King of the Lobby
The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Always hungry for acclaim, Sam Ward savored the attention his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee brought his way via stories in the nation’s major newspapers. After his appearance on Capitol Hill, he crowed to his best friend of forty years, poet Henry...
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Sam Ward, man of the world, master of cookery, mathematics, and half a dozen languages, failed financier, handsome and forty-six years old, bobbed up in Washington in mid-1859. He arrived armed with a secret agreement to lobby on behalf of the government of Paraguay, several cases of fine wines with more on the way, and a dazzling sapphire ring that he had acquired...
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When the Evening Star noted of Washington’s fluid society in 1859 that, ‘‘the lock is o√ and the door stands wide open for any to enter who may be so intelligent, entertaining and well-behaved,’’ it read like a personal invitation to Sam Ward. He was all of those things, as well as a new-made man on the make. Washington might be jittery with sectional tension...
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Hard on the heels of the news that South Carolina had seceded came rumors that the South would attempt to take over the federal government before Abraham Lincoln could be inaugurated. Word got back to Sam and everyone else in Washington that, on Christmas Day, the Richmond Examiner had brazenly asked, ‘‘Can there not be found men bold and brave...
CHAPTER FOUR [Contains Image Plates]
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Sam’s timing was perfect. There was a new era dawning. The changes coming had been visible on the horizon in the 1850s. Some had been stymied, and some were nudged onward by the war, but the combination of old and new forces guaranteed that a man with Sam’s unusual skills could indeed ‘‘get some money’’ in postwar Washington. Just how Sam went about...
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By the end of the first Grant administration, when Sam’s name appeared, as it frequently did, in one of the growing number of ‘‘news from Washington’’ newspaper columns, it was likely to be followed by ‘‘King of the Lobby.’’ Even at a time when the press was portraying lobbyists as the most reviled of men, Sam’s honorific never had the ring of an epithet. Even...
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Not railroads this time but shipping lines lay at the heart of the investigation by the House Ways and Means Committee that got underway in January 1875. Rumors had been circulating for months in several newspapers, asserting that the Pacific Mail Steamship Company had spent fantastic sums of money, as much as a million dollars, in 1872 to renew and...
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News had traveled fast. Although hard to believe, it was correct. A wealthy Californian, James R. Keene, had indeed just provided Sam with a modest income. Keene had immigrated to the United States from England when he was about fourteen, and he had headed for the California gold fields a year later. That was where Sam had found him, down on his luck and desperately ill in the early...
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Sam lay beneath the ilex trees on an Italian hillside. All four of his children and both of his wives had predeceased him. His loving-kindness was foremost in the minds of those who mourned him and was reflected in the epitaph on the simple stone cross erected some months after his death, after much consultation, by three of...
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Sam, who lived and breathed graciousness, loved giving gifts—ripe peaches, lustrous pearls, fine Madeira. His generosity of spirit has been inherited by those of his descendants, direct and collateral, and even by the spouses of descendants, whose paths have crossed with mine. J. Winthrop Aldrich, Sam’s great-greatgrandson, kindly shared not only family lore but many of the images from the...
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Essay on Sources
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 20 halftones
Publication Year: 2010