The Draper home in Rome.
July 15, 2012
Ambassador to Italy
Hopedale in July
Two weeks ago, I sent a link to a view of Hopedale in 1916. Here’s another bird’s eye view of
Hopedale. This one was done in 1888.
Here’s a recent addition to the Bright Oak Club and Italian Club page – It was sent by Dave Atkinson.
Friends of Adin Ballou annual peace picnic, August 5.
Hopedale High Class of 1962 kindergarten and Washington trip pictures.
St. Mary’s (Milford) High School, Class of 1962 photos.
Dan Wenc has recently done an extensive page of text and photos on the G&U Hopedale yard. Here’s
a link to it. Thanks to John LaPoint of Grafton for sending it.
Blackstone Valley Corridor walkabout on YouTube – Ranger Chuck Arning discusses the Blackstone
Canal during a walkabout in South Grafton. Thanks to John LaPoint for this one also.
River Bend Farm (Uxbridge) concert schedule.
Twenty-five years ago – July 1987 – Hopedale – Almost new seven room garrison colonial, two-car
garage, near park and pond- $191,900.
Hopedale juried art show at Day in the Park to include $25,000 in prizes.
Fells Acre mother and daughter sentenced to 20 years.
Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 2500 for first time.
Fifty years ago – July 1962 – Joseph Ambrogi to go on trial for assault and battery on Milford Police
Chief William Fitzpatrick.
Maryanne Boudreau chosen Miss Life Guard at Carpenters Beach Meadows, Rhode Island.
Warren Berquist in fair condition after suffering chest wound from an accidental rifle shot.
Ambassador to Italy
General Draper’s account of his years as Ambassador to Italy covers about sixty pages in his
autobiography. Below are a couple of lines about his appointment in 1897, followed by several
paragraphs from the first few months of 1898.
He (President William McKinley) said that after thinking over the Cuban matter, he had decided to
make other arrangements but that he had decided to send in my name for ambassador to Italy within
a few days.
April 1st my name was sent to the Senate, April 4th I was unanimously confirmed, and my
commission was dated April 5, 1897. William F. Draper, Recollections of a Varied Career, p. 273
The first court ball took place January 31st (1898). It was of course, a most brilliant function, but one of
its features I dreaded exceedingly, namely la quadrille d’honneur, - danced by the Queen, members of
the royal families, distinguished members of the noblesse, and members of the diplomatic corps.
There were, as I remember, ten couples who danced in a reserved space, while two thousand
guests, more or less, - the men largely in uniform and wearing orders, and the ladies magnificent in
evening dress and jewels, - looked on and admired or criticized. I had not danced for a quarter of a
century and was afraid I should make some mistake in the figure; but I was on the side, with la
Marquise di Rudini as a partner, and went through, not only without a break, but without the feeling of
mauvaise honte (shame or bashfulness according to Webster online) that I had anticipated. Mrs.
Draper danced opposite Queen Margherita and conducted herself as though she had occupied such
a position every night of her life.
The next day, however, she was ill, on account of our long-continued dissipation; and the 2nd of
February we received a telegram announcing her mother, Mrs. Preston’s death, which put an end to
the season’s festivities, as far as we were concerned. Mrs. Preston had been ill for several months
and the end was not unexpected, but the pain of parting was none the less. Mrs. Draper did not
recover easily from the shock, and the doctor insisted on a brief change of air and scene. I could not
leave at once, but we did get away for ten days about the 1st of March, making a brief visit to Nice.
While at Nice, I was asked to meet Mr. Pierpont Morgan, the great financier, and we had a
conversation of some hours, regarding the prospect of a war with Spain, (the news of the destruction
of the Maine had reached us), and subjects collateral thereto. I was also entertained by General
Carette, former commandant of the Papal Guard, and now prominent in the Legitimist party in France.
He married an American lady, a friend of Mrs. Draper’s, - Miss Antoinette Polk, of Tennessee.
On our return from Nice we had telegraphic news of another bereavement, - Mrs. John Mason Brown,
Mrs. Draper’s oldest sister, having died suddenly. Her health had been poor for some years, but we
had no idea that the end was near. She was a talented woman and a leader of society in Louisville.
Her husband, John Mason Brown, was colonel in the Union army, and a distinguished lawyer who
had been prominently mentioned for the United States Supreme Court.
The mourning for Mrs. Preston and Mrs. Brown of course removed Mrs. Draper from general society,
but I was compelled to entertain prominent American visitors, - among them Mr. Morgan, before
mentioned, Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mr. Marshall Field, and Mr. William Waldorf Astor, who had
formerly been minister to Italy.
From the middle of March to the commencement of hostilities with Spain, April 18th, and in fact, for a
month or two thereafter, I was really busy. Questions of neutrality and the position of the Italian
Government had to be discussed, and cipher dispatches came and were sent by me daily, -
sometimes several times a day. Owing to the difference in time, these dispatches reached me often
at night. They needed to be read, and sometimes replied to, immediately, and as considerable time
was required to translate those received and put those sent into cipher, my nights were pretty
thoroughly broken up. It was very interesting though, and I did not regret the experience.
The subjects of these dispatches and the detail of negotiation are outside of what I am at liberty to
record; but it is safe to say that the attitude of the Italian government left us nothing to complain of, -
their ground being that of the strictest neutrality. William F. Draper, Recollections of a Varied Career,
pp. 300 – 303.
As was the case with last time’s story by Adin Ballou, there’s really no good stopping point without
going to the end of the book. If you’d like to read more, you can see the book online at Google Books.
Hopedale History Ezine Menu HOME