Lapas attēli

No. 31 reducing the passenger rates on the Charlotte Harbor division of the Florida Southern Railway Company is resisted, and, as before stated, is now pending before the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of the State.

The fact that complaints have been comparatively few does not warrant the conclusion that many grievances have not existed, and do not now exist. In the second annual report of the Commission, in which, under this head, (which was treated at some length p. 19 et seq.), this language was used: "One thing has struck us very forcibly, and that is the manifest hesitation on the part of many persons who have suffered wrong at the hands of railroads in making complaints. And this is so in cases of those who are aware of their rights, and fully understand the scope of the law, and the powers and duties of the Commission. * * We are constrained also to announce the fact that even now very many shippers are ignorant of their right to make complaints. Others have an idea, as before stated, that to prefer a complaint involves considerable expense, such as lawyer's fees, costs, etc., the usual concomitants of ordinary suits before the courts, whereas the contrary is the case, as we have shown."


The fear of provoking the hostility of the railroads, and of being subjected to the annoyances which they are said to delight in visiting upon the heads of those who are denominated as "kickers," the acceptance of free passes, secret rebates or other unlawful favors from railroads; the smallness of the amount involved, and other like matters, are often the reason why complaints are not made. The prophecy or expectation that, in the administration of the Commission laws, as the relations between shippers and carriers should become better understood, their reciprocal rights and duties mutually recognized, secret distrust or open hostility would disappear, and, as a natural result, grievances and complaints would decrease apace, does not seem to have been fulfilled or realized.

The Railroad Commission of Georgia in their last report (October 15, 1890,) say, that in proportion as the shippers become familiar with the law, and aware of their rights under it, complaints increased.

Be this as it may, the inadequacy of Railroad Commission laws to reach and remedy every evil incident to railway transportation, is an infirmity, or rather a criticism, which attaches to all laws human or divine, in the application of them. Few, if any laws stamp out the evils they were intended to prevent; the most they have done has been to measurably repress them. Men are hung to-day for a violation of a law as old or older than the decalogue. Laws therefore are not abolished because they do not completely accomplish the purpose for

which they were enacted. must abide old evils."

"Those who dread new remedies


Amend section five (5), of C hapter 3862, so as to empower the Commission to prescribe or revise joint rates whenever in their judgment the same shall be deemed advisable, and extend the authority of the Commission, so as to give them jurisdiction to pass upon the reasonableness of joint rates, where the haul is partly by rail and partly by water.

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2. The law should make provision for track connections at junction points of railroads, and should provide in express terms for requiring and enforcing the same in proper cases. The legislature in 1889, in lieu of an amendment prepared by the Commission, adopted section 18 of Chapter 3862. This is a substantial copy of section 3 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, and was doubtless intended to confer upon the Commission the power to enforce track connections, but in the light of recent decisions of the courts, this does not seem have been the case. The better opinion is that it does not. There is at least grave doubt as to this, and this can be easily removed by appropriate legislation.


3. Punish by adequate penalties the false billing, classification, weighing, etc., of freights by shippers or railroad companies, as provided in section 10 of the Act to Regulate Commerce.

4. Make it a misdemeanor for any one to tear down or deface the schedules, classifications, etc., which railroad companies are required to post, and keep posted.

5. Wharf, dock, pier and other transfer charges whether made in connection with railroad transportation or not, should be regulated by law. They are often excessive and afford a pretext for the exaction by railroad companies of unreasonable rates of freight.

6. The salary of the Secretary of the Commission does not afford a sufficient compensation for the services performed by him, and should be increased.

7. In all suits in the name of the State which have been, or may hereafter be instituted at the instance of the Commission, through the Attorney-General pursuant to law, empower the Commission in their discretion, to employ assistant counsel; and in all suits brought against the Commission in the State or United States Courts, make it the duty of the Attorney-General to represent the Commission, empowering the Commission to employ assistant counsel if in their judgment the same shall be necessary. Likewise authorize the Commission in their discretion to retain counsel in cases where they are required under

Chapter 3863, to petition the Interstate Commerce Commission. Provision should also be made for the payment of reasonable compensation to counsel employed to assist the Attorney-General, or that may be retained to represent the Commission be fore the Interstate Commerce Commission under said chapter 3863.

8. Amend the title of the act, where any amendment shall seem to require it, so as to comply with Article III, section 6 of the Constitution.

Of the foregoing recommendations, numbers 2, 3 and 4 are not amendments proper of the Railroad Commission law, as they relate to matters over which the Commission need not have control; still they are such as would materially aid in the administration of the Commission laws.


We cannot forbear alluding to the serious and long continued illness of one of our members, the President of this Board. Early in October last he became ill and went to his home in Milton. Since that time he has been in a very low state of health, and up to this date has been unable to return to his office, we have therefore, in the performance of many of the duties referred to herein, as well as in the preparation of this report, been deprived of his valuable assistance and counsel, which we have greatly regretted.



Respectfully submitted,









MARCH 1, 1891.

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