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per ton on guano from Wilmington to Tarboro', 145 miles, is a violation of the law when the rate is also $2.50 from Wilmington tv Rocky Mount, a distance of 125 miles.” The law reads that you shall not charge a greater amount for the same character of freight under similar circumstances in the same direction over any part of the road for a short distance than you charge for long.
Almost the identical language of the provision in the fourth section of this report on that subject.
These are precisely the terms of the interstate bill, section 4. The Court holds that in this case the W. and W. Railroad hauled the freight to Rocky Mount, 125 miles, for $2.50, and for the remaining distance for nothing, and therein lies the violation of the law. The opinion of the court covers fiftyseven pages of legal cap, aud construes the law clearly to mean the same rate per mile to be charged in the same direction. I will have the decision copied, and try to get it to you by to-night's train.
So that the decision of the supreme court of North Carolina seems to be that, in case of a statute using almost identically the same language as this, it means the same rate per mile. It may be right or it may be wrong, but it is worthy of the attention of the Senate.
Mr. ALLISON. What does the Senator from Georgia think with reference to that construction himself?
Mr. BROWN. I think it most probable that that will be the decision of the courts generally, and the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States when it goes there.
Mr. MORRILL. Mr. President, it is not my purpose to address the Senate at any length on this question, but I have reached the conclusion that it is my duty to vote to recommit this bill. I believe it is conceded by all who have spoken, even in favor of it, that it is a very great experiment, and it is very uncertain as to what may be its result.
I am very sure, upon as careful a reading of the fourth section as I am able to give it, that its effect will be to increase the rates for the long haul and possibly those for the short haul also, and that its result will be disastrous to the country if it shall even slightly affect our exports. It will not take a very large percentage to turn the balance of trade against us. Should that occur, it is going to derange not only the business of the country, but the parity of the gold and silver cur. rency of the country:
I had supposed in years gone by that it was something creditable to our people that we had built so many miles of railroad in this country, and have been wont to point to the fact that we had railroads that equaled in extent those of all the world beside; but it seems that we can no longer do so, judging by the vituperative epithets that are visited on these railroads for their
conduct and their management; and I judge, if this bill should pass unamended, we may rely upon it that the crusade will have its effect until this experiment can be tried, for I can not believe that there will be a single new railroad built in this country until the experiment has been tested. It will call a halt upon the further construction of railroads until it can be seen whether such investments are endangered or not.
There are several provisions in the bill besides the one so constantly referred to as the fourth section to which I think attention should be called, and if the bill is to be recommitted I should hope it would be amended in those particulars.
I have no doubt ihat the business of the country should this bill pass, will completely snow under all the five commissioners provided for. Why, Mr. President, to take charge of this bill under its present terms I do not think fifty commissioners would be able the first year to transact the business that will be thrown on their hands, and yet we provide in this bill that there shall be only five commissioners, and leave
it, even for those who are not at all interested in any freight matter, to make any complaint that they see fit, and that complaint has to be considered by these five commissioners. Look at the way that is to be followed out. I wish to suggest wbether it is not founding an opportunity for a series of blackmail upon all the railroads of the country. A man who has no interest at all may make complaint. The commissioners are bound to hear it. They send back word to the complainant that he must go to the railroad managers and try to settle and adjust the matter with them. The railroad, rather than have a wrangle, a quirrel, or a lawsuit, may be willing to buy off that complainant and pay him handsomely. Such complaints may give some idle men a paying business.
Then, it seems to me, that the amount appropriated is wholly inadequate for the services which are required to be rendered. One hun: dred thousand dollars only is appropriater, and of this $37,500 are allotted to the commissioners at once and $:3, 500 to a secretary ; and then other employés must be provided for, so that it will eat up at least $50,000 all at once. So that all the remainder of the sum that is appropriated is barely $50,000. Mr. President, in paying the expense of this commission and summoning witnesses, perhaps from Oregon, Texas, or Maine, that sum might not last sixty days. Therefore, I think that the sum appropriated and the officers appointed are not sufficient for the purpose.
But, Mr. President, there is another matter that I think of grave importance, and that is the interference that we make with the roads that have been chartered by the United States. Take the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. These, undoubtedly, Cougre-s may legislate upon, but whether they can legislate upon them so as to destroy them may be doubtiul. Il the short and long haul clause of this bill shall be carried into effect, so far as these companies are concerned, we may bid a long farewell to any prospect of collecting the indebtedness of these companies to the United States. I do not believe that it will he possible for these companies to carry on their through business under the fourth section of this bill, and if we are to ruin their business of course the debt of much more than $100,000,000, secured upon the roads to the United States, will be wholly worthless.
