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enact such legislation as Mr. Morgan suggests in the interest of railway stockholders, even if it should be deemed advisable."'*
Is it possible that the above can be true ? Is it a fact that Congress has no jurisdiction over any personal rights except the personal rights of shippers over railways ? that the fact of being a railway company or a stockholder or officer of one removes a corporation or a citizen from any benign or protective jurisdiction of Congress, that such artificial or natural person can be reached by an Act of Congress only to ban and never to bless ?
But admitting that Senator Cullom's rejoinder is final as to the reason why Congress felt itself able to protect only one party to the contract of transportation (and that one the party already protected at common law), it does not appear to me to meet the foregoing general criticisms of the context of the Interstate Commerce Act; namely, that by abolishing the pool, that act has raised rates to the shipper and put the railways more than ever into the power of the stock-jobber and the railway wrecker by re-inaugurating the era of railway wars and suicidal competitions, while at the same time forbidding them to recoup themselves by holding their own local tariffs. Congress may have had, indeed, no constitutional power to interfere directly and favorably in behalf of the citizen who has invested in railway properties. But, it seems, that it none the less has interfered, indirectly and unfavorably against such citizen.
Senator Cullom passes my criticism that the Interstate Commerce Act abolishes the magna charta principle of " due process of law”; but urges that railway companies " are only subject to the pains and penalties provided in case of willful and intentional violation of the statute” and that the present Interstate Commerce Commission has so directly held. Of course, if the railways will refrain from doing any interstate business they will not come under jurisdiction of the interstate act, and I expressly urged that the present commission left nothing to be desired. My point is that the act had provided penalties, “civil, criminal and as for
* The Railway Review, Chicago, October 1st, 1887.
contempt”; that it is not impossible that, in view of certain political portents, we might come to have a commission less satisfactory than the present one; and that the power to inflict such penalties upon a perfectly legitimate industry (and one which the people themselves had chartered) is as dangerous as the penalties themselves are undeserved. It does not do to pass bad laws simply because we happen to have conscientious judges who will look to it that they are not strictly administered.
The Interstate Commerce Act is either one-sided, injudicious and unpatriotic, or else it is altogether unnecessary.
I think it onesided, because it favors one party to a contract at the expense the other; injudicious, because it abolishes the practical method (the pool) which the railways themselves had devised) from the accumulated wisdom of fifty years of experience) for actually and practically doing away with the very evil (discrimination) which Congress (with no wisdom or experience on the subject from which wisdom could be born, and with nothing but public clamor and pure theory-however well meant—to guide them), framed a theoretical law to prevent. I think the Interstate Commerce Act unpatriotic, not only because it is turning over to the foreign railroads, which parallel our own through Canadian territory, business which our own can apply and satisfactorily do, but because it itself discriminates against the shipper and the product of native industry. Take for example in the sixth section the words : “ And any freight shipped from the United States through a foreign country, the through rate on which shall not have been made public as required by this act, shall, before it is admitted to the United States from said foreign country, be subject to customs duties as if said freight were of foreign production. And any law in conflict with this section is hereby repealed” (which have already been quoted, but cannot be quoted too often.) I have not before me (as perhaps I should have, to competently criticise this passage) the debates of Congress : but here, it seems to me, in a single clause, is not only a repeal of a portion of our federal customs law, but a positive provision subjecting certain domestic goods to duty in domestic ports, and making their citizen owners suffer for acts
not performed or procured by themselves and entirely beyond their control.
But if the interstate commerce act be not one-sided, injudicious and unpatriotic—that is to say, if the clause "under substantially similar circumstances and conditions" is held to be of the essence of the act—then it certainly is unnecessary. For it is certainly unnecessary to pass a law that railway companies shall be guided by circumstances, and observe the conditions under which they operate. The act in such case then, as to the shipper, simply substitutes a question of fact for a question of law, and as to the railway (except that it establishes a sort of national library at Washington for the deposit and preservation of railway schedules) is a nullity. And perhaps for the people this would be the happiest construction possible, were it not for the unfortunate policy of building up Canadian railway systems, constructed by English Government loans for the express purpose of “knifing” the railway systems of the United States.
