Newspaper Page Text
THE MINNEAPOLIS JOURNAL.
PRICE TWO CENTS.
HE MAY GET IT YET.
Santa Claus Roossrelt— Perhaps the little Crane boy would rather have this.
THE MAIN ISSDE
IN MERGER FIGHT
Mr. Hill Hints at the Crucial Point in
His Defense —"Acting as
Two Important Decisions That the
State Will Quote to Overthrow
Ther« Is one clause in President J. J.
Hill's address to the public that points
to the legal defense that he will make
against the state in behalf of the Northern
Securities company and the joint owner
ship of the two northern roads. That
clause and defense is this:
"Doing what we clearly have a right to
do as individuals.''
The application Is this: The United
States supreme court (161 U. S. 04oi
knocked out Mr. Hill's former attempt to
consolidate the Great Northern and North
ern Pacific corporations, on the ground
that the laws of Minnesota prohibit one
railway corporation from owning, con
trolling, or consolidating with another
owning a competing and parallel line.
Being prohiMted from consummatng this
consolidation as a corporation, Mr. Hill's
present plan is to accomplish practically
the same result in another form, the
stockholders and officials acting not in
their corporate capacity, but as indi
So Mr. Hill, in his arraignment of Gov
ernor Van Sant, proceeds to say:
"Until myself and friends have, by our
efforts and with our own money, relieved
the northwest, not as a rival and com
peting railway, but doing what we clearly
have a right to do as individuals, or
working together for greater permanency
and security as a financial corporation."
There is little question that the point
raised by Mr. ilill is the main fighting
ground on which he and the state will
meet in the forthcoming legal battle.
Those familiar with the legal preparations
bping made at the state capitol on the
part of the state, know that Attorney
General Douglas and his associates, as
well as President Hill and his attorneys,
look upon this point as the crucial legal
issue at stake.
Corporate Versus Natural Persons.
"You have prohibited me as a corporate
personality from consolidating the Great
Northern and Northern Pacific railways,"
says Mr. Hill in effect, "but as a natural
person, as an individual citizen, I can buy
and sell my railway stock, form new cor
porations, and thus accomplish the same
main object, and your laws governing
railway corporations cannot touch me;
and as to this Northern Securities com
pany of New Jersey, organized to take
over the stock and other property of the
(Ireat Northern and Northern Pacific rail
ways, we are doing clearly what we have
a right to do as individuals."
Consequently Mr. Hill and friends are
turning over both Great Northern and
Northern Pacific stock to the Northern
Securities company, the so-called $400,
-000,000 New Jersey trust—but they are
doing it as individuals.
President Hill of the Great Northern
becomes the president of the Northern Se
curities company—as an individual.
Vice President \V. P. Clough of the
Great Northern becomes director and gen
eral counsel of the Northern Securities
company—as an individual.
Secretary and Assistant Treasurer E. T.
Nichols of the Great Northern becomes
secretary and treasurer of the Northern
Securities company—as an individual.
John S. Kennedy, who next to Mr. Hill
himself has perhaps the largest block of
Great Northern stock and a large voice in
Great Northern management, is elected
first vice president of the Northern Se
curities company—as an individual.
X. Terhune, the New York transfer
agent of the Great Northern, and also
Messrs. Hill, Clough, Nichols and Ken
nedy, elect themselves directors of the
Northern Securities company—"doing
clearly what we have a right to do as
What Can the State Do?
"And now"—say Mr. Hill and friends,
officers, directors and stockholders of the
Great Northern railway, to the state of
Minnesota—"what are you going to do
about it? We are not doing this as a
corporation—we are individuals."
Has the state a legal remedy?
That is what the courts will soon have
an opportunity to determine.
Are there any legal precedents?
There are at least two directly i n point;
there are others that have a bearing.
To which side did the decision of the
court go in the two cases in point? To
the side of the state. It was held that
the corporate officials and stockholders
acting; nominally in their capacity as in
dividuals consummated in effect a cor
porate act, and the technical defense was
cast aside and judgment rendered on the
basis of the actual results accomplished
and the practical effect from a public
Ohio Oil Trust Cane.
The leading case is that against the
original Standard Oil trust in Ohio, de
cided in 49 Ohio State, 137-189, State ex
rel versus Standard Oil company.
