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by the coal companies, as was claimed, then whether they realized more or less than their published rates depended upon the price of coal. And on the other hand, if the coal companies paid the full rate and failed to realize as much from the percentage of the selling price they would lose money; and as they were owned by the railroad companies the loss would be ultimately theirs and not the coal companies'. Relevancy, it was declared, does not depend upon the conclusiveness of the testimony offered, but upon its tendency to establish a controverted fact. The court in this connection said that an inquiry by a board of the character of the Interstate Commerce Commission should not be too narrowly constrained by technical rules as to the admissibility of proof, its function being largely one of investigation. Similar ruling was made in regard to the Temple Iron Company contracts above mentioned.
In discussing these contracts the court said that while these contracts might not establish the fact of a pooling arrangement, they had in its opinion a legitimate bearing upon the question. It also held this testimony competent as bearing upon the manner in which transportation rates are fixed, in view of determining the question of the reasonableness of rates into which the Commission has a right to inquire. Concluding its observations, the court said: “To unreasonably hamper the Commission by narrowing its field of inquiry beyond the requirements of the due protection of rights of citizens will be to seriously impair its usefulness and prevent a realization of the salutary purposes for which it was established by Congress.”
The appeal also involved the refusal of two witnesses to answer questions respecting the prices and sale of coal, but upon the principles above cited the court said that these questions also had a legitimate bearing upon the matters into which the Commission was making inquiry. Another ruling by the court was that compelling the giving of this testimony and the production of these contracts did not deprive the witnesses of any rights under the Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
This sweeping decision by the court of last resort supplements the former decisions of that tribunal in the Brimson case (154 U. S., 447) holding the act constitutional in providing a procedure in the courts to compel the testimony of witnesses before the Commission, and the case of Brown v. Walker (161 U. S., 591) to the effect that the act of February 11, 1903, requiring witnesses to testify in cases under the act to regulate commerce and forbidding their prosecution in any manner on account of such testimony, affords immunity as broad as the protection provided in the Federal constitution. These two cases related to the constitutionality of the law, while the decision above discussed deals with the character and materiality of the testimony itself, and asserts the duty of witnesses before the Commission to testify upon any subject which may tend to affect the subject of the controversy or inquiry in which their testimony may be required.
THE UNIFORM BILL OF LADING INVESTIGATION.
In November numerous complaints were made to the Commission alleging that common carriers operating in Official Classification territory intend enforcing, on and after January 1, 1905, certain conditions in the Uniform Bill of Lading, so called, which have not heretofore been enforced, whereby the carriers in that territory, when transporting freight articles, will be relieved in part from their common-law liability, unless paid by shippers rates of transportation 20 per cent greater than those now exacted; that under the new conditions shippers will be unable to negotiate the bills of lading and thereby procure capital with which to transact their business; that such contemplated action will result in unreasonable and unjust rates of transportation and constitute unlawful preference and advantage to traffic shipped under the Uniform Bill of Lading to such extent as to practically prohibit competition by traffic shipped under carriers' common-law liability; and that this would force acceptance of the onerous conditions imposed and subject to unlawful prejudice and g reat disadvantage shippers desiring to avail themselves of their right to the safe handling and transportation of their property by common carriers.
The matters set forth in these complaints are important both to the carriers and the general public, and we therefore promptly instituted a proceeding of investigation and inquiry, calling upon the Uniform Bill of Lading Committee and the carriers and other parties interested to appear before us and make full disclosure of the facts.
At a hearing held in Chicago during the present month a large number of witnesses representing the leading commercial organizations in the territory referred to appeared and gave testimony and submitted much documentary evidence in support of the complainants' contentions; but as the carriers' counsel were not then prepared to adduce evidence on behalf of the carriers the hearing was adjourned with the understanding that another hearing would be held at Washington on the 15th instant.
The carriers, as represented by the Uniform Bill of Lading Committee, subsequently issued notice that the time for the taking effect of the proposed new form of bill of lading, with the conditions and regulations therein specified, was postponed to April 1 next, to enable the Commission to satisfactorily complete its pending investigation and inquiry; and thereupon the hearing set for December 15 was continued to a date to be fixed later on by the Commission.
COMPLAINTS BEFORE THE COMMISSION.
