Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie
by Andrew Carnegie
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Professor and Mrs. Dennis took me from Cresson to their own home in New York, as soon as I could be removed, and I lay there some time under the former's personal supervision. Miss Whitfield called to see me, for I had written her the first words from Cresson I was able to write. She saw now that I needed her. I was left alone in the world. Now she could be in every sense the "helpmeet." Both her heart and head were now willing and the day was fixed. We were married in New York April 22, 1887, and sailed for our honeymoon which was passed on the Isle of Wight.

Her delight was intense in finding the wild flowers. She had read of Wandering Willie, Heartsease, Forget-me-nots, the Primrose, Wild Thyme, and the whole list of homely names that had been to her only names till now. Everything charmed her. Uncle Lauder and one of my cousins came down from Scotland and visited us, and then we soon followed to the residence at Kilgraston they had selected for us in which to spend the summer. Scotland captured her. There was no doubt about that. Her girlish reading had been of Scotland—Scott's novels and "Scottish Chiefs" being her favorites. She soon became more Scotch than I. All this was fulfilling my fondest dreams.

We spent some days in Dunfermline and enjoyed them much. The haunts and incidents of my boyhood were visited and recited to her by all and sundry. She got nothing but flattering accounts of her husband which gave me a good start with her.

I was presented with the Freedom of Edinburgh as we passed northward—Lord Rosebery making the speech. The crowd in Edinburgh was great. I addressed the working-men in the largest hall and received a present from them as did Mrs. Carnegie also—a brooch she values highly. She heard and saw the pipers in all their glory and begged there should be one at our home—a piper to walk around and waken us in the morning and also to play us in to dinner. American as she is to the core, and Connecticut Puritan at that, she declared that if condemned to live upon a lonely island and allowed to choose only one musical instrument, it would be the pipes. The piper was secured quickly enough. One called and presented credentials from Cluny McPherson. We engaged him and were preceded by him playing the pipes as we entered our Kilgraston house.

We enjoyed Kilgraston, although Mrs. Carnegie still longed for a wilder and more Highland home. Matthew Arnold visited us, as did Mr. and Mrs. Blaine, Senator and Mrs. Eugene Hale, and many friends.[39] Mrs. Carnegie would have my relatives up from Dunfermline, especially the older uncles and aunties. She charmed every one. They expressed their surprise to me that she ever married me, but I told them I was equally surprised. The match had evidently been predestined.

[Footnote 39: John Hay, writing to his friend Henry Adams under date of London, August 25, 1887, has the following to say about the party at Kilgraston: "After that we went to Andy Carnegie in Perthshire, who is keeping his honeymoon, having just married a pretty girl.... The house is thronged with visitors—sixteen when we came away—we merely stayed three days: the others were there for a fortnight. Among them were your friends Blaine and Hale of Maine. Carnegie likes it so well he is going to do it every summer and is looking at all the great estates in the County with a view of renting or purchasing. We went with him one day to Dupplin Castle, where I saw the most beautiful trees I ever beheld in my wandering life. The old Earl of —— is miserably poor—not able to buy a bottle of seltzer—with an estate worth millions in the hands of his creditors, and sure to be sold one of these days to some enterprising Yankee or British Buttonmaker. I wish you or Carnegie would buy it. I would visit you frequently." (Thayer, Life and Letters of John Hay, vol. II, p. 74.)]

We took our piper with us when we returned to New York, and also our housekeeper and some of the servants. Mrs. Nicoll remains with us still and is now, after twenty years' faithful service, as a member of the family. George Irvine, our butler, came to us a year later and is also as one of us. Maggie Anderson, one of the servants, is the same. They are devoted people, of high character and true loyalty.[40]

[Footnote 40: "No man is a true gentleman who does not inspire the affection and devotion of his servants." (Problems of To-day, by Andrew Carnegie. New York, 1908, p. 59.)]

The next year we were offered and took Cluny Castle. Our piper was just the man to tell us all about it. He had been born and bred there and perhaps influenced our selection of that residence where we spent several summers.

On March 30, 1897, there came to us our daughter. As I first gazed upon her Mrs. Carnegie said,

"Her name is Margaret after your mother. Now one request I have to make."

"What is it, Lou?"

"We must get a summer home since this little one has been given us. We cannot rent one and be obliged to go in and go out at a certain date. It should be our home."

"Yes," I agreed.

"I make only one condition."

"What is that?" I asked.

"It must be in the Highlands of Scotland."

"Bless you," was my reply. "That suits me. You know I have to keep out of the sun's rays, and where can we do that so surely as among the heather? I'll be a committee of one to inquire and report."

Skibo Castle was the result.

It is now twenty years since Mrs. Carnegie entered and changed my life, a few months after the passing of my mother and only brother left me alone in the world. My life has been made so happy by her that I cannot imagine myself living without her guardianship. I thought I knew her when she stood Ferdinand's test,[41] but it was only the surface of her qualities I had seen and felt. Of their purity, holiness, wisdom, I had not sounded the depth. In every emergency of our active, changing, and in later years somewhat public life, in all her relations with others, including my family and her own, she has proved the diplomat and peace-maker. Peace and good-will attend her footsteps wherever her blessed influence extends. In the rare instances demanding heroic action it is she who first realizes this and plays the part.

[Footnote 41: The reference is to the quotation from The Tempest on page 214.]

The Peace-Maker has never had a quarrel in all her life, not even with a schoolmate, and there does not live a soul upon the earth who has met her who has the slightest cause to complain of neglect. Not that she does not welcome the best and gently avoid the undesirable—none is more fastidious than she—but neither rank, wealth, nor social position affects her one iota. She is incapable of acting or speaking rudely; all is in perfect good taste. Still, she never lowers the standard. Her intimates are only of the best. She is always thinking how she can do good to those around her—planning for this one and that in case of need and making such judicious arrangements or presents as surprise those cooeperating with her.

I cannot imagine myself going through these twenty years without her. Nor can I endure the thought of living after her. In the course of nature I have not that to meet; but then the thought of what will be cast upon her, a woman left alone with so much requiring attention and needing a man to decide, gives me intense pain and I sometimes wish I had this to endure for her. But then she will have our blessed daughter in her life and perhaps that will keep her patient. Besides, Margaret needs her more than she does her father.

Why, oh, why, are we compelled to leave the heaven we have found on earth and go we know not where! For I can say with Jessica:

"It is very meet The Lord Bassanio live an upright life; For, having such a blessing in his lady, He finds the joys of heaven here on earth."



The one vital lesson in iron and steel that I learned in Britain was the necessity for owning raw materials and finishing the completed article ready for its purpose. Having solved the steel-rail problem at the Edgar Thomson Works, we soon proceeded to the next step. The difficulties and uncertainties of obtaining regular supplies of pig iron compelled us to begin the erection of blast furnaces. Three of these were built, one, however, being a reconstructed blast furnace purchased from the Escanaba Iron Company, with which Mr. Kloman had been connected. As is usual in such cases, the furnace cost us as much as a new one, and it never was as good. There is nothing so unsatisfactory as purchases of inferior plants.

But although this purchase was a mistake, directly considered, it proved, at a subsequent date, a source of great profit because it gave us a furnace small enough for the manufacture of spiegel and, at a later date, of ferro-manganese. We were the second firm in the United States to manufacture our own spiegel, and the first, and for years the only, firm in America that made ferro-manganese. We had been dependent upon foreigners for a supply of this indispensable article, paying as high as eighty dollars a ton for it. The manager of our blast furnaces, Mr. Julian Kennedy, is entitled to the credit of suggesting that with the ores within reach we could make ferro-manganese in our small furnace. The experiment was worth trying and the result was a great success. We were able to supply the entire American demand and prices fell from eighty to fifty dollars per ton as a consequence.

While testing the ores of Virginia we found that these were being quietly purchased by Europeans for ferro-manganese, the owners of the mine being led to believe that they were used for other purposes. Our Mr. Phipps at once set about purchasing that mine. He obtained an option from the owners, who had neither capital nor skill to work it efficiently. A high price was paid to them for their interests, and (with one of them, Mr. Davis, a very able young man) we became the owners, but not until a thorough investigation of the mine had proved that there was enough of manganese ore in sight to repay us. All this was done with speed; not a day was lost when the discovery was made. And here lies the great advantage of a partnership over a corporation. The president of the latter would have had to consult a board of directors and wait several weeks and perhaps months for their decision. By that time the mine would probably have become the property of others.

We continued to develop our blast-furnace plant, every new one being a great improvement upon the preceding, until at last we thought we had arrived at a standard furnace. Minor improvements would no doubt be made, but so far as we could see we had a perfect plant and our capacity was then fifty thousand tons per month of pig iron.

