Saturday, August 30, 2014

Standard Oil and its Hirelings of the Press

Standard Oil and its Hirelings of the Press

WERE it not for the newspaper press and periodicals of the Hearst's Magazine sort, interests like Mr. Archbold and Standard Oil long ago would have stolen everything to the public back fence. As matters stand, their villain pillage has hardly stopped short of it. Also, it wasn't the law, but the printing press which halted them. The press is the policeman of popular right. President Wilson, observing - and also fearing - the pernicious Criminal Privilege activities of certain subsidized newspapers, in the war over tariff schedules now being fought out in the Senate, was driven only the other day to issue his White House warning to mankind. Said Mr. Wilson:

Washington has seldom seen so numerous, so industrious, or so insidious a lobby. The newspapers are being filled with paid advertisements calculated lo mislead the judgment of public men not only, but also the public opinion of the country itself. There is every evidence that money without limit is being spent to sustain this lobby, and to create an appearance of a pressure of public opinion antagonistic lo some of the chief items of the Tariff bill.

If this be not enough, consider what has been accomplished by the publication of the Archbold letters. Mr. Hearst began reading them, and his newspapers and magazines began printing them, in October, 1908. In less than five years, by their sheer effect, such Archbold-Standard Oil "statesmen," as Mr. Foraker, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Lorimer, Mr. McLaurin, Mr. Grosvenor, and Mr. Sibley have been driven from their high political places. They no longer cumber and disgrace the House and Senate earth. They no longer figure in affairs of importance.

What papers and magazines yielded to Mr. Archbold's enrollment, and accepted his bounty, repaid that little intriguing Standard Oiler in more fashions than one. Be sure that Standard Oil has received a full return for what thousands Mr. Archbold paid such publications as the Pittsburgh Times, the Southern Farm Magazine, the Manufacturers' Record, and Gunton's Magazine.

While not appointed to hunt papers, but only congressmen, even Setter-dog Sibley became impressed by the Standard Oil propriety of getting a greasy hold on the press.

Says Setter-dog Sibley:

Joseph C. Sibley, Chairman.

Committee on Manufactures.

House of Representatives, U. S.

Washington, March 7th, 1905.

My dear Mr. A.

The illness of Mrs. Sibley has prevented my coming to N. Y. Senator B. was to have gone over with me. I think he will go anyway as he has business there. I had a conversation with an important "official" yesterday and he told me there was but one thing to do and that was to start a "back fire." Like myself, he is much alarmed and as an official of the reigning family his hand and tongue are tied.

He thinks the work should be done in the education of public sentiment between now and the meeting of Congress in Oct. It has I think been decided to convene Cong in Ex Session at that Time though The Speaker will try and have it go over until Nov. if he can't do better. I will know in a day or two how he succeeds; Long (Senator) and Curtis (Rep) are the strong men in the Kansas delegation. I have explained matters to them and I think their influence will count some when they go home. Campbell is a clever boy, has no strong points on place yet developed, he seeks notoriety, but is harmless in himself. This agitation in the language of another "started from the top," and will run its course, it is not a deep seated and profound conviction of wrong.

The one thing is to get delay until temperate action can be secured, we will recover from Lawsonitis if we get pure air for a while.

I think the pendulum will swing to the other side after a while but I don't want the devil to pay before it gets back. An efficient Literary Bureau is needed, not for a day, or a crisis, but a permanent and healthy control of Associated Press and kindred avenues. It will cost money but will be the cheapest in the end and can be made self-supporting. The next four years is more than any previous epoch to determine the future of this Country. No man values public opinion or fears it so much as Roosevelt. No man seeks popularity as much as he. Mild reproof or criticisms of his policies would nearly paralyze him. To-day he hears only the chorus of a rabble, and he thinks it is public sentiment. I don't know whether the Industrial Corporations and the Transportation Co's have enough at stake to justify a union of forces for concerted action. It seems to me necessary. I am in position where I see both sides of the game and still think our friends play politics once in four years while the other side play it all the time.

