I want an extra hand," laughed the good-natured mechanic, as he noticed how cleverly James used the mallet, chisel and plane.

"I wish you would; I like the trade," exclaimed the boy, with sudden earnestness.

After the family had moved into the new house, which consisted of three rooms below and two above, Thomas went back to his work in Michigan, and James returned to his labor on the farm.[Pg 22]

But the boy's restless spirit longed for a wider field. If he could only earn a little money, perhaps he would be able to buy a few books.

Passing the carpenter's shop one day, he saw a pile of boards at the door waiting to be planed. He stepped inside and asked for the job, which was readily given him.

"I will give you a cent a board," said the carpenter, "for I know you will do them well."

"How soon do you want them done?" asked James.

"Oh! it doesn't matter," answered the carpenter; "take your own time for them."

"All right!" said the boy, "I'll begin early to-morrow morning, just as soon as I get through with the chores on the farm."

Before night he had planed a hundred boards, and each board was twelve feet long!

He asked the carpenter to come and count them, lest he had made a mistake.

"That is too hard a day's work for a little fellow like you," exclaimed the astonished man; "but here are a hundred pennies, as I promised you."

This was the first money that James had ever earned, and it was with a proud, happy heart he emptied his load of coppers that night into his mother's lap.

It was not a difficult matter to find jobs after that. A boy who could plane a hundred boards[Pg 23] in a day was just the sort of help the enterprising carpenter wanted. Not long after, he engaged James to help him put up a barn, paying him about twenty dollars for the job.

By this time James had learned about all he could in the district schools. He had performed problems in arithmetic that puzzled his teachers, and could repeat by heart the greater part of his reading books. A copy of "Josephus" came into his hands, and he read it over and over until long passages were indelibly impressed upon his memory.

"Robinson Crusoe," "Alonzo and Melissa," he devoured that winter with all a boy's enthusiasm, and the little home in Orange seemed smaller to him than ever. He longed to go out into the world and find a wider sphere of labor. The blood of his old Welsh ancestors was burning in his veins. He had often looked at the old Garfield coat of arms, which his father had kept with loyal pride, and wondered what it meant. Now he seemed to understand, as if by a sudden intuition, the crimson bars on the golden shield, with that strong arm, just above, wielding a sword, whose motto read, "In cruce vinco."

"Tell me about my great-great-grandfathers," he said one day to his mother, as they were sitting together by the open fire.

"Your father's family came from Wales," she[Pg 24] answered, "and the first James Garfield was one of the brave knights of Gaerfili Castle. But that is going a long way back. I know your father used to say he was more proud of having an ancestor who had fought in the Revolutionary War, and that was Solomon Garfield, your own great-grandfather."

"How splendid it is to be a soldier!" exclaimed James.

"Yes," said his mother, "but there are many grand victories won in the world besides those upon the battle-field."

And just here it may be said that it was not only from his father's side that James Garfield inherited so many sterling traits of character. His mother is a descendant of Maturin Ballou, a French Huguenot, who joined the colony of Roger Williams, and settled in Cumberland, Rhode Island. From this pioneer preacher, a great many eminent men have sprung, among them the celebrated Hosea Ballou, a cousin of Eliza Ballou Garfield.

[Pg 25]


Life at the "Black-Salter's".—James wants to go to Sea.—His mother will not give her Consent.—Hires out as a Woodchopper.—His Powerful Physique.—His Strength of Character.

About ten miles from the little settlement at Orange, and not far from Cleveland, was a large potash factory, owned by a certain Mr. Barton. The neighboring farmers, when they cleared their lands, would draw the refuse logs and branches into a great pile and burn them. The ashes thus collected, they sold to this Mr. Barton, who went by the name of "black-salter," because the potash he manufactured was called in its crude state, "black salts." At one time he needed a new shed where the ashes were leached, and James assisted the carpenter who put it up.

The bright, industrious lad pleased the old black-salter, and he offered him fourteen dollars a month, if he would come and work in his ashery.

This was two dollars more than Thomas was earning "away off in Michigan," and James was greatly delighted at the prospect of earning one hundred and sixty-eight dollars a year!

It was not, however, just the sort of work he[Pg 26] would have chosen; and the mother dreaded for her son the rough companionship of the black-salters.

But James did not associate with the rude, coarse men out of working-hours. Their profanity shocked him; and he gladly turned to the books he found on an upper shelf at Barton's house.

As might have been expected, however, these books were very different from any he had read before. "Marryatt's Novels," "Jack Halyard," "Lives of Eminent Criminals," and "The Pirate's Own Book," were in fact more dangerous companions for him than the coarse, brutal men would have been. The printed page carried with it an authority that the excited boy did not stop to question. He would sit up all night to follow in imagination some reckless buccaneer in his wild exploits, till at last an insatiable longing to be a sailor fired his brain.

"A life on the ocean wave" seemed to him, at that time, the "ultima thule" of all his dreams. He longed to see some more of the world, and to the inexperienced lad this seemed the quickest and surest way.

One day, he happened to hear Mr. Barton's daughter speak of him in a sneering tone as her father's "hired servant." This was more than the high spirit of James could bear. Years after, he said to a friend,[Pg 27]

"That girl's cutting remark proved a great blessing to me. I was too much annoyed by it to sleep that night; I lay awake under the rafters of that old farm-house, and vowed, again and again, that I would be somebody; that the time should come when that girl would not call me a 'hired servant.'"

The next morning James informed his employer that he had concluded to give up the black-salter's business.

In vain Mr. Barton urged him to stay, by the offer of higher wages.

Much as he needed the money, the boy was determined to find some other and more congenial way of earning a living. If he could only go to sea!

Fortunately none of the family favored this wild scheme of James.

His mother declared that she could never give her consent. "If you ever go to sea, James," she said in her firm, decided tones, "remember it will be entirely against my will. Do not mention the subject to me again."

James was a dutiful son. He did not want to oppose his mother's will, and yet he did want to go to sea.

A few days after he heard that his uncle, who was clearing a large tract of forest near Cleveland, wanted to hire some wood-choppers. After talking the matter over with his mother, he decided to[Pg 28] offer his services. He could not be idle, and wood-chopping was certainly preferable to leaching ashes.

His sister Mehetabel, who was now married, lived near this uncle, so James could make his home with her.

Altogether the plan pleased Mrs. Garfield, although she was loath to part with her boy, even for a few months.

James engaged to cut a hundred cords of wood for his uncle, at the rate of fifty cents a cord, and declared he could easily cut two cords a day.

Now it so happened that the edge of the forest where James' work lay overlooked the blue waters of Lake Erie. With stories from "The Pirate's Own Book" still haunting his brain, it was not strange that he often stopped in his work to count the sail, and watch the changing color of the beautiful waters.

By and by he noticed that the old German by his side, who seemed to wield his axe so slowly, was getting ahead of him in the amount of work accomplished. He began to realize that he was wasting a deal of time by these "sea dreams," and resolutely turned his back upon the fascinating waters.

It was not so easy, however, to drive out of his mind the bewitching sea-faring tales he had read; and when those hundred cords of wood were cut,[Pg 29] he returned home with the old longing to be a sailor only intensified.

He said nothing, for he did not wish to grieve his mother, and as it was now the last week in June he hired himself out to a farmer for the summer months, to help in haying and harvesting.

James was now a strong, muscular boy in his teens. He possessed, naturally, a fine constitution, and his simple life and vigorous exercise in the open air had greatly enhanced his powers of endurance. Whatever he undertook he was determined to carry through successfully. His strong, indomitable will conquered every difficulty, while his stern integrity was a constant safeguard.

[Pg 30]


James still longs for the Sea.—Experience with a Drunken Captain.—Change of Base.—Life on the Canal.

James went on with his work at home, attending school in the winter, reading whatever books he could find, and taking odd jobs in carpentry to add to the family income.

His heart, however, was still on the sea.

At last he said to his mother:

"If I should be captain of a ship some day, you wouldn't mind that, would you?"

Now Mrs. Garfield, like a wise mother, had been studying her restless boy and was not unprepared for this returning desire on his part "to follow the sea."

"You might try a trip on Lake Erie," she replied, "and see how you like it; but if you want to be 'somebody,' as you say, I would look higher than to a sea-captain's position."

James hardly heard his mother's last words, so delighted was he to have this unexpected permission.

He packed up his things as quickly as possible and walked the whole distance to Cleveland.[Pg 31]

Boarding the first schooner he found lying at the wharf, he asked one of the crew if there was any chance for another hand on board.

"If you can wait a little," was the answer, "the captain will soon be up from the hold."

James had a very exalted idea of this important personage; he expected to see a fine, noble-looking man such as he had read about in his books.

Suddenly, he heard a fearful noise below, followed by terrible oaths. Stepping aside to let the drunken man pass him, he was greeted by the gruff question,—

"What d'yer want here, yer green land-lubber, yer?"

"I was waiting to see the captain," replied James.

"Wall, don't yer know him when yer do see him?" he shouted. "Get off my ship, I tell yer, double quick!" James needed no second invitation. Could this besotted brute be a specimen of the monarchs of the sea? The boy was so shocked and disgusted that he made no further effort to find a place on board ship. He began to think his story-books might be a little different from the reality in other things as well as captains!

Wandering through the city, he came to the canal which at that time was a great thoroughfare between Lake Erie and the Ohio river. One of the boats, called the "Evening Star," was tied to the bank, and James was greatly surprised to[Pg 32] find that the captain of it was a cousin of his, Amos Letcher.

"Well, James, what are you doing here?" said the canal-boat captain.

"Hunting for work," replied the boy.

"What kind of work do you want?"

"Anything to make a living. I came here to ship on the lake, but they bluffed me off and called me a country greenhorn."

"You'd better try your hand on smaller waters first," said his cousin; "I should like to have you work for me, but I've nothing better to offer you than a driver's berth at twelve dollars a month."

"I must do something," answered James, "and if that is the best you can offer me, I'll take the team."

"It was imagination that took me upon the canal," he said, years after; and it is easy to see how fascinating the trips from Cleveland to Pittsburgh seemed at that time to the inquiring boy.

The "Evening Star" had a capacity of seventy tons, and it was manned, as most of the canal-boats were, with two steersmen, two drivers, a bowsman, and a cook. The bowsman stood in the forward part of the boat, made ready the locks, and threw the bow-line around the snubbing-post. The drivers had two mules each, which were driven tandem, and, after serving a number of hours on the tow-path, they took turns in going on board with their mules.

On the Tow-Path. On the Tow-Path.

[Pg 33]

James had hardly taken his place behind "Kit and Nance," as his team was called, when he heard the captain call out,—

"Careful, Jim, there's a boat coming." The boy had seen it, and was trying to pass it to the best of his ability. But his inexperience and haste occasioned a sudden tightening of the reins, and, before any one quite knew what had happened, both driver and mules were jerked into the canal. For a few seconds it seemed as if they would go to the bottom, but James was equal to the emergency, and, getting astride the forward mule, kept his head above water until rescue came. This was his initiation in canal-boat driving, and the adventure was a standing joke among his comrades for a long time.

When they came to the "Eleven-Mile Lock," the captain ordered a change of teams, and James went on board with his mules.

Letcher, who is still living in Bryan, Ohio, gives the following account of his talk with the boy as they were passing the locks:

"I thought I'd sound Jim on education—in the rudiments of geography, arithmetic and grammar. For I was just green enough in those days to imagine I knew it all. I had been teaching school for three months in the backwoods of Steuben County, Indiana. So I asked him several questions, and he answered them all; and then he asked[Pg 34] me several that I could not answer. I told him he had too good a head to be a common canal-hand."

One evening when the "Evening Star" was drawing near the twenty-one locks of Akron, the captain sent his bowsman to make the first lock ready. Just as he got there, a voice hailed him through the darkness. It was from a boat above that had reached the locks first.

"We are just around the bend," said her bowsman, "all ready to enter."

"Can't help it!" shouted the bowsman of the "Evening Star," with a volley of oaths; "we've got to hev this lock first!"

The captain was so used to these contests on the canal that he did not often interfere, but it was a new experience to James. He tapped his cousin Amos on the shoulder, and said,—

"Does that lock belong to us?"

"Well, I suppose not, according to law," was the answer, "but we will have it, anyhow."

"No! we will not!" he exclaimed.

"But why?" said the captain.

"Why?" he repeated, "because it don't belong to us."

Struck with the boy's sense of right, and ashamed of his own carelessness, the captain called out to his men,—

"Hold on, hold on! Let them have the lock."

When the boatmen knew that their fight had[Pg 35] been prevented by James's interference they were greatly incensed, and began to call him "coward" and all sorts of derogatory names.

The boy only smiled; he knew he could vindicate his rights when the time came, and it was not long before he had an opportunity.

The boat had just reached Beaver, and James was on deck with his setting-pole against his shoulder; a sudden lurch wrenched it from him and threw it upon one of the boat-hands, who was standing close by.

"Beg pardon, Dave," said the boy quickly; "it was an accident."

The great, rough man, however, would take no apology, and rushed upon James with clenched fists. A fight seemed inevitable, but with one well-directed blow, the boy of sixteen threw down his burly antagonist, and held him fast.

"Pound him, James! Give him a good thrashing!" exclaimed the captain.

"Not when he is down and in my power," said the boy. Then, letting his conquered foe rise, he said,—

"Come, Dave, give us your hand!" and from that time forth they were the best of friends.

"He's dif'rent from the rest on us—that's sartin—but he's a good un, got a mighty sight o'pluck," said the whole crew.

[Pg 36]


Narrow Escape from Drowning.—Return Home.—Severe Illness.—James determines to fit Himself for a Teacher.—Geauga Seminary.—Personal Appearance.—Dr Robinson's Verdict.

One dark, stormy night, just as the "Evening Star" was leaving a long reach of slack water, James was called out of his berth to tend the bow-line. As he began to uncoil the rope, it caught on the edge of the deck; he pulled several times before he could extricate it, but suddenly it gave way with such force as to throw him headlong into the water.

The whole crew were soundly sleeping, the boat glided over him, and as he could not swim he felt there was no hope. Suddenly he caught hold of something hard; it was the rope which had become entangled in a crevice of the deck and become so tight that it was an easy matter to climb up by it into the boat.

As he stood there in his dripping clothes, rescued from a watery grave, he took the rope and tried to see how it happened to catch in the crevice. Six hundred times he threw it, but it would not kink in the same manner again.[Pg 37]

"No one but God could have saved my life by such a thread as that!" he exclaimed, and then he began to wonder if he could not make a better use of his miraculously-spared life than by spending it upon a canal-boat.

A severe attack of chills and fever followed this night's drenching and exposure. He thought of his mother and her hopes for him, and made up his mind to return home as soon as he was able.

His mother was overjoyed when, a few weeks later, he stood before her and told her of his changed plans. But again the malaria asserted its sway over him, and for a long time he lay between life and death. It was six months before he was able to do anything, and then to his mother's delight he told her he was going to fit himself to be a teacher.

A young man named Samuel Bates (now a clergyman in Madison, Ohio,) had charge that winter of the district-school in Orange. He was a frequent visitor at Mrs. Garfield's, and between James and himself there sprang up a warm friendship. The young teacher had attended the Geauga Seminary in Chester, and was full of his school experiences. He told James how economically one could live, by clubbing together with other students, and the result was that in the following spring, Garfield and his two cousins, William[Pg 38] and Henry Boynton, went to Chester and rented a room just across the street from the seminary. The house belonged to a poor widow, who agreed to look after their room and do their washing for a small sum. They bought their own cooking-stove, and immediately set up house-keeping. James had only eleven dollars in his pocket, but he hoped to earn more before that was gone.

The academy was a plain wooden building of three stories, and could accommodate about a hundred pupils. The library connected with it contained a hundred and fifty volumes, which seemed to James a perfect mine of wealth. Among the pupils at that time attending the academy was a studious young girl by the name of Lucretia Rudolph, but the boys and girls seldom saw each other except in their classes, and James was so shy and awkward he did not care much for the society of young ladies. He watched Miss Rudolph, however, with quiet admiration. Her sweet face, her pleasant manners, and fine scholarship, made her a universal favorite, and little by little a hearty friendship sprang up between the two students who had so many aims in common.

The principal of the academy at that time was an eccentric old gentleman by the name of Daniel Branch. His wife, who was his chief assistant[Pg 39] and equally eccentric, was trying to introduce into the school a grammar of her own construction, which was totally at variance with all other systems. For instance, she insisted that but should be parsed as a verb, in the imperative mood, with the sense of to be out; she also declared that and was another verb in the imperative mood, and meant add!

Young Garfield, who had been thoroughly drilled in Kirkman's Grammar at the district school, constantly contended against these new ideas which, to his clear, well-balanced brain, presented nothing but absurdity. It is to be hoped that the other scholars followed his sage example, and that Branch's idiosyncrasy was soon banished from the school curriculum.

James' personal appearance at this time is thus described by one of his friends:

"His clear, blue eyes, and free, open countenance were remarkably prepossessing. His height was exaggerated by the coarse, satinet trousers he wore, which were far outgrown, and reached only half-way down the tops of his cowhide boots. It was his one suit, and the threadbare coat was so short in the sleeves that his long arms had a singularly awkward look. His coarse, slouched hat, much the worse for wear, covered a shock of unkempt yellow hair that fell down over his shoulders like a Shaker's."[Pg 40]

Without consulting any one, James resolved to be examined by a physician before going on with his studies.

He went to Dr. J. P. Robinson, of Bedford, who happened to be in the neighborhood, and said to him,—

"You are a physician, and know the fibre that is in men. I want you to examine me, and then say frankly whether or no it is worth while for me to take a course of liberal study. It is my earnest desire to do so, but if you advise me not to attempt it, I shall feel content."

The doctor, in speaking of this incident, says:—

"I felt that I was on my sacred honor, and the young man looked as though he felt himself on trial. I had had considerable experience as a physician, but here was a case much different from any other I had ever had. I examined his head, and saw that there was a magnificent brain there. I sounded his lungs, and found them strong and capable of making good blood. I felt his pulse, and saw that there was an engine capable of sending the blood up to the brain. I had seen many strong, physical systems with warm feet, but cold, sluggish brain; and those who possessed such systems would simply sit around and doze. At the end of a fifteen minutes' careful examination of this kind, we rose, and I said: 'Go on; follow the[Pg 41] promptings of your ambition. You have the brain of a Webster, and you have the physical proportions that will back you in the most herculean efforts. Work, work hard, do not be afraid of overworking; and you will make your mark.'"

[Pg 42]


Low State of Finances.—James Takes up Carpentry again.—The Debating Club.—Bread and Milk Diet.—First Experience in School-Teaching.—Becomes Interested in Religious Topics.—Creed of the Disciples.—James Joins the New Sect.

After buying his school-books and some other necessary articles, James found his small amount of funds rapidly decreasing. But this did not discourage him in the least.

"I have never yet had any difficulty in finding work, and I don't believe I shall now," he said to his cousins, as he started off one Saturday afternoon to find a carpenter's shop.

In those days planing was always done by hand, and Mr. Woodworth, the one carpenter at Chester, was very glad to engage so willing and capable an assistant as the young student.

By working at his shop before and after school, and all day upon Saturday, James earned enough money to pay all his bills that term, and carry home a few dollars besides. From that time forward he never failed to pay his own way, although to do it he was obliged to work very hard and deny himself many comforts.[Pg 43]

The studies of his first term at Chester included English grammar, natural philosophy, arithmetic and algebra. It was one of the regulations of the school to write a composition every fortnight upon subjects chosen sometimes by the principal, and sometimes by the students themselves. These essays were occasionally read before the whole school, and the first time that James read his, he trembled so that he was "very glad," he writes, "of the short curtain across the platform that hid my shaking legs from the audience."

In the Debating Society James always took an active part. He was a little diffident at first, but soon astonished himself as much as his friends by his ready command of language. Whatever question came up before the club he studied as he would a problem in mathematics. The school library supplied him with books of reference, and his ready memory never failed him. The students at Geauga listened with astonishment to the eloquent appeals of their rough, ungainly schoolmate. The secret of his power was largely due to the thorough preparation with which he armed himself. He was so full of his subject he could not help imparting it in the strongest and most impressive manner. Here it was that he laid the basis of his future success as a public speaker.

Having taken from the library the "Life of Henry C. Wright," he became quite interested in[Pg 44] the author's experiment of living upon a bread and milk diet. He told his cousins they had been too extravagant in their mode of living, that milk was better than meat for students, and that another term they must try it.

The boys, always ready to follow James, acquiesced; and after a trial of four weeks, found their expenses had been reduced to thirty-one cents each, per week. But their strength also had become reduced; and while still making milk their principal article of diet, they concluded to increase their table to the amount of fifty cents each for the remainder of the term.

When the long vacation came James was very anxious to teach school. The principal at Geauga had told him that he was fully competent, and with his usual energy and determination he started out to find a school.

"What! you don't expect we want a boy to teach in our district?" was the first reply to his modest application.

It was of no use to show the committee his excellent recommendation from Mr. Branch—they wanted a man, not a boy.

Somewhat discouraged, James walked on to the next district, only to find that a teacher had already been engaged. About three miles north was another school, but here, too, they were just supplied with a graduate from Geauga.[Pg 45]

Two days of persistent school-hunting followed, but James was unable to find any position as teacher.

"It may be that Providence has something better in store for you," said his mother; but James was so tired and discouraged he had not a word to say.

Early next morning he was surprised by a call from one of the committee men belonging to their own district.

"We want some one to teach at the 'Ledge,'" he said to James, "and we heard that you were looking for a school. Now, the boys all know you in this district, and they are a pretty hard lot to manage, but I reckon you are stout enough to thrash them all."

Not a very encouraging outlook for James, surely! But after talking the matter over with his Uncle Amos Boynton, he concluded to undertake the school.

Beginning as "Jim Garfield," he determined to win the respect of both pupils and parents until he was known as "Mr. Garfield." To do this a deal of firmness was required, and his first day at school was a series of battles with naughty boys. After that a most friendly relation was established between pupils and teacher. They felt he had no desire to domineer over them, but that he would maintain order and decorum at any cost. In[Pg 46] "boarding around," as was the custom for district school teachers in those days, he became well acquainted with all the families in the neighborhood and gained a still firmer hold upon the affections of his pupils. Before the winter was over, Mr. Garfield had won the reputation of being "the best teacher who had ever taught at the 'Ledge.'"

It was a great delight to his mother to have him so near her. Every Sunday he spent at home, and it was at this time that he became deeply interested in religious questions. His mother was a member of the Church of Disciples, or Campbellites, as they were sometimes called, from Alexander Campbell, the founder of the sect.

Their creed is as follows:

I. We believe in God, the Father.

II. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the only Saviour.

III. That Christ is a Divine Being.

IV. That the Holy Spirit is the Divine agent in the conversion of sinners, and the sanctification of Christians.

V. That the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the inspired word of God.

VI. That there is future punishment for the wicked, and future reward for the righteous.

VII. That the Deity is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.

VIII. That the Bible is our only creed.[Pg 47]

The founder of the sect was for a long time a member of the Baptist Church, and declared that he differed from them only in his "disbelief in the binding force of the church creed, and in the necessity of ministerial ordinations."

The new church grew very rapidly, notwithstanding the persecutions it received from both the Baptist and Freewill Baptist denominations, and it numbers now over half a million members.

It is not strange that James was drawn to this single-hearted, struggling sect of "Disciples." The earnest, persuasive arguments of one of its preachers led him to Christ, and when, that same winter, he was baptized in the little river at Orange, he became at once an earnest champion of the new church. In all religious discussions, he claimed the right of following the Bible according to the convictions of his own conscience, and declared that every one else should have the same right.

His consistent Christian life added strength to his spoken words, and the Disciples felt that a bright and shining light had been added to their ranks.

[Pg 48]


Return to Geauga Seminary.—Works at Haying through the Vacation.—Teaches a higher Grade of School.—First Oration.—Determines to Go to College.—He visits the State Capitol at Columbus.

When James returned to the academy, he made an arrangement with Mr. Woodworth, by which he could have a comfortable boarding-place at one dollar and six cents a week. This was at Mr. Woodworth's own house, and the payment was to be taken out in labor at the carpenter's shop. It was an excellent plan, and gave James more time for his studies, in spite of the hard manual labor he performed out of school-hours. He could use the square and the scratch-awl now, as well as the plane; and his wages were correspondingly increased.

In the summer vacation of his third term at Geauga, James and a schoolmate resolved to earn a little money at haying. They accordingly hired themselves out to a neighboring farmer who wanted some extra hands. Noticing how vigorously the boys worked, the farmer turned to his men and said,—

"Lookee here, you lubbers! these boys are[Pg 49] gitting way ahead of you. They make broader swaths, and they mow a sight better than you do!"

When the haying was done, and the settling day came, the farmer asked the boys what wages they expected.

"Whatever you think is right," replied James.

"Wall," said the farmer, "as yer only boys, of course yer won't expect men's wages."

"But didn't you say yourself," argued James, "that we did more work than your men? If that is so, why should you pay us less?"

The farmer was nonplussed, and gave the boys the same wages he paid his men, remarking, as he did so,—

"It's the fust time I ever paid boys so much, but you've fairly earned it—that's a fact!"

It was just about this time that the anti-slavery contest began to assert itself throughout the country.

In the little Debating Club at Geauga, the question was given out, "Ought slavery to be abolished in this republic?" It was a subject that roused James to his best efforts; and his school-mates, as they listened to his fiery denunciations against slavery, declared that "Jim ought to go to Congress!"

The following winter James procured a school at Warrensville, where he was paid sixteen dollars[Pg 50] a month and his board, which was more than he had ever earned before. It was in this school that one of the pupils wanted to take up geometry—a branch of mathematics that James had never studied.

As usual, however, he was equal to the emergency. Buying a text-book, he studied geometry after school-hours, until he had mastered the science, and his pupils never once dreamed but that he was as familiar with it as with algebra or arithmetic.

It was at the annual exhibition of Geauga Seminary, in November, 1859, that James delivered his first oration. It was prepared with his usual carefulness, and delivered with so much magnetic earnestness that the whole audience were held spell-bound.

"He is bound to make his mark in the world," said every one who had listened to the earnest, enthusiastic student.

Mrs. Garfield noted with grateful joy that her son no longer spoke of "going to sea." The one great aim of his life now was to procure a liberal education. A deeper, broader ocean was stretching out before him, and already his pulses thrilled with the mighty, incoming tide.

It was during his last term at Geauga Seminary that James met a young man who was a graduate of a New England college. From him he learned[Pg 51] that it was possible to work one's way through college as well as through school. It was a new thought to James. His poverty had seemed to him before an insurmountable obstacle in gaining a university education. Now, he began to study Latin and other branches that might pave the way to a college examination.

On his return home, he found his mother was just about to start on a journey to Muskingum County, where some of her relatives lived. She was very anxious that James should go with her, and, when he found that he could obtain a school near Zanesville, he was quite ready to go. The Cleveland and Columbus Railroad had just been opened, and this was James' first ride in the cars. When they reached Columbus they visited the legislature, which was then in session; and, as James remarked afterwards, "That alone was worth a month's schooling to me."

The mother and son spent three months in this part of Ohio, James teaching the little school at Harrison, and studying hard himself all the time. Having met a student from the Eclectic Institute at Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, he learned that opportunities were there afforded for studying the branches of the first two college years. The expenses of tuition were no greater than at Geauga Seminary, and the Institute was under the direction of the Church of the Disciples.[Pg 52]

It seemed a providential opening, and, after talking over the matter with his mother, he determined to seek admission there the following autumn.

[Pg 53]


Hiram Institute.—The faithful Janitor.—Miss Almeda Booth.—James is appointed Assistant Teacher.—Critical habit of Reading.—Moral and Religious Growth.—Debating Club.

It was towards the latter part of August, 1851, and James was nearly twenty years of age when he first presented himself at Hiram Institute. The board of trustees was then in session, and he was directly introduced into the room where they were seated. Notwithstanding his shabby clothes and awkward manners, his earnest, intelligent face at once prepossessed them in his favor.

"I must work my way," he began; "but I am very anxious to get an education. I thought, perhaps, you would let me ring the bell and sweep the floors to pay part of my bills."

"How do we know that you can do the work well?" asked one of the trustees.

"If, at the end of a couple of weeks," replied James, "you find that my work does not suit you, I will not ask to keep the place."

"I think we had better try the young student," said another of the trustees, and so the question was settled, and James was duly installed as janitor.[Pg 54]

The town of Hiram was at that time twelve miles from the railroad, and consisted of a straggling collection of houses, with two churches and a few stores at the cross-roads. Its natural advantages, however, were wonderfully fine, and to-day it is sometimes called "the crown of Ohio." Its location is very near the line where the waters divide, one part flowing northward to Lake Erie, the other southward to the Ohio river.

The Institute was a plain, brick building on the top of a hill, whose slopes were thickly planted with corn; from this eminence a charming panorama of the whole surrounding country could be obtained. It was built for the special accommodation of the sons and daughters of the Western Reserve farmers, and among its founders was Mr. Zebulon Rudolph, the father of James' old school-mate, Lucretia Rudolph. The Rev. A. S. Hayden was, at this time, its principal, and Thomas Munnell and Norman Dunshee were assistant teachers.

The aims of the school were,—

1st. To provide a sound, scientific and literary education.

2d. To temper and sweeten such education with moral and scriptural knowledge.

3d. To educate young men for the ministry.

Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio. Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio.

[Pg 55]

The charter of the Institute, according to the peculiar tenet of the religious movement in which it originated, was based upon the study of the Holy Scriptures. The Disciples believed that the Bible ought to take a larger place in general culture than had as yet been accorded to it. In the course of study, the system pursued was strictly elective. It was just the place for James to fit for college, and pursue, if he chose, branches that would enable him to enter a university two years in advance.

Among the pupils at Hiram, when James entered the Institute, was a Miss Almeda Booth, some nine years his senior, who proved an invaluable friend and helper. She was a teacher as well as scholar, but James, at the end of a few months, found himself pursuing the same studies and ranking in the same classes as Miss Booth. "I was far behind her," he writes, "in mathematics and the physical sciences, but we were nearly in the same place in Greek and Latin."

Miss Booth was a lady of rare talent. Upon the death of the young man to whom she was engaged, she resolved to consecrate her life to higher intellectual attainments, in order to increase her usefulness.

In a tribute to her memory, a few years ago, Garfield said,—

"She exerted a more powerful influence over me than any other teacher, except President Hopkins.... The few spare hours which schoolwork left us were devoted to such pursuits as[Pg 56] each of us preferred, but much study was done in common. I can name twenty or thirty books, which will be doubly precious to me because they were read and discussed in company with her. I can still read between the lines the memories of her first impressions of the page, and her judgment of its merits."

Whenever James had a thesis to prepare, he would talk over the subject for hours with Miss Booth, and together they read during one term a hundred pages of Herodotus and a hundred of Livy.

At the close of his first year at Hiram, James was given the position of assistant teacher of the English department and ancient languages. He had also secured regular work with the carpenter in Hiram, so it was no longer necessary for him to serve as janitor. But many of his old schoolmates still remember the faithfulness with which he performed the menial services of his first position. He was promptness itself at the ringing of every bell, and seemed the personification of Herbert's servant, in making "drudgery divine"—for truly,

"Who sweeps a room as to Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine!"

It was while at Hiram Institute that he formed the habit of taking critical notes from all the books he read. It proved of invaluable service to him in[Pg 57] after years, for no matter upon what topic he desired to speak, these indexes served as so many finger-posts in his library, and directed him at once to the subject-matter in hand.

All this time the moral and religious faculties of the young student were developing no less rapidly than his intellectual powers. At the frequent meetings of the Disciples he was a ready speaker, and his earnest appeals are remembered to this day by his school-mates. Every one seemed to think, as a matter of course, that he would become a preacher in the Church of the Disciples, but, as the months went by, he seemed disinclined to express any decision upon that point.

The Debating Club at Hiram called out his best powers. His practice at Geauga had fitted him to express his opinions upon whatever subject might be under discussion, in the clearest and most impressive manner. At one time the contest over some public question became so bitter and excited that James finally rose and declared he would no longer waste his time over such nonsensical things as the majority proposed. A division of the club was the final result, and James was chosen president of the new society.

[Pg 58]


Ready for College.—His Uncle lends him Five Hundred Dollars.—Why he Decides to go to Williams.—College Life.

After spending three years at Hiram in faithful, persistent study, James felt he was prepared to enter the junior class at almost any college. But how was he to procure the means to carry on his studies? Thus far he had defrayed all his expenses by his own exertions as janitor, carpenter, and teacher; but, to enter college, he would need a little money in advance. His proud, independent spirit shrank from borrowing even from his friends. At last, he went to his uncle, Thomas Garfield, and asked for the use of five hundred dollars until he could earn enough money by teaching to pay it back.

His uncle Thomas had always shown a kindly interest in his efforts to obtain an education, and now gladly advanced him the sum he desired. In order to make sure the payment in case of his death, James procured a policy upon his life to the value of five hundred dollars, and presented it to his uncle.

He had now, as he thought, the necessary means[Pg 59] to enter college, but which of the many inviting doors should he enter? Every one seemed to take it for granted that he would go to Bethany College; which was under the patronage of his own denomination, but, in a letter to a friend, he gave his final decision as follows:—

"After thinking it all over, I have made up my mind to go to Williamstown, Mass.... There are three reasons why I have decided not to go to Bethany:—1st. The course of study is not so extensive or thorough as in eastern colleges. 2d. Bethany leans too heavily toward slavery. 3d. I am the son of Disciple parents, am one myself, and have had but little acquaintance with people of other views; and having always lived in the West, I think it will make me more liberal both in my religious and general views and sentiments, to go into a new circle, where I shall be under new influence. Therefore, I wrote to the presidents of Brown University, Yale and Williams, setting forth the amount of study I had done, and asking how long it would take me to finish their course.

"Their answers are now before me. All tell me I can graduate in two years. They are all brief, business notes, but President Hopkins concludes with this sentence: 'If you come here we shall be glad to do what we can for you.' Other things being so nearly equal, this sentence, which[Pg 60] seems to be a kind of friendly grasp of the hand, has settled that question for me. I shall start for Williams next week."

It was at the close of the summer term in 1854 that James presented himself before President Hopkins for examination. He is described at this time "as a tall, awkward youth, with a great shock of light hair, rising nearly erect from a broad, high forehead, and an open, kindly, and thoughtful face, which showed no traces of his long struggle with poverty and privation."

He passed the examination without difficulty, and soon became a great favorite with his class in spite of his shabby clothes and Western provincialisms. "Old Gar" and the "Ohio giant" were the names by which he was best known in college, and a classmate says of him that "he immediately took a stand above all his companions for accurate scholarship, and won high honors as a writer, reasoner, and debater."

The beautiful, mountainous scenery about Williamstown was a constant delight to the young Westerner. He would frequently climb to the top of Greylock and feast his eyes upon the magnificent panorama below. He was no longer obliged to work at the carpenter's bench, or perform the duties of janitor, and these long walks gave him needful exercise as well as pleasant recreation.

President Hopkins became greatly interested in[Pg 61] the earnest, enthusiastic student. The "friendly hand-grasp" was extended to him in many ways, and, when the summer vacation came, he offered him the free use of the college library.

James gladly availed himself of this privilege, and browsed among the books to his heart's content. It was the first time in his life that he had ever found leisure to read the works of Shakespeare, consecutively. During the summer vacation he not only read and thoroughly studied the plays, but committed large portions of them to memory. He also varied his heavier reading with works of fiction, allowing himself one novel a month. Dickens and Thackeray were favorite authors, and Tennyson's poems were read with ever-increasing pleasure.

He completed his classical studies the first year he was at Williamstown, as he had entered far in advance of the other pupils. He then took up German as an elective study, and, in the space of a few months, had made such rapid progress that he could read Goethe and Schiller, and converse with fluency.

In the "Williams Quarterly," a magazine published by the students, James took great interest, and was a frequent contributor both in prose and poetry.

The following poem, entitled "Memory," he wrote the last year he was at Williams College:[Pg 62]

"'Tis beauteous night, the stars look brightly down
Upon the earth, decked in her robe of snow,
No light gleams at the window save my own,
Which gives its cheer to midnight and to me
And now with noiseless step sweet Memory comes,
And leads me gently through her twilight realms
What poet's tuneful lyre has ever sung,
Or delicatest pencil e'er portrayed
The enchanted shadowy land where Memory dwells?
It has its valleys, cheerless lone and drear,
Dark shaded by the mournful cypress tree,
And yet its sunlit mountain tops are bathed
In heaven's own blue. Upon its craggy cliffs,
Robed in the dreamy light of distant years,
Are clustered joys serene of other days,
Upon its gently sloping hillsides bend
The weeping willows o'er the sacred dust
Of dear departed ones, and yet in that land,
Whene'er our footsteps fall upon the shore,
They that were sleeping rise from out the dust
Of death's long silent years, and round us stand,
As erst they did before the prison tomb
Received their clay within its voiceless halls
The heavens that bend above that land are hung
With clouds of various hues some dark and chill
Surcharged with sorrow, cast then sombre shade
Upon the sunny, joyous land below,
Others are floating through the dreamy air,
White as the falling snow their margins tinged
With gold and crimson hues, then shadows fall
Upon the flowery meads and sunny slopes,
Soft as the shadows of angel's wing
When the rough battle of the day is done.
And evening's peace falls gently on the heart,
I bound away across the noisy years,
Unto the utmost verge of Memory's land,
[Pg 63] Where earth and sky in dreamy distance meet,
And Memory dim with dark oblivion joins;
Where woke the first-remembered sounds that fell
Upon the ear in childhood's early morn;
And wandering thence, along the rolling years,
I see the shadow of my former self
Gliding from childhood up to man's estate.
The path of youth winds down through many a vale
And on the brink of many a dread abyss,
From out whose darkness comes no ray of light,
Save that a phantom dances o'er the gulf,
And beckons toward the verge. Again the path
Leads o'er a summit where the sunbeams fall;
And thus in light and shade, sunshine and gloom,
Sorrow and joy, this life-path leads along."

He was also a prominent member of the Philologian Society, of which he was afterwards elected president.

While James was at Williamstown, the anti-slavery contest was at a white heat. Charles Sumner had aroused the whole nation by his stirring, eloquent speeches in Congress; and when the tidings came of the attack made upon him by Preston Brooks of South Carolina, indignation meetings were held everywhere throughout the North. At the gathering in Williamstown, Garfield made a most powerful speech, denouncing slavery in the strongest terms.

"Hurrah for 'Old Gar!'" exclaimed his classmates; "the country will hear from him yet!"

When the fall term closed, James looked about[Pg 64] for some position as teacher, and finally opened a writing-school in Pownal, Vermont. This brought him in quite a sum of money, and enlarged his circle of acquaintance. His sunny disposition, his energy, his warm-hearted, sympathetic nature, made him a great favorite wherever he went, and President Hopkins, writing of him at this time, says,—

"He was prompt, frank, manly, social, in his tendencies; combining active exercise with habits of study, and thus did for himself what it is the object of a college to enable every young man to do,—he made himself a MAN."

Professor, now President, Chadbourne adds his testimony as follows:—

"The college life of James Garfield was so perfect, so rounded, so pure, so in accordance with what it ought to be in all respects, that I can add nothing to it by eulogizing him. It was a noble college life; everything about him was high and noble and manly. He was one whom his teachers would never suspect as guilty of a dishonest or mean act, and one whom a dishonest or mean man would not approach. His moral and religious character, and marked intellectual ability, gave great promise of success in the world."

At the end of his first collegiate year, James visited his mother, who was then living with her married daughter in Solon, Ohio. What a tall,[Pg 65] manly fellow he had grown to be! What a power he would be in the church, in the world! Her heart was full of grateful joy as she realized how abundantly God had answered her earnest prayers.

The next winter vacation James taught a school in Poestenkill, a little village some six miles from Troy, N.Y. There was a Church of the Disciples in the place, and James was a frequent attendant at the conference meetings. His able remarks and earnest exhortations excited so much comment that the pastor, Mr. Streeter, invited him to occupy his pulpit. After hearing him preach once, the people declared that they must hear him again, and so it came about that almost every Sunday found the young student in the desk.

"He will become the most noted preacher in the Disciples' Church," said his friends and classmates.

One day a certain Mr. Brooks, belonging to the school committee at Troy, called upon him and said,—

"Our high school needs a new teacher, Mr. Garfield, and we want you to supply the vacancy. You will not find it a difficult position, and we will pay you a salary of twelve hundred dollars."

It was a tempting offer, and would relieve James at once of the pecuniary difficulties that hung like weights about his feet. After taking some days to consider the matter, he finally said to Mr. Brooks,[Pg 66]

"Much as I need the money, I feel it would not be right for me to accept the position. It would prevent me from finishing my college course, and so cramp me, intellectually, for life. Then, again, I feel under some obligation to Hiram Institute, where the trustees expect me to return. My roots seem to be fixed in Ohio, and the transplanting might not succeed; it is best for me to complete my studies here, and then return to my homework, even for smaller pay."

Abiding by this decision, James applied himself to his books with renewed energy. President Hopkins had established the metaphysical oration as the highest honor of the class, and James' essay upon "The Seen and the Unseen" bore off the palm.

He graduated in August, 1856, and among the forty-two members that composed his class, are a number of names that have since won an enviable distinction.

[Pg 67]


Return Home.—Appointed Professor, then President, of Hiram Institute.—His Popularity as a Teacher.—Answers Prof. Denton.—Marriage.

Upon his return home, Garfield was immediately appointed Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature at Hiram Institute. Writing to a friend at this time, he says,—

"I have attained to the height of my ambition. I have my diploma from an eastern college, and my position here at Hiram as instructor; and now I shall devote all my energies to this Institution."

The following year, upon the resignation of A. L. Hayden, Garfield was appointed President of Hiram Institute. He was now twenty-six years of age, and one of his pupils writing of him at this time, says,—

"He was a tall, strong man, full of animal spirits, and many a time he used to run out on the green and play cricket with us. He combined an affectionate and confiding manner with respect for order in a most successful manner. If he wanted to speak to a pupil, either for reproof or approbation, he would generally manage to get one arm[Pg 68] around him and draw him close up to him. He had a peculiar way of shaking hands, too, giving a twist to your arm and drawing you right up to him. This sympathetic manner has helped him to advancement. He took very kindly to me, and assisted me in various ways, because I was poor and was janitor of the buildings, and swept them out in the morning, and built the fires as he had done only six years before, when he was a pupil at the same school.

"Once when he assigned me a task that I feared was beyond my powers, I said,—

"'I am afraid I cannot do that.'

"'What!' he exclaimed, 'you are not going to give up without trying! It seems to me, Darsie, when one is in a place he can easily fill, it is time for him to shove out of it into one that requires his utmost exertion.'"

The present principal at Hiram, President Hinsdale, was one of Garfield's pupils, and it was through his advice and constant encouragement that the struggling student undertook the work of a liberal education.

"Tell me," he writes Hinsdale, "do you not feel a spirit stirring within you that longs to know, to do, and to dare, to hold converse with the great world of thought, and hold before you some high and noble object to which the vigor of your mind and the strength of your arm may be given? Do[Pg 69] you not have longings like these which you breathe to no one, and which you feel must be heeded, or you will pass through life unsatisfied and regretful? I am sure you have them, and they will forever cling around your heart till you obey their mandate.... God has endowed some of His children with desires and capabilities for an extended field of labor and influence, and every life should be shaped according to 'what the man hath.' I know you have capabilities for occupying positions of high and important trust in the scenes of active life. I sincerely hope you will not, without an earnest struggle, give up a course of liberal study."

Hinsdale, as we all know, followed the advice of his earnest, sympathetic teacher, and is now ranked among the foremost scholars of the day.

A favorite mode of instruction with Garfield was by means of lectures.

"They were upon all sorts of subjects," writes one of his pupils, "and were usually the result of his readings and observation. One season he took a pleasure trip, and, on his return, gave a very interesting series on 'The Chain of Lakes,' including Niagara, The Thousand Isles, and sub-historic points. One lecture on ærolites I shall never forget. About the time of the attack on Fort Sumter, he gave several lectures upon 'Ordnance'; and the natural sciences, æsthetics, etc., always came in for a share of his effective treatment."[Pg 70]

At one time a certain Prof. Denton, who was a strong advocate of spiritualism, gave a series of lectures in Northern Ohio, by which he attempted to prove the inaccuracy of the Scriptures. He was something of a scholar, and stated his theories in so plausible a manner that many weak minds were misled. At last he became so bold that he offered a challenge to any and every believer of the Bible in Ohio to refute his statements.

The Churches of the Disciples were greatly troubled. Many of their young men were falling away, and the false doctrines were gaining a rapid ascendancy throughout the community. They must have a strong champion, who could meet Professor Denton with sharp weapons upon his own ground. They applied to Garfield, who, after some persuasion, finally agreed to meet the professor upon the appointed evening and take up his challenge. He had only three days to prepare for the contest, but, selecting six of his most advanced students, he told them the plan of argument he had devised, and then sent them to the college library to look up the separate points. He also procured copies of all the previous lectures that Professor Denton had delivered, and sent in various directions for the latest scientific works. When the evening came he was thoroughly prepared at every point. A large and excited audience had gathered to hear the discussion. Professor[Pg 71] Denton opened the debate. Supposing his opponent would not dare to attack him on scientific ground, he neglected to be precisely accurate in all his statements. Garfield waited until he had finished, and then, with overwhelming authority, took up each point of the discussion and refuted all the Professor's arguments with the very weapons he had himself been using. It was a complete victory, and Professor Denton had the manliness to acknowledge that he had never before met with so gifted and powerful an adversary.

As the Institute at Hiram was under the special patronage of the Disciples, a large number of the students in attendance were young men who were fitting for the ministry. Garfield's position, therefore, as principal, gave him a close connection with church-work. He was a preacher as well as a teacher, and at one time filled the pulpits at Solon and Newberg every Sunday. At the morning devotions it was his custom to deliver a short, impressive address; his favorite hymn at these services was, "Ho, reapers of life's harvest," and his pupils recall how, at the singing of the last verse, he would always rap upon his desk and request the whole school to rise. He frequently preached at the Disciples' Church in Hiram, and everyone believed that he would eventually choose the ministry for his profession.

Lucretia Rudolph, the bright, attractive school-mate[Pg 72] to whom his thoughts had so often reverted, was now a teacher at Hiram. They had corresponded all the time he was in college, their long friendship had ripened into a deep and tender love, and on the 11th of November, 1858, they were united in marriage.

A poet-student at Hiram celebrates the event in the following ode:—

"Again a Mary? Nay, Lucretia;
The noble, classic name
That well befits our fair ladie,
Our sweet and gentle dame
With heart as leal and loving
As e'er was sung in lays
Of high-born Roman nation,
In old, heroic days;
Worthy her lord illustrious, whom
Honor and fame attend;
Worthy her soldier's name to wear.
Worthy the civic wreath to share
That binds her Viking's tawny hair;
Right proud are we the world should know
As hers, him whom we long ago
Found truest helper, friend."

In a humble little cottage, just in front of the college campus, they began their wedded life,—a life whose wonderful beauty, strength, and devotion was soon to be seen and known of all the world.

Mrs. Garfield became as great a favorite in the[Pg 73] college as her husband. One of the graduates thus writes:—

"There are men and women scattered over the United States, holding positions of honor and wealth, who began the life that led them upward by the advice and with the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Garfield."

The wife was always the ready and efficient helpmeet of her husband. Whenever he had a lecture or speech to prepare, she would search the whole library, consulting every book that pertained to the subject in hand, and then together they would discuss the topic from every point of view. One, in every thought and purpose, their quiet life at Hiram presented the same beautiful home picture that after honors could never dim nor tarnish.

[Pg 74]


Law Studies.—Becomes Interested in Politics.—Delivers Oration at the Williams Commencement.—Elected State Senator.—His Courage and Eloquence.

Shortly after his marriage, Garfield entered his name in the law office of Riddle and Williamson, attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, as a student of law. This formality was necessary in order to ensure admission to the bar. It was not here, however, that he studied, and for a long time his friends knew nothing of the step he had taken. After his hours of teaching, at odd moments through the day, and often far into the night, he pored over his law-books with the same intensity of purpose he had shown in all his other undertakings.

It was his patriotic interest in the measures which were then before the legislature of Ohio that first led him to take up a critical study of law. He always wanted to go to the bottom of things, and his college training under President Hopkins had developed a wonderful power of synopsizing. In entering upon a course of law studies, it was not so much with the thought of becoming a lawyer, as to make himself conversant with the[Pg 75] principles of law. When, however, he was admitted to the bar, he was so thoroughly equipped for practice, that he could go into courts of any grade and try the most intricate cases.

In later years a friend said of him:—

"Had Garfield gone to the bar for a living, his gift of oratory, his strong analytical powers, and his ability to do hard work, would soon have made him eminent. In the few law cases he took during vacation seasons he held his own with some of the best lawyers of the country. In one of them his ability to grasp successfully with an unexpected situation was signally demonstrated. The case was tried in Mobile, and involved the ownership of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Garfield had prepared himself upon an important and difficult question of law involved, and felt a comfortable sense of readiness for the trial; but after he reached Mobile the court ordered the consolidation of three suits concerning the road, and the question upon which he had prepared himself passed wholly out of sight; and, as he wrote to a friend, 'the whole entanglement of an insolvent railroad twenty-five years old, lying across four states and costing $20,000,000, came upon us at once.' He was assigned the duty of summing up the case for his side. During the trial he did five days and five nights of the hardest work he ever did in his life. Then he made his argument and won the case."[Pg 76]

It will be remembered that when at college, Garfield always took an active part in political discussions, although he did not cast a vote until four years after his majority. At that time the new Republican party was formed on the anti-slavery platform, with Fremont and Dayton as their candidates. Garfield heartily sympathized with this party that "drew its first inspiration from that fire of liberty which God has lighted in every human heart," and from that time forward became its earnest and ready champion. During the campaign of 1856 he was constantly called upon for speeches and lectures. A pupil at Hiram at that time says:—

"He would attend to his duties at the Institute through the day, jump into a buggy at night, taking me or some other student to keep him company, put his arm around me, talk all the way to the place where the meeting was to be held, be it ten or twenty miles. It would not be conversation on politics, but on history, general literature, or some great principle. He was always welcomed upon the platform, and after speaking would return, taking up the theme we had dropped, getting home in the small hours in the morning.

"At nine o'clock the next day he would be in the school as fresh as ever. When Sunday came he would have a sermon as fresh and vigorous as if it had been the study of the week. All the[Pg 77] while he was carrying on the study of law and attending to the duties incumbent on him as the president of the Institute, keeping up a course of general reading, and his acquaintance with the classics."

In 1859, only three years after his graduation, the faculty of Williams College honored Garfield with an invitation to deliver the master's oration at Commencement. The able, brilliant speaker was constantly in demand, and he won fresh laurels wherever he went.

Upon his return to Ohio, he found to his surprise that his name had been proposed in Portage county for the state senatorship. The unanimous support he received was very gratifying, yet his first thought was of the Institute.

"You will be away but a few weeks at a time," said the trustees; "your influence is greatly needed at the Capitol, and Hiram must be content to wait."

So, after much persuasion, Garfield accepted the nomination, and the Institute jealously kept his name, though deprived of his presence.

It was in January, 1860, that Garfield first took his seat in the state senate. Secession and a civil war seemed imminent, but the North continued strong and steadfast in its denunciations against slavery. Garfield, scarcely thirty years of age at this time, was the youngest member of the senate.[Pg 78] Jacob D. Cox, another radical member, and Professor Monroe of Oberlin College, were his intimate friends, and zealous coadjutors. The 'radical triumvirate,' they were called by the opposite party, and when the constitutional amendment which would give the slave states the continuation of slavery, was submitted to the Ohio legislature, Garfield led the brave minority with marked ability and courage.

In less than ten years from the time he visited Columbus with his mother, he had become one of the most prominent members of the state senate!

The following extract from the Fourth of July oration he delivered that year at Ravenna gives us a passing glimpse of his patriotic eloquence—

"The granite hills are not so changeless and abiding as the restless sea. Quiet is no certain pledge of permanence and safety. Trees may flourish and flowers may bloom upon the quiet mountain side, while silently the trickling rain-drops are filling the deep cavern behind its rocky barriers, which, by-and-by, in a single moment, shall hurl to wild ruin its treacherous peace. It is true that in our land there is no such outer quiet, no such deceitful repose. Here society is a restless and surging sea. The roar of the billows, the dash of the wave, is forever in our ears. Even the angry hoarseness of breakers is not unheard. But there is an understratum of deep, calm sea,[Pg 79] which the breath of the wildest tempest can never reach. There is, deep down in the hearts of the American people, a strong and abiding love of our country and its liberty, which no surface-storms of passion can ever shake. That kind of instability which arises from a free movement and interchange of position among the members of society, which brings one drop up to glisten for a time in the crest of the highest wave, and then gives place to another while it goes down to mingle again with the millions below, such instability is the surest pledge of permanence. On such instability the eternal fixedness of the universe is based. Each planet, in its circling orbit, returns to the god of its departure, and on the balance of these wildly rolling spheres God has planted the base of His mighty works. So the hope of our national perpetuity rests upon that perfect individual freedom, which shall forever keep up the circuit of perpetual change. God forbid that the waters of our national life should ever settle to the dead level of a waveless calm. It would be the stagnation of death—the ocean grave of individual liberty."

Garfield was elected to a second term in the senate, and among the difficult questions he was obliged to discuss the following year that of "State Rights" was one of the most perplexing.

[Pg 80]


War declared between the North and South.—Garfield forms a regiment from the Western Reserve.—Is appointed Colonel.—General Buell's Order.—Garfield takes charge of the 18th Brigade.—Jordan's perilous journey.—Bradley Brown.—Plan of a Campaign.—March against Marshall.

The Ohio legislature was still in session when, upon that never-to-be-forgotten April day, in 1861, Fort Sumter received the first rebel shot. The news was quickly followed by a call from President Lincoln for seventy-five thousand men. This, proclamation was read in the Ohio senate, and amid deafening applause, Garfield immediately sprang to his feet, and moved that Ohio should contribute twenty thousand men and three million dollars as the quota of the state.

Although the preservation of the Union was the first thought that presented itself to the minds of the people, another and deeper impulse—the overthrow of slavery—filled their hearts and nerved their hands for the coming conflict.

To his old pupil, Mr. Hinsdale, Garfield writes—

"My heart and thought are full almost every moment with the terrible reality of our country's[Pg 81] condition. We have learned so long to look upon the convulsions of European States as things wholly impossible here, that the people are slow in coming to the belief that there may be any breaking up of our institutions; but stern, awful certainty is fastening upon the hearts of men. I do not see any way, outside a miracle of God, which can avoid civil war with all its attendant horrors. Peaceable dissolution is utterly impossible. Indeed I cannot say that I would wish it possible. To make the concessions demanded by the South would be hypocritical and sinful; they would neither be obeyed nor respected. I am inclined to believe that the sin of slavery is one of which it may be said that without the shedding of blood there is no remission."

Garfield, always as quick to act as to speak, immediately offered his services to Gov. Dennison, who at once sent him to Missouri to obtain five thousand stands of arms that General Lyon had placed there.

These having been safely shipped to Columbus, Gov. Dennison then sent Garfield to Cleveland to organize the seventh and eighth regiments of Ohio infantry. He would have appointed him colonel of one of them, but Garfield, with his usual modesty, declined because he had had no military experience. He agreed, however, to take a subordinate position if he could serve under a West Point graduate.[Pg 82]

The governor then appointed him lieutenant-colonel, and commissioned him to raise a regiment from the Western Reserve. He hoped to have his old schoolmate, Captain Hazen, of the regular army, for colonel, but when the governor sent on for his transfer, General Scott refused to release him.

Meanwhile, the Hiram students had laid aside their books, and flocked with patriotic ardor to the standard of their old leader. The greater part of this forty-second regiment, indeed, was made up of Campbellites, whose noble self-sacrifice in the days that followed will never be forgotten.

When the regiment went into camp at Columbus it was still without a colonel. Again the governor begged Garfield to assume the command, and after repeated requests he finally consented.

After making the decision, he wrote thus to a friend:—

"One by one my old plans and aims, modes of thought and feeling, are found to be inconsistent with present duty, and are set aside to give place to the new structure of military life. It is not without a regret, almost tearful at times, that I look upon the ruins. But if, as the result of the broken plans and shattered individual lives of thousands of American citizens, we can see on the ruins of our own national errors a new and enduring fabric arise, based on a larger freedom and higher[Pg 83] justice it will be a small sacrifice indeed. For myself I am contented with such a prospect, and, regarding my life as given to the country, am only anxious to make as much of it as possible before the mortgage upon it is foreclosed."

Great noble heart! How grand and pathetic these words seem to-day as we read them in the light of the last sad tragedy!

The Forty-second regiment did not leave for the South until the middle of September. It was then ordered to join General Buell's forces at Louisville. While in camp near Columbus, Garfield applied himself to the study of military tactics. With his carpenter's tools he cut out of some maple blocks a whole regiment, and with these ingenious marionnettes he mastered the art of infantry. Then, forming a school for his officers, he required regular recitations in military tactics and illustrated the different movements of an army by means of his blocks. After this he could easily institute all sorts of drills, and his regiment soon gained the reputation of being the best disciplined in Ohio.

When the regiment reached Cincinnati, a telegram was received from General Buell, requesting a personal interview with Colonel Garfield. The latter hastened on to Louisville and presented himself at the General's headquarters, the following evening.[Pg 84]

Looking the young colonel through and through with his clear, piercing eye, General Buell took down a map, and pointed out the position of Humphrey Marshall's forces in East Kentucky. He then marked the locations where the Union's troops were posted, described the country, capabilities, etc., and said to his visitor,—

"If you were in command of the sub-department of Eastern Kentucky, what would you do? Come here at nine o'clock to-morrow morning and tell me."

Garfield went back to his hotel, found a map of Kentucky, the latest census report, etc., and then with paper, pen, and ink, sat down to his problem. When daylight came he was still at work, but nine o'clock found him at General Buell's headquarters with the sketch of his plans all completed.

The elder officer read it, and immediately made it the foundation of a special order by which the Eighteenth Brigade, Army of the Ohio, was organized, and Colonel Garfield was made its commander.

Soon after, the new brigadier received his letter of instructions from General Buell, which was in substance an order to unite in the face of the enemy two small companies of soldiers that were stationed far apart, and drive the rebel General Marshall out of Kentucky.

Garfield set out for Catlettsburg without delay,[Pg 85] and found his regiment had gone on to the little town of Louisa, some twenty-eight miles up the Big Sandy river.

The whole surrounding country was in a great state of excitement. The Fourteenth Kentucky regiment had been stationed at Louisa, but hearing that Marshall with all his forces was closely following them, they had hastily retreated to the mouth of the Big Sandy.

On the day before Christmas, Garfield joined his troops at Louisa, much to the relief of the terror-stricken citizens, who were just preparing to cross the river to find a place of safety.

The young commander had two very important and difficult things to accomplish. First, he must communicate with Colonel Cranor; then he must unite his own forces to that officer's, in the face of a greatly superior enemy that could, and probably would, swoop down upon them as soon as they made the least movement.

Going to Colonel Moore of the Fourteenth Kentucky, he said,—

"I want a man who is not afraid to take his life in his hand for the saving of his country."

"There is John Jordan from the head of Blaine," was the reply, "I think we could rely upon him."

Jordan was immediately sent for, and, notwithstanding his uncanny appearance, Garfield was at once prepossessed in his favor. He was tall and[Pg 86] lank, with hollow cheeks and a curious squeaking voice. Born and bred among the Kentucky hills, he was rough and untutored, but his clear, gray eyes showed an unflinching courage and a downright honesty, that Garfield read with unerring intuition.

"Are you willing to risk your life for the country?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, sir!" was the ready response. "When I volunteered, I gave up my life for jest what it was wuth. If the Lord sees fit to make use of it now, I'm willin' He should take it."

"Do you mean you have come into the war not expecting to get out of it?"

"Yes, gin'ral, that's how I meant it."

"And are you willing to die rather than give up this despatch?"

"That's the gospel truth, gin'ral."

"Well, then, I think I can trust it with you."

So saying, Garfield rolled up into the form of a bullet the tissue-paper on which the despatch was written; he then coated it with warm lead and gave it to Jordan. He also gave him a carbine, a brace of revolvers, and the swiftest horse in the regiment.

The dangerous journey was to be taken only by night, and in the day-time the messenger was to hide in the woods.

It was just at midnight of the second day when[Pg 87] Jordan reached Colonel Cranor's quarters at McCormick's Gap with his precious bullet.

Upon opening the despatch the colonel found it was dated Louisa, Dec. 24th. The order read to move his regiment as soon as possible to Prestonburg, to take as little baggage and as few rations as possible, as the safety of his command would depend upon his expedition. Hours were worth months at such a time; and early on the following morning Colonel Cranor's regiment was on the move. It consisted of one thousand one hundred men, while Garfield's larger division numbered about seventeen hundred. The enemy, under Gen. Marshall, were stationed with the main body of their forces near Paintville; but a company of eight hundred were at West Liberty, a town directly on the route by which Colonel Cranor was to join General Garfield. It was a hazardous expedition, but the brigadier colonel knew he must obey orders.

On the morning after Jordan's departure for Cranor's camp, Garfield set out with his men and halted at George's Creek, which was only twenty miles from Marshall's intrenched position at Paintville. The roads along the Big Sandy were impassable for trains, so Garfield decided to depend upon boats to transport his supplies. At this time of the year, however, the stream was very uncertain, as heavy freshets often rendered navigation impossible for a number of days.[Pg 88]

Garfield, however, was used to contending with difficulties, and was not easily discouraged. Taking ten days' rations, he chartered two small steamboats and all the flat boats he could find, and loaded them with provisions.

Next morning, just as they were starting, one of the soldiers came up to Garfield and said,—

"There's a rough-looking man out here, colonel, who says he must see you."

Garfield stepped forward, and immediately recognized in the disreputable-looking tramp before him, Bradley Brown, one of his old companions on the canal boat.

It seemed that he belonged to the rebel army, and had heard a few days previous that Garfield, for whom he had always cherished a strong affection, was commanding the Union forces in that part of Kentucky.

Going to Marshall he told him of his former acquaintance with Garfield, and the help it might now prove to them if he should enter the camp and find out all about the Union forces. Marshall was entirely deceived by the plausibility of Brown's argument, never once dreaming that the tables might be turned upon himself.

Brown's real purpose was to warn Garfield of the rebel's strength and purpose, and he desired, above all things, to serve in the ranks of his old benefactor. He was just the man that the Union[Pg 89] army wanted for a scout, and Garfield, when assured of his loyalty, employed him to reconnoitre through the mountain borders of Virginia.

The safe return of Jordan the following day, after many hairbreadth escapes, encouraged Garfield to organize a "secret service," which Rosecrans used to call "the eyes of the army."

It was a long, wearisome march for the Union forces, but on the sixth of January, 1862, they arrived within six miles of Paintville. While they were halting there, a messenger arrived from General Buell with an intercepted letter of Marshall's to his wife. It disclosed the fact that the rebels had four thousand four hundred infantry and six hundred cavalry, and that they were daily expecting an onslaught of ten thousand from the Union forces.

Garfield assembled a council of his officers.

"What shall we do?" he said. "Is it better to march at once, or wait for Cranor and his forces?"

All but one of the officers declared it was better to wait, but that one said: "Let us move on at once—our fourteen hundred can whip ten thousand rebels."

Garfield paused a moment, as if in deep reflection. Then he exclaimed, "Well, forward it is. Give the order."

There were three roads that led down to the enemy's intrenchment. One of these was a river[Pg 90] road upon the western bank; another was a very winding road and came in at the mouth of Jenny's Creek: the third and most direct lay between the others, but it was very difficult to pass because of the intervening ridges.

In order to mislead Marshall as to the real strength of his forces, Garfield ordered a small division of his infantry to approach by the river road, drive in the enemy's pickets, and then move rapidly after them, as if preparing an attack upon Paintville. A similar force was sent off two hours later along the mountain road. A third detachment was ordered to take the road at the mouth of Jenny's creek.

The result of this strategy was just what Garfield had foreseen. When the pickets on the first route were attacked, they hurried back to Paintville in great confusion, and sent word to Marshall that the Union army was coming up by the river road. A large detachment of the rebel forces was at once dispatched to this point, but, by the time they reached them, the tidings had come that Garfield's forces were approaching by the mountain road. The rebel general then countermanded his first order, only to find his pickets had been attacked at another point. Finally, in utter confusion, they abandoned Paintville and fled to the fortified camp, declaring that the whole Union army was in hot pursuit.[Pg 91]

Garfield immediately pushed forward and took possession of Paintville. This was on the afternoon of January 8th. Later in the evening, a rebel spy came to Marshall's camp and told him that Cranor, with three thousand three hundred men, was within twelve hours' march to the westward.

The rebel general naturally concluded that he was to be attacked by a band of Union forces far outnumbering his own. He therefore broke up camp and retreated so hastily that he was obliged to leave behind a large quantity of his supplies.

At nine o'clock in the evening, Garfield, with a thousand of his men, took possession of the deserted camp, and waited there for the arrival of Cranor.

Next morning Cranor arrived, but his men were so tired and footsore they seemed in no condition for making an attack. Garfield, however, knew that the time had come for a decisive challenge, and so he ordered to the front all who were able to march. Eleven hundred,—and four hundred of these were from Cranor's exhausted ranks—obeyed the call, and hastened after Marshall and his retreating army.

The Union forces had marched about eighteen miles when they came to the mouth of Abbott's Creek, three miles below Prestonburg. Here Garfield learned that Marshall and his army were[Pg 92] encamping on the same stream some three miles distant. As it was then nine o'clock in the evening he ordered his men to put up their tents, and then he sent a messenger back to Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, who had been left in command at Paintville, and ordered him to bring up the remainder of the army as soon as possible.

The whole night he spent in reconnoitring about the country, so eager was he to know the exact arrangement of Marshall's troops and the probable contingencies of a battle.

Jordan's ride through the enemy's country had been of invaluable service to him. Marshall had strongly posted his army on a semi-circular hill at the forks of Middle Creek, and was quietly waiting there in ambuscade for the approach of the Union forces.

It was a chill night, and a driving rain added to the cheerlessness of the dreary bivouac in the valley.

[Pg 93]


Opening of Hostilities—Brave Charge of the Hiram Students—Giving the Rebels "Hail Columbia"—Sheldon's Reinforcement—The Rebel Commander Falls—His Army Retreats in Confusion.

With the first glimmer of light in the east, Garfield's men begin their march down into the valley. As the advance guard turns a jutting ridge, it is fired upon by a company of rebel horsemen. Instantly Garfield forms his soldiers into a hollow square, and a heavy volley from their rifles drives the enemy back.

Marshall and his whole army must be close by, but to find out their exact position, Garfield sends forward a reconnoitring party. Suddenly a twelve-pound shell whirs above the tree-tops, and tears up the ground at their feet. But the mounted company of twelve go bravely forward; and as they sweep around a curve in the road, another shell whistles past them, and they can hear in the distance a threatening rumble.

The enemy's position is at once clearly defined. The main body of their army is posted upon the top of two ridges at the left of Middle Creek, but[Pg 94] there is also a strong detachment upon the right, with a battery of heavy artillery to hold the forks of the stream. Marshall's plan is to draw the Union forces down into the narrow rocky road along the Creek, where between two fires, he knows it will be an easy matter to hem them in and utterly destroy the whole number.

But Garfield, with his quick intuition, takes in the situation at a glance. He immediately orders a hundred of his Hiram students to cross the stream, climb the ridge where the firing has been most frequent, and open the battle.

Bravely the little company plunge into the icy stream, and clinging to the low underbrush, begin the perilous ascent. A shower of bullets from two thousand rifles is falling all around them, but nothing daunted, they press onward till the summit is reached. Then, from every side the deadly shots are hurled, and, for a moment, the little band begin to waver.

"Every man to a tree!" shouts the leader, Captain Williams. "Give them as good as they send, boys!"

The word passes from lip to lip, and instantly from behind the great oaks and maples, they take their stand, and open a volley of fire upon the rebels. This is followed by a hand-to-hand fight with the bayonets, and little by little, the brave boys are driven back.[Pg 95]

"To the trees again!" cries the leader, "we may as well die here as in Ohio!"

