A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Volume 8, part 1: James A. Garfield
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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Volume 8, part 1: James A. Garfield

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. VIII.: James A. Garfield, by James D.RichardsonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. VIII.: James A. GarfieldAuthor: James D. RichardsonRelease Date: May 10, 2004 [EBook #12318]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PRESIDENT GRAFIELD ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Shawn Cruze and the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamA COMPILATION OF THE MESSAGES AND PAPERSOF THE PRESIDENTSBy JAMES D. RICHARDSONA Representative from the State of TennesseeVOLUME VIII1897Prefatory NoteThis volume comprises the Garfield-Arthur term of four years and the first term of Cleveland. The period covered isfrom March 4, 1881, to March 4, 1889. The death of President Garfield at the hand of an assassin early in hisAdministration created a vacancy in the office of the Chief Executive, and for the fourth time in our history the Vice-President succeeded to that office. The intense excitement throughout the land brought about by the tragic death ofthe President, and the succession of the Vice-President, caused no dangerous strain upon our institutions, and oncemore proof was given, if, indeed, further evidence was required, ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Messages andPapers of the Presidents, Vol. VIII.: James A.Garfield, by James D. RichardsonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol.VIII.: James A. GarfieldAuthor: James D. RichardsonRelease Date: May 10, 2004 [EBook #12318]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK PRESIDENT GRAFIELD ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Shawn Cruze andthe Online Distributed Proofreading Team
A COMPILATION OFTHE MESSAGES ANDPAPERS OF THEPRESIDENTSBy JAMES D. RICHARDSONA Representative from the State of TennesseeVOLUME VIII1897Prefatory NoteThis volume comprises the Garfield-Arthur term offour years and the first term of Cleveland. Theperiod covered is from March 4, 1881, to March 4,1889. The death of President Garfield at the handof an assassin early in his Administration created avacancy in the office of the Chief Executive, andfor the fourth time in our history the Vice-President
succeeded to that office. The intense excitementthroughout the land brought about by the tragicdeath of the President, and the succession of theVice-President, caused no dangerous strain uponour institutions, and once more proof was given, if,indeed, further evidence was required, that ourGovernment was strong enough to quietly andpeacefully endure a sudden change of rulers andof administration, no matter how distressing andodious the cause.During the Administration of President Arthur atreaty between the United States and the Republicof Nicaragua was signed, providing for aninteroceanic canal across the territory of that State.An able and learned discussion of this propositionwill be found among his papers. This treaty waspending when he retired from office, and waspromptly withdrawn by President Cleveland. Theact to regulate and improve the civil service of theUnited States was approved by President Arthur,and he put into operation rules and regulationswide in their scope and far-reaching for theenforcement of the measure. In his papers will befound frequent and interesting discussions of thisquestion. His vetoes of "An act to execute certaintreaty stipulations relating to Chinese" and of "Anact making appropriations for the construction,repair, and preservation of certain works on riversand harbors, and for other purposes," areinteresting and effective papers.The latter half of the period comprised in thisvolume, as already stated, covers the
Administration of Cleveland. His accession to thePresidency marked the return of the Democraticparty to power. No Democrat who had beenchosen by his party had held the office since theretirement of Buchanan, in 1861. PresidentCleveland's papers fill 558 pages of this volume,occupying more space than any other ChiefMagistrate, Andrew Johnson being next with 457pages. At an early date after Mr. Cleveland'sinauguration he became involved in an importantand rather acrimonious discussion with the Senateon the subject of suspensions from office. TheSenate demanded of him and of the heads ofsome of the Executive Departments the reasonsfor the suspension of certain officials and thepapers and correspondence incident thereto. In anexhaustive and interesting paper he declined tocomply with the demand. His annual message ofDecember, 1887, was devoted exclusively to adiscussion of the tariff. It is conceded by all to bean able document, and is the only instance wherea President in his annual message made referenceto only one question. His vetoes are morenumerous than those of any other Chief Executive,amounting within the four years to over threehundred, or more than twice the number in theaggregate of all his predecessors. These vetoesrelate to almost all subjects of legislation, butmainly to pension cases and bills providing for theerection of public buildings throughout the country.James D. Richardson.July 4, 1898.
