Page images
PDF
EPUB

the privilege of charging every other man a dollar and a half a ton on his ice.

Mr. Mann. Was it not in the contract with the railroad company, was there not a requirement that he should ice those cars when they needed to be iced ?

Mr. MEAD. I have no doubt of that.
Mr. Mann. He could not do as he pleased about it?
Mr. MEAD. Absolutely as he pleased.
Mr. Mann. By breaking his contract!

Mr. MEAD. He would not have to break the contract. It is very easy for him to forget and let a car go through without being iced. It has been done by competitors, and the car would go to its destination in a worthless condition.

Mr. RICHARDSON. From your statement about the matter is it not manifest that Armour & Co. were carrying that freight from Georgia cheaper than other railroad freights were carried? If not, why did they not go and seek the other railroads which were not under contract with Armour?

Mr. MEAD. There are no other railroads going out of there.
Mr. RICHARDSON. He has got them all ?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; Armour & Co. have exclusive contracts with every railroad bringing peaches out of Georgia.

Mr. RICHARDSON. You mean that the railroads go and agree upon a price, and then they bring those peaches out all for the same charge?

Mr. MEAD. The railroads have nothing to do with Armour's charge. Mr. RICHARDSON. He has got all the railroads?

Mr. MEAD. All of the railroads bringing the peaches out of Georgia; but they have nothing to do with the Armour charge whatever.

Mr. RICHARDSON. He pays the railroads whatever he pleases and fixes the charge!

Mr. Mead. I do not think you understand the working of it.
Mr. RICHARDSON. I think I do.
Mr. MEAD. Possibly you do.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes.

Mr. MEAD. When we receive a carload of peaches, coming from Georgia, our freight bill is rendered to us, $90, $80, $50, $60, $70, making in all an aggregate of $350. When I send my check to the Boston and Albany Railroad they take out their part and pass over to Armour the balance. I have no means of knowing what Armour's charge was. As a matter of fact, on this carload that I spoke of, there was an overcharge of $3.50 on that car. They rendered me an extra bill afterwards of $5. They said: “Mr. Mead, this extra $5 is because the car was diverted." Finally Armour admitted that that was wrong, and they remitted $5 to me.

What we complain of is that we have no way of knowing the charge. Armour files no price list and no tariff with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and I do not believe that since the Elkins bill was passed these charges have been legally collected. I do not believe that they can charge any more than the tariff filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission. I believe that we can collect those charges.

But the freight charge from Georgia is one question and the Armour bill is another thing entirely. We do not know how much

the charge will be on an Armour car. The rate to Boston is $60, and that is added to the freight charge, and they could overcharge me $25 if they saw fit. When my check goes to the railroad company that is taken out and passed over to Armour.

Mr. RICHARDSON. Do you mean to say that you can not protest against that bill?

M: MEAD. No, sir. Armour says, “ You pay that bill as it is; "and they order the railroad to collect it for them; and this case in Chicago shows this, that an Armour charge was put on a car of $25 for icing a car, and the freight was $35, and Armour went to the party and said, “ Unless you pay that freight charge you will not be allowed to have credit with the Illinois Central Railroad any longer.'

The man had paid all that he owed to the Illinois Central. lle had paid that bill. He said to him, I will have you taken off the list of shippers.”

Mr. TOWNSEND. Unless he paid the ice bill?
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.
Mr. Mann. And did they do it?

Mr. Mead. Yes, sir; the Illinois Central sent them a letter telling them that they would be taken off of the credit list if they did not, but when they found that Cohen would make a fight they changed that and allowed them to pay the freight bill separately.

The CHAIRMAN. You have spoken of $100 for icing. What would have been a legitimate charge for that service?

Mr. MEAD. Of course that would require a knowledge of the number of time the car was reiced en route from Missouri to Boston. If you mean the actual charge, that is one thing, and if you mean the charge made by Armour of $4 a ton or $2.50 a ton, it would of course make a difference. I should say that $35 or $40—$30 or $35 ought to cover the cost of icing that car.