The blast-furnace department was no sooner added than another step was seen to be essential to our independence and success. The supply of superior coke was a fixed quantity—the Connellsville field being defined. We found that we could not get on without a supply of the fuel essential to the smelting of pig iron; and a very thorough investigation of the question led us to the conclusion that the Frick Coke Company had not only the best coal and coke property, but that it had in Mr. Frick himself a man with a positive genius for its management. He had proved his ability by starting as a poor railway clerk and succeeding. In 1882 we purchased one half of the stock of this company, and by subsequent purchases from other holders we became owners of the great bulk of the shares.

There now remained to be acquired only the supply of iron stone. If we could obtain this we should be in the position occupied by only two or three of the European concerns. We thought at one time we had succeeded in discovering in Pennsylvania this last remaining link in the chain. We were misled, however, in our investment in the Tyrone region, and lost considerable sums as the result of our attempts to mine and use the ores of that section. They promised well at the edges of the mines, where the action of the weather for ages had washed away impurities and enriched the ore, but when we penetrated a small distance they proved too "lean" to work.

Our chemist, Mr. Prousser, was then sent to a Pennsylvania furnace among the hills which we had leased, with instructions to analyze all the materials brought to him from the district, and to encourage people to bring him specimens of minerals. A striking example of the awe inspired by the chemist in those days was that only with great difficulty could he obtain a man or a boy to assist him in the laboratory. He was suspected of illicit intercourse with the Powers of Evil when he undertook to tell by his suspicious-looking apparatus what a stone contained. I believe that at last we had to send him a man from our office at Pittsburgh.

One day he sent us a report of analyses of ore remarkable for the absence of phosphorus. It was really an ore suitable for making Bessemer steel. Such a discovery attracted our attention at once. The owner of the property was Moses Thompson, a rich farmer, proprietor of seven thousand acres of the most beautiful agricultural land in Center County, Pennsylvania. An appointment was made to meet him upon the ground from which the ore had been obtained. We found the mine had been worked for a charcoal blast furnace fifty or sixty years before, but it had not borne a good reputation then, the reason no doubt being that its product was so much purer than other ores that the same amount of flux used caused trouble in smelting. It was so good it was good for nothing in those days of old.

We finally obtained the right to take the mine over at any time within six months, and we therefore began the work of examination, which every purchaser of mineral property should make most carefully. We ran lines across the hillside fifty feet apart, with cross-lines at distances of a hundred feet apart, and at each point of intersection we put a shaft down through the ore. I believe there were eighty such shafts in all and the ore was analyzed at every few feet of depth, so that before we paid over the hundred thousand dollars asked we knew exactly what there was of ore. The result hoped for was more than realized. Through the ability of my cousin and partner, Mr. Lauder, the cost of mining and washing was reduced to a low figure, and the Scotia ore made good all the losses we had incurred in the other mines, paid for itself, and left a profit besides. In this case, at least, we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. We trod upon sure ground with the chemist as our guide. It will be seen that we were determined to get raw materials and were active in the pursuit.

We had lost and won, but the escapes in business affairs are sometimes very narrow. Driving with Mr. Phipps from the mills one day we passed the National Trust Company office on Penn Street, Pittsburgh. I noticed the large gilt letters across the window, "Stockholders individually liable." That very morning in looking over a statement of our affairs I had noticed twenty shares "National Trust Company" on the list of assets. I said to Harry:

"If this is the concern we own shares in, won't you please sell them before you return to the office this afternoon?"

He saw no need for haste. It would be done in good time.

"No, Harry, oblige me by doing it instantly."

He did so and had it transferred. Fortunate, indeed, was this, for in a short time the bank failed with an enormous deficit. My cousin, Mr. Morris, was among the ruined shareholders. Many others met the same fate. Times were panicky, and had we been individually liable for all the debts of the National Trust Company our credit would inevitably have been seriously imperiled. It was a narrow escape. And with only twenty shares (two thousand dollars' worth of stock), taken to oblige friends who wished our name on their list of shareholders! The lesson was not lost. The sound rule in business is that you may give money freely when you have a surplus, but your name never—neither as endorser nor as member of a corporation with individual liability. A trifling investment of a few thousand dollars, a mere trifle—yes, but a trifle possessed of deadly explosive power.

The rapid substitution of steel for iron in the immediate future had become obvious to us. Even in our Keystone Bridge Works, steel was being used more and more in place of iron. King Iron was about to be deposed by the new King Steel, and we were becoming more and more dependent upon it. We had about concluded in 1886 to build alongside of the Edgar Thomson Mills new works for the manufacture of miscellaneous shapes of steel when it was suggested to us that the five or six leading manufacturers of Pittsburgh, who had combined to build steel mills at Homestead, were willing to sell their mills to us.

These works had been built originally by a syndicate of manufacturers, with the view of obtaining the necessary supplies of steel which they required in their various concerns, but the steel-rail business, being then in one of its booms, they had been tempted to change plans and construct a steel-rail mill. They had been able to make rails as long as prices remained high, but, as the mills had not been specially designed for this purpose, they were without the indispensable blast furnaces for the supply of pig iron, and had no coke lands for the supply of fuel. They were in no condition to compete with us.

It was advantageous for us to purchase these works. I felt there was only one way we could deal with their owners, and that was to propose a consolidation with Carnegie Brothers & Co. We offered to do so on equal terms, every dollar they had invested to rank against our dollars. Upon this basis the negotiation was promptly concluded. We, however, gave to all parties the option to take cash, and most fortunately for us, all elected to do so except Mr. George Singer, who continued with us to his and our entire satisfaction. Mr. Singer told us afterwards that his associates had been greatly exercised as to how they could meet the proposition I was to lay before them. They were much afraid of being overreached but when I proposed equality all around, dollar for dollar, they were speechless.

This purchase led to the reconstruction of all our firms. The new firm of Carnegie, Phipps & Co. was organized in 1886 to run the Homestead Mills. The firm of Wilson, Walker & Co. was embraced in the firm of Carnegie, Phipps & Co., Mr. Walker being elected chairman. My brother was chairman of Carnegie Brothers & Co. and at the head of all. A further extension of our business was the establishing of the Hartman Steel Works at Beaver Falls, designed to work into a hundred various forms the product of the Homestead Mills. So now we made almost everything in steel from a wire nail up to a twenty-inch steel girder, and it was then not thought probable that we should enter into any new field.

It may be interesting here to note the progress of our works during the decade 1888 to 1897. In 1888 we had twenty millions of dollars invested; in 1897 more than double or over forty-five millions. The 600,000 tons of pig iron we made per annum in 1888 was trebled; we made nearly 2,000,000. Our product of iron and steel was in 1888, say, 2000 tons per day; it grew to exceed 6000 tons. Our coke works then embraced about 5000 ovens; they were trebled in number, and our capacity, then 6000 tons, became 18,000 tons per day. Our Frick Coke Company in 1897 had 42,000 acres of coal land, more than two thirds of the true Connellsville vein. Ten years hence increased production may be found to have been equally rapid. It may be accepted as an axiom that a manufacturing concern in a growing country like ours begins to decay when it stops extending.

To make a ton of steel one and a half tons of iron stone has to be mined, transported by rail a hundred miles to the Lakes, carried by boat hundreds of miles, transferred to cars, transported by rail one hundred and fifty miles to Pittsburgh; one and a half tons of coal must be mined and manufactured into coke and carried fifty-odd miles by rail; and one ton of limestone mined and carried one hundred and fifty miles to Pittsburgh. How then could steel be manufactured and sold without loss at three pounds for two cents? This, I confess, seemed to me incredible, and little less than miraculous, but it was so.

America is soon to change from being the dearest steel manufacturing country to the cheapest. Already the shipyards of Belfast are our customers. This is but the beginning. Under present conditions America can produce steel as cheaply as any other land, notwithstanding its higher-priced labor. There is no labor so cheap as the dearest in the mechanical field, provided it is free, contented, zealous, and reaping reward as it renders service. And here America leads.

One great advantage which America will have in competing in the markets of the world is that her manufacturers will have the best home market. Upon this they can depend for a return upon capital, and the surplus product can be exported with advantage, even when the prices received for it do not more than cover actual cost, provided the exports be charged with their proportion of all expenses. The nation that has the best home market, especially if products are standardized, as ours are, can soon outsell the foreign producer. The phrase I used in Britain in this connection was: "The Law of the Surplus." It afterward came into general use in commercial discussions.



While upon the subject of our manufacturing interests, I may record that on July 1, 1892, during my absence in the Highlands of Scotland, there occurred the one really serious quarrel with our workmen in our whole history. For twenty-six years I had been actively in charge of the relations between ourselves and our men, and it was the pride of my life to think how delightfully satisfactory these had been and were. I hope I fully deserved what my chief partner, Mr. Phipps, said in his letter to the "New York Herald," January 30, 1904, in reply to one who had declared I had remained abroad during the Homestead strike, instead of flying back to support my partners. It was to the effect that "I was always disposed to yield to the demands of the men, however unreasonable"; hence one or two of my partners did not wish me to return.[42] Taking no account of the reward that comes from feeling that you and your employees are friends and judging only from economical results, I believe that higher wages to men who respect their employers and are happy and contented are a good investment, yielding, indeed, big dividends.

