Wednesday, April 25, 2012

J.P. Morgan: Owner of Titanic

John Pierpont Morgan (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913) was a Wall Street banker and the owner of RMS Titanic.  He was the most powerful money man on Wall Street in 1912, the year that Titanic sank.

At the height of his career during the early 1900s, J.P Morgan and his partners had financial investments in many large corporations and monopolies. Morgan owned shipping companies, railroad companies, automobile companies, steel companies, electric companies, rubber companies, mining companies, life insurance companies, telephone companies, telegraph companies, copper wire companies, and even some of the Thomas Edison companies that made lightbulbs, radios, phonographs and movies.

Morgan also collected stocks, bonds, gold, silver, jewels and banks.  He especially liked owning banks.

In 1912 when Titanic sailed, J.P. Morgan was trying to convince the United States government to let him and his Wall Street friends create a monopoly on banks.  Back then another word for monopoly was a "combine" or a "trust."  Morgan was trying to convince people that control over all of the money and the banks in the United States should be combined into one big central bank or "Money Trust" where he and his partners on Wall Street would be the bosses.

This idea for a big central bank or "National Reserve Association" was proposed in a report that one of Morgan's agents, Nelson W. Aldrich, sent to Congress in January 1912, only a few months before the  RMS Titanic's maiden voyage.

Many people did not like this "Aldrich Plan" for a central bank or a bank combine.  They knew that it was actually a Morgan Plan and they did not want Morgan running a big central bank that made him the legal boss over all the little banks.

This was especially true in the small towns and rural areas of the West and Midwest.  The small-town bankers did not want to be legally forced to bundle up all of their "reserves" (the life savings of many hard-working people in the local community) and put them into the hands of J.P. Morgan or his big-city banking friends in Chicago, Denver, St. Louis and New York.

The small-town bankers were pretty sure Morgan's friends on Wall Street would simply use this huge treasure trove of reserves to make a "bubble machine" -- that is, Morgan & Co. would go off on a binge of speculative investing, making bets like drunken sailors because they would think they had the reserves of the entire nation to draw upon if they lost their bets.

Put another way: The careful bankers in lots of farming communities, who had responsibly safeguarded the local community chest for years, were afraid of these big city boys.  They were afraid the hard-earned treasure of their communities was about to be stolen.  Worse: They were afraid this huge war chest might be used to finance and start another war -- maybe even a World War.

Some of the big-city bankers on Wall Street agreed: This plan for a central bank was no good for America.  They were dead set against letting Morgan create a "Money Trust" monopoly on all the banks in the United States.  They decided they were going to fight with Morgan over his plan for a big central bank, and they were going to vote against Morgan and his political allies at the Republican National Convention of 1912.

Guess what?  Some of Morgan's biggest Republican enemies never made it to the convention. They were the millionaires who were on board the Titanic when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.  They were heading to New York and Philadelphia to attend the Republican "primaries" (the first round of voting) when they were killed.

Did the Titanic sink by accident when it hit an iceberg? 

The author of this weblog does not think so.  The author thinks that J.P. Morgan deliberately killed his political enemies and many of the other people on board the Titanic by telling the captain to wreck the ship on purpose.

J.P. Morgan and his friends in the newspapers made it look like a big accident.  But it wasn't

The basic claim made by this weblog is that the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912 was a political conspiracy to commit murder. The goal of this weblog is to prove it.

We will begin by proving that J.P. Morgan owned and controlled the Titanic.   That is done very simply by referring to the weblinks below.

J.P. Morgan's Shipping Trust: The International Mercantile Marine Co.

In 1902, J.P. Morgan organized a shipping monopoly on Wall Street called the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMM).  That monopoly or "Shipping Trust" bought up several steamship companies in America and England, and one of the shipping companies that Morgan bought in England was called the White Star Line.

The White Star Line and its executive officer, J. Bruce Ismay, took charge of building and operating the RMS Titanic and its sister ships, the RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic. Ismay certainly was in charge of day-to-day operations on board the Titanic because he was the White Star Line's managing director.

But Ismay was not the owner.  He was not the top boss. There was a level of management above him:  the team of Titanic's financial investors.  As with most businesses, the investors have the final say. They call the shots. Who was the top man on the investment totem pole? J.P. Morgan. 

Was J. Bruce Ismay to Blame for the Wreck?

People were very angry at Mr. Ismay after Titanic sank. They hated him. Many newspapers seized on the fact that Ismay got into a life boat while Titanic was sinking.  He survived while other men drowned.  This was considered cowardly and unchivalrous of him.  Consequently, when people wanted to assign blame for the "accident" most decided to assign the blame to Ismay.

The movies and books about Titanic all suggest that J. Bruce Ismay told the Titanic's captain, E.J. Smith, to run at full speed through an ice field. They suggest Mr. Ismay was a vain and stupid man who wanted to set a speed record and get headlines in the newspapers.

But the newspapers, books and movies all ignore the fact that J.P. Morgan owned White Star Line. He was the boss of J. Bruce Ismay, as the links below will prove.

In other words, it may be true that Ismay ordered Captain Smith to maintain full steam in a dangerous ice field. But it is also possible that the original order did not come from Ismay at all.  The order to run at full speed through an ice field may very possibly have come from Ismay's boss: J.P. Morgan.

Owners of the RMS Titanic

International Mercantile Marine Co.(IMM)

   Wikipedia: "International Mercantile Marine Co."
   Wikipedia "International Navigation Company" (INC)
   Wikipedia: "Pennsylvania Railroad"

   Sapphire, William B. "The White Star Line and the International Mercantile Marine Company"

IMM Founders

    J.P. Morgan, Lead Financier
       Wikipedia:  "J.P Morgan "
       Wikipedia: "George Peabody" and "Junius Spencer Morgan"
       Wikipedia: "J.S. Morgan & Co." of London
       Wikipedia: "Morgan, Grenfell & Co." of London and New York
       Wikipedia: "Morgan, Harjes & Co" of Paris
       Wikipedia: "Panic of 1893" and "Rothschild Family"
       Wikipedia: "Anthony Joseph Drexel" of Philadelphia
       Wikipedia: J.P. Morgan & Co. 
       Wikipedia: "United States Steel Corp."
       Wikipedia: "Panic of 1907"
       Wikipedia: "Nelson W. Aldrich" agent of J.P. Morgan
       Wikipedia: "Aldrich-Vreeland Act" of 1908
       Wikipedia: "National Monetary Commission"
       Wikipedia: "Henry Pomeroy Davison" agent of J.P. Morgan

   Clement Griscom, American Line and Red Star Line
       Wikipedia:  "Clement Griscom"
       Wikipedia:  "Mark Hanna"
       Wikipedia:  "William McKinley"

   Bernard N. Baker, Atlantic Transport Line
        Wikipedia:  "Bernard N. Baker"

