Indiana. Shipping Interests.

Answer of the shipping interests of Indiana and the Indianapolis Freight Bureau to the remarks of Mr. G. J. Grammer at conference held on November 19th, 1906, between the Indiana Railroad Commission and special committees representing the raliroads and commercial bodies of larger cities of the state online

. (page 8 of 8)
Online LibraryIndiana. Shipping InterestsAnswer of the shipping interests of Indiana and the Indianapolis Freight Bureau to the remarks of Mr. G. J. Grammer at conference held on November 19th, 1906, between the Indiana Railroad Commission and special committees representing the raliroads and commercial bodies of larger cities of the state → online text (page 8 of 8)
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few railroad enterprises in Indi-
ana that were able to maintain
themselves during their early
history, which is replete with
bankruptcy and disaster. and
have only been able to escape
complete annihilation through
the amalgamation of the weak
and disjointed properties, there-
by affording continuous trans-
portation.



But notwithstanding' the pub-
lic and governmental favor thus
extended — notwithstanding the
substantial freedom from gov-
ernmental interference in their
management — there were v<-ry
few railroad enterprises in the
South which could at first main-
tain themselves. The history of
many of them whs a history of
bankruptcy and disaster until
the weak and disjointed proper-
tics were amalgamated so as to
afford continuous transporta-
tion.



si



Mr. (.riiiiiinir — \n*. I!>. 1006.

i Pages 17-1 vi
While ili«' public and the pi op.
erties have been greatly benefit-
ed by Buch amalgamation, which
brought aboul certain power
over the Interests of commodi-
ties, localities and persons, yet
the demands made upon the fa-
cilities thus afforded have no! al-
ways been based <>n sound rea
sun, the public character of the
enterprises being practically all
t ha t has r, i - i\ ed recog nlt'.on or
consideration, the private rights
<>r the owners having been, to
.ill intents and purposes, com-
pletely h>-M sight of in the
swinging <>f the pendulum from
th« I'MiTine on oik' siih; t>> the
extreme <m the other.



>ir. Spencer — Oct. -".. ijmmi.

With thai amalgamation "t
properties and its consequent
public good, came great power

exaggt 'it' 'i perhaps In t he
public mind bul still great

power, over the Interests of c -

moditles, localities and persons,
and with it a demand for public
regulation, it m ust be admit t < • < l
that this demand, within lust
and reasonable limits, is based
on sound reason. in the prog-
i ess of tinn , the public asp< ■ t
nf this quest Ion has l me en-
tirely reversed. The pendulum
has swung from an extreme on
the one Bide to an extreme on
th. other. As. in the Inception
nf railroad construction, th<
public relations of the properties
were largely lost siprht of, so
m w. in reaction, the public
character of the enterprises is
almost the only thing recognis-
ed or considered, and t he prh at<
rights of the owners are, in the
political thought of the day, al-
most if not entirely forgotten.



(Pages l 7- 1 s. >
Justice Is what might be
tei nil, i "1 he happy medium." ly-
iiiK as it does between the two
extremes. Kaithful performari ■■■
"i public duties by the owners of
th.se properties, without fear or
favor for any interests, should
rigidly obtain, In whit b event
the residuum is cm a parity with
and entitled t" the same consid-
eration as all other private prop-
erty.



Justice, however, lies between
the two extremes. These prop-
erties and their owners should
be required to perform faithful-
ly their public duties under rea-
sonable rat.s and practices, mi-
der full publicity without un-
just discrimination and without
favor for any interests. When
this obligation is performed, the
i esiduum is private property en-
titled t" the same consideration
and protection at the hands of
the public and of t he gov< rn-
ment as all other private prop-
■ rty.



i Page 18.)
We should remember that the
transportation properties were
fostered upon the assumption
thai they would be granted not
imiy reasonable public counte-
nance, hut the natural support
under which such powers were
conferred, thereby stimulating
private investment.



In the formation of public ;>'d.
Icies, common justice requires
us ti> remember that when these
properties were originally creat-
ed, it was dime In reliance on the

u,'"".l faith <if that , ible

public countenance and support

under which the public powers
w»re granted and the private in-
vestments were made.



85



Mr. « . rammer — Nov. 10, 1906.

(Page 18.)
The obstacles, hindrances and
perplexities with which the rail-
road manager of today is con-
fronted, become more clearly
manifest when we consider the
dual nature of his labors in ad-
ministering property in which
investments of a private nature
have been made, yet is charged
with public duties of importance.
It is necessary that he furnish
proper facilities to the public at
reasonable rates, avoid all un-
just discrimination as between
commodities or persons or local-
ities, and see that his patrons
receive equal and impartial
treatment, exact justice being
his keynote of action.



Mr. Spencer — Oct. 35, 1906.

