CHAPTER XXI

TO THE MONEY TRUST

I can assure you, gentlemen of the Money Trust, that the Nation will not stand much longer the high-handed methods you employ. It is only a step from regulating trusts to regulating individuals. The Tobacco and Standard Oil Trusts have reaped hundreds of millions in increased values of shares through the government's action and prosecution. This, in the eyes of the people, is no punishment for the crimes committed. Tons of gold to be the result of a verdict of "guilty" seems strange, yet this is what the Standard Oil and Tobacco Trusts received, as I mention in the Chapter on Remedies.

I hope to see a law passed by Congress this next session whereby the officers and directors of any company convicted of violations of the Sherman Law are not eligible for five years to serve as officers or directors of any public service company or national bank. What your punishment may be for destroying solvent banks, as Untermeyer says you do, I cannot say. I will admit that the influence of your money with newspapers, in the Halls of Congress, and in State Legislatures is almost omnipotent, but I prefer to stand in open fight. And let me assure you that there is no gain in this kind of work; it spells only loss. You can hit me and others directly; you can, as Untermeyer says, in times of panic destroy solvent banks, but in the long run your gain will be loss.

Congress sooner or later will pass all the laws Untermeyer finds necessary. The ineffective substitutes for decisive action will be discarded. There is no doubt in my mind that the railroad rates ought to be advanced. It is just. The high cost of living forces increased expenses to railroads, and wages are year after year advancing. Yet the Interstate Commerce Commission and State Railroad Boards are year by year reducing railroad rates. It is the Nation's way of striking bank.

Look at the loss in St. Paul stocks in the last few years; look at the millions lost in Chicago & Alton bonds and shares, in Chicago & Great Western bonds and shares.

You who made the Kansas City Southern Railroad stagger under a debt it never would have had but for your acts; you who caused me and the officers of the Orient Road to do our work of financing over and over; made it cost, to date, millions it never would have cost had we been left unmolested as we should have been; can you wonder at the sequel? All of this injustice is felt by the people, and they have retaliated by opposing increased railroad rates. Is it strange? Can you expect the people of Colorado to like Wall Street when they see how Moffat was defeated in his endeavors. As Mr. Moffat said to a friend of mine, "It breaks my heart to be defeated year after year in this great fight."

The people of Colorado know this. Can you expect them to help you in your investment and rejoice in your prosperity? The road of injustice is not the highway to prosperity. You are now indirectly suffering from these business methods.

The people of Texas saw me build a great road in the eastern part of the state. They saw me develop a great city and build a great harbor. Then they saw a Wall Street banker fight me day and night; they saw my road in receivership. They knew that Gates, Harriman, and Thalmann, and one of the partners of the Kuhn-Loeb firm were in the directory of the road when the Guardian Trust Company was put in receivership. All this they knew. Then they saw me start again with no word of protest, just a manly fight to start life over. Again I started a great road in the western part of Texas. They saw new towns spring up as if by magic; they saw Sweetwater double and San Angelo treble in population; they saw land values jump millions as our road progressed; they heard how day by day our work was made harder and harder by your opposition; they saw you defeat us in the five million bond sale in France, and then they saw my second road go into receivership. No wonder the governor of Texas said, "I do not see how Stilwell can win with such opposition."

These people of Texas are big men, big-hearted men, men with great ideas of the world---the natural result of life spent on vast, far-sweeping plains. I am their friend. They have seen you hurt me. They resent it, and do not doubt that they show their resentment more or less in the treatment accorded the railroads you own in that state. Do you not think that had you not oppressed and slandered their friend and back they would have felt kindlier toward you and yours?

You have been money and power mad. Stop it---for you sake, the Nation's sake, your children's sake, or the day may come when you will have to flee the Nation from the wrath of its people and your seeming profit will melt as snow before the sun.

Any profit from injustice is only seeming profit; it cannot be lasting or bring any satisfaction.

It is a great pleasure for me to say that in Wall Street are great banking houses that would not resort to such methods; the majority of members of the Exchange deplore the tactics of the few, tactics which are bound to lead to business destruction. The members of the house of Blair and Company have always had only kindly words when asked regarding me and my work, and I take this occasion to thank the partners one and all and assure them that not only my life, but the financial condition of the Nation, would be much different if all banking houses were actuated by the same high ideals.

In the Reorganization Committee of the Kansas Southern, both Mr. Bull and Mr. Welch opposed the treatment accorded me, and told the rest of the members it was shameful to have accepted my help and then to break all promises made to me and the Guardian Trust Company stockholders and attempt to break me, day by day, as a reward for my work in getting the bonds and shares deposited which made the reorganization plan effective, where, without my help, it would have been a failure.

In all this destructive work, these lies by tongue and pen, not once have I been able to ascribe any of this work to the house of J. P. Morgan. I believe Mr. Morgan and all his partners, and his former partner, Mr. Perkins, are above this kind of work. Also the fact that the Orient Road had a small credit with a sub-company of the United States Steel Corporation confirms me in this. The fact that Mr. Shonts was a director in the Orient Railroad is additional evidence. Mr. Stotesbury, one of the partners of J. P. Morgan, was a member of the first Reorganization Committee of the Southern, and when I told him of Thalmann's offer to me he at once resigned. So in these days of oppression that I have passed through it is a pleasure to feel that the Nation has one house above such work. The house of Morgan may, for all I know, be the head of the Money Trust, but never by anything that has been said or done could I infer that such the case.

 

Arthur Edward Stilwell, Visionary

The Trial of Jesse James, Jr.

Vintage Kansas City Stories

Vintage Kansas City.com

Men Who Made Kansas City ~ Biograhpies and Pictures of Turn of the Century Kansas Citians