Графични страници
PDF файл

It also exclusively refers to a transportation over the same line (does this mean the same company? Is the word "line" line" synonymous

or a combination of railroads. It means a route. Section 7 of the bill requires the carriage of freights to be treated as one continuous carriage from the place of shipment to the place of destination,' and this could not be done in the case of shipments over connecting roads, if the word used in this section was 'railroad,' instead of line. The joint through rates which are made by two or more railroad companies, between points upon their respective roads, are made over an entirely different and distinct line from that over which any one of the companies individually makes rates. And they are also made under different circumstances and conditions' from those which govern and determine rates made over a single railroad. The two transactions are separate and distinct, neither being necessarily governed by the other. Furthermore, the making of joint through rates is specifically recognized by the bill in the section requiring publicity of rates, and nowhere in the bill can any thing be found in relation to the division of a joint rate by connecting roads. I am satisfied, therefore, that the only construction that is warranted by the language of the section is the one I have given it, and that, instead of requiring rates to be measured by the percentage of a through rate which a road accepts, or of requiring through rates over connecting roads to be an aggregation of the local rates over each road, as some have claimed, the section as it stands simply requires that each railroad company shall observe the short-haul principle as to its own rates, and that the same principle shall also be observed by a combination of railroads as to the joint through rates between points upon their respective roads agreed upon by such a combination."

Mr. Hoar asked Mr. Cullom whether the construction put upon the section by the Senate conferrees (that it only prohibited the charging of a larger gross sum for the shorter than for the longer haul, and did not prohibit a larger proportionate charge) was the sense in which the House conferrees construed it.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Cullom in substance replied that there was no question but that every member of the conference committees of both houses un

with "company"?), in the same direction, the shorter being included within the longer dis


qualifiedly understood that the fourth section was not to be construed as a pro rate per ton per mile law, but as a prohibition to charge in the aggregate the same amount for the short as for the long distance, unless under certain circumstances. . . One of the elements in the objection to the bill was the misinterpretation of this fourth section. There has seemed to be a determination to construe this section as a pro rate per mile section. He undertook to say that no member of the conference committees ever dreamed that the language of the fourth section could be so construed.

Mr. Hoar suggested the case of the export trade of Boston (amounting to $125,000,000 a year), and on the materials of which the Massachusetts railroads were allowed a rebate of 5 per cent. on account of the ports of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore being 250 miles nearer to Chicago than the port of Boston; and he intimated that, under the fourth section, the Massachusetts railroads would either have to cut down their local rates or Boston would lose its foreign trade.

Mr. Cullom thought that perhaps it was a little unfortunate that Boston was further from the centre of gravity than New York, but he did not think there was any thing in the bill which would prevent railroads carrying produce to Boston just as cheaply as the railroads carrying produce to New York from Chicago, Omaha, or San Francisco.

Mr. Hoar, suggesting that Mr. Cullom misapprehended his meaning, restated the proposition.

Mr. Cullom in substance replied that, so far as the fourth section was concerned, there was nothing in it which would prohibit railroad companies taking these products at exactly the same rate to Boston as to New York. It was pretty difficult, he said, to pass any act providing any regulation whatever which would not appear to interfere harshly with what somebody was doing. He had no disposition to interfere with the foreign commerce of the country. He would very much prefer to see the foreign commerce increase, if it could be done

VI. Finally, there is no doubt that "the Commission may from time to time prescribe the extent to which such designated common

consistently with the protection of the interests of the great mass of the people outside of the seaports. They were met here with this condition of affairs,-unjust discrimination, extortion, secret rebates, and all manner of unjust practices, which had been going on for years by railroad corporations because there had been. no regulation of them by the Government of the United States. Now they had before them a bill which undertakes, in a moderate degree, to apply to them some sort of regulation. The bill provided that there should be no secret rebate, no unjust discrimination, no extortion, and that there should be no greater charge for a short haul than for a longer haul (on the same line) under exactly similar circumstances and conditions. He did not believe that the bill would interfere with the foreign trade of Boston. He did not. believe that the Senator's constituents would be interrupted in their foreign commerce in the slightest degree by this bill. But if Congress was going to regulate railroad corporations at all, and to stop the discriminations by which towns were built up and towns were destroyed, there must be something in the bill to do it, or else the bill might as well be laid on the table.

