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gather some serious impressions from their tragic histories. They must see that there is a mysterious and gigantic Power ruling the issues of human life, and inexorably punishing the infractions of his laws, and not for a moment forgetting the smallest wrong: that Power we call God.
Which shows that the more educated you are, the harder it sometimes is to have religious faith.
The London Times was also in high spirits when our Erie crowd was broken up by Jimmy's death and by Bill Tweed's imprisonment. It was so bitter in its hatred of me and my whole clique that it said our bust-up now was a cause for rejoicing on both sides the water, and that we had been a bad thing for the country:
For a long time the British shareholders of the Erie Railroad have been making efforts to obtain that justice which we are accustomed to think would not be refused by the most turbulent Spanish Republic or the most effete Oriental despotism. In the Empire State and its splendid capital they laboured in vain. They were told by friendly advisers that their agents might as well go home again.
The revolution has come, and the Erie ring has been broken up. This incident has almost a national importance, for there can be no doubt that the audacious practices of the Erie Directors injured the credit of all American securities. It is difficult for foreigners clearly to distinguish between what is sound and unsound in a country so new and chang
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ing as the United States, and cautious people might well argue that if other companies were not so profiigate as the Erie Company, there was nothing in the nature of American institutions to prevent them from becoming so. Indeed, the pictures drawn by New Yorkers of their Legislature, their Judiciary, and the mercantile doctrines and practices of their citizens, were enough to sober the most sanguine speculator. Whatever the truth of these assertions, they could hardly be contradicted so long as one of the chief enterprises of the country, involving millions of money, was notoriously under the management of a set of swindlers, befriended by a suspected legislature and a more than suspected judiciary.
That British sheet seemed to have the idea that I and my crowd should have served in Wall Street for the good of the country! That would be a pretty way to get along in a stock-market deal! If a fellow in a stock-market dicker stopped to think first how it was going to affect the country at large, he would have his hands so tied he wouldn't be able to move. The trouble with editors is, they see only the downtown side of a man's life. They don't see the home and religious side of him. It would be a great deal better if newspapers would pay attention to that part of a man's life that is open and above the surface. Straight trees can have crooked roots.
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by this time, and lonesome because of
Jimmy's death, I was still able to find my way around in Wall Street smart and handyas Jay Gould himself had to allow. For it was about this time that I gave him and Hen Smith that squeeze in Erie which they won't forget for some time.
I saw, by my reading of the tape and from the reports that came to me around the Street, that Jay and Henry were selling Erie for future delivery. I calculated that they were overdoing the thing. Because at this time, out of the seven hundred and eighty thousand shares of the capital stock of the road, fully seven hundred thousand shares were held abroad. So, with the help of a German banker, I got
control of the floating supply of the stock here in the New York market. Then I waited.
Soon the time to make their deliveries came around. The short operators, Smith and Gould among the rest, were unable to get the stock. Then I set about. I had a good holt on them. I loaned them the stock. But it was at a rate which milked them fine as anything
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“I've known those two boys,” said I to my broker, “a good long time. I guess we won't charge them 3 per cent. a day. We will just make it one and a half. They will give down freer then, and, more than that, they will feel better."
It wasn't pity in me so much as good business policy, to set the rate at one and a half instead of three. Because those two men, Jay and Hen, were so powerful, that if I'd squeezed them too tight, they might have gone into litigation and made it hard for me to collect anything. Even as it was, a cent and a half a day means a rate of 600
per cent. a year; and that's a decent enough profit for anybody. And they had to pay it. I had those fellows by the scrooch of the neck. The way they squiggled to get loose made me chuckle all over. (I always did have a knack, anyhow, of seeing the fun of the thing.) And just now they were squirmy enough. But I held on tight. In fact, I made them squiggle still more; for I wasn't through with this deal
yet. After I'd got the stock all loaned out, I waited until the moment was ripe. Then, going down to the Street one morning, I issued orders to my brokers: “Call in now all of that stock that has been loaned out.”
I knew that so unlooked-for a move would make a big howl in the Street. And, in order not to be pestered by the yells and cries of the operators when they suddenly found themselves caught, I
drove away up town, and stayed there all day. So, when the traders on the Exchange came to my
office that day to beg for an extension of their loans, I wasn't there. “Mr. Drew's gone away for the day,” was the only thing the clerks could say.
A hungry horse makes a clean manger. I finished this deal up good and thorough. Some of the traders were sold out by order of the Stock Exchange Board. Prices caught as pretty a tumble as anyone could ask for. And I took a slice out of the boys that day which I guess they remember yet.
This was ’long about the end of September, soon after I had come back from my summer's rest in the country. About a month after, Gould came around
, to my office one day. He chatted for a while, and then said he'd stump me to go in with him and singe the Street by a Bulling movement in Erie. I ought to have been on my guard; because it was so soon after I had caught Gould in the corner I have just wrote about. And to hold that fellow for any length of time, was like trying to ride a cat in a wheelbarrow, he was that squiggly. But Jay had a persuasive way with him. You never could tell from his face what he was thinking about inside. And now he put on such a friendly tone of voice that it made me think he was kindly affectioned towards me.
“We'll rocket that Erie stock," said he, “higher than Gilderoy's kite. Anyway, Dan, you and I ought to be together in our Wall Street doings.