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thereon. But Congress has for years been informing itself concerning all of the phases of the question. Committees have spent months of time in the investigation. They have visited various sections of the country, examining hundreds of witnesses, and given to all parties and interests ample opportunity to present their views. Report after report has been made, accompanied by thousands of pages of printed testimony, all of which have been open to the inspection of whomso ever cared to devote their time and give their attention thereto. There is not a proposition either important or unimportant in the conference report now before the Senate that has not been considered in the investigations of the committees of Congress time and again and year after year. During all this time the demand has been for more delay, and it has been allowed until the public has become tired of it and now demands action.

But it is urged that there is great diversity of opinion relative to what ought to be done in the premises. This is true. It has been true from the beginning of the agitation. Will delay change this feature of the case? Will the practices of the transporting companies in respect of the things complained of by the people and concerning which this report proposes remedies cease? Answering these questions in the light of past experience, a negative must be given to each of them. How are we to resolve this conflict of opinion except by doing something? Theories have been having free course of assertion for years. They are as divergent now as ever. Delay will not change this fact. Another committee, whether it be composed of Senators and Representatives or of Commissioners of inquiry, will bring us no more definite result than we now have before us. And so, in my judgment, there is but one way to an effective resolution of this conflict of opinion.

We must have affirmative action. We must enact a law for the regulation of interstate commerce, and by experience under its administration come to a knowledge of the right and wrong of the war of opinion now obstructing our way. We may investigate and debate forever and still be apart. But action and the experience it will enforce are sure to bring an end to the contention that will conserve the true interests of all concerned. If we elect the opposite course then will we invite into the case the elements of danger; for a continuance of the many real iniquities which have found lodgment in our transportation system may induce a resentment on the part of the people that may not be satisfied with the character of experiment it is now proposed to try.

Mr. President, no one who has studied the railroad problem and has come to a knowledge of the men who manage our railroad corporations can doubt its difficulties, nor dispute the very great aggregation of commanding ability found among those who handle the great interests involved. But while these men possess very great ability and are marked intellectual forces, they have, it seems to me, fallen short in one essential element. Had they possessed this at its best, I doubt if the railroad problem with its present involvements could have appeared in this country. That one element is what is usually denominated common sense. Most of the facts on which the complaints of the people relative to the management of the transportation of the country are based may be accounted for by the absence of this essential element.

There is no other way by which to account for the present unfortunate involvement of the transportation question. The average amount of prudential action found in ordinary business affairs of men would, if applied to railroad management, have avoided our present predica


This is apparent not only in their relations with the public but

also in those pertaining to the corporations themselves. Let a man step out of active railroad management, though still retaining his investment interest, and he is very apt to acknowledge the truth of all that I have said in this regard. I found such a case reported in the Chicago Tribune a few days ago. An ex-railroad manager, still largely interested in Eastern and Western roads, in talking with a reporter of that paper in respect of the very measure we are now considering, said:

It would prevent reckless competition between the various roads and stop the craze for constructing useless lines in territory already sufficiently supplied with railroad facilities. He was particularly enthusiastic about the provision prohibiting pooling. This, he said, was the best feature of the bill, and he could not see why any particular opposition should be shown toward it by Senator Platt. The law itself would accomplish all and much more than was expected of the pools. There being no longer any reckless competition, no unjust discrimination, and the publicity and uniformity of rates assured, there would no longer be any use for pools. Those pools had proved a most expensive experiment, and no adequate results were gained. Enough would be saved by having no longer to support high-salaried commissioners, assistant commissioners, arbitrators, armies of clerks, and from office rents, advertising, commissions, rebates, &c., to pay the dividends for many of the lines which are now barely able to meet the interest on their indebtedness.


This statement of the case is forceful and true. It comes from a man who has had experience as a railroad manager, and who, as such, doubtless participated in the very follies which, as an investor, he now deHe sees how great reform would come from the enactment of this bill. No one thing has given the railroads greater cost and more trouble than the pool system. No one thing has done more to demoralize railroad managers, officers, agents, and all involved either directly or indirectly in its administration than the railroad pool. Indeed, it has come to be expected that the pool of to-day will be disregarded by some of its members to-morrow, and it has come to be the basis of the hope of reward to railroad officers and agents to successfully enlarge business in violation of such arrangements. But such practices can not be kept under cover forever, and then comes the rate war and loss of revenue from points of competition.

