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


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.


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.)


Calls Boston Author-Broker a Frenzied Fakir.


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.


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.


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 Cafe 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 protege.

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:

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 the heyday of the Waldron-Lawson enterprise, that Lawson ... first met “Jack” Roach, whose apparent employment now is selling diamonds on commission to the so-called “sporting element” of New York, but who is acknowledged to be Lawson’s personal representative in this city. It was there, too, that he made the acquaintance of Herbert Gray, who subsequently conducted a gambling-house in Boston, and who recently served as one of Lawson’s captains and managed his trotting stable. Ben Palmer, a well-known character in State Street, who is one of the main cog-wheels of Lawson’s machine, first made Lawson’s acquaintance during this period of his career.

I do know the Waldron Brothers, of Providence, who are among the oldest residents of Rhode Island, and who, with the present United States Senator Nelson A. Aldrich, composed the great wholesale grocery house of Waldron, Wightman & Co. They did not graduate from a gambling-house on Broadway. I knew the brother referred to familiarly throughout Rhode Island as “Honest Bill,” and a royal old fellow he was. I did business with him in those days, and to any connection I ever had with him I look back with pleasure. He was then conducting a farm in the suburbs of Providence, and in a straightforward, old-fashioned way supplying that city with produce and poultry, and had, to the best of my knowledge, the respect and confidence of all who knew him. I never knew of his having been a gambler, and had no means of knowing, as such matters were then an unknown world to me.

I never, up to reading it in Donohoe’s story the other day, heard of 818 Broadway, curious as it may seem for a man of my experience. My knowledge of gambling has always been confined to that kind which comes under the head of stock gambling. I had not met my present friend, John J. Roche, of New York, at the time mentioned. I never heard of Herbert Gray, of Boston, until I employed him to manage my stable in 1899. I have known J. Benjamin Palmer all my life. We were boys together on State Street. Afterward he was the Stock-Exchange member of one of the oldest banking-houses in Boston. He is still a broker on State Street.

Nothing of certainty can be learned of his career during this period. That he sold “base-ball” cards (a unique kind of playing-cards) at the Providence railroad station is stated on credible authority; that he “worked the trains” between New York and Providence; that he sold books; that he was a hanger-on at race-tracks, has been alleged. Any or all of these rumors may be true or false for whatever may be said of Lawson, his career has undoubtedly been one of marvellous activity in many diversified lines.

I have never sold baseball playing-cards at the Providence station, nor anywhere, at this time nor any time, but I did invent the Lawson Baseball Playing-Cards, and was president of the Lawson Playing-Card Company. I never sold books at this time nor any time, and never “worked trains” at this time nor any time, although I fail to see any disgrace in such honest employment; nor had anything to do with trains in any way whatever at this time nor any time except to ride in them. I have never been a hanger-on at race-tracks, and have never had anything to do with a race-track of any kind other than visiting one for the first time in 1899 to see my own horse, Boralma, race, and four or five times since to see my own horses run. I desire to dwell on this especial accusation because these character thugs have caused it to be published throughout the country that I am and have always been a habitue of race-tracks and a plunging bettor upon races. I regret that it is my misfortune never to have seen a horse-race until 1899, but if it can be shown that I was ever upon a race-track before that time, I will agree to stop writing this story of “Frenzied Finance.”

In 1882, a concern known as the Briggs Printing Machine Company was incorporated in Rhode Island ... to manufacture a machine that was advertised to “print, cut, pack, and fasten with twine 100,000 tags per hour.” Thomas W. Lawson secured the job of selling agent of this company, and he proved so successful and the advertising matter which he wrote brought such handsome returns, that we find him in 1884 promoted to the position of manager and enjoying a salary of $150 per month. Later he became the secretary of the company, and very shortly thereafter, in 1887, the enterprise collapsed, was sold out by the sheriff, and realized little or nothing for the numerous creditors....

It is true that I was the vice-president of the Briggs Printing Machine Company, which was organized and owned by others before I had aught to do with it. I was induced to invest considerable money in it and to take charge of its affairs. The Briggs Company was a close corporation. Its stock was never sold to the public, and after I left it it met with failure.

In December, 1888, the Lamson Consolidated Store-Service Company was incorporated at Boston. Its purpose was to exploit an invention of W. S. Lamson ... the overhead trolley system used in department-stores for carrying cash and parcels.... The capital stock at the beginning was $250,000 par value of shares, $50. The company was doing business and declaring two and a half per cent. dividends quarterly, when Mr. Lawson stepped in and began to manipulate the stock. The price of shares rose steadily to 122. Under the influence of speculative excitement the directors increased the capital stock to $1,000,000, then to $4,000,000. Mr. Lawson boomed the stock on the basis of a report, totally destitute of truth, that an English syndicate was about to purchase a controlling interest in the company. Having unloaded all the shares at his disposal on the uproad to 122, Mr. Lawson suddenly one morning awoke to a realization of the fact that Lamson Store-Service shares possessed absolutely no value, and he at once took the public, as is his custom, into his confidence. In circulars, by advertisements, and by cunningly contrived “news” items he insistently dinned into the public ear that Lamson shares were valueless. The result was as well might be imagined. The stock declined to 30, whereupon Lawson bought it back and then and there made his first grand coup. It is said that first and last he realized $250,000 from the Lamson shareholders.

I did “Lawsonize” the Lamson Store-Service Company, just as I am at the present time “Lawsonizing” the “Standard-Oil"-Amalgamated-City-Bank crowd. The Lamson Store-Service Company, with $4,000,000 capital, was blunderbussing all who dared oppose it all who refused to be bulldozed into consolidating with it. It was the most vicious exponent of the “Trust” methods I had ever met up to that time. Its arrogance, audacity, and crimes were the themes of the newspapers and courts of the day. A most casual investigation of the newspaper files, particularly in Osgood vs. Lamson, and The New York Store-Service Company vs. Lamson, will show a state of corporation assassination equal to that of the “Standard Oil,” only on a smaller scale, of course. Perjury, bribery, and even murder will be found openly charged and in some cases proved. At the height of the sensational career of the Lamson Company it ran into one of my corporations, The Lawson Manufacturing Company, and started in to “do me up” or compel a consolidation, and well, I gave it battle. The following circular to the stockholders will show how the battle started:

Dear Sir: I deem it my duty to say to you, as a shareholder of the Lamson Store-Service Company, that your Mr. Lamson and his agents have opened up on my company, and with their usual criminal methods are endeavoring to ruin us. This circular is to inform you that I have this day given notice to each of your officers and directors that, in three days from to-day, if they have not stopped their dirty work and taken their hands off my company, they will take the consequences. I do not pretend to be able to meet them on the fighting grounds of the courts, for I know too well their power of corruption and jury-buying, but I assure you I have other ways by which I can stop them, etc., etc.

If Donohoe had desired to deal with facts, he could not have missed the details of this story, of which the papers at the time were full. It was a fight which would have warmed the heart-cockles of an embalmed warrior of the catacombs. Lamson stock was selling at 62, the highest price it ever attained, not 122, as this numskull states. When I began operations I slaughtered it and the reputation of Lamson and his associates; and in the midst of the fight, when the shares were down to 18, or perhaps 14, a great public meeting of stockholders there were a whole lot of them was called in the city of Lowell, and, amid fiery speeches, Lamson was told to choose between refuting my charges of fraud and being deposed from the presidency of the institution. Lamson attempted explanations, but the hard-headed stockholders did what the Amalgamated stockholders will some time do, passed resolutions that Lamson must punish me for libel or that they would punish him. The gathering then adjourned to a future date, at which Lamson was to report what action he had taken to punish me for my crimes. The next step was interesting, and bears on an accusation I have seen mentioned frequently of late. I had, when I began my fight, laid before Mr. Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, the dastardly crimes of which the company had been guilty, and was even then engaged in committing, and he had said: “Damnable! I will aid you in exposing them.” And he did. Day after day there were broadsides in the World relentlessly denouncing the rascalities of the Lamson outfit. These finally stirred them to action. One day I received word that some trickery was being put up in the district attorney’s office in New York. A few days later there appeared at my office in Boston a police officer from New York and three of our head Boston police officers. They said to me: “We regret, Mr. Lawson, but we must take your secretary, Mr. William L. Vinal, back to New York, as he has been indicted for spreading false reports.”

“Has any one else been indicted?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” they replied, “you and some of the World people.”

“Mr. Vinal has done nothing but obey my orders,” I said. “Why don’t you take me?”

“We have no orders to,” was the reply.

I saw the game and sent word to the Governor of Massachusetts, who promptly told the combination: “Go slow, gentlemen. Remember you are not in New York now, but in Massachusetts.” He ordered a public trial. Within two hours from the time they laid hands on my secretary I brought suit in his name for false arrest against the officers who were trying to arrest him, and grabbed the New York official before he could skip out of town. Then I went to see the Lamson crowd and we had it out. They begged that I allow Vinal to go to New York, just to vindicate them, in which circumstances he would be allowed to return on the next train, and the case would never be heard of again. If I would consent, they would agree to a reorganization of the company and the dropping out of Lamson. I showed them that they had gone too far, that I had damaging information as to how they had secured the indictment, and that now they must take the consequences.

