Mr. Lamar not only made an aggressive campaign against Mr. Blaine, but it was chiefly through his influence and efforts that the State was returned against Mr. Blaine by a very large majority. And yet no one who knew Mr. Lamar could justly accuse him of being an ingrate. He was essentially an appreciative man; as he never failed to demonstrate whenever and wherever it was possible for him to do so. No one knew better than did Mr. Lamar that he was under deep and lasting obligations to Mr. Blaine; but it seems that with all his wisdom and political sagacity and foresight Mr. Blaine was unable to distinguish between a personal and a political obligation. Mr. Lamar felt that what Mr. Blaine had done for him was personal, not political, and that if his,—Lamar’s,—party was in any respect the beneficiary thereof, it was merely incidental. At any rate, it was utterly impossible for him to serve Mr. Blaine in a political way. Had he made the effort to do so he not only would have subjected himself to the accusation of party treachery, but it would have resulted in his own political downfall. To expect any ambitious man to make such a sacrifice as this was contrary to human nature.
The truth was that Mr. Blaine had been chiefly instrumental in bringing about a condition of affairs at the South which made it impossible for any of his Democratic or Republican friends in that section to be of any material service to him at the time he most needed them. And yet, he could not see this until it was too late. In spite of this he would have been elected, but for the fact that he lost the pivotal State of New York by a small plurality, about eleven hundred and forty-seven, the reasons for which have been given in a previous chapter. It is therefore sad, but true, that by his own act this able and brilliant statesman, like Henry Clay, died without having reached the acme of his ambition,—the Presidency of the United States.
THE ELECTION OF GROVER CLEVELAND
The Republicans of my district insisted that I make the race for Congress again in 1884, and I decided to do so, although I knew it would be useless for me to do so with any hope of being elected, for I knew the prospect of success was not as favorable as two years previous.
Judge Van Eaton, the Democratic candidate for Congressman in 1882, was a representative of the better element, and would, therefore, rather be defeated than be declared elected through the enforcement and application of questionable methods. He publicly declared on several occasions that, as anxious as he was to be a member of Congress, he would rather be defeated than have a certificate of election tainted with fraud. In other words, if he could not be fairly and honestly elected he preferred to be defeated. He insisted upon a fair election and an honest count. This was not agreeable to many of his party associates.