In some respects, this is a remarkable document. This Company have a capital stock of $41,063,100, including sinking fund, amounting to $494,800, which, deducted from the otal capital stock, leaves a of $40,568,300, on which a dividend was paid last July. The net profits of the year ending July 1, 1869, were $2,801,457'48, less than seven per cent on this capital. During three years, from the commencement of 1866, the net profits of the company have been $8,015,432'06. Out of these profits, $4,134,879'10 have been expended in the construction of new lines, purchase of telegraph property, redemption of bonds, purchase of real estate, interest on bonds, sinking fund, and miscellaneous expenditures, leaving a balance for dividends of $4,044,595'34. No one will be disposed to think these profits too large ; but we have no- doubt that the profits on all telegraph property in the United States might be made much larger by a general and large reduction of tariff. The present rates,while they do not afford the companies, on an average, seven per cent interest on the capital invested,—many of the smaller companies netting far less than this,—are still so high that the telegraph is not, as it ought to be, a rival to the postal system, in the transmission of messages. Until such a consummation can be approximated, large profits on telegraph property cannot be expected. Another obstacle to progress has been, want of uniformity in the tariff of charges in different sections of the country. On this head, the Report under consideration gives us information, not only as to the cause of non-uniformity, but the influences which tend to perpetuate it. It says : "This peculiarity was the result of the great number of separate organizations,having tariffs upon various bases,which required adding together at the termini of two or more lines, so t.t, upon a dispatch, which was transmitted a few hundred miles, two or three rates were sometimes charged. For instance, a few years since, there were five telegraph companies owning the lines c nnecting Portland, Maine,with Cleveland, Ohio, and the tariff between these two places was ascertained by the addition of the local rates from Portland to Boston, Boston to Springfield, Springfield to Albany, Albany to Buffalo, and from Buffalo to Cleveland. The same system prevailed throigl out the United States until after the consol-dation of the lines made it possible to transmit messages between places thousands of miles apart without the necessity of booking or re-checking at intermediate points. This result nect ssitated a remodeling of the tariffs, and the work has
This article was originally published with the title "Annual Report of the President of the Western Union Telegraph Company"