   John Ellerman, Leyland Line
        Wikipedia: "Sir John Ellerman, 1st Baronet"

   J. Bruce Ismay, White Star Line
        Wikipedia: "Joseph Bruce Ismay"
       Encyclopedia Titanica: "Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay"

White Star Line

   Wikipedia:  "White Star Line"
   Wikipedia: "List of White Star Line Ships"
   See Also:  Sapphire, William B. "The White Star Line and the International Mercantile Marine Company"

Founder of White Star Line:  Thomas Henry Ismay
   Wikipedia: "Thomas Henry Ismay" 

Chairman of White Star Line:  J. Bruce Ismay
   Wikipedia: "Joseph Bruce Ismay"

Builders of the RMS Titanic

   Wikipedia: "Harland and Wolff"

Power Grab: The Aldrich Plan for a Federal Reserve

 Above: "The Octopus." Frontispiece of Alfred Owen Crozier's book U.S. Money vs. Corporation Currency: "Aldrich Plan" (Cincinnati, OH: The Magnet Co., 1912).

On 9 January 1912, a Report of the National Monetary Commission headed by Rhode Island Sen. Nelson W. Aldrich presented to the Senate Finance Committee of the U.S. Congress a bill to create a  "National Reserve Act" -- a plan popularly known as "The Aldrich Plan."

Wikipedia: "It provided for one great central bank, the National Reserve Association, with a capital of at least $100 million and with 15 branches in various sections. The branches were to be controlled by the member banks on a basis of their capitalization. The National Reserve Association would issue [paper] currency, based on gold and commercial paper, that would be the liability of the bank and not of the government. It would also carry a portion of member banks’ reserves, determine discount reserves, buy and sell on the open market, and hold the deposits of the federal government. The branches and businessmen of each of the 15 districts would elect thirty out of the 39 members of the board of directors of the National Reserve Association.

"Aldrich fought for a private monopoly with little government influence, but conceded that the government should be represented on the Board of Directors."

Put into plain English, this was the bill proposing that Congress create a Federal Reserve System -- a system that would require every single small-town bank in America to park their reserves with a small and secretive group of bankers from Wall Street who would then "look after" the reserves for the federal government.

Oh, by the way, the same group of Wall Street bankers would have the exclusive right to print paper currency for the United States government, and this bill would also require every single citizen of the United States to pay a personal income tax.

Did we mention that the paper currency or "Federal Reserve Notes" would actually be I.O.U.s or loans, on which the federal government would owe interest to the bankers?

Hmmm.  There was a lot to think about in the Aldrich Plan.

After thinking about it for a while, a lot of people (including some pretty rich people, like banker John Jacob Astor IV of New York) decided they didn't much like the sound of the Aldrich Plan.  For some reason, something just didn't sound right.

In fact the Aldrich Plan was so controversial that it was splitting the Republican Party right down the middle during an election year. Many Republicans were backing Morgan, Aldrich and their "Money Trust."  But just as many liberal Republicans thought that this was a classic case of a "bad" monopoly that would hurt small banks, hurt consumers and hurt the country's economy in general.

These "progressive" Republicans wanted to kill this plan for a banking trust, and they planned to vote for Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican trust buster who had initiated 44 anti-trust lawsuits during his eight years in the White House. In 1902 Roosevelt had busted J.P. Morgan's railroad trust, the Northern Securities Corporation, wide open.

Taft was a trust buster too.  In fact, during his four years in the White House, from 1908 to 1912, Taft had brought 90 lawsuits against big business under the Sherman Anti-Trust act.  But Taft did not distinguish between "good monopolies" and "bad monopolies" and he was taking a legal stick to any business that looked big.

Taft had also riled the liberal and "progressive" Republicans of his party by backing the Payne-Aldrich Act -- a racket that enforced high tariffs for the benefit of Aldrich and his cronies but hurt everyone else.

Among the Republican millionaires on board the RMS Titanic, several were friends and business partners of J.P. Morgan, but they were sick of Aldrich and they had decided to kill the Aldrich Plan. They were on board Morgan's ship, but they were not on board with Morgan's political plans.

In fact, when they got to New York, they were planning to attend the upcoming Republican primaries and to do something about it.  They were going to vote Taft and Aldrich down, effectively killing Morgan's plans for a Federal Reserve.

John Jacob Astor was an especially big headache for Morgan.  Morgan's group had invested more than $28 million in the Astor Trust, an important New York bank, but Astor was now talking about back-stabbing Morgan and the circle of Wall Street bankers who wanted to be the leaders of the new "National Reserve Association."

How could this problem be fixed?


Keko, Don, "The Taft-Roosevelt Rift: Taft the Trust Buster"
"Ship Building 1903 - 1911 - Taft, William H."  Gobal

Wikipedia "History of the Federal Reserve System"
Wikipdia "History of Central Banking in the United States"
Wikipedia "1907 - 1913: Creation of the Federal Reserve System"
Wikipedia "Panic of 1907"
Wikipedia "Nelson W. Aldrich"
Wikipedia "Money Trust"
Wilkipdia "Pujo Committee"

Note: The 1913 Pujo Committee Report identified over $22 billion in resources and capitalization controlled through 341 directorships held in 112 corporations by members of the empire headed by J.P. Morgan.

The "Just Missed It Club": Morgan and several friends suddenly decide not to board the Titanic

The following people booked passages on board the RMS Titanic for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic but each of them changed their minds and suddenly decided to pull out.

Why? Were they "just lucky"? Or were they warned not to go on board the Titanic?

It is certainly remarkable that some of the wealthiest members of the "just missed it" club have the following traits in common:  1) They are close associates and business partners of J.P. Morgan, 2) They made financial contributions to the 1912 election campaign for President William H. Taft, and 3) They are members of the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia, location of the notorious Jekyll Island meeting of 1910 at which Nelson Aldrich and several other Morgan associates conspired to create a Federal Reserve Bank.

Here's the list of lucky dogs who cleverly managed to miss a seat on the Titanic:

1. J.P. Morgan, owner of the Titanic, charter member of the Jekyll Island Club and mastermind behind the entire Federal Reserve Bank scheme.

Morgan reportedly stayed behind "when he was given the opportunity to view and purchase a rare set of medieval tapestries outside Chartres, France." He telegraphed, "Business will deny me the pleasure of being one of the first to cross on the finest vessel of the IMM."

Later, when interviewed by reporters after the sinking, he told the New York Times correspondent “Monetary losses amount to nothing in life. It is the loss of life that counts. It is that frightful death.”

According to Henry H. Klein's 2005 book Dynastic America and Those Who Own It (p. 126) , Morgan was a major contributor to the 1912 presidential campaign of William Howard Taft.  If elected, Taft had apparently agreed to help Morgan & Co. push their Federal Reserve plan through Congress.

