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James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

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James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:34 pm


Just now I am reading Candice Millard's wonderful new book about the often forgotten tragedy of President Garfield's assassination. Here is a review from Chapter 16:
http://www.chapter16.org/content/pain-what-might-have-been
What desperately needed changing in nineteenth-century American politics was the spoils system, in which elected officials doled out civil-service jobs as favors to supporters. Garfield, a reform-minded Republican and a man of deep personal honor, opposed the system for the obvious reason that it fomented corruption at all levels of government. Other Republicans, called Stalwarts, opposed reform. Led by Roscoe Conkling, a paradigm of corruption, the Stalwarts tried at the 1880 Republican convention to ramrod the nomination of the pliable U.S. Grant for a third term. Garfield, a former university president, Civil War hero, and congressman—the very model of the soldier-scholar-statesman—did not seek or want the nomination but nonetheless received it as a compromise, and easily won the presidency. Watching the process was Guiteau—the very model of the delusional madman—who believed he should be rewarded for his loyalty to the Republican cause by being made American consul general to France. When the post was denied him, his insanity drove him to another, violent outlet.

American medicine also needed reform in the late nineteenth century. Despite advances brought by technology and the experience of the Civil War, American physicians had not embraced—and many actively opposed—advances in germ theory that had already revolutionized medicine in Europe. There, Dr. Joseph Lister had developed an antiseptic method that dramatically reduced infection and increased patient survival of traumatic injuries, including gunshot wounds. “Not only did many American doctors not believe in germs, they took pride in the particular brand of filth that defined their profession,” Millard notes. “They spoke fondly of the ‘good old surgical stink’ that pervaded their hospitals and operating rooms, and they resisted making too many concessions even to basic hygiene.”

Both the spoils system and the barbaric use of unsterilized surgical equipment came to belated ends after Americans watched their remarkable, beloved president linger in agony for more than two months following Guiteau’s assassination attempt. The dual evils of being shot by a spurned office-seeker and having his wound repeatedly probed by unwashed fingers and medical instruments turned Garfield himself into a powerful case study of just how broken both systems were. Garfield’s autopsy revealed he had died not of the gunshot but of the infection introduced by doctors, an internal assault that had spread pus-filled abscesses throughout his once vigorous body. “Had Garfield been shot just fifteen years later,” Millard writes, “the bullet in his back would have been quickly found by X-ray images, and the wound treated with antiseptic surgery. He might have been back on his feet within weeks.” The shared national trauma of the assassination catalyzed the reform process in both politics and medicine.
Here is a talk by Ms. Millard. (She seems really lovely!) :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmebtlLULpY
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:38 pm


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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:47 pm

His inaugural address:
http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres36.html

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 traveled.

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 then believe that the supreme authority of government could be safely intrusted to the guardianship of the people themselves.

We can not overestimate the fervent love of liberty, the intelligent courage, and the sum of 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 full power of self-preservation and ample authority for the accomplishment of its great object.

Under this Constitution the boundaries of freedom have been enlarged, the foundations of order and peace have been strengthened, and the growth of our people in all the better elements of national life has indicated the wisdom of the founders and given new hope 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 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 the 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 concerning 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. 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 rights 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 people, and has opened to each one of them a career of freedom and usefulness. It has given 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 this great change has caused serious disturbance to our Southern communities. This is to be deplored, though it was perhaps 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 obstacle 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 of self-support, widening their circle of intelligence, and beginning to enjoy the blessings that gather around the homes of the 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 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 sanctities 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 shall 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 or to 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 can not be denied. It covers a field far wider than that of negro suffrage and the present condition of the race. It 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 whose will hang the destinies of our governments, can transmit their supreme authority to no successors 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 surrendered to meet this danger by the savory influence of universal 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 own 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 can not 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 unite us and offer ample employment of our best powers. Let all our people, leaving behind them the battlefields of dead issues, move forward and in their strength of liberty and the restored Union win the grander victories of peace.

The prosperity which now prevails is without 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 predecessors, have 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 money 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 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 the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise 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 best lights of practical science and experience.