One of the Hiram students, a lad of eighteen, is shot through the thigh, and a confederate soldier passing by says to him,—

"Here, boy, give me your musket." "Not the gun, but its contents," he replies, and in another instant the rebel lies dead at his feet. His companion takes up a weapon to kill the brave young student, but the latter seizes the dead man's rifle and, with unerring aim, fells him to the ground.

When his comrades bear him away to the camp, and a surgeon tells him that the wounded limb must be amputated, his only words are: "Oh, what will mother do?"

The story of the noble lad—Charles Carlton of Franklin, Ohio,—is told in the Ohio Senate, two weeks later, and a statute is immediately framed to make provision for the widows and mothers of our soldiers.

A hundred men like young Carlton present a steady resistance to the enemy's fire, but Garfield watching them from a rocky height, realizes their perilous situation and exclaims,—

"They will surely be driven back, they will lose the hill unless supported."

Instantly, five hundred of the Ohio Fortieth and Forty-second, under Major Pardee and General Cranor, are ordered forward.[Pg 96]

"Hurrah for Captain Williams and his Hiram boys!" they shout, as they ford the stream, holding their cartridge-boxes high above their heads. But the fire of four thousand muskets fall upon them and though,—

"Bravely they fight and well,
Stormed at with shot and shell,"

the unequal contest is quickly noted by the Union commander.

"This will never do," he exclaims. "Who will volunteer to carry the crest of the mountain?"

"Let us go forward," cries Colonel Monroe, of the Twenty-second Kentucky, "we know every inch of the ground."

"Go in, then," says Garfield, "and give them 'Hail Columbia!'"

Crossing the stream a little lower down, they mount the ridge to the left, and in ten minutes are face to face with the rebel army.

"Don't shoot till you see the eyes of your enemy," shouts the colonel, and although the men have never been in battle before, they are as cool and calm as their commander.

Five hundred against five thousand! It was a fearful contest, equalled only by the famous charge of the "Light Brigade."

"Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them,
Volleyed and thundered!"
[Pg 97]

And Garfield, standing upon a rock scarred with bullets, watched and waited for Sheldon's reinforcements, until, fearing the little band would be forced to retreat, he turned to the company held back as reserves, threw his military cloak into a tree, and exclaimed,—

"Come on, boys! It is our turn now to give them 'Hail Columbia'!" And then, as the ballad tells the story,—

"He led, they followed, spreading wide
Among the rebels routed;
From rank to rank, in liberal gift,
The self-same thing he shouted."

The short winter's day was almost over. Hotter and hotter raged the battle, but the Union forces, in spite of their inferior number, were constantly gaining ground. They seemed infused with the indomitable spirit of their commander. Their coolness and intrepidity gave added power to every shot, while the enemy, not understanding the difficulty of firing "down hill," frequently missed aim and let their bullets fall harmlessly upon the tree-tops, or far beyond the mark.

At this juncture, Dr. Pomerene, the surgeon of the Ohio Forty-second, saw a gleam of muskets in the distance. Hatless and excited, he mounted a fleet horse, crossed the stream, and hurried on to ascertain, what colors were borne by the coming troops. The glorious star-spangled banner[Pg 98] met his eyes, and, drawing nearer, he saluted Colonel Sheldon with the longed-for reinforcements.

"For God's sake, hurry!" he cried, "or the boys on the other side will be captured!"

From his elevated position on the opposite hill, Marshall had already descried the starry banner, and Sheldon's fresh troops hurrying to the rescue.

"Retreat!" he shouted to his men, and then, pierced by six bullets, he fell to the ground. Night closed about the contending armies, the rebels were seized with a sudden panic and fled wildly in all directions.

"God bless you, boys! You have saved Kentucky!" exclaimed Garfield, as he led the victorious troops back to camp. It was, indeed, a wonderful contest. The entire loss on the federal side was but one killed and eleven wounded.

"In all the battles of the late war," writes Edmund Kirke, in the New York Tribune, "there was not another like it. Measured by the forces engaged, the valor displayed, and the results that followed, it throws into shade the achievements of even that mighty host that saved the nation."

It was the first decided victory upon the Union side, but, years after, Garfield himself said of the skirmish,

"I see now, that favorably as it terminated, the[Pg 99] engagement was a very rash and imprudent affair on my part. A West Point officer would probably have had more caution, and would not have attempted so unequal a contest. I didn't know any better, then."

[Pg 100]


Garfield's Address to his Soldiers.—Starvation Stares them in the Face.—Garfield takes Command of the "Sandy Valley"—Perilous Trip up the River.—Garfield's Address to the Citizens of Sandy Valley.—Pound Gap.—Garfield Resolves to Seize the Guerillas.—The Old Mountaineer.—Successful Attack.—General Buell's Message.—Garfield is Appointed Brigadier-General.

Marshall and his entire force were dislodged from their intrenchments. Garfield had obeyed General Buell's orders, and the following day he issued the following address to his army:—

"Soldiers of the Eighteenth Brigade:

"I am proud of you all! In four weeks you have marched some eighty, and some a hundred miles, over almost impassable roads. One night in four you have slept, often in the storm, with only a winter sky above your heads. You have marched in the face of a foe of more than double your number—led on by chiefs who have won a national renown under the old flag—intrenched in hills of his own choosing, and strengthened by all the appliances of military art. With no experience but the consciousness[Pg 101] of your own manhood, you have driven him from his strongholds, pursued his inglorious flight, and compelled him to meet you in battle. When forced to fight, he sought the shelter of rocks and hills; you drove him from his position, leaving scores of his bloody dead unburied. His artillery thundered against you, but you compelled him to flee by the light of his burning stores, and to leave even the banner of his rebellion behind him. I greet you as men. Our common country will not forget you. She will not forget the sacred dead who fell beside you, nor those of your comrades who won scars of honor on the field. I have called you from the pursuit that you may regain vigor for still greater exertions. Let no one tarnish his well-earned honor by any act unworthy an American soldier. Remember your duties as American citizens, and sacredly respect the rights and property of those with whom you may come in contact. Let it not be said that good men dread the approach of an American army. Officers and soldiers, your duty has been nobly done. For this I thank you."

The enemy, after burning their supplies and baggage of every description, had made their escape through Pound Gap, and Garfield knew that it would be worse than useless to pursue them any farther. His own little force was greatly exhausted and short of food, as it had started with[Pg 102] only two days' rations. A heavy rain-storm had caused an overflow of the Big Sandy, and a large part of the valley was under water. The boats were all detained in the Ohio, and among them the steamers that Garfield had loaded with provisions for his troops. Meanwhile, starvation stared them in the face. Foraging was strictly forbidden, and if it had been possible for them to march over the muddy roads, it would have been in disobedience to orders, for the enemy might at any moment return and take possession of the country.

The young commander saw but one way out of the difficulty. Calling Brown, his faithful scout, he said to him,—

"What do you say to our going down the river and hurrying up the supplies? The boatmen say it can't be done, but you and I have had some experience on the water."

"I say, gin'ral," answered Brown, "I'd rather drown than starve, any day. Jest give me the word for't and I'm yer right-hand man!"

"We'll go, Brown," was the laconic reply, and, boarding a small skiff, they floated down the seething waters to the mouth of the Big Sandy.

Here they found a small steamboat, called the "Sandy Valley," which had formerly been in the quartermaster's service. This, Garfield loaded with supplies, and ordered up river.[Pg 103]

The captain, who was a secessionist, declared it was impossible to stem the current in such a flood. The water was at least sixty feet deep, and the trees along the banks were covered to their topmost branches.

"I will take the command of this steamer," said Garfield in an authoritative tone, at the same time ordering the captain and his men to get on board.

Placing Brown at the bow, Garfield took his stand at the helm. The most careful steering was necessary, for the water was full of dangerous snags and treacherous banks of sand. At one time the boat ran aground.

"We must get a line to the opposite shore!" exclaimed Garfield.

"It can't be done," said the rebel captain; "it's death to any man that attempts it!"

"It must be done!" cried Garfield, as he sprang into a yawl and called Brown to follow. For a few moments it seemed as if the little boat would be overborne by the current and utterly submerged. But the strong arm and indomitable will at last prevailed. Another moment of fearful suspense, and the opposite shore was gained. It was an easy matter, then, to fasten the rope, construct a windlass, and draw the steamboat out of the mud.

For two days and the greater part of one night, Garfield stood at the wheel, and at nine o'clock[Pg 104] the following morning the provisions were safely landed at Paintville.

"Had it not been for my experience on the canal-boat," he said, afterwards, "I could never have managed that trip up the Big Sandy."

When the half-famished men saw the boat and their noble commander at the helm, they could hardly contain themselves. They shouted and cheered, and would have borne him in triumph upon their shoulders had he not made a resolute protest against such manifestations.

The whole neighboring country about Paintville were greatly terrified when they heard of Marshall's retreat. The rebel troops spread such alarming reports of the hostile intentions of the Union forces that the people left their homes and took refuge in the woods.

To quiet their fears, Garfield issued the following:—

"Citizens of Sandy Valley

"I have come among you to restore the honor of the Union, and to bring back the old banner which you once loved, but which, by the machinations of evil men, and by mutual misunderstanding, has been dishonored, among you. To those who are in arms against the Federal Government, I offer only the alternative of battle or unconditional surrender. But to those who have taken no part[Pg 105] in this war, who are in no way aiding or abetting the enemies of this Union—even to those who hold sentiments averse to the Union, but will give no aid or comfort to its enemies—I offer the full protection of the government, both in their persons and property.

"Let those who have been seduced away from the love of their country to follow after, and aid the destroyers of our peace, lay down their arms, return to their homes, bear true allegiance to the Federal Government, and they shall also enjoy like protection. The army of the Union wages no war of plunder, but comes to bring back the prosperity of peace. Let all peace-loving citizens, who have fled from their homes, return and resume again the pursuits of peace and industry. If citizens have suffered any outrages by the soldiers under my command, I invite them to make known their complaints to me, and their wrongs shall be redressed and the offenders punished. I expect the friends of the Union in this valley to banish from among them all private feuds, and let a liberal love of country direct their conduct toward those who have been so sadly estrayed and misguided, hoping that these days of turbulence may soon be ended and the days of the Republic soon return.

"J. A. Garfield,

"Colonel Commanding Brigade."

[Pg 106]

This promise of protection allayed the fears of the people, and they began to flock about the Union camp. From them Garfield learned that Marshall and his forces were still lurking about the country. At last, through the scout, Jordan, he found out that a grand muster of the rebel militia was to meet in Pound Gap on the 15th of March, and that, by uniting their forces, they hoped to enter Kentucky and drive out the Union army.

Pound Gap is a narrow opening in the Cumberland mountains and leads into Virginia. On the top of the gorge through which the road passes, the rebels had built a long line of huts; and, directly across the gap, they had thrown up a breastwork, behind which they declared five hundred men could easily resist five thousand.

About six hundred of the rebel militia under Major Thompson had been stationed here for a number of weeks. Forming guerilla bands, they would come down into the peaceful valleys and commit all sorts of depredations. Before the terrified inhabitants could offer any resistance they would retreat to their strongholds, where pursuit was impossible.

Garfield felt his work in Kentucky would not be done until some effort had been made to break up these mountain hordes. When he heard of the intended muster, he set out with seven hundred men,[Pg 107] and, although the way was beset with difficulties, he pushed on through swollen streams and muddy roads until he was within two miles of the rebel garrison. His plan was to send one hundred of his horsemen up the road to attract the enemy's attention, while he, with the six hundred infantry, were climbing the steep side of the mountain and attacking the rebels on the flank.

He could find no one, however, to act as a guide in this perilous expedition, until one morning an old man, with long hair and snow-white beard, came into camp.

"I came down the mountain ten days ago," he said, "and where I can come down, ye can go up."

"But, do you think we can get over the road safely?" asked Garfield; "they tell me in winter the slope is a sheet of ice with three feet of snow on the summit."

"Wall," said the old man; "ye'll hev to make yer own path most likely, but it's worth yer trouble if ye can only ketch that nest o' murderin' thieves as is pesterin' the hull country!"

Garfield looked steadily into the old man's face with that peculiar searching glance of his, and then said,—

"We will do it to-morrow, and you shall be our guide."

The snow was falling in blinding drifts next morning when they commenced their ascent. The[Pg 108] ridge rises to a height of two thousand feet above the valley at this point, and sudden precipices yawn on every side. A single misstep is certain death; and slowly, cautiously the little band follow their weird-looking guide up the icy slope.

At length the old man turns suddenly to Garfield, saying,—

"The rebels are just a half mile from here; press on at the double and ye hev 'em!"

A firing from the picket-guard greets them, and the enemy call together all their forces to resist the intruders.

But Garfield and his men are equal to the occasion.

"Press forward, scale the hill, and carry it with the bayonet!" cries the Union commander, and with loud cheers the order is obeyed.

Little by little, the rebels fall back into the forest. The undaunted band follow with gleaming weapons, and before night are comfortably established in the enemy's quarters. Next morning, they burn the long huts, some sixty in number, destroy the breastworks, and set out for their own camp at Piketon. A week later, the order comes to march to Louisville, and the campaign on the Big Sandy comes to a successful close.

Kentucky is thoroughly rid of the rebel hordes, and General Buell is so delighted that he sends to Garfield the following message:[Pg 109]

"The general commanding takes occasion to thank General Garfield and his troops for their successful campaign against the rebel force under General Marshall, on the Big Sandy, and their gallant conduct in battle. They have overcome formidable difficulties in the character of country, conditions of the roads and the inclemency of the season, and, without artillery, have in several engagements, terminating in the battle of Middle Creek, on the 10th inst., driven him back into the mountains, with a loss of a large amount of baggage and stores, and many of his men killed or captured. These services have called into action the highest qualities of a soldier,—fortitude, perseverance and courage."

President Lincoln, to whom the news of "Middle Creek" had come like a benediction in his discouragement, immediately appointed Colonel Garfield a Brigadier-General.

[Pg 110]


Garfield takes Command of the Twentieth Brigade.—Battles of Shiloh and Corinth.—The fugitive Slave.—Attack of Malaria.—Home Furlough.—Summoned to Washington.—Death of his Child.—Ordered to Join General Rosecrans.—Kirke's description of Garfield.

When Garfield reached Louisville he found that General Buell had hastened on to the assistance of Grant, who was then at Pittsburg Landing. Overtaking General Buell at Columbia, Tennessee, he was assigned to the command of the Twentieth Brigade, and in the famous battle of Shiloh won new laurels.

In the long and wearisome siege of Corinth, Garfield's brigade did signal service; and in June, 1862, they were sent to repair and protect the Memphis and Charleston railroad. Here, as well as at Huntsville, Alabama, Garfield's old skill at carpentry came into play; and he gained no small renown for his fine military engineering.

It was while in the command of this brigade that a fugitive slave came running into his camp, badly wounded and terribly frightened. A few minutes after, his master came riding up, and, with a[Pg 111] volley of oaths, demanded his "property." Garfield was not present, so he passed on to the division commander. This man was a believer in the theory that fugitive slaves should be returned to their masters, and that the Union soldiers should see that this was done. He accordingly wrote a peremptory order to General Garfield, in whose command the slave was thought to be hidden, telling him to hunt out the fugitive and deliver him over to his master.

General Garfield took the order and quietly wrote on the back of it,—

"I respectfully, but positively, decline to allow my command to search for, or deliver up any fugitive slaves. I conceive that they are here for quite another purpose. The command is open, and no obstacles will be placed in the way of search." When reminded by one of his staff-officers that these rash words might bring him up before a court-martial, he replied,—

"The matter may as well be tested first as last. Right is right, and I do not propose to mince matters at all. My soldiers are here for other purposes than hunting and returning fugitive slaves. My people, on the Western Reserve of Ohio, did not send my boys and myself down here to do that kind of business, and they will back me up in my action."[Pg 112]

The order was returned with the indorsement unchanged, and nothing more was said about it.

The exposures of the past year, together with the malarial atmosphere of the South, began at last to tell upon the strong physique of the young commander, and he was obliged to take a few weeks' furlough. He had hardly started for home however, when the secretary of war, who had now learned his rare qualities, issued orders for him to relieve General Morgan of his command at Cumberland Gap.

Garfield was too sick to obey, and, a month later the secretary desired him to report in person at Washington, as soon as his health would allow. A new honor awaited him here, for so high an estimate had been placed upon his judgment and his technical knowledge of law that he had been chosen one of the first members in the court-martial of Fitz John Porter.

While at Washington, he was called home by the sickness and death of his eldest child, the "Little Trot," whose simple headstone in the cemetery at Hiram bears the touching inscription,—

"She has gained the crown without the cross."

In the following January, Garfield was ordered to join General Rosecrans, then in command of the Army of the Cumberland. It is said that Rosecrans was somewhat prejudiced against Garfield[Pg 113] because he had heard of him as a preacher who had taken up politics. A few days' acquaintance however, so thoroughly changed the General's opinion, that he gave Garfield the choice of joining his staff or commanding a brigade. He chose the former, and Rosecrans, writing of him, said,—

"I found him to be a competent and efficient officer, an earnest and devoted patriot, and a man of the highest honor."

It is interesting to read just here Edmund Kirke's graphic picture of Garfield, "Down in Tennessee," which was written in 1863.

"In a corner by the window, seated at a small pine desk—a sort of packing-box perched on a long-legged stool, and divided into pigeon-holes, with a turn-down lid, was a tall, deep-chested, sinewy-built man, with regular, massive features, a full, clear blue eye, and a high broad forehead, rising into a ridge over the eyes, as if it had been thrown up by a plough. There was something singularly engaging in his open expressive face, and his whole appearance indicated great reserve power. His uniform, though cleanly brushed and sitting easily upon him, had a sort of democratic air, and everything about him seemed to denote that he was a man of the people. A rusty slouched hat, large enough to have fitted Daniel Webster, lay on the desk before him; but a glance at that was not needed to convince me that his[Pg 114] head held more than the common share of brains. Though he is yet young—not thirty-three—the reader has heard of him, and if he lives he will make his name long remembered in our history."

[Pg 115]


Rosecrans Quarrels with the War Department.—Garfield as Mediator.—Remarkable Military Document.—The Tullahoma Campaign.—Insurrection averted.—Chattanooga.—Battle of Chickamauga.—Brave Defence of Gen. Thomas.—Garfield's Famous Ride.

Just at the time Garfield succeeded Garesche as Rosecrans' chief-of-staff, that officer was having a series of bickerings with the War Department. In his demands for more cavalry and arms, Garfield fully sympathized, but his unreasonable requests, oftentimes couched in the most exasperating language, the new chief endeavored to modify or repress.

From January until June, Rosecrans' army had lain idle at Murfreesboro'. With the opening of spring the War Department urged him to advance. Grant had begun his campaign against Vicksburg; and Halleck declared that unless Rosecrans made some decided movement, the rebel General, Bragg, would send a part of his force to aid Pemberton at Vicksburg.

General Rosecrans, however, still delayed; he waited for reinforcements, for the roads to be in better condition, for the corn to ripen. It was[Pg 116] better to keep quiet, he said, while Grant was at Vicksburg, for should that General happen to fail, all the rebels of the surrounding section, as well as those under General Johnston, would confront him.

At first, Garfield approved of Rosecrans' delay, but as soon as his army was thoroughly reinforced with men and supplies, he urged him to make an advance. Through the secret service system which he had established since Jordan's wonderful expedition, Garfield discovered that Bragg's army was greatly reduced, and he felt assured that the time had come for a decisive blow. At last, General Rosecrans sent a formal letter to his corps, division, and cavalry generals asking their opinion concerning the feasibility and wisdom of such a movement. Not one of the seventeen generals was in favor of an immediate or even an early advance.

Garfield took the answers sent in from the generals, and in one of the ablest military documents on record,[A] he refuted every objection raised, and added therewith such powerful arguments in favor of an immediate advance, that General Rosecrans was convinced. Twelve days later, the army moved, much to the chagrin of the other officers, who declared it was a rash and fatal step for which Garfield alone should be held responsible.

It was the opening of the famous Tullahoma campaign—a campaign remarkable throughout for[Pg 117] its fine conception and able execution. Bragg's army would have been utterly destroyed had the advance been made a few days earlier; as it was, the rebel forces were finally driven south of the Tennessee, a thousand five hundred and seventy-five prisoners were captured, together with considerable ammunition, and the state of Tennessee was again under the flag of the Union.

Almost on the boundary line between Tennessee and Georgia stands the village of Chattanooga. It is on the southern bank of the Tennessee river, and to the north Lookout Mountain rises almost perpendicularly to a height of twenty-four hundred feet. Missionary Ridge, which is a much lower elevation, lies upon the eastern side, and along its base flows the West Chickamauga Creek that empties into the Tennessee just at Chattanooga. On the opposite side is Pigeon Mountain.

The Tullahoma campaign had forced Bragg and his remaining troops across the Tennessee, and they were now posted all along the southern bank of the stream from Chattanooga far down toward Atlanta.

Rosecrans' army had encamped themselves on the west with a line of fortifications one hundred and fifty miles long, while General Burnside had moved into Eastern Tennessee, and taken possession of Knoxville. The great problem now was how to force Bragg from his position at Chattanooga.[Pg 118]

It was about this time that Rosecrans received a letter, in which a plan for arming the negroes and sending them throughout the slave states, was proposed.

"It would doubtless end the rebellion at once," said one of Rosecrans' officers; "and the letter says that no blood would be shed except in self-defence."

"But, think what vengeance the blacks might take, if suddenly let loose upon their masters!" exclaimed Rosecrans. "I must talk the matter over with Garfield."

After a careful reading of the letter, the chief-of-staff said, quietly, but firmly,—

"It will never do, General. We don't want to whip by such means. If the slaves, of their own accord, rise and assert their original right to themselves, that will be their own affair; but we can have no complicity with them without outraging the moral sense of the civilized world."

"But what if the other departments should encourage these uprisings?"

"We must do all in our power to prevent them," exclaimed Garfield.

Rosecrans, whose confidence in his chief-of-staff was daily increasing, immediately took measures to stop the movement, and the insurrection, with all its attendant horrors, was averted.

To Garfield was now submitted the task of planning[Pg 119] some movement which would oblige Bragg to leave Chattanooga. General Halleck, then in Washington at the head of the War Department, had sent to Rosecrans the following telegram,—

"The orders for the advance of your army are peremptory."

The only movement that could be made with any advantage at this time, would be for the Union army to cross the river in three divisions and cut off Bragg from all communication with Atlanta, whence he was expecting supplies and reinforcements.

Pontoons were, therefore, brought forward, and materials prepared for building a couple of bridges. This was done with all possible secrecy, but high up on Lookout Mountain the signal corps of Bragg's army, with their field-glasses, were stealthily watching, and promptly reporting every movement.

The Confederates readily yielded their post at Chattanooga, but it was only to give the appearance of a retreat. In reality, they were concentrating all their forces along the banks of the Chickamauga, and already their troops outnumbered Rosecrans' by several thousands. Bragg's plan was to cross the Chickamauga at the various bridges and fords, push across Missionary Ridge to Rossville, and then, closing in upon Rosecrans'[Pg 120] army, completely destroy it by the force of his superior numbers.

Garfield, by means of his secret service system, had discovered this plan of the rebel commander, and apprized Rosecrans, who was now on the alert and confronting Bragg's troops at every feasible point of the road.

"The resistance offered by the enemy's cavalry," writes the Confederate general, "as well as the difficulties arising from the bad and narrow country roads, caused unexpected delays."

On the morning of the 19th of September, the battle began on the banks of the Chickamauga between Pigeon Mountain and Missionary Ridge. It raged fiercely all day, and when night closed down upon the contending armies, the contest was still undecided.

Bragg's army had been reinforced by a large detachment under General Longstreet, and McLawes' division was expected every moment. The prospect seemed very dark to the Union army, whose scattered troops numbered at most but sixty thousand, and whose supplies were cut off in all directions. They still held, however, the road to Rossville, the one especial point for which Bragg had been fighting.

It was a fortunate turn of affairs that gave to General Thomas the command of the left wing of Rosecrans' army. Here it was that the brunt of[Pg 121] the battle came, on the second day at Chickamauga; and, through the whole fearful struggle, the brave general and his devoted troops showed the same invincible spirit that had won laurels for them in the victories of Mill Spring, Pittsburg Landing, and Stone River.

Garfield, as chief-of-staff, kept his place by Rosecrans' side until, at a critical point in the battle, he turned to his commanding officer, and said,—

"General, I ask permission to return and join General Thomas." Consent was reluctantly granted, for, although it was necessary to inform General Thomas of the condition of affairs, Rosecrans knew that Garfield was undertaking a fearful risk.

"As you will," he said, at last; "God bless you; we may not meet again. Good-bye!"

With the brave Captain Gaw as his guide, and two orderlies, Garfield sets out on his famous ride. There are eight miles to be crossed before they can reach Thomas; they ride swiftly and securely through the neighboring forest, but as they emerge from the narrow road at Rossville Gap, a shower of bullets falls about them. Longstreet's skirmishers and sharp-shooters have surrounded them, and the two orderlies fall from their horses, mortally wounded.

Garfield spurs on his magnificent charger, leaps a fence, and finds himself in an open field, white[Pg 122] with ripening cotton. Only a slight ridge now divides him from the outposts of Thomas's division, but, as he makes a zig-zag ascent up the slope, the gray-coats send volley after volley of whizzing bullets, and suddenly his horse is struck beneath him. It is only a flesh wound, however, and the fiery creature is urged forward with still greater impetuosity.

Another second, and the crest of the hill is gained. Horse and rider gallop down the other side and a band of mounted blue-coats surround them.

"Good God, Garfield!" cries General McCook, "I thought you were killed. How you have escaped is a miracle."

Though twice wounded, Garfield's horse plunges on, through tangled under-brush, over fences, up hill and down, until the remaining four miles are accomplished. Then, passing through another shower of shot and shell, Garfield catches a glimpse of Thomas.

"There he is!" he shouts, "God bless the old hero! he has saved the army!"

In five minutes more, Garfield is by the side of Thomas; the perilous ride is safely over, the message is delivered. But look! the noble horse is staggering, and now it drops down dead at the feet of General Thomas.

A half hour longer the battle raged desperately, and then with a sudden break in their[Pg 123] lines the rebels abandoned the fight and began to retreat.

Garfield sat down behind a dead tree and wrote a dispatch to General Rosecrans. In the midst of the heaviest firing, a white dove was seen to hover around for several minutes, and then to settle down on the top of the tree above Garfield's head.

"A good omen of peace!" exclaimed General Wood, who was standing close by. Garfield said nothing, but kept on with his writing.

At seven o'clock that evening, a battery of six Napoleon guns, by order of Generals Granger and Garfield, thundered after the retreating rebels.

The battle of Chickamauga was ended; the Union army had won the day.

"Again, O fair September night!
Beneath the moon and stars,
I see, through memories dark and bright,
The altar fires of Mars.
The morning breaks with screaming guns
From batteries dark and dire,
And where the Chickamauga runs
Red runs the muskets' fire.
"I see bold Longstreet's darkening host
Sweep through our lines of flame,
And hear again, 'The right is lost!'
Swart Rosecrans exclaim!
'But not the left,' young Garfield cries:
'From that we must not sever,
While Thomas holds the field that lies
On Chickamauga River.'
[Pg 124]
"Through tongues of flame, through meadows brown,
Dry valley roads concealed,
Ohio's hero dashes down
Upon the rebel field
And swift, on reeling charger borne,
He threads the wooded plain.
By twice a hundred cannon mown,
And reddened with the slain.
"But past the swathes of carnage dire,
The Union guns he hears,
And gains the left, begirt with fire,
And thus the heroes cheers—
'While stands the left, yon flag o'erhead,
Shall Chattanooga stand!'
'Let the Napoleons rain their lead!'
Was Thomas's command.
"Back swept the gray brigades of Bragg,
The all with victory rung,
And Wurzel's 'Rally round the flag!'
'Mid Union cheers was sung.
The flag on Chattanooga's height
In twilight crimson waved,
And all the clustered stars of white
Were to the Union saved.
"O Chief of staff! the nation's fate.
That red field crossed with thee,
The triumph of the camp and state,
The hope of liberty!
O Nation! free from sea to sea,
With union blessed forever,
Not vainly heroes fought for thee
By Chickamauga's River."


[A] For document in full, see Addenda I.

[Pg 125]


Rosecrans' Official Report.—Sixteen Years Later.—Promotion to Major-General.—Elected to Congress.—Resigns his Commission in the Army.—Endowed by Nature and Education for a Public Speaker.—Moral Character.—Youngest Member of House of Representatives.—One Secret of Success.—First Speech.—Wade-Davis Manifesto.—Extracts from various Speeches.

General Rosecrans, in his official report of the battles of Chickamauga, writes,—

"To Brigadier-General James A. Garfield, chief-of-staff, I am especially indebted for the clear and ready manner in which he seized the points of action and movement, and expressed in order the ideas of the general commanding."

To this meed of praise General Wood adds,—

"It affords me much pleasure to signalize the presence with my command, for a length of time during the afternoon (present during the period of hottest fighting), of another distinguished officer, Brigadier-General James A. Garfield, chief-of-staff. After the disastrous rout on the right, General Garfield made his way back to the battle-field (showing clearly that the road was open to all who might choose to follow it), and came to where my command was engaged. The brigade which[Pg 126] made so determined a resistance on the crest of the narrow ridge during all the long September afternoon, had been commanded by General Garfield when he belonged to my division. The men remarked his presence with much satisfaction, and were delighted that he was a witness of the splendid fighting they were doing."

In connection with these reports, it is interesting to recall Garfield's address to his comrades, sixteen years later, when some twelve hundred of the veteran volunteers of Ohio visited him at his home in Mentor. In response to an address of General M. D. Leggett, he said, in his hearty, friendly way,—

"Any man that can see twelve hundred comrades in the front door-yard has as much reason to be proud as for anything that can well happen to him in this world. To see twelve hundred men from almost every regiment of the state, to see a consolidated field report of survivors of the war sixteen years after it is over, is a great sight for any man to look on. I greet you all with gratitude for this visit. Its personal compliment is great, but there is another thought in it far greater than that to me, and greater to you.

"Just over yonder, about ten miles, when I was a mere lad, I heard the finest political speech of my life. It was a speech of Joshua R. Giddings. He had come home to appeal to his constituents.[Pg 127] A Southern man drew a pistol on him while he was speaking in favor of human liberty, and marched over to him to shoot him down, to stop his speech and quench the voice of liberty.

"I remember but one thing the old hero said in the course of that speech so long ago, and it was this,—

"'I knew I was speaking for liberty, and I felt that if an assassin shot me down, my speech would still go on and triumph.'

"Well, now, these twelve hundred, and the one hundred times twelve hundred, and the one million of men that went out into the field of battle to fight for our Union, feel as that speaker felt, that if they should all be shot down the cause of liberty would still go on.

"You all, and the Union, felt that around you, and above you, and behind you, was a force and a cause and an immortal truth that would outlive your bodies and mine, and survive all our brigades, and all our armies, and all our battles.

"Here you are to-day; in the same belief we shall die; and yet we believe that after us the immortal truth for which we fought will live in a united nation, a united people, against all factions, against all sections, against all divisions, so long as there shall be a continent of rivers, and mountains, and lakes.

"It was this great belief that lifted you all up[Pg 128] into the heroic height of great soldiers in war; and it is my belief that you cherish it to-day, and carry it with you in all your pilgrimages and in all your reunions. In that great belief and in that inspiring faith, I meet you and greet you to-day, and with it we will go on to whatever fate has in store for us."

Ah! how little the devoted band of comrades dreamed that bright October morning, with what a new and solemn meaning before another twelve months those earnest words would come back to them!

Four weeks after the battle of Chickamauga, General Rosecrans sent Garfield on to Washington to report minutely to the War Department and to the President, the position, deeds, resources, etc., of the army at Chattanooga. In the mean time he had received the promotion of major-general "for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Chickamauga;" and during the year previous, the Nineteenth Congressional District of Ohio had elected him as their representative to the Thirty-Eighth Congress.

Garfield's whole heart and soul were with the army, he would have preferred to serve his country on the field rather than in the halls of state; but when he expressed his desire to President Lincoln, the latter urged him to resign his commission and come to Congress. There were plenty of major-generals,[Pg 129] he said, but able statesmen—like angels' visits—were few and far between.

It was universally believed, at this time, that the war was drawing to a close; and still another consideration that influenced Garfield in his decision was the fact that a voice in military legislation might be of great assistance to his comrades in arms. So, on the 5th of December, 1863, after three years of military life, he resigned his army commission with its high emoluments, for the poor pay and arduous work of a Congressman.

It is a little singular that he should have filled in Congress the very seat left vacant by the death of Joshua R. Giddings, his boyhood's hero. Did the mantle of this brave Elijah fall upon him, too, I wonder?

Upon his arrival at Washington, Garfield, with his characteristic energy and perseverance, began a thorough course of study upon all topics with which he might have to deal, giving especial attention to commerce, manufactures, finance, the tariff, taxation, and international law. Every spare moment was turned to the best account; an intimate friend says he was seldom seen without a book in his hand, or in his pocket.

Both by nature and education, Garfield seemed specially endowed for the office of a public speaker. He had a ready flow of language that practice in debating clubs, the teacher's desk, at the bar,[Pg 130] and in the pulpit had rendered apt, pointed, and polished. His tall, massive figure, powerful voice, and dignified manner gave additional weight to every word that fell from his lips, while his fine scholarship, extensive reading and wonderful memory furnished an inexhaustible "reserve fund" of illustration and imagery. But above all and through all, was the vital power of a warm, sympathetic, generous heart.

"His moral character," writes President Hinsdale, "was the fit crown to his physical and intellectual nature. No man had a kinder heart or a purer mind. Naturally, and without conscious plan or effort, he drew men to him as the magnet the iron filings."

He had been the youngest man in the Ohio senate, the youngest brigadier-general, and now, at the age of thirty-two, he was found to be the youngest member of the House of Representatives. To make his mark among so many brilliant intellects, so many fine orators, so many old and well-tried statesmen, as graced the legislation halls of the nation at that critical period of our history, required in the young and then almost unknown congressman "a peculiar combination of strong talents and intellectual acuteness."

One secret of his success lay in his "genius for hard work." He was not one to take ideas at second-hand; he was never satisfied until he had[Pg 131] sifted the subject in hand to the very bottom, and when once assured of the truth and right of any matter, no power on earth could move him.

"Comparatively few men or women," he said one day to a friend, "take the trouble to think for themselves. Most people frame their opinions from what they read or hear others say. I noticed this in early life, but never saw the evil of it until I went to Congress."

From the very first, Garfield made his influence felt in the Hall of Representatives. He was strong enough to break over the bars that usually restrict the new and younger members of Congress, and soon took up the gauntlet with debaters like Thaddeus Stevens, N. P. Banks, Roscoe Conkling, and other old leaders in the legislative halls.

It was a tumultuous period in our national history; the War of the Rebellion had brought to the surface many questions of debate that required the utmost thought and deliberation, and upon whose decision hung the weightiest of results.

But Garfield as some able writer says, was "a man who was always equal to the greatest opportunity; often surpassed it. He was great on great occasions, because in temperament, intelligence, enthusiasm, and eloquence, he rose, like air, to its highest limit."

The first speech he delivered of any length, was on January 28th, 1864, and was a reply to his[Pg 132] Democratic colleague, Mr. Finck. It was in favor of the confiscation of rebel property, and the following passage will give an idea of his style of argument in those early days:—

"The war was announced by proclamation, and it must end by proclamation. We can hold the insurgent states in military subjection half a century—if need be, until they are purged of their poison and stand up clean before the country. They must come back with clean hands, if they come at all. I hope to see in all those states the men who fought and suffered for the truth, tilling the fields on which they pitched their tents. I hope to see them, like old Kaspar of Blenheim, on the summer evenings, with their children upon their knees, and pointing out the spot where brave men fell and marble commemorates it."

His answer to Mr. Long, in the campaign of 1864, when McClellan was proposed as the Democratic candidate, will never be forgotten. It was delivered on the impulse of the moment and excited the wildest applause throughout the House. The older members began to realize what a growing power they had in their midst, and were not slow to seek Garfield's assistance when they had some pet measure to bring forward.

As the time drew near for holding the Congressional Convention of 1864, in the Nineteenth District, a report was circulated in the Western Reserve,[Pg 133] that Garfield was the author of the famous Wade-Davis manifesto.

The convention wished to nominate him, but hesitated. Would he not come forward and explain himself?

Now this was just what Garfield was longing to do. With a firm step he walked up to the platform and in a brief, trenchant speech, declared that although he had not written the Wade-Davis letter, he was in sympathy with the authors. If the Nineteenth District did not want a representative who would assert his independence of thought and action, it must find another man. Having stated his conviction of the truth in the plainest, strongest terms, he came down from the platform and quietly left the hall. A great noise from the building greeted his ears as he turned the street-corner. He thought they were having an indignation meeting, and he fully expected to be apprized of his rejection.

To his astonishment, however, he learned that the noise he had heard was the cheering of the people upon his nomination.

The convention had been taken entirely by surprise. Before any of his opponents had had time to say a word, an Ashtabula delegate had risen to his feet and declared that "a man who could face a delegation like that, ought to be nominated by acclamation." Then, the popular feeling expressed[Pg 134] itself freely, and Garfield was renominated with great applause.

"It was a bold action on my part," he said afterward, "but it showed me the truth of the old maxim that 'Honesty is the best policy,' and I have ever since been entirely independent in my relations with the people of my district."

Ben Wade, the "old war-horse," was greatly touched by Garfield's championship.

"I shall never forget it, never, sir, while I live on this earth!" he exclaimed as he held the hand of the young statesman in his iron grasp.

Garfield was elected by a majority of twelve thousand, and on his return to Congress the second term, the secretary of the treasury requested that he might have a place on the Committee of Ways and Means.

From his entrance into Congress, Garfield had made a special study of finance and political economy. He was therefore, well equipped for this new position, and nothing could move him from the firm stand he had taken in favor of specie payments and the honorable fulfilment of the nation's contract.

"I affirm," he boldly declared before the House, "against all opposers, that the highest and foremost present duty of the American people is to complete the resumption of specie payments; and first of all, because the sacred faith of this republic[Pg 135] is pledged to resumption; and if it were never so hard to do it, if the burdens were ten times greater than they are, this nation dare not look in the face of God and men, and break its plighted word.

"It is a fearful thing for one man to stand up in the face of his brother-man and refuse to keep his pledge; but it is a forty-five million times worse thing for a nation to do it. It breaks the mainspring of faith. It unsettles all security; it disturbs all values; and it puts the life of the nation in peril for all time to come.

"I am almost ashamed to give any other reason for resumption than this one I have given. It is so complete that no other is needed; but there is another almost as strong. If there were no moral obligations resting upon the nation, if there were no public faith pledged to it, I affirm that the resumption of specie payment is demanded by every interest of business in this country, and so imperatively demanded that it can be demonstrated that every honest interest in America will be strengthened and bettered by the resumption of specie payment."

Garfield's fidelity to conviction was strikingly shown in a case at this time when in some of the states there were conflicts between civil and military authorities. He was too well versed in law to follow blindly the opinion of the majority.

"Young man," said Judge Jeremiah Black to[Pg 136] him, "it is a perilous thing for a young Republican in Congress to take such an independent stand, and I don't want you to injure yourself."

"That consideration," replied Garfield, "does not weigh with me; I believe in English liberty and English law."

Speaker Colfax wanted to reappoint him on the military committee, but he asked to be excused, saying,—

"I would rather serve where I can study finance; this is to be the great question in the future of our country."

In his first speech on the tariff question, he defines his position as follows:—

"I hold that a properly adjusted competition between home and foreign products is the best gauge to regulate international trade. Duties should be so high that our manufacturers can fairly compete with the foreign product, but not so high as to enable them to drive out the foreign article, enjoy a monopoly of the trade, and regulate the price as they please. This is my doctrine of protection."

In the well-remembered controversy that succeeded General Schenck's tariff bill, Garfield said,—

"The great want of industry is a stable policy; and it is a significant comment on the character of our legislation that Congress has become a terror[Pg 137] to the business men of the country.... A distinguished citizen of my own district has lately written me this significant sentence: 'If the laws of God and nature were as vacillating and uncertain as the laws of Congress in regard to the business of its people, the universe would soon fall into chaos.'

"Examining thus the possibilities of the situation I believe that the true course for the friends of protection to pursue, is to reduce the rates on imports when we can justly and safely do so, and accepting neither of the extreme doctrines, endeavor to establish a stable policy that will commend itself to all patriotic and thoughtful people."

Finding that no one in Congress had made a business of examining in detail the various appropriations of the public money, Garfield took the arduous task upon his own shoulders so that he might vote more intelligently. Having made out a careful analysis, he delivered it before the House; it was so well received, that each succeeding year another was called for until "Garfield's budget speech" became a well-known institution in Congress, and was considered a most important help in reducing the expenditures of the Government.

A few years later, Garfield was promoted to the chairmanship of the Committee on Appropriations.

[Pg 138]


Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.—The New York Mob.—Garfield's Memorable Words.—Eulogy upon Lincoln.—Memorial Oration.—Eulogy upon Senator Morton.—Extracts from other Orations.

It is the morning after the fateful fourteenth of April, 1865. From the Atlantic shore to the Pacific the whole startled nation is in the wildest state of excitement. President Lincoln, with the glorious words of Emancipation still warm upon his lips, has been shot down by the hand of Booth. The newsboys shout through the streets that Seward is dying—that the lives of other Government officers have been assailed!

A furious mob rules the thoroughfares of New York and clamors for revenge. One man who is suspected of rebel sentiments is shot dead on the spot; another instant and his adversary lies beside him in the gutter.

"To the World! To the office of the World!" shout the rabble, bearing high above their heads a roughly constructed gallows.

Suddenly, a tall, manly figure steps forward with a small flag in his hand.[Pg 139]

"Another telegram from Washington!" exclaims a chorus of excited voices.

A dead silence follows, and then, with a reverential glance heavenward, the stranger begins in clear, deep tones,—

"Fellow-citizens! clouds and darkness are round about Him. His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Justice and judgment are the establishment of His throne. Mercy and truth shall go before His face. Fellow citizens, God reigns, and the Government at Washington still lives!"

An eye-witness writes of the memorable scene:

"The crowd stood riveted to the ground with awe, gazing at the motionless orator, and thinking of God and the security of the Government in that hour. As the boiling wave subsides and settles to the sea, when some strong wind beats it down, so the tumult of the people sank and became still. All took it as a divine omen. It was a triumph of eloquence, inspired by the moment, such as falls to but one man's lot, and that but once in a century. The genius of Webster, Choate, Everett, Seward, never reached it. What might have happened had the surging and maddened crowd been let loose, none can tell. The man for the crisis was on the spot, more potent than Napoleon's guns at Paris. I inquired what was his name. The answer came[Pg 140] in a low whisper, 'It is General Garfield of Ohio!'"

"God reigns; and the Government at Washington still lives!" With what majestic eloquence those immortal words come back to us to-day! With what quickened sympathies we re-read his grand eulogy delivered a year later in Congress, upon Abraham Lincoln, the martyred president!

Have not the American people repeated one of those "times in the history of men and nations when they stand so near the veil that separates mortals from immortals, time from eternity, and men from their God, that they can almost hear the beatings and feel the pulsations of the heart of the Infinite?"

Through its parting folds the thin veil has admitted another "martyr president to the company of the dead heroes of the Republic." Shall not the whispers of God be heard by the children of men? Awe-stricken by His voice, shall not the American people again "kneel in tearful reverence and make a solemn covenant with Him and with each other that this nation shall be saved from its enemies, and the temples of freedom and justice built upon foundations that shall survive forever?"

Upon the birthday of Lincoln, February 12th, 1878, when Carpenter's painting of "The Emancipation"[Pg 141] was presented to Congress by Mrs. Thompson, Garfield delivered another memorial oration, from which we quote the following beautiful passages:—

"The representatives of the nation have opened the doors of this Chamber to receive at her hands a sacred trust. In coming hither, these living representatives have passed under the dome and through that beautiful and venerable hall, which, on another occasion, I have ventured to call the third House of American Representatives, that silent assembly whose members have received their high credentials at the impartial hand of history. Year by year, we see the circle of its immortal membership enlarging; year by year, we see the elect of their country, in eloquent silence, taking their places in this American pantheon, bringing within its sacred precincts the wealth of those immortal memories which made their lives illustrious; and year by year, that august assembly is teaching deeper and grander lessons to those who serve in these more ephemeral Houses of Congress.

"Abraham Lincoln" (and may we not say the same of James Abram Garfield?) "was one of the few great rulers whose wisdom increased with his power, and whose spirit grew gentler and tenderer as his triumphs were multiplied.

"His character is aptly described in the words[Pg 142] of England's great laureate—written thirty years ago—in which he traces the upward steps of some

'Divinely gifted man,
Whose life in low estate began,
And on a simple village green;
'Who breaks his birth's invidious bar,
And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
And breasts the blow of circumstance,
And grapples with his evil star;
'Who makes by force his merit known,
And lives to clutch the golden keys,
To mould a mighty State's decrees.
And shape the whisper of the throne;
'And moving up from high to higher,
Becomes on Fortune's crowning slope,
The pillar of a people's hope,
The centre of a world's desire.'

"Such a life and character will be treasured forever as the sacred possession of the American people and of mankind."

Again, in Garfield's eulogy upon Senator Morton of Indiana, how truly the words apply to himself:—

"His force of will was most masterful. It was not mere stubbornness, or pride of opinion, which weak and narrow men mistake for firmness. But it was that stout-hearted persistency which, having once intelligently chosen an object, pursues it[Pg 143] through sunshine and storm, undaunted by difficulties, and unterrified by danger.

"He possessed an intellect of remarkable clearness and force. With keen analysis he found the core of a question, and worked from the centre outward.... Few men have been so greatly endowed with the power of clear statement and unassailable argument. The path of his thought was straight,—

'Like that of the swift cannon-ball
Shattering that it may reach, and
Shattering what it reaches."

"When he had hit the mark, he used no additional words, and sought for no decoration. These qualities, joined to his power of thinking quickly, placed him in the front rank of debaters, and every year increased his power."

One of Garfield's most popular eulogies was that upon John Winthrop and Samuel Adams, from which we quote the following striking passages:—

"It must not be forgotten that while Samuel Adams was writing the great argument of liberty in Boston, almost at the same time Patrick Henry was formulating the same doctrines in Virginia. It is one of the grandest facts of that grand time that the colonies were thus brought, by an almost universal consent, to tread the same pathway, and reach the same great conclusions.[Pg 144]

"But most remarkable of all is the fact that, throughout all that period, filled as it was with the revolutionary spirit, the men who guided the storm exhibited the most wonderful power of self-restraint. If I were to-day to state the single quality that appears to me most admirable among the fathers of the revolution, I should say it was this: that amidst all the passions of war, they exhibited so wonderful a restraint, so great a care to observe the forms of law, to protect the rights of the minority, to preserve all those great rights that had come down to them from the common law, so that when they had achieved their independence, they were still a law-abiding people."

When a resolution of thanks was about to be passed in Congress to General Thomas for his generalship in the battle of Chickamauga, Garfield moved an amendment, by inserting the name of General Rosecrans.

After an eloquent appeal in behalf of his old commander, he closed with the following words:—

"Who took command of the Army of the Cumberland,—found the army at Bowling Green, in November, 1862, as it lay disorganized, disheartened, driven back from Alabama, and Tennessee,—and led it across the Cumberland, planted it in Nashville, and thence, on the first day of the new year, planted his banners at Murfreesboro; in torrents of blood, and in the moment of our extremest[Pg 145] peril, throwing himself into the breach, saved by his personal labor the Army of the Cumberland and the hopes of the Republic? It was General Rosecrans. From the day he assumed the command at Bowling Green, the history of that army may be written in one sentence—it advanced and maintained its advanced position—and its last campaign under the general it loved was the bloodiest and most brilliant.

"The fruits of Chickamauga were gathered in November, on the heights of Mission Ridge and among the clouds of Lookout Mountain. That battle at Chattanooga was a glorious one, and every loyal heart was proud of it. But, sir, it was won when we had nearly three times the number of the enemy. It ought to have been won. Thank God it was won! I would take no laurel from the brow of the man who won it, but I would remind gentlemen here, that while the battle of Chattanooga was fought with vastly superior numbers on our part, the battle of Chickamauga was fought with still vaster superiority against us.

"If there is any man upon earth whom I honor, it is the man who is named in this resolution—General George H. Thomas. I had occasion, in my remarks on the conscription bill a few days ago, to refer to him in such terms as I delighted to use; and I say to gentlemen here that if there is any man whose heart would be hurt by this resolution[Pg 146] as it now stands, that man is General George H. Thomas. I know, and all know, that he deserves well of his country; and his name ought to be recorded in letters of gold; but I know equally well that General Rosecrans deserves well of his country.

"I ask you then, not to pain the heart of a noble man, who will be burdened with the weight of these thanks that wrong his brother officer and superior in command. All I ask is that you will put both names into the resolution, and let them stand side by side."

It is needless to add that the amendment was accepted, and that the name of General Rosecrans was inserted with that of General Thomas.

[Pg 147]


The Home in Washington.—"Fruit between Leaves."—Classical Studies.—Mrs. Garfield.—Variety of Reading.—Favorite Verses.

In a private letter to Colonel Rockwell, dated August 30th, 1869, Garfield writes:—

"It seems as though each year added more to the work that falls to my share. This season I have the main weight of the Census Bill and the reports to carry, and the share of the Ohio campaign that falls to me; and in addition to all this I am running in debt and building a house in Washington.

"On looking over my accounts, I found I had paid out over five thousand dollars since I first went to Congress, for rent alone, and all this is a dead loss; so, finding an old staff-officer (Major D. G. Swaim), I negotiated enough to enable me to get a lot on the corner of Thirteenth and I Streets, north, opposite to Franklin Square, and I have got a house three-quarters done. It may be a losing business, but I hope I shall be able to sell it when I am done with it, so as to save myself the rent."[Pg 148]

This house, where Garfield and his family spent so many happy hours during their winter sojourns in Washington, is a plain brick mansion with a wing built out on the east side to accommodate his fine library. The parlor windows look out upon Franklin Square and the corner of I and Thirteenth Streets.

To a visitor ushered into this pleasant, cheery drawing-room, the first object that greeted the eye was an excellent portrait of "Grandma Garfield," which hung over the grand piano. On the opposite side was a beautiful painting of "Little Trot," the baby-girl whose loss the loving father never ceased to deplore. The room was tastefully but simply furnished, and in the small sitting-room, leading out of the parlor, the pretty desk piled up with books and papers, seemed the most important piece of furniture.

The dining-room with its Japanese dado, and its chairs and table of Austrian bent wood was a particularly pleasant room. Just above the mantel hung a half-finished sketch of an old-time knight balancing in one hand an empty glass, and leaning the other upon an inn table.

An artist friend began the painting with the intention of carrying out an ideal that Garfield had once expressed at a Shakespearian gathering. Dying before the picture was finished, the painter left only an outline of the idea, but that outline,[Pg 149] Garfield valued very highly. His love for pictures was almost as great as his love for books, and the walls of this plain little house in Thirteenth Street were adorned with many choice paintings and engravings.

Just over the dining-room was the library where Garfield spent the greater part of his time, when free from congressional duties. In the centre stood a large black walnut office-desk with its accompaniments of pigeon-holes, boxes and drawers, filled to overflowing. Six or seven book-cases, holding in all some three thousand volumes, stood against the walls; and scrap-books of all shapes and sizes confronted you everywhere.

It used to be a common saying in Congress that no man in Washington could stand before the army of facts that Garfield could bring forward at a moment's notice. This readiness was largely due to his systematic course of reading, and his invaluable method of indexing. For instance: if an author's views on some subject struck him as particularly good and worth remembering, he would immediately make a note of it in his commonplace-book, giving with the topic, the volume, and page where the extract could be found. In this manner a rich fund of information was always at hand; his "fruit between leaves" was always ready to gather.

The record of the Congressional Library shows[Pg 150] that he took out more books than any other member of Congress; and his reading embraced every variety of subject, history, biography, law, politics, philosophy, government, and poetry.

At one time, during an unusually busy session, a friend found him behind a big barricade of books.

"I find I'm overworked," he said, "and need recreation. Now my theory is that the best way to rest the mind is not to let it lie idle, but to put it at something quite outside the ordinary line of employment. So, I am resting by learning all the Congressional Library can show about Horace, and the various editions and translations of his poems."

Mrs. Garfield showed the same love for the classics as her husband. A year or two ago, he said,—

"I taught my wife Latin at Hiram, and she was as good a pupil as I had. She is now teaching the same Latin to my two big boys."

Mary Clemmer wrote of her:—

"Mrs. Garfield has the 'philosophic mind' that Wordsworth sings of, and she has a self-poise, a strength of unswerving absolute rectitude. Much of the time that other women give to distributing visiting cards, Mrs. Garfield has spent in the alcoves of the Congressional Library, searching out books to carry home to study.... She[Pg 151] has moved on in the tranquil tenor of her unobtrusive way, in a life of absolute devotion to duty; never forgetting the demands of her position or neglecting her friends, yet making it her first charge to bless her home, to teach her children, to fit her boys for college, to be the equal friend, as well as the honored wife, of her husband."

From a letter of Garfield's to President Hinsdale we follow the indefatigable reader in still another course of study:—

"Since I left you I have made a somewhat thorough study of Goethe and his epoch, and have sought to build up in my mind a picture of the state of literature and art in Europe, at the period when Goethe began to work, and the state when he died. I have grouped the various facts into order, have written them out, so as to preserve a memoir of the impression made upon my mind by the whole. The sketch covers nearly sixty pages of manuscript. I think some work of this kind outside the track of one's every day work is necessary to keep up real growth."

In another letter to the same friend, he writes:—

"I have found a book which interests me very much. You may have seen it; if not I hope you will get it. It is entitled, 'Ten Great Religions' by James Freeman Clarke. I have read the chapter on Buddhism with great interest. It is admirably written, in a liberal and philosophic[Pg 152] spirit, and I am sure will interest you. What I have read of it leads me to believe that we have taken too narrow a view of the subject of religion."

Again, when a fit of sickness confined him to the house, he says—

"I am taking advantage of this enforced leisure to do a great deal of reading. Since I was taken sick I have read the following: Sherman's two volumes, Leland's 'English Gypsies', George Borrow's 'Gypsies of Spain', Borrow's 'Rommany Rye', Tennyson's 'Mary', seven volumes of Froude's England, several plays of Shakespeare, and have made some progress in a new book, 'The History of the English People,' by Prof. Green of Oxford."

For light literature, Garfield usually turned to Thackeray, Scott, Dickens, Jane Austen, Kingsley, or Honoré de Balzac. He was fond of poetry, and his voluminous scrap-books contained many gems, from one of which we cull the following verses, said to be his especial favorites.—

"Commend me to the friend that comes
When I am sad and lone,
And makes the anguish of my heart
The suffering of his own,
Who coldly shuns the glittering throng
At pleasure's gay levee
And comes to gild a sombre hour
And give his heart to me.
[Pg 153]
"He hears me count my sorrows o'er;
And when the task is done
He freely gives me all I ask,—
A sigh for every one.
He cannot wear a smiling face
When mine is touched with gloom,
But like the violet seeks to cheer
The midnight with perfume.
"Commend me to that generous heart
Which like the pine on high,
Uplifts the same unvarying brow
To every change of sky,
Whose friendship does not fade away
When wintry tempests blow,
But like the winter's icy crown
Looks greener through the snow.
"He flies not with the flitting stork.
That seeks a southern sky,
But lingers where the wounded bird
Hath lain him down to die.
Oh, such a friend! He is in truth,
Whate'er his lot may be
A rainbow on the storm of life,
An anchor on its sea."

[Pg 154]


Tide of Unpopularity.—Misjudged.—Vindicated.—Re-elected.—The De Golyer Contract.—The Salary Increase Question.—Incident related by President Hinsdale.

It was impossible for a man of strong independent views like Garfield, to mount the ladder of fame so rapidly without meeting some opposition.

A lawyer by profession, he was at one time called to appear in the Supreme Court in behalf of some Confederates who had been tried by a court-martial and condemned to death. Of this case an able writer says, the rebels had been "tried by martial law in a State, in time of peace de facto in the State, and in a section of State not under martial law. The legal question was, whether any military body had such power under the circumstances. Should the civil power be ignored in time of peace, or in sections of the country where martial law had not been proclaimed? It was a case for which Garfield received no pay, and was undertaken as a test of this important principle."

By his clear, forcible presentation of the case and the law, in which he was fully sustained by the[Pg 155] Court and the presiding justice—the criminals were finally set at liberty.

When the Ohio district that sent Garfield to Congress, heard that he had been pleading in Court for condemned rebels, a large proportion voted against him. As soon, however, as the facts of the case were fully known, the tide of popular feeling again turned towards their favorite leader, and Garfield was re-elected.

The De Golyer contract was the next to excite unfavorable comment. But again, when a thorough investigation had been made, Garfield was found to be entirely innocent of the charges brought against him.

Mr. Wilson, the chairman of the Congressional Committee of Investigation, gives a clear statement of the case as follows:—.

"The Board of Public Works at Washington was considering the question as to the kind of pavements that should be laid. There was a contest as to the respective merits of various wooden pavements. Mr. Parsons represented, as attorney, the De Golyer & McClellan patent, and being called away from Washington about the time the hearing was to be had before the Board of Public Works on this subject, procured General Garfield to appear before the Board in his stead and argue the merits on this patent. This he did, and this was the whole of his connection in the matter.[Pg 156] It was not a question as to the kind of contract that should be made, but as to whether this particular kind of pavement should be laid. The criticism of the committee was not upon the pavement in favor of which General Garfield argued, but was upon the contract made with reference to it; and there was no evidence which would warrant the conclusion that he had anything to do with the latter."

There were forty kinds of pavement presented, and for drawing up a brief in favor of the De Golyer patent, Garfield received a fee of five thousand dollars.

This was an honorable business transaction. "There was not in my opinion," adds Mr. Wilson, "any evidence that would have warranted any unfavorable criticism upon his conduct."

Garfield defended himself in a manly, straightforward manner. "If anybody in the world," he said in conclusion, "holds that my fee in connection with this pavement, even by suggestion or implication, had any relation whatever to any appropriation by Congress for anything connected with this District, or with anything else, it is due to me, it is due to this committee, and it is due to Congress, that that person be summoned. If there be a man on this earth who makes such a charge, that man is the most infamous perjurer that lives, and I shall be glad to confront him anywhere in this world."[Pg 157]

The political opponents of Garfield delighted to call him a "salary grabber," but with how much justice the following facts will show.

On the 7th of February, 1873, a bill was presented in Congress, together with a report submitted by B. F. Butler, from the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, for the passing of the so-called retroactive law. Its object was to increase the pay of members of Congress for past services, a measure that Garfield strenuously opposed from the first. A few days later Butler tried to incorporate it with the miscellaneous appropriation bill. Of the whole matter, Garfield spoke as follows:—

"I wish to state in a few words the condition of the salaries-increase question in the conference committee of the Senate and the House. The Senate conferees were unanimous in favor of fixing the salary at $7,500 and cutting off all allowance except actual individual travelling expenses of a member from his home to Washington and back again, once a session. That proposition was agreed to by a majority of the conferees on the part of the House. I was opposed to the increase in the conference as I have been opposed to it in the discussion and in my votes here; but my associate conferees were in favor of the Senate amendment, and I was compelled to choose between signing the report and running the risk of bringing[Pg 158] on an extra session of Congress. I have signed the report, and I present it as it is, and ask the House to act on it in accordance with its best judgment."

Garfield felt that Congress had no right to increase its own pay, but those who favored the plan had attached it to another bill that he very much desired to see passed.

President Hinsdale who was in Washington at the time, says,—

"There is an incident connected with that bill which I will relate, not because I was concerned in it, but because it shows something of the working of Garfield's mind. I got to Washington on Saturday, and on Sunday there was a long session of the committee on appropriations devoted to the discussion of the increase of salaries. This feature was a rider on one of the most important appropriation bills. Garfield opposed the rider, but was overruled by the committee. On Monday, I happened to pass the room of the committee on appropriations and I found General Garfield walking up and down the corridor. He said to me,—

"'I've got to decide in fifteen minutes whether I will sign that bill or not. If I do, I go on the record as indorsing a measure that I have been opposing. If I do not, I lose all control of the bill. It will be reported to the House by General[Pg 159] Butler, and he will control the debate on it. The session of Congress ends to-morrow, and if the bill fails to pass, this Congress will expire without making provisions for carrying on the government. Now, what would you do?'

"I told him that I would sign the bill, and in the House I would briefly explain why I had at last signed a bill which I had opposed. I don't assume that his conduct was guided by my advice, but he pursued the course I had indicated."

The bill passed; but immediately upon the receipt of the back pay that had been voted him, Garfield returned the money to the Treasury.

[Pg 160]


The Credit Mobilier.—Garfield entirely Cleared of all Charges Against him.—Tribute to him in Cincinnati Gazette.—Elected U. S. Senator.—Extract from Speech.—Sonnet.

A still more fruitful source of scandal was the association of Garfield's name with the Credit Mobilier stock. The company bearing this high-sounding French title was chartered, as early as 1859, under the law of Pennsylvania, for the alleged purpose of buying land, loaning money, building houses, etc.

When the war broke out, it ceased operations, until in 1866 the construction of the Pacific railroad brought it again into notice.

By using the charter of this Credit Mobilier, Mr. Oakes Ames and his associates saw an opportunity of making large sums of money. They bought up a majority of the stock of the Pacific Railroad, and secured the entire control of the Credit Mobilier. A contract was made with this company to build the road at an exorbitant profit, the proceeds of which were to be divided among themselves. The rights and interests of the smaller[Pg 161] stockholders were quite ignored, as well as those of the United States, which, besides giving millions of acres, had also indorsed $60,000,000 of its bonds, to assist in the building of the railroad.

Of course, all this fraudulent dealing was kept a profound secret, and the true character of the Credit Mobilier was not known to the public for a long time.

To prevent Congress from investigating this outrageous swindle, the ring tried to dispose of some of their Credit Mobilier stock to different members of Congress.

George Francis Train called upon Garfield and asked him to invest.

"You can double and treble your money in a year," he urged; "the object of the company is to buy land where cities and villages are to spring up."

Garfield told Mr. Train that he had no money to invest, and even if he had, he should want to make further inquiries before entering into such a transaction.

A year later Mr. Ames, who was a member of Congress, came to Garfield and repeated the request.

"If you have no money to spare," said Mr. Ames, "I will hold the stock until you can find it convenient to pay for it."

After taking a few days to consider the matter, Garfield told Mr. Ames he had decided not to invest.[Pg 162]

The following July, 1867, Garfield sailed for Europe, and in order to obtain funds for this trip, he turned over advanced drafts for several months of his congressional salary. When he returned home in November, he needed a small sum, for current expenses, and borrowed three hundred dollars of Oakes Ames. This loan he paid back in 1869.

Not long after this transaction, Garfield was informed that his name was upon Oakes Ames' book as holding ten shares of the Credit Mobilier.

He demanded an explanation, and Mr. Ames appeared before a committee of investigation, upon December 17, 1872. His testimony was as follows,—

"In reference to Mr. Garfield," said the chairman, "you say that you agreed to get ten shares for him and to hold them till he could pay for them, and that he never did pay for them nor receive them?"

"Yes, sir."

"He never paid any money on that stock, nor received any money from it?"

"Not on account of it."

"He received no dividends?"

"No, sir; I think not. He says he did not. My own recollection is not very clear."

"So, that, as you understand, Mr. Garfield never parted with any money, nor received any money on that transaction?"[Pg 163]

"No, sir; he had some money from me once, some three or four hundred dollars, and called it a loan. He says that is all he ever received from me, and that he considered it a loan. He never took his stock and never paid for it."

"Did you understand it so?"

"Yes; I am willing to so understand it. I do not recollect paying him any dividend, and have forgotten that I paid him any money."

Five weeks after this statement, Mr. Ames appeared a second time before the committee with a memorandum in which there was an entry to the effect that a certain amount of stock had been sold for $329 and paid over to General Garfield; that it was not paid in money, but by a check on the sergeant-at-arms.

To this statement, the sergeant-at-arms, Mr. Dillon, testified that he had paid a check of $329, but that the payment had been made to Mr. Ames, not to General Garfield.

It was conclusively proved that Garfield's name was not among the eleven congressmen who had bought shares in the Credit Mobilier.

In a long and able vindication of the purity of his motives, Garfield concludes with the following words:—

"If there be a citizen of the United States who is willing to believe that, for $329, I have bartered away my good name, and to falsehood have added[Pg 164] perjury, these lines are not addressed to him. If there be one who thinks that any part of my public life has been gauged on so low a level as these charges would place it, I do not address him; I address those who are willing to believe that it is possible for a man to serve the public without personal dishonor.

"If any of the scheming corporations or corrupt rings that have done so much to disgrace the country by their attempts to control its legislation, have ever found in me a conscious supporter or ally in any dishonorable scheme, they are at full liberty to disclose it. In the discussion of the many grave and difficult questions of public policy which have occupied the thoughts of the nation during the last twelve years, I have borne some part; and I confidently appeal to the public records for a vindication of my conduct."

A writer in the Cincinnati Enquirer at this time thus described Garfield:—

"With as honest a heart as ever beat, above the competitions of sordid ambition, General Garfield has yet so little of the worldly wise in him that he is poor, and yet has been accused of dishonesty. He has no capacity for investment, nor the rapid solution of wealth, nor profound respect for the penny in and out of pound, and still, is neither careless, improvident, nor dependent. The great consuming passion to equal richer people, and live[Pg 165] finely, and extend his social power, are as foreign to him as scheming or cheating. But he is not a suspicious nor a high-mettled man, and so he is taken in sometimes, partly from his obliging, un-refusing disposition. Men who were scheming imposed upon him as upon Grant and other crude-eyed men of affairs. The people of his district, however, who are quick to punish public venality or defection, heard him in his defence, and kept him in Congress and held up his hand."

Side by side with this testimony, listen to Garfield's own words in the Ohio Senate just after his election:—

"During the twenty years I have been in the public service (almost eighteen of it in the Congress of the United States), I have tried to do one thing. I have represented, for many years a district in Congress whose approbation I greatly desired, but, though it may seem perhaps a little egotistical to say it, I yet desired still more the approbation of one person, and his name is Garfield. He is the only man that I am compelled to sleep with, and eat with, and die with, and, if I could not have his approbation, I should have bad companionship."

The following sonnet, from an anonymous pen, appeared about this time in the Washington Evening Star:[Pg 166]


"Thou who didst ride on Chickamauga's day,
All solitary, down the fiery line,
And saw the ranks of battle rusty shine,
Where grand old Thomas held them from dismay,
Regret not now, while meaner factions play
Their brief campaigns against the best of men;
For those spent balls of slander have their way,
And thou shalt see the victory again.
Weary and ragged, though the broken lines
Of party reel, and thine own honor bleeds,
That mole is blind that Garfield undermines!
That shot falls short that hired slander speeds!
That man will live whose place the state assigns,
And whose high mind the mighty nation needs!"
Private Residence of Gen. James A. Garfield. Private Residence of Gen. James A. Garfield, Mentor, Ohio.

[Pg 167]


After the Ordeal.—Unanimous Vote of the General Assembly of Ohio.—Extract from Garfield's Speech of Acceptance.—Purchase of the Farm at Mentor.—Description of the New House.—Life at Mentor.—The Garfield Household.—Longing for Home in his Last Hours.

As gold is tried in the fire, so General Garfield passed through the distressing ordeal of slander and fierce opposition. In January, 1880, he was elected by a unanimous vote United States Senator from Ohio. In his speech of acceptance, he says,—

"I do not undervalue the office that you have tendered to me yesterday and to-day; but I say, I think, without any mental reservation, that the manner in which it was tendered to me is far more desirable than the thing itself. That it has been a voluntary gift of the General Assembly of Ohio, without solicitation, tendered to me because of their confidence, is as touching and high a tribute as one man can receive from his fellow-citizens."

Three years previous to his election as Senator, Garfield was spending his summer vacation near Cleveland, Ohio. Driving one day along the stage-road that skirts the shores of Lake Erie, he came to the pretty town of Mentor.[Pg 168]

His old fascination for the sparkling, blue waters returned—he was a boy again, chopping wood in his uncle's forest and counting the sails with every stroke! Why not make his summer home just here?

