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I. Kansas and the Coming of Ingalls.
II. Home Life
a. Mrs. Ingalls.
III. Home Life
a. His Children.
KANSAS AND THE COMING OF
Those who were so many years acquainted with the late Senator Ingalls supposed they knew him. They met him to discuss political situations, saw him before throngs and audiences, were charmed with his perfect rhetoric and matchless sentences, met him on trains and at hotels, wrote him letters and received replies, but not a single one of them knew him. They walked to and fro with him, and, wandering up and down in the earth, turned night into busy day that he might not be cast from his brilliant course. And they wept with him when he fell never to rise again. Even then they did not know him.
It was the good fortune of many to sit in car or lobby under the spell of his inimitable monodrama until, pointing to the east, he said,
“Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops”. Yet they knew him not.
Senator Ingalls came early to Kansas. Topeka was then a frontier village of cottonwood cabins lost in prairie grass and hazel brush. There was not a mile of railroad between Missouri and the Pacific Ocean, and long after his rise to eminence the buffalo stalled trains on the old Kansas. Pacific. The domain of the wild denizens of the Plains extended from the Wakarusa into those endless wastes beyond the head waters of the Republican and the Smoky Hill. The commerce of the prairies still rolled over the Old Santa Fe Trail in those ships of the desert fashioned after the design of the famous Conestoga. He saw the wilds subdued, — the solitude, filled with homes and cities, the seat of an intelligent constituency that met him with enthusiastic acclaim in the zenith of his course, with not a citizen of them all who knew him.
Some knew him better than others, of course, and some of his friends of longest standing believed they knew him through and through. All was not given, however, to the most devoted. There were chambers of soul to which none were admitted. But this was not by design. It might be said that he was unconscious of it that he sometimes wondered why he was misunderstood.
The cause was mainly temperamental — conventional only by incident. To some he gave more than to others. To all he gave as much as in him lay. To one some depth of soul became visible. To another some flash of genius revealed a different attribute.
Calvinism found a congenial soil in New England. Its harsh and intolerant aspects were intensified by the stern and bleak features of that rock-bound land. The nature of every man is deep-rooted in the soil of his nativity. The background of the life of Senator Ingalls was the granite hills of New England perceived through Puritanism of the severest sort. The mild climate, the generous soil, the broad expanse, the immense rivers, and the gorgeous autumns of the Great Plains softened the austerity and set aflame the imagination of this scion of the Puritans.
Kansas attracted Ingalls. The very word engrossed the Nation's attention. It became the talisman of the champions of human liberty and that noble band of Americans who determined to build a state where slavery should never set foot. It poised as a nemesis above those who sought to rivet perpetual shackles on a portion of mankind. What manner of land can it be?