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Title: Frenzied Finance - Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated
Author: Lawson, Thomas William, 1857-1925
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  | Transcriber's Note:                                        |
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[Illustration: THOMAS W. LAWSON AFTER TWELVE MONTHS OF "FRENZIED
FINANCE"]

FRENZIED FINANCE

BY

THOMAS W. LAWSON

OF BOSTON

VOLUME I

THE CRIME OF AMALGAMATED


NEW YORK
THE RIDGWAY-THAYER COMPANY
1905


_Copyright, 1905, by_
THE RIDGWAY-THAYER COMPANY

_These articles are reprinted from "Everybody's Magazine"_

COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY THE RIDGWAY-THAYER COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY THE RIDGWAY-THAYER COMPANY

_All rights reserved_

TROW DIRECTORY
PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY
NEW YORK



TO

PENITENCE AND PUNISHMENT

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

TO PENITENCE: that those whose deviltry is exposed within its pages may
see in a true light the wrongs they have wrought--and repent.

TO PUNISHMENT: that the unpenalized crimes of which it is the chronicle
may appear in such hideousness to the world as forever to disgrace their
perpetrators.

TO PENITENCE: that the transgressors, learning the error of their ways,
may reform.

TO PUNISHMENT: that the sins of the century crying to heaven for
vengeance may on earth be visited with condemnation stern enough to halt
greed at the kill.

TO PUNISHMENT: that public indignation may be so aroused against the
practices of high finance that it shall come to be as culpable to graft
and cozen within the law as it is lawless to-day to counterfeit and
steal.

TO PENITENCE: that in the minds of all who read this eventful history
there may grow up a knowledge and a conviction that the gaining of vast
wealth is not worth the sacrifice of manhood, and that poverty and
abstinence with honor are better worth having than millions and luxury
at the cost of candor and rectitude.



TO MY AUDIENCE

SAINTS, SINNERS, AND IN-BETWEENS


Before you enter the confines of "Frenzied Finance," here spread
out--for your inspection, at least; enlightenment, perhaps--halt one
brief moment. If the men and things to be encountered within are
real--did live or live now--you must deal with them one way. If these
embodiments are but figments of my mind and pen, you must regard them
from a different view-point. Therefore, before turning the page, it
behooves you to find for yourself an answer to the grave question:

Is it the truth that is dealt with here? In weighing the evidence
remember:

My profession is business. My writing is an incident. "Frenzied Finance"
was set down during the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth hours of busy
days. I pass it up as the history of affairs of which I was a part. The
men who move within the book's pages are still on the turf. A period of
twelve years is covered. So far, eighteen instalments, in all some
400,000 words, have been published. The spigot is still running. I have
written from memory, necessarily. While it is true that fiction is
expressed in the same forms and phrases as truth, no man ever lived who
could shape 400,000 words into the kinds of pictures I have painted and
pass them off for aught but what they were. The character of my palette
made it mechanically impossible to shade or temper the pigments, for the
story was written in instalments, and circumstances were such that often
one month's issue was out to the public before the next instalment was
on paper. Considering all this, the consistency of the chronicle as it
stands is the best evidence of its truth. In submitting it to my readers
I desire to reiterate:

It _is_ truth--of the kind that carries its own bell and candle. Within
the narrative itself are the reagents required to test and prove its
genuineness. Were man endowed with the propensity of a Münchhausen, the
cunning of a Machiavelli, the imagination of Scheherezade, the ability
of a Shakespeare, and the hellishness of his Satanic Majesty, he could
not play upon 400,000 words, or one-quarter that number, and make the
play peal truth for a single hour to the audience who will read this
book, or to one-thousandth part the audience that has already read it in
_Everybody's Magazine_.

Such as the story is, it is before you. If in its perusal you fathom my
intentions, my hopes, my desires, I shall have been repaid for the pain
its writing has brought me. At least you will find the history of a
colossal business affair involving millions of dollars and manned by the
financial leaders of the moment. It is a fair representation of
financial methods and commercial morals as they exist in America at the
beginning of the twentieth century. As a contemporary document the
narrative should have value; as history it is not, I believe, without
interest. As a message it has had its influence. Indeed, it is not an
exaggeration to say that no man in his own generation has seen such a
crop come forth from seed of his own sowing since the long bygone days
when the wandering king planted dragons' teeth on the Phoenician plain
and raised up an army of warriors.

Yours very truly
    Thomas W. Lawson



FOREWORD


There will be set down in this book, in as simple and direct a fashion
as I can write it, the story of Amalgamated Copper and of the "System"
of which it is the most flagrant example. This "System" is a process or
a device for the incubation of wealth from the people's savings in the
banks, trust, and insurance companies, and the public funds. Through its
workings during the last twenty years there has grown up in this country
a set of colossal corporations in which unmeasured success and continued
immunity from punishment have bred an insolent disregard of law, of
common morality, and of public and private right, together with a grim
determination to hold on to, at all hazards, the great possessions they
have gulped or captured. It is the same "System" which has taken from
the millions of our people billions of dollars, and given them over to a
score or two of men with power to use and enjoy them as absolutely as
though these billions had been earned dollar by dollar by the labor of
their bodies and minds. Yet in telling the story of Amalgamated, the
most brazen and voracious maw of this "System," I desire it understood
that I take no issue with men; it is with a principle I am concerned.
With the men I have had close and intimate intercourse, and from my
knowledge of the means they have used, and the manner in which they have
used them, and the causes and effects of their performances, I have no
hesitation in stating that the good they have done, the evils they have
created, and the indelible imprints they have made on mankind are the
products of a condition and not of their individualities, and that if
not one of them had ever been born the same good and evil would to-day
exist. Others would have done what they did, and would have to answer
for what has been done, as they must. So I say the men are merely
individuals; the "System" is the thing at fault, and it is the "System"
that must be rectified. Better far for me not to tell the story I am
going to tell; better far for the victims of Amalgamated not to know who
plundered them and how, than to have them know it only to wreak
vengeance on individuals and overlook the "System," which, if allowed to
continue, surely will in time, a short time, destroy the nation by
precipitating fratricidal war.

The enormous losses, millions upon millions--to my personal knowledge
over a hundred millions of dollars--which were made because of
Amalgamated; the large number of suicides--to my personal knowledge over
thirty--which were directly caused by Amalgamated; the large number of
previously reputable citizens who were made prison convicts--to my
personal knowledge over twenty--directly because of Amalgamated, were
caused by acts of this "System" of which Henry H. Rogers and his
immediate associates were the direct administrators; and yet Mr. Rogers
and his immediate associates, while these great wrongs were occurring,
led social lives which, measured by the most rigid yardstick of mental
or moral rectitude, were as near perfect as it is possible for human
lives to be. As husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends, they were
ideal, cleanly of body and of mind, with heads filled with sentiment and
hearts filled with sympathies; their personal lives were like their
homes and their gardens--revealing only the brightest things of this
world, the singing, humming, sweet-smelling things which so strongly
speak to us of the other world we are yet to know. As workers in the
world's vineyards, they labored six days and rested upon the Sabbath,
and gave thanks to Him from whom all blessings flow that He allowed
them, His humble creatures, to have their earthly being. And yet these
men, to whose eyes I have seen come the tears for others' sufferings,
and whose voices I have heard grow husky in recounting the woes of their
less fortunate brothers--these men under the spell of the brutal code of
modern dollar-making are converted into beasts of prey, and put to shame
the denizens of the deep which devour their kind that they may live.

In the harness of the "System" these men knew no Sabbath, no Him; they
had no time to offer thanks, no care for earthly or celestial being;
from their eyes no human power could squeeze a tear, no suffering wring
a pang from their hearts. They were immune to every feeling known to God
or man. They knew only dollars. Their relatives of a moment since, their
friends of yesterday and long, long ago, they regarded only as lumps of
matter with which to feed the whirring, grinding, gnashing mill which
poured forth into their bins--dollars.

In telling the story of Amalgamated I hope to have profited by my long
and intimate study of this cruel, tigerishly cruel "System," so as to be
able to deaden myself to all those human sympathies which I have heard
its votaries so many times subordinate to "It's business." I shall try
only to keep before me how the Indians of the forest, as our forefathers
drove them farther and farther into the unknown West, got bitter
consolation out of the oft-chanted precept of their white brethren of
civilization, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," reminding myself
that whatever of misery or unhappiness my story may bring to the few, it
will be as nothing to that which they have brought to the many.

In asking for the serious, earnest consideration of the public, I shall
be honest in giving to it my qualifications, my motives, and my desires
for writing this narrative. For thirty-four years I have been actively
connected with matters financial. As banker, broker, and corporation
man, I have, from the vantage-point of one who actually handled the
things he studied, studied the causes which created the conditions which
made possible the "System" which produced the Amalgamated affair. In my
thirty-four years of business experience I have seen the great fortunes,
which are the motive power of the "System" referred to, come out of the
far West as specks upon the financial horizon and grow and grow as they
travelled Eastward, until in their length, breadth, and thickness they
obscured the rising sun. At short range I have seen the giant money
machine put together; I have touched elbows with the men who made it, as
they fitted this wheel and adjusted that gear, while at the same time I
broke bread and slept with the every-day people who, with the industry
of the ant and the patience of the spider, toiled to pile in the
pennies, the nickels, and the dimes which have kept the "System's"
hopper full.

At my first meeting with the creators of Amalgamated it was clearly and
distinctly understood that under no circumstances would I enlist in that
"System's" interests other than for such special services as, after due
thought and investigation, I should decide to be such as I could in
fairness to myself and my clients work for; and when I give the details
of this first meeting in my narrative it will be evident to its readers
that in telling the story of Amalgamated I am violating no confidence,
nor in any way encroaching upon the niceties of that business code which
is, and should be, the foundation of all legitimate financial dealings,
nor in any way misusing knowledge which, if acquired under other
circumstances, might be sacred.

Amalgamated was one service the "System" asked of me. It was created
because of my work. It was largely because of my efforts that its
foundation was successfully laid. It was very largely because of what I
stood for and because of the public's confidence in the fulfilment of
the promises I made that the public invested its savings to an extent of
over $200,000,000; and it was almost wholly because of the broken
promises and trickery of the creators of the "System" that the public
lost the enormous sums it did.

My motives for writing the story of Amalgamated are manifold: I have
unwittingly been made the instrument by which thousands upon thousands
of investors in America and Europe have been plundered. I wish them to
know my position as to the past that they may acquit me of intentional
wrong-doing; as to the present that they may know that I am using all my
powers to right the wrongs that have been committed, and as to the
future that they may see how I propose to compel restitution.

My desire in writing the story of Amalgamated, while tinged perhaps with
hatred for and revenge against the "System" as a whole and some of its
votaries, is more truly pervaded with a strong conviction that the most
effective way to educate the public to realize the evils of which such
affairs as the Amalgamated are the direct result, is to expose before it
the brutal facts as to the conception, birth, and nursery-breeding of
this the foremost of all the unsavory offspring of the "System." Thus it
may learn that it is within its power to destroy the brood already in
existence and render impossible similar creations.

In the course of my task I shall describe such parts of the general
financial structure as will place my readers, especially those
unfamiliar with its more complicated conditions, in a mental state to
comprehend the methods by which the savings they think are safely
guarded in the banks, trust and insurance companies, are so manipulated
by the votaries of frenzied finance as to be in constant jeopardy. I
shall show them that while the press, the books, the stump, and our
halls of statesmanship are full to overflowing with the whys,
wherefores, and what-nots of "tariff," "currency," "silver," "gold," and
"labor"; while our market systems are perfected educational machines for
disseminating accurate statistics about the necessaries and luxuries of
life, the water and land carriers, real estate, and other material
things which the people have been taught to believe are the only things
that vitally affect their savings; that while they imagine they
understand the system by which speculation and investments are
controlled and worked, and that the causes and effects of this system
are at all times get-at-able by them through their bankers and their
brokers; there is a tangible, complicated, yet simple trick of financial
legerdemain, operated twenty-four hours in each day in the year, and
which the press, the books, the politicians, and the statesmen never
touch upon--a trick by means of which the savings of the people and the
public funds of the Government, whether in the national banks,
savings-banks, trust or insurance companies, are always at the absolute
service and mercy of the votaries of frenzied finance.

Therefore, in the course of my story of Amalgamated will come a few
kindergarten pictures of how the necessaries and luxuries of the people
are "incorporated"; of how the evidences of corporation ownership are
manufactured; of the individuals who "manufacture" them; of the
individuals who control and make or unmake their values; of the
meeting-place of these individuals, within and without the
stock-exchanges; of some of the corporations and of some of the signs
and tokens of corporation ownership; of some of their histories; of some
of their doings, and of some of their contemplated doings. These
kindergarten pictures I will endeavor to paint, not in that
"over-the-head" verbosity or "under-the-feet" profundity and intricacy
of the political economy pedant, which are as the canvases of the
Whistler school to the masses; but rather will I use the brush of the
artisan who in giving us our white fences, our gray cottages, and our
green blinds sets off those things which make up the pictures the people
really understand and dearly prize.

In the last few years the public has heard many stories of this
Juggernaut "System," which has grown to be the greatest private power in
our land--greater almost than the power which governs the nation,
because it is not only great within itself but by its peculiar workings
is really a part of the power which governs the people. Particularly has
it been told the story of Standard Oil by Mr. Henry D. Lloyd in his able
work, "Wealth Against Commonwealth," and by Miss Ida M. Tarbell in her
recent historical sketches; but however thorough these writers may have
been in gathering the facts, statistics, and evidences, however
relentless their pens and vivid their pictures, they dealt but with
things that are dead; things that to the present generation are but
skeletons whose dry and whitened bones cannot possibly bring to the
hearts, minds, and souls of the men and women of to-day that
all-consuming passion for revenge, that burning desire for justice,
without which no movement to benefit the people can be made successful.

In telling my story I shall, for I must, tell it fairly, and to make
sure of this I pledge myself to keep to the exact facts as they
occurred, not allowing myself to be overawed by their greatness into
contracting them, nor to be tempted by their littleness into expanding
them. In doing this I know, because of the peculiarity of the subject
and my intimate relation to it, no other way than to do it in the first
person. As I have already stated, I would prefer to deal with my subject
through the principles involved rather than with the men concerned; but
as I shall be compelled to call spades spades, I must, of necessity, use
the names of men and of institutions fearlessly and without favor.

In the beginning it will be necessary, for that clear understanding of
the whole subject which is one of my principal objects, to treat at
sufficient length the Bay State Gas intricacies and trickeries, in which
in a certain sense Amalgamated had its being. This will compel me to
devote a chapter to one of the most picturesquely notorious characters
of the age, John Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, of Delaware, Everywhere, and
Nowhere.

The main part of my narrative must of necessity deal with the two real
heads of Standard Oil and Amalgamated, Mr. Henry H. Rogers and Mr.
William Rockefeller; and with the biggest financial institution of
America, if not of the world, the National City Bank of New York, and
its head and dominating spirit, Mr. James Stillman.

An important chapter should be that devoted to the conception and
formation of the United Metals Selling Company, which was specially
organized to control the copper industry of the world without coming
within the restrictions of the laws for the prevention or regulation of
monopolies.

I shall also deal at length with a notorious character, who, like the
spot upon the sun, looms up in all American copper affairs whenever they
appear in the full vision of the public eye--Mr. F. Augustus Heinze, of
Montana.

There will be a chapter of more or less length devoted to one of the
most important episodes in Amalgamated affairs, wherein I shall describe
one of Wall Street's most picturesque, able, and intensely interesting
men, Mr. James R. Keene.

I shall touch on a bit of the nation's history in which within a few
days of the national election of 1896 a hurry-up call for additional
funds to the extent of $5,000,000 was so promptly met as to overturn the
people in five States and thereby preserve the destinies of the
Republican party, of which I am and have always been a member.

I shall draw a picture of two dress-suit cases of money being slipped
across the table at the foot of a judge's bench in the court-room, from
its custodian to its new owners, upon the rendering of a court decision;
and I shall show how the new owners frustrated a plot having for its
object their waylaying and the recovery of the bags of money.

I shall devote some space to pointing out the evils and dangers of the
latter-day methods of corrupting law-makers, and show how one entire
Massachusetts Legislature, with the exception of a few members, was
dealt with as openly as the fishmongers procure their stock-in-trade
upon the wharves; how upon the last day of the Legislature, because
their deferred cash payments were not promptly forthcoming, its members
turned, and made necessary the hurried departure for foreign shores of a
great lawyer and his secretary, with bags of quickly gathered gold, and
all evidences of the crimes committed and attempted; how after the ship
arrived at an island in foreign seas the great lawyer's dead body
received hurried burial, and his secretary's was later dropped, with
weights about its feet, to the ocean's depths; and how ever since the
natives whisper among themselves their gruesome suspicions.

I shall devote a chapter to the doings of certain financial reputation
sandbaggers and blackmailers; show how through their agencies they hold
up corporations and their managers for large sums, which upon being paid
start into motion a perfected system for the false moulding of public
opinion for the purpose of making more easy the plundering of the
people. I shall photograph the men and draw accurate diagrams of the
machinery through which their nefarious trade is carried on.

My story will carry me down Wall Street, into the Stock Exchange,
through its hundred and one or million and one open and hidden passages,
and into State Street, that ever-hung hammock of financial somnolence,
and into the courts of justice of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Massachusetts, and Montana, and into many other interesting
abodes of justice and injustice, of trickery, fraud, and simple, honest
trustfulness.

When my story is ended and the great American people, whose simple but
proud boast is that they cannot be fooled in the same place by the same
methods and the same instruments twice, know as much as I now know of
Amalgamated and its relation to the "System" which has for years as
boldly, as coarsely, and as cruelly robbed them as the coolie slaves are
robbed by their masters--it will be for them to decide whether my story
has been, because of the facts which entered into it, so well told that
they will not be satisfied with the restitution of the vast sums which
the Amalgamated took from them, which United States Steel took from
them, and which other financial enterprises took in lesser amounts but
by equally flagrant methods; but will demand the overthrow of the
"System" itself. It will be for them to decide; and if their decision
should be for a conclusive revolt, I shall be amply repaid for the pains
and the miseries which must necessarily follow in the wake of a task
such as the one I undertook when I decided to tell the story of
Amalgamated.



CONTENTS


                                                                 PAGE

        FOREWORD                                                  vii


PART I

CHAPTER

     I. THE TORTUOUS COURSE OF AMALGAMATED                          1

    II. THE "SYSTEM'S" METHOD OF FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT             5

   III. THE MEN IN POWER BEHIND THE "SYSTEM"                       13

    IV. MY OWN RESPONSIBILITY                                      23

     V. THE POWER OF DOLLARS                                       33

    VI. CONSTRUCTION OF "STANDARD OIL'S" "DOLLAR-MAKING" MILL      41

   VII. JUGGLING WITH MILLIONS OF THE PEOPLE'S MONEY               52

  VIII. "STANDARD OIL" INVESTS "MADE DOLLARS" IN GAS               56

    IX. A VOTARY OF THE "SYSTEM"                                   60

     X. ADDICKS COMES TO BOSTON                                    67

    XI. HOW ADDICKS CAPTURED BOSTON GAS                            71

   XII. STOCK-BROKERS NOT ALL BAD                                  79

  XIII. THE "SYSTEM" VERSUS WESTINGHOUSE                           88

   XIV. THE ALLIANCE WITH ADDICKS                                  93

    XV. THE GREAT BAY STATE GAS FIGHT                             103

   XVI. PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ROGERS                            110

  XVII. A MEMORABLE CONFERENCE                                    113

 XVIII. THE DUPLICITY OF ADDICKS                                  125

   XIX. ENTER H. M. WHITNEY                                       133

    XX. AN AWKWARD ATTACK OF APPENDICITIS                         142

   XXI. BRIBING A LEGISLATURE                                     149

  XXII. PLUNDERED OF THE PLUNDER                                  162

 XXIII. TWO GENTLEMEN OF FRENZIED FINANCE                         170

  XXIV. BUYING A BUNCH OF STATES                                  176

   XXV. ATHLETICS OF FINANCE                                      182

  XXVI. THE CIRCLING OF THE VULTURES                              187

 XXVII. COURT CORRUPTION AND COIN                                 191

XXVIII. PEACE AT LAST                                             195


PART II

     I. THE MAGIC WORLD OF FINANCE                                197

    II. THE "SYSTEM" AND THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY COMPARED           202

   III. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCE                               208

    IV. THE MAGIC "JIMMY"                                         213

     V. HOW THE "SYSTEM" DOES BUSINESS                            217

    VI. HOW WALL STREET'S MANIPULATIONS AFFECT THE COUNTRY        223

   VII. ECONOMICS OF COPPER                                       226

  VIII. MY PLAN FOR "COPPERS"                                     233

    IX. BIRTH OF "COPPERS"                                        237

     X. ROGERS GRASPS "COPPERS"                                   245

    XI. THE COPPER CAMPAIGN OPENS                                 253

   XII. THE BUNCOING OF THE STOCKHOLDERS OF UTAH                  261

  XIII. THE TRAP IN FINANCE                                       266

   XIV. LAWYER UNTERMYER DISCOVERS THE "NIGGER"                   274

    XV. DEGREES IN CRIME                                          281

   XVI. MR. ROGERS UNMASKS                                        283

  XVII. "EXTRACT EVERY DOLLAR"                                    289

 XVIII. THE BITERS BIT                                            301

   XIX. THE DESPOILING OF LEONARD LEWISOHN                        307

    XX. THE CHRISTENING OF AMALGAMATED                            311

   XXI. FIXING THE RESPONSIBILITY                                 320

  XXII. THE RESPONSIBILITY FASTENED                               332

 XXIII. THE FIRST CRIME OF AMALGAMATED                            340

  XXIV. THE SUBSCRIPTION OPENS                                    346

   XXV. DOLLAR HYDROPHOBIA                                        351

  XXVI. DEVILTRY AFOOT                                            359

 XXVII. THE BLACK FLAG HOISTED                                    364

XXVIII. THE BOGUS SUBSCRIPTION                                    370

  XXIX. THE AFTERMATH                                             376

   XXX. THE MORNING AFTER                                         385

  XXXI. I WALK THE PLANK                                          389

 XXXII. PERFECTING THE DOUBLE CROSS                               397

XXXIII. A RETROSPECT AND A MORAL                                  405


LAWSON AND HIS CRITICS

     I. THE INSURANCE CONTROVERSY                                 413

    II. THE ENEMIES I HAVE MADE                                   487

   III. EXPLANATIONS                                              539



FRENZIED FINANCE

THE STORY OF AMALGAMATED

_PART I_



CHAPTER I

THE TORTUOUS COURSE OF AMALGAMATED


Amalgamated Copper was begotten in 1898, born in 1899, and in the first
five years of its existence plundered the public to the extent of over
one hundred millions of dollars.

It was a creature of that incubator of trust and corporation frauds, the
State of New Jersey, and was organized ostensibly to mine, manufacture,
buy, sell, and deal in copper, one of the staples, the necessities, of
civilization.

It is a corporation with $155,000,000 capital, 1,550,000 shares of the
par value of $100 each.

Its entire stock was sold to the public at an average of $115 per share
($100 to $130), and in 1903 the price had declined to $33 per share.

From its inception it was known as a "Standard Oil" creature, because
its birthplace was the National City Bank of New York (the "Standard
Oil" bank), and its parents the leading "Standard Oil" lights, Henry H.
Rogers, William Rockefeller, and James Stillman.

It has from its birth to present writing been responsible for more hell
than any other trust or financial thing since the world began. Because
of it the people have sustained incalculable losses and have suffered
untold miseries.

But for the existence of the National City Bank of New York, the
tremendous losses and necessarily corresponding profits could not have
been made.

I laid out the plans upon which Amalgamated was constructed, and, had
they been followed, there would have been reared a great financial
edifice, immensely profitable, permanently prosperous, one of the
world's big institutions.

The conditions of which Amalgamated was the consequence had their birth
in Bay State Gas. To explain them I must go back a few years.

In 1894 J. Edward Addicks, of Delaware, Everywhere, and Nowhere, the
Boston Gas King, invaded the gas preserves of the "Standard Oil" in
Brooklyn, N. Y., and the "Standard Oil," to compel him to withdraw,
moved on his pre-empted gas domains in Boston, Mass.

Late in 1894 a fierce battle was raging in Boston between Gas King
Addicks and Gas King Rogers; the very air was filled with denunciation
and defiance--bribery and municipal corruption; and King Addicks was
defeated all along the line and in full retreat, with his ammunition
down to the last few rounds.

Early in 1895 I took command of the Addicks forces against "Standard
Oil."

By the middle of 1895 the Addicks troopers had the "Standard Oil"
invaders "on the run."

In August, 1895, Henry H. Rogers and myself came together for the first
time, at his house in New York, and we practically settled the Boston
gas war.

Early in 1896 we actually settled the gas war, and "Standard Oil"
transferred all its Boston gas properties ($6,000,000) to the Addicks
crowd.

In October, 1896, the whole Bay State Gas outfit passed from the control
of Addicks and his cohorts into the hands of a receiver, and as a result
of this receivership, with its accumulated complications, "Standard
Oil," in November, 1896, regained all its old Boston companies, and in
addition all the Addicks companies, with the exception of the Bay State
Gas Company of Delaware.

In 1896 I perfected and formulated the plans for "Coppers," a broad and
comprehensive project, having for its basis the buying and consolidating
of all the best-producing copper properties in Europe and America, and
the educating of the world up to their great merits as safe and
profitable investments.

In 1897 I laid these plans before "Standard Oil."

In 1898 "Standard Oil" was so far educated up to my plans on "Coppers"
as to accept them.

In 1899 Amalgamated, intended to be the second or third section of
"Coppers," was suddenly shifted by "Standard Oil" into the first
section, and with a full head of steam ran out of the "City Bank"
station, carrying the largest and best train-load of passengers ever
sent to destruction on any financial trunk-line.

In 1899, after the allotment of the Amalgamated public subscription, the
public for the first time, in a dazed and benumbed way, realized it had
been "taken in" on this subscription, and a shiver went down America's
financial spinal column.

In 1900, after the price of Amalgamated had slumped to 75 instead of
advancing to 150, to 200, as had been promised, the "Standard
Oil"-Amalgamated-City Bank fraternity called Wall Street's king of
manipulators, James R. Keene, to the rescue, and under his adroit
handling of the stock in the market Amalgamated was sent soaring over
its flotation price of 100.

In 1901 Boston & Montana and Butte & Boston, after long delay, drew out
of the "Standard Oil" station as the second section of Amalgamated,
carrying an immense load of investors and speculators to what was at
that time confidently believed would be Dollar Utopia; and the price of
the enlarged Amalgamated fairly flew to 130. These were the stocks which
I had originally advertised would be part of the first section of the
consolidated "Coppers," and which, after Amalgamated had been run in
ahead of them, I advertised would follow in due course.

In the latter part of 1901 President McKinley was assassinated, and the
great panic which might have ensued was averted by the marvellous power
of J. Pierpont Morgan.

Then the Amalgamated dividend, without warning and in open defiance of
the absolute pledges of its creators, was cut, and the public, including
even James R. Keene, found itself on that wild toboggan whirl which
landed it battered and sore, at the foot of a financial precipice.

This, briefly, is the tortuous course of Amalgamated, and it is along
this twisting, winding, up-alley-and-down-lane way I must ask my readers
to travel if they would know the story as it is.



CHAPTER II

THE "SYSTEM'S" METHOD OF FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT


At the lower end of the greatest thoroughfare in the greatest city of
the New World is a huge structure of plain gray-stone. Solid as a
prison, towering as a steeple, its cold and forbidding façade seems to
rebuke the heedless levity of the passing crowd, and frown on the
frivolity of the stray sunbeams which in the late afternoon play around
its impassive cornices. Men point to its stern portals, glance quickly
up at the rows of unwinking windows, nudge each other, and hurry onward,
as the Spaniards used to do when going by the offices of the
Inquisition. The building is No. 26 Broadway.

26 Broadway, New York City, is the home of the Standard Oil. Its
countless miles of railroads may zigzag in and out of every State and
city in America, and its never-ending twistings of snaky pipe-lines
burrow into all parts of the North American continent which are
lubricated by nature; its mines may be in the West, its manufactories in
the East, its colleges in the South, and its churches in the North; its
head-quarters may be in the centre of the universe and its branches on
every shore washed by the ocean; its untold millions may levy tribute
wherever the voice of man is heard, but its home is the tall stone
building in old New York, which under the name "26 Broadway" has become
almost as well known wherever dollars are juggled as is "Standard Oil."

Wall Street and the financial world know that there are two "Standard
Oils," but to the public there is no clear distinction between Standard
Oil, the corporation which deals in oil and things which pertain to the
manufacture and transportation of oil, and "Standard Oil," the giant,
indefinite system which sometimes embraces all the "Standard Oil" group
of individuals and corporations, and sometimes only certain of the
individuals.

This giant creature, "Standard Oil," can best be described so that the
average man may understand it as a group of money-owners--some
individuals and some corporations--who have a right to use the name
"Standard Oil" in any business undertakings they engage in. The right to
use the name is of priceless value, for it carries with it "assured
success."

Standard Oil, the seller of oil to the people, transacts its business as
does any other corporation. It plays no part in my story and I shall not
hereafter touch upon its affairs, but confine my meaning, wherever I use
the name "Standard Oil," to the larger and many times more important
"System."

There are only three men who can lend the name "Standard Oil," even in
the most remote way to any project, for there is no more heinous crime
against the "Standard Oil" decalogue than using the name "Standard Oil"
unauthorizedly. The three men are Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller,
and John D. Rockefeller. Sometimes John D. Rockefeller uses the name
alone in projects in which Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller have
no interests. Henry H. Rogers or William Rockefeller seldom, if ever,
uses the name in projects with which neither of the other two is
associated. Sometimes, but not often, John D. and William Rockefeller
use the name in connection with projects of their own in which Henry H.
Rogers has no interest. Henry H. Rogers and John D. Rockefeller, I
believe, never are associated in projects in which William Rockefeller
has no interest. Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller frequently
bring to bear the influence of the magic-working syllables in connection
with joint affairs in which John D. Rockefeller has no interest--in
fact, during the past ten years the name "Standard Oil" has been used
more in their combined undertakings than in all others put together.

There are eight distinct groups of individuals and corporations which go
to make up the big "Standard Oil":

1st. The Standard Oil, seller of oil to the people, which is made up of
many sub-corporations either by actual ownership or by ownership of
their stock or bonds. Probably no person other than Henry H. Rogers,
William Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller knows exactly what the
assets of the Standard Oil corporation are, although John D.
Rockefeller, Jr., son of John D. Rockefeller, and William G.
Rockefeller, that able and excellent business man, son of William
Rockefeller and the probable future head of "Standard Oil," are being
rapidly educated in this great secret. In this first institution all
"Standard Oil" individuals and estates are direct owners.

2d. Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller,
active heads, and included with them their sons.

3d. A large group of active captains and first lieutenants, men who
conduct the affairs of the different corporations or sections of
corporations in which some or all of the "Standard Oil" are interested.
Many of these are the sons or the second generation of men who held like
positions in Standard Oil's earlier days. Of these Daniel O'Day and
Charles Pratt are fair examples.

4th. A large group of captains retired from active service in the
Standard Oil army, who participate only in a general way in the
management of its affairs, and whose principal business is looking after
their own investments. These men are each worth from $5,000,000 or
$10,000,000 to $50,000,000 or $75,000,000. The Paynes and the Flaglers
are fair illustrations of this group.

5th. The estates of deceased members of this wonderful "Standard Oil"
family, which are still largely controlled by some or all of the
prominent "Standard Oil" men.

6th. "Standard Oil" banks and banking institutions, and the system of
national banks, trust companies, and insurance companies, of which
"Standard Oil" has, by ownership and otherwise, practically absolute
control. The head of this group is James Stillman, and it is when these
institutions are called into play in connection with "Standard Oil"
business that he is one of the "Standard Oil" leaders, second to neither
of the Rockefellers nor to Mr. Rogers.

7th. The "Standard Oil" army of followers, capitalists, and workers in
all parts of the world, men who require nothing more than the order, "Go
ahead," "Pull off," "Buy," "Sell," or "Stand Pat," to render as absolute
obedience and enthusiastic cooperation as though they knew, to the
smallest detail, the purposes which lay behind the giving of the order.

8th. The countless hordes of politicians, statesmen, law-makers and
enforcers, who, at home or as representatives of the nation abroad, go
to make up our political structure, and judges and lawyers.

To the world at large, which looks on and sees this giant institution
move through the ranks of business without noise or dissension and with
the ease and smoothness of a creature one-millionth its size, it would
seem that there must be some wonderful and complicated code of rules to
guide and control the thousands of lieutenants and privates who conduct
its affairs. This is partially true, partially false. "Standard Oil's"
governing rules are as rigid as the laws of the Medes and Persians, yet
so simple as to be easily understood by any one.

First, there is a fundamental law, from which no one--neither the great
nor the small--is exempt. In substance it is: "Every 'Standard Oil' man
must wear the 'Standard Oil' collar."

This collar is riveted on to each one as he is taken into "the band,"
and can only be removed with the head of the wearer.

Here is the code. The penalty for infringing the following rules is
instant "removal."

     1. Keep your mouth closed, as silence is gold, and gold is
     what we exist for.

     2. Collect our debts to-day. Pay the other fellow's debts
     to-morrow. To-day is always here, to-morrow may never come.

     3. Conduct all our business so that the buyer and the seller
     must come to us. Keep the seller waiting; the longer he
     waits the less he'll take. Hurry the buyer, as his money
     brings us interest.

     4. Make all profitable bargains in the name of "Standard
     Oil," chancy ones in the names of dummies. "Standard Oil"
     never goes back on a bargain.

     5. Never put "Standard Oil" trades in writing, as your
     memory and the other fellow's forgetfulness will always be
     re-enforced with our organization. Never forget our Legal
     Department is paid by the year, and our land is full of
     courts and judges.

     6. As competition is the life of trade--our trade, and
     monopoly the death of trade--our competitor's trade, employ
     both judiciously.

     7. Never enter into a "butting" contest with the Government.
     Our Government is by the people and for the people, and we
     are the people, and those people who are not us can be hired
     by us.

     8. Always do "right." Right makes might, might makes
     dollars, dollars make right, and we have the dollars.

All business of the gigantic "Standard Oil" system is dealt with through
two great departments. Mr. Rogers is head of the executive, and William
Rockefeller the head of the financial department. All new schemes,
whether suggested by outsiders or initiated within the institution, go
to Mr. Rogers. Regardless of their nature or character, he first takes
them under advisement. If a scheme prove good enough to run the gantlet
of Mr. Rogers' tremendously high standard, the promoter, after he has
set forth his plans and estimates, hears with astonishment these words:

"Wait while I go upstairs. I'll say Yes or No upon my return."

And upon his return it is almost always "Yes." If the project, however,
does not come up to his exacting requirements, it is turned down without
further ado or consultation with any of his associates.

Those intimate with affairs at 26 Broadway have grown curiously familiar
with this expression, "I am going upstairs." "Upstairs" means two
distinct and separate things. When a matter in Mr. Rogers' department is
awaiting his return from "upstairs," it means he has gone to place the
scheme before William Rockefeller, on the thirteenth floor, and laying a
thing before William Rockefeller by Mr. Rogers consists of a brief,
vigorous statement of Mr. Rogers' own conclusions and a request for his
associate's judgment of it. William Rockefeller's strong quality is his
ability to estimate quickly the practical value of a given scheme. His
approval means he will finance it, and William Rockefeller's "say-so" is
as absolute in the financing of things as is Mr. Rogers' in passing
upon their feasibility. It does not matter whether it is an undertaking
calling for the employment of $50,000 capital or $50,000,000 or
$500,000,000, Mr. Rockefeller's "Yes" or "No" is all there is to it. He
having passed on it, Mr. Rogers supervises its execution.

The other "upstairs" is one that is heard every week-day of the year
except summer Saturdays. At 26 Broadway, just before eleven o'clock each
morning, there is a flutter in the offices of all the leading heads of
departments from Henry H. Rogers down, for going "upstairs" to the
eleven o'clock meeting is in the mind of each "Standard Oil" man the one
all-important event of every working day.

In the big room, on the fifteenth floor, at 26 Broadway, there gather
each day, between the hour of eleven and twelve o'clock, all the active
men whose efforts make "Standard Oil" what "Standard Oil" is; here also
come to meet and mingle with the active heads the retired captains when
"they are in town." Around a large table they sit. Reports are
presented, views exchanged, policies talked over, republics and empires
made and unmade. If the Recorders in the next world have kept complete
minutes of what has happened "upstairs" at 26 Broadway they must have
tremendously large fire-proof safes. It is at the meeting "upstairs"
that the "melons are cut," and if one of the retired captains were asked
why he was in such a rush to be on hand each day when in town, and if he
were in a talkative mood--which he would not be--he would answer: "They
may be cutting a new melon, and there's nothing like being on hand when
the juice runs out."

If a new melon has been cut--an Amalgamated Copper, for instance--it is
at one of these meetings that the different "Standard Oil" men are
informed for the first time that the scheme, about which they may have
read or heard much outside, is far enough along for them to participate
in it. Each is told what sized slice he may have if he cares for any. It
is a very exceptional thing for any one to ask for more than he has been
apportioned, and an unheard-of thing for any one to refuse to take his
slice, although there is absolutely no compulsion in the connection.

And here, perhaps, may not come amiss an incident which illustrates what
may happen in a few minutes "upstairs."

Before Amalgamated was launched, in bringing together the different
properties of which it was composed I negotiated for the acquisition of
the Parrott mine, the majority of whose stock was held by certain old and
wealthy brass manufacturers in Connecticut. They had never seen any of
the Rockefellers nor Henry H. Rogers, but we were several months getting
the deal into shape before it was finally arranged, and they became
familiar with the great "Standard Oil" institution. So much so that the
chief of the owners--to whom was delegated the duty of turning over the
securities to my principals--looked forward with much eagerness to the
time when he must necessarily meet the mysterious and important
personages who guided 26 Broadway's destinies. Finally the day came, and
at precisely a quarter of eleven I let him into one of the numerous
private offices which are a part of Mr. Rogers' suite. He had under his
arm a bundle of papers representing the stocks which he was to exchange
for the purchase money, amounting to $4,086,000, and I think he fully
expected that in their examination, in the receipting for so large an
amount of money, and in the general talkings over, which he thought must
of course be a necessary part of the delivery, the greater part of the
day would be taken up. It took me some six or seven minutes to get him
located, and it was close on to five minutes of eleven when Mr. Rogers
stepped into the room. I was well into the introduction, when out came
Mr. Rogers' watch, and with what must have appeared to the visitor as
astonished consternation.

"I do hope you will excuse me," he exclaimed in the middle of a
handshake, "but, my gracious, I am overdue upstairs," and he bolted.

His place was taken fifty seconds after by Mr. Rogers' secretary, who in
less than five minutes had exchanged a check of $4,086,000, made out to
herself and indorsed in blank, for the bundle of stocks, and in another
minute I was ushering the old gentleman into the elevator.

When he came to on the sidewalk he got his breath sufficiently to say:
"Phew! I thought my trade was a big one, but that friend of yours,
Rogers, must have had some other fellow upstairs who was going to turn
in $40,000,000 of stuff, because he did appear dreadfully excited!"

The success of "Standard Oil" is largely due to two things--to the
loyalty of its members to each other and to "Standard Oil," and to the
punishment of its enemies. Each member before initiation knows its
religion to be reward for friends and extermination for foes. Once
within the magic circle, a man realizes he is getting all that any one
else on earth can afford to pay him for like services, and still more
thrown in for full measure. Moreover, while a "Standard Oil" man's
reward is always ample and satisfactory, he is constantly reminded in a
thousand and one ways that punishment for disloyalty is sure and
terrible, and that in no corner of the earth can he escape it, nor can
any power on earth protect him from it.

"Standard Oil" is never loud in its rewards nor its punishments. It does
not care for the public's praise nor for its condemnation, but endeavors
to avoid both by keeping its "business" to itself. As an instance, in
connection with certain gas settlements I made with "Standard Oil," it
voluntarily paid one of its agents for a few days' work $250,000. He had
expected at the outside $25,000. When I published the fact, as I had a
right to, "Standard Oil" was mad as hornets--as upset, indeed, as though
it had been detected in cheating the man out of two-thirds of his just
due, instead of having paid him ten times what was coming to him.



CHAPTER III

THE MEN IN POWER BEHIND THE "SYSTEM"


In the great Thing known to the world as "Standard Oil," the most
perfect embodiment of a "system" which I will endeavor to get before my
readers in later chapters, there are three heads, Henry H. Rogers,
William Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller. All the other members are
distinctively lieutenants, or subordinate workers, unless possibly I
except James Stillman, who, from his peculiar connection with "Standard
Oil" and his individually independent position, should perhaps be placed
in the category of heads.

Some one has said: "If you would know who is the head of a family, slip
into the home." The world, the big, arbitrary, hit-or-miss,
too-much-in-a-hurry-to-correct-its-mistakes world, has decided that the
master of "Standard Oil" is John D. Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller
it is to all but those who have a pass-key to the "Standard Oil" home.
To those the head of "Standard Oil"--the "Standard Oil" the world knows
as it knows St. Paul, Shakespeare, or Jack the Giant-killer, or any of
the things it knows well but not at all--is Henry H. Rogers. John D.
Rockefeller may have more money, more actual dollars, than Henry H.
Rogers, or all other members of the "Standard Oil" family, and in the
early days of "Standard Oil" may have been looked up to as the big gun
by his partners, and allowed to take the hugest hunks of the profits,
and may have so handled and judiciously invested these as to be at the
beginning of the twentieth century the richest man on earth, but none of
these things alters the fact that the big brain, the big body, the head
of "Standard Oil," is Henry H. Rogers.

Take station at the entrance of 26 Broadway and watch the different
members of the "Standard Oil" family as they enter the building: you
will exclaim once and only once: "There goes the Master!" And the man
who calls forth the cry will be Henry H. Rogers.

The big, jovial detective who stands all day long with one foot resting
on the sidewalk and one on the first stone step of the home of "Standard
Oil" will make oath he shows no different sign to Henry H. Rogers than
to a Rockefeller, a Payne, a Flagler, a Pratt, or an O'Day; yet watch
him when Mr. Rogers passes up the steps--an unconscious deference marks
his salutation--the tribute of the soldier to the commanding general.

Follow through the door bearing the sign, "Henry H. Rogers, President of
the National Transit Co.," on the eleventh floor, and pass from the
outer office into the beautiful, spacious mahogany apartment beyond,
with its decorations of bronze bulls and bears and yacht-models, its
walls covered with neatly framed autograph letters from Lincoln, Grant,
"Tom" Reed, Mark Twain, and other real, big men, and it will come over
you like a flash that here, unmistakably, is the _sanctum sanctorum_ of
the mightiest business institution of modern times. If a single doubt
lingers, read what the men in the frames have said to Henry H. Rogers,
and you will have proof positive that these judges of human nature knew
this man, not only as the master of "Standard Oil," but also as a sturdy
and resolute friend whose jovial humanity they had recognized and
enjoyed.

Did my readers ever hear of the National Transit Company? Very few
have--yet the presidency of it is the modest title of Henry H. Rogers.
When the world is ladling out honors to the "Standard Oil" kings, and
spouting of their wondrous riches, how often is Henry H. Rogers
mentioned? Not often, for he is never where the public can get a glimpse
of him--he is too busy pulling the wires and playing the buttons in the
shadows just behind the throne. Had it not been that that divinity which
disposes of men's purposes compelled this man, as he neared the end of
his remarkable career, to come into the open on Amalgamated, he might
never have been known as the real master of "Standard Oil." But if he is
missing when the public is hurrahing, he is sufficiently in evidence
when clouds lower or when the danger-signal is run to the masthead at
26 Broadway. He who reads "Standard Oil" history will note that, from
its first deal until this day, whenever bricks, cabbages, or aged eggs
were being presented to "Standard Oil," always were Henry H. Rogers'
towering form and defiant eye to be seen in the foreground where the
missiles flew thickest.

During the past twenty years, whenever the great political parties have
lined-up for their regular once-in-four-years' tussle, there would be
found Henry H. Rogers, calm as a race-track gambler, "sizing-up" the
entries, their weights and handicaps. Every twist and turn in the
pedigrees and records of Republicans and Democrats are as familiar to
him as the "dope-sheets" are to the gambler, for is he not at the
receiving end of the greatest information bureau in the world?

A Standard Oil agent is in every hamlet in the country, and who better
than these trained and intelligent observers to interpret the varying
trends of feelings in their communities? Tabulated and analyzed, these
reports enable Rogers, the sagacious politician, to diagnose the drift
of the country far ahead of the most astute of campaign managers. He is
never in doubt about who will win the election. Before the contest is
under way he has picked his winner and is beside him with generous
offers of war expenses.

When labor would howl its anathemas at Standard Oil, and the
Rockefellers and other stout-hearted generals and captains of this band
of merry money-makers would fall to discussing conciliation and retreat,
it was always Henry H. Rogers who fired at his associates his now famous
panacea for all Standard Oil opposition: "We'll see Standard Oil in hell
before we will allow any body of men on earth to dictate how we shall
conduct our business!" And the fact that "Standard Oil" still does its
business in the Elysian fields of success, where is neither sulphur nor
the fumes of sulphur, is additional evidence of whose will it is that
sways its destinies.

An impression of the despotic character of the man and of his manner of
despatching the infinite details of the multitudinous business he must
deal with daily may be gained by a glimpse of Henry H. Rogers at one of
the meetings of the long list of giant corporations which number him
among their directors. Surrounded though he be by the élite of all
financialdom, the very flower of the business brains of America, you
will surely hear his sharp, incisive, steel-clicking: "Gentlemen, are we
ready for the vote, for I regret to say, I have another important and
unavoidable meeting at ----?" You look at your watch. The time he
mentions is twelve, or, at the most, fifteen minutes away. There is no
chance for further discussion. Cut-and-dried resolutions are promptly
put to the vote, and off goes the master to his other engagement which
will be disposed of in the same peremptory fashion.

At a meeting of the directors of "financed" Steel, during the brief
reign of its late "vacuumized" president, Charlie Schwab, an episode
occurred which exhibited the danger of interfering with Mr. Rogers'
iron-bound plans. The fact that the steel throne was many sizes too
large for Schwab had, about this time, become publicly notorious, but
Carnegie and Morgan on the surface, and "Standard Oil" beneath, were so
busy preparing their alibis against the crash which even then was
overdue that they had neither time nor desire to adjust themselves on
the seat.

In advance Mr. Rogers made his invariable plea for quick action on a
matter before the board when Schwab, with a tact generated by the
wabbling of a misfit Wall Street crown chafing a generous pair of ears,
blurted out: "Mr. Rogers will vote on this question after we have talked
on it."

In a voice that those who heard it say sounded like a rattlesnake's hiss
in a refrigerator, Rogers replied: "All meetings where I sit as director
vote first and talk after I am gone."

It is said, and from my knowledge of these and after-events I believe
with truth, that this occurrence was the spark that started the terrific
explosion in United States Steel, for not long afterward some unknown
and mysterious power began that formidable attack on Steel stock which
left Wall Street full of the unattached ears, eyes, noses, breastbones,
and scalps of hordes of financial potentates and their flambeau
carriers. Whether or not Mr. Rogers was the instigator of this movement
no man, of course, can positively state, but I can vouch for the fact
that about this time he displayed, when talking "Steel" affairs with
intimates, a most contemptuous bitterness against "King Charlie" and
certain of his associates.

At sixty-five Henry H. Rogers is probably one of the most
distinguished-looking men of the time; tall and straight, and as
well-proportioned and supple as one of the beautiful American elms which
line the streets of his native town. He was born in Fairhaven, a fishing
village just over the bridge from the great whaling port, New Bedford.
He comes of stalwart New England stock; his father was a sea-captain,
and his lot, like that of most of the sons of old New England seaport
towns, was cast along those hard, brain-and-body-developing lines which,
beginning in the red village school-house, the white meeting-house, and
the yellowish-grayish country store, end in unexpected places, often, as
in this instance, upon the golden throne of business royalty.

Mr. Rogers' part in the very early days of Standard Oil was that of
clerk and bookkeeper. He makes no secret that when he had risen to the
height of $8 a week wages he felt as proud and confident as ever in
after-life when for the same number of days' labor it was no uncommon
occurrence to find himself credited with a hundred thousand times that
amount.

All able men have some of God's indelible imprints of greatness. This
man's every feature bespeaks strength and distinction. When he walks,
the active swing of his figure expresses power--realized, confident
power. When at rest or in action his square jaw tells of fighting power,
bull-dog, hold-on, never-let-go fighting power, and his high, full
forehead of intellectual, mightily intellectual power; and they are
re-enforced with cheek-bones and nose which suggest that this fighting
power has in it something of the grim ruthlessness of the North American
Indian. The eyes, however, are the crowning characteristic of the man's
physical make-up.

One must see Mr. Rogers' eyes in action and in repose to half appreciate
their wonders. I can only say they are red, blue, and black, brown,
gray, and green; nor do I want my readers to think I put in colors that
are not there, for there must be many others than those I have
mentioned. I have seen them when they were so restfully blue that I
would think they never could be anything but a part of those skies that
come with the August and September afternoons when the bees' hum and the
locusts' drone blend with the smell of the new-mown hay to help spell
the word "Rest."

I have seen them so green that within their depths I was almost sure the
fish were lazily resting in the shadows of those sea-plants which grow
only on the ocean's bottom; and I have seen them as black as that
thunder-cloud which makes us wonder: "Is He angry?" And then again I
have watched them when they were of that fiery red and that glinting
yellow which one sees only when at night the doors of a great, roaring
furnace are opened.

There is such a kindly good-will in these eyes when they are at rest
that the man does not live who would not consider himself favored to be
allowed to turn over to Henry H. Rogers his pocket-book without
receiving a receipt. They are the eyes of the man you would name in your
will to care for your wife's and children's welfare. When their
animation is friendly one would rather watch their merry twinkle as they
keep time to their owner's inimitable stories and non-duplicatable
anecdotes, trying to interpret the rapid and incessant telegraphy of
their glances, than sit in a theatre or read an interesting book; but it
is when they are active in war that the one privileged to observe them
gets his real treat, always provided he can dodge the rain of blazing
sparks and the withering hail of wrath that pours out on the offender.
To watch them then requires real nerve, for it is only a nimble,
stout-hearted, mail-covered individual that can sustain the encounter.

I have seen many forms of human wrath, many men transformed to terrible
things by anger, but I have never seen any that were other than
jumping-jack imitations of a jungle tiger compared with Henry H. Rogers
when he "lets 'er go"--when the instant comes that he realizes some one
is balking the accomplishment of his will.

Above all things Henry H. Rogers is a great actor. Had his lot been
cast upon the stage, he might easily have eclipsed the fame of Booth or
Salvini. He knows the human animal from the soles of his feet to the
part in his hair and from his shoulder-blade to his breastbone, and like
all great actors is not above getting down to every part he plays. He is
likely also so to lose himself in a rôle that he gives it his own force
and identity, and then things happen quite at variance with the lines.
The original Booth would come upon the stage the cool, calculating,
polished actor, but when well into his part was so lost in it that it
was often with difficulty he could be brought back to himself when the
curtain fell. Once while playing Richard III. at the old Boston Museum,
Richmond, by whom he was to be slain, made, at the ordained moment, the
thrust which should have laid him low, but instead, Booth in high frenzy
parried it, and with the fiendishness of the original Richard, step by
step drove Richmond off the stage and through the wings, and it was not
until the police seized the great tragedian, two blocks away, that the
terrified duke, who had dropped his sword and was running for dear life,
was sure he would ever act again.

When in the midst of his important plays, it is doubtful whether Henry
H. Rogers realizes until the guardians of the peace appear where the
acting begins and the reality should end. His intimate associates can
recall many times when his determination to make a hit in his part has
caused other actors cast with him to throw aside their dummy swords and
run for their lives.

The entire history of "Standard Oil" is strewn with court-scenes, civil
and criminal, and in all the important ones Henry H. Rogers, the actor,
will be found doing marvellous "stunts." Standard Oil historians are
fond of dwelling on the extraordinary testifying abilities of John D.
Rockefeller and other members of the band, but the acrobatic feats of
ground and lofty tumbling in the way of truth which they have given when
before the blinking footlights of the temples of justice are as
Punch-and-Judy shows to a Barnum three-ring circus compared to Henry H.
Rogers' exhibitions.

His "I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
so help me God," sounds absolutely sincere and honest, but as it rings
out in the tone of the third solemnest bell in the chime, this is how it
is taken down in the unerring short-hand notes of the recording angel
and sent by special wireless to the typewriter for His Majesty of the
Sulphur Trust: "What I tell _shall_ be the truth and the whole truth,
and there _shall be_ no truth but that I tell, and God help the man or
woman who tells truth different from my truth." The recording angel
never missed catching Henry H. Rogers' court-oaths in this way, and
never missed sending them along to the typewriter at Sulphurville, with
this postscript: "Keep your wire open, for there'll be things doing
now!"

At the recent but now famous sensational Boston "Gas Trial," Henry H.
Rogers in the rôle of defendant was the principal witness. I was in
court five hours and a half each sitting as day after day he testified.
I watched, as the brightest lawyers in the land laid their traps for him
in direct and cross-examination, to detect a single sign of fiction
replacing truth, or going joint-account with her, or where truth parted
company with fiction; and I was compelled, when he stepped from the
witness-stand, to admit I had not found what I had watched for. This,
too, when I was equipped with actual knowledge and black-and-white
proofs of the facts. Weeks before the trial began Attorney Sherman L.
Whipple, one of the great cross-examiners of the time, had made his
boast that he would break through the "Standard Oil" magnate's
heretofore impenetrable bulwarks, and when H. H. Rogers entered the
court-room for the first time and let his eagle eye sweep the lawyers,
the laymen, and the judge until it finally rested on Whipple, the glance
was as absolute a challenge and a defiance as ever knights of old
exchanged.

I followed Mr. Rogers on the witness-stand and was compelled to give
testimony directly opposite to that which he had given, and at one time,
as I glanced at the row of lawyers who were in "Standard Oil's" hire, I
felt a cold perspiration start at every pore at the thought of what
would happen if I even in a slight detail got mixed in my facts. Then I
fully realized the magnificence of Mr. Rogers' acting, for not once in
all the hours I had sat and watched him had I detected a single evidence
of cold, hot, or lukewarm perspiration coming from his pores.

Yet away from the intoxicating spell of dollar-making this remarkable
man is one of the most charming and lovable beings I have ever
encountered, a man whom any man or woman would be proud to have for a
brother; a man whom any mother or father would give thanks for as a son;
a man whom any woman would be happy to know as her husband, and a man
whom any boy or girl would rejoice to call father. Once he passes under
the baleful influence of "The Machine," however, he becomes a
relentless, ravenous creature, pitiless as a shark, knowing no law of
God or man in the execution of his purpose. Between him and coveted
dollars may come no kindly, humane influences--all are thrust aside,
their claims disregarded, in ministering to this strange, cannibalistic
money-hunger, which, in truth, grows by what it feeds on.

In describing one head of "Standard Oil," I have necessarily used many
words because nature cast him in a most uncommon and chameleon-like
mould. The other two require less of my space, for neither is unusual
nor remarkable.

John D. Rockefeller, however great his ability or worldly success, can
be fully described as a man made in the image of an ideal money-maker
and an ideal money-maker made in the image of a man. A foot-note should
call attention to the fact that an ideal money-maker is a machine the
details of which are diagrammed in the asbestos blue-prints which paper
the walls of Hell.

With William Rockefeller it is different. When I read in my Bible that
God made man in His own image and likeness, I find myself picturing a
certain type of individual--a solid, substantial, sturdy gentleman with
the broad shoulders and strong frame of an Englishman, and a cautious,
kindly expression of face. And that is the most fitting description I
can give of William Rockefeller. A man of few, very few words and most
excellent judgment--rather brotherly than friendly, clean of mind and
body; and if I have not given you the impression of a good, wholesome
man made in the image of his God, I have done William Rockefeller a
greater wrong than an honest man can afford to do another.



CHAPTER IV

MY OWN RESPONSIBILITY


As to my personal responsibility for the crime of Amalgamated, right
here, before proceeding further, I shall briefly explain the
transaction, state my share in the deal, and point out how completely I
was hoodwinked by the "System."

The great Anaconda mine and affiliated properties, previous to the
creation of the Amalgamated, were owned by J. B. Haggin, Lloyd Tevis,
and Marcus Daly. The control of the properties and their operations were
absolutely vested in Marcus Daly, and he alone knew where the lean veins
ended and the fat ones began. For many years he had kept a close guard
over the very fat ones, never letting his right eye know what the left
one saw when he was examining them. For deep down in his mind Marcus
Daly cherished a dream--a dream of immense riches, and it was to be
realized in a simple enough way. He would get together the millions to
buy out his partners on the basis of a valuation of the "ore in sight,"
then in supreme ownership himself reap untold profits out of the milling
of the plethoric veins he had been so careful to leave unworked. The
immense natural endowments of the Anaconda rendered this easy enough,
for even the lean veins "in sight" contained a vast store of copper and
gold and silver.

Just about the time the world awaited the first section of "Coppers"
which I had advertised should consist of the rich Boston & Montana, and
Butte & Boston properties, it "happened" that Mr. Rogers "met" Marcus
Daly. The result of the conjunction of the two personalities--the
whole-souled, trusting miner and the fascinating and persuasive master
of Standard Oil--was decisive; the miner confided his dreams and his
aspirations to the magnate, who at once magnificently undertook to
realize them. The trade was almost instantly made. Mr. Rogers would buy
the properties of Daly, Haggin, and Tevis, at "in-sight" prices, and
Daly would be his partner, but the partnership must remain secret until
the purchase was consummated.

The ownership of the Anaconda Company at the time consisted of 1,200,000
shares, and the purchase of a few shares over the majority at the
"in-sight" lean-vein valuation of $24,000,000 would carry the turnover
of the management and the control. It took but a very brief time to get
together the other properties which were finally included in the first
section of Amalgamated. They consisted of the Colorado, Washoe, and
Parrott Mining companies and timber, coal, and other lands, and
mercantile and like properties situated in the State of Montana, for
which Mr. Rogers paid in round figures $15,000,000, _a total of
$39,000,000 for what within a few days after purchase was capitalized at
$75,000,000 in the Amalgamated Company_.

No one but Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller, myself, and one lawyer
knew the actual figures of the cost, although a number of the members of
the different groups, including Marcus Daly, the silent partner, were
sure they were in the secret.

As soon as the properties were secured, they were capitalized for
$75,000,000 as the Amalgamated Copper Company and were immediately
offered for sale to the public. It will thus be seen that the profit on
this section alone was $36,000,000, probably the largest actual profit
ever made by one body of men in a single corporation deal, yet so nicely
does "Standard Oil" discriminate in dispensing its generosity that in
this case those who received the $36,000,000 profit refused to deduct
from it $77,000 of expenses connected with the formation of the company,
thereby compelling it to start $77,000 in debt. This was something
Marcus Daly never forgave and to the day of his death he repeatedly
referred to the act as the personification of corporation meanness.

In the organization of the Amalgamated Corporation certain individuals
and institutions, for various considerations, were entitled to some
share in the profits of the deal. First there was Marcus Daly who knew
what the major portion of the property had cost and was a silent partner
in the winnings as he knew them. The Amalgamated Company was organized
in and floated on the public from the National City Bank, and so James
Stillman, its president and head, who is also one of the inner circle of
"Standard Oil" chiefs, should participate. Something was due also to J.
Pierpont Morgan & Co., and to Frederick Olcott, president of the Central
Trust Company of New York, who were on the board of directors. On the
board of directors, too, was Governor Flower, of the banking and
brokerage house of Flower & Co., who had acted as fiscal agents for the
corporation at its formation. Nor must I forget the Lewisohn Brothers,
who had been compelled to turn in all their copper business at a
fraction of its worth--or at just the aggregate of its cost and raw
material--to be incorporated in the United Metals Selling Company, a
part of the Amalgamated scheme, but not included in the corporation.
Every one of these men had elaborate assurances that he was in on the
cellar floor.

This is what actually occurred. Before Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller let any one at all in, they built a superbly designed
water-, air-, and light-proof structure (particularly light-proof),
consisting of five floors, each one being the exact duplicate of the
$39,000,000 one upon which they, and they only, stood. Marcus Daly alone
was ushered in on the first floor, elevated just a few million dollars
above their own. James Stillman and Leonard Lewisohn, of Lewisohn
Brothers, were admitted to the next one, the $50,000,000 floor. In other
words, Mr. Stillman and Mr. Lewisohn were given an unnamed percentage,
the percentage to be arranged later by Mr. Rogers, in all profits above
actual cost, and such actual cost was called $50,000,000 and was arrived
at by adding the $11,000,000 of secret profits to the actual $39,000,000
cost. Then J. P. Morgan & Co., Frederick Olcott, Governor Flower, and
one or two of the dearest friends and closest associates, were let in on
the $60,000,000 floor--were given an unnamed percentage, the percentage
to be arranged by Mr. Rogers, in all profits above actual cost, and such
actual cost was called $60,000,000, and was arrived at by adding
$21,000,000 of secret profits to the actual $39,000,000 cost. Then
selected ones from the eight different groups of "Standard Oil" were
allowed to move in to the fifth, or underwriters' floor, which was
affirmed to be $70,000,000 cost; and then, as a solid phalanx, all the
different floor-dwellers marched upon the dear public to the tune of
$75,000,000, in the front ranks of which were those of the eight groups
of the Standard Oil army who had not already been admitted to any of the
secret floors.

Right here the crime of Amalgamated was born, not so much the legal
crime but the great moral crime. In the ethics of Wall Street the
heinousness of the transaction lies not in the fact that the public was
compelled to pay $36,000,000 profit to a few men who had invested but
$39,000,000--and, as I shall show when I approach this part of my story,
the $39,000,000 did not even belong to them--but in the fact that Mr.
Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller had given to their associates what, in the
vernacular of "the Street," is termed "the double cross."

The every-day people, the millions who do not know Wall Street, realm of
the royal American dollar; Wall Street, its sidewalks inlaid with gold
coin and paved from curb to curb with solid gold bricks; Wall Street,
lined with huge money-mills where hearts and souls are ground into
gold-dust, whose gutters run full to overflowing with strangled,
mangled, sand-bagged wrecks of human hopes, to be poured, in a
never-ending stream, into the brimming waters of the river at its foot,
for deposit at the poor-houses, insane asylums, States' prisons, and
suicides' graves, washed daily by that grim flood's ebb and flow--the
every-day people, I am sure, will not take in the blackness of this
transaction at this stage of my story, but before it is ended I will lay
this and many more of an equally hellish nature before them in such A B
C simplicity that all can read the portent as clearly as the Prophet
Daniel read the writing on the wall in the banquet-hall of Belshazzar.

When I consented to allow property which had cost only $39,000,000 to be
sold to the public for $75,000,000, it was under a pressure which it was
practically impossible for me to withstand. I do not think I use too
strong a word when I say "pressure." For three years I had been
advertising to the world the great merits of "Coppers," and for over a
year I had announced that when the public was given an opportunity to
participate in the consolidated "Coppers" it would be upon a basis most
carefully worked out: that the properties included in the first section
would surely be worth more than the price at which they would be offered
to the public, and that all the power, capital, and ability of "Standard
Oil" were behind the promises I made. I did this advertising openly and
in the frankest possible way, and in all of my announcements, whether
printed, oral, or otherwise, used the names of Henry H. Rogers, William
Rockefeller, James Stillman, the National City Bank of New York, and
"Standard Oil" as freely as I did my own, and in many ways led the
public to believe that the very rich Boston & Montana and Butte & Boston
companies were to be included in this section of "Coppers."

At that time my alliance with "Standard Oil" was close. A business
connection had developed into a strong personal relation between Mr.
Rogers and myself. We were engaged, together with William Rockefeller,
on a great financial deal which was based on certain conclusions I had
worked out in regard to the copper industry. These men were to me the
embodiment of success, success won in the fiercest commercial conflict
of the age. Their position at the helm of the greatest financial
institution in the world gave weight and importance to their judgment
and opinions. Nor had aught occurred between us to suggest they would
dare perpetrate the crimes they did. Besides all this, indeed an
integral part of it, my personal resources were completely involved in
the transaction, for the most part pledged with Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller in stocks of the Butte & Boston and Boston & Montana
corporations.

This was, then, the nature of our connection when Mr. Rogers, suddenly
and without previous intimation of his schemes, notified me of his
purchase of the Daly-Haggin-Tevis properties, and practically ordered me
to put them upon the tray which I was preparing and take them to the
eagerly waiting public, who by this time were fairly howling for the
good things we had been promising them.

In support of this extraordinary change of plan Mr. Rogers urged the
secret wealth of the Anaconda and the great value of the other
properties which I myself had helped purchase, but I bitterly opposed
the new proposition until there was nothing before me but these
alternatives--to accept the change Mr. Rogers insisted on or break with
"Standard Oil." The latter would mean that I must announce to the public
that it was in danger of being tricked, and it was by no means certain
that my warning would carry weight against the denials and assurances of
"Standard Oil." However much influence I had obtained through my long
years of dealings with the public, independent of "Standard Oil," I
realized that "Standard Oil's" influence and prestige were much greater,
for it must be remembered that at this time the public had not had the
evidence since acquired of the "System's" cold-blooded trickery. If I
took this course it would mean not only my own ruin financially, for Mr.
Rogers and William Rockefeller could call my loans and wipe me out
completely, but also the ruin of my friends and allies, who, under my
direction, had invested their own millions in the properties concerned.
On the other hand, I had the most earnest assurances from Mr. Rogers and
William Rockefeller that the new properties were worth much more than
the $75,000,000 at which it was proposed to capitalize them. They took
me to task for my distrust of them, and went far to demonstrate to me
the accuracy of their estimates. They not only gave me Marcus Daly's
minute estimates of the values and legitimate possibilities of Anaconda,
but consented to have these verified by outside experts in whom I had
implicit confidence, and whose personal examination more than bore out
Daly's appraisal. I have never yet had reason to doubt the correctness
of the figures then shown me, although since I began this story
"Standard Oil," in an endeavor to get me to abandon my efforts to
secure justice for the thousands I assisted in duping, have stated for
the first time that Marcus Daly deceived them and really, to use the
words of their chief counsel, sold them a "gold brick."

After this examination I felt convinced that the properties "Standard
Oil" insisted on substituting for those originally intended for the
first section of Amalgamated were such that the public, if honestly
dealt with, could not possibly meet with loss in purchasing. But even
then I only consented to go ahead with the flotation under a definite
agreement which seemed to me completely to guard against all
contingencies of jugglery or deception. This agreement stipulated that
all the profits from the transaction should be taken by those to whom
they were due in the stock of the Amalgamated Company, and no part of
them in cash--that the public should be sold, at the flotation, only
$5,000,000 of the $75,000,000, and that "Standard Oil" and all
associated with "Standard Oil" in the profits should retain the
remaining $70,000,000 until such time as it had been absolutely
demonstrated to the public that the property behind the $75,000,000 of
stock was worth more than the amount it had been capitalized for.
Furthermore, I was also promised that the $5,000,000 cash to be taken
from the public should be kept intact, and in my handling of the market
it should always be available for the repurchase from the investors of
what had been sold to them, at the price which they had paid for it.

This was the basis on which I went on with Amalgamated. I would not have
my readers understand me as asserting it would have been possible for me
to have stopped the flotation had I attempted it. But, on the other
hand, I would not have them think that I desire to be absolved from the
disastrous results of the great mistake I made at this time in not at
any cost doing that which after-happenings have shown would have been
the most honest course for me to have pursued. Nor would I have them
think I desire to be absolved from the consequences of many other
mistakes which this one led me into--mistakes in temporizing with the
situation and postponing action which I should have boldly and
fearlessly forced, regardless of all consequences to the public, my
friends, and myself.

The subsequent proceedings, the manner in which Amalgamated was actually
sold to the public, the flagrant disregard of the conditions of my
agreement with Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller, will, when fully told
in their proper place in my story, show that the "System," by whose
methods the public is as ruthlessly plundered as though the fruits of
its labors were taken away from it by highwaymen, admits also of its own
votaries being tricked and despoiled by their associates. The men who
participated in the transaction I have just described are among the most
astute financiers in the country and presumably possessed of invincible
capacity to protect their own interests. But with all their knowledge of
the "System's" tricks they were, in this instance, as shrewdly duped as
the veriest tyro in the Wall Street game.

My own experience with the "System" in this deal was different in degree
but not in principle from that of these others, and it must be remembered
that I was better equipped to protect my interests than any of them. I knew
that the actual cost of the properties comprising the first Amalgamated was
$39,000,000, and that when sold to the public at $75,000,000 there must be
a profit of $36,000,000. I had every right to think I knew all the other
details connected with the transaction, for as organizer and executant of
the deal my share in the profits was to be equal to that of Henry H. Rogers
and William Rockefeller respectively. We were each to have twenty-five per
cent., the remaining twenty-five per cent. going to others. This was no
gentleman's "leave-it-to-me-and-I'll-see-you-get-what's-coming-to-you"
arrangement either, but a hard, cold, mutually satisfactory and
settled-in-advance agreement. But when it came to the final accounting, the
"System" had so regulated things that the participants on the various
floors, except, of course, Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller, must each
accept without question the share finally handed over to him. Having no
means of knowing how large the other interests were, or what the
"extraordinary expenses" had been, they were in no position to question the
payments made them, which represented sums below what they would have had
if the business had been conducted as they thought it had been. When my
final account was presented to me I was startled. Notwithstanding the
"cleverness" of the "System," the deception was so obvious, so audacious,
that the instant Mr. Rogers submitted it to me I exploded and denounced the
transaction with such vehemence and conviction that within a few minutes
there was forthcoming a second statement, revising the account, by which I
was given just double the amount first tendered, and the figures in both
accounts ran into millions; yet the amount in the second account upon which
I settled was only one-half the share received by my equal partners, Henry
H. Rogers and William Rockefeller, as I afterward learned.[1]

This is a fair statement of my own share in the first Amalgamated
transaction. I have no desire to evade the issues suggested and raised
by these revelations. My frankness should be absolute proof of that. As
I promised, I shall hew to the exact line of fact, letting the chips of
responsibility, legal and moral, fall where they may, though many of
them stick to my own clothes. My own burden of error I am ready and
willing to shoulder, but I decline any longer to take and carry
responsibilities which belong absolutely to others. There should be a
time-limit on martyrdom, and mine anyhow is up.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] I know no better spot in my story than right here to set the public
right on two vital points concerning Amalgamated, upon which they are and
always have been greatly at sea:

John D. Rockefeller did not have before the Amalgamated Company was
organized and floated, nor at its organization and flotation, directly or
indirectly, a dollar's interest in its stock nor its affairs, and I have
what I consider excellent reasons for believing he has not had any interest
up to the time of this writing.

The disasters which have come to the Amalgamated stockholders did not
occur, as has been so industriously and ingeniously advertised throughout
the world, because of the inability of the "Standard Oil"-Amalgamated-City
Bank fraternity to prevent the collapse of the price of copper, the metal,
from the high price of seventeen cents to the low one of eleven cents per
pound. "Cornering" the metal market, forcing the price to an abnormally
high figure and maintaining it there had, notwithstanding the many emphatic
statements to the contrary, absolutely no part in any of our original
plans, and the success or failure of our project was in no way dependent
upon any price for copper, the metal, other than the fair and legitimate
price caused by legitimate supply and demand. In fact, as I shall
demonstrate before my story is ended, forcing the price to extremely high
points and the resulting collapse were all a part of the trickery by which
the public was plundered.



CHAPTER V

THE POWER OF DOLLARS


At no time in the history of the United States has the power of dollars
been as great as now. Freedom and equity are controlled by dollars. The
laws which should preserve and enforce all rights are made and enforced
by dollars. It is possible to-day, with dollars, to "steer" the
selection of the candidates of both the great parties for the highest
office in our republic, that of President of the United States. It is
possible to repeat the operation in the selection of candidates for the
executive and legislative conduct and control of every State and
municipality in the United States, and with a sufficient number of
dollars to "steer" the doings of the law-makers and law-enforcers of the
national, State, and municipal governments of the people, and to "steer"
a sufficient proportion of the court decisions to make absolute any
power created by such direction. It is all, broadly speaking, a matter
of dollars practically to accomplish these things. I must not be
misunderstood as even insinuating that there are not absolutely honest
law-makers and law-enforcers, nor that there are not as many of them in
proportion to the whole body as there were at the creation of our
republic. I believe there is at the present time as large a percentage
of honesty among Americans as ever there has been, but it is plainly
evident to any student of the times that at no other period in the
history of the United States has honesty been so completely "steered" by
dishonesty as at this, the beginning of the twentieth century.

_I shall go further and say that there to-day exists uncontrolled in the
hands of a set of men a power to make dollars from nothing._ That
function of dollar-making which the people believe is vested in their
Government alone and only exercised under the law for their benefit, is
actually being secretly exercised on an enormous scale by a few private
individuals for their own personal benefit. This, I am well aware, is a
startling statement, but not more so than the facts which support it.
Throughout the country we have all grown accustomed to the spectacle of
men who, poor yesterday, to-day display more dollars than the kings and
queens of olden times controlled. In flaunting this money these men
proudly boast: "We made all this yesternight, and are going to multiply
it five-or fifty-fold to-morrow night."

The fact that there must be in this country some secret method of
gaining vast fortunes gradually dawned on the minds of the people. This
method, they argued, must be outside the laws of the land which they
themselves had made, and they were confronted with the fact that the
possessors of these fabulous fortunes were creating a power not
recognized by their Government and which practically placed the
Government in the hands of the fortune-owners. They realized that in
some way the magic of this fortune-making was connected with, or seemed
to be compounded in, institutions called corporations and trusts, and
that among these the head and centre was a great affair called "Standard
Oil." Wherever this "Standard Oil" was, all knew that strange wonders
were worked. Within the sphere of its influence dirt changed to gold,
liquids to solids, and what was, was not, and what was not, was. Whoever
became a part of this mysterious "Standard Oil," at the same time was
rendered "powerful"; as though touched by a fairy's wand, he changed
from pauper to millionaire. But what was "Standard Oil"? The people knew
that at the beginning it was only an aggregation of men, private
individuals, who had accumulated much money by securing a monopoly of
selling oil, and that these men were "Rockefellers," and that Standard
Oil and "Rockefellers" had been cute and cunning in the conduct of their
oil-selling to a degree greater than had been rival sellers of oil or of
other necessities. And as time wore on much more was heard of the
cleverness of Standard Oil and "Rockefellers," as the victims of the
cuteness and the cunning "hollered" in public places, and the
newspapers and writers of books exclaimed against their practices and
exactions. But many other things were happening simultaneously, and to
the great bulk of the people it was interesting rather than portentous
that there existed in the country a giant oil-thing whose owners were
reputed the richest men in the world.

It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the monster
"Standard Oil" loomed up before the people as the giant of all corporate
things and that its ominous shadow seemed to dwarf all other
institutions, public or private. In multitudinous forms it was before
the people.

In awed whispers men talked of its mysterious doings and canvassed its
extraordinary powers as though "Standard Oil" were a living, breathing
entity rather than a mere business institution created by men and
existing only by virtue of the laws of the land.

About the time that the world had begun mistily to take in the
tremendous forces which radiated from "Standard Oil," there occurred a
financial crash, and the people saw their savings, invested in what they
supposed were the legal and absolute titles of ownership in the material
things of their country, suddenly decline in value and contract to
prices representing a loss to them of billions of dollars. Throughout
the misery and suffering this terrible collapse occasioned, "Standard
Oil" remained undisturbed as before and amid all the confusion kept
sternly on its dollar-"making" way. Indeed, it seemed to gain in bulk as
other institutions diminished or disappeared. Then it was that the
people first began to demand, what they are still to-day fiercely
demanding, "What is this 'Standard Oil'?" "What is its secret?" "Whence
came it?" and, "Can our republic endure if it, too, endures?"

To-day "Standard Oil," the "Private Thing," is the greatest power in the
land--more powerful than the people individually or as a whole, and its
secret is the knowledge of the trick of finance by which dollars are
"made" from nothing in unlimited quantities subject to no laws of man
nor nature. The dollars that "Standard Oil" _makes_ are of the same
value as the dollars of the people as made by the Government, which
dollars we know can be coined and put into circulation only in
accordance with law and for the benefit of all the people.

For the better understanding of those readers not versed in the
technical phrases of finance and economics I shall in my narrative make
use of certain terms of my own which will convey meanings readily
grasped when the sense in which they are used is once comprehended. In
speaking of "Standard Oil," for instance, I will speak of it as a
"Private Thing." By that term I desire to typify the active, private
identity of a corporation which comprehends, but exists independently
of, its legalized functions. Some corporations have a real personality
in addition to that which their name and the corporation laws prescribe
for them, an inherent power, or individuality, which exists above and
apart from their physical functions as sellers of oil, of coal, or of
ice. This may be an incarnation of the power developed in the
transaction of their legalized occupations, but the "Private Thing" is
uncontrolled by any of the restrictions by which the law defines and
curbs the corporation whose name it bears. Already I have distinguished
between "Standard Oil" which wields all the powers of its subsidiary
companies, and Standard Oil, the seller of oil. In the same way we have
"American Sugar Refineries" and "United States Steel," the "Private
Things" which are not one whit better than nor different from "Standard
Oil," the "Private Thing." Though this narrative will deal only with the
"Private Things," Bay State Gas and Amalgamated Copper, I have no
hesitancy in saying that the methods employed and the results, good or
bad, which accrued in the case of any of the other "Private Things" with
which the public have had to do, differ only in details from those with
which I shall deal in my story.

In speaking of dollars brought into existence by the trick of finance I
have referred to I shall call them henceforth "made dollars," to
distinguish them from dollars coined by the Government and legitimately
acquired by the individual or corporation. These "made dollars," it must
be remembered, are really "made" for all purposes of use as surely as
if they had the Government's stamp, yet they are not made in the sense
of the known volume of the people's money being added to. So, however
many of these "made dollars" are brought into existence by this trick of
finance, only the men who "made" them can know and profit by their
existence. The people are no wiser nor can they adjust themselves to the
change of conditions brought about by the creation of all this new
money; yet if "unmade" or lost, the entire volume of the nation's wealth
would be contracted.

I can set before my readers better by an illustration than by any
process of definition, the trick of finance by which "made dollars" are
brought into existence. Let us suppose that the United States Government
at Washington, the only power legally entitled to issue money for
circulation among the people, puts forth a particular $10,000. All the
conditions prescribed by law have been followed, and all the people in
the country are benefited by the issue and circulation of this
particular $10,000, each in the proportion the laws prescribe.

"B," a Western farmer, tills his soil and receives, by the sale of his
wheat, the particular $10,000, which he then deposits in _The Bank_.
_The Bank_, being a part of the Government machinery, only receives,
holds, and uses the $10,000 under safeguards provided for by the laws of
the land, so hereafter "B's" material life is conducted on the basis
that he is the full and actual possessor of $10,000. He knows, further,
that his $10,000 cannot be expanded nor contracted, nor its relation to
any of the other money of the people which is in circulation altered
without his knowledge, because he knows such changes cannot come about
except through the Government. I say he knows this--he has every right
to believe he knows it--but, in fact, it is not so, because of the
working of the secret financial device of the Private Thing. At this
stage enters "C," the Private Thing.

"C" purchases with $3,300 ("B's" money) which he borrows from _The
Bank_, a copper-mine, depositing the title which he receives from the
seller with _The Bank_ as collateral for the $3,300. After purchasing he
arbitrarily calls the copper-mine worth $10,000--arbitrarily because
his act is not controlled nor regulated by any of the laws of the
land--arbitrarily because the actual cost, $3,300, is his secret and his
alone. Then, arbitrarily, "C" organizes his $3,300 of copper property
into the Arbitrary Copper Company, and issues to himself a piece of
paper, which he arbitrarily stamps "10,000 stock dollars." This he takes
to _The Bank_, and by loan or other device exchanges it for the
remaining $6,700 belonging to "B," and thereafter "C" conducts his
affairs on the basis that he is the possessor of $6,700, his "made
dollars" in the transaction. At this stage there is actually in use
among the people $16,700 where "B," the legitimate factor, and his kind,
the people, suppose there is but $10,000--$10,000 which is recorded,
known and legal, being used by the legitimate factors, "B" and _The
Bank_, and $6,700 which is unrecorded and unknown to any but "C" and
_The Bank_, being used by the illegitimate Private Thing "C."

Right here is the secret device, the financial trick, by which the
greatest power in the land has been created, and by which the people can
be absolutely plundered of their savings for the benefit of the few.

At this stage the two-thirds of "B's" $10,000, of which he later is to
be plundered, has not been actually taken away, so he cannot possibly
have any evidence yet of the process of pillage which has been begun, or
that the volume of money which he supposes is all that exists has been
tremendously expanded. The next step is where "C" sells his $3,300,
stamped "10,000 stock dollars" (which, as already shown, he has
exchanged with _The Bank_ for the $10,000 deposited by "B"), to "B" for
$10,000, which $10,000 "B" withdraws from _The Bank_ by simply making
out a check in favor of "C." ("B's" inducement to exchange his dollars
for the stock dollars of "C" is the high rate of interest that they will
return in the form of dividends, which rate is much larger than _The
Bank_ can afford to pay.) "C" deposits "B's" check with _The Bank_ and
hereby liquidates his $10,000 indebtedness to _The Bank_.

At this stage "B" is still the possessor of $10,000, but it is "10,000
stock dollars." "C" is the possessor of $6,700, and "D," from whom the
copper-mine was purchased, is the possessor of $3,300; but the two
latter amounts make up the 10,000 real dollars, and _The Bank_ remains
where it was at the beginning of the transaction. The people, however,
are no wiser; but they know, because they have been most carefully
educated to such knowledge by "C's" agents, Wall Street, and the press,
that their country is tremendously prosperous--that its great prosperity
is evidenced by the $6,700 added wealth in the form of 6,700 new stock
dollars. At the next stage the financial trick accomplished by the
secret device is complete. "B," the farmer, who has contracted for new
machinery and other necessities and luxuries to be paid for "next
season," attempts next season to turn his 10,000 stock dollars into real
dollars, and "C," the Private Thing, knowing their real value to be but
$3,300, refuses to make the exchange, but instead, by proclaiming their
real value, compels "B," who must have real dollars to meet his debts,
to sell them for what "C," the Private Thing, is willing to pay. "C,"
the Private Thing, is willing to pay their worth, which he alone knows
is $3,300; he repurchases them at that price from "B," that he may
repeat the operation at the return of the next "wave of the country's
prosperity."

By this operation "B," the farmer, has lost, as absolutely as though
they had been taken away from him by a Government decree, $6,700 of his
own making, and "C," the Private Thing, has "made," as absolutely as
though the Government had allowed him to coin them for his own benefit,
6,700 real dollars, and _The Bank_, created, regulated, and controlled
by law, and existing because of the people's deposits of money, has been
the instrument by which "C," the Private Thing, has deprived "B," the
farmer, of his savings, because "C," the Private Thing, is at one and
the same time during the operation I have outlined, himself and _The
Bank_.

A careful study of this illustration, by even laymen unacquainted with
financial or corporation affairs, will clearly show that the foundation
of this transaction was _The Bank's_ putting in jeopardy $3,300 of "B's"
deposited $10,000, and that if the $3,300, after being put in jeopardy,
had been lost, "B" would have been the loser,[2] which, in turn, means
that the compensation for the jeopardy in which the $3,300 was placed
was the possibility of $6,700 profit; and that, therefore, the $6,700
profit when made should have gone to the owner of the $3,300, "B,"
instead of to "C," the user of it.

It is therefore in this sense that I shall use the term "made
dollars"--wherever they are "made" or "unmade" through one set of men
using the dollars of another set of men without that other set knowing
that their dollars are being so used; and wherever the result of such
use is that when dollars are "made," they are "made" by the ones who use
others' money, and where dollars are "unmade," they are lost by the ones
who own the dollars which they don't know are being used.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] I say "B" would have been the loser because all money lost by a bank
must eventually be lost by the depositors, the people, or the surplus or
capital of the bank which belongs to the people, through their ownership of
the stock in the bank. Of course the loss of individual amounts such as
$3,300 would not come directly on the people. But when the aggregate of the
money put in jeopardy by the four classes of institutions I name--national
banks, savings-banks, trusts, and insurance companies--runs into billions
and is lost, the loss _must_ fall on the people, because the only other
ones involved are the managers and controllers of these institutions, who
always see to it that when the losses which would wreck the bank are
actually made, they, the managers and controllers, have no deposits and
none of the stock.



CHAPTER VI

CONSTRUCTION OF "STANDARD OIL'S" "DOLLAR-MAKING" MILL


I believe "Standard Oil" was the first to utilize this secret device for
circumventing the safeguards which the law has erected to protect the
savings of the people. It was the first practically to apprehend that, a
large proportion of all the moneys in circulation, which belong to the
people or the Government, being in the custody of the national and
savings-banks and trust and insurance companies, it would only be
necessary for a set of men to obtain control of sufficient of the
principal national and savings-banks and trust and insurance companies
to control practically unlimited amounts of such funds. Once in control
of these funds dollars could be absolutely "made" at will by the three
following steps: 1st. Using the money in these institutions to acquire
properties. 2d. Consolidating such properties on an inflated basis, and
selling them to the people (who, in fact, already owned them; because
they owned the funds with which they had been purchased); and, 3d, by
stock-market trickery scaring their owners into re-selling them at an
enormous shrinkage from the price they had paid. To understand a
situation with "Standard Oil" is to act, and twenty years ago it began
to weave a net to secure control of the four classes of institutions I
have named.

Its first move was to establish a great corporation, the Standard Oil
Company, and make its stock, 1,000,000 shares, sell at from $650 to $800
per share, or $650,000,000 to $800,000,000. It kept its affairs
mysteriously secret, it paid enormous dividends, and from time to time
it caused to be published broadcast throughout the world the statement
that it was held in such value by its creators, the Rockefellers,
Rogers, etc, that they continued to own all but a few shares of the
entire capital. To prove that there could be no doubt of such continued
ownership, the public's attention was repeatedly called to the fact that
the Standard Oil Company was the only great corporation which did not
allow its shares to be traded in upon any of the stock-exchanges. As a
matter of fact, though they are not traded in on the regular
stock-exchanges, they are actively bought and sold daily on the New York
"Curb."

At the height of the recent financial storm word went round that the
crafts of three over-night-made multimillionaires, men foremost in the
seventh group of "Standard Oil" votaries, were in the trough of the
financial sea and headed for the breakers, which were already strewn
with the wrecks of the people's savings. Following closely on the heels
of these stories came the astounding one that each of these enormously
rich men had, in his endeavors to raise large amounts of cash, disclosed
among his assets blocks of "Standard Oil" stock ranging from 5,000 to
20,000 shares each. Hardly had the public heard this before all
financialdom knew that the storm-tossed crafts had received succor, and
that the crisis had passed. For one brief day the financial press of the
country printed the item: "Standard Oil came to the rescue by buying for
cash large blocks of Standard Oil stock which had long been held by this
or that interest for investment," and no more was thought of the
incident. Even the most alert financiers never suspected that the most
important stock secret of the age had been on the verge of becoming
public property.

Planted deep in the minds of the public that watches the comings and
goings of the Street is the conviction that Standard Oil is the holy of
holies among stocks. The world has been taught to believe that the
owners of Standard Oil regard the shares of the great oil corporation as
their most precious, most sacred possessions. Yet while "Standard Oil"
has been so scientifically spreading abroad the impression that the
public would never be permitted to own Standard Oil stock, secretly it
has been engaged in exchanging that stock for the securities of the
people in the form of banks and trust companies, railroads, and other
assets of definite value. So completely has "Standard Oil" pulled the
wool over the eyes of the votaries of finance that there cannot be found
in or out of Wall Street a single great financier who would not laugh to
scorn the suggestion that "Standard Oil" is engaged in a campaign for
the distribution of its Standard Oil stock to the public. Yet pin your
great financier down to the facts, and he'll admit that he himself has
quite a block of the stock, and that institutions of which he is a
director include among their assets in one form or another good-sized
parcels of the inestimable security. But so completely are these very
wise men held by the spells woven over them when for this or that
special reason they were allowed as a favor to acquire their holdings,
and so impressively have they been shown that their ownership in
Standard Oil stock must be kept secret, that no suspicion has ever
entered their minds that they were playing the part of lambs in its
purchase.

Nor was the episode I have described above allowed to disturb their
serenity. It soon became known to the innermost circle of Wall Street
that the stock the three men had resold to "Standard Oil" represented
the share of each in some of the gigantic deals to which he had been a
party during the last ten years, and that with its acquirement had gone
a pledge that it would always be kept in the purchaser's "tin box," and
whenever inspected by "Standard Oil" would be free from "pinholes." And
so, adroitly, dangerous deductions were prevented.

For the uninstructed I may say that a capitalist's "tin box" is the
receptacle for the stocks and bonds that largely represent his fortune,
and pinholes in a stock certificate are in Wall Street conclusive
evidence that such certificate has, at some period, temporarily passed
into other's hands as collateral for loans, for there has been pinned to
it a memorandum or note stating the details of the transaction in which
its owner parted with it. Pinholed securities are looked upon by the
upper crust of big financiers with much the same horror as that with
which members of the American social upper crust look upon their No. 10
boots and gloves--reminders of their peasant ancestry.

But to return to "Standard Oil's" financial weavings: Their next move
was to use Standard Oil stock as the basis for loans, that is, as
collateral for money borrowed from the banks, trust and insurance
companies, and treasuries of other great corporations and estates. The
money thus acquired was paid out to purchase the control of banks and
trust and insurance companies in all parts of the United States, the
Standard Oil ownership being represented by dummy directors and
officers.

The next move represents another of the dazzling devices of finance in
which "Standard Oil" is adept, and brings the process of artificial
expansion still further along. Control of a certain number of these
savings and national banks and trust and insurance companies having been
acquired, the funds of each were so manipulated by depositing those of
one institution with another, and the latter's in turn with the first,
as to swell the deposits of all and create in all of them an apparently
legitimate basis for increases of capitalization. At the same time there
was shown an apparently legitimate necessity for the establishment of
additional banking and trust companies, which were duly organized and
their assets juggled around by the same process. The result of all this
manipulation defies description. Throughout the series of correlated
institutions loans and deposits are multiplied in such an intricacy of
duplication that only a few able experts, employed by the "System"
because of their mathematical genius, are able to unravel the tangle to
the extent of approximating the proportion the legitimate funds bear to
those which have been created by the financial jugglery I have
indicated.

When "Standard Oil" had gathered into its net sufficient of the
important private institutions of finance there still remained the
federal Government, the largest handler of money in the country. It was
not hard for "Standard Oil" to introduce its expert votaries into the
United States Treasury and thus to steer the millions of the nation into
the banks subject to the "System's" control. This accomplished, the
structure was complete and the process of "making" dollars proceeded on
a magnificent scale.

That there may be no possible doubt in the minds of those of my readers
who are unacquainted with such matters that I am citing every-day, actual
happenings, I will tell just how the Daly-Haggin-Tevis-Anaconda-Amalgamated
transaction was worked out, showing that but for the existence of the
National City Bank of New York, or a like institution of the people, it
could not have been brought about.

When Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller "traded" with Messrs. Daly,
Haggin, and Tevis for the Anaconda stock, and with others for like stock
or other properties which I have already named, the price agreed upon
was $24,000,000 to Daly, Haggin, and Tevis, and $15,000,000 to the
others, or $39,000,000 in all. This was to be paid by "Standard Oil" and
received by Daly, Haggin, and Tevis, and the others, but one of the
stipulations in the "trade" was that instead of the money's being paid
to Daly, Haggin, and Tevis, and others direct, it was to be credited to
them on the books of the National City Bank of New York and was to be,
by agreement, not withdrawn from the bank before a given time, the bank
agreeing that the new owners of this money should receive interest at a
low rate upon it while it so remained deposited. At the same time the
bank agreed to loan Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller the $39,000,000
at the same rate of interest upon the collateral which the $39,000,000
was used in purchasing. Therefore the first part of the transaction was
as follows:

The bank, having $39,000,000 on hand belonging to the public in the form
of savings deposited, or having a fictitious $39,000,000 in the form of
book-keeping accounts made possible by the deposits of the public and
the manipulation of the funds in other banks and trust and insurance
companies belonging to the public or the Government, caused an entry to
be made in its books showing that this $39,000,000 had been loaned to
Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller, and that they, having transferred it
to Daly, Haggin, Tevis, and others, were, upon the books of the bank,
the real owners.

The second part was the summoning into the City Bank of certain
"Standard Oil" lawyers, office-boys, and clerks, and the organization by
them of the Amalgamated Copper Company. The lawyers drew up the papers
and the office-boys and clerks signed them. First, the papers certified
that "whereas we (the office-boys and clerks) are desirous of taking
advantage of the corporation laws of the State of New Jersey, we (the
said office-boys and clerks) do so take advantage of the said laws and
form ourselves into the Amalgamated Copper Company, which will have a
capital of $75,000,000, and which will be allowed by said laws to own
copper-mines and other things, to mine copper and other things, to
manufacture, buy, sell, and trade in copper and other things, and to do
numerous and variegated other things; and that whereas we (the said
office-boys and clerks) have now become the Amalgamated Copper Company,
one of our number will purchase the entire capital stock of the said
Amalgamated Copper Company for $75,000,000 cash, which $75,000,000 cash
we herewith certify to have been paid in the form of a check for
$75,000,000, herewith delivered to the treasurer, one of our number, by
the clerk who drew it; and the treasurer, herewith certifying that he
has received the $75,000,000, herewith delivers unto said clerk the
$75,000,000 capital stock of the Amalgamated Copper Company, and we (the
said office-boys and clerks) herewith certify that there is within the
treasury of the Amalgamated Copper Company $75,000,000, and we (the said
office-boys and clerks) vote that it, the said $75,000,000, shall be
used in the purchase of certain stocks and properties, and said certain
stocks and properties shall be the same stocks and properties previously
purchased by Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller, and now owned by them,
and we (the said office-boys and clerks) herewith certify that we have
paid from the treasury $75,000,000, that said $75,000,000 is in the form
of a check, and said check is the one previously received, or its
equivalent, by our treasurer, from one of our number, to wit, the clerk
referred to earlier in these papers, and said $75,000,000 has been paid
to Henry H. Rogers for his and William Rockefeller's use." Henry H.
Rogers, now having $75,000,000, where formerly he had stocks and
properties which had cost him $39,000,000, and being desirous of
investing it, purchased from the clerk the $75,000,000 of Amalgamated
stock which he, the clerk, had previously purchased from the treasury of
the Amalgamated Company, Mr. Rogers promptly paying for said purchase
with the $75,000,000 check or its equivalent, which has already done
such yeoman service.

The organization of the Amalgamated Copper Company of New Jersey now
being complete, and the company being in possession of all the property
which had formerly belonged to Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller, and
which had cost them $39,000,000, and the clerk having again come into
possession of his $75,000,000 check, and Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller being the sole owners of the $75,000,000 of Amalgamated
stock, the second part of this transaction was completed. The third
began by the office-boys and clerks resigning from their positions as
directors and officers of the Amalgamated Copper Company of New Jersey
in favor of the more responsible and better known "Standard Oil"
votaries. Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller then had the National City
Bank of New York offer for sale to the public the $75,000,000 of stock
in such a way that, although it was then the private property of Mr.
Rogers and William Rockefeller, the public were led to believe it was
the property of the Amalgamated Copper Company. Simultaneously, the
National City Bank of New York offered to loan the public its deposits
at the rate of ninety cents on the dollar, on any amount of the
Amalgamated stock it, the public, purchased; whereupon the public,
taking advantage of this offer, agreed to purchase from the National
City Bank of New York the $75,000,000 of stock for $75,000,000, thereby
enabling it to certify upon its books that the $39,000,000 it had loaned
to Messrs. Rogers and Rockefeller had been repaid, and enabling Mr.
Rogers and William Rockefeller, after paying said debts to the National
City Bank of New York, to become the absolute owners of $36,000,000 of
money, none of which they had owned before, and which they had "made" as
absolutely as though they had coined it by permit from the Government
of the people who had parted with it.[3]

The fourth part of the transaction began when months afterward the
public, who had borrowed their money from the National City Bank of New
York and other banks and trust and insurance companies to buy
Amalgamated stock at 100 cents on the dollar, were compelled to repay
it, and to do so were obliged to sell the Amalgamated stock which they
had purchased at $100 per share for the best price they could get, which
was $33 per share; and if we suppose for a moment that the "Standard
Oil," after repurchasing it at $33 per share, at a later day repeated
the operation of selling it for $100 per share, it will be seen that
"Standard Oil," the "Private Thing," would thereby "make" an additional
$50,000,000, as absolutely as though they had been allowed by the
Government to coin it.[4]

This explanation is not the creation of an extravagant fancy. It is not
romance, but reality. The thing described was a supreme manifestation of
the "System," of the perfect working of that tremendous financial
machine which reaps, grinds, and harvests for its own benefit, the
earned savings of the American people.

In showing how these thirty-six millions were made in the brief space of
this creature's (Amalgamated Copper's) life, I deal with reality and not
romance; but let my readers for a moment give their imaginations play
and picture to themselves one scene in this stupendous drama. A great
room in the greatest banking house in America, if not in the
world--silent, solemn--an atmosphere of impregnable rectitude--the solid
furniture, the heavy carpets, the chill high walls, the massive desks,
the impressive chairs, the great majestic table portentously suggestive
of power. Presto! the dim calm is broken; the air vibrates as when an
ancient church is invaded by a swarm of vampire-bats. Into the great
room enter a group of men and a flock of youths, who settle in the
impressive chairs round the majestic table. You wonder what is the
motive of the assemblage. These grave lawyers, whose names are weighty
in the nation's councils, and these gray-haired, dignified financiers
might well be gathered to arbitrate a dispute involving empires; but why
these office-boys and clerks, with their restless, surprised eyes and
uneasy gestures? The flourishing of papers, the murmuring of voices in a
confusion of "seventy-five million," "we buy," "we sell," "we are," "we
will"--words, nothing but words; then silence as one reads from a stiff
parchment certain resolutions which the suave gentleman with incisive
steel-clicking manners, at the head of the table, puts to a vote. Then
these youths, whose souls are afire with the hope of a director's $5
gold fee, timidly sign the record, trembling the while lest a blot call
down on them a scolding; a head clerk, whose fondest dream is a raise of
salary as the result of coming under the Master's eye in a
seventy-five-million-dollar deal, affixes a seal, and there is an
exchanging of thin slips of paper--checks--dollars--magically "made
dollars." Exit office-boys and lawyers.

The door closes--silence again. Then the air vibrates with the sound of
a hearty hand-slap and the genial, whole-souled greeting of the "Master"
to his partner. "William, I feel as though I had done an honest day's
labor! Thirty-six million dollars 'made' and no hitch, no delay!" Then
follows the partner's mild answer: "Yes, Harry, but don't forget James'
and the others' shares will shrink it up quite a bit."

Thirty-six million dollars for _one honest day's labor_! Thirty-six
million dollars--and Alaska cost us but seven millions and Spain
relinquished to us her claims on the Philippines for only twenty
millions. Thirty-six million dollars!--more than a hundred times as much
as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and "Abe" Lincoln together
secured for the patriotic labors of their lifetimes. And this vast sum
was taken from the people to enrich men whose coffers were already, as
the results of similar operations, so full of dollars that neither they
nor their children, nor their children's children could count them--as
the people count their savings, a dollar at a time--as thoughtlessly
taken as are the apples that the school-boy steals after he has eaten so
many that he can eat no more.

