United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Inte.

Railway freight rates and pooling : hearings before the commiittee on interstate commerce, U.S. Senate, having under consideration the bills (S.3521) to enlarge the jurisdiction and powes of the Interstae Commerce Commission -- and (S.3575) to amend an act entitled 'An act to regulate commerce' online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on InteRailway freight rates and pooling : hearings before the commiittee on interstate commerce, U.S. Senate, having under consideration the bills (S.3521) to enlarge the jurisdiction and powes of the Interstae Commerce Commission -- and (S.3575) to amend an act entitled 'An act to regulate commerce' → online text (page 11 of 96)
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as will make the law of some effect.

BloomiAwion {III.) Pantagraph.—K representative of the Chicago
Board of Trade and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association has made
some important statements before the House Interstate Committee
with reference to rate discrimination by the railroads. He told the
committee that the roads made a cheaper rate on wheat from Chicago


to New York for wheat than they did on flour. There is a measure
under consideration that will correct the evil if it is adopted. It pro-
vides that when the Commission after investigation finds that a rate is
unreasonable and a reasonable rate is fixed this rate will remain efl'ect-
ive until the question is passed on by the courts. Unless some
authority like this is given the Commission, the railroads will laugh at
its decrees and continue the unjust practice of giving rebates to
favored shippers. It is up against this Congress to pass some legisla-
tion that will insure fair dealing among shippers, great and small, and
if it is not done the country will be disposed to bring to account those
responsible for the failure. The matter has been talked up as a cam-
paign issue and staved off at Washington until the people are begin-
ning to see through the scheme and are demanding action as well as

Rock Island Argv^s. — Until a bill to strengthen the Interstate Com-
merce Commission is passed the war against trusts is useless.

Springfield {III.) News. — There is certainly added force to the
movement for more power for the Interstate Commerce Commission
in the report of the Commission just made public. At all events it is
plain that, if the Commission is not to be given enlarged powers, some
method should be devised by which such orders as can be made may be
enforced within a reasonable time. The fact is that the Government
can exert a proper control over the railroads of the country only
through some such a commission as the Interstate Commerce Commis-
sion, and since this organization is in existence, and is composed of
men whose abilities, integrity, and good common sense are unques-
tioned. Congress can reasonably do nothing else but extend the pow-
ers of the Commission to the extent that they ought to be. That
Congress fails to do its duty in this connection is a matter which the
people of the country are coming to regard with suspicion.


Philadelphia Worth American.— The obvious remedy is that pro-
posed by the commissioners — first of all to require the publication
of tariff rates, then their uniform application to all shippers, and
finally to permit the inspection of company books by Grovernment
agents. Doubtless traffic managers who prefer the lax system under
which they now ply trade will find nothing to commend in the commis-
sioners' plan. 1 . 1 . ,

Philadelphia (Pa.) Press.— The most important reform which the
Interstate Commerce Commission urges in its report is the demand
that the act of 1887 "should be amended so as to open the books of
the carriers to the inspection of the Commission or its agents." Con-
gress ought to pass this law, and pass it at once. There is everything
to be said in its favor. There is nothing to be said against it. A
railroad corporation is a public carrier. A public carrier is a public
servant. Its books ought always to be open for inspection. If it is
keeping its rates published, there is nothing to conceal. If it is not
keeping these rates, it is committing a crime. In either case puhlic
policy requires publicity. Congress would pass this act in a week if
members were not influenced in a score of sinister ways by the influ-
ence of great railroads which mesh them about with gifts and political


Scranton {Pa.) liepvblican. — The Interstate Commerce law should
be amended. There can be no question about that. The act as it now
stands is more or less purposeless. A determined effort is being made
to amend the law so as to restore full power to the Commission. The
Corliss bill should be passed, but it is by no means certain that it will
be. The railroads maintain a powerful lobby at Washington, and can
make very hard sledding for any measure they may set about to oppose
in earnest. The Corliss bill authorizes the Commission to correct rates
that may be regarded as unjust and discriminating but does not abolish
the right of appeal, and is regarded as a very mild measure by the
shippers, who really think they are entitled to far more substantial
protection than the bill as it now stands can afford them.

