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Title: The Development of Rates of Postage - An Historical and Analytical Study
Author: Smith, A. D.
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *


EDITED BY THE HON. W. PEMBER REEVES, PH.D., _Director of the London
School of Economics and Political Science._

No. 50 in the Series of Monographs by writers connected with the London
School of Economics and Political Science.


       *       *       *       *       *

               THE DEVELOPMENT OF
                RATES OF POSTAGE

               AN HISTORICAL AND
                ANALYTICAL STUDY


            A. D. SMITH, B.Sc. (ECON.)



        POSTMASTER-GENERAL 1910-14 AND 1915-16


[_Thesis approved for the Degree of Doctor of Science_ (Economics) _in
the University of London_]

_First published in 1917_

(_All rights reserved_)


This study, which was prepared primarily as a Research Studentship
Report for the University of London, is intended to be a contribution to
the history of rates of postage, and an attempt to ascertain the
principles, economic or otherwise, on which they are and have been

The Postmaster-General accorded me permission to consult the official
records at the General Post Office, London, and through this courtesy I
have been enabled to include a detailed examination of the economic
aspect of the rates in the inland service in this country, and to place
in the Appendix copies of some original documents which have not before
been printed. Without this permission, which I desire here to
acknowledge, it would, indeed, scarcely have been possible to undertake
the inquiry. It must be made clear, however, that the work is of
entirely private character, and cannot be taken as in any way expressing
the views of the British Postal Administration.

In 1912, as the holder of the Mitchell Studentship in Economics at the
University of London, I visited Ottawa and Washington; in 1913 I visited
Paris and the International Bureau at Berne; and in 1914, Berlin. I am
much indebted to the various postal administrations visited, to whom, by
the courtesy of the Postmaster-General, I carried official letters of
introduction in addition to my letters from the University, for
facilities to consult official papers relating to the subject of
investigation, and for assistance from members of the staff with whom I
was brought into contact.

The work was all but completed at the outbreak of war, but publication
has been unavoidably delayed. The overpowering necessities created by
the war have caused Governments again to look to postage for increased
revenue. Penny postage itself has been in danger in the country of its
origin. Various war increases of postage have already been made, both
here and abroad, and brief particulars of the changes in the countries
dealt with have been included. Further proposals for increasing the
revenue from postage will possibly be made, and I am hopeful that these
pages, in which the course of postage is traced, may then be found of

For the privilege of numerous facilities in connection with my work on
the rates in this country I am indebted to Mr. W. G. Gates,
Assistant-Secretary to the Post Office; and for assistance in my
inquiries abroad I am indebted to Dr. R. M. Coulter, C.M.G., Deputy
Postmaster-General, Ottawa, and Mr. William Smith, I.S.O., at the time
of my visit Secretary to the Canada Post Office; to Congressman the Hon.
David Lewis, of Maryland, and Mr. Joseph Stewart, Second Assistant
Postmaster-General, United States Post Office; to M. Vaillé, of the
Secrétariat Administratif, Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, Paris; and
to M. Ruffy, Director of the International Bureau, Universal Postal
Union, Berne.

I am especially indebted to Professor Graham Wallas for valuable
suggestions and advice.

  A. D. SMITH.




  PREFACE                                                                   v

  INTRODUCTION                                                             xi

      Letter Post in England                                                1
      Letter Post in Canada                                                37
      Letter Post in the United States of America                          59
      Letter Post in France                                                78
      Letter Post in Germany                                               97

      Newspaper Post in England                                           111
      Newspaper Post in Canada                                            136
      Newspaper Post (Second-class Mail) in the United States of America  148
      Newspaper Post in France                                            164
      Newspaper Post in Germany                                           173

      Parcel Post in England                                              183
      Parcel Post in the United States of America                         191
      Parcel Post in France                                               204
      Parcel Post in Germany                                              209

        (i) Book Post                                                     220
       (ii) Samples                                                       229
      (iii) Commercial Papers                                             238
       (iv) Postcards                                                     241
        (v) Rate for Printed Matter for the Blind                         244
       (vi) Minor Rates in the United States and Canada                   244

  V. LOCAL RATES                                                          247

        (i) International Letter Post                                     263
       (ii) International Parcel Post                                     277

      Method                                                              283
      Cost                                                                289

  VIII. CONCLUSION                                                        312

       II. FOREIGN RATES IN THE BRITISH SERVICE                           340
      III. THE THURN AND TAXIS POSTS IN GERMANY                           349
       IV. PARCEL POST IN CANADA                                          355
        V. THE SUPPLEMENTAL SERVICES                                      357
       VI. POST OFFICE REVENUE                                            358
      VII. GRAPHS                                                         368


      (i) Ancient Posts                                                   374
     (ii) Nuncii and Cursores                                             377
    (iii) Witherings' Scheme for the Reform of the Posts in England, 1635 378
     (iv) The Monopoly and the General Farm of the Posts                  380
      (v) The English Post Office in 1681                                 384
     (vi) The Cross Posts                                                 388
    (vii) The Early Posts in North America                                391
   (viii) The Clerks of the Road and the Transmission of Newspapers       403

      LIST OF AUTHORITIES                                                 412

  INDEX                                                                   425


This book contains a collection of facts and an examination of
principles which will be of value to all students of the subject with
which it deals. It is more comprehensive than any book on rates of
postage yet published in the English language, or, I believe, in any
other. It is careful and unbiased, and although here and there some of
the author's conclusions may not meet with unanimous acceptance, they
cannot fail to stimulate useful discussion on a matter which is far more
important than is often realized.

The whole of our social organization has come to depend in large degree
upon the post. Commerce, in all its departments, relies upon it. All the
variety of associations which are, in their wide expansion, distinctive
of modern civilization and necessary to its life and energy--employers'
associations, trade unions, co-operative societies, friendly societies,
religious bodies, political and propagandist organizations of every
kind, local, national, and international--the whole nervous system of
the modern State, depends upon the quick transmission of information and
ideas; it would never have reached and could not maintain its present
development without cheap, reliable, and speedy means of communication.
The indirect effects of changes--even small changes--in the postal
system are often extensive and almost incalculable.

Where the State itself conducts an industry there is always a risk that
commercial considerations and fiscal considerations will not be
sufficiently distinguished. Charges may be fixed at a higher point than
is warranted by the cost of the services rendered. The surplus goes to
the national revenue. It is a tax, but a concealed tax, and in the case
of postal rates it is one of the worst kinds of tax, a tax on
communications. On the other hand, charges may be fixed at a lower
point than will cover the cost of the service. The deficit is a subsidy,
but a concealed subsidy. The halfpenny postage rate for bulky
newspapers, for example, or the extension of telegraph offices to rural
districts, may be socially useful, but they are unremunerative. The loss
that they involve to the Exchequer may be justifiable, but if so it
should be deliberately incurred. It should not be hidden in the profit
that is made on the letter post. Without a scientific examination into
the actual cost of each part of the postal and telegraphic service, and
into the precise relation of revenue to cost, the charges may include,
haphazard, an excess which is nothing but pure taxation, the expenditure
may include an addition which is nothing but pure subsidy, and neither
the administrator nor the taxpayer may be aware of the fact.

It is therefore one of the essential duties of the Post Office to make
such examinations, and of students or critics of postal affairs to check
or to supplement them. Mr. A. D. Smith has made a useful contribution to
the application, in this sphere, of the methods of science to the
conduct of industry; and since the postal service is the most
international of all forms of social activity, it may be expected that
his contribution will be of value, and will have its influence, far
beyond the limits of our own country.





In England the postal service, as an organized means for the carrying of
the King's despatches, dates back some four hundred years, and as a
recognized arrangement for the carrying of letters for the public, some
three hundred years. Before the establishment of a regular system of
posts, provision had been made for carrying the King's despatches by
special messengers, called _nuncii_ or _cursores_, attached to the royal
household.[1] Their function was naturally one of importance, and, from
early times, large sums were expended in their maintenance. They were
employed on the private and confidential business of the Crown and of
members of the royal household, and on affairs of State, both in England
and abroad, although their function was primarily to serve the
convenience of the King.

This was a system for the conveyance of official despatches only.[2] No
public provision was made for the conveyance of letters for private
individuals. Such letters were conveyed by servants, by special
messengers, or by the common carriers,[3] and there is evidence of the
existence of a considerable private correspondence in the frequent issue
of writs during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ordering
supervision of the traffic in private letters, the uninterrupted
transmission of which was a source of much anxiety to the Crown from
fear of the fomenting of sinister and treasonable plots against

The establishment of the _nuncii_ or _cursores_ developed into a regular
system. On certain lines of road relay stages were set up, at which the
messengers might without delay obtain a change of horses, a system first
set up by Edward IV in 1482, during the war with Scotland.[5] Such relay
messengers were called "posts," a word borrowed from the French.[6] The
term was also applied to the line of route, and the expression "post,"
or "line of posts," was used to denote a route along which, at certain
stages, post-horses were kept in readiness for the use of the King's
messengers. Travelling in this way the messengers were able to cover a
hundred miles a day. The establishment of lines of regular posts became
a feature of the administrative system, and a special officer of the
royal household was appointed to control them.

The first recorded Master of the Posts was Brian Tuke, who held the
office in 1512. The posts, like the establishment of special messengers,
were maintained solely at the cost of the King. The master received a
salary from the King (which in a patent issued in 1545 is given as £66
13s. 4d. a year), and also the amount of his expenses incurred in
providing for the carrying of letters. The regular postmasters received
a daily wage from the King. On lines along which no regular post had
been established, but along which it might on occasion be necessary to
send special messengers, the townships were obliged to furnish horses
for the service of the messengers. Remarks in contemporary papers
suggest that no payment was made in such cases, but that horses were
supplied gratis for the King's service.[7] There is no record of the
early days of Tuke's tenure of the office of Master of the Posts; but in
1533 Thomas Cromwell complained to Tuke concerning the condition of the
posts, and the great default in the conveyance of letters.[8]

The posts were in many cases established on account of some special
circumstance, and were of a temporary character. The first regular
post--that established in 1482 during the war with Scotland--was, of
course, temporary; but at much later dates, when "ordinarie," or
permanent, posts had been established, such as the post from London to
Berwick and that from London to Beaumaris, it was still usual to
establish "extra ordinarie" posts "in divers places of the Realme" as
occasion might from time to time require, as, for example, during the
periods of the sovereign's progresses.[9]

The early posts had a second function, not less in importance than that
of providing for the conveyance of the sovereign's despatches, and
despatches sent on affairs of State viz. the provision of means by which
persons actually travelling on the business of the sovereign, though not
bearing despatches, might do so with facility. This second function,
the travelling post, continued until the eighteenth century. It is a
function which is essentially akin to the provision of a means of
intercommunication by means of letters. In many parts of the United
Kingdom, and also in other countries, the means provided for the
conveyance of the mail are still largely used by persons desiring to

The use of the post-horses by ordinary travellers commenced at an early
period. In 1553, when the posts had been in existence only some fifty or
sixty years, a rate of a penny a mile for persons riding post was fixed
by statute.[11]

Great abuses grew up round the travelling post, or "thorough post," as
it was called.[12] Riders in post frequently failed to pay a reasonable
sum for the hire of horses; and since King's messengers, although
paying no fixed rates, obtained better accommodation than others, riders
in post travelling on their own affairs made no scruple to represent
themselves as travelling on public service. Orders directed against
these abuses were issued in 1603. Riders in post on the King's affairs,
with a special commission signed either by one of the Principal
Secretaries of State, by six at least of the Privy Council, or by the
Master of the Posts, were to pay at the rate of 2-1/2d. a mile for a
horse. All others riding post about their own affairs were to make their
own terms with the postmaster, and to pay in advance.[13] The net result
was that for all persons riding with the special commission a fixed rate
was payable in place of uncertain rates as hitherto, and the postmasters
were protected from being imposed upon by persons riding post on their
private business. Without the special commission it was useless to
pretend to be travelling on the King's affairs. By this proclamation the
postmasters were also given the exclusive right of letting horses to
travellers.[14] The wages of the postmasters in respect of the "post for
the pacquet" were a fixed sum per day, and a certain number of horses
had to be kept in readiness, in proportion to the amount of the wages
paid. As regards the service for the State, the system of posts was
therefore on a complete and definite financial basis. The rates for the
thorough post, although not in any way rates of postage in the modern
sense, were the first rates applied to the service of the posts (the pay
of the postmasters for the packet post being merely wages per diem), and
it was to them that the term "postage" was first applied. These rates
were in fact the original "postage."

The number of regular posts was in early times quite small.[15] In order
to provide a means of reaching other parts of the kingdom with some
degree of facility, the municipalities were required to maintain, or at
least provide when required, post-horses for the use of the King's
messengers.[16] Some municipalities made definite provision of horses:
Leicester, for example, maintained "certen poste-horses" (four in
number) for the service of the Prince; but if horses were not provided
voluntarily, the magistrates and constables were authorized to seize
them for the King's service wherever they could be found.[17] Many of
the posts continued for a long period to be of a temporary nature. Even
in the seventeenth century some which it might be thought would have
been important at any time, were regarded as extraordinary posts, and
were discontinued with the disappearance of the special circumstances on
account of which they had been established.[18]

A third function became attached to the posts, viz. the transmission of
private letters. As it is impossible to say at what date the posts began
to be used by ordinary travellers, so it is impossible to say at what
date they were first used for the conveyance of letters other than those
on the affairs of the King or of the State. The universities and
municipalities provided services for the carriage of their own
letters;[19] but from a very early period the posts were also made use
of for the conveyance of unofficial letters. The Master of the Posts
received no direct profit from the carrying of such letters,[20] but the
price paid to him for the office of Deputy Postmaster was probably
thereby increased.[21]

A Proclamation of 26th April 1591 prohibited the conveyance of letters
to or from countries beyond the seas by any person other than the
ordinary posts and messengers; and referred to previous similar
prohibitions. The object of this prohibition, which foreshadowed the
monopoly of the carriage of all letters, whether for places within the
realm or to or from foreign countries, was alleged to be the redress of
disorders among the posts in general, and particularly to prevent
inconveniences both to the royal service and the lawful trade of honest
merchants.[22] A Proclamation of 1609 repeated this prohibition.[23]

In 1626 a legal struggle was in progress between Matthew de Quester and
Lord Stanhope, both of whom claimed to hold a King's Patent conferring
the right to carry foreign letters.[24] This litigation led to laxity
and omission in the conduct of the foreign service, so that merchants
trading abroad were put to great inconvenience. In consequence, in
November of that year, the King granted the Merchant Companies
permission to arrange for the conveyance of their foreign letters by
their own messengers. The high authorities were disturbed by the grant
of this permission,[25] and in October 1627 it was revoked "upon
weightie reasons of State." Only the Merchant Adventurers were still
permitted to use their own messengers, and they and all other merchants
were required in times of war and danger to the State to acquaint the
Secretaries of State from time to time with what letters they forwarded

The foreign post continued in an unsatisfactory state, and a
reorganization in accordance with a proposition submitted by the Master
of the Foreign Posts, Thomas Witherings, was notified in orders issued
on the 28th January 1633. In consequence of complaints, both of
Ministers of State and merchants, it was decided to send no more letters
by the carriers, who came and went at pleasure, but, in conformity with
other nations, to erect "stafetti," or packet posts, at fit stages, to
run day and night without ceasing. Under this new system the Foreign
Postmaster of England undertook, with the consent of the foreign
Governments, to provide "stafetti" for the conveyance of foreign letters
on the Continent, e.g. he arranged the "stafetti" between Calais and

For the inland posts the financial arrangements of 1603 remained some
thirty years undisturbed, and notwithstanding that the posts were used
by travellers, and for the general conveyance of private letters, they
remained a charge on the King's revenue. In 1633 the deficit was some
£3,400, and in that year Witherings submitted a plan for the complete
reorganization of the inland posts.[26] The new system, which applied
only to the "post for the pacquet," was to be based on a definite scale
of charges. Previously, there had been no regular system of charging
letters carried for the public, and it is at this point that the modern
Post Office emerges. Up to this time the conveyance of letters for
private individuals, although it may have been a source of emolument to
the postmasters and couriers, was not recognized by the State as part of
the function of the service. Under the proposed system, a charge was to
be made for every letter or packet, varying in accordance with the
distance for which the letter or packet was conveyed, and its size. The
latter was to be graduated for light letters according to the number of
sheets, and for heavier letters and packets according to weight,
starting from the ounce. Here, therefore, is to be seen at the inception
of "postage" in the modern sense a definite distinction between the rate
charged on the ordinary letter, the weight and bulk of which are in
general insignificant, and that charged on the larger and heavier
packets of deeds, or what not, which might be forwarded by post.

The reform of the posts on these lines was carried out by Witherings in
October 1635, and constitutes a remarkable development of the Post
Office system. The rates of charge were as follow:--

                                     |        |        |
                                     | Single | Double |  Per
   Distance of Transmission.         | Letter.| Letter.| Ounce.
                                     |        |        |
                                     |        |        |
   Not exceeding 80 miles            |   2d.  |   4d.  |   6d.
   Exceeding 80 miles, not exceeding |        |        |
       140 miles                     |   4d.  |   8d.  |   9d.
   Exceeding 140 miles               |   6d.  |  12d.  |  12d.
                                     |        |        |

The great change of 1840 modified this system only at two points, viz.
(1) uniformity of rate, that is, the elimination of the table of
distances from the rate-table, and (2) the introduction of the method of
charge according to weight for all letters and packets.

The monopoly of foreign letters was by this time well established, and
the reason for its existence well defined. A further proclamation of the
11th February 1637-8 again declared this monopoly, and proceeded to
declare a monopoly of letters between persons within the realm, the
second monopoly being justified, not on the ground of necessity in
order to guard the safety of the State, but on the ground that commerce
and correspondence within the realm would benefit.[27] The real
explanation of the new prohibition for inland letters was no doubt the
fact that Witherings had been appointed Master of the Inland Letter
Office for the purpose of bringing into operation his scheme for
reorganizing the posts, and it was essential to the success of the
scheme that he should have the sole right of carrying letters. There
was, of course, the political reason of danger to the State from free
and uncontrolled transmission of letters, but the feeling in that
respect seems not to have been so strong regarding the inland letters as
regarding the foreign letters. It developed later, however.[28]

In 1640 Witherings was displaced on some charge of maladministration,
and the office was given to Philip Burlamachi, a merchant of the City of
London. Witherings did not give up the office without a struggle. For
two years he strove to retain it, but without much success; and in 1642
he assigned his patent to the Earl of Warwick, who continued the
struggle. Burlamachi was backed by Edmund Prideaux, afterwards
Attorney-General. Into the merits or progress of the contest it is
unnecessary to enter. It will be sufficient to record that the Lords
espoused the cause of the Earl of Warwick and the Commons that of
Burlamachi; that the contest continued some two years; and that in the
end the Lords gave way, and Burlamachi continued Master of the Posts.

The office fell vacant in 1644, and Parliament appointed Prideaux to the
charge of the posts.[29] This task he entered upon with some
seriousness, and with considerable success. He extended the service, but
raised the minimum postage to 6d. From a report submitted by him to the
Council of State in 1649, it appears that he had established "a weekly
conveyance of letters into all parts of the nation," and that with the
moneys received as postage he had been able to defray the whole cost of
the postmasters of England with the exception of those on the Dover
Road.[30] At the time of his appointment the posts involved a charge to
the State of some £7,000 a year.[31] It might therefore be thought that
for Prideaux to be able to carry on the system, to give a despatch of
letters to all parts of the kingdom every week, and at the same time
make the proceeds of postage cover the whole cost, except for the Dover
Road, was a considerable achievement. The Commons were not, however,
altogether satisfied. The long disputes between the various patentees,
and their anxiety not to lose any part of the business of conveying
letters, made it evident that there was a profit other than the salary
paid by the King, notwithstanding that funds for the maintenance of the
posts were drawn from the Exchequer year by year. The office of Master
of the Posts was bought and sold. Witherings sold part of his wife's
estate to the value of £105 a year in land to obtain the office. The
deputy postmasters also bought their offices. And in 1642, by vote of
both Houses, Burlamachi had been required to give an account of the
_profits_ of the Letter Office. The Letter Office was in fact not on
the simple basis of payment by the messengers to the Master of Posts of
all receipts, payment by the Master of Posts from the receipts of the
ordinary fixed wages of the deputy postmasters (together with the cost
of special expresses) and of his own salary, and payment from the
Exchequer of the balance necessary to complete such payment. The deputy
postmasters took, and retained for their own use, the postage received
on private letters, paying a percentage to the Master of the Posts; and
they had also the monopoly, which was very lucrative, of letting horses
to travellers riding post. In view of these profits they were prepared
to purchase from the Master of the Posts the office of deputy
postmaster, and sums received from that source, together with the
percentage of the postage of private letters, constituted the emoluments
of the Master of the Posts, additional to his salary. The Commons, being
no doubt aware of this, concluded that there ought to be a net revenue
from the Office, and required Prideaux to pay the sum of £5,000 a

Witherings, who by some strange chance seems never to have been
altogether ousted from his offices, but to have retained that of Master
of the Foreign Post, died in 1651, and there were numerous claimants for
the succession to the office. The Council of State invited all persons
with claims to submit them, and in reporting on the claims, suggested
the farming of the Inland and Foreign Letter Offices. The question was
put to the House of Commons that the whole business be "recommitted to
the Council of State to take into consideration and present their
opinions to the Parliament how the same may be managed for the best
service of the State and ease of the people." The addition of the words
"by contract or otherwise" was suggested, and accepted by the House.[33]
The question was considered by a Committee, who, having found much
difficulty in dealing with the numerous claims in respect of the Foreign
and Inland Letter Offices, decided on the 7th November 1651, probably as
a way out of the difficulty, to recommend that the offices should be let
to farm. The matter was not hurriedly disposed of. On the 7th May
1653,[34] resolutions were passed by the House of Commons asserting the
State monopoly of the carriage of letters, and directing the Committee
appointed to consider the posts to fix rates for private letters, to
obtain tenders from persons for farming the carrying of letters, and to
recommend what annual sum in their opinion the State should require in
case it were thought well to let the posts to farm.

On the 30th June 1653 the Inland and Foreign Letter Offices were let to
John Manley at a rent of £10,000 a year,[35] and thus was instituted the
system of farming, which continued until 1677 as regards the main posts,
and until the late eighteenth century as regards the bye posts. The rent
continuously increased. Shortly after the Restoration it was raised to
£21,500 a year, and in 1667 to £43,000 a year.

The rate for a single letter, which had been raised by Prideaux to 6d.,
was in 1655 or 1656 reduced to 3d., owing to the efforts and competition
of Clement Oxenbridge and others, who established and maintained rival
services for the carriage of letters. These "interlopers" received scant
consideration from Prideaux, and the services which they had established
were suppressed.[36] In 1657 an Ordinance of the Commonwealth Parliament
further reduced the rate to 2d. for a single letter sent for distances
under 80 miles, and 3d. for distances over 80 miles. The rates were not,
however, as low as would appear at first sight. There is the difference
in the value of money to be allowed for; and there is the further
consideration that postage was not charged according to the direct
distance. All the post roads converged on London, and there were no
cross posts. All letters from towns on one post road for towns on
another post road must therefore pass through London, and all letters
passing through London were subjected to an additional rate of
postage;[37] that is to say, they were charged the appropriate rate in
respect of the distance to London, and then, in addition, the
appropriate rate in respect of the distance from London to destination.

The Ordinance of 1657 placed the Post Office system for the first time
on a statutory basis.[38] The objects for which such an Office was
required were given as three in number: first, to maintain certain
intercourse of trade and commerce; secondly, to convey public
despatches; and thirdly, to discover and prevent many dangerous and
wicked designs against the peace and welfare of the Commonwealth. In
1660 an Act of Parliament was passed, dealing with the Post Office.[39]
Essentially it was the Ordinance of 1657, passed as an Act to give it
legal validity under the changed order of things. The clauses relating
to the use of the Post Office as a means of detecting plots against the
State were included in a modified form, and this function was by no
means lost sight of.[40] During the excitement caused by the Popish Plot
it was freely exercised.

The general farm of the posts was abolished in 1677, and the
administration of the Office undertaken by the Government, except in the
case of the smaller branch posts, in regard to which the practice of
farming was even extended in the early years of the eighteenth

The revenue yielded by the Office continued to expand. In 1694 it had
reached £60,000; and when, for various reasons, but chiefly to provide
for the control of the Post Office in Scotland, which had been brought
under the English authorities by the Act of Union, a new Post Office Act
became necessary, the Ministers, involved in a protracted war, seized
the opportunity to obtain an increased revenue from the Office. Under
William III this had been thought of.[42]

The Act of 1711,[43] which remained for over fifty years the principal
Act relating to the Post Office, was to be an instrument of taxation.
For some fifty years the Post Office had been yielding a revenue,
constant and increasing, but nevertheless more or less fortuitous. Its
functions had always been defined as primarily to provide for the
transmission of letters, for the benefit of commerce, and for the safety
and security of the kingdom, by bringing all letters into "one Post
Office settled and established in this Kingdom," and conducted
immediately under the eye of the King's Government. The amount paid for
the farm had increased with the passing of the years, in measure with
the increase of the business of the Office--not by any change in the
scale of charges, which remained as fixed in 1660. Now, however, the
Office was made a financial instrument, the proceeds of which were to be
regulated by manipulation of the rates of charge. The results of the Act
of 1711 did not fulfil the anticipations of its framers. Provision had
been made for the disposal of that increase of revenue which was looked
for: "the full, clear, and entire Weekly Sum of Seven Hundred Pounds of
Lawful Money of _Great Britain_" was to be paid out of the revenues of
the Post Office "towards the Establishment of a good, sure, and lasting
Fund, in order to raise a present Supply of Money for carrying on the
War and other her Majesty's most necessary Occasions."[44] This £700 was
to be paid entirely from the proceeds of the increase in the rates. The
existing revenue of £111,461 a year was to be disposed of as
theretofore. All pensions and charges on the revenue were to continue,
and were to have preference over the payment of £700 a week. Of the
surplus over and above the £111,461 a year and the £700 a week,
one-third part was to be at the disposal of Parliament, the rest to be
paid into the Exchequer with the £111,461.

But the increase of revenue was so small that some of these provisions
remained for many years inoperative. The increase of rate was found
burdensome. Merchants resorted to every available means of avoiding the
additional expense.[45] A large clandestine traffic in letters grew up.
The very postboys were found carrying letters outside the mail for what
fees they could obtain. In 1710 the net revenue had been £66,822. In
1721 it was £99,784, an increase of £32,962. After the deduction,
therefore, of the £700 a week (or £36,400 a year), the payment of which
had preference over all other payments chargeable on the Post Office
revenue, excepting only the expenses of management, the actual net
revenue of the Post Office available for the purposes prescribed by the
Act was in 1721, £63,384, or less than the revenue of 1710 by £3,438.
The Act provided that one-third of the surplus of the yield of postage
over and above the sum of £147,861 (£111,461 plus the £700 a week)
should be at the disposal of Parliament for the use of the public; but
although the gross revenue had exceeded that sum, there was no surplus
for the use of the public, the explanation being that the sum mentioned
in the Act, viz. £111,461, was the amount of gross revenue, which could
only serve as a basis provided the cost of management remained
stationary. As a matter of fact, the cost so greatly increased that the
net revenue was not sufficient to provide the sum of £700 a week and
also a revenue equal to that obtained before 1711. As Mr. Joyce has
pointed out, the Treasury had confounded gross and net revenue.[46]

The essentially fiscal character of the rates of 1711 is evidenced by a
provision of the Act that from and after the 1st June 1743 the rates
charged under the previous Acts were to be restored.[47] But after 1743,
although they were without legal sanction, the rates of 1711 continued
in operation, and by an Act of 1763 they were made perpetual.[48]

The fifty years following the Act of the 9th of Anne were
uneventful.[49] The chief development was in connection with the cross
posts; a development which, although not having direct reference to the
question of the rates of postage, was yet of importance. At the
commencement of the eighteenth century the main system of the Post
Office still centred on London. All the main post routes radiated from
London, and the great bulk of the letters passing by post were either
for or from London, or passed through London. But there were, of course,
numbers of letters which were not sent to London at all: letters between
two towns on a post road, or letters between towns on different post
roads, which could be sent direct and not by way of London. These
letters were known as bye letters and cross post letters.[50] Since they
were not handled in London, the authorities had not the same means of
checking their numbers, and the postmasters' accounts of postage in
respect of them, as could be applied in London, and grave irregularities
arose. The revenue was continually defrauded by the failure of the
postmasters to bring to account the postage on such letters. No record
was made in respect of many of them, and their transmission became so
notoriously unsafe that illicit means of conveyance were constantly
resorted to. The matter was already so serious that a special clause was
included in the Act of the 9th of Anne, providing that for the
suppression of the abuse any postmaster found guilty of embezzling the
postage of bye or way letters should forfeit £5 for every letter and
£100 for every week during which he continued the practice.[51] Even
this penal clause was insufficient to check the abuse, as owing to the
unsatisfactory method of dealing with bye and way letters there was
small risk of detection in fraud.

In 1719 Ralph Allen, then postmaster of Bath, proposed to the
Postmasters-General that the management of the bye and cross post
letters should be leased to him for a term of years, and offered a rent
one and a half times as great as the revenue from the letters at that
time. The offer was accepted, and the lease, which in the first instance
was for seven years, was renewed from time to time. Allen, whose
discovery was merely that of a method of check on the receipts of the
postmasters from the bye and cross letters, was able to pay the rent
agreed upon, largely to suppress the illicit transmission of the
letters, and to make a handsome profit.[52] The chief importance of
Allen's work lies, however, not so much in the fact of his rendering the
bye and cross post letters subject to effective check, as in the fact
that in order to retain his lease he, on each occasion of renewal,
undertook the provision of additional facilities. By this means a daily
post was gradually extended to almost all the post routes.[53]

In 1765 the inland rates for short distances were reduced, and a new
standard of charge was introduced. Hitherto, all charges had been
regulated on a mileage basis. For short distances they were now based on
the number of post stages. For one post stage the rate was made 1d. for
a single letter, for a double letter 2d., for a treble letter 3d., and
for every ounce 4d.; for two post stages, 2d., and in proportion for
double, treble, and ounce letters.[54] The financial result of the
change was unsatisfactory.[55]

Up to this period the mails were carried by postboys riding horse.
Notwithstanding that on all the chief roads stage-coaches were running
more expeditiously than the post-horses, the Post Office kept to the old
way. The superiority of the stage-coaches as means for the conveyance of
letters was noticed by Mr. John Palmer, proprietor of the theatre of
Bath,[56] who was so greatly impressed with the fact that he devised a
complete and definite plan for the establishment of a system of mail
conveyance by coach. The cost of the riding post (boy and horse) was 3d.
a mile, and Palmer estimated that the change could be carried out
without involving any increase of cost, especially if, as he proposed,
the coaches carrying the mails should be exempted from toll. The
proposal was severely criticized by the district surveyors of the Post
Office, who reported on it.[57] At the Treasury, however, the proposal
met with a more favourable reception. Pitt called a conference on the
21st June 1784, and after hearing the explanations of Palmer and the
criticisms of the representatives of the Post Office, decided that the
plan should be given a trial. Accordingly, on the 2nd August 1784 the
first mail-coach ran. The experiment, which was conducted on the Bath
Road, proved successful, and the plan was rapidly extended throughout
the kingdom. The first coach cost 3d. a mile, the same rate as the
riding post; but ultimately the coaches proved to be cheaper than the
horse posts. In 1797 the rate was no more than a penny a mile.[58]

Almost simultaneously with the introduction of mail-coaches there was an
increase in the rates of postage, made solely with a view to increased
revenue.[59] The alteration was more or less fortuitous. In his Budget
of 1784 Pitt had proposed a tax on coals which had not been well
received, and the increased postage was substituted. Palmer is said to
have claimed the credit of suggesting the substitution.[60] If so, his
faith in his plan was abundantly justified. Notwithstanding the handicap
of increased rates, it was an unqualified success, and the effect on
the revenue was immediate and considerable.

At about this time several horse and cross post mails had been molested,
and it was desired, in response to a considerable public agitation, to
establish mail-coaches on the minor posts. This would have involved
heavy cost, and as an alternative Freeling (Secretary to the Post
Office, afterwards Sir Francis) suggested that only responsible persons
should be employed--at this time the post riders, in fact as well as
name, were in many instances mere boys--and that the riders should be
armed. In order to obtain funds to meet the cost of this scheme, the
rates of postage were again increased in 1797.[61] A further increase
was made in 1801 in order to-provide an additional contribution of
£150,000 a year to the Exchequer.[62] The new rates were elaborate and
complicated, comprising no less than thirteen rates for each class of
letter, according to the distance of transmission. Another increase
followed in 1805, when the Post Office was called upon to provide an
additional £230,000 a year.[63] This time the increase was made in a
very simple manner, viz. by increasing the rates of 1801 in every case
by 1d. for a single letter, 2d. for a double letter, 3d. for a treble
letter, and 4d. per ounce.

All these increases, made with the avowed intention of increasing
revenue, were successful in their main object. The net revenue, which in
1796 was £466,457, had risen in 1804 to £956,212, and in 1806 reached
the sum of £1,119,429. The fiscal results seemed, therefore, to justify
the Government in turning again and again to the Post Office when they
were hard pushed to find revenue. This must be the justification of the
further increase of 1812.[64] The rates then established were the
highest ever charged in England. The net revenue rose slightly after
their establishment, but never increased materially. These rates
continued in operation until 1839, when they were completely swept away,
and new rates based on principles fundamentally different were

This was the system, due to Sir Rowland Hill, of uniform rates,
irrespective of distance of transmission, first introduced in the United
Kingdom in 1839, and since adopted throughout the civilized world, not
only for inland services, but for the international service.[65] The
story of the conception, advocacy, and adoption of uniform postage is
fully told by Sir Rowland Hill in his _History of Penny Postage_,[66]
and need be only briefly dealt with here. The plan itself is described
in the famous pamphlet, _Post Office Reform: Its Importance and
Practicability_, which was issued by Sir Rowland Hill in 1837.

The reform was directly related to the great reform movement in England
of the second quarter of the nineteenth century, and is a brilliant
example of the application of the deductive method in politics. Sir
Rowland Hill was a member of a Radical family, remarkable even in those
days for its zeal for reform. It was the ambition of all members of the
family to aid as far as possible the great movement; and all the
brothers interested themselves in the study of social and economic
questions, with a view to reform and improvement.[67] In the year 1835
there was a large surplus of revenue, and the brothers speculated on the
direction in which reduction of taxation might best be made.[68] Sir
Rowland Hill examined carefully the results of the financial reforms
which had been introduced in recent years, and found that the effect on
the revenue of reductions in the rate of tax showed very considerable
variations. While in some cases, as, for example, leather and soap, a
reduction of the duty by one-half had reduced the revenue by one-third,
a similar reduction of the duty on coffee had increased the revenue by
one-half. From this Sir Rowland Hill concluded that it was of the utmost
importance to select carefully the taxes to be reduced, and he cast
about for some guiding principle in the light of which the most suitable
tax for reduction might be discovered. This principle he deduced to be
as follows, viz. that the tax which most called for reduction was that
which had failed most to keep pace with the increasing numbers and
prosperity of the nation.[69] Tested in this way, the tax on letters
proved unsatisfactory. While in most other departments of the revenue
the preceding twenty years had been years of expansion and progress--as
might be anticipated during a period of peace following great and
exhausting wars--in the case of the Post Office the period had been one
of stagnation.

Attention had already been directed to this fact by Sir Henry
Parnell.[70] Between the years 1815 and 1835 the duty on stage-coaches
had increased from £218,000 to nearly £500,000 a year. During the same
period the revenue of the Post Office, both gross and net, had not
increased at all--in point of fact, it had slightly decreased. If it had
kept pace with the increase of population, the annual net revenue would
have increased by half a million. If it had increased in the same
proportion as the duty on stage-coaches, the revenue of 1835 would have
exceeded that of 1815 by no less than £2,000,000. These facts convinced
Sir Rowland Hill that a reduction of the rates of postage was urgently
necessary; and apart from financial considerations, the moral and
intellectual results which would follow a facilitation of intercourse
appealed powerfully to a reforming Radical.[71] Having arrived at the
conviction that the Post Office offered most scope for his zeal, he
found no lack of material to work upon. A Commission of Inquiry into the
Revenue Departments had reported on the Post Office in 1829. A
Commission of Inquiry on the Post Office had been sitting for some
years, and had made numerous voluminous reports. Sir Rowland Hill set to
work to make a careful study of the information contained in these
reports, and as the result of this study evolved a complete plan for the
reform and reorganization of the whole Post Office system, a plan
involving the transformation both of the theory of Post Office finance,
and of the methods of practical working.[72]

His inquiries led him to examine the cost of the Post Office service as
a whole, and its relation to the work performed by the Post Office in
respect of individual letters, or, as he termed it, "the natural cost of
conveying a letter."[73] The investigations and calculations made in
this connection elucidated a fact of first importance, viz. that the
cost of the conveyance of a letter from one town to another was
exceedingly small, being on the average no more than nine-hundredths of
a penny--in the case of a mail from London to Edinburgh the cost of
conveyance was no more than one-thirty-sixth of a penny. This fact was
developed. It was shown that not only was the cost for conveyance for
the average of distance exceedingly small, but that it did not vary with
the distance. The variation was rather in the inverse proportion to the
number of letters enclosed in a mail.[74] Thus, while the average cost
of the conveyance of a letter from London to Edinburgh was
one-thirty-sixth of a penny, the cost of the conveyance of a letter for
a shorter distance was often greater, owing to the small number of
letters included in the mail. On these facts rests the whole case for
uniformity of rate irrespective of distance:[75] and they are
sufficient to demonstrate that the principle is fundamentally sound.

The proposal for a uniform rate was the outstanding feature of the plan,
but there were others of importance. It was a chief merit that the plan
might be introduced without causing any serious diminution of net
revenue, and the object of the further proposals was so to modify and
simplify the working methods of the service as to enable the increased
traffic which a low uniform rate would inevitably bring into the post to
be dealt with without a proportionate increase in working expenses.

A vast increase in the number of letters must occur if the revenue was
to be maintained, and this increase was confidently anticipated. With
the existing rates there was a very large clandestine traffic in letters
outside the Post Office, and it was calculated that a low uniform rate
would effect the complete suppression of that traffic, and attract all
letters into the post. But in order to maintain the net revenue, it was
essential to simplify effectively the methods of working. This
simplification was to be secured by the introduction of the system of
prepayment, and the principle of charging by weight.

Covers and sheets of paper bearing the revenue stamp already impressed
were to be sold at all post offices. The postage label, which has become
so characteristic a feature of post office business throughout the
civilized world, was proposed as an expedient to meet a certain
exceptional case. If any person bringing a letter to the post should not
be able to write the address on the stamped cover in which the letter
was to be enclosed, Sir Rowland Hill suggested that "this difficulty
might be obviated by using a bit of paper just large enough to bear the
stamp, and covered at the back with a glutinous wash, which the bringer
might, by applying a little moisture, attach to the back of the letter,
so as to avoid the necessity for redirecting it."[76]

Letters prepaid in either of these ways were to pass through the post as
franks,[77] i.e. without change or record. By this method a great
reduction in the work of the Post Office would be effected. Under the
existing system it was necessary to record and charge forward on the
postmasters all letters the postage of which was to be collected on
delivery, and these letters formed the vast majority. All such labour
would be dispensed with. The increase of the number of letters was to be
further encouraged by the provision of additional facilities, such as
the establishment of day mails and increased frequency of deliveries in

It has sometimes been thought that Sir Rowland Hill's theory included
the proposition that the increase of the number of letters varied in
inverse proportion to the reduction of rate effected, that is to say,
that if the rate were reduced by one-half, the number of letters posted
would be doubled; if the rate were reduced by two-thirds, the number of
letters posted would increase threefold.[79] This is not the case. His
estimate was that with the reduction of postage in the United Kingdom to
the uniform rate of one penny, i.e. an average reduction of
seven-eighths (from about eightpence), an immediate fourfold increase in
the number of letters might be anticipated. This estimate was framed
with regard to the circumstances existing in the United Kingdom at the
time, and there is no other rule applicable to the relation between
reduction of postage and resultant increase of postal traffic than that
it is relative to the particular circumstances of time and place.
Especially, it may be said, where postage is already low, further
reduction is hardly likely to result in largely increased traffic.

In brief, Sir Rowland Hill calculated that by the adoption of his
proposals for the modification of methods of working, the letter
postage in the United Kingdom might be reduced to the uniform rate of
one penny irrespective of distance, without causing loss to the net
revenue of more than £300,000 a year.

The pamphlet, _Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability_,
in which the plan was embodied, was first issued privately in January
1837 for circulation in political and official circles, to which Sir
Rowland Hill had access, partly through the celebrity of his family on
account of their school system, but chiefly through his brother Matthew
Davenport Hill, then a member of Parliament. In February 1837 the author
was invited to give evidence before the Commissioners for Post Office
Inquiry.[80] The proposals were not, however, viewed favourably by the
Government, and were resolutely opposed by the Postmaster-General and
many of the high authorities of the Post Office.[81]

Finding it impossible to impress the official mind, Sir Rowland Hill
issued the pamphlet to the public,[82] and it met with immediate,
widespread, and influential support. The Press, Chambers of Commerce,
and other bodies actively supported propaganda for the adoption of the
scheme.[83] Public meetings in support of it were held in all parts of
the country, and numerous petitions in its favour were submitted to
Parliament. So strong was the public feeling that in November 1837 the
Government were constrained to appoint a Select Committee of the House
of Commons for the express purpose of considering Sir Rowland Hill's
proposals. This Committee took a vast amount of evidence. The
contentions of Sir Rowland Hill were in the main sustained by this
evidence, and the Committee recommended (but only by the casting vote of
its chairman) the adoption of a uniform rate. They were not, however,
satisfied that the net revenue would be maintained if the uniform rate
were made as low as one penny, and they therefore recommended the rate
of twopence.[84] The Committee reported in August, 1838, but no
immediate steps were taken by the Government to carry out their
recommendations. The condition of the national finances was not so
healthy as in 1837, when the proposals were first broached, and they did
not improve in the following years.[85] The doubt as to the financial
result of the scheme therefore made its early adoption in the normal
course unlikely. The reform was, however, warmly taken up by the
Radicals,[86] and in 1839 party exigencies enabled them to insist on the
introduction of uniform penny postage as the price of their support in

On the 10th January 1840, therefore, the reform was introduced.[88] The
new rate was one penny for each of the first two half ounces, and
twopence for each additional ounce. The results were disappointing
financially. The reduction in net revenue in the first year was one
million pounds sterling (from £1,500,000 to £500,000), instead of
£300,000 as forecasted. The number of letters, also, was doubled only,
instead of quadrupled (in 1839, 82 millions, in 1840, 169 millions). But
the numbers continued to increase rapidly, in agreeable contrast to the
stagnation under the old system. By 1847 they had quadrupled; by 1860
they had reached 564 millions; and the expansion has since been
continuous.[89] The gross revenue of 1839 was equalled in 1850, and the
net revenue of 1839 was reached in 1863. It has since gone on
increasing. The plan was not an immediate financial success: neither was
it a complete financial failure, as sometimes alleged.[90] The recovery
of revenue was slow, but it was constant; and ultimately the plan has
abundantly justified itself as a financial arrangement.

The changes in the British letter rates since 1840 have not been
numerous or fundamental. The limit of weight for letters, viz. 16
ounces, fixed in 1840, was abolished in 1847. In 1865 the progression of
weight and charge above one ounce was made a penny the half-ounce. In
1871 the rates were reduced. Letters up to 1 ounce in weight became
transmissible at the penny rate; for the second ounce, and for every
succeeding 2 ounces up to 12 ounces, the rate was made 1/2d.; and for
letters weighing more than 12 ounces, 1d. the ounce, including the first
ounce. In 1885 the rate of 1/2d. for every 2 ounces after the second
ounce was continued without limit; and in 1897, on the occasion of the
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, a further reduction of the rate for
heavier letters was made. The scale of 1d. for the first 4 ounces, and
1/2d. for each succeeding 2 ounces, was then introduced. This method of
effecting a reduction was dictated largely by a desire to simplify the
rates of postage. It admitted of the abolition of the Sample Post, and
of the Book Post (except as regards packets not exceeding 2 ounces in
weight), and thus removed a source of confusion and loss of time both to
the staff and the public.

In recent years postal traffic of all kinds has increased rapidly. The
growth in numbers is shown by the following table:--

             | Total number of Postal
    Year.    | Packets dealt with in
             | the United Kingdom.
    1880-1   | 1,682,000,000
    1890-1   | 2,623,988,000
    1900-1   | 3,723,817,000
    1905-6   | 4,686,182,000
    1910-11  | 5,281,102,000
    1913-14  | 5,920,821,000[91]

The ordinary letter, however, remains the characteristic of Post Office
business and the sheet-anchor of postal finance. The vast proportion in
point of numbers still consists of packets of small weight.[92] In
1913-14, of a total traffic of some six thousand million packets
(including parcels), nearly three thousand five hundred millions passed
at the letter rate of postage (less than 14 per cent. of which exceeded
1 ounce in weight), one thousand millions at the postcard rate, another
thousand millions at the 1/2d. packet rate (none exceeding 2 ounces in
weight). The average weight of the two hundred million newspapers was
just over 4 ounces, and of the hundred and thirty million parcels, some
2 to 3 pounds. Of the total traffic (including parcels), more than four
thousand millions, consisting in general of ordinary letters and
postcards, were under 1 ounce in weight; and of the remaining two
thousand millions (including parcels) only some five hundred millions
exceeded 4 ounces in weight.

The Post Office, in addition to its ordinary function of providing for
the transmission of letters and packets, undertakes a number of
subsidiary services. There are, of course, the telegraphs and
telephones, the money order, postal order, and Savings Bank business,
which have for many years been an integral part of the business of the
Post Office. In recent years the Post Office has also undertaken the
issue of certain local taxation licenses, and the payment of Old Age
Pensions and Army Pensions. Now it has undertaken the sale of War Loan
Stock, Exchequer Bonds, and War Savings Certificates. Apart from the
telegraphs, telephones, and Savings Bank, however, these services form
only a small part of the work of the Post Office. While the total cost
of the ordinary postal services (i.e. excluding telegraphs, telephones,
and Savings Bank) was in 1913-14 some £17,000,000, the cost of the
subsidiary services was only about a million.

The staff of officers has increased as follows:--

      Year.     |  Male.  | Female. |  Total.
     1880-1     |         |         |  80,000
     1890-1     |  93,046 |  24,943 | 117,989
     1900-1     | 137,807 |  35,377 | 173,184
     1905-6     | 154,351 |  41,081 | 195,432
     1910-11    | 166,073 |  46,741 | 212,814
     1913-14    | 188,794 |  60,659 | 249,453[93]

Concurrently with the increase of the number of officers, the rate of
wages has been revised on several occasions, as the result of the
recommendations of Parliamentary and other Committees appointed to
consider the question of Post Office wages. The cost of the increases of
wages which have been granted as the result of these revisions,
calculated on the basis of the staff at the dates of the respective
revisions, without allowance for subsequent growth of force, is some
£3,674,950 per annum.[94] The increase of the number of officers has, of
course, increased the ultimate cost of each successive improvement in
pay and conditions of service.

The increased wages of the staff have naturally counterbalanced to some
extent the economies resulting from the large increase of business.
Since the first of these revisions, the Fawcett of 1881-2, the wages of
the staff have absorbed a larger percentage of the total revenue of the
postal services,[95] and the cost for staff per packet handled has
increased from .288d. in 1880-1 to .329d. in 1890-1, and .418d. in
1913-14.[96] During the same period the cost of conveyance of postal
packets has decreased from .131d. per packet other than a parcel in
1880-1, to .119d. in 1890-1, and .080d. in 1913-14.[97] The total cost
of dealing with a postal packet other than a parcel has in recent years
shown a small decrease. The cost in 1913-14 has been estimated at

The gross revenue of the postal services, i.e. excluding telegraphs and
telephones, has increased from £7,130,819 in 1880-1 to £9,851,078 in
1890-1, and £21,928,311 in 1913-14. The net revenue from postal services
has increased from £2,720,784 in 1880-1 to £3,163,989 in 1890-1, and
£6,642,067 in 1913-14. The expansion of net revenue has not kept pace
with the increase in the total number of packets passing by post. Since
1880 the total numbers have increased some 3-1/2-fold, and the net
revenue some 2-1/2-fold.[99] The relation between the gross revenue and
the total expenditure on the postal services, which in recent years has
not shown any large variation, fluctuates in the neighbourhood of 70 per

     NOTE.--On the 1st November 1915, in order to secure increased
     revenue for war purposes, the inland letter rate was increased to
     the  following:--

  For packets not exceeding 1 ounce in weight        1d.
  For packets between 1 ounce and 2 ounces           2d.
  For every succeeding 2 ounces                      1/2d.

     Under the existing abnormal circumstances it is difficult to form a
     satisfactory estimate of the result of this increase. Numerous
     contrary forces are in operation. The growth of the Army and the
     dislocation of private business resulting from the war have had
     important effects on the number of letters posted. Large numbers of
     letters are exchanged with men in the Army, but, on the other hand,
     all letters from troops on active service pass free of postage. It
     has been estimated that in the first five months the new rates
     yielded an increased revenue of nearly half a million.--See
     Postmaster-General's statement, 3rd July 1916 (_Parl. Debates
     (Commons_), vol. lxxxiii. cols. 1231-2).

       *       *       *       *       *


When Canada came into British hands after the capture of Quebec, no
postal arrangements existed in the province. The population numbered
only some 60,000, excluding the Indians, and with so small a number
spread over so vast a territory it was not to be expected that any Post
Office establishment of the ordinary type could be maintained.[101] Very
soon, however, the English merchants interested in the Canadian trade
urged upon the British Government the necessity for a regular service
from New York to Quebec, and in this they were supported by the Governor
of the province. The Government instructed the Deputy
Postmasters-General in America to take steps for the establishment of
the post, and they accordingly proceeded to Quebec. There they met a
young Scotsman, Hugh Finlay, who offered to conduct a regular post
between Quebec and Montreal, undertaking all risks, for a commission of
20 per cent, on all revenue collected on the post,[102] and, in
addition, a monopoly of licensing persons to provide horses and
conveyances for the use of travellers--the old monopoly which had
existed for so long in England as a source of emolument to the
postmasters. Finlay contracted for the conveyance of the mail with a
number of men, to whom he made over the exclusive right of furnishing
travellers on the route. In addition to this privilege, these men, who
were styled _maîtres de poste_, were remunerated by payment at the rate
of 6d. a league (2d. a mile) for providing horses and carriages for the
couriers. Between Quebec and Montreal, a distance of 180 miles, there
were twenty-seven _maîtres de poste_ and two post offices, viz., Three
Rivers and Berthier. On the whole route, which was not of the easiest,
there was not a single inn; there were six ferries to cross, that at
Three Rivers being three miles wide, and one near Montreal nearly
three-quarters of a mile. There was a service twice a week in each
direction, and the journey occupied about forty hours, the courier who
left Quebec at five o'clock on Monday afternoon arriving at Montreal on
Wednesday morning, and the courier leaving Montreal on Thursday evening
reaching Quebec on Saturday morning.

The statutory authority for the establishment of posts in Canada, as in
other parts of North America, was section 4 of the Act of the 9th of
Anne. This Act, however, failed to prescribe for North America rates of
postage for letters passing greater distances than 100 miles. Hence, for
the post from Quebec to Montreal no legal rate was ascertainable. The
rate actually charged was 8d. for a single letter, and so in proportion
for double, treble, and ounce letters, which was not an excessive
charge, seeing that the legal charge for distances up to 100 miles was
6d. for a single letter. It proved sufficient, however; the whole scheme
was completely successful and greatly appreciated by the colonists. To
link this local post with the service from England, the
Postmasters-General at New York arranged a connecting post to run
monthly in connection with the arrival and departure of the English
packets. They realized that the number of letters likely to be carried
by such a post would be small and would not yield a revenue nearly equal
to the expenses, the more so as, in any case, a comparatively high rate
of postage would be payable on account of the great distance, and in
recommending its establishment, they suggested moderate rates of

The Act of 1765 provided reduced rates of postage for North America.
"The vast accession of territory gained by the late Treaty of Peace,"
and the establishment of new posts in America, for which rates of
postage could not be ascertained under the existing law,[104] made a
new Act necessary, and the rates prescribed in that Act were fixed under
the enlightened principle that moderate rates might yield increased
revenue.[105] The rate which would apply to Canada, for the greatest
distances, was fixed at 8d. for a single letter for not more than 200
miles, and 2d. for each 100 miles beyond 200 miles--double letters
double rates, treble letters treble rates, ounce letter four times the
single rate, in the usual way.

In January 1774 Finlay was appointed joint "Deputy-General for the
Northern District of America" in the room of Dr. Franklin. He was
allowed to retain, for the time being, the benefits of the Post Office
at Quebec, which, in the words of the letter of appointment, he had been
"so instrumental in bringing to a degree of perfection."[106] The
disturbances of 1775 in the coast colonies soon affected the post to
Canada. In September of that year, the prospect of getting mails through
from Canada to New York was so slight that Finlay was anticipating the
suspension of all communication with the rest of the world during the
whole of the winter, unless letters could be conveyed to Halifax. The
couriers were frequently held up by armed men and robbed, and by
November matters had become so serious that all postal arrangements in
the province were stayed. Quebec was besieged throughout the winter and
spring. After its relief Finlay tried to set up the posts again, but
unsuccessfully, as the Governor refused to re-establish the monopoly of
the _maîtres de poste_, on the ground that travellers in Canada were
very well accommodated in horses and conveyances and did not desire its
re-establishment. Without it Finlay was unable to maintain a service,
and no posts existed during the remaining period of the war.

After peace had been restored, Finlay represented the matter so strongly
that the monopoly was re-established. The posts were again set up, and
Finlay was appointed Deputy Postmaster-General of Canada, Nova Scotia,
and New Brunswick. The mails for Canada were still sent by way of New
York, as before the war, but for military reasons it was important that
a mail route should be established from Halifax, the military
headquarters, to run altogether within British territory. In 1787 a
fortnightly post (monthly in winter) was accordingly established between
Quebec and Halifax.[107] The mail went by River du Loup, near the Grand
Portage, where the courier from Quebec handed over his mail to the
courier from Fredericton; by the Madawaska to the Grand Falls; thence by
boat to Fredericton. A fresh courier went by boat from Fredericton to
the mouth of the St. John's River. Here the mail was transferred to a
sloop of about 34 tons burthen for conveyance across the Bay of Fundy to
Digby, whence the route lay by Annapolis. The total distance from Quebec
to Halifax was 633 miles, and the time required for the trip varied from
twenty-one to thirty-one days.

A mail route from Montreal into Upper Canada was also established, but
this was rather a military post, intended to serve the military stations
and frontier settlements. The mail was despatched only once a year and
was, in consequence, known as the "yearly express." The route followed
was by the St. Lawrence from Montreal to Matilda, Augusta, and Kingston;
across Lake Ontario to Niagara; thence to Detroit Fort, at the base of
Lake St. Clair, and across Lake Huron to Michilimackinac, at the head of
Lakes Huron and Michigan. After continuing some six years this post was
curtailed and went no farther than Niagara.[108]

In 1800 Finlay was succeeded in the deputy ship by John Heriot. The
population had now increased to 450,000, but there were only twenty post
offices in the whole of the five provinces. Heriot's patent gave him
authority to establish new routes and offices, but, in accordance with
the general policy, only when in his opinion their establishment would
be likely to benefit revenue. The rates at this time were, of course,
nominally based on the Act of the 5th George III, but as the routes had
never been properly measured, the distances on which the rates were
actually based were largely a matter of conjecture. The posts were
said, however, to have paid their way and even to have yielded a surplus
revenue, which was transmitted to England.[109]

The administration of the posts rested ultimately with the
Postmasters-General in London. The service could be extended only by
their authority, and the colonists found that the Deputy in the
colonies, being bound by his instructions from the Postmasters-General,
was unable to extend and improve the service in the manner which they
themselves thought desirable. A large number of immigrants entered the
provinces, especially Upper Canada, during this period, and settlements
were springing up in remote districts far away from the post routes.
Heriot was admonished from London that in considering the provision of
new services he must look to the revenue to be anticipated as well as to
the convenience of the public, and to adopt no scheme involving
sacrifice of revenue. His instructions forbade the opening of any post
office or post route unless the anticipated revenue was sufficient at
least to pay the postmaster and courier. He found that these
restrictions prevented him from providing a service in any degree
adequate to the demands of the settlers, or indeed adequate to their
real needs. It was essential that the settlers in the remote districts
should be kept in touch with civilization. They could not be allowed to
pass beyond the reach of the Government. They must be kept in contact
with the means provided for the administration of the law. For these
reasons it was essential to provide post accommodation, although in the
nature of the case it could not be expected that a revenue sufficient to
cover the cost would be obtained. All these considerations were pressed
on the Deputy, and he was so far persuaded as sometimes, in response to
urgent local representations, to depart from his specific instructions.
But such cases usually led to a reprimand. The natural result was that
the province was driven itself to undertake by grants from the public
funds the provision of many local services which it deemed essential.

Thus grew up the anomalous system under which the colonies made large
grants in aid of the service, but were unable to exercise any
substantial control over its administration. The more important routes
were self-supporting and were controlled entirely from England. In order
to obtain extensions of the service the colonists, through the Governor,
requested the establishment of certain services, undertaking that, if
the revenue derived from these services should prove insufficient to
meet the expenditure, the balance should be made up by the colony. A
regular post was established in 1801 between Quebec and York (Toronto)
under a guarantee of this kind. The colonists naturally wished to have
some controlling voice in the administration; but the Deputy, holding
office under the Imperial authorities, was not bound to concede to them
any rights over the administration of the service, however great sums
they might pay towards its maintenance--a situation which was sure to
lead to difficulties. Whether or not serious trouble occurred depended
in large degree on the character of the Deputy.[110] In later years
there was considerable friction and much irritation on the part of the

In Nova Scotia the system of grants in aid was developed to an even
greater extent than in Upper Canada. When Sir George Provost became
Governor in 1808, there were only five post offices in Nova
Scotia--Halifax, Windsor, Horton, Annapolis, and Digby--and they were
all on the line of the Quebec post. Sir George was anxious for an
extension of the posts on military rather than general grounds, and he
asked the postmaster of Halifax, John Howe, to establish several new
routes. Howe was inclined to favour the projected posts, but Heriot
realized that they could not be expected to yield a revenue equal to
their cost, and he informed the Governor that his instructions from
England prevented compliance with the request. Sir George Provost
thereupon induced the Legislature to appropriate a sufficient sum for
the establishment of the posts. The Governors of New Brunswick and
Prince Edward Island followed this example, with the result that a large
part of the Post Office establishment in these provinces was outside the
jurisdiction of the Imperial authorities.

This development is noteworthy. It has always been found in Canada that
for a large part of the country the circumstances are such that a postal
service adequate to the necessities of the inhabitants cannot be
self-supporting, but the Legislature has never hesitated to make grants
from general taxation in order to provide means of communication. In the
early days the question of post office communication was intimately
bound up with the question of general means of communication, and was
usually treated in connection with the making or maintenance of roads.
For a long period the posts in Canada were maintained not solely for the
transmission of letters, but to a great extent on account of collateral
advantages. They were largely military in character, and were identified
with the military routes.[111]

In 1816 Daniel Sutherland was appointed Deputy Postmaster-General for
Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Under his administration the
development of the service was pushed forward, and so far as was found
consistent with the interests of revenue, new offices and routes were
established. But in 1820 there were still no more than forty-nine post
offices in the whole of British North America, distributed thus: in
Lower Canada twenty offices, in Upper Canada nineteen, in Nova Scotia
six, in New Brunswick three, and in Prince Edward Island one. The
progress was from this time somewhat more rapid. By 1824 the number of
offices in the Canadas alone had risen to sixty-nine, and during the
next ten or fifteen years the growth, both of Post Office accommodation
and of Post Office revenue, was more rapid than the growth of

The settlers were not, however, completely satisfied. Their complaints
were to some extent laid against the administration of the office--they
claimed, for example, that gross overcharges of postage were being made,
through incorrect computation of the distances on the post roads--but
they became more and more dissatisfied that the control of the whole of
the service and its officers should rest with the Postmaster-General in
England. The question was, of course, to a large extent political, and
one only among the several general grievances of the colonists at this
period, which caused so much anxiety to the Home authorities.

As early as 1819 a movement began in Upper Canada to obtain the
transference of the administration to the provincial authorities. A
Committee of the House of Assembly considered the abuses of the existing
Post Office system, and on presentation of their report, in March 1820,
the House passed a resolution condemning the administration of the
service. The question continued to receive a good deal of attention. The
chief complaint of the colonists was that a net revenue was year by year
transmitted to London. There is no doubt that a balance was paid over to
the Imperial administration year by year, but it is questionable whether
any of this balance was a net revenue on the local service.[112] The
colonists chose so to regard it. They advanced the contention that the
legal right of the Imperial Government to levy postage rates in the
colonies at all was doubtful, because postage was a tax; and the raising
of money by authorities outside the colonies was a direct infringement
of their own constitution, which provides that "no tax shall be levied
on the people of this country except such as shall be appropriated for
the public use and accounted for by the Legislature,"[113] and of the
Declaratory Act, in which Great Britain disclaimed the right to impose
upon a colony any duty, tax, or assessment, except where necessary for
the regulation of commerce.[114] The Government were advised by the Law
Officers that it would not be wise to contest the point, and proceeded
to consider a measure for placing the establishment on a more
satisfactory basis.

If the Home Government could have agreed to hand over the entire
administration of the office in British North America to the local
Legislatures, there would have been an end of the matter. But such a
course would have left the interior provinces at the mercy of those on
the seaboard as to the conveyance across those colonies of the mails to
and from England. Although there was no desire to continue the
appropriation to the Imperial revenue of any surplus which might arise
on the service in North America, it was felt to be highly desirable that
the Imperial Government should retain control over the administration of
the office, particularly in the matter of fixing the rates of postage,
since by that means excessive charges for transit across other provinces
would be prevented. But in controlling the administration from London
there was the difficulty that any alteration of the rates of postage by
Act of the British Parliament might be an infringement of the rights of
the colonists under the Declaratory Act of 1778. Accordingly, all
intention of direct legislation by the British Parliament was abandoned,
and in 1834 an Act was passed,[115] repealing the Act of the 5th George
III, on which the whole Post Office establishment of North America
rested, conditionally on the passing by the Legislatures of all the
provinces of a Bill for the regulation of the colonial Post Office
service, which had been prepared in London. This Bill provided that the
ultimate control of the whole service in British North America should
remain in the hands of the Postmaster-General in London, but that the
rates of postage should be fixed by the local Legislatures, and any
surplus of revenue over expenditure should be divided between the

Nova Scotia was prepared to accept the Bill, but only with modifications
which would have prevented its adoption as the basis of a general
service throughout the five provinces. New Brunswick and both Upper and
Lower Canada rejected the Bill. The Assembly of Lower Canada substituted
a Bill of its own.[116] The Legislative Council were indisposed to
accept the substituted Bill,[117] and in March 1836 adopted an Address
to his Majesty, explaining that in their view it would be exceedingly
difficult, if not impracticable, to secure the co-operation between the
separate Post Office establishments of the several provinces essential
for the attainment of the purpose of the original measure, and they
pointed for illustration to the United States, a country where,
notwithstanding a keen regard for State rights, the whole control and
management of the Post Office department had been delegated to the
Federal Government. Since the Post Office establishment was a most
effective means for strengthening the ties connecting the several
provinces, as well as an essential aid and convenience of commerce, they
deemed the best course to be the retention by the Imperial Parliament of
the exclusive power of legislating for the control and management of the
Post Office in all parts of the Empire. In March of the following year,
there being still no prospect of the adoption of the Bill by the
provinces, the House of Assembly and Legislative Council of Upper Canada
adopted a joint Address to his Majesty, substantially identical with
that adopted a year earlier by the Legislative Council of Lower Canada.
It was clear that little progress was to be anticipated.[118]

In 1840 a Commission was appointed. Its attention was directed more
especially to the faulty administration of the office and the excessive
rates of postage. To remedy the former, and to make the administration
more amenable to local control, they suggested placing the Deputy
Postmaster-General under the control of the Governor-General in all
matters which did not conflict with the authority of the
Postmaster-General in England. As to postage, they were satisfied that
the rates at that time in operation were too high. They considered that
the rates should be such as would yield a revenue sufficient to meet the
expenses of the department, and no more; and in their view, if the
revenue improved after the establishment of such rates, which there
should be no difficulty in calculating, the proper course would be
either to grant further facilities or further to reduce the rates. There
should not in any case be a net revenue of any magnitude. The
Commissioners themselves made an estimate of the rate which should
fulfil the requirements they had detailed. In so doing they proceeded on
much the same lines as Sir Rowland Hill in his pamphlet _Post Office
Reform: Its Importance and Practicability_. They had no difficulty in
answering the demand for penny postage in British North America, a
demand based on its successful inauguration in England. The
circumstances in the two countries were not comparable. England, small
and densely populated, the first industrial and commercial nation of the
world, could not in such a matter be compared with a country of vast
extent, sparsely peopled and almost entirely agricultural. While Sir
Rowland Hill had been able to show that in the case of letters conveyed
for comparatively long distances in England the actual cost of carriage
was only one thirty-sixth part of a penny, the Commissioners found that
in British North America the actual average cost of conveyance was no
less than 3d., and the actual average total cost of dealing with letters
no less than 5-1/2d. Uniformity of rate at a penny, which had been
justified in England on existing facts of the service, could therefore
find no similar justification in North America.

There could, however, be no doubt that with a reduction of the rate,
which then averaged 8-1/2d. a letter, the number of letters would be
very greatly increased and the cost per letter consequently reduced. The
public were in the habit of making use of every available means other
than the post for forwarding their letters. Steamboats which carried a
mail would carry outside the mail many times the number of letters that
were enclosed in the mail. Teamsters, stage drivers, and ordinary
travellers all carried large numbers of letters, and in cases where no
such opportunity offered, persons had been known to enclose the letter
in a small package, which could be sent as freight at less charge than
the rate of postage on the single letter. If, therefore, all these
letters, and the many additional letters which would be written if
transmission were cheap and easy, were sent in the mails, the cost of
the service would not be by any means proportionately increased, and the
average cost per letter would be very greatly reduced. It would still,
however, have been considerably more than a penny. Their conclusions
were less satisfactory in regard to the rates actually recommended. They
proposed a graduation according to distance of no less than five stages,
starting with as short a distance as 30 miles. For this the rate was
2d., and the scale rose to 1s. for distances over 300 miles. The only
virtues of the rates were that they were lower than those in operation
in the United States and were to be charged by weight.[119]

The chief recommendations of this report were carried out under the
authority of the Colonial Office. The weight basis for determining rates
of postage was adopted, and the Deputy Postmaster-General's authority
was restricted. His privilege of sending newspapers free of postage was
also taken away, and in compensation he was given a salary of £2,500 a
year--personal to himself, and high on account of his long enjoyment of
the lucrative newspaper privilege. That for his successor was fixed at
£1,500 a year. The agitation in the provinces in regard to the Post
Office continued during the succeeding years, but it was less vehement
and concerned itself more with the question of rates than with questions
of administration.

In 1842 a member of the headquarters staff of the British office (Mr. W.
J. Page) was commissioned to examine and reorganize the service in the
Maritime Provinces, with the object more especially of introducing such
measures of reform as should bring the expenditures of the department in
those provinces within the revenue. His reports throw a flood of light
on the state and methods of the service.[120] He found extraordinary
anomalies in the methods of charging postage, in the methods of
remunerating the Deputy-Postmasters, the couriers, and the Way Office
keepers, and in the relations subsisting between the Post Office and the
local Legislatures. The financial arrangements of the office were in a
condition which can only be described as chaotic. Postage was, of
course, chargeable on the total journey of the letter. But in Nova
Scotia letters were charged with a new rate at each office through which
they passed, and postage became an excessive charge on all letters which
passed through two or three offices. Deputy-Postmasters were paid a
percentage, usually 20 per cent., on the amount of postage collected by
them, but their chief remuneration in many cases arose from the right
which they exercised of franking all their private and business
correspondence, a consideration which they had principally, if not
exclusively, in view in taking up their appointments. Many of the
deputies were lawyers or other professional men. The privilege was
nominally subject to the limitation of four single letters, or two
double letters, or one packet of an ounce by each mail; but this
limitation was very generally disregarded. To such an extent was this
the case that one-half of many mails consisted of free letters.

Couriers received fixed wages, which were either paid by the Deputy
Postmaster-General out of the general funds of the department, or from
grants in aid, given by the Legislature specifically for the support of
the respective routes. Way Office keepers received no remuneration from
the department: in many instances the existence of the Way Offices was
unknown at Halifax. This was explained in great part by the manner in
which such offices were usually established. A courier travelling a
particular line of road received from the despatching postmaster a
number of "way letters," or letters for persons living on or near his
route. Partly for his own convenience, and partly for the accommodation
of the persons addressed, the courier would leave packets of the letters
at some house on the route, and the occupant would collect the postage
on behalf of the courier. In course of time the courier induced the
postmaster to make up the letters for this particular place separately,
and to open a private account with the householder, who thus became an
agent for the postmaster, and the house became a Way Office. The keepers
of these Way Offices usually charged a fee of 2d. on each letter
received or sent. The Post Office was not in any way concerned in the
transactions, except that in some cases, where it was not always
possible for the Way Office keeper to obtain his fee in advance, the
practice grew up, with the co-operation of the Deputy-Postmaster, of
charging forward the unpaid Way Office keeper's fee as unpaid forward
"postage." Some of the Way Office keepers also claimed and exercised the
same rights of franking as the Deputy Postmasters. Others were paid on
the basis of a percentage of 20 per cent. of the postage collected; and
in such cases some of the keepers still collected their fee of 2d., and
some did not.

When letters were sent from one Way Office to another--as was frequently
the case, since often there were several Way Offices in succession--a
fresh fee was charged; and a letter might be charged four or five
twopenny fees and no postage, the fees all being appropriated by the Way
Office keepers and nothing finding its way to the Post Office revenue.
Indeed, the Post Office department received scarcely any revenue from
the Way Offices, and no sort of control over them was even attempted.

The House of Assembly was in the habit of establishing post routes, and
of voting increases in the salaries of existing couriers, the resulting
expense of which was to be paid by the Post Office. The action of the
Legislature was often taken on the presentation of memorials from
persons interested, or on the initiative of a member specially
interested in Post Office matters with some axe to grind. The
Legislature would vote, say, £10 or £20, for a courier to some remote
place, for which the number of letters was negligible--perhaps a dozen
in a year, perhaps two a week and a few newspapers. The resolution of
the House would then be forwarded to the Postmaster-General, who by
virtue of his delegated authority established the route, the cost over
and above the amount voted by the House being drawn from Post Office
funds. The whole system was permeated with jobbery, and the House used
to become more than usually active in these matters as the elections
approached. In Cape Breton, in 1841, the expenses of the couriers
amounted to some £604, and the revenue, after deducting the commission
of the three postmasters in the island, was some £308--the explanation
being that the member for the island was one of the leaders in Post
Office matters in the Legislature.

Internal correspondence was at this time literally nonexistent, many of
the couriers conveying only newspapers (which in general went free), and
fee letters (that is, letters charged only with the Way Office keeper's
fee, and no postage). Except in five towns (Halifax, Yarmouth, and
Picton in Nova Scotia; and St. John and Fredericton in New Brunswick)
there was no provision for the delivery of letters except at the post
office window. In those towns, delivery was made in the first instance
at the post office, but all letters which were not called for within a
short time after the arrival of the mail, were sent out for delivery
throughout the town by letter carrier. An additional charge of 1d. per
letter was made by the carrier, and retained by him as his remuneration.
In some cases 1d. was charged also for the delivery of newspapers; in
others this penny was charged only where the receivers could be induced
to pay; and in some cases newspapers were delivered free. At Halifax two
letter carriers were employed, and their total weekly earnings were
estimated at £4 10s., indicating 1,080 as, approximately, the weekly
number of letters and newspapers received. At Fredericton a charge of
1d. was made on letters and on newspapers, but the amount was taken by
the postmaster, who paid a weekly wage to the carrier. The postmaster
estimated his annual receipt at about £19 10s., corresponding with a
weekly average of 90 letters and newspapers delivered in Fredericton.
He paid the carrier £14 10s. per annum.

Up to 1827 there were no internal posts in Prince Edward Island. The
only post office in the province was at Charlottetown. In 1827 the
Legislature resolved to establish an inland service, and appointed
couriers to travel weekly for the conveyance of letters. Way Office
keepers were also nominated at various places. A uniform rate of 2d. for
single letters, and 1/2d. for newspapers published in the island, was
fixed for transmission within the island, and, in consideration of the
whole expense being borne by the Provincial Treasury, the Deputy
Postmaster-General of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick agreed to the
retention by the province of the net revenue. The Way Office keepers
received as their remuneration 20 per cent. on the postage collected,
with the privilege of franking for transmission within the island. The
province made a small grant, at first £20 per annum and later £30, in
aid of the administration of the posts.

The first wish of the Home authorities was to bring the expenditure
within the revenue, and after he had been in the colony some two months
Mr. Page submitted a scheme which should remove the deficit in Nova
Scotia, then over £1,000 a year.[121] This scheme, which was not lacking
in boldness, proposed the discontinuance of no less than twenty-four
couriers, and reduction of the frequency of the mail in two other cases,
involving towns of some importance.

On the 6th July 1843 the Post Office of New Brunswick was separated from
that of Nova Scotia and a large number of services abolished. Following
on these drastic measures, the New Brunswick Legislature, in 1844,
adopted a joint Address to his Majesty, praying for redress. They asked
for a reduction of letter rates, for the abolition of newspaper rates,
and for the application of all surplus revenue to the extension of
facilities for inter-provincial communication, adding that in
consideration of the introduction of these changes the Legislature would
guarantee to provide such sums as might from time to time be necessary
to defray the expenses of the department. The reply of the Colonial
Office was that the prayer of the petition could not be granted, since
other provinces were involved; but that, so long as the province
guaranteed the charges, the proposal as regards newspapers, taken by
itself, was unobjectionable.

The Home authorities, seeing that in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the
service still showed a deficit year by year, remained indisposed to
introduce reduced rates; but when Lord Clanricarde was appointed
Postmaster-General there was a change of policy. Lord Clanricarde came
to the conclusion that the time was ripe for a reduction of rates in
British North America, although he was convinced that such a reduction
would entail heavy postal deficits in all the provinces. It would be for
the provincial Legislatures to make good these deficits, and he
concluded it was therefore expedient that the full control of the
service should be handed over to the provincial authorities, subject to
certain conditions imposed with the view of preventing friction between
the provinces over the transit across the sea-board provinces of mails
for or from the interior.

Lord Elgin, Secretary of State for the Colonies, suggested to the
Governor-General[122] that one or two members of the Executive Councils
of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island should
meet at Montreal to discuss the question and mature a plan, which could
be submitted to the respective Legislatures, for the assumption by the
provinces of the administration of the Post Office. A conference was
arranged, and a plan for the establishment of a uniform system
throughout the British North American Colonies elaborated.

The conference made clear that in the repeated remonstrances against the
"transfer of assumed surplus receipts" to the revenue of the British
office there was no desire on the part of the provinces to make the Post
Office a source of revenue, or, indeed, to call into question the
prudent management of the Imperial Government; but that the
remonstrances were prompted by a growing conviction of the great
importance of an efficient postal system as a factor in their social and
commercial welfare, and as "a means in a new country of extending
civilization." The provinces were impressed by the great social and
moral benefits which had followed the introduction of cheap postage in
the Mother Country, and were anxious to extend to their own land the
benefits of the system, which had already been introduced by their great
neighbour. The delegates were satisfied that the most suitable rate
would be 3d. the half ounce, uniform, irrespective of distance; but,
thinking it likely that some of the provinces might be unwilling
entirely to disregard distance, they recommended that an option be
suggested for any province that wished so to do to charge double rates
for distances greater than 300 miles. They recommended the establishment
throughout British North America of a uniform system and rate of
postage, with as little local modification as the circumstances of the
various provinces might demand. But for two main reasons they were
opposed to a common administration: (1) they considered that the control
by each province of its postal establishment would be a powerful aid to
economy in administration, would prevent imprudent extensions of postal
accommodation, and would prevent also any feeling of jealousy between
the provinces with regard to the application of the funds of the
establishment to the extension of services in the respective provinces;
(2) they thought the various provinces would be more likely to accept a
system under local control, each province defraying the entire cost of
its service, and retaining all postage collected within its limits,
whether prepaid or post-paid.[123]

The Home authorities accepted the recommendations of the conference,
subject to a few slight modifications in non-essentials, and an Act,
passed in 1849, authorized provincial Legislatures to establish posts
within their respective territories, but gave them no authority over the
posts between the colonies and places abroad.[124]

The transfer of the Post Office systems to the provincial Governments
was accomplished in 1851.

Delegates from all the colonies met to consider the arrangements to be
made for conducting the office under the new conditions. With the
example of England before them, as before the world, the delegates were
anxious for a uniform rate, and for a low uniform rate. They realized,
however, that conditions vastly different from those prevailing in
England prevailed in British North America. With their great distances
and their thinly settled districts, with the rigours of the American
climate and the generally poor state of the roads, it could not be
anticipated that rates which had been found successful in England, with
its comparatively small area and dense population, with its less
difficult climate and its better facilities for intercommunication,
would prove equally successful. In the end a compromise was
adopted--uniformity of rate, but a rate moderately high, viz. 5

A period of great development ensued, especially in the Maritime
Provinces. Under the stimulus of the reduction of the rate to the new
uniform charge of 5 cents per 1/2 ounce, in place of a charge graduated
by distance which had averaged over 8d. a letter, the number of letters
increased so rapidly that in four years the gross revenue had recovered
its former level.[126] But in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the
account regularly showed a heavy deficit, in partial explanation of
which there was the fact that both Governments carried newspapers in the
mails free of charge. In Canada, with a larger number of commercial
communities, the results were somewhat better. But even there the
accounts showed a deficit until 1859. From that year there was an annual
surplus until 1865, when the heavy charges for conveyance of the mails
by railway began to tell.

These conditions continued until the confederation of the British North
American Colonies in 1867. The control of the Post Office was within the
powers assigned to the new Dominion Government. The Government was
desirous of not falling behind other countries in the provision of Post
Office services, and it was necessary for political reasons to take
advantage of every available means for facilitating intercommunication
between the different parts of the Dominion. Shortly after
confederation, therefore, a Bill to establish and regulate a Federal
Dominion Post Office was brought before the Dominion Parliament.

A reduction of the letter rate of postage from 5 cents to 3 cents per
1/2 ounce was proposed, and a rate of postage on newspapers. In some of
the provinces newspapers had previously been carried by the posts free
of charge; and the establishment of a rate of postage for them was to
some extent bound up with the reduction of the letter rate, since with
the lower rate for letters the free transmission of newspapers would
have proved so great a strain on the revenue, that either the Government
would have been compelled to make larger grants in aid, or services
would have to be withheld in districts where it was desirable they
should be provided. Some members were disposed to think the better
course would have been to retain the old rate for letters and to allow
newspapers to pass free, as had long been the practice in the Lower
Provinces; and the imposition of a rate on newspapers was characterized
as a tax on the dissemination of public intelligence and a retrogressive
step towards old and exploded abuses.[127]

Other members desired to follow the English example and reduce the
letter rate to 2 cents, the equivalent of a penny; but this was deemed
impracticable on account of the different conditions under which the
Post Office was conducted in Canada, where the mails were carried very
long distances through a sparse population.[128] In the United States,
where the circumstances were more nearly comparable, the rate was still
3 cents. With a rate of 3 cents in Canada, as proposed, it was
anticipated that there would be a considerable deficit, but that the
deficit would soon disappear.[129] It was alleged that there was no
demand for a reduction and that everybody was willing to pay 5 cents;
but the real objection was not to a reduction in the letter rate _per
se_. The objection arose from the assumption, fairly well grounded, that
the reduction was only possible if accompanied by the establishment of a
postage on newspapers, to which a number of members were strongly
opposed. The rate of 3 cents for 1/2-ounce letters was, however,
adopted. In three years the yield of postage at 3 cents surpassed the
former yield at 5 cents.[130]

In 1898 a Bill for modifying rates of postage was introduced. The main
propositions of the Bill were (1) to reduce the letter rate to 2 cents
per ounce, and (2) to impose a postage on newspapers. Since 1867 there
had been several changes in newspaper postage, and for about nineteen
years newspapers had been passing through the post in Canada free of any
charge for postage.[131] The postal service was at this time being
carried on at some loss to the general Dominion revenue, and, as in
1867, the proposal to charge postage on newspapers was made to
counterbalance any loss of revenue which might result from the reduction
in the letter rate of postage. It was hoped that with this
counterbalance any such loss would soon be made good, and that, indeed,
the Post Office would become a self-sustaining department.[132]

The arguments in Parliament were almost identical with those of 1867,
when the previous similar proposals as regards the letter and newspaper
rates were before it. Stress was, however, now laid on the contention
that letter-writing was the pursuit of the wealthy, and of business and
commercial men, who were well able to pay for their correspondence,
while the newspapers were sent mainly to the farmers of the country, who
wrote few letters. The Government were proposing at this time to raise a
million dollars by a tax on sugar, a course denounced as an imposition
by the Government on the poorer classes, to whom sugar is a necessity,
while the reduction of postage would present the wealthier classes with
some $650,000 a year.[133]

The reduction was carried, and the 2-cent rate has proved successful.
The gross revenue recovered within four years.[134] The number of
letters has largely increased, especially in recent years, largely, no
doubt, in consequence of the growing commercial prosperity. The total
number, which in 1876 was some 41 millions, had in 1913 increased to 633
millions. The financial result has also proved satisfactory. The Post
Office service in Canada as a whole in 1913 showed a profit of some
$1,200,000, and there is no doubt that the greater part of this profit
was derived from letters.

     NOTE.--In 1915 a war-tax of 1/2-d. was imposed on all letters and
     postcards. On the assumption that the numbers posted would not be
     appreciably diminished, the increase of revenue was estimated at
     $6,000,000 a year, and this estimate has been realized.

       *       *       *       *       *


The New England colonies had not been long established when the public
authorities first took cognizance of the arrangements for the
distribution of letters. In 1639 the general court of the Massachusetts
Bay colony made an order for the establishment of a service in respect
of letters for or from places abroad. A house-to-house delivery of
letters received from abroad at the low uniform rate of 1d. would seem
to have been contemplated.[135] At various intervals during the latter
half of the century, Post Offices were established in most of the other
colonies--in Virginia in 1657, in New York in 1672, in Connecticut in
1674, in Philadelphia in 1683, and in New Hampshire in 1693.[136] These
Post Offices were set up in the various colonies by legal enactment, but
they were in general local and municipal in character. In the
circumstances of the case they could at that time hardly have been
otherwise. The colonies were independent of each other in administrative
matters, and seldom acted together for any purpose. The population
relatively to the extent of the colonies was extremely small, the
settlements were scattered, and the roads were mere trails.[137] In
general there was very little intercourse between the various colonies.
Such intercommunication as was carried on usually went by means of
coastwise vessels or by occasional travellers. The one exception was a
post route from New York to Boston, established in 1672 to go monthly.
The system established in Virginia in 1657 was of a primitive character,
being merely a requirement that every planter should furnish a messenger
to convey the mail to the next plantation, under penalty of forfeiting a
hogshead of tobacco in default.

In 1688, by an Order in Council, the establishment of a Post Office in
Jamaica, and such other of his Majesty's plantations in America "as
shall be found convenient," was authorized. On the 17th February 1692
the Crown granted a patent to Thomas Neale (then Master of the Mint)
vesting in him the American post, with full power and authority to erect
post offices in the chief parts of the American colonies "for the
receiving and despatching of letters and pacquets, and to receive, send,
and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters
shall agree to give." It was no light matter to obtain the acquiescence
of all the colonies in the exercise of general rights as regards the
Post Office in North America, especially as they had previously been
free to make their own arrangements in this respect. Neale was himself
never in North America, but his deputy there, Andrew Hamilton, who was a
very capable man, was able not only to secure the acceptance by the
colonies of a general postal system under Neale's patent, but to obtain
from some of them small grants in aid.

Most of the colonies passed Acts authorizing the establishment of Post
Offices under the provisions of the patent; and the principle of postal
monopoly was introduced in these enactments.[138] The General Assembly
of Virginia authorized a Post Office in the colony, believing such an
office to be of "generall concernement and of great advantage for the
increase and preservation of trade and commerce therein, for thereby
speedy and safe despatch may be had."[139] The rates of postage were as

  Every letter         For distance not       3d.
  not exceeding        exceeding 80
  one sheet            English miles

  Ditto two sheets          "                 6d.

  Every pacquet             "                 12d. per ounce
  of writs and                                weight.

  Every letter         Above distance         4-1/2d.
  not exceeding        of 80 English
  one sheet            miles

  Ditto two sheets          "                 9d.

  Every pacquet             "                 18d. per ounce.
  of writs and

The rates established in the other colonies were similar but not

The new postal service under the authority of the patent was commenced
on the 1st May 1693. A post was set up from Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
to Boston, Saybrook, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Virginia.
Five stages were fixed, and a rider was appointed to each stage. In
summer the service was performed weekly, and in winter fortnightly. At
the commencement, as may be readily understood, the conditions were
somewhat difficult.[140] But with the growth of population and commerce,
conditions improved. The service to the South was for many years subject
to general irregularity and temporary suspension, especially at times of

The Post Office in America has from its first establishment as a general
system, as distinguished from the merely local or municipal posts, had
to reckon with two factors which have been of great importance in
relation to all the main services--a vast extent of territory and a
sparse population. The rates were higher than those in operation in
England, but at first, and for many years, the revenue was insufficient
to defray the expenses. The finance of the American Post Office
consequently differed fundamentally from that of the English office.

Neale was required by the terms of his patent to render an account at
the end of three years of the receipts and expenditures of the American
post. His first account was not, however, rendered until 1698. It showed
that the expenses up to May 1697 were £3,817, and the receipts £1,457,
there being thus a loss of £2,360. The account was accompanied by a
statement prepared by Hamilton, explaining the great advantages to the
trade and commerce of the colonies, as well as to their security, which
the Post Office provided; showing how necessary in consequence was the
continuance of the office, and recommending that definite rates of
postage for the whole territory be fixed by statute. Other regulations
for the conduct of the system were also suggested, as the existing
arrangement, involving such serious loss to the patentee, could not be
continued indefinitely. Neale contented himself with a brief remark to
the effect that whenever his Majesty should see fit to take the conduct
of the posts into his own hands, he (Neale) would be glad to surrender
his patent--of course, for a consideration.[141]

The Postmasters-General opposed the suggested increase of rates on
general grounds, their experience having taught them that "the easy and
cheap corresponding doth encourage people to write letters, and that
this revenue was but little in proportion to what it is now, till the
postage of letters was reduced from sixpence to threepence."

Neale died shortly afterwards, and his rights in the patent were
transferred to his creditors, who were Hamilton himself and an
Englishman named West. Hamilton died in 1703, and his widow carried on
the posts for some two or three years. In 1706 she and West endeavoured
to obtain an extension of the term of the patent; so that, although the
posts had been conducted for some years at heavy loss, both by Hamilton
and by his widow, the conditions had improved, and there was now
reasonable anticipation of a profit from the office. The view of the
Postmasters-General, however, ultimately prevailed, and in 1707 the
patent was bought back for the Crown for the sum of £1,664. When, a few
years later, a general Act of Parliament was found necessary, the
opportunity was taken to place the American posts on a definite
statutory footing.[142]

The preamble recites that posts had at great charges been established on
the mainland of North America through most of her Majesty's plantations
and colonies, and the Postmasters-General were authorized to establish a
"Chief Letter Office" in New York, and other chief offices at some
convenient place or places in each of the colonies in America, and to
appoint deputies for the "better managing, ordering, collecting, and
improving the Revenue" granted by the Act. Rates for the transmission of
letters between England and America were fixed, and detailed rates for
transmission between specific towns within the North American colonies.
The rates between London and America were 1s. for a single letter, 2s.
for a double letter, and so on. For transmission within the colonies the
rates were, broadly, for distances under 60 miles, 4d. the single
letter, 8d. the double letter, and so on; distances under 100 miles, for
a single letter 6d., and so in proportion for double and treble and
ounce letters.

These rates were, in general, higher than those which had been fixed by
the colonies under the Neale patent, but for several years they did not
produce sufficient revenue to meet expenses. In 1722 the
Postmasters-General were for the first time able to say that in the
future the Post Office in North America, even if it yielded no net
revenue, would no longer involve a charge, and there was a good prospect
of a profit. The Act of 1765 provided rates for the longer distances and
made a general reduction of nearly 30 per cent. The rates now became,
for a single letter, for conveyance for any distance not exceeding 60
miles, 4d.; from 60 to 100 miles, 6d.; from 100 to 200 miles, 8d.; for
each additional 100 miles, 2d.[143] In the intervening period the chief
events had been the appointment of Benjamin Franklin, in 1737, to be
Postmaster of Philadelphia, and in 1753, to be joint Postmaster-General
for British North America, and the acquisition of Canada in 1763. The
latter event had, indeed, been one of the reasons assigned for the
passing of the Act of 1765.[144]

Under Andrew Hamilton the posts had run only along the coast, the great
main route extending from Portsmouth, N.H., through Boston and New York
to Maryland and Virginia. Under his son, John Hamilton, who succeeded
him in the office, the posts were pushed inland as occasion offered or
circumstances demanded, and for these extensions John Hamilton adopted
the principle of establishing routes in those cases where the postage
was sufficient to maintain them. On such a basis the system could not,
however, be very largely developed. The circumstances of the country
made any great extension impossible, and in 1766 the posts still went
mainly along the sea coasts.[145]

Franklin was dismissed in 1774. The Crown Post Office was continued in
North America, but about this time a competing system arose. For some
years there had been friction in the colonies between the authorities
and the publishers of newspapers. The anomalous English system of the
distribution of newspapers free by post by certain favoured individuals
had been introduced in America. The favoured officials were the American
Postmasters-General, and for that reason the office was much sought
after by publishers. Both Franklin and Hunter, who were joint
Postmasters-General (Franklin from 1753 to 1774, and Hunter from 1753
to his death in 1761), were printers, and Franklin's dismissal is
sometimes attributed to a desire on the part of the British Government
to hamper the distribution of his publications, and so restrict their
influence. Great efforts were at this time made by the Crown authorities
in America to prevent the dissemination of ideas contrary to the British
ascendancy. As early as 1757 the Governor of Pennsylvania endeavoured to
prevent the publication of improper intelligence in newspapers, and
suggested that special instructions should be given to the
Postmasters-General. The feeling against the newspapers grew with the
developments of the years that followed, and by 1774 much trouble was
being caused by the Crown Postmasters to the publishers of newspapers.
Many were toning down their comments in order to retain the privilege of
free transmission, but some began to look for other means of
distributing their papers. William Goddard of Baltimore, publisher of
the _Maryland Journal_, suggested the establishment of "an _American_
Post Office on constitutional principles," and visited various colonies
in the early part of the year 1774 with the object of enlisting support
for his project. He received a good measure of approval, and on the 30th
April 1774 subscriptions were invited from the public towards the
establishment of an American Post Office. The scheme of this Post Office
was that subscriptions should be invited for its establishment and
maintenance, and "for the necessary defence of post officers and riders
employed in the same"; and that the subscribers in each colony should
appoint a committee from among themselves, whose business should be to
appoint postmasters at places where offices had hitherto been kept or
might be judged necessary, "and to regulate the postage of letters and
packets, with the terms on which newspapers are to be carried."[146]

Meantime the committees of safety and the Assemblies of the various
colonies made certain provision for the transmission of mails, both
within and between the colonies. In May 1775 the New York Committee
appointed a sub-committee to inquire of the postmaster, Mr. Foxcroft,
the reason for the recent discharge by him of the post riders. The
postmaster's explanation was that the last four mails between New York
and Boston had been held up and violated on the journey, and he had
discharged the post riders on the ground that it was no longer safe to
send them with mails. The committee thereupon themselves immediately
arranged for the despatch of mails from New York, and a few days later
issued a notice "to acquaint the publick that a constitutional Post
Office is now rising on the ruins of the parliamentary one."

In the course of the next few months several provincial congresses
passed resolutions establishing Post Offices in the respective colonies.
Massachusetts fixed rates of postage at 5-1/4d. for a single letter for
not more than 60 miles, and increased rates for greater distances. The
whole matter was at the same time under the consideration of the
Continental Congress sitting at Philadelphia. Goddard had, from the
first establishment of the constitutional Post Office, expected Congress
to assume control.[147] In May, Congress appointed a committee to
consider the matter, and on the 26th July, having received the
committee's report, agreed to resolutions providing for the
establishment of a Post Office. Benjamin Franklin, who had been a member
of the committee, was unanimously chosen to be the first
Postmaster-General. It was provided that the remuneration of the
deputies should, in general, be 20 per cent. on the sums they collected,
the rate which had usually been paid under the parliamentary
system.[148] Postage of letters was to be 20 per cent. less than those
appointed by Act of Parliament. It was feared that such rates would
prove too low, and the proceeds of the office be insufficient to support
the necessary riders; and as people were in general well satisfied with
the rates lately paid, or at least had made no complaints regarding
them, the lowering of the rates was deferred.[149]

The parliamentary post continued for some years, concurrently with the
constitutional post, as the new independent Post Office was called. On
the 7th October 1775 a debate arose in Congress as to the expediency of
stopping the "parliamentary or ministerial posts." The stopping of the
post was desired chiefly as a means for hindering the correspondence of
their enemies. Inaction in the matter was advocated by some who
professed to find the royal post of great convenience; and by others
who, although desirous of seeing the parliamentary post stopped, thought
it unnecessary to take active measures against it, since it would soon
cease in any case.

On Christmas Day, 1775, the Secretary to the Post Office in New York
issued a notification to the public that, in consequence of the decision
of a provincial convention at Annapolis not to permit the parliamentary
post to travel through the province, that mail would be discontinued,
and the letters held at New York at the disposal of the persons to whom
they were addressed. The parliamentary post did not, however, altogether
die. As late as 1779 the Secretary in London wrote to the Deputy-General
at New York that the Postmasters-General were glad to find that a number
of letters were being brought to the Post Office to be delivered, and as
they hoped that method would be continued, the deputy would, no doubt,
soon have sufficient funds to pay the expenses of the establishment. But
in 1780 the Postmasters-General were concerned to find that the whole
postage would not defray the cost of management, a circumstance
attributed to the fact that the mails were often seized on arrival and
carried first to the headquarters of the Army. In consequence of this, a
great part of the letters were never delivered at all. Very little
postage could be collected, and the Postmasters-General addressed strong
representations to Lord George Germain, his Majesty's principal
Secretary of State.[150]

In 1776, in view of the great necessity, for the safety of the colonies,
that means should be provided for the frequent and rapid transmission of
intelligence, further dispositions with regard to the posts were made by
the Congress. Riders were appointed for every twenty-five or thirty
miles on the several post roads. They were required to proceed through
their respective stages three times a week. They were to set out
immediately on the receipt of the mail and were to travel "by night and
by day, without stopping," until they had delivered the mail to the next
rider. It was found that the revenue produced by the existing rates of
postage fell far short of the expenses, and on the 17th October 1777 the
rates were raised by 50 per cent. The difficulties of the administration
continued, and various committees of inquiry were appointed. In April
1779 one of these committees recommended the doubling of the rates, a
course which met with approval from patriotic Americans.[151]

Even this increase was not sufficient. In October of that year there was
a balance of £375 18s. 6d. due to the Postmaster-General, and arrears of
£17,666 1s. 3d. to the post riders. For the discharge of these
liabilities and for the continuance of the functions of the office a
draft on the Treasurer was authorized. In December 1779 a further grant
was found to be absolutely necessary in order to maintain the service,
and the sum of $30,000 was voted.[152] The establishment of express
riders which had been maintained in conjunction with the postal service
was at the same time abolished, and the rates of postage raised 20 per
cent. on those paid in 1775. But the cost still outran the revenue, and
in May 1780 sums amounting to $100,000 were voted in aid of the service.
The finances of the posts became involved in further difficulties
through the general depreciation of money, and Congress found it
necessary in December 1780 to make good the depreciation on the pay of
post riders, and to raise their nominal pay to double the sum received
before the war.[153]

Several minor changes of the rates of postage were made in this period.
In December 1780 the Congress fixed the rates on letters at half the
rates paid at the commencement of the war: and in October 1781 at the
actual rates charged at the commencement of the war. But, whatever the
rates, during the war they never produced sufficient revenue to meet
expenses, and the controlling factor in the administration of the
service was the necessity for a means of circulating the earliest
intelligence of the movements of the enemy, and of their ally, in order
to make the best disposition of their own forces.

By the Articles of Confederation Congress was vested with the sole and
exclusive rights and power of establishing a Post Office for the United
States; and, deeming "the communication of intelligence with regularity
and despatch from one part to another of the United States essentially
requisite to the safety as well as the commercial interest thereof," in
1782 revised all the regulations made theretofore in respect of the Post
Office, and reduced them to one Act. The Postmaster-General was required
to cause the mail to be carried with all care and despatch at least once
in every week to and from each of the stated post offices, and was given
a monopoly of "letters, packets, or other despatches." Postmasters were
to be paid such commission as the Postmaster-General might think their
services merited, not exceeding 20 per cent. of the postage collected by
them. Rates of postage on single letters were fixed as follows:--

           Distance.                            Rate.[154]

  Not exceeding 60 miles                        1 dwt. 8 gr.
  Exceeding 60 miles, not exceeding 100 miles   2  "   0 "
  Exceeding 100 miles, not exceeding 200 miles  2  "  16 "

And so on, advancing 16 grains for every hundred miles.

For all letters for or from Europe by packet or despatch vessels, the
charge was 4 dwt. The rates were doubled for double letters; trebled for
treble letters; and a packet weighing an ounce was charged equal to four
single letters, and in that proportion if a greater weight. In the event
of a surplus of Post Office revenue over expenses, the
Postmaster-General was required to pay the amount to the Treasurer of
the United States "until the sums of money heretofore advanced by the
United States for the support of the General Post Office, with the
interest thereon at 6 per cent. per annum," should be repaid, after
which any such surplus was to be devoted to the establishment of new
post offices or other improvements of the service. If the necessary
expenses were found to exceed the revenue, the excess was to be paid to
the Postmaster-General by the Treasurer of the United States.[155] Cross
posts were farmed in much the same way as the cross posts and bye posts
had been farmed in England,[156] and the farmers were bound by contract
not to charge rates in excess of those fixed by the ordinance.[157]

After the adoption of the Constitution an Act of the Constitutional
Congress became necessary. The President, in recommending to Congress
the provision of the Post Office and post roads on a liberal and
comprehensive scale, referred to the political importance of such a
service as aiding the diffusion of a knowledge of the laws and
proceedings of the Government,[158] a consideration which was paramount
in determining the attitude of the United States Government towards the
posts. It was held to be a first duty of the Government to afford every
possible means for the dissemination of intelligence--general
intelligence for the information and education of the people, and more
especially political intelligence for the education of the people as
citizens of the Republic. They were making, it was their legitimate
boast, a tremendous experiment in politics. They were essaying to
demonstrate to the world whether a people had the genius to govern
itself, whether democracy and the republic were abstract political ideas
only, or whether they could be made actual living things. The English
Commonwealth had failed. The French Revolution had come after their own
and was still in doubtful case. They could therefore neglect no means
likely to strengthen the foundation of their own Republic, and in this
view must consider seriously the question of providing effective means
for the enlightenment of the sovereign people on all matters pertaining
to the executive Government and the Legislature.[159] In order to secure
the dissemination of such intelligence members of Congress were given
extensive powers of franking both letters and newspapers.

On the question of rates, opinion in Congress was divided. Although at
the time the gross revenue of the Post Office was small, some members
anticipated an increase sufficient to yield a net revenue, as in England
and most other European countries; whilst others, with more wisdom,
pointed out the vital difference in the case of America on account of
"its great extent and uncultivated state, as well as from a thousand
other causes."[160] The new rates were based on eight zones of distance.
For distances under 30 miles the charge for single letters was 6 cents;
for distances over 450 miles the charge was 25 cents; every double
letter, double rates; every triple letter, triple rates; and every
packet weighing 1 ounce avoirdupois, the rate of four single letters for
each ounce.

The rates for letters fixed by the Act of 1792 continued some thirty
years, except for slight modifications in 1799 and 1816, and except for
a brief period at the time of the war of 1812-14 with Great Britain. The
Government then attempted to obtain an increased revenue from the Post
Office, and the rates of postage were increased 50 per cent. The effect
on the revenue and on the business of the country was, however, so
disastrous that the increased rates were maintained only for about a

In 1825 the laws relating to the Post Office were codified. The
codifying Act placed on the Postmaster-General the duty of establishing
such post offices, and appointing such postmasters on the post roads as
should appear to him expedient, and of providing for the carriage of the
mail on all post roads that were or might be established by law,[162]
with such frequency as he should think proper, "_having_ _regard to the
productiveness_" of the routes, the means of the department, and other
circumstances. Errors and irregularities crept into the service; but
they were for the most part the result of "the representations and
pressing solicitations of the citizens," sustained by members of
Congress from almost every section of the country, of the extension of
the franking privilege, of the desire of the head of the department "to
extend the benefits of mail facilities and stage-coach accommodations to
every portion of the community," and of legislation extending the
transportation of the mail over unproductive routes. The deficits which
resulted were not regarded altogether as an evil, because the public had
greatly benefited by the measures which had produced them.[163] Despite
the solicitude of Congress the revenue failed to recover, and in 1837
and several succeeding years showed a deficit.