I took the “midnight” for New York, and in the morning was at District-Attorney Fellows’s office. I dared him to arrest me or the officers of the World. He replied: “I don’t want you, Lawson. I cannot and won’t help you advertise your fight.” It proving impossible to get up any excitement in New York, I returned to Boston, and the extradition proceedings furnished a most sensational trial. The cause was bitterly fought. The lawyers even came to blows in the governor’s chamber. Finally, when Governor Brackett had all the facts before him, he said: “You cannot work your dirty tricks on me,” and he entered a vigorous refusal of the application for Mr. Vinal’s extradition. This case established precedents for all such proceedings since.

The fight won, pressure was brought to bear on me to let up on the Lamson outfit and call off further proceedings. For some time I persistently refused to do so, as I was determined to contest the constitutionality of the law. Finally, however, on condition that Lamson should be thrown out, the management of the company reorganized, its criminal methods abandoned, and all records and trace of the indictment against myself and the others removed from the district attorney’s books, I consented.

This is the history of how I “Lawsonized” the Lamson Store-Service Company, and if there is anything I have ever done that was good to do and well worth doing, this was it. I am just as proud of my work here as of what I did in the General Electric fight upon which I have already touched. In the Lamson reorganization I was offered all sorts of good things, but I refused, as I always have in such affairs, to benefit in any way but the open and fair one where I go into the open market and stake my money against that of my opponents on my ability to prove I am right. The facts here are of legal record. Following is the Donohoe-Rogers version. The mendacity is obvious:

Among the unfortunate Lamson-Service stockholders were numbered several aggressive people of the old-fashioned kind, who resented Mr. Lawson’s peculiar way of doing things. These submitted, in 1892, to the grand jury of the city of New York a sheaf of Lawsonian literature, comprising his scandalous attacks on the company’s securities. The grand jury indicted Thomas W. Lawson, and Colonel John R. Fellows, the district attorney, and his assistants, Francis L. Wellman and Mr. Lindsay, went to Boston to try to have Lawson extradited. The Governor of Massachusetts came to Lawson’s rescue in the nick of time and declined to honor the request of the Governor of New York for his extradition; but for years thereafter the future author of “Frenzied Finance” made his trips to this money-centre incognito.


In 1890 the entire country rang with the fame of Grand Rivers, and it was Thomas W. Lawson, of Boston, who pulled the bell-rope.... The scheme, as may be deduced herefrom, was a most comprehensive one. The development of the “marvellous deposit of coal and iron,” which had been discovered upon the property by Mr. Lawson, one day while seated in his revolving chair in his State Street office, furnished the basis for the incorporation of the Furnaces Company. After $2,000,000 had been “expended,” the clamor of the stockholders caused the company actually to build several furnaces. They were erected and stood idle, with nothing to feed them. The whole scheme collapsed in 1892. The stockholders lost every dollar of their investment....

In this, his fourth financial venture, Mr. Lawson did but repeat his former experiences except, in this case, the loss sustained by those who reposed confidence in his promises was heavier than in any of his prior undertakings.

The Kentucky experience is one of the pleasantest memories of my life. Measured by dollars and cents it was expensive but was well worth it, as the young man remarked who broke his arm by being thrown from his horse into the lap of his future wife. It makes a long story, and I shall only touch on the leading facts concerning it by way of showing the desperate straits my enemies are put to in their efforts to discredit my career.

My present brokers, Messrs. Brown, Riley & Co., one of the oldest and largest Boston and New York Stock Exchange houses, had floated the Grand Rivers enterprise for some of their wealthy clients. It was an iron, coal, and furnace proposition, and before I ever heard of it, it had been bought and paid for, and enormous furnaces were under way. It was a close corporation. After a very large amount of money in the millions had gone into the property, I was induced to take the executive management, and also I put in a very large amount of my own money. My work was to be that of business director, for I did not know an iron or a coal mine from an alabaster ledge in the lunar spheres, and not half as much about an iron smelter as I did about converting whiskers into mermaid’s tresses. However, one of the greatest iron men in New England, Aretas Blood, president of the Manchester Locomotive Works, and of the Nashua Steel and Iron Company, was at the head of the enterprise, which apparently safeguarded it. Well, it turned out that there was no iron in the mines at least not enough to pay for extraction, and the investment simply disappeared. I lost a very large amount at least, a very large amount for me but I had to show for it the love and friendship and respect of the inhabitants of one of the fairest places on the earth a place where brave men and lovely women live in peace and comfort in the knowledge of their own fearless, simple honesty, and their hatred of shams and trickery in absolute ignorance of frenzied financiers and the “System’s” votaries.

The history of Grand Rivers is an open book. There is no secret about my connection with the enterprise. It was a straight and proper venture. The men who are my brokers of to-day fathered it, and they are men of honor, probity, and responsibility, who since my first year in business in 1870 have been my close business associates and personal friends. Why do not Donohoe and his breed of gutter-rooters, when seeking information about me, ask such men as these for facts about my life? they know what every hour of it has been. Strange as it may seem to such vampires, the men I began to do business with when I was a boy I am doing business with to-day, and they are my associates and friends.

I postponed until the last moment writing this article in order that I might be able to diagnose the “System’s” attack on me. The first of the widely advertised series was such a foolish and asinine thing as to be unworthy of notice, and I desired to see how much further the second would go. In the former it was charged that I was writing my articles solely for the purpose of securing stock-market profits and compelling the “System” to settle; in other words, that I was attempting to blackmail them; that I had no honorable motives in writing my story, and had no remedy of any kind in mind; that in the recent panic I had made a million and a quarter of dollars; that I had secured President Roosevelt’s message eight days before it was published; that I had advertised on November 29th, unqualifiedly advising all to purchase Amalgamated, and that on December 6th I had advertised advising all to sell. It is true that I did advise the public to sell, but that in my advertisement of November 29th I advised the people to buy Amalgamated I positively deny. I carefully avoided doing so. The other statements are equally false, and were made with a full knowledge of their falsity.

The incidents in my career about which I have here set forth the facts are not secret. All the things I have stated are fully susceptible of proof. For another instant let me take the assertion that my motive in this crusade is personal gain through stock-jobbery, and that I have no aim or end in view other than that. Well, I can to-day show the Remedy to which I have alluded so often, and which when I worked it out in 1893 I had printed with full detail. It is in my vault now under lock and key. In the year 1894, in London, I laid a copy of this document before Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World. Remember, this was a year before I met H. H. Rogers or any of the “Standard Oil” party.

Since Donohoe began his latest series of attacks I have had scores of letters commenting on them. A significant verdict on what the man is accomplishing is the following:

BUFFALO, N. Y., January 23, 1905.

Dear Sir: I herewith enclose you copy of a letter just
sent to Mr. Donohoe, also to the editor of

Yours respectfully,


January 23, 1905.


Financial Editor, New York Commercial, New York City.

Dear Sir: With considerable pleasure, satisfaction, and conviction, I have carefully read all the articles on “Frenzied Finance,” by Mr. Lawson, and from my limited knowledge of affairs, gained by fifteen years of active life, am of the opinion that he has been telling facts, although at times they are clothed in the language of a writer of fiction.

I have been waiting and confidently expecting, during the past six months, that some able, honest, unbiassed, and free-handed man would take up the discussion against Mr. Lawson, and in this way aid the people in viewing the entire subject with all possible side-lights, so that when public opinion shall be finally formed, as surely it will be in the future, it may be as nearly right as possible and only the guilty suffer. It was, therefore, with a high degree of exultation that I purchased of January 19th, upon the first page of which in bold type appears: “Lawson Answered the Truth About Frenzied Finance.” At the sight of these words I said in almost audible tones: “Now we shall hear the other side, or at least learn what Mr. Lawson has omitted, if anything.”

I have just finished reading your article in said issue of , and as you now pose as a public writer and benefactor, you of course will welcome frank, honest criticism. After reading and rereading your said article, I am, against my desire, forced to the following conclusions:

1. You are either one of the “System” or are hired by it.

2. This article of yours was prepared for the purposes of making two points: (a) Working on the sentiment and passions of the weak, and the women; and (b) diverting public attention and opinion from the real facts at issue, by attacking Mr. Lawson’s personal character, which is not up for discussion.

3. Your article is full of high-sounding declarations, and
void of either logic or common sense.

4. In your endeavor to express the wishes of the prejudiced
and biassed, you are undoubtedly dishonest with yourself
without deceiving the public.

5. Your article lacks the ring that carries conviction,
either as to your sincerity or the truthfulness of the
statements you make.

6. The article indicates that you are vainly trying to ape
Mr. Lawson’s style.

Yours respectfully,

Following the Donohoe outburst there came innumerable letters, of which this is a good sample:

TACOMA, WASH., February 14, 1905.

Dear Sir: It would be greatly appreciated by at least one of your readers if you would furnish the great and only Donohoe the details of some really scandalous epoch of your past. It has been stated many times that one man cannot make a million dollars and do it honestly, so we must assume you have done some “things” in your past. We have a very high regard out West for the works of Mr. Dooley and Mark Twain, and also are regular subscribers of Puck and Judge, and we don’t want to see these noted writers and periodicals unseated, even for the time being, by Mr. Donohoe.

Therefore we ask you to give him some tip from which he can work out something serious, so he can make a statement that is not “reported,” or the deduction of which does not require Sherlock Holmes.

His work of “dissecting” so far reminds us of the work of a
six months’ student of a medical college on a Tom cat (no
pun meant).

