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full restoration of the mighty power which God has created in the German people - a power to be used if we need it! If we do not need it, we will not use it and we will seek to avoid the necessity for its use. This attempt is made somewhat more difficult by threatening articles in foreign newspapers and I may give special admonition to the outside world against the continu. ance of such articles. They lead to nothing. The threats made against us, not by the government but in the newspapers, are incredibly stupid, when it is remembered that they assume that a great and proud power such as the German Empire is capable of being intimidated by an array of black spots made by a printer on paper, a mere marshalling of words. If they would give up that idea, we could reach a better understanding with both our neighbors. Every country is finally answerable for the wanton mischief done by its newspapers, and the reckoning is liable to be presented some day in the shape of a final decision from some other country. We can be bribed very easily - perhaps too easily — with love and good-will. But with threats, never!
We Germans fear God, and nothing else in the world!
It is the fear of God which makes us love peace and keep it. He who breaks it against us ruthlessly will learn the meaning of the warlike love of the Fatherland which in 1813 rallied to the standard the entire population of the then small and weak kingdom of Prussia; he will learn, too, that this patriotism is now the common property of the entire German nation, so that whoever attacks Germany will find it unified in arms, every warrior having in his heart the steadfast faith that God will be with us.
JEREMIAH SULLIVAN BLACK
JEREMIAH SULLIVAN BLACK was born January 1oth, 1810, in
Somerset County, Pennsylvania. In the public affairs of the the United States before and after the Civil War, from the time he entered politics as a supporter of Andrew Jackson until his death in August 1883, he stood for one of the great forces of minority opinion, seldom strong enough to control by mere weight of its impact, but always liable to assert itself in every great emergency as a controlling balance of power. When attacked by his last illness he was writing a reply to Jefferson Davis, suggested by a somewhat heated attack made upon him by Mr. Davis, because while declaring that “the States have rights carefully reserved and as sacred as the life, liberty, and property of the private citizen," he held Andrew Jackson's view of secession. If this closing incident of his career is kept in mind and brought to bear on his grim jest that next to the original Fall of Man the landing of the Mayflower was the greatest misfortune that ever happened to the human race," the illustration will give a better idea than could be given by any definition of his attitude during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Judge Black served on the supreme bench of Pennsylvania and in the cabinet of President Buchanan, but his great influence was never an incident of official prominence. As a man and as a lawyer he showed an individuality so marked, and in certain ways so representative, that men of all parties listened to him with an attention they seldom give the official utterance of any public man. When, in 1883, he went before the judiciary committee of the Pennsylvania senate and delivered an address on the State's power of eminent domain, and on the duties of corporations as public servants, the effect was felt throughout the country. It is doubtful if any other speech on a technical question of law and industrial economy ever produced effects so profound and so far-reaching. It is believed that the forces set in motion by sympathy with Judge Black's views thus expressed decided more than one presidential election and did more than anything else to make possible the radical changes which took place in the politics of the Northwestern States between 1883 and 1892.
CORPORATIONS UNDER EMINENT DOMAIN (Delivered before the Judiciary Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate, at the
Session of 1883) Mr. Chairman:The irrepressible conflict between the rights of the people and 1 the interests of railroad corporations does not seem likely
to terminate immediately. I beg your permission to put our case on your record somewhat more distinctly than heretofore.
Why do I give myself this trouble? My great and good friend, the President of the Reading Railroad Company, expresses the suspicion that I am quietly acting in the interest of some anonymous corporation. I wish to contradict that as flatly as I can.
The charge that I am communist enough to wish the destruction of all corporate property is equally untrue. I think myself the most conservative of citizens. I believe with my whole heart in the rights of life, liberty, and property, and if anybody has struggled more faithfully, through good report and evil, to maintain them inviolate, I do not know who he is. I respect the State constitution. Perhaps I am prejudiced in favor of natural justice and equality. I am convinced that without the enforcement of the fundamental law honest government cannot be expected.
These considerations, together with the request of many friends, would be sufficient reason for doing all the little I can to get «appropriate legislation.” At all events, it is unfair to charge me with any motive of lucre or malice.
