Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie
by Andrew Carnegie
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Andrew Carnegie]




After retiring from active business my husband yielded to the earnest solicitations of friends, both here and in Great Britain, and began to jot down from time to time recollections of his early days. He soon found, however, that instead of the leisure he expected, his life was more occupied with affairs than ever before, and the writing of these memoirs was reserved for his play-time in Scotland. For a few weeks each summer we retired to our little bungalow on the moors at Aultnagar to enjoy the simple life, and it was there that Mr. Carnegie did most of his writing. He delighted in going back to those early times, and as he wrote he lived them all over again. He was thus engaged in July, 1914, when the war clouds began to gather, and when the fateful news of the 4th of August reached us, we immediately left our retreat in the hills and returned to Skibo to be more in touch with the situation.

These memoirs ended at that time. Henceforth he was never able to interest himself in private affairs. Many times he made the attempt to continue writing, but found it useless. Until then he had lived the life of a man in middle life—and a young one at that—golfing, fishing, swimming each day, sometimes doing all three in one day. Optimist as he always was and tried to be, even in the face of the failure of his hopes, the world disaster was too much. His heart was broken. A severe attack of influenza followed by two serious attacks of pneumonia precipitated old age upon him.

It was said of a contemporary who passed away a few months before Mr. Carnegie that "he never could have borne the burden of old age." Perhaps the most inspiring part of Mr. Carnegie's life, to those who were privileged to know it intimately, was the way he bore his "burden of old age." Always patient, considerate, cheerful, grateful for any little pleasure or service, never thinking of himself, but always of the dawning of the better day, his spirit ever shone brighter and brighter until "he was not, for God took him."

Written with his own hand on the fly-leaf of his manuscript are these words: "It is probable that material for a small volume might be collected from these memoirs which the public would care to read, and that a private and larger volume might please my relatives and friends. Much I have written from time to time may, I think, wisely be omitted. Whoever arranges these notes should be careful not to burden the public with too much. A man with a heart as well as a head should be chosen."

Who, then, could so well fill this description as our friend Professor John C. Van Dyke? When the manuscript was shown to him, he remarked, without having read Mr. Carnegie's notation, "It would be a labor of love to prepare this for publication." Here, then, the choice was mutual, and the manner in which he has performed this "labor" proves the wisdom of the choice—a choice made and carried out in the name of a rare and beautiful friendship.


New York April 16, 1920


The story of a man's life, especially when it is told by the man himself, should not be interrupted by the hecklings of an editor. He should be allowed to tell the tale in his own way, and enthusiasm, even extravagance in recitation should be received as a part of the story. The quality of the man may underlie exuberance of spirit, as truth may be found in apparent exaggeration. Therefore, in preparing these chapters for publication the editor has done little more than arrange the material chronologically and sequentially so that the narrative might run on unbrokenly to the end. Some footnotes by way of explanation, some illustrations that offer sight-help to the text, have been added; but the narrative is the thing.

This is neither the time nor the place to characterize or eulogize the maker of "this strange eventful history," but perhaps it is worth while to recognize that the history really was eventful. And strange. Nothing stranger ever came out of the Arabian Nights than the story of this poor Scotch boy who came to America and step by step, through many trials and triumphs, became the great steel master, built up a colossal industry, amassed an enormous fortune, and then deliberately and systematically gave away the whole of it for the enlightenment and betterment of mankind. Not only that. He established a gospel of wealth that can be neither ignored nor forgotten, and set a pace in distribution that succeeding millionaires have followed as a precedent. In the course of his career he became a nation-builder, a leader in thought, a writer, a speaker, the friend of workmen, schoolmen, and statesmen, the associate of both the lowly and the lofty. But these were merely interesting happenings in his life as compared with his great inspirations—his distribution of wealth, his passion for world peace, and his love for mankind.

Perhaps we are too near this history to see it in proper proportions, but in the time to come it should gain in perspective and in interest. The generations hereafter may realize the wonder of it more fully than we of to-day. Happily it is preserved to us, and that, too, in Mr. Carnegie's own words and in his own buoyant style. It is a very memorable record—a record perhaps the like of which we shall not look upon again.


New York August, 1920


































ANDREW CARNEGIE Photogravure frontispiece




































If the story of any man's life, truly told, must be interesting, as some sage avers, those of my relatives and immediate friends who have insisted upon having an account of mine may not be unduly disappointed with this result. I may console myself with the assurance that such a story must interest at least a certain number of people who have known me, and that knowledge will encourage me to proceed.

A book of this kind, written years ago by my friend, Judge Mellon, of Pittsburgh, gave me so much pleasure that I am inclined to agree with the wise one whose opinion I have given above; for, certainly, the story which the Judge told has proved a source of infinite satisfaction to his friends, and must continue to influence succeeding generations of his family to live life well. And not only this; to some beyond his immediate circle it holds rank with their favorite authors. The book contains one essential feature of value—it reveals the man. It was written without any intention of attracting public notice, being designed only for his family. In like manner I intend to tell my story, not as one posturing before the public, but as in the midst of my own people and friends, tried and true, to whom I can speak with the utmost freedom, feeling that even trifling incidents may not be wholly destitute of interest for them.

To begin, then, I was born in Dunfermline, in the attic of the small one-story house, corner of Moodie Street and Priory Lane, on the 25th of November, 1835, and, as the saying is, "of poor but honest parents, of good kith and kin." Dunfermline had long been noted as the center of the damask trade in Scotland.[1] My father, William Carnegie, was a damask weaver, the son of Andrew Carnegie after whom I was named.

[Footnote 1: The Eighteenth-Century Carnegies lived at the picturesque hamlet of Patiemuir, two miles south of Dunfermline. The growing importance of the linen industry in Dunfermline finally led the Carnegies to move to that town.]

My Grandfather Carnegie was well known throughout the district for his wit and humor, his genial nature and irrepressible spirits. He was head of the lively ones of his day, and known far and near as the chief of their joyous club—"Patiemuir College." Upon my return to Dunfermline, after an absence of fourteen years, I remember being approached by an old man who had been told that I was the grandson of the "Professor," my grandfather's title among his cronies. He was the very picture of palsied eld;

"His nose and chin they threatened ither."

As he tottered across the room toward me and laid his trembling hand upon my head he said: "And ye are the grandson o' Andra Carnegie! Eh, mon, I ha'e seen the day when your grandfaither and I could ha'e hallooed ony reasonable man oot o' his jidgment."

Several other old people of Dunfermline told me stories of my grandfather. Here is one of them:

One Hogmanay night[2] an old wifey, quite a character in the village, being surprised by a disguised face suddenly thrust in at the window, looked up and after a moment's pause exclaimed, "Oh, it's jist that daft callant Andra Carnegie." She was right; my grandfather at seventy-five was out frightening his old lady friends, disguised like other frolicking youngsters.

[Footnote 2: The 31st of December.]

I think my optimistic nature, my ability to shed trouble and to laugh through life, making "all my ducks swans," as friends say I do, must have been inherited from this delightful old masquerading grandfather whose name I am proud to bear.[3] A sunny disposition is worth more than fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine. Let us move it then. Laugh trouble away if possible, and one usually can if he be anything of a philosopher, provided that self-reproach comes not from his own wrongdoing. That always remains. There is no washing out of these "damned spots." The judge within sits in the supreme court and can never be cheated. Hence the grand rule of life which Burns gives:

"Thine own reproach alone do fear."

[Footnote 3: "There is no sign that Andrew, though he prospered in his wooing, was specially successful in acquisition of worldly gear. Otherwise, however, he became an outstanding character not only in the village, but in the adjoining city and district. A 'brainy' man who read and thought for himself he became associated with the radical weavers of Dunfermline, who in Patiemuir formed a meeting-place which they named a college (Andrew was the 'Professor' of it)." (Andrew Carnegie: His Dunfermline Ties and Benefactions, by J.B. Mackie, F.J.I.)]

This motto adopted early in life has been more to me than all the sermons I ever heard, and I have heard not a few, although I may admit resemblance to my old friend Baillie Walker in my mature years. He was asked by his doctor about his sleep and replied that it was far from satisfactory, he was very wakeful, adding with a twinkle in his eye: "But I get a bit fine doze i' the kirk noo and then."

On my mother's side the grandfather was even more marked, for my grandfather Thomas Morrison was a friend of William Cobbett, a contributor to his "Register," and in constant correspondence with him. Even as I write, in Dunfermline old men who knew Grandfather Morrison speak of him as one of the finest orators and ablest men they have known. He was publisher of "The Precursor," a small edition it might be said of Cobbett's "Register," and thought to have been the first radical paper in Scotland. I have read some of his writings, and in view of the importance now given to technical education, I think the most remarkable of them is a pamphlet which he published seventy-odd years ago entitled "Head-ication versus Hand-ication." It insists upon the importance of the latter in a manner that would reflect credit upon the strongest advocate of technical education to-day. It ends with these words, "I thank God that in my youth I learned to make and mend shoes." Cobbett published it in the "Register" in 1833, remarking editorially, "One of the most valuable communications ever published in the 'Register' upon the subject, is that of our esteemed friend and correspondent in Scotland, Thomas Morrison, which appears in this issue." So it seems I come by my scribbling propensities by inheritance—from both sides, for the Carnegies were also readers and thinkers.

