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Opinion of the Court.

Munn v. Illinois as deciding that the regulation of warehouses for the storage of grain, owned by private individuals, and situated in Illinois, was a thing of domestic concern and pertained to the State, and as affirming the right of the State to regulate the business of one engaged in a public employment therein, although that business consisted in storing and transferring immense quantities of grain in its transit from the fields of production to the markets of the world.

In Hockett v. The State, 105 Indiana, 250, 258, in 1885, the Supreme Court of Indiana held that a statute of the State which prescribed the maximum price which a telephone company should charge for the use of its telephones was constitutional, and that in legal contemplation all the instruments and appliances used by a telephone company in the transaction of its business were devoted to a public use, and the property thus devoted became a legitimate subject of legislative regulation. It cited Munn v. Illinois as a leading case in support of that proposition, and said that although that case had been the subject of comment and criticism, its authority as a precedent remained unshaken. This doctrine was confirmed in Central Union Telephone Co. v. Bradbury, 106 Indiana, 1, in the same year, and in Central Union Telephone Co. v. The State, 118 Indiana, 194, 207, in 1888, in which latter case Munn v. Illinois was cited by the court.

In Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. v. Balto. & Ohio Telegraph Co., 66 Maryland, 399, 414, in 1886, it was held that the telegraph and the telephone were public vehicles of intelligence, and those who owned or controlled them could no more refuse to perform impartially the functions which they had assumed to discharge than a railway company, as a common carrier, could rightfully refuse to perform its duty to the public; and that the legislature of the State had full power to regulate the services of telephone companies, as to the parties to whom facilities should be furnished. The court cited Munn v. Illinois, and said that it could no longer be controverted that the legislature of a State had full power to regulate and control, at least within reasonable limits, public employments and property used in connection therewith; that

Opinion of the Court.

the operation of the telegraph and the telephone in doing a general business was a public employment, and the instruments and appliances used were property devoted to a public use and in which the public had an interest; and that, such being the case, the owner of the property thus devoted to public use must submit to have that use and employment regulated by public authority for the common good.

In the Court of Chancery of New Jersey, in 1889, in Delaware &c. Railroad Co. v. Central Stock-Yard Co., 45 N. J. Eq. 50, 60, it was held that the legislature had power to declare what services warehousemen should render to the public, and to fix the compensation that might be demanded for such services; and the court cited Munn v. Illinois as properly holding that warehouses for the storage of grain must be regarded as so far public in their nature as to be subject to legislative control, and that when a citizen devoted his property to a use in which the public had an interest, he in effect granted to the public an interest in that use, and rendered himself subject to control, in that use, by the body politic.

In Zanesville v. Gas-Light Company, 47 Ohio St. 1, in 1889, it was said by the Supreme Court of Ohio, that the principle was well established, that where the owner of property devotes it to a use in which the public have an interest, he in effect grants to the public an interest in such use, and must to the extent of that interest submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, as long as he maintains the use; and that such was the point of the decision in Munn v. Illinois.

We must regard the principle maintained in Munn v. Illinois as firmly established; and we think it covers the present cases, in respect to the charge for elevating, receiving, weighing and discharging the grain, as well as in respect to the charge for trimming and shovelling to the leg of the elevator when loading, and trimming the cargo when loaded. If the shovellers or scoopers chose, they might do the shovelling by hand, or might use a steam-shovel. A steam-shovel is owned by the elevator owner, and the power for operating it is fur

Opinion of the Court.

nished by the engine of the elevator; and if the scooper uses the steam-shovel, he pays the elevator owner for the use of it.

The answer to the suggestion that by the statute the elevator owner is forbidden to make any profit from the business of shovelling to the leg of the elevator is that made by the Court of Appeals of New York in the case of Budd, that the words "actual cost," used in the statute, were intended to exclude any charge by the elevator owner, beyond the sum specified for the use of his machinery in shovelling and the ordinary expenses of operating it, and to confine the charge to the actual cost of the outside labor required for trimming and bringing the grain to the leg of the elevator; and that the purpose of the statute could be easily evaded and defeated if the elevator owner was permitted to separate the services, and to charge for the use of his steam-shovel any sum which might be agreed upon between himself and the shovellers' union, and thereby, under color of charging for the use of his steam-shovel, to exact of the carrier a sum for elevating beyond the rate fixed by the statute.

