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Holding Up a State: The True Story of Addicks and Delaware

Holding Up a State: The True Story of Addicks and Delaware

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Published by JanetLindenmuth
George Kennan. Holding Up a State: The True Story of Addicks and Delaware. In 3 parts originally published in The Outlook, v. 73, no. 6 (7 February 1903) p. 277, and no. 7 (14 February 1903) p. 386 and no. 8 (21 February 1903), p. 429
George Kennan. Holding Up a State: The True Story of Addicks and Delaware. In 3 parts originally published in The Outlook, v. 73, no. 6 (7 February 1903) p. 277, and no. 7 (14 February 1903) p. 386 and no. 8 (21 February 1903), p. 429

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Published by: JanetLindenmuth on Jun 16, 2011
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HOLDING
UP
A
STATE
THE
TRUE
STORY
OF
ADDICKS
AND
DELAWARE
BY
GEORGE
KENNAN
L
AST
fall,
just
before the biennialelection
of
members of the Delaware Legislature, the wife of a
locally
well-known farmer
in
the southern
part
of S"Jssex County said to her husband
at
the
l~reakfast-table,
"Jim,
how much
are
you
going
to
get
for your vote
?"
..
I
don't
know
that I'm
going to sell
my
vote,"
replied
the husband.
"I
can't
see,"
she said, "
why
you talk
like
that;
why
shouldn't you sell
it?
We
need
the money
bad
enough. Other
people
sell theirs,
and
I
don't
see thatthey're
thought
any the worse of. You're
not
the first
man
that's done it. Look
at
the
men
who
have
taken Addicks's money,
and
see where some of them are now
I"
About
a week iater, on election day, a
German
citizen of Camden, Kent County,
went
into
the
cashier's office of the Ad
dicks
Republican party
in
that vilIage,presented
to
the
cashier a small button
of
a peculiar form,
and
shortly after
ward
came out, bringing in his handseventy-five dollars in crisp, new bills of
the
Merchants' National Bank of Boston,
which
he
had
just
received for his own vote
and
the votes of his two sons. Holding
up
the money as he passed an acquaint
ance
on
the
street, he said, significantly,
"It
would take a good many drops of
sweat
to make that seventy-five dollars
I"
On
the same day, in Milford,
Kent
County,
a young man who had always be
fore
voted
the
straight Democratic ticket
went
into
the
voter's assistant booth of theAddicks Republicans. When one of his
friends,
William
T.
Morris, who happened
to
be
the Democratic voter's assistant,
looked
at
him reproachfully, as
if
to say,
..
I didn't think you'd
go back
on yourparty in this way," the young man replied,
with
a shamefaced smile,
..
I know youdon't like to see me going in here, Will,
but
they've got the most money."
Six
weeks later, while engaged in
an
I.
investigation of the political situation inDelaware, I happent:d to
be
driving oneafternoon along the sandy country road
that
leads from Millsboro, Sussex County,to Dagsboro. My driver, an uneducatedbut fairly intelligent young fellow ofeighteen
or
twenty, seemed to be quiteready to talk to a man whom he supposedto be a commercial traveler, and I had nodifficulty in getting
at
his views with regardto the political situation and the election.
"How
did it go
in
your town?" I
in"
quired;
"the
Union Republicans won,didn't
they?"
" Oh, yes
I"
he replied;
"the
Addicksmen bought up pretty much everythingthere was in sight. I've heard that theypaid some fellows as high as thirty dollars_"
"
Is
the selling of votes a regular thingdown
here?"
I asked." Pretty regular," he said, nonchalantly;" they 'most all do
it;
and it ain't such abad thing for the county, neither. There'sa lot of money come in here since Addickstook a hand,
and
it's been a
great
help tothe farmers."
"What
do the people generally thinkof Addicks?"" Well, I
dunno;
I guess they thinkhe's all
right-anyhow
the Unions
do;
but from the talk I hear 'round the hotelI judge they
don't
really want to havehim elected Senator.
They'd
rather keephim along on the ragged edge, because,they say,
'When
he's elected, where's ourmoney comin' from?
He
won't give downany more.'
I
think, though, he ought tohave it.
I'm
a Democrat myself,
but
when a man spends his money like
he
does,
I'm
damned if I don't think he'sentitled to it."Such are the views and the practice
of
the people of southern Delaware withreference
to
one of the most importantduties of American citizenship.
The
ca.ses
that
I have cited
are
few
in num-
277
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278
The
Outlook
be;:r.
and
May
seem inadequate
as
a basisfor a sweeping charge of political
corru~
tion; but
they are typical as well ascharacteristic,
and
fairly illustrate thestate of demoralization to which thousands of the Delaware people have come.Women urge their husbands to sell theirvotes because they need
the
money
and
because the
act
is
110
longer regarded asdisgracef.ul; eight-year-old boys wish thatthey were grown up, so that they might
get
twenty dollars from ,Addicks; fatherssell not only their
o~n
votes
but
the votes. of their sons who have
just
come of
age;
Democrats go into the
camp
of theAddicks Republicans simply because thelatter have
"got
the most
money;"
andintelligent young men frankly express theopinion that the bringing in
and
distribution of a huge corruption fund is a goot!thing for the poor farmers,
and
that
;t
man who buys votes enough to elect himto the SeDlte of the United States is fullyentitled to go there,
and
is unjustly treated,
if
not r.ctually defrauded, when kept out ofthe position for which he has liberally paid.What influences ha\'e brought aboutthe moral deterioration shown in suchopinions
and
practices as these,
and
whatparty
or
person is chiefly responsible forthe corruption of a population
that
wasonce honest
and
of good repute?
It
ismy purpose, in this and the followingarticles, to answer these questions bygiving the results of a study
that
I haverecently made of Delaware politics
and
the working methods of certain Delawarepoliticians. I have no prepossession for
or
against any political party
as
such,
and
it
is a matter of perfect indifference tome whether the Senators from Delaware
be
Republicans
or
Democrats. I havelooked
at
the situation, therefore, in itspolitical aspect, with absolute impartiality, and I shall try' to present accurately
and
fairly the facts
that
have come to myknowledge.
The
only personal bias ofwhich I am conscious is a strong inheritedprejudice in favor of common honesty.
The
history of political corruption inDelaware is, for the most part, the historyof a single man and a single party.
Other
men have bought votes now andthen upon a small scale,
and other
partieshave resorted, occasionally, to tricky
or
dishonorable
methods;
but
no systematicattempt was ever made to corrupt
the
whole population
and
buy
up
the
wholeState until
J.
Edward Addicks
and
the
Union Republican party took
the
field.With a lone
star
for their device,
and
"Addicks
or
nobody"
for
their
war-cry,they began a campaign of corruptionwhich hali had no parallel, I think, in
the
political history of the United States.. When, after the most lavish use ofmoney, they failed to attain
their
ends,
they proceeded to hold up the State,
as
ahighwayman would hold up a
stage;
and
declared that it should go unrepresented inthe United States Senate until it wouldagree to elect Mr. Addicks. to one of
the
vacant seats.
This
hold-up still continues,
and
seems likely to continue until thewinter of
1904-5,
when Mr. Addicks'slieutenants promise to end the long struggle by
"wiping
up
the
earth"
with all thehonest Regulars and incorruptible Demo
crats
who may then
be
left.
In
view ofthe wide
and
general attention
that
thelegislative deadlock in Delaware is nowattracting, I shall postpone, for
the
present, a review of Mr. Addicks's earliercareer, and devote this article (1) to. acharacteristic illustration of his latestworking methods,
and
(2) to a descriptionof the means by which he brought about,last November, the election of the UnionRepublican legislators who are now supporting him
at
Dover.First, the attempt to make a "
deal."
In
the early part of last September, Dr.L.
H.
Ball, the present Congressman fromDelaware, who happened then to
be
in
Wilmington, was called to the telephoneby
an
acquaintance named Lawton,
who
asked him
if
he
would not go
to
New Yorkthat night
and
meet a
few
gentlemen
who
were desirous of settling
the
factionalfight in Delaware by means of
an
amicablearrangement. Dr. Ball got
the
impression, from Lawton's telephone talk, thatthe New York gentlemen referred
to
weremembers of the National RepublicanCommittee.
He
consented to go,
met
Mr. Lawton
at
the station,
and
theystarted. On the train Lawton virtuallyadmitted that he
had
secured Dr. Ball'sconsent to go to New York by means
of
an innocent
stratagem;
and
that the
per-
son whom they were really
to
meet
was
J.
Edward Addicks. When they reachedtheir destination, they drove to the
New
York Yacht Club, where Addicks had
his
Digitized
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Google
 