A thousand times have I tried to figure out in my mind what worlds of
misery such a sum of millions might allay if issued by a government and
intelligently distributed among a people--and do my readers know that
never in the world's recorded history has any nation felt itself rich
enough to devote thirty-six millions to the cause of charity--even in
the midst of the most awful calamities of fire, flood, war, or
pestilence? On the other hand, I have had to know about the horrors, the
misfortunes, the earthly hell, which were the awful consequences of the
appropriation of this vast amount. I have had to know about the
convicts, the suicides, the broken hearts, the starvation and
wretchedness, the ruined bodies and lost souls which strewed the fields
of the "System's" harvest.

Pondering all these things, I have ceased to wonder at the deep murmurs
of discontent that are rising, rising to my ears from all parts of the
continent.

Can it be that a just God suffers the sons and daughters of some of us
to eke out a bare existence as the best reward of earnest effort and
sterling worth, and at the same time rewards these other men with
$36,000,000 for one day's labor? Is this the freedom which our fathers
and our sons died on many a bloody, hard-fought field to preserve? I am
conscious of a haunting fear that these men and women may not always be
patient, may not always be put off with skilled evasion or slippery
subterfuge, and for one brief moment I see visions of a marching people,
bearing aloft grisly heads on gory poles, and hear above the low,
bestial murmur of the mob the cry for bread and for revenge.

And then I remember that this is _America_, not France; that our laws
are strong--if but the people are aroused to see them obeyed; that our
prisons are ample, even though they be for the present filled with petty
rascals who can do but little harm though turned loose to make room for
the real scoundrels who are undermining the foundations of our
Republic.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] It must be remembered that the Amalgamated Company never owned all the
capital stock of the Anaconda, but, on the contrary, only a few shares over
600,000, which represented the ownership of the Haggin-Tevis-Daly people,
and which they had turned in for a lump sum before the market price had
advanced. The control of the Parrott, owned by the Amalgamated Company, was
purchased for a lump amount from Franklin Farrell and his associates for
the sum of $4,000,000-odd, not $12,190,000. The Colorado Smelting and
Mining Company was also purchased in a lumped batch of Senator Wolcott, not
at $7,000,000, but for $2,000,000-odd, while the tremendous advance in the
price of Anaconda in the market from 30 to 70 was due to the operations of
Messrs. Rogers and Rockefeller for their private account, out of which they
made a large additional profit.

There can be no possibility of mistake or successful misrepresentation of
these figures: first, because the Anaconda figures are known not only to
Mr. Rogers, William Rockefeller, and myself, but to J. B. Haggin, and to
the estates of Tevis and Marcus Daly; the Colorado figures, to associates
of Senator Wolcott and to his estate; and the Parrott figures, to Mr.
Farrell who received the money, and to a large number of those to whom he
had to account; and, further, these figures will all be demonstrated in
open court in suits outside of any with which I have to do, which are now
being brought or are pending.

[4] As a matter of fact, the people lost even more than thirty-six millions
of dollars on this part of the Amalgamated transaction, because "Standard
Oil" did not sell all the 750,000 shares at $100 per share ($75,000,000) at
that time. They retained two-thirds of them, which at a later date they fed
out to the public at $115 per share, and at a still later date they took
them back at $33 per share.



CHAPTER VII

JUGGLING WITH MILLIONS OF THE PEOPLE'S MONEY


For the purposes of the transaction I have just described the machinery
of a great bank or trust company was essential. The vast profit gained
here was absolutely "made" through the instrumentality of the National
City Bank of New York, but some other tractable institution would have
been equally efficient. In order that my readers may focus such great
financial concerns as this National City Bank, I give right here brief
résumés of its career and resources and of those of two of its
affiliated institutions:

     NATIONAL CITY BANK      New York City

     JAMES STILLMAN, _President_.

     The "City Bank" was chartered by the New York Legislature in
     1812, and reorganized as a National Bank July 17, 1865. The
     capital paid in was $1,000,000. Moses Taylor held the office
     of president for thirty-four years, and died in 1892, when
     Percy R. Pyne, son-in-law of Moses Taylor, was elected
     president and held office until the election of James
     Stillman, of Woodward & Stillman, cotton merchants, when the
     capital stock of the bank was increased to $10,000,000, and
     again increased to $25,000,000. The sworn report of the
     officers and directors filed with the Controller of the
     Currency shows that the condition of the bank, January,
     1904, was:

     RESOURCES

     Loans and discounts                                    $114,507,919.20
     Overdrafts secured and unsecured                                162.90
     United States bonds to secure circulation                 3,220,000.00
     United States bonds to secure United States deposits     12,937,000.00
     United States bonds on hand                                  60,120.00
     United States bond account                                4,450,000.00
     Premiums on United States bonds                           1,354,013.00
     Stocks, securities, etc.                                 16,709,241.62
     Banking-house furniture and fixtures                        200,000.00
     Due from national banks (not reserve agents)              4,727,461.12
     Due from State banks and bankers                            644,288.80
     Exchange for clearing-house                              31,000,935.34
     Checks and other cash items                                 798,843.22
     Notes of other national banks                               209,015.00
     Fractional paper currency, nickels, and cents                   684.63
       Lawful money reserve in bank, viz.:
     Specie                                 $36,928,350.00
     Legal tender notes                       7,100,000.00    44,028,350.00
     Redemption fund with U. S. Treasurer (5% of circulation)    161,000.00
     Due from U. S. Treasurer other than 5% redemption fund      204,105.95

         Total                                              $235,213,140.78

     LIABILITIES

     Capital stock paid in                                   $25,000,000.00
     Surplus fund                                              8,900,000.00
     Undivided profits, less expenses and taxes paid           8,503,038.26
     _National bank notes outstanding_                         3,180,000.00
     _Due to other national banks_          $36,469,683.95
     _Due to State banks and bankers_         5,903,473.87
     _Due to trust companies and savings-banks_
                                             29,210,461.00
     Provident reserve fund                      30,000.00
     Dividends unpaid                               519.00
     _Individual deposits subject to check_  82,576,884.06
     Demand certificates of deposit              43,790.00
     _Certified checks_                      10,752,671.01
     _Cashier's checks outstanding_           7,631,619.78
     _United States deposits_                12,937,000.00-- 185,556,102.67
     United States bonds                                       4,155,000.00

         Total                                              $235,213,140.78

     THE NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY

     The company was incorporated by special act of the New York
     Legislature in 1841. It is the third largest insurance
     company in the United States. The assets of the company
     January 1, 1892, were $125,947,290, and income $31,854,194.
     In 1904 the assets were $352,652,048; income, $88,269,531.

     THE NATIONAL SHAWMUT BANK, OF BOSTON

     This institution was incorporated in 1898 with a paid-in
     capital of $3,000,000. In 1904 its total resources, also
     liabilities, were $63,471,639, of the same general character
     as those of the National City Bank of New York.

A calm examination of these figures, illuminated by the explanation of
the "System's" methods I have previously given, will awaken the
American people to a comprehension of what use "high finance" makes of
the savings of the public intrusted to it for legitimate investment.

Nor must it be supposed for one minute that the insurance company and
the Boston bank which I have used for illustrations differ in any way
from scores and scores of their kind which are as absolutely "steered"
in their operations by the National City Bank of New York as the
National City Bank of New York is absolutely "steered" by its president,
James Stillman, or as James Stillman is absolutely "steered" by
"Standard Oil," the Private Thing, or as "Standard Oil," the Private
Thing, is absolutely "steered" by its supreme heads, Henry H. Rogers,
William Rockefeller, and John D. Rockefeller. And if any doubt remains
in the minds of my readers of the absolute power of "Standard Oil," the
Private Thing, to "make" dollars at will, or of the dead-sure working of
their "heads-I-win-and-tails-you-lose" gambling game, I ask them
carefully to analyze the above statements in connection with the facts
in the Amalgamated transaction which just precede them.

Fourteen years ago the National City Bank passed out of the legitimate
management of old-fashioned business men of the Moses Taylor stamp and
into the hands of the "System," the Private Thing. Then its capital was
$1,000,000; it is to-day $25,000,000, and after having paid out millions
in dividends and other profits it has, in addition, a surplus of
$16,000,000, and it has the absolute power to juggle with a total of
$235,000,000, $36,000,000 of which belong to other national banks,
$6,000,000 to State banks and bankers, $29,000,000 to trust companies
and savings-banks, $82,000,000 to individual depositors, $10,000,000 to
the holders of certified checks, $7,000,000 to the holders of cashiers'
checks, $13,000,000 to the Government directly, and $4,000,000 in
Government bonds, to say nothing of scores of hundreds of millions more
through its affiliated institutions. And all this juggling is done in
such a fearless manner that we find it in the Amalgamated deal loaning
in one transaction an amount so great that if it had been lost, the
bank's entire capital would have been more than completely wiped out.
That my readers may not base their conclusions upon this one
transaction of this mighty engine of the "System," vicious as it shows
on the surface and destructive as it really was to the thousands who
were parties to it, _I will later in this story show the National City
Bank in another section of the Amalgamated deal, doing things which in
intention and in result were so much bolder and grosser that this
transaction will by comparison appear pure and legitimate_.

During the past thirty years the American people have become so used to
enormous figures in connection with corporations and trusts that they
have not stopped to discriminate between different classes of fortunes
nor to figure out that fortunes of certain kinds are absolute
self-evidence that they were acquired by illegal methods, and that if
allowed to multiply the people will surely be enslaved and the republic
destroyed. For instance, there are in New York City alone dozens of
national and savings-banks and insurance and trust companies which
control money enough to make them practically omnipotent in whatever
direction their controllers exert their power. I will name but seven,
showing what enormous amounts their managers control; and let it be
borne in mind that all such institutions are linked together by the
"System" as firmly and surely as any human things can be linked. The
Equitable, Mutual, and New York Life Insurance companies have a combined
capital of $1,200,000,000 of assets, a yearly income of $230,000,000,
and $4,500,000,000 of insurance in force; the National City Bank, United
States Trust, Mercantile Trust, and Union Trust companies $30,000,000
capital, and $45,000,000 surplus, and they have the vast sum of
$450,000,000 of the people's money to juggle with.



CHAPTER VIII

"STANDARD OIL" INVESTS "MADE DOLLARS" IN GAS


And now I shall have to go back a bit in my story. After "Standard Oil"
had firmly established, through the agency of the curb,[5] the value of
the 1,000,000 shares of Standard Oil, the corporation seller of oil, at
between $600,000,000 and $800,000,000, and had used it as collateral in
securing control of the four classes of money institutions I have
named--the national and savings-banks and trust and insurance
companies--it proceeded to use the funds thus controlled to manipulate
the stocks of great public corporations for its own profit, forming them
into trusts with capitals far beyond their values, represented by new
stocks and bonds, which it sold to the public at prices aggregating a
hundred to five hundred per cent. over the old capitalization. It then
engaged in a wonderfully clever campaign to work off on the
people--directly, the very rich people, but indirectly, the people as a
whole--through institutions which exist because of the people's
savings--the $600,000,000 to $800,000,000 of Standard Oil stock which
had at this stage served the principal use for which it had been
created. It must be borne in mind that while "Standard Oil" is grinding
out "made dollars," its owners never for an instant lose sight of that
dim, distant day of reckoning when the people will awaken to their
losses. The "Rogerses" and the "Rockefellers" know well that the public
cannot always be kept in ignorance of the methods of the "System" by
which it has been plundered, and that once it is in possession of the
secret of how the savings of the many have become the property of the
few, there may be reprisals of such a nature as will compel the "System"
to yield up its gains. They know that when that day comes it will not be
best for them to have their enormous fortunes in such get-at-able
property as real estate, in which so many of the legitimately acquired
American fortunes are invested. In a quiet way, therefore, they have put
the bulk of their "made dollars" into unrecorded forms, such as
Government bonds; bonds and preferred stocks of what they consider
non-duplicatable franchise corporations such as railroads, which require
rights of way; into municipal public service enterprises, such as gas
companies, the existence of which depends upon rights of way for pipes;
and into the stocks of banks and trust and insurance companies, which
they believe the people will never dare attack because their savings are
largely deposited in them.

I would not have my readers think that the principal motive actuating
"Standard Oil" in parting with its Standard Oil stock is doubt of its
present intrinsic worth, for such is not the case. The masters of
"Standard Oil" are very able, far-seeing men, and they know that so
thoroughly have the American people been educated to the crimes which
created Standard Oil, the crimes by which it has existed and does exist,
that no passage of time or "pious-ing" of latter-day methods, will ever
blind them to its iniquities, and that when reprisal day comes, as come
it surely will, the first thing the people in their frenzy will look for
will be Standard Oil. This is the reason which, more than any other,
influences them in selling to others an enterprise which has up to the
present time not only enjoyed tremendous prosperity, but which has as
yet met with no obstacle or hindrance.

Of all forms of tangible investment "Standard Oil" has looked most
favorably upon gas stocks, and its secret devices have been worked
overtime in consolidating gas companies throughout the United States. In
a general way, as manufacturers of illuminating oil, "Standard Oil" had
early become familiar with the problems of supplying large
communities--cities--with gas light; and with the advent of water-gas,
as sellers of petroleum they controlled an important factor in the
production of that volatile commodity. All the talent of the "System,"
trained in "handling" municipal authorities, came into play in this big
new business of lighting cities--a business which perforce became a
monopoly as soon as the powerful tentacles grasping it were recognized
as "Standard Oil."

At the time my story opens (1894) "Standard Oil" had already captured
the gas-lighting corporations of certain of the great cities of the
United States, including the immensely rich ones of New York (directly),
Philadelphia and Chicago (indirectly); and for two years previously had
been besieging the several independent Brooklyn companies for the
purpose of consolidating them into a single gigantic corporation. This
project it has since accomplished. Its intention is to weld this
corporation with the great one that already holds the monopoly of
Manhattan.

The task of diagramming a territory for invasion is one after Henry H.
Rogers' own heart. His campaigns are planned with Napoleonic power and
foresight. When the capture of Brooklyn was decided on, the several
corporations to be subdued were "sized up" as to their revenues and
liabilities; the resources of their stockholders were studied out, and a
plan of action organized to separate each one from his shares at
"hard-pan" prices. In the "Standard Oil" armory there are many
instruments of "persuasion," and he is indeed a hardy fellow who can
resist the various "trying-out" processes to which mutineers are
subjected. This obstinate capitalist will be summarily knocked on the
head; that other inveigled into a dark corner by a strong-arm man;
another group owe money to one of the "System's" banks and a brief spell
on the financial rack will weaken their grip. Sooner or later all
succumb. While such details as these were being attended to, lines were
being strung here and there to bring about the passage by the city of
Brooklyn and the Legislature of New York State of ordinances and laws
which should allow this and compel that to be done, and so rivet the
various links of the great venture.

While in the midst of this campaign, to which Henry H. Rogers' genius,
matured in many a hard-fought business battle, foresaw an early and easy
triumphal termination, there came athwart his victorious path a
financial guerilla, "balloony," mysterious, yet as sticky as a
jelly-fish, who was destined to exert a most maleficent influence on his
after-life. Fate hangs no red lights at the cross-roads of a man's
career. No "pricking of his thumbs," no strange portents warned the
Master of "Standard Oil" that the impudent Philadelphia swashbuckler who
dared interfere with the execution of his plan to fetter the "System's"
yoke to the necks of the citizens of Brooklyn was the factor that
destiny had chosen to shape the ends that he had rough-hewn.

The financial guerilla was J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, votary of
rotten finance, perpetual candidate for the United States Senate,
wholesale debaucher of American citizenship and all-round corrupter of
men--J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, a corporation political trickster,
who has done more to hold up American laws, American elective
franchises, and American corporations to the scorn of the civilized
world than any other man of this or any previous age.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] The New York "curb" is the latest invention in finance, coming closely
upon the heels of the invention of trusts, and it holds the same relation
to the New York Stock Exchange that Private Things hold to corporations.
Before a stock can be bought and sold on the New York Stock Exchange, there
must be submitted to the governors a description of what the stock is,
which must be of such tangibility that any one who cares to investigate may
find there every detail and particular of the property represented, set
forth with the utmost exactitude. But on the "curb" stocks can be traded in
without responsible sponsors or descriptions that mean anything. In other
words, a stock may be bought and sold there, which is so vague and
indefinite as to be little more than a name, and it is through the "curb"
that the value of "Standard Oil" stock is established, for it is daily
bought and sold there at the steadily held prices of 650 to 800, and the
press of the world makes daily record of these prices.



CHAPTER IX

A VOTARY OF THE "SYSTEM"


The "System" has all sorts of votaries. About J. Edward O'Sullivan
Addicks there is nothing that remotely suggests coworkers of the types
of Mr. Rogers and William Rockefeller. A description that left him in
any part a duplicate of either would do him and them a grievous wrong.
Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller have two sides, their social
side and their business side. Socially, they are good men; in business
they work evil. J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks is a bad man, socially, in
business, in every way. The term "bad man" is used advisedly. My idea of
a "bad man" is that like a bad dollar he is a counterfeit. A counterfeit
has all the appearances of reality, and is yet devoid of its properties
and virtues. So with Addicks. It is easy to find men who will declare by
all that is sacred that Henry H. Rogers is one of the best fellows in
the world, though as many more will as earnestly proclaim him the fiend
incarnate. About Addicks, among those who know the man, there is but one
opinion. I have yet to meet the man, woman, or child who would say aught
of Addicks, after a month's acquaintance, other than, "Don't mention
him! He is the limit." And it will be said with the calm of
dispassionate conviction, as one might speak of a stuffed tiger in a
dime-museum jungle.

Here we have a man without a heart, without a soul, and, I believe,
absolutely without conscience--the type of man who even his associates
feel is likely to bring in after their deaths queer bills against their
estates as an offset for what he owes them; the type of man whose
promise is just as good as his bond, and whose bond is so near his
promise as to make it absolutely immaterial to him which you take.

Exhibited in the side show of one of the great circuses some years ago
was a strange creature which, for lack of a better name, its owner and
the public dubbed, "A What Is It?" This freak had the semblance of
humanity, and yet was not human. All its functions and feelings reversed
the normal. Tickle it and it would cry bitterly; pinch or torture it and
it would grin rapturously; when starved it repelled food, and when
overfed it was ravenous for more. It had heart-beats but no heart. The
public gave it up. The public would long ago have given up J. Edward
O'Sullivan Addicks if he would have let them.

Illustration is better than explanation, and perhaps I can more
graphically set J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks before my readers by a few
incidents which show his contradictory characteristics in action than by
verbal diagrams, however laborious.

Once upon a time Addicks, entering Delmonico's for dinner, stumbled on a
couple of newsboys at the entrance. One, broken-hearted, was being
consoled by the other. Addicks, observing the deep sobs, asked: "What's
the matter with you, bub?" The consoler explained that his chum had lost
$2, his day's earnings and capital, and "His mudder--his fadder's
dead--an' de baby'll git trun outter de tenement." Addicks, without more
ado, slipped the suffering young news-merchant a bill which his friends
supposed was $2 to replace the lost funds. As they were taking off their
coats in the hall, however, the little newsboy pushed his way in with:
"Say, boss, did yer mean ter guv me de twenty?" Addicks nodded a
good-natured assent, and his friends registered silently a white mark to
his score, and felt that, after all, somewhere beneath the surface he
was more of the right sort than they had given him credit for being.
After dinner, as they left, the newsboy again approached. "'Scuse me,
boss, but me chum 'd like ter t'ank yer too. I'm goin' ter give him a V
outter it." Addicks looked at the boy in his mildly cold way and said:
"Let me have that bill. I will change it for you." The boy gave it up,
and Addicks, after methodically placing it in his purse, handed him back
a $2 bill with: "That's what you lost, isn't it? And you" (to the
second little fellow, who by this time had mapped out visions of new
duds for the kids and a warm seat in the gallery of a Bowery theatre),
"you didn't lose anything, did you? Well, both of you run along now!"

His friends looked at each other, and from their slates wiped away the
white mark and replaced it with a deep, broad, black one. And yet
Addicks had made good the loss--done a good deed, but in an--Addicks
way. I should perhaps remark that J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks has never
smoked, nor used a swear-word, nor taken liquor in any form.

During the Addicks gas campaign in Boston one of his lieutenants
demanded as his share of the deal a large amount of money, which he
claimed Addicks was withholding from him. Addicks refused to pay.
Friends and associates urged him to settle. While yet refusing, he
agreed to meet this man at one of the leading hotels in the presence of
counsel and lieutenants. The interview was a hot one. Addicks surprised
all by his absolute fearlessness in the face of a savage attack, which
culminated in the production of a document signed by certain
Massachusetts legislators, wherein they receipted for the bribe money
Addicks had paid for their votes. The man who claimed he was being
cheated threatened this would be laid before the Grand Jury the
following day. All the witnesses were dumfounded at the situation and in
concert begged Addicks to hush the matter up by paying what was claimed.
"Gentlemen," said this great financier, "my honor, my business and my
personal honor, has been assailed, and rather than submit to this
outrage I would die! I now ask you all to bear witness that under no
circumstances will I pay to this man a single dollar!" And he
indignantly left the meeting.

While his counsel and associates were appalled at what might be the
outcome, they admired Addicks' manly pluck, and asked themselves if they
had not, after all, been mistaken in their estimates of his courage and
principle. In the middle of the same night, the man with the document
was surprised by a telegram reading: "Meet me in Jersey City to-morrow
sure with paper; keep absolutely secret." Next day in Jersey they met,
and Addicks simply said: "There is the full amount. Give me the paper.
You don't suppose I would compound a felony in the State in which it was
committed, and before witnesses, do you?"

In the national election of 1896 J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks was a
candidate for the United States Senate in Delaware, and for a variety of
reasons was anxious to secure a Republican victory. Within the State,
however, the real contest was not over national issues, but to obtain
control of the Legislature which in the following January had to elect a
United States Senator. There were three factions, the Democrats and two
wings of the Republicans, the Addicks and anti-Addicks parties, the
latter calling themselves "regulars." On Election Day Addicks used an
even $100,000 buying votes, and that evening Delaware was safe for
McKinley--both the "regulars" and the men whom Addicks' money bought
having voted for a Republican President. But it was early bruited around
that if the vote of Sussex County (there are three counties in
Delaware--Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex) were allowed to stand as
received, all Addicks' efforts to control the Legislature would have
been fruitless and his "made dollars" expended for nothing. The ex-flour
dealer of Philadelphia was not satisfied to accept the people's sacred
verdict. He quickly called his lieutenants together, mapped out a
campaign of almost reckless audacity and daring, and assigned his best
men to its execution.

The ballot-boxes with their contents were in the sheriff's charge and
stored under lock and key in the court-house. The sheriff was an Addicks
tool. At midnight he turned over his charge to one of the would-be
statesman's trustiest lieutenants, who, with the aid of a lantern and a
slip of paper containing the directions, sorted over the legal ballots,
threw some out, and put in new ones. When another sun arose the
dastardly outrage upon the American elective franchise had been
completed, and Addicks was busily scheming to carry out the remainder of
the plot. On the declaration which he or one of his associates would
make, that there had been fraud in Sussex County, the Government at
Washington must send on an investigating committee to whom it would be
asserted that the voting lists had been doctored by the Democrats. To
prove it the boxes would be opened, the ballots counted, and lo! the
villany of the Democrats would be, beyond contradiction, demonstrated.

But the scheme was an Addicks scheme. Had it been the plot of any other
man with the brains, the nerve, and the lack of principle to concoct it
and set it in motion, inevitably it would have been carried through to
the designed conclusion. As it was, this is what happened: The
lieutenant who had charge of the actual commission of the crime
thoughtlessly chuckled over the details of it with another, and this
other "in the presence of witnesses" laughingly congratulated Addicks on
his plan's success. What was the astonishment of the group to hear the
candidate for the Senate say: "Gentlemen, I could not countenance such a
transaction. This is the first I have heard of it, and it is so
outrageously criminal that I refuse to allow it to proceed further.
There will be no investigation, and if it is a fact that those ballots
have been changed in the box, the ones who changed them shall receive no
benefit from their nefarious work. I have spoken."

Mind you, every member of the group was a party to the scheme and had
been carefully rehearsed in the part assigned him by Addicks himself,
but alone, that is, without witnesses; nevertheless so earnest and
apparently honest was the man in his protest that for an instant they
doubted their senses--until they remembered it was Addicks.

The investigation was never held, and to this day Addicks' lieutenants,
especially he who did the midnight work and who still lives in the
peaceful State of Delaware, turn with disgust when Addicks' daring is
mentioned.

It should be explained here that, whenever Addicks plans an illegal
transaction--one for which he might be made civilly or criminally
liable--he invariably coaches each of his accomplices alone, "without
witnesses." And when it becomes necessary in developing the plot to have
a confab, at which the several parties to the proceeding must meet,
Addicks is most careful to preserve a legal semblance of ignorance of
incriminating details. At intervals, when a danger-place in the
discussion is approaching, he will get up from his seat and, moving to
the door, will say: "Gentlemen, halt right there, until I step out of
the room; tap at the door when you are over that bad spot, and I will
return."

Addicks' "Wait until I step out of the room" is as familiar among his
coworkers as the "I am going upstairs" is among the "Standard Oil"
family.

Try to conjure before your mind's eye a picture of the anomalous character
these instances suggest. I'll warrant your mental image as little
resembles the original Addicks as Mr. Hyde did Dr. Jekyll in the story. He
does not look the part assigned him here, nor any other part for that
matter. I saw him coming toward me on State Street one summer day some
years ago, a tall, wiry man, in a white-flannel suit, perfect in fit and
spotless as snow, wearing a fine Panama hat. This was in the period before
Panamas were commonly worn. He was to the life the elegant and luxurious
Southern planter of ante-bellum days. Six months afterward in about the
same place I saw approaching me a splendid person in rich sable outer
garments who looked for all the world like an exiled Russian grand duke.
It was Addicks in winter. You will not surprise his secret from that
pleasant, rather ambiguous, but square-jawed face, nor from the mouth
hidden under a long, drooping, gray, military mustache. His is a
good-sized, well-shaped head, you might say, and the gray, shallow eyes
that look out at you are almost merry in their glances. But they are
inscrutable eyes which seem to have a challenge in their gaze, a sort of
"look-me-over-as-long-as-you-like-and-you'll-never-guess-what's-under-the-surface"
expression that is baffling and provocative. Yet this sybarite, this
daring coward, this stingy prodigal, this sincere hypocrite, this
extraordinary blending of contradictory qualities, is the man who from
1887 to 1892 made Boston look like the proverbial country gawk at
circus-time.

Power the man certainly has, and of a distinct quality, yet his
intimates cannot explain the reason of their obedience to him. After a
brief acquaintance he is revealed as the very soul of insincerity--he
"works" his friends, he pays toll to his enemies, he frankly shows
himself without the sense of moral obligation. I believe his talent
resides in his capacity to select the proper type of man to "make rich"
in the illicit schemes his abnormal mind conceives. These coworkers of
his are of different grades; some have a super-abundance of cash; others
a desire to get it--in common are their lack of principle and dearth of
brains. Addicks cannot do business long with men of real ability, nor
does he understand them, whereas he can read the minds of his ordained
victims as if they were an open book. The big men who have encountered
or been associated with Addicks are prone to characterize him as a
mountebank, a joker, or a chump.



CHAPTER X

ADDICKS COMES TO BOSTON


J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks was born in Philadelphia in 1841, and was
in the eighties plodding along the ordinary, uneventful path of a seller
of flour to the people of that city which since the death of William
Penn holds the record for the highest and densest percentage of sleep
per capita of any English-speaking community.

In the eighties two things happened that changed the whole course of J.
Edward O'Sullivan Addicks' life. Some one invented water-gas and "let
in" Addicks on the invention; and the Philadelphia branch of the
"Standard Oil," represented by Widener, Elkins, and Dolan, "trustified"
the gas companies of the city of Chicago, which enabled Addicks to "hold
up" the "trustification" until Dolan and Dolan's associates paid him the
sum of $300,000 for the instrument with which he had done the holding
up, $10,000 worth of the stock of one of the necessary Chicago
companies.

The law of compensation, which gets in its deadly work on all the
prettiest plans of man, but decreed that what goes up must come down
when it ceases going up. It has a shrewd trick of grafting sorrows on
our joys, and of handicapping success with discomfiting conditions. The
favorite of fortune whose feet have fallen in pleasant places sooner or
later stubs his toe.

Addicks' first "made dollars" certainly came easy--so easy, indeed, that
those who watched his early career marvelled at his success; but nowhere
on God's footstool is there to-day a more terrible illustration of the
inevitable workings of the law of compensation than the present
standing of J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks affords.

The thief whose first excursion into a wayfarer's pocket is rewarded
with the equivalent of days and nights of honest labor will surely be
convinced thereafter of the superiority of theft over toil as a means of
money-getting. Invariably the manufacturer of "made dollars," after his
first coup, forsakes forever after the cold arithmetic of commerce for
the rule of guess, dream, hope, and "I will," which constitutes the
mathematics of high finance. Addicks' first "made dollars" came with
such magical ease that there awoke in his slumbering substitute for a
soul a disgust for those prosaic pursuits at which one could never, try
how one might, make more than four by the addition of two and two. He
probably argued to himself: "Why should I work in the flour business
when I know a way of getting overnight more than I can make out of flour
in a lifetime? If people are so simple in guarding their savings that I
can by a trick take away from them enormous wealth without the slightest
danger to my own safety or my profit, even if detected, why should I not
devote my life to such healthful and profitable occupation?" The logic
of the proposition was convincing. Accepting its conclusions, J. Edward
O'Sullivan Addicks, of Philadelphia, embarked on his career. Soon
afterward he discovered gas in Boston.

This was in 1887. Equipped with his "made dollars" for capital, his
impressive name, sublime effrontery, and a pedigree free from anything
suggestive of his new purpose in life, the ex-flour merchant "lit" into
our everything-figured-out-ahead-and-every-promise-made-taken-at-par
town of Boston. To appreciate the lights and shadows of this event, one
should know Boston and, at the same time, Addicks. Every country boy
will remember Tom Hood's poem beginning:

    I remember, I remember the house where I was born,
    With the little lattice window where the sun came peeping in at morn,

and can recall milking-time in July or August when, sitting on the
rail-fence surrounding the barn-yard, he watched the pigeons snipping
up grain, the old hen scratching up worms for the chicks, the ducks and
the drakes and the geese and the ganders proudly waddling back and
forth, among and around the fluffy ducklings and goslings, and the
bull-pup sound asleep by the side of the tortoise-shell cat. Probably he
will think of some particular milking-time when the calm, contented
serenity of the barn-yard was suddenly disturbed by the unexpected
descent in its midst of a neighboring peacock, who, apparently
unconscious of the consternation produced by his entry, proceeded
proudly to spread his dazzling plumage to convince every one, from Uncle
Cy, on the milking-stool, and mild-eyed Bess, down to the white
fan-tailed dove, that he was--It.

Conjure up the picture--the peacock at milking-time in the farm-yard;
thus Addicks came to Boston--though it is far from my intention to
identify the bucolic background I have drawn with the Hub of the
Universe.

Boston, up to this time, had been singularly free from the mushroom
variety of millionaire which had sprung up overnight in such numbers in
New York and Philadelphia. Proudly defiant of a product so alien to all
her traditions, her citizens would have sworn that no votary of modern
high finance could exist over one curfew-toll within her gates. For
Boston had her own financial eminence, of a character in keeping with
the chill conditions of conservatism and rectitude appropriate to the
metropolis of the New England conscience. She had her Stock Exchange,
her numerous great corporations, her scores of single and
multimillionaires, and it was her boast that her capital had played the
greatest legitimate part in the country's growth. She had furnished a
large percentage of the money which had created our vast Western railway
system; she had found and made the superb copper-mines of Michigan and
Montana, and in all parts of the land branches of her sturdy
institutions were vitally assisting the miracle of America's
development. Notwithstanding what these wide-flung enterprises imply of
commercial push and audacity, Boston, at the time Addicks discovered gas
there, was one of the most trusting wealth-investing communities in the
world. She had her simple rules of business conduct which years of
usage had consecrated into all-powerful precedent, but her brokers and
capitalists, however fearful of all things quick or tricky, had never
previously figured as candidates for what in Western parlance are
described as "come-ons."



CHAPTER XI

HOW ADDICKS CAPTURED BOSTON GAS


At the time Addicks "lit" in Boston that city numbered among her
proudest possessions several extremely rich gas companies, and they were
owned by her "best people." To do business with Boston's "best people"
is no easy task, and up to the advent of Addicks, to do business with
her "best people" without doing it through others of her "best people"
who could absolutely vouch for you was an unheard-of thing. The manner
in which the ex-flour merchant of Philadelphia managed to slip by the
barriers and into the heart of our blue-blooded citadel affords the most
unparalleled example of audacity of which I know.

In many ways Boston is unlike other great American cities. Some of her
institutions through antiquity or association have acquired a positive
sanctity. Pedigree is important. The average inhabitant spends much of
his time watching the grandson of his neighbor's father, to see the old
man's characteristics crop out in him. The boy's failures will be
remembered against his own offspring fifty years hence. It is a city of
long memories and of traditions. In 1887 Boston, as now, consisted
largely of her traditions, her blue-glass window-panes and her Somerset
Club.

Now the distinction, sanctity, and antiquity of the Somerset Club are
quite beyond peradventure. Since Boston has been Boston she has had her
Somerset Club, a club distinctively of grandfathers, fathers, and sons.
The right to membership in the Somerset Club is as much the inheritance
of a Somerset man's son as his name or as the proud title which always
will be found affixed to his signature when he reaches man's estate, "of
Boston." For a man to get into the Somerset without long years of
waiting and intense scrutiny, not only of his own record but of his
parents' before him, is a rare event. Yet the name of J. Edward
O'Sullivan Addicks was up for full membership, with Boston's picked best
for his sponsors, a few days after he "lit." How Addicks got upon the
Somerset list Boston will never tell, and the mention of the fact
nowadays within the club-house will empty its sideboard instanter.

The campaign of arrangement for the advent of Addicks in Boston was more
elaborate, more astute and expensive than was ever organized for
exploitation of prima donna or great pianist. For months an advance
agent had been preparing the way for his chief's arrival in a blaze of
glory. There was talk in the papers and among the financiers about the
wonderful water-gas process which enormously enhanced the profits of
gas-making, and such rumor was always linked with the name of the
brilliant Philadelphia Gas King, for so the press had already dubbed
him. A wonder and magic immensely provocative of curiosity were woven
about the identity of this J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, who it was said
might be persuaded to visit Boston to work marvels with the stocks that
had been "in the family" long before the present generation could
remember. When it was sure that the great man was really coming the
agent sought the advice of Boston's best in selecting quarters for him.
In the Tudor, a beautiful family hotel adjoining the Somerset Club on
Beacon Hill, a magnificent suite of apartments was taken, and though the
great man could remain in Boston but a brief space, the furniture, the
hangings, and even the carpets were all changed for him.

Eminent financial tricksters have various ways of handling their
victims. Some believe that the most skilful mode of attack is the slow,
confident, dignified approach which allays the subject's fears by its
solemn display of deliberation. Others (and Addicks is of this creed)
are persuaded of the superior efficacy of the "rush-in-and-drag-out"
method. The subject, they say, "gives up" more and quicker when the
hurry call is sounded. It was a winter's day when Addicks "lit" in
Boston, and circumstances had arisen, the suave advance agent told
various Boston's best, with whom he was in consultation, that would make
his chief's stay much briefer than either had anticipated. So when the
great man arrived at the club just before dinner, quite an array of
important people were congregated there.

Addicks ran the gantlet of the critical glances of as critical a group
as you'll find on earth, and the word went round--no one could remember
afterward who started it--"Typical Southern gentleman! Breeding sticking
out everywhere!" So well had the astute advance agent done his work that
a little dinner was arranged on the spot, and Addicks made such rapid
progress with these reserved and conservative Bostonians that, by the
time coffee was served, conversation had reached the stage where it was
natural for him to send the waiter to the coat-room for his bunch of gas
papers. The emissary returned bringing the fur overcoat with which
Addicks always envelops himself in chilly weather. Addicks searched the
pockets, and, apparently to his surprise, discovered that they did not
contain the required documents, but where they should have been he found
a small bale of 1,000-dollar government bonds, containing, one of the
party said afterward, at least one hundred certificates. "How careless
of my secretary!" said Addicks, nonchalantly replacing the packet in the
pocket and motioning the waiter to take the overcoat away again.

It was, of course, due to the admirable work of his advance agent that
these Monte Cristo effects impressed the cultured little set who would
have laughed to scorn such a display on the part of one of their own
kind. In Addicks it was the dazzling eccentricity of the wonder-worker,
and so excusable; and the free, flash, careless exhibit of wealth made
the man's conversation and subsequent demands seem natural. Next
morning, in discussing the work of the previous evening with his
lieutenant, Addicks delivered himself of the wise remark: "Finance, my
boy, like theatricals, is dependent for success on the staging, more
even than on the actor. My experience has shown me that men the world
over are alike--if you properly surround them, they will hiss at hissing
time and clap at applauding time; yes, upon the way you stage your
finance plays depends their success." The fact is that by no other
method could this scenic artist of finance have set his plans moving so
rapidly. The man had calculated to a nicety on the romantic cupidity he
aroused.

After dinner, Addicks at once "got down to business": "Gentlemen, my
project is as simple as it is feasible and conservative, for I will
touch nothing but conservative enterprises. Gentlemen, you have three
great gas companies supplying this great city with light, the Boston,
Roxbury, and South Boston. They are worth at the present time about five
million dollars. I am going to buy them and spend three or four millions
more on a new company; then I shall consolidate the four and turn them
from coal into water-gas companies, which will sell gas to your people
at less than they now pay, and at the same time make a lot of money for
you and for myself. What do you say?"

This was certainly quick action. Boston's best was breathless for a
minute. Then some one suggested that in so weighty a matter it would be
necessary for solicitors to investigate, for the families owning the
stock to be consulted and agree before a proper basis could be arrived
at on which to dispose of their holdings.

Addicks' genius was equal to the occasion. "I regret, gentlemen, any
seeming haste, but this is the situation: I am going to invest fifteen
or twenty millions, or perhaps thirty or forty, in city gas properties,
and as the project will require quite a bit of financiering, I have got
to round it up at once, in time to slip over to London to lay it before
my associates, ----, ----, and ----" (naming some of the great English
lords of finance), "with whom you, gentlemen, are probably well
acquainted. I think you will, after you have given the matter a little
thought, agree with me that it would be a mistake to postpone the
conversion of these magnificent Boston plants to the water-gas system
until after other cities I have in mind are reconstructed. You see we
can turn over but one city at a time, the system being new and competent
engineers and builders few."

The painful thought took shape in the minds of the distinguished little
gathering that if they were not careful, Monte Cristo might actually
slip out of their town without working any of the promised golden
marvels.

"Just what is your idea, Mr. Addicks, of how this gigantic piece of
business could be done?" one asked.

"Simple, simple"--the great Colonel Sellers of eye-water fame never
looked more cool and unconcerned when calling attention to the facts,
"100,000,000 of people, two eyes each, a bottle of my patent eye-wash
for each at a dollar a bottle, and eye-wash made at a net cost of a dime
a barrel"--"simple, simple; you name your price, I pay it, and the thing
is done."

Some one pointed out that the gas properties were valued very high. That
in the Boston, for instance, the par value of each share was $500--and
that it was improbable Mr. Addicks could buy it for less than--than
eight hundred.

"Of course, of course; I am not buying gas companies that are not well
thought of by their present owners," returned Addicks. "I think you
underestimate the value of the Boston Company's stock when you say $800.
Naturally, as a conservative business man I wish to buy as reasonably as
possible, but as I know what the future of your company will be under
the water-gas change, I consider $1,000 a share cheap; and if you say
so, will take it now--majority, minority and all--at that price."

This was strong talk. In spite of their proverbial frigidness under all
conditions, Boston's best began to get fidgety.

"Indeed," went on the Monte Cristo from Philadelphia, "I'll do better
than that. On second thought I will give you $1,200 a share. Think it
over and we'll have another sit-down to-morrow."

It took Addicks but a few days to trade, for at each sitting the staging
was more enticing and the call from his associates in London more
insistent. Minor difficulties were magnificently waved away. A number of
scions of Boston's best families had good paying positions in the
different companies; what would Mr. Addicks do with them?

"Simple, simple," he replied; "double the time of contract and the
salary; no favor to them or you; good men are very hard to get, you
know."

One episode that occurred about this time was allowed to get into print
when the stocks and bonds were being floated, by way of showing what a
tremendous fellow Addicks was. In a hired hack he had driven up to the
club from State Street. A snow-storm was raging. After Addicks had been
in the club a few moments word was brought in to him that the driver had
found his sable overcoat inside the carriage. Addicks stepped into the
vestibule to speak to the driver, and next day it was all over the
club-house and through the "Street" that the prodigal Philadelphian,
overcome at the thought of the unfortunate driver in his scanty clothing
exposed to the cruel storm, had said: "My good man, take that coat as a
present from me."

For the truth of the story I do not vouch, nor for that other which
explains that the door-boy who spread this tale of generosity said
afterward, when discharged, that Addicks himself had told him what he
had done, and at the same time had given him a five-dollar bill. He
would have sworn the moment before that he heard Addicks tell the driver
to take the coat to his apartments.

Addicks got what he came to Boston for--the Boston, Roxbury, and South
Boston Gas companies. He did what he said he would, built a new one, the
Bay State of Massachusetts, and turned them all into the Bay State of
Delaware, and the Bay State of Delaware turned them out on the public in
exchange for their savings to the extent of $19,000,000 in the form of
bonds and stock. Addicks, to use his own language, "cleaned up around
$7,000,000," and turned to new fields, fields suited to his peculiar
genius.

As he looked over the United States he found but one great city which
had not already been captured by "Standard Oil" or some of its
disciples--Brooklyn, N. Y. To the present day Rogers swears Addicks'
only reason for coming to Brooklyn was to hold up the "Standard Oil"
"trustification." Addicks retorts with: "I saw it first." Whatever the
facts, in 1892 Rogers in the midst of tagging the different companies
was surprised and angered to find that Addicks had slipped in ahead and
had secured one of those necessary to the success of his plan. He
quickly served notice on the man from Delaware to "git," and Addicks,
flushed with an unbroken chain of victories, as promptly returned the
notice with, scrawled across its face, a variation of Rogers' pet
phrase--for it must be remembered Addicks never "cusses"--"I'll see you
in heaven first."

If there is any one time when Henry H. Rogers is quicker of action than
any other, it is when his notice to "git" in a stock deal has been
returned with "sass."

The ink was hardly dry on Addicks' answer before the Master of "Standard
Oil" and his hosts were upon him, but not where the Philadelphian looked
for them. While he awaited their attack in Brooklyn, N. Y., he received
a series of hurry-up calls from his lieutenants in Boston. Rogers had
bought the insignificant Brookline Gas Company, which supplied gas to
one of the suburbs of Boston. It was only a $300,000 affair, but it
possessed charter rights to come into any and all of the streets of
Boston. This was a characteristic "Standard Oil" attack. It came out of
a clear sky, and before the public had even a warning of it they were
witnessing a war which looked as though it had been years in maturing.
Rogers let it become public knowledge that the entire "Standard Oil"
forces were to be brought to bear to crush Addicks and that untold
millions would, if necessary, be spent in the effort. In reality he had
most carefully mapped out a cyclonic campaign which he believed would
not call for an expenditure of over $500,000, and which he was sure
would in a few months drive Addicks out of Brooklyn, N. Y., and bring
him to his knees in Boston. His fight began in earnest in 1894. Gas in
Boston was $1.25 per thousand cubic feet, and the rate yielded a good
profit to the Addicks companies. Rogers served notice that he would
parallel with the Brookline Company every pipe of the different Boston
companies and would reduce the price of gas to $1. Simultaneously he
attacked the Addicks stocks and bonds in the market, his charters in the
Legislature, and took away from him the contracts to supply the
municipality of Boston with gas. For a time Addicks struck back
savagely. Then, as the fight became hotter, he gave it up in Brooklyn,
and concentrated all his resources on repelling the savage inroads
Rogers was making in Boston. By this time the contest had grown to such
proportions and so much bad blood had been engendered that Rogers
declined to be mollified by Addicks' surrender in Brooklyn and refused
to retire from Boston unless Addicks repaid "Standard Oil's" entire
outlay and got down on his knees in public--a demand that called forth
one of Addicks' sardonic smiles.

Addicks had at this time additional difficulties to face. He had spread
out his financial commitments, and now he found his stocks and bonds all
declining. It was obvious to State and Wall streets that Rogers was in a
fair way to drive the buccaneer from Philadelphia to the wall.

It is at this stage that I come into the story.



CHAPTER XII

STOCK-BROKERS NOT ALL BAD


Right here, before plunging deeper into the current of events which led
to the organization of Amalgamated--for what has gone before is only
that which I deem necessary setting for the story, necessary in order
that my readers may clearly take in its meaning--it is only fair to them
and to myself for me to say that my life has been spent in the
stock-market for the purpose of gain. I have never in my stock
operations set myself up for a philanthropist nor in any way posed as a
reformer, nor pretended to be a bit better than the business I had
chosen for a livelihood. From the first day until now I have endeavored
to keep strictly to the principle that I would never knowingly deceive
any man, woman, or child who, out of confidence in me, risked their
money in speculation or investment. At the same time it should be
remembered that the stock-brokerage business often makes queer
bedfellows. Moreover, the true stock-operator is sometimes tempted to
buckle on his armor and get into an exciting fight solely for the
combat's sake, and then he may not be over-concerned about the rights
and wrongs of the contention, if upon both sides are lined up
professional captains of finance. The minister, the college professor,
the dry-goods merchant, may exclaim against this, but they have never
known the delicious tingle which, since the abolition of the tournaments
of old, can be felt only on the great financial battlefields. If the
critics of the stock-gambler could be put through a single minute of a
thousand I have known they would be less brash in their denunciations.
And let it be remembered that in these terrific dollar-wars there is as
much opportunity for heroism, for generosity, for kindly deeds, as ever
physical fighting affords. I read here in the papers of the noble act
of a captain in the navy who has taken his life in his hands; in another
place of a rich man who has given a million to create a charity. On the
same page that these men are eulogized I will find references to "Jim
Keene, the stock-gambler," etc., "heartless, soulless stock-sharp," etc.
"Jim Keene, Stock-gambler," keeps no press agent to flaunt his kindly
acts, but from the noble things I know he has done, and the things
others with whom I am personally acquainted know he has done--men,
women, and children saved from misery, pain, and death, at the risk of
ruin to himself--I'll warrant the celestial scroll shows to his record
as many deeds of mercy and noble daring as are credited to any soldier
or philanthropist who has achieved worldly fame in recent years.

The desire for sudden wealth is strong in all parts of our American
community. Men want money, and women too, for a score of reasons--some
good, some bad--and the stock-market is the magical place where miracles
occur and dollars multiply themselves overnight. The agent for all the
cupidity of the world is the stock-broker, and he sees life from a
strange angle.

Hundreds of letters come to me daily from all kinds of people, who have
no other call upon me than their belief that, having at some previous
time profitably followed my advice or advice credited to me, they have a
right, when "the papers say" I am doing or going to do this, that, or
the other thing in stocks, to come to me with their troubles. In 1899
there reached me from a woman a picture of her husband, herself, her
three children, and the aged father and mother of her husband. I wish I
might print it, but I dare not through fear that they would be
recognized. The letter accompanying it was one of the most touchingly
pathetic I have ever read. I investigated the case. The statements made
were absolutely true. The woman's husband was the cashier of one of the
small national banks in one of the old towns in a New England State. His
father's brother had been cashier before him. The family's past was
thickly strewn with all those simple honors and good things which are so
often the heritage of families of the old, self-respecting,
God-fearing, middle-class communities of New England and like
long-settled sections of the country. On his death-bed the uncle
confessed that for years he had carried upon the books of the bank a
shortage which had arisen from mistakes. Her husband, to keep the
family's name from stain, had continued to keep this buried, which was
an easy thing to do, as when he was moved up from teller to cashier at
his uncle's death the two positions were combined into one. The wife
explained that her husband had let her into the fearful secret, and
together they had carried it until it had eaten its way into their
hearts. At last the man could no longer stand the strain. He had
followed my printed sayings about the market, and now had made the fatal
plunge. He had bought upon margin 2,000 shares of Sugar stock to see if
it were not possible to make up quickly a shortage of over $20,000,
because I had said Sugar was going right up; and then horror of worse
than death had seized the wife and she had given me the awful secret,
and a description, a word picture of what would happen if I had made a
mistake.

She could go no further. She did not need to. I read the letter. I saw
the picture, and even I, who believed myself from long years of
experience with such affairs immune--I, too, became horror-stricken. It
was no affair of mine. I had not said Sugar was going up; as is often
the case, some newspaper had printed what another operator had said and
credited it to me. I was not even operating in Sugar, nor at the time
particularly interested in it. I could not return the letter nor have
any communication with these persons without in a way becoming their
accomplice. The woman had said that with the purchase her husband had
given orders to sell the stocks at twelve points' rise.

Try as I might to look at the matter in a cold-blooded business way the
picture haunted me--the old gentleman proud of his family's long record
of sturdy honesty, the old mother's faith in her boy, the wife seeing on
each of her children the brand of a felon father, and the husband
watching each day's market prices to see whether they had brought him a
verdict which meant State's prison or permanent relief from the
haunting fear which had become his never-absent shadow; and I read and
reread the closing lines of the faithful wife: "Mr. Lawson, you will put
Sugar up?--you surely will, just this once--and we will teach the
children to pray for you and yours, and God answers this kind of
prayers, you know He does."

The picture haunted me; I saw it in the market prices; I heard the story
in each tick of the ticker and each rustle of the tape; and every time
my eye caught "SUG," the stock-exchange abbreviation for Sugar, I
winced, as one does at the dentist's probe--well, I could not stand it.
I determined to put up Sugar--that is, I determined to try. Little the
woman knew what she asked when she wrote: "You will put up Sugar?" She
had read that a stock operator works magic, but it had never entered her
head that his wand was a stick of dynamite a thousand times
concentrated--a stick of dynamite that the law of stock-market averages
shows goes off in his hand nine out of every ten times it is handled,
and that when it goes off there is nothing more for the handler but the
minister, the flowers, and the head-stone; indeed, often the explosion
leaves nothing with which to buy even a head-stone! Little she thought
that it might strain the wealth of the Bank of England to move Sugar up
twelve points. I moved it up, and it went so easy--oh, so easy!
that--well, I will let the first description I pick from my scrap-book
from among a hundred from the daily press tell the story:

     [From the _Boston Journal_, March 17, 1899]

     LAWSON'S LUMP

     HIS COFFEE SWEETENED WITH QUARTER OF A MILLION--MADE IT IN
     SUGAR THURSDAY IN TWO HOURS' TRADING

     A quarter of a million in a day!

     That was Thomas W. Lawson's record for March 16, 1899.

     The celebrated "Unthroned King of State Street" was on top
     of the Sugar market; that is the reason of it all.

     Sugar was the big card of stock speculation yesterday.

     Indeed, the stock had one of the wildest days in its
     history, and its high price--$170--reached amid great
     excitement--is the highest on record. The speculation was
     something tremendous, and it has been through the
     speculation that the people who have been under the
     impression that the markets were drifting into a dull and
     uninteresting condition have had a sudden awakening.

     From the opening it quickly advanced to 149, receded a point
     or more, and shortly after noon started sharply upward. The
     demand for it came so rapidly that the tape could not keep
     up with it, and the excitement grew as the demand increased.
     The scenes on the floors of both the New York and local
     boards were most exciting. Blocks of 500 and 1,000 shares
     changed hands frequently, and at one time the quotation in
     the Boston market was fully four points behind that of the
     New York list. The small army of shorts scrambled to get
     covered up, and everybody was in a fever of wild excitement
     over the marvellous movement. Before it had culminated the
     price reached 170, or a gain of twenty-nine points over the
     opening--the most remarkable display of strength in so short
     a period of time that this remarkable stock has ever shown.

     Broker Lawson did the buying, and while the excitement was
     running high he bought freely. He had taken 20,000 shares
     all told before the advance had fairly gotten under way at
     from 143-1/2 to 144. At 170 he gave an order to sell 20,000
     shares at a limit of 155, and obtained an average of over
     160, thereby netting an estimated snug profit of $250,000 or
     more within two hours. Asked as to whether the strength in
     Sugar meant a settlement of the Sugar war, Mr. Lawson smiled
     and said: "There has never been any Sugar war."

     The conservative people on the Street are disposed to regard
     the whole movement as a piece of clever manipulation.

            *       *       *       *       *

     [From the _Boston Herald_, March 16, 1899]

     Mr. Thomas W. Lawson was the mover in the deal, and his
     orders for 20,000 shares early in the day excited other
     buying, which encompassed the astonishing rise. What point
     Mr. Lawson had to trade upon is his own asset, if he had any
     point, and it would not matter so far as the event was
     concerned whether he had a point. The market was in a
     position to respond to orders of these dimensions, and it
     did respond.

            *       *       *       *       *

     [From the _New York Journal_, March 17, 1899]

     The frenzied brokers fought like madmen around the Sugar
     post. The wildest sort of excitement prevailed throughout
     the day. The rest of the floor was practically abandoned,
     and brokers crowded, pushed, elbowed, and yelled frantically
     in their efforts to fill orders. There was no warning. The
     sudden jump of the stock almost threw the brokers into a
     panic. Men became ferocious in their efforts to fill orders.
     Those on the outside made wild rushes to get into the
     whirlpool. Men who are generally calm fell over each other
     in their excitement. Scores of arms whipped the air, and men
     yelled themselves hoarse. So great was the din and so
     compact the yelling crowd that those on one side of the post
     did not know the bidding on the other. At one point Sugar
     was going at 159, and five feet away it was bringing 164.
     While almost at arm's-length farther away it was going at
     160, and farther around the post at 162.

     The excitement became general among the offices of
     stock-brokers as the news flew on the ticker. Members of
     firms who were not on the floor gathered about the tickers
     in excited groups and watched the pyrotechnic fluctuations
     of Sugar to the exclusion of all other stocks. The
     quotations came out at two and three points apart. One
     minute the stock was away up, and the next it seemed to fall
     hopelessly. Then it would as suddenly soar upward again. It
     reached 170, and in five minutes it was down to 152.

            *       *       *       *       *

     [From the _Boston Post_, March 22, 1899]

     Late in the afternoon Mr. Lawson was induced to give the
     following explanation of his movements in Sugar: "You know
     it is not conducive to the health of an active operator to
     talk on what he is doing, for if he expects to retain his
     hirsute adornment he must either keep jumping so lively that
     none of the expert scalpers who haunt the jungles of Wall
     Street can find him long enough in one spot to cut the floor
     from under him, or he must envelop himself in mystery so
     dense that all seeking for him will grow color-blind; but on
     this particular commodity--Sugar--I can depart from the
     standard formula.

     "I have been twenty-nine years dodging the scalping-knives
     of Wall Street Comanches, and, although I am still here, I
     have many places on my head where the hair refuses to grow,
     and, strange to tell, almost all the bare spots are labelled
     'Sugar.' I suppose that I have, during the past ten years,
     contributed money enough to Sugar to endow a fair-sized
     asylum for tailless bears. It has never seemed to matter
     whether I bought or sold, went long or short, the dollars
     which I secured by the employment of pick and shovel, brawn,
     muscle or gray matter, all seemed to follow one another into
     the relentless maw of that modern Saccharine Titanotherium.

     "Way back in 1890 I invested the profits of my Lamson
     deal--$700,000--in 10,000 Sugar at 84, and in a few days,
     amid brilliant fireworks, I bade it adieu, when it
     gracefully dropped below 50. Again, four years ago, I
     decided I could make no better long-time investment of
     $700,000 or $800,000 Electric profits than to short Sugar
     from 61 to 70. In eleven days it took $1,500 more than my
     profits to even up my accounts.

     "Thinking these things over of late, I determined to make a
     final demand on astute and relentless Wall Street for my
     accumulated deposits--a kind of
     please-give-me-back-my-losses demand. I carefully loaded up
     two weeks ago to the extent of 20,000 Sugar in the thirties,
     and feeling the atmosphere was redolent of opportunities,
     last Friday I bought 20,000 more, the last 5,000 of which in
     a rather open and frank way that seemed but fair to my
     scalping New York friends. Well, you know the rest. It took
     fire. I cleaned up something over $700,000, and put out a
     short line of 30,000 shares, the last of which I have
     covered to-day at something over $350,000 profit. Strange as
     it may seem, I was quit. I have struck a balance with Sugar,
     and it gets no more of my money.

     "I am one of the few Bostonians who are contented to live in
     the knowledge that Wall Street is too big and bright and
     cute a metropolitan centre for country boys to monkey with,
     and you can say I am so tickled to get back my bait that I
     will never again, never, wander away from home. There is one
     moral that may be drawn by Wall and State streets from the
     last few days in Sugar. It is this: It is not necessary
     to-day, any more than it was in old days, to work deals with
     false stories or fakes. In doing what I did in Sugar I
     depended on no fakes nor stories. I simply followed Charley
     Osborne's old admonition: 'If you want to bull stocks, buy
     'em. If you want to bear 'em, sell 'em.' I bought 'em and I
     sold 'em. These are Sugar facts as far as my movements have
     affected them!"

For years after, even up to to-day, this yarn turned up in the press in
different parts of the world, and every time I read it I chuckled to
myself, for I see a big manly fellow, president of a bank now and asking
no odds of any, for he can buy 2,000 shares of Sugar at any time and
draw his check to pay for it against a bank account honestly earned
since the day his wife wrote that letter.

And I see a grateful mother teaching three youths to say a certain
prayer, and then I forget the critics' scathing sermons against stock
gamblers. It does not pain me when my own children ask, "Why do they say
such awful things about the stock operator?" I answer: "Oh, they mean no
harm; they don't know the stock gambler they write about."


ONE OF THE SYSTEM'S SHADOWS

That my readers may not drop this chapter with a false idea of the
results of the stock-broker's efforts to "live and let live," I will
give them an illustration of one of the counterbalances of the law of
compensations.

In the same year with the Sugar transaction, in an evil moment my mail
brought me the following letter:

     _Dear Sir_: I have read with interest your proclamations
     about "Coppers." I am not a rich man, but I have about
     $20,000 lying idle which I should like to add to, and will
     put it into anything you advise.

The writer received the following answer from my secretary:

     Mr. Lawson instructs me to say he received your letter of
     ---- and he knows no better investment than the stock of the
     Amalgamated Copper Company, which will be offered for public
     subscription next week. In the advertising which will
     accompany the offer you will note that it is to pay 8 per
     cent., is now earning 16, and should sell at $150 or $200
     per share. It will be offered at par. Not only does Mr.
     Lawson personally believe in every word in the
     advertisements, but they are vouched for by such men and
     institutions as the National City Bank of New York, Henry H.
     Rogers, William Rockefeller and others, whose names are
     synonymous with success in business affairs. Mr. Lawson does
     not hesitate to advise you to invest your $20,000 in this
     stock, provided you are not looking for an investment that
     is absolutely safe, that is, one that should not, in these
     times, pay you over 3-3/4 or 4 per cent.; but if you are
     looking for a semi-speculative investment, that is, one that
     will pay you over 6 per cent., and where the chances are
     good for large profits, he recommends this stock.

Later I received the following:

     Upon your advice I purchased 200 shares of the Amalgamated
     stock at $100 per share. When the stock dropped to 80,
     remembering your strong advice I purchased 300 shares more,
     and after it had advanced to 120, thinking it was surely
     going to the 150 or 200 you mentioned, I bought 1,000,
     putting up my 500 shares as margin. It has now dropped back
     to 100, and the many stories I read in the papers are
     causing me much anxiety. Do you still believe as you first
     wrote me?

To which he received the following answer:

     Mr. Lawson instructs me to say he received yours of ----.
     His faith in the Amalgamated property, the men who control
     and manage it, and the stock is the same as it always has
     been. He, like yourself, added to his holdings at 120, and
     as high as 129, and knowing what he does about the property,
     and what the men who control and manage it, and with whom he
     is intimately associated, say to him, he cannot believe the
     yarns which are appearing in the press are other than the
     vaporings of those stock-market critics who must write their
     opinions of prominent stocks even though they have no means
     of actually knowing anything about them.

     While Mr. Lawson regrets that you have spread yourself out,
     as you say in your letter, he can only answer your question
     by the above, to wit, his faith in Amalgamated is the same
     as from the beginning.

Later I received the following from one of the penal institutions of the
country:

     You will observe by the postmark on this letter my present
     place of residence. You probably knew that before, as the
     press has had much to say about me of late.

     I trust you and your associates are satisfied with
     yourselves when you observe the hell you have caused others.
     When I first wrote you about the Amalgamated stock I was an
     honest, prosperous man. I had never committed a crime nor
     done any great wrong to my fellow-beings. Relying upon what
     you said publicly and the well-known record of the
     Rockefellers and their partners, I committed acts which I
     now know to my everlasting sorrow I should not have
     committed. I had no intention of doing wrong, but when I saw
     ruin staring me in the face I used, as I supposed only
     temporarily, funds intrusted to me to protect my stocks from
     being slaughtered at declining prices by the sharks of
     brokers whom I dealt with. The rest is the old story. My
     wife and children are disgraced and oppressed with poverty,
     and I am serving a five years' sentence in this institution,
     buoyed up only with the hope that I may live to face you and
     your kind, that you may have the pleasure of seeing the
     wreck you have wrought--in the hope that I may satisfy a
     desire which night and day gnaws at my very soul, a desire
     to say to you, face to face: "Look upon a man who, although
     a branded criminal, is as much better than you and your
     associates as it is possible for one to be," and to ask you
     how your wife and your children enjoy the luxuries they have
     when they know at what price they were secured, for I shall
     surely, if I live, insist upon your wife and children
     hearing from my lips what agonies a wife and children, who
     are as dear to me as yours are to you, have suffered because
     of your baseness.



CHAPTER XIII

THE "SYSTEM" VERSUS WESTINGHOUSE


In 1894 I had just wound up one of the most strenuous and successful
financial campaigns I ever engaged in. This was the Westinghouse deal,
of which the papers were full at the time. George Westinghouse, to whom
the world owes the air-brake and countless improvements in electrical
machinery, having surmounted the difficulties that clog the early steps
of the inventor who would be his own master, had taken rank, some years
before, among the prominent public figures of the day. The various
corporations in America bearing his name had prospered amazingly; his
ingenious appliances had displaced home products in the European market;
and titles and decorations had been conferred on the inventor, though
these last, like the sturdy American he is, Westinghouse had put aside.

This great success was wholly the fruit of George Westinghouse's
personal endeavor. It owed nothing to extraneous influences. It had been
accomplished along those manly, independent, Yankee lines which have
made that name synonymous with hustle and success in every part of the
civilized world. Above all, the man had organized and developed his
companies without the aid of the "System" or without truckling to its
votaries. In consequence he had incurred the deadly hatred of some of
its lords paramount.

In the business world Westinghouse's great rival was the General Electric
Company. To mention "Westinghouse" and "General Electric" in the same
breath was to speak of a thing and its antithesis. Everything George
Westinghouse was or had been the General Electric was not and had never
been. The General Electric had been and was by leave of the "System"; in
fact, was one of the very foremost examples of its methods. Its
high-priest was J. Pierpont Morgan; its home, Wall Street; its owners, the
principal votaries of the "System." It had grown because of their favor
and by means of the rankest exhibitions of knock-down-and-drag-out methods
of consolidation of all competitors but--Westinghouse.

Just previous to 1894 Westinghouse had rejected a dazzling scheme of
uniting the two institutions on an immense capitalization which would
have absorbed millions and millions of the people's savings and earned
millions in commissions for its projectors. Wall Street's indignation at
his hardihood knew no bounds, and at the time of which I write the
yegg-men of the "System" were laying for him with dark-lantern and
sand-bag.

To appreciate the story of what the "System" tried to do to George
Westinghouse and what he withstood, one must know the man. He embodies
in many ways the conception of what the ideal American should be. His
remarkable six feet and odd of physique and his fertile, powerful brain
are the admiration of all true men with whom he comes in contact. In
spite of his unparalleled success and the accumulation of a great
fortune, he retains the same simplicity of manner and conduct that
characterized him when working at the bench for weekly wages, and with
all his shrewdness and force of character he has preserved a simple,
honest, childlike belief in humanity. Single-handed he conducted all his
great enterprises on a plain, patriarchal basis, using their revenues
for extensions, and depending on his faithful and well-satisfied
stockholders for such further accessions of capital as the business
might in his judgment need. About the time General Electric was most
anxious to bolster up its jerry-built structure with the solid
Westinghouse concern, the latter institution had begun the erection of
some big new plants which required immediately several millions
additional capital. Westinghouse prepared to apply to his stockholders
for the required funds, and the announcement was to be made at the
annual election soon due. Suddenly the financial sky became overcast.
The stock-market grew panicky and money as scare in Wall Street as rain
in Arizona in May. It was just such a situation as the "System" might
have brought about to accomplish its fell designs had it possessed the
power to work miracles.

And the "System" took care of its advantage. At a tense moment in that
soul and nerve trying period, with Wall and State streets full of talk
about General Electric's probable absorption of Westinghouse, General
Electric being then at its highest price, $119 per share, the Westinghouse
companies held their annual meetings and the big inventor, confidently
facing his stockholders, quite regardless of conditions which he thought
could have no possible bearing on his concern's splendid prospects, came
forward with his demand for the millions required to complete the projects
already under way. This was the signal. From all the stock-market
sub-cellars and rat-holes of State, Broad, and Wall streets crept those
wriggling, slimy snakes of bastard rumors which, seemingly fatherless and
motherless, have in reality multi-parents who beget them with a deviltry
of intention: "George Westinghouse had mismanaged his companies"; "George
Westinghouse, because of gross extravagance, had spread himself and his
companies until they were involved beyond extrication unless by
consolidation with General Electric"; these and many more seeped through
the financial haunts of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, and kept hot
the wires into every financial centre in America and Europe, where aid
must be sought to relieve the crisis. There came a crash in Westinghouse
stocks, and their price melted. From amidst the thunder and lowering
clouds emerged the "System." "Notwithstanding the black eye the name of
everything Westinghouse had received, it would stand by and consolidate
and save the day!" But the "System" and its everything-gauged-by-machinery
votaries had reckoned without their host. George Westinghouse was too
strong a man to be thus easily shaken down. He threw back his mighty
shoulders, shook his big head, and flung his great private fortune into
the market to stay the falling prices of his securities. The movement was
too strong against him at the moment, and his millions were but a
temporary help. He got on the firing-line himself and did a thousand and
one things that only a brave, honest, and democratic Yankee would or could
do--everything but accept the cunning aid offered him by the "System" or
its votaries. He knew too well that the friendly mask concealed a foe and
that the kid-gloved hand extended him had a dagger up its sleeve.

These were the conditions when I, as an expert in stock-market affairs,
was called in for assistance. Here was this sound, sturdy institution
standing for everything that was best and self-supporting in American
finance adrift on the Wall Street shoals, and it seemed almost a
hopeless task to attempt its rescue. But it was a task eminently worth
while, and I undertook it with all the energy I could command.

The problem was to restore the Westinghouse stocks to their former high
price, and, confidence being re-established, to sell the new treasury
stock at such a figure as would pay for the plants and other projects
the company had under way. The completion of these meant greatly
increased earnings and such an advance in facilities and economy of
manufacture as would surely seal the fate of General Electric if it
competed with Westinghouse under the new conditions. Small wonder
"Standard Oil's" whole strength was bent to force the alliance.

My fight had hardly begun when I saw it was to be opposed by all the
forces of General Electric and the "System," and I concluded defeat was
sure unless by a counter movement on their stock I could keep them so
busy that they would have no time to interfere with Westinghouse.
Thereupon I laid out that attack on everything connected with General
Electric which created so much consternation at the time. To this day,
if my enemies are asked to name the act which most conclusively
justifies their hatred of me, they will point to my terrible General
Electric raid. They will tell you I broke the stock from 118 to 56 in a
day, and thereby caused one of our most disastrous panics; that I
continued to hammer it to 20, that I compelled reorganization, and then
did not let up. They will show you that the misery and ruin I wrought
were beyond calculation. I will only say that, of any of the things I am
proud of having done, I am proudest of what I did in General Electric,
and, willingly, I would give over five years of my life to go through
the experience again.

It was a most arduous campaign, and our fate trembled many times in the
balance. By dint of hard, overtime work, and what my enemies were
pleased to call rank manipulation, we drove Westinghouse stock back to
its former price, after which a strong syndicate was formed to take the
new stock, and the righted institution at once magnificently swept on
its international career which to-day is at its height.

Though I had taken up the Westinghouse cause as a business venture and
its successful termination was most profitable to me, I had entered into
the campaign with the ardor of a lawyer defending a client unjustly
accused of a heinous crime. But there was this difference--if in spite
of his efforts the lawyer fails to convince the jury of his client's
innocence it means no detriment to his fortune or his reputation,
whereas all I had and was were involved in this stock-exchange struggle.
The great rewards that are the guerdon of success in financial fights
are balanced by the terrific consequences of defeat. The broker general
engaged in surrounding his enemy requires every dollar he and his
principals can pledge or beg, and where great forces are in conflict
millions are burnt up to seize any vantage, as Kuroki sacrifices a
regiment to gain a hill. I had won for myself as well as for
Westinghouse, but if the fortunes of the war had been on the other side,
I must certainly have been wiped out.



CHAPTER XIV

THE ALLIANCE WITH ADDICKS


It was part of my method of conducting my stock-brokerage business to
expose through the medium of the press or through market letters the
stocks of corporations I thought rotten. It was also my way to work up
bull campaigns in stocks that seemed to be selling for less than they
were worth. With Addicks or the "Standard Oil" I had no connection. I
had watched the Philadelphian's operations and had my eye marketwise on
his bonds and stock, particularly on his stock, which was 100,000 shares
of the Bay State Gas Company of Delaware, of a par value of fifty
dollars each, and which became very active in the market shortly after
it was created, at just under par. I thought I saw in the scheme the
ordinary, cold-blooded, stock-jobbing, unloading-on-the-public affair. I
had heard recounted the man's wonderful doings, particularly his
recklessness in the purchase of the Boston companies; I "sized up" his
mighty effort to be the tremendously rich good fellow as inspired by the
idea and the purpose of giving his "stuff" in the stock-market a good
send-off; and from the start I had put his property on my "to-be-watched
memoranda" as one I might at the proper time let daylight into.

I was tearing large strips from its values when Addicks' bankers, who
happened to be business friends of mine, sought to enlist me on their
side of the gas war. I remember expressing frankly my opinion about the
contestants and their contest at the time, stating that so far as
morality, fairness, or justice went I could see little to choose between
Addicks and "Standard Oil." I continued to "bear" the stock until one
day my banker friends brought me an earnest request from the Delaware
financier that I go to New York and talk things over with him.

On reaching New York--the two bankers and myself--we went directly to
Addicks' apartments at the Imperial Hotel. Although the fortunes of war
were rapidly crumbling this worthy's brilliant financial structure,
there were as yet no outward signs of disintegration. His beautiful
estate at Claymont, Del., his stock farm in the same State, his
town-house in Philadelphia, his $30,000 apartments in the Knickerbocker
on Fifth Avenue in New York, and the superbly furnished suite in the
Imperial, close by, all seemed to testify to the man's boundless
prosperity.

Memorable though this meeting was destined to be to both of us, my chief
sensation in approaching it was a certain curiosity as to the
personality of Addicks, whom I had seen, but had never spoken to. I knew
him to a "T" in my mind, but here was my opportunity to compare my
mental "sizing-up" with the real man. The apartment into which we were
ushered was of the low-burning-red-light, Turkish pattern. Addicks rose
from a great divan disturbing a pose which his white cricket-cloth suit
and the scarlet shadows made so stagy that I guessed it was for my
benefit. I looked him over, and he returned the inspection. After the
introduction he at once unlimbered his business gun.

"Let's get right down to business, Lawson," he began. "I wanted to meet
you to see if we could get together on any satisfactory basis."

I told him that that was my understanding of our meeting. Then he wanted
assurances that I had no connections with "Standard Oil" and that I was
free, sentimentally and commercially, to enlist in his fight. I replied
that I was a stock-broker and operator, and was looking for
opportunities; no one had strings on me, and provided he made
satisfactory terms I was free to join him; further, that when it came to
enlisting in a fight between two such financiers as Addicks and Rogers,
sentiment seemed to me out of place.

"That's right," he said. "That's what I like to hear. Now, Lawson, will
you take this fight of mine against 'Standard Oil'?"

"If you meet my terms, yes."

Addicks looked at me. "What do you want?" he asked. "Perhaps, though,
you'd first like to have me tell you how my affairs stand."

"I know sufficiently where you stand," I replied, "to name my terms
right now. If they are acceptable, I'll hear you tell where you stand
afterward. I'll take your fight for a cash commission of $250,000 and a
cash capital of $1,000,000, to be used in the market on joint account,
we to divide the profits of all operations."

Addicks smiled. "You are too high," he said. "I'll pay you $50,000
commission and give you $250,000 capital, and after I show you in what
good shape my fight now is and how near I am to victory, you'll agree
that the terms I offer are good pay and fair."

"Mr. Addicks," said I, "I have just time to get dinner, look in at the
theatre, and catch the midnight back to Boston. It is my business to
keep posted on such scrimmages as you are engaged in. If you and your
affairs are where I believe they are, the terms I offer are
exceptionally low. If your affairs are as you would have me believe, you
need no one to captain your fight."

Addicks asked where I thought his affairs stood, and I answered: "I
don't think--I know, or, at least, I feel quite sure I do. You are at
the end of your rope and are practically bankrupt."

At once Addicks grew indignant. "You are absolutely wrong," he asserted.
"I'll admit I have had a hard fight, and that it has cost me, so far,
considerable money; but I give you my word I'm worth between six and
seven millions clear and clean right now."

I bade him good-night and left. Our interview had consumed not over
twenty to twenty-five minutes. I said to his bankers:

"Addicks is the Addicks I have sized him up to be, only worse."

We got back to Boston next morning, and at the opening of the Stock
Exchange I sailed into the Bay State stock in earnest, for I felt surer
than before that Addicks was nearing his finish. A few minutes after
the Exchange opened, Addicks' banker rushed into my office and said the
Delaware financier begged that I would return to New York at once, and
whispered to me that in a conversation just held on the telephone
Addicks had stated that he would accept my terms. I informed the banker
I was not anxious for the job, but as he urged his own interest, I
jumped on the noon train and in the evening was again in New York.

It was a warm day and I was pleased to get a wire on the train from
Addicks asking me to meet him at the pier, as we should hold our
conference on his yacht, the _Now-Then_, at that time one of the fastest
steam-yachts afloat.

It was a night of memorable beauty. In the golden light of a dazzling
sunset we flew up the majestic Hudson. From under the awning I watched
the serried edges of the Palisades as we slipped swiftly by them to the
broad reaches of tinted waters above Yonkers. Every natural influence
conspired to make acute to me the warning whisper of my soul, which
flashed the caution as I crossed the gang-plank, "Watch out!" But, as I
said before, Fate hangs no red lights at the cross-roads of a man's
career, and I plunged recklessly into the toils my Mephistophelian
companion so artfully wove around me.

The _Now-Then_ was hardly in mid-stream before Addicks had got down to
business. His demeanor had changed since the previous evening. All his
bravado had disappeared; he was simple, frank, direct, and, in the
manner of one who has made a mistake and regrets it, he commenced
without any delay:

"I didn't think last night I'd pay your price, Lawson. It staggered me a
bit, but I gave it considerable thought after you left, and when this
morning's prices showed me you were again on the war-path, I saw my
error."

"Mr. Addicks," said I, "let's have no fooling about this matter. If we
do business together, it will only be after there is some
plain--brutally plain talk between us. It will do no good to trick,
because some one will get slaughtered when the trickery is discovered,
as it surely would be, after we hitched up together."

Then, straight from the shoulder, free from all attempt to gloss over
the raw truth, I detailed to him the things I knew he had done to his
former associates, and it was a tale of unbroken duplicity and
double-dealing on his part, loss and misery for his lieutenants, and
profits and curses for him. I ended by saying: "If we get together,
Addicks, it will be upon my terms, and I'll see to it that you never put
me in the position in which you have put all the others you've been
connected with. I don't trust you and I'll watch you all the time."

When I had finished Addicks looked at me sadly with a wounded,
"how-this-man-has misjudged-me" expression in his eyes.

"Lawson," he said, "you were never more mistaken in your life, but it's
a matter I don't want to argue about. You'll tell me you were all wrong
after you know me better. I'll do business with you--yes, and I'll allow
you to make your own terms. I'll agree to them whatever they are, and
I'll live up to the very letter of them, however hard."

I may mention that it is a peculiar characteristic of Addicks that one
may talk to him as though he were a pick-pocket, and he will not resent
it, if it is "business." Where H. H. Rogers would flash into a Vesuvius
of wrath, the Delaware statesman only smiles.

Addicks by no means convinced me of his sincerity. I decided I would
test him pretty thoroughly before I went further. So I said: "This seems
the proper time for a clean statement from you as to just where you and
your companies stand."

I did not believe this man could make an absolutely truthful statement
on any subject of importance, but I knew enough of his real position to
protect me from being fooled. What was my surprise, therefore, when in
the most open way possible he calmly spread before me a condition of
affairs far worse than the worst I knew. He was, indeed, bankrupt and
his corporation was in little better shape.

As soon as I could catch my breath I said:

"No wonder you refused my proposition last night. If your bankers had
dreamed of this state of affairs, they would have had a receiver
to-day. You cannot meet my terms. You cannot even carry out the ones you
yourself offered."

Addicks leaned back on the cushions of his chair in the easiest, most
_insouciant_ way imaginable. He grinned. "That's true," he replied, "but
I never give up a ship till I feel her bump the bottom, and I am sure
that, bad as things are, you and I can pull them out and whip Rogers to
a standstill."

It was a remarkable situation. Here was one of the most ruthless
financial schemers of the age cornered for slaughter, and he had put
himself absolutely at the mercy of the man who had bitterly fought him
and whom he knew hated his kind. Yet he was as cool and collected as a
bunch of orange blossoms at a winter's wedding.

The man's supreme nerve astounded me, yet I could not help admiring him.
I saw through his game, yet his assurance fascinated me. I thought a
minute. I said to him: "Addicks, I'm really sorry for you, and I'll
promise you here now to keep what you've told me sacred. What's more,
I'll stop fighting you. I'll cover my shares and without doing any one
any harm I'll help make prices a bit better for your securities."

He smiled, said "Thank you!" and continued looking at me as though he
awaited something further, a quizzical, expectant smile on his face.

There was an interval of silence. Finally I said to him--and there were
neither red lights nor warning intuitions to signal my peril: "Just what
do you expect me to do, Mr. Addicks?"

"Whatever you think best," he replied in a mild tone. Then, rousing
himself a bit, he went on: "They say in the market that you like a fight
and the harder it is the better. Well, I certainly have an uphill fight.
Do as you would have the other fellow do to you."

After that I had no further doubts of Addicks' slickness. I said to him:
"You are certainly the shrewd man they describe you as. Now continue to
be frank long enough to answer this one question: Did you figure this
out as the last card to throw at me, knowing that the very desperation
of the case might warm me up and tempt me to tackle it for the sake of
the fight there's in it?"

Instantly Addicks knew his game was won. He straightened up and was the
able, shrewd, and cunning financier who had tricked conservative Boston.
His facts chased his figures in marvellously rapid succession, and he
showed a knowledge of conditions, relations, and corporation tricks that
dazzled me. For an hour he rushed on, and when at last he came to a stop
I said to him:

"It's unnecessary to say any more. I see the situation as you would have
me see it, and it comes to this: If I refuse to link up with you it
means another 'Standard Oil' victory and another wreck for Boston.
Rogers' success means that New England speculators and investors will
again, for the three hundred and thirty-third time, be robbed of their
savings. If I get in, we may either avert all this or I may be ground up
at the same time you are. However, it's too good a fight to miss, and so
here goes. I'll link up."

At some particularly hazardous halting-place in after-years Addicks and
myself have often laughed as we have talked over that August evening on
the _Now-Then_. I was easy, he asserts, and I must admit that he is
right--I was easy. Yet no one knew Addicks better than I did then.
Looking back along his extraordinary career, one is obliged to allow a
certain magic as a factor in his men-and-dollar tussles. We had
absolutely nothing in common, Addicks and I. We thought and felt
differently about every relationship of life. A dozen other ventures,
sure, easy, and promising infinitely greater profits, were ready at my
hand--but he appealed to my sense of adventure, he promised me abundant
and glorious fighting, and I forgot everything else and went with him.

When the _Now-Then_ touched her pier and I stepped ashore, it was as
captain of Addicks' corporation and stock-market forces, with absolute
power to wage war, make peace, and use in whatever way I thought best
such resources of his as I could lay hands on. I lost no time. Within
forty-eight hours of my return to Boston I had mapped out my campaign,
reconstructed Addicks' broken lines, and gayly set forth on about as
forlorn a hope as ever operator or fighter tackled.

Nothing more desperate could be imagined than the condition of the
Delaware financier's affairs when I assumed control. All the resources
of his companies were pledged for loans, and the constantly falling
prices of his securities, coupled with the discrediting stories Rogers'
agents kept in circulation, made it difficult to keep these going. To
pay would mean ruin, for Addicks had no further thing of value to
pledge. At the same time, Rogers' company, which had now paralleled many
of the Bay State Company's pipes, had secured a large slice of that
corporation's business, and had a corps of up-to-date solicitors working
overtime to secure the balance. Boston, in the meantime, having decided
that Addicts' star was of the shooting variety, and on its return trip,
was throwing up its hat in the wake of the "Standard Oil" band-wagon.
The city government and the Massachusetts Legislature had awakened to
the enormity of Addicksism and were boiling over with that brand of
virtue which the "System" and "Standard Oil" know so well how to rouse
in American breasts by way of American pockets. By this time Rogers'
investment in Boston had grown from the half-million he had in the
beginning estimated as sufficient to annihilate Addicks to three and a
half millions, a million and a half of which represented real property,
and the balance, all kinds of expenditures made in the fight to crush
the Delaware financier, a large part of it being invested in the votes
and favor of State and municipal authorities.

Chief among the enemies of Addicks at this period was the young and
brilliant boss of Boston, its reform mayor, the Hon. Nathan Matthews,
and thereby hangs a swinging tale. When the Addicks-Rogers gas-fight
broke out in Boston this Nathan Matthews was at the zenith of his
political career, and was rather a greater man than even reform mayors
generally fancy themselves. He was at that state of development in the
lives of aspiring persons which compels the average spectator to debate
whether the swelling of the cranium should be met by a larger hat-band
or by a sweeping haircut. _En passant_, Addicks' Panama had had its
fifth enlargement to accommodate the successive bulges of his brow.

Now, the city of Boston's contract with the Bay State Company for gas at
a dollar and twenty-five cents, which had run a long term of years, was
just expiring. One bright June morning the mayor's secretary telephoned
the secretary of the Mogul from Delaware that His Honor of Boston,
desired converse with the Gas King. If those who overheard the dialogue
can be credited, the parley was of this character:

"This is the mayor of Boston, the Hon. Nathan Matthews."

"This is J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, Gas King and United States
Senator-to-be. What would you with me?"

"I would hold converse with you in regard to a contract of much moment
which will expire in a few days."

"Well and good. My office is in West Street. Give your card to my first,
second, or third secretary and I will not keep you waiting long."

"The office of the mayor of Boston is at the City Hall and my first or
under-secretary will make things agreeable while you wait. When will you
call?"

"I would have you understand, Mr. Mayor, that any one to talk gas with
J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks, Gas King and United State Senator-to-be,
comes to his office."

"Good-day to you, Mr. Gas King and United States Senator-to-be."

"Good-day to you, Mr. Mayor."

I do not, of course, guarantee that the conversation took exactly the
form here given it, but no injustice has been done its substance, nor
would it be possible to estimate in miles the breach it created. From
that telephonic encounter date the earnest efforts of Matthews and
Addicks to do up each other, in which both were successful to a degree
that filled their hearts with Indian pleasure.

A few days later public announcement was made that the Brookline Gas
Company, Rogers' corporation, had been awarded the contract for lighting
Boston, and that henceforth the legal price of gas to the consumer was
to be $1 per thousand feet. This was due notice to all concerned that
"Standard Oil" had captured City Hall, and Addicks realized his error.
He sought the mayor's office, but the mayor had no time to see him. His
companies met the new rate. There was nothing else for them to do.



CHAPTER XV

THE GREAT BAY STATE GAS FIGHT


It was to this condition that I had to adapt my campaigning plans. I
determined first to raise the market price of Addicks' securities; to
turn the tide against the "Standard Oil" by that most potent of
stock-market weapons, publicity; and then to attack Rogers from the rear
through the City Hall. For Addicks to attempt to match pocket-books with
Rogers and "Standard Oil" in corrupting city or State officials I knew
would be useless; and besides a fundamental stipulation in the agreement
with the Delaware financier on the _Now-Then_ had been that under no
circumstances should bribery or corruption be allowed to enter into any
of our plans while I was connected with the enterprise. I had always
held, do now, and always shall hold, that the meanest crime in the
calendar of vice is bribery of the servants of the people. I felt pretty
sure, moreover, that I could play a card that would more than offset the
dollars of "Standard Oil." Nathan Matthews was on the high-road to the
governor's chair, but I happened to know that, however ambitious he
might be for political preferment, his temperament rendered him more
avid for distinction in business. Addicks had within his gift the
richest plum in all the Boston commercial world. As controller of the
affairs of the Bay State Company of Delaware, which controlled the
nomination and consequent election of the officers of the old Boston gas
companies, he could award to any one he pleased the presidency of these
corporations, together with the large salary that went with the
office.[6]

My plans in shape, I rushed to the firing-line. I began with a statement
to the investors of New England and the gas consumers of Boston brimming
over with facts and figures. Then I fired a volley of candid details as
to the manner in which city and State officials had recently betrayed
the public's interests. Lastly, I discharged at "Standard Oil" a
broadside which my attorneys and friends assured me meant jail on a
libel charge. I put my banking-house and my personal guarantee behind
the old and new loans, and proceeded to roll up my sleeves in the
stock-market. I got results at once. A change became apparent in public
sentiment--the rottenness of Addicksism was overcome by the stench of
"Standard Oil." The prices of Bay State stocks and bonds shot up; loan
funds were offered freely and at lower rates of interest.

There were, however, reprisals. Rogers met my onslaught by a manoeuvre
new in "Standard Oil" tactics. He came into the open, issuing a
proclamation over his own signature which gave me the lie, at the same
time tearing off a yard or two of my skin and throwing on a bucket of
brine to remind me I had lost it. This attack was just off the press
when I was out with a rejoinder which he, in after-years, referred to as
quite the hottest thing of its kind he had ever read. In it I calmly,
but in that "chunk English" which those who really wish to convey the
truth naked can always find handy, told him plainly who he was,
explicitly what "Standard Oil" was, and exactly who and what I was. I
opine that about either assault there was nothing dignified, generous,
or refined, but in stock-exchange battles one has not time to scent
shrapnel. The immediate result of this interchange of deckle-edged[7]
insults was to daze the public. "Standard Oil" attacked and actually
replying; Rogers assaulting Lawson and Lawson sending back worse than he
got--almost anything might happen next. It was right here I got to
Rogers' _solar plexus_. I came out with another plain public talk, and
gave him the choice of haling me into court--in which event I pledged
him my word I would send him and his associates to jail for bribery and
other crimes--or of acknowledging to the world he was licked and on the
run. He was silent and I loudly claimed victory. The price of Addicks
stocks quickly emphasized our success by a further advance.

Thus far the campaign appeared to be working smoothly, and I turned my
attention next to my rear attack. I began negotiations with Mayor
Matthews for the withdrawal of his support from Rogers. It was a
difficult task, but after much manoeuvring I landed my big fish. I
promised him the presidency of the Boston, South Boston, Roxbury, and
Bay State gas companies for the term of three years, at a salary of
$25,000 per annum, with the explicit understanding that he was to allow
me, as his vice-president, to see that the bargain between us was lived
up to. When the trade was made it was understood that the fact of
Matthews' change of base should be kept secret, and that he should not
assume the office until the end of his term as mayor of Boston. With
that agreement the deal was clinched, signed, sealed, and delivered.

In order that my readers may comprehend the events that follow, it is
necessary that they understand something of the complications in which
Addicks' manipulations had involved that corporation.

When Addicks purchased the several Boston gas properties he organized a
company, the Bay State of Delaware, in which this ownership was vested.
In order to facilitate the financing of the new corporation and for
other manipulative purposes of his own, Addicks created an inner
corporation, the Bay State of New Jersey, owned by the treasury of the
Bay State of Delaware, to which he turned over the stocks of the Boston
gas companies. These the Bay State of New Jersey transferred to the
Mercantile Trust Company of New York as collateral for the twelve
million Boston Gas bonds which had been sold to the investing public.
While to all intents and purposes the Bay State of Delaware was owner of
the subsidiary properties, the contract with the Mercantile Trust
Company was made with the Bay State of New Jersey, and it was to the
president of the latter corporation (Addicks) that the Trust Company was
bound to deliver the proxies for the gas stocks in its possession, three
days before an annual election. Knowledge of this subcutaneous
corporation was confined to Addicks and his immediate associates, and
the Delaware financier alone quite grasped its potentialities.

Hitherto Addicks had used the proxies to elect himself president of each
of the subordinate corporations, drawing the several salaries which went
with the offices. To prevail on him to give up these places and their
emoluments to a man he hated as bitterly as he did Matthews was a
difficult task, but his situation was desperate. Finally, he agreed. I
did not know till long afterward that this reluctant compliance was
yielded only after Addicks had had a secret session with his Bay State
directors, at which they voted him, by way of salve for his resignation,
a sum equal to three years' salary, $75,000.

The mayor, who was a lawyer, prided himself on his shrewdness, and was
fully alive to the serpent strategy of Addicks. He determined that the
prize he had secured should not slip through his fingers for lack of
precaution. We had many legal pow-wows in which the most astute lawyers
at the Boston bar were called in, and finally the directors of the Bay
State made an iron-clad contract with Nathan Matthews, agreeing to
deliver over to him whatever proxies it, the Bay State Gas of Delaware,
received from the Mercantile Trust Company of New York, on a given day
before the annual election, with which he, of course, could elect
himself president. This contract was signed by Addicks and his directors
and by all the officers of the Bay State of Delaware corporation, and
was passed on and approved by the eminent law sharps both sides had
retained.

A few days after the document that made Nathan Matthews supreme boss of
Boston Gas was conveyed to him, there came an explosion. Like the
premature bursting of a bombshell at a Fourth of July celebration, the
transaction "leaked," and the press announced in sable head-lines that
Mayor Matthews had sold out, that Addicks was on top, and that Rogers
and "Standard Oil" would surely be found beneath the _débris_. Matthews
has always claimed that this "leakage" was a piece of Addicks' double
dealing; Addicks declares it was a part of Matthews' and Rogers'
deep-laid plan to give him the double cross. Anyway, as a hurrier-up of
coming events the news was most successful, although its effect was
somewhat of the nature of that produced by the throwing in of an
overdose of soda at a candy pull--the pot boiled over, and the air for a
time was permeated with the odor of burned sweets. In spite of all
public and private criticism Matthews budged not a jot, and confirmed
the reports. I made the most of our triumph over "Standard Oil," and for
a few days the public took to it, too. Then came one of those return
waves of sentiment which may always be counted on in any contest in
which "Standard Oil" is engaged. From mysterious places and in
untraceable ways the report became current that victory was really with
Rogers instead of with our side; that the deal was a smooth piece of
Machiavelian work; that Matthews when he took the helm was to steer our
ship alongside one of Rogers' forts and perhaps drop anchor under a row
of his concealed guns.

This rumor alarmed me. I lost no time in running it to earth, and
discovered to my consternation that Matthews had spent the night before
he made the agreement to come over to us in New York, at the home of H.
H. Rogers. Exactly what had occurred there, or what their programme was,
I don't know. Long after this episode had slipped into gas history, at
the time when Rogers and myself were doing business together, I asked
him to enlighten me on this one point, and he did to the extent of
saying, "Matthews only did what I approved of." This certainly redeemed
Matthews in my eyes from the reproach of having sold out his friends.
There is nothing more despicable than a man who, after having consented
to be "put" will not "stay put"--even though the first "put" be of a
questionable character.

This new complication demanded immediate action. I called on Matthews to
make public announcement that I was to be his vice-president, and thus
set at rest the reports that were fast destroying the beneficial effects
of our coup. I argued that such an announcement would convince the
public that victory was with us and not with Rogers. My surprise may be
grasped when the Mayor placed this icicle in my hot palm:

"Mr. Lawson, it has long been my ambition to show the public of Boston
and gas consumers what I could do with this situation, and now that I am
absolutely assured of gas supremacy, I would have you and all others
distinctly understand I will run it as I deem best, regardless of the
wishes of any one."

Nathan Matthews was destined later to learn that in an Addicks edifice
there are secret trap-doors and concealed passageways available for
quick escape in emergency, and that the term "absolutely assured" is of
relative value when used in high finance, with Addicks to interpret the
relativeness. A few days after the mayor had shown his colors the annual
election was "pulled off" in an unexpected manner. The Mercantile Trust
Company delivered its proxies to the president of the Bay State _of New
Jersey_, who promptly re-elected himself and his friends to their old
offices.

Next morning the public, the press, and the ex-mayor were alike
surprised to learn that J. Edward O'Sullivan Addicks was still president
of all the Boston gas companies; that General Sam Thomas, of New York,
and Thomas W. Lawson, of Boston, were vice-presidents; and that the
expected and widely heralded Matthews turnover to Matthews had been
indefinitely postponed. There was a tremendous "towse" for a few days
during which time I tried my hand at public-opinion moulding, and so
successfully that all interested saw that the tide had really turned,
and was running swiftly against the heretofore invincible "Standard
Oil." Rogers tried to stem it by causing it to be known that Matthews
was to carry the new complication to the courts, but we quickly disposed
of this possibility by reaching a settlement with our man. This was
brought about by the payment to Matthews of a number of thousands of
dollars, which Addicks afterward informed me he had entered in the
gas-books as "balm salary." From this event until August, 1895, it was
one continuous running fire with Rogers and his crowd, with a constant
gain to our side in public opinion, though final victory was still far
off because of the unlimited money resources of "Standard Oil." In fact,
it gradually became evident that, though we might hold out, it was
impossible to whip "Standard Oil" to an open acknowledgment of defeat.

The phase of the problem that gave me keenest cause for uneasiness was
the possibility I recognized of treachery in my own camp. I had become
painfully aware that Addicks was getting impatient and was ready at any
favorable moment to make one of his quick Judas turns, which would land
him safe with Rogers as the price of the slaughter of the rest of us.
True, I had taken all possible precautions to safeguard my own and my
friends' interests against his craft by securing from him and from the
subsidiary companies iron-clad power to act for them without
consultation. To get this I had had to use great pressure, for he had
balked long and hard against giving it. This was the condition of
affairs when I decided to stake everything on one move.

     * Certain of my critics have seized upon the transaction
     with Mayor Matthews, narrated in this chapter, to say: "He
     bribed the Mayor and is no better than other bribers."

     The fact is, that the only thing the Mayor of Boston could
     do in the gas war--take sides with Rogers, grant a permit to
     the Brookline company to open the streets and come in
     competition with our companies, thus compelling, in the
     interests of the people, a reduction in the selling price of
     gas from $1.25 to $1.00--the Mayor had already done. There
     was nothing more in his power, and the only object we had in
     securing his services was to put him between our companies
     and Rogers, in the belief that Rogers, owing to his former
     relations, would not dare fire through him.

     I never, directly or indirectly, bribed Mayor Matthews; but,
     on the contrary, only induced him to do what he had a moral
     right to do and I a moral right to ask him to do.

FOOTNOTES:

[6] See page 109.

[7] Mr. Lawson's proclamations and market communications are invariably
printed on the finest grade of deckle-edged paper.--THE PUBLISHER.



CHAPTER XVI

PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ROGERS


Having made up my mind that the time had come for a final engagement, I
decided myself to try legitimately to settle with Mr. Rogers, and
prepared two letters which, if he were willing for us to get together,
would pave the way for a meeting. These letters I sent by my secretary,
Mr. Vinal, to Mr. Rogers at Fairhaven. My readers, in weighing this odd
correspondence, must bear in mind what the relations between Mr. Rogers
and myself had been. We had vilified each other in every imaginable way,
and I knew, or at least I thought I did, that the "Standard Oil" magnate
would not hesitate to use any written communication of mine that he
could lay hold of to bring about a split between Addicks and myself. I
had good evidence that he believed that in such a rupture lay his only
chance of bringing home the quieting blow he had been trying to inflict
on us. Letter I. read as follows:

     HENRY H. ROGERS, Fairhaven, Mass.

     _Dear Sir_: My secretary, Mr. Vinal, will hand you this
     letter. If after reading it you are desirous of further
     communication with me, he has instructions, after you have
     returned this one to him, sealed in the enclosed envelope,
     to hand you another, which if after reading you return to
     him in another enclosed envelope, he will bring to me with
     whatever verbal answer you may care to send.

     My secretary knows nothing more of his errand or the
     contents of either letter. He can, therefore, give you no
     further information. If you do not call for the second
     letter, I will consider you do not care to pursue the
     subject further, which will lead me to notify you that the
     Boston gas war will end in a most sensational way next
     Wednesday.

     Believe me, sir,
         Yours respectfully,
             (Signed) THOMAS W. LAWSON.

Upon his return from Fairhaven Mr. Vinal informed me that Mr. Rogers,
after reading this letter twice, folded and placed it in the envelope I
had sent and handed it without comment to him, whereupon my secretary
delivered to him letter II., which was a type-written communication on a
plain bit of paper, addressed to no one, signed by no one, and bearing
no marks to identify the sender:

     There is a gas war now existing. Upon one side is the
     "Standard Oil." Upon the other the Addicks Bay State
     companies.

     After a fight has been begun there are but four things
     possible:

     "Standard Oil" can sell out to the Bay State.

     The Bay State can sell out to the "Standard Oil."

     They can come together by consolidation; or

     They can continue fighting until one or the other has been
     annihilated.

     Nothing else is possible. Therefore, one of these four
     things is to be the outcome of the present war.

     If you can be shown now that if one of the first three is
     not settled upon before next Wednesday the fourth will be
     impossible beyond that date, and that it is absolutely in
     the power of one man, without consultation with any one, to
     bring about the accomplishment of any one of the first
     three, you will meet that man before next Wednesday and make
     your selection.

     I can absolutely prove to you that this war will not
     continue after next Wednesday, and that it is absolutely in
     my power, without consulting any one, to do any one of the
     three things you signify you desire done.

Mr. Vinal reported that Mr. Rogers also read this letter a second time,
but slowly and carefully, as though he were weighing each word, and
then, sealing it in the envelope, passed it back to him with: "Say to
your employer I return to New York to-morrow, Sunday night, and shall be
at my office, 26 Broadway, from 9.30 on Monday morning till five in the
afternoon; that I shall dine at my house, 26 East 57th Street; that I
shall be through dinner at eight o'clock, and that I go to bed at 10.30.
Tell him that any man who has an important communication to make to me
affecting a matter in which I have large interests will be welcome to
call on me between the hours I have named, provided he notifies me a
little while in advance."

When my secretary, whose practice it was to give me the minutest
details of such affairs as this errand, had reported all that had
happened, I at once sent a message to 26 Broadway stating that I would
be at Rogers' house at eight o'clock on Monday night, and on the stroke
I pushed his electric latchstring. His man had hardly taken my hat when
Mr. Rogers himself came down the hall with outstretched hand.



CHAPTER XVII

A MEMORABLE CONFERENCE


If the years of my life are protracted beyond the Psalmist's threescore
and ten, even though the events that chance in the comparatively long
future seethe and struggle as strenuously as those that befell in the
eager, vivid procession of yesterdays which makes up my past, my
memory's picture of this meeting will always hang where the lights cast
their kindest reflections.

