Choose: fix economy or attend General Convention?

The year is 1907. The month is October. There is a run the banks. What does most influential financier of the day do? Spend 30 days at General Convention which was the celebrating 300 years of Anglicanism in the USA.

That’s premise of an article in the April 1, 2009 issue of the Richmond newsweekly, Style. The author has fun, but don’t be too sure it’s an April Fools. Some quotes:

Who to call? President Theodore Roosevelt was in the wilds of Louisiana at the time hunting black bears — but could have done little anyway. The secretary of the Treasury rushed to New York but there was no central national bank and no Federal Reserve system in place at that time to offer stability.

The one man with the clout, intelligence, resources and moxie to restore order was J. Pierpont Morgan.

So where was he while banking was under siege? Morgan had arrived in Richmond Oct. 1, becoming comfortably ensconced for three weeks at the Episcopal convention. America’s most powerful man didn’t intend to interrupt his church work. As much as he loved lording over Wall Street or collecting rare books and old-master art, he was above all else an ecclesiastical groupie. He couldn’t get his fill of the Episcopal Church, whether sitting alone in a darkened corner of his own understated, St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York listening to an organist practice, or debating with high-ranking clergy an arcane point of church governance.

These sorts of snafus don’t occur anymore, do they?:

About 75 delegates boarded a chartered train to Williamsburg on Oct. 5 for a special service at the recently restored Bruton Parish Church. A highlight was the dedication of a podium given by President Roosevelt and the presentation of an elegantly bound Bible sent via the Bishop of London by King Edward VII.

When the special train arrived in Williamsburg, however, no one had arranged for carriages to meet the party. So amid the swarm of clergy and pooh-bahs, Morgan took charge. He commandeered a worn, pre-Civil War horse cart with a young boy at the reigns. Morgan reportedly tossed the Bible up onto the front seat, shoved his party into the rear and hoisted himself up next to the driver. They were off to the church. And yes, Morgan proudly carried the Bible in the procession.

Read it all.

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