According to Henry Klein's research:

"Charles P. Taft admitted that he spent $214,000 for his brother, and testified that among the contributors to his brother's campaign fund were John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Pierre DuPont, Harry Payne Whitney, Henry C. Frick, Daniel G. Reid, Oliver H. Payne,  George F. Baker, William H. Moore, William H. Childs, Joseph E. Widener, and E.T. Stotesbury.  Every one of these contributors is a controlling factor in monopoly."

One might add that the list also reads like a Who's Who of Jekyll Island Club members and Morgan business partners.

2. Henry Clay Frick, a Pittsburgh steel baron and close associate of J.P. Morgan, had booked on the Titanic but suddenly found himself indisposed.

Frick was a member of the Jekyll Island Club and a generous contributor to the 1912 campaign to re-elect President William H. Taft.

Newspapers once called Frick "the most hated man in America" because of the brutality with which he used Pinkerton agents and the Pennsylvania state militia to break the 1892 Homestead Strike at Andrew Carnegie's steel mills in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

In 1901, Frick played a central role in brokering a massive merger between Carnegie and Morgan steel interests. All of the merged companies rolled into one became the U.S. Steel Corp.  By 1912, Taft and his federal agents had brought a massive anti-trust lawsuit against U.S. Steel, claiming that it was a monster-sized monopoly that needed to be busted.

When Andrew Carnegie took the stand, he blamed all the dirty deals and back-room politics that made the U.S. Steel merger possible on Frick. The lawyers took a stick to Frick, and in January 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Frick sailed to Europe for a long vacation.

Quentin R. Skrabec's 2010 biography Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist (p. 206) tells us: "In early 1912, Frick and family (Adelaide and Helen) made an extensive four-month European trip, which also included a visit to Egypt.  His friend J. Horace Harding, an art collector and financial advisor, accompanied them.  Harding was a partner of J.P. Morgan and Frick's New York neighbor.  They had become friends because of their shared interest in art and flowers. They also served on a number of boards including the Tobacco Products Corporation. J. Horace Harding would become a director of the Frick Collection after Henry Clay's death.

"The party also included Helen's friend Francis Dixon and Egyptologist George Reisner of Harvard.  Frick had recently helped fund Reisner's explorations, and Reisner would be an excellent guide for the family.  J.P. Morgan was also on a collecting and business trip in Europe, and they would meet briefly.  The tour included Rome, the Vatican, and Pompeii."

Note: The Fricks, the Hardings, the Astors and Margaret T. "Molly" Brown were all on the same tour of Egypt just prior to the Titanic disaster.  They seem to have returned via Paris, and J.P. Morgan was in or around Paris at the same time, allegedly trying to arrange for the shipment of his tapestries to the United States.

Margaret Brown and her daughter Helen stayed at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.  When Margaret received a telegram at the hotel desk informing her that her grandson in California was sick, she decided on impulse to board the Titanic along with the Astors.  Helen Brown wanted to accompany her mother, but her friends in Paris begged her to stay.

Strangely, after Titanic had sunk and Margaret arrived in New York, she learned from her perplexed son that the grandson in question "had not been sick a single day." The telegram was mistaken.

The Astors and Molly Brown boarded Titanic at Cherbourg, France, as did Benjamin Guggenheim and journalist William T. Stead.

The Fricks and the Hardings, however, suddenly made other plans. Frick told reporters that he had to cancel his trip on Titanic when he learned that his wife, Adelaide, had sprained her ankle in Italy.

3.  J. Horace Harding of Philadelphia and New York, was a J.P. Morgan partner, railroad investor and director of the C.P. Barney Banking empire (later called Smith-Barney). Harding was a stout Republican, a 1912 supporter of Taft for president, and his wife Dorothea Barney Harding  is listed as a member of the Jekyll Island Club.  Mr. Harding himself joined the Jekyll Island Club in 1916.

The Hardings were art collectors  "who had toured Egypt with the Fricks."  Initially they booked the Titanic parlor suite that J.P. Morgan himself had abandoned, Suite B 52/54/56.  But the Hardings abruptly cancelled when they "managed to book an earlier trip back" on board the Mauretania -- a Cunard line ship not owned by Morgan. The parlor suite was then reserved for the White Star Line's executive director, J. Bruce Ismay.

The source of the Harding family's wealth is something of a mystery.  There is no doubt the family were very wealthy indeed. The Hardings had four children, Charles, Catherine, Laura and William Harding and a short sketch of Laura B. Harding, found in William J. Mann's 2007 biography Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn (page 149), gives us more detail:

"Laura Harding grew up in a six-story town house at 955 Fifth Avenue filled with gilded Louis XV antiques, Chinese porcelain vases, and paintings by such 18th-century masters as Joshua Reynolds, Henry Raeburn, and Thomas Gainsborough . . . . Laura Barney Harding was born in June 1902 at her family's estate on Philadelphia's Main Line.  Her mother, Dorothea Barney, was the granddaughter of Jay Cooke, the banker known as "the financier of the Civil War" for his handling of U.S. war bonds.  Cooke's daughter married Charles Barney, who founded the brokerage firm that later became Smith-Barney; Laura's father, J. Horace Harding, would serve as senior partner for the firm.

"Horace would, in fact, serve as director for many companies . . . .  No matter where it came from, J. Horace Harding's wealth was considerable; at his death the New York Times estimated it as 'running into millions.' "

The book Trust Companies of the United States (Audit Company of New York, 1913) lists J. Horace Harding on page 280 as a director of the Metropolitan Trust Co. of the City of New York and the Columbia-Knickerbocker Trust.

The Knickerbocker Trust was at the epicenter of the great Wall Street Panic of 1907, during which Knickerbocker's president Charles T. Barney  failed in his efforts to corner the copper market.  Barney begged J.P Morgan for a loan to cover his losses.  Morgan refused, and Barney then blew his brain out on 14 November 1907.

The result was a run on the Knickerbocker bank, and when Knickerbocker failed, there was mass panic on the Street and a run on many banks. This was the series of tragic events that prompted Morgan and his friends on Wall Street to "rescue" the banks by buying them up.

In early 1908 Morgan's crowd began calling for the creation of a National Reserve Association or Federal Reserve. Many people on the Street and in the press were less than sympathetic, wondering out loud how the hell Morgan had become so powerful that he could buy up half the banks that failed in the panic.  They suspected that the "National Reserve Association" plan was simply Part II in an effort to monopolize the entire banking market.

When Taft won the election of 1908 and began filing anti-trust lawsuits right and left, Morgan and his friends put their Federal Reserve plan on hold.  They got it rolling again in January 1912, after four years of "research" in Europe and after cutting a deal with Taft.