There are other things in relation to these Pacific roads. We are indebted to them all over the country for green fruits, for oranges, for pears, for grapes, &c. Unless these roads can be permitted to deiiver these green fruits to the East at a less rate than they charge for their local freight, it will be impossible that we should receive these constant supplies of such fruits, and the State of California and the other States on the Pacific coast would be very badly damaged if we ent off a market for which they have made such large provision.
But, Mr. President, I did not propose to discuss this bill at any length. I know that the Senate have agreed to vote upon the question to-day, and I merely wish to emphasize the statement in relation to the possibility of getting up another bill. I have no sort of doubt about it. If we should recommit this bill, especially with a chairman whose views have been overruled and who has been compelled to present a bill here not his own work, but against his own judgment and his own opinion, I have no sort of doubt but that we can get a better bill.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. Mr. President, the Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. ALDRICH) took it upon himself to read as a part of his remarks, by way of enforcing anil illustrating them, some utterances of mine made some years ago before a committee of the House of Rep
resentatives, at which time I was not in official position. He seemed to regard my utterances on that occasion as well put, and entitled to consideration and force now.
I have changed somewhat my views of the questions which I then presented to that committee. I have more information than I had then. I have made a definite study of this subject since I became connected with it as a member of this body, and I have found iniquities sufficient in the practices of the railroad companies of this country in the matter of the administration of our transportation system to induce me to do what I said in my remarks before the holidays I should do, and that is vote for the passage of this bill.
Many reasons have come to me in the years that have passed since those remarks were made to induce the position which I now occupy, and I stand here to-day, representing in part the State of Iowa, about whose condition I at that time spoke, to say that the people of that State under the present administrations of its transportation system are, except at a very few so-called competitive points, practically without any such thing as the low rate on the long haul. It has been said, and repeated time and again, that the West can not get on without the application of i he lo:x rate on the long haul, and that if this bill shall become a law the fields of the farmers of Iowa will become waste places. They are being pushed in that direction without this bill.
The farmers of Iowa and all others having products of whatsoever kind to ship to market from that State are to-day, and they have been since the companies induced the change of our first trausportation act in the State, paying, except from a few localities, local rates to Chicago, so that while the companies were carrying the corn of the farmers of Iowa at 11 cents a hundred from competing points on the Missouri River to Chicago, they were charging 17 cents and 22 cents a hundred from stations but a few miles east of the western boundary of the State to stations within the State and west of the Mississippi River, producing the result that I brought to the attention of the Senate in my remarks before the holiday adjournment, that Western Iowa corn was selling in Chicago ever since the ripening of the present crop from 3 to 6 cents per bushel cheaper than the farmer in the eastern part of lowa could get it with which to feed the stock on his farm, he needing it because of the failure of the crop in Eastern Iowa.
Mr. MORRILL. Will the Senator from Iowa permit me to ask him a question ?
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. Certainly.
Mr. MORRILL. As I understand this bill, it does not interfere at all with the railroads in the several States. Now he complains that the railroads charge from a point in his State to another point in the State a higher rate than they do to Chicago.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I am only giving that as an example of the outrageous conduct of the railroad companies.
Mr. MORRILL. Which is not remedied by this bill.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. No; but I hope if we shall get this bill that the people of Iowa will follow it with supplementary action with reference to the transportation within their own State. Indirectly, of course, it will have an effect. But these conditions have been growing worse day by day since the period referred to by the Senator from Rhode Island, and, as I said, I have been getting education as the time has been going on. I have received some of it even from good old Massachusetts, the State which stands here in the person of her able Senator (Mr. Hoar] to-day resolutely opposing the principle of the long-and-short-haul provision of this bill. In the last report of the commissioners of that State I find the following in respect of the longand-short-haul doctrine of this bill:
In exceptional cases and to a small extent it may work harshly, but its general working has been most beneficial. It has remedied a great evil and a great injustice; it has helped save small industries and small places from being crushed out of existence; it has checked the tendency to consolidation which would build up one place, or a few places, at the cost of local enterprise, thus creating traffic for the railroads by giving occupation to their customers. And it is believed any attempt to repeal this safeguard of fair dealing would receive almost universal condemnation from the business men of Massachusetts.
Mr. HOAR. From what does the Senator read, will he pardon me?
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I am reading from an extract given me in an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, which extract is said to be taken from the last annual report of the railroad commissioners of Massachusetts.
