The Trust Problem in the United States

By Eliot Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
TRUST DISSOLUTION PROCEEDINGS

In this chapter the record of the several administrations in the enforcement of the anti-trust laws will be summarized, the trust dissolution proceedings will be described at some length, and the results will be briefly appraised.

During the administration of Benjamin Harrison, who was President at the time of the passage of the Sherman Act ( 1890), four bills in equity and three indictments were brought under the anti-trust act.1 The first important case was U. S. v. Greenhut,2 a criminal indictment of the officers of the Distilling and Cattle Feeding Company (the whisky trust) for an alleged monopolization of the manufacture and sale of distilled spirits. The district judge in quashing the indictment said that the indictment averred merely that the defendants had monopolized the manufacture and sale of distilled spirits, and did not aver that they had monopolized, or combined to monopolize, interstate or foreign commerce in distilled spirits. The indictment therefore charged no offense within the letter or spirit of section two of the Sherman Act.

The outcome of this suit may be interpreted as a severe counter indictment of the Department of Justice; and it is perhaps indicative of the attitude of this department that it allowed itself to be discouraged by this rebuff, and decided to abandon altogether the prosecution of the whisky trust.

Another case was U. S. v. Patterson,3 a criminal proceeding

____________________
1
The Federal Antitrust Laws, July 1, 1916, pp. 44-46. This pamphlet contains a list of the cases instituted by the United States under the anti- trust acts.
2
50 Fed. Rep. 469 ( May 16, 1892).
3
55 Fed. Rep. 605 ( February 28, 1893); and 59 Fed. Rep. 280 ( June 1, 1893).

-441-

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