My Grandfather Morrison was a born orator, a keen politician, and the head of the advanced wing of the radical party in the district—a position which his son, my Uncle Bailie Morrison, occupied as his successor. More than one well-known Scotsman in America has called upon me, to shake hands with "the grandson of Thomas Morrison." Mr. Farmer, president of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad Company, once said to me, "I owe all that I have of learning and culture to the influence of your grandfather"; and Ebenezer Henderson, author of the remarkable history of Dunfermline, stated that he largely owed his advancement in life to the fortunate fact that while a boy he entered my grandfather's service.

I have not passed so far through life without receiving some compliments, but I think nothing of a complimentary character has ever pleased me so much as this from a writer in a Glasgow newspaper, who had been a listener to a speech on Home Rule in America which I delivered in Saint Andrew's Hall. The correspondent wrote that much was then being said in Scotland with regard to myself and family and especially my grandfather Thomas Morrison, and he went on to say, "Judge my surprise when I found in the grandson on the platform, in manner, gesture and appearance, a perfect facsimile of the Thomas Morrison of old."

My surprising likeness to my grandfather, whom I do not remember to have ever seen, cannot be doubted, because I remember well upon my first return to Dunfermline in my twenty-seventh year, while sitting upon a sofa with my Uncle Bailie Morrison, that his big black eyes filled with tears. He could not speak and rushed out of the room overcome. Returning after a time he explained that something in me now and then flashed before him his father, who would instantly vanish but come back at intervals. Some gesture it was, but what precisely he could not make out. My mother continually noticed in me some of my grandfather's peculiarities. The doctrine of inherited tendencies is proved every day and hour, but how subtle is the law which transmits gesture, something as it were beyond the material body. I was deeply impressed.

My Grandfather Morrison married Miss Hodge, of Edinburgh, a lady in education, manners, and position, who died while the family was still young. At this time he was in good circumstances, a leather merchant conducting the tanning business in Dunfermline; but the peace after the Battle of Waterloo involved him in ruin, as it did thousands; so that while my Uncle Bailie, the eldest son, had been brought up in what might be termed luxury, for he had a pony to ride, the younger members of the family encountered other and harder days.

The second daughter, Margaret, was my mother, about whom I cannot trust myself to speak at length. She inherited from her mother the dignity, refinement, and air of the cultivated lady. Perhaps some day I may be able to tell the world something of this heroine, but I doubt it. I feel her to be sacred to myself and not for others to know. None could ever really know her—I alone did that. After my father's early death she was all my own. The dedication of my first book[4] tells the story. It was: "To my favorite Heroine My Mother."

[Footnote 4: An American Four-in-Hand in Great Britain. New York, 1888.]

Fortunate in my ancestors I was supremely so in my birthplace. Where one is born is very important, for different surroundings and traditions appeal to and stimulate different latent tendencies in the child. Ruskin truly observes that every bright boy in Edinburgh is influenced by the sight of the Castle. So is the child of Dunfermline, by its noble Abbey, the Westminster of Scotland, founded early in the eleventh century (1070) by Malcolm Canmore and his Queen Margaret, Scotland's patron saint. The ruins of the great monastery and of the Palace where kings were born still stand, and there, too, is Pittencrieff Glen, embracing Queen Margaret's shrine and the ruins of King Malcolm's Tower, with which the old ballad of "Sir Patrick Spens" begins:

"The King sits in Dunfermline tower,[5] Drinking the bluid red wine."

[Footnote 5: The Percy Reliques and The Oxford Book of Ballads give "town" instead of "tower"; but Mr. Carnegie insisted that it should be "tower."]

The tomb of The Bruce is in the center of the Abbey, Saint Margaret's tomb is near, and many of the "royal folk" lie sleeping close around. Fortunate, indeed, the child who first sees the light in that romantic town, which occupies high ground three miles north of the Firth of Forth, overlooking the sea, with Edinburgh in sight to the south, and to the north the peaks of the Ochils clearly in view. All is still redolent of the mighty past when Dunfermline was both nationally and religiously the capital of Scotland.

The child privileged to develop amid such surroundings absorbs poetry and romance with the air he breathes, assimilates history and tradition as he gazes around. These become to him his real world in childhood—the ideal is the ever-present real. The actual has yet to come when, later in life, he is launched into the workaday world of stern reality. Even then, and till his last day, the early impressions remain, sometimes for short seasons disappearing perchance, but only apparently driven away or suppressed. They are always rising and coming again to the front to exert their influence, to elevate his thought and color his life. No bright child of Dunfermline can escape the influence of the Abbey, Palace, and Glen. These touch him and set fire to the latent spark within, making him something different and beyond what, less happily born, he would have become. Under these inspiring conditions my parents had also been born, and hence came, I doubt not, the potency of the romantic and poetic strain which pervaded both.

As my father succeeded in the weaving business we removed from Moodie Street to a much more commodious house in Reid's Park. My father's four or five looms occupied the lower story; we resided in the upper, which was reached, after a fashion common in the older Scottish houses, by outside stairs from the pavement. It is here that my earliest recollections begin, and, strangely enough, the first trace of memory takes me back to a day when I saw a small map of America. It was upon rollers and about two feet square. Upon this my father, mother, Uncle William, and Aunt Aitken were looking for Pittsburgh and pointing out Lake Erie and Niagara. Soon after my uncle and Aunt Aitken sailed for the land of promise.

At this time I remember my cousin-brother, George Lauder ("Dod"), and myself were deeply impressed with the great danger overhanging us because a lawless flag was secreted in the garret. It had been painted to be carried, and I believe was carried by my father, or uncle, or some other good radical of our family, in a procession during the Corn Law agitation. There had been riots in the town and a troop of cavalry was quartered in the Guildhall. My grandfathers and uncles on both sides, and my father, had been foremost in addressing meetings, and the whole family circle was in a ferment.

I remember as if it were yesterday being awakened during the night by a tap at the back window by men who had come to inform my parents that my uncle, Bailie Morrison, had been thrown into jail because he had dared to hold a meeting which had been forbidden. The sheriff with the aid of the soldiers had arrested him a few miles from the town where the meeting had been held, and brought him into the town during the night, followed by an immense throng of people.[6]

[Footnote 6: At the opening of the Lauder Technical School in October, 1880, nearly half a century after the disquieting scenes of 1842, Mr. Carnegie thus recalled the shock which was given to his boy mind: "One of my earliest recollections is that of being wakened in the darkness to be told that my Uncle Morrison was in jail. Well, it is one of the proudest boasts I can make to-day to be able to say that I had an uncle who was in jail. But, ladies and gentlemen, my uncle went to jail to vindicate the rights of public assembly." (Mackie.)]

Serious trouble was feared, for the populace threatened to rescue him, and, as we learned afterwards, he had been induced by the provost of the town to step forward to a window overlooking the High Street and beg the people to retire. This he did, saying: "If there be a friend of the good cause here to-night, let him fold his arms." They did so. And then, after a pause, he said, "Now depart in peace!"[7] My uncle, like all our family, was a moral-force man and strong for obedience to law, but radical to the core and an intense admirer of the American Republic.

[Footnote 7: "The Crown agents wisely let the proceedings lapse.... Mr. Morrison was given a gratifying assurance of the appreciation of his fellow citizens by his election to the Council and his elevation to the Magisterial Bench, followed shortly after by his appointment to the office of Burgh Chamberlain. The patriotic reformer whom the criminal authorities endeavored to convict as a law-breaker became by the choice of his fellow citizens a Magistrate, and was further given a certificate for trustworthiness and integrity." (Mackie.)]

One may imagine when all this was going on in public how bitter were the words that passed from one to the other in private. The denunciations of monarchical and aristocratic government, of privilege in all its forms, the grandeur of the republican system, the superiority of America, a land peopled by our own race, a home for freemen in which every citizen's privilege was every man's right—these were the exciting themes upon which I was nurtured. As a child I could have slain king, duke, or lord, and considered their deaths a service to the state and hence an heroic act.

Such is the influence of childhood's earliest associations that it was long before I could trust myself to speak respectfully of any privileged class or person who had not distinguished himself in some good way and therefore earned the right to public respect. There was still the sneer behind for mere pedigree—"he is nothing, has done nothing, only an accident, a fraud strutting in borrowed plumes; all he has to his account is the accident of birth; the most fruitful part of his family, as with the potato, lies underground." I wondered that intelligent men could live where another human being was born to a privilege which was not also their birthright. I was never tired of quoting the only words which gave proper vent to my indignation:

"There was a Brutus once that would have brooked Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome As easily as a king."

But then kings were kings, not mere shadows. All this was inherited, of course. I only echoed what I heard at home.

Dunfermline has long been renowned as perhaps the most radical town in the Kingdom, although I know Paisley has claims. This is all the more creditable to the cause of radicalism because in the days of which I speak the population of Dunfermline was in large part composed of men who were small manufacturers, each owning his own loom or looms. They were not tied down to regular hours, their labors being piece work. They got webs from the larger manufacturers and the weaving was done at home.

