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A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE sugar manufacturer of California, Mr. Rudolph Spreckels, recently returned from a European trip. In New York City he was interviewed by a newspaper reporter and is quoted as having made the statements below. Without endorsing his conclusions, we state them. His large wealth gives him opportunity for information respecting monetary affairs, which would not be open to ordinary men of small capital and lesser influence. We quote the interview from the Springfield Union of July 31st, as follows:—
"The financial control of the country is today centered in the hands of two great interests. When the two men in control of these interests engage in battle with each other for the supremacy a revolution, the most destructive the world has ever seen, will follow—a revolution that will not only paralyze or wreck many of our great industries and overthrow unnumbered financial institutions, but will imperil the safety of the Government itself. The only force that can prevent such a disaster is the people themselves, whose good sense and patriotism on many occasions heretofore have rescued the country from threatened destruction.
"I have been engaged in business since I was 17, and have noticed year by year a gradual reduction in the number of firms handling large industries or engaged in banking, until today the reduction must excite alarm. It is a significant commentary on business conditions that two men have it in their power to embarrass the United States Government. The concentration of wealth is the great evil of modern times, for it places in a few hands the power to precipitate panics and control legislation.
"Each time one of these panics has occurred certain interests have come forward to relieve the situation by the releasing of large amounts of money. If men can break a panic by bringing forward their hoarded millions, it is evident they can cause a panic by withdrawing from circulation a few hundred millions of dollars. From observations made in the last few months I am convinced that certain great financial interests now are perfecting plans for the precipitation of one of these business upheavals this fall.
"The panic of 1907 was 'organized,' if I may use the term, for the purpose of discrediting Theodore Roosevelt and his administration. The panic of 1910 is being hatched to furnish material for the approaching political campaigns. Those who are engineering it do not care how many enterprises may be wrecked, how many men may be thrown out of employment, or how many suicides may follow, so long as they succeed in their purposes. If stocks are hammered down to the bottom, they stand ready to make millions out of the necessities of those who are driven to sacrifice their holdings."
Spreckels announced that he proposed to devote the rest of his life to the reform of "conditions that already are intolerable," in order to head off, if possible, the impending revolution. Asked as to the remedy for the evils complained of, he said:—
"The elimination of dishonesty in corporate matters, the quickening of business conscience, the banishment of graft, the readjustment of capitalization by the squeezing out of water and the adoption of the Golden Rule as a fundamental principle of business. How these reforms can be effected is the important question of the times. What is needed today is a quickening of the conscience of the great wealth holders. One trouble with the trusts is that the men whose capital is invested in them are not sufficiently concerned to take an active interest in their management. So long as they continue to receive large dividends they wink at practises in a corporation that they would not countenance in their own personal business."
Without endorsing Mr. Spreckels' prophecy we can say that it is well-known amongst financial institutions of the country that all our banking interests are practically in the hands of a very few wealthy men. It is not, however, generally believed that the interests of these men would be better served by panics. On the contrary, the general estimation of business people is that these capitalists are conservative and that in seeking to guard their own interests against catastrophe they are really protecting others from financial disaster. Some of these very people have boasted of late that their hold upon the financial situation is so strong that panics will henceforth be impossible.
Nevertheless selfishness and ambition are the foundation of the present structure of society. And Mr. Spreckels may be right in his assumption of a great financial duel between our financial potentates. It was just such a duel that produced our last panic. One combination of capitalists attempted to take by the throat another combination, but failed and was crushed. The public was not made to suffer more than was necessary in the matter; but, so powerful were the antagonists, that the entire financial world received a shock which brought loss to many far removed from the principals and the scene of their conflict.
But aside from Mr. Spreckels' prophecy respecting a panic this year our readers know from the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES to expect ere long the fulfillment of the great Redeemer's words, "There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation—no, nor ever shall be after." (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21.) That awful trouble, however, we do not expect before October, 1914. Whatever may come in the interim will be but the rumblings preceding the great climacteric shock, before which will fall all earthly institutions; as St. Paul declares, Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. And the only thing that cannot be shaken will be the Kingdom which God's faithful ones will receive about that time.—Heb. 12:27,28.
