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bargain, and ordered the agent to refund all such money as
had been received by it from the competing party.

Much is also said against the Standard Oil Company be-
cause the trust formed in 1882, which practically combined
fourteen companies into one, which were operated under the
name of the Standard Oil Trust, was declared by the Supreme
Court of Ohio ten years later to be contrary to law, when the
trust was formally dissolved. It was maintained, therefore,
that during these ten years the persons operating this trust
were law-breakers. Such a charge, however, overlooks the
very obvious fact, that the application of a statute to a partic-
ular course of conduct is not certain until it has been passed
upon by the courts.

The statutes drawn to prevent monopoly and restraint of
trade employ language which is so ill defined that it is difficult
to tell what it means. The word " trust," for example, is so
indefinite in its meaning that one cannot tell what combination
may properly be included under the name. According to
William J. Bryan, in one of his recent utterances, a trust is
" a corporation which controls a sufficient quantity of the
product or supply of a given article not patented, to be able

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1905.] The Ethics of Standard Oil. 653

to suspend the law of c(Mnpetition, and absolutely or approx-
imately control the price of such an article." The so-called
Valentine law of Ohio defines a trust as follows: —

"A trust is a comUnation of capital, slcill, or acts by two
or more persons, or of any two or more of them, for either,
any, or all of the following purposes : —

" 1st. To create or carry out restrictions in trade or com-

" 2d. To limit or reduce the production or increase or re-
duce the price of merchandise or any commodity.

" 3d. To prevent competition in manufacturing, making,
transportation, sale, or purchase of merchandise, product, or
any commodity.

" 4th, To fix at any standard or figure, whereby its price

to the public or consumer shall be in any mariner controlled or

'established, any article or commodity of merchandise, produce,

or commerce intended for sale, barter, use, or consumption in

this State.

" 5th. To make or enter into or execute or carry out any
contracts, obligations, or agreements of any kind or descrip-
tion, by which they shall bind or have bound themselves not to
sell, dispose of, or transport any article or any commodity or
any article of trade, use, merchandise, commerce, or consump-
tion below a common standard figure or fixed value, or by which
they shall agree in any manner to keep the price of such article,
commodity, or transportation at a fixed or graduated figure, or
by which they shall in any manner establish or settle the price
of any article, commodity, or transportation between them, or
themselves and others, so as to directly or indirectly preclude
a free and unrestricted competition among themselves, or any
purchasers or consumers in the sale or transportation of any
such article or commodity, or by which they shall agree to pool,

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554 The Ethics of Standard Oil. [July,

combine, or directly or indirectly unite any interests that they
may have connected with the sale or transportation of any
such article or commodity, that its price might in any manner
be affected. Every such trust as is defined herein is declared
to be unlawful, against public policy, and void."

From these definitions it will appear that it may always be
a question whether a corporation is large enough to escape
from competition. If every business is a monopoly, which,
by reason of its great volimie or of the skill of its managers,
is able to secure advantages over competitors, scarcely anybody
can escape condemnation. Two boarding-house keepers, for
example, one of whom caters to fifteen and the other to one
hundred and fifty, stand on very unequal terms in the pur-
chase of supplies, and the practice of a large number of eccMi-
omies upon which the profits depend. The man who ships
strawberries from New Jersey to New York must pay as much
for one hundred and forty crates as for two hundred and
forty, since it costs the railroad no more to haul a car full than
it does a car two-thirds full. The man who can so organize
his business that he can fill a car every day can undersell the
man who is not able to fill the car more than two-thirds full.
And so through the whole list of business transactions which
are carried on in varying degrees of volume.

