“Finally, after consultation, the proposition was made by her to dispose of the works, good-will, and successorship for $71,000. A few days after the proposal was made to her to pay the sum of $60,000 for works and good-will, and to take the oil on hand at its market price, which proposition she accepted, and the sale was concluded.
“During these negotiations Mrs. Backus was anxious to sell, and was entirely satisfied with the sale after it was concluded. I know of the fact that about a year and a half previous she had offered to sell out the stock of the Backus Oil Company at from 30 to 33 per cent. less than she received in the sale referred to, and the value of the works and property sold had not increased in the meantime. I was well acquainted with the works of the Backus Oil Company and their value. I could at the time of the sale have built the works new for $25,000. There were no threats nor intimidations, nor anything of the kind used to force the sale. The negotiations were pleasant and fair, and the price paid in excess of the value, and satisfactory to Mrs. Backus and all concerned for her.”
So far as I can see, after more than 30 years have elapsed, there was nothing but the most kindly and considerate treatment of Mrs. Backus on the part of the Standard Oil Company. I regret that Mrs. Backus did not take at least part of her pay in Standard certificates, as we suggested she should do.
Of all the subjects which seem to have attracted the attention of the public to the affairs of the Standard Oil Company, the matter of rebates from railroads has perhaps been uppermost. The Standard Oil Company of Ohio, of which I was president, did receive rebates from the railroads prior to 1880, but received no advantages for which it did not give full compensation. The reason for rebates was that such was the railroads’ method of business. A public rate was made and collected by the railroad companies, but, so far as my knowledge extends, was seldom retained in full; a portion of it was repaid to the shippers as a rebate. By this method the real rate of freight which any shipper paid was not known by his competitors nor by other railroad companies, the amount being a matter of bargain with the carrying company. Each shipper made the best bargain that he could, but whether he was doing better than his competitor was only a matter of conjecture. Much depended upon whether the shipper had the advantage of competition of carriers.