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Mr. Esch. The quality or condition. Mr. MEAD. No, sir. Mr. Esch. Then, if you eliminate those two causes that would simply leave, then, as a ground of complaint the count, would it not?

Mr. MEAD. The count and the contents of the car, and that is very largely our contention.

Mr. MONTAGUE. I did not understand that. You mean by that the quantity ?

Mr. Esch. Yes. So that would leave only the count or quantity as the cause of complaint under existing practices.

Mr. MEAD. In our line of business that is very largely the trouble.

Mr. STEPHENS. In the case of a shortage in a shipment would not the sailroad companies set up the load-and-court excuse in every case where there is a shortage?

Mr. Mead. That is what they do now, and that is what we want to provide against.

Mr. STEPHENS. They would always set up as a defense the fact that they did not count them, and the burden of proof is on you to establish that the goods were in there.

Mr. MEAD. That is what they do now, and that is just what section 21 would cure.

The CHAIRMAN. It is now a question of fact as to how much the carrier actually receives for shipment, and that is a question of fact to be determined by testimony. You desire to foreclose that issue by an estoppel and make them count it and be bound by what they state in their bill of lading?

Mr. MEAD. We think they ought to know the contents and quantity of goods that go into a car when they ship it.

The CHAIRMAN. But you do not want to make them account for anything they do not receive!

Mr. MEAD. No, sir; we do not ask them to do that, and we do not ask anything unreasonable of the railroads. As the Senate bill now reads, we think it is fair to all interests.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there many instances of their failing to deliver the article which they actually receive ?

Mr. MEAD. You allude to delivering the same article they receive or the number of packages ?

The CHAIRMAN. Are there many instances of their failing to deliver as much freight as they actually receive!

Mr. MEAD. Yes; a good many cars will check out short during a

season.

Mr. MONTAGUE. You mean short in the number of packages?
Mr. MEAÐ. Yes.
Mr. MONTAGUE. And not short in the package itself?
Mr. MEAD. No; not the contents of the package.
Mr. MONTAGUE. But they will be short in the number of packages?
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. MONTAGUE. Do you know whether those packages have become short by destruction in transit or anything of that sort? How can you tell about that? They may not have been received at the initial point by the carriers.

Mr. MEAD. We can not tell whether they have been taken out of the car or whether or not they were originally put in the car. We

have no means of telling that. We can simply check out the car, and we have to check out and sign for every package we take out of

a car.

Mr. MONTAGUE. I understood you to say in answer to Mr. Esch's question that that did not often occur. Perhaps I misunderstood you and he both. · Mr. MEAD. No; he was alluding to goods damaged in transit and not to the quantity of goods in the car. Our chief difficulty is in finding cars that check out short, and then when a claim is put in either for shortage or for damage

Mr. MONTAGUE (interposing). Would you mind giving uş an illustration?

Mr. Mead. For instance, we may receive a freight bill for 200 barrels of sweet potatoes. We go to the railroad with our teams and the railroad delivers to us 198 barrels. There are thus 2 barrels of sweet potatoes short in that car.

Mr. MONTAGUE. The other packages or contents are all right, but you are short two packages.

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; the shortage is only in the number of packages. We get 198 barrels of sweet potatoes and the shipper bills us 200 barrels and expects us to pay for that amount.

Mr. MONTAGUE. The instance you alluded to of large shipments from Virginia were of produce from the eastern shore of Virginia ?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; and the station I alluded to was Onley, Va.
Mr. MONTAGUE. Where they have a large exchange?
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. STEPHENs. In that case the railroad company collects freight from you for 200 barrels of sweet potatoes and then wants to put upon you the burden and expense of proving that 200 barrels were put in the car?

Mr. Mead. Yes, sir; we pay a freight bill for 200 barrels and put in a claim and then comes a letter from the railorad company saying that that car was loaded by shipper and contained the notation “ shipper's load and count," and then they ask us to withdraw our claim.