According to this definition, also, every labor organiza-
tion attemj)ting to fix the minimum rate of wages, and every
medical society endeavoring to fix the rate of charges for prcn
fessional visits, and every organization or combination de-
signed to prevent "cutthroat" competition, is a monopoly
acting contrary to public good. But it is easy to see that the
condemnation of such organizations is not clearly in the Deca-
logue, but only there constructively, through a long line of
argument relating to modem conditions of business. To test

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1905.] The Ethics of Standard Oil. 555

the constitutionality of the application of a particular law to
a great business enterprise is not to become a law-breaker, but
to become a law-maker by establishing a precedent whereby
to determine what the law really is.

Furthermore, it is a mistake to assume that the Standard
Oil Company is or can be beyond the reach of competition.
The commodity which it furnishes is by no means the only
one providing heat and light. It has to compete with wood,
gas, coal, and the water power of Niagara and of all the cata-
racts in the world by which electricity is being generated and
distributed to an increasing extent. It has to compete with
other large organizations controlling the same product. At
the present time the percentage of business controlled by the
Standard Oil Company is considerably less than it was a few
years ago. Its chief rival, the Pure Oil Company, has a cap-
ital of $10,000,000, and an independent pipe line to the Atlan-
tic coast. In its foreign trade it is in competition with the oil
interests of Russia, which are greater than those of America,
and are owned by the Rothschilds and the Nobel Brothers,
cither of whom is amply able to compete with the Standard
Oil Company, and, since there is no tariff upon oil, to send it
into the American market if the price is unreasonably high.
Furthermore, one of the most powerful influences in reducing
the selling price to consimiers is the latent competition of
probable or possible competitors. If profits are unreasonably
large, competing capital will enter the business, and it is more
profitable to keep prices at so low a rate that capital will not
be tempted to compete than it is to meet the competition after
it has once been started. This the men who are sagacious
enough to build up so g^eat an industry are surely able to see.

The general fear of trusts is of so vague a sort and so
difficult to justify from the facts of the case that ethical writ-

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556 The Ethics of Standard Oil. [July,

ers, in giving instruction to the conunon people, need to be
very cautious about laying down as first principles conclus-
ions which are only reached by long-drawn-out reasoning
from doubtful premises. For example, the capital of the
Standard Oil Company is reckoned at $110,000,000; whereas
the foiu* hundred and forty large industrial franchise and trans-
portation trusts of an important and active character in the
United States have a total floating capital of $20,379,162,511,
that is, the Standard Oil G>mpany represents only one two-
hundredth part of the business of the great corporations of
the country. Those who have been fearful that the Standard
Oil Company would obtain control of all the railroad trans-
portation of the country may be relieved to know that its
freight business is only one-half of one per cent of the whole
business. In the variety of interests of these great corpora-
tions, in most cases antagonistic to each other, consists the
safety of the general public, which is the principal thing to be
considered from the ethical point of view. If any person or
company of persons proposes to enter into this competitive ser-
vice of the general public, he should do so with his eyes open,
and be prepared to accept the consequences of failure if he
proves unable to serve the public as well as, or better than, ex-
isting corporations are doing. Any one entering the sphere of
competitive warfare should not fail to regard the scriptural
warning against undertaking an enterprise without counting
the cost, lest he find himself in the condition of the king who
goes to war against another king who has an army of twenty
thousand, while he himself has an army of only ten thousand.
The truth is, and it needs to be plainly spoken, that the eth-
ical writers, whose good motives we do not question, who
are aiming their shafts of invectives against the Standard Oil
Company have mistaken their mark. The imaginary evils

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1905.] The Ethics of Standard Oil. 557

concerning which they have such forebodings, and which are
arousing them to such intense activity, are the evils incident,
under present conditions, to that form of the competitive sys-
tem which is at the base of all modern business prosperity.
These evils are for the most part inherent and unavoidable,
and are not to be charged against the great ** captains of in-
dustry " who have secured the marvelous results through
which the necessities and many of the luxuries of life are now
obtainable by every one at a mere fraction of the cost at which
they were formerly to be had. While it is true that, under
this system, many of the rich have grown richer, it is not true
that the honest industrious poor have grown poorer. Never
before in the history of the world have the masses of the peo-
ple been so prosperous as they are at the present time.

