Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

By Andrew Carnegie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE "GOSPEL OF WEALTH"

AFTER my book, The Gospel of Wealth,1 was published, it was inevitable that I should live up to its teachings by ceasing to struggle for more wealth. I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution. Our profits had reached forty millions of dollars per year and the prospect of increased earnings before us was amazing. Our successors, the United States Steel Corporation, soon after the purchase, netted sixty millions in one year. Had our company continued in business and adhered to our plans of extension, we figured that seventy millions in that year might have been earned.

Steel had ascended the throne and was driving away all inferior material. It was clearly seen that there was a great future ahead; but so far as I was concerned I knew the task of distribution before me would tax me in my old age to the utmost. As usual, Shakespeare had placed his talismanic touch upon the thought and framed the sentence --

"So distribution should undo excess, And each man have enough."

At this juncture -- that is March, 1901 -- Mr. Schwab

____________________
1
The Gospel of Wealth (Century Company, New York, 1900) contains various magazine articles written between 1886 and 1899 and published in the Youth's Companion, the Century Magazine, the North American Review, the Forum, the Contemporary Review, the Fortnightly Review, the Nineteenth Century, and the Scottish Leader. Gladstone asked that the article in the North American Review be printed in England. It was published in the Pall Mall Budget and christened the "Gospel of Wealth." Gladstone, Cardinal Manning, Rev. Hugh Price, and Rev. Dr. Hermann Adler answered it, and Mr. Carnegie replied to them.

-255-

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