There was a faction in the party that was opposed to the leadership of these three influential colored men, but it was never strong enough to organize or control a State Convention as long as we three worked in union. While this union had the effect of keeping us at the front as recognized leaders of the party it could not be said it was detrimental to the party organization, for the reason that under that leadership the organization never failed to support the men that the party believed to be the strongest. In other words, while we used the party machinery to prevent our own political extinction we never allowed our own ambitions to conflict with what was believed by other influential members of the party to be for the best interest of the organization.
It looked for a while as if the State Convention of 1880 would result in a dissolution of this combination which had so successfully controlled the party organization in the State so many years. Bruce and Hill were supporters of Secretary Sherman for the Republican Presidential nomination, while I was favorable to the candidacy of ex-President Grant. That Grant was the choice of a large majority of the Republicans of the State could not be truthfully denied. Mr. Bruce was the Republican United States Senator in harmony with the administration. Mr. Hill was an office-holder under that administration, and Secretary Sherman was believed to be the administration candidate for the nomination.
As soon as the fact was developed that Bruce and Hill were for Sherman and that I was for Grant, the faction which had always opposed and fought the leadership of the Bruce-Lynch-Hill combination took up the fight for Grant, with the determination to take advantage of Grant’s strength and popularity in order to secure control of the party machinery. It was this that prevented at that time a dissolution of the Bruce-Hill-Lynch combination. The situation with which we were confronted made it necessary for the three to come together and, in a spirit of concession, agree upon a common line of action. Upon the suggestion of Mr. Bruce a conference soon took place at which I agreed that, since it was my purpose to be a candidate for the Congressional nomination in the Sixth or “shoe-string district,” I would not be a candidate for delegate to the National Convention, but that I would support Bruce and Hill as delegates from the State at large, with the understanding that, if at any time Sherman’s name should be withdrawn and Grant’s nomination were possible, they should support Grant. It was further agreed that I should support the Bruce-Lynch-Hill combination in the fight for the organization of the State Convention, but that I should be at liberty to use my influence for the election of Grant men as delegates other than Bruce and Hill.