Mr. PARKER of New York. As a matter of fact, who did load the particular car you are speaking about?

Mr. MEAD. I could not say.
Mr. STEPHENS. The shipper loaded it!

Mr. Mead. In a great many instances the shipper loads it, but in many cases he does not.

The CHAIRMAN. Suppose it were true there were only 198 barrels loaded ?

Mr. PARKER of New York. That is what I wanted to get at.
Mr. MEAD. Then, we think, it was up to the railroads to know

The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Do you not think the shipper ought to be honest as well as the railroad?

Mr. Mead. Yes; but we think the railroad ought to know whether there were 198 barrels or 200 barrels put into that car. We think it is up to them to know what that car contains.

The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you want to avoid the thing that everybody else in the world has to submit to, and that is, go into court and prove a disputed case. You want to be relieved of that burden and change the rules and convenience of the transportation companies in order to be relieved of that litigation?

Mr. Mead. No; we think they ought to adopt such rules and regulations as would put their business on a fair and just basis and in keeping with business methods of the present day.

The CHAIRMAN. For 3,000 years the civilized world has had its transportation done on the basis of making the companies account for what they receive and nothing else.

Mr. MEAD. That is all we want them to account for; but we want them to know what they receive.

Mr.'CULLOP. You feel they ought to tell the truth about what they do receive?

Mr. MEAD. Yes; and we do not want any more than that.

Mr. CULLOP. And if you pay for more than they deliver, they ought to refund you the money?

Mr. MEAD. Yes; we feel so.

Mr. CULLOP. In other words, you do not want to pay them for doing something that they do not do at all.

Mr. RAYBURX. Some of the principal objections urged by the people representing the carriers, and I think by one of the members of the Interstate Commerce Commission-and, of course, it is a factthat every additional cost you put on the railroads has got to come out of its transportation business. They claim in many instances of this kind, where there is a large orchard, where there is a large grain field where they thrash in the field and have an enormous amount of grain, a great many times they build spurs out to those places and the apples or the potatoes or the wheat are loaded right there, and they take the shipper's load and count. Now, they claim if this bill goes into operation, with all the spurs to railroads in the country and industrial plants, as well as those I have just mentioned, it will increase the number of their employees by the thousand, and of course the expense of their wages will have to be taxed up against the railroad companies. Have you ever thought about this matter along that line?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; I know that is the position taken by them; but section 21 does not ask for any such service from the railroads, and they know it.

Mr. ŘAYBURN. Do you realize that it would require a great many more men than the number now in the employ of the railroad company to be absolutely certain of the contents of a car before it left any man's store or factory or plantation. That would take a great many more men than they have now.

Mr. MEAD. Accepting the premises you lay down, that would be true; but we do not feel it would be fair to ask the railroad to send a man out into the country or to a spur a quarter of a mile away from the railroad station to count the contents of a car.

Mr. RAYBURN. How can they do it otherwise ?

Mr. MEAD. Section 21 says after a reasonable opportunity is given and where they mairtain an agency. Now, in the case of laying a spur

track into an orchard or grain field, that is for the convenience of the shipper and he ought to be willing to accept a shipper's loadand-count receipt for the convenience he receives by having such a track.

As a matter of fact, some of the largest railway systems of

the country have for years ordered their agents to issue clear bills of lading when requested by shipper.

Mr. RAYBURN. He will not, though, and under this bill he does not have to.

Mr. MEAD. No; it provides that they shall do that where an agent is maintained and not when loading on a spur track.

The CHAIRMAX. What do you say about a city where they have several hundred spur tracks and industrial establishments and have perhaps several thousand cars being loaded out on those tracks? And they may be 12 or 15 miles from one another. What would you call the place where they keep an agent? Do you expect them to keep and agent at all of those industrial stations or at the principal station where the depot is?

Mr. MEAD. No; this bill contemplates nothing of this kind. I should think the principal station would be where the depot is and where the agent makes his headquarters and where they have a team delivery and receiving track.

