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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1917)
a unit through the national jorern
nient Mr. Bryan. That th what?
Tho Chairman. That the states,
acting as a unit through tho national
government, have been able to do
more in the way of properly regulat
ing the railways of the country than
the respective states have been able
Mr. Bryan. I can not agree with
you on any evidence that I know of;
but I shall be glad to consider any
evidence that you have in support of
The Chairman. I had the impres
sion that that was self-evident.
Mr. Bryan. That is not my view.
Tho Chairman. That while some
of the states Very few have
reached a very perfect system of reg
ulation and control, that has not
been the case with most of them.
Mr. Bryan. I think on that point
I might suggest '
The Chairman. And that they
have been very slow, .in my judg
ment, in meeting the requirements of
Mr. Bryan. Not S3 slow as the
federal government. And, besides,
where you have a number of states
acting separate there i3 opportun
ity for the trying of remedies that
will enable lis to "experiment and
profit by experiment. A successful
experiment tried in one state is apt
to. be adopted in another; but where
you have just the oHe legislative body.
acting there- is no other' "body from
which it cafl- receive -'either the lm-'
p- 'sp that comes from rivalry or tho
benefits of experience '
The Chairman You are "aware
that in the suggestions regarding na
tional incorporation it is not pro
posed to relievQ--.thosft corporations
from tbe policeilaws iofutheostate or
from the taxing powers of the state?
Mr. Bryan. ..i Yes.
The Chairman." You are aware of
Mr. Bryan., Yes. ' .
The Chairman. And you are aware
also that they all involve the most
careful controf of capitalization of
tho stock and bond issues?
Mr. Bryan.. Butt think everything
that is goodirt tie proposed measure
can be secured entirely independent
ly of the proposed change.
The Chairman. I see.
Mr. Bryan. That is, ,that you can
add, through the federal government,'
any regulation that is desirable and
any that would be included in the
plan without the adoption of the plan
The Chairman. That is all, Mr.
Mr. Adamson. Mr. Bryan, while
you may be aware, of .Chairman New
land's theory about what ought to- be
done, how could you possibly be
aware of what would be the final out
come of legislation if we should en
ter on this project?
Mr. Bryan. No one can predict
w'th any certainty in regard to legis
lation. Mr. Adamson. v. The influences
wh'ch could secure thHs-Tmrvement at
all might frame the legislation?
Mr. Bryan. My fear is that the
temptations that would come with
the change would be difficult to resist
-that is, the temptation would come
to tho railroads to exercise an un
Mr. Adamson. Whatever general
advantages may be claimed for large
consolidations 0f these local corpora
t nnS might those advantages be
largely offset if local interests and
"venienco were Ignored through
the management by people far re
nnvPd from the communities?
Mr Bryan. Yes. -: They may not
only be Overcome; but-1 think there
is a principle there that wo can not
ignore, and that is that whoro you
transfer from the locality to somo
remote place the controlling power,
in proportion as it is removed, It is
less amenable to local oDinion. ami
.that is one of tho objections to tho
consolidation that has gone on under
tho trust system.
Mr. Adamson. You answered
Chairman Newland's question about
tho ramifications of these great sys
tems going into tho vicinity one of
another and competing. I will ask
you, while you say you have heard
no great general complaint, except as
to competition, if you have not ob
served the practice of great and pro
found courtesy by one railroad com
bination as to another with regard
to invading its territory?
Mr. Bryan. I think there has
sometimes been a consideration for
each other that could not" be entirely
explained by the ordinary rules of
MrfiAdajmgon. Qn tho subject of
the necessity for this regulation, my
railway friends do not conceal that
they are embarrassed in two particu
lars: One is that they have too many
restrictions on' their operation and
too many restrictions on the securing
and use of capital. That is their
Whole complaint. N6w, they say,
in elaboration; 'that they have not
tho power 'to' control either their ex
penditures or their earnings. I wm
ask you if under the condition of so
ciety where we have relinquished
part of our natibnal liberty in con
sideration of securing other great
benefits from society if that is not
true of every persdn and corporation
in this country?
Mr. Bryan. Yes; but in the case
of the "corporation there is a reason
for restriction ' that does not exist
with the 'individual. " "
Mr. Adamson. You mean a great
Mr. Bryan. Yes.
Mr. Adamson. An additional rea
son.? :.... . ,. . .
Mr. Bryan Yes; because the cor
poration has no rights except those
conferred by law, .vhilo the individ
ual has" natural rights.
Mr. Adamson. They further state
that the government has dealt with
them solely with a policy of re
striction and punishment. I want
first to ask you a few questions to
see if I can develop that they are en
tirely in error about that. You re
member the desperate conditions ex
isting when we undertook to regulate
the railroads and you were correct
in saying that the states, first started
it. The government, prodded to it or
induced to it by the representatives
from the states, finally made an ef
fort; then the railroads resisted it
until the supreme court set aside
enough of it to emasculate it; and
you correctly say that, m spite of
and notwithstanding your position,
we succeeded, after 12 or 15 years,
in putting some life back into it. I
want to ask you what particular
thing the government has put upon
them what restrictive thing tne
tlon of railroad3 that is any more se
vere than it is on any other business
or society? For instance, we estab
lished a rule that every rate and
practice shall be just and reasonable.
