Our Post-Office

IN 2 Chronicles xxx. 6, we read that “ the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel.” We do not know how early a regular system of posts was established, but it must have been coeval with the foundation of centralized governments. Simple at first, — the messenger swift of foot bearing the commands of the sovereign to distant parts of his dominion, — it grew and widened with the growth of empire. Formed for the convenience of kings, the people had no share in its privileges, though they bore the tax.

It was not until the fifteenth century, when, as a consequence of the invention of printing, civilization and education spread rapidly among all classes, that the people themselves began to feel the need of a postal service and to make use of it. Royal post-riders had been maintained in Europe for several centuries; about two hundred years ago they began to carry travelers for hire, and at a later date letters. All correspondence was subject to the inspection of the king, and private parties were forbidden to carry letters for hire lest the king should lose this privilege. The post from this and other causes has always been a monopoly controlled by the sovereigns, sometimes farmed out to private parties or given to favorites.

The earliest regular post appears to have been established by the Counts of Thurn and Taxis, who held a monopoly of the postal service over different parts of Germany and Italy from the sixteenth century down to our own time. In Great Britain the exclusive control of the post was frequently given to princes of the royal family, who regarded it as a source of revenue, while the accommodation of the people was to them a matter of but small importance. Private posts were frequently established, but were suppressed as soon as they became profitable. Mail-coaches were introduced in 1784, and from that time the post-office of Great Britain dates its importance; before the establishment of coaches, ten days were required to send a letter from London to Edinburgh and receive an answer, “ weather and highwaymen permitting.” So small was the correspondence that the rider frequently left London with only five or six letters in his bag for Edinburgh.

In America the wants and interests of the people have been the sole objects that have been considered in the administration of the post-office. A simple arrangement among neighbors for their mutual convenience has grown until our post-office has become the largest in the world. Letters arriving from Europe were deposited in some coffeehouse at the port of landing, and from thence carried by the nearest neighbor to those to whom they were addressed. In the records of the General Court of Massachusetts for 1639, " It is ordered that notice be given that Richard Fairbanks his house in Boston is the place appointed for all letters which are brought beyond the seas, or are to be sent thither, to be left with him; and he is to take care that they are to be delivered or sent according to the directions; and he is allowed for every letter a penny, and must answer all miscarriages through his own neglect in this kind. " The first step towards a postal service was made in Virginia, by the colonial law of 1657, which required “ every planter to provide a messenger to convey the dispatches, as they arrived, to the next plantation; and so on, on pain of forfeiting a hogshead of tobacco for default.” The government of New York in 1672 established “a post to goe monthly from New York to Boston,” advertising “ those that bee disposed to send letters, to bring them to the secretary’s office, where in a lockt box, they shall be preserved till the messenger calls for them, all persons paying the post before the bagg is sealed up.” In 1692 the control of the postoffice was assumed by the home government, and the office of PostmasterGeneral for America was created. The rates of postage were established at nine cents for eighty miles, or under; from New York to Philadelphia eighteen cents, to Virginia twenty-four cents.

In 1710 the postal service of the British empire was consolidated into one establishment; the chief offices of Edinburgh, Dublin, and New York were reorganized. A Postmaster-General for the Colonies was appointed by the crown, and authorized “ to keep his chief letter office in New York, and other chief offices at some convenient place or places in other of his Majesty’s provinces or colonies of America,” and also to appoint all deputy postmasters. The communication between the different colonies was very infrequent and irregular. Six weeks was the ordinary time required for receiving an answer to a letter sent from Philadelphia to Boston. Benjamin Franklin was the first to effect any great improvements in the system. For over forty years he was connected with the post-office department, commencing with his appointment as postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737. He published the appointment in his own newspaper in these words: “ Notice is hereby given that the post-office of Philadelphia is now kept at B. Franklin’s in Market Street, and that Henry Pratt is appointed riding-postmaster for all stages between Philadelphia and Newport in Virginia, who sets out about the beginning of each month and returns in twenty-four days, by whom gentlemen, merchants, and others may have their letters carefully conveyed.” In 1753 Mr. Franklin was appointed by the home government PostmasterGeneral for America, with a salary of £300 a year, provided the office yielded the requisite profit. In 1760 he startled the people by running a mail - wagon from Philadelphia to Boston, leaving each place Monday evening, and arriving on Saturday evening. In 1774 he was removed by George III., but reappointed by the Continental Congress the next year. Before his appointment, " the American post-office had never paid anything to that of Great Britain. In the first four years thereafter the office became £900 in debt, but it soon began to improve, and before I was displaced by a freak of the ministers, I had brought it to yield three times as much clear revenue to the crown as the post-office of Ireland. Since that imprudent transaction they have received from it not one farthing.” The control of the Post-Office Department was transferred by the articles of confederation to Congress, which gave it “the exclusive right to establish and regulate post-offices.” Among the earliest questions discussed in the Continental Congress, as of vital importance to the country, was the means of disseminating information in regard to the progress of the Revolution.

In May, 1775, a committee of six was appointed, with Benjamin Franklin chairman, “ to consider the best means of establishing posts for conveying intelligence and letters throughout this continent.” This committee reported a plan for the establishment of a PostOffice Department, with “ a line of posts to be appointed under the direction of the Postmaster-General, from Falmouth, Maine, to Savannah. Georgia, with as many cross posts as he shall think fit ; ” the Postmaster-General to receive a salary of $1000, and $340 for a secretary, with power to appoint as many deputies and at such places as he should think proper; and the deputies to be paid by commissions on their collections. It was further provided, “ that if the necessary expenses of this establishment should exceed the product of it, the deficiency shall be made good by the United Colonies and paid to the

Postmaster-General by the Continental Treasurers.” Congress unanimously elected “Benjamin Franklin, Esq., Postmaster-General for one year, and until another is appointed by a future Congress.” The franking privilege was then enjoyed by most officials, and in franking letters, instead of writing “ Free, B. Franklin,” as he had formerly done, he wrote “ B. free Franklin. At a later period in the same year, a committee of three was appointed “ to devise means of having expresses [persons of character] posted along the roads at different distances for the purpose of conveying early and frequent intelligence.” In 1777 a committee was appointed to revise “the regulations of the Post-Office Department, and report a plan for carrying it on so as to render the conveyance of intelligence more expeditious and certain.”

