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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/473

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THE POLITICAL CONTROL OF RAILWAYS.

friends to dinner, I discriminate in his favor against any friend whom I do not invite to dinner. If, in company with several millions of my fellow-citizens, I vote for President Harrison, and President Harrison invites a man who has voted for him to dinner, and does not invite me, he discriminates against me—me, from whom his charter as President has come equally as from my fellow-citizen who dines at the White House when I do not. But, conceding, in the case of a railway company, that discrimination, otherwise innocent, may work hardship—and also conceding the jurisdiction of the people over the railway company it has chartered, to prevent hardship to themselves—have this Interstate Commission and these boards legislated against the hardship? Have they not rather expended their legislation against the thing which may or may not be a hardship, according to circumstances, and in so doing increased the hardship, to their own damage and expense, rather than ameliorated it?

I. The Interstate Act.—This act directs itself to forbid (a) discriminations and (b) pools. Now, an edict against either of these might mean something—might even, if qualified, be productive of good. But an edict against both is really nothing—can not possibly amount to anything—except either an increased hardship to all parties concerned, or else the usual affirmative to which two negatives invariably amount. If railway companies, can neither discriminate nor come together for consultation and abolishment of discriminations, what is the result? Merely the result which would follow an attempt to abolish the mice in a pantry by first abolishing the cat which had been put into the pantry to abolish the mice.

The only possible pretext on which Congress, acting for the people, could abolish pools, was that a pool was a "corner" in transportation, by which two or more competing lines proposed to raise the carrying-tariff in their section of country. But, as a matter of fact, the pooling system was a contrivance to reduce jointly the carrying-tariff in territory where two or more lines served, and that pooling system practically and actually did reduce the tariffs to shippers. This I have demonstrated and proved by figures already in the pages of "The Popular Science Monthly."[1] "The pool" proper had nothing to do with this reduction, except that it controlled the division of tariff receipts between the treasuries of the two or more pooling roads by a process of exact and expert differentiation in which a question of distance transported was only the very minor factor employed; such items as the cost of stopping, loading, or siding, or returning a freight-car empty to its owner, station expenses, repairs to track-way, rolling-stock, clerk-hire, improbability of find-

  1. June, 1887, p. 147.