Upon inquiry, he found in Mentor, waiting a purchaser, a fine farm of a hundred and twenty acres.

The little cottage upon the ground would accommodate his family for awhile, and when they went back to Washington, a larger and more convenient house could be built in its place. So the farm was purchased, and "Lawnfield," the pleasant Mentor home, established.

The new house, built upon the foundation of the old one, suggests comfort rather than elegance. It is two and a half stories high, with two dormer windows and a broad veranda in front.

The wide, airy hall contains a large writing table, in addition to the other furniture, and piles of books and papers greet you in every corner.

The first floor has a parlor, sitting-room, dining-room, kitchen, wash-room and pantry, planned with every convenience by Mrs. Garfield, to whom the architect's papers were submitted.

Two of the pleasantest rooms on the second floor are fitted up especially for "Grandma Garfield;" one of these has a large, old-fashioned[Pg 169] fire-place, and is conceded to be the brightest, cheeriest room in the whole house.

In the ell is a small room, thirteen and a half by fourteen feet, called by the children "papa's snuggery." It is not the library, but the walls are covered with book-shelves, and the little room seems to have been used by the busy statesman as a sort of "sanctum sanctorum."

The library is a separate building, a few steps to the northeast of the house. Garfield used to call it his "workshop," and the books of reference, indices, public documents, etc., piled up on the shelves, show the numerous tools he employed in his "literary carpentry."

This home at Mentor was purchased especially for the benefit of the Garfield children, but both father and mother enjoyed the quiet country life far better than the whirl of society at Washington.

"Isn't it strange," exclaimed Garfield, to one of his guests, "how a man will revive his early attachment to farm-life? For twenty-five years I scarcely remained on a farm for a longer period than a few days, but now I am an enthusiast. I can see now what I could not see when I was a boy. It is delightful to watch the growing crops."

As Washington turned with delight to the quiet shades of Mount Vernon, so Garfield looked forward each year to his summer at Mentor.[Pg 170]

Oftentimes, his visitors would find him out in the fields, tossing hay with his boys, superintending the farm-work, or planning some new improvement.

In a letter to a friend, he says,—

"You can hardly imagine how completely I have turned my mind out of its usual channels during the last weeks. You know I have never been able to do anything moderately, and, to-day, I feel myself lame in every muscle with too much lifting and digging. I shall try to do a little less the coming week."

It was his custom at Mentor to rise very early in the morning; directly after breakfast he would mount one of his horses and go all over the farm, giving directions for the day's work. There were one hundred and twenty acres in the original farm, but forty more were purchased soon after. The beautiful lawn, together with the garden and orchard, takes up about twelve acres. Seventy more are under cultivation, and the remainder are in pasture lots and woodland. One piece of marshy ground has been carefully drained, and from it an excellent crop of wheat is obtained. Many other improvements have been made, as Garfield was an enthusiast in scientific farming. He liked nothing better than to show visitors over the place; and, in making the rounds, he would always take them down the lane back of the house,[Pg 171] and up to the top of the ridge beyond, explaining how the level basin below was once a part of Lake Erie.

The little town of Mentor is largely settled by New Englanders, and the hilly surface, the groves of maple, oak, and hickory, interspersed with thrifty farms, remind one constantly of the Eastern States. Cleveland is only twenty-five miles to the east, and the waters of Lake Erie form its northern boundary. To reach Mentor by rail, one must take the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.

A gentleman, who dined one day at Lawnfield, says,—

"I sat next to Mrs. Garfield, and I found her a ready and charming conversationalist.... She is tall, fine-looking, has a kind, good face, and the gentlest of manners. A pair of black eyes and a mouth about which there plays a sweetly-bewitching smile, are the most attractive features of a thoroughly expressive face. She is a quick observer, and an intelligent listener."

The two older boys, Harry and James, are fine, manly fellows, eighteen and sixteen years of age. They are good scholars, and passed an excellent examination upon their entrance to Williams College in the fall of '81. Mollie, the only daughter, is a lovely girl of fourteen. The next child, a boy of ten, bears the name of Irvin McDowell.[Pg 172]

"I had," said Garfield, "a personal acquaintance with General McDowell, and I knew him to be an upright man and a good officer, and consequently protested slightly to the abuse heaped upon him by giving my son his name."

The youngest child is seven years of age, and is called Abram, for his grandfather.

"Grandma Garfield," whose features, as well as those of the children and their parents, have become so familiar to us, is a bright, active old lady of eighty years.

"I have seen Garfield," writes Mr. Campbell, the editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer, "in the midst of his plain home life—beneath his Western Reserve cottage farm-house. His surroundings were those of a man of culture, but of a man of limited means. His board was frugally spread—scarcely differing in any respect from the table of his humble neighbors. He preferred frugality and self-denial to debt, and I came away, doing honor in my mind to this sterling trait of his character."

Some of the happiest hours of Garfield's life were spent in this modest home at Mentor, and as one writer beautifully expresses it, through those long, long summer days, "wounded to death, and looking out on the yellow dreary Potomac, so dreary, so yellow in the throbbing midsummer heat, his soul wandered in his dreams, not amid the scenes of his ambitions or his achievements,[Pg 173] but through the haunts of his boyhood, through the streets of Cleveland, with the comrades of his prime; and his last dream on earth was a dream of Mentor, the home of his happy and prosperous manhood. Its modest walls, its harvest fields, its peaceful glades, were the last pictures to fill his sight with delight before he lifted his eyes to confront the glory of the Heavenly City."

[Pg 174]


Republican Convention at Chicago.—The Three Prominent Candidates.—Description of Conkling.—Logan.—Cameron.—Description of Garfield.—Resolution Introduced by Conkling.—Opposition of West Virginians.—Garfield's Conciliatory Speech.—His Oration in Behalf of Sherman.—Opinions of the Press.

The National Convention of the Republican party that met at Chicago, in June, 1880, will always be marked with a red-letter in the annals of our country. The third-term issue, the unit rule, district representation, and the arbitrary power of party managers, made the nomination for President one long scene of hard fought battles.

The three prominent candidates were General Grant; James G. Blaine, Senator from Maine; and John Sherman, Secretary of the Treasury.

The third-term party who desired the nomination of Grant, was strongly supported by Senator Conkling of New York, Senator Cameron of Pennsylvania, and Senator Logan of Illinois. These three great political leaders are thus described by a graphic writer, who was present at the opening of the Convention:[Pg 175]

"Just as the great Exposition Building had nearly filled up, there was a simultaneous huzza throughout the hall and galleries, and it speedily broke out in a hearty applause. The tall and now silvered plume of Conkling was visible in the aisle, and he strode down to his place at the head of his delegation with the majesty of an emperor. He recognized the compliment by a modest bow, without lifting his eyes to the audience, and took his seat as serenely as if on a picnic and holiday. The Grant men seemed to be more comfortable when they found him by their side and evidently ready for the conflict.

"Logan's swarthy features, flowing mustache, and Indian hair, were next visible on the eastern aisle, but he stepped to the head of his delegation so quietly that he escaped a special welcome. He sat as if in sober reflection for a few moments, and then hastened over to Conkling to perfect their counsel on the eve of battle. The two senatorial leaders held close conference until the bustle about the chair gave notice that the opposing lines were about to begin to feel each other, and test their position.

"Cameron had just stepped upon the platform with the elasticity of a boy, and his youthful, but strongly-marked face was recognized at once. There was no applause. They all knew that he never plays for the galleries, and that cheers are[Pg 176] wasted upon him. He quietly sat down for ten minutes, although the time for calling the convention to order had passed by an hour, and looked calmly out upon the body so big with destiny for himself and his Grant associates. As he passed by he was asked,—

"'What of the battle?'

"'We have three hundred to start with,' he replied, 'and we will work on till we win.'

"This was said with all the determination that his positive manner and expression could add to language, and it summed up his whole strategy."

George F. Hoar, from Massachusetts, was appointed President of the Convention; and among the delegates from Ohio, and enthusiastic supporters of Sherman, was General Garfield, thus described by a writer in the Chicago Inter-Ocean:—

"A big heart, a sympathetic nature, and a mind keenly sensitive to everything that is beautiful in sentiment, are the artists that shade down the gnarled outlines and touch with soft coloring the plain features of his massive face. The conception of a grand thought always paints a glow upon Garfield's face, which no one forgets who has seen him while speaking. His eyes are a cold gray, but they are often—yes, all the time when he is speaking—lit brilliantly by the warm light of worthy sentiments, and the strong flame of a great man's conviction.[Pg 177]

"In speaking, he is not so restless as Conkling; his speech is an appeal for thought and calm deliberation, and he stands still like the rock of judgment while he delivers it. There is no invective or bitterness in his effort, but there is throughout an earnestness of conviction and an unquestionable air of sincerity, to which every gesture and intonation of voice is especially adapted."

On the second day of the convention a resolution was introduced by Mr. Conkling that every member of the convention should support the nominee, and that no one should hold a seat who was not willing thus to pledge himself. The question was opposed by several voices, and when Mr. Conkling called for a vote of the States, three delegates from West Virginia voted in the negative. Another resolution was then offered by Mr. Conkling, who declared that these delegates had forfeited their seats in the convention.

The West Virginians asserted that they were true Republicans, but could not, and would not, pledge themselves in this manner. A hot contest of words would probably have ensued, had not Garfield taken the floor and spoken as follows:—

"I fear the convention is about to commit a grave error. Every delegate, save three, has voted for the resolution, and the three gentlemen who have voted against it have risen in their places[Pg 178] and stated that they expected, and intended, to support the nominee of the convention, but that it was not, in their judgment, a wise thing, at this time, to pass the resolution which all the rest of the delegates had voted for. Were they to be disfranchised because they thought so? That was the question. Was every delegate to have his republicanism inquired into before he was allowed to vote? Delegates were responsible for their votes, not to the convention, but to their constituents. He himself would never in any convention vote against his judgment. He regretted that the gentlemen from West Virginia had thought it best to break the harmony of the convention by their dissent. He did not know these gentlemen, nor their affiliations, nor their relations to the candidates. If this convention expelled those men then the convention would have to purge itself at the end of every vote and inquire how many delegates who had voted 'no' should go out. He trusted that the gentleman from New York would withdraw his resolution and let the convention proceed with its business."

One of the delegates from California immediately moved to lay the resolution on the table, and Mr. Conkling thereupon withdrew it.

On the fourth day of the convention, and just after the Grant men had set forth in glowing terms the claims of their candidate, Garfield was called[Pg 179] to the platform to represent Ohio. A hearty cheering greeted him as he began:—

"Mr. President: I have witnessed the extraordinary scenes of this convention with deep solicitude. No emotion touches my heart more quickly than a sentiment in honor of a great and noble character. But as I sat on these seats and witnessed these demonstrations, it seemed to me you were a human ocean in a tempest. I have seen the sea lashed into fury and tossed into spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the dullest man. But I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm level of the sea from which all heights and depths are measured. When the storm has passed and the hour of calm settles on the ocean, when sunlight bathes its smooth surface, then the astronomer and surveyor takes the level from which he measures all terrestrial heights and depths.

"Gentlemen of the convention, your present temper may not mark the healthful pulse of our people. When our enthusiasm has passed, when the emotions of this hour have subsided, we shall find the calm level of public opinion below the storm from which the thoughts of a mighty people are to be measured, and by which their final action will be determined.

"Not here, in this brilliant circle where fifteen[Pg 180] thousand men and women are assembled, is the destiny of the Republic to be decreed; not here, where I see the enthusiastic faces of seven hundred and fifty-six delegates waiting to cast their votes into the urn and determine the choice of their party, but by four million Republican firesides, where the thoughtful fathers with wives and children about them, with the calm thoughts inspired by love of home and love of country, with the history of the past, the hopes of the future, and the knowledge of the great men who have adorned and blessed our nation in days gone by—there God prepares the verdict that shall determine the wisdom of our work to-night. Not in Chicago in the heat of June, but in the sober quiet that comes between now and November, in the silence of deliberate judgment will this great question be settled. Let us aid them to-night.

"But now, gentlemen of the convention, what do we want? Twenty-five years ago this republic was wearing a triple chain of bondage. Long familiarity with traffic in the bodies and souls of men had paralyzed the consciences of a majority of our people. The baleful doctrine of State sovereignty had shocked and weakened the noblest and most beneficent powers of the national government, and the grasping power of slavery was seizing the virgin territories of the West and dragging them into the den of eternal bondage. At[Pg 181] that crisis the Republican party was born. It drew its first inspiration from that fire of liberty which God has lighted in every man's heart, and which all the powers of ignorance and tyranny can never wholly extinguish.

"The Republican party came to deliver and save the republic. It entered the arena when the beleaguered and assailed territories were struggling for freedom, and drew around them the sacred circle of liberty which the demon of slavery has never dared to cross. It made them free forever.

"Strengthened by its victory on the frontier, the young party, under the leadership of that great man who, on this spot, twenty years ago, was made its leader, entered the national capital and assumed the high duties of the government. The light which shone from its banner dispelled the darkness in which slavery had enshrouded the capital, and melted the shackles of every slave, and consumed in the fire of liberty every slave-pen within the shadow of the capitol.

"Our national industries by an impoverishing policy, were themselves prostrated, and the streams of revenue flowed in such feeble currents that the treasury itself was well-nigh empty. The money of the people was the wretched notes of two thousand uncontrolled and irresponsible state banking corporations, which were filling the country with a circulation that poisoned rather than sustained[Pg 182] the life of business. The Republican party changed all this. It abolished the babel of confusion, and gave the country a currency as national as its flag, based upon the sacred faith of the people. It threw its protecting arm around our great industries, and they stood erect as with new life. It filled with the spirit of true nationality all the great functions of the government. It confronted a rebellion of unexampled magnitude, with slavery behind it, and, under God, fought the final battle of liberty until victory was won. Then, after the storms of battle were heard the sweet, calm words of peace uttered by the conquering nation, and saying to the conquered foe that lay prostrate at its feet,—

"'This is our only revenge, that you join us in lifting to the serene firmament of the Constitution, to shine like stars forever and ever, the immortal principles of truth and justice, that all men, white or black, shall be free and stand equal before the law.'

"Then came the question of reconstruction, the public debt, and the public faith. In the settlement of the questions the Republican party has completed its twenty-five years of glorious existence, and it has sent us here to prepare it for another lustrum of duty and of victory. How shall we do this great work? We cannot do it, my friends, by assailing our Republican brethren.[Pg 183] God forbid that I should say one word to cast a shadow upon any name on the roll of our heroes.

"This coming fight is our Thermopylæ. We are standing upon a narrow isthmus. If our Spartan hosts are united, we can withstand all the Persians that the Xerxes of Democracy can bring against us. Let us hold our ground this one year, for the stars in their courses fight for us in the future. The census taken this year will bring reinforcements and continued power. But in order to win this victory now, we want the vote of every Republican, of every Grant Republican, and every anti-Grant Republican in America, of every Blaine man and anti-Blaine man. The vote of every follower of every candidate is needed to make our success certain; therefore, I say, gentlemen and brethren, we are here to take calm counsel together, and inquire what we shall do.

"We want a man whose life and opinions embody all the achievements of which I have spoken. We want a man who, standing on a mountain height, sees all the achievements of our past history, and carries in his heart the memory of all its glorious deeds, and who, looking forward, prepares to meet the labor and the dangers to come. We want one who will act in no spirit of unkindness towards those we lately met in battle. The Republican party offers to our brethren of the South the olive-branch of peace, and wishes them to return[Pg 184] to brotherhood, on this supreme condition, that it shall be admitted forever and forevermore, that in the war for the Union, we were right and they were wrong. On that supreme condition we meet them as brothers, and on no other. We ask them to share with us the blessings and honors of this great republic.

"Now, gentlemen, not to weary you, I am about to present a name for your consideration—the name of a man who was the comrade and associate and friend of nearly all those noble dead whose faces look down upon us from these walls to-night; a man who began his career of public service twenty-five years ago; whose first duty was courageously done in the days of peril on the plains of Kansas, when the first red drops of that bloody shower began to fall which finally swelled into the deluge of war. He bravely stood by young Kansas then, and, returning to his duty in the National Legislature, through all subsequent time his pathway has been marked by labors performed in every department of legislation.

"You ask for his monuments. I point you to twenty-five years of national statutes. Not one great beneficent measure has been placed in our statute books without his intelligent and powerful aid. He aided these men to formulate the laws that raised our great armies and carried us through the war. His hand was seen in the workmanship of[Pg 185] those statutes that restored and brought back the unity and calm of the States. His hand was in all that great legislation that created the war currency, and in a still greater work that redeemed the promises of the government and made the currency equal to gold. And when at last called from the halls of legislation into a high executive office, he displayed that experience, intelligence, firmness and poise of character which has carried us through a stormy period of three years. With one-half the public press crying 'Crucify him,' and a hostile Congress seeking to prevent success, in all this he remained unmoved until victory crowned him.

"The great fiscal affairs of the nation, and the great business interests of the country he has guarded and preserved, while executing the law of resumption and effecting its object without a jar and against the false prophecies of one-half of the press and all the Democracy of this continent. He has shown himself able to meet with calmness the great emergencies of the government for twenty-five years. He has trodden the perilous heights of public duty, and against all the shafts of malice has borne his breast unharmed. He has stood in the blaze of 'that fierce light that beats against the throne,' but its fiercest ray has found no flaw in his armor, no stain on his shield. I do not present him as a better Republican or as a better man than[Pg 186] thousands of others we honor, but I present him for your deliberate consideration. I nominate John Sherman, of Ohio."

Of this powerful speech, that was constantly interrupted by storms of applause, Whitelaw Reid said,—

"It was admirably adapted to make votes for his candidate, if speeches ever made votes. It was courteous, conciliatory, and prudent."

The editor of the Chicago Journal wrote as follows:—

"The supreme orator of the evening was General Garfield. He is a man of superb power and noble character.... He indulged in no fling at others. It was a model speech in temper and tone. The impression made was powerful and altogether wholesome. Many felt that if Ohio had offered Garfield instead of Sherman, she would have been more likely to win."

[Pg 187]


The Battle still Undecided.—Sunday among the Delegates.—Garfield's Remark.—Monday another Day of Doubt.—The Dark Horse.—The Balloting on Tuesday.—Garfield's Remonstrance.—He is Unanimously Elected on the Thirty-sixth Ballot.—Enthusiastic Demonstrations, Congratulatory Speeches and Telegrams.—His Speech of Acceptance.

Garfield's eloquent speech was followed by one from Mr. Billings, of Vermont, who proposed Senator Edmunds as a nominee. Mr. Cassidy, of Wisconsin, presented the name of Elihu B. Washburne, of Illinois, and was seconded by Mr. Brandagee, of Connecticut.

The battle was waged in this manner until a late hour on Saturday evening. Many of the delegates wanted to continue the balloting after midnight, and some urged the chairman, Judge Hoar, to ignore the Sabbath and let the convention go on.

"Never!" he replied; "this is a Sabbath-keeping nation, and I cannot preside over this convention one minute after twelve."

Garfield attended church in the morning, and dined with Marshall Field. The conversation at[Pg 188] table turned upon the dead-lock in the convention and the quietus at Washington, where every one was waiting for further developments.

Addressing the friend who sat beside him, Garfield said,—

"Yes, this is a day of suspense, but it is also a day of prayer; and I have more faith in the prayers that will go up from Christian hearts to-day, than I have in all the political tactics which will prevail at this convention."

When President Hoar called the convention to order on Monday morning, an anxious crowd hastily took their seats and prepared for the coming battle. Eighteen ballots were cast during the day and ten more in the evening, with no decisive result. The weather was extremely hot, but the hall was filled to its utmost capacity, and at each roll-call the whole twelve thousand would simultaneously rise to their feet with a noise like the roar of thunder. It was late at night before the convention broke up, and some of the delegates did not retire at all.

On Tuesday morning, a pencilled note, it is said, passed from Conkling to Garfield, which read as follows:—

"My Dear Garfield,—If there is to be a dark horse in this convention there is no man I would prefer before yourself.


[Pg 189]

The reply was,—

"My Dear Conkling,—There will be no dark horse in this convention. I am for Sherman.

J. A. Garfield."

By the time the thirty-fourth ballot was cast, however, it began to be very evident that a "break" was imminent. Wisconsin gave thirty-six votes for Garfield, Connecticut followed with eleven more, Illinois gave seven, and Indiana twenty-nine.

Garfield immediately rose to his feet and said he had refused to have his name announced and voted for in the convention.

"I have not given my consent"—he began; but amidst much laughter the chairman interrupted, and said the gentleman was not stating a question of order.

The enthusiasm for the new candidate now rose to its highest pitch. When the thirty-sixth ballot was called, Sherman and the Ohio delegation, with the New York anti-Grant men, led off in a grand burst of applause for Garfield. One after another the States transferred their votes to him, till at last Wisconsin completed the majority.

Before the roll was called a salute of guns was fired in the park outside, the galleries sprang to their feet, and the wildest scene of excitement followed.

Each delegation had its State banner, and, with[Pg 190] Massachusetts at the head, an impromptu procession was formed that marched over to the Ohio delegation and placed all the standards by the side of Garfield. The military band in the hall then struck up, "Rally round the Flag," and the whole immense audience enthusiastically joined in the stirring song.

"I shall never forget," writes an eye-witness, "the expression of Garfield's face at the time that delegation after delegation was breaking from its moorings and going over to him. I scanned him with intense curiosity as he listened to the call of States, and the certain coming of his nomination. His cheeks had a flush upon them, and there was a far-away expression in his eyes as he listened to the responses of the chairman, as if he was communing with the future. I can see his face at this moment as plainly as I saw it then, and I ask myself now whether as he swept the horizon of the future with his mind's eye, could he possibly have had a glimpse of the dark apparition that was even then being invoked into life. He looked anxious, almost troubled."

When the President of the convention announced that James A. Garfield of Ohio had received three hundred and ninety-nine ballots, the majority of the whole votes cast, Senator Conkling arose and said,—

"I move that he be unanimously presented as[Pg 191] the nominee of the convention. The Chair, under the rules, anticipated me, but being on my feet, I avail myself of the opportunity to congratulate the Republican party of the nation on the good-natured and well-tempered disposition that has distinguished this animated convention.

"I trust that the fervor and unanimity of the scenes of the convention will be transplanted to the field of the country, and all of us who have borne a part against each other here will be found with equal zeal, bearing the banners and carrying the lances of the Republican party into the ranks of the enemy."

Senator Logan followed Conkling in a similar congratulatory speech; and Eugene Hale, the defeated leader of the Blaine forces, said:—

"Standing here to return our heartfelt thanks to the many men in this convention who have aided us in the fight that we made for the senator from Maine, and speaking for them here, as I know that I do, I say this most heartily: We have not got the man whom we hoped to nominate when we came here, but we have got a man in whom we have the greatest and most marked confidence. The nominee of this convention is no new and untried man, and in that respect he is no 'dark horse.' When he came here, representing his State in the front of his delegation and was seen here, every man knew him because of his record;[Pg 192] and because of that and because of our faith in him, and because we were in the emergency, glad to help make him the candidate of the Republican party for President of the United States,—because, I say, of these things, I stand here to pledge the Maine forces in this convention to earnest effort until the ides of November, to help to carry him to the presidential chair."

Short speeches followed from members of the other delegations and the nomination of James A. Garfield was declared unanimous.

While shaking hands with the crowd that gathered around him, Garfield turned to a correspondent of the Cleveland Herald and said gravely:—

"I wish you would say that this is no act of mine. I wish you would say that I have done everything and omitted nothing to secure Secretary Sherman's nomination. I want it plainly understood that I have not sought this nomination, and have protested against the use of my name. If Senator Hoar had permitted, I would have forbidden anybody to vote for me. But he took me off my feet before I had said what I intended. I am very sorry it has occurred, but if my position is fully explained, a nomination, coming unsought and unexpected like this, will be the crowning gratification of my life."

Before nominating the Vice-President, the convention took a short recess, and Garfield attempted[Pg 193] to leave the hall. He was immediately surrounded, however, by an enthusiastic crowd, who followed him to the door and tried to take the horses off his carriage that they might draw it themselves.

A serenade followed at the Grand Pacific Hotel, but Garfield declined to respond to the ovation further than to give his thanks. More than six hundred congratulatory telegrams were received during the evening, among the most notable of which were the following:—

Executive Mansion, Washington,
June 8th, 1880.

To General James A. Garfield:

You will receive no heartier congratulations to-day than mine. This both for your own and your country's sake.

(Signed) R. B. Hayes.

Washington, June 8th, 1880.

Hon. James A. Garfield, Chicago:

I congratulate you with all my heart upon your nomination as President of the United States. You have saved the Republican party and the country from a great peril, and assured the continued success of Republican principles.

(Signed) John Sherman.

"The vote of Maine just cast for you is given you with my hearty concurrence. I assure you of my belief that you will have a glorious victory in November."

James G. Blaine.

Milwaukee, June 8th, 1880.

"Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promised." Lawrence Barrett.

[Pg 194]

Washington, June 8th 1880.

"Accept my hearty congratulations. The country is to be congratulated as well as yourself."

C. Schurz.

Similar dispatches were received from other members of the cabinet, and from various senators and representatives at Washington. When General Grant heard the news he said, "It is all right—I am satisfied."

At the earnest request of the delegates, an informal reception was held at the Grand Pacific, and near midnight Garfield responded to the committee appointed to notify him officially of his nomination, as follows:—

"Mr. Chairmen and Gentlemen,—I assure you that the information you have officially given me brings a sense of very grave responsibility, and especially so in view of the fact that I was a member of your body, a fact that could not have existed with propriety had I had the slightest expectation that my name would be connected with the nomination for the office. I have felt with you great solicitude concerning the situation of our party during the struggle, but believing that you are correct in assuring me that substantial unity has been reached in the conclusion, it gives me gratification far greater than any personal pleasure your announcement can bring.

"I accept the trust committed to my hands. As[Pg 195] to the work of our party and the character of the campaign to be entered upon, I will take an early occasion to reply more fully than I can properly do to-night. I thank you for the assurances of confidence and esteem you have presented to me, and hope we shall see our future as promising as are the indications to-night."

In a similar manner Senator Hoar and the committee officially apprized General Arthur of his nomination to the Vice-Presidency; his acceptance was given in a brief informal speech, but it was not till the "small hours" that the excited crowds began to disperse.

[Pg 196]


Return Home.—Ovations on the Way.—Address at Hiram Institute.—Impromptu Speech at Washington.—Incident of the Eagle.—The Tract Distributor.

The next morning, Garfield left Chicago for his home in Mentor. The journey thither was one continual scene of ovations. An immense throng followed him from the hotel to the station, and a large committee from Cleveland met the train at Elyria.

As the car containing Garfield and Governor Foster of Ohio, entered the depot at Cleveland, a salute of a thousand guns was fired. A procession of the militia and the Garfield clubs accompanied them to the Kennard House, and among the transparencies borne by the crowd was one with the happy inscription:—

"Ohio's senator, Ohio's Major-General, Ohio's President. The true favorite son of Ohio is the favorite son of the Union. He who at the age of sixteen steered a canal-boat will steer the ship of state at fifty."

Garfield had promised to deliver an address at the commencement exercises of Hiram College.[Pg 197]

The morning after his arrival in Cleveland, therefore, he left as quietly as possible for the little town, where thirty years before he had held the humble position of college janitor.

"I have sought but one office in my life," he said one day to a friend, "and that was the office of janitor at Hiram Institute."

As he approached the college grounds the students came out in a body to greet him. It was a touching scene, and his beautiful address to them is given in full, in the latter part of the volume.[B] With all his honors he never forgot this place so "full of memories."

After a short stay at Hiram, he went on to his home in Mentor, to take a few days' rest before returning to Washington.

His address to the enthusiastic crowds that gathered around him when he reached the Capitol, is so full of his peculiar magnetic power that we give it entire:—

"Fellow-Citizens:—While I have looked upon this great array, I believe I have gotten a new idea of the majesty of the American people.

"When I reflect that whenever you find sovereign power, every reverent heart on this earth bows before it, and when I remember that here for a hundred years we have denied the sovereignty of[Pg 198] any man, and in place of it we have asserted the sovereignty of all in place of one, I see before me so vast a concourse it is easy for me to imagine that were the rest of the American people gathered here to-night, every man would stand uncovered, all in unsandalled feet in presence of the majesty of the only sovereign power in this Government under Almighty God.

"And therefore to this great audience I pay the respectful homage that in part belongs to the sovereignty of the people. I thank you for this great and glorious demonstration. I am not, for one moment, misled into believing that it refers to so poor a thing as any one of our number. I know it means your reverence for your Government, your reverence for its laws, your reverence for its institutions, and your compliment to one who is placed for a moment in relations to you of peculiar importance. For all these reasons I thank you.

"I cannot at this time utter a word on the subject of general politics. I would not mar the cordiality of this welcome, to which to some extent all are gathered, by any reference except to the present moment and its significance; but I wish to say that a large portion of this assemblage to-night are my comrades, late of the war for the Union. For them I can speak with entire propriety, and can say that these very streets heard[Pg 199] the measured tread of your disciplined feet, years ago, when the imperilled Republic needed your hands and your hearts to save it, and you came back with your numbers decimated; but those you left behind were immortal and glorified heroes forever; and those you brought back came, carrying under tattered banners and in bronzed hands the ark of the covenant of your Republic in safety out of the bloody baptism of the war, and you brought it in safety to be saved forever by your valor and the wisdom of your brethren who were at home, and by this you were again added to the great civil army of the Republic.

"I greet you, comrades and fellow-soldiers, and the great body of distinguished citizens who are gathered here to-night, who are the strong stay and support of the business, of the prosperity, of the peace, of the civic ardor and glory of the Republic, and I thank you for your welcome to-night.

"It was said in a welcome to one who came to England to be a part of her glory—and all the nation spoke when it was said,—

"'Normans and Saxons and Danes are we,
But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee.'

"And we say to-night of all nations, of all the people, soldiers, and civilians, there is one name that welds us all into one. It is the name of American citizen, under the union and under the[Pg 200] glory of the flag that led us to victory and peace. For this magnificent welcome I thank you with all my heart."

A singular incident occurred in Washington, upon the day of Garfield's nomination at Chicago. Almost at the very moment the ballot was cast, a large bald eagle circled around the Park, and finally swooped down and rested upon the little house on the corner of I and Thirteenth Streets.

It was seen by Mr. George W. Rose, Garfield's private stenographer, who occupied the house during his absence, and he says that "before the eagle rose from its strange perch a dozen people had noticed and commented upon it."

Another curious coincident is worthy of notice. On that memorable Tuesday morning as Garfield entered the Exposition building, where the convention was assembled, a slip of paper was thrust into his hand by a tract distributor.

He put it mechanically into his pocket without reading, and was not a little astonished that evening when it dropped out and he found upon it these words:—

"This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner; neither is there salvation in any other."


[B] See page 478.

[Pg 201]


News of the Nomination Received with Delight.—Mr. Robeson speaks for the Democrats in the House of Representatives.—Ratification Meeting at Williams College.—Governor Long's Opinion.—Hotly-contested Campaign.—Garfield Receives the Majority of Votes.—Is Elected President on the Second of November, 1880.—Extract from Letter of an Old Pupil.—Review of Garfield's Congressional Life.—His own Feelings in Regard to the Election.

The news of the nomination at Chicago was received with unfeigned delight throughout the country. In the House of Representatives at Washington, Mr. Robeson, by request, spoke for the Democrats as well as the Republicans, in terms of the highest commendation of the new nominee; and three hearty cheers were given for him by both parties.

A ratification meeting was immediately held at Williams College, and the excited students sang as a chorus to "Marching through Georgia:"

"Hurrah! hurrah! we'll shout for General G.!
Hurrah! hurrah! a Williams man was he,
And so we'll sing the chorus from old Williams to the sea,
And we'll cast a vote for Garfield!"

Governor Long, of Massachusetts, when asked his opinion of the nomination, said,[Pg 202]

"I feel an especial pride and satisfaction in the nomination of Garfield, as I have both desired and publicly urged it from the first.

"I regard General Garfield as a representative Republican, a sound statesman, a thorough scholar, and with that good record as a soldier which never yet has failed to be a claim upon the hearts of the American people. I regard it as felicitous in General Garfield that, like so many of his predecessors, he sprang from the humbler walks of life, and, by his own efforts, has made his own way to eminence, and is not identified as the special representative of wealth or any great controlling interests.

"As a representative from the old Joshua Giddings district, he has stood from the first as an exponent of equal rights, and he has been an advocate of honest money in the days when it cost something to face the 'Ohio idee.' Add to this his high personal character, his purity and integrity, and yet his entire approachableness, and you have an ideal candidate who commends himself to every good element in the party and welds it firmly together again, and whose nomination is his election."

The press were remarkably unanimous in their praise of Garfield. Even the Southern papers seemed pleased with the nomination, and the New Orleans Times said,[Pg 203]

"Garfield is a very fair representative of the better element of the Republican party, superior to most of his competitors at Chicago in mental force, and equal to them in other essential attributes."

When the Democratic candidate for President was announced, and the strong names of Hancock and English were pitted against those of Garfield and Arthur, a close contest was anticipated. And the hot campaign that followed will long be remembered in the annals of our country.

Some of the states that had been securely counted upon by the Republicans, went over to the Democrats; but, when the final returns were given on the second day of November, 1880, it was found that Garfield had carried twenty of the thirty-eight states, receiving two hundred and fourteen of the electoral votes, while Hancock had but one hundred and fifty-five.

One of Garfield's old pupils, upon hearing the news, wrote to a friend in New York as follows:—

"We of 'old Portage County,' where his ability was first recognized, and from which no delegate to any convention where his name has been presented ever voted against him, knowing him well and trusting him fully, rejoice with exceeding joy in the results of Tuesday's election.... We believe no manlier man ever headed a ticket for the office. He is as pure as Washington, as brave as[Pg 204] Jackson, as humane as Lincoln, and as grand and able as Daniel Webster. He is broad enough for the whole country, and sectionalism will find no sympathy in him."

The editor of a leading Boston paper wrote the following fine review of Garfield's congressional life:—

"The election of General Garfield to the office of President is, in some sense, a departure from the custom of the country. He is the first man who has had long and thorough experience in the legislative branch of the government, holding for many years the position of a leader of a party both while in power and while out of power, and, consequently, thoroughly familiar with all the business of the nation, who has been raised to the Presidential office. It had almost come to be thought that no man could go directly from Congress to the Presidency.

"It is not unreasonable to expect that the administration of General Garfield will be marked by some peculiar features dependent upon these conditions. For eighteen years he has been a member of the House of Representatives, all the time a conspicuously active member, and a large part of the time a recognized leader. He has served on all the more important committees, and been chairman of several. He has been a close and eager student of the theory and the practice of our[Pg 205] form of government, at once a philosophical statesman, a shrewd, practical politician, and an accomplished debater of legislative measures. His character, his accomplishments, his position, his tastes, have favored and compelled him to form personal acquaintance with all classes of influential men, so that probably there is not in the country another who has so extensive a circle of acquaintances among men who are potent in forming and directing public opinion.

"Every great interest of American life knows that he has sounded it, and apprehends and appreciates its capacity. In church, and college, and market, and among the plain people who toil in shops and fields, he is regarded as a friend who has regarded their necessities and spoken and labored in their cause.

"There is not a policy of administration which he has not analyzed; there is not a department of the public service with the scope and work of which he is not acquainted. He will come to his office better equipped for intelligent conduct of national affairs than any man who has preceded him for two generations at least, and the best part of his equipment is his broad, hopeful faith in freedom, equal rights, and impartial justice as the safe conditions of progress."

In the midst of all this spontaneous burst of enthusiasm, Garfield himself writes to a friend,[Pg 206]

"I believe all my friends are more gratified with the personal part of my triumph than I am, and, although I am proud of the noble support I have received, and the vindication it gives me against my assailants, yet there is a tone of sadness running through this triumph which I can hardly explain."

[Pg 207]


At Mentor.—The Journey to Washington.—Inauguration Day.—Immense Concourse of People.—The Address.—Sworn into Office.—Touching Scene.—Grand Display.—Inauguration Ball.—Announcement of the Members of the Cabinet.—Two Great Problems.—How they were Solved.—Disgraceful Rupture in the Senate.—Prerogative of the Executive Office vindicated.

The few months that elapsed between the election and the inauguration were spent by Garfield in the quiet home at Mentor.

One day an intimate friend of the family asked Mrs. Garfield if she were not looking forward with pleasant anticipations to her life in the White House.

"No," she answered, simply and sincerely, "I can only hope it will not be altogether unhappy."

The words occasioned surprise at the time—afterwards they seemed like a sad prophecy.

Inauguration day drew near, and the journey from Mentor to Washington was one continual series of ovations. Then that memorable fourth of March at the capital. "Who that beheld the inspiring spectacle," exclaims one writer, "can ever see it grow pale in memory!"

Before noon thousands of people had gathered[Pg 208] in front of the Capitol, and when the doors of the rotunda were thrown open, the police were obliged to push away the crowd that had assembled on the steps.

Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Treasury and the Capitol grounds, was one great sea of heads, and loud cheers arose from every side as the long procession escorting the President-elect passed on to the Capitol. The buildings along the whole route were beautifully decorated, and handkerchiefs fluttered from every window.

General Sherman, at the head of the Cleveland troops, led the way, and the Columbia Commandery of Knights Templars formed an important part of the escort.

Upon reaching the Capitol, Garfield took his seat on the platform, with President Hayes on his right hand, and Chief-Justice Waite on his left. Just behind him sat Mr. Wheeler, and Vice-President Arthur. The mother of the President-elect, his wife and little girl, were also on the platform, and Mrs. Hayes and her daughter were seated just beside them.

The Inaugural Address,[C] which occupied half an hour in its delivery, was frequently applauded by the vast audience. The clear, ringing tones of the speaker gave added force to every sentence; and his wonderful magnetism held the whole crowd spell-bound.

[Pg 209]

At the close of the address, the oath of office was administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and then the immense throngs of people began slowly to disperse.

The threatening clouds of the early morning had all disappeared, and the bright March sun looked down upon a most touching, beautiful picture, as the new President turned around to his dear old mother, the guiding star of his life—and tenderly kissed her.

"Ah! not in Greece or Rome alone
High mother-hearts shall swell;
America's unsculptured stone!
Will Garfield legends tell,—
How at the height of fame he durst—
The proudest moment of his life—
To put the white-haired mother first,
Then turned and kissed his wife."

As soon as the evening twilight came on, a grand display of fireworks illuminated the city. The Inauguration Ball was one of the most brilliant ever held in Washington. The hall was finely decorated. Just in the centre of the rotunda was a statue of America, surrounded by tropical plants; in her left hand she held a shield, and from her right, a powerful electric light in the form of a torch shone down the four wings of the building.[Pg 210] Heavy festoons of evergreens, intertwined with rare flowers, hung from the ceiling, and the lofty pillars were decorated with streamers of bunting and the shields of the States and Territories.

Some four thousand people had assembled in the building before the arrival of the presidential party. Garfield did not take part in the dancing, but after an hour spent in hand-shaking, he retired to a balcony where his wife and mother were seated, and watched with evident enjoyment the brilliant scene below.

The next day the Senate had a special session, and the President announced his Cabinet as follows:—

Secretary of State:James G. Blaine.
Secretary of the Treasury:William Windom.
Secretary of the Interior:Samuel J. Kirkwood.
Secretary of the Navy:William H. Hunt.
Secretary of War:Robert T. Lincoln.
Postmaster-General:Thomas L. James.
Attorney-General:Wayne McVeagh.

The different elements of the Republican party represented by these names seemed to presage rough waters for the ship-of-state; but the choice was made with clear-sighted judgment.

Two great problems confronted President Garfield as he assumed the reins of government. First, what should be done with the national debt, so rapidly maturing?[Pg 211]

After considerable investigation, it was deemed best to extend the bonds at a lower rate of interest, that is, three and a half per cent. Garfield's accurate knowledge of political economy and finance saved the country many millions of dollars by this wise plan; and the loans as fast as they have become due have been paid by new bonds issued at this lower rate.

The second problem was not to be solved so readily. How could half a million of importunate office-seekers be appeased, when only a hundred thousand offices were in the President's power to bestow?

The baleful influence of the wretched spoils system began its evil work at once.

Said a leading political paper:—

"The feeling has become a very dominant one that the Government owes every man a living. This is found all the way up from the country school district to town, city, county, state and nation. It need not be said this is an unhealthy condition of things in every aspect. It diverts men's minds from the old paths of industry, and badly demoralizes families and communities. It leads to all manner of crimes, and so intensifies party spirit that all laws provided for their punishment are practically inoperative."

President Garfield had never had any sympathy with the system that tries to appease its party[Pg 212] by "liquidating personal obligations with public trusts." In organizing his administration, he desired to unite and consolidate the Republican party, and to make such appointments as were for the manifest good of the whole country. But it was impossible for him to do this without exciting opposition; the disgraceful rupture in the Senate immediately followed, and the first weeks of his administration presented one continued series of hotly-contested battles.

That the President held his own, in spite of all adverse criticism, showed at once the strong, unyielding hand that guided the Ship of State, and after-events proved that he was clearly right from first to last.

"President Garfield," said one able writer, "used political weapons to combat politicians in the matter of the New York Custom House, but he achieved much by so doing. For the first time since 1876 we have a Republican party in New York distinct from the close corporation that has controlled the organization there these recent years. A nucleus has been established around which all shades of Republican opinion can rally with the good hope of destroying the despotism that has virtually ostracized the best Republicans of the State from influential participation in national politics. The nucleus is an administration party, which invites the co-operation of all who would[Pg 213] liberalize the organization. With the overthrow of "machine" control, as it has existed in New York and Pennsylvania, and the old would-be dictators remanded to their proper place, a great advance has been made towards that purer condition of political and public affairs that all honest men favor."


[C] See page 480.

[Pg 214]


The President Plans a Ten-Days' Pleasure-Trip.—Morning of the Fateful Day.—Secretary Blaine Accompanies him to the Station.—A Mysterious-looking Character.—Sudden Report of a Pistol.—The President Turns and Receives the Fatal Shot.—Arrest of the Assassin.—The President Recovers Consciousness and is Taken Back to the White House.

"A wasp flew out upon our fairest son,
And stung him to the quick with poisoned shaft,
The while he chatted carelessly and laughed,
And knew not of the fateful mischief done.
And so this life, amid our lore begun,
Envenomed by the insect's hellish craft,
Was drunk by Death in one long, feverish draught,
And he was lost—our precious, priceless one!
Oh, mystery of blind, remorseless fate!
Oh, cruel end of a most causeless hate!
That life so mean should murder life so great!"
J. G. Holland.

The anniversary of our National Independence was now close at hand. In spite of the shameful and distressing party factions of the previous weeks, the country had never seemed in a more prosperous condition. The electric state of the political atmosphere had proved itself an element of[Pg 215] purification, not of destruction, and the outlook for the future grew brighter every day.

On the morning of July second, the President arose at an early hour. Worn out with the harassing disturbances of the past weeks, he felt the urgent need of a few days' rest and recreation. Mrs. Garfield, who had been spending a little time at Long Branch, was to join him in New York; and together with a few members of the Cabinet and their families, the President had planned a ten-days' trip through New England.

It was a lovely summer's morning. The dew sparkled on the beautiful lawn and gay parterres in front of the White House, the cool trickle of the fountain mingled with the twittering of the sparrows as they flitted in and out of their nests under the great front porch.

All nature seemed in sympathy with the joyous mood of the President, as he gaily tried an athletic feat with one of his boys, laughed, jested, and talked about the commencement exercises at Williams College, which he hoped to attend in a few days.

Not one breath of impending danger, not one note of warning was there in the clear, sunny atmosphere of that bright July morning!

Shortly after breakfast, Secretary Blaine drove up to the White House and accompanied the President to the station of the Baltimore and Potomac[Pg 216] Railroad, where the express train to New York leaves at 9.30.

Finding they were ten minutes before time, the President and his Secretary remained in the carriage, earnestly talking, until the depot official reminded them that the train was about to start.

Arm in arm they passed through the broad entrance-door into the ladies' waiting-room, which gave them the readiest access to the train beyond.

The room was almost empty, as most of the passengers had already taken their seats in the cars, but pacing nervously up and down the adjoining rooms, was a thin, wiry-looking man, whose peculiar appearance had once or twice been commented upon by some of the railroad officials. Still, there was really nothing about him to excite suspicion. He might have simply missed the train; and, as he seemed inclined to mind his own business, no further notice had been taken of him.

As the President passed through the room, this ill-favored looking man suddenly sprang up behind him, and, taking a heavy revolver from his pocket, deliberately aimed it at the noble, commanding figure.

At the sharp report the President turned his head with a troubled look of surprise, and Secretary Blaine sprang quickly to one side. The wretch immediately re-cocked his pistol, set his teeth, and fired again.[Pg 217]

This time the President fell senseless to the floor, and a dazed crowd surrounded him while Secretary Blaine sprang after the assassin. The cowardly knave was easily secured, and then all thoughts centred upon the suffering victim. Mrs. White, who had charge of the ladies' waiting-room, was the first to see the President fall, and, running to his assistance, she knelt down and supported him in her arms. The dreadful tidings flew hither and thither on eagle-wings. Postmaster-General James, Secretary Windom, Secretary Hunt, and others of the party who were to accompany the President on his trip, were soon at his side, and messengers were sent in all directions.

A physician was soon on the spot; the wounded man was tenderly placed upon a mattress, and carried without delay to the White House.

Yet, before he was taken from the station, he suddenly aroused from his half-unconscious state, and turning to one of his friends he said, with his old, self-forgetting thoughtfulness,—

"Rockwell, I want you to send a message to my wife. Tell her I am seriously hurt; how seriously I cannot yet say. I am myself, and hope she will come to me soon. I send my love to her."

[Pg 218]


At the White House.—The Anxious Throngs.—Examination of the Wounds.—The President's Questions.—His Willingness to Die.—Waiting for his Wife.—Sudden Relapse.—A Glimmer of Hope.—A Sunday of Doubt.—Independence Day.—Remarks of George William Curtis.

The members of the Cabinet and a number of the President's personal friends were at the White House, when the ambulance containing the wounded man drove slowly up the avenue.

When he saw them on the porch, he raised his right hand, and with one of his old, bright smiles, gave the military salute. But for the extreme pallor of his face, no one would have guessed the intense pain he was suffering, as he was borne upstairs to his own room in the southeast corner.

An excited crowd had already gathered about the White House, but troops had been ordered from the Washington Arsenal, and armed sentinels kept a vigilant guard about the executive Mansion.

When Dr. Bliss and the other physicians in attendance examined the wounds, they found the first shot had passed through the arm just below the shoulder, without breaking any[Pg 219] bones. The other ball had entered the back just over the hips, but what direction it had taken, of where it had lodged, could not be determined with any degree of certainty. The physicians held a short consultation, and agreed to search for the ball as soon as the President's condition would permit.

The wounded man first complained of pain in his feet and legs, and for a long time the "tiger clawing," as he called it, seemed harder to bear than anything else. It is easy to understand now, how seriously the spinal cord and the whole nervous system must have been affected by that first fearful fracture of the vertebrae.

As the shock began to pass off, the President turned to Secretary Blaine, who was sitting beside him, and said,—

"What motive do you think that man could have had in trying to assassinate me?"

"Indeed, I cannot tell. He says he had no motive."

"Perhaps," said Garfield, with a smile, "he thought it would be a glorious thing to be a pirate king."

Turning to Dr. Bliss, he said,—

"I want to know my true condition. Do not conceal anything from me; remember, I am not afraid to die."

The President's condition was extremely critical[Pg 220] at that time, as there were indications of internal hemorrhage, and the doctor frankly told him that he feared he could live but a few hours.

"God's will be done," he replied; "I am ready to go if my time has come."

As the little group stood in silence about his bed, they recalled his words to Colonel Knox only a few days before, when warned of the danger that might be lurking in hidden corners.

"I must come and go as usual," he said; "I cannot surround myself with a body-guard. If the good of this country, the interests of pure government and of the people against one-man power, demand the sacrifice of my life, I think I am ready."

The arrival of Mrs. Garfield from Long Branch was anxiously awaited all through that long, weary afternoon. An accident to the engine delayed the train upon which she had started, and it was evening before she reached the White House.

The President's quick ears heard the carriage-wheels as they rolled over the gravel driveway, and with a bright smile, he exclaimed,—

"That's my wife! God bless the little woman!" Then the strong-will power that had kept him up to this moment, seemed suddenly to give way. His attendants thought he was dying, and for hours his life hung upon the merest thread.

Slowly, but surely, the tide began to turn. At[Pg 221] midnight he was still conscious—the doctors thought there was "one chance" that he might recover—the President had bravely taken that one chance; and with lightning speed the good news was telegraphed all over the country.

Sunday morning the President was so much better that he wanted to know what had been said about the assassination—and what was the general feeling throughout the country.

"The country," replied Colonel Rockwell, "is full of sympathy for you. We will save all the papers so that you can see them when you get well; but you must not talk now."

The President smiled, and in the broken slumber that followed he murmured to himself,—

"The great heart of the people will not let the old soldier die!"

The next night was one of fearful suspense, and the dawn of Independence Day was ushered in with mingled feelings of hope and fear.

A few days later, George William Curtis wrote as follows:—

"No Fourth of July in our history was ever so mournful as that which has just passed. In 1826 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on Independence Day. But the singular and beautiful coincidence was not known for some time, and then it was felt to be a fitting and memorable end of the life of venerable patriots long withdrawn[Pg 222] from public affairs. Nearly forty years later, 1863, there was intense and universal anxiety when the great day dawned. Mr. Greeley, in his history, calls the ten days preceding the Fourth of July in that year the very darkest days the republic ever saw. But that was during the angry fury of civil war, when passions and emotions of every kind were inflamed to the utmost. There was fiery party rancor in the feeling of that time, and the whole year was full of similar excitement.

"But the emotion and the spectacle of this year are without parallel. In every household there was a hushed and tender silence, as if one dearly loved lay dying. In every great city and retired village the public festivities were stayed, and the assembly of joy and pride and congratulation was solemnized into a reverent congregation of heads bowed in prayer. In foreign countries American gayety was suspended. In the British Parliament, Whig and Tory and Radical listened to catch from the lips of the Prime Minister the latest tidings from one sufferer. From the French republic, from the old empire of Japan, and the new kingdom of Bulgaria, from Parnell, the Irish agitator, and from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, came messages of sympathy and sorrow. Sovereigns and princes, the people and the nobles, joined in earnest hope for the life of the Republican President. The press of all Christendom told the[Pg 223] mournful story, and moralized as it told. In this country the popular grief was absolutely unanimous. One tender, overpowering thought called a truce even to party contention. Old and young, men and women of all nationalities and of all preferences, their differences forgotten, waited all day for news, watched the flags and every sign that might be significant, and lay down, praying, to sleep, thanking God that as yet the worst had not come.

"It was a marvellous tribute. In Europe, it was respect for a powerful State; in America, it was affection for a simple and manly character. It is plain that the tale of General Garfield's hardy and heroic life, the sure and steady rise of this poor American boy, taking every degree of honor in the great university of experience, equal to every occasion, to peace and war, to good fortune and ill fortune, had profoundly touched the heart of his countrymen. A year ago, every word and incident of that life was told by party passion—on one side eulogized and extolled; on the other, distorted and vilified. Out of the fiery ordeal he emerged with a general kindly regard and high expectation. Mild and conciliatory in character, of long and various political experience, a natural statesman with an able mind amply stored and especially trained for public duty, simply dignified in manner, a powerful man, singularly blameless,[Pg 224] he entered upon the presidency with every happy augury. The country was at peace within and without, and hummed with universal prosperity. The first measures of his administration were both wise and fortunate, and the only trouble sprang from a source which is rapidly becoming the fatal bane of the country—the patronage of office. This breeds faction and makes faction fanatical and furious. If indignation with fancied slights and supposed breaches of faith regarding patronage, could so overmaster a conspicuous and experienced public man like Mr. Conkling as to drive him suddenly to resign the highest political trust which his State could bestow, to imperil his public career, to astound his friends, and to abandon the control of the Senate to his political opponents, it is not surprising that fancied neglect of political merit and service should bewilder the light brain of an unbalanced and obscure camp-follower like Guiteau, until, brooding with diseased mind upon his 'wrongs,' he should resolve to do 'justice' upon the supposed wrong-doer.

"So, in the most peaceful and prosperous moment that this country has known for a half-century, the shot of the assassin is fired at a man absolutely without personal enemies, and a President whom even his political opponents respect. Then to the impression of brave and generous and sagacious manhood, already produced by his career,[Pg 225] was added his sweet and tranquil bearing under the murderous blow. The unselfish thought of others, the cheerful steadiness and even gayety of temper, the lofty and manly resignation, with entire freedom from ostentation of piety, the strong love of the strong man for those dearest to him, and the noble response of his wife's calm and perfect womanhood to this supreme and courageous manhood, filled the hearts of his countrymen with sympathy and love and sorrow, and whether he lived or died, his place in the affection of Americans was as secure as Lincoln's.

"Such feeling of millions of hearts for one man is profoundly touching. It gives him a great distinction among all mankind. But it is also a benediction for a people to be lifted by such an emotion. It is impossible that party passion should not be somewhat subdued by it, and that a wholesome sense of shame should not chasten factions and disputes. If such are the men with whom bitter quarrels are waged, and upon whom unstinted contumely and contempt are poured out, shall we not all, upon every side, pause and reflect that to blow mere party fires to fury, and to trample personal character in the mire of angry political dispute, is to disgrace ourselves and the cause that we would serve, and the country whose good name depends upon us? That is the reflection which this last solemn Fourth of July undoubtedly[Pg 226] suggested. It recalled the country to emotions higher than those of the shop and the caucus. It is character that makes a country. It is manhood like that of Garfield and Lincoln which made the past of America, and which makes its future possible. Commercial prosperity and politics and all national interests rest at last upon the honesty and courage and intelligence of the people, not upon mines and material resources, nor upon great railroads or tariffs or free trade."

[Pg 227]


The Assassin.—What were his Motives.—His own Confessions.—Statement of District-Attorney Corkhill.—Sketch of Guiteau's Early Life.

Together with the overwhelming sense of grief and consternation that had spread throughout the country, was the eager desire to know what motives had actuated the assassin in his terrible deed.

When questioned by the detective who took him to jail, Guiteau declared, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts; I did it to save the Republican party."

"Is there anybody else with you in this matter?"

"Not a living soul," he replied. "I have contemplated the thing for the last six weeks and would have shot the President when he went away with Mrs. Garfield, but I looked at her, and she looked so sick, I changed my mind."

After a careful investigation of the facts, District-Attorney Corkhill published the following statement:—

"The interest felt by the public in the details of the assassination, and the many stories published,[Pg 228] justify me in stating that the following is a correct and accurate statement concerning the points to which reference is made: The assassin, Charles Guiteau, came to Washington city on Sunday evening, March 6th, 1881, and stopped at the Ebbitt House, remaining only one day. He then secured a room in another part of the city, and had boarded and roomed at various places, the full details of which I have. On Wednesday, May 18th, 1881, the assassin determined to murder the President. He had neither money nor pistol at the time. About the last of May he went into O'Meara's store, corner of Fifteenth and F Streets, this city, and examined some pistols, asking for the largest calibre. He was shown two similar in calibre, and only different in the price. On Wednesday, June 8th, he purchased a pistol, for which he paid $10, he having, in the mean time, borrowed $15 of a gentleman in this city, on the plea that he wanted to pay his board bill. On the same evening, about seven o'clock, he took the pistol and went to the foot of Seventeenth Street, and practised firing at a board, firing ten shots. He then returned to his boarding-place and wiped the pistol dry, and wrapped it in his coat, and waited his opportunity. On Sunday morning, June 15th, he was sitting in Lafayette Park, and saw the President leave for the Christian Church on Vermont Avenue, and he at once returned to his[Pg 229] room, obtained his pistol, put it in his pocket, and followed the President to church. He entered the church, but found he could not kill him there without danger of killing some one else. He noticed that the President sat near a window. After church he made an examination of the window, and found he could reach it without any trouble, and that from this point he could shoot the President through the head without killing any one else. The following Wednesday he went to the church, examined the location and the window, and became satisfied he could accomplish his purpose. He determined to make the attempt at the church the following Sunday. Learning from the papers that the President would leave the city on Saturday, the 18th of June, with Mrs. Garfield, for Long Branch, he therefore decided to meet him at the depot. He left his boarding-place about 5 o'clock Saturday morning, June 18th, and went down to the river at the foot of Seventeenth Street, and fired five shots to practise his aim, and be certain his pistol was in good order. He then went to the depot, and was in the ladies' waiting-room of the depot, with his pistol ready, when the presidential party entered. He says Mrs. Garfield looked so weak and frail that he had not the heart to shoot the President in her presence, and, as he knew he would have another opportunity, he left the depot. He had previously engaged a carriage[Pg 230] to take him to the jail. On Wednesday evening, the President and his son, and, I think, United States Marshal Henry, went out for a ride. The assassin took his pistol and followed them, and watched them for some time, in hopes the carriage would stop, but no opportunity was given. On Friday evening, July 1, he was sitting on the seat in the park opposite the White House, when he saw the President come out alone. He followed him down the avenue to Fifteenth Street, and then kept on the opposite side of the street upon Fifteenth, until the President entered the residence of Secretary Blaine. He waited at the corner of Fifteenth and H Streets for some time, and then, as he was afraid he would attract attention, he went into the alley in the rear of Mr. Morton's residence, examined his pistol, and waited. The President and Secretary Blaine came out together, and he followed over to the gate of the White House, but could get no opportunity to use his weapon. On the morning of Saturday, July 2d, he breakfasted at the Riggs House about 7 o'clock. He then walked up into the park, and sat there for an hour. He then took a horse-car and rode to Sixth Street, got out and went into the depot and loitered around there; had his shoes blacked; engaged a hackman for two dollars to take him to the jail; went into a private room and took his pistol out of his pocket, unwrapped the paper[Pg 231] from around it, which he had put there to prevent the dampening of the powder; examined his pistol; carefully tried the trigger, and then returned and took a seat in the ladies' waiting-room, and, as soon as the President entered, advanced behind him and fired two shots.

"These facts, I think, can be relied upon as accurate, and I give them to the public to contradict certain false rumors in connection with the most atrocious of atrocious crimes."

Can such a deliberate preparation as this be deemed an act of insanity?

A gentleman who knew Guiteau as a boy, says that he is of French descent, and that his father, J. W. Guiteau, was "an old resident and respected citizen of Freeport, Ill. He married a very beautiful woman, and with her and the younger children, he joined the Oneida Community. He afterwards returned to Freeport, where he served as cashier of the Second National Bank until his death. At one time he became deranged on the subject of 'Perfection,' and lectured extensively through the North and West on that subject. There were three children. An elder brother, Wilkes Guiteau, for a long time practised law at Davenport, Iowa. A younger sister, Flora, was a very promising girl. When the family left Oneida Community, Charles, then fifteen or sixteen years old, was left behind. He afterwards went to Chicago, where he[Pg 232] studied law, being cared for and supplied with money by his father. After completing his studies, he went to Europe, where he travelled several years, imbibing Socialistic and other eccentric doctrines. A few years ago he returned to this country, and lectured on the second advent of Christ. He published a pamphlet on the subject, in which the egotism of the man was plainly shown. From what I knew of the boy, his education in the Oneida Community, and his utterances on religion, I was not at all surprised at his committing the act. I understand from people employed at the White House that Guiteau had forced himself upon the President several times. He was an applicant for the consulship at Marseilles; and one day obtained access to the President, and acted so rudely that the President had him removed. I have no doubt that, feeling offended by this act, he determined on the course which culminated in the terrible tragedy of July the second."

[Pg 233]


Night of the Fourth.—Extreme Solicitude at the White House.—Description of an Eye-witness.—Attorney McVeagh's Remark.—Sudden Change for the Better.—Steady Improvement.—The Medical Attendance.

The night of the Fourth was a time of extreme solicitude at the White House. Said one who was present:—

"I sat in the great East Room with the Attorney-General.—

"'Ah,' he exclaimed, 'our Garfield was never a better President than he was at the moment when Guiteau's bullet struck him down. He never saw more clearly, and he never had a firmer or better purpose. He was going to be all that the best thought of the country ever expected of him. He was going to be a great President.'

"The last time I had been in this East Room was at Mr. Hayes' last diplomatic reception, when thousands of elegantly dressed people thronged it, and music and lights made it, for that evening at least, the handsomest room in the country. There were no lights now. The great spaces were gloomy with what seemed to be the gloom of[Pg 234] coming death. Through the open windows on the south side the summer air stole lazily, and the shadows of the draperies seemed to add to the darkness. There was no music now—only the sound of whispered conversation as people went up or down the stairs. The result of the early evening consultation was unfavorable. Tympanites had again appeared, and apparently in a more threatening form than before. Grave men shook their heads. Even the brave Mrs. Garfield lost somewhat of the splendid courage that had sustained her throughout her trying ordeal. For the first time after his recovery from the shock of the bullet, the President seemed to lose hope himself.

"Suddenly there was a change for the better. Toward midnight, the troubled slumbers of the President became peaceful, and he soon sank into the best sleep he had enjoyed since the shooting on Saturday morning. His pulse and temperature became better; there were signs of an improved vitality; the breathing was easier; the pains ceased; there was no longer any appearance of dangerous inflammation or of peritonitis. Hope began to dawn where despondency had been; the faces that had been full of gloom began to look hopeful; there was yet some encouragement. Recovery flung out her signals in the steady breathings and the peaceful slumber of the President. The improvement continued, and again it could be[Pg 235] said that there was hope of final recovery. It seemed as though the strong will and constitution of the man had made one more effort for life."

The cheering bulletins on the following morning kindled fresh hope in the hearts of the people. The general feeling was expressed that the worst was over, and the nation began to take courage. By the ninth of July the President was so much better, that his children were allowed to come into the room. On the 13th, it was reported that his appetite was improving, that he had asked for a steak, and sandwiches of bread and scraped raw beef had been given him. This increase in the variety of his food seemed to give him additional strength, and the condition of the wound was so favorable that it was thought the ball had become encysted.

The first physician who reached the President when he lay wounded at the depot, was Dr. Smith Townshend, Health Officer of the District of Columbia. As soon as he examined the wound, he pronounced it necessarily fatal. Immediately after the shooting, the Secretary of War, according to the President's wishes, had summoned Dr. Bliss, who with other physicians reached the depot soon after Dr. Townshend.

"On the following Sunday morning," says Dr. Bliss, "when the President had fully reacted, had had several hours of rest, was cheerful and competent[Pg 236] to attend to any ordinary business, I presented the matter of his professional attendance to him, Mrs. Garfield being present. I then explained to him fully, the valuable professional assistance the large number of medical gentlemen had rendered up to that time, representing, as they did, the best medical talent in the city. His reply was,—

"'Of course, doctor, it will not do to continue the large number of medical gentlemen in attendance; such a number of surgeons would be cumbersome and unwieldy.'

"I said then: 'Mr. President, it is your duty to select your medical attendants now.'

"He replied: 'I desire you to take charge of my case. I know of your experience and skill, and have full confidence in your judgment, and wish you to thank the doctors individually for their kind attendance.' I thanked him, and replied that it would be necessary to select three or four medical assistants as counsel in the case. He replied,—

"'I shall leave that entirely with you; you know what talent you require, and your judgment is best upon that point.' I then selected in order the gentlemen who were immediately associated in the case, Surgeon-General J. K. Barnes, of the army; and Doctors J. J. Woodward and Robert Reyburn, stating in each instance the reason for so doing. He said that was eminently satisfactory[Pg 237] to him. I then turned to Mrs. Garfield and said,—

"'If you desire to add one or more to the number selected, I shall be happy to unite them to our counsel.' Her reply was,—'I would not add one to the number you have selected, and I want to say to you, doctor, that you shall not be embarrassed in any way in your future treatment of this case.' Neither the President nor Mrs. Garfield, nor any member of the household from that time forward, suggested the name of any other physician except the eminent counsel called from Philadelphia and New York, Doctors Agnew and Hamilton." The last-mentioned physicians arrived on Monday morning, and in the consultation that followed they expressed their hearty approval of the treatment adopted. While so much uncertainty remained as to the exact location of the ball, it was folly to risk the President's life in an attempt to remove it.

[Pg 238]


A relapse.—Cooling Apparatus at the White House—The President writes a Letter to his Mother.—Evidences of Blood-Poisoning.—Symptoms of Malaria.—Removal to Long Branch.—Preparation for the Journey.—Incidents by the way.

On the morning of the twenty-third of July there came a relapse. While the physicians were examining and dressing his wounds, the President experienced a slight rigor, followed by an increase of febrile symptoms. This was evidently owing to an interruption of the flow of pus, and, on the twenty-fourth, an operation was performed upon the cavity, by which the patient was relieved.

The intense heat of those July days was very debilitating, and a variety of ingenious plans were tried to lower the temperature in the sufferer's room. The most successful experiment was that of Mr. Dorsay's, which was based on the system used in cooling the air in mines. It required considerable machinery, but by its means the temperature of the room was reduced to seventy-five degrees. The system is as follows: A stationary[Pg 239] engine is first employed to compress the air which, when crowded into less space, gives out a large amount of heat. This is carried away by running water, and as soon as the air is again set free, it becomes as cool by expansion as it had before been heated by compression.

On the 27th of July, a piece of the fractured rib was removed; the President was again able to take nourishing food, the fever subsided, and all the bulletins began to assume a cheerful tone.

And so the long, long days passed by, with frequent alternations of hope and fear. On the 11th of August the President asked for pen and paper that he might write a letter.

"Through all those weary weeks of pain,
With death's dark angel nigh,
But once to grasp the accustomed pen
The trembling fingers try.
"Those brave words from the strong man bowed,
Courageously death meeting,
To whom amid the courtly crowd
Of great ones sending greeting?
"The mother-bosom beat afar—
To her that tender letter;
To her—through life his guiding star—
He writes he's 'getting better.'"

By the middle of August it was evident that the President was suffering from pyæmia, or blood-poisoning. The swollen parotid gland occasioned[Pg 240] fresh solicitude, and the stomach refused to perform its ordinary functions. Nourishing enemeta were then administered with excellent results, and the lancing of the parotid-swelling afforded temporary relief.

The sufferer longed for a change of air; the malarial atmosphere surrounding the White House was a constant drawback to his recovery, and early in September the physicians decided to remove him to Long Branch. The sixth day of the month was appointed for the removal, and every possible precaution was taken to make the journey as easy as possible. The bed, and the train in general, were inspected the day before by Surgeon-General Barnes and Drs. Bliss and Agnew. The train was run out to Benning's Bridge, five miles from Washington, and the surgeons thoroughly tested the couch. They said that it was perfect, and that no better arrangement could have been made for the President's journey. In the test of speed the doctors were surprised to find that there was notably less motion and jar at forty miles than at thirty.

The express wagon which was to convey the President to the depot, was in waiting at the front entrance to the Executive Mansion all night. It was a new vehicle, and the springs being well oiled, could not impart much jarring to the bed on which the President would lie.[Pg 241]

When the track was being laid through Elberon, on which he was to be taken to the Francklyn cottage as a last hope, the surveyor apologized to a lady whose garden it laid waste.

"Your flowers have required the labor of many summers, madam, and we shall ruin them," he said.

"O sir!" she cried, "I am willing you should ruin my house—all I have, if it would help to save him!"

There was to be a double departure from the White House. The President's sons, Harry and James, were to start for Williams College, and shortly before ten o'clock on the evening of the fifth, they bade their father good-by, and took leave of their mother who was hopeful and courageous, believing the journey to Long Branch would save her husband's life. Their countenances were grave, and the passers-by, as they respectfully made way for them, could not but feel that the two young men were just about to start upon a career as, possibly, their distinguished father was about to end one.