[Footnote 42: The full statement of Mr. Phipps is as follows:

Question: "It was stated that Mr. Carnegie acted in a cowardly manner in not returning to America from Scotland and being present when the strike was in progress at Homestead."

Answer: "When Mr. Carnegie heard of the trouble at Homestead he immediately wired that he would take the first ship for America, but his partners begged him not to appear, as they were of the opinion that the welfare of the Company required that he should not be in this country at the time. They knew of his extreme disposition to always grant the demands of labor, however unreasonable.

"I have never known of any one interested in the business to make any complaint about Mr. Carnegie's absence at that time, but all the partners rejoiced that they were permitted to manage the affair in their own way." (Henry Phipps in the New York Herald, January 30, 1904.)]

The manufacture of steel was revolutionized by the Bessemer open-hearth and basic inventions. The machinery hitherto employed had become obsolete, and our firm, recognizing this, spent several millions at Homestead reconstructing and enlarging the works. The new machinery made about sixty per cent more steel than the old. Two hundred and eighteen tonnage men (that is, men who were paid by the ton of steel produced) were working under a three years' contract, part of the last year being with the new machinery. Thus their earnings had increased almost sixty per cent before the end of the contract.

The firm offered to divide this sixty per cent with them in the new scale to be made thereafter. That is to say, the earnings of the men would have been thirty per cent greater than under the old scale and the other thirty per cent would have gone to the firm to recompense it for its outlay. The work of the men would not have been much harder than it had been hitherto, as the improved machinery did the work. This was not only fair and liberal, it was generous, and under ordinary circumstances would have been accepted by the men with thanks. But the firm was then engaged in making armor for the United States Government, which we had declined twice to manufacture and which was urgently needed. It had also the contract to furnish material for the Chicago Exhibition. Some of the leaders of the men, knowing these conditions, insisted upon demanding the whole sixty per cent, thinking the firm would be compelled to give it. The firm could not agree, nor should it have agreed to such an attempt as this to take it by the throat and say, "Stand and deliver." It very rightly declined. Had I been at home nothing would have induced me to yield to this unfair attempt to extort.

Up to this point all had been right enough. The policy I had pursued in cases of difference with our men was that of patiently waiting, reasoning with them, and showing them that their demands were unfair; but never attempting to employ new men in their places—never. The superintendent of Homestead, however, was assured by the three thousand men who were not concerned in the dispute that they could run the works, and were anxious to rid themselves of the two hundred and eighteen men who had banded themselves into a union and into which they had hitherto refused to admit those in other departments—only the "heaters" and "rollers" of steel being eligible.

My partners were misled by this superintendent, who was himself misled. He had not had great experience in such affairs, having recently been promoted from a subordinate position. The unjust demands of the few union men, and the opinion of the three thousand non-union men that they were unjust, very naturally led him into thinking there would be no trouble and that the workmen would do as they had promised. There were many men among the three thousand who could take, and wished to take, the places of the two hundred and eighteen—at least so it was reported to me.

It is easy to look back and say that the vital step of opening the works should never have been taken. All the firm had to do was to say to the men: "There is a labor dispute here and you must settle it between yourselves. The firm has made you a most liberal offer. The works will run when the dispute is adjusted, and not till then. Meanwhile your places remain open to you." Or, it might have been well if the superintendent had said to the three thousand men, "All right, if you will come and run the works without protection," thus throwing upon them the responsibility of protecting themselves—three thousand men as against two hundred and eighteen. Instead of this it was thought advisable (as an additional precaution by the state officials, I understand) to have the sheriff with guards to protect the thousands against the hundreds. The leaders of the latter were violent and aggressive men; they had guns and pistols, and, as was soon proved, were able to intimidate the thousands.

I quote what I once laid down in writing as our rule: "My idea is that the Company should be known as determined to let the men at any works stop work; that it will confer freely with them and wait patiently until they decide to return to work, never thinking of trying new men—never." The best men as men, and the best workmen, are not walking the streets looking for work. Only the inferior class as a rule is idle. The kind of men we desired are rarely allowed to lose their jobs, even in dull times. It is impossible to get new men to run successfully the complicated machinery of a modern steel plant. The attempt to put in new men converted the thousands of old men who desired to work, into lukewarm supporters of our policy, for workmen can always be relied upon to resent the employment of new men. Who can blame them?

If I had been at home, however, I might have been persuaded to open the works, as the superintendent desired, to test whether our old men would go to work as they had promised. But it should be noted that the works were not opened at first by my partners for new men. On the contrary, it was, as I was informed upon my return, at the wish of the thousands of our old men that they were opened. This is a vital point. My partners were in no way blamable for making the trial so recommended by the superintendent. Our rule never to employ new men, but to wait for the old to return, had not been violated so far. In regard to the second opening of the works, after the strikers had shot the sheriff's officers, it is also easy to look back and say, "How much better had the works been closed until the old men voted to return"; but the Governor of Pennsylvania, with eight thousand troops, had meanwhile taken charge of the situation.

I was traveling in the Highlands of Scotland when the trouble arose, and did not hear of it until two days after. Nothing I have ever had to meet in all my life, before or since, wounded me so deeply. No pangs remain of any wound received in my business career save that of Homestead. It was so unnecessary. The men were outrageously wrong. The strikers, with the new machinery, would have made from four to nine dollars a day under the new scale—thirty per cent more than they were making with the old machinery. While in Scotland I received the following cable from the officers of the union of our workmen:

"Kind master, tell us what you wish us to do and we shall do it for you."

This was most touching, but, alas, too late. The mischief was done, the works were in the hands of the Governor; it was too late.

I received, while abroad, numerous kind messages from friends conversant with the circumstances, who imagined my unhappiness. The following from Mr. Gladstone was greatly appreciated:


My wife has long ago offered her thanks, with my own, for your most kind congratulations. But I do not forget that you have been suffering yourself from anxieties, and have been exposed to imputations in connection with your gallant efforts to direct rich men into a course of action more enlightened than that which they usually follow. I wish I could relieve you from these imputations of journalists, too often rash, conceited or censorious, rancorous, ill-natured. I wish to do the little, the very little, that is in my power, which is simply to say how sure I am that no one who knows you will be prompted by the unfortunate occurrences across the water (of which manifestly we cannot know the exact merits) to qualify in the slightest degree either his confidence in your generous views or his admiration of the good and great work you have already done.

Wealth is at present like a monster threatening to swallow up the moral life of man; you by precept and by example have been teaching him to disgorge. I for one thank you.

Believe me

Very faithfully yours


I insert this as giving proof, if proof were needed, of Mr. Gladstone's large, sympathetic nature, alive and sensitive to everything transpiring of a nature to arouse sympathy—Neapolitans, Greeks, and Bulgarians one day, or a stricken friend the next.

The general public, of course, did not know that I was in Scotland and knew nothing of the initial trouble at Homestead. Workmen had been killed at the Carnegie Works, of which I was the controlling owner. That was sufficient to make my name a by-word for years. But at last some satisfaction came. Senator Hanna was president of the National Civic Federation, a body composed of capitalists and workmen which exerted a benign influence over both employers and employed, and the Honorable Oscar Straus, who was then vice-president, invited me to dine at his house and meet the officials of the Federation. Before the date appointed Mark Hanna, its president, my lifelong friend and former agent at Cleveland, had suddenly passed away. I attended the dinner. At its close Mr. Straus arose and said that the question of a successor to Mr. Hanna had been considered, and he had to report that every labor organization heard from had favored me for the position. There were present several of the labor leaders who, one after another, arose and corroborated Mr. Straus.

I do not remember so complete a surprise and, I shall confess, one so grateful to me. That I deserved well from labor I felt. I knew myself to be warmly sympathetic with the working-man, and also that I had the regard of our own workmen; but throughout the country it was naturally the reverse, owing to the Homestead riot. The Carnegie Works meant to the public Mr. Carnegie's war upon labor's just earnings.

I arose to explain to the officials at the Straus dinner that I could not possibly accept the great honor, because I had to escape the heat of summer and the head of the Federation must be on hand at all seasons ready to grapple with an outbreak, should one occur. My embarrassment was great, but I managed to let all understand that this was felt to be the most welcome tribute I could have received—a balm to the hurt mind. I closed by saying that if elected to my lamented friend's place upon the Executive Committee I should esteem it an honor to serve. To this position I was elected by unanimous vote. I was thus relieved from the feeling that I was considered responsible by labor generally, for the Homestead riot and the killing of workmen.