I had left Boston on the noon train, and got down to my hotel, the
Brunswick, on Fifth Avenue, by six o'clock. In those kind days of good
memory when New Yorkers really lived instead of looping-the-loop through
life, the Brunswick was head-quarters for Southerners and Bostonians of
the old school. To-day its bricks and mortar and the picturesque iron
balconies, from which two generations of America's celebrities reviewed
the marching armies of peace and war, are heaps of refuse; for the old
Brunswick has had to give place to yet one more of the twenty-storied,
emblazoned hostelries, whose alabaster halls, frescoed walls, mosaic
floors, and onyx and silver bathtubs are designed to minister to the
comfort of our great and free people when they needs must wander from
the luxury of their homes. When I had dressed I crossed over to the old
Delmonico's opposite, and, in a secluded corner beside an open window
which gave full view of the passing show on Gotham's great boulevard, I
sat and listened to old "Philip," who, time out of mind, had been
high-priest of the famous Frenchman's temple of appetite, as he posted
me on the latest doings of the town where no one remembers further back
than yesterday, and to-morrow doesn't count. Ordinarily I should have
lingered for hours with "Philip" and his tidbits, but that night my
mind was a mad steeplechase of memories and hopes, all starting and
finishing at 26 East 57th Street, and I fear he must have thought he had
failed in the plump little duck which I left unpicked, and in the bottle
of Chianti which I hardly sipped.

At 7.30 I lit my cigar and started for what I felt was to be the tomb or
the forcing-house of all the air-castles I had cherished from boyhood.
At last I was to meet the real champion; I was to tussle hand-to-hand
with the head of the financial clan, the man of all men best fitted to
test to the utmost the skill and quickness which I had picked up in the
rough and tumble of a hundred fights on State and Wall streets--Rogers,
wary, intrepid, implacable, the survivor of bloody battles in comparison
with which mine were but pink skirmishes.

I had carefully put aside that half-hour between dinner and the moment
for my appointment to run up and down my mental keyboard under what to
me are the most favorable conditions possible--an evening walk through
the streets of a great city. Some men can invite their souls only in
sylvan solitudes, but the flare of light, the clash of traffic, the
kaleidoscopic procession of humanity, with its challenging contrasts
shifting and seething on great metropolitan highways, breed in my mind a
sense of calm, cool remoteness in which all the glitter and excitement
of the spectacle suggests only its appalling transiency.

From the gay carnival of Broadway I cut across through the brownstone
gloom of 27th Street into Sixth Avenue, where the tired men and women of
the toiling millions sat in their doorways or at their windows over the
shops resting after the heat and travail of the day. Some watched the
sidewalk antics of their children--perhaps speculating on the
possibility that this or the other among that merry throng of urchins
might rise to be an alderman or even a city boss--perhaps President of
the greatest republic on earth--or--transcendent bliss--a Rogers or a
Rockefeller.

From 42d Street I turned up Fifth Avenue, lifting my hat and exchanging
a word with Mr. and Mrs. Russell Sage, and for an instant, as I left
them, my wandering thoughts took a new twist, for Mrs. Sage had informed
me that "Father and I are on the way to prayer-meeting"--early evening
prayer-meeting in New York! For an instant I was in one of those tiny
New Hampshire villages, a forgotten haven of rest and simplicity,
innocent as yet of steam, machinery, or trolleys, for the sweet lady and
the angular man with the pained gait which spoke in loud tones of the
unbroken store-shoe could belong in no other than a rural place. But the
image of the New Hampshire village only flitted across my mind's film,
for my truant senses seized on a message over memory's telephone:
"Russell Sage has $100,000,000." One hundred millions, and I was back on
earth again, but as I walked the thought was buzzing in my brain: "Is it
possible that that countryman has MADE _one hundred million dollars_,
when the expert carpenter who started at the birth of Christ to trudge
the world until from his honest labors he had accumulated $1,000,000 by
laying aside each day all the wage he was entitled to, one dollar, had
at the end of 1,900 years only a little more than half that sum?"

At last I turned the corner of 57th Street, and when I looked down Mr.
Rogers' home-like hall and grasped his outstretched hand and heard his
"Lawson, I'm glad to see you!" I would have sworn it was hours and hours
since I left the little table in the corner of Delmonico's.

       *       *       *       *       *

The chief impression I recall of my experience that night is gratitude
for Henry H. Rogers' unexpected kindness, and admiration for his
manliness, ability, and firmness. When this memory rises in my mind I
regret "Frenzied Finance" and all the consequences with which it is
fraught for him and his connections. When the American people are
aroused, as they surely will be, to demand restitution and are in the
act of brushing, with a mighty sweep of indignation, back into the laps
of the plundered the billions of which they have been robbed, and
"Standard Oil" and the "System" break and fall like trees before the
gale, I doubt, even if Henry H. Rogers be brought face to face with
ruin, that he will feel half the pain I shall, for I know that the
picture of that memorable night will surely come back to me with all
the vividness of reality.

But as my mind harks back, there clashes with this another, a hellish
picture, which the same Henry H. Rogers painted with the brush of
Amalgamated, and a procession of convicts and suicides trail slowly
toward me out of the canvas. Then I realize that my pen is but the
instrument of a righteous retribution and that no personal feelings,
however tender, must be allowed to interfere.

"Come this way," said my host, striding ahead of me along the hall. "In
here we can have our talk and our smoke undisturbed." He led me into the
big, empty dining-room and closed the door.

"Mr. Rogers," I began, "it is kind of you to be so friendly after the
mean things we have said of each other. Am I to understand you don't lay
any of all that has passed up against me?"

"Lay it up against you, my boy? Drop that all out of your mind. You
probably know I talk to the point and mean what I say. If you had hit
below the belt as that--Addicks has, I _would_ lay it up against you and
a hundred years would not make me forget it. I know what you've done and
why you've done it, and it was as much your right to do it as mine to do
what I have done. I have nothing against you, and if events place me in
a position where I can do anything to make your job easier without
hurting my own interests--mind that, without hurting my own interests--I
will do it. You have my word for it."

We sat within a few feet of each other, and I looked squarely into his
eyes as he said, "You have my word for it," and they were honest
eyes--honest as the ten-year-old boy's who with legs apart and hands in
pockets throws his head back and says: "Wait until I am a man, and I
will do it if I die for it!" I looked into them and I knew "My word for
it" was all gold and a hundred cents to the dollar. For a minute we
gazed steadily into--through each other, and I knew he was reading away
into the back of my head. Inwardly I said: "If I do business with this
man for a day or for a lifetime, I will never face him and give him my
word for one thing and mean another," and in the years after when we did
millions upon millions of business, with only each other's word for a
bond of fair treatment, not once did I depart from the letter of my
resolution. Up to the recent famous "Gas Trial," where our roads
suddenly shot off at right angles, owing to a foul act of perjury, Henry
H. Rogers never tired of meeting all his associates' attacks upon me
with: "Lawson's word is gospel truth for me."

When we dropped our eyes, both evidently satisfied, he said: "Now, what
have you to say to me?"

I spoke my piece rapidly and without interruption: "There are four
things possible, as I wrote you--only four. I will take up the fourth
first. I have absolute power to speak for all our local companies. If
we, you and I, come to no settlement by to-morrow night, I will, without
warning to any one, confess a default to the notes of our different
companies and have a receiver appointed. As our stocks and bonds are
held by our best investors all over New England, and as no such move is
suspected, there will be a terrific rumpus. In the crash I shall go down
with Addicks and the rest, for we have all put our personal resources
behind the enterprise. I will see that the howl following the crash
shall be such as all must hear, and I will call attention to the illegal
acts of every one--your companies, Addicks' companies, and the city and
State officials that have made such conditions possible. I don't think
you will be able to stand against the cyclone this crash will raise; but
even if you do, the receiver, having no interest to pay on bonds, will
be in a position to smash the price of gas to seventy or seventy-five
cents, and make it impossible for you to get possession of our companies
for so long a time that the consumers will never allow you to get the
price back to a profitable one. Have I made it clear that you cannot, as
you were counting on doing, continue this fight till you have us tired
out and crushed?"

His answer came as clear, quick, and sharp as the click of a revolver:
"Perfectly, provided you can do the thing you say."

"I will prove to you I can."

"It is not necessary," he clicked back. "Do you give me your word that
you can?"

"Absolutely."

"I am satisfied. Go on."

"That leaves only three possibilities," I continued. "You buy us; we buy
you; or, we consolidate. I will take the third first. Under any
circumstances or conditions will you join forces and do business with
us?"

"Under no circumstances nor conditions will I do any business with
Addicks. He has played me false, broken his word, and lied to me when
there was no necessity for doing so, and no man who has done this once
can ever do business with me a second time."

I once stood by a mechanism through which passed a strip of metal.
Click! 'Twas cut. Whir! 'Twas a cylinder. Click! Whir! Click! A corner,
an edge, an end, and b-r-r-rr! It was dropped, a metallic cartridge, to
do its part in peace or war. Even more fascinating was it to see this
human machine eject the product of its whirring brain.

"Then we have but two possibilities. Will you buy us out at the price we
must have?"

"What is the price?"

"Sufficient to make good the promises that I have made to Addicks, my
friends, and the public since I have been in command," I replied.

"Pass that by as an impossibility."

"Then, Mr. Rogers, we are down to this: You must sell and we must buy
you out."

"Right. Now, how do you propose to buy?"

For months the ablest financiers and business men of Wall Street and
Boston had striven to start up negotiations with Mr. Rogers with a view
to settlement, and all had dropped them without even getting in an
opening wedge, and here was I at the end of fifteen minutes of my first
meeting, with my task half accomplished. I went on:

"There is something more you must do, Mr. Rogers. You must assist us in
buying, which means you must sell at the terms you and I agree are the
only ones we can meet. Therefore I will run over our situation. You have
certain property, consisting of the Brookline Company and miscellaneous
investments in connection with it. What cost does it stand you?"

Frankly, he went over what his Boston gas-war equipment consisted of and
what it had cost, which, boiled down, amounted to $3,500,000. He then
said:

"Let us figure what it will be worth to you when, it being known you
have won out, you will have additional prestige and no competition."

We agreed upon $2,000,000 as representing the probable appreciation in
what we were to acquire from him over and above any increase to our own
securities.

"I'll take cost, $3,500,000, if it is cash or the equivalent, or I will
take $4,500,000 if it is to be credit of a nature that assures me my
money eventually, and I will divide my profit of a million equally with
you. This sum will of course be in addition to anything you may be paid
by Addicks."

Instantly, as if we had agreed upon it in advance, our eyes met--his
cold, clear, and steely business--mine, I hoped, the same. For a second
neither of us said a word. Then I said: "Thank you for the offer of the
$500,000 profit, but we will cut all such offers out. My pay comes from
my side. I never yet have known the man who could take pay from both
sides and do his work properly." I slowly drew out the word
"_properly_," and he in the same tone of voice said:

"'Properly' is better than 'honestly.' You know, Lawson, there is much
cant in these times of which 'honesty' is the refrain."

"You and I will make no headway discussing moral ethics, Mr. Rogers,
although we may in discussing business practices," I said, and I chalked
up on my mental black-board: "Test One." Then I went on:

"I agree that $4,500,000, in anything we can pay in, is as fair a price
as $3,500,000 cash, provided we find a credit guarantee satisfactory to
you; unless indeed you are willing to allow us the $500,000 you just
offered me."

"What I offered you was part of my profit. I will not allow any of it.
My price is the same whether I pay you anything or not."

"Very well, Mr. Rogers, then the situation is this: In any trade that is
made it will first be necessary for you to turn your property over to us
to manage in conjunction with our own. When the public see it in our
hands, our securities will advance and we can, by issuing additional Bay
State stock, sell it and secure whatever sum it will be necessary for us
to have beyond what we can borrow on your securities. Do you agree with
me?"

He saw it as I did.

"I imagine you will never consent to turn your property over to us on
our say-so that we will later pay you for it?"

"You are right there. I would not take J. Edward Addicks' guarantee in
any form he could possibly put it. Once he got his hands on my company,
for even thirty days, he would so far misuse it that he would
deliberately default for the purpose of returning it to me in a damaged
condition, and, in addition, would play some of those tricks which are
second nature to him."

"It will be necessary for us then," I went on, "to give you some forfeit
bond so large that, even if we misuse your property while it is in our
hands, you will be repaid for the damage done, and it must be at the
same time something of such value to us that even Addicks will be
compelled to play fair."

"Well, what can you put up?" Mr. Rogers asked.

"Addicks has a right, through the Bay State Company of Delaware, to
issue, through the Bay State Company of New Jersey, a million and a half
new bonds for the purpose of acquiring new property. He and I have
discussed the scheme as a last resort should any settlement seem
possible."

"Do you mean to tell me there is anything Addicks can get his hands on
which he has not yet used for his companies nor stolen for himself?"
replied Mr. Rogers incredulously.

"Yes, he has time and again assured me of this, and he would not dare to
lie to me under existing conditions."

He arose from his chair and stood directly in front of me and
straightened up for what I could see was to be an unusual effort. Then
with the force and the fire which in all his supreme moments make Henry
H. Rogers wellnigh irresistible he said:

"Lawson, I have listened to you. Now listen to me. I have taken you at
your word, and have talked frankly and shown you my hand as I have
seldom shown it to a stranger. To do the business I want to do, I see I
must talk even more frankly than I already have, and I want you to weigh
carefully what I shall say to you, for it may have a great bearing on
your after-life. How old are you?"

"Thirty-seven," I replied.

"I thought you were about thirty-seven," he said. "Well, I am fifty-six
and in experience am old enough to be your grandfather, so you can
afford to give weight to what I am about to say, especially as I give
you my word that I speak for your benefit first and my own afterward. I
watched you before you hitched up with Addicks, and always thought that
if the opportunity arose, we might do business together. We, or as you
and others like to call us, 'Standard Oil,' have money enough to carry
through whatever business we embark on and we know where there is all
the business to be had that we care to engage in. We have everything, in
fact, but men. We are always short of men to carry out our
projects--young men, who are honest, therefore loyal; men to whom work
is a pleasure; above all, men who have no price but our price. To such
men we can afford to give the only things they have not got, or, if they
have already got them, to give them in greater quantities--I mean power
and money. You made a great mistake when you joined forces with Addicks,
because no man can afford to be associated with the kind of a rascal
Addicks is, the lowest I have yet come across. He is the type of man who
cuts his best friend's throat with as much ease and satisfaction as he
does his worst enemy's, if not with more. I fully expected that by this
time he would have sold you out. If he had, where would you have been?
Now, here you are from sheer desperation driven to me to avoid utter
failure. Suppose you can do all you hope to--get the bonds, put them up
and secure my property--do you not suppose that by that time Addicks
will have some mine dug under you which will blow you to destruction?
But grant even that he plays fair, and you bring the Boston situation
up to a paying place, what good will it do you? You surely have more
sense than to believe a man of Addicks' make-up can be permanently
successful?"

Mr. Rogers halted. I had risen, and we stood facing each other. I felt
that I was right here playing for that greatest of all stakes, my
self-respect, the loss of which to any man, I had long before
discovered, means ebon failure.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked.

"Say you'll come with us, and we'll fix up the Boston situation in some
way that will forever eliminate Addicks from our affairs--your and my
affairs. I would not insult you by asking you to sell Addicks out. It is
unnecessary. He has no real rights in Boston. You and I can figure out a
scheme that will take care of every other interest, and we'll give
Addicks a lot more money than he can secure in any other way and show
him the door. As for you and me, we'll make a lot of money and make it
fairly and above board. But I am not thinking so much of the immediate
situation as I am of the possibility of you joining us and working on
some of the deals we have on hand. I shall put you in a position to make
more money and secure more real power than you could possibly obtain in
a like time under any other conditions. You know corporations and the
stock-market, and you can readily see what the combination of our money
and prestige and your knowledge of the market and investors will mean."

Heaven knows I could see what it all meant. I had even at that time in a
chrysalis state those plans for destroying the "System" which now in a
rounded out and matured form I intend to be the superstructure of my
story of "Frenzied Finance." I had, a year before in Paris, outlined
those plans to some of the brightest financial minds of Europe, and
while they had marvelled at their radicalness, they had pronounced them
sound, and had offered to furnish the hundred million of dollars
required for their execution. Then I realized that to take this money
from bankers would hamper me in the execution of my plans, and I
postponed putting the project in force until I could furnish the
necessary money through my own connections. Again, I had big ideas as
to the copper situation--ideas that only awaited unlimited capital to be
brought before the people, and which, if carried out, would do for them
what had as yet never been done--give them tremendous profits upon their
savings. And here were the unlimited capital and unlimited business
prestige right at hand, but----

"Mr. Rogers," I said, "don't! Please don't! I appreciate your
proposition, and I thank you, but I can't accept. I agree with you about
Addicks, the position I am in, and the mistake or foolish recklessness I
was guilty of when I linked up with this Boston mess, but that doesn't
alter the case an iota. I am enlisted with this man. I knew what he was
when I consented to take charge of his affairs, and I should hate myself
if I sold him out, even though I knew he would without hesitation sell
me out. I must be true to myself."

Mr. Rogers remained silent. I went on:

"This, if I accepted your proposal, I could no longer be, even were
Addicks and Boston Gas out of it. The man who is 'Standard Oil' wears a
collar, and if I did what you ask I should expect to wear a collar
and--and--I can't do it." I stopped; I was not excited; it was
impossible to be so with that calm figure, apparently cut from crystal
ice, so near me, but I was very much in earnest. I wondered what would
come next. Mr. Rogers raised his hand and held it out to me, mine
grasped it, and without a word thus we stood long enough to put that
seal on our friendship which none of the many financial hells we jointly
passed through in the after-nine years was hot enough to melt.

But that friendship is ended now. Henry H. Rogers' evidence in the
Boston "Gas Trial" was the spark that kindled the dead leaves of the
past into the conflagration which, now spread beyond the control of man,
has brought to light the hidden skeletons of forgotten misdeeds and
exposed them for all the world to see.

He at last broke the spell. "Lawson, you're a queer chap; but we are all
queer, for that matter, and we must work along those lines we each think
best. I once stood, just as you do now, in front of a man whom I looked
up to as all that was wisest and best. He made an earnest effort to
induce me to choose the ministry for my life-work, but I chose dollars
instead, and I sometimes wonder if I chose wisely; but, as I said, we
all must select our pack and, as we are the ones who must carry it, I
suppose no one else should complain."

After a moment's pause I shot ahead into business again as though we had
never left it. It took me but a short time to arrange the details of our
trade. The Bay State of Delaware was to buy all of Mr. Rogers' Boston
investments and to pay for the same $4,500,000--$1,500,000 in six
months, $1,000,000 in a year, the balance in a year and a half, with
interest at five per cent.; the Bay State was to put up, as a pledge of
good faith, $1,500,000 new Boston bonds; and as soon as such deposit was
made, Mr. Rogers was to transfer his securities and corporation to us. I
was to go to Philadelphia that night and arrange all details with
Addicks and report the following day.

It was 10.30 o'clock when I left 26 East 57th Street. I hurried down to
the Brunswick, where I had time only to shift my clothes and catch the
"midnight" for Philadelphia. After breakfast next morning I tackled
Addicks. It goes without saying that I was a cyclone of enthusiasm as I
minutely ran through what I had done, beginning with my letter to Rogers
and finishing up with my visit of the night before. I omitted not the
slightest detail, and when I wound up with my request that Addicks get
the lawyers together and prepare the necessary documents for the
turnover of the bonds and acceptance of Rogers' properties, I felt that
my share in the Boston gas war was almost ended.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE DUPLICITY OF ADDICKS


Addicks looked at me in a cool, aggravating way, as though my enthusiasm
was a joke.

"Lawson, you have done a big thing, a big thing, but you put up too many
bonds, altogether too many. It looks to me as though that old trickster
had got the best of us at last."

By this time I had learned all the moods of this man and knew that when
he assumed that air of cold, saturnine jocularity it was safe to look
for the uncovering of some vaporized trickery. My enthusiasm oozed. I
hastened to ask:

"What do you mean by 'too many bonds,' Addicks? I gave him all we had.
Sorry it was not more. We are to pay him four and a half million
dollars, and the sooner we do it the better. Now out with what you've
got in your mind; I won't stand any trifling."

Addicks continued to look at me with the same insolent, critical air. He
said slowly:

"The reason I say you've given too many bonds is that we haven't a
million and a half to put up. Where in the world did you get the idea we
had?"

In an instant I realized that this sharper had tricked me into
apparently tricking Rogers. I was boiling with rage.

"You have told me over and over again that you retained the right to
issue a million and a half bonds, that you had never parted with it, and
relying on your assurances, I have done business with Rogers. Let's have
the truth now at once."

Addicks is a master in the management of just such tangles as had
developed here. I had expected him to give way before my indignation.
He looked me square in the eye and turned the tables on me. He got mad
first.

"You have taken too much on yourself," he began vehemently. "You had no
right to go ahead without consulting me. Because I've given you full
swing you think you are the whole thing, but you're not. And as for your
rushing in on me without warning and expecting me to let you turn all
the assets of this corporation over to your new 'Standard Oil' friend, I
won't stand for it. You can't do this corporation's business that way."

He poured on for five minutes without giving me a chance to interpose a
word. He seemed to be consumed with anger and paced up and down the
office. Then suddenly he stopped:

"We cannot afford to have any trouble, you and I, Lawson. I'm sure you
did only what you thought best, but the fact is, I pledged some of those
bonds for our war supplies a few months ago, and though I'm not going to
dispute it with you, I'd swear I told you at the time."

As Addicks talked I had been mentally reviewing the situation in which I
found myself. I saw myself dropped out of Rogers' consideration as the
same kind of a financial trickster that Addicks was. For the moment, I
had no fight left; I was knocked out.

"Don't feel bad, Lawson. You got as far with Rogers as it is possible to
get, and you are dead right when you say that once we get hold of his
corporation so that every one knows we've licked him, we can easily sell
stock enough to pay him in a few weeks." As he talked he was again the
master financial trickster, full of device and strategy. Finally I
answered:

"Don't say any more, Addicks. Words won't help us. I've got to face
Rogers as soon as a train can take me back to New York, and after
that--then I'll have something to say to you." I started to go.

"What are you going to say to him?" he asked.

"Say to him? What can I say to him? At my solicitation he gave me a
hearing--at his own home--treated me best in the world. I told him
certain things, and pledged my word they were truths, and I've got to go
back and tell----"

"Tell what?"

"That I'm either as big a liar as he says you are or a fool--a doddering
fool."

"You are going to do nothing of the kind," Addicks declared
peremptorily. "You're going to tell him that you were not posted up to
date, and that I, being pressed for money, had pledged some of the
million and a half I had told you we had. That's all. He'll see it all
right, and he'll trade for--for--what we have left."

I suddenly remembered that he had not told me how many bonds he had on
hand. Just a ray of hope in the fog.

"How many free bonds have we to offer, Addicks, suppose he is willing to
overlook this ugly piece of trickery?" I asked anxiously.

"I'm not quite sure," he answered, "but I can find out from the books."
He rang for Miller, his right-hand man, the dummy treasurer of the Bay
State Company, and said to him: "Harry, Mr. Lawson has got mixed up
about the bonds. He thought we had a million and a half. You remember
we've pledged some in the loans. Just how many have we now on hand?"

"Harry" looked it up and said: "Just $904,000 worth."

"There you are, Lawson," cried Addicks. "There's plenty to assure Rogers
we'll do what we agree to."

Fool that I was, I did not see his game. No one ever does see Addicks'
game till it is too late, for no one but a moral idiot would play the
game Addicks plays, and, thank heaven, moral idiots are so rare in life
that it is not worth while figuring out the formula from which they
work.

By one o'clock I was at Mr. Rogers' office at 26 Broadway.

He greeted me warmly. "Well, Lawson, did you get things finished up all
right?"

"Mr. Rogers, I have a most humiliating admission to----"

"Hold up right there. Cut out all explanations and excuses. Have you
brought those bonds as you agreed to, or not?" His eyes were snapping
and shifting from one color to another.

"No, I have not got them."

"Why not?"

Had I been a woman I should have clapped my hands to my ears and
screamed, so sudden and bomb-like came those two words.

"He had used some of them and has only $904,000 on hand."

"Only $904,000!"

It is impossible to convey the concentrated scorn and sarcasm Mr. Rogers
infused into these words, and he continued to glare at me for fully a
minute, his eyes as searching as _x_-rays. When that glare shifted I had
a presentiment it would leave me forever a stranger to him, and I made
up my mind to turn on my heel and leave his office without a word. I
felt that he was in the right, and that if I were in his place I'd
glare, too.

Suddenly the expression changed. He said peremptorily: "Lawson, get on
the first train for Philadelphia and bring back those agreements
executed and the $904,000 instead of the $1,500,000."

"Mr. Rogers," I began, but he stopped me with an imperative gesture.

"Don't say a word, but do as I tell you. I warned you you were dealing
with a dog, but you wouldn't have it. Now I'm going to put this trade
through even if I make a fool of myself thereby. You've done your work
and that whelp shall not keep you out of its results. I'm in this now,
and we will see if Addicks can outplay me as well as you. Not another
word. I understand the whole thing."

I returned to Philadelphia deciding once and for all certain things in
regard to Mr. Rogers and others affecting the future of J. Edward
O'Sullivan Addicks; and that night Addicks and I "had it out." I shall
not attempt to reproduce our talk. Suffice it to state that when I
called for the bonds Addicks began to hem and haw, and then I realized
that he had a second time lied to me. We were in his Philadelphia
office, and it was night and we were alone. I demanded the truth, and
finally he told me he had no $904,000 of bonds. As a fact he had not a
single bond. He had used them to the last one and had deceived me for
months. In regard to this interview Addicks has always maintained that I
laid hands upon him, and that he was on the verge of doing some awful
thing, but this is false. What I did was to turn the key in the door and
then, without undue regard to his sensibilities, draw a word-picture of
the position he had placed me in. Also I said what I thought of him.
That is all.

The vast profits which the stock operator makes apparently overnight are
often subjects for the world's wonder and envy. But if the gains are
great, the road is muddy. If those who covet the golden rewards will
participate in a deal or two, wallow in the filthy double-dealing which
is an inevitable part of the cost price of success, they will quickly
realize the dark side of the glittering game, and that the sacrifices
are in proportion to the winnings. If I had been asked that night what
price would recompense me for the hell Addicks' shabby deceit had
stirred up in me, I should have said--that night--that no number of
millions would pay for the bitterness of the experience.

It was after midnight when I left Addicks' office, and as I walked to my
hotel I was steeped in gloom and bitterness. Before me was the most
humiliating ordeal with which Fate had ever saddled me. I had to confess
failure a second time, and under such circumstances that Rogers would be
justified in believing me either a swindler or a dupe unworthy of
respect or consideration.

I was at 26 Broadway by ten o'clock the same morning. Mr. Rogers was in
his main private office. His secretary was with him. He was full of
business, and, I thought, preoccupied. As I entered, and before a word
of greeting passed, he gave me one of his keen, appraising glances.

"Well?" was all he said.

"Your estimate of Addicks was correct. He has no bonds," I said, giving
him the worst of it at once. I was desperate and certainly in no mood
for apology. Rogers looked at me. I thought he gasped. He
rushed--whether he pushed or pulled me, or we both slid, or how we got
there I don't know--but in an instant after I had said "He has no
bonds" we were in one of the number of 8 x 12 glass-sided pens he calls
waiting-rooms, but which the clerks have dubbed "visitors' sweatboxes."
He put both hands on my shoulders and he yelled--fairly _yelled_: "Say
that again! I did not get it."

In after-years I became on rather playful terms with the extraordinary
bursts of wrath to which Henry H. Rogers occasionally gives way, and
which sweep through the "System's" shrine like a tornado; but this was
my first experience, and it was a shock and a revelation. Just what was
going to happen next I could not imagine. I remembered afterward that
the most definite of the impressions that chased each other through my
mind was that Henry H. Rogers would surely have a stroke of apoplexy.
Then that he would "bust." However, I pulled myself together and began:

"Mr. Rogers, what's the use of getting excited?"

I got no further. He jumped backward. The next second I was in the
storm-centre. The room was small. Suddenly it became full of arms and
legs and hands waving and gesticulating, and fists banging and
brandishing; gnashing teeth and a convulsed face in which the eyes
actually burned and rained fire; and the language--such a torrent of
vilification and denunciation I have never heard, mingled with oaths so
intense, so picturesque, so varied that the assortment would have driven
an old-time East Indiaman skipper green with jealousy. I was horrified
for an instant, then surprised, and after that, if it had not been for
my position as the cause of it all, I should have been interested in the
exhibition as a performance.

I could hear a stirring and a movement outside. The clerks were
evidently aware of the scene. Forms passed rapidly across the
ground-glass walls. After a time Rogers controlled himself. Then he said
to me in a voice still vibrant with passion:

"Lawson, tell me--put it in short, plain language--do you mean to say
that after coming to me of your own accord and agreeing to do certain
things, and then returning here to this very office, admitting that you
had tricked me; after my overlooking that breach of faith and agreeing
to take half the collateral simply because it was all you could raise,
and because I desired to assist _you_--do you mean to say you have the
audacity to tell me to my face that the whole thing is a lie and you
have imposed on me?"

"I mean, Mr. Rogers, to tell you that Mr. Addicks has just proved to me
that he has no bonds; that he is a liar and worse."

"Oh, he is, is he? But does that justify you in coming?--oh!----"

Again he was off. When he stopped for breath I raised my voice and made
it loud and emphatic enough to convince even a man temporarily insane
that my part as audience and victim had ended. I said:

"Mr. Rogers, I can't say more than that I apologize for the part I've
been made to play in this transaction, and I'll leave your office
prepared to take any kind of medicine, however harsh it may be, that you
will deal out on account of all this. Not only will I take it, but I'll
think you are right in administering it."

Rogers once more got himself under control. I stepped toward the door.

"One minute, Lawson--one minute. What are you going to do? Go back to
your associate, that gentlemanly, square-dealing fellow in
Philadelphia?"

"Mr. Rogers," I replied, "I ask no mercy at your hands, but there's a
limit to the things a man will stand under the mess I'm laboring with.
I'm going to do the best I can. What it will be I don't know. There's a
deal of money at stake--my friends', the public's, my own--I'm
responsible for it. I've made a terrible blunder. I am paying for it,
but nothing that has happened has altered my idea of the duty I owe
myself and others."

He was about to say something sarcastic. Then he choked back the words.
His manlier nature rose to the surface.

"Lawson," he said, "I'm sorry for you. Upon my soul I am."

"You needn't be, Mr. Rogers. It's all right; it's part of the game, but
I'm awfully sorry I came near you." I opened the door.

"One second more, Lawson," he said, stopping me and putting out his
hand. "I'm not only sorry, but I give you my word I have not a
doubt--no, not a suspicion of your good faith throughout this
business--and if at any time you see your way to open up negotiations,
you're welcome. Do you understand? You're welcome to come in here or to
my house at any time you think you see your way out."

I said "good-by" and bolted before my feelings overcame me.



CHAPTER XIX

ENTER H. M. WHITNEY


It is not surprising that there should now have ensued an interval of
silence and peace in the Boston gas war. Disheartened, disgusted,
disappointed, I had to take stock of our position. However enraged I
might be at the new revelation of Addicks' extraordinary veniality, the
other elements in the situation remained as before. I could see nothing
for me to do but to resume the tactics I had employed previous to the
meeting with Rogers. My friends' interests had to be protected, and to
do that war must be waged until a vulnerable spot in Rogers' armor had
been found. But it was some days before I could screw my enthusiasm back
to fighting-pitch. In the mean time Rogers did nothing. He, too, was
waiting for new developments.

To this extent the situation had altered, however: I knew just where I
stood with Rogers, and he realized the consequences of pressing us into
a corner. I knew he would sell his company and retire from the field if
I could find a way to pay him for so doing. He knew that if he turned
the screws too hard I would as a last resort turn the tables by throwing
Bay State Gas into bankruptcy. I tried many times and in many ways to
find means to bring about a termination of the struggle, but to no
purpose. Our extremity was such that it was impossible to do more than
protect our companies from a receivership. To raise new capital to
deposit as collateral with Rogers was out of the question, for the
public, looking on at what was evidently most disastrous warfare, was in
no temper to buy new stock.

The lull in our hostilities was only a pause between battles. It
suddenly came to an end January, 1896, when a new enemy appeared in the
field. Henry M. Whitney, who had built up Boston's electric
street-railway system, and who, from his frequent dealings with the
Massachusetts Legislature in obtaining franchises, had the reputation of
carrying that body in his waistcoat-pocket, came before this Legislature
with a proposition for a charter for a new and independent gas company.
Up to this time Whitney had had no relation with the gas public. He
based his new departure on the claim that he had come into possession of
a patented device through which it became possible to turn the low-grade
sulphuric coal of Nova Scotia into coke without sacrificing either the
valuable by-products, such as ammonia, tar, etc., or illuminating gas.
This was a very remarkable pretension, for we had long ago eliminated
these low-grade coals from consideration as material for gas-making; but
if Whitney's device actually was what he claimed, undoubtedly he would
be a dangerous competitor. Whitney's petition set forth further, that
because of the exceedingly low price of this Province coal and its
richness in by-products he could afford to sell gas to consumers at 50
cents per thousand feet (the legal charge was then $1 per thousand
feet), a price which would enable the great manufacturing institutions
and all the steam and heating plants to use gas economically for fuel
purposes.

The thing was sprung one day and was all over town before night. There
were interviews and pamphlets floridly setting forth Mr. Whitney's good
intentions toward gas consumers.

Mr. Whitney was, and is, one of Boston's most important citizens, at the
present time president of the Chamber of Commerce, and a brother of the
"System's" most Machiavelian votary, the late William C. Whitney. The
application, backed by his prestige, and the roseate dreams of cheap gas
it conveyed, created a sensation in Boston. Evidently he intended to
have it seem that the people were in favor of the new charter, for
simultaneously there appeared notices in the press calling for three
distinct citizens' meetings. There seemed to be general rejoicing that
at last the odious Standard-Oil Addicks-Bay State Gas outfit with all
its corruption and unwholesome wrangling was to be deposited outside
the city walls.

The experience of any man who has had to do with political and financial
affairs invariably shows him that nothing ever happens of itself.
Thunderbolts do descend from clear skies, but an enemy and not nature
has hurled them. A clever tactician will always look for his
antagonist's hand behind any isolated or detached fluctuation of public
feeling which bears in the slightest degree upon his problem. In going
over the circumstances, looking for the correct interpretation of the
appearance in our field of this second Richmond, I took into
consideration the fact that H. M. Whitney was deep in a speculative
venture, Dominion Coal, which owned vast tracts of these low-grade coal
lands in Nova Scotia, and it was known he had been trying vainly to
utilize their products in the locomotives of the Boston & Maine Railroad
and several other ventures in which he was a controlling factor. In one
way it seemed reasonable that if Whitney really had found a way to get
something out of his coal, he was justified in making the best possible
use of it. On the other hand, I could not but see how the new project
brought about the very situation at which Rogers had so long been
aiming. Selling gas at 75 or 50 cents, the new company would absolutely
command the business; the old companies must go bankrupt, pass into a
receiver's hands, and in due course would be absorbed by the Whitney
corporation. That would leave but one gas company in complete control of
the Boston field, and it would not be bound to continue the low prices
when competition had disappeared, but would be legally free to go back
to the old rates of $1 and $1.25. In a combination which so completely
went Rogers' way, surely his fine slim Italian hand might be perceived
at the throttle.

Once I had made up my mind by what we were confronted, I lost no time.
Inquiries revealed that Whitney's alleged control of the Legislature was
not exaggerated. In fact, it seemed eager to do his bidding in any
direction. There was no space for negotiation or deliberation, so I
returned his bomb with another, which, exploding in his breastworks,
created as much of a sensation as his own had done. I did not believe
Whitney could do with Nova Scotia coal the things he claimed, but,
whether or not, if he got his charter, Rogers' object would be
accomplished. If he were absolutely bound, however, under heavy bonds to
do exactly as he had promised, his proposition would be so loaded that
it might go off in his own hands and blow him to pieces. The next day I
went personally before the Legislature and agreed to pay the State of
Massachusetts $1,000,000 for the charter Whitney had applied for, and
offered to give bonds to do all the things Whitney would give bonds to
do on receipt of it.

This proceeding caused a halt. It startled the public and set the
Whitney forces agape. My proposition was decidedly novel, and on its
face absurd--the State could not under the law accept a million dollars
or any other sum for its charter--but, on the other hand, it was the
quickest-acting horse-sense producer that could possibly have been
brought to bear. It was discussed everywhere. Men said: "Why not? If the
State has a valuable thing to give away, why should it not go to the one
who will pay the people the most money for it?" I had outflanked the
enemy, and if he gave battle it would have to be on my conditions.
Whitney was furious, and his privately owned Legislature cursed me for
interfering with its plans; but he and they recognized my advantage, and
that night I had a call from Mr. Whitney and his attorney, George Towle.

"What are you trying to do, Lawson?" Whitney asked.

"Only trying to protect from destruction the Boston gas companies of
which I am vice-president and general manager," I replied.

"But my proposition is a perfectly legitimate one," Whitney objected. "I
have got hold of this invention, which enables me to utilize my Dominion
coal in such a way that we can make coke out of it, and at the same time
get all the gas. This coal is cheap to produce and costs little per ton
to bring in. So I can sell gas cheaper than you can make it."

"And we have a plant for the manufacture and distribution of gas which
has cost us seventy years and millions of dollars to get together, and
we have also the customers to whom you must sell your cheap gas," I
returned. "If you can really do what you claim, why not go ahead, make
your gas, and sell it to us? We will distribute it to the people and we
will divide the profit, and you will make as much as though you did it
all, for you will not have a fight on hand nor be obliged to build up a
duplicate plant. That's all you can do now; you cannot get a charter to
duplicate our plant, because whatever price you offer the Legislature
for it we will go you a few hundred thousand better."

We argued for hours. I showed him that if he finally prevailed and got
what he was after, his charter would bind him to the absolute fulfilment
of his promise under bonds that would make it unprofitable and
dangerous. He finally made up his mind that such a victory was not worth
winning, and he said to me:

"What kind of a hitch-up can I make with you and your companies?"

"Any fair one," I replied. "This is the situation as I see it, and I'm
going to be frank: You say you have a good scheme, but you certainly
have a Legislature, and you have evidently entered into a compact with
Rogers whereby he is to utilize what you have, to knock us on the head.
Now we have fairly checkmated you, and Rogers is out. Seems to me you
owe it to us and yourself to give us the same chance you offered him.
Let us utilize your plans to save ourselves and to knock Rogers on the
head. But first, are you free to go on with us without explaining things
to 'Standard Oil'?"

Whitney assured me that his arrangement with Rogers was tentative,
depending on whether he could get the charter and could carry out his
other plans.

After some further manoeuvring we agreed that we should withdraw our
offer from the Legislature, that Whitney should secure the new charter,
and that it should be so worded as expressly to allow his company to lay
pipes, manufacture, buy or sell gas, and to consolidate any or all of
the existing or new gas companies in the State of Massachusetts; and
that when the charter was granted it should belong equally to the
Addicks Boston gas companies and to Whitney. Upon their part the Boston
gas companies would buy of the new company all the gas it produced at
something less than it was costing them to manufacture it under the old
process. That bound us to nothing dangerous, and we were not forced to
take Whitney's gas unless he actually got the results he promised.

At this time I knew nothing whatever of the workings or the
wire-pullings of State legislatures. My business life had been engaged
at the stock end of corporate transactions, and I had not troubled
myself about franchises, or how they were obtained, being content to
play my part with the manufactured product with which we dealt on the
market. In a general way I knew political corruption existed. That
Rogers had obtained favors for his Brookline Company through bribing
officials I had good grounds to believe; I had read of strange doings in
connection with H. M. Whitney's West End Railway franchise obtained from
the Massachusetts Legislature amid an accompaniment of much public
scandal; but being quite without personal experience I had no clear
conception of how things were done and, innocently enough, I asked
Whitney before we parted:

"How is it possible for you to get this valuable charter from the
Legislature, particularly with such a strong and honest man as Roger
Wolcott in the governor's chair, when Addicks has been trying
continuously for four or five years, regardless of expense, to secure an
ordinary one under which he can combine our gas companies?"

George Towle answered for Whitney:

"Lawson, that part of the transaction is no affair of yours. Mr. Whitney
will absolutely guarantee to deliver all those goods, and should it
prove necessary to override the governor in getting them, he will
guarantee to do that too. You can call all that done the minute we sign
papers."

There was no doubt the new combination was a winner for both of us. If
Whitney got the charter, he would be in a position to make a lot of
money out of his Dominion Coal stock, which would surely go up with a
bound in company with Bay State Gas stock when it became known that our
companies were in the new deal. Besides, all the talk he would make over
the value of the charter would help create a market for new stock which
we would issue for the purpose of obtaining funds to buy Rogers out.
Later, if Whitney's invention was what he imagined, his own profit would
run into millions and our properties, having the sole right to
distribution, would be stronger than ever. That meant resuscitation of
Bay State Gas, and that all the stocks and bonds held by my friends and
the public would return splendid profits.

I tested the scheme in all its aspects and found only one weak spot in
it. We, the Boston companies, were to "go snags" with Whitney in the
results of a legislative game in which he was to bear the expense of
getting a charter, and as Whitney and Towle said it was to cost them
$250,000 to $300,000 to get it, it looked as if there would be some
nasty business done at the State House.

I do not set up for a saint, nor to possessing exclusive virtues which
distinguish me from the ordinary American citizen who does business for
gain. In reiterating that the bribery end of our "hitch-up" with Whitney
did not appeal to me, I am neither pluming nor crowning myself; I am
merely stating a fact. This was an emergency, however, I could not
regard as a mere personal concern. It was my duty to care for the
interests of a great property which must not be endangered by my
scruples, and I was willing to be advised by my business friends in the
matter. I went round among my most conservative banking, business, and
newspaper connections and put hypothetical questions to them bearing on
my difficulty. In nearly all instances the replies were the same, and
the subject seemed to be regarded as a joke--what were legislatures for,
anyway, but to be "fixed"? All who did business with legislatures
"fixed" them, and Whitney was certainly the star "fixer." I frankly
stated that I considered bribing a legislator as a low-down crime and
that I did not believe it was done in our strait-laced old Commonwealth
as freely as they all seemed to imagine. Thereupon I was sarcastically
referred to my Bell Telephone, New Haven, and Boston & Maine Railroad
friends, to the organizers of trust companies, and to many other
representative pillars of social and business society who had had
occasion to deal with the State. I started at once a round of
investigation among men who would talk frankly to me, and discovered
that a most iniquitous condition existed. Massachusetts senators and
representatives were not only bought and sold as sausages or fish are in
the markets, but there existed a regular quotation schedule for their
votes. Many of the prominent lawyers of the State were traffickers in
legislation, and earned large fees engineering the repeal of old laws
and the passage of new ones. Agents of corporations nominated candidates
for office, and paid the expenses of their election in return for votes
for a favorite measure and promises to "do business." The Legislature
was organized on the same basis; its executive officers were chosen
because of their subservience to certain corporation leaders; committees
were rigged to do given things and prevent other things from being done.
Above all, I learned that the chance of a citizen of Massachusetts
obtaining a charter from the Legislature of his State, unless he had
money to put up for it, was about as good as a hobo's of securing a
diamond and ruby studded crown at Tiffany's by explaining that he wanted
it. In fact, the citizen's request would be regarded by senators and
representatives very much as Tiffany's would regard the hobo's--as a
joke first, then as an impertinence.

Right here I desire to say to my readers and especially to all those
hypocritical and ignorant people who, imagining any strong statement
must express a strong prejudice and not a fact, will cry, "He
overstates! He exaggerates!" that in years after when I had full
opportunity to study at close range the Massachusetts Legislature, its
workings and those who worked it, all the impressions I had received at
this time were absolutely confirmed. I do not hesitate to state, then,
that:

_The Massachusetts Legislature is bought and sold as are sausages and
fish at the markets and wharves. That the largest, wealthiest, and most
prominent corporations in New England, whose affairs are conducted by
our most representative citizens, habitually corrupt the Massachusetts
Legislature, and the man of wealth connected with such corporations who
would enter protest against the iniquity would be looked on as a "class
anarchist." I will go further and state that if in New England a man of
the type of Folk, of Missouri, can be found who, after giving over six
months to turning up the legislative and Boston municipal sod of the
past ten years, does not expose to the world a condition of rottenness
more rotten than was ever before exhibited in any community in the
civilized world, it will be because he has been suffocated by the stench
of what he exhumes._

To return to my story, after my investigations I again saw Whitney and
Towle, and they, not relishing my remarks on the subject of bribery,
told me frankly to attend to my own part of the affair and leave their
part to them. At this stage I called in Addicks, our corporation
counsel, and some of the largest holders of Bay State bonds and stock,
and put before them the bargain I had arranged with Whitney. They all
agreed it was an excellent combination, and ratified the terms I had
proposed to Whitney. It was further agreed that Whitney should make over
to us one-half ownership in the new company, which we were to transfer
to the Bay State Company after the charter had been granted.

There was every reason at this stage in the deal to regard victory as
assured, for it did look as though the flapping sails on our
much-buffeted and battered craft were at last to be filled with a lusty
breeze strong enough to carry us to the harbor we had so long been
trying to make. Besides what we ourselves could do and had already done,
we now had Whitney for an ally in the deal, and certainly he was a
stock-selling power throughout New England. He had agreed to go before
the Legislature and the public, and pledge his word that his scheme
would do all the wonderful things he had promised for it.[8] And when
amid acclamation the charter was awarded and it became known that we
were its beneficiaries, I could see our stock soaring.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] As a matter of fact, he did, later, in the peroration of an eloquent
address before a public legislative hearing, electrify the law-makers with:
"I here and now pledge my word, my fortune, and my sacred honor to the
fulfilment of these promises."



CHAPTER XX

AN AWKWARD ATTACK OF APPENDICITIS


In no walk of life is that head-light axiom, "Man proposes, God
disposes," so often flashed plump in the eyes of enthusiastic travellers
for their bewilderment or befuddlement as in finance. At this very
moment of success I was, without knowing it, on the brink of ruin, owing
to causes and conditions which were beyond human power to calculate or
foresee. Here is what happened:

All the details of our bargain having at last been agreed upon verbally,
it was proper the principals should get together and formally execute
the documents which should bind the trade. We arranged to meet on a
given Saturday at the beautiful stock-farm of Parker C. Chandler, Esq.,
the Bay State's general counsel, and as secrecy was important, a special
train was to take the party the twenty-five miles out of Boston. By an
unavoidable accident I missed the train, and in driving over the road in
a bleak rain-storm, caught a violent cold. I was about three hours late,
but when I arrived we went to work with a will and by seven o'clock,
shortly before dinner, our contracts had been dictated to the
stenographers and would be typed, ready to sign, by the time we came to
our coffee.

That dinner was a thing to be remembered. No one in New England
understands more admirably the art of dining than does Parker Chandler,
and he gave us a feast worthy to celebrate the brilliant new combination
which was to end all our troubles and lead us out of darkness into the
light. As the cheese was being served I was seized suddenly with a
terrible pain, which was followed by convulsions. They carried me to a
bedroom; lawyers and capitalists went scurrying after doctors, and in
the confusion the documents which were all ready awaiting execution were
put aside. It was obvious that at that moment I could not O.K. them. At
last specialists from Boston arrived and it was diagnosed that I was
suffering from an aggravated attack of appendicitis. At two o'clock in
the morning, after a prolonged consultation, the consensus of opinion
was that my next field of operations would be in another world.

It must have been some time a little later that I, awaking to a brief
interval of consciousness, witnessed a tableau, the memory of which
invariably rises to my mind's eye whenever I try to mitigate or subdue
my feelings of hatred and disgust for Addicks. The room was dimly lit;
the two doctors were at the foot of the bed; Addicks, standing beside
them, was looking fixedly at me. I caught his eye; doped as I was with
opiates I saw the cold, calculating expression of his face, which told
me as plainly as words that he felt it was all up with me, that my
usefulness to him was at an end, and that without a thought for my
interests or a scintilla of regret, he was calculating how to turn my
death to his advantage. An amused conviction of the man's heartlessness
crept over me, and then I passed out into the land of dreams.

From that night until one bright morning ten days later, I was visiting
other worlds than those of finance and gas; but on the tenth day they
told me I had eluded the grim ferryman and, barring accident, might get
out into the world again in five weeks. A suspicion which owed its
origin to that glimpse of Addicks on the first night of my illness
awakened in my mind, and the following day I sent for my principal
attorney and demanded an exact statement of what had happened in the
interval of my illness. He had kept close track of all that had
occurred, and the facts he revealed, calloused as I was to the thought
of Addicks' baseness, horrified me by their cold-blooded villany. My
associates had gone ahead with a vengeance, without waiting a minute to
see whether I should live or die. My offer to the Legislature had been
withdrawn; Addicks had substituted his name for mine in all the
documents, and then he had traded with Rogers. It had been arranged
between them that Whitney should go on and get the charter, which was to
allow the company to sell gas at any price, for it was not to be under
the supervision of the gas commissioners, who had pledged the public
that the price of gas in Boston should not ever be more than $1 per one
thousand feet. This obtained, a new corporation was to be organized,
into which Rogers would merge his companies, and Addicks our Boston
properties, in such a way as to leave Bay State stock and bondholders
high and dry, while Addicks, Whitney, and Rogers reaped tremendous
profits. These amiable plans were being hammered into shape at top
speed, and unless I could get into harness at once, my friends and I
would most certainly be ground up. Head-quarters had been opened at the
Algonquin Club, and there Addicks, Whitney, Towle, and the lawyers and
lobbyists were holding day and night sessions.

There was but one thing for me to do, and I lost not a moment. I sent
for my doctors and said: "I will devote to-day, to-morrow, and next day
to getting well; but on the fourth day I will be moved in a special car
to Boston and then to the Algonquin Club." I explained the situation and
showed them that regardless of all consequences this must be done.

I shall never forget the expression on the faces of these loyal
associates of mine--Addicks, Whitney, and the others--when I dropped in
upon their deliberations Saturday morning, four days later. My doctor, a
nurse, and my lawyer accompanied me, and I was swathed in flannels and
shawls. I got to a chair, dismissed my attendants, and launched in. What
little I had to say would be brief, I told them, but "edgy." It was all
that. I insisted that we should go right back to our old bargain exactly
at the place we had left it the night I was taken ill. If they did not
comply, I would make application for a receiver for the Bay State
companies and give to the afternoon papers the inside facts of the
affair from beginning to end. No one doubted either my ability or my
determination to carry out my threat. We sent for the documents that had
been prepared at Parker Chandler's, and inside of three hours these had
been substituted and the several agreements entered into with Rogers
formally renounced. I retired to bed that night with a chuckle of
self-satisfaction, and a convincing appreciation of the truth of the
axiom I have referred to.

The low-down treachery and double-dealing characterizing this
transaction, the utter callousness to sacred obligations it exhibits in
men of presumed high standing and personal honor, may surprise my
readers. I assure them that several such episodes will be told in the
forthcoming pages of this history. Indeed, among a certain school of
eminent financiers, loyalty is no more than devotion to the opportunity
of making the highest profit. If circumstances shift this from the side
of their enlistment to that of an adversary, their arms and hearts go
where their pockets lead. It must be remembered that the Hessian who
"down-town" is steeped in perfidy, trickery, and fraud, may appear
before the "up-town" world as a Christian citizen and an example of
domestic virtue. The type is not uncommon nowadays of the pleasant and
proper gentleman, prompt to knock down any one daring to asperse his
veracity after five any evening and all day Sunday, but who considers
himself free to engage in any dirty juggle or misrepresentation from 9
A.M. to 4.45 P.M. In office hours you run no risk in calling him a liar,
for then he'll laugh at the joke and tell you business is business.
However, the foregoing episode was an experience that left an indelible
impression on my mind, and the hatred and disgust it engendered
precipitated events out of which in the course of years came the
offences and injuries that are responsible for the story of "Frenzied
Finance."

The immediate results of my reappearance were not startling. Rogers
raved at Addicks and especially at Whitney, but he was too old a student
of men, and the monkeys Dame Fortune makes of them, to sulk over the
facts he could not remedy. He soon resumed his former attitude of
waiting for something to turn up, which indeed he had maintained ever
since my unsuccessful effort to make terms with him.

Fate had not yet tired, however, of playing shuttlecock with our hopes.
The world learned one morning of a new gas called acetylene, clear,
brilliant, cheap, and simply made from calcium carbide. It would surely
revolutionize gas-making the world over, and the company which could
secure the right to it would have those who could not at its mercy.
Addicks moved like a flash to gather in the advantage, and the
announcement that the new gas had been proved a success was coupled in
the press with the news that the Bay State Gas had captured the
invention for New England, and was to pay millions for it. This did give
a boost to our securities, and for a time it looked as though we had
clinched our success with another rivet. What Addicks had done was this:
He had bought the right, subject to the test of a big public
demonstration. For this demonstration a fine flare-up was arranged.
Eminent mayors, counsellors, and gas magnates were to attend in
multitude, and if the invention met its engagements, there would be such
a blaze of publicity and congratulations that we felt sure our new stock
would go off like hot cakes. The demonstration proved in a most
sensational way that acetylene was a failure--a tremendous explosion
occurred; three men were killed, many others injured, and next day back
went our stock to its old figures.

All this time I had sought most diligently for the real solution of our
troubles--a method of purchasing Rogers' companies. A substantial
guarantee there must be, not only for the performance of our financial
engagements but to insure to Rogers the integrity of his properties
while under the domination of Addicks. The difficulty was, in the
weakened condition of the company, to put together any satisfactory
guarantee. Others in our group had wrestled with the problem as
strenuously as I had. Suddenly, a few days before May, 1896, the light
came to me. All the time the solution had been in our hands, and, beset
as we were, it had never occurred to any of us. We absolutely controlled
the old Boston gas companies. They were intrinsically among the richest
corporations in Massachusetts, and although their stocks were pledged
for the $12,000,000 of bonds held by the public, they did not owe a
dollar. Though the terms of the agreement between the Bay State Company
and the Mercantile Trust, which held their shares, precluded them from
contracting any debts, they were empowered, through us, their officials,
to buy or sell gas, and all their great wealth was behind such
contracts. If, then, we agreed on their behalf to buy gas of the
Brookline Company for a term of years at such a price and in sufficient
quantities to give the latter concern a profit equal to ten per cent.
dividends on its stock, surely we had complied with the very letter of
Rogers' exaction. Testing the idea in one way and another, I found it
sound as a bell. The problem after that was to get into shape for the
substantial issue of new stock we must make to pay for our purchase. The
banks and trust companies were loaded up with our securities pledged for
loans, and before there could be any conviction behind our prosperity it
behooved us to get all our valuables out of pawn. I went to Mr. Rogers
and frankly told him I had solved our problem and his by a financial
invention of my own. I entered into the details of our plan, explaining
it would not even be necessary for us to buy any gas of him, because we
would turn over a sufficient number of our own customers to the
Brookline Company to secure to it the required profit. He saw in an
instant the scheme with all its far-reaching possibilities, and
assented. Then I broached the rest of my plan--we would pay him four and
a half millions in six months. To do this we must sell stocks and bonds.
Before we could do that it was necessary that he help us still
further--he must buy of us all the bonds now in pledge and the stock of
the Dorchester Gas Company, another Bay State asset up for security, all
for the sum of a million and a half dollars. For this amount these
securities would at once be released and turned over to him. Then he
should resell them to us together with the Brookline Gas Company for six
millions of dollars. There would be a formal turning over of the
management of his properties so the public should be convinced that we
really were the victors in the strife. Mr. Rogers saw my point, quickly
ran over the details in his comprehensive way, and closed the trade
without further bargaining. That time, thank Heaven, it was not within
Addicks' power to thwart me.

On May 1st we made our settlement in compliance with the terms I had
arranged. The six millions of dollars were to be paid November 1st. As
the necessary options and sales could not legally run to our company,
they were made to Henry M. Whitney, and he simultaneously transferred
them to us, and we elected him a director of our different corporations.
Rogers publicly resigned and turned over to us the control of the
Brookline Company, and we elected our own management. To all intents and
purposes we had won.

The settlement was the sensation of the day in financial circles, and I
was the recipient of many generous congratulations. I had neither time
nor inclination to take care of bouquets at that moment, however. I was
too keenly aware of the difficulty of raising six millions of dollars in
the limited period at our disposal. Times have changed since 1896. Then
six millions was quite a large sum, larger than sixty millions now. That
was before the halcyon period of "Frenzied Finance."



CHAPTER XXI

BRIBING A LEGISLATURE


That six months between May 1st and November 1st was the most crowded
period in all my experience up to that time. Events of consequence
tumbled over one another in startling succession. We actually lived on
sensations. In exercising the historian's right to choose the order of
setting down incidents I am puzzled as to which to give precedence.
Shall I begin with the sensational bribery of the Massachusetts
Legislature which occurred within this period, or with the episode that
was the exciting climax of that interval of trial? About this time, too,
occurred the laying of the foundation of "Coppers" and Amalgamated, but
that certainly requires a chapter to itself. However, as all are starry
examples of what made "Frenzied Finance" possible, and as any one fits
into my story as well ahead as behind the other two, I'll take them in
the succession above set down.

The Whitney machine for the manufacture and moulding of legislation was
complex but efficient. It achieved its wonders in broad daylight.
Considering all it did and how that all was accomplished, the
astonishing fact is that no outcry to speak of was ever raised at its
performances. It was vastly bolder than Tammany and made fewer excuses
for its grabbings. It must be remembered, however, that its chief
engineer was a leading citizen, and his assistants all gentlemen of
great respectability and admirable antecedents, and, in Boston, social
and civic distinctions are shields behind which much may be concealed.

Corrupting a Legislature is not something a man may do with a fillip of
his finger and thumb. However bold the operations, the convenances must
be observed. When really large designs are entertained, the manipulator
sets to before the preceding election and has his "lawyers" at work
throughout the country interviewing candidates and ascertaining their
feelings. Thus a certain percentage of votes are signed and sealed in
advance, ready for delivery at the proper time. But there is always a
crowd of new men who must be taken care of on the spot, and these must
be approached with tact. Some amateurs have fanatical notions of honor
which interfere with both their own and the interests of
franchise-grabbers. To deal with all contingencies, to take care of
captured votes and to shape legislative proceedings along safe lines,
requires the services of almost an army of men.

At the head of Whitney's forces was his lawyer, George H. Towle, big of
brain, ponderous of frame, and with the strength of an ox. A man of
terrific temper, he knew not the meaning of the word fear. Nothing
aroused him to such frenzy as to have to do with a legislator who
unnecessarily haggled over the price of his vote or influence. On
occasions when a lieutenant reported that Senator This or Representative
That would not come into camp, Towle, with an oath, would say: "Take me
to him, and I'll have his vote in ten minutes or there'll be occasion
for a new election in his district to-morrow!"

Second in command was Mr. Patch, Towle's secretary and factotum, his
exact opposite in every way. Where Towle was brutally straight to the
point, Mr. Patch was as smooth an intriguer as ever connected himself
with secrets by way of keyholes and transoms. It is a Beacon Hill
tradition that for years Towle on final-payment day would have the
members of the Massachusetts Legislature march through his private
offices one at a time, and, handing each of them their loot, would
proclaim: "Well, you're settled with in full, aren't you? That
represents your vote on ---- and on ----." Then he would loudly identify
the bill and the particulars of the service, while behind a partition
with a stenographer would be Mr. Patch, who after the notes had been
written out would witness the accuracy of the stenographer's report.
When the Legislature assembled again, old members, the same story goes,
would be requested to call on Towle to renew acquaintanceship. Then he
would allow them to look over his memoranda "just to keep them from
being too honest," as he gently phrased it.

Subordinate to Towle and Patch was a long line of eminently respectable
lawyers known over the Commonwealth as "Whitney's attorneys." These men
assisted at nominations, orated at elections, and took care of the finer
preliminary details. The first line of attack was composed of practical
politicians of various grades--ex-senators or representatives, and local
bosses, who were known as "Whitney's right-hand men." Below these were
the ordinary lobbyists, the detectives, and runners, who kept "tabs" on
every move and deed, day and night, of the members of the Legislature.
This was the Whitney machine, and it worked together with that fine
solidity and evenness which can be attained only by constant practice
and much success. In comparison with this competent organization, an
average "Tammany Gang," a "Chicago Combine," or a "St. Louis Syndicate"
would look like a hay-covered snow-plough in August.

It is seldom the public is given an opportunity of seeing a picture,
drawn to life, of the Legislature of one of the greatest States in the
Union in the act of being bribed to grant the votaries of "Frenzied
Finance," for nothing, those things which should and do belong to the
people, and for which the "System's" votaries would willingly pay
millions of dollars if they were compelled to. I shall dwell on the
performance that ensued at this juncture of my story long enough to
present an outline of such a proceeding.

Head-quarters for Whitney's Massachusetts Pipe Line were opened at
Young's Hotel--Parlors 9, 10, and 11, Rooms 6, 7, 8, second story front.
Parlors 9 and 10 were the general reception-room, while 11 was reserved
for the commander himself and for important and "touchy" interviews. The
rooms 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 were used for educational purposes. In the morning
the place was deserted, but at noon the parlors began to fill up with
the different officers of the "Machine" and their friends, trustworthy
members of the Legislature. A little later an elaborate luncheon would
be served, the supernumeraries eating in one room, Towle and his chiefs
and the legislators in the other. At table the gossip of the morning
session at the State House was exchanged and the work laid out for the
afternoon legislative and committee sessions. Another interval of
silence and peace until at 5.30 the real business of the day began. Mr.
Patch was generally on the ground first, carrying the books in which the
bribery records were kept, for be it remembered that the efficiency of
the Whitney machine was largely due to the thoroughly systematic manner
in which its operations were conducted. Nothing was left to chance or to
any one's memory. In turn, the subordinates presented careful reports of
the day's transactions. At 6.30 Mr. Towle would go over these documents,
"sizing up" the actual results for submission later to the chief
himself. Between 7.30 and 8.30 the "Machine" dined; the remains of the
feast having been removed, the doors were locked and the books brought
out.

If an outsider could possibly have obtained the entry to the
head-quarters of the Whitney Massachusetts Pipe Line, say at nine
o'clock any evening during the session, he might easily have imagined
himself at the Madison Square Garden or at Tattersall's on the evening
of the first day of an international horse-sale. This is what he would
have seen: In Parlor 10, seated at a long table a dozen of Mr. Towle's
chiefs, all in their shirt-sleeves, smoking voluminously; before each a
sheet of paper on which is printed a list of the members of the
Legislature; against every name a blank space for memoranda; at the head
of the table Towle himself, frowning severely over a similar sheet
having broader memoranda-spaces. One after another the chiefs call off
the names of the legislators, reporting as they go along. The outsider
would have heard droned monotonously: "..... from ..... not my man;
..... from ..... my man and .....'s man; seen to-day, stood same as
yesterday; ..... from ....., raised price $20, making it $150; agreed;
$10 paid on account, total of $90 due; raised because ..... told him
that he had got $20 more from ....."

As each man reports the other chiefs and Towle discuss the details, and
when a decision on disputed points is arrived at, Towle makes a
memorandum on his blank, and the chief concerned records the order in
the little note-book which each carries. All reports at last in, Towle
retires to Room 11 and speedily returns with the "stuff," consisting of
cash, stocks, puts, calls, or transportation tickets, which he deals out
to the chiefs to make good their promises for the day. It would have
been obvious to the outsider, as soon as he had learned what was being
dealt in, that a large proportion of the members of the Great and
General Court of Massachusetts had bargained with the different members
of "the machine" to sell their votes not only in committee but in full
session of the Legislature, and that the price was to be paid when the
votes were cast, though something was invariably exacted on account, to
tie the bargain. Payment was made in cash, calls on Bay State Gas or
Dominion Coal, or transportation on any of the railroads in the United
States or Canada. The latter appears to be a class of remuneration Towle
favored, probably because it cost nothing.

The conference seldom closed for the day without Towle admonishing his
subordinates: "The old man's getting dead sore at the way his leg is
being pulled, and if you fellows don't get those countrymen to play a
more liberal game, they'll just drive the boss out of the business, and
then there'll be a slump in prices that'll make them prefer to stay home
and farm."

You may ask here, Could such things happen without attracting public
attention? Or are the citizens of Boston so habituated to the corruption
of their Legislature that they could witness unmoved this wholesale
bribing campaign conducted in full daylight from Young's Hotel? Thank
Heaven, this is not so. There are in every American community honest,
sturdy souls who can be depended on to come forward in emergencies and
cry out aloud against a threatened political crime. Above the brute
hubbub of a city's roar their voices are heard like the voice of
conscience, and the hurrying throng pauses a second in its mad rush
after dollars to listen to their tale of the Commonwealth's wrong. But
what's in the air is not on earth. The practical politicians, whose
affair it is to heed and counteract these honorable protests, laugh
contemptuously at the vanity of any contest between theories and the
"stuff." They know the overpowering logic of gold.

There were public meetings in Boston; good-government clubs throughout
the State met and "resoluted"; citizens' organizations howled robbery
and malfeasance. For a few weeks all Massachusetts seemed wrought up.
From the space the papers gave the protestants one might have imagined
that there was a chance for virtue, but the results of the clamor were
more apparent than real. Day by day, night by night, the "machine"
ground away at Young's, and as its product fell into the hopper Whitney
and Towle only smiled at the clamor and awaited the moment when, as
Towle coarsely put it, "the reformers would have yawped themselves to a
standstill."

That day came at last. One by one, all in a perfectly orderly and
methodical manner, the giving-bonds-to-compel-promises clauses,
restrictive amendments and other people's safeguards had been voted down
and the "Are you ready for the main question?" having been put in both
houses, the Massachusetts Pipe Line Charter was duly passed and sent on
to the governor. It required his signature to make the bill a
hard-and-fast law, and that once appended, all Towle's "promises to pay"
became due.

As the campaign neared a finish Whitney had, a number of times, informed
his chiefs, and they the members of the Legislature, that the governor
had given personal assurance that if the bill passed both houses, he
would sign it. On this score all interested had been relieved of doubt,
and immediately upon the Senate's favorable action Bay State and
Dominion Coal shares advanced in price. During the period the governor
had the bill under consideration there was an active and rising market
and a great volume of transactions on the Stock Exchange. Apparently the
day of our peace and prosperity had dawned at last. But we were not yet
out of a gnarled Fate's clutches.

In the midst of a strenuous forenoon of trading, suddenly, without the
slightest warning, both stocks began to sink in price like pigs of lead
from a capsized boat. At once I was on the defensive. To prevent a wild
market panic during the few minutes consumed in getting telephone
connection with the State House, I had to purchase thousands of shares.
I knew that something disastrous had happened, but was not prepared for
the startling information that came over the wire: "The governor has
vetoed the Whitney bill with a savage message." My informant told me
that Towle and his men were making for head-quarters on a run. As I hung
up the receiver, the bell rang again. In a second my telephone with
Whitney's office was in the middle of a spasm.

"Have you got the news, Lawson?"

"Have I got it? The tape is screaming it.[9] Bay State and your stock
are racing for the bottom," I replied.

"What shall we do? This is a thunderbolt."

"Do?" I replied. "It's for you to say what to do. That's your end, not
mine, but from now until three o'clock one thing you must do, or
there'll be no further thinking on the subject--protect Dominion
Coal--have your brokers on the floor every second and tell them to buy
all that's offered. Beat a slow retreat if you must, but prevent a wild
break. Things at the Exchange are bad now. I'll take care of Bay State.
Look out for Dominion at once, and when you are through I must see
you--where?"

"At Young's in ten minutes."

"I'll be there."

Ten minutes later I was in Whitney's head-quarters. There pandemonium
reigned; all the cocksureness and bluster of the "machine" had vanished,
and it was a horde of clamorous and excited men I found struggling round
Towle and Whitney, who vainly sought to stay the panic. It was not
disappointment at the governor's message that had so stirred these
hardened practitioners of politics, but the terror of impending loss.
The majority of the Whitney band, lawyers, lieutenants, and
water-carriers had bought one stock or both on margin, and had assured
their friends it was safe to plunge to the limit.

On earth there is no more pitiable sight than the panic of a herd of
novice stock-speculators suddenly awakened to a realization of their
ruin. The ticker clicks a sort of death-watch as the merciless tape,
without hitch or let up, reels off destruction. To such desperate beings
the stock operator--the market-maker--is the straw to save them from
drowning, and to him they turn as the one possible source of aid and
hope. I only knew these men at sight's end, but they knew me and were
sure in their abject plight that I could help them--by what wizardry
they never stopped to think. They were terribly certain that unless the
market turned, their brokers must have additional margin or their stock
would be thrown overboard, sinking prices still lower and bringing down
their friends' stock, and so on, like a row of falling bricks.

From their comfortable viewpoint of out-of-temptation virtue, my readers
may regard these lawyers, lieutenants, and water-carriers of Whitney as
bad men, deserving of no sympathy, meeting here a righteous punishment;
but, my word for it--and I know the world and the human ants and spiders
who inhabit it--while they bore no marks of immorality, they were the
average men one meets in one's journey over the bridge between the two
unknowns.

My talk with Whitney and Towle was brief and pointed. It was no time for
pow-wow. It was the moment for action. Men who do things in
stock-markets never waste time over milk that is in the gutter. How to
get new milk to replace that spilt is their care.

"What are you going to do, Mr. Whitney?" I asked.

George Towle started to explain. I stopped him.

"The market is bad," I said, talking quickly. "If time is dribbled, it
will be worse, and--and Boston will be a warm place for you, Towle. It
would not surprise me if it got warm even for Mr. Whitney, when the
desperate men who are filling the brokerage shops and the corridors
outside demand a reason why they were egged on to buy stocks on Mr.
Whitney's word that the governor would sign. No excuses now; I want to
know from Mr. Whitney just what he proposes to do. You both told me the
legislative end was none of my business, and, thank Heaven, it was not.
You said it was your business. Now, how about it?"

Henry M. Whitney is a great general. He also can light his cigar, when
the battle's on, with the friction of a passing cannon-ball.

"I'm going to pass it over the governor's veto," he instantly answered.

"Can you do it?" I asked.

"I can, for I must." He meant it. It needed but one look into his and
Towle's eyes to see they both had read the message on the back of
To-morrow's visiting-card.

"All right," I said. "Let your people have the word, and it must have no
doubtful ring; tell your brokers to buy Dominion Coal, and don't let
them stand on the order of their buying. Dominion Coal must be put back,
regardless of how much it costs or how little you want what you must
buy. I will turn Bay State before three if it is necessary to trade in
the whole capital stock to do it."

As I came out of Parlor 11 to rush back to my office I said to the
despairing men who crowded the corridor outside the head-quarters, and
who had in their desperation thrown all caution or thought of
concealment to the winds: "Coal and Gas look to me like good buys." The
sudden revulsion of feeling was pathetic. In a minute the news had
spread by way of them to their brokers and their suffering friends:
"It's all right; Whitney and Lawson are buying stock." It got to the
Exchange almost as soon as I did.

We turned the market.

That night Whitney and Towle's plans were mapped out to the army and
their orders despatched with a vicious snap that plainly said: "Whoever
attempts to put the Whitney machine in a hole will be shown no mercy."
The morning papers announced that Whitney had picked up the gantlet
Governor Wolcott had thrown at his feet, and--all roads led up Beacon
Hill.

It was a quick, sharp set-to. Every man was lined up with a jerk, and
when the line was tallied up and tallied down and Towle had consented to
the last raise in price of votes and given away to the final squeeze,
the word went up and down the ranks that the Whitney bill would, on the
approaching last day of the session, go flying through both Houses over
the governor's veto with a vote or two to spare. Again the prices of the
two stocks shot upward.

Then, sharp and quick as a bolt of lightning, Fate, who apparently had
been camped on the trail of Bay State Gas and Addicks from the first,
let fly another of her quiver's contents. On the morning of the closing
day of the session (the one selected for the Whitney coup), there
slipped in and out amongst the Whitney legislative ranks a man with a
story. As each legislator listened, his brow knitted and he nodded
assent. The story was a simple one: In one of Whitney's former
campaigns, desperate like this one, on payment-day Towle had gone back
on his promises and forced the acceptance of a fifty-cents-on-the-dollar
settlement; and, so the story now went, he, Towle, had put the saved
fifty cents, a matter altogether of some $75,000, in his own pocket.
Probably he was now going to repeat the operation on an even larger
scale. In an hour there came to Young's Hotel a trusty messenger who
delivered to Towle himself the ultimatum of the Great and General Court
of the dear old Commonwealth: "Money in advance or no bill!"

Consternation reigned. The army was quickly recalled to head-quarters,
and despatched back to the State House to put through every manoeuvre
known to the two veterans--but to no purpose. The Great and General
Court stood its ground, openly defied the army and hurled back into
Towle's teeth all his frantic threats. It was the last day, and the
Great and General Court was intrenched inside the protecting walls of
the State House, and it knew that before it could be compelled to come
forth to face Towle he must come to a decision. A terrible dilemma,
surely, for the amounts promised had run up to such an enormous
aggregate that it was impossible to pay all in so short a time, even if
such had been Whitney and Towle's intention. Yet to pay one or a few of
the dangerous malcontents meant to pay every one; the gang had firmly
banded themselves together.

This was the real moment of panic. Even Whitney and Towle were at their
wits' end. Finally, in desperation, and as a last resort, Whitney rushed
to the governor, threw up his hands, and asked for mercy. "What would
the governor sign?"

Massachusetts' able and fearless Governor Wolcott, who seemed to have
been expecting some such outcome of the battle, gave his answer clear as
an anvil-blow:

"You have told the people your company would give them cheap gas. Bind
yourself to do it by amending the charter so that the highest price your
gas can be sold at will be sixty cents. Then I will sign."

There was nothing else to do.[10] At the last minute the amendment was
inserted. The governor's representative gave the word that it was
satisfactory, and it passed.

I was in my office taking care of the market. Of the stampede I knew
nothing. Suddenly came the word: "The Whitney bill has passed on the
governor's recommendation." Both stocks started to jump; then a halt,
then--I didn't try to stop the decline, for I saw something terrible had
happened. In a few minutes the news was on the Street: "The charter was
not worth the parchment upon which it was engrossed."

The biter had been fatally bitten.

The market closed with the tape and ticker fiercely, exultingly shouting
"Ruin!" with each tick and slip: and that night Whitney's head-quarters
was little better than a mob. Frantic men demanded money, money due to
them for votes, money they had promised for margins to the brokers
before the Stock Exchange opened the next day, and swearing desperate
consequences to Whitney and Towle regardless of the effect upon
themselves.

Early next morning there came to my office two wild-eyed, desperate
creatures, Towle and Mr. Patch.

I had spent the night going over my accounts and those of which I had
charge, and in addition to a quick, real loss of over a million dollars,
I realized that the immediate future was so hung with dark clouds that I
dared not anticipate what the coming day might mean to me and mine; but
when I looked upon the big, powerful man, who had always seemed in any
light in which I had heretofore beheld him to fear neither man nor
God--when I looked and saw his plight I pitied him deeply, sincerely. He
carried a large travelling-bag, and Mr. Patch two others.

"Lawson, for God's sake, don't do what they are all doing--don't upbraid
me! I've got to get out into the world and be dead to all I
know--family, friends, every one. If I stay, it's State's prison or
worse, and Whitney says I must go. I've got all the papers together and
Whitney has given me what cash he had on hand, and this check of
$10,000. Do me one last favor, get me gold for it. I know I have no
right to ask any favors of you, but think if you were in my place. I
have a wife and children, and--" and the great, strong man wept like a
child.[11]

I called my secretary, and in a short time George Towle with the $10,000
in gold and the bags of "evidence" faded out of my life and into the
gray mist of eternity.

A few days after, a vessel dropped anchor off the island of Jamaica;
George Towle's body was carried ashore and buried, and Mr. Patch was
escorted back to the ship. A few days later, with weights of lead to
carry it to its last resting-place at the ocean's bottom, the latter's
dead body was dropped over the vessel's side. And somewhere floating the
high seas are a venturesome sailor-captain and a crew, who when in their
cups tell, 'tis said, strange tales of bags of gold and mysterious
documents.

As for the members of the Great and Good Court of the old Commonwealth
of Massachusetts for the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and
ninety-six, they received, none of them could tell from where, their
promised vote-money in the form of a yarn that the "stuff" belonging to
them had been delivered to George Towle, but that Towle had decamped
with it to foreign shores, where he was living in luxury with Mr. Patch.

'Tis writ that some crimes are so black and foul that they will not
down, and when I read over what is written here, I wonder if there will
not some day be another chapter of "Frenzied Finance" written by another
pen than mine.

I sent two police officials to the island of Jamaica, and had the
contents of the coffin marked "George H. Towle" photographed. I could
not photograph the contents of the ocean's depths.

FOOTNOTES:

[9] A stock operator's one reliable source of information is his ticker and
tape. For the benefit of those of my readers who are unacquainted with the
paraphernalia by which stock-markets and financial operations are
conducted, I would say that the ticker is a small printing machine through
which passes an endless paper tape. The machine is run by telegraph wires,
and it prints upon the tape letters and figures which are abbreviations of
the names and prices of all the stocks and commodities dealt in on the
stock-exchanges and boards of trade throughout the world. The instant
anything of moment happens anywhere, it is reflected by a rise or fall in
the price of securities or commodities such as wheat, corn, pork, cotton,
etc., that are dealt in in the different stock-exchanges or boards of
trade. As soon as a share of stock or bushel of wheat is sold by one
operator to another on the floors of the different exchanges, its price is
within a second printed on the tapes in the different offices. Therefore
what the ticker "ticks" out onto the tape is instantly read by operators
throughout the world, and as "the tape never lies," operators turn to it
for their real information. When the ticker begins to increase its clatter
and the tape to travel fast, an operator will tell you its activity means
something unusual is happening. The ticker begins to talk at ten o'clock
each week-day morning and finishes at 3 P.M., with the exception of
Saturday, when the hour is 12 noon. These are the hours that the
stock-exchanges are in session.

[10] The charter as originally passed had gone through by a fair majority,
but to pass it over the governor's veto was another matter. That required a
two-thirds majority of both houses, and in the brief time at the disposal
of the conspirators the securing of the additional votes was wellnigh
impossible. From the necessities of the case such votes must cost much more
than those of the original supporters of the bill, for it may be taken for
granted that most of the members of the minority had already withstood such
temptations as the Whitney faction had cared to offer. It was therefore a
case of bringing into camp the most honorable and the most expensive
members of the legislature, and without opportunity for strategy or
manipulation. The sole recourse was rank, flat bribery, and that in full
view of a mutinous following ready at the suggestion of the slightest
favoritism to the new men to become actively hostile. The task was
altogether too fraught with peril, to be undertaken. When they realized how
threatening the situation really was, Whitney and Towle decided to make
terms with the governor. The charter once obtained, they calculated that
the obnoxious clause might be amended out of it at a subsequent session (as
a matter of fact this charter, with its 60-cent clause, was afterward made
the nucleus of the present Massachusetts Gas companies which has just been
floated on a basis of $53,000,000 capital). Besides, the state of feeling
of the legislators and conditions in the stock-market had both to be taken
into consideration. It was not the fault of the legislators who had voted
for the charter that the governor had vetoed it, for they had been given to
understand by Mr. Whitney that he would not oppose it. They had delivered
their goods, and now, if the governor's sanction could be had under any
sort of a compromise, they would certainly hold Towle and Whitney
responsible for failure to make whatever arrangements were necessary.

[11] Towle told me, as he waited impatiently in my office for the gold,
that in addition to the great losses the drop in price of the two stocks
had inflicted on himself and his associates, there were losses on stocks
held by legislators, who had plunged on assurances that the charter would
go through, and that the amounts he would be called on to pay, if he
remained, were far greater than could possibly be met.



CHAPTER XXII

PLUNDERED OF THE PLUNDER


So extraordinary a happening as the disappearance of George H. Towle and
Mr. Patch, you think, should have furnished a national sensation. And
this is the first you have ever heard of it. Bear in mind that here for
the first time the facts of this case are set forth in their proper
relation to one another, and without the fear or favor that has hitherto
prevented them from being understood.

In Boston after the adjournment of the Legislature, however bitter the
feeling of the men who had sold themselves, and those others who had
lost their all in the crash of stock values that had followed Whitney's
defeat, their own complicity enforced silence and prevented outcry. It
was given out that George H. Towle and Mr. Patch, tired by their labors,
had gone to the country for a brief sojourn. On their return there would
be a settlement. And with these assurances, both legislators and
lieutenants had, perforce, to be satisfied. Gradually, betrayers and
betrayed drifted back to their own homes and their erstwhile avocations,
and when the strange story of the disappearance and death of the chief
actors in the Whitney drama came from over the seas, it fell on the
heedless ears of men who had written off a loss and desired to forget
the experience. A conspiracy of silence is easily organized among
accomplices.

I myself was the greatest sufferer by the disaster. Banking on Whitney's
assurance of success I had loaded up heavily with Bay State on my own
account; and my customers pinning their faith to my predictions of a
rise, had also bought heavily both of the gas stock and Dominion Coal.
In my attempt to support the market when the first decline occurred, I
had further increased my holdings, and, at the final break, thousands
of shares purchased for my clients were left on my hands. So my loss was
very large, many times larger than Whitney's. Like the others, I said
nothing, crediting the expense to education, while Whitney silently
tucked his emasculated charter into a crypt already furnished with other
corporation derelicts, to await some fair opportunity of legislative or
other resuscitation; for the instrument, shorn though it had been of its
immediate availability, was by no means without real value. Probably in
view of prospective contingencies, perhaps with a sense of what his
error had cost me, he said to me: "Lawson, the Pipe Line charter is
worthless now, but if at any time in the future it becomes valuable, you
or your company shall have half of it."

If Henry M. Whitney had kept that promise, what a world of disaster and
bitterness might have been averted. Generated in corruption, perhaps it
is not strange that this charter has since been so fertile a breeder of
dissension and ruin among all who have attempted to handle it. It may be
accepted as an axiom of finance that double-dealing is as dangerous to
the dealer as to his victim. The fierce conflicts that at intervals
burst out in the financial world and like a cyclone spread dishonor and
destruction broadcast, invariably are caused by some one man's
treachery.

To return to my story. To all appearances, the gas war was over. We bore
the palm of victory, but looming up before us was the task of getting
together the six millions which Rogers must have by November 1st. That
paid, the companies became permanently ours. It was a period of
unremitting effort, but the prospects of success were excellent. Addicks
had got ready a new lot of Bay State stock, and I had prepared the
public to take it. With the proceeds of this stock and the securities
which Rogers would turn over to us, we should have money enough to meet
our engagement, always provided no slip-up occurred. Since the May 1st
settlement our relations with Rogers had been satisfactory--I should
say, _my_ relations--for he persistently kept Addicks and his crowd at a
distance, refusing to have anything to do with them. But it's hard to
keep a big pot boiling in the open without some intruder smelling the
savor of your soup and sneaking up for a mouthful. Though secrecy had
been solicitously preserved regarding the details of our bargain with
the "Standard Oil" magnates, certain of the camp-followers of "Frenzied
Finance" had nosed out the facts, and at the very moment when our
position and prospects seemed most secure a plot was being laid, which,
as after-events will show, came close to bringing about the destruction
we had thus far managed to escape.

As the time of settlement drew near, it became necessary for me to have
frequent conferences with Addicks and his directors, and we opened
head-quarters at the Hoffman House in New York. It was my habit to come
over for a short time every week, when we got together, reported
progress, and discussed future moves. It was at one of these gatherings,
on Friday, October 16th, that we had intimation of our peril. I had come
down on the midnight train from Boston and was brimming over with
pleasant news and agreeable anticipations. The day and all other things
seemed good to me. The air was crisp and the morning sun gleamed
brightly on the red and yellow autumn tints of the trees in Madison
Square. For a moment I stood on the corner beside the naval monument
watching the down-townward procession of cabs and coupés in which the
spider aristocracy of finance makes its way to its webs in Wall Street
and lower Broadway. In the parlor of Addicks' suite at the Hoffman the
directors were gathered when I entered, and with them was Parker
Chandler, the Bay State's general counsel. We got down to business at
once. I told them how well our affairs were moving in Boston and
listened to their tidings of progress elsewhere. We were all in the
merry mood of success. The past was nothing but a bad dream; our
thoughts were on the rich moments beyond November 1st when we should
handle and know the real currency of our victory.

The telephone bell rang. Some one wanted Addicks quick.

Addicks stepped to the instrument. We all heard him say: "Hello."
Then--"Is that you, Fred?" (Fred Keller was his personal secretary.)
Then--"Yes, I hear you plainly. Repeat it." Then--a minute's wait while
we listened. Then--"When will they get up there?" Then--"Send every one
home, lock up and go over to the house, and call me on my wire." All
this in his ordinary, well-attuned, even voice, without the emphasis of
a word to show that the subject was a hair more important than any of
the hundred and one ordinary messages which went to make up a large part
of his daily life. The talk was so commonplace that we were none of us
interested enough to even stop our chatter.

Addicks stepped from the telephone and in a "bring-me-a-finger-bowl"
tone of voice said: "Tom, come into the other room for a minute; I want
a word with you."

He passed ahead of me through a small parlor into his bedroom. I
followed. He went straight to the bureau, took something from a drawer,
slipped it into his pocket, turned and dropped upon a lounge. But a
minute had elapsed since he had gone to the telephone. Could this gray
ghost be the same man who a short time ago had been smiling so
contentedly at Parker Chandler's last story? His face was the color of a
mouldy lead pipe and seared with strange lines and seams. The eyes that
met mine were dim and glazed, lustreless and dead as the eyes of a fish
dragged from watery depths.

Courage is not character; it is temperamental. There is an impression
that the man truly brave is he who can face sudden, unexpected
misfortune or calamity without a tremor or a flicker to suggest his
hurt. That is but a single phase and indicative of physical rather than
moral qualities; or, perhaps, merely the callousness born of long
exposure to danger. One of the bravest men I've ever known stood
watching the ticker one day during a downward run. Suddenly I heard "My
God, I'm ruined!" and he fell in a faint on the floor. And a certain
bank officer, whom I knew to be an arrant coward when arrested for
stealing a million, smiled at the policeman who had tapped his shoulder
and asked him for a light for his cigarette. Addicks had not turned a
hair as he hung up the telephone receiver, and here he was cowering in a
mortal funk, abjectly hopeless.

"Lawson, the game's up," he said in a trembling voice. "That was Fred.
He says Dwight Braman has had himself appointed receiver of Bay State;
that he raided the Wilmington office immediately after he was appointed,
broke open desks, and took all the papers he could find, and that in an
hour or so he will be in Philadelphia and in possession of all my books
and papers. He has a court order for the bank accounts and the right to
take charge of our funds."

"This is a startler," I said; "what are we going to do?"

"The trap is perfect, and I'm in it. They've caught me with every bar
down. Before, when they attempted to get a receivership, things were
ready for them--books and papers packed for Europe and cash in charge of
an unserved officer prepared at the first word to start for Canada. But
now, a few days before election, when if I don't throw a lot of money
into Delaware for my followers, they'll turn on me like wolves--they've
caught me napping. It's a plot, sure--a receiver in possession,
particularly Braman, and appointed in a way that shows deliberate
calculation, proves it was done by some one who knows our situation to a
'T.' It means ruin for me and the company. You know I won't have a
friend left on earth, and enemies now will rise up like snakes before a
prairie fire."

It was indeed a stiff, tough turn, yet I was watching the man rather out
of curiosity to note how he could take a reverse than out of sympathy. I
don't believe there was another man on earth who, similarly placed,
would not have aroused my pity; but Addicks--no man or woman has pity
for Addicks.

"Well," I repeated, "what are we going to do?"

He did not reply for a moment. I continued to look at him. The eyes
haunted me. I noted that the lines round the lids had deepened into
furrows. He half raised himself from the lounge.

"I've said they would never get me, and they won't." Instinctively his
hand sought the pocket into which he had dropped what he had taken from
the dresser's drawer. Then I knew. The yellow streak showed plain at
last. I had guessed from the start it was there.

The stock manipulator in common with the successful general must have
the capacity to deal with the unexpected. The faculty to see a situation
whole must be his, to focus instantly the lay of the land, the enemy's
plans and strength, his own resources, the strategic possibilities of
his position; and instantly, if necessity demands it, he must be ready
with a new plan of campaign fitted to the first emergency. The more
rapidly his mind works the safer are the interests he is guarding. But
if he has not this capacity, he can never be a market manipulator.

For a moment I could not but pause to admire the devilish ingenuity of
the trap that had been sprung on us. The state of affairs that Addicks
revealed was about the worst imaginable. I had been on this particular
war-path so long that my mind instantly grasped the possibilities of
destruction that lay in this new attack. I saw November 1st--no money to
pay Rogers; everything forfeited; Addicks in a nauseating scandal; and
all those friends of mine who had put their funds into Bay State because
of their confidence in my ability to win out slaughtered. No, it should
not be if I could prevent it. Other storms we had met and weathered, why
not this? Even if it were a tornado, we would "ride her out." Perhaps we
should not be afloat when the rollers subsided, but at least we should
be at rest--on the bottom. I turned to Addicks, who, heaped up on his
lounge, was staring into vacancy.

"Brace up, Addicks," I said. "We are not knocked out yet. At least let
us find out what has struck us."

I was some moments in arousing him from his condition of despair, but
finally he pulled himself together, and piece by piece we went over
the situation. I had to agree with him that he was in an
end-to-end-center-pull trap. The cunning machinery he had set up to
meet just such an emergency, now that it was in hostile hands, was
rather a source of danger than of safety. There was but one way out of
the complication--we must undo this receivership and release our
properties and funds before November 1st. Addicks, when he got his
thinking loom running, declared the receivership was all a "Standard
Oil" plot to ruin him. I felt sure it was an independent operation,
but there was no time for controversy.

The telephone bell rang again. It was Fred Keller, talking from Addicks'
house. We soon had all the details of the raid. This is what had
happened. Dwight Braman, a former Boston broker, now a New York
capitalist and promoter, had suddenly appeared in Wilmington, Del.,
accompanied by Roger Foster, a New York attorney representing Wm.
Buchanan, one of the original holders of Bay State Gas income bonds. He
held $100,000. They had gone before Judge Wales, and pleading that the
interest on the bonds was in default and that Addicks was dissipating
the assets of the company, had succeeded in inducing the judge to
appoint Braman receiver. The whole performance was put through with such
marvellous rapidity that not one of Addicks' innumerable henchmen had
had a hint of it, and so no warning could be given in any direction.
Braman, an adept in corporation try-outs, lost not a moment, for the
instant his receivership appointment was signed he pounced down on the
Delaware offices of the Bay State and seized everything they contained.
He was waiting there for the first train to Philadelphia for the purpose
of capturing the head offices of our corporation, which were located
there, adjoining Addicks' private offices.

It was the moment for rapid action. We had an hour before Braman and
Foster could reach Philadelphia, and in finance in that time continents'
have been submerged and oceans pumped dry. Addicks instructed Fred
Keller to rush the books of the company into a trunk, together with all
the private papers in Addicks' safe, and to come at once to New York,
where he would be beyond the jurisdiction of the Delaware court. We
returned to the large parlor and hastily explained to the waiting
directors what had occurred. Addicks instructed the Bay State secretary,
who was present, to connect with the trunk upon its arrival and
disappear. In the meantime the company's counsel advised that Addicks
and the other directors barricade themselves in their rooms at the
Hoffman to frustrate any attempt to get legal service on them, for we
well knew that Braman and Foster, as soon as they realized they were
balked in Philadelphia, would go to the New York courts for additional
powers--which afterward they did.

This line of defence having been fully organized I hurried down town to
26 Broadway. I felt certain that Mr. Rogers had nothing to do with the
Braman-Foster affair, but to satisfy Addicks and make assurance doubly
sure I determined to see him. After being with him for five minutes I
knew I had not been deceived. Rogers agreed with me that the situation
looked as though it had been made for his interest, for it threatened to
leave us absolutely at his mercy with nothing to prevent his checkmating
Addicks at his own game. As I pointed out to him, however, there were
disadvantages in the position which he must take into consideration. His
acceptance of the opportunity would work such losses to the public and
to my friends that though the responsibility might be laid to Braman and
Foster, I would fight so viciously that no one would be spared. Besides,
between the Addicks scandal and that other which we agreed must
unquestionably lurk in the hasty appointment of the receiver, the whole
affair must eventually be ventilated in court. It is always hard for Mr.
Rogers to forego an advantage, but by this time he was tired of the
wrangle and wanted peace, and, moreover, he did not relish the thought
of court proceedings, so he admitted that my reasoning was good, and
promised to do anything in his power to assist us.



CHAPTER XXIII

TWO GENTLEMEN OF FRENZIED FINANCE


The enemy did not leave us long in suspense. Next day Braman and Foster
arrived in New York, bursting with a noble wrath at the failure of their
coup in Philadelphia. An outrage had been worked upon them, upon the
public, upon the majesty of the law. To hear their ravings one might
have supposed them the evangelists of Justice righteously denouncing a
desecration of the sacred altar; or, that we had deprived them of an
inalienable right they had possessed to our property. It would have been
humorous if the conditions had been less tragic.

No defender of property right is so vociferous as the financier who,
having appropriated his neighbor's goods, argues that possession
constitutes legal ownership. On a country road I once almost rode over
two hoboes, who were so busy wrangling with one another that they had
not heard my approach. I gathered that one of them, having filched a
collection of laundry from a farmer's backyard, had placed it in charge
of his mate while he went off for a second helping, and had returned
just in time to stop the latter from decamping with the swag. The talk
the original purloiner was giving his ungrateful assistant was one of
the best expositions of virtue and honesty I've ever listened to.

We met the following Monday and in reply to my request that we talk
things over, Foster delivered himself of an exalted exposition of the
rights of deluded stockholders, the majesty of the law, and the stern
duties of Mr. Braman, who, for the time being, had departed his private
self and, until further notice, existed only as a rigid arm of the
court. Just as I had arrived at the conclusion that I had got into the
wrong shop, Braman took up the lecture by informing me of things I
already had made myself familiar with, to wit, how he had at different
times occupied similar rôles in other corporations' affairs and how
relentlessly he had exposed mismanagement and peculation. I suggested to
him that in most such cases the receiverships seemed to have been
dismissed in favor of the former managers. He waved his hands and
replied that in this particular case there was absolutely no chance of
control being returned to Addicks, who had outrageously abused his
trust; "although, of course (this as a sort of second thought) you know,
Mr. Lawson, if Mr. Foster on behalf of his client should receive the
amount of his claim and the proper fee, from whatever source, I should
be powerless to prevent the dismissal of the receiver."

Braman and Foster were a delightful combination. As the talented Chimmie
Fadden would say: "Dey knew dere biz from de bar to de till an' from de
till by de way of de cash register to de wine-cellar, so's dey could do
de circuit wid dere lamps blinked and dere hands tied." With their
corporation mix-up records I was familiar, and after a few minutes' talk
realized that it would be impossible to do anything with them until they
had kicked up against one or two of the bricks Addicks was now with
renewed energy preparing to cast into their pathway. I left with an
agreement to see them the following day, and a parting reminder that all
natural history showed that unpicked ripe plums were in great danger of
being blown from the tree with every passing breeze.

I hurried back to Addicks. "It's the old game," said I; "they are on the
box and have the lines, and know just how badly we need our coach, and
it's only a case of how much 'inducement' we can stand."

I left him and went down to 26 Broadway. I had not wasted time, but they
had been there ahead of me.

"Lawson," said Mr. Rogers, "this time Addicks is up against a real
condition, and phenomenal work will have to be done or his race is run.
Braman and Foster have been here and made a strong bid for a partnership
with me, but I did as agreed and sent them away with a cold 'I'm in no
way interested.'"

Foster and Braman secured an order from the New York courts to take
possession of all property, money, papers, and books claimed by the
company, and formally laid siege to Addicks' quarters in the Hoffman.
There was considerable excitement for the guests and the newspapers.
Doors were battered down, but the astute and slippery Addicks led them a
merry chase until they finally caught him hiding in a freight elevator
which he was using for a private staircase, only to find he had no
books, papers, or money.

The week that ensued was full of trouble and incident for all concerned.
Addicks led an expedition to Wilmington in an effort to get the court to
call off the receivership, but had his labor and the expense of his
lawyers for his pains. Braman and Foster dragged us through a weary
round of special hearings and demands of various kinds in the different
courts, but by Tuesday night of the second week their ardor had cooled
considerably and they were as puzzled how to let go of the bull they had
captured as we were to find a way to make them do so.

Bright and early Wednesday morning Braman called on me, and when he
threw his coat and hat into a chair he must have dropped his
receivership cloak too, for after he had carefully closed the door and
made sure we were without witness he said:

"If there's any business to be done in this matter it must be done
quick."

I admitted no one could possibly appreciate this more than I--but what
could be done? After bluffing for an hour and exchanging honest views
for fifteen minutes we agreed that the situation stood thus:

If nothing were done before the coming Sunday, the 1st, the receivership
would be permanent; the stock, which had fallen to $3 per share, would
remain at that figure or go lower; my friends, the public, and myself
would be tremendous losers; all the past of Bay State, the doings of
Addicks and Rogers, and the appointment of the receiver would come in
for thorough investigation; an awful scandal would be aired in public;
every one would be covered more or less with mud; and no one could
possibly be the gainer but "Standard Oil," for Braman agreed with me
that the deal we had made with Rogers would probably stand in the
courts.

On the other hand, if an arrangement could be arrived at by which we
could have the receivership discharged, the company returned to its
officers, or our equities preserved, all would be gainers by the move,
for it would be proof positive that whatever the obstacles, we could
overcome them, and the stock would go flying upward again.

After we had set out all the advantages, disadvantages, and
possibilities of the situation, I bluntly plumped Braman with that
inevitable question of all such "sit-downs": "What's the price?" And
Braman as plumply and bluntly answered: "Buchanan, Foster's client, must
have the face of his bonds and interest, $150,000, and we must have at
least $150,000 for our trouble and expense."

My long experience in corporation affairs, and my intimate knowledge of
the practices which the "System" with its votaries has made habitual was
such that I was proof against shock from anything that could possibly
turn up in even extraordinary financial deals, but I was just a bit
staggered by the business-like way Braman demanded for himself and
Foster $150,000 and the coolness with which he further explained that
they must divide their share with certain influential persons without
whose hearty cooperation the tangling-up which had been so cleverly
accomplished would have been impossible. He made no bones of showing me
that once "we gave up" it would only be a matter of the number of
minutes required to get details fixed before everything would be as it
was before he had interfered. I dwelt upon the possibilities of the
judge not following orders to the letter and the minute, but he only
smiled and answered: "Leave all that to us; if we don't make good as
agreed, we get no pay." He was fully alive to the dangers of the game,
and he impressed upon me he would take nobody's word for anything. With
him and Foster nothing but money talked, and it must not be of the
marked-bill kind either, meaning he would not take anything which could
be tied up by injunctions and lawsuits after the receiver had been
dismissed. However, he would play fair. He would not ask us to pay on
anything but the actual delivery of the goods. He also frankly told me
that he had named the very low figure, $150,000, because he expected to
invest what he received in Bay State Gas stock at $3 and, upon its
jumping to $10 or $20, to make half a million.