Sir Rowland Hill's pamphlet _Post Office Reform: Its Importance and
Practicability_ attracted attention in America, and as early as 1839 the
question of applying the principle of uniformity of rate to the American
service was under consideration. The rate proposed was not, however, 2
cents, the equivalent of a penny, but 5 cents. Sir Rowland Hill himself
expressed the opinion that owing to the widely different circumstances
penny postage might not be applicable to the United States, but that, as
the American people did not look for a revenue from their Post Office, a
low general rate might be feasible.[164]

Although a low and uniform rate was not immediately adopted, the example
of Great Britain had great influence.[165] There was considerable public
agitation in favour of reduction of rates, and in many respects the
circumstances resembled those obtaining in England before the reform.
The high rates of postage led to constant and widespread evasion,
advantage being taken of all available private means for the
transmission of letters, and an association formed in New York to work
for the adoption of reduced postage held meetings in the large cities.
In 1844 the finances of the department were in a more nourishing
condition. For four years the service had been able to maintain itself.
The state of the public Treasury had prevented any material change in
previous years, but as difficulties under that head had ceased, the
Government recommended the introduction of low rates--gradually, in
order to prevent any serious dislocation of the finance of the
department.[166] A statute was accordingly passed which, while not
introducing uniform postage, went a great way in that direction. There
were to be only two distance charges, viz. for distances not exceeding
300 miles, or greater than 300 miles, respectively. The new rate for
ordinary letters was 5 cents for distances not exceeding 300 miles, and
10 cents for any greater distance. This statute also introduced the
principle of charge by weight instead of by sheets, the half-ounce being
taken as the unit weight.[167]

The reduction resulted in so great a fall in the revenue that in the
first year at the reduced rates there was a deficit of between one and
two million dollars. In calling attention to this deficit, the
President, in his Message to Congress, said that no principle had been
more generally acquiesced in by the people than that the Post Office
should sustain itself, but Congress had "never sought to make it a
source of revenue except for a short period during the last war with
Great Britain." At the same time the service should not become a charge
on the general Treasury, and it would be necessary either to curtail the
existing service or so to modify the Act of the previous March as to
improve the revenue. As curtailment of service was out of the question,
revision of the rates was recommended.[168]

But the rates were not revised. Revision in an upward direction was,
indeed, hardly feasible. The public agitation for low rates continued
after the passing of the Act of 1845. Many citizens were convinced that
the system already adopted in England might be introduced in the United
States. The benefits which had resulted in England in the way of
commercial, social, and moral betterment were largely dwelt upon. The
chief demand was for a uniform rate, which now meant simply the
abolition of the increased charge for distances over 300 miles. There
was, of course, Sir Rowland Hill's calculation in regard to cost of
conveyance, which showed the futility of any attempt to make distance
the basis of charge; and the further consideration that the actual cost
of transit for each letter sent in a mail varies not in accordance with
the distance travelled, but inversely as the number of letters contained
in the mail. Moreover, it was not considered just that the letters of
the people of the populous Eastern States should be taxed in order to
provide unremunerative mail services to the remote and newly settled
Western States.[169]

Under the old high rates the revenue had not increased in proportion to
the increase of population, but since the reduction of 1845 the increase
was so much more rapid that even with the reduced rates the revenue was
greater than ever before. The Government preferred rates of postage
which were too low to rates which were too high, arguing that in the
former case the great mass of the people would benefit, whilst in the
latter case the benefits would extend only to a few.[170] The need for
some further reduction was well illustrated by the fact that the
ordinary charge for transporting a barrel of flour from Detroit to
Buffalo was at this time the same as the charge for carrying in the same
conveyance a letter weighing half an ounce, viz. 10 cents.

In 1851 an Act reduced to 3 cents the rate of postage on letters not
going over 300 miles, with a fourfold charge on Pacific mails, on
account of the great expense incurred by the department. It was
estimated that the expense of such mails was four times as great as in
the case of ordinary mails, but the proposal met with opposition.[171]

In 1863 mail matter was classified in three groups: (1) letters, (2)
regular printed matter, (3) other miscellaneous matter. The charge for
letters (first-class mail matter) was made 3 cents a half ounce
irrespective of distance. The rate was reduced to 2 cents a half ounce
in 1883, in deference to the wish and determination of the public,
supported by a very decided vote in Congress. It was anticipated that
the revenue would not suffer severely, but that, as in the case of the
earlier reductions, there would be an increase in the number of letters.
It was also anticipated that many letters sent unsealed at 1 cent would
be transferred to the sealed post, thus yielding an additional cent. The
number of groups or classes of mail matter had been increased to four in
1879, and the department was now asked to consider whether by
rearranging the third and fourth class matter additional revenue could
be obtained from such matter in order to diminish the deficiency
resulting from the reduction of letter postage. The department was
unable to suggest any method for achieving this object; but the
contemplated reduction was not delayed. The condition of the Treasury
was good, "there being money enough to meet any deficiency, even if it
were as large as the maximum ($8,550,000)," estimated on the basis of
the number of letters then passing by post without allowance for any
increase.[172] The actual loss of revenue consequent on the reduction
was only $1,660,000. A large stimulus was given to general
correspondence, and, as anticipated, to the use of the sealed letter in
place of postcards or unsealed circulars, whereby the department reaped
considerable profit. In 1885 the allowance for weight was raised, and
the rate became 2 cents for each ounce or fraction of an ounce.

Since that date the rate has not been changed, although from time to
time proposals have been made for a reduction to 1 cent. The public and
the department realize that the 2-cent rate is immensely profitable. It
not only sustains the service for letters: it enables the department to
carry the heavy burden of both the second-class matter and the expensive
rural delivery service, both of which involve heavy deficits, and still
to show only a comparatively small, though fluctuating, deficit.[173] As
early as 1890 the question of 1 cent letter postage had attained
considerable prominence. Many newspapers were advocating the reduction,
and numerous associations and conventions had declared for it. The
Postmaster-General, Mr. Wanamaker, himself declared that great numbers
of the people believed in 1 cent postage and wanted it, and that the
existing rate yielded a large profit which would permit of a reduction
of letter postage if it could be devoted to that purpose.[174] In 1891
Mr. Wanamaker expressed the view that in time not only would 1 cent
postage be successfully demanded, but that the time was not far off;
although he himself thought that many other improvements and extensions
ought to be provided before such reduction was made, and that it would
not be just and fair to the service, upon which much effort had been
spent in order to make it self-supporting, to heap upon it a burden of
millions from which it could not recover for years.[175]

The question was by no means lost sight of.[176] With the department
showing a deficit in most years, pressure could not be brought to bear
for a reduction of postage which could only result in throwing a heavy
charge on the public Treasury. Should, however, the department succeed
in its efforts to obtain a higher rate of charge on second-class matter,
and such higher charge results as satisfactorily to the revenue as the
department anticipates, there can be little doubt that reduction of
letter postage would soon follow.[177]

       *       *       *       *       *


The Roman posts in France disappeared in the confusion which followed
the incursions of the barbarians. Charlemagne repaired the roads to
Germany, to Italy, and to Spain, in the early part of the ninth century,
and established on them a system of relays; but with the passing of the
Carlovingian Empire these arrangements fell into decay. The feudal
system which arose after the break-up of the Empire was little adapted
for the encouragement of posts. Its tendencies were rather towards
disintegration and isolation. Although some of the services survived,
there was for centuries no general system of posts in France.[178]
During this period the chief means of communication were provided by the
monasteries, which maintained regular intercourse between their various
establishments scattered throughout France, Spain, Germany, and other
countries; by travelling merchants, and by journeymen.

When a regular service of posts was again established in France, it was
provided, not by the State, but by the University of Paris, which in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries increased in importance and renown, and
attracted large numbers of students from all parts of France, and from
foreign countries. In order to provide a means of communication between
the students and their homes, the University obtained from the King
authority to employ for the purpose messengers, to whom were accorded
certain special privileges. Thus, in 1296, the messengers of the
University were exempted from payment of tolls, or of fees for entry
into towns. At first they travelled on foot, but at a later date on
horseback or by carriage. The system developed regularity and rapidity,
and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was employed, although
without authority, by the public generally.[179]

This service continued until 1720, when the privileges of the University
were suppressed, monetary compensation (120,000 fr.) being paid from the
revenue of the posts.[180]

An ordinary postal service was re-established by Louis XI in 1464.[181]
Relay stations were set up on the main routes, four leagues apart. At
each station four or five horses were provided by the postmasters, who
were required to convey the royal despatches without special
remuneration. For conducting the royal couriers from stage to stage,
however, payment was made at the rate of 10 sous for each stage for
every horse.

In 1527 the postmasters were given the exclusive right of furnishing
horses for the use of couriers. In order to provide accommodation for
travellers, a system of relays was established in 1597, in addition to
the ordinary posts.[182] The stages were fixed at distances varying from
twelve to fifteen leagues, and the charge for a horse was 20 sous for
each stage. This system was amalgamated with the posts in 1602, and the
functions for which the relays had been established were exercised by
the posts until after the Revolution. They were definitely abandoned to
private enterprise in 1797.

The transmission of ordinary letters for private individuals was not at
first contemplated,[183] but it became common for the royal messengers
to carry letters for the public. The conveyance of private letters was
first definitely provided for by the State in 1576. In that year a
special system of messengers was established, whose function was to
convey legal documents between the Parliament and the inferior courts,
and was limited to the period during which Parliament was sitting.
These messengers were required to carry letters for private individuals
at the following rates:--

  For a single letter                               10 deniers
  For a packet of three or four letters             15 "
  For packets of letters weighing an ounce or more  20 "

irrespective of distance.[184]

Under Richelieu the ordinary posts were given a regular organization.
Fixed days of departure and arrival were appointed; offices were
established in the towns; and in 1627 the first general table of rates
was issued.[185] Previously the rate was fixed mutually between the
couriers and the senders or receivers of letters.[186]

For single letters the tariff of 1627 prescribed rates of 2 sous for
transmission between Paris and Dijon, and 3 sous for transmission
between Paris and Lyons, Paris and Bordeaux, Paris and Toulouse. For
letters composed of more than one sheet, but less than 1/2 ounce in
weight, the rate varied from 3 to 5 sous; and for larger packets the
rate was from 5 to 8 sous per ounce. In 1637 the posts were given the
monopoly of the carriage of letters.[187]

In the first years the posts had been a charge on the State, but at
about this time they were let at farm, and proved a fruitful and growing
source of revenue to the State. By 1672 the annual rent of the farm had
risen to 1,700,000 livres, and in 1791, the last year of the farm, the
net revenue was about 12,000,000 fr.

A new tariff was established in 1676, as follows:--

                       |              Letters               | Packets.
         Distance.     |                                    |
                       | Single. | With Envelope. | Double. | Per ounce.
  Less than 25 leagues | 2 sous  | 3 sous         | 4 sous  |   6 sous
  From  25 to 60       | 3   "   | 4   "          | 5   "   |   9   "
    "   60 to 80       | 4   "   | 5   "          | 6   "   |  12   "
  Above 80 leagues     | 5   "   | 6   "          | 9   "   |  15   "

The progression for distance was in decreasing proportion.

In 1703 the rates were raised mainly in order to provide funds to meet
the expenses of the wars of Louis XIV. Two reasons were assigned: the
necessity for increased revenue, and the necessity for remedying certain
defects in the existing rates, in regard to the distances and the
progression of weight--the charges should be proportionate to the actual
distance traversed by the couriers; and the existing rate of charge for
ounce letters was therefore unjust, because it required at least six
single letters to make up a weight of 1 ounce.[188]

As a matter of fact, the new rates fixed in 1703 did not vary exactly
with distance. The number of zones was doubled, and the distances were
reckoned according to the number of stages, and the routes actually
followed by the couriers. The charge for a single letter varied from 3
to 10 sous.

These rates remained in force until 1759, when a variety of causes led
to a further increase of rates. The Seven Years' War had made an
increase of taxation necessary; there had been a depreciation of money,
and an increase in the cost of all commodities, which had resulted in an
increase of the expenses of conducting the posts. Under the tariff of
1759 the eight zones of 1703 were maintained, and the rate for single
letters varied from 4 to 14 sous, with an additional rate of 1 sou for
all letters enclosed in an envelope. The principle of charge according
to weight was introduced for letters weighing less than 1 ounce, which
up to this time had been charged only according to the number of sheets.
Double letters weighing more than 1/4 ounce and less than 1/2 ounce,
were rated at 7 sous for the first zone, and for the other zones a "rate
2 sous less than the ordinary rate for double letters." Packets were
charged by the ounce, and the rate per ounce was four times that for a
single letter. As with the tariff of 1703, distances were calculated
according to the route actually followed by the couriers.

No further modification of the rates was made until after the
Revolution. The lease of the posts was due to expire on the 31st
December 1791, and it was decided that the Legislature should rectify
the tariff before the date at which the posts would revert to the
State.[189] A rectification was accordingly announced by the decrees of
the 17th-22nd August 1791. This revision slightly increased the rates of
1759. The initial rate of 4 sous for single letters circulating within
the same _département_ was retained; the rate for letters circulating in
the same _arrondissement_ was fixed at 3 sous; between _départements_
the rate was increased, and varied from 5 to 15 sous, according to
distance of transmission; and the number of zones was increased to

Distances were no longer to be reckoned according to the length of the
route actually traversed, but from point to point as the crow flies. The
points were not, however, the actual points of posting and of delivery.
In each department a point was fixed upon, and the rate for all letters
posted or delivered in the _département_ was calculated as from that
point; so that for a given weight the same rate was payable on all
letters exchanged between the same two _départements_. This system,
though comprising a very large number of rates, was much simpler than
the earlier systems. Any one town or village now had only 82 rates for
each step in the scale of rates, whereas under the previous system a
special rate must be calculated for every other town or village in
France. To assist the application of this tariff, a map showing the
central point fixed upon for each of the 82 _départements_, and the
distances from each central point to all others, was prepared and
supplied to every post office in France.

The tariff of 1791 also abolished the method of charge according to the
number of sheets, and substituted the simpler method of charge according
to weight alone. The maximum weight for a single letter was fixed at 1/4
ounce, and for heavier letters the rates were--

  From 1/4 oz. to 1/2   oz.     1-1/2 times the rate for a single letter
   "   1/2  "     3/4    "      twice           "
   "   3/4  "     1      "      3 times         "
   "   1    "     1-1/4  "      4 times         "

and so on, the increase being one single rate for each 1/4 ounce
increase of weight. The rate for letters circulating within the same
town remained 2 sous an ounce.

This tariff continued in operation only for a short period. In these
troubled times the public services fell into complete disorder, and the
control of the posts by the Government did not prove a success. When in
farm the rent had been comparatively large; but under State management,
even with the increased rates of 1791, the finances were altogether
unsatisfactory. In 1791 there had been a profit of 12 millions. Soon
there was a deficit: in 1793 it was found necessary to allow 4 millions
in aid. Further increases in the rates followed. In 1795[191] they were
made 2 livres 10 sous, 5 livres, 7 livres 10 sous, or 10 livres,
according to distance, but, like most other very high postage rates,
failed of their purpose. Instead of increasing revenue, they almost
destroyed correspondence. Transmission by private means became
widespread.[192] Other circumstances--the general insecurity of the
times, and the violation of the secrecy of letters by officers of the
Government--contributed to this development. At the end of six months
the rates were lowered to 3, 5, 7, and 9 decimes, according to distance,
but these rates were still high. The posts were reconstituted under the
Consulate and the Empire, and further minor changes introduced, the
object held in view in all these changes being chiefly to secure a
revenue sufficient to meet the expenditures of the service.

The last tariff under the old system of charge according to distance was
introduced in 1827.[193] The number of zones, which in 1810 had been
increased to fourteen, in order to provide for the extended territory
resulting from the French conquests, was reduced to eleven. The rates
ranged from 20 centimes to 1 fr. 20 for single letters, and the weight
limit for a single letter was fixed at 7 grammes. Distances were
reckoned as the crow flies. In 1829 a postal service was established in
the rural communes, and an additional rate of 1 decime imposed on all
letters received or delivered in the communes.[194] This surcharge was
abolished in 1846. As in England, the charges imposed on letters sent
for considerable distances were exceedingly heavy. The charge on a
letter from Paris to Marseilles, weighing 15 grammes, was no less than 2
fr. 20.

Attention was soon directed to Sir Rowland Hill's proposals for the
reform of the English system. Before the reform had been introduced in
England, the French Government were urged to improve the French service
on the lines proposed by Sir Rowland Hill. In July 1839 M. Lherbette,
member of the Chamber of Deputies, suggested the introduction of a
Government measure, and in this he met with considerable support. The
Government, however, contented themselves with remarking that it would
be better to await the result of the projected reform in England.

In the following years the question was frequently raised in the French
Parliament, on the Budget, or on reports and petitions, and there was
considerable public feeling in favour of the reform. In 1843, 65
_conseils généraux_ presented petitions in favour of reduced postage. In
1844 M. de St. Priest made a proposal to reduce the number of zones to
two, and to fix the rate of postage at 20 centimes for distances up to
40 kilometres, and 30 centimes for greater distances. A parliamentary
Commission, appointed to examine this proposal, made an estimate of the
actual cost to the Post Office of the transmission of letters, and found
that while the cost of a letter going 40 kilometres (postage 20
centimes) was 9·75 centimes, the cost of a letter going 900 kilometres
(postage 1 fr. 20) was 14·75 centimes. The Commission reported in favour
of a uniform rate of 20 centimes, but the proposal was not adopted.
Other proposals for the introduction of a reformed system were made in
February 1846 and January 1848.

It was left to the Republican Government of 1848 to introduce the
reform.[195] The National Assembly had under consideration at the same
time two propositions for effecting the reform--that of M. de St.
Priest, and that of the Government itself, both proposing a uniform rate
of 25 centimes for single letters. These propositions were referred to a
parliamentary Commission, of which M. de St. Priest was a member, and
the report of the Commission, which recommended the reform, was adopted
by the Assembly.

The Government Bill to give effect to the recommendation of the
Commission was opposed in the National Assembly, mainly on the ground
that the benefit of the reduction of rate would accrue almost entirely
to the business and commercial interests and not to the general public;
and on the ground that a letter was a parcel, and should be charged like
any other parcel, according to its weight and according to the distance
transmitted. The Government's justification for the proposal rested
chiefly on the moral and social benefits which would result,[196] and
they contended that if, as the opposers of the reduction had argued,
commercial letters comprised seven-eighths of the total number of
letters passing by post, such an extraordinary fact itself did not show
that advantage from reduced rates would accrue only to business
interests. It showed the injustice of the existing rates, and would
never have existed if the postage on letters had not been higher in
France than in any other country in the world. The Commission had,
moreover, made a calculation of the actual cost of conveying and
delivering letters, which showed that the average cost per letter was
from 10 to 12 centimes.

The Government estimated that the number of letters would double in the
first year (i.e. would increase from 55 millions[197] to 110 millions),
and the result would therefore be a diminution of 3,125,000 fr., or 6
per cent. of the total receipts. This would represent the total loss,
since the Minister of Finance assured the Assembly that, after the most
minute and persistent inquiries, he had received from the postal
administration definite statements that no increase in expenses would be
caused by the increase in the number of letters--a result explained by
the fact that the increase of traffic would be appreciable only in
certain large towns; in other places the result would simply be that the
postmen would each have a few more letters to carry. Moreover, under the
new system the manipulation of correspondence would be much simplified
and facilitated.[198]

Frédéric Bastiat proposed to the Assembly, as an amendment, a postage of
5 centimes on letters up to 10 grammes, and 1 fr. for packets from 10 to
100 grammes. He said that the transmission of thought, of communications
between men, was the very essence of society, from which arose wealth,
business, civilization, and taxes themselves. Consequently, to him it
appeared an anomaly to place a tax on such communication.[199]

On the economic aspect of the question he contended that a rate of 5
centimes would provide sufficient revenue to meet the expenses of the

The Government were not convinced, and maintained their original
proposal, which was carried. The new rates were--

  Letters not exceeding 7-1/2 grammes      20 centimes
  From 7-1/2 grammes to 15 grammes         40     "
    "  15       "    to 100  "              1 fr.
  Over 100 grammes                          1 fr. for each 100
                                               grammes, or fraction
                                               of 100 grammes

The special rates for local letters were continued, viz.--

     Letters "de Paris pour Paris" not exceeding 15 grammes, 15
     centimes; Letters circulating in the limits of the same post office
     not exceeding 15 grammes, 10 centimes.

The reform, which took effect on the 1st January 1849, was much less
sweeping than the reform of 1840 in England--the initial rate was 20
centimes, corresponding to a twopenny rate--and the results were
naturally less striking in France. They were nevertheless quite
considerable. The total number of letters posted increased from
113,500,000 in 1848 to 148,600,000 in 1849, an increase of 31 per cent.,
compared with increase of 122 per cent. in the first year in England.
The gross revenue from letters and other packets fell from 48,816,861
fr. in 1848 to 36,582,009 fr. in 1849, a decrease of 11,234,852 fr. The
net revenue fell from 16,960,773 to 6,862,920 fr. Thus there remained a
substantial surplus.

Both the gross and net revenue recovered in much less time than in
England, as might have been expected, since the falling off had not been
nearly so great. Moreover, in 1850, on account of financial
stress,[201] the initial uniform rate was raised to 25 centimes, and the
rate for letters of from 7-1/2 grammes to 15 grammes, to 50 centimes.
The result of this was a set-back to the total numbers, which were only
148,500,000 in 1850, but an improvement in the gross and net revenue. By
1853 the net revenue had reached 17,176,229 fr., and by 1854 the gross
revenue had reached 50,019,801 fr.

In 1854 the initial rate for single letters was again reduced to 20
centimes, and the change was immediately reflected in the total number
of letters. In 1852 the number was 167,100,000, and in 1853,
170,400,000, an increase of 2 per cent. In 1854 the number was
195,900,000, an increase of 15 per cent. over the number for 1853.

Minor modifications were made in 1861 and 1862. The next important
change followed the war of 1870. It was necessary to increase existing
taxes wherever possible, and to impose fresh taxes, in order to meet the
heavy charges on the national exchequer resulting from the war. The
possibility of obtaining an increased revenue from increased rates of
postage was not overlooked. In 1871 the Government presented a Bill for
the purpose, solely as a fiscal measure.[202]

New rates as follows were established:--

  Letters not exceeding 10 grammes     25 centimes
  From 10 to 20 grammes                40    "
   "   20 to 50    "                   70    "
  Over 50 grammes                      50    "  for each
                                         50 grammes, or fraction
                                         of 50 grammes

For local letters not exceeding 15 grammes the rate of 15 centimes was

The results of this increase of rates are somewhat difficult to
determine with any degree of precision. Other circumstances affected the
number of letters, such as the loss of Alsace-Lorraine (an industrial
province), the establishment of postcards in 1873, and the reduced means
of the people by reason of increased taxation. The number of letters,
which in 1869 was 313,360,723, was in 1872 only 292,466,678, and the
figures for 1869 were not regained until 1877. If the numbers are
adjusted by reckoning the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to have resulted in a
decrease in numbers proportionate to the numbers of its population, that
is, one twenty-third of the total population of France, and adding the
normal increase of 9 millions a year, the number in 1872 would have been
325 millions, whereas it was in point of fact 292 millions. The
reduction was even greater in the following years. In 1873 the total
number fell to 285,350,341.

The financial result was no more satisfactory. The revenue in 1869 was
60,989,454 fr. In 1872 it had risen to 72,615,276 fr., an increase of 20
per cent. only, while the rates had been raised 25 per cent. for letters
from office to office and 50 per cent. for local letters. In 1873 the
yield was less. It was, indeed, little more than would have resulted
from the old rates if the normal increase of numbers under those rates
had continued, although it may be doubted whether this would have been
the case in view of the heavy financial strain imposed by the war of
1870. In any case, the financial result of the increase of rates, which
pressed heavily on commercial and social intercourse, was extremely

But if the rates were higher in France than in other countries, there
were yet some aspects in which the French service was in advance.[204]
Compared with England, for example, the uniform rate covered a much
greater extent of territory, and a daily delivery of letters was
afforded to every hamlet, and even to every isolated house, throughout
that greater territory.[205] This service was provided by a body of
19,010 rural postmen, the number of rural postmen in England at this
time being only 6,000. Facilities for the posting of letters were also
more extended in France: the number of posting-boxes was 45,000, as
compared with some 22,000 in the United Kingdom.[206]

It was always desired to withdraw the increase of 1872 as soon as the
financial situation would allow. This course was hastened by the
establishment in 1874 of the Universal Postal Union, of which France
became a member. The international rate for ordinary letters adopted by
the Union was 25 centimes. As a result the internal rates of France were
much higher than the rates for letters posted in France for places in
other countries of the Union. Such a situation could not continue, and
in August 1875 the internal rates were reduced. The new rates were:--

  Letters not exceeding 15 grammes      25 centimes
  From 15 to 30 grammes                 50    "
    "  30 to 50   "                     75    "
  Over 50 grammes                       50    "  for each
                                           50 grammes, or fraction
                                           of 50 grammes

The special local rates were retained.

The letter rate still remained comparatively high, and in the following
year numerous proposals were put forward in Parliament for a reduction.
In November 1876 the Government proposed the reduction of postage on
ordinary letters to 20 centimes, and on postcards to 10 centimes, the
special rates for local letters being continued. These proposals were
referred to the Budget Commission, who expressed the opinion that the
time had arrived for the introduction of complete uniformity of
rate,[207] and recommended a uniform initial rate for letters of 15
centimes for 15 grammes, and a uniform rate of 10 centimes for

Further consideration of the proposals was interrupted by the
dissolution of the Chamber. In the next session, M. Caillaux, Minister
of Finance, adopted the report of the Commission, and in April 1878 the
rate for letters was reduced to 15 centimes for each 15 grammes, or
fraction of 15 grammes. The general rate was thus brought to the level
of the local rate, which now disappeared.

The results of this reform were eminently satisfactory. The total number
of letters, which had during the years 1872 to 1877 increased by only
4,365,412, or some one and one-third per cent. per annum, increased from
318,659,158 in 1877 to 403,853,626 in 1879, or 26 per cent. in two
years, and from 1879 to 1889 the rate of increase was 6.6 per cent. per
annum. The Government had estimated that the reduction would involve a
loss to the revenue of some 15 millions for the first year. The actual
loss was 15,323,571 fr.

These figures are figures of gross revenue. The figures for net revenue
are less satisfactory, both in character and in the amounts indicated.
Their character is unsatisfactory because the expenses of the postal and
telegraph departments were not separate; and the figures for net revenue
therefore represent the net revenue on the whole service, both postal
and telegraph, and not merely for the postal traffic alone. At this
time, however, the telegraph business was small comparatively, and the
figures indicate generally the result of the reform. In 1877 the net
revenue was 47,706,293 fr. In 1878 it fell to 29,343,953 fr., and in
1879 to 21,084,699 fr., from which date there was a gradual, but steady,
recovery. In 1888 it had reached 48,811,146 fr. 25, an amount higher
than that of 1877, and in 1889 the net revenue passed 53 millions, a sum
never before reached in France.[208]

The rate fixed in 1878, although marking a considerable reduction of the
previous rate, was felt to be unsatisfactory. One of the principal
reasons invoked as justifying the suggestion for a further reduction of
the rate, was that the number of letters actually posted in France was
much less than the number posted in other countries. This circumstance
was attributed partly to the high initial rate, and partly to the fact
that the progression of charge was directly proportionate to the
increase of weight. The initial rate was in point of fact much higher
than the corresponding rate in other countries. The Press often called
attention to the unfavourable position in France in this respect, and
developed public opinion strongly in favour of a reduction.
Representations from business houses, chambers of commerce, and
_conseils généraux_ were constantly received by Parliament. The question
was frequently advanced in the Legislature, and numerous suggestions for
legislation were put forward by members. Thus, in 1897 M. Chassaing
proposed, among other reforms, the reduction of the letter rate to 10
centimes for each 15 grammes. Although admitting the desirability of
granting the boon, the Budget Commission were unable to recommend that
course on account of the serious effect on the net revenue which must be

In 1900 M. Millerand, Minister for Commerce, Industry, Posts, and
Telegraphs, in a report to the President,[210] recommended a reduction
of the rate on the grounds that it would give satisfaction to the
public, and, at the same time, increase appreciably the number of
letters transmitted by post. He suggested the following scale:--

  Letters not exceeding 15 grammes     10 centimes
  From 15 to 50 grammes                15   "
  Over 50 grammes                       5   "  for each
                                          50 grammes, or fraction
                                          of 50 grammes

Such a reduction would bring the rate of letter postage down to the
level of the existing rate for postcards; and M. Millerand regarded the
reduction of the latter rate to 5 centimes as an inevitable corollary,
and a reform which might safely be made.[211] Assuming this further
reduction, and applying the proposed reduced rates to the statistics of
existing traffic--ignoring both the probable increase of traffic and the
increase of expenses which would result from the increase of traffic--it
was estimated that the loss to revenue would be--

  On single letters    34,071,584
  On heavy letters      4,707,836
  On charged letters      404,787
  On postcards          2,569,787
             Total     41,753,994

The reduction of revenue would be 35.6 per cent. of the total yield.

The reform of 1878 had entailed an increase of working expenses of about
37 millions (5-1/2 millions of capital cost, and 31-1/2 millions of
annual expenses). The increase of traffic from the proposed reform
would, however, be 17 per cent. less than the increase after 1878
(because the reduction was five-fifteenths of the rate instead of
six-fifteenths as in 1878), and the increase of cost would therefore be
proportionately less. Calculated on this basis, the increase was
estimated at 31,037,829 fr. (4,920,000 fr. capital expenses and
26,117,829 fr. annual).

In all, therefore, the reduction would involve a loss of revenue of
41,753,994 fr., and an increase of expense of 31,037,829 fr.--a total
loss of 72,791,823 fr.[212]

In order as far as possible to replace this loss, M. Millerand proposed
to abolish the special tariff for _papiers d'affaires_ and subject them
to letter postage, and also to increase the rates on small packets of
printed matter, other than newspapers and periodicals.[213] The deficit
to be looked for in the first year would then be 16,233,833 fr., and
might be estimated to disappear in the eighth year. The gross revenue
would recover in the third year. The Government was not, however,
prepared to sacrifice the revenue, and the proposal was deferred.

The question still continued to receive attention in the country and in
Parliament.[214] At length, in view of the persistent agitation,[215]
the Government in 1906, on the recommendation of the Budget Commission,
resolved to face the inevitable loss of revenue and make the reduction.
The result was in many ways satisfactory. The number of packets sent at
the letter rate of postage increased very considerably. A large quantity
of traffic was diverted from the cheaper open post to the letter post,
in order to obtain the advantage of secrecy, some large business houses
sending at the letter rate millions of communications which would, under
the old rates, have been sent by the open post. In 1905, before the
reduction, the number of packets passing by post was 2,371,000,000. In
1907 the number had increased to 2,720,000,000, and in 1908 to
2,802,000,000. The loss of net revenue was nevertheless very great. The
gross revenue was diminished by some 12 millions, and the expenses
increased by 21-1/2 millions. The net revenue fell from 91,750,000 fr.
in 1905 to 59,750,000 fr. in 1906.

The reduction of 1906 placed France in a position of equality with most
other nations as regards the initial rate for letters. Indeed, the
French rate was slightly lower than that in several other countries.
Thus, the equivalent of the German and Austrian initial rates was 12·2
centimes, of the Swedish 13·8 centimes, and of the English 10·5
centimes. But as regards the weight allowed for the initial rate, and
also as regards the rates for heavier letters, the position was still
unsatisfactory. The maximum weight allowed to pass at the initial rate
was 15 grammes, and the rate for a letter of 250 grammes was 1 fr.
70.[216] In Germany the rate for a letter of that weight was 24·4
centimes, in England 26·2 centimes, and in Switzerland 10 centimes.
Attention was therefore now directed to a modification of the scale of
rates for the heavier letters. The Budget Commissions of 1908
recommended the reform.[217] In their view the unfavourable comparison
with other countries in this respect could be justified neither by logic
nor by regard to the interests of the Treasury. Logically, a rate of
postage ought to be proportionate to the cost of the service performed,
and this was far from varying in accordance with the weight of postal

The number of heavy letters was, moreover, small proportionately, and
the effect on the Treasury of a reduction of rate for such letters would
be slight. Indeed, it was thought an increase of revenue might be
anticipated, since, in addition to the natural increase resulting from
the reduction, there would, as in 1906, be a tendency for many packets
sent by the open post to be sent under the advantage of the closed post.
It was urged that the reduction should be accompanied by certain
modifications in the minor rates, which would lead to a desirable
simplification of rates: the special rate for commercial papers should
be abolished, and the general rate for postcards should be made 5
centimes; the whole of the reforms being carried out at the same time,
in order that the increases might be seen in their proper relation to
the compensating reductions. Otherwise the public might forget the
benefits, and resent the increases. The net loss of revenue was
estimated at 4 million francs.[219]

The law of the 8th April 1910 increased the unit of weight for letters
to 20 grammes. For the heavier letters the rates were: from 20 to 50
grammes, 15 centimes; from 50 to 100 grammes, 20 centimes; and so on,
adding 5 centimes for each 50 grammes or fraction of 50 grammes up to
the maximum weight allowed, viz. I kilogramme. The special rate for
commercial papers over 20 grammes in weight was abolished. The
privileged rate was retained for packets weighing not more than 20
grammes, Parliament refusing to agree to its total abolition.

     NOTE.--On the 1st January 1917, as a war measure, the general
     letter rate was raised from 10 centimes to 15 centimes.

       *       *       *       *       *


A system of messengers (_Boten-Anstalten_) existed in Brandenburg as
early as the first half of the sixteenth century, and in 1604 a master
of the messengers (_Botenmeister_) was appointed, whose duty was to
control the sending and receiving of all despatches.[221] The
incorporation of Prussia and Cleve in the Mark of Brandenburg rendered
necessary the improvement and extension of the messenger service, and in
1614 the Elector John Sigismund appointed twenty-four messengers, who
were paid at a fixed rate, according to the length of the route
traversed. Thus, for the Strasburg, Cologne, and Düsseldorf routes the
payment was 10 thalers, and for the Cracow, Königsberg, and Mainz
routes, 8 thalers. Once a year they were supplied with an outfit of
clothing. When not travelling, they were required to report themselves
every hour to the _Botenmeister_, and to hold themselves in readiness at
all times to set out if necessary without delay. The journeys were made
according to set times, and the messengers, who carried both letters and
parcels, were provided with a way-bill, on which the times of arrival at
and departure from the various points were entered. The
_Boten-Anstalten_ really comprised two kinds of undertakings--the
so-called _Post-boten_ and the _Landkutschen_. The former were the
ordinary messengers; the latter a kind of stage-coach system, which
carried both passengers and merchandise.[222] The rates of charge were
based on the actual length of the journey, and also upon any accidental
circumstance which might have a relation to the question, such as high
general prices.[223]

In 1634 a riding post between Cöln a. d. Spree and Crossen was
established, and shortly afterwards a similar post to Glogau, in order
to provide a means of communication between the Government and the
Swedish Army. For the same purpose in 1635 a daily messenger service
(_Botenpost_) was established from Tangermünde to Berlin, and in 1646 a
military post (_Dragonerpost_) was established between Berlin and
Osnabruck, in connection with the conference preceding the signing of
the Treaty of Westphalia.

All these services were for the conveyance of the Court and
Administrative correspondence only. The _Botenmeister_ nevertheless
frequently undertook the conveyance of private letters, for which
special charges were made, and often the messengers themselves
clandestinely carried private letters.

In 1618 the _Botenmeister_ of Berlin established a special messenger
route for the conveyance of private letters (_Ordinari-Boten-Cours_)
from Berlin to Leipzig and Hamburg, and at about the same time the
_Botenmeister_ of Königsberg established a similar route to Danzig. In
other large towns messenger services for the conveyance of ordinary
letters were established by private individuals, but these services were
often inefficiently conducted. The messengers followed no fixed route,
and the services were irregular and unsafe. They were at best only

As the result of a variety of circumstances, the establishment of
regular posts became a necessity in the time of the Great Elector. The
extension of the Brandenburg territory, and the political developments,
rendered it desirable to adopt all possible means for binding together
the entire territory. Regular posts would also contribute to the
national welfare and assist industry and commerce, although there was
little prospect that at the outset they would prove profitable.[224] In
1646 a riding post between Königsberg and Danzig was established;
shortly afterwards a post between Berlin and Königsberg, and thereafter
others. In 1649 the control of all the posts was definitely assumed by
the Electoral administration.[225]

In general the posts went twice weekly; stages were erected for the
exchange of horses and postilions. At first, postilions were changed
every twelve (German) miles,[226] and horses every four (German) miles.
Later, the stages for the changing of horses were reduced to three
miles. The usual speed of the posts, travelling day and night, was one
mile an hour, and punctuality was insisted on.[227] The journey from
Berlin to Königsberg occupied four days, and that from Königsberg to
Cleve ten days.[228] There was at first no delivery service, and all
letters must be obtained at the post office, where the people were
consequently in the habit of congregating to await the arrival of the
post.[229] The postage was retained by the Postmaster as the
remuneration for his services. For the actual management and conduct of
the service he drew on the State funds to the extent of some 6,000
thalers annually, and all official despatches were consequently conveyed
free. This charge diminished, however, with the years, and in course of
time the service came to yield a profit to the State. In the
Postmaster's patent granted in 1661 it was provided that a portion of
the proceeds of postage should be accounted for to the State

The rates of postage were at first fixed according to ancient custom,
but they were on several occasions reduced. The postage on a letter not
exceeding half an ounce in weight sent from Berlin to Wutzkow, from
Breslau to Wutzkow, or from Berlin to Frankfort, was 2 groschen, and
from Berlin to Magdeburg, 1-1/2 groschen.[231]

With the growth of commerce and the establishment of the travelling post
and parcel post, the service became more and more successful
financially. In 1695 the expenses represented some 50 per cent. of the
gross revenue. By 1712 they had fallen to some 41 per cent. The gross
revenue was at the same time rapidly increasing. The net revenue, which
was, of course, increasing still more rapidly, was in 1695 about 62,000
thalers, and by 1712 had risen to some 137,000 thalers.

The rates of postage were modified in 1699, and again in 1712; but as
the old rates were retained as the basis of both revisions, the charges
remained for fifty years substantially unchanged. A letter from Berlin
to Hamburg now cost 2-1/2 groschen, to Bremen 3 groschen, to Dresden 2
groschen, to Frankfort-on-Main 3 groschen, and so on.

During the next fifty years prices were gradually, but steadily, rising
in Prussia. The Seven Years' War produced a sudden and very considerable
rise in the prices of all agricultural products. And not only did the
purchasing power of money fall owing to the scarcity and high price of
provisions, but its value also decreased through depreciation.[232] The
cost of conducting the postal service rose correspondingly, and the
financial difficulties were increased owing to the falling off of
traffic consequent on the war. At the end of 1761 the King was asked to
agree to a contribution in aid, but assistance was not forthcoming.
Something had to be done; and on the 27th January 1762, in common with
the general increase of taxation, the rates for parcels and for value
letters were increased 100 per cent.; the travelling post rates, which
varied from 3 to 4 groschen per mile, were increased by 1 groschen per
mile; and the fees for guides, which were about 6 groschen per station,
by about 2 groschen per station. The letter rate remained

In the early part of 1766 a new tariff was introduced. The rates for
parcels fixed in 1762 were maintained, and new and higher rates for
letters were introduced. The increase in the general rates varied from
about 15 per cent. to about 50 per cent. The minimum, which for letters
passing between many neighbouring places had formerly been only 6
pfennigs, was increased to 1 groschen.

The raising of the rate led to a large amount of fraud, and caused much
public inconvenience. The revenue did, indeed, increase in the first
year quite appreciably; but in the second and third years, instead of
the normal yearly increase, there was a notable decrease. Complaints
against the new rates were widespread, and it was alleged that the
increased charges embarrassed commerce. In 1770 the rates for heavy
letters, printed matter, and documents were reduced again to those of
1712. The rates had previously been based on a variety of
considerations,[234] but this miscellaneous basis was now put aside and
a uniform system established, the same letter rate being applied
throughout the State.

The coinage edict of 1821, by which the thaler was divided into 30
silver groschen instead of 24 groschen as previously, made necessary an
alteration of the postage charges, and amended rates were established on
the 1st January 1822. No account was taken of a less amount than a
half-groschen, and odd amounts were reckoned at the next half-groschen
above, with the result that in certain cases the rate became higher than

A reduction of the rates of postage was in contemplation, but while the
discussions on the proposals were in progress, the State finances became
somewhat straitened. It became necessary to look about for fresh
revenue, and a Commission appointed to consider the question
recommended that more revenue should be obtained from the Post Office.
The Postmaster-General pledged himself to bring up the surplus from
700,000 or 800,000 thalers, where it then stood, to a million, and, if
possible, to 1,200,000 thalers. Accordingly, in 1824 the rates of
postage were revised, and, in general, increased. In many cases the
increase was as much as 20 per cent., and the tariff as a whole was the
highest ever fixed in Prussia. The chief characteristics of this
important change were that letter and parcel rates were reckoned
according to the direct distance (_Luftlinie_) between the post offices,
and not according to the distance by way of the post routes, or the time
occupied on the journey, or any of the other considerations which had
previously entered into the reckoning. All special rates for individual
routes and places were abolished.

The new rates were, for a single letter not exceeding 3/4 loth (3/8
ounce) in weight--

  Up to 2 miles               1 silver groschen
  From  2 miles to 4 miles    1-1/2     "
    "   4   "      7   "      2         "
    "   7   "     10   "      2-1/2     "
    "  10   "     15   "      3         "
    "  15   "     20   "      4         "
    "  20   "     30   "      5         "
  and for each 10 miles further, 1 silver groschen more.

A map of distances was prepared, and every post office was furnished
with a table compiled from this map, showing the distances between that
office and all other post offices in Prussia, together with the
corresponding rates of postage.[235] Formerly, direct rates of postage
existed only between a limited number of post offices, and letters for
any other places were charged an additional rate (_Binnenporto_) in
respect of the distance not covered by the ordinary rate. This charge
was now abolished. Each post office could calculate the rate to any
other post office by means of its table of rates. There was, however, an
additional charge (_Landporto_) in the case of places at which there was
no post office, but which were situated on the post routes. It was
arranged that letters might be despatched to or from such places so long
as the post-messenger was not thereby delayed on his journey, and for
the forwarding of any such letters to or from the nearest post office
the lowest rate of postage was charged, reckoned as from the nearest
post office. Letters up to 1 ounce in weight were sent by riding post.
Letters exceeding 1 ounce in weight were sent by parcel post
(_Fahrpost_), and were charged the corresponding rate, unless the sender
expressly requested transmission by riding post.

For the longer distances the rates were higher than previously. The rate
for the greatest distance within the Prussian postal territory, which
under the old rates was 18 silver groschen for a single letter--that is,
for a letter up to 3/8 ounce in weight--was now 19 silver groschen. The
reduction was greatest for letters going only short distances. The rate
for the shortest distances was reduced from 1-1/2 silver groschen to 1
silver groschen. But the higher rates applied to letters passing between
the great centres, and these formed the greater part of the whole
number. In addition, the progression of the scale of weights was made
very rapid. From the earliest days of the Post Office in Prussia the
progression of weight had been by the half-ounce, and this had not been
changed even in 1766. The scale was now made--

  From   3/8 oz. to   1/2 oz.       1-1/2 times the rate
    "    1/2  "       3/4  "        twice the rate
    "    3/4  "     1      "        2-1/2 times the rate
    "  1      "     1-1/4  "        3       "
    "  1-1/4  "     1-1/2  "        3-1/2   "
    "  1-1/2  "     1-3/4  "        4       "
  and so on for each quarter-ounce a half rate more.[236]

The year 1824 was also noteworthy for the experimental establishment in
the district of the Frankfort-on-Oder post office of a rural delivery
system. This was the first step towards the general extension of the
rural delivery throughout Prussia. The experiment was successful, and
the system was extended in the following year. For delivery by the
rural letter-carriers an additional charge was made for each letter,
according to the following scale:--

  For distances not exceeding 1-1/2 miles     1 silver groschen
        "        "     "      2       "       2         "
        "        "     "      3       "       2-1/2     "

For the longer distances the rates of 1824 were found to be oppressive
for ordinary letters, and burdensome to commerce and literature.
Financially also the increase was not a success. For 1824, the last year
of the old rates, the surplus was 823,229 thalers, an increase of
100,325 thalers over the surplus of 1823. The surplus for 1825, the
first year of the new rates, was 1,121,616 thalers, an increase of
298,387 thalers over the surplus of 1824. Apparently, therefore, the new
rates had produced an immediate increase of net revenue. This was,
however, not the case. While the actual proceeds of postage in 1824 were
73,152 thalers greater than in 1823, the proceeds of postage in 1825
were only 80,890 thalers greater than in 1824.[237] The increased yield
of postage was therefore quite small. And even this small increase
disappeared in 1826. For that year the yield of postage was only 40,547
thalers greater than in 1825, and in 1827 there was an actual falling
off of 41,942 thalers. The increase of net revenue was therefore
attributable to other causes. Thus, for example, in 1825, by some means
or other, a reduction of no less than 136,160 thalers was effected in
the expenses of the service.

The rates were soon found to need amendment. Changes were made in the
subsidiary rates, the rates for commercial papers, for magazines, etc.,
but the letter rate remained unchanged until 1844, when a considerable
reduction was made. The following rates for a single letter (not
exceeding 3/8 ounce in weight), were established:--

  Not exceeding 5 miles                 1     silver groschen
  From  5 miles to 10 miles             1-1/2        "
    "  10  "       15  "                2            "
    "  15  "       20  "                2-1/2        "
    "  20  "       30  "                3            "
    "  30  "       50  "                4            "
    "  50  "      100  "                5            "
  For each further 100 miles within the
  Prussian administration               6            "

These rates were applied to letters, printed matter sent under band, and
letters containing samples of merchandise. It was estimated that this
change would reduce the gross receipts from postage by 700,000 thalers,
and the net revenue for 1845 was estimated at 700,000 thalers instead of
1,400,000 thalers. The actual decrease in 1845 in the gross receipts
from postage was, however, only 302,563 thalers, and the actual falling
off in net revenue only 346,208 thalers. The gross revenue soon
recovered, and in 1847 exceeded that of 1844.[238]

The Prussian administration, while not prepared to introduce complete
uniformity of rate irrespective of distance, were yet desirous of
simplifying the rates, and of removing from them any trace of the fiscal
tradition, so far as this course could be followed without involving
serious sacrifice of net revenue.[239]

In September 1848 the distinction between the letter rate and the rate
for printed matter and documents was abolished, and on the 1st October
1848 the following scale of weights for all letters, publications, etc.,
was introduced, viz.:--

  Not exceeding     3/8 oz.   1     rate (i.e. 1 sgr.)
  From  3/8 oz. to  1/2 oz.   1-1/2  "
    "   1/2  "      3/4  "    2     rates
    "   3/4  "     1     "    2-1/2  "
    "  1     "     4     "    3      "
    "  4     "     8     "    4      "

and over 8 ounces 4 rates, until the charge was less than double parcel

The rates were still based on the old theory of distance. The Prussian
administration feared that a complete reform of the rates on the
English model would have a disastrous effect on the postal revenue, and
so upset the equilibrium of the State finance. They had, of course, the
experience of England to guide them, and they had not failed to note the
large reduction of net revenue which the adoption of the reform of 1840
had entailed. In the following year, however, a great step was taken in
the direction of the new system. By the law of the 21st December 1849
the following simplified rates of postage, to take effect from the 1st
January 1850, were established:--

  For a single letter not exceeding 1/2 oz. (1 zollloth)--
      Up to 10 miles                 1 silver groschen
      10 miles to 20 miles           2        "
      All other distances            3        "

  For a letter weighing--
      From   1/2 oz. to 1     oz.    2 rates
        "  1     "      1-1/2  "     3   "
        "  1-1/2 "      2      "     4   "
        "  2     "      4      "     5   "
        "  4     "      8      "     6   "

and so on, until the rate became less than the parcel rate (1 zollloth = 1-1/8 loth).

The reductions in Prussia were in all cases made with careful regard to
the possible financial results. The desire to remove all trace of the
fiscal tradition did not extend to a desire to relieve the Post Office
of its revenue-producing function, and the actual loss of net revenue
which resulted in Prussia from the introduction of cheap postage was
much less than the loss in England.[240] The set-back to the revenue
consequent on the reduction of 1844 was recovered in 1847; the set-back
consequent on the reduction of the rates of value letters and parcels in
1848 (on the average some 66-2/3 per cent.) was recovered in 1852; and
that occasioned by the reform of the 1st January 1850 was recovered in
1853. But the reform of 1850, which retained the three distance charges,
was far from being a complete reform of the character of that in

No change of importance was made in the ordinary letter rate between
1850 and 1860. In the latter year the maximum weight for packets passing
by letter post was fixed at half a pound (15 loth).[241] A further step
towards simplicity and reduction of the letter rate was taken in
1861,[242] when the weight scale was revised and the three steps
established in 1849 abolished, two only being substituted. Letters up to
half an ounce in weight were to pass at the single rate, and letters
exceeding that weight at double rate. The three distance zones were

The special fee for delivery which was collected from the addressee by
the post office of destination was still in force. It was, of course, in
effect, an increase of the normal rate of postage, and as such it lay as
a heavy burden on the letter traffic. In the case of packets of printed
matter not exceeding half an ounce in weight it amounted to 100 per
cent. on the normal rate. It was, moreover, disproportionate to the cost
of the service of delivery.[243] Since 1850 the Prussian administration
had incessantly urged the abolition of the charge. Special charges for
delivery had already been abolished in England, in France, and in other
of the larger States. The efforts of the administration were, however,
frustrated by the Minister for Finance, who was unable, from regard to
the needs of the national exchequer, to abandon the revenue obtained
from this source. These financial considerations delayed the abolition
of the charge by at least a decade.[244] The existence of the charge was
found to be especially unfortunate in regard to foreign letters, since
its collection was regarded by foreign administrations as an addition to
the ordinary postage and consequently an evasion of the terms of
agreements under which foreign rates had been fixed. The charge was
ultimately abolished in 1862.[245] In order to avoid inconvenient
reduction of revenue, it was arranged that the abolition should be
effected gradually: for certain classes of traffic as from the date of
the coming into force of the Act, for other classes as from the 1st July
1863, and for the remainder as from the 1st July 1864.

The political events of the years 1864 and 1866 occasioned far-reaching
modifications of the postal service in Germany. After the expulsion of
Austria from the German league, Prussia took over the administration of
the postal service in the duchies of the Elbe. Prussia had also absorbed
the kingdom of Hanover. The territory of the Prussian postal
administration was thus largely extended; and in addition the Prince of
Thurn and Taxis relinquished in favour of the Crown of Prussia the
control which he had exercised over the postal service in eighteen

The North-German Union was established in 1867, and the postal
arrangements for the whole territory of the Union were unified. Up to
this time ten independent postal administrations had existed in this
territory,[247] and the rates of these administrations differed in
various particulars. The Prussian rates were applied temporarily to all
postal traffic passing between the old and new Prussian territories, and
the rates of the Union service were applied to traffic passing between
the territories forming the North-German Union.

The continuance of these conditions was not consistent with a unified
administration of the postal affairs of the whole North-German Union,
and a reform of the rates became necessary. Germany was in 1867 almost
the only one of the great States of the world which still maintained a
scale of rates of postage for letters graduated according to distance.
Prussia had already repeatedly endeavoured to introduce the principle of
uniformity of rate irrespective of distance which had been adopted by
all others, or at least to secure further simplification; but advance in
this direction had always been hindered by financial
considerations.[248] The political developments now opened the way for a
thorough reorganization of the rates, and this was achieved by the law
of the 4th November 1867. This law, which took effect from the 1st
January 1868, established uniform rates for letters, irrespective of
distance, of the following amounts--1 sgr. (= 10 pf.) for letters not
exceeding half an ounce in weight, and 2 sgr. for all letters of greater

After the refounding of the German Empire in 1870, there was fresh
legislation in regard to the Post Office.[249] Among other changes, the
limit of weight for the single letter was fixed at 15 grammes, and the
limit of maximum weight at half a pound. This law also abolished the
charge for rural delivery, a long-desired reform which had been
frequently urged upon the Reichstag. In order to assist further the
interests of residents in the country, it was arranged that on payment
of a monthly fee of 5 sgr. letters might be handed to and delivered by
the post messenger, in a closed pouch, at places on his route.

The rates established under this law have remained in operation
substantially unchanged up to the present time. The most important
modification was made in 1900, when the maximum limit of weight of the
single letter was raised from 15 to 20 grammes. Under these rates the
letter post has developed continuously. In 1872 the total number of
letters passing by post within the territory of the Imperial Post Office
was 422 millions, and in 1910 the number had increased to 2,026
millions. As in other countries, the letter rate has proved extremely
profitable. The net revenue of the Imperial Post Office in 1872 amounted
to 4·7 million Marks, and in 1910 to 88 million Marks. In Germany,
however, the railways are State-owned, and the Imperial Post Office is
not required to pay to the railways a full equivalent for the services
performed. The value of the service performed by the railways on behalf
of the Post Office for which no charge is made against the Post Office
is not definitely known.[250] The newspaper traffic, the parcel post,
and the Imperial Telegraph Service are carried on at heavy loss. The
Post Office also performs numerous services, such as those in connection
with the National Insurance schemes, for which it receives no monetary
credit; and there is no doubt that taken by itself the letter traffic
is largely profitable at the existing rates, even when full allowance
has been made for all legitimate charges against the service.


Until the eighteen-thirties there was no State provision for the letter
traffic in country districts. Residents in the country must deliver all
their letters at, or fetch them from, the nearest post office, which was
done on market-day or by messengers. In 1824 a beginning was made in
Prussia by the introduction experimentally of a delivery service at
certain post offices. In the following years the number of rural
deliverers and the number of posting-boxes in the villages were
increased, and a uniform delivery fee (_Landbestellgeld_) of 1 silver
groschen instituted. The delivery fee was abolished on the 1st January
1872 (law of 28th October, 1871). This meant the abandonment of a yearly
revenue of 1-1/2 million Marks.

In spite of the increase in the number of post offices there were still
in 1880 as many as 19 million people, the greater half of the whole
nation, and 17,000 localities, outside the limits of the postal

In 1880 a great step forward was taken. The number of rural deliverers
was largely increased, and also the number of postal stations in the
country (_Posthülfstellen_).[252] A daily delivery was extended to the
greater number of places, the rural routes in most cases being so
arranged that the deliverer returned by the same route, thereby enabling
an answer to be sent the same day to letters received on the outward

       *       *       *       *       *




In England newspapers have enjoyed special privileges in regard to
transmission by post since about the middle of the seventeenth century.
The origin of the privilege is to be looked for in the special
circumstances under which the early newspapers, and the newsletters and
newsbooks from which they were derived, were issued, and the means by
which the news included in them was obtained.

At that period the post was the chief means by which news could be
collected or distributed. The newsletters were distributed by post,[254]
and the news which they contained was for the most part obtained through
the agency of the Post Office from correspondents in various parts of
the country. It was, indeed, an important part of the function of the
Post Office to furnish news to the Court, and to the other departments
of State, as well as to the general public.[255]

In 1659 General Monck appointed Henry Muddiman, a journalist who had
already issued the _Parliamentary Intelligencer_ and the _Mercurius
Publicus_, to write on behalf of the Royalist cause. In consideration of
his services he was, after the Restoration, given the privilege of free
transmission for his letters.[256] This gave him an advantage over other
journalists, and his newsletters and newsbooks became extremely popular.
In 1663, however, he was supplanted by Roger L'Estrange, a Royalist who
had not to that time been properly recompensed for his faithfulness.
L'Estrange was an able writer, who after the passing of the Licensing
Act of 1662 had been requested to draw up proposals for the regulation
of the Press. As a reward for his services in that connection he was
given the office of Surveyor of the Press, his remuneration being the
sole privilege of writing and publishing newsbooks and advertisement.
L'Estrange also secured the privilege of free postage from Lady
Chesterfield, one of the farmers of the Post Office.[257]

L'Estrange's privilege put an end to Muddiman's newsbooks, but in no way
interfered with his newsletters and his right to free postage. He was
able, therefore, to continue his newsletters, and did so with great
success. After the Restoration Muddiman had attached himself to Sir
Edward Nicholas, one of the principal Secretaries of State, and his
Under-Secretary, Joseph Williamson, from whom he had been in the habit
of obtaining part of his news. Williamson was a grasping man, who became
jealous of the success of the newswriters, and finding that L'Estrange
was unpopular, conceived the idea of getting the control of the whole
business into his own hands. He therefore suggested that Muddiman should
go to Oxford, where the Court had removed owing to the plague, and
publish a new journal in opposition to L'Estrange. While Muddiman was at
Oxford, Williamson would obtain by an agent in the Post Office, James
Hickes, the names of all his correspondents.[258] The plan was eminently
successful, and on the 16th November 1665 the _Oxford Gazette_ appeared,
to be transformed a few months later, with its twenty-fourth issue (5th
February 1665-6), into the _London Gazette_. Muddiman, however, gained
knowledge of Williamson's designs regarding his correspondents, and on
the 8th February 1666 left the _Gazette_. Williamson thereupon took
control of its publication, and, with the assistance of Hickes,
continued its issue. He appointed correspondents in all the leading
seaports, and in a few other English towns, and also in continental
cities, who were required to furnish accounts of passing events. In
return for their services the correspondents received regularly copies
of the _Gazette_. Both the letters from correspondents and the
_Gazettes_ which were their reward passed free of postage.[259] The
regular supply of a copy of the _Gazette_ was so great a privilege that
it was often regarded as sufficient wages for a post-messenger or even a

This became a recognized practice before the end of the seventeenth
century, and the privilege was regarded as forming part of the ordinary
emoluments of the deputy-postmasters.[261] The _Gazettes_ were sent out
from London by officers known as Clerks of the Road, under the frank of
these officers; and the privilege of franking these _Gazettes_ became
extended so that the Clerks of the Road ultimately became entitled to
frank any newspaper to whomsoever addressed.[262] In the eighteenth
century the Clerks of the Road developed the exercise of their
privilege. They accepted subscriptions and undertook the supply of
newspapers generally throughout the country. They became, in fact,
newsagents. Their newspaper business was something quite apart from
their duties as officers of the Post Office. It was conducted in a
separate building, by a separate staff, and they found it very
lucrative.[263] The postage on newspapers at the letter rate would have
been prohibitive. Hence newspapers either went under frank or did not go
by post at all, and the whole business of distribution through the post
fell into the hands of the Clerks of the Road. Their profits were in
part applied to the discharge of certain payments--the salaries of some
of the inferior clerks and some charitable payments--in connection with
the Post Office.[264]

In 1764 the privilege was explicitly recognized by statute,[265] but the
same Act gave a severe blow to the whole system by authorizing members
of Parliament to send newspapers free of postage. The members did not
confine the exercise of the privilege to newspapers sent by or to them
for their own use, but granted orders for free postage to booksellers
and newsagents on a liberal scale.[266] The booksellers naturally cut
the prices charged by the Clerks of the Road. The charge of the latter
had been £5 a year for a daily paper, and £2 10s. a year for an evening
paper. The booksellers in 1770 advertised a charge of £4 a year for a
daily paper, and £2 a year for an evening paper.[267] As a result a
large part of the traffic went to the booksellers, and the profits of
the Clerks of the Road fell so rapidly that it was soon found necessary
to relieve them of the charges on their profits.[268]

Efforts were made to check the abuse of the privilege of franking of
newspapers held by members of Parliament under the Act of 1764. An Act
of 1802 (42 Geo. III, cap. 63) required not only that the member should
sign the newspaper packets, but that the whole superscription, together
with the date of posting and the name of the post-town in which the
paper was intended to be posted, should be in his handwriting. The
member must, moreover, himself be in the post-town where the paper was
posted on the date shown on the paper. These regulations were not long
maintained. They were probably too stringent to be enforced, and in the
course of a few years the appearance on the newspaper or wrapper of any
member's name, whether written by himself or by any other person, or
even printed, was sufficient to secure free transmission through the
post. In 1825 the conditions were definitely repealed, and newspapers
became legally entitled to free transmission by post.[269]

There were reasons why the Government and the Post Office did not
suppress the extension of the privilege accorded to newspapers. At this
time heavy general taxes were imposed on newspapers--the paper duty,
the advertisement duty, and the stamp duty.

These charges had been first imposed in the early years of the
eighteenth century, when newspapers were changing character, and they
were in the nature of restrictions on the liberty of the Press, a
continuation of the restrictions which had previously been maintained by
means of Licensing Acts.[270] Newspapers were at that time ceasing to be
mere chronicles of events, and were beginning to publish comments and to
criticize persons and parties. A Bill to impose a tax of 1d. a copy on
all periodical publications was brought into Parliament in 1701, but was
abandoned owing to the opposition of the newspaper proprietors, who
represented that they were in the habit of selling their papers at a
1/2d. a copy.[271] In 1712 a message from the Crown, adverting to the
undesirable character of the new development of newspaper enterprise,
recommended that a remedy be found without delay. The result was the
imposition of a stamp duty of 1/2d. the sheet on all newspapers of a
sheet and a half.[272] The privileges with regard to their transmission
by post were, however, in no way interfered with.

In 1776 the tax was raised to 1-1/2d. a copy, in 1789 to 2d., in 1794 to
2-1/2d., and in 1815 to 4d., at which amount it stood until 1836. In
1819 onerous restrictions with regard to registration, bonds, and
sureties were imposed, mainly with the view of preventing the issue of
publications of undesirable character.[273]

In consideration of these charges the Government were prepared to allow
free transmission by post. Moreover, the franking privilege of the
Clerks of the Road was favoured as an economy. They argued that as these
officers received considerable sums from their newspaper business their
salaries from the Post Office were correspondingly low, and if the
newspaper business were taken from them it would be necessary for the
Post Office to make good the loss in income which they would
suffer.[274] It would seem that there was at this time no conception of
charging a rate of postage on newspapers; and so far the authorities
were right in thinking the abolition of the privilege would cause an
addition to the expenses of the Post Office, in compensation for which
there would be no increase in revenue. Whatever were the taxes paid to
other departments, it was clearly in the financial interest of the Post
Office, so long as newspapers passed free by post, to retain a system
which enabled certain of its officers to obtain part of their income
from special arrangements for the distribution of the newspapers,
instead of from Post Office funds.

The Clerks of the Road still held an advantage over the ordinary
newsagents. The local postmasters acted as their agents, and they had,
moreover, the important privilege of posting their papers later.
Newsagents were not permitted to post after seven o'clock, but the
Clerks of the Road could post as late as eight o'clock. They were able,
therefore, to retain a considerable business. In 1829 it was estimated
that as many as one-eighth of all the newspapers sent out from London
were sent by the Clerks of the Road.[275] The privilege of late posting
was withdrawn in 1834, and their business then ceased.[276]

It seems anomalous that at the same time that the Government, with the
object of restricting the publication and distribution of newspapers,
imposed a heavy stamp duty and a duty on advertisements, they should
have assisted, by allowing free transmission by post, the distribution
of such newspapers as were able to survive the impositions; but the
heavy taxes were intended to prevent the issue of cheap newspapers, and
expensive papers could only find sale among those who were not attracted
by dangerous doctrines, political or otherwise.[277] In the view of the
Government this aristocratic character ensured, moreover, a high moral
tone in the Press. Without such taxes the English Press might become a
moral danger and might conceivably sink to the level of the American
Press of the day, which, according to some eminent persons, was very low
indeed.[278] The question of free transmission by post received little
attention. Chief interest was centred on the allegation that the stamp
duty so raised the price of legitimate newspapers as to place them
beyond the reach of any but the well-to-do.

The question of allowing the free publication of newspapers, or of, at
least, reducing the heavy burdens under which they lay, became urgent
after the passing of the Reform Act of 1832.[279] The increase in the
number of people directly interested in political affairs through the
extension of the franchise, and the awakened general interest in social
and economic problems, not only produced a great demand for newspapers,
but made necessary provision for the dissemination of accurate political
intelligence.[280] Numerous unstamped papers, which found a ready sale,
were issued in various parts of the country, in defiance of the law.
Thus, in London, one of these papers, _The Poor Man's Guardian_, an able
and "Socialistic" paper, bore on its title-page a notification that it
was deliberately published contrary to law, in order to test "the power
of right against might."[281]

The Government took strong action against such publications. Numerous
prosecutions were undertaken, and a large number of persons in various
parts of the country were imprisoned; but the circulation of the papers
could not be checked. Popular sentiment was largely on the side of the
publishers and sellers of unstamped papers, sympathy being so strong
that frequently subscriptions for their benefit were raised.[282]

It became apparent very soon after the passing of the Reform Act that
the heavy duty could not be maintained. It was indeed so high, and the
sale of the unstamped publications was so great, that in the years after
1831 there was an actual diminution in the yield of the stamp duty. In
1836 the Government were constrained to deal with the question. They
introduced a Bill providing for the reduction of the duty from 4d. a
sheet to 1d. a sheet. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the
reduction was simply a concession to public necessity and expediency. If
the duty were maintained at its then existing level, public feeling
against it would increase, and might lead to a general disposition to
encourage illegal publications. The reduction would, moreover, assist
the moral improvement of the people.

The reduction of the duty was not carried without opposition. _The
Times_, which had attained its position under the old duties, and the
other great newspapers then successfully conducted, were opposed to the
reduction, foreseeing the possibility of the rivalry of new and cheap
competitors.[283] An attempt was made to argue that the benefit would
not accrue to the public, since the public did not in general buy
newspapers but went to the public-house to hear them read. Such persons
would still go to the public-house, and would therefore derive no
benefit from the reduced price: the advantage would be with the
publican. On the other hand, it was anticipated that the reduction of
the duty would so cheapen the newspapers that they would be brought
within reach of all. Mr. Spring Rice said he knew that "the newspaper
was one of the great attractions to take the poor man from home to visit
the public-house; if, therefore, the adoption of this proposition tended
to keep the poor man at home, it would afford a great moral aid to the
improvement of the people."[284] The moral uplifting of the poor man was
a mighty shibboleth in those days, and one which gave a power to these

The rates fixed by the Act of 1836 were 1d. for the first sheet, not
exceeding 2,295 superficial square inches, and a halfpenny for a second
sheet not exceeding 1,148 square inches. The existing provisions with
regard to registration and sureties were continued. They were considered
of importance, in view of the likelihood of the establishment of cheap
irresponsible papers which might be found publishing slanderous and
scurrilous, if not blasphemous, statements.

There is little doubt that the Government had in mind a wish still to
keep some restriction on the Press, and the Radicals always took that
view. The penny duty undoubtedly had the effect of preventing the issue
of really cheap newspapers.[285] Although in Parliament the Government
argued that they were entitled to the penny as a postage charge,[286] it
is unlikely that they did not realize how illogical it would be to
charge a penny stamp duty on every copy of a newspaper that was printed,
in order to secure the free transmission by post of such copies as the
publisher might wish to distribute by that means.[287] The
proportionate numbers of newspapers sent or not sent by post would not
be the same for all publications. Such a provision was therefore bound
to work unequally. Moreover, the new duty meant that it would still be
impossible to issue a newspaper at the price of one penny, and the cheap
newspaper was still barred. The duty was in fact still a restrictive
tax; and by those who were opposed to all "taxes on knowledge," of which
the newspaper duty had been considered one, the question was never
regarded as settled by this reduction.[288]

The official Whigs did not say much on the question of the restrictive
character of the duty. The Radicals were not so careful to hide the
repressive side. While not suggesting that the Government (with whom
they voted) desired the continuance of a restrictive duty, they roundly
accused the Opposition of desiring to restrain the dissemination of
intelligence, "in order to keep up their influence over a certain class
of people, and at the same time to perpetuate the ignorance which had
hitherto hung about them."[289]

After the passing of the Act with its definite postal privilege for
newspapers coming within its provisions, questions arose as to the
status with regard to transmission by post of certain publications which
were not newspapers of the ordinary type, but rather of the nature of
critical or literary reviews. The proprietors of these publications
desired to transmit by post a part of their issues. They were not,
however, prepared to pay at the letter rate by the ounce, but wished to
bring under the Stamp Act that portion of their impression which would
pass by post, and pay duty accordingly on those copies only. This course
was agreed to by the Government in 1838,[290] subject to a maximum limit
of weight per copy of 2 ounces. The privilege was at first conceded only
to periodicals, termed "class" newspapers, dealing with a particular
subject and addressed to a certain class of the community, such as, for
instance, papers relating to law, medicine, or architecture. It was
restricted to papers dealing with what might be termed the higher
intellectual subjects. These were held to form fair ground of
exemption; but other specialist papers relating to subjects less
intellectual then appeared; such as papers relating to turf news, or
reporting cases before the police courts. These papers being entirely
devoted to one subject, it became a question whether the privilege of
stamping only a part of their impression could be given them. Instead of
attempting any sort of discrimination in such cases, the Government made
one general rule that all papers devoted to the discussion of one
subject should be accorded the privilege. Thereupon a great variety of
such papers came into existence, and very soon some of them began to
include in their issues matter which could only be regarded as news of a
general character. This raised a further question: how much such general
news should be regarded as destroying the "class" character of the
publication. The Government found themselves in a difficulty. If the law
was not rigorously enforced, the papers paying the tax raised a great
outcry against the injustice to themselves; and if the law was enforced
in respect of those "class" publications which published general news,
there was a great outcry against the discrimination between the "class"

The whole position in regard to these papers became unsatisfactory and
anomalous.[292] It was, in point of fact, found impossible to enforce
the law. The outbreak of the Crimean War led to a development which
reduced the whole position to absurdity. Publications were issued giving
the latest and fullest available intelligence from the seat of war.
These publications confined themselves strictly to the subject of the
war. They published nothing on any other topic; and on that ground,
although devoted entirely to the publication of news of burning
interest, they claimed to be exempt from the newspaper duty in common
with all other "class" newspapers.[293]

In the Session of 1854 the House of Commons passed a Resolution,
although it was opposed by the Government, affirming that the laws in
reference to the periodical press and newspaper stamp were "ill-defined
and unequally enforced," and that the subject demanded the early
consideration of Parliament. The Government gave the matter their
attention. Mr. Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, prepared a
plan which was embodied, with modifications, in a Bill introduced in the
following Session by his successor. This Bill provided for the abolition
of the duty except on such copies as it might be desired to send by
post. The proposal was welcomed as the abolition of the last of the
taxes on knowledge, and a liberation of the Press.[294] The only serious
opposition to the Bill was made on the ground that in the exceptional
circumstances of the time--the nation being engaged in a war--the loss
of revenue could be ill-afforded; and that the withdrawal of the duty
would lower the moral character of the Press, and open the way for
seditious and blasphemous publications and for unrestrained libellous
attacks on the Government, on public authorities, and private
individuals.[295] The Government justified their proposals on the
ground that the administration of the existing law had become
exceedingly difficult, and that the resolution of the previous session
condemning the ambiguity of the existing law and the unsatisfactory
character of its administration left them little choice in the

An amendment to the Bill of 1855, proposing the reduction of the stamp
duty to 1/2d., which was in effect providing for the transmission of
newspapers by post at the uniform rate of 1/2d., was opposed by the
Government. There was no desire to make the postage of newspapers a
source of revenue. On this point there was general agreement. At the
same time there was no disposition to carry newspapers at less than
cost. Sir Rowland Hill, in the course of his evidence before the
Committee of 1851, had said that the Post Office could profitably carry
newspapers at a penny,[297] and that it was unlikely that they could be
carried profitably for a halfpenny. Members of the Government and other
members of the House were convinced that a halfpenny rate would involve
a loss, and they opposed the amendment on that ground.[298]

The Act 16 & 17 Vict. cap. 63 (1853) had reduced the stamp duties on
newspapers,[299] and repealed the duties on advertisements. A further
Act (the Newspaper Stamp Duties Act of 1855, 18 & 19 Vict. cap. 27),
repealed the stamp duty, as such, in respect of newspapers, and provided
that periodical publications conforming to certain conditions should be
entitled to free transmission by post, if "printed within the United
Kingdom on paper stamped for denoting the rate of duty now imposed by
law on newspapers." The chief conditions were that the publication
should be issued at intervals not exceeding thirty-one days, should bear
the title and date of publication at the top of every page, and should
not be printed on or bound in pasteboard or cardboard. The maximum limit
of weight for publications not strictly newspapers, which in 1854 had
been raised to 3 ounces, was now abolished, and newspapers and all other
stamped periodical publications were made subject to the same
restrictions as to number of sheets and extent of letterpress, etc.
Concurrently with the passing of this Act, the book post rates were
reduced with the view of permitting the transmission of unstamped
newspapers at low rates of postage.[300]

Under the Act of 1855, stamp duty at the rate payable at that time under
the existing law must be paid in order to secure the privilege of free
transmission of newspapers by post. The duty was chargeable according to
the number of sheets; and in the case of some leading newspapers, such
as _The Times_ and the _Illustrated London News_, amounted to 1-1/2d.
per copy for each issue. The proprietors of these publications in 1858
approached the Post Office with the view of obtaining a reduction of the
charge for the transmission of their papers by post. This request was
submitted by the Post Office, and was met by the Government in a liberal
spirit. In view of the importance now attached by Parliament to the free
circulation of newspapers, as shown by the removal of taxation from
them, an object of scarcely inferior importance to the circulation of
letters, it was now decided that since the whole of the existing system
rested on the assumption that the free circulation of newspapers in
general was an object of importance, and one to be attained even at a
disproportionate cost to the Post Office, a line should not be drawn so
as to exclude from the lowest rate one paper, and that paper the one
with the largest circulation. Such was the result of the existing
limitation to 4 ounces of the weight of newspapers which might be
carried by the post for 1d., and the limit was therefore raised from 4
ounces to 6 ounces.

In 1866 the question was raised in the House of Commons whether the Post
Office charge could be reduced, especially in view of the fact that
railway companies were distributing newspapers at a uniform rate of
1/2d. a copy. In 1869 the question was again raised in Parliament. A
resolution was moved in favour of an inland rate of 1/2d. for 2 ounces
on printed matter, and a postage of 1/2d. on newspapers. It was urged
that the concession would be of special value in rural districts: it
would indeed "be hard to say what the effect might be in time on the
social condition of the people." In several continental countries
newspapers were already transmissible by post at very low rates. Against
the possible objection that by introducing a rate lower than the 1d.
rate they were jeopardizing its maintenance for letters, and that the
proposal might therefore lead to a general 1/2d. rate, it was argued
that so far from that being the case, the best way of ensuring the
permanence of the 1d. rate was to grant the concession asked.[301]

The Marquess of Hartington, the Postmaster-General, was unable to accept
the motion because he thought such proposals, before being assented to
by the House, should be thoroughly looked into to discover whether there
was a reasonable probability that the loss of revenue would or would not
be a permanent loss, and the Post Office should be given ample time to
consider whether the additional duties which would be thrown upon it
could be undertaken with due regard to other services, which were of
greater importance than the transmission of circulars or newspapers. The
influx of a largely increased number of circulars and newspapers would
cause serious embarrassment in the practical working of the Post Office,
and might impair the efficiency of the service in respect of letters.
The primary business of the Post Office being the "rapid and punctual
transmission of letters," such a result would give just cause for

The Marquess of Hartington asked that the motion should not be pressed.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House that he had not got
£300,000 to give away. Mr. Gladstone also emphasized the seriousness of
the financial aspect of the proposals, and assured the House that the
Government honestly intended to investigate the question, however much
their suggestion for deferring a vote upon it might look like a pretext
for evading it altogether. But when the Chancellor of the Exchequer
moved the previous question, the motion was lost by a large majority. A
main contention of the advocates of the reduction of rate was that in
many foreign countries--in France, in Belgium, in Switzerland, in the
United States--extremely low rates of postage for newspapers were in
operation, and what was possible in those countries ought to be possible
in England.

Following this vote in the House of Commons the matter was further
considered at the Post Office, and in the next session an Act was passed
providing that any newspaper conforming to certain conditions, the chief
of which were that it should be issued at intervals of not more than
seven days and should consist wholly or in great part of political or
other news or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics,
should be entitled to transmission by post at the rate of 1/2d. per copy
irrespective of weight. The privilege of retransmission was

The statutory basis of the newspaper post has remained unchanged since
1870, and the provisions of the Act of 1870 were included in the Post
Office Act of 1908, which contains the present authority for the
privilege. There has been some necessary interpretation by the Post
Office of the definition of a newspaper as given in the Act. The chief
points on which difficulty has arisen are (1) as to the amount of
news-matter required in a publication, and (2) as to the character of
the matter which can be accepted as news-matter. The Act provides that
the publication should consist "wholly or in great part of political or
other news or of articles relating thereto, or to other current topics."
This requirement is considered to be satisfied if as much as one-third
of the publication consists of matter accepted as news. The proportion,
when fixed, was based on an examination of the proportion of news-matter
contained in the average newspaper, and represents the actual proportion
then generally met with. There is no provision regarding the proportion
to be maintained between the size of a newspaper within the meaning of
the Act and its supplement, but, under the accepted interpretation of
the statute, a newspaper may contain a supplement of equal size, and
that supplement may consist wholly of advertisements. The result of this
is that publications containing a proportion of only one-sixth of
news-matter may pass at the newspaper rate of postage. As to the second
requirement, a strict interpretation of the regulation is not insisted
on, and, in general, articles, pictures, or drawings relating to any
matters of current or topical interest are accepted.

This lack of precision in the provisions of the Act, and the consequent
difficulty of framing or enforcing regulations restricting the privilege
within even reasonable limits, have been largely taken advantage of,
especially in recent years, by the publishers of trade and fashion
papers, with the result that publications weighing in some cases as much
as 3 pounds are sent through the post at the usual newspaper rate of a
halfpenny. Nor are the enormous weight of these papers, and the large
proportion of advertisement matter, the only objections. The news-matter
on which they rely as entitling them to the newspaper privilege is often
of the most doubtful character, consisting largely of accounts of shop
sales or of commercial exhibitions, with lengthy descriptions of the
articles displayed.

This abuse of the privilege is, however, confined to a comparatively
small proportion of the newspapers entitled to transmission at the
newspaper rate. With the fall in the price of paper, and the
improvements in printing methods and machinery, all newspapers have
tended to increase in size. But in general the increase has been small.
In 1855 the average weight of newspapers passing by post was 3·1
ounces,[303] and in 1913 it had increased to 4·1 ounces. The number of
papers entitled to the privilege which could be regarded as excessively
heavy is not more than about 50 (out of a total of some 2,200),[304] and
although practically all these papers are published in London, and are
largely distributed through the post, they do not form more than a small
proportion of the total number of packets passing by newspaper post. But
such of these publications of vast bulk and weight as are sent at the
newspaper rate derive a great advantage--an advantage measured by the
heavy loss incurred by the Post Office in respect of each such

Many of the moderately heavy papers, such as the ordinary sixpenny
London newspapers, are for the most part in compliance both with the
letter and the spirit of the regulations, and their transmission at the
1/2d. rate is not, perhaps, open to serious objection. But there can be
little doubt that if the possibility of developments in the publication
of trade journals such as have occurred, had been foreseen, some
provision would have been made for the prevention of the transmission at
heavy loss to the Post Office of large numbers of publications which
are, in effect, trade catalogues. While the newspaper post involves a
very considerable loss, it affords the public a useful facility, and one
which is largely availed of for the purpose the Act of 1870 was intended
to assist, viz. the dissemination of intelligence.[306]

The rate has proved too high to secure a large postal traffic in
newspapers. The total number passing by post within the United Kingdom
in 1913 was some 200 millions, which, in days when individual daily
newspapers publish as many as a million copies of every issue, is only
an insignificant portion of the newspaper traffic of the country. It is
also only a small portion of the total postal traffic, which in the same
year amounted to some 6,000 millions. In this respect there has been a
great transformation. Under the old conditions newspapers were
distributed almost exclusively by post, and formed a large proportion of
the total number of postal packets and by far the greater bulk of all
the mails,[307] while now they form only an inconsiderable proportion
both in bulk and number. The Post Office has no monopoly of the
distribution of newspapers, and for the most part newspaper publishers
themselves provide for the distribution of by far the larger part of
their issues. In all the large towns this is the case.[308] Private
enterprise can of course compete wherever the traffic would be
profitable, and private agencies provide satisfactorily for the
distribution of the vast proportion of newspapers, it being found
practicable throughout a large part of the country to place newspapers
on sale at the published price; and in all such cases payment of
postage, which in the days of the halfpenny newspaper represents an
additional charge of 100 per cent. on the published price, is out of the
question. Only those for the more remote towns and country districts are
left to the Post Office; but the newspaper traffic by post, although
conducted at a loss, comprises so small a part of the whole postal
traffic, that the result on the finances of the Post Office is not
serious. If, however, such an unremunerative rate were applied to a
class of traffic likely to assume large proportions the result would be
financially disastrous, and this is the answer to such suggestions as
those of Mr. Wells to extend the newspaper rate to other classes of
printed matter.[309]

In 1913 the privilege of transmission at the 1/2d. rate was extended to
colonial newspapers, registered for the purpose in this country.

NOTE.--On the 1st November 1915, as part of the war increases of
postage, the rate on newspapers was altered to 1/2d. for every 6 ounces
or part of 6 ounces.

       *       *       *       *       *


No special provision for the transmission of newspapers had been made in
the Act of 1765 which first prescribed rates of postage for the Canadian
territories. Consequently, if sent in the mails, they were, in
strictness, liable to postage at the ordinary rates for letters and
packets. Those rates would generally have amounted to at least a
shilling a copy, and would therefore have prevented altogether the
distribution of newspapers by post. Postage was in practice waived,
newspapers being allowed to pass by post on payment of a small charge
quarterly to the Deputy Postmaster-General, who retained the proceeds as
a perquisite of his office. The amount was at first a mere trifle; but
in later days it formed the greater part of his emoluments. The precise
date at which this arrangement was established is uncertain. It
certainly existed in Nova Scotia in 1770, and probably commenced on the
first publication of a newspaper in Canada.[310] The rates charged were
low, and were varied from time to time at the will of the Deputy
Postmaster-General. The following, which were charged in Canada in 1840,
may, however, be regarded as typical:--

  For a weekly     paper 1s. 0d. currency a quarter
   "  " bi-weekly    "   1s. 3d.    "     "   "
   "  " tri-weekly   "   1s. 6d.    "     "   "
   "  " daily        "   2s. 3d.    "     "   "

In the Maritime Provinces the rates were somewhat lower, the charge for
a weekly paper being only 2s. 6d. a year.

These amounts were payable by the proprietor of the paper, and were
accepted only in respect of papers sent regularly. Papers mailed
casually by persons other than publishers, and denominated "transients,"
were charged 1d. currency each. The publishers thought even these
moderate charges objectionable, and the feeling against them was
increased when it became known that they rested on no legal authority,
but solely on the custom of the office and the sanction of Sir Francis
Freeling; and that the proceeds, instead of being accounted for as part
of the general Post Office revenue, were appropriated by the Deputy
Postmaster-General. They were also objected to as arbitrary and
inequitable, since papers were charged the same rate whether they were
conveyed 20 miles or 200 miles. As letters were at that time charged on
a scale of rates graduated according to distance, the application of the
principle of uniformity to the newspapers was naturally not appreciated;
and in view of the heavy charges incurred for transportation it could
not have been justified on economic grounds.

The resentment against the charge first took definite form in the Lower
Provinces. In 1830 a Mr. Ward, a publisher, petitioned the Nova Scotian
House of Assembly to be relieved from the charges on his newspapers. A
Committee of the House, which considered the matter, found that under
the Imperial Acts it was no part of the duty of the Deputy
Postmaster-General to receive or transmit newspapers, other than those
received from Great Britain, and that the Deputy was therefore justified
in making the charge complained of. They found also that sixty years
earlier the Deputy made a yearly charge of 2s. 6d. on each newspaper
sent by post, and that at that time all editors acquiesced in the
charge. At the same time the Committee regarded the charge as so
undesirable that they recommended the House should grant a sum to
remunerate the Deputy for his services in transmitting newspapers, in
order that the charges might be abolished.

The Deputy Postmaster-General in the Lower Provinces was himself a
publisher, and it was alleged that he was interested directly or
indirectly in every newspaper published in Nova Scotia, with the
exception of two, with the result that, while all the newspapers in
which he was interested passed free of postage, the two outsiders were
made to pay. The Deputy Postmaster-General himself seemed to think the
arrangement was best kept in the background. When questioned by the
House of Assembly, he adopted a reticent attitude and made equivocating
statements. He gave particulars purporting to show the amounts paid as
postage in respect of certain newspapers controlled by him, and on
further interrogation by the House of Assembly admitted that the
journals paid no postage.

Meanwhile, publishers in both Lower and Upper Canada also were working
for the abolition of the Deputy Postmaster-General's privilege. In
December 1830 a publisher of Montreal, Mr. R. Armour, approached Sir
Francis Freeling, declaring that the subject might eventually involve a
question of high constitutional importance, viz. "to what extent the
Post Office of Great Britain is authorized by law to regulate the
internal Post Office establishments of the Colony, and to draw a Revenue
therefrom." He received no satisfaction from Sir Francis Freeling, who
replied that the charges were "the long established and authorized
perquisite of the Officer in question (the Deputy Postmaster-General)
and that all Newspapers circulated by post in British North America
otherwise than under his privilege are liable by Law to the charge of
the full rates of Postage."

Mr. Armour then petitioned the local Legislature, and towards the end of
the year a Committee of the House of Assembly was appointed to consider
the whole question of the management of the Post Office in the province
of Lower Canada. The Committee found it impossible to obtain any useful
information concerning the finances of the service from the Deputy
Postmaster-General, Mr. T. A. Stayner, whose attitude was a source of
much irritation, resulting in great intensity of feeling both against
the privilege of the Deputy and the administration of the service from

In 1832 the publishers in Upper Canada, who were working in concert with
the publishers of Lower Canada, also succeeded in obtaining the
appointment of a Committee of the House of Assembly. This Committee, in
its Report, challenged the legality of any postage charge whatever
raised in the province under authority of the British

In 1833 the publishers in Nova Scotia submitted a petition to the King,
but obtained no satisfaction.[311]

In the Lower Provinces there was a sentiment in favour of the free
transmission of newspapers, which had been encouraged, if not originally
induced, by the circumstance that for a considerable period the holder
of the office of Deputy Postmaster-General for those provinces, Mr.
Howe, took little trouble to enforce the payment of that postage which,
when paid, was his perquisite, preferring to forgo the proceeds rather
than incur the risk of odium which might attach to any attempt to
enforce his privilege.[312]

In 1842 Mr. Edmund Ward, the publisher of the _Federation Sentinel_,
petitioned the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in New
Brunswick for the abolition of the postage rate on newspapers, on the
grounds that it was illegal, a tax on knowledge, and of no benefit to
the public revenue, since the proceeds were retained by an official
already adequately remunerated for his services. The petition was
submitted to the Home authorities; and the Solicitor to the Post Office
advised that, since the Act of 1837 repealed the Act of the 4th of
George III, cap. 34, the charge on newspapers made by the Deputy
Postmaster-General in North America rested on no legal basis, and long
established usage and custom was the only justification for allowing
newspapers to pass by post at less than the legal rate. The House of
Assembly in New Brunswick also took up the question on their own
account. Like the Nova Scotians, they were anxious to facilitate the
distribution of newspapers. They regarded the charge for postage as an
odious tax on knowledge, and in 1844, in a joint Address to his Majesty,
recommended its abolition.

In 1842 the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia also petitioned for the
abolition of postage on newspapers and pamphlets, contending that the
proceeds of the postage rate, which was collected from the country
districts, on which it lay as a heavy burden, did not benefit the
general revenue, since they were appropriated by the Deputy
Postmaster-General, and that the newspapers were well-nigh the only
vehicle of information in the province. In reply, the British
authorities pointed out that since pamphlets were charged as letters in
England, the Treasury could not sanction free transmission in the
colonies; moreover, even with the existing rate, the number of
newspapers sent by post was increasing so rapidly that it was becoming a
matter of some difficulty, on account of the bad condition of the roads
in the province, to provide for their transmission from place to place.
Free transmission was therefore not conceded; but in July 1844 certain
changes were made in the general system of rates, and the Deputy
Postmaster-General's newspaper privilege was withdrawn, a uniform rate
of 1/2d. per sheet for transmission to any point in Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, Canada, and Prince Edward Island being established.

When the Post Office service throughout British North America was
unified and transferred to provincial control, the then existing rates
of postage on newspapers and pamphlets were continued, but power was
reserved to each Legislature to authorize transmission within its
respective province free of postage. By virtue of this power Nova Scotia
in 1852 abolished altogether the rate of postage on newspapers, taking
pride in the fact that they were the first authority in British North
America to grant the boon. New Brunswick soon followed suit. But the
result of this, coupled with the reduction in letter postage at the
unification, was adverse to the finances of the service in these
provinces. For several years the accounts showed a deficit, which was
met by the provinces cheerfully as a contribution of no less value than
contributions made for roads, bridges, and schools.[313]

In connection with the changes introduced at the time of the
Confederation, a charge for the transmission of newspapers by post was
made general throughout the federated area. The charge met with
considerable opposition from the Maritime Provinces, which thus lost the
boon of free transmission.[314] It was justified as nothing more nor
less than a simple charge for freight, the remission of which would be
to offer a bounty to a particular industry. The possibilities of
usefulness of the Post Office would, it was argued, be greatly reduced
if the service were loaded with the burden of the gratuitous
distribution of newspapers throughout so vast a country; since, if from
the diminution of revenue which such a course must produce, the
department were forced to look to Parliament for assistance, Parliament
would be disposed to discourage the establishment of new offices in the
thinly settled districts, where it was of the greatest importance that
they should be found.[315]

The arguments of members from the Maritime Provinces were somewhat
diverse. They said there was an essential distinction between letters
and newspapers, in that letters were private communications between
individuals, while newspapers were in some measure the organs of
communication between the Government and the people, and furnished the
only means by which to acquire that acquaintance with the law which
everybody was presumed to possess. Newspapers occupied a similar
position to that of schools, and presented one of the easiest channels
of enlightenment. In many cases, for the ordinary folk no other means of
education were open. On them the tax would be an imposition which might
be contrasted, it was said, with the favour accorded to the commercial
and wealthy classes by the reduction in the postage on letters.

It was further argued that in the existing state of the Dominion, owing
to the presence of a certain amount of sectional feeling and mutual
hostility between different portions of the country, which could be
attributed largely to the lack of that sort of information which
newspapers could provide, it would be folly to hinder the freest
possible distribution.[316] Moreover, a postage charge would fall
unequally. The large towns and thickly populated areas would be able to
obtain their papers by means of the railroad or other agency at little
cost; but the outlying districts, which ought to be treated with special
favour by the Legislature, would have no alternative to the payment of
postage. The large newspapers would be able to distribute their issues
by express, while the smaller ones would be compelled to use the post.
The "tax" would yield only some $25,000 a year in Nova Scotia; and for
such a paltry sum it surely could not be wise to levy this "tax upon
knowledge," which "of all the heavy burdens laid upon Nova Scotia was
the most oppressive."[317]

These arguments were ineffective, and a rate which averaged half a cent
a copy was imposed. In 1875 the rate was modified, and made a bulk rate
of 1 cent a pound, an extremely low rate. The average weight of
newspapers at that time was so small that, in the case of certain
typical papers selected by the Government for the purpose, it was found
that the numbers required to make up a pound were from ten to fifteen.
In 1874 the total yield under the old rate had been only some $36,000.
The new rate was therefore likely to yield only some $6,000 a year, and
the advocates of free transmission argued that as such a small sum would
hardly be worth the trouble of keeping the accounts, the Government,
having gone so far, might well have taken a step further and abolished
altogether the postage on newspapers. The Government defence was that
the rate proposed was the lowest possible, and to mail free the papers
published in the various parts of the Dominion would be to impose too
heavy a burden upon the public treasury.[318]

The Canadian people had only to wait a few years for the boon. In 1882
an Act was passed "to provide for the free transmission of Canadian
newspapers within the Dominion." No discussion on the measure took place
in Parliament, and authoritative statements of the reasons inducing the
adoption of so generous a policy are not to be obtained;[319] but in
well-informed quarters it is held that, in general, the leniency shown
to newspapers is not due solely to the acceptance by Parliament of the
arguments usually advanced in their favour, plausible and convincing as
they probably are to many minds, but has always been dictated more or
less by fear of the political power wielded by them; or, what is really
the same thing, as a result of direct pressure at Ottawa by the
newspaper proprietors, based on their influence with the electors or the
chiefs of parties, and exercised in their own interests.[320]

In this view, the ultimate step taken in 1882 marked no concession to
popular sentiment, but the climax of the power of the newspaper
interest, and a consummation for which they had long striven.

At the same time the total abolition of postage on newspapers was in
accord with the widespread feeling, which had from an early period found
expression in the Legislatures of the Canadian provinces: the feeling
that newspapers are of great educational value, especially in new
countries and in countries with an extended franchise, such as had been
the Canadian provinces almost from their first organization; that in
such countries it was necessary to educate the sovereign people; and
that newspapers afforded the best and most practicable way.[321]

During the period of free transmission, which continued some seventeen
years, the number and gross weight of newspapers sent through the post
increased enormously, and the privilege was considerably abused.
Numerous publications were constantly appearing demanding free
transmission, and in many cases they were of very questionable
character; that is to say that, while conforming to the letter of the
requirements of the law, they were often not genuine newspapers at all,
but mere vehicles for the distribution of trade advertisements. The vast
increase in the cost of dealing with the quantity of newspapers sent
through the mails became a question for serious consideration. Heavy
demands were being made by the railway companies for increases in the
amount of their remuneration for the conveyance of mails, on the ground
of the increase in tonnage due to the very large numbers of newspapers
being sent. The actual statistics of the Post Office traffic in Canada
are illuminating on this point. In 1897 the total weight of newspapers
passing in the mails was 16,500,000 pounds, and the estimated number of
newspapers 175,000,000. For the same year the total number of letters
passing through the post was 123,000,000, and their total weight
5,000,000 pounds.[322]

In 1898 the Canadian Government desired to reduce the internal letter
postage, which still stood at 3 cents, to the almost universal rate of 2
cents;[323] but the loss of revenue which such a reduction would entail
was so great that they were driven to seek fresh revenue to meet the
deficiency. In view of the abuses of the newspaper privilege, and the
generally unsatisfactory position which had developed, this was thought
to be a suitable occasion for the reimposition of postage on
newspapers.[324] The rate proposed was 1/2 cent a pound. Opposition to
the change was made on the same grounds as in 1867: that newspapers were
the real educators of the people, that the dissemination of
intelligence, particularly of political intelligence, was of the utmost
importance, and that no impediment should be put in the way of their
freest possible distribution.

The great necessity for a new source of postal revenue made it
impossible, however, to continue the free privilege in its entirety, and
the 1/2-cent bulk rate was carried. The free privilege was continued for
local papers distributed within a radius of ten miles, in order to
enable the country papers to compete with the papers of the large towns.
The country papers are very jealous (and perhaps somewhat fearful) of
the great city papers, although the telegraph has given the country
papers an advantage in point of time. This is of great value in a
country of enormous distances--especially in the case of daily
papers--but is yet not of vital importance in the case of weekly
newspapers, which do not rely so much on late news. The competition of
the weekly papers of the great cities is severe; and the radius of
competition even of their daily papers is considerable. The
letter-carriers of Ottawa were at that time daily engaged in carrying
free enormous quantities of newspapers published in Montreal or

The rate fixed in 1898 was not intended to be permanent; and in 1900,
when the revenue had become sufficiently buoyant to warrant the step, a
Bill was introduced to reduce the postage on newspapers to 1/8 of 1 cent
a pound for transmission in the province or territory of distribution.
The general purpose of the Bill was to reduce the rate for limited
distances, and the province or territory was adopted as the most
convenient unit of area. Newspapers were being posted literally by the
ton, and the department thought it unreasonable to convey car-loads of
such mail from ocean to ocean for the same rate as for any shorter
distances within a province.[326] The Bill passed the Lower House,
although it was severely criticized as introducing the vicious principle
of provincial legislation; and "a serious aggravation of the tyrannical
injustice" was that a distinctive tax would be placed on city
publications, while preferential privileges would be given to country

The Postmaster-General explained that with a bulk rate it was possible
to make nice distinctions of rate in regard to distance travelled, which
would be quite out of the question with a rate such as that for letters
charged separately on each individual item; the charge for the
transportation of a letter for a short distance would be so small that
no division of coin could be found to correspond to it, but with matter
mailed by the ton and wagon-load, and paid for by the ton and
wagon-load, the charge could well be adjusted for distance: but he
admitted that he had made no calculation as to whether the 1/8 cent a
pound would cover the cost of newspapers within the bounds of each
province.[328] The Bill was rejected by the Senate on account of the
undesirability on general political grounds of introducing any sort of
distinctions based on the provincial boundaries.

The proposal was revived in another form in 1903. It was then proposed
to reduce the postage to 1/4 cent a pound on newspapers when the
distance of transmission did not exceed 300 miles. The
Postmaster-General said definitely in Parliament that the rate would not
cover the cost, and, further, that the reduction would involve a loss of
revenue of from $50,000 to $75,000 a year on a total revenue from
newspapers of from $100,000 to $125,000.[329] The reduction was carried;
and in 1908 the reduced rate of 1/4 cent a pound was extended to all
newspapers passing within the Dominion, when posted in bulk. The
privilege is availed of by the publishers of many periodicals which are
virtually nothing more than advertising media; but this abuse has not
assumed serious proportions, and with the finances of the department in
a flourishing state, it has not been felt necessary to curtail the
privilege, although it involves great loss.[330]

       *       *       *       *       *


A system for the distribution of newspapers by post, analogous, though
not identical, with that which grew up in Great Britain, existed from an
early period in America. There the privilege of franking newspapers was
a perquisite, but it was not the perquisite of one officer, as in
England. All postmasters exercised the privilege as part of their
general privilege of franking all their correspondence, the arrangement
being part of their emoluments as postmasters; and post-masterships were
much sought after by newspaper publishers, who were thereby enabled to
obtain free of charge the advantage of the distribution of their
publications by what in most cases was the best, if not the only,
available means.

The most notable example was Benjamin Franklin, who was for nearly forty
years connected with the Post Office in North America, first as
Postmaster of Philadelphia, and afterwards as joint Postmaster-General
for the northern part of North America, and who, throughout this period,
was able to circulate his publications by post free of charge. The Post
Office, especially in regard to the exercise of this privilege, is
regarded by Americans as having been an important factor making for a
general understanding between the colonies, and a conception of the
possibility of common action.[331] As early as 1757 the Crown
authorities in the colonies were looking with a jealous eye on the
unrestricted distribution of newspapers, and were contemplating measures
for preventing the dissemination of objectionable ideas.[332]

As the friction between the colonies and the Mother Country grew in the
years that followed, the Crown postmasters became more and more active
in their endeavours to hamper the distribution by post of newspapers
which published improper intelligence, or proclaimed improper political
doctrines. In 1774 Franklin was dismissed, and his dismissal has been
ascribed to a desire to impede the distribution of his

There is no doubt that the Crown authorities attempted through the
postmasters to prevent the distribution of colonial newspapers, and it
was this action which led in the first instance to the suggestion for
the establishment of an independent American Post Office.[334] The
resolutions of the Continental Congress by which the American office was
established in 1775 did not provide for the transmission of newspapers.
Nor does the ordinance of the 21st October 1782 prescribe any rates for
their transmission; but licenses the postriders to carry them,
presumably outside the mail, the charges made by them for the service to
be retained by the riders as a perquisite.

The statute of 1792 first fixed rates for newspapers, as follows: 1 cent
a copy when sent for distances less than 100 miles, and 1-1/2 cents a
copy when sent for distances greater than 100 miles. This charge was
opposed in Congress, and efforts were made to legalize free transmission
by extending, so as to cover the transmission of newspapers, the general
privilege of franking conferred by the Bill on members of Congress, on
the ground that as the Government of the country was a government of
opinion, which always depended ultimately on the suffrages of the
people, much greater reliance was to be placed on the confidence of the
people than on any other circumstance. Such confidence could only
result from the fullest information, which the people had a right to
expect, not only as regards the actions of the Government but as regards
the principles on which they were grounded.[335]

Some members were disposed to approach the question from the financial
side, and contended that the rates proposed were not sufficient to
discharge the expense of the service. The middle way between economic
rates and free transmission was finally adopted.

An Act of 1794 amended the rates on newspapers and provided a further
special rate for magazines and pamphlets. Newspapers might now pass from
any one place to any other within the same State for 1 cent; magazines
and pamphlets at 1 cent a sheet for distances not exceeding 50 miles;
1-1/2 cents a sheet for distances over 50 miles and not exceeding 100
miles; and 2 cents a sheet for any greater distance. A suggestion was
made in Congress to reduce the newspaper rate to half a cent for
distances not exceeding 100 miles, and 1 cent for any greater distance;
on the ground that it was desirable to encourage the distribution of
newspapers from the seat of Government and the large towns, since such
papers must contain more complete information than the country
publications, which could only publish selections from the metropolitan
papers. There was, however, a feeling that country papers performed a
useful function and should be encouraged.

The rates on magazines were altered in 1825 to 1-1/2 cents a sheet for
any distance not exceeding 100 miles and 2-1/2 cents for any greater
distance, when published periodically and sent to subscribers; and 4
cents on each sheet for distances under 100 miles, and 6 cents a sheet
for any greater distance, when not published periodically. In 1845 the
free privilege for newspapers was first introduced, those of not more
than 1,900 square inches in size, posted by the editors or publishers,
being allowed to pass free within 30 miles of the place of publication.
Smaller newspapers, if conveyed more than 30 miles, were charged the
rates fixed by the Act of 1794 (which had been re-enacted by a statute
of 1825); and newspapers of greater size were charged a uniform rate of
2 cents without regard to distance. Pamphlets, magazines, periodicals,
and all printed or other matter, were to be charged by weight: 2-1/2
cents for the first ounce, and 1 cent for each additional ounce or
fraction of an ounce, without regard to distance.