I owe this vindication to Mr. Oscar Straus, who had read my articles and speeches of early days upon labor questions, and who had quoted these frequently to workmen. The two labor leaders of the Amalgamated Union, White and Schaeffer from Pittsburgh, who were at this dinner, were also able and anxious to enlighten their fellow-workmen members of the Board as to my record with labor, and did not fail to do so.

A mass meeting of the workmen and their wives was afterwards held in the Library Hall at Pittsburgh to greet me, and I addressed them from both my head and my heart. The one sentence I remember, and always shall, was to the effect that capital, labor, and employer were a three-legged stool, none before or after the others, all equally indispensable. Then came the cordial hand-shaking and all was well. Having thus rejoined hands and hearts with our employees and their wives, I felt that a great weight had been effectually lifted, but I had had a terrible experience although thousands of miles from the scene.

An incident flowing from the Homestead trouble is told by my friend, Professor John C. Van Dyke, of Rutgers College.

In the spring of 1900, I went up from Guaymas, on the Gulf of California, to the ranch of a friend at La Noria Verde, thinking to have a week's shooting in the mountains of Sonora. The ranch was far enough removed from civilization, and I had expected meeting there only a few Mexicans and many Yaqui Indians, but much to my surprise I found an English-speaking man, who proved to be an American. I did not have long to wait in order to find out what brought him there, for he was very lonesome and disposed to talk. His name was McLuckie, and up to 1892 he had been a skilled mechanic in the employ of the Carnegie Steel Works at Homestead. He was what was called a "top hand," received large wages, was married, and at that time had a home and considerable property. In addition, he had been honored by his fellow-townsmen and had been made burgomaster of Homestead.

When the strike of 1892 came McLuckie naturally sided with the strikers, and in his capacity as burgomaster gave the order to arrest the Pinkerton detectives who had come to Homestead by steamer to protect the works and preserve order. He believed he was fully justified in doing this. As he explained it to me, the detectives were an armed force invading his bailiwick, and he had a right to arrest and disarm them. The order led to bloodshed, and the conflict was begun in real earnest.

The story of the strike is, of course, well known to all. The strikers were finally defeated. As for McLuckie, he was indicted for murder, riot, treason, and I know not what other offenses. He was compelled to flee from the State, was wounded, starved, pursued by the officers of the law, and obliged to go into hiding until the storm blew over. Then he found that he was blacklisted by all the steel men in the United States and could not get employment anywhere. His money was gone, and, as a final blow, his wife died and his home was broken up. After many vicissitudes he resolved to go to Mexico, and at the time I met him he was trying to get employment in the mines about fifteen miles from La Noria Verde. But he was too good a mechanic for the Mexicans, who required in mining the cheapest kind of unskilled peon labor. He could get nothing to do and had no money. He was literally down to his last copper. Naturally, as he told the story of his misfortunes, I felt very sorry for him, especially as he was a most intelligent person and did no unnecessary whining about his troubles.

I do not think I told him at the time that I knew Mr. Carnegie and had been with him at Cluny in Scotland shortly after the Homestead strike, nor that I knew from Mr. Carnegie the other side of the story. But McLuckie was rather careful not to blame Mr. Carnegie, saying to me several times that if "Andy" had been there the trouble would never have arisen. He seemed to think "the boys" could get on very well with "Andy" but not so well with some of his partners.

I was at the ranch for a week and saw a good deal of McLuckie in the evenings. When I left there, I went directly to Tucson, Arizona, and from there I had occasion to write to Mr. Carnegie, and in the letter I told him about meeting with McLuckie. I added that I felt very sorry for the man and thought he had been treated rather badly. Mr. Carnegie answered at once, and on the margin of the letter wrote in lead pencil: "Give McLuckie all the money he wants, but don't mention my name." I wrote to McLuckie immediately, offering him what money he needed, mentioning no sum, but giving him to understand that it would be sufficient to put him on his feet again. He declined it. He said he would fight it out and make his own way, which was the right-enough American spirit. I could not help but admire it in him.

As I remember now, I spoke about him later to a friend, Mr. J.A. Naugle, the general manager of the Sonora Railway. At any rate, McLuckie got a job with the railway at driving wells, and made a great success of it. A year later, or perhaps it was in the autumn of the same year, I again met him at Guaymas, where he was superintending some repairs on his machinery at the railway shops. He was much changed for the better, seemed happy, and to add to his contentment, had taken unto himself a Mexican wife. And now that his sky was cleared, I was anxious to tell him the truth about my offer that he might not think unjustly of those who had been compelled to fight him. So before I left him, I said,

"McLuckie, I want you to know now that the money I offered you was not mine. That was Andrew Carnegie's money. It was his offer, made through me."

McLuckie was fairly stunned, and all he could say was:

"Well, that was damned white of Andy, wasn't it?"

I would rather risk that verdict of McLuckie's as a passport to Paradise than all the theological dogmas invented by man. I knew McLuckie well as a good fellow. It was said his property in Homestead was worth thirty thousand dollars. He was under arrest for the shooting of the police officers because he was the burgomaster, and also the chairman of the Men's Committee of Homestead. He had to fly, leaving all behind him.

After this story got into print, the following skit appeared in the newspapers because I had declared I'd rather have McLuckie's few words on my tombstone than any other inscription, for it indicated I had been kind to one of our workmen:



Oh! hae ye heared what Andy's spiered to hae upo' his tomb, When a' his gowd is gie'n awa an' Death has sealed his doom! Nae Scriptur' line wi' tribute fine that dealers aye keep handy, But juist this irreleegious screed—"That's damned white of Andy!"

The gude Scot laughs at epitaphs that are but meant to flatter, But never are was sae profane, an' that's nae laughin' matter. Yet, gin he gies his siller all awa, mon, he's a dandy, An' we'll admit his right to it, for "That's damned white of Andy!"

There's not to be a "big, big D," an' then a dash thereafter, For Andy would na spoil the word by trying to make it safter; He's not the lad to juggle terms, or soothing speech to bandy. A blunt, straightforward mon is he—an' "That's damned white of Andy!"

Sae when he's deid, we'll gie good heed, an' write it as he askit; We'll carve it on his headstone an' we'll stamp it on his casket: "Wha dees rich, dees disgraced," says he, an' sure's my name is Sandy, 'T wull be nae rich man that he'll dee—an' "That's damned white of Andy!"[43]

[Footnote 43: Mr. Carnegie was very fond of this story because, being human, he was fond of applause and, being a Robert Burns radical, he preferred the applause of Labor to that of Rank. That one of his men thought he had acted "white" pleased him beyond measure. He stopped short with that tribute and never asked, never knew, why or how the story happened to be told. Perhaps this is the time and place to tell the story of the story.

Sometime in 1901 over a dinner table in New York, I heard a statement regarding Mr. Carnegie that he never gave anything without the requirement that his name be attached to the gift. The remark came from a prominent man who should have known he was talking nonsense. It rather angered me. I denied the statement, saying that I, personally, had given away money for Mr. Carnegie that only he and I knew about, and that he had given many thousands in this way through others. By way of illustration I told the story about McLuckie. A Pittsburgh man at the table carried the story back to Pittsburgh, told it there, and it finally got into the newspapers. Of course the argument of the story, namely, that Mr. Carnegie sometimes gave without publicity, was lost sight of and only the refrain, "It was damned white of Andy," remained. Mr. Carnegie never knew that there was an argument. He liked the refrain. Some years afterward at Skibo (1906), when he was writing this Autobiography, he asked me if I would not write out the story for him. I did so. I am now glad of the chance to write an explanatory note about it.... John C. Van Dyke.]



I should like to record here some of the labor disputes I have had to deal with, as these may point a moral to both capital and labor.

The workers at the blast furnaces in our steel-rail works once sent in a "round-robin" stating that unless the firm gave them an advance of wages by Monday afternoon at four o'clock they would leave the furnaces. Now, the scale upon which these men had agreed to work did not lapse until the end of the year, several months off. I felt if men would break an agreement there was no use in making a second agreement with them, but nevertheless I took the night train from New York and was at the works early in the morning.

I asked the superintendent to call together the three committees which governed the works—not only the blast-furnace committee that was alone involved, but the mill and the converting works committees as well. They appeared and, of course, were received by me with great courtesy, not because it was good policy to be courteous, but because I have always enjoyed meeting our men. I am bound to say that the more I know of working-men the higher I rate their virtues. But it is with them as Barrie says with women: "Dootless the Lord made a' things weel, but he left some michty queer kinks in women." They have their prejudices and "red rags," which have to be respected, for the main root of trouble is ignorance, not hostility. The committee sat in a semicircle before me, all with their hats off, of course, as mine was also; and really there was the appearance of a model assembly.

Addressing the chairman of the mill committee, I said:

"Mr. Mackay" (he was an old gentleman and wore spectacles), "have we an agreement with you covering the remainder of the year?"

