Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: An Historical Summary of the Post Office in Scotland
Author: Lang, T. B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Historical Summary of the Post Office in Scotland" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Library Project at http://www.tpdlp.net, Martin Pettit and
project.)



AN HISTORICAL SUMMARY

OF THE POST OFFICE IN SCOTLAND,

COMPILED FROM AUTHENTIC RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS.

BY T. B. LANG, ESQ.

CONTROLLER, SORTING DEPARTMENT, GENERAL POST OFFICE, EDINBURGH.

FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION.

EDINBURGH:

PRINTED BY W. H. LIZARS, ST. JAMES' SQUARE.

1856.



NOTE.


_This Historical Summary, compiled by_ MR. LANG, _was originally
contained in a Letter addressed to the Secretary to the General Post
Office in Scotland, with a view to its being included in the Annual
Report of the Postmaster-General, presented to both Houses of Parliament
at the commencement of the present Session, but it not being considered
necessary to include the whole Summary in the Report, Extracts only were
published in the Appendix. The whole Summary is therefore now printed,
with his Grace's sanction, for private distribution._



AN HISTORICAL SUMMARY

OF THE POST OFFICE IN SCOTLAND.


The earliest records that can be found relating to the conveyance of
Despatches or Letters in Scotland, do not date earlier than the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In these early records, special
messengers for the conveyance of the King's Despatches and
Correspondence are called "_Nuncii_" or "_Cursores_;" but the
information as to their mode of travelling, and regulations for their
guidance, is imperfect and limited. Messengers of this description were
also employed to convey despatches from foreign countries, for which
they received gratuities on their arrival at the Scottish Court. About
the year 1500, the name of Post is found to apply to messengers
travelling with the utmost rapidity then attainable in charge of
despatches.[1] On the 1st of April 1515, the English envoy in Scotland
wrote from Stirling to Henry VIII. of England--"This Friday, when I came
home to dyner, I received your most honorable letters by Post, dated at
your mansion, Greenwich, 26th March."[2] These letters, which appear to
have occupied five or six days in transit from Greenwich to Stirling,
must have been conveyed by one of these special Court Messengers.

It was not long after this period that the municipal corporations and
private persons of consequence also introduced messengers of this
description. For example, in 1590, a Post was established by the
Magistrates of Aberdeen for carrying their despatches to and from
Edinburgh and other places of royal residence. They appointed a person
for conducting these despatches, under the name of the Council Post,
who was dressed in a garment of blue cloth, with the town's armorial
bearings in silver upon the right sleeve.[3]

In 1635 a public Post was first established in Britain, under Government
authority by Charles I.[4] Its main object was to establish regular and
certain communication between London and Edinburgh. The journey was
limited to three days, and the rate of Postage for a single letter was
fixed at 6d. sterling. Mails were despatched between these two cities
usually twice a week, sometimes only once.

About two years after this period, the Post as the medium of
communication, became so insecure, that in 1638 a person in England
wrote to his friend in Scotland--"I hear the Posts are waylaid, and all
letters taken from them, and brought to Secretary Cooke; therefore will
I not, nor do you, send by that way hereafter." The Post at this time
was called the Merchant Post, but it did not prosper.[5]

In 1649, the Commonwealth took the Scottish Posts under its
jurisdiction, and in connection with that measure they appear to have
removed many, if not all the officers. The Posts were then placed upon a
better footing, and the system was still further improved by Cromwell.
In 1654 the Postage from England to Scotland was lowered to 4d.
sterling. In 1656 the revenues of the Post Office in Great Britain and
Ireland were farmed to John Manley, Esq., who was appointed
Postmaster-General, and the rate of Postage in Scotland was fixed at 2d.
for a single letter under 80 miles, for all distances above 80 miles
3d., to England 4d., and to Ireland 6d.[6]

On the 16th December 1661, Charles II. re-appointed Robert Mein "Sole
Keeper of the Letter Office in Edinburgh," an office from which he had
been removed during the Commonwealth.[7]

