Слике страница

We do not pause to comment on cases such as United States v. Knight, 156 U. S. 1; Hopkins v. United States, 171 U. S. 578; and Anderson v. United States, Id. 604; in which the undisputed facts showed that the purpose of the agreement was not to obstruct or restrain interstate commerce. The object and intention of the combination determined its legality.

In Swift v. United States, 196 U.S. 395, a bill was brought against a number of corporations, firms and individuals of different States, alleging that they were engaged in interstate commerce in the purchase, sale, transportation and delivery, and subsequent resale at the point of delivery, of meats; and that they combined to refrain from bidding against each other in the purchase of cattle; to maintain a uniform price at which the meat should be sold; and to maintain uniform charges in delivering meats thus sold through the channels of interstate trade to the various dealers and consumers in other States. And that thus they artificially restrained commerce in fresh meats from the purchase and shipment of live stock from the plains to the final distribution of the meats to the consumers in the markets of the country.

Mr. Justice Holmes, speaking for the court, said:

“Commerce among the States is not a technical legal conception, but a practical one, drawn from the course of business. When cattle are sent for sale from a place in one State with the expectation that they will end their transit after purchase in another, and when in effect they do so, with only the interruption necessary to find a purchaser at the stock yards, and when this is a typical, constantly recurring course, the current thus existing is a current of commerce among the States, and the purchase of the cattle is a part and incident of such commerce.



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

“ The general objection is urged that the bill does not set forth sufficient definite or specific facts. This objection is serious, but it seems to us inherent in the nature of the case. The scheme alleged is so vast that it presents a new problem in pleading. If, as we must assume, the scheme is entertained, it is, of course, contrary to the very words of the statute. Its size makes the violation of the law more conspicuous, and yet the same thing makes it impossible to fasten the principal fact to a certain time and place. The elements, too, are so numerous and shifting, even the constituent parts alleged are and from their nature must be so extensive in time and space, that something of the same impossibility applies to them.


* “ The scheme as a whole seems to us to be within reach of the law. The constituent elements, as we have stated them, are enough to give to the scheme a body and, for all that we can say, to accomplish it. Moreover, whatever we may think of them separately, when we take them up as distinct charges, they are alleged sufficiently as elements of a scheme. It is sugrested that the several acts charged are lawful and that intent can make no difference. But they are bound together as parts of a single plan. The plan may make the parts unlawful."

And the same principle was expressed in Aikens v. Wisconsin, 195 U. S. 194 [Bulletin No. 57, p. 678), involving a statute of Wisconsin


prohibiting combinations “for the purpose of willfully or maliciously injuring another in his reputation, trade, business or profession by any means whatever, in which Mr. Justice Holmes said:

* The statute is directed against a series of acts, and acts of several, the acts of combining, with intent to do other acts. “The very plot is an act in itself.' Mulcahy v. The Queen, L. R. 3 H. L. 306, 317. But an act, which in itself is merely a voluntary muscular contraction, derives all its character from the consequences which will follow it under the circumstances in which it was done. When the acts consist of making a combination calculated to cause temporal damage, the power to punish such acts, when done maliciously, can not be denied because they are to be followed and worked out by conduct which might have been lawful if not preceded by the acts. No conduet has such an absolute privilege as to justify all possible schemes of which it may be a part. The most innocent and constitutionally protected of acts or omissions may be made a step in a criminal plot, and if it is a step in a plot neither its innocence nor the Constitution is sufficient to prevent the punishment of the plot by law.”

In Addyston Pipe and Steel Company v. United States, 175 U. S. 211, the petition alleged that the defendants were practically the only manufacturers of cast iron within thirty-six States and Territories, that they had entered into a combination by which they agreed not to compete with each other in the sale of pipe, and the territory through which the constituent companies could make sales was allotted between them. This court held that the agreement which, prior to any act of transportation, limited the prices at which the pipe could be sold after transportation, was within the law. Mr. Justice Peckham, delivering the opinion, said: “And when Congress has enacted a statute such as the one in question, any agreement or combination which directly operates not alone upon the manufacture but upon the sale, transportation and delivery of an article of interstate commerce, by preventing or restricting its sale, etc., thereby regulates interstate commerce.

