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is not any possible doubt that this word “class” as used in the Massachusetts law means precisely “classification” as used by all railroads throughout the country. Furthermore this bill provides that the railroads are to report to the commissioners their rates and their classifications, and those rates and classifications of course will come under the cognizance of the commission, and through the operations of the commission the classifications of the different railroads of the country, or the through lines at least, will be made the same. That is one of the principal objects to be arrived at by having a commission, that the railroads on the long trunk lines shall be brought to have the same classification of goods. That is one of the objects to be arrived at by the passage of this bill.
Mr. PLATT. I do not think so. I want toanswer the Senator from New York when he says that the word “class” in the Massachusetts statute is interpreted to mean “classification." I was reading from what Commissioner Russell said:
The law applies to freight of the same kind. The word used in our statute is " class," but that word is a mistake. "Class is a word used technically in railroad phraseology which does not mean “kind,” but means a great deal more than that. In order to come under the short-haul law the goods must be of the same kind.
So that the Massachusetts commission interpreted the word “class" there not to mean class in its technical sense, in the sense of "classification,” but to mean “kind,'' and I think it is easy to show that there should be a discrimination oftentimes between goods of the same class or classification. All the articles of the country are put into four or five classifications. In those classifications a great number of different articles are included in a single classification, and articles which ought not, I think, to be the subject of this short-haul law.
I do not know that I am correct, but for illustration I will suppose that feathers and cotton goods are in the same classification. I do not know whether they are or not, but it simply illustrates the point that I am making. If they were there should be a distinction; and whether that be true or not, goods which go into a single classification are so diverse in their nature and so diverse in their character that a shorthaul law ought not to apply to classifications, in my judgment. As I said before, there is nothing in this.bill, I think, which makes it imperative upon the railroads to have the same classification in all parts of the country. Now they have different classifications not only as between east and west of the Mississippi River, but as between other sections of the country.
I want to say one thing more. The Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. ALDRICH) is a little mistaken in supposing that his language has gone further than the statute of Massachusetts. It is not the language of the short-haul law in the State of Connecticut. That language is this:
No railroad corporation shall charge or receive for the transportation of freight to any station on its road a greater sum than is at the time charged or received for the transportation of the like kind and quantity of freight from the same original point of departure and under similar circumstances to a station at a greater distance on its road in the same direction.
Mr. ALDRICH. I beg to call the attention of the Senator from Connecticut to the language he has read. There are the very identical words, so far as they apply to this limitation “of the kind and quantity of freight,” of the Massachusetts statute and of the amendment I have offered. Not a word or a letter is changed.
Mr. PLATT. The Massachusetts statute says "class" instead of
“kind," and does not embrace the words "under similar circumstances." That is the distinction between the two statutes.
Mr. ALDRICH. I shall be glad to cover that.
Mr. PLATT. Perhaps because it is the law of the State of Connecticut I am partial to it, but it seems to me those words “ under similar circumstances” are good words to be used in a short-haul law. I do not suggest anything with relation to this amendment; I merely wanted to make these explanations.
Mr. ALDRICH. When my attention was first drawn to this clause of the fourth section I supposed that these words had been left out of the bill, as the committee followed the language of the various State statutes almost entirely, by inadvertence or by an oversight; and when I called the attention of the various members of the committee to it they said that the words ought to be inserted. Without these words a railroad company would have been obliged to carry a ton of artificial flowers from Philadelphia to New York or vice versa for the same rate, or not a greater rate than, they would carry a ton of coal from say some point on the Pennsylvania Railroad west of Philadelphia to New York. There was absolutely no discrimination or distinction between any class or kind of freight or any quality of freight. They would have been obliged to carry a half-ton of coal for the same rate they carry 50,000 tons. I take it for granted that there is no member of the Senate who believes that a law of that kind would be reasonable or could be enforced. It would make a farce of the bill. I do not suppose it was intended to do that; but it certainly would do that.
Railroad companies are obliged, as the Senator from New York has well said-and this bill makes it imperative that they shall do so--to divide the various kinds of property they transport into classes. I use the language of the Massachusetts law because it has stood the test of the courts and it is a broader and a better word in my opinion than the word “kind." The word “class" means classification of course, and it means the classification which the railroad companies put upon their freight. I do not know what the word "kind' does mean. I have no special objection to the use of the word "kind;" but I believe it is a narrower word and would practically restrict the operations of this fourth section. With my manner of thinking I am perfectly willing that every limitation possible shall be put upon it.
Mr. GORMAN. I ask the Senator from Rhode Island to allow me to interrupt him a moment.