By grant under the Privy Seal, dated at Whitehall on the 14th September
1662, King Charles II. bestowed upon Patrick Grahame of Inchbrakie the
office of Postmaster-General of Scotland[8]--"officium precipui
magistri cursoris lie Postmaster-Generall et Censoris omnium cursorum
dicti regni Scotie"--for all the days of his life, with power to appoint
Postmasters at the stages necessary for forwarding the King's letters
from place to place. The grant conveyed to Grahame all the rights and
privileges which any Postmaster-General had previously enjoyed in
Scotland, and specially bestowed on him a salary of £500 Scots
yearly.[9]

On the 16th September 1662, the Privy Council of Scotland commissioned
Robert Mein, merchant,[10] and Keeper of the Letter Office, Edinburgh,
to establish posts between Scotland and Ireland, and ordained that
Linlithgow, Kilsyth, Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Dumboag, Ballintrae, and Port
Patrick, should be stages on the route, and granted him the sum of £200
sterling, to build a packet boat to carry the Mail from Port Patrick to
Donaghadee, and further gave him the sole privilege of carrying letters
on this line of road, for which he was allowed to charge for each letter
to Glasgow, 2s. Scots, and from thence to any part within Scotland, 3s.
Scots, and for letters to Ireland, 6s. Scots.[11]

In 1665, by grant under the Privy Seal dated at Edinburgh on the 1st
March, King Charles II. bestowed the office of Postmaster of Haddington
upon William Seton, who was at the time Provost and Postmaster. The
office which had been previously held by Cornelius Ramsay, is described
to be "allswell for the carrieng and convoyeing of all such packetts
from Haddington by Post to Colbrandspath as shall be directed to
them,[12] and for the despatching and carrieng by Post frae Haddingtoune
to Canongait, and carieng and convoyeing of all such packetts as shall
be directed to England to anie of our Privie Counsell of this our
kingdome of Scotland, or to anie of our officers for our affairs and
service." The salary is stated to be £600 Scots yearly.[13]

In 1669 the Privy Council passed an Act for erecting a Foot Post
between Edinburgh and Inverness once a week, and between Edinburgh and
Aberdeen twice a week, "wind and weather serving," and fixed the rate of
Postage for a letter not exceeding one sheet of paper, carried 40 miles
Scots (about 60 English), at 2s. Scots; for a single letter carried 60
miles, 3s. Scots; and for an ounce weight, 7s. 6d. Scots; and for every
single letter carried above 80 miles Scots, within Scotland, 4s. Scots;
for an ounce weight 10s., and so proportionably.[14] The same Act, "for
the more effectual prosecution and performance of the premises,"
discharges "all other Posts established, or pretending to be established
upon the Aberdeen and Inverness roads."[15]

To show the difficulties in the way of rapid communication at this
period, from the condition of the roads in Scotland, it may be stated,
that in 1678 an agreement was made to run a coach between Edinburgh and
Glasgow (a distance of forty-four miles), which was to be drawn by six
horses, and to perform the journey to Glasgow and back in six days. The
undertaking was considered so arduous, that the contractor was to
receive "200 merks a-year for five years, to assist him; but the
speculation turned out so unprofitable that it was soon abandoned."[16]

In 1685, the intelligence of the death of Charles II., who died on 6th
February, was received in Edinburgh at one o'clock in the morning of
the 10th, by an express from London.[17] In 1688 it occupied three
months to convey the tidings of the abdication of James II. of England
and VII. of Scotland to the Orkneys.

