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sought to repudiate all limitations in rule and the real issue in municipal favor of the city, claiming that the Gen- politics; that the question in every Amerieral Assembly of 1865 really intended a can city is whether the public authority system grant, and that every concession shall be exercised by the people for pubsince made by the city added so much lic ends, or by allied public service corto their ninety-nine-year possessions. porations for incorporated greed; and
The city, on July 30, 1883, to set at that it will soon be determined whether rest for the time being its controversy the city of the people is to become a priwith the companies over the Ninety- vate municipality. Nine-Year Act, made a general exten The City Council, for oft-repeated good sion grant for twenty years without pre- and valuable considerations, had long judice to the conflicting claims of the been a corporate possession of the street parties. Under this and many subse- railways and their allied corporate interquent grants similarly limited for exten ests. With the first attempt of the people sion and cross lines, the cable and electric to recover possession of the legislative lines of the companies have been con authority of the city, these interests took structed and operated. At no time have alarm. Under cover of the exciting nathe companies operated any of their lines tional campaign of 1896 they in advance under the Ninety-Nine-Year Act unsup acquired title to the incoming Governported by city grants.
or and General Assembly of the state. The state, by a general act of 1874, Early in the legislative session of 1897, provided for corporations to construct, the street railway companies caused to maintain, and operate “ Horse and Dum be introduced into both houses of the my Railroads." Under its provisions the General Assembly a bill to extend for cities of the state might make grants of fifty years their disputed rights in the rights in their streets for terms not ex streets of Chicago, in wanton disregard ceeding twenty years.
This act, never of public interests. This bill promptly sufficient for the protection of the public passed the Senate by a large majority. . and private interests involved, gradually It was bitterly opposed by the people became more and more inadequate for and press of Chicago, and was finally these purposes. With the transforma
With the transforma- defeated in the House. The companies tion of pioneer horse lines into costly thereupon caused to be introduced and cable and electric systems having hun- passed a simple measure authorizing the dreds of miles of trackage, great power
several cities of the state to make grants plants, thousands of employees, and mil to street railway companies for periods lions of dollars in annual receipts, the not exceeding fifty years. need of new legislation became more The Act of 1897 operated to extend and more apparent.
However, the the term for which franchise grants growth of the public service corporation might be made by municipalities from from small beginnings had been so twenty to fifty years. It was passed by rapid, its corrupting influence was so means that disgraced the state, and insidious, and the citizens were so occu
aroused bitter feeling from Chicago to pied with their private concerns, that as Cairo. How keenly the people of Illiyet there was no clearly defined public nois resented this debauchery of their policy to be expressed in new legislation. state government was shown a year and a
The people of Chicago, while still half later, at the next election of members groping for a policy, as long ago as 1896 of the General Assembly. Of sixteen realized that the employment of private retiring senators who voted for the obcapital in the conduct of the public busi noxious measure of 1897 but two were ness is the direct cause of municipal mis reëlected ; and of the eighty-two represen
tatives who so voted but fourteen secured this measure that local transportation reëlection. There was, perhaps, never should be treated as a monopoly ; that, such a slaughter of state legislators. The while conducted by the public service memory of the tragedy of 1898 still corporation, it should be subjected to haunts the corridors of the state capitol strict public control ; and that the right at Springfield. Indeed, since that mem- of municipal ownership should be reorable election the General Assembly of served and safeguarded. The bill, drawn Illinois has dealt with much fear and on these lines, although ably supported trembling with the subject of street rail- by the Council Committee at Springfield, way legislation. At its next session, by was strangled in the House Committee unanimous vote in the House, it repealed to which it was referred. After rethe Act of 1897, and restored the former peated public hearings this committee statute. The Governor who signed the simply failed to report. The bill was obnoxious measure of two years before not relished by certain of the street railgave his official sanction to the new act way interests; and it is believed that the restoring the situation. Meantime the inaction of the House was not solely due street railway companies, which for two to legislative timidity. years had vainly sought fifty-year exten- Two years now quickly passed, during sions from the City Council of Chicago, which the struggle on behalf of public stood idly by, unable to avert the bitter interests steadily gained ground in Chihumiliation of utter defeat.
cago. The general extension ordinance Thus closes the first chapter of the of 1883 was to expire on July 30, 1903. story of recent street railway legislation in the spring of 1902, under a recent in Illinois. Pending the struggle above act permitting the submission of public outlined, an affirmative public policy for questions to popular vote, the electors of the better control of street railways was the city, by a majority of about five to taking form in Chicago. Leaders in the one, expressed their opinion in favor of movement for the protection of public the municipal ownership of the street interests had framed a comprehensive railways. However, as many grants of bill looking to public control and possible particular streets made at different times public ownership, which they offered at to the companies will not expire for sevthe legislative session of 1899. How- eral years, and the city is not in financial ever, public opinion was not yet ripe for condition for so great a purchase, early constructive legislation in the public in- municipal ownership is impracticable terest; and the General Assembly, al- even if desirable. The popular vote of most entirely composed of new members, 1902 favoring it must be regarded as an was afraid to experiment with so dan- expression of hostility to the street railgerous a subject.