Confronted by this evolution
— or, rather, by this revolution
— of conditions, with the admin-
istration of a property of dual
nature, invested in as a private
concern, but charged with im-
portant public duties, the diffi-
culties of the railroad manager
become apparent. On the one
hand is his imperative obliga-
tion to the public to provide for
it proper facilities, to do so at
reasonable rates, to avoid all un-
just discriminations as between
commodities or persons or locali-
ties, and to do equal and exact
justice as between his patrons.



(Pages 19-20.)

The handicaps that have been
fixed upon the railroads incident
to hurried preparations and ov-
ertaxed facilities, have, in a
measure, deprived the carriers
of a sympathy that would other-
wise be accorded them, had not
this unnecessary and unwarrant-
ed course been decided upon by
those who know how to appeal
to a popular misunderstanding.



This fact and the shortcom-
ings necessarily incident to hur-
ried preparations, and overtaxed
facilities, have largely deprived
these carriers of popular sym-
pathy, and subjected them to
easy misrepresentations and to
popular misunderstanding.



(Pages 19-20.)
It is preached from coast to
coast that railroads are in pos-
session of wealth untold and re-
sources unlimited, and this doc-
trine, spread by the demagogue,
has made these corporations the
target of every mushroom can-
didate for popular favor. The
result is that the average citizen
of the United States is possessed
of a desperate desire to weigh
the rights of railroads in a dif-
ferent scale than that which
would be employed in dealing
out a fair and judicial decision
where the rights of any other
public utility might have been
questioned. The idea seems to
have become prevalent among
those who are supposed to sit



The outward expression of
size and power has impressed
the popular mind with the idea
that they possess untold wealth
and limitless resources. It made
them the easy mark of the po-
litical agitator. The result has
been that there has crept into
the public mind a different stand-
ard of justice for them from
that which governs the property
rights of every individual prop-
erty holder in the land. Stat-
utes have been enacted estab-
lishing principles of liability of
a railroad company which do not
apply in the case cf the farmer,
the mill owner or the employer
in any other department of in-
dustry. Juries have come to
think it right to award verdicts



86



>ir. Grnmmer — Nov. 19, 1906.

upon ih«' h.tidi, that railroads
are legitimate prey, and thai
they must pay a higher prlc<
their shortcomings than the In-
dlvldual who may have InadA i 1 1
entlj damaged the property of
their neighbor.

(Page 22.)
The universal Increase in the
price «'f labor is so obvious in
its application to every Industry
that it is hardly necessary to re-
fer t<> it as a factor in this case.

While tin' railroads are subjecl
t" tin' same demands as other
Industries, they Buffer a disad-
vantage which is not sustained
by any other Industry; the law
prohibiting the carrier from
owning any assets nut directly
necessary t" the proper conduct
• •I its business.

CPages liJ-:-::.)
It is a n Indisputable fact 1 1 1 a t
a different law governs the rail-
roads than that under which the
tiller of the soil, the Industrial
magnate and the merchant con-
duct their varied enterprises, the
latter trio regulating their prices
by the cost of the product they
have to sell, but not go with the
railroads, which have only one
article which can he Bold to the
public, viz., transportation, ami
now there is a hysterical clamor

lor measures that will compel
the railroads to maintain at any

and all times ami under all cir-
cumstances, the same charge for
their services.

( Pagi s 22-23.)
Coincident with the increases
in the operating expenses there
has in en ;1 corn sponding de-
crease in the rates, and at the

present ti when the cost of

transportation is the smallest
item in the cost Of any article
consumed by the public, the
great hue ami cry of tin agita-
tor ami demagogue is for the
gr< a ter reduct Ion In ra llroad
revenue.



>lr. Spencer — Oct, 25, ummi.
for larger damages against rnil-
I ■ orporat ions t han against
Individual litigants.



I need not call your attention
to the Increase In the price of
labor. it applies to every in-
dustry, and the railways are not
only not exempt, but they Buffer
the great disadvantage not shar-
ed by others that increased pros-
perity of the country and activi-
ty in business dms not bring to
them increased prices for tin
only article they have (or sale —
transportation.



The farmer, the manufacturer,
the merchant, when paying high-
er wages or higher prices foj

raw material, obtains, as a rule,
a higher price tor his prodncts.
Not so with the carrier. H<
must, under str< SS of market
competition and the inexorable
decree of puhlie sentiment, keep
the prices for his product-trans-
portation at the same or at low-
er figures.



Coupled with these iinreasid

expenses, there has been a con-
stant reduction in rates, and to-
day the percentage cont ribut i •!
by transportation rates to the
i est oi whatever the people con-
sume is much smaller than ever
before In history, and smaller

in America than in any Other

country of the world. And yet
the loudest cry that is heard to-
day from the puhlie voice, and
tin most persistent demand from
■ \ . ry quarter, is for an enfoi
reduction in railway charges.



