Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

By Andrew Carnegie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
THE HOMESTEAD STRIKE

WHILE upon the subject of our manufacturing interests, I may record that on July 1, 1892, during my absence in the Highlands of Scotland, there occurred the one really serious quarrel with our workmen in our whole history. For twenty-six years I had been actively in charge of the relations between ourselves and our men, and it was the pride of my life to think how delightfully satisfactory these had been and were. I hope I fully deserved what my chief partner, Mr. Phipps, said in his letter to the "New York Herald," January 30, 1904, in reply to one who had declared I had remained abroad during the Homestead strike, instead of flying back to support my partners. It was to the effect that "I was always disposed to yield to the demands of the men, however unreasonable"; hence one or two of my partners did not wish me to return.1 Taking no account of the reward that comes from feel-

____________________
1
The full statement of Mr. Phipps is as follows:

Question: "It was stated that Mr. Carnegie acted in a cowardly manner in not returning to America from Scotland and being present when the strike was in progress at Homestead."

Answer: "When Mr. Carnegie heard of the trouble at Homestead he immediately wired that he would take the first ship for America, but his partners begged him not to appear, as they were of the opinion that the welfare of the Company required that he should not be in this country at the time. They knew of his extreme disposition to always grant the demands of labor, however unreasonable.

"I have never known of any one interested in the business to make any complaint about Mr. Carnegie's absence at that time, but all the partners rejoiced that they were permitted to manage the affair in their own way." ( Henry Phipps in the New York Herald, January 30, 1904.)

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