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The Telegraph Company and its rates.

The recent increase in the rates charged by the Southern Telegraph Company has been the cause of some dissatisfaction in the public mind, which has found utterance through the press in various quarters. It is surely not the part of window to condemn any party without a hearing; and while we are ready at all times to denounce what may property be denominated extortion, candid examination of the facts in this instance cannot fall to remove the impression upon which the allegations against the company are based. These allegations are, first, that the company has increased its rates 200 per cent, within the past six months, which is deemed unjustifiable at a time when gold was falling; and, second, that there has been no corresponding advance in the prices paid to employees. Now the balance sheet of the Treasurer, for the year ending April 1, 1864. shows that the expenses of the company during that year exceeded the receipts by more than $43,000. The reason of this is that while the general rates have been increased 300 per cent, upon peace prices, and the rates to the press only 100 per cent., the expenses have increased from 400 and 500 per cent, (on the case of salaries of employees) to 4,000, 8,000 20,000, and even 36,000 per cent on certain articles used by the company. The salary of a superintendent has been increased from $125 to $625 per month, and that of a chief operator from $75 to $375 per month — an advance of 400 per cent; and while the pay of an assistant operator in peace times was $50 per month, it is now $300--an increase of 500 per cent. The salaries of the President and Treasurer remain the same as they were at the beginning of the war. The advance in prices of articles indispensable to the business of the company is still greater, reaching, as an inspection of the items will show, from 3,000 to 33,000 per cent. To these facts might be aided the seizure of long lines of wire by the military authorities for their own use, and the heavy expense attending the reconstruction of lines destroyed by raiding parties of the enemy; but enough has been said to justify the company, in the mind of any candid man, in advancing its rates, and to relieve it of the charge of monopoly and extortion, which has become very common with those who do not take the trouble to investigate the circumstances.

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April 1st, 1864 AD (1)
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