Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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INGERSOLL, Robert Green, lawyer, born in Dresden, New York, 11 August, 1833. His father was a Congregational clergyman of such broad views as frequently to cause dissension between himself and his parish. The son's boyhood was spent in Wisconsin and Illinois, where the family removed in 1843. After studying law he opened an office in Shawneetown, Illinois, with his brother Eben, who was subsequently a member of congress. Both engaged in politics, but the surroundings were uncongenial, and in 1857 they removed to Peoria. In 1860 Robert was a Democratic candidate for congress, but was defeated. In 1862 he became colonel of the 11th Illinois cavalry, and a year and a half later united with the Republican party. In 1866 he was appointed attorney-general for Illinois. At the National Republican convention of 1876 he proposed the name of James G. Blaine for the presidential nomination in a speech that attracted much attention. From that time his services as a campaign orator have been in demand throughout the country. In 1877 he refused the post of minister to Germany. He has taken part in numerous noted lawsuits in all parts of the country, and was counsel for the so-called star-route conspirators, whose trial ended in acquittal in 1883. He is well known by his books, pamphlets, and speeches directed against the Christian religion. He has published "The Gods" (Washington, 1878); "Ghosts" (1879); "Some Mistakes of Moses" (1879); "Lectures Complete" (1883); "Prose Poems and Selections" (1884); a large number of minor works, and introductory chapters for two books, entitled "Modern Thinkers," compiled by Van Buren Denslow (Chicago, 1881): and "The Brain and the Bible," by Edgar C. Beall (Cincinnati, 1882).
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