In 1890 matters were on the eve of a great change and wages fell, in most cases to a point 20% below the rates of 1885.
Formerly 2700 retired seamen were boarded within it, and 5000 or 6000 others, called outpensioners, received stipends at various rates out of its funds; but in 1865 an act was passed empowering the Admiralty to grant liberal pensions in lieu of food and lodging to such of the inmates as were willing to quit the hospital, and in 1869 another act was passed making their leaving on these conditions compulsory.
Interest was charged at very high rates for overdue loans of this.
In the traffic; and similar statistics pointing to increase of business consequent on reduction of rates were produced in regard to France, Switzerland and Prussia.
Some of the complaints against the companies, however, were exaggerated, and the estimates formed of the possible commercial development of telegraphy were optimistic. The basis for these estimates was the experience of other countries, which, however, did not justify the expectation that a large increase of business consequent on reduction of rates could be obtained without serious diminution of profit.