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A Postal Telegraph

A Postal Telegraph image
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The Western Union cowpany evklently is gomewhat demorallzed by the prospecta of tlio Postal ïelegrapli bill being paseed throngb Congress. Last week the Senate eommlttee of Port-offices and l'ost Itoads agreed to a report fuvorlug siicli a system ant) sooner or later the people will becoine BO tired ot' tlie exactloni of tlio monopoly as to ilemaml that tlie Goycrnment control tlie teleffiaph. For niany yeara t lias been one of the principal dutieg of ii good governmtnt to tmnsmit iiostitl tuBsanBes for the benefit of te cllizena and for their commercial interests. To secure the greatct Ueuvfll guch a service demaiids: lirst, that the messages entrusted to t be safe; second, that they be transinittcd as qulckly a poraible. The former is enanred, and il is in regard to tiie latter that we are uoiv concerned. By our fast expresa traína with their railway postal services the limit of celerity in that direction is neurly reacheil. Still, largc business contlnually (and small business, frequently) demand yet greatcr dispatcb, so the telegraph is necessary. ïiow, the govermnent hiiving gone as far as it can in the rapld forwarding of ts mail?, one stej) forward retnains to be taken. That step the people are besiuning to clamor for over all the country. For, as it now is, whatever business tlicy are compelled to have done witb speed must be done by tlie Vestern Uniou coatpany at whatever ratea they dccin it proper to exact in order to raise their (lividends on their iinmensely wateied stock, To show what this must be we rccall that betwecn 1ÖC7 and jsöü tne kiock dividends amouuted to $25,807,190 while tbe cash dividends were $-4,000,000. On this point the committee's report says: 'Itcai:not be a matter of doubt that the swollen capitalizatiou of the Western Union has created at one and the same time a cover and au indueement, and in aome cases a neceseity, ('or exoessive charges for telegrams.'1 The report declares tlie comtltuUona] rigKt of the Government to establish a postal telegraph to be too clear to require argument. The first telegraph line in the country was construeted andoperatedand owned by the United States. As to the oljjection that the corapetition of tlie Government woiikl injure the private telegraphic lines, the reply is that the postal inoney order system interferes with the business of bankers. If that is legitímate the other would be. The eomuuttee thinks, bowpvpr, timt iir: uy damage woukl be not more than ttie cnrlailment of abnormal protits. The proposed bill is analyzed and its advantages are recited by the committco, the special points beinsf that tolls will be reilueod from u9 to 2") cents immediately and to 20 cents in live yean-, and that the charges will be uniform throughout the country. The committee insist that a power like that of the Western Union, which eau by merely sending advance market qnotations t ) certain persons fabulously enricli thein, 9hould not be allowed to exist in this country-, even though its power may not have been abused in the past. The bill woukl talce away this power. The great inass of the peopie do not appreciate iully the extortioiis of this c'inpany as tliey cover the whole United States - too great a territory for peopie of average exj)erienee to know. about. For instance, the Western Union owns :md controla many eonipanies operattag wires under different ñames so as to give tliem au excuse to charge doublé rutes. We have in mind n recent experlenee in Florida where the line is called the Florida Despatch. Vet the W. U. owns it and charged us a dollar for a half rate message home toAun Aibor. These things are begiuning to be diseovered, and to stay the coming storm the W. U. company is having its agents all over the country get up petitions to Congress against the Postal Telegraph bill. Strangeiy enough they secure many who carelessly subscribe thcir names to what after a little consideration they might see was against tlieir own interests. Sucha petition was circulated tn Ann Arbor last week, and on it was a formidable ly men will sign petitions. Such a course we fear will oreatly endanger the bill, for there is no one so strongly interested in the interests of the peopie as this huge monopoly can afiörd to interest powerful agents for llie safetv nf its own watery millions. Those n Chicago next week attending the National Convention will have m opportunlty of witnessing some good trotting at the Dnying Park. $15,000 is offered for the races and a huudrcd horses are engaged. It is the regular spring trotting meeting.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News