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ton, Ala.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans, La.; Pensacola, Fla.; Fernandina, Fla.; Gainesville, Fla.; Baldwin, Fla.; Callahan, Fla.; Meridian, Miss.; Jackson, Miss.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn. Nashville, Tenn.; and points southerly therefrom, and from and to said last named points, each with the other so far as the same are situated in different States, at lower rates than are charged from and to the same points to and from local points intermediate, the points last enumerated, over the same lines, and certain of said railroads, lines and systems having also severally made application for like authority so far as said points are reached by them, respectively, and said common carriers having presented as a reason for granting their said application the existence of water and other competition, claiming that the same can not be met except by maintaining rates heretofore established to and from said points, which are alleged to be too 'low to enable said common carriers to carry on business if applied to said local intermediate points, and further claiming that great disturbance of business will occur if the present traffic arrangements and rates are immediately changed; and it appearing to the Commission, after investigation of said petition and facts presented in support thereof, to be a proper case for a temporary order authorizing the existing rates to be maintained for the time being, until the Commission can make a complete examination of the matters alleged in said petition as reasons for relieving said common carriers from the operation of said section of said Act.
It is ordered that the said application be, and the same is hereby granted temporarily, subject to modification or revision by the Commission at any time, upon hearing or otherwise, and the said common carriers are hereby temporarily relieved from the operation of the fourth section of said Act, to the extent specified in the recitals of this order, and for a period not greater than ninety days from this date; subject, however, to the restriction that none of the said common carriers, while this order remains in force, shall, in any case, charge or receive compensation for the transportation of property between stations on their respective lines where more is charged for a shorter than for a longer haul, which shall be greater than the rates in force and charged and received by said carriers, respectively, on the 31st day of March, 1887, schedules of which have been filed with the Commission.
It is made a further condition of this order that a printed copy hereof shall be forthwith publicly posted and kept with the schedule of rates, fares and charges, at every station upon the lines of said common carriers where such schedule is by law required to be posted and kept for the use of the public.
And it is further ordered that the Commission convene at Atlanta, Ga., on the 26th day of April, 1887, at three o'clock P. M. , and thereafter at Mobile, Ala., on April 29th; at New Orleans, La., on May 2d, and at Memphis, Tenn., on May 4th, for the consideration of the subject matter of this petition; at wbich places and times said common carriers or any of them may appear and present application for said relief, with evidence in support thereof, which applications, in each case, must show the precise relief desired, the facts upon which the same is claimed, and the extent to which relief from the operation of said section of said Act is asked for, and at the same places and times any person interested in opposing any such applications may also appear and be heard, and at any time prior to May 6th, 1887, the Commission will receive printed or written communications in support of, or in opposition to, the relief asked by said peti. tions. This announcement respecting the time and places of hearing, and the method of procedure, is subject to change or enlargement in the discretion of the Commission. For the Commission : (Signed)
T. M. COOLEY, Chairman.
ADDITIONAL ORDER. The Inter State Commerce Commission, at a session of said Commission, held at its rooms in the City of Washington, on the 7th day of April, 1887, in the matter of the petition of the Southern Railway and Steamship Association, a verified petition having been filed in the above entitled matter, setting forth that certain competitive points had been inadvertently omitted in the petition heretofore filed, on which an order was made by the Commission, dated April 6th, 1887, and asking for an amendment of said petition, and order, so that said points may be included therein, to-wit : Petersburg, Va.; Richmond, Va.;
West Point, Va.; Raleigh, N. C.; Charlotte, N. C.; Fayetteville, N. C.; Jacksonville, Fla. ; Florence, S. C.; Tarboro, N. C. ; Goldsboro, N. C.; Newberne, N. C.; Knoxville, Tenn. ; Columbus, Miss.; Williamston, N. C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Georgetown, S. C.: It is ordered, after examination of said petition, and consideration of the matters set forth, that said application be granted, and that said petition and order be amended nunc pro tunc by inserting the names of said enumerated points as points from and to which lower rates may be charged than from and to local and intermediate points, subject to all the provisions of said order and for the limited period in said order stated. On behalf of the Commission : (Signed)
T. M. COOLEY, Chairman.
Reply to Petitions of Railway Conductors, Traders' and Trav
elers' Union and others. The Interstate Commerce Commission on April 18, 1887, made public the following ruling and discourse:
The Interstate Commerce Commission, Washington, April 16.-In the matter of the petition of the Order of Railway Conductors.
