Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Michael Ceraolo writes

 July 8, 1881


Today, Friday, would have been
a wonderful day to see a baseball game
I remember from a few years ago
"the first professional game of baseball"
that I saw
                 I admired the pitcher,
"the strength with which he pitched the ball"
"the skill with which he deceived the batsmen"
Seeing more games is another thing
I look forward to when I recover


"My object would be to unify
the entire American people,
make them happy,
                                              and God-fearing"
And no commercialized amusement,
particularly one that doesn't engage the mind,
can aid me in attaining that object

A Model Office Seeker -- James Albert Wales ("WAJ")

[Michael has composed "Eighty Days," dramatic monologues for each day from July 2, 1881 through September 19, 1881 (from the day president James Garfield was shot until the day he died).]

1 comment:

  1. There were 14 men seeking the presidential nomination at the 1880 Republican national convention in New York held from 2-8 June. The leading candidates were former president Ulysses S. Grant, senator James G. Blaine (a former speaker of the House), and secretary of the treasury John Sherman. Charles J. Guiteau wrote "Grant against Hancock," a speech against the prospective Democratic nominee Winfield S. Hancock. But James A. Garfield was nominated on the 34th ballot and won the nomination on the 36th. 0n 11 June the “SS Stonington” collided with the “SS Narragansett” at night in heavy fog in Long Island Sound, near the mouth of the Connecticut river. The “Narragansett” burned to the waterline and sank, causing the death of 50 passengers and a crewman. The “Stonington” was able to return to port without any casualties. Guiteau was on deck at the time of the crash and believed that he had been spared for a higher purpose. He changed the title of his speech to "Garfield against Hancock" and awkwardly delivered it once, to a small group of African-American voters. Due to the closeness of the election Guiteau claimed that the new president owed his victory to him and moved to Washington the day after the inauguration in March. He saw Garfield at the White House 3 days later, dropped off his speech, and requested appointment as minister to Austria but indicated he was willing to accept a consulship in Paris. In May 1881 Blaine, the new secretary of state, ordered him to cease his importuning. Guiteau wrote Garfield, warning him that if he didn’t fire Blaine “you and the Republican party will come to grief.” Then God told Guiteau that the “removal” of Garfield was necessary to save the Republican Party and the patronage system. He borrowed $15 from a relative by marriage and bought a .442 Webley revolver with an ivory handle because he wanted a gun that would look good in a museum. He went to the local jail to see where he would be imprisoned but was told to come back later. On one occasion he abandoned an attempt to kill Garfield when the president saw his wife Lucretia off to a beach resort in New Jersey, because Guiteau did not want to upset her since she was in poor health. However, days later when Garfield was planning to join his family for the summer, Guiteau walked into the ladies’ waiting room of the railroad station, pulled out his pistol, shot him twice from behind, put his pistol back in his pocket, and turned to leave via the cab he had waiting for him outside the station but collided with policeman Patrick Kearney, who apprehended him. (Kearney was so excited that he neglected to take Guiteau's gun from him until after their arrival at the police station.) As he surrendered Guiteau proclaimed,"'I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! [Vice president Chester A.] Arthur is President now!” (The Stalwarts were Grant’s faction of the Republican party.) After being incarcerated he wrote a letter to general William Tecumseh Sherman: “I have just shot the President. I shot him several times as I wished him to go as easily as possible. His death was a political necessity. I am a lawyer, theologian, and politician. I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts. I was with General Grant and the rest of our men, in New York during the canvass. I am going to the Jail. Please order out your troops, and take possession of the jail at once.”


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