The application of the state was for a
writ of quo warranto to oust the defend
ant trust from its franchises as an Ohio
Continued on Second Page.
MONDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 23, 1901.
lowa's Former Governor Re
ported Chosen as Secre
tary Gage's Successor.
New York, Dec. 23.—The Evening Post
says word was received in banking cir
cles here to-day that ex-Governor Les
lie M. Shaw of lowa had been selected to
succeed Mr. Gage as secretary of the
British Lose Heavily in With
London, Dec. 23.—Lord Kitchener, In a
dispatch from Johannesburg.sends reports
of sharp fighting in the Orange River and
Transvaal colonies. Two hundred mounted
infantry in the neighborhood of Begin
deryn, divided into parties, were search
ing farms when they were attacked by
300 Boers and forty armed natives under
Commandant Britz. The Boers charged
determinedly in overwhelming numbers.
Beyond the fact that the British casual
ties were severe, no details have been
Lord Kitchener also reports that during
General De. Wet's attack on the British
force commanded by General Dartnell and
Campbell at Langberg Dec. 18, the Boers
charged bravely and fought desperately
for several hours. De Wet was driven off
with the loss of twenty men. There were
twelve British casualties.
Dec. 20 M. Botha with 800 Boers sur
prised Colonel Damant's advance guard at
Tafel-Kop, Orange River colony. The
Boers rushed a kopje commanding the
main body and the guns, but Damant ral
lied his men and drove the Boers from
the kopje. The British casualties were
heavy. Damant was dangerously wounded,
two officers and twenty men were killed
and three officers and seventeen men were
wounded. The Boers left six dead on the
field and dispersed. The British pursued
the enemy and captured a number of pris
oners, including Commandant Keyten.
Later the Boers, under a flag of truce,
asked permission to remove their dead.
They admitted having buried twenty
London, Dec. 23.—The News' special
correspondent in South Africa states that
the peace movement among the Boers has
broken down and that the object of recent
meetings was to make fresh plans for con
tinuing the campaign. A descent on
Natal through the Drakensberg is contem
plated. De Wet is to be the chief actor
in this move and General Botha will co
operate with him from the north. Swazi
duplicity has resulted in arms, ammuni
tion and correspondence from Europe,
getting across the border and the Boers
are well mounted and provisioned.
Lord Kitchener Repeats His Charge
Against the Boevs.
London, Dec. 23.—A dispatch has been
received by the war office from Lord
Kitchener forwarding further instances of
alleged murders of natives by the Boers.
Most of the cases rest solely upon native
testimony, among them being a horrible
story of burning alive a Kaffir named
Frauz. He was the diriver of a wagon
forming a part of a British convoy cap
tured between Pretoria and Rustenberg
a year ago. Two Boers, It is alleged,
wrapped him in buck sail and piled bags
of oats upon him. They then poured
paraffin upon the heap and set fire to it.
The total number of Kaffirs reported from
Kimberley as having been murdered is
thirty-seven. There seems little reason
to doubt that the Boers adopt the prac
tice of shooting any natives that they may
think conveyed or would be likely to con
vey Information of their movements to the
IOWA SCHOOL BUILDING BURNED.
Special to The Journal.
Marshalltown, lowa, Dec. 23.—The public
school building at Kellogg, near here, waa
burned. The Joss ia total, about $4,000.
THE NEW DAM
Will Be Available tor Com-
NAVIGATION IS FIRST
That Protected, Surplus Water Will
Be Available for Power.