In late 1912, the Columbine Trust bought up Knickerbocker's remaining assets and brought onto the new trust's board of directors J. Horace Harding. He was, after all, the son-in-law of Charles T. Barney, the late lamented head of Knickerbocker Trust, and as director of the C.D. Barney Bank firm,  J. Horace was clearly placed on the board to represent the Barney family's interests.

In 1914, J. Horace Harding became a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, according to the Electric Railway Journal, vol. 44, p. 642.  Electric railways were a major part of the Morgan empire.  It didn't hurt that J. Horace was also the President of the Northwestern Power Company, which held all the stock for the Great Northern Power Company. 

In 1916 Harding is listed as an officer of J.P. Morgan's Guarantee Trust Co and a stock investor in the Chicago Great Western Railroad, a railroad that J.P. Morgan bought up and "reorganized" in 1909.

Moody's Manual of Investments for 1917 lists J. Horace Harding as a director of the American Express Corporation (sitting across the boardroom table from Cornelius Vanderbilt and William Vincent Astor, son of the same John Jacob Astor IV who died on Titanic).

The Guarantee Trust Co. was at the heart of J.P. Morgan's financial empire, and each of the railroads mentioned was associated with Morgan's railroad empire.  It is therefore safe to say that Harding was a close associate of J.P. Morgan and a key player in many of Morgan's schemes, especially those dealing with banks, electric railways, and the plans to create a Federal Reserve system.

4. George Washington Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, found themselves unable to board the Titanic after a little bird whispered something in their ears.

Mrs. Vanderbilt said her sister, Susan Dresser, had vehemently opposed their boarding Titanic on the grounds that "The first trip of any ship is dangerous."  A conflicting story says that George's mother cabled him to avoid the Titanic since "Maiden voyages are always so troublesome with crowds and media." Supposedly an obedient son, George complied with her wishes.

Vanderbilt was the millionaire owner of the Biltmore Estate, and his family ran a colossal empire of shipping and railroad interests that overlapped with J.P. Morgan's empire. His network had excellent intelligence sources.

Perhaps one should also note that George's older brother, William K. Vanderbilt, was a founding member of the Jekyll Island Club, and joined in the same year as J.P. Morgan (1886).

5. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, the son of George Washington Vanderbilt and heir to the Vanderbilt family's vast shipping and railroad empire.  He "canceled his passage on the Titanic so late that some early newspaper accounts listed him as being on board."

Alfred Vanderbilt lived on to become one the most celebrated casualties of the Lusitania sinking three years later, in April 1915.

6. Robert Bacon, the American ambassador to France.

7.  David Blair, Titanic's Second Officer, suddenly removed from the Titanic roster and moved to the RMS Olympic for unexplained reasons.  Blair left the ship's binoculars in a drawer in his state room, which is why the lookouts had no binoculars at the time of the ship's collision with the iceberg.

8. Gugliemo Marconi, Italian inventor of wireless telegraphy and winner of the 1909 Noble Prize in physics, was offered free passage on Titanic but took the Lusitania three days earlier.  Three years later, Marconi was on board the Lusitania in April 1915, on the voyage just before the one that was sunk by a German U-Boat

9. Milton Snavely Hershey, Chocolates millionaire from Pennsylvania.  His archive has records of a $300 check written December 1911 to White Star Line for passage on the Titanic, but pressing business required him to leave earlier on board the S.S. Amerika.

10.  Fr. Frank Browne, SJ, who was only a student at the time.  Browne's uncle, Robert Browne, was the Bishop of Cloyne and had given young Frank a nice graduation gift: A new camera and enough money to tour the continent. The trip included a free ticket to return to Ireland on board a luxury liner, the Titanic.  On April 12, Frank boarded the "Titanic Special" train at London's Waterloo Station, arrived at the dock and got on the big ship for its first leg, from Southampton to Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland.  Frank took lots of pictures of the beautiful rooms and people on the ship.  A wealthy couple on Titanic took a fancy to Frank, and they offered to pay his passage all the way to New York  City. But when he sent a telegraph to request permission to go to New York, his uncle the Bishop sent back the following stern reply:  "Get off that ship -- Provincial!" Fr. Brown lived to become a senior member of the Jesuit Order and a famous photographer.  His famous "last photos" of Titanic are some of the best we have, and they have been collected and published as a fancy coffee-table book.

11. Rev. Henry S. Nesbitt, his wife and five children

12. Rev. J. Stuart Holden, vicar of St. Paul's Church, Portman Square, London

13. Archbishop Thomas J. Madden of Liverpool

14.  Rev. J.S. Wardell Stafford, fraternal delegate of the Wesleyan Church of Great Britain

15.  Norman Craig, KC, MP

16. Hon. J. Conan Middleton

17.  Sir Charles Ross of Toronto

18. Col. J. Warren Hitchens

19.  Mr. and Mrs. J. Clifford Wilson and their daughters Dorothy and Edith

20.  Frank Kind, a Philadelphia jeweler,


Daugherty, Greg.  "Seven Famous People Who Missed the Titanic" Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012

Gutowski, Melanie Linn.  "Titanic's 'Just Missed It' Club An Elite Group," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 April 2012

Eaton, John P.  "Cancelled Passages Aboard Titanic," Voyage, 6 April 2008, from Encylopedia Titanica

Wikipedia: "Francis Browne"

Millionaires Who Did Board Titanic

Old Friends of Teddy Roosevelt

Col. John Jacob Astor IV
Maj. Archibald Butt

Silver Barons opposed to paper currency

Margaret Tobin Brown
Benjamin Guggenheim

Zionist Opposition

Isidor and Ida Straus

Pennsylvanian Railroad and Coal Clique

William and Lucile Carter
John Borland Thayer Jr.
John Borland Thayer III


Charles Hays, railroad business rival of Morgan's
Harry Molson

Collateral Damage

Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife Lucile
William Dulles
Frederick Maxfield Hoyt

Clarence Moore
Countess of Rothes
Emil Taussig
George Dunton Widener and Eleanor

Battle of the Titans: Taft v Roosevelt

Many of the Republican millionaires on board RMS Titanic were heading home to Philadelphia to participate in the party primary that was being held there from 13 to 16 April 1912.

The Republican Primaries of April 1912 marked the beginning of a deep split in the Republican Party, resulting from a Titanic power struggle between the incumbent President William Howard Taft (Morgan's agent) and former president Theodore Roosevelt (backed by J.J. Astor and other men who had served with Roosevelt in Cuba).

A Vicious Power Struggle within the Republican Party

This was the first year for Republican primaries.

Roosevelt overwhelmingly won the primaries — and yet, through clever maneuvering by Morgan and Taft, he lost the party nomination.

Roosevelt won 9 out of 12 states (8 by landslide margins). Taft won only the state of Massachusetts (by a small margin); he even lost his home state of Ohio to Roosevelt.

Senator Robert M. La Follette, an anti-Morgan reformer who loudly opposed the Aldrich Plan, won two states.

