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benefited by the advance of Macon rates.
* Analyzing the proposition of the complainant, made, it seems to me in disregard of the dissimilar circumstances and conditions existing at Macon, it would, if successfully maintained, result in the destruction of the immense wholesale and retail commerce of Macon upon which thousands depend for their daily livelihood, which serves a vast territory, and the increment of which adds thousands annually to the aggregate wealth of the State, in order to give a possible benefit to a few Griffin merchants. Even this advantage to the merchants of Griffin is scarcely more than problematical. Griffin, with equal rates, could not successfully compete with Macon, unless it could approximate its large supply of capital, so essential to modern commerce.
The effect on the defendant company would also be damaging, perhaps incalculably so,
how stands the trivial and problematical advantage which Brewer & Hanleiter, and perhaps other Griffin merchants, might obtain by increasing the Macon rates, when compared to the stupendous disadvantage which would almost certainly result to the latter community and to one of its principal railroads, if the competition of carrier with carrier and market with market, ever present there, should be ignored by the courts? Shall the authorities of government have no concern for the safety of millions of capital invested or accumulated through long years of enterprise and diligent business exertion by the people of the latter city? Shall the millions they have invested in railroads from their own means, to afford to the State great systems of transportation, result in their ruin? Shall government undertake the impossible, but injurious
task of making the commercial advantages of one place equal to those of another? It might as well attempt to equalize the intellectual powers of its people. There should be no attempt to deprive a community of its natural advantages, or those legitimate rewards which flow from large investments, business industries, and competing systems of transportation to facilitate and increase commerce. The Act to regulate commerce has no such purpose, and yet this appears to be the inevitable result of the relief the complainants seek in this case. * * The application is for a temporary injunction, the first effect of which would be to immediately disorganize and disarrange the entire commerce of which Macon is the receiving and distributing point, with the more injurious consequences to which I have already adverted.”
No appeal was taken from this decision.
Spokane Falls Case.*
" The lesser charge upon which both the assumption of prefer
ence and discrimination is predicated is sanctioned by the statute." -Decision of the Supreme Court in the “Chattanooga" case.
* The Merchants' Union of Spokane Falls vs. The Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and the Union Pacific Railway Company; Interstate Commerce Commission (5 I. C. C. Rep. 478), decided November 28, 1892. Farmers' Loan & Trust Company vs. Northern Pacific Railway Company, in re Holly et al.; Circuit Court, District of Washington, Northern Division (83 Fed. Rep. 249), decided October 16, 1897.
The original complaint in this case was filed with the Commission on April 2, 1889, and the Commission's decision was rendered on November 28, 1892, three years, seven months and twenty-six days thereafter. Application to the Circuit Court to enforce the order was made sometime in 1894, and the decision of that Court, refusing to enforce the Commission's order, was rendered on October 16, 1897.
The complainants before the Commission charged that rates to Spokane Falls were unreasonable in themselves and also so adjusted with relation to the rates to Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Ellensburg and Missoula as to discriminate unjustly against Spokane Falls. It was also claimed that the practice of carrying traffic through Spokane Falls to Portland, Tacoma and Seattle for lower rates than were charged for contemporaneous shipments of similar freight destined to Spokane Falls constituted a violation of the long and short haul clause. The defendants denied all the allegations of injustice and asserted that the through rates to Portland, Tacoma and Seattle were forced by competition, both by ocean carriers and by the Canadian Pacific Railway, which did not exist at Spokane Falls. The Commission concluded that this competition was actual and sufficient in force to create substantially dissimilar circumstances and conditions within the meaning of the law. On this point the Commission said:
“The circumstances and conditions under which through transportation is effected over the lines of the Northern Pacific to its western terminals are substantially different from those attending like transportation to Spokane, such dissimilarity consisting in the competition at these terminal points of carriers not subject to the Act. To what extent this competition is created by the rates made and traffic secured by the Canadian Pacific road does not very clearly appear. The known facts concerning that road, however, are not wanting in significance. It is a foreign railroad, chartered and subsidized by a foreign government and not directly amenable to the regulating authority of Congress. It extends entirely across the continent at no great distance from our Northern border, and is so located and connected with domestic lines as to constitute a prominent factor in all questions of transportation between the eastern and western sections of the United States, constrained to hold that water competition of controlling force, and affecting a variety of traffic important in character and amount, actually exists at these several terminals, and that such competition taken in connection with the competitive position and attitude of the Canadian Pacific road, justifies the defendants in accepting less compensation on eastern shipments to the cities of Portland, Tacoma and Seattle than they may lawfully charge on like shipments to the intermediate city of Spokane.”
The Commission, however, was of the opinion that some of the rates to the Pacific coast cities named were lower than was necessary to prevent the business going to ocean carriers and took the interesting position that to proportion the charges on articles not likely, in any event, to be carried by water to those made necessary by water competition for articles that could easily be diverted to the ocean routes is not permissible under the law. The logical result of this position would have been an order requiring advances in many of the rates to the cities indicated. The Commission said:
“Nothing but the stress of unavoidable competition can legalize the inequality resulting from higher rates for shorter than for longer hauls. It is evident, therefore, that no article should be carried to terminal points at commodity rates, which if the class rates were imposed, would still seek rail rather than water transportation. *
* Theoretically it would be suitable to examine the entire list of commodities with the view of ascertaining which of them in fact are practically adapted to ocean carriage, and to restrict the defendants in making lower terminal rates to such articles as are actually subject to water competition.”
The conclusion that competition justified lower rates on certain articles when shipped to the Pacific coast than when shipped to Spokane Falls, did not, in the view of the Commission, warrant the adjustment which it found to exist. The rates to Spokane Falls were declared to be excessive by comparison with these applied to traffic not subject to water competition, although destined to coast points. The rates on the several “classes” of freight (articles not taking special