JUNE 29, 1905
"General toning up" may le a good thing, and so too may be "flexi
bility," but lower freight rates would be much more satisfactory.
The writer asks if it is The Independent's intention to "expose the
unfortunate- condition in Iowa," and the reply is that the peoplo
of Iowa are prosperous and contented and most stubbornly 'blind to
their "unfortunate condition."
In dealing with the Australian railway problem the writer
points out that rates are much higher in Australia than in the United
States and that the government-owned railways are losing money.
So, too, it might be added, is the Siberian railway losing money and
rates on that road are as high as rates on the Australian roads. No
comparison can be drawn between Australia and the United States.
'Australia is commercially dead. Even in the hard times Nebraska
enjoyed as much prosperity as Australia enjoys when its trade is
liveliest. The resources of Australia and New Zealand are almost
infinitesmal when compared with the resources of the United States.
In Australian great proportion of the laboring men are unemployed
the year round. Industry is at a standstill and the population is
not increasing. , - ; -
When comparing American with European or Australian rates
the railway apologists fail to note an important fact. In such coun
tries as England, France, Germany, Austria and Italy there is no
such thing as "the long haul." None of these countries is as large
ail Texas and some of them are no larger than Nebraska.' In the
United States traffic officials employ all sorts of devices, fair and
unfair, to secure "the long haul," and they succeed, for example,
in sending New York apples to northwestern Nebraska to compete
with apples grown in southeastern Nebraska.
With the advantage of long hauls railways in the United States
can afford to make much cheaper rates than those in effect on Euro
pean roads. But as a matter of fact,' rates in the United States are
not lower. The railway statisticians are apt in the art of jugglery.
They select a few rates, which, owing to peculiar local conditions,
are high in European countries and low in the United States and use
them in their "educational leaflets."
The Nebraska railroads claimed the right to charge higher
rates in hard times. The volume of business being limited, the roads
assumed that it was their right to maintain a high schedule of freight
rates and the supreme court upheld their contention. But in good
times, when the volume of business is great, lower charges are
possible, and The Independent has insisted that the roads should
not now charge as much for hauling freight as they charged when
times were hard. That is why The Independent has demanded the
enforcement of the maximum freight rate law, which, even though
its enforcement might have meant confiscation in hard times, can
be enforced with all fairness to the railways at the present time
,wheri conditions show such a vast improvement.
TOO STRENUOUS AT WHITEWASHING
When history impartially records the acts of President Roose--.vclt's.
administration it will be forced to mix some black coloring
;with the whitewash the chief executive has applied to the offi
cials of the Santa Fe railway and the Colorado Fuel & Iron company,
and more particularly to Paul Morton, secretary of the navy. In the
process of clearing Paul Morton the. president found it necessary
to prevent any prosecution that would involve the officials of either
company. . ' -
Messrs. Judson and Harmon, the special attorneys employed to
investigate the case, reported that without question rebates had been
granted in violation of law and recommended such proceedings as
.would make possible the taking of testimony to fix the guilt. The
reply of the attorney general to their suggestion is absurd. He
epposes the bringing of contempt proceedings because the evidence
, contains nothing to connect any officer of the Santa Fe with ' the
.violation of law. Inasmuch as Messrs. Judson and Harmon pro
posed proceedings that would have, developed such' evidence, the at
torney, general's refusal to comply with the request of the special
counsel must be set down to bias. Moreover, the attorney general's
reply contains a ridiculous implication. If there was no doubt that
the law had been violated, a fact admitted by the attorney general,
then there was no doubt that some person or persons violated the
jaw. auu jvy ma icyiy sseems tu muiuuiu Luab uiuiougu xne law was
.violated there was no evidence to prove anybody responsible and that
therefore proceedings to secure such evidence was unnecessary.