These were times of intense political excitement, and there was frequently seen throughout the entire town, for a short time after the midday meal, small groups of men with their aprons girt about them discussing affairs of state. The names of Hume, Cobden, and Bright were upon every one's tongue. I was often attracted, small as I was, to these circles and was an earnest listener to the conversation, which was wholly one-sided. The generally accepted conclusion was that there must be a change. Clubs were formed among the townsfolk, and the London newspapers were subscribed for. The leading editorials were read every evening to the people, strangely enough, from one of the pulpits of the town. My uncle, Bailie Morrison, was often the reader, and, as the articles were commented upon by him and others after being read, the meetings were quite exciting.

These political meetings were of frequent occurrence, and, as might be expected, I was as deeply interested as any of the family and attended many. One of my uncles or my father was generally to be heard. I remember one evening my father addressed a large outdoor meeting in the Pends. I had wedged my way in under the legs of the hearers, and at one cheer louder than all the rest I could not restrain my enthusiasm. Looking up to the man under whose legs I had found protection I informed him that was my father speaking. He lifted me on his shoulder and kept me there.

To another meeting I was taken by my father to hear John Bright, who spoke in favor of J.B. Smith as the Liberal candidate for the Stirling Burghs. I made the criticism at home that Mr. Bright did not speak correctly, as he said "men" when he meant "maan." He did not give the broad a we were accustomed to in Scotland. It is not to be wondered at that, nursed amid such surroundings, I developed into a violent young Republican whose motto was "death to privilege." At that time I did not know what privilege meant, but my father did.

One of my Uncle Lauder's best stories was about this same J.B. Smith, the friend of John Bright, who was standing for Parliament in Dunfermline. Uncle was a member of his Committee and all went well until it was proclaimed that Smith was a "Unitawrian." The district was placarded with the enquiry: Would you vote for a "Unitawrian"? It was serious. The Chairman of Smith's Committee in the village of Cairney Hill, a blacksmith, was reported as having declared he never would. Uncle drove over to remonstrate with him. They met in the village tavern over a gill:

"Man, I canna vote for a Unitawrian," said the Chairman.

"But," said my uncle, "Maitland [the opposing candidate] is a Trinitawrian."

"Damn; that's waur," was the response.

And the blacksmith voted right. Smith won by a small majority.

The change from hand-loom to steam-loom weaving was disastrous to our family. My father did not recognize the impending revolution, and was struggling under the old system. His looms sank greatly in value, and it became necessary for that power which never failed in any emergency—my mother—to step forward and endeavor to repair the family fortune. She opened a small shop in Moodie Street and contributed to the revenues which, though slender, nevertheless at that time sufficed to keep us in comfort and "respectable."

I remember that shortly after this I began to learn what poverty meant. Dreadful days came when my father took the last of his webs to the great manufacturer, and I saw my mother anxiously awaiting his return to know whether a new web was to be obtained or that a period of idleness was upon us. It was burnt into my heart then that my father, though neither "abject, mean, nor vile," as Burns has it, had nevertheless to

"Beg a brother of the earth To give him leave to toil."

And then and there came the resolve that I would cure that when I got to be a man. We were not, however, reduced to anything like poverty compared with many of our neighbors. I do not know to what lengths of privation my mother would not have gone that she might see her two boys wearing large white collars, and trimly dressed.

In an incautious moment my parents had promised that I should never be sent to school until I asked leave to go. This promise I afterward learned began to give them considerable uneasiness because as I grew up I showed no disposition to ask. The schoolmaster, Mr. Robert Martin, was applied to and induced to take some notice of me. He took me upon an excursion one day with some of my companions who attended school, and great relief was experienced by my parents when one day soon afterward I came and asked for permission to go to Mr. Martin's school.[8] I need not say the permission was duly granted. I had then entered upon my eighth year, which subsequent experience leads me to say is quite early enough for any child to begin attending school.

[Footnote 8: It was known as Rolland School.]

The school was a perfect delight to me, and if anything occurred which prevented my attendance I was unhappy. This happened every now and then because my morning duty was to bring water from the well at the head of Moodie Street. The supply was scanty and irregular. Sometimes it was not allowed to run until late in the morning and a score of old wives were sitting around, the turn of each having been previously secured through the night by placing a worthless can in the line. This, as might be expected, led to numerous contentions in which I would not be put down even by these venerable old dames. I earned the reputation of being "an awfu' laddie." In this way I probably developed the strain of argumentativeness, or perhaps combativeness, which has always remained with me.

In the performance of these duties I was often late for school, but the master, knowing the cause, forgave the lapses. In the same connection I may mention that I had often the shop errands to run after school, so that in looking back upon my life I have the satisfaction of feeling that I became useful to my parents even at the early age of ten. Soon after that the accounts of the various people who dealt with the shop were entrusted to my keeping so that I became acquainted, in a small way, with business affairs even in childhood.

One cause of misery there was, however, in my school experience. The boys nicknamed me "Martin's pet," and sometimes called out that dreadful epithet to me as I passed along the street. I did not know all that it meant, but it seemed to me a term of the utmost opprobrium, and I know that it kept me from responding as freely as I should otherwise have done to that excellent teacher, my only schoolmaster, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude which I regret I never had opportunity to do more than acknowledge before he died.

I may mention here a man whose influence over me cannot be overestimated, my Uncle Lauder, George Lauder's father.[9] My father was necessarily constantly at work in the loom shop and had little leisure to bestow upon me through the day. My uncle being a shopkeeper in the High Street was not thus tied down. Note the location, for this was among the shopkeeping aristocracy, and high and varied degrees of aristocracy there were even among shopkeepers in Dunfermline. Deeply affected by my Aunt Seaton's death, which occurred about the beginning of my school life, he found his chief solace in the companionship of his only son, George, and myself. He possessed an extraordinary gift of dealing with children and taught us many things. Among others I remember how he taught us British history by imagining each of the monarchs in a certain place upon the walls of the room performing the act for which he was well known. Thus for me King John sits to this day above the mantelpiece signing the Magna Charta, and Queen Victoria is on the back of the door with her children on her knee.

[Footnote 9: The Lauder Technical College given by Mr. Carnegie to Dunfermline was named in honor of this uncle, George Lauder.]

It may be taken for granted that the omission which, years after, I found in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey was fully supplied in our list of monarchs. A slab in a small chapel at Westminster says that the body of Oliver Cromwell was removed from there. In the list of the monarchs which I learned at my uncle's knee the grand republican monarch appeared writing his message to the Pope of Rome, informing His Holiness that "if he did not cease persecuting the Protestants the thunder of Great Britain's cannon would be heard in the Vatican." It is needless to say that the estimate we formed of Cromwell was that he was worth them "a' thegither."

It was from my uncle I learned all that I know of the early history of Scotland—of Wallace and Bruce and Burns, of Blind Harry's history, of Scott, Ramsey, Tannahill, Hogg, and Fergusson. I can truly say in the words of Burns that there was then and there created in me a vein of Scottish prejudice (or patriotism) which will cease to exist only with life. Wallace, of course, was our hero. Everything heroic centered in him. Sad was the day when a wicked big boy at school told me that England was far larger than Scotland. I went to the uncle, who had the remedy.

"Not at all, Naig; if Scotland were rolled out flat as England, Scotland would be the larger, but would you have the Highlands rolled down?"

Oh, never! There was balm in Gilead for the wounded young patriot. Later the greater population of England was forced upon me, and again to the uncle I went.

"Yes, Naig, seven to one, but there were more than that odds against us at Bannockburn." And again there was joy in my heart—joy that there were more English men there since the glory was the greater.

This is something of a commentary upon the truth that war breeds war, that every battle sows the seeds of future battles, and that thus nations become traditional enemies. The experience of American boys is that of the Scotch. They grow up to read of Washington and Valley Forge, of Hessians hired to kill Americans, and they come to hate the very name of Englishman. Such was my experience with my American nephews. Scotland was all right, but England that had fought Scotland was the wicked partner. Not till they became men was the prejudice eradicated, and even yet some of it may linger.

Uncle Lauder has told me since that he often brought people into the room assuring them that he could make "Dod" (George Lauder) and me weep, laugh, or close our little fists ready to fight—in short, play upon all our moods through the influence of poetry and song. The betrayal of Wallace was his trump card which never failed to cause our little hearts to sob, a complete breakdown being the invariable result. Often as he told the story it never lost its hold. No doubt it received from time to time new embellishments. My uncle's stories never wanted "the hat and the stick" which Scott gave his. How wonderful is the influence of a hero upon children!

I spent many hours and evenings in the High Street with my uncle and "Dod," and thus began a lifelong brotherly alliance between the latter and myself. "Dod" and "Naig" we always were in the family. I could not say "George" in infancy and he could not get more than "Naig" out of Carnegie, and it has always been "Dod" and "Naig" with us. No other names would mean anything.

