From The Stock Market Barometer by William P. Hamilton, published in 1922

Cycles and Fundamental Laws of Wall Street

Continued from...Dow Theory and any Stock Market Averages

Rhodes and Morgan

It will not be charged that the writer is like the dyer's hand, subdued to what he works in, if his illustrations have been chosen mainly from the financial district. There is a Wall Street engaged upon tasks so serious, so exacting, that it has neither time nor inclination to be crooked. If it is true, as we have seen, that nobody can know all the facts which at anyone time influence the stock-market movement, it is true, as any of us can record from personal experience, that some have far more knowledge than others. The men who really know lift you out of this scuffle of petty criticism and recrimination. When they are rich men their wealth is incidental, the most obvious means to larger ends, but not an end in itself.

When I was following my profession in South Africa, a quarter of a century ago, I was thrown in contact with Cecil John Rhodes. He had definite ideas and large conceptions, far above the mere making of money. Money was necessary to the carrying out of his ideas, to the extension of white civilization from the Cape to Cairo, with a railroad as the outward and visible sign of something of even spiritual significance. In the respect of intuitive intelligence I have met only one man like him-the late J. Pierpont Morgan.  It was impossible to follow the rapidity of their mental processes. There was something phenomenal about it, like the performances of mathematically gifted children who can give you the square root of a number in thousands with a few moments of mental calculation. Other well-known men - speaking perhaps from the point of view of a reporter - seemed to have mental processes much like our own. Most of the great captains of industry I have met, like James J. Hill and Edward H. Harriman, had a quality essential to a first-rate thinker. They could eliminate the irrelevant. They could grasp the fundamental fact in a page of verbiage. But Rhodes and Morgan could do more. They could reason to an often startling but sound conclusion before you could state the premises.

Not Indescribable

And these men were rich, almost fortuitously. They had great tasks to accomplish, and it was necessary that they should have the financial means which made achievement possible. In the past few years we have heard a great deal about "ideals," and found that most of them were half-digested opinions. But there is a Wall Street with an ideal. There has usually been, and I hope there always will be, the right man to take the right objective view at the right moment. Not long ago I heard a lecturer setting forth what he called the "indescribable" beauties of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. In the space of an hour and a quarter he proved conclusively that those beauties were indescribable, at least so far as he was concerned. But Milton could have described them, or the Psalmist.  Perhaps any reasonably intelligent man could give you an idea of that natural wonder if he set forth simply the spiritual truth in the physical fact before him.

The Unchangeable

I feel I have said before, perhaps in editorials you read to-day, and forget to-morrow, what I am saying now. The problems of humanity do not change, because human nature is what it has been as far back as human record tells. "Cycles" are as old as organized humanity. The changes we see are superficial, especially where sincere and intelligent men so legislate that they may the better live together in peace and good will.  The human heart is essential to all progress.  Reform starts there, and not in the halls of legistlation.

The Bells of Trinity

Facing the western end of Wall Street, casting its shadow from the setting sun upon the most criticized and least understood section of a great nation, stands the sprire of Trinity.  We have often heard its ringing the old familiar Christmas hymns. The shepherds will be watching their flocks again, all seated on the ground. It may well be that, hearing those bells, the glory of the Lord shall in some manner shine round about us. There is little that laws can do to make men happier or richer or more contented. There is no form of government to-day, without its parallel, and warning, in the past. There is none in the past of which it could not be said that only, righteousness exalteth a nation. Wall Street knows as well as the most disinterested of its critics that goodness and justice and sacrifice and love are the foundation of all good government, because in that spirit alone a people truly governs itself.

We have said that the laws we are studying are fundamental, axiomatic, self-evident. And in this higher truth surely there is something permanent which would remain if the letter of the Constitution of the United States had become an interesting study for the archeologist, and the surviving writings of our day were classical in a sense their authors never dreamed. Such a foundation is permanent because truth has in it the element of the divine.

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From The Stock Market Barometer by William P. Hamilton, published in 1922

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Wall Street of the Movies Dow Theory and any Stock Market Averages Cycles and Fundamental Laws of Wall Street

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