Readings on the Relation of Government to Property and Industry

By Samuel P. Orth | Go to book overview

dispute, they will so find. If, on the other hand, they see that it is part of an organized attempt to destroy the plaintiff's business, especially when coupled with a threat of continuing this printing forever in the editorial column, and not mere matter of news, they will probably find the other way.

I conclude, therefore, that we should think long and carefully before we abandon this great principle of our English law preventing the oppression of the individual by the multitude, and, in the law of combination, going directly to the ethical motive of the combine. It has been a commonplace of laymen critics that the law is not moral, -- that it does not go into the higher issues, -- that it is easy to keep within the letter of the law while morally guilty to one's neighbor or to the State. This is not true of our law of combination. Let us, therefore, not carelessly give up this one great domain of the law of private right, which, based both on our English history and the profoundest laws of economy at the same time, rises to the highest standard of duty to one's neighbor and to the State; the one great body of the common law based squarely on the Golden Rule.


STATE CONTROL OF PUBLIC UTILITIES1

BY BRUCE WYMAN OF THE BOSTON BAR

(From the Harvard Law Review, June, 1911)

The Public Service Corporation has been placed quite completely under the regulating powers of the State, principally under the theory that it is a "business affected with a public interest." -- EDITOR'S NOTE.


I

The difference between public callings and private business is a distinction in the law governing business relations which has always had, and will always have, most important consequences. Those in a public calling have always been under the extraordinary duty to serve all comers, while those in a private business might always refuse to sell if they pleased. So great a distinction as this constitutes a difference in kind of legal control rather than merely one of degree. The causes of this division are, of course, rather economic than strictly legal. And the relative importance of these two classes at any given time, therefore, depends ultimately upon the industrial conditions which prevail at that period. Thus in the England which we see through the medium of our earliest law reports the medieval system with its

____________________
1
Copyright, 1911, by Bruce Wyman -- being in large part the Preface to Wyman on Public Service Corporations, reprinted by permission of Baker, Voorhis & Co.

-284-

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