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The Railroads and the Postal Service
By W. W. Baldwin
President Chicago, Burlington, and Kansas City Railroad
Y attention has been called to your article of March 19, in which there is denunciation without stint of the rates being paid by the Government to the railroad companies of the country, for the transportation of the mails. Comparison is made between express rates and the mail. Certain of the lowest competitive wholesale express rates for short distances are selected; and these are compared with an assumed average for the whole country of the rates for carrying the mails, stated at eight cents a pound. There is no such average rate; but if there was, such a method of comparison would be grossly unfair.
The average rate at which nine-tenths of the weight of the mails is transported does not, probably, exceed one cent per pound for the average haul. The other one-tenth figures at a higher rate per ton per mile, because of the extremely light weight; it is, in fact, a package service. To illustrate: between the cities of Lowell and Lawrence, Mass., a distance of thirteen miles, the railroad company performs the entire service of transporting, handling, and delivering the mail for nineteen cents per trip-an extremely small compensation for the service and responsibility, and much cheaper than the Government could secure its performance by any other agency. But so light is the daily weight (220 pounds) that the rate per ton per mile is heavy. Is it fair to include this high rate in with the very low rates being paid on the great bulk of the mail, and designate the result as an "average" rate charged to the Government for carrying the mails?
The express company exacts twenty-five cents for a package weighing one pound, carried one mile. That is at the rate of $500 per ton per mile. No railroad company can receive, under the existing law, six cents per ton per mile on any weight of mail in excess of 5,000 pounds per day, for any distance. Is there any fair basis of comparison between the two rates? Probably nine-tenths of the railroad mails of the country are carried at this minimum cost_below six cents per ton per mile, or about one-half cent
per pound for a haul of 200 miles, or one and one-third cents for a haul of 500 miles.
I am familiar with the rates paid by the Government to the Burlington road, a system 7,000 miles in length, and embracing the heaviest route in the West, on which the service is performed by special fast mail trains, and also eighty other routes. Upon the line from Chicago to Burlington (206 miles) the Government pays fifty-eight cents per hundred for a specially expedited mail service, performed at great extra cost. No similar service is rendered for any other customer. The regular express rate between the same points is $1.25 per hundred; the ordinary freight rate on dry goods, boots and shoes, carpets, and similar commodities, is fortyseven cents per hundred if carried on freight trains, and ninety-four cents if carried on passenger trains. Taking this system as a whole, with its varied routes and service, the Adams Express Company pays the Burlington Company a higher rate, pound for pound and ton for ton, than is paid by the Government for carriage of the mails.
The express company does not pay too much; but the Government pays too little. The service rendered the Government in transporting the mails is so much more valuable and expensive than that performed for the express company that there is really no basis for comparison. The express company handles all its own freight with its own employees; no railroad employee touches an express package without extra compensation; but the railroad company handles all mail with its employees, except on the routes where there are postal clerks, and practically all mail between stations and post-offices, except in a few large cities. For the express company it furnishes a bare car; for the Government, an elaborately fitted post-office on wheels, on all heavy routes. The character of the service is very different. For the express company the railroad company transports freight; for the Government it carries letters, bonds, deeds, the correspondence of the people, as well as books and printed matter. The manner of conducting it on all
heavy routes is different-the fast mail service is a special feature. My space will not permit entering further into the details of this comparison.
The subject least worthy of criticism in this system, in my opinion, is the compensation paid to the railroad companies for the traveling post-offices which they provide and haul for the Government-the pay for use of railway postal cars. In discussing it, you apparently ignore the most important elements—that the cars are carried comparatively empty of paying freight, and solely for the accommodation of the Government, and that the chief item for which reimbursement is made to the railroad companies is the cost of hauling them; the original cost of the cars is a matter of slight consideration. Permit me to insert the closing remarks of the Auditor of the Cotton Belt road upon this point, given in his recent testimony before the Senate Investigating Committee:
"When we haul a Pullman sleeper deadhead over the line, we receive twenty cents per car-mile for that service, and furnish no heat, light, etc. Of course the sleepers are more expensive than mail-cars, but it will be conceded that the mail-cars should pay at least half the rate paid by the Pullman Company, which would be ten cents per car-mile; while the foregoing figures show that the actual rate per car-mile paid is but a trifle over three cents."
