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Title: A Second Letter on the late Post Office Agitation
Author: Vaughan, Charles John
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1850 John Murray edition by David Price

                              SECOND LETTER
                               ON THE LATE
                          POST OFFICE AGITATION.


                        CHARLES JOHN VAUGHAN, D.D.

                       TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

                                * * * * *

                      JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET:
                            CROSSLEY, HARROW.


                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *



It has been satisfactory to me to receive, from many excellent and
well-informed persons, assurances of their entire concurrence in the
sentiments of my former Letter.  I am neither surprised nor alarmed to
find myself assailed, in other quarters, by loud and severe
animadversions.  You, Sir, have occupied an intermediate ground.  You are
too well aware of the particular circumstances which occasioned my
letter, to accuse me of a gratuitous interference in a wearisome and
unthankful controversy.  Your strictures, therefore, are confined to some
particular points in my argument, which you regard as requiring further
elucidation.  And you urge me, not so much for your own satisfaction as
for that of others, to take the same opportunity of clearing away some
misapprehensions to which, in the judgment of persons unacquainted with
my opinions, my former Letter may have been exposed.

Half, and more than half, the arguments of my Reviewers would have been
felt by themselves to be irrelevant, if they had taken the trouble to
observe the circumstances under which my Letter was written.  It was not
to the general question of the observance of the Sunday, nor even of the
extent to which it may be right that the Post Office should observe it,
that my remarks were directed.  The question before me was this.  I am
urged, as an act of religious duty, to protest against a particular Order
of the Government.  I am told, in the most sacred place, that a
particular Regulation of the London Post Office is to be regarded no less
as an affront to religion, and a violation of the rights of conscience,
than as an infraction of the liberties of England.  An examination of the
question leads me to an opposite conclusion.  I believe that the measure
thus stigmatized will, so far as it extends, promote rather than impede
the interests of religion, will, on the whole, facilitate rather than
interfere with the attendance of that class which it concerns upon the
ordinances of worship, while it leaves untouched those wider and more
general considerations which would involve, if seriously and consistently
entertained, a revolution in the management of the whole department.  I
refuse, therefore, to protest.  I refuse to assert, what I see no reason
to believe, that the national observance of the Lord’s Day will suffer
from this particular modification of an existing system.  I refuse to
assert, what I think it a most unchristian malignancy to suspect, that
the object of this new Regulation was that which is disavowed and
repudiated by its authors.  I cannot discover in it an insidious but
resolute attack upon the holy ordinance of the Christian Sunday.  It
would have been in me an act of ridiculous affectation to express an
alarm in which I did not participate; or to remonstrate against a measure
of detail, by way of expressing a principle which was not at issue.  So
far, however, my duty was but negative.  It was discharged by refusing my
signature.  Nor was it until I heard that refusal (which had ultimately
proved sufficiently general to defeat the remonstrance altogether)
commented upon afterwards, from the pulpit, in terms, to say the least,
of grave disapprobation, that it ever occurred to me to vindicate myself
and others from a suspicion of indifference or of timidity, by a
statement of the real nature and object of the measure thus impugned.

It was enough, therefore, for my own vindication, enough, I repeat, to
justify my refusal to protest, to show that the mere transmission of
letters through the London Post Office on the Sunday, taken in connection
with its avowed object on the one hand, and with its concomitant measures
of relief on the other, was not that affront to religion, that
disparagement of Divine ordinances, which alone could necessitate the
interposition of a Christian nation for its discomfiture.  This was the
object of my Letter.  This object, steadily kept in view, necessarily
confined my argument within narrow limits, and excluded many topics of
discussion to which the opponents of the measure would gladly divert our

