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SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE
COMMERCE, UNITED STATES SENATE
SENATORS CRANE, DOLLIVER, AND TAYLOR
ON THE BILL
TO PREVENT EXPRESS COMPANIES FROM
JANUARY 22, 1909
Series No. 12
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
STEPHEN B. ELKINS, of West Virginia.
ROBERT L. TAYLOR, of Tennessee.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF COMMODITIES BY AGENTS OF EXPRESS
FRIDAY, January 22, 1909. The subcommittee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Senator Kean presiding
Senator KEAN. This hearing is called to take up Senate bill_(S. 6668) to regulate commerce, introduced by Senator Burkett. The bill reads as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress asseňbled, That from and after January first, nineteen hundred and nine, it shall be unlawful for any express company, or any agent or employee thereof, whether exclusively employed by said express company or not, to transport or receive for transportation from any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, to any other State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, or to any foreign country, any article or commodity which said company or any agent or employee thereof may own in whole or in part, or in which said company or any agent or employee thereof may have any interest, direct or indirect; or for such express company or any agent or employee thereof to buy, sell, or handle for another, through purchase or sale, on commission or consignment, with or without compensation, any such article or commodity' so received for transportation, except such articles or commodities as may be necessary and intended for its use in the conducting of its business as a common carrier.
Senator BURKETT. Mr. Chairman, it is not my purpose to take any time this morning personally. I will be here right along, and if necessary can appear at some future time. We have here this morning, who desire to be heard on the merits of this bill, several officers and members of the Western Fruit Jobbers' Association-Mr. R. W. Gees, of Kansas City, president of the association; Mr. E. B. Branch, of Omaha, secretary of the association; Mr. Frank H. Gaines, of Omaha, attorney for the association; Mr. M. L. Dolan, of Grand Island; Mr. S. E. Lux, of Topeka; Mr. C. F. Francis, of Davenport, Iowa; Mr. E. H. Royer, of Des Moines, Iowa; and W. W. Summers, of Chicago, Ill.
I will leave it to them to arrange the order in which they shall speak and what portions of the subject they will discuss.
I do want to state briefly how this bill comes before the committee. As Senators will remember, nearly a year ago, or on the 2d of March, I introduced and had passed through the Senate a resolution calling upon the Interstate Commerce Commission to furnish certain information with reference to the business that the express companies were doing in regard to the handling of fruits and vegetables and other commodities.
I will say that the Interstate Commerce Commission took hold of the matter with right good will during the past summer and has taken some 2,755 pages of testimony in Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, and Fort Worth, Tex., I think. In short, it has covered the territory and also covered the ground of the subject very thoroughly.
At the beginning of this session they made a report in accordance with that resolution-a dozen pages or so--together with two recommendations, at the close of the report. This report gives in brief
their conclusions, upon the 2,700 pages of testimony. In order that the report may be before you I would like to have it printed in this record.
Senator KEAN. Without objection you may do that.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,
Washingion, May 9, 1908. SIR: The Interstate Commerce Commission has the honor to transmit herewith a report of its investigation in the matter of the alleged purchase and sale of commodities by express companies, in accordance with the resolution of the Senate of March 2, 1907. Very respectfully,
MARTIN A. KNAPP, Chairman. The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
REPORT OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION IN THE MATTER OF THE ALLEGED
PURCHASE AND SALE, AND HANDLING ON CONSIGNMENT OR COMMISSION, OF COMMODITIES TRANSPORTED BY EXPRESS COMPANIES.
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 9, 1908. To the SENATE:
The Interstate Commerce Commission has the honor to submit the following report in response to the resolution of the Senate dated March 2, 1907, which reads as follows:
“Resolved, That the Interstate Commerce Commission be, and is hereby, directed to inquire, investigate, and report to the Senate
"Whether the American Express Company, Adams Express Company, United States Express Company, Pacific Express Company, and Wells-Fargo Express Company, or either of them, are engaged, through their local or other agents, in the business of buying, selling, or handling on consignment fruits, vegetables, and oysters entering into interstate commerce.
“That the Interstate Commerce Commission be required to make the investigation at its earliest possible convenience and to report the facts and its conclusions thereon, together with its recommendations, as soon as it can be done consistent with the performance of its public duty.”'