87



Mr. Grninnier, Nov. 1!>. 1906.

(Pages 20-21.)
Considering the increase in the
cost of everything for which the
carrier must pay, without ac-
count for the damage suits and
taxes that are daily assessed
against them, it is hardly justi-
fiable to assume that a commen-
surate decrease in its earnings
will not have its effect, and I
take it that you will agree with
me that ultimately there must
be a point reached where the
carrier can no longer supply the
public demand, unless you de-
stroy, by some means, the law of
barter and exchange. It must be
apparent to you that if there is a
continual increase in the units of
expense, with a commensurate
decrease in the units of revenue,
the financial strength of the en-
terprise cannot survive indefin-
itely, and meet the traffic de-
mands of the public, and if the
process is carried far enough,
there is no power that will avert
a national calamity, which years
of experience cannot restore.



Mr. Spencer — Oct. 2.%, 1906.

With an increase in the price
of everything the carrier must
buy, with an increase in the
cost of labor, of materials, in
the verdicts of juries in damage
suits, in taxes, and with decreas-
ing rates, a point must ulti-
mately be leached where the car-
rier's capacity to meet the pub-
lic demand for increased facili-
ties .must be [substantially im-
paired, if not destroyed. It must
be apparent that if there is a
continual increase in the units
of expense, with a continual de-
crease in the units of revenue,
the financial strength of the en-
terprise cannot survive indefinite-
ly. If the progress is carried
far enough, more increase in
volume of traffic which has sus-
tained the carriers thus far will
not suffice, and without finan-
cial strength and credit the car-
rier cannot adequately meet the
proper requirements of the pub-
lic.



(Pages 25-26.)
The carriers should not be de-
nounced because of a few indi-
vidual grievances; the narrow
spirit of condemnation should
not be allowed to warp the larg-
er spirit of justice, and every
fair-minded person must recog-
nize, and cannot but admit, that
the service rendered has been
satisfactory, on the whole.



I appeal from the narrow
spirit which condemns because
of a few individual grievances
and exceptional deficiencies to
the larger spirit of justice of
the people, which will recognize
that the true standard of en-
lightened judgment must be the
fidelity and efficiency with which
the service as a whole has been
rendered.



(Page 26-27.)
As heretofore stated, the inter-
ests of the railroad and of its
patrons are so closely interwov-
en that one cannot prosper
without the other. The railroads
must do justice to the public and
the public must do justice to the
railroad. They must work to-
gether and their co-operation is
absolutely essential to each oth-
er's success which is the general
public welfare, and anyone who
would wantonly promote strife



The interests of the railroad
and of its patrons are identical.
One cannot prosper without the
other. The railroad must do
justice to the people. The people
should do justice to the railroad.
Their cordial co-operation in the
great field of human industry
is essential to the public wel-
fare. They must work together
in a spirit of forbearance and
mutual consideration and trust
if they are to accomplish the re-
sults for which both are striving.



88



Mr. <. rummer. \'wv. 10. 1000.

between them or cause dissen-
sion, is a public enemy, and it
must be borne In mind that dis-
r once precipitated Is irre-
parabh ami will reflect Itself up-
on tii,. fortunes cf the people
long after its disturbing cause
has ■ ■ ased tu be a factor. Yov
must also bear in mind that the
railroad which does not develop
ami encourage traffic <nnnot

maintain its.lt', aid the patrons
of the railway will hi- tin- first to

feel tin' disastrous effects of
such failure.



Mr. Spencer — Oct. 88, IBM.

and which a v within theft

grasp if they work together.

Tin' man who would sow dis-
sension bel ween t hem ami em-
barrass their co-operation by
misunderstandings, friction and
antagonism is a public enemy.

While tin- railroads may ho in a
sense at his mercy, be should not
h<- tolerated by the people, for

ti ppression In- seeks to bring

upon the railroad must reflect
Itself upon '.In- fortunes of the
i" ople long after t he disturbing
cause has been forgotten. The
cardinal point to be appreciate. I
ami remembered is that a rail-
road will destroy Itself unless
it fosters traffic, unless it adopts
such a policy toward its patrons
as will encourage and increase
permanently tin- movement of
business. On tin- oilier hand, the
people will be the first and the
atest sufferers if by hostile
action they limit the capacity of
tin railroads to serve them.




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Online LibraryIndiana. Shipping InterestsAnswer of the shipping interests of Indiana and the Indianapolis Freight Bureau to the remarks of Mr. G. J. Grammer at conference held on November 19th, 1906, between the Indiana Railroad Commission and special committees representing the raliroads and commercial bodies of larger cities of the state → online text (page 8 of 8)