« 上一頁繼續 »
company. He neither expected to make extortionate profits, nor had he undertaken the business for that purpose. As a matter of fact the money he made in the enterprise was small compared to the time and energy which it had cost him. The stock of the company during his management never paid over four per cent, and the amount of water it contained, compared to other street railways, was exceedingly small—amounting to only about twenty-five per cent. Before the consolidation with the cable line the property of the company never had been bonded, because Mr. Hanna was opposed to paying dividends as long as the company was in debt. His financial, like his business, methods were thoroughly sound — as sound, to use his own analogy, as those of a savings bank.
At a later date, and before Mr. Hanna died, the Cleveland surface railroads became the storm centre of municipal politics in Cleveland. They were hauled before the court of public opinion by Tom L. Johnson, and rightly or wrongly they were condemned. Whatever faults they had committed they most assuredly expiated. But the fact that the verdict went against them should not be allowed to obscure their manifest good behavior compared to the really flagrant cases of street railway mismanagement in Chicago and New York.
Mark Hanna in particular was never an ordinary street railway financier. He had no interest in any street railway system outside of Cleveland, and the local system in which he was interested was a minor one, whose cars passed his own door, and in which he took the same sort of pride that a man might take in his own stable, carriages and horses. He had bought a collection of rusty rails, worm-eaten cars and tired horses, and had converted them by virtue of hard and patient work into an efficient railroad. His mental attitude towards his railroad was always determined by his early struggles and tribulations; and the memory of them prevented him from sufficiently understanding the difference between the conditions prevailing in the street railway business of Cleveland in 1882 and 1902.
Public opinion, however, came to recognize that the street railways had passed out of the pioneer stage; and for many years the local politics in Cleveland were dominated by the clash between the old and the new conception of the proper relations between the city and the street railway companies. This clash began during Mr. Hanna's life. It was always a source of political embarrassment and weakness to him, because it involved him, as a national political leader, too much in a local political issue, and one on which public opinion was running against him. But embarrassing as it was, and much as one would like to see certain aspects of Mr. Hanna's street railway connection expunged from the record, he remained throughout the whole episode true to his own standards and characteristic personal tendencies. He had put himself into the street railway just as he had put himself into Rhodes & Co., the Union National Bank and the theatre; and he had become more of a man because of the personal expenditure. All his business enterprises were fundamentally personal investments, and returned to him something more and better than the wages of management and the current rate of interest.
MARK HANNA AND HIS EMPLOYEES
The relation between Mr. Hanna and the men who worked for him in his various enterprises demands special treatment, not only because of its intrinsic interest, but because of the importance which it came to have during his subsequent political career. In no phase of his business life are the essential traits of the man more clearly revealed.
Mark Hanna's business career began, as we have seen, in jumpers and overalls. When he told the students of the Western Reserve College not to be ashamed of overalls, he was not posing or offering an insincere piece of advice. No doubt he had graduated quickly from overalls himself, and he never was an ordinary day-laborer, but he started with and always retained a hearty sympathy with the wearers of overalls and a real understanding of them. As his interests multiplied and as he gave more and more time to politics, he was obliged to delegate to a large extent the management of his business; but until the end Mr. Hanna was more likely to interfere in questions relating to the treatment of the employees than in any other branch of his affairs.
I have described him as fundamentally an industrial pioneer, and in no aspect of his business life is the description more correct and more instructive in its implications than in his relations with his employees. The social life of the pioneers was essentially homogeneous. It was based upon good-fellowship and a freedom and frankness of intercourse. There were inequalities of wealth and position, but they did not interfere with ease and completeness of communication and with mutual sympathy and understanding. Before the ninth decade of the nineteenth century the early pioneer society of Ohio had disappeared. A vast difference had developed between the manner of life of a prosperous business man like Mr. Hanna and that of his coal miners and freight handlers. But while the earlier homogeneity of life had vanished, no man could be true to the pioneer tradition without keeping a bond of communication with the ordinary day-laborer. The fact that Mark Hanna did do so distinguishes him sharply from the common run of very successful business men of his own generation. It is the final and best illustration of the fundamental humanity of his disposition, his practice and his point of view.
It is literally and not merely figuratively true that he kept in touch with his employees. Everybody in his employment felt free to go to him at any time. No matter whether the man was the head of a department or a common laborer on the docks, he had access to his employer. "I never knew," says Mr. Leonard C. Hanna, "my brother to turn any man away. In our business we dealt almost entirely with common, unskilled labor, and in all the interests which the firm owned and directed I suppose we had six thousand employees. We never had serious labor troubles. On our docks we occasionally had local and temporary disturbances among the ordinary employees; and whenever these occurred it was always my brother's custom to go right among the men. He would not ignore the superintendent, but would take the latter with him to the dock and hear what the men had to say. Then he would take such action as he thought to be necessary." The following despatch from Ashtabula, printed in the Cleveland Leader of April 28, 1876, may serve as a comment on the foregoing statement: "This morning Mr. Hanna, of Rhodes & Co., met the striking laborers on the docks at Ashtabula Harbor, and after consultation the men accepted the terms offered and resumed work."
Mr. Hanna's accessibility to his employees was not merely physical. When they reached him he always heard patiently and considered fairly what they had to say. If they had any real grievances, reparation was promptly and freely made. If they were making demands which in his opinion were neither fair nor possible, he had the gift of telling them so frankly, while at the same time not arousing any hard feeling. He could talk their language, and he could establish a common ground of good feeling which permitted full discussion of differences and which usually resulted in their adjustment.
The case of the street railway offers the best illustration of the way in which they felt towards him. The railroad was, as I have said, his hobby, and his constant use of it enabled him to know the men better than he could the workers in the mines or on the docks. When he travelled on the cars, he usually boarded the front platform and joined the motormen. They were always glad to see him, would give him a stool on which to sit, and would talk freely to him. During the eighties he knew almost every employee by name; and later, when he was less in Cleveland and there were nine hundred men on the pay-roll, he continued to remember a large part of' them. From the day on which he became connected with the road there never was a strike, and never did the crew of a car refuse to take it out. The superintendent of the road, George G. Mulhern, states that at least onethird of the men who worked on the old Rocky River dummy road and who came to the West Side Street Railroad remained in Mr. Hanna's employment until he resigned as president at the final consolidation of the Cleveland City and Cleveland Electric companies — a period of over twenty-five years.
He was always ready to receive the men in his office and talk to them. The delegation or committee which went to him about grievances usually departed either convinced or satisfied. Captain O. D. Brainard, a car-despatcher on the road, states that Mr. Hanna would allow his street railroad employees to see him when he would allow no one else. "I have gone," says Mr. Brainard, "with committees to his office when there would be scores of people waiting in the reception room to see him. He would have us brought in by a side door ahead of all the rest. One day when a committee wanted to see him, he was about to take a train and had only fifteen minutes to spare. But he saw them and made his other callers wait until another time. It made no difference whether he was in his office, his house, what he was doing or whom he had as guests, he would always honor the card of an employee. He usually knew us, for if he once heard a man's name, he rarely forgot it."
Peter Cox, who was a conductor on the Detroit Street line for seventeen years, gives an interesting account of his relations with Mr. Hanna. Although working on the route used by Mr. Hanna himself, he never spoke to his employer until after