In 1782 an ordinance was passed regulating the post-office, and the first Congress of the United States in 1789 enacted that the “regulations of the post-office should be the same as under the resolutions and ordinances of the late Congress.” These were continued in force by successive Acts of Congress nearly twenty years. The ordinance begins with the following preamble: “Whereas the communication of intelligence with regularity and dispatch, from one part to another of these United States, is essentially requisite to the safety as well as the commercial interests thereof,” and the Congress being “ vested with the sole and exclusive right and power of establishing and regulating post-offices throughout the United States,” therefore resolved “ that the Postmaster-General and his agents, and no other person, shall have the receiving, taking up, ordering, and dispatching, sending post, or with speed conveying or delivering of any letters, packets, or other dispatches from any place within the United States for hire ” — postage to be paid in pennyweights and grains of silver according to the distance of transmission, the rates to be doubled for doubled letters, and packets weighing an ounce to be charged equal to four single letters.

The articles of the confederation proving inefficient and inadequate to the administration of the affairs of a nation, the constitution was adopted. The eighth section provides that Congress shall have the power " to establish post-offices and post-roads,” and " to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.”

The control of Congress over the post-office was enlarged, and it was authorized to establish " post-roads ” as well as post-offices, and thus the national government obtained full and absolute command of the postal service. The rates of postage during the Revolution were raised several times as the Continental currency depreciated in value, but were subsequently reduced and made payable in specie. In 1792 the rates were revised and established at six cents for distances not over thirty miles, increasing with the distance of transmission to twenty-five cents for all distances over four hundred and fifty miles. With a few unimportant changes these rates were maintained for more than fifty years. No provision was made for postage on newspapers in the early acts. The postmaster had not only the privilege of sending his own papers through the mail free, but the more valuable right of excluding all others from the mail. It naturally followed from this that the publication of newspapers fell almost exclusively into the hands of postmasters. On the appointment of a new postmaster the newspaper was generally transferred with the office, or after a vain struggle for life it was discontinued. Mr. Brocker was appointed postmaster of Boston in 1719; the former postmaster, feeling himself aggrieved by his removal, refused to sell out the News Letter, when Mr. Brocker started the Boston Gazette, and in his prospectus says he published it at the request of several “ who have been prevented from having their newspapers sent them by post, since Mr. Campbell was removed from being postmaster.” Mr. Franklin started a newspaper in Philadelphia about 1730, but was obliged to bribe the post-rider to carry his paper and deliver his exchanges. “ I thought,” he says, “ so meanly of the practice of excluding rivals' papers from the mail, that when I came into his situation I took care never to imitate it; ” and on his appointment as Postmaster-General he required the riders to take all papers offered. In 1782 a law was passed by which the postmaster was authorized “ to license every post-rider to carry newspapers at such moderate rates as he shall establish.” In 1790, Samuel Osgood, Postmaster-General, reported to Congress that " newspapers, which have hitherto passed free of postage, circulate extensively through the post-office, and one or two cents on them would probably amount to as much as the expenses of transporting the mail.” In consequence of this report it was provided in 1792, that " newspapers shall be carried in a separate bag from letters, and charged one cent for one hundred miles, and one and a half cents for greater distances.” Great difficulty was experienced in making change for postage: to remedy this difficulty, he proposed to have pieces of money coined to correspond with the postage, or to make the rates in each State conformable to the currency thereof.

There was no uniform plan for the transmission of the mails. On some routes they were transported by contract with stage proprietors. On others, as between Richmond and Staunton in 1787, the " exclusive privilege was granted for carrying letters and packets for hire at the postage. ” In 1792 the PostmasterGeneral was authorized to contract for a term not exceeding eight years, for the purpose of extending the line of posts to places not then supplied with mails, " and such roads shall be post-roads.” In 1800 the mail was carried between Philadelphia and Baltimore in a line of stages established by the PostmasterGeneral at the expense of the United States. In 1802, in answer to inquiries of the Senate into the expediency of starting a line of mail-coaches between Boston and New Orleans, the PostmasterGeneral replied, that “ it was expedient to do so, and that it would soon pay; that the actual sum expended in purchase of coaches, horses, and other requirements necessary for the establishment of the line between Philadelphia and Baltimore was $10,567, and that the expense of equipping a line for the whole distance would at the same rate be $100,000. In 1786 the State of New Jersey, taking advantage of its situation between New York and Philadelphia, taxed travelers passing through the State, a custom which has continued until within a few years. The Postmaster-General in that year reports that “ citizens of the United States have to purchase permission to travel on the highway of New Jersey. This tax is an unwarrantable imposition, but was the voluntary effect of the two lines of coaches then running, which designed thereby to secure a monopoly for carrying mails and passengers.” About 1810 the running time between Portland and Savannah was reduced from forty to twenty - seven days, between Philadelphia and Nashville from forty-four to thirty days, between New York and Canandaigua from twenty to twelve days.

The cost of the postal service, when posts were used solely by kings and nobles, was borne by the public and defrayed by regular taxes; but when the people were permitted to use them, they were charged for the privilege a postage sufficient to defray the expenses not only of their own, but also of all franked letters. The theory of the postoffice in America has been that the revenues from postage should equal or exceed its expenditures; in other words, that it should be self-supporting. The financial history of our post - office is intimately connected with the rates of postage. It may be divided into three periods: the first from 1775 to 1820, a period of forty-five years, in which the revenues uniformly exceeded the expenses; the second, of thirty-two years, or until 1852, in thirteen of which, the revenues exceeded the expenditures, though for the whole term there was a small excess of expenditure; the third, of twenty-two years, until 1874. In this term the expenditures have uniformly and largely exceeded the revenues, excepting in one year of the war. The revenue from 1789 to the 1st of October, 1819, thirty years, was $26,889,003, expended as follows: —

Compensation to postmasters $7,974,072

Incidental expenses 902,662

Transportation expenses 16,369,665

Net revenue paid to the treasury 1,642,604

Total $26,889,003

The revenue from 1819 to June, 1857, was $99,346,000, and the expenditures $99,578,000.

Transportation expenses $60,715,000

Office expenses 38,863,000

Total $99,578,000

Deficiency, $232,000. The revenue from 1851 to 1874, both inclusive, was $306,199,866; the expenditures were $385,033,611; the deficiency was $78,833,545; transportation expenses, $191,309,000; office expenses, $193,724,000.1

The whole income of the department for thirty years ending in 1819 was little more than its income for the current year. This, however, fails to give a correct idea of the great increase of correspondence, for it does not take into account the reduction in the average rate of postage, from fourteen and one half cents to less than three cents. To Great Britain we are indebted for the evidence that cheap postage may be more profitable than high rates. For over one hundred years the Post-Office Department of Great Britain has been a regular source of income to the treasury; but about forty years ago it was observed that while the population had increased in the preceding twenty years from 19,500,000 to 25,600,000, the postal revenues had decreased, though they should have increased $2,500,000 to have kept pace with the population. This diminution of revenue did not arise from a decrease in correspondence, but from the greater number of franked letters (franks being often given away and sometimes sold for less than the postage), and from the fact that vast numbers of letters were sent by other conveyances, though contrary to law. The rates of postage ranged from eight cents to thirty-six cents; the average being nearly eighteen cents.

