Read CHAPTER XVI of Frenzied Finance Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated , free online book, by Thomas W. Lawson, on


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,

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

After a fight has been begun there are but four things

“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

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.