The History of New York State
Book XII, Chapter 10, Part 3

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam


Roosevelt had still many obstacles to pass, but his way was made easier by the suspicion many Democrats held that Van Wyck's election would put the State under the domination of Tammany. The Tammany tiger showed its teeth just before the close of the convention, snarling at Supreme Court Justice Joseph F. Daly. Croker admitted that Daly was an able jurist, but contended that as he had denied Tammany the right to name a clerk for his court he did not deserve its support. The Bar Association, however, felt that partisan feeling should not be permitted to disorganize the judiciary. Finally, Justice Daly found a place on the Republican ticket, emphasizing the nonpartisan spirit that should govern the voters in the constitution of the judiciary. Justice Daly was not re-elected, but the Daly case furnished convincing arguments for Republican speakers on the campaign platform and gained for Roosevelt the votes that, otherwise, may have made Van Wyck the next Governor. Theodore Roosevelt was given a plurality of 17,786. #13 The republicans had indeed had a "close call," but in the next legislature they found themselves still in possession of a working majority, on joint ballot, though the Senate was almost evenly divided.

Platt still dominated the Legislature and State Republicanism, but Roosevelt, though tractable in small matters, manifested an independent aggressiveness on vital issues. He tried not to antagonize the Legislature and the State organization, but could how courage and combativeness when legislation that he thought important was in jeopardy, or when harmful legislation came before him for the last word. He pointed out flaws in his predecessor's civil service policy, and in 1900 succeeded in making merit, instead of favoritism or party expediency the test of office in the county system. His support of the franchise Tax bill, which was obnoxious tot he Republican organization caused that body to look somewhat frowningly upon their Governor.

In national waters, Platt did not find all ships sailing his way. He had to choose between two of his enemies to fill the English diplomatic post, Choate succeeding Ambassador Hay. The alternative before Platt was the appointment of Whitelaw Reid, and, as Choate said: "he hated Reid worse than he did me." #14 Again, Platt would have preferred Brigadier-General Francis Vinton Greene as Secretary of War, to succeed Secretary Alger, but President McKinley wish to give the office to Elihu Root. Therefore, Senator Platt set aside his own wishes, rather than recommend a Democrat, Thomas F. Ryan, for the office. He also decided that the conciliatory attitude was better than the dictatorial in dealing with Roosevelt. Once, the Governor, somewhat surprised that the State chairman should express no wish as to the filling of a certain office, put the question to him, but Platt apparently was indifferent. He replied: "If you wan to, why don't you? You're the Governor." The Republican organization was, in fact, finding that Roosevelt was not the man best suited to them. They were more inclined to veer off, or rather to separate Roosevelt from State politics--if this could be done without dividing the Republican party in the State. They, Platt and Odell, thought of an ingenious way of accomplishing this. was not a man of "strong personality" needed on the National ticket, to "carry it through' the next campaign? Why not move for the nomination of Governor Roosevelt for the Vice-Presidency? Roosevelt did not take the suggestion well. He wanted another term as Governor, and he found that the Republican State Convention, to choose National delegates in April, 1900, were of the same mind. Platt, however, carried his plan with him to the National convention, and did other missionary work to that end. Finally, he persuaded Roosevelt not to decline the nomination, for there would be no chance of his re-nomination as Governor. In the end, Platt had his way. Fortunately for Roosevelt, the Vice-Presidential nomination went tot he Governor of New York, the only vote cast against him being that of Roosevelt himself. So Platt and Odell found fortune smiling upon them at the time of the State convention. Odell was nominated for Governor, by acclamation, Platt complaisantly remarking: "The Empire is at peace."