Private Secretary Brown gives the following account of the trip to Long Branch: "Upon leaving the Executive Mansion the President appeared to enjoy the scenery and looked around inquiringly. All the way from the White House to the depot the President was very anxious to observe everything,[Pg 242] and in this he was not prevented. He experienced little or no disturbance in being transferred from the vehicle to the car, and his pulse, although slightly accelerated, reaching about 115, fell to about 106 before the train started, and shortly afterward fell to 104 and again to 102. The first stop of the train was made at Patapsco, at which point the parotid gland was dressed. At half-past nine o'clock the President's pulse was 108 and of good character. At that hour three ounces of beef extract were administered. Between Philadelphia and Monmouth Junction, the special train made several miles at the rate of seventy miles per hour. Bay View, this side of Baltimore, was reached at 8.05, and a brief stop was made to enable the surgeons to make the morning dressing of the wound. The wound was found to have suffered no derangement by the travel. The dressing was soon accomplished, and the train, after leaving Bay View, was run at the rate of about fifty miles per hour. The track in this locality is very straight, and in excellent condition, and though the speed was at times greater than fifty miles per hour, the vibration of the President's bed, it is said, was no more than had the train been moving twenty-five miles per hour. The attending surgeons feel very much gratified with the manner in which the removal was conducted, and are generally of the opinion that, with[Pg 243] the exception of being slightly fatigued, the President bore the journey exceedingly well."

"This is a great journey, Crete," he said to his wife, as the train rushed on at lightning speed. "Let her go! The faster the better," he added, when the doctors expressed their fears that the rapid motion of the engine would tire him.

"Don't put down the curtain! I want to see the people! Let them look in!" he exclaimed, as he caught a glimpse of the eager, anxious crowds at the different stations.

One of the Boston dailies wrote as follows—

"In the preparations for the trip the great popular solicitude for the well-being of the President infected even soulless railroad corporations, as they are sometimes called, so that the management of the lines over which he had to pass could not do too much to reduce the fatigue or other injurious effect of the jaunt. It is a credit to our common humanity, that everybody in any way connected with this transfer of the President, from the mechanic to the railroad director, required no spur but his own feelings to exert himself to the utmost for the safety and comfort of him who had suffered so terribly, and evinced such grand qualities under the most adverse circumstances. No railroad train was ever the burden of so much anxious, prayerful solicitation as that conveying the President to his destination. To change and apply[Pg 244] one of General Garfield's own expressions, the great heart of the nation must have nobly sustained the presidential patient as he sped on his way to a locality where, it is hoped, the recuperating processes of nature will place him on the high road to convalescence.

"Our despatches note the arrival of the presidential train at different points, and the manner in which the patient bore the ride. As may well be imagined, the people who gathered in Washington to see him on board the train could not help remarking his generally emaciated appearance, but he was sufficiently strong to turn upon his side and wave his adieus to the crowd. The fortitude and will of the President are as surprising as the many unusual episodes of his life."

[Pg 245]


Description of the Francklyn Cottage.—The Arrival at Long Branch.—The President is Drawn up to the Open Window.—Enjoys the Sea View and the Sea Breezes.—The Surgical Force Reduced.—Incident on the Day of Prayer.

"The Francklyn cottage at Long Branch, to which the President was taken, is about fifty yards southeast of the hotel. Its front is within one hundred feet of the edge of the bluff, from which a pebble can be dropped into the surf. The building contains twenty rooms. It is a long, rambling structure, two and one-half stories high, having seven gables and being in fashion a mixture of the Queen Anne and Swiss chalet style. The lower stories are painted a sienna color, and gables and roof a dark slate.

"A perfectly smooth lawn of well-kept turf surrounds it upon every side. Its interior apartments are perfect; the kitchen is separated from the main part of the building by a covered driveway, and none of the culinary odors can reach the dwelling portion. Two spacious parlors and an immense[Pg 246] dining-hall faces the ocean, and a broad double window opens upon a large uncovered veranda about six feet above the ground, surrounded by a high railing.

"The west or rear part of the dining-hall opens upon the main hall, a roomy thoroughfare, from which by the landings a broad flight of stairs ascend to the second floor. The stairs are of ample width, and allowed the President's bed to be carried up them without difficulty. The chamber occupied by the President is in the northeast corner of the building. It is about twenty feet square. There is one broad window facing the ocean on the east, and the windows facing the ocean on the south. By leaving the door of the chamber open a breeze can be obtained from every point of the compass except the north. The windows are protected from the sun by awnings and blinds."

The appointments of the chamber are perfect in every respect, being left just as Mr. Francklyn's family occupied it. About one hundred yards south of the Francklyn cottage is the cottage belonging to the hotel assigned to Mrs. Garfield and her family.

It was about a quarter past one when the President's train was observed slowly making its way over the new track at Long Branch. There was no whistling, no bell-ringing, no noisy puffing of[Pg 247] the engine, no shouts nor cheers. A powerful locomotive slowly, and almost silently, pushed before it the cars of the train, the centre one being the President's.

The train stopped opposite the Elberon, and immediately many flocked about it to learn the particulars of the journey. All were told that the trip had been successful, and the President was quite as well as when he started. The delay was but for a moment. The forward car was uncoupled from the train and a large force of men, held in readiness, gently pushed it around the quarter circle and past the entrance to the cottage. It was occupied by a few ladies and gentlemen of the President's household, who at once left it and were escorted into the house.

Another gang of men pushed on the President's car close after it. It was stopped at the proper place, and immediately a soldier mounted by ladder to the roof and the sailcloth awning was raised. It did not, however, completely conceal the passage on the side where the people were gathered. The planks were put in position, and in a moment two or more soldiers were seen to pass bearing a low bedstead. Many thought that the President was resting on it, but this was a mistake.

Three or four minutes later a mattrass on which[Pg 248] was plainly discernible under snowy coverings the form of a human body, was steadily and gently, almost solemnly, borne from the car to the house, while two or three hundred spectators, too far away and on too low a level to catch sight of the face, held their breath in sympathy, their eyes meantime moist with tears they cared not to conceal, and many doubtless praying with deep earnestness that this heroic effort to save a precious life would avail. There was not a cheer, not an audible sound uttered by any one. Few scenes could be more impressive in their silence and their sympathy.

"Please move me up where I can see the water," said the President, soon after being placed in bed. His couch was immediately pushed up to the wide open window; he was slightly raised upon it, and lay there for some minutes looking out upon the sea. Although he was greatly fatigued by the journey and his pulse was high, he slept better that night than he had done for weeks.

"Don't you think I look better!" he said next morning to one of the attendants; "I feel better," he added. "This is good air."

Previous to leaving Washington, after it had been determined to remove the President to Long Branch, it appears the President asked his wife if all the attending surgeons were going along. Mrs.[Pg 249] Garfield replied that she presumed they were. The President then expressed an opinion, the effect of which was that he did not see why that was necessary. Further discussion on the subject brought out the President's wishes, and the withdrawal of Drs. Reyburn, Barnes, and Woodward was the result. Dr. Bliss stated that there was no cause for the withdrawal or retirement of the surgeons beyond the fact that it was the desire or whim of a very sick man, and, as the President had entertained the idea that a fewer number of physicians could manage his case as well as the number heretofore engaged upon it, it was desired by Mrs. Garfield that his wishes be complied with. The doctor stated further that the best of feeling prevailed among the entire corps of surgeons, and that the retirement of Messrs. Reyburn, Barnes and Woodward would not in any manner affect the intimacy which had grown up between them since the President was shot. After the wish of the President was made known to one of the attending surgeons in Washington by Mrs. Garfield, a consultation on the subject took place, resulting in its reference to Dr. Agnew, with a view to obtaining his opinion as to the best mode of procedure. Dr. Agnew recommended that the President be requested to name the surgeons he was desirous of retaining in charge of[Pg 250] his case, which was done. Dr. Bliss, it appears, objected to assuming the entire responsibility of removing the President to Long Branch, and insisted that the entire number of surgeons should accompany the patient thither. A compromise was then effected, which was that all the surgeons should come to Long Branch with the President, but upon arrival, or as soon thereafter as possible, the three mentioned should retire.

The following day, September 8th, as the President sat in his reclining chair by the open window he heard the stroke of bells from the little church across the way.

"Crete," he said to his wife, "what are they ringing that bell for?"

"Why," said Mrs. Garfield, who had been waiting for the surprise, "the people are all going there to pray for you to get well; and I am going to pray too, James," she added, "that it may be soon, for I know already that the other prayer has been heard."

From where he lay, Garfield could see the carriages draw up and group after group go in. He could even hear the subdued refrain of "Jesus, lover of my soul," as it was borne by on its heavenward way.

Thrilled with emotion, a tear trickled down the President's face. After a while, a sweet woman's[Pg 251] voice arose, singing from one of Sir Michael Costa's noblest oratorios.

"Turn thou unto me and have mercy upon me," sang the voice, "for I am desolate; I am desolate and afflicted; the troubles of my heart are enlarged. Oh, bring thou me out of my distresses, out of my distresses, my God."

[Pg 252]


Hopeful Symptoms.—Official Bulletin.—Telegram to Minister Lowell.—Incidents at Long Branch.—Sudden Change for the Worse.—Touching Scene with his Daughter.—Another Gleam of Hope.—Death ends the Brave Heroic Struggle.—The Closing Scene.

On the evening of September 12th, the following official bulletin was published:—

Long Branch, Sept. 12—6 P. M.

The President has experienced since the issue of the morning bulletin further amelioration of symptoms. He has been able to take an ample amount of food without discomfort and has had several refreshing naps. At the noon examination the temperature was 99.2, pulse 106, respiration 20. At 5.30 P. M. the temperature was 98.6, pulse 100, respiration 18.

D. W. Bliss.
D. Hayes Agnew.

The Attorney-General telegraphed:—

To Lowell, Minister, London—10 P. M.—In the absence of Mr. Blaine, the attending physicians have requested me to inform you of the President's condition. He has during the day eaten sufficient food with relish, and has enjoyed at intervals refreshing sleep. His wound and the incisions made by the surgeons all look better; the parotid gland has ceased[Pg 253] suppuration, and may be considered as substantially well. He has exhibited more than his usual cheerfulness of spirits, his temperature and respiration are now normal, and his pulse is less frequent and firmer than at the same hour last evening. Notwithstanding these favorable symptoms, the condition of the lower part of the right lung will continue to be a source of anxiety for some days to come.


The day before the President had been raised on his air pillows, so that he lay looking out on the lawn beneath his window, and beyond that to the sea. A soldier on duty as a guard was patrolling his beat at the edge of the bluff. The soldier chanced to look toward the window of the sick chamber, and the suffering President feebly raised his hand to give the old soldier a salute. The President of the United States never received a more heartfelt salute than the old soldier gave in return for this gracious salutation, and about the camp all day the soldier, with tears in his eyes, told how the great sufferer had honored him. But the incident was of more than sentimental value, in that it showed that the President took an interest in his surroundings, and had vitality enough to tender a salute. There were hours at Elberon, when the listless eyes would have looked out upon the sea and not have recognized the soldier.

When Secretary Hunt called on the President, he informed him that there was no business in his department requiring his (the President's) attention.[Pg 254] It had been the custom of the President to refer to the secretary in various nautical terms, and after shaking the hand of the President the secretary, pointing toward the ocean, remarked, "Well, Mr. President, I see you have had to resort to my domain." "Yes," said the President, "there it is, and isn't it beautiful?"

Everything seemed to indicate certain, though it might be slow, recovery. The people read the bulletins, and went about their work with renewed hope and courage. On the 17th of September, however, Dr. Hamilton stated that "the conditions, altogether, were more hazardous than at any time since the patient had been at Long Branch." Severe rigors had been followed by increased pulse, and there was constant danger of his sinking into a comatose state.

On the morning of the 19th Dr. Agnew remarked,—

"The vitality of our patient is something more remarkable than I have ever met with in all my practice."

The President awoke from a light slumber, and said to Dr. Bliss,—

"Doctor, I feel very comfortable, but I also feel dreadfully weak. I wish you would give me the hand-glass and let me look at myself."

General Swaim said: "Oh, no, don't do that, general. See if you cannot get some sleep."

In reclining chair, at Long Branch. In reclining chair, at Long Branch.

[Pg 255]

"I want to see myself," the President replied.

Mrs. Garfield then gave him the hand-glass. He held it in a position which enabled him to see his face. Mrs. Garfield, Dr. Bliss, Dr. Agnew, General Swaim, and Dr. Boynton, stood around the bed, saying not a word, but looking at the President. He studied the reflection of his own features. At length he wearily let the glass fall upon the counterpane, and, with a sigh, said to Mrs. Garfield,—

"Crete, I do not see how it is that a man who looks as well as I do should be so dreadfully weak."

In a moment or two he asked for his daughter Mollie. They told him that she would see him later in the day. He said, however, that he wanted to see her at once.

When the child went into the room she kissed her father, and told him that she was glad to see that he was looking so much better.

He said: "You think I do look better, Mollie?"

She said: "I do papa," and then she took a chair and sat near the foot of the bed.

A moment or two after, Dr. Boynton noticed that she was swaying in the chair. He stepped up to her, but, before he could reach her, she had fallen over in a faint. They carried her out where she could get the fresh breeze from the ocean, and, after restoratives were applied, she speedily recovered.[Pg 256] The room was close, the windows were closed, and, as Miss Mollie had not been very well, all these causes, combined with anxiety, induced the fainting-fit.

The President, they thought, had not noticed what had happened to his petted child, for he seemed to have sunk into the stupor which had characterized his condition much of the time. But, when Dr. Boynton came back into the room, he was astonished to hear the President say,—

"Poor little Mollie. She fell over like a log. What was the matter?"

They assured the President that the fainting-fit was caused by the closeness of the room, and that she was quite restored. He again sank into a stupor or sleep, which lasted until the noon examination.

Hope returned during the afternoon, as there was no recurrence of the rigors, and the evening bulletin was more encouraging than the one issued at noon. There seemed to be every indication that the President would pass a comfortable night.

"Dr. Bliss," said the Attorney-General, "at 9.30, went to the cottage to make his final examination before he retired for the night. He found that the pulse, temperature, and respiration were exactly as they were when the evening bulletin was issued. There had been no change of any[Pg 257] kind. There was every promise of a quiet night. All of the doctors retired at once for the night, as did all of the attendants, except General Swaim and Colonel Rockwell. They remained, and nothing transpired until about 10.20; then the President said, 'I am suffering great pain. I fear the end is near.' The attendant sent for Dr. Bliss, who had retired to Private Secretary Brown's cottage. Dr. Bliss came very rapidly. When he entered the room he found that the President was in an unconscious state, and that the action of the heart had almost ceased. Dr. Bliss said at once that the President was dying, and directed the attendants to send for Mrs. Garfield and Drs. Agnew and Hamilton."

A Herald postscript had the following from Long Branch: "The death-bed scene of the President was a peculiarly sad and impressive one. As soon as the doctors felt that there was no hope, the members of the family assembled. The lights in the sick-room were turned down. Dr. Bliss stood at the head of the bed with his hand on the pulse of the patient, and consulted in low whispers with Dr. Agnew. The private secretary stood on the opposite side of the bed, with Mrs. Garfield. Miss Lulu Rockwell and Miss Mollie Garfield came into the room at the time the President lost consciousness. Those about the bed occasionally went into the corners of the room and spoke to[Pg 258] each other. The solemnity of the occasion fully impressed itself upon them. There was no sound heard except the gasping for breath of the sufferer, whose changing color gave indication of the near approach of the end. After he had repeated 'It hurts,' he passed into a state of unconsciousness, breathing heavily at times and then giving a slight indication that the breath of life was still in his body. The only treatment that was given was hypodermic injections of brandy by Dr. Agnew, assisted by Dr. Boynton. Occasionally they spoke with Dr. Bliss in quiet whispers. The President suffered no pain after the time he placed his hand upon his heart. He passed away almost quietly. The line between life and death was marked by no physical exhibition, nor any word. There was absolutely no scene. The intervals between gaspings became longer and presently there was no sound. Every one present knew that death had come quickly without pain. When it became evident that he was dead, Mrs. Rockwell placed her arm around Mrs. Garfield and led her quietly from the room. She uttered no word. One by one the spectators left the scene, the doctors only remaining in the room, and windows were closed. Directly afterward Private Secretary Brown telegraphed the boys, James and Harry, at Williams College, Mass., and Mrs. Eliza Garfield. Those were the first despatches sent after the death."[Pg 259]

The following and last "official bulletin" was issued at Elberon:—

September 19th, at half-past eleven, P. M.

"The President died at 10.35 P. M. After the bulletin was issued at 5.30 this evening, the President continued in much the same condition as during the afternoon, the pulse varying from 102 to 106, with rather increased force and volume. After taking nourishment he fell into a quiet sleep about thirty-five minutes before his death, and while asleep his pulse rose to 120, and was somewhat more feeble. At ten minutes after ten o'clock he awoke, complaining of severe pain over the region of the heart, and almost immediately became unconscious, and ceased to breathe at 10.35."

(Signed) D. W. Bliss.
Frank H. Hamilton.
D. Hayes Agnew.

[Pg 260]


The Midnight Bells.—Universal Sorrow.—Queen Victoria's Messages.—Extract from a London Letter.—The Whitby Fishermen.—The Yorkshire Peasant.—World-wide Demonstrations of Grief.

"There passed a sound at midnight through the land,
A solemn sound of sorrow and of fear;
A sound that fell on every wakening ear
Bearing a message all could understand."

The tolling of the bells in every city, town, and village throughout the country announced the sad tidings of the President's death. The whole world stopped to shed a sympathizing tear, and among the first expressions of condolence received by Mrs. Garfield was the following telegram from Queen Victoria:—


"Words cannot express the deep sympathy I feel with you. May God support and comfort you as He alone can.

(Signed) The Queen."

To Minister Lowell the Queen telegraphed as follows:[Pg 261]

"With deep grief I and my children learn the sad but not unexpected news of the fatal termination of the sufferings of the President. His loss is a great misfortune. I have learned with deep sorrow that the President has passed away."

Smalley, the correspondent of the New York Tribune writing from London said,—

"It was about four o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, by English time, that President Garfield died. An hour later the news was here, and some of the morning papers published it in a few late copies of their morning edition. It was known in the provinces at the same moment, and published in the same way. Before I say anything about the feeling it evoked in high places and with the general public, I should like to mention what occurred in the town where I was staying; Whitby, a fishing town and small seaport which is also a watering-place on the northeast coast of Yorkshire. At this season Whitby is the rendezvous for herring-fishers, and its little harbor is crowded with boats hailing from ports all the way from Pentland Firth to Penzance; Penzance itself sending a large contingent. The fishermen are a simple folk, leading a hard life, untaught, and as free from any concern on shore in the general affairs of the world as any body of men that could be got together. But when they heard that President Garfield was dead they one and all hoisted their[Pg 262] bits of flag at half-mast, and so kept them during the day. They held no meeting, passed no resolutions. I suppose not a man among them could have made a speech or drawn up a formal declaration of sorrow. They acted with no concert of any kind. Their way of life makes them all rivals and often enemies. Hartlepool has nothing to say to Lowestoft, Sunderland quarrels with Arbroath, and Whitby itself keeps but ill terms with any of its many guests. But somehow they agreed for this once. The boats that lay in the river above the bridge, next the railway station, were the first to hang out their signal of grief. Those in the port below soon followed. Not long after, without anybody being able to say how the news spread, the fleet at anchor outside the harbor one by one ran up their ensigns, hauled them half down, and there made them fast for the day.

"Amid the innumerable demonstrations of sorrow to be seen and heard these last two days all over England, I know of none which more truly indicates the essentially popular character of the regret which the President's death has excited.... An English friend who was shooting ten days ago over a Yorkshire moor told me that, as the scattered line of sportsmen were pushing through the heather in silence, the gamekeeper met him some yards away, turned and asked: 'Can you tell me, sir, how President Garfield is?'[Pg 263] There on that lonely hillside, three thousand miles and more distant from the sufferer, in the early morning, beneath a sun which was not yet shining upon the President, breathing an air he never breathed, this Yorkshire peasant, who had spent his life without so much as hearing the President's name till a few weeks before; who knew not the letters of which it was formed; who knew about grouse and guns and dogs and the weather, and nothing else whatever; whose interest in life never went beyond the stone hut in which he slept and ate, and the stretch of furz-clad upland which lifted itself against the western sky,—he, like the fishermen, had come to think or to feel that, somehow or other, the life or death of that far-away martyr concerned him too. It is easy to say that beneath the shooting-jacket and the jersey beats the same human heart. No doubt it does. But what was it that set it beating in unison with so many millions of others like it with sympathy for the President? Lord Palmerston said he never knew what fame was till he heard of the Tartar mothers on the steppes of Russia in Asia frightening their children into quiet with some queer travesty of his dreaded name. Yorkshire is not so remote as Russian Asia, indeed, but the friendly concern of the gamekeeper was surely a truer measure of real fame than the ignorant terror of the Muscovite mother. I know I thought when I heard it that the President who lay dying would have valued such a proof of the universality of the interest in him not less than those expressions of it—certainly not less genuine—which came from much higher quarters."

Francklyn Cottage, where the President died. Francklyn Cottage, where the President died.

[Pg 264]

Said another writer:—

"The American people cannot fail to be deeply impressed by the multitudinous expressions of sympathy which have come from foreign lands. It was to be expected that there would be the usual and formal messages from the various rulers, but it is something of quite a different sort, and something altogether beyond precedent which we are witnessing. From all the governments of Europe, and from those of the Orient as well, and from our nearer neighbors, Canada and Mexico, words of sympathy and condolence have come. But beyond all this, and more precious, are the manifestations of popular feeling in countries other than our own, and especially in Great Britain and Canada. We hear of public and private buildings draped in mourning, of mourning-flags upon English Cathedrals, of the tolling of bells in English and Canadian churches, of English and French journals with mourning borders. The Queen sends a warm, womanly message of sympathy to the widow; and the English Court puts on mourning for a week. And all these world-wide demonstrations of grief, sincere, spontaneous[Pg 265] and universal, are called out by the death of this uncrowned republican of our Western world, a man born of the people, schooled in hardship, but strong and noble in all that pertains to true manhood. Such a spectacle as this, such tributes as these from foreign potentates and peoples whose ideas and methods of government vary so widely from ours, should not pass without being heeded, and the lesson which they convey should be laid to heart. It is true, as one of the leading English journals has well expressed it, that a common sorrow unites the ocean-sundered members of the English race to-day more closely than it has ever been since 1776, and that there is scarcely an Englishman in a thousand who did not read of President Garfield's death, with a regret as real and as deep as if he had been a ruler of their own."

[Pg 266]


The Services at Elberon.—Journey to Washington.—Lying in State.—Queen Victoria's Offering.—Impressive Ceremonies in the Capitol Rotunda.

On the morning of September twenty-first, the black-cloth casket, containing all that was mortal of President Garfield, was placed in the parlor of the Francklyn Cottage, at Long Branch; and for one brief hour, a motley throng of city people and country folk were permitted to look upon the wasted form of one they had learned to regard as a personal friend.

Brief religious services were read by Rev. C. J. Young of the Dutch Reformed Church at Long Branch, and then Mrs. Garfield and her daughter, followed by the members of the Cabinet, entered the waiting train; the casket was placed in the funeral car, and slowly, sadly, amidst the solemn tolling of the bells, the heavily draped train left the Elberon station. At Princeton Junction, three hundred students with uncovered heads stood on either side the track, and scattered choice flowers[Pg 267] beside the train for more than a hundred yards. Bells were tolled in all the towns and villages through which the funeral party passed, and a reverent stillness pervaded the waiting throngs at the various stations on the way.

At four, P. M., the train reached Washington, and the casket was borne at once to the Capitol.

All night long, the remains of the martyred President remained exposed to view, and without cessation the stream of visitors passed through the rotunda. At an early hour in the morning the throng at the east front of the Capitol began to increase, and at eight o'clock fully five thousand people were patiently and quietly waiting in two lines. From that hour the crowd constantly increased, and at eleven o'clock there was a dense mass of people in front of the main steps on the east front, extending for two squares up East Capitol Street. People from the outlying country flocked to the city, while every incoming train upon the several railroads was heavily freighted with those who had come to testify their profound sorrow at the nation's bereavement.

Queen Victoria had telegraphed to the British minister to have a floral tribute prepared and presented in her name. It was placed at the bier of the President. It was very large, and was an exquisite specimen of the florist's art, composed of white roses, smilax and stephanotis. It was[Pg 268] accompanied by a mourning card bearing the following inscription:—

"Queen Victoria to the memory of the late President Garfield. An expression of her sorrow and sympathy with Mrs. Garfield and the American nation.

"Sept. 22, 1881,"

By half-past one, P. M., on Friday, the 23d, arrangements for the funeral ceremonies in the rotunda were all completed and the chairs and sofas labelled to designate for whom they were reserved. The positions of the floral offerings were changed, and now nothing remained upon the casket save a few branches of palm. At the head of the catafalque stood a broken column of white and purple flowers, surmounted by a white dove. On either side of this were tastefully arranged a crown and a pyramid of roses. At the foot, and resting against the black drapery, was the wreath which by order of the queen was the day before placed upon the casket. Arranged on each side of this offering from the queen were handsome crosses, while at their base was placed a magnificent floral pillow on which was inscribed in violets "Our Martyr President." Next to this was placed "The Gates Ajar," which also attracted much admiration. The Knights of Malta contributed a large Maltese cross, and the Union Veteran corps of which General Garfield was a member, a pillow of white flowers bearing in violet letters the inscription,[Pg 269] "U. V. C., to their comrade." The whole appearance of the catafalque was tasteful and elegant. In front of the chairs which were placed on the south side of the casket were arranged sofas for the accommodation of Mrs. Garfield and the family of the late President. Directly opposite and on the north side of the catafalque seats were reserved for the members of the cabinet and distinguished guests. The front row of chairs in the northwestern section of the rotunda were placed at the disposal of the justices of the Supreme Court, while in the rear of these several rows were selected for the accommodation of senators. The representatives occupied seats on the southeastern and southwestern sections. Behind these a row of chairs were reserved for the representatives of the press, and the remainder of the seats in that section were given to the public generally.

At exactly quarter to two o'clock the doors of the rotunda were opened. The first society to arrive was the Knights Templars, Beausant Commandery of Baltimore. They entered in full regalia, but did not remain in the hall, simply passing around the catafalque in double file. Four of their number—Sir Knights Stevens, Lawton, Butler and Jennings—bore a floral offering in the shape of an immense Maltese cross, which was reverently placed at the head of the dais. At ten minutes past two the army of the Cumberland filed in by[Pg 270] the door leading from the senate chamber, and took the seats reserved for them. Immediately after the doors were thrown open to all holders of tickets.

In ten minutes the chairs set apart for the general public were completely filled. Soon the members of the diplomatic corps arrived, and were ushered to the seats reserved for them.

Services were opened by Rev. Dr. Powers promptly at three o'clock. He ascended the dais and briefly announced the opening hymn, "Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep," which was rendered by a choir of fifty voices.

Rev. Dr. Rankin then ascended the raised platform at the head of the catafalque, and read in a clear, distinct voice the scriptural selections. Rev. Dr. Isaac Errett then offered prayer.

Immediately after the close of the services the floral decorations were all removed (Mrs. Garfield having requested that they be sent to her home at Mentor) except the beautiful wreath, the gift of Queen Victoria, which had been placed upon the head of the coffin when the lid was closed, and which remained there when the coffin was borne to the hearse, and will be upon it till the remains are buried. This touching tribute of Queen Victoria greatly moved Mrs. Garfield, as only a woman can feel a woman's sympathy at the time of her greatest earthly sorrow.[Pg 271]

The coffin having been placed in the hearse, a single gun was fired from Hanneman's battery, the Second Artillery Band struck up a funeral march, and the procession moved around the south front of the Capitol to the avenue. At least 40,000 people were gathered about the Capitol to witness the start of the procession, while along the line of march to Sixth Street the crowd was even greater than on the 4th of March. Everywhere it was most orderly and quiet; and as the hearse containing the remains moved along the avenue, from the very door of the Capitol to the entrance of the depot, all heads were uncovered.

On reaching the depot the military were drawn up in line upon the opposite side of the street, facing the Sixth Street entrance. The remains were borne from the hearse upon the shoulders of six soldiers of the Second Artillery and placed in the funeral car. The ten officers from the army and navy, selected as the guard of honor, stood with uncovered heads as the remains were taken from the hearse, and then escorted them to the car. The diplomatic corps and others who were not going upon either of the trains did not alight from their carriages. President Arthur entered the depot with Secretary Blaine, and a few minutes after entered the Secretary's carriage, and with Ex-President Grant was driven up the avenue to his temporary home at the residence of Senator[Pg 272] Jones of Nevada. To avoid the crowd about the depot, Mrs. Garfield was taken to the corner of Maine Avenue and Sixth Street, and an engine and two cars, including the one intended for her use, were run down the track, and she was taken on board the train without attracting any attention. The funeral train was the same used on the trip from Long Branch, with two additional cars.

[Pg 273]


Journey to Cleveland.—Lying in State in the Catafalque in the Park.—Immense Concourse.—Funeral Ceremonies.—Favorite Hymn.—At the Cemetery.

The sad journey to Cleveland was marked at every station by touching tributes of affection.

After lying in state Saturday and Sunday in the catafalque in the park at Cleveland, the remains of President Garfield were solemnly committed to the tomb at Lake View Cemetery with solemn and impressive rites, the occasion fittingly reflecting the great sorrow under which the nation lies.

The heat of Sunday and Monday was intense, but until the closing of the park gates in the forenoon previous to the beginning of the funeral service, the stream of people passing through the catafalque, to view the casket enclosing the remains, was continuous, and the number who so paid their last respects must have aggregated at least 150,000.

Promptly at half-past ten o'clock the ceremonies at the pavilion began. The immediate members of the family, and near relatives and friends, took seats about the casket, and at each corner was stationed a member of the Cleveland Grays. Dr. J. P. Robinson, president of the ceremonies,[Pg 274] announced that the exercises would be opened by the singing, by the Cleveland Vocal Society, of the "Funeral Hymn," by Beethoven, whereupon the hymn was sung as follows:—

"Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee,
Since God is thy ransom, thy guardian, and guide,
The Saviour has passed through its portals before thee,
And Death has no sting since the sinless hath died."

The scripture selections were then read by Right Rev. Bishop Bedell of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.

Rev. Ross C. Houghton, pastor of the First Methodist-Episcopal Church, then offered prayer. After which the Vocal Society sang as follows:—

"To thee, O Lord I yield my spirit,
Who breaks in love this mortal chain;
My life I but from thee inherit,
And death becomes my chiefest gain.
In thee I live, in thee I die,
Content, for thou art ever nigh."

Rev. Isaac Errett of Cincinnati then delivered an eloquent address, taking for his text the following: "And the archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, 'Have me away, for I am sore wounded.' His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had, and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died and was buried in one of the[Pg 275] sepulchres of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah, and Jeremiah lamented for Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentation to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel, and behold they are written in the Lamentations. Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the Lord, and his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. For behold the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread and the whole stay of water. The mighty man, and the man of war, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. The voice said 'Cry,' and he said 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord boweth upon it. Surely the people is grass; the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever."

Dr. Errett was listened to with close and earnest attention. He spoke for forty minutes, and when he closed a hush for a moment hung over the vast audience.[Pg 276]

Rev. Jabez Hall then read President Garfield's favorite hymn,—

"Ho' reapers of life's harvest
Why stand with rusted blade
Until the night draws round ye,
And day begins to fade?
Why stand ye idle waiting
For reapers more to come?
The golden morn is passing:
Why sit ye idle, dumb?
Thrust in your sharpened sickle,
And gather in the grain:
The night is fast approaching,
And soon will come again,
The master calls for reapers;
And shall he call in vain?
Shall sheaves lie there ungathered,
And waste upon the plain?
Mount up the heights of wisdom,
And crush each error low;
Keep back no words of knowledge
That human hearts should know.
Be faithful to thy mission,
In service of thy Lord,
And then a golden chaplet
Shall be thy just reward."

At 11.45, Rev. Dr. James S. Pomeroy delivered the final prayer, and pronounced the closing benediction.

A few minutes after the benediction had been pronounced, the casket was lifted reverently from[Pg 277] its resting-place, and borne on the shoulders of the United States artillery sergeants who had acted as its special bearers from Long Branch to the funeral car. The funeral procession moved from Monumental Park at 11.55. The military presented a magnificent appearance. The column was headed by that veteran volunteer association, the Boston Fusileers, who had travelled from Massachusetts in order to pay a last tribute to their deceased comrade by participating in the obsequies. They were followed by two companies of the Seventy-Fourth New York, the Buffalo Cadets and the Buffalo City Guards; next came the United States barracks band of Columbus, followed by the Governor's Guard, the Toledo Cadets, the District Infantry, the Washington Infantry of Pittsburg, the Gatling Gun and Cleveland Light Artillery; then followed all the civic and military organizations, in the order of march already arranged, excepting that the Columbia Commandery of Knights Templars of Washington marched with the guard of honor and pall-bearers in the division having charge of the funeral car.

Euclid avenue, for its six miles of length, seemed literally shrouded with mourning emblems, and an immense concourse numbering hundreds of thousands watched the slow progress of the procession.[Pg 278]

At 3.30 o'clock the procession entered the gate-way, which was arched over with black, with appropriate inscriptions. In the key-stone were the words, "Come to rest." On one side were the words, "Lay him to rest whom we have learned to love." On the other, "Lay him to rest whom we have learned to trust." A massive cross of evergreen swung from the centre of the arch. The United States Marine Band, continuing the sweet, mournful strain it had kept up during the entire march, entered first. Then came the Forest City Troop, of Cleveland, which was the escort of the President to his inauguration. Behind it came the funeral car, with its escort of twelve United States artillerymen, followed by a battalion of Knights Templars and the Cleveland Grays. The mourners' carriages and those containing the guard of honor, comprised all of the procession that entered the grounds. The cavalry halted at the vault and drew up in line facing it, with sabres presented. The car drew up in front, with the mourners' carriages and those of the cabinet behind. The band played "Nearer, my God, to Thee," as the military escort lifted the coffin from the car and carried it into the vault, the local committee of reception, Secretary Blaine, Marshal Henry, and one or two personal friends, standing at either side of the entrance.

None of the President's family except two of[Pg 279] the boys, left the carriages during the exercises, which occupied less than half an hour.

Dr. J. P. Robinson, as president of the day, opened the exercises by introducing Rev. J. H. Jones, Chaplain of the Forty-Second Ohio Regiment, which General Garfield commanded, who made a short address.

After an ode by Horace, sung in Latin by the German Singing Society, Mr. Robinson announced the late President's favorite hymn, "Ho! Reapers of Life's Harvest," which the German vocal societies of Cleveland sang with marked effect. The exercises closed with the benediction by President Hinsdale, of Hiram College.

Re-entering their carriages the mourners drove hurriedly back to the city, to avoid another shower which was threatened. The Military and Masonic escort left the cemetery in the same order in which they entered, and kept in line until the catafalque was reached, where they were dismissed.

[Pg 280]


Lakeview Cemetery.—Talk with Garfield's Mother.—First Church where he Preached.—His Religious Experience.—Garfield as a Preacher.

The lot in Lakeview Cemetery that was selected for the burial-place is on the brow of a high ridge commanding an extensive view of Lake Erie. It was the President's desire that his last resting-place might be in this beautiful spot, and his mother, speaking of it, said,—

"It is proper that he should be buried in Cleveland. It is the capital of the county in which he was born, and of the section where he grew into prominence. Mentor had been his home but a short time, although he had intended to spend the balance of his life there. Most of his years have been spent in Solon and Orange, and it seems best that his final resting-place should be near the places that he loved the best."

The brave old lady trembled with emotion while talking of her son.

"It is wonderful," she said, "how I live upon the thoughts of him. I ride a little every day to[Pg 281] get the fresh air, and look at the fields and woods he loved so well."

Mrs. Garfield was with her daughter, Mrs. Larrabee, in Solon, Ohio, when the last sad tidings came. For days she had been greatly depressed—her hopes of his recovery growing fainter with every telegram received.

"Oh! it is too dreadful! it cannot be true!" she exclaimed, when the sad news was gently broken to her. It was some time before she could control her feelings. At last she murmured through her tears: "God knew best, but it is very hard to bear!"

A few days later, when a friend called to see her, she said,—

"He was the best son a mother ever had—so good, kind, generous and brave. Did you ever see such an uprising? That ought to break the fall for me, but it doesn't seem to. I want my boy."

This little home at Solon is not far from the spot where the old log cabin stood, and the first frame house was built.

"I am glad you have been over to the old homestead," added the old lady to her visitor. "My son loved every foot of it. He and his brother built the frame house for me, near the well where the pole has been erected. It was rude carpentry, but they both took their first lessons on it,[Pg 282] and I always loved the old home. It was burned down just after we left it."

The humble Church of the Disciples, where Garfield first preached, is close by. Once, when addressing some young people, he spoke as follows of his first religious experience,—

"Make the most of the present moment! No occasion is unworthy of your best efforts. God in his providence often uses humble occasions and little things to shape the whole course of a man's life. I might say that the wearing of a certain pair of stockings led to a complete change in my own career. I had made one trip as a boy on a canal-boat, and was expecting to leave home for another trip. But I accidentally injured my foot in chopping wood. The blue dye in the yarn of my home-made socks poisoned the wound, and I was kept at home. Then a revival of religion broke out in the neighborhood. I was thus kept within its influence, and was converted. New desires and purposes then took possession of me, and I determined to seek an education that I might live more usefully for Christ. You can never know when these providential turning-points in your life are at hand; so seek to improve each passing day." With this we may connect the account of his conversion given by his friend, Rev. Isaac Errett, D. D., of Cincinnati. "The lad," he says, "attended these meetings for several[Pg 283] nights, and after listening night after night to the sermon, he went one day to the minister, and said to him: 'Sir, I have been listening to your preaching night after night, and I am fully persuaded that if these things you say are true, it is the duty and the highest interest of every man, and especially of every young man, to accept that religion and seek to be a man; but really I do not know whether this thing is true or not. If I were sure it were true, I would most gladly give it my heart and my life.' So, after a long talk, the minister preached that night on the text, 'What is truth?' and proceeded to show that, notwithstanding all the various and conflicting theories and opinions of men, there was one assured and eternal alliance for every human soul in Christ Jesus as the Way and the Truth and the Life; that every soul would be safe with him; that he never would mislead; and that any young man giving him his hand and heart would not go astray. After due reflection, young Garfield seized upon this. He came forward and gave his hand to the minister in pledge of the acceptance of the guidance of Christ for his life, and turned his back upon the sins of the world forever."

"He was never formally ordained," says one of his old pupils at Hiram Institute, "hence some have inferred that his preaching was confined to occasional and unofficial discourses. But while he was[Pg 284] a student in Williams College he supplied in vacations and at other times the pulpit of the Disciples' church at Poestenkill, a few miles from Williamstown. For this he received some compensation which assisted him in his course. He had the ministry in view. Becoming Principal at Hiram, he also accepted the position of regular pastor of the church of Disciples in that town. This office he filled during a large part of his Principalship, bearing its responsibilities and receiving what compensation attached to it. It was a large village church, and the only one in the place, except a small Methodist church. He was called from year to year." The people loved him as their pastor, and the house was crowded to hear him preach. He officiated at their funerals, and administered the ordinances of baptism (which was always immersion) and the Lord's Supper. The fact that he had not been ordained in due form was not objectionable to the Disciples, and a matter of greater indifference even among them at that time than it would be perhaps to-day. Doubtless his appointment as Principal of their Institute was regarded as equivalent to a sanction of his full ministry. He preached Sunday morning and afternoon, and administered the communion every Sunday. In the evening there was a prayer-meeting. The students were required to be present at church at least twice in the day. He always preached without[Pg 285] notes, with great simplicity and practicalness, interesting persons of mature years, and at the same time taking special pains to reach the young. There was a bright little boy with whom he was accustomed to talk after preaching, to make sure that he had been understood. In prayer he impressed his congregation as a man who was really speaking with God. On Saturday afternoons he visited socially among the people.

In 1857 his preaching was accompanied by a revival of religion. Meetings were held nearly every night, and fifty-two united at one time with the church. These Mr. Garfield baptized in the open air. Many of the converts were students, and when he gave them the hand of fellowship at the communion table he presented each one of them with a copy of the Word of God. This was not the only time he led candidates into baptismal waters. There were frequent occasions of this kind. One is remembered which took place in the evening in the fall of the year, when the moonlight was bright enough for the singers to read the music and the hymns. He entered into the spirit of such scenes with great devotion and zeal.

Garfield always held to that side which emphasized man's need of the Holy Spirit, and the necessity of believing in Christ from the heart. This he always enforced in his preaching, and as urgently declared that this faith must be followed[Pg 286] by obedience. His public prayers were often addressed to Christ. Our informant feels sure that he was far from being a Unitarian. He was not pleased with the way in which Garfield, in accordance with the usages of the Disciples, received candidates for baptism, and one day said to him: "It seems to me that your practice, Mr. Garfield, is hardly consistent with your doctrine in this matter. You preach excellent sermons to the impenitent, and point out the way of salvation in language which I can endorse; but when persons come forward for baptism, you have no examination by the church to see if their conversion is sound." The answer was: "I show them clearly that they must believe from the heart. If they say they do, I leave the responsibility with them."

[Pg 287]


The Sunday Preceding the Burial.—The Crowded Churches.—The one Theme that Absorbed all Hearts.—Across the Water.—At Alexandra Palace.—At St. Paul's Cathedral.—At Westminster Abbey.—Paris.—Berlin.—Extract from London Times.

On the Sunday that the remains of the martyred President were lying in state at Cleveland, the churches throughout the country were crowded with congregations in sober and reverent mood. One thought engrossed all minds, and one topic alone occupied the preacher's desk.

"It was most touching," said one writer, "to see with what sympathy and sadness every appreciative tribute to the dead President was received; to perceive by a thousand little indications how profoundly this great event absorbing all thoughts had stirred the hearts of the people; to detect the unbidden tears stealing down the cheeks of so many women, aye, and of men too. The ministers felt the inspiration of the occasion, and were uplifted by it to greater than ordinary eloquence, to more tender and more hearty words."

Not only in America but throughout Europe the[Pg 288] mourning crowds were gathered to offer their tributes of respect. At the Alexandra Palace, in London, a memorial service was held, at which forty thousand persons were present, many of them in deep mourning.

St. Paul's Cathedral was crowded to overflowing at the announcement that the services would relate to the death of President Garfield. When the "Dead March in Saul" was played the whole congregation, numbering many thousands, arose and remained standing, all showing grief and many weeping. Canon Stubbs preached, and specially referred to the cruel manner of President Garfield's death. He extolled his life and virtues, and expressed sympathy for the sorrowing American nation.

The following sonnet was written in the Cathedral just after the funeral anthem for President Garfield had been sung,—

September 25.

Through tears to look upon a tearful crowd,
And hear the anthem echoing
High in the dome till angels seem to fling
The chant of England up through vault and cloud,
Making ethereal register aloud
At heaven's own gate. It was a sorrowing
To make a good man's death seem such a thing
As makes imperial purple of his shroud.
Some creeds there be like runes we cannot spell,
And some like stars that flicker in their flame,
[Pg 289] But some so clear the sun scarce shines so well;
For when with Moses' touch a dead man's name
Finds tears within strange rocks as this name can,
We know right well that God was with the man.

At both the morning and evening services in Westminster Abbey reference was made to President Garfield's death. At the afternoon service Canon Duckworth said the American people were richer in all that could dignify national life by President Garfield's death. Had the shattered frame revived, it would be hard to believe that he could have impressed his greatness more effectually. At St. Margaret's, Westminster, the Rev. Mr. Roberts described the assassination as a crime against the whole English humanity. At all the principal churches of all denominations Garfield's death formed the subject of sympathetic allusion.

In Paris, Père Hyacinthe held a memorial service, and at Berlin, one of the Emperor's chaplains spoke at length upon the martyred President.

The London Times, summing up the events of the week, said: "Such a spectacle has never before been presented as the mourning with which the whole civilized world is honoring the late President Garfield. Emperors and kings, Senates and ministers, are, in spirit, his pall-bearers, but their peoples, from the highest to the lowest, claim to be equally visible and audible as sorrowing assistants."

[Pg 290]


National Day of Mourning.—Draping of Public Buildings and Private Residences.—Touching Incident.—Tributes to Garfield.—Senator Hoar's Address.—Whittier's Letter.—Senator Dawes' Remarks.

Monday, September 26th, the day when the funeral rites were celebrated at Cleveland, was appointed by President Arthur as a national day of mourning. The public buildings throughout the country and many private residences were draped with mourning, while beautiful and appropriate emblems of the nation's sorrow were seen in almost every window. A touching incident is told of a poor colored washerwoman at Long Branch who tore up her one Sunday gown, a cheap black gingham, and hung it about her door. When remonstrated with, she said, quietly,—

"He was my President, too." It would take volumes to give any adequate collection of the many beautiful tributes to Garfield delivered in the pulpit, from the forum, and through the public press, but from them we select a few.

At Mechanic's Hall in Worcester, Senator George F. Hoar spoke as follows: "I suppose at[Pg 291] this single hour there is deeper grief over the civilized world than at any other single hour in its history. Heroes, and statesmen, and monarchs, and orators, and warriors, and great benefactors of the race, have died and been buried. There have been men like William the Silent and his kinsmen of England, and men like Lincoln, whose death generations unborn will lament with a sense as of personal bereavement. But in the past the knowledge of great events and great characters made its way slowly to the minds of men. The press and the telegraph have this summer assembled all Christendom morning and evening at the door of one sick-chamber. The gentle and wise Lincoln had to overcome the hatred and bitterness of a great civil war. It was the fortune of President Garfield, as it was never the fortune of any other man, that his whole life has been unrolled as a scroll to be read of all men. The recent election had made us familiar with that story of the childhood in the log cabin, of the boyhood on the canal boat, of the precious school time, of the college days at the feet of our saintly Hopkins, of the school-teacher, of the marriage to the bright and beautiful schoolmate, of the Christian preacher, of the soldier saving the army at Chickamauga, of the statesman leading in great debates in Congress, and of the orator persuading the conscience and judgment of Ohio, and, through her, saving the[Pg 292] nation's honor and credit in the great strife for public honesty, of the judge determining the great issue of the title to the presidency, of the loved and trusted popular leader, to whom was offered the choice of three great offices, Representative, Senator, and President at once. We know it all by heart, as we know the achievements of the brief and brilliant administration of the presidential office and the heroic patience and cheer of that long dying struggle, when every sigh of agony was uttered in a telephone at which all mankind were listening. No wonder the heart burst at last. While it was throbbing and pulsing with fever and pain, it furnished the courage which held up for seventy-nine days the sinking hopes of a world. This man touched the common life of humanity, touched its lowliness, touched its greatness, at so many points. His roots were in New England puritanism, were in the yeomanry of Worcester and Middlesex. He grew up to manhood in Ohio. The South had learned to know him. Her soldiers had met him in battle. When he died she was making ready to clasp the hand he was holding out to her returning loyalty. The child in the log cabin knows all about the childhood so like his own. Scholarship mourns the scholar who was struck down when he was hastening to lay his untarnished laurel at the feet of his college. Every mother's heart in America stirred[Pg 293] within her when the first act of the new President was to pay homage to his own mother. The soldiers and sailors of England, the veterans of Trafalgar and Waterloo, join his own comrades in mourning for a hero whom they deemed worthy to be ranked with the heroes who held out the livelong day with Wellington, or who obeyed Nelson's immortal signal. The laborer misses a brother who has known all the bitterness of poverty and the sweetness of bread earned by the sweat of his brow. The Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and sovereign of Cyprus and Malta and Gibraltar and Canada and Jamaica, knew her peer when she laid her wreath, last Friday, on the coffin of a king. The last we heard of him in health he was playing like a boy with his boy. As our friend said in the pulpit yesterday, the saints of mankind, when they saw him, knew the birthmark of their race, and bowed their heads. The American people have anointed him as the representative of their sovereignty. Washington and Lincoln came forward to greet him and welcome him to a seat beside their own. I say there is deeper grief at this hour over the civilized world than at any other single hour in history. It seems to me that the death of President Garfield is the greatest single calamity this country ever suffered. I have no doubt there were hundreds and hundreds of thousands of men who would gladly have bought[Pg 294] his life with their own, but we shall dishonor our dead here if, even while his grave is open, we allow ourselves to utter a cry of despair. It is true of nations, even more than of man, that "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Our republic was planted in sorrow. One-half of the pilgrims died at Plymouth the first winter, and yet not one of the original colony went back to England. Is there any man now who would they had not died, or wishes they had found summer and plenty and ease on the coast of Massachusetts? Could we celebrate Yorktown with the same lofty triumph without the memories of Valley Forge and the death of Hale and Warren? I think even the widow who goes mourning all her days will hardly wish now that our regiments had come home from the war with full ranks. God has taken from us our beloved, but think what has been brought into this precious life. Fifty millions of people, of many races, of many climes, the workman, the farmer, the slave just made free, met together to choose the man whom they could call to the presidency among mankind. God took him in his first hour of triumph and stretched him for seventy-nine days upon a rack. He turned in upon that sick-chamber a Drummond light that all mankind might look in upon that cruel assay, and see what manner of men and what manner of women Freedom calls to[Pg 295] her high places. He revealed to them courage, constancy, cheerfulness, woman's love, faith in God, submission to his will. Into what years of Europe, into what cycles of Cathay were ever crowded so much of hope and cheer for humanity as into the tragedy of Elberon? Your prayers were not answered; the bitter cup has not passed from you, but, so long as human hearts endure, humanity will be strengthened and comforted, because you have drunk it."

The following letter, from John G. Whittier, was read at the funeral services of President Garfield, held in Amesbury:—

Danvers, Mass., 9th Mo., 24, 1881.
W. H. B. Currier.

My Dear Friend,—I regret that it is not in my power to join the citizens of Amesbury and Salisbury in the memorial services on the occasion of the death of our lamented President. But in heart and sympathy, I am with you. I share the great sorrow which overshadows the land; I fully appreciate the irretrievable loss. But it seems to me that the occasion is one for thankfulness as well as grief. Through all the stages of the solemn tragedy which has just closed with the death of our noblest and best, I have felt that the Divine Providence was overruling the mighty affliction—that the patient sufferer at Washington was drawing with cords of sympathy all sections and parties nearer to each other. And now, when South and North, Democrat and Republican, Radical and Conservative, lift their voices in one unbroken accord of lamentation; when I see how, in spite of the greed of gain, the lust of office, the[Pg 296] strifes and meanness of party politics, the great heart of the nation proves sound and loyal, I feel a new hope for the republic. I have a firmer faith in its stability. It is said that no man liveth and no man dieth to himself; and the pure and noble life of Garfield, and his slow, long martyrdom so bravely borne in the view of all are, I believe, bearing for us, as a people, "the peaceable fruits of righteousness." We are stronger, wiser, better for them.

With him it is well. His mission fulfilled, he goes to his grave by the lakeside, honored and lamented as man never was before. The whole world mourns him. There is no speech nor language where the voice of his praise is not heard. About his grave gathers, with heads uncovered, the vast brotherhood of man.

And with us it is well also. We are nearer a united people than ever before. We are at peace with all; our future is full of promise; our industrial and financial condition is hopeful. God grant that, while our material interests prosper, the moral and spiritual influence of this occasion may be permanently felt; that the solemn sacrament of sorrow whereof we have been partakers may be blest to the promotion of the "righteousness which exalts a nation." Thy friend,

John G. Whittier.

Said Senator Dawes:—

"Garfield was indeed a great man. This will be the judgment of those who knew him personally and of history. This tragedy prevents the corroboration of that judgment by results; for he had but just entered upon the work for which his preparation and development had fitted him and has finished nothing but a life of great promise and expectation. His growth has been a wonderful[Pg 297] study to those who were by his side during its progress. It was constant to the last moment. The last year had turned it into an altogether new and untried channel. It had been begun and carried on until that time in quite a different direction. He had never had executive experience, and a modesty and distrust, rare in minds conscious of great power, led him to hesitate and shrink from what was before him. His first remark to a long-tried friend on taking his hand after the Chicago convention was this: 'I fear I am no man for this place; I have felt that I could reasonably count on six years more of labor and study and growth in the new and larger opportunity already secured to me in my accustomed field, but this is an untried sphere to me, and I dread the experiment.' The short time he has been permitted, however, to labor in this new field has yet been long enough to bring out great qualities and high purposes that the nation can ill spare. He was conscious of great powers carefully trained, but he lacked confidence to take hold of new things. His mind did not work quickly, though it did surely. Always feeling the ground under every step he took, he never ventured his foot where he could not, by some process of reasoning, however slow, satisfy himself that he knew what was under him. Hence the man who was a great leader in battle, and of unflinching personal[Pg 298] courage, and better fitted than any contemporary to demonstrate and defend a political principle, had not yet come to be a safe political leader in a sudden emergency, where there is no time for logic or processes of reasoning, but action must follow instinct and first impression. At such times he distrusted himself and left to others, with not a tithe of his real power, the guidance of political movements. As free from political as from personal guile, he was too confiding and open-hearted to be safe in the hands of men less scrupulous and less selfish.

"Those who saw him enter public life, and were with him to the end, have in mind a wonderful growth, and have in admiration, also, a wonderful character, personal, mental and moral, ever charming, sure to be instructive and always exemplary. In private intercourse with those he loved he was as simple and trusting as a child, as tender and affectionate as a woman, and as true and valiant as a knight. One of the most touching scenes, illustrative of what manner of man he was, will never be forgotten. The great cares of state had well-nigh worn him out; the wife of his love lay lingering between life and death, and he had been going from official labor and responsibility to her bedside night after night, and, for the last two, had scarcely closed his eyes. The report had gone out that Mrs.[Pg 299] Garfield was dying; a near friend called to inquire. Coming out of the sick-room, and grasping his hand, the President begged him to sit down, and there this greatest of all public men unbosomed himself like a broken-hearted woman. Dwelling with surprising tenderness upon the love and beauty of his married life, and the noble character of her who had made it what it was, he exclaimed, with great emotion, 'I have had in this trial glimpses of a better and higher life beyond, which have made this life I am leading here seem utterly barren and worthless. Whatever may come of this peril, I fear that I shall never again have ambition or heart to go through with that to which I have been called.' To human view he has not been permitted to finish the work for which he was fitted and to which he aspired, but he has left valuable material for the study and instruction of public men, covering a greater range of topics, a more thorough investigation, and sounder conclusions than have been left by any one so constantly active in the daily and current demands of public life. Let us thank God for such a life, of such infinite value to the republic. Its example, its teachings, its ambitions, its lofty aspirations and high resolves, and its demonstrations of what man can make of himself, have no parallel in history, and will have no measure in their beneficent effect upon those who shall hereafter[Pg 300] honestly study them. He dies loved, admired and mourned before all others, but not yet fully appreciated. His loss is irreparable, his lesson invaluable."

[Pg 301]


Subscription Fund for the President's Family.—Ready Generosity of the People.—Touching Incident.—Total Amount of the Fund.—How the Money was Invested.—Project for Memorial Hospital in Washington.—Cyrus W. Field's Gift of Memorial Window to Williams College.—Garfield's Affection for his Alma Mater.—Reception given Mark Hopkins and the Williams Graduates.—Garfield's Address to his Classmates.

Soon after the President's assassination, the New York Chamber of Commerce, headed by Cyrus W. Field and other leading capitalists, started a subscription for Mrs. Garfield and her children. To this fund all classes of the people contributed with a readiness and generosity that gave touching evidence of the sincerity of their love and sympathy. Little children sent their hoarded pennies, many a poor working woman denied herself some needed comfort that she might add her mite, and one old man, in tattered clothes, came into the office of Drexel & Co., where subscriptions were received, and putting a bottle of ink on the table, said,—

"It's all I have, but I must do something."

As soon as the story was told, the ink was taken[Pg 302] and sold again and again that day, until it brought in fifty dollars.

When Mrs. Garfield was first apprised of this subscription fund, she said,—

"I wish it were possible for me to go around and see all these dear people!"

After the President's death it was stated that the fund would close on the fifteenth day of October. The total amount received was $360,345.74, and this was at once given over to the United States Trust Company, of New York, for investment. The Company paid the amount of $348,968.75 for the purchase of $300,000 four per cent. registered bonds, and the balance of cash, $11,376.09, was placed in charge of this same Trust Company.

Among the numerous tributes to the memory of Garfield is a project for a national memorial hospital in Washington on the spot where the President was assassinated, and an organization has been formed to carry it into effect. The object has the sympathy and endorsement of President Arthur, General Sherman, members of the Cabinet, and other distinguished and influential persons. The land on which the depot stands belongs to Government, it is said, and is held on sufferance by the railroad company.

Cyrus W. Field is to place a memorial window in the chapel of Williams College.[Pg 303]

"Nothing," says one writer, "has more illustrated the strong and tender affection which Garfield retained for the master at whose feet he learned the law of love, than the natural way in which he turned to Dr. Hopkins after his career had reached its flower. The first reception in the White House was given to Mark Hopkins and the Williams graduates. It was the President's own planning. The alumni in Washington, resident and visitors, including a large number of the class of '56, were notified of the President's wishes, and went to the White House marshalled by the venerable doctor. They were drawn up in the form of a horseshoe, and Dr. Hopkins addressed the Chief Magistrate. The speaker was profoundly moved, and exhorted his pupil to maintain the high ideals which had marked his past. President Garfield, with wet eyes, replied in one of those moving and inspired speeches which he sometimes uttered. He voiced the deepest love and reverence for his old teacher, and ascribed the good impulse of his career to lessons learned among the hills of Berkshire. The forty or more alumni present were affected to tears."

Garfield was greatly attached to his Alma Mater; on the night previous to his inauguration he met his college classmates, and, in an address to them, spoke as follows:[Pg 304]

"Classmates,—To me there is something exceedingly pathetic in this reunion. In every eye before me I see the light of friendship and love, and I am sure it is reflected back to each one of you from my inmost heart. For twenty-two years, with the exception of the last few days, I have been in the public service. To-night I am a private citizen. To-morrow I shall be called to assume new responsibilities, and on the day after the broadside of the world's wrath will strike. It will strike hard. I know it and you will know it. Whatever may happen to me in the future, I shall feel that I can always fall back upon the shoulders and hearts of the class of '56 for their approval of that which is right and for their charitable judgment wherein I may come short in the discharge of my public duties. You may write down in your books now the largest percentage of blunders which you think I will be likely to make, and you will be sure to find in the end that I have made more than you have calculated—many more.

"This honor comes to me unsought. I have never had the presidential fever, not even for a day; nor have I it to-night. I have no feeling of elation in view of the position I am called upon to fill. I would thank God were I to-day a free lance in the House or the Senate; but it is not to be, and I will go forward to meet the responsibilities and discharge the duties that are before me[Pg 305] with all the firmness and ability I can command. I hope you will be able conscientiously to approve my conduct, and when I return to private life I wish you to give me another class-meeting."

[Pg 306]


Removal of the President's Remains.—Monument Fund Committee.—Garfield Memorial in Boston.—Extracts from Address by Hon. N. P. Banks.

On the 22d of October, Garfield's remains were removed from the public vault in Lakeview Cemetery to a private vault on the grounds, there to remain until the completion of the crypt, where they will permanently repose.

A Garfield Monument Fund Committee was organized at Cleveland immediately after the funeral, and contributions have been received by it from all sections of the country.

Upon Thursday, the 20th day of October, Memorial services were held in Boston at Tremont Temple. From the address delivered by Hon. N. P. Banks we give the following extracts:—

"The history of the Plymouth colony of 1620, which preceded the embarkation of the Massachusetts colony, was blistered with the results of a bitter and apparently relentless destiny, against which it would have been scarcely possible for any people but the Massachusetts Puritans and[Pg 307] Pilgrims to have secured a triumph like that which the Deity they worshipped vouchsafed to them.

"Its founders were fugitives from England and exiles from Holland. They gladly accepted the chances of suffering and death in the New World, to gain liberty of conscience and freedom to worship God. For the first ten years of its existence population increased slowly, and numbered but three hundred souls in 1630.

"The Massachusetts colony, with which Plymouth was united, left the Old World under happier auspices. It started with concessions and congratulations from the Crown. The best men in England were ambitious to share its fortunes. Winthrop, Saltonstall and Sir Harry Vane—'the sad and starry Vane'—were among its leaders; and such men as John Hampden, Pym, Oliver Cromwell, and many others of that heroic type, were restrained from emigration at the moment of embarkation by the order of the king. Four thousand families—twenty thousand souls—people of culture, capacity and character, no decayed courtiers or adventurers, but merchants, seamen, husbandmen and others devoted to the highest interests of man, had landed in Boston in ten years from the foundation of the city.

"Among them came, in 1630, Edward Garfield, the paternal ancestor of the late President of the[Pg 308] United States. He was a man of gentle blood, of military instincts and training, possessing some property, and a thoughtful and vigorous habit of mind and body. The earliest record of his name in the annals of the colony indicated an origin from some one of the great German families of Europe, and his alliance by marriage with a lady of that blood and birth confirmed the original impression of the people with whom he identified his fortunes. His emigration suggested a purpose consistent with his capacity and character, and with the higher aspirations of the colony. He coveted possession of land, and for that reason probably, among others, settled in Watertown, where territory was abundant, and boundary lines yet delicate and dim, especially toward the west, where they were mainly defined by the receding and vanishing forms of the aboriginal inhabitants of the country. In the realm they had abandoned it was a maxim among men that home was where the heart was. But in the New World the colonists had discovered that both home and heart were where there were liberty and land.

"He chose a residence near Charles River, a stream unsurpassed in beauty by any water that flows, since honored by the residence and immortalized by the verse of Longfellow, and the original and marvellous industries that enrich its peaceful and prosperous people.[Pg 309]

"Edward Garfield, the founder of this new American family, did not long linger near the boundaries of Boston. His first share in the distribution of land to the freemen, by the town, was a small lot or homestall of six acres, on the line of territory afterwards incorporated as the town of Waltham. Another general grant of land by the town, in 1636, 'to the freemen and all the townsmen then inhabiting,' one hundred and twenty in number, called the Great Dividends, gave to Garfield a tract of thirty acres, the whole of which was within the territory set off to Waltham. In 1650 the land allotted to Mr. Phillips, the first minister of Watertown (about forty acres, in the same locality), was sold by his heirs to Garfield and his sons. A portion of this estate was purchased from the heirs of Garfield by Governor Gore, who constructed upon it, from imported plans and materials, on his return from England, a country seat, still admired as one of the most elegant and stately residences in America. The first distinctive title ever given to the territory now embraced within the limits of Waltham was that of 'The Precinct of Captain Garfield's Company.' It is said that, after the incorporation of that town, this name rarely appears on the records of Watertown.

"While citizens of Watertown, Garfield and his descendants were assigned to responsible military[Pg 310] commands by the governors of the colony, and frequently chosen for the board of selectmen and other town offices. Captain Benjamin Garfield held a captain's commission from the governor, was nine times elected representative of the town, and appointed to many other offices. Others were honored in a similar manner in Watertown, in Waltham, and wherever they planted themselves.

"They did not hive in the settled and safe centres of the colony, but struck out boldly for the frontier, where danger was to be encountered and duty performed. They adhered zealously to the principles of the colony, and the controversies that arose from considerations of that nature, at the very outset of its history, settled upon an unchangeable basis the character of its government.

"An important and instructive illustration of this free spirit of the people occurred in the second year of its settlement. Without previous consultation of the several towns, the governor and assistants levied, in 1632, an assessment of eight pounds sterling upon them for construction of military defences in what is now Cambridge. This order was declared to be subversive of their rights, and the people of Watertown, the most populous and influential inland town, met in church, with their pastor and elders, according to their custom, and after much debate deliberately[Pg 311] refused to pay the money, on the ground, they said, 'that it was not safe to pay monies after that sort, for fear of bringing themselves and their posterity into bondage.'

"When summoned before the governor they were obliged to retract the declaration and submit; but they set on foot such an agitation through the colony as to secure, within three months of their original debate, an order for the appointment of two persons from each town to advise with the governor and assistants as to the best method of raising public moneys. This order ripened, in 1634, into the creation of a representative body of deputies elected by the people, having full power to act for all freemen, except in elections. This was the origin of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts. After ten years' contest the body of assistants to the governor was separated from the body of deputies, and, sitting as a Senate, left to the deputies chosen by the towns an absolute negative upon the legislation of the colony. Thus was established, substantially as it now exists, the Legislature of Massachusetts.

"As the people began to be represented in the government of the colony, so the direction of civil affairs in the towns came to be entrusted to a municipal body of freemen, peculiar to New England, chosen for that purpose, and known as the board of selectmen. It is a pleasure to know[Pg 312] that, during the violent contest for this right of representation in State and local governments, Edward Garfield, the earliest American ancestor of the martyr President whose loss we mourn, as a selectman of Watertown, in the very crisis of that contest, did a freeman's duty with a freeman's will, in securing to the people of Massachusetts the right of representation they now enjoy.

"The Massachusetts family of Garfields, in the male line at least, were churchmen, freemen, fighting men, thoughtful and thrifty men, and working men. They were enterprising, active, and brave, fond of adventure, distinguished for endurance and strength, athletic feats, sallies of wit, cheerful dispositions, and, like their eminent successor so recently passed away, noted always for a manly spirit and a commanding person and presence. It was a prolific and long-lived race. Marriages were at a premium, and families were large and numerous. Among the people of the Massachusetts colony who made their way quickly to the frontier when new towns were to be planted, the Garfields were well represented. The foundation of a new municipality was then a solemn affair, usually preceded by 'a day of humiliation, and a sermon by Mr. Cotton.' When the territory of Massachusetts was overstocked, they passed to other States in New England, and ultimately to the great West. Wherever they[Pg 313] were they asserted and defended the principles they inherited from the founders of Massachusetts.

"Abram Garfield, of the fifth generation, a minute-man from Lincoln, engaged in the fight with the British at Concord, and was one of the signers of a certificate, with some of the principal citizens of that town, declaring that the British began that fight. We should not feel so much solicitude about that matter now.

"Abram Garfield, a nephew of the soldier at Concord, whose name he bore, and who represented the seventh generation of the family, settled later in Otsego County, N. Y., where he received the first fruits of toil as a laborer on the Erie Canal. The construction of canals by the Government of Ohio drew him, with other relatives, to that State, where his previous experience gained for him a contract on the Ohio Canal. The young men and women who left the earlier settlements for the frontier States sometimes consecrated the friendships of their youth by a contract of marriage when they met again in the great West. Abram Garfield in this way met and married (Feb. 3, 1821) Eliza Ballou, a New Hampshire maiden, whom he had known in earlier years. It was a long wait, but a solid union. They were nearly twenty years of age when married. A log cabin, with one room, was their home. His vocation[Pg 314] was that of an excavator of canals in the depths of the primeval forests of Ohio. There was not much of hope or joy in the life before them; but still it was all there was for them of hope or joy. They could not expect the crown of life until they had paid its forfeit. They adhered to the religious customs of childhood. Their labor prospered. Amid their suffering and toil in the construction of the arteries of civilization and the foundation of States and empires that will hereafter rule the world, four children came to bless them. The last of the four was James Abram Garfield (Nov. 19, 1831), destined, in the providence of God, to be and to die President of the Republic.

"Garfield had pre-eminent skill in directing and applying the labor and attainments of others to the success of his own work. This is a somewhat rare, but a most invaluable capacity. No one man can do everything. In labor, as in war, to divide is to conquer. There have been men who knew everything, and could do everything,—whose incomparable capacities would have been sufficient, under wise direction, to have given the highest rank among the few men that have changed the destiny of the world; but who could not succeed in government, because they never saw men until they ran against them.

"Such admirable qualities, united to such strength[Pg 315] and love for active service, gave him reputation and rank, and opened the way to the campaigns in Kentucky against Marshall, at Prestonburg and Middle Creek,—the last a cause of other victories elsewhere,—and at Tullahoma and Chickamauga.

"His knowledge of law opened a new field of activity and service, of great benefit to him and to the Government. But little attention had been given by professors of legal science, at the opening of the war, to the study of military law. In the field where it was to be administered, great difficulties were encountered in determining what the law was and who was to execute it. A distinguished jurist, Dr. Francis Lieber, was appointed by the Government to codify and digest the principles and precedents of this abstruse department of the science of law. But it opened to Garfield, long before the digest was completed, a peculiar field for tireless research and labor in new fields of inquiry. Once installed as an officer of courts-martial, his services were found to be indispensable. From the West he was called to Washington, was in confidential communication with President Lincoln in regard to the military situation in the West, was a member of the most important military tribunals, became a favorite and protégé of the Secretary of War, and, upon the express wish of the President and Secretary, accepted[Pg 316] his seat in the House of Representatives, to which he had been chosen in 1862.

