CARNEGIE HONORED BY CLUB HE FINANCED
How He Came Forward at Critical Period of 1907 Panic Told at the Lotos Club Dinner.
MANY PAY HIM TRIBUTE
President Lawrence, Ex-Ambassador Tower, Editor McKelway, and Others Speak - The Laird's Happy Reply.
Andrew Carnegie was the guest of honor last night at the first dinner given by the Lotos Club in the club's new home, at 110 West Fifty-seventy Street, whose very existence at this time was due, President Frank S. Lawrence announced, to the generosity and liberality of Mr. Carnegie at one of the most critical periods in the club's history.
The occasion was made a great feast of friendship and good-fellowship, with Mr. Carnegie as the chief figure. Tributes were paid to his worth as a citizen and his wisdom and generosity as a philanthropist by Mark Twain, introduced as "St. Mark" Twain; Charlemagne Tower, ex-Ambassador to Germany, Richard Watson Gilder, St. Clair McKelway, President John H. Finley of the City College, the Rev. Dr. Nehemiah H. Boynton of Brooklyn, Dr. Henry S. Pritchett of the Sage Foundation, and others.
One of the most humorous and charming of the addresses of the evening was delivered by Mr. Carnegie himself, who was almost boyish in his fun-making, and literally bubbling over with enjoyment of the affair.
Mr. Carnegie sat at the right of President Lawrence, the toastmaster, and immediately in front of a handsome life-size painting of himself.
Three resounding cheers were given for Mr. Carnegie when Mr. Lawrence related how the Laird of Skibo had come to the club's rescue when it was sorely beset in the panic of 1907. "The club could go neither forward nor back," said Mr. Lawrence. "The situation being made known to Mr. Carnegie, he, without a moment's hesitation, said that the work should not be delayed, and advanced the means to proceed with this building, and this was done so kindly, so modestly, and so graciously as to leave your President at the end of a most delightful conversation with a confused feeling that somehow or other an obligation had been conferred upon Mr. Carnegie.
"Following the advice he gave, your committee was enabled to go into the market at just the right moment, and to make its contracts on terms the most advantageous; so that this house was constructed for many thousands of dollars less than would have been possible either a year earlier or six months later.
"What a happy omen that our first assemblage about these tables in this new house should be in honor of this illustrious patron of art and letters, to whom I ask you now to rise and join with me in wishing a long life and every happiness, Mr. Andrew Carnegie."
The cheering broke out anew when Mr. Carnegie rose to respond.
"The way of the philanthropist is hard,'' he said laughingly, "but the balance is on my side, for a Scotchman likes to do things in his own manner, and I simply said the things that President says I said. That's all I have done."
He said, however, that the club must have some doubtful artists if the pictures they drew bore no mere resemblance to the subject than that which Mr. Lawrence had drawn of him. He said he loved clubs. The first club was established back in Scotland in 1740, when one morning some one asked Sandy where he was gong.
" 'Oh,' said Sandy, 'I am going down to the club.'
" 'And what do you do down at the club?'
The Fellowship of Club Life.
" 'That's where we contradict each other a wee,' was the reply."
Mr. Carnegie said it was the clubable men who enjoyed life, and that men despised each other only when they did not know each other. It was as the club that they became acquainted, and fellowship and friendship flourished.
Mr. Carnegie raised a good laugh when, after reading from the menu card the quotation from Johnson, "Much may be made of a Scotchman if he be caught young," he added: "A Scotchman may make much of you if he catches you young."
Mr. Carnegie closed with a tribute to fellowship and friendship as exemplified in the club, which brought forth renewed applause.
Ex-Ambassador Tower, who spoke before the club for the first time, s aid Mr. Carnegie would be known as long as the history of this country is read for the great institution he had founded. He said that life was sweeter and better because Mr. Carnegie had lived, and he wished him many years of life.
Editor McKelway's Tribute.
St. Clair McKelway said that while the day had been St. Patrick's the evening, at least at the Lotos Club, was "Carnegie's." Of Mr. Carnegie as a citizen he said:
"Mr. Carnegie is as thoroughly America as any of us, ineligible only to the Presidency and the Vice Presidency of the United States, and not wanting neither. He is a valuable and valued citizen of a polyglot republic. Valuable because he has done much for it, in response to its having done much for him. Valued because he almost alone among magnates has insisted that he was taxed too low and too little and should be more highly rated.
"In that, I think, he was unique. The unusual has been the preference or the foible of Mr. Carnegie. Only lack of resources, however, has prevented some of us from insisting on being taxed to the full value.
"Nor are some of us sorry, as none of us can be surprised, that sundry of Mr. Carnegie's benefactions are criticised by those who cannot make them, but can avail themselves of them. There never will be unanimity of estimate so long as a man is alive. And after he has ceased to live time enough to let him crystallize into a sage will have to elapse. We wish sincerely long life to Mr. Carnegie. That carries with it the certainty of criticism of him. We are ready to stand as a unit for the cause and to endure with him the consequence of resultant criticism."
Richard Watson Gilder's Pun
"Andrew Carnegie is a rich subject to talk about," said Richard Watson Gilder, and the guest of honor joined heartily in the laughter. "If he were just rich in the way which you have taken me to mean," the speaker continued, "he would have very little interest for me, but I have never known one to have a more charming character than he has or one to live a richer life than he does, with no intention to pun."
Speaking of Mr. Carnegie's literary activity, Mr. Gilder said he was a frequent contributor to the magazines, that he charged so much a word and received his check just like the other contributors.
"I will not say how much he receives a word, however, nor what he does with the checks he earns," Mr. Gilder said, though he added that Mr. Carnegie once borrowed a quarter from him, which he was not sure he had returned.
"We have heard a good deal about St. Patrick this evening," said the toastmaster. "We have heard from St. Clair, and now we shall hear from St. Mark."
Mark Twain began by saying: "I am glad I have got my due. At last I am ranked with the saints, where I belong."
Mr. Clemens said it was hard to be complimenting and complimented as Mr. Carnegie had been. Mr. Lawrence had said the Laird of Skibo had helped the club out when it was in difficulties, but he had no doubt Mr. Carnegie had received the inspiration at a dinner at which he (Mark Twain) was the guest of honor. "But," he went on, "he gets all the credit and I get none.
"Now, he is trying to look indifferent, but he is not deceiving anybody. To hear him talk, everybody in this country who amounts to anything came from Scotland. I am not denying it, but it is simply immodest for him to say so. He and St. Patrick and all the rest came from Dumfermline, from what Tower and St. Clair McKelway say, and you wonder if Columbus wasn't of those Dumfermline folks, too. St. Clair McKelway just piled the compliments on, saying he even wanted to pay more taxes than they charged him. It is all right; he deserves it all, and if these others hadn't said it I would have had to say it myself."
Some of those present were Samuel Untermyer, Charles W. Fuller, Dr. W. W. Walker, Ernest W. Behrens, A. A. Allen, J. R. Andrews, William Berri, George A. Hearn, Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke, Ezra De Forest, Col. George Harvey, J. W. Harper, C. J. Fitzgerald, J. A. Flagler, Richard C. Velt, William A. Libby, Henry Wollman, J. Takamine, Martin Saxe, John F. O'Rourke, Supreme Court Justice Charles F. McLean, J. H. McKinley, and Chester S. Lord.
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