The great ships and the railroad put us in possession of the most favourable facilities. From the first the organization was successful. We built up a huge trade, mining and carrying ore to Cleveland and other lake ports. We kept on building and developing until finally the fleet grew until it included fifty-six large steel vessels, This enterprise, in common with many other important business undertakings in which I was interested, required very little of my personal attention, owing to my good fortune in having active, competent, and thoroughly reliable representatives who assumed so largely the responsibilities of administration. It gives me pleasure to state that the confidence which I have freely given to business men with whom I have been associated has been so fully justified.
The work went on uninterruptedly and prosperously until the formation of the United States Steel Corporation. A representative of this corporation came to see us about selling the land, the ore, and the fleet of ships. The business was going on smoothly, and we had no pressing need to sell, but as the organizer of the new company felt that our mines and railroads and ships were a necessary part of the scheme, we told him we would be pleased to facilitate the completion of the great undertaking. They had, I think, already closed with Mr. Carnegie for his various properties. After some negotiation, they made an offer which we accepted, whereby the whole plant—mines, ships, railway, etc.—should become a part of the United States Steel Corporation. The price paid was, we felt, very moderate considering the present and prospective value of the property.
This transaction bids fair to show a great profit to the Steel Company for many years, and as our payment was largely in the securities of the company we had the opportunity to participate in this prosperity. And so, after a period of about seven years, I went out of all association with the mining, the transporting, and the selling of iron ore.
Going over again in my mind the events connected with this ore experience that grew out of investments that seemed at the time, to say the least, rather unpromising, I am impressed anew with the importance of a principle I have often referred to. If I can make this point clear to the young man who has had the patience to follow these Reminiscences so far, it will be a satisfaction to me and I hope it may be a benefit to him.