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of the United States, at the expense of the company or the United States, to pursue, upon their l'epit and decision, a remedy for the citizen or the community; and under this bill, if the railway company persists in doing injustice, exemplary damages are allowed and provided for, and in addition to that, having regard for the large public interest added to the individul interest complaining, it the railway company still persists, then, as of course, the arm of the Federal courts by injunction preventive or mandatory is laid upon them to right the wrong.
The argument which I have made, or it least which I have intended to make plain to the Senate, is that a fair trial of this bill, with all its safeguards and all its penalties, with its elasticity of detail, will enable the commissioners to guard against the eviis which are complained of, and that there is no necessity for 10:0;t to this long-haul, short-haul experiment which may be so fatal in its injurious effects. Time, I say, may show that I am mistaken in this; but I am afraid now with the information before us to adopt as a corrective a provision which, in my mind, will put up the through rates and stifle therompetition of the country, Detroit has the benefit of competition, Detroit is entitled to the benefit of competition to the tide-water and from the tide-water to the West. A large part of Michigan tributary to Detroit hus that benefit too. Until the provisions of this bill have been fairly tried, until these commissioners have investigated and reported, until we know somethng more about it and its probable effect, I am not willing myself to vote for a proposition which, while to my mind it will not remedy the evils complained of, will inflict upon the country others which are far greater.
I do not say, mind you, that there are not all through Michigan, as I know there are doubtless in my State, some outrages upon the part of carriers that ought to be remedied; but I think I see that a wise and honest and strong enforcement of this bill, if it shall become a law, will enable us to remedy those wrongs without striking down by this provision
Mr. CONGER. Let me ask in that same connectiou a question. Mr. SPOONER. Certainly.
Mr. CONGER. I admire the caudid manner in which my friend treats this subject. I alluded in my remarks to actual existing cases in Michigan, and I did that without referring to some other cases in other States, because the State of Michigan, two peninsulas as it is, almost surrounded by water, has access to water communication very direct from all its interior to the East to the West, to the North, and almost to the South. Now, the statemont which I made was in regard to charging so much more for carrying flour to the East from points in Michigan thau would be charged from Chic : 30; that it was the interest of the millers in Michigan having access at reasonable distances to the water around it to pay freight clear bark 100 miles to Chicago and then get contracts over the same roads to carry their flour to the Eastern market.
If there is that hardshipina State surrounded by water as Michigan is, what may it not be in States which have no such water communication, States like West Virginia, States like Ohioand Indiana? If, with all our water advantages-we are wonderfully situated in that respect—there can be such great impositions upon the producers of the grain and the flour of Michigan, what must not the disadvantages be in States that have no such easy competition ?
Mr. SPOONER. Why, Mr. President, I have not in anything that I have said attempted to defend the discrimination of which the Senator complains. I do not know what the precise facts are in that case. I do not know what governs the railway companies in their action. If I understand the statement, I have no hesitation in saying to him that upon its face it seems like an unjust discrimination which ought to be prevented. I have no doubt that there are similar ones in every State in this Union. I do not deny that. I justify the passage of this bill; as one of the representatives of the people, I demand the passage of some such bill in order to guard against unjust discrimination everywhere; but my proposition is simply this: that we ought not to strike down the competing points and tributary sections throughout the land in order to protect-for I think it would not protect-these local points. I deny the efficacy and the justice of the proposed remedy. If the charge from the local points is an unreasonable charge, then this commission, as I have tried to show, will have the power to lay its hand upon it and to apply a corrective. The proposition which I make is that we can remedy that; at any rate we ought to remedy that without resorting to this short-haul provision, which I believe attempts to give to a single station this side of Detroit all the competition by water and rail that Detroit has, that atteinpts to equalize along every railway of the country by legislation advantages and disadvantages, natural and acquired.
I am very far wrong if this bill without this short and long haul proyision would not enable the commission to reach the grievance of which the Senator from Michigan complains. Of course, as far as these discriminations are local to a State, its Legislature may apply efficient regulation.
Mr. CAMDEN. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question now?
Mr. SPOONER. Certainly.
Mr. CAMDEN. In reference to the disadvantages the farmer of the West is placed under by this amendment let me take the case of Ohio, which produces about 40,000,000 bushels of wheat, or the State of Indiana, which produces something more, or the State of Illinois, about the same, or West Virginia, four or five million bushels and a larger proportion of live-stock.
