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an Unholy Alliance

oil, rockefeller, improvement and south

" AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE" feeling of outrage and resentment against the Standard Oil Company, general in the Oil Regions at the close of the Oil War because of the belief that it intended to carry on the South Improvement Company in some new way, was intensified in the weeks immediately following the outbreak by the knowledge that Mr. Rockefeller had been so enormously benefited by the short-lived concern. Here he was shipping Eastward over one road between 4,00o and 5,000 barrels of refined oil a day—oil wrung from his neighbours by an outrageous con spiracy, men said bitterly. This feeling was still keen when Mr. Rockefeller and several of his colleagues in the South Improvement scheme suddenly, in May, 1873, appeared on the streets of Titusville. The men who had fought him so desperately now stared in amazement at the smiling, unruffled countenance with which he greeted them. Did not the man know when he was beaten? Did he not realise the opinion the Oil Regions held of him? His placid de meanour in the very teeth of their violence was discon certing.

Not less of a shock was given the country by the knowledge that Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Flagler, Mr. Waring and the other gentlemen in their party were pressing a new alliance, and that they claimed that their new scheme had none of the obnoxious,features of the defunct South Improvement Corn any, though it was equally well adapted to work out the Igood of business."

For several clays the visiting gentlemen slipped around, bland and smiling, from street corner to street corner, from Dffice to office, explaining, expostulating, mollifying. "You -nisunderstand our intention," they told the refiners. "It is to save the business, not to destroy it, that we are come. You see the disorders competition has wrought in the oil industry. Let us see what combination will do. Let us make an experi ment—that is 'all. If it does not work, then we can go back to the old method." Although Mr. Rockefeller was everywhere, and heard everything in these days, he rarely talked. "I remember well how little he said," one of the most aggressively independent of the Titusville refiners told the writer. "One day several of us met at the office of one of the I felt pretty sure, was being persuaded to go into the scheme which they were talking up. Everybody talked except Mr. Rockefeller. He sat in a rocking-chair, softly swinging back and forth, his hands over his face. I got pretty excited when I saw how those South Improvement men were pulling the wool over our men's eyes, and going to the dogs if there up the price of refined anddprevenTriew people coming into