Our manufacturers are rapidly making us industrially independent, and are opening to capital and labor new and profitable fields of employment. Their steady and healthy growth should still be matured. 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 continents. Various plans to this end have been suggested and will need consideration, but none of them has 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 in 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 interoceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America as will protect our national interest."

The Constitution guarantees absolute religious 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 guaranty 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 manhood by sanctioning polygamy, but prevents the administration of justice through 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 criminal 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 intrusted with the appointing power against the waste of time and obstruction 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 the 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 the authority of the nation in all places within its jurisdiction; to enforce obedience to all the laws of the Union in the interests of the people; to demand rigid economy in all the 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 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, and, above all, upon our efforts to promote the welfare of this great people and their Government I reverently invoke the support and blessings of Almighty God.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  Elena on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:01 pm

Thank you so much for reminding us of him! sunny

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:32 pm

Thank you! I didn't know much about him until recently. My interest was first sparked by Frederick Douglass' description of Garfield in his memoirs. Douglass mentions his kind qualities and heroic struggle for life. He also talks about the great sorrow throughout the nation at his death. The mourning, both North and South, was quite unprecedented.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:42 pm


The assassination.

The wounded President visited by his wife and daughter.

His children.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:43 pm

Frederick Douglass' tribute to Garfield, from The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

Friends and fellow citizens,

To-day our common mother Earth has closed over the mortal remains of James A. Garfield at Cleveland, Ohio. The light of no day in our national history has brought to the American people a more intense bereavement, a deeper sorrow, or a more profound sense of humiliation. It seems only as yesterday that, in my quality as United States Marshal of the District of Columbia, it was made my duty and privilege to walk at the head of the column in advance of this our President-elect, from the crowded Senate Chamber of the national capitol through the long corridors and the grand rotunda beneath the majestic dome, to the platform on the portico where, amid a sea of transcendent pomp and glory, he who is now dead was hailed with tumultuous applause from uncounted thousands of his fellow citizens and was inaugurated Chief Magistrate of the United States. The scene was never to be forgotten by those who beheld it. It was a great day for the nation, glad and proud to do honor to their chosen ruler. It was a glad day for James A. Garfield. It was a glad day for me that I - one of the proscribed race - was permitted to bear so prominent a part in its august ceremonies. Mr. Garfield was then in the midst of his years, in the fulness and vigor of his manhood, covered with honors beyond the reach of princes, entering upon a career more abundant in promise than ever invited president or potentate before.

Alas, what a contrast, as he lay in state under the same broad dome, viewed by sorrowful thousands after day! What is the life of man? What are all his plans, purposes and hopes? What are the shouts of the multitude, the pride and pomp of this world? How vain and unsubstantial, in the light of this sad and shocking experience, do they all appear! Who can tell what a day or an hour will bring forth? Such reflections present themselves as most natural and fitting on an occasion like this.

Fellow citizens, we are here to take suitable notice of the sad and appalling event of the hour. We are here, not merely as American citizens, but as colored American citizens. Although our hearts have gone along with those of the nation at large, with every expression, token and demonstration of honor to the dead, of sympathy with the living, and abhorrence for the horrible deed which has at last done its final work; though we have watched with beating hearts the long and heroic struggle for life, and endured all the agony of suspense and fear, we have felt that something more, something more specific and distinctive, was due from us. Our relation to the American people makes us in some sense a peculiar class, and unless we speak separately, our voice is not heard. We therefore propose to put on record tonight our sense of the worth of President Garfield and of the calamity involved in his death. Called to preside on this occasion, my part in the speaking shall be brief. I cannot claim to have been on intimate terms with the late President. There are other gentlemen here who are better qualified to speak of his character than myself. I may say, however, that soon after he came to Washington I had a conversation with him of much interest to the colored people, since it indicated his just and generous intentions towards them, and goes far to present him in the light of a wise and patriotic statesman, and a friend of our race.