In Montague & Company v. Lowry, 193 U. S. 38, which was an action brought by a private citizen under section 7 against a combination engaged in the manufacture of tiles, defendants were wholesale dealers in tiles in California and combined with manufacturers in other States to restrain the interstate traffic in tiles by refusing to sell any tiles to any wholesale dealer in California who was not a member of the association except at a prohibitive rate. The case was a commercial boycott against such dealers in California as would not or could not obtain membership in the association. The restraint did not consist in a physical obstruction of interstate commerce, but in the fact that the plaintiff and other independent dealers could not purchase their tiles from manufacturers in other States because such manufacturers had combined to boycott them. This court held that this obstruction to the purchase of tiles, a fact antecedent to physical transportation, was within the prohibition of the act. Mr. Justice Peckham, speaking for the court, said, concerning the agreement, that it restrained trade, for it narrowed the market for the sale of tiles in California from the manufacturers and dealers therein in other States, so that they could only be sold to the members of the association, and it enhanced prices to the nonmember."

The averments here are that there was an existing interstate traffic between plaintiffs and citizens of other States, and that for the direct purpose of destroying such interstate traffic defendants combined not merely to prevent plaintiffs from manufacturing articles then and there intended for transportation beyond the State, but also to prevent the vendees from reselling the hats which they had imported from Connecticut, or from further negotiating with plaintiffs for the purchase and intertransportation of such hats from Connecticut to the various places of destination. So that, although some of the means whereby the interstate traffic was to be destroyed were acts within a State, and some of them were in themselves as a part of their obvious purpose and effect beyond the scope of Federal authority, still, as we have seen, the acts must be considered as a whole, and the plan is open to condemnation, notwithstanding a negligible amount of intrastate business might be affected in carrying it out. (If the purposes of the combination were, as alleged, to prevent any interstate transportation at all, the fact that the means operated at one end before physical transportation commenced and at the other end after the physical transportation ended was immaterial.

Nor can the act in question be held inapplicable because defendants were not themselves engaged in interstate commerce. The act made no distinction between classes. It provided that "every” contract, combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade was illegal. The records of Congress show that several efforts were made to exempt, by legislation, organizations of farmers and laborers from the operation of the act and that all these efforts failed, so that the act remained as we have it before us.

In an early case, United States v. Workingmen's Amalgamated Council, 54 Fed. Rep. 994, the United States filed a bill under the Sherman Act in the circuit court for the eastern district of Louisiana, averring the existence of “a gigantic and widespread combination of the members of a multitude of separate organizations for the purpose of restraining the commerce among the several States and with foreign countries, and it was contended that the statute did not refer to combinations of laborers. But the court, granting the injunction, said:

"I think the Congressional debates show that the statute had its origin in the evils of massed capital; but, when the Congress came to formulating the prohibition, which is the yardstick for measuring the complainant's right to the injunction, it expressed it in these words: “Every contract or combination in the form .of trust, or otherwise in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal.' The subject had so broadened in the minds of the legislators that the source of the evil was not regarded as material, and the evil in its entirety is dealt with. They made the interdiction include combinations of labor, as well as of capital; in fact, all combinations in restraint of commerce, without reference to the character of the persons who entered into them. It is true this statute has not been much expounded by judges, but, as it seems to me, its meaning, as far as relates to the sort of combinations to which it is to apply, is manifest, and that it includes combinations which are composed of laborers acting in the interest of laborers."





"It is the successful effort of the combination of the defendants to intimidate and overawe others who were at work in conducting or carrying on the commerce of the country, in which the court finds their error and their violation of the statute. One of the intended results of their combined action was the forced stagnation of all the commerce which flowed through New Orleans. This intent and combined action are none the less unlawful because they included in their scope the paralysis of all other business within the city as well."

The case was affirmed on appeal by the circuit court of appeals for the fifth circuit. (57 Fed. Rep. 85.)