Through the primaries, Senator LaFollette won a total of 36 delegates; President Taft won 48 delegates; and Roosevelt won 278 delegates.

That means Roosevelt won the Republican Party's nomination to run as their candidate for president, right? Wrong!

Dirty Tricks Campaign

Unfortunately for Teddy, 36 states did not hold primaries. Their delegates were chosen by state conventions, which were controlled by party politics, not by the voter. Many of the state delegates were contested.
Taft controlled the Republican National Committee, which had the power to make decisions on contested delegates. They awarded 235 of the contested delegates to Taft and 19 to Roosevelt. As a result, Roosevelt's delegates abstained from voting at his request.

The 1912 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, from June 18 to June 22, 1912. The party nominated William Howard Taft from Ohio for re-election as President of the United States and James S. Sherman of New York for re-election as Vice President.

Sherman died days before the election, and was replaced as Republican vice-presidential nominee by Nicholas M. Butler of New York.


Wikipedia:  "1912 Republican National Convention"

Secret Agent: Maj. Archibald Butt, President Taft's military aide

Above: Butt

Major Archibald Willingham Butt (September 26, 1865 – April 15, 1912) was an influential military aide to U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Before becoming an aide to Roosevelt, Butt had pursued a career in journalism and served in the Spanish-American War. He died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

On January 2, 1900, Butt received a commission as a Captain of United States Volunteers in the United States Army.[1] He served in the Philippines from 1900 to 1904. While he was in the Philippines, he had a part in founding the Military Order of the Carabao, a tongue-in-cheek spoof of military fraternal organization that is still in operation today. In 1904, he was made Depot Quartermaster of Washington, D.C., where he met President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1906, he was sent to Cuba to as part of a pacification force. In 1908, now a captain, Butt was recalled to Washington to serve as chief military aide to President Roosevelt. When William Howard Taft became President the following year, Butt stayed on in the same capacity. In 1911, Butt was promoted to the rank of major.

Above: Butt on the White House portico, with Robert Baden-Powell, President Taft and British ambassador Bryce in the foreground (1912-02-03)

During his time serving with two presidents, Butt wrote almost daily letters to his sister-in-law Clara, of Augusta, Georgia. These letters are a key source of information on the more private events of these two presidencies and provide insights into the respective characters of Roosevelt and Taft. 

By 1912, Taft's first term was coming to an end and Roosevelt, who had fallen out with Taft, was known to be considering a run against him. Very close to both men and fiercely loyal, Butt was caught in the middle. As his health was deteriorating during this period, his friend Francis Davis Millet asked Taft to give him a leave of absence to recuperate before the presidential primaries began. Taft agreed and ordered Butt to go on vacation.

Butt left on a six-week vacation to Europe. He was accompanied for part of his vacation by the American painter Francis Davis Millet, his longtime friend. Butt's only known official work during his vacation was a visit with Pope Pius X, during which he delivered to the pontiff a personal message from Taft.

Butt booked his return passage on the RMS Titanic. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton, UK on April 10, 1912; his partner Millet boarded the ship at Cherbourg, France later that same day.

Butt was playing cards on the night of April 14 in the first-class smoking room when the Titanic struck an iceberg. The ship sank two and half hours later, with a loss of over 1500 souls.

Major Butt's actions on board the ship while it was sinking are largely unverified, but many accounts of a typically sensationalist nature were published by newspapers after the disaster. According to some accounts, Titanic captain Edward J. Smith informed Butt that the "ship was doomed" and that "lifeboats were being readied." Butt immediately began acting as another officer of the ship, herding women and children into the lifeboats. One account tells of Butt preventing desperate steerage passengers trying to escape. Walter Lord's book A Night to Remember disagrees with claims that Butt acted like an officer, claiming he was more likely quietly observing the ship's evacuation. Butt was last seen in the smoking room, making no attempt to save himself. He went down with the Titanic; his remains were not found.

Millet's body was recovered after the sinking and was buried in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Butt appears and plays a significant role in Jack Finney's time travel novel, From Time to Time. In it, Butt was sent to Europe by President Taft and former President Roosevelt in an effort to stave off World War I. In Europe, he apparently gets the necessary assurances to make a European war impossible. However, even when informed of the ship's approaching sinking by the time traveling protagonist, he refuses to save himself and his mission when women and children will perish. His mission fails with his death.


Wikipedia "Archibald Butt"

Isidore Straus's mission to Palestine

Isidor Straus owner of Macy's department store, and his wife Ida, were returning from a visit to Palestine when they died.  Their death so strongly affected Isidor's brother and business partner, Nathan Straus (who had accompanied them on the trip to Palestine but "just missed" the Titanic), that Nathan gave away most of his fortune to the Zionist cause and to several charities.

Another Straus brother, Oscar Straus, served as U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire from 1887 to 1889, and again from 1898 to 1899.  In 1906 Oscar became the United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor under president Theodore Roosevelt, which meant Oscar was in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and shipping lines. He worked closely with police and the Secret Service to deport immigrants with anarchist beliefs and to enforce the Anarchist Exclusion Act of 1903. 

In 1909-1910, Oscar Straus served as U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and in 1912, shortly after Titanic sank, he ran for governor of New York.

William Waldorf Astor and the Cliveden Set

William Waldorf Astor was the cousin of Titanic victim John Jacob Astor IV, but he deserves attention for several reasons:

1) He was a business partner of J.J.'s -- they built the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York together.

2) He owned the Pall Mall Magazine and Pall Mall Gazette in London, publications that once employed journalist William T. Stead (another Titanic victim) as their editor.

3) While William T. Stead worked as editor at the Pall Mall Gazette in London, he made the acquaintance of another important person on Mr. Astor's payroll:   Alfred Milner, later Lord Milner, the founder of the 1909 Roundtable movement, a powerful group of men identified by many writers as the "invisible government" that secretly runs the governments of Britain and the United States.  Lord Milner's group certainly founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs, an influential think tank in London, and the Council of Foreign Relations in the United States, a group of ministers who seem to set the foreign policy for both countries without ever having been elected to do so.

4) William Waldorf Astor was an Egyptian rite mason of high degree, and his stories on the subject of Egypt (published in the Pall Mall Magazine), when combined with his clear record of collecting Egyptian antiquities, help to explain why John Jacob Astor IV and his newly wed wife, Madeleine, chose to go to Egypt for their honeymoon.  The spring equinox rituals of Isis play an important role in the beliefs of Egyptian rite masons.

5) During the 1920s and the 1930s, William Astor's English mansion, Cliveden, later became the home base of what was known as the Cliveden Set, a group of extremely wealthy and extremely conservative British nationalists who supported Hitler and the rise of fascism in Europe.  For the British, they are still a source of much embarrassment and argument:  It seems their political powerbase never really went away.  British researchers hark back to them for much the same reason that American historians explore President Bush's family history.  The political constellations of 1912 help to explain and clarify much of what is going on today.