way companies rather than as a demand The movement to make the City Coun- for immediate municipal ownership. cil representative of public interests had The failure of the comprehensive so far succeeded, that from the year 1900 street railway bills of 1899 and 1901, its able Committee on Local Transporta- and the conservative attitude of leading tion properly assumed the leadership on country members to legislation uniforınly behalf of Chicago in the effort to secure branded “ socialistic ” by the owners of adequate street railway legislation. The the securities of public service corporacommittee, having made an extensive tions, led the Committee on Local Transstudy of the conditions, submitted to the portation of the City Council of Chicago General Assembly of 1901 a compre- and its supporters to propose a more hensive bill for a general street railway simple measure at the session of the law. It was assumed by the framers of General Assembly of 1903. The end
sought was to reverse existing conditions, was to be any traction legislation, reand place the city, instead of the com plied : “I don't know. I do whatever panies, in control of the situation. To the old man tells me to; and he tells me accomplish this, it was deemed necessary to do about traction as Hinman says." to obtain for the city power to acquire, Hinman himself announced that there own, and operate its street railways. would be no traction legislation at that Hence there arose, prior to the opening session. The companies, thus safeof the session, a wide demand for ena- guarded by the organization of the bling legislation as a condition precedent House, were not openly represented at to the further extension of the expiring Springfield. franchises of the street railway compa The City Council of Chicago sent to nies. Bills to empower the cities of Illi the General Assembly, with its indorsenois to acquire street railways, and to re ment, a bill for an enabling act prepared serve the right of municipal acquisition by its Committee on Local Transportain franchise grants, were promptly offered tion.
tion. A special committee, composed in by the Council Committee and others. part of members of the Council, pre
It was known prior to the organization sented a somewhat more radical measure. of the House that the effort to pass such Several members offered individual bills a measure would be the chief feature of largely copied from these two. A bill, the session. The Governor, represent mainly drafted by the Secretary of the ing the spoils faction of his party, of Municipal Voters' League of Chicago, course desired to have his supporters and offered in the Senate by Senator control the House. The party boss of Mueller, became known as Senate Bill Chicago, Mr. William C. Lorimer, for No. 40. purposes of “politics” wished to pos While the situation at Springfield was sess the House. The editor of the In thus confused, the mayoralty campaign ter-Ocean, Mr. George W. Hinman, came on in Chicago. The platform of brought from New York by Mr. Charles the Municipal Voters' League, on which T. Yerkes when he purchased that stal more than two thirds of the members wart party organ and made it the avowed of the Council had been elected, was champion of the street railway corpora- heartily indorsed by the conventions of tions, - had, in his capacity of organ both parties. The Mayor had actively grinder, acquired some party influence participated in the development of the outside Chicago, which gave him a place street railway programme embodied in in the combine to control the House. the League platform. His Republican These allies, by the utmost effort, in- opponent, who was without a traction cluding the use of state patronage, con record, actively exerted his influence to trolled the caucus by a bare majority advance the “ Mueller Bill” at Springand secured the organization. They field. In part because of his efforts, and chose for Speaker a weak and unknown in response to the unanimous demand of man, pledging him to obey orders. It the public press of Chicago, Senate Bill was subsequently understood in the No. 40 passed the Senate just after the House that as a condition of his election municipal election in Chicago. the Speaker was required to promise to The House organization now set itself carry out Hinman's orders on all street
the Senate measure and railway measures, and to use the gavel to defeat all street railway legislation, when necessary to defeat objectionable meanwhile pretending to meet the populegislation. Mr. “Gus” Nohe, Lori- lar demand. Messrs. Lorimer and Hinmer's member from his own legislative man went to Springfield and openly asdistrict, - when asked whether there sumed personal direction of the House.
The municipal committee, composed al- it was evident that the revolt was formost entirely of machine puppets, prompt midable. ly suppressed the Senate bill, reporting a Late that night a memorable confersubstitute prepared by its chairman, Mr. ence was held at the call of William C. Cicero J. Lindley, under the immediate Lorimer. The place was his private supervision of Messrs. Lorimer and Hin chamber at the Leland House, in Spring
These open supporters of the field. The time was from about 11.30 Yerkes legislation of 1897 now posed as P. M. to 3.30 A. M. The subject discussed saviors of the city from the alleged evil was the pending street railway legisladesigns of the reform leaders. They tion. There, in his lair, the boss and his insisted that there should be no grants, subordinates received the representatives even if made from time to time in suc of public interests. Mr. Lorimer was cession, for more than twenty years in supported by Mr. Hinman, and Messrs. the aggregate. They claimed that their Lindley, David E. Shanahan,
6 Gus” " Lindley Bill” was the only genuine Nohe, and “Ed ” Morris of the House. municipal ownership measure. The bill Mr. Frank 0. Lowden was present in itself was a blundering abstract of parts the dual capacity of friend of the organof the Senate bill. The provision of ization and of the city. Messrs. Bennett, that measure authorizing cities to borrow Mavor, and Eidman, of the Council Commoney on special certificates with which mittee, and Mr. Graeme Stewart (late to acquire street railway property was Republican candidate for Mayor of Chicarefully emasculated. Other changes
Other changes cago), Mr. E. L. Reeves, and the writer, and omissions pointed unmistakably to a of the Chicago delegation, were present desire to protect the existing companies. on Mr. Lorimer's invitation.