For example, a Clerical antagonist, {5a} for whose character and evident
sincerity I entertain great respect,—and whose name, as he well knows, is
enough to secure for him at my hands a degree of forbearance and courtesy
which he would think it a dereliction of duty to reciprocate,—complains
that I have not enunciated in my Letter any positive opinions of my own
as to the grounds of the observance of the Lord’s Day. {5b}  To supply
this deficiency, he has had recourse to my published Sermons; and,
selecting from a Sermon preached on a particular occasion an incidental
notice of the question, continues his complaint that there also my
language on this subject is vague and unsatisfactory.  I can direct him,
if a time of unwonted leisure should ever permit him to avail himself of
the reference, to three consecutive Discourses on the Lord’s Day,
contained in a volume of Parochial Sermons, published four years ago, in
which I have entered fully into the discussion, and expressed myself in
language to which I still heartily subscribe.  You, my dear Sir, will not
require to be informed, that there, as everywhere, I have spoken of the
Lord’s Day, as every Christian man must speak and think of it, with
veneration, with thankfulness, with an earnest and watchful jealousy for
its honour.  The Author of the “Reply” would have expressed himself,
doubtless, in language more eloquent and more impressive, but he could
scarcely have used any more decisive as to his own convictions, than that
in which the national observance of the Sunday is there enforced.  For
his information, not for yours, I quote the sentences which follow. {7}

    Finally, I would desire to press upon you the responsibility under
    which the possession of such an ordinance places us, whether we will
    hear or whether we will forbear.  A responsibility to God—for which
    we must, each and all of us, give account to Him that is ready to
    judge the quick and the dead.  But a responsibility also to our
    country, and to generations yet perhaps to come.  Other nations once
    had this privilege of a Christian Sabbath; but they have almost or
    utterly sinned it away.  They neglected and abused it, till God took
    away, by a just retribution, almost the very name of His day from
    amongst them.  There are countries in Christendom, in which Sunday is
    known almost only as a day of amusement or of common business.
    England too may one day be brought to this state, unless our
    responsibilities are better remembered than they are now.  Let us, at
    all events, so honour this holy day ourselves, that our children may
    inherit it from us as one of the most precious of all the gifts of
    God.  “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

If any later expression of my opinions be demanded by the anxious
vigilance of my inquisitor, let me add a short passage from a Sermon
preached to a more youthful congregation on the Sunday before my Letter
was written. {8a}

    And shall we, a later, but certainly not a holier generation, despise
    and tread underfoot a gift so gracious? {8b}  Shall we thanklessly
    weigh and measure the amount of observance by which we may avoid
    condemnation in the use of it?  Shall we either count it a weekly
    burden, a deprivation of one seventh part of life’s legitimate
    enjoyments; or else turn it from a day of heavenly into one of
    earthly pleasure, and, because we dare not openly secularize it,
    presume to nullify it altogether?  My brethren, be wiser: wiser as to
    your own good, wiser as to your own happiness.  Be assured that a
    wasted Sunday is the precursor of a sinful or an unhappy week.  Be
    assured, on the other hand, that He whose gift it is—a gift of love
    unspeakable, even of that love which laid down life for us—will make
    it a happy as well as a profitable day, to all who accept it as His
    gift, and use it for the purpose of growing in the knowledge and love
    of its Giver.

I have thus far followed the guidance of the Author of the Reply into a
field which I still maintain to be foreign to the subject.  I owe it to
myself, and to the office with which I am entrusted, to leave no room for
doubt as to my opinions on so serious a question of duty, even at the
risk of embarrassing for the moment a discussion which lies properly in a
narrower compass.  But the concession, so far as I am concerned, shall
end here.  I assumed, throughout my Letter, that the national observance
of the Sunday is a solemn and sacred duty.  But we may surely be allowed
to discuss the objects and probable results of a particular change in the
working of the London Post Office, without obtruding upon our readers the
enquiry whether the Lord’s Day is identical with the Jewish Sabbath,
whether the sanctity of the Christian Sunday is derived from the Law or
from the Gospel, from “the letter which killeth” or “the spirit that
giveth life.”  If indeed I were one of those who believe every enactment
of the Mosaic Sabbath to be of rigid and perpetual authority, and who yet
do and exact on that day, without scruple or remorse, acts which, if so,
are worthy of death; or if, while admitting the lawfulness, on that day,
for an individual or for a family, of works neither of mercy, strictly
speaking, nor of necessity, but only of _extreme convenience_, (and what
more can be said in defence of many of those domestic arrangements with
which, I imagine, even the Author of the Reply, even on the Sunday, can
scarcely dispense?) I yet denied the possibility of a _nations_ having
any such household duties as even the arrival of the Lord’s Day must
rather modify than supersede; if I regarded it as a plain and obvious sin
for a nation, under any circumstances, to suffer any one of its officers
to do any portion of his common work on its holy day; if, in short, I
regarded the question as thus foreclosed, by a plain and unequivocal
revelation of the Divine will, excluding the consideration of motives, of
circumstances, of consequences, altogether;—then certainly, sharing my
opponent’s principles, I might have used, with more or less of his
severity, something at least of his language; though, even then, I trust
I might have possessed sufficient discernment to distinguish between a
question of principle, and a question of detail; sufficient respect for
the understandings, and regard for the consistency, of my neighbours, to
have invited them to a protest rather against the permission of any
Sunday work in any Post Office, than against a particular adjustment of
that burden to which some had always been subjected.

