Page images
PDF
EPUB

only trouble that we had when this bill was before the Senate and was so long and exhaustively discussed, was as to whether there ought pot to be added the words the same poiut of arrival," and the Senate, after discussion, on a yea-and-nay vote, inserted the words “the same point of arrival," so as to meet it at both ends. This change of phraseology appears now to be a shorter, and I must say not so clear a statement of precisely the same thing that the Senate bill contained.

Mr. HOAR. Mr. President, I do not wish to detain the Senate at this late hour over this incidental question which has come vp. The question whether the words “starting from the same original point of departure" do or do not make a substantial difference in this bill bas been, I think, sufficiently discusscd before the Senate. It would take half an hour to restate that argument in full, and I shall not undertake to do it now. It is enough to say that it has been for the first time heard of in railroad discussion that these two things were not essentially different.

In the first place, the Legislature that passed the Massachusetts statute rejected one and adopted the other. In the next place, the chairman of the railroad commissioners, familiar with her whole railroad policy and her great railroad authority, declares that they are totally different, and that one never would have been adopted if those words had not been in. Next, the Senate, when this measure originally passed, struggled over that matter for a long time, and struck out the words * from the same original point of departure," the Senator from Vermont voting for it, in order, however, that he might afterward put the words back with an additional qualification, so that the qualification should apply to both ends--to the point of departure and the point of arrival. So it any authority may be cited to that effect, the authority of my friend from Vermont may be cited.

But I did not raise this question for the purpose of renewing the discussion. I thought when the Senator from Iowa cited an eminent Massachusetts authority against me, it was perfectly fair that the Senate and the public should see that that eminent gentleman declared in the strongest manner his opinion against the present proposition and in favor of the other, and his statement that the two were distinct. I admit that my honorable friend from lowa is a reformed man, if that will do him any good.

Mr. ALLISON. Before the Senator from Massachusetts sits down I wish he would simply define what the words "the original point of departure" in the Massachusetts statute mean. I should like to know it in this connection, because then I shall be enabled more clearly to see the difference which he says exists between the phraseology of this bill and that statute. The Senator from Vermont certainly sees practically no difference. The Senator from Massachusetts sees a marked difference. Now, if he will tell us just what the words "the original point of departure” mean in the Massachusetts statute I shall be obliged, because I do not comprehend it even at this moment after all the debate, especially after what I have just heard.

Mr. HOAR. There does not at this moment occur to me any phrase in the English language which makes it more clear than the language itself. Tbe Senator might as well ask me to define to him what I think two and two mean.

Mr. ALLISON. Very well; then I will put my question in another form. The Senator from Vermont understands the phraseology to be substantially the phraseology of the Massachusetts statute. The Senator from Massachusetts says that is not true, and quotes the Senator from Vermont last July to prove it. I should be glad to have the Senator from Massachusetts clearly point out to me that distinction.

[graphic]

Mr. EDMUNDS. So should I; but he can not do it, Mr. President.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Vermont has the floor.

Mr. HOAR. He can not do it, because the Senator from Vermont has the floor.

Mr. EDMUNDS. I will yield the floor to the Senator from Massachusetts to point it out, if he wishes.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on ayreeing to the conference report.

Mr. EDMUNDS. The Senator from Massachusetts is not quite ready to point it out.

Mr. HOAR. What does the Senator mean by saying that I am not quite ready to point it out?

Mr. EDMUNDS. Because I yielded to you to point out, in answer to the Senator from Iowa, the difference that you had suggested.

Mr. HOAR. Does the Senator mean to say that he does not think there is any difference between two classes of freight which come from the sanie starting point and two classes that do not?

Mr. LDMUNDS. I only mean to say that I yielded to the Senator from Massachusetts to answer the Senator from lowa, and then I will state what I think I niean.

Mr. HOAR. I mean from the same railroad starting point to the point of destination where the freight is put down.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Vermont has the floor.

Mr. EDMUNDS. The Senator from Massachusetts having made all the explanation he wishes, I will proceed.

I am under the impression myself that I stand to-day exactly where I did in July last, if that was the time when this section was under discussion by the Senate. The bill as reported only had in the phrase "original point of departure" and had not in the phrase "the point of arrival," so that leaving it as it then stood, as it appeared to me, goods might be sent from Chicago to Boston at one rate, at a dollar a ton, while the same railroad line and the same corporation, if there were one, might charge the same rate or more from Worcester to Boston, a distance of 40 miles, because the original point of departure from Chicago and from Worcester would, to most minds, appear to be different and not the same. Accordingly, I did what I could to persuade the Senate that that was incomplete and that the phrase the point of arrival" ought to be inserted, and the Senate thought so too.