James A. GarfieldMarch 4, 1881, to September 19, 1881James A. GarfieldJames Abram Garfield was born in Orange,Cuyahoga County, Ohio, November 19, 1831. Hisfather, Abram Garfield, was a native of New York,but of Massachusetts ancestry; descended fromEdward Garfield, an English Puritan, who in 1630was one of the founders of Watertown. His mother,Eliza Ballou, was born in New Hampshire, of aHuguenot family that fled from France to NewEngland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantesin 1685. Garfield, therefore, was from lineage wellrepresented in the struggles for civil and religiousliberty, both in the Old and in the New World. Hisfather moved to Ohio in 1830 and settled in whatwas then known as the "Wilderness," now as the"Western Reserve," which was occupied byConnecticut people. He died at the age of 33,leaving a widow and four small children, of whomJames was the youngest. Mrs. Garfield brought upher family unaided, and impressed upon them ahigh standard of moral and intellectual worth.James attended school in a log hut at the age of 3years, learned to read, and began that habit ofomnivorous reading which ended only with his life.
At 10 years of age was accustomed to manuallabor, helping out his mother's meager income bywork at home or on the farms of the neighbors.Attended the district school in the winter months,made good progress, and was conspicuous for hisassiduity. At the age of 14 had a fair knowledge ofarithmetic and grammar, and was particularly apt inthe facts of American history. His imagination wasespecially kindled by tales of the sea, and he so faryielded to his love of adventure that in 1848 hewent to Cleveland and proposed to ship as a sailoron board a lake schooner. Seeing that this life wasnot the romance he had conceived, he turnedpromptly from the lake; but loath to return homewithout adventure and without money, he drovesome months for a boat on the Ohio Canal, whenhe was promoted from the towpath to the boat.Attended the Geauga Seminary at Chester, Ohio,during the winter of 1849-50. In the vacationslearned and practiced the trade of a carpenter,helped at harvest, taught—did anything andeverything to earn money to pay for his schooling.After the first term he asked and needed no aidfrom home; he had reached the point where hecould support himself. Was converted under theinstructions of a Christian preacher, was baptizedand received into that denomination. As soon as hefinished his studies in Chester entered (1851) theHiram Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), atHiram, Portage County, Ohio, the principaleducational institution of his church. He was notvery quick of acquisition, but his perseverance wasindomitable and he soon had an excellentknowledge of Latin and a fair acquaintance with
algebra, natural philosophy, and botany. Hissuperiority was easily recognized in the prayermeetings and debating societies of the college,where he was assiduous and conspicuous. Livinghere was inexpensive, and he readily made hisexpenses by teaching in the English departments,and also gave instruction in the ancient languages.Entered Williams College in the autumn of 1854,and graduated with the highest honors in the classof 1856. Returned to Ohio and resumed his placeas a teacher of Latin and Greek at Hiram Institute,and the next year, being then only 26 years of age,was made its president. The regulations andpractices of his church, known as the ChristianChurch, or Church of the Disciples, permitted himto preach, and he used the permission. He alsopursued the study of law, entering his name in1858 as a student in a law office in Cleveland, butstudying in Hiram. Cast his first vote in 1856 forJohn C. Fremont, the first Republican candidate forthe Presidency. Married Lucretia RudolphNovember 11, 1858. In 1859 was chosen torepresent the counties of Summit and Portage inthe Ohio senate. In August, 1861, GovernorWilliam Dennison commissioned him lieutenant-colonel in the Forty-second Regiment OhioVolunteers. Was promoted to the command of thisregiment. In December, 1861, reported to GeneralBuell in Louisville, Ky. Was given a brigade andassigned the difficult task of driving theConfederate general Humphrey Marshall fromeastern Kentucky. General Garfield triumphed overthe Confederate forces at the battle of MiddleCreek, January 10, 1862, and in recognition of his
