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necessitate an answer, I have pleasure in reassuring you of the unwillingness of this Commission to do your company any injustice, by making unreasonable demands in the matter of reports, or in any other respect. Make the returns as full and complete as you can without undue sacrifice therefor, and we shall be satisfied.
As the Potter Law can hardly be considered in controversy between us, I will only say that we differ principally in this:
That I trace that "piece of unwise legislation," to corporate frauds and mismanagement, instead of inherent injustice on the part of the people; that I ascribe our loss of State credit in part, to misrepresentations by railroad companies of the character and purposes of our people, whom I believe to be generally just; and lastly, that I attribute the present cramped and suffering condition of railway corporations of the country largely to general causes, which I have elsewhere recited, instead of wholly to the law in question.
If I have under-rated the injury you have suffered from the law in consequence of the competition to which you allude, I shall be most hapy to correct my estimate.
We are anxious to deal justly with the corporations as well as with the people whom we serve, and if in any case we fail it will not be through prejudice or ill will. In our judgment, the first step to be taken by the corporations, in order to an improved condition, and to future immunity from severe legislation, is the adoption of a policy that will inspire the public with confidence in their management.
This demands that there shall be fullness, thoroughness, and uniformity of accounts and reports. Hence the urgency of my request in the former letter.
I remain, my dear sir, very respectfully,
JOHN W. HOYT,
D. M. Kelly to Commissioner Hoyt.
OFFICE GREEN BAY & MINNESOTA R. R. Co.,
DEAR SIR:-I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your
favor of the 24th instant, and in expressing my sense of your fairness and courtesy in expressing a willingness to accept a report from us which shall be as full and complete as we can make it without undue sacrifice on our part. We are now at work on the re
port, and will forward it to you in a few days.
I note particularly what you say regarding the Potter-law, which you rightly state to be a piece of unwise legislation, and although it may be that railroad companies and railroad managers are responsible in some degree for the passage of the law referred to, yet after personal contact with the class of men who insisted upon [the passage of that law, I cannot but be convinced that the fear which prevails among eastern capitalists as to the lack of business, honor and morality among a large portion of the voters of our State is well founded, and in keeping with the exact truth. In connection with the building of the railroad of this company, I have had occasion to deal largely with municipal corporations; and, with a few honorable exceptions, I have found the people comprising such corporations disposed to shirk and to render invalid their just financial obligations. The spirit of repudiation is abroad in our State, and railroads have suffered from its manifestation, and must continue to suffer in the future; and the passage of the adverse legislation in this State during the past two years, is one phase of the repudiation distemper which is so largely affecting our people. I have lately seen an estimate showing that the inhabitants of this State have invested but about six millions of dollars in railroad enterprises. I do not now think of a single railroad in this State which was not built before the business of the country through which it passes required it, and to the railroad interest, more than any other interest, is the State indebted for its present wealth, importance, and standing among its sister States.
It is not strange, then, I think, that the parties interested in these railroads should complain because such radical and sweeping legislation was inflicted without consideration or knowledge on the part of the legislature, or that the capitalists who have invested the eighty millions of dollars, and who have invested nearly all the money which has built up the railroad system of this State, should feel that the people of this State are disposed to deal unjustly with them, and ignore their claims to considerate treatment, to protection of their property, and to a fair return on their outlays.
It, is perhaps, hardly in place for me to discuss this matter in this shape, at this time, with you; but the men who, like myself, have imperilled their fortunes, their business reputation, and their business future, in new railroad enterprises in this State, who have been the means of bringing into this State a large amount of capital, and who by their efforts in this direction have largely contributed towards the prosperity and growth of this State, feel keenly the injustice of the legislation referred to, and the apparent lack of honesty and integrity in a large portion of the people. We cannot but hope, however, that the mattter will be righted in time, but yet in the meantime many have suffered beyond redemption, and likely many more will so suffer.
I note your willingness to correct your estimate, if you have underrated the injustice suffered by this company from the passage of the "Potter-law," and I am convinced that further consideration will indicate many ways which have not before occurred to you, in which the railroad enterprises in this State have indirectly and largely been the sufferers through the passsage of the "Potter-law." Respectfully, yours,
JOHN W. HOYT, Esq.
D. M. KELLY,
RAILWAY ACCOUNTS AND REPORTS.
Commissioner Hoyt to Albert Fink.
OFFICE OF THE RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
MADISON, August 12, 1875.
DEAR SIR.-Remembering the great value of the statistics pertaining to your railway, which you were so kind as to show me, in manuscript, on the occasion of my late visit to you at Louisville, I beg to remind you of the desire I then expressed for a copy of the report of which they were to form a part.
I agree with you fully as to the necessity for a more scientific and thorough system of railway accounts than any now in general use, and shall be most happy to contribute to that end by any means in my power. The manner in which you have kept the accounts of the several roads of which you have charge, appeared to me admirable, and I cannot doubt that the circulation of your
forthcoming report will tend greatly to promote a general reform in respect of accounts and reports among the railway companies of
Again thanking you for your great kindness and courtesy, I have the honor to remain,
With great respect,
ALBERT FINK, Esq., Vice-President.
JOHN W. HOYT,
Albert Fink to Commissioner Hoyt.
OFFICE LOUISVILLE, N. & G. S. R. R. Co., LOUISVILLE, KY., August 20, 1875. DEAR SIR: I have mailed you the last anual report of this company, and wish to call your special attention to that portion of it referring to railroad accounts, and to bespeak for it a close examination.
Nothing could be more desirable than to have a uniform system of railway accounts, and if the Railway Commissioners of the several States would agree upon such a system, they would do much to bring about such a result.
You have no doubt experienced great difficulty in getting satisfactory information from railway reports. The greater portion of the information that we find condensed in these reports is of no value, unless it be accompanied by other information, and without which no deductions can be drawn.
The first thing should be to ascertain what we really desire to know, and then have the details of such informaeion fully presented. Another difficulty that presents itself in most railway reports is to make any use of them, without expending considerable time and labor.
I would call your attention to table one in the report, which I think contains everything to be known in the operating expenses of a road, and the results of such operation.
With a few additional items showing the capital stock, bonded debt, and other matters bearing upon the financial status, the table would be complete, and if the several roads in the State were to have their accounts condensed into a similar table as the roads op
erated by the Louisville & Nashville now have their accounts presented, the result would be that all desired information could be gathered at a glance, and a comparison be readily instituted.
I would be glad to aid you in any manner to bring about a perfect uniform system of accounts for the railways of the country. Yours, very truly,
J. W. HOYT, Esq.
SALE OF MILWAUKEE AND LAKE SHORE AND WESTERN RAILROAD UNDER FORECLOSURE.
The Commissioners to Gen. C. S. Hamilton.
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
MADISON, December 1, 1875.
DEAR SIR:-Noticing in the newspapers the recent sale of Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western and Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroads by your office, I write by the direction of the Railroad Commissioners to request copies of the proceedings in the case, if in your power to furnish them, and any facts covering such foreclosure you may deem essential to a history of the case.
On receipt of the same here, all legal charges will be paid under the provisions of the statutes of the State in such cases provided. If you have not the records at command, will you please refer us to the proper parties from whom they can be obtained? I am, very truly, yours,
H. A. TENNEY, Clerk Board Commissioners.
GEN. C. S. HAMILTON.
Gen. C. S. Hamilton to Commissioners.
GENTLEMEN:-In the pressure of business in my office I have found time only to make the accompanying brief abstract of proceedings, but as they cover all leading points, they give you a tory of the cases; but only in the briefest manner.