Possibly the Rockefeller firm did get occasional rebates on crude oil from the oil regions to the refineries, but so did their competitors. It is therefore not likely that such favors had great influence in making this single firm the most successful in the largest refining center. With the organization of the Standard Oil Company, however, rebates became a more important consideration.
"'There's only one thing the matter with my mill, said he, 'and that's Jones's mill over in Harristown. The railroads give him rebates, and he undersells me. "'Well, damn his soul, said Stagg, 'we'll have his mill, too. "And so they bundled into their special again, and about six o'clock in the morning they got to Harristown, and they bought another mill. And that started them, you know.
Varnum, the President of the Third National Bank, "if you'd told me that that man was to become a demagogue and a reformer, I wouldn't have believed you. Why, his company used to take rebates from the L. & G., and the Southern I know it." He emphasized the statement with a blow on the table that made the liqueur glasses dance.
Of all the subjects which seem to have attracted the attention of the public to the affairs of the Standard Oil Company, the matter of rebates from railroads has perhaps been uppermost. The Standard Oil Company of Ohio, of which I was president, did receive rebates from the railroads prior to 1880, but received no advantages for which it did not give full compensation.
As a matter of fact, she lived on dried slices of bread which, before leaving home, she hid in her trunk. She did not disdain the saving of a tram car fare, although the rebates which she got on the furniture ran into the hundreds. All that she sent jubilantly to her lover in Berlin, assured that he was provided for some months. Thus the great misfortune had finally resulted in a blessing.
The laws aimed at regulating transportation, rates, and rebates, certainly made for justice, and helped to enlighten great corporations as to their place in the community and their duties towards it.
Anyway, he had rivals, and he made a crooked deal with some of the railroad people gave them stock you know and got rebates. And he had some union leaders on his pay rolls, and he called strikes on his rivals, and when he'd ruined them he bought them out for a song. And when he had everything in his hands, and got tired of paying high wages, he fired some of the union men and forced a strike.
Their influence at Washington was sufficiently powerful to prevent the adoption of any effective measures for the abatement of the evil. The Federal Inter-state Commerce Commission, unlike the local authorities, would have been fully competent to abolish rebates; but the plain truth was that the effective public opinion in the business world either supported the evil or connived at it.
Then I had another modest spell that won't let me ask him whether he'd been put away for givin' rebates, or grabbin' for graft. I knew it must have been somethin' respectable like that. Anyone could see he wa'n't one of your strong arms or till friskers.
All the world knows how he crushed his rivals by excluding their wares from the rail-roads, which gave him rebates, and then purchased for a song their depreciated properties. At every point he won the battle. He laid stealthy hands upon the pipe-lines, designed to thwart his monopoly, as he had previously laid hands upon the railway lines.