In the matter of the petition of the Traders' and Travelers' Union.
An application in writing has been made to the commission for its answer to the following questions propounded on behalf of the Order of Railway Conductors:
1. Are railway companies prohibited from issuing free transportation to the immediate families of employees over their own railways?
2. Are railway companies prohibited from issuing free or reduced transportation to officers of associations composed exclusively of railway employees, while those officers are temporarily out of railway service and exclusively employed by those associations?
3. May railway companies issue passes to employees of other railways on the application of the employee, or must such application come from the officer of the company by which he is employed?
4. May railway companies issue free or reduced transportation to those who make railway service their business or trade while temporarily out of employment and in search of situations?
5. May railway companies provide free transportation for delegates to the annual conventions of an association composed exclusively of railway employees upon certificates from the officers of the association that they are such representatives?
6. If free transportation may be furnished to representatives described in question 5, must all such representatives be actually in the employ of some railway, or may it include those who may be temporarily out of employment and those temporarily engaged in other employments as officers of such association?
7. If free transportation is provided delegates described in question 5, may it include members of the immediate families of delegates?
8. If free transportation or reduced rates are provided for the representatives of any one association, must the same be extended to all others which are composed exclusively of railway employees on application?
Another application has been made to the commission on behalf of the Traders' and Travelers' Union stating the system under which an additional allowance of free baggage has been heretofore carried by commercial travelers subject to written agreement for registry and indemnification, which system the commission is requested to examine carefully and advise us if there is any reason why a railroad company desiring to do so should not enter into such an arrangement to grant under stated terms an increased allowance of free baggage. These two petitions, presented by highly respectable organizations and raising questions of immediate practical importance, are representatives of a large number of similar applications which have been made to the commission for its construction of provisions of the "act to regulate commerce,” as applied to the various points at which these provisions touch the customs of the past. They have been selected simply as they indicate the general character of all and enable the commission to announce certain conclusions to which it has arrived respecting its jurisdiction and its powers.
It is obvious from the tenor of such applications as these, which reach us by every mail, that the impression is generally prevalent that this commission has power to construe, interpret, and apply the law by preliminary judgment. We are continually appealed to for decisions in advance as to whether common carriers, said to be willing to adopt certain methods of dealing with respect to interstate commerce, can do so without subjecting themselves to the penalties denounced by the statute for violating its provisions.
A careful reading of the “act to regulate commerce,” under which this commission is organized, will show to the petitioners and others who have made similar applications that no jurisdiction has been given us to answer questions like those under consideration. An expression of our opinion on these subjects at this time, being neither a duty imposed nor a power conferred by the statute, would carry with it no judicial efficacy or sanction; in fact, would be no more useful to the public or the carrier than the opinion of other men upon the same points.
T'wo sections of the law confer power upon the commission to entertain and decide applications and petitions. Section 4 empowers us upon applications by a common carrier to authorize such common carrier in special cases to charge less for longer than for shorter distances, over he same line; and also to prescribe the extent of relief from the operation of the former part of the same section which a designated common carrier may from time to time enjoy. A large number of petitions have been filed under this section, the consideration of which is at this time engaging the attention of the commission, and nothing said in this opinion is to be treated as in any manner bearing thereon. It is obvious that applications like those of the Railway Conductors' and the Traders' and Travelers' Union have no relation whatever to the duties imposed upon us by section 4. And this is the only section of the law which the commission has power to suspend or relax.