Wikipedia:  "William Waldorf Astor"
Wikipedia: "Alfred Milner, 1s Viscount Milner"
Wikipedia: "Cliveden Set"

John Jacob Astor IV and the "War of the Currents"

Texts on Wikisource:

Millions of reasons to kill John Jacob Astor IV

Astor's huge fortune and financial empire:  The Astor Trust

Photo of Astor Trust Building in New York (1917)

Friendship with Nikola Tesla and investments in Tesla's Experiments

Business partnerships with J.P. Morgan in Niagara power station schemes

War of the Currents (AC vs DC, metered electricity versus free electricity)

J.P. Morgan's decision to back Thomas Edison and metered electricity

Opposition by Astor, who continues to back Tesla

First Wife: Ava Lowle Willing

A Nasty Divorce: Yet Another Motive for Murder?

Ava remarries in 1911 to an English Baron: Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale

J.J. remarries in 1911 to a young beauty: Madeleine Talmadge Force

Social scandal convinces the newly weds to get out of town

Honeymoon in Egypt


Wikipedia "Ava Lowle Willing"

Below, left: A grief-stricken Madeleine Astor captured by a newsman's camera. Below, right: Newsies hand out papers announcing the Titanic Disaster, subheaded "Mrs. Astor Is Saved" . . . as if she were the only person among 1,514 dead who really counted.  

Above: Funeral procession for John Jacob Astor IV, 4 May 1912

Egyptian Entourage: The 1912 Discovery of Nefertiti's Tomb

Above:  Bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Akhenaten

Several of the millionaire victims on board RMS Titanic had recently been on a visit to Cairo, Egypt, and they were on their way to New York after a long time in Cairo.  There is strong evidence that they bought Egyptian artifacts and were bringing these antiquities back to the United States with them, either to keep them in private collections or to donate them to public museums (see the entry on Molly Brown's "ushabti" below).

Members of the Egyptian Entourage

John Jacob Astor IV and his wife Madeleine
Margaret Tobin Brown
William T. Stead?
Benjamin Guggenheim? and his mistress?
Henry Clay Frick and his wife Adelaide
J. Horace Harding and his wife

The Main Attraction in 1912:  The Tomb of 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti at Tell el-Amarna.

The digs at Amarna were the subject of endless fascination to Victorians and Edwardians thanks to the discovery of the Tell el-Amarna Tablets in 1887. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "they contain precious information concerning the history, geography, religion, and language of the predecessors of the Hebrews in Palestine, and, in many cases, illustrate and confirm what we already know from the Old Testament."

To British nationalist hellbent on proving that the English speaking races were one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel mentioned in the Bible, this was fascinating stuff. Many of the snobbier members of British and American aristocracy believed that the archaeologists digging in Egypt were on the verge of finding artifacts that would prove the theories of British Israelism

Plus, there was money to be made.  Museums were all the rage, and the archaeologists of the day had no scruples about robbing Egyptians tombs wholesale, crating up the artifacts, and carting them back to English and American museums, where they intended to charge public admission even whilst standing on a podium and pontificating on the historical value of their "finds."

On the menu for1912: The Tomb of Queen Nefertiti, mother of King Tuth'mosis (aka "Moses").

"The Nefertiti Bust is a 3300-year-old painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Due to the work, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women from the ancient world and as an icon of feminine beauty. The work is believed to have been crafted in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose." -- Wikipedia

Discovery of the bust shown above was announced by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt on 4 October 1912.  This discovery indicates a great deal of digging around the gravesite of Pharaoh Akhenaten must have been taking place during the Spring of 1912, right about the time that John Jacob Astor IV, his wife Madeleine, and their entourage of millionaire friends decided to pay a visit to Cairo.

Given the Astor family's long-standing interest in the Biblical story of Moses being discovered by a Pharaoh's daughter among the bulrushes (see William Waldor Astor's story "The Pharaoh's Daughter" in the Pall Mall Magazine, which was then edited by William T. Stead), it stands to reason that the Astors made a beeline to Tell el-Amarna to pay a visit to the dig, and stare through their opera glasses at what they believed to be the thrilling sight of their great-great-great-(whatever)-grand-mummy.

Indeed the Astors may have financed the dig, and visited the site to take home some goodies.

One must note that some modern-day experts have recently made the startling claim that the famous Nefertiti bust is a "fake" -- a copy made in 1912 to use for testing different kinds of Egyptian pigments. 

This raises the very interesting question of what happened to the original?


"Famed Nefertiti Bust 'a fake': expert," Agence France Presse (AFP), 5 May 2009

Wkipedia: "Nefertiti"
Wikipedia: "Nefertiti Bust"

Focus On: Margaret Tobin Brown

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mystery of the Titanic Ushabti: Molly Brown's Egyptian Good Luck Charm

Above: This mummified "shabti" or  "ushabti" figurine was just part of a cargo of Egyptian antiquities being shipped to the United States by Margaret T. "Molly" Brown after a visit to Cairo, Egypt, with Col. John Jacob Astor and his wife, Madeleine.

According to Egyptologist Paul Boughton's article "Servant of the Deep: The Mystery of the Titanic Shabti,"  when Margaret Brown boarded the 46,328 ton Titanic on the evening of 10 April 1912 in Cherbourg, France, she brought with her "one crate of Egyptian souvenirs and three crates of ancient Egyptian figurines, the latter ultimately destined for the Denver Museum in the U.S.A."

Here, apparently, is the original source of the legend that Titanic was sunk by the curse of an ancient Egyptian mummy.  It's interesting to note that Denver Nature and Science museum actually does have a mummy on display, with a rather cryptic note that the mummy was donated by a wealthy collector from the Pueblo area.

The author of this blog contacted one of the docents at the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver and confirmed that Margaret Brown brought Egyptian antiquities on board Titanic.  In fact the Museum still has the original list of items that Margaret Brown insured before she boarded. The insurance form is on public display at the museum, and it clearly lists Egyptian artifacts.

The museum's gift shop is even selling miniature replicas of the faience (turquoise) Ushabti figure as souvenir "good luck charms." It's well known to local historians that Margaret Brown gave the Egyptian figurine to Arthur H. Rostron, captain of the rescue ship S.S. Carpathia on 29 May 1912, the same day that she presented to him the silver loving cup pictured in the photo below.

The shabti figurine was a good luck charm that Margaret carried from the Titanic in her coat pocket, the night the ship sank.She gave the figurine to Capt. Rostron as a personal gesture, to wish him luck on all future sea voyages.

Photos that appeared in contemporary tabloids are probably the source of the mummy myth. 

