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carry it forward to destination, our duty and course is plain; but if it utterly refuses to receive freight from us, destined to points on the C. M. & St. Paul R'y, or other connecting lines, unless its charges are prepaid, I see no way to compel that Co. to receive the freight from us without complying with its requirements.
D. M. KELLY,
Hon. A. SCOTT SLOAN.
Hon. A. Scott Sloan to B. C. Cook.
DEAR SIR:-Complaints are being made that your company is charging higher rates than is allowed by the "Potter-law," that in cases where freight (lumber) is shipped on your road, to pass over another road to reach its destination, you charge $8 for the first 25 miles on your road, and also $8 for the first 25 miles on the other road, and insist upon pre-payment at those rates.
Your attention is called to the matter, in the hope that your company will take such action as to give no cause of complaint in the future, and and relieve this office of the necessity of instituting legal proceedings.
A. SCOTT SLOAN,
Hon. B. C. COOK.
B. C. Cook to Hon. A. Scott Sloan:
OFFICE CHICAGO & NORTHWESTERN R. R. Co.,
DEAR SIR: I have received your letter of the 10th inst., wherein you say "complaints are made that in cases where freight (lumber) is shipped on your road and has to pass over another road to reach its destination, you charge $8 for the first twenty-five miles on your road, and also $8 for the first twenty-five miles on the other road, and insist upon pre-payment of these rates."
In reply I have to say that, if any such practice exists, it is not within the knowledge of the general freight agent, or other general officers of this company; and it is not sanctioned by them, and I should be obliged to you if you would specify any particular case in which it has been done.
The rule adopted by our general freight agent, is to charge $8 for the first twenty-five miles only, and no instructions were ever given to charge $8 per car-load for the succeeding twenty-five miles on a connecting road, nor to demand pre-payment of freight in any case, upon car-loads of lumber.
So far as the question of pre-payment is concerned, complaint may have originated from the following facts: The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company notified us in writing that it would not pay our charges upon lumber received by it from our road until the freight should have been collected from the consignee; or, in other words, that it would not pay our charges upon its receiving lumber from our road as is the ordinary course of business in regard to other freight. I advised our general freight agent that in my opinion, the law did not destroy the lien which we as common carriers had upon the lumber, for the legal freight, and that we had the legal right to insist upon the payment of the freight, before delivering the lumber. Some roads in your State are bankrupt. To compel this company to credit those roads for as large a proportion of its business, would render it impossible for us to do business at all.
The general freight agent advised the agents to inform the shippers of lumber, that when lumber was carried over our road, and was ready to be delivered to a connecting road, there might in some instances be delay, should the connecting road refuse to pay the freight earned by our road, and that any such danger would be obviated by pre-payment.
No agent has been instructed to demand pre-payment, and the explanation above was given only for the purpose of allowing the shipper the option of pre-paying, or not.
Probably the sole difference of opinion between this company and the commissioners is as to the right of the company to demand payment of freight before surrendering the possession of the property. That question I would be glad to have judicially determined in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner.
I fancy no such state of facts as indicated in your letter actually exists, and if it can be pointed out, it shall be remedied promptly.
B. C. COOK,
Commissioner Osborn to J. L. Rood, in reply.
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
MADISON, June 21, 1875.
DEAR SIR: Yours of the 19th is at hand. I will either see you or write to you in a few days. I will say, however, I feel assured the whole matter will be arranged immediately between the St. Paul and the Northwestern Railroads, either by an agreement as to the apportionment of the earnings, when both roads are used to convey freight, or by reference to an arbritation as provided by law, A meeting is to be held at Madison for this express purpose at an early day.
Very truly, yours,
J. H. OSBORN,
M. Pedrick to Commissioner Hoyt.
RIPON, WIS., July 5, 1875. DEAR SIR:-Enclosed I send you a letter from F. B. Clark, general freight agent of the West Wisconsin Railroad. I wrote to Mr. Clark, stating that I could no longer guarantee the payment of freights on lumber shipped indiscriminately to parties all over the country, (said guarantee had previously been demanded and given,) as I had been compelled in two instances to pay the excess above the legal charges out of my own pocket.
We sell lumber delivered on the cars at our station, and ought not to be held responsible for the payment of the freight on the lumber. My foreman at Fairchild writes me that the station agent has been ordered not to give me any more cars to load, and they refuse to take out one that was already loaded, unless freight is prepaid. Now, Mr. Hoyt, I have waited very quietly for something to be done. My business has been entirely ruined by the excessive
charges demanded, and I have been repeatedly told that something would be done for my relief, but as far as I am able to ascertain there is nothing being done or likely to be done. It would seem as if those in charge of the railroad affairs were afraid of offending some one by compelling them to obey the laws.
what to do.
Very truly, yours,
Please inform me
JOHN W. HOYT, Esq.
Commissioner Hoyt, in reply.
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 5th, with inclosure from the hand of F. B. Clark, general freight agent West Wisconsin Railroad, came to hand this morning. Hitherto, we have cherished the hope that the several railway corporations would fulfil their oft-repeated pledges to obey the law, and that legal proceedings (which are always to be avoided if practicable) would be unnecessary.
While I am not surprised at the manifestation of some feeling on your part on account of what you consider leniency of treatment of the corporations by the State authorities, I am entirely certain that you misjudge the motives that have induced the delay of which you complain.
The sequel will show that they who have charge of railroad affiairs are disposed to do their whole duty. But it was certainly natural that the sincerity of pledges made by railroad managers should be fairly and fully tested before involving the State in troublesome and expensive litigation.
Your communication is in the hands of the Governor and Attorney-General, and will have their careful consideration.
M. PEDRICK, Esq.
JOHN W. IIOYT,
Andrew E. Elmore to Commissioner Hoyt.
CHICAGO, July 9, 1875.
SIR:-Have just had a talk with Mr. Porter, about the complaint of Pedrick, at Fairchild Station. He says he has not heard any complaints previously, and would like to have you inform him just what the complaint is.
With respect to complaints on the C. & N. W. R'y., Mr. Porter informs me that the company are complying with the law, and if there are any more complaints, he would be glad to have you inform him at once.
Address H. H. Porter, C. & N. W. R'y Co., Chicago.
J. W. HOYT, Esq.
ANDREW E. ELMORE.
Commissioner Hoyt to H. H. Porter.
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
MADISON, July 10, 1875.
DEAR SIR:-In compliance with your request, made through Hon. A. E. Elmore, in a letter of July 8, I have the honor to make you acquainted with the nature of the complaint recently made by Mr. M. Pedrick, of Fairchild Station. See the copies of letters herewith enclosed. The complaints previously made were various, as of denial of flat cars for transportation of timber he had contracted to deliver, of illegal charges, and of demanding pre-payment. He has undoubtedly suffered in his business, on some of these accounts. Superintendent Swan has twice or thrice, in correspondence with this office, recognized this fact, and expressed the purpose to grant him such relief as should be found practicable.
The law is so explicit on the subject of demanding payment in advance, that neither officers nor agents can mistake its provisions. And since the State authorities are in duty bound to enforce it, and without further delay, it is hoped that you will so instruct your agents on all divisions of the C. & N W. R. R. and on the W. W. R. R., as to insure a full and faithful compliance on their part.