Page images
PDF
EPUB

he gave Col. Garfield a brigade and assigned him the difficult task of driving thc Confederate general, Humphrey Marshall, from eastern Kentucky.

Gen. Garfield was thirty-two years old when he entered the Thirtyeighth congress, 1863-1864.

In the Thirty-ninth congress, 1865, he was changed, at his own request, from the committee on inilitary affairs to the ways and means committee.

In the Fortieth congress (1867) he was restored to his old committee on military affairs, and made its chairman.

In 1876, Gen. Garfield went to New Orleans at President Grant's request, in company with Senators Sherman and Matthews, and other republicans, to watch the counting of the Louisiana vote.

In the Forty-first congress a new committee—that on banking and currency—was created, and Garfield was very properly made its chairman.

In the Forty-second congress he was chairman of the committee on appropriations.

In the Forty-fourth, Forty-fifth (1879), and Forty-sixth congresses (1880), (the house being democratic), he was assigned a place on the committee of ways and means.

In June, 1880, the republican convention to nominate a successor to President Hayes was held in Chicago, and to it came Garfield, naturally, at the head of the Ohio delegation.

He received his nomination the 8th of June, 1880. Gen. Garfield left the convention and accepted the nomination by letter.

In a moment of special exultation on the morning of July 2, 1881, he was shot by a disappointed office-seeker named Guiteau. He lingered until September 15, 1881, when symptoms of blood poisoning appeared, and after a few hours of unconsciousness he died peacefully on September 19, 1881. DEATHBE' SCENES OF PRESIDENTS LINCOLN AND GARFIELD CONTRASTED.

The deathbed scenes of President Lincoln and President Garfield bore little similarity to each other. Mr. Lincoln received a brain wound, the fatal ball lodging under the right eye, after having entered the skull in the rear. Had John Wilkes Booth diagramed the skull before he fired and determined where he would produce certain, painless death, he could not have more accurately ended Mr. Lincoln's career than he did. The President never knew that he was shot; never knew what hand dealt him the blow; never suffered during the last nine hours prior to his death.

He was shot in Ford's Theater, Washington, April 14, 1865, about 10 o'clock at night. Laura Keene was the particular star upon the stage, and she was presenting “Our American Cousin.” When the shot was fired by Booth President Lincoln's head fell forward on the cushioned rail of the theater box. Mrs. Lincoln and others bent over him. His lips were moving and there was a twitching of the hands, but no speech. He was picked up in the bright playhouse, now filled with horror-stricken people, and stretched out on the floor. Blood was coming from the back of his head and he was deathly pale. His eyes did not open. He :made no sign of life except as the heart feebly beat.

SURGEONS WERE HELPLESS. Surgeons came, surgeons who had little of the technical knowledge of today. They said he was dying, that he could not be moved to the White House, but must be taken to some place near by, where instant attention could be given him. The moon rose at 10 that night, throwing its light to the earth through a half-clouded sky. The effect was weird in shadow and light. Major Rathbone and Captain Crawford directed the carrying of the President out of the theater to a house just across the street. He was laid upon a bed in a small room at the rear of the hall, not even to die in the place where four glorious years of his life had been passed.

Mrs. Lincoln followed, half distracted, tenderly cared for by a companion, Miss Harris. The surgeons bent over the President, but could do nothing for him. It was a derringer bullet that had entered his brain, just as a derringer bullet ended Mr. McKinley's life. John Hay, now secretary of state, then Major Hay, was sitting in an upper room of the White House with Robert Lincoln. They were hastily called to No. 453 Tenth street, where the President lay.

LIVED NINE HOURS. The President remained unconscious during the night. His wound would have brought instant death to most men, but his vital tenacity was extraordinary. His breathing came slow and regular all through the long hours of waiting for the end. At daylight his pulse began to fail and the automatic moaning which had gone on through the night ceased. A look of unspeakable peace came upon his worn features. At twentytwo minutes after 7 the morning of April 15, 1865, a little more than nine hours after he was shot, Mr. Lincoln was no more.

Secretary Stanton was the first to break the silence, by saying:
"Now he belongs to the ages."
Rev. Dr. Gurley knelt in prayer. Mrs. Lincoln came in from an

adjoining room with her son and threry herself upon the lifeless body with a loud cry. In the room when the President died were Surgeon Crane, Surgeon General Barnes, Charles Sumner, Major Hay, Secretary Wells, Secretary Stanton and other prominent men of the times. They turned away as the sobs of Mrs. Lincoln rose above her dead.

DEATH OF GARFIELD. . President Garfield was shot at 9:30 in the morning, July 2, 1881, by Charles J. Guiteau. The shooting took place in the Baltimore and Ohio station at Washington, where the President, with Mr. Blaine, was awaiting a train. The bullet entered the body from the rear, struck the spine, and produced an injury ordinarily fatal. Much hope was held out, though, for the President's recovery by the surgeons in attendance.

