Faces From The Past—ix


Ironically, Morgan’s last public appearance was in the nature of an accounting for the power he had wielded. In 1912, a year before he died, he was called to Washington to testify before the so-called Pujo Committee—a House subcommittee determined to prove that Morgan and a small group of New York bankers held the nation’s economy in an iron grip. During the course of his testimony, J. P. Morgan revealed the credo which had governed his long career. The attorney conducting the examination asked whether commercial credit was not based primarily upon money or property. No, Morgan replied firmly, “the first thing is character.”

“Before money or property?”

“Before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it.… Because a man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom.”

Richard M. Ketchum