Page images

The PRESIDENT pro tempore put the question on the amendment to the amendment, and declared that the noes appeared to prevail.

Mr. BROWN. I call for the yeas and nays. I understand that strikes out what I thought there was a pretty strong disposition to adopt, a provision in favor of ministers of religion.

Mr. HARRIS. That amendment is still pending. The Senate is proposing to amend that.

Mr. BŘOWN. Does the Chair hold that the vote just taken voting down these others does not embrace that?

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. It certainly does not.
Mr. BROWN. The question. will still be on that?
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Certainly.

Mr. BROWN. Then I merely call for a division and not for the yeas and nays.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the Senator from Georgia to the amendment.

The amendment to tbe aniendment was rejected.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question recurs on the original amendment of the Senator from Georgia as amended.

The amendment was agreed to.

Mr. VAN WYCK. I submitted an amendment some days ago, to which I now call the attention of the chairinan of the committee. In the bill previously reported in the Forty-eighth Congress the commission were directed to inquire into the system known as “stock-watering.' I had proposed an amendment to insert the clause of the proposed bill of the Forty-eighth Congress, which has been omitted from this bill. Whether it was an accidental omission by the committee, or whether the committee intended to strike out that portion of the previous bill, I do not know.

I propose on page 20, after the word “pooling," to insert the words: Also the system known as stock-watering.

In the bill proposed by this same committee and acted upon in the Forty-eighth Congress those words were included, and if I should obtain the attention of the chairman of the committee I would desire to know whether they purposely omitted those words in this bill.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The amendment will be stated.

The CHIEF CLERK. In section 19, line 3, after the word “pooling," it is proposed to insert: Also the system known as stock-watering. So as to read: That the said commission shall specially inquire into the method of railroad management or combination known as pooling, also the system known as stock. watering, and shall report to Congress what, if any, legislation is advisable and expedient upon that subject.

Mr. CULLOM. The Senator seems to be appealing to me. I do not think there is any importance to be attached to the amendment whatever. It is something that belongs to the States substantially. We have no control over it, and I do not think it will add anything to the force of the legislation.

Mr. VAN WYCK. Have we no control over the roads incorporated by the United States ?

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the Senator from Nebraska (Mr. VAN WYCK].

The amendment was rejected.

Mr. VAN WYCK. I now propose an amendment as a separate section, to be added to the bill:

Any railroad corporation against whom suit is brought in the courts of the State where the cause of action originated or the penalty was incurred is hereby prohibited from removing the same to any circuit or other court of the United States.

That is, that when such a suit is hrought in a State court the corporation shall not be allowed to remove it to a United States court under this bill. That is my amendment.

Mr. PLATT. There is nothing in this bill that provides for bringing an action in a State court.

Mr. VAN WYCK. No, sir; it is not necessary that there should be anything in the bill allowing it. That a party has a right to do. A citizen of Connecticut or of Nebraska may bring a suit against a corporation in a State court, and there it will remain and he tried unless the corporation asks to remove it to a Federal court under a statute of the United States.

For a violation of this proposed act, for any damages which accrue, for which a party may bring suit under the act, or for which any penalty is provided under the act, I propose that when such a suit is brought, if the party has a right to bring it in a State court, the corporation shall be prohibited from removing it into the Federal courts. The removal to the Federal courts is provided by statute already; and for damages incurred, which the bill provides for, a man may bring suit against the corporation, and the suit for the penalties provided in this act may be brought in the State court.

It would seem to be hardly worth while in this bill, which seeks to do justice to the people, to make their burdens any greater. What would any reniedy given by the bill be worth to the citizen who lives, if you please, 400 or 500 miles from the place where a Federal court may be held? Under the bill damages may be allowed to an individual for overcharge, for extortion, or for discrimination. He may bring suit in the State court, and the cause may be removed 500 miles-it may be in the State of Kansas or Nebraska or on the Missouri River, where Federal courts are held—and to give the privilege for damages in such a case would be a denial of justice, because after the party has commenced his suit in the court of the State which is opened to him, then the corporation presents itself and asks to remove it to a point 500 miles distant, where he must go with his witnesses and dance attendance week after week and month after month, and the case may be placed on the calendar, where it may be four or five years before it is reached. It is a mockery to tell the citizen he may have damages when they are denied to him in this way.