Sincerely yours,


(See pages 30, 31 for fac-similes of two pages of this letter.)

As you read recall the warning of President Wilson - other Sibleys of the House and Senate are writing other letters to "my dear Mr. A." of 26 Broadway, telling of the comings in and goings out of other "Senator B's" and relating their "conversation with an important official," and urging the Criminal Privilege propriety of "a back-fire."

Five years ago, at the startling time when Mr. Hearst began reading and printing the Archbold letters, the people's cry of indignation was everywhere raised. The cry was echoed by such honest ones among the editors - all unbought and unbribed of Mr. Archbold and Standard Oil - as Colonel Watterson. From stump, from pulpit, from press, from people, came condemnation of the slimy Mr. Archbold for his Standard Oil crimes. And yet, with all that good, honest condemnatory example before them, what single syllable of denunciation was heard to emanate from a Duke or a Morgan or a Vanderbilt or a Schwab or a Stillman or a Carnegie or a Havemeyer?

Steel, sugar, tobacco, coal, every trust on the black-flag list, had been and was buying Senators and House men, judges, and governors, as industriously as were Mr. Archbold and Standard Oil. The only difference between them and Mr. Archbold was that no one had come forward thus far with their letters. They had not been found out. Wherefore, equal in selfish interest as equal in their works, our thousand and one expositors of Special Privilege - the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, the Carnegies, the Stillmans, the Dukes, the Schwabs, and the Havemeyers—maintained a masterly, not to say a polite silence, while Mr. Hearst uncovered the Archbold corruptions.

While making his investments in other than oil fields, Mr. Rockefeller and his co-workers in the vineyard of Criminal Privilege, in no wise rejected the ink-and-paper field. Standard Oil years ago set flowing a growing, broadening, deepening stream of gold into the channels of the monthly, weekly, and daily press. Some publications it bought outright; others it only bribed.

There was a personage of the Tribe of Highbrows whose title was Professor, and whose name was Gunton. He posed as an authority on political economy, which exalted Criminal Privilege, and counseled the poor to creep back into their cages. The better to preach these doctrines, in New York at 41 Union Square, Mr. Gunton evolved and printed Gunton's Magazine. Both Editor Gunton and Gunton's Magazine pleased Mr. Archbold.

As witness the following:

Sept. 28, 1899.

My dear Professor:

I have your very kind favor of yesterday with various enclosures for all of which I beg you to accept many thanks. I am greatly interested and much amused over the incident which you relate regarding Governor Roosevelt. Think he is doing splendidly. The recent speech of Senator Foraker in Ohio is also very good. I have no doubt you noticed it.

Very truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

Prof. George Gunton,

41 Union Square, City.

And this Letter a month later:

[Oct ??? ]

My dear Professor:

Responding to your favor, it gives me pleasure to enclose you herewith certificate of deposit to your favor for $5,000., as an additional contribution to that agreed upon to aid you in your most excellent work. I most earnestly hope that the way will open for the large scope as you anticipate.

Very truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

Prof. George Gunton,

41 Union Square, City.

(See top of this page for fac-simile.)

Evidently the "dear Professor" had been writing his "dear Mr. A." of some literary flight he meditated, and the latter little gentleman was only too eager to finance it - with Standard Oil money, of course. How familiarly that "certificate of deposit in your favor" breaks upon the eye! Five thousand dollars!

Later Miss Tarbell, eminent as a magazine writer, took occasion to show that the appreciative Mr. Archbold, for fifteen years, had been paying into the personal palms of Mr. Gunton an annual $15,000; and - all in the name of Standard Oil - had backed his magazine and rostrum efforts to the tune of 8250,000 more.

After an annual $15,000 for fifteen years to Mr. Gunton, the following to Mr. Magee will sound flat, feeble, and cheap.

January 17th, 1899.