"His career in Congress is the important record of his life. For that he was best fitted; with it he was best satisfied; in it he continued longest, and from it rose to the great destiny which has given him a deathless name and page in the annals of the world.

"The House of Representatives in the age of Clay, Calhoun and Webster was an institution quite unlike that of our own time. Its numbers then were small; its leading men comparatively few; but few subjects were debated, and members of the House rarely or never introduced bills for legislative action. Its work was prepared by committees, upon official information, and gentlemen prepared to speak upon its business could always find an opportunity. Now its numbers have been doubled. More than ten thousand bills for legislative consideration are introduced in every Congress. The increase of appropriations, patronage and legislation is enormous, and the pressure for action often disorderly and violent. Little courtesy is wasted on such occasions, when one or two hundred members are shouting for the floor, and when one is named by the Speaker it must be a strong man, ready, able, eloquent, to gain or hold the ear of the House. Garfield never failed in this. His look drew audience and attention.[Pg 317] He was never unprepared, never tedious; always began with his subject, and took his seat when he had finished. He had few controversies, and was never called 'to order' for any cause. He was a debater rather than an orator; always courteous, intelligent, intelligible, and honorable. The House listened to him with rapt attention, and he spoke with decisive effect upon its judgment. He liked it to be understood that he was abreast of the best thought of the time, had a great regard for the authority of scientific leaders, and walked with reverential respect in the tracks of the best thinkers of the age. It is a pleasant thing, this method of settling all problems by demonstration of exact science. Hudibras must have been in error when he spoke so lightly of these scholastic methods, saying, or rather singing,—

'That all a rhetorician's rules
Teach him but to name his tools.'

"The people watched with great interest his long and terrible struggle for life, and their hearts trembled with alternations of hope and fear, as they studied with close attention the morning and the evening bulletins giving the ebb and flow of life's dark tide with the precision of exact science; but they read with infinite relief, if not always with satisfaction, the telegrams of the Secretary of State to the American minister at London, stating,[Pg 318] in the language of common life, the changes that had occurred in the condition of the President from day to day.

"As chairman or prominent member of the principal business committees of the House, Garfield had always access to the floor, and an eager assembly as his audience. His topics were generally of a national character, connected with the organization and maintenance of the government; but there is scarcely any subject brought before Congress to which he has not, at some time, given a thorough and able exposition of his views. The best known and most influential of his speeches have been in relation to the war, financial affairs, the currency, and the tariff. These all involved national interests, and exhibit on his part a profound study of every subject necessary to their support. He was from the first, and constantly, a hard-money man, a leader in discussion, and a supporter by his votes of every proposition necessary to maintain a sound currency. On the subject of the tariff, while he did not deny that, as an abstract question, the doctrine of free trade presented an aspect of truth, yet he always declared that under a government like ours protection of national industries was indispensable. He advocated duties high enough to enable the home manufacturer to make a wholesome competition with foreigners, but not so high as to subject[Pg 319] consumers to a monopoly of product or supply. A moderate and permanent protection was the doctrine he always ably sustained. It would be instructive to recall the expression of his views embodied in his speeches upon these subjects, which he photographed upon the minds of those to whom they were addressed, but it is inappropriate on the present occasion. Few men in the history of the House of Representatives have acquired a higher reputation, and none will be more kindly and permanently remembered.

"There was much force in a declaration made by the Pastor of the Disciples' Church, at the funeral of President Garfield, in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington. The gigantic proportions of this apartment excite a strange sensation in every visitor. One familiar with the scene, recalls at his entrance an ancient tradition, often repeated before the war, that this majestic central apartment of the Capitol would, some day, witness the coronation of a king. Apart from the unusual solemnity of this occasion, the scene was of an extraordinary character. The light that fell from the dome above gave a solemn aspect to the apartment. Distinguished personages moved silently and slowly to the positions assigned them. Two ex-Presidents, immediate predecessors of the deceased, the only occupants of the presidential[Pg 320] office that have attended at such a time, sat in front of the eastern entrance of the rotunda. The diplomatic corps, in full court costume, were placed in rear of the ex-Presidents. Senators, judicial officers in their robes, officers of the army and navy, in brilliant uniforms, were on the right. Members and ex-members of the House, in large numbers, attended by the Speaker, were massed upon the left, and the space around them was crowded by citizens from every part of the country. The vast assembly rose as the President, with the Cabinet officers and the stricken family of mourners, passed to their seats near the casket of the deceased Chief Magistrate,—which lay upon the same bier that bore the body of President Lincoln, just beneath the centre of the canopy that from the dome overhangs the rotunda,—guarded by veterans of the Army of the Cumberland. The walls were hung with representations of important events in American history;—the Landing of Columbus, De Soto's Discovery of the Mississippi, the Baptism of Pocahontas, the Embarkation of the Pilgrims, the Declaration of Independence, the Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, and the Resignation of Washington. On the belt of the rotunda above were seen Cortez entering the Temple of the Sun in Mexico, the Battle of Lexington, and other studies of varied and memorable scenes in the history of the Republic.[Pg 321]

"Simple, brief, and impressive ceremonies heightened the deep and general interest of the occasion. The funeral discourse was of a purely religious character, with scarcely more than a brief allusion to the career of the deceased President, and no mention, I think, of his title or his name. But these omissions intensified the general interest in his brief personal allusions. 'I do believe,' he said, 'that the strength and beauty of this man's character will be found in his discipleship of Christ.'

"It is not my province to speak of the spiritual character of this connection, but in another relation I believe it is true.

"The Church of the Disciples, to which he belonged, is one of the most primitive of Christian communions, excluding every thought of distrust, competition, or advantage. It gave him a position and mission unique and generic, like and unlike that of other men. While he rarely or never referred to it himself, and wished at times, perhaps, to forget it, he was strengthened and protected by it. It was buckler and spear to him. It brought him into an immediate communion—a relation made sacred by a common faith, barren of engagements and responsibilities—with multitudes of other organizations and congregations, adherents and opponents, able and willing to assist and strengthen him, present or absent, at home or[Pg 322] abroad, who dismissed aspersions upon his conduct and character as accusations of Pharisees against a son of faith, and gave him at all times a friendly greeting and welcome, whenever and wherever he felt inspired to give the world his thought and word. All great migrations and revolutions of men and nations are born of this spirit and power.

"In another direction he possessed extraordinary capacities. He was animated by an intense and sleepless spirit of acquisition. It was not, apparently, a common thirst for wealth, precedence, or power which stimulates many men in our time. His ambition was for the acquisition of knowledge. From early youth to the day of his last illness it was a consuming passion. He gave to it days and nights, the strength of youth and the vigor of middle age. When in the forests of New York, he made the rocks and trees to personate the heroes of his early reading. When engaged in the duties of his professorship, he found time for other studies than those prescribed by the faculty, and for lectures, addresses, and many other intellectual pursuits. He studied law while at college without the knowledge of his intimate friends, until he was admitted to the bar. When in Congress, he would occupy a whole night in examination of questions to be considered the next day,[Pg 323] and debate them as if nothing unusual had occurred.

"It was said by one of the wisest of the ancient Greeks that it was 'impossible to penetrate the secret thoughts, quality and judgment of man till he is put to proof by high office and administration of the laws.' Whatever we may think of the splendid record of the late President in every walk of life he followed, it does not enable us to anticipate the character and success of the Administration upon which he so happily entered. In other positions of public life, the concurrence of so many different influences is required to accomplish even slight results, that individual credit or responsibility therefor is but slight and intangible. In the administration of government, the highest secular duty to which men are ever called, responsibility is indivisible and unchangeable; and the final results, whether for good or evil, are indelibly stamped on the woof and warp of the web of time, and will so remain forever. Good intentions are of no account, and a plea of confession and avoidance,—admitting failure and disclaiming error,—so advantageous in other cases, never governs the world in judging men who fail rightly to administer government. We are happy in being absolved from the responsibility of judgment where decision is impossible.[Pg 324]

"Undoubtedly, the open assertion in some parts of the world of the right of assassination as a method of reform in administration and government may have intensified the general interest in this calamitous event. But the courage and composure with which the presidential martyr bore his affliction; the firmness and constancy of his aged mother; the serenity and saint-like resignation of the heroic wife, administering consolation and courage to the husband and father, in a voice sweet as the zephyrs of the south, with a spirit as gentle as love, and a soul as dauntless as the hearts of the women of Israel,—were not unobserved or unhonored. It melted hearts in the four quarters of the globe, and drew from the sons of men, in every land and clime, such an attestation and confession of the faith that all created beings are the children of one Father, as never before fell from human lips. We should be dead to sensibility and honor did we not feel such unwonted tests of the universal scope and sweep of human sympathy vouchsafed to us by the appointed leaders of churches, empires and democracies, and by that august lady the Queen of England and Empress of India, who presides over the councils of the empire whence we derive our ideas of Christian faith, language, liberty and law, who gave to the afflicted children of revolted and republican[Pg 325] America the emblems of mourning, reserved by the customs of her court to the best beloved and bravest of her realm, and sent, over her own hand, to the wife, mother and orphans, swift and touching evidence of the strength of her sympathy and the depths of her sorrow—the grandest of sovereigns and noblest of women!

"We turn from this record of active and honorable service to a brief consideration, such as the occasion permits, of the elements of character which distinguished President Garfield. After all, character is the only enduring form of wealth. It is the power by which the world is ruled, and the only legacy of true value that can be transmitted to posterity.

"We cannot forget what occurred during the administration of Mr. Lincoln, or of his successor, Mr. Johnson. We have witnessed no such political convulsions in our day. No one ever justified the assassination of Mr. Lincoln on such grounds, or would now counsel such violence against the chiefs of earlier administrations. Neither can it now be done with truth or justice. Those who enlisted in the opposition to past administrations were men whose intellectual and moral natures restrained them from the execution of purposes dictated by passion. To those whose feeble intellects deprive them of moral restraint we should give support, and never justify, by thought or act, conduct[Pg 326] that, under other circumstances, might have endangered the lives of every President of the Republic! There is no cause or incitement to crime in the political controversies of this year, that might not have occurred under any other administration; and no cause or justification, of any kind whatever, for such an ineffable and inexpiable crime as the murder of the mild, generous, warm-hearted, forgiving, and Christian Chief Magistrate whose loss we mourn.

"Political assassination is not insanity. It proceeds from infection and distemper of the mind. It is not necessarily limited to the reform administrations and governments, nor to any special form of government. It can as well be applied to the settlement of a grocery bill, if an excitation be created, as to the overthrow of a dynasty.

"It is another form of the doctrine of annihilation, and the remedy for its evil is to avoid convulsions, private and public, restrain passion, avoid injustice, practise moderation in all things, and do no evil that good may come.

"The year 1881 is the complement of the full half-century since the first open movement was organized for the control or destruction of our government. The lesson of this half-century, with all its trials, sacrifices and triumphs, is that it is good to maintain and defend the government of our country and its lawfully constituted authorities,[Pg 327] whether or not we created them or like them. In the contemplation of this half-century, can we find cause to wish the government had been destroyed? Or can we now wish it destroyed?

"The lesson of Garfield's life is an admonition to protect and defend the government. His birth marks the period when it was first assailed by enemies domestic; and at the close of his life he gave his last hours of health and strength to improve and protect it. His last friend should give his last sigh to maintain it, not for his honor, which is untarnished, nor his glory, which is immaculate, but for his country, which still has perils to encounter, and liberties to defend, for the benefit of mankind."

[Pg 328]


Southern Feeling.—Memorial Services at Jefferson, Kentucky.—Extracts from Address by Henry Watterson.—Senator Bayard.—Ex-Speaker Randall.—Senator Hill.—Extracts from some of the Southern Journals.

At the United States military post at Jefferson, Kentucky, memorial services were held in the presence of fifteen thousand people.

Henry Watterson, the Democratic ex-Congressman, gave an eloquent address, from which we quote the following:—

"I knew him well, and know now that I loved him. He was a man of ample soul, with the strength of a giant, the courage of a lion, and the heart of a dove. There never lived a man who yearned for the approval of his fellow-men, who felt their anger more. There never lived a man who struggled harder to realize Paul's idea, and to be all things to all men. Did ever the character sketched by Paul find a nobler example, for he was blameless, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, apt to teach, not given to filthy lucre. No one without the little family circle of relatives and[Pg 329] friends in which he lived will ever know how a certain dismal, though in truth trivial, episode in his career cut him to the soul. Born a poor man's son, to live and die a poor man, with opportunities unbounded for public pillage, with licensed robbery going on all around him, and he pinched for the bare means to maintain himself, his wife and his little ones with decency and comfort, to be held up to the scorn of men as one not honest! He is gone now, and before he went he had outlived the wounds which party friends alike with party foes had sought to put upon his honor and manhood, and maybe to-day somewhere among the stars he looks down upon the world and sees at last how selfish and unreal were the assaults of those in whose way he stood. It is a pleasure to me to reflect amid these gloomy scenes that some friendly words of mine gratified him at a moment when he suffered most. Not in the last campaign, for it would have been a crime in me to have hesitated then, but away back when no vision of the presidency had crossed the disc of his ambition, and when the cruelest blows were struck from behind. It is also a pleasure for me to remember the last time I saw him. It was during an all-night session of the House, when in company with Joseph Hawley of Connecticut, Randall Gibson of Louisiana, and Randolph Tucker, we took possession of the committee rooms of Proctor Knott,[Pg 330] who joined us later, and turned all bickerings and jars into happy forgetfulness of section and party. I do well remember how buoyant he was that night in spirit and how robust in thought, full of suggestion, and in repartee, unaffected and genial ever; how delighted to lay aside the statesman and the partisan and be a boy again, and how loth he was, with the rest, to recross the narrow confines which separate the real and ideal, and to descend into the hot abyss below. I could not have gone thence to blacken that man's character any more than to do another deed of shame; and Republican though he was, and party chief, he had no truer friends than the brilliant Virginian whom he loved like a brother, and the eminent Louisianian whose counsels he habitually sought. I refer to an incident unimportant in itself to illustrate a character which unfolded to the knowledge of the world through affliction, and whose death has awakened the love and admiration of mankind.

"All know that he was a man of spotless integrity who might have been rich by a single deflection, but who died poor, who broadened and rose in height with each rise in fortune, who was not less a scholar because he had wanted early advantages, and who, not yet fifty, leaves as a priceless heritage to his countrymen the example of how God-given virtues of the head and heart may be employed to the glory of God and the uses of men, by one who[Pg 331] makes all things subordinate to the development of the good within him. On all these points we think together; there are not two opinions. We stand upon common ground; we shall separate and go hence, and each shall take his way. Interests shall clash, beliefs shall jar, party spirit shall lift its horned head and interpose to chill and cloud our better natures. That is but a condition of our being. We are mortal and we live in a free land. Out of discussion and dissension ends are shapened; we rough-hewing in spite of us. However, occasions come which remind us that we have a country and are countrymen; which tell us we are a people bound together by many kindred ties. No matter for our quarrels, they will pass away. No matter for our mistakes, they shall be mended. But yesterday we were at war one with the other. The war is over. But yesterday we were arrayed in the anger of party conflict; behold how its passions sleep in the grave with Garfield. I am here to-day to talk to you of him, and through him and in his memory and honor to talk of our country. He was its chief magistrate, our President, representative of things common to us all; stricken down in the fulness of life and hope by wanton and aimless assassination. He fell like a martyr; he suffered like a hero; he died like a saint. Be his grave forever and aye a resting place for the people, and for the seeds that burst thereon to let[Pg 332] the violets bring spring flowers of peace and love for all the people. Citizens, the flag which waves over us was his flag and it is our flag. Soldiers, standing beneath that flag and this armed fortress of the Republic, I salute your flag and his flag reverently. It is my flag. I thank God, and I shall teach my children to thank God, that it did not go down amid the fragments of a divided country, but that it floats to-day, though at half mast, as a symbol of union and liberty, assuring and reassuring us, that though the heart that conceived the words be cold, and the lips that uttered them be dumb, 'God reigns and the government at Washington still lives.'"

The tributes paid to the memory of Garfield by his political opponents show strikingly how widely he was honored and beloved by those who knew him as a friend as well as the leader of a party.

Senator Bayard always treated the President with affectionate respect, and mourns him deeply. Ex-Speaker Randall "knew him intimately and respected him greatly." Senator Hill is much affected by the death. "Poor Garfield," he says, "was a big-hearted and a big-brained man. I shall never forget the last time I saw him. He was so cheerful and apparently happy. I never saw him fuller of mental and physical vigor and of hope for the future than then. I want to always remember him as he appeared to me then—a perfect man."[Pg 333]

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, said: "The President is dead, and all the nations responding to that touch of sympathy which makes the whole world kin stand uncovered in the presence of a calamity; for tragedies, ever calamitous, are doubly so when they spring from murder and attach themselves to the head of the State, the symbol of power, the representative of the people and law. If ever mortal stood in these relations to his country and his time, this man did so. It was the universal sense that he did so which brought around his bedside his fellow citizens without distinction of political opinion, and caused women who had never seen him to pray for him, and little children, who conceived not the emergency nor the magnitude nor the contingencies hanging upon his life, to ask each day after his well-being, as if he were a father ill and dying in some far-off place. Perhaps, too, the flash of the assassin's pistol let in to many a heart a feeling of honest regret, before dormant and unconscious, that they had consented to see so good and so useful a man so pitilessly assailed in his private honor during periods of angry partisan contention, and a consequent wish, personally, to disavow this and to make a part of it at least up to him in his dire misfortune."

The Baltimore Sun (Independent), alluding to President Garfield's death, said: "Turning from[Pg 334] the peculiarly tragic and distressing circumstances of the President's death, 'tis difficult to exaggerate the loss which the nation sustains in his death at this time. Although his Administration was in its infancy, President Garfield had already met the confidence of his country in the integrity of his purposes, the moderation, soundness and conservatism of his policy."

Said another Southern Journal: "In his death, mournful as it is, the sections will evince a common sympathy that may cement more closely the bonds of that fraternity so essential to the keeping of the compact between the States. North, South, East and West will join in the grief over the grave of the dead President—a sure sign that the currents of the national life flow as strong as they ever did in the history of the Union."

The New Orleans Times said: "Throughout our whole land parties stand disarmed, and citizens bitterly deplore the death of James A. Garfield. Henceforth he lives in memory, and though he was permitted to accomplish but little during his presidential service, by his death he has given to his countrymen a deeper scrutiny into themselves—a most precious service."

The Picayune, after referring to the assassination of President Lincoln, said: "This is a sadder story in our national life. It was Garfield's fortune to come to the high office of chief magistrate at a time[Pg 335] when peace and prosperity reigned throughout the broad confines of this great land. There was naught but sincere respect for his authority among the masses, and earnest wishes in the hearts of nearly all her citizens that his administration might prove a happy one for himself as it promised a prosperous one for the country. He was worthy of so proud a position, and in his inaugural proclaimed the new life of a nation united not in name but in truth."

[Pg 336]


Extracts from some of the President's Private Letters to a Friend in Boston, bearing the same Family Name.—To Corydon E. Fuller, a College Classmate.

One of the last letters written by President Garfield was to a gentleman in Boston, who bore the same family name. They were warm friends and mutually interested in the Garfield genealogy. They had often spoken of the pleasure they would take in going over the country in the neighborhood of Boston, where their common ancestors had had their homes, and they had agreed, should chance ever bring them together here, to take a little excursion, and as the President was about starting on a New England tour, the letter related to the long anticipated pleasure. If possible, the President was to take leave of his formal escort at Concord and enjoy a quiet buggy drive with his friend, keeping perfectly incognito. They were to visit the scenes of interest at Concord, where the President's great-uncle, Abram Garfield, from whom he gets his middle name, stood, perhaps, shoulder to shoulder with John Hoar, the grandfather[Pg 337] of the chairman of the Republican convention at Chicago which so unexpectedly nominated him for his fateful office. Thence they were to drive through Lincoln, Weston, Waltham and Watertown—towns where the homes of their ancestors and kinsmen had stood. At Watertown the intention was to rejoin the regular party.

The letter was evidently written late on the evening before he was shot, and was in the handwriting of the President's private secretary, but bore the clear signature of J. A. Garfield. It was not sent from Washington until after Guiteau's shot had been fired, for it bore the postmark of 1 P. M. General Garfield had had considerable correspondence with his friend about family matters, and his letters formed the basis of much of the accurate article on his family genealogy printed in the Herald shortly after the Chicago convention. In a letter he wrote:—

"You can hardly imagine the pleasure which your letter of the 3d inst. has given me. You will better understand why, when I tell you the causes which have so nearly shut me off from any knowledge of my ancestry. My father moved into the wild woods of Ohio before he was twenty years of age, and died when he was thirty-three, and of course when all his children were small, and I, the youngest, but an infant. Separated thus from the early home of our father, we had[Pg 338] but scanty means of obtaining anything like accurate information of his ancestry. The most I knew, until quite recently, were the family traditions retained in the memory of my mother, as she had heard them from father and his mother. During the last eighteen years I have, from time to time, picked up fragmentary facts and traditions concerning our family and its origin. Many of these traditions are vague and no doubt worthless, but I have no doubt they have some truth in them. One of them is that the family was originally from Wales. This tallies with what you say concerning the original Edward Garfield coming from the neighborhood of Chester, Eng. I stood on the walls of Chester a little more than four years ago, and looked out on the bleak mountains of Wales, whose northern boundary lay at my feet, along the banks of the Dee. Possibly I was near our ancestral home. A Welsh scholar told me, not many years ago, that he had no doubt our family was connected with the builders of an old castle in Wales, long since in ruins, but still known as Gaerfill Castle. I give you this conjecture for what it is worth. While I was in college at Williamstown, Mass., in 1854 to 1856, I went down to old Tyringham and Lee, in Berkshire County, Mass., and there found a large number of Garfields, some twenty families, old residents of that neighborhood. Among them were the names Solomon and[Pg 339] Thomas, which seemed to have continued along in the family. I found that they had come from the neighborhood of Boston. In an old graveyard in Tyringham (now Monterey) I found the tombstone of Lieutenant Isaac Gearfield (for that, I learn, was the early spelling of the name), and on the stone was recorded 1755 as the date of his death. The family told me that he (Lieutenant Isaac) crossed the mountains into the wilderness of western Massachusetts in about 1739, and slept the first night under his cart.... I am sure I do not need to apologize to you for this long letter, for if it gives you half the pleasure yours has given me, you will not tire of its length. I beg you to write me any further details you may possess, and any you may hereafter obtain."

Following are a number of extracts from letters addressed to Mr. Corydon E. Fuller:—

"Warrensville, Jan. 16, 1852.

"My Dear Corydon: Well, I quit writing that evening to attend the Warrensville Literary Club, of which I am a member. We had a very good time considering the 'timber.' We have resolved ourselves into a senate, each member representing some State in the Union. I am not only President, but also a representative from South Carolina, to watch the interests of my nullifying constituents. The bill before our senate for[Pg 340] our next evening is, 'That we will assist financially the Hungarian exiles, Kossuth and his compatriots, from our national Treasury.' We shall undoubtedly have a warm time. By the way, what do you think of the effect of the excitement in reference to Kossuth upon our Nation and popular liberty? How far may our Government safely interfere in the Hungarian struggle? But I am certainly rhapsodical this time. You must write to me and trim me up. I am seated in my school-house, a room about 18 by 20, with a stove in the centre and in school, the scholars being all around me—forty on the list. With these facts before me I am led to exclaim,—

"Of all the trades by men pursued
There's none that's more perplexing
Than is the country's pedagogue's—
It's every way most vexing.
Cooped in a little narrow cell,
As hot as black Tartarus,
As well in Pandemonium dwell,
As in this little schoolhouse.

"Your friend and classmate,
"James A. Garfield."

The following is taken from a letter dated Feb. 2, 1852, written near the close of the village school at Warrensville, Ohio,—

"Oh, that I possessed the power to scatter the firebrands of ambition among the youth of the rising[Pg 341] generation, and let them see the greatness of the age in which they live and the destiny to which mankind are rushing, together with the part which they are destined to act in the great drama of human existence. But, if I cannot inspire them with that spirit, I intend to keep it predominant in my own breast, and let it spur me forward to action. But let us remember that knowledge is only an increase of power, and is only good when directed to good ends. Though a man may have all knowledge, and have not the love of God in his heart, he will fall far short of true excellence."

Here is an extract from a letter written in April, 1853,—

"To my mind the whole catalogue of fashionable friendships and polite intimacies are not worth one honest tear of sympathy or one heartfelt emotion of true friendship. Unless I can enter the inner chambers of the soul and read the inscriptions there upon those ever-during tablets, and thus become acquainted with the inner life and know the inner man, I care not for intercourse, for nothing else is true friendship.... I have no very intimate associates here, and hence, if it please you, I will be social with my pen and be often cheered by a letter from you. Let us in all the varied fortunes of human life look forward to that lamp which will enlighten the darkness of earth, the valley of death, and then become the bright and[Pg 342] morning star in the heaven of heavens. Give my love to your father and mother for they seem like mine also, and you know you have the love of your brother,


The following shows how keenly sensitive Garfield was, even as a boy, and how early in life he determined to make a name for himself,—

"Williamstown, Jan. 28, 1854.

"My Dear Corydon: I wish you were here to-night; I feel like waking up the ghosts of the dead past, and holding communion with spirits of former days. In this calm "night that broodeth thoughts" the shadows of by-gone days flit past, and I review each scene. That long strange story of my boyhood, the taunts, jeers, and cold, averted looks of the rich and the proud, chill me again for a moment, as did the real ones of former days. Then comes the burning heart, the high resolve, the settled determination, and the days and nights of struggling toil, those dreary days when the heavens seemed to frown and the icy heart of the cold world seemed not to give one throb in unison with mine.... With regards, I remain, as ever, your friend and classmate,

"James A. Garfield."

"Niagara, Nov 5, 1853.

"Corydon, my Brother: I am now leaning against the trunk of an evergreen tree on a beautiful[Pg 343] island in the midst of Niagara's foaming waters. I am alone. No breath of wind disturbs the leaves of evergreen, which hang mute and motionless around me. Animated nature is silent, for the voice of God, like the "sound of many waters," is lifted up from the swathing clouds of hoary foam that rest upon the dark abyss below.

'Oh, fearful stream.
How do thy terrors tear me from myself
And fill my soul with wonder.'

I gaze upon the broad green waters as they come placid and smooth, like firm battalions of embattled hosts, moving in steady columns, till the sloping channel stirs the depths and maddens all the waters. Then with angry roar the legions bound along the opposing rocks, until they reach the awful brink, where, all surcharged with frantic fury, they leap bellowing down the fearful rocks which thunder back the sullen echoes of thy voice, and shout God's power above the cloudy skies! Oh man! frail child of dust thou art to lift thy insect voice upon this spot where the Almighty thunders from the swelling floods that lift to heaven their hoary breath, like clouds of smoking incense. Oh, that the assembled millions of the earth could now behold this scene sublime and awful, and adore the everlasting God whose fingers piled these giant cliffs, and sent his sounding[Pg 344] seas to thunder down and shout in deafening tones, 'We come from out the hollow of His hand, and haste to do His bidding.'

"Your friend and brother,

"James A. Garfield."

Here are a few lines written in 1859, just after his nomination to the Senate of Ohio,—

"Long ago, you know, I had thought of a public career, but I fully resolved to forego it all, unless it could be obtained without wading through the mire into which politicians usually plunge. The nomination was tendered me, and by acclamation, though there were five candidates. I never solicited the place, nor did I make any bargain to secure it. I shall endeavor to do my duty, and if I never rise any higher, I hope to have the consolation that my manhood is unsullied by the past."

"Wllliamstown, June 19, 1855.

"My Dear Corydon: Your favor of the 4th inst. was received about ten days ago, but I have been entirely unable to answer until this time. A day or two after it came I left for Pittstown, N. Y., to attend a yearly meeting of Disciples, where I spent some four days, and last Saturday I left again for Poestenkill, and spoke to the people Saturday evening and three discourses on Lord's Day.... We had good meetings in each place,[Pg 345] and much interest. I cannot resist the appeals of our brethren for aid while I have the strength to speak to them.... I tell you, my dear brother, the cause in which we are engaged must take the world. It fills my soul when I reflect upon the light, joy, and love of the ancient Gospel, and its adaptation to the wants of the human race.... I long to be in the thickest of the fight, and see the army of truth charge home upon the battalions of hoary-headed error. But I must be content to be a spy for a time, till I have reconnoitred the enemy's stronghold, and then I hope to work. Ever your friend and classmate,

"James A. Garfield."

"Dorchester Heights, Jan. 5, 1856.

"My Dear Corydon and Mary: I want to pencil a few lines to you from this enchanting spot on the sea-shore, six miles from Boston, and when I return, perhaps I will ink it in a letter to you. I am spending the night here with a classmate of mine, one of the dearest friends I have in college. I am in an old house—every timber of oak—built more than one hundred years ago. To one who has seen cities rise from the wild forest in the space of a dozen years, and has hardly ever seen a building older than himself, you may be assured that many reflections are awakened by the look of antiquity that everything has around me.[Pg 346] The quaint old beams and panelled walls, the heavy double windows that look out oceanward, in short, the whole air of the building speaks of the days of the olden time. To think that these walls have echoed to the shouts of loyalty to George the King—-have heard all the voices of the spirit-stirring Revolution, the patriotic resolve, the tramp of the soldier's foot, the voice of the beloved Washington, (for within a few rods of here he made his first Revolutionary encampment,) the cannon of Bunker Hill, the lamentations of defeat and shouts of victory—all these cannot but awaken peculiar reflections. To how many that are now sleepers in the quiet church-yard, or wanderers in the wide, cold world, has this been the dear ancestral hall where all the joys of childhood were clustered. Within this oaken-ceiled chamber how many bright hopes have been cherished and high resolves formed; how many hours of serene joy, and how many heart-throbs of bitter anguish! If these walls had a voice I would ask them to tell me the mingled scenes of joy and sorrow they have witnessed. But even their silence has a voice, and I love to listen. But without there is no silence, for the tempest is howling and snows are drifting. The voice of the great waves, as they come rolling up against the wintry shore, speak of Him 'whose voice is as the sound of many waters.' Only a few miles from here is the spot where[Pg 347]

'The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed;
And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of pilgrims moored their bark
On the wild New-England shore.'

"But the coal has sunk to the lowest bar in the grate beside me—'tis far past the noon of night, and I must close.... As ever, your own affectionate


The following letter, written to Mr. Fuller while Gen. Garfield was chief-of-staff to Gen. Rosecrans, will be of special historical value,—

"Headquarters Dept, of the Cumberland,

"Murfreesboro, Tenn., May 4, 1863.

"My Dear Corydon: Yours of April 1 was received by the hand of Lieut. Beeber, and I assure you it was read with great pleasure. When I was in Washington last winter I saw Mr. Colfax, who spoke very kindly and highly of you. I have now fully recovered my health, and for the last three months have been very hardy and robust. My duties are very full of work here, and I have never been more pressingly crowded with labor than now. I have not retired on an average before two o'clock for the last two months and a half. Gen. Rosecrans shares all his counsels[Pg 348] with me, and places a large share of the responsibility of the management of this wing upon me; even more than I sometimes wish he did. This army is now in admirable condition. The poor and weak material has been worked out, and what we now have is hard brawn and solid muscle. It is in an admirable state of discipline, and when its engineries are fully set in motion, it will make itself felt. From all the present indications it cannot be long before we meet the rebel army now in our front, and try its strength again. When that day arrives, it bids fair to be the bloodiest fighting of the war. One thing is settled in my mind. Direct blows at the rebel army, bloody fighting is all that can end the rebellion. In European wars, if you capture the chief city of a nation, you have substantially captured the nation. The army that holds London, Paris, Vienna or Berlin, holds England, France, Austria or Prussia. Not so in this war. The rebels have no city the capture of which will overthrow their power. If we take Richmond, the rebel Government can be put on wheels and trundled away into the interior with all its archives in two days. Hence our real objective point is not any place or district, but the rebel army, wherever we find it. We must crush and pulverize them, and then all places and territories fall into our hands as a consequence. These views lead me to a hope and[Pg 349] belief that before many days we shall join in a death-grapple with Bragg and Johnson. God grant that we may be successful. The armies are nearly equal in number, and both are filled with veteran soldiers well drilled and disciplined. The little circumstance you related to me of the soldier in the Fifty-first Indiana touches my heart." [A soldier who was killed had written home to his wife to name their child, born during the former's absence, after Gen. Garfield.] "I wish you would write a letter for me to Joseph Lay, the young man's father, and express my sympathy with him for the loss of his brave son, who was many times with me under the fire of the enemy. I want to know of the health of his family, and especially of that little one to whom the affection of the father gave my name. With the love of other days, I am, as ever, your brother, James."

Here is a glimpse of his home life,—

"Washington, Oct. 23, 1876.

"My Dear Corydon: On Saturday last I addressed a large Republican meeting at Hackensack, four miles from Schraalenburg, where I went with you twenty-two years ago. I have never been so near there before, and it brought up the old memories to be so near. I was called here by telegraph to the bedside of our little boy Edward, who is very[Pg 350] ill and I fear will not recover. He was recovering from the whooping cough, and his disease went to his brain. He has now been lying in an unconscious state nearly four days, and unless the pressure can soon be removed, he cannot last long. He is a beautiful child of two years, and the thought of losing him rives our hearts. But he is in the keeping of our good Father, who knows what is best for us. All the rest of us are well. I have worked very hard this campaign, having spoken almost constantly for two months. You have probably seen that I was re-elected by about 9,000 majority, this being my eighth election; but of what avail is public honor in the presence of death? It has been a long time since I have heard from you, and I hope that you will write soon. 'Crete joins me in love to you and Mary.

"Ever your friend and classmate,

"James A. Garfield."

"Washington, Nov. 9, 1876.

"My Dear Corydon: I arrived in this city yesterday afternoon and found that your kind letter of the 2d inst. was awaiting me. Our precious little Eddie died on the 25th of October, and the same evening 'Crete and I left with the body, and on the 27th we buried him beside our little girl who died thirteen years ago. Both are lying in the graveyard at Hiram, and we have come back to[Pg 351] those which are still left us, but with a desolation in our hearts known only to those who have lost a precious child. It seems to me that we are many years older than we were when the dear little boy died. His little baby ways so filled the house with joy that the silence he has left is heartbreaking. It needs all my philosophy and courage to bear it. It was very hard to go on with the work of the great campaign with so great a grief in my heart, but I knew that it was my duty, and I did it as well as I could. I spoke almost every day till the election, but it now appears that we are defeated. What the future of our country will be no one can tell. The only safety we can rely on lies in the closeness of the vote both on the Presidency and on the members of the House of Representatives. We have so far reduced the strength of the Democratic House that I hope they will not be able to do much harm. Still we shall have a hard, uncomfortable struggle to save the fruits of our great war. We shall need all the wisdom and patriotism the country possesses to save ourselves from irretrievable calamity. If we had carried the House of Representatives it was almost certain that I should have been elected Speaker; but, of course, that has gone down in the general wreck. 'Crete joins me in kindest regards to you and May. I hope the time may come when we can sit down and renew the memories of other days[Pg 352] and enjoy a long visit. I am here now for the winter, and shall soon be at work in the Supreme Court, where I am having a number of important cases. With as much love as ever, I am your friend and brother,

"James A. Garfield."

[Pg 353]


Reminiscences of Corydon E. Fuller.—Of one of the Pupils at Hiram Institute.—Garfield's Keen Observation.—His Kindness of Heart.—Anecdote of the Game of Ball.—Of the Lame Girl in Washington.—Of Brown, the ex-Scout and old Boat Companion.

Mr. Corydon E. Fuller, to whom the letters in the preceding chapter were addressed, was one of the most intimate of the late President Garfield's friends, and shared with him the early privations of his academic and collegiate life. Mr. Fuller said: "My first acquaintance with Mr. Garfield was in the Eclectic Institute at Hiram College in the year 1851. We entered the school at the same time. My first recollection of him is as a young man, looking all of twenty years old, about six feet in height, powerfully built, with a head of bushy hair, and weighing about one hundred and eighty-five pounds. I remember him attired in Kentucky jean clothes with calico sleeves, ringing the bell for the opening of recitations. We very soon became acquainted, and that was during the Fall term of 1851. At this time the Boynton boys and girls, numbering[Pg 354] six, were also at the school. These were closely related to Garfield. One of them was the Mrs. Arnold, killed at the Newberg railroad disaster at the same time with Thomas Garfield, uncle of the late President. In the winter of 1851-2 Mr. Garfield taught school at Warrensville, Cuyahoga County, and I at Hamilton, Geauga County. At that time we commenced corresponding, and kept it up until the time of his assassination."

"I remember once asking him," said one of Garfield's pupils, "what was the best way to pursue a certain study, and he said: 'Use several textbooks. Get the views of different authors as you advance. In that way you can plow a broader furrow. I always study in that way.' He tried hard to teach us to observe carefully and accurately. He broke out one day in the midst of a lesson with 'Henry how many posts are there under the building downstairs?' Henry expressed his opinion, and the question went around the class, hardly one getting it right. Then it was: 'How many boot-scrapers are there at the door?' 'How many windows in the building?' 'How many trees in the field!' 'What were the colors of different rooms, and the peculiarities of any familiar objects?' He was the keenest observer I ever saw, I think he noticed and numbered every button on our coats."

"There was one grand thing about President[Pg 355] Garfield," said one who knew him well, "and that was he never felt ashamed to work, no matter what position he filled. He was always engaged in something, and I have never seen him alone when his thoughts were not deeply engaged in something. One great thing that was no doubt the greatest secret of his success, was his constant desire to be elevated to a higher position. He was always reaching for something, and never gave up until he received that for which he was working. Again, he never was ashamed of his low condition or poverty, and I have often heard him say, during the course of conversations, that 'there never was a grander thing to see than a man or woman in earnest in anything they undertake. No matter whether they may be right or wrong, to see them in dead earnest and working for dear life for the object of their desire is a noble sight to witness.' I'll call your attention to another fact: he always went along with his eyes and ears open, catching up every opportunity to learn something. He would walk along the street, and to merely glance at a stranger would not satisfy him, but he would watch a person and try to discover something in his countenance, and he couldn't look at a lady without being able to tell you the color of every ribbon on her hat. He has often told me that the great keeness of his perceptive faculties were often painful to him. If travelling on a railroad train, and[Pg 356] the cars by chance would stop a short time, he was out inquiring the cause of the delay, and while walking leisurely along some highway he would meet a German or Irishman working, when he would stop and interrogate them, and then tell his friends what he had learned. He was always determined to learn something."

At one time when walking with a friend through the streets of Cleveland, Garfield suddenly stopped and then darted down a cellar-way. Over the door was the sign "Saws and Files," and a clicking sound could be heard below.

"I think this fellow is cutting files," said Garfield, "and I have never seen a file cut."

He was right; there was a man below stairs who was re-cutting an old file, so the two friends stayed there some ten minutes, until the whole process of file-cutting was thoroughly understood.

"Garfield would never go by anything," said his friend, "without understanding it."

His native kindness of heart is seen in an incident that occurred while he was principal at Hiram Institute. Ruling in the schoolroom with great firmness, he was always ready to join the boys in their games on the playground. One day, when he had taken his place in a game of ball, he happened to see some small boys close by the fence, who were looking on with wistful eyes.

"Are these boys not in the game?" he said to the players.[Pg 357]

"What! those little tads? Of course not. They'd spoil the game."

"But they want to play," said the principal, "just as much as we do. Let them come in."

"Oh no!" was the exclamation; "it's no use to spoil the game; they can't play."

"Well," said Garfield, laying down his bat, "if they can't play I won't."

"All right, then, let them come in," was the answer, and so the kind-hearted teacher won the day.

Another story is told as follows: Two Southern ladies engaged in charitable work connected with their church society became interested in the case of a family consisting of a blind man, his invalid wife, and a lame daughter. The latter was at work in the fourth story of a government building in Washington, at a salary of $400 per annum, and to get this small amount she was obliged to walk (using a crutch) nearly three miles each way daily between her house and the printing-room, and to climb four nights of stairs to her labors. This so exhausted the poor child that she was fast losing her health. These two Southern ladies looked about them to see who, among the influential men in Washington, had the broadest human sympathy, and decided that General James A. Garfield, then M. C. was the man most likely to help them in benefiting this afflicted family. They accordingly[Pg 358] visited General Garfield's house, and found a carriage before the door. Though complete strangers to him, they sent their cards to the general, who immediately came down stairs. He had his overcoat thrown over his arm, but very courteously greeted the ladies and asked what he could do for them. They said,—

"We notice you appear to be about leaving, and perhaps we detain you." He replied, "I am about to take the cars, but I will delay till next train if I can in any way be of service to you;" and he showed them into the parlor and introduced them to his wife. When he was told the case he replied that he should be away from Washington for two or three days, but if they would remind him on his return, he would do all he could to assist them. Mrs. Garfield engaged to remind the general on his return, which she did, and through his kindness and effort this lame girl was transferred from the fourth floor to the first, and her salary made $1200 instead of $400.

Still another instance of Garfield's kindness of heart is shown in the following story:—

One time when he was about to deliver an address at Cornell, a heavy hand was laid upon his shoulder, and turning about, he saw Brown, his ex-scout and old boat companion. He was a sad-looking wreck—with bleared eyes, bloated face, and garments that were half tatters. He had[Pg 359] come, he said, while the tears rolled down his cheeks, to that quiet place to die, and now he could die in peace because he had seen his 'gineral.'

Garfield gave him money and got him quarters among some kind people, and left him, telling him to try to be a man; but, in any event, to let him know if he ever needed further help. A year or more passed, and no word came from Brown; but then the superintendent of the public hospital at Buffalo wrote the general that a man was there very sick, who, in his delirium, talked of him, of the Ohio Canal, and of the Sandy Valley expedition. Garfield knew at once that it was Brown, and immediately forwarded funds to the hospital, asking that he should have every possible care and comfort. The letter which acknowledged the remittance announced that the poor fellow had died—died, muttering, in his delirium, the name 'Jim Garfield.'

Garfield paid his funeral expenses.

"Poor Brown!" he exclaimed, "he had a rare combination of good and bad qualities, with strong traits, a ruined man; and yet, underneath the ruins, a great deal of generous, self-sacrificing noble-heartedness."

[Pg 360]


Remarks of a Personal Friend.—Reminiscences of the President's Cousin Henry Boynton.—Garfield as a Freemason.

Said a personal friend,—

"No one who saw President Garfield after his installation in the White House can fail to have observed the great change which his accession to power had occasioned in him. Only at intervals did his bright joyousness shine out again, as at the pleasant home at Mentor. The very day after he became President, the struggle for the spoils of office began with a fierceness hitherto unparalleled in all the strife of that kind which has been seen at Washington. He was half-maddened by his desire to do justice to all the contending factions. It was this feeling which made him slow to give irrevocable decisions. I was at the White House one morning, and he referred to his anxiety not to take a step in haste which he might repent at leisure. The humor of his own cautious slowness brought back the twinkle in his eye, the smile on the rosy lip. 'I don't know when I shall get around to that,' he said. 'You know, there's no[Pg 361] telling when the Mississippi River will reach a given point.' The sluggish movement of the great Father of Waters was hit off to the life by this impromptu epigram."

Hardly had Garfield been nominated for the presidency, when his neighbors, those who had known him from boyhood, together with his kinsmen, gathered, and raised upon his old home, near the spot where he was born, a pole, and placed thereon the candidate's name. The pole was erected where the house stood which Garfield with his brother erected for their mother and sisters with their own hands, after the log hut, a little farther out in the field nearer the wood, had become unfit for habitation. Thomas Garfield, an old man eighty years of age, the one who was killed in a railroad accident soon after Gen. Garfield had been inaugurated President, directed the manual labor of rearing the shaft, and was proud of his work. Soon after it was erected Garfield himself came from Mentor to look over the old place again, and with proud satisfaction looked upon this expression of friendship of his old neighbors. There is nothing except this pole left to mark his birthplace, and the old well, not two rods off, which he and his brother dug to furnish water for the family. On the day of the funeral services, the torn and tattered banner which those who knew him from childhood to manhood had erected[Pg 362] in his honor, was lazily floating in the breeze half-way down the pole, showing in its plain way the sorrow of those who so gladly erected it less than twelve months ago. In the little maple grove to the left, children played about the country school-house, which has replaced the log one where the dead President first gathered the rudiments upon which he built to such purpose. The old orchard in its sere and yellow leaf, the dying grass, and the turning maple-leaves, seemed to join in the general mourning.

Adjoining the field where the flag floats is an unpretentious farm almost as much identified with General Garfield's early history as the one he helped to clear of the forest timber while he was a child, but it is now free of buildings. Near by is the home of Henry B. Boynton, cousin of the dead President, and a brother of Dr. Boynton, who has been so conspicuously connected with the Garfield family since Mrs. Garfield's illness last spring. "General Garfield and I were like brothers," said he to a visitor, as he turned from giving some directions to his farm hands, now sowing the fall grain upon ground which the dead President first helped to break. He looked off tearfully, as he spoke, toward the flag at half-mast, marking the birthplace of his life-long friend. "His father died yonder, within a stone's throw of us, when the son was but one and a half years old and I was[Pg 363] but three and a half. He knew no other father than mine, who watched over the family as if it had been his own. I bore a peculiar relation to the general. His father and my father were half-brothers, and his mother and my mother were sisters. This very house in which I live was as much his home as it was mine." They walked toward the house as he spoke, and had here reached the plain mansion which was the house of the speaker's ancestors, as well as General Garfield's, and passed inside, to find his good housewife silent and tearful, and whose swollen eyes told plainer than words the terrible sorrow they all felt.

"Over there," said he, pointing to the brick schoolhouse in the grove of maples, around which the happy children were playing, "is where he and I first went to school. I have read a statement that he could not read or write until he was nineteen. He could do both before he was nine; and before he was twelve, so familiar was he with the Indian history of the country, that he had named every tree in the orchard, which his father planted before he was born, with the name of some Indian chief. One favorite tree of his he named 'Tecumseh,' and the branches of many of those old trees have been cut since his promotion to the presidency by relic hunters and carried away. General Garfield was a remarkable boy, sir, as well as man. It is not possible to tell you the[Pg 364] fight he made amid poverty for a place in life, and how gradually he obtained it. When he was a boy he would rather read than work. But he became a great student. He had to work after he was twelve years of age. In those days we were all poor, and it took hard knocks to get on. He worked clearing the fields yonder with his brother, and then cut cordwood and did other farm labor to get the necessaries of life for his mother and sisters.

"His experience upon the canal was a severe one, but perhaps useful. I can remember the winter when he came home after the summer's service there. He had the chills all that fall and winter, yet he would shake, and get his lessons at home; go over to the school and recite, and thus keep up with his class. The next spring found him weak from constant ague. Yet he intended to return to the canal. Here came the turning point in his life. Mr. Bates, who taught the school, pleaded with him not to do so, and said that, if he would continue in school until the next fall, he could get a certificate. I received my certificate about the same time. The next year we went to the seminary at Chester, only twelve miles distant. Here our books were furnished us, and we cooked our own victuals. We lived upon a dollar a week each. Our diet was strong, but very plain; mush and molasses, pork and potatoes. Saturdays we[Pg 365] took our axes and went into the woods and cut cordwood; during vacations we labored in the harvest field, or taught a district school, as we could. Yonder," said he, pointing off toward a beautiful valley, "about two miles distant stands the school-house where Garfield first taught school. He got twelve dollars a month and boarded around. I also taught school in a neighboring town. You see," continued the farmer, "that the general and myself were very close to one another from the time either of us could lisp until he became President. He visited me here just before election, and looked with gratification upon that pole yonder and its flag, erected by his neighbors and kinsmen. He wandered over the fields he himself had helped clear, and pointed out to me trees, from the limbs of which he had shot squirrel after squirrel, and beneath the branches of which he had played and worked in the years of his infancy and boyhood.

"I forgot to say that one of General Garfield's striking characteristics while he was growing up was that, when he saw a boy in the class excel him in anything, he never gave up until he reached the same standard, and even went beyond it. It got to be known that no scholar could be ahead of him. Our association as men has been almost as close as that of boys, although not as constant. The general never forgot his neighbors or less fortunate kinsmen, and often visited us, as we did him.[Pg 366]

"Just before he was inaugurated I had a conversation with him, which impressed me more than any other talk of our lives. He said: 'Henry, I approach the duties of the Presidency with much reluctance. I had thought that at some future time it might be possible for me to aspire to that position, but I had been elected to the Senate, and should have preferred to serve the six years in that body to which my own State people had elected me. It would have been six years of comparative rest, for service in the Senate is much easier than in the House. I hope I may discharge the duties of the Presidency with satisfaction. There is one thing, however, that distresses me more than all else. All my life I have been making friends, and I have a great many sincere ones. But from the hour I assume the Presidency I must necessarily begin making enemies. Any man who wants an office and does not get it, will feel himself aggrieved.' Our conversation at this time was long and earnest, and seemed like returning to the days when we were schoolboys together."

Garfield was made a Mason in Magnolia Lodge, No. 20, at Columbus, Nov. 22, 1861, while he was commander at Camp Chase. His affiliation at the time of his death was with Pentalpha Lodge, No. 23, and Columbia Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templars, at Washington, D. C. Suitar says that he was the eighth Mason, but the first Knight[Pg 367] Templar, who was ever honored with the Presidency. He was a true and courteous knight, and was not only an earnest supporter, but a charter member of Pentalpha Lodge. After his election to the Presidency, his commandery sought to express their esteem for him by attending the inauguration, and, although the Masonic law forbids any interference with or participation in politics, the occasion was regarded by the right eminent grand commander as sufficiently important and devoid of partisan coloring to grant the desired permission for five platoons of sixteen knights each to attend President Garfield. On the 19th of July, 1881, he was elected an honorary member of Hanselmann Commandery, No. 16, at Cincinnati, and they sent him handsomely engraved resolutions of sympathy, which were brought to his personal notice during his sickness, to which he appropriately replied through his private secretary.

[Pg 368]


Poems in Memory of Garfield, by Longfellow.—George Parsons Lathrop.—From London Spectator.—Oliver Wendell Holmes.—N. Bernard Carpenter.—John Boyle O'Reilly.—Joaquin Miller. M. J. Savage.—Julia Ward Howe.—Rose Terry Cooke.—Prize Ode.—Kate Tannett Woods.

To the tributes we have already given, we add a few of the many fine poems published in memory of the martyred President.



"E venni dal martirio a questa pace."

These words the poet heard in Paradise,
Uttered by one who, bravely dying here,
In the true faith, was living in that sphere,
Where the Celestial Cross of sacrifice
Spread its protecting arms athwart the skies;
And, set thereon, like jewels crystal clear,
The souls magnanimous, that knew not fear,
Flashed their effulgence on his dazzled eyes.
Ah, me! how dark the discipline of pain,
Were not the suffering followed by the sense[Pg 369]
Of infinite rest and infinite release!
This is our consolation; and again
A great soul cries to us in our suspense:
"I come from martyrdom unto this peace!"

CAMBRIDGE, MASS, Sept 26, 1881.
The Independent.


(Died Sept. 19, 1881.)

What is this silence, that calls?
What is this deafness that hears?
The silence is Death. Like a voice it falls;
It rings in the heedless ears
That never shall hearken again
To the words of our blame or praise,
Nor the low-hushed moan of a nation's pain
As it rolls through the darkened days!
And the motionless body must yield
To the spell of that hushed command.
Oh, that one of us, dying, had been the shield
To save that life for our land!
Man that was trusted of men—
Brave, and not fearing to die
More than to face life's meanness, when
It clamored its partisan lie!
Though you leave us, we lose you not!
In the Republic you live
Sacred, and part of its deathless lot,
For whose life your life you give.
[Pg 370]
Garfield—the name so plain,
The name we knew so well!—
The name we shall never forget again,
Of the man who for honesty fell!
Like another Winkelried,
You drew to yourselves the spears
Of tyrannous hate, though yourself must bleed;
And left us—our pride and our tears.
Legacy meet and rare,
Of one who dared to be pure!
In the hearts of the people who love what is fair,
That precious renown shall endure.
O sorrow that falls like a stone
In the midst of the calm of our peace,
As the waves of pity around you have grown,
So may our truth increase!
George Parsons Lathrop.

In England, Sept. 20, 1881.
New York Tribune.


The hush of the sick-room; the muffled tread;
Fond, questioning eye; mute lip, and listening ear;
Where wife and children watch 'twixt hope and fear,
A father's, husband's living-dying bed!—
The hush of a great nation, when its head
Lies stricken! Lo! along the streets he's borne,
Pale, through rank'd crowds, this gray September morn,
'Mid straining eyes, sad brows unbonneted,
And reverent speechlessness!—a "people's voice!"[Pg 371]
Nay but a peoples silence! through the soul
Of the wide world its subtler echoes roll,
O brother nation England for her part
Is with thee: God willing she whose heart
Throbbed with thy pain shall with thy joy rejoice.

Sept. 6, 1881.
London Spectator.



Fallen with autumns falling leaf,
Ere yet his summers noon was past,
Our friend, our guide, our trusted chief,—
What words can match a woe so vast?
And whose the chartered claim to speak
The sacred grief where all have part,
When sorrow saddens every cheek,
And broods in every aching heart?
Yet nature prompts the burning phrase
That thrills the hushed and shrouded hall,
The loud lament, the sorrowing praise,
The silent tear that love lets fall.
In loftiest verse, in lowliest rhyme,
Shall strive unblamed the minstrel choir,—
The singers of the new born time,
And trembling age with outworn lyre.
No room for pride, no place for blame—
We fling our blossoms on the grave,
Pale, scentless, faded,—all we claim,
This only,—what we had we gave.
[Pg 372]
Ah, could the grief of all who mourn
Blend in one voice its bitter cry,
The wail to heaven's high arches borne
Would echo through the caverned sky.
O happiest land whose peaceful choice
Fills with a breath its empty throne!
God, speaking through thy people's voice,
Has made that voice for once his own.
No angry passion shakes the State
Whose weary servant seeks for rest,—
And who could fear that scowling hate
Would strike at that unguarded breast?
He stands, unconscious of his doom,
In manly strength, erect, serene,—
Around him summer spreads her bloom:
He falls,—what horror clothes the scene!
How swift the sudden flash of woe
Where all was bright as childhood's dream!
As if from heaven's ethereal bow
Had leaped the lightning's arrowy gleam.
Blot the foul deed from history's page,—
Let not the all-betraying sun
Blush for the day that stains an age
When murder's blackest wreath was won.
Pale on his couch the sufferer lies,
The weary battle-ground of pain;
Love tends his pillow, science tries
Her every art, alas! in vain.
[Pg 373]
The strife endures how long! how long!
Life, death, seem balanced in the scale;
While round his bed a viewless throng
Awaits each morrow's changing tale.
In realms the desert ocean parts,
What myriads watch with tear filled eyes,
His pulse beats echoing in their hearts,
His breathings counted with their sighs!
Slowly the stories of life are spent,
Yet hope still battles with despair,—
Will heaven not yield when knees are bent?
Answer, O Thou that hearest prayer!
But silent is the brazen sky,—
On sweeps the meteor's threatening train,—
Unswerving Nature's mute reply
Bound in her adamantine chain.
Not ours the verdict to decide
Whom death shall claim or skill shall save:
The hero's life though Heaven denied,
It gave our land a martyr's grave.
Nor count the teaching vainly sent
How human hearts their griefs may share,—
The lesson woman's love has lent
What hope may do, what faith can bear!
Farewell! the leaf-strewn earth enfolds
Our stay, our pride, our hopes, our fears,
And autumn's golden sun beholds
A nation bowed, a world in tears.
Boston Globe.
[Pg 374]



Lo! as a pure white statue wrought with care
By some strong hand, which moulds from Life and Death
Beauty more beautiful than blood or breath,
And straight 'tis veiled, and, whilst all men repair
To see this wonder in the workshops there!
Behold it gleams unveiled to curious eye
Far-seen, high-placed in Art's pale gallery,
Where all stand mute before a work so fair:
So he, our man of men, in vision stands,
With Pain and Patience crowned imperial,
Death's veil has dropped, far from this house of woe
He hears one love chant out of many lands,
Whilst from his mystic noon-height he lets fall
His shadow o'er these hearts that bleed below.

Sept. 26, 1881.
The Independent.


September 19, 1881.


Once in a lifetime we may see the veil
Tremble and lift, that hides symbolic things:
The spirit's vision, when the senses fail,
Sweeps the weird meaning that the outlook brings.
Deep in the midst of turmoil it may be,—
A crowded street, a forum, or a field,—
The soul inverts the telescope, to see
To-day's event in future years revealed.
[Pg 375]
Back from the present, let us look at Rome;
Now see what Cato meant, what Brutus said.
Hark! the Athenians welcome Cimon home!
How clear they are, those glimpses of the dead!
But we hard toilers, we who plan and weave
Through common days the web of common life,
What word, alas! shall teach us to receive
The mystic meaning of our peace and strife?
Whence comes our symbol? Surely God must speak;
No less than he can make us heed or pause:
Self-seekers we, too busy or too weak
To search beyond our daily lives and laws.
'Gainst things occult our earth-turned eyes rebel;
No sound of destiny can reach our ears;
We have no time for dreaming—Hark! a knell,—
A knell at midnight! All the nation hears!
A second grievous throb! The dreamers wake;
The merchant's soul forgets his goods and ships;
The humble workmen from their slumbers break;
The women raise their eyes with quivering lips;
The miner rests upon his pick to hear;
The printer's type stops midway from the case;
The solemn sound has reached the roisterer's ear,
And brought the shame and sorrow to his face.
Again it booms! Oh, mystic veil, upraise!—
Behold, 'tis lifted! On the darkness drawn,
A picture, lined with light! The people's gaze,
From sea to sea, beholds it till the dawn:
A death-bed scene—a sinking sufferer lies,
Their chosen ruler, crowned with love and pride;
Around, his counsellors, with streaming eyes;
His wife, heart-broken, kneeling by his side:
[Pg 376]
Death's shadow holds her, it will pass too soon;
She weeps in silence—bitterest of tears;
He wanders softly—Nature's kindest boon,
And as he whispers all the country hears.
For him the pain is past, the struggle ends:
His cares and honors fade: his younger life
In peaceful Mentor comes, with dear old friends;
His mother's arms take home his sweet young wife;
He stands among the students, tall and strong,
And teaches truths republican and grand:
He moves—ah, pitiful!—he sweeps along,
O'er fields of carnage leading his command!
He speaks to crowded faces; round him surge
Thousands and millions of excited men:
He hears them cheer, sees some great light emerge,
Is borne as on a tempest: then—ah, then!
The fancies fade, the fever's work is past;
A moment's pang—then recollections thrill:
He feels the faithful lips that kiss their last,
His heart beats once in answer, and is still!
The curtain falls; but hushed, as if afraid,
The people wait, tear-stained, with heaving breast;
'Twill rise again, they know, when he is laid
With Freedom, in the Capitol, at rest.
Once more they see him, in his coffin there,
As Lincoln lay in blood-stained martyr sleep;
The stars and stripes across his honored bier,
While Freedom and Columbia o'er him weep.
Boston Globe.
[Pg 377]



"Bear me out of the battle, for lo! I am sorely wounded."

From out my deep, wide-bosomed West,
Where unnamed heroes hew the way
For worlds to follow, with stern zest,—
Where gnarled old maples make array,
Deep-scarred from red men gone to rest,—
Where pipes the quail, where squirrels play
Through tossing trees, with nuts for toy,—
A boy steps forth, clear-eyed and tall,
A bashful boy, a soulful boy,
Yet comely as the sons of Saul,—
A boy, all friendless, poor, unknown,
Yet heir-apparent to a throne.
Lo! Freedom's bleeding sacrifice!
So like some tall oak tempest-blown
Beside the storied stream he lies
Now at the last, pale-browed and prone.
A nation kneels with streaming eyes,
A nation supplicates the throne,
A nation holds him by the hand,
A nation sobs aloud at this:
The only dry eyes in the land
Now at the last, I think, are his.
Why, we should pray, God knoweth best,
That this grand, patient soul should rest.
[Pg 378]
The world is round. The wheel has run
Full circle. Now behold a grave
Beneath the old loved trees is done.
The druid oaks lift up, and wave
A solemn welcome back. The brave
Old maples murmur, every one,
"Receive him, Earth!" In centre land,
As in the centre of each heart,
As in the hollow of God's hand,
The coffin sinks. And with it part
All party hates! Now, not in vain
He bore his peril and hard pain.
Therefore, I say, rejoice! I say,
The lesson of his life was much,—
This boy that won, as in a day,
The world's heart utterly; a touch
Of tenderness and tears; the page
Of history grows rich from such;
His name the nation's heritage,—
But oh! as some sweet angel's voice
Spake this brave death that touched us all,
Therefore, I say, Rejoice! rejoice!
Run high the flags! Put by the pall!
Lo! all is for the best for all!
Boston Globe.
[Pg 379]

J. A. G.



With finger on lip, and breath bated
With an eager and sad desire,
The world stood hushed, as it waited
For the click of the fateful wire,—
"Better:" and civilization
Breathed freer and hoped again;
"Worse:" and through every nation
Went throbbing a thrill of pain.
A cry at midnight! and listening—
"Dead!" tolled out the bells of despair;
And millions of eyelids were glistening
As sobbed the sad tones on the air.
But who is he toward whom all eyes are turning.
And who is he for whom all hearts are yearning?
What is the threat at which earth holds its breath
While one lone man a duel fights with death?
No thrones are hanging in suspense;
No kingdoms totter to their fall.
Peace, with her gentle influence,
Is hovering over all.[Pg 380]
'Tis just one man at Elberon,
Who waiteth day by day,
Whose patience all our hearts hath won
As ebbs his life away.
His birthday waked no cannon-boom;
No purple round him hung;
A backwoods cabin gave him room;
And storms his welcome sung.
He seized the sceptre of that king
Who treads a freehold sod;
He wore upon his brow that ring
That crowns a son of God.
By his own might he built a throne,
With no unhuman arts,
And by his manhood reigned alone
O'er fifty millions hearts.
Thus is humanity's long dream,
Its highest, holiest hope begun
To harden into fact, and gleam
A city 'neath the sun—
A city, not like that which came
In old-time vision from the skies;
But wrought by man through blood and flame,
From solid earth to rise,—
Man's city; the ideal reign
Where every human right hath place;
Where blood, nor birth, nor priest again
Shall bind the weary race,—
In which no king but man shall be.
'Twas this that thrilled with loving pain
The heart of all the earth, as he
Died by the sobbing main.
[Pg 381]
For, mightiest ruler of the earth,
He was the mightiest, not because
Of priestly touch or blood, or birth.
But by a people's laws.

O Garfield! brave and patient soul!
Long as the tireless tides shall roll
About the Long Branch beaches, where
Thy life went out upon the air,
So long thy land, from sea to sea,
Will hold thy manhood's legacy.
There were two parties: there were those,
In thine own party, called thy foes;
There was a North; there was a South,
Ere blazed the assassin's pistol-mouth.
But lo! thy bed became a throne:
And as the hours went by, at length
The weakness of thine arm alone
Grew mightier than thy strongest strength.
No petulant murmur; no vexed cry
Of balked ambitions; but a high,
Grand patience! And thy whisper blent
In one heart all the continent.
To-day there are no factions left,
But one America bereft.

O Garfield! fortunate in death wast thou,
Though at the opening of a grand career!
Thou wast a meteor flashing on the brow
Of skies political, where oft appear,
[Pg 382]
And disappear, so many stars of promise. Then,
While all men watched thy high course, wondering
If them wouldst upward sweep, or fell again,
Thee from thine orbit mad hands thought to fling;
And lo! the meteor, with its fitful light,
All on a sudden stood, and was a star,—
A radiance fixed, to glorify the night
There where the world's proud constellations are.

Boston Globe.

J. A. G.


Our sorrow sends its shadow round the earth.
So brave, so true! A hero from his birth!
The plumes of Empire moult, in mourning draped,
The lightning's message by our tears is shaped.
Life's vanities that blossom for an hour
Heap on his funeral car their fleeting flower.
Commerce forsakes her temples, blind and dim,
And pours her tardy gold, to homage him.
The notes of grief to age familiar grow
Before the sad privations all must know;
But the majestic cadence which we hear
To-day, is new in either hemisphere.
What crown is this, high hung and hard to reach,
Whose glory so outshines our laboring speech?
The crown of Honor, pure and unbetrayed;
He wins the spurs who bears the knightly aid.
[Pg 383]
While royal babes incipient empire hold,
And, for bare promise, grasp the sceptre's gold,
This man such service to his age did bring
That they who knew him servant hailed him king.
In poverty his infant couch was spread;
His tender hands soon wrought for daily bread;
But from the cradle's bound his willing feet
The errand of the moment went to meet.
When learning's page unfolded to his view,
The quick disciple straight a teacher grew;
And, when the fight of freedom stirred the land,
Armed was his heart and resolute his hand.
Wise in the council, stalwart in the field!
Such rank supreme a workman's hut may yield.
His onward steps like measured marbles show,
Climbing the height where God's great flame doth glow.
Ah! Rose of joy, that hid'st a thorn so sharp!
Ah! Golden woof, that meet'st a severed warp!
Ah! Solemn comfort, that the stars rain down!
The hero's garland his, the martyr's crown!

Newport, Sept. 25, 1881.

Boston Globe.



So long he prayed to come,
Lingered so long away;
Now, with the muffled beat of drum
And solemn dirges, at last he hath come,
Come home to stay.
[Pg 384]
Yes, he has come to stay!
The homesick heart is still,
The hurried pulse and the aching breast
Now in the lap of home shall rest;
He has his will.
No more of heat or chill,
No frost or evil blight,
The work of living a life is done,
The long fight over, the victory won,
He sleeps to-night.
Silent is home's delight,
Peaceful its tranquil cheer;
Here is the cool, unbroken calm,
The soft wind's breath and the fir-tree's balm,
All, all are here.
He and the dying year
Lie in their slumber deep.
Safe in the heart of home at last,
Anxious slumber nor grievous past
Shall stir his sleep.
Woe for us to keep,
For him a joy to last!
Woe for the land in years to come,
Wail, O trumpet! and mutter, drum!
The dead comes home at last!

Winsted, Conn.

The Independent. [Pg 385]


[A prize offered by a London weekly for the best poem on the attempted assassination of President Garfield was awarded to the author of the following.]

Veil now, O Liberty! thy blushing face,
At the fell deed that thrills a startled world;
While fair Columbia weeps in dire disgrace,
And bows in sorrow o'er the banner furled.
No graceless tyrant falls by vengeance here,
'Neath the wild justice of a secret knife;
No red Ambition ends its grim career,
And expiates its horrors with its life.
Not here does rash Revenge misguided burn,
To free a nation with the assassin's dart;
Or roused Despair in angry madness turn,
And tear its freedom from a despot's heart.
But where blest Liberty so widely reigns,
And Peace and Plenty mark a smiling land,
Here the mad wretch its fair white record stains,
And blurs its beauties with a "bloody hand."
Here the elect of millions, and the pride
Of those who own his mild and peaceful rule,—
Here virtue sinks and yields the crimson tide,
Beneath the vile unreason of a fool!
[Pg 386]



Over the land the tidings sped,
"The leader has fallen, our chief is dead."
And over the land a cry of pain
Began and ended with Garfield's name.
"He is dead," said each, with tearful eye:
"So strong, so true, why must he die?"
And the children paused that autumn day
To talk of the good man passed away.
Over the land when the tidings came,
Even the babies lisped his name;
And youthful eyes grew sad that day
For the fatherless children far away.
Fatherless,—word with a life of pain;
Fatherless,—never complete again;
Always to miss, and never to know,
The joy of his greeting,—his love below.
Missing the cheerful smile each day,
Missing his care in studies or play,
Missing each hour, each day, each year,
The sound of a voice so tender and dear.
Fatherless! only the children can tell
The sound of that dreary funeral knell;
For only they, in all coming years,
Find the roses of youth bedewed with tears.[Pg 387]
Over the land from shore to shore,
The prayer of the children is echoed o'er,—
"God of the fatherless, help we pray,
The wards of our mourning nation to-day."

Boston Globe.

Salem, Sept. 24, 1881.

