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ments of the law, will involve reasonable and fair-minded officials in no danger of damages or fine. The elasticity of the statute in their favor is noticeable. The unjust discrimination of section 2 must be “in a like and contemporaneous service in the transportation of a like kind of traffic, under substantially similar circumstanced conditions."
The preference or advantage of section 3 must be "undue or unreasonable.' Throughout the act, as it now stands in confessedly experimental form, there is exhibited an obvious and generous pnrpose to allow to the corporations ample scope in the conduct of their business as common carriers for the people, and fair consideration of every reasonable claim, while insisting upon just, impartial, open, and consistent rates of charge to which every citizen shall be subjected alike whose situation is the same. Surely, the people could not ask for less. The language and the tenor of the act wholly fail to justify railroad managers, if any such there be, who refuse to accept responsibility, decline to offer rates, neglect to announce conditions of traffic, embarrass the customary interchange of business, and impose stagnation upon trade, while they "stick in the bark” of the phrases and expressions of the law, inventing doubts and imagining dangers. It is still more unjustifiable for railroad companies to make use of the general clauses of the law, ignoring its modifying and enlarging words and formulas in order to impose additional burdens upon localities, trades, professions, manufacturers, consumers, classes of travelers, or employees, straining and representing every construction in favor of the corporate treasury, and quoting the new law as their authority for all manner of petty exactions.
The powers of the commission are entirely adequate to cope with such conduct, the existence of which is not affirmed, although it has been somewhat publicly suggested. The same statute which enacts that charges for like service shall be uniform to all, also provides that charges in every case, and for every kind and class of service, shall be reasonable and just. As the law is practically applied, it is said to contain many elements of advantage to the economical and profitable management of the business of the carriers, which they have not been slow to apprehend and take the benefit of. The commission venture to express the hope that with this explanation respecting the mutual functions of the carriers, and the commissioners in carrying the law into effect according to its true intent and meaning, there will be no lack of good faith and active co-operation in continuing the normal activity of every kind of reputable industry and traffic throughout the land, under favorable, fair and reasonable terms, conceding, frankly to the people all the rights, benefits, advantages, and equal privileges which the act to regulate commerce” was intended to secure.
Petition of Transcontinental Lines Granted, On April 23, 1887, the Interstate Commerce Commission made an order suspending the fourth section of the law for seventy-five days as applied to the transcontinental roads, but subject to revocation and with a proviso that intermediate rates shall not be raised above those in force on April 20. This applies to the Northern Pacific, Southern Pacific, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé, and St. Louis and San Francisco lines. In an official statement accompanying the order the Commissioner says:
It is in evidence before us that the rates to and from local points on some of the transcontinental lines have been somewhat reduced since April 5, and also that the through rates which prevailed prior to April 5 were the result of a war of rates among the lines and produced a discrepancy between local rates and through rates, which the carriers agree was unreasonable and do not desire to return to.
“The commission is earnestly engaged in considering the course which it will finally adopt in reference to section 4. Many conflicting interests have indicated a desire to be heard, and should have an opportunity before our final decision is reached. All such persons are invited to present facts and arguments. For the purposes of this matter only and without authorizing any general practice of that nature, in order to obtain the fullest information and afford the most extended facilities to distant points of the country, the commission will receive affidavits as to matters of fact and printed or written arguments or matters of fact or of law, which should be presented without delay. This invitation extends to the general subject of questions arising under section 4, and is not limited to the petitions of the transcontinental roads.
“Meanwhile the attention of the carriers is directed to the propriety of devoting the intermediate time to the preservation and adoption of tariffs which shall attempt to meet in good faith the requirements of the “act to regulate commerce,” giving the same a fair and reasonable interpretation in respect to all its various features. In making these orders the commission does not finally determine upon their propriety or justice; but only that pending the investigation now in progress, it is proper, right and just that the permission provided for be given, in order that the general business of the country shall receive no unnecessary shock or damage. The orders are intended to prevent, as far as may be possible, the occurrence of mischief in a period which, in a certain sense, is transitionary and which must of necessity involve changes, the full extent of which can not at present be forseen.”
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