Page images
PDF
EPUB

1905 .All

HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE

OF THE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

ON

H. R. 10431, 6273, 6768, 7640, 10008, 11434, 11594,

12767, 13778, 15600, 16301,

TO AMEND THE INTERSTATE-COMMERCE LAW.

1

HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOR

EIGN COMMERCE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PROPOSED ENLARGEMENT OF THE POWERS OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION.

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-
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bacon.

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 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 authorizing 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

3

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 Congresssecured 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 others 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 having been presented in about three weeks, during the month of April, and hearings held open for nearly

« PreviousContinue »