[From editorial in New York Times, January 15, 1887:


"The debate of the last two days in the Senate on the Inter-State Commerce bill has turned almost wholly upon the long- and shorthaul provision of the fourth section. The explanations and arguments which have been made confirm us in our original opinion of the meaning and effect of this provision. Our confidence in the view first taken was somewhat unsettled by the protests of prominent. railroad men who ought to be capable of understanding the exact. meaning of the bill, and who have exceptional knowledge of the: facts and requirements of the railroad business. But we are con-vinced that their protests have been based either upon a misconception or a wilful perversion of the long- and short-haul section. Their obstinacy in adhering to an untenable ground was well illustrated in

carrier may be relieved from the operation of this section of the Act."

VII. It will thus be seen that the preceding

the speech of the railroad Senator from California, Mr. Leland Stanford, on Monday. Almost immediately after Senator Cullom had made a clear exposition of the intent and meaning of the long- and short-haul provision, Mr. Stanford based his whole argument on an utter perversion of its fair construction.

"The essence of this section is contained in the following words: '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 in the longer distance.' As Senator Cullom said, the qualifying words and phrases are full of meaning, and they furnish all the elasticity to the provision that is necessary to enable railroads to conform to the requirements of successful management. It was at first assumed by some of the objectors that this would require the charges for long distances to be proportioned to those for shorter distances. But the expression 'in the aggregate' plainly shows that it applies only to the total charge for the entire transportation. The same meaning is involved in the prohibition of unjust discrimination against localities. No one has yet shown that the obvious injustice of charging more for transportation from a nearer point to the same destination than from a more remote point, where the circumstances and conditions of the traffic are substantially the same, is justified on any general principle. If it is justified in any case, it must be due to exceptional circumstances, and then the prohibition would not apply.

"It has been claimed that this provision would compel railroads either to reduce their local rates or to increase their through rates in many cases where it would be disastrous to their interests and those of the communities which they serve. But it has nothing to do with the relations of through and local charges in the proper sense of the terms. The circumstances and conditions of through and local traf

[ocr errors]

sections which we have analyzed, viz., the first, second, third, and fourth, deal with the question of the compensation of the common carrier,

fic are substantially different. Under the bill a railroad engaged in inter-State commerce could not, in fixing its local rates, discriminate against localities by charging more for a shorter than for a longer distance for the same kind of freight transported under similar conditions; neither could it make a like discrimination in through rates, and it is hard to see why it should be permitted to do so. In almost any conceivable case it would be an unjust and unjustifiable discrimination between localities.

"It has been said that the bill would give an advantage to shorter lines over longer ones between the same points. But the prohibition applies only to charges over the same line, and would not prevent a long line from putting its rates as low as those of a rival short line. It has also been said that it would force a railroad company controlling its own charges on its own road to conform them to its share of the compensation for a long haul over a line composed of several roads. But aside from the dissimilar circumstances and conditions in such cases the prohibition would only apply to the one line over which the traffic was carried, of however many different railroads it might be composed.


Again, it has been claimed that the act would prevent the reduction of rates to meet the competition of water routes which serve the same points as the railroads. But the existence of such routes and the necessity of low rates to compete with them and do any business to and from the points which they reach, would constitute such a difference of circumstances and conditions that within the requirements of business necessity the bill would undoubtedly allow the discriminination.

“Much stress has been laid upon the effect which would be produced upon the grain interests of the Northwest and the cotton, iron, and other interests of the South. It is said that in order to bring our great grain supplies to the seaboard and send the surplus to foreign markets through rates must be lower than the railroads can afford for intermediate traffic. But suppose the circumstances and conditions

« ПредишнаНапред »