The Post Office in Scotland again received the sanction of parliamentary
authority in 1695, although "several public Posts" had already been
established for carrying letters "to and from most parts and places in
this kingdom," for the maintaining of mutual correspondence, and
preventing the many inconveniences that happen by private Posts. And the
"well ordering of these public Posts being a matter of general concern,
and of great advantage, and that the best means for that end will be the
settling and establishing a General Post Office," the Scottish
Parliament "ordains and appoints a General Post Office to be kept within
the city of Edinburgh, from whence all letters and pacquets whatsoever
may be with speed and expedition sent into any part of the kingdom, or
any other of his Majesty's dominions, or into any kingdom or country
beyond seas, by the pacquet that goes sealed to London." It is also
enacted, that a Postmaster-General shall be appointed by letters patent
under the Privy Seal, or that the office of Postmaster-General may be
set in tack by the Lords of Treasury and Exchequer. The rates of Postage
were fixed at 2d. for a single letter to Berwick, or within fifty miles
of Edinburgh; above fifty miles and not exceeding 100 miles, 3d.; and
all single letters to any place in Scotland, above 100 miles, to pay
4d.: common carriers were prohibited from carrying letters, except where
no Post Offices were established, and if convicted, they became liable
"to be imprisoned for six days for ilk fault, and fined in the sum of
six pounds Scots 'toties quoties.'" This Act also authorizes a weekly
Post between Scotland and Ireland, and orders boats to be maintained for
carrying the Mails between Portpatrick and Donaghadee; and a special
provision is made, that Ireland is not to be put to any expense, but
that the Postmaster-General should be allowed the sum expended on the
packet boats in his intromissions with the Treasury. And lastly, the
Postmaster-General is ordered to take care that Posts are established
over all the kingdom at places most convenient.[18]

In 1698, Sir Robert Sinclair of Stevenson, had a grant from King
William of the whole revenue of the Post Office in Scotland, with a
pension of £300 per annum to keep up the Post. The Post Office at this
time appears to have been any thing but a profitable concern, as Sir
Robert, after due deliberation, gave up the grant, thinking it
disadvantageous.[19]

From the 11th November 1704 till Whitsunday 1707, George Main, jeweller
in Edinburgh, accounts in Exchequer for the duties of the Post Office
within Scotland, leased to him by the Lords of the Treasury and
Exchequer in Scotland, during the three years ending at the latter date,
for the yearly rent of 21,500 merks Scots, or £1194, 8s. 10d. sterling,
subject to a deduction for the conveyance of public expresses, &c., and
also a sum not exceeding £60 per annum for keeping a packet boat for
carrying the Mails between Portpatrick and Ireland. It appears that he
paid the following yearly salaries, viz.--


     Postmaster at Haddington                       £50 sterling.
     Postmaster in Canongate                         35    "
     Postmaster at Cockburnspath                     50    "
     James Weems, Clerk to the Post Office,          25    "
     Postmaster of Portpatrick for the Charge }
       of a Packet Boat                       }      60    "


The expense of the Secretary's Packet and Expresses from the Post Office
to London, from 11th November 1704 to 1st May 1707, amounted to £1994,
9s. sterling. The expense for Expresses for public affairs of the
Government, sent and received betwixt London and Berwick, from 18th
January 1707 to 1st May 1707, paid to the London Post Office, amounted
to £476, 2s. 6d. Between 14th March and 6th October 1705, there were 25
"flying packets" (or special despatches) outgoing, and from 21st January
to 3rd October 1705, the like number of flying packets sent by them. The
cost of these paid to the Postmaster of Haddington and Cockburnspath was
£23, 15s. sterling. The same Postmasters received £40, 14s. 6d. sterling
for flying packets sent by them for the stages between Edinburgh and
Berwick, from 14th April 1706 to 1st May 1707. A sum of £13, 5s.
sterling was also paid for inquiries as to a robbery of the packet at or
near Dunglass Miln.[20]

From this period downwards, the data are of a more minute description,
giving the condition of the Post Office more in detail, and affording
the means of estimating its progress by the extent of its establishment.

