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weakened. The railroads have not been remiss in furthering the acceptance of this view. The experiences of Nebraska are sometimes pointed to as an example of the failure of a regulative policy. It must be remembered, however, that this State, instead of creating a Commission, has created a Board of Transportation composed of State officials, who have already been elected to perform other duties, together with certain assistants known as Secretaries. Owing to the fact that these State officials have already other duties the bulk of the work of regulation is delegated to the secretaries. This creates a division of responsibility which interferes with the carrying out of a careful and efficient regulative policy. The decision of the United States Supreme Court, in 1898, in the Maximum Rate Case, was, however, directed not against the actions of this board, but against the Newberry Maximum Rate Law, passed in 1893, which was declared by the Court to be too drastic in its operation. The experience of Kansas is also pointed to in this connection. The oscillations of politics, already referred to, have prevented the adoption of a continuous policy in this State. In 1885 the Commission was opposed to maximum rates. In 1897 it was in favour of them 3 The difficulties of regulation have been aggravated by changes in the form of the tribunal concerned with the regulative work. Some two years ago a Populist Legislature rescinded the Commission law and passed a much more drastic piece of legislation providing for the creation of a Court of Visitation. On May 5th of this year the Supreme Court of the State declared this legislation unconstitutional on the ground that it vested legislative, administrative and judicial powers in one body. At present Kansas has no machinery for enforcing a regulative policy.
The operation of the Commission brings out in clearer light the difficulties of the problem of regulation. It also shows the increasing appreciation of what regulation means. In spite of the defects in the system the outcome of Commission regulation has been much better than might have been anticipated. Men who have been chosen on purely political grounds have, in many cases, been sobered by the cares and responsibilities of office. In both types of Commission, the advisory feature has force. In Illinois, by 1878, the Commission had come to occupy the position of a regulator between the railroad and the public. This was the outcome not of any power conferred by the act but of a broadening appreciation of the responsibilities of the Commission to the railroads as well as to the public. The recent reports of Iowa and of Georgia show a similar condition. The Commissions which have been characterized by the most consecutive policy have gradually been establishing for themselves the position of impartial tribunals concerned with the interests of both parties. The Commissions have been able, through a mediatorial power exerted through correspondence, to prevent disputes coming to a head.? By the performance of these functions, and by the affording of information concerning railroad business to the public, a more harmonious relation between the railroads and the public has been brought about. The “strong” Commissions have redressed extortions and discriminations. They have been, in part, successful in harmonizing the differences between interstate and intra-state rates, thereby helping the interests of the local producers. Both types of Commissions have exerted a control over matters concerned with the public safety and convenience.
i See “Railroad Control in Nebraska," by Professor F. H. Dixon, in the Political Science Quarterly for December, 1898.
2. Third Report of the Kansas Commission, p. 17.
Perhaps the most important general service rendered by the Commissions has been the enforcing, on the public mind, of a clearer appreciation of the limitations of the competitive principle in railroad enterprise. In the early days the Massachusetts Commission, impressed by the railway policy of Belgium, which was then going through one of its accidental phases, pronounced in favour of a system of regulation through the maintenance of a government line in competition with other lines operating under private ownership and management. More recently the Commission has put itself on record, with reference to the limitations of competition, in words worthy of quotation—" whatever may be the true policy with respect to continental systems of transportation, competition on a narrower scale, between lines of limited extent and scope, has failed to accomplish its expected results, and has been practically abandoned by legislatures and the public as a theory and method of railroad regulation.” 4 The same position, in more guarded phrase, is taken by the Minnesota Commission. The limitations of the older theory of perfect competition are every day being brought out more clearly. To have exposed, and caused an appreciation of, the limitations of the competitive principle in railroading, is to have cleared the way for an understanding of the problem and to have indicated the line to be followed by future regulative legislation.
1 Cf. Georgia Commission Report for 1897-98, p. 4; Iowa and Illinois Reports present the same general position. The Texas Report of 1897, p. 5, also lays stress on this phase of policy.
? See in this connection evidence of Mr. Peter A. Dey before the Cullom Com. mittee. Mr. Dey, in the course of his evidence, said that the existence of the Commission “has enabled the people to see both sides of every question that has been discussed.” Evidence, p. 957.
3 Massachusetts Report of 1872. 4 Twenty-fourth Report of the Massachusetts Commission, 1893, p. 5. 5 Minnesota Commission Report, 1890, p. 19.