Hon. W. A. Magee,

Pittsburgh Times,

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dear Sir:

As per understanding, herewith enclosed find Certificate of Deposit to your order for $1250, the receipt of which kindly acknowledge.

Truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

(See page 26 for fac-similc.)

Twelve hundred and fifty dollars!

It was all it was worth, however.

And yet, there's this to be thought of. Mr. Magee, here addressed as connected with the Pittsburgh Times, belonged to the great House of Magee, the head of which ruled over Keystone politics at his particular Pittsburgh end of the alley. The Times might mean but little, taken merely as the Times. But what if, in this Archbold-Standard Oil connection, the name included that Magee boss-ship? How important the latter would be to Governor Stone, and Congressman Dalzell, and others of the Standard Oil herd who lived in the smoke-thrown Pittsburgh shadow? Possibly Mr. Archbold wrote other letters to Mr. Magee, and enclosed other and more satisfying certificates of deposit.

Down in Baltimore there's a magazine called the Manufacturers' Record. Connected with its management, twelve years ago, was Mr. Edmonds. Apparently, Mr. Edmonds and Mr. Archbold had met - and agreed - in a business way; for early in 1901 one finds Mr. Archbold writing this:

26 Broadway.

February 13th, 1901.

Mr. R. H. Edmonds,

Baltimore, Md.

Dear Mr. Edmonds:

I have your several very interesting favors. I return you Senator McLaurin's letter with the clippings.

The whole affair at Washington has been most interesting.

Have been sorry indeed to hear of the Senator's illness. Mr. Griscom undertook to have a talk with him on Monday through a mutual friend. Your own work in all this matter has been most admirable. Very truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

The sick statesman alluded to was Senator Gorman. The "talk," which Mr. Griscom was to have had with him, would have borne upon the Shipping Bill, a measure concerning which Mr. Archbold never ceased to get excited. There's nothing in this magazine's possession to indicate just what was that "whole affair at Washington" which Mr. Archbold found "most interesting." But since a certain man was in the White House, and a certain boss was in the Republican saddle, it's a safe wager that "the whole affair" concerned Special Privilege in a favorable, rivet-fastening way.

Mr. Edmonds' work "has been most admirable"; later he is, no doubt, to receive good news as related to Mr. Grasty and the Southern Farm Magazine. For says Mr. Archbold:

26 Broadway.

December 18th, 1901.

Mr. Thomas P. Grasty,

C/o Buck & Pratt,

Room 1203, 27 William St., City.

Dear Mr. Grasty:

I have your favors of yesterday, and beg to return you herewith the telegram from Mr. Edmonds to you. We are willing to continue the subscription of $5,000 to the Southern Farm Magazine for another year, payments to be made the same way they have been made this year. We do not doubt but that the influence of your publication throughout the South is of a most helpful character. With good wishes, I am,

Very truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

(See page 24 for fac-simile.)

For how many Southern Farm Magazines should that 5000-dollar subscription pay? Also, would it confer upon its editorial utterances a Standard Oil hue?

Mr. Archbold not alone takes annual care of the Southern Farm Magazine to the extent of a comfortable and comforting $5000, but he recalls that Mr. Edmonds has a hookup with the Manufacturers' Record. To remember is to act with Mr. Archbold, and he indites the following:

26 Broadway.

Oct. 10th, 1902.

Mr. R. H. Edmonds,

Baltimore, Md.

Dear Sir:

Responding to your favor of the 9th, it gives me pleasure to enclose you herewith certificate of deposit to your favor for $3,000, covering a year's subscription to the Manufacturers' Record. Truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

Does any gentleman know if Mr. Archbold has kept up or discontinued his Standard Oil "subscription" to the Manufacturers' Record and the Southern Farm Magazine? What are those earnest papers just now saying of oil and wool and sugar and income tax?

The plot thickens; Mr. Grasty comes to New York, establishes himself at the Waldorf-Astoria and addresses Mr. Archbold. Also, the greatest little letter writer of any age makes next day's haste to answer. Says he:

26 Broadway.

December 11th, 1902.

