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of their own affairs. Formerly it was the business of great leaders, great social castes, to lead the people who had no initiative energy of their own; to-day, the public man, the statesman, has a different problem before him ; it is for him to interpret and formulate into legislative language the aspirations of the whole people. Politics has ever been considered a noble and honourable profession in this country, one to which every man with stake and fortune has aspired. The English nobility, from their peculiar position of influence and wealth, are eminently favoured in the race for power; it will be from their own fault if they forego their heritage. The country is willing to confide to its upper class a large preponderance in the direction of its affairs, feeling that in many ways they are technically fitted and educated to do the work. Yet the people of to-day are not the indiscriminating class of old ; they look to names as being guarantees of political honesty, not as a divine ordinance to rule. The upper classes who may think well to ignore this exhortation, because they see no immediate signs of rising discontent in the air, no tangible indication of the gradual wane of their authority, would be doubly wrong-wrong because they are blinding themselves with false hopes and vain aspirations, and wrong because they would be gradually sacrificing an inheritance, of which they of all people interested in the future have reason to be justly and immeasurably proud.
GENERAL JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD is the twentieth President of the United States. He is descended from an Edward Garfield, who, in 1635, was one of the proprietors of Watertown, having accompanied Governor Winthrop to New England. So far as is known, the family was of Saxon origin; and this conclusion is sustained by the complexion, temperament, and other characteristics of the President, as well as by his enthusiastic love of the language and literature of Germany, and other distinctive features of the German character. His father was born in Massachusetts, and his mother in New Hampshire.
In 1830 they settled in the Ohio forest, on a tract of land heavily wooded. A small log house was built, and the struggle to subdue the forest began. The farm is in Orange Township, Cuyahoga County, and is not more than eighteen miles from the flourishing town of Cleveland. Not quite two years afterwards, November 19, 1831, young James was born.
At an early age he was left fatherless, and his mother had to struggle with many difficulties. Some portions of the forest had been turned into fruitful fields when, one hot summer's day, a fire broke out in the surrounding woods, whose dry leaves and branches easily ignited. The ripening corn was in danger. The farmer's hopes were near destruction. With an admirable energy Abram Garfield set to work to throw up a dyke between his standing corn and the ravaging fire. After tremendous exertions be succeeded. But the success was dearly bought. Returning home, weary and overheated with his exhausting efforts, he took a chill. Inflammation of the throat followed which baffled all attempts to remedy. Medical practitioners in those thinly-settled districts were often mere pretenders, and Abram Garfield fell a victim to their incapacity. The poor fellow crept to the window of his log house to take a last look at his oxen, was seized with a paroxysm, and, leaning against the head of his rude bed, was choked to death. He was in the prime of life, and left four children to the care of his wife-a woman of intrepid spirit, of thorough
· The Life and Public Serriers of James A. Garfield. By Captain F. H. Mason, late of the Forty-second Regiment, U.S.A. London: Trübner & Co., 1881.
Christian character, and well trained to self-reliant habits. James was the youngest child.
The good woman faced her difficulties with true heroism, and maintained her struggles with constant privation in a noble spirit. She refused to send her elder children out to work among neighbouring settlers, toiling with her own hands to keep them together under her own eye. Year by year the fields were ploughed and sown, and the crops, often scanty, were gathered. She made her children's clothing and that of the family of a neighbouring shoemaker who, in return, constructed clumsy but substantial shoes for the young Garfields. In summer the boys worked in the fields, in winter they divided their time between tending the cattle and woodcutting, and attendance at the local school.
James, who received his first lessons in English as well as a bright example of noble devotedness from his mother, was a precocious boy, both physically and mentally. At four years of age he received at the district school the prize of a New Testament as the best reader in the primary class. At eight be had read all the books contained in the little log farmhouse, and began to borrow from the neighbours such works as Robinson Crusoe, Josephus's History and Wars of the Jews, Goodrich's United States, and Pollok’s Course of Time. These were read, and re-read, until he could recite whole chapters from memory. He was equally master of arithmetic and the earlier stages of a course of English grammar. His work on the farm and in the woods developed a naturally healthy and robust constitution, and to any of his schoolfellows who bullied him on the score of his poverty and his mother's humble manner of life, he proved such a formidable opponent that they were not forward to repeat the affront. In fact, his too ready resort to his fists to settle disputes and punish the arrogance of boys who insulted him was a source of sorrow to his meek and enduring mother.
His first contract for work was with a cousin, for whom he engaged to cut a hundred cords of wood for twenty-five dollars. Не was now sixteen
of age. The wood overlooked Lake Erie, and the sight of the blue waters, and the ships entering and leaving the port of Cleveland, revived the longing for a seafaring life which the reading of books of voyages and adventures had inspired. He resolved to become a sailor, and, as soon as his task was completed, he walked to Cleveland and went on board a schooner lying at the wharf. The crew were intoxicated, and the captain gave evidence of being a man of a coarse nature and brutal passions. This damped his ardour, and the same day, meeting another cousin who owned a canal boat plying between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, he engaged himself as driver. Three months later he was carried home to his mother sick with malarial fever, and in a state of unconsciousness.
