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Opinion of the Court. concentrated upon the merits of the controversy when we come to consider them.

First. We are of opinion that in consequence of the presence within the district of the Waters-Pierce Oil Company, the court, under the authority of § 5 of the Anti-Trust Act, rightly took jurisdiction over the cause and properly ordered notice to be served upon the non-resident defendants.

Second. The overruling of the exceptions taken to so much of the bill as counted upon facts occurring prior to the passage of the Anti-Trust Act--whatever may be the view as an original question of the duty to restrict the controversy to a much narrower area than that propounded by the bill—we think by no possibility in the present stage of the case can the action of the court be treated as prejudicial error justifying reversal. We say this because the court, as we shall do, gave no weight to the testimony adduced under the averments complained of except in so far as it tended to throw light upon the acts done after the [47] passage of the AntiTrust Act and the results of which it was charged were being participated in and enjoyed by the alleged combination at the time of the filing of the bill.

We are thus brought face to face with the merits of the controversy.

Both as to the law and as to the facts the opposing con.tentions pressed in the argument are numerous and in all their aspects are so irreconcilable that it is difficult to reduce them to some fundamental generalization, which by being disposed of would decide them all. For instance, as to the law. While both sides agree that the determination of the controversy rests upon the correct construction and application of the first and second sections of the Anti-Trust Act, yet the views as to the meaning of the act are as wide apart as the poles, since there is no real point of agreement on any view of the act. And this also is the case as to the


and effect of authorities relied upon, even although in some instances one and the same authority is asserted to be controlling

So also is it as to the facts. Thus, on the one hand, with relentless pertinacty and minuteness of analysis, it is inOpinion of the Court. sisted that the facts establish that the assailed combination took its birth in a purpose to unlawfully acquire wealth by oppressing the public and destroying the just rights of others, and that its entire career exemplifies an inexorable carrying out of such wrongful intents, since, it is asserted, the pathway of the combination from the beginning to the time of the filing of the bill is marked with constant proofs of wrong inflicted upon the public and is strewn with the wrecks resulting from crushing out, without regard to law, the individual rights of others. Indeed, so conclusive, it is urged, is the proof on these subjects that it is asserted that the existence of the principal corporate defendant—the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey-with the vast accumulation of property which it owns or controls, because of its infinite potency [48] for harm and the dangerous example which its continued existence affords, is an open and enduring menace to all fredom of trade and is a byword and reproach to modern economic methods. On the other hand, in a powerful analysis of the facts, it is insisted that they demonstrate that the origin and development of the vast business which the defendants control was but the result of lawful competitive methods, guided by economic genius of the highest order, sustained by courage, by a keen insight into commercial situations, resulting in the acquisition of great wealth, but at the same time serving to stimulate and increase production, to widely extend the distribution of the products of petroleum at a cost largely below that which would have otherwise prevailed, thus proving to be at one and the same time a benefaction to the general public as well as of enormous advantage to individuals. It is not denied that in the enormous volume of proof contained in the record in the period of almost a lifetime to which that proof is addressed, there may be found acts of wrong-doing, but the insistence is that they were rather the exception than the rule, and in most cases were either the result of too great individual zeal in the keen rivalries of business or of the methods and habits of dealing which, even if wrong, were commonly practised at the time. And to discover and state the truth concerning these contentions both arguments call for the analysis and


Opinion of the Court. weighing, as we have said at the outset, of a jungle of conflicting testimony covering a period of forty years, a duty difficult to rightly perform and, even if satisfactorily accomplished, almost impossible to state with any reasonable regard to brevity.

