The passage of the Esch-Cummins railway bill by decisive majorities in both houses of Congress is an indication of what Congress can produce in an eleventh-hour emergency, and the general opinion of the measure in Congress is voiced by Senator Williams of North Carolina, who said, "It contained several things I did not like, but its passage was essential to the return to private control."
The bill is a compromise in very many respects. It contains the financial clauses of the Senate bill proposed by Senator Cummins and the labor clauses of the House bill supported by Representative Esch. The Senate bill provided a minimum return of five and one half per cent on the true value of the property, while the House bill had no minimum return provision. On the other hand, Senator Cummins ant-strike provision was removed in favor of the provision of the House bill which creates n arbitration board of the usual kind, employer and employee equally represented, and a third party. This appellate board, as it is called, is to have original jurisdiction in reviewing labor disputed, and it will hear not only appeals of organized labor, but also those of unorganized employees.
An interesting feature of this tribunal is that its decisions are to be in no way binding. The board expects to publish its findings and thus crystallize public opinion. This is a step in the right direction, and though a somewhat timid one, is based on the strong principle that if public opinion is given facts on which to base its judgment, neither capital nor labor will dare to bring forward an unjust cause.