There is another region, besides, into which I must resolutely refuse to
follow my opponent; the region of personalities.  He is evidently an
adept in the occult science of _motives_.  He speaks, with the irritation
of a baffled magician, of any one whose spirit he cannot discern.  He
confesses that I have puzzled him.  He is unwilling to suspect one
motive, unable to impute another.  The question is left doubtful. {11a}
But it is otherwise with Mr. Rowland Hill.  He lies helplessly open to
the dissecting knife of the operator.  And with unflinching severity is
it applied. {11b}  Hostility to the Sabbath, enmity against
religion—these are visibly his principles.  All else is a veil, a cloke,
a mask.  When he speaks of desiring rest on the Sunday for his
subordinates, he means labour.  When he prefaces his Minute with the
profession of regard for the Sunday, he speaks but to deceive, and smiles
(_vainly_ smiles, says my Reviewer) at the easy credulity of his victims.
{12}  When he not only promises, but effects, a measure of undeniable
relief,—the discontinuance, for example, of a second Sunday
delivery,—this is only to disguise his restless spirit of antichristian
malignity, that he may proceed, more covertly, but not less surely, to
his real object, the annihilation of an ordinance of God.

I am not the apologist of Mr. Rowland Hill.  I know him only, as all the
world knows him, as the originator and accomplisher of one of the boldest
and most beneficial of all the achievements of modern civilization.  It
will require more than mere assertion, to attach to his name those odious
imputations which it is necessary for the impugners of the late change to
suggest and to foster.  And what, after all, are the grounds on which
such imputations rest?  Mr. Rowland Hill, says the _Record_, was a
Director of a Railway which refused Return tickets extending from
Saturday to Monday, and thus compelled its passengers to travel on the
Sunday. {13a}  Mr. Rowland Hill, says the Author of the Reply, is an
officer of that department of the Government, which is notorious above
all others for its desecration of the Sabbath: {13b} a department of the
Government, we may add, so beyond all others unfortunate, that to it
alone is denied the possibility of self-reformation, and every effort
after amendment is branded by anticipation as hypocrisy and imposture.

My antagonist is fond of recurring to first principles.  When he was
engaged, some years ago, in what he now denominates “the easy and
pleasant task” {13c} of a somewhat similar controversy with a very
different Correspondent, {13d} he constructed for that Gentleman, in a
catechetical form, a sort of _Rudimenta Minora_ of Theology, {13e}
adapted to what he conceived to be the extent of his religious
attainments.  Starting from the immortality of the soul, he descended, by
stages judiciously graduated, to a humbler and more practical
question—the Sunday labours of the Bath Post Office.  For me, a somewhat
more advanced pupil, he has drawn up a series—indeed two series {14}—of
rather less elementary propositions, ending with this revolting (though
certainly unquestionable) truism, “That it is better for sixty thousand
letters to be burned, unopened, than for one Post Office Clerk to perish
in hell for ever.”  Now, if I might be permitted to assume for a moment
an office which my opponent appears to regard as peculiarly his own, that
of a theological preceptor of adults, I would start, like him, from some
elementary axiom, such as the authority of Revelation, or the Inspiration
of the Bible, and, leading him, by an easy train of reasoning, through a
few brief truisms on the properties of Christian charity, I should not
despair of gaining his acquiescence at last in this singularly startling
paradox, That it is the duty of every Christian to believe his
neighbour’s word until it is proved to be false, and to put upon his
conduct, not the least but the most favourable construction of which it
is reasonably capable.  Tried by this test, the personalities of this
question would be scattered to the winds.  It might remain to be
considered, whether in the measure of the Government there had been
anything of mistake or miscalculation; whether their hopes had been too
sanguine, or their assertions too positive; but for imputations of
malignant design, of intentional deception, no place whatever could have
been found.