[Pg 388]


Currency.—Lincoln.—Forms of Government.—The Draft.—Slavery.—Human Progress.—Independence.— Republicanism and Democracy.—The Rebellion.—Protection and Free Trade.—Radicalism.—Education.—Reconstruction.— William H. Seward.—Fourteenth Amendment.—Classical Studies.—History.—Law.—Liberty.—Statistical Science.—Poverty.—Growth.—Ethics.—The Salary Clause.—The Railway Problem.—Church and State.— Courage.—Art.—Literature.—Character.—Public Opinion.—The Revenue.—Statesmanship.—Science.— Truth.—Elements of Success.—Suffrage.—Gustave Schleicher.—Appeal to Young Men.—The Union.—Inaugural.

[Speech on the Currency.—46th Congress.]

No man can doubt that within recent years, and notably within recent months, the leading thinkers of the civilized world have become alarmed at the attitude of the two precious metals in relation to each other; and many leading thinkers are becoming clearly of the opinion that, by some wise, judicious arrangement, both the precious metals must be kept in service for the currency of the world. And this opinion has been very rapidly gaining[Pg 389] ground within the past six months to such an extent, that England, which for more than half a century has stoutly adhered to the single gold standard, is now seriously meditating how she may harness both these metals to the monetary car of the world. And yet outside of this capital, I do not this day know of a single great and recognized advocate of bi-metallic money who regards it prudent or safe for any nation largely to increase the coinage standard of silver at the present time beyond the limits fixed by existing laws.... Yet we, who during the past two years have coined far more silver dollars than we ever before coined since the foundation of the Government; ten times as many as we coined during half a century of our national life; are to-day ignoring and defying the enlightened universal opinion of bi-metallism, and saying that the United States, single-handed and alone, can enter the field and settle the mighty issue. We are justifying the old proverb that "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." It is sheer madness, Mr. Speaker. I once saw a dog on a great stack of hay that had been floated out into the wild overflowed stream of a river, with its stack-pen and foundation still holding together, but ready to be wrecked. For a little while the animal appeared to be perfectly happy. His hay-stack was there, and the pen around it, and he seemed to think the world bright and his[Pg 390] happiness secure, while the sunshine fell softly on his head and hay. But by and by he began to discover that the house and the barn, and their surroundings were not all there, as they were when he went to sleep the night before; and he began to see that he could not command all the prospect, and peacefully dominate the scene as he had done before.

So with this House. We assume to manage this mighty question which has been launched on the wild current that sweeps over the whole world, and we bark from our legislative hay-stacks as though we commanded the whole world. In the name of common sense and sanity, let us take some account of the flood; let us understand that a deluge means something, and try if we can to get our bearings before we undertake to settle the affairs of all mankind by a vote of this House. To-day we are coining one-third of all the silver that is being coined in the round world. China is coining another third; and all other nations are using the remaining one-third for subsidiary coin. And if we want to take rank with China, and part company with all of the civilized nations of the Western world, let us pass this bill, and then "bay the moon" as we float down the whirling channel to take our place among the silver mono-metallists of Asia.[Pg 391]

[Letter to B. A. Kimball.]

Columbus, Ohio, February 16, 1861.

Mr. Lincoln has come and gone. The rush of people to see him at every point on the route is astonishing. The reception here was plain and republican, but very impressive. He has been raising a respectable pair of dark-brown whiskers, which decidedly improve his looks, but no appendage can ever render him remarkable for beauty. On the whole, I am greatly pleased with him. He clearly shows his want of culture, and the marks of western life; but there is no touch of affectation in him, and he has a peculiar power of impressing you that he is frank, direct, and thoroughly honest. His remarkable good sense, simple and condensed style of expression, and evident marks of indomitable will, give me great hopes for the country. And, after the long, dreary period of Buchanan's weakness and cowardly imbecility, the people will hail a strong and vigorous leader.

[To the Same.]

A monarchy is more easily overthrown than a republic, because its sovereignty is concentrated, and a single blow, if it be powerful enough, will crush it.[Pg 392]

As an abstract theory, the doctrine of Free Trade seems to be universally true, but as a question of practicability, under a government like ours, the protective system seems to be indispensable.

[Speech on a Draft Bill, June 21, 1864.]

It has never been my policy to conceal a truth merely because it is unpleasant. It may be well to smile in the face of danger, but it is neither well nor wise to let danger approach unchallenged and unannounced. A brave nation, like a brave man, desires to see and measure the perils which threaten it. It is the right of the American people to know the necessities of the Republic when they are called upon to make sacrifices for it. It is this lack of confidence in ourselves and the people, this timid waiting for events to control us when they should obey us, that makes men oscillate between hope and fear; now in the sunshine of the hill-tops, and now in the gloom and shadows of the valley. To such men the bulletin which heralds success in the army gives exultation and high hope; the evening dispatch, announcing some slight disaster to our advancing columns, brings gloom and depression. Hope rises and falls by the accidents of war, as the mercury of the thermometer changes by the accidents of heat and cold. Let us rather take for our symbol the[Pg 393] sailor's barometer, which faithfully forewarns him of the tempest, and gives him unerring promise of serene skies and peaceful seas.

[Speech in New York City, 1865, on the Assassination of President Lincoln.]

By this last act of madness, it seems as though the Rebellion had determined that the President of the soldiers should go with the soldiers who have laid down their lives on the battle-field. They slew the noblest and gentlest heart that ever put down a rebellion upon this earth. In taking that life they have left "the iron" hand of the people to fall upon them. Love is on the front of the throne of God, but justice and judgment, with inexorable dread, follow behind; and where law is slighted and mercy despised, when they have rejected those who would be their best friends, then comes justice with her hoodwinked eye, and with the sword and scales. From every gaping wound of your dead chief, let the voice go up for the people to see to it that our house is swept and garnished. I hasten to say one thing more. For mere vengeance I would do nothing. This nation is too great to look for mere revenge. But for security of the future I would do everything.[Pg 394]

[Speech in Congress on the Constitutional Amendment to abolish slavery, January 13, 1865]

On the 21st day of June, 1788, our national sovereignty was lodged, by the people, in the Constitution of the United States, where it still resides, and for its preservation our armies are to-day in the field. In all these stages of development, from colonial dependence to full-orbed nationality, the people, not the States, have been omnipotent. They have abolished, established, altered, and amended, as suited their sovereign pleasure. They made the Constitution. That great charter tells its own story best:

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

That Constitution, with its amendments, is the latest and the greatest utterance of American sovereignty. The hour is now at hand when that majestic sovereign, for the benignant purpose of securing still farther the 'blessings of liberty,' is about to put forth another oracle; is about to declare that universal freedom shall be the supreme law of the land. Show me the power that is[Pg 395] authorized to forbid it.... They made the Constitution what it is. They could have made it otherwise then: they can make it otherwise now.

In the very crisis of our fate, God brought us face to face with the alarming truth, that we must lose our own freedom, or grant it to the slave. In the extremity of our distress, we called upon the black man to help us save the Republic, and amidst the very thunder of battle we made a covenant with him, sealed both with his blood and ours, and witnessed by Jehovah, that when the nation was redeemed, he should be free, and share with us the glories and blessings of freedom. In the solemn words of the great proclamation of emancipation, we not only declared the slaves forever free, but we pledged the faith of the nation "to maintain their freedom"—mark the words, "to maintain their freedom." The Omniscient witness will appear in judgment against us if we do not fulfil that covenant. Have we done it? Have we given freedom to the black man? What is freedom? Is it a mere negation? the bare privilege of not being chained, bought, and sold, branded, and scourged? If this be all, then freedom is a bitter mockery, a cruel delusion, and it may well be questioned whether slavery were not better.

But liberty is no negation. It is a substantive,[Pg 396] tangible reality. It is the realization of those imperishable truths of the Declaration, "that all men are created equal," that the sanction of all just government is "the consent of the governed." Can these truths be realized until each man has a right to be heard on all matters relating to himself?

Mr. Speaker, we did more than merely to break off the chains of the slaves. The abolition of slavery added four million citizens to the Republic. By the decision of the Supreme Court, by the decision of the attorney-general, by the decision of all the departments of our government, those men made free are, by the act of freedom, made citizens.

If they are to be disfranchised, if they are to have no voice in determining the conditions under which they are to live and labor, what hope have they for the future? It will rest with their late masters, whose treason they aided to thwart, to determine whether negroes shall be permitted to hold property, to enjoy the benefits of education, to enforce contracts, to have access to the courts of justice—in short, to enjoy any of those rights which give vitality and value to freedom. Who can fail to foresee the ruin and misery that await this race to whom the vision of freedom has been presented only to be withdrawn, leaving them without[Pg 397] even the aid which the master's selfish, commercial interest in their life and service formerly afforded them? Will these negroes, remembering the battle-fields on which nearly two hundred thousand of their number have so bravely fought, and many thousands have heroically died, submit to oppression as tamely and peaceably as in the days of slavery? Under such conditions there could be no peace, no security, no prosperity. The spirit of slavery is still among us; it must be utterly destroyed before we shall be safe.

Mr. Speaker, I know of nothing more dangerous to a Republic than to put into its very midst four million people, stripped of every attribute of citizenship, robbed of the right of representation, but bound to pay taxes to the government. If they can endure it, we can not. The murderer is to be pitied more than the murdered man; the robber more than the robbed. And we who defraud four million citizens of their rights are injuring ourselves vastly more than we are injuring the black man whom we rob.

Throughout the whole web of national existence we trace the golden thread of human progress toward a higher and better estate.

The life and light of a nation are inseparable.[Pg 398]

We confront the dangers of suffrage by the blessings of universal education.

We should do nothing inconsistent with the spirit and genius of our institutions. We should do nothing for revenge, but everything for security: nothing for the past; everything for the present and future.

There are two classes of forces whose action and reaction determine the condition of a nation—the forces of Repression and Expression. The one acts from without; limits, curbs, restrains. The other acts from within; expands, enlarges, propels. Constitutional forms, statutory limitations, conservative customs, belong to the first. The free play of individual life, opinion, and action, belong to the second. If these forces be happily balanced, if there be a wise conservation and correlation of both, a nation may enjoy the double blessing of progress and permanence.

It matters little what may be the forms of National institutions, if the life, freedom, and growth of society are secured.

There is no horizontal stratification of society in this country like the rocks in the earth, that hold one class down below forevermore, and let another come to the surface to stay there forever. Our stratification is like the ocean, where every individual[Pg 399] drop is free to move, and where from the sternest depths of the mighty deep any drop may come up to glitter on the highest wave that rolls.

The Union and the Congress must share the same fate. They must rise or fall together.

Real political issues cannot be manufactured by the leaders of political parties, and real ones cannot be evaded by political parties. The real political issues of the day declare themselves and come out of the depth of that deep which we call public opinion. The nation has a life of its own as distinctly defined as the life of an individual. The signs of its growth and the periods of its development make issues declare themselves; and the man or the political party that does not discover this, has not learned the character of the nation's life.

[Reply to Mr. Lamar, in a Committee of the Whole.]

Mr. Chairman, great ideas travel slowly, and for a time noiselessly, as the gods, whose feet were shod with wool. Our war of independence was a war of ideas, of ideas evolved out of two hundred years of slow and silent growth. When, one hundred years ago, our fathers announced as self-evident truths the declaration that all men are created equal, and the only just power of governments is derived from the consent of the governed,[Pg 400] they uttered a doctrine that no nation had ever adopted, that not one kingdom on the earth then believed. Yet to our fathers it was so plain that they would not debate it. They announced it as a truth "self-evident."

Whence came the immortal truths of the Declaration? To me this was for years the riddle of our history. I have searched long and patiently through the books of the doctrinaires to find the germs from which the Declaration of Independence sprang. I find hints in Locke, in Hobbes, in Rousseau, and Fénelon; but they were only the hints of dreamers and philosophers. The great doctrines of the Declaration germinated in the hearts of our fathers, and were developed under the new influences of this wilderness world, by the same subtile mystery which brings forth the rose from the germ of the rose-tree. Unconsciously to themselves, the great truths were growing under the new conditions, until, like the century-plant, they blossomed into the matchless beauty of the Declaration of Independence, whose fruitage, increased and increasing, we enjoy to-day.

It will not do, Mr. Chairman, to speak of the gigantic revolution through which we have lately passed as a thing to be adjusted and settled by a change of administration. It was cyclical, epochal, century-wide, and to be studied in its broad and[Pg 401] grand perspective—a revolution of even wider scope, so far as time is concerned, than the Revolution of 1776. We have been dealing with elements and forces which have been at work on this continent more than two hundred and fifty years. I trust I shall be excused if I take a few moments to trace some of the leading phases of the great struggle. And in doing so, I beg gentlemen to see that the subject itself lifts us into a region where the individual sinks out of sight and is absorbed in the mighty current of great events. It is not the occasion to award praise or pronounce condemnation. In such a revolution men are like insects that fret and toss in the storm, but are swept onward by the resistless movements of elements beyond their control. I speak of this revolution not to praise the men who aided it, or to censure the men who resisted it, but as a force to be studied, as a mandate to be obeyed.

In the year 1620 there were planted upon this continent two ideas irreconcilably hostile to each other. Ideas are the great warriors of the world; and a war that has no ideas behind it is simply brutality. The two ideas were landed, one at Plymouth Rock, from the Mayflower, and the other from a Dutch brig at Jamestown, Virginia. One was the old doctrine of Luther, that private judgment, in politics as well as religion, is the right and duty of every man; and the other, that capital should[Pg 402] own labor, that the negro had no rights of manhood, and the white man might justly buy, own, and sell him and his offspring forever. Thus freedom and equality on the one hand, and on the other the slavery of one race and the domination of another, were the two germs planted on this continent. In our vast expanse of wilderness, for a long time, there was room for both; and their advocates began the race across the continent, each developing the social and political institutions of their choice. Both had vast interests in common; and for a long time neither was conscious of the fatal antagonisms that were developing.

For nearly two centuries there was no serious collision; but when the continent began to fill up, and the people began to jostle against each other; when the Roundhead and the Cavalier came near enough to measure opinions, the irreconcilable character of the two doctrines began to appear. Many conscientious men studied the subject, and came to the belief that slavery was a crime, a sin, or, as Wesley said, 'the sum of all villanies.' This belief dwelt in small minorities for a long time. It lived in the churches and vestries, but later found its way into the civil and political organizations of the country, and finally found its way into this chamber. A few brave, clear-sighted, far-seeing men announced it here, a little more than a generation ago. A predecessor of mine,[Pg 403] Joshua R. Giddings, following the lead of John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, almost alone held up the banner on this floor, and from year to year comrades came to his side. Through evil and through good report he pressed the question upon the conscience of the nation, and bravely stood in his place in this House, until his white locks, like the plume of Henry of Navarre, showed where the battle of freedom raged most fiercely.

And so the contest continued; the supporters of slavery believing honestly and sincerely that slavery was a divine institution; that it found its high sanctions in the living oracles of God and in a wise political philosophy; that it was justified by the necessities of their situation; and that slave-holders were missionaries to the dark sons of Africa, to elevate and bless them. We are so far past the passions of that early time that we can now study the progress of the struggle as a great and inevitable development, without sharing in the crimination and recrimination that attended it. If both sides could have seen that it was a contest beyond their control; if both parties could have realized the truth that "unsettled questions have no pity for the repose of nations," much less for the fate of political parties, the bitterness, the sorrow, the tears, and the blood might have been avoided. But we walked in the darkness, our paths obscured by the smoke of the conflict, each[Pg 404] following his own convictions through ever-increasing fierceness, until the debate culminated in "the last argument to which kings resort."

This conflict of opinion was not merely one of sentimental feeling; it involved our whole political system; it gave rise to two radically different theories of the nature of our government; the North believing and holding that we were a nation, the South insisting that we were only a confederation of sovereign States, and insisting that each State had the right, at its own discretion, to break the Union, and constantly threatening secession where the full rights of slavery were not acknowledged.

Thus the defence and aggrandizement of slavery, and the hatred of abolitionism, became not only the central idea of the Democratic party, but its master passion,—a passion intensified and inflamed by twenty-five years of fierce political contest, which had not only driven from its ranks all those who preferred freedom to slavery, but had absorbed all the extreme pro-slavery elements of the fallen Whig party. Over against this was arrayed the Republican party, asserting the broad doctrines of nationality and loyalty, insisting that no State had a right to secede, that secession was treason, and demanding that the institution of slavery should be restricted to the limits of the States where it already existed. But here and[Pg 405] there many bolder and more radical thinkers declared, with Wendell Phillips, that there never could be union and peace, freedom and prosperity, until we were willing to see John Hancock under a black skin.

Mr. Chairman, ought the Republican party to surrender its truncheon of command to the Democracy? The gentleman from Mississippi says, if this were England, the ministry would go out in twenty-four hours with such a state of things as we have here. Ah, yes! that is an ordinary case of change of administration. But if this were England, what would she have done at the end of the war? England made one such mistake as the gentleman asks this country to make, when she threw away the achievements of the grandest man that ever trod her highway of power. Oliver Cromwell had overturned the throne of despotic power, and had lifted his country to a place of masterful greatness among the nations of the earth; and when, after his death, his great sceptre was transferred to a weak though not unlineal hand, his country, in a moment of reactionary blindness, brought back the Stuarts. England did not recover from that folly until, in 1689, the Prince of Orange drove from her island the last of that weak and wicked line. Did she afterward repeat the blunder?

[Pg 406]

I am aware that there is a general disposition "to let by-gones be by-gones," and to judge of parties and of men, not by what they have been, but by what they are and what they propose.

That view is partly just and partly erroneous. It is just and wise to bury resentments and animosities. It is erroneous in this, that parties have an organic life and spirit of their own—an individuality and character which outlive the men who compose them; and the spirit and traditions of a party should be considered in determining their fitness for managing the affairs of a nation.

I will close by calling your attention again to the great problem before us. Over this vast horizon of interests North and South, above all party prejudices and personal wrong-doing, above our battle hosts and our victorious cause, above all that we hoped for and won, or you hoped for and lost, is the grand, onward movement of the Republic to perpetuate its glory, to save liberty alive, to preserve exact and equal justice to all, to protect and foster all these priceless principles, until they shall have crystalized into the form of enduring law, and become inwrought into the life and the habits of our people.

And, until these great results are accomplished, it is not safe to take one step backward. It is still more unsafe to trust interests of such measureless[Pg 407] value in the hands of an organization whose members have never comprehended their epoch, have never been in sympathy with its great movements, who have resisted every step of its progress, and whose principal function has been

"'To lie in cold obstruction'

across the pathway of the nation.

"No, no, gentlemen, our enlightened and patriotic people will not follow such leaders in the rearward march. Their myriad faces are turned the other way; and along their serried lines still rings the cheering cry, 'Forward! till our great work is fully and worthily accomplished.'"

[From a Speech in Congress, 1866.]

Duties should be so high that our manufacturers can fairly compete with the foreign product, but not so high as to enable them to drive out the foreign article, enjoy a monopoly of the trade, and regulate the price as they please. This is my doctrine of protection.... I am for a protection that leads to ultimate free trade. I am for that free trade which can only be achieved through a reasonable protection.

[Letter to A. B. Hinsdale.]

Washington, January 1, 1867.

I am less satisfied with the present aspect of public affairs than I have been for a long time....[Pg 408] Really there seems to be a fear on the part of many of our friends that they may do some absurdly extravagant thing to prove their radicalism. I am trying to do two things: dare to be a radical and not be a fool, which, if I may judge by the exhibitions around me, is a matter of no small difficulty.... My own course is chosen, and it is quite probable it will throw me out of public life.

We provide for the common defence by a system which promotes the general welfare.

[From an Address at Hiram College, June 14, 1867.]

It is to me a perpetual wonder how any child's love of knowledge survives the outrages of the school-house. I, for one, declare that no child of mine shall ever be compelled to study one hour, or to learn even the English alphabet, before he has deposited under his skin at least seven years of muscle and bone.

[From the Same.]

The student should study himself, his relations to society, to nature, and to art, and above all, in all, and through all these, he should study the relations of himself, society, nature, and art, to God, the Author of them all.[Pg 409]

[From the Same]

It is well to know the history of those magnificent nations whose origin is lost in fable, and whose epitaphs were written a thousand years ago—but if we cannot know both, it is far better to study the history of our own nation, whose origin we can trace to the freest and noblest aspirations of the human heart—a nation that was formed from the hardiest, purest, and most enduring elements of European civilization—a nation that, by its faith and courage, has dared and accomplished more for the human race in a single century than Europe accomplished in the first thousand years of the Christian era. The New England township was the type after which our Federal Government was modelled, yet it would be rare to find a college student who can make a comprehensive and intelligible statement of the municipal organization of the township in which he was born, and tell you by what officers its legislative, judicial, and executive functions were administered. One half of the time which is now almost wasted, in district schools, on English Grammar, attempted at too early an age, would be sufficient to teach our children to love the Republic, and to become its loyal and life-long supporters. After the bloody baptism from which the nation has arisen to a higher and nobler life, of this shameful defect in our system[Pg 410] of education be not speedily remedied, we shall deserve the infinite contempt of future generations. I insist that it should be made an indispensable condition of graduation in every American college, that the student must understand the history of this continent since its discovery by Europeans, the origin and history of the United States, its constitution of government, the struggles through which it has passed, and the rights and duties of citizens who are to determine its destiny and share its glory.

Having thus gained the knowledge which is necessary to life, health, industry, and citizenship, the student is prepared to enter a wider and grander field of thought. If he desires that large and liberal culture, which will call into activity all his powers, and make the most of the material God has given him, he must study deeply and earnestly the intellectual, the moral, the religious, and the æsthetic nature of man; his relations to nature, to civilization, past and present, and above all, his relations to God. These should occupy nearly, if not fully, half the time of his college course. In connection with the philosophy of the mind, he should study logic, the pure mathematics, and the general laws of thought. In connection with moral philosophy, he should study political and social ethics—a science so little known either in colleges or congresses. Prominent among all the rest[Pg 411] should be his study of the wonderful history of the human race, in its slow and toilsome march across the centuries—now buried in ignorance, superstition and crime; now rising to the sublimity of heroism and catching a glimpse of a better destiny; now turning remorselessly away from, and leaving to perish, empires and civilizations in which it had invested its faith, and courage, and boundless energy for a thousand years, and plunging into the forests of Germany, Gaul, and Britain, to build for itself new empires, better fitted for its new aspirations; and, at last, crossing three thousand miles of unknown sea, and building in the wilderness of a new hemisphere its latest and proudest monuments.

[Speech in the House of Representatives, February 12, 1867.]

I cannot forget that we have learned slowly.... I cannot forget that less than five years ago I received an order from my superior officer commanding me to search my camp for a fugitive slave, and if found, to deliver him up to a Kentucky captain who claimed him as his property; and I had the honor to be perhaps the first officer in the army who peremptorily refused to obey such an order. We were then trying to save the Union without hurting slavery.... It took us two years to reach a point where we were willing to do the[Pg 412] most meagre justice to the black man, and to recognize the truth that

"A man's a man for a' that!"

Sir, the hand of God has been visible in this work, leading us by degrees out of the blindness of our prejudices, to see that the fortunes of the Republic and the safety of the party of liberty are inseparably bound up with the rights of the black man. At last our party must see that if it would preserve its political life, or maintain the safety of the Republic, we must do justice to the humblest man in the Nation, whether black or white. I thank God that to-day we have struck the rock; we have planted our feet upon solid earth. Streams of light will gleam out from the luminous truth embodied in the legislation of this day. This is the ne plus ultra of reconstruction, and I hope we shall have the courage to go before our people everywhere with "This or nothing" for our motto.

Now, sir, as a temporary measure, I give my support to this military bill properly restricted. It is severe. It was written with a steel pen made out of a bayonet; and bayonets have done us good service hitherto. All I ask is that Congress shall place civil governments before these people of the rebel States, and a cordon of bayonets behind them.

[Pg 413]

Now, what does this bill propose? It lays the hands of the Nation upon the rebel State governments, and takes the breath of life out of them. It puts the bayonet at the breast of every rebel murderer in the South to bring him to justice. It commands the army to protect the life and property of citizens whether black or white. It places in the hands of Congress absolutely and irrevocably the whole work of reconstruction.

With this thunderbolt in our hands shall we stagger like idiots under its weight? Have we grasped a weapon which we have neither the courage nor the wisdom to wield?


When in Europe in 1867, my attention was particularly drawn to the significant fact that the pictures of Lincoln and Seward were the only portraits of American statesmen that were notably prominent, and that these were everywhere seen together. I asked a Frenchman of distinction why[Pg 414] Seward was held in such high estimation; and his answer most seriously impressed me with the thought that perhaps, after all the slanders of his detractors, Mr. Seward had builded for the future more wisely than we knew. This gentleman said: "Mr. Seward is the American statesman who looms up the most prominently from over the water. His diplomacy in Mexico has placed the imprint of greatness upon his name. Halting for a moment in the midst of the turmoil of the civil war, with his pen he dismembered the coalition organized to place Maximilian upon the Mexican throne, and thus placed the first mine under the throne of the Third Bonaparte. He has undertaken what the combined powers of Europe have not ventured to essay—to break the sceptre of the Second Empire." The views entertained by this distinguished Frenchman seem also to have been held in Mexico, for upon the occasion of the death of Mr. Seward, the press of that country all made the most grateful mention of his services in that regard.

[Pg 415]

The enthusiasm of this Frenchman, continued General Garfield, had not perished from my memory later when public duties called me to the State Department. The Alaska treaty had just been signed. I found the Sage of Auburn alone, in the thoughtful mood so common to him when meditating upon great subjects. Our conversation fell upon himself, and I found that he had been meditating upon his withdrawal from public life. He had been eight years in the second highest place in this Nation. He had almost had the Presidency within his grasp; but the displeasure of his party had fallen upon him, and he was about to retire from the political arena. He told me that power was sweet to him; that he clung even then fondly to its shadow; and that he relinquished his sceptre with regret. His exact language, in speaking of his past career was: "It is unpleasant to yield up power." The conversation turned upon Alaska. The Secretary fell into the dream-like attitude that was never seen except by those who were familiar with him, and commenced to explain his theory of the Alaska purchase in forcible, prophetic, almost pathetic words which I never shall forget. I left the room then with grander ideas of the man than I had ever entertained before. His conversation indicated that he had been following a particular course of study, for he remarked that, to his notion, the two greatest books of the century[Pg 416] were Marsh's "Man in Nature," and the Duke of Argyll's "Reign of Law." The application of Argyll's theory of law as applied to political development, Mr. Seward had evidently studied with much care. He had been reasoning upon natural laws as they affect a nation. He had been speculating upon the elementary forces of a nation's grandeur, and upon the contrivance in combining them to make them operate in a direction desired. This theory was founded upon the possibility of tracing these forces in history, and of discovering the operation of these laws under conditions which had actually determined the course of mankind and nations in definite directions. The text of his theory was the history of the world's seas. History had taught him that the grandest achievements of man had been associated with the shores of the world's seas. To go back no further than the beginning of the Christian era, the most sacred, solemn story of the hopes of man had been written in wanderings on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. With the progress of Christian civilization, thus sea-born, the advancing tide of human progress was staid by the banks of the Mediterranean. It was along the borders of this sea that the Byzantine Empire flourished and was destroyed; that Rome attained her supremacy, and fell. With the progress of time, and the advance of civilization westward, the Atlantic took the place of the Galilean[Pg 417] Sea and of the Mediterranean. It is the sea of the present. But unless the laws of political geography are false, the contests of the future are to be around the shores of the "still sea," now our own Pacific. The nation of the future is the nation that holds the key of those waters. The purchase of Alaska has given our Republic a foothold on both sides of that sea. It is a geographical impossibility that any other nation can occupy a position in its own territory upon both sides of the Pacific. This is the theory of the purchase. It secures the control of the Pacific to the young Republic. It assures the future of the world's dominion to Yankee civilization. This was the theory.

And his outlook, said General Garfield, with enthusiasm, was grand. In his political horoscope, he saw the Republic enjoying a prosperity of which the annals of human affairs had furnished no example; he saw our country rising to the place of umpire among the world's powers; he saw how, by wise statesmanship, our material prosperity and peaceful conquests grew together; how our increasing commerce made us mistress of the seas; how Western civilization and Oriental decrepitude were staid upon the borders of that Pacific sea, and compelled to render homage to Young America, who had become the keeper of the world's keys.

These were the grand thoughts of Mr. Seward as he was about to relinquish the mantle of his[Pg 418] power, and, continued General Garfield, his views have left a lasting impression upon me. Mr. Seward could not have died more successfully than he did. He passed away in the lull between two elections, and received the merited eulogiums of both parties. He bore success followed by failure better than any American I know. He was for nearly a decade next to the source of power, and missed the place which was the goal of his later years, retiring from public life suffering the displeasure of his party. But he quietly retired to private life, and never lost his genial spirit or his noble ways.

[This report of the conversation is indorsed by General Garfield as "in the main correct."

J. C]

[Speech on the Currency Question, 1868.]

As a medium of exchange, money is to all business transactions what ships are to the transportation of merchandise. If a hundred vessels, of a given tonnage, are just sufficient to carry all the commodities between two ports, any increase of the number of vessels will correspondingly decrease the value of each as an instrument of commerce; any decrease below one hundred will correspondingly increase the value of each. If the number be doubled, each will carry but half its usual freight, will be worth but half its former value for that[Pg 419] trade. There is so much work to be done, and no more. A hundred vessels can do it all. A thousand can do no more than all.

When the money of the country is gold and silver, it adapts itself to the fluctuations of business without the aid of legislation. If at any time we have more than is needed, the surplus flows off to other countries through the channels of international commerce. If less, the deficiency is supplied through the same channels. Thus the monetary equilibrium is maintained. So immense is the trade of the world, that the golden streams pouring from California and Australia into the specie circulation are soon absorbed in the great mass, and equalized throughout the world, as the waters of all the rivers are spread upon the surface of all the seas.

Not so, however, with an inconvertible paper currency. Excepting the specie used in payment of customs and the interest on our public debt, we are cut off from the money currents of the world. Our currency resembles rather the waters of an artificial lake, which lie in stagnation or rise to full banks at the caprice of the gate-keeper.

[A Speech on Currency and the Banks, 1870.]

The business of the country is like the level of the ocean, from which all measurements are made[Pg 420] of heights and depths. Though tides and currents may for a time disturb, and tempests vex and toss its surface, still through calm and storm the grand level rules all its waves and lays its measuring-lines on every shore. So the business of the country, which, in the aggregated demands of the people for the exchange of values, marks the ebb and flow, the rise and fall of the currents of trade, and forms the base-line from which to measure all our financial legislation, and is the only safe rule by which the volume of our currency can be determined.

The State bank system was a chaos of ruin, in which the business of the country was again and again ingulfed. The people rejoice that it has been swept away, and they will not consent to its re-establishment. In its place we have the National-bank system, based on the bonds of the United States, and sharing the safety and credit of the government. Their notes are made secure, first, by a deposit of government bonds, worth at least ten per cent. more than the whole value of the notes; second, by a paramount lien on all the assets of the banks; third, the personal liability of all the shareholders to an amount equal to the capital they hold; and, fourth, the absolute guarantee by the government to redeem them at the[Pg 421] National Treasury if the banks fail to do so. Instead of seven thousand different varieties of notes, as in the State system, we have now but ten varieties, each uniform in character and appearance. Like our flag, they bear the stamp of nationality, and are honored in every part of the Union.

[From a Speech in the House, April 1, 1870.]

As an abstract theory of political economy free-trade has many advocates, and much can be said in its favor; nor will it be denied that the scholarship of modern times is largely on that side; that a large majority of the great thinkers of the present day are leading in the direction of what is called free-trade.

While this is true, it is equally undeniable that the principle of protection has always been recognized and adopted in some form or another by all nations, and is to-day, to a greater or less extent, the policy of every civilized government....

Protection, in its practical meaning, is that provident care for the industry and development of our own country which will give our own people an equal chance in the pursuit of wealth, and save us from the calamity of being dependent upon other nations with whom we may any day be at war.

In so far as the doctrine of free-trade is a protest[Pg 422] against the old system of oppression and prohibition, it is a healthy and worthy sentiment. But underlying all theories, there is a strong and deep conviction in the minds of a great majority of our people in favor of protecting American industry....

[Speech on the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, April 4, 1871.]

... Nothing more aptly describes the character of our Republic than the solar system, launched into space by the hand of the Creator, where the central sun is the great power around which revolve all the planets in their appointed orbits. But while the sun holds in the grasp of its attractive power the whole system, and imparts its light and heat to all, yet each individual planet is under the sway of laws peculiar to itself.

Under the sway of terrestrial laws, winds blow, waters flow, and all the tenantries of the planet live and move. So, sir, the States move on in their orbits of duty and obedience, bound to the central government by this Constitution, which is their supreme law; while each State is making laws and regulations of its own, developing its own energies, maintaining its own industries, managing its local affairs in its own way, subject only to the supreme but beneficent control of the[Pg 423] Union. When State-rights ran mad, put on the form of secession, and attempted to drag the States out of the Union, we saw the grand lesson, taught in all the battles of the late war, that a State could no more be hurled from the Union, without ruin to the nation, than could a planet be thrown from its orbit without dragging after it, to chaos and ruin, the whole solar universe.

In 1865 we had a debt of two billions seven hundred and seventy-two millions of dollars upon our hands, the debt accumulated from the great results of the war; we were compelled to pay from that debt one hundred and fifty-one millions of dollars in coin a year as interest, and that was a dreadful annual burden. In the year after the war ended, we paid five hundred and ninety millions of dollars over our counter in settling the business of the war and maintaining the ordinary expenses of the government. These tremendous burdens it seemed for a time we could not carry, and there were wicked men, and despairing men, and men who said we ought not to try to carry the burdens; but the brave nation said, This burden is the price of our country's life, all through it there is the price of blood and the price of liberty, and, therefore, we will bow our knees to the burden, we will carry it upon the stalwart shoulders of the nation.[Pg 424]

[Letter to Professor Demmon December 16, 1871.]

... Since I entered public life, I have constantly aimed to find a little time to keep alive the spirit of my classical studies, and to resist that constant tendency, which all public men feel, to grow rusty in literary studies, and particularly in the classical studies. I have thought it better to select some one line of classical reading, and, if possible, do a little work on it each day. For this winter I am determined to review such parts of the Odes of Horace as I may be able to reach. And, as preliminary to that work, I have begun by reading up the bibliography of Horace.

The Congressional Library is very rich in materials for this study, and I am amazed to find how deep and universal has been the impress left on the cultivated mind of the world by Horace's writings.

The Student should study himself his relation to Society, to Nature and to Art—and above all, in all, and through all these, he should study the relations of Himself, Society, Nature, and Art to God the Author of them all.

Greek is perhaps the most perfect instrument of Thought ever invented by Man, and its Literature[Pg 425] has never been equalled in purity of style and boldness of expression.

History is but the unrolled scroll of Prophecy. The world's history is a divine Poem, of which the history of every nation is a canto, and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian, Philosopher, and Historian—the humble listener—there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.

The lesson of History is rarely learned by the actors themselves.

Theologians in all ages have looked out admiringly upon the material universe, and from its inanimate existences demonstrated the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God; but we know of no one who has demonstrated the same attributes from the History of the human race.

Mankind have been slow to believe that order reigns in the universe, that the world is a Cosmos, not a chaos.[Pg 426]

The assertion of the reign of Law has been stubbornly resisted at every step. The divinities of Heathen superstition still linger in one form or another in the faith of the ignorant, and even many intelligent men shrink from the contemplation of one Supreme Will acting regularly, not fatuitously, through laws beautiful and simple, rather than through a fitful and capricious Providence.

English liberty to-day rests not so much on the government as on those rights which the people have wrested from the government. The rights of the Englishman outnumber the rights of the Englishman's king.

Poetry is the language of Freedom.

Liberty can be safe only when Suffrage is illuminated by education.

[Speech on the last Census.]

The developments of statistics are causing history to be re-written. Till recently the historian studied nature in the aggregate, and gave us only the story of princes, dynasties, sieges, and battles. Of the people themselves—the great social body, with life, growth, forces, elements, etc.—he told us nothing. Now, statistical inquiry leads us into the hovels, houses, workshops, mines, fields, prisons,[Pg 427] hospitals, and all places where human nature displays its weakness and strength. In these explorations he discovers the seeds of national growth and decay, and thus becomes the prophet of his generation.

Statistical science is indispensable to modern statesmanship. In legislation, as in physical science, it is beginning to be understood that we can control terrestrial forces only by obeying their laws. The legislator must formulate in his statistics not only the national will but also those great laws of social life revealed by statistics. He must study society rather than black-letter learning. He must learn the truth that "society usually prepares the crime, and the criminal is only the instrument that completes it," that statesmanship consists rather in removing causes than in punishing, or evading results.

[Speech on National Aid to Education, February 6, 1872.]

We look sometimes with great admiration at a government like Germany, that can command the light of its education to shine everywhere, that can enforce its school laws everywhere throughout the Empire. Under our system we do not rejoice in that, but we rather rejoice that here two forces play with all their vast power upon our system of education. The first is that of the local municipal power under our State government. There is the[Pg 428] centre of responsibility. There is the chief educational power....

But there is another force even greater than that of the State and the local governments. It is the force of private voluntary enterprise, that force which has built up the multitude of private schools, academies, and colleges throughout the United States, not always wisely, but always with enthusiasm and wonderful energy.

I am considering what is the best system of organizing the educational work of a nation, not from the political stand-point alone, but from the stand-point of the school-house itself. This work of public education partakes in a peculiar way of the spirit of the human mind in its efforts for culture. The mind must be as free from extraneous control as possible; must work under the inspiration of its own desires for knowledge; and while instructors and books are necessary helps, the fullest and highest success must spring from the power of self-help.

So the best system of education is that which draws its chief support from the voluntary effort of the community, from the individual effort of citizens, and from those burdens of taxation which they voluntarily impose upon themselves.... Government shall be only a help to them, rather than a commander, in the work of education.[Pg 429]

I would rather be beaten in Right than succeed in Wrong.

Present evils always seem greater than those that never come.

Poverty is uncomfortable, as I can testify; but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my acquaintance I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth the saving.

For the noblest man that lives there still remains a conflict.

No man can make a speech alone. It is the great human power that strikes up from a thousand minds that acts upon him and makes the speech.

After the battle of Arms comes the battle of History.

There is a fellowship among the Virtues by which one great, generous passion stimulates another.

Growth is better than Permanence, and permanent growth is better than all.

The principles of Ethics have not changed by the lapse of years.[Pg 430]

The possession of great power no doubt carries with it a contempt for mere external show.

[From a Speech on Repealing the Salary Clause, 1873.]

One of the brightest and greatest of men I know in this nation [Louis Agassiz], a man who, perhaps, has done as much for its intellectual life as any other, told me not many months ago that he had made it the rule of his life to abandon any intellectual pursuit the moment it became commercially valuable; that others would utilize what he had discovered; that his field of work was above the line of commercial values, and when he brought down the great truths of science from the upper heights to the level of commercial values, a thousand hands would be ready to take them, and make them more valuable in the markets of the world. He entered upon his great career, not for the salary it gave him, for that was meagre compared with the pay of those in the lower walks of life; but he followed the promptings of his great nature, and worked for the love of truth and the instruction of mankind.

[Letter to B. A. Hinsdale, 1874.]

The worst days of darkness through which I have ever passed have been greatly alleviated by throwing myself with all my energy into some work relating to others.[Pg 431]

[Speech on the Currency and the Public Faith, April 8, 1874.]

There never did exist on this earth a body of men wise enough to determine by any arbitrary rule how much currency is needed for the business of a great country. The laws of trade, the laws of credit, the laws of God impressed upon the elements of this world, are superior to all legislation; and we can enjoy the benefits of these immutable laws only by obeying them.

It has been demonstrated again and again that upon the artisans, the farmers, the day-laborers falls at last the dead weight of all the depreciation and loss that irredeemable paper-money carries in its train. Let this policy be carried out, and the day will surely and speedily come when the nation will clearly trace the cause of its disaster to those who deluded themselves and the people with what Jefferson fitly called "legerdemain tricks of paper-money."

[Speech on the Railway Problem, June 22, 1874.]

We are so involved in the events and movements of society that we do not stop to realize—what is undeniably true—that during the last forty years all modern societies have entered upon a period of change more marked, more pervading, more[Pg 432] radical than any that has occurred during the last three hundred years. In saying this, I do not forget our own political and military history, nor the French Revolution of 1793. The changes now taking place have been wrought, and are being wrought, mainly, almost wholly, by a single mechanical contrivance, the steam locomotive. Imagine, if you can, what would happen if to-morrow morning the railway locomotive, and its corollary, the telegraph, were blotted from the earth. At first thought, it would seem impossible to get on at all with the feeble substitutes we should be compelled to adopt in place of these great forces. To what humble proportions mankind would be compelled to scale down the great enterprises they are now pushing forward with such ease! But were this calamity to happen, we should simply be placed where we were forty-three years ago.

There are many persons now living who well remember the day when Andrew Jackson, after four weeks of toilsome travel from his home in Tennessee, reached Washington and took his first oath of office as President of the United States. On that day the railway locomotive did not exist. During that year Henry Clay was struggling to make his name immortal by linking it with the then vast project of building a national road—a turnpike—from the national capital to the banks of the Mississippi.[Pg 433]

In the autumn of that very year George Stephenson ran his first experimental locomotive, the "Rocket," from Manchester to Liverpool and back. The rumble of its wheels, redoubled a million times, is echoing to-day on every continent.

The American people have done much for the locomotive, and it has done much for them. We have already seen that it has greatly reduced, if not wholly destroyed, the danger that the government will fall to pieces by its own weight. The railroad has not only brought our people and their industries together, but it has carried civilization into the wilderness, has built up States and Territories, which, but for its power, would have remained deserts for a century to come. "Abroad and at home," as Mr. Adams tersely declares, "it has equally nationalized people and cosmopolized nations." It has played a most important part in the recent movement for the unification and preservation of nations.

It enabled us to do what the old military science had pronounced impossible—to conquer a revolted population of eleven millions, occupying a territory one-fifth as large as the continent of Europe. In an able essay on the railway system, Mr. Charles F. Adams, Jr. has pointed out some of the remarkable achievements of the railroad in our recent history. For example, a single railroad track[Pg 434] enabled Sherman to maintain eighty thousand fighting men three hundred miles beyond his base of supplies. Another line, in a space of seven days, brought a re-enforcement of two fully equipped army corps around a circuit of thirteen hundred miles, to strengthen an army at a threatened point. He calls attention to the still more striking fact that for ten years past, with fifteen hundred millions of our indebtedness abroad, an enormous debt at home, unparalleled public expenditures, and a depreciated paper currency, in defiance of all past experience, we have been steadily conquering our difficulties, have escaped the predicted collapse, and are promptly meeting our engagements; because, through energetic railroad development, the country has been producing real wealth, as no country has produced it before. Finally, he sums up the case by declaring that the locomotive has "dragged the country through its difficulties in spite of itself."

In the darkness and chaos of that period, the feudal system was the first important step toward the organization of modern nations. Powerful chiefs and barons intrenched themselves in castles, and, in return for submission and service, gave to their vassals rude protection and ruder laws. But as the feudal chiefs grew in power and wealth, they became the oppressors of their people, taxed[Pg 435] and robbed them at will, and finally, in their arrogance, defied the kings and emperors of the Mediæval States. From their castles, planted on the great thoroughfares, they practised the most capricious extortions on commerce and travel, and thus gave to modern language the phrase, "levy blackmail."

The consolidation of our great industrial and commercial companies, the power they wield, and the relations they sustain to the State and to the industry of the people, do not fall far short of Fourier's definition of commercial or industrial feudalism. The modern barons, more powerful than their military prototypes, own our greatest highways, and levy tribute at will upon all our vast industries. And, as the old feudalism was finally controlled and subordinated only by the combined efforts of the kings and the people of the free cities and towns, so our modern feudalism can be subordinated to the public good only by the great body of the people, acting through their governments by wise and just laws.

I shall not now enter upon the discussion of methods by which this great work of adjustment may be accomplished. But I refuse to believe that the genius and energy which have developed these new and tremendous forces, will fail to make them, not the masters, but the faithful servants of society. It will be a disgrace to our age[Pg 436] and to us, if we do not discover some method by which the public functions of these organizations may be brought into full subordination to the public, and that, too, without violence, and without unjust interference with the rights of private individuals. It will be unworthy of our age, and of us, if we make the discussion of this subject a mere warfare against men. For in these great industrial enterprises have been, and still are engaged, some of the noblest and worthiest men of our time. It is the system—its tendencies and its dangers—which society itself has produced, that we are now to confront. And these industries must not be crippled, but promoted. The evils complained of are mainly of our own making. States and communities have willingly and thoughtlessly conferred these great powers upon railways; and they must seek to rectify their own errors without injury to the industries they have encouraged.

It depends upon the wisdom, the culture, the self-control of our people and their representatives, to determine how wisely and how well this question shall be settled. But that it will be solved, and solved in the interest of liberty and justice, I do not doubt. And its solution will open the way to a solution of a whole chapter of similar questions that relate to the conflict between capital and labor.[Pg 437]

[From a Speech in the House of Representatives, June, 1874.]

The division between church and state ought to be so absolute that no church property anywhere, in any State or in the nation, should be exempt from taxation; for, if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a church-tax upon the whole community.

Occasion may be the bugle-call that summons an army to battle, but the blast of a bugle can never make soldiers or win victories.

Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.

We cannot study nature profoundly without bringing ourselves into communion with the spirit of art which pervades and fills the universe.

If there be one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man; it is a man who dares to look the devil in the face, and tell him he is a devil.

It is one of the precious mysteries of sorrow, that it finds solace in unselfish thought.

True art is but the anti-type of nature, the embodiment of discovered beauty in utility.[Pg 438]

In order to have any success in life, or any worthy success, you must resolve to carry into your work a fulness of knowledge; not merely a sufficiency, but more than a sufficiency.

Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing.

If you are not too large for the place, you are too small for it.

What the arts are to the world of matter, literature is to the world of mind.

Many books we can read in a railroad car, and feel a harmony between the rushing of the train and the haste of the author; but to enjoy standard works, we need the quiet of a winter evening; an easy-chair before a cheerful fire, and all the equanimity of spirits we can command.

He who would understand the real spirit of literature should not select authors of any one period alone, but rather go to the fountain-head, add trace the little rill as it courses along down the ages, broadening and deepening into the great ocean of thought which the men of the present are exploring.

The true literary man is no mere gleaner, following in the rear and gathering up the fragments of the world's thought; but he goes down deep[Pg 439] into the heart of humanity, watches its throbbings; analyzes the forces at work there; traces out, with prophetic foresight, their tendencies, and thus, standing out far beyond his age, holds up the picture of what it is and is to be.

[Letter to A. B. Hinsdale, 1876.]

I have followed this rule [as a lawyer]: whenever I have had a case, I have undertaken to work out thoroughly the principles involved in it; not for the case alone, but for the sake of comprehending thoroughly that branch of the law.

[From "Life and Character of Almeda A. Booth," June 22, 1876.]

We can study no life intelligently except in its relation to causes and results. Character is the chief element; for it is both a result and a cause—the result of all the elements and forces that combined to form it, and the chief cause of all that is accomplished by its possessor....

Every character is the joint product of nature and nurture. By the first, we mean those inborn qualities of body and mind inherited from parents, or rather from a long line of ancestors. Who shall estimate the effect of those latent forces, enfolded in the spirit of a new-born child, which may date back centuries, and find their origin in the unwritten history of remote ancestors—forces, the germs[Pg 440] of which, enveloped in the solemn mystery of life, have been transmitted silently, from generation to generation, and never perish? All-cherishing Nature, provident and unforgetting, gathers up all these fragments that nothing may be lost, but that all may reappear in new combinations. Each new life is thus the "heir of all the ages," the possessor of qualities which only the events of life can unfold.

By the second element, nurture, culture, we designate all those influences which act upon this initial force of character, to retard or strengthen its development. There has been much discussion to determine which of these elements plays the more important part in the formation of character. The truth doubtless is, that sometimes the one and sometimes the other is the greater force; but so far as life and character are dependent upon voluntary action, the second is no doubt the element of chief importance.

[From the Same.]

Not enough attention has been paid to the marked difference between the situation and possibilities of a life developed here in the West, during the first half of the present century, and those of a life nurtured and cultivated in an old and settled community like that of New England.

Consider, for example, the measureless difference[Pg 441] between the early surroundings of John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln. Both were possessed of great natural endowments. Adams was blessed with parents whose native force of character, and whose vigorous and thorough culture have never been surpassed by any married pair in America. Young Adams was thoroughly taught by his mother until he had completed his tenth year; and then, accompanying his father to France, he spent two years in a training-school at Paris and three years in the University at Leyden. After two years of diplomatic service, under the skilful guidance of his father's hand, he returned to America, and devoted three years to study at Harvard, where he was graduated at the age of twenty-one; and, three years later, was graduated in the law, under the foremost jurist of his time. With such parentage and such opportunities, who can wonder that by the time he reached the meridian of his life, he was a man of immense erudition, and had honored every great office in the gift of his country?

How startling the contrast, in every particular, between his early life and that of Abraham Lincoln.... Born to an inheritance of the extremest poverty, wholly unaided by his parents, surrounded by the rude forces of the wilderness, only one year at any school, never for a day master of his own time until he reached his majority, forcing[Pg 442] his way to the profession of the law by the hardest and roughest road, and beginning its practice at twenty-eight years of age, yet, by the force of unconquerable will and persistent hard work, he attained a foremost place in his profession.

"And, moving up from high to higher,
Became, on fortune's crowning slope,
The pillar of a people's hope,
The centre of a world's desire."

[From the Same.]

It is one of the precious mysteries of sorrow, that it finds solace in unselfish work.

A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck. Let not poverty stand as an obstacle in your way.

Here is the volume of our laws. More sacred than the twelve tables of Rome, this rock of the law rises in monumental grandeur alike above the people and the President, above the courts, above Congress, commanding everywhere reverence and obedience to its supreme authority.

That man makes a vital mistake who judges truth in relation to financial affairs from the changing phases of public opinion. He might as well stand on the shore of the Bay of Fundy, and from the ebb and flow of a single tide attempt to determine the general level of the sea, as to stand upon this floor, and from the current of public opinion[Pg 443] on any one debate, judge of the general level of the public mind. It is only when long spaces along the shore of the sea are taken into account that the grand level is found from which the heights and depths are measured. And it is only when long spaces of time are considered, that we find at last that level of public opinion which we call the general judgment of mankind.

Bad faith on the part of an individual, a city, or even a State, is a small evil in comparison with the calamities which follow bad faith on the part of a sovereign government.

In the complex and delicately adjusted relations of modern society, confidence in promises lawfully made is the life-blood of trade and commerce. It is the vital air Labor breathes. It is the light which shines on the pathway of prosperity.

An act of bad faith on the part of a State or municipal corporation, like poison in the blood, will transmit its curse to succeeding generations.

We are accustomed to hear it said that the great powers of government in this country are divided into two classes; National powers and State powers. That is an incomplete classification. Our fathers carefully divided all governmental powers into three classes; one they gave to the[Pg 444] States, another to the Nation; but the third great class, comprising the most precious of all powers, they refused to confer on the State or Nation, but reserved to themselves. This third class of powers has been almost uniformly overlooked by men who have written and discussed the American system.

Congress must always be the exponent of the political character and culture of the people, and if the next centennial does not find us a great Nation with a great and worthy Congress, it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the Nation do not aid in controlling the political forces which are employed to select the men who shall occupy the great places of trust and power.

There is scarcely a conceivable form of corruption or public wrong that does not at last present itself at the cashier's desk and demand money. The Legislature therefore, that stands at the cashier's desk and watches with its Argus eyes the demands for payment over the counter is most certain to see all the forms of public rascality.

A steady and constant Revenue drawn from sources that represent the prosperity of the nation,—a Revenue that grows with the growth of national wealth, and is so adjusted to the expenditures,[Pg 445] that a constant and considerable surplus is annually left in the Treasury above all the necessary current demands, a surplus that keeps the Treasury strong, that holds it above the fear of sudden panic, that makes it impregnable against all private combinations, that makes it a terror to all stock-jobbing and gold-gambling,—this is financial health.

[From the "Atlantic Monthly," July, 1877.]

The most alarming feature of our situation is the fact, that so many citizens of high character and solid judgment pay but little attention to the sources of political power, to the selection of those who shall make their laws.... It is precisely this neglect of the first steps in our political processes that has made possible the worst evils of our system. Corrupt and incompetent presidents, judges, and legislators can be removed, but when the fountains of political power are corrupted, when voters themselves become venal, and elections fraudulent, there is no remedy except by awakening the public conscience, and bringing to bear upon the subject the power of public opinion and the penalties of the law.... In a word, our national safety demands that the fountains of political power shall be made pure by intelligence, and kept pure by vigilance; that the best citizens shall take heed to the selection and election of the[Pg 446] worthiest and most intelligent among them to hold seats in the national legislature; and that when the choice has been made, the continuance of their representative shall depend upon his faithfulness, his ability, and his willingness to work.

[Speech on the presentation to Congress of Carpenter's painting of President Lincoln and his Cabinet, at the time of his first reading of the Proclamation of Emancipation, January 16, 1878.]

Let us pause to consider the actors in that scene. In force of character, in thoroughness and breadth of culture, in experience of public affairs, and in national reputation, the cabinet that sat around that council-board has had no superior, perhaps no equal in our history. Seward, the finished scholar, the consummate orator, the great leader of the senate, had come to crown his career with those achievements which placed him in the first rank of modern diplomatists. Chase, with a culture and a frame of massive grandeur, stood as the rock and pillar of the public credit, the noble embodiment of the public faith. Stanton was there, a very Titan of strength, the great organizer of victory. Eminent lawyers, men of business, leaders of states, and leaders of men, completed the group.

But the man who presided over that council, who inspired and guided its determinations, was[Pg 447] a character so unique that he stood alone, without a model in history, or a parallel among men. Born on this day, sixty-nine years ago, to an inheritance of extremest poverty, surrounded by the rude forces of the wilderness; wholly unaided by parents; only one year in any school; never, for a day, master of his own time until he reached his majority; making his way to the profession of the law by the hardest and roughest road; yet, by force of unconquerable will and persistent, patient work, he attained a foremost place in his profession,

"And, moving up from high to higher,
Became, on fortune's crowning slope,
The pillar of a people's hope,
The centre of a world's desire."

At first it was the prevailing belief that he would be only the nominal head of his administration; that its policy would be directed by the eminent statesmen he had called to his council. How erroneous this opinion was, may be seen from a single incident. Among the earliest, most difficult, and most delicate duties of his administration, was the adjustment of our relations with Great Britain. Serious complications, even hostilities, were apprehended. On the 21st day of May, 1861, the Secretary of State presented to the President his draught of a letter of instructions to Minister Adams, in which the position of[Pg 448] the United States and the attitude of Great Britain were set forth with the clearness and force which long experience and great ability had placed at the command of the Secretary.

Upon almost every page of that original draught are erasures, additions, and marginal notes in the handwriting of Abraham Lincoln, which exhibit a sagacity, a breadth of wisdom, and a comprehension of the whole subject, impossible to be found except in a man of the very first order. And these modifications of a great state-paper were made by a man who, but three months before, had entered, for the first time, the wide theatre of executive action.

Gifted with an insight and a foresight which the ancients would have called divination, he saw, in the midst of darkness and obscurity, the logic of events, and forecast the result. From the first, in his own quaint, original way, without ostentation or offence to his associates, he was pilot and commander of his administration. He was one of the few great rulers whose wisdom increased with his power, and whose spirit grew gentler and tenderer as his triumphs were multiplied.

[From the "North American Review," May-June, 1878.]

The Secretary of War is a civil officer; one of the constitutional advisers of the President—his[Pg 449] civil executive to direct and control military affairs, and conduct army administration for the President.... This was clearly understood in our early history, and it is worthy of note that our most eminent Secretaries of War have been civilians, who brought to the duties of the office great political and legal experience, and other high qualities of statesmanship.

Perhaps it was wise in Washington to choose as the first Secretary of War, a distinguished soldier, for the purpose of creating and setting in order the military establishment; but it may well be doubted if any subsequent appointment of a soldier to that position has been wise. In fact, most of the misadjustments between the Secretary of War and the army, so much complained of in recent years, originated with a Secretary of War who had been a soldier, and could hardly refrain from usurping the functions of command....

No very serious conflict of jurisdiction and command occurred until Jefferson Davis became Secretary of War. His early training as a soldier, his spirit of self-reliance and habits of imperious command, soon brought him into collision with General Scott, and were the occasion of a correspondence, perhaps the most acrimonious ever carried on by any prominent public man of our country.[Pg 450]

[From a Speech at Faneuil Hall, Boston, September 11, 1878.]

The Republican party of this country has said, and it says to-day, that, forgetting all the animosities of the war, forgetting all the fierceness and the passion of it, it reaches out both its hands to the gallant men who fought us, and offers all fellowship, all comradeship, all feelings of brotherhood, on this sole condition, and on that condition they will insist forever: That in the war for the Union we were right, forever right, and that in the war against the Union they were wrong, forever wrong. We never made terms, we never will make terms, with the man who denies the everlasting rightfulness of our cause. That would be treason to the dead and injustice to the living; and on that basis alone our pacification is complete. We ask that it be realized, and we shall consider it fully realized when it is just as safe and just as honorable for a good citizen of South Carolina to be a Republican there as it is for a good citizen of Massachusetts to be a Democrat here.

[From an Address at Hiram College.]

Our great dangers are not from without. We do not live by the consent of any other nation. We must look within to find elements of danger.[Pg 451]

[From a Speech on the Ninth Census.]

Statesmanship consists rather in removing causes than in punishing, or evading results.

[From a Speech, December 10, 1878.]

The man who wants to serve his country must put himself in the line of its leading thought, and that is the restoration of business, trade, commerce, industry, sound political economy, hard money, and the payment of all obligations; and the man who can add anything in the direction of accomplishing any of these purposes is a public benefactor.

The scientific spirit has cast out the Demons and presented us with Nature, clothed in her right mind and living under the reign of law. It has given us for the sorceries of the alchemist, the beautiful laws of chemistry; for the dreams of the astrologer, the sublime truths of astronomy; for the wild visions of cosmogony, the monumental records of geology; for the anarchy of diabolism, the laws of God.

We no longer attribute the untimely death of infants to the sin of Adam, but to bad nursing and ignorance.

Truth is so related and correlated that no department of her realm is wholly isolated.[Pg 452]

Truth is the food of the human spirit, which could not grow in its majestic proportions without clearer and more truthful views of God and his universe.

Ideas are the great warriors of the world, and a war that has no ideas behind it is simply brutality.

I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost, that the characters of men are moulded and inspired by what their fathers have done; that, treasured up in American souls are all the unconscious influences of the great deeds of the Anglo-Saxon race, from Agincourt to Bunker Hill.

Eternity alone will reveal to the human race its debt of gratitude to the peerless and immortal name of Washington.

I doubt if any man equalled Samuel Adams in formulating and uttering the fierce, clear, and inexorable logic of the Revolution.

The last eight decades have witnessed an Empire spring up in the full panoply of lusty life, from a trackless wilderness.

In their struggle with the forces of nature, the ability to labor was the richest patrimony of the colonist.

The granite hills are not so changeless and abiding as the restless sea.[Pg 453]

To him a battle was neither an earthquake, nor a volcano, nor a chaos of brave men and frantic horses involved in vast explosions of gunpowder. It was rather a calm rational combination of force against force.—Oration on Geo. H. Thomas.

After the fire and blood of the battle-fields have disappeared, nowhere does war show its destroying power so certainly and so relentlessly as in the columns which represent the taxes and expenditures of the nation.

[From a Speech, June 2, 1879.]

The Resumption of Specie Payments closes the most memorable epoch in our history since the birth of the Union. Eighteen hundred and sixty-one and eighteen hundred and seventy-nine are the opposite shores of that turbulent sea whose storms so seriously threatened with shipwreck the prosperity, the honor, and the life of the nation. But the horrors and dangers of the middle-passage have at last been mastered; and out of the night and tempest the Republic has landed on the shore of this new year, bringing with it union and liberty, honor and peace.

Our country needs not only a national but an international currency.[Pg 454]

Let us have equality of dollars before the law, so that the trinity of our political creed shall be—equal States, equal men, and equal dollars throughout the Union.

[Address, at the Memorial Meeting, in the House of Representatives, January 16, 1879.]

No page of human history is so instructive and significant as the record of those early influences which develop the character and direct the lives of eminent men. To every man of great original power, there comes in early youth, a moment of sudden discovery—of self recognition—when his own nature is revealed to himself, when he catches, for the first time, a strain of that immortal song to which his own spirit answers, and which becomes thenceforth and forever the inspiration of his life—

"Like noble music unto noble words."

More than a hundred years ago, in Strasbourg, on the Rhine, in obedience to the commands of his father, a German lad was reluctantly studying the mysteries of the civil law, but feeding his spirit as best he could upon the formal and artificial poetry of his native land, when a page of William Shakespeare met his eye, and changed the whole current of his life. Abandoning the law, he created and crowned with an immortal name the grandest epoch of German literature.[Pg 455]

Recording his own experience, he says:

At the first touch of Shakespeare's genius, I made the glad confession that something inspiring hovered above me.... The first page of his that I read made me his for life; and when I had finished a single play, I stood like one born blind, on whom a miraculous hand bestows sight in a moment. I saw, I felt, in the most vivid manner that my existence was infinitely expanded.

This Old World experience of Goethe's was strikingly reproduced, though under different conditions and with different results, in the early life of Joseph Henry. You have just heard the incident worthily recounted; but let us linger over it a moment. An orphan boy of sixteen, of tough Scotch fibre, laboring for his own support at the handicraft of the jeweler, unconscious of his great power, delighted with romance and the drama, dreaming of a possible career on the stage, his attention was suddenly arrested by a single page of an humble book of science which chanced to fall into his hands. It was not the flash of a poetic vision which aroused him. It was the voice of great Nature calling her child. With quick recognition and glad reverence his spirit responded; and from that moment to the end of his long and honored life, Joseph Henry was the devoted student of science, the faithful interpreter of nature.

To those who knew his gentle spirit, it is not[Pg 456] surprising that ever afterward he kept the little volume near him, and cherished it as the source of his first inspiration. In the maturity of his fame he recorded on its fly-leaf his gratitude. Note his words:

This book, under Providence, has exerted a remarkable influence on my life.... It opened to me a new world of thought and enjoyment, invested things before almost unnoticed with the highest interest, fixed my mind on the study of nature, and caused me to resolve, at the time of reading it, that I would devote my life to the acquisition of knowledge.

We have heard from his venerable associates with what resolute perseverance he trained his mind and marshalled his powers for the higher realms of science. He was the first American after Franklin who made a series of successful original experiments in electricity and magnetism. He entered the mighty line of Volta, Galvani, Oërsted, Davy, and Ampère, the great exploring philosophers of the world, and added to their work a final great discovery, which made the electro-magnetic telegraph possible.

It remained only for the inventor to construct an instrument and an alphabet. Professor Henry refused to reap any pecuniary rewards from his great discovery, but gave freely to mankind what nature and science had given to him. The venerable gentleman of almost eighty years, who has[Pg 457] just addressed us so eloquently, has portrayed the difficulties which beset the government in its attempt to determine how it should wisely and worthily execute the trust of Smithson. It was a perilous moment for the credit of America when that bequest was made. In his large catholicity of mind, Smithson did not trammel the bequest with conditions. In nine words he set forth its object—"for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." He asked and believed that America would interpret his wish aright, and with the liberal wisdom of science....

For ten years Congress wrestled with those nine words of Smithson and could not handle them. Some political philosophers of that period held that we had no constitutional authority to accept the gift at all [laughter] and proposed to send it back to England. Every conceivable proposition was made. The colleges clutched at it; the libraries wanted it; the publication societies desired to scatter it. The fortunate settlement of the question was this: that, after ten years of wrangling, Congress was wise enough to acknowledge its own ignorance, and authorized a body of men to find some one who knew how to settle it. [Applause.] And these men were wise enough to choose your great comrade to undertake the task. Sacrificing his brilliant prospects as a discoverer, he undertook the difficult work. He[Pg 458] drafted a paper, in which he offered an interpretation of the will of Smithson, mapped out a plan which would meet the demands of science, and submitted it to the suffrage of the republic of scientific scholars. After due deliberation it received the almost unanimous approval of the scientific world. With faith and sturdy perseverance, he adhered to the plan and steadily resisted all attempts to overthrow it.

In the thirty-two years during which he administered the great trust, he never swerved from his first purpose; and he succeeded at last in realizing the ideas with which he started.

The germ of our political institutions, the primary cell from which they were evolved, was in the New England town, and the vital force, the informing soul of the town, was the Town Meeting, which for all local concerns was king, lords, and commons in all.

It is as much the duty of all good men to protect and defend the reputation of worthy public servants as to detect public rascals.

Political parties, like poets, are born, not made. No act of political mechanics, however wise, can manufacture to order and make a platform, and put a party on it which will live and flourish.

[Pg 459]

[On the Relation of the Government to Science, February 11, 1879.]

What ought to be the relation of the National Government to science? What, if anything, ought we to do in the way of promoting science? For example, if we have the power, would it be wise for Congress to appropriate money out of the Treasury, to employ naturalists to find out all that is to be known of our American birds? Ornithology is a delightful and useful study; but would it be wise for Congress to make an appropriation for the advancement of that science? In my judgment, manifestly not. We would thereby make one favored class of men the rivals of all the ornithologists who, in their private way, following the bent of their genius, may be working out the results of science in that field. I have no doubt that an appropriation out of our Treasury for that purpose would be a positive injury to the advancement of science, just as an appropriation to establish a church would work injury to religion.

Generally, the desire of our scientific men is to be let alone to work in free competition with all the scientific men of the world; to develop their own results, and get the credit of them each for himself; not to have the Government enter the lists as the rival of private enterprise.

As a general principal, therefore, the United[Pg 460] States ought not to interfere in matters of science, but should leave its development to the free, voluntary action of our great third estate, the people themselves.

In this non-interference theory of the Government, I do not go to the extent of saying that we should do nothing for education—for primary education. That comes under another consideration—the necessity of the nation to protect itself, and the consideration that it is cheaper and wiser to give education than to build jails. But I am speaking now of the higher sciences.

To the general principle I have stated, there are a few obvious exceptions which should be clearly understood when we legislate on the subject. In the first place, the Government should aid all sorts of scientific inquiry that are necessary to the intelligent exercise of its own functions.

For example, as we are authorized by the Constitution and compelled by necessity to build and maintain light-houses on our coast and establish fog-signals, we are bound to make all necessary scientific inquiries in reference to light and its laws, sound and its laws—to do whatever in the way of science is necessary to achieve the best results in lighting our coasts and warning our mariners of danger. So, when we are building iron-clads for our navy or casting guns for our army, we ought to know all that is scientifically[Pg 461] possible to be known about the strength of materials and the laws of mechanics which apply to such structures. In short, wherever in exercising any of the necessary functions of the Government scientific inquiry is needed, let us make it, to the fullest extent, and at the public expense.

There is another exception to the general rule of leaving science to the voluntary action of the people. Wherever any great popular interest, affecting whole classes, possibly all classes of the community, imperatively need scientific investigation, and private enterprise cannot accomplish it, we may wisely intervene and help where the Constitution gives us authority. For example, in discovering the origin of yellow-fever and the methods of preventing its ravages, the nation should do, for the good of all, what neither the States nor individuals can accomplish. I might perhaps include in a third exception those inquiries which, in consequence of their great magnitude and cost, cannot be successfully made by private individuals. Outside these three classes of inquiries, the Government ought to keep its hands off, and leave scientific experiment and inquiry to the free competition of those bright, intelligent men whose genius leads them into the fields of research.

And I suspect, when we read the report of our commissioner to the late Paris Exposition, which[Pg 462] shows such astonishing results, so creditable to our country, so honorable to the genius of our people, it will be found, in any final analysis of causes, that the superiority of Americans in that great Exposition resulted mainly from their superior freedom, and the greater competition between mind and mind untrammelled by Government interference; I believe it will be found we are best serving the cause of religion and science, and all those great primary rights which we did not delegate to the Congress or the States, but left the people free to enjoy and maintain them.

[Speech on the National Election.]