Mr. ALDRICH. Cortainly.
Mr. GORMAN. I think the Senator is correct to a certain extent. I agree with him that the word "class" would be construed the same as kind:” coal is a class, grain is a class; and “quantity" would unquestionably include a car-load. That is one of the great troubles of the railroad problem to-day; 10,000 tons of grain or 10,000 tons of coal are charged at a less rate than 500 tons. What the Senator from Rhode Island desires is that there shall be some equality. I suggest to the Senator that he strike out the words and quantity." and insert the word “car-load," making the car-load the unit.
Mr. ALDRICH. I would suggest to the Senator from Maryland that that would be very unjust to a large class of shippers who never under any circumstances ship a car-load of freight. It would be extremely unjust to the poor people of the country and to the small dealers of the country. There are certainly a very large number of people in this Isc
country who never in the course of their lives or their business experience would ship a car-load of freight at any one time, and to say that they shall not have the benefit of this bill is, it seems to me, to put into the bill a discrimination against a large class of people and in favor of a very small class. We are thereby establishing a monopoly, which I understand the Senator from Maryland is anxious to avoid.
Mr. GORMAN. Will the Senator permit me to interrupt him again? Mr. ALDRICH. Certainly.
Mr. GORMAN. It is unquestionably admitted on all sides that it costs a railroad company equally as much to transport 5 tons in a car as it does 20 tons. It is a great hardship on the common carrier to compel him to carry at the same rate per ton 5 tons as he does an entire carload. The car-load is recognized by all the railroads and by all transporters to be the unit; and if we can make the rate per car-load for all shippers it will be satisfactory.
Mr. ALDRICH. What the Senator states in regard to a car-load being the unit is undoubtedly true with the trunk lines and in the heavy transactions of the West, but upon local roads in the East doing an interstate commerce business the car-load as a unit is an exception; very little freight is ever transported at the car-load rate. It is always so much by the pound or the ton, or some classification of that kind.
Now, in regard to the necessity of this provision, I have already stated that the bill without it is an absurdity, and the Legislatures of the various States have recognized that in their legislation. The Massachusetts law provides that carriers shall not charge or receive more “for the transportation of the like class and quantity of freight," using exactly the same words as I have used here. The Senator from Connecticut has read the language of the statute of his State, which is practically in the same terms. Tha statute of South Carolina provides that no greater charge shall be made for the transportation of goods of the same class and in like quantity. The statute of the State of Vermont provides for the transportation of the like class and quantity of freight, using the same identical words. Oregon, Obio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Colorado all have statutes in which these or similar words of like import are contained, and New York has the same provision by regulation of her commission.
It is this universality of legislation, this recognition on the part of the Legislatures of all the States who have undertaken to legislate by a commission on this question of the correctness and necessity of this principle, which led me to offer the amendment. If the Senate want to make this bill absolutely inoperative they will leave the section as it is, providing that railroad companies shall charge the same rate for 1 pound as for 10,000, and for carrying feathers as they do for carrying pig-iron or coal.
Mr. CAMDEN. Mr. President, the Senator from Rhode Island referred to the statute of Massachusetts. Will the Senator state what construction has been given to that expression in other States?
Mr. ALDRICH. In the case of Pittsfield vs. the Boston and Albany Railroad Company--I have not the book here, but if the Senator will send to the Law Library I presume he can get it-the interpretation, as I understand, given to these words is the usual common interpretation wbich the words import, that "like" shall mean a similar quantitynot precisely the same, but a similar quantity. For instance, if one man was shipping 4 pounds of freight and another 5, that would be a like quantity; but if one man was shipping 50 pounds and another 50 tons, that would not be a like quantity. If we propose to equalize rates, as this section does propose, for carrying merchandise, the proposition must be applied to merchandise of similar quantity, of a similar class, and under similar circumstances, or else the bill will certainly be inoperative.
Mr. CAMDEN. I think we are all aiming to get at about the same thing. All that I desire in changing this amendment is to make it apply to like carriage. The Senator suggested an amendment a while ago that he was willing to accept, which I think was of the like kind.”
Mr. ALDRICH. I have no objection to using the word “ kind” instead of “class."
Mr. HARRIS, Allow me to suggest to the Senator from Rhode Island that I think he misconstrues the bill as it would stand if this amendment was agreed to. The railroad companies in fixing their tariff of rates will fix one rate for packages and a different rate for car-loads. All I desire is that the rule prescribed by the fourth section shall apply to the packages, to the car-loads, and to every shipment. The company having fixed its rates, the rates for packages is one thing. Very different rates may be tired for shipments by the car-load, and by the greater or smaller number of car-loads; but when these rates are fixed, let the rule prescribed by the fourth section apply--that is, that no greater sum shall be charged in the aggregate for the short than the long haul over the same road and in the same direction.