We are of opinion that the act of the legislature of New York is not contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and does not deprive the citizen of his property without due process of law; that the act, in fixing the maximum charges which it specifies, is not unconstitutional, nor is it so in limiting the charge for shovelling to the actual cost thereof; and that it is a proper exercise of the police power of the State.

On the testimony in the cases before us the business of elevating grain is a business charged with a public interest, and those who carry it on occupy a relation to the community analogous to that of common carriers. The elevator owner, in fact, retains the grain in his custody for an appreciable period of time, because he receives it into his custody, weighs it, and then discharges it, and his employment is thus analogous to that of a warehouseman. In the actual state of the business the passage of the grain to the city of New York and other places on the seaboard would, without the use of eleva

Opinion of the Court.

tors, be practically impossible. The elevator at Buffalo is an link in the chain of transportation to the seaboard, and the elevator in the harbor of New York is a like link in the transportation abroad by sea. The charges made by the elevator influence the price of grain at the point of destination on the seaboard, and that influence extends to the prices of grain at the places abroad to which it goes. The elevator is devoted by its owner, who engages in the business, to a use in which the public has an interest, and he must submit to be controlled by public legislation for the common good.

It is contended in the briefs for the plaintiffs in error in the Annan and Pinto cases that the business of the relators in handling grain was wholly private, and not subject to regulation by law; and that they had received from the State no charter, no privileges and no immunity, and stood before the law on a footing with the laborers they employed to shovel grain, and were no more subject to regulation than any other individual in the community. But these same facts existed in Munn v. Illinois. In that case, the parties offending were private individuals, doing a private business, without any privilege or monopoly granted to them by the State. Not only is the business of elevating grain affected with a public interest, but the records show that it is an actual monopoly, besides being incident to the business of transportation and to that of a common carrier, and thus of a quasi-public character. The act is also constitutional as an exercise of the police power of the State.

So far as the statute in question is a regulation of commerce, it is a regulation of commerce only on the waters of the State of New York. It operates only within the limits of that State, and is no more obnoxious as a regulation of interstate commerce than was the statute of Illinois in respect to warehouses, in Munn v. Illinois. It is of the same character with navigation laws in respect to navigation within the State, and laws regulating wharfage rates within the State, and other kindred laws.

It is further contended that, under the decision of this court in Chicago &c. Railway Co. v. Minnesota, 134 U. S. 418, the


Opinion of the Court.

fixing of elevator charges is a judicial question, as to whether they are reasonable or not; that the statute must permit and provide for a judicial settlement of the charges; and that, by the statute under consideration, an arbitrary rate is fixed and all inquiry is precluded as to whether that rate is reasonable

or not.

But this is a misapprehension of the decision of this court in the case referred to. In that case, the legislature of Minnesota had passed an act which established a railroad and warehouse commission, and the Supreme Court of that State had interpreted the act as providing that the rates of charges for the transportation of property by railroads, recommended and published by the commission, should be final and conclusive as to what were equal and reasonable charges, and that there could be no judicial inquiry as to the reasonableness of such rates. A railroad company, in answer to an application for a mandamus, contended that such rates in regard to it were unreasonable, and, as it was not allowed by the State Court to put in testimony in support of its answer, on the question of the reasonableness of such rates, this court held that the statute was in conflict with the Constitution of the United States, as depriving the company of its property without due process of law, and depriving it of the equal protection of the laws. That was a very different case from one under the statute of New York in question here, for in this instance the rate of charges is fixed directly by the legislature. See Spencer v. Merchant, 125 U. S. 345, 356. What was said in the opinion of the court in 134 U. S. had reference only to the case then before the court, and to charges fixed by a commission appointed under an act of the legislature, under a Constitution of the State which provided that all corporations, being common carriers, should be bound to carry "on equal and reasonable terms," and under a statute which provided that all charges made by a common carrier for the transportation of passengers or property should be "equal and reasonable."

What was said in the opinion in 134 U. S., as to the question of the reasonableness of the rate of charge being one for judicial investigation, had no reference to a case where the

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