The free privilege for local newspapers was withdrawn in 1847, except as
regards copies exchanged between publishers. The latter privilege was
continued from a desire to assist the country publisher, who seems
always to have had friends in Congress, and who was in the habit of
obtaining much of the information published in his papers from the great
Atlantic cities, and other large towns which were centres of political
or other interests. The free privilege was not long withheld.[336] An
Act of 1851 again extended it to all weekly newspapers sent from the
office of publication to _bona fide_ subscribers within the county where
published, provided the newspaper did not exceed 3 ounces in weight;
with a scale of postages graduated according to distance for papers sent
out of the county where published. A graduated scale for pamphlets,
periodicals, magazines, and all other printed matter, was also
established by this Act. In the following year a rate of 1 cent was
fixed for each newspaper, periodical, unsealed circular, or other
article of printed matter, not exceeding 3 ounces in weight, sent to any
part of the United States; and for every additional ounce or fraction
thereof, 1 cent additional. In 1861 the rate of postage on any
newspaper, periodical, unsealed circular, or other article of printed
matter, not exceeding 3 ounces in weight, conveyed over the overland
route between any State or Territory east of the Rocky Mountains and any
State or Territory on the Pacific, was made 1 cent. The letter rate
between the same areas was 10 cents per 1/2 ounce.

A statute of 1863 classified mail matter, defining three groups.
Newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets fell into the second group, which
comprised all printed matter issued at stated intervals, but different
rates were fixed for different sections of such matter. On printed
matter issued weekly and sent to regular subscribers, the rate was 5
cents a quarter for publications not exceeding 4 ounces in weight, with
an additional rate for every additional 4 ounces or fraction thereof. If
issued seven times a week, the rate was 35 cents a quarter for every 4
ounces. If issued less frequently than weekly, the charge was 1 cent a
copy not exceeding 4 ounces in weight, and small newspapers might be
sent in packages and charged the same rates by weight. On transient[337]
second-class matter, and miscellaneous matter of the third class--the
third class included all other printed matter--the rate was fixed at 2
cents for each 4 ounces or fraction thereof.

The rates of 1863 were slightly modified in 1872, and a local delivery
rate of 1 cent was established for newspapers. Two years later a new
method of charging postage on newspapers and periodicals posted by
publishers or newsagents was introduced. Instead of being charged on
each individual packet, postage was to be charged on the gross weight of
the newspapers posted by a publisher, irrespective of the number of
separate packets to be handled. The rate was 2 cents a pound on
newspapers and periodicals published weekly, and 3 cents on those issued
less frequently than once a week. These rates only applied to such
newspapers and periodicals as were mailed from a known office of
publication, or news agency, to regular subscribers or newsagents, and
did not apply to those for local delivery. By a statute of 1876
publications designed primarily for advertising purposes, or for
circulation free, or at nominal rates, were made third-class matter,
and thus excluded from the privilege. In 1879 the present rate of 1 cent
a pound (bulk rate) and a revised classification were established.
Matter was admitted to the second class on the following conditions:--

     _First._--It must regularly be issued at stated intervals as
     frequently as four times a year, must bear a date of issue, and
     must be numbered consecutively.

     _Second._--It must be issued from a known office of publication.

     _Third._--It must be formed of printed paper sheets, without board,
     cloth, leather, or other substantial binding, such as distinguish
     printed books for preservation from periodical publications.

     _Fourth._--It must be originated and published for the
     dissemination of information of a public character, or devoted to
     literature, the sciences, arts, or some special industry, and
     having a legitimate list of subscribers; _provided_, _however_,
     that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to admit to
     the second-class rate regular publications designed primarily for
     advertising purposes, or for free circulation, or for circulation
     at nominal rates.

In 1894 the privilege was extended so as to include under certain
conditions the periodical publications of benevolent or fraternal
societies; and again in 1900, to include the periodical publications
issued by State departments of agriculture.

It was provided by the statute of 1879 that a supplement may be enclosed
with a second-class publication, without subjecting it to extra postage,
provided that it is germane to the publication which it supplements,
that is to say, is matter supplied in order to complete that to which it
is added or supplemented, but omitted from the regular issue for want of
space or time, or for greater convenience. It must, however, in every
case be issued with the publication.

Since the establishment of these conditions and rates, there has been a
steady and growing increase in the amount of second-class matter sent
through the mails. In 1879, under the old rates, the total weight sent
at the pound rate was 51,125,500 pounds. In the following year the total
weight was 61,822,629 pounds; and by 1910 the total had increased to
817,772,900 pounds, that figure representing an increase of no less than
94,539,718 pounds on the total for 1909.

During the whole of this period the accounts of the Post Office in the
United States had in two years only (in 1882 and 1883) shown a surplus
of revenue over expenditure. In view of the vast quantity of matter sent
in the mails at very low rates, the question naturally suggested itself
whether, seeing that it was necessary year by year to call on the
public treasury for funds to meet the deficiency in the Post Office
accounts, it would not be practicable, and equitable, to obtain an
increased revenue from this class of traffic. The fact that considerable
abuses of the second-class mail privilege had grown up made
consideration of the question the more necessary.

Periodicals obtained so great a privilege as compared with ordinary
books, that publishers sought devious ways to obtain the advantage of
the pound rate. Books termed a "library" were issued periodically, with
a frequency sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act, numbered in
series, and devoted to literature or science; were issued from a known
office of publication, and with a list of subscribers. Complying thus
with all the requirements of the Act, there seemed no ground on which
these publications could be refused admission to the second-class
privilege, and they were accordingly entered. The practice grew, and a
multitude of libraries, comprising books on every conceivable subject,
were distributed through the mails as second-class matter. The Act
permitted the posting of sample copies, and as no limit to the number of
such copies was fixed, the mails were burdened with vast quantities of
sample copies of publications which, while complying with the letter of
the statute, as did the "libraries," were in reality mere advertising
media. The subscription list was extremely small in comparison with the
number of sample copies sent out, and in many cases the subscriptions
had been obtained by the offer of premiums at least equal in value to
the subscriptions. Another abuse appeared. Under the law, copies of
newspapers and periodicals mailed under the second-class privilege which
were found to be undeliverable were, when returned to the publisher,
liable to postage at the rate of 1 cent for each 4 ounces; but
newsagents had the right to send second-class mail to one another, and
in order to avoid the higher rate on returned copies, the publishers
arranged a scheme by which the copies were returned by one newsagent to
another newsagent whose office was near by the publisher's office. These
abuses assumed such proportions that in 1889 the Postmaster-General, Mr.
Wanamaker, brought them to the notice of Congress and asked a remedy.
Nothing was done, however. In 1892 Mr. Wanamaker again complained of
the same gross abuses, and especially of the book abuse, which had then
become, he said, "a practice of so long standing that it has
crystallized into law, allowing to paper-covered books which are simply
numbered, and dated, and designated as periodicals, though in reality
not so, the privileges of genuine periodicals."[338] He also attacked
with vigour the sample-copy abuse.[339]

Several Postmasters-General caused estimates to be made of the actual
cost to the Post Office of the handling and transmission of the
second-class mail. An estimate made in 1894 indicated the cost of
transportation for all mail matter as 8 cents a pound, and on that basis
second-class matter at that time involved a loss of nearly 17 million
dollars for transportation alone. In 1897 the total loss on account of
the second-class mail was estimated at 26 million dollars. A further
estimate made in 1901 indicated that the cost of transportation of
second-class matter was at least 5 cents a pound, and that the cost of
handling was a further 2 cents, giving a total cost of 7 cents a pound
on matter for which postage at the rate of only 1 cent a pound was

In 1905 Postmaster-General Cortelyou submitted an estimate which put the
loss on second-class matter at some $27,000,000 a year; and he
recommended that the whole question should be considered by Congress,
and a law enacted which should simplify the tests by which mail matter
was classified.

These vigorous and oft-repeated recommendations of successive
Postmasters-General, though not resulting in legislation, at length
achieved a result in the appointment in 1906 of a joint Commission of
Congress on second-class mail matter. The Commission held meetings in
New York, and took evidence from the Post Office department and from
representatives of each national organization of publishers in the
United States. Their report, presented in January 1907, was in no sense
conclusive. Their chief difficulties had arisen from the impossibility
of obtaining from the department any statistics as to the cost of mail
matter class by class--a difficulty which is inherent in Post Offices
conducted on the modern system of accounting for postage of all classes
by postage labels of the same type, and handling all classes of matter
promiscuously; and their chief recommendations were that the department
should take fresh statistics with regard to all mail matter,[341] and
make an analysis of operating expenses with a view to apportionment
between the various classes of mail matter. The Commission was so
dissatisfied with the department's position with regard to the
ascertainment of a proper division of the total expenses, that they
recommended the appointment of a further Commission to examine
thoroughly "the whole business system" of the Post Office, and
particularly to determine, if possible, firstly, the actual cost of all
the postal services; secondly, the proper apportionment of that cost
between the various classes of mail matter; and thirdly, what
modifications of the system of bookkeeping and accounting were

By a statute of the 2nd March 1907, Congress authorized the appointment
of a joint Commission "to make an investigation into the business system
of the Post Office and postal service." The same gentlemen who had
composed the Commission of 1906 were appointed to the new Commission,
but its labours led to no practical result.

The other recommendation of the Penrose-Overstreet Commission, viz. that
further statistics should be obtained with regard to second-class
matter, was also adopted by Congress, and the statute authorizing the
Commission on business methods also authorized the taking of statistics
of the weight, number of pieces, and average haul of all classes of mail
matter, separately, and the average load of all cars by which it was
forwarded by railway.[343] With the statistics so obtained as a
basis,[344] the department undertook the task, which, as stated by the
Commission of 1906, had previously been impossible of performance, of
calculating the actual working cost assignable respectively to the
various classes of mail matter. A Committee, which was appointed in
October 1908, and reported in November 1909, arrived at the conclusion
that the cost of dealing with second-class mail matter was about 9 cents
a pound. The whole subject was before the Committee on the Post Office
and Post Roads of the House of Representatives in January and February
1910. Many representatives of the publishing interest attended and gave
evidence, and the department's calculations were subjected to
examination and criticism.[345]

Congress and the Executive were still, however, unable to arrive at a
satisfactory conclusion on the question, and on the 4th March 1911 a
joint resolution of Congress authorized the appointment of a further
Commission on second-class mail matter, this time not a Congressional
Commission. A judge, the president of a university, and a business
gentleman were appointed to the Commission, which held sessions in New
York in the latter part of the year, and took evidence from the Post
Office department and representatives of the publishing interests. They
found that the data available were insufficient to enable them to
determine the total cost to the Post Office of the services performed in
respect of second-class mail matter; but they were able to estimate the
cost in regard to certain items of the expenses of the Post Office. The
cost under those headings, which must, of course, be less than the total
cost, they found as 5-1/2 cents a pound for ordinary
paid-at-the-pound-rate matter and 5 cents a pound for free and transient
matter.[346] That part of the general expenses of the service which the
Commission were unable to assign satisfactorily between the various
classes of mail matter was estimated by the Post Office department to
amount to over 2 cents a pound for second-class mail matter.[347] On
this basis, of course, a heavy increase in the rate of postage would be
warranted; but in view of the uncertainty of the effect of the
competition of the express companies which would result from a large
increase in the rate of postage, of the fact that the publishers'
business established in faith of constancy of the postage would
seriously suffer from such a sudden increase, and of the well-known
policy of encouraging distribution of educational literature,[348] the
Commission hesitated to recommend any large increase, and contented
themselves with recommending that the rate be raised from 1 to 2 cents a

Given that the actual cost of the handling and transporting of
second-class mail matter is on the average 9 cents a pound (regarding
which the department is quite satisfied) and a rate of postage for such
matter of 1 cent a pound, the department has, on the face of things, a
strong case; and it is not necessary to ascribe other motives in order
fully to explain and justify the course it has adopted. But the
publishers felt that they were not favourably regarded by the Republican
Administration. They claim, and the claim is admitted in influential
quarters immune from pressure from them, that they are largely
responsible for the establishment of the insurgent wing of the
Republican party, whose action against the late Administration proved so
disastrous to the fortunes of the party. In the course of these
political activities they have made enemies; and they conclude that in
the Republican party, many of whose members have been disgraced, if not
indeed driven from public life, there has arisen a strong feeling
against the publishers. The activity of the department against the
second-class rate is alleged to have begun after the publication of
articles in the magazines exposing the corruption in the cities, and
incidentally reflecting on members of the Republican party. Moreover,
the department's most drastic recommendations have been directed not
against second-class matter as a whole, but against the periodicals; and
they have been made under the guise of preventing, as contrary to the
intent of the statute, the dissemination at the second-class rate of
vast quantities of advertising matter. Thus, the department has
recommended that that portion of periodicals which consisted solely of
advertising matter should be charged at a higher rate than the rest of
the publication (which would be allowed the second-class rate), while
nothing at all was proposed as regards ordinary newspapers, a
discrimination which cut the publishers of the periodicals deeply.

The representations of the Post Office department, extending over some
twenty years, and of most decisive and emphatic character, have not yet
succeeded in obtaining legislation for the reform of the second-class
mail scheme; but some few years back the department arrived at the
conclusion that the authority of the existing law was sufficient to
enable the more flagrant abuses to be checked, if not eliminated. A
series of rulings were thereupon promulgated, and by this means some of
the worst abuses have been removed, such as, for example, the
transmission as second-class matter of "libraries," issued as
periodicals. These rulings were resented by the publishing interests,
with whom it was a source of great complaint that the interpretation of
the statute defining second-class mail matter was left to arbitrary
decision by officials of the department.[349] The intense feeling in
America against any sort of bureaucracy, and especially against a
bureaucracy of the central Government, leads to a natural jealousy of
the exercise of this power, and as a remedy the suggestion was advanced
that provision should be made, first, for questions of the
interpretation of the Act to be decided in the first instance by a
permanent Commission located at Washington, on which the publishers
should be represented; and secondly, that there should be an appeal from
the decisions of this Commission to the ordinary courts of justice.

The department admits that its position with regard to the
interpretation of the statutes is unsatisfactory. Under the existing
system, all manner of questions are asked regarding the private business
of the publisher, and the decisions from Washington are often
delayed.[350] But as against the contention of the department, which was
for an amendment of the law, the publishers contended that the law,
while no doubt not altogether perfect, was in the main sound and just,
and the rate of postage of 1 cent a pound was as great a boon as was
ever conferred by Congress. They denied that it was in any sense a
subsidy.[351] They also denied the existence of a deficiency, and
contended that so far from its being true that the Post Office business
involved a loss, there was each year a profit of millions of dollars.
This result they arrived at by estimating the cost to the Post Office of
the distribution of Government free matter, and the cost of the rural
free delivery, which they added together, setting the total against the
deficit shown in the published accounts of the department. By this means
a balance of profit was obtained for each year. The estimated postage
payable at the usual rates in respect of the free matter was of course
an item legitimately to be added to gross revenue; but it was doubtful
whether the cost of the rural delivery service could be deducted from
gross expenses, as the publishers insisted, on the ground that the
service was "extraordinary."

The publishers made a further allegation. At that time the express
companies cut even the very low existing cent-a-pound rate on
second-class mail matter for short distances, and if that rate were
raised the range of their competition would be extended. With a 2-cent
rate a much greater proportion of the traffic would inevitably fall to
them. This would, of course, be very advantageous to the companies, to
whom, as to railways, any increase in the volume of traffic handled
would be welcome. These express companies had for many years been
faithful supporters of the Republican party, and behind the suggestion
to increase second-class rates the publishers were convinced there was a
desire on the part of the leaders of the party to reward their faithful

But perhaps the chief contentions of the publishers, which the Post
Office was bound to some extent to admit, and would in any case find it
difficult to meet, were the claim that newspapers create a vast quantity
of first-class mail; and the claim that since the payment made to the
railway companies in respect of the transportation of the mail is based
on a sliding scale, decreasing as the volume of traffic increases, the
weight of second-class matter brings down appreciably the rate actually
to be paid.

Some who appeared before the Commission of 1911 were inclined to go
beyond these general contentions as to the relative claims of
second-class matter, and to assail the whole administration of the
department from the economic standpoint; challenging especially the
relations with the railway companies, and arguing that the payment made
for the conveyance of mails was not equitable when compared with the
charges made by the companies for similar services performed for the
express companies.

Notwithstanding these contentions, there can be no question that the
transmission of the second-class mail at the present rates involves the
department in heavy loss; and that Congress, not unaware of this,
attaches importance to the advantages which a low rate for such matter
confers. The Commission were satisfied on both points. It is, however,
doubted by many whether the effect of this privilege has been altogether
salutary from the educational point of view. It has encouraged to an
almost incredible extent the publication of periodical magazines, and
many of these magazines are of a high order of merit as periodical
publications. The United States leads the world in the publication of
this kind of matter.[353] But the reading matter which is found in these
publications is to a large extent light and trivial. The publication of
serious intellectual works has shown little advance in recent
years,[354] and there is a fairly widespread feeling in America that
the two developments are connected. But that is a matter difficult to

In any case, many people are proud of the development in periodicals,
and the department, in spite of its efforts, has so far failed to secure
any increase of rate. Although the Postmaster-General and the
President[355] adopted the recommendations of the Commission of 1911,
and urged their consideration on Congress, Congress has not taken
action, and has, indeed, forbidden the department to extend certain
arrangements for the use of freight trains for the transmission of
second-class matter, whereby a saving of expense could be secured, a
phenomenon probably explicable by the constitution of American

       *       *       *       *       *


In France, printed matter, whether issued periodically or otherwise,
seems always to have enjoyed a lower rate of postage than the written
letter. Before the Revolution there was diversity of practice as regards
the rate of postage charged on newspapers. Some privileged papers paid
only 5 or 6 deniers the sheet, while others paid 8 deniers. All the
rates were purely arbitrary. When the Committee on Public Taxation of
the National Assembly considered the question of fixing the rate for
newspapers, they considered not only how to regularize the rate, but
also whether they could raise it. Viewed from the economic standpoint,
the rate was thought by some to be inadequate.[357] The Committee was
satisfied that not only would the new rates cover the cost of the
service, but that there would also be a slight profit, although they
felt it would not be proper, or even possible, to make that part of the
business of the Post Office a really lucrative source of revenue.[358]

The decree of 17-22 August 1791 established the rate of 8 deniers per
sheet for daily newspapers (and other daily publications), and 12
deniers per sheet for other periodical publications. Pamphlets or
unbound books were charged a sou the sheet. Bound books were not allowed
to pass by post. It is unlikely that these rates were remunerative. They
were modified several times during the next few years; but although the
modifications were in the direction of increase, the rates for
newspapers still compared very favourably with the rates for

A law of 6 messidor, an IV (1795), established a rate of 5 centimes for
newspapers and other periodical publications delivered in the place of
publication, and 10 centimes for all other destinations; but this
discrimination was removed by the law of 4 thermidor, an IV, which
substituted a general rate of 4 centimes the sheet. An attempt was made
by the administration to raise the rates on newspapers and books. As
regards newspapers the proposal was, however, rejected by the Conseil
des Anciens.

In 1796 a new rate for newspapers and other periodical publications was
established, viz. 4 centimes for each sheet. For other printed matter
the rate was fixed at 5 centimes per sheet.[360] This law failed to
prescribe the limits of size of the sheets according to which postage
was to be charged, an omission supplied by an ordinance of the 5th March
1823, which fixed the dimension of the sheet at 24 centimetres by 38.
The newspapers interested tried to resist this restriction, contending
that the ordinance was illegal, because the laws of 1796 prescribed no
limit and the Government could not impose one by ordinance: for such a
purpose a new law was necessary.

The law of the 27 frimaire, an VIII (17th December 1799), had
established a scale of charges according to weight, and the rates were
fixed according to the distance actually traversed, under the
arrangements then existing. This restriction, which was unfortunate,
because the services existing during the Revolutionary period were not
of a character to serve as a basis for the future, was felt to be
onerous, and numerous complaints were lodged by communes which felt
themselves placed under a disadvantage.

In 1827 the rates were revised and placed on a more stable basis.[361]
The principle first established in 1791, of charge according to the
distance between two places reckoned as the crow flies, was
re-established; and a provision was inserted in the law to meet the
difficulty which had arisen as to the legality of the ordinance of 1823,
purporting to fix the size of the sheets on which the postage on printed
matter was calculated. Postage on newspapers and periodicals was made 5
centimes for each sheet of 30 square decimetres for all destinations;
but the charge was reduced by one-half for newspapers and periodicals
circulated within the department where they were published, the reduced
rate being established with the view of protection of the country Press,
whose subscribers were in general local, against the competition of the
Parisian Press. In 1830 the rate of 5 centimes the sheet for newspapers
and other periodical publications was reduced to 4 centimes. The rates
of 1827 remained otherwise unchanged.

In 1850 the newspaper tax and the postage were assimilated--that is to
say, newspapers were subjected only to one tax, and payment of that tax
secured the right of transmission by post. The tax was at the rate of 5
centimes per sheet of 72 square decimetres or less for newspapers
published in the departments of Seine and Seine-et-Oise, and 2 centimes
for those published elsewhere. All newspapers on which a tax of 5
centimes was paid, were entitled to free transmission by post throughout
France. Those on which a tax of 2 centimes was paid, were entitled to
free transmission by post within the department in which they were
published and the adjoining departments. In order to obtain transmission
by post throughout France, an additional sum of 3 centimes per paper
must be paid on these latter newspapers.[362] The Minister of Justice,
in introducing the measure in the National Assembly, explained that it
would serve a double purpose: on the one hand it would give an increase
of revenue of some six millions a year; and on the other it would
safeguard society against detestable doctrines, because it would fall
specially on those evil newspapers and books[363] which were circulated
at a low price in town and country, propagating prejudices and error,
exciting the passions and corrupting the conscience of the public.[364]

Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1852, desirous that there should be no
obstacle in the way of his ultimate assumption of absolute power and the
Imperial crown, issued a decree further restricting the Press in France.
The publication of newspapers or periodicals dealing with political or
economic questions, unless authorized by the Government, was forbidden;
and the rates of postage in force prior to the law of 1850 were imposed
on newspapers, in addition to the tax imposed by that law.[365] The same
principles led to the discrimination introduced in 1856 between
political and non-political papers. The former were subjected to a
higher rate of postage than newspapers of a non-political character,
because the Government felt it to be necessary that there should be some
moderating influence to check the effect of political journals in times
of intense political excitement, and adopted this expedient.[366]

The rates for printed matter had for a long period caused considerable
confusion, and given rise to many complaints from members of the public.
They were still determined according to the linear surface of the
sheets, a method which was found to cause considerable embarrassment and
difficulty in its practical application. To all other classes of postal
traffic the more logical and more convenient principle of charge
according to weight had already been applied, and in 1856 this
principle was applied also to printed matter of all descriptions. Weight
was made the basis of the charge, without reference to superficies or to
distance, except that for political reasons the privilege of half-rates
for newspapers circulating in the department in which they were
published was continued.[367] The reduction of the actual rates made by
this law was slight, and was estimated not to have any appreciable
effect on the total revenue. In any case the question was "regarded less
from the financial point of view than from the point of view of the
satisfaction which it would give to the needs of commerce and industry
and of private intercourse in general."[368] The new rate was 1 centime
for each 10 grammes, with a minimum of 4 centimes for political, and 2
centimes for non-political newspapers.

This reduction of rate, together with the reduction for other printed
matter, for samples, and for commercial papers, resulted in a large
increase in the number of bulky packets sent by post. In order to ensure
prompt delivery, it was found necessary in Paris to separate to some
extent the letter-post traffic from the traffic sent at the lower rates,
and the principle of providing a separate staff of postmen for the
delivery of newspapers, magazines, samples, etc., was introduced.[369]
The application of this principle has since been extended, and the two
kinds of traffic are now dealt with in Paris altogether separately, by
separate staffs of officers.

The newspaper rates were next revised in 1878. The discrimination
between political and non-political newspapers was abolished, but the
privilege accorded to local newspapers was continued. The new rates

     1. Two centimes for the first 25 grammes and 1 centime for each
     further 25 grammes or fraction of 25 grammes for newspapers
     published in the departments of Seine and Seine-et-Oise and
     circulating outside the department where published; and for
     newspapers published in other departments and circulating outside
     the department where published and the adjacent departments.

     2. One centime for the first 25 grammes and 1/2 centime for each
     additional 25 grammes or fraction of 25 grammes for newspapers
     published in the departments of Seine or Seine-et-Oise and
     circulating within the department where published.

     3. One centime for the first 50 grammes and 1/2 centime for each
     additional 25 grammes or fraction of 25 grammes for provincial
     papers other than those of Seine and Seine-et-Oise, circulating
     within the department where published or adjacent departments.

The existing rate for inland newspapers, which is based on the law of
the 16th April 1895, is as follows:--

     Two centimes for each copy up to 50 grammes, and 1 centime for each
     25 grammes or fraction of 25 grammes above 50 grammes.

Only half these rates is charged when the papers circulate within the
department in which they are published or the adjacent department.

In 1908[370] the rates in respect of newspapers sorted and bundled
according to the offices of destination and the post routes, were
reduced to 1 centime for the first 50 grammes and 1 centime for each
additional 25 grammes or fraction of 25 grammes--half this rate being
charged for papers circulating within the department of publication or
the adjacent departments.

The value of a centime is roughly one-tenth of a penny. It is hardly
necessary, therefore, to point out that these rates are divorced
entirely from economic considerations, and are to be explained only on
political and administrative grounds.[371] It has been estimated that
in 1895 the loss on printed matter of all kinds was 36 million francs.

In France, as in other countries, the privilege of transmitting
periodical publications at a specially low rate of postage was much
availed of for the transmission of advertising matter, of publications
which were essentially of the character of catalogues or prospectuses
rather than newspapers properly speaking. A law of 1908,[372] passed
with a view, among other things, of minimizing this abuse of the
privilege, restricted the application of the reduced rate to
publications issued not less frequently than once a month. The new
regulation had good results, restricting, as was desired, the number of
periodical publications not legitimately entitled to the privilege. It
had also a result which was regarded by Parliament as undesirable: it
shut out from the privilege the numerous quarterly journals of
scientific and learned societies.[373]

By the same law the minimum rate of postage for small packets of printed
matter sent under loose band, the _imprimés non urgent_, was raised from
1 centime to 2 centimes. The result of this was a little unsatisfactory.
In order to evade the higher charge, advertisers took to printing in
newspapers, circulating at 1 centime, announcements formerly sent out
separately as loose leaflets, a man[oe]uvre which struck doubly: not
only was the legitimate rate of postage evaded, but instead of dealing
with the matter as non-urgent at its convenience, the Post Office was
obliged to treat it in the same way as all other newspaper matter--that
is, to give it the benefit of equal treatment with matter sent at the
letter rate.


A decree of the 24th November 1860 gave to the two Chambers the
constitutional right of discussing the policy of the Government at home
and abroad, and as a natural corollary of this it was desired to secure
the untrammelled publication and distribution of reports of the debates.
This was attained by exempting from postage the supplements of journals
when they were devoted entirely to the reproduction of the official
reports of the proceedings of the Chambers, the _motifs des projets de
lois_, reports of parliamentary commissions, or official documents
deposited by the Government at the office of the Chambers.

The Press law of the 11th May 1868 extended the exemption to supplements
devoted to the extent of one half to the publication of reports of
parliamentary debates or documents, but only on condition that the
supplements contained no advertisements. The privilege was continued by
the law of 1878.[374] In order to obtain the privilege the supplements
must be printed on sheets detached from the main publication, but they
must be enclosed with the publication. They must not exceed in size that
part of the paper subject to postage, and if sent separately, they are
liable to postage at the ordinary rate. In 1869 the official reports of
parliamentary debates were exempted from postage when sent by the
printer to the editors of country papers, or by those editors to their
subscribers, if enclosed with the local paper.

M. Jaccottey's view is that in order to conform to the spirit of the
law, the rate for periodicals ought to be confined to newspapers and
other periodical publications devoted to letters, science, and arts; and
that it is an abuse of the privilege that commercial advertising should
avail itself of the privilege by, say, publishing at regular intervals
successive editions of library catalogues, or by borrowing the titles
of illustrated journals, their outside covers, and the methods of
distribution, and inserting in them prospectuses which are not of the
nature of periodicals.[375]

Ordinary supplements may be enclosed in newspapers. They are weighed
with the paper, and postage is charged according to the total weight. If
sent separately, they are regarded as a number of the paper, and postage
is charged accordingly. In order to obtain the benefit of the privileged
rate, all supplements must bear printed indication of the fact that they
are supplements, and must bear the title and date of the main

These definitions were amplified by the administration in 1896 by an
instruction (No. 468) which provided that detached advertisement sheets
of any sort, issued exceptionally (feuilletons, fiction, stop press
news, late articles, pictures, artistic engravings, or others), which
are the genuine production of the publication, whatever the size and
shape or pagination, ought to be regarded as fulfilling the conditions
prescribed by law for supplements and to be admitted to the privilege of
the reduced rate.

       *       *       *       *       *


From the time of their first publication in Germany, newspapers have
been distributed through the post. Little is known of the precise
arrangements under which they were at first transmitted, but there is no
doubt that they were accorded privileged conditions as compared with
ordinary letters. The postmasters were themselves largely interested in
the publication of newspapers.[377] By 1712 the conduct of newspaper
businesses by postmasters had become recognized as a common and
long-established arrangement.[378]

The distribution of the newspapers was largely made through the post,
and a rate of charge, built up of two elements, came into existence. The
first element was the "discount" (_der Rabatt_). This was a payment made
by the publisher to the postmaster as remuneration for the work of the
latter in connection with the posting and despatch of the papers and the
collection of subscriptions. This discount was arranged between the
postmaster and the publisher, and generally took the form of a fixed
percentage proportion of the published price (_Erlasspreis_). The second
element was the "percentage" (_die Provision_). This was in addition to
the published price. It was collected from the addressee, and belonged
partly to the postmaster at the place of destination and partly to the
postmaster at the place of publication.[379] The rates were fixed by the
postmasters at their discretion, and gross irregularities and anomalies
in the rates resulted. Public complaint arose, and it was found
necessary for the State to assume control of the traffic and fix
definite rates of charge. This course was first adopted in Prussia in
1821, when the following rates were established[380]:--

  4     pf. for each whole sheet of the primary publication (_Hauptblattes_)
  2-1/2 pf.    "     half        "         "         "              "
  1-1/2 pf.    "     quarter     "         "         "              "
  1-1/2 pf.    "     whole       "      supplement
  1     pf.    "     half        "         "

This method of charge did not, however, prove altogether satisfactory,
because the term "sheet" was not defined with any degree of precision.
It was thought that a better basis for the rate might be found in the
price at which the newspapers were sold to the public, because, it was
argued, the price must stand in exact proportion to the number and size
of the copies, and also to their real value. Accordingly, in 1848 the
rate was fixed generally at 25 per cent. of the published price.[381] At
a somewhat later date this rate was reduced to 12-1/2 per cent. of the
published price in the case of newspapers appearing less frequently than
four times a month.[382] In 1871 the minimum yearly rate payable in
respect of any newspaper was fixed at 4 sgr.[383]

The application of this tariff resulted in many cases in considerable
discrepancies between the amount charged and the service rendered. The
improvements in the manufacture of paper and in the methods of printing,
particularly the introduction of the rotary press, had cheapened the
processes of production, and led to a great expansion of the newspaper
trade. With this expansion came a more than proportionate expansion of
the business of advertising. The result was that, as in England and
America, the newspapers increased in bulk; but so far from there being
a corresponding increase in price, there was in point of fact a very
considerable decrease. Moreover, advertisements became a more important
source of revenue than the subscriptions themselves. A rate of charge
based on the selling price, which might have been reasonable when
newspapers were produced under the old conditions, was totally
inapplicable under the altered circumstances.[384]

The financial results proved extremely unsatisfactory. From the causes
indicated, the average weight of the individual copies of newspapers
continued to increase, while at the same time the price (and with the
price, the postage) continued to decrease.

In 1897 the administration of the Imperial Post Office estimated that
the total cost of the transmission of newspapers by post in Germany, for
staff, post offices, transport, equipment, etc., was 6,178,362 M., or
about 66/100 pf. per copy.[385] The number of newspapers transmitted by
post in Germany was at that time about a thousand millions annually, and
the total postage received in respect of them was less than 5 million
M., or on the average about 1/2 pf. per copy;[386] in the case of a
number of papers the postage was as little as 1/12 pf. per copy.[387]
The annual loss to the administration on account of the newspaper
traffic was therefore on the average 16/100 pf. per copy, or a total of
about 1,600,000 M. a year.

For many years the question was before the Budget Commission of the
Reichstag, and a change soon followed the publication of this estimate.
New rates, based on entirely new principles, were established in 1899.

When the Act establishing the new rates was in preparation, the Imperial
Post Office administration based their proposals mainly on the principle
that the charges should cover the cost of the service rendered.[388] The
original proposals to the Reichstag were accordingly calculated to
secure an increased revenue of 1-1/4 million M. The Budget Commission,
however, so modified the proposals as to reduce this amount to 300,000
M., and further modifications were made in the Reichstag itself, with
the result that under the new rates the administration was left to work
with an even greater loss than formerly.[389]

The large publications of the great cities, supported as they were to a
large extent by the advertisements they carried, had obtained a wide
circulation, to the prejudice of the provincial Press.[390] With a view
to affording some measure of protection to the provincial Press as
against the Press of the large cities, proposals were made in the
Reichstag for the adoption of a zone rate for newspapers on the ground
that the cost to the Post Office for distributing newspapers at great
distances was appreciably greater than the cost of distribution in the
case of newspapers sent short distances only, and that a zone rate would
therefore be just.[391] The authorities were not, however, prepared to
adopt this proposal, which they characterized as retrograde and
unnecessary.[392] They considered that if the rate were raised for the
longer distances the traffic would be taken away from the Post Office by
private enterprise, and if the rate for the shorter distances were
further lowered, the revenue from newspapers would be still further, and
undesirably, reduced.

The new scheme of rates of 1899 was based on three considerations: the
length of time covered by the subscription, the frequency of issue, and
the weight of the newspaper; and the rates were reckoned in the
following way:--

     (_a_) Two pf. for each month of sending.

     (_b_) 15 pf. yearly for papers appearing once weekly or less
     frequently, and 15 pf. yearly more for each further publication

     (_c_) 10 pf. yearly for each kilogramme of the yearly weight,
     subject to a free weight of 1 kilogramme yearly for each of so many
     editions as the rate (_b_) is applied to.[393]

The weight for any year was to be fixed according to the actual weight
of the numbers of the paper during the previous year, and for new
publications the rate was to be applied quarterly on the basis of the
weight of such numbers as had appeared. The publisher was required to
deposit with the Post Office a complete copy of each issue for the
purpose of calculating the weight charge.

Financially, the result of the rates has been unsatisfactory; the
amendments of the proposals of the postal administration which were made
by the Reichstag could hardly have had any other effect. From the year
1871 to the year 1902 the increase in the number of newspapers was 508
per cent. (1871, 202-4/5 millions; 1902, 1,157 millions), but the
increase in newspaper postage was only about 378 per cent. (1,760,326 M.
in 1871 and 6,659,735 M. in 1902); and if the cost of the service
remained approximately the same as in 1897, which there is little reason
to doubt, the loss to the administration was about a million Marks.

In the case of a number of papers a higher rate of postage became
payable; but in the case of some of the expensive illustrated and
scientific publications the new rate represented a considerable
reduction. Thus, in one case, the rate became 2 M. 9 pf. instead of 96
pf. yearly, while in another the rate was reduced from 7 M. 20 pf. to 50
pf. yearly.[394]

But the reduction of rate did not represent the whole disadvantage. The
greater part of the issue of illustrated and scientific journals and
trade papers had formerly been distributed through the ordinary channels
of the publishing trade. Now that the postage rates were in many cases
so largely reduced, it became cheaper in those cases to distribute a
larger number by post, and this course was naturally adopted. Increase
in the number sent by post in such circumstances simply resulted in
increased financial loss.

An indication of the extent of the privilege which the newspapers enjoy
as compared with other printed matter may be obtained by comparing the
revenue which was actually obtained from the newspapers with the revenue
which would have been obtained from the same number of packets of
ordinary printed matter of similar size and weight. In 1900, in the
inland service in Germany, some 440 million packets of ordinary printed
matter were transmitted, and the postage on them amounted to 21,133,499
M. If the 1,150 million newspapers had yielded postage in the same
proportion, they would have brought in a revenue of some 55 millions of
Marks, whereas in actual fact they yielded only some 6-1/2

The present rate rests on the two grounds of frequency of issue and
weight of copies. It is therefore in practice more difficult to apply
than the former rate based simply on the price, since the weight factor
is variable and requires exact determination in every case. Moreover,
the Reichstag forbade rounding up of the weight, which would be
essential if a rate in even pfennigs were to be ascertained. The
calculation of the actual rate must be carried to the second decimal
place in pfennigs, and a rounding up of broken pfennigs is permitted
only at the final settlement for the regular subscription period. This
complexity has, of course, added largely to the cost of administration,
without a corresponding increase in revenue.

It is anticipated that with the growth of the newspaper traffic the loss
to the postal administration will tend to increase rather than to
diminish. There is, however, no disposition to restrict the privilege
accorded to newspapers. The attempt made by the administration in 1899
to secure an increased revenue from them was, as explained, frustrated
by the Reichstag. Since 1852 the Post Office has held the monopoly of
the distribution of political newspapers, and the general advantage
resulting from such an effective control of the dissemination of public
intelligence no doubt explains the continuance of so favourable and
unremunerative a rate.[396]


House-to-house delivery of newspapers was introduced in 1828, the lowest
charge (i.e. in addition to ordinary postage) being 30 pf. quarterly.

In 1872 a uniform delivery fee was fixed for town and country. For
papers appearing weekly or less frequently the charge was 15 pf., for
papers appearing two or three times weekly 25 pf., for papers appearing
four to seven times weekly 40 pf., and for papers appearing more
frequently than seven times weekly 50 pf. quarterly. The system of
charging delivery fees has been continued, and those at present in
operation are:--

                                                        each copy
  (_a_) For newspapers delivered less frequently than
                                   once a week           2 pf.
  (_b_)      "            "      once a week             4 pf.
  (_c_)      "            "      twice a week            6 pf.
  (_d_)      "            "      thrice a week           8 pf.
  (_e_)      "            "      four times a week      10 pf.
  (_f_)      "            "      five times a week      12 pf.
  (_g_)      "            "      six or seven times
                                   a week               14 pf.
  (_h_)      "            "      eight times a week     16 pf.
  (_i_)      "            "      nine times a week      18 pf.
  (_k_)      "            "      ten times weekly       20 pf.
  (_l_)      "            "      eleven times weekly    22 pf.
  (_m_)      "            "      twelve to fourteen
                                   times weekly         24 pf.
  (_n_)      "            "      fifteen times weekly   26 pf.
  (_o_)      "            "      sixteen times weekly   28 pf.
  (_p_)      "            "      seventeen times weekly 30 pf.
  (_q_)      "            "      eighteen times weekly  32 pf.
  (_r_) For official gazettes                            2 pf.[397]

The delivery fees are collected in advance for the complete subscription
period. In 1910 the amount collected for delivery in towns was
19,604,234 M., and for delivery in the country districts 5,770,896 M.


Special advertisement supplements were permitted to be sent by post
together with newspapers by the order of 30th September 1871. These
supplements in form or character must not be similar to the main
newspaper. They must not be printed at the same office, and no charge
might be made for their insertion. A special supplement must not exceed
one sheet and must not be bound. The newspapers in which they were
inserted must bear a notification to that effect in a prominent
position. All copies of the supplement must be submitted to the Post
Office and the postage paid in advance. They were then stamped at the
office of posting, and if not posted within three days the postage might
be forfeited. The rate for each supplement was 1/12 sgr.[398]

The number of such supplements was not as great as was anticipated, the
chief reason for which was that the postage was still too high and the
regulations too complicated.

In 1873 the rate was reduced to 1/2 pf. for each copy, with a reduction
of 50 per cent. when as many as 7,200 copies were posted at the same
time. The obligation to submit all copies to the Post Office for
stamping, and the requirement to post them within three days thereof,
were at the same time removed, and the simple obligation to give
previous notice of posting substituted. The obligation to indicate on
the newspapers that a special supplement was enclosed was also

In 1874 the regulations were further relaxed. Special supplements were
allowed to be printed at the same office as the newspaper, and charges
for the advertisement might be made.[399] The limit of size was extended
to two sheets, at which it remains.[400]

In 1900 (20th March) the rate was changed to 1/4 pf. for each 25 grammes
weight for each supplement. The number of special supplements in 1910
was 214 millions.

       *       *       *       *       *




The London Penny Post established by William Dockwra in 1680 was in some
degree a parcel post, but throughout the country no sort of parcel post
service existed until the introduction of the regular system in 1883.
The weight limit for packets sent by Dockwra's post was at first fixed
at 1 pound, but it was afterwards extended.[401] The Penny Post was
employed to such an extent for the transmission of bulky packets and
parcels that delivery was retarded, and it was found necessary to reduce
the number of such parcels. The privilege of sending parcels even of 1
pound weight was accordingly withdrawn in 1765.[402] The letter rate
charged by the ounce was sufficiently high to restrict effectively the
number of packets of large size entrusted to the post.[403] In their
Report of 1797 on the Post Office, the Select Committee on Finance
recommended a reduced rate for the heavier packets and small parcels,
in order to encourage their transmission by post, but the suggestion met
with no favour.[404] For many years afterwards the official view was
that it was desirable to confine the post to light packages, and that
any increase in the number of heavy packets would disorganize the
service, which existed to provide for the expeditious transmission of
light letters. Its arrangements had been made with this object, and to
load it with a large number of heavy packets would be subjecting it to
an unfair strain, under which it would inevitably break down.[405] So
long as the delivery of parcels is provided for by foot (or cycle) post,
it is impossible to raise indefinitely the limit of weight for
individual parcels.

The establishment of the Book Post in 1847 was, of course, a step in the
direction of a general Parcel Post. The Post Office having by this means
become the carrier of small parcels containing goods of a certain class,
the demand for a post for parcels of any kind of goods was inevitable.
In the 'sixties there was considerable agitation for extended parcel
post facilities. The familiar argument was advanced that the Post Office
had already an establishment for the collection and delivery of letters
in some twelve thousand districts, and that this establishment might be
used, to the great advantage of the public, to afford any additional
services within its capacity; that, as all the main establishment
charges were paid--rent, salaries, etc.--an additional service could be
rendered without adding proportionately to the expenses. It was urged
also that the sample post rate was too high and was fenced by
troublesome regulations; that the book rate was also too high; that
there was no reason why the book trade should be favoured; that in
respect to the mass of the people the charges were so high as to impose
on the transmission of small articles the same sort of prohibition that
was placed on the transmission of letters under the old postal system;
that a comprehensive system could not be carried out by the railways
until the railways would co-operate; that even if the railways did
co-operate they had not means at their disposal equal to those of the
Post Office; that a parcel post system was already in operation in
several continental countries; and that, in fine, by the establishment
of a similar service in this country an immense boon would be conferred
on the public.

The Post Office was, however, not favourably disposed towards the idea.
It was proposed to meet the agitation to some extent by reducing the
rates of postage on the heavier letters, and thus to carry small parcels
under the guise of letters. This proposal was not, however, carried
through. In 1871 the rates for letters of medium weight were reduced,
but those on letters above 12 ounces were retained at a height which
could only be regarded as prohibitive.[406]

The public agitation in favour of a parcel post service continued; and
when in 1878 a large number of the railway companies announced that they
proposed to convey small parcels over any part of their lines at low
uniform rates, attention was called to the fact in the public Press, and
suggestions made that the Post Office should co-operate by undertaking
the delivery of the parcels. The official view was now somewhat more
favourable to the idea. An international parcel post service had been
established in 1880 in connection with the Universal Postal Union, and
this fact had strengthened public opinion in favour of a parcel post
service in this country. It was recognized that such a service would
afford undoubted advantages to the public, especially in rural
districts. It would provide facilities which private enterprise had not
seen fit to undertake. It would provide a service reaching to all parts
of the country, for which there was no other equally suitable machinery.

The Post Office could not, however, in establishing a parcel post
service, act as freely as in its arrangements for the conduct of the
letter service. The conveyance of the parcels from place to place was
likely to prove a serious undertaking, and for such conveyance the Post
Office was dependent on the railway companies. In the case of letter
mails the cost for conveyance is a very minor part of the total expenses
of the service, but when negotiations with the railway companies were
begun it was soon found that such would not be the case with parcel
mails. The companies, regarding the parcel traffic as to a large extent
their own proper business,[407] were not disposed to agree to easy
terms, and there was the further difficulty that numerous companies had
to be satisfied, since it was desired to establish the system under an
agreement which should include all the principal companies.[408] From
the first, the question of the remuneration of the companies was
approached from a point of view totally different from that in which
their remuneration for the ordinary letter mails was regarded. Letter
mails are conveyed as entities, and the company have never been
concerned with the number of letters enclosed in the mail or the amount
of postage paid. They arrange for the conveyance of a given number of
mails, and are remunerated accordingly. But with parcels the question
was approached as one for the determination of just remuneration of the
companies for conveying, not mails containing parcels, but single
parcels. And the question to be settled was what proportion of the
postage paid on the individual parcels should go to the companies. In
view of the heavy expenses of every description which would be incurred
and of the large number of heavy letters which would be transferred to
the parcel post, causing a considerable reduction of revenue, the Post
Office declined to accept less than half the total receipts, and after
some demur the companies agreed. The rates of postage proposed were two
in number--for parcels not exceeding 2 pounds in weight, 6d.; for
parcels not exceeding 4 pounds in weight, 1s.

Difficulties arose subsequently as to the amount of freedom of action to
be left to the Postmaster-General and the duration of the agreement. The
first proposal was for an agreement in perpetuity, and the draft
agreement gave the companies what was called a "partnership interest" in
the parcel post business. It was, however, regarded as essential that
the parcel post business should be no less under the control of the
Postmaster-General than the existing letter post, and that, on the
expiration of any agreement made with the railway companies, the
statutes relating to the conveyance of letter mails by railway should
apply to parcel mails.

After the failure of the first scheme, negotiations with the railway
companies were suspended, but the public agitation for a parcel post was
daily gathering strength, and in February 1882 the Postmaster-General
again approached the companies. The new proposals were somewhat
different from those originally made. A scale with four rates (3d. for 1
pound, rising to 1s. for 7 pounds) was now suggested by the Post Office,
largely in deference to the strong disposition of the railway companies
in favour of an increased number of rates. The low initial rate of 3d.
for 1 pound was now proposed on the ground that a large proportion of
the business to be done would be between the large towns and the rural
districts. For the development of such business a low initial rate was
essential; and as such parcels would not be likely to be to any large
extent railway borne, the Post Office would obtain almost the whole of
the proceeds of the postage. It was, moreover, now taken into reckoning
that a considerable increase in the number of letters would result,
since numerous communications relative to parcels posted would pass, and
the revenue would thus benefit indirectly. The letter service would
benefit, too, in other ways: it would be relieved of heavy packages; and
the existence of a parcel post service would justify the provision of
more efficient services in rural districts. The rates proposed were in
general very much higher than those at the time existing in Germany,
France, Switzerland, and Belgium, and they were estimated to yield a

In the further negotiations serious difficulty was encountered on two
points only: (1) the proportion of postage to be paid to the companies,
and (2) the length of time for which the agreement should be made. The
earlier agreement had been for an equal division between the Post Office
and the railway companies of the postage paid on all parcels. It was now
decided that payment could only be made in respect of parcels actually
conveyed by railway. The companies thereupon asked a higher proportion.
They anticipated that parcel post traffic would be largely long-distance
traffic, involving in many cases transfers on the journey; and although
they expected to retain a good deal of the short-distance traffic, they
could only achieve this by reducing their rates generally, especially
the rates for small parcels. After some higgling, they agreed under
protest to accept 55 per cent. of the postage on all such parcels as
should be conveyed by railway. They also agreed to the limitation of the
duration of the bargain, and the term was fixed at twenty-one years.

The agreement was embodied in the Post Office (Parcels) Act of
1882.[409] The companies parties to the arrangement undertook the
service of conveying the post parcels from the vehicles of the
Postmaster-General at the despatching railway station to the vehicles of
the Postmaster-General at the station of destination--that is to say,
they undertook all handling of parcel mails on railway stations and
transfer to and from trains and from train to train where necessary--in
consideration of payment of 55 per cent. of the postage paid on all
parcels conveyed by railway for the whole or part of their journey, the
Post Office being required to keep a record of the amount of postage
paid on every such parcel. The remuneration was to be paid to the
Railway Clearing Committee in London, by whom it would be distributed
between the various companies. The agreement was to continue for
twenty-one years, and thereafter until terminated by either party. The
Postmaster-General retained the power of revising the rates of postage,
but in the event of such revision the companies might claim revision of
the terms of their remuneration (even during the first twenty-one
years). In any case, on the termination of the agreement, the statutes
governing the conditions under which ordinary mails are conveyed by
railway, and the determination of the remuneration of railway companies
in respect of such conveyance, were to apply equally to the conveyance
of parcel mails by railway.

The Postmaster-General has twice exercised his right of revising the
rates of postage, and in each case the rates were lowered. The companies
have not exercised their right to ask for a revision of the terms of
their remuneration, and the provisions of the Act therefore continue in
operation. In the first complete year of the service (1884-5) the number
of parcels conveyed was some 23 millions. The increase in the traffic
has been large and constant. In 1912-13 the total number of parcels
exceeded 130 millions.

The service affords a great public convenience, and the simplicity of
its rates is an undoubted boon. The uniform rate has, however, proved
unsatisfactory in some respects. At all points at which the traffic
would be profitable, the Post Office is open to the competition of
private enterprise; but for that part of the traffic for which the
uniform rate must inevitably be unprofitable (unless it be fixed so high
as to be exorbitant for short-distance and average-distance traffic)
there will naturally be no competition. The number of local, or
short-distance, parcels is consequently small, and the number of parcels
sent for long distances, to remote places, is comparatively large. No
great use is, however, made of the post for the transmission of parcels
of agricultural produce from rural districts. There is a moderate
traffic in butter and eggs from Ireland to England, and in cream from
the West of England. Proposals for the introduction of a specially low
rate for agricultural products have frequently been considered, but
there are obvious objections to the establishment of a special rate for
a special class of traffic. Moreover, for parcels from country districts
the present uniform rate is often ludicrously low. The cost of preparing
and packing each separate small consignment for transmission by post is,
however, considerable, and only the affluent are able to indulge in that
method of obtaining food supplies.[410] The exceptional character of the
Post Office traffic in parcels, and the small degree in which the rates
of charge measure the utility of the service of transportation which
they cover, are well illustrated by the statistics of the traffic, which
indicate that the total numbers are unaffected by fluctuations in
general trade, and that the reductions of the rates which have been made
since the establishment of the service have had no appreciable effect on
the volume of traffic.[411] The actual rates for the heavier parcels are
probably more profitable than the rates for light parcels, since the
principle of degression is not much recognized in the scale of rates.
This view is confirmed by the fact that the post is little used for
heavy parcels, the average weight of a post parcel being no more than
2·8 pounds. It is, as a matter of fact, not improbable that the parcel
post service as a whole is conducted at heavy loss.[412]

     NOTE.--As a war measure the rates were increased on 1st November
     1915 by 1d. at each step in the scale, and are now as  follow:--

  Parcels not exceeding 1 lb                    4d.
  Exceeding 1 lb., not exceeding 2 lb.          5d.
       "    2  "         "       3  "           6d.
       "    3  "         "       5  "           7d.
       "    5  "         "       7  "           8d.
       "    7  "         "       8  "           9d.
       "    8  "         "       9  "          10d.
       "    9  "         "      10  "          11d.
       "   10  "         "      11  "           1s.

       *       *       *       *       *


Several causes operated to prevent the early establishment in the United
States of a parcel post system. The two factors of extent of territory
and sparsity of population, which had from the first so greatly
influenced the policy of the Government towards the Post Office, were of
much greater importance in regard to a parcel post system. The weight of
the individual letter is very small, and as the cost of transportation
depends in most cases entirely on weight, the system of uniform rates
which had been introduced in England had not been found impossible of
adoption in the United States. But with parcels, cost of transportation
is an appreciable item for every parcel, and in a country of vast
distances there must be an appreciable variation in the actual cost for
each parcel. Consequently, any uniform rate which would render the
service self-supporting must be measurably above the rate which would
suffice for local and short-distance traffic, and measurably below the
rate which would be necessary for long-distance traffic. Private
agencies would therefore cut such a rate and absorb all the
short-distance traffic, while the long-distance traffic would be left to
the Post Office, and would be carried at a loss. This had been found to
be the case with second-class matter, where weight is an important
factor, and also with the fourth-class matter. The establishment of a
parcel post system, therefore, would involve a reconsideration of the
fundamental principles on which the rates of postage were in general

The creation, in 1863, of a third class of miscellaneous mail
matter[413] was virtually the establishment of a limited parcel post.
The rate, for third-class matter, 2 cents for each 4 ounces or fraction
thereof, was increased in 1879 to 1 cent an ounce. These rates were
comparatively high; and as the limit of weight was 4 pounds, the traffic
naturally never assumed large proportions. With the establishment in
1880 of an international parcel post in which the United States
participated, although having no real internal parcel post, it was
inevitable that the question of establishing a system equal in scope to
those of other countries should arise. For forty years there was a
demand, becoming more general and insistent, for the establishment of
such a general parcel post.

Active official support was first given to the proposals for a parcel
post in 1890 and 1891 by Postmaster-General Wanamaker, who explained
that although the demand for such a system was widespread, the greatest
pressure came from "interior places," which were, in fact, really most
in need of it, because they had no facilities for obtaining small
packages of merchandise from the towns.[414] Opposition to any sort of
parcel post came then, as always, from the express companies, who,
although not able or not desirous of affording a service to all parts,
were much concerned at the prospect of losing traffic. Mr. Wanamaker
proposed to propitiate them by transferring to them a considerable
amount of traffic deemed by him to belong properly to the express
companies, viz., traffic carried by the Post Office for the other
Executive departments free of charge, under "penalty frank,"[415] and
comprising many packages of considerable weight and bulk. Mr. Wanamaker
also desired to put a stop to the transmission, as second-class matter,
of periodicals which were really ordinary books, by transferring such
traffic to the express companies. Although in favour of a full parcel
post system, and recognizing that there was a strong desire in the
country for the boon, Mr. Wanamaker was not prepared to advocate its
immediate establishment. He thought other reforms should take
precedence; such as free-delivery extension, postal telegraph, postal
telephone, and 1 cent postage on land and sea, all of which, except the
extension of free delivery, are still waiting adoption.

A number of postmasters criticized the suggestions of the
Postmaster-General in 1890 regarding parcel post, but most of them had,
by 1891, expressed themselves in favour of a full parcel post system,
and according to Mr. Wanamaker the remainder were "probably interested
express agents." The situation was in some respects unsatisfactory. It
was a common practice for business firms to contract with express
companies to carry large quantities of small packages at a rate per
package just below the rate of postage. The express companies took such
of the packages as they thought fit to handle, and left the Post Office
to carry the remainder, all long-distance traffic, and unprofitable both
to the express companies and to the Post Office. But the companies were
secured by their profit in the short distances. Naturally, therefore,
they offered strenuous opposition to the establishment of a parcel

With the establishment of rural mail delivery there arose a new demand
for a parcel post. Persons living on the rural routes desired to take
advantage of the new service for the delivery of small parcels of
merchandise of all kinds, food-stuffs, tobacco, dry goods, etc., which
they would order from the local store-keeper by post or by telephone.
The rate then payable on such parcels was the general rate for
fourth-class matter, viz. 16 cents a pound, which for parcels of goods
of small intrinsic value was prohibitive. In response to this demand,
the first definite proposals for a parcel post[417] were put forward by
the department in 1904, when the establishment of a special rate of 3
cents a pound was suggested, with a maximum limit of weight of 5 pounds,
for parcels from any distributing office for rural routes to any patron
on the routes from that office. Such a rate "would be a great
convenience to the patrons and become a source of revenue to the
department." The rate of 3 cents was estimated to be ample remuneration
in such cases, because there would be no expense for railway
transportation, and as it would be merely employing a system already
established, there would be no additional expense for delivery: the
rural carriers could easily perform the service.[418] They had at first
been allowed to carry express packages, but the privilege had been
subsequently withdrawn. They were, however, still authorized by law to
carry merchandise for hire, on behalf of patrons of the rural routes,
and to carry passengers. In general, their work for the Post Office only
employed them to the extent of 30 percent, of their full capacity, and a
large unutilized margin therefore existed.

The proposal was again advanced in following years. Postmaster-General
Meyer interested himself in the question, and advocated in speeches in
various parts of the country the immediate adoption of a parcel post
system. In 1907 he suggested the introduction of a local parcel post
service experimentally. He made at this time numerous treaties with
foreign countries for parcel post services between those countries and
the United States, at a general rate of 12 cents a pound. The result was
that parcels could be posted at any town in the United States for
transmission to places in, say, Europe or Australia, at the rate of 12
cents a pound, but could only be posted for transmission to another town
in the United States on payment of a rate of 16 cents a pound. When this
situation was realized, there was naturally a good deal of irritation,
and the existence of such an anomaly was made an argument for a domestic

The preferential rate obtained by parcels going abroad continued to be a
strong argument in favour of a general parcel post, and members of
Congress constantly referred to it in the discussions on the subject.

There was, moreover, and still is, an important body of opinion which
goes much further than the advocacy of a parcel post system. In that
view, the express companies are the enemy or, at any rate, the
oppressive character of the express rates is viewed so seriously that no
solution of the present difficulties of the country, and especially of
the "high cost of living" problem, is thought possible short of a
complete express service run by the general Government. Relief will
only be found under some system which will bring the producer of the
necessaries of life into direct relationship with the consumer,[420] in
order that the enormous middleman's charges be eliminated and the
consumer obtain the produce at a price not greatly above the actual cost
of production. The railways refuse to handle shipments less than 100
pounds, and their minimum charge is 25 cents. The ordinary consumer who
requires consignments of much less than 100 pounds' weight has no use
for such a service. For shipments of less weight, the only service
available is the express service, the minimum rate for which, in general
25 cents, is too great for farm products, which are usually of low value
and could not bear a rate of 25 cents. The express service, which is
restricted to the railway system, has, moreover, no means of reaching
that vast body of the people, estimated at some 40,000,000, who are
living on the farms, and who alone are able to supply the desired
traffic in food-stuffs. The Government has in recent years, at heavy
expense, extended to some 20 millions of people the benefits of free
mail delivery, and the intention of the advocates of a Government
express service, a "postal express," is that the State should take over
the express companies, paying them fair compensation for their property,
and work their service in conjunction with the rural mail delivery. By
this means an extensive service could be provided at reasonable rates of

In February 1908 Bills were introduced in the Senate to increase the
limit of weight of fourth-class matter, and to provide a rural delivery
parcel post for merchandise and other articles mailed on rural delivery
routes. Legislation did not, however, result.

Meantime, the feeling in favour of a parcel post was spreading, more
especially in the farming districts. In November 1911 a Sub-Committee of
the Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads was appointed to
examine the practicability of establishing a parcel post system. The
Sub-Committee was appointed on a resolution of the Senate, moved by
Senator Jonathan Bourne, Jr., the Chairman of the Senate Committee on
Post Offices and Post Roads, and there is indication that the adoption
of the system had already been practically decided upon, the real
question before the Sub-Committee being that of its practicability as an
immediate proposition. The Post Office representatives advocated a
limited experimental introduction of parcel post on rural routes and in
the city delivery offices. They were impressed with the radical
differences between the United States and most other countries where
parcel post was in operation, and hesitated to recommend the
introduction of a general service. But the members of the Sub-Committee
had in mind to introduce as soon as practicable a complete system by the
method of enlarging the scope of the fourth-class regulations and
reducing the rates of postage. Numerous witnesses appeared before the
Sub-Committee, representing general societies of business men, such as
the National Dairy Union, the Associated Retailers of St. Louis, Me.,
and the Retail Dry Goods Association of New York; educational or social
societies, such as the American Library Association, the Postal Progress
League, and the Knights of Labour; farmers' societies, such as the State
Granges and the Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America.
Several farmers, lawyers, and other gentlemen appeared to give their own
personal views. The chief opposition to the parcel-post came from the
representatives of the retailers, who stand in constant fear of losing
their business to the mail-order or catalogue houses. The business of
these houses is very large, amounting in the aggregate to nearly
$200,000,000 per annum, and there is perhaps some reason for the local
merchants' apprehensions. The bulk of the mail-order traffic is,
however, distributed as freight. But the country merchants were much
alarmed, and there were doleful prophecies of the results of a parcel
post. The local merchant was represented as the mainstay of the
country-side. He it was who sustained the country town, which afforded
so valuable a local market for the farmer. He it was to whom alone that
same farmer could look for credit to tide him over bad times. He it was
who made the country town a social centre where the farmer might come
into touch with civilization and refinement. And on the continuance of
the prosperity of the country merchant depended the continuance of the
army of travelling salesmen, without whose patronage railroads would be
driven to reduce the number of trains, hotels would go out of business,
and throughout the country accommodation for travellers would be found
extremely poor. In short, parcel post would reduce the country merchant
to the same condition as the small shopkeeper in Europe; and the country
towns would become mere hamlets and deserted villages.[422]

The parcel post was, of course, as likely in 1912 to prove a blow to the
express companies as in the earlier years when they had so strongly
resisted any proposal for its introduction. In face, however, of the
strong and widespread movement in the country in its favour, they
realized that they would be unable always successfully to resist its
establishment, and no open opposition to the proposals of 1912 was
encountered from them. They did not appear before the Senate

The Sub-Committee saw no insuperable difficulty in the way of
introducing a general system at once. Moreover, they were impressed by
the fact that a parcel post system was in operation in most other
countries of the world, even in Australia, a country slightly larger in
area than the United States and much more sparsely populated, where the
two factors which so radically distinguished the United States from most
other countries in which a parcel post had been established were met
with in even greater degree.

When the questions of the desirability and practicability of
establishing a system had been decided, there still remained the
difficult and important question of the scheme of rates of charge on
which the system should be based. Some of the witnesses before the
Sub-Committee advocated a uniform rate, representing that a graduated
rate was undesirable and would be unacceptable, as giving a special
privilege to certain sections of the people. A more general opinion was
that a flat rate would be unsound economically. With such a rate, the
express companies would step in and take all the profitable traffic; and
it would, moreover, be necessary to fix the rate so high as to render it
prohibitive for goods of low value and for the purpose of moving traffic
on the rural routes. In a country of vast extent the actual cost to the
Government for the transportation of parcels of the same weight would
differ widely in proportion to the distance for which they were conveyed
in the mails, and the differences would be sufficiently great to render
it easily possible to graduate a scale of postage approximately in
accordance with the distance and the actual cost. The department
estimated the cost of transportation for mail matter to be 1·32 cents
for each 200 miles, and taking this as a basis, differential rates in
respect of transportation were arrived at for a series of zones.

The charge for handling, i.e. for collection, delivery, administrative
and all other incidental services, was calculated as an altogether
separate item. The Sub-Committee had the evidence of Mr. John L.
Newbold, a gentleman of long experience in a transport business which
dealt mainly with small parcels for delivery within the limits of the
City of Washington, and was therefore in a high degree comparable to
delivery service which would be performed by the Post Office in respect
of parcels. Mr. Newbold offered to contract with the Government to
handle all post parcels for delivery within the City of Washington at 5
cents a parcel, with a limit of weight of 25 pounds. Estimates by
similar delivery companies in New York City indicated the cost to them
of packages up to 25 pounds, which was a little over 5 cents per
package. The department's estimate of the handling cost of fourth-class
matter showed a cost of a fraction under 3 cents for the first pound,
with an approximate increase of 20 per cent. for each additional pound.

These data furnished a basis for calculating rates of postage, when the
limitation of the zones had been determined, a matter of some little
difficulty. The first, and most obvious, suggestion was that the zones
should be reckoned as from each post office, but in view of the fact
that there were some 60,000 post offices in the United States, grave
practical difficulties would arise with a scheme providing for special
rates from each post office. It was then thought the State might be
adopted as the unit of area, but the States differ so widely in area
that such a system would have resulted inequitably, giving equal postage
charges for very unequal services. A citizen in Texas or New York State,
for example, would be able to send his parcel many times as far as a
citizen of Massachusetts or Delaware. The same objection applied, though
not in so great degree, to the county as a unit of area. Moreover, these
units would be liable to arbitrary change. Failing the discovery of any
satisfactory unit based on the political divisions, recourse was had to
purely theoretical divisions, based on the imaginary lines of latitude
and longitude. The actual degree parallels were rejected as the limits
of the units of area because, within the quadrangle formed by them,
there would be a maximum zone distance of some 80 miles; while at the
same time, for transmission between two places perhaps only two miles
apart but lying on different sides of the line, postage would be
chargeable as for the second zone. This difficulty was overcome by an
ingenious suggestion, which emanated from the department, to divide the
degree quadrangles in four, that is, into squares of 30 minutes
dimension, and to allow the sending of parcels at the first zone rate
from or to places in every contiguous quadrangle.

Under this method, which was adopted, the United States is divided into
3,500 units of area, which are definite, never-changing, and practically
uniform in size, the slight difference in area depending on the distance
from the Equator being negligible. Each unit is given an index number,
and all post offices in the unit have the same index number. Each unit
has its own zone limits, which apply equally to every office in the
unit. So that in order to discover for what zone postage is to be
charged between two places, it is only necessary to ascertain what are
the zone limits for the units of area in which the places are
respectively situated. A simple reference to a guide showing in what
unit of area the post office of destination falls, and a consultation
of the zone map of the office at which the packet is posted, that is, a
map showing the boundaries of each zone measured from the unit of area
in which the office is situated as centre, gives in a very short space
of time the rate applicable to the parcel.

A simplification of rates and regulations is always attended by a
diminution of the difficulties of administration, by economy of actual
working, and by convenience to the public. In connection with the
proposed parcel post the department, with these objects in view,
suggested the abolition of the separate class for printed matter, and
its amalgamation with the parcel post matter, thus reducing the number
of classes of mail matter to three. The Chairman of the Senate
Sub-Committee adopted this suggestion, and embodied it in the Bill which
he prepared and introduced in the Senate on the 16th May 1912,
retaining, however, a rate of 1 cent per ounce up to 4 ounces, in order
to provide for circular matter which, under the third-class rate, passed
at 1 cent for 2 ounces. This was apparently a doubling of the rate, but
as the average weight of circulars is under 1 ounce, in actual practice
the great bulk of them would continue to pass at 1 cent. This provision
would, however, raise the rate on all catalogues and circulars weighing
more than 1 ounce; and although 90 per cent. of the number of pieces of
third-class matter actually posted are under 4 ounces in weight and
would have fallen under the proposed special rate, and 50 per cent. are
under 1 ounce in weight and would have passed for the same amount as
under the existing third-class rate, viz. 1 cent, this provision of the
Bill was strenuously opposed by printers and catalogue houses. Not
regarding the consolidation of the two classes as in any way essential
to the establishment of a parcel post system, the Senate Committee on
Post Offices and Post Roads, when they came to consider the Bill,
decided to eliminate that feature.

In general this Bill represented the conclusions of the Sub-Committee,
and, apart from the foregoing change, was substantially accepted by the
Senate Committee. The only other amendments made were an increase of the
number of zones from six to eight, with the view of "protecting the
local merchant in the field of his business," and a slight raising of
the rates for the shorter distances, partly from a fear that the rates
proposed in the Bill would not be self-sustaining, and partly from a
desire further to protect the local retail merchant against the
catalogue houses.

The essential provisions of the Bill, as thus amended, were embodied in
the Post Office Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 1913, were
accepted by Congress, and became law on the 24th August 1912. The actual
zones and rates fixed were as follows:--

     First zone: All territory within quadrangle or unit of area and
     every contiguous quadrangle.

     Second zone: All units of area outside the first zone within a
     radius of, approximately, 150 miles from the centre of a given unit
     of area.

     Third zone: The same within a radius of, approximately, 300 miles.

     Fourth zone: The same within a radius of, approximately, 600 miles.

     Fifth zone: The same within a radius of, approximately, 1,000

     Sixth zone: The same within a radius of, approximately, 1,400

     Seventh zone: The same within a radius of, approximately, 1,800

     Eighth zone: All units of area outside the seventh zone.

The rates were:--

     On rural route: 5 cents for the first pound or fraction of a pound,
     and 1 cent for each additional pound or fraction of a pound.

                                         Each additional
                         First Pound.        Pound.
  First zone               5 cents.         3 cents.
  Second zone              6   "            4   "
  Third zone               7   "            5   "
  Fourth zone              8   "            6   "
  Fifth zone               9   "            7   "
  Sixth zone              10   "            9   "
  Seventh zone            11   "           10   "
  Eighth zone             12   "           12   "

Although, of course, with the body of the people the main arguments had
been the ordinary contentions of the advantage of such a system as
providing a most convenient facility for persons in all parts of the
States, and especially in the rural districts, whereby they would be
able by the utilization of existing machinery to have articles of all
descriptions brought to their doors, yet in Congress the argument was
largely based on the possibility of finding in the parcel post a means
of reducing the "high cost of living," a problem which is giving much
anxiety to politicians in America. By means of the parcel post, producer
and consumer are to be brought into direct relations the one with the
other. All middlemen and their profits will be eliminated, and either
the producer will get more for his products or the consumer will pay
less--which of these will happen does not appear: probably in some
degree both are hoped for.

The experience of England may not be any indication of what will happen
in America. But it is certain that in England the produce sent direct
from farm to consumer, whether eggs, butter, or poultry, is not obtained
by the consumer at less cost than he could buy it in his own town. There
is an advantage, but it rests solely in quality. The products obtained
from the farm are more fresh, are probably better altogether, but the
price is not less. In England these considerations have been sufficient
to prevent the wholesale use of the parcel post for food-stuffs. It is,
in fact, in general used for such traffic only by those people to whom a
little extra expense is not an object of consideration. The conditions
in America seem, however, to be substantially different from those in
this country, and a large development of parcel post business of this
character is anticipated.[423]

On the 15th August 1913 the limit of weight was increased to 20 pounds
in the local, first, and second zones; and on 1st January 1914 the limit
in local, first, and second zones was further increased to 50 pounds,
and in the remainder of the zones to 20 pounds. On the 16th March 1914
books and printed matter were admitted to the fourth class, or parcel
post, with a rate of postage of 1 cent for each 2 ounces up to 8 ounces,
the ordinary parcel post pound rates to apply to packets exceeding 8
ounces in weight.

The service, as a whole, has been enormously successful. It is estimated
that in the second year the post office was handling parcels at the rate
of 800,000,000 annually, a figure which may be compared to its advantage
with that for the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom the annual
number of parcels posted is some 130,000,000, say three per head of the
total population as compared with eight per head in the new service in
the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *


The conveyance of parcels of merchandise, which had been undertaken by
the early posts in France, was abandoned to private enterprise in
1795.[424] When, therefore, proposals were made for the establishment of
an international parcel post service, France was without an internal
service of the kind. She became, nevertheless, a party to the Convention
of 1880, which established an international service,[425] availing
herself of the privilege reserved to those countries without an inland
parcel post service, of arranging for their obligations under the terms
of the Convention to be assumed by railway and steamship companies. A
contract was concluded with the administration of the State railways,
the six great railway companies, and the shipping companies in receipt
of subsidies for the conveyance of mails, under which those bodies
undertook to conduct a service on behalf of the postal administration in
accordance with the provisions of the Convention. They were to receive
in its entirety the prescribed territorial transit rate of 50 centimes
on every parcel, but not the surtax of 25 centimes.[426] The payment of
50 centimes per parcel was to be divided by the companies among
themselves if the parcel was conveyed by more than one party, and
constituted the full remuneration for the entire service performed,
including the customs formalities. The contracting companies were
required to print at their own cost a list of places served, and to keep
the list available for reference by members of the public.

The establishment of an international service of this kind necessitated
the provision of facilities for the transmission of ordinary inland
parcels within France.[427] The companies were accordingly required to
undertake also the transportation of inland parcels upon their railways
and the delivery of inland parcels in localities adjoining their lines
under the same conditions and for the same remuneration as in the case
of parcels in the international service. A difficulty existed in the
fact that small parcel traffic (_l'envois par messagerie_) was subject
to special taxation.[428] These taxes frequently exceeded the charge for
transmission, and in some cases the value of the parcel itself. In order
to encourage the use of the service, these taxes were reduced or
modified by a series of laws at a sacrifice of revenue exceeding two and
a half million francs a year. The service, which was established on the
1st May 1881, did not include the whole of France, but extended only to
localities served by the State railways, the six contracting companies,
and certain subsidiary companies which contracted for the business with
the larger companies. The maximum limit of weight was fixed at 3
kilogrammes, and the rates of postage were 60 centimes for parcels
transported from railway station to railway station, and 85 centimes for
parcels delivered at the residence of the addressee. The service became
immediately popular, the number of parcels posted during 1881 being at
the rate of over half a million a month.

Soon after its establishment the service was extended to the smaller
subsidiary lines, and to districts not served by railway. The latter
extension, which it was not found easy to arrange, was provided for by
introducing into the contracts for the conveyance of the ordinary mails
in those districts a clause empowering the administration to require the
contractor to convey post parcels for a remuneration of 15 centimes per
parcel--the amount to be increased to 25 centimes for parcels delivered
at residence.

The Lisbon Congress (1885) raised the limit of weight in the
international service from 3 kilogrammes to 5 kilogrammes, but a
corresponding increase was not made in the internal French service until
1892. The maximum limit of weight was raised to 10 kilogrammes in 1897,
and the following rates of postage are now in operation:--

        Weight.       |  Delivered at    |   Delivered at
                      | Railway Station. |   Residence or
                      |                  |  Poste Restante.
                      |       fr.        |        fr.
  Not exceeding 3 kg. |      0·60        |       0·85
  3-5kg.              |      0·80        |       1·05
  5-10 kg.            |      1·25        |       1·50[429]

Cumbersome parcels are charged rates 50 per cent. greater than the
ordinary rates.[430] Parcels redirected or returned to sender are
subject to an additional rate of postage, and to a tax (_droit de
timbre_) of 10 centimes.[431]

Parcels for despatch are accepted only at the railway stations or
offices of the companies or by their agents. They are delivered at the
stations of the companies or at their offices in towns or at the offices
of their agents, to be called for, or they are delivered at residence;
but the latter service is undertaken only when a delivery service
organized by the companies, or their agents, for their own purposes
already exists.

Parcels are accepted for localities not served directly by the
contracting companies, but such parcels are conveyed only to the point
served by railway nearest to the place of destination. It is left to the
public to provide for their further transmission. In the case of parcels
delivered only at the railway station, an advice of delivery is sent to
the addressee by the company or their agents within twenty-four hours of
the receipt of the parcel. This advice is sent by post, and the
postage, 5 centimes, is recovered from the addressee. If parcels are not
called for within eight days, the sender is asked to give instructions
regarding their disposal.

The control of the service in districts served by railway rests entirely
in the hands of the railway companies. The postal administration takes
no part directly in its management, but co-operates with the companies
by affording certain small facilities in regard to parcels. For example,
on payment of the usual delivery fee of 25 centimes a parcel may be
delivered from the railway station to the local post office, where it
will be retained in the poste restante. In districts not reached by the
railway or their agents, the management of the service falls on the
postal administration. The service in such districts is, however, far
from complete. There are in France some 36,000 communes, but the parcel
post service extends only to some 12,000 railway stations, and only at
about one-half of these can parcels be delivered at the residence of the
addressee.[432] To a limited extent a service is given in certain
localities not directly served by railway. In these cases, which are
arranged only with the concurrence of the companies, the service is
conducted by the ordinary road carriers.[433] The extension of the
service in the rural districts is one of the problems which face the
postal administration.[434]

A local parcel post service was established in Paris in 1881 by
arrangement with the Compagnie des Messageries Nationales, but it did
not prove profitable, and was discontinued in 1887. A new service was
set up in 1890. The contractor is required to make two deliveries on
week-days and one on Sundays and feast days (_les jours fériés_), and to
maintain an office in each arrondissement. The system has, however,
developed. Three daily deliveries are now given, and nearly 500 offices
have been opened. The rate of postage is 25 centimes for parcels not
exceeding 5 kilogrammes, and 40 centimes for parcels between 5 and 10

The total number of inland parcels posted during the year 1913-14 was
about 52 millions.

       *       *       *       *       *


In the days of the horse-posts it was obviously undesirable to burden
the mails with weighty packages, and the transmission of parcels by post
was from the first discouraged in Germany, although not forbidden.
Parcels were charged as letters by the half-ounce, a sufficiently high
rate to prevent the use of the posts for their transmission to any
inconvenient degree. The first Imperial posts did not, indeed, undertake
the transmission of parcels. The business was left to private
enterprise, and was conducted by the _Boten-Anstalten_. The posts
themselves were, however, made use of for the transmission of parcels of
merchandise for private individuals at least as far back as the Thirty
Years' War. Owing to the dislocation of industry and commerce during
that war and the high rates of postage charged, the number of parcels
was extremely small, and their transmission was confined to limited

As early as 1635 the messengers were allowed to carry parcels so long as
their travelling was not thereby impeded,[436] and in 1652 a regular
parcel service was in operation between Basel and Zurich, Schaffhausen,
Lindau, and Ulm. In 1660 the Great Elector ordered that no parcels
should thenceforward be carried by the posts free of postage. This may
perhaps be taken as the origin of a recognized parcel post service in

The rates charged were at first based on the numerous diverse
circumstances which governed the early letter rates. They were
increased in the event of any rise in the price of provender, and varied
according to the mode of transmission and according as the parcels were
sent by day or night, in fine weather or in bad weather.[438] In some
cases the rate was varied according to the nature of the contents of the

In 1699 a tariff, under which the rates were regulated according to the
distance and without reference to the mode of transmission, was
established between certain offices in Prussia, and in 1712 this tariff
was extended generally. The rate from Magdeburg to Stendal was 3
groschen per pound, to Leipzig 5 groschen per pound, and to Berlin 7
groschen per pound. In 1713 the summer and winter rates were abolished
in Prussia. The rate for ordinary parcels from Berlin to Hamburg was 1
groschen per pound, from Berlin to Magdeburg 7 pf. per pound, from
Berlin to Frankfort 4 pf. per pound, from Berlin to Leipzig 1 groschen
per pound, etc. For provisions the rates were reduced by one-half, and
for fancy goods the rates were doubled, a method of charge which gave
rise to many practical difficulties.

In Saxony, by an ordinance of the 27th July 1713, parcels were divided
into four classes, as follows:--

     1. Packets of Documents (_Akten-Pakete_). The letter rate was
     applied to these in the following  manner:--

  1-4 pound parcels were charged as 2-1/2 ounces
  4-6  "      "       "     "    "  3       "
  6-8  "      "       "     "    "  5       "

     2. Money and fancy  goods--

            For the value of
  1-3 miles 100 thaler current 2 groschen
  4-6  "    100   "       "    3   "
  7-9  "    100   "       "    4   "

     and so on up to 30 miles. (NOTE.--_Distances are given in German
     miles throughout._)

     3. Commercial  goods--

         |                     Miles.
  Weight.|  1-3|  4-6|  7-9|10-12|13-15|16-18|19-21|22-24|25-27|28-30
         |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  Pounds.| Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr. | Gr.
      1  |   1 |   2 |   3 |   4 |   5 |   5 |   6 |   6 |   7 |   8
      2  |   2 |   3 |   4 |   5 |   6 |   7 |   8 |   8 |  10 |  11
      3  |   2 |   3 |   5 |   6 |   8 |   9 |  10 |  12 |  14 |  15
     10  |   5 |   7 |   9 |  13 |  17 |  23 |  24 |  32 |  38 |  44
    100  |  14 |  24 |  34 |  50 |  58 |  70 |  79 |  90 | 110 | 124

     The weight was calculated for each pound up to 10 pounds, then for
     15 pounds and 20. For parcels weighing more than 20 pounds the rate
     increased for each 10 pounds.

     4. Valuable goods, e.g. gold, silver, cloth of gold, brocade, were
     charged double the rate for commercial goods.

In 1741 a parcel rate was established in Brunswick and Lüneburg, based
simply on weight and distance, without reference to the nature of the

The Prussian rates of 1712 continued in force until 1762, when a general
revision of postal rates was necessitated by the financial difficulties
resulting from the outbreak of the Seven Years' War. The rates for
ordinary commercial transport in Prussia rose to such a degree that the
post, still working on rates fixed in 1712, became the cheapest means of

Consequently the parcel post traffic increased, but it was found that
the expenses of the service were not covered by the revenue derived from
the parcels. The rates were accordingly increased on the simple plan of
raising them all by 100 per cent. (except in Ostfriesland, where the
increase was 50 per cent.). A further revision of the rates was made in
1766. Apart from the fact that the rates were further increased, this
revision was in many respects beneficial, since it introduced a uniform
and definite rate for the whole country.[440] In 1770 the rates of 1712
were restored.

Up to this time the rates had been based partly on the actual length of
the post routes, partly on the time occupied by the post-messengers in
traversing the routes. They therefore varied according as the roads were
good or bad.[441] In 1801 a mathematical measurement of the roads of
Prussia was made, and thereafter the time factor was eliminated and the
rates based on distance only. The distance was measured, not in a direct
line, but by way of the post routes.

The events of the Napoleonic period resulted in a great increase of
prices in Prussia, and in order to meet the additional expense of
conducting the posts, the rates were increased by 50 per cent. between
1805 and 1811, but the general basis of charge remained unchanged. In
1824 important modifications were introduced. The discrimination
according to the nature of contents of parcels was abolished, and the
rates were based solely on considerations of weight and distance of
transmission. Further, the distance between post offices was no longer
to be reckoned according to the distance by way of the post routes, but
according to the direct distance.[442] The general parcel rate was fixed
at 3 pf. per pound for each 5 miles, with a minimum charge of twice
letter rate for parcels not exceeding 4 pounds in weight, and three
times letter rate for parcels weighing more than 4 pounds. In the case
of several parcels directed to the same place, the postage was reckoned
according to the total weight. The Postmaster-General was authorized to
increase the rates in the event of a rise in the cost of forage.[443]

A special rate, in addition to ordinary postage, was also introduced in
respect of parcels directed to or sent from offices for which no normal
rate had been fixed. In 1826 a reduction of postage by 10 per cent. was
authorized where the total yearly weight of parcels was between 10,000
and 20,000 pounds, and of 15 per cent. where the total yearly weight
exceeded 20,000 pounds. This reduction was, however, abolished in 1848.

With the introduction of railways and the transformation of the
transportation industry which ensued, the rates of 1824 were found to be
too high. In 1842 they were accordingly reduced by one-half,
experimentally, but only in respect of parcels sent on certain railway
routes. In 1847 this reduction was extended to all railway routes,[444]
and in 1848 the rate for parcels not conveyed exclusively on railway
routes was reduced to 2 pf. per pound for each 5 miles. The distinction
was, however, found inconvenient and was removed in 1852.[445] A general
rate of 1-1/2 pf. per pound for every 5 miles was then established, with
a minimum postage of twice letter rate, and a provision that odd ounces,
which had previously been ignored, should be charged as a full pound,
and that when several parcels were directed to the same address the
postage must be reckoned for each parcel singly.

Under the German-Austrian Postal Union, established in 1850, it was at
first arranged that separate parcel rates should be charged by each
administration to and from the frontier, according to its own inland
rates. Later the rate was fixed at 2 pf. per pound for each 5 miles, to
be charged by each administration concerned in the transmission. In 1857
one definite parcel rate was established for the whole territory of the
Union, graduated according to direct distance, viz. 2 pf. per pound for
each 4 miles, with minima of from 1-1/2 to 7 sgr. The whole revenue from
parcels was credited to a common fund and divided according to certain

A new parcel rate, based on weight and distance only, was established at
the founding of the North German Union in 1867. The method of
calculating the distance of transmission for the purpose of determining
the postage charge was also modified. The then existing arrangement in
Prussia, based on the regulations of 1824, provided that the rate should
in all cases be reckoned according to the actual distance between the
post offices concerned. Under this method, when a new post office was
established, a parcel rate for every other post office must be
calculated, causing much labour and wasting much time. This method was
now abandoned. The whole territory of the North German Union was divided
into imaginary squares, with sides 2 miles in length, the points of
intersection of the diagonals being taken as the centres from which all
distances were calculated.[446] The rates between any offices in two
different squares were made identical. Such a method rendered
unnecessary the calculation of a special rate of postage for every post
office, and also rendered unnecessary any fresh calculations of rates in
respect of any new post offices. The progression of distances was by
stages of 5 miles up to 30 miles, of 10 miles from 30 to 100 miles, and
of 20 miles thereafter, the increase in the length of the steps being
justified on the ground that the cost of transportation does not
increase in direct proportion to the distance.[447] The rate was 2 pf.
per pound for each step in the scale of distances.

The rate of 1867 was applied to the Imperial Post Office by the law of
28th October 1871. This tariff, with its comparatively small
progressions of distances, was found inconvenient, especially with the
large growth of the traffic. The rates had, moreover, been found too
high for small parcels sent over long distances. In point of fact, by
far the greater part of parcels under the weight of 5 kilogrammes were
less than 2-1/2 kilogrammes in weight. New parcel rates were accordingly
introduced on the 1st January 1874.[448] For all parcels not exceeding 5
kilogrammes in weight, uniform rates were established, on the ground
that an increase of postage according to the distance of transmission
was unjustifiable in the case of light parcels.[449] For the first 10
miles the rate was 25 pf., and for all other distances 50 pf. A zone
tariff based on six zones of distance was established for parcels of
greater weight than 5 kilogrammes. For the first 5 kilogrammes such
parcels were charged the uniform rate applicable to parcels not
exceeding 5 kilogrammes in weight, and the following table shows the
charges for the weight exceeding 5 kilogrammes:--

                 Distance.             For each kg. after
                                        the first 5 kg.
  Zone   I    Not exceeding 10 miles   1/2 sgr. (5 pf.)
   "    II    From  10-20 miles         1    "
   "   III      "   20-50   "           2    "
   "    IV      "   50-100  "           3    "
   "     V      "  100-150  "           4    "
   "    VI    Over 150      "           5    "

For cumbrous and unwieldy parcels an additional charge not exceeding 50
per cent. of the ordinary postage might be made. With the increase of
traffic it was found impossible to forward all the parcels by the postal
trains, and the Post Office was only permitted to send a limited
quantity of parcels by the ordinary express trains.[450] In 1880 it was
arranged that parcels which must be delivered without delay--e.g. those
containing fish or flowers--should be forwarded by express train on
payment of a special fee of 1 Mark each. In 1886 this additional fee was
made applicable to all urgent parcels, whatever the contents.

The tariff of 1873 has proved too high both for heavy and for very light
parcels, and some curious anomalies result from the combination of zone
rates and uniform rates. A parcel of 5 kilogrammes sent for any distance
greater than 10 miles costs 50 pf. Eight parcels of 5 kilogrammes each
could, therefore, for 4 Marks be sent for any distance; but if made up
into one parcel of 40 kilogrammes the postage would be 7 Marks 50 for
places in the third zone (20 to 50 miles), and for places in the sixth
zone (over 150 miles) no less than 18 Marks.[451] It is therefore to the
advantage of the public to divide a heavy parcel, though such a
proceeding obviously increases the cost to the administration of its
handling and transmission. The despatch of heavy parcels by post is
naturally discouraged, and the proportion of such parcels is
decreasing.[452] Of the total number of parcels sent by post in 1900,
more than 88 per cent. were less than 5 kilogrammes in weight, and the
number of greater weight than 10 kilogrammes formed less than 3 per
cent. The average amount of postage per parcel on parcels falling in
Zones III, IV, V, and VI is not appreciably greater than that on parcels
falling in Zone II.[453] The number of heavy parcels in the higher zones
is, therefore, negligible,[454] and is least in the highest zones.[455]

In the case of very light parcels also the rate is excessive. The number
of parcels under 1 kilogramme in weight, which in 1870 formed about 30
per cent. of the total, fell in 1874 to 26.6 per cent., in 1878 to 21.8
per cent., and in 1910 to 12.616 per cent.[456] Similarly the rates for
the longer distances are too high generally, and the number of parcels
falling under the higher zone rates is extremely small. In 1887, 42.5
per cent. of the total number of parcels were delivered within the first
zone, and 84 per cent. within the first three zones, those in the sixth
zone forming only .064 per cent.[457] Notwithstanding these defects in
the scheme of rates, the total number of parcels has largely
increased,[458] and the cheapness of many of the rates has led to the
development of a traffic in certain food-stuffs, and has encouraged
numerous localized industries.[459]

In view of the small number of heavy parcels it has been suggested that
the post should be restricted to parcels not exceeding 10 kilogrammes in
weight, parcels of greater weight being left to the railways.[460] This
would result in the exclusion of about 3 per cent. only of the parcels.
The proposal is, however, objected to on the ground that the postal
service for such parcels ought not to be withdrawn unless the railways
can afford as punctual, speedy, and cheap a service as the Post
Office;[461] an argument which is sound only if the present rate is
profitable to the Post Office (which is doubtful), or otherwise so long
as it is assumed that the Post Office ought to continue the present
service for the public advantage, regardless of considerations of cost
and revenue.

To meet the difficulty with light parcels a lower rate has been proposed
for parcels under 1 kilogramme in weight, but a further modification in
favour of parcels between 1 kilogramme and 5 kilogrammes in weight is
deprecated as involving an undesirable complication of the uniform
rates.[462] The parcel post business is conducted as part of the general
Post Office business, and consequently it is not possible to eliminate
from the general expenses of the whole service the expenses incurred in
dealing with parcels. It cannot be said, therefore, whether either the
light parcels or the heavy parcels, the short-distance parcels or the
long-distance parcels, are or are not profitable to the administration,
or, indeed, whether the parcel post service as a whole is a remunerative
service or otherwise; but German writers on the subject hold the opinion
that the cost of the service exceeds the revenue derived from it.[463]

       *       *       *       *       *





In 1847 Sir Rowland Hill proposed the provision of special facilities
for the transmission by post in the United Kingdom of books and other
printed matter. He thought such a concession expedient as a matter of
policy, especially in view of the "state of the public mind on the
important subject of education." A low rate of postage would facilitate
the transmission of scientific and literary reports and other documents
"tending to the extension and diffusion of knowledge," and would be
highly prized by the Literary and Scientific Societies, which were a
feature of those days. Private families, especially the rural clergy,
would also in that way be enabled to obtain valuable publications
otherwise, to them, unattainable. Sir Rowland Hill recognized that there
were objections to the granting of a special rate for a special class of
matter; but he argued that, in effect, the proposal was nothing more
than an extended application of an existing principle, applied to
newspapers and Parliamentary Proceedings, and (in regard to certain
places abroad) ordinary periodical publications.[464]

The rate proposed was 6d. per pound, which was virtually the rate
charged on newspapers, with this difference to its advantage, that,
whereas 6d. paid on newspapers would represent six packets to be dealt
with separately, 6d. paid under the proposed book post rates would be in
respect of one packet only. The high minimum charge of 6d. was proposed
as a security against fraud: with such a minimum there would be no
temptation to send a packet as a cover for a written communication. As a
measure of economy it was proposed to send the packets by the day mails
as far as possible, by this means avoiding loading heavily the important
night mail trains and adding to their cost; and it was anticipated that
the rates proposed would yield some profit to the revenue.

Objection was raised on the ground that the post ought to be confined to
small packets as far as possible, and should convey large letters and
packets only when necessity was urgent: heavy packets would impede the
work of the Post Office, and would cause inconvenience in many ways,
especially as regards foot-messengers;[465] but, as it was not thought
likely that any very great number of book packets would be posted, the
objection was not upheld, and the cheaper rate was introduced. At first
various restrictions were imposed, and considerable public
dissatisfaction resulted, especially in regard to certain of the
regulations. These regulations were consequently relaxed in 1853 so as
to allow practically any printed matter to pass at the book rate. In
1855 the rate was reduced,[466] and in 1856 circulars were admitted at
the privileged rate. As a result of this the number of book packets
increased rapidly. In 1855 the total number was 3,000,000; in 1856 the
number increased to 6,000,000; and in 1862 reached 14,000,000. In 1866
the rates for heavier packets were further reduced. The rate for packets
over 8 ounces in weight became 1d. for each 4 ounces, instead of 2d. for
each 8 ounces.

In 1870, when the 1/2d. rate for newspapers and for postcards was
established,[467] an important change in the book post was made. As the
result of pressure from the public and a vote in the House of Commons in
favour of a reduction, carried against the wishes and recommendation of
the Government,[468] the rate on book packets was reduced to 1/2d. for
every 2 ounces.

Since 1870 the regulations governing admission to the book post have
been modified from time to time, chiefly in the direction of enabling
the formal documents of commerce to pass at the reduced rate. All
documents admitted to the privilege must conform to certain
requirements, and it is obvious that all such documents must be open to
inspection by the Post Office. It is therefore an indispensable
requirement that the documents be sent in open covers. Thus arises that
curious distinction between the "closed" post and the "open" post, a
lower rate of postage being given to packets containing articles or
documents of a certain description, on condition that the contents are
open to inspection by the postal authorities.

In 1897 the ordinary letter rate was made 1d. for the first 4 ounces,
and 1/2d. for each additional 2 ounces. The book post, therefore,
disappeared, except as regards packets not exceeding 2 ounces in weight;
and in 1904 its name was changed to the "Halfpenny Packet Post." It is
available for practically all the formal documents of commerce, and, in
addition, many other packets of miscellaneous character, and remains a
most important branch of Post Office traffic.[469] In 1913-14 the number
of halfpenny packets (excluding postcards) was no less than 1,172
millions, or about one-fifth of the total number of packets passing by
post in the United Kingdom.

When on the 1st November 1915 the postage on letters over 1 ounce in
weight was increased, the book post was re-established as it had existed
prior to 1897, except for unimportant modifications of the regulations.
It had been proposed to abolish altogether the 1/2d. rate of
postage,[470] but in view of strong representations from the printing
trade, and of the hostility of the general public, this proposal was

       *       *       *       *       *


Particulars of the earlier rates of postage charged on printed matter in
France cannot now be ascertained, but they appear always to have been
lower than the rates for letters. Before the Revolution an octavo book
could be sent for any distance for 12 sous, and the postage on circulars
was less than a centime.[471]

By the decrees of 17-22 August 1791, a rate for daily newspapers of 8
deniers the sheet was established, and a rate of 12 deniers the sheet
for other newspapers and for periodical publications. During the
succeeding years the rates were modified a number of times. In 1796 the
following rates were established:--

  4 centimes the sheet for newspapers;
  5 centimes the sheet for unbound books, catalogues, and prospectuses.[472]

A distinction was always made between ordinary printed matter and
periodical publications.

In 1827 the size of the sheet which was the basis of the charge was
fixed at 25 square decimetres. The system of charge by weight was
applied to printed matter in 1856, with the following rates:--

   1 centime for each 5 grammes up to 50 grammes
  10 centimes from 50 to 100 grammes
   1 centime for each 10 grammes beyond 100 grammes.

These rates were increased by some 50 per cent. in 1871. After the
establishment of the Universal Postal Union the rates in the internal
service were in some cases higher than those in the international
service, and it became advantageous to commercial men to post their
packets abroad. The French administration were then required under the
international convention to distribute them in France without receiving
any postage.[473] This anomalous situation was put an end to in 1878,
when the following rates were established:--

When sent under band--

  1 centime for each 5 grammes up to 20 grammes
  5 centimes from 20 grammes to 50 grammes;
  5    "     for each 50 grammes or fraction of 50 grammes

When sent in open envelopes--

    5 centimes for each 50 grammes or fraction of 50 grammes.

The rates have since been reduced, and are now as follow:--

  2  centimes for packets not exceeding 15 grammes in weight
  3     "     between 15 grammes and 50 grammes
  5     "        "    50 grammes and 100 grammes
  5     "     for each 100 grammes or fraction of 100 grammes thereafter.

The number of packets of printed matter has increased rapidly, as the
subjoined table shows:--

               Number of Packets of Ordinary
                   Printed Matter

  1877               195,148,116
  1883               315,315,725
  1889               406,252,198

The administration are given power to delay the despatch or transmission
of packets of ordinary printed matter should circumstances render that
course desirable.

In 1827 a special rate of 5 centimes for those delivered locally, and 10
centimes for others, was conceded to certain formal printed documents,
such as notifications of births, marriages, or deaths. In 1856, to these
were added prospectuses, catalogues, prices current, and _cartes de
visite_. These documents must be sent under band or in open envelopes.
The special rates on these classes of packets have been continued.
Under an order of the 26th November 1909 the rate for _cartes de visite_
was made 2 centimes when sent under band, but formulas of courtesy must
not appear on the cards. _Cartes de visite_ sent in open envelopes are
still charged 5 centimes.

       *       *       *       *       *


In Prussia the order of 1712 did not provide a special rate for ordinary
printed matter sent by letter post. A reduced rate of two-thirds that
for ordinary merchandise was, however, provided for books and other
similar matter,[474] under the name of _Schriften- und Aktentaxe_, when
sent by parcel post.[475]

In 1821 special rates were prescribed for various classes of printed
matter sent under band (_Versendung unter Kreuzband_), viz. books,
music, catalogues, prospectuses, prices-current, printed circulars, as

  For each ordinary sheet of printed matter or for eight sheets
      small octavo size                                         8 pf.
  For a half sheet                                              5 pf.
   "    quarter sheet                                           4 pf.
   "    sheet of music                                         10 pf.
   "    half sheet "                                            5 pf.[476]

The sheets were to be sent under band, and the name of the sender and
the number of sheets were to be written on the outside. The sending of
written matter in such packets was forbidden, under penalty of a fine of
ten times letter postage on a packet of the same size. In 1824 the rate
for matter sent under band (printed lottery winning lists, etc., were
now included) was made a quarter letter rate, and, like other rates, was
made chargeable according to direct distance of transmission. When, in
1850,[477] the rates for letters were revised and reduced, the rate for
matter sent under band was continued at a quarter letter rate, and
became (for 1 loth Zollgewicht = 1-1/8 loth Prussian)--

  Up to 10 German miles       1/4 sgr.
  10 to 20      "             1/2 sgr.
  Over  20      "             3/4 sgr.

With the exception of the name and address of the addressee no writing
was permitted on these packets, but by the order of the 29th May 1848
the writing of the name and address of the sender and the date was

With the increase in the number of packets sent under band at the
reduced rate, there grew up an increasing abuse of the privilege by the
enclosure in such packets of written communications. In order to check
this, it was provided in 1843 that when any large number of such packets
were posted by the same person, a few of the packets should be examined
in the presence of the sender. No penalty was at first imposed; but in
1850 it became necessary to take action, and the royal order of the 12th
June 1804, prescribing a penalty of 10 thalers in cases where a letter
was enclosed in a packet passing at a rate less than letter rate, was
made applicable to the case of packets sent under band; and the
regulation of the 15th December 1821, prescribing a surcharge of ten
times letter rate for a packet of like weight, was made applicable to
cases where a communication was written on the printed sheet sent at the
reduced rate.[478]

In 1850, when the German-Austrian Postal Union was founded, a uniform
rate of 4 silverpfennigs for each loth was introduced for packets sent
under band. Following the establishment of the Union, the Prussian
administration (§ 50 of law of 5th June 1852) fixed a uniform rate for
its own service of 6 silverpfennigs for each loth. For local packets
sent under band (_Stadtpost-Kreuzbandsendungen_) a rate of 1 sgr. for
each packet was introduced, reduced to 4-1/2 pf. for each packet when as
many as 100 packets were posted at the same time, or 6 pf. each when
from 25 to 100 were posted at one time. The definition of printed matter
entitled to the privilege[479] was now enlarged.[480] The penalty for
misuse of the privilege was made a surcharge of four times the amount of
the postage, but not less than 5 thalers, which might be increased
fourfold on repetition of the offence. In 1854 the maximum charge for
packets sent under band was fixed at six times letter rate, in order to
get rid of the anomaly of a higher charge on heavy packets sent under
band than on letters.[481] The fact that packets under band could be
sent for 4 pf. throughout the territory of the Union, but that for
transmission within the Prussian territory the charge was 6 pf., and
that in consequence Prussian commercial men were posting their packets
abroad in large numbers, led to a reduction of the rate in 1856 to 4 pf.
for each loth.[482]

The large increase of traffic which resulted made desirable a
simplification of the definition of packets entitled to the privilege.
Only communications of general application could pass, and the officials
found themselves often in doubt as to the application of the existing
definition. Thus, notices of the despatch of goods, invitations, or
printed letters could not be sent at the privileged rate, while, e.g.,
notices of marriages could. So far as the Union was concerned, in 1860
the privilege was limited to documents reproduced by mechanical
means.[483] The maximum limit of weight was reduced from 16 loth to 1/2
pfund (15 loth). This definition was introduced in the Prussian inland
service in 1861. The rate of postage was also modified in that year. The
rate of 4 pf. for each loth was retained, but with the proviso that the
charge on packets sent under band should not exceed twice letter rate.
This effected a great reduction of charge for the heavier packets.
Whereas previously the rate for a packet under band weighing 10 loth,
sent more than 10 German miles, had been 18 sgr., it now became 6
sgr.[484] In 1865 a special rate of 4 pf. for printed matter sent in the
form of an open card was introduced in Prussia.[485] The simplification
of definition and reduction of rate resulted in a large increase of

In 1867, when the North German Postal Services were unified, the penalty
for abuse of the privilege was reduced to a surcharge of four times
letter rate, but not less than a thaler; and the law of 1871, founding
the Imperial Post Office, abolished the fine because it had been found
that the offences were for the most part committed through ignorance of
the regulations. Slight changes were made in the regulations under which
printed matter was admitted to the privilege, but no change was made in
the rates of charge.

The law regarding the Imperial Post Office (28th October 1871) left the
fixing of rates for printed matter to the Imperial Chancellor. The
maximum limit of weight was raised from 1/2 pound (250 grammes) to 1
pound (500 grammes). The rates of postage were 1/3 sgr. for each 40
grammes up to 250 grammes, with a maximum of 2 sgr.; from 250 to 500
grammes, 3 sgr.[486] The large increase of traffic resulting from the
reductions in the rates for printed matter and for samples caused
practical difficulties, and in 1873[487] the acceptance of letters,
postcards, printed matter, and samples was to be only in the

In 1874[488] the limit of weight for printed matter was raised to 1
kilogramme, and the rate was made--

  Not exceeding 50 grammes       3 pf.
   50 to 250 grammes            10 pf.
  250 to 500    "               20 pf.
  Over   500    "               30 pf.

