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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

James A. Garfield

  • [Born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Nov. 19, 1831; member of the Ohio Senate, 1859; chief of staff, and major-general in the civil war; member of Congress, 1863–80; elected to the United-States Senate; President of the United States from March 4 to Sept. 19, 1881, when he died by assassination.]
  • God reigns, and the government at Washington still lives.

  • The conclusion of a brief speech made by Gen. Garfield at a mass meeting in front of the Merchants’ Exchange in New York City, April 15, 1865, the day of President Lincoln’s death. The excited throng was demanding vengeance upon certain newspapers for utterances considered treasonable; two men lay dying in the street for exulting in assassination, and telegrams from Washington gave intimations of other probable victims of a general conspiracy. At this critical moment, a man known to but few stepped forward, and, beckoning to the crowd with a small flag, spoke these words in a clear and impressive voice: “Fellow-citizens,—Clouds and darkness are round about Him. His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Justice and judgment are the establishment of his throne. Mercy and truth shall go before his face. God reigns, and the government at Washington still lives.” The effect was instantaneous. The crowd listened, and became calm, and the meeting afterwards was quietly dissolved.
  • Sixteen years later, on the 17th of July, as President Garfield himself lay prostrate from the assassin’s bullet, he called for paper, and wrote distinctly his name, followed by “strangulatus pro republicâ” (tortured for the republic).