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I think it was Sir William Lever who remarked (but I have heard in the last two years so many pearls dropped from the lips of millionaires that I am not quite sure) that the way to tell a millionaire, when one saw one, was by his lack of ready money.  He added that perhaps a surer way of knowing a millionaire, when one saw one, was by his lack of ideas.

My own experience is that neither of these ways works as well as it used to.  I very often meet a man now-a real live millionaire, no one would think it of.

One of them-one of the last ones-telegraphed me from down in the country one morning, swung up to London on a quick train, cooped me up with him at a little corner table in his hotel, and gave me more ideas in two hours than I had had in a week.

I came away very curious about him-whoever he was.

Not many days afterward I found myself motoring up a long, slow hill, full of wind and heather, and there in a stately park with all his treetops around him, and his own blue sky, in a big, beautiful, serene room, I saw him again.

He began at once, “Do you think Christ would have approved of my house?”

His five grown sons were sitting around him but he spoke vividly and directly and like a child, and as if he had just brushed sixty years away, and could, any time.

I said I did not think it fair to Christ, two thousand years off, to ask what he would have thought of a house like his, now.  The only fair thing to do would be to ask what Christ would think if He were living here to-day.

“Well, suppose He had motored over here with you this afternoon from - Manor, and spent last night with you there, and talked with you and with - and had seen the pictures, and the great music room and wandered through the gardens, and suppose that then He had come through on his way up, all those two miles of slums down in - seen all those poor, driven, crowded people, and had finally come up here with you to this big, still, restful place two thousand people could live in, and which I keep all to myself.  You don’t really mean to say, do you, that He would approve of my living in a house like this?”

I said that I did not think that Christ would be tipped over by a house or lose his bearings with a human soul because he lived in a park.  I thought He would look him straight in the eyes.

“But Christ said, ‘He that loseth his life shall save it!’”

“Yes, but He did not intend it as a mere remark about people’s houses.”

It did not seem to me that Christ meant simply giving up to other people easy and ordinary things like houses or like money, but that He meant giving up to others our motives, giving up the deepest, hardest things in us, our very selves to other people.

“And so you really think that if Christ came and looked at this house and looked at me in it, He would not mind?”

“I do not know.  I think that after He had looked at your house He would go down and look at your factory, possibly.  How many men do you employ?”

“Sixteen hundred.”

“I think He would look at them, the sixteen hundred men, and then He would move about a little.  Very likely He would look at their wives and the little children.”

He thought a moment.  I could see that he was not as afraid of having Christ see the factory as he was of having Him see the house.

I was not quite sure but I thought there was a little faint gleam in his eye when I mentioned the factory.

“What do you make?” I asked.

He named something that everybody knows.

Then I remembered suddenly who he was.  He was one of the men I had first been told about in England, and the name had slipped from me.  He had managed to do and do together the three things one goes about looking for everywhere in business-what might be called the Three R’s of great business (though not necessarily R’s). (1) He had raised the wages of his employees. (2) He had reduced prices to consumers. (3) He had reduced his proportion of profit and raised the income of the works, by inventing new classes of customers, and increasing the volume of the business.

He had found himself, one day, as most men do, sooner or later, with a demand for wages that he could not pay.

At first he told the men he could not pay them more, said that he would have to close the works if he did.

He was a very busy man to be confronted with a crisis like this.  The market was trouble enough.

One morning, when he was up early, and the house was all still and he was sitting alone with himself, the thought slipped into his mind that there had been several times before in his life when he had sat thinking about certain things that could not be done.  And then he had got up from thinking they could not be done and gone out and done them.

He wondered if he could not get up and go out and do this one.

As he sat in the stillness with a clear road before his mind and not a soul in the world up, the thought occurred to him, with not a thing in sight to stop it, that he had not really trained himself to be quite such an expert in raising wages as he had in some other things.

Perhaps he did not know about raising wages.

Perhaps if he concentrated his imagination as much on getting higher wages for his workmen as he had in those early days years before on making over all his obstinate raw material into the best cases of - on earth, he might find it possible to get more wages for his men by persuading them to earn more and by getting their cooeperation in finding ways to earn more.

As he sat in the stillness, gradually (perhaps it was the stillness that did it) the idea grew on him.

He made up his mind to see what would happen if he worked as hard at paying higher wages for three months as he had for three years at making raw material into cases of the best -on earth.

Then things began happening every day.  One of the most important happened to him.

He found that higher wages were as interesting a thing to work on as any other raw material had ever been.

He found that a cheap workman as raw material to make a high-priced workman out of was as interesting as a case of .

A year or so after this, there was a strike (in his particular industry) of all the workmen in England.  They struck to be paid the wages his men were paid.

He had been able to do three things he thought he thought he could not do.  He had succeeded in doing the first, in raising the wages of his employees, by thinking up original ways of expressing himself to them, and of getting them to believe in him and of making them want to work a third harder.  At the same time he succeeded in doing the second, in reducing the prices to consumers, by inventing new by-products out of waste.

He had succeeded in doing the third, in reducing his per cent. of profits and increasing his income from the works at the same time, by thinking up ways of creating new habits and new needs in his customers.

He had fulfilled, as it seems, the three requisites of a great business career.  He had created new workmen, invented new things for men and women to want, and had then created some new men and women who could want them.

Incidentally all the while, day by day, while he was doing these things, he had distributed a large and more or less unexpected sum of money among all these three classes of people.

Some of this extra money went to his workmen, and some to himself, and some to his customers, but it was largely spent, of course, in getting business for other manufacturers and in getting people to buy all over England, from other manufacturers, things that such people as they had never been able before to afford to buy.

All these things that I have been saying and which I have duly confided to the reader flashed through my mind as I stood with my back to the fire, realizing suddenly that the man who had done them was the man with whom I was talking.