Yours very truly,
L. H. M.

I answered as follows:

My Dear Sir: Your request is similar to that of a hundred other correspondents. I regret I can do nothing to help out. Donohoe’s trouble is, he is short of facts, so “short” that he seems to me completely “cornered.” I am “long of” them, as you and all my other readers will admit before I am through my story, but my facts are not the kind Donohoe can use, or I would willingly let him have a few to assist him out of his present predicament.

Donohoe’s employers, Rogers and the “Standard Oil,” knew before they put him on to his present “job” that my life was a peculiarly and unusually open one one that had absolutely no dark or covered corner in it; they knew it not only because all men in my walks of life know it, but because they had investigated it with their unerring search-light. Most men who have ever been on the inside of “Standard Oil” know that no man with a bad record could do business, much less have an intimate relation, with Rogers and Rockefeller for nine seconds; and my connection extended over nine years.

The tone of my correspondence during the year was not by any means altogether friendly. The writer of the following letter presented his conclusions straight from the shoulder and I was equally direct in my reply:


GAINESVILLE, FLA., February 21, 1905.

MR. THOMAS W. LAWSON, Boston, Mass.

Dear Sir: Pardon my “buttin’ in” seems I must say

If what Donohoe says about your Trinity Copper Company is true, it would seem you ought to stop throwing mud at the Standard Oil crowd, for you are no better than are they, and they are known thieves and robbers. While you may be telling the truth about the other fellow, yet the fact of your telling it does not set well on the stomach of those who read both sides of the story. Seems to me it’s “dog eat dog” until every one is disgusted.

Why don’t you come down to business and give the readers of Everybody’s something wholesome to digest and plenty of it? The way it comes now, we are over our hunger before the next issue shows up, and, in the meantime, your friend has converted many to the thought that you are worse than the Standard Oil crowd.

Won’t you please answer, in the next issue of Everybody’s, if you made your money your fortune, HONESTLY, or did you “do others” for fear they would “do you”? I am inclined to think you are as big a “grafter” as ever came down the pike, even though you may be telling on the other fellow turning State’s evidence.

Yours truly,

You ask why I do not get down to business. You won’t mind my telling you the principal reason is that it is I who am writing “Frenzied Finance,” not you nor any of your kind, and that I propose to decide when it is time to get down to business. If in the meantime there is any one else who can do the job I have cut out better than I, why, none will be better pleased than myself. Indeed, I will gladly contribute as a reward to my successor double the many thousands of dollars I am paying each month to get this work of mine properly before the people.

What Donohoe says of my Trinity Copper is not only absolutely false, but has over and over again been demonstrated to be so. The actual facts regarding that property have been printed time and again in reputable Boston newspapers, and casual inquiry will obtain you the full details. In addition, practically everything which Donohoe, the hired mouthpiece of “Standard Oil” and the “System,” has said is absolutely untrue and made from whole cloth. When I say this I cover all criticism which has been made upon me or my work by “Standard Oil” or the “System,” for this character thug has utilized every dirty slander which my enemies ever invented and put into circulation.

Did I make my fortune honestly, you ask? and I answer: In thirty-six years of active business life, very active, embracing transactions through which I have passed from poverty to wealth and back again from riches to poverty, and in which I might easily have retained the riches by sacrificing a principle, I have never once in all these years and in all these transactions done a wrong to man, woman, or child, nor taken from man, woman, or child a dollar unfairly, much less dishonestly. Rather a remarkable record, you will say, for one who has made millions in the stock business. But I should not be broadly honest if I did not add the modification that these millions of dollars were made in the open stock-market, by methods which in the open stock-market are called fair and honest; that is, I have played the game according to the rules, and the “other fellow” has had equal chance with me and might have done anything I ever did. If, however, business were conducted as it should be and as it will be after my “Remedy” has reformed present conditions, such methods will net those using them only thousands where I have gained millions.

You add that you are inclined to think I am a “grafter.” In reply I can only say you would not dare and I don’t know your size, color, or length of trigger-finger to say it in my presence, though of course, it is absolutely immaterial what you or your kind think of me or my work.


During the eighteen months in which “Frenzied Finance” has been before the public, history has been made at a stiff pace. Next to the insurance revelations which are still in process of deliverance, the most striking demonstration of the period has been the flurry in stocks which was spoken of as the Lawson panic. In the February, 1905, issue of Everybody’s Magazine I dealt with the performance and its attendant phenomena.

Without undue vaunting, I may say that my explanation of the mysteries of modern finance has not been without immediate profit to the public. The people, accustomed to invest their money in the legitimate securities of the country, had time and again lost hundreds of millions without dreaming that they had been as ruthlessly robbed as though held up at a pistol-point by a highwayman. They imagined that the great capitalists whose names were emblazoned in the press throughout the land, and who managed the banks and trust companies and insurance corporations to which their savings were intrusted, were noble and public-spirited gentlemen of the highest moral principles and of absolute integrity. They know to-day that many of them are reckless and greedy stock gamblers, incessantly dickering with the machinery of finance for their own private enrichment.

I have stripped the veil from these hypocrites and exposed to all the world their soulless rapacity. I have let the light of heaven into the dim recesses of Wall Street in which these buccaneers of commerce concocted their plots. I have done more than this: I have nipped in the bud the newest conspiracy for the entanglement of the public the great “bull” market which was organized late in 1904 by the chief votaries of the “System,” to harvest a new crop of profits on the securities they had laid in during their last raid. In other words, I have treated Wall Street to a dose of its own medicine.

During the month of December the newspapers devoted considerable space to the doings of the stock-market in connection with the episode to which I refer. I use the word “episode” purposely, for I warn my readers that it was but one of a series of disturbances which must occur before the grasp of the pirates on the great financial interests of this country can be shaken off. David slew Goliath with one pebble from his sling, but the giant “System,” intrenched in the stoutest citadel ever constructed, and armored in gold and riven steel, will yield to no mere call for surrender. My own part I have cheerfully taken with no delusions as to the difficulties of the contest. He who interferes between the lamb and the wolf is likely to provoke the wrath of the wolf, and I have done worse, for have I not come between the lions of finance and their willing prey?

It is worth while here to rehearse the steps of this first disturbance, because it constitutes part of a movement destined to wield a tremendous influence in this country’s history. While my revelations of the methods of the “System” were circulating throughout these United States, the “System” was engaged at its old trick of inflating the prices of its favorite stocks and bonds and spreading its nets for another gigantic plundering of the people. In the stock-market and in the highways and by-ways and resting-places of finance nothing was heard for months but fairy tales of great earnings of railroads and industrials, fairy tales of new ore in old mines, fairy tales of great financial forces converging toward colossal combinations.

These are the lures of the “System’s” hirelings, the decoy calls of the market tout and the financial tipster whose part it is to mould opinion and urge the people to the shambles. Before my eyes, with a blind and audacious defiance of my warnings, the old, old game was rigged in full view of the audience and the old players began their venerable antics. In the meantime the “System” attended to its own rôle in the conspiracy supplying out of its banks and trust companies the public’s money for the gamblers to make the game with. Then began the artful process of working up the market; stocks gradually climbed higher and higher. Amalgamated ascended from the forties into the fifties and the sixties and even into the eighties; steel assumed the appearance of life and grew from ten slowly upward into the twenties and thirties. Every day in the Stock Exchange hundreds of thousands of shares changed hands back and forth among the professionals who lustily played their parts in this financial melodrama. The good old myths of great fortunes made by lucky investors began to reappear in the papers. Sales increased; values jumped rather than climbed. The trap was set; the market made. The wily manipulators rubbed their hands gleefully. The public began to bite, to buy. It was then only a matter of sizing up the wool crop before beginning the shearing.

Before I detail the steps I took to spring its own trap on the “System,” I should explain that this market was purely an artificial one. The immense advance of prices was not brought about by any honest methods or legitimate causes. The “System’s” votaries had enormous quantities of stocks millions upon millions of shares, bought when the people during the past two years were compelled to throw them overboard at slaughter prices. By employing one of the oldest swindling devices known to finance, they could bid prices to any figure they desired. Honest financial writers called attention each week to the tactics of the manipulators and declared the high quotations unjustifiable and unreasonable.

At the stage of the game that I felt sure immediately preceded the unloading signal, I determined to test whether the people had really digested as well as absorbed the cold facts I had been ladling out to them in my story of “Frenzied Finance” whether they had grown wise enough to heed a warning. So on Monday, December 5th, I carefully prepared the following advertisement, which was published Tuesday morning in the great papers of the great cities of this country and later in Europe.


From the creation of Amalgamated I have continuously
believed in its worth and constantly advocated the purchase
of its stock.

Henry H. Rogers personally negotiated with Marcus Daly for
the properties which went to make up the Amalgamated

Henry H. Rogers alone knew absolutely their values.

Henry H. Rogers’s associates took his word for them.

While they cost Messrs. Rogers, Rockefeller, and associates
only $39,000,000, we all believed they were worth more than
the $75,000,000 at which they were sold to the public.

Shortly after the public flotation at $100 per share, the stock dropped to 75. I did all in my power to prevent the decline, losing millions in the effort, but I retained my faith in the real worth of the property.

Some of the insiders made millions; the public was fleeced
of millions.