But this is outrageous, you say. You call the performance I have
described by hard names! Surely our courts are not also the creatures of
"frenzied finance"? you ask. I warn my readers that this narrative is no
more than a record of events occurring within my own knowledge, and that
dark and vicious as the pictures seem they are photographs of actual
happenings. Nor should the public conclude that the dishonor and
dishonesty revealed in connection with Bay State Gas are exceptional. On
the contrary, such doings are the rule in the affairs of great financial
corporations. Into the rigging and launching of almost every big
financial operation in the United States during the last twenty years,
double-dealing, sharp practice, and jobbery have entered; and, what is
more, the men interested have participated in and profited thereby. To
correct a popular fallacy I want to say that I am not referring here
simply to moral derelictions but to actual legal crimes. If the details
of the great reorganization and trustification deals put through since
1885 could be laid bare, eight out of ten of our most successful
stock-jobbing financiers would be in a fair way to get into State or
federal prisons. They do such things better in England. During the past
ten years three "frenzied financiers" have practised their legerdemain
in London--Ernest Hooley, Barney Barnato, and Whitaker Wright. The first
is bankrupt and discredited; Barney Barnato jumped into the ocean at the
height of his career, and Whitaker Wright, after numerous attempts to
escape, was hauled up before an English judge and jury, promptly
convicted and sentenced, and committed suicide by poison before leaving
the court-room. I will agree at any time to set down from memory the
names of a score of eminent American financiers, at this writing in full
enjoyment of the envy and respect of their countrymen and the luxury
purchased by their many millions, whose crimes, moral and legal,
committed in the accumulation of these millions, would, if fully
exposed, make the performances of Wright and Barnato seem like petty
larceny in comparison.[12] But freedom and equality, as guaranteed us by
the Declaration of Independence, have recently been capitalized, and
"freedom" now means immunity from legal interference for financiers,
while the latest acceptance of "equality" is that all victims of special
privilege are treated alike by those who control and exercise such
privilege. If the judges and the public prosecutors of these United
States were equal to the sworn duties of their sacred offices, this
"freedom" would have been confined long ago, and throughout this broad
land there would be jails full of "frenzied financiers" who had imagined
themselves licensed to rob the public.

But to return to Bay State Gas: "Braman," I said, "we see the situation
through the same glasses, but before deciding as to prices let us see
where the coin required is to come from. Until the receivership is
dismissed not a cent can come from the Bay State treasury, so that
eliminates Addicks. I, personally, am in such shape because of this same
receivership that I can do nothing. So, as usual, it comes down to the
man with unlimited money--Rogers. The question is, how to get Rogers to
advance so large a sum in such a ticklish business? He does not want to
get mixed up in a matter in which any one man's treachery might mean
State's prison."

"Somebody's word ought to be good," he commented.

"Only two men's words would be of any avail," I interrupted--"yours and
Addicks', and you have just made it clear that in this case neither
would be worth the breath expended in pledging it."

FOOTNOTES:

[12] Since the above was published the American people have become aroused,
and as this book is going to press, scores of the greatest financiers in
America are having under oath confessions squeezed from them in a
life-insurance investigation conducted by the State of New
York--confessions which reveal such a condition of perjury, bribery, and
habitual sequestration of funds, as to make my statement seem mild.



CHAPTER XXIV

BUYING A BUNCH OF STATES


I left Braman and went down to Mr. Rogers. After a careful canvas of the
situation it was settled that the only way out was for Rogers to furnish
the money to release the receivership, in consideration of which
accommodation Addicks should forfeit the old Boston companies to him
through Bay State's failure to comply with the terms of the May contract
which matured the following Monday. Rogers would administer these
companies in trust, applying their earnings to the liquidation of the
bonds, and after these latter had been paid off, would turn them back to
the Bay State Company for the benefit of its stock; or he would release
the companies to us whenever we could raise the money to redeem them.
Thus Rogers would make sure of the amount of his original investment,
the million dollars profit the May 1st deal permitted him, while I
should have secured for my friends and the public the amount of their
investment in the property and a good profit for the stockholders to
boot. To secure Addicks' consent to this arrangement would be the
difficulty; but there was one consideration that would probably induce
him to give way--his terrible plight in case the receivership became
permanent.

Having reached this point, the next problem was how to get the money.
Rogers refused absolutely to be a party to any payment that could be
traced back to him. He pointed out the sources of hazard; first, through
treachery on the part of Foster, Braman, or Addicks, he might be accused
of bribing a court officer, the receiver; Addicks might blackmail him by
charging him with conspiracy, or a conspiracy charge might be brought by
Bay State stockholders, and he be held for tremendous damages. He
refused to put himself into any such trap. I put forward a dozen ways to
meet the emergency, but he would have none of them. Finally he suggested
a method which was certainly perfect of its kind. He began by letting me
into the secret that the chances of a McKinley victory in the election
the following week looked pretty bad, and that the latest canvass of the
State showed that unless something radical were done, Bryan would surely
win. Hanna had called into consultation half a dozen of the biggest
financiers in Wall Street, and it was decided to turn at least five of
the doubtful States. For this purpose a fund of $5,000,000 had been
raised under Rogers' direction,[13] to be turned over to Mark Hanna and
McKinley's cousin, Osborne, through John Moore, the Wall Street broker,
who was acting as Rogers' representative in collecting the money. It
would be legitimate for the National Committee to pay out money to carry
Delaware, and he, Rogers, would arrange it that the coin to satisfy
Braman and Foster should come through this channel. Thus he would be
completely protected.

"Lawson," said Mr. Rogers, looking at me with intense and deadly
seriousness, his voice charged with conviction, "if Bryan's elected,
there will be such a panic in this country as the world has never seen,
and with his money ideas and the crazy-headed radicals he will call to
Washington to administer the nation's affairs, business will surely be
destroyed and the working people will suffer untold misery. You know we
all hate to do what Uncle Mark says is necessary, but it's a case of
some of us sacrificing something for the country's good. Bryan's
election would set our country back a century, and I believe it's the
sacred duty of every honest American to do what he can to save his land
from such a calamity."[14]

The "System's" conscience has its own quaint logic--the logic of
self-interest--and this is how it reasoned: "The election of Bryan would
disturb our control of American institutions, therefore American
institutions would be destroyed by Bryan's election. On us, the
'System,' devolves the sacred if expensive duty of saving the nation,
and, however abhorrent to our fine moral sense, patriotism compels us to
spend millions in bribing and corrupting the electorate so that virtue,
'Standard Oil,' and J. P. Morgan may continue the good work of caring
for the public's interests as their own."

As I listened to Rogers' exordium on the duties of a citizen in an
emergency, I remembered the "Standard Oil" code--"Everything for God
(our God); God (our God) in everything." It was so essentially "Standard
Oil," this willingness to commit even that greatest wrong, subverting
the will of the people in the exercise of their highest function--the
election of a President--but only that good (their good) might come of
it. It was no more than selfish greed tricked out in the noble trappings
of morality, an infamous crime disguised as patriotism. Doubtless, the
excellent, God-fearing, law-abiding citizens of the doubtful States who
read this and learn how the "System" defeated their will at the polls
will cry, "Monstrous! Can such things be in America?" and then will
resume their interrupted occupation of "letting well enough alone."
However, this is aside from my story.

Having clearly set forth the political situation through which we should
be saved, Mr. Rogers proceeded to map out my own programme. First, I
must perfect an alibi for him by going to Foster and Braman, and
impressing upon them the fact that he was absolutely out of the affair,
and must under no circumstances be brought into it; next, I must
convince Addicks to the same effect, and in addition tell him that Mr.
Rogers had angrily refused to get into the mix-up; I should then hold
myself in readiness to meet John Moore and Hanna or Osborne as soon as
an appointment could be arranged. That afternoon I got the word and went
to 26 Broadway, and from there Mr. Rogers and I went over to John
Moore's office, slipping in the private door from the rear street.

"John," said Mr. Rogers, "I am going to turn this matter over to you and
Lawson, and I am to have nothing further to do with it. What you two
agree to will be satisfactory to me, and remember, both of you, every
dollar that is paid is paid by the National Committee, but after it's
all settled, and if there is no slip-up, I will look to Lawson for
whatever is expended. Is it understood?"

We agreed that it was, and Mr. Rogers left us.

John Moore deserves more than a mere passing mention here, for he was at
this time a distinguished Wall Street character and one of the ablest
practitioners of finance in the country. During the last fifteen years
of his life, John Moore was party to more confidential financial jobs
and deals than all other contemporaneous financiers, and he handled them
with great skill and high art. Big, jolly, generous, a royal eater and
drinker, an associate of the rich, the friend of the poor, a many-times
millionaire, who a few years before had been logging it on the rivers of
Maine, his native State, John Moore well deserved his "Street" name,
"Prince John." His firm, Moore & Schley, transacted an immense brokerage
business, and numbered among its clients great capitalists and bankers
all over the country. Especially were Moore & Schley famed for their
discretion, and the highest proof of confidence reposed in the firm was
the fact that it did the bulk of the stock speculating for what is known
as "the Washington contingent." This is, perhaps, the most peculiar and
delicate business that comes to "the Street." A big Wall Street house
opens a Washington office and organizes an elaborate system of special
wires, wires from which there can be no possibility of leakage. It is
then ready for the patronage of members of Congress, United States
Senators and national officials, whose honorable positions make them the
custodians of national secrets of great commercial value. If, for
instance, a new law is to be passed which must favorably affect a given
stock, legislators who are on "the inside" often buy thousands of shares
in order to reap the profit of the rise in value incidental to its
passage. Or perhaps there is in prospect a law which will interfere with
the special privilege of some other stock and reduce its price. Those in
possession of advance information "go short" of that stock (sell for
future delivery) to profit by the drop. There are many other
opportunities the Washington "insider" of speculative turn may use to
advantage. For instance, if a high official of the Government were about
to issue a proclamation against a foreign nation, and should desire
secretly to make a million or so out of the panic he knew must follow
the announcement, he would cast about him for a broker who would
preserve this sacred confidence. It would invariably be through the
Moore firm that his secretary or confidential man would do the short
selling. There are also the operations of lobbyists who, to affect
important legislation for this great interest or the other, buy or sell
stock for the benefit of legislators whose votes they desire to
influence. Extreme caution is demanded in the execution of such orders,
or all hands might by some slip-up find themselves wearing striped
suits.[15]

Such a catastrophe seemed imminent some years ago when the Sugar Trust
was before the United States Senate for some legislation necessary to
bolster up its monopoly. Its agents had either been less cautious than
usual in disguising the raw bribery they were perpetrating, or this
particular Senate was too brazen to take the usual precautions to hide
its greed from the world. In any case, so great an outcry was made in
the press of the country that some sacrifice to the people's wrath was
called for--one of those familiar sacrifices which, at intervals of ten
or fifteen years in this republic, our rulers make to the great god
Integrity. An investigation was organized, and a Senatorial inquisition
had before it eminent sugar capitalists and many other distinguished
gentlemen who could by no possibility shed light on the transactions,
and then, realizing that a show of earnestness, at least, was demanded,
it was agreed that some member of Moore & Schley's firm must go on the
witness-stand, and, on refusing to tell which Senators had speculated in
sugar, must be sent to jail. This grandstand play, it was calculated,
and rightly, would so hold the attention of the American people that
when the committee concluded its investigation with the usual loud
acclaim of duty well done, its Draconian punishment of the unsubmissive
broker would act as another ten years' stay against outcry.

When this stratagem was decided on, John Moore announced that he as head
of the firm should be the sacrifice. But the representatives of the
"System" and the Senate firmly refused to assign him that rôle, and
instead, to his grief and anger, nominated for jail the associate member
who had charge of Moore & Schley's Washington business, whom they
declared the logical victim. During the thirty days that his friend and
partner spent behind the bars John Moore's hair whitened more than in
all the years before, and from that time until his death he refused
firmly to take part in his old line of work, or was ever again his old
jovial self.

FOOTNOTES:

[13] Over a year after the publication of this statement startled the
country, John A. McCall, President of the New York Life Insurance Company,
and George W. Perkins, Vice-President of the same company and partner of J.
Pierpont Morgan, were compelled to confess that they had contributed from
their policy-holders' deposits, large amounts of money to a fund to defeat
Bryan in 1896 and to the Republican campaign funds of the two following
presidential elections, and that they gloried in it. At the same time Jacob
Schiff, director of the Equitable Life and a partner in the great
international banking-house of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., admitted that funds
belonging to the policy-holders of the "Big Three," the New York, the
Mutual, and the Equitable, were used in a joint fund to influence the
Legislature of every State in the Union.

[14] President McCall used almost the same language in September, 1905, in
justifying his payment.

[15] The President was notified some few months ago that the cotton report
was being juggled by employees of the United States Department of
Agriculture in the interest of certain Wall Street speculators who were
gambling in cotton. Investigation proved that it was the practice to
falsify the report; and certain Government officials and brokers are now
under indictment.



CHAPTER XXV

ATHLETICS OF FINANCE


Entirely apart from his relationship with Mr. Rogers it was a great help
in this Bay State emergency to have the aid of a man of John Moore's
wealth of vim and wide knowledge of men and affairs. Freely and frankly
I explained our situation to him with its innumerable complications
until he had mastered its intricacies. A tough job he pronounced our
proposition, and he was the authority on the subject. After our talk was
ended he called in Osborne, who had evidently already been talked to. He
said to Osborne:

"I've been over Addicks' affairs with Lawson, and there is no question
in my mind and that of other friends of the party that he should have
what is necessary to carry Delaware. You had better have the committee
ready to put in between $350,000 and $400,000 if we call for it. I will
see that it is kept down as low as possible."

Osborne then spoke his piece and replied that the committee would do
whatever was decided best, and asked me to send Addicks around next day
to explain just how he was pushing things in Delaware. All this was
play-acting for the benefit of Rogers' alibi.

The next thing on my programme was to persuade Addicks to relinquish his
hold on the old Boston gas companies, and this was likely to prove my
most difficult task. I left John Moore, who agreed to hold himself in
readiness at any hour to consult on and approve such settlement as I
could arrange, and energetically started in on the Delaware financier.
It was a trying ordeal. As soon as Addicks saw I had something to work
on he began to demur and object. If he could not have things his way, he
would do nothing. He knew that I had joined a conspiracy to ruin him;
that I was in league with Rogers, who was in league with Braman and
Foster, and that all were banded together to take all he had away from
him. In the course of that two hours' wrestle I was tempted several
times to throw up the whole affair, and there were some bitter and
savage word-passages that left both of us heated. I could do nothing
with him; he must hear from Rogers personally. Finally I got the
"Standard Oil" wire, and Rogers talked so plainly and coldly as
partially to sober him, but ended by agreeing to have his counsel talk
things over with Addicks, which was a distinct concession. A little
later Mr. Rogers' representative was at the Hoffman and he and Addicks
had it hot and heavy. After about fifteen minutes of conference they had
wellnigh come to blows. However, the hot exchanges had begun to tell.
Addicks grew saner, but he insisted on seeing Foster and Braman. I
warned him that he was fast getting our affairs into such shape that no
one could patch them up, but to no avail. He must meet his enemies face
to face if only to ram into their teeth that they were scoundrels.
Finally, I got Braman on the telephone and explained that I was doing my
best to quiet a crazy man, who would consent to nothing until after he
had seen him and Foster and told them what thieves they were. I heard
Braman chuckle. He said: "Bring him along to Foster's house at 10.30,"
and added: "It wouldn't be a bad idea to have an ambulance along, too."
This suggested further complications, for Braman has the reputation on
"the Street" of being more eager to face a wild man on a rampage than a
sick one in a plaster cast, while Foster, although a little bit of a
fellow, was never known to side-step or duck trouble. I slipped word
down to Moore at the Waldorf to follow along to Foster's place in a cab.

There are several "spite houses" in New York. Foster's house was one of
them. It is a narrow strip of a brownstone dwelling at 79 West 54th
Street, built to express the enmity of one property owner for his
neighbor who refused to pay an extortionate price for the land. It is
about the width of a front door, and inside there is just about room to
move around. It afforded a queer background for the scene enacted there
that night.

Promptly at 10.30 Addicks and I were at the door, and by 10.32 the
tunnel-like walls of the "spite house" resounded with as illuminating a
verbal interchange of billingsgate biographies as I have ever listened
to. At 10.35 I covered Addicks in a hasty but quite successful retreat
which he beat to our cab. Thence to the Hoffman House, where I summoned
Parker Chandler to aid in the calming of our raving associate. The next
two hours were of the pulse-jumping, vein-tearing kind incidental to
"frenzied finance," but they were not without avail, for Addicks finally
agreed that he might consent to "something" provided the Bay State
equities in the Boston companies were so preserved that he could
eventually get them back into his hands by repayment to Rogers or by the
redemption of bonds.

Having got thus far, I again went after Braman and Foster, who were at
the Hotel Cambridge. We repaired for further conference to the
University Club, which was then in the old A. T. Stewart marble palace
on the corner of Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue. I shall never
forget that session. It was past midnight, but the three of us battled
with our smoky problem, now good-naturedly, now bitterly. At times it
looked hopeless because of this obstinate demand or that steadfast
refusal. It must have been three o'clock in the morning when I left them
and stepped into the Waldorf for a moment to relieve Moore's vigil. Then
back again to the Hoffman, where Addicks, Chandler, and some Bay State
directors were nodding. By this time I was in no mood to say more than
that I would be over in the morning, and that Addicks should go early to
the National Committee's head-quarters and explain the desperation of
conditions in Delaware to Hanna, Osborne, and their associates. At last
I was free to return to the Brunswick for a few hours' rest.

In the country, cock-crow is the signal to be up and doing. In the city,
the signal to be up and to do is a hoarse, metallic roar that would
drown a million country cock-crows if each particular cock were as big
as the mythical rooster of antiquity and could crow in proportion to his
size. My readers who dwell on the hills and in dales and wheat-fields,
and who are unfamiliar with the wild, weird early morning din of the
city, may not know that the metropolitan cock-crow is made up of the
jingle and jangle of a million tin milk cans jolted over a million
blocks of stone to the tune of thousands of steel-shod feet, the shrill
cries of an army of butcher and baker boys and the groans and the moans
of countless troubled and tortured human souls. Cock-crow in the country
means "Awake to another day of life." Cock-crow in the city is a signal
for the slaves of Mammon to arise to another interval of flight and
pursuit.

The great city cock was just getting ready to send forth his hoarse cry
as I went to bed, and he was still on his roost a few hours later, when
I awoke. I looked from my window of the Brunswick across the Square, now
flooded with the pure sunlight of early morning, and all the kinks and
quirks and hobgoblins which the rush and irritation of yesterday had
generated seemed to have vanished, and I could not suppress a smile at
the thought of the night before, when this battle--this puny,
insignificant battle for a few dirty dollars--had almost raised feelings
I now knew too well should only be aroused by real battles, battles in
which noble principles were involved, and I felt better able to fight
what I had thought, the night before, was going to be a hard battle.

"Pshaw!" said I, as I looked away and beyond the park to the grand
battlefields of my better imagination, "what will it matter a hundred
years hence what name appears against victor or vanquished in the
archives of fame or the records of infamy when the student reads, 'A.D.
1896, Bay State Gas-"Standard Oil" war,'" for I saw that among the
countless real deeds there would be no room for any record to mark the
existence of any Gas or Dollar war.

With these thoughts still in mind I sat down to breakfast with Parker
Chandler, and as I listened to his cheerful gossip of yesterday, I
inwardly resolved that whatever the result of the day's effort, I would
take it with a smile.

Thursday was another period of strenuous struggle and unceasing effort.
I began early, and every moment was taken up with arguments, wrangles,
pleadings! Chandler had agreed to see that Addicks kept his appointment
with the National Committee and that a quorum of Bay State directors
should be on hand in the Hoffman so that we could get quick action on
any proposition that came up. This arranged I hurried over to see John
Moore, then down for a last word with Mr. Rogers. Addicks came next for
a spell; from him to Braman and Foster; back to John Moore; more
interviews with lawyers and round the circle again. It seemed as though
it were impossible to arrive at any agreement that some one of the
principals interested would not kick over. At four o'clock Friday
morning John Moore and myself ceased our labors for the day, both of us
wellnigh exhausted. With all our efforts many of the vital points to our
agreement were still in the air. A few hours' sleep and we were back at
our task, and by six o'clock on Friday night the last obstacle had been
overcome and the deal was completed.

There remained now the tremendous business of putting all the
arrangements concluded into execution. A multitude of legal documents
had to be drawn up and executed, first by Rogers and then by the Bay
State board of directors and officers. It was a pile of work, but not a
second was lost, and by 11.20 that night we were ready for the third
act, which was to be performed simultaneously by different sets of
actors in Boston and Wilmington. For this our officers were split. With
the directors of the Boston corporations, Chandler, and Mr. Rogers'
attorney to supervise the legal end of next day's transaction, I left on
a special car attached to the midnight train for Boston; while Addicks
and the Bay State directors set forth on another midnight train for
Wilmington, Del., to be followed in the early morning by my New York
partner, John Moore's partner, Braman, Foster, and more counsel
representing Mr. Rogers. This contingent was to carry the money.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE CIRCLING OF THE VULTURES


I don't believe there ever was before or since a financial operation in
which so many things, each of vital importance, had to be done at one
and the same time.

Before I took the train for Boston, just after the last deed had been
signed, Braman, Foster, and I had come to a complete understanding in
regard to the manner in which the court proceedings the following
morning should be conducted. It was understood that no one should take
another's word for anything, and consequently that no money should pass
until specific performance of all the required conditions. Immediately
on the release of the receivership, Foster and Braman were to be paid
their "fee," and they asked that the $175,000 cash coming to them should
be arranged in separate piles of bills. The two packages containing
Foster's and part of Buchanan's, and Braman's $50,000 were to be in the
joint custody of John Moore's representative and my partner, who, with
Rogers' counsel and Addicks, had been assigned to represent Bay State in
the court.

What would happen after the transfer of these several amounts was
outside my jurisdiction. Addicks did not confide to me his own scheme of
revenge, but of Braman and Foster's purposes I had a clear idea. As
Braman had explained, the great winning of his adventure should be made
in the stock plunge he and Foster contemplated in Bay State Gas stock,
then selling at 3-1/2 to 4; but lest there be some slip-up in court,
"buy" orders to their brokers were contingent on the word "go!" from
Wilmington. To get this off at the right moment a clerk was taken along,
whose only part in the play was to telephone this word "go!" They
expected in this way to make at least half a million.[16]

Addicks' intentions, as I afterward learned, were less exalted but much
more direct. He had conceived a plan whereby without danger to himself
he could punish Braman and Foster for the wrong they had done Bay State,
and at the same time meet his election expenses at no cost to his own
pocket. In the course of his electioneering campaign in Delaware,
conducted as all the world knows how, Addicks had gathered to his cause
as tough and rascally a set of "heelers" as ever waylaid aged woman or
lame man on the highway. A lieutenant who had been despatched to
Delaware early Friday afternoon, when it had become evident that we
should get things settled up, gathered the sturdiest members of this
precious troop together and solemnly told them that a serious hitch had
occurred in Addicks' game and that it looked as though, owing to the
receivership, there would be no "stuff" to put in circulation this year.
The men responsible for this outrage were to be in Wilmington on the
following day and from the appearance of things would get the money
Addicks had destined for his followers. He understood they were to
receive it in cash, too--$175,000--cash that really belonged to Addicks,
who had intended it for his good friends in Delaware. The thugs,
properly indignant at the wrong that had been done "the Boss," dispersed
rapidly to discuss the information among themselves. That night a group
of leaders got together and figured out a little plan of campaign to
frustrate the robbery of their beloved master. Court proceedings to
release the receivership could not take long, and they calculated that
the train schedule would detain Braman and Foster at least two hours in
Wilmington after the adjournment. What more easy than the organizing of
a little scuffle on the station platform or on the street and in the
rush--well, many things happen in a rush. This simple procedure
commended itself to all concerned, and that night there was much
rejoicing among the Addicks camp-followers at the pleasant things that
should be pulled "off" at the flim-flamming bee next day.

All these things were in the air when court opened in Wilmington on
Saturday morning. A special telephone line had been run and
arrangements made for a clear wire right into the directors' office in
the head-quarters of the Gas Light Company in Boston. At the telephone
in Wilmington sat my partner ready to communicate to me the exact course
of the proceedings, so that I might simultaneously make the agreed
transfers of our companies to Rogers. I knew my partner's voice; he knew
mine. We, too, were taking no chances.

     * NEW YORK, February 21, 1905.

     _Dear Mr. Lawson_: In your article in _Everybody's Magazine_
     for January, among other misstatements upon which I shall
     not now comment--since you have committed yourself too far
     to make it likely that you will withdraw them--you accuse me
     of having speculated in Bay State Gas stock with Mr.
     Buchanan's money; and of having subsequently been sued by
     him. I hold Mr. Buchanan's receipt for the money collected
     for him, which I paid him the night that I returned from
     Delaware. He has never sued me. Please inform me whether you
     are willing and agree to strike out these statements from
     your article when published in book form, and also whether
     you will agree to withdraw the same in your magazine. I
     tried to call on you and discuss the case when in Boston,
     January 21st; and I also tried to meet you on the day after
     last Thanksgiving; but apparently you were unwilling to see
     me. I remain,

     Very truly yours,
         ROGER FOSTER.


     THOMAS W. LAWSON, ESQ.,
     Boston, Mass.

     FEBRUARY 23, 1905.

     _My Dear Mr. Foster_: I received your letter of the 21st
     inst., and in reply will say, if I have done you any wrong
     in my story, "Frenzied Finance," or otherwise, it has been
     unintentional, and I regret it, and I seek this, the first
     opportunity, to give my regrets the same wide circulation as
     my original statements.

     As I wrote you previous to the publication of the magazine
     containing the parts you refer to, I try to exercise the
     greatest care in allowing nothing to appear in my story but
     facts--facts I know to be facts, and in addition only such
     facts as are absolutely necessary to my work, which is the
     portrayal of those events of the past essential to a proper
     understanding by the people of the evils that have been done
     them, and how they have been done, that they may do what is
     necessary to undo them and to prevent their repetition in
     the future, and, in addition, such facts as it is fair for
     me to use. I repeat what I said to you then: I have
     absolutely no feeling in regard to you other than an intense
     desire to do you exact justice.

     I dealt with you in the entire Bay State receivership affair
     in connection with Mr. Braman and I thought that I had every
     reason to believe that his Bay State Gas purchases were for
     your joint account; but now that you assure me they were
     not, I hasten to have such assurances chase my original
     story with the hope that they may speedily overtake it.

     My information that you had been sued by Mr. Buchanan came
     to me in a way that left no doubt in my mind of its
     correctness--no doubt until I received your letter. Papers
     were sent to me some time ago by reputable attorneys in a
     suit of Buchanan against Braman and, I understood, yourself,
     along the lines outlined in my story, with the request that
     I allow my deposition to be taken, so that Buchanan could
     get at the facts in his attempt to recover the moneys
     claimed.

     Your assurances to the contrary in regard to this matter I
     also hasten to start on the road you point out, and I will
     see that both statements are expunged from my book.

     You are in error in thinking that I did not wish to see you
     when you were in Boston. I did not know in either case of
     your desires until it was too late to see you. I certainly
     would have had a "sit-down" with you if it had been
     possible.

     Again assuring you not only that it is a pleasure to set
     forth the facts you have called to my attention, but that I
     am your debtor inasmuch as you have given me an opportunity
     to perform that duty which I owe to every individual my
     story treats of--to state facts and only facts with which
     they have been connected--believe me,

     Yours truly,
         THOMAS W. LAWSON.

FOOTNOTES:

[16] See foot-note on pages 189 and 190.



CHAPTER XXVII

COURT CORRUPTION AND COIN


The closing scene of this most significant drama was enacted on Saturday
morning in the Wilmington Circuit Court-room. There was nothing in the
cold formality of the proceedings to indicate that here was the
_dénouement_ of a serio-comedy in which greed and ambition had clashed
in a battle for millions; nor in the amiable indifference of the men who
got within the enclosed space below the judge's desk to suggest the
murderous passions and fierce hatreds raging beneath the surface of the
prevailing calm.

The _dramatis personæ_ were gathered in little groups representing the
separate interests--Addicks and some of his lieutenants; my partner at
the telephone; John Moore's partner and Rogers' counsel with their heads
together; Braman and Foster nearer the judge, their eyes wandering
toward two dress-suit cases piled before John Moore's partner, which, it
was understood, contained the money. At a glance it was impossible to
tell the one containing Buchanan's share from the other laden with the
receivership loot, but each was tagged, and it was evident that
possibilities of a mix-up had been carefully guarded against. Behind
Braman was his clerk, and in the rear of the court-room sat as many of
Addicks' thugs as could squeeze into the narrow space reserved for
spectators. They, too, eyed the dress-suit cases avidly, for the
information had been passed around that these innocent receptacles
contained the "stuff," of which the "Boss" was about to be robbed.

Court came to order. Foster rose, announced that the claims of his
client had been satisfied, and made a formal motion to dismiss the
receivership. The Court formally consented, and as the clerk was
entering the dismissal in his minute-book my partner telephoned the
facts to me. I sent back the word that my directors were resigning--had
resigned--that Rogers' directors were being elected--had been
elected--that the Boston gas companies were now transferred to Rogers.
My partner whispered my words to John Moore's partner and Rogers'
counsel. At once the two dress-suit cases, each loaded with currency,
were slipped to Braman and Foster. At the same time the messenger who
was to telephone to their broker rose and quickly left the court-room. A
brief period was consumed in signing receipts, certificates, and other
legal papers, and then the performance was over. Addicks rose and went
out among his henchmen in the rear, who eagerly surrounded him. In the
bustle Braman and Foster, each with his own booty, fled.

Let us see what was happening at the Boston end of the wire while all
this dumb show was being enacted in the Wilmington court-house. My
directors and officials were lined up against the walls of the
directors' room in the Boston Gas Light Company's office like so many
members of young John D. Rockefeller's Sunday-school class, inasmuch as
they were prepared to listen, sing, or shout "Amen!" at any time they
received the nod of the class-leader. In an adjoining room Rogers'
counsel had a similar line-up, with the difference that my men were
about to shed the crowns which the others were waiting to receive, and
which would transform them from humble business men into royal gas
kings. Through the open wire I was in such close touch with the scene in
the Wilmington court-room that I was almost sure I heard the subdued
weeping of the blindfolded Lady of the Scales on the bills which
occupied such a prominent part in the disreputable proceedings. Nothing
now could impede the course of events, so I concluded to take Time by
the headgear and secure what Bay State stock was in the market before
Braman and Foster got in their work. Over another wire which was at my
elbow I gave the word "go!" to my own brokers in Boston and New York,
and when a few minutes later they told me they were securing thousands
of shares, and that the stock was climbing toward 10, I could not
repress an inward chuckle at the thought that the money we had so
reluctantly parted with would spread over only one-half or one-third the
surface it was originally intended to cover.

It was all over in a few minutes, and when my partner said, "It's done,"
and "By Jove, there go Dwight Braman and Roger Foster on the dead run
with a dress-suit case apiece!" I held my sides as Parker Chandler in
his inimitable way bawled: "Tom, let's leave our straw hats on the pegs,
for we'll probably be back next spring figuring out how to pump air
enough through the gas-measuring meters to pay for that money we've just
loaned Braman and Foster for a day or two."

Braman and Foster, as I have observed before, knew their business. The
danger to which $175,000 in currency would be exposed, in a territory
controlled by Addicks, had appealed to their cautious instincts, and
once outside the court-room they literally took to their heels and ran
for a corner of the railway yard, where awaiting them was a special car
and engine. They jumped aboard, yelling to the engineer: "Let her go."
In the meantime eager-eyed ruffians searched the streets and hung round
the hotels, looking for two men with dress-suit cases. A hundred of them
were on the station platform, awaiting the departure of the regular
train. Ten minutes before leaving-time one of the henchmen appeared
among the gang, and passed round the word that the gents and the "stuff"
had got off by a special, and it was no use waiting any longer. Later
that afternoon, Addicks, to use his own words, in one of his rendezvous,
"dealt out his own good money in place of that he had hoped would take
care of the people's rights."

It was a fierce session of the Stock Exchange that Saturday morning.
Shortly before closing time a new set of brokers were frantically
grabbing for Bay State stock round 10, and Monday morning, when all the
world knew that the receivership had been lifted and our company was
itself again, the same crowd continued to buy fiercely. To these eager
purchasers I resold all that I had previously gathered, and enough
short besides, to compensate me for some of the losses I had previously
suffered, for this latter I was enabled to repurchase at half price,
when news came that another suit had begun against Bay State. This
latter drop in price so shattered the nerves of Braman and Foster that
they retired, having made up their minds that they did not know quite as
much about one end of "frenzied finance" as they did about the other. As
a matter of fact, nothing came of the suit in question, for it was
evident when the transfer of the Boston gas companies to Rogers' control
became known, that Bay State Gas receiverships had played their last
successful engagement.

My readers will not object if I again call their attention to the
inevitable workings of the law of compensation. The losses occasioned by
the market action of Bay State stock in these four days so mixed up
Braman and Foster in their financial accounts that later they were sued
by their client, Buchanan, who in court stated that he in turn was so
confused as to what was done in connection with this business that he
really knew less after it was over than before the suits were brought.
But one thing was indelibly impressed upon his mind--that his bonds had
disappeared in the whirl and he had not received anything for them. I
think this suit is still pending.



CHAPTER XXVIII

PEACE AT LAST


When the curtain fell on the closing scene of the performance in the
Delaware court there ensued a brief interval of quiet in the affairs of
Bay State Gas. Rejoicing in the temporary diversion of public attention,
the chief actors proceeded to assume their former rôles, and soon
affairs began to move at their old gait. Rogers took possession of all
the Boston gas companies and patiently awaited the coming down the pike
of some traveller with more money than brains. Having successfully
corrupted the State of Delaware, Addicks was being measured for the
senatorial toga, when accidentally the blind lady dropped her scales on
his unprotected head, which catastrophe laid him out long enough to
enable another to sneak the prize he had so long striven for. We are not
at present concerned with the affairs of Delaware, and it suffices to
say in passing, that after a heated contest one Richard Kenney was
chosen to the senatorial seat Addicks had so long coveted, and that this
man, a typical Delaware vote-rancher, after being sworn in as United
States Senator, was brought back to Wilmington and tried for robbing a
Delaware bank, his accomplices being some other heelers of Addicks. The
disclosures made in the trial showed that the case in all
characteristics conformed to the Addicks standard of indecency, for the
bank officials, not satisfied with "blowing in" every dollar of deposits
and capital the institution owned or controlled, had actually "lifted"
in addition the building in which the bank was situated. One of the
court functionaries who had heard the evidence tersely remarked: "Talk
about stealing a red-hot stove: this is a case where they took the
funnel with it to keep the draught going until they set it up in a new
location!"

But Delaware, as my readers have doubtless gathered long ere this, is
its own kind of a country, and rewards and punishments are so perversely
adjusted that it seems a sort of Topsyturvydom. In this instance certain
of Addicks' heelers went to State's prison and death; Kenney returned to
the Senate to help make laws for the great free people of America, while
the chief conspirator, with a threat to sue the blindfolded lady for
damage done, began to set out the pieces on the Bay State Gas chessboard
with a view to trying certain new moves that had occurred to his
perpetual-motion mind.

The situation of Bay State Gas stock was fully understood by the public.
While Rogers had possession of the Boston companies, he simply held them
in trust, and must give them up whenever the parent corporation had coin
enough to redeem them. The securities were still in the hands of the
public and my friends, and my own duty to get Bay State Gas on its feet
was plain. It was again a case of raising money, and to do this we had
the issue of securities which we were preparing to float just before
Foster and Braman swooped down on us. Addicks agreed that if I would
undertake the marketing of this stock, he would issue only enough of it
to redeem the properties from Rogers. His directors met and formally
"resoluted" on this point, and I felt satisfied before going ahead that
there was no danger of this money being put in jeopardy without actually
stealing it. The company, for the nonce, had no other business but to
pay office rent and clerk hire, and in spite of Addicks' financial
immorality, all who knew him were aware he took no chances of ever
getting himself sent to jail. So I began to sell the stock in the open
market.



_PART II_



CHAPTER I

THE MAGIC WORLD OF FINANCE


Though this is the twentieth century and enlightenment is supposed to
prevail throughout this broad land of ours, the majority of people still
regard the world of finance as the world of magic. Within the fairy
realm of finance the laws of nature apparently are suspended, and,
overnight, wonders are worked. The ordinary mortal, wise in all other
walks of life, sees the man who yesterday stood beside him at the plough
or at the bench emerging from the mysterious portals bearing the fruits
of the endeavors of a hundred or a thousand lives, although a moment ago
he passed through them with nothing. Who can deny the magic that thus
demonstrates its power, or fail to accord veneration to the magicians
that work such marvels? No wonder the ordinary mortal feels that he has
no license to enter the world of finance save on his knees, hat in hand,
bearing tribute to the divinities enthroned within this enchanted
territory.

It is my purpose to do away with this extraordinary deception and to
show it up as one of the artifices with which tricksters, since the
beginning of the world, have imposed upon the people. There should be
nothing in finance that any man or woman of ordinary intelligence and
experience cannot understand, and I purpose to explain here the
machinery of the "System" so that every one will exactly understand it
from headlight to rear-end lantern. Many intelligent people have no
clear idea of what a certificate of stock or a bond really is, and the
words "money," "stock-exchange," and "finance" are mere terms which they
glibly use without knowledge of their meaning.

It is not difficult to understand the grocery or the dry-goods business.
Standard articles of well-known form are sold by weight or measure over
the counters for fair prices. The patrons of such businesses insist on
knowing what they are buying--what they are to get in exchange for the
money which is the fruit of their labor, and then, after they have been
told, and they trade, they require that the goods be as described or
they will know why not. The average American would consider it a huge
joke should his grocer undertake to induce him to buy one hundred times
more sugar than he could use, on the ground that he might find in the
sugar bags when he reached home gold and diamonds. But would he not
wrathfully seek the police if, after opening his sugar bag, for which he
had paid $1, he found it contained only 50 cents' worth of sugar? He
would tell you if you met him at this stage: "You can bet that chap on
the corner cannot get away with any such trick as that--not in America.
He might in Zanzibar or in the kingdom of the Sultan of Sulu, but I will
show him he cannot rob Americans in these enlightened times." The grocer
would be hustled to jail without a "by your leave," and thenceforward
his name would be a by-word among all honest tradesmen.

And so it goes in every business but finance--finance, the most
important of all, the business into which is merged all other
businesses, the business of taking and preserving the results of all
other businesses, of all other human endeavor. Over our land to-day are
big, able Americans, long-headed and experienced, adept at a jack-knife
swap or a horse trade--industrious farmers, hard-handed miners, shrewd
manufacturers, each in his own line a good business man, yet these
sturdy traders, whom the "gold-brick" artist or the "green-goods"
practitioner would never dream of tackling, come weekly into Wall
Street, or into such branch shops as exist in every community on the
continent, and are done out of their savings like the veriest
"come-ons." Humbly they take, in return for the gold earned with the
sweat of their brows, a piece of paper of a given value which they
return later and exchange for half the amount the paper cost them
originally. In the space between purchase and sale fifty per cent. of
their investment has disappeared--has been filched away, but yet they
have no resentment. They evince none of the feelings of the man whose
pocket has been picked or whose till has been robbed. On the contrary,
their sentiment is of admiration for the banker, the broker, the
financier through whose agency their money has been lost.

Take, for instance, the prosperous tanner who goes to his banker with
$100,000, the fruit of ten years' success, and exchanges this sum for
1,000 shares of Steel Preferred. Now, if he were to examine this
security with half the thought or investigation he gives to a $500
car-load of bark, he would learn that there was not 20 cents on the
dollar of real value behind it. In six months the eminent tanner is
again at the banker's offering for sale his thousand shares of steel. In
the meantime it has declined in value and he has to part with it for
$50,000. But he does not complain; indeed, he bows his way out of the
palatial office of the great man and is full of sincere thanks when the
banker promises to let him know the next good thing on the market.
Suppose our tanner had purchased ten cars of tan bark and found that
each car-load was short ten per cent. Would he not at once go to his
attorney and exclaim emphatically that he would spend thousands rather
than let the scoundrel who had tricked him get away with his swag?

Suppose our grocer waxing rich invests his funds in the Sugar trust. He
thinks he knows all there is to be known about sugar. The business of
the trust is to make the sweet commodity and sell it to the people. No
mystery or magic, surely, about this simple pursuit. Yet when our grocer
invests his savings, the sugar stock is many dollars more valuable than
when, scared into selling by fluctuations which he cannot see any reason
for, he tries to get back his investment. So many times have investors
been milked of their savings by this one trust during the past twenty
years that in the coffers of its creators and jugglers are hundreds of
millions of money that once belonged to the people for which they have
received absolutely nothing in return.

Both the tanner and the grocer must know, when they look up and down
Wall Street at the great office buildings which tower into the sky on
either side of the street, that these are huge hives of expensive bees
who, from New Year's to New Year's, do not produce a dollar. They should
realize that the hundreds of millions spent each year for the expense of
running the "System's" game, and the millions which the game-makers
flaunt in their faces, must have been derived from such as they--the men
who produce.

It is the phenomenon of the age that millions of people throughout this
great country of ours come of their own free will to the shearing pens
of the "System" each year, voluntarily chloroform themselves, so that
the "System" may go through their pockets, and then depart peacefully
home to dig and delve for more money that they may have the debasing
operation repeated on them twelve months later.

You may ask if I desire to convey the idea that the great financial
institutions and trusts of this country, which have their head centre in
Wall Street, are all concerned in a conspiracy to rob the people of
their savings. You think, doubtless, that so sweeping a statement goes
beyond the truth. I desire to go on record right here in declaring that
all financial institutions which in any way are engaged in taking from
the people the money that is their surplus earnings or their capital,
for the ostensible purpose of safeguarding it, or putting it in use for
them, or exchanging it for stocks, bonds, policies, or other paper
evidences of worth, are a part of the machinery for the plundering of
the people.

This is a terrible charge, I am well aware, but it is based upon a
thorough knowledge of the subject and made with a full appreciation of
its gravity. I do not mean to say that all the men who handle and
control the different institutions I mentioned have guilty knowledge of
the bearing of their actions. Many of them are of the purest minds and
most honest intentions, and are quite incapable of participating
voluntarily in a conspiracy to wrong any one. They do not know, however,
that the relation between their own minor institution and the general
financial structure constitutes the former an agency for the "System,"
which controls and has organized the general financial structure into an
instrument for converting the money of the public to its own purposes.
In fact, the "System" has cunningly possessed itself of the financial
mechanism of the country and is running it, not for the object for which
the machine was devised, but for the benefit and personal profit of its
votaries, and so the vast correlated organization of banks, trust
companies, and insurance corporations which were brought into being for
the safe handling of the people's savings has become an agency for
transferring these savings to the control of unscrupulous manipulators,
who take liberal toll of every dollar that passes through their hands.

The duty of the American people is to unloosen the thraldom of the
"System" on our financial mechanism; to pluck out of their high places
the dishonest usurpers who have degraded the purposes of our financial
institutions, and to restore those institutions to their legitimate
functions. When the people are fully awakened to the condition I
describe, surely they will arise in their wrath and sweep the
money-changers from the temple.



CHAPTER II

THE "SYSTEM" AND THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY COMPARED


Years ago one of the greatest evils in this country was the Louisiana
Lottery. Through that lottery millions and millions annually were taken
from the people and transferred to a few unprincipled schemers, who soon
found themselves in possession of enormous fortunes. Wise men called for
the abatement of this awful drain on the savings of the nation, but the
law-abiding, God-fearing people of the country met their plaints with
"Why should we be bothered about this matter? If fools and knaves elect
to gamble in such palpably fraudulent ways, let them gamble, and their
losses are no affair of ours. It is none of our business." But presently
these honest people had it pounded into their well-meaning heads that
the principal instrument by which the swindle was conducted was their
own mail service, one of the most important branches of their
Government; that, in fact, in each and every city, town, village, and
cross-road in all our virtuous land, Government officials were acting as
distributing agents for this huge corrupter and robber.

Then the people rose in their irresistible might, and between the rising
of one day's sun and its setting this powerful machine went as goes the
gum-drop on the red-hot stove cover at a pop-corn soirée. It melted,
leaving nothing but a faint odor and a thin stain, both of which
disappeared in the next morning's scrubbing, and the Louisiana Lottery
was as though it had never been. Yet during its reign its insolent
votaries could prove to the absolute satisfaction of all intelligent,
patriotic men that it was useless for any man or set of men to attempt
the lottery's destruction, because they would be met with the
accumulated resistance of the reckless spending of the vast amounts of
festered dollars which had been stolen from the people. The argument of
these comparatively petty thieves was: "No men nor sets of men can hope
to 'stack up' against us, for their money comes hard, cents and dollars
at a time; they are obliged to earn it, while we get ours in chunks by
simply taking it. We can buy lawyers and can hire law-makers, and we can
lease Government officials, and we can outbid any honest men, who are
the only ones who object to our game. In the market for legislative or
business talent you cannot get within touching distance of us." Yet the
people had but to sneeze and this foul parasite was detached from their
free and honest structure and was wafted away with the dead leaves and
the dust to bottomless nowhere.

In the height of its prosperity the Louisiana Lottery took from the
people only a paltry ten or twenty million dollars a year, while to-day
there are single groups of banks, trust companies, corporations, and
trusts which take from the people by might, by trick, and by theft
hundreds of millions each year; and there are scores of such groups. The
Sugar trust has been the instrument of gathering, in one year, a hundred
millions of the people's savings, and the Steel trust alone has robbed
the people of over five hundred millions of dollars in a single twelve
months.

To-day the "System" and its methods are as clearly and as sharply
defined in the tangibility of their relation to the people as was ever
the Louisiana Lottery. On certain days the Louisiana Lottery sold its
tickets, which the people bought with their savings. On a certain day
the drawing took place, at which all those who had parted with their
dollars expected to receive them back together with immense profits, and
upon that day disappointment was spread broadcast among the many and
unhealthy joy among the few. So with the "System." On certain days the
public is sold their stock, bond, and insurance policy certificates.
Upon other days they look for their savings and profits. On the
contrary, they learn that their savings have decreased in value or have
been wiped out, and that there never was any chance of profit. My
critics will say that such a comparison cannot hold, for in the lottery
nothing was dealt in but gambling tickets, whereas the stock or bond
certificate represents an ownership in the material things of the
country. This is the fallacy the "System" spends millions every year to
foster and disseminate. Between the two the difference is in favor of
the Louisiana Lottery, for both are gambles and the lottery game was
square. Those who ran it had for their trouble a fixed percentage of the
profits, an enormous percentage, it is true, but the general fund was
never encroached upon by the controllers. Who is to say what percentage
the votaries of the "System" take in their game? It depends on how much
their victims have to lose. The public have been persuaded, too, that in
purchasing stocks they do not gamble, but only invest, or, at the worst,
speculate, so they are deceived as well as plundered. A few millions
each year satisfied the lottery owners; the votaries of the "System,"
among whom the "swag" must be divided, demand millions upon millions
each. The tickets of the lottery had a definite value at all times until
the drawing took place. The stocks and bonds of the "System" have no
rigid or unalterable value when issued or at any other time, and do not
represent a fixed ownership in all the savings of the people which have
been paid for them.

Morally, legally, or ethically, the Louisiana Lottery, with all its
attendant curses, was a far better institution for the people to bump up
against every month than is the "System" against which the whole people
are now directly or indirectly dealing every working day of the year.
Startling this statement may be, but not more startling than the facts.
The records of the lottery company will show how many dollars it took in
from the public; how many were returned in prizes and expenses; and how
many went into the pockets of the owners. The records of the banks,
corporations, trusts, and stock-exchanges will exhibit how many dollars
were paid into the "System" by the people; how much they received back
in return therefor; how much the expense of conducting the business was;
and how much profit went to the votaries of the "System." Compare the
two and it will be found that there is annually taken by the "System"
from the people a hundred, yes, a thousand times more than the Louisiana
Lottery ever obtained in the same period.

This being the fact, for how long will the people allow such a monstrous
wrong to be done? How long will they suffer a few men to siphon
automatically the money of the many into their own pockets?

It is only a matter of simple mathematics to ascertain the day, and that
only a few years away, when ten men will be as absolutely and completely
the legal owners of the entire United States and all there is of value
in it, as John D. Rockefeller is the absolute legal owner of the large
section of it of which he is to-day possessed.

_When that day is here, the people will legally be the slaves of these
ten men._

If this is so--and it is as surely so as it is that the Constitution of
the United States of America guarantees to every man, woman, and child
who is a part of it perpetual freedom--it is so because the legal
interest alone to which the ten men will be entitled and which they must
receive (or our entire structure will fall) will of itself bring to
their coffers all the wealth in existence within a given time. If this
is so, then why have the American people allowed themselves to reach
this condition? Why are they to-day not only resting peacefully under
this worse than death-bringing yoke, but assisting in the further
riveting of this badge of dishonor and degradation?

The reason is simple: They have been lulled to sleep by the "System" and
its cunning votaries until they have but a dull appreciation not only of
existing conditions but of their coming consequences. It is almost
incredible that a people as intelligent as the American people, and as
alert to that individual and national honor which they have bought with
so much of their blood and their peace of body and mind, can be so
deceived and juggled with. When one looks about, however, and notes
happenings of which one personally knows, and the degradation and
dishonor to which public opinion is seemingly indifferent, nothing is
incredible.

One sees a certain man openly displaying five hundred millions of
dollars, a sum which represents the life earnings of 150,000 of our
population, and knows that this man has secured this incredible amount
during forty years of his life. One sees the second highest and most
honorable office in the nation, a United States Senatorship, openly
bought for a few stolen dollars by a man who up to the very day of its
purchase was a watch repairer in a small country town, and who had never
done a single meritorious deed or been possessed of worldly goods to the
extent of $5,000. One sees a wily adventuress secure from the banks,
which exist only to safeguard the people's deposited savings, hundreds
of thousands of dollars on her bare story that she was the possessor of
some mysterious documents. One sees a $6-a-week office-boy of one of the
"System's" votaries able to borrow for the "System," on his bare note,
four millions of dollars from a New York institution which only exists
to safeguard the people's savings--although the law says that such
institutions shall not loan to any man on any kind of collateral, even
Government bonds, one-tenth that sum. One sees two men, drunk with their
success, gouging and tearing at each other's hearts in Wall Street, and
sees their gouging and tearing bring about a panic which takes from the
people in an hour over a billion dollars and drives scores to suicide,
murder, and defalcation--the two men continuing meanwhile as ornamental
pillars of society instead of wearing prison stripes. One sees a great
railroad corporation, in which are millions of the trust funds of
widows, orphans, and charitable institutions, caught "short" (having
sold something it did not own) in the stock-gambling game and held up to
the tune of ten million dollars by a reckless stock gambler, who says
"If you don't settle to-night it will be twenty millions to-morrow"; and
the toll is paid, while the great banker who conducts the release of the
hold-up charges the further tribute of twelve million dollars for his
services. And then one sees this twenty-two millions of "commission"
tacked on to the capital stock of the great railroad which is
subsequently capitalized into a "bond" and sold to great life-insurance
companies as a first-class investment for their trust funds.

When one sees these things and a hundred other as rankly fraudulent, one
should not wonder at anything American connected with dollars.

Such things occur because the "System" has so far been able to keep the
public in ignorance of its doings. On the surface there is nothing to
suggest that a set of vampires have captured the high places of finance
and are sucking away the life-blood of the nation. Our banks and trust
companies all present a fair exterior and apparently are the same safe
and honorable institutions they were before the canker fastened on them.
Only its votaries know what the "System" is, and their way is the way of
silence and darkness. A tie, stronger and more effective than the oath
of the Mafia, binds them to its service, and woe be to him who dares
divulge its methods. He who is bold enough to enter upon a recital of
these secrets must be strong indeed to withstand the bribes to silence
which would be placed in his hands. The "System" can well afford to pay
any price rather than be brought face to face with its past, with an
enraged people for referee. And even if the being be found who will
venture an exposé of the conspiracy, he will find it strangely difficult
to get his story past the traps and pitfalls which will be placed
between it and the people for whose enlightenment it is intended.



CHAPTER III

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCE


Finance is easy enough to comprehend if it be explained, but so long as
an explanation is deadly to the interests of the men who control it, one
can be sure none will be offered. There is no term more common to-day
than "trusts," and we are surrounded by "trusts," institutions whose
workings during the past twenty years have awakened intense public
curiosity to know what a "trust" is. Yet there is not extant a
definition of a "trust" which conveys to the rank and file of the people
any real idea of what a "trust" is. So vague is the general
understanding of the "trust's" functions and purposes that the most
intelligent and honest statesmen struggle and hopelessly flounder when
they attempt to define them, and we have at the present time the able
chief of our nation talking of regulating them by law, when, as a matter
of fact, a "trust" is, top, sides, bottom, outsides, and insides, an
absolutely illegal institution, created outside the law, existing
outside the law, and having for its purpose the performance of those
things and only those things which the law says cannot be performed
legally. Imagine our law-makers gravely meeting to make laws for the
control and regulation of the pick-pocket or burglar or counterfeiting
industry, or endeavoring to prescribe legally the times, places, and
amounts of national bank defalcations, or the kind of ink, paper, and
pens which must be used by forgers in the pursuit of their
profession--imagine it!

In entering upon an explanation of the workings of the "System," it is
necessary to set forth plainly the fundamentals of finance, the few
rules and inventions by and through which humanity regulates its
affairs. In the beginning, of course, might was right and men supplied
their wants by force, trickery, or cunning. In time the disadvantages
of this became obvious, for while the stronger could overcome the weaker
and satisfy desire, a combination of the weaker units acting together
could always wrest the prize from the individual. To equalize things,
the people got together and made for themselves rules and regulations
governing the conduct of their lives and their relations with one
another. This was invention No. 1: _Law_. Presently it developed that
the physical barter of the commodities of labor was not a satisfactory
basis of exchange; so to the statutes already in existence a new one was
added providing an interchangeable token of value. This was invention
No. 2: _Money_. The statute insisted that the money be of a fair and
just standard, by which all the people should receive the equivalent of
their labor, and no more. As conditions became more settled, there grew
up a realization of the value of a man's life to those dependent on him,
and of the fact that when he died his wife and his children were
deprived of the livelihood his labor won for them. A new regulation was
added to the code, providing that men contributing to a fund during
their lifetime should be entitled at death to leave to their heirs a sum
in proportion to the amount of their contribution to the fund, less the
actual expense of caring therefor. This was _Life Insurance_--invention
No. 3. But there were other calamities less distant than death to be
guarded against, and a common fund, also based on the contributions of
individuals, to aid and relieve in case of fire and kindred calamities,
was organized. Hence invention No. 4: _Fire Insurance_.

And thus the fabric of civilization grew, each addition to the structure
being made to cover a want which experience developed. As time went on,
some of the people accumulated the fruits of labor, money, in greater
quantity than was requisite for their own needs, but which less thrifty
or less fortunate brethren could so profitably employ in their own
affairs as to be able to pay for its use a fair proportion of what it
could be made to earn. Thereupon provision was made for a common place
of safety for this surplus money, a place where experts in the handling
and putting to use of money could employ their talents, first,
safeguarding it and, then, loaning it to others. And the law was made to
say that all money put into this common place should be so guarded as to
be ready for its owner when he demanded it; that its owner should
receive all it earned less the necessary expense of holding it, and that
the amount it earned should be only such as those who borrowed it could
fairly make it earn. This was invention No. 5: _The Bank_.

As the years followed one another, "the bank" became one of the most
important of the people's institutions and grew in number and variety.
There came to be many different forms of banks. For instance, _national
banks_, which, under the control and regulation of the Government,
became depositories for the circulation of the Government's money and
were privileged to lend money to individuals or corporations with or
without collateral. Funds confided by the people to these national banks
had always to be ready for their owners. A second form was the
_savings-bank_, which grew out of the requirements of small depositors
and was governed by the laws of its community. The savings-bank used and
safeguarded money confided to it in small sums, and these amounts could
be withdrawn only by their owners in person, after an agreed term of
notice. The savings-bank was allowed to lend only on real estate or
certain other securities, the character of which was rigidly regulated
by the law. In consequence, it could use its funds for long-time loans
and mortgages, so it earned larger rates of interest than the national
banks. The _trust company_ was a third variation, coming somewhere
between the national and the savings-bank, and was regulated, as was the
latter, by the laws of the community in which it existed. The trust
company, too, received deposits from the people, but was allowed a
broader latitude in employing them. It was also authorized to engage in
certain other business--for example, to act as manager for a deceased
person's estate and even to buy and sell securities. Because of the
extra-hazardous business in which it engaged and from which the other
two institutions were legally debarred, the trust company earned and
paid larger rates of interest to its depositors, and the men who
handled its funds were allowed to take for their own remuneration
profits in excess of those derived by the custodians of national and
savings-banks.

Another deficiency in the business structure growing out of the
increasing prosperity of the people was next provided for. When an
enterprise became so large as to necessitate several owners for its
conduct, the prescribing and defining of the relation of these owners to
each other and to the common property became a task of increasing
difficulty. So the idea arose of welding the enterprise itself into a
separate entity which could do all the things the individual might, and
yet exist apart from the individual and independent of his personal
dealings and comings and goings. His ownership should be an undivided
interest in the whole represented by certificates of stock or bonds,
which could pass from him to another without interfering with the
enterprise. This was invention No. 6: _The Corporation_. The law then
provided regulations for the creation and conduct of these corporations
which compelled them to keep their affairs in such shape that all could
ascertain of what each consisted.

When these six organizations had been founded, the machinery for the
conduct of the business of a civilized people was almost complete. But
still one other want developed: with the multiplication of the
corporation tokens of property, it became necessary that there should be
some place where the worth of these might be ascertained either by
purchase, sale, or loan under the regulation of experts. So there was
created a common market-place, to which came all those who had
corporation tokens of property to sell and those who desired to purchase
them; and the prices these brought were announced to the world and
became the measure of the value of the institution they represented.
Rules for the regulation of the business of the market-place were
gradually formulated, and invention No. 7--the _Stock Exchange_--came
into existence.

With this addition, the people's organism for safeguarding and
economically handling the funds of their labor to the best advantage of
all concerned and without interfering with the rights and privileges of
individuals was fully equipped. Each separate institution had grown out
of an actual necessity and had its own legal organic function, fully
understood and defined. And there was no branch of human industry which
could not be safeguarded, handled, and perpetuated through this
organism, nor could evil come from the existence of any one of these
seven components. The robber, the thief, and the pirate, as defences
against whom they had been erected, could not seize any of them or the
people's savings which they were created to safeguard, because the
constitution of each provided adequate penalties for such a seizure. As
long as the members of the organism performed their ordained functions
the fabric of the people's fortunes was safe from plunder.



CHAPTER IV

THE MAGIC "JIMMY"


It was at this stage that the class which is now the "System"--of which
the mighty robber of barbaric days was the prototype--began to cast
envious eyes at the accumulated earnings of a prosperous people locked
up and safeguarded against depredation, while the owners (the public)
rested easy in the conviction that they had fully protected themselves
against the spoilsman. The "System" reasoned: "If only a way could be
devised to win control of the seven institutions so that all the
benefits the people intend for themselves may revert to me and yet I be
exempt from the punishment provided for those who attempt unfairly and
dishonestly to secure such benefits, I can get a much easier and surer
possession of the results of the labor of the people than I was wont to
when I took them by might."

A need defined is half relieved. Outside the treasure-house was the
robber enviously surveying its strong walls and iron doors, its locks
and bolts, specially designed to defy the felonious intentions of such
as he. How safely to win his way in and possess himself of the piled-up
gold was his problem. And as he waited and watched, the lawyer, at his
solicitation, invented for him a magic "jimmy"--an instrument with which
he could not only break through the outside door, but as easily force
his way past the complex locks of the chambers inside. What was still
better, this magic "jimmy" was also a license to enter upon and take
possession of others' properties and use them for his own benefit. It
conferred on its owner a legal privilege to steal. The robber was
satisfied. The "jimmy" which the lawyer had brought him was the
"trust."

All this sounds very hyperbolical and far-fetched, perhaps, but it is
exactly what a "trust" is. The "trust" may also be defined as a master
key to the people's financial structure, which enables its owner to
enter any or all of the separate institutions I have mentioned, and
combine any or all of them, without affecting their respective
organisms, into a new organization which possesses the potencies and the
privileges of each, but is unhampered by the legal restrictions of any
one of them. Like electricity, the exact nature of a "trust" does not
admit of rigid definition, but it is a force which can be exerted only
in conjunction with financial organisms, which it joins and yet
releases, adds power to, and exempts from consequences. Let us suppose
that two men are made into a "trust"--this human combine becomes at once
free from the bondage of matter and the senses, sees out of the back of
its head and passes in and out through solid walls. It has all the
combined strength and more that the two men had and all their human
privileges and possessions, but it evades nature's laws as to
individuals, and the laws of man both as to individuals and other
material things.

To put the description in still another way, a "trust" is an institution
which endows itself with the right to use any or all of the seven
institutions of the people as the people use them, but so made that its
user derives from the institutions the benefits the people intended for
themselves, and yet is immune from the legal consequences of
appropriating such benefits. Two or more men make a "trust" by
combining--acquiring the control of--an insurance company, a trust
company, and a savings-bank. The new organization _is_ all of these
institutions, performs the functions of all of them, yet can legally do
with their incomes, capital, and surpluses things which, from the very
nature of each, none of the institutions is allowed to do--the new
organization is all of these institutions until the law attempts to
bring it to book; then it evades being any one of them. The trust
company is empowered to lend money on speculative ventures which the
insurance company and savings-bank may not do, so the "trust" lends the
insurance company's vast accumulations and the savings-bank's hoard
through the trust company with great profit or tremendous loss and
enjoys immunity from the consequences which should follow such
disobedience of the law. Moreover, when the trust company shows a profit
the "trust" appropriates it, and when a tremendous loss is sustained the
insurance company or the savings-bank must bear it.

An illustration: A, B, and C form a "trust." A and B are president and
controller of a savings-bank and an insurance company respectively. They
organize a trust company with $1,000,000 capital, of which the insurance
company furnishes the majority; they then elect C president and
controller of the trust company, and make him their associate or a
dummy. The trust company receives $5,000,000 of the people's money on
deposit. The insurance company deposits $5,000,000 of its surplus funds,
and the savings-bank $5,000,000 more. The trust company now has
$15,000,000 of the people's savings in its control with which by law it
is allowed to do certain things; but what it does with the $5,000,000 of
the savings-bank and the $5,000,000 of the insurance company the law
specifically says neither one of the institutions can do itself. The
"trust" then purchases for $5,000,000 the stock of an industrial
corporation. It borrows the $5,000,000 and an additional $5,000,000,
which represents its own first profit, from the trust company through
irresponsible dummies, depositing the industrial stock as collateral.
The "trust" next causes the trust company to issue bonds for
$15,000,000. These bonds are based upon and secured by nothing of worth
but the stock. The trust company offers these bonds for sale. The
insurance company buys $7,500,000 of the bonds, and the trust company,
through dummies, the other $7,500,000. By the operation so far the
"trust" shows a profit of $10,000,000. After making this profit and the
true worth of the bonds becoming known, these decline back to the
original worth of the stock upon which they are based, $5,000,000, and
there is the tremendous loss of $10,000,000 made. The trust company
"busts," and there is a loss to its depositors of $10,000,000. This loss
is divided as follows: $3,333,000 to the savings-bank, $3,333,000 to the
insurance company, and $3,333,000 directly to the people, less the
small amount which will be recovered from the stockholders. (These
losses will be affected in an unimportant way by the $1,000,000 original
capital.)

In this case the "trust" has done nothing for which those responsible
for it can be held civilly or criminally liable. Neither has the
insurance company, the savings-bank, nor the trust company, and yet, if
there had been no "Trust" and any one of the three institutions had made
the loss directly through its own actions, the officers of that
institution would have been civilly and perhaps criminally held
responsible.

The utility and convenience of the "trust" having been demonstrated, it
became a popular instrument for financiers desiring to accomplish all
manner of illegal purposes. Especially was it an apt tool for the
"System," which in the meantime was perfecting its control of the
people's institutions. The owners of railroads running through the same
territory, finding cumbersome and hampering the restrictions with which
the community they served had safeguarded its interests, formed
"trusts." Straightway there were valuable results--the combination was
emancipated from the regulations which had bound its individual members;
competition was eliminated and rates were raised.

As time went on new "trust" possibilities were discovered and other
institutions linked up--corporations of all kinds, insurance companies
and national banks and savings-banks, were brought together for the
benefit of the "System" and the detriment of the public. The end of the
trustification of the institutions of the nation is not yet, but the
people are to be shown a way by which the plundering process can be
reversed and through which they can make their freedom complete and
absolute by the complete and absolute enslavement of the "System"
itself.



CHAPTER V

HOW THE "SYSTEM" DOES BUSINESS


To follow the various steps in the crimes of Amalgamated, my readers
should know how the securities of a corporation are manufactured, how
"put upon the market," how admitted to the Stock Exchange, how prices
are made in the Stock Exchange, how fictitious and fraudulent quotations
are created and disseminated, until the very shrewdest members of the
Stock Exchange cannot distinguish those which are real from the
fictitious in cases outside their own manufacturing. Then there is an
elaborate and ingenious procedure by which public opinion is moulded,
that is, by which people are made to believe that the prices at which
they buy and sell the stocks and securities are bona fide; and this is a
procedure as compact and as well understood by the "System's" votaries
as are the methods of the bank-breaker or burglar--who sends his "pals"
ahead to "pipe" the lay of the land--by felony's votaries. When I have
shown these things, about which little is known to-day by the public, my
readers will have no difficulty in comprehending what I shall lay before
them of the actual robberies in the case of Amalgamated and other
notorious enterprises.

The underlying principle of the several organisms through which the
commerce of the country is conducted is the protection at once of the
interests of the individuals composing them and of the public with which
they do business. Provided this principle is adhered to, no harm can be
wrought to either. Most of the contemporaneous swindles through which
the people have been plundered were perpetrated through the agency of
corporations, and this organism has become a sort of synonym for corrupt
practice. Yet the original corporation invention as I have described it
was devised to meet a real want of the people, and it has merely been
diverted from its proper use by the lawless votaries of the "System."
Consider the institution as we now understand it. Certain individuals
decide to conduct their business in railroads, mines, manufactories,
patents, etc., in the form of a corporation and apply to the
community--the State Government--asking authorization to do so. They are
compelled first to conform to the rules and regulations laid down by the
State for the control of corporations, which say in one form or other:

"We create you for the purpose of doing those things that are best for
the many, not the few, and if we knew you would use our authority to
oppress the many in the interest of the few we would not create you."
The fundamental privilege of incorporation is the legal authorization to
issue paper titles of ownership to the business just incorporated. These
are in the form of stocks and bonds. Whoever owns these paper titles
shall possess the property and the business as the individuals did
before they incorporated, and the law presumes that they shall manage
and control that business, receive the benefits which come from it, and
suffer any loss arising from its conduct, and that all these benefits
and responsibilities shall be as laid down in the law. It follows that
no harm other than that the law expressly prescribes penalties to
prevent can come to any one from corporations thus created, always
provided the laws are what they appear and what the people intended them
to be, and that they are enforced as the people intended they should be.

It is most important to all concerned in a corporation that the paper
ownership shall represent the real value of the property on which it is
based, and no more. When the people exchange their savings for these
authorized paper tokens, they should be able to rest confident in the
State's guarantee that they are worth what they purport.

There have probably been jailed in the United States during the past
twenty years thousands and thousands of American citizens whose
aggregate stealings do not amount to one-tenth the total taken from the
people by either the Amalgamated, the United States Steel, the American
Tobacco Company, or a score of other fraudulently organized or
fraudulently conducted corporations.

There are various ways of organizing corporations and issuing their
stocks and bonds. Sometimes a company is organized to acquire a
property; individuals and institutions set down their names to take and
pay for the shares or bonds. With the money thus obtained the property
is purchased. _Or_ the individuals who own the property which is to be
the basis of the corporation exchange it for all or part of the stocks
and bonds. In the latter event those original owners usually sell to the
public the tokens thus acquired.

Honest men in forming a corporation make publicly known the character
and worth of the properties or enterprises they are organizing, what
they have cost, what their profits are, and what may reasonably be
expected by investors. The tricksters and the "System," with whom
incorporation is generally but the first step in a conspiracy for
plunder, surround the proceeding with an air of mystery and refuse
information usually with: "We do our business quietly and in silence,
and those who do not like our ways may keep out of this scheme." Their
whole procedure is of that high and mighty order which impresses the
ordinary mortal with a sense of confidence in the independence of its
users and a conviction that their scheme must be so good that they do
not care whether they sell or not. This is just the effect it is
intended to produce.

The next step is to lead the people toward the shambles. This is done by
"moulding public opinion," and for this interesting function the
"System" and Wall Street have an equipment of magical potency. Public
opinion is made through the daily press, through financial publications
of various kinds, and through "news bureaus." Every great daily has a
financial editor and a corps of experts in finance who spend their days
on "the Street" cultivating the friendship of the financiers. At night
they are round the clubs and hotels where the brokers and promoters
congregate, debating the events of the day and organizing those of the
morrow. There are also the strictly financial papers--daily, weekly,
and monthly--whose corps of editors and news gatherers live on "the
Street," and know and care for nothing but finance. And lastly, there
are the news bureaus, with runners out everywhere to gather in items of
news affecting stocks, Wall Street or finance. These are printed on
small square sheets of paper, and delivered by an army of boys at brief
intervals while the Stock Exchange is open at the offices of the
bankers, brokers, insurance companies, and hotels; or the same matter is
disseminated by means of an automatic printing machine called a
news-ticker. For this service the offices pay the bureaus from $1 to $2
a day. News bureaus form an important cog in the machinery for making
stock-markets, as it is through the news they furnish to the Stock
Exchange and to the offices where investors and speculators gather
together that the big operators affect the market. A decision to buy,
sell, or "stand pat" is often based on the _on dits_ of these printed
slips.

The first step toward "moulding public opinion" is taken when the
"System's" votaries send for the dishonest chief of a news bureau, a man
usually up in every trick of the trade. I will later describe one of
them, a scoundrel so able and experienced that, to use the vernacular of
the gutter of "the Street," he can give cards and spades to the
frenziedest of frenzied financiers. To this man the "System's" votary
will say something like this: "We are going to work off blank millions
of blank stock; it costs us thus and so, and we want to sell for so and
so many millions." Nothing is kept back from this head panderer and
procurer, for it would be useless to attempt to deceive him, and, to
quote his always picturesque language: "Never send a sucker to fish for
suckers or he'll lose your bait, so spread out your bricks and I'll get
the 'gang' to polish up their gildings." After the quality and amount
the "System" intends to work off in exchange for the people's savings
are explained, that part of the plunder which is to come to the head
news-bureau man is settled upon. The amount varies with the size and
quality of the robbery to be perpetrated. In some cases as high as a
million dollars in cash or stock or their equivalent has been paid to a
"moulder of opinion" for simply so shaping up a game that the people
might be deceived into thinking one dollar of worth was four, six, or
eight dollars.

The head of the news bureau, having taken the contract to lay out and
carry through the deceptive part of the scheme by which the people are
to be buncoed, now begins operations. First, bargains are made with
conscienceless financial editors of the daily and weekly newspapers,
whereby for so much stock or for "puts" or "calls" or both,[17] they
agree to insert in their paper's financial column whatever yarns are fed
them by the bureau man, regardless of their truth or falsehood. To
justify the attention paid the subject by each editor, a certain amount
of money is spent in advertising, in the newspaper that employs him, the
merits of the enterprise. The financial journals are dealt with about on
the same basis. In return for straight advertising or for "puts" or
"calls" they agree to insert the manufactured news. The news-bureau man
then puts his entire staff to work inventing fairy tales of one kind or
another to excite the interest and attention of the people, and these
tales must be so concocted that the public is drawn into believing that
the statements disseminated represent actual conditions. I shall, later,
give real instances of the working of this nefarious game of "moulding
public opinion," and present it in the lime-light necessary for its
appreciation. To show the extent to which this "moulding" process is
carried, I know in one instance of a high-priced financial scribe being
sent to live in St. Petersburg for no other purpose than to send certain
"news items" to a confederate located in Germany, who would get these
items to a reputable English banking-house through whom they were given
out in London as news: the whole object of this complicated system being
that the news items might be sent back to New York without Wall Street
suspecting they were bogus.

I must not be understood as meaning to say that all financial editors,
news gatherers, or news bureaus are engaged in this, one of the lowest
forms of swindling, for such is not the case. _On the contrary, there
are many of them whom no amount of money or influence could make waver
in their allegiance to the truth and to honest dealings._ With some of
the others I hope to deal specifically later, and I shall not hesitate
to set forth in detail certain transactions in which they have been
engaged.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] A "put" is the right to sell to a certain firm or individual shares of
stock at a stated price for a stated period, and a "call" the right to buy
under the same conditions. The holder of the "put" or "call" is under no
liability, as he can use the "put" as margin to buy stocks, or the "call"
as margin to sell stocks, or he can hold them for the profit there may be
in selling or buying the stock after it has declined or risen below or
above the price named in the "puts" or "calls" he holds.



CHAPTER VI

HOW WALL STREET'S MANIPULATIONS AFFECT THE COUNTRY


What is the connection between the "System" and the minor financial
institutions throughout the country which are owned and controlled by
groups of sturdy men who know not Wall Street and its frenzied votaries,
and who are ignorant of "made dollars"? Let us see. We will take five
national banks in different parts of the country, each having a capital
of $200,000 and deposits of $2,000,000. One is in the farming district
of Kansas; another is in Louisiana in a cotton district; a third is in
the orange groves of California; in the mining district of Montana is a
fourth; the fifth in the logging and lumber country of Maine. These
$10,000,000 of deposits represent savings earned by the type of men who
have made America what it is, and who laugh when they read in their
local papers: "Panic in Wall Street; stocks shrink a billion dollars in
a day." "Fools and their money are easily parted," they say, "but Wall
Street gets none of our honestly earned money." Now the officers of
these five banks are honest men and they know nothing of the "System,"
yet the day of the panic they each telegraph to their Illinois
correspondent, the big Chicago bank, "Loan our balance, $200,000, at
best rate." That day the Chicago bank with similar telegrams from
forty-five other correspondents in various parts of the country, wires
its New York correspondent, the big Wall Street bank, "Loan our balance,
$2,000,000, at best rates."

Thereupon the great New York bank sends its brokers out upon "the
Street" to loan on inflated securities of one kind or another which its
officers, the votaries of the "System," have purchased in immense
quantities at slaughter prices the millions belonging to the Chicago
bank and to other correspondents of its own in Cincinnati and Omaha and
St. Louis and other big cities. The decline is stayed, and then the
world learns that the panic is over and that the stocks, of which the
people have been "shaken out" to the extent of a billion dollars, have
recovered in a day $500,000,000 of it, and that probably in a few days
more will recover the other $500,000,000. Who has _recovered_ this vast
sum? The people who had been "shaken out"? No, indeed! The votaries of
the "System" have made it--they and the frenzied financiers whose haunt
is Wall Street, and whose harvest is in such wreckage.

The part that the five little banks innocently played in this terrific
robbery was unimportant. What is important is that it was the funds of
their depositors and others like them which the "System" used to turn
the Stock Market and make an immense profit out of the recovery of
values. It is true the banks received but two and one-half or three per
cent. for the use of their balances, and their officers would scorn the
suggestion that they had put any of their money in jeopardy in a Wall
Street gamble. But what I have outlined happened, and has happened many
a time before and since, and goes to prove my assertion that every
financial institution which is taking the money of the people for the
ostensible purpose of safeguarding it or putting it to use for them, is
a part of the machinery for the plundering of the people.

Sooner or later, every dollar taken by the "System" through Wall
Street's manipulation of stocks directly affects every man, woman, and
child in the United States. Let us, for example, see how a stock slump
in New York affects the owner of a small life-insurance policy in
Wyoming. The shares of the American and English ocean steamship
companies were bought up by the "System" at double their worth and
converted into a "trust." New stocks and bonds to a number of times
their value were issued and sold to the public. The great insurance
companies bought many millions worth of these securities, using for the
purpose the money they had collected from the policy-holders, a dollar
at a time. This "investment," at the moment it was made, actually
represented a loss to the purchasing insurance companies of millions of
money, for millions more than the property was worth or could possibly
be made worth had gone to the people who formerly owned the steamship
properties, and many millions more to the "System" as its share of the
swag. And it should be remembered that the men who organized the
steamship trust were the men who invested the insurance company's money
in its securities.

The policy-holder in Wyoming knows about the steamship trust and about
the terrible loss sustained by those who invested in its securities. He
does not realize, however, that his insurance company has been buying
such poor stuff, for he is persuaded it is a great and noble
institution, and far above Wall Street and its rash gamblers. Even when
he and his kind find their yearly dividends on their policies growing
less and less and their premiums rising "because of the tremendous
increase in the expense of doing business," they do not dream of
connecting these misfortunes with the "System's" trustifications of
inflated securities; nor do they associate them with the glowing
accounts of the half-million-dollar seaside palace built by the
insurance company's officer who entered the employ of the institution a
few years before, with his salary for his fortune, and who is now
pointed to as an example of thrift, being worth from ten to fifteen
millions.



CHAPTER VII

ECONOMICS OF COPPER


A thorough familiarity with the facts and conditions set forth in the
preceding chapters will help my readers to an understanding of the
series of complicated transactions through which the snaky course of
Amalgamated must be pursued. Its flotation was the most tremendous and
public ever even attempted, much less successfully carried out, and in
its market career the full resources of stock jugglery were exercised on
its behalf. The crimes of Amalgamated are to the delinquencies of Bay
State Gas as the screaming of eagles to the chirping of crickets. From
its birth this great enterprise went hand-in-hand with fraud and
financial dishonor, and the facts I shall proceed to reveal are so
formidable in their indictment as to startle even those calloused to the
trickery of modern stock deals.

An armistice followed that last desperate battle of the gas fight in the
Delaware court-house, and gave me time to turn my whole attention to the
plans I had long been maturing in my mind in connection with quite
another project--"Coppers."

For sixty years past Boston had been the home of the copper industry.
From it great fortunes had been derived, and there was in course of
development a copper aristocracy which threatened the supremacy of the
East India aristocracy that had so long lorded it in Boston society.
Indeed, so far had the rival contingents progressed that there was a
serious searching of the pretensions of any new-comer whose origin had
to do with other enterprises. "Coppers" were respectable, were genteel,
and, above all, were not "trade," for the average old-time Bostonian
affects the Anglo-Saxon contempt for the traffickings of retail
commerce.

For the benefit of those in the outer darkness, to whom the ways of
Boston are strange, it may be explained that the East India trade goes
elsewhere under other less euphonious names, and consisted in the
swapping of New England rum, made from molasses, water, and other
things, for human cotton-pickers. It was a most profitable industry,
with a spice of adventure to it, and in which at the time it flourished
a gentleman might honorably engage. It may be said that with the
paradoxical conscientiousness characteristic of the Puritan mind, the
first outcry against the personal ownership of human chattels was voiced
by New England, and her leading citizens generously devoted the incomes
of the fortunes their forefathers had amassed in the slave traffic to
releasing their colored fellow-creatures from bondage. That, however, is
still another story.

To return to "Coppers." In my young days in "the Street" in the early
'70s, the first task I remember performing was making deliveries of
copper stocks traded in by "the house" which was entitled to my
twelve-year-old services in return for the three large dollars which I
received each Saturday with far more honest pride than any three
millions I have since handled. As I grew up I watched Calumet and Hecla
advance from a dollar to 450 (it afterward sold at 900) because of its
real worth, and imbibed the conviction, which all true Bostonians
entertain, that money acquired through copper is at least 33 per cent.
better than money from any other source. I sympathized with the State
Street code which declares, or should: "Gold can be found in a day by
any one with eyes, silver in a week by any one with hands, and money in
a year by any one with sense enough to save it, but no man gets into
copper without capital, fortitude, patience, and brains." As a matter of
fact, it requires, even to-day, with all of to-day's facilities and
rush, $5,000,000 in money and five years of spending it after a copper
deposit has been found before it can be made to yield returns. Is it
surprising that a project requiring so much money for so long a time
should appeal to Boston's regard for endurance, expensiveness, and
exclusiveness? Could there be found an enterprise better calculated to
discourage the upstart?

My daily round of errands led me from broker to broker and from bank to
bank, and always I heard talk of copper. It is not remarkable that my
youthful mind became impressed with the profound importance of the metal
and all pertaining to it. I picked up a great deal of information on the
subject, which I fortified later with a careful study of copper the
metal, copper the mine, and copper the investment. As I mulled over the
immense returns obtained from their ventures by the men I knew had their
money in copper, it struck me as extraordinary that this industry should
be so much more profitable than others. Here was a great staple, a
necessity of the people, which had been in use since men began to sit
up, and would be needed until Father Time smashed his glass, that
returned 100 per cent. gross profit on the business done in it, while
the business done in any other staple did not return, gross, over ten to
eighteen per cent.; which gross profit gave to the capital invested in
copper a net profit of sixteen to twenty-five per cent., while that
invested in the other staples returned a net profit of only three and
three-fourths to four and one-fourth per cent.[18] The value of money
had decreased with the world's development; the cost of the great
commodities of life had all come down with the decline in interest--all
but copper, which kept its old places throughout all the changes that
had occurred in the relations of capital to labor and business. I
realized that copper, in that year, would afford a gross profit of 100
cents on each $2 worth produced; that this great gross profit was
legitimate, was not brought about through unfair restrictions or forced
combination, or evasion of the country's laws, but was wholly natural,
being founded on the fact that the supply was so limited that the demand
prevented the price dropping below a certain figure, and that this under
ordinary circumstances represented at least 100 per cent. of gross
profit to the producer after he had paid for labor and material the
highest ruling prices.

No better illustration of the main facts about copper can be found than
the condition of the industry to-day, in 1905. The metal is now fifteen
and a half cents per pound, and the consumption so great that the price
still advances, yet if through an agreement among the producing mines
this sales-rate should be dropped twenty-five per cent., it would so
increase consumption as to force back the price to a point that would
again discourage consumption; and yet in the old mines the cost of
producing the metal sold at fifteen and a half is but six to seven and a
half cents, in some even lower.

Compare these conditions with those existing in the steel industry.
Therein unlawful combinations and unnatural restrictions are essential
if those engaged would show a gross profit of even fifteen per cent. on
their gross output. If more than fair or going returns are earned, then
new capital flows into competition and the surplus again shrinks to an
uninviting point. The same is true in wheat, corn, and cotton--big
prices invite fresh investments and the planting of broader acreage.
Hence the sorry spectacle of the cotton planter who, in 1905, will
receive no more for his twenty per cent. increased crop, coming from
over two millions increased acreage planted last year, than for his
smaller one of the year before.

That my readers may quickly, and once for all, grasp the point I wish to
make, I will illustrate:

The Steel trust in 1904 did a gross business of $432,000,000, upon which
they made a profit of $71,400,000, and yet this vast amount was only
five per cent. upon the trust's inflated capital of $1,400,000,000 odd;
and as the "System," in regulating the capitalization, arranged that the
preferred stock (and bonds), which represented the "System's" profit,
should receive seven per cent., there was not a dollar in dividends for
the $520,000,000 of common stock which had been sold to the people for,
in round figures, $300,000,000.

At the same time the Calumet & Hecla Copper Company produced and sold
over $10,000,000 worth of copper, upon which it earned, net, over
$5,000,000, which enabled it to pay to the people who had invested in
its 100,000 shares of stock (par value, $25), 160 per cent., or a total
of $4,000,000, and, at the same time, carry an enormous amount to its
surplus.

In the commercial world copper occupies an impregnable position. To
compete, it is first necessary to find a copper deposit; then to lock up
a vast sum of money for a long term of years before returns begin to
accrue. And new copper deposits are as rare and few and far between as
Lincolns and Roosevelts in politics or Grants and Lees in war. In the
last eight years, or since the metal has been prominently before the
world of capital, but two great producers of copper have been
created--the Copper Range at Lake Superior, Michigan, and the Greene
Consolidated in Mexico--and these two mines have only, at the end of six
years, after an immense expenditure of millions (Copper Range, with a
capital of $38,500,000, 385,000 shares, par $100, which sold in the open
market a few years ago at $6, now selling at $75, and Greene
Consolidated, with a capital of $8,650,000, 865,000 shares, par $10, now
selling in the open market at $25), reached the point of profitable
production. Their combined output, while reaching the (for young mines)
unprecedented amount of one hundred and odd million pounds of metal per
annum, constitutes but a fraction of that which Mother Earth has given
up during the period of their development, namely, 2,500,000,000 pounds,
all of which has been disposed of and cannot again be used to satisfy a
ravenous consumption.

It seemed to me, then, a curious anomaly that, while capital was chasing
investments which promised but four per cent., it eschewed copper which
yielded from sixteen to twenty-five per cent., and my investigations
told me that a producing copper-mine is the surest business venture a
man engages in, for, by the time it begins to produce profitably, it
must be so far developed that its owners are certain of ore to work on
for decades ahead. A good copper-mine is really a safe-deposit vault of
stored-up dividends, which cannot be stolen nor destroyed by fire,
flood, or famine. Calumet & Hecla, for instance, though it cost its
first owners but a dollar a share, has paid out $87,000,000, or $870 per
share, or 3,480 per cent. on its par value of $25, and while it has been
paying dividends over thirty-five years, it paid last year $40 per
share, and has more in sight than it has yet paid. And Copper Range,
though but six years old, will be producing soon as much as Calumet &
Hecla, and has now in sight ore to keep it going fifty or sixty years.

Having pieced together all the facts and circumstances in this
connection, I was sure that I had grasped a principle of great
commercial value, and I set about finding a cause why the world of
capital should for so long have overlooked the tremendous potentialities
of this industry. I found the cause in Boston herself, in the
characteristics of the city, which was head-quarters for copper, and
which had grown in financial power with the revenues her mines earned
for her investors. Boston controlled and managed the copper industry,
and had since the days when copper-mining was a hazardous pursuit, in
which only bold and speculative souls dared engage. In the early days
the canny Bostonian demanded for the honorable dollar his parent had
earned--exchanging five-cent rum for human beings worth $1,000
apiece--at least twenty per cent. interest, and having acquired this
habit, it became a principle, and such principles as these are clung to
in Boston with the zeal of a miser for his hoard or of a martyr to his
faith. Looking back over the years, I still recall with chagrin the
quiescent hilarity of the scion of a Back Bay family whose good father
had been one of the most successful and most brutal of all the "East
India traders," when I suggested to him that he was fortunate in
obtaining twenty per cent. on some copper ventures about which he was
grumbling. (My readers must not confuse a Boston grumble with the
ordinary ejaculations of discontent indulged in by the inhabitants of
other portions of the world remote from the Hub of the Universe. A
Boston grumble consists of an upward movement of the eyebrow, a slight
twitch of the mustache and a murmur cross-bred from "Deuce take it!" and
"Scoundrelly!") "Young man," he said, "my father said that such a
hazardous venture as copper should return at least thirty per cent. to
be safe, and I feel if I receive but twenty per cent. that something is
radically and unpardonably wrong with the management of the mine." I did
not pursue the argument, for I knew he inherited with his fortune a line
of Boston reasoning, and I remembered once having watched a country boy
put his tongue on a frosty iron door-knob. I knew better than to invoke
again that wintry Boston smile, which in a Western or Southern community
would be used to _frappé_ mint-juleps or cold-storage hogs with.

No better illustration of the attitude of the shrewd New York investor
to "Copper" can possibly be given than to detail my first interview with
H. H. Rogers and William Rockefeller on the subject. To-day Mr. Rogers
is known throughout the world as the leading figure of the copper
world--the copper Czar, so to speak; yet it was only nine years ago when
I said to him at the end of a gas-talk:

"Mr. Rogers, would Mr. Rockefeller and yourself look into Copper?"

"Copper?" said he in an amused way, "copper? What kind of copper?"

"Why, copper such as we know in Boston--copper the metal, copper the
industry, copper stocks."

He burst into one of his jolly laughs. "Look into it? Why, I don't know
a thing about copper other than that we had old copper kettles when I
was a boy which were used to fry doughnuts in, but I suppose my plumbers
would look at anything you wanted, for I remember I get big bills for
copper tanks at the house."

FOOTNOTES:

[18] For those unacquainted with such business terms as "gross" or "net"
profit: Gross profit on business done is that first profit which remains
after deducting the first cost of producing the goods--in this case copper,
the metal; and from this gross profit must be deducted other expenses, such
as unusual development expenses, the expense of running the executive
departments, interest, etc. This leaves the net profit which is available
for dividends.



CHAPTER VIII

MY PLAN FOR "COPPERS"


The plan I had so carefully formulated in connection with "Coppers" was
simple in application yet vast in scope. It was to buy up all the good
producing mines at their market price, or double if necessary, to
organize them into a new corporation and offer its stock to the public
at a capitalization of double the original cost. By advertising the
exceptional merits of the copper industry and the financial power of the
men who were backing it, the public would become educated to a knowledge
of the values of "Coppers." Under this education the world of capital
would invest in copper shares until the price had advanced, because of
so much capital seeking this form of investment, to a point where the
net return was brought down to the going rate of, say, four per cent.
This would mean that the old going prices of good producing Boston
copper-mines would advance 100 to 200 per cent., which in turn meant
that those who risked their money in the first venture (which I figured
would require $100,000,000) would make $100,000,000 to $200,000,000,
while at the same time the public would make $200,000,000 to
$400,000,000. This seems like an "Aladdin-lamp" story when it is told,
but, as a matter of fact, prices afterward did advance in this ratio,
and 100 and 200 per cent. beyond, and many of them, notwithstanding the
tremendous drops that have taken place since, still show from 200 to 300
per cent. advance over the prices then in vogue. _Never in all the
history of business was there afforded capitalists so fair an
opportunity to make honestly and legitimately so vast a sum of money and
at the same time to do so much for the people. Nor was there a more
honorable undertaking nor one which a man could be more justly proud of
carrying to success._

As time went on, this big enterprise was more and more in my thoughts,
and I tested it in every way I knew, going over in my mind and trying
out each successive step and link until I was certain the whole
structure was unassailable. Then it became my purpose in life to launch
the venture. The difficulties of the task were never for a moment
overlooked, for I well knew that much money would be required, but with
strong backing success was sure, and such a success was tremendously
worth attaining. Next to putting in force my financial invention which
would remedy the evils of the "System," this great copper project seemed
the thing--the dollar thing--best worth doing in all the world. It was
to execute this project that I allied myself with the "Standard Oil"
party, for with their money and backing I knew I could carry through my
plans on the lines I had so carefully mapped out.

The chief indictment my critics brought against me when my series of
articles appeared in _Everybody's Magazine_ was that I had turned
"State's evidence." Having been "in with" "Standard Oil" in their
robberies of the public, it was not until we disagreed and "split" that
I thought of taking the public into my confidence. The truth is, my
relation with "Standard Oil" was different from that any other man ever
had with that mysterious and reticent institution, and throughout the
copper crusade I insistently blurted out our plans and purposes through
every channel of publicity I could command. At no time was there the
slightest secrecy. From the very first day of the campaign I told the
story as I tell it here, and I told it from the housetops by newspaper
interviews and advertisements, market letters and circulars frankly and
freely explaining what I was about. The absolute truth of the foregoing
is easily proved through existing records, for the press of the country
contains an almost continuous story, beginning in 1896 and running up to
date, wherein I have openly and fairly told what I knew about "Coppers"
and detailed the progress of our plans. Time and again, during this
period, financial writers commented on my frankness, quoting brokers
and bankers to the effect that "Lawson will surely have his head dropped
into the 'Standard Oil' basket if he keeps telling people all he knows
in this fashion." For the complete realization of my project the
public's interest was essential. The creation of the vast business
structure that I had designed required the participation of the great
mass of the people, and I was determined that no subservience to the
selfish ends of my associates should swerve me from my plan. I saw the
enterprise whole; saw that there was great profit for all concerned, for
"Standard Oil," for myself, and for the public; but if the public were
not taken care of or were discouraged from participation, then my
institution would surely be only another combination of capitalists and
I should fail in my ambition.

This is why I so persistently kept in the open throughout my "Copper"
campaign. I fully realized how anomalous my position was and how far I
had departed from "Standard Oil" precedents; but my thought was to
protect the integrity of my enterprise, and the best way to do this was
to have the people partners in its conception and development. To be
perfectly frank, the prospect of millions of profit counted for less in
my calculations than the honor and prestige I foresaw in the success of
my copper structure. As proof of this, witness how I voluntarily gave
back the millions I had secured, to make good. To create a great
institution, to erect a new and absolutely staple investment, and in
doing so to make millions for one's partners, one's self, and the
public, would be to live not in vain. The knowledge of my attitude will
perhaps help my readers to comprehend the enthusiasm with which I
entered into my "Copper" crusade; help them to understand how strongly I
resisted, and how deeply resented, the perversion of my fair structure
into a pitfall for those I had expected to benefit. My indignation
against the "System" is that which any honest man would feel against
ruffians who had used his best ideas and his most generous feelings to
lure innocent and unoffending people into some den of vice and infamy.
If I have not troubled to correct the misstatements of detractors who,
in an attempt to discredit my facts, have tried to pillory me as a
traitor, it is because I knew that when my complete story reached the
public it would make plain how and what I had been doing. The succeeding
chapters of this narrative will yield unimpeachable evidence that all my
dealing in "Coppers" as an associate of "Standard Oil" were open and as
much in the interests of the people as it was possible to have them.



CHAPTER IX

BIRTH OF "COPPERS"


Active upon the Boston market during my Bay State Gas operations were
two copper-mining companies--the Butte & Boston and the Boston &
Montana. Their properties were in Montana and both were large producers
of the metal, that is, they were old and equipped mines. These two
organizations form to-day the most valuable part of the Amalgamated
Copper Company--in fact, more than three-quarters of all the real worth
owned by that corporation.

Butte & Boston and Boston & Montana were essentially Boston
institutions, and were both officered and directed by the same set of
men. It had come to my knowledge, in the course of my stock business,
that there had been bought for the Butte & Boston, with its money, some
very valuable mines; instead of transferring these to that corporation,
however, its directors at the last minute had turned the titles over to
the Boston & Montana. It is only fair to these men to say that up to the
present this alleged fact has not been proven, although set forth in
cases still pending in the courts. This curious proceeding was part of a
plot the subsequent steps in which would be to run Butte & Boston
through the bankruptcy mill, and, by placing it in the hands of a
receiver, to drop the stock to a nominal figure, at which it might all
be gathered in from the public. I verified my information sufficiently
to decide to act, and swung the red danger-signal in a public statement
telling the stockholders and people in general of the coming move. At
once there arose a chorus of denials and recriminations from the
management, and the cry, "He's short of the stock and is working a fake
to scare us into throwing over our holdings that he may buy them," from
the Stock Exchange, stockholders, and the hireling moulders of opinions,
the "News Bureaus."

The rôle of Cassandra is not more popular to-day than it was in ancient
Troy. The swinger of the red danger-signal is seldom heeded, and is
invariably suspected of interested motives by the human moths circling
round the flickering flames of frenzied finance. When I gave my warning,
Butte & Boston was selling between 25 and 30. In accordance with their
plan the insiders began to sell, and soon the price began to slide
downward, for the great majority of the stock was held by the people.
There was a halt when the denials of the management were heard, but only
for a moment. The decline continued, growing swifter as it got lower
until the stock struck $2 per share. At this stage, while the stock was
on the way to $2, just as I had predicted, the property was cleverly
slid into a receiver's hands by the very men who had so indignantly
denied my statement that such would be their action. An assessment of
$10 per share was next levied, and those who held on, hoping against
hope, began to throw over their holdings for what they would
bring--which was around a dollar.

So far the scheme had slipped smoothly along the single-rail track
constructed for it by those in the deal, and just as my information had
led me to expect. At this juncture, however, the train struck an open
switch, and with a painful jolt for the conductor and the engineers it
slid out on a siding--it was my siding. From the time the stock struck
$2 a mysterious purchaser took in all that was offered, and when it
struck bottom he was still buying. Suddenly the schemers "tumbled" that
the plums they were shaking off the tree were dropping into some other
bag than their own, and they started into competition for the coveted
fruit.

Next day, and for several days afterward, there were strenuous doings in
Butte & Boston on the Boston Stock Exchange. The trading was heavy and
the price pushed up from the bottom to 6-1/2. Soon, however, it was
slammed to 2-3/4, then back to 6 again, down to 3-1/4, back to 5-3/4,
and so on, until the middle of the fourth day, when the rival News
Bureau to the "System's" favorite opinion-moulder sprang the following
notice set forth on a double-leaded sheet:

     "We have just solved the Butte & Boston conundrum. The
     enormous blocks of stock purchased during the past few days
     have come in for transfer, and the management now know who
     owns the bag into which all the stock they have for months
     been planning to acquire dropped. We have unmistakable
     evidence that the bag belonged to Lawson, and that he now is
     in control of the Butte & Boston Company. A hasty
     investigation amongst the leading floor brokers which we
     have just made brings out a consensus of opinion that there
     will now be music in Coppers."

The announcement was calculated to interest a good many persons, and I
was the target of a thousand inquiries. In answer to the innumerable
calls for a denial or confirmation of the statement, I issued the
following:

     'Tis true. 'Tis my bag, and there are 46,000 shares in it.

It was not until the following morning that I realized what a rarely
presumptuous thing I had done. I had invaded a valuable preserve. I had
coarsely "butted into" a private copper domain without a by-your-leave
to the natives who thought it belonged to them. I was an interloper, an
intruder, an upstart. The prevailing opinion seemed to be that it now
devolved on me to present what I had purchased to those who had been a
bit late in getting to the bargain-counter, or that I should, at least,
turn it over to the conscience fund of the Stock Exchange. The copper
market reflected the indignation of the baffled schemers. It entered for
once into an open competition with Donnybrook Fair, and to judge by the
action and feeling developed in both individual and corporation classes,
the Hub had Donnybrook jigged to a wind-up. In my various contests with
the "System" I had accumulated a certain hardihood which now stood me in
good stead. I had learned before this that breaking into a secluded
treasure-trove is about as pleasant as taking the lining out of a steel
furnace with the metal sizzling and the blower on.

I stood to my guns for the time being and then charged into the ranks
of the enemy. I issued the following statement:

     TO MY FELLOW-BROKERS AND THE PUBLIC

     I have stumbled on the fact that the stock--capital 200,000
     shares--of the Butte & Boston Copper Mining Company is a
     nugget. I bought about 46,000 shares of it at an average of
     something over 2-1/4, or, with the assessment paid, 12-1/4
     per share. I am going to hold it until I get over 50 for it.
     Barring accidents, I shall get it.

     I advise--strongly and unqualifiedly advise--all my friends
     and the public to load up with it at anything under that
     price. My friends and the public know whether or not I mean
     a thing when I say it. I pledge them that I not only mean
     this but that I shall fight it out, and shall not sell until
     there is an active and legitimate market for not only my
     stock, but for what they buy, at over $50 per share. All
     intending purchasers must bear in mind this is not a sure
     thing, for the men who are opposing, and will oppose me, are
     not conducting their operations from a graveyard, but are as
     lively and aggressive as Bengal tigers at raw-meat time; but
     they may rest easy in the knowledge that barring tripping
     over stumps or into bogs, I'll give whoever buy a run for
     their investments.

     Buy and watch Butte all the time, and, above all, pay no
     attention to what the fake "News Bureau" says.

