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ble, by the person furnishing the service, was a just and reasonable sum. In the absence of special contract, this rule applied to common carriers as well as other persons.
But as the law now is, under the Inter-State Commerce Act, the parties are no longer allowed to make absolute contracts, for the rendering of a service in the transportation of passengers or property, or in the receiving, delivering, storage, or handling of the same. The common carrier and shipper are no longer permitted to deal with each other as they please, because, so far as the amount to be received for the services is concerned, if they contract for a sum not“ reasonable and just,” such contract is void, because it is prohibited. Formerly the shipper could say to the common carrier : “ If you will transport certain goods from Chicago to New York, I will pay you one dollar per hundred weight"; and such a contract was good, and could be enforced by the common carrier, regardless of the fact that such charge was excessive or unreasonable, because, in the absence of fraud, the law would not interfere with the private bargains of suitors. allows its subjects to make their own bargains.
But now it is otherwise ; no contract can be
enforced between the shipper and the carrier, where the amount claimed for the service is not just and reasonable. The question as to what is a “ reasonable and
a just” charge is to be determined by the courts, as intimated by the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases to which we have heretofore alluded (Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S., p. 113; Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy R.R. Co. v. Iowa, 94 U. S., 155; Peik v. Chicago, etc., Ry. Co., 94 U. S., 164); and evidence would be admitted on the part of both the shipper and the common carrier to show what was a reasonable and just charge. What the nature of such evidence will be, depends upon each individual
The ultimate decision of the question would, in an ordinary action at common law, be left to a jury to determine ; but under the 13th, 14th, and 15th sections of the Inter-State Commerce Act, this question, of what is a reasonable and just charge, may also be determined by the Inter-State Commerce Commission.
But as under the gth section of the Act, any person claiming to be damaged by a common carrier may bring suit in his name, and on his own behalf, in any District or Circuit Court of
-State Commerce Act
or shipped from a foreign country to in the United States and carried to
from a port of entry either in the ites or in an adjacent foreign country.
Term “ Railroad” Defined.
ore than on such
And Warehousemen and Storage-keepers are perhaps also embraced within the meaning of the law, where property is intrusted to their care, and they undertake to deliver it in another State, because the concluding language of the first section prescribes that all charges made “ for the receiving, delivering, storage, or handling of such property” shall be reasonable and. just.
Internal State Commerce Not Affected. Fourth : It is expressly provided in the Act, that its provisions shall not apply to the transportation of passengers or property, or to the receiving, delivering, storage, or handling of property, wholly within one State, and not. shipped to or from a foreign country from or to any State or territory as aforesaid. (Sec. 1.)
This exception was undoubtedly incorporated in the Act, in deference to the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, which hold that the power of Congress does not extend to regulating commerce completely internal. (Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat., 1.)
9 A common carrier, accordingly, may transact two classes of business, viz., one wholly within any State-in which case the business is un