Since the Seventeenth Annual Report of the Commission was submitted to Congress 487 complaints have been filed with the Commission for consideration and action. These cases include both formal and informal complaints as well as proceedings and investigations instituted upon
its own motion and two cases submitted to the Commission by agreement of the parties for investigation and determination of the questions in dispute. The number of formal cases and investigations instituted during the year was 62 and these involved directly the rates and practices of 302 carriers. Following is a brief statement of the complaints in formal proceedings docketed during the year, and the provisions of the law claimed to be violated:
No. 728. Overcharge on mixed carload shipment of lemons and pineapples from New Orleans, La., to Dallas, Tex.
No. 729. Discrimination against Cincinnati, Ohio, in rates on cotton piece goods shipped from points in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, in favor of points beyond Cincinnati. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 730. Unreasonable demurrage charge at Xenia, Ohio, on two carload shipments of oil from points in Pennsylvania. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 731. Discrimination against South Bend, Ind., in favor of Watseka, in rates on scrap iron from Gilman, Ill. Reparation claimed. Sections 1 and 3.
No. 732. Unreasonable advance on interstate shipments of live stock from points in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and Kansas to Kansas City, St. Joseph, South Omaha, St. Louis, Chicago, Fort Worth, New Orleans, Denver, and Pueblo. Reparation claimed. Sections 1 and 3.
No. 733. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of alleged unreasonable and unjustly discriminating switching charges on interstate shipments of grain from elevators in East St. Louis.
No. 734. Relative rates on shelled corn from Amity, Mo., to Pottsville, Iowa, as compared with rates from Wathena, Kans. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
No. 735. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of divisions of joint rates and other allowances to terminal railroads.
No. 736. Greater rate on bituminous coal in carloads from Norwood, N. Y., to Montpelier, Vt., when intended for commercial purposes than when intended for railroad supply. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 737. Unreasonable and discriminating rates through failure to allow carload rates on combined shipments of corn and oats from Blairstown, Iowa, to Chicago, Ill. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 738. Unlawful advance in rates on coal from San Antonio, N. Mex., to El Paso, Tex. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 6.
No. 739. Relative rates on carload shipments of hay from Pataskala, Ohio, to Wil mington and Greenville, N. C., as compared with rate from Columbus, Ohio. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 740. Unreasonable and excessive rate on carload shipment of hay from Summit, Ohio, to Lenoir, N. C., through failure to observe routing instructions. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 741. Discrimination in matter of arbitrary against Saginaw, Mich., in favor of Buffalo and Tonawanda, N. Y., on shipments of lumber to points in New Jersey. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 742. Relative rates on carload shipments of beer from Milwaukee, Wis., to Woodward, Okla., as compared with rates to Oklahoma City. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 3 and 6.
No. 743. Unreasonable rates on carload shipments of hay from Robinson and Lajunta, Colo., and Dodge City, Kans., to Marshall, Jefferson, and Kildare, Tex. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 744. Excessive terminal charge at Milwaukee, Wis., on shipments of bituminous coal from Ohio and West Virginia mines. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 745. Greater rates on bituminous coal from the mines at Bluefield, W. Va., and Virginia City, Va., for the shorter distance to Farmville, Va., than for the longer distance to Petersburg, Va. Sections 1, 3 and 4.
No. 746. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of differential freight rates to and from North Atlantic ports.
No. 747. Greater rates on coal from the Clearfield district, in Pennsylvania, for the shorter distance to Windsor Locks, Conn., than for the longer distance to Springfield, Mass. Sections 1, 3 and 4.
No. 748. Discrimination in supplying cars for shipment of grain from Leipsic, Ohio, to various markets. Reparation claimed. Section 3.
No. 749. Investigation by agreement of the parties in the matter of freight rates from Memphis, Tenn., to points in Arkansas, and in the matter of rates on cotton from points in Arkansas to Memphis.
No. 750. Unreasonable rates on paper through failure to allow carload rates on combined shipment to the same consignee. Sections 1 and 2.
No. 751. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of charges for the transportation and refrigeration of fruit shipped from points on the Pere Marquette and Michigan Central railroads.
No. 752. Inves’ igation by the Commission in the matter of the transportation of freight by common carriers in cars not owned by said common carriers.
No. 753. Gre ter rates on rye from East St. Louis, Ill., for the shorter distance to Owensboro, K y., than for the longer distance to Louisville, and unreasonable as compared with the rate on wheat and corn. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
No. 754. Unreasonable delay in transit of carload shipments of coal from Bluefield, W. Va., to Norfolk, Va., and unjust demurrage charge at destination. Reparation claimed. Sections 2 and 3.