Rowland Hill was the chief advocate of postal reform. He showed that the great portion of the expenses of the postal service was for office expenses, and that these were nearly the same whether few or many letters were sent; that the difference in the cost of transmitting a letter fifty or a hundred miles was insignificant, and entirely disproportioned to the increased charge; that a low and uniform rate, by stimulating the business and securing to the mail the correspondence which had been diverted from it, would, with the abolishing of the franking privilege, in a short time yield as large a revenue as that derived from high rates, without a proportionate increase of the expenditures. His proposition was opposed by the post-office officials, who denounced it as ruinous and ridiculed it as visionary. The Postmaster-General said in the House of Lords, “ Of all the wild and visionary schemes which I have ever heard of, it is the most extravagant.”

Notwithstanding this opposition the measure was carried, a penny postage was adopted, and the franking and transmission of letters by private conveyance prohibited. The number of letters transmitted in 1839 was 76,000,000; in 1840, the first year of cheap postage, it was 168,000,000, an increase of one hundred and twenty-two per cent.; while the expenses increased only fifteen per cent. The second and third years showed an increase on each preceding year, respectively, of about sixteen per cent, in the number of letters. After that, the average increase for many years was five per cent. a year, though for the last three years it has been only two and one half per cent. a year. The net revenue was reduced from $8,000,000 in 1838, to $2,500,000 in 1840; but since then has continued to increase, until it is now $12,500,000, or fifty per cent. more than with high rates. In 1873, the population of Great Britain had increased to 31,390,000, and the number of letters to 907,000,000.

The favorable results of a penny postage in Great Britain were soon known in this country. Cheap postage was at once agitated, and numerous petitions were presented to Congress. The PostmasterGeneral considered it an unfortunate time for trying experiments, as the expenditures of the department for several years had exceeded the receipts. He admitted the expediency of some reduction, but opposed any radical change in the rates, on the ground that the department would become a heavy charge on the government. He recommended the abolition of the franking privilege, equalization of postage by an increase on newspapers and other printed matter of one hundred per cent., and a reduction on letter postage of twenty-five per cent., with a prohibition against sending letters by express. “ If any doubt could exist in regard to the power of Congress to control the interchange of correspondence for hire, it must vanish upon reference to the tenth article of amendment of our constitution. The power to establish the post-office and post-roads is plainly and distinctly delegated to the United States. It is therefore not a power reserved to the States respectively, nor to the people, the right being in Congress; and it has power to protect that right.” In 1844, the Senate committee on post-offices made a report, and said: “ Government is brought more constantly and immediately in contact with a larger portion of the people by the operations of the post-office than by the exercise of any other of its powers or duties. It is believed that in consequence of the disfavor with the present rates and regulations, not more than one half the correspondence passes through the mails, the greater part being carried by private hands or by means of the recently established private expresses. it is impossible to believe that there are only about 24,000,000 or 29,000,000 letters per year sent in America, and 204,000,000 in Great Britain.”

For nearly three years the discussions were continued in and out of Congress. Bills were twice introduced, and defeated either in the Senate or the House, and it was not until March, 1845, that the first act was passed, making material reductions in the postage. The rates for letters under three hundred miles were fixed at five cents, over three hundred at ten cents ; rates for newspapers were also reduced. Under thirty miles they were free; over thirty and under a hundred miles, or within the State, the rate was one cent; for greater distances, one and a half cents. The carriage of letters by express was prohibited unless the postage was prepaid. The average rate was reduced from fourteen and one half to six and one half cents, or fifty-six and one third per cent. No regular record of the number of letters mailed is kept, but since 1860 the number of stamps issued shows the mailed letters; from a very careful estimate made in 1843, it appeared that 27,831,000 letters and 57,810,000 newspapers were mailed that year; in 1847, 57,173,000letters,57,000,000 newspapers and pamphlets; the letters increased one hundred and five per cent., almost entirely because of the reduction in letter postage. The number of newspapers remained as before, the postage being reduced but very little. In 1860, the number of letters was 245,650,000; in 1874, 905,457,305. The ratio of increase averaged ten per cent, a year from 1860 until 1872; since then it has been seventeen per cent. The number of letters in proportion to population has increased from one and a half in 1840, to twenty-two. The revenue during the six years prior to the reduction in 1845, was$26,954,115; expenses, $27,884,513: during the succeeding six years the revenue was $28,828,377, and the expenses $28,353,060; showing a very small increase in expenditures. In March, 1851, the rates were reduced to three cents for distances under three thousand miles for prepaid, and to five cents for unpaid letters, with double rates for greater distances. Slight modifications were made in 1855 and 1863, the first requiring prepayment, and the second establishing a uniform rate of three cents. The number of letters, the revenue, and expenditures have increased regularly since 1851, interrupted only by the war. A comparison of the business for two terms of seven years prior to and succeeding the war will show its growth.

Letters. Expenditures. Revenue. Balance of Expenditure over Revenue.
1867-1873 3,971,032,400 $169,793,000 $135,493,000 $34,300,000
1855-1861 1,460,000,000 88,047,000 57,446,000 30,600,000
Increase 2,511,032,000 $81,746,000 $78,047,000 $3,700,000
Percentage 275 per cent 92 per cent 142 per cent 12 per cent

Although the balance of expenditures was a little greater from 1867 to 1873, yet in proportion to the number of letters the expenses very greatly decreased, for while the letters increased two hundred and seventy-five per cent., the balance of expenditures over revenue was only ten per cent. greater. A comparison of this statement with one of the Post-Office Department of Great Britain for corresponding periods shows that there the number of letters and the revenue in-

creased about eighty per cent., the expenses sixty-six per cent., and that the profits nearly equaled the expenditures. It is generally known that with cheaper letter postage and a larger correspondence in Great Britain, there is a large annual surplus there and a large deficit here. From these facts the conclusion is drawn that our post-office is managed with less system and economy than that of Great Britain. A more careful examination will disclose causes which account for such different results. In 1873 there were 33,214 post-offices in the United States; 790,000,000 paid, foreign, and official letters; 581,000,000 newspapers and parcels; total, 1,371,000,000 packets. The revenue was $23,000,000, the expenses $28,360,000,2 the average postage per packet 1.68 cents. The transportation expenses were .01, the office expenses .0104, total expenses 2.04 cents. The same year there were 12,500 post-offices in Great Britain; 979,000,000 letters and postal cards, 125,000,000 newspapers, and 129,000,000 book parcels were sent ; total, 1,233,000,000 packets. The revenue was $26,740,000; the expenses were $14,230,000;3 the average postage per packet was .0217; the transportation expenses were .0038; oflice expenses .0077; total expenses .0115. The average postage is higher in England, the office expenses per packet are nearly the same, while the transportation expenses are only one third as much. In England they are about thirty-three and one third per cent., in this country fifty per cent. More letters are sent in Great Britain, more newspapers in the United States. There are seven States in America comparatively thickly settled. The postal service in these States will compare favorably with that of Great Britain in financial results and in the proportion of letters to population. The postal revenue from these States is $10,000,000, or forty per cent, of the entire revenue; the expenses are $7,580,000; the profit $2,757,230, or nearly twenty-five per cent. The expenses of transportation are about thirty percent., the proportion of letters to population twenty-eight to one. If the correspondence of the remaining States was in the same ratio, the postages would fully equal the expenses.

