網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

rarely got his own way with people by devious methods. He did not promise to do a thing unless he was sure he could do it; and if he promised anything, it was as good as done. In living up to such standards, he was, of course, helped by his quickness and soundness of judgment. When any demand was made upon him, he usually knew pretty well and pretty soon how far he could yield; and he escaped in that way entanglements in which other sympathetic but less sure-footed men are caught.

Mr. Elmer Dover, his private secretary for seven years, states that never during that interval did he pass an unpleasant word or an unkind criticism. He could be gruff and brusque with importunate callers, but he was never discourteous to people who had any claim on his time. He did not find fault with his immediate associates and assistants. Neither did he praise them. He showed his confidence merely by increasing their work, their responsibility, and, if necessary, their remuneration. All his associates testify that Mr. Dover was invaluable to him, that he imposed upon his secretary the most delicate and onerous personal missions and negotiations. But he never bestowed upon Mr. Dover any word of commendation, except on one occasion when a group of friends were entertaining Mr. Dover at dinner.

Mr. Hanna did not regularly belong to any church. When a young man he used to attend church on Sundays, but later in life Sunday became his day of social recreation, during which his house was even more full of people than usual, and he rarely heard a sermon. His disposition was obviously not religious or devout, and he was too sincere to pretend an interest merely for public purposes. On the other hand, he contributed freely, not merely to the building funds of churches, but to church work and charity. His gifts were not confined to any denomination or to any class of work. The Catholic Sisters received liberal assistance, but not less liberal were his gifts to various Protestant institutions of all denominations. Mr. Hanna was not known, except within a limited circumference in Cleveland, as a particularly charitable man. Yet throughout his life he was a sedulous contributor to all kinds of good causes. Mr. Lucius F. Mellen, who for twenty-five years was, as he himself says, perhaps the sturdiest beggar for charitable purposes in Cleveland, states that never once did Mr. Hanna turn him away empty-handed. When Mr. Hanna had confidence in a solicitor, as he had in Mr. Mellen, or in a Sister of Charity, he merely took out his cheque-book and asked them how much they wanted. He did not rub his hands and promise to have the matter investigated. He was not a scientific philanthropist. He was simply a kind-hearted, generous man, who wanted to help people in distress, and who in helping them wanted to avoid ostentation and publicity. When during a political campaign he made any considerable donation to a charitable cause or institution, he particularly requested that no public announcement of it should be made until after the election. He was utterly discomfited when on one occasion during his first stumping tour, Mr. Benjamin Butterworth related to the audience certain incidents which illustrated his generous warmth of feeling towards other people.

For the most part his gifts consisted of small sums contributed to needy causes or people. There were, indeed, one or two institutions to which he rendered systematic assistance. The Huron Street Hospital, for instance, in Cleveland received from him in all about $15,000. Late in life he became interested in Kenyon College and donated $75,000 as a fund with which to build a dormitory. But the acts of generosity, on which his friends liked to dwell, usually concerned individuals in whose need or distress he happened to be interested.

Some of these incidents deserve to be related. One rainy day some time in the early nineties, two Sisters of Charity called on him for a contribution with which to buy a horse. Their horse had died and they were seeking assistance toward the purchase of another. If Mr. Hanna had given them $10, they would have gone away well satisfied. TBut after he had heard their story, he pretended that he had exhausted his charity fund for that month, and brusquely asked them to return some other time. Upon leaving his office they were followed by his coachman, who insisted on putting them in a carriage and driving them home. As they were getting out, the coachman inquired: "Where shall I put the horse? Mr. Hanna told me that he had given it to you." Another case was that of a woman who had inherited a small house from her father. Times were bad. There was a mortgage on the property which was being foreclosed. A real' estate dealer went to Mr. Hanna, knowing him to be a shrewd business man, told him that the property could be bought for less than its value, and asked for authority to bid it in. Mr. Hanna did not know the woman, but he was disgusted at the man's heartlessness. He commissioned a lawyer to attend the sale and buy the property. The mortgage was transferred to Mr. Hanna and was not recorded. Mr. Hanna held the property until times improved, and then sold it for a good price. After paying the mortgage, the balance of the money was turned over to the woman, who never knew how near she came to losing her inheritance, or of Mr. Hanna's contribution to her welfare.

[graphic]

He was, of course, even more generous with needy friends. He would lend them money on what was often worthless security. Mr. James Dempsey was continually asked to investigate such security, but he was warned that in any event the loan was to stand. He recalls many instances of such loans which were never repaid, and which the lender never asked to have repaid. After Mr. Hanna's death his executors destroyed a basketful of acknowledgments of personal debts. They had been accumulating for years, and no attempt had ever been made to collect them. Neither was this negligence due to any mere looseness in money matters. While not, of course, an economical man, he was conscientious and systematic about his personal expenditures. He knew how much he was spending and upon what it was spent. He never submitted to extortion and he had a hatred of mere waste.

If he was sometimes lavish in his gifts and heedless about his personal loans, it was because such expenditures belonged to a different class. In neither case was he buying anything. He was giving something away, and he was always giving with it a part of himself. The weightiest tribute to this aspect of his nature comes from a man whom he knew only late in life, and who himself was, as Mr. Hanna said of Mr. McKinley, more Scotch than Irish in temperament — Senator Orville Platt: "His loyalty was something wonderful. With his friends, and no man had more friends, it carried him nearly to extremes. I often thought that he of all men would be willing to die for his friends. Friendship has its burdens as well as its joys, and he took upon himself all its burdens as easily and as heartily as he shared its joys."

[graphic]

CHAPTER XXVIII

CONCLUSION

A Discriminating estimate of Mark Hanna's public career must account, first of all, for the apparent disproportion between what he achieved and what he proposed or was equipped to achieve. He had no more training for public life than hundreds of other business men who dabbled in politics. His own will, strong as it was, and his abilities, exceptional as they were, account for only a certain portion of his success. To be sure, he willed and contrived the nomination of McKinley, just as he willed and contrived many other deeds which were of decisive importance in his career. But he did not plan his own political self-aggrandizement. Dominant as was his instinct for leadership, he never sought to concentrate in his own hands the various strings of his personal power. Throughout his career his effective influence gathered momentum from forces independent of its original source and of his own conscious purposes. Like a tropical bamboo, it derived much of its new growth from shoots which were rooted in fresh soil. Both he and his friends were amazed at his own triumphal progress; and they may well have been amazed, because his career was without precedent and is not likely to have any imitators.

Inasmuch as Mark Hanna was not a usurper and his career was not a tour de force, only one explanation will account for his peculiar success. He must have embodied in his own life and purposes some vital American social and economic tradition, which gave his personality, individual as it was, something more than an individual meaning and impulse; and he must have embodied this tradition all the more effectively because he was not more than half conscious of it. Mark Hanna could not represent anything unless he himself was what he represented. In truth, Mr. Hanna did embody the most vital

« 上一頁繼續 »