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Addresses Delivered Before the World's Railway Commerce Congress, held in Chicago, Ill., June 19-23, 1893, Under the Auspices of the World's Columbian Auxiliary of the World's Columbian Exposition. Official Report. Pp. 265. Chicago: The Railway Age and Northwestern Railroader, 1893.
It would be hard to conceive of a more useful book for students of transportation than the work by Mr. Van Oss. The author is an Englishman who set about to study the American railway as a whole, and our several systems of railroads in detail, in order that he might tell American and, especially, English investors just what sort of an enterprise American railroading is. Mr. Van Oss says: "The investor wants a clear and comprehensive digest of all important matters pertaining to the affairs of the numerous companies, individually and collectively; the trained financier needs historical, geographical and technical data to supplement his figures with." Let me add that this is just the information which the student must have who would investigate transportation from the standpoint of the economist.
The first hundred pages of the work are taken up with a discussion of the "Railroads and the Republic" and the "Railroads and their Rivals." This is the least satisfactory part of the book. The author portrays well the methods of management that unrestrained competition gave rise to, and the evil consequences that have resulted; nevertheless he thinks, "Competition is the soul of trade all the world over, [and] competition in transportation is the foundation, the foremost necessity, of commercial and industrial life." He condemns pooling because it "tyrannized over the public and deprived it of the benefits of competition." But Mr. Van Oss is by no means insensible of the harmful influence of excessive competition. He calls it "the great curse of the railroad system ;" and when he makes the true and trenchant criticism of the Interstate Commerce Act that, "a law which endeavors to abolish discrimination, a consequence of competition, and permits competition itself to rage unabated is to say the least incomplete," we are prepared to hear him advocate the legal control of competition, not so, however. He does not think the solution of the problem can come by law. He thinks the attempts have thus far been unwise. He would not strengthen the Interstate Law. "It is fortunate, indeed," he says, "for the people as well as for the railroads that the act had from the outset such weaknesses as would prevent its being applied rigorously, and as would destine it to become a failure." Neither would he frame the law according to different principles; he does not think legal interference will solve the railroad problem. The solution must come from the railroads. The public has taught them that abuses can be punished; self-interest will lead
the railroads to abolish abuses. The improvement in the business morale of the railroads is at present rapid, and by means of consolidation they are eliminating the evil results of competition by restricting without destroying competition. This is a more roseate view of the situation than I am able to take. Consolidation is desirable, is inevitable, but it renders efficient governmental supervision none the less desirable, and essential to the best interests alike of the railroads and the public.
The denunciation of the ticket " scalper" is most justly made, and ought to be read by every member of Congress before he votes upon the bill recently introduced into the United States Senate to amend the Interstate Commerce Act by prohibiting "scalping." Likewise the chapter on capitalization is a very suggestive one. It is interesting to know that from the investor's standpoint the "much abused 'water' ... was a real blessing in disguise."
The largest and the best part of the book is devoted to the description of our railroad lines and systems. He divides them into six groups, the Eastern, Central, Northwestern, Southwestern, Pacific and Southern. The description of each group is preceded by an outline of the geographical and industrial conditions of the States composing the territory served by the railroads of the group. The several systems of the group are then described; the history of their growth is briefly given, and their component parts are named and set forth with sufficient detail. Full financial statements of each road are given in tabular form. There are five colored maps by means of which the railroad systems of the country are clearly shown. They are an excellent feature of the book. The book as a whole is to be commended both for consecutive perusal and for reference.
Mr. C. C. McCain, the publisher of the "Compendium of Transportation Theories," is Auditor of the Interstate Commerce Commission. He has doubtless given more study than has any other man to the subject of freight rates and classifications. The able and exhaustive "Report Upon Changes in Railway Transportation Rates on Freight Traffic Throughout the United States, 1852 to 1893," which was included in the report made last year from the Senate Committee on Finance upon "Wholesale Prices, Wages and Transportation," was the work of Mr. McCain. Students of transportation owe Mr. McCain another debt of gratitude for this publication of the "Compendium of Transportation Theories." It contains thirty-four essays by men whom all recognize to be the very best authorities. There are three essays by Judge Thomas M. Cooley, one of them being his valuable discussion of the "Popular and Legal View of Traffic Pooling." Mr. McCain's article on the "Development of Railway Freight Classifications"
is fortunately included. Among the other writers are Senator Shelby M. Cullom, Professor Henry Carter Adams and Mr. Charles Francis Adams. This compendium will form an essential part of every good transportation library.
An equally valuable compendium of transportation literature is to be found in the volume containing the "Addresses Delivered Before the World's Railway Commerce Congress." The first third of the book is taken up by addresses on "Railway Law and Legislation," different phases of the subject being discussed by John F. Dillon, General Counsel Union Pacific Railway; W. G. Veazey and Martin A. Knapp, members of the Interstate Commerce Commission; Edward P. Ripley and John W. Cary, Vice President and General Counsel, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company; Alfred G. Safford, Law Department, Interstate Commerce Commission; and M. M. Kirkman, Second Vice-President Chicago and Northwestern Railway. These names suffice to show the character of the contributors. Nine addresses discuss different problems of "Railway Management and Operation." The five addresses on the treatment of railway employes are especially to be recommended. The description of the work being accomplished by the Voluntary Relief Department of the Pennsylvania Railroad ought to be widely read.
The last division of the book includes addresses and papers on "Railway History and Development." Papers concerning the railways of Spain, Italy, Sweden and New South Wales are included, but with the exception of the last one they are too short to be of much value. This volume of addresses on transportation makes a real addition to the literature of the subject, and constitutes one of the many valuable permanent results of the World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893. EMORY R. JOHNSON.
Die Naturwissenschaft und die Socialdemokratische Theorie; ihr Verhältniss dargelegt auf Grund der Werke von Darwin und Bebel. Von HEINRICH ERNest Ziegler, Professor at Freiburg i. B. Stuttgart: Enke, 1894.
Social Democracy in Europe had thus far been persecuted rather than answered; the time had come for us to busy ourselves with its overthrow, and to fight it with intellectual weapons instead of courts of law.
The author of this book undertakes this task in an excellent way. In undertaking such a work the scientist must have a certain amount of self-control; for the social-democratic theories are so shallow and superficial, and so renounce every scientific basis that the
indifference with which they have been and are regarded by the representatives of science is easily understood. Still, one would suppose that untenable Utopias would stand self-convicted, even though it be distasteful to every earnest thinker to oppose them. Unfortunately this is not the case. The irrational theories of the Social Democracy concerning the establishment of a social order in which "freedom and absolute equality" shall rule, find acceptance among very large masses of the population. Bebel's book "Uber die Stellung der Frau im Künftigen Socialstaat” has gone through a number of editions, and no scientific work can boast of so large a circle of readers as this Utopian book written with the tone of unerring prophecy. Thus, Professor Ziegler performs a valuable service in undertaking to marshal the evidence which shows that Bebel's citation of Darwin and modern natural science as the basis of his Utopia is entirely unwarranted, and that Bebel either misunderstands or puts a false interpretation upon the sentences quoted from Darwin or taken from natural science. Likewise, Professor Ziegler corrects several false ideas that have found a place in socialistic literature through the influence of Morgan's work on the primitive family relation. The author's criticisms are partly based on the work of Westermark and partly on the analogies which, as a zoologist, he himself is able to draw from the animal world.
The book is a very serviceable one; but whether it will accomplish its aim is another question. In this particular it is not safe to be optimistic. The masses who read Bebel's book with credence and enthusiasm, will not read Professor Ziegler's work. What the masses hope for, is what they gladly believe. Bebel's Utopian pictures of the future lighten their burdens greatly and delight their fancy. Professor Ziegler's book would tire them and disturb their dreams; that they do not wish. The author, nevertheless, followed a higher aim than success. He followed the promptings of the truth, and did it well.
University of Graz, Austria.
Sources of the Constitution of the United States Considered in Relation to Colonial and English History. By C. ELLIS STEVENS, LL.D., D. C. L. Pp. xii, 277. New York and London: Macmillan & Co., 1894.
The conception formerly entertained of the origin of our constitution has been undergoing an important change during the past few years. We no longer look upon this document as the half-inspired product of a little group of men who met together in Philadelphia in 1787. The continuity of history was bound to assert itself here as in every other great and successful piece of organization. Obvious as the
truth of this now appears, the sources from which the framers of the constitution drew were scarcely touched upon by the earlier historians of the constitution who seem not to have recognized that the prevailing theory of the complete originality of our form of government was a priori untenable.
While several attempts have been made of late to fill this lacuna in our history Dr. Stevens is the first to present the subject in a complete and satisfactory form. His treatment is scholarly and free from all narrow national bias which can so easily vitiate the work even of a careful historian. The book is furthermore characterized by a liberality which does not hesitate to recognize the merits of other work in the same field. Dr. Stevens began his investigations in this subject several years ago, since that time several important contributions have appeared treating various phases of the subject. These the author has to a large extent reproduced in his ample notes. Consequently his book contains not only a clear and concise statement of the result of his own investigations, but gives as well the salient points in the special articles or chapters which others have written.
The book while comprehensive is in no way diffuse, details being treated in foot-notes which form over one-half of the work. Mr. Stevens, after two introductory chapters on the organization of the Anglo-American colonies and the formation of the constitution, takes up in order the legislative organism, the executive, the judiciary and closes with a chapter on the "Bill of Rights"-a topic which has failed heretofore to receive the attention it merits.
Our institutions are not simply English, the author claims, but may more properly be termed Teutonic. In every case he points out the earliest distinguishable forms of the several features of the constitution, and then traces their development in England and the AngloAmerican colonies. "The American Constitution," he justly observes, "though reflecting a contemporaneous stage, was not a mere imitation of the constitution of the mother-land, but an historical development from it. Its similarity to its prototype resulted not from any copying process first undertaken in the convention at Philadelphia. Rather was it a reaffirmation of principles already American by hereditary usage or long-established custom. The earliest attempt at a national constitution, that of the confederation, had been a failure precisely as to the points in which it departed from these principles; and the present constitution was a return to a system from which the colonies themselves had never departed. The members of the
convention, though consciously taking much from the old system, were doubtless incompletely aware of the extent to which they themselves were influenced by their training under such institutions." (pp. 53-4.)