Section 13 authorizes complaints to the commission and confers jurisdiction to entertain the same. It provides that any person complaining of anything done or omitted to be done by any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act in contravention of the provisions thereof may apply to said commission by petition, which shall briefly state the facts, notice and opportunity for answer having been given. Unless satisfaction is made an investigation is required. Upon such an investigation the commission will necessarily entertain the consideration of the question whether the conduct complained of is or is not in contravention of the provisions of the law; and if it so adjudge it is authorized to issue a notice enjoining the carrier from further violation of the law and to award reparation for the injury done, or both. But neither the Railway Conductors' nor Traders' and Travelers' Union complain that any common carrier has violated the law. On the contrary, they both aver that the railroad companies do not now violate the law, and do not wish to do so. The conductors say that they fear they will not receive passes as heretofore, and the Traders and Travelers' say that they fear commercial travelers will not be allowed free transportation for 150 pounds of extra baggage, as was allowed last year. They present no complaint of the provisions of the law. If a railroad company should issue a pass to a conductor and his family to attend the approaching convention, or should transport three hundred pounds of baggage free for a commercial traveler, under the registry and indemnity system, and some person feeling aggrieved should make complaint of unjust discrimination, it would then be proper for the commission to entertain the question of whether such conduct was or was not in violation of the law, and if so whether it was or was not within the exceptions as stated in section 22. Complaints may also be presented if the charges made by the carriers are not considered reasonable and just. But until questions of this kind come before us in the way clearly indicated by the statute, it would be worse than useless for us to express our opinions or give advice. We should not only lay ourselves justly open to the charge of assuming unwarranted authority, but should also run great risk of involving all concerned in what the courts might afterward hold to be breaches of the law, by hasty and ill-considered conclusions, based upon ex parte statements and arguments. Although it might be desirable, or at least convenient, in respect to any piece of new legislation to have a tribunal
established to which inquirers might apply for instruction and advice regarding the meaning of the law and its application to suggested “circumstances and conditions,” a moment's reflection will show that no such tribunal could be properly erected. Congress has not taken the management of the railroads out of the hands of the railroad companies. It has simply established certain general principles under which interstate commerce must be conducted.
It has enacted in section 1 that all charges for interstate transportation “shall be reasonable and just;" has prohibited in section 2 all manner of unjust discriminations; has forbidden in section 3 all undue and unreasonable preferences and advantages; has required in the same section reasonable and equal facilities for the interchange of traffic, and has prohibited in section 5 the pooling of freights. That in substance is the interstate commerce law.
There is nothing novel in these provisions. They simply bring back the business of the common carriers to the well-settled principles of the common law. Yet no one can deny that there was urgent need of their statutory formulation. Alleged difficulties in putting them in operation only disclose examples of the extent to which they have been violated in the past. These sections of the act are expressed in plain words. A construction must be given to them in the first instance by the carriers and their patrons. When a course of conduct has been adopted, of which complaint is made that it violates the law, the decision of the question will rest with the courts or with the commission, as the complaining party may elect. This is the orderly method in which all legislation is administered and applied, and the statute in question presents no exception.
One more suggestion may properly be added. It appears from the numerous petitions that have been laid before us for preliminary advice, many of them obviously upon the suggestion if not by the procurement of the carriers themselves, that common comment on the law, by the carriers and those who have heretofore enjoyed special favors at their hands, describe the system of penalties which the law provides as extreme, and the risks imposed upon unintentional and unwitting violators of its provisions as enormous. Such comment seems to us neither fair nor just. It is true that section 8 provides that for violations of the law, and for failure to do an act which the law requires, the offending carrier shall be liable to the injured party for the actual damages sustained, together with a reasonable counsel or attorney's fee, to be fixed by the court, and collected with the costs in the case. It is also true section 10 imposes a fine of not to exceed $5,000” upon common carriers and their officers, agents, and servants who willfully do or cause to be done, or willingly suffer or permit to be done, any prohibited act, or upon conviction in a district court of the United States. The civil remedy described in section 8 adds an attorney fee to the existing common law right of any injured party to recover the full amount of his damages, a condition of affairs which can not greatly alarm corporations disposed to fair dealing ; while the criminal remedy given in section 10 obviously pertains to intentional violators of the law, and is in these cases to be graduated by the court according to the enormity of the offense.
Good faith, exhibited in an honest effort to carry out the require