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indifferent to the rights of others. An attempt was made to prejudice popular opinion against him by representing him as hostile to the business prosperity of Cleveland. The lease, assumed by M. A. Hanna & Co., of the docks of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, at Ashtabula was cited as a nefarious attempt to divert commerce from Cleveland and to snatch the bread out of the mouths of its working-men. Such misrepresentations continued for many years and contributed to establish locally a distorted popular impression of Mr. Hanna long before he became a national political leader.
Mark Hanna was as far as possible from being a callous man. His expansive and sociable disposition, and the strong ties which bound him to his own city and people, made him extremely susceptible to the injustice of this personal misrepresentation. But he had too much good sense to wince in public or to indulge in personal recriminations. He was a fighter by nature, and whenever he saw a good chance of replying to a specific case of misrepresentation, he always took it, but for the most part he bore it with silence, if not with indifference.
In assuming the management of the Herald, Mark Hanna had no ulterior purpose. He did not attempt to make his unprofitable newspaper pay by using it to advance his other business interests. Mr. J. H. A. Bone, who was managing-editor of the Herald, when it was sold to the Leader, stated that Mr. Hanna never meddled with the editorial department and rarely came to the office. Street railway questions were more or less discussed in the City Council, and Mark Hanna was even then the practical owner of a street railway, but he never asked the Herald to take one side or the other. When Mr. Bone was in doubt about the attitude which the paper should assume in reference to some political matter of importance, he sometimes consulted Mr. Hanna; but he declares emphatically that his employer never made any attempt to convert the Herald into a personal organ or into the covert promoter of his own private interests. He was a Republican, and the Herald was a Republican newspaper. Beyond that he had no personal political policy.
Mr. Hanna's connection with the Cleveland Herald, incidental as it was in his business life, constituted in a sense the beginning of his public career. It was the first evidence, that is, of his assumption of a certain importance in the public affairs of Cleveland. His personal force was making itself felt beyond the limits of his immediate business associations; and the very misrepresentations which were coincident with the beginning of his public life were an indirect tribute to the salience of his personality. From the outset he took a strong line of his own and by his methods in pushing along this line he both aroused enmities and conquered friends. Particularly during his early career he did not attempt to conciliate opposition. He made straight for his goal, and if any one stood in his way, the obstacle was usually and often roughly shoved aside.
The characteristic of making hard and straight for a goal could easily be confused with a domineering disposition. Such a confusion took place in Mr. Hanna's case and is responsible for the accusations of being a "Boss" which were levelled at him almost from the start. But the impulse to dominate and to succeed is very different from the impulse to domineer. He always wanted power. He always wanted to place himself at the head of his associates in the prosecution of any joint enterprise. He was sometimes intolerant of opposition, impatient with meddlers and procrastinators, brusque in manner and explosive in speech. Men who later became his friends and allies were repulsed by their first superficial acquaintance with him. But he was never a domineering man. His leadership was always founded on personal energy and efficiency, and on his ability to make other people believe in him; and as men knew better they believed in him and trusted him the more. His work and his methods were such that he was bound to create enmities; but his enemies could not accuse him of injustice any more than his friends could complain of lack of consideration. He always played fair, even if he did not always play politely; and when he sat in a game he usually won, and he usually occupied or came to occupy a seat at the head of the table.
In 1884 Mark Hanna started another outside enterprise, which was destined to be more successful than his excursion into the field of publishing. He organized the Union National Bank, of which he became president, Sylvester T. Everett, vice-president, and Mr. E. H. Bourne, cashier. He remained its president until his death, and for a number of years he gave to it a great deal of personal attention. In fact he did more than any other one man to establish it and build up its "clientele." Mr. Bourne, who succeeded him in the presidency of the institution, testifies to the energy and ingenuity he showed in securing valuable accounts, in selecting proper assistants and in organizing the business.
After the bank had been thoroughly established, and he had gained confidence in its organization and officers, he ceased to give much time to its affairs. Nevertheless he long retained an active participation in its management. Mr. Bourne states that he continually went to Mr. Hanna for advice and that he never withdrew disappointed either in his reception or in the kind of counsel he received. His behavior as a bank president is described by Mr. Bourne in the following words: "He was earnest and decided if he thought he was right, and would persist in his opinion. But if upon argument he was convinced he was wrong, he was always willing to change his opinion. However, you always had to convert him with facts. I never saw a man who was so determined to carry out anything he thought was right and who was so willing to change his position when he found he was wrong; and he was just as firm and cordial after he changed as he was before. His judgment was usually reached very quickly, for he was an economizer of time and after that only unimpeachable facts could move him. He was one of the hardest workers I ever knew and was invariably clear, frank, honest and fearless in his conduct and conversation."
