Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 72
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 72

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Page 72
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Page 72 article text (OCR)

relief expedition to be ready to sail from New York by April 6. What the President did not know, however, was that Seward had already told the peace commissioners the fort would be surrendered. Now, to save face and his authority, Seward urged Lincolij to supply Fort Pickens off Pensacola as welL Lincoln agreed, but unfortunately did not inform his secretaries of War and Navy of the plan, a serious mistake he later conceded. The two task forces were hurriedly prepared in secret at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the key to both being the 11-gun warship Powhatan, the biggest available. Captain Gustavus Fox of the Sumter expedition thought Powhatan would be his, Capt. Samuel Mercer commanding. Also in New York, however,.was Lt. David Porter, with secret orders from the President to take Powhatan on the Pickens expedition. Captain Andrew Foote, commandant of the Navy Yard, was in a whirl because he had orders from Navy Secretary Gideon Welles that Mercer was to have Powhatan. Porter's group finally wired Seward to straighten out the mess. Near midnight, Seward hustled over to Willard's Hotel to find Welles. They set off to find Lincoln. "On our way thither," recalled Welles, "Mr. Seward remarked that, old as he was, he had learned a lesson from this affair, and that was, he had better attend to his own business and confine his labors to his own department. To this I cordially assented." Lincoln apologized, saying he had confused Powhattan with another vessel Pocahontas. Powhatan would go to Sumter, Lincoln ruled, that being of more importance. On April 6, Powhatan sailed with Porter, whose dedication to the secrecy of the Pickens mission was so strict he had been hiding at the Astor House and sneaked on board in m u f t i . Off Staten Island, Porter came on deck with Lincoln's original order, and Mercer went ashore. Just then a fast launch pulled up with a telegram signed by Seward directing that Mercer, indeed, was to command the ship. Porter protested: "I received my orders from the President and shall proceed and execute them." And he did. Never explained as why Seward did not sign the telegram with Lincoln's name, as he should have. Was he protecting his own favorite project, the pickens expedition, and weakening the one to Sumter which he opposed? In any event, when Fox's task force reached Sumter, the shooting had already begun. Edmund Ruffin, a fiery secessionist who was so envenomed at the North that he refused to read Noah Webster's dictionary, threw out the first cannon ball for the South. Doubleday, a rabid bolitionist, threw out the first cannon ball for the North. Without Powhatan's fire power, Fox disdained running the southern batteries, and Anderson surrendered after a 34-hour bombardment. The waiting game was played out. Seward's Folly is the term once attached to the purchase of Alaska, but it was not his first. Postscript: Four years to the day Sumter surrendered, Anderson returned there to raise the same flag he had lowered to the now defeated South. That night in Washington Abraham Lincoln surrendered to his wife's insistence and attended a play at Ford's Theater. Next: Andrew Johnson. State Magazine, July 18, 1976 Stalking the Wild Spenders What separates the "beautiful people" from everyone else has little to do with their looks. Instead, it's hou) they view themselves and spend their money that makes them easy to spot -- and hard to ignore. In this, the first in a tiro part series, Judith Wax lines up some of' the ways in which the rich are different, the "right" way to live and the driving urge that may have started them on the road to riches. By Judith Wax Copyright (C) 1976 Field Enterprises, Inc. She's younger, blonder and better-looking than I am. taller, too . .. especially if she stands on her wallet. Yet apparently this Chicago socialite and I look so much alike to many people that we are constantly mistaken for each other. Whenever the manager of a designer salon genuflects my way, or a stranger welcomes me back from Acapul- cor, Aspen, or Paris (when I haven't been as far as Milwaukee), I know I'm passing as my rich double again. But if my look-alike and I are all that interchangeable, why is she the one with the husband worth millions? I guess it's not enough to merely look monied. As F. Scott Fitzgerald noted, the rich really do seem different from the rest of us -- and not just because they have healthier bank accounts. What are the differences that separate the Haves from us Wish-We-Hads? Are there money personalities and traits, even money-destined genes? Nobody would seriously assert that the possession of wealth is, in . itself, a symptom of neurosis. Since 60 per cent of the great fortunes in America are inherited, their possessors may be afflicted with nothing more ominous than good luck. What's important psychologically is the drive toward accumulation: the reasons behind it, what it does to people, and what they do with it. There is, for instance, the well- known theory that, symbolically, money is a form of eroticism. The way we relate to money may reflect the way we related to our first sexual impulses, the first feelings of power and control (or lack of it) over those early drives. We learn that those feelings can be shared or withheld -- flaunted or saved. And they can also be transferred into monetary equivalents: compulsive saving or extravagance, hoarding, or -- if the rest of us are fortunate .