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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.
Mr. Bacon. The 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. CUSHMAN. How many attended the first convention!
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 c mmercial organizations with which it has had correspondence that if t ey desire this legislation they should take the matter up in their own way with their respective Representatives 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.
Mr. Esch. Are these constituent bodies confined to shippers and manufacturers, or have you also bodies which represent consumers and the consuming class, which ultimately pay the tax?
Mr. Bacon. These organizations represent either mercantile bodies or manufacturing bodies, these bodies representing manufacturing organizations, but at the same time the State granges of several of the States have taken independent action in relation to it, and have added their influence in the effort to secure the legislation; but our organization represents solely the commercial interests-mercantile manufacturing interests.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Have you not also brought under your organization a number of what are commonly known as chambers of commerce?
Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir; those are classified among commercial organizations.
Mr. RICHARDSON. And they represent farmers and merchants, and so you have all those kinds of men as members?
Mr. Bacon. They generally represent only business men. In some instances the chambers of commerce do represent professional men.
Mr. RICHARDSON. They are from mercantile bodies, but they represent not only merchants, but they bring all classes of people together.
Mr. Bacon. To some extent; but they consist principally of merchants and manufacturers. The State grangers' association, the Patrons of Husbandry, you understand, of course, is a purely agricultural organization representing farmers. They constitute a membership, I am informed, of about 500,000, and they have for years, from year to year, taken action urging this legislation.
Mr. RICHARDSON. You do not pretend to say that all those other classes of people are not as much interested in the question of unjust freights?
Mr. Bacon. I do not say they are not just as much interested. In fact, I believe the consumers are more interested than any other class of people. And producers, also. They are directly affected by the rate of freight on their products from the points of production. The consumers, of course, are interested in all that they consume, and, in fact, commercial organizations are only indirectly interested, because what they pay in freight is passed over immediately in the price of their goods to those who use the goods, or, in the case of agricultural products, is taken right out of the price of the product which the farmer offers for sale.
Mr. CUSHMAN. I recently received in my mail a communication setting forth that some number of people and institutions, 12 or 13, I believe, who have heretofore approved of this legislation, now withdrew from your organization and wished their names to be stricken off of the petition. Do you know anything about that?
Mr. Bacon. There is only one case that has come to my knowledge, and I think if there were others they would have come to my knowledge. That was in reference to a purely private organization, and not in relation to a commercial organization at all. A publishing organization in New York was engaged in publishing a journal entitled Freight," a monthly journal. In obtaining subscriptions to their journal they used the name of the Merchants' Association of New York as having indorsed this legislation, as was the case. They were among the first who advocated the legislation, and among the most active. The officers of the association objected to that private organization using its name in their solicitation of subscriptions, and very properly; and the directors of that organization, at the solicitation of the president of one of the railways terminating in New York, wrote to this publishing company, who, in connection with obtaining subscriptions for their paper, also circulated a petition on their own account, and without the knowledge of our organization, for this legislation, which they sent around the country together with their paper for signatures. These merchants in New York, who had been appealed to by the president of this railway, requested the publishers of this paper to withdraw their signatures from the petition they had signed. That petition had no connection with this association or this movement. It was a purely private matter, and that effort was undoubtedly made for the purpose of promoting their private enterprise.
Mr. CUSHMAN. Are you engaged actively in any kind of business at this time that does large shipping?
Mr. Bacon. I am engaged in the grain business, as I have been for forty years, in the city of Milwaukee, in the receiving of grain on commission. I am not a shipper. I receive grain on consignment and sell it for the shippers, returning to them the proceeds, of course. But in the payment of freight charges on that business, the great injustice of freight charges attracted my attention, and naturally, for my interest, with those with whom I was doing business, I took up the subject, endeavoring, so far as I might be able to do so, to produce a rectification of these difficulties and injuries.
Mr. BURKE. Who issued the call for the first convention, held in 1900 ?
Mr. Bacon. The call for that convention was issued by the executive committee of the previous convention that I spoke of, which was held in 1899, of the national commercial organizations of the country, which was termed “The League of National Associations.” I was chairman of the executive committee of that organization.
Mr. BURKE. That was in 1900?
Mr. BURKE. In 1899. And that convention was held on call issued by you?
Nr. Bacon. That convention was held upon call issued by the National Millers' Association. The National Millers' Association had been at work for a year or two endeavoring to secure legislation, owing to the discrimination between rates on wheat and flour.
Mr. BURKE. What connection had you with that association?
Mr. BACON. I had no connection with that association; but after working for a year or two alone to accomplish it, they deemed it best to secure the assistance, if possible, of other national organizations, theirs being also a national organization. So they called a convention at Chicago, which was held in November, 1899, at which the Cullom bill was taken under consideration, before its introduction, and was indorsed by that convention; and it appointed an executive committee, of which I was made chairman, to press the legislation. And Mr. Barry, who is here at my side, was the secretary of that convention. He was previously secretary of the National Millers' Association, and this convention held in Chicago in 1899 was followed by the convention held in St. Louis in 1900, and that convention was called by the executive committee of the previous organization; that is, the League of National Associations, and that association went out of existence when this first St. Louis convention was held; that is, it was superseded.
The St. Louis convention comprised local and State organizations as well as national, which it was deemed necessary to take in for the purpose of making this demand for legislation more general.
Mr. BURKE. Have you ever had any connection yourself with any railway company, in any capacity; and if so, when
Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir. The first fourteen years of my business life was spent in railroad service.
Mr. CUSHMAN. How many years?
Mr. Bacon. Fourteen years. I commenced my business career very early. At 17 I obtained a position in a railway office, and remained in the railway service for fourteen years, and then went into business for myself. During that railway service I occupied various positions. During the last nine years of that service I was in the positions, successively, of general freight agent, auditor, and general ticket agent of what was then the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien Railway, now a part of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, and it was probably through that experience that I became interested in these matters. I also took some part in securing the passage of the present interstate commerce act, arising from that interest. I was appointed one of the committee of the National Board of Trade to promote the passage of that act.
Mr. BURKE. When was the Elkins bill enacted? When did it become a law?
Mr. Bacon. In February, 1903.
Mr. BURKE. Do I understand you to say that that bill was prepared by the general counsel of the Pennsylvania road? Mr. Bacon. Yes, sir.
Mr. BURKE. And subsequently was amended by some provisions that your committee desired in the bill?
Mr. Bacon. Amended by the counsel of the Pennsylvania Railroad at the request of our committee.
Mr. BURKE. And it had your sanction when so amended?
Mr. Bacon. It did not pass in that form. As I remarked a while ago, the only portion of the bill that was passed was the portion prescribing severe penalties for the violation of the provision against individual discriminations, which, as I remarked, has been very effective.
Mr. BURKE. But the amendments suggested by you were not in the bill when it became a law, or those to which you subscribed?
Mr. Bacon. No, sir.
Mr. Bacon. The original Elkins bill was a comprehensive one, but only one portion of that bill was reported and was enacted.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Relating to what!
Mr. LAMAR. That was applied to the corporation and not to the agent in the depot?