This illness, and the five months of convalescence during which
his mother nursed him back to health, proved a grand turning-point in his life. The opportunity for which she had prayed was given, and while with tender care she nursed him, she sought to plant in his mind higher aims in life than his boyish dreams had pictured to him. The schoolmaster aided her in these endeavours, and as soon as James was sufficiently recovered, he entered the seminary of Geauga, fourteen miles distant, as a student. His whole stock of money was seventeen dollars, but he rapidly acquired what proved of more value than money, a knowledge of Latin, Greek, and mathematics. There was an end to his ideas of the sea, and his thirst for knowledge grew day by day. His means were very limited, but during vacations he employed himself in teaching, and during harvest seasons in farm work.
While at the seminary, he was brought under the power of religion, and joined a small branch of the Baptist body known as “Campbellites? or Disciples, of whom Alexander Campbell, an eloquent Scotch preacher, was the leader. The creed of the · Disciples' does not differ widely from that of the rest of the body, embracing belief in the Divinity of Christ, His atoning death, baptism (immersion) on a profession of faith, and the New Testament as the only standard of doctrine and rule of practice.
The progress of the • Disciples ’ in Northern Ohio led to the establishment of an academical school in the village of Hiram, thirty miles from Cleveland. Here the future ministers and elders of the church were educated. To this school of the prophets' young Garfield went, first as a scholar, next as a tutor, and finally as a teacher. gress was marked, and in a short time he was qualified to enter Williams College, one of the oldest and most advanced of all the institutions of learning in New England. President Hopkins took kindly to the young Western student, whose gigantic size made him as conspicuous as his proficiency in Greek and Latin made him distinguished. After two years at Williams College, he went back to Hiram seminary as professor of ancient languages and English literature, and at the end of a year he became president of the institution.
He was now (1857) twenty-six years of age, and, while full of energy himself, had a happy way of imparting that energy to all who came under bis influence. There were three hundred students in the institution at that time, and no one could be indifferent to the great aims and purposes of education who listened to his lectures. The early morning assembly, which usually extended over an hour, was a good start for the day. Proceedings commenced with prayer in the chapel, then a chapter of the Bible was read, followed by an extemporaneous address, sometimes upon a Scripture subject, sometimes on some recent political event or some scientific subject, or upon a new book. Once, it is said, he took the newspaper report of the
tragic death of Hugh Miller, setting forth the lessons of his noble life in words which made a profound impression.
Manliness is one distinguishing feature of his character, and he strove to inspire the young men of the institution with like habits, as also of self-reliance and courage. They were encouraged in athletic exercises, football and cricket being the games in which he excelled, and in which he personally superintended their efforts. He drew them all towards him, so that, as one of them has said, ' a bow of recognition, or a single word from him, was to me an inspiration.'
During this period Mr. Garfield added to his labours as an educationist those of a preacher. Though not set apart to the ministry, he was none the less a powerful and convincing preacher, and was not only acceptable but popular. He increased his popularity and influence, too, by means of a public debate with a spiritualist lecturer, who sought to overthrow the truths of the Bible by the theories of geology. The lecturer took the ground of Mr. Darwin in his doctrine of evolution, Garfield that of revelation. The latter had only three days to prepare for the contest with his able opponent, who was well versed in his theories, and had a ready utterance. Garfield bit upon a novel expedient to complete his preparation. He summoned six of his most advanced students, placed before them the plan of his argument, and then turned them into the college library to select, copy, and condense proofs of its chief parts. They completed their work in twenty-four hours, when the whole plan of the discussion was gone through. The result was that Garfield so overwhelmed his opponent that he abandoned his theory, and gave up the fight against the Bible. But other conflicts and successes awaited him.
The question of slavery was coming to the front. Out of the discussions as to whether Kansas and Nebraska should be slave or free territory, there grew up a large and powerful Free Soil party. Out of this party again there was organised the great national Republican party, which, after four years of great but effective work, returned Abraham Lincoln as President in 1860. Into these discussions Garfield threw his strength, and in the extension and triumphs of the party and its cause he bore a conspicuous part. In 1859, when he was only twentyeight years old, he was elected a State-senator for Ohio. Soon after this the smouldering embers of rebellion in the Southern slave-holding States broke out into a flame. Garfield had already become one of the acknowledged leaders of the Radical branch of the Republican party, forming with J. 0. Cox (afterwards Governor of Ohio), and Professor Munroe, of Oberlin College, the “Radical Triumvirate.' They saw the storm coming, but hoped it would pass over without a general war, or, at least, without a conflict of so destructive and bitter a character as ensued. The disaster at Bull Run dispelled all such hopes. Seven days after, Senator Garfield accepted a commission as lieutenant-colonel of a regiment then organising at Camp Chase.