Page images
[ocr errors]

the federal courts with the plea that the state law was unconstitutional as being a regulation of interstate commerce, and finally the United States supreme court reversed the decision of the state courts, upholding the contention of the railway. In his decision Justice Miller said:

when it is attempted to apply to transportation through an entire series of states a principle of this kind, and each one of the states shall attempt to establish its own rates of transportation, its own methods to prevent discrimination in rates, or to permit it, the deleterious influence upon the freedom of commerce among the states

can not be overestimated. That species of regulation is one which must be

of a general and national character, and cannot be safely and wisely remitted to local rules and local regulations, we think is clear

This decision had no slight effect in bringing to pass the Act of 1887; for, in declaring state regulation of interstate commerce unconstitutional, it made federal regulation more imperative.

It is most significant to observe the railway company turning to invoke federal regulation—for it amounted to that—in order to escape the furies of state legislation. The day for consigning "the public" to damnation was passed. Today, twenty years later, the railways are again suffering from a revival of hostile action by the states and again they are turning to the government and supporting a broad federal jurisdiction.

But to continue the thread of legislation. On February 16, 1886, Mr. Cullom reported Senate Bill number 1532 from the committee on interstate commerce.22 Discrimination in its various forms was stated to be the one great evil against which the bill was aimed. The main outlines of the bill,—which applied to both freight and passenger service by railways, including fast-freight, express, and sleeping-car companies, and water ways only where used in connection with a railway for continuous shipment,—are as follows. Rebates, drawbacks, etc., were prohibited; as was discrimination in general, the provision being adapted from the English law; a greater aggregate charge for a shorter than for a longer distance under substantially similar conditions over the same line, in the same direction, and from or to the same point was prohibited, but the commission to be created might make exceptions; rates must be published and could not be advanced without ten days' notice; violations of the act were declared misdemeanors punishable by a fine of not over $5,000. The bill provided for five commission. ers who were authorized to inquire into the management of the common carriers concerned and obtain all necessary information, invoking the aid of the courts to obtain witnesses, papers, etc., if they desired. Upon complaint the commission would investigate, and, if the facts justified, would notify the district attorney-general, who would prosecute.

21 Cong. Rec., 1886-87. 18: 480 (Jan. 10, 1886). * Ibid., 1885-86, pp. 1464. 33-170.


This Cullom bill passed the Senate 47 to 4.23 Upon receiv. ing it the House passed the Reagan bill as a substitute, with 192 ayes, and 41 noes.24 The two bills differed in scope of application in that the House bill did not apply to passenger traffic, nor did it cover traffic by water. The three chief points of difference were: (1) the Senate bill did not forbid pooling; the House bill did; (2) the Senate long-and-short-haul clause was weak and might be set aside; that of the House bill was rigid; (3) the House bill provided no executive machinery in the shape of a commission, but left enforcement to the courts. Moreover the House or Reagan bill provided for full damages and attorney's fees in case of recovery for discrimination, while the other allowed only the excess over the lowest rate charged for like shipments.

The Senate promptly disagreed to the substitute. There was thus another deadlock, and conferees were appointed by each branch.25 Early in the next session the committee of conference reported a bill, which, though it was entirely satisfactory to neither side, was passed by the Senate on January 14, 1887, and by the House on January 21 of the same year. The Senate vote was 37 to 12;-' the House vote stood yeas, 219; nays, 41.27

33 Ibid., p. 4423. 24 Ibid., p. 77.36. Text of Reagan bill as it passed on p. 7733. > Tid., pp. 7818, 7832. 2e Ibid.. 1886-57, p. 03:3. 27 Ibid., p. 881.






Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged alone or associated with others in the transportation of property by railroad from one State or Territory to or through one or more other States or Territories of the United States, or through or from any foreign country, directly or indirectly to charge to or receive from any person or persons any greater or less rate or amount of freight, compensation, or reward than is charged to or received from any other person or persons for like and contemporaneous service, in the carrying, receiving, delivering, storing, or handling of the same. And all persons engaged as aforesaid shall furnish without discrimination, the same facilities for the carriage, receiving, delivery, storage, and handling of all property of like character carried by him or them, and shall perform with equal expedition the same kind of services connected with the contemporaneous transportation thereof as aforesaid. No break, stoppage, or interruption, nor any contract, agreement or understanding, shall be made to prevent the carriage of any property from being and being treated as one continuous carriage, in the meaning of this act, from the place of shipment to the place of destination, unless such stoppage, interruption, contract, arrangement, or understanding was made in good faith for some practical and necessary purpose, without any intent to avoid or interrupt such continuous carriage, or to evade any of the provisions of this act.

Sec. 2. That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged in the transportation of property, as aforesaid, directly or indirectly to allow any rebate, drawback, or other advantage, in any form, upon shipments made or service rendered, as aforesaid, by him or them.

SEC. 3. That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged in the carriage, receiving, storage, or handling of property, as mentioned in the first section of this act, to enter into any combination, contract, or agreement, by changes of schedule, carriage in different cars, breaking car loads into less than car loads, or by any other means, with intent to prevent the carriage of such property from being continuous from the place of shipment to the place of destination, whether carried on one or several railroads. And it shall be unlawful for any person or persons carrying property, as aforesaid, to enter into any contract, agreement, or combination, for the pooling of freights, or to pool the freights, of different and competing railroads, by dividing between them the aggregate or net proceeds of the earnings of such railroads, or any portion of them.

SEC. 4. That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged in the transportation of property, as provided in the first section of this act, to charge or receive any greater compensation per car load of similar property for carrying, receiving, storing, forwarding, or handling the same for a shorter than for a longer distance in one continuous carriage.

SEC. 5. That all persons engaged in carrying property, as provided in the first section of this act, shall adopt and keep posted up schedules, which shall plainly state:

First, the different kinds and classes of property to be carried;

Second, the different places between which such property shall be carried ;

Third, the rates of freight and prices of carriage between such places, and for all services connected with the receiving, delivery, loading, unloading, storing, or handling the same. Such schedules may be changed from time to time as herein

after provided. Copies of such schedules shall be printed in plain, large type, at least the size of ordinary pica, and shall be kept plainly posted for public inspection in at least two places in every depot where freights are received or delivered ; and no such schedule shall be changed in any particular except by the substitution of another schedule containing the specifications above required, which substitute schedule shall plainly state the time when it shall go into effect, and copies of which, printed as aforesaid, shall be posted as above provided, at least five days before the same shall go into effect; and the same shall remain in force until another schedule shall, as aforesaid, be substituted. And it shall be unlawful for any person or persons engaged in carrying property on railroads as aforesaid, after thirty days after the passage of this act, to charge or receive more or less compensation for the carriage, receiving, delivery, loading, unloading, handling, or storing of any of the property contemplated by the first section of this act than shall be specified in such schedule as may at the time be in force.

Sec. 6. That each and all of the provisions of this act shall apply to all property, and the receiving, delivery, loading, unloading, handling, storing, or carriage of the same, on one actually or substantially continuous carriage, or as part of such continuous carriage, as provided for in the first section of this act, and the compensation therefor, whether such property be carried wholly on one railroad or partly on several railroads, and whether such services are performed or compensation paid or received by or to one person alone, or in connection with another or other persons.

Sec. 7. That each and every act, matter, or thing in this act declared to be unlawful is hereby prohibited; and in case any person or persons, as defined in this act, engaged as aforesaid, shall do, suffer, or permit to be done, any act, matter, or thing in this act prohibited or forbidden, or shall omit to do any act, matter, or thing in this act required to be done, or shall be guilty of any violation of the provisions of this act, such person or persons shall forfeit and pay to the person or persons who may sustain damage thereby a sum equal to three times the amount of the damages so sustained, to be recovered by the

« PreviousContinue »