The great danger which threatens this country is, that our sovereign may be dethroned or destroyed by corruption. In any monarchy of the world, if the sovereign be slain or become lunatic, it is easy to put another in his place, for the sovereign is a person. But our sovereign is the whole body of voters. If you kill, or corrupt, or render lunatic our sovereign, there is no successor, no regent to take his place. The source of our sovereign's supreme danger, the point where his life is vulnerable, is at the ballot-box, where his will is declared; and if we cannot stand by that cradle of our sovereign's heir-apparent and protect it to the uttermost against all assassins and assailants, we have no government and no safety for the future.[Pg 463]

[Remarks, in the House of Representatives, February 11, 1879, on the Life and Character of Gustave Schleicher.]

We are accustomed to say, and we have heard to-night, that he [Gustave Schleicher] was born on foreign soil. In one sense that is true; and yet in a very proper historic sense he was born in our fatherland. One of the ablest of recent historians begins his opening volume with the declaration that England is not the fatherland of the English-speaking people, but the ancient home, the real fatherland of our race, is the ancient forests of Germany. The same thought was suggested by Montesquieu long ago, when he declared in his Spirit of Laws that the British constitution came out of the woods of Germany.

To this day the Teutonic races maintain the same noble traits that Tacitus describes in his admirable history of the manners and character of the Germans. We may therefore say that the friend whose memory we honor to-night is one of the elder brethren of our race. He came to America direct from our fatherland, and not, like our own fathers, by the way of England.

We who were born and have passed all our lives in this wide New World can hardly appreciate the influences that surrounded his early life. Born on the borders of that great forest of Germany, the Odenwald, filled as it is with the memories and[Pg 464] traditions of centuries, in which are mingled Scandinavian mythology, legends of the middle ages, romances of feudalism and chivalry, histories of barons and kings, and the struggles of a brave people for a better civilization; reared under the institutions of a strong, semi-despotic government; devoting his early life to personal culture, entering at an early age the University of Giessen, venerable with its two and a half centuries of existence, with a library of four hundred thousand volumes at his hand, with a great museum of the curiosities and mysteries of nature to study, he fed his eager spirit upon the rich culture which that Old World could give him, and at twenty-four years of age, in company with a band of thirty-seven young students, like himself, cultivated, earnest, liberty-loving almost to the verge of communism—and who of us would not be communists in a despotism?—he came to this country, attracted by one of the most wild and romantic pictures of American history, the picture of Texas as it existed near forty years ago; the country discovered by La Salle at the end of his long and perilous voyage from Quebec to the northern lakes and from the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; the country possessed alternately by the Spanish and the French and then by Mexico; the country made memorable by such names as Blair, Houston, Albert Sidney Johnson, and Mirabeau Lamar, perhaps[Pg 465] as adventurous and daring spirits as ever assembled on any spot of the earth; a country that achieved its freedom by heroism never surpassed, and which maintained its perilous independence for ten years in spite of border enemies and European intrigues.

It is said that a society was formed in Europe embracing in its membership men of high rank, even members of royal families, for the purpose of colonizing the new Republic of the Lone Star, and making it a dependency of Europe under their patronage; but without sharing in their designs, some twenty thousand Germans found their way to the new Republic, and among these young Schleicher came.

[From the "North American Review," March, 1879.]

The ballot was given to the negro not so much to enable him to govern others as to prevent others from misgoverning him. Suffrage is the sword and shield of our law, the best armament that liberty offers to the citizen.

[From the Same, June, 1879.]

If our republic were blotted from the earth and from the memory of mankind, and if no record of its history survived, except a copy of our revenue laws and our appropriation bills for a single year, the political philosopher would be able from these[Pg 466] materials alone to reconstruct a large part of our history, and sketch with considerable accuracy the character and spirit of our institutions.

[Speech in Congress, on the first anniversary of Mr. Lincoln's death.]

There are times in the history of men and nations when they stand so near the veil that separates mortals and immortals, time from eternity, and men from their God, that they can almost hear the breathings, and feel the pulsations of the heart of the Infinite. Through such a time has this nation passed. When two hundred and fifty thousand brave spirits passed from the field of honor through that thin veil to the presence of God, and when at last its parting folds admitted the martyred President to the company of the dead heroes of the republic, the nation stood so near the veil that the whispers of God were heard by the children of men. Awe-stricken by his voice, the American people knelt in tearful reverence, and made a solemn covenant with God and each other that this nation should be saved from its enemies; that all its glories should be restored, and on the ruins of slavery and treason the temples of freedom and justice should be built, and stand forever. It remains for us, consecrated by that great event, and under that covenant with God, to keep the faith, to go forward in the great[Pg 467] work until it shall be completed. Following the lead of that great man, and obeying the high behests of God, let us remember

"He has sounded forth his trumpet, that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat;
Be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant, my feet;
For God is marching on."

Every great political party that has done this country any good has given to it some immortal ideas that have outlived all the members of that party.

[Speech at Cleveland, Ohio, October 11, 1879.—Resumption of Specie Payments.]

Now, what has been the trouble with us? 1860 was one shore of prosperity, and 1879 the other; and between these two high shores has flowed the broad, deep, dark river of fire and blood and disaster through which this nation has been compelled to wade, and in whose depths it has been almost suffocated and drowned. In the darkness of that terrible passage we carried liberty in our arms; we bore the Union on our shoulders; and we bore in our hearts and on our arms what was even better than liberty and Union—we bore the faith, and honor, and public trust of this mighty Nation. And never, until we came up out[Pg 468] of the dark waters, out of the darkness of that terrible current, and planted our feet upon the solid shore of 1879—never, I say, till then could this country look back to the other shore and feel that its feet were on solid ground, and then look forward to the rising uplands of perpetual peace and prosperity that should know no diminution in the years to come.

[Speech at Cleveland, October 11, 1879.—Appeal to Young Men.]

Now, I tell you, young man, don't vote the Republican ticket just because your father votes it. Don't vote the Democratic ticket, even if he does vote it. But let me give you this one word of advice, as you are about to pitch your tent in one of the great political camps. Your life is full and buoyant with hope now, and I beg you, when you pitch your tent, pitch it among the living and not among the dead. If you are at all inclined to pitch it among the Democratic people and with that party, let me go with you for a moment while we survey the ground where I hope you will not shortly lie. It is a sad place, young man, for you to put your young life into. It is to me far more like a graveyard than like a camp for the living. Look at it! It is billowed all over with the graves of dead issues, of buried opinions, of exploded theories, of disgraced doctrines. You cannot live[Pg 469] in comfort in such a place. Why, look here! Here is a little double mound. I look down on it and I read, "Sacred to the memory of Squatter Sovereignty and the Dred Scott decision." A million and a half of Democrats voted for that, but it has been dead fifteen years—died by the hand of Abraham Lincoln, and here it lies. Young man, that is not the place for you.

But look a little farther. Here is another monument—a black tomb—and beside it, as our distinguished friend said, there towers to the sky a monument of four million pairs of human fetters taken from the arms of slaves, and I read on its little headstone this: "Sacred to the memory of human slavery." For forty years of its infamous life the Democratic party taught that it was divine—God's institution. They defended it, they stood around it, they followed it to its grave as a mourner. But here it lies, dead by the hand of Abraham Lincoln. Dead by the power of the Republican party. Dead by the justice of Almighty God. Don't camp there, young man.

But here is another—a little brimstone tomb—and I read across its yellow face in lurid, bloody lines these words: "Sacred to the memory of State Sovereignty and Secession." Twelve millions of Democrats mustered around it in arms to keep it alive; but here it lies, shot to death by the million guns of the Republic. Here it lies, its[Pg 470] shrine burnt to ashes under the blazing rafters of the burning Confederacy. It is dead! I would not have you stay in there a minute, even in this balmy night air, to look at such a place.

But just before I leave it I discover a new-made grave, a little mound—short. The grass has hardly sprouted over it, and all around it I see torn pieces of paper with the word "fiat" on them, and I look down in curiosity, wondering what the little grave is, and I read on it: "Sacred to the memory of the Rag Baby nursed in the brain of all the fanaticism of the world, rocked by Thomas Ewing, George H. Pendleton, Samuel Cary, and a few others throughout the land." But it died on the 1st of January, 1879, and the one hundred and forty millions of gold that God made, and not fiat power, he upon its little carcass to keep it down forever.

Oh, young man, come out of that! That is no place in which to put your young life. Come out, and come over into this camp of liberty, of order, of law, of justice, of freedom, of all that is glorious under these night stars.

Is there any death here in our camp? Yes! yes! Three hundred and fifty thousand soldiers, the noblest band that ever trod the earth, died to make this camp a camp of glory and of liberty forever.

But there are no dead issues here. There are[Pg 471] no dead ideas here. Hang out our banner from under the blue sky this night until it shall sweep the green turf under your feet! It hangs over our camp. Read away up under the stars the inscription we have written on it, lo! these twenty-five years.

Twenty-five years ago the Republican party was married to Liberty, and this is our silver wedding, fellow-citizens. A worthily married pair love each other better on the day of their silver wedding than on the day of their first espousals; and we are truer to Liberty to-day, and dearer to God than we were when we spoke our first word of liberty. Read away up under the sky across our starry banner that first word we uttered twenty-five years ago! What was it? "Slavery shall never extend over another foot of the territories of the great West." Is that dead or alive? Alive, thank God, forevermore! And truer to-night than it was the hour it was written! Then, it was a hope, a promise, a purpose. To-night it is equal with the stars—immortal history and immortal truth.

Come down the glorious steps of our banner. Every great record we have made we have vindicated with our blood and with our truth. It sweeps the ground, and it touches the stars. Come there, young man, and put in your young life where all is living, and where nothing is dead but[Pg 472] the heroes that defended it! I think these young men will do that.

[From a Speech, January 14, 1880.]

I say, moreover, that the flowers that bloom over the garden-wall of party politics are the sweetest and most fragrant that bloom in the gardens of this world, and where we can fairly pluck them and enjoy their fragrance, it is manly and delightful to do so.

[Letter of Acceptance, July 10, 1880.]

Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained. Its interests are intrusted to the States, and to the voluntary action of the people. Whatever help the Nation can justly afford should be generously given to aid the States in supporting common schools; but it would be unjust to our people, and dangerous to our institutions, to apply any portion of the revenues of the Nation or of the States to the support of sectarian schools. The separation of the Church and the State in everything relating to taxation should be absolute.

Our country cannot be independent unless its people, with their abundant natural resources, possess the requisite skill at any time to clothe,[Pg 473] arm, and equip themselves for war, and in time of peace to produce all the necessary implements of labor. It was the manifest intention of the founders of the Government to provide for the common defence, not by standing armies alone, but by raising among the people a greater army of artisans, whose intelligence and skill should powerfully contribute to the safety and glory of the nation.

Over this vast horizon of interests, North and South, above all party prejudices and personal wrong-doing, above our battle hosts and our victorious cause, above all that we hoped for and won, or you hoped for and lost, is the grand onward movement of the Republic to perpetuate its glory, to save Liberty alive, to preserve exact and equal justice to all, to protect and foster all these priceless principles until they shall have crystallized into the form of enduring law and become inwrought into the life and habits of our People.

I look forward with joy and hope to the day when our brave people, one in heart, one in their aspirations for freedom and peace, shall see that the darkness through which we have travelled was but a part of that stern but beneficent discipline by which the great Disposer of events has been leading us on to a higher and nobler national life.

The hope of our National perpetuity rests upon[Pg 474] that perfect individual Freedom which shall forever keep up the circuit of perpetual change.

Whatever opinions we may now entertain of the Federalists as a party, it is unquestionably true that we are indebted to them for the strong points of the Constitution and for the stable government they founded and strengthened during the administration of Washington and Adams.

While it is true that no party can stand upon its past record alone, yet it is also true that its past shows the spirit and character of the organization, and enables us to judge what it will probably do in the future.

Parties have an organic life and spirit of their own—an individuality and character which outlive the men who compose them; and the spirit and traditions of a party should be considered in determining their fitness for managing the affairs of the nation.

It is a safe and wise rule to follow in all legislation, that whatever the people can do without legislation will be better done than by the intervention of the State and Nation.[Pg 475]

[From a Speech, at the unveiling of a Soldiers' Monument Painesville, Ohio, July 4, 1880.]

I once entered a house in old Massachusetts, where over its doors were two crossed swords. One was the sword carried by the grandfather of its owner on the field of Bunker Hill, and the other was the sword carried by the English grand-sire of the wife on the same field, and on the other side of the conflict. Under those crossed swords, in the restored harmony of domestic peace, lived a happy and contented and free family, under the light of our republican liberties. I trust the time is not far distant when, under the crossed swords and the locked shields of Americans, north and south, our people shall sleep in peace and rise in liberty, love, and harmony, under the union of our flag of the stars and stripes.

[Speech to a Delegation of four hundred Young Men—First Voters—of Cleveland, Ohio, at Mentor, October 8, 1880.]

... I have not so far left the coast of youth to travel inland but that I can very well remember the state of young manhood, from an experience in it of some years, and there is nothing to me in this world so inspiring as the possibilities that lie locked up in the head and breast of a young man. The hopes that lie before him the great inspirations[Pg 476] around him, the great aspirations above him, all these things, with the untried pathway of life opening up its difficulties and dangers, inspire him to courage, and force, and work.

[From a Speech in New York, August 6, 1880.]

... Ideas outlive men. Ideas outlive all things, and you who fought in the war for the Union fought for immortal ideas, and by their might you crowned our war with victory. But victory was worth nothing except for the fruits that were under it, in it, and above it. We meet to-night as veterans and comrades, to stand sacred guard around the truths for which we fought, and while we have life to meet and grasp the hands of a comrade, we will stand by the great truths of the war; and, comrades, among the convictions of that war which have sunk deep in our hearts there are some that we can never forget. Think of the great elevating spirit of the war itself. We gathered the boys from all our farms, and shops, and stores, and schools, and homes, from all over the Republic, and they went forth unknown to fame, but returned enrolled on the roster of immortal heroes. They went in the spirit of those soldiers of Henry at Agincourt, of whom he said, "Who this day sheds his blood with me, to-day shall be my brother. Were he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition;" and it did gentle the condition[Pg 477] and elevate the heart of every working soldier who fought in it, and he shall be our brother for evermore; and this thing we will remember; we will remember our allies who fought with us. Soon after the great struggle began we looked behind the army of white rebels and saw 4,000,000 of black people condemned to toil as slaves for our enemies, and we found that the hearts of this 4,000,000 were God-inspired with the spirit of freedom, and that they were our friends. We have seen white men betray the flag and fight to kill the Union, but in all that long, dreary war we never saw a traitor in a black skin. Our prisoners, escaping from the starvation of prison, and fleeing to our lines by the light of the North-star, never feared to enter the black man's cabin and ask for bread. In all that period of suffering and danger no Union soldier was ever betrayed by a black man or woman, and now that we have made them free, so long as we live we will stand by these black citizens. We will stand by them until the sun of liberty, fixed in the firmament of our Constitution, shall shine with equal rays upon every man, black or white, throughout the Union. Now, fellow-citizens, fellow-soldiers, in this there is all the beneficence of eternal justice, and by this we will stand forever.[Pg 478]

[Remarks at Chatauqua August 1, 1880]

I would rather be defeated than make capital out of my religion.

[From an Address at the Anniversary of Hiram College, directly after the Chicago Convention, 1880.]

Fellow-citizens, Neighbors, and Friends of many years: It always has given me pleasure to come back here and look upon these faces. It has always given me new courage and new friends. It has brought back a large share of that richness that belongs to those things out of which come the joys of life. While I have been sitting here this afternoon, watching your faces and listening to the very interesting address which has just been delivered, it occurred to me that the best thing you have that all men envy—I mean all men who have reached the meridian of life—is, perhaps, the thing that you care for less, and that is your leisure,—the leisure you have to think, the leisure you have to be let alone, the leisure you have to throw the plummet with your hand, and sound their depths and find out what is below, the leisure you have to walk about the towers of yourselves, and find how strong they are, or how weak they are, and determine what needs building up, and determine how to shape them, that you may make the final being that you are to be. Oh,[Pg 479] these hours of building! If the superior beings of the universe would look down upon the world to find the most interesting object, it would be the unfinished, unformed character of young men, or of young women. These behind me have, probably, in the main settled such questions. Those who have passed into middle manhood and middle womanhood are about what they shall always be, and there is little left of interest or curiosity as to our development. But to your young and yet uninformed natures no man knows the possibilities that lie treasured up in your hearts and intellects; and while you are working up these possibilities with that splendid leisure, you are the most envied of all classes of men and women in the world. I congratulate you on your leisure. I commend you to keep it as your gold, as your wealth, as your means, out of which you can demand all the possible treasures that God laid down when He formed your nature, and unveiled and developed the possibility of your future. This place is too full of memories for me to trust myself to speak upon, and I will not; but I draw again to-day, as I have for a quarter of a century, evidences of strength and affection from the people who gather in this place, and I thank you for the permission to see you, and meet you, and greet you, as I have done to-day.


[D] "nother talk that I recall was at a social gathering. It was at a dinner party after the failure of Greeley's campaign. The host was, perhaps the most original genius in Washington. He was an old companion of Greeley at Brook Farm. He was giving the dinner in payment of a bet he had lost by reason of Greeley's defeat. The conversation embraced all the topics of the day and in the course of it turned to Seward. A member of the company thought that Seward had been dead years before he was put into the grave. General Garfield thought differently, and delivered, on the spur of the moment, a remarkable eulogy on the dead statesman. Soon afterward, I reduced to notes the outlines of that eulogy, so far as my memory served me, and I reproduce it here. General Garfield possesses rare conversational powers, and uses, in social discourse, a diction not less eloquent and elegant than that to which he is accustomed in the forum."—Washington Correspondent of the Chicago Tribune.

[Pg 480]



Fellow Citizens,—We stand to-day upon an eminence which overlooks a hundred years of national life, a century crowded with perils, but crowned with the triumphs of liberty and law. Before continuing the onward march, let us pause on this height for a moment to strengthen our faith and renew our hope by a glance at the pathway along which our people have travelled. It is now three days more than a hundred years since the adoption of the first written Constitution of the United States, the articles of confederation and perpetual union. The new Republic was then beset with danger on every hand. It had not conquered a place in the family of nations. The decisive battle of the war for independence, whose centennial anniversary will soon be gratefully celebrated at Yorktown, had not yet been fought. The colonists were struggling not only against the armies of a great nation, but against the settled opinions of mankind, for the world did not believe[Pg 481] that the supreme authority of government could be safely intrusted to the guardianship of the people themselves. We cannot overestimate the fervent love of liberty, the intelligent courage and the saving common sense with which our fathers made the great experiment of self-government. When they found, after a short trial, that the confederacy of States was too weak to meet the necessities of a vigorous and expanding republic, they boldly set it aside, and in its stead established a national union founded directly upon the will of the people, endowed with future powers of self-preservation, and with ample authority for the accomplishment of its great objects. Under this Constitution the boundaries of freedom have been enlarged, the foundations of order and peace have been strengthened, and the growth in all the better elements of national life has vindicated the wisdom of the founders, and given new hopes to their descendants. Under this Constitution our people long ago made themselves safe against danger from without, and secured for their mariners and flag equality of rights on all the seas. Under this Constitution twenty-five States have been added to the Union, with constitutions and laws framed and enforced by their own citizens to secure the manifold blessings of local self-government. The jurisdiction of this Constitution now covers an area fifty times greater than that of the[Pg 482] original thirteen States, and a population twenty times greater than that of 1780. The supreme trial of the Constitution came at last under the tremendous pressure of civil war. We ourselves are witnesses that the Union emerged from the blood and fire of that conflict purified and made stronger for all the beneficent purposes of good government.

And now, at the close of this first century of growth, with the inspirations of its history in their hearts, our people have lately reviewed the condition of their nation, passed judgment upon the conduct and opinions of political parties, and have registered their will concerning the future administration of the Government. To interpret and to execute that will in accordance with the Constitution is the paramount duty of the Executive. Even from this brief review it is manifest that the nation is resolutely facing to the front, resolved to employ its best energies in developing the great possibilities of the future. Sacredly preserving whatever has been gained to liberty and good government during the century, our people are determined to leave behind them all those bitter controversies, including things which have been irrevocably settled, and the further discussion of which can only stir up strife and delay the onward march. The supremacy of the nation and its laws should be no longer a subject of debate.[Pg 483] That discussion which for half a century threatened the existence of the Union was closed at last in the high court of war by a decree from which there is no appeal, that the Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof are and shall continue to be the supreme law of the land, binding alike upon the States and the people. This decree does not disturb the autonomy of the States nor interfere with any of their necessary rules of local self-government, but it does fix and establish the permanent supremacy of the Union. The will of the nation speaking with the voice of battle and through the amended Constitution has fulfilled the great promise of 1776 by proclaiming "Liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof."

The elevation of the negro race from slavery to the full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution of 1787. No thoughtful man can fail to appreciate its beneficent effect upon our institutions and people. It has freed us from the perpetual danger of war and dissolution. It has added immensely to the moral and industrial forces of our people. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both. It has surrendered to their own guardianship the manhood of more than 5,000,000 of people, and has opened to each one of them a career of freedom and usefulness. It has given[Pg 484] new inspiration to the power of self-help in both races, by making labor more honorable to the one and more necessary to the other. The influence of this force will grow greater and bear richer fruit with the coming years. No doubt the great change has caused serious disturbance to our Southern community. This is to be deplored, though it was unavoidable. But those who resisted the change should remember, that under our institutions there was no middle ground for the negro race between slavery and equal citizenship. There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States; freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacles in the pathway of any virtuous citizen. The emancipated race has already made remarkable progress; with unquestioning devotion to the Union, with a patience and gentleness not born of fear, they have "followed the light as God gave them to see the light." They are rapidly laying the material foundations for self-support, widening the circle of intelligence, and beginning to enjoy the blessings that gather around the homes of industrious poor. They deserve the generous encouragement of all good men. So far as my authority can lawfully extend, they shall enjoy the full and equal protection of the Constitution and the laws.

The free enjoyment of equal suffrage is still in[Pg 485] question, and a frank statement of the issue may aid its solution. It is alleged, that in many communities negro citizens are practically denied the freedom of the ballot. In so far as the truth of this allegation is admitted, it is answered, that in many places honest local government is impossible if the mass of uneducated negroes are allowed to vote. These are grave allegations. So far as the latter is true, it is the only palliation that can be offered for opposing the freedom of the ballot. Bad local government is certainly a great evil which ought to be prevented, but to violate the freedom and sanctity of the suffrage is more than an evil; it is a crime, which, if persisted in, will destroy the government itself. Suicide is not a remedy. If in other lands it be high treason to compass the death of the king, it should be counted no less a crime here to strangle our sovereign power and stifle its voice. It has been said that unsettled questions have no pity for the repose of nations. It should be said, with the utmost emphasis, that this question of the suffrage will never give repose or safety to the States of the nation, until each, within its own jurisdiction, makes, and keeps the ballot free and pure by the strong sanctions of the law. But the danger which arises from ignorance in the voter cannot be denied. It covers a field far wider than that of negro suffrage and the present condition of that race. It[Pg 486] is a danger that lurks and hides in the sources and fountains of power in every State. We have no standard by which to measure the disaster that may be brought upon us by ignorance and vice in the citizens, when joined to corruption and fraud in the suffrage. The voters of the Union who make and unmake constitutions, and upon whom will hang the destinies of our governments, can transmit their supreme authority to no successor save the coming generation of voters, who are the sole heirs of sovereign power. If that generation comes to its inheritance blinded by ignorance and corrupted by vice, the fall of the republic will be certain and remediless. The census has already sounded the alarm, in the appalling figures which mark how dangerously high the tide of illiteracy has risen among our voters and their children. To the South, this question is of supreme importance, but the responsibility for the existence of slavery did not rest upon the South alone; the nation itself is responsible for the extension of the suffrage, and is under special obligations to aid in removing the illiteracy which it has added to the voting population.

For the North and South alike there is but one remedy. All the constitutional power of the nation and of the States, and all the volunteer forces of the people, should be summoned to meet this danger by the saving influence of universal[Pg 487] education. It is the high privilege and sacred duty of those now living to educate their successors, and fit them by intelligence and virtue, for the inheritance which awaits them. In this beneficent work, sections and races should be forgotten, and partisanship should be unknown. Let our people find a new meaning in the Divine oracle which declares that "a little child shall lead them," for our little children will soon control the destinies of the republic.

My countrymen, we do not now differ in our judgment concerning the controversies of past generations, and fifty years hence our children will not be divided in their opinions concerning our controversies. They will surely bless their fathers and their fathers' God that the Union was preserved, that slavery was overthrown, and that both races were made equal before the law. We may hasten or we may retard, but we cannot prevent the final reconciliation. Is it not possible for us now to make a truce with time by anticipating and accepting its inevitable verdict? Enterprises of the highest importance to our moral and material well-being invite us and offer ample scope for the employment of our best powers. Let all our people, leaving behind them the battle-fields of dead issues, move forward, and in the strength of liberty and the restored Union win the grander victories of peace.[Pg 488]

The prosperity which now prevails is without a parallel in our history; fruitful seasons have done much to secure it, but they have not done all. The preservation of the public credit and the resumption of specie payments, so successfully attained by the administration of my predecessor, has enabled our people to secure the blessings which the seasons brought. By the experience of commercial nations in all ages it has been found that gold and silver afford the only safe foundation for a monetary system. Confusion has recently been created by variations in the relative value of the two metals. But I confidently believe that arrangements can be made between the leading commercial nations which will secure the general use of both metals. Congress should provide that the compulsory coinage of silver, now required by law, may not disturb our monetary system by driving either metal out of circulation. If possible, such an adjustment should be made that the purchasing power of every coined dollar will be exactly equal to its debt-paying power in all the markets of the world. The chief duty of the national government, in connection with the currency of the country, is to coin and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes[Pg 489] has been sustained by the necessities of war, but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use, and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of its holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money if the holders demand it. These promises should be kept.

The refunding of the national debt at a lower rate of interest should be accomplished without compelling the withdrawal of the national bank notes and thus disturbing the business of the country. I venture to refer to the position I have occupied on financial questions during a long service in Congress, and to say that time and experience have strengthened the opinions I have so often expressed on these subjects. The finances of the government shall suffer no detriment which it may be possible for my administration to prevent.

The interests of agriculture deserve more attention from the government than they have yet received. The farms of the United States afford homes and employment for more than one-half our people, and furnish much the largest part of all our exports. As the government lights our coasts for the protection of mariners and the benefit of commerce, so it should give to the tillers of the soil the lights of practical science and experience.[Pg 490] Our manufactures are rapidly making us industrially independent, and are opening to capital and labor new and profitable fields of employment. This steady and healthy growth should still be maintained. Our facilities for transportation should be promoted by the continued improvement of our harbors and great interior waterways, and by the increase of our tonnage on the ocean. The development of the world's commerce has led to an urgent demand for shortening the great sea voyage around Cape Horn, by constructing ship canals or railways across the isthmus which unites the two continents. Various plans to this end have been suggested, and will need consideration, but none of them have been sufficiently matured to warrant the United States in extending pecuniary aid. The subject, however, is one which will immediately engage the attention of the government, with a view to a thorough protection to American interests. We will urge no narrow policy, nor seek peculiar or exclusive privileges on any commercial route, but, in the language of my predecessor, I believe it to be the right and duty of the United States to assert and maintain such supervision and authority over any inter-oceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America, as will protect our national interests.

The Constitution guarantees absolute religious[Pg 491] freedom. Congress is prohibited from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The territories of the United States are subject to the direct legislative authority of Congress, and hence the general government is responsible for any violation of the Constitution in any of them. It is therefore a reproach to the government, that in the most populous of the territories, the constitutional guarantee is not enjoyed by the people, and the authority of Congress is set at naught. The Mormon Church not only offends the moral sense of mankind by sanctioning polygamy, but prevents the administration of justice through the ordinary instrumentalities of law. In my judgment, it is the duty of Congress, while respecting to the uttermost the conscientious convictions and religious scruples of every citizen, to prohibit, within its jurisdiction, all immoral practices, especially of that class which destroy the family relations and endanger social order. Nor can any ecclesiastical organization be safely permitted to usurp, in the smallest degree, the functions and powers of the national government.

The civil service can never be placed on a satisfactory basis, until it is regulated by law. For the good of the service itself, for the protection of those who are entrusted with this appointing power, against the waste of time and obstruction[Pg 492] to the public business, caused by the inordinate pressure for place, and for the protection of incumbents against intrigue and wrong, I shall at the proper time ask Congress to fix the tenure of the minor offices of the several executive departments, and prescribe the grounds upon which removals shall be made during terms for which incumbents have been appointed.

Finally, acting always within the authority and limitations of the Constitution, invading neither the rights of the States nor the reserved rights of the people, it will be the purpose of my administration to maintain its authority, and in all places within its jurisdiction, to enforce obedience to all laws of the Union in the interest of the people, to demand rigid economy in all expenditures of the government, and to require the honest and faithful service of all executive officers, remembering that the offices were created, not for the benefit of the incumbents or their supporters, but for the service of the government. And now, fellow citizens, I am about to assume the great trust which you have committed to my hands. I appeal to you for that earnest and thoughtful support, which makes this government, in fact as it is in law, a government of the people. I shall greatly rely upon the wisdom and patriotism of Congress, and of those who may share with me the responsibilities and duties of administration;[Pg 493] and above all, upon our efforts to promote the welfare of this great people and their government, I reverentially invoke the support and blessings of Almighty God.

[Pg 494]



Headquarters Dept. of the Cumberland, Murfreesboro, June 12, 1864.

General: In your confidential letter of the 8th inst., to the corps and division commanders and generals of cavalry, of this army, there were substantially five questions propounded for their consideration and answer, viz:—

1. Has the enemy of our front been materially weakened by detachments to Johnston, or elsewhere?

2. Can this army advance on him at this time, with strong reasonable chances of fighting a great and successful battle?

3. Do you think an advance of our army at present likely to prevent additional reinforcements being sent against General Grant by the enemy in our front?

4. Do you think an immediate advance of the army advisable?[Pg 495]

5. Do you think an early advance advisable?

Many of the answers to these questions are not categorical, and cannot be clearly set down either as affirmative or negative. Especially in answer to the first question, there is much indefiniteness resulting from the difference of judgment as to how great a detachment could be considered a material reduction of Bragg's strength. For example, one officer thinks it has been reduced ten thousand and not "materially weakened." The answers to the second question are modified in some instances by the opinion that the rebels will fall back behind the Tennessee River, and thus no battle can be fought, either successful or unsuccessful.

So far as these opinions can be stated in tabular form, they will stand thus,—


On the fifth question, three gave it as their opinion that this army ought to advance as soon as Vicksburg falls, should that event happen. The following is a summary of the reasons assigned why we should not at this time advance upon the enemy:[Pg 496]

1. With Hooker's army defeated, and Grant's bending all its energies in a yet undecided struggle, it is bad policy to risk our only reserve army to the chances of a general engagement. A failure here would have most disastrous effect on our lines of communication and on politics in the loyal States.

2. We should be compelled to fight the enemy on his own grounds or follow him in a fruitless chase; or, if we attempted to outflank him and turn his position, we should expose our line of communication, and run the risk of being pushed back into a rough country well known to the enemy and little to ourselves.

3. In case the enemy should fall back without accepting battle he could make our advance very slow, and with a comparatively small force posted in the gaps of the mountains could hold us back while he crossed the Tennessee River, where he would be measurably secure and free to send reinforcements to Johnston. His force in East Tennessee could seriously harass our left flank and constantly disturb our communication.

4. The withdrawal of Burnside's ninth army corps deprives us of an important reserve and flank protection, thus increasing the difficulty of an advance.

5. General Hurlburt has sent the most of his force away to General Grant, thus leaving West[Pg 497] Tennessee uncovered, and laying our right flank and rear open to raids of the enemy.

The following incidental opinions are expressed,—

1. One officer thinks it probable that the enemy has been strengthened rather than weakened, and that he (the enemy) would have reasonable prospect of victory in a general battle.

2. One officer believes the result of a general battle would be doubtful, a victory barren, and a defeat most disastrous.

3. Three officers believe that an advance would bring on a general engagement. Three others believe it would not.

4. Two officers express the opinion that the chances of success in a general battle are nearly equal.

5. One officer expresses the belief that our army has reached its maximum strength and efficiency, and that inactivity will seriously impair its effectiveness.

6. Two officers say that an increase of our cavalry by about six thousand men would materially change the aspect of our affairs, and give us a decided advantage.

In addition to the above summary, I have the honor to submit an estimate of the strength of Bragg's army, gathered from all the data I have been able to obtain, including the estimate of the[Pg 498] general commanding, in his official report of the battle of Stone River, and facts gathered from prisoners, deserters, and refugees, and from rebel newspapers. After the battle Bragg consolidated many of his decimated regiments and irregular organizations; and at the time of his sending reinforcements to Johnston, his army had reached the greatest effective strength. It consisted of five divisions of infantry, composed of ninety-four regiments, and two independent battalions of sharp-shooters,—say ninety-five regiments. By a law of the confederate Congress, regiments are consolidated when their effective strength falls below two hundred and fifty men. Even the regiments formed by such consolidation (which may reasonably be regarded as the fullest) must fall below five hundred. I am satisfied that four hundred is a large estimate of the average strength.

The force, then, would be,—

Infantry, 95 regiments, 400 each,38,000
Cavalry, 35 regiments, say 500 each,17,500
Artillery, 26 batteries, say 100 each,2,600

This force has been reduced by detachments to Johnston. It is as well known as we can ever expect to ascertain such facts, that three brigades have gone from McConn's division, and two or[Pg 499] three from Breckinridge's,—say two. It is clear that there are now but four infantry divisions in Bragg's army, the fourth being composed of fragments of McConn's and Breckinridge's divisions, and must be much smaller than the average. Deducting the five brigades, and supposing them composed of only four regiments each, which is below the general average, it gives an infantry reduction of twenty regiments, four hundred each—eight thousand—leaving a remainder of thirty thousand. It is clearly ascertained that at least two brigades of cavalry have been sent from Van Dorn's command to the Mississippi, and it is asserted in the Chattanooga Rebel, of June 11th, that General Morgan's command has been permanently detached and sent to eastern Kentucky. It is not certainly known how large his division is, but it is known to contain at least two brigades. Taking this minimum as the fact, we have a cavalry reduction of four brigades.

Taking the lowest estimate, four regiments to the brigade, we have a reduction, by detachment, of sixteen regiments, five hundred each, leaving his present effective cavalry force nine thousand five hundred. With the nine brigades of the two arms thus detached, it will be safe to say there have gone,[Pg 500]

Six batteries, 80 men each,480
Leaving him 20 batteries,2,120
Making a total reduction of16,480
Leaving, of the three arms,41,680

In this estimate of Bragg's strength, I have placed all doubts in his favor, and I have no question that my estimate is considerably beyond the truth. General Sheridan, who has taken great pains to collect evidence on this point, places it considerably below these figures. But assuming these to be correct, and granting what is still more improbable, that Bragg would abandon all his rear posts, and entirely neglect his communications, and could bring his last man into battle, I next ask: What have we with which to oppose him?

The last official report of effective strength now on file in the office of the assistant adjutant-general, is dated from June 11th, and shows that we have in this department, omitting all officers and enlisted men attached to department, corps, division and brigade headquarters,—

1. Infantry—One hundred and seventy-three regiments; ten battalions sharp-shooters; four battalions pioneers; and one regiment of engineers and mechanics, with a total effective strength of seventy thousand nine hundred and eighteen.

2. Cavalry—Twenty-seven regiments and one[Pg 501] unattached company, eleven thousand eight hundred and thirteen.

3. Artillery—Forty-seven and a half batteries field artillery, consisting of two hundred and ninety-two guns and five hundred and sixty-nine men,—making a general total of eighty-seven thousand eight hundred.

Leaving out all commissioned officers, this army represents eighty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven bayonets and sabres. This report does not include the Fifth Iowa cavalry, six hundred strong, lately armed; nor the First Wisconsin cavalry; nor Coburn's brigade of infantry, now arriving; nor the two thousand three hundred and ninety-four convalescents, now on light duty in "Fortress Monroe."

There are detached from this force as follows,—

At Galatin,969
At Carthage,1,149
At Fort Donelson,1,485
At Clarkesville,1,138
At Nashville,7,292
At Franklin,900
At Lavergne,2,117

With these posts as they are, and leaving two thousand five hundred efficient men, in addition to the two thousand three hundred and ninety-four[Pg 502] convalescents, to hold the works at this place, there will be left sixty-five thousand one hundred and thirty-seven bayonets and sabres to show, against Bragg's forty-one thousand six hundred and eighty.

I beg leave, also, to submit the following considerations,—

1. Bragg's army is weaker now than it has been since the battle of Stone River, or is likely to be, at present; while our army has reached its maximum strength, and we have no right to expect reinforcements for several months, if at all.

2. Whatever be the result at Vicksburg, the determination of its fate will give large reinforcements to Bragg. If Grant is successful, his army will require many weeks to recover from the shock and strain of his late campaign, while Johnston will send back to Bragg a force sufficient to insure the safety of Tennessee. If Grant fails, the same result will inevitably follow, so far as Bragg's army is concerned.

3. No man can predict, with a certainty, the results of any battle, however great the disparity in numbers. Such results are in the hand of God. But, reviewing the question in the light of human calculation, I refuse to entertain a doubt that this army, which in January last defeated Bragg's superior numbers, cannot overwhelm his present greatly inferior forces.[Pg 503]

4. The most unfavorable course for us that Bragg could take, would be to fall back without giving us battle; but this would be very disastrous to him. Besides the loss of material of war, and the abandonment of the rich and abundant harvest, now nearly ripe in Central Tennessee, he would lose heavily by desertion. It is well known that a wide-spread dissatisfaction exists among his Kentucky and Tennessee troops. They are already deserting in large numbers. A retreat would greatly increase both the desire and the opportunity for desertion, and would very materially reduce his physical and moral strength. While it would lengthen our communication, it would give us possession of McMinnville, and enable us to threaten Chattanooga and East Tennessee; and it would not be unreasonable to expect an early occupation of the former place.

5. But the chances are more than even that a sudden and rapid movement would compel a general engagement, and the defeat of Bragg would be, in the highest degree, disastrous to the rebellion.

6. The turbulent aspect of politics in the loyal States renders a decisive blow against the enemy, at this time, of the highest importance to the success of the government at the polls, and in the enforcement of the Conscript Act.

7. The government and the War Department[Pg 504] believe that this army ought to move upon the enemy. The army desire it, and the country is anxiously hoping for it.

8. Our true objective point is the rebel army, whose last reserves are substantially in the field, and an effective blow will crush the shell, and soon be followed by the collapse of the rebel government.

9. You have, in my judgment, wisely delayed a general movement hitherto, till your army could be massed, and your cavalry could be mounted. Your mobile force can now be concentrated in twenty-four hours, and your cavalry, if not equal in numerical strength to that of the enemy, is greatly superior in efficiency and morale. For this reason I believe an immediate advance of all our available forces is advisable, and, under the providence of God, will be successful.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. Garfield,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Staff.

Major-General Rosecrans,
Commanding Dept. of Cumberland.
[Pg 505]


The following is the official record of the post-mortem examination of the body of President James A. Garfield, made Sept. 20, 1881, commencing at 4:30 P. M. eighteen hours after death, at Francklyn Cottage, Elberon, N. J.

There were present and assisting, Dr. D. W. Bliss; Surgeon-General J. K. Barnes, U. S. A.; Surgeon J. J. Woodward, U. S. A.; Dr. Robert Reyburn; Dr. Frank H. Hamilton; Dr. D. Hayes Agnew; Dr. Andrew H. Smith, of Elberon and New York, and acting as the assistant surgeon, and D. S. Lamb, of the Army Medical Museum, Washington, D. C.

Before commencing the examination a consultation was held by the physicians in the room adjoining that in which the body lay, and it was unanimously agreed that the dissection should be made by Dr. Lamb, and that Surgeon Woodward should record the observations made. It was further unanimously agreed that the cranium should not be opened. Surgeon Woodward then proposed that the examination should be conducted as follows: That the body should be viewed externally, and any morbid appearances existing recorded;[Pg 506] that a catheter should then be passed into the wound, as was done during life to wash it out, for the purpose of assisting to find the position of the bullet; that a long incision should next be made from the superior extremity of the sternum to the pubis, and this crossed by a transverse one just below the umbilicus; that the abdominal flaps thus made should then be turned back and the abdominal viscera examined; that after the abdominal cavity was opened, the position of the bullet should be ascertained, if possible, before making any further incision, and that, finally, the thoracic viscera should be examined. This order of procedure was unanimously agreed to, and the examination was proceeded with.

Dr. Woodward. Dr. Reyburn. Dr. Barnes. Dr. Bliss. Dr.
Hamilton. Dr. Agnew. Dr. Woodward. Dr. Reyburn. Dr. Barnes. Dr. Bliss. Dr. Hamilton. Dr. Agnew.

[Pg 507]

The following external appearances were first observed: The body was considerably emaciated, but the face was much less wasted than the limbs. A preservative fluid had been injected by the embalmer a few hours before into the left femoral artery. The pipes used for the purpose were still in position. The anterior surface of the body presented no abnormal appearances, and there was no ecchymosis or other discoloration of any part of the front of the abdomen. Just below the right ear, and a little behind it, there was an oval ulcerated opening about half an inch in diameter, from which some sanious pus was escaping, but no tumefaction could be observed in the parotid region. A considerable number of purpura-like spots were scattered thickly over the left scapula, and thence forward as far as the axilla. They ranged from one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch in diameter, were slightly elevated and furfuraceous on the surface, and many of them were confluent in groups of two to four or more. A similar, but much less abundant, eruption was observed sparsely scattered over the corresponding region on the right side. An oval excavated ulcer, about an inch long, the result of a small carbuncle, was seated over the spinous process of the tenth dorsal vertebra. Over the sacrum there were four small bed sores, the largest about half an inch in diameter. A few acute pustules and a number of irregular spots of post-mortem hypostatic congestion were scattered over the shoulders, back and buttocks. The inferior part of the scrotum was much discolored by hypostatic congestion. A group of hemorrhoidal tumors rather larger than a walnut protruded from the anus. The depressed cicatrix of the wound made by the pistol bullet was recognized over the tenth intercostal space at three and a half inches to the right of the vertebral spines. A deep linear incision made in part by the operation of July 24, and extended by that of August 8, occupied a position closely corresponding to the upper border of the right twelfth rib. It commenced posteriorly about two inches from[Pg 508] the vertebral spines and extended forward a little more than three inches. At the anterior extremity of this incision there was a deep, nearly square, abraded surface, about an inch across. A flexible catheter, fourteen inches long, was then passed into this wound, as had been done to wash it out during life. More resistance was at first encountered than had usually been the case, but after several trials the catheter entered, without any violence, its full length. It was then left in position, and the body disposed supinely for the examination of the viscera. The cranium was not opened. A long incision was made from the superior extremity of the sternum to the pubis, followed by a transverse incision crossing the abdomen, just below the umbilicus. The four flaps thus formed were turned back, and the abdominal viscera exposed. The subcutaneous adipose tissue, divided by the incision, was little more than one-eighth of an inch thick over the thorax, but was thicker over the abdomen, being about a quarter of an inch thick along the linear alba and as much as half an inch thick towards the outer extremity of the transverse incision. On inspection of the abdominal viscera in situ, the transverse colon was observed to lie a little above the line of the umbilicus. It was firmly adherent to the anterior edge of the liver. The greater omentum covered the intestines pretty thoroughly from the transverse colon almost to[Pg 509] the pubis. It was still quite fat and was very much blackened by venous congestion. On both sides its lateral margins were adherent to the abdominal parietes opposite the eleventh and twelfth ribs. On the left side the adhesions were numerous, firm, well organized, and probably old. [A foot-note here says: These adhesions and the firm ones on the right side, as well as those of the spleen, possibly date back to an attack of chronic dysentery, from which the patient is said to have suffered during the civil war.] On the right side there were a few similar adhesions and a number of more delicate and probably recent ones. A mass of black, coagulated blood covered and concealed the spleen and the left margin of the greater omentum. On raising the omentum it was found that a blood mass extended through the left lumbar and iliac regions, and dipped down into the pelvis, in which there was some clotted blood and rather more than a pint of bloody fluid. [A foot-note here says: A large part of this fluid had probably transuded from the injection material of the embalmer.] The blood coagula, having been turned out and collected, measured very nearly a pint. It was now evident that secondary hemorrhage had been the immediate cause of death, but the point from which the blood had escaped was not at once apparent. The omentum was not adherent to the intestines, which were moderately distended[Pg 510] with gas. No intestinal adhesions were found other than those between the transverse colon and the liver, already mentioned.

The abdominal cavity being now washed out as thoroughly as possible, a fruitless attempt was made to obtain some indication of the presence of the bullet before making any further incision. By pushing the intestines aside, the extremity of the catheter, which had been pressed into the wound, could be felt between the peritoneum and the right iliac fossa, but it had evidently doubled upon itself, and, although a prolonged search was made, nothing could be seen or felt to indicate the presence of the bullet, either in that region or elsewhere. The abdominal viscera were then carefully removed from the body, placed in suitable vessels and examined seriatim, with the following result: The adhesions between the liver and the transverse colon proved to bound an abscess cavity between the under surface of the liver, the transverse colon and the transverse mesocolon, which involved the gall-bladder, and extended to about the same distance on each side of it, measuring six inches transversely, and four inches from before backward. This cavity was lined by a thick pyogenic membrane, which completely replaced the capsule of that part of the under surface of the liver occupied by the abscess. It contained about two ounces of greenish-yellow[Pg 511] fluid, a mixture of pus and biliary matter. This abscess did not involve any portion of the substance of the liver, except the surface with which it was in contact. No communication could be traced between it and any part of the wound. Some recent peritoneal adhesions existed between the upper surface of the right lobe of the liver and the diaphragm. The liver was larger than normal, weighing eighty-four ounces; its substance was firm, but of a pale yellowish color on its surface, and throughout the interior of the organ, from fatty degeneration. No evidence that it had been penetrated by the bullet could be found, nor were there any abscesses or infractions in any part of its tissue. The spleen was connected to the diaphragm by firm, probably old, peritoneal adhesions. There were several rather deep congenial fissures in its margins, giving it a lobulated appearance. It was abnormally large, weighing eighteen ounces, of a very dark, lake-red color. Its parenchyma was soft and flabby, but contained no abscesses or infractions. There were some recent peritoneal adhesions between the posterior wall of the stomach and the posterior abdominal parietes. With this exception, no abnormities were discovered in the stomach or intestines, nor were any other evidences of general or acute peritonitis found besides those already specified. The right kidney weighed six ounces, the left kidney seven.[Pg 512] Just beneath the capsule of the left kidney, at about the middle of its convex border, there was a little abscess one-third of an inch in diameter. There were three small serous cysts on the convex border of the right kidney, just beneath its capsule. In other respects the tissue of both kidneys was normal in appearance and in texture. The urinary bladder was empty. Behind the right kidney, after the removal of that organ from the body, the dilated track of the bullet was discovered. It was found that, from the point at which it had fractured the right eleventh rib, three inches and a half to the right of the vertebral spines, the missile had gone to the left obliquely forward, passing through the body of the first lumbar vertebra, and lodging in the adipose collective tissue, immediately below the lower border of the pancreas, about two inches and a half to the left of the spinal column, and behind the peritoneum. It had become completely encysted. The track of the bullet between the point at which it had fractured the eleventh rib and that at which it entered the first lumbar vertebra was considerably dilated, and the pus had burrowed downward through the adipose tissue behind the right kidney, and thence had found its way between the peritoneum and the right iliac fossa, making a descending channel, which extended almost to the groin. The adipose tissue behind the kidney, in[Pg 513] the vicinity of the descending channel, was much thickened and condensed by inflammation. In the channel, which was found almost free from pus, lay the flexible catheter introduced into the wound at the commencement of the autopsy. Its extremity was found doubled upon itself immediately beneath the peritoneum, reposing upon the iliac fossa, where the channel was dilated into a pouch of considerable size. This long descending channel, now clearly seen to have been caused by the burrowing of pus from the wound, was supposed, during life, to have been the track of the bullet. The last dorsal, together with the first and second lumbar vertebra and the twelfth rib, were then removed from the body for more thorough examination. When this examination was made, it was found that the bullet had penetrated the first lumbar vertebra in the upper part of the right side of the body. The aperture by which it entered the intervertebral cartilage next above, was situated just below and anterior to the intervertebral foramen, from which the upper margin was about one-quarter of an inch distant. Passing obliquely to the left, and forward through the upper part of the body of the first lumbar vertebra, the bullet emerged by the aperture, the centre of which was about half an inch to the left of the median line, and which also involved the intervertebral cartilage next above. The cancellated tissue of the[Pg 514] body of the first lumbar vertebra was very much comminuted, and the fragments somewhat displaced. Several deep fissures extended from the track of the bullet into the lower part of the body of the twelfth dorsal vertebra. Others extended through the first lumbar vertebra into the intervertebral cartilage, between it and the second lumbar vertebra. Both this cartilage and the next above were partly destroyed by ulceration. A number of minute fragments from the fractured lumbar vertebra had been driven into the adjacent soft parts. It was further found that the right twelfth rib also was fractured at a point one and a quarter inches to the right of the transverse process of the twelfth dorsal vertebra. This injury had not been recognized during life. On sawing through the vertebra, a little to the right of the median line, it was found that the spinal canal was not involved by the track of the ball. The spinal cord and other contents of this portion of the spinal canal presented no abnormal appearance. The rest of the spinal cord was not examined. Beyond the first lumbar vertebra, the bullet continued to go to the left, passing behind the pancreas to the point where it was found. Here it was enveloped in a firm cyst of connective tissues, which contained, beside the ball, a minute quantity of inspissated somewhat cheesy pus, which formed a thin layer of a portion of the surface of the lead.[Pg 515] There was also a black shred adherent to a part of the cyst wall, which proved, on microscopal examination, to be the remains of a blood clot. For about an inch from this cyst, the track of the ball behind the pancreas was completely obliterated by the healing process. Thence as far backward as the body of the first lumbar vertebra the track was filled with coagulated blood, which extended on the left into an irregular space rent in the adjoining adipose tissue behind the peritoneum and above the pancreas. The blood had worked its way to the left, bursting finally through the peritoneum behind the spleen into the abdominal cavity.

The rending of the tissues by the extravasation of this blood was undoubtedly the cause of the paroxysms of pain which occurred a short time before death. This mass of coagulated blood was of irregular form, and nearly as large as a man's fist. It could be distinctly seen from in front through the peritoneum, after the greater curvature of the stomach had been exposed by the dissolution of the greater omentum from the stomach, and especially after some delicate adhesions between the stomach and the part of the peritoneum covering the blood mass had been broken down by the fingers. From the relations of the mass, as thus seen, it was believed that the hemorrhage had proceeded from one of the mesenteric arteries; but, as it was clear that a minute dissection would[Pg 516] be required to determine the particular branch involved, it was agreed that the infiltrated tissues and the adjoining soft parts should be preserved for subsequent study. On the examination and dissection made in accordance with this agreement, it was found that the fatal hemorrhage proceeded from a rent, nearly four tenths of an inch long, in the main trunk of the splenic artery, two inches and a half to the left of the cœliac axis. The rent must have occurred at least several days before death, since the everted edges in the slit in the vessel were united by firm adhesions to the surrounding connective tissue, thus forming an almost continuous wall, bounding the adjoining portion of the blood clot. Moreover, the peripheral portion of the clot in this vicinity was disposed in pretty firm concentric layers. It was further found that the cyst below the lower margin of the pancreas, in which the bullet was found, was situated three and one-half inches to the left of the cœliac axis. Beside the mass of coagulated blood just described, another about the size of a walnut was found in the greater omentum, near the splenic extremity of the stomach. The communication, if any, between this and the larger hemorrhagic mass could not be made out.

The examination of the thoracic viscera resulted as follows: The heart weighed eleven ounces. All the cavities were entirely empty, except the right[Pg 517] ventrical, in which a few shreds of soft reddish coagulated blood adhered to the internal surface. On the surface of the mitral valve there were several spots of fatty degeneration. With this exception the cardiac valves were normal. The muscular tissues of the heart were soft and tore easily. A few spots of fatty degeneration existed in the lining membrane of the aorta, just above the semilunar valves, and a slender clot of fibrine was found in the aorta, where it was divided, about two inches from these valves, for the removal of the heart. On the right side slight pleuritic adhesions existed between the convex surface of the lower lobe of the lung and the costal pleura, and firm adhesions between the anterior edge of the lower lobe, the pericardium and the diaphragm. The right lung weighed thirty-two ounces. The posterior part of the fissure between its upper and lower lobes was congenitally incomplete. The lower lobe of the right lung was hypostatically congested, and considerable portions, especially toward its base, were the seat of broncho-pneumonia. The bronchial tubes contained a considerable quantity of stringy mucous pus. Their mucous surface was reddened by catarrhal bronchitis. The lung tissue was œdematous. [A foot-note here says: A part at least of this condition was doubtless due to the extravasation of the injecting fluids by the embalmer. But it contained no abscesses or infractions.][Pg 518] On the left side the lower lobe of the lung was bound behind to the costal pleura, above to the upper lobe, and below to the diaphragm by pretty firm pleuritic adhesions. The left lung weighed twenty-seven ounces. The condition of its bronchial tubes and of the lung tissues was very nearly the same as on the right side, the chief difference being that the area of broncho-pneumonia in the lower lobe was much less extensive in the left lung than in the right. In the lateral part of the lower lobe of the left lung, and about an inch from its pleural surface, there was a group of four minute areas of gray hepatization, each about one-eighth of an inch in diameter. There were no infractions and no abscesses in any part of the lung tissue.

The surgeons assisting at the autopsy were unanimously of the opinion that, in reviewing the history of the case in connection with the autopsy, it was quite evident that the different suppurating surfaces, and especially the fractured, spongy tissue of the vertebra, furnished a sufficient explanation of the septic conditions which existed during life. About an hour after the post-mortem examination was completed the physicians named at the commencement of this report assembled for further consultation in an adjoining cottage. A brief outline of the results of the post-mortem examination was drawn up, signed by all the physicians,[Pg 519] and handed to Private Secretary J. Stanley Brown, who was requested to furnish copies to the newspaper press.

D. W. Bliss.
J. K. Barnes.
J. J. Woodward.
Robert Reyburn.
D. S. Lamb.

As the above report contains paragraphs detailing the observations made at Washington on the pathological specimens preserved for that purpose, the names of Drs. J. H. Hamilton, D. Hayes Agnew, and A. H. Smith, are not appended to it. It has, however, been submitted to them, and they have given their assent to the other portions of the report.[Pg 520]



I should indulge myself in a strange delusion if I hoped to say anything of President Garfield which is not already well known to his countrymen, or to add further honor to a name to which the judgment of the world, with marvelous unanimity, has already assigned its place. The public sorrow and love have found utterance, if not adequate, yet such as speech, and silence, and funeral rite, and stately procession, and prayers, and tears could give. On the twenty-sixth day of September, the day of the funeral, a common feeling stirred mankind as never before in history. That mysterious law, by which, in a great audience, every emotion is multiplied in each heart by sympathy with every other, laid its spell on universal humanity. At the touch which makes the whole world kin, all barriers of rank, or party, or State, or Nation disappeared. His own Ohio, the State of his birth and of his burial, New England, from whose loins came the sturdy race from which he[Pg 521] descended, whose college gave him his education, can claim no pre-eminence in sorrow.

From farthest south comes the voice of mourning for the soldier of the Union. Over fisherman's hut and frontiersman's cabin is spread a gloom because the White House is desolate. The son of the poor widow is dead, and palace and castle are in tears. As the humble Campbellite disciple is borne to his long home, the music of the requiem fills cathedral arches and the domes of ancient synagogues. On the coffin of the canal-boy a queen lays her wreath. As the bier is lifted, word comes beneath the sea that the nations of the earth are rising and bowing their heads. From many climes, in many languages they join in the solemn service. This is no blind and sudden emotion, gathering and breaking like a wave. It is the mourning of mankind for a great character already perfectly known and familiar. If there be any persons who fear that religious faith is dying, that science has shaken the hold of the moral law upon the minds of men, let them take comfort in asking themselves if any base or ignoble passion could have so moved mankind. Modern science has called into life these mighty servants, press and telegraph, who have created a nerve which joins together all human hearts and pulses simultaneously over the globe. To what conqueror, to what tyrant, to what selfish ambition,[Pg 522] to what mere intellectual greatness would it not have refused response? The power in the universe that makes for evil, and the power in the universe that makes for righteousness, measure their forces. A poor, weak fiend shoots off his little bolt, a single human life is stricken down, and a throb of divine love thrills a planet.

Every American State has its own story of the brave and adventurous spirits who were its early settlers; the men who build commonwealths, the men of whom commonwealths are builded. The history of the settlement of Massachusetts, of central New York, and of Ohio, is the history of the Garfield race. They were, to borrow a felicitous phrase, "hungry for the horizon." They were natural frontiersmen. Of the seven generations born in America, including the President, not one was born in other than a frontiersman's dwelling.

Two of them, father and son, came over with Winthrop in 1630. Each of the six generations who dwelt in Massachusetts has left an honorable record still preserved. Five in succession bore an honorable military title. Some were fighters in the Indian wars. "It is not in Indian wars," Fisher Ames well says, "that heroes are celebrated, but it is there they are formed." At the breaking out of the Revolution the male representatives of the family were two young brothers. One, whose name descended to the President, was[Pg 523] in arms at Concord bridge, at sunrise, on the 19th of April. The other, the President's great grandfather, dwelling thirty miles off, was on his way to the scene of action before noon. When the Constitution rejected by Massachusetts in 1778 was proposed, this same ancestor, with his fellow-citizens of the little town of Westminster, voted unanimously for the rejection, and put on record their reasons. "It is our opinion that no constitution whatever ought to be established till previously thereto a bill of rights be set forth, and the constitution be framed therefrom, so that the lowest capacity may be able to determine his natural rights, and judge of the equitableness of the constitution thereby." "And as to the Constitution itself, the following appears to us exceptionable, viz, the fifth article," [Excepting negroes, mulattoes and Indians from the right to vote], "which deprives a portion of the human race of their natural rights on account of their color, which, in our opinion, no power on earth has a just right to do. It therefore ought to be expunged the Constitution." No religious intolerance descended in the Garfield race. But the creed of this Westminster catechism they seem never to have forgotten. When the war was over, the same ancestor took his young family and penetrated the forest again. He established his home in Otsego county, in central New York, at the period and amid the scenes[Pg 524] made familiar by Cooper, in his delightful tale, The Pioneers. Again the generations moved westward, in the march of civilization, keeping ever in the van, until in 1831, James Garfield was born, in a humble Ohio cabin where he was left fatherless in his infancy. In a new settlement the wealth of the family is in the right arm of the father. To say that the father, who had himself been left an orphan when he was an infant, left his son fatherless in infancy, is to say that the family was reduced to extreme poverty.

I have not given this narrative as the story of a mean or ignoble lineage. Such men, whether of Puritan, or Huguenot, or Cavalier stock, have ever been the strength and the security of American States. From such homes came Webster, and Clay, and Lincoln and Jackson. It is no race of boors that has struck its axes into the forests of this continent. These men knew how to build themselves log houses in the wilderness. They were more skillful still to build constitutions and statutes. Slow, cautious, conservative, sluggish, unready, in ordinary life, their brains move quick and sure as their rifles flash, when great controversies that determine the fate of States are to be decided, when great interests that brook no delay are at stake, and great battles that admit no indecision, are to be fought. The trained and disciplined soldiers of England could not anticipate[Pg 525] these alert farmers. On the morning of the Revolution they were up before the sun. When Washington was to be defended in 1861 the scholar, or the lawyer, or the man of the city, dropped his book, left his court-house or his counting-room, and found his company of yeomen waiting for him. They are ever greatest in adversity. I would not undervalue the material of which other republics have been built. The polished marbles of Greece and Italy have their own grace. But art or nature contain no more exquisite beauty than the color which this split and unhewn granite takes from the tempest it withstands. There was never a race of men on earth more capable of seeing clearly, of grasping, and of holding fast the great truths and great principles which are permanent, sure, and safe for the government of the conduct of life, alike in private and public concerns. If there be, or ever shall be, in this country, a demos, fickle, light-minded, easily moved, blind, prejudiced, incapable of permanent adherence to what is great or what is true, whether it come from the effeminacy of wealth or the scepticism of a sickly and selfish culture, or the poverty and ignorance of great cities, it will find itself powerless in this iron grasp.

Blending with this Saxon stock, young Garfield inherited on the mother's side the qualities of the Huguenots, those gentle but not less brave or less[Pg 526] constant Puritans, who, for conscience sake, left their beloved and beautiful France, whose memory will be kept green so long as Maine cherishes Bowdoin College, or Massachusetts Faneuil Hall; or New York the antique virtue of John Jay, or South Carolina her Revolutionary history—who gave a lustre and a glory to every place and thing they touched. The child of such a race, left fatherless in the wilderness, yet destined to such a glory, was committed by Providence to three great teachers, without either of whom he would not have become fitted for his distinguished career. These teachers were a wise Christian mother, poverty, and the venerable college president who lived to watch his pupil through the whole of his varied life, to witness his inauguration amid such high hopes, and to lament his death. To no nobler matron did ever Roman hero trace his origin. Few of the traditions of his Puritan ancestry could have come down to the young orphan. It is said there were two things with which his mother was specially familiar—the Bible and the rude ballads of the war of 1812. The child learned the Bible at his mother's knee, and the love of country from his cradle-hymns.

I cannot, within the limits assigned to me, recount every circumstance of special preparation which fitted the young giant for the great and various parts he was to play in the drama of our[Pg 527] republican life. It would be but to repeat a story whose pathos and romance are all known by heart to his countrymen. The childhood in the cabin; the struggle with want almost with famine, the brother proudly bringing his first dollar to buy shoes for the little bare feet; the labor in the forest, the growth of the strong frame and the massive brain; the reading of the first novel; the boy's longing for the sea; the canal-boat; the carpenter's shop; the first school; the eager thirst for knowledge; the learning that an obstacle seems only a thing to be overcome; the founding of the college at Hiram; the companionship in study of the gifted lady whose eulogy he pronounced; the Campbellite preaching; the ever-wise guidance of the mother; the marriage to the bright and beautiful schoolmate; we know them better even, than we know the youth of Washington and of Webster. General Garfield said in 1878, that he had not long ago conversed with an English gentleman, who told him that in twenty-five years of careful study of the agricultural class in England he had never known one who was born and reared in the ranks of farm laborers that rose above his class and became a well-to-do citizen. The story of a childhood passed in poverty, of intellect and moral nature trained in strenuous contests with adversity, is not unfamiliar to those who have read the lives of the men who have been successful[Pg 528] in this country in any of the walks of life. It is one of the most beneficent results of American institutions that we have ceased to speak of poverty and hardship, and the necessity for hard and humble toil as disadvantages to a spirit endowed by nature with the capacity for generous ambitions. In a society where labor is honorable, and where every place in social or public life is open to merit, early poverty is no more a disadvantage than a gymnasium to an athlete, or drill and discipline to a soldier.

General Garfield was never ashamed of his origin. He

"Did not change, but kept in lofty place
The wisdom which adversity had bred."

The humblest friend of his boyhood was ever welcome to him when he sat in the highest seats, where Honor was sitting by his side. The poorest laborer was sure of the sympathy of one who had known all the bitterness of want and the sweetness of bread earned by the sweat of the brow. He was ever the simple, plain, modest gentleman. When he met a common soldier it was not the general or military hero that met him, but the comrade. When he met the scholar, it was not the learned man, or the college president, but the learner. It was fitting that he who found open the road through every gradation of public honor,[Pg 529] from the log cabin to the Presidency, simply at the price of deserving it, should have answered in the same speech the sophistries of communism and the sinister forebodings of Lord Macaulay. "Here," he said, "society is not fixed in horizontal layers, like the crust of the earth, but as a great New England man said years ago, it is rather like the ocean, broad, deep, grand, open, and so free in all its parts that every drop that mingles with the yellow sand at the bottom, may ride through all the waters, till it gleams in the sunshine on the crest of the highest waves. So it is here in our free society, permeated with the light of American freedom. There is no American boy, however poor, however humble, orphan though he may be, that, if he have a clear head, a true heart, a strong arm, he may not rise through all the grades of society, and become the crown, the glory, the pillar of the State. Here there is no need for the Old World war between capital and labor. Here is no need of the explosion of social order predicted by Macaulay."

When seeking a place of education in the East, young Garfield wrote to several New England colleges. The youth's heart was touched, and his choice decided by the tone of welcome in the reply of Dr. Hopkins, the president of Williams. It was fortunate that his vigorous youth found itself under the influence of a very great but very[Pg 530] simple and sincere character. The secret of Dr. Hopkins' power over his pupils lay, first, in his own example, profound scholarship, great practical wisdom, perfect openness and sincerity, and humility, second, in a careful study of the disposition of each individual youth, third, justice, absolute, yet accompanied by sympathy and respect, seldom severity, never scorn, in dealing with the errors of boyhood. No harsh and inflexible law, cold and pitiless as a winter's sea, dealt alike with the sluggish and the generous nature. No storm of merciless ridicule greeted the shy, awkward, ungainly, backwoodsman. And, beyond all, Dr. Hopkins taught his pupils that lesson in which some of our colleges so sadly fail—reverence for the republican life of which they were to form a part, and for the great history of whose glory they were inheritors. It was my fortune, on an evening last spring, to see the illustrious pupil, I suppose for the last time on earth, take leave of the aged teacher whose head the frosts of nearly fourscore winters had touched so lightly, and to hear him say at parting, "I have felt your presence at the beginning of my administration like a benediction." The President delighted in his college. He kept unbroken the friendships he formed within her walls. He declared that the place and its associations were to him a fountain of perpetual youth. He never forgot his debt[Pg 531] to her. When he was stricken down he was on his way, all a boy again, to lay his untarnished laurels at her feet.

It would have been hard to find in this country a man so well equipped by nature, by experience, and by training, as was Garfield when he entered the Ohio Senate, in 1860, at the age of twenty-eight. He was in his own person the representative of the plainest life of the backwoods and the best culture of the oldest eastern community. He had been used in his youth to various forms of manual labor. The years which he devoted to his profession of teacher and of college president, were years of great industry, in which he disciplined his powers of public speaking and original investigation. Dr. Hopkins said of him: "There was a large general capacity applicable to any subject and sound sense. What he did was done with facility, but by honest and avowed work. There was no pretence of genius or alternation of spasmodic effort and of rest, but a satisfactory accomplishment in all directions of what was undertaken." His sound brain and athletic frame could bear great labor without fatigue. He had a thoroughly healthy and robust intellect, capable of being directed upon any of the pursuits of life or any of the affairs of State in any department of the public service. We have no other example in our public life of such marvellous[Pg 532] completeness of intellectual development. He exhibited enough of his varied mental capacity to make it sure that he could have attained greatness as a metaphysician or a mathematician in any of the exact sciences, as a linguist, as an executive officer, as he did in fact attain it as a military commander, as an orator, as a debater and a parliamentary and popular leader.

The gigantic scale on which the operations of our late war were conducted, has dwarfed somewhat the achievements of individual actors. If in the history of either of the other wars in which our people have engaged, whether before or after the Declaration of Independence, such a chapter should be found as the narrative of Garfield's Kentucky campaign, it would alone have made the name of its leader immortal. It is said that General Rosecrans received the young schoolmaster with some prejudice. "When he came to my headquarters," he says, "I must confess that I had a prejudice against him, as I understood he was a preacher who had gone into politics, and a man of that cast I was naturally opposed to." In his official report Rosecrans says:—

"I especially mention Brigadier-General Garfield, ever active, prudent and sagacious. I feel much indebted to him for both counsel and assistance in the administration of this army. He possesses the energy and the instinct of a great commander."