I still refused to be discouraged. I urged Messrs. Rogers and Rockefeller to make good their promises made through me to the public. Finally they consented. The stock advanced until it sold at 130.

At the highest price I was still buying and advising its purchase. Then there came the awful slump which slid the stock down to 33. I lost enormously; insiders made vast profits. The public was again fleeced.

At 33 I began a new campaign to induce my followers and the public to buy. As a result there were purchased by hundreds of people all over the country directly and indirectly through me, rising 260,000 shares, at an average of 40 to 42, and probably hundreds of thousands more which I could not trace.

This campaign I have prosecuted incessantly up to the present time, until now I estimate the public holds 1,000,000 shares, 700,000 of which show at to-day’s price, 82, a profit of $28,000,000.

When my story, “Frenzied Finance,” began, I advertised that
it could do no damage to Amalgamated stock, but would help

Hoping to divert the dangerous disclosures I threatened, the leading attorney of Messrs. Rogers and Rockefeller asked for a conference. At it he demanded of me what I expected to accomplish. I replied: “One thing, at least to put the price of Amalgamated back to 100, that those unfortunates who still retain their stock may recover their money.”

Then the secret was revealed to me that Amalgamated was not
worth anything like the price at which it had been sold to
the public. I said: “How can this be?”

He answered: “Mr. Rogers knows for a certainty that Marcus
Daly deceived him about the worth of the properties.”

I had great faith in this attorney. He was sincere in what he said; his knowledge and relations were such he could not have been deceived, and his special information about this property was such that he could speak in the first person. I believed him. Soon afterward another official of Amalgamated confirmed his statements.

When I received this information my dilemma was a terrible one. If I gave it to my following they would at once throw over their stock, probably at a great loss. I waited. Sooner or later I knew these men would get behind the market, push up the prices of the stocks they had gathered in at bottom figures, and, when the moment was ripe, again unload on the public.

The market “came in.” I did all in my power to assist in
raising the price of Amalgamated.

To-day’s situation is the same as that of 1901.

“Frenzied finance” stock gamblers have accumulated immense lines of Amalgamated. The same sensational rumors of a great rise to come flood Wall and State streets as in 1901. They have asked me to join in creating a wild market upon which all the Amalgamated taken in at lower prices may be turned out upon the public.

It would be millions in my pocket to assist, but

I see the handwriting on the wall which the “frenzied
financiers” of Wall Street do not yet see. It reads:

“The people will not stand plundering any longer.”

And I have decided.

I advise every stockholder of Amalgamated stock to sell his
holdings at once before another crash comes. Another slump
may carry it to 33 again, or lower.

It may go higher, but this is no affair of mine. From the moment of the publication of this notice all those who have looked to me for advice must relieve me of further responsibility.

As the people who look to me for advice are scattered all
over this country, I know of no other way than this to
simultaneously notify them of what I have learned.

If the powerful people who manage and control Amalgamated, and who, after selling it to the public at $100 a share, allowed it to sink to $75, and after it had advanced to 130, smashed it to 33, regardless of their sacred promise to me and the public through me, now reveal to me that it is not worth over 45, it is inevitable that if they are honest in what they say, the stock must go there of its own weight. If they are not honest, they will put it there anyway, and lower still.

I would have waited until the reckless speculators who are now manipulating the market had put the stock higher, but I did not dare. During the past two days I have detected unmistakable signs that the vultures are gathering for the feast.

In the past I have told what I thought I knew about Amalgamated; from to-day I shall tell what the men who control and manage Amalgamated say they have found out about it. No stockholder should, after this fair notice, object or accuse me of trying to injure the property, even though I be compelled to begin court proceedings based on this information so lately revealed to me.

This advertisement and my mailed notices will appear in New York and Boston, Tuesday, December 6th; in the Eastern and middle portions of the United States Wednesday, and the balance of the country, Canada and Europe Thursday, and I shall wait until Friday, that all may have ample time to dispose of their stock, if they care to, before making my next move.

Every holder of Amalgamated must keep before his eyes this one tremendous fact: His property is now absolutely at the mercy of men who have the market in the hollow of their hands, and who in the past have raised this stock to the highest and then dropped it to the lowest without heed or concern but for their own pockets.


Since Copper Range Consolidated sold at 12 I have advised
its purchase. To-day it sells at 70. All who have followed
my advice have made immense profits.

Copper Range has 385,000 shares; Amalgamated 1,550,000.

Copper Range is a new property at Lake Superior, consisting of three immense mines and a railroad, with the latest and most complete plant in the world, including its own smelters. It is the largest and richest copper mine discovered and developed in the past twenty years. It is producing now 40,000,000 pounds of copper annually, and will in the near future become the largest producer in the world.

Amalgamated pays 2 per cent. in dividends. Copper Range will pay 6 per cent. in the coming year, and continue to increase, to what limit no man can tell. If the present market for copper, the metal, holds at 15 cents, and the best judges think it will probably go higher, Amalgamated should increase its dividends to 4 or 6, but with 15-cent metal Copper Range will earn and pay 8, 10, and 12 per cent., and upward.

The curse of Amalgamated has been “Standard Oil” management. Copper Range has been, and is, directed and controlled by representative Boston copper men, who seek their profits in the mine and not in the stock-market.

BOSTON, December 6, 1904.

The result of this announcement proved that my message had not fallen on stony places, but had been accepted by the public in the spirit of its giving. All Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the people sold their stocks to the “System’s” votaries at the falsely inflated prices these gentry had forced for their own plundering purposes. Instead of gathering in the savings of the toilers, the “System” had to part with some of its wad. For once the people got the money and the “System” had the stocks. Under the stress of tremendous selling the price of “Amalgamated” was shattered. Other frenzied finance stocks declined in sympathy. The power of publicity had been triumphantly vindicated and the cries of frenzied financiers, their mouths full of their own fish-hooks, resounded through the land.

That this condition would be allowed to prevail long, I knew was improbable. The “System’s” leading votaries got together and organized to stop the frightful decline in prices. The old cuttle-fish methods were at once resorted to a campaign of falsehood, deception, and trickery began. Lest the people should realize that it was their power which had wrought such havoc, the touts and tipsters shouted in chorus that the slaughter of prices was the work of the “System” itself, and that I was secretly in league with the “System” against the public; that, the public having been robbed of its stocks, prices would advance with an extra bound. Scores of millions were drawn from the banks and trust companies to stay the slump. Under the influence of all this industry and clamor the market began to boil again; prices recovered, and the people, confused and bewildered, were once more about to be entrapped. A sharp advance was followed by a cry from the votaries that I was a trickster and that what had been in reality the most notable demonstration of “the people’s strength” ever given was only another evidence of the “System’s” infallibility. If this deceit had prevailed, the task I have undertaken of enlightening the public would have had a setback. Relying on my previous work, I put forth the following announcement Monday morning, December 12th, and confidently awaited results:


For six months through my story, “Frenzied Finance,” in Everybody’s Magazine, I have been educating the people to the terrible condition existing to-day in America the people are plundered of their savings by a few men through the working of the “System.”

After a close study for six months I concluded that the
people were awakening to the truth.

I decided to make a test.

I advertised certain truths. That was all.

For three days Wall Street and the “System” were
panic-stricken paper values melted to the extent of
hundreds of millions.

The laws of the land are strict about panic-breeding by
public statements.

If any of the terrible statements I have made had been
false, I should to-day be in prison or my body suspended
from a lamp-post. I could not possibly have escaped.

What I have stated is truth. No one dares gainsay it.

Wall Street and the “System” for the first time were compelled to come to the rescue and put in jeopardy their own money by buying stocks from the people at inflated prices.

For the first time a break came while the manufacturers of
stock still held them.

The people sold them.

To-day every scheme known to frenzied financiering is being worked to make the world believe last week’s panic was the result of stock speculators, bears, “Standard Oil,” and the “System.”

Throughout this country and Europe is being spread the story that I was in league with “Standard Oil” and the “System,” that they had sold out their stocks and got me to raid the market to shake out the public.

That another great rise is coming.

This is clever, smart, the only thing possible under the

But it is a lie.

I ask the people to watch the desperate efforts that are
being made to get this lie to pass for a truth.

The “System” must unload on the public, but above all else the “System” must convince the people that the awful destruction of last week could not have been brought about merely by the people’s own doings.

If the people are not so convinced they will know their
power, and that they have in their own hands, to use at any
time, a weapon which can stand the “System” on its head.

There is no reason why the people cannot reverse the old
process and always sell at the top to the frenzied
financiers and buy from them at the bottom.

This is my warning:

I ask the people and Wall Street and the “System” to give it
weight or their loss will be on their own heads.

I am going to strike again, suddenly, sharply, sensationally, and in a way that will produce effects upon prices and upon markets, so much more destructive, that the effects and the destruction of last week will appear by comparison as milk to vitriol.

Every owner of an active stock in which the “System” has any
interest owes it to himself to weigh my warning.

The result must be terrible for Wall Street and the
“System,” and nothing can avert it.

It matters not how much preparation is made, as it will come
in a way not possible to guard against.

I want all to know now, so they will not blame me when the
slaughter is on.

My first and only warning will come in the form of a public
notice that certain named stocks should be sold the day my
advertisement appears.

Three days afterward I will publish why, but with the why it
will be too late for holders of stock to save themselves.

I now say to all, if you decide after reading this that I am
only talking, well and good, but when it is too late,
remember what I did say.