Under the present system, however, these losses are unloaded on to the business of intermediate or local points. This practice, in itself an outrage, is a most fruitful source of complaint on the part of the people. But even when the obligations of the pool are observed the traffic is often conducted on a basis of rates less than fairly remunerative, when compared with those charged at the local stations. A vast amount of the railroad traffic of the country is done from so-called competing points at rates less than half those charged at local points on the same lines. This is an inequity that ought not to be tolerated, and which the bill we are now considering will prevent, if it shall become a law. Let this be done, and no one can fail to see that it will go very far towards correcting the bad state of feeling existing between the railroads and the people. It will serve the true interests of the railroads, because it will prevent the foolish, wasteful, and demoralizing rate wars; for no railroad company will grant a less than remunerative rate for through freight if it can not unload its loss on the local stations along its line. It will serve the interests of the people whose business goes to and from the local stations, because it will assure them at least as reasonable rates as are given to others, and this is one of the most desirable results that can be found in the entire field covered by the present controversy. If it can be reached and established it will go far towards restoring that equality to localities that has been so perfectly eliminated from our transportation system.

The two sections of the bill reported by the conference committee

which most tend to bring about this result are the fourth and fifth. They read as follows:

SEC. 4. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to charge or receive any greater compensation in the aggregate for the transportation of passengers or of like kind of property, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line, in the same direction, the shorter being included within the longer distance; but this shall not be construed as authorizing any common carrier within the terms of this act to charge and receive as great compensation for a shorter as for a longer distance: Provided, however, That upon application to the commision appointed under the provisions of this act, such common carrier may, in special cases, after investigation by the commission, be authorized to charge less for longer than for shorter distances for the transportation of passengers or property; and the commission may from time to time prescribe the extent to which such designated common carrier may be relieved from the operation of this section of this act.

SEC. 5. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to enter into any contract, agreement, or combination with any other common carrier or carriers for the pooling of freights of different and competing railroads, or to divide between them the aggregate or net proceeds of the earnings of such railroads, or any portion thereof; and, in any case, of an agreement for the pooling of freights as aforesaid, each day of its continuance shall be deemed a separate offense.

The fourth section is a modification of the provision as it originally passed the Senate. It preserves the clause of that bill which declared that the provision relative to the shorter and longer distances shall not be construed as authorizing any common carrier within the terms of the act to charge and receive as great compensation for the former as for the latter. It is also modified so as to make it more effective in respect of the prohibition against greater charges being made for the shorter than the longer distance; and it limits the power of the commissioners to authorize the charging of less for a greater than a shorter distance to special cases. Each one of these modifications is in the line of the original bill as it passed the Senate, and, it seems to me, improves it. The two sections quoted have been sharply criticised by the representatives of the railroad companies by letters, in the public press and by telegrams from the day they were first given to the country in the report of the conference committee. It is objected that the provision of the fourth section in respect of distances will, if enacted into law, establish a rule of mileage rates; that it can only be obeyed by the companies by charging the same rate per mile, no matter what the distance may be. I shall not stop to discuss the subject presented by this objection. It is sufficient to say that the section presents no such proposition, and I shall discuss what we have before us instead of wasting time on what is not here. The language of the section is:

That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to charge and receive for the transportation of passengers or of like kind of property, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, for a shorter than a longer distance over the same line, in the same direction, the shorter being included in the longer distance.

What does this mean? Let me answer this question by an illustration. In round numbers it is, say, 500 miles from Omaha, Nebr., and Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Chicago, Ill. Suppose the railroad companies operating lines between these points should, in the event of this bill becoming a law, fix a rate on any particular class of freight at $40 per car for the entire 500-mile haul, what would result as to intermediate points? Why, that each of such points could not be charged more than $40 per car for a shorter haul of like class of freight over the same line.

The charge for the haul over the entire line would be the maximum rate for carriage over a part of the line. If the charge be $40 per car

from Council Bluffs over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy line, then no more than that can be charged from Red Oak, Chariton, Ottumwa, Fairfield, or any other station on the line in Iowa to Chicago, or from any of them to any station on the same road in the State of Illinois. The establishment of this rule by law will be a great relief to all of the people and business on all of said lines, and like results will come to the people and business of every other State, and the Territories as well, on every railroad in the country within the terms of the act. The experience of intermediate stations, under this rule, would be very different from that which the practice of the railroad companies now inflicts them with.