This was the formal declaration of war. State and Wall streets, familiar
with my style of fighting, at once lined up and took sides. The papers
entered the controversy. According to what one read, Butte & Boston was
either the greatest mine in the world or a hole in the ground. Feeling
intensified; Geneva and Queensberry conventions were forgotten; it
became a go-as-you-please scramble; mud batteries filled the air with
liquid dirt, and both sides used Gatling guns to fire off their libels.
It was altogether a lusty and vociferous contest, which meant
destruction and death for the lame, the halt, and the slow-footed who
got between the fighting lines. I was naturally the chief mark for the
enemy, and was deluged with vilification. In the Bay State campaign I
had learned the personal cost of antagonizing the "System"; the copper
magnates showed me that they had terrors at command which might make
even "Standard Oil" jealous. In those days I don't believe my bank
account varied thirty-five cents without the news being passed around
before the ink on the bank-book was dry, and my family, down to my
ten-year-old, received daily or weekly through the mails pictorial
representations of their parent being hustled along to the realms where
sulphur is the standard of all values. Here is a sample of my usual
breakfast-table reading:

     C. W. Barron, the proprietor of the "Boston News Bureau,"
     feels it his duty to inform his readers, the banks and
     bankers and brokers and representative investors of New
     England, that that faking ass of State Street, that knave of
     knaves, Tom Lawson, is braying again, and such
     braying!--"Butte is to sell at 50, and going to be worth
     50." It would be such a joke that this conservative paper
     would be only too happy to circulate this scoundrel's
     vaporings, if it were not for the sad part of such schemer's
     work--if it were not that the poor and ignorant unfortunates
     who are unacquainted with this knave, may buy Butte because
     of his advertised lies at $14 or $15 a share and thereby be
     robbed of what they can ill afford to lose. There is no more
     chance of Butte & Boston stock selling at $50, or even $25,
     than there is of Tom Lawson telling the truth; and this
     paper does not hesitate to say that if Butte stock ever does
     sell at 50, we will upon that day close up our office and
     forever leave Boston and our lucrative business of guarding
     investors against such knaves as this lying thief; for any
     man who would do what he is doing to fleece investors is a
     thief and should wear stripes, and it is surprising to us he
     has so long escaped.

It was not so long after the above appeared that Butte & Boston stock
was selling at $130 per share, and that the same Mr. Barron was using
his own and his "News Bureau's" best efforts to induce the people whose
Butte showed them over $115 a share profit to exchange it for
Amalgamated. At this latter time he was acting for "Standard Oil."

It may be added that this same Butte & Boston stock, which I was such a
knave to advise the people to buy at twelve and fifteen, sells to-day in
the form of a share of Amalgamated, for which it was exchanged at
seventy-five to eighty-dollars, not cents.

My chief weapon in this Butte & Boston fight was publicity. Every
morning while the battle waxed hottest I had huge, striking
advertisements in the papers urging the public to buy and to hold on to
what they had bought. My opponents responded in kind, and being
intrenched in the management, told such alarming stories of the mine
that it was often as much as I could do to prevent my followers from
being scared into throwing over their holdings. The tremendous expense
of this mode of warfare, together with the immense sums my market
operations required, kept me hustling, and there were times when things
looked distinctly blue. However, the value of victory is measured by the
fierceness of the tussle, and far be it from me to complain of my
opponents' energy. There was good fighting over Butte & Boston.

The more deeply I became interested in this struggle and the more
familiar I grew with "Coppers," the more advantageous and profitable
seemed the prospects of such a consolidation of copper properties as I
had in mind. The large holdings of Butte & Boston I had accumulated in
the battle gave me a practical basis for my structure, for I could now
afford to do all my own part of the work of organization for what I
would eventually make when the consolidation was brought about, and I
could get for my shares what I knew they were worth. It was at this
stage I broached the subject of "Coppers" to Mr. Rogers, and discovered
to my surprise that he knew nothing about it or its possibilities,
notwithstanding that "Standard Oil" has a department for the sole
purpose of keeping the "System" posted about what the world is doing in
various directions. Indeed, both he and Mr. Rockefeller laughed when I
informed them that we had been trading in copper stocks in Boston long
before the Standard Oil Company received its birth certificate.

Before I could get down to business on the subject I had to take
advantage of five gas-talks, offering at each a few interesting and
striking facts about the metal. One day Mr. Rogers said to me, laughing
pleasantly: "Lawson, we're beginning to look for all your talks to taper
off with, 'I wish I could get you to listen to Coppers!'"

"Why don't you then?" I said. "It's the biggest opportunity in the world
to-day."

"I'll tell you what I'll do," replied Mr. Rogers. "If you will put
through for us right away thus and so" (naming quite a difficult little
bit of work in connection with the Brooklyn Gas Company), "and do it in
good shape, I'll ask John Moore to run up to Boston next week and
listen to your story. If he says it looks anything like good, I'll go
over it with you to a finish."

The Brooklyn job was done on time, and I began on John Moore in my
office at my hotel in Boston just after breakfast one bleak, rainy
morning the week following. I talked for five straight-away hours, and
he listened. He was a good listener. On all stock things he was
admirably posted, and it was not necessary to waste words. I wasted
none. I knew my subject from the letter-head to "Yours truly," and I was
playing for a stake that looked as big to me as the sun does to a
solitary-confinement life prisoner. At the end of the five uninterrupted
hours I agreed with Moore that I had nothing more to produce, and I
looked for my verdict. Before starting I had felt sure of winning him;
when I was half through I knew nothing could stand against my arguments,
and when I had said the last word I felt satisfied that, being human and
intelligent, he must be convinced. It took him only ten minutes to show
me that I had been talking against ten-inch armor-plate, and that he
meant it absolutely when he said, "Lawson, I want to see it your way,
but I can't."

It was John Moore's turn then, and he showed me the good thing in an
industrial scheme he was floating at that time, and as he wound up he
said pleasantly:

"Lawson, we must do something to show for our long talk, so I'll put you
down for $50,000 underwriting." And he did.

If John Moore had seen "Coppers" as I tried to show them to him that wet
morning he could not have made for himself less than three to five
millions, for in the operation which hung on his decision I had expected
to buy stocks that soon after doubled and trebled in value. Calumet &
Hecla then sold at 256, and later as high as 900, while Boston &
Montana, then 50, mounted to 520. On the other hand, the stock of which
he had sold me $50,000 worth returned at the end of the year but a mere
fraction of that amount, and was one of the worst failures of the
industrial boom period. It cost John Moore not only an enormous amount
of money, but also prestige, and its miscarriage was one of the few bad
disappointments of his brilliant career. Afterward, when "Coppers" were
the rage and all Wall Street was green with envy at our success and his
enterprise was trying to hide itself behind the garbage barrels, John
Moore said to me:

"Lawson, we all think we are the masters of our own fortunes, but we are
not. We are only working on a schedule laid out by some One who does not
take our desires into consideration."

And it is so. The ablest Wall Street man is only like the burglar who,
after working for weeks to loot a second story, is astounded to find,
while lugging his swag by the police station, that the bag he thought
full of dead sealskins contains a live parrot with a lusty vocabulary,
"Police! Robbers!"



CHAPTER X

ROGERS GRASPS "COPPERS"


The next day our gas business brought me to New York, and after Mr.
Rogers and myself had threshed out the matter I had come about, he said
with a smile:

"Well, I've heard from John Moore. Are you satisfied now? Will you drop
that copper will-o'-the-wisp?"

"Far from it," I replied. "I'm surer than ever of my position. In going
over the ground with Moore I got the whole business in perspective, and
now I know I'm right. All his argument amounted to anyway was that it
was impossible for so gigantic a thing to have lain out in the travelled
highways all these years."

I ran on vigorously for a few moments, in a way I felt might pique his
curiosity, if it did not gain my point. Finally he said:

"Well, Lawson, what more can I do?"

"This," I answered: "go over the matter fully with me yourself. I will
surely carry it through one way or another; if not with you, with
others, and I cannot drop it with you until I have your personal
judgment."

Instantly came one of those flash decisions for which H. H. Rogers is
noted among his business associates, the oft-proved correctness of which
goes far toward making him the pre-eminent American financier of the
day.

"Lawson," he said, "be in New York next Sunday, and I will listen until
you have run the subject out."

That decision changed the face of the copper world.

Sunday is Mr. Rogers' pick of days for a lengthy hearing, and returning
from church, he came directly to the "stowaway" rooms at the Murray Hill
Hotel, at which we frequently met while the Wall Street world was
trying to trace and keep track of our movements. I had been there for
some time awaiting him and was keyed for the struggle.

Of my ability to land John Moore I had felt confident, yet I had failed;
but this time in advance I knew success was mine. Experience has taught
me that in all dollar matters the man to "talk up to" is the actual
owner of the dollars you are after, who when he hears your story and
weighs your goods can deal out the _yes_ or _no_ which means business. I
had discovered some years before that few bull's-eyes are scored
shooting at a target by mail or messenger. One's finest word-pictures
sound better than they read, and if you would have the next man see them
in as vivid colors as they appear on your mind's canvas, you must paint
them before his eyes. The enthusiasm of the artist, his love of the
subject, the deep or high tones of his voice, the very movements of his
hands, are all factors in aiding the other man's vision. When he sees
what you do, you have won. Nowadays when I have things to sell, I engage
the eyes as well as the ears of my purchaser. When the other fellow
would make me his customer, he must first sell his goods to my
secretary, who may, if he can, sell them to me. Thus I am always able to
dispose of the only merchandise I keep in stock, honest goods, and I
seldom buy chromos for oils.

As I waited the coming of my most powerful customer, I could not keep my
mind off the momentousness of the interview before me. I knew I was at a
fork of the road, at one of those departure points from which coming
events must date, and I thought of a dream I had had years before in
which I found myself drifting with the grim ferryman across the brimming
flood, the far bank of which is eternity. In my hand was a long staff
with strange and irregular notches on it. And these represented the
actions of my life. Some were shallow, others deep and wide, and as I
ran my fingers up and down, I seemed to remember what each nick
commemorated--the good things and the bad things, here a death, there a
disappointment, this a victory, that an error. I wondered, as the
circumstances of the dream came to my mind, what kind of marking this
day's events would make on my life staff, and I felt a conviction that
it would be both deep and wide.

Then, as I heard Mr. Rogers' footstep outside my door, I forgot all
about dreams and notches and plunged into my argument.

"Mr. Rogers," I began, "you and your associates have unlimited money.
You have not always had it. You have obtained it through business
projects and you are using it in business projects to get more. There
are two ways of adding new dollars to those in your possession: by
taking them from others so they are losers and you the gainer, whereby
you win at the cost of their happiness; or by expanding the world's
wealth so that others gain when you do. You, I know, prefer the latter,
that others should make money when you do, rather than that they should
lose and suffer when you are benefited."

I did not then know "Standard Oil's" and the "System's" religion as I do
now. I had yet to learn the cruelly cynical principles that guide this
financial Juggernaut in its relation with men and things. I imputed to
it the generosity and freedom which seemed to characterize Henry H.
Rogers' personality, ignorant that the man and the machine he served
might stand for different things. The "System's" Big Book says: "A
dollar honestly made makes another for some one else; but a dollar taken
is two dollars, because it increases our power and diminishes the
people's. Between the 'System' and the people must be eternal war, and
it is the price of the 'System's' existence that all opportunities of
weakening the people are sternly utilized."

"Mr. Rogers," I continued, "I have discovered in 'Coppers' an
opportunity whereby you and your associates can, by the investment of a
hundred millions of dollars, obtain these results: _First_, your money
will be as safe as in anything you now have it invested in. _Second_, by
indorsing this form of investment with the seal of your business
success, you will make it known to all who have money and there will at
once arise a tremendous demand for its securities. This demand will
drive prices up until dividend returns are in normal proportion to the
legitimate value of the security, namely, four to six per cent., which
is, as I can prove to you, a little more than can be got from anything
else but 'Copper' with the same elements of safety. _Third_, when the
advance I foresee occurs, your one hundred millions have doubled, and
all those who have joined us in the venture or have held on to their
stock will gain in the same proportion. As I estimate that we will have
but a third interest in all the good American 'Coppers,' there should be
something like $200,000,000 for the people, while we will have made
$100,000,000. To bring this about I have planned a campaign which will
make what you have done known from one end of the world to the other,
and will persuade the people at large to look at 'Standard Oil' in a
more favorable light than they do now. And, what is more, all this money
can be made and all these benefits rendered without taxing any one a
single additional dollar, for there will not be a penny a ton added to
the price of copper the metal, nor a reduction of a mill a year taken
from the wages of those who mine it or work it."

Here I halted. I had made a beginning, and I was familiar with Mr.
Rogers' system of diagnosis and treatment. Propositions placed on his
operating-table are invariably dissected in parts--this is the winner's
method; so if, under the probe of his keen mind, one section or limb is
found stiff, dead, or unhitchable to that to which it belongs, he at
once stops operating and the corpse is removed.

"How is it the situation is as you outline it?"

I drew the picture of copper Boston as I have given it in the early part
of this chapter. It astonished him.

"How do you prove that safety in this class of investment is more
assured than in others?"

I reeled off the facts: A copper-mine, from the very nature of the
business, must be developed years and years ahead before it entered the
ranks as a regular producer. The price of the metal being practically
fixed within certain limits, the mine's value, present and future, could
always be told to a certainty.

He saw it. He put me through a thorough examination about my second
claim that the price would advance 100 per cent. I again astonished him
by showing him what a market there was and had been for many years for
copper stocks, and that it was simply a question of educating investors
at large to their merits to advance them to the price my plans called
for.

When he came to the question of the amount to be invested and the
aggregate amount of profit, he did not attempt to disguise his surprise
when I showed him there were 150,000 shares of Boston & Montana which
had been selling at 20-odd and were now 50-odd, and could surely be
bought between 50 and 100; and 200,000 shares of Butte & Boston, 100,000
outside of what I and those who had bought with me owned that could be
had at an average of 20 or 25; that there were 100,000 shares of Calumet
& Hecla, selling at 250, large quantities of which could be gathered in
between that price and 400, and so on through the list. Mine after mine
I enumerated to him, all as sure dividend earners in the future as they
had been in the past, to an aggregate, without touching any of the
uncertain ones, which it would surely take one hundred millions to
purchase, and as I called them off, he listened patiently while I gave
him a full history of each.

Then I outlined my sensational but never before attempted plan of
campaign for educating the public, he vigorously questioning me as to
details and particulars the while.

It does not take Henry H. Rogers months, weeks, nor even days to grasp
any plan, however vast, nor many minutes to come to a decision after he
has grasped it. I believe he would, if the world were going to be
auctioned off next week, be the first man on earth to decide upon a
limit price that he would take it at, and three minutes after it was
knocked down to him he would be selling stock in it at 150 per cent.
profit.

Just before lunch-time I saw that the effect of my arguments on Mr.
Rogers was the exact opposite to that they had made on John Moore. When
I had come to a finish, Mr. Rogers simply said: "It's curious, Lawson,
why I have not listened to you before. I'll talk with William
Rockefeller to-morrow. No--I'll make it this afternoon if I can get at
him."

And his eyes snapped a bit when, as I was helping him on with his coat,
he said, "We must not lose a minute in getting to work."

As he left the hotel and before I crossed the street to the Grand
Central to take my train back to Boston--I suppose I should not say it,
but I shook my own hand in self-congratulation. How many times since I
have thought that had old Dame Fate but hung out a danger-signal for
this faithful servitor of her behests, or had but given him a glimpse
ahead through the years 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904, instead
of using his hands in cordial self-clasping he would have employed his
feet in the more fitting task of kicking himself.

If Henry H. Rogers had been slow at getting started on "Coppers," once
in he made up for his early tardiness. After our Sunday interview things
moved swiftly forward. Before noon next day he called me up on the
telephone to say that both he and William Rockefeller were impatient to
have my facts and figures verified, and would I at once send my data to
start his experts on? I mailed him a bale of "pointers," and from that
hour until the flotation of Amalgamated Mr. Rogers' enthusiasm on
"Coppers" constantly grew until there actually came a time when it went
beyond my own. It took him months to complete that rounding-up of the
situation which is the absolutely necessary preliminary to the making of
final decisions on any far-reaching and important project to which the
magic name of "Standard Oil" is to be permanently attached.

This period of waiting I duly improved by continuing my fight on Butte &
Boston, and by way of intensifying the campaign I included Boston &
Montana in the tussle, and led a fierce attack into the stronghold of my
opponents. While this war was at its bitter height I received word from
26 Broadway that at last reports were all in, and that they were ready
to talk business. Next day I was in New York.

"Lawson," said Mr. Rogers, "our experts have examined your plans step
by step and have verified your conclusions. It is an exceptional
situation, and one we are equipped to handle."

Then and there we had a "to-a-finish-sit-down," and while I had in my
time gone pretty thoroughly into the general subject of "Coppers," and
thought myself well informed thereon, I was surprised at the
completeness and detail of the reports that had been prepared for the
"System's" master. In beautiful shape, concise, clear, comprehensive,
the entire copper industry of the world was spread out before me. Every
mine had its place and its history--not merely the mines of America, but
those of Europe as well; and fully set forth were the extent and cost of
the product of each, the profit it made, the men who owned it,
and--miraculous "Standard Oil"--the standing, financial and otherwise,
of the men who might have to be dealt with in our prospective trades.

Rogers smiled watching my growing surprise as I ran over the
extraordinary budget of facts he had collected. I said to him:

"This is wonderful. You have here all there's to be known about the
subject, and I marvel how you got hold of so much inside information."

"'Standard Oil' has its own way of doing things," he replied. "You told
us your copper plans would mean an investment of $100,000,000 of our
money, and now's the time, not after we have parted with it, to find
just what we are to get for it."

The world has never yet heard of "Standard Oil" locking its barn door
after some one has stolen its mule; for that matter, it is not of record
that any one ever locked the gate after his barn had been visited by
"Standard Oil." The reason is that, with the thoroughness characteristic
of this great reaping-machine, it never fails to take the barn with the
mule.

At this meeting it was agreed that Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller,
and myself should become partners in my plan of "Coppers," they to
furnish the capital and to have three-quarters of the profit, I to have
the remaining quarter. The campaign for the execution of the enterprise
I agreed to work out and submit as soon as possible, and we parted.

As I bade them good-by Mr. Rogers said to me:

"Your baby is born, Lawson, and if you put the same kind of work on
raising it you have in bringing it into the world, it will be a giant."

From that day it was understood that we were together, and that all my
dealings in "Coppers" outside Butte & Boston were for the joint
account--that is, they were to have the right to come into all my
operations. Those they did not care to join in I had the right to put
through alone. On the other hand, I must not undertake anything on their
behalf without a specific understanding with them.

Thus began Amalgamated, that extraordinary dollar-thing which shot up in
a night and grew as grows the whirlwind, until even its creators
wondered at its mightiness. It waxed greater and stronger while the
world watched and waited, until finally there came that tremendous and
unprecedented culmination when lines of investors fought round the
portals of the greatest money mart in America, the National City Bank,
for a chance to obtain the $100 shares of this $75,000,000 institution.
And the world wondered indeed when it was announced that Amalgamated had
been oversubscribed over $300,000,000.

Thus began Amalgamated. It might have brought to all the world good-will
and happiness, and to the men who made it much glory and the great
regard of their fellows. Instead, it has wrought havoc and desolation,
and its Apache-like trail is strewn with the scalped and mutilated
corpses of its victims. The very name _Amalgamated_ conjures up visions
of hatred and betrayal, of ambush, pitfalls, and assassination. It
stands forth the Judas of corporations, a monument to greed and a
warning to rapacity. May the story that I am to tell so set forth its
infamies and horrors that never again shall such a monster be suffered
to violate and defile our civilization.



CHAPTER XI

THE COPPER CAMPAIGN OPENS


My plans for the great copper campaign were most carefully diagrammed,
then spread before Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller, who, before
approving, tested every detail of them. The formal scope of our action
decided on, it was agreed that I should be free to work in my own way,
and it was understood that I should, as far as possible, carry the
campaign on my own shoulders, using to the limit my personal capital and
credit. "Coppers" was to be a Lawson operation on the face of it, and I
was determined, for many reasons, to avail myself of "Standard Oil's"
aid only in taking care of completed transactions and not at all in the
preliminary negotiations. This was not always possible, but my attitude
in the matter and my desire to make a brilliant showing explain the
straits I was sometimes put to in conducting some of my deals. From the
start I had a big personal stake in the success of my campaign, for at
the time I first showed Mr. Rogers my hand I had 46,000 shares of Butte
& Boston, and my following among the public owned as many more. They had
agreed that the profits on this stock, when it was taken into the
consolidation, should be mine entirely in payment of my own work and
risk.

There was another transaction I had in mind which also fairly belonged
to me. As I have stated, I had undertaken to dispose of Bay State Gas
stock, and by this time I had succeeded in placing a large number of the
shares. The proceeds, $2,300,000, were in the treasury of the company.
Now the charter of Addicks' company permitted it to buy, sell, and deal
in anything and everything, and I saw here a good opportunity to enable
Bay State to earn the balance of the money necessary to relieve its
indebtedness to Mr. Rogers--between four and six millions of dollars.
So I explained to Mr. Rogers that as soon as our copper deal had
progressed to a point where there was absolutely no risk, and a large
gain was assured, I would make a bargain with Bay State whereby for a
part of the profits I would pilot the investment of the company's cash
in Butte & Boston. This proposition he considered fair, and he agreed
that neither he nor Mr. Rockefeller would consider themselves "in" on
that bargain, save as indirectly profiting by it through the successful
winding up of their Boston gas investments.

It is impossible for any great move to be begun in the stock-market
without some suggestion getting into the air which notifies "the
Street"[19] that "something is up." Not long after my alliance with
Rogers had been formally arranged, the atmosphere of State Street grew
thick with rumors about "Coppers." Some of these announced that I had
hitched up with "Standard Oil"; others denied it; between them all a
movement was created, and the leading stocks became very active and
increased rapidly in price.

We had agreed that the first companies to go into our consolidation
should be Butte & Boston, Boston & Montana, Calumet & Hecla, Osceola,
Quincy, Tamarack, and any other of the long-established properties of
which we could get hold. It would be difficult, we knew, to purchase the
control of the Calumet & Hecla, for its owners thought too highly of
their investment to part with it, but it was safe to buy whatever was
offered, and if we accumulated less than a majority of the shares we
could easily resell at a large profit. I began my operation with Boston
& Montana stock, buying cautiously and obtaining it at fair prices, and
this transaction, though conducted quietly, added fresh fuel to the
rumor blaze. Finally Boston became so excited over the situation that I
came out with a public statement in which I frankly showed what I was
trying to do. In all such affairs, however, the explanations of any man
known in his business as a stock speculator or manipulator are never
accepted as true. It is assumed that such announcements are merely
blinds to disguise his real purpose; that they are feints or
manoeuvres in his campaign. So when I declared that I was working out
plans for the consolidation of all good Boston "Coppers," and that
associated with me were the strongest capitalists in the world, a laugh
went up from a goodly portion of "the Street." The hireling news bureaus
shrieked at my presumption and the absurdity of my combination, and when
after a hot day's operations I was quoted in the financial press as
telling my followers that it was "Standard Oil" money which was to back
"Coppers," Barron, whose News Bureau moulded opinion for the opposing
copper magnates, came out with a statement:

     "Lawson is spreading in his peculiar underground ways that
     the Standard Oil crowd is looking into Coppers. Just enough
     countrymen swallowed his yarns to enable him to boost prices
     over six points to-day, but by to-morrow, when the
     Rockefellers or Rogers of Standard Oil put their foot down
     on his transparent lies, those who were foolish enough to
     listen to his ridiculous fakes will find they must sell at a
     loss. We can say, on a high authority in Standard Oil, that
     they have never bought nor contemplate buying a share of any
     copper stock."

My enemies were numerous and powerful, and there were many other
announcements of the same character as Barron's tending to cast ridicule
on my movement and expose me as a falsifier. Indeed, notwithstanding the
merits of the plan and the benefit it must confer on all copper
properties, I was assailed as fiercely as though I had advocated anarchy
or had prepared a scheme of wholesale plundering. In stock affairs
innovations are resented and resisted even more fiercely than in other
walks of life, and the Boston money crowd fought me tooth and nail. The
titles I acquired in those days were varied and startling. For one set I
was a "charlatan," "wizard," "fakir," an "unprincipled manipulator"; in
another I was a "copper king" or a "prince of plungers." Feeling ran
high, and prices rose and fell in the most erratic and extravagant
fashion. Certain stocks advanced or receded from five to ten points in
as many hours or minutes. Fortunes were made and lost daily. Many
people, confused by the conflict of opinions and announcements, sold
their holdings, only to repurchase at higher prices as prices continued
to mount. So fiercely was I attacked that it almost seemed at times as
if my enemies might prevail in spite of the great powers at my back.
Indeed, there were tense moments when my fate as well as my plans
trembled in the balance. Several times I was sent for by Rogers and his
colleagues for a war council, and sometimes, as I detailed my lines of
defence and enumerated my resources, I suspected that even these
storm-seasoned warriors were tiring of the fray.

The fiercest fighting at that early period centred round Butte & Boston
and Boston & Montana. Many a spirited engagement we fought on the floor
of the Exchange. Perhaps the fiercest of these began when, after a
strenuous rush one morning, I rapidly carried the price of Butte up.
This exploit so enraged my adversaries that they got together and
organized a powerful combination against me. This included several of
the leading banks and trust companies of Boston that held large amounts
of stocks as collateral for my loans. At a given moment it was arranged
that all these loans, aggregating millions of dollars, should be called;
and further to intensify the complication they expected to bring about,
a great friend in common attempted to scare Mr. Rockefeller and Mr.
Rogers by informing them that the titles to the copper properties were
defective, and that a man, then unknown, named Heinze, who had made
himself very strong with the Montana courts, was about to make a move to
confiscate them. There was a hurry call for me from New York, and this
time the explanations had to be very full, for "Standard Oil" had an
impression that while my general plan might be meritorious, it was
possible that I had the details "skewed." However, I satisfied them as
to the facts and then hurried back to tackle my own problem, for these
individual engagements I handled myself, using my own personal resources
to take care of them. The emergency that had developed thus suddenly was
so serious as to be alarming, and it devolved on me to act, and at
once. Blows in finance are like those at sea--the most dangerous are the
quick-come-quick-go kind. I recalled one I had run into a short time
before on my sailing yacht. We were broad-reaching down the New England
coast, close in, with a 20-knot sou'wester blowing. Suddenly, without
apparent reason, my skipper put the wheel hard down and brought the
craft up standing. A second later a "twister" from the hills hit us, and
adroitly he headed her into it.

"How in the world did you know that was coming?" I asked.

"I smelt her, sir," the old sea-dog replied, "just smelt her."

For those unacquainted with the freaky ways of our New England coast
winds it may be explained that when a "twister" off the hills gets ready
to do business in a 20-knot sou'wester it sends no messenger boys ahead
to distribute its itinerary handbills. You hear one shriek and the blow
is upon you; and woe betide the unthinking skipper who attempts holding
his craft to her course or paying her off till she catches it full. He
is likely to have mourners at home if a married man, and "cussing"
owners if the craft is not his own. As my old sea-dog afterward wisely
observed: "When you smell a land 'twister,' act first and think
atterwards, or your widow 'ill get blear-eyed watching for you to make
harbor."

In the stock-market it was decidedly a case of "act first and think
atterwards." The "twister" was a fierce one, for not only were my stocks
assailed, but the rumor machines were turning out all sorts of yarns
affecting my credit, as the knowledge gradually filtered through the
market that my loans had been called. My stocks broke badly, and when
the market closed it really seemed as though I might have to verify the
report that they would wind me up the next day.

It was at this particular stage that the Bay State was let into the
deal. I had a long consultation with Addicks that night and showed him
my hand. He agreed that with what I already had of the stock and
"Standard Oil's" backing, the venture came as near being an absolutely
sure thing as could ever be found in stocks. My proposition was that I
should secure for the Bay State Company 50,000 shares of Butte at an
average of 20 to 25, and that I should have half the profits of the
venture provided they aggregated over two millions of dollars. Coming to
Addicks in this emergency was cold-blooded business on my part, and, it
goes without saying, was frozen-blooded business on his, for he
evidently saw then what I did not until later, that there was an
excellent opportunity to practise his pet game--make money and
double-cross his partner while doing so. We clinched the deal that
night, and next day in the market I turned the tables, for I took every
share my opponents offered for sale, and the stock, instead of dropping
out of sight, became firm, then began to mount, and never after fell
again.

The Bay State's venture showed a profit afterward of four millions of
dollars, but of my share of this large sum I was deprived, as I will
detail later.

At this juncture there occurred one of those strange and sad fatalities
which with its attendant circumstances helps to explain why those of us
who play with stock-markets grow superstitious. I have spoken of my
secretary, Mr. Vinal, a man of admirable discretion and absolute
loyalty, who was my right hand in executing the minutiæ of the various
operations I then was engaged in. In such affairs the fidelity of one's
aides must be beyond all question, for if the merest detail of one's
plans leaks out at the critical moment, one is undone beyond recovery.
After my talk with Addicks I had laid out the campaign for the next
day's engagement and called in Vinal to explain to him his own part. He
was to attend to taking up and transferring the loans that had been
called, and I armed him with my power of attorney and blank checks,
instructing him to put these matters through without further
consultation with me, for my entire time must belong to my brokers
during the battle of prices which I knew must inevitably come with the
stroke of the gong that opened the Exchange next morning at ten, and
which would rage until its close at three. As I had anticipated, the
assault was fierce. It was give and take, charge and retreat, all day. A
few minutes after twelve, Vinal pushed through a crowd of brokers to me
and said: "I'm about half through my shifting, but a telephone has just
come from Mrs. Lawson saying that something has happened at the school
and will I at once get a carriage and bring your daughters home. It will
take half an hour. Shall I go?" I replied: "You had better, but get back
as quickly as possible." A minute later a thought occurred to me, and I
sent a boy to call Vinal back. He reported that my secretary had jumped
into "Ben's" cab ("Ben" was a cabman whose stand had been in front of my
office, 33 State Street, since my boyhood days). I returned to the fray.
Fifteen minutes later the appalling message that startled all Boston at
the time came over the ticker tape: "Terrible Explosion! Boston Gas
Company's pipes in the Subway have blown scores to death." Then there
floated in to me a rumor, vague, indefinite, that Vinal was a victim. I
jumped into a cab and in a few moments was at the undertaker's to whose
place the corpses were being removed. The undertaker stepped up to me
and said: "Poor Vinal! Don't look at him, for it is frightful. He was on
the very apex of the explosion, and he and 'Ben' were both instantly
killed and are frightfully burned. The only thing recognizable is this
envelope, which I found among the rags that were left of his coat." He
handed me over the large envelope in which I had seen Vinal that very
morning depositing the various documents, checks, and securities which
he required for his day's operations. It was burned around the edges,
but the contents were uninjured, and among the papers was a carefully
prepared memorandum showing to a dot where my secretary had left off in
his exchanges. He had evidently just finished making notes, for so
carefully arranged were the contents of the envelope that all that was
necessary to complete the business was to turn it over to Vinal's
assistant. No further explanation was required. That envelope
represented two millions of money and securities.

Poor Vinal! Another victim of that soulless corporation hag, Boston Gas,
to prolong whose life he had spent some of the best years of his own.
Vinal was very dear to me. He had filled my canteen, held my ammunition,
and carried my knapsack through many a hard-fought battle, willingly
allowing others to do the cheering in victory, but reserving to himself
the right to suggest and console when the clouds lowered and we were
left alone on the field of defeat or the dusty road of retreat. Poor
Vinal! He was worth a hundred copper deals or corporation hags.

Between death and life, success and failure, what a hair's-breadth after
all. If Vinal had stubbed his toe, or had been able to take the first
cab he found; if he had heard my call which would have brought him back;
if he had tarried a moment longer in the Young Men's Christian
Association where he had stopped to deliver a message, he would have
escaped. The thought did not occur to me at the moment, for Vinal's
death was too keen a personal sorrow to allow me to estimate my own
narrow escape, but if that envelope, so miraculously preserved, had been
burned as were the other papers in my secretary's pocket, there might
have been no Amalgamated. "Coppers" must have dropped back to the lowly
place from which Rogers had lifted them, for I should have been
financially ruined.

To show the marvelous workings of Him who tempers the wind to the shorn
lamb: At the same moment that I was called away from my guns, the
commanding general of the opposing forces received the same call. The
aged mother of the President of the Boston & Montana and Butte & Boston,
while riding in her carriage, had been a victim of the same explosion.

FOOTNOTES:

[19] "The Street" is a general term used to designate the stock operators,
the fraternity in New York being known as Wall Street, in Boston as State
Street, and in Philadelphia as Broad Street; these streets are the centre
of the financial districts of their respective cities, the Stock Exchanges
being situated on them.



CHAPTER XII

THE BUNCOING OF THE STOCKHOLDERS OF UTAH


This was veritably a period of financial delirium in Boston. No one
talked or thought of aught but "Coppers," at least no one with a spare
dollar or good credit. The air was full of mysterious yarns and the
Stock Exchange was hung with Aladdin lamps. From every nook and corner
of State Street, from the chinks between its sedate old cobblestones,
came forth copper-mines--mines undreamt of before and unheard of since.
Innumerable devices were rigged to take advantage of the prevailing
intoxication. The prices of the strong properties leaped up with
breath-taking rapidity. The copper epidemic spread over New England and
began to extend in constantly widening circles through the rest of the
country, while from England, France, and Germany came daily news of
symptoms which proved that the infection had crossed the ocean. I, with
my hands full, kept two secretaries busy shooing away industrious
promoters who came at me in armies with old and new copper properties,
which I might have on my own or any old terms.

In the midst of this excitement I had my first real demonstration of the
"System's" method of making dollars from nothing. Well as I thought I
knew the stock game, I'll admit that I looked on open-mouthed, like the
veriest novice, at the magic wrought by the simple use of the name
"Standard Oil." Even now I can hear myself as I gasped: "Heaven help the
people if this sort of thing can be done in America, for Heaven alone
has power to help them."

The Boston and New York brokerage house of Clark, Ward & Co. had
promoted the Utah Consolidated Mining Company of Utah. It was less than
two years old, and its 300,000 shares had been kicked from gutter to
curb and curb to gutter at from $2 to $4 per share. Samuel Untermyer,
the astute corporation lawyer who, on his own account and as the
representative of a large European clientele, had long been interested
in "Coppers," had taken hold of Utah, and believing it a good thing had
bought large quantities of its stock for himself and his European
connections. Under the stimulus of my campaign the price of this stock
had leaped to 17 or 18, and rumor had it that Utah was a prospective
factor in my consolidation. One day Mr. Rogers asked me if I were in any
way responsible for these rumors, and I replied that I knew nothing more
about them than that they were in circulation.

"Good," replied Rogers. "Do this, then--send word that we propose to
issue a denial that we are to have anything to do with Utah
Consolidated, and bring me their answer."

I carried the message in person. The Utah people were absolutely
panic-stricken. Such an announcement meant destruction to the pretty
price-fabric they were rearing, and they begged to be allowed to make a
proposition to Rogers before he should declare himself. This was their
proposal: That Mr. Rogers should admit their property to the
consolidation provided he found it good enough; that every facility
should be accorded his experts to examine the mine; and that if the
report was favorable, and they were convinced that it would be, and he
decided to take hold, he should be given an option on a block of stock
way below the market.

This offer I took back to Mr. Rogers, who smiled one of his thin, easy
smiles, and questioned me closely about the genuineness of the market
for this stock. Could 50,000 shares be sold readily? I assured him that
when it once became known that we were even looking at Utah it would be
easy to sell 100,000 shares and at constantly advancing prices.

"All right," said Mr. Rogers, "if you're sure of this we'll go ahead.
Tell them we'll take a sixty-day option on 50,000 shares, no liability
to us, at--well, we'll be liberal, say at 15, and when you mention the
price impress upon them that I know it cost them but $2 to $4."

I returned at once and began negotiations, but, as is usually the case,
the fact that "Standard Oil" was nibbling leaked before I had clinched
the option, and before we had even begun to examine the property, prices
had advanced until there was a profit of $500,000 for us in the
transaction. To look over the Utah property Mr. Rogers sent his
son-in-law, Broughton, and in a short time I got word to feed out the
50,000 shares on the market at the best prices obtainable, and to borrow
it for delivery in such ways that the Clark-Ward-Untermyer contingent
should suspect nothing about it. No information was given me as to the
expert's report, and I was absolutely ignorant whether it was good, bad,
or indifferent, though from the fact that we were to sell the stock I
inferred that it was unfavorable. The public took the 50,000 shares at
between 32 and 36, much as an elephant takes in water after a thirsty
tramp across sandy deserts--the shares were just sucked in without a
gulp or a gasp. I did not know until long afterward that the purchasers
were the English holders who had contributed the greater part of the
50,000 shares to meet our option--in other words, were buying back from
us their own stock at more than twice the price we were to pay them for
it, and that their eagerness was due to confidential information that
the expert's examination had disclosed such richness that the price
would surely jump to over $100 when "Standard Oil" assumed the
management. Just where they acquired this information or how it was put
in their path was a matter I never found out. As I have previously
demonstrated, "Standard Oil" has its own system of wires and underground
passages and rumor bureaus. It works in mysterious ways its wonders to
perform.

This section of the deal was soon wound up, and the transaction showed
us a profit of $1,000,000. That is, we had sold 50,000 shares which we
did not possess, but which were ours on demand, for $1,000,000 more than
we should have to pay their owners for them. When I reported my success
to Mr. Rogers he expressed complete satisfaction, and ordered me to
inform the Utah people that another 50,000 shares must be added to the
option, as he could not think of tacking the great name of "Standard
Oil" to an enterprise in which he had less than a third interest;
indeed, he was not sure that he would consider less than a one-half
ownership. This second request was a bitter pill to the
Clark-Ward-Untermyer crowd, who hated to surrender for such a low figure
this tremendous parcel of a stock that was now selling fast at 40 per
share. There was no gainsaying the soundness of Rogers' reasoning,
however: "Who made it worth 40? Who but 'Standard Oil'? And what will
happen if 'Standard Oil' declares that it will not take Utah into the
consolidation?" The bare suggestion threw the Utah contingent into one
of those hundred-in-the-shade, twenty-below-zero sweats, which resemble
the moisture upon steam-pipes that pass through cold-storage boxes. They
succumbed. At the moment the option was signed over to us it represented
a profit of $1,000,000 more, and when we sold it, it netted us
$1,250,000, for the market was still climbing. This latter phenomenon
was not surprising, for it should be borne in mind that when our demand
for the second 50,000 shares was made, the heavy Utah stockholders were
called together and it was explained to them by their own managers--not
by "Standard Oil" or by Mr. Rogers mind, for "Standard Oil" never makes
false statements--that the expert's examination had developed such
wealth that "Standard Oil," the mighty of mighties, had insisted on
having at least 100,000 shares; but that, of course, "Standard Oil"
could not be asked to pay over twenty for stock which had cost its
original owners but $2 to $4. What was there to do? The stockholders
just gave up, and then once more climbed over one another in the market
to get back their precious shares as best they could.

Just to keep the conditions of the transaction at this stage before my
reader's mind, I'll repeat that the Clark-Ward-Untermyer people had now
given us the right to buy of them 100,000 shares of their stock (_at a
price $2,250,000 less than we had already sold it for_), with the
understanding--not in words or in writing, of course, because "Standard
Oil" never makes a promise in writing, but implied as sacredly as though
it had been set down and attested under oath--that we would take and
pay for their stock and engage with them in their enterprise, giving
them the benefit of our experience, our capital, and our prestige. I say
they had every reason to assume that we were acting in absolute good
faith, and no ground to suppose that there was any ulterior motive
behind our negotiations. It must be remembered that this occurred some
years ago, before the "System's" perfidy was a calculated contingency.

The knife was now in, but the "System" had still to corkscrew it in the
wound.



CHAPTER XIII

THE TRAP IN FINANCE


After "pulling off" such a big "trick," as the professional crooks put
it, and getting away with such a fat bundle of "swag," you, my good
reader, might naturally suppose that this shining light of the "System,"
contented with his profits, would pass on to new victims; or, if you
have a mistaken impression of Mr. Rogers' sense of humor, for really he
has a keen sense of the ridiculous--after five o'clock on week-days and
all day Sunday--you might think he would take the opportunity to order
me to tack up his card on the Utah office door, inscribed, "We will
return when you recoup," and transfer his milking machine to other
udders. No, that is where you, old-fashioned reader that you are, have
"sized up" Mr. Rogers inaccurately. He had not finished.

Utah was not yet exhausted as a wealth-producer for the "System." After a
brief lull, representatives of Clark, Ward & Co. came to me requesting that
they be allowed to see "Standard Oil's" report on their mine. It was most
important for their financial arrangements that they be told what was in
store for them. That was what they thought. I told Mr. Rogers. He
instructed me to report to the Utah people that Mr. Rogers had looked wise
and said nothing. The double-perfected "look-wise-and-say-nothing" is one
of "Standard Oil's" pet business devices. Whoever tries to penetrate its
secrets is always welcome to his inferences, but no one in "Standard Oil"
is ever on record in case the inquisitive one guesses wrong.

"Lawson," Rogers said, "just tell those people that our way of doing
business is to send out reports when we decide it is time for them to be
seen."

In the meantime Utah kept booming. A week before the expiration of our
option, the price being then forty-five, I heard from Mr. Rogers again.
He gave me the most mysterious order of all: "Sell 50,000 more." Up to
that time I should have declared to any one that I was up in all the
quirks and kinks of the stock game, but this move puzzled me. However, I
sold, and at the very top. We had now "out" 150,000 shares of Utah, had
sold that number "short," in fact. Clark, Ward & Co. were bound to
deliver us 100,000 shares when we called for them. These 100,000 shares
had been contributed by the large stockholders to Clark, Ward & Co. at
the price we had agreed to pay. Assuming that "Standard Oil" control of
Utah would immensely enhance its value, the stockholders naturally
desired to replace the holdings of stock they had contributed, and
instructed Clark, Ward & Co. and other brokers to buy them back in the
market. So Clark, Ward & Co. were carrying all one end and much of the
other end of the deal, paying for the actual stock which our option
called for as it came in, and carrying their customers for the new stock
purchased for them at vastly higher prices. _But_, as we had not taken
up our option and paid Clark, Ward & Co. for our stock, the money
necessary to finance the whole transaction had to be borrowed from the
banks. It is evident that, at this phase of the game, Clark, Ward & Co.
must have been, as the phrase goes, "extended."

While the operation had been in process, during the life of the option
in fact, money at the "banks" became as "easy" as an old haircloth
rocker for whoever desired to borrow on Utah Copper collateral. The fact
was much commented on at the time by the "Street," and Clark, Ward & Co.
often gratefully remarked to their customers: "After all, 'Standard Oil'
is good to its associates."

The day before the option matured, Mr. Rogers briefly said to me:
"Lawson, I've been thinking that Utah matter over and have made up my
mind that it is not safe to go ahead unless we have the actual control
of the company, 151,000 shares. Tell them so, and that we must have
51,000 shares in addition to our 100,000."

At last his game was plain to me. I gasped as I took in all the features
of the new plan. "They'll never stand for it," I cried.

"They won't, eh?" he said. "You look it over more carefully and I think
you will agree they _must_ stand it even if I make it another 100,000.
This is the situation: They are sure we are going to take and pay for
100,000 shares, and in anticipation have borrowed millions on call at
the banks. For fear they may not see all the nice points of their
position you can show them that if they refuse, the banks as well as
every one else will know that we not only are not going into Utah as
investors, but would not--in fact, could not--become connected with the
management, because our thorough examination of the property shows that
the mines are not as valuable as they affirmed. Now, when they grasp the
fact that they have all the Utah stock they had, to start with, and
150,000 more which they have bought since, they must realize that in a
slump the price of their shares will go lower than the $2 or $4 it
started from. Have no fear. Clark, Ward, and Untermyer will do just what
we ask, and, in fact, if it were not for the stir a lot of failures
would make and the bad effect these would have on our general plans, I'd
refuse to take up that option anyway, for there would be more money in
buying back in a smash what we have sold than in taking it from them at
our own price," he went on.

The implication in my suggestion that he was going too far in the Utah
deal stung him. He said:

"The fact is, Lawson, Americans who have accumulated great fortunes get
no credit; on the contrary, they are unfairly treated. Instead of being
honored for our splendid efforts as evinced by our wealth, the people
howl as though they had not equal chances with us. Take this very case:
we did not ask these people to give us options; we did not ask them to
allow us to become associated with them. We have done nothing but take
what they have thrown upon us, and yet if we refuse to exercise the
option we did not ask for, and there comes a smash, we should never hear
the last of how 'Standard Oil' robbed them. The more I see of the fool
way Americans look at such things the less sympathy I have for their
losses and what they entail. There was a period when I allowed myself to
waste time on such ideas as you seem to entertain, but, thank goodness,
I have outlived it."

The job cut for me was one I hated to perform. I could refuse, but what
then? Some one else would carry out Rogers' mandate, and where should I
and my great copper structure be? If I balked here, they would go no
farther with me--and remember, we were just at the beginning of our
association. Had I foreseen the misery and ruin with which the future
was fraught, I should have stopped then and there; but the future was
hidden, and I was expectantly revelling in a glorious and delightful
period in which I and all who were following me into "Coppers" should be
gloriously successful and rich. So I looked at the situation in a
practical business way, and I said to myself that even if we did insist
on having the 100,000 shares extra Rogers had mentioned instead of the
50,000 he had decided to demand, the Clark-Ward-Untermyer combination
would still have remaining more of value than their whole property could
possibly have been worth without our association. Therefore I tumbled
into their midst and dropped Mr. Rogers' bomb--and bomb it was.

At once they realized that they were looking into the cold steel muzzles
of 45-calibre revolvers, for there was no concealing the
money-or-your-life inference of the message. I had honestly tried to
soften the blow as well as I could, but all they could see was 50,000
shares more at something like a million dollars less than its market
value--or in twenty-four hours a panic and no market for their stock at
any price. What could they do? With perspiration streaming in big beads
down their foreheads, they declared that even if their people were
willing to submit to the knife, it was impossible in the brief time
available to get to them. At least would I not beg Mr. Rogers and Mr.
Rockefeller to take up the 100,000 shares pending their negotiations for
the balance? Would I not, because they had made all their financial
arrangements for big payments of loans next day which they could not
renew at such short notice--I must!--I must!

As I listened to the pleadings of these men there flashed into my mind a
conviction of the malignant humor of my situation. Here was I, father of
a plan in the successful execution of which I had figured myself out as
a benefactor to all concerned, turning the torture screws of "Standard
Oil's" new dollar rack--fashioned from my structure--and I was powerless
to stop or rescue the screaming victim. "But why," ask my readers, "did
you not denounce the men and renounce the work, instead of profiting by
it, as you undoubtedly did?" You have never--you who ask that
question--sat in at the great game of millions; you know nothing of the
excitement of the dollar chase, of the terrible joy of hearing, "A
million while you wait." I am not, in telling this story, setting myself
up as an angel, nor posing as better than others. My experience of
business has demonstrated to me long before this that rapacity rules in
the modern dollar game, and that in wholesale dollar making many of the
laws of men and more of the laws of God are inevitably violated. But he
who cannot or will not play according to the rules of those who are
making the game is disqualified. He should go elsewhere. Hitherto in my
life I had followed the code of a smaller game, in which we seldom
pressed an advantage to the limit or cut our pound of flesh from out a
vital part. Now I had voluntarily associated myself with other men in a
venture I believed was big, fair, and square, and I was learning that
the rule of their game was thumbs down--give nothing--take everything. I
might have retired, but I was already deep in, with resources pledged to
the limit; and what would my reluctance to press our advantage with
Clark, Ward & Co. be considered but fool sentimentality? If I insisted
on my view, what would happen? The people who had followed me so
far--and their number was thousands and their quality, measured by any
heart and soul standard, more human than any of those whom Rogers was
thumb-screwing--as well as I myself, would be surely ruined. If I went
on, at least I could care for those I had brought along with me. I
looked at the complication fairly and squarely, weighed my duty with
such powers of judgment as I possessed, and decided, wisely or
unwisely, that it was best to go on. Wisely or unwisely I made up my
mind to accept the responsibility of acting as fireman to the
engine--and to bide my time. That time, thank God, is here now.

I reported to Mr. Rogers. His fox-trap jaws, with their bone-and
heart-and soul-crushing teeth, came together with a snap, and when they
relaxed his lips parted into one of his marrow-chilling smiles.

"I thought so," said he. "Those able gentlemen are loaded, Lawson,
loaded, and without a by-your-leave have made up their minds that Mr.
Rockefeller and myself are only in business to draw their load to some
convenient safe-deposit vault, from which they can from time to time
take it out to pay for palaces, yachts, fast horses, and society crowns.
Lawson, don't tell me of their plight. Don't waste my time with their
pleadings." The tiger was awake, his cage rattled; it was raw-meat time.
I watched. Presently he snapped: "What do you suppose they would answer
were they in our position? This: 'Give us the additional 50,000 shares
we have demanded quick, or take the consequences.' They are able
business men, so what they would do is just good enough for us to do.
Take back this answer: 'You have the only proposition we will make;
decide at once!'"

I looked at him. I said not a word--I could not. Perhaps my thoughts
were miles and ages away to scenes where Cæsars, Napoleons, and
Bismarcks stood gazing over fields strewn with corpses oozing blood. I
remembered "to the victor belong the spoils"; but there also wandered
into my mind the memory of a good mother's knee on a Sunday afternoon,
and of a voice which repeated, "For what is a man profited if he shall
gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

As I left him Mr. Rogers said:

"You had better sell 10,000 shares more of Utah. Sell them quick and
sharp, and perhaps they will read our answer on the tape before you get
to them."

I sold the 10,000 shares. The price dropped two to three points, and,
sure enough, by the time I got to Clark, Ward & Co.'s office I found
them poring dazedly over the ticker tape. They knew my answer before I
stated it, and were trembling with nervous apprehension. I wondered if
they, too, saw the tiger, his bloody chops and claws and his piece of
raw meat. I said what Mr. Rogers had told me to say in so many words,
and then I talked frankly to them about their situation, and advised
that they meet "Standard Oil's" demands. I called their attention to the
tape: "They told me to throw over only 10,000 shares," I concluded.

"Great heavens!" said Armstrong, the negotiating partner of Clark, Ward
& Co., "they are likely to follow it up with 90,000 more. They have it;
at least they can demand it of us, and if they do we are ruined. What
can we do, Lawson? What _can_ we do?"

I pointed out that their only possible course was to lay the situation
before the large shareholders involved, stating the absolute necessity
of coming to "Standard Oil's" time, and to make their medicine a little
more palatable I added: "Once you come to time I can induce my people, I
believe, to make a public announcement that they will take the open
management and control of the Utah Company, and you know that will
surely make the stock jump--enough, perhaps, to offset what you people
lose on the extra 50,000 shares you yield up."

I advised them to the best of my ability as to their only way out. If I
had revealed to them that we had sold every share of the stock they were
to turn over to us, it would have served no good purpose, for it would
have made business impossible between us, and a crash would have
occurred which would have ruined Utah, inflicted destruction on their
price structure, and only enriched "Standard Oil." When I concluded,
they started in to do as I had suggested, and the way they burnt up time
and annihilated space was marvellous to behold. Though the thing was
almost a miracle, they met the condition within the time limit, and we
had turned over to us 150,000 shares of stock.

The moment Mr. Rogers saw the deal was a "go" all his hardness melted as
the snow upon the mountainsides under the April sun. Nothing could be
softer, kinder, and fairer. The blood had disappeared; the tiger was a
great, purring house-cat, intent only on catching naughty rats and mice
for the good of the household. Why, he would do anything to help out
these good gentlemen; certainly, the world should know of his great
interest in the Utah properties, and as the millions of golden dollars
clinked into his golden bucket the next day, the world did learn of the
great value of Utah, for his private counsel was made president, and
certain other gentlemen who bear the uncounterfeitable "Standard Oil"
tag were appointed as directors. There was a general jubilation--I had
almost said, a killing of the fatted calf; but that part of the ceremony
had been most ably attended to by Mr. Rogers in the preliminary stages
of the entertainment.

     NOTE.--When this startling and cold-blooded-trick part of my
     story was published in _Everybody's Magazine_, it astounded
     the world, and my enemies took advantage of the fierce anger
     which was aroused to call attention to my part, which they
     attempted to show was as bad as that of Rogers. Right here I
     wish to go on record: If I had been a human angel instead of
     a stock-broker, actuated solely by a desire to do just
     right, to do that which would work least harm to the
     greatest number of innocents, and least good to the largest
     number of tricksters, I should have done as I did.

     AUTHOR.



CHAPTER XIV

LAWYER UNTERMYER DISCOVERS THE "NIGGER"


I have dwelt on this Utah episode because it shows phases of the
"System's" methods never heretofore made public, just as episodes which
are to follow in the narrative will develop other startling and
ingenious deviltries. But, before going on, the sequel to the Utah
affair deserves a place in the story. A sequel there was, and my readers
will agree, I think, that it has a mordant humor quite its own. To-day,
after the years that have gone by, I cannot think of this tremendous
bunco game, in spite of its cruel and tragic phases, without a laugh at
the manner in which the smart gentlemen who composed the Utah
Consolidated crowd were "outwitted." Bear in mind that Clark, Ward & Co.
were among the "flyest" operators in Wall Street's juggle factories.
They asked no odds of any one in shuffling and dealing their cards, and
with them was the eminent Samuel Untermyer, surely the head of his class
of corporation counsellors, and himself a master in the fine arts of
copper financiering. On the conclusion of the deal, these gentlemen and
their partners in Utah assumed all the airs and graces they conceived
proper for associates of "Standard Oil," and at once enlarged their
hatbands and let out their waistcoats. Some of them, I believe, went so
far as to be measured for copper crowns. The stories they set afloat
about the richness of Utah, as proved by "Standard Oil's" determination
to have its 150,000 shares, would have made the constructor of Aladdin's
palace look to his laurels as a treasure-house creator, and the
stockholders of the corporation felt so good over their prospects that
in London and New York two large banquets were simultaneously given at
which the prospective millionaires tossed cable congratulations at one
another across the Atlantic and toasted in vintage champagnes the
brilliant promoters who had worked such wonders. At these entertainments
there was no question but that Utah was destined to be the foundation
company in the coming great copper consolidation.

With this roseate view Mr. Rogers did not entirely coincide. His
diagnosis of the situation had all that whichever-way-the-cat-jumps
frankness I had learned to look upon as characteristic of the man. He
said to me:

"Lawson, this is the situation: We are in absolute control of the Utah
property. If it were good we could do great things with it, but it's
bad, very bad; there is nothing out there but a bunch of ore which is
rich enough, but which cannot possibly last longer than six years, and
then--then there is nothing but a hole in the ground. Of course there is
a possibility of our finding other bunches, but with all the machinery
in our hands it looks to me as though we could play a very safe game. If
we find things that will make the stock valuable, we can keep the good
news buried until we shake the price down and get whatever we want. If
it is all bad, we can sell the stock and buy it in at big profits. I
think, on the whole, it is safe to call this deal completed and mark it
a success."

With this understanding we left it, and for some little time I paid no
attention whatever to Utah. One day I was surprised to notice on the
tape that the price of the stock was declining. I was puzzling over what
could have happened, when I received a sudden call from the Machiavelli
of the New York Bar, Samuel Untermyer. The set glare of his eyes, the
fervor of his hand-shake, told me that I had a volcano to deal with.

"Lawson," said he, "something came up the other day that led me to
investigate, and do you know, I have got to a point already where I can
put my fingers on people, outside of any one connected with 'Standard
Oil,' who own over 200,000 shares of Utah. If this is so, how can Rogers
and his crowd own the 150,000 shares they took away from us at millions
below the market? It seems impossible, but it looks as though we had
been buncoed--buncoed as no one outside a crazy-house was ever buncoed
before."

That steely imperturbability which is alternately the pride and pleasure
of Mr. Untermyer's friends, the glittering surface of which it is said
no cloud has ever shadowed or no gale disturbed, was fast losing its
distinction under the influence of the excitement that welled up in the
heaving bosom of the eminent cross-examiner; and excitement and he were
so remote, so studiously antagonistic, that I looked on and listened in
wonder for the outcome. An interesting situation was evidently fast
developing, and to grasp its possibilities one should know the attitude
of Mr. Rogers toward Mr. Untermyer. For this astute lawyer the "Standard
Oil" magnate has something akin to terrified admiration. Mr. Rogers has
said many times to me and to others among his associates that there is
but one lawyer in the United States whose cross-examination on the
witness-stand could afford him anything but amusement and recreation;
and this extraordinary exception is Samuel Untermyer. The bare thought
of being subjected under oath to the remorseless questioning of this
astute dissector and analyst of motives and actions brings him to the
verge of rippling chills. And here was this legal Nemesis on the
war-path and headed directly for 26 Broadway.

"What does it mean, Lawson?" His voice was in a court-and-jury key.

The opportunity was too good to miss. I could not help it. I said,
"Untermyer, you have another guess coming."

"Do you refuse to tell me anything about it?" he snapped.

"Tell you about it?" said I. "What could I possibly tell you about your
own scheme? You flatter me; you are getting excited. Let me ask you a
question, What do you say it means?"

"I say it means," he fairly yelled, "that we have been
buncoed--swindled!"

"If that is a fact," I said, "you are the best man on earth to tackle
such a proposition. Introducing swindlers to justice is your specialty."

"Lawson," said he, "let's talk it out. I don't see wherein you are in
any way to blame, but I tell you if I find true what I now suspect,
there will be music in the copper world that will set copper investors
by the ears."

I saw there was no use trying to dodge the issue, and we entered into
executive session. He had gathered most of the facts, he told me, and to
ascertain the balance, proposed at once to call a meeting of Utah
Consolidated stockholders. Also he had men out examining the transfer
agencies to find who got the shares of Utah delivered to Rogers.

I said to him, "What do you think has happened, Untermyer?"

"I think you people have sold the bulk of that stock," he said.

"Suppose we have," I said; "there is no crime in that, is there?"

"No crime," said he, "but it is a piece of dirty double-dealing."

"All right, suppose I admit it," said I, "what of it?"

"Well, did you do it? Did you sell that stock after we delivered it to
you?"

"Not a share," said I.

"Do you give me your word for it?"

"I give you my word, we didn't sell a share of that stock after you
delivered it to us."

"When did you sell it?" said he.

"Every share before we secured it of you."

At this the distinguished impassivity faded finally away and Samuel
Untermyer was actually and absolutely flabbergasted. The sight of him
dumfounded, confused, was too much for me. I laughed. It is seldom one
gets the laugh on Mr. Untermyer.

"Do you mean to tell me you were short the whole bunch?"

"Short every share of it, and 10,000 besides," said I.

"And where do you stand now?" he pursued.

"Still short of it, and before you can get fairly to work kicking up a
rumpus I should not be surprised if we were short the whole capital
stock. Rogers, as you know, does play a great game, that is, when he has
all the cards, owns the table, the room it's in, and has control of the
doorkeeper."

There was an interval of tense silence. Untermyer was making a noble
effort to swallow his fury. I began to figure the degree of my
responsibility if he should burst a blood-vessel or have an apoplectic
stroke. Finally he said:

"Lawson, if I don't blow this thing to pieces and shake 26 Broadway to
its foundations, I'm not Sam Untermyer."

The time had come to reason with the heated legal gentleman, and in
plain language I proceeded to show him where he stood, the position of
the property, the public's relation to it, and his own duty to the
clients whose money he had invested in it. Under the logic of my
argument he cooled. He saw the net, and that he and his friends were
absolutely enmeshed. He even admitted that he and his friends had
unknowingly aided in what had occurred and were mostly to blame for
their present position; but while he acknowledged all this, he
reiterated over and over again that in all his experience--and in Samuel
Untermyer's professional position he has either prosecuted, defended, or
had an inquisitorial finger in every sword-swallowing, dissolving-view,
frenzied finance game that has been born or naturalized in Wall Street
within the decade--he had never met the equal in high-handed bunco of
this deal in Utah.

Finally he said: "There's one thing I can do, if I cannot get even with
Rogers; and that is, I can 'fire' the present management of this
company, and I'm going to do it now, this very minute, and incidentally
I'm going to state what I think of them and the whole dirty business."

I called up "Standard Oil" on the telephone and told what had happened.
Mr. Rogers said: "Cool him down at any cost, but particularly try to
show him I had little to do with the deal; that it was largely the
outgrowth of what the Clark-Ward people thrust upon us, and that I left
the details to you and the lawyers."

Again I had visions of what would be the cost of making "Coppers" a
success.

Within an hour Untermyer was back visibly relieved and glowing after his
encounter. He had the resignations in his pocket, and he began joyously
to detail the specific opprobriums he had cast upon the management. "I
shall put in an entirely new management," he proclaimed triumphantly.

"You have positively made up your mind to that?" said I.

"You bet I have," he answered.

"Excuse me for a few minutes, then," I said; "I want to give my brokers
orders to rip out 50,000 or 60,000 shares of Utah. Rogers and
Rockefeller would take me to task if I wasted a minute."

"Hold on there, Lawson," he said.

"Not a minute," said I; "you know the game well enough, Untermyer, to
realize that there are a few millions hanging very low on the boughs at
just this second. I want to get my hat under them before you and your
friends have an opportunity to roll in your own hogsheads."

It was no time for diplomacy, and I set forth in plain, dog-eat-dog
terms to Mr. Untermyer exactly where he was "at," and that no one but
himself and his associates would be the sufferers by a public explosion.
Reluctantly he agreed with me that under no conditions must the
"Standard Oil" management be changed, but he was bound to have one
victim to show.

"You have the resignations of the present board--why not put in new men,
the strongest 'Standard Oil' men you know?" I suggested.

"I'll do it," he said, "but I'll throw out the present president, blame
him for all that's happened, but--whom shall I put in to replace him?
How about Rogers himself?"

Knowing Mr. Rogers' cross-purposes I was sure he would never become
officially responsible for the company; so I told Untermyer this was
impossible, but I continued: "The next best man and the closest I know
to Rogers is Broughton, his son-in-law. There's your president."

Whereupon Broughton was elected president of the Utah company. The stock
has since dropped from 52 to 22, gone from 22 to 37-1/2, dropped to
18-1/2, with frequent repetitions, and is now 43: and all the drops have
been preceded by tremendous short selling, followed by stories of the
absolute worthlessness of the property; and all the rises, by
tremendous buying and stories of the mine's fabulous richness. Some one
has made millions.

"Standard Oil" is ever ready to forgive and forget those it has injured,
but it has power and place for those who have made it tremble. Its
associates to-day are often yesterday's enemies. As one looks back upon the
Utah episode from over the divide, it helps accentuate its humor to
contrast the present attitudes of the parties engaged with those they then
held to one another. We now see the virtuously indignant Samuel Untermyer
shoulder to shoulder with his wicked betrayer, Henry H. Rogers, whose
counsel he is against the original ally of the same Henry H. Rogers, Thomas
W. Lawson, historian of "Frenzied Finance." And the talented expert, most
trusted of "Standard Oil" mining emissaries--Broughton, whose unfavorable
report on Utah Consolidated was the instrument of the plundering of the
Clark-Ward-Untermyer contingent--elected president by Samuel Untermyer, has
remained ever since at the head of the property he had pronounced
worthless.



CHAPTER XV

DEGREES IN CRIME


Every profession has its social grades. Even crime is not without an
aristocracy. There are as many classes of crooks as there are things to
steal, and the more dangerous the theft, the more distinguished is the
criminal in the eyes of his professional brethren. In the thieving
fraternity the burglar and the highwayman figure as important persons,
for do they not take their lives in their hands every time they "pull
off" a trick? He who signs another man's name to a check requires fine
dexterity to be successful and endangers his liberty for a long term, so
the forger is of high consequence. Pickpockets and sneak-thieves stake
freedom on the agility of their fingers and legs, and are the small fry
of the fraternity, yet figure as legitimate practitioners. But the
confidence man, he who goes forth among rural communities disguised as a
clergyman or doctor, and wheedles money out of some unsuspecting
fellow-creature by means of the trust he has inspired, ranks low in the
estimation of his plucky brethren of the jimmy and the black-jack. Force
they respect; stealth they despise. The burglar is frankly a burglar;
the confidence man conceals his plundering purpose under the aspect of
respectability. He is doubly a knave in that he pretends to be honest.

The Utah trick performed by the "System," as described in my last
chapter, was essentially a confidence operation. The men who executed it
had the reputation and appearance of honesty, and their victims were
hypnotized into security by accepting standing in the community, great
business prestige, and enormous wealth as guarantees of individual
probity. The only capital employed in capturing three millions of "made
dollars" and the control of a great corporation was respectability. I
contend, then, that the magnitude and success of the deal do not make it
less despicable.

Some of my readers will doubtless ask me why I so insistently repeat the
details of the "System's" criminality, which for all purposes of
argument have already been sufficiently established. My answer is that
repetition alone will impress people with the real character of the
class of individuals with whom I deal. The mass of Americans look upon
these men as great leaders, and regard their millions as monuments to
their commercial genius. I am showing that this commercial genius is no
better than a high talent, for financial jugglery, and that its
successes are achieved by a calculated disregard of the laws of the
game. The "System's" fortunes have been won by means of marked cards and
cogged dice, crooked wheels and bribed umpires--in other words, by the
corruption of legislatures, the undermining of competitors, the evasion
of railway rates, the wrongful manipulation of stocks, the perversion of
justice, by intrigue, graft, and four play. Once the people realize
this, the "System" is doomed; and it is my purpose to demonstrate so
clearly and forcibly the crimes of the past that the nation may be
aroused not only to prevent their repetition, but to crush their
rascally perpetrators as they would so many reptiles. I shall so
familiarize the people with the rights to which they are properly
entitled and with the outrages committed in violation of them under the
guise of legitimate commerce, that they will know them as they do the
common facts of their daily lives. Let any "System" attempt to interfere
between a man and his Bible, his meat and bread, and his proper
allowance of sleep, and there would occur an explosion fierce enough to
wipe the conspirators and their plots off the face of the earth; yet it
is absolutely the fact that in the past our people have suffered
unwittingly much fiercer wrongs than these would be, and far more vital
invasions of their rights.



CHAPTER XVI

MR. ROGERS UNMASKS


There was in Montana a great copper property known as the
Daly-Haggin-Tevis group, the centre of which was the huge Anaconda mine
with its 1,200,000 shares. This is the mine that Marcus Daly induced the
late George Hearst to buy and develop for the marvellously successful
syndicate of California mining operators, composed of J. B. Haggin,
noted now the world over for his horses; Lloyd Tevis, an extraordinarily
shrewd San Francisco financier; and Senator George Hearst, himself
perhaps the greatest mining expert America has ever known. After Senator
Hearst's death his estate sold its holdings to European investors, who
with the other three owned the company at the time of which I am
writing. I had never in my copper-consolidation plans contemplated
including this property, for the reason that the public I was operating
among was not familiar with it. I did not care to put in jeopardy the
success of our venture by admitting any but mines of such well-known and
unquestionable value that there could arise no possible doubt as to the
security of the investment. I was well along in my task of gathering in,
through public-market manipulation and private negotiation, the shares
of the several good Boston companies whose merits I myself knew about
and had so carefully gone over with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller, when
one day Mr. Rogers called me up on the telephone and requested that I
come to New York to see him. "I have," he said, "a very important matter
to go over with you." I took the train and early next morning was at 26
Broadway. As soon as we started in I was struck by a certain strangeness
in his manner--an unusual impressiveness that indicated to me at once
that something was in the wind.

This proved to be the case. I was soon in possession of the information
that he and Mr. Rockefeller had been putting in a lot of work on the
copper business; that they had evolved some further schemes, and that
now the plans were so far along that I could not upset them, therefore
they proposed to let me in--all this in the pleasantest manner.

In answer to my quick inquiry as to what plans I had ever upset he waved
a chilling hand toward me. "Don't start in looking for trouble," he
said. "There are certain things which cannot be done by a man who works
as you do. From the very beginning you have insisted upon taking the
public into your confidence, with the result that they get large profits
which otherwise would come to us. If you did your business as we do
ours--acted first and talked after, or, better still, did not talk at
all--there would be no difference of opinion between us. Still, we
recognize that each man must do business in his own way, and we have let
you go ahead where it was possible." After a short pause he continued:

"While you were getting the Boston companies in shape I unearthed
another situation which almost seemed as though it were made to order
for us. What do you know of the Anaconda Company?"

The way he asked this question in one of his cross-bred,
cat-purring-and-fox-bark tones which I had seen him work on others, and
which I had observed always denoted a perfect knowledge of your answer
to his question before you had it, did not help my guessing any.

I told him I knew nothing more than that there was such a company with
stock dealt in on the English and our markets.

"Nothing more than that?" And he looked at me quizzically. "Have you
been watching the stock's actions in the market?"

In a second it flashed over me that Anaconda had been quite active of
late, that is, had been largely traded in without attracting much
attention, although the price had been steadily advancing.

"I thought you boasted you could read the tape, Lawson?" he went on,
"and that nothing could be happening in a field you were interested in
without your smelling it out? When I tell you Mr. Rockefeller and myself
have bought control of the biggest copper property in the world,
measured either by the number of shares and their selling price or by
production, without your even suspecting it, much less the public's
jumping in and running up the price on us, you can see there is
something in our quiet way of doing things compared with your public
way."

"All right, Mr. Rogers; I have never contended that there were as many
dollars in my way of doing things as in yours--as many dollars for
_us_."

"Lawson," said he, "the public are about ready to invest in the first
section of our new consolidated company, are they not?"

"Sitting up nights to see that they get a place in line the minute we
scatter our first handbills," I answered.

"Well, are we ready to put our things together? Have we got the
necessary companies to meet the ideas you have been educating the public
into?"

"We have things in such shape that we can whip a $75,000,000 or a
$100,000,000 company up for public subscription in a very few days, if
you give the word."

Mr. Rogers leaned toward me and said in his most decisive and imperious
tones:

"Very well; I have plans all shaped up which will allow us to offer the
first section, but not made up as we first arranged. Mr. Rockefeller and
myself have decided to put entirely new companies in the first section,
and to reserve the Butte and the Montana and other companies you have
been working on for the second section."

The blow had fallen. My head swam. Visions of Clark, Ward, Untermyer,
Utah, and others I had seen on the rack writhed fearfully across the
stage of memory. Here I was loaded with Butte, Montana, and other stocks
which I had felt as certain were to go into the first section as one can
feel in regard to a thing which seems in one's own control. On my public
and private assurances as the accredited agent of Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller and "Standard Oil," my friends and following had large
amounts of money in the same securities. The market was booming on what
I had proclaimed was to happen, and here an absolutely new condition was
being imposed, a condition which gave all my assertions the lie, which
discredited me, and would, I felt sure, precipitate a terrible disaster.
Inevitably the copper public would be dazed, would be shaken; a reaction
would follow which would bring on a panic and a destruction of values
impossible to measure. In it all, I should be left alone to bear the
brunt of the storm of ruin, wrath, and denunciation as the result of
what must seem base trickery to those who had accepted my
representations. I tried to pull myself together, for I felt Mr. Rogers'
keen eyes burning into the back of my head, appraising the effect of his
words and measuring the degree of my numb terror. He saw, in spite of
all my efforts to appear calm, that I knew I had been given a knock-out
blow.

As in a dream I inquired what companies it had been decided should go
into the first section.

"Anaconda, Washoe, Colorado, and all the big timber lands, coal-mines,
banks, stores, and other Montana properties that go to make up the
Daly-Haggin-Tevis properties," he replied crisply.

I found my numb inertia melting in a fierce anger. I jumped up. I raised
my voice:

"Mr. Rogers, do you mean to tell me that Mr. Rockefeller and yourself
have deliberately decided to take advantage of the situation I have
made--the situation I have not only made but put myself into--to try to
sell to the investors of this country other property than that I have
promised them they were to have? You cannot mean that--you surely
cannot, for you and all your 'Standard Oil,' even though you were many
times bigger than you are, would never have dared to tell it to me face
to face."

I was boiling over--becoming literally frenzied at the picture unrolling
before me.

Now it was Mr. Rogers' turn to be aroused. His voice quivered with
intensity and his fist came down on his desk with a force that shook the
inkstand. It flashed into my brain that this anger was assumed to cow
me, and I tried to look through his eyes on to his mind tablets back of
them, and read what was there recorded. The gaze that met mine was
polished steel ice coated, off which my glances slipped and slid. I
dropped into my chair.

"In the name of all that's sensible, Lawson, hear me out and quit acting
like a child." He stopped a second and then went on impressively. "In
looking over the copper field I discovered a number of things you failed
to see. First, that Haggin and Tevis, who own Anaconda with Marcus Daly,
have grown so wealthy that they have left the management of their
Montana copper and silver properties entirely to Daly, and he has been
coddling the mines along, saying nothing about their real worth and
quietly passing by the richest parts, awaiting the day when he could buy
his partners out. Shortly after you let it be known that we were to go
into 'Coppers,' Daly came to me to talk things over, and it took me only
a short time to get under his waistcoat and find just what he had out
there, and it took me still less time to decide that he offered
something a little better than anything we had yet turned up. These
properties, which we can secure for $24,000,000, which will carry with
them the majority of the 1,200,000 shares of Anaconda, alone are worth
$75,000,000, and with the addition of the Colorado, Washoe, and Parrott,
which he recommends that we buy and which he is in a way to secure for
us at a bargain, will cost not over $15,000,000. So it came right down
to this: We could trade with Daly immediately, while if we waited until
the first section was out to the public the inevitable appreciation of
Anaconda stock in the market would alone make it impossible; for even if
Daly was willing to go in with us, Haggin and Tevis would not let him at
anything like the prices he now names. It seemed best to take action at
once, so we closed with him; and we have also just closed with the
Washoe and Colorado, and we want you to secure the Parrott. Under these
circumstances, could we do otherwise than we have done?"

His argument seemed conclusive. It looked so fair and unanswerable that
I could not disguise from him that my fears had fled. I was immensely
relieved. My fight oozed; I became as pliable as any of the brittle
clay which he daily kneaded for each shaping with his applications of
oil.

"What are your plans, Mr. Rogers?" I asked quietly.

"This is what we thought would be the thing to do if you agreed, Lawson,
for, of course, you are, after all, the one who must decide. First, you
shall go over everything we have done, and if you feel sure we have
property worth at least, at the hardest kind of hard-pan prices,
$75,000,000, we want to whoop up the country to the very top notch of
expectation, and while doing so begin to hint that there are to be three
or four sections, and that the first one will embrace Anaconda,
Colorado, Washoe, Parrott, and lots of other unnamed things. Then our
idea was to offer the $75,000,000 by public subscription, and by using
every dollar we receive for it to support it in the market, to make it
sell afterward under all conditions at a big premium over cost, so that
every one would make big profits, and so, consequently, by the time the
second section came along, the demand for subscriptions would be
unprecedented. We could continue this until all the good 'Coppers' were
in our company, and then our consolidation would be a prodigious
success, just as you outlined at the start. There cannot possibly be any
loss to any one; in fact, success is so assured that William
Rockefeller, Daly, Stillman, and all the others who will be associated
with us, do not propose to sell a share of their stock, but, on the
contrary, will go along with us to the finish. So good does it look to
us that I feel it will really beat out Standard Oil itself as a
money-maker, and you must remember that whatever else they may say about
Standard Oil, no one who has ever owned a share has lost money; on the
contrary, every one has made large profits."



CHAPTER XVII

"EXTRACT EVERY DOLLAR"


"Standard Oil's" arguments always are absolutely flawless, and this was
one of their best. I was fast becoming imbued with the wisdom of the
plan which Mr. Rogers was revealing so adroitly, and began secretly to
wonder if after all I was not a novice in such business.

Unerringly Mr. Rogers followed my thoughts. He piled Pelions of better
things on Ossas of good ones. Surely it was after watching some parallel
hoodwinking put through by a remote ancestor of "Standard Oil" that Puck
enunciated his famous dictum, "What fools these mortals be." I fell in
like the veriest tyro--hypnotized and happy.

"How much of this first section do you figure, Mr. Rogers, that we are
to give to the public?" I inquired.

"We, Mr. Rockefeller and myself, have carefully considered this phase of
it, and as we all want to retain as much as possible of the stock, we
would not sell over $5,000,000 to the public."

"But can you do this?" I asked. "If the public know 'Standard Oil' is
retaining nearly all the stock they will sour on it."

"Leave that to us," he said, knowingly. "We can iron this out so easily
you need not give it another thought, for no one can have any possible
rights in the matter until he has been allotted stock, and as all those
who come in are to have big profits from the start, they will raise no
objection to anything we do."

"All right, if you think it's wise. You know," I responded; "but who
will be in this besides ourselves?"

"Every one of us--Stillman, Daly, Olcott, Flower, Morgan, all who can be
of use to us will have to be let in on some of the ground floors. The
foundation profits, as we agreed under the old plan, will be twenty-five
per cent. to you, seventy-five per cent. to us. After that we will
jointly take care of those we let in. Is that all right?"

When Henry H. Rogers sets out to batter down an antagonist he is as
fierce as an eagle foraging for her young; victorious, he is as amiable
and generous as a salesman who has unloaded on a customer a big cargo of
damaged goods. Anything the victim wants he can have by simply naming
it.

Fascinated by his mastery of the subject and the obvious completeness of
his plans, I could only continue to assent. He went on:

"There's another section of the subject we must get at now, Lawson, and
decide on once and for all. You seem to have made no provisions for the
most important end of the whole business, the selling end. What is your
idea as to how we shall control the selling end?"

"I had given that little thought, Mr. Rogers," I replied. "I believe
that easily takes care of itself. The demand is always greater than the
supply. We shall have the metal to sell, the world will be more anxious
to buy than we to sell: what more can be necessary?"

"Lawson," said the master brain of the greatest and most successful
commercial enterprise in the world, "you know the stock-market, but you
don't know the first principle of working to advantage a great business
in which you absolutely control the production. The novice assumes that
consumption when it is greater than production makes the price, but this
is one of the many time-worn sophistries of business. Do you suppose
Standard Oil has built itself up to where it is and made the money it
has simply because there were always more lamps than we had oil? If you
do, you are in dense ignorance of the foundation requisite for great
success. As the world goes to-day, the prices of necessities and
luxuries are fixed and should be fixed by the man who controls both the
selling and the producing end, for there is a greater profit to be had
by supply to regulated demand and demand to regulated supply than from a
charge made and regulated by supply and demand. Standard Oil gets
to-day and has always since its birth got its enormous profit from its
'regulation' department. Production yields it a proper profit and by
supplying legitimate demands it earns other fair profits, but its big
gains come from so adjusting one to the other that there can be no such
thing as competition. Do you see?"

"I agree that is not my end, Mr. Rogers, though in a general way I know
about railroad rebates, steamship comebacks, and such things; but I
don't see how they are required in our copper business, where the demand
is of such proportions that the producer sets the price and makes a
profit away above what may be gained in other business enterprises.
Surely no one would ask larger gains than are naturally made out of
copper."

"Lawson," responded Mr. Rogers with oracular emphasis, "that is where
your business education is flawed. No man has done his business properly
who has missed a single dollar he could have secured in the doing of it.
I do not think a fair judge would find me guilty of avarice, either in
business or in the manner of my living, and yet I am made fairly
miserable if I discover that, in any business I do, I have not extracted
every dollar possible. It is one of the first principles Mr. Rockefeller
taught me; it is one he has inculcated in every 'Standard Oil' man,
until to-day it is a religion with us all."

There you have it--the fundamental precept of the gospel of greed. "What
must ye do to be rich? Extract every dollar." How the formula explains
"Standard Oil," and how completely it reveals the Rockefeller attitude
of mind! Greed crystallized into a practice, dignified into a principle,
consecrated into a religion and become a fanaticism. But, mind you, not
the dross, but the rule; not profit, but precedent. Money no object, but
our laws must be kept. Shylock's god is "Standard Oil's." The ravenous
lust for gold that possesses these men is not an appetite, but a fever.
In them it is the craving of the tiger for blood. Gorged and glutted
with riches, their millions piled into the hundreds, masters of the
revenues of empires, still they are as the daughters of the
horse-leech.

Once in Ogreland there was a giant, larger and fiercer than any of his
fellows, and it was the habit of this monster to compel the inhabitants
of the territory which he ruled to render him every evening a tribute of
human hearts. At sundown he would come out of his castle and seat
himself in a great chair in front of the huge iron gate, and his vassals
would lay at his feet the dripping sacks of hearts for which they had
scoured the land. "How many have you brought me to-day, my merry men?"
he would say as he weighed the sacks in his mighty fingers. "Are they
large and juicy?" How they came or whence, he cared not at all; the
screams of the unfortunates whose hearts were torn from their breasts he
neither heard nor thought of; hearts he must have, and if people were
killed, so much the worse for them. But the ogre _ate_ all the human
hearts his vassals gathered for him; he lived on them and grew greater
and lustier, for they were the food his great frame required for its
sustenance, and he never had all he really wanted.

"Standard Oil" in our life to-day plays the rôle of this mythological
giant, forcing its tribute of dollars from the people, indifferent to
the blood and tears in which they are soaked, oblivious of the cries of
the victims from whom they have been dragged; but, unlike the giant,
_"Standard Oil" does not need this tribute to sustain its life, nor to
make richer its blood_.

But to return to Mr. Rogers, who triumphantly proceeded with his plot:

"Let me show you, Lawson, how you have overlooked the best part of the
copper business. We have found that for years Lewisohn Brothers have had
a double-clamped and riveted contract with at least half the best
producing mines in the country to sell their output, and they have grown
very wealthy. As near as we can make it, they have made at least fifty
millions in one way or another in the last ten or twelve years. First,
they have had a big profit as their commission for selling; next, big
interest out of the advances they make to companies while their output
is being sold; now, they actually control the copper market of the
world. Think of it, Lawson, for a few seconds, and the possibilities
will loom up to you. You can buy or sell any number of millions of
pounds in futures or actual deliveries. Suppose a man controlling the
selling of three or four hundred million pounds a year should knock the
price to, say, ten cents, sell to himself the year's output of all the
mines he controls and then lift the price to, say, twenty cents. He
would have a sure profit, with absolutely no risk, of thirty to forty
millions of dollars. If he should sell the next year's output short at
twenty and drop the price back to ten, he would have another thirty or
forty millions. Wouldn't he? Then if, before he broke the price, he sold
copper mining stocks short, and if, before advancing the price, he
covered and loaded up with them, he could easily make an additional
thirty or forty millions. Think it over, and you will agree with me that
the possibilities are far beyond those of oil, and perhaps at the same
time you can account for the violent fluctuations in copper stocks and
the price of the metal during recent years. A man in such position could
absolutely _dictate_ to all new mines whose selling agency he could
secure under long-term contracts. When their stocks were up, he could
pinch them to the edge of bankruptcy by refusing to sell their metal or
advance them the cash they needed for operation. Now, don't you agree
with me that you overlooked one of the most important branches of the
copper business when you made no provision for taking in the selling
end?"

Again it crept into my mind that in comparison with the diabolic
astuteness of this man, such knowledge and experience of business as I
had gathered were as those of the primary student to the post-graduate
scholar's. Again, there was no quarreling with his logic or his
conclusions.

"It is common knowledge in Boston," I replied, "that copper commissions
on the surface and below constitute as soft graft as any one would ask
for, but no one suspected the possibilities you outline. Do you actually
mean to say that that is the way the business has been conducted in the
past?"

Mr. Rogers lowered his voice confidentially:

"I can only tell you, Lawson, that we have dug up some queer doings
during our investigation, and I think I can put my finger on a great
many millions of dollars now in the hands of certain mine officers
which could be recovered by the different companies they have been
acting as trustees of. It would be quite an eye-opener to some of your
pious Bostonians to know that the controlling officials of several mines
are silent partners in some of the big selling agencies."

There was a pregnant interval of silence. Perhaps the expression of my
face suggested the thronging thoughts which seethed through my head as I
said:

"But surely, Mr. Rogers, that's off our beat. We shall make money enough
along our lines without getting into that kind of a game."

Mr. Rogers swung his chair half round and looked straight at me. For a
long second he stared--sitting half upright, his long, fine hands
clasping the arms of the chair with a clutch like steel. He said not a
word. Then he replied:

"Of course, Lawson, we have no need for such methods in our affairs. But
it is a duty we owe investors and ourselves not to conduct this business
in a way that will encourage others to continue doing it along the old
lines."

He frowned at me as much as to say (only he never uses such
expressions), "Oh, but you do make me tired," as he always did when I,
with a serious face, would ask him, as I often did: "How is it, Mr.
Rogers, that young John D. can make such a success of his
Sunday-School-Class Trust, and at the same time of his father's oil and
investment business?" In business hours Mr. Rogers taboos frivolity.

The neophyte in crime, being initiated into the mysteries of the
profession by some able Fagin, gets his instruction by degrees. Great
care is taken that he shall not realize too soon the depravity he is to
practise, lest, appalled by the hideousness of it, he might jump the
track, and along with each advance in knowledge goes a picture
representing the ease of the life and the lordly rewards and pleasant
adventures of the "industry." From the remote perspective of to-day very
similar seems to have been the process in this most momentous
conversation between Mr. Rogers and myself. The apprentice at the knees
of the master was being gently and gradually admitted into the secrets
of the calling--financial highwaymanry. At the moment, however, it
never entered my thoughts to imagine myself other than a favorite
lieutenant gathering the garnered wisdom of a great general of commerce.

So when Mr. Rogers shifted bobbins in his shuttle and agreeably and
naturally wove fancy patterns into the woof of our conversation, I
suspected no sinister motive. Indeed, in reply to his kindly queries, I
was delighted to tell him how well I was getting along with Butte,
Montana, and the other stocks that I had been dealing in, and how deeply
interested all the country was in our plans. We must have been fully
half an hour discussing the degree to which the craze for "Coppers" had
spread over all America and had affected even Europe, and it was
pleasant to realize his interest in my own personal well-being. Then,
suddenly, as the thread on a bobbin runs out, he paused and shifted to
the old subject--just as if a new phase of it had occurred to him.

"To come back, Lawson, to Lewisohn Brothers. We must buy that concern,
and at once. Had you best do it or we?"

Our pleasant talk had restored my mind to its normal alertness, and I
grasped at once the significance of the switch.

"I don't think I could begin to do as well as you on a trade of that
kind, Mr. Rogers," I answered, off the reel, "for I don't suppose they
will be anxious to sell, will they?"

"Anxious?" he replied, as quick as a chipmunk; "about as anxious as
Apollo to have one of his front teeth pulled! But they will sell, and at
my price, too. I think I know just where they stand, and when they know
I know it, I don't believe they will be long in seeing it my way, for I
shall show them what coming in with us means, and just what refusing my
offer means, too!"

Click! His jaws came together.

"These are my plans," he continued. "They have all the money they want,
and such a large European and American following that nothing could be
accomplished by a financial squeeze, even if we resorted to that form of
pressure; and they are very bright men. Leonard Lewisohn, head of the
firm, is second to no man in America as a business man, which means he
will not hanker for a fight with us; and when I show him we will buy, if
necessary, the control of all the companies they represent, he will see
the absolute futility of opposing us. I have it right from the inside of
his own concern that Lewisohn Brothers have on hand a little over five
millions cash and its equivalent, and that they consider the good-will
and business of the firm worth ten to twelve millions more, which is
fair enough, for their direct earnings must be a million and a quarter
to a million and a half a year. Now here is what I propose offering
them, and no more: We will incorporate the firm into a new selling
company, which will have irrevocable contracts not only with our
consolidated companies but with everything that we can influence, and
the capital will be just the cash on hand, say five millions, we to take
fifty-one per cent. of the stock and give them forty-nine. I will
undertake to show them that their forty-nine will be more valuable under
those conditions than the whole is now."

This is where I sat up amazed. "But, Mr.--," I gasped.

I remember reading somewhere that New York's infamous Boss Tweed, at the
zenith of his extraordinary corrupt career, actually began negotiations
with a syndicate composed of his friends to sell them the New York City
Hall on a long-time note. When some curious heelers asked where the city
fathers should conduct the affairs of the metropolis, he beamed on them
in a paternal way as he explained: "Oh, a detail of the sale will be a
hundred years' lease back to the city at a rental which will give us
enough each five years to pay the purchase price."

Absurd, you say. Not so far-fetched as you may think, if you will
remember the conditions under which the National City--the "Standard
Oil" Bank--acquired New York's old Custom House on Wall Street. They
bought it from the United States Government, credited the purchase price
to Uncle Sam on their books, then rented it for a good round price to
the Government, whose new Custom House was not ready for occupancy, and
because it remained in Uncle Sam's possession, evaded municipal taxation
on the investment. They got the property absolutely without paying a
cent, and have ever since collected a splendid interest on the million
they did not invest.

But this deal which Mr. Rogers outlined to me seemed to go both of these
transactions a point or two better, inasmuch as neither of the parties
were corrupt city or government officials, but merely private citizens
in a country where all are free and equal, and where the Constitution
guarantees that no man's property shall be taken from him without due
process of law.

Before I could get my breath, Mr. Rogers, as if he divined my thought,
quietly said:

"One of the inducements I offer will be to allow them to reinvest the
money we pay them in the new consolidated company's stock, at a good big
advance over what it will cost us."

This was too much. I roared and roared, and even he had to laugh as he
quietly remarked: "I said you would find we had done better for you than
you could do for yourself, Lawson, for you must remember you are in on
this at actual cost."

I stopped laughing. "How is that? I thought you intended the new copper
company to have the fifty-one per cent. of the selling company?"

He looked at me with something akin to disgust. Then his voice changed,
and he let me have it straight from the shoulder:

"Lawson, do you really intend that this whole copper business shall be a
charitable affair? If you do, just count us out right here. We are
willing to accede to a lot of your ideas, but there is a line we must
refuse to cross even to please you. This fifty-one per cent. of the
selling company is to be owned by all of our friends, and it is one of
the things we must use as a sop to Daly, Stillman, Morgan, and the rest,
to make them enthusiastic on our main scheme, and it will not come under
our general arrangements of seventy-five and twenty-five per cent. It is
one of the things I want you to leave entirely to Mr. Rockefeller and
myself, and you can depend upon it we will do the right thing. All the
stock is to be pooled in our hands for a long term of years, so you can
say to the public that its operations will be in favor of the
consolidated company."

There you will note was the second explosive point in our conversation.
I was too much concerned at the moment to take in all his words implied
or to appreciate the fine dexterity with which a difficult situation was
being handled. These decisive sentences were cracked off quick, sharp,
emphatic, like the snapping of a bunch of firecrackers. I began a "But,
Mr. Rogers," when he interrupted, and his words came stern, aggressive:

"Is it satisfactory to you or not? I am half beginning to think you are
crowding this good thing we have in copper a bit too much. I simply ask
now, Is this satisfactory to you? Do you leave it to us, or not? But
whether you do or not, this particular part does not go to the public in
any way."

He really showed a heap of irritation, and even now I think a little of
it was genuine anger. It came over me that perhaps I _was_ overcrowding
it and treating the whole copper enterprise too much as if it were my
personal property; for here was something I had had nothing to do with,
the setting out, pruning, and gathering the fruit from, this particular
plum-tree, and so I answered without any hesitation:

"It is you, I think, Mr. Rogers, who are a little unreasonable in not
giving me a chance to tell you how I look at it. Yes, it is perfectly
satisfactory. I will leave it entirely to you and Mr. Rockefeller.
Whatever you do will be all right."

At once Mr. Rogers' expression changed. He looked relieved, making no
attempt to disguise the fact that he had discharged a troublesome duty.
"That is the way to look at it, Lawson," he said. "You'll not suffer, I
promise you."

Meditating over the conversation afterward, I realized how delicate his
task really had been, and how well he had performed it. It had been to
settle this matter and to rearrange our copper plans that he had
summoned me to New York, and if I had proved refractory I can see he
would have been badly snagged in his negotiations with the Lewisohns. If
there had been a trace of dissension in our camp, that firm would never
have surrendered their great business on such terms as Rogers proposed
to exact.

This is as good a place as elsewhere to tell exactly how fair and just
Mr. Rogers proved himself in the cutting of this particular melon, and
to explain why he had been at such pains to have me leave it entirely to
his and Mr. Rockefeller's generosity. The fifty-one per cent. of the
sales company amounted in hundred-dollar shares to 26,000 ($2,600,000).
If I had insisted upon the arrangement then in force my share would have
been 6,500 shares ($650,000), which to-day are worth a fabulous figure.
For some time after this I heard nothing about the matter and was in
complete ignorance of what my portion was until one day Mr. Rogers said
in an offhand way: "By the way, Lawson, you can send me a check for your
allotment of the selling company's stock, 250 shares." Before I got a
chance to interpose a word he said: "We had to divide that up among a
great many, or there would have been a good deal of hard feeling, but,
after all, it's only a side-show and does not amount to anything when
you consider our real plans."

At this moment, carefully chosen for that very reason, our affairs were
swimming along so magnificently and my own profits were so great, that I
had not the heart to make any serious objection. I let the matter go
with an inward resolution that at the first convenient moment I would
slip out of the selling company. Sure enough, shortly afterward Mr.
Rogers said to me:

"Lawson, I do wish we could get in that selling company's stock from the
different holders." He did not actually say he was buying it in for the
Amalgamated Copper Company, but he desired that I infer it. I snapped
him up:

"All right. You can have mine, Mr. Rogers," I said.

"At what price?" And I think he thought that he would be compelled to do
some trading.

"Oh, about cost and interest," said I; and the thing was done. I
afterward learned that he had treated every one in much the same way,
and that he and Mr. William Rockefeller practically had it all. They
have it to-day, just as they and John D. Rockefeller, and possibly one
or two others in "Standard Oil," have appropriated all the inner
companies of "Standard Oil" where the real melons are cut--the secret
rebates and all the other under-the-rose profits--while they are so
industrious in their unloading of the stock of the main company,
Standard Oil, that the last annual report showed that the list of
outside stockholders numbers 4,100, this too at a time when 26 Broadway
sits up nights to disseminate the impression that the Rockefellers and
Rogers own it all.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE BITERS BIT


To see and judge actions aright one must have them in perspective. As
the Celt remarked, "You can get the best view of your life after you're
dead." Looking back on the performances of this period, I myself am
amazed at their monstrous audacity. Remote from common experience, their
extravagance suggests unreality. Here were the master of the greatest
business the world has ever known, and I, a mere captain of his forces,
without even a by-your-leave, calmly carving up a big commercial
enterprise, the property of other men who had spent the days of their
lives in creating it; and these men whose institution was thus being
ravished were not children, idiots, or aged dolts, but able merchants
renowned the world over for their shrewdness and success. The one phase
of the contemplated operation which occurred to neither of us as worth
discussing was the possibility of not securing the property. This
transaction demonstrates the despotism of the "System," the extent of
its rapacity, and its arrogant disregard of all laws and rights, human
or divine, in the enforcement of its exactions. And it was but one of a
hundred similar transactions.

Before Mr. Rogers and myself parted, I had definite instructions: First,
to begin to teach the public to look for new things in the first
section; second, to overcome the objections of the holders of Butte &
Boston and Boston & Montana, and other Boston stocks to being in the
second section of the consolidation; third, to purchase the majority of
the Parrott Company's stock; fourth, to see that the public kept away
from Anaconda in the market for the time being.

While the minor details of these plans were being mapped out, I had let
my mind run over the market situation of Anaconda stock, and had arrived
at certain conclusions which I determined to test forthwith. So I said:

"Some one, Mr. Rogers, must have bought lots of Anaconda while you have
been working this plan out--I mean lots outside of that which is going
into the new company--and I should like to know if I'm in on any part of
what may have been gathered in?"

His eyes focused me with a cold stare which told me even before he spoke
that I had better have kept my suspicions to myself.

"I have heard of no one putting you in on any Anaconda," he said
sarcastically. "You have not given any one any orders, have you, nor
sent any one your check to pay for any, have you?"

I was nettled at his tone. "That is all I wanted to know," I answered.
"Of course, Anaconda will have a still bigger rise, and if we have all
we care to buy for the new company, no one will object to my telling the
public what a good thing it is and putting them aboard now."

I was on perilous ground. He gave me an ugly glare which I knew meant
real danger as he slowly said: "I think, Lawson, you have done all that
is necessary for you to do for the public in letting them in on the
things you already have, and for some time any one who interferes with
the market on Anaconda stock, which I consider fairly belongs to Mr.
Rockefeller and myself, will not find his investment a profitable one."

"Well and good, Mr. Rogers," I answered. "If you consider the market
yours, I will not interfere, but I wanted to know just how it stood."

"You know now, and I shall expect you not only to keep out of it, but to
see that it is handled in such a manner that all others stay out--all
others except sellers," which meant that not only was no one to get any
of the benefits on this stock, but that innocent holders were to be
enticed into selling, that "Standard Oil" might buy before the real rise
came.

As I write these sentences I marvel at my patience, and my blood
tingles with the thought of how, if the opportunity were again mine, I
should reply to such an imperious mandate. If men said and did at the
crucial moment all the wise, strong things that occur to them afterward,
this would be a different world. The brave and scornful words I should
have uttered I choked back, and, as countless others had done before me,
I bowed my head and--submitted. Conscience and honesty slunk sadly into
the background as I flaunted off on the arms of policy and discretion,
pirouetting to the jingling music of golden shekels.

Great fortunes are seldom achieved without sacrifice of morals--or at
least of pride--and ambition makes meaner cowards of us than conscience.
Then and there I might have made a martyr of myself by threatening an
exposure of the whole bad scheme and defying "Standard Oil" to do its
worst; but martyrs seldom give themselves to the flames, and looking
back dispassionately from the vantage-ground of the present, I doubt
seriously if by denouncing the conspiracy I should have done more than
discredit myself.

The interview ended, I returned to Boston and at once began the
execution of the new plans, the remoulding of the public and the
purchase of the Parrott mine.

Parrott was an active mine earning a large revenue and with something
over 200,000 shares of capital stock. For the purpose of Mr. Rogers'
plan its inclusion was essential, for it was well known and helped cover
up the inflation in his consolidation.

Possession of 100,000 shares would give control, and the public would
imagine when the announcement of its purchase was made that this meant
ownership of most of the entire capital stock. Indeed, it afterward
developed that this was one of the conditions Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller relied on to deceive investors, for it was a natural
assumption that nearly all of Anaconda and Parrott were included in the
consolidation, and in estimating the value of the properties the public
would multiply the market prices of their shares by the total capital
stock and assume the result represented the assets of the amalgamation.
For instance, the valuation of 1,200,000 shares of Anaconda at $70, and
200,000 shares of Parrott at $68--the prices at the time Amalgamated was
floated--would represent respectively $84,000,000 and $13,600,000;
whereas the company owned only 602,000 shares of Anaconda and a few
shares over 100,000 of Parrott, selling for in all about $48,600,000.

The control of Parrott was in the hands of certain wealthy Connecticut
brass manufacturers, and, just previous to my receiving orders from Mr.
Rogers to acquire the property, they were so anxious to sell this mine
that they had given my brokers, Brown, Riley & Co., of Boston, an option
on a majority of their shares at $10 per share, agreeing to pay a large
commission should a good customer be secured. Before I could clinch at
this figure they took advantage of the excitement in "Coppers" to bid up
the stock, so that when I began operations Parrott was in the market at
$15, and I offered $20 for the majority of the shares. An intimation of
our purpose must have leaked, for other shrewd owners, also Connecticut
men, bid the price up still higher until I was forced to raise my limit
to $30 per share--quite an advance on $10. On that figure we all agreed
and the papers were prepared, but at the last moment a young man "butted
in"--I think he was the son-in-law of one of the owners, who turned up
with an option, and declared he could get $40 per share for the
property. We were trapped, for the alternative presented was to forego
the purchase or pay the price demanded. There was a conference, at which
I denounced the "hold-up" in strenuous terms; but the son-in-law proved
equal to the emergency and stood by his guns, though some of the old
gentlemen declared his exaction was unwarrantable. In the discussion
there developed a queer fact--the son-in-law told us that the property
was a good deal richer than any one thought: he had discovered that a
certain section of rich ore in which there were several millions of
dollars had been walled up by some designing person for his own purpose
and the mine was easily worth $40 per share. I had heard stories of this
kind before and frankly professed incredulity. The son-in-law agreed to
reveal the ore to any one we might send to the mine, and so one of our
most trusted engineers was despatched with him to Butte on the
agreement that if he were convinced that the walled-up values were all
that had been indicated, we should pay $40. If not, $30 would be the
price. The twain started at once; our expert was convinced, and we paid
four millions instead of one, two, or three. Strange to say, the
subsequent operations of the mine have never revealed the walled-up
values; instead, there has been developed a queer lot of litigation, the
tendency of which suggests strange uses of that extra million. Anyway,
the trade was made, and the gentleman of the Nutmeg State went home
chuckling at the thought that though there was a "Standard Oil," there
were others.

