After a hotly contested fight Mr. Blaine was finally nominated. Senator John A. Logan, of Illinois, was named as the candidate for Vice-President. It looked as if the time had at last come when the brilliant statesman from Maine would have the acme of his ambition completely realized.
I was honored by the delegation from my State with being made a member of the National Committee, and also a member of the committee that was named to wait on Mr. Blaine and notify him officially of his nomination. The notification committee went all the way to Mr. Blaine’s home, Augusta, Maine, to discharge that duty.
The ceremony of notification took place in Mr. Blaine’s front yard. The weather was fine. The notification speech was delivered by the chairman, Senator Henderson, to which Mr. Blaine briefly responded, promising to make a more lengthy reply in the form of a letter of acceptance. At the conclusion of the ceremony he called me to one side and asked what was the outlook in Mississippi. I informed him that he could easily carry the State by a substantial majority if we could have a fair election and an honest count; but that under the existing order of things this would not be possible, and that the State would be returned against him.
“Oh, no,” he replied, “you are mistaken about that. Mr. Lamar will see that I get a fair count in Mississippi.”
I confess that this remark surprised me very much.
“Mr. Blame,” I replied, “you may understand the political situation in Mississippi better than I do, but I know whereof I speak when I say that Mr. Lamar would not if he could and could not if he would, secure you a fair count in Mississippi. The State will be returned against you.”
“You will find,” he said, “that you are mistaken. Mr. Lamar will see that I get a fair count in Mississippi.”