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Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/179

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CHAPTER XI


At Washington in Sumter Days.—1861


I REMAINED in New York till February 26, and then proceeded also to the national capital. I was conscious of now being so thoroughly qualified as a political writer and observer that I could be perfectly sure of constant and well-paid employment, having the special advantage, too, of being well acquainted with the President and his most intimate friends and advisers. I was also convinced that Washington was the proper and most promising field for me. I conceived the plan of trying a new departure in news-reporting from Washington, viz., to gather and furnish the same political and other news by mail and telegraph to a number of papers in different parts of the country, geographically so situated that they would not interfere with each other by the simultaneous publication of the same matter. I telegraphed a proposal to that effect from New York to the Cincinnati Commercial and the Chicago Tribune, both of which promptly accepted it. The New York Tribune and Times, having already special correspondents in Washington, would not accept it; but the elder Bennett and Frederic Hudson of the Herald offered to engage me as a telegraphic correspondent, and, as they conceded my condition that I should be free to speak through the Herald as a sympathizer with the Republican party, I came to an understanding with them. My enterprise was to be a sort of supplement to the Associated Press, whose then Washington correspondent was very inefficient, but was kept in his place on account of his long services. It was, indeed, the beginning in this country of the news syndicates or agencies of which scores now exist in

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