While it is true that the production of many of the main sta-
ples of commerce is monopolized by large combinations of cap-
ital so as to shut off individual competition, it is not true that
the career of the individual is thereby greatly circumscribed,
for the very success of these so-called monopolies in excluding
competition, by lowering the margin of profit and cheapening
the product, opens innumerable other channels of effort into
which the individual may freely enter with hope of success.
In the oil business, for example, the greatest evils existed in
ccMinection with the waste of that " cutthroat competition "
which was practiced in the first decade of its existence. When
five competing pipe lines were built to Pit Hole City where
only one was necessary, four-fifths of the capital was wasted,
and became a dead loss not only to the individuals expending
it, but to the community, which was compelled in the long run
to pay higher prices for oil on account of the great waste at-
tending such unwise competition. Those extreme fluctuations
of prices inevitable in handling such a product by small cap-

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558 The Ethics of Standard Oil. [July,

italists were productive of the worst classes of evils connected
with the gambling mania. The elimination of those evils by
the growth of the Standard Oil Company is an incalculable
service to the whole public, and especially to the great crowds
of young men who are freed from the temptations incident
to the former condition of things. The men engaged in those
two hundred and forty oil refineries, more or less, which
failed before the Standard Oil Company originated, were free
to go about safer and more profitable business to themselves,
and to bless the world by activities less connected with hazards
than those through which their original failure was brought

In conclusion, it is worth while to observe that the only
alternative to the condition of things in which there is free
competition between great corporations in the production of a
large number of the staples of life, and in the furnishing of
cheap transportation, lies in government ownership, which is
indeed the ideal in a millennial state. But in the present de-
praved condition of human nature, government ownership
would be the worst of all evils. As it is, through a process of
natural selection, the highest capacity comes into control of
the great conrrpeting corporations. Under government control
the demagogue would mount into the seats of power, and we
should be cursed, if with nothing else, with the rule of busi-
ness incapacity, which is far worse than that of enlightened

In the present highly excited condition of public sentiment
it is important to emphasize the ninth commandment, as well
as the eighth. The same voice that wrote, '* Thou shalt not
steal," also thundered from Sinai, " Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbor." In a number of instances dur-
ing the acrid discussions of the past few months, the cham-

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1905.] The Ethics of Standard Oil, 559

pions of the eighth commandment have flagrantly violated
the ninth, making assertions, concerning the actions of leading
business men, which are absolutely false, while in numberless
other cases they have attributed false motives to actions which
are perfectly defensible in the existing economic condition of
the world. If it be true that he

"Who steals my purse, steals trash. . . .
But he that filches from me my good name. . . .
Makes me poor indeed,"

as it is, then many of the clergymen and popular writers who
are giving currency to the innunnerable libelous statements
concerning the President of the Standard Oil Company have
far more to answer for than has that gentleman, even if his
business methods may have been as reprehensible as is claimed.

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560 ' . Notes. [July,




In 1902, the Presbyterian General Assembly adopted an
explanatory and supplementary creed, the genius of which was,
"Away from Calvin." Stress was laid on the love of God;
there was no direct surrender of the doctrine of predestination,
but the tendency was clearly shown not so much by what was
said, as by what was not said, in the new creed. At subsequent
assemblies, the trend of thought in the church has been unmis-
takable, as evidenced by the final admission of the Arminian
Cumberland Presbyterian Church to the Calvinistic fold. In a
most logical review of the situation. President Patton, of Prince-
ton Theological Seminary, the foremost theologian of the op-
position, said, "I am compelled to conclude that when the
General Assembly declared there was a sufficient agreement
between the confessions of faith to warrant a union of these
two bodies, no possible construction can be placed upon that
action other than this, to-wit. That the union shall take place
upon the basis of what is generally known as the evangelical
faith of Christendom, and not upon the basis of the Calvinistic
system contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith. No
argument is needed, therefore, to show that the union of the
two churches on the plan now proposed is to all intents and
purposes a surrender on the part of the church which I have
the honor to serve of its traditional position as a witness to
the truth of the Augustinian or Calvinistic system."