- The president himself protests too much! "He ."-gives Paul Mor
ton an honorable discharge in the most fulsome terms and yet Paul '
Morton admitted that the Santa Fe under his regime had granted
rebates to the Colorado Fuel & Iron company. In his letter to the
retiring secretary of the navy the president takes the same position a3
'Attorney General Moody. He declares that "proceedings against in-
; dividual officers," in other cases, "must depend in each instance on
whether testimony is obtained showing that such individual offi-
- cer has either by act of connivance been personally guilty in the
matter. " This sounds' well, but if in each instance the attorney
general is to block proceedings that will secure, adequate testimony
against the individual official, all prosecutions against the railways
will he futile. '
The president followed a similar course in dealing with the
Bowen-Loomis controversy. Bowen was expelled from the diplo
matic service because, in the president's opinion, he had spied on
his superior officer and had made charges he could not sustain. But
even the president is forced to admit that Loomis acted "indiscreet
ly" when he became financially interested in the business of the
asphalt trust. Inasmuch as the dispute between the asphalt trust
and Venezuela was the most important business which our represent
ative in that country was called upon to deal with, the public will
regard the acts of Secretary Loomis as worse than mere indiscretion
and will agree that the president would have done well to discipline
both Bowen and Loomis.
NEW PHASES OF STANDARD OIL WAR
, The Standard Oil company is now trying to evade the anti
trust laws of Missouri. Herbert S. Hadley, attorney general, has
brought suit in the supreme court of that state to punish the Standard
Oil company and its various branch corporations for violating these
The Standard Oil company sells oil in the northern, and the
Waters-Pierce company . sells oil in the southern part of Missouri.
The Republic Oil company sells in both districts to people who are
opposed to trusts or who do not want to buy from the monopoly.
The Standard Oil company controls both the Waters-Pierce and the
Kepublic Oil companies.
At first there was competition, but Standard Oil followed its
usual plan of absorbing the other companies, which, however, con
tinued apparently to operate as independent concerns. In reality,
however, competition in-the oil business is unknown in Missouri at
the present time. The three companies all receive their orders from
the same office at 26 Broadway, New York. The prices charged
are just what the companies decide the people must pay. It. is of
this that the state of Missouri complains. . .
Almost the same conditions exist in Nebraska, but the peoplo
have not yet become aroused against the exactions of the trust, al
though Nebraska has anti-trust laws that could be enforced.
A few days ago the Associated Press announced that the Stand
ard Oil company would again enter the market for heavy Kansas
oil and added the gratuitous comment that the producers of Kansas
would be just as well off as they were before the last legislature
passed its restrictive laws. And yet in the same dispatch it was
stated that the price to be paid for the oil would be twenty-five cents
a barrel. This is the lowest price ever made by the Standard for
Kansas oil. The company will now fill up its tanks all over the
country at this outrageously low price and a little later will be pre
pared to advance the price of refined oil while completely checking
the output of the Kansas wells. - &
LIGHT ON THE ELEVATOR TRUST
Depositions taken at Wahoo in the suit brought by Thomas D.
Worrall against a number of Nebraska grain dealers indicate that
the farmers are in the grasp of an elevator trust that has existed sinco
1901. Prior to that year competition was the rule. There was no
artificial interference with the law of supply and demand. . If prices
were low it was due to natural causes and the farmers had no reason
te complain, for they knew that in obedience to the same law prices
would rise whenever -natural conditions changed for the better.
For about five years, however, prices have been controlled an d
competition has been stifled by a combination in restraint of trade.
At the W7ahoo hearing letters were submitted in evidence to show the'
nature of the agreement made by the dealers who entered into this
combine. After the unfair covenant had been made and forfeits had
been posted; the dealers bought grain only by card. Every day cards
were sent out to the dealers, who were forced by their agreement
to buy at prices no higher than those" listed on these cards. But this
was by no means the only measure taken to prevent competition.
The dealers no longer rode about the country soliciting grain. Each'
dealer bought only the grain to be obtained in his prescribed dis-
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