The people of the Western States have been suffering a long time from the power of corporations to remove their cases into the Federal courts. if I may be allowed a moment longer I will state that the foreign insurance companies came into the State of Nebraska, and when her Legislature attempted to provide that their suits should not be removed they were met by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, or some district or circuit court, saying that the State has not the power to protect its own citizens by providing that no foreign insurance company shall do business in that State until it has filed a written agreement with the secretary of state that it will not remove a case from the State court to the Federal court, In the interest of the people it is time there should be some such remedy either by providing that the Federal courts shall be held in different parts of the State or granting this relief.

We are suffering in various ways, if I may be allowed still further to speak of this matter. A foreign corporation in Scotland or in England goes to the State of Nebraska and loans money on real estate at 10 per cent. interest, which they have a right to do, and if even for a day or two the debt is overdue the mortgage may be foreclosed. Twothirds and probably three-fourths of the farms in Kansas and Nebraska are mortgaged, and a large portion of them are mortgaged to foreign corporations, and then for any default, when they borrowed the money in order to improve their condition in life and to improve their farms, the mortgage is foreclosed.

We want to protect a little the people from the advantages which capital gives. I shall not probably be successful in this attempt, but I may at least make a suggestion in that direction. I say that while we are seeking to restrict the ownership of real estate in the hands of foreigners, we give them an unlimited power to foreclose our lands under their mortgages. Iowa may be more fortunate but Nebraska is not, and the calendar in the Federal courts is beginning to be loaded down with mortgages foreclosed in the name of foreign corporations.

The point is to evade the laws of the State. It is not necessary to probibit that. You can allow the foreign corporation to loan its money to a citizen of the State. The law of Nebraska provides that in the foreclosure of a mortgage 110 attorney's fee shall be allowed.

Mr. EUSTIS. That is wrong.

Mr. VAN WYCK. Wrong! No, sir The people of Nebraska by their Legislature say so, and it belongs to them to say whether it is right or not. A Senator near me says that that would be cheating the lawyers. All I say is that it would be no crime. The State of Nebraska provides that there shall be no percentage for the attorney in the case. But although the law of Nebraska provides that there shall be no attorney's fee, yet capitalists would insist upon putting in their mortgages, notwithstanding the law against it, a provision to pay 10 per cent. to the attorney.

Capitalists demanded and required that the party to whom the money was loaned should in violation of the State law incorporate in the mortgage a promise to pay the attorney a fee of 10 per cent. That matter was taken to the supreme court of the State of Nebraska, and the supreme court of the State of Nebraska said: “No; parties can not stipulate to violate the law.” A capitalist has a mortgage of $10,000 and he desires to foreclose it. I am speaking of what is the actual practice. He runs over into the State of my friend from Iowa and he gets some man to buy the mortgage, and suit is instituted in the name of the Iowa gentleman who buys the mortgage. He is a non-resident of the State of Nebraska and he brings his suit in the United States court. By that means he evades and violates the law of the State of Nebraska and proceeds to a foreclosure, and on the $10,000 mortgage there is paid 10 per cent., which is $1,000 attorney fee, in violation of the law of the State.

Foreign corporations resort to that subterfuge, and at every term foreign corporations are being more and more represented on the calendar of the Federal courts in precisely that attitude. The citizens are powerless. The Legislatures have no power to protect their citizens against this violation of the law.

The insurance companies act in precisely the same way. Two or three hundred miles out on the Missouri a man's house burns down and the foreign insurance company removes his case to the Federal court, compelling the citizen to accede to the terms which the corporation asks. So in these cases the railroad companies will do the same, and the citizen will be powerless in that respect. You give a right of action and theu retain in the corporation the power of removal, and the right of action becomes of no avail.

I trust that this point will be readily seen and appreciated. What objection should there be to saying that a corporation which comes into Kansas, into Iowa, into Nebraska, may enrich itself as a citizen of Nebraska does, as their own corporations do, and that that corporation shall have their cases tried in the courts of Nebraska? For that reason I have proposed the amendment.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The amendment of the Senator from Nebraska will be read.

