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Mr. BROWN. The Senator from West Virginia in my opinion is wrong again; practically he is not right. Freights are at Chicago and the owner wants to remove them to New York. Other freights are at Chicago and the owner wants to remove them out to a station 20 miles on the line toward New York. There is nothing whatever in his amendment which prevents the railroad from charging the same rate for the 20 miles that it charges for the thousand miles, or wbatever the distance may be to New York. Therefore, take his rule and apply it in practice and it will not work. It will embarrass everything; it will break up and almost destroy, as I have already stated, the foreign commerce of this country, and very seriously. cripple the inland commerce between the different States and sections of the country.
If we are going to regulate this business at all let us regulate it on some just basis; let us fix rates upon a basis that is equitable and just all the way through, and let commerce take care of itself; but let us not say that it is a just rule, and that we are regulating railroads when we authorize them to charge as much for 20 miles as they charge for a thousand miles, or as much for 1 mile as they do for 10,000 miles, as Senators admit. That is no regulation of commerce which helps the people or helps anybody else. That is no regulation of commerce which is worth anything to anybody. But that is all that is offered to us under the amendment of the Senator from West Virginia
I wish before I take my seat to call attention to one other matter. The committee found its labors to be exceedingly great, and yet after all it has done it has brought before us a very imperfect thing in the shape of the best bill, taken as a whole, that probably has ever been produced on this subject. We have in this country I know not how many miles of navigable rivers; probably some member ofthe Committee on Commerce knows. It is a very long distance when it is all put together. propriate annually from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 to keep those water ways in repair. We make an immense outlay. The Creator has formed them for the use of the people inhabiting this country, and the appropriations which are made to keep them in condition, in my opinion, are wise, and we ought to do that. It aids in regulating commerce. It aids by competition with the railroad systems; and it is a public highway made by nature for use to which the people are entitled.
Why is it, though, let me ask, that there is no attempt to regulate the river transportation? It permeates every section. It is all the time competing with the railroads. The furthest that the committee goes I understand is that where a water line makes a link in a through line it is treated as part of the line; but where it is a separate line running steamers, between Cincinnati and Memphis for instance, we turn them loose without any regulation whatever.
If we are going, as my friend from West Virginia says, to lay down sound principles and just rules to regulate commerce, why should we not regulate the whole of it? Why leave these millions and millions of tons subject to the whim and caprice of the navigation companies?
I have before me a statement, gotten up by a railroad man of a great deal of experience, in reference to some of this river transportation, and I should like to show how they observe the long and the short haul. We are insisting here as to railroads that we must establish stringent rules, as the honorable Senator from Iowa said, iron-clad rules, regulating that question.
Why do we not regulate it where it appears to be grossly unequal, on the rivers? We do not attempt it at all. It shows how merely tentative legislation of this sort must be. We can take scarcely any step
We apthat we do not take at a great hazard. The committee doubtless felt that it was in this case too large an affair to undertake to regulate the railroads and the river transportation. At the same time the two run side by side in competition with each other in numerous cases.
But let us see whether they observe the rule that you must charge no less for a longer distance than you do for a shorter distance, and if they do not it is to be hoped that my friend from West Virginia or some other person who wants to make this rule just and regulate the whole affair will bring forward proper amendments to regulate it. I refer first to the Ohio River. There are three or four classes of freights and they all run through with a good deal of regularity, each class being a little lower than the preceding one. I subjoin the whole table so that the whole of it may appear in the RECORD. A perusal of it will show that these steamboat lines charge a larger sum for a less distance than for a greater distance as a constant daily practice.
Rates of transportation ria rirer.
OHIO RIVER. VIA CINCINNATI AND LOUISVILLE UNITED STATES MAIL LINE COMPANY.
Cts. Cts. Cts. Cts. Cts. Cls. Cts. Cts. Cts. 8. Memphis to Pine Bluff, Ark., 200 miles.. 35 28 25 22
184 114 084 12 9. Memphis to Hopedale, Ark., 164 miles.. 50 40 35 30 25 40 30
12. Saint Louis to Saint Paul, Minn., 739 miles.. $0 30 13. Saint Louis to Cassville, Minn., 468 miles....
In the matter of injustice in the long and short haul, and on the subject of pools and combinations, I have reliable information that steamboat lines indulge in such practices to a greater extent even than railroads.
There are three steamboat lines at Cincinnati, Ohio, navigating the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers below Cincinnati, to wit:
The Cincinnati and Louisville United States Mail Line, between Cincinnati and Louisville; the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company, between Cincinnati and Memphis, and the Cincinnati and New Orleans Packet Company, between Cincinnati and New Orleans.
These rivers are nature's great gift, improved with appropriations from the National Government. The steamboats are common carriers, and yet by agreement between these three packet companies, the Cincinnati and Louisville United States Mail Line is given all the traffic between Cincinnati and Louisville and intermediate points, the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company all the traffic between Louisville and Memphis, and the Cincinnati and New Orleans Packet Company all the traffic between Memphis and New Orleans. In other words, neither the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company nor the Cincinnati and New Orleans Packet Company compete with the United States Mail Line on traffic between Cincinnati and Louisville.