It would seem, therefore, that Calvinism is growing dis-
tasteful to a large number of the Presbyterian clergy. It has
long been distasteful to, and rejected by, the clergy of many
other churches, Wesley long ago saying, " Calvin's God is my
Devil." But it is hard to see how these churches can escape

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1905.] Notes. 661

Calvinism, and harder yet to see why the church that makes
the Scriptures the only infallible rule of faith and practice
should stand so ready and willing to cast overboard this doc-
trine, for which it has stood ever since its foundation. There
can be only two valid reasons for rejecting Calvinism,^-either
it is contrary to the Scriptures or it is contrary to science.

Of the first of these reasons it is hardly necessary to say
more than a word. Buttressed by an impregnable array of
Scripture of which the strongest passages are found in the
Pauline Epistles, can it be that the new thought in the Pres-
byterian Church considers the doctrine unscientific ? The usual
course of one dissatisfied with the teachings of the Bible is to
turn to science, and in the much-discussed conflict between sci-
ence and religion endeavor to find a refutation of that which
is distasteful. But is the doctrine of predestination contrary
to science? Does science offer hope for the dissatisfied theo-

In addition to the argument for the rational necessity of
such a doctrine in any theistic conception of the universe, it
is possible to go a step further, and assert that here, at least,
is a dogma that is thoroughly scientific. Aside from the purely
philosophical considerations on which it may be based, is the
wide scientific acceptance of it as a corollary to the law of
evolution. One is compelled to accept it, or something essen-
tially like but even more distasteful than it, or repudiate sci
ence along with revelation.

The very first proposition of evolution is that, while certain
creatures are, by their innate, inherent unfitness, imperfection,
or mediocrity, singled out for extinction either proximate or
remote, others are endowed with superior attributes, and sur-
vive in the struggle for existence. Nor is it a question of
heredity alone. Environment is not determined by the creature
for itself any more than is heredity. Both are extrinsic from
the lowest amoeba as well as the highest and most complex or-

As to this endowment, it can occur from only one of two
causes, either by mere chance or by the working of a universe-
Vol. LXII. No. 247. 11

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562 Notes. [July,

mind pursuing a definite purpose. If it is attributed to n«re
chance, one rests his theory of the universe on pure accident-
alism ; if to the universe-mind, on an unmitigated fatalism. In
either case one holds a theory that is nothing more or less than
predestination stripped of theism. If, for the universe-mind,
one substitutes the idea of an immanent God, one arrives irre-
sistibly at something essentially not different from Calvinism.
It is unescapable.

But, it may be urged, while this is true in the physical and
biological worlds, it is not true in the psychical; that here it
least, while a choice of heredity cannot, a conscious choice of
environment can, be made. Yet a glance at modem psychdog}'
will disclose how impossible it is to reach such a conclusion.
The discussion simply narrows down to a consideration of the
theories of the will, and of these there are still only the two
alternatives — indeterminism and determinism.

The indeterminist theory holds that the will is absolutely
uncontrolled, and determines each action anew, with no refer-
ence to the rational purpose of either the creature or the uni-
verse. A better and more accurate term is "accidentalism,"
It is simply free-will run riot. Everything that the creature
does is uncaused. It defeats its own purpose, for the essential
concept of will is its rationality. The opposing theory is deter-
minism. Spencer said, that, without law governing will, there
could be no such thing as a rational psychology, and postulat-
ed, as the very fundamental proposition of his system, deter-
minism in its broadest form. Mechanically stated, the theory
is nothing less than that every action of the mind is due to an
arrangement of the brain cells over which the subject has no
control. The three manifestations of mind — intellect, feeling,
and will — are thus reduced to mere mechanism. Choices are
essentially the same as reflex actions, and, in substance, our
belief that we are free agents is a pure delusion.

