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provides that nothing therein shall in any way abridge or alter the remedies now existing at common law or the statutes, but the provisions of this act are in addition to such remedies.
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. But it is well known to every member of the House and to the gentleman, as well as to any other member, that all the practices we are now seeking to prohibit by this act have grown up under the common law. The remedies provided at common law were not sufficient. Has it not been recently decided in matters of interstate commerce the Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction? That is my understanding; that it has been decided in two cases the Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction in regard to interstate commerce. This act should relax that rule and confer jurisdiction upon the State courts. The people have asked for bread, and you give them a stone. They have asked for fish, and you give them a serpent.
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. I wish to ask my colleague a ques. tion. Does not be know if the vote which he intends to give should be followed by the majority of this House and this bill be defeated it would be gratifying to all the railroad interests of this country from ocean to ocean and lake to gulf?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. No, sir.
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. Let me finish my question. Does he not know that this city has been swarming with agents of railroad corporate power in order to defeat this bill as it has been reported by the conferees?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. Do not take up my time. They, of course, do not want any bill to pass; but if one must pass they want, in my opinion, just such provisions as are in this bill.
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. But do you not know that the people of Iowa, whom you and I in part represent, are appealing for the passage of this bill into a law, so that the railroads may enter under the control of the national power?
Mr. WEAVER, of lowa. I know that the people of Iowa want no such bill. I know my constituents, and, so far as I am able to ascertain the public sentiment in Iowa, it is diametrically opposed to any such bill. They want the Reagan bill.
Mr. CUTCHEON. Does the gentleman desire to be understood that he prefers no legislation at all on this subject than to have this bill?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. I am going to vote against the passage of this bill. I do not propose to criticise or find fault with it, and then, demagogue like, go and vote for it, and I ask the gentleman from Iowa (my colleague) to answer me yes or no, is he satisfied with the provisions of this bill-yes or no?
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. I will say Mr. Speaker-
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. Let me proceed a moment and answer in my own way. I say I thank my God that I have an opportunity to vote for a bill that lays the strong hand of the General Government upon the railroads of this country.
Do you vote against the passage of this bill because it does not satisfy you in every provision?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. No, sir; but when there is no important feature in it to which I can give my assent I must vote against it.
Mr. HENDERSON, of Iowa. Ah, we have then your estimate of the bill.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. I want to ask the gentleman from Iowa this question: Does it necessarily follow because we vote against the passage of this bill, that our vote is to be taken as an indication that we favor no legislation on this subject ?
Mr. WEAVER, of Iowa. No, sir; not by any means. When a man opposes the bill it does not therefore follow that he opposes legislation against the railroads, and no fair-minded man would say or think so. It is our right and duty to criticise such measures. That is what we are sent here for; and if they are inconsistent with our ideas of what is right to vote against them.
Mr. Speaker, having the power to confer jurisdiction either upon the State courts or upon the Federal courts, we deliberately refuse to exercise that power as to the State courts and force the people to go into courts where, as is publicly known, the railroads are all powerful, and where the corporations control, or are likely to control, the machinery of the courts, and where adjudications are longest delayed.
What is this but legislation in the interest of the powerful and the opulent? What is this but an attempt to make the way for the people dark, difficult, and thorny? How dare we refuse to prepare the way of the people to enter the courts which they have created for their own safety and protection? Dare we say to our constituents that neither they nor their State courts can be trusted to deal fairly with the railroads? Certainly not.
Now, one word as to the political features of this bill. I have already shown that the commission must be reconstituted during the next Pres
, idential administration, and I have taken the pains to run over the register of the Department of Justice, and I find that five out of the nine supreme judges have passed three score and ten, and during the next Presidential term will, in all probability, in the course of human affairs have to be replaced. I have also found that out of the circuit and district judges of the United States a score of these Federal judges will also have to be replaced during the next Presidential administration.
What a powerful temptation to the railroad interests of this country to take part in your Presidential election, to set up the primaries, control your conventions, furnish the money to carry on your Presidential campaign, for the great prize of the commission that must construe this law, and the Supreme Court of the United States that must finally construe it, and the intermeaiary circuit and district courts that must construe it before it reaches the Supreme Court. It ought to be entitled a bill to more completely give over the control of the business and political interests of the people into the hands of the confederated monopolies.