NO FAVORITISM TO BE SHOWN
All Applicants for; Power Will Be
Treated Alike— Street Rail
It is quite likely that the new power
which will be generated by lock and dam
No. 2 at Meeker island will be put to com
mercial uses. A special dispatch to Th c
Journal from its Washington bureau
says the government is usually very gen
erous in matters of this kind, and there is
no good reason why generosity should not
be shown the business nivn of Minneapo
, lis. There is a federal statute which auth
i orizes the secretary of war, under suitable
regulations, which he is to draft, to per
j mit commercial uses to be made of water
j power developed by. government dams, so
| long as this use does not interfere with
navigation. The only purpose of the lock
and dam at Meeker island is to make the
Mississippi river reliably navigable be
tween Minneapolis and St. Paul. This pur
pose attained, any extra power or head
of water coming as a result of the im
provements may be put to use by the
business world; and it is assumed by the
war department that in time there will be
applications from Minneapolis people for
the extra power, under the statute re
ferred to. No applications are yet on file
and there has been no intimation that any
A rumor has been in circulation in
Washington that the Twin City Rapid
Transit company, whose water power
farther up stream is inadequate and of a
very uncertain quality, is about to make a
formal request for permission to appropri
ate the power which the new lock ar*l
dam will develop, but the war department
knows nothing about it. Nobody repre
senting the company has thus far been in
Washington to look the matter up. Asked
about the conditions under which the
power would be available for commercial
purposes, a high official in the engineers'
department said to The Journal's
The question of whether such a use of the
power as you suggest would interfere with
navigation would have? fip,T& decided by this
departnuint, aud It is likely that Major Hoxie
now in charge, in a report to the department'
would give an opinion on this feature of the
case. Should it be decided that the use would
interfere with navigation, that would end the
discussion; but should the opposite opinion
prevail, the way would at once be open for
the granting of permissions to divert a part
of the head of water. Tiie government owns
both river bauko alongside the lock and dam.
The water could not be taken across tils gov
ernment land without a ppecial act of con
gress, which might or might not pass. The
simpler way would be for the company which
is to use the water to take it at some point
just above the government's riparian rights.
The secretary of war would in such a case
have full power, ir his discretion, to grant
the necessarw permission.
It is likely that a great deal of power will
be developed by the new dam, and it seems to
me that it should be put to some profitable
use. The government's policy always has
been to permit this use, so long as navigation
was not interfered with. Should there be a
number of applications for power, more than
covering thst can be spared, the department
will proceed very carefully in giving permis
sion. Exact justice will be done each appli
cant, to the end that no charges of favoritism
may honestly be made.
A few years ago we had a gcod deal of
trouble alcng the Fox river in Wisconsin.
This is a navigable stream, one the records
of the war oflfico, and when one paper mill
after another was built there, until finally
navigation was being impeded, owing to the
quantity of water and power the mills were
using, we had to interfere. Several years
elapsed before the case could be satisfactorily
arranged. The mills are now permitted to use
the water only when the river la at or above
a certain stage. At low water times they
must get their power in some other way. I
do not know whether a similar condition
would arise at lock and dam No. 2, or not;
but if !t did, some regulation would be
made which would preserve a water supply
large enough for navigation.
NOT FOR CRANE
Governor of Massachusetts Declines
to Be Secretary of the Treasury.
Washington, Dec. 23.—Governor Crane
of Massachusetts has declined the treas-
ury portfolio tendered him by President
Roosevelt last Friday. It was officially
announced at the White House to-day that
he had declined for business and domestic
reasons. The announcement of Gov
ernor Crane's declination followed a con
ference between the president and Senator
Lodge after the latter had communicated
with Governor Crane.
The only name suggested #Pt the White
House to-day was that of Colonel Myron
T. Herrick of Cleveland. Colonel Herrick
is at the head of one of the largest sav
ings institutions in the country and has a
wide experience in financial affairs. He
was a warm personal friend of the late
President McKinley and, it is understood,
was promised a foreign mission.
Boston. Dec. 23. —Governor Crane gave
out the following statement here this af
I have relt obliged to decline the appoint
ment of secretary of the treasury tendered by
the president on account of illness in my
family and inability to arrange my business
at such short notice.
It is understood his reference to illness
in his family is based upon the fact that
his mother is an invalid and on that ac
count he does not care to leave his Dalton
PAPER PLANT tONE
Loss of Upward of a Million Dollar*
in an Ohio Fire.
Hamilton, Ohio, Dec. 23.—The fire in the
Champion Coated Paper works that
started late lest night was not under con
trol until this morning. The loss is placed
at from $750,000 to $1,000,000. It was the
largest plant of the kind in the United
States and employed over 400 persons. A
stock of $250,000 worth of enameled book
and magazine paper was wholly destroyed.