There were two roads by which to return from my uncle's house in the High Street to my home in Moodie Street at the foot of the town, one along the eerie churchyard of the Abbey among the dead, where there was no light; and the other along the lighted streets by way of the May Gate. When it became necessary for me to go home, my uncle, with a wicked pleasure, would ask which way I was going. Thinking what Wallace would do, I always replied I was going by the Abbey. I have the satisfaction of believing that never, not even upon one occasion, did I yield to the temptation to take the other turn and follow the lamps at the junction of the May Gate. I often passed along that churchyard and through the dark arch of the Abbey with my heart in my mouth. Trying to whistle and keep up my courage, I would plod through the darkness, falling back in all emergencies upon the thought of what Wallace would have done if he had met with any foe, natural or supernatural.

King Robert the Bruce never got justice from my cousin or myself in childhood. It was enough for us that he was a king while Wallace was the man of the people. Sir John Graham was our second. The intensity of a Scottish boy's patriotism, reared as I was, constitutes a real force in his life to the very end. If the source of my stock of that prime article—courage—were studied, I am sure the final analysis would find it founded upon Wallace, the hero of Scotland. It is a tower of strength for a boy to have a hero.

It gave me a pang to find when I reached America that there was any other country which pretended to have anything to be proud of. What was a country without Wallace, Bruce, and Burns? I find in the untraveled Scotsman of to-day something still of this feeling. It remains for maturer years and wider knowledge to tell us that every nation has its heroes, its romance, its traditions, and its achievements; and while the true Scotsman will not find reason in after years to lower the estimate he has formed of his own country and of its position even among the larger nations of the earth, he will find ample reason to raise his opinion of other nations because they all have much to be proud of—quite enough to stimulate their sons so to act their parts as not to disgrace the land that gave them birth.

It was years before I could feel that the new land could be anything but a temporary abode. My heart was in Scotland. I resembled Principal Peterson's little boy who, when in Canada, in reply to a question, said he liked Canada "very well for a visit, but he could never live so far away from the remains of Bruce and Wallace."



My good Uncle Lauder justly set great value upon recitation in education, and many were the pennies which Dod and I received for this. In our little frocks or shirts, our sleeves rolled up, paper helmets and blackened faces, with laths for swords, my cousin and myself were kept constantly reciting Norval and Glenalvon, Roderick Dhu and James Fitz-James to our schoolmates and often to the older people.

I remember distinctly that in the celebrated dialogue between Norval and Glenalvon we had some qualms about repeating the phrase,—"and false as hell." At first we made a slight cough over the objectionable word which always created amusement among the spectators. It was a great day for us when my uncle persuaded us that we could say "hell" without swearing. I am afraid we practiced it very often. I always played the part of Glenalvon and made a great mouthful of the word. It had for me the wonderful fascination attributed to forbidden fruit. I can well understand the story of Marjory Fleming, who being cross one morning when Walter Scott called and asked how she was, answered:

"I am very cross this morning, Mr. Scott. I just want to say 'damn' [with a swing], but I winna."

Thereafter the expression of the one fearful word was a great point. Ministers could say "damnation" in the pulpit without sin, and so we, too, had full range on "hell" in recitation. Another passage made a deep impression. In the fight between Norval and Glenalvon, Norval says, "When we contend again our strife is mortal." Using these words in an article written for the "North American Review" in 1897, my uncle came across them and immediately sat down and wrote me from Dunfermline that he knew where I had found the words. He was the only man living who did.

My power to memorize must have been greatly strengthened by the mode of teaching adopted by my uncle. I cannot name a more important means of benefiting young people than encouraging them to commit favorite pieces to memory and recite them often. Anything which pleased me I could learn with a rapidity which surprised partial friends. I could memorize anything whether it pleased me or not, but if it did not impress me strongly it passed away in a few hours.

One of the trials of my boy's life at school in Dunfermline was committing to memory two double verses of the Psalms which I had to recite daily. My plan was not to look at the psalm until I had started for school. It was not more than five or six minutes' slow walk, but I could readily master the task in that time, and, as the psalm was the first lesson, I was prepared and passed through the ordeal successfully. Had I been asked to repeat the psalm thirty minutes afterwards the attempt would, I fear, have ended in disastrous failure.

The first penny I ever earned or ever received from any person beyond the family circle was one from my school-teacher, Mr. Martin, for repeating before the school Burns's poem, "Man was made to Mourn." In writing this I am reminded that in later years, dining with Mr. John Morley in London, the conversation turned upon the life of Wordsworth, and Mr. Morley said he had been searching his Burns for the poem to "Old Age," so much extolled by him, which he had not been able to find under that title. I had the pleasure of repeating part of it to him. He promptly handed me a second penny. Ah, great as Morley is, he wasn't my school-teacher, Mr. Martin—the first "great" man I ever knew. Truly great was he to me. But a hero surely is "Honest John" Morley.

In religious matters we were not much hampered. While other boys and girls at school were compelled to learn the Shorter Catechism, Dod and I, by some arrangement the details of which I never clearly understood, were absolved. All of our family connections, Morrisons and Lauders, were advanced in their theological as in their political views, and had objections to the catechism, I have no doubt. We had not one orthodox Presbyterian in our family circle. My father, Uncle and Aunt Aitken, Uncle Lauder, and also my Uncle Carnegie, had fallen away from the tenets of Calvinism. At a later day most of them found refuge for a time in the doctrines of Swedenborg. My mother was always reticent upon religious subjects. She never mentioned these to me nor did she attend church, for she had no servant in those early days and did all the housework, including cooking our Sunday dinner. A great reader, always, Channing the Unitarian was in those days her special delight. She was a marvel!

During my childhood the atmosphere around me was in a state of violent disturbance in matters theological as well as political. Along with the most advanced ideas which were being agitated in the political world—the death of privilege, the equality of the citizen, Republicanism—I heard many disputations upon theological subjects which the impressionable child drank in to an extent quite unthought of by his elders. I well remember that the stern doctrines of Calvinism lay as a terrible nightmare upon me, but that state of mind was soon over, owing to the influences of which I have spoken. I grew up treasuring within me the fact that my father had risen and left the Presbyterian Church one day when the minister preached the doctrine of infant damnation. This was shortly after I had made my appearance.

Father could not stand it and said: "If that be your religion and that your God, I seek a better religion and a nobler God." He left the Presbyterian Church never to return, but he did not cease to attend various other churches. I saw him enter the closet every morning to pray and that impressed me. He was indeed a saint and always remained devout. All sects became to him as agencies for good. He had discovered that theologies were many, but religion was one. I was quite satisfied that my father knew better than the minister, who pictured not the Heavenly Father, but the cruel avenger of the Old Testament—an "Eternal Torturer" as Andrew D. White ventures to call him in his autobiography. Fortunately this conception of the Unknown is now largely of the past.

One of the chief enjoyments of my childhood was the keeping of pigeons and rabbits. I am grateful every time I think of the trouble my father took to build a suitable house for these pets. Our home became headquarters for my young companions. My mother was always looking to home influences as the best means of keeping her two boys in the right path. She used to say that the first step in this direction was to make home pleasant; and there was nothing she and my father would not do to please us and the neighbors' children who centered about us.

My first business venture was securing my companions' services for a season as an employer, the compensation being that the young rabbits, when such came, should be named after them. The Saturday holiday was generally spent by my flock in gathering food for the rabbits. My conscience reproves me to-day, looking back, when I think of the hard bargain I drove with my young playmates, many of whom were content to gather dandelions and clover for a whole season with me, conditioned upon this unique reward—the poorest return ever made to labor. Alas! what else had I to offer them! Not a penny.

I treasure the remembrance of this plan as the earliest evidence of organizing power upon the development of which my material success in life has hung—a success not to be attributed to what I have known or done myself, but to the faculty of knowing and choosing others who did know better than myself. Precious knowledge this for any man to possess. I did not understand steam machinery, but I tried to understand that much more complicated piece of mechanism—man. Stopping at a small Highland inn on our coaching trip in 1898, a gentleman came forward and introduced himself. He was Mr. MacIntosh, the great furniture manufacturer of Scotland—a fine character as I found out afterward. He said he had ventured to make himself known as he was one of the boys who had gathered, and sometimes he feared "conveyed," spoil for the rabbits, and had "one named after him." It may be imagined how glad I was to meet him—the only one of the rabbit boys I have met in after-life. I hope to keep his friendship to the last and see him often. [As I read this manuscript to-day, December 1, 1913, I have a very precious note from him, recalling old times when we were boys together. He has a reply by this time that will warm his heart as his note did mine.]

With the introduction and improvement of steam machinery, trade grew worse and worse in Dunfermline for the small manufacturers, and at last a letter was written to my mother's two sisters in Pittsburgh stating that the idea of our going to them was seriously entertained—not, as I remember hearing my parents say, to benefit their own condition, but for the sake of their two young sons. Satisfactory letters were received in reply. The decision was taken to sell the looms and furniture by auction. And my father's sweet voice sang often to mother, brother, and me:

"To the West, to the West, to the land of the free, Where the mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea; Where a man is a man even though he must toil And the poorest may gather the fruits of the soil."

The proceeds of the sale were most disappointing. The looms brought hardly anything, and the result was that twenty pounds more were needed to enable the family to pay passage to America. Here let me record an act of friendship performed by a lifelong companion of my mother—who always attracted stanch friends because she was so stanch herself—Mrs. Henderson, by birth Ella Ferguson, the name by which she was known in our family. She boldly ventured to advance the needful twenty pounds, my Uncles Lauder and Morrison guaranteeing repayment. Uncle Lauder also lent his aid and advice, managing all the details for us, and on the 17th day of May, 1848, we left Dunfermline. My father's age was then forty-three, my mother's thirty-three. I was in my thirteenth year, my brother Tom in his fifth year—a beautiful white-haired child with lustrous black eyes, who everywhere attracted attention.