Is that any more than is required of
other people by the government
that their conduct shall be just and
reasonable? Is that un unreason
able rule, for the railroads to com
Mr Bryan. I do not regard it as
a reason for-' complaint.
Mr. Adamson. Then, we adopted
the Elkins law, forbidding discrim
inations and rebates: wo hurl mnmeL
thing in tho original law about dis
criminations. Is thoro anvtMnc?
wrong in saying to tho mon who aro
operating thcso great corporations
that they shall not givo ono man in
one community a preference over an
other? Mr. Bryan. My recollection Is that
it was stated at tho time tho Elklns
law was drawn by tho representatives
of tho railroads that tho complaint
was that as long as ono system grant
ed robates, the other had to, that it
was a distadvatago to tho railroad
to givo robates, and that tho Elkins
law really protected tho railroads
irom each other.
Mr. Adamson. Then wo have pro
vided, in the interest of public safety,
certain requirements and restrictions.
Do you think there is anything wrong
or harsh in that?
Mr. Bryan. Speaking generally, I
am not able to point out any restric
tion that I regard as unjust.
Mr. Adamson. I shall riot enu
merate all of these to you, but all of
them have been prohibitions against
the conduct not of good men .but of
bad men wrongs, crimes per so, or
malum in so or malum prohibitum.
These restrictions aro directed to
tho conduct of the men, and not
against tho railroads; and how can a
good man who wants to do right and
administer tho affairs of a railroad
properly, justly object to these re
strictions and prohibitions any more
than you can, as a citizen of this
country object to tho prohibitions
against bad men committing lawless
Mr. Bryan. I think your reason
ing is sound, Mr. Adamson. and I
.have long believed that our laws
should put the penalty upon tho in
dividual and not upon, tho corporation.
Mr. Adamson. Do you believe that
the railroads are correct in their ap
prehension that tho people have a
prejudice against . them? Do you
think that the people love and admire
tho railroads, and desire that the
railroad officials should do right, as
Mr. Bryan. You state it a 'lltlh?
stronger than I would. ' i
Mr. Adamson. What is your state
ment? Mr. Bryan. When you speak ol!
loye for these men.
Mr. Adamson. The railroads'..,. '
Mr. Bryan. I mean loving the'
Mr. Adamson. No; tho railroads,
I say, and the good officials. '
Mr. Bryan. Yes. I think in an
impersonal way they love the rail
roads, but that they separate some of
the railroad officials from the rail
road that they love when they at
tempt to display their affections. c
Mr. Adamson. They love tho good
ones and try to correct the bad ones.
Mr. Bryan. They aro interested
in legislation that will permit the
Investment of all the capital neces
sary, and the earning of all the div
idends necessary, and the fact that
always toll who are tho bad officials
and which Is the bad railroad until
after a thorough Investigation. ' -
Mr. Adamson. Mr. Chairman, I
will bo compelled to go to tho abuse.
I movo wo adjourn. ft
(Tho motion was agreed to.) '
Tho Chairman. Tho commlttco
will take a recess until Saturday at
(Wheroupon, at 12 o'clock noon,
tho committee took a recess until
Saturday, December 9, 1910, at 10
o'clock a. m.)
DUTCH THANK WILSON
A cablegram from Tho Hague, dated
Dec. 22, says: Cablo messages were
sent Prcsldont Wilson today thank
ing him for "his effort for peace,"
wishing hlm'succcss and Invoking tho
Divine blessing upon it, from tho
Netherlands group of tho World
Union of Churches, tho Netherlands
National Women's Council and tho
Liberal Democratic Union.
POPJG PltAISES TUB PKESIDENT'8
A Homo cablograra, dated Dec. 24,
says: Pope Benedict, according to re
port today, li speaking to Cardinal
Gasparri, papal secretary of state,
regarding President Wilson's note to
tho belligerents, said: It Is a docu
ment showing tho honesty, justice
and; far-sightedness of tho American
SWEDEN MAY TAKE A HAND
A Paris cablegram, dated Dec. 24,
says: A Havre dispatch from Berno
says it is believed In certain quarters
hero that the Swedish government Is
about to approach the belligerents on
the subject of peace In tho uame way
as tho Swiss President.
"You said 'you'd go through firo
and water for me." "Show me a
combination of tho two and I will."
1 a i
Coffee, - -j
- if fur
they have an interest in not doing
government has put upon the opera- Nn justice to the railroads is the pro
tection of the railroad against in
justice, if it will only go to the peo-.
pie and fairly lay its case before
them; but as long as the railroad
keeps an "oil room" and spends its
time trying to corrupt the men sent
there by the people to regulate the
railroad it Is apt-to raise a suspicion
as to the good intent of the railroad,
Mr. Adamson. Then the miscon
duct and mismanagement of -the bad
railroad officials has contributed to
create the very demagogue of whom
Mr. Bryan. jYes; but you can not
Or Not It Is
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