There was also a loss of a great quantity
of valuable machinery. The fire was
caused by the explosion of a can of gaso
Will Bring Suits Both Civil
OTHERS THAN MACLAY
Those Behind Him Are Also to Be
NO SHOW FOR NAVAL CLIQUES
Attorney Rayner Give* an Inkling
of What the Public la to
*W Yoi-k Sun Succlmi Smrvlom
Baltimore, Md., Dec. 23. —Admiral
Schley's counsel, Isldor Rayner, intimates
that both civil and criminal suits would be
begun in the admiral's behalf. The case
is bound to go to the courts and action
will be taken not only directed against
Maclay, but the principal efforts will be
directed against the men who, it is al
leged, are behind him. Said Mr. Rayner:
So far the navy department has had every
thing its own way. Secretary Lone has had
his day. Now, I think, we will have ours.
I have advised Admiral Sohley generally as
to the course that ought to be pursued, and'
when we meet this week we will outline the
plan of action. Naval ■cliques will have no
more show before any criminal or civil tribu
nal than the humblest suitor in the land. We
are now, we hope, c-n the right track of an
Important discovery which will give absolute
jurisdiction to the courts. The author of the
"Naval History" and his sponsors can be
prosecuted in any Jurisdiction in which the
libel made its appearance. My advice will be
to prosecute the matter until the conspiracy
is revealed and every one who is a party to
it is brought to his reckoning before unbiased
judges and impartial juries.
APPEAL. TO THE PRESIDENT
That Recourse Still Left— Glad Hour
From Tho Journal Bureau, Boom 45, JPott
Washington, Dec. 23.—Admiral Schley
still has the recourse of an appeal to the
president. His friends are divided as to
the advisability of taking this appeal. The
general impression is that the president
would approve the findings of the court of
inquiry. Some politicians think it would
be a good thing for the admiral if the
president should stand by the majority of
the court and Secretary Long, on the
ground that he would thus be putting
himself against public sentiment.
The enemies of General Miles in the
army, men who worship at the shrine of
Adjutant General Corbin, are gioating
over the reprimand administered to the
general. There had been indications thrt
the president intended to restore the gen
eral to the authority he should -have in
the war department, but this episode
probably makes that one of the impossi
bilities during this administration.
Altogether it is a happy hour for the
clique in the navy department and the
clique in the war department. Prom nu
merous sources comes the information
that the president and his political ad
visers are declaring that the controversy
must be stopped, but how is the question.
One of Schley's friends remarked to-day
that it may be possible to close the
mouths of employes of the government,
but there was no way of preventing peo
ple from expressing their opinions. The
censure of General Miles will tend to
arouse congress on the subject of taking
some action. Already constituents of the
members of the naval committees are in
sisting that the resolutions introduced
shall not be pigeon-holed.
—W. W. Jermane.
PRODDING A CONGRESSMAN
Mr. Foss' Political Future Depends
Upon His Favoring Schley.
Special to The Journal.
Chicago, Dec. 23.—Unsatisfied with the
utterances of their representative, con
stituents of Congressman Foss, chairman
of tho house naval committee, continue to
demand that he declare in unequivocal
language his attitude concernifig the reso
lutions submitted to congress on behalf of
Admiral Schley. Republican leaders in the
district openly declare that Foss cannot
secure another nomination if he votes
against the resolutions. But the majority
of his constituents are not inclined to
threaten their representative with dis
pleasure. They declare that when the
time comes he will obey the wishes of his
friends and political backers. Their con
fidence is said to be on the wane, how
ever, and it is expected that a movement
against Congressman Fobs' renomiaation
will be inaugurated in a few days unless
he makes a declaration of his intentions.
Friends of Congressman Foss are agreed
that he can never secure the support of
the state senators and representatives
from his district as a senatorial candi
date unless he votes for the Schley reso
MACLAY SAITH NOT
"Historian" Will Be Given Time, but
Go He Must.
Washington, Dec. 23.—Nothing has been
heard at the navy department from His
torian Maclay in response to the depart
ment's request for his resignation. Under
the rules an employe is allowed three
days' grace in which to show caused why
he should not be dismissed; and although
this rule having been made by the execu
tive authorities may be disregarded at
its pleasure, it is believed that Maclay
will be given a reasonable time to quit'
the naval service, for it is certain that he
In line with the determination already
reached to stop the further discussion of
tlye Schley case so far as the executive
branch of the government is concerned,
the navy department has decided that it
will ignore the reported recent utterances
of Rear Admirals Brown and Belknap
somewhat in the lin«s of General Miles'
End of the Injunction Against
Retirement of Northern
New York, Dec. 23.—Justice Scott in
the supreme court to-day dissolved the
injunction obtained by Wolff Bros, and
others, restraining the Northern Pacific
railway from retiring the preferred stock
of $76,000,000 on Jan. L
12 PAGES-FIVE O'CLOCK.
HELENA, DEC. 30
Gov. Van Sant Calls a Conference of
States Affected by the Merger
—Welcome to Montana.