Scranton {Pa.) Tribune. — For years there has been a well-founded
complaint at the inadequacy of the power vested in the Interstate
Conmierce Commission to enforce equality among shippers. A bill to
supply the deficiency in this direction is now pendingJn the House,
having been introduced by Representative Corliss, of Michigan. The
law is to be put into enforcible shape. This should be done or the
law repealed. In its present shape it is merely a travesty.


Sioux City {Iowa) Tribune. — Chairman Knapp is trying to get Con-
gress to at least amend the interstate commerce law so the Commis-
sion can prevent secret rate cutting and the practice of giving rebates
to big shippers. The transportation situation will never be satisfac-
tory till this reform is effected, and as uniformity of rates would be
beneficial to the railroads as well as to the public, the former ought to
encourage Mr. Knapp.

Marshalltown {Iov>d) Herald. — The people of this country are prac-
tically unanimous that the powers of the Interstate Commerce Com-
mission should be so enlarged that it shall have the power to prevent
combinations which may be made to the detriment of the people and
to business generally, and that it is the duty of Congress to take
prompt and decisive action in this matter, that the relief demanded
may not be delayed because of the nonaction of Congress.

Des Moines Leader. — That some law along the lines of the Nelson-
Corliss bill should be passed under which a board, combining execu-
tive and judicial functions, shall have authority, in the name of the
nation, to prescribe reasonable rates, is now generally admitted. The
principle may' be said now to be almost universally admitted. With
the elimination of competition in the railroad business, a condition
whose coming is clearly foreshadowed, it will become a public neces-
sity to establish public regulation of transportation rates. Other-
wise power would be in the hands of a few persons to apply to a
degree most oppressive the principle of making the rate all traffic will

Des Moines Register. — The Interstate Commerce Commission's rec-
ommendation that the law under which it has been attempting to
work be amended in such a manner as to give the Commission power
to accomplish something will be a great benefit to Iowa if it is heeded
by Congress and given recognition in the statutes. A proportionate
car load freight rate is just what is needed to build up all the home
markets of Iowa— that fact is true as to the home markets of all the


other States— and all the people of the nation should steadily labor
until that long-needed measure of justice for all has been gained and

Des Moines Leader. — ^There can hardly be serious disagreement with
the opinion that if Senator DoUiver shall decide to introduce in the
upper house of Congress the Corliss bill relating to the powers of the
Interstate Commerce Commission, he will be acting in line with the
sentiment of the State which he represents. The great business inter-
ests of the country that are directly dependent for their prosperity on
transportation are more nearly aroused than ever before to the neces-
sity of making the (Commission a real power instead of a shadow with-
out the substance. It is to be hoped Senator Dolliver will accept the
opportunity to do a great service. His public career will lose nothing
by it. He will, indeed, find himself one of the central figures in a
great fight in which the most powerful special and private interests of
the country will be arrayed against him, but he will have the people
of Iowa and the business men of the country with him, and in the end
he will win. The measure is one that, when properly presented, will
conmiand the support of the country.

Duhuque {Iowa) Times. — The Nelson-Corliss bill now pending in
Congress gives the Interstate Commerce Commission the power to
revise tariffs. The objections made to it are more technical than sub-
stantial. The bill should become a law at the present session.

Dvbuque {Iowa) Journal. — Why has Senator Elkins united a pooling
proposition with his bill authorizing the Interstate Commerce Com-
mission to make rates on interstate traffic? The question of whether
rate cutting could be prevented in the absence of a pool is quite dis-
tinct from the question of whether the Commission can be trusted to
revise the rates on interstate business. The States successfully regu-
late rates on business wholly within their own borders without exempt-
ing railway companies from the operation of the antitrust laws. The
question should be divided. The Commission should be given power
to revise rates, and the question of whether pooling must be sanctioned
in order to prevent discrimination in favor of big shippers or shipping
centers should be left for future determination.