In 1708, the business of the General Post Office at Edinburgh was
discharged by seven persons, viz.--George Main, manager for Scotland,
who held his commission from the Postmaster-General of Great Britain,
salary £200 per annum; his accountant, £50 per annum; a clerk, £50; the
clerk's assistant, £25; three letter-carriers or runners, each 5s. per
week.[21]

In 1710, the Act of William, 1695, was repealed by an Act of Anne, and
the Post Office of Scotland was united with that of England, Ireland,
and America under one Postmaster-General. It was ordained "that a Chief
Letter Office be kept at Edinburgh, and the Packet Boats between
Donaghadee and Portpatrick are still to be maintained." This Act also
regulates the rates of Postage.[22]

During the five years which immediately followed the Union, and which
ended on the 1st May 1712, the average annual sum paid into the
Exchequer by the Scottish Post Office, was £6000.[23]

From the time of the Act of Anne, the establishment in Scotland was
governed by a Deputy Postmaster-General, under the authority of the
Postmaster-General of Great Britain, to whom all matters of importance
had to be referred, and whose sanction required to be given to any
matter involving pecuniary outlay. The first Deputy Postmaster-General,
under the new arrangement, was George Main, who remained in office till
1715, when he was succeeded by Mr. James Anderson,[24] a writer to the
Signet in Edinburgh. There is a collection of this gentleman's papers in
the Advocate's Library in Edinburgh, and amongst them some official
correspondence, which gives not only interesting information relating to
the Post Office, but also as to the state of the country at that period,
and it is from this source that precise information is derived as to the
condition of the postal arrangements.

When Mr. Anderson took office on the 12th July 1715, there was not a
single Horse Post in Scotland, Foot Runners being the usual means of
conveyance for the Mails. In this manner direct Bags were conveyed from
Edinburgh as far north as Thurso, and westward to Inverary. There were
three Mails a-week from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and three in return; the
runners set out from Edinburgh each Tuesday and Thursday, at twelve
o'clock at night, and on Sundays in the morning, and the Mails arrived
at Glasgow on the evening of Wednesday and Friday, and on the forenoon
of Monday. For this service the Post Office paid £40 sterling per annum,
but from the fraudulent dealing of the Postmaster of Falkirk, who made
the payments, the runners seldom received more than from £20 to £25.

After his appointment, Mr. Anderson directed his attention to the
establishment of Horse Posts on the Western Road from Edinburgh. The
first regular Horse Post in Scotland appears to have been from Edinburgh
to Stirling; it started for the first time on the 29th November 1715. It
left Stirling at two o'clock afternoon, each Tuesday, Thursday, and
Saturday, and reached Edinburgh in time for the Night Mail to England.
In March 1717, the first Horse Post between Edinburgh and Glasgow was
established, and we have the details of the arrangement in a memorial
addressed to Lord Cornwallis and James Craggs, who jointly filled the
office of Postmaster-General of Great Britain. The memorial states, that
the "Horse Post will set out for Edinburgh each Tuesday and Thursday, at
eight o'clock at night, and on Sunday about eight or nine in the
morning, and be in Glasgow (a distance of thirty-six miles by the post
road of that time) by six in the morning on Wednesday and Friday in
summer, and eight in winter, and both winter and summer will be on
Sunday night." There appears to have been a good deal of negotiation
connected with the settlement of this Post, in which the Provost and
Bailies of Glasgow took part. After some delay, the matter appears to
have been arranged to the satisfaction of all parties.

A proposition was made at this time to establish a Horse Post between
Edinburgh and Aberdeen, at a cost of £132, 12s. per annum, to supersede
the Foot Posts, which were maintained at a cost of £81, 12s. The scheme,
however, appears not to have been entertained at that time by the Post
Office authorities.

At this period (1715), it took double the time for the Mail to perform
the journey between London and Edinburgh that it did in the middle of
the seventeenth century. When the Mail was first established by Charles
I. in 1636, three days was the time allowed for the special couriers to
perform the journey between Edinburgh and London; in 1715, it required
six days for the Post to perform the same journey. This can easily be
seen by examining the post marks on letters of that time.

In the year 1715, Edinburgh had direct communication with sixty post
towns in Scotland, and in the month of August, the total sum received
for letters passing to and from these offices and Edinburgh, was £44,
3s. 1d. The Postage on letters to and from London in the same month
amounted to £157, 3s. 2d., and the Postage for letters per the London
road, amounted to £9, 19s., making the total sum for letters to and from
Edinburgh, during that month, amount to £211, 5s. 3d.--equal to £2535,
3s. per annum.[25]

At this period we have interesting records of the seizure and pillage of
the Mail by the Rebels. On the 16th September 1715, the Postmaster of
Inverness wrote to the Postmaster-General--"I had yours of y^e 8th
current, Tuesday last, about 10 o'clock forenoon. The night before I had
account that y^e Post was prisoner; our bagg was broke up, so was y^e
Dingwall and Dornoch baggs. You have, enclosed, a list of what came in
my open bagg; if there were any frank letters, I received none of them,
save 6 or 7."[26] It would also appear that the Mail was occasionally
violated by common robbers.