In 1879 (order of 8th March) the definition of printed matter was
further extended.[489]

The tariff of 1874 raised by about 50 per cent. the postage on packets
between 50 and 100 grammes. Against this protests were made, especially
since the rate for the transmission of such packets for the furthest
points of the Universal Postal Union was no greater than the rate for
transmission within Germany. In 1890 the rates were modified, packets
between 50 and 250 grammes being divided into two groups, 50 to 100
grammes, and 100 to 250 grammes. The rate for the first was made 5 pf.,
for the latter it remained 10 pf. The increase of the maximum limit of
weight has led to practical difficulties.[490]

This traffic has attained large proportions. In 1910 the number of
packets of printed matter passing in the inland service was nearly a
thousand millions.[491]

       *       *       *       *       *



In England, letters containing samples and patterns were from the first
establishment of the Post Office charged with double postage. In 1753,
arising out of the general dissatisfaction with the Post Office felt at
that time by the trading public, the legality of the double charge was
contested. Merchants, while admitting that any letter containing a
pattern or sample which should weigh as much as an ounce must pay at the
ounce rate, contended that, if weighing less than an ounce, the letter
should be charged according to the number of sheets of paper, and that
the pattern which was enclosed should be ignored.[492] The Act of the
9th of Anne prescribed the postage on "every single letter or piece of
paper" not of the weight of one ounce, and prescribed that "a double
letter" should pay double rate.[493] The contention of the merchants
was that the enclosure of a pattern or sample did not convert a single
letter into a double letter, and that to constitute a double letter
there must be a second sheet of paper--a contention which is sound
enough if postage be regarded as a tax on communications and not as a
mere charge for the conveyance of a packet. At Bristol, Manchester, and
Gloucester, legal proceedings were taken against local postmasters for
demanding and receiving more than the legal postage. In each case a
special verdict, in almost identical terms, was given, and the
Postmasters-General were advised by the Attorney-General that the
decision was likely to go against the Crown if they brought up one of
the verdicts for argument. In their difficulty they resorted to
Parliament, and obtained specific statutory authority for an additional
charge in respect of patterns and samples.[494]

This state of affairs continued until 1795, when samples were given a
definite statutory privilege. Under an Act of that year it was provided
that a packet of patterns or samples might pass as a single letter on
condition that it did not exceed 1 ounce in weight, that it was open at
the sides, and that it contained no writing other than the name and
address of the sender and the price.[495] This privilege was continued
by the Act of 1801.[496] In 1805 an additional penny was charged on all
such packets.[497] In 1812 a further addition to the postage was made,
viz. an addition of 2d. for every "letter, packet, or cover not
exceeding an ounce in weight" and containing a pattern or sample, if
"closed or not open at the sides," or an addition of 1d. if open at the
sides.[498] By the consolidating Act of 1837 it was provided that
packets or covers containing patterns or samples and not exceeding an
ounce in weight, if open at the sides and without any "letter or writing
in, upon, or within such packet or cover," other than the name and
address of the sender and the price, should be charged as single
letters, but "letters not open at the sides containing patterns or
samples and not exceeding 1 ounce in weight" were to be charged as
double letters.[499] In 1839 the Treasury were empowered to fix rates of
postage for all letters by weight,[500] and in 1840 rates of postage,
charged according to weight alone, "without reference to the number of
sheets or pieces of paper, or enclosures," were legalized.[501] This Act
contained no special provision in respect of packets containing samples
or patterns.

On the 1st October 1863, with the declared object of benefiting trade
and commerce by affording facilities for the cheap transmission of _bona
fide_ trade patterns and samples of merchandise throughout the country,
an "Inland Pattern and Sample Post" was established. Since the Post
Office, and the Post Office alone, had the means of conveying such
articles at a moderate rate of charge to and from all parts of the
country, including even the most remote, it was thought some special
concession ought to be made. The privilege was, however, restricted
within narrow limits, as it was feared that a large increase in the
number of moderately heavy packets would impede the work of the Post
Office. It would, moreover, seriously affect the amount of the payments
to railway companies for the conveyance of mails, a matter of grave
anxiety to the Post Office at that time.[502] The privilege was
therefore restricted to genuine samples, and no article of intrinsic
value might be sent at the reduced rate.

The original rates were:--

  Under 4 ounces           3d.
    "   8   "              6d.
    "  16   "          1s. 0d.
    "  24   "          1s. 6d.

The computations of the financial effects of the rates were made--as was
usual in such cases--by estimating the effect on the gross revenue,
taking into account the probable increase in the number of packets, and
estimating also what additional expense would be incurred in dealing
with the additional traffic.[503] The main financial principle seems to
have been that as the letter rate was enormously profitable, a reduced
rate for a comparatively small volume of traffic could be given without
involving actual loss, and without any serious result on the net

In 1864 the rates were reduced by one-third. In 1865 the exclusion of
articles of intrinsic value was abandoned; but there was no relaxation
of the essential condition that the articles must be _bona fide_
samples. In 1866 there was a further slight modification of the rates.
The number of packets sent at the privileged rate increased from half a
million in 1864 to a million in 1865, and by 1868 the number had reached
three millions.

The facilities afforded by this post were taken advantage of to a large
extent for the forwarding of small packets of goods on sale or in
execution of an order. It was estimated that at least half the packets
were not genuine samples at all, but contained goods of this kind; and
the definite restriction of the post to its original purpose of carrying
trade samples and patterns was deemed necessary. This was provided for
in the Act of 1870, the rate of postage being at the same time reduced
to 1/2d. for every 2 ounces.

The enforcement of the restriction gave rise to considerable public
dissatisfaction. It was apparent that fairly general use had been made
of the sample post for the transmission of small parcels of all kinds of
goods. Many persons living in remote parts of the country were in the
habit of obtaining supplies of goods of various kinds by this means; and
it was alleged that by the facilities afforded by this post some
industries, such as lace-making, were actually created in certain
districts, or at any rate were greatly helped. The post was also much
used for the sending of small personal gifts.

Public agitation against the restriction became so strong that the
postal authorities, although apparently holding the view that a general
parcel post was indefensible in principle, became fearful that, unless
the public were given some concession on this point, an attack might be
made on the 1d. rate for ordinary letters. Such an attack, if
successful, would of course have been fatal to Post Office revenue. It
was proposed, therefore, to make definite provision for the transmission
by post at low rates of postage of small packets containing articles
other than samples. A rate for small parcels, whatever the contents,
would at the same time remove the difficult and unsatisfactory task of
deciding what was or was not a sample or pattern. These objects might be
secured by a general reduction of the rates for inland letters; and this
course was ultimately adopted, after some hesitation from fear of the
effect on the revenue. The rates on the heavier inland letters were
accordingly reduced by Treasury Warrant of 16th August 1871, and the
sample post at the same time abolished.[504]

In the early 'eighties there was a strong demand from the public for the
re-establishment of the sample post. The advantage to trade was
emphasized, and attention was called to the existence of a privileged
rate for samples on the Continent and in the international service. The
existence of a low sample rate in the international service led, indeed,
to a curious development. As samples which, if posted in this country,
would be charged 2d., could be posted on the Continent for foreign
transmission at a charge of 1d., several firms in England were in the
habit of sending large numbers of sample packets in bulk to Belgium,
where they were posted at the 1d. rate addressed to places in England.
The result of this man[oe]uvre was that, instead of receiving the inland
postage of 2d. for these packets, the British Post Office performed
practically the same service in respect of them as if they had been
posted in England, but received nothing, since under the Postal
Convention the whole of the postage on foreign letters is retained by
the country of origin. It was estimated that there was in this way a
loss to revenue of £1,000 a year.

It was in great part the existence of this anomaly which led to the
re-establishment of the sample post in 1887. No exact estimate was made
of the cost of dealing with sample packets, but the authorities stated
that the rates proposed, viz. under 4 ounces 1d., over 4 ounces and
under 6 ounces 1-1/2d., and over 6 ounces and under 8 ounces 2d. (8
ounces to be the maximum weight), would be remunerative, and that any
immediate loss to revenue in consequence of the reduction in rates would
therefore be likely soon to be made up. This statement must, however,
have been based on general considerations and estimates. In the
following year the Secretary to the Post Office (Sir Arthur Blackwood)
told a Select Committee of the House of Commons that the Post Office had
not any return of the cost per million letters, or any return of that
kind by quantity, and that the Post Office could not give the actual
cost per million letters.[505]

The post, which was re-established in the interests of trade and could
only be used by traders, was continued until 1897, when the Jubilee
reductions brought down the postage on ordinary letters to the level of
the sample rate.

The sample post was never more than a very minor part of the Post Office
business. In 1865, when the total number of letters passing by post was
some 700 millions, the number of samples was one million. In 1870 the
number of samples was four millions. In 1896, the last year of its
existence as a special rate, the number of samples was nine millions. In
that year the number of letters, etc., was some 3,000 millions.

As a result of the increase of letter postage on the heavier letters,
as a war measure, it has been deemed necessary to re-establish the
inland sample post. On the 1st November 1915 the post was accordingly
re-established substantially as it existed prior to 1897. The rates of
postage are the same, and the regulations practically unaltered.

       *       *       *       *       *


In France, by the decree of 17-22 August 1791 (Article 16), samples were
accorded a privileged rate of one-third letter postage, with the
reservation that in no case could the postage charged be less than that
on a single letter. In 1848, when a low uniform rate for letters was
adopted, it was thought that the privilege given to samples need not be
continued. The suppression of the special privileged rate was found
almost to exclude samples from the mails, and in 1856 they were again
given a privilege by the extension to them of the rates and conditions
applied to printed matter.[506] The limit of weight for samples was
fixed at 3 kilogrammes, and the limit of each dimension at 45
centimetres; but these limits were found to be too great. The post
became encumbered with large packets which it could not enclose in the
mails, and which, as a matter of fact, it had not the means of dealing
with. Consequently, in 1858 the limit of weight was reduced to 300
grammes, and the maximum dimension to 25 centimetres.[507] It was still
found, however, that packets of samples gave rise to considerable
embarrassment in the service. Their irregular size rendered stamping
more difficult, and their volume and the unsatisfactory manner in which
they were made up for the post caused inconvenience, especially in the
travelling offices, where space is limited.

The object in view in establishing the sample rate had been to encourage
trade by the distribution of trade samples, and not to found a new
general means of conveyance for small parcels. But commercial houses
were not slow to take advantage of the means afforded for the
distribution of small packages of goods. At first it was made a
condition of acceptance at the privileged rate that the articles should
bear the name of the dealer or maker, but this precaution was abandoned
before long.[508]

A minimum rate of 1 centime for packets not exceeding 5 grammes in
weight had been fixed in 1856. This proved too low, and in 1871 the
minimum was raised to 30 centimes, which proved to be too high. The
number of samples, which in 1869 had been 9,751,970, fell in 1872 to
3,461,981.[509] In December 1873 this rate was reduced by one-half, and
in August 1875 the rate was fixed at 5 centimes for each 50 grammes.
Under this rate the numbers increased rapidly: 5,267,964 packets were
sent through the post at the sample rate in 1874, and by 1889 the
numbers had risen to 25,731,985. The present rate is 5 centimes per 50
grammes, with a maximum limit of 500 grammes. The number of sample
packets in the year 1912-13 was about 78 millions.[510]

       *       *       *       *       *


Samples were first given a privilege in Prussia in 1825.[511]

Packets containing samples were then given single letter rate up to
1-1/2 loth, and half the letter rate for heavier packets. They must
either be sent enclosed in a letter or attached to a letter, and the
letter must not exceed 3/4 loth in weight.

In 1850 the following rates for samples were established:--

    Not exceeding 10 German miles          1 silver groschen
    10 to 20 German miles                  2       "
    Over 20        "                       3       "

and for heavier packets, half letter rate.

Under the Austro-German Postal Union, established on the 6th April 1850,
the ordinary rate for single letters was charged in the case of samples
for each 2 loth, according to distance. In 1852 the Prussian internal
rates for samples were brought into accord with those of the Union.
Samples must be sent in unsealed covers and must be easily recognizable
as such. The maximum weight was 16 loth, and the maximum charge was not
to exceed six times letter rate.

In 1853 a further privilege was conceded. When sent together with a
letter, samples might be enclosed in sealed covers; but in order to
enable the administration to maintain a control over the use of the
privilege, the postal officials were empowered at discretion to require
the sender to open such packets.[512]

In 1860, when the Austro-German Postal Union was renewed, the limit of
weight for samples was reduced to 1/2 pound (15 loth). Following this
reduction the Prussian rates for samples were reduced in 1861: for
samples weighing more than 2 loth only the rate for a double letter
(according to distance) was to be charged. The reduction was not
followed by any large increase in the number of sample packets. Every
sample must still be accompanied by a letter, a circumstance which made
the application of the sample rate heavy. With a view to the further
encouragement of the traffic this requirement was removed in 1863, and
the despatch of samples under band, in envelopes, little bags, or
similar covers, authorized. New rates were introduced as follows: 4 pf.
for each 2-1/2 loth. To prevent abuse of the privilege it was provided
that no article of marketable value could be sent at the reduced rate.
The packet must be marked to show that it contained a sample, and might
also bear the name and address of the senders, the trade mark, and the
number of samples and prices.

In 1871 the rate for the Imperial Postal Service was made 1/3 sgr. for
each 40 grammes with a maximum of 2 sgr. Practical difficulties arose
from the great increase of traffic which followed this reduction of
rate. Large packets and packets of awkward shape were posted, causing
practical difficulties, especially in the sorting carriages, and it was
found necessary to decline to accept samples over the counter, and to
forbid the acceptance of samples in roll form. The sample rate was,
moreover, complicated as compared with the letter rate. While there were
but two rates for letters, there were five for samples, viz. 4, 8, 12,
16, and 20 pf. In 1875 the sample rate was simplified by the
introduction of a single rate of 10 pf. for all sample packets, with a
maximum limit of weight of 250 grammes.

The maximum limit of weight was raised in 1898 to 350 grammes, and in
1914 to 500 grammes. The present rates for samples are:--

  Not exceeding 250 grammes        10 pf.
  250-500 grammes                  20 pf.

Prepayment is compulsory.

The sample post traffic has increased, but has not attained large
proportions compared with letters. In 1878 the number of samples was
4,389,000 and in 1913-14, 87 millions (inland service). The minimum rate
(10 pf.) is high compared with the minimum rates for ordinary printed
matter and newspapers, and a minimum rate of 5 pf. has been

       *       *       *       *       *



Letter postage was found to be high for the formal documents of
commerce, and from very early times there has been a disposition to
accord an exceptionally low rate to such documents. The Act of 1660
conferred a special privilege on merchants' accounts not exceeding one
sheet of paper, bills of exchange, invoices, and bills of lading. They
were to be "without rate in the price of letters," that is to say, no
account was to be taken of them. This privilege was continued by the 9th
of Anne.[514] The Postmasters-General contended that the privilege was
granted in the case of letters for foreign transmission only, but the
merchants affected to interpret the Act as applying in the case of
inland letters also. They naturally pointed out that restriction of the
privilege to foreign letters imposed on traders within the realm a
burden of postage not imposed on traders beyond the sea,[515] and the
Postmasters-General found so much difficulty in maintaining the
additional charge in the case of inland letters that they were
ultimately driven to apply to Parliament, in 1720, for the express
sanction of law.[516] From this time commercial or other papers obtained
no special advantage over ordinary letters in the inland service; and in
1801, when the Post Office was endeavouring by all possible means to
increase its net revenue, the privilege in the case of foreign letters
was withdrawn.[517]

The introduction of a specially low rate for commercial documents was
considered in the 'thirties of last century by the Treasury
Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office, who
recommended the adoption of a general 1/2d. rate.[518] Nothing came,
however, of this suggestion.

The privilege to commercial papers has since been restored by little and
little as extensions of the book post, established in 1847 (_q.v._), and
at the present time most of the formal documents of commerce not
exceeding 2 ounces in weight pass at the reduced rate of 1/2d.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Papiers d'Affaires_)

In the French service commercial papers (_papiers d'affaires_)
constitute a special category of postal packets. Documents included
under this heading may be described briefly as papers and documents,
whether wholly or partly written, containing communications which are
not of a personal character.

Until 1856 such papers were charged at the same rate as letters. This
rate was found to be burdensome,[519] and in 1856 a rate of 1 centime
for each 10 grammes was established--the same rate as that for samples
and ordinary printed matter--but the minimum charge was fixed at 50
centimes. In 1871 the rate was altered to correspond with that for
samples. It now became 30 centimes for the first 50 grammes, and 10
centimes for each further 50 grammes. As a consequence of the adhesion
of France to the Universal Postal Union, the rate, together with that
for samples, was changed in 1875 to 5 centimes for each 50 grammes. The
discarding, in the case of _papiers d'affaires_, of the principle of a
minimum charge equal at least to the minimum charge for letters, had
unfortunate results. It has been found extremely difficult always to
distinguish between documents entitled to be regarded as _papiers
d'affaires_ and documents which are of a personal character, and
therefore subject to letter postage. The privilege is at present
restricted to packets weighing not more than 20 grammes, and the rate of
postage is 5 centimes. Packets weighing more than 20 grammes are subject
to letter postage.

The number of packets passing as _papiers d'affaires_ increased rapidly,
but still forms only an inconsiderable fraction of the total number of
postal packets. In 1856 the number was 39,747; in 1889 it exceeded 15
millions; and in 1913 it reached 58 millions.

It is necessary to issue a long and detailed list showing the kinds of
documents admissible at the reduced rate, and the difficulty of
administering the rate is considerable.

       *       *       *       *       *



After the abolition of the old Prussian _Schriften- und Aktentaxe_[520]
in 1861, neither the North German Bund nor the Imperial administration
granted a special rate for wholly or partly handwritten communications
which were not of the nature of personal and individual correspondence.
Either letter or parcel rate must be paid on such packets. In the
international service the rate for such was the same as the rate for
printed matter, and the unfavourable position in the inland service in
this respect gave rise to public complaints. In 1900, therefore, a
special class of packets, named _Geschäftspapiere_, was introduced in
the internal service of the German Imperial administration. Papers
partly or wholly written, but not of the nature of private or personal
communications, were admissible at a reduced rate of postage.[521]
Except for local traffic the new rates were:--

  Not exceeding 250 grammes              10 pf.
  250-500 grammes                        20 pf.
  500 grammes to 1 kilogramme (maximum)  30 pf.

Compared with the total postal traffic the number of packets passing at
the reduced rate is quite small, but it is increasing, and is
sufficiently large to indicate that the privilege affords a considerable
advantage to the public.

The number of packets of _Geschäftspapiere_ was:--

  1904    10,793,620
  1907    16,789,260
  1910    23,632,220
  1913    34,328,950

       *       *       *       *       *


The idea of postcards originated with Dr. H. von Stephan, who submitted
a proposal for their introduction at the meeting of the delegates of the
German Postal Union at Karlsruhe in 1865. Dr. von Stephan had realized
that the ordinary form of the letter missive, although most suitable in
many ways for many kinds of correspondence, was not always convenient.
Much commercial correspondence might be conducted with briefer and less
formal communications, and for such short and urgent messages a simple
and less costly means would be welcomed.

The proposal was therefore for the issue of cards which should be
addressed on the front, and at the back should bear the written
message.[522] The cards should be transmitted unenclosed. The proposal
was not well received by the delegates. It was, however, revived in 1869
by Professor Herrmann of Vienna, who brought it to the notice of the
Austrian postal administration. It was viewed favourably by that
administration, and the cards were introduced in the Austrian service on
the 1st October 1869, being sold at the price of 5 kreuzer. The
innovation was an immediate success, nearly three million cards being
sold in the first three months; and following on this success the cards
were soon introduced in most other countries.

Except in France, and for the first two years in Germany, the rate
charged has from the first been one-half the minimum rate for letters.
In France the minimum for postcards bearing ordinary messages has never
been less than 10 centimes.[523] This reduction of 50 per cent. cannot
be justified on any ground of cheaper handling. The manipulation and
conveyance of postcards is perhaps slightly less expensive than that of
ordinary light letters, but any such difference is small, and in point
of fact postcards are usually regarded as causing a little more trouble
in the process of sorting. For all practical purposes it may safely be
assumed that postcards and ordinary light letters involve approximately
the same cost for their handling and transmission.[524] This difference
in the rates of postage charged on ordinary light letters and postcards,
respectively, is therefore either a standing evidence of the fiscal
character of the rate for light letters, or of the uneconomic character
of one or other of the rates, or of both.

The postcard has proved immensely popular. Its use for formal and
unconfidential communications is a great convenience. By avoiding the
necessity for folding and enclosing in envelopes, time is saved in the
making up of correspondence for the post; and the saving in postage when
a quantity is sent out is very considerable. The cards are a convenience
also in the practical working of the Post Office service. Their use
diminishes both the weight and bulk of the mails; on account of their
lightness and uniformity of size and shape large numbers can be packed
together in small space. In this respect they contrast strongly with the
irregularly shaped packets of books or of general merchandise, which
represent the maximum of encumbrance to Post Office working. The
introduction of the picture postcard gave a great impetus to the use of
this means of correspondence. Except in France, the traffic has assumed
large dimensions. In the United Kingdom in 1913-14 the total number of
postcards was about 926,000,000, while the total number of packets
passing at the letter rate was about 3,478,000,000.[525]


The low rate for matter printed in raised type for the use of the blind
is a purely philanthropic concession.[526]

In the United Kingdom the rates are:--

  For a packet not exceeding 2 ounces in weight            1/2d.
       "       exceeding 2 ounces and not exceeding 5 lb.  1d.
       "         "       5 lb.     "      "         6 lb   2d.

It will be noted that the initial penny rate is maintained (the 2 ounces
for 1/2d. being merely the ordinary printed matter rate), but a
comparison with the ordinary parcel post rates (see Chapter III) will
show that if, as there is reason to believe, those rates are
unremunerative, the rates for literature for the blind must involve a
heavy loss on each packet. The number of packets is, however, only some
300,000 per annum.

Similar low rates are in operation in other countries. In the United
States packets containing matter of this kind are carried free.

       *       *       *       *       *


In the United States and Canada a special method of differentiating
rates of postage has been adopted. All postal traffic is termed "mail
matter," and is classified in four groups, to each of which is applied
an appropriate rate. The classification, which is almost identical in
the two countries, is based partly on the general character of the
packets (size, shape, etc.), but more largely on certain general
principles of administration, and on the intrinsic value of the
contents. Thus the ordinary letter, which is the most important and
valuable traffic, is placed in the first class of mail matter, and is
charged the highest rate. Newspapers and periodicals, which are regarded
as of great importance in aiding the education and enlightenment of the
people, are placed in the second class of mail matter and are given the
lowest rate.[527] Books and all other printed matter, commercial papers,
postcards, etc., are regarded as of less importance than letters, and
are deemed to be less entitled to encouragement from the State in their
distribution, but still entitled to preferential treatment as compared
with packets containing miscellaneous articles. They are accordingly
placed in the third class of mail matter, and are given a rate
intermediate between that of the first class and that of the second. All
other articles sent by post--the residuum of postal packets--are placed
together in a fourth class of mail matter, to which is applied a rate
higher than the third-class rate, but considerably lower than the
first-class rate.[528]

The rates for first-class matter (letters) and second-class matter
(newspapers and periodicals) in the United States have been dealt with.
They may be repeated here for purposes of comparison: the rate for
letters is 1 cent for each 2 ounces or fraction of 2 ounces; the rate
for newspapers is 1 cent a pound or fraction thereof when sent from
publisher to subscriber--when sent otherwise the rate is 1 cent for
every 4 ounces. On third-class matter the rate is 1 cent for each 2
ounces or fraction thereof, and on fourth-class matter the rate is 1
cent for every ounce or fraction of an ounce. With the view of
encouraging agriculture, seeds, cuttings, bulbs, scions, roots, and
plants are given the same rate as ordinary printed matter in the third

In Canada the rate of postage on first-class matter is 2 cents per ounce
or fraction of an ounce, except on postcards, for which the rate is 1
cent, and local or "drop" letters, on which the rate is also 1 cent
(_supra_, p. 255). On second-class matter the rate is 1/4 cent a pound
when posted by publishers to subscribers, otherwise 1 cent for each 4
ounces or fraction thereof. On general third-class matter (including
samples) the rate is 1 cent for each 2 ounces or fraction thereof: a
special rate of 2 cents for the first 4 ounces and 1 cent for each
additional 4 ounces or fraction thereof is given for seeds, cuttings,
roots, bedding-plants, scions, or grafts. The object of this privilege
is evident. The rate on fourth-class matter is 1 cent for each ounce or
fraction thereof.

These rates have not been calculated with reference to the cost of the
service in each case. Classification was introduced in the United States
Postal Service as far back as 1863, but until 1906 no attempt had been
made to apportion the total cost between the various classes. The
estimate then made showed that the second-class mail involved a heavy
loss, probably equal to six or seven times the rate of postage.[529]

       *       *       *       *       *




Local postal services, providing for the delivery of local letters at
reduced rates of postage, existed in the United Kingdom over a long
period. The first service was established in London in 1680. Up to this
time the business of the Post Office had been restricted to the
transmission of letters between the post towns, and no rate of postage
existed except in respect of letters sent over appreciable
distances.[530] The idea of a local service seems to have originated
with a Mr. Robert Murray; but the London local post was actually
established by William Dockwra, "a merchant, a Native and Citizen of
London, formerly one of his Majesty's Sub-Searchers in the Custom House
of London." Other citizens of London were concerned in the undertaking,
which was established without reference to the authorities of the Post
Office, and was intended to be purely a private commercial

Under Dockwra's scheme London, with Westminster and the suburbs, was
divided into seven districts or "precincts," in each of which was a
"sorting house." Scattered over the City and suburbs were from four
hundred to five hundred receiving houses for the taking-in of letters.
Messengers called at the houses for letters every hour. Letters and
parcels not exceeding 1 pound in weight or £10 in value were accepted
and conveyed at the uniform charge of 1d., payable in advance.

The service was not restricted to letters for delivery within the London
area and the surrounding district. Letters which were to be transmitted
through the General Post[532] were accepted at any of the receiving
offices, and conveyed to the General Post Office in Lombard Street; and
letters received in London by the General Post were delivered by the
penny post, if for places outside the General Post delivery.[533] This
facility proved of much advantage to the public, and led to a large
increase in the number of General Post letters. When well established,
Dockwra's new system proved profitable and attracted the attention of
the authorities of the General Post Office. They contended that the
service was an infringement of the monopoly conferred on the
Postmasters-General by the Act of 1660,[534] and in 1683, at the
instance of the Duke of York, in whom were vested the profits of the
General Post Office, an action was brought against Dockwra to restrain
him from continuing a breach of the privilege of the
Postmasters-General. Dockwra was ordered by the court to pay nominal
damages, and was forbidden to continue his penny post.

The post was not, however, abolished, but was taken over and managed by
the Postmasters-General. Although the service had been decided to fall
within their monopoly, the rates charged rested on no legal authority.
No statute authorized the conveyance anywhere of letters at the rate of
1d. No authority existed for any rate below the minimum General Post
rate of 2d., under the Act of 1660, a state of affairs which continued
until the passing of the Act of 1711. A penny rate of postage was then
fixed for all letters "passing or repassing by the carriage called the
Penny Post, established and settled within the cities of London and
Westminster, and borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent, and to be
received and delivered within 10 English miles distant from the General
Post Office in London."[535] At first the service had included only the
cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and the
immediate suburbs; but the residents in the neighbouring towns and
villages, recognizing the advantage of the system, soon asked that it
might be extended to include their respective localities, voluntarily
agreeing to pay an additional penny on delivery, on each letter. This
further charge was at first appropriated by the messengers as their
remuneration; but as the amount received by them in this way was found
to exceed what might fairly be regarded as reasonable wages, the second
penny was in 1687 made part of the ordinary revenue of the Post Office.
There was, however, no legal authority for the collection of this
additional charge, which remained a voluntary payment until 1730.[536]

The limit of weight for packets sent by the penny post was also
extended, parcels of considerable size and weight being accepted. The
rate of postage, however, remained uniform at a penny. One of the
charges against Dockwra in later years, when he was dismissed from the
office of Comptroller of the Penny Post, to which he had been appointed
under William III, was that he forbade the taking in of any but very
small band-boxes, and all parcels over 1 pound in weight.[537]

The penny post was found to be a great convenience to Londoners and
dwellers in the vicinity.[538] It facilitated both local intercourse
and, through its connection with the General Post, general intercourse
with all parts of the country. It was also advantageous in a way which
was not satisfactory to the Postmaster-General. For some years before
its establishment there had been much difficulty from the evasion of
postage resulting from the illicit transmission of letters. Carriers,
especially, made a business of the conveyance of letters. The difficulty
had been so serious that in the reigns both of Charles II and of James
II special officers had been appointed whose duty it was to search any
person or vehicle suspected of carrying clandestine mails. The
establishment of the penny post led to a very large development of this
traffic. Previously, when the carriers arrived with the letters, there
was no means at their disposal for effecting distribution and delivery
within London, other than by themselves delivering the letters
individually, or by employing special messengers, or, in the last
resort, by employing the General Post, to avoid whose charge was the
whole object of entrusting letters to the carriers. The penny post
removed this difficulty, and the public were not slow to avail
themselves of the opportunity afforded.[539]

The penny post did not, however, mark the limit of possibility in the
way of cheap postal facilities. In 1708 Charles Povey established a
halfpenny post in London, and found this low rate profitable. His
undertaking, like that of Dockwra, proved to be an infringement of the
monopoly of the Postmasters-General, and was suppressed within a few
months, although Povey was very reluctant to discontinue his

The London penny post was for a long period the only local post in the
kingdom. Its advantages were, however, generally recognized, and the
Post Office Act of 1765[541] gave to the Postmasters-General power to
establish penny posts in any town where that course seemed to them
expedient. Under this authority numerous penny posts were established in
all parts of the country. As many as 202 such penny posts were
established between 1830 and 1837. They were established only when it
could be reasonably anticipated that the yield of the penny postage
would cover the expenses of the service; but when once established they
were not usually discontinued, even if the revenue fell below the
expenses.[542] Like the London penny post, these local services included
the area surrounding the town in each case. For transmission within a
penny post area the rate of postage was 1d.; for transmission to another
such area the general rate was charged in addition; and another penny
was charged in respect of the second penny post.

The conveyance of parcels ceased in 1765. The Act of that year[543]
forbade the transmission by the penny post of any packet over 4 ounces
in weight unless it had passed, or was intended afterwards to pass, by
the General Post. During all this period, however, the people of London
enjoyed an efficient postal service which in point of lowness of charges
was in advance of anything they have enjoyed since, unless the
privileges of the postcard and the halfpenny post, that is, of a rate
half the minimum (and only) rate of the penny post, can be set against
the cheap transmission of considerable packages by the old service.

A further Act of 1794[544] empowered the Postmasters-General at their
discretion to extend the limits of the post beyond the 10-mile circle
prescribed by the Act of 1711. No additional postage was imposed on
letters delivered beyond the 10-mile circle. Under the Act of 1730 the
charge would be 2d. An additional rate of 1d. was, however, imposed on
all letters posted within the extended limits and beyond the 10-mile
circle; and also on all letters posted without the original limits of
the penny post and delivered within those limits, i.e. the cities of
London and Westminster, and the borough of Southwark, with their
suburbs. By this Act prepayment of postage, hitherto compulsory in the
penny post, was made optional.

An Act of 1801[545] raised to 2d. the rate for letters passing by the
penny post, whether or not they were to pass by the General Post, within
the original limits of the penny post. For letters passing by the penny
post, posted or delivered outside the original limits, no additional
rate was prescribed. The charge was already 2d.; and the rate of
postage on letters passing by the London local post therefore now became
uniformly 2d. Henceforward the service was known as the "twopenny post."

The Act of 1801 contained an important clause (clause 5) of general
application, providing that the Postmasters-General might at discretion
undertake the conveyance and delivery of letters "directed to persons
abiding in towns, villages, and places (not being post-towns)," for such
sums as might be agreed upon between the Postmasters-General and the
inhabitants. Under this provision it was found possible to extend the
service to a considerable number of places.[546]

An Act of 1805[547] imposed an additional charge of 1d., making 3d. in
all, on letters sent by the twopenny post and not passing by the General
Post, directed to or sent from places beyond the limits of the General
Post delivery; and on every letter passing by the General Post and
directed to places beyond the limits of the General Post delivery, and
delivered by the twopenny post, an additional charge of 2d.[548] There
were now, in reality, two local posts in the London area--the twopenny
post, for letters transmitted between places within the limits of the
delivery of the General Post; and the threepenny post, for letters
directed to or sent from places within the limits of the local service,
but beyond the limits of the General Post delivery. In 1831 the limits
of delivery of the twopenny post were extended to include all places
within a radius of 3 miles of the General Post Office; and in 1833 the
limits of the threepenny post were extended to include all places beyond
the 3-mile limit, and not exceeding 12 miles from the General Post
Office.[549] No further modifications of importance were made before the
establishment of uniform penny postage.

The introduction of a uniform rate of postage for the whole country of
1d., only half the lowest rate which had been charged in the London
local post, obviously made unnecessary the continuance of that post, and
also of the penny posts scattered up and down the country; or rather
extended to the whole country the benefit of rates based on items of
local cost only, since the system of uniform postage irrespective of
distance rests on the recognition of the preponderating cost of the
local or terminal services, and the relatively insignificant cost per
letter of the service--conveyance from place to place--which depends on
the distance of transmission.

Financially the London penny and twopenny posts were always successful.
Under the penny rate the profits had approached half the gross
receipts--in 1800 they were 43 per cent.--and under the twopenny rate at
once rose to more than 60 per cent., in 1825 reaching 67 per cent. The
net revenue, which in 1801 under the penny rate was £16,286, had in 1837
under the twopenny rate risen to £73,334.[550]


Special local rates have from quite early dates been in operation in
America. If in England the lowest rate fixed for General Post letters
had been found too high to afford reasonable accommodation for the
public in London and other cities, it may well be imagined that the
lowest rate in Canada, gauged as it was to the needs of a service which
should cover a country of vast area and ill-provided with roads, would
be found altogether high for local letters. Moreover, in most places no
sort of delivery service existed. Local letters could only be placed in
the post office to be called for by the persons to whom they were
addressed. In Canada the actual cost of the conveyance of the mail was
consequently disproportionately high compared with other expenses of the
service, and the justice of a lower rate for such letters as obtained no
benefit from that expenditure naturally suggested itself. The lowest
rate fixed by the Act of 1765 for transmission within Canada of a single
letter was 4d., and, rather than charge such a rate on local letters,
the deputies in Nova Scotia allowed such letters to be deposited in the
post office free.

At Confederation a special rate for local letters of 1 cent per 1/2
ounce was established. At this time there was still no authorized
house-to-house delivery of letters in any part of Canada, and local
letters were actually what they are always termed, viz. "drop" letters.
They were letters dropped into the post office letter-box and handed out
at the office to the addressee on application. When in 1875 delivery by
letter-carrier was introduced in certain towns, the drop-letter rate was
not disturbed. It was thought, however, that a postage charge of 1 cent
was not sufficient to cover the cost of the service of delivery at the
place of address, performed by an expensive establishment of
letter-carriers; and in 1889, on that ground, though much against the
wishes of the mercantile community, the rate was raised to 2 cents an
ounce in cities and towns where the system of delivery by letter-carrier
was established, the existing rate of 1 cent per 1/2 ounce being
continued in other cities and towns.

The ordinary letter rate was still 3 cents. This change therefore left
all local letters with a lower rate than ordinary letters.[551]

The 2-cent rate proved to be too high. Much dissatisfaction resulted,
and evasions were constant. In defiance of the law, which conferred on
the Postmaster-General the monopoly of the carriage of letters,
merchants made arrangements for the transmission and delivery by their
private messengers of their letters for local delivery. The evil assumed
such proportions that the suppression of the private carriage of local
letters was deemed out of question, and the Government concluded that
the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty was the re-introduction
of the general 1 cent drop-letter rate.[552] So great was the number of
drop letters sent otherwise than through the Post Office that no actual
loss of revenue was anticipated from a reduction of the rate, which
should bring back those letters to the post. This anticipation was more
than realized. In a very short time after the passing of the Act of 1898
legalizing the reduction to 1 cent, the gross revenue from local letters
surpassed that obtained under the 2-cent rate.


In 1658 a local service (_la petite poste_) was established in Paris by
M. Velayer. He obtained from the King the exclusive privilege of
erecting letter-boxes, which were opened three times daily, in various
parts of the city,[553] and set up an office in the royal palace at
which tickets bearing the words "Port-payé le ... du ... de l'an 1653"
might be purchased at the price of a sou. No money was paid to the
letter-carrier by persons posting or receiving letters. A label was
affixed to the letter, which was then delivered without further
charge.[554] The service was not a success and was discontinued.

In 1759 a local postal service was re-established in Paris by M. de
Chamousset. The new service was avowedly in imitation of the London
penny post. The rate was 2 sous for a letter not exceeding 1 ounce in
weight, delivered in Paris, and 3 sous if delivered in surrounding
villages not served by the general post. This venture proved more
successful than the earlier service of M. Velayer. At the outset it
employed about two hundred men, and the profits for the first year were
50,000 livres. But its founder, M. de Chamousset, met with no better
fate than Dockwra, the founder of its prototype. Such large profits
could not escape the notice of the Government, and the service was taken
over by the King, Chamousset being given a pension of 20,000 livres as
its inventor.[555] The service was continued, and its success led to the
establishment of similar local services in other towns--Bordeaux, Lille,
Lyons, Nancy, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nantes, Rouen, Strasburg,

The ordinary letter rate in France remained at a moderately high level
until a comparatively late date, and a special rate for local letters
continued until 1878. In that year the ordinary rate for letters was
reduced to 15 centimes, the level of the existing local rate, and since
that time local letters have enjoyed no special privilege in France.


In Germany the delivery of local letters in towns was for a long period
conducted as a private undertaking of the postmaster or letter-carrier.
Between 1842 and 1852 it was made a branch of the general postal
service, and the delivery charge (_Ortsbestellgeld_), which, in general,
had been retained by the letter-carrier as wages, was, in the latter
year, made payable to the general revenue. An arrangement was also made
for the acceptance and delivery of local letters, at the rate of 1
sgr.[557] If the letters were called for at the post office (and the
service of delivery at the house therefore not performed) the rate was
reduced to 1/2 sgr.; and when one person posted as many as one hundred
local letters at the same time, the rate for each letter was no more
than 4-1/2 pf. (reduced in 1860 to 4 pf.), including delivery at
residence. When as many as fifty were posted at one time, the rate was
reduced to 1/2 sgr. By a regulation of the 21st December 1860 the limit
of weight for the single letter was, however, raised to 1/2 pound, and a
rate of 2 sgr. imposed on heavier letters, but the rates were not
otherwise materially changed. The law of 16th September 1862 abolished
the delivery fee on ordinary letters. In 1865[558] the rate for local
packets of printed matter was reduced to 4 pf.

When, at the foundation of the North German Union in 1867, the postal
rates were reorganized, the question of the local rates proved to be one
of some little difficulty, since the existing rates differed very
considerably in the different parts of the Union. The Prussian rates
were high as compared with the rates in some other States; and any rate
which could be applied generally was likely to represent a considerable
reduction of the Prussian rates, but a considerable increase of the
rates in other States. The reorganization of the local rates was
consequently delayed. After much discussion a new local rate for places
in the former Prussian postal territory (excepting Berlin and Hamburg)
was established:[559] for ordinary letters 1/2 sgr., for printed matter
and samples 1/3 sgr. In Hanover the local letter rate was made 1/3 sgr.;
in Brunswick 1/4 sgr.; and in Cassel, Erfurt, Frankfort-on-Main, and
Hamburg similar rates were established.[560]

From the 1st January 1875 a uniform rate of 5 pf. for local letters was
introduced throughout the Imperial postal territory. The rate was
irrespective of weight, but there was a maximum limit of 250 grammes.
All other local packets (postcards, printed matter, and samples) were
subject to the ordinary rates of postage. No special local rate was
fixed for parcels: the lowest zone rate was payable, and was, of course,
in effect a local rate. The general application of the new letter rate
would, in certain cases, have resulted in increased rates, and in those
cases (Constance, Darmstadt, and Karlsruhe) a rate of 3 pf.--the
equivalent of the previously existing rate--was established. In Berlin,
in view of the specially expensive arrangements for the delivery of
letters, the rate of 10 pf. for local letters remained in force.[561]

For the delivery of local parcels no charge had previously been made
beyond the rate of local postage, although in respect of all packets
from outside a delivery charge was collected. From the 1st January 1875,
however, local parcels were made liable to a delivery charge.[562] In
general, the local rates introduced on the 1st January 1875 remained for
more than a quarter of a century unchanged, but in course of time
difficulties in their administration developed. The order of the 18th
December 1874 had prescribed a special local rate for letters only; for
all other kinds of postal traffic the ordinary rates remained
applicable. Consequently, a local postcard was charged the same postage
as a letter weighing 250 grammes; similarly the rates for printed matter
or samples for local delivery were high when compared with the rate for
local letters. Such rates were, moreover, anomalous when compared with
the rates for long-distance traffic, which, for postcards, printed
matter, and samples, were much less than for letters. In fact, for local
delivery printed matter and samples had only to be placed in sealed
covers in order to pass at the rate of 5 pf.

In many of the larger towns the delivery of local letters was undertaken
by private enterprise at rates much lower than those of the Imperial
Post Office. The undertakings secured a very large proportion of the
local traffic, and found even these low rates very profitable.
Moreover, the large increase in the number of post offices, and the
withdrawal of numerous places from the areas assigned to certain
offices, had led, in many cases, to great difficulties in deciding
whether letters were subject to the general or the local rate of

The regulations governing local traffic were accordingly revised under
the law of the 20th December 1899. Local rates were considerably reduced
in amount, and were made applicable to all traffic passing between a
town area and the neighbouring area (_Nachbarorts-Verkehr_),[564] by
which the advantage of these rates was greatly extended. In order to
enable the Post Office adequately to fulfil its public functions, as the
phrase went, it was thought necessary, in view of the development of the
private undertakings, to confer upon it the exclusive right to deal with
local traffic. At first the proposal was to extend the monopoly only to
closed letters, but the Reichstag widened the prohibition, and forbade
private undertakings to conduct arrangements for the transmission of
letters, sealed or unsealed, postcards, printed matter, or samples
addressed to particular persons.[565]

The traffic left open to private enterprise, viz. the delivery of
unaddressed open letters, parcels, newspapers, and magazines, was
regarded by most of the proprietors as insufficient to warrant the
continuance of their undertakings, and on the 1st April 1900 almost all
the private establishments of this kind were discontinued. The
proprietors were, however, compensated by the State for the loss of
their profits.[566] The first undertaking of this kind had been
established in Berlin in the 'seventies, under the title _Brief-
und Druckschriften-Expedition_. Its success led to the establishment in
Berlin and various other places of similar undertakings, some of which
were profitable, but most of which were unsuccessful. The cheaper rates,
however, attracted a considerable volume of traffic, and at the time of
their suppression some seventy-seven such undertakings were in
existence. Most of them were not of long standing, only fourteen of the
seventy-seven having been founded in the 'eighties, forty having been
founded in the years 1895-6-7, in a period of speculation resulting from
the high dividends paid by the Berliner Packetfahrt-Aktiengesellschaft.
The size of the undertakings varied largely. In some cases the whole
business was conducted by the members of a family; in others as many as
a hundred men were employed; and in the case of the Berliner
Packetfahrt-Aktiengesellschaft the letter traffic alone employed a
thousand men. The amount of traffic dealt with was considerable, and
large additions to the postal staff were found necessary.[567] Some of
the employees of the private establishments were taken over by the
Imperial Postal Administration, and a sum of 1-1/2 million marks was
paid as compensation to employees who were not taken over.

Although special provision had been made in the statute with regard to
the amount of compensation to be paid to the proprietors, the
determination of the actual amount was a matter of some difficulty,
owing largely to the unsatisfactory and unreliable manner in which the
accounts of many of the undertakings had been kept.[568] In several
cases also the owners asked exorbitant amounts.

After much negotiation the sum to be paid was finally decided. It
amounted to some six million marks. In order to get rid of the private
establishments for the handling of private letters, etc., the Imperial
Administration therefore paid in all (i.e. including the compensation to
the employees of the private undertakings) a sum of about 7-1/2 million

The new rates were as follow[570]:--

  (_a_) Letters--
      Not exceeding 250 grammes in weight      5 pf.
  (_b_) Postcards                              2 pf.
  (_c_) Printed matter--
      Not exceeding   50 grammes               2 pf.
       50 grammes to 100  "                    3 pf.
      100   "        250  "                    5 pf.
      250   "        500  "                   10 pf.
      500   "      1,000  "                   15 pf.
  (_d_) Commercial papers--
      Not exceeding  250 grammes               5 pf.
      250 grammes to 500  "                   10 pf.
      500   "      1,000  "                   15 pf.
  (_e_) Samples--
      Not exceeding  250 grammes               5 pf.
      250 grammes to 350  "                   10 pf.
  (_f_) Mixed packages of (_c_), (_d_), and (_e_)--
      Not exceeding  250 grammes               5 pf.
      250 grammes to 500  "                   10 pf.
      500   "      1,000  "                   15 pf.

These rates applied throughout the Imperial postal territory, including
Berlin, which thus for the first time obtained the advantage of local
rates; and in 1902 they were extended to all places which had a post
office for only part of the year, such as small watering-places, summer
resorts, and beauty spots.[571]

The result of the reduced rates was not satisfactory financially. It was
not, of course, possible to calculate with any exactness the actual cost
of the service performed by the Post Office in respect of local traffic;
but such estimates as the administration were able to make tended to
show that the cost exceeded the revenue, and that the local business was
therefore conducted at some loss.[572] Consequently, when in 1906
Imperial requirements made it necessary to obtain an increased revenue
from the Post Office, the administration placed the burden on the local
traffic, although not without some opposition in the Reichstag. On the
1st July 1906 the rates for local traffic, with the exception of the
rate for local letters, were made the same as the general rates for
transmission throughout the Imperial postal territory.

The rate for letters remained as formerly, 5 pf. for letters not
exceeding 250 grammes in weight.[573]

       *       *       *       *       *




The adoption in numerous countries of the principle of uniformity of
rate for inland postal traffic, and the enormous simplification of the
system of rates and of their practical administration which it achieved,
led naturally to an endeavour to effect a like simplification of the
rates for postal traffic exchanged between the various countries. The
rates in operation varied enormously, not only as between different
countries, but frequently in respect of letters passing between the same
two countries.[574]

The arrangements for the exchange of such traffic between different
countries had been conducted under conventions and agreements entered
into by the countries immediately concerned, and the rates to be charged
were prescribed by these conventions or agreements. Foreign rates were
often built up by the addition of a rate for the transmission abroad to
the ordinary rate chargeable for the inland transmission. The fact that
numerous rates were chargeable for one and the same letter in respect of
its transmission within the same country thus naturally made the rates
charged for transmission abroad likewise numerous. In many cases there
was an additional variation in the rate of postage between two countries
according as one or other route was followed. And not only were the
international rates of postage high and complicated. The methods
employed for accounting between the countries respectively concerned in
regard to the proceeds of postage on international letters were equally
complicated and burdensome.

In 1850 the necessity for some simplification of the arrangements for
the interchange of correspondence led to the formation of the
Austro-German Postal Union by Prussia and Austria. The chief feature of
the arrangement was the adoption of a common rate of postage for the
whole territory of the Union, moderate in amount, and based on a small
number of zones of distances. The advantages resulting from the Union
were soon apparent. Other German States joined, and within a short time
the question of extending it to foreign countries was mooted. At a
Conference held in Berlin in 1851, a general European Postal Union was

The first definite suggestion for the general re-organization of
international postal traffic on a common basis came, however, from
America. In 1863, Mr. Blair, Postmaster-General of the United States, in
a note to the postal administrations of the world, suggested the
assembling of a Congress representative of all nations for the
discussion of the subject. The proposal was favourably received by
fifteen administrations,[575] representing nine-tenths of the commerce
and nineteen-twentieths of the correspondence of the world. The
representatives of these administrations (with the exception of Ecuador)
met at Paris in May 1863.

The Conference was not empowered to enter into any definite arrangement
for the amelioration of the system of international postal traffic. Its
function was simply to discuss and proclaim general principles
applicable to the conduct of the traffic, with a view to their ultimate
adoption by the nations of the world. The discussions centred on the
three fundamental questions of uniformity of weights, uniformity of
rate, and simplification of accounting.[576] Thirty-one articles of
agreement were adopted.[577] These articles recommended, _inter alia_,
the adoption for ordinary letters of a unit of weight and a progression
of weight of 15 grammes; and for corrected proofs, samples, and
documents not in the nature of a letter, a unit and progression of 40
grammes. The Conference was convinced that transit charges were often an
invincible obstacle to the establishment of a really advantageous
international system, and recommended that the transit rate for each
country should never exceed half the postage reckoned at the inland rate
of the country traversed, and that for small countries it should be
even less. For sea transit the Conference recommended that in no case
should the charge against an administration in respect of such transport
be greater than the actual charge made on the country of destination by
the shipping agency by whom the mails were conveyed.

Although its conclusions were without the sanction of authority, the
Conference was nevertheless of great assistance to the development of an
international system. It brought into prominence the obstacles in the
way of international postal intercourse, and the difficulties which must
be removed before a common system could be founded. And it formulated
general principles which might with advantage be observed in the making
of fresh agreements between individual countries, and might serve as a
basis for a common agreement. Its conclusions were, as a matter of fact,
so used in numerous instances.

Towards the end of 1868 Dr. von Stephan, of the postal administration of
the North German Union, published in the official journal of the Union a
definite project for a postal union between all civilized nations, and
proposed a discussion of the project at a universal Congress. The
proposal was taken up by the administration of the North German Union.
The diplomatic arrangements for calling a Conference were, however,
interrupted by the Franco-German War of 1870. After the conclusion of
peace, the proposal was again taken up, and the Swiss Government
undertook the task of inviting the administrations of the chief
countries to send representatives to a Congress at Berne. The invitation
was readily accepted, and the Congress met in 1874.

The proposal submitted to the Conference was that the Union should cover
the following categories of postal traffic:--

  (1) Letters.
  (2) Postcards.
  (3) Newspapers and other printed matter.
  (4) Samples.
  (5) Commercial papers.

Each contracting State should fix its own international rates, under
the limitation that for letters the rate should not exceed 4d., or 40
centimes; and for newspapers or other printed matter, for samples or
commercial papers, should not be less than 1d., or 10 centimes. There
should be no division of postage, but each State should retain the
postage which it collected. Each State should give liberty of transit,
and transit charges should be abolished, except in the case of
extraordinary charges or services.[578]

The proposals which gave rise to most discussion were those for the
establishment of a uniform rate, and for the gratuitous transit of mails
across the territory of intermediate countries. The vast number of rates
actually existing was made an argument in favour of the uniform rate;
and a low rate was recommended on the ground that it was well known
that, although low rates imposed a temporary monetary loss, they were in
a broad view profitable to the finances of the State.[579] It was urged
that as all rates were already tending to equality, the Congress, by
establishing uniformity, would only be advancing by a few years an
existing tendency. The principle of uniformity of rate and of weight was
adopted unanimously, the rate of charge being fixed at 25 centimes, and
the unit of weight, and progression in the scale of weight, at 15
grammes. The rate of charge, 25 centimes (with the reservations[580]),
was arrived at by consideration of the case of the most unfavourably
situated country as regards conditions of transit, viz. a case in which
there would be five intermediate countries, and consequently five
transit rates. As most, if not all, of the countries represented had
already adopted inland penny postage, this rate, assuming 10 centimes
(or 1d.) to be a reasonable charge for the inland service at both ends,
left 15 centimes (1-1/2d.) to cover the cost of transmission from
country of origin to country of destination; and there was in addition
the optional margin up to 32 centimes which might be taken advantage of,
if a charge of 25 centimes was thought by any administration to be too
little. A proviso was added that for all sea transits exceeding 300
nautical miles a surtax not exceeding half the general rate of the Union
might be added to the postage charge, whether for letters, samples,
printed matter, or commercial papers.

A reduced rate for commercial papers, samples of merchandise,
newspapers, books, pamphlets, catalogues, etc., was adopted without
discussion, the delegates no doubt basing their action on the existence
of similar reduced rates in many countries. The minimum rate for such
packets was fixed at 7 centimes, and the unit of weight and the
progression of weight at 50 grammes. The maximum weight for samples was
fixed at 250 grammes, and that for other articles at 1,000 grammes. A
proposal to increase the weight for samples was opposed by Dr. von
Stephan on the ground that it would cause practical inconvenience in the
post offices.

M. Radoikovitch, the Serbian delegate, proposed a modification of the
progression of rate. He suggested that the packets should be divided
into two categories--those not exceeding 300 grammes, and those over 300
grammes in weight. For the lighter packets he proposed a progression of
50 grammes, and for the heavier packets a greater progression. For the
sake of simplicity it was considered preferable to retain the single
progression, and the proposal, which met with no support, was
withdrawn.[581] All packets (samples, etc.) sent at the lower rate must
be sent under band or in open envelopes, or made up in such a way as to
admit of their being easily examined.[582]

The proposal for gratuity of transit was advanced with a view to
simplification of the administration of the Union. Its adoption would
have made all countries independent, so far as expenses and accounting
were concerned, of intermediate countries, and would have assisted the
adoption of a low rate of postage. It was, however, resolutely opposed
by those countries which, owing to their geographical situation and the
means of communication which they controlled, were called upon to serve
as intermediaries to a special degree. The case of Belgium was of
particular importance. It naturally resulted from her situation that she
was called upon to perform for other countries a transit business much
greater than that performed by other countries for Belgium. The net
revenue accruing to the Belgian administration from this source was very
considerable.[583] France and Italy were in a somewhat similar position,
mainly owing to the transmission of the mails between England and India
by the overland route. France rejected entirely the principle of
gratuitous transit.

It was feared that if an administration derived no benefit from transit
traffic it might be led to discourage it, to the detriment of general
facilities for the transmission of mails, and the Congress arrived at
the conclusion that some method of specially remunerating all countries
for transit services ought to be devised. A simple reservation as
regards special expenses caused by transit traffic was objected to on
the ground that in most cases the international traffic was forwarded by
the ordinary means and no special expense was caused--the real causes of
Post Office expenses being the services of despatch and delivery.[584]
Indeed, it was contended on this ground that the transit of
international mails could not be regarded as a service rendered.

Agreement was reached on most of the points raised by the proposals, and
a Convention constituting an International Postal Union, under the title
"L'Union générale des Postes,"[585] was signed on the 9th October 1874,
to become operative on the 1st July 1875. The chief provisions of the
Convention in regard to the rates of postage were as follows:--

     (1) The rate of postage for the Union was fixed--

     (_a_) At 25 centimes for single letters, with liberty for each
     country, as might be necessary on account of its monetary system or
     for other reasons, to fix a higher or lower rate, provided that
     such rate was not greater than 32 centimes, and not less than 20

     The unit of weight for a single letter was fixed at 15 grammes, and
     the scale of progression was by steps of 15 grammes.

     (_b_) For postcards, half the rate for letters.

     (_c_) For printed matter, samples, and commercial papers the unit
     rate was fixed at 7 centimes, with liberty for each country to fix
     a rate not exceeding 11 centimes or less than 5 centimes.

     The unit weight was fixed at 50 grammes, and the progression of
     weight was by steps of 50 grammes. The maximum limit of weight for
     samples was fixed at 250 grammes, and for printed matter and
     commercial papers at 1,000 grammes.[586]

     (2) In cases where letters were forwarded by sea for distances over
     300 miles, a surtax not exceeding half the general Union rate of
     prepaid postage might be added to the normal rate.

     (3) The proposal as to the division of postage was accepted, with
     slight amplification.

     (4) Transit payments, that is, rates of payment by one
     administration to another administration in respect of the
     transmission of closed mails over the territory of the second
     administration by means which it provided, were fixed at 2 fr. per
     kilogramme for mails containing letters and postcards, and 25
     centimes per kilogramme for mails containing other articles. The
     rates were increased to 4 fr. and to 50 centimes, respectively,
     when the distance of transmission exceeded 750 kilometres on the
     territory of one administration. In the case of sea transits
     exceeding 300 nautical miles, the despatching country was required
     to pay to the administration which provided the service, the
     expenses of the transportation, not exceeding 6 fr. 50 per
     kilogramme for letters and 50 centimes per kilogramme for other

In November 1875 the Indian Post Office administration applied for
admission to the Union. A further Conference at Berne was thereupon
called to consider this request. Representatives of a large majority of
the signatories of the Treaty of 1874 attended the Conference, and other
questions were raised. France, Spain, and Holland asked for the
admission of their respective colonies; Brazil submitted a declaration
of adhesion; and Great Britain intimated that Canada and Newfoundland
would submit applications. The original Union had been limited to the
European countries, Turkey (including Turkey-in-Asia), Russia-in-Asia,
Northern Africa, Egypt, and the United States of America; and these
further developments widened the problem before the Congress. Instead of
merely considering the question of admitting India, it was called upon
to face the possible extension of the Union to the remotest parts of the

The question of transit rates, particularly of transit rates by sea,
became therefore one of very great importance and difficulty, since it
was necessary to fix such rates as would permit of the maintenance of
that uniformity and lowness of the rates of postage which were the
fundamental bases of the Union. On this point there were prolonged and
difficult discussions. The French delegates submitted a proposal for the
application of the treaty of Berne to all quarters of the globe, with a
uniform transit rate of 6 fr. 50 per kilogramme for letters and 50
centimes for printed matter, etc.[587]

The countries which maintained the more important and costly maritime
services were not, however, prepared to submit to the loss of revenue
which the adoption of the proposed transit rates would entail.[588]

Germany submitted a scheme for classifying all countries of the world
outside the Union into four groups with four graduated maritime transit
rates of 6 fr. 50, 25 fr., 40 fr. and 60 fr. per kilogramme,
respectively, for letters, and 50 centimes, 1 fr., 1 fr., and 2 fr. per
kilogramme for printed matter, etc.,[589] a proposal which was opposed
as contrary to the fundamental principle of uniformity, and calculated
to give rise to difficulties and complications. Moreover, the zones,
being reckoned as from Europe, were not applicable as between the
distant countries themselves, e.g. between Mexico and the West

The Conference was able to arrive at an agreement only as regards the
admission of British India and the French Colonies in Asia, Africa,
America and the Pacific. The entry of these territories was fixed for
the 1st July 1876, and the general international rates of postage and
transit rates, fixed under the Convention of 1874, were made applicable
to the new territories of the Union, except that for transit by sea for
distances exceeding 300 nautical miles a surtax equal to the full
postage rates (32 centimes and 11 centimes) was authorized, instead of a
surtax of half rates fixed under the original treaty; and the transit
rates in respect of mails for or from these territories for distances of
more than 300 nautical miles were made 25 fr. per kilogramme for letters
and postcards, and 1 fr. per kilogramme for printed matter, samples, and
commercial papers.

The later Congresses have added numerous services to those provided
under the original scheme, such as, e.g., reply-paid postcards. For the
most part, however, these additional services are of minor importance,
and concern only a small part of the international traffic,[591] the
bulk of which still passes under the main divisions established at the
first Congress.

In connection with the rates applied to those classes of the traffic
there are three chief points of importance--the initial charge, the
scale of weights, and the transit rates. The question of modifying the
international letter rate, which had remained unchanged since the
foundation of the Union, was raised at the Washington Congress in 1897.
The Austrian delegate proposed, not indeed that the initial charge
should be reduced below 25 centimes, but that the maximum weight allowed
for the single letter should be increased from 15 grammes to 20 grammes.
The British and French delegates opposed the proposal.[592] The French
delegates said it would involve a loss of more than a million francs to
their administration. In some cases, e.g., Italy, the raising of the
limit would have had the effect of rendering the international service
cheaper than the internal service. In the end the proposal was rejected.

The subject of transit rates, which had not been seriously considered
since the first Congress, was also raised at the Congress of Washington
(1897), two proposals in regard to it, by Germany and by Austria-Hungary
respectively, being under discussion. In the original project of the
Union, gratuitous transit had been proposed, with the reservation that
remuneration should be paid in cases of special expenses occasioned to
an intermediary by the transit of foreign mails. The new German proposal
was for the abolition of all transit payments except in those cases
where, according to the statistics of the international service, a
payment of more than 50,000 fr. a year was due, and in those cases the
actual amount due to be reduced by 25 per cent., or at least by 50,000
fr.; to make the amount payable only by those countries whose share
exceeded 10,000 fr.; and the reduction of the maritime transit rate from
15 fr. to 10 fr. This proposal was avowedly a step towards completely
gratuitous territorial transit. The Austrian proposal was for gratuitous
transit for all correspondence sent _à découvert_, and a reduction of
the transit rates for closed mails. Gratuitous transit, to which, as
already stated, the German proposal admittedly tended, was advocated by
the delegates of the South American countries, but was opposed by
several other countries, especially by Belgium, France, and Italy. As at
the first Congress, the delegates of the latter countries called
attention to the great expense to which they were put in providing
transport for transit mails, and rejected altogether the idea of
gratuitous transit. In face of this opposition, the proposals could not
be carried in their entirety. The transit rates were, however,
considerably reduced, and simplifications in the method of ascertaining
the amounts payable in respect of transit were introduced. The land
rates were reduced from 2 fr. per kilogramme for letters and postcards
and 25 centimes per kilogramme for other articles, to 1 fr. 90 and to
23-3/4 centimes for the years 1899 and 1900, to 1 fr. 80 and to 22-1/2
centimes for the years 1901 and 1902, and to 1 fr. 70 and to 21-1/4
centimes for and after 1903. The maritime transit rates were similarly
reduced. Countries whose expenses for the transit of foreign mails
exceeded the receipts, and those whose combined receipts and expenses
for that purpose did not exceed 5,000 fr. per year, were excused all
payment under this head.

At the next Congress, held at Rome in 1906, the question of reducing the
letter rate and transit rates was again discussed. Proposals to raise
the limit of weight for single letters from 15 grammes to 20 grammes
were submitted by several States. It was pointed out that, although in
general sufficient, the limit of 15 grammes was often exceeded, and
frequently the weight of letters required to be tested, causing
inconvenience both to the public and the postal administrations. The
German delegate expressed the opinion that the public were anticipating
some concession, and that as reduction of the initial rate of 25
centimes was impossible, an increased limit of weight would no doubt be
appreciated.[593] The British delegates pointed out that the equivalent
of 20 grammes in British weight was 2/3 or 3/4 ounce, a unit which would
be highly inconvenient and could not be adopted. They would have
accepted a limit of 30 grammes; but in many countries the existing limit
of weight for the initial letter rate in the inland service was 20
grammes, and the introduction of a higher initial weight in the
international service might lead to difficulties in the case of those
administrations which desired to retain the lower limit in the inland
service. On these grounds they inclined to the maintenance of the
_status quo_. The delegates of the United States, Italy, and Turkey
supported the British view. The Italian delegates pointed out that the
result would in effect be to compel those countries in which the limit
was 15 grammes to introduce modifications into their internal service--a
position which it was obviously undesirable for the Congress to take up.
Japan advocated the maintenance of the existing limit, because the
effect of raising it would be to render further reduction of transit
rates still more difficult. In the end the proposal was adopted by
thirteen votes against twelve.[594] Countries using the avoirdupois
system were to regard 1 ounce as the initial weight limit.

Gratuitous transit was still unacceptable to the majority,[595] but both
land and sea charges were reduced. The land transit rates were reduced
to 1 fr. 50 per kilogramme for letters and postcards and 20 centimes per
kilogramme for other articles, for distances not exceeding 3,000
kilometres; to 3 fr. per kilogramme for letters and postcards and 40
centimes per kilogramme for other articles, for distances between 3,000
and 6,000 kilometres; to 4 fr. 50 per kilogramme for letters and
postcards and 60 centimes per kilogramme for other articles, for
distances between 6,000 kilometres and 9,000 kilometres; and to 6 fr.
per kilogramme for letters and postcards and 80 centimes per kilogramme
for other articles, for distances exceeding 9,000 kilometres.

The sea transit rates were reduced to 1 fr. 50 per kilogramme for
letters and postcards and to 20 centimes for other articles, for
distances not exceeding 300 nautical miles; to 4 fr. per kilogramme for
letters and postcards and to 50 centimes for other articles, for
distances exceeding 300 nautical miles, between countries of Europe,
between parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia on the Mediterranean and Black
Seas, and between Europe and North America; to 8 fr. per kilogramme for
letters and postcards and to 1 fr. for other articles, for all routes
not falling under the above headings.

At this Congress the question of reducing the international letter rate
was raised by Sir J. G. Ward, the Australasian delegate. In 1901 New
Zealand had introduced a universal penny rate for letters, and the
financial results of the change had been regarded as satisfactory. The
loss of revenue was some £80,000 in the first year, reduced to £50,000
in the second. There was an increase of 35 per cent. in the number of
foreign letters posted in the first year, as compared with an increase
of 1.76 per cent. for the last year under the 2-1/2d. rate.[596]

The proposal met with strong opposition and little support. The
opposition was based entirely on financial considerations, many of the
delegates stating that their administrations were unable to face the
sacrifice of revenue involved. In this connection the term "sacrifice of
revenue" means sacrifice of gross revenue, and not necessarily that the
carrying of foreign letters at a penny would on the whole result in
actual loss through the cost of service being greater than a penny,
although it is probable that the cost of a foreign letter weighing as
much as an ounce would be slightly more than a penny.[597] The proposal
was defeated by eighteen votes to three.[598]


The Universal Postal Union as at first constituted provided only for the
transmission of what may be regarded in the broad sense as letter post
traffic. It made no provision for the transmission in the international
service of packages of ordinary merchandise. Such packets could in
strictness only be forwarded at the letter rate, which was almost
prohibitive; although frequently they were forwarded at the sample rate,
in which case the weight of the packet was strictly limited. The French
administration proposed, in the project of the Congress of Paris of
1878, to extend in that direction the facilities provided by the Union,
by amplifying the definition of samples to include small parcels of
ordinary goods,[599] a proposal which was rejected by a majority of the
administrations. It was, however, submitted to the Congress under
another form. The German administration proposed, not the extension of
the sample privilege, but the establishment of a new service, which
should provide for the transmission of parcels of general merchandise
not exceeding 3 kilogrammes in weight, the parcels to be charged a rate
of postage sufficient to reimburse the administrations for the expenses
of transmission. Although this proposal was favourably received, many of
the delegates had no power to enter into any arrangement of that nature.
The question was therefore referred to the International Bureau, with
instructions to call a special Conference for its consideration, if on
investigation that course should be found desirable.

At this time the circumstances in the different countries in regard to
the transmission of small parcels varied. In some a service was provided
by the Post Office; in others, the majority, the business was left to
the railways or other forms of commercial transport. In all cases the
services between different countries were regulated by conventions and
agreements on such terms as could be mutually arranged between the
contracting parties. In general the rates of postage were based on the
rates for inland transmission in each of the countries concerned. They
were often extremely complicated, and several administrations had
mutually agreed to a uniform rate for parcels not exceeding 5
kilogrammes in weight.

The suggestion for a special Conference was, in general, well received,
and the Conference met in Paris in 1880. All the countries of Europe
(except Greece), Canada, the United States, Egypt, British India and
Persia, were represented. The fact that in many of the countries the
Post Office had not at that time undertaken the transmission of parcels
was a serious obstacle to the adoption of any sort of general agreement;
and on the question of rates there was divergence of opinion whether the
principle of uniformity should be accepted, and a fairly high maximum
limit of weight conceded at a low uniform rate of postage, in order that
the service might be of real advantage to the public, or whether the
rates should be graduated according to scales of weight and distance.

The original suggestion had been for a limit of 3 kilogrammes, but at
the Conference a proposal for a limit of 5 kilogrammes was submitted.
Several delegates were unable to accept the higher maximum, and the
limit originally proposed was retained.[600] As regards the rates of
postage to be charged there was also diversity of opinion. Some
delegates held that the rate should be so fixed as to avoid the
possibility of the service involving an administration in loss, while
others, in view of the public benefits to be derived from the
establishment of the service, were prepared to agree to rates which
might prove insufficient to cover the expenses.[601] Simple uniform
rates were regarded as a cardinal feature of a postal service for

After prolonged discussion agreement was finally arrived at, and a
Convention was signed by all the delegates, with the exception of those
representing Great Britain, British India, Holland, and Persia, to be
brought into operation on the 1st October 1881.

Financial considerations were the chief obstacle in the way of the
participation of Great Britain.[603]

The contracting parties undertook to provide a mutual service for the
interchange of parcels not exceeding 3 kilogrammes in weight. Liberty of
transit was guaranteed throughout the territory of each contracting
country, and for transit services the respective countries were to be
remunerated as follows: The administration of the country of origin was
required to pay to the administration of each other country concerned in
the transmission, and to that of the country of destination, 50 centimes
for each parcel in respect of land transit. In cases where a sea transit
was involved, the sum of 25 centimes for each parcel was payable on sea
routes not exceeding 500 nautical miles; 50 centimes for routes between
500 and 1,000 nautical miles; 1 fr. for routes between 1,000 and 3,000
nautical miles; 2 fr. for routes between 3,000 and 6,000 nautical
miles; and 3 fr. for all routes exceeding 6,000 nautical miles. The rate
of postage was based on the foregoing payments, and amounted to as many
times 50 centimes as there might be administrations concerned in the
transmission, with the addition of all rates for sea transit, and with
the reservation that each country might charge an additional 25 centimes
(raised in certain cases to 50, to 75 centimes, or to 1 fr.). In
addition, the country of destination might charge a delivery fee of 25
centimes. It was not anticipated that these rates would in all cases be
sufficient to cover the expenses of carrying on the service, but the
general advantages were regarded as adequate compensation for any
monetary sacrifice which might be entailed.[604] Any administration
which did not at that time conduct a parcel post service was authorized
to arrange for the international service to be undertaken on its behalf
by railway and steamship companies.

At the Lisbon Congress in 1886 the maximum limit of weight was raised to
5 kilogrammes, at which point it remains, and special rates were
established for parcels which, on account of their size, shape or
fragility, were inconvenient for transmission.[605] Such parcels, which
had previously been excluded altogether from the service, were now
admitted, subject to a rate of postage 50 per cent. greater than the
rate on ordinary parcels.

At the Congress of Washington in 1897, power to charge special rates was
given to the administration of British India, viz. a rate not exceeding
1 fr. for land transit, a surtax not exceeding 1 fr. 25 on each parcel
posted or delivered in British India, and a scale of rates graduated
according to weight on all parcels posted in British India, provided
that the average receipt of the Indian administration did not exceed 1
fr. 75 for each parcel.[606] The special transit charge was abandoned at
the Rome Congress of 1906.

No changes of importance were made at the Rome Congress of 1906. Several
proposals in regard to the maximum limit of weight were discussed. The
Bulgarian delegates proposed an increase of the maximum to 50
kilogrammes, but the proposal found no support.[607] The Swiss delegate
proposed an increase to 10 kilogrammes. This met with some support; but
in view of the practical difficulties which would have been imposed on
certain administrations in dealing with parcels of so great a weight,
the proposal was negatived.

The Indian delegate proposed the insertion of a provision enabling any
country to charge postage on parcels originating in that country
according to a scale of weights of its own choice, in substitution for
the existing single rate.[608]

The general proposal was rejected,[609] but a clause was added
provisionally according to India the faculty of applying to parcels
posted in India a tariff graduated by weight, provided the mean of the
rates was not in excess of the normal rate of the Union.

The land transit rate remained unchanged, viz. 50 centimes for each
country participating in the territorial transit.

Russia was given power to collect a transit fee of 1 fr. 25 per parcel
in respect of both Russia-in-Europe and Russia-in-Asia, separately; and
Turkey to collect a transit rate of 1 fr. 25 on a parcel sent across
Turkey-in-Asia. Owing to the undeveloped state of the transport services
in Persia, that administration was empowered provisionally to decline
the transport of parcels for and from other countries.

The maritime transit rates were reduced to the following:--

  25     centimes for transits not exceeding 500 nautical miles
  50     centimes    "         500-2,500            "       "
   1     fr.         "       2,500-5,000            "       "
   1-1/2 fr.         "       5,000-8,000            "       "
   2     fr.         "   exceeding 8,000            "       "

For parcels not exceeding 1 kilogramme the transit rate should in no
case exceed 1 fr.

       *       *       *       *       *




The Post Office[610] performs but one service in respect of the ordinary
postage paid on a packet, under whatever rate or regulations the packet
is posted. Whether the packet be a letter, a postcard, a halfpenny
packet, a newspaper packet or a parcel,[611] the service performed in
respect of the ordinary postage is simply to transmit the packet without
delay to the place of its address.[612]

There are, of course, several intermediate stages in the progress of the
packet from the place of posting to the place of delivery. Under the
most favourable circumstances, as in the case of a letter from one small
town to another small town for which there is a direct mail, the packet
is handled two or three times by various officers; and in many cases, as
with the letters from a suburb of one large town to a suburb of another
large town, or to a place in a rural district or vice versâ, as many as
ten or twelve times.

Although the character of the service to be performed, viz. transmission
to the place of its address, is identical in every case, the character
of the packet naturally has considerable influence on the nature and
cost of handling at the various stages, and the methods adopted in
dealing with the packet. But the operations are in essence the same, and
the chief difference is in the amount of time occupied and the nature of
the office fittings employed.

This variation of cost and method does not correspond with variation in
the rate of postage paid on the packets. Except in the case of parcels,
all distinction on the basis of rates of postage disappears once the
sorting office is reached.

In regard to the chief indoor operations there is, except at the
smallest offices, complete separation between packets sent by parcel
post and all other packets; but parcels are in some cases taken out with
other packets for delivery at the same time and by the same officer.
Except in rural districts they are, however, generally taken out
separately for the first morning delivery, and frequently for the last
evening delivery. Speaking broadly, there is as regards delivery, as for
other operations, essential separation between parcels and all other
classes of packets.

In regard to packets other than parcels, the chief, and in many cases
the only, separation in actual handling is as between those packets
which can be passed through the stamping machine and those which
cannot; and between those packets which can conveniently be dealt with
at the ordinary letter-sorting frames, and tied in bundles for enclosure
in the mail-bags, and those which on account of their irregular size and
shape are sorted at pigeon-hole frames, and cannot be tied in bundles,
but are forwarded loose in the mail-bags. The dividing line is almost
identical in both cases, and is determined by the size and shape of the
packet. In the largest offices more divisions are made, in some cases as
many as five.[613]

The more usual number is three, "short letters," "long letters," and
other packets.[614] The division of the packets is made in all cases,
not with reference to the various rates of postage under which the
packets may have been posted, but with the view simply of securing that
packets of the same shape and size shall, as far as possible, be brought
together, and their subsequent handling thereby facilitated.

In cases where there are four or five such divisions of the packets, the
separation is likewise made from considerations independent of the rates
of postage, although it happens that, as a rule, a large proportion of
the packets posted under a given rate fall into a certain group. Thus
all postcards fall to be handled with the short letters; all newspapers
fall to be handled with the heavier packets sent at the letter rate; and
a large proportion of the halfpenny packets, viz. the short halfpenny
packets, fall to be handled with the short letters.

There are in general three methods of handling. The sorting is done
either at the ordinary open frames, or at the newspaper frames, or
directly into the mail-bags, the two latter methods being alternative.
Short letters are dealt with at the ordinary sorting frames. Long
letters (which include a large proportion of "circulars") are dealt with
in some cases at the ordinary frames, and in some cases at the frames
provided for the larger packets (the "newspaper" frames). All other
packets are dealt with at the newspaper frames, or are sorted directly
into the mail-bags in those cases where frames for hanging the bags are
provided. Stamping is performed either by hand or by machine.

When first brought into the sorting office the packets are placed on an
open table, and the ordinary letters, circular letters, and postcards
are arranged in order with the addresses in the same direction, or, as
it is termed, "faced." Simultaneously, all other packets are picked out
for treatment separately. The postage labels affixed to the letters and
other packets are then obliterated with a dated stamp. After stamping,
the letters and packers are taken to the respective sorting tables,
where they are separated (in one or more operations) into groups
corresponding to the various towns to which they will be despatched.
Before enclosure in the mail-bags, all short letters, postcards, and
short halfpenny packets, and some of the long letters, are tied in
bundles, other packets being sent loose.

From the first office of destination many of the packets are sent
forward to another office, since it is naturally not possible always to
enclose a packet in a direct mail-bag for the town to which it is
addressed. These packets are resorted and despatched. The letters, etc.,
for immediate delivery do not require to be faced, as they are received
in bundles, in which they are arranged with the addresses in the same
direction. But, except when received for the first morning delivery,
letters are stamped to show the date and time of receipt, after which
they are sorted in the order of delivery, and delivered by the postmen.

In the delivery of the packets one division is made, viz. between the
short letters, postcards, and short halfpenny packets, which are tied in
bundles; and the letter packets and halfpenny packets of irregular size
and shape, and the newspapers, which are carried loose in the delivery
bag. The postman takes out of his bag a bundle of letters, etc., from
which he delivers in order. These have been sorted up in the order of
delivery at the sorting office, so that no time is lost in finding the
proper letter for delivery. It is not possible, however, to arrange the
irregular-shaped packets in this manner. When the postman has such a
packet to deliver, he has first to find it among those in his bag. He
then frequently finds that it is too large to be put through the
letter-box, and further time is lost in gaining the attention of the

There is, therefore, in the matter of delivery, a heavy balance against
the heavier and more bulky packets, as compared with the short letters,
postcards, and short halfpenny packets.

As regards the actual transmission from post office to post office,
there is only one real division of the whole of the packets, viz. that
between the parcel post on the one hand, and the whole of the remaining
classes of packets on the other. In a number of cases separate mails are
made up for newspapers and large packets; but compared with the total
number of mails, the number of such separate mails is small, and the
arrangement may be regarded as exceptional. In a considerable number of
cases, however, packets sent at the parcel post rate are enclosed in the
same mail-bag with packets sent at other rates. The arrangement is made
somewhat extensively for mails from a post town to subordinate and other
small offices in the immediate neighbourhood, but only exists in those
cases where the number of parcels to be enclosed is small. As in every
case where on the average as many as eight parcels are available at the
time of despatch a separate mail may be made up, the arrangement does
not exist extensively between any large centres with any considerable
traffic; but it has been extended in recent years, and the total number
of parcels forwarded in this way forms an appreciable proportion of the
total number of parcels sent by post. There is in these cases, so far as
mails conveyed by railway are concerned, complete separation in regard
to one important element of cost, viz. the cost of conveyance. Separate
payment for the conveyance of parcels is made under the arrangement
established by the Parcel Post Act; while comprehensive payments are
made for the conveyance of all other packets, arranged by negotiation
with the individual railway companies or, failing agreement, fixed by
the Court of Railway and Canal Commission in the manner prescribed by

The handling of a postal packet from posting to delivery therefore
comprises the following operations in order:--


and in the case of those packets which pass through more than one office
there are, for every such office, the additional operations of sorting
and conveyance.[618]

The bags are conveyed between the various post offices by mail-van
(horse-drawn or motor), by mail-cart, by railway, or in a few cases by
carrier-cycle, tricycle, or motor-cycle.

The vans, carts, or cycles of course convey the bags from office to
office, but when the bags are sent by railway it is necessary to provide
for their conveyance to and from the railway stations. This is largely
done by mail-van, mail-cart, or carrier-tricycle; but in a great number
of cases throughout the country, where only two or three small bags are
concerned, their conveyance between the station and the post office is
provided for by cycle postman or "runner" service; that is to say, the
bags are fetched or taken by a postman or porter.


In order to ascertain the cost of dealing with postal packets of the
various classes, the relative cost, and the actual cost, of the various
operations must be ascertained, and all general charges apportioned.

The cost of the "postal" service, shown in Table B,[619] i.e. the cost
of the whole of the services controlled by the Post Office, less the
cost of the telegraphs and telephones, may be grouped, as shown in Table
C, under the following main headings:--

  (1) Cost of Staff,
  (2) Cost of Conveyance of Mails,
  (3) Cost of Buildings,
  (4) Cost of Stores, and Miscellaneous Expenditure.


Since parcels are, to a considerable extent, dealt with separately, it
has been possible to estimate the relative cost of the manipulative
services in regard to parcels on the one hand, and all other postal
packets (letters, postcards, halfpenny packets, and newspapers) on the
other. The ratios of cost are shown in Table D, and the total cost of
the manipulative services in respect of parcels calculated on this basis
is shown in Table F.

No similar ratios of relative cost have been estimated in regard to the
various classes of packets other than parcels, since they are dealt with
together, and it is necessary, therefore, to ascertain the actual cost
for staff under the various headings of collection, stamping, sorting,
and delivery. As regards collection, it is difficult to discover a basis
on which a computation of the relative cost for the different classes of
packets may be made, because the cost varies greatly, not only as
between each class, but from place to place, in regard to any particular
class of packet. Many of the ordinary letter packets are posted in large
numbers at head post offices, and in respect of packets so posted there
is no cost of collection. Light letter packets and halfpenny packets
(especially halfpenny packets) are, moreover, handed in at post offices
in considerable numbers for prepayment of postage in cash. In that case
the cost of subsequent handling is slightly reduced, because under the
regulations for such prepayment the packets must be tied in bundles with
the addresses in the same direction, that is to say, the operation of
facing must be performed by the person who posts the packets. Against
this, however, must be set the very considerable expense incurred both
in towns and rural areas for the collection of ordinary light letter
packets, postcards, halfpenny packets, and newspaper packets from
posting boxes, and the cost of van services, which are frequently
provided for the collection of letters from business premises. Very
little of the cost of these services can be attributed to the heavier
letter packets, which are to a large extent handed in at the post office
counter to be weighed. This involves considerable expense, which
corresponds to cost of collection, and may be dealt with under that
heading. The best estimate that can be made is that the cost of
collection per packet is approximately the same in all cases.

Facing and stamping may be regarded as one operation, the one being
really preparatory to the other. Here there is less difficulty. The
relative cost per packet may fairly be taken as the ratio of the time
taken in performing the operation in the case of each class of packet.
In regard to facing and stamping, and also in regard to sorting, the
letter packets proper, that is to say packets sent at the ordinary
letter rate of postage, fall in general into three classes according to
the facility with which they can be handled, viz. (1) "short letters,"
(2) "long letters," (3) "letter packets" (that is, the bulky packets
sent at the letter rate).[620] In order to complete the calculation, the
number of packets which fall respectively into these three classes must
be estimated.

It has been indicated that the actual division is made according to the
size and shape of the packets. The division corresponds approximately
with variation in weight. Few packets weighing more than 3/4 ounce would
come within the class of short letters, that is, of letters which can be
dealt with at the ordinary sorting frames; but as there is no analysis
of the number of packets of less than 1 ounce weight, there is no
alternative to the adoption of 1 ounce as the limit of this class.[621]
The effect of this is slightly adverse to the short letters and
favourable to the heavier packets. As between long letters and the
heavier packets the limit is less definite. In many cases packets of the
same weight fall into one or other class according to their size or
shape, but the mean weight of such indeterminate packets is roughly 4
ounces, and that weight is adopted as giving the mean upper line of
division for long letters.

In Table H are shown the relative rates of stamping and sorting for each
of the various classes of packets.

The proportionate cost per packet of stamping and of sorting, based on
the rates shown in Table H, is given in Table J.[622] The actual cost is
shown in Table L.

As regards the cost of delivery some difficulty presents itself. Letter
packets, postcards, halfpenny packets, and newspaper packets are, in all
cases, taken out for delivery by the same postman, and it is not
possible, therefore, as with stamping and sorting, to ascertain the
rates of work for the various classes of packets. But the features in
the different packets which lead to differences in the rate of sorting,
viz. weight and irregularity of shape and size, lead also to differences
in the time taken for delivery. In practice the postman makes a division
of the packets; and the time occupied in the delivery of the bulky and
irregular packets is greater proportionately, as compared with the time
occupied in the delivery of ordinary letters, than is the time occupied
in sorting. It is not possible, however, to estimate with any degree of
exactness the relative amount of time actually occupied in delivering
packets of the various classes, and for the division of the cost of
delivery (Table J) the rates adopted for the division of the cost of
sorting are taken. This method favours the bulky and irregular-shaped


The cost of conveyance of letter mails by railway forms by far the
greater part of the whole cost of conveyance. The cost of conveyance of
letter mails by road and sea, estimated on such data as are available,
is shown in Table M. As the total cost of the conveyance of mails is
known, the total cost of the conveyance of parcel mails can be
ascertained (Table M). The best basis for division of this cost is the
gross weight of the various classes of packets. Payment is made purely
on a weight basis in respect of the conveyance of a very large
proportion of the mails, and, so far, division on the basis of weight is
correct. But payment for the conveyance of a proportion of the mails is
made on the basis of the cost of providing for the conveyance, and more
or less independently of the weight carried. This applies in the case of
mail-carts, motor-vans, or special trains which do not carry a full
load. The amount paid in such cases is a single sum, calculated, so far
as letter mails are concerned, without reference to the fact that postal
packets of different classes are to be conveyed--without indeed, in some
cases, much reference to the fact that any given quantity of mails is to
be conveyed. In the absence of an assigned basis of payment which can be
used to divide such sums, the division between the various classes of
packets is made in proportion to the total weight of each class. In
Table N is shown the division of the whole cost of conveyance of letter
mails between the various classes on this basis.


Separate statistics are obtainable (Table B) in regard to (_a_)
buildings and office fittings, and (_b_) stores, but no exact estimate
can be made of the cost of administration and accounting.

The cost for buildings and office fittings is divided as between parcels
and other packets on the basis defined in Table D; and as between the
various classes of packets other than parcels, on the basis of the gross
weight of the packets (Table O).

The cost for stores, including the small sum under the heading
"Miscellaneous Expenditure," is similarly divided as between parcels and
other packets. As between the various classes of packets other than
parcels, the cost is divided on the basis of simple numbers (Table P).

The cost for administration and accounting, which is comparatively
small,[623] cannot be stated exactly. It is contained in the total cost
of staff (Table C), and is consequently divided between the various
classes in the same proportion as the cost of the manipulative staff.

Tables A to Q show the complete calculation.

Table Q shows the final result, which is that the average total cost of
dealing with postal packets is as follows:--

  For an ordinary letter--                  d.
      Under 1 ounce                       .382
      Over 1 ounce, under 4 ounces        .747
      Over 4 ounces                      1.404
  For an average letter packet            .457
  For a postcard                          .353
  For a halfpenny packet                  .432
  For a newspaper packet                 1.063
  For a parcel                           7.091

For the letter packets under 1 ounce in weight, for those between 1
ounce and 4 ounces in weight, for the halfpenny packets and for the
postcards, the estimated average cost will be approximately the actual
cost per packet; but in the case of letter packets over 4 ounces in
weight and newspaper packets, the variations in weight and convenience
of handling are considerable, and there will be an appreciable
variation for individual packets above and below the estimated average
cost. The cost will vary with the weight and size (but not
proportionately), and the deviation will be greatest in the case of the
heavier packets, since with both these classes the average weight of the
great bulk of the packets is less than the general average. Of all
letter packets, postcards, halfpenny packets and newspapers, the number
exceeding 4 ounces in weight forms less than 10 per cent. With so small
a proportion of heavy packets the result may be taken as almost exact in
the case of the lighter packets. It is not in excess of the actual cost,
because the calculation, taken as a whole, is biassed in favour of the
heavier packets.

The resultant figures are figures of average cost. They represent the
cost of those packets in each class in respect of which the average
amount of service is performed, and not exceptional cases, as when
packets travel over very long distances, or when a packet is redirected
or returned to the sender, in which latter cases obviously double the
normal service is performed.

The calculation is approximate in that at certain points it has been
necessary to frame estimates on imperfect data. This is inevitable in
dealing with a service conducted over a large area and under diverse
conditions.[624] In general the manner in which the result is affected
by the use of imperfect data has been indicated. These variations have
been borne in mind throughout, and, as their effects are produced in
varying directions, the combined effect is not such as to invalidate the
results arrived at.

The result suggests the following conclusions:--

     (1) That no class of packet sent at the letter rate of postage
     involves a loss to revenue;

     (2) That there is a large profit on ordinary light letters;

     (3) That in the case of packets of the weight of about 4 ounces the
     profit is less, but is still appreciable;

     (4) That there is a considerable profit on postcards;

     (5) That there is a profit on the halfpenny packets;

     (6) That there is a heavy loss on the newspaper packets, averaging
     nearly 1/2d. per packet;

     (7) That as regards packets other than parcels, the principle of
     uniformity of rate, irrespective of distance, is well founded. The
     cost of conveyance (.07d. per packet) is still, in the phrase of
     Sir Rowland Hill, "not expressible in the smallest coin";

     (8) That as regards the cost of conveyance there is no case for a
     reduced rate of postage for local letters;

     (9) That as between local letters and other letters there is
     appreciable difference in the cost of handling, but this difference
     would not be sufficient to justify a discrimination measurable in

     (10) That the parcel post is conducted at considerable loss. If the
     cost be taken, as shown in Table L, at 7·091d. per parcel, the loss
     is on the average almost 2-1/4d. per parcel, or nearly £1,250,000
     on the total number of parcels dealt with in 1913-14. The matter
     is, however, complicated by the question whether a strictly
     mathematical proportion of the total expenses of the Post Office
     can fairly be charged against the parcel post.[625]



  | Letters           |   3,488,800,000[626] |
  | Postcards         |     924,250,000[627] |
  | Halfpenny Packets |   1,211,400,000[628] |
  | Newspaper Packets |     207,100,000      |
  | Parcels           |     133,663,000[629] |
  |      Total        |   5,965,213,000      |

       *       *       *       *       *



  (a) Salaries, Wages and Allowances                               10,538,318
  (b) Rent, Rates, Office Fittings, Water, Light and Heating          268,981
  (c) Conveyance of Mails (excluding Payments to Foreign and
        Colonial Administrations):--
                                      £          £          £
        By Rail--
          Ordinary Postal Packets 1,292,460
          Parcels                 1,197,037
                                  ---------  2,489,497
        By Road                                662,010
        "  Packet                              890,530
                                             ---------  4,042,037
      Contributions received towards the cost of Packet
        and Mail services                                _130,335_
                                                        ---------   3,911,702
  (d) Purchase of Stores and Uniform Clothing                         452,065
  (e) Manufacture of Stamps, etc.                                     128,000
  (f) Travelling, Law Charges, and Incidental Expenses                180,527
  (g) Estimated Rental Value of premises belonging to
        the Post Office used for Postal purposes                      278,344
  (h) Estimated Pension liability for the year                      1,169,406
      Amount expended by other Government Departments in
        respect of various services rendered, viz.:--
  (i) Maintenance and Repair of Buildings                 160,200
  (j) Rates on Government Property                         95,676
  (k) Issue of Postage Stamps                              22,193
  (l) Stationery, Printing, etc.                          112,308
  (m) Cost of Audit (Exchequer and Audit Department)        3,612
                                                          -------     393,989
  (n) Net Revenue contribution to the Exchequer
        for the year                                                6,143,459

    --_Annual Report of the Postmaster-General_, 1913-14, Appx. N, p. 92.



          ITEMS IN TABLE B.                                         NET COST.
  (a) and (h) STAFF, £11,707,724.
             _Deduct_--                                       £         £
    (1) Officers in charge of Eastern Mails                 1,000
    (2) Post Office Agencies Abroad                        17,000
    (3) Cost of Services to other Departments}            516,789
    (4)    "    Money Order Service          }excluding   156,000
    (5)    "    Postal Order Service         } Postage    530,000
    (6)    "    Registration and Insurance Service        264,000
    (7)    "    Express Delivery Service                   52,000
    (8)    "    Private Boxes and Bags                     41,000
    (9)    "    Cash on Delivery Service, Reply Coupons,
                  Certificates of Posting, Late Fee
                  Services, etc.                           50,000
                  _Proportion allocated to Staff_       1,444,264  10,263,460

  (b), (g), (i), and (j) BUILDINGS, £803,201.
    In respect of (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8),
          and (9) above                                    96,587     706,614

  (_c_) CONVEYANCE OF MAILS, £3,911,702.
    (1) Packet Services outside the United Kingdom        582,935
    (2) Conveyance of Mails across Panama                   2,931
    (3) Receipts from Foreign Countries for
          Land Transit                                     51,000
                                                          636,866   3,274,836
  (_d_), (_e_), (_k_), and (_l_) STORES, £714,566.
    In respect of (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8),
          and (9) above                                    86,938     627,628
  (_f_) and (_m_) MISCELLANEOUS                                       184,139
                                              Total               £15,056,677



In the examination of proposals for revisions of staff and accommodation
at post offices, the whole work of the offices is reduced to a common
denominator for each chief division of the work, and is stated in terms
of that denominator.

Thus all indoor work is reduced to and expressed in terms of units
representing the work in connection with 1,000 letters posted and
delivered, the term "letter" in this connection covering all packets
sent by post other than parcels. There are no ratios for the separate
classes of "letters."

All outdoor work is reduced to and expressed in terms of a unit of 1,000
letters (posted and delivered), i.e. the complete service.

For office accommodation the unit is 1,000 letters posted or delivered,
whichever is the greater number at the office in question.

Certain ratios are taken for the expression in terms of letters of the
various divisions into which the work performed by the post office

As between letters and parcels the ratios are as follow:--


                |      VALUE IN LETTERS.
                | Indoor | Outdoor |    Office
                | Work.  | Work.   | Accommodation.
  Letter posted |   3/5  |   --  } | { 1 (whichever is the
    " delivered |   2/5  |    1  } | {    greater traffic)
    " forwarded |   1/3  |   --    |      1/2
    " collected |   --   |    x    |      --
                |        |         |
  Parcel posted |  6     |   --    |      6
    " delivered |  6     |   10    |      6
    " forwarded |  4     |   --    |      6
    " collected |  --    |  10x    |      --

     1,000 letters (weekly) = 1 unit of postal work.

For each unit of work so determined there is a corresponding normal

For indoor work the normal cost is approximately £15, for outdoor work
£22 10s., and for office accommodation £2 10s., per annum.

Since the unit to which a certain normal cost is allowed is built upon
calculations which give a parcel a definite relative value as compared
with a letter, the ratios show the relative cost to the Post Office of a
letter and of a parcel.



It is estimated that on the average more than half the total number of
letters are not sent forward direct to the post office of destination,
but are forwarded from the office at which they are posted to an
intermediate office; that is to say, more than half the total number of
letters travel in two mails, and incur a handling at an intermediate
office. The handling at that office is termed "forwarding." The letters
are termed "forward letters."[630] Expressed in another way, the
estimate is that all letters are forwarded, on the average, in 1.6

It is estimated that on the average a greater proportion of parcels
travel in this way in two mails. The actual estimate is that a parcel
travels in 1.8 mails.


Total handling of 1 letter = 1 letter posted + 1 letter delivered + 0.6 letter

Total handling of 1 parcel = 1 parcel posted + 1 parcel delivered + 0.8 parcel

Now a letter forwarded = 1/3 letter posted and delivered (Table D).

And a parcel forwarded = 1/3 parcel posted and delivered (Table D).

Hence total handling of 1 letter = 1.2 letter posted and delivered.

And total handling of 1 parcel = 1.26 parcel posted and delivered.

The ratio between the total cost of handling (indoor) of 1 letter and
the total cost of handling (indoor) of 1 parcel is therefore--

  1.2 × 1 : 1.26 × 12 = 1 : 12.6.

The normal unit cost for indoor work is £15 (approximately).

For outdoor work the ratio is 1: 10, and the normal unit cost £22 10s.

The ratio for all indoor and outdoor services is therefore approximately
1: 11.

       *       *       *       *       *



The total cost of handling a parcel is 11 times the total cost of
handling a packet other than a parcel (Table E).

In 1913-14 the total number of parcels dealt with was 133,663,000 (Table

The cost of handling these parcels was equivalent to the cost of
handling 133,663,000 × 11 = 1,470,293,000 packets other than parcels.

In 1913-14 the total number of packets other than parcels dealt with was
5,831,550,000 (Table A).

And the total cost of staff engaged in dealing with all packets,
including parcels, was £10,263,460 (Table C).

Hence the total cost of handling 133,663,000 parcels was

  £10,263,460 × 1,470,293,000/7,301,843,000 = £2,066,642.

And the total cost of handling 5,831,550,000 packets other than parcels
was £8,196,818.




_Total Cost_, £8,196,818.

The handling of postal packets falls into the following groups of

(_a_) Collection and delivery,

(_b_) Facing, stamping, and sorting,

(_c_) Administration and accounting.

The cost of administration and accounting when reduced to the individual
packet is extremely small. In general also it varies to some extent with
the size of the packet. Thus the newspaper packets and the halfpenny
packets, which are considerably heavier than the ordinary letters,
notoriously involve more difficulty and expense in administration; and
the postcard, the lightest postal packet, notoriously involves least
difficulty and expense in administration. Parcels undoubtedly involve
much more expense for accounting than any other class of packet; so that
if the expense for administration and accounting be divided in the ratio
adopted for sorting, stamping, collection, and delivery, which also
depends largely on the weight of the packet, no appreciable error is
introduced. No attempt is made, therefore, to isolate the expense for
administration and accounting.

The total cost of collection and delivery is estimated to be double the
total cost of facing, stamping, and sorting.

The cost of delivery is estimated to be four times the cost of

The cost of sorting is estimated to be four times the cost of facing and

The total cost of handling packets other than parcels (excluding cost of
conveyance) = £8,196,818.


  Total cost of collection          = 1,092,909
    "      "    facing and stamping =   546,455
    "      "    sorting             = 2,185,818
    "      "    delivery            = 4,371,636
                        Total        £8,196,818



                                         |Relative Rate |Relative Rate
                                         | of Stamping. | of Sorting.
  Ordinary Letter Packets--              |              |
    (_a_) not exceeding 1 oz.            |    1,000     |    100
    (_b_) over 1 oz., not exceeding 4 oz.|       75     |     75
    (_c_) over 4 oz.                     |       75     |     60
  Postcards                              |    1,000     |    100
  Halfpenny Packets                      |      750     |     90
  Newspaper Packets                      |       80     |     70

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE I. The rates both as regards stamping and as regards sorting are
not actual but relative rates. In both cases the handling of an ordinary
light letter is taken as the standard with which the rate of handling
other articles is compared. The table is intended to indicate, e.g.,
that if in a given period of time 100 ordinary light letters would be
sorted, only 75 letters weighing between 1 ounce and 4 ounces, or only
90 halfpenny packets, would be sorted in the same period; or if in a
given period of time 1,000 ordinary light letters would be stamped, only
75 letters over 1 ounce in weight, or only 80 newspapers, would be
stamped in the same period. All that is aimed at is the normal relative
rate of sorting for each class of packet. It is not necessary to
ascertain the normal absolute rate.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE II. _Rates of Stamping._--In determining rates of stamping, a
serious complication is introduced by the use of machines (both hand and
power) at many offices for stamping certain classes of packets. In
London, where approximately one-third of the total number of postal
packets is posted, power machine-stamps are employed, except at a few of
the sub-district sorting offices, at which hand machine-stamps are still
employed. There are a few of the smaller offices at which all the
stamping is done by hand, but the number of such offices and the number
of packets so stamped is negligible. The power machine stamps at rates
varying from 12 to 16 times as great as that of an officer stamping by
hand; the hand machine stamps at a rate about ten times as great.

Power machine-stamps are in use in the provinces in towns in which
approximately a quarter of the total number of postal packets is posted.

Hand machine-stamps are in use in other towns in the provinces where
approximately one-twelfth of the total number of postal packets is

In the remaining towns there is hand stamping only.

The foregoing estimates give an average rate of stamping throughout the
kingdom for those classes of packets which are of a size and shape to
pass through the machine-stamp, where available, of about ten times as
great as that of an officer stamping by hand.

This figure must now be applied to the various classes of packets shown
in the table, in conjunction with the rates of hand-stamping for such
packets as cannot be passed through the machine-stamp.

(_a_) Practically all letters under 1 ounce can be passed through the
machine-stamp if available. Hence the rate for this class is ten times
the rate of hand-stamping.

(_b_) None of the second or third classes of packets can be passed
through the machine. Further, these packets are of irregular shape and
are therefore much less convenient to deal with than ordinary letters.
The rate of hand-stamping is therefore only about three-fourths the rate
for ordinary letters.

(_c_) All postcards can be passed through the machine-stamp if
available. The rate is therefore ten times the rate of hand-stamping.

(_d_) A large proportion of halfpenny packets cannot, on account of
their size and shape, be passed through the machine-stamp, and the
figure for the machine-stamp must be considerably reduced for these
packets. The nearest estimate that can be formed for these packets is
7.5 times the rate for hand-stamping.

(_e_) Newspapers cannot be passed through the machine-stamp, but in a
number of cases the wrappers are taken to the post office before the
newspapers are enclosed in them for cancellation of the postage stamps
(in order to secure a prompt despatch when the newspapers are actually
posted). The rate for such stamping is slightly greater than the rate of
hand-stamping for ordinary letters. On the other hand, the rate of
stamping newspaper packets is not more than two-thirds the rate of
hand-stamping ordinary letters. The nearest estimate that can be formed
for all newspapers is that the rate of stamping is four-fifths the rate
of hand-stamping ordinary letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE III. _Rates of Sorting._--(_a_) The average rate of sorting for
ordinary letters is taken as the unit.

(_b_) The rate of sorting letters and the rate of sorting postcards may
be taken as identical.

(_c_) Owing to the irregular shape of newspaper packets, and letter
packets over 4 ounces in weight, the average normal rate of sorting must
be taken as considerably less than that for letters.

Both classes are usually sorted at the packet tables and not at the
ordinary letter frames.

(_d_) The letter packets between 1 ounce and 4 ounces in weight present
some difficulty, since they include a considerable number of long
letters, which are sorted at the ordinary letter frames at nearly the
same rate as short letters, while the rest are sorted at the packet
tables at about the same rate as the heavier packets. The figure should
obviously be between (_a_) and (_c_).