Dubuque {Iowa) Tvmes. — Our delegation in Congress may accept the
legislature's indorsement of this measure (the Corliss bill) as a faith-
ful reflection of Iowa sentiment respecting the need for legislation
that will serve the original purpose of the interstate-commerce law.

Clinton {Iowa) Herald. — Under existing circumstances the Commis-
sion, which stands in the attitude of the representative of the United
States as between carrier and shipper, is absolutely without power to
give any utterance of opinion, or to lay down any binding rule. The
Commissioners themselves have repeatedly stated this fact. The
right of the Commission to prescribe a remedy, subject to appeal to
the courts, is fair to shipper and carrier, and would be effective. It
is undoubtedly necessary for the proper conduct of the commerce of
the United States that there should be some intelligent and responsible
body empowered to fix, adjust, and decide rates and all questions aris-
ing on complaint between railroad carriers and the shippers.

At the time of the passage of the interstate-commerce act the uni-
versal belief was that Congress intended to give the Commission such
power. But the act having been construed otherwise by the courts, it
now devolves upon the Congress to remodel the law so as to give it


the force orig^inally intended. The rehabilitation of the commission
has already been too long delayed, and it is not too much to say th^t
the people of this country begin td feel that their patience has been

For the safety of the railroads, as well as the good of the country,
there must be some tribunal to which appeal can be made, and which
has the power to render quick and full justice and enforce its mandaites
without delay. The prompt passage of the pending bill would do
injustice to no one and give the shipper what he has long sought and
waited for — a chance for fair and uniform rates, fair treatment, and a
stable and uniform classification.


WheeUng Begister.— The Interstate Commerce Commission is after
a few of the railroads not respecting the law of the land, and is
evidently disposed to do the best it can with these notorious violators
of the interstate-commerce laws and the Sherman antitrust law. The
whole procedure savors of the ridiculous. A simple bill passed by
Congress, regulating rates and providing ample penalties, would be
sufficient. The present situation savors largely of farce comedy, and
is so esteemed by the public.

It is high time that Congress was supplementing the powers of the
Interstate Commerce Commission, which i's now without the ability to
practically reform railroad abuses. In short the interstate commerce
law is a farce and a dead letter, so far as regulating the railroads or rail-
road rates are concerned, and the amendments proposed by the Corliss
bill, prepared under the direction of the Interstate Commerce Law
Convention, should receive the attention of Congress.

Wheeling ( W. Ya.) Intelligencer. — Recent developments have been
such as to make it incumbent upon Congress to act. The time is
opportune, and further delay would arouse such a feeling of resent-
ment in commercial circles as to render possible serious agitation for
radical measures against the carriers. Public opinion is in sympathy
with the present movement. This is apparent from expressions by

frominent statesmen and business men, Ijy testimony submitted to the
ndustrial Commission on the subject of transportation, and in the known
desire of certain representative railroad men to meet the friends of the
proposed legislation in a spirit of compromise. Attention should also
be directed to the action of the legislatures of Michigan, Kansas, Wis-
consin, and other States, in passing joint resolutions urging upon Con-
gress the necessity for prompt remedial legislation. The firm attitude
taken by President Roosevelt in his recent message in discussing this
subject is of the deepest significance, and is indicative of the vast
change that has taken place in high quarters within recent years.
Some relief is demanded, and some must come from the present Congress.


Spohcme {Wash.) Chronicle. — ^If the voters of Washington really
want to secure better rates from the railroads, let them do their share
to secure laws that will give the people of this nation genuine control
of interstate commerce by means of duly appointed commissions. To
begin the good work, let them see that no candidate for. Congress is


nominated next summer who is not pledged to support such legislation
as is needed to enable the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce
just freight rates from every State or Territory to every other State.
Spokane ( Wash.) Spokesman. — The present law is sadly in need of
mending, if the Commission is to perform the work expected of it in
the matter of regulating rates. The Commission has had the power
to investigate railway abuses and to issue orders, but it has been pow-
erless to enforce them. In several instances it has found rates to be
unreasonable, and has ordered that new tariffs be established, but the
roads have laughed at the Commission and have ignored its mandates
as completely as if it never existed.