I called at the executive mansion, and was received very kindly by Mr. Garfield, who, in the course of the conversation, said, that he felt the time had come when a step should be taken in advance, in recognition of the claims of colored citizens, and expressed his intention of sending some colored representatives abroad to other than colored nations. He enquired of me how I thought such representations would be received. I assured him that I thought they would be well received; that in my own experience abroad I had observed that the higher we go in the gradations of human society, the farther we get from prejudice of race or color. I was greatly pleased with the assurance of his liberal policy towards us. I remarked to him, that no part of the American people would be treated with respect if systematically ignored by the government and denied all participation in its honors and emoluments. To this he assented, and went so far as to propose my going in a representative capacity to an important post abroad - a compliment which I gratefully acknowledged, but respectfully declined. To say the truth, I wished to remain at home and retain the office of United States Marshal of the District of Columbia.

It is a great thing for Hon. John Mercer Langston to represent this republic at Port au Prince, and for Henry Highland Garnet to represent us in Liberia, but it would be indeed a step in advance to have some colored men sent to represent us in white nationalities, and we have reason for profound regret that Mr. Garfield could not have lived to carry out his just and wise intentions towards us. I might say more of this conversation, but I will not detain you except to say that America has had many great men, but no man among them all has had better things said of him than he who has been reverently committed to the dust in Cleveland to-day.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:38 pm

Here is an article by Candice Millard, talking about her experiences as a writer. Her little girl was born with a rare form of childhood cancer, a terrifying experience for the mother which gave her a special sympathy for Garfield's illness and the anguish of his family:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/candice-millard-on-the-writing-life/2011/09/06/gIQAyPc1UK_story.html

By the time I began work on my second book, “Destiny of the Republic,” which is about the assassination of President James Garfield, our daughter had fought her way back from her harsh introduction to life and was in remission. As I began my research, however, I was continually surprised by how close to the surface my own fears still lay. Garfield, who was only 49 years old when he was shot in a Washington train station by a deranged man, would have lived had it not been for the arrogance and willful ignorance of his own doctors. Every time I read one of the medical reports — sickening descriptions of Garfield’s doctors probing the wound in his back with unsterilized fingers and instruments, blindly searching for the bullet — or found an anguished letter or diary entry written by his wife or children, their desperation felt remarkably familiar.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  Elena on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:42 pm

Very moving!!

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:40 pm



There is a whole book just on the letters between Lucretia and her husband. They had some very, very hard times in the early years of their marriage, but eventually grew into a devoted couple.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/lucretiagarfield
Garfield's election to the Presidency brought a cheerful family to the White House in 1881. Though Mrs. Garfield was not particularly interested in a First Lady's social duties, she was deeply conscientious and her genuine hospitality made her dinners and twice-weekly receptions enjoyable. At the age of 49 she was still a slender, graceful little woman with clear dark eyes, her brown hair beginning to show traces of silver.

In May she fell gravely ill, apparently from malaria and nervous exhaustion, to her husband's profound distress. "When you are sick," he had written her seven years earlier, "I am like the inhabitants of countries visited by earthquakes." She was still a convalescent, at a seaside resort in New Jersey, when he was shot by a demented assassin on July 2. She returned to Washington by special train--"frail, fatigued, desperate," reported an eyewitness at the White House, "but firm and quiet and full of purpose to save."

During the three months her husband fought for his life, her grief, devotion, and fortitude won the respect and sympathy of the country. In September, after his death, the bereaved family went home to their farm in Ohio. For another 36 years she led a strictly private but busy and comfortable life, active in preserving the records of her husband's career. She died on March 14, 1918.

A picture of her inaugural gown:

http://www.150.si.edu/150trav/remember/r224a.htm
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:46 pm


Interview with Candice Millard.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  Mata Hari on Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:21 pm

Fascinating! Thank you!!

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:10 pm


This is sad: two signatures of Garfield. The first is from his days of health; the second from his last illness. He famously added the words 'Strangulatus pro Republica,' or 'Tortured for the Republic.'


Here is an account by A. F. Rockwell, one of his old friends who attended him at this dreadful time:
http://books.google.com/books?id=3mUJAAAAQAAJ&ots=xTq25MjYcx&dq=scribner's%20magazine%201882%20rockwell&pg=PA431#v=onepage&q=mentor%20to%20elberon&f=false
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  Elena on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:15 pm

Very moving! Thank you for this! I love you

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:45 pm

I recently found a book written by the grand-daughter of James and Lucretia, Ruth Stanley-Brown Feis, about the life of her mother Mary Garfield ("Mollie") as a young girl in the White House. (Mollie later married her father's devoted and capable former private secretary, Joseph Stanley-Brown). It draws heavily on the diaries, letters and memories of the family.

