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10 Things Done Completely Out of Spite


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Henry Clay Frick's Classic Rebuff to Andrew Carnegie
Henry Frick (right) refused to accept Andrew Carnegie's (left) apology, even on Carnegie's deathbed. APIC/Oscar White/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images
Henry Frick (right) refused to accept Andrew Carnegie's (left) apology, even on Carnegie's deathbed. APIC/Oscar White/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

In the late 1800s, gilded age moguls Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick teamed up to make massive fortunes in the steel industry. But their relationship eventually soured, and Carnegie muscled his partner out of the business. Even after winning a lawsuit against Carnegie and receiving compensation for the ill-treatment, Frick wasn't satisfied, and spent the remainder of his life coming up with ways to get back at Carnegie. After Carnegie built a mansion in New York City, for example, Frick built a bigger, grander one nearby to upstage him.

Finally, in 1919, when the elderly Carnegie was in ill health, he dispatched his longtime personal secretary, James Bridge, to visit Frick, who was similarly elderly and frail, and deliver a conciliatory letter, in which he asked for a meeting at which the two old men could patch up their differences before they died.

After reading the letter, Frick responded in a fashion that has gone down in history as one of the coldest insults of all time. "Yes, you can tell Carnegie I'll meet him," Frick said to Bridge, crumpling the letter in a ball and throwing it at him. "Tell him I'll see him in Hell, where we both are going" [source: Standiford].


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