In 1716, the Duke of Argyll, who had then supreme control in Scotland,
gave orders to Mr. Anderson to place relays of horses from Edinburgh to
Inverness, for the purpose of forwarding despatches to, and receiving
intelligence from the army in the Highlands under General Cadogan.
These Posts worked upon two lines of roads--the one went through Fife
and round by the east coast, passing through Aberdeen; the other took
the central road _via_ Perth, Dunkeld, and Blair Athole. These Horse
Posts were, however, discontinued immediately after the army retired.

At this time the Government evinced great concern about the Irish
correspondence, and ordered Mr. Anderson to visit Portpatrick, and
examine the harbours, with the view of selecting the one most convenient
for the Mail Packets.

After the Rebellion had been suppressed, the public appear to have had
great confidence in the Post, and evinced a desire to have more extended
Postal accommodation, and in some instances memorialized the
Postmaster-General to open offices in the rural districts.

By an order, dated 26th November 1717, Mr. Anderson received notice,
that he had been superseded, and that Sir John Inglis had been appointed
Deputy Postmaster-General for Scotland, and would take office on the 1st
December.

It would appear from the correspondence of Mr. Anderson, that all
appointments in the Post Office in Scotland, were held directly from the
Deputy Postmaster-General for the time being; and on the entrance of a
new Postmaster-General into office, all commissions and bonds of
security had to be renewed, and it was common for the Postmasters to
employ all the influence in their power to obtain the favour of the new
Postmaster-General, in order to be retained in their situations.[27]

In 1730, the yearly revenue of the Post Office establishment in Scotland
was £1194.[28]

In 1738, Archibald Douglas, Esq., was Deputy Postmaster-General, and the
establishment in Edinburgh consisted of eleven persons, including the
Postmaster-General, a person called an apprehender of private
letter-carriers, and three letter-carriers or runners.[29]

In 1741, Alexander Hamilton, Esq. of Innerwick, was Deputy
Postmaster-General, and the establishment, exclusive of letter-carriers,
consisted of eight persons, including a Solicitor. In this year there
were 106 Post Towns in Scotland, and direct Bags were sent from
Edinburgh to Kirkwall and Stornoway.[30]

About the year 1750, the Mails began to be conveyed from stage to stage
by relays of fresh horses, and different Post-boys, to the principal
places in Scotland, but the greater portion of the Mails were still
carried by Foot Runners. Before the system of relays was introduced on
the north road, the mode of conveying the Mails was very tedious. "For
instance, a person set out with the Mail from Edinburgh for Aberdeen; he
did not travel a stage, and then deliver the Mail to another Post-boy,
but went on to Dundee, where he rested the first night; to Montrose,
where he stayed the second, and on the third he arrived at Aberdeen, and
as he passed by Kinghorn, it behoved the tide, and sometimes also the
weather, to render the time of his arrival more late and uncertain. In
this manner the Mail was conveyed 'thrice a-week.' The communication by
Post between London and Edinburgh was not much better."[31] The
condition of the roads however in Scotland, would not admit of any thing
like rapid travelling. The best roads, even in the populous districts,
were occasionally to be found in the channels of streams. The common
carrier from Edinburgh to Selkirk, 38 miles, required a fortnight for
his journey, going and returning. The channel of the river Gala, which
for a considerable distance ran parallel with the road, being, when not
flooded, the track chosen as the most level and easiest to travel in.
Between the principal cities, the means of travelling were little
better. It took a day and a-half for the stage coach to travel from
Edinburgh to Glasgow.[32]