(_e_) The halfpenny packets also fall into two classes: (1) those sorted
as short letters, and (2) those sorted at the newspaper frames. A very
large proportion fall into the second class, and the average normal rate
of sorting, as in the case of the second class of letter packets, is
intermediate between (_a_) and (_c_).



This table shows the relative cost per packet, based on the rates of
work (Table H), the cost of an ordinary letter being taken as the unit.

                            |           | Facing and |          |
    Description of Packet.  |Collection.|  Stamping. | Storing. | Delivery.
                            |           |    [631]   |          |   [632]
  Ordinary Letter Packets-- |           |            |          |
    (a) not exceeding 1 oz. |     1     |     1      |   1      |     1
    (b) over 1 oz., not     |           |            |          |
        exceeding 4 oz.     |     1     |     6-2/3  |   1-1/3  |     1-1/3
    (c) over 4 oz           |     1     |     6-2/3  |   1-2/3  |     1-2/3
  Postcards                 |     1     |     1      |   1      |     1
  Halfpenny Packets         |     1     |     1-1/4  |   1-1/9  |     1-1/9
  Newspaper Packets         |     1     |     6-1/4  |   1-3/7  |     1-3/7

       *       *       *       *       *



This table shows the ratios in Table J weighted according to the number
of packets in each class.

                            |            | Facing and |          |
    Description of Packet.  |Collection. |  Stamping. | Storing. | Delivery.
  Ordinary Letter Packets-- |            |            |          |
    (a) not exceeding 1 oz. |   1        |   1        |   1      |   1
    (b) over 1 oz., not     |            |            |          |
        exceeding 4 oz.     |   0.113    |   0.755    |   0.151  |   0.151
    (c) over 4 oz.          |   0.045    |   0.299    |   0.075  |   0.075
  Postcards                 |   0.306    |   0.306    |   0.306  |   0.306
  Halfpenny Packets         |   0.402    |   0.503    |   0.447  |   0.447
  Newspaper Packets         |   0.069    |   0.430    |   0.098  |   0.098



This table shows the ratios given in Table K applied to the total cost
(Tables F and G).

                           |          |Facing and|         |         |
    Description of Packet. |Collection| Stamping |Storing. |Delivery.|  Total.
  Ordinary Letter Packets--|     £    |     £    |    £    |    £    |    £
    (a) Not exceeding 1 oz.|   564,811|   165,944|1,052,392|2,104,784| 3,887,931
    (b) Over 1 oz., not    |          |          |         |         |
        exceeding 4 oz.    |    63,824|   125,288|  158,911|  317,822|   665,845
    (c) Over 4 oz.         |    25,416|    49,618|   78,930|  157,859|   311,823
  Postcards                |   172,832|    50,779|  322,032|  644,064| 1,189,707
  Halfpenny Packets        |   227,054|    83,470|  470,419|  940,838| 1,721,781
  Newspaper Packets        |    38,972|    71,356|  103,134|  206,269|   419,731
        Total              | 1,092,909|   546,455|2,185,818|4,371,636| 8,196,818



_Total Cost of Conveyance of Mails within the United Kingdom_:

  (a) For Conveyance by Railway       2,435,566
  (b)  "      "      "  Road            662,010
  (c)  "      "      "  Sea             177,260
                             Total   £3,274,836

Of the payment for conveyance by railway, £1,238,529 is the cost of the
conveyance of letter mails, and £1,197,037 the cost of the conveyance of
parcel mails.

The payment for conveyance by road is, on such estimate as can be made,
assignable in equal proportions between letter mails and parcel mails.

Of the payment for conveyance by sea, £150,000 is, on such estimate as
can be made, assignable to the conveyance of letter mails.

The cost of the conveyance of letter mails is therefore--

  By Railway            1,238,529
  "  Road                 331,005
  "  Sea                  150,000
           Total       £1,719,534

And the cost of the conveyance of parcel mails is--

  By Railway            1,197,037
  "  Road                 331,005
  "  Sea                   27,260
           Total       £1,555,302




_Total Cost_, £1,719,534.

Cost of conveyance is assigned between the various classes of packets in
proportion to the gross weight.

  |  Description of Packet.  | Gross Weight.    |     Cost of      |
  |                          |     [633]        |   Conveyance.    |
  |Ordinary Letter Packets-- |       lb.        |        £         |
  |  (a) Not exceeding 1 oz. |   67,200,000     |     437,734      |
  |  (b) Over 1 oz., not     |                  |                  |
  |      exceeding 4 oz.     |   41,700,000     |     271,600      |
  |  (c) Over 4 oz.          |   54,000,000     |     351,700      |
  |Postcards                 |    8,203,000     |      53,450      |
  |Halfpenny Packets         |   37,705,000     |     245,600      |
  |Newspaper Packets         |   55,192,000     |     359,450      |

       *       *       *       *       *



_Total Cost_, £706,614.

Twelve times as much office accommodation is required in respect of a
parcel as in respect of a packet other than a parcel (Table D).


The total cost of buildings may be divided as between parcels on the one
hand and all packets other than parcels on the other hand in the ratio--

  133,663,000 × 12 : 5,831,550,000

  i.e. 1 : 3.6357

The total cost for buildings chargeable to parcels is therefore
£152,428, and the total cost for buildings chargeable to other packets
is £554,186.

The latter sum is assigned between the respective classes of packets in
proportion to the gross weight of each class (Table N) as follows:--

                                     Cost for Buildings.

  Ordinary Letter Packets--                  £
    (a) Not exceeding 1 oz.               141,066
    (b) Over 1 oz., not exceeding 4 oz.    87,536
    (c) Over 4 oz.                        113,356
  Postcards                                17,220
  Halfpenny Packets                        79,150
  Newspaper Packets                       115,858
                        Total            £554,186

This division gives an advantage to the light packets as compared with
the heavier packets sent by Letter Post; but, as between parcels and
other packets, an advantage is given to parcels (cf. _supra_, Table E).



_Total cost_, £811,767.

As between parcels and other packets respectively, this amount is
assigned on the unit basis, reckoning one parcel equivalent to twelve
other packets (Table D).

As between the various classes of packets other than parcels, the amount
is assigned on the basis of simple numbers.

  Ordinary Letter Packets--                  £
    (a) Not exceeding 1 oz                328,857
    (b) Over 1 oz., not exceeding 4 oz     37,251
    (c) Over 4 oz                          14,779
  Postcards                               100,904
  Halfpenny Packets                       132,254
  Newspaper Packets                        22,610
  Parcels                                 175,112
  Total                                  £811,767

This method gives an advantage to the heavy packets.



                      |         |           |          |       |         | Cost
   Description of     |  Staff. |Conveyance.|Buildings.|Stores,|         | per
        Packet        |         |           |          |etc.   | Total.  |Packet
  Ordinary Letter     |         |           |          |       |         |
     Packets--        |    £    |     £     |    £     |   £   |   £     |  d.
  (a) Not exceeding   |3,887,931|   437,734 |  141,066 |328,857|4,795,588| 0.382
                 1 oz |
  (b) Over 1oz., not  |         |           |          |       |         |
       exceeding 4 oz.|  665,845|   271,600 |   87,536 | 37,251|1,062,232| 0.747
  (c) Over 4 oz.      |  311,823|   351,700 |  113,356 | 14,779|  791,658| 1.404
                      |         |           |          |       |---------|
  All Letter Packets  |   ...   |    ...    |    ...   |  ...  |6,649,478| 0.457
                      |         |           |          |       |=========|
  Postcards           |1,189,707|    53,450 |   17,220 |100,904|1,361,281| 0.353
  Halfpenny Packets   |1,721,781|   245,600 |   79,150 |132,254|2,178,785| 0.432
  Newspaper Packets   |  419,731|   359,450 |  115,858 | 22,610|  917,649| 1.063
  Parcels             |2,066,642| 1,555,302 |  152,428 |175,112|3,949,484| 7.091



In relation to the rate of postage, the traffic of the Post Office falls
into two main groups: on the one hand light letters and packets
approximating to that type, and on the other the heavier packets and
parcels. This division corresponds with an important difference in the
practical working of the Post Office service, the task of providing for
the transmission of ordinary letters, hundreds of which can be conveyed
by foot-messenger without difficulty, being one entirely different from
that of providing for the transmission of larger packets, a few scores
of which would render necessary the use of a vehicle.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the transmission of letters, Sir Rowland Hill first perceived the
significance of the fact that with objects of light weight the cost of
conveyance, even over great distances, is small, and in his scheme of
reform he consciously applied this fact to the determination of the rate
of letter postage. This consideration remains; and as regards the
ordinary letters of business or private communication--the average
weight of which is less than half an ounce--the principle of uniformity
of rate irrespective of distance, which is now the characteristic of
letter postage, is well founded. Of the whole expense of conducting the
postal services, the expense of the actual conveyance of a letter from
place to place is not only small as compared with the cost of the
terminal services of collection and delivery, but is actually so small
in amount that no monetary system provides a coin of sufficiently small
value to make its collection a practical possibility. The uniform rate,
by making practicable the system of prepayment of postage by means of
adhesive labels, has, moreover, effected great economy in the working of
the service, and its simplicity is a boon to the public, the more so as
it has been possible to fit the common rate to a popular coin. A low
uniform rate is, however, only made possible from the financial
standpoint by the Post Office monopoly of the carriage of letters,
although that monopoly is justified on other grounds. With a uniform
rate, owing to the varying conditions under which the service is
conducted in different districts, there is inevitably a variation in the
amount of profit. In certain cases, the rate is actually unprofitable;
and were private undertakings permitted to compete for the more
profitable traffic, such as the local traffic in large centres of
population, the profits of the Post Office would be reduced to

Improvements in the means of communication have naturally had
considerable effect on the development of the Post Office. The
introduction of the stage-coach in the eighteenth century, and of
railways and steamboats in the nineteenth, in turn revolutionized the
methods of general transportation. By these improvements the capacity of
the Post Office was largely increased, and regularity, rapidity, and
increased frequency of service made possible. But such general
improvements, while of the utmost importance as regards the capacity and
character of the Post Office service, can affect the rates of postage
only so far as they affect the cost of transportation of the mails, or,
by largely increasing traffic, enable economies of business on a large
scale to be secured. The stage-coach cheapened the cost of
transportation, but, in England, had no effect on the rates of postage,
because at the time of its introduction the charges were of a purely
fiscal character, and the benefit of cheaper transportation was not
passed on to the users of the Post Office. The effect of the
introduction of the railway has, at any rate as regards letter postage,
not been much greater. Sir Rowland Hill's reform, which standardized
letter postage, was based on the ascertained cost of conveyance of mails
by stage-coach.[634] He found the cost of such conveyance too small to
be taken into account; and the introduction of the railway could not, of
course, improve such a situation.[635]

The ordinary light letter, weighing on the average considerably less
than an ounce, comprises the overwhelming bulk of Post Office traffic,
and the heavier letters occupy a quite subsidiary place. With the growth
of Post Office traffic, and the consequent economies resulting from
business on a large scale, the profits of the Post Office have gradually
increased, but not to such an extent as to admit of the reduction of Sir
Rowland Hill's penny rate without destroying the net revenue. Any
reduction has been limited to the heavier letters.

The penny rate for the ordinary letter, though so moderate, is
considerably in excess of the average cost even of long-distance
letters.[636] Its maintenance, therefore, depends not on economic, but
on general political and financial considerations. The question is, what
general considerations shall be allowed to govern the rate? Shall it be
fixed on the simple basis of cost and revenue, or shall it be fixed at
such a level as to yield a surplus revenue? In other words, is it
thought that the general public advantages which would result from a
reduction of postage to the cost basis would counterbalance the
disadvantages which would result from the loss of public revenue? This
question will, of course, be answered in accordance with the varying
circumstances in the different countries and at different times.[637]

An important consideration in relation to any proposal for reduction or
increase of the letter rate, or, indeed, of any rate of postage, is, of
course, the probable effect on the volume of traffic. Sir Rowland Hill,
when he put forward his plan, laid stress on the increase in the number
of letters which he anticipated would follow the adoption of his
proposal. Since that time it has become almost an axiom that a reduction
of rate will naturally and inevitably be followed by an increase of the
traffic, more or less considerable, according as the reduction is large
or small. Indeed, some writers have thought that the new postal system
was based on a law of fixed relative proportions between a reduction of
rate and the corresponding result on traffic. In point of fact, Sir
Rowland Hill's estimates were based only partially on the probable
effect of the reduction in stimulating traffic, and rather on the
anticipation that, with a rate reasonably low, all that vast letter
traffic which it was well known was being unlawfully dealt with outside
the Post Office would be attracted to the lawful service. It is probable
that a point of approximate satiety can be reached in the reduction of
postage rates no less than in the reduction of the price of other
commodities. A reduction would then result in only slightly increased
consumption of the commodity--that is, in the case of letters, increase
of the number posted. _Per contra_, a moderate increase of rate would
result in a comparatively small reduction of the number of letters.[638]
But moderate variations of postage on ordinary letters are difficult to
make, since popular charges, such as a penny or halfpenny, while they
offer obvious advantages from many points of view, are not susceptible
of slight modifications.

The variation of rate according to the weight of the packet is a point
which has received insufficient attention. There can be no doubt that
the cost to the Post Office of performing the service it affords in
respect of packets of any kind entrusted to it increases with the
increase of the weight and size. But it does not increase
proportionately. A letter of 8 ounces does not cost twice as much to
collect, transmit, and deliver as a letter of 4 ounces. The operations
of stamping, sorting, and making up for despatch occupy more time and
cause more inconvenience in the case of the larger packet, but the
difference is slight when compared with the difference in size and
weight. Nor does the cost of conveyance vary directly with the weight.
In any system of rates, therefore, which are accurately adjusted to the
cost of the service, the rate of charge must increase considerably less
rapidly than the increase in weight, that is to say, the rate would be
degressive. Of modern postage rates very few are constructed on this
principle, and to that extent they are uneconomic. In the case of
letters, since the weight of the packet is normally unimportant, and
simplicity of charge very important, this factor has been for the most
part ignored.[639]

       *       *       *       *       *

The same consideration which makes the uniform rate irrespective of
distance economically just in the case of ordinary letters, takes away
any ground on the score of cost of service for a special rate for local
letters lower than the general uniform rate. On the other hand, the
considerations which make for monopoly and unified control in the case
of a general service, do not apply with the same force in the case of a
service limited to a small area. In the latter case, competition can
much more easily be set up; and as the uniform penny rate is much higher
than the cost of service even in the case of long-distance letters,
competing agencies, which can leave aside unprofitable districts, such
as the rural districts, can secure a profit on a local service while
charging much lower rates. The maintenance of a local rate for letters
side by side with a uniform rate 100 per cent. greater for all distances
outside the local area, as in Canada, is nevertheless inconsistent from
the economic standpoint.

       *       *       *       *       *

The postcard, which may be regarded as a development of the letter post,
is, in effect, an admission that the letter rate is much higher than the
cost of service. The difference in cost of service in the case
respectively of a light letter and a postcard is negligible. Indeed, in
some respects light letters are more easily and more rapidly handled
than postcards. From that standpoint, therefore, there is nothing to
justify the difference of 100 per cent. in the rate of charge, and the
lower rate is an arbitrary concession. The logical ground for its
existence is rather to be looked for in the familiar and generally
accepted principle applied to the determination of transportation rates
by railway, by road, or by sea, viz. charging "what the traffic will
bear," or the variation of the rates according to the intrinsic value of
the goods transported.[640] Many messages are sent on postcards which
otherwise would be sent as closed letters. But, at the same time, many
messages are sent on postcards which otherwise would not be sent at all.
This has been especially the case since the introduction of the picture

       *       *       *       *       *

These remarks apply equally to the lower rate which has been conceded to
circular letters. Both rates represent a great concession relatively to
the letter rate, and under them a large traffic has grown up.[641] They
closely approximate to the actual cost of service, and probably yield a
small profit. They are of great importance in the general scheme of
rates, because they provide a cheap means for the transmission of a very
large proportion of ordinary personal and commercial messages, and thus
indirectly strengthen the position of the profitable penny rate for
ordinary letters.

The picture postcard has strengthened the position of the letter rate in
another way, viz. by raising the cost of sending a postcard, so that in
many cases it is now greater than that of a letter. A common charge for
a picture postcard is a penny; the cost of sending a communication on
such a card by post is then three-halfpence, whereas the cost of a
letter is only a penny plus the very slight cost of the paper and

       *       *       *       *       *

The newspaper rate involves some new considerations. The original aim of
the posts was the distribution of a certain form of intelligence. They
had by the seventeenth century developed into an instrument whose main
function was the distribution of letters. The first postal traffic in
packets which were not letters was that in newspapers. The early
newspapers were, however, in fact as well as in some cases in name also,
merely news "letters," and it would have been surprising, therefore, had
the posts not been made use of for their distribution. For newspapers,
however, the charges have from the first been of a fundamentally
different character from those for letters, and the traffic in
newspapers, so far from being a source of profit, has in general
resulted in heavy loss. There are certain general considerations which
render the application of the rates of postage charged on letters
inappropriate. The bulk and weight of a single newspaper is usually much
greater than the bulk of a single letter; and if the newspaper were
charged at the same rate and on the same basis as the letter, viz. by
weight, it must in general be charged several times the rate for an
ordinary letter. Such a charge would be unjust, because, as already
pointed out, the cost of performing the services of transportation and
delivery does not increase in direct proportion, or anything approaching
direct proportion, to the increase of weight. If a newspaper is regarded
as a very heavy letter, the importance of the factor of weight is at
once perceived. Weight charges levied on newspapers should at least be
on a degressive scale. But any system of charge by weight proportioned
to letter postage must lead to a higher charge than that for a single
letter. How much higher is of little consequence, because even the rate
for single letters would be almost prohibitive for ordinary newspapers.
The papers would either be excluded from the mails and despatched by
private agencies, where such agencies exist, or, in countries where the
Post Office holds the monopoly of the carriage of newspapers, the
traffic would be greatly restricted.

A lower rate for newspapers is also justified on the principle of
charging "what the traffic will bear." But the chief reason is that it
has usually been considered desirable to encourage the distribution of
newspapers for the benefit of the public; and in its origin, the special
rate for newspapers seems to rest rather on the two general
considerations of the expediency of providing for the easy distribution
of intelligence, and the impossibility of charging newspapers with the
same rate as letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Merchants' and manufacturers' samples are not, of course, strictly
speaking, of the nature of correspondence, and their conveyance by post
represents in some aspects an expansion of function. The main function
of the Post Office is the distribution of letters, or, as it may be
expressed generally, the distribution of any species of communication
between persons, reduced to material form, whether as manuscript
letters, postcards or circular letters, printed or written, or even in
the form of newspapers. For samples of merchandise some relationship to
ordinary communications may perhaps be claimed. They are themselves
often the necessary complement of letters of business and are forwarded
in order to convey a precise notion of the commodities with which the
business is concerned, a purpose served much more effectively by the
small sample than by the descriptive letter, which would be the only
alternative. So far, then, as the Post Office is intended to assist the
transmission of information of whatever sort, the carriage of merchants'
samples is perhaps a legitimate part of its function, especially as the
encouragement of trade is no small part of its main function. The
transmission of small packets not inconvenient to handle and transport,
although essentially different in make-up from letters, was therefore a
natural development when advantage to commerce would result.

The impracticability of charging the ordinary letter rate, since such a
charge would have been prohibitory, which has influenced the newspaper
rate, is equally applicable to samples. The case for a lower rate was
strengthened by the consideration that commerce would benefit, and the
general considerations of the justice of a lower weight-rate for
moderately heavy packets and for packets of less intrinsic value,
applied to sample packets, no less than to newspapers, although this
point of view was not perhaps consciously adopted. Based on these
considerations, a special rate was given to samples, fixed more or less
arbitrarily, and without examination into the question of what rate
would be the lowest profitable rate for the business.

       *       *       *       *       *

The basis of the book rate is only to a slight degree economic, that is
to say, related to the cost of providing the service. The justification
for a low rate rests for the most part on the same considerations as the
privileged rate for newspapers: the desirability of assisting the
education of the people and the utility of books for the purpose, the
comparatively low intrinsic value, and the impossibility of charging the
scale of rates applied to letters--even less possible in the case of
books than in the case of newspapers.

       *       *       *       *       *

The exceptionally low rate for printed matter for the blind has been
given as a measure of philanthropy. By its means, although at some loss
to postal revenue, the effect of the disadvantage of bulk and weight in
such printed matter, which results from the affliction, is in a large
degree removed.[642]

       *       *       *       *       *

The question of the rate to be applied to parcels is one of
considerable difficulty. While considerations of public utility would
probably make it undesirable for the State to derive a profit from the
business, they would hardly extend to the point of conducting a large
transportation business at a loss, and the results in England and
Germany show how important and difficult is the problem of fixing
remunerative rates. The rates for newspapers, samples, ordinary printed
matter, etc., have been accorded not solely with reference to the cost
of the service, but on grounds more or less political and social as
regards the fact of granting a privileged rate, and more or less
empirical as regards the fixing of the actual amount of the charge. For
the most part this method has answered sufficiently well, the reason
being that the cost per packet is comparatively small, and the
privileged traffic has not generally assumed large proportions relative
to the letter traffic. These empirical methods cannot, however, be
applied in the case of parcels. The expense of the service performed by
the Post Office is not, as with a letter, actually small, and confined
to that of collection at one end and delivery at the other end of the
journey, with a negligible cost (per packet) for transmission between
the points of origin and destination. Cost of transportation itself
becomes an appreciable item in respect of every parcel. For this
transportation the Post Office is in the main dependent on the railways,
and in the determination of its cost the principles determining ordinary
railway rates must necessarily apply.

Those principles are complex and to a large degree indeterminate. On the
problem of railway and other transport rates many volumes have been
written, and many more will yet be written before a solution is arrived
at.[643] Railways, like the Post Office, are unable to allocate the
actual working costs with any degree of precision between the various
kinds of service they perform. Like the Post Office, they have one
general set of expenses, although they have diverse sources of
revenue.[644] Even if the cost of service could in each case be
definitely ascertained, its adoption as the sole basis of the rates
would prove unsatisfactory.[645] For the most part the principles on
which the rates are actually fixed resolve themselves into a
consideration of "what the traffic will bear," that is to say, the test
by actual observation and computation, strengthened, if need be, by
actual experiment, of the rates which will yield the maximum advantage
to the railway company.

The advantage to the railway conducted under private management may be
defined to be the excess of receipts from the traffic over the
out-of-pocket expenses actually incurred in handling the traffic. To
obtain this maximum it has been found necessary to vary the charge
according to the nature of the goods. Elaborate, detailed
classifications of goods have been arranged with distinct scales of
rates for each class, devised on the basis of charging each kind of
goods with the rate likely to yield to the railway the maximum of
advantage as defined above.[646] Although somewhat crude and a little
empirical, certainly largely arbitrary, this method has been almost
universally adopted for the determination of railway charges.[647]

A characteristic feature of such charges is that account is invariably
taken of the distance over which the goods are transported. In contrast
with this, the principle of uniformity of rate irrespective of distance
has been universally adopted in regard to all postal packets other than
parcels, and to some extent for parcels. The application of the
principle to parcels rests, however, on other grounds than its
application to letters. Sir Rowland Hill himself never contemplated that
the principle was necessarily applicable to all matter which might be
sent by post.[648] The circumstances under which he made his discovery,
and the facts on which he relied, make it plain that, in the absence of
other overpowering considerations, the grounds advanced in the case of
light letters will not justify uniformity of rate irrespective of
distance for packets of considerable weight, which necessarily involve
appreciable cost for transportation. From the financial point of view,
the uniform rate is, moreover, inapplicable to any class of traffic not
secured to the Post Office by monopoly, since private undertakings will
always step in and take away the profitable sections.

For heavy parcels a uniform rate cannot be justified. There are,
however, certain considerations not purely economic which may be held to
justify a uniform rate for small parcels, especially if it be held that
the State may conduct such a business for the advantage of the public,
and abandon to some extent ordinary commercial balancing of cost and

Simplicity, afforded in a high degree by the uniform rate, facilitates
the administration and practical conduct of Post Office business, and
is, therefore, desirable, even if a little unjust. Complicated rates are
an unfailing source of irritation to the public as well as a source of
embarrassment to the staff, and there is not much doubt that one feature
of the parcel post which commends it to the public favour is the
simplicity of its rates.[649] There is, moreover, to be considered the
view that it is no part of the duty of the Post Office to provide
services in towns or districts for which private industry gives adequate
services, but rather to cover the whole country, so that the public may
always have ready to hand a means of forwarding small packages of goods
to friends or relatives, or traders to customers, in other parts of the
country. Such a service has many features which distinguish it from
business undertakings of the ordinary type. In this way uniform rates
may prove justified; since if in regard to any local service, or the
service between any two points, the uniform rate, which must necessarily
in certain cases yield considerable profit, is found burdensome, it is
in all such cases open to private industry to provide the remedy. In the
case of light parcels the cost of the services of collection and
delivery is much greater than that of conveyance; and the variation of
the total cost with distance of transmission is small proportionately.
The uniform rate can therefore be fixed near the level of the cost. But
even for such parcels it is economically unsound. It cannot be fixed at
a really low level, because it is to be applicable to a parcel sent
across the whole territory of a postal administration; and with such a
parcel, even if weighing only 1 pound, the cost of transportation is an
appreciable item.

The uniform rate for parcels is an expedient for smooth working rather
than a scientific rate, and against the acceptance of uniformity of rate
as a principle must be placed the fact that railway companies have not
adopted it. The actual results of the uniform rate have not been
altogether satisfactory. The small use of the post for the transmission
of the heavier parcels appears to indicate that the rate for such
parcels is, in general, too high.[650] For local traffic in small towns,
where cost of conveyance is negligible, it is almost prohibitive,[651]
and is much higher than the rates charged by competing agencies.

The considerations in favour of a degressive rate apply with greater
force to parcels of moderate weight than to the comparatively light
packets which pass at the letter rate, and this feature should receive
fuller recognition in the determination of parcel rates than has
hitherto been the case.

To sum up: there are important differences between the letter and parcel
traffic: (1) the letter traffic is a monopoly in which the more
profitable business belongs to the State as well as the unprofitable,
while the parcel business is not a monopoly, and any traffic which
proves profitable may at once attract private competition; (2) in the
letter traffic the cost of transmission for a given distance is
negligible, and in the parcel traffic it is important; (3) the social
arguments which make it desirable for the State to secure as wide as
possible a diffusion of letters containing information, of newspapers,
books, and samples, do not apply in the same way, or to the same degree,
to the traffic in parcels containing goods.

       *       *       *       *       *

In essentials the case of international rates differs little from that
of inland rates. The work in connection with a letter falls into three
main divisions: (1) at the place of posting; (2) transmission from place
of posting to place of delivery; and (3) at the place of delivery. In
the case of inland letters, the first and third factors preponderate to
such a degree that their cost alone need be taken into consideration in
fixing the rate. The factor of transmission can be ignored. In the case
of letters from one country to another, the services at the offices of
posting and delivery are performed under different, instead of under the
same, administrations, but for all practical purposes are otherwise
unaffected. The only factor seriously affected is that of

The variation in the cost for transportation[652] depends largely on
distance, and in that respect various countries are affected in varying
degrees, not only as regards the actual distances over which their
letters for or from places abroad are sent, but in the way in which
those distances compare with the distances over which letters in the
inland service are conveyed; and the question therefore wears a
different aspect in the different countries. Thus a very large
proportion of letters in the British service are forwarded over greater
distances than letters in the inland service. The same thing is probably
true of France and Germany. Distances in the inland services of the
United States and Canada are, however, comparable with the distances in
the international services in Europe, and in many cases with distances
in their own international services. If, therefore, mere distance of
transmission were the only consideration, there would obviously be
little to urge against the application of the ordinary penny letter
rate for inland transmission, at least to the traffic of the whole of
Europe, just as it has been applied to the traffic of the whole of the
United States and Canada.[653]

But it is doubtful whether inland distances are really comparable with
international distances. The cost of maintaining lines of communication
between distant countries is often altogether out of proportion to the
quantity of mails conveyed; and the sums paid, although ostensibly
payments for the conveyance of mails, are often really subsidies, paid
sometimes in order to assist the shipping or other industry, sometimes
for political purposes.[654] They cannot, therefore, be used as a basis
for calculating the amount of postage which should be charged on private

This was particularly the case in earlier times.[655] With the expansion
of commerce and the establishment for commercial purposes of regular
lines of steamers between the principal countries of the world, the task
of the Post Office has been much simplified, and, notwithstanding the
growth of mails, the cost actually reduced.[656] It is, however, still
heavy, and in some cases the payments include an element of subsidy. The
cost of transmission by sea of a foreign letter in the British service
is on the average 1/4d. Foreign rates are not, however, fixed on a
simple cost basis. The reduction to a penny of the letter rate between
Great Britain and all parts of the British Empire; between Great
Britain, Egypt, and the United States; and between the United States and
Germany and France, has been made from considerations of general
advantage, political or otherwise, rather than from considerations of
immediate profit or loss on the postal service.

The international parcel post has always been regarded as primarily
commercial,[657] and the service has been deliberately restricted to
small parcels on the ground that the conduct of an ordinary
transportation undertaking is not a postal function, and that the
admission of heavy parcels would render impossible the maintenance of
the postal principle of uniformity of rate. Parcel mails are in the
international service frequently denied the privilege of rapid
transmission accorded to letter mails.[658] The developments of the
present war have emphasized the essential distinction to be drawn
between communications on the one hand, and packages of goods sent by
parcel post on the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

The general basis of postal rates is naturally affected in some degree
by the fact that the Post Office is a State undertaking, and the
propriety of Government control deserves consideration. Adam Smith,
with his individualistic leaning, was bound to touch on the question of
a State Post Office. He thought there was no objection to the conduct of
the Post Office by the Government,[659] and economists since his day
have generally followed his view.[660] This acceptance of State control
as theoretically justifiable has probably been induced by the logic of
facts rather than by the recognition of any peculiar characteristics
tending to that view discoverable in the postal service as an industrial

The transmission and delivery of letters for private individuals may
have some affinity to the transmission of official despatches, but in
theory such affinity is slight, especially in regard to the transmission
and delivery of local letters. Because the Government had found it
essential for its own purposes to establish a system of posts, it did
not necessarily follow that the Government must assume also the function
of conveying letters for private individuals. But the Post Office is one
of those organizations in the case of which the normal influence of
economic forces tends to exclude competition. Its operations are spread
over large areas, and duplication of services over large areas would
result in waste of effort and increase of expenses. Competing postal
establishments would exhibit the same glaring economic waste as
competing arrangements for the supply of gas, water, or electricity. The
service thus almost certainly becomes a monopoly; and its nature makes
the assumption of its management by the State advantageous. In times of
war, State monopoly of the means of communication (postal, telegraph,
telephone, and wireless) is essential. Even if these services were in
private hands at the outbreak of war, the first action of the Government
would undoubtedly be to assume control.

A further reason justifying the conduct of the postal service by the
Government rather than by private enterprise is that it is a necessity
for the State to provide a means for the regular transmission of
intelligence by letter of script throughout its territory. If the
working of the service were left to private enterprise, it would be
certainly confined to such routes as were found profitable, and those
parts of the country in which profitable routes could not be established
would be left unserved. The State alone can secure the establishment of
a complete service, in which regard must not be confined to
considerations of mere profit.[662] There are also minor features which
render State management peculiarly applicable to the postal service. The
actual operations are simple. As Adam Smith said: "There is no mystery
in the business."[663] The work is for the most part of a routine
character, and calls for no special skill or knowledge. That is not to
say that in the performance of the actual duties there is no room for
the acquirement of considerable manipulative skill. It means that in
principle the chief operations are simple, and may be reduced to routine
processes. There is the further important consideration that the
operations of the Post Office are intimately connected with the daily
life of the people, and are constantly subject to public observation and

Assuming a State parcel service, there is to be considered the question
whether that service should be attached to the letter post or whether it
would be more economical to set up a separate service. It might appear
at first sight that this question has been determined by the practice.
But as the financial scheme of the letter post rests on the fact that
the actual transportation of the letters occupies, as regards expense, a
quite subsidiary place,[664] it is difficult to discover any special
relation between the letter post and a business which is really part of
the general transport industry. It may in some instances be advantageous
to utilize for parcels the service provided for the transmission and
delivery of letters. An organization reaching to all parts of the
country is ready to hand, and one which, in rural districts especially,
is often not employed to its full capacity. It may therefore in some
cases manifestly be economical to give additional work to the service;
but, at the same time, the provision of a service for parcels may in
other cases add unduly to the cost of the general service--as, for
example, when it becomes necessary to make special arrangements on
account of occasional variations in the numbers of parcels.[665]

In any case, a postal service should be limited to parcels of moderate
size and weight, because the Post Office, as at present organized, is
for the most part adapted to the handling of packets which can be
delivered by foot-messengers. In rural districts this is almost
universally the rule.[666] It is frequently necessary in the towns to
separate entirely the parcel post traffic from the ordinary light letter
post traffic (except in those parts of the service where the parcel post
traffic is very restricted), to provide a separate staff, and to furnish
different equipment.[667] In effect, two establishments are maintained.
A separate parcel staff could, of course, collect and deliver traffic of
any dimensions or character. But difficulties would arise in regard to
the transportation from town to town of heavy parcels,[668] and in rural
districts their distribution could not be undertaken without a
reorganization of the general arrangements of the mail service. Any sort
of regular house-to-house delivery would be enormously expensive. To a
large extent--in the United Kingdom at any rate--such a service would be
a duplication of services already provided by railway companies, and
consequently economically wasteful.

The transportation of parcels is, indeed, in many aspects a service more
appropriate to the railways than to the Post Office. The Post Office,
for example, is handicapped as compared with the railways by the fact
that, while the larger part of its traffic in parcels must under present
conditions necessarily be conveyed by railway for some part of the
journey, the actual points of despatch and receipt of the parcels by
the Post Office are not in the large majority of cases adjacent to the
railway stations from or at which the traffic is despatched or received
by railway.[669] It is, in consequence, necessary in such cases for the
Post Office to provide a service between the respective railway stations
and post offices.[670] If the railway companies provided adequate
collection and delivery services there would be no need for division of
the function with the Post Office. In many districts, however, the
railway companies would find the provision of any sort of regular and
universal service unremunerative, and this is probably the ultimate
reason why the State has found it necessary to intervene. In the United
States the introduction of a parcel post, and its extension to heavier
parcels, was avowedly in a large degree due to the fact that in many
parts of the country the railways, which are in private hands, did not
provide any service for parcels. Where a service was provided by the
railways, the rates and conditions were not satisfactory, and the
establishment of a parcel post represents an attempt to prevent the full
application of the principle of charging "what the traffic will bear."

The Post Office, moreover, as a public undertaking, cannot bargain
freely for special facilities or terms with individuals or firms having
large numbers of parcels for delivery within a limited area. Without
such specialization the Post Office must often be unable to offer the
most economical service, and private carrying agencies secure the
business. In those countries where a parcel post is in operation, the
Post Office does not rank as a transportation agency comparable with
those of the commercial world. The traffic which it secures is private
and personal rather than commercial, to a large degree exceptional
traffic which the machinery of the ordinary commercial transportation
agencies cannot, or at any rate in general does not, deal with--traffic
for remote and isolated residences, spasmodic in character, and,
compared with the total traffic in parcels, small in amount.[671] The
uniform rate favours such traffic, but the expense to the Post Office is
disproportionate to the revenue. From the broader standpoint this is
perhaps not altogether loss to the State, since by this means local
industries are often brought in touch with markets which could not
otherwise be reached, and the rural population is enabled to obtain from
the towns many amenities not otherwise procurable.

Viewed in the light of these considerations, and especially of the fact
that it is open to competition at all points where its rates would prove
profitable, it will not appear extraordinary that the parcel post is
less successful financially than the letter post.[672] The conditions
under which postal business is conducted render it impossible to earmark
the expenses properly chargeable to the parcel post, since expenses are
for the most part incurred jointly. But the parcel post is to a large
extent a secondary service engrafted on the letter post, and is perhaps
not properly chargeable with a mathematical proportion of the total cost
of the two services based on the relative cost of handling individual
letters and individual parcels. Theoretical estimates of the cost of the
parcel post must, therefore, be accepted with reserve. But a proved
moderate loss on the parcel post would not be conclusive against the
propriety of its maintenance. Postal rates are simple, definite, and
generally known; and every post office is a receiving agency. It is
convenient to use the post, which offers the further advantages of quick
transmission, and the greater degree of security attaching to a State
institution. The line on which a postal service for small parcels can
best be justified is that by the utilization of existing machinery for
the disposal of additional traffic, not so large as to overburden or
disorganize the practical arrangements, a useful public advantage can be
secured without inordinate cost. Nevertheless, the parcel post service
is not a true postal service, but rather a commercial undertaking.[673]
The question of the legitimacy of State control, which in the case of
the letter post is of academic interest only, is therefore of real
importance in the case of a parcel service, and those who have a
distrust of all State interference in industry may legitimately argue
that it should stand aside from the parcel business.

       *       *       *       *       *





                                 | Single  | Double  |
                                 | Letter. | Letter. | Per ounce.
  Under 80 miles                 |   2d.   |   4d.   |   6d.
  80 miles and not exceeding 140 |   4d.   |   8d.   |   9d.
  Above 140                      |   6d.   |  12d.   |  12d.
  To or from Scotland            |   8d.   |         |
    "     "  Ireland             |   9d.   |  After 2 ounces,
                                 |         |  6d. the ounce.
                     --Royal Proclamation of 31st July 1635.

This was the introduction of postage in the modern sense. The object of
the exceptional rate for Ireland was to avoid interference with a
Proclamation recently issued there by the Lord Deputy and Council.

"A single letter is one written on one sheet of paper sealed; a double
letter is one sheet of paper which covers another sheet sealed up; a
treble letter proportionately."--_Calendar of State Papers_ (_Domestic
Series_), 1658, p. 368.


               For every Letter             |If Single.|If Double.|Per ounce.
                                            |   s. d.  |   s. d.  |  s. d.
  To or from any place within 80 miles      |          |          |
      of London                             |   0  2   |   0  4   |  0  8
  At a further distance than 80 miles       |   0  3   |   0  6   |  1  0
  To or from Scotland                       |   0  4   |   0  8   |  1  6
  To or from Ireland                        |   0  6   |   1  0   |  2  0
  In Ireland--                              |          |          |
    To or from any place within 10 miles    |          |          |
      of Dublin                             |   0  2   |   0  4   |  0  8
    At a further distance than 40 miles     |   0  4   |   0  8   |  1  0
  --H. Scobell, _A Collection of Acts and Ordinances_, London, 1658, p. 512.

ACT OF 1660 (12 CAR. II, CAP. 35).

                                 |On Single|On Double|
                                 | Letter. | Letter. |Per ounce.
  From London--                  |   d.    |   d.    |    d.
     80 miles and under          |   2     |   4     |    8
     Above 80 miles              |   3     |   6     |   12
  To or from Berwick             |   3     |   6     |   18
  From Berwick within Scotland-- |         |         |
     40 miles and under          |   2     |   4     |    8
     Above 40 miles              |   4     |   8     |   12
  To or from Dublin              |   6     |  12     |   24
  From Dublin within Ireland--   |         |         |
     40 miles and under          |   2     |   4     |    8
     Above 40 miles              |   4     |   8     |   12

N.B.--There were no cross posts. Between two towns not on the same post
road, however near, letters could circulate only through London, and
whenever a letter passed through London an additional rate was imposed,
e.g. from Bristol to Exeter (less than 80 miles) a letter would be sent
via London and charged two rates for over 80 miles.

1711 (9 ANNE, CAP. 10).

                                              |Single.|Double.| Ounce.
  From London--                               |   d.  |   d.  |   d.
     80 miles and under                       |    3  |    6  |   12
     Above 80 miles                           |    4  |    8  |   16
  To Edinburgh                                |    6  |   12  |   24
  To Dublin                                   |    6  |   12  |   24
  From Edinburgh within Scotland--            |       |       |
     50 miles and under                       |    2  |    4  |    8
     Above 50 miles and not exceeding 80 miles|    3  |    6  |   12
     Above 80 miles                           |    4  |    8  |   16
  From Dublin within Ireland--                |       |       |
     40 miles and under                       |    2  |    4  |    8
     Above 40 miles                           |    4  |    8  |   16

The initial charge was raised from 2d. to 3d. The area of the penny post
delivery was therefore restricted to the 10-mile circle from the General
Post Office. Previously, towns within about 20 miles had been served by
the penny post, but an additional penny was charged for all packets
delivered in the suburbs.

1765 (5. GEO. III, CAP. 25).

  For Great Britain--
      Not exceeding one post stage            1d.
  For England only--
      Over one and not exceeding two stages   2d.

No change was made in other inland rates.

1784 (24 GEO. III, SESS. 2, CAP. 25).

The rates of 1765 were increased by 1d. for a single letter for
distances under 150 miles, and 2d. for greater distances.

1796 (37 GEO. III, CAP. 18).

  Within England, Wales, and Berwick--     For a Single
    Not exceeding 15 miles                     3d.
    From 15 to  30 miles                       4d.
      "  30 to  60  "                          5d.
      "  60 to 100  "                          6d.
      " 100 to 150  "                          7d.
  Over 150 miles                               8d.

  Within Scotland--

      In addition to existing rates            1d.

1801 (41 GEO. III, CAP. 7).

  Within Great Britain--
    Not exceeding 15 miles                     3d.
      15 to  30 miles                          4d.
      30 to  50  "                             5d.
      50 to  80  "                             6d.
      80 to 120  "                             7d.
     120 to 170  "                             8d.
     170 to 230  "                             9d.
     230 to 300  "                            10d.
     For every 100 miles above 300             1d.

1805 (45 GEO. III, CAP. 11).

  Within Great Britain, in addition to existing rates--

  1d. for a single letter
  2d.   "   double   "
  3d.   "   triple   "
  4d.   " an ounce letter.

1812 (52 GEO. III, CAP. 88).

  Within Great Britain--
                                            For a single
  Not exceeding 15 miles                         4d.
  Above 15 but not exceeding 20 miles            5d.
    "   20      "      "     30   "              6d.
    "   30      "      "     50   "              7d.
    "   50      "      "     80   "              8d.
    "   80      "      "    120   "              9d.
    "  120      "      "    170   "             10d.
    "  170      "      "    230   "             11d.
    "  230      "      "    300   "             12d.
    "  300      "      "    400   "             13d.
    "  400      "      "    500   "             14d.
    "  500      "      "    600   "             15d.
    "  600      "      "    700   "             16d.
    "  700 miles                                17d.

These rates were re-enacted by I Vict., cap. 34, § 3. The usual
increased charges for double, treble, and ounce letters applied
throughout. Additional rates were charged in respect of conveyance by
packet boat, e.g. for a single letter between Holyhead and Dublin, 2d.;
in respect of Menai Bridge, 1d.; in respect of Conway Bridge, 1d.; and
in respect of any letter conveyed in Scotland by a mail carriage with
more than two wheels, 1/2d. (See 1 Vict., cap. 34, §§ 3, 5, 6 and

By 2 and 3 Vict., cap. 52, the Treasury was empowered to regulate rates
of postage, and subsequent changes have been made by Treasury Warrant.


  Not exceeding 1/2 ounce (uniform rate                               1d.
                           irrespective of distance of transmission).
       "          1 ounce (    "            "           "          ). 2d.
  For each additional ounce, or fraction of an ounce, 2d.


Rate for letters exceeding 1 ounce in weight reduced to 1d. for each 1/2
ounce, or fraction of 1/2 ounce, after the first ounce.


  Not exceeding 1 ounce                                                    1d.
        "       2 ounces                                               1-1/2d.

  For every additional 2 ounces or fraction of 2 ounces up to 12 ounces, 1/2d.

For letters exceeding 12 ounces in weight, 1d. per ounce, including the first


Rate of 1/2d. per ounce after the second ounce continued without limit.


  Not exceeding 4 ounces                                     1d.

  For every 2 ounces, or fraction of 2 ounces, thereafter, 1/2d.


  Not exceeding 1 ounce                 1d.
           "    2 ounces                2d.

For every 2 ounces, or fraction of 2 ounces, thereafter, 1/2d.

       *       *       *       *       *


One of the earliest regular posts in England was the post to Dover,
established for the transmission of despatches to and from the
Continent.[675] This post early assumed considerable importance
relatively to the other posts. The settlement of foreign artisans in
this country, in consequence of the persecutions on the Continent,
naturally led to the growth of a considerable intercourse with places
abroad. There was besides a large cloth trade. Letters were not,
however, sent exclusively by the King's post. Frequently the merchants
made their own arrangements for the conveyance of their letters; and
since one of the functions of the post in those days was to enable the
authorities to keep a close watch on all correspondence passing within
the realm, in order that conspiracies against the State might be
detected, this proceeding of the merchants was viewed by the Government
with much jealousy. It led to the first assumption by the State of the
monopoly of the carriage of letters. In 1591, before the use of the
posts for the transmission of inland letters for private individuals had
been officially recognized, a royal proclamation forbade the conveyance
of letters to or from places outside the realm except by the King's
post. A further proclamation to the same effect, so far as it related to
foreign letters, was issued in 1609.[676]

In 1619 the foreign post was separated from the ordinary post, and a
foreigner, Matthew De Quester, who had been appointed by Lord Stanhope,
then Master of the Posts, to superintend the foreign post, was appointed
to control the service. In 1626 De Quester published the following
tariff applicable to foreign letters:--

  To or from the Hague, Brussels, Paris, and Vienna  30s.
  To or from any part of Germany                      6s.
  From Venice for a single letter                         9d.
  From Venice for any letter other than a single
     letter                                           2s. 8d.
  From Leghorn and Florence for a single letter       1s.
  From Leghorn and Florence for any letter other
     than a single letter                             3s. the ounce.[677]

The tariff was incomplete, but is noteworthy as the first set of rates
of any description issued in England for the conveyance of letters by
post. Stanhope had charged certain fees on letters for the Continent. On
letters to or from Amsterdam or Hamburg, for example, his fee had been
8d.[678] But, until this time, no general table of rates had been

By the Ordinance of 1657[679] the following rates for foreign letters
were established:--

                                         | For a |       |
                                         |Single |Double |  Per
                                         |Letter.|Letter.| ounce.
                                         |  d.   |  d.   |  d.
  To Leghorn, Genoa, Florence, Lyons,    |       |       |
    Marseilles, Aleppo, Constantinople   |  12   |  24   |  45
  To St. Malo, Morlaix, Nieuhaven        |   6   |  12   |  18
  To Bordeaux, Rochelle, Nantes, Bayonne,|       |       |
    Cadiz, Madrid                        |   9   |  18   |  24
  To Hamburg, Frankfort, Cologne         |   8   |  16   |  24
  To Dantzic, Leipsic, Lübeck, Stockholm,|       |       |
    Copenhagen, Elsinore, Königsberg     |  12   |  24   |  48

No rates were fixed for letters passing outside Europe.

These rates were not substantially altered by the Act of 1660, although
in some cases a variation according to the route followed was
introduced. For example, a letter sent to the North of Italy via Lyons
was charged 3d. more than a letter sent direct.

Under James II rates of postage (6d. a single letter, 1s. a double
letter, and 2s. the ounce) were fixed for letters to and from Jamaica,
although no service to and from the island was provided by the Crown.

In 1686 regular mail services were established under contract between
Dover and Calais and between Dover and Ostend, and in 1687 a service
between England and Holland. It is probable that packets were sailing
between Dover and Calais before that time,[680] but in general the
cross-Channel services had previously been conducted by boats hired
casually for the conveyance of particular mails. For the Calais service
a sum of £1,170 a year was paid, and for the Dutch service a sum of £900
a year.[681]

Letters from abroad brought by merchant ships (known as "ship letters")
were by the Ordinance of 1657[682] and by the Act of 1660 made subject
to postage on arrival in this country. Such letters were required to be
given up to the postmaster at the port of arrival, who forwarded the
letters to London, where they were charged with the proper amount of
postage. No payment was made to the shipmaster in respect of letters
handed over to the Post Office in this way, and no penalty was incurred
if the letters were not so handed over. This part of the Act
consequently remained a dead letter. The farmers of the Post Office saw,
however, that it would be profitable to them to offer a small pecuniary
inducement to the shipmasters, and accordingly offered to pay a penny
for every letter brought by private ship and handed over by the
shipmaster to the postmaster of the port of arrival.[683] As the farmers
were able to charge the legal rate of inland postage on all such
letters, there was a sufficient margin to leave a profit after payment
of the penny. The regular ship letter fee, which was afterwards
legalized, originated in this practice.

Most of the ship letters came to the port of London, and the
establishment of the penny post in 1680 had a serious effect on the
proceeds of the ship letter money. If the letters were for delivery in
London, they could be dropped into the penny post for delivery at a
penny each, whereas if handed in to the General Post Office as ship
letters they would be charged at the appropriate foreign rates,
according to their place of origin. Thus, letters from Marseilles for
delivery in London would be charged 1s. each, although the service
actually performed by the Post Office was no greater than that performed
for a penny in the penny post. The foreign rates, as applied to ship
letters, were therefore for the most part a simple tax, and the use of
the penny post was greatly resorted to.[684] The Postmasters-General
protested continually against this fraud on the revenue; and in 1696,
in order to put a stop to it, two officers were appointed whose duty it
was to receive letters and packets from all "masters of ships and
vessels, mariners, and passengers as shall be by them hereafter brought
in any ships or vessels into the Port of London."[685]

The payment of a penny a letter to the shipmasters was without legal
sanction until the Act of 1711.[686] This Act revised the foreign rates,
in general in an upward direction, the increase on the rates of 1660
varying from 1d. to 3d., and first established statutory rates for
letters passing to or from the colonies. From London to or from the West
Indies the rate was 18d. for a single letter, and to or from New York
12d. The rate to the West Indies was, in 1765, reduced to 1s. for a
single letter, and this rate became in course of time the standard for
all colonial letters.

In 1796, in addition to the ordinary shilling rate, letters from the
colonies were subjected to a charge at the inland rate in respect of
transmission within this country: e.g., a letter from America would be
charged the shilling rate, and the inland rate from Falmouth to its
destination. An addition of 4d. was also made to the rates on letters to
or from places abroad, other than places in the colonies. In 1805 an
additional penny was laid on letters between Great Britain and the
American Colonies.

The Act of 1711 had made illegal the despatch by private ship of letters
which could be sent by the regular packets; but for places to which no
packet service existed, shipmasters were free to accept and carry
letters, and to charge what fees they chose. So far as it directed that
all letters for places abroad should be sent by packet where a packet
service existed, the Act was ineffective. From the chief coffee-houses
in the City of London it was customary to collect letters to be sent in
this way by private ship where no packet service existed. This practice
was extended to those places to which there was a packet service, and
became generally recognized. Shipmasters usually charged a fee of 2d.
per letter,[687] and the whole traffic was conducted independently of
the Post Office.

No attempt was made to collect postage on letters conveyed by private
ship, whether received or despatched by such ship, except in respect of
transmission within the kingdom. The penny authorized by the Act of 1711
went to the master of the ship. About the year 1790 Frederick Bourne, a
clerk in the foreign department of the Post Office, suggested a scheme
which should bring all ship letters into the post and subject them to
postage for foreign transmission. He proposed that inward ship letters
should be charged a uniform rate of 4d., and outward letters should be
charged half the packet rate; for those places to which there was no
packet rate, the rate was to be based on what the packet rate might be
presumed to be if a packet service existed. In view of the long period
during which the provisions of the Act of Anne had not been enforced in
this respect, Pitt was unwilling to attempt to suppress the illegal
practice which had grown up. He considered that in respect of outward
letters the service performed by the Post Office, which amounted to no
more than sealing the bags and handing them to the shipmaster, was
insufficient to justify compulsory payment of packet postage. The
proposal was therefore adopted only as a permissive measure: merchants
were given the option of handing their letters to the Post Office. The
Act authorizing the change empowered the Post Office to despatch and
receive letters by vessels other than the regular sailing packets. On
letters despatched by private ship the Post Office was authorized to
charge half the packet rates in the case of letters for places to which
a packet service existed; in cases in which no rate of postage was
established, the charge was to be half the rates then paid, as near as
could be ascertained.[688] On letters brought in by such vessels, in
addition to the inland postage, a charge of 4d. a single letter, and so
in proportion, was authorized. A fee of 2d. was payable to the master of
the ship in respect of every letter delivered to or received from him by
the Post Office in proper course.

A Ship Letter Office was opened on the 10th September 1799. No vessel
was allowed to make entry or break bulk until letters brought by it had
been handed over to the Post Office. The chief object in view was not,
however, achieved. Letters sent out of the country by private ship still
continued for the most part to be handed to the shipmaster without the
intervention of the Post Office. Efforts were made to secure the
assistance of coffee-house keepers as agents of the Post Office, but
without success; and for many years the proportion between incoming and
outgoing private ship letters was eighteen to one.[689]

In 1814 a further Ship Letter Act[690] raised the rate on inward single
letters from 4d. to 6d., and made it compulsory to hand all outward ship
letters to the Post Office to be charged. The East India Company, whose
servants had previously been allowed to send and receive letters free,
protested strongly against the new Act, although the official
correspondence of the Company had been exempted. The Company pointed out
that the Post Office maintained no packet communication with the East
Indies, and to charge postage was to levy a charge where no service was
performed, and in effect to lay a tax on letter-writing. They had a
stronger weapon than sound argument: the ships sailing between England
and India were to a large extent controlled by them, and the Act laid no
compulsion on the owners of private ships to carry letters for the Post
Office. When, therefore, the Post Office requested the Company to carry
post letters to India, the Company replied that they did "not see fit to
authorize the commanders or owners of any of their ships to take charge
of any bag of letters from the Post Office subjected to a rate of
postage for sea conveyance."[691] In consequence of this difficulty an
Act was passed in 1815 making it compulsory on all shipmasters to carry
such mails as should be tendered to them by the Post Office. The Post
Office was required to pay the owners a reasonable sum as remuneration
for the carriage of the letters, the ordinary fee of 2d. a letter still
being paid to the commander as a perquisite. The East India Company was
placated by the concession of further exemptions in its favour. By this
Act the rate of postage to India or the Cape was fixed at 14d. the ounce
on letters, and on newspapers at 3d. the ounce--the first enactment
providing a lower rate for newspapers than for letters in the foreign

The result of this Act was eminently satisfactory. In the first eighteen
months or so the postage on letters for India and the Cape of Good Hope
amounted to £11,658, while the amount paid for the conveyance by private
ship was only £1,250; although it should be explained that expense was
incurred for less than half the number of despatches, the remainder
being conveyed by his Majesty's ships, or by ships of the East India
Company which were placed at the disposal of the Post Office free of

Other minor changes were made in subsequent years. In 1836 a postal
treaty was arranged with France, under which certain rates--in general,
rates slightly lower than those previously in force--were agreed for all
letters passing through France.

The rates for colonial letters were revised when uniform postage was
introduced in the inland service. They were made chargeable according to
weight, and for transmission to any port in the colonies were fixed
generally at 1s. the 1/2 ounce.

In 1850, on political grounds, the Postmaster-General[693] proposed the
establishment of a general 1s. rate for all colonial letters. The
proposal was not immediately adopted, but a few years later a rate of
6d. the 1/2 ounce was established for all parts of the Empire except
India, the Cape, Mauritius, and Tasmania. This rate was extended to all
the colonies in 1857, and to the United States in 1868. In 1869 the rate
for letters to the United States, Canada, and Prince Edward Island was
reduced to 3d. In 1875 the Universal Postal Union rate of 2-1/2d. came
into operation. The next great advance was the result mainly of the
efforts of Sir J. Henniker Heaton, who for many years advocated the
facilitation of postal intercourse, especially within the Empire. In
1898 penny postage was established between the United Kingdom and all
the chief colonies except Australia, the Cape, and Natal. In 1905 these
colonies joined, and were followed by Egypt and the Sudan.

In 1907 a special rate of 1d. a pound was established for magazines and
trade journals posted in the United Kingdom, for Canada. The rate did
not cover the cost of service, and its justification is to be sought in
political considerations. In order to secure the low rate Canada
undertook to defray the whole cost of ocean transport. Difficulties in
regard to the financial arrangements arose subsequently, and on the 1st
January 1915 the rate was altered to the following, viz. 1d. for the
first 6 ounces, 1-1/2d. for 1-1/2 pounds, 2-1/2d. for 2-1/2 pounds, and
so on.

Under the old system the rates of postage were for the most part
nominal, that is to say, no attempt was made to adjust the rates to the
actual cost of providing the service, although in allocating between the
different States the total amount of postage, a rough assignment as
between land and sea services was made.[694] The usual 6d. rate for
single letters to and from the various colonies illustrates this. The
actual cost of service must have varied greatly. In the case of the
colonies other considerations, mainly political, were allowed to enter.
In the case of foreign countries the whole arrangements for the
interchange of correspondence were based on such agreements as could be
arrived at, and the actual rates of postage were determined in that
way.[695] The chief difficulties in negotiations occurred in connection
with the division between the contracting parties of the postage
collected. The packet service was often conducted at a loss, and the
rates of postage on foreign and colonial letters were not, in general,
fixed with a view to rendering the service self-supporting, although
this was regarded as a condition to be aimed at.[696]

By the Consolidating Acts of 1837 (1 Vict., cap. 34 & 36) the
Postmaster-General was empowered to require the masters of outward-bound
vessels to accept mails, and to deliver them without delay on arrival at
the port of destination, under penalty of £200.

The general character of the foreign packet service was entirely changed
by the introduction of steam propulsion, which greatly shortened the
length of voyages and introduced a degree of punctuality and regularity
hitherto undreamt of. Until this time the Post Office had, for many
long-distance services, relied on its own packets; i.e. packets sailing
under contract expressly for the conveyance of the mails and under the
control of the Post Office. In 1818, with the introduction of steam
vessels, this policy was changed and that of Crown ownership of the
packets adopted. This method was found extremely costly, and the
Commissioners of Revenue Inquiry reported emphatically against it.[697]

The policy of providing for the service by contract was then reverted
to. It now appeared, however, that vessels sailing for commercial
purposes could be counted upon to sail and arrive regularly, and the
Government desired therefore to make use of them for the despatch of
mails. It was proposed to forward mails by the _Great Western_ under the
powers conferred on the Postmaster-General by the Act of 1837 (1 Vict.
34, § 19) for the prescribed remuneration (§ 24). The owners refused to
carry mails on these terms, and the Law Officers advised that the
Postmaster-General had no power, either by Statute or Common Law, to
compel the owners to carry mails.[698] It was not found necessary,
perhaps it was not deemed wise, to follow up the question of powers. In
1839 a contract was entered into with Samuel Cunard for the provision of
a steamship service between England and North America, at a cost to the
Post Office of £55,000 a year. This policy proved successful. It has
been followed in the case of all the great routes, and has continued
until the present day.

In considering the question of the rates of postage the sums paid to
the shipping companies are a little misleading. The payments were not
then, and are not now, made solely from regard to the fact that the
vessels convey mails. Other considerations, such as the desirability of
encouraging the shipping industry, its value to the commerce of the
nation, and the value of a strong mercantile marine as a naval reserve,
have always entered largely into the question. It was in accordance with
this view, and largely on account of abuses in the administration of the
services by the Post Office which had come to light, that the control of
the Post Office packet services and of contracts for the conveyance of
mails by sea was in 1837 transferred from the Post Office to the
Admiralty. The control was in 1860 retransferred to the Post Office, but
the amount of the subsidies paid to steamship companies conveying mails
has continued to be influenced by other than purely Post Office
considerations. The chief development in this direction has been a legal
decision obtained in 1889, in a dispute between the Post Office and the
Cunard Steamship Company, which arose from an attempt by the Post Office
to introduce the American system of despatching mails by the fastest
ships available, and paying, not a general subsidy, but a sum calculated
on the basis of the weight of mails carried. The High Court ruled that
the Postmaster-General is entitled to have all such mails as he may
think fit received on board any of the Company's ships and conveyed and
delivered at the ports of destination without delay.[699] Failing
agreement as to the payment to be made in respect of such services, the
Post Office can fall back on its statutory right to the conveyance by
merchant ship of all letter mails at the rate of a halfpenny a letter.

The extension of penny postage to all countries has been prevented
simply by financial considerations.[700] In 1910 the question of
establishing penny postage with France received a good deal of public
attention both in this country and in France, but the Government were
not prepared at that time to face the sacrifice of revenue.

       *       *       *       *       *


The great number of the principalities which made up the Germany of the
early Middle Ages, the mutual jealousy of the princes, and the
indefinite authority of the Emperor, made the introduction of any sort
of general system of communication extremely difficult. But for a long
period before posts of the ordinary type were established in Germany,
there existed throughout the Empire a system of messengers

These establishments were maintained by the political administration, by
the scholastic institutions, by political corporations, by merchant
bodies, or by private individuals.[701] Their function was to effect the
exchange of the correspondence of their founders. In addition, the
occasional posts (_Metzger_), merchants travelling to the fairs,
judicial and Imperial messengers, and pilgrim monks were much employed
for the carrying of letters.

The system of _Boten-Anstalten_ was widely extended, and its functions
were not limited to the conveyance of letters.[702] Its messengers
travelled some of the great routes, such as Hamburg-Stettin-Danzig;
Hamburg-Leipzig-Nuremberg; Cologne-Frankfort-Augsburg; and these
services were more or less permanent in character. Services on other
routes were established to meet local or temporary needs, such as the
assembly of the Reichstag, the meeting of the Electors, Peace
Congresses, War Conferences, and fairs; and these services were
discontinued when the occasion which had required them disappeared.

The organization of this system of messengers resembled in many ways
that of ordinary posts: it was established and managed by the political
authorities; the services were regular; the routes were fixed and stages
were appointed; and the messengers undertook the conveyance of letters,
goods, and persons, by foot, horse, or wagon.[703] At a later date
letter-carriers were employed in some instances for the delivery of
letters conveyed by the messenger services. A charge of 3 pf. was
raised on letters so delivered, the delivery charge on letters obtained
directly from the _Botenmeister_ being 1 pf.[704]

The intellectual awakening of the early sixteenth century, the great
discoveries of that period and their effect on commerce, together with
the tendency then developing towards amalgamation of the principalities
and creation of larger political entities, all increased the necessity
for an efficient system of intercommunication. The result is seen in the
establishment of an Imperial system of posts.[705]

The regular Imperial posts were established towards the end of the
fifteenth century by the Emperor Maximilian I. Johann von Taxis was the
first Imperial Postmaster, and the earliest record of his tenure of the
office is in 1489.[706] A decree suppressing the system of
_Boten-Anstalten_ and the _Metzgerposten_ was issued, but these posts
continued, and it was discovered at a later date that their continuance
was not incompatible with the maintenance of a system of Imperial

The Imperial posts were to provide more particularly for the
transmission of despatches, and their immediate object was to provide a
means of obtaining information regarding the Turks, and a means of
communication with the princes of neighbouring territories.[708] Their
history is inseparable from that of the family of Thurn and Taxis, to
whom their management was from the first entrusted. This family was of
Italian origin, and before the establishment of the Imperial posts,
Roger the First of Thurn and Taxis had established a horse-post between
Italy and the Tyrol, which proved of so much value to the Empire that
as a reward Roger was made a chevalier. On the routes along which the
Imperial posts were laid, stages were fixed at intervals of about 5
(German) miles, and messengers were stationed at each stage.[709] These
messengers from the first enjoyed the privilege of exemption from all
taxes and charges in all the countries through which the post routes
passed. The posts were solely for the service of the Emperor, and at his
charge; and at first, like the earlier messenger services, were
established temporarily for special purposes, such as the movements of
the Imperial Court, or to meet necessities arising from war; or
permanently to provide services between distant and newly acquired

In 1500 Francis von Taxis was appointed _capitaine et maître de nos
postes_ at Ghent by Philip the Fair, son of the Emperor Maximilian I,
and in 1505 a convention was concluded between Philip and von Taxis
under which the latter undertook to establish a line of posts between
the Court of Maximilian I, the Court of the French King, and the Spanish
Court, for a payment of 12,000 livres a year. The German and Spanish
services were intended to maintain permanent and regular communications.
The French post was intended to facilitate diplomatic intercourse.[711]
The time occupied in the transmission of letters between Innsbruck and
Brussels at this period was 5-1/2 days in summer and 6-1/2 days in
winter; between Paris and Brussels 44 hours; and between Granada and
Brussels 15 days.

Owing to financial difficulties the payments to von Taxis from the royal
exchequer could not be kept up, and in order to maintain the service
another source of revenue had to be discovered. It was found in the
acceptance for transmission by the posts of private letters, and in
allowing the use of the posts by private persons desirous of travelling.
This was made part of the ordinary business of the posts, with the
reservation that the use of the posts by private persons should not
interfere with or impede the official service.[712]

In 1512 the Emperor Maximilian conferred on Francis von Taxis, and on
several others of his family, titles of hereditary nobility in the
Empire and in the Austrian and Burgundian dominions, together with the
dignity of Count Palsgrave.[713] In 1516 the Taxis posts were extended
to Verona, Rome, and Naples, and were improved and accelerated. In 1615
the office of Imperial Postmaster-General was conferred on Lamoral von
Taxis and his descendants as an hereditary fief.

The actual development of the posts was of a twofold character. At first
the Taxis family were able to establish their posts in various parts of
the Empire without opposition; the princes were themselves satisfied
with their messenger systems, and were indisposed to establish posts on
account of the heavy cost. But after a time, when the profitable
character of the Taxis posts became apparent,[714] the princes
questioned the right of the Imperial Postmaster-General to lay posts
within their territories, and claimed that they alone possessed that
right.[715] In 1597 the posts were proclaimed an Imperial
reservation,[716] but this theory was never accepted by the
princes.[717] The Taxis posts, therefore, never became general
throughout the Empire. Eights were obtained in certain States, so that
they became an important system reaching many parts of the Empire; but
they did not altogether supplant the territorial services.[718]

In the early part of the seventeenth century the struggle against the
monopoly of the Imperial posts developed. The States were jealous of the
growing power of Austria, and political affinities were weakening. There
was, moreover, some feeling against such an office being held by an
alien family.[719] The Palatinate, Würtemberg, Saxony, Brandenburg, and
Mecklenburg established posts within their respective territories.[720]
The whole question became involved with the disputes which led up to
the Thirty Years' War, and the princes found their position indirectly
strengthened by the Peace of Westphalia, which contained no settlement
of the disputes regarding the posts, but merely referred the question to
the next Reichstag. Attempts were made to extend the Imperial posts, but
much opposition was encountered. Nevertheless, the system continued to
expand and attained considerable dimensions. The family held the
exclusive right of carrying passengers as well as letters; and it was
estimated that during the eighteenth century the house of Thurn and
Taxis received a gross sum of 20,000 livres per day, and a net profit of
four millions a year. Some 20,000 men, and a greater number of horses,
were employed in the service.[721]

The Revolutionary Wars were disastrous to the system. The Taxis posts
were in many instances replaced by territorial posts,[722] and by the
Peace of Luneville (1801), which made the Rhine the boundary between
France and Germany, the family lost control of all their posts to the
west of the Rhine. They were, however, compensated for the loss of the
revenues of those posts by a grant of territory
(Reichs-Deputationshauptschluss of 25 February 1803).

In the following years the Prince of Taxis strengthened his position by
a series of agreements with the German States, but with the
establishment in 1806 of the Confederation of the Rhine and the
abdication of the Emperor, the Holy Roman Empire and the Imperial posts
fell together. In 1814 Prince Charles Anselm of Thurn and Taxis
attempted unsuccessfully to regain possession of the posts in the Low
Countries. The territorial posts were not, however, altogether
satisfactory, and the rights of the Taxis family were restored by the
Agreement of 1815, establishing the German Confederation; in pursuance
of which the family recovered the posts in Electoral Hesse in 1816, in
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Oldenburg, and Saxe-Coburg in 1817,
Hesse-Darmstadt in 1818, and Würtemberg in 1819. The posts in other
States were recovered in subsequent years, and in 1848 the Taxis posts
comprised an area of 2,675 square (German) miles, with a yearly income
of a million Marks.[723] In most cases a rent was paid to the State for
the privilege of conducting the posts. Thus, Würtemberg received a
yearly payment of 70,000 florins, the Grand Duchy of Hesse of 25,000
florins, and Electoral Hesse of 40,000 thalers.[724] In addition, the
Governments of the respective States were given considerable privileges
in regard to free transmission of State correspondence, etc. The rates
of postage charged compared favourably with those charged in the States
in which territorial posts were established.[725] In 1850 the rates were
simplified by the introduction of a scale based on three distance zones:
not exceeding 15 miles, 4 kr. (1 sgr.); from 15 to 30 miles, 7 kr. (2
sgr.); and for distances exceeding 30 miles, 10 kr. (3 sgr.). In 1861
these rates were reduced to 3, 6, and 9 kr. respectively for the three
zones.[726] In addition there was a local rate of 2 kr. (1/2 sgr.) for
letters delivered within a distance of 3 miles. In some of the towns a
still lower local rate, 1 kr. (1/4 sgr.) was in operation.[727]

The Taxis posts were, however, still regarded with a good deal of
jealousy, although it was recognized that in some ways the system was
advantageous in providing a unified postal service for a large part of
Germany at a time when it would have been difficult to arrange directly
between the various States for the maintenance of a common service.

The situation was materially changed when, after the events of 1864-6,
Prussia absorbed the duchies of the Elbe, Hanover, Electoral Hesse, the
Grand Duchy of Hesse, Nassau and Frankfort. Prussia, of course, desired
to assume control of the posts in these territories, which formed a
large part of the whole Taxis system. After some discussion of the
rights of the Taxis family, as a result of which it appeared that
legally the system was well grounded, and could not be taken, therefore,
from the Taxis family without compensation, the Prussian Government
decided to buy up the rights of the family in the new Prussian
territory.[728] The taking over of these posts would have left so small
a system in the hands of the Taxis family that they preferred to
negotiate for the transfer of the whole system to Prussia. The
compensation to be paid was based mainly on consideration of the net
revenue of the Taxis posts.

During the years 1855-65 this had been as follows:--

  1855-6     405,582
  1856-7     579,218
  1857-8     692,884
  1858-9     500,412
  1859-60    638,801
  1860-1     648,519
  1861-2     464,751
  1862-3     583,409
  1863-4     753,917
  1864-5     724,405[729]

The amount of compensation was agreed at three million Marks. The sum
was voted by the Prussian Parliament without debate, and on the 1st July
1867 Prussia assumed the control of the entire Taxis system of posts.
The administration was amalgamated with that of the ordinary Prussian


Difficulties arising from the circumstances of the country made the
early establishment of a parcel post system impracticable.[730]

For many years, however, a strong feeling in favour of a parcel post
system existed, especially among the farmers of the West; and with the
establishment of a service in the United States in 1913 it became
impossible to withhold a similar service from Canada. The question was
discussed in Parliament in January 1913, and, as the immediate adoption
of a system was obviously desired, the Government undertook to give the
matter fullest consideration, with the view of submitting a scheme at an
early date. The matter was really of some urgency since, under an
existing Convention, although no internal parcel post service was in
operation, Canada was called upon to carry throughout her territory
parcels originating in the United States; and in June 1913, when the
success of the service in the United States was seen to be assured, a
Bill was introduced authorizing the establishment of a parcel post in

There could be no question of applying a flat rate in a country of such
vast territories and scattered population;[731] and the Canadian system,
like the American, is based on zones of distance. The limits of the
zones correspond with the provincial boundaries. Each province forms a
zone, with a flat rate within its borders; a rate as for an additional
zone is charged on parcels crossing into an adjoining province; and a
rate as for a third zone on parcels crossing an intermediate province to
a third province; and so on. The three maritime provinces are grouped
together as one zone, and a special local zone rate is given for parcels
delivered within 20 miles of the place of posting. This local rate is
independent of the provincial boundaries. It is a concession to the
storekeepers of the smaller towns, given chiefly for their protection
against the competition of the great departmental stores of Montreal,
Toronto, and Winnipeg.

The determination of the actual amount of the rates was left to the Post
Office department, with the proviso that they must be such as would make
the service self-supporting.

The service was introduced in April 1914, with the following rates of

     (_a_) Five cents for the first pound and 1 cent for each additional
     pound or fraction thereof, up to four pounds, and 2 cents for each
     subsequent pound up to eleven pounds within a radius of 20 miles
     from the place of mailing, irrespective of provincial boundaries.

     (_b_) Ten cents for the first pound and 4 cents for each subsequent
     pound or fraction thereof, for all points in the province in which
     a parcel is posted, outside of the 20-mile radius.

     (_c_) Ten cents for the first pound and 6 cents for each additional
     pound or fraction thereof, for all points outside the province in
     which a parcel is posted, and beyond the 20-mile radius, with an
     additional charge of 2 cents a pound for each province that has to
     be crossed to the destination of the parcel, not including the
     province in which it is to be delivered, up to a maximum of 12
     cents a pound.[732]

An additional charge to meet the extra cost of transportation is made on
parcels addressed to or posted at offices in certain outlying districts
when the parcels have to be conveyed on stage routes over 100 miles in

Statistics of the number of parcels dealt with are not taken by the
Canada Post Office.

       *       *       *       *       *


In connection with the transmission of postal packets, other services,
which are supplemental, and in some cases complementary, have been
added, e.g. registration and insurance, in order that senders may
protect themselves against loss or damage of packets in the post.[733]
Closely allied to the transmission of ordinary letters is the
transmission of money from place to place, and from early times the Post
Office has also undertaken this function for appropriate fees. This is
the money order and postal order business. These services apply only to
a very small proportion of the total number of packets posted, and may
in general be regarded as exceptional.[734]

In addition to these supplemental functions, the Post Office has usually
been called upon to undertake services which have little or no relation
to the transmission of letters from place to place. Thus, the British
Post Office conducts a Savings Bank, undertakes the issue of certain
local taxation licences (gun and dog licences, etc.) on behalf of the
Inland Revenue Department and local authorities, pays Old Age Pensions,
sells stamps on behalf of the National Health and Unemployment Insurance
Commissioners, exhibits certain Government notices in the windows of
post offices, and, in general, stands ready to perform any service to
which, by reason of its ramifications reaching to the remotest part of
the kingdom, it may be specially well adapted.[735] In many countries
the Post Office has assumed the control of the telegraph or telephone
systems, or both--this, of course, largely in consideration of the
close affinity between the essential character of those
services--transmission from place to place of information and
intelligence--and the primary function of the Post Office; and in
consideration of the tendency of those services, like the letter
service, to develop on monopolistic lines.[736] In continental countries
the Government control of the telegraphs has been regarded as a military
necessity.[737] The assumption of these functions has no necessary
relation to the rates charged for the transmission of packets, but the
circumstances under which the services are conducted, whether at a
profit or at a loss, may indirectly affect the rates.

       *       *       *       *       *


In England, Germany, and France the Post Office has, almost from the
first, been a source of revenue to the State. What has happened has been
that since the reform the Governments have been glad to take whatever
net revenue a penny rate would yield, but, in general, they have not
been prepared to raise that rate in order to obtain a greater
revenue.[738] The only one of the five countries which does not make,
and on principle does not wish to make, a revenue out of the Post Office
is the United States of America.

The penny letter rate is not by any means as low as the cost of the
service. It is, however, not a burdensome charge in any circumstances,
and, although so much greater than the cost, represents in a large
number of instances much less than the full measure of benefit which the
provision of the service confers on the beneficiary. This is, of course,
the ordinary case of the purchaser of a commodity securing a "consumer's
surplus."[739] Rates which yield a profit of 50 per cent. (pp. 76 and
311) must, however, be admitted to contain some element of taxation. In
France particularly the Post Office occupies a definite place in the
fiscal system.[740] There is, however, considerable diversity of opinion
among economists with regard to the theoretical character of this
revenue. Indeed, the general classification of public revenues is itself
not yet agreed upon.[741] Under any classification there is difficulty
in assigning a place for the Post Office revenue. With the simplest and
most fundamental division it has been regarded as falling under one or
other heading, according to the notion of the writer, or in accordance
with certain changes of conception based on variations in attendant

The difficulty of classification arises from the fact that of the total
amount of the postage charges actually levied, only a portion can in any
case be regarded as taxation. A person who purchases a commodity from
the State, but in purchasing it is charged something more than its
actual value, is not taxed to the extent of the whole of the amount
which he is charged. There can be no taxation in that part of the amount
for which he receives equivalent value in the commodity purchased. It is
easy to say of the gross postal revenue that so much is tax (i.e. the
net revenue), and so much is cost of service (i.e. the actual expenses),
though it may not be easy to justify even this distinction;[743] but
what principle is to be followed in determining whether a particular
postage charge (e.g. the letter rate or the parcel rate), or any part of
it, is taxation?

Taxes are reckoned according to the rate of charge. Thus, the income tax
is 2s. 3d. in the pound on earned incomes; but approached in this way
postage is not a tax. If the charge only covers the cost of the service,
there can be no tax.[744] And when there is a surplus (above normal
commercial profit) it cannot be argued that the whole charge becomes a
tax. The solution seems to be that in such a case it is neither tax nor
industrial price. It contains elements of both, and cannot be classed
wholly under either.[745]

The differing analyses of Post Office revenue result largely from their
being based on consideration of the balance-sheet of the Post Office, as
indicating whether postal charges are to be regarded as taxes.[746] The
character of postal charges should not, however, be determined by
reference solely to the amount of the surplus revenue. The true
classification rests on the conception that the character of public
revenue (including Post Office revenue) varies with varying

The penny letter rate is a source of very considerable profit, and is
therefore not a pure price. Nor can it be said that this penny rate,
although it is the source of practically all the profit, is a pure tax.
In the case of a large number of letters there is no surplus beyond the
cost of the service, and often the cost is greater than the yield of the
postage on the particular letters dealt with. In such cases the rate
does not contain any element of tax. In other cases the proportion of
surplus over cost which the rate yields is exceedingly large.[748] But
in all cases it contains some element of remuneration for service
rendered. That part of it which is appropriated to cover the cost of
conducting the service is of the nature of a price for a service
rendered. The remaining part (when found), after allowance has been made
for the element of monopoly, is a tax.[749] But it does not exist in all
cases. Three categories of letters are therefore found; and the letter
rate in general may, according to the circumstances under which the
service is rendered, be (1) of composite character, partly price and
partly tax, (2) a pure price, (3) a mere fee.

The other rates (excepting for the moment the parcel rate) have all for
some specific purpose of State been fixed at a lower level than the
letter rate; but, for the most part, without any nice adjustment to the
cost of service. Consequently these subsidiary rates are not prices, and
do not contain any element of taxation.[750] They are, however, charges
made to individuals in respect of certain services performed by the
State, and fall, therefore, under the heading of fees.

The parcel rates in England and Germany may be put under the same
heading. In both cases the service is conducted at a loss, and the
charges cannot therefore be regarded as prices. In the United States
and in Canada the law provides that the rates for parcels must in all
cases be such as to yield a revenue sufficient to cover the cost of the
service, and the presumption is therefore that in those countries the
rates will partake of the nature of prices.[751]

Although there has been diversity of opinion regarding the nature of
Post Office revenue, there has been remarkable unanimity as to the
propriety of raising a net revenue for the State on the service for the
transmission of letters. In the days of high rates and relatively high
revenue it was not challenged.[752] Sir Rowland Hill's reform took away
any sort of feeling that the revenue obtained from the Post Office lay
as a burdensome tax, but the amount of surplus revenue was still so
considerable that it could fairly be regarded as containing an element
of tax.[753] It has, moreover, steadily increased, and its existence
been made the justification for claims for further reductions of

The use of the Post Office for the purpose of taxation, that is, the
refusal to give away in improvements of service, or by reduction of
rates, the net surplus of revenue, is accepted by economists as
justifiable[755] and the public acquiesces. The surplus is obtained
with the minimum of sacrifice on the part of those who pay, and it would
be difficult to discover a tax in substitution which would fall as
lightly. Apart from the fact that rates higher than would be necessary
for defraying the actual cost of the service must of necessity operate
to some extent to the disadvantage of trade and commerce,[756] there is
little to urge against the raising of revenue from the Post Office,
especially as it is obtained from such popular charges as a penny and a
halfpenny, which are well within the reach of the poorest. Payment is,
moreover, in a large degree voluntary. The number of letters which a
private individual must write, and cannot avoid writing, in the course
of a year is very small. If he has anything of importance to write, he
does not think a penny an excessive sum to pay for its transmission. If
he has nothing to write, there is no law to compel him to pay postage.
The profits of postage are, however, large; and the existence of the
State monopoly, and the essentially fiscal character of the rates
charged, should not be overlooked.[757]

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: UNITED KINGDOM (1725-1851)]

[Illustration: UNITED KINGDOM (1820-1914)]

[Illustration: UNITED KINGDOM]

[Illustration: UNITED KINGDOM


[Illustration: UNITED KINGDOM





_Persia_ (_circa_ B. C. 500).

"In Darius's idea of government was included rapidity of communication.
Regarding it as of the utmost importance that the orders of the Court
should be speedily transmitted to the provincial Governors, and that
their reports and those of the royal secretaries should be received
without needless delay, he established along the lines of route already
existing between the chief cities of the Empire, a number of
post-houses, placed at regular intervals, according to the estimated
capacity of a horse to gallop at his best speed without stopping. At
each post-house were maintained, at the cost of the State, a number of
couriers and several relays of horses. When a despatch was to be
forwarded, it was taken to the first post-house along the route, where a
courier received it, and immediately mounting on horseback, galloped
with it to the next station. Here it was delivered to a new courier,
who, mounted on a fresh horse, took it the next stage on its journey;
and thus it passed from hand to hand till it reached its destination.
According to Xenophon, the messengers travelled by night as well as by
day; and the conveyance was so rapid that some even compared it to the
flight of birds. Excellent inns or caravanserais were to be found at
every station; bridges or ferries were established upon all the streams;
guard-houses occurred here and there, and the whole route was kept
secure from the brigands who infested the Empire. Ordinary travellers
were glad to pursue so convenient a line of march; it does not appear,
however, that they could obtain the use of post-horses, even when the
Government was in no need of them.

"_Note._--It was not the distance a horse ridden gently could
accomplish in the entire day, but the distance he could bear to be
galloped once a day. From the account which Herodotus gives of the
post-route between Sardis and Susa, we may gather that the Persians
fixed this distance at about fourteen miles."--George Rawlinson, _The
Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World_, London, 1871, vol.
iii. pp. 426-7.

_Roman Empire._

"The advantage of receiving the earliest intelligence, and of conveying
their orders with celerity, induced the Emperors to establish throughout
their extensive dominions the regular institution of posts. Houses were
everywhere erected at the distance only of five or six miles; each of
them was constantly provided with forty horses, and, by the help of
these relays, it was easy to travel an hundred miles in a day along the
Roman roads. The use of the posts was allowed to those who claimed it by
an Imperial mandate; but though originally intended for the public
service, it was sometimes indulged to the business or conveniency of
private citizens (Pliny, though a favourite and a minister, made an
apology for granting post-horses to his wife on the most urgent
business)."--Edward Gibbon, _The History of the Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire_, London, ed. 1896, vol. i. p. 50.


"The first traces of the Arabian postal arrangements date from about
fifty years after the death of Mahomed. Calif Mdowija, who died in 679,
is regarded as the founder of the Arabian posts. Kodama, a native of
Bagdad, who died in 959, gives an account of the service in his work
called _The Book of Taxes_. There were 930 postal stations on the six
great highroads starting from Bagdad. At some stations there were relays
of horses, but in Syria and Arabia the messengers rode on camels; and in
Persia the letters were conveyed from station to station by messengers
on foot. The postal service under the Califs was an independent branch
of the administration, and in addition to the conveyance of despatches
and travellers was added the supervision of all the authorities in
outlying possessions. Of the two classes of superior postal officers,
the _nowaqquium_ was the postmaster who received the postal packets and
letters and attended to their conveyance, whereas the _farwaneqqyun_ was
a kind of chief postmaster at the capital of a province, who controlled
the work of the postmasters and made his own report on all the civil and
military authorities to the central office in Bagdad. These reports
were so valuable that Calif Abu Djafar Manssur is credited with the
statement: 'My throne rests on four pillars, and my power on four men--a
blameless kazi (judge), an energetic chief of police, an honest minister
of finance, and a faithful postmaster who gives me reliable information
on everything.' It has been said that the Roman _cursus publicus_, the
_frumentarii_, the _agentes in rebus_, and the _curiosi_ served a
similar purpose, but the Arabian arrangement was more systematic. In the
Post Office of the Califs the letters and packets posted, as well as
those received from other places, were entered in special lists, where
their number and address had to be stated. This practice was observed in
India till a few years ago, and it will thus be seen that the letter
bill of the modern posts was in use already among the Egyptians in 270
B.C., and also among the Arabs. From the information that has been
preserved, it is inferred that the Arabian posts did, to a certain
extent, transmit private letters, but this was not done officially, and
the couriers and postmasters conveyed such correspondence, along with
the official despatches, on their own account."--I. G. J. Hamilton,
_Outline of Postal History_, Calcutta, 1910, p. 4.


"Communication was maintained with the remotest parts of the country by
means of couriers. Post-houses were established on the great roads,
about two leagues distant from each other. The courier, bearing his
despatches in the form of a hieroglyphical painting, ran with them to
the first station, where they were taken by another messenger and
carried forward to the next; and so on till they reached the capital.
These couriers, trained from childhood, travelled with incredible
swiftness--not four or five leagues an hour, as an old chronicler would
make us believe, but with such speed that despatches were carried from
one to two hundred miles a day. Fresh fish was frequently served at
Montezuma's table in twenty-four hours from the time it had been taken
in the Gulf of Mexico, two hundred miles from the capital. In this way
intelligence of the movements of the royal armies was rapidly brought to
Court; and the dress of the courier, denoting by its colour the nature
of his tidings, spread joy or consternation in the towns through which
he passed."--W. H. Prescott, _History of the Conquest of Mexico_,
London, 1903, pp. 20, 21.

A similar system existed in Peru (W. H. Prescott, _History of the
Conquest of Peru_, Philadelphia, 1874, vol. i. p. 69).


"From the city of Kanbulu[758] there are many roads leading to the
different provinces, and upon each of these, that is to say, upon every
great highroad, at the distance of twenty-five or thirty miles,
accordingly as the towns happen to be situated, there are stations, with
houses of accommodation for travellers, called _yamb_ or post-houses.
These are large and handsome buildings, having several well-furnished
apartments hung with silk, and provided with everything suitable to
persons of rank. Even kings may be lodged at these stations in a
becoming manner, as every article required may be obtained from the
towns and strong places in the vicinity; and for some of them the Court
makes regular provision. At each station four hundred good horses are
kept in constant readiness, in order that all messengers going and
coming upon the business of the grand khan, and all ambassadors, may
have relays, and, leaving their jaded horses, be supplied with fresh
ones.... When it is necessary that messengers should proceed with
extraordinary despatch, as in the cases of giving information of
disturbance in any part of the country, the rebellion of a chief or
other important matter, they ride two hundred, or sometimes two hundred
and fifty miles in the course of a day."--_Travels of Marco Polo the
Venetian_, London, 1904, pp. 190 et seq.


"The Royal _Nuncii et Cursores_ constituted a very important branch of
the Royal Establishment, and the payments to them form a very large and
important item in the Household and Wardrobe Accounts from the earliest
period when those accounts exist.

"These Messengers were employed both in England and in foreign parts,
and as well on affairs of State as what may be considered as the private
and confidential business of the Crown and Royal Family and the
individuals attached to or composing the Royal Court. These Messengers,
so attached to the Court, became the foundation of the establishment,
which about the time of Henry VIII, or somewhat earlier, assumed the
form of the regular establishment of the Post; and the information
connected with them is important, as showing that the institution was
intimately connected with the person of the sovereign, and that, in the
first instance, it was his convenience that was sought. Those servants
who, by usage, were more particularly employed on State affairs,
probably became those who are now specially termed the 'Queen's
Messengers.'"--_Report from Secret Committee on the Post Office_
(_Commons_), 1844, Appx., p. 21.


     A Proposition for setling of Staffets or pacquet posts betwixt
     London and all parts of his Maiesties dominions, for the carrying
     and recarrying of his subiects l[~r]es. The cleere proffitt whereof
     to goe towards the payment of the Postm^{rs} of y^{e} Roades of
     England, for w^{ch} his Ma^{tie} is now chardged w^{th} 3400_l._ p

In the first place, a certen office or compting house to be by his
Ma^{tie} appointed w^{th}in the cittie of London, of purpose for
carrying out & receiving in of all L[~r]es to be conveyed from y^{e}
cittie of London into all p^{ts} w^{th}in his Ma^{ts} dominions &
answers thereof retorned to the said Cittie of London, according as
occasion shall serve.

Inprimis, for the Northerne and Scotland roade, All l[~r]es to be put
into one Portmantle that shalbe directed to Edenburgh in Scotland, and
for all places of the s^{d} roade, or neere the s^{d} roade, to be
accordinglie put into y^{e} s^{d} Portmantle, w^{th} [p=]ticuler baggs
directed to such Postm^{rs} as live upon the Road neere unto any Cittie
or Towne Corporate.

_As for Example_--

One Bagge to be directed to Cambridge w^{th} such l[~r]es therein as
shalbe directed to that place or neere thereunto; to take port for them
as is now p[~d] to the Carriers, w^{ch} is Two pence a single l[~r]e,
and so accordinglie as they shalbe in bignes. At Cambridge a footpost to
be provided, w^{th} a knowne badge of his Ma^{ts} Armes, whome upon the
markett daies is to goe to all Townes w^{th}in 6: 8: or 10 miles, there
to receive & deliver all such l[~r]es as shalbe directed to those
places. The l[~r]es that the s^{d} footpost shall then and there
receive, hee is to bring them to the s^{d} Towne of Cambridge before the
retorne of the Portmantle out of Scotland, w^{ch} is to retorne at a
certen daie & houre, by w^{ch} meanes they maie be upon the verie
instante comeing back of the s^{d} Portmantle, as before, put into a
little bagge, w^{ch} s^{d} bagg is to be put into y^{e} s^{d} Portmantle
as aforesaid. It is alwaies to be understood that upon the verie instant
cominge of the Portmantle to Cambridge, the bagg of l[~r]es for that
place & thereaboutes ymmediatly to be tooke out of the s^{d} Portmantle;
the said Portmantle being presentlie to goe forwards, night and day,
w^{th}out stay, to Huntingdon, w^{th} fresh horse & man. At w^{ch} place
the like rule is to be observed as before at Cambridge, & so the s^{d}
Portmantle is to goe from Stage to Stage, night & day, till it shall
come to Edenburgh. The bags of l[~r]es to be left at all Stages as at
Cambridge and Huntingdon, as before.

Only it is to be understood, that the further the l[~r]es shall goe, the
port thereof is to be advanced, as to 3^{d}, 4^{d}, & 6^{d}, & to
Scotland more. By this way of carrying and recarrying of l[~r]es, his
Ma^{ts} subjects shall, once in 6 daies, receive answer from Edenburgh
in Scotland, and so consequently from all p^{ts} betwixt London &

The daie and howre of the comeing and going of the s^{d} Portmantle to
and from London to be alwaies certaine. By w^{ch} meanes all Stages upon
the Road will knowe at what certen howre the Portmantle is to come to
y^{t} place.

It is truth it maie be alledged, that some Citties & Townes of noate
will lye so farre from any of the mayne Roads of England, as Hull &
other Townes of noate upon the Sea coasts, as that it wilbe impossible
for a footman to carry and recarry the s^{d} l[~r]es w^{th}in such time
as shalbe limitted: for remedie thereof a horse is to be provided for
the s^{d} footpost, for the execu[=co]n of the s^{d} service w^{th} more

The like rule is to be observed to Westchester & so to Ireland.

The like rule is to be observed to Oxford, Bristoll, & so to Ireland.

The like rule is to be observed to Worcester, Shrewesbury, and so to
y^{e} Marches of Wales.

The like rule to be observed to Exceter, & so to Plymouth.

The like rule to be observed to Canterbury, & so to Dovo^{r}.

The like rule to be observed to Chelmesford, Colchester, and so to

The like rule to be observed to Newmarket, Bury, Norw^{ch}, and so to

In the first place, it wilbe a great furtherance to the correspondency
betwixt London & Scotland, & London & Ireland, and great help to Trades,
& true affec[=co]n of his Ma^{ts} subiects betwixt theis kingdomes,
which, for want of true correspondency of l[~r]es, is now destroyed, & a
thing above all things observed by all other nations.

_As for Example_--

If anie of his M^{ats} subiects shall write to Madrill, in Spain, hee
shall receive answer sooner & surer then hee shall out of Scotland or
Ireland. The l[~r]es being now carried by carriers or footposts 16 or 18
miles a day, it is full two monthes before any answer can be received
from Scotland or Ireland to London, w^{ch} by this Conveyance all
l[~r]es shall goe 120 miles at y^{e} least in one day & night.

It will Secondlie be alledged, that it is a wrong to the Carriers that
bring the said letters. To which is answered, a Carrier setts out from
Westchester to London on the Mundaie, w^{ch} is 120 miles. The s^{d}
Carrier is 8 daies upon the Road, and upon his cominge to London
delivers his letters of advise for his relodinge to Westchester againe,
and his forced to staie in London two daies at extraordinary charges
before he can get his loding redy.

By this Conveyance l[~r]es wilbe fr[=o] Westchester to London in one day
& night, so that the s^{d} Carriers loading wilbe made ready a weeke
before the s^{d} Carriers shall come to London, and they no sooner come
to London but maie be redy to depte againe.

The like will fall out in all other pts.

Besides, if at any time there should be occasion to write from anie of
the coast Townes in England or Scotland to London, by this Conveyance
l[~r]es wilbe brought ymmediatly: & from all such places there wilbe
weekely advise to & from London.

_As for Example_--

Anie fight at Sea: any distress of his Ma^{ts} shipps, (w^{ch} Godd
forbidd), anie wrong offered by any other nation to any of y^{e} Coaste
of England, or anie of his Ma^{ts} forts: the Posts being punctually
paid, the newes will come sooner then thought.

It wilbe, thirdlie, alledged that this service maie be [^p]tended by
the Lo: Stanhope to be in his graunt of Post M^{r} of England. To w^{ch}
is answered, neither the Lo: Stanhope, nor anie other that ever enjoyed
the Postm^{s} place of England, had any benefitt of the carrying and
recarrying of the subiects L[~r]es: beside, the profitt is to paie y^{e}
Posts of the Road, w^{ch} next unto his Ma^{tie}, belong to y^{e} office
of the s^{d} Lo: Stanhope, and upon determina[=co]n of any of the s^{d}
Posts places, by death or otherwise, the Lo: Stanhope will make as much
of them as hath heretofore bin made by this said advancement of all
theire places.

The Lord Stanhope now enioying what either hee or any of his
Predecesso^{s} hath ever heretofore done to this day.

(Indorsed by Sec. Coke)

"Proposition for Missive Letters."

--_Report from Secret Committee on the Post Office_ (_Commons_), 1844,
Appx., pp. 55-6.


No. 1.

"Whereas heretofore sundry wayes have bene devised to redresse the
disorders among the postes of our realme in generall, and particularly
to prevent the inconveniences, both to our owne service and the lawfull
trade of the honest merchants, by prohibiting that no persons whatsoever
should take upon them, publiquely or privately, to procure, gather up,
receive ... any packets or letters to or from the countreys beyond the
seas, except such our ordinarie posts and messengers for those parties,
etc."--royal Proclamation, April 26th 1591.

No. 2.

"There has long been a constant trade betwixt London and Norwich in
sundry sorts of stuffs and stockings made in Norwich and Norfolk, which
trade has always been maintained by the merchants of Norwich employing
their stocks in buying wares of the makers and sending them up weekly in
carts by common carriers to London, whence they are dispersed into all
parts of this kingdom, and also exported to foreign parts, in which
intercourse of trade we always had our letters safely and speedily
carried by our common carrier, by a horseman, not in manner of postage
by change of horses, but as is usual by common carriers, and for little
or no charge to us. Of late Mr. Witherings has intercepted our letters
and molested our carriers, forbidding them to carry any of our letters
otherwise than to go along with their carts, and no faster."--Petition
to Privy Council, 1638; J. W. Hyde, _The Post in Grant and Farm_,
London, 1894, p. 131.

No. 3.

" ... By a Proclamation dated about July 1635 his Majestie did expresse
his pleasure, that _Thomas Witherings_ should have the carriage of the
said letters who would settle it in a better and more speedy course;
thereupon he undertook the said work, and for a long time, after his
said undertaking, it cost him some weeks 20l. 30l. 40l. more than he
received, to the great weakening and hazard of the ruine of his estate.
It is verie true, that untill he had his patent of his Office granted
unto him for his life, which was in the yeare 1637, he did in some
places lay horses of his owne, in others he did make use of the
ordinarie Post-horses, and because he desired quick dispatch, hee paid
them for a guide and a horse to carrie the male 6d. _per_ mile, after
not conceiving a guide necessarie he made only use of one horse, and
paid 3d. _per_ mile.... for the other Posts, they have 3d. _per_ mile
which is more than ordinarie pay. But the objection which seems to
carrie the greatest shew, or colour of probabilitie with it is; That the
P^{mrs} had formerly 4,000_l._ _per annum_ fee, onely for carrying his
Majesties packets, that Witherings hath reduced this to 2,053l. _per
annum_, and yet puts a greater burthen upon them by carrying his male;
hath displaced many of them and received 4,000l. for Post
places."--_Full and cleare answer to a false and scandalous Paper
entituled: The humble Remonstrance of the grievances of all his
Majesties Posts of England, together with Carriers, Waggoners, etc._,
1641, pp. 2, 3.

No. 4.

Reasons presented to the Committee for Postmasters why the office should
not be farmed:--

(1) What is of public interest, if farmed, often becomes a great public

(2) The postmasters who have served faithfully and others who run best
to Lynn, Yarmouth, etc., must be restrained and will complain as they
did in 1642 to the late Parliament which ordered them redress.

(3) By farming, the pay of postmasters will be made so inconsiderable
that they will grow careless.

(4) The expectations of the people now at this juncture so highly raised
to hopes of ease and freedom, will be disappointed when they see new

       *       *       *       *       *

Suggestions for reducing the office into one channel, for easing the
people, encouraging the postmasters and raising money for the public:--

1. To declare it unsafe for private persons to erect post stages without

2. To chose faithful persons in all the roads and appoint a supervisor
on each road.

3. To declare that you have appointed them postmasters and give power to
their controller only to sign labels for speedy conveyance of mails and
give them writs of assistance.

Signed by Robert Girdler and seven others.--_Calendar of State Papers_
(_Domestic Series_), 26th November, 1652.

No. 5.

Offers of the well-affected postmasters to the Posts' Committee....

The order of the Council in the case of the Inland Post Office being
that it be improved to the greatest advantage either by farm or account,
they conceive the advantages consist not so much in the advance of
money, as the service and safety of the State, and beg to offer,

1. That persons of known integrity may be employed in all parts, and a
sufficient salary allowed, as becomes a trust of that great concernment.

2. That a fit person be appointed for the control thereof, according to
orders from the State, etc.

3. As righteousness exalteth a nation, it is hoped that after the
expense of so much blood and treasure, the very things adjudged and
condemned in others (viz. monopolies) will not now be practised, but
that next to public safety, you will be tender of the people's just
liberty; for both by the laws of God and man it is lawful for every man
to employ himself in a lawful calling, especially in that to which he
has been bred, and it is also lawful for divers men to employ themselves
in one calling, otherwise there must be as many callings as men.

4. For avoiding of many inconveniencies that will follow in the farming
of it, viz.

The persons depositing or obliging themselves for so much money a year,
will not lay out themselves and their estates without expectation of
profit, which must arise either out of the people's letters or
postmasters' labour, besides the hazard to the Commonwealth; for
notwithstanding the faithfulness of the postmasters yet if they will not
do their work at their rates (which may prove an oppression too heavy,
like that in Egypt) others shall.--_Calendar of State Papers_ (_Domestic
Series_), May 1653.

No. 6.

"Petition of John Mann, Mayor, and 22 aldermen & inhabitants of

"Having much commerce with London we have always employed a faithful and
careful messenger to carry letters, bills of exchange, etc., but he has
lately been molested by John Manley whose agents have not only rifled
and detained our letters and goods, but charged more than double price
for small parcels of ware, which is a greater burden to many of us than
the monthly assessment....

"Having bought our liberties at vast expense of blood and treasure, we
hope not again to be troubled with distasteful monopolies but to have
liberty to convey our letters freely."--_Calendar of State Papers_
(_Domestic Series_), 1653-4, p. 25.

No. 7.

"Also it hinders a man to be as civil as otherwise he would, or might
be, in having, or returning an accompt to, or from his friend, many a
man in these times being forced to set a greater value of 6d. or 3d.
then of three times as much in former times, when money was more
plentiful; and certainly any man but a Farmer wil confess it to be a
strange imposition, that a man cannot have an accompt of the condition
of his Wife or Family, without paying thrice as much as he need; & it
seems as unreasonable for a man to be forced to pay 3d. for what may be
done for a penny, (in relation to Letters) as for a man to be compelled
to pay thrice as much for meat or any other commodity, as the price
currant."--J. Hill, _A Penny Post_, London, 1659, p. 7.

No. 8.

1657, CAP. 30.

_Postage of England, Scotland, and Ireland settled._

"Whereas it hath been found by experience, That the Erection and
Settling of one General Post Office, for the speedy Conveying, Carrying,
and Re-carrying of Letters by Post, to and from all Places within
England, Scotland and Ireland, and into several parts beyond the Seas,
hath been, and is the best means, not only to maintain a certain and
constant Intercourse of Trade and Commerce betwixt all the said Places,
to the great benefit of the People of these Nations, but also to convey
the Publique Despatches, and to discover and prevent many dangerous, and
wicked Designs, which have been and are daily contrived against the
Peace and Welfare of this Commonwealth, the Intellegence whereof cannot
well be Communicated, but by Letter of Escript,

"Be it Enacted by His Highness the Lord Protector and the Parliament,
And it is Enacted and Ordained by Authority thereof, That from
henceforth there be one General Office, to be called and known by the
name of the Post Office of England, and one Officer from time to time to
be nominated, etc."--H. Scobell, _A Collection of Acts and Ordinances_,
London, 1658, p. 511.