Taking the spectacles off slowly, and holding them in his hand, he said:

"Yes, sir, you have, Mr. Carnegie, and you haven't got enough money to make us break it either."

"There spoke the true American workman," I said. "I am proud of you."

"Mr. Johnson" (who was chairman of the rail converters' committee), "have we a similar agreement with you?"

Mr. Johnson was a small, spare man; he spoke very deliberately:

"Mr. Carnegie, when an agreement is presented to me to sign, I read it carefully, and if it don't suit me, I don't sign it, and if it does suit me, I do sign it, and when I sign it I keep it."

"There again speaks the self-respecting American workman," I said.

Turning now to the chairman of the blast-furnaces committee, an Irishman named Kelly, I addressed the same question to him:

"Mr. Kelly, have we an agreement with you covering the remainder of this year?"

Mr. Kelly answered that he couldn't say exactly. There was a paper sent round and he signed it, but didn't read it over carefully, and didn't understand just what was in it. At this moment our superintendent, Captain Jones, excellent manager, but impulsive, exclaimed abruptly:

"Now, Mr. Kelly, you know I read that over twice and discussed it with you!"

"Order, order, Captain! Mr. Kelly is entitled to give his explanation. I sign many a paper that I do not read—documents our lawyers and partners present to me to sign. Mr. Kelly states that he signed this document under such circumstances and his statement must be received. But, Mr. Kelly, I have always found that the best way is to carry out the provisions of the agreement one signs carelessly and resolve to be more careful next time. Would it not be better for you to continue four months longer under this agreement, and then, when you sign the next one, see that you understand it?"

There was no answer to this, and I arose and said:

"Gentlemen of the Blast-Furnace Committee, you have threatened our firm that you will break your agreement and that you will leave these blast furnaces (which means disaster) unless you get a favorable answer to your threat by four o'clock to-day. It is not yet three, but your answer is ready. You may leave the blast furnaces. The grass will grow around them before we yield to your threat. The worst day that labor has ever seen in this world is that day in which it dishonors itself by breaking its agreement. You have your answer."

The committee filed out slowly and there was silence among the partners. A stranger who was coming in on business met the committee in the passage and he reported:

"As I came in, a man wearing spectacles pushed up alongside of an Irishman he called Kelly, and he said: 'You fellows might just as well understand it now as later. There's to be no d——d monkeying round these works.'"

That meant business. Later we heard from one of our clerks what took place at the furnaces. Kelly and his committee marched down to them. Of course, the men were waiting and watching for the committee and a crowd had gathered. When the furnaces were reached, Kelly called out to them:

"Get to work, you spalpeens, what are you doing here? Begorra, the little boss just hit from the shoulder. He won't fight, but he says he has sat down, and begorra, we all know he'll be a skeleton afore he rises. Get to work, ye spalpeens."

The Irish and Scotch-Irish are queer, but the easiest and best fellows to get on with, if you only know how. That man Kelly was my stanch friend and admirer ever afterward, and he was before that one of our most violent men. My experience is that you can always rely upon the great body of working-men to do what is right, provided they have not taken up a position and promised their leaders to stand by them. But their loyalty to their leaders even when mistaken, is something to make us proud of them. Anything can be done with men who have this feeling of loyalty within them. They only need to be treated fairly.

The way a strike was once broken at our steel-rail mills is interesting. Here again, I am sorry to say, one hundred and thirty-four men in one department had bound themselves under secret oath to demand increased wages at the end of the year, several months away. The new year proved very unfavorable for business, and other iron and steel manufacturers throughout the country had effected reductions in wages. Nevertheless, these men, having secretly sworn months previously that they would not work unless they got increased wages, thought themselves bound to insist upon their demands. We could not advance wages when our competitors were reducing them, and the works were stopped in consequence. Every department of the works was brought to a stand by these strikers. The blast furnaces were abandoned a day or two before the time agreed upon, and we were greatly troubled in consequence.

I went to Pittsburgh and was surprised to find the furnaces had been banked, contrary to agreement. I was to meet the men in the morning upon arrival at Pittsburgh, but a message was sent to me from the works stating that the men had "left the furnaces and would meet me to-morrow." Here was a nice reception! My reply was:

"No they won't. Tell them I shall not be here to-morrow. Anybody can stop work; the trick is to start it again. Some fine day these men will want the works started and will be looking around for somebody who can start them, and I will tell them then just what I do now: that the works will never start except upon a sliding scale based upon the prices we get for our products. That scale will last three years and it will not be submitted by the men. They have submitted many scales to us. It is our turn now, and we are going to submit a scale to them.

"Now," I said to my partners, "I am going back to New York in the afternoon. Nothing more is to be done."

A short time after my message was received by the men they asked if they could come in and see me that afternoon before I left.

I answered: "Certainly!"

They came in and I said to them:

"Gentlemen, your chairman here, Mr. Bennett, assured you that I would make my appearance and settle with you in some way or other, as I always have settled. That is true. And he told you that I would not fight, which is also true. He is a true prophet. But he told you something else in which he was slightly mistaken. He said I could not fight. Gentlemen," looking Mr. Bennett straight in the eye and closing and raising my fist, "he forgot that I was Scotch. But I will tell you something; I will never fight you. I know better than to fight labor. I will not fight, but I can beat any committee that was ever made at sitting down, and I have sat down. These works will never start until the men vote by a two-thirds majority to start them, and then, as I told you this morning, they will start on our sliding scale. I have nothing more to say."

They retired. It was about two weeks afterwards that one of the house servants came to my library in New York with a card, and I found upon it the names of two of our workmen, and also the name of a reverend gentleman. The men said they were from the works at Pittsburgh and would like to see me.

"Ask if either of these gentlemen belongs to the blast-furnace workers who banked the furnaces contrary to agreement."

The man returned and said "No." I replied: "In that case go down and tell them that I shall be pleased to have them come up."

Of course they were received with genuine warmth and cordiality and we sat and talked about New York, for some time, this being their first visit.

"Mr. Carnegie, we really came to talk about the trouble at the works," the minister said at last.

"Oh, indeed!" I answered. "Have the men voted?"

"No," he said.

My rejoinder was:

"You will have to excuse me from entering upon that subject; I said I never would discuss it until they voted by a two-thirds majority to start the mills. Gentlemen, you have never seen New York. Let me take you out and show you Fifth Avenue and the Park, and we shall come back here to lunch at half-past one."

This we did, talking about everything except the one thing that they wished to talk about. We had a good time, and I know they enjoyed their lunch. There is one great difference between the American working-man and the foreigner. The American is a man; he sits down at lunch with people as if he were (as he generally is) a gentleman born. It is splendid.

They returned to Pittsburgh, not another word having been said about the works. But the men soon voted (there were very few votes against starting) and I went again to Pittsburgh. I laid before the committee the scale under which they were to work. It was a sliding scale based on the price of the product. Such a scale really makes capital and labor partners, sharing prosperous and disastrous times together. Of course it has a minimum, so that the men are always sure of living wages. As the men had seen these scales, it was unnecessary to go over them. The chairman said:

"Mr. Carnegie, we will agree to everything. And now," he said hesitatingly, "we have one favor to ask of you, and we hope you will not refuse it."

"Well, gentlemen, if it be reasonable I shall surely grant it."

"Well, it is this: That you permit the officers of the union to sign these papers for the men."

"Why, certainly, gentlemen! With the greatest pleasure! And then I have a small favor to ask of you, which I hope you will not refuse, as I have granted yours. Just to please me, after the officers have signed, let every workman sign also for himself. You see, Mr. Bennett, this scale lasts for three years, and some man, or body of men, might dispute whether your president of the union had authority to bind them for so long, but if we have his signature also, there cannot be any misunderstanding."

There was a pause; then one man at his side whispered to Mr. Bennett (but I heard him perfectly):

"By golly, the jig's up!"

So it was, but it was not by direct attack, but by a flank movement. Had I not allowed the union officers to sign, they would have had a grievance and an excuse for war. As it was, having allowed them to do so, how could they refuse so simple a request as mine, that each free and independent American citizen should also sign for himself. My recollection is that as a matter of fact the officers of the union never signed, but they may have done so. Why should they, if every man's signature was required? Besides this, the workmen, knowing that the union could do nothing for them when the scale was adopted, neglected to pay dues and the union was deserted. We never heard of it again. [That was in 1889, now twenty-seven years ago. The scale has never been changed. The men would not change it if they could; it works for their benefit, as I told them it would.]

Of all my services rendered to labor the introduction of the sliding scale is chief. It is the solution of the capital and labor problem, because it really makes them partners—alike in prosperity and adversity. There was a yearly scale in operation in the Pittsburgh district in the early years, but it is not a good plan because men and employers at once begin preparing for a struggle which is almost certain to come. It is far better for both employers and employed to set no date for an agreed-upon scale to end. It should be subject to six months' or a year's notice on either side, and in that way might and probably would run on for years.

