[Proceedings in Relation to Trusts, House of Representatives, 1888. Report Number 3112, pages 363-365.]


Gentlemen: About July 1 last the undersigned were of a delegation from the Oil Region of our state, asking of your road an assurance that its course during the preceding two months, in giving to all producers and shippers of petroleum equal facilities and impartial rates, might be formally made its permanent policy.

In an interview with your president at that time, that assurance was given, coupled with the requisition that such support should be given it by the producers and shippers as would repay it for the exertion it must make in defending that policy, and guaranteeing that such support should be continuous and permanent.

The people of the Oil Region were only too glad to enter into such an agreement, and steps were immediately taken of a practical nature to carry it out.

It was understood that it could not be immediately done.

After the formal abandonment by the trunk lines of the South Improvement Company in 1872, your road for some months faithfully adhered, as we believe, to the pledge then given by all the trunk lines, that no discrimination should thenceforth be permitted. We believe also that it stood alone among the roads in adhering to it, for gradually the persons constituting the South Improvement Company were placed by the roads in as favourable a position as to rates and facilities as had been stipulated in the original contract with that company. At this time the line of your road in Western Pennsylvania, including that under your influence and control, was dotted with refineries capable of producing a large proportion of the refined oil needed by the world. The policy of the Standard Oil Company, the successor in everything but name of the South Improvement Company, has resulted in the dismantling and abandonment of every one of those refineries (as soon as they fell into their possession) which could not be reached by some other and a rival road to yours, and now there are in the Oil Region proper but few refineries and those universally owned by the Standard Oil Company, those in Pittsburg being owned or controlled by that combination or by the Conduit or Empire lines. The use and export of crude oil is but a small proportion of the consumption, and time and money were required to re-establish this great product upon its former basis, and these people were glad to furnish all needed means to accomplish this end, as are also capitalists at other points not strictly within the Oil Region, yet upon your lines.

We are met in the midst of this preparation by assertion of agents of the combination, and as accepted news by the press, that such a combination is entered into, or under consideration by your road and the Empire Transportation Company, the Erie, Central, Lake Shore, and Baltimore roads of the one part, and the Standard Oil Company of the other, as would preclude your road from carrying out the policy announced by your president at the interview heretofore referred to.

We believe there is danger that such a result may be reached, and we in behalf of these whom we represent, in making our efforts to prevent its accomplishment, or if accomplished to defeat it, as the first step, address this communication to you, desiring to present its aspect as affecting your road from our standpoint.

So far as we, and the general public are affected, you will not question that the present scheme is but the repetition of the South Improvement scheme, never abandoned by its authors, and seeking the sole and absolute control of all petroleum produced, purchased, refined, and shipped within the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, or West Virginia.

The overproduction of 1873, 1874, 1875, and the consequent almost entire destruction of petroleum values, gave the Standard Oil Company, with its organisation and capital, almost the desired monopoly. The equalisation of consumption and production of 1876-1877 brought that combination to the same point that they were in 1872 — utterly unable by reason of geographical position, if for no other, to monopolise this product without the co-operation of all the transportation, and then only under a contract similar to that of the South Improvement Company, and including all of its dangerous and extraordinary features. None other can serve them, and so they stand to-day, and we believe that your road can enter into no compromise, treaty, or arrangement which will serve the ends of the monopoly, under any less stringent stipulations and devoid of the liabilities thereof.

Under such an arrangement it is probable that the Central and Erie have transported its oil, during nearly all of this year. It is now an open secret in the producing region, that no charges follow the shipments over at least one of these roads, and crude oil is delivered in New York, on shipping order, at prices which barely repay the cost of packages and contents, with little or no remainder for transportation charges. This aid to the scheme of the combination is possibly given in view of the high tariff and consequent large revenue promised to be derived hereafter, when the scheme has been made a success, and all opposition in trade and transportation extinguished.

Suppose your opposition to be withdrawn, and you join the alliance, when does your profit come in? We are entitled to impartiality. As we are advised, the law, common and statute, provides for it; it pronounces those participating in such a scheme conspirators against the public weal, and there is no court upon your line but what will enforce by mandamus and injunction the impartiality that we ask. The combination will promise you an immediate increase of revenue. If we are well advised, will you realise upon that promise? Can you make a contract with them that if we do not succeed in destroying, it will be their interest to keep? You will not have a refinery left; and they are now completing pipe-lines from Pittsburg to Oil City, and can deliver the oil received by all their pipe-lines, independent of your road and its branches. In case of a contract with them executed but afterwards broken, from what source will you derive your oil traffic and what court will enforce the broken contract in your favour? We urge that you cannot enter into any arrangement with the monopoly that can be permanently useful to it and to you, and doubt if it can be made temporarily so.

Suppose that you decline to enter into such a treaty, or any such scheme, but announce and adhere to the opposite policy? There is no law, not even that of necessity, to compel you to serve the ends of the Standard Oil Company.

If Messrs. Vanderbilt and Jewett believe that their aid alone is insufficient to the establishment of the monopoly, for how long will they carry its oil as at present for nothing, when they could have full rates, by uniting the railroad interest, and leaving the Standard Oil Company to do its business in common with all others?

If the Pennsylvania Railroad, having the geographical position in its favour, will announce and adhere to the policy of impartial and competitive rates, in three or six months, it can have all the facilities and extent of business which the Standard Oil Company can give the competitive roads, and by men who have all to gain by so doing.

We ask consideration of our views and of our assurance of good results from their favourable consideration.

If you choose to place the matter in the light of an experiment, its trial can cost you nothing but the failure to realise upon the immediate fulfillment of the promises of the common enemy, and that realisation we believe will not be permitted.

Very respectfully,

B. B. CAMPBELL, of Pittsburg,
E. G. PATTERSON, of Titusville.

PHILADELPHIA, September 11, 1877.

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