The question which type of Commission has done the best work is an open one. Arguments may be cited freely on both sides of the question. The most recent work on Commission Regulation—that of Mr. Hendrick-considers the Massachusetts Commission the ideal type, and argues that the "advisory” type is much more effective than the "strong" type. It is admitted that the former has done much to better conditions. The Western Commissions would gain by copying its policy in regard to regulation of construction and capitalization. But it must be remembered that the application of this policy rests on the coercive power of law. Although the Massachusetts Commission has reiterated its position that it does not ask for power, it does possess power in the matter of regulation of capitalization and construction. It is only in the matter of the regulation of rates that the legislation, under which the Commission now works, places reliance upon the coercive power of public opinion. The conditions existing in Massachusetts do not exist in the West and South. Even in the East, in New York, where an advisory Commission is in operation, the same success as in Massachusetts has not been obtained. The West has tried the "advisory” type. From 1878 until 1888 Iowa relied upon this form of Commission, and then was forced to give it up because it was not fitted to grapple with the conditions that confronted it. The special conditions of the West and South cannot, for the present at least, be met by Commissions of the "advisory" type. . Notwithstanding the slow development of knowledge with reference to the significance of railroad regulation, the Commission movement has been characterized, in general, by prudent action. That it has accomplished what it has done, under existing defects, is an evidence of what may, under more careful regulative policy, be obtained.
SIMON J. MCLEAN University of Arkansas.
1 Railway Control by Commissions, by Frank Hendrick, Ricardo Fellow in Har. vard University, Putnam's, New York, 1900. Mr. Hendrick looks at the matter too much from the standpoint of Massachusetts experiences.
2 Cf. Dixon, State Railroad Control, pp. 128–139.
A History of British India. By SIR WILLIAM WILSON HUNTER,
K.C.S.I., &c. Vol. I. To the Overthrow of the English in the Spice Archipelago. (London: Longmans.) 1899. Pp. 475.
The delay in noticing this book in these pages is the more regrettable, since it has deprived me of the opportunity of joining, during the lifetime of its lamented author, in the chorus of praise with which it has deservedly been received. But it has enabled me the better to judge of its effect upon a body of readers to whom Sir William Hunter was evidently anxious to appeal. With a statesman. like prescience, he concluded his preface with the following words:
America starts on her career of Asiatic rule with an amplitude of resources, and with a sense of moral responsibility which no previous state of Christendom brought to the work. . . . I hail their advent in the East as a new power for good, not alone for the island races who come under their care, but also in that great settlement of European spheres of influence in Asia, which, if we could see aright, forms a world-problem of our day.
During the academic year now closing, I have prescribed this book, among some two score others, to a large class of students of Economic History in Harvard University. And somewhat to my surprise, it has interested them far more than any of the others, though several of those are interesting enough. Two or three men have even told me that they were glad they had taken that "course,” if only because it had led them to read “Hunter.” And this must be ascribed, in equal measure perhaps, both to its qualities of style and to its direct appeal to their sense of duty as Americans. For, indeed, events are already beginning to show that with the annexation of the Philippines began a new chapter in the history of the East. It may be some time before the new formulæ are devised for American diplomacy, but the present trouble with the Boxers has given American statesmen an opportunity to show that they are equal, at any rate, to that task. " Without violating its unbroken practice," we are told, “in refusing to join any concert of action taken by the representatives at Pekin of other Govern
ments, the Secretary of State has instructed the American minister in China to act on parallel lines with those representatives!"
Sir William Hunter had a great opportunity, and this first volume shows that, had he lived, he would have known how to use it. There existed, and now we have to say, there still exists, no standard narrative history of British India save that of James Mill; and Mill's work, in spite of Wilson's notes, sufficiently betrays the fact that it was written in 1817. Since that time whole branches of Oriental learning have come into existence; and, moreover, during the last two or three decades, the early records of European traders in the East have been made accessible by a series of model publications. Such volumes as the Court Records and the First Letter Book of the East India Company enable the reader to penetrate into every detail of the first English ventures, and to realise, as never before, their relation to contemporary business. And on the history of the Portuguese and Dutch trade, also, there has of late years been a stream of scholarly publications. It was the task of Sir William Hunter to bring together in orderly fashion this new material, and to present it in an attractive form to the general public.
It must not be regarded as ingratitude if I add that, valuable as is Sir William Hunter's work, there are sides of the subject to which he gives scant attention, which yet are of first importance for any complete understanding of his subject. It must, I am aware, seem like Mr. Dick's devotion to King Charles' Head when I add that these sides of the subject are the economic. But a moment's reflection will justify the criticism. Why did Europeans wish to reach the East Indies ? For trade, says Sir William Hunter, and truly enough. But he nowhere tells us definitely what the trader went for, and why he went for it. The reader will pick up, after a time, some references to spices, and if he is very alert, he will perceive a difference between finer and coarser spices. But all this should have been distinctly set forth and explained, not only for its bearing on the 17th century, but because a gradual change in European habits of consumption, leading to a change in commercial demand, was one of the great underlying facts which determined the fortunes of the East Indies in the 18th century. Or again, it is implied that the failure of the English company in its struggle with the Dutch for the Spice Islands was due in the main to the contrast between the settled national policy of the Dutch Government and “the quicksand diplomacy of the first James and Charles.” A wise policy can do much, but it can no more dispense with capital when it is a matter of trade than a man can lift himself by his bootstraps. Our author hastens to add that on the side of the Dutch there was “a vast national subscription," while England “cared to risk only a small capital.” But the question for the philosophical historian is, Had England anything but a small capital to risk? And he will ask the other question, Whence did Holland derive its larger resources ? It will be found, I think, that much of the capital of