I want to ask the Senator what hardship it is on the States west of the Mississippi if they are limited to getting their products to the seaboard market at the same price that the East pays between the seaboard market and the place of production? In other words, is it not liberal and fair to the Western States if they are permitted by legislation to get their products to the sea-board market at the same price as the great Middle and Western States lying between the seaboard and the Mississippi River? Is there any discrimination against the West, is there any hardship against the West by the enactment of this provision which leaves to the commission a discretionary power to vary the rules where it is necessary to secure the proper rights of the railroad and also to equalize different sections of the country? Can there be any hardship to the West in that, and is it not a liberal provision in favor of the West?
Mr. SPOONER. If I understand the question of the Senator from West Virginia, he is simply arguing in a circle. That is the very question which I have attempted to discuss from the beginning. Our people get their low through rates, if you please, from Chicago; they pay their share of a fair local rate to the competing point before they have the advantage and benefit of the through rate; and the question is not so much whether we are charged too little as it is whether you are charged too much. We are entitled to all the benefit that competition gives us, if at Chicago, if at Milwaukee, if at Saint Paul, if at Duluth, if at Kansas City, if at Saint Louis, if at Omaha, is at the other competitive points west of Chicago we have the benetit of rivers and of competing lines of railway which you have not at Parkersburg.
Mr. CAMDEN. I ask the Senator, do we take any of these competing advantages ? Are not the water ways left there, and the water ways always secure competition? Are not the competing railways left? Are not the shippers left at perfect liberty to avail themselves of the natural water ways and the natural competition?
Mr. SPOONER. Not at all. That is what is complained of, that you do strike down our competition, that you do attempt to take away from us advantages which we are entitled to, because you admit yourself that the through business for the trunk-line railroads is a trifle. You admit yourself that that business they carry for trifling pay. You admit yourselves that it is of no consequence to them in the great volume of their revenue. Now, can anything be plainer, that being true, than that if you say to those railroad companies, “ Look to the rates you give the West; we are watching you, and if you give to the farmers of the West, the grain-growers of the West, the cattle dealers of the West, a lower rate, notwithstanding all this competition at different points, notwithstanding the fact that the water makes the rate and not
the railroad, if you give them this low rate, you must correspondingly • reduce your rates from all the local stations between Chicago and the
seaboard,” the through rates go up, and up to stay? Can anything be plainer that this kills the competition both by water and rail?
Mr. CAMDEN. I do not want to interrupt too often, but right in that connection I wish to make a suggestion. Suppose there is a reduction on wheat or live-stock or any agricultural product from Chicago, is there any fairness in allowing the States west of the Mississippi to sell wheat in the market at 5 cents a bushel below what it can be sold for in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, or Illinois? You are discriminating against those sections of the country. You are enacting a law that that shall be lawful, and this commission can not go behind it; and if they can not, whenever complaint is made of undue discriminations to the commission you have an answer right in the words of the statute which has authorized the action.
Mr. SPOONER. The Senator from West Virginia is arguing a question which I have not yet come to. My proposition is this, and it seems to me too plain almost for discussion: The farmers of the West are entitled to just what you are entitled to, the benefits and the advantages that their situation gives them. If they are so located that competing forces at work give them a lower rate, whether by rail or by water, that is their advantage under the providence of God, and it is not your disadvantage It is not a discrimination made by railway companies against you; it is a discrimination arising from the situation.
Mr. CAMDEN. I wish to ask one question, and then I shall not trouble the Senator again. He says the Western farmer gets his produce to market by rail one-half of the year. Now why should you so provide as to give a cheaper rate to the Western farmer west of Chicago than is given to the farmer living in Ohio? And why should we by a bill discriminate against the bulk of the farmers of this country in favor of 15 or 20 per cent. who are better located, and enable them to bring their products to market at a cheaper rate?
Mr. SPOONER. That is the same old question.
Mr. CAMDEN. That is the point that my friend can not answer. The propositiou can not be answered.
Mr. SPOONER. It is a proposition that I think can be answered; it is a proposition which seems to me to need no answer. I say again, and I am sorry to have to repeat it, that if the local rates are too high, if the railway company charges you from your local and non-competitive station more than a fair equivalent for the service which it renders, then it is guilty of extortion. Your community has the right to complain under this bill, and the bill affords, through the instrumentalities of the Federal courts, without the expenditure of a dollar by your people or by your community, a remedy.
