Not long ago, New York's public service commission of the second district held a session in the city of Rochester. A gentleman representing the chamber of commerce of that city opened the proceedings by a brief address, saying some pleasantly flattering things about the commission, and eulogizing the law which had formed it: adding in effect that the business men of Rochester had favored the law and welcomed the commission; that they welcomed it especially because they regarded it as a great barrier of safety for the business world against dangerous socialistic ideas, such as government ownership of railroads and the like.
Sitting as a member of that commission, I could not help smiling at an amusing coincidence. Exactly one hour before, on the train coming from Buffalo that morning, I had been greeted by a pleasant gentleman, who introduced himself saying that he had attended all our sessions in Buffalo; adding with much enthusiasm that he especially welcomed the public service commissions law as he regarded it as the first great step in the direction of government ownership.
It is surely not often that a law can thus receive the unqualified approval of those who are diametrically opposed in their theories; and I am inclined to think that it is an evidence of the real statesmanship underlying the law that it can be thus recognized by both sides as a step in the direction of ultimate truth—whatever the nature of that ultimate truth may turn out to be.