Meantime we advise that no attempt be made by any of our readers to alarm the world. Humanity will be alarmed enough in due time. Rather it should be our aim to console, to comfort, to bind up the broken-hearted, to pour in the oil and the wine, to show the good things which God has in reservation for the saints and the restitution blessings which then will begin to be dispensed to Israel and to all the families of the earth through Israel.
Mr. Spreckels is to be admired for his courage. He fully demonstrated it some years ago in his attack upon financial corruption and graft in the politics of San Francisco. The above interview shows the man's fearless courage as he looks into the future. He hopes to be able to stem the tide of political and financial corruption. He hopes for the establishment of the Golden Rule in business and in politics. We admire his courage and hopefulness, even while we know that his expectations will all fail. The world is not getting nearer to the Golden Rule. Our great institutions of learning are turning out infidels by the thousands—turning them into influential and predominant strata and currents of life—financial, political and religious. They fear neither God nor the devil. They scorn the Bible and its precepts as "old wives' fables." They have a standing of honor and a business integrity, but it is not of the Golden Rule kind. It is of the kind that merely keeps within the lines of legal requirement, and not always that, as was evidenced by the court exposures of illegalities in connection with some of the great insurance companies a few years ago and railroad mismanagement and land frauds and bribery by bankers, etc.
Nor should we be harsh in our judgment of millionaires as a whole, nor even of those who have been convicted of financial briberies. Rather our moderation should be known to all men. As peacemakers we should sympathetically point out on proper occasions that much of the difficulty arises from the fact that individual responsibility is overwhelmed by corporation associations—by the seeming necessity of an unlawful act to accomplish an end believed to be wise, benevolent or just. In other words, we are living in the day controlled by systems, of which individuals are merely atoms, even when they occupy influential positions in the systems.
How glad we are that, as Bible Students, we are obtaining from the Divine Word "meat in due season," which not only nourishes us, but makes us strong in the Lord to know and to do his will and to be assistful to all with whom we are in contact. Let us not forget that if we belong to the Lord we are of the "royal priesthood" and that now is the time, in the dawning of the great antitypical Jubilee, when all the priests are to blow upon the silver trumpets, making known to the world the riches of God's grace about to be revealed in Messiah's Kingdom, for which still we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
"We have reached a point where it is evident that the future holds in store a time when wars shall cease; when the nations of the world shall realize a federation as real and vital as that now subsisting between the component parts of a single state; when by deliberate international conjunction the strong shall universally help the weak, and when the corporate righteousness of the world shall compel unrighteousness to disappear and shall destroy the habitations of cruelty still lingering in the dark places of [R4672 : page 276] the earth. This is 'the spirit of the wide world brooding on things to come.' That day will be the Millennium, of course; but in some sense and degree it will surely be realized in this dispensation of mortal time."
Shocking reports are coming from Russia about the expulsion of the Jews in masses. As lightning out of a clear sky, thousands of Jewish families are being turned unexpectedly out of their homes, and as often brought to the beggar's staff. From a suburb of Kiev there have been banished Jews who have lived there for decades. This, however, does not hinder a part of the Jewish "upper-crust" from holding its hand over Russian bonds with a view of protecting themselves. If all the rich Jewish financiers in Germany and France possessed enough feeling of honor to oppose this Jewish persecution in Russia by a campaign against Russian stocks, then the Barbaric vassals of the Czar would soon be brought to fear in this, their "religious fervor." By this it is not intended to be said that every respectable person has not a duty to boycott Russian bonds, until Russia has adapted herself to the ways of civilization. But we do mean to say that Jewish capitalists should be in the lead with their good example. They are certainly, in the end, the closest to the situation.—From the German Press.
Doctor MacGillvary, Professor of Etymology in Cornell University, lecturing recently, said, "Insects at the moment have an enormous influence on the life and health of mankind. The number of species of insects which are known to science at the present time is estimated at one hundred millions. Knowledge of the place of insects in disease is of recent acquisition. Not until 1880 was it known that malaria was produced by a parasite. Not until fifteen years later was the part which mosquitos play in its spread discovered. Not until 1890 was yellow fever known to be an insect-carried disease."