CHAPTER XIX

WHAT I KNOW

Note---This chapter, while devoted to the stockholders of the Orient road will also be of interest to my other readers.


     To the stockholders of the Orient Road:

     If the play written and staged by these Financial Cannibals can be carried out act by act, you will be confronted with a great and needless loss. You will suffer, not only the loss of your investment, but also the great profit which would accrue to you if Mr. Dickinson and I could finish this road. And I can assure you that if I could still remain at the head of the road and secure twenty to twenty-five millions to complete it, your profits soon after its completion would be equal to all the gold mined in the United States in one year. These people oppressing us know this, otherwise they would not for years have hounded and thwarted Mr. Dickinson and me as they have. Either they fear that if this road were finished it would take from existing roads great earnings, and thus enrich you; or they fear the two men who finish this road would be too powerful in western and national financial life, and this they desire to prevent.

     If it is a group of men interested in transcontinental railroads who are doing this, I do not believe that J. P. Morgan or James J. Hill have anything to do with it, as I do not think either of these men would stoop to such methods. Mr. Allison told me the Standard Oil group was going to ruin me, and from the daily disclosures in the papers it cannot be difficult for anyone to believe that they are part of the group. When you think of the principles of these men, when you think that men with these principles are directors in leading banks in New York when you think that men who, in panic, destroyed a number of solvent banks, as Samuel Untermeyer says the Money Trust did, who wreck enterprises, who rob the government by false scales, by under-valuation of coffee, etc., and yet have remained on boards of great New York financial institutions, you can understand what a power for evil we have had to contend with. Had I wished to write this book two weeks ago it would have been impossible; now the nation seems to be crying for freedom from these unjust conditions. Had I written this book two week ago and told you then what I am able to tell you now (thanks to Mr. Hearst and his great papers), you never would have believed it. I could not have told you then that Mr. Archbold was a "respectable scoundrel" but now I will herewith quote from the American the substantial proof.

     How often have the words of this article been voiced by me! It is what for years I have thought of these Financial Cannibals; what for years I have said; what for years my friends have cautioned me against saying! But my day has come. The law of Retributive Justice never fails. Read what the American editorial says:

"It is probable that Archbold has corrupted so many men, has dealt in men's souls so long---that he has lost all moral sense of perception."

     And there is no doubt in my mind that the section of the Money Trust that has been dealing with me, destroying my standing and credit, are all in this class with Archbold.

     What an honor to have such men for enemies! Thank God my methods are repulsive to them!

     But let me assure my readers that the day of Righteousness---Rightness---is near at hand. Soon the people will rise up. They will see to what extent the nation has been corrupted with money. They will see that out of each pay envelope tribute has gone to these men the American calls "respectable scoundrels." Then watch the cleansing process! New York State and other states will have governors who will aid the government in uncovering conspiracies and the work of the Money Trust. New York banks will not be able to hold their deposits and keep "respectable scoundrels" on their boards. Clubs will renovate their membership, and honest men like Stuyvesan Fish and others who occupy important positions at the head of railroads will be able to retain their positions.

     I herewith give you the scathing editorial from the American, of August 28,1912, which by its exposes will, I know, change the history of the United States:

     "Archbold, Respectable, Scoundrel, as Picture in His Own Testimony.

     "It is a portrait not merely of himself but of the corporation---its methods, its morals and its purposes---which the testimony of John D. Archbold paints.

     "He testifies that in the campaign of 1904 Cornelius N. Bliss, then treasurer for the Roosevelt campaign committee, came to him and urged him to contribute committee, came to him and urged him to contribute $25,000. It was agreed that Senator Penrose was to have $25,000 of this for his own uses. Mr. Archbold's company had been publicly attacked by President Roosevelt the previous year in connection with the legislation creating the Department of Commerce and Labor and the Bureau of Corporations.

     "The Standard Oil disliked the proposed legislation and sent telegrams to all its secret agents in Congress to have the law amended. President Roosevelt learned of these telegrams, called about twenty newspaper men to the White House, told them all about it and asked them to print it. The result was a very interesting exposure---and the prompt passage by Congress of the legislation Roosevelt desired.

     "Archbold in his testimony refers to this incident as 'adverse newspaper talk, coming from Roosevelt.' He said he was therefore unwilling to give the $100,000 until (we quote from his testimony) 'I was assured that it would be gratefully received by the powers that be. I meant the President. I mentioned Roosevelt by name.
"Mr. Bliss, he says, assured him that it would be appreciated by President Roosevelt, and Mr. Archbold, swears that he then gave Mr. Bliss the $100,000 in currency, in $1,000 bills. About a fortnight later Mr. Bliss 'again called on' Archbold, assured him 'of Roosevelt appreciations' (we are still quoting from Archbold's testimony) and demanded $150,000 more.

     "Archbold was willing to give this also, he swears, provided he was sufficiently sure that Roosevelt approved it. But other directors of the Standard refused to make the second contribution. They evidently doubted the delivery of the goods.

     "Mr Bliss again called on Archbold, according to the testimony, told him the Standard Oil was making 'a serious mistake,' urged 'him to reconsider,' told him the money 'was needed,' and 'that if he didn't give it somebody else would.' He again refused.