"Standard Oil" never forgets. Sometimes it may get left at the post, but
always it catches up in the running--so as to be in the lead at the
tape. When I reported the conclusion of this Parrott deal to Mr. Rogers,
he said:

"Lawson, all's fair in a trade"; but I shall never forget the expression
his face wore as he went on. "Just give me the name, Lawson, again, of
that particular individual in this particular trade, that I may remember
him hereafter." He spoke in a low, intense tone, and each word was
separated from the preceding one by a dwelling stop. I gave him the name
and the identification marks to go with it, and felt satisfied that even
if the Nutmeg financier lived to be a thousand and Henry H. Rogers kept
him company, there would surely come an evening-up which would be the
worse for the erstwhile victor. Sure enough it came soon afterward, for
the able Connecticut man, embarrassed at possessing so much uninvested
money, came to us to ask advice about reinvesting it. The "Standard Oil"
magnate was most sympathetic and generous, and pointed out the obvious
advantages offered by the great new company Amalgamated, which would be
out in a few days at $100 per share, and doubtless would sell soon
afterward for $150 per share. The Nutmegite nibbled and then swallowed
bait and hook whole, for when the subscription was announced his agents'
names were found opposite a large block. Later on he applied to us for
consolation and advice, for the stock he had bought at $100 and $124 was
then selling at $33. We figured out for him that after all he had little
to complain of; "for you see," we explained, "fair exchange is no
robbery, and you have had just a fair exchange. You sold us your
property inflated four times, and we sold it back to you under another
name at about the same percentage."

Before the fireworks began, Anaconda sold in the market at $25 per
share, and Parrott, as I have shown, at $10, and in addition to the
enormous profits which Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller made in the
Amalgamated Company proper, they cleared some $15,000,000 to $20,000,000
on their outside purchases of Anaconda, and some $25,000,000 to
$30,000,000 more later by selling it short (as I shall show hereafter),
at the tremendously high prices which were obtained by leading the
public as well as myself to believe that they intended to purchase the
entire stocks of both companies for the Amalgamated--that is, it was
given out that the sections which were to come after were to have these
minority holdings included in them. They sold Anaconda short in enormous
quantities between $50 and $70, and Parrott between $50 and $68;
afterward they bought them at $14 and $16 respectively, and no one knows
how many millions these gentlemen are taking in now, for both stocks are
again on the return trip, selling at the present writing at $32 and $30
respectively.



CHAPTER XIX

THE DESPOILING OF LEONARD LEWISOHN


A few days later there came another summons from New York. Realizing
that matters of importance were in the balance, I hurried over. Nothing
could surpass the cordiality of Mr. Rogers' greeting as I entered his
office.

"Lawson," he said, "we own Lewisohn Brothers."

"You certainly lost no time," I replied. "Is it actually fixed up
already?"

"Yes," he said, settling back in his chair. "It was about as I outlined
to you the other day. We had a very pleasant sit-down--Leonard Lewisohn
and I--and I frankly told him what I wanted, explained our plans, and
gave him twenty-four hours to think things over. Next day he was in and
we went at it again. He began by talking $15,000,000, and it did come
hard to bring it down to a little less than the actual cash and copper
on hand; but when he saw I intended to have things my way or not at all,
he meekly surrendered, and the United Metals Selling Company ($5,000,000
capital stock) is now a reality. And, Lawson, if I ever had to do with a
better scheme I certainly cannot recall it."

"Did not Lewisohn put up any sort of a fight?" I persisted, surprised
that so able and forceful a man should succumb so easily. "Didn't you
have any words about the matter?"

"Not any but pleasant ones," replied Mr. Rogers, "although Lewisohn did,
in an almost pathetic way, gasp when I emphasized that my only terms
were $5,000,000, fifty-one per cent. to us and forty-nine per cent. to
his people. He told me how he and his brothers had struggled up to
success. They began in a small way as feather merchants, you may
remember, and from one thing to another they progressed until the firm
is known to-day as one of the greatest copper houses and the greatest
coffee house in the world. He explained how he had brought up his three
sons and his daughter's husband in the firm until they had become great
merchants, too; and his ambition was that their sons and grandchildren
should succeed to the institution, enlarging and strengthening it until
the house of Lewisohn was as famous as the house of Rothschild--with
which, by the way, he is closely connected. I tell you, Lawson, I felt a
bit mean when, after he had told me how he had always kept his name's
credit as good as any other man's bond, he asked me almost with tears in
his eyes to let the name of the new company be Lewisohn Brothers.
Indeed, he made a strong argument on the great value of the name to the
copper business; but it did not take me long to show him the evils that
grow out of letting men's personalities get into the public's mind. I
battered down his objections by showing him the wisdom of Mr.
Rockefeller's attitude in this connection. Always, from the first, he
has taken the stand: 'The business first, the man second': with the
result that there has never been jealousy or dissension in Standard
Oil."

"Too bad," I interrupted.

"Yes," Mr. Rogers went on; "I wished I might have done this for him, for
he is a splendid fellow; but it would not do, for after the newness wore
off he, or more probably his sons, would surely imagine that they, and
not we, were the real heads of the business."

As I have explained, Henry H. Rogers, when not working the handle or
hopper end of the "System's" grinder, is a warm-hearted and generous
man. And now, resting from his labors, he was the genial and kindly
gentleman whom his social acquaintances admire so sincerely. I believe
he felt almost as badly as I did over the sad picture he had drawn of
the proud old merchant yielding up his children's birthright. I felt
grieved to the depths of my soul at Leonard Lewisohn's predicament, for
I knew, as did all men connected with Wall Street or Copper, what a
stalwart he was. He had the heart of an ox and the pluck of a lion, and
his white-man squareness and sense of justice belonged to other periods
than that of frenzied finance. No man or woman in distress ever left his
house or office without relief, and he gave as generously of his time
and advice as of his money. Amid the jagged rocks and treacherous cross
currents of Wall Street Leonard Lewisohn stood as a beacon lighting the
way to better things, and men pointed at him and said, "There is still
hope." Amalgamated may not have broken this man's heart as it did
others, but I can imagine the bitterness and distress it caused him,
whose proud boast it was that he had never gone back on his word. One of
the promoters of the company, his name stood, in the minds of many
investors, especially European, for a guarantee of fair play and square
dealing. Yet the course of Amalgamated was one continuous going back on
words. He had never allowed an associate of his to lose through his
ventures, but in Amalgamated there was nothing but loss, and loss by
trick and fraud. After the flotation, with its harvest of disgrace and
scandal, Leonard Lewisohn became a changed man. His old-time happy smile
was seldom seen, and it is said that before he died he summoned his sons
to him and instructed them to destroy the notes and obligations of all
his poor debtors and to return to them their collateral, of which there
was a safe full. This man employed no press agent, and so his golden
deeds were never reported in the papers, nor did he found a college to
perpetuate his name; but he left a million of his estate to found a
great home for the Jewish poor, for he loved and was proud of his race.

I have given you a portrait of this man; let me, by way of contrast,
present another picture, which will help toward an appreciation of how
the votaries of the "System" respond to generosity and chivalrous
self-abnegation. Before Leonard Lewisohn died he organized a tremendous
deal in coffee, and Rogers, Rockefeller, and all the other "Standard
Oil" men were in. A fund of $5,000,000 was subscribed, to which all
contributed in due proportion, and an immense amount of coffee was
bought against a prospective scarcity. The condition Mr. Lewisohn
anticipated did not immediately develop, and instead of rising, coffee
dropped down and down until the $5,000,000 and more were all used up.
Another man would have called on his associates for additional margin,
or, at least, closed up the deal. Not so Leonard Lewisohn. Though some
of the other members of the combination were many times richer than he,
he shouldered the burden alone, saying: "It's my scheme, and I'll carry
it if it breaks me, or until my judgment is proven sound." Still coffee
declined until he had sunk $12,000,000, but never a whimper and not a
word of complaint to his partners. Things were near the worst when he
died, but he had instructed his heirs not to wind the deal up until
every cent of his associates' liability was wiped out.

There came a time not long ago when Leonard Lewisohn's foresight was
vindicated, and an advance in the price of the commodity relieved the
"Standard Oil" coterie of their responsibility. The sons of the old man
then desired to dispose of the great holdings of coffee, and so close
the deal and secure the locked-up millions for the estate. They went to
the various members of the syndicate and asked them to sign a release
simply agreeing to relieve the estate of liability for presumptive
profits growing out of further advances in coffee after they had sold
out. It was a very ordinary legal precaution, and no great favor to the
Lewisohns under the circumstances. The members of the syndicate signed
the release in due course, until the document finally came to Henry H.
Rogers, and this is the contrasting picture:

"Coffee is going up, I think," said the "Standard Oil" magnate, "and now
that the Lewisohns have extricated themselves from a bad hole, they may
as well carry the stuff until I get some profit out of it. Neither Mr.
Rockefeller nor I will sign that document."



CHAPTER XX

THE CHRISTENING OF AMALGAMATED


My readers may recall the wave of indignation which swept over this
country when the news came of the kidnapping of Miss Stone, the American
missionary, by the bandits of Bulgaria, and how hot we all felt at the
capture of Ion Perdicaris by Raissuli, the Morocco rebel. Only in remote
and barbarous countries, we reflected, could such outrages occur, and we
dwelt with high inward satisfaction on our own splendid American
institutions and law-abiding civilization. If only these miscreants were
on American soil so American justice could lay hands on them--what stern
punishment would be meted out to them! Yet, under the panoply of these
noble institutions and just laws of ours, one citizen of our
commonwealth was enabled to seize from another millions of money and the
ownership of a great enterprise--literally wrench it from the hands of
men who had spent their lives in developing it--and the execution of the
deed involved neither financial nor physical risk and carried with it no
legal nor social consequences. Look on the picture, all ye free
Americans rejoicing in vaunted liberty and the right to the pursuit of
happiness--this able and successful merchant, head of a great business
which it has been his life-work to rear, surrendering the splendid
structure at the mere nod of one man, whose "I want it" is more potent,
more irresistible, than family pride or Government decree. If Leonard
Lewisohn, a millionaire many times over, rich in connections with the
strongest financial houses of Europe, meekly submitted to the behest of
"Standard Oil," what resistance could the average man oppose to such a
power? The logic of the situation is inevitable. Can you free Americans
absorb the details of this most extraordinary performance and not see
the coming storm as clearly as the mariner does when all along the
horizon creep the hosts of Boreas and the barometer drops like lead in a
shot tower?

At last, in April, 1899, the first section of the much-heralded company
was ready to step before the footlights to the plaudits of an awaiting
financial world, and it was really a great moment when Mr. Rogers sent
me word: "Come over, and be prepared to stay until the consolidation is
formed and launched." I was at 26 Broadway next day, and we entered at
once on our council of war. It was a momentous sitting and secret, for,
until the entire programme was mapped out and decided upon, no one was a
party to it or had knowledge of it but Mr. Rogers, his counsel, William
Rockefeller, and myself. After we had finished the final details, Mr.
Rogers said:

"This is a job on which we must not lose time, for if we give any one,
even those who are to be directors, too long to think things over, there
will be counterplots, and a cog may slip or jump and we shall all be
crushed. We must all bear in mind that this thing has rolled up and up
until it is unprecedented in business affairs, and if we slip up in any
of the important details, we shall have a panic on our hands such as
Wall Street has never witnessed."

On all sides for weeks there had been accumulating evidence, which we
could see pointed to a monumental success or an avalanche failure. The
copper market was literally boiling, and investors from one end of
America to the other and throughout Europe were on the _qui vive_ for
the anticipated announcement. At intervals in history great "booms" are
started, which bloom into iridescent bubbles, and for a moment dazzle
the world with fairy dreams of sudden millions. Greatest of all these
was the South Sea Bubble. Since then we have had the tulip craze in
Holland, the Hooley excitement, and the Barney Barnato South African
mining furor in England, the Secretan copper corner, and the tremendous
bonanza delirium in California; but none of these, save the first, is
comparable with the magnitude of the copper maelstrom of 1899. The tulip
craze could have been thrust in and withdrawn again without diverting
one of its currents; the Barney Barnato affair was little more than an
eddy on the surface of English finance in contrast. We were dealing in
hundreds and five hundreds of millions; shares rose and fell twenty to
fifty points in a day; some had mounted to the giddy height of $900
each; thousands of the public had invested their savings in one copper
property or another, and all awaited with bated breath and marvelling
anticipations the launching of this copper monster with its freight of
hopes and visions.

The programme as specifically arranged had several important clauses.
The first involved the notification of James Stillman, President of the
National City, the "Standard Oil" Bank, who was to be let into only as
much of the secret as was necessary to enable him to handle his
important end intelligently. To Leonard Lewisohn it was decided to
intrust the French, English, and German end of the subscription, and he
was at once to receive orders to lay his pipes. I may say here that this
task was admirably executed through his son-in-law, Philip Henry, of the
English branch of Lewisohn Brothers. The other directors of the company
were then and there selected, but it was agreed that they should not be
told of the distinction thrust upon them until the very eve of the
company's formation.

This decision surprised me at the moment it was concluded, for with my
Boston ideas I had regarded the gentlemen we had chosen to preside over
the destinies of our great company--all men of the highest prestige and
standing in American finance--as so powerful and so independent in their
own fields as to be beyond either the coercion or the cajolery of
"Standard Oil." It was because of this reputation for integrity and the
confidence their names would inspire in the public mind that we had
selected them; yet here was Mr. Rogers irreverently using them as the
veriest pawns in his game, and taking absolutely for granted their
immediate consent to the loan of their reputations and honor for any
scheme he might put up. The possibility of one of these eminent
financiers objecting to be used in any way "Standard Oil" might desire
was a contingency evidently so remote as to be unworthy of
consideration.

The legal aspects of the problem were considered, but as we felt sure of
our ground it was agreed to avoid all delays in this direction. As a
matter of form and habit, however, Mr. Rogers said that at the last
moment, when the papers were ready to issue, he would have the wise
lawyers in charge of the legal department of 26 Broadway run over them,
but whether they approved or not, he would allow no technicalities to
hold up the flotation. This was certainly a departure from the
well-ordered rule of "Standard Oil," but the urgency of the situation
seemed to require it.

After our council adjourned, not a moment was lost. The organization was
quickly shaped up and got ready, and the time was ripe to broach to Mr.
Stillman the part that he and the funds deposited in the National City
Bank were to play in the forthcoming engagement. This was a crucial
point, and I saw that Mr. Rogers approached the task with no gusto.
Before he went off that night he spoke about the interview which was to
occur after dinner, and he said:

"I don't mind giving Fewer or Olcott or even Morgan but a minute's
notice, for every one of them will do about what I ask him to, but I
shall feel better when I get through with Stillman."

"But Mr. Stillman would never dare to refuse what you and Mr. William
Rockefeller asked, any more than he would the request of John D., would
he?" I asked.

"I don't know about that," Mr. Rogers replied. "Stillman has been
growing fast of late, and it is not nearly so easy to get him to consent
to run deals blindly as it was formerly. Of course, if he were in on the
bottom floor with us, it would be different. All I fear is, he may ask
questions, and if he does, it will not do for me to refuse an answer.
And too many answers may be dangerous to our plans."

"Why not take him in with us--you, Mr. Rockefeller, and myself?" I
suggested. "The profits will stand it, and as far as my share goes I am
willing."

"Not by a jugful, Lawson," said Mr. Rogers emphatically. "Stillman will
only get what fairly belongs to him. He has had none of the risk or
work, and we do not need him in any way except through the bank, and the
bank is 'Standard Oil's,' not his. He is lucky to get what I am going to
give him."

It is interesting to note in passing the authoritative manner in which
26 Broadway speaks of the so-called institutions of the people that it
controls--the banks, trust companies, and insurance companies, having
deposits of hundreds of millions of the public's money. Familiarly they
are alluded to as "_our_ bank" or "_our_ insurance company," as the case
may be. We are all apt to feel we own the things we use, and that Mr.
Rogers should speak of the millions of the National City Bank as "our
funds" is not surprising when he possesses the power and the privileges
of doing with them as he pleases. I was too fascinated at that time by
the ready magic of "Standard Oil" to observe all the anomalous
conditions my relation with it revealed. Such things all seemed a
natural attribute of the despotic and all-powerful institution that I
served.

I was vastly relieved when Mr. Rogers reported, the following morning,
that at the dinner with Stillman everything had slipped through very
smoothly. Not only would the National City Bank take charge of the
subscription, but through the institution Mr. Stillman would furnish the
millions necessary to form the company. This meant supplying the
paraphernalia in loans, checks, and cash necessary to pay in the
seventy-five millions capital, thirty-nine millions of which must at
once be "book-keepingly" available to pay for the property bought from
Daly, Haggin, and Tevis, and purchased by the company.

"It couldn't have gone through easier, Lawson," Mr. Rogers said quietly,
"for the fact is, Stillman seems to have got the copper fever as badly
as any one else and is as anxious to take a hand as we are to have him.
It will be plain sailing now unless we strike some snag with Sterling or
Elliott"--referring to the principal "Standard Oil" lawyers.

By this time such substantial progress had been made with the plans that
they were formulated on paper and the time had come when it seemed
advisable to try them on the "Standard Oil" law-department. We arranged
that night that next morning Mr. Rogers should himself go over the
matter with Mr. Sterling. I was waiting in his office when he returned
from this consultation, and the expression of his face as he entered
indicated plainly that a real snag had been struck. His jaw and the
droop of the upper corners of his eyelids gave a curiously sinister
aspect to his face.

"Well," said he, "Sterling says if we carry out that plan there may be
h--l to pay some day."

"Wherein does he say it is wrong?" I asked, not over-surprised.

"Everywhere. He says if there is any slip-up in the future Mr.
Rockefeller and myself may have to pay back a lot of money."

"Well, what are you going to do?" I said.

"Just what we started to do." No lawyer's warnings could hold him back
from the bursting barrels now in sight. He went on:

"I told Sterling to forget I had asked him to pass on the matter, and
that I would have my own counsel take the responsibility. So we go right
ahead, and nothing is to be said to any one, not even to William
Rockefeller. I have always argued that it is fool business to go to a
lawyer with a scheme that depends entirely on how it is carried through
as to whether it is perilous or not. I could have told Sterling there is
apt to be more danger in a deal in which one makes thirty-five to forty
million dollars without turning a hair, than in furnishing staid advice
from an office-chair for a fixed sum per diem."

The concentrated incisiveness of these sentences! Opposition, the mere
suggestion of danger, had stimulated his determination to proceed rather
than enjoined caution. Himself convinced of the expediency of our deal,
no power on earth could make him deviate or face about. Truly a man of
blood and iron, as Bismarck or Moltke was, his erected will is a sword
and a vise. To gain a predetermined goal Henry H. Rogers will go through
hell, fire, and water, swing about and make the return trip, and then
repeat, until death interferes or his object is attained. Such men as
he in other days subjugated kingdoms or made deserts where they
operated; in religion they became St. Pauls or Savonarolas.

It may occur to my readers that in depicting Henry H. Rogers I use more
whitewash than tar, and that if he is half as determined and relentless
as my characterization of him, he will surely exact a terrible reprisal
for what I have written here. In describing the man I adhere to the
facts, and before I began this crusade I weighed well the consequences.
From the implacable wrath of Henry H. Rogers and his associates, from a
thirst for vengeance which grows more bitter as it is deferred, nothing
can save me, nothing but--myself.

And now events flew. Mr. Rogers took the forenoon to notify Governor
Flower, President Frederic P. Olcott, of the Central Trust Company;
Marcus Daly, and J. P. Morgan, that they, in connection with William
Rockefeller, himself, his counsel, and James Stillman, were to
constitute the directors of the new company.

"There, Lawson," he said, when he returned to 26 Broadway, "that job is
done, and I am glad it's off my hands. It was all pleasant enough but
the Morgan part. I wish it were possible for us to get along without
having his assistance, but it isn't. Leaving him out would create
comment, from which it would be only a short step to Wall Street's
nosing around and manufacturing something uncomfortable, even if they
didn't discover it. I don't like Morgan a bit, and he likes us less. It
won't be long before one or the other of us will be able to do business
without knowing what the other's about, much less consulting him--not
very long."

As the "not very long" shot out from between his lips much as the
tail-end of an up-chimney wind switches itself around the angle of the
fireplace, I felt there was little doubt in his mind who would be left
to do business after the final drag-out and clean-up. At the same time
it did not dissipate a sort of come-and-go confidence I had that the old
terrapin around whom so many of Wall Street's eddies have swirled would
cause the 26-Broadway crowd many a broken knife-blade before crawling or
being pushed into his shell. Turtles are not much good as sprinters,
but they're blue-ribbon winners when it comes to the staying class.

"You didn't meet with any set-back with Morgan, did you?" I asked.

"Oh, no," Mr. Rogers replied; "he simply said it would be best,
everything considered, for us to put in his right-hand man, Robert
Bacon, instead of himself, and I agreed with him; in fact, I think it
much better, as Bacon is a rattling good fellow who takes no interest in
the other fellow's business, even when he does happen to be a director
in the other fellow's company, and he will recognize that this copper
affair is mine, not Morgan's." He stopped abruptly. "Now, Lawson, let us
settle upon what in this case is an important point, the name of the
company." He had asked me the day before to think of a suitable title
for our organization, and I had put in some time with a pad and pencil
experimenting. I had several names ready for him, but after I had run
over them and given my reasons, he said:

"There is nothing more important than to have just the right name for a
company which is going to make history, is there?"

I agreed; in fact, even more than he I was impressed with the
desirability of a suitable name for a corporation whose stock was bound
to become a great market star, and I was not satisfied with any I had
dug up. Give a stock or a book a good name, and it is sure to be
numbered among the best sellers.

Mr. Rogers continued:

"Lawson, we want something as good as 'Standard Oil,' if it is possible
to find it. Now"--and he drew over one of his little writing-pads and
taking a slim gold pencil from his pocket slowly wrote something and
handed it to me--"how do you like this?"

I read "'Amalgamated Copper Company.' Perfect!" I exclaimed.

"I thought you would say so"; and he reached over and wrote underneath
the name, "A second Standard Oil." It was an impressive moment for both
of us. I folded the slip, and putting it in my pocket said: "You will
see this again, Mr. Rogers, when its stock sells for as much as
Standard Oil."

Surely an adder crawled from that tiny golden cylinder and upon the
smooth white paper distilled its subtle venom. I, poor fool, exulting in
the splendid throes of accomplishment, never dreamed that the real
christening of my bantling was the toast the Master of Hell drank as the
name "Amalgamated" was slowly traced upon the pad before my eyes; never
dreamed that this cherished offspring on whose rearing I had lavished
all I possessed of dollars, of ideals, of generous hopes and high
expectations--whose growth I had literally watered with my sweat--was an
imp of darkness. My fool's paradise I had planted with all manner of
fair flowers and lordly trees, and in my folly believed that those who
had been my friends were forever after assured of pleasant places,
lovely perfumes, and grateful shade; but like the Grecian in the ancient
fable, I found I had sown dragon's teeth, and the crop I reaped was of
hatred and envy, passion and revenge.



CHAPTER XXI

FIXING THE RESPONSIBILITY


On the day before Amalgamated's incorporation, Mr. Rogers and I
conferred long and earnestly upon the plan of campaign for the company's
organization. It was very necessary to avoid all errors, and to have
everything cut and dried in advance. We were obliged to railroad things
through, once started, a hitch or a side-track might be fatal, and I
desired to have Mr. Rogers pass upon the programme I had drawn up.
Therein was set down the work of each captain, lieutenant, and
water-carrier who was to take part, and we discussed every detail to a
finish. When he had approved everything up to the point where formation
ended and the flotation began, I said:

"Now comes the most important part of all--the offer to the public; for
a slip-up, the misuse of a single phrase, or even of a word, at this
point might destroy our whole structure."

"Quite true, Lawson," he answered, "but I have no fear of you there. Let
me have your idea."

"First," I replied, "there should be an advertisement of the National
City Bank, and one of the Amalgamated Company, and in this advertisement
the story of the good things we have collected must be told in strong
terms."

I am now about to explain exactly of what the First Crime of Amalgamated
consisted, and it behooves my readers to weigh carefully the details,
for I make the claim here that without further proof they will be able
to realize not only my own position and purpose at this, the crucial,
stage of the Amalgamated enterprise, but to grasp the cold-blooded
villany of the men I am exposing.

At this time I was in a most uncomfortable and uncertain position. Each
day that I did business with Mr. Rogers and his associates increased my
knowledge of their heartless brutality in dollar-making. I knew I was on
dangerous ground; but to retreat meant not only my own destruction but
terrible losses to my friends who had followed me and to the public
which had come in on my advice. So I had made up my mind to go on but to
keep my eyelids pinned back, my tongue anchored, and what gray matter I
possessed oscillating. Remember, I was in no way sure that Mr. Rogers
intended to misuse the public, but I suspected that his coat-sleeves
contained more things than his shirt-cuffs, and that he was playing a
game other than the one he let me see. Up to now Mr. Rogers and William
Rockefeller had kept me between the people and their legal
responsibility by having all public statements made over my signature. I
had half-way concluded that this was done to avoid future accounting,
but there might be other reasons. I determined when it came to the
flotation, which would be the first time they took openly the public's
money, to connect them publicly with my statements. It is next to
impossible for any man to sit in front of Henry H. Rogers and give one
reason for his actions and have another about his person; but this was a
desperate situation and I resolved at any cost to carry my point. How
difficult a task I had undertaken I did not realize until I was well
into it. When I had stated the form I thought Amalgamated's first
announcement should have, Mr. Rogers paused. He repeated:

"The City Bank--that's a question. Now, how do you propose to go about
that advertisement?"

"Simply this way," I replied. "I will draw up a memorandum of the main
strong points about the Amalgamated Company, and you will ask Mr.
Stillman to have some of his people write them into a good, clear
statement. This we will publish as an advertisement over the bank's
signature, and have the Amalgamated Company indorse it, showing that it
is joined with the bank in responsibility for the truth of the
announcement."

Mr. Rogers said nothing, but continued to gaze inquiringly at me. I went
on:

"Or, the Amalgamated Company can be the principal and the bank the
indorser."

"Just what is the bank to say in this statement?" he asked very
seriously.

"The big things about our enterprise that I have been telling the
public. We will put them forward in an old-fashioned, unequivocal
way--that should accomplish what we want," I replied.

He was looking at me in a curiously searching manner as I spoke. He
said:

"Let us have the strongest one or two as an illustration."

"Well, for instance, what I have advertised so often, that this stock is
so good the 'Standard Oil' people who formerly owned the property behind
it would prefer to own all the stock and hold it as a permanent
investment, but that the enterprise is so large their interests will be
better served by letting the public in than going it alone. You and I
know that's true. Also that the company is earning sixteen per cent. and
will always pay eight per cent. or over. Something to that effect."

"Do you suppose, Lawson," said Mr. Rogers, straightening up and speaking
very impatiently, "that the public will swallow any statement of that
kind? Just think it over--William Rockefeller, James Stillman, and
myself, to say nothing of others, openly spending our money for
advertisements to induce Tom, Dick, and Harry to buy stock at par which
we know is earning sixteen per cent. and will always pay eight!"

"Why not?" I responded. "I have practically stated the same thing scores
of times as your agent, until, so far as the public is concerned, my
telling it is the same as though 'Standard Oil' had said it."

"Well and good," Mr. Rogers went on dryly. "But, Lawson, you know
there's a heap of real difference between your telling it and our
putting it over our signature."

I well knew the difference, but I had my point to make; so I said:

"All right. Let the City Bank and Mr. Stillman put it their own way."

"Lawson, that's foolish," Mr. Rogers returned. "They must not be allowed
to have anything to do with it save to O. K. what we are to advertise
over their signature. Stillman would never agree to our using the City
Bank to hawk any stock but a gilt-edged one."

"Isn't this a gilt-edged one?"

Mr. Rogers glared at me.

"Why waste time and words over a matter that you know as well as I must
be handled very, very gingerly? It is not because it is not gilt-edged,
but because of the peculiar situation of it. The public thinks this
stock which is to be offered to it belongs to the Amalgamated Company,
and that the City Bank is selling it for the Amalgamated treasury just
as in any of the ordinary first-class issues they offer for
subscription; whereas we know that the stock belongs to us and the bank
is selling it for our profit. If the public suspected that this stock
was ours, and that we were not going to subscribe on the same basis as
themselves, it would demand to know what we paid for it, and if we
didn't tell, it would be figured out as a clear case of false
representation. Where would that leave us? Mr. Rockefeller, myself, the
bank, and Stillman would be held for every cent of the capital forever.
We cannot put our heads into any such halter."

"I cannot see why not," I expostulated. "You and I know there is no more
chance of loss than if we were dealing in the City Bank's own stock,
because of the way we are handling the deal, selling only $5,000,000 to
the public, and standing behind every dollar of that, all possible risk
is eliminated."

"Call all that true," angrily replied Mr. Rogers, "and you don't alter
the fact that such a scheme as you map out _is impossible_. You must get
to work and figure out some plan which is practical."

"I knew that we should find this a difficult matter to get right," I
said. "Now, what is your idea of how it should be gone about?"

This time the burden of explanation was fairly upon Mr. Rogers, and I
waited his answer expectantly. He replied, in much milder tones:

"There is no real difference between us, Lawson, except that you don't
seem to realize the actual position we are in. We are going to do what
is fair and right in this enterprise--indeed, there is no necessity for
anything else--but we must not put the bank or ourselves in such a place
that either or both of us can be held legally responsible for anything
that happens in connection with this company. You must keep in mind
Sterling's words, that the thing is risky enough anyway, and that even
under the best circumstances and conditions we may find ourselves in a
hole. Exactly how to do it I have not figured out, but the City Bank
must appear as offering the subscriptions, and the Amalgamated Company
as owning the stock, and simultaneously some one else must tell all
about the advantages. Unless this latter is very fully done, the public
will not only refuse to subscribe, but will get suspicious, and there
might be a big scandal. It seems to me as though this part of the job is
yours to do, and to do just right."

So far in our argument we were even. We eyed each other as fighters do
in a ring--looking for an opening. Both sparred for an idea. Mr. Rogers'
reluctance to shoulder any legal responsibility deepened my suspicions,
and inwardly I sweated blood at the thought of the deviltry that might
be piled up around the affair. However, there was nothing for it but to
square away and keep sparring, for if I lost my temper and exploded, it
meant that I should be ground up or disappear in the hopper, and then,
good-by to independence. It was the first time I had ever sat in a
finish game with the master of "Standard Oil," and I trembled at the
possible outcome. Yet this duel--for it was as clearly a fight for life
on my side as though we both were armed with deadly weapons--was but one
of a thousand similar encounters the Rogerses and Rockefellers had had
with other adversaries as fearless and as honest as I, and out of these
heart-breaking and soul-crushing sit-downs they had always emerged
survivors, while behind the "Standard Oil" juggernaut, defeated and
submissive, trudged the men who had dared oppose them. Should the fate
of these others be also mine? Across my mind flitted "not while my brain
retains its fly-wheels and my hands their power"; and I found myself
wondering if there were not some stage at which a man cornered by
arbitrary conditions and legal observances was justified in bursting all
such trammels and meeting artifice with physical violence. Murder is a
crime against society and against nature, and we must all observe the
canons of God and the regulations of the law; but at least a dozen times
in my wrestles with the exasperating, grinding, hell-generating machine,
it was only my inborn reverence for God's law and man's that prevented
me from--well, shall I say, strangling the fox?

All this, however, was between me and my mind. I showed not a vestige of
it on the surface, but went on with much earnestness:

"Mr. Rogers, I think I understand the situation perfectly, but let us
see if I do. We have reached a point where we are out in the open, and
the whole world is in position to pass judgment on us and our venture.
There must be between us unanimity of purpose, for the time is past when
I can say one thing, you another, and Stillman and his bank confuse all
concerned by agreeing with one story and denying the second. It is
essential that we all pull together, yet conditions are such--and no
one's to blame for them, for they have so developed--that we cannot have
a general pow-wow to organize a programme. We, you and I, must formulate
a plan which can be sent out to the public with the approval of all
concerned, all the parties to it being sure they understand absolutely
its meaning, while in reality it means something different to each of
them. Isn't that about it?"

"You have covered the situation fully, Lawson," approved Mr. Rogers.
"You must understand that this tie-up is due to our having departed from
our usual way of doing business. 'Standard Oil' never goes to the public
direct for money, but works up its projects through some of our"--he
almost said "dummies," but caught himself--"our lieutenants. You have
worked up this affair in our name instead of your own, as would have
been the safer way."

I thought to myself, "You cannot, whatever you do, evade responsibility
for the millions you are to take this time"; but I went on smoothly:

"This, then, is how I see our procedure: We will write out an
advertisement for the City Bank. You will have Mr. Stillman pass it for
the bank, by authorizing me to publish it. You will then authorize me to
publish a second advertisement on behalf of the Amalgamated Company. If
there is any slip-up, I, as the agent of both, will have to become
responsible instead of you. Is that right?"

He nodded. I went on:

"Besides these, there must be a third advertisement, in which some one
will tell the strong facts about Amalgamated, and it will be so worded
as to bring the public with its money into the City Bank just the same
as though it were signed by the bank, Stillman, the Amalgamated Company,
and you and Mr. Rockefeller. What's the use of beating round the bush
any longer? The one to sign that story and stand behind it is myself,
because, owing to conditions, no one else will."

I had said it. Mr. Rogers' eyes snapped just once. Only on two other
occasions in all my long and intimate acquaintance with this wonderful
man have I seen him lose his self-control. To anger he will give way
frankly if the occasion justifies it or he desires to intimidate or
impress an individual; but his face, mobile though it is, presents a
calm and impassive mask. I caught the snap, and I think he caught me
catching it. It meant much to me--more even than if he had said in so
many words "I've got him." In such encounters one cannot see into one's
adversary's mind nor know what he is trying to do, and any indication is
like the sight of a buoy in a fog to a mariner. I gathered that the snap
indicated relief at my compliance, and that he had been afraid I might
balk. That showed me that consent on my part was important--which meant
that he saw no possible way of carrying the enterprise to the end we had
mapped out unless I stepped into the gap. Then I knew that he would have
to agree to my terms, provided they were not too harsh and that I did
not too vehemently insist upon them. It is a cardinal principle of
"Standard Oil" never to do anything they decide they won't do, and that
which they decide they won't do is what any man on earth says they must
do. You may lead "Standard Oil," but you cannot drive it. If at that
critical moment I had foreseen all that subsequently occurred, or
realized that this copper affair, which was to me a matter of life and
death, was to Henry H. Rogers only another device to extort dollars from
the public, I should then and there have thrown down the gauntlet and
demanded that "Standard Oil" step out into the open and assume all legal
responsibility, or have exposed the whole scheme. But my suspicions were
suspicions only, and I could not be sure that Mr. Rogers was doing other
than discretion warranted, when he desired to have things done in such a
way as to allow me to continue to conjure with the magic name "Standard
Oil." In other words, wasn't he doing exactly what I myself was engaged
upon? I was planning to have him consent to things he was otherwise
unwilling to allow, and he, in his turn, was scheming to have the bank
and his "Standard Oil" associates pass over things they would be sure to
question if presented less adroitly, or if they came from some other
quarter. Yet all I was trying to accomplish was honest and best for all.
Why might not his intentions be as fair as mine? However, the eye-snap
determined me to steer nearer the wind.

"Well and good, Mr. Rogers," I went on. "I will tell the story I know is
true and that you know is true, and that you have repeatedly given me
your word you would stand by me in telling, but I will only do so in a
way I deem safe and fair to myself. Is that agreed?"

He winced a bit. "What do you mean by that?" he said. "What do you mean
by a 'way safe and fair' to yourself? You are not suspicious of any of
us, are you?"

"Suspicious is not the word, Mr. Rogers. I brought you and Mr.
Rockefeller this copper enterprise. We have gone ahead with it upon
clearly laid down lines. I have done to the letter all I agreed, and, so
far, the enterprise has more than fulfilled my promises. I realize that
our success has largely come from our going to the public and openly
telling it what we were doing and what we intended to do. Until now, I
am the one who has made all the promises, and, legally, up to this
point, I am the only one who can be called to account, but it is the
fact that for any statement I have made, you and Mr. Rockefeller have
been as much responsible as myself, and you as much or more than I have
had the benefit which has come from what I have promised. Now we are
ready for business with the public, and there must be a clear and
distinct understanding with it or it will not part with its money. This
understanding can have but one bearing--_that what the public read, we
must all be responsible for legally and morally, not some of us, but all
of us, you, Mr. Rockefeller, the City Bank, James Stillman, and myself_.
For bear in mind it was you and Mr. Rockefeller who changed my plans by
substituting companies and properties of which I knew nothing but what
you told me. All the things we ought to tell, you say cannot be put into
words, because if they are powers beyond us will refuse to allow the
enterprise to go through as it must go through. Then the condition must
be implied, must be between the lines. You say this is my task, and that
I alone can perform it properly. All right--but I will perform it in a
way that will hold every one concerned to his legal as well as to his
moral responsibility just as it will me who sign it. To save our
enterprise I will concede just this much: The advertisements will be so
worded as not apparently legally to involve Stillman, William
Rockefeller, or the Bank but in reality they will be bound to as strict
responsibility as though their signatures were in the place of mine. In
doing this I compromise with my conscience, Mr. Rogers, because it is
now of paramount importance that our consolidation go through--as
important to the thousands of others who have followed us as to
ourselves."

"You mean this, Lawson, that you will insist upon having this done in a
way that will make every one legally responsible?"

"I mean just that, Mr. Rogers. In what other way can it be done?"

"As all such affairs are arranged--by allowing the public to think for
themselves--but steering our end clear of all possible legal
entanglements," he replied in a voice half choked with suppressed rage.
Now we were both thoroughly aroused, he fairly seething with fury at my
rebellion, and I boiling over at his willingness to sacrifice me to his
own safety. By this time he was on his feet facing me, and it was
evident the tussle would be serious. Still I slowly and coldly asked:

"How can that be done?"

"By _your_ taking the responsibility," he as slowly and freezingly
answered.

"You mean that _I_ shall go ahead and make glowing and generous
promises, on the strength of which the public will put up its money, and
that if these promises for any reason are not carried out, I alone shall
be the one to face the music? Is that what you mean, Mr. Rogers?"

I held myself together, with closed hands and clinched teeth.

"Just that," he returned. "You are making millions out of this
enterprise, and I consider this is one of the places where you earn
them."

"Not if every one of the millions you mention were multiplied a thousand
times, Mr. Rogers, do I say one word to the public to induce it to part
with its money--not a word that will not hold you and Mr. Rockefeller,
Stillman, and the City Bank to a full responsibility--not if, on the
other hand, I become a pauper."

It was out. I know that the deadly earnestness I felt was in my voice,
for though I spoke in a low tone I thought my head would burst until the
last word was spoken. We looked at each other--glared is not the word to
define that white-hot yet frozen, "another-step-and-I-shoot" look which
of all expressions of which the human face is capable is most intense
and dangerous. I did not flinch. I did not know what he would do, but I
saw my words impressing on his mind the absolute conviction that for
once he was face to face with a resolution no power of his could alter.
Slowly his anger, his will, seemed to subside, but as they did I was
aware intuitively that he had changed tactics and was coming at me from
another direction. In an instant his whole being seemed to relax and he
dropped into a chair with a sigh of relief as he said:

"All right, Lawson. You've thought it out, I see. You are making a bad
mistake, but as your mind is made up, I can do the only thing left to
do--call the whole business off for the time being."

I had not served as Mr. Rogers' pike-carrier in vain. Superb actor
though he is, I saw his bluff, and quick as a hair-trigger called it.

"Is that your decision, Mr. Rogers?" I asked, almost before the last
word was out of his mouth. I did not attempt to shade the
"If-it-is-I'm-off" tone of my voice.

He replied slowly and naturally, as though he were taking his decision
right off the scales:

"Yes, I think so."

"Then we will call it off for good. I've hung so long by the heels on
this whole matter that anything is better than a further wait. I'm for
Boston on the next train, and by to-morrow I'll have figured out where
we stand."

I started for the door.

"Just a minute." His voice was as indifferent as though no tremendous
issue were at stake, for Henry H. Rogers is of the iron-willed breed
whom peril never betrays into trepidation. He would throw dice for his
life as casually as one of your Wall Street tipsters would for a cigar,
and here reputation and millions were in the balance. I knew as well as
though I had seen the message telegraphed across his mind that he had
said to himself, "It didn't work, I must round to," but I knew my man
well enough to realize that a false move now would tip victory back into
defeat. I halted. As naturally as though there had been no calculation
in the tone of resigned despair which tinged my voice, I said:

"Mr. Rogers, don't let us prolong this talk. You well know what this
decision of yours means to me, so let me go where I can think it to a
finish."

In an instant Henry H. Rogers was again his virile and commanding self.
He jumped to his feet. His words came round and tense, passionately
convincing and persuasive.

"Lawson, are you crazy? Would you go back to Boston and smash this
business that we have spent years on? Would you sacrifice the millions
that are in your grasp? Would you? Would you, I say? You know I would
not threaten you, but I ask, would you do this, and at a time when you
are all tied and tangled up with us in such a way that you would be
bankrupt, literally be a pauper, and all because I insist upon things
that conditions over which I have no control compel me to demand?"

Whether he intended to halt or not I never knew, for I let him have my
pent-up feelings in eleven words that gave me as much relief as any
thousand I could have selected had I a day to do it in:

"As true as there is a God above us, I would!"



CHAPTER XXII

THE RESPONSIBILITY FASTENED


Life's alternatives are seldom labelled. Right is not always white, nor
wrong, black. The parting of the ways is oftentimes to the eye no more
than the forking of main-travelled roads, and good intentions are no
sure guide to the straight path. This, however, was one of those rare
crossings at which Fate's red light swung full in view, and in its
warning glow I seemed to read the sign:

"Settle Right or Forever Regret."

Well it was for me and for those thousands who were victimized and
robbed later that I heeded the monition, for if in the interests of
peace I had allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the imperious will of
Henry H. Rogers, I should to-day be as helpless as those others who,
coming forward to accuse, are met with "Standard Oil's" crushing
rejoinder, "It's a lie--you can't prove it." I have wondered since if
the master of "Standard Oil" also saw the red signal or interpreted its
prophetic message. His eyes still met mine in the same deadly, intense
stare, but the anger had passed out. Then in an instant the battle was
mine. Henry H. Rogers came out of the clouds and with a gesture of his
hand waved away all that had passed, and said:

"D--n it, Lawson, you are a most impractical man to do business with,
but I suppose you must have your way. Now just tell me--and put it in
few and plain words--what is it you intend to do to get this affair
through, for we must carry it to a finish at once, although it does seem
hard that I must do things I don't want to and which may put me in a bad
hole; but let us hope the future will only show that all these
precautions were a waste of energies. Bear in mind, though, that
whatever is done, must be so arranged that no one but me will know the
real condition, for though I have given way, William Rockefeller and
Stillman, to say nothing of the others, would throw up the whole affair
rather than incur the danger of future litigation and trouble."

At that moment Mr. Rogers had, I believe, made up his mind to play so
fair with the public that there should never arise dissatisfaction with
the course of Amalgamated, that is, he had determined to be content with
a half brick of gold without retribution or restitution in place of the
whole fraught with penalties of exposure and reprobation. At that period
his cupidity had not flared into the towers of fire it afterward became,
in the smoke and flame of which all undefined dangers were obscured.

"As you will, Mr. Rogers," I assented; "that part is not my hunt. I
should prefer that our associates knew things as _we_ do, but as it
seems that is impossible, I must be satisfied with knowing that you
thoroughly understand the conditions I am going ahead on. Here they are:
First, all public notices must bear the names not only of the
Amalgamated Company and the City Bank, but of the individuals,
Rockefeller, Rogers, and Stillman. As the real story is to be told by me
alone, these names will prevent any suspicion the public, particularly
Wall Street, would have that there was any lukewarmness or dodging. This
means that you and Mr. Rockefeller must be known as officers of the
company as well as directors."

"Now, Lawson, right there, that is impossible--absolutely out of the
question. William Rockefeller will under no circumstances take on
additional duties of this kind, and whatever the consequences, I cannot
persuade him to."

I saw he meant this, and that we must get around it.

"Let us begin at the beginning, then--the president. You should be
president--over the flotation, at least."

"That is impossible, too, for you know it is settled that Marcus Daly is
president. I promised the position to him as a part of the trade. It
would be ridiculous for me, who it is known am not a copper expert, to
be president of a new copper company in which Marcus Daly is a large
owner and is supposed to have a prominent hand. Besides, in certain
parts of the country his name will stand much better than mine, and it
means much to all miners the world over."

"All right for president," I answered. "That settles, then, where you
would naturally come in--vice-president; and as vice-president it will
be proper to print your name in the advertisement below that of the
president."

He demurred at first, but finally acquiesced, for he had now made up his
mind to play out the string. For treasurer and secretary he suggested a
brother of Governor Flower's, but I knew that this was now the only
place left where the magic name of Rockefeller could be used and I drew
his attention to the fact.

"How can we do it, Lawson, when I have told you it is impossible?"

"William Rockefeller has a son, William G. Rockefeller. He's our man for
treasurer and secretary. Not one in ten thousand but will think William
G. is the senior Rockefeller, so the name is as good for the country as
his father's, and in State and Wall streets it is better, for among
financiers it is known that William Rockefeller would hesitate longer
about putting his son out in the open in an enterprise he did not
approve than about getting in himself. So William G. Rockefeller it must
be."

Mr. Rogers did not take kindly to the idea, and I could see it would be
quite a task for him to arrange the matter. However, it was necessary,
and he undertook the contract. I went on:

"That covers the company. Second, we will print three advertisements--a
plain notice of the City Bank, which must be signed not only with the
usual 'National City Bank,' but 'James Stillman, President.' This will
immediately follow the company's advertisement, which I shall so word
that the enormous properties composing the consolidation will be set
forth, yet without details of the extent of our holdings in any of them.
In its own advertisement offering the stock the City Bank will refer to
the advertisement of the Amalgamated as though all particulars had there
been given, and I will see that it reads openly and frankly and yet
contains nothing that need scare Stillman. Then there will be a third
advertisement, signed by myself, in which, in the plainest and strongest
terms at my command, I shall tell just what the company is and what it
proposes to do."

"So far all right," assented Mr. Rogers.

"There is one more thing," I went on. "It cannot openly be put forward
that I am the authorized agent of the Amalgamated Company and the City
Bank--well, I must have the equivalent of this. It must be shown by
inference. If I insert these three advertisements in the papers and pay
for them, and the company pays me for them, it will be proof positive
for all time that I acted as the authorized agent of not only the
company and the City Bank, but of Marcus Daly, yourself, William
Rockefeller's son, and James Stillman, and therefore that whatever my
advertisement says is binding upon them. Remember, though, it will be
your affair whether you tell them of it or not."

"You persist, Lawson, that this is necessary?" Mr. Rogers interrogated.
"You seem to lose sight of the position I shall be in should anything
happen later to reveal to these men with whom I am so closely associated
in business that they were binding themselves without their knowledge,
and that I was fully aware of the fact."

[Illustration: LAWSON'S ADVERTISEMENT WHICH APPEARED IN CONJUNCTION WITH
AMALGAMATED'S.

     =COPPERS.=

     =Amalgamated Subscription.=

     Owing to the very large number of inquiries (over 3,000 the
     first day), received and anticipated, as to the best means
     of securing an allotment of the first issue of the
     consolidated stock, it is necessary to reply collectively by
     this advertisement. I advise the purchase of Amalgamated by
     subscription, because it is, in my opinion, the best
     opportunity ever offered the public for safe and profitable
     investment. It is probably the first time in the history of
     public subscriptions that a stock is worth and can be sold
     for 50 to 75 per cent. more than the subscription price, and
     yet will be allotted to each and every subscriber in
     proportion to his application. This means that every one who
     makes a bona-fide subscription, large or small, will receive
     shares at one hundred dollars each that can be sold at once
     at a large profit.

     In my opinion the entire $75,000,000 is worth and can be
     sold to-day for from 30 to 60 per cent. more than the
     subscription price.

     First--Because the assets now owned by the Amalgamated
     Company are worth from $100,000,000 to $125,000,000.

     Second--Because the Amalgamated Company is now earning at
     the rate of 12 to 16 per cent. per annum.

     Third--Because it will, from the start and always after, pay
     8 per cent. dividends annually.

     Fourth--Because the interests actively engaged in its
     management will make and keep it one of the most
     conservative and sought-for investments.

     Fifth--Because there will be rights attaching to it almost
     at its beginning that will give to it large profits
     independent of those accruing from its dividends.

     The fact that the above values are now known to some, and
     will be in the next few days recognized by all, will cause
     the stock to be largely oversubscribed, but this should
     deter no one from subscribing, for the reason that,
     notwithstanding this certainty, those who are engaged in
     perfecting this great enterprise have decided that instead
     of a favored few being allotted the entire amount, all shall
     be treated alike. Captious critics of "Coppers" will
     probably again cry their sarcastic "philanthropy," but to
     the legion of broad-minded investors who have followed and
     profited by this great industrial revolution, the policy of
     this liberal treatment will be obvious--the consolidated
     company is to be many times larger than its present capital
     indicates; it, in my opinion, will from time to time offer
     to the investing public large amounts of increased stock for
     the purpose of obtaining hundreds of millions of cash with
     which to pay for all the producing copper mines, as it is
     now obvious to students of affairs financial that this
     company must in time become the owner of all good mines,
     because all such mines can be run to better advantage to the
     consumer of copper, the investor in copper stocks and the
     present owners, by the Amalgamated Company than by others.
     This being so it requires no supernaturally bright mind to
     see the wisdom of a policy that insures a constantly
     increasing premium for every new issue of stock.

     I advise all intending subscribers to send their
     subscriptions personally or through their banking or
     brokerage house direct to the National City Bank of New
     York. While my firm will, for the convenience of its
     clients, forward subscriptions, I would have it understood
     that such subscribers will receive the same treatment if
     they send their applications direct.

     My firm will also furnish subscription blanks to those who,
     through lack of time or otherwise, cannot secure them
     elsewhere.

     All subscribers should bear in mind, if on receiving their
     allotment they are disappointed with the amount, that their
     subscription is only reduced in the same ratio as all
     others, and that they have the pledge from a Board of
     Directors whose personnel means good faith.

     In again advising the purchase of "Amalgamated" I call
     attention to the names of the men who are to conduct it to a
     future, and to the fact that from its inception it will
     surely give a return of over 8 per cent. per annum on its
     par.

     THOMAS W. LAWSON.]

"Absolutely necessary, Mr. Rogers," I returned without an instant's
hesitation. "Now let us run over the situation finally, for I want to
relieve your mind of the idea that I am doing anything selfish in
insisting on these conditions. When the public subscription is offered,
there must be a story of facts to go with it. Some one must make it. The
men who should, will not, although they are prepared to reap all the
benefits of what the man who will, says. It seems I am that man, and
what I say must be what I understand is the exact truth about the
enterprise. Well and good. It is essential for the one who assumes this
responsibility to do it in such a way that he can for all time show that
the men who benefited and upon whose say-so he acted were in every way
responsible for what he did. All this is undeniable. There are only two
possible considerations that enter into the problem: first, that the
facts I am to state are not true; second, that it devolves on me to
accept a risk those associated with me will not take. If the first can
be maintained, farewell to our enterprise, and get ready for the worst
financial scandal Wall Street ever faced. If it's the last--Mr. Rogers,
the 'Standard Oil' people are all very strong, but I don't believe any
of them would have the nerve to ask me to accept a risk they dared not
themselves undertake."

There was no escaping my conclusion, and unwelcome as the fact was, he
saw no further talk would avail, so he snapped:

"Draw up the advertisements you think proper. Have them ready in an
hour, and I will in the meantime see William Rockefeller and Stillman
and do what is necessary."

I noted the set of Henry H. Rogers' jaw and the down slant of his eyelid
as he uttered these words, and I had no doubt of the compliance of James
Stillman and William Rockefeller with whatever demands he chose to
propose that day. "Cyclones and thunderbolts! Heaven help these or any
others who venture to resist him in this mood," I inwardly commented,
"especially if they are of those with whom he has travelled the
'Standard Oil' blood-trail." My imagination showed me a picture of 26
Broadway and the National City Bank swaying and shaking like full-blown
hollyhocks in a gale.

I had my advertisements ready and was waiting when he returned.

"Lawson," said he peremptorily, "if your work will pass me you may go
ahead with it."

"You mean you have obtained all the consents necessary?"

[Illustration: INITIAL ADVERTISEMENT OF AMALGAMATED COPPER COMPANY.

     =Amalgamated Copper Co.=

     =Capital................$75,000,000=

     This company is organized under the laws of the State of New
     Jersey for the purpose of purchasing and operating
     copper-producing properties. Its capital is $75,000,000,
     divided into 750,000 shares of common stock, of the par
     value of $100 each. It has no bonds or mortgage debt.

     This company has already purchased large interests in
     Anaconda Copper Company, Parrott Silver and Copper Company,
     Washoe Copper Company, Colorado Smelting and Mining Company,
     and other companies and properties.

     MARCUS DALY, Pres.,
     H. H. ROGERS, Vice-Pres.,
     WM. G. ROCKEFELLER, Sec'y and Treas.

     NEW YORK, April 28, 1899.


     =OFFER FOR PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTIONS.=

     Referring to the foregoing statement of the Amalgamated
     Copper Company of New Jersey, notice is hereby given that
     offers for subscription to 750,000 shares of the par value
     of $100 each of the stock of the said copper company will be
     received at the National City Bank of New York, until 12
     o'clock noon, Thursday, May 4, 1899, at the rate of $100 per
     share.

     Subscriptions must be addressed to the said bank and
     accompanied by a certified check to its order for 5 per
     cent. of the amount of such subscription, the balance to be
     payable within 10 days after date of notice of allotment.

     Temporary negotiable receipts on payment of sums due on
     allotment will be issued exchangeable for certificates of
     stock, as soon as same can be engraved.

     In case of oversubscription, allotment will be made pro
     rata. The right is reserved, however, to reject any
     subscription.

     NEW YORK, April 28, 1899.
     NATIONAL CITY BANK OF NEW YORK,
     JAMES STILLMAN, President.
     =52 WALL STREET, NEW YORK.=]

"I mean that we will waste no more words on this matter. The
advertisements you can convince me are right you may have inserted in
the papers, and no one will say a word publicly or otherwise. Neither
William Rockefeller, his son, Stillman, the Bank nor any officer or
director of the Amalgamated Company will talk until after the
subscriptions have been closed and the allotments made; not one word
but what you say or print will be uttered. Can you ask anything more
than that?"

"Not a thing more."

I then laid out the rough copies of what afterward appeared in the
papers throughout the country (reproduced on pages 336 and 338).



CHAPTER XXIII

THE FIRST CRIME OF AMALGAMATED


That those of my readers who are not versed in stock affairs may
appreciate the unusual character of these announcements, it is proper
for me to explain their divergence from the form of the average
financial advertisement. It is the invariable custom in all stock
subscriptions for the corporation which is being offered for sale, or
the bank or bankers assuming responsibility for the proposition, to set
forth at length the facts essential to a proper understanding of the
enterprise: if a new corporation, its reason for existence and the
security offered; if old, its history and the immediate purposes for
which additional funds are asked. It is the same in finance as in
ordinary business. If you are offering for sale goods which cannot speak
for themselves, it is necessary that some one talk for them so those who
purchase may know what they are receiving for their money. Under normal
circumstances the initial advertisement of the Amalgamated Company would
have stated the amount of its capital, its organization, and that the
proceeds of the $75,000,000 of stock offered for sale were to go into
its treasury to purchase designated properties. It will be seen from the
Amalgamated's advertisement reproduced herewith, that all the
information vouchsafed intending investors is mention of its $75,000,000
capital, that it has no bonds or mortgage debt, and that it has already
purchased large interests in the Anaconda and other copper properties.
Not a word about indebtedness, equally vital, nor in definition of the
extent of the interests owned. It is quite the briefest, most meagre
notice of subscription ever placed before the public. Indeed, it is
informative and specific only in regard to the officers, who are given
extraordinary prominence. Such announcements are usually signed by the
president and the secretary and treasurer, or else the names of all the
officers and directors are stated, so it is obvious here that the
prominent insertion of the vice-president's name is for a purpose. And
all Wall Street as well as the general public gathered that "Standard
Oil" was so sure of this enterprise that its principal men were anxious
to be known as being behind it.

The offer of the National City Bank begins with a reference to "the
foregoing statement," as though that really showed the purpose of the
sale of stock--leaving the inference that the beneficiary was the
Amalgamated Company. Other details--the designation of conditions of
subscription, terms, etc., follow the ordinary form. In the matter of
oversubscription the offer diverges vitally. Usually it is prescribed
that "in case of oversubscription stock will be allotted pro rata and
the right is reserved to reject any subscription in whole _or in part_."
In preparing the advertisement I purposely left out the "or in part,"
thereby making it impossible to reject any part of any subscription--in
other words, rejection had to be without compromise, so that every
subscriber whose subscription was not wholly rejected would stand on
equal terms with every other subscriber, as he would receive his exact
proportion.

The terms of these advertisements prescribed the conditions under which
subscriptions for the stock of the Amalgamated Copper Company must be
made to the National City Bank, and bound the bank to accept
subscriptions presented in compliance therewith. In fact they
constituted a legal contract binding the National City Bank, an
institution doing business under the national banking laws of the United
States, to allot to every subscriber whose subscription was not rejected
in full, his proportionate part of the entire 750,000 shares of the
capital stock of the corporation, his proportionate part being the ratio
his subscription bore to the entire subscription received at the
National City Bank before twelve noon of Thursday, May 4, 1899. On
receipt of official notification from the National City Bank that he had
been allotted twenty per cent. of his subscription, or one share in
every five subscribed for, the subscriber had a right to think he knew
that the total subscription to the stock had been five times
$75,000,000--$375,000,000--or five times 750,000 shares--3,750,000
shares; and that before noon, May 4th, the National City Bank had in
hand certified checks to the amount of $18,750,000. The public,
including the shrewdest Wall Streeters, has, since the subscription
closed, believed that the subscription totalled the figures given above.
Indeed no one has ever suspected anything to the contrary, because it
was clear that if the allotment was conducted under conditions other
than those contracted for in the advertisement, the National City Bank
had laid itself open to a charge of fraud and was liable to each
subscriber for the proportion of shares of which he had been deprived.

_The actual amount of the subscriptions received on or before noon, May
4, 1899, at the National City Bank was but $132,067,500, and the amount
of the five per cent. certified checks received in the institution up to
noon was only $6,603,375, or $5 per share on a total of 1,320,675
shares._

The meaning of this is that every legitimate subscriber--and I except
the millions of subscriptions which the bank decided were illegitimate
and rejected, as they had a perfect right to do under their contract
with the public--was defrauded of two shares of each three to which he
was entitled. Before me as I write is the original allotment of the
National City Bank to the subscribers, which I propose to print in my
second volume as part of this indictment, showing that the figures are
exactly as I have stated.

From the beginning of my narrative I have claimed that the frauds
committed in connection with Amalgamated could be completely
demonstrated from records outside any evidence of mine. The list of
subscribers and the most cursory examination by the Government national
bank authorities at Washington will furnish all the proof necessary to
substantiate the accuracy of my statement here. At this juncture I shall
not attempt to sum up the bearing or the consequences of this illegal
and dishonest act, but it was one of the main cogs in bringing about the
disaster that ensued. The conditions which led to its perpetration are
narrated later. In passing I may say that while the formation of the
Amalgamated Company by the clerks and office boys (as I have already
described it) and the means by which Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller let
in their friends to their appointed "floors" were deceptive and
outrageous in their double-dealing, and should be prohibited by law, I
knew them to be so commonly practised throughout our American financial
centres that it never entered my mind to suggest that they were
criminal. The infraction I have just explained, however, is a tangible
fraud and a very different proposition.

The two announcements alone would have had but little efficacy in
persuading the public to part with its money for Amalgamated stock, but
in conjunction with the third advertisement--mine--they proved
irresistible. There was nothing equivocal in my announcement. I not only
advised the purchase of the stock by subscription on the ground that it
was the best opportunity for safe and profitable investment ever offered
the people, but asserted that the shares could afterward be sold for
fifty to seventy-five per cent. advance on the subscription price, so
that every one who obtained a share of Amalgamated for $100 was buying
something which would subsequently be worth $150 to $200. Further I
promised that all the subscribers should be treated alike and gave it as
my opinion that the whole 750,000 shares could at the time the public
was reading my statement be sold for thirty to sixty per cent. more than
the subscription price, and declared unqualifiedly that the assets owned
by the Amalgamated Company were worth from one hundred to one hundred
and twenty-five millions; that the company was then earning from twelve
to sixteen per cent. per annum, and that from the start and ever
afterward it would pay eight per cent. dividends annually.

As I have previously stated, I had no personal knowledge of the
conditions in the several properties comprising the first section of
Amalgamated, but the facts and figures which were put forward in this
advertisement were supplied me by Henry H. Rogers and through him by
Marcus Daly, who vouched for them, and furthermore the three
advertisements were carefully read and scanned by Mr. Rogers himself.
If I had not believed them to be true I should not have put them
forward nor allowed them to be published, but I accepted them as the
public and the financiers did when they read them over the signature of
the known agent and mouthpiece for Amalgamated and "Standard Oil,"
myself. I showed that I believed them by putting my signature to them. I
was and am personally responsible for the truth of these statements, but
more so are H. H. Rogers, William G. Rockefeller, the National City
Bank, and the Amalgamated Company. Even if it had not been a matter of
public knowledge that I was the agent of the City Bank and the
Amalgamated Company and the "Standard Oil" party; if it had not been a
fact, as it was, that I inserted these three advertisements by agreement
with those who were responsible for them and who were doing business
directly with the public; if it had not been a fact that these people
through me paid for these advertisements, thereby directly showing I was
their authorized agent; if I had not taken the precaution to see that
such payment was made by a check signed by William G. Rockefeller,
treasurer of the Amalgamated Company, and yet made to the order of the
newspaper people and handed by me to them, thereby clinching my agency,
nevertheless the advertisement itself would have made it clear that I
was the full and authorized agent, or it would have been stopped there
and then and the bank and the company would have refused to proceed
further, for I say:

     "I advise all intending subscribers to send their
     subscriptions personally or through their banking or
     brokerage house direct to the National City Bank of New
     York. While my firm will, for the convenience of its
     clients, forward subscriptions, I would have it understood
     that such subscribers will receive the same treatment if
     they send their applications direct.

     "My firm will also furnish subscription blanks to those who,
     through lack of time or otherwise, cannot secure them
     elsewhere."

I think I have made clear so far the conditions under which these vital
statements were put forward and have lodged the legal responsibility for
them where it belongs. The National City Bank is plainly liable for
violation of the published stipulations under which subscriptions were
allotted, and it is common knowledge that the stock was allotted one
share in five subscribed for, while the original list of subscriptions
shows that the total allotment was less than twenty-seven millions and
the full subscription less than double the amount to be allotted.

It is common knowledge that the dividends were cut to two per cent., and
are at the present time, the best ever known in the copper business,
only four per cent., and that they have been cut under eight per cent.,
so they either could not have been twelve to sixteen per cent. at the
time it was stated they were, or there has been great fraud committed
since. As we are dealing with the greatest national bank in the country,
it will be simple for the Government and banking officials at Washington
instantly to disprove my statements if they are false; otherwise they
must take action, civil and criminal, against the National City Bank.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE SUBSCRIPTION OPENS


When Mr. Rogers on returning from his conference with James Stillman and
William Rockefeller had given the word that the course was clear, I was
conscious of the necessity of clinching the decision so that there could
be no further backing and filling. I told Mr. Rogers so and suggested
that we insert at once the advertisement of the City Bank and the
Amalgamated Company in the New York papers, and that the following day I
have arrangements concluded with my advertising agents for their
publication throughout the country. The announcements appeared in New
York and the following day they were spread before the public in the
great papers of this country and England. Thus was Amalgamated launched.

With the appearance of these long anticipated announcements the pent-up
copper excitement burst forth, and an avalanche of queries began to pour
in upon us all. The interest was tremendous, and I felt certain we were
to reap a greater success than I had dared dream of. The days preceding
the opening of the subscription were taken up in answering a thousand
questions regarding conditions, in supervising the advertising, and
steering "Coppers" in the market. On the eve of the opening day Mr.
Rogers said to me:

"Lawson, at last we are to know how well your work has been done. The
time of talk ends to-night and after that we'll have facts to go upon.
What do you place the subscription at?"

"I'll stake my prospective profits that when the books close there will
be from forty to fifty millions subscribed and that when your 'Standard
Oil' experts have analyzed the subscriptions they will tell you that
three-quarters of all have come from the country--from my campaign--and
not over a quarter from the 'Standard Oil's' following and Wall Street,"
I answered. "Then you and Mr. Rockefeller will admit I was right when I
told you that the public will respond to open and fair treatment when it
is deaf and blind to stock trickery and manipulation."

"I do hope you are right," returned Mr. Rogers, in a quiet, earnest,
I-pray-it-may-really-be-so tone, "but if it is from six to ten millions
we will all take off our hats to you."

This defined the expectation of the man who above all others knew most
of what had been done to mature and perfect the venture. I realized that
none of the parties to the enterprise anticipated an extraordinary
success, and though I felt more confident than the others, I was far
from cognizant of the actual feeling abroad among the people. Monday
morning I got an inkling of what was coming. My office in Boston was the
centre of a dense mass of people from morning until night, and round the
National City Bank in New York crowds were gathered watching the throng
fight its way through the doors. Inside, a long line of men and women
headed for the subscription desk stood laden with checks and currency,
patiently awaiting their turn, and every mail brought sacks of orders.
The big banking and brokerage offices in the financial districts of
Boston, Philadelphia, and New York were packed with customers asking to
be shown the way to secure as much as possible of this easy money, while
the wires buzzed with messages and bids from the far West and from
Europe. The excitement knew no bounds. In my rooms at the Waldorf I sat
beside the telephone getting rapid reports from my lieutenants. From 26
Broadway I learned of the progress of events at the bank, and was
impressed with the fact that the prevailing excitement and the strain
were beginning to affect even the nickel-steel equilibrium of Mr. Rogers
himself. Indeed, he made no attempt to disguise his uneasiness, and told
me that William Rockefeller was in much the same condition. It was the
first venture of size these two strong wheelmen of "Standard Oil" had
undertaken without the co-operation of John D. Rockefeller, and it
appeared that he was considerably worked up over the public hubbub, and
so opposed to the whole Amalgamated affair that nothing short of a great
success could justify his subordinates' temerity. However one looked at
the situation, it was evident that Henry H. Rogers and William
Rockefeller were playing for the stake of their lives, though how great
the stake was no one at that time guessed. Since then they have steadily
forged ahead, both in riches and in influence, until to-day they have
actually supplanted John D. Rockefeller in the kingship of finance. At
that day, though his had always been the master-mind of "Standard Oil,"
I don't believe Mr. Rogers was worth, all told, over twelve to fifteen
millions, while to-day he is probably a hundred and fifty times a
millionnaire.

It must be remembered that there was good cause for trepidation over
this venture, for though the stock markets buzzed with "Coppers" it was
all guesswork as to how far the public would go with us. The question
was, What would they do now that our stock was within their reach? It
was a tremendous proposition we had put forth, for remember this was
before the period of the great trustifications, and ten to twenty
millions figured as the limit of large flotations. Even these were of
well-known properties and invariably were offered below par. To come
into the open, offering at $100 a share a brand-new stock capitalized at
$75,000,000, was breaking the record, and we might well wonder what was
before us.

So far as man could do I had safeguarded the public and my own
reputation, and believed that the assurances I had secured eliminated
all opportunities of fleecing investors. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockefeller
had each pledged me his solemn word, under no circumstances to sell to
subscribers over five million dollars of the stock, and to place at my
disposal the five millions cash received, to use in the open market for
the purpose of protecting the stock so that it should never decline
below par. That this promise should be kept was of the utmost
consequence. While "Standard Oil" held the large majority of the
Amalgamated stock and the public but a small minority, there was no
danger of the latter being slaughtered, whereas if the public was loaded
up with stock at $100 per share, it would be profitable for Rogers,
Rockefeller, and Stillman to practise the method I was fast beginning to
see was their favorite device for accumulating wealth--selling stock and
then dropping its price and taking it away from its holders at
twenty-five to fifty per cent. below what they had purchased it at. If
my plan of guarding against this possibility were adhered to, I knew
that there would be such a demand for the shares in the open market
after the allotment that when the second section of seventy-five or one
hundred millions came to be offered, it would be even more eagerly
sought than the first. So with the third and other sections
contemplated, until in time the whole stock would be distributed among
the investors of the world, and assuming that part of our enormous
profits would always be used to keep up its market price, there could be
no possible decline. Thus Amalgamated, like "Standard Oil" or a
Government bond, must always be worth more than par, first because there
would be value to justify it, and second because its holders would have
absolute confidence that the security could always be sold for as much
or more than they had paid for it.

So far, I had carefully refrained from discussing with Mr. Rogers how we
should go about securing our part of the subscription. I had not
forgotten it. Indeed, I had it well in mind and was ready to enter upon
the matter when it came up. An iron-bound contract held the Amalgamated
Company and the National City Bank over the signatures of a Rogers, a
Rockefeller, and a Stillman to allow the public to subscribe for
$75,000,000 of stock, and the terms were that every subscription must be
in the bank at noon, May 4th, and that each subscription must be
accompanied by a certified check of $5 for every share applied for. _As
we had agreed that the public should be sold but five millions of the
stock, that meant that we proposed to retain seventy millions of it
ourselves, but to obtain this allotment legally, we must comply with the
conditions of the advertisement exactly as outsiders had. So it was
necessary that we have a bid in before noon on Thursday for our seventy
millions, accompanied by a check for_ $3,500,000, _which would secure us
our quota provided the public subscription was no more than five
millions._ If the public subscription ran over five millions, then the
bank must throw out all additional subscriptions over that amount, for
the advertised contract specifically declared that all accepted
subscriptions would be allowed pro rata. By my suppression of the usual
condition that the Bank reserve the right to reject any part of any
subscription, it was absolutely precluded from the common method of
dealing with such an emergency and so could not reject _parts_ of
subscriptions. There was a way out--without practising fraud. If at noon
on Thursday the public had subscribed ten or fifteen millions then the
insiders must put in bids of $140,000,000 to $210,000,000, in which
event the entire subscription would be divided by allotting each
subscriber one share for every two or three subscribed.

I presumed then that some such method would be followed. It surprised me
at the time that Mr. Rogers should have given so little attention to so
vital a part of our programme, for he is in the habit of thoughtfully
thumbing over just such details to avoid slip-ups, but the idea that our
subscription would run into unwieldy amounts never occurred to him, and
he let things go, trusting to luck and "Standard Oil's" motto "To Hell
with the people anyway," to adjust the matter at the last moment. To-day
Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller, and James Stillman would each give
five millions from his private fortune if this seemingly unimportant
detail had then been provided for. Its neglect is the bloody
finger-print on the knife-handle of the murderer, it is the burglar's
footprint in the snow. In this case it furnishes the evidence of the
crime of Amalgamated.



CHAPTER XXV

DOLLAR HYDROPHOBIA


Our first fears of failure were soon succeeded by apprehensions of a
different nature. By Tuesday noon it was evident that the flotation
would far exceed the low expectations of Rogers and Rockefeller, and I
knew that if the people's interest continued to develop at the rate the
subscriptions indicated, the totals would be far ahead of my own most
sanguine anticipations. Every hour the excitement intensified. The
crowds on the street and in the brokers' offices; the rush of investors
to the City Bank--all demonstrated a feverish condition of the public
mind, a state of unrest that fills the conservative banker with dread
lest something happen to precipitate a disorder and a panic. The acute
sensitiveness of a body of investors to extraneous influence, however
slight, is familiar to any one who has had to do with market
manipulation. In a theatre or church one strenuous spirit can quell a
tumult with some ringing assurance, but long before the leader of a
financial movement has got word to his following, wide-spread over the
country, it has taken alarm, the rout has begun, and the field is strewn
with corpses. A great financial excitement, like a rocket, should soar
triumphantly into the air, leaving behind it a comet-like trail of
glory, climaxing in a shower of gold; diverted from its course, it runs
a mad, brief, tragic career along the earth, spreading ruin and disaster
in its path.

There comes a time when all great enterprises must emerge from the
nursery and be exposed to the sunlight and the breezes of every day. We
were crossing the ominous tract which divides the trenches of
preparation from the sheltering fortress of attainment, and the hosts
of failure were rallied to dispute our passage.

At this juncture any accident to our venture might affect the whole
American business fabric, and no one realized the danger of the
situation better than Mr. Rogers and myself. During the anxious days
that were passing we canvassed the dire possibilities that the situation
contained, just as children tell each other ghost stories when left
alone in the darkness of the night. The great catastrophes of finance,
we remembered, had all been born of the unexpected--of unforeseen
contingencies--far beyond the range of human foresight. Who knew but
that the hours were pregnant with some terrible potentiality--the
assassination of a king or president, a Chicago or Boston fire, an
epidemic of cholera, a belligerent message from the President, such as
Cleveland's Venezuela ultimatum, a great bank defalcation, the suicide
of an important operator, the death of an eminent capitalist--a breath
of one of these world cyclones would crumble our structure into the dust
and take along with it the neighboring edifices on both sides of the
street. There were also the hidden possibilities of betrayal, of
treachery, for we knew that scores of Wall Street's most ingenious minds
were bent on unravelling and exposing the secret threads of our
enterprise.

On Wednesday morning soon after ten o'clock Mr. Rogers, on his way
downtown, came to the Waldorf. He was plainly excited.

"Lawson," he said, "this is something unheard of, unprecedented. The
bank is being buried under subscriptions. Stillman says he is adding
scores of clerks, but that he cannot possibly keep pace with the
subscriptions. Mr. Rockefeller is very nervous, and I must confess to
feeling a bit of 'rattle' myself. It now looks as though the total would
run into fabulous figures. The Lewisohns are being swamped with orders
from Europe. They alone will probably put in more than ten millions.
Wall Street has lost its head entirely, and our people at 26 Broadway
are coming in asking advice and doubling and trebling their
subscriptions. If we don't keep our heads something bad may happen, for
it looks now as though the cash the subscription is tying up would make
a money-pinch. This affair must not be allowed to run away with us. What
do your reports from Boston and the country show?"

"The same as yours. The people have simply gone wild. Calls come in
ceaselessly to me from Wall Street men. The hotel is so full of brokers
from out of town that they are placing cots in the big rooms. I went
down into the office just now to talk to them and was nearly mobbed.
Already they are talking of a premium of $40 to $60 per share, but if we
keep to the line we have laid down, I don't think we need fear bad
consequences."

We discussed other aspects of the affair, the intense interest developed
in Europe, and the effect of the excitement on the price of the metal.
As he started to go down to his office, Mr. Rogers said, as though by
way of an after-thought:

"Lawson, if the people are so hungry, why should we not take some
advantage of it?"

The suggestion, with all it implied, stunned me for a second.

"What do you mean, Mr. Rogers? Take advantage--how?"

"Would it not be well to let the subscribers have more than the amount
we agreed? Why not take more of this money than five millions?"

This was out of a clear sky, for there had not been the slightest
suggestion of a change of programme and I had rested in the certainty
that our plan insured the safety of all who had gone in on my say-so. I
choked down my excitement.

"Good God, Mr. Rogers, are you mad?" I exclaimed. "Don't let us depart a
hair from what we all in our cool moments decided was best. We are in
the field now. It would be sure ruin to try any new schemes at this
moment."

"You are rattled yourself, Lawson. There's no need for excitement. I
merely offered the suggestion. Everything is going well," he reassured
me, but the picture his words conjured before my mind disturbed me all
day. That he would dare do what he had suggested I did not credit, for
the assurances I had were too solemn to allow me to believe such
treachery could be meditated. Nevertheless I brooded over the matter,
and late in the afternoon ran down to 26 Broadway, ostensibly to hear
the latest news from the bank, but really to try if I could not look
into Mr. Rogers' head and see if the imps I had sighted early in the day
were still there.

Mr. Rogers was over with Stillman at the bank. In half an hour he came
in, and the excitement he labored under was plainly evident in his face.

"Lawson," he said, "no one has ever seen anything like this before.
Stillman is bewildered. He says it looks as though by to-morrow there
will be a mob around the bank doors, and if between now and then
anything unusual should happen, there'll be the devil to pay sure. I
tell you I'm so tired out that I'm going home now to rest up."

Together we went uptown on the Elevated, and when I left him at
Thirty-third Street to cross over to my hotel, somehow the dark
forebodings of the morning had been lulled by his frank geniality and
carried away by his enthusiastic rejoicings in the success of our
enterprise. The picture of that soft spring evening hangs in my memory's
gallery--the declining sun seen through a long perspective of gilded
brick and brownstone façades, the heavy rumble of trains, the clamor of
newsboys crying last editions, the packed cable-cars slowly threading
their way amid the hurrying crowds of clerks and shop girls streaming
homeward, the cabs swinging in and out of the throng, through whose
windows I caught glimpses of jewels on bare shoulders, light silks, and
sweeping plumes--the butterflies of fashion or folly hurrying out on
their evening trysts. Broadway, with its hundreds of sights and sounds,
was before me in the hour of its transformation, the street lamps
breaking into incandescence, and the huge electric signs beginning to
glare above the theatre entrances. By the time I reached the Waldorf,
that high abode of Yankee royalty, the kinks and curlicues were so far
ironed from my nerves and brain that I had little doubt of my ability to
take a fall out of Fate in whatever sort of collar-and-elbow tussle she
might designate. In this mood I swung into the huge hotel through the
carriage entrance on Thirty-fourth Street, eager to forget myself amid
the rapt concourse of dollar worshippers, preening themselves against
the plush, onyx, and gildings of the Astor caravansary. I seemed to see
in the mirrors, on the walls, on the buttons of the lackeys' livery, in
the patterns of the rugs, inscribed on the tessellated floors and
painted on the lofty ceilings, dazzling and glittering, the universal
crest of the twisted S with its two upright bars.

_Dollars, dollars, dollars._

Through the office I pushed, my path disputed by the hosts of Croesus
in ambush for market information. Colonels and generals of the
almighty-dollar army were on either flank of me, and the air was thick
with the echo and the rumor of millions. At last I found myself in the
high and splendid room, with its tall windows elaborately curtained with
velvet, its floor space studded with small tables, where after four
o'clock any afternoon, the year round, you will find the active Wall
Street contingent busily discussing the day's doings and plotting good
or evil for the morrow. There they all were, that eventful evening, in
parties of seven or eight clustered at the little tables, and as I
entered a vigorous hail caught my ear and again I found myself
surrounded.

"Sit down a minute, Lawson," said ex-Congressman Jefferson M.
Levy--"Jeff Levy" in Wall Street--"and tell us about Amalgamated. I
suppose there's not a chance to get what one wants unless one subscribes
for five or ten times more than one needs, but if you say that's
straight, I'll put in another subscription for ----."

In the group were sitting "Harry" Weil, who time and again has tied tin
cans to Wall Street's tail; big, bluff, honest "Billy" Oliver, whose
"I'll take ten thousand more" is as familiar to Stock Exchange members
as the sound of the gong; and little "Jakey" Field, most audacious and
resourceful of floor operators, graduated but a few years ago from the
ranks of Wall Street's errand boys--"Jakey" Field, who is able
single-handed to turn a "bear" market in a rout by "bidding 'em up all
round the room five thousand at a crack"--which means he dares buy one
hundred thousand shares off the reel in a demoralized market when every
one is selling, thus standing to make or lose a million or two on his
judgment.

They listened, breathless, while I poured out the story of the terrific
rush of Amalgamated subscribers. Another group hailed me and I recounted
the same story. So it went all over the busy assemblage--"_dollars,
dollars, dollars_," how to get them, how to get them quick. The money
talk ebbed and flowed; the chink of dollars echoed in the rattle of
china, in the tinkling of glasses, in the laughs and salutations, in the
shuffle of feet. It was the one word, the single theme, the alpha and
omega of all these men of talent and virility who accorded me
recognition as one of themselves and assumed that I, too, was crucified
to the two bars on the snaky S; the whole thing was so interesting that
I lost sight of the terrible seriousness of it, and I chuckled as one
does when one sits on the cool grass under the apple-trees in summer and
watches myriads of ants hustling and jostling and bumping over each
other to get away with what to humans is but a tiny grain of dirt.

As I arose to go at last, the head waiter came forward and led me into a
corner, where his assistant and the chef awaited me. All with tremendous
earnestness asked, "Is it safe, Mr. Lawson, for us to put our savings in
Amalgamated?" They took my breath away by telling me they proposed to
subscribe for one thousand, five hundred, and two hundred shares each,
$100,000, $50,000, and $20,000 worth, if I but said the word.

"_Dollars, dollars, dollars_" beat a tattoo on my ear-drums as the rain
used to on the roof at the old farmhouse.

A moment later Manager Thomas of the great hotel slipped up to me. "I'm
in for a thousand or two, if you say the word," he whispered. At dinner
my old waiter, who I would have sworn did not know a stock certificate
from a dog license, bent over respectfully to tell me that twenty of the
boys had chipped in and desired me to take their thousand dollars and
put it up for two hundred shares--$20,000 worth more. Room Clerk Palmer
called over to me as I went by his desk a moment later to say he was
going in for three hundred shares if it broke him. And so it
went--bell-boys, chambermaids, valets, elevator men, all begging an
interview, and all with the same request--"Would I not put their savings
into this magic money-maker?"

All were friends or protégés of mine, these managers, clerks, stewards,
and waiters. Their money was more sacred to me than my own. I had been
instrumental in bringing many of them up to the palace of American
dollar royalty from the old Brunswick, and I would rather have lost a
finger any day than have jeopardized their savings. For all of them I
had but one answer: "Go your limit."

I looked over the memoranda and telegrams piled high on the table in my
room, all recording the whirlwind sweep of this tremendous copper
movement that I had set a-booming.

"_Dollars, dollars, dollars._"

Requests from friends for some of the easy money I was dispensing to the
public, appeals from old associates for special allotments of the
subscription, urgent petitions from capitalists and bankers with whom I
had business relations that their bids for shares should have
preference, perfumed notes on tinted paper in feminine handwriting
begging aid, advice, my influence, on a hundred specious pleas. It
seemed to me that all the world was in a conspiracy of dollars and I the
one object of its plotting. For a moment there overcame me a sickening
disgust at this universal greed, at this all-absorbing passion for gold
which my momentary pre-eminence revealed to my view. Then sanity
asserted itself, and I remembered that if there was a conspiracy I was
its ringleader, that I myself for months past had thought intensely of
nothing but dollars. Why, then, should I resent the eager desires of
others to attach to their own bank accounts some of the money which I
was proclaiming from the housetops any one who desired might have for
the asking? Many of these men, moreover, who sought my assurance of the
safety of their little ventures, had earned the private word by
thoughtful service and friendly attentions. Dollars were food and drink
and fine raiment; were music, pictures, and theatres; were horses and
dogs; were green fields, blossoming trees, and the open air of heaven;
were liberty, release from sordid cares, from servitude--and why should
I, who had helped myself in bountiful measure to the good things in
life's cornucopia, feel superior when confronted by the lusts I myself
had been instrumental in arousing? I laughed at my egregious virtue and
dropped off to sleep.



CHAPTER XXVI

DEVILTRY AFOOT


Thursday, May 4, 1899, dawned as fair a spring morning as ever set off
sacrificial rite or triumphal jubilee--a day of buoyant, delicious airs
which set the blood throbbing in the veins and ambition thrilling in the
heart--a day for action, achievement, for wild gallops along country
lanes, for swift motion on land or water. I looked out of my lofty
parlor window far up Fifth Avenue's long vista of mansions and palaces
to where the sunlight glittered on the tender verdancy of Central Park.
A trickle of cabs and carriages headed southward already had begun the
descent to Wall Street. Almost the first call over the telephone came
from Mr. Rogers, asking for the morning's news. I told him there was not
a cloud on our sky, not a single breeze but blew from the right quarter
to fill our sails. "And what were my movements?" To stick to my rooms
right handy for anything. Was there a sinister thought, I wonder, behind
the "Good, I agree with you," that came back from him in his heartiest
tones? "I will look after things down-town and we can keep each other
posted at near intervals."

It was as busy a forenoon as man ever lived through. My Boston wire kept
up a constant ringing; Chicago, Philadelphia, and other long distance
points showered in messages. A direct wire to Wall Street informed me of
the progress of events in the financial maelstrom. All went merrily and
well. It was nearing noon when a lull came; I was sitting back in my
chair enjoying the sudden cessation of clatter and buzzing, thinking
that after all my forebodings our ship was headed right for harbor and
in a few moments would be across the bar and into smooth water, when a
sharp ring at the telephone summoned me back to attention. 'Twas from 26
Broadway, from whom it doesn't matter for the purpose of this story.
Suffice it to say that it was from one who, because of past acts of
mine, would make any sacrifice to warn me of danger. Only a few words,
for he who sends secret messages from the mysterious depths of 26
Broadway, even to dwellers on its threshold, is wise in remembering that
brevity is the essence of safety--but were few words ever charged with
such damnable import? This is what I heard:

"Mr. Stillman has just left Mr. Rogers and there is deviltry afoot. You
cannot get to him any too quick." "One word of its nature?" I whispered
back. "They are going to grab more than five millions of the
subscription money."

I hung up the receiver. The face of my world had changed. To choke back
the passion of fury that rose in my throat I went over to the open
window and looked out at the brilliant world below, at the procession of
pleasure carriages rolling up and down the Avenue, the sunlight flashing
from gold-mounted harness and shining on the sleek, polished flanks of
splendid horses. A gay rumble of traffic, the murmur of voices, the
clangor of street-car bells were borne in to me on the mellow air. But
for me the light had fled and the May world was black and freezing cold.

The grim agony of that moment's silence I shall never forget. I jumped
for the door; a second's delay to tell my secretary to catch me with any
important messages at Mr. Rogers' office, and I was flying down Fifth
Avenue through Washington Square, and down the back streets my cabby
knew so well how to make time on. When the recording angel calls off
page after page of my life-book and comes to the black one covering that
ride, I fear 'twill be no easy task excusing the murderous passion that
filled my heart and the poison-steeped curses my lips involuntarily
formed. After an eternity I was at 26 Broadway. I flew to the elevator,
was on the eleventh floor in an instant, bolted by Fred, the colored
usher who guards Mr. Rogers' sanctum, and strode, without knock or
announcement, into the large private office beyond. Mr. Rogers was alone
with his secretary, who at my first words shot out of the room. He was
bending over a stack of papers, and as I landed at his desk he looked up
quickly, and in a surprised way asked:

"What does this mean, Lawson?"

No one ever enters Mr. Rogers' room without his permission.

"It means that I have just learned that you and Stillman have decided to
break your solemn promise to me." I tried to control myself, but the
seethe of rage almost choked me. "It means that you have decided to take
more of that subscription money than the five millions we agreed upon,
and that means hell."

Mr. Rogers stood up, his jaws set as in their last hold, and,
recognizing the crisis, he met me, not with the fierce anger I half
expected and hoped he would show, but with quiet earnestness.

"Stop just there, Lawson--remember you are in my office. Who gave you
this tale?"

"Never mind. Is it true? Are you going to break your promise to me? Do
you intend to allot the public more than five millions?"

He hesitated only a second. Just a second, but it seemed an age; then
slowly and calmly: "Yes, it has been decided that considering the
tremendous number and amounts of the subscription it will be best to
give them more."

"How much more?" I shouted, for I was beside myself.

"Ten millions in all," he slowly answered.

"Who has decided?"

"Every one, Mr. Rockefeller, Stillman, all of us."

"All of us? Have _I_ been consulted? Have _I_ decided? Have _I_
consented to the breaking of your word, Mr. Rockefeller's word? What
have Stillman and the rest to say about this? What have they to do with
the promises I have made the people? I have been trapped just as all the
others you and I have dealt with have been trapped. I see it all now.
Trapped, trapped until now it is too late for me even to save my
reputation. To think I should have been fool enough to allow myself to
be made a stool-pigeon for 'Standard Oil,' and all because I took your
word."

My rage was exhausted, and then, heartbroken, I turned and plead, plead
for fair treatment, for an honest deal for my friends and
associates--plead for my good name in his keeping--plead as I never
before plead to any man. I had lost control of myself--begged as no man
should beg another even for life, though the things I sought were more
than life. He calmly awaited the end of my feverish, broken petition;
then he went to work as the expert diamond cutter goes at a crystal. He
focussed my position, twisted and turned my arguments, chipped and split
my reasoning, smoothed off the corners, and then polished up the subject
so that it might retain its old-time lustre for the bedazzlement of the
customer whose favorable decision he meant to have.

As ever, Mr. Rogers' arguments were plausible and intelligent. The
subscriptions were coming in at such a rate it would be dangerous to
allot as little as five millions; there might be talk, and an
investigation which would so affect the market later that we could have
no second section. Then where should we be with our millions of Butte,
Montana, and other Boston stocks? And where would our friends be--and
the public? On and on he spun, lulling my fagged brain with his specious
arguments until the change of plan seemed robbed of its poison and I
swallowed it.

"Lawson," he concluded, "every dollar of the additional five millions
will be kept intact and, with the first five millions, will be at all
times behind the price, and as you are going to have the handling of it
how can there be any wrong or any more danger because of it than if it
were only five millions?"

I gave in, agreed to go back to the Waldorf and take hold of the lever
again. I left him, driving uptown by way of Broad and Wall streets so I
might see the crowds outside the Stock Exchange and in front of James
Stillman's money trap. By the time I reached the hotel I had recovered
some of my optimism, and went to work to catch up with the mail and
messages accumulated in my absence. At three o'clock I called up Mr.
Rogers. He was very jubilant. At the stroke of twelve, he told me, it
required four big policemen to close the bank doors in the faces of
hundreds of belated subscribers; that it had been decided that those
inside the building were legally entitled to pass in their subscriptions
and at that moment they were still doing so. Sacks of mail still awaited
opening; it would be well toward midnight before the last of the
subscriptions were tabulated. Stillman was making a tremendous effort to
get at an approximate statement in time for me to deal it out to the
newspapers before they went to press at midnight.

"How does it look to Stillman now?" I asked.

"He cannot tell much about it yet," Mr. Rogers replied, "although he can
see far enough ahead to be sure even your estimate was too low. It will
be at least fifty millions."

"And about our big subscription--have you and Mr. Rockefeller put it in
yet?" I asked, and how I strained for his answer! I well knew they had
not done so, knew they would think it safe to wait until the final tally
to see just how much they must put in to get their $65,000,000, which
would thus leave the public $10,000,000.

"Not yet," he returned. "It's all right, but we can do nothing till
Stillman gives us the total. He says there are millions and millions of
such a nature that he can easily throw them out. At four o'clock we will
have a meeting and figure out the best way to fix this matter up."

He saw no danger spot. I felt anyway his error was beyond correction
now. I told him I would be at his office by five, so that we could
arrange how much the press should have of our affair.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE BLACK FLAG HOISTED


It was a little after five when I reached 26 Broadway--my second visit
that day. Mr. Rogers was still at the bank. Half an hour later he
entered and threw himself wearily into a chair.

"Lawson, this is a fitting climax for all the stories you have been
telling Mr. Rockefeller and myself and the public for the past year
about 'Coppers.' I have talked with the Lewisohns, Governor Flower,
Morgan, and many others, and I have just come from an hour with Stillman
and we are all agreed this Amalgamated subscription is the greatest
accomplishment in finance. It is truly marvellous. The bank is literally
buried in money, and as near as we can make it out, the stock to be
delivered when allotted is actually selling at forty to fifty dollars
over the subscription price. The job is done, and you and I have good
reason to congratulate each other."

"I am not so sure, Mr. Rogers, that we should, right now. There's lots
of work ahead, and we may strike big snags yet," I began. He interrupted
impatiently:

"Oh, no, you're wrong, Lawson! We have the money safely housed at the
bank. Nothing can now turn it into failure."

There was a new note in his voice as he spoke. Tired though he was, I
detected a sharpness that seemed to indicate at once a relief and an
indifference which said plainer than words: "I am now beyond all your
power to hurt or harm me." I went on:

"I don't want to bring up any new things to-day, for you must be tired
out, Mr. Rogers, but surely you are taking into consideration that
unless everything is steered carefully to-morrow and for some time to
come, we may have a crash in the market which will throw back on our
hands the ten millions of stock, and it might take us years to bring out
the other section. Don't lose sight of the fact that the people are all
expecting to see fifty or one hundred points profit to-morrow on
whatever stock they secure."

As I talked I saw that he was getting impatient, irritated, angry, that
he wanted to hear of no more unfavorable things.

"Good Lord, Lawson, it is about time for you to let up on your croaking
about what may happen. You have done a big thing and you have been paid
handsomely; you have made millions, and we have just now decided that
you are entitled to a good rest. Governor Flower has agreed to take
charge of the market end and he is amply able to keep us out of all
trouble in that direction."

A cold chill struck into my heart and crept over my whole being. I
looked straight at him and he gave me back the look with a defiance
which plainly said that we might as well have it out now as any other
time.

"Mr. Rockefeller and myself have tried to play fair with you, Lawson,
and we think we have been generous, but at times you have been almost
intolerable. The only way you know how to do things is to do them your
own way, and we cannot do business except in our way. This morning you
kicked up a disturbance because we decided to adjust ourselves to
conditions as they arose. I did tell you five millions would be all we
would sell, but when we agreed to that we had no idea the subscription
would be so large. Since then we have got far enough to see that the
subscription will run even beyond fifty millions, and you may as well
hear now that in consequence it has been decided by every one interested
with the exception of yourself to raise it still another five millions,
that is, fifteen millions instead of ten, and I don't want to go through
any more scenes about broken promises and what the people will think,
either. The people have gone into this thing with their eyes wide open;
we are giving them good value; you are in no way their guardian, and you
are not going to run this affair any more than others who are
interested. You may as well make up your mind to it right now."

He let himself go as he talked, breathing fire and defiance, but I cared
nothing for all the terrors of his anger. A blind fury seized me--I
don't believe there was ever such a scene before at 26 Broadway, and I
think it has had but one parallel since, when Mr. Rogers and myself
again had it out over another matter. This time there were no pleas or
petitions. I denounced, demanded, threatened. He had straight and strong
my version of the vampire history of "Standard Oil," and also in rough,
crude terms my opinion of his trickery and double-dealing. My voice was
raised. I had lost all thought of what his people in the outer office
would think. As I went on he wilted and tried to stop me, for I had
shown him, until he knew it was so, that nothing but my death before I
left the building would prevent me from taking the whole miserable
affair, first to the newspapers, and then to the courts. I proved to him
that I would have injunctions against Stillman, the National City Bank,
and every one in interest, before the allotment could be made. Gradually
his rage subsided and he broke down--not as other men break down, but as
much as it is possible for his stern nature to give way. We remained
there until seven o'clock. The building was as still as a set
mouse-trap, and he strove with me. Such action, he demonstrated, would
precipitate a panic. His argument was perfect in its logic.

"Not one man in a million, Lawson, will agree with you that you are
justified in bringing about all this disaster simply because you think
that we are taking too much of the cash that has been voluntarily paid
in by people well able to attend to their own affairs. You must remember
once this scandal and trouble are public they never can be smothered.
There can be no more consolidation, no more copper boom in your lifetime
and mine, and when the collapse comes every one will look for the
victim, and that victim will be you. Even your best friend will say if
you were going to turn informer you should have been smart enough to
have discovered your mare's nest before you let it grow so big. Look at
it, Lawson, look at it, and in the name of everything that is reasonable
get back your senses."

My readers must remember that the Henry H. Rogers I am portraying here
is no ordinary man, but the strongest, most acute, and most persuasive
human being that in the thirty-five active years of my life I have
encountered. And on me all the magic of his wonderful individuality, all
the resources of his fertile mind, all the histrionic power of his
dramatic personality were concentrated. His logic was resistless. As he
spun the web of his argument my position seemed hopeless; even more
forcible than his reasoning was the graphic recital of how both
increases had been made. His eyes watered as he spoke. They were not his
proposals, but Stillman's and the others' who had been let in on the
several floors, but to whom he had never explained my rights nor my
position in the enterprise.

"The truth is, Lawson," he said--"and I'll not mince matters further:
From the beginning I have done business with you on a basis entirely
different from that on which it is our rule to deal with agents or
associates. At the start I expected that you would, as all others have
done, fall into our ways. Instead, you have grown more stubborn, and the
result is, I have been forced into all kinds of holes, some of which I
have not even let William Rockefeller know about. Here at last I am in
between the grinders. I cannot go to such men as Stillman and Morgan and
admit that you are the one who has been doing this copper business that
I have had them think I was doing myself. You would not ask me to put
myself in such a humiliating position. Think what John D. Rockefeller
would say of such a confession. It's impossible. And when these
associates of mine get down to this matter and all agree upon the way it
should be closed up, what can I do but go with them? If they knew the
facts it would be easy to run you in between us, and then you would
either have to convince them or give way yourself, but this is not
possible here."

The straight and narrow way is easy to follow, but once lost is hard to
find. The defaulting bank president who overnight "borrows" a few
thousands from his institution, fully intends to return the "loan" next
day, but repairing an error is even more difficult than resisting a
temptation, and when a man is in crime's net, his struggles to escape
seem only to tighten around him its meshes. When the incidents of his
downfall are before the jury or the coroner, there will always appear a
dozen places where the unfortunate might have cut his way out of the
strangling coils, but he who surveys such situations from the outside
has a clearer vision than the blinded and desperate wretch in the trap.
He who enlists with the brigands of "frenzied finance" and takes the
oath of addition, division, and silence cannot discharge himself because
his comrades are needlessly harsh to their victims. Eventually he may
decide on desertion as preferable to throat-cutting, but to suggest
resignation is to invite destruction, for it is a tradition of the
fraternity that the best cure for repentance is a knife-thrust.

Mr. Rogers and myself wrestled with the situation until both were fairly
exhausted. Finally we went uptown together; he home, to return later to
the bank, I to the Waldorf to meet the newspaper men who were there
awaiting the news of the subscription. I left him at Thirty-third
Street, the question between us still unsolved. In the years that have
passed since that ill-starred night, over and over again I have sifted
and pounded the talk that then passed between us, and never have I been
able to decide how much of what Mr. Rogers said to me was true and how
much cunning argument to make me accede to his wishes. I hope none of my
readers will ever find themselves so caught between the high cliffs and
the deep water as I was that night. I recalled the old story of the
sea-captain whose ship was captured by pirates and who was offered the
alternative of hoisting the black flag and joining the band with his
crew, or walking the plank. If he became a pirate, at least he saved the
lives of his men, for their fate hung on his decision. If he
refused--well, he retained his own virtue and kept intact that of his
crew. The captain in my story had preferred propriety to piracy, and
fifteen men lost their lives to no purpose, whereas the part of wisdom
would have been to submit, with reservations, on the chance of throwing
the pirates to the sharks at the first opportunity. If I should throw
the bomb that I had threatened Rogers with, I felt sure it would put an
end to all his evil machinations, but I could not limit the area of
destruction to the guilty. I let my mind dwell on Mr. Rogers' words:
"Lawson, no harm can come to your people, for the fifteen millions will
be used in the market to protect the stock, just as I promised you." If
this promise were kept, what was there to fear? But would it be kept? In
the face of the evidence of broken pledges already crowded on me, and
the bitter knowledge I had acquired of the wolfish greed of this man and
his associates, it would be paltering with facts to say that even then I
felt certain the money would be so used. Yet "Standard Oil" avoids such
direct illegality as might bring it within the law's clutches, and I
knew that already a fraud had been committed. I might hold that over
them and compel them to go straight. Then I recalled the passion that
possessed them to grab at real money when it came within their clutches,
and the "Governor Flower to handle the market in such a way that no harm
can come to us."