Mr. Thomas P. Grasty,

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, City.

My dear Mr. Grasty:

I have your favor of yesterday. It may be the first of the week before I can bring the matter up you so ably present, but I shall hope for favorable consideration of it at the hands of my friends here. There is no doubt whatever of the excellent work being done by your publications, and by yourself and Mr. Edmonds on all the lines, and I feel that it would be almost an act of presumption to make any suggestions with reference to your course. If anything at any time occurs to us, however, we will not hesitate to speak of it, in response to your kind suggestion. The Lindsay matter was certainly most admirably handled.

Very truly yours,

Jno. D. Archbold.

How exasperating to have but the fraction or merest fragment of so entertaining a correspondence! And the world might have had it all, had those with the facts in their keeping acted upon specific instructions to bring to the fore what all men should see and know.

Mr. Grasty abandons the WaldorfAstoria for the Hotel York, and composes a long and earnest letter to Mr. A.:

Hotel York, Dec. 4, 1903.

Dear Mr. Archbold:

In the article, "Teachers Vs. Doers," in the Manufacturers' Record this week, there is a world of good common sense. Although Mr. Morgan is commended as the leader in rescuing transportation properties and thereby meeting the needs of the country . . . nevertheless I want to say to you that I believe that it would be a good thing if Mr. Morgan could be peacefully and quietly supplanted as the most conspicuous representative of financial power. . . . You can scarcely realize how much harm has been done by his "undoing," or by what people consider the exposure of his methods. But whatever we may call it, the effect of the discredit which has befallen him, has been to make the public believe - or at least to take seriously - sensational stories, concocted for demagogic effect, which prior to these disclosures were considered as unfounded and unworthy of credence. ... I honestly believe that the interests of such immeasurable magnitude as Mr. Morgan is supposed to dominate, ought to be under the control of wiser men men with sense enough to see and avoid such palpable pitfalls as surrounded the ship-building deal. A substitution of controlling power a change of generals seems to me the only way to escape the consequences of (and to head off) public distrust of our great organizations and to stop the supply of fresh ammunition to the "trust busters."

Now, among the latter I put Theodore Roosevelt and W. R. Hearst in the same category - and Hearst today has an organization of immense efficiency made up of first class, high-priced brains backed not by a barrel but by a hogshead, and is liable to be the Democratic nominee for the presidency. That Roosevelt will be the Republican nominee is a foregone conclusion. Now in times of depression the slogan, "Anything for a change," goes a long way. If a chance be even possible and in my opinion it is probable people who stand for the maintenance of American institutions and for the "greatest good to the greatest number," ought to be arranging to prevent the possibility of such a disaster as Hearst's election to the presidency. Mr. Gorman is the only man that can beat him, if I read correctly the signs of the times.

Yours truly, Thomas P. Grasty.

Mr. Grasty's views hold one's interest like a novel by Walter Scott. Also "palpable pitfall" is good. You see it was on the sharp heels of the ship-trust explosion, and the exposure of that memorable "watering" of some $10,000,000 of actual assets to nearly $40,000,000 in stocks and bonds. The cautious Mr. Archbold never answered this letter.

The Grasty feeler as to Mr. Gorman is as transparent as glass. It's drawing in toward a presidential nomination, and Mr. Gorman - who's been a never-failing candidate since the first Cleveland inauguration in 1885 - is Mr. Grasty's choice.

Mr. Grasty's next letter is, also, too long to print in full:

Telephone, 6243-38th.

Hotel York.

Thursday, Jan. 7, 1904.

