Maybe it is a miracle. Maybe it is justice. Or maybe it is simply coincidence that Stokes’s reprieve comes amid the passing of the Erie and Tweed rings.

Fisk’s death initially relieved Jay Gould of the liabilities attendant upon Fisk’s egregious professional manner and scandalous lifestyle, but it also deprived Gould of his staunchest ally at Erie headquarters. In the year since the murder, several members of the Erie board, in collaboration with dissatisfied shareholders, have mounted a challenge to Gould’s reign. They enlist a Civil War general who leads them on a march to the Opera House, where they physically remove Gould from his lavish offices before voting him out of the corporate presidency.

Gould’s fall, after Fisk’s death, further weakens the third member of their triumvirate, Bill Tweed. Gould furnished the bail that let Tweed sleep at home awaiting his trial on the corruption charges; with Gould’s overthrow from Erie, Tweed has to look to his own devices. His lawyers place one hurdle after another in the path of New York justice, but finally Tweed is convicted and sentenced to twelve years in prison.

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