CHAPTER I. PARENTS AND CHILDHOOD

On

If the story of any man’s life, truly told, must be interesting, as some sage avers, those of my relatives and immediate friends who have insisted upon having an account of mine may not be unduly disappointed with this result. I may console myself with the assurance that such a story must interest at least a certain number of people who have known me, and that knowledge will encourage me to proceed.

A book of this kind, written years ago by my friend, Judge read more

CHAPTER II. DUNFERMLINE AND AMERICA

On

My good Uncle Lauder justly set great value upon recitation in education, and many were the pennies which Dod and I received for this. In our little frocks or shirts, our sleeves rolled up, paper helmets and blackened faces, with laths for swords, my cousin and myself were kept constantly reciting Norval and Glenalvon, Roderick Dhu and James Fitz-James to our schoolmates and often to the older people.

I remember distinctly that in the celebrated dialogue between read more

CHAPTER III. PITTSBURGH AND WORK

On

The great question now was, what could be found for me to do. I had just completed my thirteenth year, and I fairly panted to get to work that I might help the family to a start in the new land. The prospect of want had become to me a frightful nightmare. My thoughts at this period centered in the determination that we should make and save enough of money to produce three hundred dollars a year – twenty-five dollars monthly, which I figured was the sum required read more

CHAPTER IV. COLONEL ANDERSON AND BOOKS

On

With all their pleasures the messenger boys were hard worked. Every other evening they were required to be on duty until the office closed, and on these nights it was seldom that I reached home before eleven o’clock. On the alternating nights we were relieved at six. This did not leave much time for self-improvement, nor did the wants of the family leave any money to spend on books. There came, however, like a blessing from above, a means by which the read more

CHAPTER V. THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE

On

I had served as messenger about a year, when Colonel John P. Glass, the manager of the downstairs office, who came in contact with the public, began selecting me occasionally to watch the office for a few minutes during his absence. As Mr. Glass was a highly popular man, and had political aspirations, these periods of absence became longer and more frequent, so that I soon became an adept in his branch of the work. I received messages from the public and saw that read more

CHAPTER VI. RAILROAD SERVICE

On

From the operating-room of the telegraph office I had now stepped into the open world, and the change at first was far from agreeable. I had just reached my eighteenth birthday, and I do not see how it could be possible for any boy to arrive at that age much freer from a knowledge of anything but what was pure and good. I do not believe, up to that time, I had ever spoken a bad word in my life and seldom heard one. I knew nothing of the base and the vile. Fortunately read more

CHAPTER VII. SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA

On

Mr. Scott was promoted to be the general superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1856, taking Mr. Lombaert’s place; and he took me, then in my twenty-third year, with him to Altoona. This breaking-up of associations in Pittsburgh was a sore trial, but nothing could be allowed to interfere for a moment with my business career. My mother was satisfied upon this point, great as the strain was upon her. Besides, „follow my leader” was due to read more

CHAPTER VIII. CIVIL WAR PERIOD

On

In 1861 the Civil War broke out and I was at once summoned to Washington by Mr. Scott, who had been appointed Assistant Secretary of War in charge of the Transportation Department. I was to act as his assistant in charge of the military railroads and telegraphs of the Government and to organize a force of railway men. It was one of the most important departments of all at the beginning of the war.

The first regiments of Union troops passing through Baltimore had read more

CHAPTER IX. BRIDGE-BUILDING

On

During the Civil War the price of iron went up to something like $130 per ton. Even at that figure it was not so much a question of money as of delivery. The railway lines of America were fast becoming dangerous for want of new rails, and this state of affairs led me to organize in 1864 a rail-making concern at Pittsburgh. There was no difficulty in obtaining partners and capital, and the Superior Rail Mill and Blast Furnaces were built.

In like manner the demand read more

CHAPTER X. THE IRON WORKS

On

The Keystone Works have always been my pet as being the parent of all the other works. But they had not been long in existence before the advantage of wrought- over cast-iron became manifest. Accordingly, to insure uniform quality, and also to make certain shapes which were not then to be obtained, we determined to embark in the manufacture of iron. My brother and I became interested with Thomas N. Miller, Henry Phipps, and Andrew Kloman in a small iron mill. Miller read more

CHAPTER XI. NEW YORK AS HEADQUARTERS

On

Our business continued to expand and required frequent visits on my part to the East, especially to New York, which is as London to Britain – the headquarters of all really important enterprises in America. No large concern could very well get on without being represented there. My brother and Mr. Phipps had full grasp of the business at Pittsburgh. My field appeared to be to direct the general policy of the companies and negotiate the important contracts.