Mr. HOAR. What is the "it" which works all those things?
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. The application of the principle of the long and short haul clause.
Mr. HOAR. I have in my hand a document, the last report of the railroad commissioners of Massachusetts--I do not at this moment put my eye on the passage, but I had it here to read-in which it is said that the phrase "from the same point of departure,” which is stricken out of the bill here, is essential to the Massachusetts legislation; that without it it never would have been passed. It proceeds to argue against this provision with great force; and among my papers which I handed to the reporter I had a letter from Hon. Thomas Russell, whose language the Senator from Iowa is quoting, addressed to the Senator from Connecticut (Mr. PLATT], in which, in five or six closely written pages, he exposes the injustice of this present scheme. The Senator has been misled by applying to one thing what the author of that language applied to another.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. Mr. President
Mr. HOAR. If the Senator will pardon me while I interpose a pretty emphatic issue with the honorable Senator from Vermont. The chairman of the railroad commission of Massachusetts says it is not the same thing in substance, but that this thing would be utterly destructive, while that thing has worked well.
Mr. EDMUNDS. I wish to say in reply to my friend from Massachusetts, if it is lawful to differ from a Massachusetts chairman whatever he is, I entirely disagree with that Massachusetts man.
Mr. HOAR. But I did not bring Judge Russell, an eminent railroad authority though he is, into this discussion. The Senator from Iowa undertook to quote Judge Russell's language as an indorsement of this bill, and he read it with a personal reference to me, saying that he had brought a Massachusetts anthority in opposition to what I had said. He had been learning from Massachusetts.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. So I have.
Mr. HOAR. I then said that the Massachusetts authority which he quoted on his side had expressed in the strongest way his disapprobation of the present bill both in private correspondence and in his last railroad report, from which the Senator quoted. He says in speaking of the provision which was not agreed to in the Senate originally, that this provision should apply to two things from the same point of departure, that that is essential to the efficacy of the Massachusetts law, and without it it never would have been passed.
The Senator from Vermont will pardon me. I was not setting up
any body against the Senator from Vermont, but I was simply pointing out that the authority which was brought against me from my own State was on my side.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Iowa has the floor.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. Mr. President, there is one thing that is definitely clear in this matter, and that is that the long-and-short-haul provision applies to the transportation system of Massachusetts. About that there is no doubt or dispute. If that principle is good for Massachusetts, why is it not good for New York, and Ohio, and Michigan, and Illinois, and Iowa?
Mr. DAWES. If the long and short haul is good for Massachusetts, I should like to know why the same power that made it good for Massachusetts does not take it up and apply it to Iowa.
Mr. HOAR. Will my colleagueMr. WILSON, of Iowa. Let me take one at a time. The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Iowa declines to yield.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I will tell the Senator from Massachusetts, who put the last question, why. Simply because we are dealing with the subject of interstate commerce over which the State of Iowa can exercise no jurisdiction, and because we can not do that we are trying to get the remedy applied by the Congress of the United States.
Mr. DA WES. I wish to know of the Senator from Iowa why Iowa can not apply it to her commerce from station to station precisely as Massachusetts does.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. We can do it from station to station within the State.
Mr. DAWES. Then all the good that Massachusetts gets out of it in applying it to her freight system Iowa can if she wants to.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. With respect to her State commerce alone, but there is commerce originating in Iowa that enters into and becomes a part of the great body of interstate commerce. Mr. DAWES. Now, I wish to knowThe PRESIDENT pro tempore. Does the Senator from Iowa yield?
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. Not at present. While we may follow the example of Massachusetts and apply the principle of her law to the State commerce of the State of Iowa, we want also the principle applied to the interstate commerce, in order that all that we ship out of the State except from a few competitive points shall not be compelled as now to pay local rates to Chicago.
Mr. DAWES. The Senator has cited instances of outrageous charges betwen different points in his own State, showing that the farmer in Eastern Iowa is obliged to pay for the corn he gets from Western Iowa so much more in freight that they could get it in Chicago cheaper than they could get the same corn there. Is not that all under the control of the State of Iowa? If the charges between Western Iowa and Eastern Iowa are so exorbitant, why does not Iowa put a stop to it just as Massachusetts has, and get all the good which the Senator has made himself familiar with by reading the report of the commissioner of Massachusetts ?
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. The Senator from Massachusetts can not lead me away from the subject I was illustrating by the facts that I cited in connection with Iowa. I cited those facts to show the hardship imposed by the present system of transportation administration by the companies.