"The ushabti remained in the possession of Captain Rostron until his death in 1940," says Boughton. "What happened to it next is unclear. I have been unable to trace a copy of Rostron’s autobiography, which may provide more details about the figure."

The ushabti next appeared in the possession of the American Titanic artefact collector Stanley Lehrer, the founder of the USA Today newspaper. Boughton then successfully traced the figurine to a 1998 exhibition called Titanic: Fortune and Fate, which was mounted at The Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia, USA.

"A small picture of the ushabti appears in the catalogue. It is described as 'An Ancient Egyptian Figurine, Shawabti or Ushabti, ca. 700 BC'. The material is stated to be faience with a turquoise glaze and the figure appears 'courtesy of the Stanley Lehrer Collection.'. Following the exhibition, the figure appears to have disappeared back to wherever Mr. Lehrer keeps his Titanic collection."

After some calling around, Mr. Boughton successfully located the original figurine.  It is now part of the 2012 exhibit at the Titanic-Branson Museum in Branson, Missouri, USA.


Boughton, Paul.  "Servant of the Deep:  The Mystery of the Titanic Shabti" Egyptology News

Hardman, Robert "Hi Mummy I'm Home!" Mail Online

Snopes: "Everything But the Egyptian Sink"

Wikipedia: "Titanic Alternative Theories: Mummy"

Wikipedia "Ushabti"

Focus on: Benjamin Guggenheim

Benjamin Guggenheim (October 26, 1865 – April 15, 1912) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the fifth of seven sons of the wealthy mining magnate Meyer Guggenheim (1828–1905) and Barbara Myers (1834–1900).

"[In 1885] At the age of 20, Guggenheim went to Colorado to handle the family's mines in Leadville. He was inspired to start a smelting operation - the first plant was located in Pueblo and soon more plants were built elsewhere. Smelting business continued to grow and became quite lucrative for the Guggenheims."

Margaret T. Brown, the "unsinkable Molly Brown," was also living in Leadville at the time.  Whether Margaret and her husband, James J. Brown, ever met Benjamin Guggenheim in Leadville in unclear.

Benjamin moved to Pueblo, CO, when the Guggenheim family opened a smelting operation there.  He was joined in the business their by his brother Simon.  The Guggenheims made many millions by smelting the silver and gold sent from mines in Leadville to their plant in Pueblo

In 1894, Benjamin Guggenheim married Florette Seligman (1870–1937),daughter of James Seligman, a senior partner in the firm J & W Seligman, and Rosa Seligman née Content.  See their wedding notice in the New York Times dated Thursday 25 October 1894.


Benita Rosalind Guggenheim (1895–1927)
Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim (1898–1979)
Barbara Hazel Guggenheim (1903–1995).

After taking a break in Europe, Guggenheim returned to the United States and started building mining machinery. That business later became part of the International Steam Pump Company in 1906. After serving as chairman of the company's executive committee for several years, Guggenheim was elected president in 1909.

Guggenheim boarded the RMS Titanic at Cherbourg, France, and was accompanied by his mistress, a French singer named Léontine Aubart (1887–1964); his valet, Victor Giglio (1888–1912); his chauffeur, René Pernot (1872–1912); and Madame Aubart's maid, Emma Sägesser (1887–1964). His ticket was number 17593 and cost £79 4s (other sources give the price as £56 18s 7d). He and Giglio occupied stateroom cabin B82 while Aubart and Sägesser occupied cabin B35. Pernot occupied an unknown cabin in second class.


Wikipedia "Benjamin Guggenheim"
Muncey's Magazine, June 1907:  "The Guggenheim Family"
Washington Times, 16 April 1912:  "List of Washingtonians on Fated Steamer Grows"

Biographical Sources:  "Benjamin Guggenheim Biography"
Encyclopedia Titanica:  "Mr. Benjamin Guggenheim - Titanic Victim"

Eaton, John P. & Charles A. Haas Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy (Second ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1994).  ISBN 1 85260 493 X

Lord, Walter Lord A Night to Remember (London: Penguin, 1976.) ISBN 0 14 004757 3

Lynch, Don & Ken Marschall  Titanic: An Illustrated History. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1992). ISBN 0 340 56271 4

Photo: "Benjamin Guggenheim in 1910"

Mme. Léontine Pauline Aubart


Mme. Léontine Pauline Aubart (known as "Ninette"), 24, was born in Paris on 20 May 1887.
A singer, she lived at 17 Rue Le Sueur, Paris, France. She boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with her maid Emma Sägesser . She occupied cabin B-35 (ticket number PC 17477, £69 6s). Mme. Aubart (often misspelled Aubert) was the mistress of millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim who was also aboard. She and her maid were rescued, probably in lifeboat 9.

L'Excelsior, 17th April 1912
(Courtesy of Olivier Mendez, Association Français du Titanic)
After coming aboard the Carpathia she sent a Marconigram to Paris on 18 April 1912:
Aubart 42 rue Monge Paris
Moi sauvee mais Ben perdu (I'm saved but Ben lost)
Some other Telegrams were not transmitted because the operators could not cope with the tremendous workload following the disaster.
Aubart 42 rue Monge Paris
Sauvée (Saved)
Ninette Aubart

Pascaline 17 Lesueur Paris

Berthe Segesser 30, Charles Baudelaire Paris
Sauvée Amities Emma (Saved Love Emma)
In later life, it is said, that Madame Aubart held parties during the twenties that were ended by police.
Leontine Pauline Aubart died on 29 October 1964, aged 77.

New York Times "Mme Aubart Returns to France"
References and Sources

Bäbler, Günter 1998) Reise auf der Titanic. (Zürich: Chronos, 1998)

Booth, John & Sean Coughlan.  Titanic Signals of Disaster (Westbury, Wiltshire: White Star Publications, 1993) ISBN 0 9518190 1 1

Contract Ticket List , White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia ) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183


Hermann Söldner, Germany
Günter Bäbler, Switzerland
Geoff Whitfield, UK
Craig Stringer, UK

Monday, April 23, 2012

Focus On: Sen. Simon Guggenheim of Colorado

Historians of the Titanic disaster often ignore the fact that Benjamin Guggenheim, one of the wealthiest people killed in the Titanic disaster, was the brother of Sen. Simon Guggenheim of Colorado.  They care truly, madly, deeply about the fancy clothes that Benjamin was wearing when the boat sank.  But reporters and movie makers have carefully ignored his politics and the political connections of his brother, Simon.

Politics are priority No. 1, however, for those who suspect that someone deliberately sank the RMS Titanic as part of a political plot to kill the powerful millionaires on board.  For those who harbor such suspicions, a direct relationship between one of the millionaires killed and a key member of the U.S. Senate is highly significant.