To show upon what trifles a contest between capital and labor may turn, let me tell of two instances which were amicably settled by mere incidents of seemingly little consequence. Once when I went out to meet a men's committee, which had in our opinion made unfair demands, I was informed that they were influenced by a man who secretly owned a drinking saloon, although working in the mills. He was a great bully. The sober, quiet workmen were afraid of him, and the drinking men were his debtors. He was the real instigator of the movement.

We met in the usual friendly fashion. I was glad to see the men, many of whom I had long known and could call by name. When we sat down at the table the leader's seat was at one end and mine at the other. We therefore faced each other. After I had laid our proposition before the meeting, I saw the leader pick up his hat from the floor and slowly put it on his head, intimating that he was about to depart. Here was my chance.

"Sir, you are in the presence of gentlemen! Please be so good as to take your hat off or leave the room!"

My eyes were kept full upon him. There was a silence that could be felt. The great bully hesitated, but I knew whatever he did, he was beaten. If he left it was because he had treated the meeting discourteously by keeping his hat on, he was no gentleman; if he remained and took off his hat, he had been crushed by the rebuke. I didn't care which course he took. He had only two and either of them was fatal. He had delivered himself into my hands. He very slowly took off the hat and put it on the floor. Not a word did he speak thereafter in that conference. I was told afterward that he had to leave the place. The men rejoiced in the episode and a settlement was harmoniously effected.

When the three years' scale was proposed to the men, a committee of sixteen was chosen by them to confer with us. Little progress was made at first, and I announced my engagements compelled me to return the next day to New York. Inquiry was made as to whether we would meet a committee of thirty-two, as the men wished others added to the committee—a sure sign of division in their ranks. Of course we agreed. The committee came from the works to meet me at the office in Pittsburgh. The proceedings were opened by one of our best men, Billy Edwards (I remember him well; he rose to high position afterwards), who thought that the total offered was fair, but that the scale was not equable. Some departments were all right, others were not fairly dealt with. Most of the men were naturally of this opinion, but when they came to indicate the underpaid, there was a difference, as was to be expected. No two men in the different departments could agree. Billy began:

"Mr. Carnegie, we agree that the total sum per ton to be paid is fair, but we think it is not properly distributed among us. Now, Mr. Carnegie, you take my job—"

"Order, order!" I cried. "None of that, Billy. Mr. Carnegie 'takes no man's job.' Taking another's job is an unpardonable offense among high-classed workmen."

There was loud laughter, followed by applause, and then more laughter. I laughed with them. We had scored on Billy. Of course the dispute was soon settled. It is not solely, often it is not chiefly, a matter of dollars with workmen. Appreciation, kind treatment, a fair deal—these are often the potent forces with the American workmen.

Employers can do so many desirable things for their men at little cost. At one meeting when I asked what we could do for them, I remember this same Billy Edwards rose and said that most of the men had to run in debt to the storekeepers because they were paid monthly. Well I remember his words:

"I have a good woman for wife who manages well. We go into Pittsburgh every fourth Saturday afternoon and buy our supplies wholesale for the next month and save one third. Not many of your men can do this. Shopkeepers here charge so much. And another thing, they charge very high for coal. If you paid your men every two weeks, instead of monthly, it would be as good for the careful men as a raise in wages of ten per cent or more."

"Mr. Edwards, that shall be done," I replied.

It involved increased labor and a few more clerks, but that was a small matter. The remark about high prices charged set me to thinking why the men could not open a cooeperative store. This was also arranged—the firm agreeing to pay the rent of the building, but insisting that the men themselves take the stock and manage it. Out of that came the Braddock's Cooeperative Society, a valuable institution for many reasons, not the least of them that it taught the men that business had its difficulties.

The coal trouble was cured effectively by our agreeing that the company sell all its men coal at the net cost price to us (about half of what had been charged by coal dealers, so I was told) and arranging to deliver it at the men's houses—the buyer paying only actual cost of cartage.

There was another matter. We found that the men's savings caused them anxiety, for little faith have the prudent, saving men in banks and, unfortunately, our Government at that time did not follow the British in having post-office deposit banks. We offered to take the actual savings of each workman, up to two thousand dollars, and pay six per cent interest upon them, to encourage thrift. Their money was kept separate from the business, in a trust fund, and lent to such as wished to build homes for themselves. I consider this one of the best things that can be done for the saving workman.

It was such concessions as these that proved the most profitable investments ever made by the company, even from an economical standpoint. It pays to go beyond the letter of the bond with your men. Two of my partners, as Mr. Phipps has put it, "knew my extreme disposition to always grant the demands of labor, however unreasonable," but looking back upon my failing in this respect, I wish it had been greater—much greater. No expenditure returned such dividends as the friendship of our workmen.

We soon had a body of workmen, I truly believe, wholly unequaled—the best workmen and the best men ever drawn together. Quarrels and strikes became things of the past. Had the Homestead men been our own old men, instead of men we had to pick up, it is scarcely possible that the trouble there in 1892 could have arisen. The scale at the steel-rail mills, introduced in 1889, has been running up to the present time (1914), and I think there never has been a labor grievance at the works since. The men, as I have already stated, dissolved their old union because there was no use paying dues to a union when the men themselves had a three years' contract. Although their labor union is dissolved another and a better one has taken its place—a cordial union between the employers and their men, the best union of all for both parties.

It is for the interest of the employer that his men shall make good earnings and have steady work. The sliding scale enables the company to meet the market; and sometimes to take orders and keep the works running, which is the main thing for the working-men. High wages are well enough, but they are not to be compared with steady employment. The Edgar Thomson Mills are, in my opinion, the ideal works in respect to the relations of capital and labor. I am told the men in our day, and even to this day (1914) prefer two to three turns, but three turns are sure to come. Labor's hours are to be shortened as we progress. Eight hours will be the rule—eight for work, eight for sleep, and eight for rest and recreation.

There have been many incidents in my business life proving that labor troubles are not solely founded upon wages. I believe the best preventive of quarrels to be recognition of, and sincere interest in, the men, satisfying them that you really care for them and that you rejoice in their success. This I can sincerely say—that I always enjoyed my conferences with our workmen, which were not always in regard to wages, and that the better I knew the men the more I liked them. They have usually two virtues to the employer's one, and they are certainly more generous to each other.

Labor is usually helpless against capital. The employer, perhaps, decides to shut up the shops; he ceases to make profits for a short time. There is no change in his habits, food, clothing, pleasures—no agonizing fear of want. Contrast this with his workman whose lessening means of subsistence torment him. He has few comforts, scarcely the necessities for his wife and children in health, and for the sick little ones no proper treatment. It is not capital we need to guard, but helpless labor. If I returned to business to-morrow, fear of labor troubles would not enter my mind, but tenderness for poor and sometimes misguided though well-meaning laborers would fill my heart and soften it; and thereby soften theirs.

Upon my return to Pittsburgh in 1892, after the Homestead trouble, I went to the works and met many of the old men who had not been concerned in the riot. They expressed the opinion that if I had been at home the strike would never have happened. I told them that the company had offered generous terms and beyond its offer I should not have gone; that before their cable reached me in Scotland, the Governor of the State had appeared on the scene with troops and wished the law vindicated; that the question had then passed out of my partners' hands. I added:

"You were badly advised. My partners' offer should have been accepted. It was very generous. I don't know that I would have offered so much."

To this one of the rollers said to me:

"Oh, Mr. Carnegie, it wasn't a question of dollars. The boys would have let you kick 'em, but they wouldn't let that other man stroke their hair."

So much does sentiment count for in the practical affairs of life, even with the laboring classes. This is not generally believed by those who do not know them, but I am certain that disputes about wages do not account for one half the disagreements between capital and labor. There is lack of due appreciation and of kind treatment of employees upon the part of the employers.

Suits had been entered against many of the strikers, but upon my return these were promptly dismissed. All the old men who remained, and had not been guilty of violence, were taken back. I had cabled from Scotland urging that Mr. Schwab be sent back to Homestead. He had been only recently promoted to the Edgar Thomson Works. He went back, and "Charlie," as he was affectionately called, soon restored order, peace, and harmony. Had he remained at the Homestead Works, in all probability no serious trouble would have arisen. "Charlie" liked his workmen and they liked him; but there still remained at Homestead an unsatisfactory element in the men who had previously been discarded from our various works for good reasons and had found employment at the new works before we purchased them.



After my book, "The Gospel of Wealth,"[44] was published, it was inevitable that I should live up to its teachings by ceasing to struggle for more wealth. I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution. Our profits had reached forty millions of dollars per year and the prospect of increased earnings before us was amazing. Our successors, the United States Steel Corporation, soon after the purchase, netted sixty millions in one year. Had our company continued in business and adhered to our plans of extension, we figured that seventy millions in that year might have been earned.