The statistics of seven other States and Territories show different results. In these the revenue was $1,855,773, or seven and one half per cent. of the entire revenue, and the expenses were $4,260,000. Transportation expenses were $3,138,800, or seventy - five per cent. Forty per cent. of the deficiency of the whole service was in these States. This loss should not be charged to the mail service any more than the subsidy paid steamships. " The idea that the Post-Office Department can be self-sustaining in the present condition of the country is absurd. It cannot and ought not to be. The increase must go on as long as the country prospers. The mines are not yet all developed; the lands are not all cultivated; the railroads are not all surveyed: our country is not finished. Until it is finished, he is not a wise man nor a sagacious man who assumes that the post-office will pay for itself.” In 1873, in Great Britain, the postage from letters was about $20,000,000; from 254,000,000 newspapers and parcels it was about $5,000,000. In the United States the postage for the same year from letters was $20,673,000; from 581,000,000 newspapers and parcels $1,214,000; that is, the postage on twice as many newspapers and parcels in America was only one fourth as much as in England. If newspapers and parcels paid the same postage here as there, the service would be self-sustaining. If due allowance is made for the extent of territory, for the cost of three times as many offices, for the greater number of miles which the mails are transported, for the sparseness of population and the greater weight and bulk of our mails, it will be seen that the service is performed with greater economy in the United States than in Great Britain. A great disparity between the expenditures on account of newspapers and the postages derived from them has existed for a long time, but it has increased enormously within a few years, arising from the greater size, weight, and number of papers. Any one who remembers what the New York Herald, The Tribune, and The Independent were, when they first appeared, and what they now are, will fully understand this great difference.

We find frequent complaints, in the reports of the Postmaster-Generals, of the burden of newspapers to the mails; but the principle of carrying them at very low rates, and less than the actual cost, has never been departed from. The report for 1838 says, “ The weight of letters is only three per cent. that of newspapers, while the postage is ten times as much; ” the report for 1840, “ Printed matter constitutes ninety-five per cent. of the whole mails, while it pays about twelve per cent. of the gross revenue. The low rates of postage on papers and other printed matter originated in consideration of public policy, and were designed to promote the general dissemination of intelligence among the people.” By the law of 1845 newspapers were transmitted free to subscribers living near the places of publication.

The report for 1848 says that “the postage on newspapers fails to pay their cost by one third of the postage, and is in the nature of a tax on letters for the benefit of the newspapers.” Postmaster General Creswell, in 1873, proposed that the postage should be prepaid and charged by weight at such rates as would make a large reduction in the nominal rates, but as it would be all collected would largely increase the revenue, and would also simplify and reduce the number of accounts and office expenses. Prepayment of postage would require the publishers of papers and magazines to pay a large annual sum as postage, heretofore theoretically paid by the subscribers, but generally uncollected. The publishers were willing to accede to the proposal if the postage was fixed at one cent a pound on newspapers, and two cents on magazines, which would yield an equivalent to the postage actually collected. They could afford to pay these rates without increasing the subscription price, as the profits from a larger circulation would probably cover the postage. If the rates were too high, they would be compelled to raise the subscription price, and this would diminish the circulation. The subject came up for action in Congress near the close of the session, when there was no opportunity for a full discussion of its merits, and the rates were fixed at two cents a pound on newspapers, and three cents a pound on magazines, to take effect on and after January 1, 1875; weekly papers to be sent free in the counties in which they were published. This change in the law will undoubtedly increase the postal revenues; but as the postage will be less than the cost, the expenditure will be increased in a more rapid ratio. The low postage on newspapers has accomplished the purpose for which the post-office was established. Five million newspapers are daily distributed, two a week for every man, woman, and child who can read, — a circulation four times as large in proportion to population as in any other country. Ten percent. of the dailies and sixty per cent, of the weeklies, or 581,000,000 a year, are sent by mail.

In 1873 the postage received from letters was $20,673,000; from papers, $1,214,000. The expenses of the department were $28,360,000; the average cost of each packet was two and four hundredths cents. At this rate the total cost of letters was $16,116,000; of papers, $11,872,000. But this statement does not exhibit the real disparity between the receipts and expenditures on letters and papers. The cost can be divided into two items: office and transportation expenses. The former are about the same on every parcel, but the transportation expenses are proportioned to the weight and bulk. For the purpose of obtaining reliable statistics of the weight of letters and papers, the mails were weighed in several large cities during the month of April last, and from these and other data it appears that letters weigh about one third of an ounce, or one sixth as much as papers. Newspapers and other parcels on the average weigh two ounces. The parcels originally mailed in the Boston post-office were all counted and weighed one day, and weighed for thirty days: 111,773 letters and postal cards weighed 1599 pounds; 102,168 regular newspapers and pamphlets weighed 12,771 pounds; 26,311 other parcels weighed 3288 pounds. To obtain a fair comparison of the relative cost of conveying letters and newspapers the office expenses should be divided equally among all the parcels, the transportation in proportion to weight; letters weighing half an ounce, papers two ounces. The total weight of the mail in 18 73 was 125,000,000 pounds. This estimate makes the cost of letters $11,943,000, of newspapers $16,415,000, showing a profit on letters of $8,706,000, and a loss on papers of $16,201,000. A two cent rate on letters could be substituted for the one, two, and three cent rates, and yield a revenue of $16,000,000, a sum sufficient to cover the cost. More than one half of the loss on newspapers is defrayed from the profit on letters; the balance from the public treasury. There is no propriety in thus taxing letter correspondence. If the postage on newspapers were raised sufficiently to meet this deficiency, it would greatly cripple their circulation. The same reasons which have led to the assessment of a part of the cost on the treasury, and to carrying papers free in the counties where they are published, will justify the payment of the whole expense from the treasury, a return to the policy of our fathers, and transmission of all papers free. Newspapers are in every family, and the knowledge and intelligence communicated in their columns is for the benefit of all.