Bryan was re-nominated by the National Democratic Convention, thus placing Hill of New York in the predicament of facing political extinction or of swallowing Free Silver. Hill compromised by "favoring gold and silver at parity." He blinded the eyes of New York Gold Democrats, and outwitted Tammany. Only temporarily, however, for Tammany adopted precisely the same tactics as Platt had found so effective. Hill's name was presented for the Vice-Presidency. Only the loud protests of Hill himself, and the palpable inconsistency of making a Gold Democrat the "running mate" of the champion of Free Silver, prevented the nomination of the ex-Governor.

Hill and Croker bitterly continued their fight when both returned to the State, and the Tammany "boss' won in the State convention, defeating Hill's choice for the Governorship nomination. John B. Stanchfield was nominated, but in the election, the Republican candidate was given a plurality of 111,126. #15 Again Bryan went to defeat, and Governor Roosevelt looked forward gloomily to four years as Vice-President.

Platt, however, was to have only a very brief period in which to rejoice. He was soon to find that Odell was not a man who would dance to his tune. The side-tracked Roosevelt, owing tot he assassination of McKinley, was soon to be on the main-line again--directing the whole National system indeed, as President of the United States. So Platt did not ride in dignified state for as long as he had planned to.

Platt, Odell and Roosevelt--Governor Odell, in his first term found himself several times embarrassed by a legislature so overwhelmingly Republican, and so palpably in Platt's hands, that measures were easy to pass. Most of the legislation was to the liking of the Governor, but some measures were distasteful to him; and, being a real Governor, Odell exercised his power of veto sometimes, regardless of the wishes of Senator Platt. The latter had resolved to undo Roosevelt's wok in New York City and revert to the old police system. Odell would not sanction such a measure; and the compromise ultimately effected was, at best, a doubtful improvement. The police power was put into the hands of a single commissioner instead of a police board. The whole system of police protection in the great city thus depended upon the integrity and efficiently of one man. It cannot be said that New York was well served by the new system for some years after its adoption. New York City has not always been fortunate in the choice of its police commissioner.

We have now reached the time of the great and tragic change in the National administration. On September 14, 1901, in the home of Ansley Wilcox at Buffalo, Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as president of the United State, president McKinley having succumbed in the Milburn home at Buffalo, where he had lain, with his life surely ebbing away, since the 6th, when he was shot by the assassin Czolgosz, a the Pan-American Exposition. The sudden change in status of the discarded Governor of New York did not at once affect Platt. President Roosevelt was impetuous but his vigor was always governed by reason. He did not flare the red flag in the face of Platt. Rather he endeavored to cooperate with the New York leader in all matters that were constructive for State and nation. While he did not impress Platt, it was not long before his own strong personality and virile manhood won for him the respect and admiration of New Yorkers in general, and New York Republicans in particular. As his political prestige soared, that of Senator Platt sank. Platt himself saw that he could gain more by being loyal instead of antagonistic to the President. Often he chafed under the dynamic power of the young President, but he did not, ostrich-like, blind his eyes to the irresistible swing of New York Republicanism from himself to Roosevelt. The resourceful political accepts existing conditions as they are, while hoping and striving for future advantage.

Platt did not oppose the re-nomination of Governor Benjamin Barker Odell in 1902, and the Republican State Convention in that year endorsed Roosevelt, looking "forward with confidence" to his re-nomination as President. Seth Low defeated the Tammany candidate, Edward M. Shepard, for the mayoralty of New York City, and William Travers Jerome became District Attorney of New York county, thus completely discomfiting the Tammany head, Richard Croker. The latter gave up the direction of Tammany, Lewis Nixon succeeding him, but holding office for only a short time. A committee of three next took hold of Tammany affairs, but before the end of 1902 Charles F. Murphy was in office as the recognized head of the society. He was to rule for many years.