At this period, and for long before, there was a set of single horse
"trafficers" (cadgers), that regularly plied between different places.
These traffickers, and the carriers, in spite of the laws against them,
carried more letters than the Post Office, at least in the country
districts.[33]

In 1754, the revenue of the General Post Office in Scotland was £8927,
and in the year 1757 it amounted to £10,623. In the latter year the Mail
was upon the road from London to Edinburgh 87 hours, but from Edinburgh
to London 131 hours. At this time, upon a representation from the
committee of Royal Burghs, such regulations were adopted, that the time
was reduced to 82 hours from London to Edinburgh, and 85 hours from
Edinburgh to London.

In the year 1760, the revenue of the Post Office in Scotland, amounted
to £11,942.

On the 10th of October 1763, a further improvement was made in the
London Mail, by having it despatched five times a-week, instead of three
as formerly. Previously it had travelled in so dilatory a manner, that
in winter the letters which were sent from London on Tuesday night, for
the most part, were not distributed in Edinburgh till Sunday, between
sermons.

In 1765, the Postage upon a single letter, carried only one stage, was
reduced from 2d. to 1d.[34]

In 1771, William Oliphant, Esq. of Rossie, was Deputy
Postmaster-General. The Edinburgh establishment then consisted of ten
persons, exclusive of letter-carriers, and there were 130 Post Towns in
Scotland. A packet was despatched to Lerwick on the first Wednesday of
each month, and returned about the 8th or 10th of the intervening month;
the Postage upon a single letter to Lerwick was 6d.[35]

In 1776, the modern Stage Coach was introduced into Scotland; the first
coach arriving in Edinburgh on the 10th April. It performed the journey
to London in 60 hours. And in the same year the first Penny Post in
Scotland was established in Edinburgh by Peter Williamson, an eccentric
native of Aberdeen, who, in consequence of keeping a coffee-shop in the
hall of the Parliament House, was frequently employed by gentlemen
attending the courts, to forward letters to different parts of the
city. This kind of business increased so much, that he opened an office,
and established a regular Penny Post delivery of letters throughout the
city. He had hourly deliveries, and agents at various parts of the town
to collect letters. The men who delivered, of whom there were four in
uniform, also collected letters, and for this purpose they rang a bell
as they proceeded on their rounds to give information of their approach.
Williamson's success soon induced others to attempt a similar
undertaking; but the authorities of the General Post Office, seeing the
importance of this branch of business as a source of revenue, gave
Williamson a pension for the good will of the business, and the Penny
Post was then attached to the general establishment.[36] The Scottish
Penny Posts were afterwards confirmed to the General Post, by an Act of
Parliament, in the reign of George III.[37]

In 1781, twenty-three persons, including six letter-carriers, were
employed in the Edinburgh establishment, and the number of Post towns
had increased to 140.[38]

A direct Mail between London and Glasgow was not established before
1788, when, on the 7th July, the first Mail Coach from London arrived in
Glasgow. Previously the correspondence between those cities passed
through Edinburgh, where it was detained twelve hours to be sent with
the Mail to Glasgow at night.[39]

In 1791, the number of persons required to conduct the business of the
Edinburgh Office was thirty-one, and the number of Post towns in
Scotland 164.[40] In 1794, the Inland Office, including the
letter-carrier's branch, consisted of twenty-one persons.

Having followed the Scottish Post Office down to the close of the
eighteenth century, it may be observed, that for a long time after its
introduction and establishment, it was conducted solely with a view to
the convenience and security of the correspondence of the public, and
that it frequently received assistance from the Scottish Government by
pecuniary grants; and if we except the periods of rebellion, when a
certain amount of _surveillance_ was exercised by the agents of
Government as a measure of State security, the Post Office in Scotland
appears to have been conducted with great integrity and freedom from
abuse.

In 1810, the Inland Office, including the letter-carriers' branch,
consisted of thirty-five persons; in 1820, of thirty-nine; and in 1830,
of fifty-two persons.