Within a few years past the PostOffice Department has begun to carry express parcels; this is not a normal development of our postal service, but is borrowed from foreign governments.

In Europe the post has been the general carrier of passengers, express matter, and letters, with separate bureaus for each. It owns the horses and coaches, and where railroads have superseded stages, these in many cases have been constructed and operated by the state. On express parcels abroad, the charges vary with the weight, rapidity, and distance of transmission; but though the average distance which parcels are transmitted is very much greater with us, uniform rates are charged without regard to weight or distance. This is a fatal departure from the principle on which cheap postage is based, namely, that with minimum weights the distance is unessential, and can therefore be disregarded, but with parcels weighing three, or four pounds, the weight becomes an essential feature. The weight of parcels was at first limited to one pound, but by the law of 1874 mailable matter of the third class, which includes all articles “ which are not from either form or nature liable to destroy, deface, or otherwise injure the contents of the mail-bag, or the person of any one engaged in the postal service,” and not exceeding four pounds in weight, may be sent for one cent for every two ounces, or eight cents a pound Letters pay three cents for each halt ounce, or ninety-six cents a pound. Tea, coffee, feathers, scissors, thread, etc., pay eight cents a pound.

A pound of letters pays a profit of about forty cents; a pound of nails or sugar is carried at a loss of three and a half cents, four pounds of silk at a loss of eleven cents; a further increase of the weight of mailable parcels in the same proportion will cover all ordinary express matter. While it is for the public interest that the post-office should carry books and printed matter for less than the cost, and throw the burden on the public treasury, the reason fails when applied to merchandise. Express companies cannot carry letters, but the act of 1874 makes the post-office a great express company. The carriage of merchandise by mail is a perversion of the objects for which our post-office was established, and when merchandise is carried below cost, and the loss is thrown upon letter correspondence, is unjustifiable. On short distances the express companies might compete with the post; but as their charges are necessarily based on distance, the post would carry all parcels between distant places. A system more certain to break down our entire mail service, to increase the deficit by millions a year, could not easily be devised ; and the sooner attention is called to it, and a remedy applied, the better it will be for the public. What effect this system would have on the trade of country places cannot be foreseen, but it has already made a great change in the book trade, the buyers being now supplied from the large city dealers at lower rates than at the country store. A “Special Notice” from A. T. Stewart informs ladies that silk for a dress can be ordered by pattern and sent to any part of the country at “ a merely nominal expense ; ” one year old fruit trees are advertised to be sent in any quantities to the most distant part of the United States by mail.

As railroads increased new changes were required. “ lioute agents ” were appointed, letters for the different offices were deposited in separate “pouches,” to be delivered by the agent either at the offices of destination on the line of the road, or if for distant places to the connecting road or a distribution office. Then “express agents” were appointed at the termini of the main routes, to make out lists of the pouches forwarded, which were receipted for by the route agents, who took receipts at the end of the route to show fulfillment of their duties. On some routes the express agents were required to keep full accounts in book-form of all pouches so received and delivered, and of their disposition. Then it became necessary to provide for the exchange of letters between the various offices on the line of the road, and for this purpose railway post-office clerks were appointed : first a portion of a car, then a whole car, and finally a postal car constructed by the railroad was provided for their accommodation. These postal cars have now become the chief distributing offices; letters are not only received and delivered at each office on the line of the road, but in a few instances are assorted for delivery. In Boston the letter-carriers await the arrival of the great mails from the South and West at the railroad station, and there receive their letters for delivery, and many letters never enter a postoffice. Letters for places beyond the line are delivered to the connecting postal car or are made up into pouches to be forwarded in other mails; and sometimes, though unfrequently, go into distributing offices. There are now only twenty-nine distributing - offices where formerly there were several hundred. The system of postal cars and clerks is very expensive ; it requires a great amount of car room, and a large number of clerks, as two clerks can do little if any more work than one in a regular office. It cannot be adopted on all railroads, and is not equally well adapted for all sections of the country. In the Eastern States, on routes where there is a great interchange of correspondence and frequent trains run, a different system is required from that which is fitted for the Western and Southern States, where but one or two express trains and an accommodation train are daily run: on the former, it is probably practical to make up pouches in the main office, to be forwarded by route agents on every train directly to their destination; on the latter, postal cars afford the best means for distributing the mail. Notwithstanding the great expense of railway postal clerks and cars, the proportionate expense of transportation to office expenses is less since the mails were transported bv rail than formerly. Prior to 1851, sixty per cent. of all the expenses were on account of transportation, while now, exclusive of the railway post-office clerks, they are less than fifty per cent., and inclusive of them they are less than sixty per cent. The average cost per mile of railroad transportation in 1857 was 12.65 cents, in 1873 it was 12.67 cents per mile including expense of postal cars.

The introduction of postal cars upon the leading railroads is a natural outgrowth of the railroad service. In these “ traveling post-offices ” mails and letters are received, sorted, and delivered; by means of them the service on many routes is greatly expedited. The mails have increased so much in bulk that on some of the lines one car is insufficient to carry them, and the weight is so great that some of the railroad companies refue to attach a postal car to certain limited express trains, as it would cause delay. To overcome these objections, the department has proposed to run an express train of postal cars between New York and Chicago in twenty-four hours. In this exclusive mail train, which would have the right of way over all passenger trains, weeklies printed from two to seven days before their date, magazines printed two or three weeks before their date, and express parcels of wood, lead, iron, etc., must be carried. There can be no sufficient reason for burdening an exclusive mail train with this class of freight. The mail matter can he classified into letters, daily papers, other printed matter, and express parcels. Letters and daily papers constitute about one fifth in weight and bulk of the mails, and should be sent by express trains; on all the routes over which the large mails pass, express and accommodation trains run. For other printed and express parcels rapid transit is not essential, and these could he forwarded by accommodation trains. By such a classification and distribution, the public could be as well accommodated as at present, and a reduction of expenditure be made, equal in amount to the revenue now derived from newspapers. If this arrangement were adopted, newspapers and magazines could be carried free, without increasing the present annual deficiency. Postage on letters could be reduced to two cents the half ounce; on books and other printed matter to two cents an ounce. The weight of express parcels, if carried by mail, should be limited to one pound, or else charged with varying rates not less than the actual cost, according to the weight and distance. After a few years the PostOffice Department would become selfsupporting and afford additional facilities to the public.