For the time being, however, the leadership of New York Democracy lay with one of two better-known men. Hill and McLaughlin strove for advantage, one over the other, and Hill manifested greater opportunism. Indeed, during the campaign of 1902, he seemed as socialistic as the most radical Populist. He demanded the nationalization of mines. He tried to induce Judge Alton B. Parker to stand for the Governorship, but the latter was not inclined to endorse Populist principles even for the Presidency, which Hill suggested might be Parker's next step from the Governorship. Bird S. Coler became the Democratic nominee for Governor, but he, too, showed some surprising twists of political thought. Although he had in writing spoken scathingly of Croker, he averred that he had written only "in humor." The Democratic vote in the city was very heavy, but the majority for Odell in the country districts was sufficient to offset this; and Governor Odell was re-elected by a plurality of 9,752. #16

The next legislature was not so dominantly Republican, but sufficiently so t re-elect Platt to the United States Senate. In 1903 Murphy tested his strength against McLaughlin, and won, carrying his candidate, George B. McClellan, into Seth Low's place as mayor of Greater New York. McLaughlin had hoped to seat Gaynor of Brooklyn.

Platt had been waging a losing fight against Governor Odell, for active leadership of the Republican organization. At last Platt's friends became reconciled to the dominance of the Governor. He controlled the national delegation in 1904, though Platt was the nominal head. Both had cooled toward Roosevelt; nevertheless, they did not carry their dislike of the President to the extent of opposing his re-nomination. Elihu root was temporary chairman of the National Convention; and Black made the nominating speech. Odell seemed to wish to disparage the President somewhat. At least, in suggesting Speaker Cannon for the Vice-Presidency, he did so thinking to "stir up needed enthusiasm." Inferentially, the popular interest in the Rough Rider was flagging, and a man of Cannon's type was needed, to make up the lee-way. Elihu Root was also suggested for second place, but Platt's choice, Charles W. Fairbanks, eventually won. Both Roosevelt, for President, and Fairbanks, for Vice-President, were nominated unanimously at the first ballots.

Probably no other United States President ever received such extensive and direct eulogy in a party platform as was according to Roosevelt by the convention of 1904. It bears quoting to show the vigor and success of his administration. After referring to the assassination of President McKinley, the republican Platform reads:

The American people wee fortunate in his successor, to whom they turned with a trust and confidence which have been fully justified. President Roosevelt brought to the great responsibilities thus sadly thrust upon him a clear head, a brave heart, an earnest patriotism, and high ideals of public duty and public service. True to the principles of the Republican party, and tot he policies which that party had declared, he has also shown himself ready for every emergency and has met new and vital questions with ability and with success.

The confidence of the people in his justice, inspired by his public career, enable him to render personally an inestimable service to the country by bringing about a settlement of the coal strike, which threatened such disastrous results at the opening of the winter on 1902.

Our foreign policy under his administration has not only been able vigorous and dignified, but in the highest degree successful.

The complicated questions which arose in Venezuela were settled in such a way by President Roosevelt that the Monroe Doctrine was signally vindicated and the cause of peace and arbitration greatly advanced.

His prompt and vigorous action in Panama, which we commend in the highest terms, not only secured to us the anal route but avoided foreign complications which might have been of a very serious character.

He has continued the policy of President McKinley in the Orient, and out position in china, signalized by our recent commercial treaty with that empire has never been so high.

He seemed the tribunal by which the vexed and perilous question of the Alaskan boundary was finally settled.

Under his guidance we find ourselves at peace with all the world, and never were we more

respected or our wishes more regarded by foreign nations.

Preeminently successful in regard to our foreign relations, he has been equally fortunate in dealing with domestic questions. The county has known that the public credit and the national currency were absolutely safe in the hands of his administration. In the enforcement of the laws he had shown not only courage, but the wisdom which understand that to permit laws to be violated or disregarded opens the door to anarchy, while the just enforcement of the law is the soundest conservationism. He has held firmly to the fundamental American doctrine that all men must obey the law, that there must be no distinction between rich and poor, between strong and weak, but that justice and equal protection under the law must be secured to every citizen without regard to race, creed, or condition.

His administration had been throughout vigorous and honorable, high-minded and patriotic. We commend it without reservation to the considerate judgment of the American people.

