In the second place, President Jessup did not take into consideration the natural aptitudes of his man, natural aptitudes which he might very easily have determined with a moment’s casual observation. Lynch was exceedingly fine in texture; his hair, his skin, his features, his hands, and his feet were all fine and delicate. He, therefore, loved beauty, refinement, small articles, fine lines, elegant designs. These things appealed to him strongly, and because of this he was able to make them appeal to others. Anything which was heavy, rough, coarse, crude, uncouth, or ugly repelled him. He could not take an interest in it except in the most theoretical way. For this reason he could not interest others in it. He had an unusual knack for selling things to people which would appeal to their love of the beautiful and their desire for adornment; in short, to their vanity; but he had no qualifications for selling to people on a purely commercial basis, and especially selling something which was so matter-of-fact and commonplace in its character as the saving of coal and the freedom from necessity of frequent attention.
In the winter of 1914-1915, the people of New York were shocked at the downfall of a man who had held a very high social, church, and business position. He had a wife and two or three beautiful children; he occupied a very prominent place in church and Sunday-school; he was well connected socially; he was a prominent member of one of the more popular secret fraternal organizations; he had a good position at a large salary, and enjoyed the complete confidence and respect of his employers and business associates. Like a bolt out of a clear sky, therefore, came the revelation that he had robbed his employers of more than a hundred thousand dollars. This money he had lost in speculation.
It was the old, old story. He had begun speculating with his own reserve; this was quickly wiped out. Then, in order to win back what he had lost, he had begun to borrow, little by little from his employer. He would win for a little while; then he would lose, and, as a result, would have to borrow more in an attempt to make good his losses and repay what he had borrowed.
This man’s employers had to make good a loss of about one hundred and twenty-two thousand dollars. In addition to this, they lost time, money, service, energy, and physical well-being because of the upset in their business and the bitter disappointment to them in the defalcation of their trusted employee. They also spent money tracing him in his flight and bringing him back to face trial and receive his penalty. More money was spent trying to discover whether he had concealed any of the funds he had stolen, so that they might be recovered. All of this might have been saved and the man himself, perhaps, might have been protected from the fate which overtook him, if, instead of judging him by his church record and his pleasing personal appearance and manner, they had taken the trouble to learn something about the external evidences of weaknesses which this man possessed in such a marked degree.