In April 1713, the Post Office in Edinburgh was removed to the first
story of a house opposite the Tolbooth, on the north side of the High
Street.[41] At a later time it occupied the first floor of a house near
the Cross, above an alley which still bears the name of the Post Office
Close. It was removed from this to a floor in the South side of the
Parliament Square, which was fitted up like a shop, and the Letters were
dealt across an ordinary counter like other goods. At this time all the
out-door business of delivery in town was managed by one letter-carrier.
From the Parliament Square, the Post Office was removed to Lord
Covington's house, thence after some years, to a house on the North
Bridge,[42] and to the present Office in 1821, at which period the
despatch of the Mails was conducted in an apartment about 30 feet
square. This apartment was purposely kept as dark as possible, in order
to derive the full advantage of artificial light, employed in the
process of examining letters, to see whether they contained enclosures
or not.

At the present time, the Establishment in Edinburgh consists of 225
officers, of which 114 are Letter-Carriers, Porters, and Messengers. The
average number of letters passing through and delivered in Edinburgh
daily, may be estimated at 75,000. The number of Mail Bags received
daily is 518, and the number despatched is 350. The amount of Money
Orders issued and paid, shows a sum of £1,758,079 circulating annually
through the Department in Scotland.


GENERAL POST OFFICE,
_Edinburgh, 28th December, 1855_.

PRINTED BY W. H. LIZARS, EDINBURGH.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Post Office Act of ANNE, 1710, united the POST OFFICES of ENGLAND
and SCOTLAND under one POSTMASTER-GENERAL, entitled the
POSTMASTER-GENERAL OF GREAT BRITAIN, and the Office in SCOTLAND was
managed by DEPUTY. The following is a LIST of the DEPUTY
POSTMASTERS-GENERAL in SCOTLAND from that time down to 1830, when the
Office of DEPUTY POSTMASTER-GENERAL for SCOTLAND was abolished--


     1710  GEORGE MAIN
     1715  JAMES ANDERSON
     1717  SIR JOHN INGLIS
     1736  ARCHIBALD DOUGLAS
     1741  ALEXANDER HAMILTON of Innerwick
     1766  ROBERT OLIPHANT of Rossie
     1796  THOMAS ELDER of Forneth
     1799  WILLIAM ROBERTSON
     1802  ROBERT TROTTER of Castlelaw
     1807  Hon. FRANCIS GRAY, afterwards Lord GRAY of Kinfauns
     1811  JAMES, 12th Earl of CAITHNESS
     1823  Sir DAVID WEDDERBURN, Bart.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This appears from the Rolls of Exchequer in Her Majesty's General
Register House at Edinburgh.

[2] Oliver & Boyd's New Edinburgh Almanac for 1839, pp. 88-94.

[3] Kennedy's "Annals of Aberdeen," vol. i. page 262.

[4] Rymer's "Foedera," vol. xix. page 649.

[5] Oliver & Boyd's New Edinburgh Almanac for 1839, pp. 88-94.

[6] Register of Privy Seal, 1660-1666, vol. i. page 93. Arnott's
"History of Edinburgh," page 357.

[7] Privy Seal Register, 1660-1666, vol i. page 93.

[8] It appears that the office of Postmaster-General had been held by
Sir W. Seaton, sometime before the appointment of Grahame.

[9] Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1664, page 406; H. M.
General Register House, Edinburgh.

[10] Robert Mein, in addition to the office of Sole Keeper of the Letter
Office, Edinburgh, appears to have held the office of King's
Confectioner and Comfit Maker--Register of Privy Seal of Scotland, vol.
i. page 93.

[11] Registrum Secreti Concilii Regum Scotorum, Acta 1661-1667, page
186; H. M. General Register House, Edinburgh.

[12] The grant is made to William Seton and Agnes Black, or the longest
liver of the two, during all the days of their lives.

[13] Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, vol. i. 1660-1666, pp. 330,
331; H. M. General Register House, Edinburgh.

[14] One Scots shilling was about that time equal to one penny sterling.

