Friday, December 9, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Hunter, Cooper & Company

New York

Dave Thompson scan

New York.

Dave Thompson scan

The New York Times, January 25, 1888:




Arthur M. Hunter is a stock broker who does not weigh 100 pounds.  S. Morris Pryor is a stock broker who weighs twice as much.  Arther Hunter is a member of the Stock Exchange and a pet of Wall-street.  He is a lightweight athlete, a rider to the hounds, and known in all the fashionable sporting circles as a "gentleman jockey" almost without peer.  Dashing to very recklessness and skillful to the last degree, he has a long time been one of the heroes foremost in high fashion's turf circles.  S. Morris Pryor has not any athletic record, but he is a well-built and sturdy representative of the brokerage brawn that is noted on the Consolidated Stock and Petroleum Exchange.  Mr. Pryor has some fame, moreover, as the personal friend of James G. Blaine and the chosen instructor of James G. Blaine, Jr., in the Wall-street ways.

So much for the biography as Mr. Hunter and Mr. Pryor have cultivated in days past of peace and quietness;  but just now comes a little addendum to the tale of their hitherto harmonious careers.  Mr. Pryor and Mr. Hunter have been friends hitherto;  they have met socially, and fraternal pleasures have added to the good-will grown from business relations.  Suddenly in blow the cold blasts of disagreement and dispute--down-right pugilism, indeed.  Broker Arthur Hunter meets Broker S. Morris Pryor on the elevated railway station platform at Rector-street and there, in the presence of amazed fellow-habitues of Wall-street, the twain fell into something much akin to a slugging match.

There was nothing but amiability about the manner in which the gentlemen approached one another at first.  They were both through business for the day, and Broker Pryor said to Broker Hunter: "Arthur I want to speak with you a moment," Broker Hunter stepped aside from the crowd and, leaning against the rails of the railway platform, awaited at the other's service.

  "You've been talking about me!" quoth Broker Pryor pointedly.

  "What?"  demanded Broker Hunter.

  "You've been saying," pursued Broker Pryor, "that I told you that I could have business done on the Stock Exchange for less that the regular commission rate."

  "So you did," ejaculates Broker Hunter.

  "You've said that I declared that Maurice, Bishiop & Howland were splitting commissions with me."

  "So you did."

  "You lie!"  said Broker Pryor in a spirited tone.

Broker Hunter did not offer a retort.  His answer was a blow.  He doubled up his fist and struck out as pluckily as though, instead of 100 pounds, he weighed a ton.  His knuckles barely grazed the cheek of bigger Broker Pryor.  The elevated railway platform's jam of brokers became suddenly alive and agitated.  Little Broker Hunter stood ready to pursue his vengeance, but some tender-hearted Wall-street on-looker stepped between the brave cavaliers, and the battle came thus suddenly to an end, with never one drop of blood spilled nor mangled broker to remove.

It did not take long, however, for the tale of what might have been a sanguinatory conflict to spread, and yesterday afternoon and last night all Wall-street was enjoying chronicles, more or less fiery and elaborate, of the intrepid onslaughts of Aurther Hunter and brave defense made by S. Morris Pryor.  Never before have the Stock Exchange and its rival, the Consolidated Exchange, met at such close quarters bent on such fearful sacrifices.

To-day the Stock Exchange Governing Committee will have the matter before it in a more or less direct way.  E. A. Mauriac of the Stock Exchange house of Mauriac, Bishop & Howland has demanded an official investigation of charges that have been circulated about him and his firm--the charges that led to the elevated railway platform's incipient combat.  The Stock Exchange has a rule, which it professes to guard more jealously that all the rest of its rules together, fixing the rate of commission which a broker must charge for executing a buying or selling order at one-eighth of 1 percent, or $12.50 on a hundred shares.  It is held to be the rankest treason to break this rule or evade it.  "Splitting commissions" is a crime punishable with the expulsion from the Stock Exchange and the forfeiture of the twenty-thousand-dollar membership.  In dull times, such as exist at present, there are always whispers around pointing toward successful firms as possible or probable breakers of the commission law, for envious eyes are not all outside of Wall-street.  And it came about a few days ago that whispered innuendos began to circulate against the house of Mauriac, Bishop & Howland.  Broker Arthur Hunter was given as authority the assertion that an outside broker proved, according to Broker Hunter, to be S. Morris Pryor of the Consolidated Exchange.

As the story went, Broker Hunter averred that Broker Pryor had approached him with a proposal to do business on the Stock Exchange for one-sixteenth of 1 percent, or $6.25 per 100 shares.  Mr. Hunter declared he promptly spurned the offer, whereupon Mr. Pryor asserted that he was able to make the splitting arrangement with Mauriac, Bishop & Howland.  The story on its rounds came to Mr. Mauriac, who has been a member of the Stock Exchange for close upon 20 years, and has always ranked high.  He called upon Stock Exchange officers at once, demanded an investigation, and gave notice of this demand to both Broker Pryor and Broker Hunter.  Thus it came about that these latter gentlemen met and sparred at one another at the Rector-street elevated station.

Broker Pryor and his partner have assured Mr. Mauriac (and they reiterated this yesterday to a TIMES reporter) that the story told by Broker Hunter is an invention through and through, and they offer to appear before the Stock Exchange Governors and testify unreservedly to this effect.  Broker Hunter, however, does not back down.  He is just as brave in his assertions as he was with his fists when he aimed and plugged away at Broker Pryor's countenance in resentment at the epithet that questioned his veracity.  Mr. Hunter's firm consists of himself and E. D. Hunter -- Hunter Brothers, 68 Broadway, Broker Pryor's office being just over the way.  Mauriac, Bishop & Howland are at 7 Wall-street, the members of the firm being E. A. Mauriac, Sidney Bishop, and M. Morris Howland.  Broker Arthur Hunter does not himself profess to know of a single act that has been to the discredit of Mr. Mauriac's firm.  he only repeats what he declares what were the assertions of the Consolidated Exchange broker.  Mr. Mauriac's prompt demand upon the Stock Echange authorities for an investigation is quoted all over Wall-street to his credit.

1 comment:

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