Of course, the Democratic party platform was not so eulogistic of the President

Democrats declared that "the existing Republican administration has been spasmodic, erratic, sensational, spectacular, and arbitrary. It has made itself a satire upon the Congress and Courts, and upon the settled practices and usages of national and international law." Roosevelt was too original in thought and action to please Democrats, he was too apt to jump out of the track of governmental and parliamentary custom. Still, whether he cut "red Tape,' or permitted himself to be bound so tightly without as to be immovable, mattered little, the Democrats would still find cause for criticism, just as Republicans would still find reasons for praising him. Fortunately, we an go the less partisan sources for information as to the merit of Theodore Roosevelt as chief executive of the Nation. The people endorsed his administration by a greater plurality than had even been won by an American President. He returned to the White House with a plurality of 2,545,515 #17 over Alton B. Parker, the Democratic candidate.

Judge Parker, a New Yorker of eminent professional standing and undoubted ability; thought more of his honor than of the Presidency. He had been nominated on the first ballot in the Democratic national convention by 679 votes, the next of the eleven names on the ballot being that of another alert and capable New Yorker, William Randolph Hearst, who polled 1818 votes. When Parker realized that there was doubt as to his attitude on the Silver issue, he telegraphed to William F. Sheehan, of the New York delegation, while the convention was still sitting:

I regard the gold standard as firmly and irrevocably established and shall act accordingly if the action of the convention today shall be ratified by the people. As the platform is silent on the subject, my view shall be made known to the convention, and if it prove to e unsatisfactory to the majority I request you to decline the nomination for me at once, so that another may be nominated before adjournment.

The convention deliberated long over Judge Parker's statement, but ultimately, by a vote of 794 to 191, agreed to advise their nominee that the platform was "silent on the money question because it was not an issue." Free Silver was dead. It had died in 1896, and had been deeply buried in 1900. Still, it was inspiring to Democrats to realize that they had a candidate who could hold to his convictions even to the extent of rejecting the Presidency. As the New York "Evening Post" said, they had "a man at last." "Nothing so fine is known in our political annals." Unfortunately for Judge Parker, the Republicans had at their head a more popular man. Roosevelt was given 336 electoral votes and Parker only 140. The President carried his own State by a plurality of 175,552.

The Republicans were even stronger in the next Legislature, having 36 of the 50 Senators and 104 of the 150 Assemblymen. For the sixth time Assemblyman S. Frederick Nixon, of Chautauqua County, became Speaker. He was still young in years, and might have advanced far in State politics had he lived, but death claimed him in 1905. Although then only forty-five years old, Speaker Nixon had served as an Assemblyman for fifteen terms, and, with marked tactfulness, he had steered the Assembly through many exciting moments.

Frank Wayland Higgins was now Governor of New York, having defeated the Democratic candidate, D. Cady Herrick, in November, 1904, by a plurality of 80,560. Odell, however, was still the leader of the Republican party organization. There was some friction between Odell and Platt, and though the latter's choice, Chauncey M. Depew, for United States Senator, was also the preference of the Legislative caucus, Odell did not suffer appreciably by prestige when his own nominee, Frank S. Black, was turned down by the caucus. Depew objected to being hustled off to an ambassadorial post, though Roosevelt would have preferred to see another man in Depew's seat in the Senate

Some important legislation was passed during Governor Higgins' first term. Most important perhaps was the act which authorized New York City to construct its great waterworks system in the Catskills. Charles Evans Hughes came into distinctive notice in that year as counsel for the committee appointed by the legislature to investigate the affairs of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, in particular, and the methods of handling insurance funds by other companies in general. Hughes discovered evidence of enormous abuse of trust, extravagant use of corporate resources for political purposes being more general than had been thought possible. Hughes came so prominently into public notice that the Republicans of New York City wanted to make him mayor, but he had not completed his investigations, and considered that these were of vital importance to the State. So he set aside personal advancement, declining the nomination, and applied himself with even greater zest to the task in hand. The mayoralty campaign was between McClellan and Hearst, the former-winning by only a few thousand votes.