I had left school forever, with the exception of one winter's night-schooling in America, and later a French night-teacher for a time, and, strange to say, an elocutionist from whom I learned how to declaim. I could read, write, and cipher, and had begun the study of algebra and of Latin. A letter written to my Uncle Lauder during the voyage, and since returned, shows that I was then a better penman than now. I had wrestled with English grammar, and knew as little of what it was designed to teach as children usually do. I had read little except about Wallace, Bruce, and Burns; but knew many familiar pieces of poetry by heart. I should add to this the fairy tales of childhood, and especially the "Arabian Nights," by which I was carried into a new world. I was in dreamland as I devoured those stories.

On the morning of the day we started from beloved Dunfermline, in the omnibus that ran upon the coal railroad to Charleston, I remember that I stood with tearful eyes looking out of the window until Dunfermline vanished from view, the last structure to fade being the grand and sacred old Abbey. During my first fourteen years of absence my thought was almost daily, as it was that morning, "When shall I see you again?" Few days passed in which I did not see in my mind's eye the talismanic letters on the Abbey tower—"King Robert The Bruce." All my recollections of childhood, all I knew of fairyland, clustered around the old Abbey and its curfew bell, which tolled at eight o'clock every evening and was the signal for me to run to bed before it stopped. I have referred to that bell in my "American Four-in-Hand in Britain"[10] when passing the Abbey and I may as well quote from it now:

[Footnote 10: An American Four-in-Hand in Britain. New York, 1886.]

As we drove down the Pends I was standing on the front seat of the coach with Provost Walls, when I heard the first toll of the Abbey bell, tolled in honor of my mother and myself. My knees sank from under me, the tears came rushing before I knew it, and I turned round to tell the Provost that I must give in. For a moment I felt as if I were about to faint. Fortunately I saw that there was no crowd before us for a little distance. I had time to regain control, and biting my lips till they actually bled, I murmured to myself, "No matter, keep cool, you must go on"; but never can there come to my ears on earth, nor enter so deep into my soul, a sound that shall haunt and subdue me with its sweet, gracious, melting power as that did.

By that curfew bell I had been laid in my little couch to sleep the sleep of childish innocence. Father and mother, sometimes the one, sometimes the other, had told me as they bent lovingly over me night after night, what that bell said as it tolled. Many good words has that bell spoken to me through their translations. No wrong thing did I do through the day which that voice from all I knew of heaven and the great Father there did not tell me kindly about ere I sank to sleep, speaking the words so plainly that I knew that the power that moved it had seen all and was not angry, never angry, never, but so very, very sorry. Nor is that bell dumb to me to-day when I hear its voice. It still has its message, and now it sounded to welcome back the exiled mother and son under its precious care again.

The world has not within its power to devise, much less to bestow upon us, such reward as that which the Abbey bell gave when it tolled in our honor. But my brother Tom should have been there also; this was the thought that came. He, too, was beginning to know the wonders of that bell ere we were away to the newer land.

Rousseau wished to die to the strains of sweet music. Could I choose my accompaniment, I could wish to pass into the dim beyond with the tolling of the Abbey bell sounding in my ears, telling me of the race that had been run, and calling me, as it had called the little white-haired child, for the last time—to sleep.

I have had many letters from readers speaking of this passage in my book, some of the writers going so far as to say that tears fell as they read. It came from the heart and perhaps that is why it reached the hearts of others.

We were rowed over in a small boat to the Edinburgh steamer in the Firth of Forth. As I was about to be taken from the small boat to the steamer, I rushed to Uncle Lauder and clung round his neck, crying out: "I cannot leave you! I cannot leave you!" I was torn from him by a kind sailor who lifted me up on the deck of the steamer. Upon my return visit to Dunfermline this dear old fellow, when he came to see me, told me it was the saddest parting he had ever witnessed.

We sailed from the Broomielaw of Glasgow in the 800-ton sailing ship Wiscasset. During the seven weeks of the voyage, I came to know the sailors quite well, learned the names of the ropes, and was able to direct the passengers to answer the call of the boatswain, for the ship being undermanned, the aid of the passengers was urgently required. In consequence I was invited by the sailors to participate on Sundays, in the one delicacy of the sailors' mess, plum duff. I left the ship with sincere regret.

The arrival at New York was bewildering. I had been taken to see the Queen at Edinburgh, but that was the extent of my travels before emigrating. Glasgow we had not time to see before we sailed. New York was the first great hive of human industry among the inhabitants of which I had mingled, and the bustle and excitement of it overwhelmed me. The incident of our stay in New York which impressed me most occurred while I was walking through Bowling Green at Castle Garden. I was caught up in the arms of one of the Wiscasset sailors, Robert Barryman, who was decked out in regular Jackashore fashion, with blue jacket and white trousers. I thought him the most beautiful man I had ever seen.

He took me to a refreshment stand and ordered a glass of sarsaparilla for me, which I drank with as much relish as if it were the nectar of the gods. To this day nothing that I have ever seen of the kind rivals the image which remains in my mind of the gorgeousness of the highly ornamented brass vessel out of which that nectar came foaming. Often as I have passed the identical spot I see standing there the old woman's sarsaparilla stand, and I marvel what became of the dear old sailor. I have tried to trace him, but in vain, hoping that if found he might be enjoying a ripe old age, and that it might be in my power to add to the pleasure of his declining years. He was my ideal Tom Bowling, and when that fine old song is sung I always see as the "form of manly beauty" my dear old friend Barryman. Alas! ere this he's gone aloft. Well; by his kindness on the voyage he made one boy his devoted friend and admirer.

We knew only Mr. and Mrs. Sloane in New York—parents of the well-known John, Willie, and Henry Sloane. Mrs. Sloane (Euphemia Douglas) was my mother's companion in childhood in Dunfermline. Mr. Sloane and my father had been fellow weavers. We called upon them and were warmly welcomed. It was a genuine pleasure when Willie, his son, bought ground from me in 1900 opposite our New York residence for his two married daughters so that our children of the third generation became playmates as our mothers were in Scotland.

My father was induced by emigration agents in New York to take the Erie Canal by way of Buffalo and Lake Erie to Cleveland, and thence down the canal to Beaver—a journey which then lasted three weeks, and is made to-day by rail in ten hours. There was no railway communication then with Pittsburgh, nor indeed with any western town. The Erie Railway was under construction and we saw gangs of men at work upon it as we traveled. Nothing comes amiss to youth, and I look back upon my three weeks as a passenger upon the canal-boat with unalloyed pleasure. All that was disagreeable in my experience has long since faded from recollection, excepting the night we were compelled to remain upon the wharf-boat at Beaver waiting for the steamboat to take us up the Ohio to Pittsburgh. This was our first introduction to the mosquito in all its ferocity. My mother suffered so severely that in the morning she could hardly see. We were all frightful sights, but I do not remember that even the stinging misery of that night kept me from sleeping soundly. I could always sleep, never knowing "horrid night, the child of hell."

Our friends in Pittsburgh had been anxiously waiting to hear from us, and in their warm and affectionate greeting all our troubles were forgotten. We took up our residence with them in Allegheny City. A brother of my Uncle Hogan had built a small weaver's shop at the back end of a lot in Rebecca Street. This had a second story in which there were two rooms, and it was in these (free of rent, for my Aunt Aitken owned them) that my parents began housekeeping. My uncle soon gave up weaving and my father took his place and began making tablecloths, which he had not only to weave, but afterwards, acting as his own merchant, to travel and sell, as no dealers could be found to take them in quantity. He was compelled to market them himself, selling from door to door. The returns were meager in the extreme.

As usual, my mother came to the rescue. There was no keeping her down. In her youth she had learned to bind shoes in her father's business for pin-money, and the skill then acquired was now turned to account for the benefit of the family. Mr. Phipps, father of my friend and partner Mr. Henry Phipps, was, like my grandfather, a master shoemaker. He was our neighbor in Allegheny City. Work was obtained from him, and in addition to attending to her household duties—for, of course, we had no servant—this wonderful woman, my mother, earned four dollars a week by binding shoes. Midnight would often find her at work. In the intervals during the day and evening, when household cares would permit, and my young brother sat at her knee threading needles and waxing the thread for her, she recited to him, as she had to me, the gems of Scottish minstrelsy which she seemed to have by heart, or told him tales which failed not to contain a moral.

This is where the children of honest poverty have the most precious of all advantages over those of wealth. The mother, nurse, cook, governess, teacher, saint, all in one; the father, exemplar, guide, counselor, and friend! Thus were my brother and I brought up. What has the child of millionaire or nobleman that counts compared to such a heritage?

My mother was a busy woman, but all her work did not prevent her neighbors from soon recognizing her as a wise and kindly woman whom they could call upon for counsel or help in times of trouble. Many have told me what my mother did for them. So it was in after years wherever we resided; rich and poor came to her with their trials and found good counsel. She towered among her neighbors wherever she went.