While waiting for me to speak, again think it over.

When “Frenzied Finance” first appeared, only six months ago,
the wise heads of the “System” said:

“The public will tire of it in sixty days.”

At the end of six months the people, the press, and the pulpit are lashing themselves into a fury over its revelations, and it is impossible to print magazines enough to meet the demand.

When I first touched on the life-insurance companies they

To-day policy-holders are panic-stricken, and the big
companies are falling behind millions a week.

When I said my story would affect Wall Street, Wall Street
laughed; last week it yelled, cursed, and begged.

And I am only in the mild, preliminary stages yet.

While waiting for the next move, make no mistake.

When real work begins Wall Street and the “System” will look
like a last year’s straw hat in the swirls of Niagara.


Last Tuesday morning I publicly said:

“The men who control Amalgamated told me it is not worth half the price it was floated at. If they told the truth it will go back to 33. If they have lied they will smash it back to 33 as they did before. Sell it.”

All that day (Tuesday) holders could have sold at an average
of 79.

Holders of over 200,000 shares did.

The following day all holders could have sold at an average
of 74 300,000 did.

The third day all holders could have sold at an average of
66 200,000 did.

Then the Wall Street powers got desperate and stopped the

During these days I did not sell a share nor do anything in
the market to assist the decline, but did buy enormous
amounts to prevent it from breaking below 60.

Every scheme known to frenzied financiers is being worked to
make it appear now that this stock is going to sell much

It is advertised broadcast that I was working with the bear
raiders and “Standard Oil.”

This is a lie.

My brokers were requested by another client to publish a
statement that a prominent copper company president stated
there was $33 in the Amalgamated treasury.

Instantly the rumors were sent broadcast that I had settled
with “Standard Oil” and was bulling the stock.

This, too.

I know the man who made the statement and the high officer
of the Amalgamated who got him to make it.

And it shows the desperate position of the Amalgamated

They are loaded with the stock.

I dare any officer of the Amalgamated Company to publish the
above statement over his signature.

If he does court proceedings will be begun at once.

I also dare Mr. Rogers or Mr. Rockefeller to deny the
statement made by me that they have said the stock is not
worth 50, and that Marcus Daly deceived them. I dare them.

I repeat what I have said to holders of Amalgamated:

Sell your stock now, before it is too late.

Bear in mind when Amalgamated sells at 33 that I have warned

And in the meantime watch for sharp breaks in Amalgamated. I
will give no further warning on this stock, and under no
circumstances will change my now advertised position on it.

Thomas W. Lawson.</sc>
BOSTON, December 12, 1904.

The second test brought a stronger demonstration than the first. This time the “System’s” votaries were drawn up in solid phalanx; behind them uncounted millions and unmeasured power braced to meet attack. All day Monday the people hurled their securities at the gamesters, and with every onslaught prices crumbled until, when the Stock Exchange closed, the “System’s” losses were represented by hundreds of millions of dollars. The people had learned a lesson, and a hundred years more of the “System’s” trickery and falsehood will not efface its impression.


The attacks I made on the “System” were frank and direct statements of facts. The destruction they wrought upon the cherished plans of the gamesters was due to their truth. If the things I stated about Amalgamated were not true, how easy to prove them false, and how completely then should I have been discredited. But what has the “System” in its blind rage done? Well may the American people who read what is printed below say to themselves, “’Whom the gods would slay, they first make mad.’ What is Thomas W. Lawson in this transaction that his personality need enter into a controversy wherein the issue is of facts alone?” Suppose I were all that my enemies say of me, the question is not of my guilt, but of the truth of my charges. I was not surprised to read on the morning of Tuesday, the 13th of December, the diatribe printed below. It was published in the leading papers of the country in the form of an advertisement, in great type covering half a page.


NEW YORK, December 12, 1904.

THOMAS W. LAWSON, Boston, Mass.

For six months I have read with close attention your story of “Frenzied Finance,” in Everybody’s Magazine, and have paid close attention to the manner in which, by pandering to the worst prejudices of the American people, you have endeavored by misstatement of facts to distort the conditions actually existing through what you call the workings of the “System.”

What is the conclusion to be deducted from your own
statements? What is the “System” to which you have so often

From the standpoint of honest, unprejudiced men no other conclusion can be derived but from your own statements you have endeavored personally and through subornation of others to debauch legislation, to distort facts, to create in the minds of investors a lack of confidence in men whom the public for many years have looked up to as the leaders in the industrial world.

By every foul vilification and every statement which distorted imagination is capable of producing, you have endeavored to show that the so-called leaders of finance of the United States are in league to rob and defraud the investing public.

Taking all your statements and analyzing them, what do they amount to? That certain men, amongst whom you yourself was one of the leaders, have bought out certain corporations which were capitalized at a price which you state was far above their cost.

Not one single new fact has been brought to the attention of the public. If men, by their brains, their capital, and their energy, acquire properties that have not been appreciated by the public, put them forth under whatsoever name, so that the statements made in connection with those properties are true, and capable of verification, what is it but a business proposition that cannot be criticised?

What is the “System” which you denounce as the very personification of evil? Is it not the “System” of which you have been the leading advocate, votary, and exponent for many years? Is not the “System,” when analyzed and reduced to its root, a stock-brokerage of which you are and have been for many years one of the shining lights; not the system of honest, legitimate brokerage, but the system of endeavoring by false statements and by exciting the fears of the multitude to depress and destroy values in order that its votaries may reap their ill-gotten gains?

Is there one thing in connection with all that you have written in your articles on “Frenzied Finance” in which you have not been from start to finish one of the prime movers? Who is the man that, from the inception of the enterprise which you most severely criticise, has been most prominently before the public? Who is the man that, from your own words, originated the idea and carried it to its completion? Is it not Thomas W. Lawson? Who is the man that, in the various schemes which you hold up to the condemnation of the public, has taken from start to finish the leading part? Is it not Thomas W. Lawson?

Is there one honest man in the United States who to-night believes that, in spending the thousands and thousands of dollars that you have spent in advocating your views and in posing as the friend of the people, that you have not acted for your own selfish ends? Do you believe that there is one man in all this wide world to-day who honestly believes one single statement that you have made, or who believes that you have ever turned your hand to, or aided in the slightest degree in, any honest enterprise? You criticise the copper corporations who have placed their stock before the public as a legitimate investment. Can you point to one single instance in which a misrepresentation of fact or figure has ever been made in anything connected with the Amalgamated Company?

Who are you, who should say in relation to a copper mine whether it is good or bad? Did you ever see a copper mine? Did you ever put a pick into ore? Did you ever reduce one ton of metal so that it would yield up its wealth for the benefit of mankind. Have you ever done anything excepting to act as a parasite upon honest labor and, by chicanery and by misrepresentation, endeavor to rob the people of their hard earnings? I speak to you plainly, knowing you yourself for what you are. Can you show one man that can point to any honest industry in which you ever took part; to one single act of yourself that ever contributed to the welfare or the advancement of the working people? Can you point to one single act in your career that was ever based on any other motive than absolute egotism and selfishness; to one single utterance, act, word, or deed of yourself that was not based on selfishness and a desire to rob or misrepresent or, in some other manner, attach the earnings of the people to your coffers without effort on your part?

I address this communication to you knowing you for what you are; as a man who, throughout his many years of active life on the Stock Exchange, came to be generally considered as the synonym of chicanery and of misrepresentation. To-day, through your perversion of truth and partial misstatement of fact, which, through many years in pursuance of your calling, you have become an adept in, you can destroy the confidence of the people who make the money and the wealth of the country. Do you for one moment suppose that there is one honest person in this country to-day who believes that you are actuated by a sincere desire to aid them?

Do you not know that your only motive is, by destroying confidence, to endeavor to make a large profit for yourself, by the methods which you have pursued of advertising to the public? The men who do things, the men who created wealth, the men who are known throughout the world for integrity and for their business qualifications, will unanimously say that your motive is selfish from start to finish.

Do you remember the dealings that you had with me, how they were based on falsehood and misrepresentation from start to finish? How, by the use of names that are well known in the financial and business world, you endeavored to rob and convert to your own use what you thought was one of the greatest properties in the world? What has been the result of your advertisements of the last few days? Has it not been to destroy confidence, to create a panic among people who had invested their earnings in what they have considered as legitimate propositions? Have you ever paused and thought for one moment about what the results of your selfish and distorted statements might be?

In your articles you have spoken of the loss that has been entailed upon widows and orphans, of disgrace and suicide and other ills that have come through what you are pleased to call the workings of the “System,” the “System” of which you have been and are to-day the exponent, the system of misrepresentation and of spreading false statements; in other words, of stealing Heaven’s livery to serve the devil in. Millions of dollars of legitimate investments have been lost to the people who have made them. Why? Because you, in your selfish egotism, have looked to nothing but your personal gain, thinking nothing, caring less for the woe that you might work to thousands, pandering to the worst prejudices, and by means of such words as “Standard Oil,” “Amalgamated,” “Frenzied Finance,” etc., and making statements which investors have not the means or the time to dispute, you have endeavored to destroy values that have been created by the works of a lifetime.

To-morrow, in Boston, I shall call upon you. I for many years have stood as a worker, as a man who has built up and who has created, and I know that the savings of a lifetime of many honest investors have been swept away by the falsehoods that you have spread abroad through the public press.

