The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, September 01, 1881, Page 224, Image 2

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September, i i
Thr flf'ftf h of President Garfield i
otic of thane event, occurring in the
history of nation, that excite the popular
mind to grief and sorrow Inryond the
power of language to express. During
the long week when Ite lay upon hi
dcath-Ud, the nation, and the whole
enlightened world, learned to respect
his character. The heroism of that
noble wife will paw down into history
with the record of hi own great and
good life and premature death. The
pathetic story will be told o long an
poetry and prose shall he used to recite
legend of the noble dead.
It i seldom that time offer to history
o simple, pure and pathetic a narrative,
a that which contains the life and death
of )ames A. Garfield. Horn to the
humblest station, with all the prizes of
life seemingly far above his reach, he
realized to the full the great American
theory and practice of human equality.
He rose step by step, through all the
grade of life, from the canal boy who
did hi duty well, to become a self-supporting
student, in time a teacher, then
legislator. When the tocsin of war
rallied the strong and brave to defend
the Union, he roused hi countrymen
to the cause and enlisted in it himself.
Here he proved that the citicn can In
come a soldier, and the rapid promotion
he leceived was well earned. His
career in the army showed skill and
courage and ability to command him
self ami other in the greatest emer
gencies. Chickamauga has two heroic figure:
General George II. Thomas, who un
dauntedly used the left wing to protect
the Union army from Irretrievable dis
aster, and James A. Garfield, who
would not retreat in the panic that
overwhelmed Kosccranx, but worked
hi way mid untold danger to Thomas's
tide and sustained him well through
that tremendous struggle. That brief
picture show the manfulne of the
Called from the army to represent
hit district in Congress, Garfield soon
established hi reputation a a statesman
of no mean order. For eighteen year
that have ensued hi influence on legit
lalion, and hi tact and political science
in lime of emergency, have not been
equalled ly any other living American,
though Ite arrogated so tittle to himself
that, while he was the foremost man in
Congress, the public attention has often
been fixed on more showy politicans,
whose" stalwart " qualities, embroiled
the people, as well as Congress, in bitter
partisan struggles, that it required the
tact of Garfield to allay.
The time came when the National
Convention of his party was staggered
by a factional issue that seemed to
paralye its efforts and mock all hopes
of unity and success. Some man, who
perhaps spoke wiser than he knew,
named Gai field as a presidential candi
date. Like the rush of flames upon
the prairies that name swept the Con
vention, and it presented him to the
Nation for endorsement. Perhaps .it
is not t:o much to say that only in such
an unexpected contingency could the
party have been induced to act so wisely
as it did when, laying aside the claims
of aspirants, it named a man whose
ambition had not soared so high. The
end justified the wisdom of the selec
tion. The campaign of 1SS0 was remark
able in many respects. Each national
party placed in nomination a man of
whom tho whole nation had reason to
be proud. The people rallied to the
npMrt of the one who had grown Up
from their own ranks, winning position
by labor as well as deserving success by
unblemished character. They pictured
him as the "canal boy." They recog.
nized the representative features of his
history as illustrating the principles of
our free government. They made him
President of the United States.
As we examine the career of Gen.
Garfield we find it lcars inspection, lie
wa human, and therefore was not per
fect. He had not the great poise and
wonderful dignity and self-respect that
belonged to Washington. He did not
have the pathetic traits of character
the wonderful meekness and the untir
ing patience that ihrine the memory
of Lincoln, in addition to his originul
power of mind. Hut Garfield had
brilliant and remarkable qualities that
had made him irresistible in his own
state Ohio. He combined in hit in
dividuality cholar, soldier and states
man. Occupying high position in
public life during periods of great ex
citcmcnt, when opportunities for self,
aggrandiienient tempted so many, he
never became rich, and the property he
leave represent only the modest Mv.
ings of a laborious life. Through the .
hard labors of his youth and the severe
strain upon the mental forces of his
prime, he read and studied a wider
range of topics than men of simply
studious leisure often master. His
mind was a rich treasure house, stored
with wealth of all nations and the
classics of all time. His death is a loss
to scholarship as well as to statesman
ship. The world may well grieve that
he cannot live to graft upon his age the'
fruits of his genius and research.
Coming down from thoughts of pure '
culture to contemplation of perfect man-'
hood; if we stand beside the freshly '
stricken victim, before the surgeons'
have made the examination that shall ,
give hope of life or certainty of death, ;
we find him, though faint and helpless,
perhaps the most self-possessed of all.
Life for him had all the realization of
success. He was inaugurated as the
newly elected chief of the greatest?
nation on the earth. The hopes of fifty
millions of people centered in his life ;
and its preservation. Before the world :
his position was magnificent. While a
he could not hope for anything greater,
he had the prospect of continual honors
as long as he might live. While not
rich, he could count on retiring from
the presidential office with sufficient j
means to secure every earthly enjoy,
ment, and to enable him to prosecute
those studies and cultivate those tastes .
that make the life of such men so truly ;
enjoyable. Hut from the outset he met
the anxiety of his friends with the as
surance that he had no fears of death.
Through the long period of his suffer-;
ing he showed the greatest qualities of
manhood, the tenderest love lor his
family and friends, the most utter abne-;
gation of self, the most cheerful hoping
against hope th it man can be capable
of. It is this hourly record of his man- j
lines and courage, lasting to the faintest
breath and to the latest hour, that has i
drawn the heart of the nation to him
and makes all humanity his mourners
There is another chapter of th'it;
mournful episode that wins the admira-;
tion of the world and with its pathctje
tenderness invites the pitying love of,
every human heart. Garfield as husband
and father never came before the public,
or could be called in question, until thit
cruel fate brought humanity to hi bed
aide. The picture of domestic life of
the simple and pure affection that ex-