It is not proposed by those who think as I do that any corporation shall lose one atom of its property. A lawful contract between a railroad company and the State is inviolable, and must not be touched by hostile hands, however bad the bargain may have been for the people. Mr. Gowen and all others with simi. lar contracts on their hands are entitled each to his pound of flesh, and if it be “so nominated in the bond” the Commonwealth must bare her bosom to all their knives and let them "cut nearest the heart.”
But we, the people, have rights of property as well as the corporations, and ours are-or ought to be — as sacred as theirs. Between the great domain which we have ceded to them and that which still belongs to us the line is plainly and distinctly marked, and if they cross it for purposes of plunder they should be driven back under the lash of the law. It is not the intent of the amended Constitution, nor the desire of those who demand its enforcement, to do them the slightest injury. We only ask for that impartial and just protection which the State, as parens patriæ, owes to us not less than to them.
In the first place, it will, I think, be admitted by all impartial persons of average intelligence, that the companies are not the owners of the railroads. The notion that they are is as silly as it is pernicious. It is the duty of every commercial, manufacturing, or agricultural State, to open thoroughfares of trade and travel through her territory. For that purpose she may take the property of citizens and pay for the work out of her own treasury. When it is done she may make it free to all comers, or she may reimburse the cost by levying a special tax upon those who use it; or she may get the road built and opened by a corporation or an individual, and pay for it by permitting the builder to collect tolls or taxes from those who carry and travel on it. Pennsylvania has tried all these methods with her turnpikes, canals, and railroads. Some have been made at her own cost and thrown open; on others made by herself she placed officers to collect a special tax; others have been built for her by contract, in which some natural or artificial person agreed to do the work for the privilege of appropriating the taxes which she authorized to be levied.
But in all these cases the proprietary right remained in the State and was held by her in trust for the use of the people. Those who run the railroads and canals are always public agents. It is impossible to look at them in any other light or to conceive how a different relation could exist, because a railroad which is not managed by public agents cannot be a public highway. The character of their appointment, even upon the same work, has differed materially. The Columbia Railroad and all the canals were for a time under the management of officers appointed by the governor, or elected by the people, and paid out of the State treasury. Afterwards the duty was devolved by the State upon the persons associated together under acts of incorporation, who contracted to perform it upon certain terms. The Erie and Northeast Railroad was at first run for the State by a company; the company was removed from its trust for misbehavior; the governor then took it and appointed an officer to superintend the work; later the governor's appointee was dis. placed, with the consent of the legislature, and the duty was again confided to a corporation newly chartered.
None of these agents — neither the canal commissioner nor the State receiver, nor any corporation that went before or came after — had the slightest proprietary right or title to the railroads themselves. To say that they had would be as preposterous as to assert that township roads are the private property of the supervisors.
The legal relations existing between the State and the persons whom she authorizes to supervise her highways were somewhat elaborately discussed by the supreme court of Pennsylvania in the case of the Erie and N. E. R. R. Co. versus Casey. (2 Casey, pp. 307–24.) It was there determined that a railroad built by authority of the State for the general purposes of commerce is a public highway and in no sense private property; that a corporation authorized to run it is a servant of the State as much as an officer legally appointed to do any other public duty; as strictly confined by the laws and as liable to be removed for transgressing them.
All the judges concurred in this opinion. The two who dissented from the judgment did so on the technical ground that certain circumstances, which would have estopped the State in a judicial proceeding, disarmed the legislature of the power to repeal. Neither they nor any other judge in the country whose authority is worth a straw ever denied the doctrine for which I have here cited that case, though it may have been sometimes overlooked, ignored, or perchance evaded. This principle and no other was the basis of the decision in Pennsylvania and all the other States that cities and counties might issue bonds, or their money, and tax their people to aid in building railways. The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed it in scores of cases. It was so universally acknowledged that the convention of 1873 incorporated it into the Constitution as a part of the fundamental law. I do not know upon what foundation more solid than this any great principle of jurisprudence was ever established in a free country. When in addition you consider the reason of the thing, and the supreme necessity of it for the purposes of common justice, it seems like a sin, a shame, a scandal to oppose it.