To-morrow, at your office, I shall denounce you for what you
are. The Master long ago said: “By your works ye shall be

Personally I shall call upon you for your answer to-morrow.


This is the rejoinder of the “System.” No denial of my facts. No defence against my charges, but a volley of mud and a threat of assassination. I had dared tell the people how they had been robbed.

All remember the panic of 1901, the famous Northern Pacific corner, in which values shrank hundreds of millions in a few hours and tens of thousands of the people lost their entire savings. Who precipitated that terrific slaughter? Certain great railroad magnates and bankers were at each other’s throats; two greedy corporations had quarrelled ferociously over the control of a railway line. No man in all our broad land dared to hint at the assassination of a Morgan or a Perkins or a Harriman or any of the “Standard Oil” votaries who were parties to the bitter contest that left Wall Street strewn with the mangled and bleeding carcasses of the ruined and bankrupt. That time, however, the “System” had both money and stocks the people had lost both.

I am not going to enter into a defence of myself against Colonel Greene’s charges. In the newspapers of the country that matter was fully ventilated at the time. I simply republish his vituperation to show how the “System” sets about silencing those who dare protest against its villainous methods. In the first six months of the publication of my story the sole defence the “System” entered against my specific and terrible charges of plunder and debauching of the people was to attack me personally. It inaugurated a war of mud-slinging and vilification directed by the New York Commercial, Henry H. Rogers’s own paper, which printed the ridiculous statement that I was crazy. This editorial made splendid ammunition for the big insurance corporations, which caused it to be distributed among their policy-holders, and for the yelping pack of insurance papers which may be depended on to bark, and bite the legs of any one who dares attack their master, the “System’s,” most profitable institutions. I find I have not space here to reproduce these several mud broadsides, which really are more valuable as evidence of the doddering imbecility and fatuous weakness of the so-called great men of finance than interesting or informative. Since my personality is the issue, I propose to give my readers some testimony of a different character, gathered by experts in the heat of battle.




From the New York American, November 27, 1904.

Thomas W. Lawson of Boston, who is making it so interesting for Standard Oil financiers and other able gentlemen that add your money to their corpulent millions while you wait, is himself an interesting man and a very puzzling one to a great many people.

One day last week I spent several hours with him at his rooms in Young’s Hotel, and it surely was a stimulating and enjoyable time. Everybody now knows how exceedingly well Mr. Lawson can write, and he talks as he writes boldly, vividly, audaciously. He thinks out loud, pouring forth a flood of speech, breaking off in the middle of sentences, going into long parentheses, touching on a dozen incidental things by way of illustration as he goes, but always coming back to the main point. He may confuse you, but he does not confuse himself. And notwithstanding the rapidity of his utterance and his copiousness he is not carried away into saying what he would rather not have said.

He is handsome tall, broad-shouldered, strong, well-knit, and graceful still almost youthful physically, despite his forty-five years and the beginning of grayness in the dark, wavy hair which covers his large, finely arched, and well-proportioned head. His forehead is high and broad, his gray eyes deep set under brows that come together and give intentness and fierceness to his gaze when he is aroused.

And when Lawson is aroused you see a fighter with all his wits about him and of utter fearlessness. He would have made a first-class soldier, with his quickness and dash and the pluck that was born in him, and has not to be summoned by thinking and resolving.


The Boston view of Lawson is illuminating. They are afraid of him on State Street. He thinks so rapidly and does things with such instant decision that he bewilders the conventional plodders. They admit that he is brilliant, that he has a genius for gathering in the dollars, but he shocks the financial Mrs. Grundy. They tell you that he is “irregular,” “sensational,” “bizarre,” and the rest of it all of which means simply that he is a man of original mind, who follows his own methods, succeeds with them, and doesn’t care a snap of his fingers about being out of the fashion.

He has a hundred ideas and impulses where the “safe and steady-going” business man has one and as the safe and steady-going State-Streeter doesn’t understand the ninety-nine Lawson ideas and impulses which do not come to him, he charges them up to “eccentricity” and “charlatanism.”

Boston says Lawson is vain. He certainly does hold a good opinion of himself, and he has a right to. A boy who goes into a bank at twelve as he did and before he is seventeen cleans up $60,000 is hardly to be rebuked for considering that he is better fitted for the financial game than most. He knows life, he knows men. He has made and lost fortunes and is not afraid of being “broke.”

That experience has been his repeatedly, but always he rose again. His brains, energy, and daring would cause him to rise anywhere. Had he been given birth in a South American republic, the dictatorship would have been his inevitably.

Lawson was born a money-maker, but he is a great deal more than that. He is a many-sided man, interested ardently in lots of things to which the ordinary money-maker is oblivious. He is very, very human. He has a soul.

Although he is raining blows on important men, who are not accustomed to being treated with disrespect although he is charging them with crimes, and hopes, I should say, to drive them out of the country or into the penitentiary, he speaks of some of them with the greatest kindness, thoroughly understanding their good personal qualities.


He denounces H. H. Rogers, for example, as a robber, a
criminal, and he said to me:

“Rogers is a marvellously able man and one of the best fellows living. If you knew him only on the social side, and knew him for years, you couldn’t help loving him. He is considerate, kindly, generous, helpful, and everything a man should be to his friends. But when it comes to business his kind of business when he turns away from his better self and goes aboard his pirate brig and hoists the Jolly Rover, God help you! And, then, as a buccaneer you have to admire him, for he is a master among pirates, and you have to salute him, even when he has the point of his cutlass at the small of your back and you’re walking the plank at his order. Rogers is wonderful. He is one of the most prolific human creatures I have ever met; prolific in thought, in devices and I’ve been at the game a long time now and ought to know.

“Don’t think me egotistical, but I can’t help looking under the surface and going to the bottom of things. So I learn more about men in Wall Street and what they are at than most. This is my thirty-fourth year of sixteen and seventeen hours a day and three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, and I have seen them all come and go. I am with the third generation of my time now. In such matters I feel somehow that I’m about three hundred years old.

“Men like Rogers are all very good fellows. They are genial and tolerant in their judgment of others. Yes, they are mighty good fellows, until you turn them around and look at their other side. Rogers is lovable enough until he touches the other button. Then he goes with perfect ruthlessness for what he wants. And yet, though you are his victim, you can’t bring yourself to hate him. After he has thrown you down and taken all you have and you turn yourself over and find the dark lantern has disappeared, and you hear him going up the lane, you pick yourself out of the gutter and admire the skill with which he did the job. If you could stand it, you would almost whistle to have him come back and do it over.”

“It is easy to see,” I said, “by what you write of Mr. Rogers in your magazine story, that you were fond of him and gave him the highest rank for ability, but just the same you said you had to go on the stand in the gas suit and swear exactly opposite to his testimony. Do you charge him flatly with perjury?”

“I have put it fifty times in black and white,” answered Mr. Lawson, “that he committed perjury. There isn’t any question about it. I produced my secretary’s minutes, delivered over the telephone, received by his secretary and afterward confirmed. He confirmed the message to me, called me up and talked it over and did business on that agreement. Two men, Rogers and myself, followed each other on the stand and made diametrically opposite statements; and neither one of them reserved himself in stating that it was knowledge at first hand. Therefore there was perjury.”


“Mr. Lawson, the whole country is familiar enough with legislative corruption, so there’s nothing new in your charge that the Legislature of Massachusetts was bought up. But what will attract national notice is the definiteness of your accusation. You charge H.M. Whitney, brother of the late W. C. Whitney, and one of the foremost business men of your State, with having done the corrupting in order to get through a complete charter for a gas company. Now, when you pillory a person of Whitney’s standing and prominence, as you have done, he has got to do one of two things either force you to come to the front and compel you to prove the truth of what you say or stand before the public morally convicted.”

“That’s right,” agreed Lawson heartily.

“Do you stand ready to prove your charge if he challenges
you to do it?”

“What else can I do? Of course I can prove it. I’m sorry for
Whitney. He is a good fellow on his personal side, like
Rogers, but truth is truth.”

“However used we may have become to buying Legislatures, however commonplace it may be, still, when a financially responsible man like yourself gives concrete instance, and is prepared with proofs, the fact is horribly startling to everybody that cares for his country. What is to be the end of this sort of thing the purchase of the people’s representatives by the criminal rich?”

“Well, you can ask me a question even broader than that. What is going to be the end, not only of such things as I have stated in regard to the corruption of the Legislature of Massachusetts and we all admit that the same thing is being done in other States what is going to be the outcome of this rottenness in connection with the practices in Wall Street that I am telling about in my magazine narrative in ‘Frenzied Finance’? To answer would be to disclose my remedy the climax to my whole story. At present I can only say that I make no charges loosely, on insufficient evidence. I state only what I know. I have seen the iniquities worked out. I know that these crimes are being committed every day; that these great financial schemes are carried through, not only by the commission of moral crimes, but legal crimes crimes for which those participating in them can be held responsible if they are gone after in the right way, and I am going to show the right way.


“I believe that I have a remedy. That, of course, is a
tremendous thing to say. I have spent my life on it. I have
been waiting for the opportunity.”

“I may not ask you what your remedy is?”