One can feel all the excitement and high spirits of the Garfield children at their father's election to the presidency, in contrast to the apprehensions of their parents. Apparently Lucretia began to cry when she heard of her husband's nomination. When asked if she were not proud of it, she said of course she was, but that it was a terrible responsibility to come to them both. Little did she know, though, just how terrible things would in fact become as a result...

One can debate the level of responsibility of the assassin, who was clearly mentally disturbed. But as far as Mollie was concerned, after watching her beloved father suffer a long and agonizing death, there were no such doubts; no fate was terrible enough for his murderer. In her diary, she writes of her blood boiling up whenever she thinks of the assassin or even of any of his family, and of wanting to tear them all to pieces. She admits, "I suppose I am wicked, but these are my feelings."

A very sad aspect of the book is the way the family seemed to be so hopeful for so long that the President would recover. Then when he died, it just seemed too cruel to Mollie, after all he had suffered. She wrote that she felt God could not have understood how much the family needed him on earth with them. She doubted she would ever be able to say "Thy Will be done," about this particular tragedy.

Mollie also writes of greatly admiring her mother's courage and heroism in these dark moments. She discusses the touching reaction of the whole country; North, South, Republican, Democrat, former slave and former slaveowner, to the loss of her father. For a moment, at least, everyone seemed to forget their divisions and view each other kindly in this shared sorrow.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:49 pm


This is something entitled "President Garfield's Inauguration March."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-PecVoUexg
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:11 pm

Part I of three volumes of the trial of Garfield's assassin, United States vs. Guiteau.
http://books.google.com/books?id=XXcwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false
Guiteau was such a megalomaniac that the transcript would be comical if the whole business were not so tragic. He was unwilling to term what he had done murder or even killing. He rebuked his interrogator at one point for using such a "harsh word." Oh no, he was merely "removing" the President at God's command.


Here is an account of Garfield's illness and death from the physician in charge, Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss. (Yes, his name really was Doctor). He bungled the President's care, as we know, but he did seem genuinely moved by Garfield's incredible courage and patience, as was everyone else:
http://books.google.com/books?id=F7nPAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA299&ots=IhuClPLJlE&dq=story%20of%20garfield's%20illness&pg=PA299#v=onepage&q=story%20of%20garfield's%20illness&f=false
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:31 pm


Garfield with little Mollie. In the book by Mollie's daughter, there is another photo of the two of them where Mollie has turned her face away from the camera, so that only her long, dark curls are visible. Garfield apparently wrote on the photo, "Mollie in a Huff."

With his wife and proud mother Eliza Ballou.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:44 pm

James A. Garfield National Historic Site:

http://www.nps.gov/jaga/index.htm

Virtual tour of the home:

http://www.historybuff.com/panos/garfield-home/index2.html
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:43 pm

Secretary of State James Gillespie Blaine's speech after Garfield's death:
http://books.google.com/books?id=-LE6ZHq_sVsC&ots=VA_LcZY_6L&dq=blaine%20eulogy%20of%20garfield&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=blaine%20eulogy%20of%20garfield&f=false
The following passage captures the heart of the matter best:
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 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 was 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 toils and tears; the wife of his youth, whose whole life lay in his; the little boys not yet emerged from childhood's days 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 demands. Before him, desolation and great darkness! And his soul was not shaken. His countrymen were thrilled with instant, profound, and universal sympathy. Masterful in his mortal 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.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:22 pm

The sickroom.

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:40 pm

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:45 pm

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  Elena on Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:25 pm

This is very moving. Shocked Sad Surprised Thank you so much, M., for sharing so much information on Garfield.

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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

Post  May on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:56 am

OK, so everyone needs to go and see the fantastic Facebook page of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site Wink
https://www.facebook.com/GarfieldNPS
Here are just a few pictures from there.

Lovely Lucretia.

Tile she painted herself.

Winter scene of the Garfield family.
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Re: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and Lucretia Rudolph (1832-1918)

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