Republican national convention of 1880. Nomination of the compromise candidate, Garfield
Since the indications were that the Democrats would be successful in the Congressional elections of 1878, the election in the “shoe-string district” that year was allowed to go by default.
In 1880, the year of the Presidential election, I decided that I would again measure arms with Chalmers for Representative in Congress from that district. It was practically a well-settled fact that there was to be a bitter fight for the Republican Presidential nomination that year. There were three prominent candidates in the field for the nomination,—James G. Blaine, U.S. Grant, and John Sherman. Grant was especially strong with southern Republicans, while Blaine had very little support in that section. Sherman was well thought of on account of the splendid record he had made as a member of the United States Senate, and, in addition to that, he had the influence and the support of the National Administration, of which he was a member,—being at that time Secretary of the Treasury.
In the State of Mississippi Bruce, Hill and I,—the three leading colored men,—had formed an offensive and defensive alliance. Bruce was United States Senator, which position he had secured largely through the influence and active support of myself and Hill,—of Hill especially, since he was on the ground at the time of the election, which enabled him to take personal charge of the campaign before the Legislature in the interest of Mr. Bruce.
Hill had been elected Secretary of State on the ticket with Ames in 1873 and, after the expiration of his term, was, through the influence and support of Bruce and myself, made Collector of Internal Revenue for the State of Mississippi. The office of Secretary of State, to which he was elected in 1873, was one that the Democrats did not take possession of in 1876. Unlike the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, the removal of the incumbent was not necessary to put that party in possession of the State Government.
I, Lynch, was at that time a member of the National House of Representatives, which position I was able to retain for a long time with the active assistance and support of Bruce and Hill,—especially of Bruce.
That we three should work in perfect political harmony was both natural and proper, since, in doing so, we protected our own interests and secured for ourselves, and for our friends and supporters, appropriate official recognition. At nearly every State convention either Bruce or I was made chairman of the convention, with Hill as floor manager.
The State committee was organized and controlled in the same way. Through that thorough and effective organization I was Chairman of the Republican State Committee from 1881 to 1892, and I could have retained it longer had I consented to serve; notwithstanding the dissolution of the combination, which took place about that time, as will be shown and explained later.