The great question now was, what could be found for me to do. I had just completed my thirteenth year, and I fairly panted to get to work that I might help the family to a start in the new land. The prospect of want had become to me a frightful nightmare. My thoughts at this period centered in the determination that we should make and save enough of money to produce three hundred dollars a year—twenty-five dollars monthly, which I figured was the sum required to keep us without being dependent upon others. Every necessary thing was very cheap in those days.

The brother of my Uncle Hogan would often ask what my parents meant to do with me, and one day there occurred the most tragic of all scenes I have ever witnessed. Never can I forget it. He said, with the kindest intentions in the world, to my mother, that I was a likely boy and apt to learn; and he believed that if a basket were fitted out for me with knickknacks to sell, I could peddle them around the wharves and make quite a considerable sum. I never knew what an enraged woman meant till then. My mother was sitting sewing at the moment, but she sprang to her feet with outstretched hands and shook them in his face.

"What! my son a peddler and go among rough men upon the wharves! I would rather throw him into the Allegheny River. Leave me!" she cried, pointing to the door, and Mr. Hogan went.

She stood a tragic queen. The next moment she had broken down, but only for a few moments did tears fall and sobs come. Then she took her two boys in her arms and told us not to mind her foolishness. There were many things in the world for us to do and we could be useful men, honored and respected, if we always did what was right. It was a repetition of Helen Macgregor, in her reply to Osbaldistone in which she threatened to have her prisoners "chopped into as many pieces as there are checks in the tartan." But the reason for the outburst was different. It was not because the occupation suggested was peaceful labor, for we were taught that idleness was disgraceful; but because the suggested occupation was somewhat vagrant in character and not entirely respectable in her eyes. Better death. Yes, mother would have taken her two boys, one under each arm, and perished with them rather than they should mingle with low company in their extreme youth.

As I look back upon the early struggles this can be said: there was not a prouder family in the land. A keen sense of honor, independence, self-respect, pervaded the household. Walter Scott said of Burns that he had the most extraordinary eye he ever saw in a human being. I can say as much for my mother. As Burns has it:

"Her eye even turned on empty space, Beamed keen with honor."

Anything low, mean, deceitful, shifty, coarse, underhand, or gossipy was foreign to that heroic soul. Tom and I could not help growing up respectable characters, having such a mother and such a father, for the father, too, was one of nature's noblemen, beloved by all, a saint.

Soon after this incident my father found it necessary to give up hand-loom weaving and to enter the cotton factory of Mr. Blackstock, an old Scotsman in Allegheny City, where we lived. In this factory he also obtained for me a position as bobbin boy, and my first work was done there at one dollar and twenty cents per week. It was a hard life. In the winter father and I had to rise and breakfast in the darkness, reach the factory before it was daylight, and, with a short interval for lunch, work till after dark. The hours hung heavily upon me and in the work itself I took no pleasure; but the cloud had a silver lining, as it gave me the feeling that I was doing something for my world—our family. I have made millions since, but none of those millions gave me such happiness as my first week's earnings. I was now a helper of the family, a breadwinner, and no longer a total charge upon my parents. Often had I heard my father's beautiful singing of "The Boatie Rows" and often I longed to fulfill the last lines of the verse:

"When Aaleck, Jock, and Jeanettie, Are up and got their lair,[11] They'll serve to gar the boatie row, And lichten a' our care."

[Footnote 11: Education.]

I was going to make our tiny craft skim. It should be noted here that Aaleck, Jock, and Jeanettie were first to get their education. Scotland was the first country that required all parents, high or low, to educate their children, and established the parish public schools.

Soon after this Mr. John Hay, a fellow-Scotch manufacturer of bobbins in Allegheny City, needed a boy, and asked whether I would not go into his service. I went, and received two dollars per week; but at first the work was even more irksome than the factory. I had to run a small steam-engine and to fire the boiler in the cellar of the bobbin factory. It was too much for me. I found myself night after night, sitting up in bed trying the steam gauges, fearing at one time that the steam was too low and that the workers above would complain that they had not power enough, and at another time that the steam was too high and that the boiler might burst.

But all this it was a matter of honor to conceal from my parents. They had their own troubles and bore them. I must play the man and bear mine. My hopes were high, and I looked every day for some change to take place. What it was to be I knew not, but that it would come I felt certain if I kept on. Besides, at this date I was not beyond asking myself what Wallace would have done and what a Scotsman ought to do. Of one thing I was sure, he ought never to give up.

One day the chance came. Mr. Hay had to make out some bills. He had no clerk, and was himself a poor penman. He asked me what kind of hand I could write, and gave me some writing to do. The result pleased him, and he found it convenient thereafter to let me make out his bills. I was also good at figures; and he soon found it to be to his interest—and besides, dear old man, I believe he was moved by good feeling toward the white-haired boy, for he had a kind heart and was Scotch and wished to relieve me from the engine—to put me at other things, less objectionable except in one feature.

It now became my duty to bathe the newly made spools in vats of oil. Fortunately there was a room reserved for this purpose and I was alone, but not all the resolution I could muster, nor all the indignation I felt at my own weakness, prevented my stomach from behaving in a most perverse way. I never succeeded in overcoming the nausea produced by the smell of the oil. Even Wallace and Bruce proved impotent here. But if I had to lose breakfast, or dinner, I had all the better appetite for supper, and the allotted work was done. A real disciple of Wallace or Bruce could not give up; he would die first.

My service with Mr. Hay was a distinct advance upon the cotton factory, and I also made the acquaintance of an employer who was very kind to me. Mr. Hay kept his books in single entry, and I was able to handle them for him; but hearing that all great firms kept their books in double entry, and after talking over the matter with my companions, John Phipps, Thomas N. Miller, and William Cowley, we all determined to attend night school during the winter and learn the larger system. So the four of us went to a Mr. Williams in Pittsburgh and learned double-entry bookkeeping.

One evening, early in 1850, when I returned home from work, I was told that Mr. David Brooks, manager of the telegraph office, had asked my Uncle Hogan if he knew where a good boy could be found to act as messenger. Mr. Brooks and my uncle were enthusiastic draught-players, and it was over a game of draughts that this important inquiry was made. Upon such trifles do the most momentous consequences hang. A word, a look, an accent, may affect the destiny not only of individuals, but of nations. He is a bold man who calls anything a trifle. Who was it who, being advised to disregard trifles, said he always would if any one could tell him what a trifle was? The young should remember that upon trifles the best gifts of the gods often hang.

My uncle mentioned my name, and said he would see whether I would take the position. I remember so well the family council that was held. Of course I was wild with delight. No bird that ever was confined in a cage longed for freedom more than I. Mother favored, but father was disposed to deny my wish. It would prove too much for me, he said; I was too young and too small. For the two dollars and a half per week offered it was evident that a much larger boy was expected. Late at night I might be required to run out into the country with a telegram, and there would be dangers to encounter. Upon the whole my father said that it was best that I should remain where I was. He subsequently withdrew his objection, so far as to give me leave to try, and I believe he went to Mr. Hay and consulted with him. Mr. Hay thought it would be for my advantage, and although, as he said, it would be an inconvenience to him, still he advised that I should try, and if I failed he was kind enough to say that my old place would be open for me.

This being decided, I was asked to go over the river to Pittsburgh and call on Mr. Brooks. My father wished to go with me, and it was settled that he should accompany me as far as the telegraph office, on the corner of Fourth and Wood Streets. It was a bright, sunshiny morning and this augured well. Father and I walked over from Allegheny to Pittsburgh, a distance of nearly two miles from our house. Arrived at the door I asked father to wait outside. I insisted upon going alone upstairs to the second or operating floor to see the great man and learn my fate. I was led to this, perhaps, because I had by that time begun to consider myself something of an American. At first boys used to call me "Scotchie! Scotchie!" and I answered, "Yes, I'm Scotch and I am proud of the name." But in speech and in address the broad Scotch had been worn off to a slight extent, and I imagined that I could make a smarter showing if alone with Mr. Brooks than if my good old Scotch father were present, perhaps to smile at my airs.

I was dressed in my one white linen shirt, which was usually kept sacred for the Sabbath day, my blue round-about, and my whole Sunday suit. I had at that time, and for a few weeks after I entered the telegraph service, but one linen suit of summer clothing; and every Saturday night, no matter if that was my night on duty and I did not return till near midnight, my mother washed those clothes and ironed them, and I put them on fresh on Sabbath morning. There was nothing that heroine did not do in the struggle we were making for elbow room in the western world. Father's long factory hours tried his strength, but he, too, fought the good fight like a hero and never failed to encourage me.

The interview was successful. I took care to explain that I did not know Pittsburgh, that perhaps I would not do, would not be strong enough; but all I wanted was a trial. He asked me how soon I could come, and I said that I could stay now if wanted. And, looking back over the circumstance, I think that answer might well be pondered by young men. It is a great mistake not to seize the opportunity. The position was offered to me; something might occur, some other boy might be sent for. Having got myself in I proposed to stay there if I could. Mr. Brooks very kindly called the other boy—for it was an additional messenger that was wanted—and asked him to show me about, and let me go with him and learn the business. I soon found opportunity to run down to the corner of the street and tell my father that it was all right, and to go home and tell mother that I had got the situation.