The correspondence of a nation depends upon its intelligence, its habits, the rates of postage, and the facilities afforded. The largest correspondence in proportion to the population is in

Great Britain, where it is as twentynine to one; in Switzerland it is as twenty to one, in tlie United States as eighteen to one, in Germany as thirteen to one, in France ten to one, in Austria four to one. The postage in Great Britain and Switzerland is two cents, in the United States three cents, in Germany two and a half cents, in Franee four cents, on local letters in Paris two cents. The number of letters mailed in the different cities of our country differs greatly. In Boston the proportion of population to letters is as 1 to 135 ; in Chicago as 1 to 115 ; in New York as 1 to 114 ; in Philadelphia as 1 to 56; in Louisville as 1 to 51 ; in St. Louis as 1 to 47 ; in Baltimore as 1 to 38 : 105,000,000 of letters a year are sent from New York, 38,000,000 from Boston, 3 7,000,000 from Philadelphia, 34,000,000 from Chicago, and 15,000,000 from St. Louis. Our white population is about 41,000,000, mailing 905,000,000 of letters annually, an average of twenty-two to each person. The population of these seven cities is about 3,000,000; they mail 244,000,000 letters a rear, or more than one fourth of the whole. The average is eighty-six letters to each person. Although in Great Britain the proportion of letters to the population is much greater than in the United States, yet at the respective ratio of increase in the two countries, the correspondence of the United States will soon exceed that of Great Britain. In every instance where the postage has been reduced from a high to a low rate the correspondence has rapidly increased. We believe that if the rates were reduced from three cents to two cents, a like result would follow. Postal cards were introduced into Austria, England, Germany, and Switzerland in 1870; great numbers have been sold without reducing the normal growth of the letter correspondence. In this country they were introduced in April, 1873; in the first quarter 31,000,000 were sold, while the increase of letters was larger than in any other quarter of the year. The rates for occasional newspapers were reduced in 1872 from two cents to one cent, and this was followed by an increase in the number of newspapers mailed of seventy-two per cent. The post-offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were made sub-offices of the post-office in Boston, in January, 1874, the postage to Boston was reduced from three to two cents, and the mail facilities were increased. The union was followed by an increase in the correspondence in one of these offices from 73,000 in December, 1873, to 138,000 in July, 1874. Additional facilities are sometimes of greater benefit to the public than a reduction in rates. The secretary of the British post-office, in a recent report, said that it had been proved by actual trial that if the number of mails to any office, or the street boxes in any city, were doubled, the correspondence would increase in the same ratio.

The carrier system has been introduced into almost every city and town in Great Britain, and to the additional facilities thus afforded is greatly due the fact that the correspondence in Great Britain has continued to increase so much more rapidly than the population. In this country, wherever the carrier system has been adopted, the correspondence is much greater in proportion to population than in other parts of the country, and equal to that of Great Britain. The system was partially introduced into twelve cities in 1860, which then sent five per cent. of the whole number of letters. In 1873 the same cities sent fourteen per cent.; the correspondence of the whole country increased two hundred per cent., of these cities six hundred per cent. In 1868 the carrier system was in operation in fortyeight cities, which then sent twenty per cent. of the correspondence; in 1873 they sent thirty-three per cent.: and while the correspondence of the whole country had increased sixty-five per cent.? that of these cities had increased one hundred and twenty per cent. In 1868 the expense of this service in these cities was $996,000, the receipts from local postage $476,000. In 1873 the expense was $1,415,000, the receipts from local postage $1,112,000. The carrier system

would be more fully appreciated if brought into more general use. Under the old law it could be introduced into cities with a population of only twenty thousand, but the law of 1874 requires a population of thirty thousand. The railroad and coach convey the mails between offices. The letter-carrier begins and completes the service, transmits all the local correspondence, and is a virtual extension of the post-office and mail route to every house. The postage on local letters alone pays all the expenses in several of these cities, and the larger proportion in the remainder; and if the net profit from the increased correspondence were added to the local postage, it would show a handsome profit in every city in which the carrier system is in operation. In 1870 there were about four hundred towns and cities having a population of five thousand or over; in 1873 the carrier system had been introduced into only fifty of these cities. In a large proportion of the three hundred and fifty other towns and cities the important mails are received only twice a day; three or four collections and deliveries would be sufficient; it would require about one thousand seven hundred additional carriers to give to each of these three hundred and fifty cities a sufficient collection and delivery. The receipts from postage on local letters which would be created by the carriers, with the increase of general correspondence, would in a very few years defray the entire cost. A more frequent delivery and collection are needed in all our large cities, especially in the evening. The morning papers and letters from New York, with the Washington mail of the preceding evening, are delivered in Boston and the neighboring cities the same evening, while the morning mail from Boston to New York is not delivered until the next morning; letters leaving Boston in the evening or at eight o'clock the next morning are delivered in Washington at the same time. In some of the largest cities in the country no collection is made on Sunday, although such a collection is required for the general convenience of the public. Boston has more frequent mails than any other city excepting New York; more letter-boxes in proportion to population, the bust delivery and collection system, and fifteen per cent. larger correspondence in proportion to population, than any other city. The eighth city in population, its revenue from sales of postage stamps is exceeded only by that of New York. It has two collections every evening: at half past six for the evening mails; and at nine for the early morning mails, and the same on Sunday. In New York the collection is made at half past four for the evening mails, while on Sunday there is no collection. An evening delivery is universal in the large cities of Europe, and is as much required here.

Our mails are transported 130,000,000 miles a year, over 270,000 miles of mail routes; of these, 67,000 miles of route and 72,000,000 miles of transportation are by railroad, 180,000 miles of route and 53,000,000 miles of transportation by horse power. The latter routes are divided into four sectional divisions, and every year the Postmaster-General decides how many mails shall be carried over the routes, on one of these divisions, when they shall start, where stop, and when arrive at their destination; and then advertises for proposals for such service, and contracts with the lowest bidder for a term of four years. Formerly the successful competitor was required to take the property of his predecessor at an appraisal; but this requirement has been waived, as the equipment being movable it can be made available in other ways or other places for like use. Railroads require a large, fixed, and permanent investment, and as there is usually no competition between them, it was early found that some other plan must be adopted for the railroad service. The compensation for carrying the mail upon railroads was originally based upon the price fixed for similar service on stage routes, but the Postmaster - General might increase the amount twenty-five per cent. at his discretion. This was subsequently limited to $300 a year per mile. The act of 1845, which continued in force until 1873, divided the railroad routes into three classes, according to the size of the mail, the speed, and the importance of the service. The compensation was not to exceed $300 a mile for the first class, $100 for the second, or $50 for the third, with an additional sum for night service. The compensation was originally a very large remuneration for the service rendered, but by degrees, as the whole character of the service changed, it became in many cases very inequitable. Cheap postage and additional facilities have increased the number of parcels over a thousand fold, and the weight and bulk in the same proportion. The mails are now carried many times a day; railway post-offices, or postal cars with railway post-office clerks, route and local agents, mail messengers, and baggage masters in charge of registered packages are employed, imposing additional duties and heavier liabilities and expenses upon the railroad companies. For this additional service the railroad companies have demanded increased compensation.