I carried my heart-tearing perplexities to dinner, cogitated over the
arguments pro and con, and finally made up my mind that the percentage
of wisdom was in favor of sticking by the ship. On board I was in better
shape to protect my friends and followers than if I jumped into the
ocean. Time has shown since that it would have been far better for all
concerned for me to have touched off the powder magazine that night, had
one grand and glorious explosion, and gone down with the wreckage, than
to have sailed through the hell of after years. I am not the first man
who has balked at amputation and got blood-poisoning.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE BOGUS SUBSCRIPTION


Later, on his way downtown, Mr. Rogers came to my rooms.

"Are you ready for the finals, Lawson?" he said cordially. He, too, had
dined, and doubtless philosophized; his whole air showed me he had
satisfied himself that I would submit to the logic of conditions. No man
knows the human animal from his heart's seed to its bloom better than
Henry H. Rogers--and I was human.

I told him I would hold the reporters until I got the word from him, and
that it must not be later than midnight. No questions were asked nor
assurances given. He left in a moment for the National City Bank, and
there in its solemn chambers he and James Stillman perpetrated the act
which is the crime of Amalgamated, in itself a stark and palpable fraud,
but aggravated by the standing of the men concerned in it, and the
pledges that were slaughtered, into as arrant and damnable piece of
financial villany as was ever committed.

About eleven o'clock my telephone rang. I heard Mr. Rogers' voice.

"Lawson, Stillman's tally is so far completed that we know about where
we are. Give out to the press that the subscription runs between four
hundred and four hundred and twenty-five millions, call it four hundred
and twelve millions, after throwing out one hundred and seventy millions
from speculators, and sixty-two millions as defective, and after
shutting out fifty millions more which were received too late. Each
subscriber will be allotted fifteen to twenty per cent. of his
subscription--call it eighteen per cent."

The figures were paralyzing. I made no attempt to analyze them. They
came so late that as soon as the newspaper-men with me got them they
flew to their offices and thus I escaped a strenuous ordeal of
interviewing. Our arrangements for distributing the facts throughout the
country were made through the _Boston Financial News_, to which we had
given the exclusive right to send out the details, and its special wires
were soon clicking the news to all the world. The next morning the press
contained the particulars. I reproduce from the papers of May 5th the
tale.

       *       *       *       *       *

     =$412,000,000 FOR AMALGAMATED COPPERS=

     =$75,000,000 Subscribed More Than Five Times Over=

     =FINANCIAL WORLD COPPER MAD=

     Subscriptions of $412,000,000--the largest in any financial
     deal in the world's history--are reported by the _Boston
     Financial News_ to have been received toward the Amalgamated
     Company. "The world has gone copper mad" in truth.

     Subscribers can be allotted only eighteen one-hundredths, or
     less than one share in five of the amount applied for.

     One week ago, says the report, it was announced that the
     Standard Oil magnates, Rogers, Rockefeller, and their
     associates, had begun their conquering march upon
     copperdom--that the much heralded copper consolidation was a
     thing of fact--that the Amalgamated Company had been
     incorporated, and that its first capital, $75,000,000, would
     be offered to the public by subscription through the
     National City Bank of New York at $100 per share--$100 per
     share, without a discount, a commission, or profit to any
     one.

     Never before since the first dollar of civilization was
     invented to take the place of the stone tokens of barbarism
     had such a thing been heard of--$75,000,000 of stock to be
     sold to investors at $100 per share, and in one week after
     the birth of the corporation upon which it was based.

     The financial world held its breath, and from that time up
     to the closing of the books of subscription, at twelve
     o'clock noon yesterday, the financial world, English,
     German, and French, have awaited with bated breath the
     outcome of this great feat of modern financiering.

     During the entire week from all parts of the world have
     poured into the National City Bank applications, accompanied
     by checks for the first payment--one continuous stream of
     entreaties--for some of the shares of this great enterprise.
     Nothing in history tells of such a movement.

     Early in the week it became evident to the managers of the
     great industrial revolution that something must be done to
     stop the movement or it would run to such an extent as to
     cause serious trouble in the money markets of the world.
     Since Monday most strenuous efforts have been made to
     discourage the taking of large subscriptions. To that end
     the powerful financiers interested have begged all who
     contemplated subscribing for over $1,000,000 to keep their
     applications down to that figure, and their efforts met with
     complete success.

     Again, all those who were connected with the enterprise and
     who had intended subscribing on the same basis as outsiders
     for very large amounts, agreed that if the subscription ran
     over $150,000,000 they would refrain from subscribing that
     those who had subscribed would not become dissatisfied with
     the smallness of their allotment. Still the rush continued.
     From all financial centres of the world came the unbroken
     chain of applications, until those most interested in the
     success of the undertaking were appalled at the magnitude of
     the interest aroused.

     For the past forty-eight hours the National City Bank has
     had employed, night and day, a corps of forty-odd extra
     clerks calculating and arranging the applications and
     checks. At exactly twelve o'clock noon four uniformed
     watchmen closed the doors of the subscription department of
     the City Bank in the face of over three hundred intending
     subscribers, who were frantic at their vain efforts to get
     in their subscriptions before the appointed hour arrived.

     Up to eleven o'clock to-night the entire bank force, regular
     and extra, have been at work, and at this hour the figures
     were announced which make the subscription of the
     Amalgamated Copper the greatest event in finance since the
     world began.

     After throwing out bids that were, on examination, proved to
     be the efforts of speculators to take advantage of the great
     interest to make money with no risk, and after throwing out
     bids unaccompanied by checks, or checks that were not
     satisfactory, the first class amounting to over
     $170,000,000, and the last to over $62,000,000, the total
     cash subscription was found to have reached the gigantic sum
     of $412,000,000, which gave to each and every subscriber
     eighteen per cent. of his subscription.

     It is not known how much was represented in the 300
     subscribers who were too late, but it is estimated at
     $50,000,000--five of the 300 had single subscriptions of
     $1,000,000 each. It is estimated that the sum total of the
     subscriptions that were thrown out or that arrived by
     messenger or mail--for the mail is still pouring into the
     bank--was between $300,000,000 and $400,000,000, which,
     added to what insiders had intended to secure for
     themselves, would have carried the total to over
     $1,000,000,000.

     It is estimated also that there are a great many who,
     anticipating the enormous over-subscriptions, have refrained
     from subscribing and will purchase in the open market.

     Immediately after the subscription closed, 140, or forty per
     cent. premium, was bid for the stock secured by the lucky
     bidders.

     It is said the company will issue the next $100,000,000 at
     once, as those insiders who refrained from subscribing were
     practically promised that they would at once be given an
     equal opportunity to subscribe if they would hold back on
     this issue. It is apparent that the next subscription will
     be even greater and cause more excitement than the first
     one, particularly as it is agreed by all that the price of
     the stock will quickly mount to $200 per share, as it is to
     be put upon the English, German, French, New York, and
     Boston Stock Exchanges, and will undoubtedly become one of
     the greatest investments sought for by the wealthy classes.

     England sent in subscriptions for $50,000,000; Germany and
     France, $20,000,000 each; Boston and New England showed
     their steadfast faith in copper by subscribing for over
     $200,000,000.

     There is great excitement at the clubs and meeting-places of
     investors and brokers to-night.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is what Mr. Rogers and Mr. Stillman did. After discarding all
unsatisfactory and imperfect subscriptions, there remained subscriptions
of between $125,000,000 and $150,000,000 which had complied with all
legal conditions, and accompanying these were checks aggregating between
$6,250,000 and $7,500,000. This was real money, in the bank and within
reach, and the two great financiers, hungering for every dollar of it,
determined to possess themselves of this great sum and use it as surety
to compel the payment of the balance. First, they agreed that not a
dollar of the five per cent. subscription should be returned; next, to
so use this amount that no one to whom stock was allotted would back
out, but, on the contrary, promptly take his whole allotment and pay up
the balance. To effect this they decided to allot each subscriber just
the number of shares of Amalgamated necessary to render the amount of
money accompanying his subscription equal to about a twenty-five or
thirty per cent. payment on his whole allotment. This would constitute
such a large margin as to assure the payment of the other seventy or
seventy-five per cent. due. For instance, a man who applied for a
hundred shares accompanied his subscription with a check for $500. He
was allotted twenty shares, value $2,000, on which his $500 check
represented a payment of twenty-five per cent. If the conditions of the
National City Bank's advertisement had been complied with, he was
absolutely entitled to three shares of every five subscribed for, or
sixty in all. To bring about the proportion which Mr. Rogers wanted, a
bogus subscription of five or six times the unallotted balance was put
in by him, and this is where the fraud was committed. The National City
Bank was in duty bound to protect the public from any such bogus
subscription, and to see that fair treatment was accorded to all
subscribers. Yet, unfaithful to the trust, it permitted this bogus
subscription to be put in, many hours after the bids had been opened. It
utterly failed to comply with the conditions of its advertisement, and
was thus a direct party to the fraud perpetrated by its president and
Mr. Rogers. The exact amount of the bogus subscription could not be
decided until the exact figures of the subscriptions had been compiled,
so the figures I gave out that night were only estimates. Within the
next few days it was ascertained that the genuine subscriptions totalled
$132,067,500, upon which an allotment of one share in five, or
$26,413,500 of stock altogether, was made to the public.

In this way the conspirators secured from the public $26,413,500 of the
original cost, $39,000,000, and yet retained over $48,500,000 of the
authorized stock of $75,000,000. In other words the public paid
two-thirds of the purchase price, and the conspirators retained nearly
two-thirds of the property.

The fraud thus perpetrated amounts to this: Every subscriber legally
entitled to three shares of Amalgamated stock was deprived of two of
them by the National City Bank, and the proof is to be found in the
books of said National City Bank. My readers may say here that this
constitutes a fortunate condition rather than a crime to be punished,
for the less Amalgamated a man had, the better he was off, as the stock
afterward declined. This conclusion is a false one, however.

Here, in simple terms, is an illustration of what was done in
Amalgamated and of what the wrong was.

B had a valuable race-horse and decided to dispose of him in five
shares. He offered these five shares for public subscription and
advertised that if over five were subscribed for he would split up the
shares and allot them pro rata. There were on the final day seven
subscriptions. Instead of turning over the horse to the seven
subscribers to own and race in their own way, B notified them that
twenty-one subscriptions had been received, and that for their seven he
had allotted them a one-third ownership, while the other subscribers
would retain two-thirds. In the two-thirds resided the right to manage
and race the horse, and the seven had no say whatever in this direction.
The seven honest subscribers, not suspecting that B had simply sold them
one-third of his horse for nearly his whole cost, and that he still
retained a two-thirds ownership in him, supposed that fourteen others
had subscribed on the same terms as themselves. If the horse were really
able to race and thereby earn large sums of money, it was by this fraud
in B's power to make him appear so worthless that the seven bona-fide
subscribers would be inclined to turn over their ownerships to B at his
own figure. Contrariwise, B could so dose the horse as to make him
appear more valuable than he really was, and use the advantage to
dispose of his fourteen shares for fictitiously high prices.

The world assumes an attitude of horror and amazement at the mention of
crime, and thousands of words are written to describe what led up to and
away from any given overt deed; but the deed itself, however grave,
shameful, or portentous, seems strangely barren and bloodless set down
in naked words. Yet the mountain peak that tops the great ranges is but
a shoulder over its neighbor, though it may be the apex of a continent.
A misconstrued word has caused the spilling of the blood of millions;
the needle-point of a stiletto has severed kingdoms. Between temptation
and consequence there is but little space, yet it is deep and wide
enough for all the poison in the tongues of all the world's serpents.
To-day, a simple peasant, humble, gentle, is an insignificant atom in
the great Russian Empire, and Nicholas is the supreme ruler of rulers.
To-morrow, by a simple swing of an arm a bomb is thrown, and the peasant
is the one human being in all the world; the face of Russia is changed,
and Nicholas--is not.

The first crime of Amalgamated is a matter of mathematics. It involved
plain fraud and misrepresentation, the insertion of a bogus subscription
and the disruption of solemn pledges, but the commission of it was
nothing more than a matter of arrangement between two men, one the
master of the greatest of all business organizations, and the other the
head of the strongest bank in the United States. The consequences were
world-wide. That night no bomb was thrown, but a seed was sown for the
cruelest harvest of crime, dishonor, unhappiness, and desolation ever
reaped within the confines of our republic.

     NOTE.--The above statement has now been in the hands of the
     public, has been printed and commented on in thousands of
     the leading journals of the world for twelve months, and no
     Government official has taken cognizance of it. The charges
     I make constitute one of the gravest business crimes ever
     committed by any national bank. If they are true, the
     Government at Washington has no more important duty than to
     punish the criminals. If they are false, I should be sent to
     prison. What a commentary on our boasted freedom and
     equality! The National City Bank does business at the old
     stand. Rogers, Rockefeller and Stillman walk the streets; so
     do I, and since I published the above statement and
     submitted the above proof, at least half a dozen poor
     national bank clerks and officials who have stolen a few
     hundreds or thousands have been sent to prison, or have
     committed suicide to avoid being sent there.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE AFTERMATH


It was just past the midnight of May 4th. The last newspaper-man had
taken his departure, my friends had all retired, and I was alone for the
first moment since the news had come from the City Bank. I had not then
stopped to analyze its character, for there had been only time to
announce it. Now, however, I sat down at my desk and with a pencil and a
piece of paper began to cipher out what the "412 millions" meant. As I
figured, cold sweat began to gather on my forehead, and the further I
figured the colder the sweat, until at last in an agony of perplexity I
again called up Mr. Rogers. My agitation must have betrayed itself in my
voice, though I tried to assume a tone of calm inquiry.

"Mr. Rogers," I said, "I've been vainly trying to figure out the meaning
of the subscription figures you gave me and I cannot make head or tail
of them. You said '400 to 425 millions'; of course that means you have
put in our dummy subscription, but what was the real subscription? It is
absolutely essential that I know to-night, for in the morning I shall be
besieged for information, and ignorance on my part may get all hands
into trouble."

"Lawson," he replied, "you must not talk such things over the wire--you
don't know who is listening. You must not."

"I can't help it," I replied determinedly. "I positively must have the
real figures, for even you and Mr. Stillman may have made a slip-up and
I want to work the thing out so that I may have it clear in my head for
the morning. It is essential."

He realized that it was useless to try to escape my insistence, and he
snapped out:

"All I can say now is, it is between 125 and 150 millions real, solid
subscriptions, backed with actual money. We haven't got it figured out
within some millions, and won't before to-morrow, when we will put in
our subscription for the right amount, but we know it is surely between
these two figures, and that each subscriber will have about one share in
five, so we shall have a good, strong twenty-five per cent. margin. That
is all I will or can say to-night."

I heard the sharp click as he hung up the receiver.

I went back to my pencil and pad and began again the interminable
figuring. My head throbbed and my senses reeled. In those still, dark
hours of the early morning I covered sheet after sheet with figures, all
of which had for a basis 125 to 150 millions, 400 to 425 millions, one
in five, and twenty-five per cent. margin, and these figures I turned
and twisted in a vain, vain effort to bring out something with fifteen
millions for an answer.

"No, it will not come," I said to myself at last in hopeless despair.

Numb and dull, I leaned back in my chair with half-closed eyes, while
night, that master phantom maker, played upon my harried nerves and
distraught mind. Stealthily out of his murky caldron the ghosts and
goblins crept. I saw the spectres of all my dearest dreams trail
slouching by, jostled and driven by sneering bullies. I saw a great
company of scowling men, wailing women, and little children, with drawn,
pinched faces, and they seemed to point at me as they plodded past,
muttering, "But for you." Then, to the clanking of chains, hoarse
curses, and the sharp whip-snap, lines upon lines of men in striped
suits, with cropped heads, and faces branded by despair, filed up.
Faintly a mutter of sobs and groans echoed, "But for you." The clanking
ceased; there came the slow shuffling of many feet, and a procession of
men, bearing stretchers on which lay shrouded figures, advanced into
view. Like a solemn knell upon my ear smote the reproach, "Suicides
because of you." And now out of the caldron sprang a mob of goblin
dollar-signs compounded of blood-red snakes and copper bars, that
danced a mad saraband around my chair to a weird chorus of, "But for
you." Transfixed and aghast I stared at the train of awful forms. So
real were they, they seemed almost to touch me as they swept onward. At
last, with a convulsive effort, I threw off the spell, banished the
phantasms of my frightened brain, and shook myself together with a: "You
have work ahead and dreaming will not do it for you."

Back into my mind trooped the unanswerable, cold realities. There could
be no doubt that the announcements in the morning papers would surprise
those who had been led to expect an allotment of one share in twenty or
thirty and had subscribed accordingly, and likewise those who had
expected to get all, or at least one out of two. There might be murmurs
of foul play and a general suspicion that trickery had been practised.
Looking at the situation, I saw that upon me the chief blame must fall,
and that it behooved me to think soundly and quickly over what had best
be done to protect from the impending massacre those whom I had lured
into the ambush. The smoke-wreaths had all gone out of my brain now, and
as the known factors began to group themselves symmetrically before my
mind I forced myself to face certain all-too-evident facts: Rogers and
Stillman had plainly hoisted the black flag; they had broken all their
promises to me and assuredly had no intention of carrying out to the
public the pledges I had made on their behalf; they would handle this
affair as they had others I knew about--only to extract the greatest
number of dollars from it--and in the course of their operations I and
my friends would probably be sent through the crusher with the rest. All
this being true, I could do little by denunciation or exposure, for
these men, caring nothing for the sufferings of others, would not fear
the consequences of their own acts; my only hope was to meet them on
their own ground and outplay them at their own game. Then and there I
determined on my course--to compel them to undo the wrongs they had
committed and, if so great an achievement were possible, put the people
in position to do to them what they had done to the people. An almost
hopeless resolution at that juncture, it would seem, but, as results
have shown, by no means out of the power of man's accomplishment.

This is what I reasoned out before I retired to bed: If the actual
subscription were 125 to 150 millions, then six to eight millions of
real cash had been paid into the National City Bank. On an allotment of
one share in five, these six to eight millions represented a margin of
about twenty-five per cent.--big enough to cover any ordinary drop in
the price of the stock, and big enough also to lead those to whom shares
had been assigned to make good the balance. But to meet this allotment,
a very large bogus subscription had been necessary, and therein I saw
the weakness of Rogers and Rockefeller and the weapon that Providence
had intrusted to my hands.

Mr. Rogers' uncertainty as to the totals of the subscription made it
evident that the bogus subscription was not in the bank even yet, and as
it must be for a definite amount and backed up by a five-per-cent.
check, it could not be put in until James Stillman's clerks had computed
to the last cent the public's applications, and that enormous piece of
work would not be completed on the next day nor even the day following.
This bogus subscription was already outlawed--its insertion even at the
present moment would have been criminal; how much worse the criminality
if days were allowed to elapse between the legally fixed last moment for
bids and the actual time at which this outlawed subscription was
admitted. And as the transaction involved the making of a large check
and other formalities, it was obvious it was not one that could be
easily concealed. It must be a part of the bank's records. If I but
played aright the cards Dame Fate had put into my hands, I might yet
redeem myself and save the public I had led into the trap. But as clear
as the new moon against a November sky stood forth the warning that if I
attempted to cut into a "Standard Oil" game, I must play cards their
way--dispassionately, scientifically, with no sentiment nor
consideration for adversary or partner. With this conviction I went to
bed.

It was quite early on the following morning that I met Mr. Rogers, and
without giving him time to begin the conversation, for I was determined
he should have no provocation for the break with me that I guessed he
had on his programme, I started in:

"I have been figuring this thing out, Mr. Rogers, and I think I see
things as they are, and although I might not have handled it as you and
Stillman did, it is done, and the only thing to do now is to make some
arrangements to keep the subscribers feeling good until the stock gets
to a round premium. Of course it would not do to have any slump below
par until after the receipts are issued and the whole amount of the
subscriptions paid up."

Mr. Rogers looked me over, very suspiciously at first, then brightened
up, and it did not require an extra eye to see he was agreeably
surprised at my cheerful attitude. Doubtless he explained to himself the
change on the ground that "He at last sees the dollars he is to have."

"What suggestion have you, Lawson, as to what should be done this
morning?"

"Only that all hands look happy, talk big, and do all possible to keep a
good premium on the stock to be delivered when issued. By the way, have
you and Stillman changed the scheme about putting all the cash received
behind the stock?"

This I asked in as mild a tone as possible, and tried to convey by my
voice the suggestion, "Because you may have had good reason to, and if
you have I will not kick over the traces." It took every ounce of
will-power in my armament to keep from grating my teeth as I so spoke.

Again his eyes bored piercingly into mine, and I felt as though all the
man's mental faculties were ranged to assail me, but I guess I ran the
gauntlet.

"Yes," he said slowly, "we have changed it some. The fact is, Lawson, I
have agreed to leave that part wholly to Flower and Stillman, while I
run out of town for a few days." I had steeled myself to play the game
and said not a word, but silence was a mighty effort. "And," he went on,
"if I were you, Lawson, I should just dig out too for a while."

"What a heartless rascal!" was on my lips, but I gripped myself hard
and pushed the insult clear way back, and made never a protest by word
or look.

"I am afraid that won't be best," I said in an every-day, pondering
tone. "There are lots of sharp chaps on 'the Street' who will insist on
asking questions, questions Flower cannot possibly answer, and in a jiff
they might start in to offer the subscriptions down, and before one
could whistle a bar from 'Wait Till the Clouds Roll By' the air might be
full of falling stars."

This seemed to strike home.

"Well, what have you to propose?" he asked.

"Some one should be ready in the market to take any amount of stock--" I
argued.

He interrupted in his old aggressive way before the sentence was half
out of my mouth:

"Cut that line out, Lawson; I told you Flower has that end of the affair
entirely in his hands."

And at this point my resolution to keep quiet and play the game did
almost go by the board. For a second I literally boiled. Then there
flashed before my mind's mirror the dreadful procession of the night
before, and I once more held tight and, oh, so deferentially and
politely, like a chastened school-boy, went on:

"Oh, that will be all right. I was not going to suggest that you let me
interfere with Flower's plans, for I can gather, Mr. Rogers, that you
and the others have decided on doing things your own way, and you can
rest easy I shall not interfere."

"That's something like, Lawson," he said, with a heartiness I could see
was from the lower hold. "That's the way to look at a big thing of this
kind, and if we all just pull together for a while we shall have your
old plans going like oil again."

Yes, Mr. Rogers was plainly pleased at my complaisance and the prospect
of using me to gather in another harvest of dollars later. Playing my
game, I pursued:

"Is it fair, Mr. Rogers, to ask what arrangements Stillman has made for
loaning money to those who may want to borrow on their subscriptions?
You know we gave out before the subscription was opened that the City
Bank would loan on the stock?"

"That is one of the things I was going to tell you, Lawson. Flower is
going to let it be known that any one and every one who cares to, can
borrow the remaining seventy-five per cent. at the City at going rates,
so there will be no excuse for any one selling."

There it was as plain as a haystack: it was the old trap, the old
ambush; within were the victims lured there by the cupidity which I had
played upon; the bars were up now and "Standard Oil" was ready to begin
its familiar trick of going through their clothes.

Already "Standard Oil" had laid its hands on the amount each subscriber
had paid in, which represented twenty-five per cent. of the total value
of the shares allotted. The National City Bank would generously loan the
balance. A little later an accomplice would cause a flurry in the
market. The loans would be called and, automatically, the stock,
together with the money that had been paid for it, would fall into the
greedy maws of Rockefeller and Rogers. No fluttering fly was ever so
surely enmeshed and at the mercy of weaving spider as the unfortunates
whom I had so decoyed to the "Standard Oil" web. With the most valiant
assumption of indifference, I continued:

"That being the case, it cannot possibly interfere with Flower's set-out
for me to spread the news, too, that any one who wants to borrow the
balance of his subscription can get it from Stillman's Bank?"

"You can do better than that, Lawson," said Mr. Rogers with an air of
real cordiality. "You can let it be known to the brokers and the Wall
Street men that any good house can borrow all it wants on Amalgamated to
the extent of ninety cents on the dollar. Of course, this won't be for
irresponsible outsiders, for the stock might break below ninety, but
give the word that any responsible broker can always borrow as high as
ninety dollars a share for those who want the stock on margin."

"That will help things," I answered. "Now, Mr. Rogers, let me tell you
what I have decided to do on my own hook. Don't misunderstand me; it
has nothing to do with you or the rest, and, of course, none of you will
object to my doing all I care to on my own account. As you said
yesterday, one portion of our job is finished, and we have thirty-six
millions' profit. This means either cash or its equivalent, stock, which
at par or over is as good as cash, at least as good as ninety, which I
can have my brokers borrow at the City. I calculate that my share is
nine millions less whatever you have given away in the handling of the
enterprise."

I paused as I saw a black cloud gathering on his face at my mention of
nine millions of dollars, but before he could object I went on:

"I understand, of course, that the expense and the shares you have had
to give to others represent a huge total. At the same time there have
been huge profits on the side. There is no necessity to enter upon what
is coming to me just now, but what I intended to say was this: I have
millions with you and Mr. Rockefeller--millions more than I owe you on
account of Butte and other Boston stocks of the second section. Now, I
propose to take a million or two of that and start in on my account to
support the market right from this morning; independent of Flower or
your other operations, I will see if I cannot get up a good feeling."

At once the frown relaxed and his set features broke into a smile of
gratification.

"That's something like it, Lawson," he said. "When you get down to real
business we never have differences. It is only when you start up that
confounded croaking about what we must do for the people, that I get
angry."

"All right, Mr. Rogers," I answered. "Let those things drop and, as you
say, we'll keep down to business. How much can I depend upon drawing
from my account this morning, provided I want it?"

"How will two millions do?" he answered cheerily.

"Plenty," I said.

"All right; I will notify Stillman that you or your brokers may want to
borrow up to that, and if you need the Amalgamated stock, you can have
it at any time. I will leave word to that effect with Curtis."

Curtis was William Rockefeller's secretary and right-hand man, who then
handled the details of all their financial matters.

Before leaving I indicated to Mr. Rogers the details of my proposed
actions, and explained that I had sent for my principal Boston brokers
who would be with me on Wall Street to help steer the craft. Evidently
my plans met his personal approval. Indeed, from the change that had
come over his manner I realized that he felt he had been spared a
disagreeable task and that my shift had been a pleasant surprise to him.
It was plain that he and Stillman had decided that I must be thrown to
the sharks if I kept on my old tack, and were therefore gratified to
find that I was not only ready to assist in steering the ship their way,
but also willing to feed the engines coal at my own expense to keep up
her speed. In spite of Mr. Rogers' confidence in Governor Flower's
ability to take care of the market, it was a great relief to his mind to
know that I should be there, for he realized that no one, however able
and popular--and Governor Flower was both to an unusual degree--could
possibly take up such an intricate bunch of lines as those with which we
had been driving, without a lot of feeling-out practice.

There was another aspect of the situation that had been suggested to me
by a certain passing twitch of his lip that I had noted when I had said
I proposed putting some of my own millions behind the market. It was as
though the tongue had involuntarily started to lap the chops for blood,
and I scribbled a memo on my mind's black-board, "Think over whether he
does not intend to set traps for your share of the spoils."



CHAPTER XXX

THE MORNING AFTER


It was with a feeling of intense relief that I left Mr. Rogers and
returned to the Waldorf. At last I knew where I "was at": I was to play
a lone hand; my enemies were in front; there were no partners from whose
treacherous knife-blades I should have to protect my back. The path was
clear, and as I examined my position, I felt my old self again. Promptly
I called up my Boston brokers, who were at the Holland House, to say I
would drop in for them on my way downtown, and with a clear plan of
campaign in my mind, I determined to face the breakfasting crowd in the
big café downstairs.

Almost immediately I found myself in the centre of a knot of men who
began eagerly to press me for further particulars of the Amalgamated
subscriptions. We all know the story of the comedian informed in the
midst of a performance of his beloved wife's death, who yet must laugh
and antic to the end of the play. I appreciated the heavy-hearted
actor's plight as I surveyed the little throng so vitally interested in
their dollar affairs. I longed to mount a chair and tell them how they
had been duped, but my rôle called for different lines. It was my part
to feign satisfaction and my duty to keep every cent invested in our
enterprise from shrinking a mill. I pumped as much enthusiasm into my
speech as possible.

"You see what the papers say," I said. "That gives you all the
information I have, for although you may not think it, I have been
spending the night just as the rest of you have--in lands where all
flotations sell away over par. I'm going down to Wall Street just now.
After a while I'll have more to tell you."

The flutter of an eyelash, a hair-breadth of hesitation, a mumbled word
and there may be born in the mind of the investor that instinctive
distrust which is the beginning of panic. In a stock market as in a
powder magazine there are always dread possibilities of explosion, and
he who would survive must have incombustible nerves and an ice-packed
brain; asbestos assurances and an unblushing swagger have averted many
money conflagrations and set prices hill-climbing.

My little congregation had all the fluttering fugitiveness of the
investor-out-for-quick profits, and after a few generalities, I got down
to the one question they all longed to ask but none dared to
voice--"What can I sell my subscription for if I want to part with it?"
Raising my voice a trifle and looking straight at them:

"Don't get excited about what you read in print these next few days," I
said, as though some one had asked me the question, "for there will be
hogsheads of rumors unhooped, and remember that rumor prices are never
real money. The papers this morning say that any one can sell at 40 to
60 per cent. profit, but that hardly seems reasonable to me; in fact, if
I were any of you who have been allotted stock and could get such profit
as that overnight, I'd take it. All I'll do just now is this: I will
give 110 for any amount any of you want to sell, provided you sell right
now--and 10 per cent. profit is not so bad when you come to think it's
40 per cent. on what actual money you have put up."

In the vernacular of stocks this process I used is called "moulding
public opinion" and "making a market," and it had the expected effect on
that bright May morning which followed the closing day of the
Amalgamated flotation. I was not offered a share; in fact, there was a
loud guffaw, and it was a hundred to one wager that as I passed on to
another group each listener tumbled over his neighbor to get in first.
"110! That's a good joke! I wonder if he takes us for children!
Evidently he is out early this morning to catch any stray worms napping!
110 for something worth 160!"

Inside of ten minutes it was all over the Waldorf and on the wires,
"Look out for Lawson! He's trying to get Amalgamated at 110." And by the
time I got to the Holland, a block down the Avenue, the brokers and
investors gathered there were ready to give me the laugh with "You're
out early, we see, to pick up a bundle of easy money."

My first task had been accomplished to my own satisfaction. Inside of an
hour it would be flashed over the world that there was a firm reliable
market at 110 bid and almost any price asked for Amalgamated, and while
110 was not anything like the wild 140 to 160 that rumor gossiped of, it
represented such a good profit that it was sure to set the market off
with an all-round chipperness.

My readers must bear in mind that as yet there was no real Amalgamated
stock which could be sold, and no place to sell it if there had been,
for until each subscriber received official notice no one really knew
for certain that he had been allotted any stock, and until the
Amalgamated shares were listed on the Stock Exchange, there could be no
reliable market, although they could be traded in on the curb.

At the Holland House, I quickly outlined to my chief brokers my plans
for the day. Then together we started for Wall Street.

The hours that followed were busy ones, and confusing as well. Wall
Street was a-buzz with curiosity and from all sides poured questions.
"The Street," it was evident, had awakened to the fact that the
situation in Amalgamated disclosed a different line-up of conditions
from that which it had anticipated. As to whether the change was good or
bad no one dared hazard a guess. For the first time in my experience,
Wall Street was completely at sea. The shrewdest plungers and
manipulators, men to whom the tape yields up its secrets as the penitent
to the priest; to whom the ticker babbles the inner mysteries of
directors' meetings and deep-down deals--these men whose eyes, ears, and
noses decades of stock-play had trained to supernatural acuteness were
as impotent to track the truth as the veriest tyro. All admitted that
the conditions were unusual, that the subscriptions had far exceeded
expectation, that time would be required to get them straightened out.
Because of this it was natural that the market should be slow and in the
absence of definite facts it might easily look one price and be another.
If the subscription really were 412 millions and if each subscriber
would have a fifth of his allotment, then there was the usual chance for
trick playing and "Standard Oil" might be scheming to gather in this
valuable stock at 110 when its proper price mayhap was 140 to 160 or
more.

In Wall Street the best brains of all the Western world centre. Fortunes
are there waiting for brains to carve and take; stacked up there are
millions which he who has brains can pocket without a "by-your-leave."
Wall Street is the millionnaire's checker-board, but brains direct the
moves and make the plays. And with all its mordant wisdom, cynical
cunning, cold suspicion, Wall Street was baffled.

There was nothing to do but to continue my campaign of smiles and
cheerfulness, repeat my 110 bid in every quarter possible, and so keep
up the delusion. Late that afternoon I saw Mr. Rogers, who eagerly
interrogated me.

"Well, Lawson, what do you make out?"

"It is the most mixed-up mess 'the Street' has ever wrestled with," I
replied, "but one thing is clear: no one will dare to sell much until he
receives notice of just what he has been allotted, and then most will be
timid about selling until they have received the receipts. I don't see
how, if nothing definite leaks out, there can be much danger until after
they get their hands on the receipts, and by that time, of course, you
will have a fine market organized to take care of any offerings."

He flinched. I saw again that I had touched his sore spot, for at every
faintest suggestion that our profits should be used to protect the
market, he became as shy as a pick-pocket at a police parade.



CHAPTER XXXI

I WALK THE PLANK


Have you ever seen a bunch of school-boys who, having sneaked under a
corner of the circus tent, are prowling furtively round the show in holy
terror lest some one who has seen their entry may be awaiting a chance
to nab them? One minute they are tasting the raptures of being under the
canvas; the next, longing to be safely outside. That is about how Wall
Street felt on the memorable Friday after the Amalgamated flotation. The
same feeling prevailed generally on Saturday, though I was obliged to
buy a few blocks of the stock at 110 from Wall Street men whose sharp
noses had sniffed a carrion scent in the air. Sunday was uncomfortable,
for I realized that I might have to face bad conditions on the morrow.
On Monday an ominous feeling began to rise and pervade "the Street" like
a miasma mist in a tropical swamp. The bacillus of distrust had started
its infection. I had to buy quite a lot of subscriptions and was now
varying the price from 110, for it seemed possible any moment that
something would break loose.

These were the conditions when on Tuesday a telephone call came from Mr.
Rogers asking me to drop round to 26 Broadway, as he had an important
matter to talk over with me. I reported at the appointed time. Mr.
Rogers was evidently full of business.

"Lawson," he said, "we have figured everything up and balanced accounts,
and each member of the different syndicates is to be given his share,
cash and stock, at once."

"All right," I answered. "That suits me."

"I thought so," he continued pleasantly. "Mr. Rockefeller has had Curtis
figure up your account, and while in the rush he may not have got
everything in, he's fairly accurate. From what you said about getting
your affairs into shape to help the market, it occurred to me you might
like to have your balance of this section in hand ready for use. I have
the statement here, and if you find it all right I'll go upstairs and
get all it calls for fixed up at once."

We were in the little glass pen where most of our conferences took
place. I, with my elbows on the small mahogany table, sat looking across
at him leaning back in his chair. Without knowing what was to happen,
but from a certain suppressed eagerness I had detected under his frigid
composure, I had a strong conviction that he was nerving himself for a
coup of some kind. I realized that he and Mr. Rockefeller had talked me
over pretty thoroughly and had decided that they had best run this
gauntlet as soon as possible. Since Mr. Rogers had broached the
substitution of Anaconda for the properties originally intended for the
first section of Amalgamated, I had felt that this balancing of accounts
would be a crucial affair, and after the recent turn of the screw, I
hardly knew what to expect, but was ready for the worst. Now a swift
thrill of apprehension suggested I'd better look for real deviltry.
There was perhaps a minute's delay while he fumbled in his pocket and
drew out letters and papers. My blood steeplechased in my veins as I
waited for him to deal me the hand that might decide my fate. In such
tense moments thoughts flash in and out of the mind like lightning, and
as I watched him rise, the fateful paper in his hand, it came over me
with a sharp exultation that however the trumps fell it was a great
game--great even for this king of gamesters who was about to play his
hand.

Henry H. Rogers looked piercingly into my eyes and said: "There's the
account, Lawson." He laid on the table in front of me an oblong piece of
paper. On it were some lines of words followed by other lines of
figures. That was all. I spread it out carefully between my two hands
and bent over it. Then I looked up. Before I allowed the significance of
the figures to penetrate my mind, I wished to know exactly what they
represented.

"If I understand aright, Mr. Rogers," I asked, "this statement does not
take in our Boston deals nor my loans on the Butte and other affairs,
but is a settlement of this first section only--a final clearing-up
showing just what my twenty-five per cent. of the Amalgamated and the
things connected with it amount to? Am I right?"

My voice was even and calmly business-like, and he answered in exactly
the same tone.

"It shows where you stand on this particular affair, and gives your
balance of stock and cash, which we are ready to pay over in whole or in
part, in case you may want to leave some of it against the loans on the
other section."

I turned to the paper; I leaned over it, letting my two hands with the
elbows resting on the table support my head. Mr. Rogers could see only
the back and top of my head, no part of my face. At the first glance I
caught the balance--it was a little less than two millions and a half.
At once the other lines upon the sheet became a crimson blur. Into my
mind rushed an avalanche of figures and facts which seemed to prove
irresistibly that I should have read nine millions in place of the
numbers that were burning themselves into my brain. But what if it were
rightly but two and a half millions, and the great sum on which all my
market movements had been predicated was a hideous miscalculation on my
part? Then inevitably was I hopelessly bankrupt, or saved from that only
to find my neck irrevocably caught in the "Standard Oil" noose. I strove
fiercely to steady my nerves, to arrest the stampeding terrors that had
broken loose in my brain. There came to me a feverish memory of the
hideous procession of Thursday's midnight vigil. I desperately
asseverated to myself, "I must be cool, I must, I must." But all my
resolutions went as goes the powder when touched by the match. In an
instant more nothing in the world mattered; I sprang to my feet, kicked
over the chair, and with an exclamation which was half yell, half
imprecation, I stuck the paper under Mr. Rogers' eyes. On the balance
line I beat a tattoo with my trembling forefinger. Heaven knows what I
said, for all barriers were down and a flood-tide of rage, overwhelming,
terrific, swept my being. There was no chance for Mr. Rogers to answer
or to interrupt me. Suddenly I became conscious that I was asking, "Am I
to understand that this is final? Is this what I get for all I have
stood for?" My voice as I heard it was strange--a hoarse hiss--and the
words fell on my ear like a death sentence. "No, by God, no!" I sprang
between him and the door.

"Lawson, in the name of Heaven, stop for a second; there is some
mistake; I see there is some mistake, some terrible blunder that they
have made upstairs. Don't say another word. Give me that paper and I'll
take it to Mr. Rockefeller. He will see what is wrong; he and I'll go
over it together and you shall have what's right. I will be back in a
few minutes and I swear to you you shall have your full share. Yes, I
swear to you you shall have what you say is right, even if it takes
every dollar of the profits, every dollar."

I handed him the paper without a word and he was out of the room. I
heard gates bang and knew he had, as he promised, "gone upstairs." I
locked the door and waited. I shall never forget the racking torture of
that period of inaction. To make real all the terrors I was suffering it
would be necessary for me to enter into elaborate details of the
wide-spread financial commitment into which I had been led by my
relationship with the Consolidation. I was staggering under immense
lines of Boston "Coppers," which were to be included in the second
section of Amalgamated, but had been purchased to make part of the first
section. Some of these Mr. Rockefeller was carrying for me; the rest
were portioned among two dozen banks, trust companies, and brokers. With
a portion of the profits I had legitimately calculated upon, I had
proposed to lighten my burden and to devote the balance to carrying
through the contract I had taken on my shoulders of protecting
Amalgamated stock in the market. To do so on this showing would be out
of the question; more than ever should I be at "Standard Oil's" mercy.
The dangers that threatened me assumed cyclopean proportions as I
marshalled them. Suddenly another possibility flashed across my brain,
"What if they should tell you that having refused what was fair, you
should have nothing--that you could go to the devil and fight? Then
where would you be?" That meant ruin, crushing, irrevocable, complete; a
series of disasters, so portentously realistic, began a cinematographic
procession across my disordered brain, that I found myself shivering in
anticipation, when suddenly the door-knob clicked and I jumped to my
feet to admit Mr. Rogers. In his hand was the paper. I had eyes for it
alone. I took it from his outstretched fingers and devoured its
contents. It was the same sheet, the same word "balance," but underneath
the old figures was a line below which appeared a new set of ciphers,
showing just a fraction under five millions of dollars. In the brief
interval of minutes my balance had doubled. Before I could utter a word,
with his hand on my arm to arrest my attention, Mr. Rogers was
exclaiming:

"Lawson, one word before you open your mouth. Remember I said you should
be satisfied. Mr. Rockefeller agrees with me. He is convinced these
figures now are right, but wants me to tell you if you believe they are
not, to make your own and you'll have what they call for."

As I said before, Henry H. Rogers knows the human animal, and in the
intimate intercourse of preceding years he had had ample opportunity to
learn those very human characteristics which go to the blending of my
individuality. It is a weakness of which I am intensely conscious, yet
cannot altogether regret, to be easily moved by any show of generosity
and fairness, however specious. When I saw the new figures and realized
that all the hell I had conjured up was no more than a nightmare, a very
rapture of gratitude and relief seized me. It was not that I lost sight
of the fact that this new balance was far below what I knew was my
right, for according to the lowest computation my proper share was nine
millions; nor that I failed to realize that I was in the power of this
man whose greed, callousness, and brutal obstinacy in the face of
opposition no one knew better than I. Still, though his unusual
deference convinced me that by continued, fiery insistence I could force
from him the remaining four millions (for the one thing Standard Oil
never lets get into court is a dispute over a division of profits on a
joint stock deal), the first shock had been so awful, and the reaction
was so sudden, that my whole being revolted at the idea of further
wrangle. Indeed, I was in the same condition as the man whose runaway
horse suddenly stops just as the children in the roadway seemed doomed
to be crushed and beaten to death beneath its iron heels. He condones
the running away in gratitude for the timely halt. A glad voice within
me seemed to be saying, "It's all right, all right--that's money enough
to fight him out with--that's ammunition for victory--victory for
yourself, for the friends who have banked on your ability to protect
them."

I said to Mr. Rogers: "Tell Mr. Rockefeller I thank him for his
fairness. I thank you both. I'm satisfied and this is settled." I put my
finger on the account which lay on the table.

Yes, I positively thanked these men who had tried to rob me of
seventy-five per cent. of all the millions that I had earned by all the
laws _of the game_, and that I so urgently needed to protect those whom
I had lured to probable destruction; needed as a mother in the desert
needs milk to keep life in her babe. I thanked these men in heartfelt
terms because they had returned me an additional third of my own money.
Idiot, you say. I went further; I shook Mr. Rogers by the hand, and as
the tears gathered in his eyes I said, and it was from the heart, too:

"Don't think, Mr. Rogers, that I shall ever lay up this day against you
and Mr. Rockefeller, or that I shall resent not getting all I believed I
should have had. I want you both to understand that I do know I am
entitled to more, but it ends here. I will cherish no ill-feeling, for
this balance is amply sufficient to enable me to do what I intended to
do, and--there is more on earth than millions."

We were both emotionally excited; I from relief at escaping the clutches
of that dread hell of which for certain moments I had felt the flaming
grasp; he because of a sudden degrading realization that he had
attempted to practise on a faithful comrade in arms a cowardly and
contemptible piece of treachery. My impulsive gratitude for the measure
of justice granted me made his avaricious greed seem even to him
despicable, and for an instant Henry H. Rogers was honestly ashamed.

Some years have elapsed since this episode, but a thousand times I
suppose the scene has arisen to rack Henry H. Rogers with bitter
memories of his baseness. The severest punishments are not those that we
mortals inflict on our fellows whom for violations of our little earthly
laws we clap in striped suits and shackle with steel bracelets. What are
striped suits which imprint no mark on the body of the wearer, or
handcuffs that any blacksmith can strike off at a blow, in comparison
with the ever-recurring torture of the white-hot iron with which God
sears the hearts and brains of those sinners whose wrong-doing is beyond
human retribution? What memories of prison and disgrace are comparable
with the exquisite suffering of the undetected criminal who in the dark
watches of the night pores over the bitter scroll of his delinquencies?
When Henry H. Rogers reads the record set down here of this faithless
and degrading action, he will suffer infinitely more than ever I did for
the loss of the gold he and his associates so meanly filched. Nor will
the knowledge of the seven and a half score of millions marshalled ready
at his nod, abate one jot or tittle of the measure of his humiliation
and shame.

Peace having been established, Mr. Rogers sent "upstairs" for the checks
and stocks to complete the settlement, and while we waited we talked,
and, as was inevitable after so strenuous a session, we found ourselves
back on the sincere and frankly friendly footing of our earlier
intercourse. A knock-down and attempted drag-out which at the end is
declared a draw invariably promotes cordiality between the principals,
and ours was no exception to the rule. Evidently Mr. Rogers had been
doing considerable thinking since our last conversation and had
accumulated troublesome ideas which had to be worked off. My mood at the
moment seemed made to order for the purpose, and he ran over our
affairs, one after another, until he thought it safe to explode his
bomb. He rang for a clerk, and instructed that Mr. Stillman be called up
and asked to send over "that paper if it was ready." Soon afterward the
messenger returned with a big, square package. Mr. Rogers opened it.

"Lawson," he said, "here's the whole story. Stillman has been steadily
at work and has just finished two copies of the entire subscription. I
think you ought to look it over."

"Look it over," I repeated. "Why, it is of the utmost importance to the
whole enterprise that I study every name. I alone can tell just what
that list means. After I've been over it I'll know pretty thoroughly who
will hold, who will want to sell, who must sell, and who will need
encouragement."

"That's just what I thought," he answered, with an air of high approval.
Then, dropping to his most friendly and confidential key, the tone of
voice that never fails to persuade an associate that he is in on the
bottom floor and that all others are outsiders, he went on: "And more
than that, Lawson, why cannot you get in touch with all those
subscribers who are disappointed at the amounts they received and sell
them what they want?"

Mr. Rogers leaned back to appraise the effect of this startling
proposition on me. At any other moment I should inevitably have broken
loose again, but the fascination of his personality was upon me and I
let him spin his webs. Any man, and there are scores adrift, who falls
under the spell of Henry H. Rogers, invariably, as did the suitors of
Circe, pays the penalty of his indiscretion. Some he uses and
contemptuously casts aside useless; others he works, plays, and
pensions; still others serve as jackals or servitors and proudly flaunt
his livery; a few, the strong, independent souls, tempted with great
rewards and beguiled by the man's baleful, intellectual charm into his
clutches, preserve a semblance of freedom; but let the boldest of these
turn restive--he is maimed or garroted with sickening promptitude.



CHAPTER XXXII

PERFECTING THE DOUBLE CROSS


To get back to my story. I realized that though one disaster had been
averted, I was far from any haven of rest. Remembering my cue, however,
I asked innocently:

"Have you all decided to sell more of the stock, Mr. Rogers?"

"All? Why no," he said. "Just let me show you where we stand now. All
the unsold stock, roughly forty-eight millions, has been divided up and
each man has to carry his own. That's easy, because Stillman will carry
them all at the bank, for they are all good, Lewisohn, Morgan, Olcott,
Flower, Daly, and the others. The only loose stock will be Mr.
Rockefeller's, yours, and mine, and that we must turn into money before
we can bring out the second section. You have been losing sight of the
fact, Lawson, that we have millions upon millions tied up here, and Mr.
Rockefeller has decided he will not go ahead until we have turned this
venture into money."

Marvellous, marvellous man! He unrolled the new scheme as openly and as
freely as though he were a world's philanthropist explaining a new
benefaction and I an enthusiastic minister employed to carry the glad
tidings to the people. The plot was obvious. In spite of Flower and
Stillman and all the talk of our taking a rest he was back on his black
courser again, in a new saddle, with a freshly lighted lantern, and the
old blackjack newly leaded. And I was the only one who could stalk the
game. I listened.

"Now let me show you, Lawson, what a pretty campaign I have laid out,"
he went on. "I've pledged all the others to hold their stock and I've
got it rigged in such a way they can't let go a share without my knowing
of it. Then I've got them all enthusiastic and have formed a pool at
Flower's office which, if necessary, can buy 500,000 shares, and what
with the money they have made and the promise that they will be let in
on the second section if they're good, we ought to have things pretty
much our own way."

The scheme seemed to be perfect for robbing every one in sight, and here
was I being taken right in--I who had but one thought: to get those I
had mired on to firm soil and myself outside the breastworks of this
pirate stronghold.

"It looks perfect, Mr. Rogers," I said. "Now where do I come in on all
this?"

He shrugged his shoulders impatiently. "You see as well as I can tell
you," he replied evasively.

"I take it that you want me to unload our stock on to the pool and the
other members of the syndicate?" I asked with a brutal frankness that I
realized, after I heard the words, was almost indecent.

"What is the use of putting it that way, Lawson?" he replied angrily.
"You know I mean nothing of the sort. You know I want you to keep every
one you can from selling, and simply supply the legitimate demand that
can be worked up among the subscribers all over the country. If worked
as you can work it, this ought to clean up our stock without any one's
being hurt."

I understood perfectly. If Mr. Rogers and I had been on terms of
flippancy instead of dignity, at this stage we should have given each
other the wink. Just what he wanted done I knew. He knew I knew what he
wanted, and I knew he knew I knew, and yet we were pretending not only
that we knew nothing but that there was really nothing to know.

Fortunately, at this stage of the duel Mr. Rogers' secretary arrived
with my checks and stock, and while we were verifying these, I had time
to study my mental chess-board for the next move. The papers were all
passed at last and then I entered into some explanation of my own
intentions. I told Mr. Rogers that for the time being I would hold all
my stock, but that I intended to borrow a stack of money on it from
Stillman through my brokers, for I fully intended to support the
market, as my belief in the stock was absolute.

I could have sworn Mr. Rogers inwardly chuckled at my fatuity, but I
went right on:

"If Mr. Rockefeller has decided that your share and his of the allotment
must, in whole or in part, be turned into money before the second
section is tackled, there's nothing for it but to go ahead, and I will
put in great work for you (I didn't add, "my work, if I can make it,
will keep you in as long as the public have a share"), because," said I,
"my one ambition now is to complete the second section and get things in
such shape that those people I have had locked-in so long can get out,
if they care to."

It was an intricate problem that was thus settled, for Mr. Rogers well
knew that it would be useless to attempt to sell big quantities of
Amalgamated without my detecting it, and he dared not ask me to have a
hand in his plot without including my own stock. When he saw I intended
to stand by my baby, and yet was so anxious to get to the second section
that I would accede to Mr. Rockefeller's wishes, he perceived that the
situation was ideal for his purposes.

"Let me glance over that subscription list," I said; and I opened up the
book, for book it really was.

My readers may surmise how intense was my interest in scanning the
results of my work. This great stack of bank sheets before me was the
official list of the subscription, stitched together in seventeen
sections of twenty pages each; twenty-eight names, with city, State,
street number addresses, and amounts subscribed to a page, all in ink in
longhand.

"Better take them with you to the hotel and go carefully over the names
and amounts," put in Mr. Rogers. "It certainly is a long job, but one
that you must tackle some time, and the sooner the better."

Here was the missing link in my chain of evidence, delivered directly
into my hands without a word of persuasion or cajolery. Providence
played that hand for me surely. I concealed my jubilance by rattling
along vociferously:

"I shall have to work over this a heap, sending out circulars and what
not. It would have been better to have had it in typewriting, but I
suppose Stillman didn't dare intrust it to the machine people. However,
I can divide up the seventeen sections among different people and none
will know the whole story. I will keep it in Boston with the other
papers, and--gracious! what's this?"

"What is it?" he asked, smiling at my excitement.

In front of me was the section beginning with the "Mc's," and the
largest subscription on the page was 6,000 shares--1,200 allotment. I
followed the line back to the name. It was that of Hugh McLaughlin, then
the big "boss" of Brooklyn, who, like all the other big bosses of New
York State, was a trusted lieutenant of "Standard Oil." I put my finger
on the amount and said:

"You have taken care of your friend across the river, I see. No wonder
all the politicians were so anxious to get in, for they know you would
not put this old gentleman into anything that is not pretty sure."

Mr. Rogers nodded wisely:

"Yes, I told the old stalwart he had better have about half a million,
but he went $100,000 better, I see. I sent the word around to the
others, too, but have not had a chance to go over the list carefully.
Have they all gone in under their own names?"

I ran over page after page, looking for names as he called them off, but
most of them had disguised their ventures through dummies. We had no
trouble in putting our fingers on their allotments, however; Mr. Rogers
commenting in his sage and caustic way on men and politics. It was
growing late, and at a natural stopping-place in our talk I sent for
paper and string, with my own hands tied up the book, and--with all the
airs of extreme leisureliness--literally bolted.

No school-boy with a three-pound trout caught in a deep hole under a big
willow bearing the sign, "Any one fishing here will be prosecuted," no
burglar with an unexpected fat swag, was ever in such a fever to lug his
booty to a concealed place as I to get that infinitely precious bundle
to the Waldorf. At last I landed it in my room and began to scan the
interesting pages. My first thought was to look for our own big dummy
subscription. As I supposed, it was not there. _Roughly I added the
totals of the different sheets and compared them, with the 412 millions
we had given the public, which was now indelibly, the world over, a
matter of record._ Again I stopped to congratulate myself on my good
fortune in securing this first-hand evidence of the fraud that had been
practised on the people.

I leaned over the thick pages with their various inscriptions. The names
and addresses carried me into every corner of the United States and into
the great cities of Europe as well. Set down there were towns and
villages I had never heard of, and my mind made pictures for me of
fathers, mothers, and children, beguiled by my pledges and promises,
embracing the opportunity to add to their scanty hordes. But it was not
a moment to indulge in scares, so I slipped over the people's mites and
fixed my mind on the millions.

The Lewisohns were down for eleven millions, and Mr. Rogers' old
cronies, John Moore's firm, were represented by a subscription of
between six and seven millions. As I ran over the names I found million
after million down to Mr. Rogers' friends, which told me that he had
spared no one. All the lieutenants and the queer people who do the
confidential business of the "System," and invariably turn up at
melon-cutting time, were down for round amounts. Conspicuous among the
rest was the name of that rising votary of the "System" who won
notoriety, while Comptroller of the Currency under President Cleveland,
as manipulator of the slick bond deal which has gone into American
history as among the queerest performances of its period. Loaded up with
Government banking secrets, this young man subsequently became a prize
for whom the various organizations of the "System" competed valorously.
There he was, in three places--James H. Eckels, President of the
Commercial Bank of Chicago, 6,000, 2,000, and 2,000 shares--or a million
dollars altogether.

Another name caught my eye: "Bay State Gas Co., J. Edward Addicks,
20,000 shares"--two millions of dollars. I leaned back and laughed as I
thought of this wary old fox, with the bruises and scars of the
"System's" hopper thick all over his body, dutifully bringing his
contribution to his old enemy, Rogers. And Rogers, disdainful and
contemptuous of the man, found his $400,000 good. This, I said to
myself, is a case of spider eat spider with a vengeance; and I wondered
if experience is really as good a teacher as the text-book says.

Hour after hour I pondered over that list, "sizing up" each subscriber
and questioning what his financial condition might be. At last I dropped
it, swearing to myself to use every effort to protect these thousands of
people who had ventured so much money on the strength of my pledges.

Two days later the allotments were officially announced; in a few days
more the receipts were issued and Amalgamated was fairly out in the
world on its own feet. It was not listed on any of the exchanges yet,
but it was very much in the mouths of people, and in the papers. And
every day grew the ominous feeling that something was wrong. It was a
contradictory situation and no one could put a finger on the trouble.
Rumors one heard, but no definite derogatory statements. The truth was
that those who knew what was wrong had good reasons for saying nothing,
while all who had to do with stock affairs and surmised the evil, were
themselves loaded up with the stock and hoping against hope that our
promises of great profits would yet be fulfilled.

It was my part to keep up these anticipations and by hook or crook
prevent Rogers and Rockefeller from unloading. I bought and bought to
steady the market when no one else apparently would buy; and when I
found others whom I could induce to venture, I had them relieve those
who were faltering and who must sell. When Mr. Rogers took me to task, I
invented all manner of excuses to account for my tardiness in creating a
market on which he could unload his holdings. He listened impatiently
and incredulously, and I felt that sooner or later he would take the bit
in his teeth.

In spite of my efforts the price of Amalgamated dropped and dropped and
it was all I could do to prevent a quick crash. My profits--the immense
sum of money I had obtained at the settlement--had been used up,
together with the great sums I had borrowed on my own allotment of
shares. At intervals I stopped long enough to make brief excursions into
sugar or other stocks, out of which I captured additional hundreds of
thousands, but every cent of such gains went toward staying the
avalanche. These indeed were days of desperation and black despair, all
the more trying because I had to look happy and talk hopefully; all the
more difficult because my enemies came out of their holes and did their
share to balk my efforts; all the more painful because the public were
beginning to doubt whether the second section was coming--and whether it
had best come--and our Boston "Coppers" had begun to drop in value.

During all this time I had troubled myself but little about the Flower
pool, which had been set going soon after the conversation in which Mr.
Rogers had told me that he and Mr. Rockefeller intended to unload their
stock. I concluded that the pool would surely get a share of what they
had to sell, and showed no inclination to join in with it. But at last
Mr. Rogers said to me:

"As every one is going into the pool, Lawson, it will seem strange if
you are missing, so you had better send Flower your check and I will see
you get it back later."

"For how much?" I asked him.

"A hundred thousand will be about right," he answered, and I sent it,
and that was all I had heard of the subject until one day after the
stock had been weaker than usual I received by mail a brusk notice from
Flower & Co. to mail them another hundred thousand dollars. Immediately
I called up the banking-house, and learned to my horror and astonishment
that the pool had accumulated over 225,000 shares. I went at once to Mr.
Rogers with Flower's call and said:

"I know nothing whatever of this affair, Mr. Rogers, and as I have not
been unloading any of my stock and have all I can do to keep up my end
anyway, you will look after it, of course."

He took the notice and said: "I will attend to it." Remembering his
intentions to unload, after what I had heard of the pool's accumulations
I was not surprised at Mr. Rogers' willingness to take care of this
matter of mine. It is of interest now, in looking back over our affairs,
to recall that though there were several periods later when the sledding
was hard, and I needed all the money I could lay hands on, he never
offered to return me that hundred thousand, not even after the pool had
liquidated, as will be shown later. In spite of this fact, in his
readiness to hurl any charge or insult at me, he had his hireling, Denis
Donohoe, recently make the accusation that I alone of all its members
refused to keep up my payments to the Flower pool.



CHAPTER XXXIII

A RETROSPECT AND A MORAL


The crime of Amalgamated and its immediate consequences are before my
readers. I have fulfilled the promise made in my foreword to expose to
the people of America the manner in which they have been plundered and
the methods by which the "System" habitually cheats them out of their
savings. Robbery conducted on so gigantic a scale as I have pictured
must necessarily simulate the natural processes of finance, and to
understand the deep devices of the schemers requires a knowledge of
banking and commercial practices which the average man has no chance to
attain. If I had begun my story by stating exactly what constituted the
crime of Amalgamated, my readers would not have grasped its heinousness.
In the chapters that I have devoted to leading up to it they have been
educated in the piratical practices of finance and financiers, and have
acquired familiarity with the jugglery of corporations and the
multiplication and division of stock certificates through which most of
the great American fortunes have been created.

Depending still on the ignorance of its blinded dupes, the "System"
again raises its brazen face from among the poison rushes of Wall Street
and hisses, "Listen to what he calls a great crime--a simple business
transaction. It is no crime, but a common practice of modern finance and
by no means unusual or extraordinary."

No crime to take by a trick from thousands of the people thirty-six
millions of the results of our great country's prosperity? Think of what
this vast sum represents--the revenues of a year's work of 36,000 men
earning each $1,000. Think of it, ye millions who dig and delve and bear
heavy burdens that your mothers, wives, and children may in exchange
have a bite to eat and a couch to sleep upon!

The crime of Amalgamated, as I have explained it, constitutes a specific
breach of the banking laws of the State and nation. But the legal
aspects of the offence are trivial in comparison with the great moral
crime which was consummated by Henry H. Rogers and James Stillman, in
the National City Bank on that night in May, 1899. Through false
representations and specious pledges and the credit of the names of
"Standard Oil" and the National City Bank, thousands of people were
beguiled into investing their savings in this Amalgamated Copper
Company. Because of the promise of great gains other thousands mortgaged
their homes, appropriated their wives' savings, even their employers'
funds, and embarked in this fair-seeming enterprise. The greatest bank
in America aided and abetted the conspiracy by the loan of its funds to
lure the victims deeper into the toils. All in, the trap is sprung; the
thousands are despoiled of their savings by familiar devices of finance,
and throughout the land is spread a wave of misery, madness, and
despair.

The crime of Amalgamated, a critical correspondent writes me, is purely
a Wall Street offence, important to bankers and capitalists but of no
consequence to the working men, the farmers, or the toiling millions who
have no savings to invest in stocks. "Of what concern is it to us," says
this writer, "how one section of the rich robs another of its
hoardings?"

Poor fool! A few men cannot deprive even a few thousands of so great a
sum as $36,000,000 without working untold injury upon the entire body of
the people. Such a stupendous sum looted from the coffers of the many
and piled in the vaults of three or four men unbalances the whole
economic structure of the nation. The consequences of that act do not
end in the series of defalcations and bankruptcies, imprisonments and
suicides, in the ruined homes and wrecked careers that follow in its
immediate wake. In the grip of these plunderers intrenched in the
stronghold of finance each of these filched millions becomes a new
weapon of oppression. Because of the crime of Amalgamated every pound
of food that goes to sustain life in the American people, every shingle
on every roof that shelters the American people, every mile of
transportation for man or freight in America; in fact, every necessity
and every luxury of the American people has had added to its cost some
fractional increase, representing in the aggregate tens and tens of
millions annually, which, flowing into the coffers of the "System,"
strengthen and extend its stupendous grip on the property of the nation.

Our country for a generation has been prosperous beyond the dreams of
man, yet what have the masses of our people to show for it? A better, a
higher, and a MORE EXPENSIVE standard of living--that is all. That this
prosperity which is our national boast will last forever is incredible.
Sooner or later will come one of the times when Nature frowns and sends
her floods, her droughts, and her epidemics of disease. Is the American
people prepared by its long-sustained prosperity to bridge over that
period of want and suffering?

The truth is that the mass of our population has not sufficient surplus
laid by to last over thirty days of such a calamitous interval. All the
unearned increment of national prosperity the "System" has captured and
capitalized. Not only have the people been deprived of the profits of
their labor, but this capitalized prosperity is the stern instrument by
which new burdens are laid on their shoulders and new tithes are exacted
from their wages. But for the plundering "System" the great mass of our
people would be able to sit in their tents in the shade of their
husbanded harvests and laugh to scorn the frowns of fortune. Now, I say,
God help the nation when Nature, tired from her great work, rests, and
the people, too, are compelled to rest--for then will come an awful
awakening. When the millions face famine and realize for the first time
that their gigantic storehouses, filled to bursting with the surplus of
the past, are the property of the few who cannot even count the
contents, much less use them--when they realize that these hoarded
treasures are as far beyond their starved reach as are the violets and
daisies beyond the picking of the galley-slave, then they will
appreciate how much deeper and more damnable are the crimes of the
"System," such crimes as Amalgamated and its like, than even such
national tragedies as the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and
McKinley, at each of which all the people held aloft their hands in
horror.

Why is it that the millions of intelligent, able-bodied Americans, who
could crush the tribe of Rockefeller as elephants crush snakes, rise
with each sun and dig and delve and suffer that a Rogers may wallow in
wealth and an Armour gain a greater income than the Rothschilds? Why are
they so easily hoodwinked into imagining that the elaborate reports
detailing the immense and growing wealth of the country represent their
own well-being and affluence? Because the wise men of the "System" know
human nature, know that most men and women accept unquestioningly the
conditions they find surrounding them. Each day it is pounded into the
heads of the people through a hundred agencies that it is the greatest
and most flourishing of peoples and that the laws and customs which
regulate its lives and rights are the best in all the world. How shall
the people know that these glowing rumors, these propitious tidings, are
but the siren songs of the "System" under the spell of which it is
despoiled of its savings?

Ask yourselves, my friends, how much you know about those familiar
things which are part of your lives as are the sunshine, the grass, and
the flowers--your Bible, your money, your playing-cards. Each is an
institution so consecrated by custom that you accept it exactly for what
it meant to your father just as he took it from his own father a
generation before. That the Holy Book is God's message to His children,
the human race, we know because we have the words of our ancestors
therefor; the stamped silver and gold we take for granted as we do shoes
and clothes, because money is an essential factor in the social fabric
and the form in which it comes to us seems as inevitable as the moon or
our ten fingers; humanity has gone on for hundreds of years considering
the knave of greater value than the ten-spot and the ace of higher worth
than all the rest of the pack, because it is content to believe that the
rules that have been handed down apportioning these values are the best
that could be devised. With a hundred other elements and details of our
daily life, it is the same--we accept unreasoningly what we are told or
what is given us, with no look forward or back, and, engaged with the
thousand new toys and problems which Fate, the conjurer, shakes out of
his hat, we become bound by habit and blinded by precedent.

The love men have for the formulas and conventions of their daily lives
is the "System's" opportunity for plunder, and it is this fundamental
principle of humanity that makes my work so difficult. It would be as
easy to convince the masses that their playing-cards are all wrong and
that the ace is really of lower value than the two-spot as it is to
awaken them to the terrors of the conditions that are confronting them;
to compel them to realize that a despotism of dollars is being organized
among them; that the cherished institutions of generations are the
instruments by which a few daring schemers are concentrating into their
own hands the money of the nation, and that this concentration can have
no other result than the abject slavery of the American people.

END OF VOLUME



LAWSON AND HIS CRITICS

I

THE INSURANCE CONTROVERSY


In the July, 1904, number of _Everybody's Magazine_ I announced that I
proposed to give to the world a story concerned with events which had
taken place in real life--a true story.

I outlined it, giving the names of the persons and events it would deal
with.

These things happened:

The edition of the magazine was sold out in three days; my chapter was
printed in part or in full in nearly all the papers and periodicals of
the United States and Canada; many of the representative journals, even
in England, published long editorials on the subject, and with but few
exceptions, editorials and news comments were favorable.

I was urged to continue. My second chapter appeared.

The magazine, with an additional 100,000 copies, was sold out in two
days. The press took hold of the matter with even greater interest than
it had accorded my first chapter.

The third chapter met with a still more cordial reception. The edition
of the magazine, although increased another 100,000, sold out as before,
and my mail expanded to a degree that surprised me. In addition to
thousands of press notices and criticisms, I received ever so many
letters from all classes of Americans and Canadians--teachers of the
Word of God, and members of the flocks who are taught, earnest statesmen
and insincere politicians, millionnaires and paupers, anarchists,
socialists, municipal-ownershipists, and the hundred and one travelers
on the beaten highways and lowways of life, who, spurred by ambition or
unrest, pantingly seek a chance to blaze a way for the trudging millions
of the future to that goal of all ambitious and restless dreamers--a
people's Utopia. Nearly all appealed to me to give them the word as to
the ultimate intention of "Frenzied Finance"--"Is it only to point to
the sores, or will it prick them with its long sharp point and will its
double edge cut the flesh in which they are rooted?" Others required
further information or explanation about the subjects I had treated;
another section questioned my statements and found fault with my
disclosures. The volume of these communications and criticisms finally
became so large and they were so urgent in tone that I made up my mind
it was necessary to devise some fair and intelligent way to remove the
writers' difficulties and resolve their doubts. The modern surgeon finds
the preparation of a patient who is to go under the knife as important
as the operation itself. My readers, unacquainted with the intricate
details of finance and confused by the angry outcries and denials of
those I had attacked, required education _en route_ to be able to absorb
and digest the hard facts and strong statements I was dealing out to
them in monthly instalments. My publishers agreed with me as to the
necessity of dealing in some radical way with the emergency, and devoted
to my service additional pages in the back of _Everybody's Magazine_.
Here I decided to begin a department to be called "Lawson and His
Critics" in which I would solve the knotty problems my correspondents
presented to me, set right their misunderstandings, and reply fully to
those critics who had aspersed my motives or were attempting to
discredit my message.

I began the department in October, 1904, and though I have been most
seriously pressed for time, and in many instances have dealt imperfectly
with the problems treated, I must say that the task I set myself has
proved interesting and agreeable, and the letters the department evoked
have been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement to me
along the hail-stony road I had set myself to travel.

The bulk of the department during the months of 1904 was devoted to the
subject of insurance. In an early chapter of my story I said that the
three great insurance corporations, the New York Life, the Equitable,
and the Mutual Life of New York, were an integral part of the "System,"
and especially instanced the New York Life as one of the most pliable
tools of the "Made Dollar" makers. This statement, so mild and so vague
in view of subsequent developments, was the first move in the historic
controversy that has resulted in the extraordinary exposures that are
being made as this book goes to press. When that first pebble was
thrown, the surface of the insurance pond was as placid as a mountain
lake, unruffled by a ripple, and in it were reflected the benignant
faces of the noble philanthropists who consented to spend their days
conserving the interests of the widows and the orphans of America. The
people had grown so accustomed to regarding the McCalls, the Perkinses,
the Hydes, the McCurdys, and the Alexanders, whose eminent physiognomies
looked out at them from their insurance policies, as lofty and generous
souls far removed from thoughts of pelf or self-aggrandizement, that my
assertion caused consternation such as would occur in a Chinese temple
if some rough intruder struck the idol, before whom a congregation was
worshipping, with a stone. At once an avalanche of letters--protests,
demands for further facts, anxious appeals from policy-holders--poured
in upon me, and frankly I took up the subject, giving my readers exactly
what they desired.


NEW HAMPSHIRE TRACTION

In order that the controversy may be unfolded in the manner in which it
was first given to the public, I give here the first letter of the
series, and then follow directly along with those passages from
succeeding numbers that are devoted to the subject:

     BUFFALO, N. Y., August 25, 1904.

     MR. THOMAS W. LAWSON,
     Boston, Mass.

     _Dear Sir_: I have been astounded beyond measure at the
     revelations you make in your second article regarding the
     New York Life Insurance Company, because I have two policies
     in that concern which I am keeping up for the protection of
     my family. My confidence in the company has been shaken by
     your revelations, and I wonder if much more can be said.
     Perhaps it is best for clean life insurance to tell all
     now--the rest will be the better for it. Do you really
     believe the officers of the company personally profited from
     using the "cash on hand" of the company? Go on in your
     exposure; you are doing a meritorious work, and we poor
     devils, plodders, will never cease to thank you for your
     work. Should like to have you intimate if anything more
     about New York Life is coming.

     Yours truly,
         ---- ----

To this I replied: I desire to emphasize that the New York Life
Insurance Company, which I cited, is no different from the Equitable and
the Mutual Life, or many of the other large companies. They are links in
the chain of the "System"--necessary links in the device by which
dollars are "made," by which the savings of the people are sucked from
the people to the "System," the "Private Things."

I will, later in my story, dwell upon this tremendous phase of this
stupendous question, and will only say at the present time, as an answer
to such questions as "Buffalo's": The insurance companies use the
billions the people have placed with them to buy or create banks and
trust companies, the stocks of which are a large part of their assets.
They then use these banks and trust companies, which exist because of
the people's savings, in stock gambling enterprises, speculations as
unsafe and as frenzied as those of the wildest plunger of Wall Street. I
will give one illustration:

The New York Life Insurance Company's directors and managers created the
New York Security and Trust Company. $1,000,000 capital; $500,000
surplus--in all, $1,500,000. $150 per share, of which the insurance
company held about two-thirds. The Trust Company soon secured deposits
to the extent of about $50,000,000, and these it loaned out by
"financing" new and old enterprises. Among them was the New Hampshire
Traction. The Trust Company flourished. Its stock advanced in price to
over $1,300 per share, or over $13,000,000, and its different
speculative ventures prospered exceedingly. New Hampshire Traction kept
pace with the rest and simultaneously with them bounded upward in value
until the amount of this stock owned by the Trust Company represented a
value of between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000. There came a time when the
directors of the New York Life Insurance Company decided to dispose of
their stock in the Trust Company, and did so to a syndicate composed of
their own members, headed by John D. Rockefeller, at $800 per share.
Afterward the stock disposed of at $800 per share advanced to over
$1,300, or, with the third which had not been owned by the insurance
company but by the "insiders" and their friends, to a total of over
$13,000,000. Then came the slump, and the price of the New Hampshire
Traction fell to twenty-five cents on the dollar, and the Trust
Company's stock to less than $600.

If in all the histories of the wildcats of the wild catteries of Wall
Street a wilder case of "frenzied finance" can be discovered, I don't
know it, and yet this is only one of many I could quote, selected at
random. Boiled down, it means that what was bought at $150 went to
$1,400 and back to $590, and that it changed hands at $800 before it got
to $1,400, and that the plunger in this transaction, which made this
plunging possible, was one of the most conservative life insurance
companies in America.

I will answer "Buffalo's" question by asking another:

Suppose all the insurance companies have been doing business on the same
scale, and have tied up billions of the people's money in such schemes
as New Hampshire Traction, and the people, learning these facts, should
demand their savings to the extent of the $9,000,000,000 which they have
deposited in banks and trust companies, what would happen? What would
happen to the undigested securities, the insurance companies, the
people's savings, and the policies such as "Buffalo" says he has
purchased for the benefit of his family?

       *       *       *       *       *

This statement precipitated a perfect flood of letters and queries,
growing more urgent as the month wore on. It was impossible to answer
all of them. I contented myself with replying to the letter of a
prominent Philadelphia church-man, a policy-holder in the New York
Life, who wrote as follows:

     PHILADELPHIA, September 23, 1904.

     MR. THOMAS W. LAWSON, Boston, Mass.

     _My Dear Sir_: I have just finished reading the current
     article on "Frenzied Finance," and like "Buffalo" I am
     astounded at your statements regarding the "New York Life."
     I, too, have a policy in that company and have been led to
     believe that I was not only insured in the best and most
     conservative company, but that I had a first-class and
     perfectly _safe_ investment as well. This particular company
     claims that not a dollar of its assets is invested in stocks
     of any kind, and yet, to quote from your article:

     "The insurance companies use the billions the people have
     placed with them to buy or create banks and trust companies,
     the stocks of which are a large part of their assets."

     Either you are manifestly unfair or else the company is
     guilty of deliberate falsehood for the purpose of deceiving
     the public.

     As a policy-holder and prospective sharer in the surplus of
     the "New York Life," I am much interested in knowing whether
     its statements in regard to its investments are to be relied
     upon.

     Will you take just a moment to answer the following
     question? Is the "New York Life" telling a falsehood when it
     states that not a dollar of its assets is invested in stocks
     of any kind?

     Very respectfully yours,
         ---- ----

I replied: The transaction in regard to the New York Security Company
and the New Hampshire Traction stocks was exactly as I set it forth. I
can imagine no one but an absolute idiot who would dare to set it forth
unless he knew he was dealing with facts.

Your high position in the church should, in my opinion, peculiarly fit
you to answer fairly your question, "Is the New York Life telling a
falsehood when it states that not a dollar of its assets is in stocks of
any kind?" when I unqualifiedly state the fact that the New York Life
owned the millions of the New York Security Company's stock; that it
paid $150 a share for them and sold them to a syndicate of its own
directors at $800 per share, and that the stock afterward sold at over
$1,300 per share, and still afterward dropped to less than $600 per
share. I did not wish to be unfair to the New York Life, or I should
have stated, what I shall endeavor to show before my story is ended,
that at the time the New York Life parted with these shares to their own
directors at $800 per share they were actually worth and could have been
sold for hundreds of dollars per share more.


THE HONESTY OF THE ONE MAN

At this the big insurance companies uncovered their guns, and soon the
air, the newspapers, and my mail were full of underwriting explosions.
It was necessary then to line up my forces and to go at the attack
seriously. So, having carefully thought out a campaign which my
knowledge of the men whom I was antagonizing taught me would bring
results, I began, in December, as follows:

When I began to write "Frenzied Finance" I specifically stated that I
should not concern myself with men, but with principles. I held that to
put an end to the plundering of the people required more than the
denunciation of individual criminals; that the real peril lay in the
financial device through which the plundering was done and the "machine"
developed for their operation. The "machine" is the tremendous
correlation of financial institutions and forces that I call the
"System," and the most potent factor in the "System" is the life
insurance combine--the three great insurance companies, the New York
Life, Mutual Life, and Equitable, with their billion of assets and the
brimming stream of gold flowing daily into their coffers. That I should
have to discuss the relation between the "System" and these great
institutions was inevitable; but, knowing how vitally interested the
public is in the preservation of the gigantic structures its savings
have erected, I had thought to treat this phase of my subject later on,
when my readers should be absolutely convinced by what had preceded it
of the honesty and fairness of my purpose. Moreover, it did not seem
possible to touch on life insurance conditions without involving the men
who direct the three great companies, and whom policy-holders and the
people at large have been taught to regard as men of wellnigh miraculous
sagacity, integrity, and beneficence. With these men I have had none but
the pleasantest relations, and determined as I am on the performance of
my task, I go about it with the reluctance a surgeon feels when, in
order to save a friend's life, he must amputate his limb.

A contingency has now arisen which compels me to depart from my rule and
to discuss much more frankly than I had purposed at this juncture, the
New York Life Insurance Company, the system which controls it, and its
president, John A. McCall, the "System's" representative.

In reply to the inquiries of an anxious policy-holder, who had taken
alarm at my statement that the funds of these great corporations were
under the control of the "System," I stated in the October issue of
_Everybody's Magazine_ that the New York Life was, as well as its
so-called competitors, the Equitable and the Mutual, as much a
participant in the frenzied speculation of the period as were the
plunging Wall Street stock gamblers; but in giving an illustration of
its methods (the New York Security and Trust Company and the New
Hampshire Traction Company) I selected a case which would not
unnecessarily alarm nervous people, for the transaction showed an
enormous profit as the result of a wild stock plunge, instead of an
enormous loss--some of the New York Life's other deals were much less
fortunate. When I stated that the New York Life disposed of its interest
in the Security Trust Company to its directors for four millions of
dollars, which represented a gain of over $3,000,000 on its original
investment, I was careful not to state that the shares for which they
paid $800 each were worth at the time $1,300 each, or $7,000,000 for
what was sold for $4,000,000--particularly careful to state that they
were afterward worth this additional amount.

Policy-holders in the three great life-insurance companies may argue:
"The man who is known to us policy-holders as the real head of the New
York Life is John A. McCall, its president. All that you may say about
the 'System's' votaries being in control may be so, but we depend on the
integrity and the character of this one man to protect our interests. He
is our representative, not the 'System's,' and our savings are surely
safe in his strong hands."

There is the point. In the great insurance corporations that are
"one-man run," the hundreds of thousands of policy-holders have but one
protection. This, notwithstanding the protection of the State laws, the
guardianship of the Insurance Department of the various States, and the
provisions of the company's charter and by-laws.

However impregnable may seem the safeguards which the law has built
round the administration of our great insurance companies, the fact
absolutely is that the honesty of "the one man" is the one potent
protection policy-holders may depend on. The others may be juggled with
as are the rules of the Stock Exchange, which say in thunder tones, "All
within our sacred walls is honest and honorable," when in reality if the
microbes of dishonor and dishonesty generated within Stock-Exchange
walls each busy week of every year should be collected and disseminated
throughout the land, they would give typhoid of the soul to our eighty
millions of Americans. So it becomes the duty of every policy-holder to
find out by such tests as he can apply, "Is 'the one man' who runs our
company an honest man or is he a dishonest man?" If "the one man" stands
their tests, if he emerges from their ordeal clean, strong, honest, as
they believed, then they may rest awhile in patience. But if he is
revealed as dishonest, then it behooves the policy-holders of that
company to take measures for the protection of their interests. The
welfare and happiness, perhaps the very lives of their mothers, their
wives, and their children depend on their action.

I was recently waited upon by an important man.

"Lawson, what are you doing in life insurance?" he asked.

"Giving facts about the life-insurance branch of a 'System' which is
foully plundering the people," I answered.

"What are you trying to do?"

"Educate the millions of life-insurance policy-holders to their present
peril; after they are educated, arouse them to quick, radical action."

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

"I am going to cause a life-insurance blaze that will make the
life-insurance policy-holders' world so light that every scoundrel with
a mask, dark-lantern, and suspicious-looking bag will stand out so
clearly that he cannot escape the consequences of his past deeds, nor
commit new ones."

"Have you figured the consequences to yourself?"

"Having no interest in what the consequences may be to myself in
performing what I have decided is a sacred duty, I have not."

"Let me show them to you. First let me ask, do you intend to confine
your criticisms to the New York Life Insurance Company?"

"I intend to bring out the facts, particularly as to the New York Life,
the Mutual Life, and the Equitable Life; and, so far as in my power
lies, as to every other life-insurance company in America that is
connected with the 'System.'"

"Are you actuated by any selfish motives--gain, revenge, or friendly
interest in certain life-insurance companies or banks or trust
companies?"

"My only interest is to perform a duty in righting a startling wrong,
and I would not undertake the terrible task if I could possibly avoid
it."

"I am sent to ask you these questions, to find out whether, if you are
only seeking to serve the policy-holders, and the insurance companies
can absolutely prove to you that your making public your facts will
cause terrible destruction to policy-holders' interests, you will
consent to forego the life-insurance branch of your story?"

"I know the facts. I have calmly, and I believe intelligently, reviewed
the effects of their being given to the world, and have concluded that
the damage to policy-holders and the people would, in any circumstances
or conditions, be greater because of my not doing what I have decided to
do than by my doing it. Therefore I will not in any circumstances
consent to stop until I have laid before the world those things I
consider it should know."

"Well and good. Let me show you what you are up against. The Equitable,
the New York Life, and Mutual Life Insurance Companies, and their
affiliated institutions and individuals, are to-day by all odds the
greatest power in the world, greater by all odds than any power that
can possibly be gathered together from those outside themselves, a power
so great that the effort of no man nor party of men outside themselves
can possibly prevail against their wishes."

"Stop where you are for a minute," I answered, "and let me run over to
you what I know I am up against, and then you can judge whether I
appreciate the difficulties of my task:

"First, the three companies I have named have absolute possession of
property and money in the form of assets of over $1,000,000,000--more
than half the combined assets of all the insurance companies of
America--and indirectly, through their affiliated institutions, of an
additional sum, the aggregate of which is much greater than the assets
of all the national banks of America and the great financial
institutions of Europe, such as the Banks of England, France, and
Germany. The three have a ready cash surplus of almost $200,000,000,
which is greater than the combined capital of the four greatest
institutions of Europe--the Banks of England, Russia, France, and
Germany. The income of these three companies is, each year, $100,000,000
greater than the combined capitals of the Banks of England, Russia,
France, and Germany--or about $250,000,000, $200,000,000 of which is
taken each year from their policy-holders in the form of premiums. Yet
from out of this income there is returned to their policy-holders each
year in dividends less than $15,000,000, and in total payments of all
kinds not over $100,000,000. And yet these three companies pay out each
year in what they call expenses to keep the concerns running
$50,000,000, paying to the officers of the companies $3,000,000 in
salaries, almost $1,000,000 to their lawyers, and a number of millions
in various forms of advertising.

"Second, the three companies are absolutely steered and controlled from
a common centre, and the men who do the steering and controlling are the
'System's' foremost votaries, Henry H. Rogers, William Rockefeller,
James Stillman, and J. Pierpont Morgan through George W. Perkins, a
partner in J. Pierpont Morgan & Co. Mr. Rogers, vice-president of the
Standard Oil Company, is a trustee of the Mutual Life and a director in
one of the largest trust companies owned by the three great insurance
companies, the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. William Rockefeller,
vice-president of the Standard Oil Company, is a trustee of the Mutual
Life and director in the National City--the 'Standard Oil'--Bank. James
Stillman is a trustee of the New York Life, and president of the
National City--the 'Standard Oil'--Bank of New York. George W. Perkins,
partner of J. Pierpont Morgan & Co., is vice-president and trustee of
the New York Life and a director in the National City--the 'Standard
Oil'--Bank; while John A. McCall, the president of the New York Life, is
a director in the National City--the 'Standard Oil'--Bank.

"These great institutions own a majority of the capital stock or have
absolute control of a number of the leading banks and trust companies of
New York and elsewhere; and such ownership shows conclusively the
linking together of the three great insurance companies. For instance,
the Equitable owns more than a majority of the stock of the Mercantile
Trust Company of New York, of a book value of about $4,500,000 and a
market value of almost $13,000,000; and of the Equitable Trust of New
York, of a book value of $5,500,000 and a market value of $9,000,000;
and of the Bank of Commerce of New York, of a book value of about
$8,000,000 and a market value of over $9,000,000; and in the directory
of the Mercantile Trust of New York and Equitable Trust is E. H.
Harriman, one of the leading 'Standard Oil' men and one of the active
votaries of the 'System,' while in the directory of the Bank of Commerce
are the president of the Mutual Life and seven other trustees of the
Mutual Life and three of the trustees of the New York Life.

"The Mutual Life owns stock of the Bank of Commerce, of a book value of
$4,500,000 and a market value of $7,500,000; of the United States
Mortgage & Trust Company, of a book value of $2,000,000 and a market
value of $4,500,000; and of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York, of a
book value of $1,250,000 and a market value of $5,500,000. The directors
of the United States Mortgage & Trust Company consist of eight trustees
of the Mutual Life, including its president, and two trustees of the
Equitable Life, while in the Guaranty Trust directory is the president
of the Mutual Life, Henry H. Rogers, and E. H. Harriman, 'Standard Oil'
votary and director in the Equitable.

"In addition to these financial institutions, the Mutual Life has about
$20,000,000 of its funds invested in the stock of twenty-five other
trust companies and national banks, while the Equitable has about
$10,000,000 invested in some fifteen other trust and banking
institutions.

"Third, the absolute control of the three great companies, and through
them of their subsidiary financial institutions, while supposed to be in
the hands of the policy-holders, is entirely beyond their regulation, as
all policy-holders of the three companies give over complete control of
their companies to the 'System' through the following machinery: The
control of the New York Life rests absolutely in President McCall, that
of the Mutual Life with President McCurdy. Originally these men were
elected to office by policy-holders' proxies, voted by the great general
agents; but so immeasurable has been the growth of these corporations
that only rebellion among policy-holders on an international scale could
oust from power the McCalls and the McCurdys. The control of the
Equitable Life rests in the $100,000 of capital stock which is almost
entirely owned by the men who elect themselves to manage the company.

"Therefore you will see that I fully comprehend that this power, which
you claim to be, and which undoubtedly is, the greatest on earth, is
absolutely, for all practical purposes, in the hands of three men, and
that any one who attempts to do anything contrary to what this power
allows will find himself opposed by practically unlimited money, which
can be used first to corrupt all sources of help, including State
insurance-law enforcers, and then to keep such corruptions from the
policy-holders by subsidizing the press. In other words, you see that I
fully comprehend that I, or any man or any body of men, would be
absolutely helpless in an attempt to correct present evils unless we
could do two things: First, show to the policy-holders of the great
insurance companies that they are absolutely in the hands and at the
mercy of 'one man,' and next, that this 'one man' is unscrupulous."

In other and different ways I had it forcibly impressed upon me that I
must go no further in connecting the life-insurance companies with
"frenzied financiering"; that while the "Standard Oil"-Amalgamated-City
Bank crowd might bide their time for reprisal and vengeance, the great
insurance companies must at any cost instantly squelch those rash souls
who dared to cross their paths. To all such warnings I replied that a
life-insurance company, especially great institutions with hundreds of
thousands of policy-holders, must be as far above suspicion as Cæsar's
wife; that the security of the immense funds in their possession must be
as unassailable as the United States Constitution; but that immunity
from criticism could be secured only by honesty of purpose, honesty of
method, and honesty of results; and that I would follow "frenzied
finance" wherever it might lead, even if the exposure brought every
life-insurance concern in the country down to the ring-bolt of making
public confession of complicity. But with all my knowledge of the
"System's" weakness, I never dreamed of the condition of fatuity into
which the past few years of unbridled "frenzied finance" have plunged
its votaries. If the correspondence that follows here correctly
represents the purposes and the methods of great American life-insurance
companies, I ask my readers what quick, sharp, effective means should be
taken to call a halt and rescue the billions of the people's savings
before it is too late. And I ask all policy-holders in the great
insurance companies to weigh carefully what follows, that from it they
may decide the question.

As soon as it became fixed in the minds of the different interested
parties who had communicated with me that my purpose was unalterable,
queer things happened:

First, there appeared in the press of the country, under large, black
headlines, the startling confession of the editor of a New York
financial paper, who, conscience-stricken, admitted that he had been
engaged in the systematic blackmail of insurance companies and officials
and Wall Street institutions such as banks and trust companies. It was
a curious document, and even the casual reader must have wondered at the
mysterious lack of detail. The paper, I found out later, was one of the
innumerable swarm of journalistic insects generated, like mosquitoes, in
the financial swamps of Wall Street, destined to live a day and die as
they deliver their sting, and the attention given it was curiously out
of proportion to its importance. Among other queer things, the editor
announced that after printing his confession he would disappear; no
names were mentioned nor a fact printed which identified any one or
anything. All this could not happen without a motive, and I said to
myself, "The 'System' is planting a mine for some one." Not another word
appeared. I awaited developments. On October 8th I received the
following letters, which tell their own story:

     FREMONT, OHIO, October 6, 1904.

     MR. THOMAS W. LAWSON, Boston, Mass.

     _My Dear Sir_: I have followed with intensest interest your
     discussion of "Frenzied Finance." The _exposé_ of the
     "System," and its Machiavellian performances, was highly
     interesting to me. I was associated with Attorney-General
     Monnett in his effort to get testimony and the inside facts
     concerning the trust and its operations in his prosecution
     against that corporation for violating the Ohio anti-trust
     law. At that time the books of the company were burned in
     Cleveland, and, as stated in your article, the company now
     relies upon the superior memory of Standard Oil.

     I was well aware of the connection of certain life-insurance
     companies with Morgan and the Rockefellers, but until your
     public charge, was not familiar with the details. As I had
     considerable money invested myself in New York Life
     Insurance I wrote John A. McCall a bitter letter. In this
     age of commercialism sentimental benevolence gets little
     place. The common sentiments of humanity and appreciation of
     responsibility admonish one in moderate circumstances or
     even in affluence to invite the co-operation of others in
     providing for those dependent upon the individual hazard of
     life and fortune. Life insurance has come to be a sacred
     thing. It is the substantial token and expression of
     responsibility which a reasonable man dying leaves to those
     dependent upon him. I so wrote Mr. McCall, and told him that
     if the head of a great institution like the New York Life
     Insurance Company would be guilty of such perfidy as charged
     by you, the organization which would retain him in a
     position of responsibility was undeserving of confidence or
     patronage.

[Illustration: PHOTOGRAPH OF JOHN A. MCCALL'S REPLY TO H. C. DERAN, THE
POLICYHOLDER WHO HAD ASKED FOR A DENIAL OF MR. LAWSON'S CHARGES.]

     I enclose for your inspection Mr. McCall's reply. This is
     doubtless a sample of the sort of campaign waged throughout
     the country by the "System."

     I enclose stamped envelope for the return of the McCall
     letter, as I purpose continuing the correspondence until I
     force him to an issue.

     You will observe the very palpable evasion of the issue. I
     asked him if the details of the transaction described in
     _Everybody's_, in which the New York Life Insurance figured
     conspicuously, were true. He answered by saying that he made
     money out of the trust company venture and retired. The fact
     that New York Life money is so deposited as to suit the
     convenience of the "System" in its heads--I win, tails--you
     lose, operation, is a matter which has escaped the attention
     of the astute financier. I have written him further, calling
     his attention to the fact that his letter conveys no
     information not heretofore made public in circular but that
     my inquiry was directed to the particular transaction
     alluded to in _Everybody's_, and requesting a flat
     affirmation or denial.

     Trusting that these facts may be of assistance to you, I am,

     Yours very truly,
         (Signed) H. C. DERAN.

I shall spare my readers the enclosures. They were newspaper slips,
printed on fairly thick paper, reproduced from unknown publications, and
obviously put forth to discredit me by implication. One, headed "A
Frenzied Financial Blackmailer," from the _Vigilant_, New York City,
September 30, 1904, presented the confession, previously referred to,
made by the editor of the _United States Investors' Guardian_, and an
editorial denouncing the blackmail of financial corporations. Another
slip was "Stamp out the Fake Financial Newspaper Publisher" from the
_Fourth Estate_, New York City, October 1, 1904, in which the wickedness
of the aforesaid editor came in for further moral castigation.

At once, as I read these letters and ran over the printed slips pinned
to Mr. McCall's, I realized the purpose of the blackmail editor's
confession and just how so much space came to be given it in the daily
papers. Insurance corporations are large advertisers[20] and enjoy great
popularity in the business offices of great newspapers. It is not said
in these clippings that either Mr. Lawson or _Everybody's Magazine_
belongs to that lowest order of criminal, the self-confessed
black-mailer, but the suggestion is obvious. Every policy-holder
throughout the world who received these enclosures attached to letters
from the greatest insurance president in America would instantly supply
the connection--"'Frenzied finance black-mailer'--that's intended for
Lawson, surely; 'Frenzied financial journal'--_Everybody's Magazine_,
beyond question."

Will my readers weigh carefully this awful charge:

"Thomas W. Lawson, in addition to being a frenzied financial
black-mailer, is attacking the New York Life Insurance Company because
he tried to secure insurance from that company, and that company would
not give it to him. His attack is made in the interest of some competing
company."

Again, I ask that it be kept in mind that all this is not said by an
insignificant and irresponsible trickster, but is deliberately put forth
by the greatest insurance president in America, over his signature, to
his policy-holder No. 826,152 and 957,006.

Soon afterward, in its issue of October 20th, a well-known organ of the
insurance companies, _The Spectator_, published in New York, had a long
article dealing with malicious attacks on our great insurance
corporations, specifically mentioning my accusation against the New York
Life. "Mr. Lawson was actuated by the meanest motives," says _The
Spectator_.

Extract from _The Spectator_, October 20, 1904:

     Mr. Lawson, in the hypocritical rôle of a
     would-be-reformed-speculator, is a figure calculated to stir
     the risibilities of all who have watched his antics and read
     his articles, _especially when each one of the companies he
     mentions has repeatedly rejected him for insurance_.

Letters to policy-holders from the New York Life Insurance officers
poured in on me from different parts of the country, all containing the
same defence and the same accusations as the one above, and signed by
vice-presidents of the company as well as President McCall, showing
conclusively that this great corporation as a corporation had
deliberately adopted this method of meeting my serious yet
conservatively put business accusations.

President McCall's defence of the New York Life Insurance Company and
his reply to my accusations are now completely before my readers. Let us
see if there is not a chance here to determine the grave question, "Is
'_the one man_' who runs each of our great insurance companies honest?"

The facts are: During the past twenty years I have been importuned,
begged, and hounded by the several great insurance companies of the
United States to take out policies with them almost upon any terms I
might name. Of this statement I could present more photographic proof
than would fit in any one issue of this magazine, but most of it would
have no bearing on the point at issue.

In the present year (1904)--to go no further back--John A. McCall has
repeatedly urged me to come into the New York Life Insurance Company.
Absolute evidence of the truth of this assertion is presented below. Mr.
McCall's letter reproduced here would be accepted as complete proof in
any court of justice. In the correspondence that follows this first
letter it will be seen that Mr. McCall left no stone unturned in his
effort to get me into the New York Life Insurance Company. A duplicate
of the communication sent to my residence went on the same date to my
office. To quote his own words, "I hope you may" and "I may have the
pleasure of welcoming you either to new or increased membership in this
great mutual insurance investment." Then, his anxiety being so great,
after waiting four days for a reply he sent his special agent to argue
with me, and, on the following day, his Boston manager to urge me
further.

[Illustration: PHOTOGRAPH OF LETTER FROM JOHN A. MCCALL SOLICITING
INSURANCE, SENT TO MR. LAWSON'S HOUSE.]

[Illustration: PHOTOGRAPH OF HEADING AND SIGNATURE OF JOHN A. MCCALL'S
LETTER OF JANUARY 22D, SENT IN DUPLICATE TO MR. LAWSON'S OFFICE; OF
SPECIAL AGENT GILLESPIE'S LETTER OF JANUARY 27TH; OF MANAGER HAYES'S
LETTER OF JANUARY 28TH. THESE THREE LETTERS SOLICITING INSURANCE,
FOLLOWED EACH OTHER WITHIN A PERIOD OF SIX DAYS.]

Is it any wonder that I called the history I am writing "Frenzied
Finance"? The man who wrote the letter practically saying that I was a
black-mailer and that my reason for attacking the New York Life was my
anger because he would not take me into his company, and the man who
wrote the ones begging me to come in, are one and the same; and he
absolutely controls directly $400,000,000 of the people's savings in
the New York Life, and indirectly unnumbered millions in affiliated
institutions!

I think the case is complete. The policy-holders of the New York Life
have an opportunity to decide whether the "one man" who runs the great
institution in which their savings are invested is honest. In making up
their minds, I implore them not at the present time, or at least until
the question has been more fully ventilated, to allow their policies to
lapse. Under any and all circumstances they should keep up the payment
of their premiums, for the one thing especially desired and schemed for
by some of the "frenzied finance" insurance companies is a wholesale
lapse of policies.

Some few years ago the financial world learned with great interest of a
new and very useful invention in finance. A group of individuals who had
been buying large quantities of a certain stock at a low price, found
they could not, on account of the fact of its overcapitalization having
become known to the public, resell it; and they were, to use the
stock-gambling term, "hung up" with it because it was too water-logged
to float. It became necessary to disguise its identity. Here's how they
did it: They formed a "syndicate," to which they "turned over" their
stock at a good profit; the "syndicate" in its turn put it "in trust" by
simply depositing the stock certificate with a trust company, which in
its turn issued against the stocks thus held a new security, which it
called a "bond." For these a ready market was found, for the word "bond"
is still a term to conjure with in the world of finance.

This seemed such a serviceable arrangement that the originators soon had
many imitators. Many "syndicates" were formed, and many so-called
"bonds" were put on the market. In most cases the stocks were purchased
at a low price, turned into "trusts" at double their cost, and then paid
for by means of these certificates, dubbed "bonds." As one stock after
another was converted into syndicate certificates--"bonds"--the
familiarity of the procedure robbed it of its novelty and these "bonds"
were quoted and dealt in much as other and more tangible securities
bearing the same name. Perhaps this is why the startling announcement of
the New York Life Insurance Company made about this time, that it
proposed to sell all its stocks and thereafter hold nothing but bonds,
created so much less of a sensation than was anticipated. The term
"bond" had become vulgarized.

This excellent example would undoubtedly have had many followers but for
the humor of the Tobacco Trust. This robust institution, with an immense
amount of watered stock, audaciously poured it all but a small amount
into bonds, $157,000,000 of them, and with a fine trumpet-blast
proclaimed these "bonds" safe investments for widows, orphans, and
insurance companies. Even Wall Street, with its frenzied votaries and
its frenzied environment, was staggered. The culmination of these
conversion performances was the brilliant plan evolved by George W.
Perkins, the junior partner in the firm of J. Pierpont Morgan & Co.,
vice-president of the New York Life Insurance Company and expert
investor of its vast surplus, to have the United States Steel Trust
purchase some $200,000,000 worth of its own water-logged stock and
convert the same into more "absolutely safe bonds"; for its most
valuable services in the turning-over process the Morgan firm was to
have a commission of some forty millions of dollars. At this juncture
"frenzied finance" became gagged with its own froth, and I have not
space here to go further into the subject.