     "Later President Roosevelt attacked the Standard Oil again and had it indicted in five states. Archbold thus testifies about these attacks by Roosevelt:

''There never was a more outrageous course of action taken on the part of any administration in any nation of the world. Darkest Abyssinia never saw anything like the course of treatment which we experienced at the hands of the administration following Mr. Roosevelt's election in 1904.'

"Archbold and H. H. Rogers went to Bliss, who said: 'I am sorry to say that it is to me a humiliation. I have no influence with Mr. Roosevelt.' Archbold's testimony continues:

"Question by Senator Clapp---'Was anything said at the time between you with repect to your having made a mistake in not making this second contribution?' 

"Answer by Archbold---'Mr. Bliss was not the man to say "I told you so." The inference in the whole matter to anybody who will analyze it was very plain. The substance of it was that Mr. Bliss probably undoubtedly expressed himself that it would have been different if we had done as he wished us to do, and I myself have no doubt whatever on your question.'

"Mr. Archbold was then asked how well he knew Cornelius N. Bliss. He replied:

"'I had known his for many years.'

"'Was he not a man of particularly high character?' asked Senator Clapp.

"'I never knew a higher,' Archbold testified. 'I would trust him with anything.'

     "These words complete the portrait of Archbold---by himself. He has just described his efforts to buy a President and his failure.

     "After attributing to Mr. Bliss the actions of a simple blackmailer and stool pigeon, he says he 'never knew a higher character.'

     "It is probable that Archbold has corrupted so many men---has dealt in men's souls so long---that he has lost all moral sense of perception.

     "Archbold required no assurances from anybody as to the $25,000 that he paid Penrose. He knew exactly what he was getting. He says Bliss gave him a receipt, but he cannot find it. But he had no difficulty in finding and producing at once the original messages sent by Senator Flinn and the cipher messages of reply when his employe, Senator Penrose, alias Fanning, wanted them.

     "Archbold's word as to receipts and as to all other matters needs corroboration. But his portrait of himself in his testimony is complete."

     Some day the poor offender alone will not occupy the jails. Some day debauching the nation will be a penitentiary offense. Some day crushing and ruining stockholders of great enterprises will be a penitentiary offense. Some day, in its indignation, the nation, thwarted so long by the Standard Oil and other powerful interests in getting needed legislation, will enact such great inheritance taxes that families who breed "respectable scoundrels" will have less money to hand down to the "third and fourth generations" to perpetuate these evil methods.

     I long to see the day when in Wall Street "respectable scoundrels" have no power. I long to see the day when the honest men of Wall Street now doing a small business will have freedom and power, and they will not be told, as Mr. Lounsberry was when he attempted to help us, that if he did in any way help us he would be ruined.

     O for the day when this word ruin will not echo and re-echo in the banks of New York and our land!

     For you to confront loss, my stockholders, in your investment, is not an unheard of thing. I can give you any number of instances of losses in other railroads, railroads that have not had what we have had to contend with, railroads these Financial Cannibals did not wish to devour, railroads that have not fought three years of drought, railroads that have not had Mexican insurrections to deal with. The loss in market value of Chicago & Alton, a Harriman enterprise, in the last five years, is nine million, five hundred thousand dollars. The loss in market value of Chicago and Great Western, a Morgan road, in the last two years, is seventeen million, four hundred thousand dollars. The loss the market value of the Denver & Rio Grande, a Gould road, in five years is twenty-two million dollars. So you see others besides the Orient Railroad have suffered loss. But their losses were, in a way, from natural conditions. Your losses in the Orient Road are from unnatural causes.

     But I wish to qualify what I say above concerning natural causes. They are, more or less, unnatural causes. As the radical legislation of some of the Western states regarding railroads is due more or less to the legislators of these states thus attempting to hit the investments of these "respectable scoundrels" whom they know by their corrupt methods have debauched business and increased the price of living so that they might wallow in a trough filled with gold, and while wallowing, now and then kick out some of their surplus to fall into the hands of a university, hospital, or ice fund, to draw attention for the time being from their swinish traits.

     The first act in the play "How we grab others' word"---the receivership---has been acted. The years of persecution was the overture. It was a long overture, and I will admit it had many funereal strains which often got on my nerves. The second act, a committee formed without me on it to help fight the battles, is also over. The third act is to separate our faithful General Manager from the property. These people think the stage is now set for this act. With no shepherd to guard the sheep, these financial wolves can then have full sway, and the curtain will be rung down on the last act. Then, as in the Southern names only too well known will come into the directory, the road will be divided up among existing roads or finished for the profit of these Financial Cannibals, and from afar the stockholders will be allowed to watch the Belshazzar feast. But "God is a consuming fire," and I can read the handwriting on the wall. The third act may not come off as written and staged. And if this book could have the circulation it would have could I use the ordinary channels, channels now closed to me by the Money Trust, it would arouse enough righteous indignation to thwart these "respectable scoundrels," and enable us to finish the road by popular subscription.

 

Arthur Edward Stilwell, Visionary

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