By Tho. de Laune, Gent., London, 1681.

_Of the Post-office._

This Office is now kept in Lumbard-street, formerly in
Bishopsgate-street, the Profits of it are by Act of Parliament settled
on his Royal Highness the Duke of York. But the King by Letters Patents,
under the Great Seal of England, constitutes the Post-Master-General.

From this General Office, Letters and Packets are dispatched:

            On Mondays--
    To France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Flanders, Sweedland,
  Denmark, Kent, and the Downs.
            On Tuesdays--
    To Holland, Germany, Sweedland, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland,
  and all parts of England and Wales.
            On Wednesdays--
    To all parts of Kent, and the Downs.
            On Thursdays--
    To France, Spain, Italy, and all parts of England and Scotland.
            On Fridays--
    To Flanders, Germany, Italy, Sweedland, Denmark, Holland,
  Kent, and the Downs.
            On Saturdays--
    All parts of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Letters are
  returned from all parts of England and Scotland, certainly every
  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; from Wales every Monday and
  Friday; and from Kent and the Downs every day: But from other
  parts more uncertainly, in regard of the Sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Letter containing a whole sheet of Paper is convey'd 80 Miles for 2d.
two sheets for 4d. and an Ounce of Letters for 8d. and so
proportionably; a Letter containing a sheet is conveyed above 80 miles
for 3d. two sheets for 6d. and every Ounce of Letters for 12d. A sheet
is conveyed to Dublin for 6d. two for a shilling, and an Ounce of
Letters for 12d.

This Conveyance by Post is done in so short a time, by night as well as
by day, that every 24 hours, the Post goes 120 Miles, and in five days,
an answer of a Letter may be had from a Place 300 Miles distant from the

Moreover, if any Gentlemen desire to ride Post, to any Principal Town of
England, Post Horses are always in readiness, (taking no Horse without
the consent of his owner) which in other Kings Reigns was not duly
observed; and only 3d. is demanded for every English Mile, and for every
Stage to the Post-Boy, 4d. For conducting.

Besides this Excellent convenience of conveying Letters, and Men on
Horse-back, there is of late such an admirable commodiousness, both for
Men and Women of better rank, to travel from London, and to almost all
the Villages near this great City, that the like hath not been known in
the World, and that is by Stage-Coaches, wherein one may be transported
to any place, sheltred from foul Weather, and foul ways, free from
endamaging ones Health or Body by hard jogging, or over violent motion;
and this not only at a low price, as about a shilling for every five
Miles, but with such velocity and speed, as that the Posts in some
Foreign Countries, make not more Miles in a day; for the Stage-Coaches,
called Flying-Coaches, make forty or fifty Miles in a day, as from
London to Oxford or Cambridge, and that in the space of twelve hours,
not counting the time for Dining, setting forth not too early, nor
coming in too late.

       *       *       *       *       *

The several Rates that now are and have been taken for the Carriage of
Letters, Pacquets, and Parcels, to or from any of His Majesties
Dominions, to or from any other parts or places beyond the Seas, are as
followeth, that is to say,

                                                                        s.  d.
  Morlaix, St. Maloes, Caen, Newhaven, and places of like    {Single    0   6
    distance, Carriage paid to Rouen                         {Double    1   0
                                                             {Treble    1   6
                                                             {Ounce     1   6

  Hamburgh, Colen, Frankfort, Carriage paid to Antwerp, is   {Single    0   8
                                                             {Double    1   4
                                                             {Treble    2   0
                                                             {Ounce     2   0

  Venice, Geneva, Legorn, Rome, Naples, Messina, and all     {Single    0   9
    otherparts of Italy by way of Venice, Franct pro Mantua  {Double    1   6
                                                             {Treble    2   3
                                                             {Ounce     2   8

  Marseilles, Smirna, Constantinople, Aleppo, and all parts  {Single    1   0
    of Turky, Carriage paid to Marseilles                    {Double    2   0
                                                             {3/4 Ounce 2   9
                                                             {Ounce     2   8

  And for Letters brought from the same places to England    {Single    0   8
                                                             {Double    1   4
                                                             {Treble    2   0
                                                             {Ounce     2   0

  The Carriage of Letters brought into England, from Calice, {Single    0   4
    Diep, Bulloign, Abbeville, Amiens, St. Omers, Montrel    {Double    0   8
                                                             {Treble    1   0
                                                             {Ounce     1   0

  Rouen                                                      {Single    0   6
                                                             {Double    1   0
                                                             {Treble    1   6
                                                             {Ounce     1   6

  Genoua, Legorn, Rome, and other parts of Italy by way of   {Single    1   0
    Lyons, Franct pro Lyons                                  {Double    2   0
                                                             {3/4 Ounce 2   9
                                                             {Ounce     3   9
    The Carriage of Letters Outwards--

  To Bourdeaux, Rochel, Nants, Orleans, Bayon, Tours, and    {Single    0   9
    places of like distance, Carriage paid to Paris          {Double    1   6
                                                             {Treble    2   3
                                                             {Ounce     2   0

  Letters brought from the same places into England          {Single    1   0
                                                             {Double    2   0
                                                             {3/4 Ounce 3   0
                                                             {Ounce     4   0
    The Carriage of Letters Outwards--

  To Norembourgh, Bremen, Dantzick, Lubeck, Lipswick, and    {Single    1   0
    other places of like distance, Carriage paid to Hamburgh {Double    2   0
                                                             {3/4 Ounce 3   0
                                                             {Ounce     4   0

  Paris                                                      {Single    0   9
                                                             {Double    1   6
                                                             {Treble    2   3
                                                             {Ounce     2   0

  Dunkirk, Ostend, Lisle, Ipers, Cambray, Ghent, Bruxels,    {Single    0   8
    Bruges, Antwerp, and all other parts of Flanders.        {Double    1   4
  Sluce, Flushing, Middleburgh, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delph, {Treble    2   0
    Hague, and all other parts of Holland and Zealand.       {Ounce     2   0

All Merchants Accounts, not exceeding a Sheet, Bills of Exchange,
Invoices, Bills of Lading, shall be allowed without rate in the price of
the Letters, and also the Covers of the Letters not exceeding a Sheet,
to Marseilles, Venice, or Legorn, towards Turkie.

       *       *       *       *       *

The said Office is managed by a Deputy, and other Officers to the Number
of seventy seven persons; who give their actual attendance respectively,
in the dispatch of the business.

Upon this Grand Office, depends one hundred eighty two
Deputy-Post-Masters in England and Scotland; most of which keep Regular
Offices in their Stages, and Sub-Post-Masters in their Branches; and
also in Ireland, another General Office for that Kingdom, which is kept
in Dublin, consisting of Eighteen like Officers, and Forty-five

The Present Post-Master-General, keeps constantly, for the transport of
the said Letters and Pacquets;

                          {France, two Pacquet-Boats.
  Between England and     {Flanders, two Pacquet-Boats.
                          {Holland, three Pacquet-Boats.
                          {Ireland, three Pacquet-Boats.
       And at Deal, two Pacquet-Boats for the Downs.

All which Officers, Post-Masters, Pacquet-Boats, are maintained at his
own proper Charge.

And as the Master-piece of all those good regulations, established by
the present Post-Master-General, for the better Government of the said
Office, he hath annexed and appropriated the Market-Towns of England, so
well to their Respective Post-Stages, that there is no considerable
Market-Town, but hath an easie and certain Conveyance for the Letters
thereof, to and from the said Grand Office, in the due course of the
Males every Post.

Though the Number of Letters Missive in England, were not at all
Considerable in our Ancestors days, yet it is now so prodigiously great,
(since the meanest People have Generally learned to write) that this
Office is Farmed for above 40, rather 50,000_l_. a Year.

(vi) THE CROSS POSTS.[759]

No. 1 (_a_).

To the R^{t}. Hon^{ble}. Sidney L^{d}. Godolphin Lord High Trearer of

May it please y^r. Lo^{pp}.

My Lord Grandville and seaverall Gentlemen of Cornwell having
represented to Us that by reason of the Post Road passing along the
South Coast of Cornwell seaverel Inland Towns are under great
disadvantages in their Correspondence paying two pence p^r Letter over &
above the Common Postage being serv'd only by a By Post; We did give
directions to Our Deputys of Exeter, Plym^o, and Lanceston to meet and
Consult what Method might be proper to serve those parts more
conveniently, and at as Easie an Expence to Her Ma^{tie}. as might be,
and to Report to Us their Opinion of that Matter with an Estimate of the
Charge; which they accordingly did, and have proposed a Scheme of that
Matter how 'tis to be performed with the Charge of each Stage, which
amounts according to their Computation to about £260 p^{r} Ann a Sum
more considerable than We at first apprehended; but We doubt the Charge
Her Ma^{tie}. will be put to will Scarce be recompenced by the increase
of Letters upon Settling such a Stage, especially when We consider the
great Number of Letters for that Country which pass Frank: If Y^{r}
Lo^{pp}. shall think fitting a Post be Settled for the Midland Towns, as
well as for the South Coast, We shall upon y^{r} Directions endeavour to
do it with the best Husbandry We can, and as We hope to the Satisfaction
of the Country, and shall lay before Y^{r}. Lo^{pp}. an Establishm^t. to
be approved by Y^{r}. Lo^{pp}.

We have indeed found by Experience in other Places, That where We have
made the Correspondence more Easie and Cheap, the Number of Letters has
been thereby much increased; and therefore do believe such a Settlement
may be attended with the like effect in those Parts. All which is humbly
Submitted to y^{r}. Lo^{pp}.

  R.C. T.F.

  22^{d}. _Novemb^{r_}. 1703.

No. 1 (_b_).

After my hearty Comendations, Whereas my very good Lord John Lord
Grandville and seaveral Gentlemen of Cornwall have Represented to you,
That by reason of the Post Road passing along the South Coast of
Cornwall, Seaveral Inland Towns are under great disadvantages in their
Correspondence; Whereupon you have proposed to Me the Settlement of a
New Post for the Midland Towns, as well as for the South Coast, the
better to Serve those parts, the Charge whereof will Amount to Two
hundred and Sixty pounds p. Ann I approve of what you have proposed, And
do hereby Authorize and Require you to Settle and Establish such a Post
accordingly. But you are at twelve months End to Represent to Me or the
Lord High Treasurer or Commiss^{rs}. of the Treasury then being, how far
such a Post doth answer the Expence Her Ma^{tie}. is at in Settling the
Same. And for so doing this shall be y^{r}. Warrant. Whitehall Treary
Chambers the 7th December 1703.


  To my very loving Friends
      S^{r}. Rob^{t}. Cotton Kn^{t}. and
      S^{r}. Thom^{s}. Frankland Bar^{t}.
      Her Ma^{ties}. Post-M^{r}. Gen^{l}.

No. 2.

     S^{r}. Robert Cotton Kn^{t}. and Sir Thomas Frankland Baronet Her
     M^{ties}. Post Master Gen^{l}. in the Kingdoms of England Scotland
     and Ireland and in all Her M^{aties} other Dominions Territorys and
     Isles thereunto belonging in Europe Affrica and America.

To all People to whom this shall come Greeting know ye, that whereas the
County of Lincoln has not hitherto been Served so well with the
Correspondence by Letters as other parts of the Nation, several Towns
therein not having had the Convenience of a Post at all, and others
having been obleig'd to pay an extraordinary Tax above the Common
Postage, We have thought it proper to appoint Mr. Richard Bigg of
Winslow in the County of Buckingham Gentleman, and Mr. Richard Dixon of
Bourn in the County of Lincoln Gentleman (having receiv'd good Testimony
of the fidelity and Loyalty of both and each of them to Her Ma^{tie}.
and reposing great trust & confidence in the knowledge Care and Ability
of them both) to be our lawfull and Sufficient Deputys with full Power
and Authority to Erect Settle and Establish Posts in such Towns of the
said County for the Carrying and Conveying the Letters as well those
called the London Letters as the By Letters of the said County, as shall
be judged most proper for Her Ma^{ties}. Service, and the improvem^{t}.
of the Correspondence of the said County and to Agree and Contract with
such Persons as the said Richard Bigg and Richard Dixon or either of
them shall think fitt to Agree and Contract with for performing the
Riding part through such Stages as shall be Erected by them or for
keeping Letter Offices in any Towns of the said County, And do by these
presents Depute Constitute Authorise and Appoint the said Rich^{d}. Bigg
and Richard Dixon to be our Lawfull and Sufficient Deputys in manner and
form aforesaid from the tenth day of August next ensuing the date hereof
during such time as We or the Postmaster Gen^{l}, for the time being
shall think fit under such Conditions payments and Instructions to be
faithfully observ'd perform'd and done by the said Rich^{d}. Bigg and
Richard Dixon their Deputys and Servants as they shall from time to time
receive from the Gen^{l}. Post Office in London in writing Subscribed by
Us our Deputy or Deputys in the Post Office, in Witness whereof We the
said S^{r}. Robert Cotton and Sir Thomas Frankland have hereunto sett
our hands & Caused the Seal of the said Office in such Cases used to be
affixed this fourth day of August 1705.

  R.C. T.F.

No. 3.

To y^{e} Rt. Honble y^{e} Lords Com^{rs}. of his Majestys Treary.

May it please your L.sps--

A Proposall having some time since been made to your Lordsps That a
Cross Post might be settled between Bristol & Shrewsbury, you were
pleased to refer y^{e} same to Us to Consider of it & Report Our
opinions thereupon w^{ch} Wee did accordingly and acquainted yo^{r}
Lordsps Wee did hope Wee should find some persons who would at their
Owne Cost and Charges undertake to Settle a Cross Post, upon such terms
as his Majesty would not be a loser and the people receive the benefit
they proposed.

The Establishing such a Cross Roade would undoubtedly be of great Use to
Trade & Convenience to y^{e} People and appeares to be very much desired
by the several Countrys thro' w^{ch} it wou'd pass; but as at present it
might become loss to y^{e} Revenue Wee think it Our Duety to lay y^{e}
whole state of the Case before Yo^{r} Lorsps to receive yo^{r} further
Directions and have hereunto annexed a scheme both of the Charge & loss
that may accrew to the Office thereby.

Wee must observe to yo^{r} Lordsps That Lond^{o}. (from y^{e}
establishing of a post Office) having been esteemed the Center all
letters passing thro' one Road to an other thro' Lond^{o}. have been
constantly taxed with a double post first to Lond^{o}. y^{n} to y^{e}
places where to they were directed, but the settling of this Cross Post
w^{ch} will Cause a direct Intercourse between y^{e} West Bristol &
Chester Roades, all lres, passing that way can only be Charged w^{th} a
single Post according to y^{e} distance of one place from an other; but
y^{n} it ought to be considered on the other hand That the passing thro'
Lond^{o}. is both tedious and Chargeable, and a more Speedy Conveyance
would in all probability produce of an encrease of y^{e} n^{o}. of
letters besides the bringing such into y^{e} Office as are now Conveyed
by Carryers; for where ever there are any Townes w^{ch} have Comerce one
w^{th} an other so as to occasion a Cons^{t}. Intercourse by Carryer or
Tradesmen Wee do find it a General Practice to Convey at y^{e} same time
a Considerable No. of lres as pticularly between Bristol & Worcester &
Worcester & Shrewsbury; where there are two persons that make it their
business to Colect & disperse letters and make a Considerable advantage
by it. That if y^{e} settling this Roade should have y^{t} good effect
to suppress all these By Posts (as in all probability it will)
notwithstanding at present there will be some Loss the Revenue in time
may be Improved by it; and Wee do find that the Cross Road set up 3
yeares & 1/2 since Between E[=xon][760] & Bristol doth now produce about
255l. p. annum neat proffit, but in regard this is altogether new Wee
can not possibly be so much Masters of it as to know w^{t}. terms to
propose to any undertakers that may be equall between the King and them
and therefore if yo^{r} Lordsps do agree to the Proposal Wee are of
opinion it may be most proper to be set up and managed for his Majesty
and Carryed on as far as Chester....


No. 1 (_a_).

To the Right Honble the Lords Comrs. of his Majesty's Treas'y.

Thomas Neale Esq^{re}. humbly sheweth

That their sacred Majesty's by their letters pattents bearing date the
17th day of February 1692 granted to the said Thomas Neale a power of
settling Post Offices in North America to be executed by a person to be
nominated by the said Thomas Neale and Deputed by the Postmaster
Generall of England and thereby directed that accounts shall be kept of
the Charge and produce of the said Post Offices, and transmitted to the
Right Honble the Lord Treasurer or Lds. Comissioners of the Treasury for
the time being.

That in pursuance of this Grant Andrew Hamilton Esq^{re}. was nominated
and Deputed to erect Post Offices, who hath at Thomas Neales great
Charge settled 'em 700 miles in Length, upon the Continent of America
and kept true accounts of the Expences and proffits thereof, which
acc^{ts}. sworne to by the said Deputy Postmaster before the Governor
of New Yorke are now humbly laid before your Lordshipps and an abstract
of it for yor. Lordspps. ease.

That the said Deputy Postmaster is come over to give your Lordshipps
Information of all matters relating to that subject which your
Lordshipps shall think fit to enquire of, and hath proposed the Method
contained in the Memoriall annexed as of absolute necessity in his
opinion to support the Post, which proves a great service to the Crowne
as well as advantage to his Majesty's subjects residing in those
Colliny's and Trading thither.

  All which is humbly submitted to your
        Lordshipps Judgment & direction.
                        THO: NEALE.

No. 1 (_b_).

     To the Right Honourable the Lords Com^rs, of his Majesty's

     The Memoriall of Andrew Hamilton Esqr. Deputed by the Postmr.
     Generall of England, to mannage the Post Office in North America,
     humbly offered.

The Post Office in North America produces these good Effects.

It encreases Trade and Correspondence betwixt the Colonys there.

It affords Merchts. more frequent opertunitys of Corresponding with

It contributes much towards putting the Kings subjects in security in
time of Warr by ye. frequent Conveyance of Intelligence when allarms
happen, for want of wch. many familys have been cutt off before the
settling of the Post.

And it readily conveys Court Packets from the Colony, where they are
delivered to those whither they are addressed without any expence to the
Crowne, or said Coliny, besides many other advantages.

But not withstanding these Publick and private benefits arising by it
and the unspeakable Loss to those Collonys and England should the Post
fall Yet the Undertaker besides a Considerable sume he hath been out of
pocket already (above the Produce in carrying it on) must still be in
disburse for support of it or must let it fall.

To prevent which it is humbly offered that a postage upon all letters as
well those that come from beyond sea to North America as what go's from
Colony to Colony may be ascertained by an act of Parliament in England.

That no Masters of ships or sailers bound to America shall receive any
letters but at the Post Office to be appointed for that purpose.

That in like manner no Masters of shipps shall receive letters in
America that are directed to Europe or from one part of America to
another but from the respective Post Offices in the ports where they
load or from whence they saile which said Post Offices shall put the
letters in a Maile and take a Receipt of the Master that he shall
deliver them in to the first Post Office where he shall arive free of
charge, for which he shall be allowed in America a penny a letter for
his Care excepting such letters as concerne the ship or cargoe which the
freightors or owners if they think fit may commit to the care or charge
of the Master or friend.

Excepting also such letters of Merchants as may Contain Bulky accounts
which no Master is intended to be hindered of carrying as also excepting
such letters which the agents or proprietary governments may send to the
Respective Governors whose agents they are. It being only hereby
intended that the bulke of letters w^{ch} hitherto have gone very
loosely, to the great Loss of Merchants may for the future be conveyed
in Mailes to prevent frauds or inconveniencys which have often hitherto

That the said Master shall under a Penalty be obliged to call at the
respective post offices where he shall load for the Maile and if none be
ready to be sent that he bring with him a Certificate for his
Justification that he called.

The method at present used to get letters transported to America is

The Masters bound thither put up bags in Coffee houses wherein the
letters are put and for which one penny a letter is usually paid and 2d.
if it exceeds a single letter.

This is Lyable to several abuses.

First any one under pretence that he wants to have his letters up again
may come to those bags and take out other mens letters and thereby
discover the secrets of Merchants and tis in their power intirely to
w^{th}draw them.

2^{dly.} Severall Masters upon their arrivall often keep up letters till
they have disposed of their Loading and are ready to saile again, and
then Drop them to the great hurt of those that are concerned, which
inconveniencys would be prevented if letters were delivered from the
Post Offices in Mailes and likewise delivered by them in Mailes into the
Post Office where they arrive. Offices may be erected in London and
other sea Port Townes in England that Trade with America and so they may
be in Ireland and the same penny a letter which is paid into the Coffee
houses would support such offices in England and Ireland to receive such

Such offices will be a great convenience to lodge such letters as may
concerne his Majestys affairs in America.

If Masters were obliged to receive letters to and from America from the
Post Office only, in Mailes and delivered them so at the first post
office they arrive at; there would be saved to the King a penny a
letter, which now Masters of shipps and passengers Receive, for every
American letter they deliver at the respective Offices and whereas now
many letters are delivered by Masters and passengers themselves to the
persons concerned, all those letters would then be brought into the Post
Office to the encrease of that Revenue.

That it be provided that the Post and his horse shall go fferry ffree.

That the rates following may be set upon letters--

To or from Europe or to the West Indies to North America six pence p.
single letter 12d. p. double 18d. for a packet if a packet contain
nothing but Invoices, accts. Gazetts &ca. to be accounted but as a
single letter.

Upon Inland letters as followes--

  Where the distance from New Yorke to Boston is within 80
      miles the postage                                         6
  Where the distance exceeds 80 miles and within 150            9
  Postage to and from Boston to New Yorke being 300 miles      12
  To and from Boston to Jersey 370 miles                       18
  To and from Boston to Philadelphia 390 miles                 20
  To and from Boston to Annapolis in Maryland 550 miles        36
  To and from Boston to James Towne in Virginia 680 miles      42
  To and from New Yorke to Annapolis 250 miles                 24
  To and from New Yorke to James Towne 380 miles and many
      broad and dangerous Bays and Rivers to be Ferryed over   30

If it be objected y^{t}. there is no reason to grant a postage upon
forrensic letters where the Postmaster is at no charge of Conveyance,

It is answered first that it remidies the evills that letters are
subject to by the present Method of Conveyance.

2^{dly}. It encreases the Revenue of the Post Office in England.

3^{dly}. That those Colonys having but little Correspondence with an
other if the Reale Expence of Conveying letters from Coliny to Colony
were charged upon Inland letters it would discourage all Correspondence.

Exa: The Charge of a letter from New Yorke to Boston at present is after
y^{e} rate of 12d. a letter and considering the fewness of y^{m}. and
the extraordinary charge and trouble of keeping up the Post in time of
Wintor taking it one Post with an other a single letter would not be
Carryed for 5^{d}.

The Charges of settling a Post throughout Virginia and Maryland will
cost at least 500^{d}. p. ann. & 100 letters in a year will not come
from those Collonys to the neighbouring Colonys their Correspondence
being chiefly w^{th}. Europe. All which is humbly submitted by

  May it please your Lordshipps
      Your Lordpps most obedient servant
                  AND: HAMILTON.

I humbly beg leave of your Lordspps to add y^{t}. w^{n}. his Majesty
shall at any time be inclinable to take this Post Office under his
Immediate direction I humbly make a proffer to make a Surrendor of
y^{e}. pattent upon payment of 5000^{d} or 1000^{d}. p. ann. for life
for the remaining Tearme of y^{e}. Pattent.


A Calculation what Charge will carry ye Post from Newcastle in
Pensilvania to James City in Virginia about 400 Miles.

There being a great many broad & dangerous rivers to be Crossed makes it
difficult to procure men to Ryde ye Stages and will cost at least to
carry ye Post from Newcastle through Maryland to James City in Virginia
300_l._ P Ann. I Reckon yt in 2 or 3 yeares & may be less this Charge
will be defrayed by what may Arise by Postage upon letters. The Post
from Newcastle to New England now at last defraying att last its own
Charge there will remain only ye Sallery to be allowed to ye Deputy
Postmaster Generall which by ye Increase of ye Post will in 2 yeares
more in probobility alsoe be defrayed.

As I have laid ye first foundation of ye American Post soe if ye King
think fitt to continue me on this trust I will take upon me ye
managem^{t} of ye whole from Piscatway 70 Miles eastward of Boston to
James City in Virginia w^{ch} is 800 & odd miles for 300_l._ p Annum and
will keep exact Accts. of ye produce.

Soe yt 1200_l._ will in all probability be ye utmost Charge ye King will
be att to bring ye American Post to support it Self vizt. 600_l._ for
two yeares Carrying it through Maryland & Virginia and 600_l._ more for
2 yeares salery to ye Manager or Deputy Postmaster Gen^{ll} and will
thereafter bring in A Revenue All which is most humbly Submitted.

  Dep^{t} Postm^{r} of North America.

  _Aprill 26th 99_

No. 1 (_c_).


The L^{ds}. Com^{rs}. of his Majties Treary are pleased to refer this
petition and ye account annexed to S^{r}. Robt. Cotton Kn^{t}. & S^{r}.
Tho. Frankland Barr^{t}. his Majties Postm^{rs}. Generall who are
desired to examine ye particulars and report to their Lopps a true state
thereof together w^{th}. their opinion what is fit to be done therein.


  The account annex'd to y^{e} petition makes y^{e} charges of Erecting
  y^{e} post in North America from May 1693 to May 97   3817  6 11-3/4
  The produce of s^{d} post                             1456 18  3-1/4
                M^{r}. Neale out of pocket at May 97    2360  8  8-1/2
                                                        3817  6 11-3/4

No. 1 (d).

To the right Honble the Lords Com^{rs}. of his Maj^{tys}. Treary.

May it please your Lordspps.

In obedience to yo^{r}. Ld.spps. Order of Refference upon y^{e}
Memoriall of Thomas Neale and Andrew Hamilton Esq^{rs}. Wee have
Considered the same and do find that the said A: Hamilton hath
Established a regular Post to pass weekly from Boston to New Yorke in
New England and from New York to Newcastle in Pensilvania which must
undoubtedly be of great benefit and advantage to the People and tend to
the encreasing of Trade in those Plantations; Wee have likewise examined
the accounts given in by the said Hamilton of the Proffit and charge
arising by this Post and do find that the Proffits have every yeare
encreased, so as to defray all charges, excepting the sallary paid to
the said Andrew Hamilton for his care in managing and settling the Posts
in North America and it may be hoped that upon the severall Governors
giving all reasonable encouragement to this usefull undertaking, and a
due care in the management thereof, It may in some years bring in a
Considerable proffit.

Wee have Consulted his Majestys Attorney and Solliciter Generall whether
his Majesty can settle the rates and Postage between England and any of
the Ports in America, and for the port of letters to and from New Yorke
to or from any part of the said plantations; and they are of opinion his
Majesty May settle such rates in both respects as shall be thought
reasonable (regard being had to the proportions and rates settled by the
Act), for letters carried beyond sea, so y^{t} it doth not seeme
necessary there should be any additionall Act of Parliam^{t}. for the
settling of rates upon all such letters.

To prevent any Collections of letters that may be made by any Masters of
Ships or Seamen Wee are humbly of opinion it may be proper to appoint an
Officer here whose business it should be to take Care of all letters
directed to any of his Majestys Plantations, and upon going off of ships
to those parts to put them up in severall and distinct bags, sealed with
the Seale of the Office and sent to y^{e} Ma^{r}. of such Vessell who
shall deliver y^{m}. to y^{e} Deputy Postm^{r}. in the first Port where
he shall arrive such Deputy paying him one penny for each letter
Contained in y^{e} said bag as a recompence for his Care: and y^{e} same
method may likewise be observed in England for all such letters as shall
come from America: and upon such Officers being Established it may be
fit to give Publick Notice that no other person presume to make
Collection of letters for those parts.

Wee have Considered of the severall rates mentioned in Mr. Hamiltons
Memoriall for the Inland Post of letters between one place & an other in
America and are humbly of opinion some of them are too high. It having
been found by Experience in this Office That y^{e} easy and cheap
Corresponding doth encourage people to write letters and that this
Revenue was but little in proportion to what it now is till the postage
was reduced from sixpence to 3d.

Wee have advised with Mr. Hamilton who hath settled and managed this
Post under Mr. Neale and is recomended to Us by the Governor of Virginia
to be well acquainted with that Country about enlarging the Post through
Virginia & Maryland and by his Competation hereunto annexed do find that
it will require 1200^{d}. further Charge than w^{t} has already been
expended to Establish and bring the whole to perfection there.

Upon the whole it appears to Us that as the Establishing this American
Post whereby the several Colonys have a regular way of Corresponding
with each other is of great advantage to the Trade of his Maj^{tys}.
Subjects in those parts so it may in few years bring in a cleare proffit
over and above what may be required to defray y^{e} necessary Charges
but it is to be apprehended that considering the same is in the hands of
a private person the severall Governors will not give that
encouragem^{t}. to it they would do if the profit and advantage arrising
thereby were to accrew to his Maj^{ty}. All which is humbly submitted to
your Lordsps. Consideration. Gen^{l}. Post Office 27th April 1699.


No. 1 (_e_).

To the Right Honble &c^{a}.

The humble Memoriall of Tho: Neale Esq^{r}.

May it please your Lordsps.

Though after Strugling with many difficultys in the first settling the
American Post I have now at last at a great Charge made it a regular
Post and brought it to such a pass that where settled it supports it
self and will in a very few yeares bring in a fair Revenue, Yet since
the Postm^{r}. Gen^{l}. in their Report to your Lordsps Conserning y^{e}
Post have declared their opinion that it will not receive so due
encouragement nor so soon attain to perfection in the hands of a private
person for the good of the publick, as it would, were it in the hands of
the King; I humbly offer to lay my Pattent of that Post office at his
Majestys feet rather then an undertaking so usefull & beneficiall to his
Majestys subjects in America and to those that trade thither should want
the least advantage for its support and to leave my selfe to his
Maj^{tys} Justice and goodness for a Recompence of my risque and
disbursments by a yearly Pention or otherwise.

And Whereas in y^{e} Memoriall annexed to the Report, the abuses
hitherto practiced in Conveying letters to America and the method for
preventing them for the future are set forth I humbly beseech yo^{r}
Lordsps. y^{t} the said Method if approved of by your Lordps. or such
other as your Lordsps. shall think more proper may be put in Execusion
for the benefit of the Publick and mine till his Maj^{ty}. shall declare
his pleasure conserning the surrender of my Patent.

  All which is most humbly submitted to yo^{r}. Lordsps.
        Great Wisdom &c^{a}. by
                               My Lords
                                  Your ever obedient
                                         THO: NEALE.

_April 28, 1699._

No. 1 (_f_).

To the Kings most Excellent Ma^{ty}.

The humble Petition of Andrew Hamilton, and Robert West.


That your Maj^{tie}. and the late Queen of Blessed Memory in the fourth
Year of your Raigne, by Letters Patent granted to Thomas Neale Esq^{r}.
full power and Authority to Erect a Post, and Post office in North
America, To hold for one and Twenty yeares without any Account, And by
the same Letters Patent directed the Post Master Generall of England to
Issue Deputations from time to time to such Persons as Mr. Neale or his
Assignes should Nominate, to Execute the same power.

In pursuance of which Grant, the Post Master Generall at Mr. Neales
nomination, Deputed Your Peticoner Hamilton, who hath Setled a Post from
New Yorke Southward as far as Virginia, and Eastward Seventy Miles
beyond Boston in New England, which proves of great Advantage to the
Trade of those Coloneys, and of no lesse Service to your Maj^{tys}.
Governm^{t}. there.

In the Setling and Supporting w^{ch} Post, your Pet^{r}. West, above
seven yeares agoe upon the request and Credit of Mr. Neale, advanced Two
hundred pounds, and your Petitioner Hamilton hath since disbursed Eleven
Hundred Pounds more, and brought it to such Perfection, that it allready
defrays Its own Charge, and will in time be a Considerable Revenue.

That Mr. Neale being unable to pay your Pet^{rs}. or to give them other
Satisfaction, in August 1699 Assigned all his Interest in the said Post
to your Petitioner West for secureing all the Monys due to both your
Petitioners and all such other sumes as your Pet^{r}. Hamilton should
expend in further enlarging the said Post, with Common Interest for the
whole Moneys.

That Mr. Neale Dying before payment of any part of the said Debts, and
all persons declining to Act either as his Executor, or Administrator,
Your Pet^{rs}. will be necessitated to dispose of the said Post for
Satisfaction of their Debts, but being Sensible It is more for your
Maj^{ties}. Interest and Service, to have such Post Under the management
and Controll of some Officer to be appointed by your Ma^{tys}. than of
any Private Person.

Your Petitioners humbly tender the same to your Maj^{tie}. and if your
Maj^{tie}. shall not thinke fit to Accept It, They humbly pray that your
Maj^{tie}. will Gratiously encourage the Continuance and Enlargement of
the said Post, by granting them a further terme of years therein, and
such additional Priviledges as are necessary for the Improvement of it.

And your Petitioners shall ever pray &c^{a}.

At the Court.

No. 2.

LONDON _Feb^{ry}. 8th 1779._


My present disagreable Situation as an Officer under the Crown without
Employment, and without a Salary, occasioned by the Rebellion in
America, induces me to give you the Trouble of this Adress, and to
request your advice and Assistance in procuring that Relief which my
present Circumstances require.

You are not a Stranger to my Appointment to the Office of Deputy
Postmaster of Philadelphia in the year 1776 by the Deputy postmasters
General of North America, and that I continued to act in that Office,
and as I trust to the entire Satisfaction of all concerned, until the
Confusion and Sedition in that Country rendered it impossible for me to
be of any kind of service.

In the Spring 1775 having good Reason to believe from a variety of
Information that there was a Danger of breaking up the Post Office at
Philadelphia under the Crown, and seizing upon all the Monies in my
Custody, I immediately made up my Accounts, and remitted the Balance in
my Hands to the Comptroller in New York up to the 5^{th} April of the
same year.

About this time the disaffected Merchants in Philadelphia set up by
Subscription a post Office in opposition to Government, appointed
William Bradford Postmaster and compelled many of the well effected
Merchants and others to send their Letters to it for Conveyance; and in
May following the Mail was seized in New England under a public Avowel
of the Rebels.

Under these Circumstances finding not only my person was in danger, but
that I could be of no further service to the Crown by my continuing in
Philadelphia, I left it and came into New York where my Conduct being
approved, I procured leave of Absence, and returned to London in order
to represent the true State of the Offices in America, which on my
arrival I did. You will also recollect that as soon as possible after
hearing that the City of Philadelphia was in possession of the Kings
Troops I again embarked under an Expectation that the War would be
settled by the Commissioners, and to take care of the post Office
Affairs in that City. But on my arrival finding that All Letters by the
packets &c^{a}. were taken up by the Commander in Chief, and delivered
not only to the Army and Navy but even to the Merchants, the City being
evacuated soon after, I was obliged to return again to this place for
safety. When in the Execution of my Office my Salary amounted to Two
Hundred and Twenty five pounds Sterl^{g}. p. Ann. out of which I paid
Clerks Wages and Office Rent. This I received up to the 5 of April 1775.
Since that time I have subsisted on my own means (except Two Hundred
pounds at the Post Office by Warrant from the Treasury) without
receiving any other part of my Salary from Government.

In these Circumstances it is with reluctance I find myself under the
necessity of applying for the same Allowance from the Crown, which has
been made to other persons in Office under it, in the like Situation.

I am Sir &^{ca}.


Anth. Todd, Esq^{r}.

Treasury authorized £100 a year from 5th April, 1775, "until he may be
reinstated in the office or otherwise provided for."

No. 3.

  _February 15th, 1793._


In your letter dated the 1st instant which we did not receive till the
8th, We have the honor to inform you that after much difficulty We have
but lately obtained Mr. Finlay's accounts as Deputy Post Master General
in America the first Statement of which was for the period between the
5th of April 1786 and the 10th of October 1790 and exhibited a balance
due to the Office up to that date of £1809.19.4 Sterling but the Account
was inadmissible in point of form for reasons hereafter mentioned.

We are satisfied Sir that you will form no Opinion without having read
the full state of the question on both sides and the proofs and
documents by which Our Conduct towards Mr. Finlay may be judged and that
you will form no hasty conclusion from his statement of his own case,
which you will find to be greatly misrepresented.

In support of this assertion We have ordered Copies of the letters that
We have lately written to Mr. Finlay upon the Subject of his Debt to be
laid before you, And We shall if you will permit us Order our Deputy
Accountant General and desire Mr. Callender to wait upon you and to
explain the particulars of all that have passed.

Mr. Callender is Mr. Finlay's Agent without whose knowledge and
concurrence, We have taken no one step of late in this business, nor
sent out any dispatch to Mr. Finlay that Mr. Callender has not
previously seen and approved.

He will be able to satisfy you Sir, whether our conduct towards Mr.
Finlay has been grounded upon severity or upon forbearance, more than
perhaps our duty strictly speaking, would justify.

In the mean time that we may do away any erroneous impression, which Mr.
Finlay's letters may have made upon your mind, as well as upon Gov^{r}:
Clarke's, We shall shortly put together the points which Our
correspondence will prove, and We shall rely upon your justice to
transmit copy of that correspondence to Gov^{r}: Clarke, that He may
have full and correct information upon the subject.

There is and has long been a considerable balance due from Mr. Finlay,
to this Revenue, for the payment of which he has given no security,
which balance We have repeatedly but in Vain called upon him to pay.

He is in possession from us not as He tells Governor Clarke, of a Salary
of £300 per Annum, but of a Pension of £150 p. Annum, a Salary of £150
more, and a Commission of £20 per Cent on the net produce of letters
within the province of Canada, which he assured us in May 1789 produced
to Him a nett receipt of £130 p. Annum, but previous to his receiving
any net produce, all charges, dead letters, under Deputies Salaries, and
other allowances are by the Words of his Commission, to be first

Instead of this he has charged the Office £20 per Cent upon the Gross,
the dead letters only deducted, and not upon the net produce and claimed
to be allowed for sundry of those Articles of Management, which by His
Commission on the Articles which are to be deducted before the Net
Produce is paid to him.

He also charges his Pension for several quarters, which he must know,
was paid to his Agent in this Country during a part of the time he
claims it in Canada.

In an account amounting to several Thousand Pounds and for several
Years, He has sent us home the particulars of no one Article of
expenditure whatever, & one Voucher only which is but for £27.

His accounts from the length of time and the manner in which they have
at different periods been stated, are in a confused and contradictory
state, and radically wrong, from his having taken considerable credit
for Money received by his Agent here on Account of his Pension, and the
whole of the Articles of his disbursements being destitute of Vouchers,
up to the Period of the 10th of October 1792, without which they cannot
pass this, or the Auditors' Office, together with his having taken a
Credit for his £20 p. Cent on false principles, and contrary to the
words of His Commission, which says it shall be on the Net and not on
the Gross Produce. The Accountant General therefore thought it more
adviseable, and Mr. Finlay's own Agent strongly recommended the measure,
of Mr. Finlay's coming to England to adjust in person, the whole, and
render an Account capable of being incorporated in the Annual Accounts
of this Office, for the Auditors in which the true balance must be

As far as depends upon us We have given him the option to come or not,
just as He pleases, provided We have an intelligible Account and his
Balance paid.

His letter to Governor Clarke of 28th October contains one
misrepresentation which is too strong not to be observed upon; For He
says We are about to reduce his Income from £500 a year to £200, though
We have often told him that We would allow him, and our proposal for
doing so is now before the Privy Council, an income of £400 p. Annum
net, besides £50 per Annum for his Clerk. He will also receive £100 p.
Year from the Province as Maître des Postes, but which in fact is paid
ultimately by this Country, being allowed in the Governor General's
Accounts: however independent of that £100 p. Annum, he will then be in
the receipt of £400 p. Annum from us net Money, free of all deductions
for managing an Internal Revenue in America which will not produce to
this Country at the end of the Year a single shilling after paying the
expence of the Post between Halifax, through the King's Colonies, and
Quebec, besides which this Office pays the expence of four Packet boats
which cost upon the present Peace Establishment about £8000 p. Annum,
though the correspondence between Great Britain and America does not
yield above £3000 per Annum.

The Commissioners of Enquiry recommend that Mr. Finlay's pension of £150
a Year should cease, which however We have continued to Him, And that
his Salary only of £150 p. Annum should remain and they do not appear to
have known that exclusive of this Pension and Salary he enjoyed a former
Commission from the Year 1774 of £20 per Cent upon the net postage of
all Money received in Canada, for which however in our calculation We
had allowed Him £150 per Annum though He in his own dispatches assured
us it produced him only £130 per Annum.

We have shewn this letter to Mr. Church and Mr. Callender before it was
copied out fair, they have altered and approved of it, So that We are
now Sir communicating to you, not only our own sentiments, but those of
the deputy Accountant General and Mr. Finlay's own Agent.

  We are, Sir,

The Right Hon^{le}. Henry Dundass.


No. 1.

To the R^{t}. Hono^{ble}. the Lord Com^{rs}. of his Maj^{tie}. Treasury.

May it please your Lordshipps

The Postmaster Generall Representation for Increasing the Clarks

Wee humbly lay before your Lo^{r}pps that upon some Information given
the last summer to the then Lords Justices as if his Majesties Revenue
of the Post office was lessened by a practice which had been long used
of the Clarks of the Roads sending great quantitys of Gazetts and other
Prints free of postage. Their Exellancyes thought fitt to lay the same
before his Maj^{tie}. who was thereupon pleased to signifie his pleasure
to us by the Lord Keeper (now Lord Chancellor) in a Comittee of Councell
that his Majes^{tie}. did not think it reasonable that Practice should
for the future be continued but we acquainting their Lordshipps that
this having been a perquisite constantly allowed to the six Clarks of
the Roades on consideration of the smalness of their Sallarys it would
be reasonable upon the taking of it away to allow them a compensation
for the same whereupon they told us wee should lay that matter before
your Lordshipps of the Treasury as wee now doe and upon the strictest
enquiry wee can make the Case appears to be as followes.

Upon the first Establishing of the Post office England was divided into
six Roades and a Clark appointed to each Road and their Sallaryes being
but small they were constantly allowed even by the farmers themselves
the privilidge of sending Gazetts and some other prints free, as the
business and Revenue of the office increased by petting up new posts soe
likewise did their perquisites In soe much that complaint was made
thereof to the late King James when Duke of York who upon a full
examination into the matter thought it more adviseable to continue it as
an Incouragement to them than to compensate them by an addition of
Sallary and besides that the office hath considerably increased since
wee came into it the present Juncture of affairs by the frequent and
long sessions of Parliament and the War wherein the greatest part of
this side of the world is engaged hath occationed peoples being more
desirous of News then formerly soe as wee believe the postage of prints
sent by the six Clarkes may now amount to about ... tho att the same
time the Clarkes does not receive soe great an advantage by them they
paying the first cost for them and susteyne frequent losses by their
Customers failing in their paym^{t}. Now upon the takeing this
perquisite from them wee are humbly of opinion it will be reasonable to
give them such an equivolent as is conteyned in the skeme hereonto
annexed for wee must observe to your Lordshipps that not only the
improvement of the Revenue but all the letters being duely accounted for
doth in a great measure depend upon those officers they being the
persons who make the charges upon all the Postmasters of England and the
very nature of the office requires such despatch that its scarce
possible to contrive such Cheque but y^{t} these officers being in
combination with the Postmasters may defraud his Majestie and therefore
it does not seem adviseable that men should be under such a temtation
for want of a due Incouragement.

The attendance is alsoe soe great and at those unseasonable times and
houres as renders them uncapable of applyeing themselves to any other
business whereby to helpe to support themselves and familys though the
Addition of Sallary which we have proposed doth not amount to halfe so
much as the Postage of Prints now sent by the severall Clarkes yet we
cannot say his Majesty will be a gainer thereby for it must be
considered y^{t} many persons who are now furnished with them from the
Clarkes for Two pence a peice will scarce have them if they must pay a
groat or six pence a peice beside the troubling some friend in Towne to
send them and whether they may not find out some otherways of being
furnished with them then by the Post as by Flyeing Coaches &c^{t}. or
whether those officers or persons who have the privelidge of franking
their letters may not hereafter supply those with such Prints as they
are now furnished with from this office.

Whereas the business of the office is soe much increased that for the
regular and due dispatch of the letters wee have been forced to appoint
a Sortor to each Clarke of the Road for an assistant whereby their
trouble and attendance is very much greater then it was and being taken
from sorting the burden and trouble of the rest is proportianably
increased as there are fuer hands to perform it nether they or the
assistant having any other advantage or perquisites besides theire bare
sallary of forty pounds a yeare which is soe poor a subsistance that
such as have dyed since wee came into the office have scarce left enough
to bury them wee are humbly of opinion this may deserve your Lordshipps
Consideration and soe upon the whole matter though we must acknowledge
it an unseasonable time to propose an increase of Sallaryes which has
made us defer it thus long we could not omit this oppertunity of doeing
it and humbly hope if your Lordshipps shall think fitt to give these
poor men the Incouragement proposed it will tend very much to his
Majesty Service in this office.

No. 2.

     The Right Honorable Lord Walsingham, and the Earl of Chesterfield,
     His Majesty's Post Master General.

The undersigned the Clerks of the Roads gratefully considering the
Report made by your Lordships to Government which recommends for them a
Salary of Three Hundred Pounds p. Annum with their present privilege of
franking Newspapers unimpaired ask permission to submit to your
Lordships Notice the following plan for increasing the circulation of
Newspapers and in consequence the Revenue arising from the Stamp duty
probably to the Amount of Eight thousand pounds p. Annum though attended
by no additional expence to Government but entirely at their own risque
and which they have determined immediately to execute should your
Lordships arrangement take place.

They would first premise that when they were relieved by your Lordships
from the payment they formerly made to the officers in this Department
and from the Office which was filled by Mr. Tamineau, they reduced their
charge from forty Pounds per Centum to Twenty & Twenty five Pounds per
Centum on the prime cost of the papers which latter sum is the
additional charge now made on the prime cost by all the Stationers
Printers & Dealers who serve the Country with papers, and if in some
cases it be less, it is on account of payment being made in advance.

They now propose upon the Establishment of your Lordships Arrangement to
reduce the general charge on the prime cost from twenty and twenty five
per Centum to ten and fifteen pounds per Centum, and as all the
circulators of Newspapers will now regulate their charge for Newspapers
sold in the Country by that of the Clerks of the Roads, the charge fixed
by the Clerks will be the general one in the course of Six Months from
its commencement.

This reduction will cause a greater demand for Newspapers in the Country
many who now take a Weekly paper will then take a three day paper & many
who now take a three day paper will then take a six day paper and two
Persons who now join the expence of a Weekly or a three day paper may be
induced by the reasonable charge to take each a paper or increase the
number as above, and as the reduction becomes generally known which by
the means of their Agents the Post Masters and other correspondents
throughout Great Britain & Ireland it can be in fourteen days, the
Stationers Printers and Dealers must likewise lessen their charge or
risk the loss of their Customers.

By abolishing the monopoly once enjoyed by the Clerks in the Offices of
the Secretaries of State, and the Clerks of the Roads in this Office,
permitting the Public to send and receive Newspapers free, the number
increased as this circumstance became known from--20,967 to 78,217
weekly and it is by confirming this liberty to the Public and by a
reduction in the charge that the circulation of Newspapers and
consequently the increase of Revenue is intended to be promoted. The
probable increase in the number of Newspapers circulated in the Country
through the above reduced price may be stated at the lowest computation
at one half penny each upon one hundred Newspapers each Clerk of the
Road, one hundred each of the twenty principal Stationers & Dealers and
for the more inconsiderable Dealers which are very numerous fifty of
whom are known Four hundred papers by every poste, which together will
make the additional number circulated every Post three thousand.

By preserving the privelege of franking to the Clerks of the Roads a
competition will be occasioned between them & the other Dealers, the
Public will be supplied on more moderate terms, and an increase of
consumption will be promoted but should this competition be destroyed by
the abolition of the privelege of the Clerks of the Roads, the principal
Dealers purchasing the business carried on by less extensive circulation
might thereby occasion a monopoly and then fix the price as it might
suit their private interest and diminish the number of Newspapers
circulated thereby greatly injuring the Revenue as formerly by the
monopoly of the Clerks of the Secretaries of State and the Clerks of the
Roads for it would be the interest of the Stationers and other Dealers
as it was that of the Clerks under Government to sell a less number at
an advanced price, the Capital employed would not be so large nor the
trouble nor the risk so great.

The Clerks of the Roads here beg your Lordships attention to a proposal
which there is no doubt will occasion a yet further increase of
circulation of Newspapers, it has been before stated to your Lordships
in the Report upon the Plan proposed by the Commissioners relative to a
Tax on Newspapers that before the duty of one penny postage was laid on
all Newspapers sent by Post to Ireland, the Weekly number remitted to
that Kingdom was upon an Average 8,000, and that the Weekly number now
sent upon an average is only 1,380, should Government consent to repeal
this duty it is evident from the above statement that they would gain a
considerable Sum the Clerks of the Roads will with pleasure make a
considerable reduction in their charge to Ireland, as in the case of
home consumption which will be a means of still further extending of

             { Number of Newspapers which passed through the General Post
             { Office London between the 5th April 1764, and the 5th of April
    1764     { 1765, with the amount at two pence each Stamp duty,
     and     {     London Newspapers 1,090,289                 £9,085. 14. 10
    1790     {
   compared. { Number of Newspapers which passed through the General Post
             { Office London between the 5th of January 1790 and the 5th of
             { January 1791, with the amount at two pence each Stamp duty,
             {     London Newspapers 3,944,093
             {     Country  ditto      123,200
             {                       ---------
             {         Total No.     4,067,293                £33,894.  2.  2

             { Six Clerks of the Roads at 100 each night                  600
  Probable   { Twenty Principal dealers at 100 do.                      2,000
   gain by   { Fifty less Dealers at 8 each night                         400
  this plan. {                                                          -----
             {                                                      No. 3,000
             { 3,000 each night at two pence each Stamp duty   £7,800 p. ann.

             {            To Ireland before the Tax.
             { Number of Newspapers which passed through the General Post
             { Office to Ireland between the 5th January 1780 and the 5th
    1780     { January 1781 at two pence each Stamp duty,
     and     {       416,000                                   £3,466. 13.  4
    1790     {
     to      {            To Ireland since the Tax.
   Ireland   { Number of Newspapers which passed through the General Post
  compared.  { Office to Ireland between the 5th January 1790 and the 5th of
             { January 1791 at two pence each Stamp duty and one penny each
             { Postage,
             {        71,766                                     £897.  1.  6

              EDMUND BARNES          CHARLES COLTSON
              WILLIAM OGILVY         CHARLES EVANS.

No. 3.

     To The Right Honorable Lord Walsingham and The Earl of
     Chesterfield, His Majesty's Post Master General.

The paper from the Post Master General relative to the Tax proposed by
the Commissioners having been communicated to the Clerks of the Roads
and the Inspector of Franks they beg permission to offer the subsequent

That the proposal by the Commissioners for Government to receive a Tax
of a penny for the postage of each Newspaper passing through the Post
Office, however eligible it might appear at the time it was first
proposed, will not they believe at this period, be productive of that
expected advantage to the public the encrease of Revenue, as the reasons
annexed among others may probably prove.

Because since the proposal was made to the Commissioners, and they made
their Report an additional Stamp has been imposed of one halfpenny a
paper, and another halfpenny on each has been added by the Printers, so
that the Public now pay one penny more than they did at that time.

Because the proposed Tax would be a means of compelling the Stationers,
Printers and Dealers to send their papers by Coach the same day at the
customary charge of one farthing each paper instead of sending them by
post on Government Account at a penny the second day. And it cannot be
supposed that a number of persons many of them of considerable property
would quietly submit to have the circulation of their papers confined to
post conveyance at one penny each paper, without those serious efforts
to oppose and prevent it which the prospect of certain and total ruin to
their business and consequently to their Families must excite.

But allowing it were possible to confine the whole of the papers sold in
the Country to post conveyance and a recompence made to those Stationers
and Printers employed in the distribution at present would not the
encreased price occasioned by this Tax very much diminish the Number of
Newspapers now printed to the great injury of the Stamp duty? probably
to a greater Amount than would be gained by the plan proposed. For were
the Stage Coaches prohibited conveying Newspapers all the Morning Papers
now conveyed by them to many parts of the Kingdom would be lost to the
Stamp Revenue, and all the Morning Papers read at the Coffee Houses and
other public Houses, would be collected by the Newsmen at a small sum
each paper in the Afternoon and sent into the Country by the post in the
Evening without the least trouble to themselves, it being their daily
business to go round their London district, early in the Morning, and in
the Afternoon before the dispatch of the Papers by the post.

Before the Penny postage was laid on all papers sent by post to Ireland
the Weekly number remitted to that Kingdom was upon an Average 8,000:
the Number now sent upon an Average is only 1,380 Weekly.

Because when the Tax was recommended by the Commissioners the first cost
of a London Newspaper was threepence only, the first cost is now
fourpence, to which add the Tax for postage it will be fivepence to any
Post Town in England, which is one halfpenny more than the highest
charge now made by any Dealer in the Country for a London Newspaper. But
should this Tax take place the people who live at a distance from any
Post Town must pay an additional halfpenny a Paper and some twopence on
the receipt of each Paper which will bring the cost to fivepence
halfpenny, some sixpence, and some as high as sevenpence each London
Newspaper. This high price the Clerks of the Roads well know by
experience would induce many people to take only a three day paper who
now take a Six day paper and many who now take a three day paper only a
weekly paper, and as the Salaries of the Clerks of the Roads employed in
the business would be certain and no way answerable for any loss on the
papers would there not be a great many people Customers no way able to
pay for their Newspapers many of whom this mode of business would
certainly introduce? consequently Government would be subject to several
deficiencies in payment for Newspapers sent into the Country whether
paid for half yearly, yearly, or each paper on delivery, the Receiver in
the latter case would not feel himself obliged to give notice for his
paper to be discontinued but would refuse it when offered, the cost of
the paper would then be lost to Government. This latter mode of payment
would give an opportunity to the Deputy Post Masters or their Clerks to
Order more papers than actually required which after being read would be
returned with the Quarterly Dead Letters to be allowed as refused or
gone away.

Because the proposed Tax would cause a decided preference of Country
Newspapers to those of London encrease the sale of the former and
diminish that of the latter for as very few of the Country Newspapers
pass through the Post Office, the Country Printers would be enabled to
undersell the London Printers a penny a paper. The usual method with a
Country Printer is immediately upon the arrival of his London paper to
print his own with the London News and disperse them to Runners from ten
to fifteen miles around the Town he resides in; these Runners not only
disperse a considerable quantity of Newspapers but carry also letters
which must materially injure the Revenue.

Because notwithstanding the Revenue to be raised by this Tax is very
uncertain the conduct and management of it will be attended with much
expence taken out of the hands of those deeply interested in its success
the greater Burden will fall upon the Deputy Post Masters in the
Country; the Country Newspapers when they arrive cannot be dispersed
without a direction being numerous, the Deputies will no doubt expect an
increase of Salary adequate to the business imposed on them; this it is
conceived will bring a fresh expence upon Government. In most large
Towns two additional Assistants to the Post Master will be necessary one
at £30 and the other at £20 per Annum, it will also materially delay (in
most of the Post Towns) the delivery of the letters by the time it will
necessarily take in selecting folding and directing the Papers; allowing
the same time to a Post Master and his Assistants as it takes herewith
the same number of hands to dispatch them in the Post Office, the delay
in many large Towns will be from one to two hours.

The Clerks of the Roads not having received any recompence whatever for
the losses sustained by the Act of 1764 which abolished their then
privelege of franking letters and gave to the Public liberty to send and
receive Newspapers etc. free by a permit from Peers and Members of
Parliament to the great diminution of their Sale of Papers; and by the
further extension of this liberty to the Public to send and receive them
free under the Sanction of a Peer or Member's name without the usual
permit; and by the Separation of the Irish from the English Office,
would certainly consider themselves intitled by Justice to a sufficient
recompence for their Lives were the privelege now remaining to them
taken away.

The rest of the Officers in the Inland department who have always been
told to look up to a Clerkship of the Road as a reward for their long
Services would also consider themselves entitled to larger salaries were
the privelege of Franking Newspapers by the Six Clerks of the Roads
further restricted or abolished.

Number of News Papers which passed through the General Post Office
London between the 5th January 1790 and the 5th January 1791 with the
amount at one penny each--

  London Newspapers    3,944,093          £16,433. 14. 5.
  Country   "            123,200          £   513.  6. 8.
                     -----------        ------------------
                       4,067,293          £16,947.  1. 1.


       *       *       *       *       *




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Postal Reform. London, 1890.

HEMMEON, J. C., Ph.D. The History of the British Post Office. Harvard
Economic Studies, vol. vii. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1912.

HENDY, J. G. The History of the Early Postmarks of the British Isles.
London, 1905.

HILL, FREDERICK. An Autobiography of Fifty Years in Times of Reform.
London, 1893.

HILL, JOHN. A Penny Post: or a Vindication of the Liberty and Birthright
of every Englishman in Carrying Merchants and other Men's Letters,
against any restraint of Farmers of such Employments. London, 1659.

HILL, PEARSON. The Origin of Postage Stamps. London, 1890.

HILL, SIR ROWLAND. Post Office Reform: Its Importance and
Practicability. London, 1837.

On the Collection of Postage by Means of Stamps. London, 1839.

The State and Prospects of Penny Postage. London, 1844.

Results of Postal Reform. London, 1864.

Life of Sir Rowland Hill, K.C.B., etc., and History of Penny Postage, by
Sir Rowland Hill and his Nephew, George Birkbeck Hill, D.C.L. 2 vols.
London, 1880.

HORNE, L. T. Postal Communications of the Empire. British Empire Series,
vol. v. London, 1902.

HUNT, F. KNIGHT. The Fourth Estate: Contributions towards a History of
Newspapers and of the Liberty of the Press. London, 1850.

HURCOMB, C. W. The Posts under the Tudors. _The Antiquary_, 1914.

HYDE, J. W. The Royal Mail: Its Curiosities and Romance. London, 1889.

The Early History of the Post in Grant and Farm. London, 1894.

JOYCE, HERBERT, C.B. The History of the Post Office from its
Establishment down to 1836. London, 1893.

LANG, T. B. Historical Summary of the Post Office in Scotland.
Edinburgh, 1856.

LEWINS, W. Her Majesty's Mails. London, 1864.

MACPHERSON, DAVID. Annals of Commerce. London, 1805.

MURCH, JEROM. Ralph Allen, John Palmer, and the English Post Office.
London, 1880.

NORWAY, A. H. The Post Office Packet Service. London, 1895.

OGILVIE, A. M. J. Ralph Allen's Bye, Way, and Cross Road Posts. London,

Article on the "Post Office" in Dictionary of Political Economy. London,

PEACH, R. E. M. The Life and Times of Ralph Allen. London, 1895.

RAIKES, H. ST. J. Life and Letters of H. C. Raikes. London, 1898.

SMYTH, ELEANOR C. Sir Rowland Hill: The Story of a Great Reform. London,

STEPHEN, LESLIE. Life of Henry Fawcett. London, 1885.

STOW, JOHN. A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster. London,

SWIFT, H. G. A History of Postal Agitation. London, 1900.

SYMON, J. D. The Press and its Story. London, 1914.

TEGG, WILLIAM, F.R.H.S. Posts and Telegraphs. Past and Present. London,

TOMBS, R. C. The King's Post. Bristol, 1905.

The Bristol Royal Mail. Bristol (undated).

WEBB, SIDNEY and BEATRICE. The Story of the King's Highway. London,

WILLIAMS, J. B. A History of English Journalism. London, 1908.

WILSON, JOHN. History of the Birmingham Post Office. _Birmingham Weekly
Mercury_, October, 1899.

The Practical Method of the Penny Post. London, 1681.

The Administration of the Post Office from the Introduction of

Mr. Rowland Hill's Plan of Penny Postage up to the Present Time. London,

The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago. London, 1890.

Celebration of the Jubilee of Uniform Inland Penny Postage. London,

Records of the Life of S. A. Blackwood. London, 1896.


Notes and Queries, 1st series, vol. iii; 10th series, No. 141.

Quarterly Review, 1839.

Edinburgh Review, 1840.

Chambers's Journal, vol. vii.

The Postmen's Gazette. London.

The Postal Clerks' Herald. Wolverhampton.

The Telegraph Chronicle. London.

The Postal and Telegraph Record. Manchester.

Telephone Journal. London.

St. Martin's-le-Grand Magazine. London.


Tenth Report of the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament to
inquire into the Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites, and Emoluments, which
are or have been lately received in the several Public Offices therein
mentioned. 1788.

Report of the Committee on Mr. Palmer's Agreement. 1797.

Twentieth and Twenty-first Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into
the Collection and Management of the Revenue arising in Ireland and
Great Britain. 1830.

The Ten Reports of the Commissioners for Inquiry into the Mode of
Conducting the Business of the Post Office Department. 1834-38.

The Three Reports from the Select Committee on Postage. 1838. Report
from Committee on the Conveyance of Mails by Railway. 1838.

Report from Select Committee on Postage. 1843.

Report from Secret Committee of House of Commons on the Post Office.

Report from Secret Committee of House of Lords on the Post Office. 1844.

Report from the Select Committee on Newspaper Stamps. 18th July, 1851.

Report of the Select Committee on Contract Packets, 1853.

Report of the Royal Commission on Railways, 7th May, 1867.

Report from Select Committee on Railway Amalgamations, etc. 1873.

Report of the Select Committee on Estimates of the Revenue Departments.

Post Office Wages. Report of Tweedmouth Committee, 1896.

Post Office Wages. Report of Bradford Committee, 1904.

Report of Select Committee on Post Office Servants (Hobhouse Committee),

The Post Office: An Historical Summary. London, 1911.

Report of Select Committee on Post Office Servants (Holt Committee),

Statement showing the Proposed Increases in Postal, Telegraph, and
Telephone Charges, 1915 (Cd. 8,067).

First Report of the Committee on Retrenchment in the Public Expenditure,
1915 (Cd. 8,068).

Reports of the Postmaster-General on the Post Office. Annually (from

Official Records of the British Post Office.

COBBETT, WILLIAM. The Parliamentary History of England, from the
Earliest Years to 1803.

SCOBELL, HENRY. A Collection of Acts and Ordinances. London, 1658.

Calendars of State Papers.

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.--Reports.

Hansard's Parliamentary Debates.


Report of the Special Committee of the House of Assembly on the Post
Office Department of the Province of Lower Canada. February 11, 1832.

Lower Canada. Report of the Special Committee of the House of Assembly
on the Present Condition of the Post Office Department. March 8, 1836.

Report of the Special Committee of the Legislative Council of Lower
Canada on the Bill intitled "An Act to establish a Post Office in this
Province, etc." March 15, 1836.

Report of a Select Committee of the Legislative Council of the Province
of Upper Canada upon the Post Office. February 17, 1837.

Report on Affairs in British North America, by the Earl of Durham. 1840.

Report of the Commissioners appointed to Inquire into the Affairs of the
Post Office in British North America. December 31, 1841.

Report of a Committee of the Executive Council of Canada on the Post
Office. June 10, 1848.

Correspondence on the Subject of the Establishment of a General Post
Office System in the British Provinces of North America. Montreal,
February 27, 1849. (Appendix B.B.B., 8th volume of Journals of the
Legislative Assembly of Canada.)

Report of the Railway Service Commissioners. Quebec, March 29, 1865.

Canada Official Postal Guide.

Debates and Proceedings in Dominion Parliament, reported in Ottawa

Hansard. Official Reports of the Debates of the House of Commons and of
the Senate of the Dominion of Canada.

KINGSFORD, WILLIAM. The History of Canada. London, 1890.

HENDY, J. G. Early Posts in Canada. _Empire Review_, London, 1903-4,
vols. iv. and vi.


BANCROFT, GEORGE. History of the United States of America. New York,

BURROWS, CHARLES WILLIAM. One-Cent Letter Postage, Second-Class Mail
Rates, and Parcels Post. Cleveland, Ohio, 1911.

FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. Autobiography. London, 1908.

LEAVITT, JOSHUA (Corresponding Secretary, Cheap Postage Association).
Cheap Postage. Boston, Mass., 1848.

LEECH, D. D. T., and NICHOLSON, W. L. The Post Office Department of the
United States of America; its History, Organization, and Working.
Washington, D.C., 1879.

NEWCOMB, H. T. The Postal Deficit. Washington, D.C., 1900.

NICHOLSON, W. L. _Vide_ Leech, D. D. T.

NORVELL, S. Parcel Post. Address at Atlantic City, N.J., November 16,

PHELPS, E. M. Selected Articles on the Parcels Post. Minneapolis, 1911.

SEITZ, DON C. (Chairman, American Newspaper Publishers' Association).
Statement before Commission on Second-Class Mail Matter. New York, 1911.

SLACK, STANLEY I. (Curator of the Postal Museum). A Brief History of the
Postal Service. Omaha (undated).

WILLIAMS, NATHAN B. The American Post Office. A Discussion of its
History, Development, and Present-Day Relation to Express Companies.
Washington, D.C., 1910.

WOOLLEY, MARY E. The Early History of the Colonial Post Office.
Providence, R.I., 1894.

History of the Railway Mail Service. Columbia Correspondence College.
Washington, D.C., 1903.

International Parcels Post. Some Serious Errors Corrected, 1912.
Document H.E. 6171.I.6, Library of Congress.

Report to Members of the American Weekly Publishers' Association of
Proceedings before the Postal Commission on Second-Class Mail Matter.
New York, 1906.

The Private Profit Railway _versus_ The Public Service Post Office.
Postal Progress League (1908).

An Argument on Second-Class Postal Rates from the Business Side Alone.
Submitted to the Postal Commission on behalf of the Periodical
Publishers' Association of America. New York, 1911.

An Answer to the Statement of the Post Office Department showing the
estimates by which the cost of transporting and handling the several
classes of Mail was obtained. The Periodical Publishers' Association of
America. New York, 1911.

The Answer of the Magazines and their Demand. New York, 1911.

Progress of the Contest for a Free, Untrammelled, Independent Public
Press in the United States. Address delivered before the Periodical
Publishers' Association of America (April 17, 1912).

Mail-Carrying Railways Underpaid. A Statement by the Committee on
Railway Mail Pay. New York, 1912.


Report of Committee on Rates of Pay for Carrying the Mails on Railroad
Routes (1884).

Orders and Decisions relative to Railroad Mail Matter (1897).

A Brief Comparison of the Postal Facilities of Great Britain and the
United States (1899).

Report of the Postal Committee of the National Board of Trade (1900).

Railway Mail Pay. Report of Joint Commission to Investigate the Postal
Service (1901).

Record of Weight (July 1-December 31, 1906) of Second-Class Mail Matter

Report of Postal Commission on Second-Class Mail Matter (1907).

Report of Special Weighings of the Mails of 1907 (1908).

Preliminary Report of Joint Commission on Business Method of Post Office
Department and Postal Service (1908).

Data relative to Proposed Extension of Parcel Post (1908).

Cost of Transporting and Handling the Several Classes of Mail Matter

Hearings before the Committee on the Post-Office and Post-Roads of the
House of Representatives on Second-Class Mail (1910).


Instructions to Publishers in the Preparation of Second-Class Matter for
Mailing and Dispatch (May 1).

Information issued by the Second Assistant Postmaster-General relative
to the Transportation of Mails by Railroad.

Letter from Postmaster-General submitting a Report giving Results of the
Inquiry as to the Operation Receipts and Expenditures of Railroad
Companies Transporting the Mails, and recommending Legislation on the
Subject (August 15).

Hearings of the Commission on Second-Class Mail Matter:--

Statements on behalf of the Post Office Department (August 1).

Supplemental Statement on behalf of the Post Office Department
(September 14).

Supplemental Statement on behalf of the Post Office Department (October
20 and 21).

Memorandum filed on behalf of the Publishers of Certain Magazines.

Memorandum on behalf of the Post Office Department in Reply to
"Memorandum filed on behalf of the Publishers of Certain Magazines"
(October 28).

Supplemental Memorandum filed on behalf of the Publishers of Certain

Memorandum on behalf of the Post Office Department in Reply to
"Supplemental Memorandum filed on behalf of the Publishers of Certain
Magazines" (November 27).


Hearings before the Sub-Committee on Parcel Post of the Senate Committee
on Post Offices and Post Roads.

Parcel Post in Foreign Countries (prepared under the direction of Hon.
Jonathan Bourne, Jun., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Post Offices
and Post Roads).

Hearings before the Committee on Expenditure in the Post Office
Department--Rural Delivery Service.

Parcel Post. Speech of Hon. David J. Lewis, of Maryland, in the House of
Representatives (February 2).

Message of President transmitting Annual Report of the
Postmaster-General and Report of the Commission on Second-Class Mail
Matter (February 22).

Postal Express as a Solution of the Parcel Post and High Cost of Living
Problems, by Hon. David J. Lewis, Member of Congress (March 5).

The Parcel Post and Postal Express Situation in Congress. Letter to the
People of the United States by Hon. Obadiah Gardner, United States
Senator from the State of Maine (April 4).

Postal Express: Report from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign
Commerce (April 25).

Alphabetical Scheme of New York for use of Publishers in the
Distribution of Second-Class Mail (May).

Hearings before Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads _re_
Transportation of Periodical Second-Class Mail Matter by Freight (June

Report on Post Office Appropriation Bill from Senate Committee on Post
Offices and Post Roads (July 23).

Parcel Post Bill. Speech by Hon. David J. Lewis in House of
Representatives (August 19).

Post Office Appropriations Act (containing authority for establishment
of Inland Parcel Post).

The Postal Laws and Regulations pertaining to the Second Class of Mail
Matter (October.)

The Lewis Publishing Company _v_. The Post Office Department. Brief for
the Post Office Department (November 19).


Parcel Post Regulations.

Interstate Commerce Commission: In the Matter of Express Rates,
Practices, Accounts, and Revenues. Opinion No. 1967.

Reports of the Postmaster-General on the Post Office. Annually.

Abstract of Laws passed between 1792 and 1910, fixing the Rates of
Postage on Newspapers and other Periodical Publications when sent in the
Domestic Mails.

Abstract of Laws passed between 1792 and 1910 fixing Rates of Postage on
Domestic Mail Matter.

Journals of Congress. Philadelphia, 1781-2.

Journals of the Continental Congress. Philadelphia, 1774-89 (pub.
Washington, D.C., 1904).

Gales and Seaton's Register of Debates in Congress. Washington, D.C.,

The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States. Gales
and Seaton, Washington, D.C., 1849.

Abridgement of Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. New York, 1861.

Congressional Globe. Washington, D.C.

Congressional Record. Washington, D.C.

The Postal Laws and Regulations of the United States of America.
Washington, D.C., 1912.


BELLOC, A. Les Postes françaises. Paris, 1886.

BERNEDE, CHARLES. Des Postes en générale, et particulièrement en France.
Nantes, 1826.

BONNET, EDGAR. Importance des Postes et Télégraphes au point de vue
social et économique. Paris, 1891.

CAZES, LÉON. Le Monopole postale. Paris, 1900.

DELMAS, ALBERT. Les Agents des Postes et le Parlement Républicain.
Paris, 1902.

GALLOIS, E. La Poste et les Moyens de Communication des Peuples à
travers les Siècles. Paris, 1894.

GOUIN, M. (Administrateur des Postes). Essai historique sur
l'établissement des Postes en France. Paris, 1823.

JACCOTTEY, PAUL (Professeur Adjoint à l'Ecole Professionnelle supérieure
des Postes et des Télégraphes). Traité de Législation et d'Exploitation
postales. Paris, 1891.

MAURY, LUCIEN. Les Postes romaines. Paris, 1890.

MERCIER, RENÉ. La Franchise postale. Librairie nouvelle de Droit et de
Jurisprudence. Paris, 1904.

PAULHAN, L. La Poste aux Lettres.

ROTHSCHILD, A. DE. Histoire de la Poste aux Lettres. Paris, 1879.

Les Services postaux français. Paris, 1905.

Répertoire du Droit administratif. Paris, 1905.


Rapport au Président de la République sur les Conditions du
Fonctionnement de l'Administration des Postes et des Télégraphes, par A.
Millerand, le Ministre du Commerce, de l'Industrie, des Postes, et des
Télégraphes. May 12, 1900.

Proceedings in National Assembly. Reported in _Moniteur Universel_.

Proceedings in Parliament. Reported in _Journal Officiel_.

Chambre des Députés. Rapport fait au nom de la Commission du Budget
chargée d'examiner le projet de loi portant fixation du Budget général,
Postes, Télégraphes, et Téléphones. (Annually.)

Sénat. Rapport fait au nom de la Commission du Budget chargée d'examiner
le projet de loi portant fixation du Budget général, Postes,
Télégraphes, et Téléphones. (Annually.)


CROLE, B. E. Geschichte der deutschen Post von ihren Anfängen bis zur
Gegenwart. Eisenach, 1889.

DAMBACH, OTTO. Das Gesetz über das Postwesen des deutschen Reiches vom
28. Oktober 1871. Berlin, 1890.

DIECKMANN, CARL. Postgeschichte deutscher Staaten seit einem halben
Jahrtausend. Leipsic, 1896.

FAULHABER, B. Geschichte des Postwesens in Frankfurt am Main. Frankfurt
a. M., 1883.

GROSSE, OSKAR. Die Beseitigung des Thurn und Taxis'schen Postwesens in
Deutschland durch Heinrich Stephan. Minden in Westf., 1898.

GRUNOW, F. W. Zur Reform des Paketportos in Deutschland und
Österreich-Ungarn. Leipsic, 1898.

HAASS, FRIEDRICH. Die Post und der Charakter ihrer Einkünfte, mit einem
Anhang über die Packetpost. Stuttgart, 1890.

HOLZAMER, J. Zur Geschichte der Briefportoreform in den Culturstaaten.
Tübingen, 1879.

HULL, C. H. "Die deutsche Reichs-Packetpost." Sammlung
nationalökonomischer und statistischer Abhandlungen des
staatswissenschaftlichen Seminars zu Halle (Saale) von Prof. Dr. Conrad.
Jena, 1892.

JUNG, J. Entwickelung des deutschen Post und Telegraphenwesen in den
letzten 25 Jahren. Leipsic, 1893.

KÖHLER, B. Die Reichs-Post und Telegraphentarife in ihren Rechtlichen
Formen. Berlin, 1907.

MEYER, A. Die deutsche Post im Weltpostverein und im Wechselverkehr.
Berlin, 1902.

MÜLLER, C. F. Die Fürstlich Thurn und Taxis'schen Posten und Posttaxen.
Jena, 1845.

Posten und Posttaxen. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1864.

NICKAU, P. J. Wettbewerb in der Kleingewerbeförderung innerhalb des
Reichspostgebiets. Würzburg, 1909.

OHMANN, F. Die Anfänge des Postwesens und die Taxis. Leipzig, 1909.

PERROT, F. Die Anwendung des Penny-Porto-Systems auf den Eisenbahntarif
und das Packet-Porto. Rostock, 1872.

PORTAS, K. Deutsche Postzeitungsgebührentarif. Königsberg, 1914.

RÜBSAM, JOSEPH. Francis von Taxis, the Founder of the Modern Post, and
Johann Baptista von Taxis, his Nephew, 1491-1541. _L'Union Postale_,
Berne, 1892.

SCHMID, K. A. H. Zur Geschichte der Briefporto-Reform in Deutschland.
Jena, 1864.

SCHMIDT, ARTUR. Die Tarife der deutschen Reichs-Post- und
Telegraphenverwaltung. _Finanz-Archiv_, Berlin, 1905-6.

VON STEPHAN, HEINRICH. Geschichte der preussischen Post. Berlin, 1859.

ULLRICH, P. Die Finanzen der Reichs-Post- und
Telegraphenverwaltung. Stettin, 1913.

Die Brieftaxe in Deutschland. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1862.

Die Uebernahme der Privat-Beförderungsbetriebe durch die
Reichs-Postverwaltung. _Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung_, Berlin, March 1901.

Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften. Jena, 1901 and 1910.

Allgemeine Dienstanweisung für Post und Telegraphie. Berlin, 1901.

Archiv für Post und Telegraphie. Beihefte zum Amtsblatt des
Reichs-Postamts. Fortnightly. Berlin.

Blätter für Post und Telegraphie. Zeitschrift der höheren Post- und
Telegraphen-Beamten. Berlin.

Stenographische Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Reichstags. Berlin.
(Cited _Reichstag, Official Reports_.)


ACWORTH, W. M. Elements of Railway Economics. Oxford, 1905.

ADAMS, H. C. Science of Finance. New York, 1909.

ALEXANDER, E. PORTER. Railway Practice. New York, 1887.

BAINES, F. E. Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones, and their Relation to
Trade. London, 1896.

BASTABLE, C. F. Public Finance. London, 1903.

BENNETT, A. R. The Telephone Systems of the Continent of Europe. London,

BURRITT, ELIHU. Ocean Penny Postage. London, 1849.

COHN, G. The Science of Finance. Translated by T. B. Veblen. Chicago,

COLSON, C. Railway Rates and Traffic. London, 1914.

DARWIN, LEONARD. Municipal Trade. London, 1903.

ELY, R. T. Taxation in American States and Cities. New York, 1888.

FARRER, LORD. The State in its Relation to Trade. London, 1902.

FISCHER, P. D. Post und Telegraphie im Weltverkehr. Berlin, 1879.

GIFFEN, SIR R. Essays in Finance. London, 1890.

GRIERSON, J. Railway Rates, English and Foreign. London, 1886.

HAASS, DR. FRIEDRICH. Weltpostverein und Einheits-Porto (Welt-Penny
Porto). Heidenheim (Brenz), 1914.

HADLEY, A. T. Railroad Transportation. Its History and its Laws. New
York, 1886.

HAMILTON, I. G. J. An Outline of Postal History and Practice, with a
History of the Post Office in India. Calcutta, 1910.

JEVONS, W. S. A State Parcel Post. _Contemporary Review_, January 1879.

Methods of Social Reform. London, 1883.

JONES, R. The Nature and First Principle of Taxation. London, 1914.

JÜRGENSOHN, ARVED. Weltportoreform. Berlin, 1910.

KNOOP, D. Outlines of Railway Economics. London, 1913.

LEE, JOHN. Economics of Telegraphs and Telephones. London, 1913.

LEROY-BEAULIEU, P. Traité de la Science des Finances. Paris, 1899.

MCCULLOCH, J. R. Taxation and the Funding System. London, 1863.

MERRITT, A. N. Scope of Government Functions. Journal of Political
Economy, Chicago, July 1908.

MEYER, H. R. Public Ownership and the Telephone in Great Britain. New
York, 1907.

NORTHCOTE, STAFFORD. Twenty Years of Financial Policy. London, 1862.

PARNELL, SIR H. On Financial Reform. London, 1832.

PLEHN, C. C. Introduction to Public Finance. New York, 1909.

RIPLEY, W. Z. Railway Problems. Boston, U.S.A., 1907.

SAY, L. Dictionnaire des Finances. Paris, 1889.

SELIGMAN, E. R. A. Essays in Taxation. New York, 1913.

SPENCER, HERBERT. The Man versus the State. London, 1884.

STEIN, L. VON. Lehrbuch der Finanzwissenschaft. Leipsic, 1885.

TERRA, OTTO DE. Im Zeichen des Verkehrs. Berlin, 1899.

WAGNER, ADOLPH. Finanzwissenschaft. Leipsic, 1890.

WILHELM, JULIUS. Frachtporto. Vienna, 1900.

Memoranda, chiefly relating to the Classification and Incidence of
Imperial and Local Taxes. Bluebook C. 9528, 1899.

RUFFY, M. E. L'Union postale universelle. Sa fondation et son
développement. Lausanne, 1900.

Official Documents of the International Postal Congresses. Published by
the International Bureau, Berne.

Statistique générale des postes. (Annually.) Berne.

L'Union postale. (Monthly.) Berne.

NOTE.--_The foregoing list includes particulars of the chief works
consulted, but is not in any sense a complete bibliography._


  Act of Union, 15

  Acts, Post Office, _see_ Post Office Acts

  Advertisement duty, 117, 119, 128

  Agriculture, encouragement of, 190, 245

  _Aktentaxe_, 225, 240

  Allen, Ralph, 18

  Armour, R., 138

  Australia, parcel post in, 197

  Bastiat, Frédéric, 86

  Bath Road, 21

  _Binnenporto_, 102

  Blackwood, Sir Arthur, 234, 279

  Blind, rate on printed matter for, 244, 320

  Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, 167

  Book Post, 32, 184, 220, 320

  Books, rate for, _see_ Rates of postage

  _Boten-Anstalten_, 97, 209, 349, 350

  _Botenmeister_, 97, 98

  _Botenpost_, 98

  Bourne, Jonathan, Senator, 196

  Buildings, Post Office, cost of, 293, 309

  Burlamachi, Philip, 10

  Bye letters, 17

  Canadian Magazine Post, 346

  Cape Breton, posts in, 51

  Carriers, common, and conveyance of letters, 1, 250, 380, 381

  _Cartes de visite_, 224

  Catalogues, 170, 172, 225

  Chesterfield, Lady, 112

  Clanricarde, Lord, 53, 345

  "Class" newspapers, 124, 125

  Classification of mail matter, _see_ Mail matter;
    of postal revenue, _see_ Revenue, net

  Clerks of the Road, 114, 118, 403-11

  Closed post, 222, 320 note

  _Colis encombrants_, 280

  Colonial letters, rates for, 345, 346

  Commercial papers, rate for, _see_ Rates of postage

  Commissioners of Inquiry into Fees and Emoluments, 1788, 115 note;
    into Revenue Departments, 1829, 25, 114 note;
    of Post Office Inquiry, 1837, 248 note;
    1838, 29

  Commissioners on Post Office in British North America, Report of, 1840,
      47, 48

  Committee, Select, on Postage, 1838, 30;
    on Newspaper Stamps, 1851, 122, 127

  Commonwealth, The, 14

  Confederation of British  North American Colonies, 1867, 55, 141, 254

  Conference, international postal, 1863, 265

  Congress, Constitutional (United States), 70;
    Continental (United States), 66, 149

  Congress, international postal, 1874, 266;
    1876, 270;
    1878, 277;
    1880, 278;
    1886, 280;
    1897, 272, 281;
    1906, 274, 281

  Convention, General Postal Union, 1874, 270;
    Parcel Post (international), 1880, 279

  Conveyance of mails, cost of, 26, 35, 47, 191, 253, 254, 292, 307, 308,
      321, 326

  Conway Bridge, additional rate for, 339

  Cost of handling (United Kingdom), 35, 311;
    for buildings, 293, 309;
    for conveyance of mails, 26, 35, 47, 191, 253, 254, 292, 307, 308,
      321, 326;
    for staff, 289, 301, 306;
    for second-class mail (United States), 156, 158;
    letters (France), 85;
    newspapers (Germany), 175;
    parcels (Germany), 219, (United States) 198;
    postcards, 243

  Council of State, 11, 12

  Country newspapers (protected), _see_ Newspapers (provincial)

  Couriers, post, _see_ Post-couriers

  Crimean War, 125

  Cromwell, Thomas, 3

  Cross-posts, 14, 17, 22, 70, 388

  Cumbersome parcels, additional charge for, 206, 215, 280;
    definition of, 206 note, 280 note

  Cunard, Samuel, 347

  Cunard Steamship Company, 348

  _Cursores_, 1, 2, 377

  Daily post, establishment of, in England, 19

  Declaratory Act, 1778, 44, 45

  Deficit, on newspapers, 133, 169, 176, 294;
    on parcels, 190, 219, 294;
    on second-class mail, 147, 155, 158, 162

  Delivery fees, 107, 110, 180, 206, 249, 258

  Deputy Postmasters, _see_ Postmasters

  Deputy Postmaster-General (North America), 37, 48, 52, 64, 136, 140, 148

  Dockwra, William, 183, 247

  Double letter, definition of, 336

  _Dragonerpost_, 98

  Drop letter, 254

  Duty (paper), 117, 119 note;
    (advertisement), 117, 119, 128;
    (stamp), 117, 119, 121, 128

  East India Company, 344

  Elgin, Lord, 53

  Evasion of postage, 16, 27, 48, 72, 254

  Express companies, competition for second-class mail, 161;
    delivery of parcels, 193, 195

  Farm (of the posts), 13, 14, 15, 70, 80, 380

  Fee letter, _see_ Letters

  Finance, 35, 36

  Finlay, Hugh, 37, 401

  First-class mail matter, _see_ Mail matter, classification of

  Fittings (for sorting), 284;
    cost of,  293

  Foot-messengers, 184, 221, 331, 378

  Foreign letter office, 8, 12, 13

  Foreign posts, _see_ Posts

  Fourth-class mail matter, _see_ Mail matter, classification of

  Foxcroft, Thomas, 66, 399

  Frank, definition of, 27 note

  Franking, 27, 49, 52, 114, 115, 116, 118, 138, 148, 403-11

  Franklin, Benjamin, 39, 63, 64, 66, 148

  Freeling, Sir Francis, 22, 137, 138

  Freight trains, use of for second-class mail, 163

  _Gazette, London_, 113, 114

  _Gazette, Oxford_, 113, 114

  General post, 248

  General post delivery (London), 248

  Germain, Lord George, 67

  German-Austrian Postal Union, 1850, 213, 226, 236, 264

  _Geschäftspapiere_, 240

  Gladstone, W. E., 126, 130

  Goddard, William, 65

  Gratuitous transit (of foreign mails), 268, 273, 275

  Halfpenny Packet Post, 222

  Hamilton, Andrew, 60, 62, 392-9

  Hamilton, John, 64

  Hand-stamping machines, 303

  Handling, cost of, _see_ Cost of handling;
    method of, 284

  Hartington, Marquess of, 130

  Heaton, Sir J. Henniker, 346

  Heriot, John, 40

  Hickes, James, 113

  Hill, Matthew Davenport, 29

  Hill, Sir Rowland, 23-30, 47, 72, 74, 84, 127, 220, 312, 323

  Horse-posts, _see_ Posts

  Howe, John, 43, 139

  _Illustrated London News_, 129

  Inland letter office, 10, 12

  International Parcel Post, _see_ Parcel post

  Jaccottey, P., 171

  Joyce, H., 17

  King's messengers, 1, 4, 6, 377

  _Landbestellgeld_, 110

  _Landkutschen_, 97

  _Landporto_, 102

  Laurier, Sir Wilfred, 147

  L'Estrange, Roger, 112, 113

  Letter rate, _see_ Rates of postage

  Letters, definition of "single," "double," "treble," 336;
    bye, 17;
    cross-post, 17;
    drop, 254;
    fee, 51;
    way, 18, 50;
    average weight of, 33, 291, 308

  Licences, issue of, by Post Office, 357

  Licensing Act, 1662, 112, 117

  Lichfield, Lord, 29

  Local newspapers (protected), _see_ Newspapers (provincial)

  Local penny posts, 250

  Local rates, _see_ Rates of postage

  _London Gazette_, 113, 114

  London Penny Post, 183, 247, 342

  London Threepenny Post, 252

  London Twopenny Post, 252

  Loss on certain branches of Post Office business, _see_ Deficit

  Maberley, Colonel, 29, 184

  Magazine Post to Canada, 346

  Magazines, transmission by post, 150, 152, 154, 155, 159, 346

  Mail-coach, introduction of, 21

  Mail matter, classification of, 75, 152, 191, 244

  Mail order business, 196

  _Maîtres de poste_, 37, 39

  Manley, John, 13, 383

  _Maryland Journal_, 65

  Master of the Posts, 2, 12

  Menai Bridge, additional rate for, 339

  Merchant Adventurers, 8

  Merchant Companies, 8

  _Mercurius Publicus_, 112

  Military post routes, 40, 42, 43

  Millerand, A., 92, 93

  Monopoly, postal, 7, 9,13, 60, 80, 255, 259, 325, 330, 340, 358, 380-4

  Monsell, W., 133

  Muddiman, Henry, 112, 113

  Mulock, Sir William, 57, 146, 147

  Murray, Robert, 247

  Neale, Thomas, 60, 62, 391-8

  Net revenue, _see_ Revenue, net

  New England colonies, 59

  Newsbooks, 111, 112

  Newsletters, 111

  Newspaper rate, _see_ Rates of postage

  Newspaper Stamps, Select Committee on, 1851, 122, 127

  Newspaper supplements, 171, 172, 181

  Newspapers, average weight of, 132, 142, 308;
    cost of transmission, 175, 176;
    franking of, 148;
    free transmission of, 51, 56, 57, 139, 140, 142, 143, 144;
    "class," 124, 125;
    political, 167, 168;
    provincial (protected), 142, 146, 150, 151, 166, 169, 177;
    transient, 137, 152

  Nicholas, Sir Edward, 113

  North German Union, 108, 213, 214, 228, 257

  _Nuncii_, 1, 2, 377

  Old Age Pensions, payment of, 357

  Open post, 222, 320 note

  Oxenbridge, Clement, 13

  _Oxford Gazette_, 113, 114

  Pacific mails, 75

  Packet post, _see_ Post for the packet

  Packet postage, 339

  Page, W. J., 49, 52

  Palmer, John, 20

  Paper duty, 117, 119

  _Papiers d'affaires_, 93, 239

  Parcel Post, international, 185, 204, 206, 277;
    local, 207, 208;
    loss on, 190, 219, 295, 334

  Parcel Post Act, 1882, 188, 288

  Parcel rate, _see_ Rates of postage

  Parcels, cost of transportation, 188, 218, 219, 311, 321, 325, 331;
    average weight of, 33, 190, 216, 325

  Paris, University of, 78, 79

  _Parliamentary Intelligencer_, 112

  Parnell, Sir Henry, 24

  Pattern Post, _see_ Rates of postage (samples)

  Penalty frank, 192

  Penny Post (London), 183, 247, 342

  Penny posts (local), 250

  Penny postage, uniform, introduction of, 23

  Penrose Overstreet Commission, 156, 157

  Periodicals, transmission by post, 150, 152, 154, 155, 159

  Pitt, William, 21, 344

  Political newspapers, 167, 168

  _Poor Man's Guardian_, 120

  Popish Plot, 14

  Post Office Acts--
    1657, 13;
    1660, 14, 337, 341;
    1711, 15, 229, 248, 337, 343;
    1730, 249, 251;
    1763, 17;
    1764, 115;
    1765, 20, 250, 338;
    1784, 21, 338;
    1794, 251;
    1795, 230;
    1796, 338;
    1797, 22;
    1799, 344;
    1801, 22, 230, 251, 338;
    1802, 116;
    1805, 22, 230, 252, 338;
    1812, 22, 230, 339;
    1814, 344;
    1815, 345;
    1836, 122;
    1837, 339, 347;
    1838, 288;
    1839, 231;
    1840, 231;
    1853, 128;
    1855, 128;
    1870, 131, 221;
    1882, 188;
    1893, 288;
    1908, 131

  Post Office revenue, _see_ Revenue, net

  Postage, origin of term, 2, 6;
    prepayment of, 27, 238, 251;
    rates of, _see_ Rates of postage

  Postage, uniform, _see_ Uniform postage

  Postage stamps, introduction of, 27

  Postal monopoly, _see_ Monopoly

  Postal traffic, growth of, in United Kingdom, 32

  Postal Union Convention, 1874, 270

  _Post-boten_, 97

  Post-boys, 16, 20, 22

  Postcards, 241;
    average weight of, 308

  Post-couriers, 9, 39, 41, 49, 51, 52, 79, 81, 99, 374, 376

  Post for the packet, 5, 8, 378

  Post-horses, 2, 4, 5, 6, 20, 374-7, 381, 385

  Postmasters, 5, 7, 9, 18, 49, 51, 66, 71, 114, 192, 254, 342, 387, 390,
      397, 404, 406, 410

  Post-riders, 4, 5, 20, 22, 67

  Post-roads, 14, 17

  Post-stages, 2, 20, 38, 79, 99, 374-7

  Posts, 2;
    cross-posts, 14, 17, 22, 70, 388;
    extraordinary, 3, 6;
    foreign, 8, 340;
    horse, 2, 22, 37, 61, 65, 79, 99, 350;
    military, 40, 43, 98;
    ministerial, 67;
    municipal, 6;
    ordinary, 3;
    parliamentary, 67;
    regular, 2, 6;
    temporary, 3, 6;
    thorough, 4, 5;
    Thurn and Taxis, 108, 350;
    travelling, 3-6, 79;
    university, 6, 78

  Povey, Charles, 250

  Power stamping machines, 303

  Prepayment of postage, 27, 238, 251

  Press, restrictions upon, 112, 117, 119, 122, 126, 166, 167, 180

  Prideaux, Edmund, 11

  Prince Edward Island, posts in, 52

  Profit, Post Office, _see_ Revenue, net

  Prospectuses, transmission by post, 170, 172, 225

  Provincial newspapers, _see_ Newspapers

  Provost, Sir George, 42

  De Quester, Matthew, 7, 340

  Railway Clearing Committee, 189

  Railway companies, remuneration of, for conveyance of mails, 186, 288

  Railway rates, basis of, 321, 322, 323

  Randolph, Thomas, 3

  Rates of Postage--


  _Letters_, 1635, 9;
    1649, 11;
    1657, 13, 336;
    1660, 14, 337;
    1711, 15, 337;
    1765, 20, 338;
    1784, 21, 338;
    1797, 1801, 1805, 22, 338;
    1812, 22, 339;
    1840, 23, 339;
    1865, 31, 339;
    1871, 31, 340;
    1885, 1897, 32, 340;
    1915, 36, 340

  _Newspapers_, 1836, 122;
    1853, 1855, 128;
    1870, 181;
    1915, 135

  _Book Post_, 1847, 220;
    1853, 1866,
    1870, 221;
    1897, 222;
    1915, 223

  _Parcels_,1883, 187;
    1915, 190

  _Samples_, 1753, 1795, 1805, 1812, 230;
    1837, 1863, 231;
    1864, 1870, 232;
    1887, 1897, 234;
    1915, 235

  _Commercial Papers_, 1660, 238;
    1847, 239

  _Local Rates_, 1680, 247;
    1730, 249;
    1794, 1801, 251;
    1805, 252


  _Letters_ (First-class Mail), 1765, 38;
    1842, 49-52;
    1851, 55;
    1867, 56;
    1889, 1898, 57

  _Newspapers_ (Second-class Mail), 1840, 136;
    1844, 140;
    1867, 141;
    1882, 143;
    1898, 145;
    1903, 147

  _Book Post_ (Third-class Mail), 245

  _Fourth-class Mail_, 245

  _Parcels_, 1914, 856

  _Local Rates_, 1867, 1889, 254;
    1898, 255


  _Letters_ (First-class Mail), 1693, 61;
    1711, 1765, 63;
    1775, 66;
    1777, 68;
    1780, 1781, 1782, 69;
    1792, 1814, 71;
    1845, 73;
    1851, 1863, 75;
    1883, 1885, 76

  _Newspapers_ (Second-class Mail), 1792, 149;
    1794, 1825, 150;
    1845, 1847, 1851, 151;
    1863, 1872, 152;
    1879, 153

  _Book Post_ (Third-class Mail), 76, 245

  _Fourth-class Mail_, 76, 245

  _Parcels_, 1913, 201; 1914, 202


  _Letters_, 1576, 1627, 1676, 80;
    1703, 1759, 81;
    1791, 82;
    1827, 83;
    1849, 85;
    1850, 1854, 1871, 88;
    1876, 1878, 90;
    1906, 94;
    1910, 1917, 96

  _Newspapers_, 1791, 1795, 1799, 165;
    1827, 1850, 166;
    1856, 167;
    1878, 1895, 1908, 169

  _Book Post_,1791, 1856, 223;
    1878, 224;
    1909, 225

  _Parcels_, 1881, 205; 1897, 206

  _Samples_,1791, 1856, 235;
    1871, 1873, 1875, 236

  _Papiers d'Affaires_, 1856, 1871, 1875, 240

  _Local Rates_, 1653, 255; 1759, 1878, 256


  _Letters_, 1712, 1762, 100;
    1766, 1770,
    1822, 101;
    1824, 102;
    1844, 104;
    1848, 105;
    1850, 106; 1860, 1861, 107;
    1868, 1871, 1900, 109

  _Newspapers_, 1821, 1848, 174;
    1899, 178

  _Book Post_, 1712, 1821, 1824, 225;
    1850, 226;
    1856, 227;
    1871, 1874, 228;
    1890, 229

  _Parcels_, 1699, 1713, 210;
    1762, 1766, 211;
    1770, 1805, 1811, 1824, 212;
    1842, 1850, 1857, 1867, 213;
    1874, 214-15

  _Samples_, 1825, 1850, 236;
    1860, 1863, 1871, 237;
    1875, 1914, 238

  _Geschäftspapiere_, 1900, 241

  _Local Rates_, 1852, 256;
    1860, 1865, 1867, 257;
    1875, 258;
    1900, 261


  _Letters_, 1874, 270;
    1906, 275

  _Parcels_, 1880, 1886, 280;
    1897, 281;
    1906, 282

  Rates, international transit, _see_ Transit rates

  Redirection (of letters, etc.), 283, note 2

  Reform Act, 1832, 119

  Revenue, net, 16, 22, 31, 35, 58, 63, 71, 76, 80, 83, 87, 89, 91, 94, 99,
      100, 104, 105, 109, 253, 314, 353, 355, 358;
    theoretical character of, 362, 363

  Rice, Spring, 122

  Richelieu, 80

  Riders in post, 4, 5, 20, 22, 67

  Rural delivery, 89, 110, 161, 314 note, 331, 332;
    free, 161

  Sample rate, _see_ Rates of postage

  Savings Bank, Post Office, 33, 357

  _Schriftentaxe_, 225, 240

  Second-class Mail, _see_ Mail matter, classification of;
    Congressional Commission on, 1907, 156;
      1912, 158;
    deficit, 147, 155, 158, 162;
    use of freight trains for, 163

  Select Committee on Postage, Report of, 1838, 30;
    on Newspaper Stamps, 1851, 122, 127

  Seven Years' War, 81, 100, 211

  Ship Letter Office, 344

  Ship letters, 339, 342

  Single letter, definition of, 336

  Smith, Adam, 329, 330

  Sorting frames, 285

  _Stafetti_, 8, 378

  Staff, 33-5;
    cost of, 289, 301, 306

  Stage coach, 20, 250 note, 385

  Stamp duty (on newspapers), 117, 119, 121, 128

  Stamping machines, 303

  Stamps, postage, introduction of, 27

  Stanhope, Lord, 7, 341, 380

  State control of Post Office, 328

  Stayner, T. A., 138

  Stephan, H. von, 241, 266

  Supplemental services, 33, 109, 357

  Supplements (newspaper), 132, 171, 172, 181

  Surveyors (post office), 20, 21

  Sutherland, Daniel, 43

  Taxes on knowledge, 126, 142

  Taxis, J. von, 350

  Telegraphs, Post Office, 33, 358

  Telephones, Post Office, 33, 358

  Temporary uniform fourpenny rate. 30 note

  Third-class Mail Matter, _see_ Mail matter, classification of

  Thirty Years' War, 209, 353

  Thorough Post, 4, 5

  Threepenny Post (London), 252

  Thurn and Taxis Posts, 108, 350

  _Times_ newspaper, 121, 129

  Trade journals, transmission by post, 132, 147, 159

  Transient newspapers, 137, 152

  Transit, gratuitous, 268, 273, 275

  Transit rates, international, 267, 270, 271, 273, 275, 279, 281

  Travelling Post, 3-6, 79

  Treble letter, definition of, 336

  Tuke, Brian, 2, 3

  Tupper, Sir Charles, 57

  Twopenny Post (London), 252

  Uniform postage, 23, 26, 28, 54, 72, 75, 85, 108, 312, 323

  _Union générale des Postes_, 269

  _Union postale universelle_, 269, note 3

  Universal penny postage, 276, 348

  Universal Postal Union, 224, 229

  University posts, 6, 78

  Urgent parcels, special fee for, 215

  Wages (of postmasters), 3, 5

  Wages, Post Office, 34, 297

  Walkley, A. B., 275 note

  Wanamaker, J., 77, 154, 155, 192

  Ward, Edmund, 137, 139

  Ward, Sir J. G., 276

  Warwick, Earl of, 11

  Way letter, 18, 50

  Way Office, 49, 50

  Weighing of mails (United States), 156, 157

  Wells, H. G., 134

  West, Robert, 398

  Williamson, Joseph, 113

  Witherings, Thomas, 8, 9, 12, 378, 381

  Yearly express, 40

  Zone rates, 177, 199, 201, 202, 215, 356

       *       *       *       *       *

_Printed in Great Britain by_


       *       *       *       *       *

[1] _Report from Secret Committee on the Post Office_ (_Commons_), 1844,
Appx., p. 21.

[2] Ibid., p. 4. _Annual Report of the Postmaster-General_, 1854, p. 8.

[3] _Encyclopædia of the Laws of England_, London, 1908, vol. xi. p.
344. J. W. Hyde, _The Post in Grant and Farm_, London, 1894, p. 131.

[4] _Report from Secret Committee on the Past Office_ (_Commons_),1844,
Appx., p. 95. In 1324 a writ or letter was issued to the Constable of
Dover and Warden of the Cinque Ports, to the Mayor and Sheriffs of
London, the Bailiffs of Bristol, Southampton, and Portsmouth, and the
Sheriffs of Hants, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall, reciting that
previous orders _de scrutinio faciendo_ had not been observed, in
consequence of which many letters prejudicial to the Crown were brought
into the kingdom; and commanding them to "make diligent scrutiny of all
persons passing from parts beyond the seas to England, and to stop all
letters concerning which sinister suspicions might arise, and their
bearers, and to keep the bearers in custody until further directions,
and to transmit the letters so intercepted to the King with the utmost

[5] Richard III in 1484 "followed the practice which had been recently
introduced by King Edward in the time of the last war with Scotland
(1482) of appointing a single horseman for every 20 miles, by means of
whom travelling with the utmost speed, and not passing their respective
limits, news was always able to be carried by letter from hand to hand
200 miles within two days."--_Third Continuation of the Chronicle of
Croyland_, Oxford, 1684, p. 571. The system was identical with that of
the posts of antiquity (_vide_ Appendix B, pp. 374-7, _infra_).