I have never maintained, and I can not see now how it is possible to distinguish in substance the provision of the Massachusetts act, which is of course only an incident to this debate, from the substance of the provision which the conference committee has reported. I agree that it does not appear to my mind to be so clear as it was as the Senate left it; but I believe that it means the same thing, and if it turns out not to mean the same thing that we shall correct it; I am for taking it as it is.

Mr. HOAR. The very case that I read from the railroad commissioner was an illustration of the precise thing on which Judge Russell bases bis argument. There were two conveyances of coal to the town of Pitsfield, one from Albany and one from Hudson, the farthest point on the Boston and Albany road. The coal departing from Hudson, the farthest point, went for a dollar a ton. The coal departing from Albany, the nearest point, was charged a dollar and twenty-five cents. The railroad commissioners of Massachusetts stated the reason which, beyond all doubt, made one proper and not another, and therefore they sustained the larger charge for the shorter haul. The statute of Massachusetts did not mean to prohibit it.

Now, take the case of a town on the seaboard for instance. Here is a town which has a water-way the whole way from Boston to Salem or to Portland, and there is an intermediate town which has no waterway. I do not see that it is unreasonable that the railroad which perhaps could not get the freight which might be water borne unless it took it at cost or at a trifle above cost, so that it contributed something to its fixed expenses, should not take that freight. I understand that some of the Senators who have spoken say this bill does not prevent that, while others think it does.

Mr. ALLISON. If the Senator will allow me to interrupt him right there I will state that Judge Deady, of Oregon, upon precisely a similar statute, decided that this fourth section, if that is the section of the Oregon statute, was to be construed with the other provisions of the act, and where water-way competition came in he allowed a receiver under his own court to charge a less rate, which was done under the very direction and control of the court, under a statute more rigid than this one.

Mr. HOAR. Exactly. Now, the supreme court of the State of North Carolina, as I understood the honorable Senator from Georgia (Mr. Brown) to read the decision, has decided just the other way.

Is there any other subject on the face of the earth; is there a matter which would involve to the people of this country the amount of $10,000; is there a private claim to the amount of $10,000, in regard to which the construction of an act being in dispute between two respectable judicial tribunals of this country, you would not recommit to a committee or bring the act before the Senate before you passed it, to make that clear? If the Senator from Iowa is right and the Senator from Mississippi is wrong, if the Senator from Vermont is right and the Senator from Tennessee is wrong, if the Senator from Illinois is right and the conferees who forced this into the hill as representatives of the House are wrong, you have got a question which is to affect generally the country to the amount of hundreds and thousands of millions of dollars. All we ask of you is to recommit your bill or disagree to this committee of conference report, and have language put into the bill which will settle this question about which these great authorities dispute.

But when the Senator from Iowa answered me I was simply replying to the statement of the Sevator from Vermont, that he could not see how it could be just that the town nearer the point of arrival should, in any case, pay more than the town which was farther from the point of arrival. My colleague's town of Pittsfield is three times the distance from Boston that the city in which I reside is; but suppose the people of that city, as many Western communities have done, should establish three or four railroad lines from their own town to the seaboard at their own cost for the sake of getting the advantage of that competition, is the statute of the United States, or of Massachusetts, or whatever legislative power has authority over that matter, to come in and say they shall not have the benefit of the competition which they have themselves paid for?

These railroad lines are not of foreign authority or of foreign power, brought into this country. They are created very largely at the cost of the communities that they serve, and it seems to me that if the people of a particular community have provided themselves with competitiou, or if they have settled themselves on the seaboard where they may have many advantages in the way of soil or climate or water-power, it is unjust to come in and by this iron-fixed rule say that the natural effect of competition shall in no case apply to them.

[graphic]

The Senators who claim that this bill has the meaning which we do not impute to it, concede in substance the reasonableness of our arguments. The Senator from Iowa, the Senator from Vermont, and even the Senator from Illinois, will not stand up here and say that these things, which the North Carolina court and the Senators on the other side of the Chamber, and the Representatives at the other end of the Capitol, say the bill means, are unjust and ought not to be done. All we ask of them is to have this bill brought before the Senate and have the meaning which they impute to it made plain and clear.