In an article on Mark Hanna published in McClure's Magazine in November, 1900, Mr. William Allen White inserted the following passage: "In the early eighties — apparently by way of diversion or because Satan finds some evil work for idle hands to do — when the coal, iron ore, pig-iron, steel, shipping, railway, and theatrical business became a nerve-racking monopoly, Hanna started a bank." The implication of this passage is that the bank was started, chiefly because Mark Hanna had more energy than he had outlets for it; and his energy happened to overflow into banking. It is true that his energy was inexhaustible, and that he started a bank and made it a success with an apparent ease that almost makes the job seem to be a diversion. But he had none the less a motive in starting the bank,— a motive which was not merely the instinctive expression of superabundant business energy. He wanted to help a friend — to found a business in which that friend would find a regular and a remunerative position.
Among Mark Hanna's papers was discovered the following note scrawled on a letter-heading of the Union National Bank, dated June 9, 1884 — the day on which the bank started to do business. The scrawl is itself undated, but must have been written some time in the nineties.
"In cleaning out my desk to-day I discovered this sheet and send (it to) you as a souvenir of past events. On the 9th of June, 1884, the struggle commenced.
For What? To work as few men have ever worked and to accomplish what no other man in Cleveland could have accomplished in the time and
For What? To supply a soft snap for an intriguing conspiring Yankee (codfish bred) who has yet to add his first account (save his own paltry one) to the business of the bank. The rewards of merit in this world are past finding, Mark, let's hope for better in the next!
In the early eighties Mr. Hanna not only published a newspaper and started a bank, but he bought a theatre; and he came to buy it in a very characteristic way. He was walking along Euclid Avenue one day with some friends on his way to the Union Club for lunch, when one of his companions remarked that the Opera House was at that very moment being put up for sale by the sheriff. This theatre, which was at the time the largest and handsomest in Cleveland, had been built by Mr. John Ellsler, who was a citizen of Cleveland and an actor as well as a manager. The enterprise had failed, because the theatre was rather more expensive than the city of Cleveland was capable of supporting, and Mr. Ellsler was being sold up. Mr. Hanna and his friends strolled into the building in order to watch the proceedings. The bidding was under way. Somebody had made an offer of $40,000 for the property, and Mr. Hanna to his own surprise and that of his friends raised the bid a few hundred dollars. He was still more surprised, when a minute later he found himself the owner of the theatre. According to his account he did not have the remotest idea, when he entered the building, of buying the property.
The first manager placed in charge of the theatre was his cousin, L. G. Hanna, a son of Benjamin Hanna. For some time it continued to be unprofitable. Its owner did not always approve of the policy of his manager. One evening Mr. and Mrs. Hanna were driving by the building and saw a roughlooking crowd gathered about the entrance. Thinking the building was on fire, Mr. Hanna left his wife at the Union Club, hastened to the theatre and entered the box always reserved for himself. He found the theatre crowded and a wrestling match under way. The first round had just ended, and Mr. L. G. Hanna was on the stage, announcing that inasmuch as the performance was so successful, it would be repeated on the following week. But Mark Hanna did not like it. He had bought a theatre, not an arena. One account states that the irate owner stood up in his box and declared that no such performance would be repeated in the Opera House, but this version is denied by Mr. L. G. Hanna, who states that Mr. Hanna merely went behind the scenes and asked him to omit wrestling matches in the future from the list of attractions.
Augustus F. Hartz, who succeeded Mr. L. G. Hanna as lessee, had already been the manager of one theatre in Cleveland, but it burned, and he returned to his earlier occupation of prestidigitator. While he was performing in Cincinnati he received a telegram from Mr. Hanna asking him to keep an appointment in Cleveland the next day. Fifteen minutes after their meeting the lease was signed. Mark Hanna did business without unnecessary delays. Under the new management the theatre became more successful; and Mr. Hartz