The direct relationship of Benjamin Guggenheim to a U.S. senator from Colorado tells us a couple things:

1) The Guggenheims certainly knew Molly Brown and Molly Brown certainly knew the Guggenheims (both families made their fortunes in the silver and gold mines of Leadville, Colorado, and Molly's house on Pennsylvania Street in Denver is only a couple blocks from the house at 1555 Sherman Street, Denver, that was once occupied by Sen. Simon Guggenheim's family).

2) The fact that Benjamin Guggenheim and Molly Brown knew each other well and boarded the Titanic together in Cherbourg, France, strongly suggests that they had not met by accident -- they were in league somehow

3) The staunch silence surrounding their association suggests that there is a skeleton buried nearby. Perhaps some powerful third party may have wanted both Benjamin Guggenheim and Molly Brown dead? Sen. Simon Guggenheim makes a reasonable suspect for such a third party. He certainly stood to inherit a fair share of Benjamin Guggenheim's fortune if Benjamin died, and Benjamin's death would certainly have given Simon much more influence and control over the Guggenheim family's massive mining and smelting business.  Benjamin would no longer be around to argue with Simon.

4) It is also significant that Simon Guggenheim had a clear motive to kill Margaret Brown. In 1909 Margaret Brown ran for one of Colorado's seats in the U.S. Senate, and that made her, potentially, a real threat to the seat of Simon Guggenheim and his agenda within the Senate.  Margaret was moving in the same monied circles as Simon Guggenheim back in Denver, and that meant she was extremely well-informed about him and potentially a danger to him.

5) Finally, last but not least, Sen. Simon Guggenheim, R-Colo., was well known to be a close ally of Sen. Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island -- the Senate majority leader behind the "Aldrich Plan" for a central bank and a Money Trust.

If Simon Guggenheim lost his senate seat, Nelson Aldrich and J.P. Morgan's other agents in the U.S. senate might lose some of the political muscle they needed to ram their bill for a "National Reserve Association" through the House and Senate.

Titanic millionaires conspiring to sink the Aldrich Plan?

This bill, the infamous "Aldrich Plan," had just been sent to Congress in January 1912, and in April 1912 when Titanic sailed, it was still the talk of the town.  Everyone knew that it was extremely important to J.P. Morgan to pass this bill.  It was worth billions (in fact trillions!) of dollars to Morgan and his friends.

This was the bill that would establish a personal income tax in the United States, and it also proposed that the entire country switch from gold and silver coins to paper currency.  It was not exactly the favorite flavor of millionaires who had made their fortunes from gold and silver mining.  Sure, a few elite Wall Street banks like J.P. Morgan & Co. would gain complete control over the U.S. currency, but some of the wealthier silver miners were going to take a big hit

If Margaret Brown and Benjamin Guggenheim were putting their heads together, looking for ways to make trouble for Simon Guggenheim, Nelson Aldrich and J.P. Morgan, or talking dirt about them in powerful circles, then, voila, what a beautiful motive for murder!

If Margaret Brown and Benjamin Guggenheim were also sitting across the dining table from a few other powerful enemies of the Aldrich Plan (namely John J. Astor and Isidor Strauss) then what we are talking about is a stunningly good reason to sink the entire ship.

This small group of millionaires making casual dinner chat on the Titanic controlled more than $600 million (or $1.8 billion in modern dollars).  They had enough money to make very big waves for J.P. Morgan and Nelson Aldrich in the upcoming 1912 election.

John Jacob Astor alone was worth about $150 million and had enough money to alter the course of the 1912 election. The Astor Trust in New York was so connected to all the major bankers in the city that it wasn't funny.  When Astor spoke, people listened -- and he belonged to more than a dozen elite social clubs.

Were Margaret Brown and Benjamin Guggenheim bending J.J. Astor's ear, spinning stories, dishing out inside information, pitching a plan to J.J.? What political dirt might Margaret and Benjamin have dug up on Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his political partner, Aldrich?

The Dirt on Simon Guggenheim and Nelson Aldrich

Well, it was already well known in 1912 that Simon Guggenheim had bought his senate seat with the help of corrupt cronies in Colorado (see Russell, Charles Edward "What Are You Going to Do About It? Colorado - New Tricks in an Old Game" Cosmopolitan, Vol. 50, December 1910 - May 1911).

Less well known to the public was the fact that Simon Guggenheim had partnered with Sen. Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island to manipulate stock prices in rubber. The Guggenheim family and Aldrich had invested heavily in the "Rubber Trust" (the Intercontinental Rubber Co.) which was notorious for exploiting slave labor in the Belgian Congo.

With Benjamin Guggenheim present, J.J. Astor had a direct line into all the dirty details.  If Astor didn't like the smell of the Aldrich Plan (and there many millionaires who didn't), Benjamin's information might give him enough ammo to sink Aldrich and Simon Guggenheim both.

Why would Benjamin Guggenheim rat out his brother, Simon, and his own family? Well, unlike his brothers, Benjamin may have felt conscience stricken by his family's use of slave labor in Belgian Congo.  It was widely reported that he had broken off relations with his family a few years back and moved to Europe because he couldn't stomach the way the Guggenheim family were doing business.

It is very possible, then, that Benjamin would willingly pitch in with J.J. Astor and Margaret Brown in a "progressive" effort to interfere with the Aldrich plan. It might even be possible that their dinner conversation on Titanic centered on an effort to push Simon and Nelson Aldrich out of office.

Would this hurt Morgan? It certainly would. "In other investments, the great Guggenheim combination goes hand-in-hand with the great Morgan combination," says Charles Russell.

Astor was a key player because he had all the inside scoop on J.P. Morgan's dealings with the Rothschild banking family of Europe. JJ's cousin William was certainly in the middle of all the banking talks in London.

As William Astor's employee and press agent, William T. Stead was no slouch either.  He had political connections all over the world, especially in New York and London.  That's what made him such a widely read correspondent.  He knew everyone who counted -- had interviewed several heads of state --and had a good feel for their opinions.

Finally, Isidore Straus was in a position to make very insightful comments on such a political conversation. As a member of New York's powerful Chamber of Commerce and a former congressman for New York who had been a member of the House monetary policy committee, he knew what he was talking about.  He knew how Nelson Aldrich's racket worked in Congress and how they had been fixing tariffs and trade for years.

Was Isidore Strauss joining this conversation by accident? Hardly.

Worth More Dead than Alive

Taking into consideration the political backgrounds and interests of this small circle of millionaires, one can easily imagine conversations that might have alarmed J.P. Morgan.  One can also see why Nelson Aldrich and Simon Guggenheim might have pressured J.P. Morgan, owner of the Titanic, to send this group of millionaires to the bottom of the Atlantic.

The money at stake in the Aldrich Plan actually exceeded all the money invested in Titanic by a thousand fold. Add to that the amount of money that might be picked up by clever Wall Street men who knew how to profit from the deaths of their rivals, and one begins to see why a practical man like J.P. Morgan might give some serious consideration to simply sinking the Titanic.