[Footnote 44: The Gospel of Wealth (Century Company, New York, 1900) contains various magazine articles written between 1886 and 1899 and published in the Youth's Companion, the Century Magazine, the North American Review, the Forum, the Contemporary Review, the Fortnightly Review, the Nineteenth Century, and the Scottish Leader. Gladstone asked that the article in the North American Review be printed in England. It was published in the Pall Mall Budget and christened the "Gospel of Wealth." Gladstone, Cardinal Manning, Rev. Hugh Price, and Rev. Dr. Hermann Adler answered it, and Mr. Carnegie replied to them.]

Steel had ascended the throne and was driving away all inferior material. It was clearly seen that there was a great future ahead; but so far as I was concerned I knew the task of distribution before me would tax me in my old age to the utmost. As usual, Shakespeare had placed his talismanic touch upon the thought and framed the sentence—

"So distribution should undo excess, And each man have enough."

At this juncture—that is March, 1901—Mr. Schwab told me Mr. Morgan had said to him he should really like to know if I wished to retire from business; if so he thought he could arrange it. He also said he had consulted our partners and that they were disposed to sell, being attracted by the terms Mr. Morgan had offered. I told Mr. Schwab that if my partners were desirous to sell I would concur, and we finally sold.

There had been so much deception by speculators buying old iron and steel mills and foisting them upon innocent purchasers at inflated values—hundred-dollar shares in some cases selling for a trifle—that I declined to take anything for the common stock. Had I done so, it would have given me just about one hundred millions more of five per cent bonds, which Mr. Morgan said afterwards I could have obtained. Such was the prosperity and such the money value of our steel business. Events proved I should have been quite justified in asking the additional sum named, for the common stock has paid five per cent continuously since.[45] But I had enough, as has been proved, to keep me busier than ever before, trying to distribute it.

[Footnote 45: The Carnegie Steel Company was bought by Mr. Morgan at Mr. Carnegie's own price. There was some talk at the time of his holding out for a higher price than he received, but testifying before a committee of the House of Representatives in January, 1912, Mr. Carnegie said: "I considered what was fair: and that is the option Morgan got. Schwab went down and arranged it. I never saw Morgan on the subject or any man connected with him. Never a word passed between him and me. I gave my memorandum and Morgan saw it was eminently fair. I have been told many times since by insiders that I should have asked $100,000,000 more and could have got it easily. Once for all, I want to put a stop to all this talk about Mr. Carnegie 'forcing high prices for anything.'"]

My first distribution was to the men in the mills. The following letters and papers will explain the gift:

New York, N.Y., March 12, 1901

I make this first use of surplus wealth, four millions of first mortgage 5% Bonds, upon retiring from business, as an acknowledgment of the deep debt which I owe to the workmen who have contributed so greatly to my success. It is designed to relieve those who may suffer from accidents, and provide small pensions for those needing help in old age.

In addition I give one million dollars of such bonds, the proceeds thereof to be used to maintain the libraries and halls I have built for our workmen.

In return, the Homestead workmen presented the following address:

Munhall, Pa., Feb'y 23, 1903



We, the employees of the Homestead Steel Works, desire by this means to express to you through our Committee our great appreciation of your benevolence in establishing the "Andrew Carnegie Relief Fund," the first annual report of its operation having been placed before us during the past month.

The interest which you have always shown in your workmen has won for you an appreciation which cannot be expressed by mere words. Of the many channels through which you have sought to do good, we believe that the "Andrew Carnegie Relief Fund" stands first. We have personal knowledge of cares lightened and of hope and strength renewed in homes where human prospects seemed dark and discouraging.

Respectfully yours

{ HARRY F. ROSE, Roller { JOHN BELL, JR., Blacksmith Committee { J.A. HORTON, Timekeeper { WALTER A. GREIG, Electric Foreman { HARRY CUSACK, Yardmaster

The Lucy Furnace men presented me with a beautiful silver plate and inscribed upon it the following address:



Whereas, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, in his munificent philanthropy, has endowed the "Andrew Carnegie Relief Fund" for the benefit of employees of the Carnegie Company, Therefore be it

Resolved, that the employees of the Lucy Furnaces, in special meeting assembled, do convey to Mr. Andrew Carnegie their sincere thanks for and appreciation of his unexcelled and bounteous endowment, and furthermore be it

Resolved, that it is their earnest wish and prayer that his life may be long spared to enjoy the fruits of his works.


I sailed soon for Europe, and as usual some of my partners did not fail to accompany me to the steamer and bade me good-bye. But, oh! the difference to me! Say what we would, do what we would, the solemn change had come. This I could not fail to realize. The wrench was indeed severe and there was pain in the good-bye which was also a farewell.

Upon my return to New York some months later, I felt myself entirely out of place, but was much cheered by seeing several of "the boys" on the pier to welcome me—the same dear friends, but so different. I had lost my partners, but not my friends. This was something; it was much. Still a vacancy was left. I had now to take up my self-appointed task of wisely disposing of surplus wealth. That would keep me deeply interested.

One day my eyes happened to see a line in that most valuable paper, the "Scottish American," in which I had found many gems. This was the line:

"The gods send thread for a web begun."

It seemed almost as if it had been sent directly to me. This sank into my heart, and I resolved to begin at once my first web. True enough, the gods sent thread in the proper form. Dr. J.S. Billings, of the New York Public Libraries, came as their agent, and of dollars, five and a quarter millions went at one stroke for sixty-eight branch libraries, promised for New York City. Twenty more libraries for Brooklyn followed.

My father, as I have stated, had been one of the five pioneers in Dunfermline who combined and gave access to their few books to their less fortunate neighbors. I had followed in his footsteps by giving my native town a library—its foundation stone laid by my mother—so that this public library was really my first gift. It was followed by giving a public library and hall to Allegheny City—our first home in America. President Harrison kindly accompanied me from Washington and opened these buildings. Soon after this, Pittsburgh asked for a library, which was given. This developed, in due course, into a group of buildings embracing a museum, a picture gallery, technical schools, and the Margaret Morrison School for Young Women. This group of buildings I opened to the public November 5, 1895. In Pittsburgh I had made my fortune and in the twenty-four millions already spent on this group,[46] she gets back only a small part of what she gave, and to which she is richly entitled.

[Footnote 46: The total gifts to the Carnegie Institute at Pittsburgh amounted to about twenty-eight million dollars.]

The second large gift was to found the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The 28th of January, 1902, I gave ten million dollars in five per cent bonds, to which there has been added sufficient to make the total cash value twenty-five millions of dollars, the additions being made upon record of results obtained. I naturally wished to consult President Roosevelt upon the matter, and if possible to induce the Secretary of State, Mr. John Hay, to serve as chairman, which he readily agreed to do. With him were associated as directors my old friend Abram S. Hewitt, Dr. Billings, William E. Dodge, Elihu Root, Colonel Higginson, D.O. Mills, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, and others.

When I showed President Roosevelt the list of the distinguished men who had agreed to serve, he remarked: "You could not duplicate it." He strongly favored the foundation, which was incorporated by an act of Congress April 28, 1904, as follows:

To encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner investigations, research and discovery, and the application of knowledge to the improvement of mankind; and, in particular, to conduct, endow and assist investigation in any department of science, literature or art, and to this end to cooeperate with governments, universities, colleges, technical schools, learned societies, and individuals.

I was indebted to Dr. Billings as my guide, in selecting Dr. Daniel C. Gilman as the first President. He passed away some years later. Dr. Billings then recommended the present highly successful president, Dr. Robert S. Woodward. Long may he continue to guide the affairs of the Institution! The history of its achievements is so well known through its publications that details here are unnecessary. I may, however, refer to two of its undertakings that are somewhat unique. It is doing a world-wide service with the wood-and-bronze yacht, "Carnegie," which is voyaging around the world correcting the errors of the earlier surveys. Many of these ocean surveys have been found misleading, owing to variations of the compass. Bronze being non-magnetic, while iron and steel are highly so, previous observations have proved liable to error. A notable instance is that of the stranding of a Cunard steamship near the Azores. Captain Peters, of the "Carnegie," thought it advisable to test this case and found that the captain of the ill-fated steamer was sailing on the course laid down upon the admiralty map, and was not to blame. The original observation was wrong. The error caused by variation was promptly corrected.

This is only one of numerous corrections reported to the nations who go down to the sea in ships. Their thanks are our ample reward. In the deed of gift I expressed the hope that our young Republic might some day be able to repay, at least in some degree, the great debt it owes to the older lands. Nothing gives me deeper satisfaction than the knowledge that it has to some extent already begun to do so.