And that is how in 1850 I got my first real start in life. From the dark cellar running a steam-engine at two dollars a week, begrimed with coal dirt, without a trace of the elevating influences of life, I was lifted into paradise, yes, heaven, as it seemed to me, with newspapers, pens, pencils, and sunshine about me. There was scarcely a minute in which I could not learn something or find out how much there was to learn and how little I knew. I felt that my foot was upon the ladder and that I was bound to climb.

I had only one fear, and that was that I could not learn quickly enough the addresses of the various business houses to which messages had to be delivered. I therefore began to note the signs of these houses up one side of the street and down the other. At night I exercised my memory by naming in succession the various firms. Before long I could shut my eyes and, beginning at the foot of a business street, call off the names of the firms in proper order along one side to the top of the street, then crossing on the other side go down in regular order to the foot again.

The next step was to know the men themselves, for it gave a messenger a great advantage, and often saved a long journey, if he knew members or employees of firms. He might meet one of these going direct to his office. It was reckoned a great triumph among the boys to deliver a message upon the street. And there was the additional satisfaction to the boy himself, that a great man (and most men are great to messengers), stopped upon the street in this way, seldom failed to note the boy and compliment him.

The Pittsburgh of 1850 was very different from what it has since become. It had not yet recovered from the great fire which destroyed the entire business portion of the city on April 10, 1845. The houses were mainly of wood, a few only were of brick, and not one was fire-proof. The entire population in and around Pittsburgh was not over forty thousand. The business portion of the city did not extend as far as Fifth Avenue, which was then a very quiet street, remarkable only for having the theater upon it. Federal Street, Allegheny, consisted of straggling business houses with great open spaces between them, and I remember skating upon ponds in the very heart of the present Fifth Ward. The site of our Union Iron Mills was then, and many years later, a cabbage garden.

General Robinson, to whom I delivered many a telegraph message, was the first white child born west of the Ohio River. I saw the first telegraph line stretched from the east into the city; and, at a later date, I also saw the first locomotive, for the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad, brought by canal from Philadelphia and unloaded from a scow in Allegheny City. There was no direct railway communication to the East. Passengers took the canal to the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, over which they were transported to Hollidaysburg, a distance of thirty miles by rail; thence by canal again to Columbia, and then eighty-one miles by rail to Philadelphia—a journey which occupied three days.[12]

[Footnote 12: "Beyond Philadelphia was the Camden and Amboy Railway; beyond Pittsburgh, the Fort Wayne and Chicago, separate organizations with which we had nothing to do." (Problems of To-day, by Andrew Carnegie, p. 187. New York, 1908.)]

The great event of the day in Pittsburgh at that time was the arrival and departure of the steam packet to and from Cincinnati, for daily communication had been established. The business of the city was largely that of forwarding merchandise East and West, for it was the great transfer station from river to canal. A rolling mill had begun to roll iron; but not a ton of pig metal was made, and not a ton of steel for many a year thereafter. The pig iron manufacture at first was a total failure because of the lack of proper fuel, although the most valuable deposit of coking coal in the world lay within a few miles, as much undreamt of for coke to smelt ironstone as the stores of natural gas which had for ages lain untouched under the city.

There were at that time not half a dozen "carriage" people in the town; and not for many years after was the attempt made to introduce livery, even for a coachman. As late as 1861, perhaps, the most notable financial event which had occurred in the annals of Pittsburgh was the retirement from business of Mr. Fahnestock with the enormous sum of $174,000, paid by his partners for his interest. How great a sum that seemed then and how trifling now!

My position as messenger boy soon made me acquainted with the few leading men of the city. The bar of Pittsburgh was distinguished. Judge Wilkins was at its head, and he and Judge MacCandless, Judge McClure, Charles Shaler and his partner, Edwin M. Stanton, afterwards the great War Secretary ("Lincoln's right-hand man") were all well known to me—the last-named especially, for he was good enough to take notice of me as a boy. In business circles among prominent men who still survive, Thomas M. Howe, James Park, C.G. Hussey, Benjamin F. Jones, William Thaw, John Chalfant, Colonel Herron were great men to whom the messenger boys looked as models, and not bad models either, as their lives proved. [Alas! all dead as I revise this paragraph in 1906, so steadily moves the solemn procession.]

My life as a telegraph messenger was in every respect a happy one, and it was while in this position that I laid the foundation of my closest friendships. The senior messenger boy being promoted, a new boy was needed, and he came in the person of David McCargo, afterwards the well-known superintendent of the Allegheny Valley Railway. He was made my companion and we had to deliver all the messages from the Eastern line, while two other boys delivered the messages from the West. The Eastern and Western Telegraph Companies were then separate, although occupying the same building. "Davy" and I became firm friends at once, one great bond being that he was Scotch; for, although "Davy" was born in America, his father was quite as much a Scotsman, even in speech, as my own father.

A short time after "Davy's" appointment a third boy was required, and this time I was asked if I could find a suitable one. This I had no difficulty in doing in my chum, Robert Pitcairn, later on my successor as superintendent and general agent at Pittsburgh of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Robert, like myself, was not only Scotch, but Scotch-born, so that "Davy," "Bob," and "Andy" became the three Scotch boys who delivered all the messages of the Eastern Telegraph Line in Pittsburgh, for the then magnificent salary of two and a half dollars per week. It was the duty of the boys to sweep the office each morning, and this we did in turn, so it will be seen that we all began at the bottom. Hon. H.W. Oliver,[13] head of the great manufacturing firm of Oliver Brothers, and W.C. Morland,[14] City Solicitor, subsequently joined the corps and started in the same fashion. It is not the rich man's son that the young struggler for advancement has to fear in the race of life, nor his nephew, nor his cousin. Let him look out for the "dark horse" in the boy who begins by sweeping out the office.

[Footnote 13: Died 1904.]

[Footnote 14: Died 1889.]

A messenger boy in those days had many pleasures. There were wholesale fruit stores, where a pocketful of apples was sometimes to be had for the prompt delivery of a message; bakers' and confectioners' shops, where sweet cakes were sometimes given to him. He met with very kind men, to whom he looked up with respect; they spoke a pleasant word and complimented him on his promptness, perhaps asked him to deliver a message on the way back to the office. I do not know a situation in which a boy is more apt to attract attention, which is all a really clever boy requires in order to rise. Wise men are always looking out for clever boys.

One great excitement of this life was the extra charge of ten cents which we were permitted to collect for messages delivered beyond a certain limit. These "dime messages," as might be expected, were anxiously watched, and quarrels arose among us as to the right of delivery. In some cases it was alleged boys had now and then taken a dime message out of turn. This was the only cause of serious trouble among us. By way of settlement I proposed that we should "pool" these messages and divide the cash equally at the end of each week. I was appointed treasurer. Peace and good-humor reigned ever afterwards. This pooling of extra earnings not being intended to create artificial prices was really cooeperation. It was my first essay in financial organization.

The boys considered that they had a perfect right to spend these dividends, and the adjoining confectioner's shop had running accounts with most of them. The accounts were sometimes greatly overdrawn. The treasurer had accordingly to notify the confectioner, which he did in due form, that he would not be responsible for any debts contracted by the too hungry and greedy boys. Robert Pitcairn was the worst offender of all, apparently having not only one sweet tooth, but all his teeth of that character. He explained to me confidentially one day, when I scolded him, that he had live things in his stomach that gnawed his insides until fed upon sweets.



With all their pleasures the messenger boys were hard worked. Every other evening they were required to be on duty until the office closed, and on these nights it was seldom that I reached home before eleven o'clock. On the alternating nights we were relieved at six. This did not leave much time for self-improvement, nor did the wants of the family leave any money to spend on books. There came, however, like a blessing from above, a means by which the treasures of literature were unfolded to me.

Colonel James Anderson—I bless his name as I write—announced that he would open his library of four hundred volumes to boys, so that any young man could take out, each Saturday afternoon, a book which could be exchanged for another on the succeeding Saturday. My friend, Mr. Thomas N. Miller, reminded me recently that Colonel Anderson's books were first opened to "working boys," and the question arose whether messenger boys, clerks, and others, who did not work with their hands, were entitled to books. My first communication to the press was a note, written to the "Pittsburgh Dispatch," urging that we should not be excluded; that although we did not now work with our hands, some of us had done so, and that we were really working boys.[15] Dear Colonel Anderson promptly enlarged the classification. So my first appearance as a public writer was a success.

[Footnote 15: The note was signed "Working Boy." The librarian responded in the columns of the Dispatch defending the rules, which he claimed meant that "a Working Boy should have a trade." Carnegie's rejoinder was signed "A Working Boy, though without a Trade," and a day or two thereafter the Dispatch had an item on its editorial page which read: "Will 'a Working Boy without a Trade' please call at this office." (David Homer Bates in Century Magazine, July, 1908.)]