Mr. ALDRICH. I would be perfectly willing. so far as I am concerned myself, to modify this amendment so that it should apply to the like kind of property under similar circumstances, leaving the word "quantity” out entirely.
Mr. CAMDEN. I think that covers the idea I want to get at, that it shall not be limited to a specific quantity. Will the Senator put the amendment in the form just suggested?
Mr. MILLER. If the Senator from West Virginia is going to consent to that sort of an amendment, he had better consent to take out the fourth section at once and be done with it, because when you undertake to say it shall only operate under absolutely like circumstances, those never happen in the shipment of any two articles.
Mr. PALMER. I would ask the Senator from Rhode Island who is to decide what are similar circumstances ?
Mr. ALDRICH. The same tribunal that will decide on a violation of the section in any case, the commission in the beginning, and the courts afterward. The Senator from Michigan knows as well as I who decides on all violations of the provisions of the bill.
Mr. PALMER. It gives a tremendous latitude to whoever has the determination.
Mr. ALDRICH. You propose in this very first section to give the commission a chance to fix it entirely.
Mr. CAMDEN. I would suggest to the Senator from Rhode Island to adopt this amendments of the like class and kind of property."
Mr. ALLISON. That will not do.
Mr. CAMDEN. Leave out " class,” then, and say "like kind of property.” Mr. ALDRICH. The amendment I suggested, which I understood
ICH. was agreeable to the Senator from West Virginia, was “ of the like quantity of property under similar circumstances.""
Mr. CAMDEN. No; I do not want "quantity” in.
Mr. ALDRICH. Well," the like kind of property under similar circumstances.
Mr. HARRIS. I suggest to the Senator from Rhode Island that I think his object will be better accomplished by moving to strike out the fourth section altogether, because if either of the amendments he has suggested remains in the fourth section it makes the fourth section inoperative and utterly prevents it having any effect whatever. His object will be very much better accomplished by moving to strike it out.
Mr. CAMDEN. I will move to strike out the words class and quantity,” and insert "kind;" so as to read:
For the transportation of passengers, or of the like kind of property subject to the provisions of this act.
Mr. INGALLS. Let us hear that read from the desk.
The CHIEF CLERK. In section 4, line 4, it is proposed to strike out the words “class and quantity” and insert in lieu thereof the word “kind;" so as to read:
That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier to charge or receive any greater compensation in the aggregate for the transportation of passengers or of the like kind of property subject to the provisions of
this act, for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line in the same direction.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on this amendment to the amendment made as in Committee of the Whole.
Mr. CAMDEN called for the yeas and nays; and they were ordered.
Mr. ALLISON. Under the amendment as suggested by the Senator from West Virginia the same price will be charged per hundred pounds for a single keg of nails as will be charged for a car-load. That, I think, is manifestly unjust.
Mr. HARRIS. I beg to assure the Senator from Iowa that no such construction is possible. The railroad companies under this bill have the right to fix their own tariffs on freight; they will fix one tariff for packages, one tariff for the car-load, and perhaps a totally different tariff for a larger than a smaller number of car-loads.
Mr. ALLISON. Now let me ask the Senator from Tennessee a question. This proposes to regulate the rate according to the kind of property. I ask the Senator from Tennessee if a keg of nails and 500 kegs of nails are not property of the same kind?
Mr. HARRIS. Absolutely so; and I will ask the Senator from Iowa that where the common carrier has the right to fix his rate for carry. ing 1 keg of nails and a different rate for carrying 500 kegs of nails, if such construction as he puts upon the bill is possible?
Mr. ALLISON. That is true if the carrier would have that right under this section; but the amendment of the Senator from West Virginia is to preclude that right as applied to the carrier.
Mr. HARRIS. I beg to assure the Senator that the only effect of this section is to declare that no larger sum in the aggregate shall be charged. It does not fix rates at all, but it does declare that no larger sum shall be charged by the carrier for the shorter than the longer haul over the same line in the same direction.
Mr. INGALLS. Mr. President, this section appears to me to be getting up into the region of metaphysics. The atmosphere is very rarefied in its neighborhood. It is rapidly reaching a point where nobody will pretend to understand what it means and what its effect will be, and I venture to say that it will be very difficult for anybody to give