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bonds of common carriers, or anything else so far as I know, and not being pecuniarily interested in them, and not being permitted to engage in any other business or avocation or profession-I say to them that as I understand the long and short haul provision, it applies as it now stands to every single mile of track upon any railroad, no matter where it may be, between the terminal points, and to every pound of freight of like character or quality which may be transported over it. You can not escape from it unless that language meant nothing, and was designed for nothing and intended for nothing.
That means local rates for every pound of freight carried over these roads. That means the abolition of all this system of cheap long hauls under which, by the benefits of competition, distances have been equal. ized and the commonwealth has been shrunk up to a span's breadth, so that practically the man who lives in Dakota or in Colorado is placed upon the same footing and condition, so far as the results of his labor are concerned, as the man who lives immediately upon the seaboard. You propose by this measure to abolish all that and to declare that hereafter, so far as we are concerned, every pound of freight that moves upon these railroads shall pay its equal proportionate share of freight money for every mile over which it passes.
I took occasion in a former debate to express my opinions about the effects of this position, and I do not propose to renew them now; but it is a little singular, notwithstanding all that has been said about this proposition, that the result of it, in the opinion of the Senator from Illinois, the Senator from Rhode Island, and the Senator from Vermont, is entirely speculative and problematic. No one can tell what the result will be. No one can predict what effect this cast-iron, rigid provision inserted into this proposed statute aud affecting the business of this country will have.
Therefore it is that the committee of conference have agreed to the provision of the bill as it originally stood in the Senate text, providing that this section so far as its provisions apply to distant rates may be disregarded by the commission. I suppose that this is the first time in the history of legislation that such power as this was declared, that such a declaration was made that this particular discrimination should be unlawful, that it should be denounced in a legislative enactment, and at the same time that the tribunal which was created to enforce the law should in specific terms be authorized to abrogate, veto, annul, and repeal it.
That is a sufficient answer to all that has been said in behalf of this section. As it now stands, it is absolutely nagatory and must be; and I feel encouraged to vote for the measure as it stands because under the interpretation that must be given to it, if this construction were to be held to be the one intended by the legislature, it would be a revolution. This country could not remain in peace for thirty days under the rigid application of the provisions of the fourth section prior to the proviso. Not a pound of freight, not a bushel of corn or wheat, no heef nor pork that is raised on those great fertile plains beyond the Missouri could be carried east of the Ohio River; its value would be consumed in the price of transportation and would leave the man who raised it without compensation for his labor.
I am satisfied that no such provision as that can ever be carried into effect, and when the section goes on further to provide that upon the application of the commissioners appointed under the provisions of this act, such common carrier may in ial cases be authorized to charge
less for longer than for shorter distances for the transportation of passengers or property, the whole thing is given away.
In the first place, the committee themselves confess that the provisions in the first part of the section are untenable; they admit that no such provision could be enforced with safety to commerce or the productive energies of this country; but they have placed it in this bill in obedience to a great public demand for legislation to prevent what we all admit and recognize is unjust, invidious, and untenable-discrimination with regard to the transportation of freight not only in the East but in the West, not only with regard to the long hauls from competing terminal points, but from points in the interior elsewhere.
My attention was called not long since to the situation on one railroad in my own State, where shippers at an intermediate point midway between Kansas City and Denver desiring to send wheat to Denver city, were compelled by the discriminating rates to send their grain at local rates 250 miles back to Kansas City, and ship at through rates from Kansas City to Denver; and they made money by the operation. Is there any justice in that? Is not that a discrimination which ought to be guarded against ?
Therefore I say that the reason which prompted, as I suppose, the committee to agree to this extraordinary provision was to guard against such local discriminations as I have mentioned, knowing as they did that the application of these rules to competing terminal points could not be enforced without destruction to the commerce of this country.
I regard the fourth section in its application to local discriminations as valuable. I regard it in its attempt to enforce the long-and-short-haul provision against through freights between great terminal and competing points as absolutely nugatory and ineffectual, and I believe that the commission will so regard it, and that they will in every case, when their attention is called to this clause, rule in favor of the long cheap haul, and not to establish distance short-haul rates.
This bill, as I understand, is one to regulate commerce, not to wreck it, or destroy it, or ruin it. Its purpose is humane and beneficent. It is in the interest of the producers of the country, and I understand that the commission to be created will so administer and interpret this section and so administer and interpret the other sections that may be presented to them for execution as to effectuate justice, and not to work dishonor and ruin to the country.