It is true that various other theories have been advanced,
but they are all reducible ultimately to one of these two. Pro-
fessor James seems inclined to an Hegelian reconciliation ; for,
while affirming his belief in the freedom of the will, he is

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JOOd.] Notes. 56S

forced to admit that a rational psychology must be founded on
determinism. Professor J. Mark Baldwin, after stating the
arguments for what is called immanent determinism, says that
they are metaphysically sound, but he prefers a theory which
he calls " freedom as self-expression." Immanent determin-
ism is simply that there is in man a "realization principle,"
that all his acts are outward expression of an inward working
of the purpose of the universe. But Professor Baldwin's
*' freedom as self-expression," which is certainly the most
fascinating theory advanced, is nothing but a compromise of
indeterminism and determinism. No separate choice is unre-
lated to any previous choice, but all are correlated. No choice
arises de novo, but in accckrdance with character fixed by an
accumulaticm of acts in the past, which has placed the actor
in such a state of development that, given a certain condition
of affairs, his controlling motive will dominate, and he will
act in a certain way. This theory seems to avoid the mechan-
ical Scylla of determinism and the irrational Charybdis of in-

But the advantage is only seeming. Man does what he if,
sums up the theory. The thief steals because he is a thief,
having schooled himself in thieving. The difference between
this and strict determinism is that the thief schooled himself.
The difference from indeterminism is that, having schooled
himself, he must steal. The advantage over determinism is
that a new habit can be formed, a new departure can be made.
Individual initiative is claimed thus to be established. But the
theory is inadequate in its explanation of regeneration. The
persistence of the thief in thieving is as readily explainable
under either the self-expression or the determinist theory.
The former has the advantage of palatability. But if character
is reformed, as we know it is, how can the first act of change
be the act of self-expression? At this point, as we shall see
again, the same issue between indeterminism and determinism
arises again. The advantage that the theory of self-expression
as a whole has over indeterminism is that it is rational. Noth-
ing could be more irrational than a belief that every act is un-

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564 Notes. [July,

related to every other. There is even method in the madness
of a lunatic. There can be no question of the advantage of
this theory over indeterminism. It remains to analyze the
seeming advantage over determinism.

In so doing we at once bring the argument back to the main
thesis, by asking .whether the self-expression theory is not
essentially deterministic, and hence not in conflict with the
doctrine of predestination. It is all right to assert that choices
are internal, and not external, as long as the chooser follows
a certain logical trend. But how does a choice contrary to an
uniform trend of character arise ? Wherein lies the advantage
over indeterminism, if such choices are always open and often
accepted? It is not conceivable that a choice should be made
contrary to the purpose of the universe. It is equally inccMi-
ceivabk that it should be a matter of indifference. Yet, if it
is wholly internal, it must be one of these two. We are, there-
fore, forced to conclude that it is either a matter of mere
chance or it is in accordance with the fixed and determined
purpose of the universe-mind. It must be in accordance with
the purpose of the universe, if purpose there is, and it must
be external. If it is not, one is forced back on accidentalism.
If it is in accordance with the imiverse-mind, one is forced to
fatalism. If, however, one is a spiritualist instead of a mater-
ialist, and a dualist instead of monist, in his interpretation of
nature ; if one holds a theistic conception of the universe, — ^be-
hold, he has nothing shc«-t of predestination as the outcome of
his reasoning. The separate acts by which character is built
up, the milieu in which character develops, heredity and all
the other factors, and finally the question of regeneration of
character, — all present, sooner or later, the sharply defined
issue between determinism and indeterminism, between pre-
destination and free-will.

It is often urged that the refuge is indeterminism for the
individual, but determinism for the mass, and hope is sought,

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