Democrats, I adjure you to take heed to what I am saying. Is that the kind of a bill you want to pass-a bill that will enthrone the corporations in the politics of the country-that will make them all directly interested in every Presidential election?
Where did this movement originate but with the Democratic party? The author of the Reagan bill bas been the champion of this controversy with the railroads for more than ten years; and the Democratic party, the Nationals, and the Anti-Monopolists have stood behind him, while the Senate has stood like a wall of iron against the passage of that measure. Finally, seeing they had to let us have something, they licked their bill into a shape satisfactory to themselves, but most dangerous to the people.
I appeal to the Democrats here to-day, and to all fair-minded men, whether Democrats or not, do they want kind of a measure? Can any man shut his eyes to the fact that these railroad corporations have for the past decade exercised a powerful control in the politics of this nation? Does any man deny that? And will they not have an additional reason for interposing and intermeddling in the politics of this country if this bill passes ?
Now, with a determination to do my duty conscientiously, I say that I shall oppose this bill not only with my voice but with my vote, acting in obedience to the express and oft-repeated pledges which I made to my constituency.
Mr. CALDWELL obtained the floor.
Mr. CRISP. I ask unanimous consent that the House take a recess until half past 7 o'clock, the evening session to be for debate on this bill only.
The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia?
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. Is it understood, then, that my friend from Georgia will press the demand for the previous question in the morning? The House is very thin now. Gentlemen who had expected to take part in the discussion are not here. If the suggestion had been made earlier in the day it might have met with a favorable response; but I do not want that the discussion shall take place to empty seats, and that after discussion of that kind the previous question shall be ordered.
The House, as my friend will observe, is very thin. This is an im. portant question; a more important question has not been presented to this House, as he will admit. It seems to me, therefore, that a little time may properly be taken in discussing it; and, for one, I hope that, whatever may be done touching this evening session, my friend will not insist upon the previous question in the morning.
Mr. CRISP. I rise to a privileged motion.
Mr. CRISP. I call up for present consideration the conference report on what is known as the interstate-commerce bill.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Georgia [Mr. CRISP], as a matter of privilege, calls up the conference report on the interstatecommerce bill. The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. CALDWELL) has the floor.
Mr. CRISP. With the consent of the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. CALDWELL], I wish to say a word to gentlemen who desire to discuss this bill and to the House, in the hope of coming to an agreement, if possible, as to when the vote shall be taken. It is needless for me to say that if every gentleman in the House who desires to speak on this bill should get the floor and use the time that the rules would give him the 4th of March would find us still discussing the bill. While I recognize the importance of the measure, yet we all know that this is not a new question; we all know how business is pressing upon us, and, in view of these facts, I would like to have an understanding by wbich at some hour to-day we may have a vote upon this bill.
Mr. DUNHAM. With the permission of the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr.CALDWELL), I would suggest to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. CRISP] that this bill is probably the most important matter that has been presented to this Congress. It was discussed in the other branch some three weeks before the original bill was passed; the conference report has been discussed about two weeks, and now it seems to me that, inasmuch as several gentlemen desire to be heard upon the bill, we ought to allow the debate to go along to-day, let to-morrow be given to private bills, and have an understanding that the vote upon this bill shall be taken at 3 o'clock on Saturday. Then everybody will understand the bill; and the time, it seems to me, is no more than may reasonably be asked for the consideration of a question so important as this.
Mr. CRISP. Mr. Speaker, anxious as I am to do no injustice to any member, in view of the condition of the public business and the history of this proposed legislation, I feel that I must, at least, test the sense of the House upon the question of taking the vote at some hour to-day.
Mr. TOWNSHEND. Can not the gentleman call the previous question now, and settle the matter? Every man's mind is made up.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. I would like to suggest to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. CRISP] that even if the vote be postponed until 3 o'clock on Saturday, that will only leave five or six hours all told for the discussion of this bill. I do not think that is an unreasonable time, and if we can agree upon having a vote at 3 o'clock on Saturday, we will dispose of the matter satisfactorily, and give gentlemen, who desire it, an opportunity to be heard upon a bill which is so important to their constituents.