No. 755. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of rates, facilities, and practices applied by carriers in the transportation of cattle from producing, grazing, and feeding sections west of the Mississippi River.
No. 756. Greater rates on oats and rye in carloads for the shorter distance from Wyaconda, Mo., to Chicago, Ill., than for the longer distance from Kansas City to Chicago. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
No. 757. Unreasonable rates on hay from East St. Louis, Ill., to points in States south of Kentucky and Virginia and east of the Mississippi River. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 758. Unreasonable rates on hay from South Solon, Ohio, to Winifrede Junction, W. Va., as compared with published rate to Gauley, W. Va. Reparation claimed. Sections 1 and 6.
No. 759. Unreasonable and unjust rates on whisky from New York, Boston, Pittsburg, Buffalo, and other points to Pacific coast terminals, as compared with rates on alcohol, high wines, etc. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 760. Investigation by the Commission in the matter of rates on boots and shoes from points in Massachusetts to East St. Louis.
No. 761. Unreasonable and unjust rates on petroleum grease from Warren, Oil City, and Pittsburg, Pa., to Boston and Boston points, as compared with rates on grease not otherwise specified. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 762. Unreasonable and unjust rates on stick tan bark from Wayne, W. Va., to Columbus, Ohio, as compared with the rate to Pearisburg, Va. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 763. Unreasonable demurrage charge on shipments of hay at Wilmington, N. C., and Quitman, Ga. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 764. Unreasonable demurrage charge on shipment of hay at Dawson, Ga. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 765. Unreasonable demurrage charge on shipment of hay at Mahanoy City, Pa. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 766. Unreasonable demurrage charge on shipment of hay at Spartanburg, S. C. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 767. Unreasonable rates on flour from St. Louis, Mo., Ava and Cairo, Ill., and Evansville, Ind., to Gordo, Ala. Section 1.
No. 768. Unreasonable and unjust rates on egg coal from Williamson and East Williamson, W. Va., to Alexandria, Ind., via Valley Crossing and Fostoria, Ohio, as compared with rate between said points via Columbus, Ohio. Reparation claimed. Section 1.
No. 769. Discrimination in supplying sidetrack connections at mines near Barnesville, Ohio. Section 3.
No. 770. Unreasonable and prejudicial rates on canned goods, grain, flour, hay, and packing-house products from Cincinnati, Ohio, and Memphis, Tenn., to Helena and McRae, Ga., as compared with the rates to Cordele and Fitzgerald, Ga. Sections 1 and 3.
No. 771. Unreasonable and unjust rates on corn products from Beatrice, Nebr., to Pacific coast terminals, as compared with rates on whole corn. Sections 1 and 3.
No. 772. Unreasonable rates on cotton goods from Warrenville, Graniteville, and Vaucluse, S. C., and Augusta, Ga., to New York, N. Y. Sections 1 and 3.
No. 773. Excessive and prejudicial rates on holly from Potecasi, N. C., to Pittsburg, Pa. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 3 and 6.
No. 774. Unreasonable and unjust freight rates from Boston, Mass., Providence, R. I., New York, N. Y., Philadelphia, Pa., and Baltimore, Md., to Aiken, Graniteville, Langley, and Blackville, S. C., as compared with rates to Augusta, Ga. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
No. 775. Unreasonable and unjust rates on grain intended for export from Peabody, McPherson, Hutchinson, Wichita, Wellington, Newton, Florence, Winfield, and Arkansas City, Kans., to Galveston, Gainesville, and Fort Worth, Tex., as compared with rates from other Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois points. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4.
No. 776. Prejudicial and unreasonable rates on lapped lumber from Chauncey, Ga., to Portsmouth, Va. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 777. Unreasonable proportional rate from Little Rock to Hope, Ark., on through shipments of flour from Lamar, Mo., to Hope, Ark. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2 and 3.
No. 778. Discrimination in supplying switch connections for shipment of coal from mines near Belington, W. Va. Section 3.
No. 779. Excessive and unjust rates on hay from Johnstown, Ind., to Charleston, S. C. Reparation claimed. Sections 2 and 6.
No. 780. Excessive and prejudicial rates on cotton seed from Shreveport and points north thereof in Louisiana to Texarkana, Ark. Reparation claimed. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 6.
No. 781. Discrimination in rates on coal from Glasgow, Pa., to points in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, and other New England States by means of special rates, rebates, or drawbacks. Reparation claimed. Sections 2, 3 and 6.