INTERVIEW WITH SECRETARY LAMAR ON THE RETAINING OF COLORED MEN IN OFFICE
In selecting his first cabinet Mr. Cleveland did Mr. Lamar and the State of Mississippi the honor of making him his Secretary of the Interior. Early in the administration, upon the occasion of my first visit to Washington after the inauguration of Mr. Cleveland, I called on Secretary Lamar to pay him my respects and tender him my congratulations upon his appointment. When I entered his office he was engaged in conversation with some prominent New York Democrats, Mayor Grace, of New York City, being one of the party. The Secretary received me cordially; and, after introducing me to the gentlemen with whom he was conversing, requested me to take a seat in the adjoining room, which was used as his private office, until the departure of the gentlemen with whom he was then engaged; remarking at the same time that there was an important matter about which he desired to talk with me.
I had been seated only a short while before he made his appearance. As soon as he had taken his seat he said:
“Lynch, you have shown me some favors in the past, and I desire to manifest in a substantial way my appreciation of what you have done for me and the friendly interest you have taken in me. No one knows better than I do, or can appreciate more keenly than I can, the value of the services you have rendered me, and the satisfactory results of your friendly interest in me. In saying this I do not wish to even intimate that you have done anything for me that was inconsistent with the position occupied by you as an influential leader of the Republican party of our State. The truth is, you were, fortunately, placed in such a position that you were enabled to render a great service to a Mississippi Democrat without doing a single act, or giving expression to a single thought, that was not in harmony with your position as a leader of your own party. That you saw fit to make me, rather than some other Democrat, the beneficiary of your partiality is what I keenly appreciate, highly value and now desire to reciprocate. The Republican party is now out of power, and it is likely to remain so for the next quarter of a century. Fortunately for me I am now so situated that I can reciprocate, in a small measure, the friendly interest you have taken in me in the recent past; and this, I hope, you will allow me to do. I have an office at my disposal that I want you to accept. I know