President Arthur took the oath of office in New York immediately after the death of General Garfield, and he repeated it in the Capitol on the twenty-second of September, in the Vice-President’s room. The members of General Garfield’s cabinet, who had been requested by his successor to continue for the present in charge of their respective departments, were present, with General Sherman in full uniform, ex-Presidents Hayes and Grant, and Chief Justice Waite in his judicial robes, escorted by Associate Justices Harlan and Matthews. There were, also, present Senators Anthony, Sherman, Edmunds, Hale, Blair, Dawes, and Jones, of Nevada, and Representatives Amos Townsend, McCook, Errett, Randall, Hiscock, and Thomas. Ex-Vice-President Hamlin, of Maine, and Speaker Sharpe, of New York, were also present.
When President Arthur entered the room, escorted by General Grant and Senator Jones, he advanced to a small table, on which was a Bible, and behind which stood the Chief Justice, who raised the sacred volume, opened it, and presented it to the President, who placed his right hand upon it. Chief Justice Waite then slowly administered the oath, and at its conclusion the President kissed the book, responding, “I will, so help me God.” He then read the following address:—
For the fourth time in the history of the Republic its Chief Magistrate has been removed by death. All hearts are filled with grief and horror at the hideous crime which has darkened our land; and the memory of the murdered President, his protracted sufferings, his unyielding fortitude, the example and achievements of his life and the pathos of his death, will forever illumine the pages of our history. For the fourth time the officer elected by the people and ordained by the Constitution to fill a vacancy so created is called to assume the executive chair. The wisdom of our fathers, foreseeing even the most dire possibilities, made sure that the Government should never be imperiled because of the uncertainty of human life. Men may die, but the fabrics of our free institutions remain unshaken. No higher or more assuring proof could exist of the strength and permanence of popular government than the fact that, though the chosen of the people be struck down, his constitutional successor is peacefully installed without shock or strain except the sorrow which mourns the bereavement. All the noble aspirations of my lamented predecessor which found expression in his life, the measures devised and suggested during his brief administration to correct abuses and enforce economy, to advance prosperity and promote the general welfare, to insure domestic security and maintain friendly and honorable relations with the nations of the earth, will be garnered in the hearts of the people, and it will be my earnest endeavor to profit, and to see that the Nation shall profit, by his example and experience. Prosperity