When the opponents of a measure turn aside from the consideration of its
inherent merits, to that of the secret motives and intentions of its
author, the attempt injures their cause far more than the success of the
attempt could aid it.  No man would resort to such an argument, till all
else had been exhausted.  And if unhappily such outrages upon common
honour and morality be excused, as here, by the plea of zeal for
religion, it is well if the cause of religion itself do not suffer by its
association with practices so unworthy.

But even upon the merits of the case my Reviewers are ready to join
issue.  I am accused of the grossest ignorance of the facts involved in
the discussion.  The _Record_, refraining with an unwonted tenderness
from the imputation of a more corrupt motive, or unwilling to expend upon
a less formidable enemy any portion of that artillery which must be
reserved entire for the devoted head of Mr. Rowland Hill, is contented to
represent me as “a respectable man, occupied for the last three months in
reading nothing but the _Times_,” and an instructive example of the
pernicious influence of its “suppressions.” {16}  Now, if the burden of
this charge is a preference of the _Times_ to the _Record_ as a channel
of political information, I must plead guilty.  But, if it be intended,
as the context implies, that I borrowed from that or any other Newspaper
the statements of facts contained in my Letter, I can only reply that the
charge is false.  Not one assertion is there made, which was not obtained
by explicit information from what every candid enquirer would regard as
the most authentic source.  I do not for one moment hesitate to confess
that I regard an official Government return as better evidence on a
question of fact than the irresponsible publications of a “Lord’s Day
Society.”  If the latter informs me that “the new Sabbath labour already
employs a considerably larger number of men on the Sabbath than was
professed by Mr. Hill’s Minute;” and if I learn from what I must regard
as higher authority that the amount of extra-work to be done on Sundays
in the London Office will, in all probability, be very shortly reduced to
the employment of _six_ persons, and may ultimately be accomplished even
without _any_ such addition, nay, with an actual _diminution_ of the
original number; while, at the same time, more than one hundred and
ninety persons, who have hitherto performed regular work on Sundays, are
set entirely free, within the London District itself; can I hesitate
which to follow?

But, on other points, the conflict of evidence is less real than nominal.
The Society for Promoting the Observance of the Lord’s Day has forwarded
to me a table of returns from its Secretaries and Correspondents, showing
the hours of labour in seventy-three Country Post Offices, both before
and since the recent Order.  It is there stated, that, “putting together
all these seventy-three Post Towns, the aggregate number of additional
hours for which the Post Offices are now closed, does not exceed one
hundred and ten hours, being on an average one hour and a half for each
place.”  Even in that document are contained the names of several Towns
in which the relief thus afforded has amounted to four hours of
additional rest on the Sunday.  But I will allow, for argument’s sake,
the entire correctness of their calculations.  In seventy-three Country
Post Offices the average of relief amounts but to one hour and a half.
The Government, in the meantime, has received returns, not from
seventy-three, but from upwards of four hundred and eighty Towns, in
which the amount of relief has varied from one half-hour to seven hours
on the Sunday, and the average has amounted to between three and four
hours.  Where is the real inconsistency of these statements?  The Lord’s
Day Society, on a much smaller induction, and with materials (it may be)
carefully selected, arrives at one result; the Government, on larger and
less partial information, presents another.  But in this case again, I
ask, can I doubt for one moment which to follow?

You express some hesitation as to the justice of one statement contained
in my Letter, that the new Regulation involves no change of principle.
{19a}  You consider that the attendance on Sunday in the London Post
Office, whatever its extent, has been hitherto private and unnoticed,
whereas in future it will be public and notorious.  Nor can I deny that
the publicity which has been given to the subject by the recent agitation
has attracted to the proceedings of the Post Office a degree of public
attention to which they were never before exposed.  But the distinction
you draw, though I understand it, seems to me somewhat arbitrary.  The
attendance of the twenty-six {19b} will _henceforth_, at all events, be
as notorious as that of the twenty-five, {20a} or the six. {20b}
Henceforth, at all events, the two objects of Sunday attendance will be
separated by no such line of distinction.  If the one does not involve
publicity, does not constitute what can fairly be called an opening of
the London Post Office, neither will the other.  The Public will have no
admission.  The London Public will be unaffected by the change.  As far
as London is concerned, the Office will still be closed.  If the former
attendance was not enough to open it, the present Regulation, when the
tumult of this agitation has once subsided, will work no less privately.
If it is otherwise now, whose fault is it?