Mr. CRISP. How would it satisfy gentlemen to agree that the previous question shall be ordered upon the adoption of the conference report at the adjournment this evening-no vote to be taken this evening, but the debate to be closed?
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. I think the time suggested is not too much, three hours to-day and two hours on Saturday. In fact, it is a very brief time for the discussion of so important a measure.
Mr. CRISP. With such an understanding as I have suggested, we could meet to-morrow and take the vote upon this matter, and dispose of it without interfering to any considerable extent with the consideration of private bills.
Mr. DUNHAM. I would suggest to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. CRISP] that that gives us only about three hours to-day and one hour on Saturday.
Mr. RYAN. Then there is only one hour's difference between the two propositions.
Mr. CRISP. Personally, I should be willing, and I have no doubt that others would be willing to emulate the example set us at the other end of this Capitol and, if necessary, stay here until 10 or 11 o'clock to-night debating this bill.
Mr. BROWN, of Pennsylvania. They are in the habit of adjourning over Saturday.
Mr. CRISP. I ask gentlemen to consider whether they will not agree that at the end of this session to-day or to-night the previous question shall be considered as ordered.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. Why not agree to have the vote taken at 3 o'clock on Saturday?
Mr. ADAMS. of Illinois. Let the previous question be considered as ordered on Saturday at 3 o'clock.
The SPEAKER. The Chair will state to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. CRISP] that this being a privileged matter, it can be called up, it the gentleman desires, on Saturday morning immediately after the reading of ihe Journal,
Mr. CRISP. I understood that; but what is to be accomplished by postponing the vote until Saturday, if the debate is closed at the end of to-day's session ?
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. It gives two hours for discussion on Saturday.
Mr. ANDERSON, of Kansas. Suppose we have a night session.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. This is a pretty large body, and a great many gentlemen do not like to come here at night. I do not think the time I have suggested is any too long.
Mr. CRISP. Gentlemen will allow me to say that Saturday is a bad day to be fixed for taking the vote-not for gentlemen situated like myself; but members whose homes are within a short distance of this city are often absent from the House on that day.
Mr. DUNHAM. That is their neglect, not ours.
Mr. CRISP. Now, why not agree to close debate at the end of the session to-night, and vote on the bill to-morrow morning immediately after the reading of the Journal?
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. That is, with the understanding that there shall be a session to-night for discussion.
Mr. CRISP. My proposition is that the previous question shall be considered as ordered whenever we adjourn to-day.
Mr. ANDERSON, of Kansas. Will the gentleman permit me to suggest that there are many gentlemen who desire to be heard on this bill who are not members of the committee and who can not hope to obtain an hour; and therefore I think it would be for the general advantage to agree that debate at the evening session be confined to tenminute speeches.
Several MEMBERS. Oh, no.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. The gentleman from Georgia proposes, as I understand, that the discussion go on to-night, that the previous question be ordered at the adjournment to-night, and the vote be taken to
Mr. CRISP. That to-morrow, after the reading of the Journal, the vote be taken on the report, the previous question to be considered as ordered at the adjournment of this legislative day.
Several MEMBERS. That is right.
Mr. BUTTERWORTH. It is a part of the understanding that we are to have a session to-night?
Mr. CRISP. Yes, sir. I ask the Chair to test the sense of the House on the proposition I have made.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Georgia asks unanimous consent that there be a session this evening for the discussion of this report-no other business to be transacted—and that when the House adjourns on this legislative day the previous question shall be considered as ordered, and that the vote be taken to-morrow morning immediately after the reading of the Journal. Is there objection? The Chair hears none, and it is so ordered.
Mr. CRISP. Now, I ask unanimous consent that we have a session to-night. What hour do gentlemen suggest ?
Several MEMBERS. Half past seven.
Mr. CRISP. I ask unanimous consent that the House take a recess to-day from half past 5 o'clock till half past 7 o'clock.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Georgia asks unanimous consent that the House take a recess at half past 5 o'clock to-day until half past 7 o'clock, the evening session to be for the discussion of this report under the order already made. Is there objection?