It may be averred with confidence that there is no more economical expenditure made by the Government than the compensation paid for use of postal cars.
It is manifestly impossible, in the space at my command, to more than touch upon the various features of this subject, about which there has been published a vast amount of misinformation. If The Outlook or its readers desire to examine into the question, with a view to ascertain the facts, they are respectfully referred to the printed report of recent hearings by the Senate Committee on Appropriations, at which all its phases were discussed.
[Mr. Baldwin has stated the case for the railroads in an extremely able way. Nevertheless, his statement contains one or two errors of fact, and a serious error of assumption. In the first place, he is hardly warranted in saying that "the average rate at which nine-tenths of the weight of the mails
is transported does not, probably, exceed one cent per pound for the average haul.” The lowest rate at which whole train-loads of mail are carried from New York to Buffalo (the average haul) is 1 cents a pound, excluding the pay for the postal cars. (Postmaster-General's Report, 1897, p. 407.) In the second place, he is not at all warranted in stating that the compensation is "extremely small" when the mails are light. To take his own illustration, the railroad between Lowell and Lawrence, Mass. (according to the Postmaster-General's Report, 1897, p. 398), receives $600 a year for carrying the mail twenty-two trips a week. This is fifty-two cents a trip, instead of nineteen cents as Mr. Baldwin reckons. As the average weight of the mail on each trip is less than seventy-five pounds, and the express companies charge private parties but thirty-five cents for carrying a similar package between Lowell and Lawrence, the overcharge to the Government is apparent. As a rule, the express companies pay the railroads but forty per cent. of their receipts. In other words, the railroad would get but fourteen cents from the express companies, where it charges the Government fifty-two cents.
These inaccuracies, however, are of relatively little importance. What is of real moment is the assumption that the charges upon special mail trains are typical. It is true that upon routes where these special mail trains are run the railways receive less per ton per mile from the Government than from the express companies. But the service performed for the two can only be contrasted. The express business on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Burlington is largely local business, the average haul for express packages being but a little over one hundred miles. The average haul for all mail matter is about four hundred and forty-eight miles, and this branch of the Burlington pre-eminently carries the through mail, for which the branch performs practically no service except the hauling. The railroads have too long made the exaggerated claim that long hauls cost but a mere trifle more than short hauls, for the Nation to be willing to be charged local express rates upon through train-loads of mail, which the road merely hauls. What we demand here is the same charge that is made to the express companies when they have a train-load of through express. The charge to them for a
special train (Mr. Baldwin can give the exact figures) appears not to exceed $1 a mile, which is twenty per cent. more than the average passenger train yields in gross revenue to the railroads. A special trainload of mail, carrying, say, fifty tons, ought to be hauled from Chicago to Burlington for not to exceed $206, whereas the railroad now receives from the Government $669, apart from the payment for the use of special postal cars.
But the discussion ought not to be pursued by way of illustrations. A general statement for the whole country is all that the ordinary citizen can follow without the fear that the illustrations have been selected. This statement has been made by Senator Pettigrew ("Congressional Record," May 10), who uses the figures given in the Postmaster-General's report, and the report made by the express companies themselves for the Census of 1890. The express companies paid the railroads six mills per pound for the handling of express matter, while the Government paid the railroads six cents a pound-or just ten times as much for the handling of the mails. It is true that the ordinary haul for the mails
was nearly four times as long as the ordinary haul for express matter, but, if the old claims of the railroads (made against the InterState Commerce Law) are to be believed, the longer haul adds a mere trifle to the expense. But even if we admit that this longer haul is proportionately costly, the Government still pays the railroads nearly three times as much per ton per mile as do the express companies. As these statements cover all the mail and express business of the country, they reveal the general situation.
We have not space to discuss again the rental paid by the Government for the use of the special postal cars. The facts brought out by ex-Postmaster-General Vilas, showing that the Government, after paying six cents a ton per mile for hauling their contents, pays in addition a yearly rental for the cars exceeding their original cost, are final until disputed. No other part of the equipment of the railroads or of the Pullman car companies yields one-third of such a rental. Here, again, all that we demand for the Government is the same rates that well-conducted private companies are paying.-The EdiTORS.]
-Walter Crane has been put at the head of the Art Department of the South Kensing ton Museum.