Houston {Tex.) Post. — The Interstate Commerce Commission is an
institution that is surely calculated to impress not only the political
philosopher but the ordinary business man with the folly of a bureau
or department without power. What is the Commission for? What
does it do ? What good is accomplished by what it does ?

For years the Interstate Commerce Commission has reported that
the law is constantly violated by railroad corporations. The cardinal
provisions of the interstate-commerce act are that railway rates should
be just and reasonable, and that all shippers, localities, and commodi-
ties should be accorded equal treatment.

There is no doubt as to the duty of Congress. It should give the
Commission the power to compel the railroads to disclose all the facts
in their possession that would bear on suspected violations of the act.
Not only should the legal remedy and punishment for such violations
of the law be adequate, but the hands of the Commission should not
be tied in making the investigations that the law imposes upon it.

Houston (Tex.) Post. — As to the benefit that would result to the
people from an interstate-commerce act that could be enforced, it
would be enormous. Congress should take up the question of amend-
ing the interstate-commerce act and give it immediate and earnest


St. Louis {Mo.) RepvhliG.—9>o practical are the arguments in favor
of an amendment to the interstate-commerce act with a view to effect-
ively empower the Interstate Commerce Commission to punish all
railroads violating the law against discrimination between shippers
that the favorable action of Congress should be certain. The proposed
amendment is urged by all the leading commercial organizations in the
United States. The point at issue is a plain business proposition,
remote from politics, and the public sentiment of the Union, supported
by the commercial bodies and the Interstate Commerce Commission,
itself should prevail for the general good. The amending of the
interstate-commerce act will constitute early action, unless the rail-
road influence in Congress is too strong to be resisted.

Every Congressman should be made to realize that public sentiment
demands the amending of the interstate-commerce act as now contem-
plated. The time to relax such effort will not have arrived until the
interstate-commerce act has been definitely amended.

Kansas City {Mo.) Star.—ThQve is evidently need of legislation to

F K P 5


make the Commission an efficient body. It must liave power to give
speedy relief to shippers, and to enforce its rulings without the inter-
minable delays which now make its work futile. If its hands are not
strengthened, it might as well disband.

Joplin Globe. — It is an absurdity to protest hostility to the beef
trust, which confessedly has been able to control markets by rebates
on freights from railroad companies, and at the same time i-efuse
to pass the bill for which the Interstate Commerce Commission
has for years been begging, to give it adequate powers to compel rail-
roads to make equal rates. If the Commission had that power and
exercised it, the ability of the beef trust to control markets would be
largely curtailed.


Boston Record. — The Interstate Commerce Commission would
assume the position of some dignity if, following the recommenda-
tions of the Industrial Commission, Congress should decide to make
a definite grant of power to the Commission, never on its own
initiative, but onlj^ on formal complaint, to pass upon the reasonable-
ness of freight and passenger rates or charges; also-definite power to
declare given rates unreasonable.

Christian World {Boston, Mass.). — The American public has few
more burning domestic questions before it now than giving to the
Interstate Commerce Commission, or some other body of Federal offi-
cials, authority to deal with and punish the railroad corporation officials
and captains of industry who violate the laws governing uniformity of
rates to shippers.

Boston {Mass.) Journal. — The bill has for its single purpose the
amendment of the existing act in such a manner as to make it actually
eflfective for the purposes for which it was framed. It is intended,
in other words, to confer upon the Interstate Commerce Commission
the powers which it was clearly the mind of Congress should be exer-
cised by it, but which have been taken from it by the rulings of the

Boston Transcript. — Revision of the Interstate Commerce act is
urgently needed. The purpose of the act — to put a stop to discrimina-
tions — has not been attained; the evils against which it was directed
still flourish. The situation clearly needs amending legislation which
shall make the system of public control of the railroads through the
Interstate Commerce Commission really effective.