Duly appreciating the situation just stated, it is certain that only one point of concord between the parties is dis. cernable, which is, that the controversy in every aspect is controlled by a correct conception of the meaning of the first and second sections of the Anti-Trust Act. We shall [49] therefore-departing from what otherwise would be the natural order of analysis—make this one point of harmony the initial basis of our examination of the contentions, relying upon the conception that by doing so some harmonious resonance may result adequate to dominate and control the discord with which the case abounds. That is to say, we shall first come to consider the meaning of the first and second sections of the Anti-Trust Act by the text, and after discerning what by that process appears to be its true meaning we shall proceed to consider the respective contentions of the parties concerning the act, the strength or weakness of those contentions, as well as the accuracy of the meaning of the act as deduced from the text in the light of the prior decisions of this court concerning it. When we have done this we shall then approach the facts. Following this course we shall make our investigation under four separate headings: First, the text of the first and second sections of the act originally considered and its meaning in the light of the common law and the law of this country at the time of its adoption; second, the contentions of the parties concerning the act, and the scope and effect of the decisions of this court upon which they rely; third, the application of the statute to facts; and, fourth, the remedy, if any, to be afforded as the result of such application.

First. The text of the act and its meaning.

We quote the text of the first and second sections of the act, as follows:

" SECTION 1. Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce, among Opinion of the Court. the several States, or with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any such contract, or engage in any such combination or conspiracy, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by [50] imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

“ SEC. 2. Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court."

The debates show that doubt as to whether there was a common law of the United States which governed the subject in the absence of legislation was among the influences leading to the passage of the act. They conclusively show, however, that the main cause which led to the legislation was the thought that it was required by the economic condition of the times, that is, the vast accumulation of wealth in the hands of corporations and individuals, the enormous development of corporate organization, the facility for combination which such organizations afforded, the fact that the facility was being used, and that combinations known as trusts were being multiplied, and the widespread impression that their power had been and would be exerted to oppress individuals and injure the public generally. Although debates may not be used as a means for interpreting a statute (United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Association, 166 U. S. 318; and cases cited) that rule in the nature of things is not violated by resorting to debates as a means of ascertaining the environment at the time of the enactment of a par-. ticular law; that is, the history of the period when it was adopted.

There can be no doubt that the sole subject with which the first section deals is restraint of trade as therein contemplated, and that the attempt to monopolize and monopolization is the subject with which the second sec[51]tion is concerned. It is certain that those terms, at least in their rudimentary meaning, took their origin in the common law,

Opinion of the Court. and were also familiar in the law of this country prior to and at the time of the adoption of the act in question.

We shall endeavor then, first to seek their meaning, not by indulging in an elaborate and learned analysis of the English law and of the law of this country, but by making a very brief reference to the elementary and indisputable conceptions of both the English and American law on the subject prior to the passage of the Anti-Trust Act.

(a) It is certain that at a very remote period the words “contract in restraint of trade” in England came to refer 10 some voluntary restraint put by contract by an individual on his right to carry on his trade or calling. Originally all such contracts were considered to be illegal, because it was deemed they were injurious to the public as well as to the individuals who made them. In the interest of the freedom of individuals to contract this doctrine was modified so that it was only when a restraint by contract was so general as to be coterminous with the kingdom that it was treated as void. That is to say, if the restraint was partial in its operation and was otherwise reasonable the contract was held to be valid :

(6) Monopolies were defined by Lord Coke as follows: “A monopoly is an institution, or allowance by the king by his grant, commission, or otherwise to any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, of or for the sole buying, selling, making, working, or using of anything, whereby any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, are sought to be restrained of any freedom or liberty that they had before, or hindered in their lawful trade.' (3 Inst. 181, c. 85.)”

Hawkins thus defined them:

“A monopoly is an allowance by the king to a particular person or persons of the sole buying, selling, making, [52] working, or using of anything whereby the subject in general is restrained from the freedom of manufacturing or trading which he had before.' (Hawk. P. C. bk. 1, c. 29.)”

The frequent granting of monopolies and the struggle which led to a denial of the power to create them, that is to say, to the establishment that they were incompatible with the English constitution is known to all and need not be reviewed. The evils which led to the public outcry against monopolies and to the final denial of the power to make

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