Page images
[ocr errors]

in the Republican convention by Thomas A. Osborn for Lieutenant Governor; and on the 29th, was nominated for that place by the “Union” or bolting faction of the Republican party, combined with Democrats. In the election he was defeated, the vote being 9,023 for Osborn, and 5,685 for Ingalls. He was associated with this faction until the close of the Civil War, being defeated for Lieutenant Governor a second time, in 1864, by James McGrew, of Wyandotte County, the vote being, for McGrew 12,064; for Ingalls 8,493. The “Union" faction charged, , perhaps very justly, corruption in the regular Republican organization, and demanded reforms doubtless much needed. The “Unionists” gave full sanction and support to the National Administration in the effort to end the war, charges to the contrary notwithstanding. In 1864 Ingalls was made a member of the staff of Major-General George W. Deitzler, Kansas State Militia, with the rank of Major, and served through the two-weeks campaign to drive General Price out of Missouri and Kansas. He was assigned the duties of Judge Advocate during his brief military service.


The influence of Mrs. Ingalls on the political fortunes of her husband has been already referred to. In compliance with her wishes and judgment he became a candidate for United States Senator in 1872. The term of Senator Pomeroy was nearing its close, and a successor was to be chosen by the Legislature which assembled in January, 1873. Pomeroy was a candidate to succeed himself, and but for one of those unexpected and entirely unforeseen occurrences incident to corrupt politics would have been re-elected.

All through the preliminary period of his campaign Ingalls was of the opinion that Pomeroy could not be defeated. Not so with Mrs. Ingalls. A woman will undertake the most desperate enterprises with sanguine composure and faith in final triumph. The peculiar quality of her mentality called intuition enables her to detect coming events which men declare impossible and the expectation of which preposterous. Mrs. Ingalls was confident of her husband's success, although she was wholly unable to give any satisfactory reason for her faith.

Among the supporters of Ingalls there was a shrewd man of affairs who kept his own counsel. He knew that Pomeroy ought to be beaten, and he also knew that, pursuing ordinary political methods, the opposition could not defeat him. He alone conceived the plot and laid the snare which accomplished the downfall of Pomeroy. York acted entirely under his directions, and well did he play the part assigned him. Genius often consists of the ability to select suitable subordinates. Every step in the destruction of Pomeroy was planned with cool deliberation and executed with grim and relentless determination. Neither Ingalls nor the supporters of his aspirations knew the origin of the catastrophe that crushed Pomeroy, and they, one and all, were as completely surprised at his spectacular annihilation as was Old Beans” himself. York did not know what he was doing, and never dreamed that his action was to elect Ingalls.

Perhaps there never was a more profound sensation in any deliberative body than that produced in the Kansas Legislature when York, pale and trembling, placed on the Speaker's table $7,000 which he said Senator Pomeroy had paid over to him on the bargain for his vote. Not that

it was held improbable, for no doubt many others present were in possession of similar or larger sums procured in the same way. In a majority of the elections for United States Senator the successful candidate wins by bribery, direct or indirect — often by both in their most vile and degrading forms.

The consternation and dismay created by the dramatic course of York resulted largely from the knowledge of Pomeroy's most ardent supporters that he and themselves were guilty. Had they not been, they would have risen to denounce as a political trick his tragic story. Had they done so, and had Pomeroy appeared then before the Assembly in magnificent wrath at the outrage upon his honor, he might even then have prevailed. But only few men have such audacity.

Chaos had come. The old regime had ended in an explosion entirely unexpected. There existed no body or faction with even an adequate preliminary organization to take its place. Kansas politicians were dazed and at sea, and that is saying much, for no politicians in the world are more crafty, unprincipled, harder to daze and put at sea, brazen, or eager for the corrupting

carrion of graft and spoils than is the average Kansas politician. Ingalls had just previously published his Kansas Magazine articles. They stamped him a genius. Their subject-matter appealed to Kansas, for the old animosity towards Missouri was not yet quenched. In the demoralization prevailing he kept his head, said little, and stood immovable and aloof from hastilyformed cliques which were no sooner formed than they dissolved into thin air, and steadily gained ground. Sentiment for his election grew from the close of York's speech, and within thirty minutes it crystallized, consolidated, became an aggressive demand, and his success was assured. Men voted for him because they had read “Catfish Aristocracy'', and some had no other reason. His election was practically unanimous.


At the end of his term Ingalls was a candidate for re-election. The Legislature to choose his successor was elected in 1878. Strong opposition to Ingalls developed, and his election was secured with difficulty, but he finally prevailed. Charges of bribery and corruption were preferred

« PreviousContinue »