San Jose {Col.) Mercury. — During the present session of Congress
there should be enacted a Federal law which will have the effect of so
strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission as to make it effi-
cient or should abolish it altogether. For the past several years the cry
of its members has been expressed in every annual report for legis-
lation that would enable it to enforce its decisions against carriers who
have been treating them with a scornful disregard. There is no
question that the necessity of such legislation is urgent. The Commis-
sion is at present an expensive and a useless body. Congress has no
longer the right to disregard the crv of the Commission and the inter-


ests of the public. Better no commission than an impotent one. Let
it either be made efficient or wiped out of existence.

San Francisco {Oal.) Call. — Unfair and illegal discrimination is
one of the greatest evils that now afflict the industries and the com-
merce of the people. Some method must be devised for protecting
the industries of the country from such evils, and no better plan is at
present in sight than that of strengthening the power of the Commis-
sion and holding it responsible for the enforcement of the law.

Los Angeles {Col.) Journal. — Not until the powers of the Interstate
Commerce Commission to enforce its rulings are made plenary can the
public expect a substantial measure of protection against extortion,
discrimination, and oppression practiced by common carriers.

San Francisco {Col.) Call. — It would be well for merchants, manu-
facturers, and other large shippers of the country to unite in a con-
certed movement to bring pressure to bear upon Congress in favor of
the measure to enlarge the powers of the Interstate Commerce Com-
mission. It is clearl}^ the duty of Congress to act, but of course
Congress is not going to act unless the shippers of the country demand
it. So long as the railroads can keep the people divided just so long
.can they keep Congress quiet and the Commission and the courts


Norfolk ( Va.) Pilot. — There is, undoubtedly^, a large sentiment in
the country in favor of giving the Interstate Commerce Commission
more power. The bill generally favored was introduced by Represent-
ative Corliss, of Michigan. We believe that the Commission should
be given the power to make rates outright, but, failing that, the power
to correct rates that will enable it to supply a remedy in case of dis-
criminations. If the published tariff is too high, however, and exces-
sive, the Commission, under this bill, can afford no relief as long as
all are treated alike.

Norfolk ( Va.) Pilot. — The interstate-commerce law as it exists to-day
is the mere headless body of a statute decapitated by the United States
Supreme Court.


Raleigh {N. C.) Nms.—ThQ present Congress ought not to adjourn
until it gives the Interstate Commerce Commission power to regulate
rates. The rapid consolidation and mergers of great railway systems
has made it vital to give this power to the Commission for the protec-
tion of the public.

Raleigh Ohservei\ — Full of railroad owners and railroad attorneys,
Congress will do nothing toward proper regulation until the people
emphatically demand positive action, and back up their demand by a
threat to send members of Congress into retirement. That is not now
in sight and therefore no remedial legislation may be expected at this


Penver {Colo.) Republican.— The Interstate Commerce Commission
has been deprived of the requisite power to make its decrees effective.
It has been necessary for it to appeal to the courts to compel the rail-


road companies to obey its orders. Thus it has been almost powerless
to achieve the things which were hoped for when it was organized.

Denver {Colo.) News.—Qi-Q. the Commission itself there have been
many eminent lawyers, and since their experience with the Federal
courts they are all agreed that the Commission has been shorn of all
practical power to name and enforce equitable rates.

Denver Post. — The Interstate Commerce Commission was orignally
formulated and created for the purpose of standing between the public
and the railroads, to prevent extortion, to insist upon certain equities,
to have the country as a whole treated equally by the corporations, to
give the small shipper the same advantages as the large, and stop rail-
way combinations from imposing upon the powerless public. The
Commission has not accomplished this purpose because it has not had
the power to do so.

Now it it suggested that it be given the power to fix rates upon a
basis so fair that the railroads can always make money and still serve
the public wisely and well.

Of course, the railroads object. They want to fix their own rates,

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on InteRailway freight rates and pooling : hearings before the commiittee on interstate commerce, U.S. Senate, having under consideration the bills (S.3521) to enlarge the jurisdiction and powes of the Interstae Commerce Commission -- and (S.3575) to amend an act entitled 'An act to regulate commerce' → online text (page 11 of 96)