Senator Alcorn’s keen disappointment and chagrin at the outcome of his fight with Governor Ames was manifested when Senator Bruce made his appearance to be sworn in as a Senator. It was presumed that Senator Alcorn, in accordance with the uniform custom on such occasions, would escort his colleague to the desk of the President of the Senate to be sworn in. This Senator Alcorn refused to do. When Mr. Bruce’s name was called Senator Alcorn did not move; he remained in his seat, apparently giving his attention to his private correspondence. Mr. Bruce, somewhat nervous and slightly excited, started to the President’s desk unattended. Senator Roscoe Conkling, of New York, who was sitting near by, immediately rose and extended his arm to Mr. Bruce and escorted him to the President’s desk, standing by the new Senator’s side until the oath had been administered, and then tendering him his hearty congratulations, in which all the other Republican Senators, except Senator Alcorn, subsequently joined.
This gracious act on the part of the New York Senator made for him a lifelong friend and admirer in the person of Senator Bruce. This friendship was so strong that Senator Bruce named his first and only son Roscoe Conkling, in honor of the able, distinguished, and gallant Senator from New York.
Senator Alcorn’s action in this matter was the occasion of considerable unfavorable criticism and comment, some of his critics going so far as to intimate that his action was due to the fact that Mr. Bruce was a colored man. But, from my knowledge of the man and of the circumstances connected with the case, I am satisfied this was not true. His antipathy to Mr. Bruce grew out of the fact that Mr. Bruce had opposed him and had supported Ames in the fight for Governor in 1873.
So far as I have been able to learn, I am the only one of the Senator’s friends and admirers who opposed his course in that contest that he ever forgave. He, no doubt, felt that I was under less personal obligations to him than many others who pursued the same course that I did, since he had never rendered me any effective personal or political service, except when he brought the Independent members of the House in line for me in the contest for Speaker of that body in 1872; and even then his action was not so much a matter of personal friendship for me as it was in the interest of securing an endorsement of his own administration as Governor.
In Mr. Bruce’s case he took an entirely different view of the matter. He believed that he had been the making of Mr. Bruce. Mr. Bruce had come to the State in 1869 and had taken an active part in the campaign of that year. When the Legislature was organized it was largely through the influence of Governor Alcorn that he was elected Sergeant-at-arms of the State Senate. When the Legislature adjourned Governor Alcorn sent Bruce to Bolivar county as County Assessor. Bruce discharged the duties of that