Higgins and Odell came to the parting of the ways in the fall of 1905, soon after the death of Speaker Nixon. Odell wanted Edwin A. Merritt, Jr., of St. Lawrence County, as speaker. Higgins had his mind set upon James W. Wadsworth, Jr., grandson of General Wadsworth; and on January 2, 1906, Wadsworth was nominated, though he was then almost the youngest member of the Assembly. Roosevelt was the strong underlying force in the movement, but few could deny young Wadsworth's outstanding qualifications for the Speakership, except ion the ground of lack of parliamentary experience.

With the passing of Nixon and the election of Wadsworth, Odell to all intents passed from leadership. Roosevelt, indirectly, took his place in party counsels, Herbert Parsons, who had defeated the Odell group for the chairmanship of the New York County committee, with Higgins and Hendricks, being his mouthpiece. Secretary Elihu Root, now a National figure as head of the State Department of the Roosevelt administration, does not come very conspicuously into New York affairs of this period, but Roosevelt was very active.

The Hughes Administration--Governor Higgins had done very well, and might easily have gained re-nomination. Indeed, a Democratic paper, the New York "World," had such a good opinion of New York's Republican Governor, and Legislature that it declared: "The record of the present legislature is the best that this political generation has known." Governor Higgins had not agreed with "those who believe that Governors and Legislatures are safer servants when they follow the guidance of a party boss than when they think for themselves." He had fought machine government, and what is more, had won general respect among Republican leaders. Still, he was not strong enough to carry his opinion against the express wish of the President. Higgins did not want a re-nomination, but would have liked to see the Lieutenant-Governor, M. Linn Bruce, promoted. Roosevelt, however, wished the nomination to go to Hughes, who was enhancing his reputation by excellent work as special assistant to the United States Attorney-General in the coal investigation. Of course, the qualifications of Hughes were incomparably better than those of Bruce, but the chief factor of the moment was that Roosevelt had proposed Hughes. So the distinguished lawyer was given the nomination and Odell was set one step farther back by the election of Woodruff to succeed him as chairman of the Republican State committee.

Hearst, who had so nearly won the mayoralty of Greater New York in 1905, was the choice of the Democrats for the Governorship. Even the Grand Sachem of Tammany, Charles F. Murphy, whom the Hearst journals had attacked "as a thief," cartooning him "in prison stripes," now gave the aggressive newspaper publisher his support. In Hearst, Tammany recognized the logical Democratic candidate, the only Democrat who had any chance of lowering Republican colors. Hearst's opposition to McKinley lessened his change, however, and Elihu Root in particular delved, with telling effect, into the political past of Candidate Hearst. Hughes won by a margin of 57,897. #18

Governor Higgins was very sick at the time of inauguration, but could not be deterred from attending the ceremony. Even at the risk of his life, he felt impelled by his sense of public duty to venture out of his sick room to welcome his successor. He performed this duty with gracious sincerity, returned to his home immediately afterwards, and was soon dead. Governor Hughes, in announcing the death to the Legislature, said: "No soldier on the battlefield ever exhibited greater heroism than was his when, at the peril of his life, he made his last public appearance to discharge what he conceived to be his public duty."

The administration of Governor Higgins, had been marked by courageous independence. Governor Hughes Higgins had been of independent mind, yet was not nearly so uncompromising as his successor. In his executive actions Governor Hughes always placed the people before party. As Governor, he was resolved to serve the State, not the Republican party. Analysis of his executive record substantiates this fundamental of public service over and over again. In his reorganization of the public service commissions, Governor Hughes appointed servants upon demonstrated merit, regardless of party. He would not handle patronage in any other way than for the best interest of the State. Naturally, of two men of equal merit, he would always choose a Republican, but he always sought the best man for the office. He would not deviate from his principle of government even for the President. Once some of his friends went to Roosevelt for help in fighting those Republican leaders who were striving to undermine Hughes, and Roosevelt, to help him, asked for the resignation of an obnoxious collector of customs.