But I have attempted to argue that while the amendment you offer, and upon which you insist, will put up the through rates, it will not reduce the local rates. I do not want, nor does any man in the West want you to pay more than you ought to pay for carrying your freights. We have no interest under heaven in any discrimination against you; we have no interest in crippling your business; we have no interest (indeed our interest is the other way) in any legislation which shall discriminate against you. All we say is, that you have no right to legislation which shall discriminate against us. All we say is, that you must submit to the disadvantage of your location. You live nearer the sea. If you ought to have lower rates than you get through all this competition, make your complaint and get them, or build your competing roads and get them; but pray can you not discover some remedy to protect you against extortionate local rates without objecting to our having low through rates any more at competing points? We insist that you shall try.
Why, Mr. President, for years railway rates, local as well as through, have been going down, down throughout the country. This fact is illustrated hy the railroad commissioners of Iowa, who, in their report for 1881, occupy forty-six pages with tables and statements showing the reductions in rates in that State, and in which they particularly call attention to the fact that “the reduction is not confined to the through traffic; it applies, in a somewhat smaller ratio, it is true, to the local traffic as well." (Page 7.) And they conclude their remarks upon the subject as follows:
We venture to say that this average percentage of reduction for the last fifteen consecutive years will be a matter of no little surprise to everybody who does not make the study of freight tariffs a somewhat regular habit. Although we have made no calculation to demonstrate it, we venture to affirm that an equal average reduction in the cost of any kind of service for which the people pay a money consideration can not be found during the past fifteen years.
I quote from an able article on railway rates by Mr. G. T. Lansing, in the Popular Science Monthly for April, 1886. The fact is further illustrated by some statistics of Mr. Edward Atkinson as to the business done by the New York Central Railway Company within the last few years. He says the tons moved one mile on the New York Central and Hudson River railroad increased from 1865 to 1885 570 per cent. ; that the charge per ton per mile on this line was 408 per cent. higher in 1865 than in 1885, and that the profits for moving one ton of freight on this line was 552 per cent. greater in 1865 than in 1885.
But I can not make this proposition any plainer than I have attempted, though under great disadvantage, to make it. I beg leave to suggest that the condition of this country, of its commerce and business, to-day is not quite favorable for the experiment upon it which the Senator from West Virginia proposes. The commerce of the country to-day is suffering tremendous depression. Everything that is sold is sold on a narrow margin of profit. It is a bad time to introduce into the business of the country such an element as this. It is an inauspicious time to attack New York, and Baltimore, and Boston, and Philadelphia, and Chicago, and Milwaukee, and Detroit, and Saint Paul, and Omaha, and Kansas City, and the thousands of other competitive points in this country.
The farmers of the West are meeting on everything they produce a • competition which is almost intolerable. They meet it in their dairy products. They are brought into competition with the imitations of butter, having a tremendous sale, which have already made an almost disastrous impression upon the legitimate dairy business of the West, and to some extent of the East. They can not stand any addition to through freights.
Take the tobacco of which Wisconsin raised $5,000,000 worth last year in value, and the competition under our tariff classification as it is to-day with Sumatra tobacco lays almost an embargo upon that industry. I think I may appeal to the Senator from New Jersey that this competition operates to his vast detriment, though he raises his tobacco within sight of the sea. Our farmers can not stand an added price for transportation from the West to the East. Corn and some other products must rot in the field and granary if they are taxed much for transportation. You take the item of wheat. How will the wheat farmer live if compelled to pay higher freights upon his surplus wheat? It does not come out of the middleman; it comes out of the farmer. I need not say here that the farmers of the West can not endure higher freight rates on their wheat to tide water.
The competition which meets the American wheat-grower is now all that this interest can endure. It is worth remembering in this connection that England is doing her utmost—and everything almost is within reach of accomplishment when England does her utniost-England is doing her utmost to drive American wheat from the markets of the world. The competition with Indian wheat is such that the farmers of the West can not bear one penny added to the cost of the transportation of their surplus product to the seaboard any more than your merchant in the East and your manufacturer in the East can stand it to have an addition made to the cost of transportation from your market to our Western prairies or than your consumer can afford to pay higher for what he buys of our products to eat.
ị have some figures from a report about to be presented to the Senate by the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, the Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. ALDRICH), which I beg leave to say will be found to be of great value for accuracy, research, and ability, and I invite the attention of those Senators who are so willing to strike down the Western wheat-grower to these figures, showing that for thirteen years ending in 1872 1,000,000 bushels of wheat were jent from India to the United Kingdom, which was our best market, and for the thirteen years ending in 1885 122,000,000 bushels. During those years India changed her position or rather Eng. land changed India's position from thirteenth to fourth in the order of wheat-exporting countries. The other day I picked up the report of