Neither the United States Mail Line nor Cincinnati and New Orleans Packet Company compete with the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company on traffic between Cincinnati and Memphis, Tenn., and neither the United States Mail Line nor the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company compete with the Cincinnati and New Orleans Packet Company on business between Cincinnati and New Orleans below Memphis, Tenn.
All these lines navigate portions of the same river, and yet by combination they divide territory and destroy competition, and if an independent boat is put into the trade to give the people the benefit of competition, they take a boat out of the regular line, start it after the independent boat, running it on the same days, to and from the same points, at ruinously low rates, until the independent boat is, for want of revenue to sustain itself, forced into the combination or tied upon the banks of the river by the sheriff for debt accumulated during the fight.
What is said of the Ohio and Mississippi River packet companies will apply with equal force to combinations between steamboat lines in other rivers.
I have before me the freight tariffs of all the companies where I have referred to the discrimination as to a longer and shorter haul, which will sustaiu all that I have said. If any Senator has any curiosity to see them they will be at his disposal. Here is one of the largest branches of interstate commerce of any other, that of all the navigable rivers in the United States, where we are making no attempt to regulate it. We are leaving those lines to form such combinations as they please, to form such pools as they please, to make such arrangements for mutual protection as they choose. They may drop out of the line when they please and charge twice as much for a short haul as they do for a long haul; and yet we are wrangling as to how we shall regulate railroads and leaving all that business open.
I think before we conclude this debate, and before we take the final vote on the fourth section, I shall offer au amendment so as to include transportation by common carriers ou rivers. If it is right as to railroads it is right as to rivers. I do not go into the ocean or into the Jakes, but where there is a river and a steamboat running upon the river, I do not see why the same rule should not apply to that which applies to the road that is built alongside the river.
I believe these are all the observations I care to submit at present.
Mr. VANCE. Mr. President, it seems to me that a natural and obvious proposition of justice is that a mau shall be paid according to the labor he does. I do not see how any one can deny that. The tendency of all the workings of human society is to inequality, and as much as that is to be regretted in a Democratic form of government, in many things it is not possible to avoid it. The diligent man will get ahead of the slothful one; the careful and thrifty man will surpass the negligent and extravagant one; the sober man will exceed the drunkard; the
rill pass far beyond the ak man; so in most things it is not possible for government to help it or attempt to remedy this inequality.
But surely, sir, all will agree that it is proper that government by legislation should not contribute to this inequality. Corporations given an artificial existence by government for purposes of serving the public are affected with a public interest, as the courts say. They are therefore public servants, and their conduct is subject to correction, regulation, and control on the part of the power which calls them into being and gives them their privileges.
One of the most obvious duties on the part of the Government therefore is to prevent abuses, and to correct inequalities which these corporations create between those who patronize them. One of the most obvious of all those inequalities is the one we are attempting to regulate and control by the amendment of the Senator from West Virginia, to wit, in the language of the bill, if I quote it correctly, that no railroad shall charge more for the shorter than for the greater distance when the freight is carried in the same direction and over the same line of road. The Senator from Georgia objects to the converse of the proposition as being quite as unjust as the proposition itself; that is to say, that it is unjust to permit the roads, which the bill after the adoption of the amendment would do, to charge as much for the short haul as they do for the greater one. That is admitted. I do not suppose there is any pretense on the part of those who favor the amendment of the Senator from West Virginia that it is just in a corporation to charge as much for the short haul as it does for the long one. The proposition is simply to redress a part of the injustice by saying that the corporations shall not charge more.
I admit the inefficiency of the bill in its whole arrangement and I have only favored it as tentative legislation in the proper direction. It falls far short of doing justice, but we have been so often warned of the danger of attempting to interfere with commerce, which weare told should be left to its own devices and to work out its own salvation according to the laws of political economy, generally resulting in damage to the people--we have been, I say, so often warned of the danger of interfering, that it seems that legislators are afraid to set the coulter very deep at the beginning, and instead of saying by the bill that a corporation should neither charge more for the short haul than for the long one, and should not charge as much. for the short haul as for the long one, we stop short on the first proposition to see if the world is going to come to an end before we try something more.
It reminds me very much of the story of a man who went into a saloon in some Western country where they sold a quality of liquor which used to be known in your country, sir [Mr. SEWELL in the chair), as Jersey lightning. (Laughter.] He called for two glasses, which the saloonkeeper accommodatingly poured out for him. He saw an antiquated, odoriferous, and oleaginous African standing near by, and he called to him and asked him if he did not want to take a drink. With a tragic air which would have done credit to an actor he said, “Boss, I'll tell you no lie about it; I would;" whereupon the colored gentleman drank his spirits, and the white customer who had called for the two glasses went and took a seat. The saloon-keeper asked him if he was not going to drink his spirits. He said, “ Please wait fifteen minutes, and if that nigger don't die I will try mine." (Laughter.]
The proposition here is admitted on all sides that it is not only wrong, but it is an outrage to charge a man who lives 100 miles from Chicagofor that is the town which now is attracting more attention than any other city in the Union, I believe-as much for hauling his freight from