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HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOR
EIGN COMMERCE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON
FRIDAY, December 9, 1904. The committee met at 11 o'clock a. m., Hon. W. P. Hepburn in the chair.
STATEMENT OF MR. E. P. BACON.
Mr. Bacon. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee--
Mr. Bacon. I appear before you in behalf of the commercial organizations of the country representing various branches of trade and of industry, to the number of 424, of the committee representing which I have the honor to be chairman, for the purpose of urging that the legislation which has been before Congress for so long a time, the amendment of the interstate-commerce act for the purpose of giving it effectiveness by enlarging the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission, be expedited to the utmost possible extent. The legislation has now been before Congress for five years, having first come through the bill known as the Cullom bill, which was introduced in December, 1899, and failed of passage. That was a Senate bill and was reported to the Senate adversely by a majority of 1, and failed of action in that Congress. In the next Congress the committee which I represent secured the introduction of a modified bill.
I will say in the first place that this committee advocated the passage of the Cullom bill during that Congress, but in the next session a modified bill was presented, in view of the fact that a number of the provisions of the Cullom bill were seriously objected to by one and another.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me interrupt you. The bill that you referred to as the Cullom bill was the one that contained the provision author izing pooling?
Mr. Bacon. That did not contain any provision authorizing pooling. I will come, very shortly, to the bill that did contain that. The bill that succeeded that, which was advocated by this committee, was known as the Nelson-Corliss bill, and it contained less than half of the provisions previously contained.
Mr. RICHARDSON. 'The Nelson-Corliss bill?
Mr. Bacon. The Nelson-Corliss bill, introduced in the Senate by Senator Nelson and by Mr. Corliss in the House, he being a member of this committee at that time. That contained less than half of the
provisions contained in the other. At the same time the Elkins bill was
introduced in the Senate. That was in 1901, the first session of the Fifty-seventh Congress, that bill having been prepared directly and drawn personally by the general counsel of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Mr. Logan, who is now dead. That bill, together with the NelsonCorliss bill, was before the Senate at the same time, and a duplicate of that bill was subsequently introduced in the House in the latter part of the same session of Congress. That bill contained a pooling clause, and it was before the Senate during that Congress, and the final result was that simply one section of that bill was reported, with some modification, which was passed, and which is known as the Elkins act, which provided extreme penalties for the violation of the prohibitions of the interstate-commerce act against individual discriminations.
Mr. Esch. What kind of discriminations?
Mr. Bacon. Individual discriminations--discriminations between individuals and corporations. But it had no bearing whatever upon discriminations between localities or between different descriptions of traffic. That portion of the bill was passed and has been productive of immense good. It has been surprising, in fact, to me to what an extent that bill has been complied with by the transportation companies, and in fact our committee has been unable to trace any violation of that bill of any consequence. There have been some devices for defeating it by the establishment of side tracks, which are called railroads, so that on a division with the railroads they get an undue proportion, and by that means obtaining personal discriminations, personal favors, and personal advantages. But the Commission, after hearing some cases in that direction, have already taken steps to prevent that evasion of the law.
In the present Congress, the first session of the present Congress, our committee secured the introduction of a bill based upon the Elkins bill. The Elkins bill, I will say, in addition to having been framed by the general counsel of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was amended at the suggestion of our committee by the counsel and the amendment approved by President Cassatt, and our committee then adopted it as a substitute for the Nelson-Corliss bill and joined with the railways to secure its
passage. But on the failure of that bill our committee in the next Congress-that is, the first session of the present Congress-secured the introduction of what is known as the Quarles-Cooper bill. It is simply a redraft of the revised Elkins bill, revised as I have described, and eliminating the pooling section. That bill contains a pooling section, drawn with great care, putting all rates fixed by pools or the Traffic Association under the direct supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission. But the commercial organizations of the country almost unanimously disapproved of pooling. Very few of them favored it and other's favored the establishment of traffic associations without, however, the pooling provision. But a great majority, probably nine-tenths--more than that, in fact—are opposed to pooling, and are opposed to the application of pooling in any form, even in the form of traffic associations. Consequently that was considered in redrawing the bill and presenting it in its present form.
That is one of the bills now before this committee. Extensive hearings were held on the Nelson-Corliss bill in April, 1902, this committee devoting some two or three months to its consideration, the commercial organization side of it baving been presented in about three weeks, during the month of April, and hearings held open for nearly
two months for the railway side to present their views in relation to it. The best talent, probably, of the railway systems of the country appeared before this committee and presented their objections to the bill, through Mr. Hines, counsel for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Mr. Grover, counsel for the Great Northern; Mr. Blythe, counsel for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and Mr. Bird, who was vice president and traffic manager of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, and appeared in behalf of the Northwestern roads in general. So that the subject appears to have been exhaustively presented before the committee on both sides.
