Whitney had fought so hard to hold power out of more than stubborn pride, or the love of power for itself; he needed the influence that power confers for urgent personal reasons. Jersey Lightning was still not sweeping the country, and the price of Distilled Liquors stock was sinking. From its early-1934 high of 45 it went into a long, inexorable decline that in a little more than two years would bring it down to 11.
In 1935, while the Stock Exchange fight was going on, he was feeling the vise of debt beginning to tighten. He had paid off his friend Mellick in full the previous July. But the $100,000 he owed Pierce–or, more accurately, owed E. A. Pierce & Company–was still very much outstanding. Open antagonists in ...