Possibly some little thing was said.  I do not remember what.  The next thing I knew was that, with his five grown sons around him, he returned to his attack on his house.

He said some days he was glad it was so far away.  He did not want his workmen to see it.  He did not go to the mill often in his motor-car, not when he could help it.

I said that I thought that a man who was doing extraordinary things for other people, things that other men could not get time or strength or freedom or boldness of mind or initiative to do, that any particular thing he could have that gave him any advantage or immunity for doing the extraordinary things better, that would give him more of a chance to give other people a chance, that the other people, if they were in their senses, would insist upon his having these things.

“I think there are hundreds of men in my mill who think that they ought to have my motor-car and three or four rooms in this house.”

“Are they the most efficient ones?”


If a man gives over to other people his deepest motives, and if he really identifies himself-the very inside of himself with them and treats their interests as his interests, the more money he has, the more people like it.

“Take me, for instance,” I said.

“I have hoped every minute since I knew you, that you were a prosperous man.  I saw the house and looked around in the park as I motored up with joy.  And when I came to the big gate I wanted to give three cheers!  I wish you had stock in the Meat Trust in America, that you could pierce your way like a microbe into the vitals, into the inside of the Meat Trust in my own country, make a stand in a Directors’ Meeting for ninety million people over there, say your say for them, vote your stock for them, say how you want a Meat Trust you belong to, to behave, how you want it to be a big, serious, business institution and not a humdrum, mechanical-minded hold-up anybody could think of-in charge of a few uninteresting, inglorious men-men nobody really cares to know and that nobody wants to be like ... when I think of what a man like you with money can do ...!

“Am I not tired every day, are you not tired, yourself, of going about everywhere and seeing money in the hands of all these second-class, socially feeble-minded men, of seeing columns in the papers of what such men think, of having college presidents, great universities, domes, churches and thousands of steeples all deferring to them and bowing to them, and all the superior, live, interested people ringing their door bells for their money waiting outside on benches for what they think?”

I do not believe that Christ came into the world, two thousand years ago, to say that only the men who have minds of the second class, men who are not far-sighted enough in business to be decently unselfish in this world, should be allowed to have control of the money and of the peoples’ means of living in it.

We are living in an age of big machines and big, inevitable aggregations, and to say in an age like this, and above all, to get it out of a Bible, or put it into a hymn book or make a religion of it, that all the first class minds of the world-the men who see far enough to be unselfish, should give over their money to second-class men, is the most monstrous, most unbelieving, unfaithful, unbiblical, irreligious thing a world can be guilty of.  The one thing that is now the matter with money, is that the second-class people have most of it.

“What would happen if we applied asceticism or a tired, discouraged unbelief to having children that we do to having pounds and pence and dollars and cents?  You would not stand for that would you?”

I looked at his five sons.

“Suppose all the good families of to-day were to take the ground that having children is a self-indulgence unworthy of good people; suppose the good people leave having children in this world almost entirely to bad ones?

“This is what has been happening to money.

“Unbelief in money is unbelief in the spirit.  It is paying too much attention to wealth to say that one must or that one must not have it.”

I cannot recall precisely what was said after this in that long evening talk of ours but what I tried to say perhaps might have been something like this: 

The essence of the New Testament seems to be the emphasis of a man’s spirit with or without money.  Whether a man should be rich or get out of being rich and earn the right to be poor (which some very true and big men, artists and inventors in this world will always prefer) turns on a man’s temperament.  If a man has a money genius and can so handle money that he can make money, and if he can, at the same time, and all in one bargain, express his own spirit, if he can free the spirits of other men with money and express his religion in it, he should be ostracized by all thoughtful, Christian people, if in the desperate crisis of an age like this, he tries to get out of being rich.

The one thing a man can be said to be for in this world, is to express the goodness-the religion in him, in something, and if he is not the kind of man who can express his religion in money and in employing labour, then let him find something-say music or radium or painting in which he can.  It is this bounding off in a world, this making a bare spot in life and saying “This is not God, this cannot be God!”-it is this alone that is sacriligious.

It may be that I am merely speaking for myself, but I did discover a man on Fleet Street the other day who quite agreed with me apparently, that if the thing a man has in him is religion he can put it up or express it in almost anything.

This man had tried to express his idea in a window.

He had done a Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” in sugar-a kind of bas-relief in sugar.

I do not claim that this kind of foolish, helpless caricature of a great spiritual truth filled me with a great reverence or that it does now.

But it did make me think how things were.

If sugar with this man, like money with a banker, was the one logical thing the man had to express his religion in, or if what he had had to express had been really true and fine, or if there had been a true or fine or great man to express, I do not doubt sugar could have been made to do it.

One single man with enough money and enough religions skill in human nature, who would get into the Sugar Trust with some good, fighting, voting stock, who could make the Sugar Trust do as it would be done by, would make over American industry in twenty years.

He would have thrown up as on a high mountain, before all American men, one great specimen, enviable business.  He would have revealed as in a kind of deep, sober apocalypse, American business to itself.  He would have revealed American business as a new national art form, as an expression of the practical religion, the genius for real things, that is our real modern temperament in America and the real modern temperament in all the nations.

Of course it may not need to be done precisely with the Sugar Trust.

The Meat Trust might do it first, or the Steel Trust.

But it will be done.

Then the Golden Rule, one great Golden Rule-machine having been installed in our trust that knew the most, and was most known, it could be installed in the others.

Religion can be expressed much better to-day in a stock-holder’s meeting than it can in a prayer-meeting.

Charles Cabot, of Boston, walked in quietly to the Stock-holder’s Meeting of the Steel Trust one day and with a little touch of money-$2,900 in one hand, and a copy of the American Magazine in the other, made (with $2,900) $1,468,000,000 do right.