A State Official Pokes Holes in the
Governors and attorneys general of all
northwestern states will meet in Helena,
Dec. 30. The conference is called byGov
ernor Van Sant for the purpose of dis
cussing the threatened railroad consolida
tion, and of devising means for foiling it.
Governor Van Sant wrote before leaving
for St. Louis to the governors of North
and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wash
ington end Oregon, suggesting Helena,
Mont., as the place, and Dec. 30 as the
date for the conference. He asked that
each governor invite his attorney general
to accompany him to the meeting.
Governor Toole of Montana, who has
been most hearty in his co-operation, re
plied promptly, welcoming the visitin?
governors to Montana, and indorsing the
Idea of the conference.
Governor White of North Dakota has
written, promising to attend, and Attor
ney Gen. Coinstock will accompany him.
Up to noon to-day word had not been re
ceived from the other governors. If next
Monday is not a satisfacotry date for all,
the meeting may be postponed to a time
suitable to all.
Governor Van Sant is anxious to get
positive action from executives of other
states, showing that their moral support
is with him, and that Minnesota is not
along in its fight.
Attorney General Dauglas will probably
attend. He said this morning that unless
something prevented he would accompany
Hill's Statement Analyzed.
State officials are having fun with Pres
ident Hill's statement. Said one this
"It seems to me Mr. Hill would better
have said nothing. His argument may ap
peal to those who are desirous of being
convinced, but it seems to me full of
"According to his statement the con
solidation of the Union Pacific and North
ern Pacific would have been very bad. The
consolidation of the Great Northern and
Northern Pacific is a good thing. Con
solidation ia harmful unless Mr. Hill is at
the head of it. Any one else engaged in
consolidating railroads does so from
wrong motives. His (motives are the only
ones above reproach.
"He claims that consolidation of the
Union Pacific end Northern Pacific would
have injured Minnesota. Is that true?
The Union Pacific does not touch Minne
sota. We would still have had competi
tion, not only in Minnesota, but clear to
"He wants to know why Governor Van
Sant did not interfere when the Union
Pacific was buying up Northern Pacific.
If Mr. Hill was a public spirited man,
why did he not notify the governor of the
state of affairs. Instead, he was shouting,
'I am in control.' The public did not know
for months who had the inside track. That
is certainly a specious argument.
"I do not claim that purchase of the
Northern Pacific by the Union Pacific
would have been a good thing. It would
have been harmful, but 'the control of
parallel lines by one man is a thousand
A traveling man who came into St. Paul
to-day said that in the past two weeks
he had talked with seventy-five trainmen
and station men of the Northern Pacific.
They all anticipate a reduction in wages
when the Hill regime is installed, and
era greatly disturbed. Station agents on
the Great Northern get 30 per cent less
than agents at the same points for the
ANGERED BY HIL.Ii
His Attack I'pon Union Pacific Stirs
Up the Harriman Party.
Special to The Journal.
New York, Dec. 23.—The Hill statement
was read with much dissatisfaction by
Wall street men. In some quarters the
prediction was made that if Hill continued
to keep alive the feud with Harriman,
Kuehn & Co. and other Union Pacific in
terests, he would be thrown overboard by
Pierpont Morgan. The outburst from him
was not unexpected by the Union Pacific
people. One of them, who took a leading
part in the fight against Hill and Morgan
last May, remarked three days ago that
Hill was not keeping faith with them in
pursuance of the agreement reached at
the last meeting of the directors of the
Northern Pacific, when it was decided to
retire the preferred stock and give the
control of that road and the Great North
ern to the Northern Securities company.
