A Message to Carnegie
Issues of Society
A Message to Carnegie
Source: Star of the West, vol. VI, no 11, September 27 1915, “Carnegie exalted by Bahaist leader”, The New York Times
September 5th, 1915
On November 12th, ‘Abdu’l-Baha granted a private meeting to one of the most influential of all Americans: Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie’s company produced steel largely in Great Britain. He was one of the first prominent citizens to call for the League of Nations. He endowed the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, which today houses the World Court.
He eventually sold his steel company and committed his life to philanthropy and giving away hundreds of millions to build thousands of libraries and endowing institutions of higher learning (Carnegie Mellon University), cultural institutions (Carnegie Hall, NYC), think tanks (Carnegie Endowment for Peace), research institutions (Carnegie Institute of Washington for scientific research), trusts to directly assist people (Carnegie Dunfermline Trust to assist the residents of Dunfermline Scotland where Carnegie was born), among many others.
Carnegie’s interest in the rights of workers, international peace and the betterment of society, may well have led him to seek an interview with the Master. After this private interview, the two corresponded and one of these letters was the basis of an article published in the New York Times in 1915, though it was written just a year and a half before World War One exploded:
“To the noble personage, his Excellency Mr. Andrew Carnegie:
May God assist him!
… All the leaders and statesmen of Europe are thinking on the plane of war and the annihilation of the mansion of humanity, but thou (Carnegie) art thinking on the plane of peace and love and the strengthening and reinforcement of the basis of the superstructure of the human world. They are the heralds of death, thou art the harbinger of life. The foundations of their palaces are unstable and wavering and the turrets of their mansions are tottering and crumbling, but the basis of thy structure is firm and unmovable …
…Today the most important object of the kingdom of God is the promulgation of the cause of universal peace and the principle of the oneness of the world of humanity. Whosoever arises in the accomplishment of this preeminent service the confirmations of the holy spirit will descend upon him …
… Therefore, before long a vast and unlimited field will be opened before your view for the display of your powers and energies. You must promote this glorious intention with the heavenly power and the confirmation of the holy spirit. I am praying in thy behalf that thou mayest erect a pavilion and unfurl a flag in the world of peace, love, and eternal life …”