Mr. INGALLS. Mr. President, the only justification of this debate, so far as I understand it, is that the minds of the commissioners, who are to be appointed under the bill, and to whom its interpretation is to be entrusted, may be enlightened by the cotemporaneous expression of opinion on the part of those by whom the bill was enacted. I have heard, I think, the Senator from Illinois and perhaps one or two others say that when this statute came to be interpreted the commissioners would revert to the debates which have been had on these various sections for the purpose of ascertaining what the intendment of the legisJator was. I therefore congratulate the Senate upon the unanimity of opinion which has been exhibited in the interpretation of the fourth section of this bill. I am satisfied that any commission which might be appointed, on reverting to these debates, would have a fiood of light shed in upon the darkest recesses of their intellect as to what the intention of the Senate and the conferees was in the provision that they have inserted about the long and the short haul.

The Senator from Vermont (Mr. EDMUNDS] stated that he was unable to perceive any difference whatever between the section as it passed the Senate and as it had been reported by the conference committee. If an intellect as acute and luminous, as penetrating and profound as that of the Senator from Vermont can detect no difference whatever between those two propositions, it is presumptuous in me, with the dullness and opacity of my intellect, to venture to express any opinion as to the question of difference between the two propositions, and I feel that I am verging somewhat perhaps upon the extreme limits of propriety when I venture, with much diffidence, to express my opinion that those two propositions upon the long and the short haul, as contained in the section as it originally passed the Senate and as it comes out in its second birth from the committee of conference, are just as widely separated as it is possible for two propositions to be.

In the debate that occurred in April and May last there was no profounder discussion, there was no more elaborate argument presented upon this bill than that which resulted in the insertion of the line that this report proposes to strike out. Senators need not refresh their recollections to any particular extent to bear me out in the statement that the insertion of the words “from the same original point of departure or to the same point of arrival" was the culmination, the finai point which was reached in the discussion of the bill.

In the first place, the words “from the same original point of departure" after a long debate were stricken out on the motion of the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. CAMDEN). The debate was long; the contention was earnest; the purpose of the Senator from West Virginia was well understood; and it was only after the debate had been exhausted upon all the other propositions of the bill that the Senator from Vermont, with his astuteness in parliamentary practice, came in and proposed that the words which had been stricken out and which could not otherwise be inserted in the state the bill then was in should be again placed in the bill with the addition of the words “ as to the same point of arrival." Yet the Senator from Vermont rises here in his place and deliberately declares that the elimination of that line in this section, which was inserted after all that debate and as the final result of that debate, does not in any way whatever practically change the effect of the section.

I understood then, and I understand now, that these words were inserted in this section for the purpose of making the long and short haul provision apply to termival points. The whole debate turned on that. The question of competition, of competitive points, of the injury that was done hy the discrimination for and against localities entered into the debate; and those words were inserted in the section for the purpose of making the long and short haul provision apply to competitive terminal points. They may have been ineffectual; I dare say they were. This proposed statute is in niany ways inartilicial. It deals with a subject which can not be formulated. You can not treat this matter like a scientific problem or a demonstration in Euclid; but the intention and purpose of those who supported that amendment as finally perfected by the Senator from Vermont was to make the long and short haul provision apply to competitive terminal points.

Mr. HOAR. And no other.

Mr. IXGALLS. Yes, sir; and no other. I never would have voted for the section as it then stood unless I had so clearly understood. I ant very sure that those who thought with me, and who are surrounded by the same environments in their different localities, never would have agreed to it unless it was supposed that that live was placed there for a purpose after weeks of travail in debate, and that it meant something; and that something is what, in my judgment and my belief, was designed by those who voted for it. Tha section is intended, or was intended, to do away with the discrimination that railroads have made between localities.

Now, what is the effect of it as it stands to-day? The Senator from Illinois in reporting this bill has seen fit, after consenting to the elimination of that line, to agree to the insertion of the following: The shorter being included within the longer distance.

What does that mean as it stands to-day? It means the application of the long and short haul principle to every single mile of road upon the common carrier's way, no matter where it may be located, between the two terminal points, and it applies to every pound of freight that may be transported over that line, no matter from what point it starts or at what point it is to arrive. It does not do to attempt to darken counsel by words without wisdom in this inatter. It does not do to ask gentlemen to close their eyes to this great question and say after we had agreed to that proposition that we should now agree to the other because that debate was nothing, meant nothing, resulted in nothing, and that therefore this should be accepted because it means practically the same as the other.

Mr. President, let us not close our eyes to what this proposition means. I say to that board or commissioners in the future, that is to come without political influence, having no interest in the stocks or

« PreviousContinue »