My dear friend, Tom Miller, one of the inner circle, lived near Colonel Anderson and introduced me to him, and in this way the windows were opened in the walls of my dungeon through which the light of knowledge streamed in. Every day's toil and even the long hours of night service were lightened by the book which I carried about with me and read in the intervals that could be snatched from duty. And the future was made bright by the thought that when Saturday came a new volume could be obtained. In this way I became familiar with Macaulay's essays and his history, and with Bancroft's "History of the United States," which I studied with more care than any other book I had then read. Lamb's essays were my special delight, but I had at this time no knowledge of the great master of all, Shakespeare, beyond the selected pieces in the school books. My taste for him I acquired a little later at the old Pittsburgh Theater.

John Phipps, James R. Wilson, Thomas N. Miller, William Cowley—members of our circle—shared with me the invaluable privilege of the use of Colonel Anderson's library. Books which it would have been impossible for me to obtain elsewhere were, by his wise generosity, placed within my reach; and to him I owe a taste for literature which I would not exchange for all the millions that were ever amassed by man. Life would be quite intolerable without it. Nothing contributed so much to keep my companions and myself clear of low fellowship and bad habits as the beneficence of the good Colonel. Later, when fortune smiled upon me, one of my first duties was the erection of a monument to my benefactor. It stands in front of the Hall and Library in Diamond Square, which I presented to Allegheny, and bears this inscription:

To Colonel James Anderson, Founder of Free Libraries in Western Pennsylvania. He opened his Library to working boys and upon Saturday afternoons acted as librarian, thus dedicating not only his books but himself to the noble work. This monument is erected in grateful remembrance by Andrew Carnegie, one of the "working boys" to whom were thus opened the precious treasures of knowledge and imagination through which youth may ascend.

This is but a slight tribute and gives only a faint idea of the depth of gratitude which I feel for what he did for me and my companions. It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive of good to boys and girls who have good within them and ability and ambition to develop it, as the founding of a public library in a community which is willing to support it as a municipal institution. I am sure that the future of those libraries I have been privileged to found will prove the correctness of this opinion. For if one boy in each library district, by having access to one of these libraries, is half as much benefited as I was by having access to Colonel Anderson's four hundred well-worn volumes, I shall consider they have not been established in vain.

"As the twig is bent the tree's inclined." The treasures of the world which books contain were opened to me at the right moment. The fundamental advantage of a library is that it gives nothing for nothing. Youths must acquire knowledge themselves. There is no escape from this. It gave me great satisfaction to discover, many years later, that my father was one of the five weavers in Dunfermline who gathered together the few books they had and formed the first circulating library in that town.

The history of that library is interesting. It grew, and was removed no less than seven times from place to place, the first move being made by the founders, who carried the books in their aprons and two coal scuttles from the hand-loom shop to the second resting-place. That my father was one of the founders of the first library in his native town, and that I have been fortunate enough to be the founder of the last one, is certainly to me one of the most interesting incidents of my life. I have said often, in public speeches, that I had never heard of a lineage for which I would exchange that of a library-founding weaver.[16] I followed my father in library founding unknowingly—I am tempted almost to say providentially—and it has been a source of intense satisfaction to me. Such a father as mine was a guide to be followed—one of the sweetest, purest, and kindest natures I have ever known.

[Footnote 16: "It's a God's mercy we are all from honest weavers; let us pity those who haven't ancestors of whom they can be proud, dukes or duchesses though they be." (Our Coaching Trip, by Andrew Carnegie. New York, 1882.)]

I have stated that it was the theater which first stimulated my love for Shakespeare. In my messenger days the old Pittsburgh Theater was in its glory under the charge of Mr. Foster. His telegraphic business was done free, and the telegraph operators were given free admission to the theater in return. This privilege extended in some degree also to the messengers, who, I fear, sometimes withheld telegrams that arrived for him in the late afternoon until they could be presented at the door of the theater in the evening, with the timid request that the messenger might be allowed to slip upstairs to the second tier—a request which was always granted. The boys exchanged duties to give each the coveted entrance in turn.

In this way I became acquainted with the world that lay behind the green curtain. The plays, generally, were of the spectacular order; without much literary merit, but well calculated to dazzle the eye of a youth of fifteen. Not only had I never seen anything so grand, but I had never seen anything of the kind. I had never been in a theater, or even a concert room, or seen any form of public amusement. It was much the same with "Davy" McCargo, "Harry" Oliver, and "Bob" Pitcairn. We all fell under the fascination of the footlights, and every opportunity to attend the theater was eagerly embraced.

A change in my tastes came when "Gust" Adams,[17] one of the most celebrated tragedians of the day, began to play in Pittsburgh a round of Shakespearean characters. Thenceforth there was nothing for me but Shakespeare. I seemed to be able to memorize him almost without effort. Never before had I realized what magic lay in words. The rhythm and the melody all seemed to find a resting-place in me, to melt into a solid mass which lay ready to come at call. It was a new language and its appreciation I certainly owe to dramatic representation, for, until I saw "Macbeth" played, my interest in Shakespeare was not aroused. I had not read the plays.

[Footnote 17: Edwin Adams.]

At a much later date, Wagner was revealed to me in "Lohengrin." I had heard at the Academy of Music in New York, little or nothing by him when the overture to "Lohengrin" thrilled me as a new revelation. Here was a genius, indeed, differing from all before, a new ladder upon which to climb upward—like Shakespeare, a new friend.

I may speak here of another matter which belongs to this same period. A few persons in Allegheny—probably not above a hundred in all—had formed themselves into a Swedenborgian Society, in which our American relatives were prominent. My father attended that church after leaving the Presbyterian, and, of course, I was taken there. My mother, however, took no interest in Swedenborg. Although always inculcating respect for all forms of religion, and discouraging theological disputes, she maintained for herself a marked reserve. Her position might best be defined by the celebrated maxim of Confucius: "To perform the duties of this life well, troubling not about another, is the prime wisdom."

She encouraged her boys to attend church and Sunday school; but there was no difficulty in seeing that the writings of Swedenborg, and much of the Old and New Testaments had been discredited by her as unworthy of divine authorship or of acceptance as authoritative guides for the conduct of life. I became deeply interested in the mysterious doctrines of Swedenborg, and received the congratulations of my devout Aunt Aitken upon my ability to expound "spiritual sense." That dear old woman fondly looked forward to a time when I should become a shining light in the New Jerusalem, and I know it was sometimes not beyond the bounds of her imagination that I might blossom into what she called a "preacher of the Word."

As I more and more wandered from man-made theology these fond hopes weakened, but my aunt's interest in and affection for her first nephew, whom she had dandled on her knee in Scotland, never waned. My cousin, Leander Morris, whom she had some hopes of saving through the Swedenborgian revelation, grievously disappointed her by actually becoming a Baptist and being dipped. This was too much for the evangelist, although she should have remembered her father passed through that same experience and often preached for the Baptists in Edinburgh.

Leander's reception upon his first call after his fall was far from cordial. He was made aware that the family record had suffered by his backsliding when at the very portals of the New Jerusalem revealed by Swedenborg and presented to him by one of the foremost disciples—his aunt. He began deprecatingly:

"Why are you so hard on me, aunt? Look at Andy, he is not a member of any church and you don't scold him. Surely the Baptist Church is better than none."

The quick reply came:

"Andy! Oh! Andy, he's naked, but you are clothed in rags."

He never quite regained his standing with dear Aunt Aitken. I might yet be reformed, being unattached; but Leander had chosen a sect and that sect not of the New Jerusalem.

It was in connection with the Swedenborgian Society that a taste for music was first aroused in me. As an appendix to the hymn-book of the society there were short selections from the oratorios. I fastened instinctively upon these, and although denied much of a voice, yet credited with "expression," I was a constant attendant upon choir practice. The leader, Mr. Koethen, I have reason to believe, often pardoned the discords I produced in the choir because of my enthusiasm in the cause. When, at a later date, I became acquainted with the oratorios in full, it was a pleasure to find that several of those considered in musical circles as the gems of Handel's musical compositions were the ones that I as an ignorant boy had chosen as favorites. So the beginning of my musical education dates from the small choir of the Swedenborgian Society of Pittsburgh.

I must not, however, forget that a very good foundation was laid for my love of sweet sounds in the unsurpassed minstrelsy of my native land as sung by my father. There was scarcely an old Scottish song with which I was not made familiar, both words and tune. Folk-songs are the best possible foundation for sure progress to the heights of Beethoven and Wagner. My father being one of the sweetest and most pathetic singers I ever heard, I probably inherited his love of music and of song, though not given his voice. Confucius' exclamation often sounds in my ears: "Music, sacred tongue of God! I hear thee calling and I come."

An incident of this same period exhibits the liberality of my parents in another matter. As a messenger boy I had no holidays, with the exception of two weeks given me in the summer-time, which I spent boating on the river with cousins at my uncle's at East Liverpool, Ohio. I was very fond of skating, and in the winter about which I am speaking, the slack water of the river opposite our house was beautifully frozen over. The ice was in splendid condition, and reaching home late Saturday night the question arose whether I might be permitted to rise early in the morning and go skating before church hours. No question of a more serious character could have been submitted to ordinary Scottish parents. My mother was clear on the subject, that in the circumstances I should be allowed to skate as long as I liked. My father said he believed it was right I should go down and skate, but he hoped I would be back in time to go with him to church.

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