There has been a suspicious unanimity of assault upon two sections of this bill. It appears to me, or rather I may say that I have a growing suspicion, that the attacks which have been made from all quarters, pamphleteers, leading editors, boards of trade, railroad attorneys, local organs of opinion, against these sections, proceed rather from those who prefer to have no legislation at all, and are convinced that if the proposed bill can be made odious by attacking these two sections that result will be obtained.
We have been regaled with repeated arguments against sections 4 and 5 of the bill. We have been assured that in its general provisions the proposed law is beneficent, that it is intended to cure existing defects, but that it contains provisions which, if enforced, will be fatal to the interests of the country. So we have heard these arguments against sections 4 and 5. The artillery has played upon them, the cavalry have charged upon them, the infantry have fired their volleys at them; Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart have all barked at them, with the intention, as I believe, of securing as far as possible-I am speaking now of the inundation of information which has been poured upon me, and I suppose upon other Senators outside of this chamber, of printed and written literature—with the purpose, I say, if these two sections can be made to appear especially odious, that legislation upon this subject may be indefinitely procrastinated and postponed.
We have been told that pooling was one of the beneficent operations of the railroad system. The pooling that I understand the fifth section to be directed against is a pooling that has been a criminal conspiracy against society. It has been a pooling that has enabled railroads to continue a career of unrestrained depredation upon the welfare of society. Who has not been familiar with the anthracite-coal pool ? Who has not heard of the combination by which the dressed beef of Chicago was to be prevented from reaching the markets of New York? Who has not heard of the Standard Oil combination, by which, through a pooling arrangement between the railroads and these companies, one of the great natural products of the earth has been restrained and confined ?
That is the kind of pooling I understand that this section is directed against. It is the kind of pooling by which a bankrupt, spendthrift beggar of a railroad that never ought to have been built, that can not obtain the means of support in the country through which it passes, that is a burden upon the earth, may succeed by cutting rates, as I remember in one case one railroad did from Kansas City to Saint Louis, reducing passenger rates to a dollar, and it continued to carry passengers at that rate until the great, solvent, profitable corporations, in order to protect themselves from that ruinous and mendicant competition, were compelled to admit the road into a pool upon an agreement to divide the receipts for passengers equally between these routes according to their mileage between the two points. One result that I concede will come from that section against pooling, and which I shall be glad to have result from it, will be the abandonment of that process and the relinquishment of the roads which are in that condition to their original elements.
There are thousands of miles of road in this country that never onght to have been built. There are thousands of miles of road running through this country which would be better off if the rails were taken up and sold for old iron, and the ties for cord-wood, and the right of way planted in corn.
This section is a notification to those who are engaged in building parallel lines of road all over this country, particularly in the West, duplicating lines, building unnecessary and superfluous feeders, and, as they call it, invading a hostile territory, it is a notification to them that that process must stop, and it is a matter of importance to the community that it should stop, and that no more roads should be builded than are required either for the present or for the immediately prospective wants of the communities through which they pass.
This section does not prevent beneficent co-operation between railroads in a healthy condition. They have a right to unite for any purpose that they may see fit under the provisions of the bill, but pooling has a distinct meaning and significance. While there may be instances and cases in which pooling may be perhaps not wholly guilty, in the great majority of cases these railroad combinations are made for the express purpose of conspiring with those interested in them and in the other great staples of life to put the thumb-screws on the common people, and increase the price of their bread, and their clothing, and their food, and all the necessaries of life.
Mr. EDMUNDS. And diminish the profits of their products that they want to send away.
Mr. INGALLS. Therefore, so far as these two sections are concerned, while they are not ideally perfect, while I admit that by the confession of the committee itself they are nugatory, at least one of them, and impossible of being carried into effect, so far as the suggestions which have been made about the application to the great-distance hauls from the interior are concerned, the effect upon these minor discriminations both against locality and against the individual direct will be beneficent, and therefore they ought to be supported.
But there are matters in which, in my opinion, the bill is even more fatally defective, it that were possible, than in the particulars to which attention has been called. I regret that I have to vote for it, and I think there are a great many others in the same condition. This is a bill which practically nobody wants and which every body intends to vote for, a bill which nobody is satisfied with and which everybody intends to accept, a bill which nobody knows what it means and yet we have all agreed it ought to pass.
