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tion among the companies, and the adoption of one general system, setting their faces against any alteration therein, unless it be by common consent. As a basis for all future action, we earnestly recommend the adoption of the seventh and eighth resolutions, herewith transmitted.
2. Perhaps the greatest evil existing under the present system, is the absence of due responsibility on account of messages sent over the lines of two or more companies, which are unreasonably delayed, or never delivered at all. We all know that perfect certainty of prompt delivery is not attainable in the present condition of the telegraph lines generally; but it is not difficult to adopt and enforce such regulations, as will greatly lessen the disappointment and irritation so prevalent among the customers of the telegraph, in consequence of the failure of their messages to reach their destination, or their inability to procure information as to what has become of them.
The idea so prevalent among operators, that it is an injury to their line to let connecting lines know when they are down, is fatally erroneous. They receive messages and retain them, awaiting the repair of their line; and when the station whence the messages came inquires after them, too frequently no answer is returned. The customer becomes impatient and irritated, and demands the refunding of his money, which is refused; whereupon he curses the telegraph, and ceases to use it. None of us, it is confidently believed, have duly appreciated the injury done to all the telegraph lines by such short-sighted policy.
All this can be readily obviated. Let each line, when down, promptly inform every connecting line of the fact. If there bé any other line by which messages appropriately belonging to the line thus down, can be promptly sent, let them be silently received and so forwarded; if not, let the customer be frankly told that a connecting line over which his messages must pass is down, and that it is uncertain when his message will reach its destination. If, thus informed, he chooses to leave his message, he cannot complain of fraud or imposition.
The undersigned are perfectly satisfied, that incomparably more harm arises from the omission to give information in such cases, than from the failures themselves; and that multitudes abandon the use of the telegraph not because their messages have been delayed or lost, but because they can obtain no satisfactory explanation of the cause.
Intimately connected with these practices is the subject of refunding. Customers are put to great inconvenience in obtaining evidence that their messages have been delayed, mutilated, or lost, when the telegraph ought to know all about it. That the station from which the message is sent, is not in possession of the facts when messages are delayed or lost, is the fault of
other stations or connecting lines, in withholding information which ought to be given.
These evils the Convention hope to mitigate by the rules laid down in their second, third, fourth, and fifth resolutions, which are earnestly recommended to the adoption of your respective companies.
To give greater efficiency to the principles therein laid down, the committee recommend that the following explicit instructions be given to the chief operator at the terminal station of every line, viz. :1. That when
any line ceases to operate in whole or in part, for the space of one hour during ordinary business hours, notice thereof shall be given to all connecting lines, specifying what part of the line, if any, is still in operation; and that when the line again commences to operate, notice thereof be also given immediately to all connecting lines.
2. That operators of connecting lines, receiving such notices, shall immediately send them along their respective lines.
3. That when from any cause a message from another line or station cannot be forwarded, or, if it has reached its destination, cannot be delivered the same day, notice thereof shall be given to the station whence it came.
A strict observance of these rules would remove many causes of irritation which now beset the telegraph business, and would obviate much trouble now experienced in the matter of refunding
The second resolution purports to regulate the principles on which moneys refunded shall be charged upon the several companies concerned. In the discharge of the duties imposed on the committee by the fourteenth resolution, they recommend the following rules for giving effect to the second resolution, viz.:
1. Where refunding is required by reason of an error of the telegraph, the whole amount shall be chargeable to the company on whose line the error was committed.
2. Where refunding is required by reason of delay in the transmission of a message, the whole amount shall be chargeable to the company on whose line the delay occurred, unless said company shall show that it was occasioned by providential or uncontrollable circumstances, of which the connecting lines were duly informed.
3. Where refunding is required by reason of neglect to deliver a message when received, the whole amount shall be chargeable to the company at whose station the neglect occurred.
4. In all cases where refunding is required, the manager of the station where money was paid in the first instance shall be sole judge of the justice of the demand; and if any dispute
arises as to what line is chargeable with the amount refunded, or any part of it, the question shall be referred to the Presidents or Principal Managers of the lines concerned; and if they disagree, the subject shall be referred by them to the Corresponding Committee, whose decision shall be final. Provided, that when any line refuses or omits to give information as prescribed in the third and fourth resolutions, the whole sum refunded shall be charged to such line.
The other resolutions adopted by the Convention do not appear to need any explanation. That uniformity may at once be introduced and preserved, it is recommended that they be all adopted, though they may in some particulars be considered objectionable, and that any desirable modifications be reserved for the next annual Telegraph Convention.
The Committee trust that all Telegraph Companies in North America, using Morse's system, will cause themselves to be represented in the next Annual Convention, by delegates formally chosen and furnished with credentials, and that they be authorized to pledge the faith of their respective companies to carry into effect the resolves of the Convention, so far as they may relate to the mode of doing business, their intercourse and responsibilities among themselves. It is only by receiving the vote of the Convention as authoritative, that it can become permanently useful.
