« PreviousContinue »
The illustration above is a cross section through the head of the Pitt coupler immediately in front of the locking pin, and illustrates the mechanism of the coupler with the knuckle closed and locked showing the relative positions assumed by the locking pin, the lock-set, the knuckle-opener and the tail of the knuckle in the coupled position.
Watch This Space Next Month
We will give an illustration showing the operation of the “Lock-Set."
MANUFACTURED ONLY BY
The McConway & Torley Company
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, MARCH, 1905.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE LEGISLATION.
David Willcox, president of the Delaware and Hudson Company, expresses the following views:
The recommendations of the President's Message in reference to railroad legislation cover two subjects; first, rebates, unjust preferences or rate-cutting, and second, authorizing the Interstate Commerce Commission to fix future rates.
FIRST. As to the matter of rebates, preferences or rate cutting, the existing statutes fully cover the subject. Nothing is needed except their enforcement. The Elkins law, passed in 1903, gave the Commission
to obtain injunctions in such cases, and, of course, the courts are authorized to enforce obedience thereto by contempt proceedings. Upon this subject the Interstate Commerce Commission said in its annual report for 1903: "In its present form the law appears to be about all that can be provided against rate-cutting in the way of prohibitive and punitive legislation, Unless further experience discloses effects not now perceived, we do not anticipate the need of further amendments of the same character and designed to accomplish the same purpose."
In its annual report for 1904, the Commission says: “As
to that branch of regulation which deals with the publication and invariable application of tariffs, the Elkins law appears to be operating successfully as applied to carriers subject to its provisions.”
As the statutes now stand, they provide that any one may file a complaint;
the findings of the Commission shall be prima facie evidence of the facts found; the court shall act on as short notice as it deems proper, and shall proceed speedily as a court of equity without formal pleadings or proceedings; the constitutional protection from self-crimination has been removed by statute, so that any one can be compelled to testify; cases arising under the statute have been given preference over everything; individuals and corporations violating the act are subject, whether shippers or carriers, to heavy fines; the provisions of the act may also be enforced by decree in equity, with subsequent contempt proceedings in case of disobedience involving fine and imprisonment, and appeals lie directly to the Supreme Court of the United States.
In reference to no other subject matter does such drastic procedure exist;the lawmaking power has acted fully; it has no further resources. Upon the subject of rebates and rate-cutting nothing further can be done except to enforce the statutes now existing. That is the duty of the executive branch of the government; it is idle to make its own failure to enforce existing laws the ground for urging further legislation.
SECOND. As to the power to make future rates, this can be granted only upon the ground that (A) existing rates are unreasonable in themselves or (B) discriminations exist between (a) individuals or (b) localities or kinds of traffic.
A. There is basis to seriously
claim that rates unreasonable in themselves. The average for the entire country in 1903 was .763 cents, or seven hundred and sixty-three thousandths of a cent, per ton per mile. Although prices generally had greatly risen, this was only thirty-nine thousandths of a cent above the lowest point ever reached, which was in the depression of 1899. The rates are about one-third of the average in England and France and about one-half of the average in Germany. Since the Interstate Commerce act was passed no charge that a rate was unreasonable in itself has ever been sustained in the courts.
B. (a) As to alleged discriminations or preferences between individuals, it has just been pointed out that the lawmaking power has fully dealt with the subject. In addition to this, it would not be an appropriate or effective remedy to confer rate-making power upon the Commission, as its rates would be as much exposed to such practices as any others. In any case the remedy must be to enforce the law prohibiting the
(b) As to alleged discriminations between localities or kinds of traffic this claim arises from the spirit of commercial competition. As was said in the annual report of the Commission for 1893: “It is the competition of product with product, of market with market, that has induced carriers, in their eagerness to increase the value of their traffic,
reduce continually their rates to market points. Such competition is the competition of commerce itself; the strife between
munity as to feel wholly indifferent to the demands and needs of all competing communities. Indeed, there may be entire sincerity in the contention on the part of the officers of a great system, that any adjustment which satisfies the rival communities which it serves can not be seriously objectionable from its own point of view."
Such complaints can not be entirely remedied, for some people will always think they are paying too much for what they buy. In states where railway commissions have power over future rates, questions of alleged discriminations between localities or kinds of traffic are as frequent and acute as ever. On the other hand, the most intelligent state is Massachusetts, the most populous and richest is New York, one of the greatest in every way is Ohio, but their commissions have no power over rates; the second state in population and the greatest in industrial activity is Pennsylvania, one of the most prosperous is Indiana, but they have no commissions what
Yet in these states, generally speaking, there is peace, and they contain about one-third of the population of the country. One half of the populution lives in states where there are no ratemaking commissions. Indeed, it may be said that the conditions out of which the present agitation arises are unknown save in Chicago and points dependent thereon. Existing statutes are ample to deal with them if they be thoroughly enforced.
The President's message expressed the view that it is not desirable to give the Commission general original ratemaking power; but the pending QuarlesCooper bill would not effectually limit the Commission to power merely over rates found unjust after investigation. Its practical effect would be to give the Commission control over all rates. Any person, whether interested or not, may institute a proceeding attacking a rate, and the Commission will then have complete power in the premises. When the Commission assumed to exercise power over future rates the Supreme Court so ruled exactly. It said that if the power existed “it would be within the
competing industries which the public interest demands should be left free from fettering laws and uncontrolled by restraining combinations." As the Commission has just said in its annual report for 1904: “Some at least of the most important controversies involving the rates and methods of railway carriers are rather between competing communities as producing regions than between rival lines of railway. Railway development has extended far beyond the point at which any of the greater systems finds its interests so identified with a single com
discretion of the Commission of its own dition to this, if rates were to be settled motion to suggest that the interstate by litigation before a commission, inrates on all roads of the country were stead of by natural processes, a condiunjust and unreasonable, notify the tion of rigidity would ensue, which several roads of such opinion, direct a would be intolerable to shippers. Those hearing, and upon such hearing, make persons who are engaged in the present one general order, reaching to every agitation should seriously consider these road and covering every rate.”