[Pg 533]

We must leave to soldiers and to military historians to assign then relative historic importance to the movements of the war. But we may safely trust the popular judgment which pronounces Garfield's role at Chickamauga one of the most conspicuous instances of personal heroism, and the Kentucky campaign a most brilliant example of fertility of resource, combined audacity and prudence, sound military judgment, and success against great odds. We may safely trust, too, the judgment of the accomplished historian, who pronounces his report in favor of the advance that ended with the battle of Chickamuauga "the ablest military document submitted by a chief of staff to his superior during the war." We may accept, also, the award of Lincoln, who made him major-general for his brilliant service at Chickamauga, and the confidence of Thomas, who offered him the command of an army corps. Great as was his capacity for military service, the judgment of Abraham Lincoln did not err, when it summoned him to the field of labor where his greatest laurels were won. It is the fashion, in some quarters, to lament the decay of statesmanship, and to make comparisons, by no means complimentary, between persons now entrusted with the conduct of public affairs, and their predecessors. We may at least find consolation in the knowledge that when any of our companions die they do not fail[Pg 534] to receive full justice from the hearts of the people.

Suppose any of the statesmen who preceded the war, or some intelligent and not unfriendly foreign observer—some De Tocqueville or Macaulay—to look forward with Garfield to the duties which confronted him when he entered Congress in 1863. With what despair, in the light of all past experience, would he have contemplated the future. How insignificant the difficulties which beset the men of the preceding seventy years compared with those which have crowded the seventeen which were to follow. How marvellous the success the American people have achieved in dealing with these difficulties compared with that which attended the statesmanship of the times of Webster and Clay and Calhoun, giants as they were. The greatness of these men is not likely to be under-valued anywhere, least of all in Massachusetts. They contributed each in his own way those masterly discussions of the great principles by which the Constitution must be interpreted, and the economic laws on which material prosperity depends, which will abide as perpetual forces so long as the republic shall endure. Mr Webster, especially, aided in establishing in the jurisprudence of the country the great judgments, which, on the one hand, asserted for the national government its most necessary and beneficent powers, and, on the other hand, have protected property and liberty[Pg 535] from invasion. He uttered in the Senate the immortal argument which convinced the American people of the unity of the republic and the supremacy and indestructibility of the national authority. It has been well said that the cannon of the nation were shotted with the reply to Hayne. But the only important and permanent measure with which the name of Webster is connected is the Ashburton treaty—an achievement of diplomacy of little consequence in comparison with those which obtained from the great powers of Europe the relinquishment of the doctrine of perpetual allegiance, or with the Alabama treaty of 1871. Mr. Clay's life was identified with two great policies—the protection of American industry and the compromise between slavery and freedom in their strife for control of the Territories. When he died the free-trade tariff of 1844 was the law of the land, and within two years the Missouri compromise was repealed. Mr Calhoun has left behind him the memory of a stainless life, great intellectual power and a lost cause.

To each generation is committed its peculiar task. To these men it was given to wake the infant republic to a sense of its own great destiny, and to teach it the laws of its being, by which it must live or bear no life. To the men of our time the abstract theories, which were only debated in other days, have come as practical realities, demanding[Pg 536] prompt and final decision on questions where error is fatal. From the time of Jay's treaty no such problem has presented itself to American diplomacy as that which the war left as its legacy. The strongest power on earth, accustomed, in dealing with other nations, to take counsel only of her pride and her strength, had inflicted on us vast injury, of which the honor of this country seemed pledged to insist on reparation, which England conceived hers equally pledged to deny. But in domestic affairs, the difficulties were even greater. For six of the sixteen years that followed the death of Lincoln, the President was not in political accord with either house of Congress. For four others the house was of different politics from President and Senate. During the whole time the dominant party had to encounter a zealous and able opposition, and to submit its measures to a people having apparently the strongest inducements to go wrong. The rights of capital were to be determined by the votes of labor, debtors to fix the value of their payments to their creditors, a people under no constraint but their own sense of duty to determine whether they would continue to bear the weight of a vast debt, the policy of dealing with the conquered to be decided at the close of a long war by the votes of the conquerors, among whom every other family was in mourning for its dead, finance and currency with their subtleties,[Pg 537] surpassing the subtleties of metaphysics to be made clear to the apprehension of plain men; business to be recalled from the dizzy and dangerous heights of speculation to moderate gains and safe laws; great public ways connecting distant oceans to be built; commerce to be diverted into unaccustomed channels; the mouth of the Mississippi to be opened; a great banking system to be devised and put in operation, such as was never known before, alike comprehensive and safe, through whose veins and arteries credit, the life-blood of trade should ebb and flow in the remotest extremities of the land; four millions of people to be raised from slavery to citizenship; millions more to be welcomed from foreign lands; a disputed presidential succession to be settled, after an election contest in which the country seemed turned into two hostile camps, by a tribunal for which the founders of the government had made no provision; all this to be accomplished under the restraints of a written Constitution.

When this list has been enumerated the eulogy of Garfield the statesman has been spoken. There is scarcely one of these questions, certainly not more than one or two, which he did not anticipate, carefully and thoroughly study for himself before it arose, and to which he did not contribute an original argument, unsurpassed in persuasive force. Undoubtedly there were others who[Pg 538] had more to do with marshalling the political forces of the house. But almost from the time he entered it he was the leader of its best thought. He was ever serious, grave, addressing himself only to the reason and conscience of his auditors.

He lived in a State whose people were evenly divided in politics, and on whose decision, as it swayed alternately from side to side, the fate of the country often seemed to depend. You will search his speeches in vain for an appeal to a base motive or an evil passion. Many men who are called great political leaders are really nothing but great political followers. They study the currents of a public sentiment which other men form. They use as instruments opinions which they never espoused till they became popular. General Garfield always consulted with great care the temper of the house in the conduct of measures which were under his charge. But he was remarkably independent in forming his judgments, and inflexible in adhering to them on all great essential questions. His great friend and commander, General Thomas, whose stubborn courage saved the day in the great battle for the possession of Tennessee, was well-called the "rock of Chickamauga." In the greater battle in 1876 for the nation's honor, Garfield well deserved to be called the "rock of Ohio." Everything he did and said manifested the serious, reverent love of excellent.[Pg 539] He had occasion often to seek to win to his opinions masses of men composed largely of illiterate persons. No man ever heard from his lips a sneer at scholarship. At the same time, he never made the scholar's mistake of undervaluing the greatness of the history of his own country, or the quality of his own people.

The limits of this discourse do not permit me to enter into the detail of the variety and extent of his service in debate, in legislation, and in discussions before the people. I could detain you until midnight were I to recount from my own memory the great labors of the twelve years that it was my privilege to share with him in the public service, for four of which I sat almost by his side. Everybody who had a new thought brought it to him for hospitable welcome. Did science or scholarship need anything of the government, Garfield was the man to whom they came. While charged with the duty of supervising the details of present legislation he was always foreseeing and preparing for the future. In the closing years of the war, while chairman of the committee of military affairs, he was studying finance. Later he had prepared himself to deal with the defects in the civil service. I do not think the legislation of the next twenty years will more than reach the ground which he had already occupied in his advanced thought.

General Garfield gave evidence of vast powers[Pg 540] of oratory on some very memorable occasions. But he made almost no use of them as a means of persuading the people to conclusions where great public interests were at stake. Sincerity, directness, full and perfect understanding of his subject, clear logic, manly dignity, simple and apt illustration, marked all his discourse. But on a few great occasions, such as that in New York, when the people were moved almost to frenzy by the assassination of Lincoln, or in the storm which moved the great human ocean at the convention at Chicago, he showed that he could touch with a master's hands the chords of that mighty instrument—

"Such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old,
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and suage
With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds."

When General Garfield took the oath of office as President, he seemed to those who knew him best, though in his fiftieth year, still in the prime of a splendid and vigorous youth. He was still growing. We hoped for him eight years of brilliant administration, and then, in some form or place of service, an old age like that of Adams, whom, in variety of equipment, alone of our Presidents[Pg 541] he resembled. What was best and purest and loftiest in the aspiration of America seemed at last to have laid its hand on the helm. Under its beneficent rule we hoped, as our country entered on its new career of peace and prosperity, a nobler liberty, a better friendship, a purer justice, a more lasting brotherhood. But he was called to a sublimer destiny. He had ascended along and up the heights of service, of success, of greatness, of glory; ever raised by the people to higher ranks for gallant and meritorious conduct on each field, until by their suffrages he stood foremost among men of the foremost among nations. But in the days of his sickness and death he became the perpetual witness and example how much greater than the achievements of legislative halls, or the deeds of the field of battle, are the household virtues and simple family affections which all men have within their reach; how much greater than the lessons of the college or the camp, or the congress, are the lessons learned at mother's knees. The honors paid to Garfield are the protest of a better age and a better generation against the vulgar heroisms of the past. Go through their mausoleums and under their triumphal arches, and see how the names inscribed there shrink and shrivel compared with that of this Christian soldier, whose chiefest virtues, after all, are of the fireside and the family circle, and of the dying bed. Here the[Pg 542] hero of America becomes the hero of humanity.

We are justified, then, in saying of this man that he has been tried and tested in every mode by which the quality of a human heart and the capacity of a human intellect can be disclosed; by adversity, by prosperity, by poverty, by wealth, by leadership in deliberative assemblies, and in the perilous edge of battle, by the height of power and of fame. The essay was to be completed by the certain and visible approach of death. As he comes out into the sunlight, more and more clearly does his country behold a greatness and symmetry which she is to see in their true and full proportions only when he lies in the repose of death.

"As sometimes in a dead man's face,
To those that watch it more and more,
A likeness, hardly seen before,
Comes out, to some one of his race,
So, dearest, now thy brows are cold,
I see thee what thou art, and know
Thy likeness to the wise below,
Thy kindred with the great of old."

Let us not boast at the funeral of our dead. Such a temper would be doubly odious in the presence of such expressions of hearty sympathy from governments of every form. But we should be unfaithful to ourselves if in asking for this man a place in the world's gallery of illustrious names we did not declare that we offer him as an example of[Pg 543] the products of Freedom. With steady and even step he walked from the log-cabin and the canal-path to the school, to the college, to the battle-field, to the halls of legislation, to the White House, to the chamber of death. The ear in which the voices of his countrymen, hailing him at the pinnacle of human glory had scarcely died out, heard the voice of the dread archangel, and his countenance did not change. Is not that country worth dying for whose peasantry are of such a strain? Is not the Constitution worth standing by under whose forms Freedom calls such men to her high places? Is not the Union worth saving which gives all of us the property of countrymen in such a fame?[Pg 544]



Mr. President: For the second time in this generation the great departments of the Government of the United States are assembled in the Hall of Representatives to do honor to the memory of a murdered President. Lincoln fell at the close of a mighty struggle in which the passions of men had been deeply stirred. The tragical termination of his great life added but another to the lengthened succession of horrors which had marked so many lintels with the blood of the first born. Garfield was slain in a day of peace, when brother had been reconciled to brother, and when anger and hate had been banished from the land. "Whoever shall hereafter draw the portrait of murder, if he will show it as it has been exhibited where such example was last to have been looked for, let him not give it the grim visage of Moloch, the brow knitted by revenge, the face black with settled hate. Let him draw, rather, a decorous, smooth-faced, bloodless demon; not so much an[Pg 545] example of human nature in its depravity and in its paroxysms of crime, as an infernal being, a fiend in the ordinary display and development of his character."

From the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth till the uprising against Charles First, about twenty thousand emigrants came from Old England to New England. As they came in pursuit of intellectual freedom and ecclesiastical independence rather than for worldly honor and profit, the emigration naturally ceased when the contest for religious liberty began in earnest at home. The man who struck his most effective blow for freedom of conscience by sailing for the colonies in 1620 would have been accounted a deserter to leave after 1640. The opportunity had then come on the soil of England for that great contest which established the authority of Parliament, gave religious freedom to the people, sent Charles to the block, and committed to the hands of Oliver Cromwell the Supreme Executive authority of England. The English emigration was never renewed, and from these twenty thousand men with a small emigration from Scotland and from France are descended the vast numbers who have New England blood in their veins.

In 1685 the revocation of the edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. scattered to other countries four[Pg 546] hundred thousand Protestants, who were among the most intelligent and enterprising of French subjects—merchants of capital, skilled manufacturers and handicraftsmen, superior at the time to all others in Europe. A considerable number of these Huguenot French came to America, a few landed in New England and became honorably prominent in its history. Their names have in large part become anglicized, or have disappeared, but their blood is traceable in many of the most reputable families, and their fame is perpetuated in honorable memorials and useful institutions.

From these two sources, the English-Puritan and the French-Huguenot, came the late President—his father, Abram Garfield, being descended from the one, and his mother, Eliza Ballou, from the other.

It was good stock on both sides—none better, none braver, none truer. There was in it an inheritance of courage, of manliness, of imperishable love of liberty, of undying adherence to principle. Garfield was proud of his blood, and, with as much satisfaction as if he were a British nobleman reading his stately ancestral record in Burke's Peerage, he spoke of himself as ninth in descent from those who would not endure the oppression of the Stuarts, and seventh in descent from the brave French Protestants who refused to submit to tyranny even from the Grand Monarque.[Pg 547]

General Garfield delighted to dwell on these traits, and, during his only visit to England, he busied himself in discovering every trace of his forefathers in parish registries and on ancient army rolls. Sitting with a friend in the gallery of the House of Commons one night after a long day's labor in this field of research, he said with evident elation that in every war in which for three centuries patriots of English blood had struck sturdy blows for constitutional government and human liberty, his family had been represented. They were at Marston Moor, at Naseby, and at Preston, they were at Bunker Hill, at Saratoga and at Monmouth, and in his own person had battled for the same great cause in the war which preserved the Union of the States.

Losing his father before he was two years old, the early life of Garfield was one of privation, but its poverty has been made indelicately and unjustly prominent. Thousands of readers have imagined him as the ragged, starving child, whose reality too often greets the eye in the squalid sections of our large cities. General Garfield's infancy and youth had none of their destitution, none of their pitiful features appealing to the tender heart and to the open hand of charity. He was a poor boy in the same sense in which Henry Clay was a poor boy; in which Andrew Jackson was a poor boy; in which Daniel Webster was a poor boy: in the[Pg 548] sense in which a large majority of the eminent men of America in all generations, have been poor boys. Before a great multitude of men, in a public speech, Mr Webster bore this testimony;

"It did not happen to me to be born in a log cabin, but my elder brothers and sisters were born in a log cabin raised amid the snowdrifts of New Hampshire, at a period so early that when the smoke rose first from its rude chimney and curled over the frozen hills there was no similar evidence of a white man's habitation between it and the settlements on the rivers of Canada. Its remains still exist. I make to it an annual visit. I carry my children to it to teach them the hardships endured by the generations which have gone before them. I love to dwell on the tender recollections, the kindred ties, the early affections, and the touching narratives and incidents which mingle with all I know of this primitive family abode."

With the requisite change of scene, the same words would aptly portray the early days of Garfield. The poverty of the frontier, where all are engaged in a common struggle, and where a common sympathy and hearty co-operation lighten the burdens of each, is a very different poverty; different in kind, different in influence and effect, from that conscious and humiliating indigence which is every day forced to contrast itself with neighboring wealth, on which it feels a sense of grinding[Pg 549] dependence. The poverty of the frontier is indeed no poverty. It is but the beginning of wealth, and has the boundless possibilities of the future always opening before it. No man ever grew up in the agricultural regions of the West, where a house-raising, or even a corn-husking, is matter of common interest and helpfulness, with any other feeling than that of broad-minded, generous independence. This honorable independence marked the youth of Garfield, as it marks the youth of millions of the best blood and brain now training for the future citizenship and future government of the republic. Garfield was born heir to land, to the title of free-holder, which has been the patent and passport of self-respect with the Anglo Saxon race ever since Hengist and Horsa landed on the shores of England. His adventure on the canal—an alternative between that and the deck of a Lake Erie schooner—was a farmer boy's device for earning money, just as the New England lad begins a possibly greater career by sailing before the mast on a coasting vessel or on a merchantman bound to the farther India or to the China Seas.

No manly man feels anything of shame in looking back to early struggles with adverse circumstances, and no man feels a worthier pride than when he has conquered the obstacles to his progress. But no one of noble mould desires to be[Pg 550] looked upon as having occupied a menial position, as having been repressed by a feeling of inferiority, or as having suffered the evils of poverty until relief was found at the hand of charity. General Garfield's youth presented no hardships which family love and family energy did not overcome, subjected him to no privations which he did not cheerfully accept, and left no memories save those which were recalled with delight, and transmitted with profit and with pride.

Garfield's early opportunities for securing an education were extremely limited, and yet were sufficient to develop in him an intense desire to learn. He could read at three years of age, and each winter he had the advantage of the district school. He read all the books to be found within the circle of his acquaintance; some of them he got by heart. While yet in childhood he was a constant student of the Bible, and became familiar with its literature. The dignity and earnestness of his speech in his maturer life gave evidence of this early training. At eighteen years of age he was able to teach school, and thenceforward his ambition was to obtain a college education. To this end he bent all his efforts, working in the harvest field, at the carpenter's bench, and, in the winter season, teaching the common schools of the neighborhood. While thus laboriously occupied he found time to prosecute his studies, and was so[Pg 551] successful that at twenty-two years of age he was able to enter the junior class at Williams College, then under the presidency of the venerable and honored Mark Hopkins, who, in the fullness of his powers, survives the eminent pupil to whom he was of inestimable service.

The history of Garfield's life to this period, presents no novel features. He had undoubtedly shown perseverance, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, and ambition, qualities, which, be it said for the honor of our country, are everywhere to be found among the young men of America. But from his graduation at Williams onward, to the hour of his tragical death, Garfield's career was eminent and exceptional. Slowly working through his educational period, receiving his diploma when twenty-four years of age, he seemed as one bound to spring into conspicuous and brilliant success. Within six years he was successively president of a college, State Senator of Ohio, major-general of the army of the United States, and Representative elect to the National Congress. A combination of honors so varied, so elevated, within a period so brief and to a man so young, is without precedent or parallel in the history of the country.

Garfield's army life was begun with no other military knowledge than such as he had hastily gained from books in the few months preceding his march to the field. Stepping from civil life to[Pg 552] the head of a regiment, the first order he received when ready to cross the Ohio was to assume command of a brigade, and to operate as an independent force in Eastern Kentucky. His immediate duty was to check the advance of Humphrey Marshall, who was marching down the Big Sandy with the intention of occupying, in connection with other confederate forces, the entire territory of Kentucky, and of precipitating the State into secession. This was at the close of the year 1861. Seldom, if ever, has a young college professor been thrown into a more embarrassing and discouraging position. He knew just enough of military science, as he expressed it himself, to measure the extent of his ignorance, and with a handful of men he was marching, in rough winter weather, into a strange country, among a hostile population, to confront a largely superior force under the command of a distinguished graduate of West Point, who had seen active and important service in two preceding wars.

The result of the campaign is matter of history. The skill, the endurance, the extraordinary energy shown by Garfield, the courage he imparted to his men, raw and untried as himself, the measures he adopted to increase his force and to create in the enemy's mind exaggerated estimates of his numbers, bore perfect fruit in the routing of Marshall, the capture of his camp, the dispersion of his[Pg 553] force, and the emancipation of an important territory from the control of the rebellion. Coming at the close of a long series of disasters to the Union arms, Garfield's victory had an unusual and extraneous importance, and in the popular judgment elevated the young commander to the rank of a military hero. With less than two thousand men in his entire command, with a mobilized force of only eleven hundred, without cannon, he had met an army of five thousand and defeated them—driving Marshall's forces successively from two strongholds of their own selection, fortified with abundant artillery. Major-General Buell, commanding the Department of the Ohio, an experienced and able soldier of the regular army, published an order of thanks and congratulation on the brilliant result of the Big Sandy campaign, which would have turned the head of a less cool and sensible man than Garfield. Buell declared that his services had called into action the highest qualities of a soldier, and President Lincoln supplemented these words of praise by the more substantial reward of a brigadier-general's commission, to bear date from the day of his decisive victory over Marshall.

The subsequent military career of Garfield fully sustained its brilliant beginning. With his new commission he was assigned to the command of a brigade in the Army of the Ohio, and took part[Pg 554] in the second and decisive day's fight in the great battle of Shiloh. The remainder of the year 1862 was not especially eventful to Garfield, as it was not to the armies with which he was serving. His practical sense was called into exercise in completing the task assigned him by General Buell, of reconstructing bridges and reëstablishing lines of railway communication for the army. His occupation in this useful but not brilliant field was varied by service on courts-martial of importance, in which department of duty he won a valuable reputation attracting the notice and securing the approval of the able and eminent Judge Advocate General of the Army. That of itself was warrant to honorable fame; for among the great men who in those trying days gave themselves, with entire devotion, to the service of their country, one who brought to that service the ripest learning, the most fervid eloquence, the most varied attainments, who labored with modesty and shunned applause, who, in the day of triumph, sat reserved and silent and grateful—as Francis Deak in the hour of Hungary's deliverance—was Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, who, in his honorable retirement, enjoys the respect and veneration of all who love the Union of the States.

Early in 1863 Garfield was assigned to the highly important and responsible post of chief of staff to General Rosecrans, then at the head[Pg 555] of the Army of the Cumberland. Perhaps in a great military campaign no subordinate officer requires sounder judgment and quicker knowledge of men than the chief of staff to the commanding general. An indiscreet man in such a position can sow more discord, breed more jealousy, and disseminate more strife, than any other officer in the entire organization. When General Garfield assumed his new duties, he found various troubles already well developed and seriously effecting the value and efficiency of the Army of the Cumberland. The energy, the impartiality, and the tact with which he sought to allay these dissensions, and to discharge the duties of his new and trying position, will always remain one of the most striking proofs of his great versatility. His military duties closed on the memorable field of Chickamauga, a field which, however disastrous to the Union arms, gave to him the occasion of winning imperishable laurels. The very rare distinction was accorded him of a great promotion for his bravery on a field that was lost. President Lincoln appointed him a major-general in the army of the United States for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chickamauga.

The Army of the Cumberland was reorganized under the command of General Thomas, who promptly offered Garfield one of its divisions. He was extremely desirous to accept the position,[Pg 556] but was embarrassed by the fact that he had, a year before, been elected to Congress, and the time when he must take his seat was drawing near. He preferred to remain in the military service, and had within his own breast the largest confidence of success in the wider field which his new rank opened to him. Balancing the argument on the one side and the other, anxious to determine what was for the best, desirous above all things to do his patriotic duty, he was decisively influenced by the advice of President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton, both of whom assured him that he could, at that time, be of especial value in the House of Representatives. He resigned his commission of major-general on the fifth day of December, 1863, and took his seat in the House of Representatives on the seventh. He had served two years and four months in the army, and had just completed his thirty-second year.

The Thirty-eighth Congress is preëminently entitled in history to the designation of the War Congress. It was elected while the war was flagrant, and every member was chosen upon the issues involved in the continuance of the struggle. The Thirty seventh Congress had, indeed, legislated to a large extent on war measures, but it was chosen before any one believed that secession of the States would be actually attempted. The magnitude of the work which fell upon its successor[Pg 557] was unprecedented, both in respect to the vast sums of money raised for the support of the army and navy, and of the new and extraordinary powers of legislation which it was forced to exercise. Only twenty-four States were represented, and one hundred and eighty-two members were upon its roll. Among these were many distinguished party leaders on both sides, veterans in the public service, with established reputations for ability, and with that skill which comes only from parliamentary experience. Into this assemblage of men Garfield entered without special preparation, and it might almost be said unexpectedly. The question of taking command of a division of troops under General Thomas or taking his seat in Congress, was kept open till the last moment, so late, indeed, that the resignation of his military commission and his appearance in the House were almost contemporaneous. He wore the uniform of a major-general of the United States army on Saturday, and on Monday in civilian's dress he answered to the roll-call as a Representative in Congress from the State of Ohio.

He was especially fortunate in the constituency which elected him. Descended almost entirely from New England stock, the men of the Ashtabula district were intensely radical on all questions relating to human rights. Well-educated, thrifty, thoroughly intelligent in affairs, acutely discerning[Pg 558] of character, not quick to bestow confidence, and slow to withdraw it, they were at once the most helpful and most exacting of supporters. Their tenacious trust in men in whom they have once confided, is illustrated by the unparalleled fact that Elisha Whittlesey, Joshua R. Giddings and James A. Garfield represented the district for fifty-four years.

There is no test of a man's ability in any department of public life more severe than service in the House of Representatives; there is no place where so little deference is paid to reputation previously acquired, or to eminence won outside; no place where so little consideration is shown for the feelings or the failures of beginners. What a man gains in the House, he gains by sheer force of his own character, and if he loses and falls back he must expect no mercy, and will receive no sympathy. It is a field in which the survival of the strongest is the recognized rule, and where no pretense can deceive and no glamour can mislead. The real man is discovered, his worth is impartially weighed, his rank is irreversibly decreed.

With possibly a single exception, Garfield was the youngest member in the House when he entered, and was but seven years from his college graduation. But he had not been in his seat sixty days before his ability was recognized and his place conceded. He stepped to the front with the[Pg 559] confidence of one who belonged there. The House was crowded with strong men of both parties; nineteen of them have since been transferred to the Senate, and many of them have served with distinction in the gubernatorial chairs of their respective States, and on foreign missions of great consequence; but among them all none grew so rapidly, none so firmly as Garfield. As is said by Trevelyan of his parliamentary hero, Garfield succeeded "because all the world in concert could not have kept him in the background, and because when once in the front he played his part with a prompt intrepidity and a commanding ease that were but the outward symptoms of the immense reserves of energy, on which it was his power to draw." Indeed the apparently reserved force which Garfield possessed, was one of his great characteristics. He never did so well but that it seemed he could easily have done better. He never expended so much strength but that he seemed to be holding additional power to call. This is one of the happiest and rarest distinctions of an effective debater, and often counts for as much in persuading an assembly as the eloquent and elaborate argument.

The great measure of Garfield's fame was filled by his service in the House of Representatives. His military life, illustrated by honorable performance, and rich in promise, was, as he himself[Pg 560] felt, prematurely terminated, and necessarily incomplete. Speculation as to what he might have done in a field where the great prizes are so few, cannot be profitable. It is sufficient to say that as a soldier he did his duty bravely; he did it intelligently; he won an enviable fame, and he retired from the service without blot or breath against him. As a lawyer, though admirably equipped for the profession, he can scarcely be said to have entered on its practice. The few efforts he made at the bar were distinguished by the same high order of talent which he exhibited on every field where he was put to the test, and if a man may be accepted as a competent judge of his own capacity and adaptations, the law was the profession to which Garfield should have devoted himself. But fate ordained otherwise, and his reputation in history will rest largely upon his service in the House of Representatives. That service was exceptionally long. He was nine times consecutively chosen to the House, an honor enjoyed by not more than six other Representatives of the more than five thousand who have been elected from the organization of the government until this hour.

As a parliamentary orator, as a debater on an issue squarely joined, where the position had been chosen and the ground laid out, Garfield must be assigned a very high rank. More, perhaps, than[Pg 561] any man with whom he was associated in public life, he gave careful and systematic study to public questions, and he came to every discussion in which he took part, with elaborate and complete preparation. He was a steady and indefatigable worker. Those who imagine that talent or genius can supply the place or achieve the results of labor, can find no encouragement in Garfield's life. In preliminary work he was apt, rapid, and skillful. He possessed in a high degree the power of readily absorbing ideas and facts, and, like Dr. Johnson, had the art of getting from a book all that was of value in it, by a reading apparently so quick and cursory that it seemed like a mere glance at the table of contents. He was a preëminently fair and candid man in debate, took no petty advantages, stooped to no unworthy methods, avoided personal allusions, rarely appealed to prejudice, did not seek to inflame passion. He had a quicker eye for the strong point of his adversary than for his weak point, and on his own side he so marshaled his weighty arguments as to make his hearers forget any possible lack in the complete strength of his position. He had a habit of stating his opponent's side with such amplitude of fairness and such liberality of concession that his followers often complained that he was giving his case away. But never in his prolonged participation in the proceedings of the House did he give[Pg 562] his case away or fail, in the judgment of competent and impartial listeners, to gain the mastery.

These characteristics, which marked Garfield as a great debater, did not, however, make him a great parliamentary leader. A parliamentary leader, as that term is understood wherever free representative government exists, is necessarily and very strictly the organ of his party. An ardent American defined the instinctive warmth of patriotism when he offered the toast, "Our country, always right, but right or wrong, our country." The parliamentary leader who has a body of followers that will do and dare and die for the cause, is one who believes his party always right, but right or wrong, is for his party. No more important or exacting duty devolves upon him than the selection of the field and the time for contest. He must know not merely how to strike, but where to strike and when to strike. He often skillfully avoids the strength of his opponent's position and scatters confusion in his ranks by attacking an exposed point when really the righteousness of the cause and the strength of logical intrenchment are against him. He conquers often both against the right and the heavy battalions; as when young Charles Fox, in the days of his toryism, carried the House of Commons against justice, against its immemorial rights, against his own convictions, if, indeed, at that[Pg 563] period Fox had convictions, and, in the interest of a corrupt administration, in obedience to a tyrannical sovereign, drove Wilkes from the seat to which the electors of Middlesex had chosen him, and installed Luttrell, in defiance, not merely of law but of public decency. For an achievement of that kind Garfield was disqualified—disqualified by the texture of his mind, by the honesty of his heart, by his conscience, and by every instinct and aspiration of his nature.

The three most destinguished parliamentary leaders hitherto developed in this country are Mr. Clay, Mr. Douglass, and Mr. Thaddeus Stevens. Each was a man of consummate ability, of great earnestness, of intense personality, differing widely, each from the others, and yet with a signal trait in common—the power to command. In the give and take of daily discussion, in the art of controling and consolidating reluctant and refractory followers; in the skill to overcome all forms of opposition, and to meet, with competency and courage the varying phases of unlooked-for assault or unsuspected defection, it would be difficult to rank with these a fourth name in all our Congressional history. But of those Mr. Clay was the greatest. It would, perhaps, be impossible to find in the parliamentary annals of the world a parallel to Mr. Clay, in 1841, when, at sixty-four years of age, he took the control of the Whig[Pg 564] party from the President who had received their suffrages, against the power of Webster in the Cabinet, against the eloquence of Choate in the Senate, against the Herculean efforts of Caleb Cushing and Henry A. Wise in the House. In unshared leadership, in the pride and plentitude of power, he hurled against John Tyler with deepest scorn the mass of that conquering column which had swept over the land in 1840, and drove his administration to seek shelter behind the lines of his political foes. Mr. Douglas achieved a victory scarcely less wonderful, when, in 1854, against the secret desires of a strong administration, against the wise counsel of the older chiefs, against the conservative instincts and even the moral sense of the country, he forced a reluctant Congress into a repeal of the Missouri compromise. Mr. Thaddeus Stevens in his contests from 1865 to 1868, actually advanced his parliamentary leadership into Congress, tied the hands of the President, and governed the country by its own will, leaving only perfunctory duties to be discharged by the Executive. With two hundred millions of patronage in his hands at the opening of the contest, aided by the active force of Seward in the Cabinet and the moral power of Chase on the Bench, Andrew Johnson could not command the support of one-third in either House against the parliamentary uprising of which Thaddeus Stevens was[Pg 565] the animating spirit and the unquestioned leader.

From these three great men Garfield differed radically; differed in the quality of his mind, in temperament, in the form and phase of ambition. He could not do what they did, but he could do what they could not, and in the breadth of his Congressional work he left that which will longer exert a potential influence among men, and which, measured by the severe test of posthumous criticism, will secure a more enduring and more enviable fame.

Those unfamiliar with Garfield's industry, and ignorant of the details of his work, may, in some degree, measure them by the annals of Congress. No one of the generation of public men to which he belonged has contributed so much that will be valuable for future reference. His speeches are numerous, many of them brilliant, all of them well studied, carefully phrased, and exhaustive of the subject under consideration. Collected from the scattered pages of ninety royal octavo volumes of Congressional Record, they would present an invaluable compendium of the political history of the most important era through which the national government has ever passed. When the history of this period shall be impartially written, when war legislation, measures of reconstruction, protection of human rights, amendments to the Constitution, maintenance of public credit, steps[Pg 566] toward specie resumption, true theories of revenue may be reviewed, unsurrounded by prejudice and disconnected from partisanism, the speeches of Garfield will be estimated at their true value, and will be found to comprise a vast magazine of fact and argument, of clear analysis and sound conclusion. Indeed, if no other authority were accessible, his speeches in the House of Representatives from December, 1863, to June, 1880, would give a well-connected history and complete defence of the important legislation of the seventeen eventful years that constitute his parliamentary life. Far beyond that, his speeches would be found to forecast many great measures yet to be completed—measures which he knew were beyond the public opinion of the hour, but which he confidently believed would secure popular approval within the period of his own lifetime, and by the aid of his own efforts.

Differing, as Garfield does, from the brilliant parliamentary leaders, it is not easy to find his counterpart anywhere in the record of American public life. He, perhaps, more nearly resembles Mr. Seward in his supreme faith in the all-conquering power of a principle. He had the love of learning, and the patient industry of investigation to which John Quincy Adams owes his prominence and his Presidency. He had some of those ponderous elements of mind which distinguished Mr. Webster, and which, indeed, in all our public[Pg 567] life, have left the great Massachusetts senator without an intellectual peer.

In English parliamentary history, as in our own, the leaders in the House of Commons present points of essential difference from Garfield. But some of his methods recall the best features in the strong, independent course of Sir Robert Peel, and striking resemblances are discernible in that most promising of modern conservatives, who died two early for his country and his fame, the Lord George Bentick. He had all of Burke's love for the sublime and the beautiful, with, possibly, something of his superabundance; and in his faith and his magnanimity, in his power of statement, in his subtle analysis, in his faultless logic, in his love of literature, in his wealth and world of illustration, one is reminded of that great English statesman of to-day, who, confronted with obstacles that would daunt any but the dauntless, reviled by those whom he would relieve as bitterly as by those whose supposed rights he is forced to invade, still labors with serene courage for the amelioration of Ireland, and for the honor of the English name.

Garfield's nomination to the Presidency, while not predicted or anticipated, was not a surprise to the country. His prominence in Congress, his solid qualities, his wide reputation, strengthened by his then recent election as Senator from Ohio, kept him in the public eye as a man occupying the[Pg 568] very highest rank among those entitled to be called statesmen. It was not mere chance that brought him this high honor. "We must," says Mr. Emerson, "reckon success a constitutional trait. If Eric is in robust health and has slept well and is at the top of his condition, and thirty years old at his departure from Greenland, he will steer west, and his ships will reach Newfoundland. But take Eric out and put in a stronger and bolder man, and the ships will sail six hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred miles farther, and reach Labrador and New England. There is no chance in results."

As a candidate, Garfield steadily grew in popular favor. He was met with a storm of detraction at the very hour of his nomination, and it continued, with increasing volume and momentum, until the close of his victorious campaign:

"No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape; backwounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What King so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue."

Under it all he was calm and strong, and confident; never lost his self-possession, did no unwise act, spoke no hasty or ill-considered word. Indeed, nothing in his whole life is more remarkable or more creditable than his bearing through those five full months of vituperation—a prolonged[Pg 569] agony of trial to a sensitive man, a constant and cruel draught upon the powers of moral endurance. The great mass of these unjust imputations passed unnoticed, and with the general debris of the campaign fell into oblivion. But, in a few instances, the iron entered his soul, and he died with the injury unforgotten, if not unforgiven.

One aspect of Garfield's candidacy was unprecedented. Never before in the history of partisan contests in this country had a successful presidential candidate spoken freely on passing events and current issues. To attempt anything of the kind seemed novel, rash, and even desperate. The older class of voters recalled the unfortunate Alabama letter, in which Mr. Clay was supposed to have signed his political death warrant. They remembered, also, the hot-tempered effusion by which General Scott lost a large share of his popularity before his nomination, and the unfortunate speeches which rapidly consumed the remainder. The younger voters had seen Mr. Greeley, in a series of vigorous and original addresses, preparing the pathway for his own defeat. Unmindful of these warnings, unheeding the advice of friends, Garfield spoke to large crowds as he journeyed to and from New York in August, to a great multitude in that city, to delegations and deputations of every kind that called at Mentor during the summer and autumn. With innumerable critics,[Pg 570] watchful and eager to catch a phrase that might be turned into odium or ridicule, or a sentence that might be distorted to his own or his party's injury, Garfield did not trip or halt in any one of his seventy speeches. This seems all the more remarkable when it is remembered that he did not write what he said, and yet spoke with such logical consecutiveness of thought and such admirable precision of phrase as to defy the accident of misreport and the malignity of misrepresentation.

In the beginning of his presidential life, Garfield's experience did not yield him pleasure or satisfaction. The duties that engross so large a portion of the President's time were distasteful to him, and were unfavorably contrasted with his legislative work. "I have been dealing all these years with ideas," he impatiently exclaimed one day, "and here I am dealing only with persons. I have been heretofore treating of the fundamental principles of government, and here I am considering all day whether A or B shall be appointed to this or that office." He was earnestly seeking some practical way of correcting the evils arising from the distribution of overgrown and unwieldy patronage—evils always appreciated and often discussed by him, but whose magnitude had been more deeply impressed upon his mind since his accession to the Presidency. Had he lived, a comprehensive improvement in the mode of appointment[Pg 571] and in the tenure of office, would have been proposed by him, and, with the aid of Congress, no doubt perfected.

But, while many of the executive duties were not grateful to him, he was assiduous and conscientious in their discharge. From the very outset he exhibited administrative talent of a high order. He grasped the helm of office with the hand of a master. In this respect, indeed, he constantly surprised many who were most intimately associated with him in the government, and especially those who had feared that he might be lacking in the executive faculty. His disposition of business was orderly and rapid. His power of analysis, and his skill in classification, enabled him to dispatch a vast mass of detail with singular promptness and ease. His cabinet meetings were admirably conducted. His clear presentation of official subjects, his well-considered suggestion of topics on which discussion was invited, his quick decision when all had been heard, combined to show a thoroughness of mental training, as rare as his natural ability and his facile adaptation to a new and enlarged field of labor.

With perfect comprehension of all the inheritances of the war, with a cool calculation of the obstacles in his way, impelled always by a generous enthusiasm, Garfield conceived that much might be done by his administration toward[Pg 572] restoring harmony between the different sections of the Union. He was anxious to go South and speak to the people. As early as April he had ineffectually endeavored to arrange for a trip to Nashville, whither he had been cordially invited, and he was again disappointed a few weeks later to find that he could not go to South Carolina to attend the centennial celebration of the victory of the Cowpens.

But for the autumn he definitely counted on being present at three memorable assemblies in the South—the celebration at Yorktown, the opening of the Cotton Exposition at Atlanta, and the meeting of the Army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga. He was already turning over in his mind his address for each occasion, and the three taken together, he said to a friend, gave him the exact scope and verge which he needed. At Yorktown he would have before him the associations of a hundred years that bound the South and the North in the sacred memory of a common danger and a common victory. At Atlanta he would present the material interests and the industrial development which appealed to the thrift and independence of every household, and which should unite the two sections by the instinct of self-interest and self-defence. At Chattanooga he would revive memories of the war only to show that, after all its disaster and all its suffering, the[Pg 573] country was stronger and greater, the Union rendered indissoluble, and the future, through the agony and blood of one generation, made brighter and better for all.

Garfield's ambition for the success of his administration was high. With strong caution and conservatism in his nature, he was in no danger of attempting rash experiments, or of resorting to the empiricism of statesmanship. But he believed that renewed and closer attention should be given to questions affecting the material interests and commercial prospects of fifty millions of people. He believed that our continental relations, extensive and undeveloped as they are, involved responsibility, and could be cultivated into profitable friendship or be abandoned to harmful indifference or lasting enmity. He believed, with equal confidence, that an essential forerunner to a new era of national progress must be a feeling of contentment in every section of the Union, and a generous belief that the benefits and burdens of government would be common to all. Himself a conspicuous illustration of what ability and ambition may do under Republican institutions, he loved his country with a passion of patriotic devotion, and every waking thought was given to her advancement. He was an American in all his aspirations, and he looked to the destiny and influence of the United States with the philosophic[Pg 574] composure of Jefferson and the demonstrative confidence of John Adams.

The political events which disturbed the President's serenity, for many weeks before that fateful day in July, form an important chapter in his career, and, in his own judgment, involved questions of principle and of right which are vitally essential to the constitutional administration of the federal government. It would be out of place here and now to speak the language of controversy; but the events referred to, however they may continue to be a source of contention with others, have become, so far as Garfield is concerned, as much a matter of history as his heroism at Chickamauga, or his illustrious service in the House. Detail is not needful, and personal antagonism shall not be rekindled by any word uttered to-day. The motives of those opposing him are not to be here adversely interpreted nor their course harshly characterized. But of the dead President this is to be said, and said because his own speech is forever silenced and he can be no more heard except through the fidelity and the love of surviving friends. From the beginning to the end of the controversy he so much deplored, the President was never for one moment actuated by any motive of gain to himself or of loss to others. Least of all men did he harbor revenge; rarely did he even show resentment, and malice[Pg 575] was not in his nature. He was congenially employed only in the exchange of good offices and the doing of kindly deeds.

There was not an hour, from the beginning of the trouble till the fatal shot entered his body, when the President would not gladly, for the sake of restoring harmony, have retraced any step he had taken, if such retracing had merely involved consequences personal to himself.

The pride of consistency, or any supposed sense of humiliation that might result from surrendering his position, had not a feather's weight with him. No man was ever less subject to such influences from within or from without. But, after most anxious deliberation, and the coolest survey of all the circumstances, he solemnly believed that the true prerogatives of the executive were involved in the issue which had been raised, and that he would be unfaithful to his supreme obligation if he failed to maintain, in all their vigor, the constitutional rights and dignities of his great office. He believed this in all the convictions of conscience, when in sound and vigorous health, and he believed it in his suffering and prostration in the last conscious thought which his wearied mind bestowed on the transitory struggles of life.

More than this need not be said. Less than this could not be said. Justice to the dead, the[Pg 576] highest obligation that devolves upon the living, demands the declaration that, in all the bearings of the subject, actual or possible, the President was content in his mind, justified in his conscience, immovable in his conclusions.

The religious element in Garfield's character was deep and earnest. In his early youth he espoused the faith of the Disciples, a sect of that great Baptist communion, which, in different ecclesiastical establishments, is so numerous and so influential throughout all parts of the United States. But the broadening tendency of his mind and his active spirit of inquiry were early apparent, and carried him beyond the dogmas of sect and the restraint of association. In selecting a college in which to continue his education, he rejected Bethany, though presided over by Alexander Campbell, the great preacher of his church. His reasons were characteristic; first, that Bethany leaned too heavily toward slavery; and, second, that being himself a Disciple and the son of Disciple parents, he had little acquaintance with people of other beliefs, and he thought it would make him more liberal, quoting his own words, both in his religious and general views, to go into a new circle and be under new influences.

The liberal tendency which he anticipated, as the result of wider culture, was fully realized. He was emancipated from mere sectarian belief,[Pg 577] and with eager interest pushed his investigations in the direction of modern progressive thought. He followed with quickening step in the paths of exploration and speculation so fearlessly trodden by Darwin, by Huxley, by Tyndall, and by other living scientists of the radical and advanced type. His own church binding its disciples by no formulated creed, but accepting the Old and New Testaments as the word of God, with unbiased liberty of private interpretation, favored, if it did not stimulate, the spirit of investigation. Its members profess with sincerity, and profess only, to be of one mind and one faith with those who immediately followed the Master, and who were first called Christians at Antioch.

But however high Garfield reasoned of "fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute," he was never separated from the Church of the Disciples in his affections and in his associations. For him it held the ark of the covenant. To him it was the gate of heaven. The world of religious belief is full of solecisms and contradictions. A philosophic observer declares that men by the thousand will die in defence of a creed whose doctrines they do not comprehend, and whose tenets they habitually violate. It is equally true that men by the thousands will cling to church organizations with instinctive and undying fidelity, when their belief in maturer years is radically[Pg 578] different from that which inspired them as neophytes.

But after this range of speculation, and this latitude of doubt, Garfield came back always with freshness and delight to the simpler instincts of religious faith, which, earliest implanted, longest survive. Not many weeks before his assassination, walking on the banks of the Potomac with a friend, and conversing on those topics of personal religion, concerning which noble natures have an unconquerable reserve, he said that he found the Lord's prayer and the simple petitions learned in infancy, infinitely restful to him, not merely in their stated repetition, but in their casual and frequent recall as he went about the daily duties of life. Certain texts of scriptures had a very strong hold on his memory and his heart. He heard, while in Edinburgh some years ago, an eminent Scotch preacher, who prefaced his sermon with reading the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, which book had been the subject of careful study with Garfield during all his religious life. He was greatly impressed by the elocution of the preacher, and declared that it had imparted a new and deeper meaning to the majestic utterances of St. Paul. He referred often in after years to that memorable service, and dwelt with exaltation of feeling upon the radiant promise and the assured hope with which[Pg 579] the great apostle of the Gentiles was "persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The crowning characteristic of General Garfield's religious opinions, as, indeed, of all his opinions, was his liberality. In all things he had charity. Tolerance was of his nature. He respected in others the qualities which he possessed himself—sincerity of conviction and frankness of expression. With him the inquiry was not so much what a man believes, but does he believe it? The lines of his friendship and his confidence encircled men of every creed, and men of no creed, and to the end of his life, on his ever-lengthening list of friends, were to be found the names of a pious Catholic priest and of an honest-minded and generous hearted Free-Thinker.

On the morning of Saturday, July 2, the President was a contented and happy man—not in an ordinary degree, but joyfully, almost boyishly, happy. On his way to the railroad station, to which he drove slowly, in conscious enjoyment of the beautiful morning, with an unwonted sense of leisure and a keen anticipation of pleasure, his talk was all in a grateful and gratulatory vein. He felt that after four months of trial his administration[Pg 580] was strong in its grasp of affairs, strong in popular favor and destined to grow stronger; that grave difficulties confronting him at his inauguration had been safely passed; that trouble lay behind him and not before him; that he was soon to meet the wife whom he loved, now recovering from an illness which had but lately disquieted and at times almost unnerved him; that he was going to his Alma Mater to renew the most cherished associations of his young manhood, and to exchange greetings with those whose deepening interest had followed every step of his upward progress from the day he entered upon his college course until he had attained the loftiest elevation in the gift of his countrymen.

Surely if happiness can ever come from the honors or triumphs of this world, on that quiet July morning, James A. Garfield may well have been a happy man. No foreboding of evil haunted him; no slightest premonition of danger clouded his sky. His terrible fate was upon him in an instant. One moment he stood erect, strong, confident in the years stretching peacefully out before him. The next he lay wounded, bleeding, helpless, doomed to weary weeks of torture, to silence, and the grave.

Great in life, he was surpassingly great in death. For no cause, in the very frenzy of wantonness[Pg 581] and wickedness, by the red hand of murder, he was thrust from the full tide of this world's interest, from its hopes, its aspirations, its victories, into the visible presence of death—and he did not quail. Not alone for the one short moment in which, stunned and dazed, he could give up life, hardly aware of its relinquishment, but through days of deadly languor, through weeks of agony that were not less agony because silently borne, with clear sight and calm courage, he looked into his open grave. What blight and ruin met his anguished eyes, whose lips may tell—what brilliant, broken plans, what baffled, high ambitions, what sundering of strong, warm, manhood's friendships, what bitter rending of sweet household ties! Behind him, a proud expectant nation, a great host of sustaining friends, a cherished and happy mother, wearing the full, rich honors of her early toil and tears; the wife of his youth, whose whole life lay in his; the little boys not yet emerged from childhood's day of frolic; the fair, young daughter; the sturdy sons just springing into closest companionship, claiming every day, and every day rewarding, a father's love and care; and in his heart the eager, rejoicing power to meet all demand. Before him, desolation and great darkness! and his soul was not shaken. His countrymen were thrilled with[Pg 582] instant, profound, and universal sympathy. Masterful in his moral weakness, he became the centre of a nation's love, enshrined in the prayers of a world. But all the love and all the sympathy could not share with him his suffering. He trod the wine-press alone. With unfaltering front he faced death; with unfailing tenderness he took leave of life. Above the demoniac hiss of the assassin's bullet he heard the voice of God. With simple resignation he bowed to the divine decree.

As the end drew near his early craving for the sea returned. The stately mansion of power had been to him the wearisome hospital of pain, and he begged to be taken from its prison walls, from its oppressive, stifling air, from its homelessness and its hopelessness. Gently, silently, the love of a great people bore the pale sufferer to the longed-for healing of the sea, to live or die, as God should will, within sight of its heaving billows, within sound of its manifold voices. With wan, fevered face tenderly lifted to the cooling breeze, he looked out wistfully upon the ocean's changing wonders; on its far sails, whitening in the morning light; on its restless waves, rolling shoreward, to break and die beneath the noonday sun; on the red clouds of evening, arching low to the horizon; on the serene and shining pathway of the stars. Let us think that his dying eyes read a[Pg 583] mystic meaning, which only the rapt and parting soul may know. Let us believe that, in the silence of the receding world, he heard the great waves breaking on a further shore, and felt already upon his wasted brow the breath of the eternal morning.[Pg 584]




How beautiful it was to die as he has died,
Taking a calm around him by the force
Of his great soul, commanding peace from strife,
And changing all the discord into rest,—
A heavenly music heard as life departs!
How wonderful it was that the accursed hate
Which smote him brought forth only loyal love;
Like to some holy bell that being struck
Resounds with wondrous sweetness, sounding on
Through all the spaces to eternity.
How noble was his dauntless fortitude
Which, as he lay expiring, day by day,
Made him almost control his destiny
And look upon his torture with a smile.
[Pg 585]
As his life wasted, in great patience, wonderingly
His watchers watched him. They were not alone
Of his own people, but his watchers were the world,
From far-off shores and seas with pitiful
Sad yearnings towards him as his star went down.
Nine times ten million souls in his own tongue
Prayed to the Almighty for his single life;
But he had risen too near to heaven in his great flight
To stoop again to earth, and so God took him,
Like a star folded in more perfect light.
And he is dead, and multitudes have come
To his dead presence, and, with solemn care,
Moving in silence to the measured strain
He loved, in mournful sweet monotony
Repeated as they bore him step by step
Through harvest-fields of ripening trodden grain,
They laid him reverently, gently down
Where all the sheaves of earth are garnered at the last.
Upon his pulseless form are richly piled
Wreaths, garlands, of the late yet lavish bloom
Of the perfected summer, with the exquisite thrill
Of life so fresh upon their shining leaves
Banners are furled around him, and the flag
We love droops mourning o'er the mourning land.
[Pg 586]
And from afar beyond our land and lakes,
From the great world that watched him wonderingly
Come kind farewells and tender sympathies.
Pity has told her tale in every tongue
And kings have claimed him comrade, hand in hand.
Fame has recorded him,
Love has rewarded him,
Mother, wife, children and people wept over him.
England accounted him
Kindred by blood.
All that are great and good
Have as his mourners stood
While he lay, day by day, passing away.
A Queen sends comforting words of cheer,
And flowers to fade on his bloody bier.
God save the Queen when her last hour is near!
The North was his by birth,
The South is his by death!
He conquered by suffering grandly borne
Our long-cherished strifes; they are gone, and now
Standing together we look on his pale dead face,
To whom we had given, the elected, a power more great
Than any king's. Together we revere
[Pg 587] The majesty with which he laid it down
At God's command. Together we shall love
His memory, and each other for his sake,
And for the heart so high that it "could hate no man."
God rest him! He has rested him!
Nothing can "hurt" him more,
"Nothing can touch him further."
More than a king he lies
With the strong blaze of the world's homage
Full on his closed eyes.
American, born in the forest,
The great lake for him sighs,
And England, crowned and sceptered,
Loves him as he dies.
He fought in the deathly valley
From morn till the set of sun,
Till eighty days had run.
Then he folded his arms
And his day was done.
Oh, the bloom is off of the prairie,
The butterfly's change is begun,
The pine cone flowers eternal,
The eagle has soared to the sun!

Judge Burnham's Daughters. By "Pansy."

(Mrs G. R. Alden), Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.50. The multitude of readers of Mrs. Alden's stories will remember Ruth Erskine's Crosses, and will be glad to meet its principal character once more in her new character of wife and mother, ripened by experience and strengthened by trial. Her marriage will be remembered, and the radiant prospects of the future which attended it. Her husband was kindness itself, but he cared little for religious matters, and could not sympathize with what seemed to him the very ridiculous and puritanical ideas of his wife regarding many things. Still he always gave way to her. The great trouble of her new life, however, was the disposition evinced by her two step-daughters to resist her authority and cause her pain by their recklessness and disobedience. Her husband, Judge Burnham, was wealthy, and occupied a high social position. He was exceedingly proud of his family and sensitive as to his reputation. He was strongly opposed to Ruth's being actively connected with religious or temperance movements, and this fact sometimes brought them dangerously near serious misunderstanding. The pressure was constant, and made many unhappy hours for her, especially when questions of right and propriety arose between her and her step-daughters and an appeal was made to the father. Suddenly a blow fell upon the house. The younger daughter fled from home to marry a gambler and forger, and was disowned by her father and forbidden the house. A few months later the other daughter fell a victim to quick consumption, but in her later days turned to the mother whom she had disliked and disobeyed, and finally died in her arms. The story with its later incidents is a sad one, but its darkness is lighted by the surprise which awaits the reader at the close. It is written in Mrs. Alden's usual fascinating style and like all her books, is transfixed with a purpose.

Old Concord: Her Highways and Byways. Ill. By Margaret Sidney. Boston, D. Lothrop Co. Price $3.00. Of all the books of the year there is not one which carries within it such an aroma of peculiar delight as this series of sketches and descriptions of the highways and byways of that most picturesque of towns, Old Concord. Concord is like no other place in New England. There may be other places as beautiful in their way, there are others, perhaps, of more importance in the Commonwealth and we know there are hundreds of places where there is more active life to the square foot, but with all these admissions Concord still remains a place of special charm, the result and consequence of more causes than we care to analyze. Its picturesqueness and a certain quaintness of the village has always been noticed by visitors, no matter from what part of the globe they may have come. Added to this is the flavor of Revolutionary history, and the atmosphere created by the daily lives and presence for years of three or four of the giants in American literature. Here lived Hawthorne and Emerson, and Thoreau, and the Alcotts, father and daughter, and the work that they did here has made it a literary Mecca for all time.

These sketches have all the accuracy of photographs, together with that charm of color and life which a photograph never possesses. The author is a resident of Concord, and a dweller in one of its historic mansions, and is thoroughly acquainted with every nook and corner of the town as well as with every legend which belongs to them. The task which she assumes of guiding readers to the places made famous by pen and sword is a labor of love. She tells us how the pilgrimage should be undertaken, and what should be seen. We visit with her the ancient landmarks which belong to past generations, and the more modern ones which have even more interest to the multitude.

The Story of Ohio. By Alexander Black. Being the second volume of the new series, the "Story of the States," edited by Elbridge S. Brooks. One volume, 8vo, fully illustrated. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.50

The fact that Ohio has just passed her hundredth birthday, and that she will throughout the year be engaged in various interesting forms of civic celebration, renders singularly opportune the appearance of this compact and picturesque narrative in which the reader will find a complete picture of Buckeye progress, a picture etched rather than painted, for the book is not of formidable length, and the author has been compelled to adopt a crisp and nimble style to tell his story in due space. The term "story" is an elastic, and perhaps not always an accurately descriptive one. In this instance the author has given it a simple and effective definition by making it stand for a direct, natural and often dramatic account of Ohio's romantic origin and extraordinary development. While a preference for the picturesque phases of the story is shown even in the treatment of the most practical elements of State character, there is an obvious selection of those pictorial traits which have in themselves a special significance, and which, taken in the group, present the essential characteristics of the commonwealth. Indeed the narrative affords an excellent opportunity for discovering the immense individuality of Ohio in the great family of States. The great diversity of character among the States, diversities engendered by geographical as well as by ancestral conditions, is, perhaps not very generally recognized. The promising series of which this volume forms the second issue cannot fail, if each author continues to work with care and sincerity, to broaden our knowledge of all the elements that go to form our character as a nation, and to deepen that sense of fraternal sympathy, the cultivation of which has become a point of national pride.

Some Successful Women. By Sarah K. Bolton. With Portraits. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.25. Mrs. Sarah K. Bolton is the author of several interesting books which have given her a wide reputation and this new volume from her pen will be warmly welcomed. It consists of twelve brief biographies of American women who have in various walks and professions earned success so marked as to make their names familiar to every household in the country, and who have done much to inspire others of their sex to follow in their footsteps. Among them are Marion Harland (Mrs. Terhune), Mrs. G. R. Allen (Pansy), Clara Barton, the philanthropist, Alice Freeman, the former president of Wellesley College, Rachel Bodley, dean of the Woman's Medical College, Philadelphia, Frances E. Willard, whose labors in behalf of temperance have given her a place among the foremost of American women. Mrs. Candace Wheeler and her daughter Dora who have done so much to develop the love for decorative art in this country and to create opportunities for its practical application, with others who have gained equally distinguished places in other departments of art, literature and industry. The portraits add greatly to the interest of the sketches.

The Lost Earl. By J. T. Trowbridge. Ill. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $2.00. This volume will be warmly welcomed by the admirers of Mr. Trowbridge—and they are legion. Although Mr. Trowbridge is better known as a successful novelist and writer of juvenile stories he is one of the truest of our American poets and it is to be regretted that he has not oftener turned his attention to verse. His themes, though not ambitious, are always high and his poems are marked by feeling, naturalness and exquisite finish. The Lost Earl has never before been printed in book form. It is the story of the revolt of a strong soul against conventional society life and the casting aside of rank for social freedom.

The Secrets at Roseladies. By Mary Hartwell Catherwood. Boston, D. Lothrop Company. Price $1.00. This charming story of the life on the Wabash, which originally appeared as a serial in Wide Awake, will be read by boys and girls with equal pleasure, for the action of the story is pretty well divided between the two. The boys will be immensely entertained with the adventures of the four young treasure-seekers, particularly with that which ends in their capture by the crazy half-breed Shawnee, who proposes to cut off their thumbs to bury in the excavation they have made in the burial mound. The girls' secret, which is of a very different character, is just as amusing in its way. Mrs. Catherwood has a wonderful fund of humor, and a talent for description which many a better known author might envy. The character of old Mr. Roseladies is capitally drawn, and the account of his journey to the depot after Aunt Jane's trunk is really mirth provoking. Cousin Sarah and "Sister" and little Nonie are all charming and the reader will close the book with regret that there is not more of it.

Brownies and Bogles. By Louise Imogen Guiney. Ill. Boston, D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.00. This little volume might be fitly styled a fairy handbook, as in it the author describes every kind of the "little people" that is found in traditions or literature in all the countries of the world. There are the brownies and waterkelpies of Scotland, the troll and necken of Sweden, the German kobalds, the English fairies, pixies and elves, the Norwegian and Danish dwarfs and bjorgfalls, the Irish leprechauns, and a score of others, some of whom are mischievous, some malicious, some house-helpers, and some who are always waiting to do a good turn to those they like. The author mingles her descriptions with anecdotes illustrative of the different qualities and dispositions of the various fairy folk described.

Story of the American Sailor. By E. S. Brooks. Ill. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $2.50. Although several volumes have been written descriptive of the rise and development of the American navy, this is the first and only work of which we have knowledge that takes wide ground, and deals with the American sailor. In its preparation Mr. Brooks has not been actuated by a desire to merely make a readable book for boys, he has given it the attention which the subject demands as a part of the history of the country.

It would be a difficult matter to get at the first American sailor, or to even guess when he existed but that our continent was once well populated, and that its prehistoric inhabitants sailed the lakes and seas as well as trod the land, is a matter of certainty. Later when America became known to Europeans, the new comers found Indians well provided with excellent canoes, built of bark or fashioned from logs, but they were "near shore" sailors. The author quotes one instance where a deep sea voyage was undertaken by them in the early days of the English settlers. Certain Carolina Indians he says, wearied of the white man's sinful ways in trade, thought themselves able to deal direct with the consumers across the "Big Sea Water." So they built several large canoes and loading these with furs and tobacco paddled straight out to sea bound for England. But their ignorance of navigation speedily got the best of their valor. They were never heard of more.

The early white navigators of our waters can hardly be considered American sailors. The new found continent was to them of value only for what could be brought away from them in treasure or in merchantable produce, and it was only when an actual and permanent colonization began that a race of native-born sailors was developed on the Atlantic coasts.

Ned Harwood's Visit To Jerusalem. Ill. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.25. This is a story, instructively told of a young boy who made a visit to Jerusalem, and other places in the Holy Land, and saw many of the places made interesting in the Biblical narrative. The author's personal knowledge of the localities visited enables her to give vivid and accurate descriptions of them. The book is very handsomely bound in colored cover from original designs.

Longfellow Remembrance Book. By Samuel Longfellow. Introduction by E. S. Brooks. Ill. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $1.25. It needs no special memorial to perpetuate the memory of Longfellow and yet this little volume has an interest and a mission which are sufficient reasons for its existence. Its narrative testifies to the love and admiration which the whole English-speaking people felt for that sweetest of poets and most admirable of men, and it touches upon those qualities which, apart from his song, endeared him to every one that knew him. "Old and young," says Mr. Brooks in his brief introduction, "rich and poor, found in him inspiration, counsel, sympathy and help, and his words touched more closely the great, beating human heart than did those of even greater and diviner poets." With the exception of the introduction, Whittier's poem called out by the death of Longfellow,—"The Poet and the Children"—"An International Episode" and Miss Guiney's "Longfellow in Westminster Abbey"—the contents of the book are from the pen of the Rev. Samuel Longfellow. In loving detail he writes of the childhood and boyhood of his brother, his later years, his love for children and of his life at his charming home at Cambridge. A closing chapter from another hand describes the unveiling of the poet's bust in Westminster Abbey, March 1, 1884. The volume is beautifully illustrated.

A Strange Company. By Charles Frederick Holder. Illustrated. Boston. D. Lothrop Company. Price $1.25. No American naturalist of late years has written more comprehensively or entertainingly than Dr. Holder. The books and magazine articles from his pen would make a small library and an exceedingly valuable one. For seven years he was assistant in the American Museum of Natural History in New York and later was connected with the New York Aquarium, in whose interests he made extensive journeys for rare specimens. In the present volume, which is prepared for young readers, he describes some of the more remarkable specimens of animal life and their peculiarities. Many of the facts he cites will be new to older readers such, for instance, as that of fishes climbing trees and traveling considerable distances overland from water to water, of birds that fly under water the same as in the air, of four footed animals with bills and of birds with teeth. In a chapter devoted to the speech of animals we are told how some of the noises made by insects are produced undoubtedly for purposes of communication and how birds, fishes and animals convey intelligence one to another. In another chapter the sports and games of animals are dealt with. The author says, "I doubt if an animal can be found which does not in some way or at some time show a desire for what we term amusement. The Malayan sun bear is remarkable for its fun loving natur. The common black bear is almost equally playful and in some of its rough and tumble games in a tree top are some of the most interesting performances I have ever witnessed. Even crabs have a sense of humor and go through certain performance, presumably games. In Australia there are birds that build playhouses, aside from their nests, in the form of an arbor sometimes two or three feet long, which they decorate with bright objects."

A Young Prince of Commerce. By Selden R. Hopkins. Boston. D. Lothrop Company. Price $1.25. We do not know of a better book to put into the hands of boys for the purpose of teaching them the fundamental principles of business than this little volume, which Mr. Hopkins has so ingeniously prepared. Most boys grow into young men without the slightest knowledge of business matters excepting mere buying and selling. The very things that should have been taught them in school at the same time with grammar and geography they know nothing about, and while their heads may be stocked with the rules of syntax and the names and boundaries of all the countries in the world, they may be helpless as babies in the transaction of any business that requires the use of forms or legal methods. It is one of the senseless peculiarities of our school system that it excludes certain subjects of study that are absolutely necessary and gives place to others that are practically useless. It is on that account that we strongly commend this little work as a supplementary reader in schools. In its pages Mr. Hopkins tells an interesting story and sandwiches in between its incidents just the information to which we have reference. The boy who reads it has obtained, when he has finished it, a clear understanding of the principles of trade. He knows the character of mortgages, notes, drafts, stocks and bonds, the theory of banking, discount, exchange and collateral, he learns all about the mysteries of Wall Street and how the brokerage business is conducted; in fine, he gets an excellent understanding of the way business is carried on in general. All this knowledge comes in incidentally, and in connection with the story. The book is very handsomely printed and bound.

Mary the Mother. Compiled by Rose Porter. Ill. Boston. D. Lothrop Co. Price $3.00. The purpose of this beautiful volume is to give an outline story of Mary the Mother Maid, as told in the Holy Book, and by historical and legendary art, and in poetry. The theme, says the compiler in her preface, "though it lies within prescribed limits, is wide enough to embrace a broad field of thought, for it deals with all the most beautiful and precious productions of human genius and human skill as manifested by art which the Middle Ages and the Renaissance have bequeathed to us, and in them we can trace, present in shape before us, or suggested through inevitable associations, one prevailing idea. It is that of an impersonation in the feminine character of beneficence, purity and power, clothed in the visible form of Mary, the Mother of our Lord."

The story is told in the purest devotional spirit. The curious legends which have been handed down or created by the religious writers of the Middle Ages are put into consecutive order, and illustrated by reproductions of pictures by the old masters, and of those by two or three modern painters. Deger's famous picture of "The Annunciation" serves as the frontispiece. Then follows in order Ittenbach's "St. Mary the Virgin," Titian's "Presentation," the "Annunciation," by Murillo, "The Salutation," by Albertinelli, "St. John and the Virgin," by Dobson; "The Assumption," by Titian, "Mater Dolorosa," by Guido Reni, "Mater Dolorosa," by Carlo Dolce, and "The Madonna Addolorata," by Sassaferrato. These are exquisitely reproduced, and are printed, as well as the text, on heavy, hot-pressed paper. The volume is bound in cloth, with a cover of special design.

The Art of Living. From the Writings of Samuel Smiles. With Introduction by the venerable Dr. Peabody of Harvard University and Biographical Sketch by the editor Carrie Adelaide Cooke. Boston. D. Lothrop Company. Price $1.00.

Samuel Smiles is the Benjamin Franklin of England. His sayings have a similar terseness, aptness and force, they are directed to practical ends, like Franklin's, they have the advantage of being nearer our time and therefore more directly related to subjects upon which practical wisdom is of practical use.

Success in life is his subject all through The Art of Living, and he confesses on the very first page that "happiness consists in the enjoyment of little pleasures scattered along the common path of life, which in the eager search for some great and exciting joy we are apt to overlook. It finds delight in the performance of common duties faithfully and honorably fulfilled."

Let the reader go back to that quotation again and consider how contrary it is to the spirit that underlies the businesses that are nowadays tempting men to sudden fortune, torturing with disappointments nearly all who yield, and burdening the successful beyond their endurance, shortening lives and making them weary and most of them empty.

Is it worth while to join the mad rush for the lottery, or to take the old road to slow success?

This book of the chosen thoughts of a rare philosopher leads to contentment as well as wisdom, for, when we choose the less brilliant course because we are sure it is the best one, we have the most complete and lasting repose from anxiety.

Tilting at Windmills. A Story of the Blue Grass Country. By Emma M. Connelly. Boston. D. Lothrop Company. 12mo, $1.50.

Not since the days of "A Fool's Errand" has so strong and so characteristic a "border novel" been brought to the attention of the public as is now presented by Miss Connelly in this book which she so aptly terms "Tilting at Windmills". Indeed, it is questionable whether Judge Tourgee's famous book touched so deftly and yet so practically the real phases of the reconstruction period and the interminable antagonisms of race and section.

The self sufficient Boston man, a capital fellow at heart, but tinged with the traditions and environments of his Puritan ancestry and conditions, coming into his strange heritage in Kentucky at the close of the civil war, seeks to change by instant manipulation all the equally strong and deep-rooted traditions and environments of Blue Grass society.

His ruthless conscience will allow of no compromise, and the people whom he seeks to proselyte alike misunderstand his motives and spurn his proffered assistance.

Presumed errors are materialized and partial evils are magnified. Allerton tilts at windmills and with the customary Quixotic results. He is, seemingly, unhorsed in every encounter.

Miss Connelly's work in this, her first novel, will make readers anxious to hear from her again and it will certainly create, both in her own and other States, a strong desire to see her next forthcoming work announced by the same publishers in one of their new series—her "Story of the State of Kentucky."

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Life and Public Services of James
A. Garfield, by Emma Elizabeth Brown


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