[Report of the Special Committee on Railroads, New York Assembly, 1879. Volume III, pages 3393-3395]

October 1, 1872, when I first became general freight agent of the Erie Railroad, no oil was produced in the Bradford District, and all petroleum then transported by the Erie Railway eastward came from the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. At that time, Adnah Neyhart, of Tidioute, Pennsylvania, represented by W. T. Scheide, afterwards by H. C. Ohlen at New York, shipped small quantities of refined oil, for which he received a rebate of over $7,000 on his shipments for the prior month, to wit, September, 1872. ... I looked for the reasons, and found the agreement next prior to that time as to shipments and rates was the one already in evidence between producers, shippers, refiners and railroad companies, dated March 25, 1872; I asked why that contract was not observed, and was then convinced in reply that the agreement of March 25 lasted less than two weeks, and that at that early date the Empire Line was receiving a large drawback or commission from the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was either being shared with its shippers or an additional amount was being allowed to them, besides that which the Empire Line itself received from the Pennsylvania system; and as the Empire Line also owned the Union Pipe Line, its shippers had advantages which our company and its shippers did not even jointly possess. At the close of that calendar year (1872), the entire petroleum traffic for the five months of the administration of President Watson, the former president of the South Improvement Company, to January 1, 1873, was but 265,853 barrels, or but about 53,000 barrels per month; while the Pennsylvania Railroad was carrying about six times as much, or 300,000 barrels per month, and the New York Central was carrying the entire refined oil sent from Cleveland to New York. The representations then made to me also convinced the Atlantic and Great Western Company as to what our rivals were doing, and that railway company and our own decided to continue to pay the twenty-four cents per barrel drawback then being paid on the rate of $1.35 provided by this producers' agreement of March 25, 1872.

It is therefore clear that one of the largest of the shippers, who signed that March agreement, did not feel that it bound him to pay the rates he had agreed to pay, and he gave convincing reasons to believe that others, signers and parties to that agreement, did not pay them, and possessed equal or greater advantages byway of rival routes. Early in 1873 Mr. Scheide came to our line with Mr. Neyhart's crude business, under the circumstances Mr. Scheide has stated, but being yet without any shippers of refined oil, and believing that the Empire Line would pay a rebate on refined, as I now know from Mr. Scheide's testimony, they had paid Mr. Scheide on crude, I opened negotiations to increase our traffic, which resulted in an agreement, with the concurrence of the Atlantic and Great Western, as follows:


New YORK, March 29, 1873.


Between John D. Archbold, Mr. Bennett, and Mr. Porter, and Mr. Osborn, and self. Rate for March, 1873, to be 132-1/2 from Union. Rate thereafter to be 125 from same point as the maximum for 1873. If the common point rate is made from Titusville at any time in 1873, on bona fide shipments, Erie and Atlantic and Great Western will make same rate from same date. With this rate the refiners agree to give us their entire product to New York for the year, and the preference always at same rate as actual shipment by other lines.

(Signed)      JOHN D. ARCHBOLD.


This Mr. Bennett was also one of the signers to the agreement of March 25, as a refiner, and from these gentlemen I also learned at that time that this producers' agreement was exploded by the action of the Producers' Union before that time.

Notwithstanding this agreement of March 29, 1873, with its reduced rates, its signers left us in November, 1873, and gave the Empire Line their entire shipments; and we were then left with but one small shipper of refined oil, Mr. G. Heye, whose consignments were small, and to retain even this small business, against similar solicitations by our rivals we were compelled to make his rate $1.10 in November, 1873, instead of $1.50, as provided by this producers' agreement.

These facts effectually refute the testimony of Mr. Patterson that the agreement of March 25 continued for two years, or any other period beyond three weeks, at the rates it stipulated, and show that at least two of its signers did not feel bound to pay the rates it named, and that they and others by other lines endeavoured immediately after it was signed to obtain, and did secure reduced rates, as usual before its execution and peddled their oil among different railroads wherever they could secure an advantage, however small, over each other or the railroads.

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