Roosevelt declared that he wished the office to go to "a good Hughes man," that it was his intention "to strengthen Governor Hughes' hand at every opportunity," but the Governor did not take kindly to the plan. He "did not care to base his success on the use of Federal patronage." Hughes would not make his administration "the shadow of Washington." The people of New York had made him their Governor. His was a sacred trust which he must guard jealously. Whatever course his conscience told him w not best for the State he must, and would, oppose. He could not compromise, no! Not even for his well-wisher, the President

His uncompromising attitude offended Roosevelt, and for many years the president was cool toward the Governor. As might be expected, the politicians of the State also veered away from the Governor; never the less, Hughes went his way, concentrating his mind upon his executive duties, and leaving party politics to others. While he lost ground among politicians he swept in vast stretches of public appreciation. Some of his friends, early in 1908, wished to bring him into the presidential race. Governor Hughes did not initiate, or encourage, or in any way further the movement. He merely made known to the Hughes League what his own thoughts on government were; and his words, which are quoted below, clearly indicate that while Governor his endeavors were all for the State. He said: "I do not seek office, nor shall I attempt to influence the selection or vote of any delegate. The State administration must continue to be impartial and must not be tributary to any candidacy. I have no interest in any factional controversy. . . ."

Roosevelt and Taft were very shrewdly and indirectly campaigning to smother the Hughes movement at the outset; or to be more correct, they were striving to keep it within its home State. The President made it known to New York leaders that he bore the movement no ill will. Hughes would thus come merely into the class of "favorite sons." When the State convention met in April, the State delegation chosen was instructed for Hughes, well knowing the implication. Thus hampered they went to the National convention in June, the majority of the candidates wishing that they had not been so definitely tied. Many were ardently behind Hughes, but some were not. They would be glad to further the chances of Hughes for the Vice-Presidency, but the Roosevelt-Taft organization seemed too strong a compact for them to entertain any hope of winning first place for their Governor. The situation seemed so hopeless that the New York chairman, Parsons, soon after arrival at Chicago appealed to Hughes to release them. His answer hardly indicates indifference, but certainly was consistent. He replied that "they were not under pledge to him, but that whatever instructions they had came from the Republicans voters."

In the convention the New York delegation remained true to their trust, but there was no life in the Hughes movement. Everything seemed to go according to the national plan; everything was "cut and dried," and when the first ballot was tabulated, it was seen that the nomination had gone to Taft, who received 702 votes. Hughes was third, with 67, one vote less then Knox received. The New York delegation, somewhat crestfallen, felt that they would lose the Vice-Presidential nomination also. Even this, it seemed, was "cut and dried," Roosevelt and Taft lending their aid to New York--but not in the interest of Hughes. James S. Sherman was the name presented by Woodruff of the New York delegation, and James S. Sherman, an ex-mayor of Utica, a Congressman since 1886, was the New Yorker nominated for Vice-President. He received 816 votes of the 980 votes cast on the first ballot.

The Democratic convention was likewise unexciting. As Alton B. Parker four years earlier had demonstrated that conservative Democrats were not able to carry the country, Bryan for the third time dominated the National convention. He was nominated almost unanimously on the first ballot, and Kern, of Indiana, was chosen for the minor office by acclamation.

In the State Convention, Hughes, who dominated the Republican gathering, was re-nominated for the Governorship, and the Democrats chose Lieutenant-Governor Chanler. The Republican platform pointed to the excellent record of Governor Hughes, stating that he had "shown himself to be a courageous executive, resolved to accomplish what he believed to be for the public good." By contrary, the Democratic platform condemned his methods in such words as "Executive usurpation" and "personal government." The Hearst influence brought another party into the State campaign, the Independence league party nominating Clarence J. Shearn for Governor. Hughes won by a greater plurality than in 1906, #19 and began his second term with the approval of his friends and at least the respect of his enemies. Taft won the Presidential campaign, his plurality being more than 1,200,000, a sixth of which was registered in New York State.