I wish to call the attention of the Senate to one other particular in which I think the bill is open to the greatest criticism, and if it were not for the brief space that will intervene between the time it goes into effect and the reassembling of Congress, if it were not for the great discretionary power confided to the commissioners who are to be selected, I should hesitate what to do. On page 11, lines 44, 45, and 46, I find the following language:
Reductions in such published rates, fares, or charges may be made without previous public notice.
Mr. President, we have been told about the great injuries that resulted from railroad wars in this country. We have been admonished of the difficulties wbich resulted from the contest between these corporations for freights and for passengers. We have provided that no increase in rates shall be made without first giving ten days' public notice and posting them up where they can be inspected by the public; and yet, in that same connection we have declared that reductions in published rates, fares, or charges may be made without previous public notice. A more vicious and dangerous provision never was incorporated in a statute
Mr. ALLISON. That was put in by the Senate.
Mr. CULLOM. Is the Senator aware that he voted for that provision at the last session ?
Mr. INGALLS. And I am going to vote for this; I am going to be entirely consistent. I ask the Senator to possess his soul in patience.
Suppose that there is a great, sudden congestion or accumulation of freights in Chicago which require transportation to the city of New York, to the seaboard. All the rates have been publicly established apd due notice given, and the public have adjusted themselves to them, and yet under the provisions of this bill any common carrier in this country has the right instantaneously, without public notice, to go to any one of the great provision or grain dealers or commission or shipping merchants in Chicago and say, “I will take your freight for onetenth of what it can be taken by any other common carrier running between these two points."
Is that justice, Mr. President? Does that prevent wars between railroad companies for freight or for passengers? Does that prevent the cutting of rates ? This bill, to have been logical, to have been just, ought to have provided that the same notice should be given of a reduction in rates and fares as of an increase in rates and fares. I am by no means sure that, inasmuch as a direct temptation is offered to a reduction of rates, the inhibition agair a reduction without public notice ought to bave been more severe than the inhibition against an increase of rates without due public notice.
I had marked a number of other points upon which I had intended to comment, but as I think I have already given sufficient reasons why I shall support the bill, I will now yield to the motion which I understand is to be made to recommit with instructions.
Mr. SPOONER. I have desired to address the Senate briefly upon one or two propositions contained in the bill, although I realize that the measure was passed after so long a discussion. I presume that the Senator from Illinois who has charge of the bill desires in any event that final action shall be had upon it this evening. Does the Senator from Illinois intend to sit the bill out?
Mr. CULLOM. I shall ask the Senate to do so, as I gave notice yesterday, and as there was unanimous consent that we should.
Mr. SPOONER. Then I shall ask the indulgence of the Senate, although weary, for a short time.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Wisconsin has the floor.
Mr. SPOONER. Mr. President, I think I do not underestimate the complexity and dimensions of this subject. The States have one after another during the last fifteen years passed laws within the sphere of State legislation for regulating commerce, but up to this time commerce among the several States” has gone without the exercise of the regulating power confessedly conferred by the Constitution upon Congress, and we are brought to face the problem to-day with about 130,000 miles of railway in operation in the United States, and the situation pregnant with discriminations and other evils, very marked and very gross, against which the people have long and justly complained. I have deplored somewhat the spirit in which one or two Senators have approached the discussion of this subject. Recognizing the evils to be eradicated, and sincerely desiring that a remedy be found for them, I do not feel called upon to justify strong legislation by an arraignment of the railway cola panies of the country and their managers for general want of business sense or of business integrity.
It has been my fortune, good or ill, for the greater part of my professional life to have had some connection with railways. I have, therefore, seen something of the difficulties under which some railway carriers of the country have labored, and I have intimately known railway managers, honorable men, who have won fame in their professionand the management of railways has grown to be a profession-who have risen from the lowest grade of railway work, who never gamble in railway stocks, who have endeavored in conservative ways to maintain their properties, to deal fairly by the people and faithfully by their stockholders, made gray too soon in life by vain efforts to maintain rates, and to carry on the business of transportation in a just and fair manner. Many of the evils which we seek to eradicate have been of slow growth. They are attributable in part, in my judgment, to the railroad companies, somewhat to the legislative policy of the States, and somewhat to the logic of events.
The rapid growth of the country, the stimulus of the war, the flush