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many corporations for the purpose of owning particular branches of its business, it has remained essentially a copartnership. A corporate organization demands impersonality of methods and policy. It is most effective when its operations can become automatic and be reduced to rule. But the business of M. A. Hanna & Co. was the creation of sound and enterprising individual management; and it has continued to demand management of this kind. Mark Hanna made it personal; and personal it has remained. It was successful under his management, because of the excellence of his judgment, the soundness of his policy and the absolute personal confidence which he inspired among his associates. It has continued to be prosperous under his successors, because they were able to bring similar qualities to its direction. Although it is twentyfive years since Mark Hanna was actively connected with the business which bears his name, his personality still lives in it and determines the forms of its activity.
MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS INTERESTS
In the account given of the business which Mr. Hanna and his partners gradually built up, no attention has been paid to other contemporaneous business interests. This particular aspect of his life has a unity of its own and can best be treated independently both of his political career and his miscellaneous business engagements. The coal and iron selling agency constituted, of course, the foundation of his business structure. Until 1894 it consumed most of his time and energy. Throughout his life it provided him with his sinews of war. It made him a wealthy man, and he needed the power which only wealth can give. But important as it was in his life, and clearly as the quality of the man was expressed in the contribution he made to the success of the firm, the actual sequence of events in his business career is for the most part irrelevant to the main current of his life.
From 1867 until 1880 he appears to have devoted practically all his time to coal and iron. The first six of these years were consumed in making himself a master of the business and in broadening its basis. The next five years constituted a period of general trade depression, during which Mr. Hanna had to struggle in order to maintain the ground which had already been won. But late in the seventies business revived, and Rhodes & Co. began to reap the reward which a period of active trade brings to a well-established and well-managed business. Mr. Hanna found himself possessed of means, which enabled him to undertake a number of other enterprises of some importance. He had become, indeed, one of the most conspicuous and prosperous of Cleveland business men, whose cooperation was usually expected in matters of local business importance.
The first of these miscellaneous ventures was nothing less than a plunge into the newspaper business; and as the incident had a certain bearing on Mr. Hanna's subsequent political career, it must be told in some detail. His interest in the matter originated in an attempt made by certain friends and associates to give renewed life to an old, well-established, but decayed local journal. At one time the Cleveland Herald had been the most influential organ of the Republican party in northern Ohio, and the only prosperous newspaper in the city of Cleveland. But owing to the death of one of its owners and the bad management of the remaining partner, both its circulation and its prestige fell away. In the meantime the Cleveland Leader, which was edited and for the most part owned by Edwin Cowles, was gradually taking its place. Later the Herald was bought by Richard C. Parsons and William Perry Fogg. Colonel Parsons, a former Congressional representative, a politician of considerable influence, and a cultured and able man, became its editor; and Mr. Fogg, a dealer in crockery, took charge of the business management. They put both additional capital and energy into the Herald and made it a good newspaper, but all to no purpose. They could not either shake the standing of the Leader or restore the Herald to its former position. The new owners could not stand the strain. Their losses threatened to ruin them, and they had to sell out.
William Perry Fogg retired, and Colonel Parsons persuaded a number of prominent men in Cleveland to come to his assistance. The new owners of the paper were a syndicate consisting of J. H. Wade, who laid the foundation of the Western Union Telegraph system; Henry Chisholm, the founder of the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company, the great local steel works; John D. Rockefeller and H. M. Flagler; Amasa Stone, the fatherin-law of John Hay; S. T. Everett, Dan P. Eels, a banker, Elias Sims, one of the owners of the West Side Street Railway and Mark Hanna. An abler and more successful group of business men would have been hard to find in Cleveland or elsewhere, but they were failures as the publishers of a newspaper. The Leader continued to prosper and the Herald to lose money. Finally the weary millionnaires refused to pay any more assessments. Colonel Parsons retired for good, and the property passed into the control of Mr. Hanna and a few associates, with the former as president of the company. The new management, which took control early in 1880, immediately made an ingenious and vigorous attempt to rehabilitate the property and at the same time to crush its competitor. Every editor and reporter employed by the Leader who was supposed to be contributing to its success, was taken over by the Herald on the theory that the man behind the gun rather than the captain of the ship won its battles. The new staff are said to have boasted that they would do for the Herald what they thought they had already done for the Leader. In the meantime, certain former employees of the Herald went over to the Leader, — one of them being Mr. James B. Morrow, who subsequently became the editor of that paper.
Mr. Edwin Cowles, editor and owner of the Leader, bitterly resented both the way in which the new management of the Herald began its attack and the boasts of his former staff. He was a journalist after the manner of Horace Greeley— a blind partisan, a bitter and abusive controversialist, but a man of ability and weight. He regarded the desertion of his former staff as base treachery, and he had no scruples about allowing his personal grievances to dominate the editorial policy of his paper. The Herald, and Mark Hanna as its financial backer, became the object of a copious stream of vituperation and ridicule.
Throughout the next five years, Mr. Cowles used every available opportunity of making the publishing business disagreeable for Mr. Hanna. The abuse was coarse and clumsy. The editorial staff of the Herald was referred to as "Mark Hanna and his gang," and his management of the paper was described as "the reign of Marcus Aurelius." Neither did Mr. Cowles confine himself to editorial assaults. Mr. Hanna was becoming conspicuous in local politics, and was interested in candidates for local offices. Wherever such an interest became manifest, Mr. Hanna's candidate could always count on the opposition of the Leader; and when Mr. Hanna tried to get himself elected delegate to the Republican Convention of 1884, Mr. Cowles became an opposing candidate and beat him at the primaries. To a man like Edwin Cowles every fight was a personal fight, and all methods were fair in war.
To these attacks Mr. Hanna never replied in kind, and he was probably very much surprised at the hornet's nest which he had stirred up. Of course the Herald announced its contempt for the Leader with the politeness characteristic of American journalism of that period; but its owner avoided anything like a personal squabble. The Herald was a sideissue with him. He never gave very much attention or time to its management, and even the brilliant bit of strategy with which he began the campaign indicated an intention of disposing of the enemy by a grand coup rather than by hard and patient personal work. The grand coup failed. Mr. Cowles was, according to the standard of the day, an able journalist; and he was an angry man, fighting with his back to the wall for all that he had in the world. At that time there was room in Cleveland for only one prosperous Republican morning newspaper. Not unnaturally the survivor proved to be the Leader.
In March, 1885, Mark Hanna decided to quit. His newspaper enterprise had cost him a good deal of money, and he had not even enjoyed a good time in the spending of it. The name of the Herald, its good-will and its subscription list were sold to the Leader for $80,000. Its plant and visible property found a purchaser in the Plain-Dealer. The Leader celebrated its victory in an editorial article, which described its defeated competitor as an able and a fair antagonist — a fact which no one could have suspected from a perusal of the Leader's pages a few weeks earlier.
Thereafter the Leader ceased its personal attacks on Mr. Hanna; but in the opinion of men who watched the whole affair, these attacks had something to do with the establishment of a false impression of Mr. Hanna's personality in the minds of many of his fellow-townsmen. In the succeeding years he became more and more conspicuous in local business and politics, and the kind of attack which a Republican newspaper had begun was continued, although with less persistence, by Democrats. The Plain-Dealer referred to him, sometimes obscurely and sometimes overtly, as a "Boss" and as an aggressive and a greedy man. The Press, an afternoon newspaper, which was seeking to attract popular attention by assaults on conspicuous citizens, took for a while a corresponding line of comment. He was pictured as overbearing, grasping and as.