It may be asked, why did Lorimer, We were promptly asked, “What do absolute dictator of the House organiza you want?” Our reply was, tion, offer a substitute for the Senate bill nothing for names; but, in substance, we in the House? Why did he not suppress want the Senate bill. Nothing less will the obnoxious measure and have done serve.” Mr. Lorimer emphatically told with the matter? The answer is that us that the Senate bill was dead and public opinion was so aroused in favor of buried, and that the only hope of legisenabling legislation, the suspicion of cor lation at that session lay in the enactporate interference with the public pro ment of the Lindley substitute. We were gramme was so general, that even Lori urged to accept that measure, and invited mer did not dare openly to defy it. The then and there to submit amendments. plan was for the House to pass pretended It was assumed throughout the conferenabling legislation, and to have it fail
ence that we were “up against the real between the two houses.
thing;” that whatever amendments Mr. The popular demand for the Mueller Lorimer might accept that night would Bill became so insistent that on the go through the House the next day. The night before the substitute was set for attitude of the members of that body on second reading, Mr. Lorimer became the principal question of the session was alarmed. The Democrats and minority assumed to be wholly immaterial. Republicans that night held separate cau It makes one, who regards the people cuses to plan for the substitution of the as the source of political authority and Senate measure. How many votes could the General Assembly as a means for the be mustered against the organization, be expression of their will, feel somewhat lieved absolutely to control the fate of all queer to participate in a midnight gatherpending measures in the then closing ing called by a voluntary political boss hours of the session, was not clear; but to dispense legislation of vital public conVOL. XCIII. No. 555.
“ We care
cern. However, under present conditions, gation, about twenty in number, only thus may one be sure to get next posed of the Mayor, citizens appointed by to the powers that prey.” Thus only him, and the Council Committee, may one reach the source of legislation jected by practically unanimous vote the affecting privileged interests and study Lorimer ultimatum. This action, taken it in process. In this instance we knew with full knowledge that it might mean full well that our presence that night be- present defeat instead of a weak comprohind the scenes was solely due to omi- mise with the inachine, was taken the nous signs of revolt in the House. The more readily because Lorimer by giving boss sought to avert the storm.
was now on.
out the proposed amendments had already The night wore on in discussion of committed himself to them, and because ten heated discussion — of the defects the representatives of the city believed of the substitute bill. That measure, as that it was his intention to pass the it then stood, was a bungling imitation amended substitute through the House of the Senate bill, so emasculated as to and kill it in the closing hours of the render it practically valueless. It bore session. unmistakable marks of tender regard for The fight on the floor of the House the traction interests. It appeared on
The Speaker, who, the its face to provide for municipal owner- day before, on the written demand of a ship, but withheld the means for its ac majority of the House, declined to say complishment. By the omission of the whether he would recognize the constituprovision of the Senate bill, broadly au tional demand of five members for a yea thorizing the municipality to grant streets and nay vote on all proposed amendalready occupied by street railways to ments, arbitrarily postponed the second any corporation, without new frontage reading of the bill to two o'clock that consents, it was sought to make it ne day, and then until nine o'clock the next cessary for the city to deal with the pre- morning. Meanwhile the recalcitrant sent companies and to confirm them in members were subjected to one of the their possession of the streets.
most severe of machine tests. Some These chief defects of the substitute seventy-five bills making appropriations bill were stoutly defended, the first as for the state government and the public an alleged protection to the public from institutions throughout the state, and the possibility of grants for more than many other bills of local or special intertwenty years ; the second out of a pro est to the members, stood on the calendar fessed regard for abutting property own on third reading. Those favoring the
Amendments to cure several mi- Senate traction bill, led by Mr. Oliver nor defects, and one covering frontage W. Stewart, the able prohibition memconsents so worded as not to fall within ber, had given notice that none of these the title of the bill, were finally offered measures should pass until the traction
The boss thereupon delivered his question was acted on by the House. ultimatum, in substance as follows : The organization leaders now pre“ You must accept the Lindley Bill with sented two carefully chosen appropriation these amendments, pull down all oppo- bills for passage. The first was the apsition on the floor of the House and from propriation bill for the maintenance of the Chicago press, and actively support the State Normal School at Macomb, the the bill. It is the Lindley Bill or no home of Mr. Sherman, leader of the Rething.”
publican opposition. It was permitted to A few hours later, as the House as fail, the friends of Senate Bill No. 40, sembled to consider the Lindley substi- including Sherman, refusing to vote. A tute on second reading, the Chicago dele- second appropriation bill shared the fate