[6] Derived from _posta_, a contraction for _posita_, from _ponere_, to
place. The general use of the word is to signify relays placed at
intervals on the routes followed by messengers.

[7] "Ne men can kepe horses in redynes without som way to bere the
charges"--Tuke to Cromwell, 17 August 1533 (_Report from Secret
Committee on the Post Office_ (_Commons_), 1844, Appx., p. 32).

[8] "The King's pleasure is that postes be better appointed, and laide
in al places most expedient; with commaundement to al townshippes in al
places on payn of lyfe, to be in such redynes, and to make such
provision of horses at al tymes, as no tract or losse of tyme be had in
that behalf "--Ibid., Appx., p. 32.

[9] "A.D. 1572. The Office of the Maister of the Postes. The Accompte of
Thomas Randolphe esquier, Maister of the Postes.... As also of the
yssuyng and defrayment owte of the same, as well for the wages of the
ordinarie postes laide betwene London and Barwicke and elles where
within hir Ma^ts Realme of Englande, As also for the wages of divers
extra ordenarie postes laid in divers places of the Realme in the tyme
of hir Ma^ts severall progresses, and also to divers postes for cariage
of packets of l'res from Sittingbourne, Dartforde Rochester, Canterbury
and Dover for hir Ma^ts service and affayres, as occasion from tyme to
tyme did requier."--Ibid., Appx., p. 34.

[10] In the United Kingdom this system exists to a considerable extent,
chiefly in the south and west of Ireland, and in many parts of Scotland,
more especially among the Western Isles. In remote parts the means of
communication are in general provided for the double purpose, and
economy to the Post Office naturally results from the fact that the
contractors for the mail service have a source of income in addition to
the Post Office payment. Indeed, it is probable that since the days of
the post-boys by far the greater portion of the mails has always been
conveyed by means not exclusively provided for that purpose. The mail
coaches carried passengers and goods, and it was from that traffic that
the income of the proprietor was mainly derived. The payment in respect
of the mails was very small, the real consideration inducing the
proprietors to carry the mail being the fact that the mail coaches were
exempt from tolls. The railway displaced the mail coach, and increased
the dependence of the mail service on means of communication provided
primarily for other purposes. The number of trains run solely for the
conveyance of mails has always been extremely small. The weight of mails
to be conveyed is usually insufficient to warrant the provision of a
special train, and the Post Office is therefore compelled, as far as
possible, to make use of such trains as may be run for other traffic,
endeavouring to obtain such modification in the times and working as
will make them of the greatest advantage to the mail service without
destroying their utility for general traffic. The existence of extensive
means of communication for general purposes therefore results
advantageously to the Post Office.

[11] 2 and 3 Edward VI, cap. 3.

[12] "The Lords of the Privie Counsell, endevouring heretofore the like
furtherance of the service of the State, as well in horsing such as ride
on their Prince's affaires, as the speedy despatch of packets in all
places where Posts were erected and ordeined, considering that for the
service of the one, a daily fee is allowed, and for the other, no
certaine wages at all, but the hire of the horses let out, and that
often ill paide, whereby they stand not so bound to the one, as to
attend to the other; And that the townes and countreys besides became
many wayes vexed and perplexed, by the over great libertie of riders in
poste, specially by such as pretend publike service by speciall
commission, contrary to the King's meaning or their lordships'
orders."--Orders for Thorough Posts and Couriers, riding Post on the
King's Affairs, 1603 _(Report from Secret Committee on the Post Office
(Commons_), 1844, Appx., p. 38).

The "Thorough Post" was the term applied to the travelling facilities
provided by the posts, i.e. when the messenger travelled "through," in
contradistinction to the "Post for the Pacquet" (or "Packet"), i.e. the
post for the transmission of the mail, or "pacquet."

[13] "1. First it is ordered, That in all places where Posts are layde
for the packet, they also, as persons most fit, shall have the benefit
and preheminence of letting, furnishing, and appointing of horses to all
riding in poste (that is to say) with horse and guide by commission or

"2. And, like as in the orders for the carrying of the packets, the
furtherance of our service and the State is only aymed at; so in this it
is intended that none be holden to ride on publique affairs but with
speciall commission, and the same signed either by one of our Principall
Secretaries of State, ... and of all such so riding in publike affaires,
it shall be lawfull for the Posts, or the owners of the horses, to
demand, for the hire of ich horse, after the rate of twopence halfe-peny
the mile (besides the guides groats). But of all others riding poste
with horse and guide, about their private businesses the hire and prices
are left to the parties discretions, to agree and compound within
themselves."--Ibid., Appx., p. 39.

[14] Contemporary papers show that this was largely a measure of police,
intended to enable the Government to keep a watch on all persons
travelling about the kingdom.

[15] As late as 1620 there were only four, and they touched only a small
portion of the kingdom. They were (1) The Courte to Barwicke, (2) The
Courte to Beaumaris, (3) The Courte to Dover, and (4) The Courte to

[16] See _supra_, p. 3.

[17] "The constables many times be fayn to take horses oute of plowes
and cartes."--Brian Tuke, 1533 (_Report from Secret Committee on the
Post Office_ (_Commons_), 1844, Appx., p. 33).

[18] The post from London serving the "Westerne part" of the kingdom was
discontinued in 1610 as unnecessary except in time of war.--Ibid.,
Appx., p. 43.

[19] "Universities and great towns had their own particular posts; and
the same horse or foot post went through the journey, and returned with
other letters, without having different stages as at present. It was
thus practised later in Scotland as having less commerce than in
England."--D. Macpherson, _Annals of Commerce_, London, 1805, vol. ii.
p. 400.

[20] The Committee of Secrecy of the House of Commons were of opinion
that the practice of carrying private letters probably began at an early
period and became a perquisite of the postmasters (_Report from Secret
Committee on the Post Office_ (_Commons_), 1844, p. 4).

[21] Ibid., Appx., p. 56.

[22] Ibid., Appx., p. 36; see p. 380, _infra._

[23] Ibid., Appx., p. 41.

[24] The business of carrying foreign letters had been conducted by the
holder of the general patent for carrying letters, although that patent
covered only inland posts and foreign posts within the King's dominions.
In 1620 a patent was issued to Matthew de Quester and his son,
conferring on them the office of Postmaster of England for Foreign
Parts. The holder of the patent for the Inland Posts, who had hitherto
been conducting this service, attempted to resist this new grant, but
without success; and for some time there was a sort of triple division
of the posts, viz. the Inland Posts, the posts in parts beyond the seas
within the King's dominions, and the posts for foreign parts out of the
King's dominions. There was, nevertheless, no regular provision for the
conveying of letters for places out of England. The foreign mails were
conveyed by men who were engaged in other business, who bought their
places in the posts, and were accused of delaying the mails through
"more minding their own peddling traffic than the service of the State
or merchants, omitting many passages, sometimes staying for the vending
of their own commodities, many times through neglect by lying in
tippling-houses."--See J. W. Hyde, _The Post in Grant and Farm_, London,
1894, p. 12.

[25] "Nether can anie place in Christendom bee named wher merchants are
allowed to send their letters by other body or posts, then by those only
which are authorized by the State.... Your Lordship best knoweth what
accompt wee shal bee hable to give in our places of that w^{ch} passeth
by letters in or out of the land, if everie man may convey lrs, under
the covers of merchants, to whome and what place hee pleaseth."--30th
February 1627. John Coke to Lord Conway (_Report from Secret Committee
on the Post Office (Commons)_, 1844, Appx., p. 51).

[26] A copy is given in Appendix B, _infra_, pp. 378-380.

[27] "Now his Majesty ... taking into his princely consideration how
much it imports this State and this whole realm, that the secrets be not
disclosed to foreign nations; which cannot be prevented if promiscuous
use of transmitting or taking up of foreign letters by these private
posts and carriers aforesaid should be suffered, which will be also no
small prejudice to his merchants in their trading.... And his Majesty,
taking further into his consideration that the mutual commerce and
correspondency of his subjects within his Majesty's dominions will be as
advantageous and beneficial as the trade with foreign nations, and that
nothing will more increase and advance the same than the safe and speedy
conveying, carrying, and re-carrying of letters from one place to
another ... he doth hereby straightly charge and command, that no post
or carrier whatsoever within his Majesty's dominions, other than such as
shall be nominated and appointed by the said Thomas Witherings, shall
presume to take up, carry, receive, and deliver any letter or letters,
pacquet or pacquets whatsoever, to any such place or places where the
said Thomas Witherings shall have settled posts, according to the said
grant, except a particular messenger sent on purpose with letters by any
man for his own occasions, or letters by a friend, or by common known
carriers."--Proclamation of 11th February 1637-8 (_Report from Secret
Committee on the Post Office (Commons)_,1844, Appx., p. 58).

[28] "1650. June 29th. Council of State to (Serjeant Dendy and his

"You are to repair to some post stage 20 miles from London on the road
towards York; seize the letter mail going outward, and all other letters
upon the rider, and present them by one of yourselves; the other shall
then ride to the next stage, and seize the mail coming inwards, and
bring the letters to Council, searching all persons that ride with the
mail, or any other that ride post without warrant, and bring them before
Council, or the Commissioners for Examinations. All officers civil and
military to be assistants. With note of like orders for Chester Road and
the western roads."--_Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series_), 1650,
p. 223.

[29] _Commons Journal_, 7th September 1644, p. 621.

[30] Ibid., 21st March 1650, p. 385.

[31] Ibid.

[32] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, London, 1893, p. 25.

[33] _Commons Journal_, 19th October, 1652, p. 192.

[34] _Register of Council of State_, 7th May 1653, vol. xvi. pp. 34-6.

[35] _Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series)_, 1652-3, p. 455.

[36] "The case of the first undertakers for reducing letters to half the
former rates, viz. Clem. Oxenbridge, Rich. Blackwell, Fra. Thompson, and
Wm. Malyn. We observed that the postage of inland letters was long
continued at 6d. a letter, and that the whole benefit went into one
hand, to the grievance of many. Being encouraged by the votes of the
last Parliament (made in the time of their primitive, free, and public
actings, viz. 16 August 1642) that the taking of letters from and the
restraints and imprisonments of Gower, Chapman, Cotton, and Mackedral
were against the law and the liberty of the subject ... and that the
said secretaries and Witherings were delinquents, being also encouraged
by the opinion of the judges given in the House of Lords, that the
clause in Witherings' patent for restraint of carrying letters was void
and against law--we attempted to put the same in practice, but through
the interest of Mr. Prideaux, who for many years had enjoyed excessive
gains by the former high rates, we met with all the obstruction he could
make against us, by stopping our mails, abusing our servants, etc.,
though he always held forth that it was free for any to carry or send
letters as they pleased."--_Calendar of State Papers (Domestic Series)_,
1653/1654, p. 22. Cf. John Hill, _A Penny Post_, London, 1659.

[37] "Cross posts did not exist. Between two towns not being on the same
post road, however near the towns might be, letters could circulate only
through London; and the moment London was reached an additional rate was
imposed. Hence the apparent charges, the charges as deduced from the
table of rates, might be very different from the actual charges. Bristol
and Exeter, for instance, are less than 80 miles apart; but in 1660, and
for nearly forty years afterwards, letters from one to the other passed
through London, and would be charged, if single, not 2d. but 6d., and if
double, not 4d. but 1s. That is to say, the postage or portage, as it
was then called, would consist of two rates, and each of these rates
would be for a distance in excess of 80 miles."--H. Joyce, _History of
the Post Office_, p. 29. Cf. _infra_, Appendix B, pp. 390-1.

This practice of charging according to the route traversed and not
according to direct distance was also followed in other countries. It is
perhaps comparable to the practice of computing railway charges on the
basis of the distance by railway, and not as the crow flies.

[38] H. Scobell, _Collection of Acts and Ordinances_, London, 1658, p.

[39] 12 Car. II, cap. 35.

[40] See, e.g., Royal Proclamations, 16th January 1660-1 and 16th July

[41] See Appendix, pp. 388-391.

[42] "As early as William's reign they (the Postmasters-General) had
been asked to estimate how much an additional penny of postage would
produce; ... the necessities of the Civil List had prompted the
inquiry."--H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 119.

[43] 9 Anne, cap. 10.

[44] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 35.

[45] "The additional tax has never answered in proportion to the produce
of the revenue at the time it took place, the people having found
private conveyances for their letters, which they are daily endeavouring
to increase, notwithstanding all the endeavours that can be used to
prevent them."--Statement by the Postmasters-General, 20th May 1718
(_British Official Records_).

[46] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 145.

[47] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 39.

[48] 3 Geo. III, cap. 75, § 1.

[49] "An important legal decision, with which the Post Office had only
the remotest concern, an improved system of expresses following as a
natural consequence from circumstances over which the Post Office had no
control, a simple contrivance to facilitate the posting of letters (i.e.
the aperture), and an acceleration of the mail between London and
Edinburgh--this as the record of forty or fifty years' progress is
assuredly meagre enough; and yet we are not aware of any omission."--H.
Joyce, ibid., p. 184.

[50] "A letter between Bath and London would be a London letter, and a
letter from one part of the country to another which in course of
transit passed through London would be a country letter. A bye or way
letter would be a letter passing between any two towns on the Bath Road
and stopping short of London--as, for instance, between Bath and
Hungerford, between Hungerford and Newbury, between Newbury and Reading,
and so on; while a cross post letter would be a letter crossing from the
Bath road to some other--as, for instance, a letter between Bath and
Oxford."--Ibid., p. 147.

[51] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 18.

[52] "To give a slight idea of the nature of this conveyance: _The Bye
and Way Letters_ were thrown promiscuously together into one large Bag,
which was to be opened at every Stage by the Deputy, or any inferior
Servant of the House, to pick out of the whole heap what might belong to
his own delivery, and the rest put back again into this large Bag, with
such Bye Letters as he should have to send to distant places from his
own Stage. But what was still worse than all this, it was then the
constant practice to demand and receive the postage on all such Letters
before they were put into any of the Country Post Offices. Hence (from
the general temptation of destroying these Letters for the sake of the
Postage) the joynt mischief of embezling the Revenue and interrupting
and obstructing the commerce, fell naturally in, to support and inflame
one another. Indeed, they were then risen to such a height, and
consequently the discredit and disrepute of this conveyance grown so
notorious, that many Traders and others in divers parts of the Kingdom
had recourse to various contrivances of private and clandestine
conveyance for their speedier and safer correspondence; whereby it
became unavoidable but that other branches of the Post Office revenue
should be greatly impair'd, as well as this ...

"Now whilst the _Bye and Way Letters_ continued to be conveyed in so
precarious and unsafe a way, as is shewn above, it was thought hard to
punish such as undertook to convey them in a speedier and safer manner.
But from a Time that this Branch of the Revenue was put under a just
regulation, in consequence of the contract with Mr. Allen, all such
Persons who were any way concerned in this illegal collection and
conveyance of Letters, were by proper Officers employed by him, strictly
enquired after, and when detected, the most notorious of them punished
as a terror to the rest."--Ralph Allen's Narrative, 2nd December 1761
(Ralph Allen's _Bye, Way and Cross Road Posts_, London, 1897, pp. 6 and

[53] "Upon the next renewal of his Contract, which was in the Year 1741,
the Postmasters-General, after largely expressing, as usual, their sense
of the integrity of his conduct, and the services he had done to the
Public, told him they judged it but reasonable to expect some addition
to his rent of £6,000 a Year for the _Bye, Way and Cross Road Letters_,
altho' he should still continue to support and increase the produce of
the Country Letters for the Benefit of the King. To which, Mr. Allen
answered, that their expectations of additional rent appeared very
reasonable to him, and which he should have made in his own way (a way
he was going to open to them) had they not themselves proposed it. That
there are two ways of giving this additional Rent: the one was by paying
a further some of money yearly, such as he could afford to his Majesty's
use without any advance to public commerce, the other was by paying his
Majesty, and immediately too, a much larger sum than he could in the
first way pretend to advance, in causing a considerable increase of the
produce of the _London and Country Letters_ by means of extending and
quickening the correspondence of London and several of the most
considerable Trading Towns and Cities thro'out the Kingdom; a project
that would be of infinite advantage to commerce. Which of these two ways
the Postmasters-General would think fit to prefer, he left to themselves
to consider; who on duly weighing all circumstances, did not in the
least hesitate to prefer the latter method.

"Upon which Mr. Allen agreed to erect, at his own Expence, one every day
cost from London to Bath, Bristol, and Glocester towards the _West_; and
from London to Cambridge, Lynn, Norwich, and Yarmouth towards the
_East_; and to all intermediate places in both quarters: and--that all
the increase of the postage of Letters thus conveyed between London and
the several places, East, and West of it above-mentioned, should,
without any charge or deduction, be paid in directly for his Majesty's
use, as well as all the increase of the _Country Letters_ within that
District, that is, such Letters as pass between one Country Town and
another thro' London.

"All this was accordingly done and executed conformable to the terms of
the contract."--Ibid., pp. 25-6.

Similar extensions were made at the renewals of the lease in 1748 and

[54] 5 Geo. III, cap. 25, § 5.

[55] "It is certain that the alteration of the rates of Postage in the
year 1765 has not been attended with every good consequence then
expected from it and has been some loss to the Revenue."--Mr. Draper,
District Surveyor, _British Official Records_, 1783.

[56] "At a time when the mail leaving London on Monday night did not
arrive at Bath until Wednesday afternoon, he (Palmer) had been in the
habit of accomplishing the distance between the two cities in a single
day. He had made journeys equally long and equally rapid in other
directions; and, as the result of observation, he had come to the
conclusion that of the horses kept at the post houses it was always the
worst that were set aside to carry the mail, and that the post was the
slowest mode of conveyance in the kingdom. He had also observed that,
where security or despatch was required, his neighbours at Bath who
might desire to correspond with London would make a letter up into a
parcel and send it by stage-coach, although the cost by stage-coach was,
porterage included, 2s. and by post 4d."--H. Joyce, _History of the Post
Office_, pp. 208-9. Cf. D. Macpherson, op. cit., vol. iv. p. 54.

[57] "If the present hours fixed at all the offices of the Kingdom with
the greatest care and attention to that regular plan of correspondence
which has been established after long experience were to be altered it
would throw into the greatest confusion for the present and would be
many years before it could be restored to the degree of perfection it
now has."--Observations on Mr. Palmer's Plan by Mr. Draper, District
Surveyor (_British Official Records_, 1783).

"Indeed, it is a pity that the Author of the Plan should not first have
been informed of the nature of the Business in question, to make him
understand how very differently the Posts and Post Offices are conducted
to what he apprehends, and that the constant Eye that has been long kept
towards their improvement in all Situations and under all Circumstances
has made them now almost as perfect as can be without exhausting the
Revenue arising therefrom."--Observations on Mr. Palmer's Plan by Mr.
Hodgson, District Surveyor. Ibid.

"Upon the whole it appears impracticable upon a general System to convey
the Mails by Machine."--Observations on Mr. Palmer's Plan by Mr. Allen,
District Surveyor. Ibid.

[58] "In 1797 there were forty-two mail-coach routes established,
connecting sixty of the most important towns in the kingdom, as well as
intermediate places. These coaches cost the Government £12,416 a year,
only half the sum paid for post-horses and riders under the old system.
The coaches made daily journeys over nearly two-thirds of the total
distance traversed and tri-weekly journeys over something less than
one-third the total distance. The remainder travelled one, two, four,
and six times a week."--J. C. Hemmeon, _History of the British Post
Office_, Cambridge, Mass., 1912, p. 40.

[59] 24 Geo. III, sess. 2, cap. 37.

[60] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 215.

[61] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, pp. 317-18.

[62] 41 Geo. III, cap. 7.

[63] 45 Geo. III, cap. 11.

[64] 52 Geo. III, cap. 88. For details of the changes in the rates
during this period see Appendix, pp. 338-9.

[65] "Von epochemachender Bedeutung war die berühmte von _Rowland Hill_
angeregte Portoreform bei Briefen (sogenanntes Pennyporto) in
GROSSBRITANNIEN 1839."--A. Wagner, _Finanzwissenschaft_, Leipzig, 1890,
vol. ii. p. 152.

[66] Sir Rowland Hill and G. Birkbeck Hill, _Life of Sir Rowland Hill
and History of Penny Postage_, London, 1880.

[67] "They were all full of high aims--all bent on 'the accomplishment
of things permanently great and good.' There was no room in their minds
for the petty thoughts of jealous spirits. Each had that breadth of view
which enables a man to rise above all selfish considerations. Each had
been brought up to consider the good of his family rather than his own
peculiar good, and to look upon the good of mankind as still higher than
the good of his family. Each was deeply convinced of the great truth
which Priestly had discovered, and Bentham had advocated--that the
object of all government, and of all social institutions, should be the
greatest happiness of the greatest number for the greatest length of
time. In their youth their aims were often visionary; but they were
always high and noble."--Ibid., vol. i. p. 193.

[68] "Early in the 'thirties there had been some reduction in certain
departments of taxation. It occurred to me that probably some ease might
be given to the people by lowering the postal rate.... Although occupied
with other affairs, the reduction in the postal rate was not dismissed
from my thoughts. The interest it had excited induced me to read
Reports, etc., on postal administration."--Ibid., vol. i. p. 242.

[69] "The best test to apply to the several existing taxes for the
discovery of the one which may be reduced most extensively, with the
least proportionate loss to the revenue, is probably this: excluding
from the examination those taxes, the produce of which is greatly
affected by changes in the habits of the people, as the taxes on
spirits, tobacco, hair-powder, let each be examined as to whether its
productiveness has kept pace with the increasing numbers and prosperity
of the nation. And that tax which proves most defective under this test
is, in all probability, the one we are in quest of."--Rowland Hill,
_Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability_, London, 1837,
p. 2.

[70] "The revenue of the Post Office has been stationary at about
£1,400,000 a year since 1818. This can be accounted for only by the
great duty charged on letters; for with a lower duty the correspondence
of the country through the Post Office would have increased in
proportion to the increase of population and national wealth."--Sir
Henry Parnell, _On Financial Reform_, London, 1832, p. 41.

[71] "While thus confirmed in my belief that, even from a financial
point of view, the postal rates were injuriously high, I also became
more and more convinced, the more I considered the question, that the
fiscal loss was not the most serious injury thus inflicted on the
public; that yet more serious evil resulted from the obstruction thus
raised to the moral and intellectual progress of the people; and that
the Post Office, if put on a sound footing, would assume the new and
important character of a powerful engine of civilization; that though
now rendered feeble and inefficient by erroneous financial arrangements,
it was capable of performing a distinguished part in the great work of
national education."--Sir Rowland Hill in _Life of Sir Rowland Hill and
History of Penny Postage_, London, 1880, vol. i. p. 245.

[72] _Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability_, by Rowland
Hill, London, 1837.

[73] "In order to ascertain, with as much accuracy as the circumstances
of the case admit, the extent to which the rates of postage may be
reduced, under the condition of a given reduction in the revenue, the
best course appears to be, first to determine as nearly as possible the
natural cost of conveying a letter under the varying circumstances of
distance, etc., that is to say, the cost which would be incurred if the
Post Office were conducted on the ordinary commercial principles, and
postage relieved entirely from taxation; and then to add to the natural
cost such amount of duty as may be necessary for producing the required
revenue."--Ibid. p. 10.

[74] "I found, first, that the cost of conveying a letter between post
town and post town was exceedingly small; secondly, that it had but
little relation to distance; and thirdly, that it depended much upon the
number of letters conveyed by the particular mail; and as the cost per
letter would diminish with every increase in such number, and as such
increase would certainly follow reduction of postage, it followed that,
if a great reduction could be effected, the cost of conveyance per
letter, already so small, might be deemed absolutely insignificant.

"Hence, then, I came to the important conclusion that the existing
practice of regulating the amount of postage by the distance over which
an inland letter was conveyed, however plausible in appearance, had no
foundation in principle, and that consequently the rates of postage
should be irrespective of distance."--Sir Rowland Hill, _Life of Sir
Rowland Hill and History of Penny Postage_, London, 1880, vol. i. p.

[75] "It appears, then, that the cost of mere transit incurred upon a
letter sent from London to Edinburgh, a distance of 400 miles, is not
more than _one thirty-sixth part of a penny_. If therefore the proper
charge (exclusive of tax) upon a letter received and delivered in London
itself were twopence, then the proper charge (exclusive of tax) upon a
letter received in London, but delivered in Edinburgh, would be twopence
_plus_ one-thirty-sixth part of a penny. Now, as the letters taken from
London to Edinburgh are undoubtedly carried much more than an average
distance, it follows, that when the charge for the receipt and delivery
of the letter is determined, an additional charge of one-thirty-sixth
part of a penny would amply repay the expense of transit. _If,
therefore, the charge for postage be made proportionate to the whole
expense incurred in the receipt, transit, and delivery of the letter,
and in the collection of its postage, it must be made uniformly the same
from every post town to every other post town in the United Kingdom_,
unless it can be shown how we are to collect so small a sum as the
thirty-sixth part of a penny."--Rowland Hill, _Post Office Reform: Its
Importance and Practicability_, London, 1837, pp. 18-19.

[76] Ibid., p. 45.

[77] A "frank" was a letter or packet bearing on the outside the
signature of a person entitled to send letters free of postage.

[78] These proposals are not, however, necessarily related to the
principle of uniformity, and, although interesting and important at the
time, are now only of historical interest. They relate more particularly
to the practicability of applying low and uniform rates to the postal
service in the United Kingdom, having regard to the circumstances then
obtaining and to the necessity for maintaining a large net revenue.
Given that uniformity of rate was scientifically sound, it did not
follow that it should be immediately adopted, and the financial effect
was, to say the least, speculative. But since it was unlikely that the
plan would be adopted if any large decrease in revenue were likely to
result, Sir Rowland Hill was at great pains to explain methods by which
his plan could be adopted without serious reduction of net revenue, and
it was in this connection that the question of the increase in traffic
which might be anticipated assumed such importance.

[79] See, e.g., H. von Stephan, _Geschichte der preussischen Post_,
Berlin, 1859, p. 615.

[80] _Ninth Report of Commissioners for Inquiring into the Mode of
Conducting the Business of the Post Office Department_, 1837, Appendix,
pp. 26-40.

[81] "Of all the wild and visionary schemes he had ever heard or read
of, it was the most extraordinary."--Lord Lichfleld, Postmaster-General,
15 June 1837, _Parl. Debates_ (_Lords_), vol. xxxviii, col. 1464.

"He considers the whole scheme of Mr. Hill as utterly fallacious; he
thought so from the first moment he read the pamphlet of Mr. Hill; and
his opinion of the plan was formed long before the evidence was given
before the Committee. The plan appears to him a most preposterous one,
utterly unsupported by facts, and resting entirely on assumption. Every
experiment in the way of reduction which has been made by the Post
Office has shown its fallacy; for every reduction whatever leads to a
loss of revenue, in the first instance: if the reduction be small, the
revenue recovers itself; but if the rates were to be reduced to a penny,
revenue would not recover itself for forty or fifty years."--Abstract of
Evidence of Colonel Maberly, Secretary to the Post Office, _Third Report
from the Select Committee on Postage_, 1838, p. 18.

[82] _Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability_, by Rowland
Hill, second edition, London, 1837.

[83] See _Life of Sir Rowland Hill and History of Penny Postage_,
London, 1880; Sir Henry Cole, _Fifty Years of Public Work_, London,

[84] _Third Report of the Select Committee On Postage_, 13th August
1838, § 10.

[85] In 1837-8 the deficiency was £1,428,000; in 1838-9, £430,000; in
1839-40, £1,457,000; in 1840-1, £1,851,000; and for 1841-2 it was
estimated at £2,421,000.

[86] "Was the Committee ignorant--we think not--that the radicals in
politics and the sectarians in religion, have been the warmest
advocates--and indeed (except the mercantile body we have alluded to)
the only very zealous advocates for this penny post?"--_Quarterly
Review_, October 1839, p. 531. Cf. _Edinburgh Review_, January 1840; J.
Morley, _Life of Cobden_, London, 1881, p. 411.

[87] "On the 9th April 1839, Lord Melbourne's Government brought in what
is generally known as the Jamaica Bill--a Bill for suspending for five
years the constitution of that colony. This measure was strongly opposed
by the Conservative party (led by Sir Robert Peel), and by many of the
Radicals. On the second reading of the Bill, the Government only escaped
defeat by the narrow majority of five votes. The Ministry thereupon
resigned; Sir Robert Peel was sent for by her Majesty, but owing to the
'Bedchamber Difficulty' failed to form a Government. Lord Melbourne was
recalled, and in the negotiations with the Radical members for future
support to his Government, the bargain was struck that that support
should be given, provided Penny Postage was conceded.

"Thus one of the greatest social reforms ever introduced was, to speak
plainly, given as a bribe by a tottering Government to secure political
support."--_The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago_, London, 1890, p. 24.
Cf. _Parl. Debates_, 26th March 1855, vol. cxxxvii, col. 1136; Sir
Stafford H. Northcote, _Twenty Years of Financial Policy_, London, 1862,
pp. 8-9.

[88] As a temporary measure, with the view of minimizing the practical
difficulties of the Post Office, a uniform rate of 4d. a letter (1d. a
letter for London local letters) was introduced on the 5th December

[89] Estimate of number of chargeable letters delivered in the United
Kingdom (in round numbers):--

  1839    Letters     76.0 millions
          Franks       6.6   "
  1840    Letters    169.0   "
  1841      "        197.0   "
  1842      "        208.0   "
  1843      "        220.0   "
  1844      "        242.0   "
  1845      "        271.0   "
  1846      "        300.0   "
  1847      "        322.0   "
  1848      "        329.0   "
  1849      "        337.0   "
  1860      "        564.0   "
  1900-1    "      2,323.6   "
  1913-14   "      3,477.8   "

The total number of packets of all descriptions delivered in the United
Kingdom in the year 1913-14 was about 6,000 millions.--_Annual Reports
of the Postmaster-General._

[90] See J. R. McCulloch, _Taxation and the Funding System_, Edinburgh,
1863, p. 331.

[91] The number of letters per head of population shows a continuous
increase, as follows:--

    Year.    | England. | Scotland. | Ireland. | United
             |          |           |          | Kingdom.
   1880-1    |    38    |    29     |    15    |    34
   1890-1    |    50    |    36     |    21    |    45
   1900-1    |    61    |    47     |    32    |    57
   1905-6    |    68    |    51     |    36    |    62
   1910-11   |    73    |    56     |    40    |    68
   1913-14   |    81    |    63     |    45    |    75

[92] As in other countries. It is contrary to the general principles
upon which the post is conducted in the leading countries of Europe to
throw a quantity of heavy matter upon the letter post, which exists
primarily for the carriage of light letters, and would be seriously
hampered by the transmission of large numbers of heavy packages."

[93] Of these, 123,640 were established and 125,813 unestablished

[94] The following table shows the date and annual cost of the various

  1881-2.    Fawcett Revision                 £320,000
  1888-91.   Raikes Revision                   406,600
  1897-8.    Tweedmouth Revision (including
               Norfolk-Hanbury concessions)    388,000
  1905.      Stanley Revision                  372,300
  1908.      Hobhouse Committee Revision       707,900
  1914.      Holt Committee Revision         1,335,750
  1894-1912. Other improvements                144,400
  Total                                     £3,674,950

In addition, the annual cost of the War Bonus granted in 1915 is
estimated at £1,080,000.


            | Percentage of Salaries,
    Year.   | Wages, etc., to Total
            | Revenue.
   1880-1   |   28.39
   1890-1   |   35.78
   1900-1   |   45.30
   1905-6   |   45.34
   1909-10  |   49.09
   1910-11  |   47.61
   1911-12  |   49.20
   1912-13  |   47.88
   1913-14  |   47.04

[96] The increase is partly accounted for by the fact that parcels are
included in the later figures. Deducting the estimated cost of the
parcel post (see _infra_, Chapter VII), the cost for staff for packets
other than parcels was, in 1913-14, some .340d. per packet.

[97] Omitting the cost of conveyance of mails by sea, and omitting the
cost of conveyance of parcels by railway, which is fixed by the Parcel
Post Act of 1882. The following table shows the movement of the general
cost of conveyance of mails:--

              |             | Percentage of Cost of Conveyance
    Year.     |   Cost of   | of Mails by Road and Rail to Total
              | Conveyance. | Revenue (excluding Cost of
              |             | Conveyance of Parcels by Railway).
    1880-1    |  £921,093   |        16.17
    1890-1    | 1,273,894   |        12.62
    1900-1    | 1,519,219   |        11.26
    1905-6    | 1,710,891   |        10.68
    1910-11   | 1,812,505   |         9.18
    1913-14   | 1,940,735   |         8.85

[98] Assuming there is no loss on the Parcel Post. If there is such
loss, the cost per packet other than a parcel would be reduced (see
_infra_, Chapter VII).

[99] The general increase of wages partly accounts for this (see p. 34,
opposite). The cost of working is, however, higher in the larger offices
(where the bulk of postal work is done) than in the smaller offices, and
tends to be highest in the largest offices. The matter is complicated by
the fact that higher scales of pay are in force in the larger towns.


                 | Percentage of Total Expenditure to
                 |         Total Revenue.
     Year.       +------------------------------------
                 | Postal Services. | All Services.
   1839-40 A B   |      31.66       |       --
   1840-41 B     |      63.16       |       --
   1880-1        |      61.84       |      68.97
   1890-1        |      65.79       |      74.33
   1900-1        |      71.75       |      80.99
   1905-6        |      69.44       |      80.19
   1909-10       |      73.75       |      84.00
   1910-11       |      72.28       |      82.94
   1911-12       |      72.36       |      82.89
   1912-13       |      71.25       |      82.05
   1913-14 C     |      69.71       |      80.02

  A: Penny Postage introduced, 10th January 1840.

  B: Revenue does not include proceeds of Impressed Stamp on Newspapers.

  C: Estimated.

            --_Report of Postmaster-General_, 1913-14, pp. 122-3.

[101] "The inhabitants live so scattered and remote from each other in
that vast country, that posts cannot be supported among them."--Benjamin
Franklin, evidence before House of Commons, 28th January, 1766 (_Parl.
History_, vol. xvi. col. 138).

[102] The usual rate of remuneration for deputy postmasters in North
America. Cf. _infra_, pp. 49 and 66.

[103] "On account of the scarcity of money, people will forbear to
correspond until they find occasions by friends, travellers, and the
like, to send their letters, which makes it to be wished that the
Legislature might enact that the rate of postage for the greatest
distances on the Continent of America may not exceed 1s. 6d. for a
single letter and so in proportion."--_British Official Records_, 1764.

[104] Preamble of 5 Geo. III, cap. 25.

[105] "The present rates may in some parts be reduced, and the Revenue
nevertheless may hereafter be improved, by means of a more extensive
circulation."--5 Geo. III, cap. 25, § 1.

[106] _British Official Records_, 8th February 1774.

[107] _British Official Records_, 23rd September 1790.

[108] J. G. Hendy, _Empire Review_, London, 1902, vol. iv., p. 180.

[109] "There is no doubt that the revenues of the provinces showed a
nominal surplus, but it is not so clear that this surplus, which
amounted to £884 in 1801, and to £2,514 in 1811, was a surplus on the
provincial services. Many years later, when the administration of the
Post Office in the colonies and the question of the disposal of the
surplus revenue had become part of a political matter of the first
magnitude, the provincial Legislatures alleged that the surplus amounted
to a very considerable sum each year, and that the circumstances
constituted a taxation of the colonies by the Mother Country; but the
Deputy Postmaster-General asserted that this surplus was in fact
composed of revenues to which the colonies had no claim, viz. the
charges for British packet postage, that is, for transmission of letters
across the ocean, and payments in respect of military postage, and that
in point of fact the local service had never yielded a surplus--that,
indeed, there was probably a deficit.

"This I feel myself bound to state as my firm conviction, that neither
for the last ten years, nor for any previous period, has the postage of
Lower Canada afforded one farthing of Net Revenue."--Mr. T. A. Stayner,
Deputy Postmaster-General (_Report of Special Committee of the House of
Assembly on the Post Office Department in the Province of Lower Canada_,
11th February 1832, p. 12).

[110] See, e.g., _Report of Special Committee, House of Assembly, Lower
Canada_, 8th March 1836.

[111] In 1790 Governor Carleton of New Brunswick manned the posts at St.
John, Cumberland, Preguile, and Fredericton with a troop of soldiers, by
which means "the route was kept in good order"; and in 1794 the Duke of
Kent, then Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Nova Scotia, constructed
a military post road from Halifax to Annapolis, and also other roads in
the vicinity of Halifax.--_British America_ (British Empire Series, vol.
iii., London, 1900), p. 121.

[112] _Vide_ p. 41, note, _supra._

[113] 31 Geo. III, cap. 31.

[114] 18 Geo. III, cap. 12.

[115] Will. IV, cap. 7.

[116] _Report of Special Committee, House of Assembly, Lower Canada_,
8th March 1836.

[117] Ibid., _Legislative Council, Lower Canada_, 15th March 1836. Cf.
_Report of Select Committee, Legislative Council, Upper Canada_, 17th
February 1837.

[118] "We have failed to discover reasonable grounds for hoping that the
several Colonial Legislatures will soon (if indeed they ever will)
arrive at such uniformity in their enactments for the management of the
Post Office within their respective localities as would ensure the
establishment of a practicable system, more especially since it is
admitted that the Bill of one Legislature, in order to become effective,
must correspond in all its material provisions with the Bills of all the
other Legislatures, and that after these Bills have been found to
correspond with one another, and had in consequence thereof become Laws,
no alterations in them, however expedient it might be deemed by one
Legislature for the improvement of the system, could be carried into
effect, until agreed to by each separate Legislature."--_Joint Address,
Legislature of Upper Canada_, March 1837, p. 11.

An example of the difficulties likely to be encountered, and some
justification for the reluctance of the Imperial authorities to yield
control of the service, is afforded by a dispute which occurred at about
this time between Canada and Nova Scotia concerning the arrangements for
the transmission of the British mails between Quebec and Halifax. Nova
Scotia refused for the first time to make good the deficiency in the
Post Office revenue. The authorities in London thereupon ordered the
Deputy in the province to discontinue all unremunerative services, a
course of action which proved effective.

[119] _Report of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the affairs
of the Post Office in British North America_, 31st December 1841.

[120] _British Official Records_, 1842-3.

[121] W. J. Page, Report of 1st October 1842 (_British Official

[122] Despatch of 28th August 1847.

[123] _Report of a Committee of the Executive Council of Canada on the
Post Office_, 10th June 1848.

[124] 12 & 13 Vict., cap. 66.

[125] _Correspondence on the Subject of the Establishment of a General
Post Office System in British North America_, Montreal, 27th February

[126] In 1851, $362,065; in 1852, $230,629; in 1855, $368,166.

[127] "He would, were it necessary for the revenue, prefer to retain the
existing letter rate than to extend through the Dominion this newspaper
impost, unknown in the Maritime Provinces before."--Hon. Dr. Tupper,
_Parl. Debates_ (_Canada_), _House of Commons_, 20th December 1867.

[128] Hon. Mr. Campbell, Ibid., _Senate_, 3rd December 1867.

[129] "The Postal service should be expected to yield a revenue; but the
service should be performed as low as possible, and if it paid its way
that was all that need be desired."--Hon. Mr. Campbell, Ibid.

[130] The revenue in 1868 was $1,024,702, and in 1871, $1,079,768. In
1889 the rate was made 3 cents per ounce.

[131] See _infra_, p. 143.

[132] Sir W. Mulock, _Parl. Debates_ (_Canada_), _House of Commons_, 1st
April 1898 (_Official Reports_, vol. xlvi.).

[133] Sir Charles Tupper, Ibid., 13th May 1898.

[134] In 1898, $3,527,810: in 1902, $3,888,126.

[135] "It is ordered that notice be given that Richard Fairbanks his
house in Boston is the place appointed for all letters which are brought
from 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 negligence in this kind."

[136] Stanley I. Slack, _A Brief History of the Postal Service_, Omaha.

[137] M. E. Woolley, _Early History of the Colonial Post Office_,
Providence, R.I., 1894, p. 6.

[138] New York, in 1692, enacted that any persons or body politic or
corporate other than the Postmaster-General presuming to "carry,
re-carry, or deliver letters for hire, or to set up or imploy any
foot-post, horse-post, or pacquet-boat whatsoever" for the carrying of
letters or packets should forfeit £100; and the Act of New Hampshire,
passed in 1693, provided that no person or persons whatsoever should
carry letters for hire, "except letters sent by private friend or by any
messenger for or concerning the private affaires of any person."

[139] Preamble of Act (1st April 1693).

[140] "The mail carriers rode through the wilderness in this year of the
beginning."--Stanley I. Slack, _A Brief History of the Postal Service_,
Omaha, p. 11.

[141] See _infra_, Appendix B, pp. 391 ff.

[142] "An Act for establishing a General Post Office for all her
Majesty's Dominions" (9 Anne, cap. 10).

[143] 5 Geo. III, cap. 25. See _supra_, pp. 38-9.

[144] Cf. _supra_, p. 38.

[145] Evidence of Benjamin Franklin before House of Commons Committee,
28th January 1766. The Committee were, of course, most anxious on points
having relation to the taxation of the colonies by the English
Parliament, and Dr. Franklin was asked questions directed to discovering
whether the colonists regarded postage, which was fixed by Act of the
British Parliament, and had been newly fixed by such Act in the previous
year (5 Geo. III, cap. 25), as a tax. On this point Dr. Franklin
emphatically held that the postage paid on a letter was not of the
nature of a tax, but that it was simply payment for service performed;
and, moreover, the payment of postage was not compulsory, since a man
might still, as before the passing of the Act, send his letter by a
servant, a special messenger, or a friend, if he thought it cheaper or
safer. Dr. Franklin said that every Assembly encouraged the Post Office
in its infancy by grants of money; that they would not have done this if
they had thought the postage charge a tax, and as a matter of fact the
system was always regarded as supplying a great convenience (W. Cobbett,
_Parliamentary History of England_, vol. xvi. cols. 137-160).

[146] _Manifesto to the American People_, issued by Goddard, 2nd July
1774. Earlier in the manifesto it was remarked that "newspapers, those
necessary and important alarms in time of public danger, may be rendered
of little consequence for want of circulation."

[147] "It is not to be doubted but that the institution will be properly
regulated by the Continental Congress."--_Manifesto to the American
People_, 8th May 1774.

[148] _Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789_, pub.
Washington, 1904, vol. ii. p. 208.

[149] Resolution of 30th September 1775. Ibid., vol. iii. p. 267.

[150] _British Official Records_, 6th December 1780.

[151] "The officers of the American Army beg leave to inform their
friends and correspondents that the postage of all letters to and from
the Army is doubled: but as their pay is fully adequate to every
expense, they therefore request them to send all letters by the public
post, and not _through any [oe]conomical view_ by a private conveyance.

'Tis a pity that the Honourable Congress did not treble the postage for
Officers' letters, as a large annual sum by this means would be put into
the public Treasury.

The several printers of newspapers on the Continent are requested to
insert the above."--_Pennsylvania Packet_, 22nd June 1779.

[152] In all, no less a sum than $111,967 was advanced to the Post
Office during the year 1779.--_Journals of the Continental Congress_,
1774-1789, pub. Washington, 1904, vol. xv. pp. 1412 and 1436.

[153] Ibid., vol. xviii. p. 1142.

[154] The rates were given in pennyweights and grains of silver, each
pennyweight being estimated as equivalent to five-ninetieths of a

[155] _Journals of Congress_, Philadelphia, 1781-2, vol. vii. p. 509.

[156] See pp. 12-14, _supra._

[157] Ibid., vol. xii. p. 11.

[158] Message to Congress, 25th October 1791.

[159] See _Debates and Proceedings in Congress_, 20th December 1791.
(Washington, 1849.)

[160] Ibid., 6th December 1791.

[161] See _Congressional Record_ (_House of Representatives_), 21st
February 1863.

[162] Questions of the establishment and maintenance of the post roads
were dealt with by Congress separately from questions of mail service.

[163] _Reports of Senate Committee_, 27th January 1835, p. 115.

[164] Letter to Hon. Mr. Kennedy, _Life of Sir Rowland Hill and History
of Penny Postage_, pp. 336-7.

[165] See D. D. T. Leech, _The Post Office Department of the United
States of America; its History, Organization, and Working_, Washington,
D.C., 1879.

[166] Message to Congress, 3rd December 1844.

[167] Some notion of the spirit in which the question was approached may
be gathered from the following extracts:--

"To content the man dwelling more remote from town with his homely lot,
by giving him regular and frequent means of intercommunication: to
assure to the emigrant, who plants his new home on the skirts of the
distant wilderness or prairie, that he is not forever severed from the
kindred and society that still share his interest and love: to prevent
those whom the swelling tide of population is constantly pressing to the
outer verge of civilization from being surrendered to surrounding
influences and sinking into the hunter or savage state: to render the
citizen, how far soever from the seat of his Government, worthy, by
proper knowledge and intelligence, of his important privileges as a
sovereign constituent of the Government: to diffuse, throughout all
parts of the land, enlightenment, social improvement, and national
affinities, elevating our people in the scale of civilization, and
binding them together in patriotic affection."--_Report of House
Committee_, 15th May 1844.

"It [the Post Office] was a most important element in the hand of
civilization, especially of a republican people. There would be room to
dilate in reference to the utility of the diffusion of sciences, the
promotion of morals, and all these great benefits resulting from the
intercourse of mind and mind.... Because it was so well understood by
those who framed the Constitution, we find in that sacred instrument
that the power of this department of the public service is exclusively
vested in Congress.... Every nook and corner of this country should be
visited by its operations, that it should shed light and information to
the remote frontier settler as well as to the inhabitant of the populous
city or densely populated districts."--Mr. Merrick in the Senate when
introducing the Bill, 27th January 1845 (_Congressional Globe_).

"And what element but universal enlightenment of the people forms the
chief corner-stone in the temple of our political hopes? and what
instrument so calculated to awaken the ambition of the people to become
educated as the cultivation of the taste for epistolatory
correspondence, calling into action those energies of the mind so
necessary to the intelligent discharge of the high and responsible
duties of freemen, in a country where every man is equal, and the
builder and maker of his Government."--Mr. Paterson in the House of
Representatives, 1st March 1845 (_Congressional Globe_).

[168] "The extension of the mail service and the additional facilities
which will be demanded by the rapid extension and increase of population
on our western frontier will not admit of such curtailment as will
materially reduce the present expenditure."--Message to Congress, 2nd
December 1845.

[169] "The honour and interest of the nation required that as soon as
the title to the country was settled, our citizens who were resident
there, and those who shall go to settle there, should enjoy the benefits
of the mail. And as it was the nation's business to establish the mail,
it was equally the nation's business to pay the expense. No man can show
how it is just and reasonable that the letters passing between Boston
and New York should be taxed 150 per cent. to pay the expenses of a mail
to Oregon on the pretext that the Post Office must support itself."--J.
Leavitt, _Cheap Postage_, Boston, Mass., 1848, p. 27.

[170] Mr. Root (_Congressional Globe, House of Representatives_, 18th
December 1850).

[171] "Sir, I am acquainted with the privations and hardships incident
to the settlement of a new country: and I do not intend that my friends
who are now combating the trials and hardships of California and Oregon
shall be visited by their Government with such injustice. The men who
are settling those countries are sacrificing their lives for a coming
generation. I will not add to their hardships by taxing them four times
as much as a citizen of the old States of the Union for a letter which
shall give them intelligence of their friends left behind them, and
shall chill that gush of feeling which will swell their bosoms, as they
take possession of a letter that comes from their far-distant native
land."--Mr. Sweetser (Ibid., 4th January 1851).

[172] _Congressional Record, Senate_, 17th January 1883.

[173] The cost of the provision and maintenance (lighting, heating,
etc.) of Post Office buildings is charged directly on the Federal
Treasury, and does not in any way figure in the Post Office deficit.

[174] "If the postal revenue arising from letter postage could be set
aside for its proper uses, the millions of letter-writers of this
country might quickly be permitted to enjoy a reduced taxation on
letter-writing. In point of fact, there is a dear gain of nearly
$30,000,000 from letter postages."--_Annual Report of the
Postmaster-General_, 1890, p. 53.

[175] Ibid., 1891, p. 102.

[176] "There is now, and has been for many years, an insistent demand
for the reduction of letter postage. The advocates of that reduction
argue that the volume of business naturally resulting therefrom would
offset the temporary loss in revenue. They insist that the charge for
first-class matter is out of all proportion to the cost of its handling
and transportation."--_Annual Report of the Postmaster-General_, 1906,
p. xlvi.

[177] "As the profit on first-class matter is almost equal to the loss
on second-class matter, it will readily be seen that an equalization of
rates on the basis of the cost of service would permit a reduction in
letter postage from 2 cents to 1 cent an ounce."--Mr. Hitchcock,
Postmaster-General, evidence before Commission of 1911.

[178] P. Jaccottey, _Traité de Législation et d'Exploitation Postales_,
Paris, 1891, p. 5. E. Gallois, _La Poste_, etc., Paris, 1894, pp. 41 and

[179] A. de Rothschild, _Histoire de la Poste aux Lettres_, Paris, 1879,
p. 60.

[180] P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 6.

[181] Edict of 19th June 1464.

[182] Edict of 8th May 1597: "Édit du Roy pour l'établissement des
relais de chevaux de louage, de traite en traite, sur les grands
chemins, traverses et le long des rivières, pour servir à voïager,
porter malles et toutes sortes de bagages."

[183] "Louis XI ne se préoccupait nullement de la correspondance des
particuliers, ni du développement des relations commerciales et
sociales: il poursuivait un but exclusivement politique.

"Engagé dans sa grande lutte contre la féodalité, il cherchait le moyen
de transmettre avec célérité ses ordres dans les provinces et d'être
rapidement informé des man[oe]uvres de ses ennemis.... L'institution
créée par Louis XI pour son usage exclusif était donc identique dans son
but, sinon dans ses moyens, à la course publique des Romains."--P.
Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 7. See also D. Macpherson, op. cit., vol. i. p.

[184] A. Belloc, _Les Postes françaises_, Paris, 1886, pp. 43 and 46.

[185] Regulation of 26th October 1627.

[186] See Charles Bernede, _Des Postes en Général, et particulièrement
en France_, Nantes, 1826.

[187] Léon Cazes, _Le Monopole Postale_, Paris, 1900.

[188] Edict of 8th December 1703.

[189] Decrees of 26th-29th August 1790.

[190] P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 287. Cf. _Le Moniteur Universel_, 18
août 1791, p. 954.

[191] Law of 27th December 1795.

[192] P. Leroy-Beaulieu, _Traité de la Science des Finances_, Paris,
1899, vol. i. p. 612.

[193] Law of 15th March 1827.

[194] Law of 3rd June 1829.

[195] "Citoyens représentants, puisque l'honorable défenseur de
l'interêt du trésor a porté à cette tribune un mot, je ne le nie pas; il
est vrai qu'au comité des finances j'ai dit que cette loi était une loi
d'amour; je le répète, et j'adresse de sincère remerciements à la
monarchie, pour avoir laissé à la République le soin de donner cette loi
au pays."--Le Citoyen Goudchaux, Ministre des Finances, Assemblée
Nationale, 24 août 1848 (_Le Moniteur Universel, Journal Officiel de la
République Française_).

[196] "La question que j'appelerai sociale est la première qui se
presente à mon esprit ... Je dis done, que, au point de vue sociale, la
diminution de la taxe des lettres, loin d'être favorable uniquement aux
négociants, aux gros banquiers, comme on l'a supposé toute à l'heure,
sera favorable aussi au plus grand nombre des citoyens ...

"Quant à l'avantage moral qui résulterait de l'accroissement de ces
correspondances, je crois inutile de m'appesantir sur ce côté de la
question. Est-il douteux, en effet, que les enfants auront toujours à
profiter des conseils d'un père, d'une mère? Est-il douteux que les
liens de famille so resserreront davantage, lorsque les rélations seront
plus fréquentes?"--Le Citoyen Goudchaux, Assemblée Nationale, 24 août
1848 (ibid.).

[197] The total is made up thus:--

  Local letters in towns of the departments     14-1/2  millions
  Local letters in Paris                        10         "
  Foreign letters                                7-1/2     "
  Letters passing between different towns       23         "
                                                55         "

[198] See _Le Moniteur Universel, Journal Officiel de la République
Française_, août 1848.

[199] "Je concevrais quo le Gouvernement établît un impôt sur tout autre
chose pour favoriser celle-là, mais qu'il établisse un impôt, sur
celle-là, cela me parait contradictoire. Tous les jours nous votons des
taxes pour faciliter la locomotion des hommes et des choses, nous
construisons des routes, des canaux, des chemins de fer dont nous
livrons gratuitement l'usage au public, et ensuite nous entravons par
des taxes la transmission des idées! Je dis quo le Gouvernement ne doit
pas faire des profits sur ce service. C'est là un principe qui s'est
étendu sur presque toute l'Europe. En Angleterre on est complètement
entré dans cette voie. Aux Etats-Unis le Gouvernement fait des frais et
des frais énormes pour en épargner à ceux qui veulent correspondre."--Le
Citoyen Frédéric Bastiat, Assemblée Nationale, 24 août 1848, ibid.

[200] "Les frais de la poste sont à peu près de 30 millions. Qu'est-ce
que la poste nous porte? Qu'est-ce qu'elle distribue? Elle distribue
trois natures d'objets; d'abord une multitude de journaux, et
remarquez-le bien, ces journaux sont soumis à la même législation que je
propose aujourd'hui pour les lettres; car, telle est la puissance de
l'habitude, ce qui vous a paru fort extraordinaire se pratique sous nos
yeux, tous les jours pour les journaux; et cependant aujourd'hui vous
trouvez singulier qu'on le propose pour les lettres. La poste transporte
done des journaux dont le poids, si je ne me trompe, est de 900

"Elle transporte ensuite toutes les dépêches administratives dont le
poids dépasse 1,000 à 1,100 kilogrammes.

"Enfin elle transporte les lettres dont le poids n'est pas égal ni à
celui des journaux, ni à celui des dépêches administratives.

"En conséquence, si vous répartissez les 30 millions ou 35 millions, si
vous voulez, sur les trois services, vous verrez qu'il ne faut pas
mettre au compte des lettres plus d'une douzaine de millions de francs.

"Eh bien, si toutes les lettres étaient taxées à 5 centimes, il n'y a
pas de doute que les 12 ou 15 millions de frais seraient parfaitement
couverts."--Le Citoyen Frédéric Bastiat, ibid.

[201] Edgar Bonnet, _Importance, des Postes et Télégraphes au point de
vue social et économique_, Paris, 1891.

[202] M. Caillaux, Assemblée Nationale, 23 août 1871 (_Journal Officiel
de la République Française_).

[203] P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 298.

[204] See _Rapport sur l'Administration des Postes_, présenté au
Ministre des Finances par M. Léon Riant, Directeur-Général, octobre

[205] "Toute commune doit être desservie une fois par jour, au moins
(_loi du 21 avril, 1832, art. 47_) sauf exception temporaire en cas de
force majeure, et dont il est rendu compte au directeur du
département."--_Instruction générale sur le service des Postes et des
Télégraphes_, Paris, 1905, vol. iv. p. 453, Instr. 5316.

[206] It must further be borne in mind that France was less developed

[207] "Nous avons jugé cette réforme insuffisante; elle ne serait pas de
nature à donner une satisfaction réelle à notre industrie et à accélérer
suffisamment le mouvement de la correspondance. On pouvait discuter
peut-être l'opportunité de la mesure; mais dès que cette mesure est
reconnue nécessaire, elle doit être complète, de manière à produire tous
ses effets....

"La réforme à 20 centimes entraînerait done un déficit total de 12
millions; et celle à 15 centimes, de 27 millions; le rapprochement de
ces deux chiffres suffit à démontrer que le sacrifice n'est pas assez
considérable pour hésiter à faire une réforme complète en réduisant
immédiatement la taxe à 15 centimes."--_Rapport portant fixation du
Budget générale_, déposé le 31 juillet 1877.

[208] _Rapport portant fixation du Budget générale_, Chambre des
Députés, 1898, No. 498.

[209] Their remarks are characteristic of the attitude adopted towards
the reform. They said:--

"L'adoption de cette proposition de M. Chassaing aurait pour effet de
créer dans le Budget de 1898 un déficit qu'il ne parait guère possible
d'évaluer à moins de 38 millions. Quel qu'il puisse être, dans la
situation actuelle, il serait indispensable de le combler et l'on ne
pourrait pour cela recourir qu'à des ressources nouvelles. L'auteur de
la proposition n'en indique pas. II se borne à demander l'abandon d'une
recette sans dire par quoi cet abandon serait compensé. Sera-ce à
l'impôt qu'il faudra s'adresser? Mais ce n'est pas seulement d'une
diminution de recette qu'il s'agira. On a vu qu'une augmentation de
dépense était le corollaire immédiat de la proposition, car plus prompt
et plus sensible sera l'effet de la réduction de tarif, plus pressante
sera la nécessité d'ouvrir de nouveaux bureaux, de créer de nouveaux
courriers, de renforcer le personnel chargé de la manipulation et de la
distribution, plus tôt s'imposera l'obligation de réorganiser le service
de Paris.

"C'est là une [oe]uvre ou l'initiative et l'intervention du Gouvemement
sont nécessaires.

"Mais, en tout cas, et pour ce qui concerne la Commission du Budget de
1898, un abandon de recettes de 21 millions ayant lui-même pour
consequence une augmentation de dépense de 17 millions ne lui ont pas
paru admissibles."--_Rapport portant fixation du Budget générale_,
Chambre des Députés, 1897, No. 2701, p. 49.

[210] _Rapport sur les conditions du Fonctionnement de l'Administration
des Postes et des Télégraphes_, par A. Millerand, le Ministre du
Commerce, de l'Industrie, des Postes, et des Télégraphes, 12 May 1900.

[211] "En tout cas les résultats de l'expérience faite à l'étranger
prouvent que l'on peut abaisser la taxe des cartes postales jusqu'à la
moitié de celle des lettres simple sans craindre que les cartes fassent
concurrence aux lettres et que la généralisation de ce mode de
correspondance à prix réduit amène une diminution des revenus de la
poste."--M. Millerand, op. cit.

[212] Ibid.

[213] On such packets the rate was 1 centime for each 5 grammes. M.
Millerand was of opinion that any rate less than 5 centimes involved a
loss to the net revenue. In 1877 it had been estimated that the average
cost of dealing with a postal packet (taking all classes into
consideration) was 8 centimes: in 1889 it had been estimated at 5.5
centimes. The Budget Commission of 1901 estimated the cost at 4
centimes.--See _Rapport portant fixation du Budget générale_, Chambre
des Députés, 1901, No. 1866.

[214] "C'est tomber dans la banalité de dire que la France n'occupe pas
dans le monde, au point de vue du trafic postal, un rang correspondant à
l'importance de sa population, de son commerce, de son Industrie, et de
sa haute civilisation."--Ibid.

[215] "Depuis de longues années, les chambres de commerce et la Presse
toute entière réclaimaient une réforme depuis quelque temps réalisée
dans la plupart des pays étrangers. Mais le souci de l'équilibre
budgétaire avait toujours fait ajourner la réduction à 10 centimes de la
taxe des lettres."--Ibid., Sénat, 1906, No. 477.

[216] On the proposal at the Universal Postal Congress of 1907 to
increase the weight unit for international letters, the Budget Report
(Chambre des Députés, Session 1909, No. 2767) contained the following:--

"Alors que tous nos voisins ou presque tous s'étaient conformés à partir
du 1^er octobre 1907, aux indications du Congrès de l'Union postale
universelle, il était humiliant pour la France de montrer que des
préoccupations purement fiscales l'empêchaient d'adopter, avec le même
empressement que l'Allemagne, la Belgique, l'Angleterre ou la Suisse, la

[217] _Rapport portant fixation du Budget générale_, Sénat, 1908, No.
340. Ibid., Chambre des Députés, 1908, No. 2032.

[218] "Il n'en coute pas plus pour timbrer, trier, transporter et
distribuer un objet pesant qu'un objet léger. Tout au plus doit ou tenir
compte de l'encombrement produit par les objets volumineux et du
surcroît de travail qu'occasionne le contrôle obligatoire du poids des
objets pesantes, en graduant les tarifs suivant une progression
nettement décroissante par rapport au poids."--Ibid.

[219] See table of financial effect, _Rapport portant fixation du Budget
générale_, Sénat, 1910, No. 115.

[220] Prior to the date of the establishment of the Imperial German Post
Office, the text deals more particularly with the rate in Prussia. For a
sketch of the Thurn and Taxis posts in Germany see _infra_, Appendix A,
pp. 349 ff.

[221] H. von Stephan, _Geschichte der preussischen Post_, Berlin, 1859,
p. 12.

[222] F. Haass, _Die Post und der Charakter ihrer Einkünfte_, Stuttgart,
1890, p. 92.

[223] F. Haass, op. cit., p. 94.

[224] H. von Stephan, op. cit., p. 15.

[225] Ibid., p. 17.

[226] 1 German mile=7.5 kilometres. Distances are given throughout in
German miles.

[227] H. von Stephan, op. cit., p. 62.

[228] Ibid., p. 18.

[229] "Dass unter solchen Umständen bei Ankunft der Posten namentlich an
bedeutenderen Orten ein grosser Zusammenlauf von Menschen stattfand, ist
begreiflich. Auch finden wir mehrere Rescripte wider das tumultuarische
Treiben des Publicums vor den Posthäusern."--Ibid., p. 61.

[230] In 1662 the posts yielded 7,000 thalers surplus (revenue 17,000
thalers, expenditure 10,000 thalers); in 1672, 10,433 thalers (revenue
24,539 thalers, expenditure 14,106 thalers); in 1682, 29,058 thalers
(revenue 51,959 thalers, expenditure 22,901 thalers); and in 1688,
39,213 thalers (revenue 79,971 thalers, expenditure 40,758 thalers). The
net revenue of the posts was generally devoted to the payment of State
officials, to the improvement of means of communication (building of
canals, etc.), and to beneficence. For example, the Elector, during the
severe illness of his first wife, made a vow to found an almshouse and
ordered 6,000 thalers yearly to be assigned for its support. Of this sum
2,000 thalers were laid on the post revenues.--Ibid., p. 60.

[231] A groschen was roughly the equivalent of a penny. The value of
money was then about four times its present value.

[232] The price of a bushel of rye in Berlin, which from 1740 to 1756
had varied from 23 groschen to a thaler, rose to 4 thalers.

[233] The edict of the 27th January proclaiming the higher rates
remarked that the raising of the letter rate would be detrimental to the
public and prejudicial to the credit of the service, and that "in spite
of the high price of corn and the depreciation of money, raising of the
letter rate could not be thought of, and that in the neighbouring States
this measure, however soon it might be set aside, had worked to their
disadvantage."--H. von Stephan, op. cit., p. 292.

[234] "The encouragement of a particular business or manufacture in a
particular place; the better opposing of the competition of a
neighbouring route; tenderness for existing difference in newly acquired
districts; the difference in the price of corn in a province, and at an
earlier date even of money, weight, length of the miles, as also, in the
case of travelling post charges, the season of the year; all these
circumstances were often brought into consideration in the fixing of
postage rates."--Ibid., p. 296.

[235] The ascertainment of the direct distances was commenced in 1823.
It was completed in a year and a half (including two revisions), and a
map of distances prepared. There were 1,386,506 distances to measure,
and the measuring was done by land surveyors. The distances so measured
were tabulated for practical use by postal officials.--H. von Stephan,
op. cit., p. 746, n. 3; Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893,
p. 2.

[236] The rates were to be rounded up. One or 2 pfennigs were to be
counted as 3 pfennigs, 4 or 5 pfennigs as 6 pfennigs, 7 or 8 pfennigs as
9 pfennigs, and 10 or 11 pfennigs as 1 silver groschen.

[237] H. von Stephan, op. cit., pp. 760 and 761.

[238] This does not take into account the normal yearly increase, which
was 120,000 thalers under the old rates. If that be taken into account
there was still a loss in 1847. Thus:--

   Year.  | Probable Gross Postage |               |
          |   Receipts under Old   | Actual Yield. |   Loss.
          |       Rates.           |               |
   1844   |     4,765,000          |   4,628,133   |  136,867
   1845   |     4,885,000          |   4,325,570   |  559,430
   1846   |     5,005,000          |   4,514,338   |  490,662
   1847   |     5,125,000          |   4,771,392   |  353,608
                                               --Ibid., p. 762.

[239] Ibid., p. 763.

[240] "Die preussische Postverwaltung war bei Einführung der
weitgreifenden Taxermässigungen mit grosser Vorsicht und mit weiser
Berechnung aller in Betracht kommenden Vorstände schrittweise zu Werke
gegangen und hatte die Erleichterungen ohne bedeutende Opfer aus der
Postkasse erkauft."--Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893, p.

[241] Regulation of 21st December 1800.

[242] Law of 21st March 1861.

[243] Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893, p. 42.

[244] Ibid.

[245] Law of 16th September 1862.

[246] Law of 16th February 1867. See _infra_, Appendix, p. 355.

[247] Prussia, Hanover, the two Mecklenburgs, Oldenburg, Brunswick,
Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, and the Thurn and Taxis posts.

[248] Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893, p. 44.

[249] Law of 28th October 1871.

[250] For 1906 it has been estimated at 41,693,017 M. P. Ullrich, _Die
Finanzen der Reichs-Post- und Telegraphenverwaltung_, Stettin, 1913, p.
54, n. 5.

[251] J. Jung, _Entwickelung des deutschen Post- und Telegraphenwesen in
den letzten 25 Jahren_, Leipzig, 1893, p. 45.

[252] The following table (J. Jung, loc. cit.) shows the increase in the
number of rural deliverers:--

   1868    1870    1875    1880    1885    1891
  8,021   8,334  11,405  11,480  20,386  25,649

[253] In a number of cases the deliverer was provided with a vehicle for
the sake of speed, and worked out from the railway. In 1898 there were
2,365 such services.--_Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaft_, Jena,
1901, p. 137.

[254] "There was a profession of 'news writers,' or correspondents, who
collected such scraps of information as they could from various sources,
and for a subscription of three or four pounds per annum sent them every
post-day to their employers in the country."--A. Andrews, _The History
of British Journalism_, London, 1859, vol. i. p. 14.

[255] E.g., "To Mr. Neale, Deale, 27 Nov. 1674.

" ... You should give me a Constant Accompt (as m^r Lodge was wont to
doe) of all Newes that happens in your Parts. It is Expected from me at
Whitehall, and much wondered at, y^t my officers doe not give me y^e
first, and best Accompt of all that Passes, all Newes, Comeing
(Probably) first to theire hands. I Pray be Carefull, and punctuall
herein hereafter. I shall be ready, in all things (as I have bin) to
shew myself

Y^rs, &c."

--Documents from Peover Hall, _British Official Records_.

"The Post Office Packets in those days were carriers of news as well as
of the mails. The officers had instructions to record most carefully in
their journals full details of any events of public importance occurring
in the countries which they visited. These journals, which frequently
contained news later and more authentic than any which had yet reached
London, were sent up from Falmouth immediately after the arrival of the
Packets, and lay at the Post Office open to the inspection of the
merchants."--A. H. Norway, _History of the Post Office Packet Service_,
London, 1895, p. 37.

"An old instruction was renewed in 1812, that all postmasters should
transmit to me (the Secretary), for the information of his Majesty's
Postmaster-General, an immediate account of all remarkable occurrences
within their districts, that the same may be communicated, if necessary,
to his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. This has not been
invariably attended to, and I am commanded by his Lordship to say, that
henceforward it will be expected of every Deputy."--Cited (without
giving source) by J. W. Hyde, _A Hundred Years by Post_, London, 1891,
p. 91.

"The mail-coach it was that distributed over the face of the land, like
the opening of apocalyptic vials, the heartshaking news of Trafalgar, of
Salamanca, of Vittoria, of Waterloo."--De Quincey, _The English

[256] "As it seems clear that the 'Remonstrance' (_The Remonstrance and
Address of the Army_) was framed by Clarges, Henry Muddiman must have
settled its wording and final form, as he did that of many other
documents.... For this reason, after the Restoration, he became sole
privileged journalist of the kingdom, and was granted the privilege of
free postage for his letters like the officers of State."--J. B.
Williams, _A History of English Journalism_, London, 1908, p. 176.

[257] _Calendar of State Papers, Charles II_, vol. 139, No. 61.

[258] J. B. Williams, _A History of English Journalism_, p. 190.

[259] _Calendar of State Papers_ (_Domestic Series_), 1665-6, p. viii.

[260] "I find that the South Wales maile is much retarded in your Stage;
particularly that yo^r riding servant calles at severall places by y^e
way; and that you allow him noe other wages, but what hee getts (by a
_Gazette_ News-letter, w^ch you give him y^e benefitt of) from severall
Gentlemen near y^e Roade, and this hinders y^e due course of the post,
not only to y^e Damage and discreditt of y^e office, but to y^e
prejudice of publique businesse; it is much complained of and I canot
longer dispence with it; wherefore I Give you this freindly admonicon
and remaine

Yo^r, etc.

Mr. Davyes, Feb. 8th, 1672."--Documents from Peover Hall, _British
Official Records_.

"I am clearly of your opinion, that Hereford and the Hay is y^e best
roade for the Pembroke Maile, the onely difficulty will be to bring you
and Mr. Phillpotts to reason....

"I pray consider these 2 Points, that y^e Hay being in your Branch will
much Encrease your share, and it is easier to send thither than to
Abergaveny--if you will joyne Issue in this Proposall I will give y^e
Contrey y^e Satisfaction to turne the Roade that Way; and by y^e tyme I
have your answer I shall be ready, to give directions for the Change;
you must provide a fitt person, to keepe the office at Hay and for his
Encouragem^t I will send him a _Gazette_ by every Post, few of y^e By
offices expect more, and some make great Suite and would pay money for
the Imployment. I pray close w^th me herein, being desirous to
Continue--I pray give me your opinion of sending y^e Maile into Wales 3
tymes a weeke, as I doe to all other places.

I am, Y^{rs}, etc.

"Mr. Awbrey, Brecon, 1st April, 1675."--Documents from Peover Hall,
_British Official Records_.

[261] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 50.

[262] _Tenth Report of the Commissioners on Fees and Emoluments_, 1788,
p. 28.

"For Post Office purposes the kingdom was divided into six roads--the
North Road, the Chester or Holyhead Road, the Western Road, the Kent
Road, and the Roads to Bristol and to Yarmouth; and these roads were
presided over by a corresponding number of clerks in London, whose duty
it was to sort the letters and to tax them with the proper amount of
postage."--H. Joyce, ibid., p. 47; cf. _infra_, Appendix B, p. 404.

[263] _Eighteenth Report of Commissioners of Revenue Inquiry_, 1829,
Appx., p. 486.

[264] "That the six Clerks of the Road are also allowed to frank
newspapers from the London office.

"That the newspapers franked by them are not included in any of the
accounts of Deductions in respect of Franks. That the profits arising
from their franking newspapers may amount to £3,000 or £4,000 p. ann.,
and that a considerable allowance is made thereout to the Comptroller,
Deputy-Comptroller, By Night Clerk and six assistants; all of whom as
well as the six Clerks of the Roads would without such advantage be very
insufficiently provided for."--Evidence of Anthony Todd, Secretary to
the Post Office. _Report of Committee appointed to enquire into the
several frauds and abuses in relation to the sending or receiving of
letters and parcels free from the Duty of Postage_ (_Commons Journal_,
March 28, 1764).

"The Profits derived by the Clerks of the Road from the privilege of
sending Newspapers into the Country free of Postage, were so
considerable that they were not only able to make a good Provision for
their Families but also to pay thereout an Annual Sum of £1,300 to
Officers and Clerks in this Dept. in Aid of their Salaries, which on
that Account were proportionately small from the Public; and this
Situation of Clerk of the Roads was looked up to as the Reward of their
long and arduous Labour in the subordinate Stations of the Office.
Twenty years before, of the sum of £8,660 paid to the 39 Officers of the
Inland Dept., £2,060 was paid by the Public and £6,600 from the profits
on the circulation of newspapers."--_Tenth Report of the Commissioners
on Fees and Emoluments_, 1788, p. 28.

[265] 4 Geo. III, cap. 24.

[266] "The Produce of this Privilege has long been decreasing, and is
now reduced to one-third the above sum from the operation of an Act of
1764 by which members of both Houses were empowered to have Newspapers,
Votes, and all other printed Parliamentary Papers, sent by post in their
Names, free from Postage, upon a written Notice of the Direction of such
Papers being sent to the Postmaster-General by the respective Members,
whose names were to be used instead of the former Mode of franking
Newspapers the same as Letters. The Printers, News Sellers, and others,
availing themselves of this Privilege, have obtained numerous Orders,
readily granted, under the Persuasion of increasing the Stamp Revenue.
The present Number of Orders in the Office is 6,751, and the Number of
Newspapers sent weekly by the Post in Consequence thereof is 47,017;
these Dealers are enabled to supply their Customers in the Country at a
cheaper Rate than the Clerks in the Office can, who are loaded with Out
Payments from their Profits, and are obliged to purchase their Papers at
an advanced Price from an Officer appointed by the Postmaster-General to
supply them."--_Tenth Report of the Commissioners on Fees and
Emoluments_, 1788, p. 29.

[267] A. Andrews, _The History of British Journalism_, London, 1859,
vol. i. pp. 210-11.

[268] "The Postmaster-General, sensible of this Diminution, lately
directed the Payments thereout to the other Officers and Clerks in the
Office to be discontinued, and reimbursed some of them out of the
Revenue; but this is not the only Expence to which the Public is
subjected by the Increase of these Orders. The Number of Newspapers to
be forwarded every Night is now so great, that ... a separate Office is
allotted ... and 18 Extra Persons are employed, at an Annual Expence of
£400, to perform the Duty of sorting and packing up the Newspapers;
besides it is in Proof that Letters and written Papers are frequently
enclosed in them, by which the Revenue is defrauded, without a
Possibility of Prevention, while the present Mode continues; as the
number is by far too great to admit of a general Search for
Enclosures."--_Tenth Report of the Commissioners on Fees and
Emoluments_, 1788, p. 29.

[269] 6 Geo. IV, cap. 68, § 10.

[270] "Was there no way by which, without the necessity of constant
contention, private men might be prevented from using the Press to make
their opinions public? The pamphleteers were not rich, but they were
often persons of education, and not penniless. When only a few copies of
their writings were wanted they could pay for them, but now that reading
was become more common, and that great numbers of copies were printed,
the cost had, to a great extent, to be paid by the readers. If these
sheets could be taxed their distribution might become difficult, and
when any one attempted to evade the tax he could be punished, not as a
libeller, but as a smuggler."--Collet Dobson Collet, _History of the
Taxes on Knowledge_, London, 1899, vol. i. p. 7.

[271] _Chambers's Encyclopædia_, London, 1908, vol. vii. p. 473.

[272] "There was no doubt but that, in the first instance, the stamp
duty upon newspapers had been imposed for political
purposes."--Attorney-General, 26th March 1855, _Parl. Debates_
(_Commons_), vol. cxxxvii. col. 1129.

[273] "Whereas many papers containing observations upon Public Acts
tending to excite the hatred of the public to the constitution of this
realm, and also vilifying our holy religion, have lately been published
in great numbers, and at a very small price, and it is expedient that
the same should be restrained."--Preamble of the "Six Acts," 1819.

[274] "Sir Francis Freeling states that he succeeds to the enjoyment of
the privilege of franking which had previously appertained to the
situation of the Comptroller of the Inland Office, when he held the
situation of Principal and Resident Surveyor, and that it was deemed a
measure of economy to provide for the remuneration of this officer by
these means in lieu of salary."--_Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners
of Revenue Inquiry, Post Office_, 1829, p. 26.

[275] About 12 millions a year. Ibid., p. 464.

[276] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 419.

[277] "These laws (the Six Acts) were specially directed--not against
the morning Newspapers, which had been cajoled or frightened into
comparative silence, or shared in the then general feeling in favour of
a 'strong Government'--but against the Radical writers and speakers,
'Cobbett, Wooler, Watson, Hunt,' as Byron reminds us, all of whom had
contributed, by cheap political publications and strong political
harangues, to raise a demand for reform, loud enough and daring enough
to be most troublesome to the authorities."--F. K. Hunt, _The Fourth
Estate_, London, 1850, vol. ii. p. 49.

[278] "Newspapers are so cheap in the United States, that the generality
even of the lowest order can afford to purchase them. They therefore
depend for support on the most ignorant class of the people. Everything
they contain must be accommodated to the taste and apprehension of men
who labour daily for their bread, and are of course indifferent to
refinement either of language or reasoning."--Quoted by Lord Sandon,
20th June 1836; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. xxxiv. col. 649.

[279] The duties on newspapers at that time were (1) the duty on paper,
3d. per pound weight (1/4d. a sheet), (2) a duty of 4d. a copy, (3) a
duty of 3s. 6d. on every advertisement.

[280] "The change which had taken place in the political condition of
the country made it essential to communicate to the people sound
political knowledge and information. He would say that the security of
that House, living, as it did, in the affections of the people--of the
Government, possessing, as it did, the confidence of the people--and of
the Monarchy, reigning, as it did, and as he trusted it ever would, in
the hearts of the people, depended upon the diffusion of sound political
knowledge."--Chancellor of Exchequer, 20th June 1836; _Parl. Debates_
(_Commons_), vol. xxxiv. col. 634.

[281] "Many of these publications circulated to the amount of several
thousand copies weekly; their sale, in several instances, was larger
than the sale of some among the most popular legitimate papers; their
influence over large bodies of the working classes was much
greater."--E. Lytton Bulwer, 14th June 1832; Ibid., vol. xiii. col. 623.

"You have laws imposing severe penalties upon those who are guilty of
breaches of these laws; but it has been found impossible to stop the
sale of those cheap and obnoxious publications by fiscal laws; and the
success with which they are broken, the sympathy excited in favour of
the offenders, and the assistance which they receive, only give
encouragement to pursue the same course. I have been informed that,
within the last fortnight or three weeks, between forty and fifty
persons have been taken before the police magistrates, and convicted for
selling these publications."--Mr. O'Connell, 14th June 1832; Ibid., vol.
xiii. col. 637.

"As long as the Tories were in power Lord Liverpool, or even Canning,
could consistently advocate the restriction of political discussion. But
the fact that the Whigs had now held office since 1830, and that the tax
remained undiminished, was only to be explained by their rooted
disbelief in every principle which they professed to hold.

"Year after year Place had brought the question forward. Every year the
Chancellor of the Exchequer declared himself in favour of repeal in
principle, and every year the Government, for reasons which they dared
not avow, continued the tax. Meanwhile the Commissioners of Stamps so
used their power of prosecution as to set up a peculiarly odious form of
censorship. The _Penny Magazine_, for instance, was allowed to circulate
unstamped, while the _Poor Man's Guardian_ was prosecuted."--Graham
Wallas, _The Life of Francis Place_, London, 1898, p. 336.

[282] "The market for a Newspaper at twopence appeared to be insatiable,
and this ready demand produced an ample supply. In vain the police
apprehended hawker after hawker; in vain the Stamp Office gave the
informers and detectives additional premiums for vigilance, the trade
went on with an exciting degree of activity. As the London gaols became
crowded with 'victims,' the public sympathies were touched, and a fund
was raised by subscription to support the families of the men and women
(for women were seized and imprisoned) whilst under sentence."--F. K.
Hunt, _The Fourth Estate_, London, 1850, vol. ii. p. 75.

[283] "This tax was a charter to the existing newspapers--it was not
they who suffered from it--it was the public--it was the Government--it
was order--it was society that suffered."--E. Lytton Bulwer, 22nd May
1834; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. xxiii. col. 1195. See also
_G.J._ Holyoake, _Sixty Years of an Agitator's Life_, London, 1893, vol.
i. p. 288.

[284] _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. xxxiv. col. 625.

[285] "2755. _Chairman_: That penny which was left when the stamp was
reduced, was called by some noble Lord the worst penny of all; and was
not it always foreseen by those who looked deeply into the subject, that
the retention of that penny just made the difference between not being
able to circulate a cheap paper and being able to circulate it?--It
makes all the difference, I think."--Evidence of Mr. H. Cole, _Report
from Select Committee on Newspaper Stamps_, 18th July 1851.

[286] "The penny was avowedly retained in 1836 not for the purposes of
revenue but as a compensation to the State for services performed in the
transmission of newspapers by post."--Viscount Canning, 24th May 1855;
_Parl. Debates_ (_Lords_), vol. cxxxviii. col. 954.

[287] McCulloch has some remarks which indicate the line on which was
justified the practice of charging the stamp duty on every copy of a
newspaper, in order that a portion of them might be transmitted by post
without further charge:--

"_Impolicy of Imposing a Postage on Newspapers._--The duties now
substantially repealed produced, in 1853, £412,220 nett, no
inconsiderable sum in a period of war. In point of fact, however, they
could hardly be called duties, and ought rather to have been regarded as
a payment for the trouble and expense attending the conveyance and
distribution of newspapers by post. But supposing such to be the case,
it was argued that the duty should be so limited, that is, that it
should only be imposed on papers carried by the post. Matters of this
sort are not, however, to be decided by mere logical considerations. The
effect of the new plan is to confine, in a greater or less degree,
according to circumstances, the circulation of newspapers to the
districts within which they are published; and this certainly is not a
desirable object.... Under the new plan the charge for conveyance, or it
may be postage, being added to the price of the metropolitan journals,
they will be dearer than the local papers, and people in many, or rather
perhaps in the majority of instances, will be disposed to prefer the
low-priced though inferior journal published at their door, to the
superior but higher priced journal of the capital.... On the whole,
therefore, we anticipate little or no advantage from the new plan. But
we are, at the same time, ready to admit that no system of this sort can
be safely judged _a priori_; and that the results of experience may
differ very widely from those of theory."--J. R. McCulloch, _Commercial
Dictionary_, London, 1856, p. 893.

[288] "We are living under a disguised censorship of the Press. I use
the word advisedly; and I find that generally where there is an avowed
censorship of the Press there are no taxes on knowledge; no stamp duty
and generally no paper duty. From the time when the stamp duty was first
imposed in the reign of Queen Anne, the number of newspapers has been
very much diminished by the stamp. For instance, Steele's _Spectator_
was nearly if not quite ruined by it; and from that time to this the
amount of revenue has never been so large as to be a serious subject of
consideration."--Evidence of Collet Dobson Collet, _Report from the
Select Committee on Newspaper Stamps_, 18th July 1851, p. 113.

[289] Mr. Roebuck, 20th June 1836; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol.
xxxiv. col. 653.

[290] Treasury Minute, No. 21,355, 28th November 1838: "It appears that
these papers, though stamped as newspapers, are not according to Law
Newspapers, and consequently need not have been stamped, but that the
proprietors have caused them to be stamped for the purpose probably of
obtaining the facility of passing them free of postage.

"My Lords consider that all publications which are in the construction
of the law newspapers and are compelled to be stamped are in equity
entitled to the privilege of passing free of postage, but with respect
to publications, which like these now under consideration are not
properly newspapers, or necessarily stamped, they are of opinion that
they are not in equity entitled to the privilege, and that my Lords must
take into consideration the convenience of the public service and the
other circumstances of the case. My Lords are desirous of affording
every fair facility which may not be inconsistent with the proper
despatch of the mails, and in this view they consider that a limit of
weight may be properly applied, and adverting to the average weight of a
large newspaper, they are of opinion that the limit may be properly
fixed at 2 ounces.

"They are pleased therefore to direct that for the future in all cases
where applications are made for the transmission of any stamped
publication through the post free of postage, if it shall appear that
such publication is legally a newspaper and compelled to be stamped such
paper shall pass postage free whatever may be its weight, and that when
such publication may not appear to be strictly a newspaper, still it
should be permitted the indulgence in case the weight shall not exceed 2

[291] _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. cxxxvii. col. 1130.

[292] "If a tradesman at the present time carries his circular to the
Board of Inland Revenue, he obtains the postal privilege on the
condition of his declaring his circular to be a newspaper, although, if
the Board of Inland Revenue were afterwards to prosecute him for not
stamping his entire impression, he would be entitled to go into a Court
of Justice and there to contend that that was not a newspaper which he
himself had declared to be a newspaper in order to obtain the postal
privilege for part of his impression."--Mr. Gladstone, 19th March 1855;
ibid., vol. cxxxvii. col. 791.

[293] 'The Solicitor of the Board of Inland Revenue, being examined
before a Committee upon the subject of class publications, was asked why
class publications were not subjected to the compulsory stamp.
Inadvertently, instead of saying that they were exempted because they
were addressed to a particular class of the community, he said that it
was because they related only to one subject. In giving that reason, he
made a slight error of statement. That error has now been taken up in
different parts of the country, and a number of periodicals have
appeared, such as the _War Telegraph_ and the _War Times_, containing
intelligence relating exclusively to the war, which they say is 'one
subject,' and so saying, set the Board of Inland Revenue at
defiance."--Chancellor of the Exchequer, 19th March 1855; ibid., vol.
cxxxvii. col. 804.

[294] "I am quite satisfied, from years of attention to this subject,
that there never was so large a measure involved in a small measure, so
to speak, as is the case with regard to this proposition for making the
Press free. I am willing to rest on the verdict of the future, and I am
quite confident that five or six years will show that all the votes of
Parliament for educational purposes have been as mere trifles compared
with the vast results which will flow from this measure, because, while
the existing papers will retain all their powers of usefulness, it will
call to their aid numbers of others not less useful, and while we
continue to enjoy the advantage of having laid before us each morning a
map of the events of the world, the same advantage will be extended to
classes of society at present shut out from it."--John Bright, 19th
March 1855; ibid., vol. cxxxvii. cols. 810-11.

[295] "Another objection, and that of a more serious character, has been
brought under my notice by various persons, who have described the
proposition to repeal the compulsory newspaper stamp as one which would
be most dangerous to society. It has been described as a measure which
will open the floodgates of sedition and blasphemy, and which will
inundate the country with licentious and immoral productions, which will
undermine the very foundations of society, and scatter the seeds of
revolution broadcast over the land. These expressions are not
exaggerated representations of the opinions which have been communicated
to me from many quarters since this measure has been under my
consideration."--Chancellor of the Exchequer in House of Commons, 19th
March 1855; ibid., vol. cxxxvii. col. 782.

"The Right Hon. Gentleman who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Disraeli)
has spoken of the 'liberty of the Press.' That has been long spoken of.
It has been said that it must be 'free as the air we breathe; take it
away, we die.' But, Sir, what is the 'liberty of the Press'? It is the
liberty of a certain number of persons to slander anonymously whomever
they please, against whom you have no redress. It is freedom to the
anonymous libeller."--Mr. Drummond in the House of Commons, 23rd April
1855; ibid., vol. cxxxvii. col. 1680.

[296] "This is not merely a fiscal matter, because, as I have already
stated to the Committee, the existing law respecting the stamp duty upon
newspapers has been brought into a most inconsistent state by a
succession of indulgences which were made for the benefit of a certain
class of newspaper publications. The consequence of these indulgences
is, that the greatest difficulty exists in the administration of the
present law."--Chancellor of the Exchequer in House of Commons, 19th
March 1855; ibid., vol. cxxxvii. col. 802.

[297] "Q. 1852. _Mr. Cobden_: Would the carrying of newspapers be
profitable to the Post Office at the present rates, provided you were
left to adopt your own regulations as to the transmission of newspapers
without the intervention of the Board of Inland Revenue?--In one sense
it would be profitable and in another it would not. If we were to charge
against the newspapers a share of the fixed expenses of the
establishment, then it is very questionable whether it would be
profitable; but if you consider, as we probably should, that the
expenses of the establishment are incurred in respect of the letters,
and only calculate the additional expense which would be thrown upon us
for the transmission of newspapers, then I think we should find them

"Q. 1853: Having an immense organization at the Post Office with a
certain amount of fixed charges, with a large amount of postmen
necessarily travelling over the whole of the kingdom, you would find it
profitable to carry newspapers for a penny, in addition to the letter
carrying, would you?--Yes.

"Q. 1854: Therefore, if the newspaper stamp were abolished, and you were
left to regulate the postage at the Post Office, you would deem it
profitable to carry newspapers at a penny each?--Yes, certainly we
should: what I mean is, that the carrying of newspapers would not
increase our expenses to the extent of a penny each.

"Ans. 1912: I was in hopes that we might distribute them at a halfpenny,
if we could have completed a plan in the simple form in which it
presented itself to my mind at first.

"Q. 1913: The plan is so far under consideration, and, perhaps, these
difficulties may be got over?--I cannot hold out any expectation of
that; I think I have considered it sufficiently to see that those
difficulties are all but insuperable."--Evidence of Sir Rowland Hill,
_Report from Select Committee on Newspaper Stamps_, 18th July 1851.

[298] "He believed it would be admitted that there was no wish to make
revenue out of this carriage of newspapers; but, on the other hand, the
newspaper interest had no right to ask that their productions should be
carried at less than cost price. It should be as near as possible an
equal bargain between the parties, by which neither the revenue on the
one hand, nor the newspapers on the other, should gain.... He believed
it was the opinion of the Post Office that a halfpenny would not be
sufficient to cover the expenses of transmission."--Lord Stanley, 23rd
April 1855; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. cxxxvii. col. 1664.

[299] The duty was reduced to 1d. upon a sheet containing a superficies
not exceeding 2,295 inches.

[300] See _infra_, p. 221.

[301] "Another objection might be urged that, by once touching the
permanency of the 1d. rate they were endangering its stability, and that
if the edge of the wedge were once inserted it might lead to the uniform
rate of 1/2d. He shared no such apprehension, and believed that the
wisest way to maintain the permanency of the 1d. rate was to remove the
cause of the agitation."--Mr. Graves, 6th April 1869; _Parl. Debates_
(_Commons_), vol. cxcv. col. 241.

[302] "A newspaper with an impressed stamp circulates free for fifteen
days. It is the last relic of the old taxes on knowledge. The law is
complicated and leads to fraud by the abuse of free transmission. An
unstamped newspaper now goes at the rate of 1d. for every 4 ounces, and
every fraction of 4 ounces. About 35,000,000 newspapers pass through the
Post Office annually with an impressed stamp, and about the same number
without. What we propose to do is to abolish the impressed stamp
altogether, at a loss to the Revenue of £120,000.... Then we propose to
carry all newspapers which weigh less than 6 ounces for a 1/2d. That
will be limited to bona fide newspapers; but we propose, instead of 1d.
for every 4 ounces and fraction on of 4 ounces, to charge 1/2d. for
every 2 ounces of other printed matter. There will in this way be a loss
to the Post Office, over and above that incurred by the abolition of the
impressed stamp, of £250,000 a year. There may be besides some
additional expense in connection with building and the increase in the
number of persons to be employed; but this has not been estimated for,
and the amount cannot be very large."--Chancellor of the Exchequer, 11th
April 1870; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. ce. col. 1636. The
limitation to 6 ounces was withdrawn. Ibid., vol. cciii, col. 1383.

[303] _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), 7th May 1855, vol. cxxxviii. col.

[304] In 1899 the number of registered newspapers which normally
exceeded 8 ounces in weight was 29.

[305] See _infra_, p. 293. The size and weight of many of the largo
trade papers has decreased in consequence of the war.

[306] "Newspapers and books are carried at a low rate for the sake of
the education and general information of the people."--Mr. W. Monsell
(Postmaster-General), 14th March 1871; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol.
cciv. col. 2014.

[307] In 1854 the average weight of the mails which left London daily
was 279 cwt. of which 219 cwt. consisted of newspapers.

[308] Only some 150 copies of the _Daily Mail_ are delivered in London
by the post each day.

[309] "There is no reason whatever why the Post Office should charge a
man threepence or fourpence for a book and a halfpenny for these vast
trade circulars, and it would be the simplest, as well as the wisest and
most beneficial of reforms, to bring the book post down to the newspaper
level."--H. G. Wells, _Mankind in the Making_. London, 1914, chap. ix.

The following further suggestions by Mr. Wells are reprinted here for
the consideration of postal reformers. Their adoption involves merely an
extension of the principle of State benefit.

"Now, in the first place, the post office as one finds it in Great
Britain might very well be converted into a much more efficient
distributing agency by a few simple modifications in its method. At
present, in a large number of country places in Great Britain, a penny
paper costs three-halfpence including the necessary halfpenny for
postage, and the poorer people can afford no paper at all, because the
excellent system in practice abroad of subscribing to any registered
periodical at the post office and having it delivered with the letters
has not been adopted. Government publications and Government maps, which
ought also to be obtainable at a day's notice, through the Post Office
and post free, have to be purchased at present in the most devious way
through a remote agent in London. There is no public reason whatever why
a more intimate connection should not be established between the
Stationery Office and the Post Office."--Ibid.

"It would be the simplest thing in the world to have a complete,
business-like catalogue of Government publications, kept standing in
type and reissued and reprinted quarterly, distributed to every post
office, and by its means one ought to be able to order whatever one
wanted at once, pay for it on the spot, and get it delivered to any
address in Great Britain in the next twenty-four hours."--Ibid.

[310] _Report of Special Committee, House of Assembly, Lower Canada_,
11th February 1832, p. 10.

[311] Sir Francis Freeling replied to the petition. He said the practice
of his Deputy in North America was not illegal, but was based on an Act
of Parliament authorizing certain of his officers to circulate
newspapers by post; that as it had been in existence since the first
establishment of the Post Office in the colony, the petitioners must
have entered into the business with a full knowledge of the charge to
which their publications would be subject if sent by post; there was no
stamp duty in the colonies to give the publishers a right to free
transmission; and, moreover, the amount of the charge was less than the
similar charge in the United States.

[312] "Mr. Howe was very loose, and rarely took any steps to obtain or
enforce the payments of the amounts due to him for the transmission of
Journals through the Post....

"I cannot look upon it as the mere collection of a private source of
emolument to the officer, but I conceive that the Department is
interested in the question not only inasmuch as the amount received from
this source goes in aid of a larger salary to the officer, but that
whenever the time comes that the substitution of a postage rate on
newspapers supersedes the present mode of sending them, a due
enforcement of such rate will be most unfavourably received, if a free
transmission has been previously permitted from the negligence of the
party to whom the collection of the charge was deputed and whose
perquisite it was."--Report of Mr. Page, 1842 (_British Official

[313] "It may fairly be viewed in the same light as the amounts annually
granted by the Legislature for roads and bridges, and for the support of
common schools. The mail carriage to all parts of the province secures
us the travelling public conveyance which would not otherwise exist, and
the very large amount of newspapers, etc., which pass through the Post
Office affords strong evidence that the Department may be considered a
branch of our educational system."--Postmaster-General of New Brunswick,

[314] "Already they found a tax proposed on every poor man who took a
newspaper for the information of his family; a stamp tax, an impost
unknown in the Maritime Provinces, and one which had cost England half
this continent."--Mr. Macdonald in Canadian House of Commons, 12th
December 1867 (_Ottawa Times_).

[315] Sir John A. MacDonald in Canadian House of Commons, 20th December
1867, ibid.

[316] "If ever there was a time when it was necessary for the interests
of the whole Dominion that just the sort of information which newspapers
conveyed should be disseminated through all the Provinces, it was
now."--Hon. Dr. Tupper in Canadian House of Commons, 20th December 1867
(_Ottawa Times_).

[317] Mr. Savary in Canadian House of Commons, 20th December 1867

[318] Hon. Mr. Mackenzie in Canadian House of Commons, _Parl. Debates,
Canada_ (_Commons_), 22nd February 1875.

[319] "There was good reason for the enactment of the old law that made
the rate for the carriage of newspapers a cent a pound, and there never
was even a semblance of sense or reason or any request for the repeal of
that law. The truth is that its repeal was a mere whim of a gentleman of
the Senate, who, anxious to pose in the niche of personal popularity,
jollied through Parliament a measure that has cost this country in
postal rates millions of dollars, creating a big deficit in the spending
department, which has stood in the way of reform every time a reform was
proposed."--Mr. Ross Robertson, _Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_),
13th May 1898.

[320] See _Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_), 11th July 1900.

[321] The following remarks by Sir Charles Tupper in the Dominion House
of Commons, though made at a somewhat later date, will illustrate this.
He said: "There is abundant evidence that manhood suffrage in the
Dominion is a far higher franchise than manhood suffrage in Great
Britain, for the reason that there are tens of thousands of electors in
the United Kingdom who go to the polls without having the remotest idea
not only of public questions before the country, but, if their lives
depended on it, they could not state who is the Prime Minister of Great
Britain to-day. I give that as an indication of the great advance the
people of Canada have made in intelligence; and the thorough knowledge
which the mass of the people here have in respect of the political
issues, and all other questions of that kind, as well as general
information, rests largely on the fact that newspapers have so largely
increased in circulation until they now reach almost every individual in
the country."--Sir Charles Tupper, _Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_),
13th May 1898.

[322] In Great Britain the figures are in very different proportion.
While the letters are 3,500,000,000, the newspapers are only some
200,000,000. The circumstances of the two countries are in such contrast
that the figures afford no basis for argument as regards the relative
postage rates: but they illustrate very effectively a fundamental
difference in the general character of the two postal services. In Great
Britain the number of separate newspaper mails is extremely small
proportionately to the number of letter mails. In Canada the proportions
are almost reversed. The postmen on delivery in Great Britain carry
their letters and packets in a light canvas bag, and the number of
newspapers taken out by any one postman is quite small (the proportion
is about one newspaper to twenty-five packets of other description). In
Canada the letter-carriers are weighted with newspapers, carried either
strapped in a bundle or stuck in a satchel which is full to overflowing.
In effect, the general practical arrangements in Canada must be made
largely with a view to the handling of vast quantities of newspapers,
while in Great Britain the arrangements are in general based on letter
traffic, and, except at the largest offices, the arrangements for
newspapers are incidental. Letters, however, receive first consideration
in Canada, and the discrimination in their favour against the newspaper
matter, in point of promptness of handling, is carried to much greater
lengths than in Great Britain.

[323] Cf. _supra_, p. 57.

[324] "I trust that after the reimposition of postage on newspapers has
been fairly in working order, we shall then have the Post Office a
self-sustaining department."--Sir William Mulock, Postmaster-General,
_Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_), 1st April 1898.

[325] Sir William Mulock, _Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_), 1st April
1898, col. 2915.

[326] "Hon. gentlemen are entirely in error in assuming that the length
of the journey does not make extra cost. It lays the foundation for
extra claims by railways, and there is in the department at present, on
the part of practically all the railways in Canada, application for
increased payment. It is quite impossible to treat newspaper postage in
the same way as letter postage."--Sir William Mulock, ibid., 11th July

[327] "This new Bill is little else than a special tax and handicap on
certain Montreal newspapers, which are the only ones which have the bulk
of their circulation outside of their own province. We have always
favoured newspaper postage, but we are not favourable to its being
collected off a few papers, and thus making them pay for the carriage of
their own mails."--Mr. Foster, _Parl. Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_), 10th
July 1900.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier made some interesting observations. He said: "A
newspaper is merchandise, a letter is not. A letter simply conveys to
somebody the views and thoughts of another. But newspapers are
merchandise, and the publisher of a newspaper a manufacturer of
merchandise which he sells. Now, I do not see any reason why this class
of merchandise should not pay freight for its transportation as well as
any other class of merchandise."--In Canadian House of Commons, 10th
July 1900.

[328] Sir William Mulock, ibid., 11th July 1900.

[329] Ibid., 3rd July 1903.

[330] Ibid., 25th January 1905.

[331] "The growth of the Post Office from this humble beginning
solidified the American Colonies and made independence possible."--_The
American Post Office_, by Nathan B. Williams. Reprinted as Senate
Document No. 542 of the 61st Congress, 2nd Sess., p. 5.

[332] E.g., "Mr. Franklin has in particular the great Advantage of
circulating his Papers free, and receiving intelligence, which he may
make the best or worst Use of in the present Situation of
Affairs."--Minutes of Pennsylvania Council, 21st March 1757.

The Council recommended that the Postmaster be commanded to be extremely
cautious "to prevent the publication of improper intelligence," and that
the Governor should be authorized to exercise a censorship on the
publication of news.

[333] It was in point of fact due to his action in submitting to the
Assembly of Pennsylvania English official letters addressed from the
Governor of the colony which had come into his hands.

[334] See _supra_, pp. 64-5.

[335] "To take it (the franking privilege) away would be levelling a
deadly stroke at the liberty of the Press; the information conveyed by
franks may be considered as the vital juices, and the channels of the
Post Office as the veins; and if these are stopped, the body must be
destroyed; it is treading on dangerous ground to take any measures that
may stop the channels of public information.... It is the duty of the
members to dispense the newspapers among those people who cannot,
perhaps, otherwise obtain them, under the protection of franks.... The
establishment of the Post Office is agreed to be for no other purpose
than the conveyance of information into every part of the
Union."--_Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States_,
16th December 1791 (pub. Washington, 1849).

[336] "The poisonous sentiments of the cities, concentrated in their
papers, with all the aggravation of such a moral and political cesspool,
will invade the simple, pure, conservative atmosphere of the country,
and meeting with no antidote in a rural Press, will contaminate and
ultimately destroy that purity of sentiment and of purpose which is the
only true conservatism. Fourierism, agrarianism, socialism, and every
other ism, political, moral, and religious, grow in that rank and
festering soil.... Relieve them (the country papers) from the burden of
postage and they can successfully compete with the city publishers.
Reduce the rate of postage on newspapers and pamphlets, and you diffuse
light and knowledge through the land."--Mr. Venables in House of
Representatives, 18th December 1850 (_Congressional Globe_).

[337] I.e. odd packets posted by members of the public, as against the
regular bulk postings of publishers.

[338] _Report of Postmaster-General_, 1892, p. 68.

[339] "The law cannot be so construed as to permit such an abuse--an
abuse that, while operating to load down the mails with immense masses
of stuff of insufficient value to command cash-paying subscribers to any
extent, would be a wrong to every business institution which issues its
advertising circulars and other matter in an undisguised manner and
therefore pays the lawful rate of postage on them."--Ibid., p. 72.

