Durward Long


The Florida Railroad Commission was created by the legislature in 1887, and by August of that year its activities were underway. The Commission, in March of 1888, transmitted its first report to Governor Henry L. Mitchell. Although the report was overly optimistic and somewhat exaggerated, it did show that procedure and precedent had been determined. The Commissioners, George McWhorter, Enoch Vann, and William Himes had energetically approached their assigned task, but despite hopeful predictions for a successful second year, the Commission discovered many obstacles in its way. The new year began with a policy which disappointed small companies which had believed that a regulatory agency empowered to set both minimum and maximum charges, could protect them from larger, more powerful corporations. In Circular 20, effective March 1, 1888, the Commission stated that the railroads could carry freight for less than maximum rates under certain conditions, if there was proper announcement or notice given before reducing or establishing such charges. There was no stipulation about minimum rates.