The committee which I represent does not desire to present anything further in the case on its side but desires, on the other hand, that the bill be expedited to the utmost possible extent and holds that any further hearings, in its judgment, are wholly unnecessary on either side. However, we do not assume to dictate to the committee as to whether they are satisfied with the hearings or not. But so far as we are concerned we waive any claim to further hearings and desire to aid in every way in expediting the legislation. We feel that the subject has been so long before Congress and we have expended so much time in the advocacy of it and in the solution of the question, before Congress and before the committees of Congress and before the public, that it is time we reached some definite result; either that the matter should be disposed of by dropping it or that it be pushed to a successful issue. That is all, gentlemen, that I wish to offer this morning.
Mr. CUSHMAN. What is the name of this organization that you represent?
Mr. Bacon. It is the interstate-commerce law convention.
Mr. Bacon. The first convention was held in November, 1900, and a second convention in last October. The first convention appointed an executive committee, of which I had the honor to be chairman, and that committee proceeded under the general instructions of that convention during the interval between that and the second convention, a period of nearly four years, and at the second convention the executive committee that had previously represented the organization was reappointed, with the exception of some of the members, who were excused or were dropped, and some new members appointed.
Mr. CushMAN. Will you state, in a general way, what the general purposes of the organization are?
Mr. Bacon. The sole purposes of the organization—it is hardly proper to call it an organization, because it was merely a convention of representatives or delegates from the various commercial organizations of the country. The first one held at St. Louis in November, 1900, consisted of delegates from only 41 commercial organizations.
Mr. CUSHMAN. What are the purposes of the organization, primarily, that you represent?
Mr. Bacon. The purposes of the commercial organizations or of this interstate-commerce law organization.
Mr. CUSHMAN. The purposes of the convention.
purpose of that convention was to secure the amendment of the interstate commerce act for the purpose of giving it greater effectiveness, by means of enlarging the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. CUSHMAN. How many conventions have you held?
Mr. Bacon. Only two conventions; one in 1900 and one in 1904.
Mr. Bacon. I think the number present at the first convention was about seventy, representing about forty or forty-one commercial organizations.
Mr. CUSHMAN. And how many were present at the second convention?
Mr. BACON. At the second convention there were present 306, representing 170 commercial organizations. In the meantime, there has been correspondence going on on the part of this committee, which was appointed by the first convention, with all the various commercial organizations of the country, presenting the matter for their consideration, and one after another has joined in the movement by the passage of resolutions favoring the proposed legislation and urging their representatives in Congress to advocate it.
Mr. CUSHMAN. Now, does the work of your convention, or your delegates, your organization, consist chiefly in presenting the views of commercial organizations that are sent to you?
Mr. Bacon. That is it, exactly; yes, sir. The commercial organizations act through this committee.
Mr. CUSHMAN. Is a part of the work of your committee to help create sentiment in favor of this legislation?
Mr. Bacon. It might, perhaps, be so regarded. The effort has been to ascertain the sentiment of commercial organizations, and to suggest that such of them as favored this legislation join in the effort to promote it.
Mr. CUSHMAN. I receive a good deal of literature in my mail, from various organizations-independent organizations which seems to have emanated from one source. It does not seem to be always an independent expression of the views of the different people, but the signatures seem to be affixed to something that has been presented to them for signature.
Mr. Bacon. This committee has not issued anything of that character. It has suggested to the commercial organizations with which it has had correspondence that if they desire this legislation they should take the matter up in their own way with their respective Represen. tatives in Congress, and that has been done to a very large extent.
Mr. CUSHMAN. You are aware, are you not, that there are a number of new members on this committee who have never been present when this subject has been on for hearing before this committee?
Mr. Bacon. I am aware of that; yes, sir. I understand that there are seven new members.
Mr. Esch. Does this organization represent all parts of the country, geographically speaking?
Mr. Bacon. They represent every part of the country. They represent organizations located in 44 different States and Territories, covering all branches of trade. There is not any one branch that seems to be any more interested in it than another. It originated with the milling interests six years ago, through the National Millers’ Association, and it was followed in the first place by a convention that was held at Chicago' in 1899 by representatives of national commercial organizations who indorsed the Cullom bill and recommended its passage to Congress, and that convention was followed by the first interstate commerce law convention in the following year.