The Author of the Reply, with singular inconsistency, has thus disposed
of this part of the question.  “The Office in London has been considered
as uniformly at rest, and always spoken of as such by both parties, the
slight exceptions being not of a nature to be cited honestly against that
position.”  {20c}  Slight exceptions!  Is this the same hand which penned
the ninth axiom? {21a}  Twenty-six Post Office clerks, involved in perils
such as he has painted, a slight exception, not of a nature to be cited
honestly!  Why then the twenty-five, or the six, or the gradually
vanishing number, of _additional_ clerks required by the new measure?

Again, you can see no obvious connection between the additional Sunday
labour in London and the additional Sunday rest in the country Offices.
Is it fair, you ask, to append to a measure of relief a condition of an
opposite kind?  You would be the last man in the world, I well know, to
impute to me (even as “an elegant close to a period” {21b}) the horrid
and impious crime of “striking a balance with Jehovah” by “offering Him a
lesser sin instead of a greater.” {21c}  You would not call it a sin in
one member of a family to endeavour to lighten the Sunday labour of
another by the sacrifice of a portion of his own Sunday leisure.  You
would not call it a violation of the consciences of others, or an
exchange of sin for sin, if the Master of a family proposed to his
servants such an equalization of their Sunday employments.  And on the
same principle, if there be any connection between Sunday work in London
and Sunday relief in the country, I cannot admit for one moment that it
is a sin to propose to a clerk in the London Post Office the discharge of
a duty which shall lighten the work elsewhere, not of one, but of tens
and perhaps hundreds, of his fellow-servants; and this, without
forfeiting for himself the opportunity of attending Divine service twice
on the Lord’s Day, with all comfort and quietness, and with leisure,
besides, for reflection and repose. {22a}  Are domestic servants, to
speak generally, even in Christian families, in a more favourable
position than this for their religious welfare?  The Author of the Reply
objects to these “national” views of the question.  With him, “national”
is the opposite of “scriptural” and “spiritual.” {22b}  He can see
nothing but the individual; the “one Post Office clerk.”  He would deny
the applicability to a nation of the command to “bear one another’s
burdens.”  What in a family would be virtues, in a wider sphere are sins.

Your view, I am persuaded, is not thus microscopic.  You will grant the
conclusion, if the premises are established.  Your only doubt is as to
the effect of the labour here upon the labour there.  The Government have
coupled the burden and the relief; but is there any real and natural
connection?  It was the object of my Letter to indicate, chiefly by
references to Mr. Hill’s Minute, the existence of this connection.  I
will not repeat now the obvious statement that the cessation of the
Sunday detention of letters in London will obviate at once those
circuitous methods of communication by which the detention was formerly
evaded, and Sunday labour, in various ways, materially increased. {23}  I
will rather select the point to which you particularly direct my
attention.  And I would show you, as briefly as possible, the operation
of the new Order in diminishing the amount of letters delivered and read,
written and posted, in the country on the Sunday. {24}

Under the old system, the average number of letters passing through the
London Office was greater by six per cent. on Saturday than on other
days.  Why?  Because it was known that the following was a blank post.
If not transmitted before Sunday, they must wait in London throughout
that day.  Now the augmentation of letters passing through London on
Saturday caused an augmentation of letters delivered and read in the
country on Sunday.  The effect of the new Regulation is at least to
obviate this _excess_, and to reduce the Sunday morning delivery in the
country to the measure of an ordinary day.  The labours of sorting and of
distribution will be diminished obviously to a proportionate extent.