Now it is not uncommon for intermediate stations to be forced to pay for the transportation of freight both to and from them double the rates charged between the terminal points of the roads on which they are situate. And this great wrong is one of the most forceful causes of the complaints which have come up from the people relative to railroad management. While it exists there will be discontent, and there ought to be, for the practice is in every sense wrong. It proceeds upon the theory that it is the privilige of the railroad companies to unload upon the hitherto helpless intermediate stations all of the losses and burdens which have resulted from the bad management of the administrators of the affairs of the corporations.

Another inquiry relative to the fourth section has been made in respect of the rates which may be charged under its provisions. Does it authorize a railroad company in all cases to charge as much for a shorter as for a longer distance? If this question were directed against the bill as it came from the House of Representatives it would admit of none other than an affirmative answer; for it simply declared that no railroad company subject to its terms should charge and receive any greater compensation for a shorter than for a longer distance, thus clearly raising the implied power to charge as much by virtue of the terms of the bill itself. But when the question is applied to the bill as it passed the Senate, and to the terms of the report now before us, the answer must be in the negative; for the implication created by the House bill is expressly avoided by the declaration of both the Senate bill and the report that the language employed by them-

Shall not be construed as authorizing any common carrier within the terms of this act to charge and receive as great compensation for a shorter as for a longer distance.

Hence the charge fixed for the greater distance will not, by operation of law, become the indisputable rate for the shorter carriage. The question of the reasonableness of the rate is left just as it now exists. So that, if the rate for the long haul of 500 miles be fixed at $40, as put in the illustration I have used, it will not conclude the shipper from contesting a charge of the same amount for a carriage of 200, or 100, or 50, or any other number of miles.

The first office of the section in respect of its limitation on rates is to protect the people and business of intermediate points from being forced, as they are under present practices, to make good the losses which result from mismanagement or wrong practices, of whatsoever kind, of the administrators of our railway system. The second is to preserve to them the right to contest the reasonableness of the charges imposed just as they now possess it. These are simply the proper rules of conservative business, and are not obnoxious to the criticisms aimed at them by those who may have been engaged in their violation.

But it is objected that the fifth section, which I have already quoted,

is harsh, unreasonable, and unjust. Why? Is there anything in it that applies to railroad management a new and exceptional business rule? Do not men get on well in other departments of business without resorting to the practice of pooling? Suppose the managers of our railroads should devote as much time, care, and ability in applying to their affairs the ordinary and conservative business rules which other men observe, could they not present the results of success which appear in other fields of enterprise? Do they not all know from actual experience that the railroad pool is a delusion and a snare? What is more common among them than violations of pooling agreements? What calls them together oftener than these violations?

Do they not know that the whole system and the practices under it tend to business demoralization, and to a sort of moral obliquity in the management of affairs? And are not these things sufficient to suggest to the really able and keen-witted men who control the railroads of this country that it is quite time for them to abandon a practice which hurts quite as much as it helps, is unreliable, vexatious and expensive; first to the corporations and finally to the public? If they do not know these things, then it is quite time to establish a rule of public law which shall not only instruct them but forbid their further practice of the vicious system. I have already quoted from one who has come to realize that the time has come for a change. The fifth section of the bill before us will establish the change if it shall become the law. And when the change shall have been effected, and the strong, vigorous, practical minds in direction of our railroad companies get down to the dutiful work of reforming the abuses which they have too long fostered, I can but believe that they will approve the wisdom of the action which I trust this body is about to take. Mr. President, another section of the bill deserves special notice. is the third, and reads as follows:


SEC. 3. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, company, firm, corporation, or locality, or any particular description of traffic, in any respect whatsoever, or to subject any particular person, company, firm, corporation, or locality, or any particular description of traffic, to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.

This section, given the aid of the others I have noticed, is of very great practical value. It asserts the doctrine of equality to which I referred in the early portion of my remarks. It does not introduce a new principle of law. It merely restates the old doctrine of equal rights, which underlies and permeates our entire civil structure.

Persons, companies, firms, corporations, localities, and traffics are all factors of our civil society, and each is entitled to equality in rights and treatment, so necessary to the maintenance of our institutions. Neither the States nor the General Government may interfere with this equality. Much less can it be rightfully interfered with by the instrumentalities of society and its progress created by public law. But it has been interfered with by the railroad corporations in respect of each and every one of the matters and things mentioned in this section. Nothing has been more common in the practices of the railroad companies than the perpetration of the things therein denounced. Preferences and advantages therein prohibited have been common disbursements by the railroad companies. With them the business interests of persons, firms, companies, corporations, and localities have been made or destroyed at will.

The special rates, rebates, drawbacks, and devices denounced as un

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