“No, I shall propose that myself when I have laid all my facts about these crimes before the people. I am going to tell them about some startling crimes. All that I have told so far, including the systematic corruption of the Massachusetts Legislature, relates to the past. That is, the deeds are dead, so to speak. But the crimes of Amalgamated, though in one sense they are now past, are yet connected with the present, because Amalgamated is alive. The man who was robbed in 1899, in 1900, and 1901 has his claim unsettled. That man is alive and Amalgamated is a big, living corporation. When I get to that I shall be talking in the present and something is going to be done.

“I have the remedy for the whole thing. You will appreciate the largeness of that statement, but I have thought and advised and worked it out. My remedy is based on common sense.”

“Does it aim at any real change in our political system? Is
it socialistic?”

“Oh, no; it doesn’t mean a turning over in politics. You and I know that the dollar is what is running things in this country to-day, and if you come along with an ideal proposition a proposition that carries with it a change in our laws or a proposition to have some new laws passed you might as well say good-by to it, because the fellow whose hundred millions you want to take away is going to say: ’How many dollars does it need to turn that upside down?’ and he is going to supply the dollars.”


Mr. Lawson gave me nearly three hours of his time, and during those three hours he was interrupted every five minutes or so by telephone calls. He conducted his business right along, ordering the selling and buying of stocks, making or declining appointments, talking with his publishers, his lawyers, his family, his friends. It would have goaded almost any man into excitement and irritability, but it was all in a day’s work with Lawson. Yet he is not phlegmatic; indeed, he is extraordinarily animated. But it is animation with composure. In a business way there is not a busier man in the country, but he finds leisure for other interests books, pictures, bronzes, horses. He has a beautiful country home, where he goes daily by special train, and then puts up the bars against business, bores, and all intruders.

In his talk with me he ran a remarkable gamut. He spoke of business like the shrewdest and readiest of practical men. Then in the midst of some story of stock-market guile, such as he is exposing in Everybody’s Magazine, his face, voice, and hands conveyed amusement, anger, disgust. With his good looks and gift of expression he would have made his way to the top of the stage. I do not know if he has done any public speaking. But when he got into the full tide of denunciation of the crimes of Amalgamated I regretted that he was not addressing a great audience, for it was real oratory strong talk, ardent, electric, manly. His eyes flashed, his teeth came together with a snap and he shook both fists under my nose. He has enthusiasm, capacity for righteous wrath, and the spirit of battle. But he doesn’t lose poise for a moment.


Cheerfulness, gay confidence in his own powers, is his
predominant trait.

“You are firing hot shot into these people,” I said. “They have endless money, and you are in the stock-market, taking chances every day. Aren’t you afraid they will dig pits for you?”

“Well, what can they do to any of us in this world except to send us to the poor-house or the grave? I don’t fear them. I know them and all about them. You must remember this is not a new occupation with me. For twenty-five years or more I have been in the habit of picking up a brick without looking to see how many corners it had or whether it was round or square and hitting the first head I thought I had a good reason to hit. I have been doing these things regardless of how they liked it. It’s upward of a quarter of a century since I had my first wrestle with a corporation in the newspapers. I have tried not to be a common scold and avoided being vicious when I could. I have only attacked when I thought some fellow had done me a deliberate wrong. And when I have felt that way I have started after him. Then it has been vicious, hard fighting, you know; vicious, but not malicious.

“With the ‘Standard Oil’ crowd I have this big advantage I am only one man, a small target, and it needs a mighty good aim to hit me, whereas they present a large surface and I have only to heave a brick in any direction to break a window. The contest is unequal. Everything favors me. My ammunition is the truth.”

There is cheerful courage for you more particularly in the
case of a man who proclaims from the housetop that there is
no limit to the villainy of his adversaries.

“Mr. Lawson,” I said, “there are few who would care to be in your shoes a rich man waging a war of this sort. The chances are altogether in favor of their smashing you financially.”

“Let them, if they can. There are worse things in this life
than being smashed financially.”

Mr. Lawson’s smile was sunny and confident. He is fearless.



From the New York World, December 12, 1904.

BOSTON, December 10th.

All through the critical business hours of Friday, when Thomas W. Lawson, master spirit in the present extraordinary war against Standard Oil finance in Wall Street, was reported to be locked up with H. H. Rogers, generalissimo of Standard Oil, perfecting the details of a settlement for $6,000,000 all through that anxious time, when the stock-tickers and newspapers of the country were trying to guess the meaning of Mr. Lawson’s sudden silence and inaccessibility, he was standing in his quiet room in Young’s Hotel, explaining the situation to the public through the World.

Although I sat in the room with him almost from the time that the stock-market opened until long after it closed, not once did Mr. Lawson show the slightest sign of excitement over market affairs. Strong as an ox, clear-eyed, tranquil, smiling, the man who had moved the financial market downward against the will of the greatest combination of capital the world has ever seen, bore himself like one absolutely confident of success. The bunch of blue corn-flowers in his button-hole was not fresher than he, although on the previous day he had fought through one of the greatest battles in the history of speculation, had made an hour-and-a-half speech at a night banquet, had gone to bed after midnight, and risen before five in the morning.

In that one day he had forced nearly 3,000,000 shares of
stock into the market in New York.

“My one instrument is publicity,” he said. “It is the most powerful weapon in the world. With it I have been able to strike with some of the power which eighty millions of Americans possess when they are wide-awake and in earnest.

“This week’s work is only the beginning of a demonstration that the secrecy of the frenzied finance system under the cover of which the savings of the people gathered into banks, trust institutions, and insurance companies, have been used by the Standard Oil crowd to rob the people through the stock-market cannot succeed against publicity. The people only need light to save themselves.

“At the beginning of the week I advised the people of the United States to sell Amalgamated Copper and the other pool stocks. It was the first step in the final realization of plans I had been maturing for ten years. Since then, against the whole force of the billions and billions commanded by the Standard Oil system, Amalgamated has dropped from 82 into the 60’s. I give the people my word, which I have never yet broken, that not once in that time have I sold a share of Amalgamated stock. Not only that, but I have actually bought large blocks of Amalgamated in order to steady the market and prevent too great and too sudden a panic, so that my friends everywhere might be able to get out without complete ruin. But for that I believe we would have had a panic greater than the Northern Pacific crash.

“I simply went out into the public square and told the people the truth. I was in a position to tell the truth. I knew the methods by which they had been robbed. I knew that ruin was staring them in the face unless they acted quickly.


“I advertised the fact over my signature in the newspapers of New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles. I cabled the advertisement to London. All this cost, with incidental expenses, something like $92,000.

“The frightened leaders and agents of the ‘System’ spread reports that I was in league with the leading plungers and manipulators of Wall Street, that I was making a mere stock raid, that I was trying to ‘shake down’ Mr. Rogers. The truth is that I have no partners. Not a soul knew my plans until my first advertisement appeared. I have no price, for there can be no peace now until the whole rotten scheme of frenzied finance is smashed and things are brought back to their natural honest level. I am in deadly earnest. No man knows better than I do how great a service I am rendering to the American people.”

Mr. Lawson stood squarely upon his heels, the incarnation of strength and courage. The square head, high and wide at the top, the long line of the jaw and broad, fighting chin, big, blue-gray eyes, the big, flat teeth, the strong nose, large firm mouth, sinewy neck, hairy hands, broad, deep chest, powerfully curved thighs, and the steady voice these were eloquent of strength, determination, and concentration.

There was a black pearl in his cravat and an almost priceless canary-colored diamond sparkling on his little finger. He wore gray, striped trousers and a black coat and vest, across which was a beaded gold watch-chain. Everywhere in his room were flowers, roses, lilies, and bunches of the famous Lawson Pink, the flower for which he once paid $30,000.

The man whom I had expected to find haggard, pale, wild-eyed, and excited, in the centre of a nervous hurricane, was rosy-cheeked, cheerful, and apparently as free from care as though he had never heard of Wall Street. He spoke rapidly but in an even voice, occasionally pacing the floor and sometimes gesturing or setting his hands firmly on his hips. He answered questions promptly and with an almost boyish appearance of frankness. It would be hard to imagine a more masculine, compact, and concentrated personality.

This is the man who left school in Cambridge at the age of twelve, walked into Boston with his books under his arm, and secured a three-dollar-a-week position as an office-boy almost on the very spot where, after thirty-six years, he has worked himself up into a position from which he feels able to captain the fight against Standard Oil and its allies. He owns a palace in Boston filled with works of art; he has a six-hundred acre farm on Cape Cod, with seven miles of fences, three hundred horses, each one of whom he can call by name; a hundred and fifty dogs, and a building for training his animals larger than Madison Square Garden. Some of his horses are worth many thousands of dollars apiece. Even the experts of the German Government who examined Dreamwold the other day were amazed at its costliness and perfection. Within forty-eight hours Mr. Lawson wrote and published a large illustrated book analyzing his farm and gave it to his German visitors as a souvenir, after organizing for them a horse show that overwhelmed them with surprise.

He built the yacht Independence at a cost of $200,000, and when it was shut out from the America’s Cup race smilingly threw it on the scrap heap. He established a great racing stable, and when tired of playing with it, broke it up. He went to Kentucky, and the day before a great trotting race bought Boralma for $17,000. His pride was aroused by the fact that the betting was against his trotter. He gave $104,000 to a friend to sustain Boralma’s reputation in the betting and won $92,000. And yet he claims that he has never been seriously interested in betting, and that his winnings on Boralma were simply an accident.