In 1867 a careful classification of the routes and service, and a partial but very inadequate readjustment of the compensation, was made by order of the Postmaster-General; and in consequence of his representation and that of the railroad companies, an act was passed in 1873 modifying the law of 1845, and providing for a still further revision. For that purpose the Postmaster-General was required to weigh the mail at least once in every four years on all routes, and to adjust the compensation in proportion to the weight; where postal cars were furnished, an additional sum was to be paid. This has increased the compensation to a few roads over $1,500,000 a year. Some of the railroad companies performing the postal car service are not satisfied with this provision, and demand an advance of nearly one hundred per cent. upon the sums heretofore paid to them. The lines from Washington to Boston and from New York to Buffalo now receive $497,652 a year, and demand $979,979, an increase of $482,317, The PostmasterGeneral admits that an addition of fifty Per cent. should be made for the use of postal cars. Several of the principal railroads gave notice that after a certain date they should decline to carry the mail unless their terms were accepted, but before the day arrived their action was postponed in the hope that an amicable arrangement could be made with the department. The railroad companies can at any time decline to carry the mails, and in case of such refusal the Postmaster-General has no alternative but “to separate the letter mail from the residue of the mail, and to contract for conveying the letter mail over such route by horse express at the greatest speed that can reasonably be obtained, and for carrying the residue of the mail in wagons or otherwise at a slower rate of speed.” In 1845, when this provision was made, it was undoubtedly sufficient; for the lines of railroad were short and disconnected, and our mails were small and light; but in this day, when commerce and finance depend on railroad and telegraph facilities, the alternative of horse express is equivalent to a refusal to carry the mails. The Postmaster-General is powerless; it is illegal to send letters by express. The service cannot be secured by increasing the compensation with every new demand made by the railroad companies, for even the treasury of the United States would be insufficient to satisfy the ever-increasing demands. The first full payments under the law of 1873 will be made in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, and will increase the deficit of the Post-Office Department nearly to $8,000,000. It. is therefore necessary to consider what power Congress has over the transmission of the mails by railroad, and what remedy there is for the threatened evil.

By the eighth article of the constitution Congress is empowered to coin money, to declare war. to raise and support armies, to maintain a navy, to establish post-ofices and post-roads, to regulate commerce among the States, and to pass all laws necessary to enforce these powers. These are all attributes of sovereignty, and sovereignty, which in other countries is vested in the king or parliament, in this country was originally held by the people, and has been delegated either to the United States or to the Slates, or reserved by the people. Although Congress has only delegated powers, yet its sovereignty in the execution of them is unlimited, and as complete as that exercised by any other sovereign. In making war or peace, coining money, raising an army, or establishing post-offices and postroads, its power is exclusive and uncontrolled. For these purposes it has the right of eminent domain, as modified by the fifth amendment, which provides that private property cannot be taken without the payment of just compensation.

Post-offices are established for the reception and delivery of correspondence, post-roads for its transmission between post-offices. If it is necessary to construct a railroad to carry on a war or for the postal service, Congress has the power to take land, to build, equip, and run a road. This right was often exercised in the late war, and no one doubted its constitutionality; but if Congress has power to build or take a road to wage war, it has the same power in order to carry on the post-office, for both powers are granted in the same section and in the same words. As the greater includes the less, it can take a part or the whole, or the use of a part or the whole. It has been said that the general government has no more right than a private individual over corporations chartered by a State, and that if a railroad should refuse to transport the mails, the only remedy would be an appeal to the courts of law. If our correspondence must wait until the courts have decided when and how it shall be carried, long delays will be inevitable, and both public and private interests will suffer.

Congress has established all railroads as post-roads for the transport of the mails, and to secure their transmission Congress is authorized “ to make all laws necessary to carry thiss power into effect.” The counsel for the railroads, in his argument before the Senate committee on transportation, admitted that Congress could take private property on the payment of just compensation, but denied its power to prescribe the compensation. and claimed that this must be determined by tlie judiciary. The fifth amendment prescribes neither how nor by what tribunal the damages shall be assessed, but leaves the whole matter to the discretion of Congress. For over thirty years, or ever since the railroads began to run, Congress has determined the compensation, and though the railroads have frequently complained of its inadequacy, they have uniformly accepted it. But when it is proposed to give the Postmaster-General power to compel the transportation of the mails at such rates as Congress may determine, and at such times as the Postmaster-Genera] may designate, the power of Congress to decide upon the compensation is denied. Questions involving the same principle, namely, as to the damages to be paid for property taken in war or for public purposes, are generally decided by Congress, and no judgment of the Court of Claims even can be collected until Congress has passed an appropriation to pay it. Some say that Congress has only the right to adopt the existing roads as post-roads. Even if this is the correct interpretation, Congress can adopt and use an existing railroad that objects to such use only by the exercise of eminent domain. The New York morning papers, carried by express, are delivered in Washington at four o’clock, P. M., but the delivery of the mail is delayed until the next morning, because the railroads will neither carry it on the newspaper express to Philadelphia, nor on the limited express from New York to Washington. The use of th Southern express from New York at three o’clock, P. M., is refused to tlie department; if it were not, it would be of great advantage in forwarding tlie Southern mail. For the proper performance of the mail service the PostmasterGeneral must have the right to specify the time at which the mail shall start, where it shall stop, and when it shall arrive at its destination. This power he has always exercised on ordinary post-roads, and he needs it even more on railroads, as the mails they carry are much larger, and greater interests are at stake.

In 1837 the Post-Office Department of Great Britain adopted a plan for sending small sums of money by mail. These money orders, as they were called, originally limited to $25 and to places within tlie United Kingdom, have been extended, and now sums for $50 or less can be sent to many countries in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, and to all tlie colonies of Great Britain. '1 lie fee is small, from two cents for sums under $2.50 to 25 cents for $50. These orders are very generally used, and increase at tlie rate of sixteen per cent, a year, letters at the rate of two and one half per cent. Last year fifteen and a half million of orders, transmitting $134,011,320, were issued; the average amount was $8.60, and the average fee six cents. Several Postmaster - Generals recommended to Congress the adoption of a similar system in this country, but it was not introduced until November, 1864. The number of orders has increased from 74,277 a year to 4,012,000. The growth is thirty percent, a year; the amounts of the orders have increased from $1,360,122 to $74,424,000. The orders average $18.55, or nearly twice as much as in Great Britain. The average fee is eleven cents ; cost eight cents. The number of orders in proportion to population in Great Britain is one to two, in the United States one to ten, thus showing great room for development. There are five different rates; these increase with the amount of the order, from .05 for sums under $10.00 to .25 for sums over $40.00, and yield a large profit.

