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

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.