Page images
PDF
EPUB

Not all railways can carry upon like terms, any With something of strange inconsistency, these more than can the steamboat and the wheelbarrow. gentlemen who purpose the absolute dependence Yet the most radical attorneys for State control of railways upon legislative bodies complain of maintain that all should receive “a liberal com the political corruption growing out of their semipensation, wear and tear, repair, and interest on dependence. Even Congress is invited to the capital; but all beyond this is mere lawless rob. supervision of inter-State lines. Is it wise? By bery." If, however, the State establish “uniform some law of affinity, this issue and corruption ratés" so “liberal" that the weak lines live well, seem to combine. the strong will fatten beyond their present Is it clear, this right of Congress to lay hand “bloated" estate, and the class miscalled “the upon the throttle-valves of the country? Is the people" will exchange their present fancy sleeve- constitutional clause, “ right to regulate commerce crape for full sackcloth and ashes. On the other between the States," positive authority to impose hand, if the State act fairly and schedule to one commercial plans upon the States, or only someat three cents the service which another performs thing in the line of veto power, admitting interat two, it does that which its self-retained attor- ference simply to prevent one State impeding the neys now cite as the most odious feature of cor commerce of other States seeking transit through it? porate conduct-it “ bases tariffs on what the At the sacrifice of harmony, the distinguished traffic will bear;"' it “discriminates."

Pennsylvanian before quoted herein seems to lean Such is the dilemma led to by the logic of to the latter view. He asks, “Is Congress not “liberal compensation" for all by law. And if it strictly within the scope of that authority [-right place rates so “uniformly'' low that only the | to regulate commerce between the States'] when strong can live, the weak must die, and again it makes a law forbidding carriers through the “sackcloth” will symbolize the public feeling. State to injure, impede, or destroy the general trade How is it more just that legislation “discriminate" of the country. by extravagant and discriminating between railways than that railways discriminate charges ?"

. between towns and between shippers? Or, is the The right of “forbidding' is purely the right principle by which, as the indictment runs, cor- of veto, not of original direction. Unless, howporations sometimes graduate rates by “what the ever, the State lay sticks in the way of free transtraffic will bear," improved if the State graduate i portation, “the general trade of the country" rates by what the roads will bear? Corporations will not be “injured, impeded, or destroyed." are but men, and in the eye of the law the servant for transportation always transports. It needs no is on a par with his patron. What one may receive i insurance against suicide. Its profit lies in proand live is no fairer measure of wages than what moting, not “ impeding' trade. Whatever is free one may pay and live. Still, another Anti-Mo- is not hindered, and the railway's freedom helps nopoly chief prints his opinion that “charges the purpose of its existence. If “impediments" should be based upon cost of service." Why come needing the Congressional veto, they will cost rather than value? This, also, would compel wear the likeness of legislation, not of corporate “discrimination" between lines. It would cut effort. The clause in question seems rather to off those frequent railway contributions to the have been designed as an inter-State remedy-as public wherein railways carry below cost rather a peace-maker between States—than for encroachthan not carry at all. They are better economists ment upon individual or corporate enterprise. than many individuals—they keep busy at small | And, touching this point, the unanimous opinion pay rather than stand idle at no pay. Nor is it of the United States Supreme Court stands in unworthy of consideration at this point, that large these words: improvements depend upon large profits. The “The power to regulate commerce among the public of shippers and travelers demand the former, several States was vested in Congress in ordet to therefore they must yield the latter. They do not secure equality and freedom in commercial interwish the trunk line to become as the backwoods course against discriminating State legislation. It branch whose income exhibits but the margin of a was never intended that the power should be so modest living above “cost." And, as a rule, exercised as to interfere with private contracts not large profits have afforded the public large im- designed at the time they were made to create provements.

impediments to such intercourse."

If, also, as by the theory of the “reformers," the that if maximum rates are fixed for the benefit of railways belong to the States wherein they have a the public, the railroads will suffer; and if they local habitation, can Congress rightfully direct the are fixed for the rai!roads, the public will be no use of such property? The ground assumed for better off than at present.” State control defeats national control.