The CHAIRMAN. And the rest was extortion!
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. ADAMSON. I want to understand your statement. As I understand it, you said in effect that you had a statement from the railroad commission of Georgia?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. Adamson. Stating that every railroad in and out of Georgia

Mr. Mead. Not every railroad.
Mr. ADAMSON. All those that handle peaches?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; four railroads handle the peaches from Georgia.

Mr. ADAMSON. Stating that they had contracts with Armour & Co. guaranteeing the exclusive privilege to use their cars furnished by them for hauling peaches out of Georgia ?

Mr. MBAD. Yes; and another reads this way: “No other cars will be allowed upon our line.” Those railroads are the Southern Railroad, the Central Railroad of Georgia, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Coast Line. Those are the four lines.

Mr. ADAMSON. In your associations, such as you and Mr. Bacon represent, do you have any lawyers among them?

Mr. MEAD. Do we have lawyers?
Mr. ADAMSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. MEAD. Not among our men of business.

Mr. ADAMSON. Do your associations employ lawyers?

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir; the National League of Commission Merchants had one employed in Chicago. We had one employed on the June case, and also for the October case.

Mr. Adamson. Do you not think that if you would employ as good lawyers as the railroads do to look after your interests you would make better progress in forcing existing interests to do what is right than you do?

Mr. MEAD. We find it pretty hard to make headway. Of course the railroads have legal talent employed by the year, and they have the best lawyers that they can get.

Mr. Adamson. They employ lawyers and go to the courts, and you demand of the Government to do your litigation?

Mr. MEAD. Not that. But if we have an Interstate Commerce Commission, supposed to represent the shippers and the public, we want that Commission to represent them and guard our interests.

Mr. Mann. You think that the Interstate Commerce Commission ought to be a very active prosecuting body, and also should be the judges of what should be done at the end of their prosecution?

Mr. MEAD. I do not know that the Cooper-Quarles bill embodies that, because the right is given the circuit court to revise. They can simply say, “ Pending the situation as it is to-day":

Mr. Mann. What right is given the circuit court under the Cooper-Quarles bill ?

Mr. MEAD. The right to pass on the fairness of a rate. I do not understand that that gives any right to the railroads, under that.

Mr. Mann. The rate goes into effect before the circuit court has a chance to pass upon it!

Mr. Mead. Yes, sir; they can upset that rate if there is any injustice being done a railroad. They can change it.

Mr. Mann. After a hearing?
Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir.
Mr. Mann. But the rate is in effect already.

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir. Why should we suffer for four or five years the way we have been doing

Mr. Bacon. The rate is not in effect, as you will recall. Mr. Mann. I mean that the rate is in effect at least sixty days after the order is promulgated.

Mr. Bacon. Thirty days is allowed for review. If no application is made for review, the order is in effect. If application is made for review, then sixty days are allowed. If in the meantime the circuit court reverses the order, that ends it.

Mr. Mann. Of course we all understand very well that the circuit courts of the United States, or any other courts, do not pass upon these great questions which may involve the fixing of rates over a whole territory, in sixty days' time. You say that it takes four years' time to settle one of these cases. Meanwhile a rate would be in effect. So that practically there is no appeal

Mr. MEAD. I say that the average case, after it has been passed upon favorably by the Commission and taken to the courts for the finding to be enforced—the average time to get a case through the courts is four years.

Mr. RICHARDSON. Right there; is it not a fact that the object that you have in view, and which these associations which you represent have in view, is to give effectiveness to legislation now existing?

Mr. MEAD. Sure. That is the main object.
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is your object !
Mr. MEAD. Yes. We are not trying to upset any-

Mr. Mann. Just one question. The rate on first-class freight from Chicago to New York or from Chicago to Boston is the same, or what is the difference?

Mr. MEAD. I can not tell you.

Mr. MANN. It is the same. It is a little less to Philadelphia and a little less to Baltimore and a little less to Newport News, which are the great seaboard shipping points. Now, do you think that when a man brings a complaint in respect to the rate from New York to Chicago or from Chicago to New York that the Interstate Commerce Commission on that complaint not only ought to have the power to fix the rate from Chicago to New York, but at the same time to fix an increased rate from Chicago to Boston and a decreased rate from Chicago to Philadelphia and from Chicago to Balitmore and from Chicago to Newport News on all classes of freight?