In conclusion, we beg that, as soon as practicable, you will submit the resolutions of the late Convention, together with the recommendations of this Address, to your Company or Board of Directors, and communicate the result of their action thereon to our Chairman, that we may notify each Company of their adoption or rejection by the rest.
B. B. FRENCH,
CIRCULAR ADDRESS TO ALL ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH COMPANIES IN NORTH AMERICA.
At the late American Telegraph Convention, in Washington City, the following resolution, among many others, was adopted, viz.:
" That it shall be the duty of the Corresponding Committee to encourage the establishment, at some central point, of manufactories or dépôts of all the necessary materials, such as acids, instruments, stationery used and consumed in the conduct and management of telegraph lines."
Not being able themselves to attend to the details necessary to the efficient execution of this and other resolutions adopted by the Convention, the Corresponding Committee, deeming this matter particularly of great importance, appointed the undersigned their Secretary, with the understanding that he was to attend to the details which the Convention had imposed upon them.
Thus authorized by the Committee, the undersigned has given special attention to the subject of the foregoing resolution, which he interprets as follows, viz. :
1st. The organization of a system, by which all the lines in the country can procure the materials needed in the successful management of the Telegraph, unadulterated with baser substances.
2d. That the articles purchased might be obtained at the lowest price possible, resulting from a general wholesale arrangement.
3d. That a general uniformity might result therefrom, dispelling the necessity for continual experiments, originating from a scarcity of material in any section of the country, whereby the management necessarily resorts to supposed equivalents.
Considering the objects of the resolution to be as just recited, the Secretary has proceeded to make complete arrangements for carrying the same into immediate operation. He has visited the various cities in the East, and procured the prices from many firms, offering to supply the lines throughout the country with the materials consumed. The prices submitted are greatly under the amounts now paid in all parts of the country, and the proposals accepted are at least twenty-five per cent. less than the lowest price paid by any line heretofore. The multiplication of commissions by the dealers greatly increased the cost of the article, and with a view to save that increase of expenditure, the Secretary has, in every instance, sought proposals from the manufacturers. The great saying will be readily seen by an examination of the figures presented hereinafter. Not only is the price reduced, but the pure article is obtained, unadulterated and free from mixture with inferior qualities.
It must be remembered, too, that the great saving accruing under this arrangement, as well as the perfection of the materials purchased, contemplates the concentration of purchase through the arrangement of the American Telegraph Confederation. Some of the companies will not realize much saving, because their consumption is small. Every line throughout the country greatly needs the economy proposed, though ever so little. The benefits will be mutually enjoyed ; none are excluded. The
arrangements contemplate, that every company or every line throughout the United States, Canada, Nova Scotia or Mexico, can partake in the advantages proposed. It is the interest of all to unite; the larger the purchase, the less will be the sum to be paid; thus all will partake alike in the economy. The invitation is to all, and the earlier commenced the better. Many lines have, very probably, a supply on hand sufficient for the season, but when new orders are given it is hoped the proposals beneath submitted will be accepted. The prices embraced in the schedule may not be much less than now paid by some lines, but much less than paid by other lines; besides, a good article is procured for the same amount paid for an inferior. Some lines are paying three hundred per cent. more than proposed in the schedule, and the consumption very large; to these lines the saving will be extraordinary. An examination of the prices will prove to be one-fourth, in the aggregate, less than the lowest price paid by any line in America. This may seem to be a bold assertion, but nevertheless it is true. The prices paid by the various lines have been procured, and there can be no mistake as to the correctness of the statements submitted.
It is proper to add here, that a moderate commission is added to the price specified in the schedule, to be appropriated by the General Committee to defray the expenses necessary in carrying out the directions of the Annual Conventions. If the revenue thus accruing exceed the necessities of the Committee, a reduction will of course be promptly made. The Committee, under the resolutions of the Convention, will manage or direct the course of procedure in all matters, and will not fail to do all that may be possible for the general prosperity. The companies can safely repose confidence in the arrangements presented, as there are those intrusted with the charge, who will realize the advantages of the economy as shareholders in the respective lines, and not otherwise. The Committee is elected annually, and the Convention can adopt such rules and regulations as to its powers as may be deemed requisite and necessary. The prosperity of the cause is the aim in view. That the subject may the better be understood, a short review of the cost now paid and as proposed will doubtless suffice.
NITRIC ACID. This article is one of the most costly in telegraph consumption, and none more impure as in general use; it is one of the important elements connected with the enterprise, and should be carefully considered, that the very best quality may be obtained for the objects in view. There are but few gentlemen connected with telegraphing who are expert chemists, and in consequence of which, the most base and adulterated ingredients