With the unique service rendered by the wandering "Carnegie," we may rank that of the fixed observatory upon Mount Wilson, California, at an altitude of 5886 feet. Professor Hale is in charge of it. He attended the gathering of leading astronomers in Rome one year, and such were his revelations there that these savants resolved their next meeting should be on top of Mount Wilson. And so it was.

There is but one Mount Wilson. From a depth seventy-two feet down in the earth photographs have been taken of new stars. On the first of these plates many new worlds—I believe sixteen—were discovered. On the second I think it was sixty new worlds which had come into our ken, and on the third plate there were estimated to be more than a hundred—several of them said to be twenty times the size of our sun. Some of them were so distant as to require eight years for their light to reach us, which inclines us to bow our heads whispering to ourselves, "All we know is as nothing to the unknown." When the monster new glass, three times larger than any existing, is in operation, what revelations are to come! I am assured if a race inhabits the moon they will be clearly seen.

The third delightful task was founding the Hero Fund, in which my whole heart was concerned. I had heard of a serious accident in a coal pit near Pittsburgh, and how the former superintendent, Mr. Taylor, although then engaged in other pursuits, had instantly driven to the scene, hoping to be of use in the crisis. Rallying volunteers, who responded eagerly, he led them down the pit to rescue those below. Alas, alas, he the heroic leader lost his own life.

I could not get the thought of this out of my mind. My dear, dear friend, Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, had sent me the following true and beautiful poem, and I re-read it the morning after the accident, and resolved then to establish the Hero Fund.


'Twas said: "When roll of drum and battle's roar Shall cease upon the earth, O, then no more

The deed—the race—of heroes in the land." But scarce that word was breathed when one small hand

Lifted victorious o'er a giant wrong That had its victims crushed through ages long;

Some woman set her pale and quivering face Firm as a rock against a man's disgrace;

A little child suffered in silence lest His savage pain should wound a mother's breast;

Some quiet scholar flung his gauntlet down And risked, in Truth's great name, the synod's frown;

A civic hero, in the calm realm of laws, Did that which suddenly drew a world's applause;

And one to the pest his lithe young body gave That he a thousand thousand lives might save.

Hence arose the five-million-dollar fund to reward heroes, or to support the families of heroes, who perish in the effort to serve or save their fellows, and to supplement what employers or others do in contributing to the support of the families of those left destitute through accidents. This fund, established April 15, 1904, has proved from every point of view a decided success. I cherish a fatherly regard for it since no one suggested it to me. As far as I know, it never had been thought of; hence it is emphatically "my ain bairn." Later I extended it to my native land, Great Britain, with headquarters at Dunfermline—the Trustees of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust undertaking its administration, and splendidly have they succeeded. In due time it was extended to France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Regarding its workings in Germany, I received a letter from David Jayne Hill, our American Ambassador at Berlin, from which I quote:

My main object in writing now is to tell you how pleased His Majesty is with the working of the German Hero Fund. He is enthusiastic about it and spoke in most complimentary terms of your discernment, as well as your generosity in founding it. He did not believe it would fill so important a place as it is doing. He told me of several cases that are really touching, and which would otherwise have been wholly unprovided for. One was that of a young man who saved a boy from drowning and just as they were about to lift him out of the water, after passing up the child into a boat, his heart failed, and he sank. He left a lovely young wife and a little boy. She has already been helped by the Hero Fund to establish a little business from which she can make a living, and the education of the boy, who is very bright, will be looked after. This is but one example.

Valentini (Chief of the Civil Cabinet), who was somewhat skeptical at first regarding the need of such a fund, is now glowing with enthusiasm about it, and he tells me the whole Commission, which is composed of carefully chosen men, is earnestly devoted to the work of making the very best and wisest use of their means and has devoted much time to their decisions.

They have corresponded with the English and French Commission, arranged to exchange reports, and made plans to keep in touch with one another in their work. They were deeply interested in the American report and have learned much from it.

King Edward of Britain was deeply impressed by the provisions of the fund, and wrote me an autograph letter of appreciation of this and other gifts to my native land, which I deeply value, and hence insert.

Windsor Castle, November 21, 1908


I have for some time past been anxious to express to you my sense of your generosity for the great public objects which you have presented to this country, the land of your birth.

Scarcely less admirable than the gifts themselves is the great care and thought you have taken in guarding against their misuse.

I am anxious to tell you how warmly I recognize your most generous benefactions and the great services they are likely to confer upon the country.

As a mark of recognition, I hope you will accept the portrait of myself which I am sending to you.

Believe me, dear Mr. Carnegie,

Sincerely yours


Some of the newspapers in America were doubtful of the merits of the Hero Fund and the first annual report was criticized, but all this has passed away and the action of the fund is now warmly extolled. It has conquered, and long will it be before the trust is allowed to perish! The heroes of the barbarian past wounded or killed their fellows; the heroes of our civilized day serve or save theirs. Such the difference between physical and moral courage, between barbarism and civilization. Those who belong to the first class are soon to pass away, for we are finally to regard men who slay each other as we now do cannibals who eat each other; but those in the latter class will not die as long as man exists upon the earth, for such heroism as they display is god-like.

The Hero Fund will prove chiefly a pension fund. Already it has many pensioners, heroes or the widows or children of heroes. A strange misconception arose at first about it. Many thought that its purpose was to stimulate heroic action, that heroes were to be induced to play their parts for the sake of reward. This never entered my mind. It is absurd. True heroes think not of reward. They are inspired and think only of their fellows endangered; never of themselves. The fund is intended to pension or provide in the most suitable manner for the hero should he be disabled, or for those dependent upon him should he perish in his attempt to save others. It has made a fine start and will grow in popularity year after year as its aims and services are better understood. To-day we have in America 1430 hero pensioners or their families on our list.

I found the president for the Hero Fund in a Carnegie veteran, one of the original boys, Charlie Taylor. No salary for Charlie—not a cent would he ever take. He loves the work so much that I believe he would pay highly for permission to live with it. He is the right man in the right place. He has charge also, with Mr. Wilmot's able assistance, of the pensions for Carnegie workmen (Carnegie Relief Fund[47]); also the pensions for railway employees of my old division. Three relief funds and all of them benefiting others.

[Footnote 47: This fund is now managed separately.]

I got my revenge one day upon Charlie, who was always urging me to do for others. He is a graduate of Lehigh University and one of her most loyal sons. Lehigh wished a building and Charlie was her chief advocate. I said nothing, but wrote President Drinker offering the funds for the building conditioned upon my naming it. He agreed, and I called it "Taylor Hall." When Charlie discovered this, he came and protested that it would make him ridiculous, that he had only been a modest graduate, and was not entitled to have his name publicly honored, and so on. I enjoyed his plight immensely, waiting until he had finished, and then said that it would probably make him somewhat ridiculous if I insisted upon "Taylor Hall," but he ought to be willing to sacrifice himself somewhat for Lehigh. If he wasn't consumed with vanity he would not care much how his name was used if it helped his Alma Mater. Taylor was not much of a name anyhow. It was his insufferable vanity that made such a fuss. He should conquer it. He could make his decision. He could sacrifice the name of Taylor or sacrifice Lehigh, just as he liked, but: "No Taylor, no Hall." I had him! Visitors who may look upon that structure in after days and wonder who Taylor was may rest assured that he was a loyal son of Lehigh, a working, not merely a preaching, apostle of the gospel of service to his fellow-men, and one of the best men that ever lived. Such is our Lord High Commissioner of Pensions.



The fifteen-million-dollar pension fund for aged university professors (The Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Learning), the fourth important gift, given in June, 1905, required the selection of twenty-five trustees from among the presidents of educational institutions in the United States. When twenty-four of these—President Harper, of Chicago University, being absent through illness—honored me by meeting at our house for organization, I obtained an important accession of those who were to become more intimate friends. Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip proved of great service at the start—his Washington experience being most valuable—and in our president, Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, we found the indispensable man.

This fund is very near and dear to me—knowing, as I do, many who are soon to become beneficiaries, and convinced as I am of their worth and the value of the service already rendered by them. Of all professions, that of teaching is probably the most unfairly, yes, most meanly paid, though it should rank with the highest. Educated men, devoting their lives to teaching the young, receive mere pittances. When I first took my seat as a trustee of Cornell University, I was shocked to find how small were the salaries of the professors, as a rule ranking below the salaries of some of our clerks. To save for old age with these men is impossible. Hence the universities without pension funds are compelled to retain men who are no longer able, should no longer be required, to perform their duties. Of the usefulness of the fund no doubt can be entertained.[48] The first list of beneficiaries published was conclusive upon this point, containing as it did several names of world-wide reputation, so great had been their contributions to the stock of human knowledge. Many of these beneficiaries and their widows have written me most affecting letters. These I can never destroy, for if I ever have a fit of melancholy, I know the cure lies in re-reading these letters.

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