The Governor, in 1909, won his long fight to re-organize the Insurance Department, but found that the Republican party would not cooperate with him in his endeavor to bring all heads of State department directly under the control of the Governor. In this respect, the State system of government was weaker than the Federal, but most political leaders saw in the Governor's suggestion only a personal desire for increased power. Many other reform measures initiate by the Governor were viewed with suspicion, and both parties closed ranks against him. Hughes was, it seemed, too progressive for his time, and so intent upon reform that the was reluctant to wait the time necessary to educate the public in them. As the New York "World" remarked: "Without waiting to educate the voters, Governor Hughes tossed his political idealism into the scales against the organization of both parties and was overbalanced." #20

The organization leaders, of course, needed no instruction. Machine government was lucrative--for politicians. They only lessons they would heed were those of the ballot-box. So long as the voters slumbered, they would hold to the old system. When the people awoke they would change their methods of plucking the plums from the State tree. For the time being, they would go on in the good old way. Hence many excellent measures initiated by Governor Hughes in 1909 and 1910 were voted down by the party organization.


New York State was not as conspicuously represented in the Taft administration as it had been in the Roosevelt. Secretary Root declined to continue as Secretary of State, having, indeed, resigned while Roosevelt was still President. Sherman, of course, was Vice-president but the only New Yorkers in the Taft cabinet were George W. Wickersham, who was appointed Attorney-General in 1909, and Henry L. Stimson, who became Secretary of War in 1911. George L. Cortelyou, who had headed the Treasury Department under Roosevelt, gave way to MacVeagh, of Illinois, and Oscar Straus stepped down from the Department of Commerce and Labor. Elihu root went from the State department to the United States Senate, succeeding Thomas C. Platt when Taft took office. Root was chosen unanimously by the Republicans in caucus in January, 1909, though there had been some activity earlier, favoring Woodruff for the seat. Platt was now at the end of the road, physically weak and of little strength politically. Gaynor, on an Independent ticket but supported by Tammany, won mayoral place in Greater New York in the fall of 1909, but a fusion of Hearst and Republican forces seated enough of their candidates to secure control of the all-important Board of Estimate. So Tammany gained little by the election of William J. Gaynor.

The death of John Raines, in December, 1909, gave the Governor some hope that he might again attack, and this time successfully, the "Black Horse Cavalry," by which name legislative correspondents had come to now a bipartisan group of politicians whose operations were invariably in only on direction--"their own selfish purposes.' With the removal of John Raines by Death, the reform group thought they might have a better chance in the Senate, but their hopes wee soon dashed by the selection of Jotham Allds as republican leader in the Senate. The Hughes group protested against his having the authority of president, eve pro tempore. "His election was generally considered a notice to the Governor that the machine would stand its ground against many of his proposed reforms." This interpretation was correct. Difficulties multiplied for the supporters of Governor Hughes. Finally, charges of corruption wee brought against Allds, and he shrank from an adverse verdict by resigning. A bitter struggle ensued, but again the reformers were defeated, the Senate leadership going to an "organization" man, George H. Cobb, on the forty-ninth ballot.

By this time Hughes had decided not to accept another term. He did so not because of frustrated hopes of governmental reform, but because the expenses of the office had exhausted his private means. Other Governors had found the salary inadequate, and perhaps had found ways of meeting expenses without depleting their private purse; and there were many admirers of Hughes who would have gladly made good his pecuniary loss, but not one who would dare to suggest such an expedient to him. Hughes was "in politics," but was never a politician. Money did not govern his interest in politics, though it might limit his participation in the public serve.


The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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