Subsequently came the litigation over the Pullman strike and the decisions In re Debs, 64 Fed. Rep. 724, 745, 755; 158 U. S. 564. The bill in that case was filed by the United States against the officers of the American Railway Union, which alleged that a labor dispute existed between the Pullman Palace Car Company and its employees; that thereafter the four officers of the railway union combined together and with others to compel an adjustment of such dispute by creating a boycott against the cars of the car company; that to make such boycott effective they had already prevented certain of the railroads running out of Chicago from operating their trains; that they asserted that they could and would tie up, paralyze and break down any and every railroad which did not accede to their demands, and that the purpose and intention of the combination was “to secure unto themselves the entire control of the interstate, industrial and commercial business in which the population of the city of Chicago and of other communities along the lines of road of said railways are engaged with each other, and to restrain any and all other persons from any independent control or management of such interstate, industrial or commercial enterprises, save according to the will and with the consent of the defendants."

The circuit court proceeded principally upon the Sherman antitrust law, and granted an injunction. In this court the case was rested upon the broader ground that the Federal Government had full power over interstate commerce and over the transmission of the mails, and in the exercise of those powers could remove everything put upon highways, natural or artificial, to obstruct the passage of interstate commerce, or the carrying of the mails. But in reference to the antitrust act the court expressly stated:

"We enter into no examination of the act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209, upon which the circuit court relied mainly to sustain its jurisdiction. It must not be understood from this that we dissent from the conclusions of that court in reference to the scope of the act, but simply that we prefer to rest our judgment on the broader ground which has been discussed in this opinion, believing it of importance that the principles underlying it should be fully stated and affirmed.”'

And in the opinion Mr. Justice Brewer, among other things, said:

“It is curious to note the fact that in a large proportion of the cases in respect to interstate commerce brought to this court the question presented was of the validity of State legislation in its bearings upon interstate commerce, and the uniform course of decision has been to declare that it is not within the competency of a State to legislate in such a manner as to obstruct interstate commerce. If a State, with its recognized powers of sovereignty, is impotent to obstruct interstate commerce, can it be that any mere voluntary association of individuals within the limits of that State has a power which the State itself does not possess ?''

The question answers itself, and in the light of the authorities the only inquiry is as to the sufficiency of the averments of fact. We have given the declaration in full in the margin, and it appears therefrom that it is charged that defendants formed a combination to directly restrain plaintiffs' trade; that the trade to be restrained was interstate; that certain means to attain such restraint were contrived to be used and employed to that end; that those means were so used and employed by defendants, and that thereby they injured plaintiff's' property and business.

At the risk of tediousness, we repeat that the complaint averred that plaintiff's were manufacturers of hats in Danbury, Connecticut, having a factory there, and were then and there engaged in an interstate trade in some twenty States other than the State of Conneeticut; that they were practically dependent upon such interstate trade to consume the product of their factory, only a small percentage of their entire output being consumed in the State of Connecticut; that at the time the alleged combination was formed they were in the process of manufacturing a large number of hats for the purpose of fulfilling engagements then actually made with consignees and wholesale dealers in States other than Connecticut, and that if prevented from carrying on the work of manufacturing these hats they would be unable to complete their engagements.

That defendants were members of a vast combination called the United Ilatters of North America, comprising about 9,000 members and including a large number of subordinate unions, and that they were combined with some 1,400,000 others into another association known as the American Federation of Labor, of which they were members, whose members resided in all the places in the several States where the wholesale dealers in hats and their customers resided and did business; that defendants were “engaged in a combined scheme and effort to force all manufacturers of fur hats in the United States, including the plaintiffs, against their will and their previous policy of carrying on their business, to organize their workmen in the departments of making and finishing, in each of their factories, into an organization, to be part and parcel of the said combination known as the United llatters of North America, or as the defendants and their confederates term it, to unionize their shops, with the intent thereby to control the employment of labor in and the operation of said factories, and to subject the same to the direction and control of persons other than the owners of the same, in a manner extremely onerous and distasteful to such owners, and to carry out such scheme, effort and purpose, by restraining and destroying the interstate trade and commerce of such manufacturers, by means of intimidation of and threats made to such manufacturers and their customers in the several States, of boycotting them, their product and their customers, using therefor all the powerful means at their command as aforesaid, until such time as, from the damage and loss of business resulting therefrom, the said manufacturers should yield to the said demand to unionize their factories."

That the conspiracy or combination was so far progressed that out of eighty-two manufacturers of this country engaged in the production of fur hats seventy had accepted the terms and acceded to the demand that the ! juld be conducted in accordance, so far

« ПретходнаНастави »