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EIGHTEEN years ago the author prepared a boon for youth and young men upon the life of Abraham Lincoln, entitled THE PIONEER BOY, AND HOW HE BECAME PRESIDENT. The favorable reception of that volume carried it through thirty-six editions. After the nomination of General Garfield for the presi. dency, it was thought that a similar work upon his life would furnish one of the noblest examples of success to all who honor true manhood.
With the plan of making the volume not a work for the campaign, but a standard volume for the family for the years to come, months were employed in gathering and preparing the material.
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 impressed us with 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 labor, — 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 of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Canal, driving mules and acting as steersman. Both were well known for their in. dustry, 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 “Black Hawk 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 thirtythree ; each one of them being the youngest member of the House of Representatives at 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 humor and geniality, making them popular with both sides of the House. Neither of them were candidates in the National Conventions that nomi nated them for the Presidency, - both were com promise candidates when it became apparent that union could be secured upon no others. Their names were introduced amid the wildest enthusiasm ; thou. sands 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 kin. dred 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 char. acter, heroic achievements, and the highest success fairly won, we present him in this book.
W. M. T. FRANKLIN, Mass., 1882.
Note. - This book has been revised, greatly enlarged, and embellished with new portraits and illustrations, and is printed from new electrotype plates.