Joseph Hodges Choate

(1832–1917)

Joseph Hodges Choate

Anecdote 1...

Choate was asked at a private dinner who he would like to be if he were not himself. He thought rapidly through a list of world celebrities, and then, catching his wife’s eye, said, “If I could not be myself, I would like to be Mrs. Choate’s second husband.”

Anecdote 2...

Once during a Supreme Court hearing it was pointed out to Choate that he was arguing directly contrary to what was stated in his brief. Choate was not at all abashed. “Oh well,” he replied, “I have learned a great deal about the case since the brief was prepared.”

 
Biographical Note: 

Joseph Hodges Choate was a U.S. lawyer and diplomat. He was ambassador to Great Britain (1899–1905). Many stories are told of his wit in court and his skill as an after-dinner speaker. As a lawyer, Choate was associated with many of the most famous litigations in American legal history and his greatest reputation was won perhaps in cross-examination. He was a frequent speaker in presidential campaigns and several of his most notable public addresses have been published.

More Information: 

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See a list of U.S. ambassadors to the U.K., from the first (John Adams in 1785) to today and read some facts about American ambassadors to the United Kingdom.