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able right to place upon their tracks their own locomotives, their own passenger-coaches and freight-carriages, and to run them at their own sweet will hither and thither. Nor can my fancy devise where all this rolling-stock would be stored when not in use (unless, indeed, means were devised to suspend it, by balloons or other aërial contrivance, over the railways themselves). Mr. Hudson does not discuss these questions at all, but leaves them, possibly, to the inventive genius of the race. And there, perhaps, we may also rest them.

But, taking leave of Mr. Hudson and his chimera, we have yet before us the railways themselves. Against the inequality of their own rates and the hardship of the long and short haul (in other words, against the discriminations of Nature and of physical laws), no less than against the peril of bankruptcy and the consequent speculative tendency of their stocks (after which may come the wrecking, the watering, and the vast individual fortunes), the railways of this republic have endeavored, by establishment of pool commissions, to defend both the public and themselves; and, whatever their motive may have been, their record as to that can not be disturbed. As to the effect of the Interstate Commerce Law upon the shipper and the passenger, time and trial alone can testify. But it is precisely such literature as Mr. Hudson's, and the sentiment it manufactures, which have made railway-wrecking, stock-watering and their concomitant disasters possible; while for these disasters, down to date at least, the pool has been found the only and entirely adequate remedy. That remedy, drastic as it is, the railways (far from being public enemies) had themselves applied. The honest administration of railways for all interests, the payment of their fixed charges, the solvency of their securities, the faithful and valuable performance of their duties as carriers, can be conserved in but one way-by living tariffs such as the pools once guaranteed. But we want no living tariffs, says our Mr. Hudson.

Give us a governmental control, and we will pay no tariffs—only a trackage-fee! Supposing this revolution accomplished, and how many years or months would, perhaps, elapse before another declamation in five hundred more pages of

close type against the excessive trackage-fees, the favors to public officials or private cronies, or a formulated demand that the Government provide terminals at its own expense (another planet, possibly), sumptuous rolling-stock, motive power, and accident insurance policies for its passengers, would arrive from the constant, sleepless, and irrepressible Mr. Hudson? Is it not, after all, Mr. Hudson and his kind—and not the Wall Street operator who trades on the sham public opinion they manufacture-who are the true stock-waterers, railroad-wreckers, and enemies of this republic ?

CHAPTER X.

THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT.

Such being, then, the situation, why an Interstate Commerce Act? Why should, for any public reason--for any reason of the public safety—the interstate commerce law have come to

stay?"

I. To begin with, the present act abounds in punishments for and prohibitions against an industry chartered by the people, but nowhere extends to that industry a morsel of approval or of protection. It bristles with penalties, legal, equitable, penal, and as for contempt, against railway companies, but nowhere alludes to any possible case in which a railway company might, by accident, be in the right, and the patron, customer, passenger or shipper in the wrong. The law of the land is more benign in its policy. That law, indeed, hangs murderers and imprisons thieves, but it none the less protects even the life of a murderer and the liberty and property of a thief against other murderers and other thieves and abductors.

II. The constitutions of civilized nations, for the last few centuries, at least, have provided that not even guilt should be punished except by due process of law, and have uniformly refused to set even that due process in motion except upon a complaint of

a grievance. But the interstate commerce law denies the ove and does away with any necessity for the other. That statute (section XIII) provides that the commission it creates shall

proceed “in such manner and by such means as it shall deem proper," or " on its own motion," and that "no complaint shall at any time be dismissed because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.” Even the Venetian council of ten provided for a certain and described hole in the wall through which the anonymous bringers of charges should thrust their accusations. Even the court of star chamber was known to dismiss inquisitions when it found that no wrong had been done. But the statute of interstate commerce appears to issue lettres de cachet against anything in the shape of a railway company—to scatter them broadcast, and to invite anyone who happens to have leisure to fill them out, by inserting the name of a railway company. It says to the bystander : Drop us a postal card, or mention to any of our commissioners, or to a mutual friend, the name of any railway company of which you may have heard, and so give us jurisdiction to inquire if that company may have by chance omitted to dot an i or cross a t in its ledgers, or whether any one of its hundreds or thousands of agents—in the rush of a day's business, or in a shipper's hurry to catch a train-may have named a rate not on the schedule then being prepared at headquarters, or charged a sixpence less than some other agent 250 miles down the line may have accepted a week ago for what might turn out to be a fraction more mileage service in the same general direction ! No particular form is necessary. Drop into luncheon with our Commission any day between twelve and one and mention the name of a railway company. The railway company may have done you no damage, nor grieved you in any way; just mention the railroad and we will take jurisdiction of its private (or quasi-public affairs.*