Again, the average number of letters passing through London on Monday was
greater, not by six, but by twenty-five per cent., than on other days.
Such letters must have been posted in the country either on Saturday
evening or on Sunday.  But Saturday evening, under the old system, was in
most Towns a blank post time.  Sunday, therefore, was the day to which
the excess was to be attributed.  The knowledge that letters posted on
Saturday evening would lie in London till the Monday, led to a very
general habit of either writing, or at least posting, letters on the
Sunday.  The latter habit, equally with the former, involved a
corresponding increase of the Sunday labours of the country Offices.
Under the present system, the temptation to prefer Sunday for either
purpose is removed.  Saturday now offers equal advantages with any other
day for sending letters from the country through London.  In the same
degree, the burdens of the country Offices on Sunday are lightened: the
_excess_, at least, of those burdens, a marked and heavy excess, above
those of common days, is effectually removed.  And, beyond this, the
religious feeling which leads so many to shrink from such an employment
of the Lord’s Day cannot but operate in diminishing the Sunday
occupations (in this respect) of the country Offices even _below_ those
of other days.  Of the actual result, the relief actually experienced in
the provincial Offices, I have before spoken. {26}  And it is the
cessation of the Sunday detention—in other words, the introduction of a
Sunday transmission through London—to which, as you have seen, the
result, whatever it be, is strictly and wholly due.

I believe that a similar examination of other details would establish
with equal certainty this connection of cause and effect between the
Regulation itself and the beneficial result.  But, were it otherwise, is
it a reasonable demand that the connection between the different sections
of the new Order should be, in every point, capable of mathematical
demonstration?  Is every complex measure to be stigmatized as a fraud,
because its component parts, however perfect their harmony, do not arise
out of each other by a logical sequence?  Might not even an apparently
extraneous appendage (though I am far from regarding this as a just
description of any part of the present Regulation) be accepted as at
least an indication of the spirit and object of the framer?

There is yet another point, which has left on your mind, as on that of
others, an unfavourable impression.  The attendance of the additional
Clerks on Sunday in the London Post Office is voluntary.  In other words,
a man whose conscience forbids him to attend on the Sunday shall not
forfeit his situation by refusal.  Does this imply, on the part of the
Government, any mis-giving as to the lawfulness of the duties proposed?
It merely recognizes the possibility of such scruples, and extends to
them the amplest toleration.  That there _are_ men who would think such
attendance wrong, is a matter of fact: the Government tolerates, though
it does not share, the opinion, and would prevent its operating harshly
upon the fortunes of the conscientious recusant.  How loud an outcry,
from the very same quarters, would have followed a system of
_compulsion_, may be inferred from the strange contradiction which
“closes a period” in the “Reply.”  “He must be a very prejudiced man who
calls the poor clerk a voluntary agent in the matter, when he is enticed
by a bribe, which his small salary makes an irresistible temptation, or
compelled by the fear of the loss of his only means of subsistence.” {28}
“The poor clerk” is not threatened with the loss of his subsistence: that
he is not, was urged just now against the authors of the measure as a
proof of conscious guilt or weakness.

But is it not, you ask, too strong a temptation to a man of infirm
religious principles, to offer him a reward for Sunday labour?  Can you
expect him to resist the “bribe?”  And if afterwards this voluntary
labour should lie heavily on his conscience, how could you justify to
yourself your own share in his transgression?  Now, if the act proposed
be in itself, and of necessity, a sin; if no consideration of motives or
circumstances can justify the occupation of any portion of the Sunday in
the most urgent of worldly concerns; he, certainly, is deeply guilty, who
proposes it, even with an alternative, to the choice of his neighbour.
But, if this be one of those questions on which God’s Word leaves scope,
within certain limits, for the exercise of an individual judgment; if, in
reducing to practical detail the admitted duty of a religious observance
of the Sunday, one man may conscientiously approve what another no less
conscientiously condemns, and it remains only that “every man be fully
persuaded in his own mind;” then the demand made by this Regulation upon
the candour and courage of those to whom it offers the work and the
wages, is no greater than that which must daily be encountered by all who
labour for their own bread, and would do so in the fear of God.  To none
does it propose, as the Author of the Reply would lead us to imagine, the
surrender of religious instruction and worship, the abandonment of all
opportunity of serious meditation, or the devotion of the Lord’s Day to
the service of a “godless or thoughtless multitude.” {29a}  On the
contrary, the possibility of such profanation, within the precincts to
which its authority extends, the Order in question expressly and
peremptorily precludes. {29b}

