This ended the interview. I went to the home of my friend that evening, and informed him and his amiable wife of what had been said and done. They thanked me warmly for my efforts in their behalf, and assured me that there was a future before them, and that in the battle of life they were determined to know no such word as “fail.” A few weeks later my friend’s official connection with the public service was suddenly terminated. He and his family then left Washington for Kansas, I think. About a year thereafter he had occasion to visit Washington on business. I happened to be there at that time. He called to see me and informed me that, instead of regretting what had occurred, he had every reason to be thankful for it, since he had done very much better than he could have done had he remained at Washington. I was, of course, very much gratified to hear this and warmly congratulated him. Since that time, however, I have not seen him nor any member of his family, nor have I heard anything from them except indirectly, although I have made a number of unsuccessful efforts to find them. I am inclined to the opinion that, like thousands of people of the same class, their identity with the colored race has long since ceased and that they have been absorbed by the white race, as I firmly believe will be true of the great mass of colored Americans. It is to prevent any embarrassment growing out of the probability of this condition that has actuated me in not making public the names of the parties in question. No good could come of the disclosure, and much harm might follow. I can, however, most positively assure the public that this is not a fiction,—that it is not a mere picture that is painted from the vividness of my imagination, but that the story as related in all its details is based upon actual occurrences.
With this one exception, Secretary Lamar retained in office every clerk whose name appeared on the list that I gave him. They were not only retained throughout the Administration but many of them were promoted. It can be said to the credit of Secretary Lamar that during his administration very few changes were made in the clerical force of the department for political reasons, and, as a rule, the clerks were treated with justice, fairness and impartiality.