The CHAIRMAN. What sort of burden would you put on the carrier at that station to have men go around and count all those cars at the different industrial plants which would be probably loading at the same time?

Mr. RAYBURN. And suppose, furthermore, that at this factory a car is loaded with small boxes and the railroad company does not have a man there. When it gets to the station, he would have to go in and tear them all out to count them.

Mr. BARKLEY. Does not this provision simply require a railroad to count them when requested to do so by the shipper?

Mr. MEAD. Yes; and when given a reasonable opportunity to do so where they maintain an agency and a station, and could not possibly apply to the situation suggested by the chairman as regards industrial plants.

Mr. BARKLEY. Would there be any reason

Mr. MEAD (interposing). Of course, these hypothetical questions put to me I may not be able to answer, but we think section 21 a reasonable provision and a workable one, and as the many hearings held show demanded by the business interests of the country.

The CHAIRMAX. Might not that hypothetical language with reference to a reasonable opportunity involve you in a larger lawsuit than proving there were two barrels of potatoes short in a shipment ?

Mr. Winslow. Is not the question of the rights of the miscellaneous and numerous individual receivers of freight to be set off against the inconvenience and extra expense of the carriers? Here is Mr. Mead representing himself and a number of other concerns, and they are all private concerns.

The CHAIRMAN. The expense inflicted upon the carrier falls on the same general public that the expense of banking falls on and the question is where you will put the burden, whether upon the carrier or upon the banker.

Mr. Winslow. I would like to ask the witness a question. I would like to ask Mr. Mead what his experience has been in putting in claims and collecting claims against railroads even when they finally admitted responsibility ?

Mr. Mead. I do not get the drift of your question.

Mr. Winslow. The drift is this: Many people who receive goods and make claims on railroads make their claims in the regular order only to be stood off by the railroads and then put to a great expense or litigation, and one thing and another, and finally, perhaps, have the railroad admit the claim, but not until after the person who has made the claim has used up more money making it than the goods were worth; has that been your experience?

Mr. MEAD. Yes; we understand they put off payment as long as possible in order to discourage the man with the claim and tire him out.

Mr. Winslow. And they can do that by virtue of the fact they have a regular established law department which grinds these things out like a coffee mill, and they put the individual, who is not maintaining such an organization, to the trouble and expense of fighting that great law organization; do you find that so?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; that is our actual experience.

Mr. Esch. The State of Massachusetts as far back as 1814, through its supreme court, decided that a carrier by water was not responsible on a bill of lading in the hands of a bona fide purchaser for value for goods it never received. That decision was followed by the Supreme Court of the United States in what is known as the Friedlander case. Now, since that decision your State has adopted the uniform bill of lading?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. Esch. What has been your experience under the operation of the State uniform bill of lading act!

Mr. MEAD. We have very little to do with that. Nearly all our business is interstate.

Mr. Esch. As to that how does the State law read?
Mr. MEAD. I am not in a position to give any opinion on that.

Mr. Esch. Have you learned from your associates in this business the operation of the State law?

Mr. MEAD. No, sir. I know that Massachusetts is one of the States that adopted the uniform State act, but I am not in a position to give you any opinion regarding it.

Mr. Esch. You realize that under the State law they allow shipper's load and count?

Mr. MEAD. Yes. I understand that is what the railroads want put in this bill, substituting section 23 of the State act for section 21 of the Pomerene bill.

Mr. Esch. That is what I am trying to get at. How the State uniform bill of lading law operates in your State which has adopted it.

Mr. MEAD. I could not enlighten you on that.

Mr. BARKLEY. Mr. Mead, I would like to ask you a question. This bill provides that the railroad shall not be required to count the packages in a car or in a shipment or ascertain the amount of bulk freight except on the request of the shipper. Have you any opinion as to what proportion of the total shipments of freight which are made in this country would carry with them a request of the shipper to the railroad to count the contents of the car?

Mr. MEAD. I have not, but I think it would be taken advantage of to a larger extent by the shippers of perishable commodities.

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