-John Henry Cromwell Russell, who lately died in Switzerland at the age of ninety-two, was a direct descendant, in the sixth generation, of the Lord Protector. His grandfather was Oliver Cromwell of Chestnut Park, great grandson of Oliver's son Henry, and the last of the family who bore the name of Cromwell.
-The Rev. Dr. W. T. Chase, pastor of the Fifth Baptist Church of Philadelphia, could trace his pedigree through prominent New England families as far back as 1640, and in England as far as the royal household of Henry VIII. through Sir Richard of Chesham and Lady Elizabeth Bowchier. In the Civil War he was chaplain of the Fourth Colored Regiment, United States Volunteers. -The University of Cambridge (England) has conferred an honorary degree upon Professor Henry Bowditch, of Harvard University, in connection with the zoological and physiological congress. In announcing the conferring of the degree the Vice-Chancellor
said that Professor Bowditch was regarded by Cambridge with almost fraternal feeling as the envoy of her brothers across the At lantic. Owing to his example and influence physiological studies are now flourishing in the United States, and the Cambridge across the sea had long been a famous center of physiological research.
-The eccentricities of spoken and written language are illustrated by an anecdote lately related by Professor Max Müller. "While I was sitting," he says, "in my room at Oxford copying Sanscrit MSS., a gentleman was shown in, dressed in a long black coat, looking different from my usual visitors, and addressed me in a language of which I did not understand a single word. I spoke to him in English, and asked him what language he was speaking, and he replied with great surprise, Do you not understand Sanscrit?' No,' I said, 'I have never heard it spoken; but here are some MSS. of the Veda which will interest you.' He was delighted to see them, and began to read, but he had soon to confess that he was not able to translate a single word."
By Lyman Abbott
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.-John xv., 15.
TRUSTED and honored servant of Dean Stanley had died; Queen Victoria wrote him a letter of condolence, in which she says: "I am one of those who think the loss of a faithful servant to be the loss of a friend, and one who can never be replaced."
A servant, then, may be a friend. Indeed, the mistress ought to be the friend of her servant, and the servant the friend of her mistress. I am afraid that is a rare combination; and yet it is not an impossible ideal. But in our great organized industries it is an impossible ideal. The president of a railroad corporation, with twenty thousand men serving, cannot be the personal friend of the twenty thousand, nor can the twenty thousand be personally friends of the president. Many of them never have looked upon him; they would hardly know his name. Oftentimes the service of a servant must be without the element of friendship; oftentimes the service of a servant and of a friend may be intermingled in the one stream. This much may be said by way of introductory explanation, because the antithesis between servant and friend which Christ intimates, and which I shall follow this morning, is an antithesis not always necessary, though common. But if we consider what is the service of a servant who is not a friend, and then the service of a friend who is not a servant, we shall see a real and genuine antithesis.
The servant works under the impulse of fear of penalty, as a slave, dreading the lash, or under hope of reward, as of wages to be paid on Saturday night. The servant works in a particular department; there is a specific work given him to do. This servant is housemaid, that servant is cook; this servant is gardener, that servant is coachman. The work is appointed, and when that work is done then all is done which the master has a right to expect, or which the servant expects to render. The servant may not ordinarily go over the line marked out for
1 Part of a sermon preached in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., Sunday morning, June 26, 1898. Stenographically reported by Henry Winans, and revised by the author.
him. It is not an uncommon fault found with the servant, "Who told you to do that?" In military service obedience consists quite as much in not doing what you are not commanded as in doing what you are commanded. The limits of service are fixed and defined. This kind of service-service under fear of penalty, or hope of reward, within defined limits which one dare not or is not ambitious to transgress—is by no means confined to household service. There are not a few editors in the city of New York who are thus servants. They write the editorials they are told to write. They write, not to express themselves, not spontaneously, but for the wages they are to receive. It is not uncommon in New England parishes for the minister to be regarded by the parish, and not altogether uncommon for the minister to regard himself, as the servant of the church
that is, as a kind of hired man.
He is to render such and such service for such and such wages. He is to have so many months in which he is to render this service, and so many weeks which he is to have in vacation for himself. For the wages he is to receive he is to do certain pastoral calling, and is to preach a certain number of sermons-sometimes the very number is fixed and adjusted beforehand. In all these cases, whether the service be in the kitchen, or in the editorial sanctum, or in the pulpit, or in the garden, these elements enter into it— service rendered under fear of penalty or in expectation of reward; service rendered within a certain definite sphere beyond which ambition does not call, beyond which, perhaps, duty does not suffer one to go.
