This section is from the book "A Book Written By The Spirits Of The So-Called Dead", by Carl Gustaf Helleberg. Also available from Amazon: A Book Written by the Spirits of the So-Called Dead.
" It is nonsense to talk about the absence of constitutional power over the subject. Your national legislature has ample warrant, under the constitutional provision conferring authority upon Congress to regulate commerce among the states, and Congress should exercise that authority promptly and fearlessly. Railroads are common carriers, and are, when considered in connection with this power conferred upon Congress, public, and not private, highways. The Supreme Court of the United States has frequently affirmed this power as residing in the legislative department of the government. Unless regulated and restrained, these corporations may impose such exorbitant rates of transportation as to destroy ordinary profits on manufactured and other commodities,.and necessitate an insufferable and unbearable increase to meet the exigency of increased rates of transportation, and, of course, to the detriment and oppression of consumers. The government must take the matter in hand for the protection of the people. Competition will prove unavailing without restrictive legislation ; for the railroads would engage in pooling, and thereby render nugatory the natural advantages of competition. This monopoly constitutes the most threatening element in the country, and will be felt too soon, if not prevented by judicious exercise of governmental authority. The use of steam, as applied to railroads, steamboats, and steamships, was unknown to the founders of your government and the framers of your constitution, or more definite provisions would have been made in relation to the subject of regulating commerce. Why can not your statesmen be as patriotic and as true to the public ?
" Although mainly chartered by the states, they are not authorized by implication or otherwise to pursue the selfish course of only subserving the interests of capital, but for the convenience and benefit of the great body of the people in commerce and travel as well. They have, by exercising an undue influence, corrupted courts and legislatures, and will, ere long, as they have already to some extent, invade the sacred precincts of your elections, corrupting the sanctity of the ballot-box, and demoralizing the independence of electors. Then your government will become a farce, and your free institutions subject to the whims and caprices of unholy and unconscionable monopoly power."
" The great agricultural interests upon which you mostly depend for all of your material prosperity receive no protection from your tariff legislation, but are compelled to pay tribute to manufacturing by paying tariffs on manufactured agricultural implements used on the farm by the increased prices on the same. Besides, this great interest (agricultural) is at the mercy of railroad corporations in high rates of transporting the products of the farm to market, and in the end the burden falls on the consumers of such products.
" The recent tariff commission created by Congress, and its members appointed by the President, is a miserable subterfuge and sham, as you will ultimately ascertain. The dodging of the responsibility by Congress, of an immediate revision of the tariff and the correction of its abuses and vices, ought to be vigorously condemned. There exists no valid reason why the old war tariff rates should be continued in this era of profound peace and general prosperity of trade and business. Under the constitution, tariff taxation can only be imposed on imported articles for the purposes of revenue to the government, and this, however arranged, is amply sufficient to afford incidental protection to home manufactories. The time is com-ing when free trade and open, untrammelled commerce with all nations will be the policy of all wise governments, and the sooner it is brought about the better.
" The currency policy will also be changed, and a great wrong therein righted. The national banking system projected into being early in the late war, and which had its necessities for an apology, will be abrogated and done away with, and a currency furnished directly by the government to the people, without the intervention and agency of private banking corporations. This will be cheaper, safer, and more durable, predicated, as it will be, upon the good faith of the American people and their government, and secured by their prosperity.
" The time will come when the flag of the American republic will float over Canada, all the British Possessions on this continent, the island of Cuba, the natural key to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as over the cultivated valleys, arid plateaus, and towering mountains of the land of the Montezumas, beyond the Rio Grande. Then will your system of government be remodeled and reconstructed upon a plan infinitely superior to your present one, and the United States will not. only become the greatest nation the earth has ever known, but the nucleus around which, in time, all other nations will cluster and revolve, shouting the anthem of human equality and freedom and universal liberty. G. Washington."