Dear Mr. Archbold:

As you see I am back in New York. There are several matters for which I think one may "thank god and take courage " at the beginning of this year of grace. One is that the business men of this Country have apparently decided not to be "bull-dozed" by labor. Another matter for congratulation is that the U. S. Steel Corporation - an institution of incalculable significance & potential for evil or for good, - seem to be about to come under the control of men who do not make "mis-cues." Another is that the fear lest the Democrats may get together & nominate a strong, safe man, is likely to have a good effect on the President in bringing him to think more seriously & soberly & sanely than when he imagined he was going to have a "walk-over—" or rather a triumphal procession to a second term. . . . In this week's Record you will probably see a statement of the case from a very sensible editor down in Virginia. Whether you agree with it or not, I can but feel that it is not desirable from the standpoint of the interests you are identified with for any course or any policy calculated to stir up strife & embroil us in what might menace our commerce, to go uncriticized and unrebuked. "Hot-heads" are bad enough in private life: "hot-heads" at the helm of the ship of state must be put through a cooling process.

A final word about Gorman. It would be worth millions beyond computation to the business interests merely to have him nominated by the Democrats. He is the one possible candidate with whom an understanding can be reached. On this aspect of the case I want to tell you a few things that I can not quite say on paper. Yours truly,

Thomas P. Grasty.

One can see with the eye of fancy the dry grin on Mr. Archbold's face at this lofty lecturing by Mr. Grasty. Not but what Mr. Archbold will "thank God" as deeply as ever could Mr. Grasty, "that the business men of this country have apparently decided not to be bulldozed by labor."

Mr. Grasty's disclosures touching Mr. Gorman are interesting, especially those which Mr. Grasty "cannot quite say on paper." The confident Mr. Grasty, however, was barking at a knot. There was never the ghost of the shade of the shadow of a Gorman chance in 1904.

Six days elapse, and Mr. Grasty again writes Mr. Archbold:

Hotel York.

January 13th, 1904.

Dear Mr. Archbold:

I referred two months ago (in one of my letters to you) to W. R. Hearst's activities, and to the progress he was making. . . .

I send you herewith a clipping from today's N. Y. Times, showing a scheme that had never been suspected, i. e., to get the convention for the one city in which the Godless element is supreme.

I have heard that Mr. Morgan has said he'd rather have Hearst than Roosevelt. I want Mr. Gorman to feel that my friends are his friends. He has just asked me to come to see him. He is in some perplexity over a situation in Baltimore which 'tis thought I may be in a position to give some suggestions about. I do not mind saying to you that my relations with him are closely confidential by reason of a peculiar situation which I can't explain in a letter.

Whether he is nominated for the Presidency or not, he will as long as he lives, be the most powerful friend that any of us could have at Washington. His marvelous gift of heading off foolish moves, his ability to keep from being done what ought not to be done, make him a more useful friend than the fellow that "does things." As I was about to say, he ought to be the Democratic nominee, but if not, he will as long as he lives be a senator and a leader. He was never known to go back on a friend.

Yours truly, Thomas P. Grasty.

You will note that in all of these letters, Mr. Grasty never once speaks of Mr. Archbold's "reply." That isn't a Grasty impoliteness; Mr. Archbold has sent no reply. In vain does the fowler spread his net in the sight of any bird. Mr. Archbold knew that Mr. Gorman inspired, if he didn't quite dictate these letters, and was looking over Mr. Grasty's shoulder as they were taken down. To have written Mr. Grasty would have been to write Mr. Gorman, and Mr. Archbold wasn't ready to submit his own and Standard Oil's presidential preferences to the Maryland Machiavelli. Mr. Archbold is not without qualities which adorn the turkey gobbler, and the tail of his vanity is a broad and spreading tail. It will take a very much surer hand than Mr. Grasty's, however, to throw the cunning salt on it.

When the people's face puts on a frown, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Carnegie, and Mr. Archbold do not, to be sure, slash the tail off a dog. For, in pious circles, even more than any simple robbery, it might shake one's position. Avoiding, therefore, that dog curtailment, they institute a hookworm inquiry, or build a library, or give a million to a college, or arrange to pay perpetually the gas bill of St. Paul's. And in this they are wise. Any of these, as tempting aside the popular tongue, would serve much better than the vulgar de-tailment of some dog.

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