In all these respects the service of a friend differs. The friend does not render his service under the impact of fear. He may fear, indeed, to displease his friend, he may fear to injure his friend, but he is not afraid of his friend. He does not render his service in hope of reward. He may, indeed, desire appreciation, recognition, thanks, but he is not rendering his service to his friend for the payment of wages or even the expression of gratitude to be given to him. He never asks whether it pays or not. It never enters the head of a wife to question whether her service is adequately paid for by her board,
clothes, and lodging-which is the wages she generally gets. The service of friendship has not its impulse in fear, nor in the hope of wages, nor is it confined within any department. The friend does not wait for his friend to tell him what he expects of him; he does not wait to be bidden to go hither or yon; he does not ask what he must do or is expected to do. He looks for opportunities; he endeavors to anticipate the wishes of his friend; he dares to go beyond any limits that might have been prescribed for him; he dares to make blunders. He is not afraid of his friend; for he knows that his friend will take the will for the deed, and even if he makes mistakes the friendly service will be recognized though it has done harm rather than good.
Something such are the differences between the service of a friend and the service of a servant.
Servant of God-what does that mean? If we take all friendship out of it, it means service rendered to God under the impact of fear or under the inspiration of hope of reward. It means service rendered within certain defined lines. It means doing the things which God commands so explicitly that one is afraid to go beyond the definite command and undertake anything else. The servant of God, if he be not also a friend of God, if he is simply, merely, solely a servant of God, fears the penalty if he does not render the service, or he hopes for a reward if he does render the service. He sings: "I sing for joy of that which lies stored up for me above "-the only lines in that beautiful hymn of Paul Gerhardt that I do not like to sing. I do not sing for joy of that which lies stored up for me above. If there were nothing stored up for me above, if there were nothing for me but the earthly fate which overtook the Christ, I probably should be a coward and shrink back; but if I were not, and had the heart to go on, the joy would be with me, whatever lies beyond the grave. The joy is in the service, not in the coronation. One needs no joy stored up beyond who serves for friendship's sake. The servant of God, if he be not also a friend, asks, How much does the Master require? How many times dues the Master expect me to go to church-once or twice on Sunday? What amount of Sunday-school teaching does the Master demand of me? What prayer-meeting service does he require? Some'imes he says to himself, I have tried to be a Chris
tian, and it does not pay; I get nothing for it; other men who are not honest get on faster and better than I do and have happier and better lives. I have had men say to me, "It does not pay to be a Christian." What does that mean? It is the "strike by a servant whose wages are not paid. It is the attitude of a man doing work for wages, and if the wages are not paid he finds another master. The man who is a servant of God, and not also a friend of God, works a little while, and, when he has done what he thinks enough service, drops out of it. “I have been ten years in the Sunday-school; now I will step aside and let some one else take his turn." The question always is, not, What may I do? but, What must I do? what ought I to do?
He who is a friend of God deals with all life in a different spirit. His point of view is different; not his method only, but the life itself. He looks on God with a great awe, and sometimes follows Christ as the disciples followed him-afar off-afraid to ask questions; but, nevertheless, he is not afraid of God. God is his friend. He is afraid lest he shall wound God; he is afraid lest he shall injure God's cause. And yet he does not do his work under the impact of fear. Nor does he work for wages; he does not ask the question, Does it pay? God is his friend; and nothing pays so well as to render service to his friend. The joy of going on is all the joy he asks. He never questions whether it pays now, he never questions whether it will pay hereafter; it is enough that God is his friend and he is God's friend, and he can do something for the friend he loves above all friends.
So, for him there are no departments in life. He is neither chambermaid nor cook nor gardener nor coachman; he is neither commissariat nor field officer; he is simply friend. The question with him is never, How much churchgoing does my Master require? the question is never, How much Bible-reading does my Master demand, or how long prayers? Never! It is always this: How can I please my friend, and serve my friend, and commune with my friend, and rejoice in my friend? He never asks, How much must I do? but, How much may I do? He is not over afraid of making mistakes; he is willing to anticipate God's commands; he is willing to run where he has not been sent and to undertake what has not been laid upon him, because he is working for a friend, and a friend so strong and so