Mr. MEAD. I do not know that the passage of this bill would change things in that regard. That is a question of differentials between those cities. I do not know that this affects their powers in that regard. That is an indirect matter and a matter upon which am not very well posted.

Mr. Mann. Do you believe that the Interstate Commerce Commission, on a complaint in reference to rates from Chicago to New York, ought to have the power to increase the railroad rate from Chicago to Boston and make the railroads charge a higher rate from Chicago to Boston than they do from Chicago to New York?

Mr. MEAD. I think if they did, if that bill was passed, they would soon find a complaint made to reduce it.

Mr. Mann. I asked a very simple question and I would like you to answer it. I think it is very important.

Mr. MEAD. It is an easy matter, of course, for the lawyers of this committee to frame these hypothetical questions and put them to us business men, and upon the spur of the moment we can not consider them in all their bearings.

Mr. Mann. I do not wish to embarrass you.

Mr. MEAD. I am not a railroad man or a railroad attorney, of course, and I am very careful about answering those hypothetical questions. They may be designed to draw a special line of answers

Mr. Mann. That is designed for getting information from a man who has studied the subject. I would like to have your opinion. If you have not an opinion, I do not wish to press you. I would like to have your opinion as to whether the Interstate Commerce Commission, on a complaint concerning rates from Chicago to New York, should have the right on that complaint to say that the rate from Chicago to Boston is too low and to increase the rate from Chicago to Boston ?

Mr. MEAD. I do not see how they would have the power, on a specific complaint regarding rates from Chicago to New York, to do that. Mr. Mann. There is no doubt whatever that they would have the

H. Doc. 422, 58-3-45

power under the Cooper-Quarles bill. The question is whether they ought to have the power.

Mr. Mead. It seems to me that would be a specific complaint as to the rate between Chicago and New York, and not as between Chicago and Boston.

Mr. Bacon. The Commission certainly could not go outside of the complaint under the Cooper-Quarles bill.

Mr. Mead. I do not see how they could.

Mr. Mann. I have studied the Cooper-Quarles bill until I think I know as much about it as anybody else Mr. Bacon. Could they go outside of the complaint? Mr. Mann. It would permit anybody to intervene.

Mr. TOWNSEND. Would they not have to make a complaint and have hearings on that particular point you speak of!

Mr. MEAD. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. It is 12 o'clock. Mr. Dunnigan is here representing Mr.

Hearst, and he has a request to make on his behalf. Mr. DUNNIGAN. Mr. Hearst has a bill pending before the committee and wishes to appear before the committee and briefly present some original information on this, and also to have called some few people who wish to be heard on that bill and on the subject generally. He asks the committee if they will fix a time for that hearing.

Mr. RICHARDSON. We are looking into the whole subject, are we not! The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir; certainly.

Mr. DUNNIGAN. Then can you intimate when Mr. Hearst can appear and have his witnesses appear!

The CHAIRMAN. I have just learned that Mr. Spencer, who was to be here to-morrow, can not be here. Mr. Hearst would like to be heard before next week, if possible, when he has something else on his hands; and if the time is not limited he would like to begin next week.

Mr. FAULKNER. Mr. Spencer asked me to come down and state to the committee, Mr. Chairman, that he has been sick in bed for several days, and he said that he would report here this morning. He said that he would come, if it was the wish of the committee, to-morrow, and if it suited their convenience better; but he said that he was very weak and felt that he would hardly do himself justice, having just gotten out of bed, and if the time could be fixed on Thursday or Friday or any day thereafter, so that it would suit the convenience of the committee, he would prefer to appear then.

Mr. MANN. I do not know how far the committee will indulge me, but with the committee's consent I have quite a number of inquiries concerning the terms of this bill which I would like to have elucidated by Mr. Bacon, who I think is the best-posted man in this country on the bill.

The CHAIRMAN. We will go on, then, with this to-morrow, and if there is no objection the Chair would say in response to Mr. Hearst's suggestion that a week from to-day—Monday-we would be glad to hear him. And I would suggest that we hear Mr. Spencer on Wednesday.

Mr. LAMAR. The chairman of the State railroad commission of Georgia has written me a letter, which I received a short time ago, saying that a committee appointed by a commission that met at

« PreviousContinue »