The CHIEF CLERK. It is proposed to add as an additional section: SEC. –, Any railroad corporation against whom suit is brought in the courts of the State where the cause of action originated or the penalty was incurred, is hereby prohibited from removing the same to any circuit or other court of the United States.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from Nebraska.

Mr. GEORGE. I ask for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.

Mr. EDMUNDS. Some years ago the Committee on the Judiciary had under consideration the question of amending the law regarding the removal of causes, and we were in favor of and reported a bill to limit the removal of causes from State to Federal courts, as they are called, what I should call national courts, if I do not offend anybody by the phrase. But we found that it was a subject which required careful investigation and most skillful and accurate expressions in order to keep within the constitutional live and not to do injustice as well.

The bill was reported, however, and, as we thought, in pretty good form, but it did not become a law, I hope it will yet become a law; but I appeal to my friend from Nebraska that he will prodare more mischief hy this amendment in the form in which he has got it, just then and there and in that way, by putting it in this bill, which is an administrative bill and not a judicial bill, than he will hy leaving it and trying to help myself and others to pass a bill which shall cover the whole of this subject. For that reason, I shall vote against the amendment.

Mr. TELLER. I desire to call attention to the language of the amendment. It assumes that under this bill a man may have his remedy in the State courts. I undertake to say that that is not the law. I do not suppose that anybody in the Senate will for a moment believe that that is the law.

Mr. SPOONER. He may have the common-law remedy.

Mr. TELLER. He may have the common-law remedy, and he has now, and that we are not interfering with, by a special provision of the bill. The suggestion is that if a party brings in a State court under the bill his suit the corporation shall not remove it. How long will he stay in the State court? Not long enough to get a solid footing. Unless the States legislate that suits may be brought, we can pot legislate into the State courts any of these cases. I have, at least, always understood that that was the rule.

First, if the Senator proposes to save these people a tribunal in the State courts he has got to devise some method to get them in the State courts and keep them there up to the time that they ask for a transfer of the case to the Federal courts. There is not anything in the amendment; it is absolutely ineaningless. It could not help anybody; it may not hurt anybody; but it would not look well for the United States Senate to put into the bill a proposition of that character.

Mr. PLATT. If there is any force or effect to the amendment, it is that the Congress of the United States passes a law and then says that no suit shall be maintained under it in its own courts, but they shall all be maintained under it in State courts. I apprehend that Congress is not ready to do that.

Mr. CULLOM. I move to lay the amendment on the table.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Illinois moves that the amendment lie on the table.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. SPOONER. I gave notice the other day of an amendment which I send to the Chair.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The amendment will be stated.

The CHIEF CLERK, At the end of section 1 it is proposed to add the words: . And every unjust and unreasonable charge for such service is prohibited and declared to be unlawful.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from Wisconsin.

Mr. SPOONER. The only object of the amendment is to bring any case of extortion under the penalty clause of section 7. I do not know that the chairman of the committee will object to it.

Mr. CULLOM. I think there is a little distinction between the violation of an act against extortion and one of unjust discrimination. Still, so far as I am concerned, when it is declared that it shall be willful extortion, I do not personally have any objection to the amendment proposed by the Senator from Wisconsin.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on agreeing to the amendment of the Senator from Wisconsin.

The amendment was agreed to.

Mr. SEWELL. In section 8, prescribing the qualification of the commissioners, the following language is used:

No person in the employ of or holding any official relation to any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act, or owning stock or bonds thereof, or who is in any manner pecuniarily interested therein, shall enter upon the duties of or hold such office.

In another section, section 14, beginning in line 3, the bill provides that

A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but no commissioner shall participate in any hearing or proceeding in which he has any pecuniary interest.

This latter clause is customary in our circuit and supreme courts, that the judge shall not sit on a case where he has any pecuniary interest; but the first clause absolutely prohibits any gentleman who may be appointed to qualify it he owns any stock in any common carrier, no matter whether he has to hear the cause or not.

I submit that that is a requirement which ought not to be in the bill. The number of gentlemen in this country who are competent to fill the position of commissioner under the bill is necessarily limited. It requires deep, broad men, the very best that we can possibly obtain.

« PreviousContinue »