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“FELLOW-CITIZENS:-I should be a great deal more than a man, or a great deal less than a man, if I were not extremely gratified by this mark of your kindness you have shown me in recent days. I did not expect any such meeting as this. I knew there was a greeting awaiting me, but I did not expect so cordial, generous, and general a' greeting, without distinction of party, without distinction of interests, as I have received here to-night. And you will allow me in a moment or two to speak of the memories this chamber awakens.
“I recognize the importance of the place to which you have elected me, and I should be base if I did not also recognize the great man whom you have elected me to succeed. I say for him, Ohio has had few larger minded, broader-minded men in the records of our history than that of Allen G. Thurman. Differing widely from him as I have done in politics, and do, I recognize him as a man high in character and great in intellect; and I take this occasion to refer to what I have never before referred to in public--that many years ago, in the storm of party fighting, when the air was filled with all sorts of missiles aimed at the character and reputation of public men, when it was even for his party interest to join the general clamor against me and my associates, Senator Thurman said in public, in the campaign, on the stump --- where men are as likely to say unkind things as at any place in the world, -a most generous and earnest word of defense and kindness for me, which I shall never forget as long as I live. I say, moreover, that the flowers that bloom over the garden wall of party politics are the sweetest and most fragrant that bloom in the gardens of this world; and where we can early pluck them and enjoy their fragrance, it is manly and delightful to do so.
“And now, gentlemen of the General Assembly, without distinction of party, I recognize this tribute and compliment made to me to-night. Whatever my own course may be in the future, a large share of the inspiration of my future public life will be drawn from this occasion and these surroundings, and I shall feel anew the sense of obligation that I owe to the State of Ohio. Let me venture to point a single sentence in regard to that work. During the twenty years that I have been in public life, almost eighteen of it in the Congress of the United States, I have tried to do one thing. Whether I was mistaken or otherwise, it has been the plan of my life to follow my convictions at whatever personal cost to myself. I have represented for many years a district in Congress whose approbation I greatly desired; but though it may seem, perhaps, a little
egotistical to say it, I yet desired still more the approbation of one person, and his name is Garfield. He is the only man that I am compelled to sleep with, and eat with, and live with, and die with; and if I could not have his approbation, I should have bad companionship. And in this larger constituency which has called me to represent them now, I can only do what is true to my best self, applying the same rules. And if I should be so unfortunate as to lose the confidence of this larger constituency, I must do what every other fair-minded man has to do—carry his political life in his hand and take the consequences. But I must follow what seems to me to be the only safe rule of my life; and with that view of the case, and with that much personal reference, I leave the subject.
“Thanking you again, fellow-citizens, members of the General Assembly, Republicans and Democrats—all, party man as I am,-thanking you both for what you have done and for this cordial and manly greeting, I bid you good-night.”
GREAT QUESTIONS AND GREAT ANSWERS.
is now appropriate to consider somewhat in extenso the
claims of James A. Garfield to be regarded as a statesman. It must needs be in the life of every public man, more particularly in the life of a Congressman, and more particularly still in the life of him who has risen to the rank of leader of the House, that he speak much on questions of passing interest. Many of the topics which engage his attention flit away with the occasion which gave them birth. They are the issues of the day, creatures perhaps of excitement, may be of prejudice, certainly of partisanship. Hence in the history of the life of a public man, many paragraphs will be found which merely recount the battles fought and victories won in the ordinary contests of the arena.
In the most marked contrast with this, however, is another class of questions which rise to the level of perpetual interest, affecting not only the destinies of the hour, but pregnant with the fate of the future. Not questions of the day are these, passing like a shadow over the landscape of current events; but shining rather like those orbs from whose disks the effulgence is shed which makes shadows possible. Albeit, there are themes of statesmanship vitally affecting the life of the nation; and only he, who in the heated arena of public life shows himself able to grapple with such problems, is worthy of the name of statesman.
Was James A. Garfield a statesman? In considering this question, and finding therefor a fitting answer, it is necessary clearly to understand what are the leading themes of American statesmanship. Perhaps a fair analysis of this great question will show that those topics of public discussion which rise to the dignity of questions of statesmanship will present about four leading heads:
I. Questions affecting the nationality of the United States.
II. Questions affecting the revenue and expenditures of the United States.
III. Questions affecting the financial and monetary systems of the United States.
IV. Questions concerning the general character and tendency of American institutions.
If it be shown that James A. Garfield proved himself able to grasp and discuss any or all of the great questions falling under this comprehensive classification, in such a manner as to throw new light upon them, to fix the status of public opinion regarding them, and to that extent to build more securely than hitherto the substructure of American greatness, then indeed is he worthy of the name of statesman. Let us then, without fear or partiality, apply the crucial test to Garfield's public life, and see whether indeed he is the peer and fit companion for the great names of our historyfor Hamilton, and Adams, and Webster, and Sumner, and Chase.
Before beginning this discussion, however, it will be necessary to remind the reader, that in considering the claims of Garfield to the rank of statesman under the outline presented above, the chronological order of the narrative will be broken up, and such a group ing made of his public speeches and papers as will best illustrate his views and establish his rank among the great men of our country.
First, then, as to questions affecting the nationality of the United States. What is the record of him whose life is here recounted concerning those great and vital themes upon which rests our perpetuity as a nation? Three utterances, his earliest, his latest, and his most characteristic, must be taken as representatives of the entire class.
On February 1, 1866, being thirty-five years of age, he presented his views on the general question of the restoration of the States lately in rebellion:
THIS IS A NATION. “The word · State', as it has been used by gentlemen in this discussion, has two meanings, as perfectly distinct as though different words had been used to express them. The confusion arising from applying
the same word to two different and dissimilar objects, has had very much to do with the diverse conclusions which gentlemen have reached. They have given us the definition of a 'state' in the contemplation of public or international law, and have at once applied that definition and the conclusions based upon it, to the States of the American Union and the effects of war upon them. Let us examine the two meanings of the word, and endeavor to keep them distinct in their application to the questions before us.
“Phillimore, the great English publicist, says: "For all the purposes of international law, a state (demos, civitas, volk) may be defined to be a people permanently occupying a fixed territory, bound together by common laws, habits, and customs, into one body-politic, exercising through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace, and of entering into all international relations with the other communities of the globe.'- Phillimore's International Law, vol. i, sec. 65.
“Substantially the same definition may be found in Grotius, book one, chapter one, section fourteen; in 'Burlamaqui, volume two, part one, chapter four, section nine; and in Vattel, book one, chapter one. The primary point of agreement in all these authorities is, that in contemplation of international law a state is absolutely sovereign, acknowledging no superior on earth. In that sense the United States is a state, a sovereign state, just as Great Britain, France, and Russia are states.
“But what is the meaning of the word State as applied to Ohio or Alabama? Is either of them a state in the sense of international law? They lack all the leading requisites of such a state. They are only the geographical subdivisions of a state; and though endowed by the people of the United States with the rights of local self-government, yet in all their external relations their sovereignty is completely destroyed, being merged in the supreme Federal Government.-Halleck's International Law, sec. 16, page 71.
“Ohio can not make war; can not conclude peace can not make a treaty with any foreign government, can not even make a compact with her sister States; can not regulate commerce; can not coin money; and has no flag. These indispensable attributes of sovereignty, the State of Ohio does not possess, nor does any other State of the Union. We call them States for want of a better name. We call them States, because the