THAT $30,000 PINK

But it was the purchase of a pink carnation, wonderful in color and vigor, which had been named by a Boston experimental florist after Mrs. Lawson, that made Mr. Lawson’s name known all over the world. Thirty thousand dollars for a pink! The news was spread broadcast, and printed in the newspapers of all countries as an illustration of the vulgar extravagance and folly of an American millionaire.

Mr. Lawson explained that incident while I was with him, and his explanation threw a new light upon his character. He bought the flower originally as a matter of sentiment, but the sum he offered was comparatively small. Mr. Higginbotham, of Chicago, bid $25,000 for the Lawson Pink. When he heard this news, Mr. Lawson sat down with a florist friend and figured out the possibility of the new flower as a business investment. He closed the matter in a few minutes by paying $30,000. Some time later on the florist bought back the right to the Lawson pink for $30,000, and gave Mr. Lawson, in addition, $15,000 profit, according to agreement.

A curious evidence of this man’s astonishing coolness is the fact that, at the very time when the market was closing on Friday, when it was whispered all over the country that he was arranging terms of peace for the Standard Oil with Mr. Rogers, Mr. Lawson was actually explaining the peculiar and beautiful qualities of his favorite flower.


“But if Amalgamated Copper shares were worth $100 when you
were market manager for Mr. Rogers and his friends, how is
it that they are not worth that price now?” I asked.

Mr. Lawson leaned against the edge of an open door and
thrust his hands deeply into his pockets.

“I have tried to make that plain to the public,” he said

“The other day Mr. Rogers’s lawyer was trying to get me to stop. I told him that I intended to force the Standard Oil crowd to put the price of Amalgamated Copper back to $100, at which I advised my friends to buy it. He said that the stock was not worth $100. I asked him how he knew. He answered that Mr. Rogers, Mr. Stillman, Mr. Rockefeller, and the other fellows in control had discovered that they had been deceived when the property was bought. They did not consider it worth more than $45 a share.

“That settled it in my mind. I appealed to the public to test the situation. I advised them to sell Amalgamated at once and keep on selling. If it was worth $100, the men in the ‘System,’ having billions of dollars behind them, would buy it. If it was worth only $45 a share, then the price must fall to that point in the end. It was simply a question whether the public could unload on the Standard Oil crowd before the ‘System’ could unload on the public.”

“Then you caught the leaders of Standard Oil at the
psychological moment.”

Mr. Lawson’s smile was beyond words to describe.

“That partly explains the crash,” he said. “They were ready to unload on the public, but the public moved too quickly. Publicity destroyed the one great weapon of the Standard Oil men, which is secrecy. I had been tricked and deceived, and those who were responsible had used my name to deceive and trick the public. I got out into the open and laid the plot bare. I had been working up to that point for many years, always waiting, waiting, waiting for the day when I could begin a work of reformation in behalf of 80,000,000 of people.

“I know my game. I have stood here in Boston for thirty-six years studying man and his ways. I have no false conceptions of my own strength. I know, and I have known all along, that to win against a system backed by billions of dollars working in the dark and controlling largely the law-making powers of the nation, I must have the people with me. My articles in Everybody’s Magazine were simply in preparation of the public mind for the practical demonstration which I have made this week, that the whispering manipulators of Wall Street will not buy at $68 a share stock which they were selling to the public at $100 a share.

“The Standard Oil interests came into my world simply because they entered Boston to control gas affairs. They wanted to run their automobile down a particular road, but they found a fellow standing in the middle of the road. They did not dare to run over that fellow, as little as he was, because he warned them that he had in his pocket a stick of dynamite that would blow the machine up if it passed over him. Mr. Rogers is a really big and brainy man. He saw and understood the situation. He offered to take me inside of his secret lines.


“It is said by my enemies, and they are many and some of them are crackajacks, I admit that I am a squealer, that I have peached on my pals. That is absolutely untrue. From my boyhood up I have always insisted on being free and independent. I have punched a head when I thought it needed punching, without asking whose it was or what the consequences would be. But I have never consciously told a lie or violated a confidence. The newspaper files will show that when I made my deal with the Standard Oil people, I publicly announced that I had entered into a secret agreement with them. That brought a hurried call from Mr. Rogers, who wanted to know what I meant. I told him, as I had told him before, that I had to work in my own way, that my methods were open and above board, and that I could not work successfully unless I was free to do things as I thought they should be done.

“That was my arrangement with Standard Oil. They had a great chest, and the whole method of the ‘System’ was to prevent any one from getting a peep at that chest save as one of them and on their own terms. I refused to be bound by their code. I told Mr. Rogers again and again that everything I learned as the market manager of the Standard Oil interests I felt free to use publicly at any time. Mr. Rogers again and again assured me that this was fully understood.


“All through that time I had, deep down in my heart, the plan which I am carrying out now. Each day brought me nearer to the day when I would expose the whole system of fraud to the public. Having that idea always present with me, I was careful to avoid deals or partnerships which involved any loss of independence to act when the day for action came. I have been worth as much as $28,000,000, and I have lost as much as $14,000,000. But never have I altered my purpose to awaken the public to a realization of the great crimes committed against them in the name of finance.

“If the people will stand by me, and I have always been open and honest with them, America will witness a great transformation. With an honest and courageous President in the White House we shall see whether the ‘System’ will be able to use the fiduciary institutions of the country for piratical purposes. The fall in the price of Amalgamated and other pool stocks is only a bubble on the surface. The final revelation, and the final solution, are yet to come into sight.”

Just then the telephone bell rang and Mr. Lawson put the receiver to his ear and laughed as he listened. “No,” he answered softly, through the instrument, “I am not locked up with Mr. Rogers, but with a man who has more power.”

Then he turned to me, rocking back strongly on his heels and
clasping his hands behind his square head.

“I meant that,” he said; “there is more power in the pen of one honest writer in the service of an honest, fearless newspaper than in all the wealth and cunning of the ‘System.’”


There came a time in the first twelve months of my “Frenzied Finance” crusade when people rather took the attitude that I was exaggerating conditions and that neither Wall Street nor the “System” was so bad as I had depicted them. About this time, following the so-called Lawson panic, occurred the Munroe & Munroe esclandre, the details of which plainly showed eminent financiers in the vulgar business of stock-washing. I frankly treated the subject in Everybody’s, and as it is part of the history of the movement, I reproduce the passage:

The average man is prone to lose sight of perfidy in magnitude and to say, when he hears all the facts: “At least these rascals hunt big game.” I wish to say here that such distinction is undeserved. The “System” is omnivorous. Its insatiable maw yawns as greedily for the ten-cent pieces of the people as for the thousands of the larger investor. It is as avid and relentless in devising ant-traps as elephant-snares. There fell into my hands recently certain valuable documents in the meanest of contemporary swindles, which reveal the connection of the National City Bank, certain of its officers and other important financial interests, with a plot to fleece the fag ends of the public. The details of the Munroe & Munroe-Montreal & Boston conspiracy have been widely published, and the world is well acquainted now with the two Munroes, graduates of a “gents’ furnishing-goods” shop in Montreal, introduced into high finance in New York, organizing with the assistance of the great Rockefeller-Stillman-Rogers bank a copper corporation with shares at a par value of five dollars. There never was such barefaced exploitation as was used on behalf of this proposition. It was advertised as a bonanza; investors were guaranteed against loss by an assurance that their stock would double and treble in price, and that the company would stand ready at all times to buy back shares at cost. The intention was plainly to entice into the Montreal & Boston people of very limited means, who could ill afford to lose their savings.

The sudden panic, brought about by the warning to the people of the traps that were being set for them, caught napping many of the “System’s” votaries, large and small, and before they could get their different devices even-keeled from the shock caused by that single blast of truth, the public got a peep ’tween decks into the machinery. Among those whose port-holes were blown wide open was the Munroe & Munroe-City Bank-Montreal & Boston outfit, whose scheme went down like a card-house in the blow. A receiver was at once appointed to take care of the debris. This mishap revealed an amazing condition of affairs. With only $2,000 capital, Munroe & Munroe had arranged with the great National City Bank to honor their checks for immense sums every day, the proceeds being used to carry on a series of fictitious transactions in Montreal & Boston stock for the purpose of beguiling the public into purchasing it. The affair was a ten-days’ wonder, and was finally squelched by the great bank’s throwing over its vice-president, Archibald G. Loomis, who had bravely shouldered the responsibility for the transaction. At writing, two professional gamblers, who seem to have been the principal victims of the underwriting end of the swindle, are being settled with, and the whole affair will soon be buried from public gaze.

The episode was, on the whole, so foul in its revelation of greed that even Wall Street was horrified not at the arrant double-dealing exposed, but that the “System” should descend to such vulgar malpractice. The documents now in my possession, which I shall publish later in my story, include the original underwriters’ agreement, which, at great cost of time and money, has so far been kept from the public, and they show some of the greatest bankers in the land deliberately planning, by the use of fraudulent papers and bogus agreements, to beguile investors to adventure their money in a scheme the sole purpose of which was the enrichment of its organizers. The whole performance reveals a depravity so profound and a greed so heartless that the people may well tremble for the safety of their savings intrusted to the custody of men of this type. It also proves my contention that the “System,” while depending on burglary for its largest returns, does not despise the small profits of the pick-pocket.