*“The fullest opportunity has been afforded to any citizen of the United States who desired to be heard upon the matter, to present facts personally or by affidavit and arguments viva voce, in writing or print."--Opinion of the Interstate Commerce Commission in re Louisville and Nashville R. R. Co. p. 2.

Or if you don't happen to have time to mention it, we will take jurisdiction anyhow, “of our own motion," of any railway company whose name we find in the Official Gazette. It really does not matter which ; any one will do.

III. Last, but not least—not on account of any individual, nor any railway company, but on high grounds of public policy—if there is anywhere a danger to the public convenience (and the law construes the public convenience to be the public safety), arising in any way, directly or indirectly, out of the existence of the railway industry, a federal statute should be framed to meet that public danger and to protect the people against possible calamity from such threat. Now, it happens that there is just such a real danger threatening the public health and convenience. The greatest financial and personal suffering has resulted in the past and is even now resulting from the machinations of the railway wrecker, and from the consequent bankruptcies and defaults in meeting fixed charges arising from the overconstruction of branch lines and paralleling of trunk lines, that money may be made in their building, and the like. Our national credit has fallen in foreign markets more than once from the defaults of railway companies to pay dividends, and the evil is one which it would be prudence and expediency to the nation and to the people, as well as salvation to the railroads, to protect against. Why not, then, enact a statute that should protect all interests, the railway stockholder's as well as the shipper's—the men who have put their hands into their pockets to clear the forest and lay the track and run the locomotive, as well as those who ship their wheat and coal and beeves over the railways the others have built ? Why should the statute of interstate commerce neglect or ignore all their interests and remain simply silent as to anybody but the shipper ?

Supposing that A and B are malicious and designing men. Supposing that they should learn that a certain railway company had half a dozen millions of surplus in its treasury, which its stockholders had accumulated by the honest administration of its servants, and the skill of its employés. Supposing that they

should jointly set to work, fabricate rumors, forge dispatches, work on the fears of one timid stockholder after another-in other words, “ bear" the market; until by one scheme and device or another, they caused enough securities of that company to be unloaded to bring its stock down from par to where they could buy it in at nominal prices and get control of the company's directory. Supposing, then, that they should proceed to convert the surplus in the treasury of that company to their own pockets by such legalized devices as projecting branch lines, issuing stock therefor, and guaranteeing that stock in the name of the until now solvent road until they had wrecked it beyond repair, sold it out and bought it in, etc., etc. Seriously, ought there not to be a federal statute against such a transaction as this would be, which might not only cause widespread ruin and distress in the locality of the wrecked road, but precipitate panic and imperil the credit of the nation itself ? I, for one, certainly do think so, and that if an act of the national legislature is needed to supervise the railway interests of the country—if a railway law is to come and to stay—these are the wrongs that act should prevent or redress, rather than exhaust its provisions upon such mere temporary matters as the posting of tariffs and the regulating of rates by mere mileage, instead of by the value of the business or the cost of the haul, etc. In so far as it regulates any national concern which this people have in their railways, it seems to me that the interstate commerce law is like a policeman who collars the innocent sufferer and clubs the little newsboys and bootblacks who looked on, but lets the bully and the slugger strut away in safety. For, remember, in the case above supposed, the railway that A and B wrecked has still its road-bed, its tariffs, its schedules, its charter, which still compels it to go on paying its operating expenses, running its trains and running for all who desire its services. The interstate commission can still fine it and imprison its officers for contempt of court, if copies of its tariffs are not properly filed at Washington or exposed with sufficient publicity along its line, and it must still try to meet its running expenses by competing with other lines of traffic. A

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