The author of the Inter-State Commerce bill But, admitting control by the general Govern- also condensed this late, and probably future, ment, what are the probabilities of purity! Al- effort into these words: ready, all the way from ward caucus to Congress, “It is proposed to declare that railroads shall corruption is said to keep tavern. Will its guests not have the power to charge one person more grow less by clothing every ballot in the country than another; to prohibit the pooling of freights with a bearing on the value of every share of by otherwise competing railroads, and thus give railway stock in the country? What will be the the public all the advantages of fair competition, effect as this power condenses into the hands of a and to limit the power of railroads to discrimi-. Congressional commission, with authority to pre-nate between places.". scribe all tariffs ? When a vote is worth a million I have already covered the main points of this dollars, how many men who seek office will shun bill, aiming to show why one person and one the market ? If corrupt relations now exist be- place may fairly enjoy lighter rates than do others. tween corporations and people, both deserve pun- | And to prohibit pooling will avail but little. Tacit ishment. But to reduce the tolls of the bribed understanding to collect like tariffs between the community is to reward the recipient at the ex- same places will accomplish substantially the object pense of the giver. And if bribery exists among of pooling. legislators, will it be lessened by increasing their Any plan of supervision by Congress must also temptations? The business is not to be bank- involve an executive commission, or a department rupted in that way. So long as merchantable men head and a corps of subordinates. The favorite are foisted into office, they will be likely to find a thought at times has been the granger method of market. If the venality of the few whom the the West,—to place the detail of rates and enpeople recklessly permit to manage politics is not forcement along individual lines with a commisthe primary course of all legislative corruption, sion of nine, one from each judicial circuit. In at least complete cure would come with the expul- such case, a majority would probably constitute a sion of the venal from political management. business quorum, and the majority of the quorum Money cannot buy that which is not for sale. It would control action. Practically, then, three takes two to achieve bribery. There is a beam in men might dictate the income of seven or eight the eye that is looking for a mote.

billions of capital they did not own. How many The confessions of the leader in Congress for political trios bless the country with virtues so railway regulation by that body are valuable as athletic as to throw away this gorgeous temptabeing those of a student of transportation, and as tion, is a very pretty problem for the “reformers." being adverse to most of the theorists who aim at Railways, left to themselves, contend for indihis mark. From the Tribune's report of Convidual superiority; but, driven together into a gressman Reagan's remarks before the mass-meet single herd, naturally they will contend against ing called by the Anti-Monopoly League at New the driver; individual ambition to excel must be York in February last, it appears that he made the lost in a common ambition to outgeneral their following statements:

common enemy. Nor does it appear that the “Several remedies have been proposed in Con- result of conflict between political management gress for restraining the power of corporations, and universal business interests would be doubtful and among other things the establishment of reg- unless Congress should attempt to compel stated ular freight rates have been contemplated. This and ample operation of roads. For let but the plan has been considered impracticable as tho. inter-State lines run all their locomotives into dryroughly injurious to the corporations and ulti- dock for thirty days, and popular demand for mately so to the public. It has then been instant return to the present “robber system" suggested to fix maximum rates for inter-State would be intense and universal. commerce. But upon consideration it appears! My conclusion is that all effort to arbitrarily

legislate our vast railway interests into subjection to follow the old Windom committee into State to the will of an opposing interest is weak and or national construction, or purchase, of one or temporizing, and its end must be failure. The more trunk lines between the productive great theory runs counter to the democratic principle of West and the consuming, exporting East ; that is, the largest possible liberty to all to do what they if these political powers are certain that such work will with their own, short of obstruction to others falls within their legitimate functions. And if of like will. Present effort is planing the plank they may assert control in full of old roads they against the grain. Its surface will never be other may build new ones. Indeed, if they assume the than slivered, and the hands that lay hold of it former task, they must soon undertake the latter, will bleed. Conceive of Government having ac- for private capital will not long continue to build complished thirty years ago the control now roads to be operated by public freak. applied for! To-day, national development would Neither method, however, would effect complete wear a pauper cast compared with its actual ele- cure of transportation complaints; the numerous gance. For the railway is the drive-wheel to wide lateral lines would still remain their own managers, development; but private enterprise ends where But either plan would secure to the trunk line public tyranny begins. When to put capital into traffic, without arbitrary intervention, the only railway construction is to put it beyond personal principle which guarantees low rates, rapid transit, control, it will be put elsewhere.

and maximum convenience-the principle of com. Possibly there are two approaches to permanent petition. Competition is satisfaction. Any State attainment of the ends sought by the complainants.or national effort which leaves this out is a failure. One is that they construct roads which will not And coercive measures will so cross the spirit of pool or discriminate, or otherwise work for the the Republic that they cannot live under it; the stockholders, but will gratefully sacrifice private vast commerce of the country will not kick down interest to public clamor. The other approach is the ladder of ties it has climbed by and stands upon.