In September, 1869, the first international exchange of money orders was made with Switzerland; the system has been extended to Great Britain and Germany. The business between the United States and Great Britain is much larger than between any other countries.

These transfers of money illustrate the tendency of capital towards the centres of trade, and from the West to the East. Smaller offices issue more orders than they pay, larger ones pay more than they issue. In 1873 California issued orders for $1,394,000 and paid orders for $857,956. Massachusetts issued orders for $2,176,000 and paid orders for $3,074,000. Iowa issued orders for $3,112,000 and paid orders for $2,318,000. The city post-office of New York issued orders for $723,042 and paid orders for $5,932,260.

America issued orders on Great Britain for $1,364,476 and paid orders for $215,087. The financial panic in the fall of 1873, which created distrust in all other kinds of business, greatly increased the number of money orders. The number issued in October, 1873, was forty-eight per cent. greater than in the corresponding month of 1872.

If the rates above ten cents were reduced to that sum it would simplify the accounts and facilitate and greatly increase the business, while the fees would still pay the expenses.

The amount paid to the department for orders issued has been every year in excess of payments by it, varying from $50,000 to $220,000; and a balance of over $1,000,000 now stands to the credit of the department, a large portion of which may never be called for.

America has always had a great interest in the interchange and development of correspondence with Europe. The crowds of emigrants who have flocked to our shores desire to keep up intercourse with friends and relations left behind, and by their letters give more correct information of our institutions, the habits and character of our people, and the inducements for immigration, than is imparted in any other way. High postage prevented extensive correspondence. In 1866, when the postage to England was twenty-four cents and to the Continent even higher, only six millions of letters were exchanged with Europe. Our post-office was the first to propose a reduction in oceanpostage, and its efforts have been successful in reducing the rates to England and to several of the Continental states to six cents, and now twenty millions of letters a year are exchanged.

Postmaster-General Creswell recommended to Congress two important extensions of the operation of the PostOffice Department: the union of the telegraph with the post-office, and the establishment of postal savings-banks. The telegraphic service comes directly within the functions of the Post-Office Department. It is of the greatest importance to the public, as all urgent private correspondence and all the most important press news, are transmitted solely by the telegraph. The post-office has adopted all other improved agencies but this, the latest and most valuable, for its rapid transmission. The propriety of the union of the two services has been carefully examined by several Postmaster - Generals of each of the political parties, and they have strongly favored it.

As early as 1844 and 1845, Postmaster-General Johnson, under Mr. Polk’s administration, in his reports for those years referred at length to the telegraph and recommended its adoption by the Post-Office Department as of vital importance to the interests of the country, and as an invention which ought not to be controlled by private parties. In 1869, under Mr. Johnson’s administration, Mr, Randall urged the importance of this measure, and Mr. Creswell three times recommended it to Congress. Three committees of the Senate and two of the House have carefully examined the question and made reports earnestly advocating this union. The Senate committee recommended a system in strict analogy with the system adopted for transmitting the mails by railroad. The bill which was reported establishes the rates of telegrams and authorizes the Postmaster - General to contract with parties for the construction and operation of the lilies of telegraph, and determines that the compensation to be paid to the contractors shall be the postages on telegrams, less five cents on each reserved by the department for its expenses. It requires no outlay by Congress, involves no expenditures beyond the receipts, and gives great additional facilities to the public at a very large reduction of rates. In Europe the state administers the telegraph. In England the telegraph and post-office were united in 1870; low and uniform rates were adopted, and the facilities largely increased; this was followed by a rapid development of the general telegraphic correspondence, but more especially in telegrams for the press. Eighteen million telegrams are sent in Great Britain at a cost of about $5,000,000. In this country thirteen million are sent at a cost of $9,000,000. The increase of letters in Great Britain in 1873 was two and one half per cent., the increase of telegrams was eighteen per cent., and of telegraphic reports to the press fifty per cent.; while in this country, the increase of letters was seventeen per cent., of telegrams sixteen per cent.

The business of the postal savingsbank is not analogous to that of the post-office; and though it would undoubtedly be a great convenience to the people, it may perhaps be doubted if the time has yet arrived for its adoption by the department.

In conclusion we will state the points we have endeavored to present: —

1. That our post-office was established for the purpose of conveying intelligence and letters throughout the country.

2. That to this end newspapers have always been transmitted either free or at a small postage entirely disproportioned to the expense, the revenue derived from newspapers amounting to only one tenth of the cost. That by a classification of the mail matter, forwarding letters and dailies by express, other papers and books by accommodation mail, a reduction of expense can be made equal to the postage from newspapers, and newspapers and magazines be carried free.

3. That our post-office has never been

regarded as a source of revenue: the postage on letters being fixed at rates that would barely cover the expenditures. That from the increase of letters the postages from them greatly exceed the expenditures on them, and that a uniform rate of two cents will yield a revenue equal to the letter expenditures.

4. That our post-office is managed more economically than the British postoffice, and as efficiently. That the average postage on letters and newspapers is lower in the United States. The postage on newspapers is so much lower that it decreases the revenue, while the additional miles of transportation and the greater number of offices increase our expenditures. That the more favorable financial results of the Post-Office Department of Great Britain are obtained at the expense of newspapers, the circulation of which is only one fourth as great there as here.

5. That express parcels are carried at rates very much less than cost; that our post-office was not established for carrying merchandise or express matter, and that their carriage at uniform rates, without regard to weight or distance of transmission, is opposed to the principles of cheap postage, and if continued will involve the department in an enormous expense beyond its revenue, and will hinder and delay the transmission of letters and papers.

6. That Congress has the right to compel all railroads established as postroads to carry the mail at a just compensation, to be fixed by Congress. That the growth of the mail business renders it indispensable for the prompt and efficient performance of the service, that the Postmaster-General shall have authority to prescribe when the mails shall depart and at what time they shall arrive.

7. That the same considerations which have required Congress to adopt every other improved means for the transmission of intelligence and correspondence require it to assume the telegraph, the common method of transmitting all press and urgent private correspondence.

Gardiner G. Hubbard.

  1. These transportation expenses do not include route agents, messengers, nor postal car clerks.
  2. These expenditures do not include $725,000 paid for subsidies to steamships.
  3. These expenditures do not include nearly $5,000,000 paid for subsidies to steamships.