-- philanthropy. Some people seem particularly insensitive when it comes to flaunting their wealth. But perhaps we shouldn't be too quick with harsh judgments. Vulgar display has a kind of poignant message. It cries. "Look at, what I have; doesn't all that prove that I have value, too?" If the rich are disturbed by the dark diagnoses of the "money personality," at least those who are driven to the psychoanalyst's couch can afford it. In fact, I know a wealthy Californian who goes that option one better. When he wakes each morning he summons a secretary to whom he dictates -- in lush detail -- his dreams of the previous night. She types them up and turns them over to the chauf- f e u r , w h o s p e e d s t h e m b y Mercedes-Benz to the downtown office of the Master's analyst. (Remember the joke about the rich couple arriving at a resort with a teen-aged son who was carried in by several servants? "Of course he can walk," the parents answered a curious bystander, "but thank God, he doesn't have to.") Maybe the good life is such a psychological imperative there aren't enough goodies in the world to satisfy it. But that is the problem with compulsions of any kind. Compulsive behavior breeds other compulsions. Howard Hughes could only accumulate wealth, not enjoy it. Along with that pathology came fears that imprisoned him as if he were the poorest pensioner, rotting away in a one-room walkup. Just as there are different ways the rich relate to money, there are different ways to spend it. There is the "right" vacation, restaurant, car, school and way to entertain, as well as the acceptable look.-- for one's body, wardrobe, house, and friends. There is, in fact, such a dizzying list of rules and regulations for the way things are done that it's almost a relief being relegated by your bank account to the crowd that eats Kentucky Fried right out of the bucket. Some say gracious living is simply a matter of standards. For instance, a father who wanted to make sure his six young children contin- ued to live up to his (and in the right neighborhood) when he was no longer around to check up, bought a condominium apiece to be held in trust for each of them. Some people simply have a highly developed sense of what's required for gracious living. When the little black dress was the "right" look, one woman bought four floor-length designer gowns she liked (at $600 each) and had them cut off at the knee. And a fashionable gentleman surprised a friend who spotted him, London- bound, in New York's Kennedy airport. "But I thought you went to London last month for your summer clothes," said the friend. "I did," replied the fashion plate. "Now I'm going back to pick them up." In groups where "you are what you spend," the theme party has become almost obligatory. In Dallas, a family of art collectors recently unleashed the "art wedding." Each table was done up in the style of a particular artist and wall-to-wall dessert runways were decorated with huge flowering replicas of the world's famous fountains. The real showstopper was to have been a towering wedding cake made to duplicate a family-owned Picasso sculpture. "But tragedy struck," said a wedding guest. "It turned out looking like a Chagall stained-glass window. The bride's mother was distraught; she must have spent a thousand dollars on that piece of pastry." Although vacations needn't have a theme, there are rigorous standards for the right one. The rich have a certain herd instinct; they often move in packs, like lemmings to the Lido. One Cleveland family travels with its own famous tennis pro and a sizable entourage -- His, hers, and their children, friends of children, servants -- and all move their tails first class. Even their eight-year-old daughter is reported to be a veteran at signing the tabs for her hairdos, massages, and pedicures. (Another princely family keeps up such a debilitating travel schedule it takes pre-vacation rest trips before the actual vacation, and post-vacation recovery trips.) Just as there are "right" vacation departures, there are also right departures from this world. "When Jack died, "says a young widow, "a group of wealthy ladies turned cateress/planners and took over. They spent thousands and thousands of their own money to do it right; $800 worth of rented china, 50-pound bags of the best nuts, elegant pastries, case-upon-case of wine and liquor . . . All so I could receive callers in the approved style. Nothing looked vulgar or pretentious ; it was simply their idea of the way things are done." Well, if you think about it, perhaps there's something after all in the proper observances of style., . something sustaining in doing things with attention to elegance and ritual. Not that the rest of us should necessarily give up Colonel Sanders, but we could keep our shoes on at the table. It's only prudent to get in training for the day we can afford all white meat, extra crispy. NEXT: "How Relevant Are the Rich?" CHARLESTON. W.VA. 3m

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