ANOTHER WORLD DOWN HERE.

By W. M, Williams.

What a horrible place must this world appear cabbage butterfly and the wide-awake dragon-fly, when regarded according to our ideas from an or the twenty-five thousand possessed by certain insect's point of view! The air infested with species of still more vigilant beetles. huge flying hungry dragons, whose gaping and Each of these little eyes has its own cornea, its snapping mouths are ever intent upon swallowing lens, and a curious six-sided, transparent prism, the innocent creatures for whom, according to at the back of which is a special retina spreading the insect, if he were like us, a properly con out from a branch of the main optic nerve, which, structed world ought to be exclusively adapted. in the cockchafer and some other creatures, is The solid earth continually shaken by the ap- half as large as the brain. If each of these proaching tread of hideous giants-moving moun- lenses forms a separate picture of each object tains that crush out precious lives at every footstep, rather than a single mosaic picture, as some anatan occasional draught of the blood of these mon omists suppose, what an awful army of cruel giants sters, stolen at life-risk, affording but poor com- must the cockchafer behold when he is captured pensation for such fatal persecution.

by a schoolboy ! Let us hope that the little victims are less like The insect must see a whole world of wonders ourselves than the doings of ants and bees might of which we know little or nothing. True, we lead us to suppose; that their mental anxieties have microscopes, with which we can see one are not proportionate to the optical vigilance in- thing at a time if carefully laid upon the stage; dicated by the four thousand eye-lenses of the but what is the finest instrument that Ross can common house-fly, the seventeen thousand of the produce compared to that with twenty-five thou

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

sand object-glasses, all of them probably achro- the drum or tube, the higher will be the note it matic, and each one a living instrument with its produces when agitated, and the smaller and the own nerve branch supplying a separate sensation ? more rapid the aerial wave to which it will reTo creatures thus endowed with microscopic vis- spond. The drums of insect ears, and the tubes, ion, a cloud of sandy dust must appear like an etc., connected with them, are so minute that

their world of sounds probably begins where ours ceases; that what appears to us as a continuous sound is to them a series of separated blows, just as vibrations of ten or twelve per second appear separated to us. We begin to hear such vibrations

as continuous sounds when THE RED ANT.

they amount to about thirty

per second. The insect's avalanche of massive rock fragments, and every- | continuous sound probably begins beyond three thing else proportionally monstrous.

thousand. The blue-bottle may thus enjoy a One of the many delusions engendered by our whole world of exquisite music of which we know human self-conceit and habit of considering the nothing. world as only such as we know it from our human There is another very suggestive peculiarity in point of view, is that of supposing human intelli the auditory apparatus of insects. Its structure gence to be the only kind of intelligence in ex- and position are something between those of an istence. The fact is, that what we call the lower ear and of an eye. Careful exanination of the animals have special intelligence of their own as head of one of our domestic companions—the far transcending our intelligence as our peculiar i common cockroach or black-beetle—will reveal reasoning intelligence exceeds theirs. We are as two round white points, somewhat higher than the incapable of following the track of a friend by base of the long outer antennæ, and a little nearer the smell of his footsteps as a dog is of writing a to the middle line of the head. These white prometaphysical treatise.

jecting spots are formed by the outer transparent So with insects. They are probably acquainted with a whole world of physical facts of which we are utterly ignorant. Our auditory apparatus supplies us with a knowledge of sounds. What are these sounds ? They are vibrations of matter which are capable of producing corresponding or sympathetic vibrations of the drums of our ears or the bones of our skull. When we carefully examine the subject, and count the number of vibrations that produce our world of sounds of varying pitch, we find that the human ear can only respond to a limited range of such vibrations. ! If they exceed three thousand per second, the

ANT BENDING. sound becomes too shrill for average people to hear it, though some exceptional ears can take up membrane of a bag or ball filled with fluid, which pulsations or waves that succeed each other more ball or bag rests inside another cavity in the head. rapidly than this.

It resembles our own eye in having this external Reasoning from the analogy of stretched strings transparent tough membrane which corresponds to and membranes, and of air vibrating in tubes, the cornea ; which, like the cornea, is backed by etc., we are justified in concluding that the smaller the fluid in the ear-ball corresponding to our eye

[graphic]
[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »