« PreviousContinue »
things ? Can he banish us from “every- the past) creep out of their Missions and thing most dearly loved "?
sing Ave Maria ; but California laughs. At the very time that poor Ovid was The Sierras, the foothills, the flowering eating out his heart on the shore of the slopes, the blossoming orchards, the Black Sea, there was a little boy teaching budding gardens laugh to the blue wain the Temple at Jerusalem; and the ters, and the sparkling waves laugh back. fruit of his teaching was the abolition of The oranges laugh in their orchards, the exile, for he conceived the idea that the lemons in their dark green leaves, the Kingdom of God is within us. It is an olives in their silvery gray, the guava idea born of love; and for the children and the plum tree, the passion-flower, of the spirit of God, it is truth. But we, the honeysuckle, the white rose, the violet, children of the dust of the earth, have no and the lily. They have no compassion, such kingdom within us. Within is emp- no longings for the impossible, no fears tiness; and so, without, we are slaves to of the unknown; they live in the full glow inconstancy. We proceed from change of the radiant present, and laugh. They to change seeking peace; but place brings do not worship the Virgin; they claim no comfort, time brings no consolation. no kinship with Christ. Their mother is We have lost and flung away our beliefs, the foam-born goddess of passion: but we cannot pluck from our hearts
Not as thine, not as thine was our mother-a the seeds that consciousness of mortal
blossom of flowering seas, ity has planted there; we are haunted by a voice, Omnia Vanitas præter amare
For thine came pale and a maiden, and sister Deum et illi solo servire. (Is Christ or
to sorrow; but ours, Death the God whom we ignorantly wor
Her deep hair heavily laden with odor and
color of flowers, ship?) For those who hear that voice
White rose of the rose-white water, a silver there is no ease in restlessness, no calm splendor, a flame, in change. Wherever they go, they feel Bent down unto us that besought her, and that they are strangers and pilgrims.
earth grew sweet with her name. The pagans enjoyed a cheerful, care
For thine came weeping, a slave among slaves,
and rejected; but she less, animal content; they did not kneel,
Came flushed from the full-flushed wave, and they stood on their feet erect, they were imperial, her foot on the sea. playmates of the gods and shared the And the wonderful waters knew her, the winds Olympian disregard of morbid perplexi
and the viewless ways, ties, sympathies, and aspirations. Ovid
And the roses grew rosier, and bluer the seahad no sickly perturbations, no uncertain
blue stream of the bays. hopes; his one desire was as clear and But the thin-blooded exile from the definite as Cæsar's head on a freshly- North, as he hears this exultant cry of minted coin. Rome was his heaven. passionate life, shrinks within himself,
California is pagan, too. When the bows his head, and murmurs with his sun sets and the dying day shakes its lips, Ave Marial Blessed art thou among departing glories from sea to beach, from women, for thy Son had compassion on beach to field, from field to mountain, the exile and gave him the promise, the the Franciscan monks (poor exiles from hope — the illusion ? — of a home.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONS LAW OF
BY THOMAS MOTT OSBORNE
he was the one man who could defeat I
the political combination which had been The events which led to the passage
formed against it. of the Public Service Commissions Law It certainly is no secret that among the in the state of New York are of such re
states of the Union, New York has encent occurrence that it might not be un
dured its full share of that reckless disnatural to assume that they are still fresh regard of the rules of sound finance which in the minds of every one interested in
has characterized the rapid development public affairs; but in our country polit- of our public utilities in the last fifty years. ical memories are so very short that it is In fact, we have had rather more than never safe to assume a clear recollection our share of the violation of monetary of the most elementary facts in the situ- sanity and economic morals (to say noation of even two years ago. Four years thing of economic decency) that has acis a political generation - the life of a
the life of a companied that development. The scannational administration — and our whole
dals attendant upon the earlier operapolitical thought and action is thereby tions of the New York Central Railroad, chopped into very short units.
the performances of Jim Fiske and his In New York State with its governor's printing-press in the manipulations of the term of two years, our political memo- Erie, the story of Jacob Sharpe and his ries tend to be even shorter than in Broadway franchise, and last but not national affairs; and certainly it seems least the Interborough-Metropolitan meras if recent events had moved with almost ger, are only the more striking chapters enough rapidity to justify our vague- in a long story of intrigue, corruption, and ness. It is but little more than three years disgrace. The annals of almost every city since the struggle for control of a great in the state can show their own version of life-insurance company brought about a
the combination of scheming promoters, sort of family quarrel among its direct- selfish investors, uninterested citizens, ors; that quarrel uncovered a grave con- and greedy politicians; their own record dition of affairs in which of necessity the of valuable rights given away without public was seriously interested; that in- foresight and often with the most reterest led to a legislative investigation; volting concomitants of bribery and corthat investigation brought to the front ruption. an experienced, able, and fearless lawyer It would, of course, be grossly unfair who had hitherto lived but little in the to blame the condition of things which public eye; and that able lawyer probed resulted entirely upon the corporations the life-insurance scandals with such which were formed to develop the public marked ability, high professional stand
utilities and to which the public grants ards, and remorseless vigor that, when the or franchises were given. At the best they Republican party of the state, crippled were developing services of vast importby savage quarrels among its leaders and ance to the communities; at the worst we much discredited by its recent record, can only say that it seems to be human looked about for a candidate who could nature with too many people in the busiwin the election of 1906 it recognized that ness world to grasp at what seems to be VOL, 101 - NO. 4
for their greatest pecuniary advantage, timidity of the politician, the demagogue without troubling themselves very much becomes suddenly a menace to society; a about general ethical considerations. On menace, not because he may not be enthe other hand the "plain people" - the tirely right in his analysis of the situavery ones who ought to be most interested tion, but because from the nature of the in good government, — have seemed to case he is a destructive and not a conbe the very ones most unconcerned. structive force; and because he is always
For a number of years, however, there seeking, not how to apply genuine remehas been developing a distinct change in dies, not how to safeguard the interthe temper of the public mind toward such ests of the mass, but only how to turn matters. There has arisen a renewed the situation to his own personal advansense of the hatefulness of public dishon- tage; a menace, because, even if he is esty, a renewal of belief in the public honest in his aims, he has faith in protrust involved in public office. If some gress by revolution rather than progress of the manifestations of awakened con- by evolution, believing in miracles rather science seem rather too overstrained and than in science. sensational to be quite sound or lasting, It is distinctly to the credit of the peoyet such states of mind often aid in pro- ple of New York State that in the midst ducing important political results - as of a genuine crisis of political feeling was the case in the autumn of 1906. there should have been shown such care
At that time there seemed to come ful weighing of all considerations before about a political crisis as sudden as it political action; that amid forceful apwas unexpected, although to the more peals to passion and prejudice, based far-sighted it had been in truth preparing upon undoubted public grievances, there for several years. A not unnatural sense should have been upon both sides so of injury and grievance had grown up much honest endeavor to think clearly as the public had followed the testimony and act justly. Probably at no election in different investigations which seemed ever held in New York State was there to open up ever new vistas of corrup- so complete a breakdown of the ordination; as it had followed the proceedings ry political barriers. Republicans by in the Standard Oil cases; had perused thousands voted the Democratic ticket the highly colored revelations of “high in whole or in part; Democrats by thoufinance — by “one of themselves; sands voted the Republican ticket in and had watched the proceedings of va- whole or in part. While outwardly old rious reckless promoters and financiers, party forms were maintained, in reality seeing those favored individuals amass- party ties in a large measure ceased to ing vast fortunes the origin of which lay exist. in the public franchises which had been As the campaign developed it became procured upon such easy terms.
a genuine choice between one who It is at periods like this, when the peo- preached the gospel of disorder, under ple has lost confidence in its servants, in cover of a righteous outbreak against its old leaders, in the very framework of existing conditions on the one side, and the social structure, - apparently almost on the other an exponent of calm, sane, losing faith in democratic self-govern- and orderly progress. And it is a humorment itself, and is calling for some ous illustration of the irony of history political Moses to lead it out of bond- that the Republican party, which of the age, that there comes the moment eagerly awaited by the demagogue. Trading Mr. Bourke Cochran, when defending his can
1 “As between Rottenness and Riot," said upon the righteous anger of the just, upon
didate at the Buffalo Convention, “I prefer the prejudices of the unreasoning, upon Riot.” A unique way, certainly, of recomthe cupidity of the mercenary, upon the mending a nominee for governor.
two political parties may fairly be held The ten Commissioners, five for each far the more responsible for the evils of district, are appointed by the Governor the situation, should have been the one to subject to the approval of the Senate, place in nomination the genuine reformer; but removable by the Governor alone. while the Democratic party should have They must have no official relation to thrown away the chance of a generation any corporation subject to the provisions by allowing its opponents to play once of the act, nor own stocks or bonds more the old game so aptly described by therein. Neither shall they ask the
apDisraeli at the time of the repeal of the pointment of any person to office by such Corn Laws, when he averred that Peel corporations or receive from them any had caught the Whigs in bathing and pass or reduction in fare. had run off with their clothes.
Each Commission appoints its own The result of the election was to seat counsel, secretary, and minor employees, in the governor's chair an able and suc- and each single commissioner has full cessful lawyer, a Republican who aims power to hold investigations and hearings, always to place state interests before par- although an order must be approved by tisan advantage, a man of the sincerest the Commission before it becomes operaand most confirmed honesty, of a high tive. The Commission is not bound by ideal of public service, of determined the technical rules of evidence, but is free convictions yet open mind; moreover, a to get at the facts in the quickest and man who realized fully that his election simplest way possible. All witnesses are was simply an expression of public con- duly protected, and the Commission can fidence in him personally in the midst of force attendance and secure testimony, his party's defeat. Governor Hughes refusal constituting a misdemeanor. realized to the full the political difficul- 2. Article Two prescribes the duties of ties of the situation, and the dangerous common carriers, which term includes, temper of the public mind, along with according to the wording of the act, "all the genuine grievances which lay behind railroad corporations, street-railroad corand were the cause of it; so he at once porations, express companies, car comset himself to grapple with the problem panies, sleeping-car companies, freight in the calm temper of a true statesman. companies, freight-line companies, and The Public Service Commissions Bill was all persons and associations of persons, the outcome.
whether incorporated or not, operating such agencies for public use in the con
veyance of persons or property." The law as it was passed contains five Common carriers shall furnish to the articles, the main points of which may
be public “such service and facilities as briefly touched upon.
shall be safe and adequate and in all 1. By Article One the state is divided respects just and reasonable;” and “all into two districts, with a separate and charges made or demanded . . . shall independent commission for each. The be just and reasonable and not more than first district includes what is known as allowed by law or by order of the ComGreater New York, — the four counties mission." They shall provide proper
" of New York, Kings, Queens, and Rich- switch and side-track connections; and mond (or New York City, Brooklyn, shall file and keep open for "public inLong Island City, and Staten Island), – spection schedules showing the rates of
– and the second includes all other counties fare and charges for the transportation in the state. This division, suggested by of passengers and property."
. the great difference in character of the There shall be no special rate, rebate, problems in the two districts, has been or unjust discrimination of any kind; no already justified by experience.
“free ticket, free pass or free transporta
tion of passengers or property,” excep- necessary for various things. Without it tion being made of officers of the railway (a) No construction of a railroad or and certain other specified individuals. street railroad, or extension of existing But this provision is not to prevent the lines, shall be begun; issuing of mileage or commutation tickets. (6) No franchise shall be assigned or
There must be sufficient and suitable transferred; cars for freight in carload lots; sufficient (c) No railroad or street railroad or cars and motive power on railroads and other stock corporation shall purchase or street railroads to meet all requirements hold any capital stock of any other road; for the transportation of passengers and (d) No stocks, bonds, notes, or other property; the Commission being express- evidences of indebtedness (except notes ly given power to make suitable regula- payable within twelve months) shall be tions for the furnishing of freight cars
issued; and for demurrage charges.
(e) No merger or consolidation of 3. Article Three continues the pro- existing companies shall be made; and visions relating to common carriers, in case such merger is approved, it is dealing especially with the powers of the provided that the capital stock of the Commission for carrying the provisions merger shall not exceed the sum at par of Article Two into effect.
of the capital stock of the corporations Power is given to the Commission: so consolidated, or any additional sum
(a) To examine into the general con- paid in cash. dition, capitalization, franchises, and The penalties for failure to comply with management of all common carriers; an order of the Commission are drastic.
(6) To examine all books, contracts, Each day's violation constitutes a seprecords, documents, and papers, and to arate offense, and for each offense the compel their production;
penalty is $5000 if by a common carrier, (c) To conduct hearings and take $1000 if by other than a common carrier. testimony on any proposed change of law Every individual who aids or abets any when requested to do so by the Legisla- violation of an order of the Commission, ture, by the Senate or Assembly Commit- or who fails to obey, or aids or abets any tee on Railroads, or by the Governor; corporation in its failure to obey, is guilty
(d) To prescribe the form of annual of a misdemeanor. In case the Commisreports;
sion believes that a common carrier is (e) To investigate accidents;
violating the law or an order of the Com6) To investigate as to any act done, mission, it may commence an action to or omitted to be done, in violation of secure relief by way of mandamus or law or of any order of the Commission; injunction, and the court shall require (g) To fix rates and service;
an answer within twenty days. (h) To order repairs, improvements, 4. Article Four applies practically simor changes in tracks, switches, terminals, ilar provisions to the gas and electric motive power, or any other property or companies. It also provides for inspecdevice, in order to secure adequate ser- tion of all gas and electric meters. The vice;
Commission has the right to fix rates (2) To order changes in time sched- upon proper complaints as to quality or ules by increasing the number of trains, price, not only of that supplied by private cars, or motive power, or by changes in persons and corporations, but of that the time of starting its trains or cars; supplied by municipal lighting plants
() To establish a uniform system of as well; it has power to examine the accounts and prescribe the manner in
books and affairs of the producers, to apwhich they shall be kept.
prove of all incorporation and franchises, The approval of the Commission is and of all stocks, bonds, and other in