The same man said he and his asso-
Lcitcr in a Cheese Corner
Mmw York Sun Snoclmi Smrwlom
Denver, Dec. 23. —"For a year I have been working out a cheese trust," said R. S^
Gamble, a traveling man of Chicago. He added:
Joseph Leiter Is arranging a deal to corner the milk of the countjp
by himself, but with my firm he is interested in controlling the cheesfe
output. It is not our intention to interfere with prices, as we regard
that too dangerous. By systematic control of the production wo expect t#
hold price* steady, netting fair profit for all coac«r&«&
ciates In the Union Pacific were convince^
of the good faith of Morgan, but Hill'<
actior.s were an enigma.
For several days Wall street broker*
with close connections with Union Pacific
leaders had been looking for some kind of
an attack. They did not know just what
form it would take, but while Hill's
statement angered them it was the gen
eral opinion it would not seriously affect
the price of stock, though they acknowl
edge it might frighten timid speculators
and cause some run to cover in the be
lief that the whole controversy would be
actively revived. Morgan will, it is be
lieved, take prompt measures to assura
the financial community that the fight
id not to be started anew and that he has
nothing to do with Hill's attack upon tha
Ur.ion Pacific. Harriman and Kuehn re*
fus-3 to say anything for publication con
cernirg Hill's statement.
MELLEX WILL. STICK
Reasons for Belie the Northern
Pacific Will IVot Change President.
Special to The Journal.
New York, Dec. 23.—The New Yorfc
Commercial quotes a man who has in
timate knowledge of matters connected
with the combination of the Northern Pa
cific, Great Northern and Burlington a«
It is silly to suppose any change can be
made in the Northern Pacific presidency un
less- all interests Identified with the three
lines are satisfied to have it done. While I
do not believe any such move is contem
plated, If it should occur, Morgan, Harrl
man and Hill will have to be a unit on tha
question, and a man will be selected who
cannot be controlled by any one of these in
dividuals. The reason is obvious. No one
of them can expect to get any one in who has
had close identification with their respective
properties or interests. My judgment is
that if Mellen wants to remain at the head
of the road he can do so and I also believe
not only that' they want him to stay but that
he will. It is my opinion that all this
talk about displacing him is inspired from
sources which would like to worry Mellen
into resigning. He may have offered his
resignation, but ho has donb so on former
occasions and it does not follow that it will
be accepted now auy more than before. A»
for Hill dictating the removal of Mellen o*
forcing his resignation, that is absurd. Hill
will not undertake to do anything of the
kind, certainly not at the present 6fage o£
affairs, and I doubt that he will try it here
after. Mellen has made a great showing aj^
president and his 1 work will be appreciated. f*J
Once More Is Archbishop Ire^
land Talked Of for
Rome, Doc. 23. —The Vatican is beconv^
ing decidedly more hopeful that thak
United States will yield to the pope's;
great desire and appoint a diplomatic rep*
resentative to the Vatican. So anxious i£
the pope for the success of his project
that he woukl be satisfied at present ■with}
a semi-official representative in the hopa
that he would be eventually turned inta
a minister or ambassador. Washington)
is not unwilling to •discuss the matter and
the Vatican has intimated in return it 9
desire to meet American -wishes in Cubaj
and the Philippines, and possibly creata
another cardinal in the United States. Th«
pope is solnewhat opposed to the letter
step while Cardinal Gibbons lives, but he
may compromise the matter by creating
Archbishop Ireland or Archbishop Gorri
gan cardinal of the Curia, entailing liv«>
ing in Rome.
The pope to-day received the cardinal^
who offered him their Christma* greets,
ings. The pontiff made a lengthy address
in which he condemned what he charac
terized as the excessive liberty of thought
indulged in at the present time. Hai
sharply criticized socialism, agitation toxt
divorce and hostility between different
sections of the church and urged a< union]
of the Christian churches.
CHILE AND ARGENTINA
Diplomatic Resources Exhanted, Ye|
Hope of Peace Remains.
Washington, Dec. 23. —Secretary Hay
has received a cablegram from Minister
Wilson at Santiago de Chile, confirming
the report that the resources of diplomacy,
had been exhausted in the effort to settle
the dispute between Chile and Argentina,
and that diplomatic relations had been
broken off through the withdrawal from,
Chile of the Argentine minister. Touch
ing the proposition emanating from tha
Argentine side to refer the dispute to
Great Britain, the Chilean representa
tives claim that this was their own origi
nal proposition. This being the case, 111
is believed there is a way open for ai
Sofia, Bulgaria, Dec. 23.—A revolutionary
demonstration against Turkey took place hers