Illus- aspects of the case. trations of this are that the Import Ever since the Interstate Commerce Rate case, decided by the Commission act was passed there has been continual in 1894, involved the rates on all ship- agitation for further legislation enments from abroad to any interior larging the powers of the Commission. points throughout the country; the Maxi- As already pointed out, the provisions imum Rate case, decided in 1894, in- for enforcement of its present rules are volved in one proceeding practically all the most drastic known to the law. Yet rates on Southern business east of the the past record indicates that the conMississippi River, and the Business ditions have been exaggerated and that Men's League case, decided in 1902, in- the Commission's action in contested volved substantially all rates from the cases has had little effect. Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. As the From the time of its creation in 1887, Commission has frequently said, the until October, 1904, the Commission renmatter of rates is extremely intricate, dered 297 formal decisions. This was and the principles upon which it would a period of seventeen years, and the act by
means definitely settled. decisions, therefore, average about sevBut every one will realize that any enteen and one-half per annum.
Action large business, in order to succeed, must favorable to the complainants was taken be treated as a whole. Its prosperity in 194, or about 55 per cent of the cases would be greatly jeopardized if it decided, so that the complaints coming should be subjected to a process of dis- before it which the Commission held to section according to abstract rules, and be well founded averaged eleven and its earnings be cut down by piecemeal one-half per annum. by parties having no interest in or re- Since 1886, only forty-three cases have sponsibility for the general result. been instituted in the courts to enforce
The proposed changes would be merely orders of the Commission, or about two a step forward toward general govern
and one-half per annum. Only thirtymental control of all commerce.
Con- two of these cases have been ght to gress is not given by the Constitution a final hearing. In one of them the Comany special power over the carriers. mission's order was partially sustained The provision is that it shaļl have power by the Supreme Court, and in one its to regulate commerce with foreign na- order was sustained in the Circuit Court tions and among the several states. and there no appeal. In thirty But the shipper of goods is engaged in cases the order of the Commission was interstate commerce equally with the
reversed. carrier of the goods shipped. The ship- This, therefore, shows that, in the per and his business are, therefore, quite seventeen years which have elapsed, as much within the power of Congress about 93 per cent of the orders passed as the carrier and its business. Rum- upon by the courts were held to be erblings are already heard of a purpose to
The two cases affirmed were subject to federal control all persons en- not of unreasonable rates, but of alleged gaged in interstate commerce.
In ad- discriminations between localities. In *Since the above was written, the Commissioner of Corporations has published his report suggesting substantially that it shall no longer be a right to engage in interstate commerce, but a privilege to be enjoyed only by those possessed of a license upon such terms as the government shall see fit to establish; in other words, that governmental control shall prescribe the manner in which the citizens of the country shall be allowed to use their constitutional rights of liberty and property.
view of this past record it seems doubt been seen, in the courts every possible ful whether any
new expedient will provision has been made for expedition, have effect, save possibly to lead to If, therefore, the Commission would some temporary embarrassment. Cer continue its useful work of settling containly the record does not indicate that the troversies between parties and, when Commission's orders should be effective it is satisfied that a meritorious case before the courts have passsed upon them.
not be settled in this manner, The Commission has done very useful
would resort directly to the courts, work in promoting settlement between
which alone can pass effectively on the the parties of complaints which have rights of the parties, probably the best been presented to it. In this way it
results would be reached, the usefulness has apparently disposed of over 90 per
of the Commission would be greatly incent. of the complaints which have creased, and the public interest would come before it.
The remedy lies in the certainly be served. working out of natural laws, better under The most serious aspect of the matter standing between the parties, and prob is the possible effect of conferring upon ably in more effective effort to enforce government board without experiin the courts the laws which now exist. ence in operation, interest in the properThere is no branch of governmental ties or responsibility for results, the power exercised by a board prescribing power to cut down their earnings, future conditions. By reason of con otherwise than as they are affected by stitutional rules settled by the Supreme natural causes.
This concerns not so Court, every decision of the sort would much the railway corporations as those necessarily be subject to litigation upon who are dependent upon them as emthe question of its reasonableness, and ployes, security holders, small quite upon other questions as well.
as much as large, life insurance policy Under the decisions of the Supreme holders, depositors in savings banks, Court, the Commission has no judicial merchants and manufacturers who sell character, and it is a rule of the Ameri supplies to them, and the communities can constitution that administrative and which they serve. To all of these it is judicial functions can not be exercised most serious question whether the by the same officials, still less the legis railroads are to be controlled by the lative function of making rates vigorous policy of private enterprise sought. The present delay in the pro which has heretofore prevailed, or by ceedings arises from the protracted the rigid governmental methods which hearings before the Commission, which, have in other countries kept up the legally speaking, have no result. As has rates and kept down the service.
ADDRESS DELIVERED TO MEETING OF CONDUCTORS
BY MR. LICIUS TUTTLE.
President of the Boston & Maine Railroad.
The subject to which I shall ask your careful and temperate attention is one that is now being widely discussed in the highest official circles, by the newspaper press, and by eminent leaders of thought in political, commercial and economic investigation; a subject of vital interest not only to the customers of railroads, and to every investor in
railroad securities, but of paramount importance to the million persons, more or less, who are engaged in railroad work, and who derive the means of their livelihood therefrom. I refer to the specific proposal that railroad rates shall be arbitrarily fixed under congressional supervision and authority. For a better understanding of the sources