« ZurückWeiter »
Richmond was begun ; and the battle continued into April 1. At last Lee's lines were pierced in three places. Richmond was evacuated, and given to the flames, and the defenders fell back upon Amelia Court-house. The first Union troops entered the town on April 2, extinguished the fire, and hoisted the Federal flag. Lee's army was sadly broken and dispirited, and it with difficulty was supplied with food. Grant's troops pressed hard upon it; and, on April 7, Grant sent a note to Lee, requesting him to surrender, on the single condition that the men surrendering should not take up arms again. Lee refused to consider the terms, and the retreat continued. But not for long. At Appomattox Courthouse, surrounded and hopeless, Lee was obliged to sue for terms on April 9. A meeting was arranged between the two generals, and terms were arranged, as Grant had previously offered. The Civil War was at an end. Ulysses Simpson Grant had preserved the Union of his country. Lee took leave of his army with the simple and affecting words, Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best I could for you.' Grant's farewell to his army is dated from the Adjutant-General's office at Washington, on June 2, 1865. 'Soldiers of the armies of the United States,’ it runs,
by your patriotic devotion to your country in the hour of danger and alarm, your magnificent fighting, bravery, and endurance, you have maintained the supremacy of the Union and the Constitution, overthrown all armed opposition to the enforcement of the laws and of the proclamations for ever abolishing slavery,—the cause and pretext of the Rebellion, and opened the way to the rightful authorities to restore order and inaugurate peace on a permanent and enduring basis on every foot of American soil. Your marches, sieges, and battles, in distance, duration, resolution, and brilliancy of results, dim the lustre of the world's past military achievements, and will be the patriot's precedent in defence of liberty and right in all time to come. In obedience to your country's call, you left your homes and families, and volunteered in her defence. Victory has crowned your valour, and secured the purpose of your patriotic hearts; and, with the gratitude of your countrymen, and the highest honours a free nation can accord, you will soon be permitted to return to your homes and families, conscious of having discharged the highest duty of American citizens. To achieve these glorious triumphs, and secure to yourselves, your fellow - countrymen, and posterity, the blessings of free institutions, tens of thousands of your gallant comrades have fallen, and sealed the priceless legacy with their blood. The graves of these a grateful nation bedews with tears, honours their memories, and will ever cherish and support their stricken families.'
Grant was enthusiastically hailed as the hero of the war, and the most flattering comparisons were drawn between him and the great captains of history. The grade of General of the American army was created by Congress and bestowed upon him on July 25, 1866. But his military career was closed, and the political field lay before him. Twice before him an American soldier had seated himself in the President's chair, solely in virtue of military ability and success. Why should not Grant be the third ? Andrew Johnson had succeeded the murdered Lincoln, but between him and Grant a coolness sprang up. Their methods of thought were entirely unsympathetic, and their political creeds were different. The intercourse between the commander-in-chief and the President became entirely formal; all the more when Grant was nominated, in May 1868, as Republican candidate for the Presidency. In November 1868 the election took place. General Grant received 214 out of the 294 electoral votes of the twenty-six States then forming the Union; and on March 4, 1869, he was inaugurated as President. Grant's political life has not the same general interest as his military career. He was a good President, and did good work. His first address to Congress was, as was said at the time, not so much like a message, as a familiar and homely royal speech, for he avoided entering into vexed political questions; though, as he said, he had a 'policy to recommend, but none to enforce against the will of the people. During the four years of his term the bitter feelings that had sprung up between the North and the South were much softened, the national debt was largely reduced, and the Alabama question settled. In 1872, Grant was again nominated for President, having as his opponent Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, who stood as the candidate of both the Liberal Republicans and Demo'crats. In November of that year, Grant received 268 electoral votes, and Greeley 80; and accordingly the former was reinaugurated as President on March 4, 1873. Though his administration was disturbed by financial difficulties and agitation in the South, it was contemplated to put him forward once more for his party. But no third term of Presidency had ever been held by any man,-Washington had refused to stand after his second term; Jefferson had followed the example of moderation,-and it had become a well-nigh fixed, though unwritten law of the Constitution, that eight years should limit the reign of any one President. Grant did not stand ; and, soon after laying down his office, on March 4, 1877, he started on a tour through the world. Everywhere the great General and ex-President was received with honour, and treated more as a great national representative than as a private citizen travelling merely for pleasure. Since his return to the United States, he has taken no very prominent share in the politics of his country.
WO Presidents of the United States have fallen by
the bullet of the assassin ; and it is interesting to Ce note that, not only in their sad end, but also in many features of their previous careers, there is a marked similarity. Both sprang from the humblest origin, both struggled with dire poverty, and both rose, by indomitable perseverance and strength of will, to the highest place in the nation. The life of Abraham Lincoln has already been told; no one can read the life of James Garfield without being struck by the resemblance.
In January 1830, a hardy pioneer, named Abram Garfield, accompanied by his wife and three children, removed from Newburgh, near Cleveland, in Ohio, and built himself a small log-hut at Orange in Cuyahoga County of the same State. It was but a poor dwelling, constructed of loose logs and daubed with clay, and it contained but a single room, with a rough loft above. Here, on November 19, 1831, was born James Abram Garfield, President of the United States. His father had purchased fifty acres of land, and set himself diligently to clear them. He was a strong, earnest, and industrious man; and his son James inherited from him much more than his physical strength and power of endurance. But Abram Garfield did not live to see more than the earliest dawn of his