[340] "The most urgent need of the postal service is the rectification
of the enormous wrongs which have grown up in the perversion and abuse
of the privilege accorded by law to second-class matter. This reform is
paramount to all others.... For this costly abuse, which drags on the
Department and weighs down the service, trammels its power and means of
effective advancement in every direction."--Ibid., 1899, pp. 4 and 5.

In 1900 it was stated that the whole cost of the extension of the rural
free delivery service could be met from the saving which would result
from the elimination of the second-class mail abuses.--Ibid., 1900, p.

In 1901 it was described as "the one great overshadowing evil of the
service, because it underlies and overtops all other reform and
advance."--Ibid., 1901, p. 4.

[341] There had been, under an Act of 26th June 1906, a weighing of
second-class matter from 1st July to 31st December 1906.

[342] _Report of Postal Commission on Second-class Mail Matter_, 1907.
Known as the Penrose-Overstreet Commission, from the names of two of its

[343] The actual statistics to be obtained were defined thus:--

"The Postmaster-General shall cause a record to be kept from July first
to December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and seven, inclusive, of the
weight in pounds, respectively, of first-class, second-class, free,
paid-at-the-pound-rate, and transient, third-class, and fourth-class
matter and all franked and penalty matter and the equipment carried in
connection therewith.

"For thirty days during such period he shall require a record to be kept
of the weight of each of the classes above specified despatched from
such post-offices as he shall determine to be representative for the
purpose and have computed thereon, in the most practicable way, the
average haul of the mail of the different classes and sub-classes as
hereinbefore set out. For seven days during such period he shall cause a
record to be kept of the revenue received from each of the classes and
sub-classes of mail matter hereinbefore specified and a count of the
number of pieces of each class and sub-class, showing also for the first
class the number of letters, postal cards, and other matter separately,
and for thirty consecutive days during such period he shall cause a
record to be kept for the purpose of ascertaining the average load of
railway post-office cars other than storage cars, the average load of
storage cars, and the average load in compartment cars.

"Such record shall be reported to Congress by May first, nineteen
hundred and eight, and the sum of three hundred thousand dollars, or so
much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of any
money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to cover the expense
of such weighing and counting and the recording and compilation of the
information so acquired, and the rent of necessary rooms in the city of
Washington, and the same shall be immediately available."--Statute of
2nd March 1907.

[344] _Special Weighing of the Mails_, 1907. Document 910, 60th

[345] _Hearings before Committee on Post Office and Post Roads_ (_House
of Representatives_), January-February 1910.

[346] _Report of Commission on Second-class Mail Matter._ Appendix to
Message of President of 22nd February 1912, pp. 137-8.

[347] Ibid., p. 129.

[348] "The historic policy of encouraging by low postal rates the
dissemination of current intelligence, and the extent to which it has
proved successful, should not be overlooked."--Ibid., p. 143.

[349] "If the Republic of our patriotic love is to live and our people
preserve their liberties, the sheet-anchor of their salvation is a free,
independent, untrammelled and fearless Press, and we believe that to
maintain this happy condition publishers must not be subjected to any
arbitrary authority that claims and exercises the power to destroy by
closing the mails against them without the right to appeal to the
courts, a right that is held sacred by every citizen, however humble,
whenever and wherever his opportunity to earn a livelihood in an
honourable business is called in question or denied him."--Evidence of
Mr. Wilmer Atkinson of Philadelphia, Pa., _Report of Commission on
Second-class Mail Matter_, 1906, p. 412.

[350] "Publishers are now sometimes kept on the anxious seat for months
awaiting decisions which may wreck their businesses."--Evidence of Mr.
Madden, Third Assistant Postmaster-General.--Ibid., p. 89.

[351] "There is no 'subsidy' at all, as claimed by the foolish, but
simply that the lawmakers of the greatest Government on earth have been
wise enough to see to it that the people shall have periodical
literature within easy reach, and with as little expense as
possible."--Evidence of Wilmer Atkinson, ibid., p. 441.

[352] "Who knows but that the onerous restrictions of the department
have some connection with the efforts of the express companies to have
second-class mail rates increased, and by both means drive the
publishers of the country to employing the express companies to carry
their publications? Such would not be beyond the craftiness of these
skilled farmers in the field of legislation."--Nathan B. Williams, _The
American Post Office_, 1910; Document 542, 61st Congress, 2nd Session,
p. 40.

[353] "Yet we publish more periodicals than Germany, France, Russia,
Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland aggregated, and you may
then add all the other countries of Europe, then Canada and Mexico. Then
add all the Central American States, and the South American States, and
the African Colonies--North, South, East, and West. You must still add
Australia, and Hindoostan, and all other Asiatic countries, including
Japan and China, and even then you haven't reached the end or the story.
You then have only 40 per cent. of the total against our 60."--C. W.
Burrows, _One Cent Postage_, etc., Cleveland, Ohio, 1911, p. 11.

[354] "The great decrease in all the more serious departments of
literature, as well as in some of the lighter ones, is a curious and
unexplainable condition of our book production. Scientific and
philosophical writings are as conspicuous through their absence as are
the simply amusing books."--_Publishers' Weekly_ (New York), 30th
January 1904.

[355] Message to Congress, 22nd February 1912.

[356] "No lobby ever sent to Washington in furtherance of the most
corrupt legislation has ever been more persistent or dealt less fairly
with both legislators and public than the lobby that has worked for the
retention of the second-class mail graft."--C. W. Burrows, _One Cent
Postage_, etc., Cleveland, Ohio, 1911, p. 4.

[357] "Je vois que le prix du port des journaux fera d'un
vingt-quatrième du prix des lettres. Le prix n'est sans doute pas
suffisant pour les frais de la poste, et je ne crois pas que l'envoi des
journaux doive être à la charge de la nation."--M. Biozat, Assemblée
Nationale, 17 août 1791 (_Le Moniteur Universel_).

[358] "Si vous examinez set objet sous un point de vue fiscal, je vous
dirai qu'en augmentant le tarif, vous diminuez le produit, en rendant la
circulation de plusieurs feuilles impossible. Le plus léger
surhaussement de taxe priverait de tout bénéfice les autres des
productions périodiques les plus utiles, telles que les journaux
d'agriculture, de physique, d'histoire naturelle, de médecine, etc.,
qui, par leur nature, ne sont pas susceptibles d'avoir un grand nombre
de souscripteurs. Et les journaux que l'on aurait peut-être en vue
d'écarter sous le poids d'un impôt onéreux seraient précisément ceux que
l'avide curiosité du public ferait résister à la surtaxe. Personne
d'ailleurs ne révoquera ne doute que, de tous les commerces, celui des
idées soit le plus précieux, et je crois que vous devez le favoriser de
toutes les manières."--M. Larochefoucault, Assemblée Nationale, 17 août
1791 (ibid.).

[359] The increase during the Revolutionary period was nevertheless
considerable. Before the Revolution the cost of distributing 60,000
prospectuses by post was 200 livres. Under the rates then in operation
it would be 3,000 livres, and under the new rates then (1796) proposed,
7,500 livres. Before the Revolution a volume could be sent from one end
of France to the other for 12 sous.--A. Belloc, _Les Postes françaises_,
Paris, 1886, p. 353.

[360] "Le conseil des Cinq-Cents, considérant qu'il importe de faciliter
la circulation des ouvrages périodiques, brochures, catalogues, et
prospectus tant pour encourager la libre communication des pensées entre
les citoyens de la République que pour augmenter le total du revenu
public...."--_Proclamation_, 1796.

[361] Law of 15th March 1827.

[362] Law of 16th July 1850.

[363] There was also at this time a tax on books.

[364] M. Rouher, Assemblée Nationale, 21 mars 1850 (_Le Moniteur

[365] Decree of 17th February 1852.

[366] The political Press was somewhat strictly controlled. The law of
1814 on the liberty of the Press, which was continued by the Press law
of the 27th June 1849, imposed on every printer the obligation to
deposit with the Procurator Imperial every article treating of political
matters or social economy twenty-four hours before publication, under
penalty of a fine of 100 to 500 fr. A decree of 1852 subjected political
publications to a stamp duty.

[367] "Les journaux n'étant plus dangereux et ne pouvant plus faire que
du bien, l'honorable membre eût désiré qu'une légère réduction des
droits de poste leur permît d'acquérir une existence plus sûr, plus
indépendante, afin qu'on pût les retrouver fidèles et dévoués, si la
France avait encore des jours difficiles à traverser. Nul n'a oublié, en
effet, l'admirable attitude de la Presse départmentale au milieu des
événements de 1848, son empressement à se rallier à la cause du
Président de la République, le courage que ses rédacteurs ont montré
pour la défense de l'ordre, courage que quelques-un on payé de leur vie.

"Telles sont les considérations d'équité et de politique qui avaient
fait réclamer en faveur de la Presse départmentale une réduction de
taxe. Tout ce que la commission a pu obtenir, c'est qu'il n'y aura pas
d'aggravation de taxe lorsque le numéros circuleront dans les
départments limitrophes. Rien ou à peu près rien ne sera done changé aux
charges que les journaux de province ont supportées jusqu'à ce
jour."--M. Paul Dupont, Chambra des Députés, 31 mai 1856 (_Le Moniteur

[368] Motif du loi, cited A. Belloc, op. cit., p. 542.

[369] Ibid., p. 545.

[370] Law of 29th April.

[371] "La poste perd sur le transport des journaux et des imprimés.

"Pour l'année 1889, M. Jaccottey (_Traité de législation et
d'exploitation postales_, p. 329) calculait que le coût, c'est-à-dire la
dépense moyennement, fait pour un objet quelconque de correspondance,
n'avait pas été supérieur à 0 fr. 055. Il fixait de même le produit
moyen des imprimés, par unité, à O fr. 023, et il évaluait la perte du
Trésor à 25 millions....

"Le nombre des Imprimés de toute catégorie était à cette époque de 800

"Or, il y a eu, en 1895, dans la circulation intérieure:--

"514,957,761 journaux ayant rapporté 8,378,873 fr. soit, par unité, 1
centime 62, 472,202,885 imprimés de toute nature, dont 82,597,172 sou
enveloppes, avec un produit total de 13,791,025 ou par unité 2 centimes
92. Pour ces 987,160,646 journaux, périodiques, imprimés de toute
catégorie, circulent à prix réduit, la recette total a été de 22,169,975
fr. et le produit moyen de 2 centimes 245.

"La perte a done été de près de 36 millions."--_Rapport portant fixation
du Budget_, Chambre des Députés, 1907; No. 2701, p. 37.

[372] 29th April 1908.

[373] "Il serait à désirer qu'on pût remédier à une conséquence
regrettable de la disposition particulière qui réserve aux seuls
journaux paraissant au moins une fois par mois le tarif spécial accordé
à la Presse.

"En fermant la porte aux feuilles d'annonces trimestrielles on l'aussi
fermée aux bulletins et annales de même périodicité publies par un grand
nombre d'associations et de sociétés (sociétés littéraries,
archéologiques, scientifiques, agricoles, syndicats professionels et
agricoles, associations professionelles amicales d'instituteurs,
sociétés de secours mutuels, etc.), qui doivent être encouragées par
tous les moyens au lieu d'être gênées dans leur essor."--Ibid., Sénat,
1908, No. 340, p. 84.

[374] Defined thus in the law of 1878: "Pour moitié au moins de leur
superficie à la reproduction des débats des Chambres, des exposés des
motifs des projets de lois, des rapports de commissions, des actes et
documents officiels, et des cours, officiels ou non, des halles,
bourses, et marchés."

[375] P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 322.

[376] Certain questions arose on this point, and the Council of State
decided that there was no need to inquire whether the printed sheet
added to the newspaper constituted an accidental and unforeseen
addition, whether it was the production of the paper, whether it really
appertained to the paper, nor whether it was printed at the same time.
All that was necessary, in order that it might be regarded as a
supplement, was that it should bear the title and date of the number
which it accompanied.--Ibid., p. 325.

The Keeper of the Seals concurred in this opinion, and held that it was
unnecessary to inquire into the circumstance in which the supplement was
joined to the paper, whether it was special or whether it was printed at
the same time; but that the supplement ought to fulfil the conditions
imposed on all newspapers, to mention the title of the paper, together
with the date or serial number, and to preserve, at least materially,
the appearance of an annexe to the principal journal.--Ad. Frault,
_Manuel postal, théorique et pratique_, Paris, 1893, pp. 385-6.

[377] The second oldest newspaper in Germany, the _Postavisen_, which
appeared in Frankfurt in 1617, was published by the Taxis Postmaster,
Johann von den Birghden. Cf. B. Faulhaber, _Geschichte des Postwesens in
Frankfurt am Main_, Frankfurt, 1883, p. 62.

[378] Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, 1906, vol. 23, part 1. p. 64;
_Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1884, p. 290.

[379] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1884, p. 291.

[380] Regulativ über die künftige Verwaltung des Zeitungswesens, 15th
December 1821.

[381] Decree of 26th June 1848.

[382] Statute of 4th November 1867, fixing rates of postage for the
North German Union:--

"Diese Bestimmung entsprang aus der Erkenntniss, dass die weniger häufig
erscheinenden Zeitschriften durch die volle Besorgungsgebühr von 25 pct.
des Verlagspreises um so härter getroffen würden, als letzterer der
Natur der Sache nach in vielen Fällen verhältnissmässig hoch
sei."--_Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1884, p. 296.

[383] Statute of 28th November.

[384] "Wir haben heute in Deutschland Blätter, deren Jahresabonnement
jährlich 2 Mark beträgt, und solche, deren Jahresabonnement bis 40 Mark
beträgt. Die Post erhebt nun an Gebühr 25 Prozent von dem
Abonnementspreise, womit sie die Beförderungskosten decken muss. Die
Post erhält für dieselbe Leistung von einem täglichen Blatte, welches 40
Mark Abonnementspreis erhebt, 10 Mark pro Jahr und von dem andern
täglichen Blatt, welches bloss 2 Mark erhebt, 50 Pfennig pro Jahr. Das
ist ein ganz unhaltbarer Zustand. Wenn Sie beide Blätter nun auf ihren
Inhalt prüfen, was erblicken Sie da? Auf der einen Seite Inseratenblatt,
das den Text als Nebensache behandelt, das mit sehr niedrigen
Redaktionskosten hergestellt wird. Auf der anderen Seite haben Sie ein
Blatt, zu dessen Herstellung hervorragende Kräfte, mit einem Worte
Intelligenz erforderlich ist, und dass die Intelligenz nicht billig ist,
wissen wir alle miteinander; diese muss bezahlt werden. Für die Post
bildet die Hauptsignatur der Zeitungen: viele Anzeigen--schweres
Gewicht; niedriger Abonnementspreis--niedrige Postprovision (weil die
Herstellungskosten durch die Inserate gedeckt werden). Die Post macht in
Folge dessen ein schlechtes Geschäft damit. Ein Blatt mit wenigen
Anzeigen bedeutet auch gleichzeitig ein geringeres Gewicht und einen
höheren Abonnementspreis, und das setzt eine hohe Postprovision voraus.

"Das sind Erscheinungen, über die seit Jahren geklagt wird, und die
durch die neue Vorlage in ein gerechteres Verhältniss zu Leistung und
Gegenleistung gebracht werden sollen."--Abgeordneter Dietz, _Reichstag,
Official Reports_, 15th November 1899, vol. iv. p. 2799.

[385] Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, vol. 23, part i. p. 69.

[386] In 1871 the number of newspapers passing by post was 203 millions,
and the average postage 87/100 pf. per copy.

[387] _Reichstag, Official Reports_, vol. iv. pp. 2923-4: "Seit 20
Jahren ist im Reichstag sowohl als auch in der Budgetkommission erneut
die Forderung aufgestellt worden, es soll ein anderer Tarif aufgestellt
werden. In der Budgetkommission ist namentlich in den letzten zehn
Jahren von den verschiedensten Parteien anerkannt worden, dass die Post
bei der Beförderung der Zeitungen thatsächlich mit Verlust arbeitet, und
dass demzufolge seitens der Zeitungen eine höhere Gebühr entrichtet
werden müsste. Ich kann den Herren nur das Beispiel, welches in der
Budgetkommission des öfteren erläutert worden ist, wieder vorführen. Wir
befördern rund 400 Millionen Drucksachen; für diese, 400 Millionen
Drucksachen nehmen wir 15 Millionen ein. Demgegenüber stehen eine
Milliarde Zeitungsexemplare und eine Einnahme von noch nicht 5
Millionen."--Von Podbielski (Postmaster-General), 21st November 1899.

[388] "Es musste ein Tarif gefunden werden, der auf dem Grundsatz der
Abwägung der _Leistung und Gegenleistung_ beruht, der der Postverwaltung
eine mässige Mehreinnahme wenigstens für die Zukunft, wenn auch nicht
für die unmittelbare Gegenwart sichert."--Dr. Oertel, 15th November
1899; _Reichstag, Official Reports_, vol. iv. p. 2801.

[389] Von Podbielski, 21st November 1899; _Reichstag, Official Reports_,
vol. iv. p. 2924.

[390] "Die Inseratenpresse macht eine sehr starke Konkurrenz auch der
Provinzialpresse, der kleinen Presse. Die erstere hat langsam den
Abonnementspreis so weit herabgedrückt, dass schliesslich die
Provinzpresse, wenn sie nicht zu Grunde gehen wollte, gleichfalls mit
einer Ermässigung des Abonnementspreises hat vorgehen müssen, mit einer
Ermässigung, die sich wirthschaftlich nicht aufrecht erhalten lässt. Die
Abonnementspreise sind hier und da so niedrig geworden, dass manche
Verleger wohl Ursache gehabt haben, zu schreien, man möge ihnen seitens
der Post durch einen gerechten Tarif entgegenkommen, um die furchtbare
Konkurrenz in etwas zu mildern."--Abgeordneter Dietz, 15th November
1899; _Reichstag, Official Reports_, vol. iv. p. 2799.

[391] "Der Zonentarif ist meiner Ansicht nach vollkommen gerechtfertigt
auch vom Gesichtspunkte der Leistung und der Gegenleistung aus. Die
kleine Provinzpresse bleibt auf einen kleinen Verbreitungsbezirk
beschränkt, und dort ist sie in vielen Exemplaren an einem und demselben
Orte verbreitet. Die grosse Presse dagegen geht in einzelnen Exemplaren
durch das ganze Reich, sie verursacht demgemäss der Post bedeutend mehr
Kosten und Lasten, mehr Arbeit als die kleine Presse. Der Herr
Staatssekretär des Reichspostamts hat das in der Kommission selbst
zugeben müssen. Er wies z. B. darauf hin, dass schon jetzt durch die
grosse Anzahl von Blättern, welche von Berlin aus in die Provinz
hineingehen, die Post gezwungen wäre, tagtäglich einen Extrapostwagen zu
stellen, welcher lediglich Zeitungen von hier nach Köln mit der
Eisenbahn befördert; die Beförderung dieses einen Wagens koste der Post
120,000 Mark. Bei dieser Beförderung kommt aber im grossen und ganzen
nur die grosse oder die farblose Presse, welche zu einem billigeren
Preise gegeben wird, in Betracht. Die kleine Provinzpresse macht der
Post nicht derartige Ausgaben, wie ich bereits vorhin betont habe. Daher
erscheint es angebracht, dass wir zwei Zonen schaffen, dass die
Zeitungen in der ersten Zone zu einem billigeren Satze versendet werden
als diejenigen in der zweiten Zone."--Dr. Marcour, 15th November 1899;
_Reichstag, Official Reports_, vol. iv. p. 2796.

[392] Von Podbielski, 15th November 1899; ibid., vol. iv. p. 2797.

[393] Statute of 20th December 1899:--

"(_a_) 2 Pf. für jeden Monat der Bezugszeit.

"(_b_) 15 Pf. jährlich für das wöchentlich einmalige oder seltenere
Erscheinen, sowie 15 Pf. jährlich mehr für jede weitere Ausgabe in der

"(_c_) 10 Pf. jährlich für jedes Kilogramm des Jahresgewichts unter
Gewährung eines Freigewichts von je 1 Kg. jährlich für soviele Ausgaben,
wie der Gebühr zu (_b_) unterliegen."--Article 1 (sec. iii), Law of 20th
December 1899.

[394] Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, 1906, vol. 23, part i. p. 74.

[395] Dr. Artur Schmidt, ibid., p. 69.

[396] Cf. Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, vol. 23, part i. p. 79.

[397] _Allgemeine Dienstanweisung für Post und Telegraphie_, Berlin,
1901, Abschnitt V, i. pp. 69-70.

[398] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 278. The present
regulations are as follow:--

"Als aussergewöhnliche Zeitungsbeilagen werden solche ... die nach Form,
Papier, Druck oder sonstiger Beschaffenheit nicht als Bestandtheile
derjenigen Zeitung oder Zeitschrift erachtet werden können, mit welcher
die Versendung erfolgen soll.

"Jede Versendung aussergewöhnlicher Zeitungsbeilagen muss von dem
Verleger bei der Verlags-Postanstalt unter Entrichtung der Gebühr für so
viele Exemplare, als der Zeitung u. beigelegt werden sollen, vorher
angemeldet werden. Das Einlegen in die einzelnen Zeitungs u. Exemplare
ist Sache des Verlegers.

"Aussergewöhnliche Zeitungsbeilagen dürfen nicht über zwei Bogen stark,
auch nicht geheftet, geklebt oder gebunden sein; die einzelnen Bogen
müssen in der Bogenform zusammenhängen. Die Postanstalten sind zur
Zurückweisung solcher Beilagen befugt, die nach Grösse und Stärke des
Papiers oder nach ihrer sonstigen Beschaffenheit zur Beförderung in den
Zeitungspacketen nicht geeignet erscheinen.

"Die Gebühr für aussergewöhnliche Zeitungsbeilagen beträgt 1/4 Pf. für
je 25 Gramm jedes einzelnen Beilage-Exemplars. Ein bei Berechnung des
Gesammtbetrags sich ergebender Bruchtheil einer Mark wird nöthigen
Fallen auf eine durch 5 theilbare Pfennigsumme aufwärts
abgerundet."--_Allgemeine Dienstanweisung für Post und Telegraphie_,
Berlin, 1901, Abschnitt V, i. p. 17.

[399] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 279.

[400] 22nd August 1874.

[401] When in 1700 Dockwra was dismissed from the comptrollership, one
of the charges against him was that he forbade the acceptance of
band-boxes or other parcels over 1 pound in weight--to the great
inconvenience of traders and the peril of many sick folk who might have
received "phisick" by the Penny Post.

[402] 5 Geo. III, cap. 25.

[403] "In 1839 Sir John Burgoyne wrote to complain that, for a packet of
papers sent to him at Dublin, which had been forwarded from some other
part of Ireland by mail-coach, as a _letter_, instead of a _parcel_
(i.e. a coach-parcel), he had been charged a postage of £11; that is to
say, for a packet which he could easily have carried in his pocket, he
was charged a sum for which he could have engaged the whole mail-coach,
i.e. places for four inside and three outside passengers, with their
portmanteaus, carpet bags, etc."--_The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago_,
London, 1890, p. 7.

[404] "It has been suggested that if the proportional charge on Letters
by Weight was more gradual, many Things which now pass as Parcels by the
Mails and augment the Profit of the Proprietors would be sent by the
Post on Account of the superior Safety.

"It is certain that great Numbers of small Parcels are sent by the Mail
Coaches at an inferior Rate of Carriage, which, considering this
Establishment as a Species of exclusive Carrying Trade, must subtract
considerably from its Revenue." _Seventh Report_, July, 1797 (_Commons
Reports_, vol. xii. p. 189).

[405] E.g., in 1829 the Secretary reported: "With respect to the
conveyance of Pamphlets and Periodical Publications by the Post,
Treasury has expressed itself to me as decidedly hostile to any such
infraction of the carrying Trade of the Country. It is moreover
physically impossible. We have the greatest difficulty in conveying
Letters, Newspapers, and official packets; many of the official forms,
etc., remain some days until we can take them by the Mail Coaches." And
in 1847, when Sir Rowland Hill put forward his proposal for a Book Post,
Colonel Maberley, then Secretary, said: "The Post ought to be confined
to small packets as much as possible and to convey large packets only
when the necessity is urgent." He was especially afraid of the
inconvenience which would be caused to foot-messengers.--_British
Official Records._ Cf. 10 & 11 Vict., cap. 85, § 2.

[406] See _supra_, p. 32.

[407] As they had always done. "The Post Office has recently absolutely
entered into competition with the Railway Companies. As carriers, the
Companies derived considerable profit from parcels. The Post Office,
finding that railways afford the means of carrying any quantity of bulk,
has seen fit to undertake the conveyance of books and other parcels at
very reduced postal rates. If the Post Office should extend its
operations a little further, it must be brought into absolute antagonism
with the Companies. Books are heavier articles than laces or muslins, or
many other fabrics, the conveyance of which enters largely into railway
receipts. The Post Office having made book parcels profitable, may try
to turn to account the conveyance of other, whether lighter or heavier,
articles of trade. It might be thought advisable to carry a small
valuable parcel to Aberdeen for 2d., a rate at which Railway Companies,
having to pay interest on capital, certainly cannot hope to compete with
a department which insists on the right of travelling on their roads at
the mere actual cost. You will not, therefore, fail to see that the Post
Office arrangements may be carried to a point at which great injustice
would be done to Railway Companies."--Robert Stephenson before the
Institution of Civil Engineers, January 1856 (S. Smiles, _Life of George
Stephenson_, London, 1857, p. 525).

[408] See Leslie Stephen, _Life of Henry Fawcett_, London, 1885, pp.

[409] 45 & 46 Vict., cap. 74.

[410] Jevons had foreseen that the rich would benefit; but he
anticipated a large general traffic in household supplies. See W. S.
Jevons, "A State Parcel Post," _Contemporary Review_, London, 1879, p.

[411] See graphs at pp. 371 and 372, _infra._

[412] The estimates on which this statement is based are given below at
p. 311, Cf. Leslie Stephen, loc. cit. p. 420.

[413] See p. 75, _supra._

[414] _Annual Reports of the Postmaster-General_, Washington, 1890 and

[415] I.e. under the Government frank, for the fraudulent use of which a
penalty of $300 is imposed.

[416] "In point of fact there are but four strong objections to the
parcels post, and they are the four great express companies, who would
be just as well off with an 8- or 11-pound parcel post if the heavy
freight of the Executive Departments and the immense packages of bogus
serial books that are now thrown upon the mails were shut out and turned
over to the express companies, where they belong."--_Report of the
Postmaster-General_, Washington, 1891, p. 114.

[417] Ibid., 1904, p. 2.

[418] Cf. _supra_, p. 127, note 2.

[419] "When the British Government can secure better mail facilities in
the United States for the English people than Uncle Sam can secure in
this country for our own people, it is time that somebody be heard
from."--Mr. Hartranft, Secretary of the Postal Progress League of

[420] "The difficulty now lies in the absence of a connected
transportation conduit, which will receive the small shipment at the
farm and convey it, like a letter, direct to the consumer."--Hon. David
J. Lewis, _Postal Express_, 1912, 62nd Congress, 2nd Sess., Doc. No.
379, p. 5.

[421] Ibid.

[422] Mr. S. Norvell: "I found the conditions in Europe very much worse
than I had anticipated. I found the way the people lived was entirely
different from what I had anticipated, and no man who has simply lived
in this country and has read in a general way about the conditions in
Europe can appreciate how the people live in Europe without going among
them and studying the subject. The business of Europe, while in the
aggregate, of course, it is very large, as a matter of fact is a peanut
business."--_Hearings before the Sub-Committee on Parcel Post_,
Washington, 1912, vol. ii. p. 496. Cf. _Address at Atlantic City, N.J._,
16th November 1911.

[423] "The department believed and still believes that the parcel post,
in time, will become an important factor in improving and cheapening the
food supply of the great cities. Hence, on March 25, 1914, twelve of the
large post offices were designated for special test of a farm-to-city
service. Farmers were invited to register their names and designate the
commodities they desired to sell. Lists of farmers and of the articles
each offered were then printed and distributed by the carrier force. The
results exceeded expectations; shipments of country products at the
twelve offices named so materially increased that now eighteen
additional offices have been named for similar exploitation of the
farm-to-city service. The department's preliminary experience warrants
the conclusion that direct shipment of food products that are consumed
substantially in the same form in which they are produced offers
practical possibilities of reducing the cost of living."--_Report of
Postmaster-General_, Washington, 1913-14, p. 12.

[424] Law of 9 vendémiaire, an VI.

[425] _Vide infra_, p. 279.

[426] Art. 5 § 2, Convention of 1880.

[427] "En obtenant ainsi le concours des compagnies pour le transport
des colis internationaux, M. le Ministre devait évidemment être frappé
des conditions dans lesquelles allait se trouver la circulation des
colis à l'intérieur. Tandis que les premiers circuleraient en France
avec la plus grande facilité à un prix forte réduit, notre commerce
intérieur non seulement continuerait à payer des taxes de transport
relativement élevées, mais encore resterait assujetti à tous les
inconvénients qui résultent de la multiplicité des taxes et du manque
d'entente entre les compagnies."--_Journal Officiel de la République
française_, 27 janvier, 1881, p. 474.

[428] (1) La taxe sur la grande vitesse; (2) l'impôt du timbre; (3) la
taxe de plombage; (4) le droit de statistique.

[429] _Tarif pour le Transport des Colis Postaux_, Paris, 1913, p. 38.

[430] "Sont considérés comme encombrants: les colis dépassant 1 m. 50
dans un sens quelconque; les colis qui, par leur forme, leur volume ou
lour fragilité, ne se prêtent pas facilement au chargement avec d'autres
colis, ou qui demandent des précautions spéciales."--Ibid., p. 6.

[431] Ibid., p. 17.

[432] _Rapport portant fixation du Budget générale_, Sénat, 1911, No.

[433] "Il faut que le bureau soit situé sur le parcours d'un courrier en
voiture, et que les Compagnies de chemins de fer veuillent bien
consentir à accepter les colis à acheminer sur le bureau de poste....
Bref, tout compte fait, il n'y a pas une commune sur six en France où
l'on puisse reçevoir à domicile un colis postal."--Ibid., Chambre des
Députés, Session 1907, No. 1247.

[434] "Il faudrait apporter au service des colis postaux dea
perfectionnements que _les compagnies se refuseront à effectuer et qui
semblent plutôt du ressort de l'Administration_. La reception et la
distribution des colis postaux dans les communes rurales est une de ces
améliorations désirables.

"Il est inutile d'insister sur l'importance économique de cette
question. Les colis postaux fournissent ou devraient fournir un moyen
facile et rapide de transport à bon marché; ils devraient favoriser
aussi bien les intérêts du commerce que ceux de l'agriculture. II s'en
faut de beaucoup qu'ils rendent tous les services que l'on est en droit
d'en attendre."--Ibid., Sénat, 1911, No. 189.

[435] F. Haass, _Die Post und der Charakter ihrer Einkünfte, Stuttgart_,
1890, p. 95.

[436] Ordinance issued at Breslau; C. H. Hull, _Die deutsche
Reichs-Packetpost_, Jena, 1892, p. 1.

[437] C. H. Hull, ibid. p. 2.

[438] E.g., "Wann die Botten innerhalb Landes verschickt werden, soll
Ihnen von Jeder Meill Ein Groschen und sechs Pfennig des tages und dan
zween Groschen, so des nachtes, und im bösenschnee und regenwetter
lauffen, sowohl auch des tages zween Groschen warttgeld, endtrichtet und
gegeben werden."--Post und Botenordnung, 20 Juni 1614, Brandenburg;
cited _F_. Haass, ibid.

[439] The new parcel rates were, e.g.:--

    Weight.  | Up to 2 Miles. | 15-16 Miles.
    Pounds.  |        Pf.     |  Gr. pf.
        1    |         8      |   1   8
     2-10    |         5      |   1  10
    10-30    |         3      |   -   -
    30-60    |         1      |       6

[440] The rates of 1766 compared with those of 1712 as follows: For the
transmission of a pound parcel from Berlin--

                   1766.         1712.
  To Hamburg      1-1/2 gr.    1     gr.
  To Magdeburg   10     pf.    7     pf.
  To Königsberg   3-1/2 gr.    2-1/2 gr.

  --F. Haass, op. cit. p. 98.

[441] Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, 1906, vol. i. p. 80.

[442] H. von Stephan, op. cit. p. 746.

[443] Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893, p. 6. If the
average price of oats in the most important districts in Prussia should
exceed a thaler a bushel, the rate might be increased from 3 pf. to 4

[444] Cabinet Order of 5th March 1847.

[445] Law of 2nd June 1852.

[446] A similar system had been introduced in the German Postal Union in
1858. The sides of the squares were, however, 4 miles long, and were too
large for the smaller distances of the North German Union.

[447] Motiv zur Posttaxnovelle vom 4 November 1867; cited F. Haass, op.
cit. p. 100.

[448] Law of 17th May 1873.

[449] Motiv zur Posttaxnovelle vom 17 Mai 1873.

[450] Railway postal law of 20th December 1875.

[451] The parcel rate for 20 kilogrammes sent as one parcel or as four
parcels each of 5 kilogrammes in each zone would be as follows:--

        Zone.           | As one Parcel. | As 4 Parcels,
                        |      Pf.       | each of 5 kg.
                        |                |      Pf.
    I (up to 10 miles)  |      100       |     100
   II (10-20     "   )  |      200       |     200
  III (20-50     "   )  |      350       |     200
   IV (50-100    "   )  |      500       |     200
    V (100-150   "   )  |      650       |     200
   VI (Over 150  "   )  |      800       |     200

  --C. H. Hull, op. cit. p. 21.

[452] Parcels in Imperial German Postal Service (Inland):--

  Year | Parcels not     | From 1    | From 5    | Over
       | exceeding 1 kg. | to 5 kg.  | to 10 kg. | 10 kg.
       | Per cent.       | Per cent. | Per cent. | Per cent.
  1875 |    25           |    50     |    18     |     7
  1880 |    20           |    61     |    17     |     4
  1890 |    15           |    65     |    18     |     3
  1900 |    12           |    69     |    17     |     2

  --_Finanz-Archiv_,1906, vol. i. p. 89; C. H. Hull, op. cit. p. 28.

[453] Average postage per parcel (pf.):--

     Zone.             1875.    1890.
  Ortssendungen        26·2     26·8
       I               32·3     29·7
      II               62·1     57·4
     III               66·5     57·4
      IV               69·3     57·4
       V               74·3     58·5
      VI               86·6     73·8

  --Ibid., p. 24

[454] Average weight of parcels in Imperial German Postal Service

  Year.| All parcels. |  Parcels not     | Parcels over
       |     Kg.      | exceeding 10 kg. |   10 kg.
       |              |                  |
  1875 |     4·3      |      3·6         |   16·2
  1880 |     4·2      |      3·8         |   15·4
  1885 |     4·1      |      3·8         |   15·0
  1890 |     4·0      |      3·9         |   14·5

  --Ibid., p. 26.

[455] "Angenommen es hätte im Jahre 1890 unter 10 Packeten das Gewicht
eines in Zone III 12.4 Kg.; eines in Zone IV 8.7 Kg.; eines in Zone V
7.5 Kg., oder eines in Zone VI 6.9 Kg., das der anderen neun je 5 Kg.
betragen, so stände der Durchschnittsportobetrag schon auf seiner
thatsächlichen Höhe."--C. H. Hull, loc. cit. p. 25.

[456] _Statistik der Deutschen Reichs-Post- und Telegraphen-Verwaltung_,
1910, Berlin, 1911, p. 20.

[457] An analysis of the traffic of the Imperial Post Office gives the
following result:--

    Numbers--                                   1887.          1900.
                                               Per cent.      Per cent.
    Parcels not exceeding 1 kg. in weight       17.158         12.163
       "          "     1-5 kg.     "           62.086         68.874
       "          "     5-6 kg.     "            7.095          7.783
       "          "     6-7 kg.     "            3.984          4.081
       "          "     7-8 kg.     "            2.629          2.364
       "          "     8-9 kg.     "            1.809          1.466
       "          "    9-10 kg.     "            1.353           .986
       "    over 10 kg. in weight                3.886          2.193

  Revenue and distance of transmission--

                     Per cent.     Postage, M.
    Local parcels     0.216            42,826
    Zone   I         42.535         9,639,750
     "    II         15.865         6,849,005
     "   III         25.258        10,906,357
     "    IV         14.610         6,321,769
     "     V          1.452           604,909
     "    VI          0.064            29,200

--F. Haass, ibid. p. 77; _Finanz-Archiv_, 1906; vol. i. p. 89; cf.
Statistik, 1900, p. 31.

[458] Total number in 1870, 37 millions; in 1880, 60 millions; in 1890,
97 millions; in 1913, 280 millions.

[459] "Infolge seiner Billigkeit hat sich für viele Handels- und
Erwerbszweige ein unmittelbarer Verkehr zwischen Produzenten und
Konsumenten entwickelt (Butter-, Fleisch-, Fischsendungen, u.s.w.), der
früher durch Zwischenhandel verteuert und erschwert wurde. Ganz neue
Erwerbszweige haben sich gebildet, indem Erzeugnisse, die früher am
Produktionsorte fast gar nicht verwertbar waren, in Massen billig nach
weit entfernten Gegenden versandt werden können, um dort Verwertung zu
finden. Auch die Hausindustrie ist durch direkten Bezug von Rohstoffen
für Spinnerei, Weberei, u.s.w., neu belebt worden."--Dr. Artur Schmidt,
_Finanz-Archiv_,1906, vol. i. p. 84.

[460] "'Der Eisenbahn den Gross- und Massenverkehr, der Post den
Kleinverkehr,' empfiehlt auch _de Terra_. In der Tat erscheint dieser
Vorschlag verlockend. Denn die Post kann den ungeheueren Paketverkehr
schon jetzt nur mit Mühe bewältigen und ist zu dem Zwecke oft zur
Einstellung kostspieliger Transportmittel (Eisenbahnbeiwagen)
genötigt."--Ibid., p. 90.

[461] Ibid., p. 91.

[462] "Abgesehen aber von diesem rein politischen Einwand würde die
Aufstellung eines komplizierten Zonentarifs bei dem heutigen Umfang des
Packetverkehrs den Dienst unerträglich erschweren und verzögern. Es
lässt sich wohl fragen ob, wenn jedes Packet auf seine
Beförderungsentfernung zu prüfen wäre, der Dienst sich technisch
durchführen liesse, wenigstens zu Gebühren, welche den Verkehr nicht
allzusehr einschränken würden."--C. H. Hull, op. cit. p. 31; _vide_ also
Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_,1906, vol. i. p. 87.

[463] E.g. "Es ist sogar wahrscheinlich, dass, wenn zu den Kosten der
Eisenbahnleistungen für Packetpostzwecke ein Betrag für Verzinzung des
Eisenbahn-Anlagekapitals noch hinzugerechnet wird, die Packetpost dann
mit einem Defizit arbeitet."--C. H. Hull, op. cit. p. 152; ibid., p.
139. Cf. G. Cohn, _Finanzwissenschaft_, Berlin, 1889, p. 383, F. W.
Grunow, _Zur Reform des Paketportos in Deutschland und
Österreich-Ungarn_, Leipzig, 1898, p. 131; contra, _Handwörterbuch der
Staatswissenschaft_, Jena, 1910, vol. vi. p. 1092.

[464] _British Official Records_, 1847.

[465] _British Official Records_, 1847.

[466] The new rates were--

  Not exceeding 4 ounces        1d.
     "      "   8 ounces        2d.
     "      "   1 pound         4d.
  2d. for every additional half-pound.

[467] See _supra_, pp. 129-131.

[468] 6th April, 1869; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. cxcv. col. 258.

"The Post Office revenue is derived mainly from the circulation of
letters which pay 1d. for half an ounce, and if they exceed half an
ounce, another 1d. The writers of those letters are not necessarily rich
people, or persons to whom the postage is a matter of indifference; they
are, in a certain sense, the helots who bear the burden of the expense
of the Department. Is it, then, not a question worth considering,
whether--supposing we accede to this request and carry 2 ounces of
printed matter for a 1/2d., for the benefit of a particular class of the
community--that might not interfere with the possibility of maintaining
the 1d. postage on letters?"--Chancellor of Exchequer in House of
Commons, 6th April 1869; _Parl. Debates_ (_Commons_), vol. cxcv. col.

[469] The growth of the traffic is shown by the following table:--

                    Average Annual
   Year.        Number of Book Packets
  1872-76            143,000,000
  1882-86            323,000,000
  1892-96            570,000,000
  1900-05            811,000,000
  1909-10            974,000,000
  1912-13          1,079,000,000
  1913-14          1,172,000,000

--_The Post Office: An Historical Summary_, London, 1911, p. 14; and
_Annual Reports of Postmaster-General_.

[470] See _First Report of the Committee on Retrenchment in the Public
Expenditure_, 1915 (Parliamentary Papers, Cd. 8067 and Cd. 8068);
_Times_ newspaper, 28th September 1915.

[471] A. Belloc, _Les Postes françaises, Recherches historiques_, Paris,
1886, p. 353.

[472] Law of 4 thermidor, an IV (22nd July 1796).

[473] P. Jaccottey, op. cit. p. 327.

[474] "Gedruckte Bücher und Aemter-Rechnungen, Akzise-, Zoll-, und
Messzettel, sowie für Stempelpapier."--_Archiv für Post und
Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 268.

[475] This rate was, e.g., 2 groschen per pound from Berlin to Xanten or
Duisburg, 1 groschen to Hamburg, and 2 pf. to Spandau.--Ibid., p. 269.

[476] Ibid.

[477] Law of 21st December 1849.

[478] The first penalty applied also to sample packets.

[479] "Zeitungen, Journale, Preis-Courante, gedruckte Cirkularien,
Empfehlungsschreiben, Correkturbogen ohne beigefügtes Manuskript und
gedruckte Lotterie-Gewinnlisten."

[480] To include "Druckschriften, Ankündigungen und sonstige Anzeigen."

[481] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 273.

[482] Order of 11th April 1856.

[483] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 274.

[484] Ibid., p. 275.

[485] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 276.

[486] Ibid., p. 278.

[487] Order of 3rd March 1873.

[488] Order of 18th December 1874.

[489] "Alle durch Buchdruck, Kupferstich, Stahlstich, Holzschnitt,
Lithographie, Metallographie, und Photographie vervielfältigten
Gegenstände" (Sofern sie nach ihrer Form und sonstigen Beschaffenheit
zur Versendung mit der Briefpost geeignet erscheinen).--_Archiv für Post
und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 281.

[490] "Auch der Erhöhung des Meistgewichts lässt sich das Wort nicht
reden. Mit dieser Massnahme wächst sofort die Unhandlichkeit der
Sendungen und damit die Vermehrung und Kostspieligkeit der
Betriebsmittel. Bereits jetzt müssen zur Bewältigung der Massen v.a. in
den Bahnposten, besonders infolge der vielfach vertretnen Rollenform,
ausserordentliche Austrengungen gemacht werden. Zudem bietet das billige
Paketporto hinreichend günstige Gelegenheit zur Versendung schwerer
Drucksachen. Zu einer Aenderung des Drucksachentarifs liegt demnach ein
Bedürfniss nicht vor."--_Finanz-Archiv_, 1905, vol. ii. p. 178.

[491] _Statistik der Deutschen Reichs-Post- und Telegraphen-Verwaltung_,
1910, p. 15.

[492] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 177.

[493] "For the Port of every Single Letter, or Piece of Paper, to or
from any Place not exceeding Eighty _English_ Miles distant from the
said General Post Office in _London_, and within that Part of _Great
Britain_ called _England_, and not coming from or directed on Shipboard,
Three-pence; and for the like Port of every Double Letter, Sixpence;
etc."--9 Anne, cap. 10, § 6.

[494] "For every Single Letter or Cover containing One or more Paper or
Papers with Patterns, or containing One or more Pattern or Patterns of
Cloth, Silk, Stuff, or One or more Sample or Samples of any other Sort
of Goods, or One or more Piece or Pieces of any Sort of Thing enclosed
therein, or affixed thereto, though not Paper, if the same together do
not weigh an Ounce Weight, the Rates payable for a Double Letter shall
be paid, and no more."--26 Geo. II, cap. 13, § 8.

[495] 35 Geo. III, cap. 53, § 9.

[496] 41 Geo. III, cap. 7, § 11.

[497] 45 Geo. III, cap. 1, § 1.

[498] 52 Geo. III, cap. 88, § 2.

[499] 7 Will. IV & 1 Vict., cap. 34, § 28.

[500] 2 & 3 Vict., cap. 52, § 1.

[501] 3 & 4 Vict., cap. 96, § 4.

[502] _Vide_ _Annual Reports of the Postmaster-General_ 1859 et seq.

[503] _British Official Records_, 1863.

[504] See _supra_, p. 31.

"The public felt aggrieved at the restriction, and, as the difficulty of
defining samples in all cases could not be overcome, it was decided to
reduce the inland letter postage to such an extent as would enable the
public to send through the post in closed covers not only patterns and
samples, but also any light articles for a moderate charge; thus
abolishing altogether the distinction between letters and samples, and
providing a cheap and convenient post for small parcels."--_Seventeenth
Report of the Postmaster-General_, London, 1871, p. 4.

[505] _Report of Select Committee on Estimates of Revenue Departments_,
1888, p. 24.

It may be noted, in justification of the view sometimes advanced that
additional traffic can without loss be undertaken by the Post Office at
rates lower than those for the main services, that in this case the Post
Office anticipated that no direct additional expense would be incurred
in the provinces in dealing with the increase of traffic, and that in
London the additional expense would only amount to some £500 a year.

[506] See _supra_, p. 223.

[507] Arrête of 4th March 1858. In 1881 these limits were raised
slightly--to 350 grammes and to 30 centimetres respectively.

[508] In 1871 the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est filed a petition
in which they contested the right of the Post Office to send samples of
merchandise by railway without specially remunerating the railway
company. They claimed that under the law they were obliged to carry free
only "letters" and "despatches." The case was, however, decided against
the company.--P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 334.

[509] Ibid., p. 333.

[510] _Statistique générale du service postal_, Berne, 1914, p. 7.

[511] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 270.

[512] _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1880, p. 273.

[513] Dr. Artur Schmidt, _Finanz-Archiv_, 1905, vol. ii., p. 180.

[514] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 13.

[515] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 332.

[516] 6 Geo. I, cap. 21.

[517] 41 Geo. III, cap. 7, § 4.

[518] "We find that in France, and generally on the Continent, the
circulation of Prices Current, at a low charge, is encouraged by the
Government, and we are of opinion that any facility which can be given
for the transmission of mercantile information must tend to promote the
commercial interests of the country; we therefore beg to recommend to
your Lordships, in the first place, that English Prices Current, and
Publications of a similar nature published in this country, be permitted
to pass through the medium of the Post Office without the imposition of
a charge so high as to impede their general circulation.... We hope ...
your Lordships may find it practicable to permit the free transmission
of Prices Current by post, if printed on paper bearing a halfpenny
stamp."--_Fifth Report of Commissioners_ (11th April 1836), pp. 3, 4.

[519] "Cette assimilation les soumettait à des taxes exorbitantes; elle
provoquait la fraude, et multipliait les contraventions au monopole de
la poste."--P. Jaccottey, op. cit., p. 319.

[520] See _supra_, p. 225.

[521] "Als Geschäftspapiere sind zu gelassen: alle Schriftstücke und
Urkunden, ganz oder teilweise mit der Hand geschrieben oder gezeichnet,
welche nicht die Eigenschaft einer eigentlichen und persönlichen
Korrespondenz haben, wie Prozessakten, von öffentlichen Beamten
aufgenommene Urkunden jeder Art, Frachtbriefe oder Ladescheine,
Rechnungen, Quittungen auf gestempelten oder ungestempelten Papier, die
verschiedenen Dienstpapiers der Versicherungsgesellschaften, Abschriften
oder Auszüge aussergerichtlicher Verträge, gleichviel ob auf
gestempelten oder ungestempelten Papier geschrieben, handschriftliche
Partituren oder Notenblätter, die abgesondert versandten Manuskripte von
Werken oder Zeitungen, korrigierte Schülerarbeiten mit Ausschluss
jeglichen Urteils über die Arbeit, Militarpässe, Lohn-, Dienst- oder
Arbeitsbücher, u.s.w. (§ 9, Postordnung)."--_Finanz-Archiv_, 1905, vol.
ii., p. 180.

[522] _L'Union postale_, Berne, 1st July 1876.

[523] A proposal to introduce postcards in France was made by M.
Wolowski in the National Assembly on the 23rd August 1871, in the debate
on the Bill for raising the rates of postage. The proposal was rejected
on account of the probable effect on the revenue. The cards would no
doubt substitute letters to some extent, and at the time, of course, the
chief object in view was an increase of revenue. M. Wolowski repeated
his proposal in 1873 as an amendment to the Budget. He was able to point
to the effect in England of the introduction of postcards--an increase
of 6 per cent. in the number of letters, as compared with an increase of
6 per cent. in the year preceding their introduction. The proposal was
opposed by the Budget Commission and by the Government, but the
amendment was voted by the Assembly and was incorporated in the law of
the 20th December 1872. The rate of postage was fixed at 10 centimes for
cards circulating within the area served by the same office and 15
centimes for others. (The minimum letter rate was at this time 15
centimes for letters circulating in the area served by the same office
and 25 centimes for others.) In 1878 the rate was made uniform at 10
centimes for all cards. This rate still continues in respect of cards
bearing written messages in the nature of personal communications, but
it has been reduced to 5 centimes in respect of picture postcards or
commercial advertisement cards which do not boar a written communication
of more than five words. The circulation of postcards is naturally much
restricted, and the reduction of the general rate to 5 centimes is much
desired. There has been a good deal of discussion of the matter by the
parliamentary Budget Commissions, but financial considerations have so
far prevented the concession of this boon.

[524] See _infra_, pp. 303-4; cf. C. H. Hull, op. cit., p. 146.

[525] _Annual Report of Postmaster-General_, 1913-14, p. 1.

[526] E.g., "As to books for the blind, there can be only one opinion.
The afflicted must be looked after before anybody else."--Sir Adolphe
Caron, _Parliamentary Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_), 13th May 1898.

[527] Cf. _supra_, Chapter II.

[528] "Inland post comprehends all matter deposited in a post office in
Canada for delivery either from the same or from any other post office
in Canada.

"Such matter is divided into four classes:--

"(1) Letters, postcards, and all matter either wholly or partly in
writing or typewriting, except the manuscript of books or newspapers and
certain documents of the Dominion and Provincial Governments and of
Municipal Authorities, which belong to Class 3.

"(2) Newspapers and periodicals.

"(3) Printed matter not included in Class 2, samples, and certain
miscellaneous matter.

"(4) Merchandise."--_Canada Official Postal Guide_, 1912, p. 4.

[529] See _supra_, p. 158.

[530] See _infra_, pp. 336-7.

[531] See _The Practical Method of the Penny Post_, London, 1681.

[532] The "General Post" was the term applied to the service throughout
the country as distinguished from local services.

[533] The General Post Office only provided for the delivery of letters
within a restricted area. See _Ninth Report of Commissioners of Post
Office Inquiry_, 1837, p. 5.

[534] 12 Car. II, cap. 35, § 2.

[535] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 6.

[536] 4 Geo. II, cap. 33. See D. Macpherson, op. cit., vol. iii., p.

[537] _Ninth Report of the Commissioners of Post Office Inquiry_, 1837,
pp. 1 and 2.

[538] "We have said that to us who live at the end of the nineteenth
century it may appear incredible that up to April 1680 the General Post
Office in Lombard Street was the only receptacle for letters in the
whole of London. But it is by no means certain that our descendants may
not think it more incredible still that London, with all its boasted
progress, has only now recovered a post which, in point of convenience
and cheapness, at all approaches that which an enterprising citizen
established more than two hundred years ago."--H. Joyce, _History of the
Post Office_, pp. 41, 42.

[539] "No stage-coach entered London without the driver's pockets being
stuffed with letters and packets, and he was moderate indeed if he had
not a bagful besides. The waggoner outstripped his waggon and the
carrier his pack-horse: and each brought his contribution. The higgler's
wares were the merest pretext. It was to the letters and packets that he
looked for profit."--H. Joyce, ibid., p. 55.

[540] When threatened by the Postmasters-General with prosecution
"according to the utmost rigour of the law," he replied, according to
their account, that "he should not be so unjust to himself as to lay
down his undertaking at our demand, that his case was not as Mr.
Dockwra's was, neither did we live under such a constitution as he did
when the penny post was first set up (that is, an arbitrary government
and bribed judges)."--_Ninth Report of the Commissioners of Post Office
Inquiry_, 1837, p. 71.

[541] 5 Geo. III, cap. 25, § 11.

[542] _Ninth Report of the Commissioners of Post Office Inquiry_, 1837,
p. 66.

[543] 5 Geo. III, cap. 25, § 14.

[544] 34 Geo. III, cap. 17.

[545] 41 Geo. III, cap. 7.

[546] _Ninth Report of the Commissioners of Post Office Inquiry_, 1837,
p. 6.

[547] 45 Geo. III, cap. 11.

[548] Clause 1.

[549] These changes followed the recommendations of the Commissioners of
Revenue Inquiry, who, in their Twenty-first Report (1830), remarked
strongly on the intricacy and confusion of the boundaries of the posts
in London, viz. the General Post, the Foreign Post, the twopenny post
(town delivery), and the twopenny post (country delivery). All these had
different delivery areas, and in addition there was the "threepenny post
town delivery," comprising the area lying between the limits of the
General Post delivery and those of the town delivery of the twopenny

[550] The following statement shows the rates charged in the twopenny

  "For every letter transmitted by such Post within the limits of
  delivery for the time being of the General Post                       2d.

  For every letter transmitted by such Post between a place within
  the said limits and any place beyond the same, or between places,
  both of which are beyond the said limits                              3d.

  And for every letter originally sent by the General Post directed
  to places beyond the said limits, and for every letter originally sent
  by the Twopenny Post, and afterwards passing through the General Post,
  in addition to all other rates chargeable thereon                     2d.

  Newspapers sent by the Twopenny Post, and not passing or intended
  to pass by the General Post, are charged each                         1d.

But newspapers by the General Post and delivered by the Twopenny Post,
received by the Twopenny Post and afterwards passing by the General
Post, have, since August 1836, been exempted from postage."--_Ninth
Report of the Commissioners of Post Office Inquiry_, 1837, p. 4.

[551] "It is on this principle that it has been found that where a
letter has been dropped into the post office in a city, and delivered by
a letter-carrier, it does not pay to deliver it for 1 cent, which is
just half the rate charged in any other country in the world; and this
provision is to assimilate the rate to that prevailing in other
countries."--Mr. Haggart, _Parliamentary Debates, Canada_ (_Commons_),
9th April 1889.

[552] "We have been influenced to make this change from the fact that in
large cities and towns the departmental stores, the manufacturing
establishments, and other concerns which do a large postal business, use
the messenger service to deliver their letters as they found it cheaper,
and in this way a large amount of revenue was lost to the Post
Office.... Several firms will amalgamate their messenger service,
employing say five or ten boys, to whom they will pay 1 cent or 1/2 cent
for each letter, and in that way they will make a profit. Of course,
this action on their part is illegal, but it is one of those
illegalities that we can hardly prosecute, and we thought it was better
to adopt the uniform 1-cent rate which we had formerly."--Hon. R.
Lemieux (Postmaster-General), _Parliamentary Debates, Canada_
(_Commons_), 16th June 1908.

[553] A. de Rothschild, _Histoire de la Poste aux Lettres_, Paris, 1879,
p. 98.

[554] "16 août 1653.--On fait à sçavoir à tous ceux qui voudront écrire
d'un quartier de Paris en un autre, que leurs lettres, billets ou
mémoires seront fidèlement portés et diligemment rendus à leur addresse,
et qu'ils en auront promptement responce, pourvu que lorsqu'ils
escriront, ils mettent avec leurs lettres un billet qui portera:
_port-payé_, parce que l'on ne prendra point d'argent; lequel billet
sera attaché à la dite lettre, ou mis autour de la lettre ou passé dans
ou en telle autre manière qu'ils trouveront à propos, de telle sorte
néanmoins que le commis le puisse voir et oter aisément. La date sera
remplis du jour ou du mois qu'il sera envoyé. Le commis général qui sera
au Palais rendra de ces billets de _port-payé_ à ceux qui en voudront
avoir, pour le prix _d'un sol marqué_; et chacun est adverti d'en
acheter pour sa nécessité le nombre qu'il lui plaira, afin que lorsqu'on
voudra escrire, l'on ne manque pas pour si peu de chose à faire ses
affaires."--Advertisement issued by M. Velayer, cited A. de Rothschild,
_Histoire de la Poste aux Lettres_, Paris, 1879, p. 101.

[555] A. de Rothschild, ibid., p. 145.

[556] A. Belloc, _Les Postes françaises_, Paris, 1886, p. 200.

[557] Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1893, p. 38.

[558] 30th May 1865.

[559] Order of 22nd October 1869.

[560] Moch, ibid.

[561] Moch, ibid.

[562] Administrative order of 18th December 1874.

[563] Moch, _Archiv für Post und Telegraphie_, 1900, p. 735.

[564] "Als Nachbarorte im Sinne des Gesetzes sollen solche Orte der
engen unmittelbaren Nachbarschaft gelten, deren bebaute Ortsgrenzen
nicht zu weit von einander entfernt bleiben und die wegen ihrer Lage und
ihres wirtschaftlichen Zusammenhanges als ein einheitlicher
Verkehrsbezirk (Taxgruppe) angesehen werden können, ferner aber solche
Orte, die zwischen zwei hiernach eine Taxgruppe bildenden anderen Orten
an der diese verbindenden Strasse oder Eisenbahn liegen, auch wenn ein
wirtschaftlicher Zusammenhang hier nicht vorhanden ist."--Moch, ibid.

[565] Ibid., p. 736; Articles 2 and 3 of law of 20th December 1899.

[566] _Reichstag, Official Reports_, vol. ii., p. 1006.

[567] "Um ein klar wirkendes Bild von dem Umfange der Verkehrszunahme zu
geben, sei nur erwähnt, dass die Ober-Postdirektion in Berlin im
Kalenderjahre 1900 eine um 106 Beamte und 1,606 Unterbeamte höhere.
Personal verstärkung für ihren Bezirk hat eintreten lassen mussen als im
Jahre vorher; am 1 April 1900 sind allein--ohne die zahlreichen
Aushülfskräfte--860 Unterbeamte neu eingestellt worden."--_Deutsche
Verkehrs-Zeitung_, Berlin, 8th March 1901, p. 131.

[568] Ibid.

[569] Ibid., p. 132.

[570] Order of 20th March 1900. See Moch, _Archiv für Post und
Telegraphie_, Berlin, 1900, p. 737.

[571] Order of 29th March. W. Hess, ibid., 1910, p. 448.

[572] _Reichstag, Official Reports_, 17th May 1906.

[573] _Finanz-Archiv_, 1906, vol. ii., p. 253.

[574] "Une partie des pays qui out pris part au Congrès de Berne avait
fixé le maximum du poids des lettres à 250 grammes; l'autre partie
n'avait fixé aucune limite de poids. Dans certains pays, l'épaisseur des
lettres était limitée. Au Danemark, par exemple, elle ne pouvait pas
dépasser 2-5/8 centimetres. La Grande-Bretagne avait fixé le maximum de
dimension des lettres pour l'étranger à 2 pieds (60 centimètres) en
longueur et à 1 pied (30 centimètres) en largeur ou épaisseur.

"Le port des lettres se calculait tantôt pas 7-1/2 grammes, tantôt par
10 grammes et tantôt par 15 grammes; parfois aussi l'échelle de
progression ne comportait que deux poids (lettres de 15 grammes et
lettres de plus de 15 grammes).

"Les taxes des lettres d'un pays différaient presque pour chaque pays
correspondant; en outre, la taxe d'une lettre pour un seul et même pays
variait fréquemment suivant la voie d'expédition. L'Allemagne n'avait
pas moins de 7 taxes pour les lettres affranchis à destination des
autres pays d'Europe (abstraction faite des taxes réduites pour les
rayons limitrophes); la France n'en avait pas moins de 6, et la
Grande-Bretagne pas moins de 9; les Etats-Unis d'Amérique en avaient 5
pour leurs rapports avec 10 pays européens. La moins élevée de ces taxes
était, pour l'Allemagne, de 10 pfennig jusqu'à 15 grammes (20 pfennig de
15 à 250 grammes); pour la France, de 25 centimes par 10 grammes; pour
la Grande-Bretagne, de 3 pence par 1/2 once; pour les Etats-Unis
d'Amérique, de 6 cents par 1/2 once. La plus élevée était, pour
l'Allemagne, de 30 pfennig par 10 grammes; pour la France, de 70
centimes par 10 grammes; pour la Grande-Bretagne, de 6 pence par 1/4
once; pour les Etats-Unis d'Amérique de 10 cents par 1/2 once.

"Les taxes des lettres à destination des pays d'outre-mer variaient
davantage encore; elles étaient, en outre, toujours extrêmement élevées.
Une lettre affranchie de l'Allemagne pour le Pérou, à expédier par la
voie de Hambourg, payait 100 pfennig par 15 grammes; si elle était
expédiée par la voie d'Angleterre ou de France, elle payait 120 pfennig
par 15 grammes. Pour une lettre d'une 1/2 once de la Grande-Bretagne
pour la Bolivie, l'expéditeur devait payer 1 shilling 6 pence et une
taxe additionnelle était, en outre, réclamée du destinataire. Une lettre
simple de la Russie pour la Cochinchine (voie des paquebots français)
payait 75 kopecks; de l'Autriche pour la République de Honduras (voie de
Panama), 84 kreuzer; de l'Italie pour la République Argentine ou
l'Uruguay (voie de Belgique), 2 lire 40 centesimi.

"Pour ses relations avec le Japon, la Russie no disposait pas de moins
de 9 voies d'éxpédition, pour lesquelles il existait 8 taxes différentes
rien pour les lettres affranchies."--M. E. Ruffy, _L'Union postale
universelle_; _sa fondation et son développement_, Lausanne, 1900, pp.
20, 21.

[575] Austria, Belgium, Costa-Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, France,
Great Britain, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Prussia, the Sandwich Islands,
Switzerland, and the Hanse Towns.

[576] M. E. Ruffy, _L'Union postale universelle; sa fondation et son
développement_, Lausanne, 1900, p. 13.

[577] Or, as they were called, "principes généraux de nature à faciliter
les relations de peuple à peuple par la voie de la poste et pouvant
servir de base aux conventions internationales destinées à régler ces

[578] _Documents du Congrès postal international_, Berne, 1874, pp. 3-7.
See M. E. Ruffy, ibid., pp. 39, 40 and 41.

[579] _Documents du Congrès postal international_, Berne, 1874, p. 23.

[580] "Toutefois, comme mesure de transition, il est réservé à chaque
pays, pour tenir compte des convenances monétaires ou autres, la faculté
de percevoir une taxe supérieure ou inférieure à ce chiffre, moyennant
quelle ne dépasse pas 32 centimes et ne descende pas au dessous de 20

"Pour tout transport maritime de plus de 300 milles marins dans le
ressort de l'Union, il pourra être ajouté au port ordinaire une surtaxe
qui ne pourra pas dépasser la moitié de la taxe générale de l'Union
fixée pour la lettre affranchie."--Article 3 of Convention, ibid., p.

[581] _Documents du Congrès postal international_, Berne, 1874, pp.

[582] Règlement de Détail, secs. xi, xii and xiii, ibid., p. 158.

[583] "La Belgique occupe une position pour ainsi dire unique dans le
monde. Placée au centre de la partie la plus riche, la plus active et la
plus peuplée de l'Europe, elle forme, en quelque sorte, le carrefour des
grandes voies postales de notre continent. Il s'en suit que la Belgique
rend de très grands services à tous les Etats de l'Europe, tandis
qu'elle-même n'a à réclamer que fort peu de services de ses voisins."

Belgium received 946,235 fr. net annually in respect of transit traffic,
and the ratio between the transit services rendered by Belgium to other
countries and by other countries to Belgium was 20 to 1.--_Documents du
Congrès postal international_, Berne, 1874, pp. 37-8.

[584] Ibid., p. 23.

[585] Changed in 1878 to "L'Union postale universelle."

[586] Those countries which were unable to adopt the metric system of
weights were given liberty to substitute the ounce avoirdupois (28.3465
grammes), a half-ounce being reckoned the equivalent of 15 grammes, and
2 ounces the equivalent of 50 grammes.--_Documents du Congrès postal
international_, Berne, 1874, p. 66.

[587] "En accédant, disent-ils, à l'Union postale, la France s'est
imposé des sacrifices considérables dont elle a d'avance calculé la
portée. Elle est prête à en faire de nouveaux aujourd'hui en vue de
compléter la grande [oe]uvre de Berne; et, à ce propos, M. Ansault a cru
devoir déclarer que les subsides accordés à des lignes de paquebots ne
peuvent pas être considérés comme ayant un caractère postal,
c'est-à-dire, que l'on ne doit pas chercher dans le produit de la taxe
des lettres une rémunération de ces services, lesquels sont établis
principalement pour les besoins du commerce et de l'industrie, aussi
bien que dans un intérêt politique. En proposant une taxe maritime de
fr. 6.50 par kilogramme de lettres et de 50 ct. par kilogramme de
journaux, le Gouvernement français a eu en outre pour but de faire
cesser une anomalie injustifiable aux yeux du public, à savoir qu'une
missive pour les Colonies françaises paie une taxe plus élevée qu'une
lettre pour la partie la plus reculée des Etats-Unis
d'Amérique."--_Actes de la Conférence postale de Berne_, 1876, p. 29.

[588] Ibid., p. 30.

[589] Ibid., pp. 13, 14.

[590] _Actes de la Conférence postale de Berne_, 1876, p. 34.

[591] Thus in 1913-14 the number of foreign reply-paid postcards in the
case of the United States was 130,596. The total number of foreign
postcards posted in the United States in the same year was 42,252,570.

[592] "M. Buxton Forman, délégué de la Grande-Bretagne, ne voit pas
l'utilité de la mesure proposée, qui, on son pays du moins, n'est pas
demandée par le public. Il serait d'ailleurs presque impossible à
l'Administration britannique d'y adhérer...." The French view was stated
by M. Ansault: "La modification demandée ne répond à aucun besoin. Les
statistiques tenues en France témoignent que le poids moyen de la lettre
n'atteint pas 10 grammes; il reste donc une marge de 5 grammes avec le
poids actuel. C'est largement suffisant; en augmentant cette marge, on
risquerait de provoquer le groupement des lettres au détriment de la
recette postale."--_Documents du Congrès postal de Washington_, 1897, p.

In the same year the limit of weight for the single letter in the
British inland service was raised from 1 to 4 ounces.

[593] _Documents du Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, vol. ii., p. 163.

[594] Ibid., vol. ii., p. 165.

[595] "Pour nous, le service gratuit est un rêve, un beau rêve, si vous
voulez, mais que nous ferions bien, en gens pratique, de laisser aux
rêveurs."--A. B. Walkley, British Delegate, ibid., vol. ii., p. 106.

[596] _Documents du Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, vol. ii., p. 168.

[597] "The British Post Office itself is unable to agree with the New
Zealand Government that the sacrifice of net postal revenue involved
would be 'temporary in duration and inconsiderable in amount.'

"The experience of the British Post Office in connection with the
Imperial Penny Postage Scheme shows that if the increased cost of
dealing with increased quantities of postal matter be taken into
account, as it should be, the department has not recovered, and cannot
recover, the loss of net postal revenue involved by the reduction of the
Imperial letter rate, which was estimated in 1898 at £108,000 for the
first year.

"Recent calculations show that, in the case of a letter for a foreign
country, the expense to the Exchequer can be taken at about one penny
per half-ounce rate, and in the case of a letter for a Colony, where a
long sea transit is generally involved, at about a penny farthing,
excluding the heavy cost of subsidized packet service."--_Papers laid
before the Colonial Conference, 1907: Memorandum by General Post Office_
(Cd. 3524), p. 499. It was estimated that the introduction of universal
penny postage, together with the ounce unit (_vide supra_), would
involve an initial loss of £610,000 a year. Ibid., p. 500.

[598] The United States, Australasia, and Egypt voted in favour of the
universal penny rate. Canada, Great Britain, British India, and Japan
abstained from voting. The remainder voted against the
proposal.--_Documents du Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, vol. ii., p.

[599] "Chaque jour de nouvelles difficultés surgissent, soit dans les
rapports du public avec les Administrations, soit dans les rapports
entre les Administrations, sur la definition de l'échantillon. Tel objet
est admis dans un pays et refusé dans un autre. Ici, on repousse un
article sans valeur, uniquement parce qu'il est entier et on en exige la
détérioration ou lacération; là, au contraire, ce même article passe
sans observation, par la raison qu'il n'est suj'et à aucun droit de
douane. Cette dernière doctrine paraissant la plus logique et la plus
conforms à l'esprit libéral de l'Union, qui ne saurait refuser au
commerce des facilités compatibles avec les exigences du service, on a
pensé que, sous la double réserve d'une limite de poids de 300 grammes
et de la prohibition des articles sujets aux droits de douane, il y
aurait un simplification, profitable à tout le monde, à étendre la
qualification d'échantillons aux menus objets, même entiers et non
détériorés."--See M. E. Ruffy, _L'Union postale universelle: sa
fondation et son développement_, Lausanne, 1900, p. 67.

[600] "La proposition d'élever le poids des paquets de 3 à 5 kilogrammes
modifie notablement l'économie du projet; c'est la substitution d'un
vrai service de messagerie au transport de simples colis postaux. Le
Gouvernement anglais estime que le transport de paquets d'un tel poids
est de domaine de l'industrie privée."--S. A. Blackwood, _Documents de
la Conférence postale de Paris_, 1880, p. 60.

[601] "Si on transporte à perte, plus le trafic sera grand, plus les
dépenses augmenteront. II serait en désaccord avec les vrais principes
d'économie politique, d'entreprendre un service postal dont les frais
pèseraient sur une autre branche de l'exploitation ou seraient à la
charge du Trésor. Un économiste aussi distingué que M. Fawcett ne
pourrait admettre cette théorie."--S. A. Blackwood, _Documents de la
Conférence postale de Paris_, 1880, p. 60.

"M. Günther fait remarquer à M. le délégué de la Suéde que le nombre des
colis échangés entre la Suède et l'étranger n'étant pas très important,
son Administration aurait à faire peu de sacrifices."--Ibid., p. 55.

[602] "Il paraît de toute nécessité d'adopter un droit uniforme, car
autrement, avec un tarif variable suivant le poids ou le lieu de
destination, on aurait un service des messageries, avec de nombreuses
taxes, graduées, et non plus un service très simple de colis
postaux."--M. le Président; ibid., p. 55.

[603] "Quant à la taxe internationale de 50 centimes, sans addition
possible, elle ne peut être accepté par l'Administration britannique
qu'elle constituerait en perte. La taxe devant être partagée entre
l'État et les Compagnies, une somme de 50 centimes ne couvrirait les
frais."--S. A. Blackwood, ibid.

[604] "Le commerce surtout vous saura le meilleur gré d'avoir élevé
jusqu'à 3 kilogrammes le poids des petits colis transportés par la
poste, et d'avoir abaissé la taxe à un chiffre minime. Dans bien des cas
même, ce prix ne sera pas l'équivalent des frais; et les Gouvernements
qui consentent à ce sacrifice méritent une gratitude toute particulière;
je vous l'exprime ici bien volontiers et bien hautement au nom de la
France, au nom de l'Europe et au nom de l'humanité, qui profiteront si
largement du progrés nouveau que vous venez de réaliser."--M. Barthélémy
Saint-Hilaire, Foreign Minister of France, to the Conference; _Documents
de la Conférence postale de Paris_, 1880, p. 180.

[605] The convention of Washington, 1897, defined cumbersome parcels
(_colis encombrants_) as follows:--

"(_a_) Les colis dépassant 1 mètre 50 centimètres dans un sens

"(_b_) Les colis qui, par leur forme, leur volume ou leur fragilité, ne
se prêtent pas facilement au chargement avec d'autres colis ou qui
demandent des précautions spéciales, tels que plantes et arbustes en
paniers, cages vides ou renfermant des animaux vivants, boîtes à cigares
vides ou autres boîtes en fardeaux, meubles, vannerie, jardinières,
voitures d'enfants, rouets, vélocipedes, etc.

"Les Administrations qui n'admettent pas les colis encombrants ont la
faculté de limiter à 60 centimètres le maximum de dimension de ces
objets. Les Administrations qui assurent des transports par mer ont
aussi la faculté de limiter à 60 centimètres le maximum de dimension et
à 25 décimètres cubes le volume des colis postaux destinés à être
transmis par leurs services maritimes et de ne les accepter au delà de
ces limites qu'à titre de colis encombrants."--_Documents du Congrès
postal de Washington_, 1897, p. 887.

[606] Ibid. pp. 881-2.

[607] "M. Herman, délégué de la France, déclare qu'il est impossible
d'entrer dans les vues de l'Administration bulgare, laquelle semble ne
plus tenir compte de l'idée première qui a conduit à la création des
colis postaux pour l'échange d'objets de petit poids, à des prix très
modérés. En créant les colis postaux, les Administrations participant
n'ont pas eu l'intention de faire concurrence aux compagnies de
transport. Si les tarifs des articles de messagerie sont trop élevés, ce
n'est pas évidemment à l'Union postale de les diminuer."--_Documents du
Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, Berne, 1906, vol. ii., p. 381.

[608] "Il n'y a aucun besoin ou avantage à son avis, d'avoir une taxe
uniforme pour les colis de même catégorie de poids expédiés de
différents pays. Pour les lettres, cette uniformité a l'avantage, pour
l'expéditeur, de connaître, dans n'importe quel pays, le prix du port
des lettres. Mais, pour un colis postal, l'expéditeur doit toujours
aller au bureau de poste pour y déposer la déclaration en douane et,
aussi, pour connaître le tarif qui varie selon le nombre des pays et
services intermédiares."--M. Kisch, Delegate for India, _Documents du
Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, Berne, 1906, vol. ii., p. 391.

[609] "N'est-ce pas précisément l'unité de tarif qui caractérise le
colis postal? Elle est très appreciée du commerce dont elle facilite les
opérations. Si l'on entre dans la voie de la taxation au poids, comme
pour les articles de messagerie, ce sera un recul."--M. Mazoyer,
_Documents du Congrès postal de Rome_, 1906, Berne, 1906, vol. ii., p.

[610] The analysis relates to the British inland service in 1913-14.

[611] The number of packets sent at the blind post rate is very small
comparatively (some 300,000 a year), and those packets are therefore not
considered separately.

[612] In general, for any supplemental service an additional fee is
charged, the only exceptions being that, in the case of a packet sent at
the letter rate of postage, if the person to whom it is addressed cannot
be traced, the packet is returned to the sender without charge; and that
under certain conditions the address written on any packet (but not the
name of the person to whom it is addressed) may be amended, and the
packet sent forward, without payment of additional postage. Parcels are
forwarded to a second address in this way free of charge only when the
first address and the substituted address are within the delivery of the
same post office, or are within the same "town delivery area." In
certain circumstances the Post Office itself undertakes to amend the
address and forward packets in this way free of charge--that is to say,
to "redirect." These are, however, minor services, and apply only to a
small fraction of the total number of packets posted. For example, the
actual proportion redirected is as follows:--

                      Per cent. of
                   Total Number posted.
  Letters                2.2
  Postcards              4.0
  Halfpenny packets      2.0
  Newspapers             1.7

The service of free redirection applies to all classes of packets; but
for the return to the sender in case of non-delivery of postcards,
halfpenny packet, or newspapers, an additional rate of postage is
charged, and the packets are only so returned when they bear on the
outside a written or printed request for return in case of non-delivery.
This inquiry relates only to the cost of the simple transmission and
delivery of the packet, and consideration of all other services, such as
registration or express delivery, is excluded.

[613] In London there are the following divisions:--

(1) "Short Letters" (including postcards and a large proportion of the
halfpenny packets). Halfpenny packets which are of such size as to admit
of handling with the short letters are referred to as "short halfpenny

(2) "Long Letters" (for the most part letters of foolscap size).

(3) "Circulars" (that is, packets sent at the letter rate or by the
halfpenny packet post, posted in large numbers at one time and generally
of uniform size but which cannot conveniently be dealt with at the
ordinary letter-sorting frames).

(4) "Packets" (that is, packets which are bulky or of irregular shape
and cannot therefore be sorted at the ordinary sorting frames).

(5) "Newspapers."

[614] Divisions 2 and 3, and divisions 4 and 5, described in the
preceding footnote, being combined.

[615] The postman does not rely on his memory to discover at which
houses he has packets to deliver. Usually he reverses in the bundle of
letters that letter for delivery next preceding a packet. A complication
is thus introduced in the preparation of the short letters for delivery.

[616] 2 & 3 Vict., cap. 98 and 56 & 57 Vict., cap. 38.

[617] In recent years the stamping at the office of receipt has been to
a large extent dispensed with.

[618] In addition to these principal operations there are certain minor
operations. The packets are in general sorted on frames, from which they
are collected at intervals and taken to the despatching table for
enclosure in the mail-bags. Here the short letters, etc., are tied in
bundles (as explained above), and in many cases a label is affixed, on
which the name of the office of destination is written by the
despatching officer. Next a letter bill is prepared. On this are entered
particulars of the mail and of registered letters. The bundles of
letters, etc., the loose packets, the registered letters and the letter
bill (to which are tied all packets which are insufficiently prepaid and
are to be charged on delivery), are enclosed in a mail-bag on which is
stencilled the name of the office of destination, and in some cases
particulars of the route to be followed. The bag is then tied, sealed,
and sent forward. The despatch of each bag is recorded, as is the
receipt of each bag from another office.

The opening of bags at the office of receipt also comprises a distinct
series of operations. First the letter bill is obtained and examined.
The receipt of the registered letters and charged packets is verified,
and the letters and packets are withdrawn for special treatment. The bag
is then emptied on the "opening table," reversed, in order to ensure
that no packets are overlooked, and the contents distributed for

[619] See _infra_, p. 297 (from _Postmaster-General's Report_, 1913-14,
Appx. N).

[620] Cf. _supra_, p. 285.

[621] See _The Post Office, an Historical Summary_, London, 1911, p. 11.

[622] There is practically no short-distance newspaper traffic, and it
is probable that, on the average, newspaper packets undergo one more
intermediate handling than packets sent at the letter rate. In the
absence of precise information, no adjustment of the relative cost for
sorting has been made on this account. The result will, therefore, be
slightly to the advantage of the newspaper packets.

[623] It has been estimated at .075d. per letter.

[624] Cf. _supra_, p. 158.

[625] See _supra_, p. 127, n. 2, and _infra_, p. 334.

[626] In this number 35.5 million undelivered packets and 124.5 million
redirected packets are included twice. The service performed in respect
of both these classes of packet is, however, at least twice as great as
that performed in respect of an ordinary packet; and as it is desired to
estimate the cost of the normal service, no adjustment of the numbers is
made on this account.

The total number actually delivered was 3,477,800,000, but of these,
162.3 millions were foreign and colonial letters. As the number of
foreign and colonial letters despatched (184.3 millions) exceeds the
number received, and a foreign or colonial letter received plus a
foreign or colonial letter delivered may be taken as equivalent to an
inland letter fully dealt with, the number delivered in the United
Kingdom has been adjusted by adding half the difference between the
number of foreign and colonial letters despatched and received

[627] Number of postcards delivered, 926.5 millions.

Number of foreign and colonial postcards delivered in the United
Kingdom, 23.3 millions; number despatched, 18.8 millions.

[628] Number of packets actually delivered, 1,172.3 millions.

Number of foreign and colonial packets of printed matter, commercial
papers, and samples received, 44.7 millions; number despatched, 122.9

[629] Number of parcels delivered, 132,700,000. Number of foreign and
colonial parcels received, 1,991,975; number despatched, 3,917,860.

[630] This definition indicates the strict nature of "forward" packets.
In practice it is, however, impracticable to divide postal packets
precisely on these lines, and the actual statistics of "forward" packets
are not exactly accurate. The practical division approximates, however,
to the line of the exact division.

[631] Adjusted to allow for the fact that two men are needed to work the
machine-stamp. The cost of the machine-stamp itself is a negligible

[632] For the relative cost of delivery the same rates are taken as for
the cost of sorting. There are no data on which any actual comparison
can be based, but it is obvious that the same features, viz.
irregularity of shape and size, which lead to differences in the cost of
sorting lead to similar differences in much the same degree in the cost
of delivery.

[633] The average weight of letter packets not exceeding 1 ounce is
0.357 ounce. The average weight of all letter packets is 0.747 ounce. In
the case of packets between 1 ounce and 2 ounces the average weight is
assumed to be 1.4 ounces; and 2.6 ounces in the case of those between 2
ounces and 4 ounces.

Of ordinary letter packets, 86.34 per cent. do not exceed 1 ounce in
weight, 5.25 per cent. are between 1 ounce and 2 ounces, and 4.53 per
cent. are between 2 ounces and 4 ounces in weight.

The average weight of a postcard is 0.142 ounce, of a halfpenny packet
0.498 ounce, and of a newspaper packet 4.264 ounces (97.57 per cent.
containing only one newspaper, average weight 4.159 ounces; 2.43 per
cent. containing two or more newspapers, average weight 8.461 ounces).

[634] _Life of Sir Rowland Hill and History of Penny Postage_, vol. i.,
p. 249.

[635] Sir Rowland Hill was strongly of opinion that the use of the
railway increased the cost of conveyance of mails (_Life of Sir Rowland
Hill and History of Penny Postage_, vol. i., pp. 329 and 412). The cost
of conveyance by stage-coach from London to Edinburgh was, according to
Sir Rowland Hill, about 1/36th of a penny per letter, and less for the
whole country (ibid., vol. i., p. 249; _Post Office Reform: Its
Importance and Practicability_, pp. 18-19). The cost of conveyance by
railway at present averages for the whole kingdom about .05d. per

[636] An important fact in this connection is that the service is
adjusted to the circumstances of the respective countries. Thus, in
England and France, provision is made for the delivery of letters at
every house in the country, while in the United States and Canada there
is in general no house-to-house delivery in rural districts. Until
recently there was no rural delivery service of any kind in the latter
countries. Letters could be obtained only at the rural post offices. And
the system now being introduced provides only for delivery into roadside
boxes at the points on the rural deliverer's route nearest to the house
of the addressee. Such adjustments, of course, materially affect the
cost and profit of the service.

[637] E.g. the war increases in the United Kingdom and in other
countries. The point is further considered in the Appendix "Post Office
Revenue," _infra_, p. 358 ff.

[638] Graphically, the variation of the number of letters with changes
in the rate of postage would be represented by an asymptotic curve.

[639] It appeared in the English letter rate of 1885, but disappeared
with the changes of 1897. It has been reintroduced into the letter rate
with the war changes of November 1915, and the result is an awkward

[640] This point is dealt with more fully in connection with the parcel

The whole question of subsidiary rates is dismissed by Bastable with the

"One of the principal distinctions now turns on the character of the
articles transmitted. Circulars and postcards would not bear the same
charge as ordinary letters. The transmission of newspapers gives a yet
smaller fund of utility on which to levy a tax, and is affected by the
competition of carrying agencies. The result is seen in the lower
halfpenny rate."--C. F. Bastable, _Public Finance_, London, 1903, p.

[641] In England two-fifths of the total number of postal packets pass
at a halfpenny.

[642] The concession of specially low rates for these classes of packets
has given rise to a noteworthy general line of division between postal
packets. All packets passing at privileged rates must obviously be
subject to examination and check by the Post Office in order to ensure
that the privilege is not abused, a necessity which leads immediately to
the principle of the "open" post, as contrasted with the "closed" post,
the ordinary sealed letter packet. The difference in charge is not,
however, based on the consideration that the packets are open to
inspection. The effect is in the reverse direction. The view of
practical officers is that, other things being equal, the treatment of a
packet sent by the Open Post is more expensive to the Post Office than
its treatment if sent by Letter Post.

The requirement is imposed in order that compliance with other
conditions may be ensured. In none of the five countries are ordinary
letters allowed to pass at postcard rate if merely enclosed in open
covers. But a printed circular letter, if sent in a sealed cover, would
lose its claim to the privileged rate.

[643] "Fixing a railway rate is, in one word, an art--not a science, and
it is an art which, in Bagehot's phrase, must be exercised 'in a sort of
twilight, ... in an atmosphere of probabilities and of doubt, where
nothing is very clear, where there are some chances for many events,
where there is much to be said for several courses, where, nevertheless,
one course must be determinedly chosen and fixedly adhered to.'"--W. M.
Acworth, _Elements of Railway Economics_, Oxford, 1905, p. 73.

"The problem of railway rates has not, like that of postal charges,
passed beyond the domain of current discussion. This is in part due to
the fact that railways are universally regarded as a source of profit,
to companies when privately owned, to the State when public property;
but it is in larger measure due to the fact that the social significance
of railways is not yet clearly understood. The problem of railway rates
is a problem by itself, and stands as one of the most important of the
unsettled problems of the day."--H. C. Adams, _Science of Finance_, New
York, 1909, p. 280.

[644] "The cost of the service of transport for any given commodity
cannot, under the varying conditions of railway operation, be even
approximately calculated. The first insuperable difficulty is the
division of the expenditure for any given work. Though railway
economists have endeavoured, by means various and ingenious, to allocate
the different items of railway expenditure, they have been unable to
determine such a relatively simple matter as the division between
passenger and goods traffic, and though estimates have been formulated,
many of the charges have been allocated to one head or another by
arbitrary decision, and not as a result of positive
knowledge."--_Railway News_, London, 6th September 1913, p. 396.

[645] "Though all the rates must be so fixed as to pay all the expenses
both of construction and working, separate rates cannot be fixed
according to cost of individual service or even according to the average
cost of services to traffic in the same group. For in the first place
the cost of the service cannot be ascertained. And secondly, if it could
be ascertained, it would be of no use as a standard. To charge the
average cost would be to drive away a large portion of the traffic and
so increase almost proportionately the average cost of the remainder.
This increase would then drive away a fresh portion, and so once more
increase proportionately the cost to that still remaining. And so
on."--W. M. Acworth, "The Theory of Railway Rates," _Economic Journal_,
London, 1897, p. 324.

[646] "The process is in practice worked out as follows. First comes
classification. The whole of the commodities known to commerce are
entered on a list divided into classes, eight in number here, six in
France, and about ten in number in the United States. To each class
belongs a normal scale of rates, ranging, let us say, from 3/4d. per
mile in the lowest to 4d. per mile in the highest. The classification
undoubtedly takes account of greater or less cost of carriage to the
companies, arising out of the differences of packing, liability to theft
or damage, proportion of space occupied to weight, etc. But it is safe
to say that its main principle is, the more valuable the commodity, the
higher the rate it can afford to pay."--Ibid., p. 325.

[647] "Historically this theory has been recognized and approved by
English legislation from the time when Adam Smith applauded the equity
of statutory turnpike tolls at the rate of one shilling for a light
carriage and eightpence for a heavy dray, through the whole long series
of Canal Acts and Railway Acts, down to the elaborately careful revision
of the railway companies' charging powers in the series of Provisional
Order Confirmation Acts dated 1891 and 1892. The opinion of modern
economists all over the world as to the justice of the underlying
principle may be conveniently summarized in a sentence borrowed from the
first annual report of the American Interstate Commerce Commission:
'With this method of arranging tariffs little fault is found, and
perhaps none at all by persons who consider the subject from the
standpoint of public interest.'"--Ibid., p. 317.

[648] "One great element of the reform introduced by you in the postage
was, that there should be one uniform rate throughout?--Yes, it was
proposed with a view to simplification, but the principle has been
carried to an extent that I did not contemplate, and did not
recommend."--Evidence of Sir Rowland Hill, _Report of Select Committee
on Newspaper Stamps_, 1851, Question No. 1945.

[649] In the same way that the soap-makers of Port Sunlight secured a
large sale by the simple expedient of refraining from varying the price
of their tablets of soap with the variations in the cost of raw
materials, making the adjustment in the weight of the tablets instead of
in the price; and for the same reason that many people prefer
restaurants widely known and with numerous branches, not always because
the charges are less, but because it is well known what the charges and
what the service obtained will be.

[650] In the United Kingdom less than 50 per cent. exceed 2 pounds in
weight, and not more than 1 per cent. exceed 10 pounds. The proportion
for short-distance parcels is much less, and the proportion for foreign
parcels is very much greater, over 15 per cent. being above 10 pounds in

[651] Even in the London postal area, which is of considerable extent,
the local traffic is quite small, amounting to some four or five million
parcels only per annum in a total traffic of some 130 millions.

[652] I.e. the actual cost incurred by a Government in providing packet
services, not the amounts paid to intermediate countries as "transit
rates" under the International Convention.


  Total area of Europe                         3,800,000 square miles.
      "      "    United States (with Alaska)  3,600,000      "
      "      "    Canada                       3,700,000      "

Of the total area of Europe, Russia accounts for some 2,100,000 square

[654] E.g. the transportation of Indian mails through France and Italy.
For this service a special train in each direction between Calais and
Brindisi is provided by the French and Italian Governments, and the
payment made by the British Government in respect of the service is much
in excess of the ordinary transit rates fixed by the Postal Union

[655] The following particulars relate to the British Packet Service in

                          | Contract  |   Other   |Sea Postage.| Profit or
         Packets.         | Payments. | Payments. |            |   Loss.
                          |    £      |     £     |     £      |     £
  Dover and Calais     }  |  18,600   |    4,100  |   79,000   | + 56,300
  Dover and Ostend     }  |           |           |            |
  Peninsular              |   5,000   |      800  |    4,000   | -  1,800
  North American          | 189,500   |      400  |  112,000   | - 77,900
  West Indian          }  |           |           |            |
  Pacific              }  | 293,500   |    8,900  |  103,600   | -198,800
  Brazilian            }  |           |           |            |
  West Coast of Africa    |  30,000   |     --    |    4,500   | - 25,500
  Cape of Good Hope       |  38,000   |     --    |    9,300   | - 28,700
  Australian              |  90,200   |    4,300  |   30,300   | - 64,200
  East Indian             | 163,000   |   17,300  |  111,000   | - 69,300
                          |           |           |            |
  On the whole service }  | 827,800   |   35,800  |  453,700   | -409,900
    the figures were   }  |           |           |            |

--_Annual Report of the Postmaster-General_, 1860, Appx. H, pp. 34-7.

[656] In 1860, when the total number of foreign letters was very much
less than at present, the cost of the British foreign packet service was
some £860,000, and in 1913 the cost had fallen to some
£700,000.--_Annual Reports of the Postmaster-General_, 1860, pp. 34-7;
1913-14, p. 51.

[657] _Vide supra_, Chapter VI.

[658] E.g., parcel mails are not forwarded by the train between Calais
and Brindisi run specially for the Indian mails. Parcels are, it is
true, forwarded to America by the Cunard packets which carry the letter
mails, but this arrangement is due to special circumstances. The Cunard
line, being heavily subsidized (with other than Post Office ends in
view), is required to carry all mails tendered. Otherwise it might be
found economical to send parcels by slower cargo boats.

[659] _Wealth of Nations_, ed. 1904, vol. ii., p. 303.

[660] "The business being one which both can and ought to be conducted
on fixed rules, is one of the few businesses which it is not unsuitable
to a Government to conduct."--J. S. Mill, _Principles of Political
Economy_, London, 1871, vol. ii. bk. v. chap. v. § 2.

"It is clear that the restriction put upon the liberty of trade by
forbidding private letter-carrying establishments is a breach of State
duty. It is also clear that were that restriction abolished, a natural
postal system would eventually grow up, could it surpass in efficiency
our existing one. And it is further clear that if it could not surpass
it, the existing system might rightly continue; for the fulfilment of
postal functions by the State is not _intrinsically_ at variance with
the fulfilment of its essential function."--Herbert Spencer, _Social
Statics_, London, 1910, p. 120.

Professor Cannan sums the matter up from the point of view of modern

"Much too great importance is commonly attributed to this part of State
action: the sale of commodities. We may be sure that if the State had
not happened to undertake the business of carrying letters, some private
organization would have been established for the purpose. Whether it
would have done the work better or worse than the present State Post
Office does it, is a question which we have no means of answering. So,
too, on the other hand, if the State in this country had undertaken the
provision of railways, we should have had a railway system of some sort;
it might have been a better or it might have been a worse system;
whether it would have been better or worse would have depended on the
wisdom of those who had the largest share in devising and extending it,
and who these persons would have been, and what their wisdom would have
been, we have no means of telling."--Edwin Cannan, _Elementary Political
Economy_, London, 1903, p. 132.

[661] "Before the rise of the economic schools that opposed industrial
action on the part of the State, the method of public postal service was
firmly established, and was seen to give, on the whole, sufficiently
satisfactory results. It, therefore, escaped the hostile criticism that
economists freely bestowed on the less efficient public
departments."--C. F. Bastable, _Public Finance_, London, 1903, p. 208.

[662] "He was always eager to improve the mail service to remote towns;
and would observe that one good result of State management was the
consideration of out-of-the-way places. A private management, he said,
might probably have introduced a halfpenny post in London, and have left
the country worse served than at present."--Leslie Stephen, _Life of
Henry Fawcett_, London, 1885, p. 438.

[663] "The Post Office is properly a mercantile project. The Government
advances the expense of establishing the different offices and buying or
hiring the necessary horses or carriages, and is repaid with a large
profit by the duties upon what is carried. It is perhaps the only
mercantile project which has been successfully managed by, I believe,
every sort of Government. The capital to be advanced is not very
considerable. There is no mystery in the business. The returns are not
only certain but immediate."--_Wealth of Nations_, ed. 1904, vol. ii.,
p. 303.

[664] _Vide supra_, p. 26.

[665] In the United Kingdom the expense incurred in providing specially
for the disposal of parcels in this way often exceeds the total amount
of the postage paid on the parcels.

[666] In the United Kingdom, horse-posts or cycle-posts are in general
provided in view of the length of the route to be traversed, rather than
in view of the weight of traffic to be carried.

[667] The need for such a separation between ordinary letters and
packets of appreciable weight is felt even in regard to the letter post
itself. In England, the extension of the weight limit for penny letters,
and the reduction of the rates for the heavier letters, has led to
serious practical difficulties and has impeded smooth and rapid working.
In the larger offices the letter post traffic is dealt with in two
divisions: (1) the lighter, homogeneous traffic, the light letters and
postcards; and (2) the heavier packets, and packets of irregular shape
(p. 285). In France, the extension of the maximum limit of weight gave
rise to similar difficulties; so much so that the question of
establishing a separate slower post for such packets has been seriously
considered. In Paris, at the present time, there is a completely
separate indoor and outdoor staff for the newspapers and packets.

[668] It is only necessary to glance into a van containing railway
parcels in order to realize how impossible it would be to apply to such
packages the usual postal method of enclosure in sacks; and conveyance
_à découvert_ by railway companies on behalf of the Post Office would
give rise to obvious practical difficulties. In Germany and Switzerland
postal parcels are so despatched, but the railways are State-owned in
those countries, and the service is in many respects a railway service.

[669] The railways frequently establish receiving offices in various
parts of a town. The services necessary for the conveyance of parcels
from these offices to the railway stations are not, however, comparable
with the services for closed parcel mails between the post offices and
the stations, but rather with the services between branch post offices
and the chief post office. The service from the chief post office to the
railway station is a further service.

[670] In France heavy parcels are not accepted at post offices, but must
be taken to a railway station. _Vide supra_, p. 206.

[671] The general proportion of parcels to letters for the United
Kingdom as a whole is 1 in 40; but on some of the remoter rural routes
the proportion of parcels frequently rises to 1 in 20, and sometimes to
more than 1 in 10.

[672] _Vide supra_, pp. 190 and 219.

[673] The naval operations during the present war in regard to neutral
mails have brought out clearly the essential distinction between letters
and parcels. The arguments as to the customary inviolability of mails
have been based on the idea of free communication. But parcels
containing goods, possibly contraband, e.g. rubber, obviously cannot
claim the privileges of communications, and the right of sea-power to
interfere with parcel mails has been admitted. "The Government of the
United States is inclined to regard parcels post articles as subject to
the same treatment as articles sent by express or freight in respect of
belligerent search, seizure, and condemnation."--United States Note to
Great Britain, 10th January 1916.

[674] For particulars of other Acts relating to packet postage, and of
Acts relating to Ship Letters, and to rates of postage within Ireland,
see Schedule A of 1 Vict., cap. 32. Rates for transmission within
Ireland were also fixed by 1 Vict., cap. 34 (§ 4).

[675] _Vide supra_, p. 6, n. 1.

[676] Ibid., p. 7.

[677] _Calendar of State Papers_ (_Domestic Series_), 1625-6, p. 523.

[678] H. Joyce, _History of the Post Office_, p. 12.

[679] H. Scobell, _A Collection of Acts and Ordinances_, London, 1658,
p. 513.

[680] H. Joyce, ibid., p. 72.

[681] Ibid., p. 73.

[682] H. Scobell, ibid.

[683] _Historical Summary of Post Office Services_, London, 1911, p. 47.

[684] The number of letters still handed in to the General Post Office
was, however, quite considerable. Thus, in 1686, 60,447 ship letters
were received.--_Vide_ H. Joyce, ibid., p. 74.

[685] _London Gazette_, No. 3247, 21st-24th December 1696; cited H.
Joyce, ibid., n. 2.

[686] 9 Anne, cap. 10, § 16.

[687] H. Joyce, ibid., p. 329.

[688] Act of 39 Geo. III., cap. 76, §§ 1 and 2; H. Joyce, ibid.; J. C.
Hemmeon, _History of the British Post Office_, p. 124.

[689] H. Joyce, ibid., p. 330.

[690] 54 Geo. III, cap. 169.

[691] H. Joyce, ibid., p. 362.

[692] Ibid., p. 363; 55 Geo. III, cap. 153.

[693] The Marquis of Clanricarde.

[694] "The principle upon which the postal communication between England
and the Australian colonies has latterly been conducted is, that a
postage of 6d. for a single letter has been charged, of which 4d. was
understood to represent the sea rate, 1d. for collecting or delivering a
single letter in any part of the United Kingdom, and the same in any
part of the colonies; so that the whole cost of sending a letter from
any part of the United Kingdom to any part of the Australian colonies,
or _vice versâ_, should not exceed 6d.

"As the whole cost of the packet service has hitherto been borne by the
Imperial Government, the portion of the postage which represented the
sea service has been accounted for to the Home Post Office, so that of
the 6d. charged, 5d. has been appropriated to England, and 1d. to the
colony receiving or despatching the letter, as the case might
be."--_Second Report of the Postmaster-General_, London, 1856, p. 66.

[695] Cf. H. Joyce, ibid., pp. 138-9.

[696] Cf. note 1, opposite.

[697] 18th Report, 1829, and 22nd Report, 1830.

[698] _Historical Summary of Post Office Services_, p. 52.

[699] _Historical Summary of Post Office Services_, p. 55.

[700] "The advantage of Imperial unity, which was held in 1898 to
justify the sacrifice of revenue incidental to a measure calculated to
bind together the United Kingdom and her possessions beyond the seas,
cannot, of course, be urged as a plea in favour of universal penny
postage; but apart from all other arguments for and against the
proposal, the decisive consideration is that the British Government are
not at present in a position to bear the very heavy loss that would be
involved in the reduction of foreign postage from 2-1/2d. to
1d."--_Papers laid before the Colonial Conference_, 1907; _Memorandum by
General Post Office_ (Cd. 3524), p. 500.

[701] H. von Stephan, _Geschichte der preussischen Post_, Berlin, 1859,
p. 3.

[702] "Kommt es doch vor, dass ein Bote eines deutschen Reichsfürsten
ausser dem Botenlohn noch eine besondere Vergütung beansprucht, weil er
auf dem Botengange gleichzeitig einige Schweine für die Herrschaft nach
dem Bestimmungsort hat treiben müssen. Da diese Begleitung auf kein
besonders lebhaftes Gangtempo schliessen lässt, so dürfen wir es dem
Garzonus nicht verdenken, wenn er die deutschen Boten zum Wetteifer mit
ihren Collegen im alten Persien ermahnt, deren Geschwindigkeit Xenophon
in der Kyropädie mit dem Fluge der Kraniche vergleicht."--Ibid., p. 15.

[703] Ibid., p. 4.

[704] B. E. Crole, _Geschichte der deutschen Post_, Eisenach, 1889, p.

[705] "Die Vereinigung Oesterreichs mit den Burgundischen Niederlanden
ruft die erste Reichspost, die Vereinigung von Brandenburg, Preussen,
Cleve und Hinterpommern unter einem Scepter die erste Brandenburgische
Staatspost hervor."--H. von Stephan, op. cit., p. 5.

[706] F. Ohmann, _Die Anfänge des Postwesens_, Leipzig, 1909, pp. 49,
86, and 92.

[707] "(1) Die Unterhaltung solcher Boten lange Jahre vor Errichtung der
Posten üblich gewesen; (2) dem Taxis wäre nur das Post-, nicht das
Botenwesen zu Lehen gegeben; (3) es würden ihnen (den Boten nämlich)
viele Waren und Kostbarkeiten anvertraut, welche sie überliefern und
dafür stehen, welches wieder der Postillone Werk nicht sei; (4) die
Posten dienten wohl zu Briefen, nicht aber zu Bestellung anderer Sachen,
also könnten Posten und Boten wohl nebeneinander bestehen."--Imperial
Rescript of 1686, given by Beust, Teil 1, s. 149 ff; cited F. Haass,
_Die Post und der Charakter ihrer Einkünfte_, Stuttgart, 1890, p. 93.

[708] "For very good and potent reasons, especially on account of the
troublesome war, as also for the purpose of obtaining good and reliable
information about the Turks, the hereditary enemies of the whole of
Christendom, and other potentates, adjacent to the Empire, in order that
the Emperor, the King, and other potentates may exchange their
correspondence."--Dr. Joseph Rübsam, _L'Union postale_, 1892, p. 126.

[709] "Es lag allweg 5 Meil wegs ein Post von den andern, einer war zu
Kempten, einer zu Bless, einer an der Bruck zu Elchi