A Gilded Age in Ontario municipal politics?
— William Andrews Clark, Sr. (1839 -1925) was an American politician and entrepreneur, involved with mining, banking, and railroads…
Clark died at the age of 86 in his mansion at 952 Fifth Avenue in New York City, one of the 50 richest Americans ever. In a 1907 essay entitled “Senator Clark of Montana,” Mark Twain portrayed Clark as the very embodiment of Gilded Age excess and corruption. Wrote Twain:
He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs. To my mind he is the most disgusting creature that the republic has produced since Tweed‘s time.
An aide said, “We’ll put the old man in the Senate, or the poorhouse.” Clark was elected in 1899, but $1,000 bills turned up in envelopes. He had to resign.
Clark said publicly, “I propose to leave to my children a legacy, worth more than gold, that of an unblemished name.” Privately he said, “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale.”