Says Mr. Nimmo : “ The case as it stands is that the Canadian Goveenment has thrown the fnll force of a subsidy of about $130,000,000 expended for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and of an annual subsidy of $300,000 to a British ocean steamer line, for the purpose of diverting an important branch of our foreign commerce from American to British transportation lines and trade centres, and that, too, with the special object in view of promoting Imperial objects on this continent. The audacity of the scheme would be astounding if it were not British. We must protect American interests against such protection of British interests. One of the reasons assigned in the Declaration of Independence for a creation of a new nation was that the King of Great Britain had given his assent to legislation “ for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.” But so far from complaining, we have passed an act of interstate commerce which assists this political railroad to cripple our own railway systems. And the proposition is not to abolish it but to strengthen its provisions by making more rigid the penalties for its infraction.
APOLOGIES FOR THE LAW FROM ITS PROMOTER ; SENATOR
CULLOM's SPEECH-CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS.
It is one of the cardinal rules for the interpretation of statutes that when an apparent ambiguity does not yield readily to known canons of construction, the intention of the framers of the statute should be sought. It is certainly nothing less than simple fairness, therefore, to quote verbatim a speech made by the Hon. Shelby M. Cullom, who fathered the Interstate Commerce Act in the Senate, made by him at Springfield, Illinois, June 29th, 1887. The senator spoke as follows:
“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention :
I appreciate fully the compliment implied in the invitation extended me to address you on this occasion, and I feel gratified that such a representative body of business men should be willing to suspend its regular proceedings to listen to any remarks from me. Realizing that you have come together here as men of affairs to discuss questions affecting your business interests in a business-like way, and feeling that it would be imposing on your courtesy to occupy much of your time, I promise to be brief and to confine myself to some general observations in relation to the subject of interstate commerce and the law recently passed on that subject about which you have requested me to talk.
be allowed to say in the outset that since the passage of the law, I have so far been silent in relation to the act or its effects upon the country, preferring to wait for a time after the law had been in force, and until the Commission appointed to enforce it had got fairly to work in the performance of its responsible duties. The law has not been in force quite three months, yet in this brief time the business of the country and of the railroads have made some progress in adjusting themselves to the new law, and I may be mistaken, but I venture to say that I
doubt not that you gentlemen and the farmers with whom you have to deal, feel that you have so far been benefited by the act. You are placed on an equality with each other in your dealings with the railroads, which now pay more attention to the rights of non-competing points; and I am told by grain buyers in this section that freight rates between this section and the East have been reduced very considerably since the law took effect. The enactment of that law at the last session of Congress marked the beginning of a new era in railway administration, and was the culmination of a memorable and long-continued struggle for supremacy between the people of this country and the combined power of the railway corporations which the people brought into being, but which have assumed to be independent of the power that created them. This was the real issue, although it was ingeniously involved in numerous side issues, and all the powerful influences possessed by vast aggregations of capital were arrayed together with the common purpose of preventing the Federal Government from assuming to control the operations of the railroads subject to its authority. The contest which has been waged of late years in Congress was but a continuation of the struggle inaugurated here in Illinois and in neighboring States years ago, and which finally resulted in the notable triumph achieved by the people in the decisions by the United States Supreme Court in the so-called “Granger Cases,” and in the establishment of State railroad regulation.
“Whatever may be found upon trial to be the merits or demerits of the new law, I consider its enactment a great victory for the people, because its passage was a declaration by Congress of its power over the subject, under the constitution, and that hereafter the power
of the General Government will be used to see that these great highways of traffic are conducted upon honest business principles for the common good, instead, as in many instances, for the benefit of such localities and individuals or corporations as their managers may see fit to build up and favor.
It cannot be denied, and men engaged in the conduct of railroads will not deny, that in the management of the business of