Mr. Gates has for many years been closely associated with my personal affairs. He has been through strenuous times with me, and has taken cares of many kinds off my shoulders, leaving me more time to play golf, plan roads, move trees, and follow other congenial occupations. His efforts in the investigations in connection with our educational contributions, our medical research, and other kindred works have been very successful. During the last ten or twelve years my son has shared with Mr. Gates the responsibility of this work, and more recently Mr. Starr J. Murphy has also joined with us to help Mr. Gates, who has borne the heat and burden of the day, and has well earned some leisure which we have wanted him to enjoy.
But to return to the story of our troubled investments: Mr. Gates went into the study of each of these business concerns, and did the best he could with them. It has been our policy never to allow a company in which we had an interest to be thrown into the bankruptcy court if we could prevent it; for receiverships are very costly in many ways and often involve heavy sacrifices of genuine values. Our plan has been to stay with the institution, nurse it, lend it money when necessary, improve facilities, cheapen production, and avail ourselves of the opportunities which time and patience are likely to bring to make it self-sustaining and successful. So we went carefully through the affairs of these crippled enterprises in the hard times of 1893 and 1894, carrying many of them for years after; sometimes buying the interests of others and sometimes selling our own interest, but all or nearly all escaped the expenses and humiliation of bankruptcy, receivership, and foreclosure.
Before these matters were entirely closed up we had a vast amount of experience in the doctoring of the commercially ill. My only excuse for dwelling upon the subject at this late day is to point out the fact to some business men who get discouraged that much can be done by careful and patient attention, even when the business is apparently in very deep water. It requires two things: some added capital, put in by one’s self or secured from others, and a strict adherence to the sound natural laws of business.
THE ORE MINES
Among these investments were some shares in a number of ore mines and an interest in the stocks and bonds of a railroad being built to carry the ore from the mines to lake ports. We had great faith in these mines, but to work them the railroad was necessary. It had been begun, but in the panic of 1893 it and all other developments were nearly ruined. Although we were minority holders of the stock, it seemed to be “up to us” to keep the enterprise alive through the harrowing panic days. I had to loan my personal securities to raise money, and finally we were compelled to supply a great deal of actual cash, and to get it we were obliged to go into the