My read more

CHAPTER XII. BUSINESS NEGOTIATIONS

On

Complete success attended a negotiation which I conducted about this time for Colonel William Phillips, president of the Allegheny Valley Railway at Pittsburgh. One day the Colonel entered my New York office and told me that he needed money badly, but that he could get no house in America to entertain the idea of purchasing five millions of bonds of his company although they were to be guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The old gentleman felt sure read more

CHAPTER XIII. THE AGE OF STEEL

On

Looking back to-day it seems incredible that only forty years ago (1870) chemistry in the United States was an almost unknown agent in connection with the manufacture of pig iron. It was the agency, above all others, most needful in the manufacture of iron and steel. The blast-furnace manager of that day was usually a rude bully, generally a foreigner, who in addition to his other acquirements was able to knock down a man now and then as a lesson to the other unruly read more

CHAPTER XIV. PARTNERS, BOOKS, AND TRAVEL

On

When Mr. Kloman had severed his connection with us there was no hesitation in placing William Borntraeger in charge of the mills. It has always been with especial pleasure that I have pointed to the career of William. He came direct from Germany – a young man who could not speak English, but being distantly connected with Mr. Kloman was employed in the mills, at first in a minor capacity. He promptly learned English and became a shipping clerk at six dollars read more

CHAPTER XV. COACHING TRIP AND MARRIAGE

On

The Freedom of my native town (Dunfermline) was conferred upon me July 12, 1877, the first Freedom and the greatest honor I ever received. I was overwhelmed. Only two signatures upon the roll came between mine and Sir Walter Scott’s, who had been made a Burgess. My parents had seen him one day sketching Dunfermline Abbey and often told me about his appearance. My speech in reply to the Freedom was the subject of much concern. I spoke to my Uncle Bailie Morrison, read more

CHAPTER XVI. MILLS AND THE MEN

On

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 read more

CHAPTER XVII. THE HOMESTEAD STRIKE

On

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. read more

CHAPTER XVIII. PROBLEMS OF LABOR

On

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 read more

CHAPTER XIX. THE „GOSPEL OF WEALTH”

On

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 read more

CHAPTER XX. EDUCATIONAL AND PENSION FUNDS

On

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 read more

CHAPTER XXI. THE PEACE PALACE AND PITTENCRIEFF

On

Peace, at least as between English-speaking peoples,[55] must have been early in my thoughts. In 1869, when Britain launched the monster Monarch, then the largest warship known, there was, for some now-forgotten reason, talk of how she could easily compel tribute from our American cities one after the other. Nothing could resist her. I cabled John Bright, then in the British Cabinet (the cable had recently been opened):

read more

CHAPTER XXIII. BRITISH POLITICAL LEADERS

On

In London, Lord Rosebery, then in Gladstone’s Cabinet and a rising statesman, was good enough to invite me to dine with him to meet Mr. Gladstone, and I am indebted to him for meeting the world’s first citizen. This was, I think, in 1885, for my „Triumphant Democracy”[63] appeared in 1886, and I remember giving Mr. Gladstone, upon that occasion, some startling figures which I had prepared for it.

read more

CHAPTER XXIV. GLADSTONE AND MORLEY

On

Mr. Gladstone paid my „American Four-in-Hand in Britain” quite a compliment when Mrs. Carnegie and I were his guests at Hawarden in April, 1892. He suggested one day that I should spend the morning with him in his new library, while he arranged his books (which no one except himself was ever allowed to touch), and we could converse. In prowling about the shelves I found a unique volume and called out to my host, then on top of a library ladder far from me handling heavy volumes:

read more

CHAPTER XXV. HERBERT SPENCER AND HIS DISCIPLE

On

Herbert Spencer, with his friend Mr. Lott and myself, were fellow travelers on the Servia from Liverpool to New York in 1882. I bore a note of introduction to him from Mr. Morley, but I had met the philosopher in London before that. I was one of his disciples. As an older traveler, I took Mr. Lott and him in charge. We sat at the same table during the voyage.

One read more

CHAPTER XXVII. WASHINGTON DIPLOMACY

On

President Harrison had been a soldier and as President was a little disposed to fight. His attitude gave some of his friends concern. He was opposed to arbitrating the Behring Sea question when Lord Salisbury, at the dictation of Canada, had to repudiate the Blaine agreement for its settlement, and was disposed to proceed to extreme measures. But calmer counsels prevailed. He was determined also to uphold the Force Bill against the South.

read more

CHAPTER XXVIII. HAY AND McKINLEY

On

John Hay was our frequent guest in England and Scotland, and was on the eve of coming to us at Skibo in 1898 when called home by President McKinley to become Secretary of State. Few have made such a record in that office. He inspired men with absolute confidence in his sincerity, and his aspirations were always high. War he detested, and meant what he said when he pronounced it „the most ferocious and yet the most futile folly of man.”

read more