The New York Life Insurance Company declares to its agents,
policy-holders, and prospective policy-holders that it no longer holds
stock securities. In its last report to the Insurance Commissioners
there are set forth stock securities of the kind I have described above,
to the amount of fifty millions of dollars. I will give one
illustration:

"Northern Pacific--Great Northern--C., B. & Q. collateral 4s, book
value--$12,057,132.59, market value--$11,375,000."--(From the official
report to Insurance Commissioners.)

Now, these bonds are nothing more nor less than Chicago, Burlington and
Quincy stock of a par value of $100 per share, which shares were
purchased by individuals, and had "bonds" issued against them at $200
per share. (Northern Pacific and Great Northern stock in about the same
proportion.) In the sense in which the public look upon the old bonds of
railroads this "bond" is no more a bond than it is a Government bond. It
is nothing more nor less than a stock security, _and yet President
McCall says in his letter printed above and sent by him to
policy-holder DeRan that the New York Life does not and cannot invest
its surplus in stock securities_.


THE TRUE STORY OF HOW I WAS "BLACK-LISTED"

The publication of President McCall's letter and the charges which
accompanied it attracted so much attention that the "Big Three" were
flooded with letters from policy-holders demanding information. In the
January, 1904, issue of _Everybody's Magazine_, I continued the
controversy. After reviewing the conditions of the previous month's
argument, I went on:

In entering upon the exposure of the most powerful body of men in the
world, I knew quite well what I was "up against," and deliberately
decided that in the conduct of my fight I would use such strategy as I
believed proper to outwit so strong and so unscrupulous an adversary.
One can hang a dog as well with a cord as with a hawser, and in proving
my assertions I am quite willing that the insurance companies should
believe each play is my best card. I decline, however, to show my hand.

In reply to the charge that I was attacking the New York Life because I
had been refused insurance by that company, as positively stated in Mr.
McCall's letter, I reproduced a letter written and signed by President
John A. McCall, dated 1904, soliciting me to take out insurance in his
company. I printed parts of three other letters, one directed to my
office, also signed by Mr. McCall, another from the special agent, and a
third from the Boston agent of the New York Life, supplementing Mr.
McCall's letter and requesting the privilege of an interview.

This correspondence was put forth with a thorough understanding of its
nature. The publishers of _Everybody's Magazine_ and my own lawyers, to
whom I submitted it, both pointed out that the insurance companies would
undoubtedly take the ground that the McCall letter was no more than a
circular that had been sent out to a number of capitalists and had gone
to me by mistake. I replied that such a rejoinder would practically
amount to an admission that the statement and signature of the highest
officials of the New York Life were valueless and without significance,
which would place President McCall in an untenable position. If his
signature were valueless and without significance when appended to a
letter addressed to me, why not in other instances if the interests of
his corporation seemed to require such a disclaimer? Considering my
argument, would not such a confession have a pregnant bearing on the
proposition--is the "one man" honest, especially as I was equipped with
additional documents to offset further attempts on the part of the
insurance companies to show me up as a disappointed seeker after their
policies?

Here, specifically, are the details of my encounter with the
life-insurance institutions, and I pledge my word to my readers that
they constitute all the facts in this connection. They are well known to
the prominent men associated with the great companies whose duty it is
to keep track of just such transactions. Whoever knows by experience of
the incessant pursuit of business by the important insurance
corporations need not be told that a man in my position has had his
share of importuning by agents great and small. I have never sought life
insurance, for it has not appealed to me as an investment, but on three
separate occasions I have yielded to the persuasions of a friend
connected with one of the big institutions and have considered the
subject. The first time was in 1887, following a breakdown from
overwork. This illness my friend used as an argument to induce me to
take out insurance, and I went so far as to agree to submit to a private
medical examination by the leading physicians of his company for the
purpose of ascertaining if my breakdown, which for a brief time had left
a trace of paralysis in my left side, would bar me. This examination was
at my own expense, and it was expressly understood that, being private,
it should not constitute a record. The physician pronounced me a perfect
risk, but advised against going further inasmuch as a rigid rule of the
company precluded them from granting insurance to any one who had
suffered from this form of illness until seven years after the attack.
I was not disappointed except on account of my friend.

Five years later his solicitation was renewed and I was assured that the
officials of his company were so eager to have me that they would waive
the seven-year rule, which still had two years to run. This time I went
up before another medical examiner, and after the usual tests, was asked
the stereotyped question if I had ever previously been rejected for life
insurance. My friend replied for me--no. I, however, in spite of his
protests stated fully the conditions of my previous examination, which
the doctor assured me did not constitute an official rejection, and the
application was filled out. In the conversation that ensued, the doctor
said that it was safer to await the expiration of the seven years, and I
being still indifferent, except to my friend's interest, accepted the
apologies of the several people concerned for the trouble I had taken
and let it go at that.

Four years later, in 1896, after the attack of appendicitis which I
described in the December, 1904, instalment of "Frenzied Finance," again
my good friend the agent came to me and used the incident of my narrow
escape from death to impress upon me once more the desirability of
having a large policy of life insurance. Those who have read the
"System's" disclaimer, will remember that I had been blacklisted since
1892. There were the usual consultations with high officials of the
corporation, and when all preliminary bargains had been arranged, I
underwent a thorough examination in New York. This time, the seven-year
term having expired, I was pronounced a perfect risk. But my latest
illness had brought me up against another waiting rule, and once more
the subject was abandoned after the usual expressions of regret and
good-will. Since 1896 my connection with life-insurance companies has
been about the same as that of a molasses barrel with the industrious
flies in summer.

The interviews of 1892 and 1896 are both matters of record. My position
in each instance was well understood, and several insurance officials
who know the facts as well as I do have, since the publication of the
company's statement, come to me and offered to back up my assertions
with their own. American manhood is certainly not extinct when men are
willing to sacrifice their careers to set a wrong right.

The manner in which the great companies have met my rejoinder to
President McCall will afford my readers an excellent illustration of how
the "System" goes after a man who has excited its antagonism.

A few days after the publication of the December issue of _Everybody's
Magazine_, containing my fac-simile of President McCall's letter to
policy-holder DeRan and his two letters to me, the Life Insurance
Underwriters met and "resoluted" that I had applied for insurance in the
New York Life Insurance Company in 1892, and being asked if I had ever
been refused insurance, had replied in the negative. Investigation
showed that I had been refused four years before by two other companies,
whereupon my application was rejected and I was practically
black-listed, and so could not secure life insurance in any American
company. By way of corroborating this plausible story two letters,
purporting to have been written by agents of the two companies to their
head officers without my knowledge, were incorporated in the resolution.
The letters stated that the writers could secure me for a large amount
of insurance if the companies would accept the risk. The virtuous
corporations were alleged to have replied that Mr. Lawson had been
refused life insurance before, and for good reasons was not desired as a
risk. This resolution was then published throughout the press of America
in the news columns, and to all but those initiated in the desperate
practices of the "System" and its votaries, it was conclusive evidence
that an unprincipled man had been convicted, red-handed, of fraud.

You who read this statement of mine doubtless found the resolutions in
your own paper, and thought it ordinary news-matter printed because of
its public interest. This notice was an advertisement disguised as news,
and inserted through the "System's" professional character assassinator,
whose head-quarters are in Boston, a person who will occupy a prominent
part in the chapters of my story wherein I treat of the crimes of
Amalgamated. The publication cost the insurance companies $2.50 per
line of the policy-holders' money, while advertisements that I insert in
the course of my private business cost me but 75 cents per line.


HOW THE "SYSTEM" MAKES ITS PROFITS

It appeared that I had sinned still further, for had I not questioned
the virtue and integrity of the New York Life's securities? To
policy-holder DeRan, Mr. McCall had stated, over his own signature, that
the New York Life did not and could not own stock securities. (See the
DeRan letter on page 428.) I proved from the regular insurance reports
that millions of the New York Life's bonds were no more than disguised
stock securities, created by the new device of depositing stocks with a
trust company at an inflated price and issuing against them a receipt
which is arbitrarily called a "bond." I mentioned, as an illustration,
the Northern Pacific-Great Northern-C., B. & Q. Collateral 4s, created
out of the stock of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and other
railroads. I could have selected a much worse type of security, just as,
instead of the typewritten letter of Mr. McCall, I might have published
others of a more personal nature.

Against me out sallied 2d Vice-President Perkins, brother of George W.
Perkins, 1st Vice-President of the New York Life (J. Pierpont Morgan's
partner), and at a banquet in Philadelphia boldly answered my aspersions
by declaring that the bonds I named "are printed in the list of holdings
which the company publishes in detail, and has published for the last
five years, in order that its policy-holders may be informed of its
affairs in the minutest detail." The convincing logic of this rejoinder
the dullest will appreciate, but for a moment I must stop to remind Mr.
Perkins that the publicity on which he plumes himself is really not an
expression of the New York Life's individual frankness, but merely an
observance compelled by the law.

All this recapitulation has been for a purpose. My readers will bear in
mind before taking hold of my next exhibit that the great insurance
companies have published me as a falsifier, who since 1892 has been
refused insurance and black-listed for good reasons, and have claimed
that Mr. McCall's letters were circulars sent me by mistake. We are
still considering the problem--_are the men who run our great insurance
companies honest?_ Well, look at the reproduction on page 442 of a
document that is now in my possession and has always been since the date
when it was delivered to me by one of the three great representatives of
the "System," the Equitable Life Insurance Company.

This document speaks for itself. My readers are aware of the
negotiations and investigations which precede the making of an insurance
contract. To them and to the "System's" votaries I recommend the exhibit
and the underwriters' resolutions as a simple lesson in frenzied
finance.

My charge that the directors of the great life-insurance corporations of
America use the funds of the companies they control in stock speculation
for their personal benefit is but one contention in my argument against
the character of their management. Here I formally add another charge:
It is that in the placing of loans, in the purchase of properties and
securities, and in the underwriting of enterprises, there are enormous
profits made, directly and indirectly, which are pocketed by individuals
and are never shown on the books of the corporation.

The basis of life insurance is security. A policy-holder pays his
premium to enable the corporation accepting it to make good its contract
with him when death or time matures it. The vast sums in the possession
of the three great companies are accumulated to safeguard their
policy-holders, and should be invested only in securities of tried and
solid worth, which will bring in no more nor less than the going rate of
interest. There must be no experiments and, above all, no speculation.
But what do we find? The positions of managers and manipulators of these
huge hoards of the people's money have become the greatest financial
prizes of the day. New and ingenious methods of graft have been devised
in connection with them. The vast revenues of the insurance companies
have become the "System's" most potent instrument in working its will in
the stock world.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Their investments, largely in the securities of properties or
corporations in which the "System's" votaries have large interests, are
fertile sources of profit to the "insiders." The groups of banks and
trust companies affiliated with them are the medium through which access
to the coveted insurance funds is obtained, for these institutions are
allowed by law to use money for speculative purposes, which the
insurance concerns are prohibited from doing.

The immense opportunities for profit afforded by the control of these
great money hoards are taken advantage of in various ways. Let me
illustrate one or two of them. Rogers, Rockefeller, Stillman, and Morgan
buy the capital stock of three railways at a fair valuation, say,
$20,000,000 apiece, $60,000,000 for the three. Owning all, or nearly
all, the stock, they can put its price on the stock-exchanges to any
figure they desire, say, $60,000,000 for each railway, or $180,000,000
in all. They proceed to deposit the stocks of the three roads in a trust
company, issuing against them $180,000,000 of what they call "bonds." An
"underwriting" syndicate is then organized. This is composed of certain
individuals and corporations who agree that when these bonds are offered
to the public at $180,000,000, the portion the public does not buy, they
(the "underwriters") will purchase on the basis of $120,000,000; in
other words, they guarantee the sale of the bonds at $180,000,000. In
return they "make" on all the bonds sold the difference between the
price to them, $120,000,000, and the price the public pays,
$180,000,000. Let us assume that the public takes up the issue greedily
and the full price, $180,000,000, has been secured. The original owners,
Rogers, Rockefeller, etc., have made $60,000,000, the difference between
the first cost and $120,000,000, the cost to the "underwriters," while
the "underwriters" have made $60,000,000, the difference between
$120,000,000 and the $180,000,000, the cost to the people. In looking
over the list of subscribers to these bonds, you will note that the
largest purchases have been made for the great insurance corporations
and the banks and trust companies owned or controlled by them and "The
System." If, in the instance I am using for illustration, a president
or vice-president of one of the great insurance companies is known to be
willing to subscribe for, say, $10,000,000 for his insurance company;
$5,000,000 for his principal trust company, which is owned by the
insurance company; $1,000,000 apiece for five other banks and trust
companies, also owned or controlled by the insurance company; and can
influence five other affiliated institutions to subscribe for $1,000,000
apiece, he controls, as will readily be seen, a purchasing power of
$25,000,000, and is sought for as an underwriter, if he is not already
an owner. For this $25,000,000 which his institutions buy he "draws
down," as his personal profit, 33-1/3 per cent. "underwriters'"
commission, or over eight millions of dollars.

In taking this amount, he is not _robbing_ his insurance company, in the
common acceptance of the term in this era of "frenzied finance," though
he has absolutely appropriated to himself a profit which belongs to it
and not to him.

It must not be supposed that such transactions as this I have outlined
are conducted in the simple ABC fashion I have set down here for purpose
of illustration. No "one man" appears through any deal. The purchases
and sales are usually made through dummies, and the final recipient of
the "made millions" carefully conceals all the phases of his
participation.

Let us take another type of transaction. An insurance company owns two
adjoining pieces of unimproved city real estate, for which it paid
$250,000 apiece, but which are now worth $500,000 each. The directors of
the corporation formally decide to dispose of these holdings, and sell
the first piece to a trust company, which is owned or controlled by the
insurance company. One of the "System's" dummies or an officer or
director of the corporation agrees to take the other at the same price.
This is a perfectly legitimate transaction, and the insurance company
shows a half-million profit on its investment. The next step is this. On
its piece the trust company erects a two-million-dollar building,
procuring the money from the insurance company at a low rate of
interest. Thereupon the value of the adjoining piece bought by the
"System's" votary jumps fifty per cent., so he has made $250,000
without risking a dollar. At the same time there have been several other
profitable transactions between institutions and individuals. The agent
who disposed of the two pieces of real estate and who is "in" the
transaction receives a generous commission for making the sales; the
trust company's representative has his own "draw-down," and there are
further commissions to the agents who borrow and loan the money and
control the erection of the building.

My readers may well ask, Are these merely illustrations, or do such
things really take place? I unqualifiedly reply that deals similar to
these have occurred repeatedly and that the principle and procedure set
forth are the rule and not exceptional. Here is a minor episode of which
I have personal knowledge. A well-known man made direct application to
the Mutual Life Insurance Company for a loan of $400,000 on a valuable
city business block which he owned. He was told that the corporation had
no funds available for that purpose. The refusal was authoritative and
definite. A few days later a lawyer and real-estate agent came to his
office and said to him: "I'm informed that you want $400,000 on your
property. I can let you have it, or $500,000 if you need that much."

"Good," said the would-be borrower, "I will take it. Whose money is it?"

"The Mutual's."

"My dear fellow," said the would-be borrower, "how can that be? I was
there at the office a few days ago and was assured I could not have the
money."

"That's all right," was the answer. "Of course you could not get the
money. The right party did not see the right party. D'ye understand?"

He understood.

A recent issue of the _Insurance Register_, of Philadelphia, in
criticizing my comments on President McCall and life insurance, makes
the following significant admissions in regard to the conduct of these
great corporations:

     While riding on the train on my way to my office this
     morning a lawyer told me the following story: A client of
     his, a real-estate agent, represented a corporation owning
     and wishing to sell a valuable Chestnut Street property.
     The price asked was $750,000. A representative of a New York
     corporation called upon him and agreed to take the property,
     but stipulated that the price named in the deed and
     receipted for should be $850,000, the difference covering
     his commission of $100,000. The Philadelphian, finding it
     impossible to induce his clients to make this concession,
     and the New York agent insisting upon it as indispensable to
     the purchase, made a trip to New York to see the principal,
     acquaint it with the facts, and find out whether or not some
     arrangement could be made by which the buyer could take care
     of its agent's commission. He was received by the manager of
     the New York corporation, but when he stated that he
     represented the owner of the Philadelphia property he was
     instantly bowed out of the office, with the assurance: "We
     never interfere with business in the hands of our agent."
     The outcome was that the sale was not consummated, because
     the officers of the Philadelphia corporation would not
     receipt for $850,000 when they were to receive only
     $750,000, for the reason that they could not square the
     transaction with their stockholders, and the buyer's agent
     would not consummate the deal without such a receipt,
     because he could not square with his client and its
     stockholders the payment of $850,000 with the consideration
     of $750,000 mentioned in the deed. This story was told to
     illustrate the proposition that every action has its
     prompting motive, and my fellow-passenger imparted to me his
     conclusion that the motive of the manager of the New York
     corporation for refusing to listen to his client was that
     "the scoundrel was in cohoots with the agents to share in
     the commission and cheat his own company." The public will
     in time come to look for motives, and we, fellow-editors,
     and the managers of mutual life-insurance companies, will be
     judged by what seems the most apparent motive for our
     actions....

     Any alliance between life insurance and this modern
     speculative frenzy cannot be too deeply deprecated, nor too
     strongly reprobated. Every true friend of honest life
     insurance among insurance journals will demand that this
     great business, of all businesses, must be kept free from
     the contagion of corruption that has shamed finance, is
     covering commerce with a blighting mildew, and threatens our
     whole land with disaster as well as dishonor.

All this is preliminary to treating the case of the Prudential Insurance
Company. I want to say here that I do not know the corporation, any of
its officers, nor any one interested in the control or management of it,
and personally have never had the slightest connection with its
officers. I desire to prove through an outsider, some one of
unquestioned authority, that the great insurance companies are part of
the "System" and are engaged in manipulating the stock-market with the
funds their policy-holders put in their hands as a sacred trust. In so
far as the Prudential is concerned, rank and unsound as are the
transactions I am about to speak of, my investigations have proved to me
that this insurance corporation is only as a baby-carriage to a runaway
automobile compared with the three great representatives of the
"System," the New York Life, the Mutual, and the Equitable. Certain
critics have accused me of being unduly emphatic in my strictures on the
doings of the corporations of which I am treating. I will confess to a
secret amusement at being able, in this instance, to quote the language
of one of the most conservative insurance officials in America,
Frederick L. Cutting, for many years Insurance Commissioner for the
State of Massachusetts.

The Prudential Life Insurance Company has $2,000,000 capital stock. The
stock is owned and the company absolutely controlled by a few men. This
capital of $2,000,000 represents only $91,000 paid in in cash; the
balance has been derived from stock dividends; that is, profits that
have been made out of policy-holders. In addition to this enormous
amount, there has been paid ten per cent. in cash dividends annually, so
that for every thousand dollars paid in the stockholders hold $22,000 of
stock, upon which they receive annually $2,200, or, as Commissioner
Cutting puts it, "each year for ten years the stockholders have received
in cash dividends more than twice the original investment." I commend to
the policy-holders of the Prudential and other insurance corporations,
and to other honest men, these tremendous figures: every $1,000 invested
turned into $22,000, not in a gold or diamond mine, but in a
life-insurance company where every dollar comes from the policy-holder
who is supposed to pay in only enough to insure a promised payment plus
provision for honest expense.

The Prudential Company owned the stock of the Fidelity Trust Company,
the capital of which was $1,500,000, and the directors came before
Commissioner Cutting and informed him that they proposed to double up
the stock of the Fidelity Trust Company to $3,000,000; that the new
$1,500,000 at a par value of $100 was to be sold for $750 per share;
that the new stock was to be bought by the Prudential Company and the
Equitable Company; and that with the proceeds of the sale, the Trust
Company was to buy a control of the Prudential Company from its
directors. The motive of this transaction was as follows: The set of men
who absolutely controlled the Prudential, with its sixty millions of
assets belonging to its policy-holders, proposed to control it for all
time, but without tying up $7,000,000 of their own money in the
business. In other words, they desired to eat their pudding and yet have
it for continuous re-eating, and had found a way to accomplish this
heretofore impossible feat.

By this plan the men who controlled the Prudential Company, and thereby
the Trust Company, at the time the plan went into force, would forever
continue to manage and control both institutions, although not one of
them held a policy or any investment in the insurance company beyond the
one share of stock required by law to qualify as director.

If this scheme had been consummated it would have borne to "frenzied
finance" the same relationship that perpetual motion does to mechanics.
By it a few men could gamble forever with the entire assets of the
policy-holders of this corporation for their own personal benefit. If my
readers will imagine the same scheme applied to several other great
insurance companies and the men controlling them, the "System's"
votaries, they will recognize the "System's" ideal world, with all the
people in a condition of ideal servitude. However, this ingenious plan
was forestalled because there happened to be in control of the
life-insurance affairs of Massachusetts one of those old-fashioned
relics of American honesty--a man who thought more of the interests of
the people intrusted to his care than of the prospect of innumerable
"made dollars" which might have been his had he proved more amenable. It
is regrettable that he was not able to deprive the conspirators of their
power to juggle with the property of the corporation, for only two weeks
later they developed and executed an alternative device which
practically accomplished the result which the Massachusetts authorities
had declared illegal and the courts of New Jersey had enjoined.

There is food for thought here for the policy-holders of American
insurance corporations who have intrusted to the "System" and its
upholders the billions of their savings, to which they are adding every
year hundreds of millions. To them I recommend a reading of the
Forty-eighth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner,
dated January 1, 1903, and the decision of the New Jersey judge who
passed on the case. These men are surely not to be accused of exploiting
my story. Under the head of "Control of Life Insurance Companies" in the
Massachusetts Report will be found the following:

     The Insurance Commissioner had the honor of addressing the
     insurance committee of the General Court relative to the
     control of life-insurance companies by other corporations or
     by syndicates. For some years it has seemed to impartial
     observers who are conversant with life-insurance matters,
     and have also seen the eager quest by promoters for funds to
     finance all kinds of enterprises, and the determined
     struggle to grasp every opportunity for speculation, that
     there would be no cause for wonder if covetous glances
     should be turned toward the massive accumulations of
     life-insurance companies. It is well, therefore, to pause
     and ask what would be the chances for obtaining control of
     them, and what might be the result of such control, and in
     general whether the funds of such companies are imperilled
     by modern methods.

     Insurance corporations on a capital stock basis, on the
     other hand, give their policy-holders no voice in their
     management. To obtain control of such a company it is
     necessary only to control by purchase or otherwise a
     majority of its capital stock. If a "king of finance" should
     start out with the determination to secure a majority of the
     stock of such corporations, the chances are that in some
     cases at least he would be successful. He might, it is true,
     be obliged to pay more than the "book value" of the shares;
     but perhaps _control_ of a company's assets would well be
     worth twice or thrice or even more than what could be
     figured out as the value of the stock on the books of the
     company. On no other theory can the figure offered for
     life-insurance company stock in some cases be accounted for,
     since these offers are not warranted by the surplus nor by
     the dividends paid, nor by both combined.

     Is there aught to prevent a bold manipulator from entering
     this inviting field and purchasing a controlling interest in
     the stock of enough such life-insurance companies to make
     their combined assets aggregate one hundred million dollars
     of the more than six hundred millions of assets of stock
     life-insurance companies doing business in Massachusetts?
     This accomplished, he transfers his rights to a "trust," or
     an association, or trust company, which is not only a bank
     of deposit, but is also engaged in brokerage schemes, in
     financing large enterprises and promoting all kinds of
     corporate consolidations, and underwriting their stock for a
     consideration. The central controlling trust company, or
     whatever it may be, becomes a medium through which the
     investments of the controlled insurance companies are made;
     all sales of their securities pay tribute to its treasury;
     all funds awaiting investment are deposited in its keeping;
     the most valuable of their securities are turned into cash,
     and then used by the controlling power for such purpose as
     it sees fit. All these things are conceivable, and their
     accomplishment would be a no greater task, seemingly, than
     some of the gigantic "operations in finance" of the last few
     years.

     Judged by what has happened in other fields, this trust
     would not only control these vast assets, if the plan should
     be executed, but would control them without individual
     liability on the part of its managers.

     THE PRUDENTIAL MERGER CASE

     Is there really any danger, it may be asked, that any trust
     or syndicate will attempt to control the stock and assets of
     life insurance in this way, or is this simply the
     presentation of possibilities? As an answer to that question
     here follows a plain, unvarnished story of what has been
     attempted and what has taken place within the past year
     between one of the life-insurance companies doing business
     in Massachusetts and a trust company with which it has close
     relations.

     In October, 1902, the Insurance Commissioner received from
     the president of the Prudential Insurance Company of America
     a letter, transmitting a copy of a circular letter addressed
     "To the field and home office staff" of the company. That
     circular letter disclosed a plan of mutual control between
     the insurance company and the Fidelity Trust Company, a
     corporation organized under the laws of New Jersey. It
     stated that:

     "The capital of the Fidelity Trust Company is about to be
     increased from $1,500,000 to $3,000,000, the new stock being
     sold at $750 per share. This will result in giving the
     Fidelity Trust Company a capital of $3,000,000, a surplus of
     $13,000,000, and a considerable amount of undivided profits,
     making this company, from the standpoint of capital and
     surplus, as large if not larger than any similar institution
     in the country. Sufficient of this stock will be taken by
     the Prudential Insurance Company to give it, together with
     its present very large holdings of Fidelity stock, absolute
     control of that company. A very large portion of the balance
     of said stock is to be taken by the Equitable Life Assurance
     Society of New York, which will give to that company a very
     substantial interest in the Fidelity Company, and therefore
     justify it in materially increasing its business with the
     Fidelity. The bulk of the new money thus to be received by
     the Fidelity Trust Company is to be used by it in the
     acquisition of a controlling interest in the entire capital
     stock of the Prudential Insurance Company.... A contract has
     been entered into between the Fidelity Trust Company and a
     large majority of stockholders in interest of the
     Prudential, in which the latter have contracted to sell
     their holdings of Prudential stock, or as much as may be
     necessary, to the Fidelity Trust Company on or before May
     1st next, at $600 for every $100 of par value.... While by
     this arrangement the Prudential Company will control the
     Fidelity, and, on the other hand, the Fidelity will own a
     majority of the capital stock of the Prudential, the annual
     meetings of the two companies will be so arranged and other
     arrangements be so made that the Prudential will forever be
     the dominant factor, as of course it should be. The officers
     of the Prudential are united in their belief that this move
     is of the greatest possible interest to its stockholders, as
     well as to all of its policy-holders and its great army of
     employees. The consummation of this arrangement insures the
     continuance of the present management of the Prudential,
     both in its home office and in the field. The advantages of
     the plans of the trust company are too obvious to need
     comment. It is expected to consummate this entire
     transaction between the two companies on or about February
     1, 1903."

The Insurance Commissioner of Massachusetts, on receipt of this
circular, wrote United States Senator John H. Dryden, president of the
Prudential Insurance Company of America, declining to approve of the
proposed exchange of stock on the ground that the merger was
antagonistic to the interests of policy-holders, inasmuch as it forever
deprived them of the power to dislodge the management from the control
of the institution. The minority stockholders petitioned the New Jersey
courts for an injunction to restrain the Prudential and the Trust
Company's directors from carrying out the proceeding for mutual control,
and Vice-Chancellor Stevenson enjoined the corporation from executing
its project. However, the reciprocal control was effected by the sale of
enough Prudential stock to the Fidelity, whose capital was increased for
the purpose of purchasing it, so that the Fidelity lacks but eight
shares to control absolutely the Prudential. As the situation stands
now, the Prudential directors control the Fidelity, and the Fidelity
holdings, with eight shares more, control the Prudential. Practically
the ring is about as hard to break into as the plan enjoined. Those who
control the Fidelity can always "dominate" the insurance company.
Minority stockholders and policy-holders alike are practically in the
hands of the trust company for all time, and the insurance company's
assets can be managed as the majority of the trust company's directors
dictate.

The director goes on to explain the relations between a life-insurance
company and a trust company, which, in the light of recent exposures,
seems prophetic.

     "The money value of intimate relations between a majority of
     the directors of a life-insurance company and a trust
     company may be easily comprehended. These relations are at
     the beginning based on the needs of the insurance company,
     which needs it is hard to define and limit, and accordingly
     hard to say just where the provision for them becomes more
     of an advantage to the trust company than to the insurance
     company. Standards will differ, and change, too. But here,
     let us say, is a great insurance company with over
     $50,000,000 of assets which it has collected from its
     policy-holders, and which are needed for carrying out their
     contracts, and which safety requires shall be held in sound
     investments. Such an insurance company has to have a large
     and active bank account. It must deposit checks and all
     forms of paper promises or orders for collection, and for
     the payment of expenses and claims must have a large sum of
     ready money. This is the absolute need; but the directors
     are not bound by any legal requirements to limit their
     deposits to just what will reasonably suffice as a margin to
     pay current claims and expenses, nor are they required to
     patronize any particular banks. They conclude, let us say,
     that 'it will be safer' to take some banking institution for
     such depository which they 'know about,' and of which,
     perchance, some of them are directors, or in which, at all
     events, they are stockholders. If no such trust company is
     at hand, it is very easy to start one, and easy for the
     directors of the insurance company to be in 'on the ground
     floor.' The insurance company then begins to bestow its
     patronage. The trust company, which is thus supplied with
     funds, begins to feel the effects of this attention; by the
     use of its big deposits large dividends are earned. A 'boom'
     begins, and the director who 'had the sagacity' to invest in
     the stock of the trust company when it was around about par,
     sees his holdings advance by rapid strides until he is
     offered perhaps ten times as much for his stock as its par
     value. He has seen this stock advance in value in proportion
     to the amount of funds of the insurance company which the
     trust company had at its command. It has been worth much to
     him 'to be on the inside,' and will be worth much in the
     future for him to be on the inside if any new trust company
     is to be a depository; the bigger the deposit, the more it
     will be worth to him."

All thinking people, after reading these extracts from Insurance
Commissioner Cutting's report, will ask: "Why have we never heard of
this before?" I can only answer that he found it impossible to get any
part of the warning contained in it before the people. It should be
remembered that the insurance companies annually spend millions of
dollars with the daily, weekly, and monthly press--and it is unnecessary
for me to say more. My own advertisement calling attention to the
life-insurance chapters in the last issue of _Everybody's Magazine_ was
refused by some of the leading dailies of New York, Boston, Cleveland,
and Pittsburg. When I called on the managing editor of one of
Pittsburg's leading dailies for an explanation of the publication's
declination, he said: "Don't mention me or you'll get me into trouble.
Our copy for the advertisement was a day late and the insurance combine
had time to get in its work. The local managers sent a representative to
all the papers warning them not to run your stuff, under penalty of
losing the big full-page annual from each of the three big companies, as
well as the numerous fliers through the year." One hears of the
sagacious ostrich which, when pursued by an enemy, hides its head in the
sand. The ostrich is wise in comparison with the "System's" votaries in
the year 1904.


THE VULTURES FEEDING

Owing to the claims of other subjects on my space, I left the subject of
life insurance for a few months. In the meantime President Alexander
began his grapple with President Jimmy Hyde for the control of the
millions of the Equitable Life--the historic entanglement which has had
such dire consequences for all concerned. In the April, 1905, issue of
The Critics I wrote as follows:

When first I touched on the subject of life insurance and called
attention to the manner in which the three great companies were juggling
with the immense funds entrusted to them by their policy-holders, the
"System" raised a great outcry, declaring that I was unsettling the
confidence of the people in a sacred institution. At this moment we have
the chief officials of one of these huge organizations engaged in a
desperate and disgraceful struggle among themselves for its control.
All thought of the widow and the orphan, against whom they declared my
hand had been raised, has been forgotten in the mad fight for supremacy
over the accumulated millions in stocks, bonds, and in trust companies,
from the secret manipulation of which the great private fortunes of
successful underwriters are derived.

Before definitely grappling with the evils of the insurance trust, I
hesitated a long time. I realized my words would cause terror or
distrust among policy-holders and perhaps induce some misguided ones to
abandon their insurance. After long consideration, however, I became
convinced that what I had to say would in the long run benefit all
policy-holders, insure the greater safety of their funds, reduce their
annual premium-payments, and perhaps bring about the restitution of the
vast amounts which in the past had been diverted from them to private
individuals. The response to my criticism was a flood of abuse. Instead
of meeting my charges, the big companies denounced me for a liar and a
misrepresenter, and the insurance journals and subsidized press declared
that the things I had charged were impossible. Now, the president of the
Equitable Life Insurance Company is openly accusing a leading member of
his board of trustees, who is one of the foremost votaries of the
"System," of loading the company with twenty-two millions of securities,
which, as a member of the finance committee of the corporation, he had
purchased for himself in his capacity as head of a great banking-house.
On the other hand, the president and his associates, who have hitherto
swayed the destinies of the institution, are accused by the other party
of conspiring to mutualize the institution, not for the benefit of the
policy-holders, but to conceal the traces of past misdeeds. Before this
chapter is in the hands of my readers the officers and directors of this
great insurance company may be before the courts and a condition of
affairs spread out for the public's gaze such as will make my charges
seem, in comparison with the actual truth, as chestnut-burrs to
porcupines' quills.

One result achieved so far is an awakening of the people's attention to
the evils of present conditions; but let them beware of the remedies
suggested. The "System" is quick to adjust itself to storms it cannot
control, and there are many signs abroad that it is trimming its sails
to fly before the present blow, ready when it shall abate to switch back
to its old course, and, under fresh canvas, make up for lost time.
Already we have Senator Dryden, representing New Jersey and the
Prudential Life Insurance Company in the United States Senate,
introducing a bill for Federal supervision of life insurance, and the
"System's" hirelings throughout the land are clamorously agitating the
passage of some such measure. It behooves the public to scrutinize
carefully the form of reform which these patriots approve. It may be
taken for granted that they will initiate nothing that will interfere
with their grip on the millions of the policy-holders or will divert fat
pickings and commissions from their own pockets. Once I asked a leading
votary of the "System":

"What would you do if by any chance the Government decided to get into
the railway business, and took a railway or so to see how government
control would work?"

"Oh," was the reply, "we'd manage that all right! As soon as we saw it
coming, the stocks and bonds of the roads wanted would go up, so that by
the time Uncle Sam got ready to buy, it would be the fattest sale we
could possibly make. After that it would not be difficult to disgust the
Government with its bargain, and before long the people would be glad to
sell the property back to us, and we'd find a way to get it at slaughter
prices."

The reformation of the big insurance companies is sadly needed, but
reformation of a more drastic kind than they'll be willing to administer
to themselves. To begin with, there should be a relentless probing of
their stock transactions of the last fifteen years, followed by the
passage of some simple laws regulating their investments. The
relationship between these institutions and the "System" would then at
once of necessity terminate, and we could say good-by to the _régime_
under which the expenses of the Big Three have enormously increased and
their dividends to policy-holders have steadily declined while during
the same period the private fortunes of their officers and controllers
have flourished amazingly.

I have been repeatedly asked to define the conditions that make it
possible for these immense private fortunes to be gathered, within the
law. An examination of the figures that follow will reveal the
far-reaching possibilities that reside in the direction of the billion
of assets of the great insurance companies.

The last issued New York report (1903) shows that the three leading
companies had in uninvested funds, all told, $70,212,453. Of this sum
total there was "deposited in trust companies and banks drawing
interest"--at the _close_ of the year:

  Equitable                  $25,617,668
  Mutual                      22,439,396
  New York                    17,731,710
                             -----------
                             $65,788,774

the balance, $4,423,679, being on deposit without interest.

The above aggregate represents 71.7 per cent. of the uninvested
interest-bearing funds of twenty-eight companies--leaving but 28.3 per
cent. for the remaining twenty-five (in which, by the way, is included
$6,801,789 of the Prudential, as large in proportion as the funds of the
Big Three, with which it is associated).

This sum, at the two-per-cent. interest allowed by the trust companies,
returned to the insurance companies $1,315,775, while it earned for the
trust companies in the different speculations in which they were
engaged, from five to twenty per cent., or an annual profit of
$1,973,663 to $11,184,079, over and above the interest paid the
insurance companies for its use.

But who owns the trust companies? you ask. Some are owned jointly by the
three great insurance corporations and their directors, others by the
directors alone. The men who control the Big Three organize these
flexible depositary institutions, allotting half or more of their stocks
to themselves, the balance to the insurance companies, or keeping all
the stock themselves, for the purpose of manipulating the stupendous
sums in the treasuries of the insurance companies. The trust company is
the irrigating canal of Wall Street, the insurance company the
reservoir. For the development of the various schemes of consolidation,
trustification, and amalgamation in which Wall Street profits are made,
money is required in large quantities. When the soil is ready for the
seed, when negotiations have been sufficiently matured, the trust
company's sluice is tapped and the gold flows out. And gold which makes
a $225 crop sprout, where previously only a $100 crop grew, is a
valuable commodity, for the use of which large compensation is given the
engineers. Thus the men who hold the treasury-keys of the Big Three, and
who decide how the accumulated premiums of the policy-holders shall be
used and where deposited, are actually the owners of these trust
companies and of other corporations and trusts which borrow the money
the trust companies have on deposit from the insurance companies.

The hackneyed defence of the insurance companies to this accusation is
that great corporations, such as they are, must keep on hand, ready for
emergencies, enormous amounts of cash. This is a futile argument, for in
the nature of things the daily receipts of each of the Big Three are
larger than the expenditures. We are also told "We keep large amounts,
ready to take advantage of a sudden smash in the market." This sounds
well, but cloaks one of the most vicious practices of these great
institutions, and another of the insider's opportunities for private
graft. It means that the officers of the great insurance corporations
are ever ready for a stock gamble with the sacred funds of their
policy-holders; that is, they admit their willingness to use the
people's savings to make sure-thing gambling-profits from those
unfortunates who must throw over their stocks and bonds because of the
"System's" manipulations.

Imagine, my honest, old-fashioned reader, the millions of insurance
funds used in this way! Let me give you a picture of how it is done. I
have seen it worked a score of times. The stock-market is crashing,
dropping tens of millions a minute, and business men are saying: "Oh, if
we only had cash to buy, but we can not get it! The banks will not loan
at any price. Rates have gone up to 100 to 150 per cent. and no cash is
in sight." No one has money but the big insurance companies and the
"System's" votaries.

Suddenly mysterious buying appears--hundreds of thousands of shares of
stock, and bonds in million blocks. The crash has been stayed; the panic
is over; stocks are bounding upward again; millions are being made by
the mysterious buyers with each tick of the clock, and presently it is
common knowledge that all the insurance insiders have cleaned up
millions, and--of course, the company has made something, but the
biggest profits have been won by the men who, having previously
personally loaded up, were able to throw the unlimited buying power of
the policy-holders' millions into the gap. Talk of loaded dice, or any
of the sure-thing gambling devices! They are lily-white business schemes
compared with this method of plundering the people.

Again we are authoritatively informed that the great companies have so
much cash on hand that it is impossible to find investments for it save
at a low rate of interest. The fallacy here is obvious. If these
institutions have grown so unwieldy that they cannot conduct their
business as ably as the smaller companies, the latter are the ones to
insure with, because, right along, they are deriving larger returns from
their invested funds than the big companies. There are scores of ways,
however, by which the sixty-five millions could be made to earn even
larger dividends than do the funds in stocks and bonds. Let the Big
Three offer the use of their big cash balances by public
competition--under the most conservative conditions that can be
prescribed. Instantly the net returns will double.

All insurance policy-holders are familiar with the specious circulars
and letters presenting statements of business done and investments made,
which are sent out from the head offices of the great companies at odd
intervals on the plea: "We want our policy-holders to know everything we
are doing at all times." The public is assured at other intervals that
there can be no secret or inside deals in the affairs of insurance
companies because of the close examinations they are subjected to by the
Insurance Departments of the various States. The insurance officials
say: "All our facts and figures are vouched for by so many different
sets of auditors and State Departments that they must be exact truths."
To what extent is the public actually safeguarded by these
investigations?

Some months ago I called attention to the fact that the directors of the
New York Life Insurance Company had sold to themselves the stock of the
New York Security & Trust Company at from three to four millions less
than the property would have commanded from outsiders. Here is another
transaction which requires explanation:

In 1901, ostensibly in order to maintain its position in the German
states--I will explain later on what I mean by "ostensibly"--the
insurance company disposed of its remaining holdings of stocks, the same
having a book value of $2,965,000 and a market value of $5,471,000, as
per report of 1900. These stocks, with possibly sales of some other
securities, realized an actual profit of $5,839,087 instead of
$3,075,392 as per the company's _sworn_ report to the several State
Insurance Departments.

Rather a queer proceeding, you say. Why should it do such a thing? Had
some one stolen the extra profit? Or what? This is what was done: The
company had simply availed itself of the opportunity to conceal an
actual cash profit of $2,763,715 in order that it might sequestrate
assets to that amount unnoticed by its policy-holders or the
departments. The sum so sequestrated was made up of balances due from
agents--presumed, as in all such cases, to be amply secured by pledge of
renewal contracts--to the amount of $1,919,734, and $843,891 charged off
depreciation of real estate. (See Massachusetts Report, 1902, pages
158-159.)

This illegal suppression of most important transactions, directly
affecting, as will be seen later, the interests of policy-holders, would
have remained a sealed book but for the careful audit of the
Massachusetts Department, which revealed the fact, unnoticed by that of
any other State (note in this one instance the boasted careful
supervision and boasted double and triple auditing of all accounts
before publication!), that the item "Agents' Balances," amounting in
the preceding year to $1,527,123, had disappeared altogether from
assets. This led to a prompt request from the Massachusetts Department
for explanation.

The honorable business men of the New York Life, who pay out so many
hundreds of thousands of dollars each year advertising the fact that
they are sitting up o' nights to find new ways to acquaint the
policy-holders with the innermost secrets of the company, finding there
was no avenue of escape from their dilemma, quickly realized that the
Massachusetts Department meant to have the facts, and publish them, too.
Their own "faked" report was already before the public in the published
reports of two departments, those of Connecticut and New York.

There was but one course open to avert the terrific scandal that was
inevitable upon publication of the Massachusetts Report, and that was to
head off and forestall adverse comment and criticism, as far as
possible, by making a clean breast of it. No time was lost in preparing
a letter of explanation to the Department. This answered the purpose of
the Department, which did not care to press the matter, having
accomplished its main object.

Now for the moral, or the iniquity, rather, of the preceding, the wrong
to policy-holders, which has been so completely ignored and passed over
by the insurance press and all hands: Either the company had, as at
least supposedly it has in all such cases, ample security for its
advances to agents in the pledges of their renewal contracts, or it had
not. On the former hypothesis, that $1,900,000-odd was a sound and valid
asset, earning a good rate of interest. On the latter, the company
simply squandered this amount of trust funds belonging to its trusting
policy-holders in its mad rush for business at whatever cost; or--In
either case the money has gone from sight so far as any sign or
indication appears to the contrary since.

And before leaving this point, it may be well to ask, "Has the New York
Life Insurance Company altogether discontinued these advances to
agents?" If not, how and where are they accounted for? An answer may be
found, possibly, in the comparatively meagre underwriting profits of the
company, growing relatively smaller and beautifully less with each
succeeding year. I say it may possibly be found here, because this is
the only place the item could be buried; but I am reasonably sure that
it is not buried here, and that these advances to agents are being
continued on a scale as large as, or larger than ever, for the agents
could not have been shut off and the business increased at one and the
same time.

Again, during the last two months of 1904, or at a time when my story,
"Frenzied Finance," began to get in its work all over the world, I
received from many quarters information that the Big Three had
instructed their leading agents to get in a great lot of new risks "at
any cost," so that the total business for the year would show such
increase as to discredit my claim that the policy-holders were getting
"scared." I watched the game with much interest, knowing that bunco
would out in time, by whomever worked. During these months I read from
week to week of this great policy, or that record-breaking risk just
landed by this or that agent. One in particular made me chuckle at its
transparency. A certain friend of the New York Life, a Wall Street man,
"has just taken out a $2,000,000 policy." About the same time I began to
receive information of the remarkable offers that were being made to
prospective customers, offers which probably meant an indirect rebate of
perhaps the full first year's premium; and I got to thinking and
reaching back into my memory-box, and I raked out a number of instances
of the same kind of offers which had been made to me in the past, and I
ruminated to myself how all this was possible; for even if the Big Three
were bold enough to get around the law against such practices, it
puzzled me how they could pay to their agent the big cash commissions
that new business called for. Presently as I waited I read, as did the
rest of the world, the big January full-page advertisements of the New
York Life to its policy-holders, calling their attention to the increase
of $15,000,000 new business over the year before. Then I took another
think and did a little work, with the following result:


A JOLT FOR THE NEW YORK LIFE

The "Brown Book of Life Insurance Economics" shows that the sum laid by
annually for future tontine or other dividends ranged in the ten years
ending with 1903 from $2,936,026 to a minimum of $956,597, these amounts
being savings after payment of dividends. In 1904, however, for the
first time in the tontine history of the company--also the first year of
maturity of non-forfeitable tontine contracts with their largely reduced
dividends--the dividends paid and credited, $6,018,202, actually
exceeded the year's earnings, as shown by the company's sworn statement,
by $76,595.

I want to call policy-holders' attention right here to what this means
to those who are now being beguiled into taking policies on the strength
of "adjusted" estimates placed by the company in its agents' hands,
showing dividend results ranging from fifteen to fifty per cent. higher
than those of 1904, with, however, the saving (?) clause that, depending
upon future unforeseeable conditions, the same "may be higher or may be
lower." It may be added that, but for a profit realized from sale of
securities, the company's gross surplus would have shown shrinkage.

In order to realize what such a showing means, let us make a comparison,
using the figures of a well-known Western company (partly tontine, but
operated on diametrically opposite lines from the New York Life), for
the three years 1901-03, this company being barely four-tenths the size
of the New York Life as regards outstanding business:

  COMPARISON OF TOTALS, THREE YEARS, 1901-03

                           Dividend                   Laid by for future
                           earnings.     Dividends.       dividends.

  New York Life           $16,826,289   $13,189,278      $3,636,091
  Western Company          17,788,820    12,284,255       5,504,565
                          -----------   -----------      ----------
                            -$962,531     +$905,023     -$1,867,574

After mulling these over, I dug further in regard to the "prosperity" as
shown by the business of 1904. The company boasts of its enormous volume
of new business, $345,722,000, which is $15,000,000 in excess of the
1903 business. Here is the story: While this new business was being
secured, the

  Total terminations were                         $162,326,114
  Less those inevitable terminations by death
    or maturity of endowments                       26,767,873
                                                  ------------
  Waste by lapse, surrender, etc.                 $135,558,241
  And when we add the lapsed policies which
    continued in force, under the "extended-insurance"
    provision                                       89,938,500
                                                  ------------
  We have the total waste of                      $225,496,741

and this, reduced to its actual significance, means that of the total
actual terminations, 83.6 per cent. was _actual waste_ and only 16.4 per
cent. legitimate terminations, while the great bulk of the last item of
$89,938,500, upon which premium payments have ceased, must run off the
books in the near future; and this is what goes on from year to year,
more than keeping pace with the boasted increase in volume of new
business. The public never sees this side of the question.

When I got to this point in my deductions, I was brought face to face
with the tremendous expense of acquiring new business. Then I saw the
light--why it was necessary to wipe off the books nearly two millions of
what were considered good assets, that is, pledges from agents of their
renewal commissions against which advances had been made, and where the
new business came from, and how it was possible to make rebates when the
law says they shall not be made. An agent induces a friend to have a
policy written, for which the agent practically pays the premium out of
his commission, and thereupon has advanced to him large sums against the
future premiums which are to be paid by the policy-holder, who has no
intention of paying them, and allows his policy to lapse. Heavens! What
a vista of plundering opportunities the bare thought opens up! Somebody
has to pay.

THE MILLION-DOLLAR POLICY

In the May number I inserted the following letter:

     FORT WORTH, TEXAS, February 16, 1905.

     THOMAS W. LAWSON, ESQ., Boston, Mass.

     _Dear Sir_: I have read and will continue to read your
     articles on "Frenzied Finance," published in _Everybody's
     Magazine_, with a great deal of interest. I have noted
     especially your statements in reference to the big
     life-insurance companies, as I am a policy-holder in both
     the New York Life and the Equitable.

     Under the heading of "Lawson and His Critics," in
     _Everybody's_ for January, you give your side as to the
     assertion on the part of the insurance companies that you
     have been refused life insurance, among other things
     publishing a fac-simile of a contract of life insurance
     between yourself and the Equitable Life Assurance Society
     for $1,000,000. On my first reading of your article, I was
     certainly impressed with the fact that you had $1,000,000 of
     insurance with this company. On a second reading, I note
     that you do not say in so many words that this is a policy
     in force, but you say: "Well, look at this reproduction of
     the document that is now in my possession and always has
     been since the date when it was delivered to me by one of
     the great representatives of the 'System,' The Equitable
     Life Assurance Society." This statement taken in connection
     with others, conveys the idea that you are insured in the
     company named.

     In conversation with a gentleman a few days since, who
     claims to know whereof he speaks, having gotten his
     information direct from New York, he stated that you had no
     policy in the Equitable Life Assurance Society for
     $1,000,000, or any other amount, and that the reproduction
     referred to above, was of a _sample copy_ of a policy, and
     not a real contract.

     As your editor states that you will answer any pertinent
     question, I will ask the following, trusting that you may
     consider it pertinent: Have you a valid subsisting policy in
     the Equitable Life Assurance Society for $1,000,000, the
     fac-simile of which appears in _Everybody's Magazine_ for
     January, 1905?

     Trusting you will favor me with a reply, I am,

     Very truly, ----

I answered:

Since the chapter which contained the fac-simile of the million-dollar
policy was published I have received many letters similar to the above,
but have not answered any because I wished to see how far the insurance
people would go in this matter. Finding I did not reply to the
different attempts they made in their subsidized journals to draw me
out, they grew bolder, until the use of this million-dollar policy has
become the chief defence of the Big Three companies. I want my readers
to think this point over and weigh its significance carefully. In a
previous chapter I called attention to the fact that there is nothing to
protect the policy-holder from being robbed of the amounts he has
invested to insure his family from poverty after his death but the
honesty of the men who really control the big insurance companies as
absolutely as any of their policy-holders do their personal affairs. If
these men are honest, policy-holders in their companies may rest easy
for the time being; but if they are dishonest, the policy-holders should
call them to account, for these men have it absolutely in their power to
make way with the funds of the companies they manage until there will
not be a dollar left for policy-holders.

Therefore the one thing for policy-holders to settle, the one vital
thing is, Are these men honest, or are they tricksters and liars?

To settle this point they must be weighed in the same way that all other
men and women in this world are weighed--by the simple, ordinary
standards: Do they lie? Do they trick? Do they cheat?

When I made my charges in my first chapters against the votaries of the
"System" who controlled the insurance companies, they met my specific
charges as dishonest men would meet them, not as honest men would. They
impugned my motives, and specifically charged that my reason for
attacking them was that I had been blacklisted by all insurance
companies and could not get insurance from any of them.

While it was immaterial so far as my specific charges went whether this
was so or not, it had a most decided bearing upon the question whether
the officers and controllers of the Big Three insurance companies were
honest or dishonest men. Therefore I picked up their accusation and
began a line of argument to prove they were tricksters and absolutely
devoid of honor.

I showed, by reproducing the personal letters of President McCall, of
the New York Life, to my office and to my house, reënforced by his
special agent's letter, and these reënforced by his Boston agent's
letter, that I had been continuously and urgently importuned to take
insurance during the time he said I was blacklisted. The insurance
people met this by the excuse that these were not personal letters, but
mere advertisements.

I then reproduced the million-dollar policy, hoping to drag from the Big
Three a specific charge that this, too, was an advertisement.

Of course, I did not pretend that the policy in question was in force,
that is, that I was insured in the Equitable Life Assurance Society for
one million dollars. This would have been too childish; first, because
every insurance policy, particularly the very large ones, is as much a
matter of record, to be got at by any one in the insurance business, as
are real-estate records; and, next, because that which I printed had the
signature punched out, which made it obvious that it was not in force.
My object was to lead the Equitable into the positive statement that it
was an ordinary advertisement, when I would have reproduced the
proposition that accompanied it and which the Equitable made in probably
the most elaborate set of documents ever assembled by an insurance
company for the purpose of inducing one of the "best risks" in America
to take out a "great big policy." These constitute the complete argument
which was made by the Equitable Life Assurance Society to persuade me to
take a million dollars' worth of insurance. They are engrossed upon
parchment and bound in a specially gotten-up morocco cover, and, I was
told, cost the insurance company between four and five hundred dollars.
They were presented to me as the result of my demanding that all the
inducements they offered to come into their company should be put down
on paper, so that there could be no mistaking them. The documents as
engrossed and the terms of the contract were carefully copyrighted by
the Equitable, and are now on my table before me as I write.

The question which the publication of the million-dollar policy was to
settle was whether or not I had been importuned to take out great sums
of insurance in the leading insurance company of America, and it proved
exactly what I had contended--that I had been so importuned.

Up to and including my April, 1905, instalment I have made specific
charges against the great insurance companies, the Mutual, the New York
Life, and the Equitable:

1st. That the control of the officers of these great corporations over
the billion dollars of their policy-holders' funds is as absolute and
unrestricted for all practical purposes, as is their control of their
own personal affairs, and is largely exercised for their personal
enrichment.

2d. That the policy-holders have absolutely no voice in the management
of these companies or the control of their funds, because of the
manipulation of proxies in the New York Life and the Mutual and the
control of the stock of the Equitable.

3d. That those who do control the big companies are votaries of the
"System," and as such are subject to the "System's" orders as absolutely
as is James Stillman, president of the "Standard Oil" National City
Bank.

4th. That the insiders of these insurance companies, not one but several
of them, have accumulated fortunes in the past few years, of from one to
twenty millions, while at the same time premium-rates have advanced and
dividends decreased.

5th. That under the present methods of conducting these great companies
it is as inevitable as it was in the case of 520-per-cent. Miller or
Mrs. Howe's Woman's Bank, that as soon as they can get no more
insurance, the funds behind the old insurance will be dissipated and a
crash take place such as the world has never known before.

6th. That the companies are "milked" in every direction, through the
purchase and sale of real estate, through the loaning of their millions,
and through the manipulation and investment of their funds.

7th. That they acquire new business at an expense and by methods which
alone will in time wreck the companies.

8th. That in a single instance the New York Life sold securities for
$5,839,087, but its statement under oath to the State Insurance
Departments showed receipts of only $3,075,392.

9th. That the New York Life sold the stock of the New York Security &
Trust Company, which it held, to its insiders for over $4,000,000 less
then they could have secured for it from others.

I have specifically charged other things, and will, as my story
proceeds, make many more specific charges of as serious a nature; but
the above suffice for my present argument, which is, that up to and
including the April number I have made these accusations and that the
only way they have been met is by underhand mud-slinging and by alleging
that the incentive for my attack was that I could not secure insurance
from any of the American companies; and I have met this with absolute
proof, which must stand until it is disproved, that I have been during
the past ten years importuned and urged by the large insurance companies
of America to take out insurance.

Therefore I will leave the question of this million-dollar policy and
other forms of importuning until the insurance companies offer something
in rebuttal.


THE WAY OUT

The overhauling of the Equitable Life exposed conditions far worse than
I had indicated to the public, and it seemed probable that the usual
whitewashing process would be utilized to conceal the guilt of the
rapacious criminals who had been untrue to the most sacred trust that
can be imposed on man. Since that time, however, the Governor of the
State of New York has appointed a committee to investigate the affairs
of the Big Three corporations, and the resulting disclosures are the
sensation of the hour as this book goes to press. In order to protect
the interests of policy-holders, in case the authorities declined to
act, I issued the following address in the July, 1905, number of
_Everybody's_:

TO THE POLICY-HOLDERS OF THE NEW YORK LIFE, MUTUAL, AND EQUITABLE
INSURANCE COMPANIES

The time has come for you to act. When, less than a year ago, I began my
story, "Frenzied Finance," I exposed the function of the three great
life-insurance companies in the structure of the "System." I explained
that they were controlled in the interests of great financiers and that
their funds were juggled with to compass the huge plundering operations
of Wall Street. At that time the New York Life, the Equitable, and the
Mutual Life loomed before the American people as the greatest, most
respected, and most venerable institutions in our broad land. To-day
they stand for all that is tricky, fraudulent, and oppressive.

A great change to have been accomplished in less than twelve months!

My readers are by this time familiar with the condition of affairs in
the Equitable. The greed, juggling, and grafting practised by its
officers and controllers have been fully exposed through the press. I
hope none of those who have followed the terrific arraignment of
rottenness and rascality made through the Frick report are so foolish as
to imagine that the evils described are confined to the Equitable. In my
own opinion the Equitable is much less reprehensible than the New York
Life, and when that institution and the Mutual are thoroughly shaken up,
as they will be in the future, indubitable evidence of the same fashion
of extravagance, trickery, and fraud will be found in plenty. Conditions
in the three institutions are the same; though of late the New York Life
has altered the character of most of its securities. Each has piled up
an immense surplus which has been used through allied trust companies
for stock juggling; each has paid extravagant commissions to agents; the
funds of each have been managed to afford to high officials plentiful
opportunities of graft; each has its real estate, fire insurance, low
rent and loan favor graft; in each will be found the same type of
syndicates as President Alexander and Vice-President Hyde used for their
personal enrichment in the Equitable. To-day President John A. McCall of
the New York Life is credited with possessing a fortune of between ten
and fifteen millions--a few brief years ago he was State Superintendent
of Insurance in Albany. The chief associate in the management of the
same corporation, George W. Perkins, J. Pierpont Morgan's partner, is
another very rich man, whose wealth has been accumulated in a few short
years. Do you imagine for a moment that such transactions as I set forth
last year in connection with the New York Security and Trust Company, in
which the interest of the New York Life was sold to a syndicate of its
own directors for a sum far below the market value of the shares, were
put through without the connivance of President McCall and
Vice-President Perkins? Even if the New York Life, as its president
explains, did make a large profit on the sale of the trust company's
stock, he cannot deny that the syndicate paid far less than the then
market value of the shares for the insurance company's holdings.

There is something particularly vile about the crimes of these high
officials and distinguished gentlemen who have been waxing fat and
luxurious on life-insurance graft. In a recent number of this magazine I
drew a parallel between the confidence operator and the burglar to show
that the latter despises the former for a sneak thief who takes no
chances in his thieving operations. Infinitely more depraved than the
sneak thief is the high-placed functionary, presiding over a great
institution built up out of the savings of millions of people, paid an
immense salary for his important services, trusted with vast funds
because of his reputation for integrity and business sagacity--who yet
uses his splendid place to line his own pocket. Of all fiduciary
institutions, life insurance should be the most sacred. Its chief
function is to care for the widow, the orphan, and the helpless. The
millions of revenue paid annually into the life-insurance companies of
this country represent the blood and tears and sweat of millions of
Americans who thus provide for the care of their dear ones for the time
when death shall have put an end to their own income-earning abilities.
The administrator of a trust so solemn and exalted should devote himself
to its safeguarding as a priest dedicates himself to the service of his
Maker. The responsibility conferred on him is the highest and holiest
man can repose in his fellow-man. Remembering all this, consider again
the revelations of greed and plunder in the Equitable; consider that
millions upon millions of dollars have been filched and wasted; analyze
the Frick report and the letter of President Alexander to the directors
of the society, calling for Vice-President Hyde's removal from office.
Think, ye farmers and laborers, of personal traveling expenses of
$75,000 in a brief period, of salaries of $100,000 annually paid for a
few hours of work per day; think of vast sums of your money used to
provide expensive safe-deposit institutions with low-priced quarters so
that the personal income of men already multimillionaires may wax still
greater. Think of the great institution to whose hundreds of millions'
income you contribute your hard-earned dollars, being farmed, milked,
and squeezed by a pack of dissolute and greedy schemers and robbers more
conscienceless and oppressive than any band of thugs in the country.

When I began to discuss in _Everybody's Magazine_ the subject of the
three great life-insurance companies, I stated that there is actually
nothing between the two million-odd policy-holders and the possibility
of their being robbed of the billions of dollars of their accumulated
savings but the devotion and the honesty of the men who are in control
of these institutions.

You know what happened when I said this to you the first time--less than
a year ago. The officers, trustees, and hirelings of these great
companies laughed to scorn my statements and called me a liar and a
scoundrel. They drew the attention of the whole world to the standing
and wealth and honesty of the men who managed these great corporations,
and proved by the most positive asseverations that nothing could be more
preposterous than that any one of them could do wrong. But the great
God, who seldom allows His children to remain long deceived to their
undoing, heard these loud-mouthed protestations, and to-day the world is
listening to exposures of low, mean thefts and contemptible crimes far
worse than any to which I had pointed.

And from whom comes the proof of the treacheries and rascalities
perpetrated within the Equitable? From the men who control and manage
this great institution and its hundreds of millions of accumulations.
When my accusations first appeared, these men saw the handwriting on the
wall and some of them, bolder than others, determined to seize these
vast hoards of the public's money and at the same time get possession of
all evidence of past crimes so that they might be immune forever after
from punishment and the necessity of making restitution. In the act of
grabbing, however, the robbers fell out with one another, and, presto!
they are in the public square where all men, women, and children, cats,
dogs, and asses may see and hear as they gouge, bite, and accuse each
other of the vilest crimes.

These are the men in whose custody even now are the accumulations on
which you, Mr. Policy-holder, are depending to take care of your wife
and little ones, should you die. On the honor and responsibility of men
who in the past five years have "saved" out of salaries of $20,000 to
$100,000, private fortunes of millions, you must absolutely rely for the
safety of the billions of dollars of your savings. The future of the
helpless beings whom your hard daily labors provide with a livelihood is
in the hands of men who admit having expended $100,000 of your money to
provide a lordly and regal entertainment for a set of extravagantly paid
agents and solicitors who, spurred on by prodigal inducements, have
piled up huge amounts of new business on the company's books. I have
explained to you before what such business is worth, that the agent gets
so large a commission that he is practically in a position to accept
risks at far below their cost to the company, and that such business as
this is seldom renewed. The same men have been paying personal
secretaries, gardeners, and flunkies out of your earnings; they have
been feasting and traveling in private cars with large parties of the
New York flubstocracy at your expense; every possible extravagance they
have been guilty of by means of the revenues some of you have worked
fourteen to eighteen hours a day to gather in. Shame, I say, on such
contemptible thievery.

I cannot resist the temptation to pull back the slide from one episode
of the past. When my strictures on the three great life-insurance
companies first appeared, one of the vice-presidents of the Equitable,
Gage E. Tarbell, in writing to an inquiring policy-holder, said: "Pay no
attention to Lawson; he is only a reckless stock gambler, and every
sensible person knows that any man, no matter what his position might
be, who would do anything to cause loss to the class of people we
insure, must be a rascal." And this is the same man Tarbell, it is now
admitted by all the Equitable officers and investigating committees,
who, as soon as he saw the crisis coming in the affairs of the
Equitable, had his pal, President Alexander, pay to him $135,000, which
he claimed was due him for commission renewals, even though he was then
in receipt of a salary of $60,000 per annum for his services. It is
through the operations of this same Tarbell that the vast system of
rebates, one of the chief evils of the present system of life insurance,
came into being, and through his prodigality that the immense sum of
$2,000,000 stands on the books of the company, representing advance
commissions to the pampered agents.

The time has come for all you policy-holders to act, and there is but
one way to act.

A thousand and one schemes are afloat to confuse and trick you at this
period. The cry is--anything to hush things, to confine the fire to the
Equitable, at any cost, even though it totally consumes the $400,000,000
of the people's savings in that institution. I told you at the beginning
that the New York Life was worse, if anything, than the Equitable, and
the Mutual Life just as bad. Therefore I unqualifiedly advise
policy-holders to:

1. Pay up this year's premium--it will be the last to these plunderers.

2. Have nothing to do with any committee or scheme.

3. Write me, at once, your name, address, and the amount and character
of your policy. I want nothing more from you, and under no consideration
will I divulge your name without your further consent in writing.

I already have the names of thousands of policy-holders, but to make my
plan instantly effective I must have scores of thousands.

My plan has for its aim and end, this and only this:

The absolute preservation of the face value of your policy.

The reduction of future premium payments to forty cents on the dollar on
what you now pay.

The restitution of millions upon millions looted from the three great
companies, or as much as can be collected after a careful examination of
the books--and the punishment of the thieves.

Bear in mind _that I will not have any money connection with you in the
working out of my plan. I pay my own expenses. I will not ask any reward
or profit, money, office, or otherwise, nor will I under any
circumstances accept any._

[Illustration: Policy-holders reply coupon.]

In response to this appeal I received over sixteen thousand proxies,
representing over fifty-four millions of insurance. The investigations
made by the legislative committee of the State of New York are
unearthing in a most thorough manner the iniquities of the directors and
managers of the Big Three, and before proceeding further I shall await
the results of its work. If there is any way short of criminal
proceedings to compel the restitution of the millions diverted or stolen
from policy-holders, I shall begin suits which I am satisfied can be
fought to a successful conclusion.


THE CALL TO ARMS

The extraordinary disclosures made before the investigating committee of
the New York Legislature, which is now conducting inquiries into the
methods of the great insurance companies, led me finally to issue the
following open letter to John A. McCall, in which I review the
controversy between us and contrast his disclosures of corruption and
mismanagement with his brazen professions of virtue and probity made
last year. In order to wrest the two great mutual companies from the
control of men who are obviously unworthy to direct them and with whom
the policy-holders' funds are plainly unsafe, I asked for proxies which
would make it possible for me to bring about a change in the control of
these two great corporations.

This letter and call appeared in the November, 1905, issue of
_Everybody's Magazine_.


AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN A. McCALL, PRESIDENT NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE
COMPANY

_Sir_: It is time your attention was called to the moral sense of the
American people. It is time some one dragged you out of the Wall Street
conservatory and set you in the plain white light of daily life. It is
time you were shown yourself as you are to-day seen by the millions of
your countrymen who, a month ago, believed you to be a great and
honorable man.

In spite of the terrible exposures of the past few weeks, in spite of
the pitiless revealment of yourself and your directors as tricksters,
in spite of the unveiling of the jugglery, grafting, and corruption of
your administration of the most sacred trust that can be confided to
man, you remain unconvinced of your fall and unpenetrated by your shame.
Fortified by the sympathy of your fellow-sinners, you imagine your
audacious bluster and your sly evasions before the Investigating
Committee of the State of New York represented shrewd generalship and
able strategy, forgetting that the enemy against whom your manoeuvres
were directed was the American people and that, in this inquisition,
your character and reputation were as absolutely before the bar as
though you had been indicted for sequestration of the funds of some dead
friend's wife.

Throughout this broad country of ours are good Americans who have slaved
and toiled to gather up the hundreds of dollars which you have exacted
from them yearly as the price of the future livelihood of their wives
and children, or as the provision for their own old age. You have made
yourself the custodian of these funds under sacred pledge of square
dealing and safe and honest administration. You have made yourself the
national executor, the great depositary of the moneys of the widow and
the orphan. You have cried your virtue and honorableness from the
housetops, and, under the stress of your pleadings, hundreds of millions
of dollars have been confided to you annually--half the savings of the
nation have been turned into your coffers, all because you insisted that
you were honest beyond all other men, and that the dear ones left behind
might rely on your generosity and integrity for their support.

And it is with the moneys that might at any time have been claimed by
these widows and orphans that you have been rigging syndicates,
debauching legislatures, juggling judges, manipulating stock-markets,
and doing other things which will be proven later. Instead of employing
the vast power and the immense wealth intrusted to you to conserve the
interests of your policy-holders, you have made yourself a part of the
cruel robbing machine which the "System" has created to deprive the
American people of their savings. Under the pretence of seeking
profitable investment, your corporation has been perverted into a vast
stock-gambling agency. You have filled the high places in your
corporation with your own children and relatives and their relatives,
and conferred on them great salaries out of which they have grown rich.
You have paid out to friends and associates, on various pleas, millions
that rightly belonged to your policy-holders. You have done all these
things habitually, yet to-day you describe the investigation being
conducted into your operations as an impertinence, and secretly you
regard this inquisition and all that pertains to it as a waste of time
and energy. You are unrepentant, unashamed, and defiant.

I shall take this opportunity, sir, of reviewing our own relations
during the past year and contrasting your position to-day with that you
boasted twelve months ago.

One year ago, in _Everybody's Magazine_, I said:

"The officers, trustees, and officials of the 'Big Three' life-insurance
companies have been and are systematically robbing their policy-holders.
They are grafters--mean, contemptible grafters."

I gave specific instances of their thieveries.

You replied, not by haling me to court, but by:

Circulating throughout the world documents by the millions, disparaging
my reputation by advertisements and "news" and "editorial" statements
from your subsidized insurance press, denying my charges and attacking
my character, all at the expense of your policy-holders.

You libelled me in thousands of private letters to policy-holders, many
of which came back to me.

You employed James M. Beck, ex-Assistant Attorney-General of the United
States, then and now chief attorney for Henry H. Rogers, the Standard
Oil Company, the "System," and the Mutual Life Insurance Company, to
ridicule my utterances and asperse my honor in addresses in the cities
of Philadelphia and Boston.

You employed James H. Eckels, ex-Comptroller of the Currency of the
United States, now president of the Commercial Bank and representative
of the "System" in the West, to attack my arguments and distort my
motives in Chicago.

You ordered Vice-President Perkins, of the New York Life Insurance
Company, to perform similar service in Philadelphia; and

The burden of all these documents, advertisements, and disguised
advertisements and addresses was: "Lawson is an unmitigated liar and
scoundrel, whose sole reason for attacking the insurance companies is
that we refused him insurance."

I replied by printing your personal letter to me, wherein you importuned
me to accept insurance in your company.

Again you gave me the lie, and pronounced your letter spurious.

I replied to you and your followers by instancing cases of perjury,
bribery, and false statements.

I stated that your claim that your company did not own, nor loan upon,
stocks was false, and that it was made for the purpose of misleading and
imposing upon your policy-holders, banks, trust companies, Government
officials, and investors.

You answered this by writing a letter to one of the great churchmen of
America, and in it you said: "I pledge you my word of honor this company
has never, since 1899, had a dollar's interest, directly or indirectly,
in any stock. Lawson knows this, and deliberately, for his own base
purposes, makes charges to the contrary which he knows to be false."

To-day you and your fellow-plunderers stand convicted in the eyes of the
whole world not only of juggling the moneys of the widow and the orphan
in the stock-market, but of manipulating these trust funds for the
benefit of your own pockets. To-day the world is aghast at your perfidy
and amazed at your temerity.

Notwithstanding the turpitude already exposed to the people, you still
imagine you can so conduct yourself as to prevent the investigators from
fastening on you and your associates the more desperate crimes that have
been committed in the past--the 150 to 200 millions stolen and diverted
or used in corruption. You know as I do that only the very edges of this
national cesspool have yet been uncovered. You know that not only have
the ballot-box and the Legislature at Albany been tampered with, but
the law-making and administering machinery of other States corrupted,
the Federal Government surrounded, and certain of the judiciary of
America "educated."

You believe you can keep the evidence of these crimes from the American
people by the same kind of bluff and effrontery with which you met my
first charges. But you have mistaken the tempers of your countrymen.

I have been authorized in writing by over 16,000 policy-holders,
carrying over fifty-four millions of insurance, to act for them.

I had intended to await the finish of the New York investigation before
proceeding, but as I have had placed in my hands during the past few
days evidences of the determination of yourself and your accomplices and
fellow-conspirators to face it out regardless of consequences, and as I
believe men capable of committing the acts that have been proved during
the past few days are fully capable of taking the transportable part of
the billion and a quarter funds to foreign countries, and of using them
to keep themselves from their justly deserved punishments, I have
decided to act now.

In sending you this open letter, I am actuated only by a desire to bring
you and your associates to such a sense of the seriousness of your
position that you will see it is useless longer to attempt to defy the
American people.

Yours, for the Exposure of Corporation Sneak Thieves,
    THOMAS W. LAWSON.


TO LIFE-INSURANCE POLICY-HOLDERS

At the beginning of my story, in 1904, I made certain accusations
against the management of the three big life-insurance companies.

I knew, when I began my story, that the big life-insurance companies
were in the hands of grafters and thieves, just as are the great banks,
trust companies, railroad companies, and big corporations and trusts.

_This I knew_ and, in plain language, said it.

The big insurance companies, through their officers and trustees,
replied by declaring: "He's an unmitigated liar."

I kept at my knitting, for I knew the crimes of these insurance grafters
were such that, sooner or later, the world would have an opportunity to
judge fairly who were the unmitigated liars and thieves.

The opportunity is at hand.

To-day the press of the world is devoting its space, news and editorial,
to a recital of the contemptible and heinous crimes of the New York Life
and the Mutual Life Insurance companies--not as I relate them, but as
their own officers and trustees publicly confess them.

In the July instalment of my story I called upon policy-holders to sign
a coupon blank inserted in _Everybody's Magazine_, and send same to me
that I might speak for them in a plan to further their interests.

In response to my call I have received up to October 4, 1905, 16,307
answers, representing $55,165,916.

I think my readers, when they analyze the following list and take into
consideration the character of the senders, many of whom are men of the
highest standing--bishops, ministers, governors, mayors, judges,
senators, members of Congress, railroad, bank, and trust company
presidents--will agree with me that it is the most remarkable collection
ever made by one interest since life insurance began.

                           INSURANCE COUPONS

             _Received from June 20th to October 4, 1905_

    New York Life                                  $18,845,410
    Equitable                                       17,317,956
    Mutual                                          14,550,240
    Miscellaneous                                    4,452,310
                                                   -----------
                                                   $55,165,916

Alabama                     22  Montana                      130
Arizona                    127  Nebraska                     236
Arkansas                   124  Nevada                        28
California                 842  New Hampshire                 73
Colorado                   211  New Jersey                   282
Connecticut                177  New Mexico                    40
Delaware                    43  New York                   1,780
District of Columbia       152  North Carolina               466
Florida                    230  North Dakota                 143
Georgia                    169  Ohio                         985
Idaho                      150  Oklahoma                     154
Illinois                 1,012  Oregon                        93
Indiana                    415  Pennsylvania               1,133
Indian Territory           130  Rhode Island                  67
Iowa                       560  South Carolina                81
Kansas                     316  South Dakota                 104
Kentucky                   153  Tennessee                    157
Louisiana                  197  Texas                        580
Maine                      144  Utah                          68
Maryland                   126  Vermont                       57
Massachusetts              843  Virginia                     242
Michigan                   406  Washington                   417
Minnesota                  574  West Virginia                205
Mississippi                173  Wisconsin                    318
Missouri                   499  Wyoming                       36

Alaska                      27  Corea                          1
Argentina                    1  Mexico                        71
Bermuda                      1  Newfoundland                   4
Canada                     344  New Zealand                    1
Chili                        1  Panama                         2
China                        1  Philippines                   16
Colombia                     1  Porto Rico                     5
Costa Rica                   1  Santo Domingo                  7
Cuba                         4  Straits Settlements            1
England                      9  Sweden                         1
France                       4  Trinidad                       2
Hawaii                      35  Uruguay                        2
Honduras                     2  Yukon Territory                4
Japan                        4                            ------
Grand total                                               16,307

As soon as I received a number of signatures sufficiently large to
warrant it, I quietly began operations.

The first direct result is the investigation now being held. This
investigation has proceeded far enough to put before the public absolute
proof of all the crimes I have charged, and three to thirty times as
many more.

It is now evident to all that:

1st. The policy-holders in the great companies have yearly paid into
their company scores of millions more than necessary.

2d. The policy-holders have been robbed of scores of millions.

3d. The vast funds now on hand have been habitually used by the grafters
now in control of them in the rankest kind of stock-gambling.

4th. These funds have been used to corrupt the ballot-box and the
law-makers of the country.

I repeat, absolute proof of all this has been made public.

It should now be evident to all that:

1st. The funds now on hand are in actual jeopardy, because they are in
the absolute control of unprincipled scoundrels.

2d. Unless something is done, and done at once, by the policy-holders,
each and every one of the largest companies may become insolvent; that
is, they may not be able to meet the engagements of their policies,
because of waste of funds, tremendous falling off of new business,
tremendous cost of new business, and the nature of the new
business--so-called "graveyard business"; for I am credibly informed
that they are now seeking to insure those who formerly have been refused
insurance because of physical infirmities.

It should also be plainly evident that, if the policy-holders move, and
move quickly, they can be absolutely assured that:

1st. The funds as they are to-day will remain intact.

2d. They will be added to by the restitution of from $75,000,000 to
$150,000,000.

3d. A score of the thieves who have plundered policy-holders in the past
will be sent to prison.

4th. The future payments of policy-holders will be largely cut down.

5th. The present swollen surpluses will be returned in large part to
policy-holders.

6th. In the future policy-holders will actually run the company.

7th. All policy-holders can be assured that in the future they will
receive the actual worth of their policy at surrender.

All this being so, it is most eminently desirable for policy-holders to
act, and at once.

The time will never again be so opportune, for if nothing definite is
done now, policy-holders will be discouraged for all time.

I have given the subject the closest and most earnest study, assisted by
the best insurance experts and lawyers procurable, and guided by the
suggestions of over 100,000 policy-holders, for in addition to the
16,000 mentioned, I have received over 90,000 letters. I have come to
the conclusion that the one thing for policy-holders to do now is:

To authorize some one in whom they have confidence to select a committee
to take their proxies and at once seize possession of the two great
mutual companies, the New York Life and the Mutual.

I omit the Equitable at this stage, because litigation may be necessary
before the Equitable, being a stock company, can come into the
policy-holders' hands. But in the other two, no obstacles can be placed
in the way of the policy-holders' taking control.

To empower this committee to bring action at once to compel full
restitution and enforce full punishment, and then to change the present
method of conducting the insurance business.

The vital question is: Whom can the policy-holders trust to do this?

The "Big Three" are at present spending vast sums of the policy-holders'
money to prevent some such action as this, in the following ways:

First, by moulding public opinion through paid news and editorial items;
next, by the collection of proxies; and third, by the inauguration of
different moves and dummy suits and investigations.

There are already three of these affairs under way. Almost any way the
policy-holders turn for relief they are confronted with traps which, if
they fall into them, will make relief and rescue impossible.

Any man or body of men who go to the great expense necessary to collect
proxies must have some hidden scheme for reimbursing themselves, or they
must be working in the interests of the thieves now in control.

I therefore make bold to say: I am the natural one to make this move.

Just a minute before you pass judgment. Let us see if I am:

1st. I have already spent in my work over a million dollars of my own
money.

2d. I am willing to spend, if necessary, two millions more.

3d. I will absolutely prove I want nothing in return.

4th. I will absolutely prove on the face of my plans that I cannot in
any way benefit beyond the satisfaction I shall derive from putting
another spike in the "System's" coffin.

I ask of the policy-holders simply this:

Fill out the following form of proxy; sign and seal it, and send it to
me. Quick action is most desirable in view of contingencies.

[Illustration]

FOOTNOTES:

[20] In the course of the legislative investigation of the great insurance
companies in New York, it developed that the Mutual Life Insurance Company
conducts a publicity bureau, organized to discredit any one who dares
criticise its methods. This bureau is conducted by one Charles J. Smith, on
a salary of $8,000 per annum, and he works through Allan Forman, editor of
the _Journalist_. Forman maintains a "telegraphic news bureau" and secures
publication in various newspapers or periodicals of matter sent him for
dissemination by the Mutual Life, and he is paid $1.00 per line of the
policy-holders' money on all matter for which he obtains publicity. The
whitewash paragraphs recently published throughout the country in regard to
President McCurdy and the Mutual Life were all paid for on this basis.



II

THE ENEMIES I HAVE MADE


When a man discovers that a public building full of men, women, and
children is infested with rats and that these vicious rodents have
undermined its foundations and honeycombed its structure, it becomes his
duty, first, to warn the occupants of the presence of the rats, next, to
show them the damage that has been wrought and how the rats can be
trapped and killed--and then he may take a hand in the rat-hunt himself.

That is about what I have been doing, and if proof were needed that the
"System" suffered under my exposure of its villainies, I should have it
in plenty in the showers of mud bullets it has fired at me. From scores
of quarters these volleys came. A regular army of the "System's"
votaries must have been out working like Trojans to stop my work, to
discredit me, to bespatter me with its dirt.

The manner in which the "System" writhed under my attacks showed how
seriously it was hurt. What surprises me was that so little intelligence
was exhibited in defaming me. Such wanton, foolish attacks those that
were made on me personally! As though it mattered who or what I am in
comparison with the accusations I have made. Americans are not fools. To
say that Lawson is this or that does not minimize or detract from his
charge of robbery and conspiracy.

Every morning after I began to write "Frenzied Finance" I found a new
budget of personalities in my mail, in the newspapers, in pamphlets.
Learned lawyers traveled about the country slinging mud at me at
banquets and society gatherings; scores of hireling weekly and monthly
papers devoted pages to vilifying me; the insurance press was laden
with assaults, and for fear the public should miss the brickbats, the
insurance companies carefully mailed them to their policy-holders. All
these tirades were in one key--that of crude abuse. The statements about
myself and my career were nothing but lies. They were not even cleverly
imagined.

Upon entering on this crusade against "Frenzied Finance" I expected
attack. Reforms are not matured to accompaniments of incense and
rose-water, and I had made up my mind to disregard the mud and its
slingers. Afterward, if there were any "System" left, I rather looked
forward to smothering it beneath the foulness of its own generating.
There came a time during the year, however, when I deemed it proper to
depart from this resolution and nail some of the lies my enemies were
circulating about me. I debated the subject thoroughly, for the rancor
of these assaults was evident and I could not help feeling that the
general run of my readers would be impatient of the space given these
gutter rakers. The determination to go at them was clinched by a letter
which came to me, with a number of others from clergymen of various
denominations, from a learned Catholic priest, who put the case for a
reply most earnestly. He said:

     You owe it, my son, to yourself to clear away, for once and
     all, the charges your enemies have made against you. I have
     faith you mean all that you say, but there are many, many
     sons and daughters who are troubled in heart and harassed in
     mind with doubt whether your motives be pure, and if your
     deeds in the past have been along the ways of the good. It
     is my advice, if you will accept it, that you put aside your
     pride and your dignity and frankly and openly tell us
     whether these charges that we read are true or false.


BECK VS. LAWSON

I shall deal with the subject as fairly as possible, reminding my
readers, however, that I am at a disadvantage in having to use pen and
ink instead of the implement appropriate for the purpose, a hose
connected with a disinfectant barrel. To begin with, I reproduce the
following from the Toledo _Blade_, December 26, 1904. (I have similar
paragraphs clipped from one hundred other papers.)

     JAMES M. BECK FLAYS LAWSON

     Calls Boston Author-Broker a Frenzied Fakir.

     DEFINES MONEYPHOBIA

     Declares He is Victim of New Disease--Compares His Actions to "Crazed
     Malay Running Amuck."

     PHILADELPHIA, December 26th.--Ex-Assistant Attorney-General
     James M. Beck talked on "Moneyphobia" at the thirty-ninth
     annual commencement exercises of the Peirce Business
     College. He paid his respects to Thomas W. Lawson in such
     terms as "frenzied fakir" and "crazed Malay running amuck."
     ... "There are abundant indications that this epidemic is
     now rife in the community. The extraordinary vote polled by
     a Socialistic candidate for President, in a time of general
     prosperity, seems to evidence this, as does the avidity with
     which many intelligent people read in a cheap 'penny
     dreadful' magazine the incoherent, self-contradictory, and
     self-incriminating articles of a notorious frenzied fakir,
     who, like a crazed Malay, is wildly running amuck, and,
     without rhyme or reason, slashing at the reputations of
     judges, senators, and financiers."

The following is from a Chicago insurance paper, and comes to me with
the marginal inscription, "Puncture this bladder when convenient." I may
say that I receive hundreds of clippings every day from various parts of
the country, sent me by correspondents who are determined I shall be
apprised of what my antagonists are trying to do against me.

     BANKER ECKELS AND BROKER LAWSON

     The splendid tribute to our country's greatness, resources,
     and possibilities given by President James H. Eckels, of the
     Commercial National Bank, of Chicago, and ex-Comptroller of
     Currency of the United States, before the Chicago Life
     Underwriters' Association, was listened to with earnest
     attention.

     The brilliant young financier ... believes in life insurance
     for the people. It creates the valuable habit of saving. He
     deprecates the malicious attacks on companies by men of
     mysterious motives, and feels it will be a sorry day if they
     ever become objects of prey for political thieves.

     The banker paid his respects to Thomas W. Lawson, of Boston,
     whom he characterized as a notoriety seeker and branded as a
     "discredited, disreputable, despised stock-jobber who
     glories in his infamy." Mr. Eckels lashed Lawson with
     caustic language, and stated the American people of judgment
     are not misled by his diatribes.

     Mr. Eckels believes that life-insurance presidents reach
     their high stations by their own ability and grasping of
     opportunities. Because a man is elevated to a position of
     eminence and responsibility does not mean he is dishonest.
     He arrives there because he cannot be held down and remains
     as long as he proves his worth. The banker declared that
     life companies, with their vast funds, were being safely
     guided by men of superior mental mould.

     Mr. Eckels referred to President McCall, of the New York
     Life, as being a clerk in a State bureau office when he
     first made his acquaintance. He said President McCall had
     advanced, like other company executives, owing to his own
     ability and genius for management.

In an early article in this series I stated that one of the favorite
operations of the "System" is to pick off those officials who have
exhibited unusual talent or energy in protecting the interests of the
National Government. In this way they secure the services of men who
know the secret workings of the people's institutions and how best to
guard the corporations against the consequences of their misdeeds.
During the Cleveland administration there developed a "financial
phenomenon," James H. Eckels, Comptroller of the Currency. It did not
take long for the astute Rogers-Morgan-McCall clique to see that this
young man's knowledge of finance in connection with his governmental
position might prove a dangerous obstacle to their machine if he were
not captured. It was not long before he was captured.

I met Mr. Eckels during the Cleveland bond performance. I need not enter
into the details of that extraordinary affair here, for it is one of the
sore spots in recent American history. Briefly, the Administration at
Washington attempted to issue $100,000,000 government bonds and deliver
them in a snap sale to the "System." The New York _World_ began a
crusade against the transaction, and was so successful that the
Administration was compelled to offer the issue to the public through
competitive bids. The result--the bonds fetched many more millions for
the Government than if the deal had been allowed to slip along the ways
the "System" had greased for it. I remember well the scene at the
opening of the bids. It was in the United States Treasury at
Washington. With many others who desired an allotment of the bonds, I
was present. We were crowded into a small room, and following the
direction of young Mr. Eckels, who handled the transaction, we gave him
our bids, which, according to the advertised programme, were in sealed
envelopes. After all the bids were submitted--mine was for a number of
millions--the envelopes were taken by Mr. Eckels into a rear room. Then
a few of the leading financiers present, among them John A. McCall, of
the New York Life, J. Pierpont Morgan, and one or two others of the
"System's" foremost representatives, got their heads together and began
an earnest conference. Certain of them went out of the room and after
awhile returned for a further conference. There were several such
confabulations and comings and goings, until finally, after a monotonous
delay, the bids were opened and the bonds awarded. Morgan, McCall, _et
al._, had secured the bulk of the issue at a price many points above
what any one had been led to believe the bonds would sell for, and many
points higher than the "System" and the Government had proclaimed to the
people they could possibly sell for, yet at a price which showed
millions of profit a few hours after the bids were opened. I do not
charge that the public's envelopes were opened and "peeked" into before
the "System's" bids were sealed. Such a charge is not necessary. It has
been made many times by the press. Mr. Eckels, to the minds of such of
us as could see through cracks in a floor wide enough to drive a
four-in-hand coach into without unhooking the leaders, had lived up to
his rôle as a financial phenomenon, and when some time afterward it was
bruited abroad that this able young man was to have the presidency of
the City Bank, or any other large bank belonging to the "System" that he
might select, there was no surprise, although much comment, in Wall
Street. Mr. Eckels finally accepted the presidency of the Commercial
Bank of Chicago, where he now is one of the important cogs in the
"System's" machine.

The case of James M. Beck has points of similarity. Mr. Beck, a young
Philadelphia lawyer, obtained a valuable knowledge of the secrets of the
Department of Justice in Washington as Assistant United States
Attorney-General, and in the prosecution of the Northern Securities suit
got an insight into the "System's" methods. It will be remembered that
at the trial of the suit he made a great appearance and became famous as
the young champion of the people who had succeeded in "busting" this
notorious trust. The victory was hardly announced before it became known
that the brilliant Assistant Attorney-General had renounced the cause of
the public and had been engaged at a large salary as chief counsel for
Henry H. Rogers, of Standard Oil.

Mr. Beck has proved a most available and flexible servant in the cause
of his master. He has done Mr. Rogers's bidding in a manner befitting
the best traditions of "Standard Oil." Almost his first work was the
trial of the famous Boston Gas suit, in which for weeks he "steered"
Henry H. Rogers while on the witness-stand in the Massachusetts Supreme
Court. The very night before this case was to be called for trial, the
eminent young "trust buster" and people's champion called on my attorney
and made him a proposition. It was that I should meet Mr. Beck and agree
upon the details of certain testimony that Mr. Rogers and Kidder,
Peabody & Co. (the "System's" Boston representatives), and myself would
be called upon to give upon the witness-stand next day. My attorney
brought the proposition to me.

"Great heavens!" I said, "is it possible that this man has the audacity
to come to Boston and ask me to commit perjury?"

"He does not put it in just those words," my attorney answered.

"No, but he says he wishes to _match up_ testimony with me so that we
may all testify alike."

"That is it," my attorney answered.

"But," said I, "I have got to state the facts, and the facts are
diametrically opposed to the testimony Mr. Rogers and the others are to
give. This looks to me like subornation of perjury."

My lawyer would not have it that way, and I instructed him to secure
from Mr. Beck a writing as to just what he wished me to do, and that
writing I have at the present time. In it he states that if I do not
see him and agree upon the testimony to be submitted in the Supreme
Court of Massachusetts the following day, there may be developments
which will be decidedly uncomfortable for Mr. Rogers and perhaps for the
rest of us.

I did not meet Mr. Beck, and Henry H. Rogers and Kidder, Peabody & Co.
told one story and I another. Bald perjury was committed by some one.
However, I will give all the facts, including the "match up" letter,
when I come to them in my story.

Mr. Beck and Mr. Eckels are the two men designated by the "System" to
attend public gatherings and vilify Thomas W. Lawson. They are at it,
industriously.


THE DONOHOE EPISODE

As soon as the first chapter of "Frenzied Finance" appeared, Henry H.
Rogers turned loose on me one Denis Donohoe, a character thug whom he
had imported from California for just such emergencies. Donohoe's first
service for Mr. Rogers was a vicious onslaught on Heinze, of Montana, in
the New York _Commercial_. This was an attack of such unusual vulgarity
and malignity that it won Donohoe his spurs, for soon afterward, when by
a characteristic trick Mr. Rogers obtained possession of the New York
_Commercial_, he made Donohoe its editor. I may mention that Heinze sued
the _Commercial_ for $300,000 damages, and apropos of the suit an
interesting complication occurred which seriously interfered with Mr.
Rogers's plans. The night before the old owners, from whom Mr. Rogers
had grabbed the _Commercial_, were to be thrown into the street, they
threatened, by way of reprisal for the mean trick that had been served
on them, to confess judgment to Heinze. One was president and the other
secretary of the company, and this action would have settled the
proposition. Rogers, treated to a dose of his own medicine, had to make
a compromise, and the men are still on the paper. The details of this
good story are to be found in the Detroit _Journal_. It was fitting that
when I began my exposures of the "System" this thug should be ordered
to do his worst by me, and he began the series of virulent assaults that
the _Commercial_ published and advertised all over the country. The
first of these was devoted to proving me crazy, and it was carefully
circulated by my friends the insurance companies by way of offsetting
the effects of my revelations of their jugglery of the people's funds.
Later I showed up the fellow so vigorously that John D. Rockefeller
ordered Mr. Rogers to muzzle him in his own paper, whereupon
arrangements were made with a New York weekly to act as the
sewer-conduit for the lies and abuse this thug was warranted to turn
out.

I should not dream of dealing with this man or his fatuous attacks in a
respectable publication save that he has been appointed the "System's"
chief defender. It really seems as though the game were too small to
take time for its killing, but as these weak and febrile maunderings
really represent the "System's" reply to my charges, it may be worth
while to show, once and for all, what idiotic lies they put forth and
what a silly and ineffective falsifier it is that they have made their
champion. I shall take the second article of the series and contrast
Donohoe's statements with the actual facts.

     Incidents in Mr. Lawson's versatile career which even those
     who are not censorious might well deem shameful.

If in my career I have done anything of which I or any honorable man
should be ashamed, then I am willing to stand convicted of all that this
character thug charges against me--of being a stock-jobber, fakir, liar.

     He claims, if the writer understands him aright, that he is
     _animated solely_ by a keen regard for the public weal in
     performing what he describes as a public duty.

I stated positively in the Foreword of my story, and have reiterated
many times since, that in making these revelations I am actuated first
and mainly by a desire to benefit the people of this country, not only
by informing them how they are being plundered, but how they can in the
future guard themselves, and that if it were necessary to accomplish my
purpose I would spend every dollar I possess; but mixed with this desire
is a hatred of the "System" as deadly as a man can have for anything
human. I have also reiterated that at such stage of this revelation as
is possible I shall secure from the "System" every dollar I can wring
from it to be used in my fight against it, provided always I can get its
dollars in legal, fair, and above-board fighting ways--I mean, in the
open market.

     Mr. Lawson appears before the bar of public opinion as a
     volunteer witness for the commonwealth--"state's
     evidence"--as the lawyers phrase it--and hence his
     reputation, his motives, his character, his every act,
     become at once fit subjects for the closest scrutiny and
     examination.

Whoever says that in telling my story I am revealing anything which it
is not fair or just to tell, or that I have not a perfect right to
state, says that which is false. I am confining myself to explaining how
the "System" gets its money. I do not touch upon how it spends it. If in
an honorable way I could write the things that have come to me
confidentially, the "System" might well tremble. I confess that at times
I have been tempted to depart from my code--when, for instance, soon
after the first Donohoe chapter, a man came to me and showed that he had
been offered $5,000 to vouch for the statement--which Denis Donohoe, H.
H. Rogers's right-hand man, had printed, and the insurance companies had
spread broadcast--that the first ten years of Thomas W. Lawson's
business life were spent as an employee of Richard Canfield, the
Providence and New York gambler, and afterward as his partner. "Give us
an affidavit to that effect and we will pay you $5,000." To this man I
said: "I have never in my life been connected with any gambling-place in
any way, nor had to do with gambling in any form, and only once in my
life have I set eyes on Richard Canfield. He was in the Waldorf Café one
day when I was passing through. However, if I did know him I should not
be ashamed to admit it, for I consider Canfield, from what I have read
of him, an angel of purity compared with any one of a score of the
'System's' votaries I could name." The man left me, but soon after
returned. He said: "It makes no difference whether what you say is true
or not, I can now secure $10,000 for the affidavit." When this kind of
fighting is brought to my attention, I am strongly tempted to let down
the bars.

     He relates, with all the graphic art of a novelist, a
     wellnigh incredible story. Chicanery, fraud, blackmail,
     bribery of a legislature and of a judge, systematic pillage
     of investors and of the American public.

The details I have narrated are facts, and I will prove them to be facts
so all may know them.

     In delving into Lawson's career--a most unwelcome task--the
     writer has detected a continuity of purpose, a fixity of
     design, a uniformity of method pervading his every public
     act. What he is doing now, _i.e._, exposing somebody or
     something, he has repeatedly done on a lesser scale in the
     past; not from worthy motives, but for the sole purpose of
     illegitimate pecuniary gain.

Yes, throughout my entire life I have pursued with a continuity of
purpose that class I am pursuing to-day--the class that has taken from
the people their earnings by fraud or trick. If other proof were needed
that the men I am after have lost the discretion which made them great
in the world, these foolish yarns supply it. It is well known that no
man ever gets near to "Standard Oil" in business or socially until their
detectives have dissected his career from the cradle up. I spent years
in close business relations with these men, so close that, as I will
show later, I acted as the agent not only of Rogers and Rockefeller, but
of the Amalgamated Company and the City Bank.

     He is at present engaged in attacking the "System," as he
     calls it, and the banks and the insurance companies and Wall
     Street and American finance, by circulars, by
     advertisements, and through the stock-market, as in the past
     he has repeatedly attacked other corporations and
     individuals until he obtained what he was seeking, and in
     every recorded instance that thing was unearned dollars.

In the past I have repeatedly attacked individuals and corporations
until I obtained what I sought in every case--justice for the defrauded
and punishment for those who had cheated them, and in no case dollars or
their equivalent.

     In the gilded biographies of himself which, from time to
     time, Mr. Lawson has caused to be written and published in
     newspapers and magazines.

My history is well enough known. I have always lived in the open. It has
not been necessary to press-agent myself. A good deal has been printed
about me in the newspapers during the last twenty-five years, but if I
have ever sought to exploit myself before the public by means of
autobiographies or journalistic puffs, and it is so proved by any
reputable newspaper, may I be shown up to public scorn.

     It was Mr. Stevens who defrayed the expense of a six months'
     course at a Boston business college for his protégé.

I have never had such a course of six months, nor of any length, nor
have I ever been inside a business college.

     Mr. Stevens, who was a kindly, philanthropic man, known and
     beloved by all his fellow-citizens, died years ago,
     therefore he cannot dispute what Lawson tells.

The late Horace H. Stevens died not years ago, but on March 8, 1904.

     Old residents of New York will recall that long before the
     days of Canfield's gilded palace, and long before the era of
     the present district attorney, Mr. Jerome, there was a
     gambling-house known to the commercial traveller and
     man-about-town as "818 Broadway," and that one of the
     backers of the game was William F. Waldron, or "Billy
     Waldron," as he was usually called. Waldron retired nearly
     thirty years ago from the syndicate that controlled this
     house and moved to Providence, where he interested himself
     in gambling and what, for lack of a better term, may be
     called the cognate industries. One of these latter was a
     bucket-shop of the ordinary country town type.

     This bucket-shop was confined to the tender mercies of one
     "Jo" Lumpkin as manager. Lumpkin failed to make the business
     profitable, and Waldron, after attaching $500.00 that
     Lumpkin had on deposit in a bank in New York, turned him
     out. In his place he installed the present loquacious
     reformer of American finance, Thomas W. Lawson, or "Billy"
     Lawson as he was then known to the gamblers, race-track
     touts, and confidence men who made Providence their
     head-quarters.

My readers will agree with me that such weak and feeble rot is beneath
any man's attention, for even if what is here charged were true, namely,
that a young man of twenty-one had been so employed, it would have no
bearing on his work twenty-six years afterward; but as I have decided to
take cognizance of this stuff, here are the facts:

What to-day is known as the bucket-shop evil--that is, the speculation
in stocks over the counter at offices conducted by brokers outside the
pale of the law or the Stock Exchange--did not exist at the period
mentioned. This method of conducting speculation, however, had just been
invented, and many of the legitimate brokers, Stock-Exchange members,
utilized the new form in their ventures. Indeed, the number of brokers
and brokerage shops outside the Stock Exchange was as large, if not
larger, than that of the regular houses. At the time Donohoe treats of I
was doing considerable business for a young man, as will be evidenced by
my business card of that period:

  +----------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                    THOMAS W. LAWSON & CO.,                     |
  |                                                                |
  |                     BANKERS AND BROKERS.                       |
  |                                                                |
  |      Dealers in First-class Investment Bonds and Stocks.       |
  |      Offices: Boston, Providence, New York, and Chicago.       |
  |                                                                |
  |  President of the Lawson Manufacturing Company.                |
  |    President of the McDonald-Lawson Manufacturing Company.     |
  |        Vice-President of the Briggs Printing Machine Company.  |
  +----------------------------------------------------------------+

I regularly visited every week my offices in Boston, Providence, and New
York. At one time I had a Providence office in the building marked in
the cut in the Donohoe story, and the sign over the door was "Thomas W.
Lawson & Co."

     It was in Providence, during