He was promptly removed to the White House, where he lay in great agony until September 6, when, a special car having been constructed for him, he was conveyed to Elberon, Long Branch, that the sea breezes might benefit him. There he died, September 19, 1881. Garfield was conscious during the greater part of his illness. He was confident for many weeks that he would recover. He had indomitable will and extraordinary courage.

READY FOR THE END. His mother and wife were with him, and he clung to them through all his terrible ordeal. After his arrival at Elberon there was a slight rally, but very slight. Terrible sinking spells came, and on the 19th of September, calm, prepared, conscious, he lifed his eyes upward, saw the radiance of a new day, and so parted with life. Mrs. Garfield, his son and several members of his cabinet were by his bedside when he died. The end had been expected for some little time—it was only a question of when.

Garfield's partings with those he loved form the most touching parts of his history. He had given the best of himself to his wife and he had worshiped his mother. It was over her he bent, after he had taken the oath of office as President, and kissed her.

“I have faith,” he said, when he realized the shadows were closing in upon him.

“It is leaving you that hurts most,” he whispered to the wife by his side.

Once he put out his wasted hand and said:
"If it is God's will, so be it.”
And God's will prevailed.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Theodore Roosevelt.

Birth, Political History and War Experience.

The youngest of our presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, entered upon the duties of his high office well equipped for its arduous duties and high responsibilities. His knowledge of books and experience with men and affairs had been wide and varied, probably greater than that of many of his predecessors. His brilliant career had made him the cynosure of all eyes, and this had been emphasized by his prominent mention as a candidate for the presidency, previous to the meeting of the republican convention at Philadelphia in 1900.

Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth vice president of the nation to succeed the president with whom he was chosen to office. John Tyler was the first, succeeding William Henry Harrison. Next came Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Zachary Taylor. Andrew Johnson succeeded Abraham Lincoln and Chester A. Arthur took the place of James A. Garfield. Three of the five vice presidents owe their advancement to the assassin's bullet.

Mr. Roosevelt is better known to the nation than was Tyler, Fillmore, Johnson or Arthur when the latter became president. Roosevelt has come with credit from the various public tests he has passed through

—as legislator, author, civil service commissioner, police commissioner, assistant secretary of the navy, soldier and vice president.

Chronologically considered, the epochs in Mr. Roosevelt's life cover but few years, yet show an advancement that has never before been equaled, even by the most ambitious and successful of Americans. The dates follow closely and punctuate his almost meteoric course:

Born in New York City, October 27, 1858.
Entered Harvard college in 1880.
Elected to New York legislature 1881.
Re-elected to legislature 1883.
Cattle and ranchman 1884 to 1886.
Defeated for mayor of New York 1886.
Member national civil service commission 1889.

New York police commissioner 1894.
Assistant secretary of navy 1897-98.
Colonel Spanish-American war 1898.
Governor New York 1899-1900.
Vice President United States March 4, 1901.
President United States September 14, 1901.

Mr. Roosevelt is of Dutch extraction on his father's side, his paternal ancestors having been representative citizens of the Empire state for eight generations. His mother was a Miss Martha Bullock of Georgia, a family distinguished in the South as far back as revolutionary times, when a governor of that name occupied the executive mansion.

Theodore Roosevelt appeared to have but a brief life before him. He was weakly as a child; as a boy he could not join in the rougher sports of his associates. At 20 he was almost an invalid. In early manhood he realized that something would have to be done to improve his physical condition, and at Harvard he became identified with the less boisterous sports of his classmates. He became expert at liglitweight boxing and was soon recognized as the most skillful among the young men of his age. He graduated well up in his class in 1880, and still feeling the need of physical strengthening, went to Europe, where he climbed the Jungfrau and the Matterhorn and became a member of the Alpine Club by reason of these achievements.

Returning to New York, he studied law and quietly entered politics. “I have always believed,” he said, “that every man should join a political organization and should attend the primaries; that he should not be content to be merely governed, but should do his part of that work. So after leaving college I went to the local political headquarters, attended all the meetings and took my part in whatever came up. There. arose a revolt against the member of assembly from that district, and I was nominated to succeed him and was elected.”

This was in 1881, and he was twice re-elected. There in that Albany morass of legislative corruption young Roosevelt began his political career. Modestly but unceasingly he made fierce war on criminal politics. By many he was considered but an assertive, well-meaning young man with correct ideas (absurd in practical politics)—a sort of visiting delegate from the Y. M. C. A. trying to run the Albany legislature, with its Thurlow Weed traditions, on a Sunday school basis.

But Roosevelt was soon discovered to be a knockdown fighter. One by one he smashed the idols of the famous lobby. One by one he attacked the corrupt departments of the New York city government, and spread astonishment among his opponents.

Upward he mounted, became republican candidate for speaker in his

« PreviousContinue »