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Carmichael, William (?–09 February 1795), diplomat and adventurer, was born at “Round Top” in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, the son of William Carmichael, a Scottish immigrant, and Brooke (maiden name unknown), a niece of the second wife of Richard Bennett, a wealthy landowner. Owing to the land and property that came to Carmichael from his mother’s side of the family, he was able to obtain a top-notch American education and to be admitted to the bar in Maryland. Carmichael also traveled to Ireland in 1768 and studied in Edinburgh, Scotland. He traveled throughout the British Isles for a time and when the American Revolution began, he was enjoying a pleasant life in London (where he was known for frequenting alehouses and soliciting the services of prostitutes)....

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Ward, Samuel (27 January 1814–19 May 1884), adventurer and lobbyist, was born in New York City, the son of Samuel Ward, a banker, and Julia Rush Cutler. He was sent to Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, and displayed an aptitude for languages and mathematics. He graduated from Columbia College in 1831. Despite misgivings, Ward’s father allowed his precocious son to study and travel in Europe. For four years he subsidized fellow students, dined exquisitely, took music lessons, attended performances, dallied with women, wrote a thesis in Latin on mathematical equations that earned him a Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen, acted as an unofficial diplomatic secretary, accumulated a library, and acquired a network of acquaintances. His serendipitous meeting with ...