Many years ago the author prepared a book for youth and young men upon the life of Abraham Lincoln, entitled The Pioneer Boy, and How He Became President. The favourable reception of that volume carried it through thirty-six editions. After the nomination of General Garfield, the publisher suggested that a similar work at the present time, upon his life, would furnish one of the noblest examples of success for young men to imitate.

The materials for the work were furnished by General Garfield; several of his early associates, two of whom were born in log-cabins near him; several of his teachers and pupils; the owner and captain of the canal-boat on which he served; and intimate friends of his manhood— the most reliable sources of information possible. The materials forcibly suggest the similarity between the lives of President Lincoln and President Garfield.

Both of these statesmen were born in log-cabins, built by their fathers, in the wilderness, for family homes. Both were poor as mortals can well be. Both were born with talents of the highest order; but neither enjoyed early advantages of schools and teachers. At eight years of age Lincoln lost his mother; and when Garfield was eighteen months old he lost his father. Both worked on a farm, chopped wood, and did whatever else was needful for a livelihood, when eight years of age. Both improved every leisure moment in study and reading. Both read all the books that could be borrowed for miles around; and each was known, in his own township and time, as a boy of remarkable mental ability and promise. Both of them early displayed great tact and energy, turning a hand to any kind of labour—farming, chopping, teaming, carpentering. In his youth, Lincoln ran a flat-boat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, eighteen hundred miles, on a trading expedition; Garfield, at about the same age, served on a boat on the Ohio and Pennsylvania Canal, driving mules and acting as steersman. Both were well known for their industry, tact, perseverance, integrity, courage, economy, thoroughness, punctuality, decision, and benevolence. Both taught school in the backwoods as soon as they knew enough to teach. Each of them studied law when pursuing another vocation for a livelihood—Lincoln a surveyor, and Garfield a teacher. Each became a member of the legislature in his native State before thirty years of age. Both served the country in war, when about the same age—Lincoln in the “Blackhawk War,” and Garfield in the “War of the Rebellion.” Each was the youngest member of the legislature, and the youngest officer in the army when he served. The talents and eloquence of both made them members of Congress—Lincoln at thirty-seven years of age, and Garfield at thirty-three; each one of them being the youngest member of the House of Representatives of the time. Both of them took high rank at once as debaters and eloquent speakers, as well as stalwart opposers of slavery. Both, also, won a reputation for wit and humour and geniality, making them popular with both sides of the House. Neither of them was a candidate in the National Conventions that nominated them for the Presidency—both were compromise candidates when it became apparent that union could be secured upon no others. Their names were introduced amid the wildest enthusiasm; thousands cheering, hats swinging, handkerchiefs waving, and the bands playing national airs. The nomination of each was hailed with demonstrations of joy throughout the country.

And now, the most remarkable of all coincidences in their lives we record with sadness—both died in the Presidential office by the assassin’s Shot. History has no parallel for this amazing fact. We search in vain the annals of all countries for a kindred record. Beginning life in the obscurity of the wilderness, and ending it on the summit of renown! Their first home a log-cabin! their last, the White House! Beloved by a trusting nation, and shot by the assassin!

A more inspiring example to study and imitate cannot be found in the annals of our Republic. As a model of whatever belongs to noble traits of character, heroic achievements, and the highest success fairly won, we present him in this book.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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