services was made a brigadier-general byPresident Lincoln. During the campaign of the BigSandy, while Garfield was engaged in breaking upsome scattered Confederate encampments, hissupplies gave out and he was threatened withstarvation. Going himself to the Ohio River, heseized a steamer, loaded it with provisions, and onthe refusal of any pilot to undertake the perilousvoyage, because of a freshet that had swelled theriver, he stood at the helm for forty-eight hours andpiloted the craft through the dangerous channel. Inorder to surprise Marshall, then intrenched inCumberland Gap, Garfield marched his soldiers100 miles in four days through a blindingsnowstorm. Returning to Louisville, he found thatGeneral Buell was away; overtook him atColumbia, Tenn., and was assigned to thecommand of the Twentieth Brigade. ReachedShiloh in time to take part in the second day's fight.Was engaged in all the operations in front ofCorinth, and in June, 1862, rebuilt the bridges onthe Memphis and Charleston Railroad, andexhibited noticeable engineering skill in repairingthe fortifications of Huntsville. Was granted leaveof absence July 30, 1862, on account of ill health,and returned to Hiram, Ohio, where he lay ill fortwo months. Went to Washington on September25, 1862, and was ordered on court-martial duty.November 25 was assigned to the case of GeneralFitz John Porter. In February, 1863, returned toduty under General Rosecrans, then in commandof the Army of the Cumberland. Rosecrans madehim his chief of staff, with responsibilities beyondthose usually given to this office. In this field
Garfield's influence on the campaign in middleTennessee was most important. One familiarincident shows and justifies the great influence hewielded in its counsels. Before the battle ofChickamauga, June 24, 1863, General Rosecransasked the written opinion of seventeen of hisgenerals on the advisability of an immediateadvance. All others opposed, but Garfield advisedit, and his arguments were so convincing thatRosecrans determined to seek an engagement.General Garfield wrote out all the orders of thatfateful day, September 19, excepting one, and thatone was the blunder that lost the day. Garfieldvolunteered to take the news of the defeat on theright to General George H. Thomas, who held theleft of the line. It was a bold ride, under constantfire, but he reached Thomas and gave theinformation that saved the Army of theCumberland. For this action he was made a major-general September 19, 1863—promoted forgallantry on a field that was lost. Yielded to Mr.Lincoln's urgent request and on December 5, 1863,resigned his commission and hastened toWashington to sit in Congress, to which he hadbeen chosen fifteen months before. Was offered adivision in the Army of the Cumberland by GeneralThomas, but yielded to the representations of thePresident and Secretary Stanton that he would bemore useful in the House of Representatives. Wasplaced on the Committee on Military Affairs, thenthe most important in Congress. In the Thirty-ninthCongress (1865) was changed, at his own request,from the Committee on Military Affairs to theCommittee on Ways and Means. In the Fortieth
Congress (1867) was restored to the Committeeon Military Affairs and made its chairman. In theForty-first Congress the Committee on Bankingand Currency was created and he was made itschairman. Served also on the Select Committee onthe Census and on the Committee on Rules. Waschairman of the Committee on Appropriations inthe Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses. Inthe Forty-fourth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-sixthCongresses (the House being Democratic) wasassigned to the Committee on Ways and Means.In 1876, at President Grant's request, went to NewOrleans in company with Senators Sherman andMatthews and other Republicans, to watch thecounting of the Louisiana vote. He made a specialstudy of the West Feliciana Parish case, andembodied his views in a brief but significant report.In January, 1877, made two notable speeches inthe House on the duty of Congress in aPresidential election, and claimed that the Vice-President had a constitutional right to count theelectoral vote. Opposed the Electoral Commission,yet when the commission was ordered was chosenby acclamation to fill one of the two seats allottedto Republican Representatives. Mr. Blaine left theHouse for the Senate in 1877, and this made Mr.Garfield the undisputed leader of his party in theHouse. At this time and subsequently was itscandidate for Speaker. Was elected to the UnitedStates Senate January 13, 1880. Attended theRepublican convention which met at Chicago inJune, 1880, where he opposed the renomination ofPresident Grant and supported Senator Sherman.On the thirty-sixth ballot the delegates broke, their