In compliance with this direction the commission on March 17, 1907, instituted a proceeding of inquiry and investigation concerning the matters and things recited in the resolution. The express companies named were made respondents in such proceeding and were required to file verified statements "showing in detail how and to what extent, if any, they are engaged, through their local agents or employees, or their agents or employees are by them allowed for themselves or do engage in the purchase, sale. or handling on consignment or commission of, or by the solicitation or transmission of orders for, commodities transported by their lines over all rail or part rail and part water routes as interstate commerce, and in such statements set forth the particular commodities dealt in as aforesaid, the points or places where such dealing is carried on, and the names of the agents or employees of such respondent by whom such purchase, sale, or handling on commission or consignment is conducted.”
It was also ordered that all commercial associations or organizations and all producers, merchants, and dealers interested have leave to appear and be heard at sessions to be held during the progress of the investigation.
The express companies made respondents by this order filed their statements as required. Each of them denies that it buys, sells, or handles on consignment or commission commodities transported by it. Each of them, except the Adams, states that it conducts what is called an “order and commission department,” organized for the purpose of securing orders for transportation by express of various commodities.
Notice of the investigation, with an outline of its scope and purpose, accompanied by an invitation to present to the commission information material to the inquiry, was sent to individuals, business men's organizations, commercial clubs, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, etc., throughout the country, and their answers have been received and duly considered. At the instance of the Western Fruit Jobbers' Association, an organization composed of about 130 jobbers in fruits and other perishable fruit products engaged in business in Chicago and cities west of the Mississippi
River, with headquarters at Omaha, Nebr., hearings were held in Omaha, Nebr., Kansas City, Mo., and Dallas, Tex. Hearings were also held in Chicago, Ill.,
and Houston, Tex., and opportunity was afforded for hearings in various other parts of the country. In all about 125 witnesses were examined, 2,750 pages of testimony were taken, and a large number of exhibits were received, which, together with the evidence, are on file with the commission.
In accordance with the requirements of the resolution, our findings of facts and conclusions thereon are as follows:
The States in which the express companies named do business and the total rail and other mileage upon which they operate are as follows:
Adams Express Company. - Total rail mileage December 30, 1907, 30,880. Operates in the following States: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and District of Columbia.
American Express Company (including National Express Company).- Total rail mileage December 28, 1907, 44,359.89, of which 1,313.84 miles are in Canada. Operates in the following. States: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada.
Pacific Express Company. - Total mileage December 28, 1907, 23,062.97, of which 243.88 miles are in Canada. Operates in the following States: Arkansas, California, a Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, a New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Dominion of Canada.
United States Express Company:—Total mileage December 28, 1907, 30,251.29, including electric roads and steamboats. Of this mileage 216.1 miles are in Canada and 424.70 miles are steamboat lines. This company does business in the following States and Territories: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada.
Wells Fargo Company Express.- Total rail mileage December 28, 48,724, of which about 6,000 miles are in Mexico. The following is a list of States and Territories in which this company does business: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Mexico.
The Southern Express Company, which operates largely in the southern and southeastern portion of the country, was not named in the resolution, but our investigation developed that with respect to the manner of soliciting and doing business through an order and commission department, as hereinafter described, there is no material difference between this company and those named. The Southern Company operates 30,821 rail and 3,515 water mileage, and does business in States as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and District of Columbia.
Express service was first rendered in this country by the stage driver and the steamboat man. With the advent of the steam railroad a simple messenger service was inaugurated by William F. Harnden over a part rail and part water route between New York and Boston by which he executed commissions for patrons. Out of this has evolved the express service of to-day. Experience and the demands of patrons have developed a great system that reaches every part of the country and has become an important factor in our internal commerce.
There are some 79 express companies doing an interstate business in this country besides those above named, many of them of minor importance, operating upon interurban steam and electric lines. A number of these, however, such as the Globe, Western, National, Great Northern, New York, and Boston Despatch, etc., operate over considerable territory and do a large business.
On December 31, 1907, this company withdrew from 986 miles of territory, which removed it from the States of California and Nevada, leaving a mileage of 22,076.97.