[15] Ordinance of the Privy Council, passed 28th January 1669. The
Ordinance says--"The Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council having
considered a petition presented to them by Robert Mein, Keeper of the
Letter Office at Edinburgh, with concourse and consent of Patrick
Grahame of Inchbrakie, Postmaster-General, and diverse noblemen,
gentlemen, merchants, traders, and others inhabiting in and about the
northern shires of this kingdom, desyring for the advancement of trade
correspondence and convenience of the King's subjects, that Foot Posts
might be erected for carrying and recarrying of letters upon the
northern road betwixt Edinburgh and Inverness, at such reasonable rates
and pryces as the council should think fit.... The said Lords find the
desyr of the said petition reasonable, and much importing the benefite
and conveniency of His Majesty's leidges in these northern parts, and
therefore doe hereby grant full power and commission to the said Robert
Mein to erect and settle constant Foot Posts upon the said road."
Registrum Secreti Concilii Regum Scotorum, Acta 1667-1673, pp. 182, 183.
H. M. General Register House, Edinburgh.

[16] M'Culloch's Commercial Dictionary, Article "Roads." A Scotch merk
was about that time equal to 1s. 1½d. sterling.

[17] Privy Council Record.

[18] Scottish Acts of William III. vol. i. sess. 5, cap. 20.

[19] Old Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 586.

[20] Exchequer Roll in H. M. Register House, Edinburgh.

[21] Chamberlain's "State of Great Britain, 1708," page 745.

[22] Act of Anne, Parl. IX. cap. 10.

[23] "Caledonia," by George Chalmers, vol. iii. p. 20.

[24] Author of "Diplomata et Numismata Scotiæ," "Collections relating to
the History of Queen Mary of Scotland," &c.

[25] From the Account, "for the month of August 1715, of James Wemyss,
Principal Clerk, G.P.O., Edinburgh." Anderson's MS. Papers.

[26] In this letter, the Postmaster of Inverness informs the
Postmaster-General, that on "Tuesday morning" the "Laird of Mackintosh,
with a body of four or five hundred men," entered the town of Inverness,
and having placed sentries at the doors of several of the magistrates
and inhabitants, Mackintosh of Borlum proclaimed the Pretender at the
Cross; and then the rebels, after seizing a sum of public money and some
lead, retired "without doing further wrong." The carrying away of this
money appears to have put some of the public authorities of Inverness in
a "straite" for "want of money." The Postmaster on that account advanced
six pounds, and apologized to the Postmaster-General for making this use
of the Post Office money without orders.

[27] "Anderson, MS. Papers," Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.

[28] Arnott's "History of Edinburgh," page 541.

[29] "State of Scotland, 1738," page 185.

[30] "Scots Almanac, 1741."

[31] Arnott's "History of Edinburgh," page 538.

[32] M'Culloch's Com. Dic. article--"Roads." In the ten years that
followed 1750, there were successive turnpike Acts passed for
Edinburghshire, for Lanarkshire, and various ways that are connected
with Edinburgh and Glasgow. In 1762, Parliament gave £4000 towards
building the bridges across the Tweed at Coldstream, making the
subservient roads, and afterwards £800 for making a road from Ballantrae
to Stranraer, in order to facilitate the passage to Ireland. In 1770,
the Parliament began to make annual grants of £6998, for repairing the
new roads and building bridges in the Highlands--"Caledonia," by
Chalmers, vol. i. p. 36.

[33] The Postmaster of Falkirk, writing to the Postmaster-General at the
time Mr. Anderson held that office, says--"The carriers carry more
letters than the Post," and gives a list of carrier's names, and
recommends that their horses be seized. Anderson, MS. Papers.

[34] Arnott's "History of Edinburgh," page 538.

[35] "Scots Almanac, 1771."

[36] Chambers's Gazetteer.

[37] 34 George III. cap. 17, 1794.

[38] Scots Almanac, 1781.

[39] M'Culloch's Com. Dict. article "Roads."

[40] Scots Almanac, 1791.

[41] Notice of removal of Post Office, Edinburgh, in "Scots Courant,
April 1713."

[42] Chambers's "Traditions of Edinburgh."





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Historical Summary of the Post Office in Scotland" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home