PMOTOGRAPH
.,
J.
PAUL
8ROWfrill
,*llMI"GTOPt
J.
EDWARD
AIJ/lI
C
KS
headquarters,
and
were
there
received byAddicks himself,Caleb R. Layton, hisSecretary of State,
and
J.
Frank
Allee, President of the Bay
State
Gas
Company.
After
the exchange of conventional greet
ings
,Mr. Layton
opened
the conference
by
making a speech, in which he referred
to
the
great
,service
that
Mr. Addicks
had
rendered to the Republican party inDelaware; denounced the injustice with
which
he
had
been treated by
the
Regulars; and declared
that
even if, for
the
sake
of
harmony, Addicks should withdraw
from
the contest, the people of
Kent and
Sussex
Counties would continue to
support
him,
alld would vote for him indefinitely,
as
a matter of honor
and
principle.
Dr.
B.lll, who was irritated
byLayton's
speech,
as
well
as
by
the
means adopted
to secure his own presence at
the
meeting,rose to his feet
and
said
that
he had come
to
New York upon the representation
that
aconference was to be held for the purposeof
putting
an end to the Delaware contest. As
it wa
sperfectly evident, fromMr.
Layton's
remarks,
that
nothing couldbe accomplished
in
that
direction,he didnot
care
to waste time in further talk,
and
would therefore
bid
them good-day.As hewas about to leave the room,Addicks threwone arm
around
him,
in
a half·familiar,half-affectionate way,
and
said,
"Oh,
Ball,sit down,
and
let's talk this thing
over."
Mr
.Addicks
then
proceeded to discuss,in the most amicable manner, the politicalsituation in Delaware, and finally
said:
"The
fact is, Ball, you ought
to
go to
the
Senate. We
haven't got
a thing against you
279
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by
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