There remains, however, on the minds of many, an impression, scarcely
affected by the most conclusive reply to individual objections, that the
result, if not the object, of the late alteration will be a delivery of
letters on the Sunday in London.  Hitherto, it is said, the merchants of
London have enjoyed, and have thought themselves entitled to enjoy, an
advantage in this respect over the merchants of Bristol or of Liverpool.
Letters arriving in London on the Sunday were in their possession at a
far earlier hour on the Monday than that at which they could reach the
hands of their provincial rivals.  Can it be expected that the loss of
this advantage will be borne with patience?  Will not an irresistible
clamour demand some compensation?  And what can this compensation be, but
a Sunday delivery of letters in London?  Now let it be remembered, in the
first place, that the advantage lost by London is not given to the
country.  No one pretends to say that by means of the Sunday transmission
through London the provincial merchant will receive his letters _earlier_
than the metropolitan.  The injury complained of is at last but equality.
The complaint rests only on the supposition that the London merchant has
a right to an _advantage_ over his provincial competitor.  And, if this
advantage has been once lost; if the claim to superiority has once been
set aside; if the interests of every country merchant throughout England
are now concerned in preventing its restoration; may it not be expected
that the clamours of London for the reestablishment of inequality will be
balanced by the clamours of the provinces for the maintenance of
equality?  But, again, from what quarter shall we expect the demand for a
Sunday delivery in London?  The merchants of London have pledged
themselves, by the terms of their late remonstrances, to the principle of
Sunday observance.  They have availed themselves of the _religious_
argument in their recent agitation.  They have urged the sacred right of
every Englishman to his seventh day of rest.  Is it to be supposed, that
they who have resisted, on religious grounds, the slightest possible
interference with the completeness of the Sabbatical rest, are prepared
now to revenge their disappointment by clamouring for a wide and sweeping
desecration?  If any examples of so lamentable an inconsistency should
unhappily be presented, nothing more can be required, as an exposure of
the _new_ agitation, than a reference to the recorded principles of the

                                * * * * *

I have now discharged, however imperfectly, the task imposed upon me by
circumstances which I must still deplore.  Earnestly, most earnestly, do
I desire the thankful and reverent observance of the Lord’s Day, with
which I believe our national as well as individual welfare to be closely,
inseparably linked.  Deeply do I lament the condition of those weary and
comfortless labourers, who are cut off from the inestimable blessings to
be derived from its holy rest.  It is because I believe that many of the
provincial officers of our national Post Office are involved in this
calamity, and that the present measure contemplates, and in part effects,
their emancipation, that I have condemned the blind hostility with which
it has been assailed, and laboured to expose the misrepresentations by
which that hostility has been fostered.

While, however, the late alteration has been, in my opinion, a measure of
relief, for which many will have cause to be thankful, it is not a final
measure.  The Government itself has not so regarded it.  Other measures
of Sunday relief have followed and are following it in quick succession.
Already the order is given for the final closing (as a general rule) of
every country Post Office on the Sunday, at ten o’clock in the morning.
I have intimated in my former Letter the particular hopes which I
entertain of a still further reform. {33}  I do not despair of the
arrival of a day when every Post Office throughout England and Wales
shall have followed yet more completely the example of the Post Office of
London; when the ordinary delivery of letters shall be totally suspended
every where on the Sunday, while at the same time, from a due regard to
the infinite necessities of a great country in an advanced stage of
civilization, the sanctity of the day of rest is not so interpreted as to
shorten practically by one the six days of labour.  To this extent, at
least, my own hopes and wishes are carried.  If it should prove that even
more than this can safely be attempted; that the transmission, as well as
the delivery, of letters may from the Saturday to the Monday be
suspended; far be it from me to raise a finger in hindrance of so
unexpected, yet theoretically so desirable, a result.  Let me only
express a hope, that, if this demand be seriously urged upon the
attention of the Government and the Legislature, it may not be made in a
spirit which must rouse the just indignation of those to whom it is
addressed, while it alienates the sympathy of every candid and reasonable

                         Believe me, my dear Sir,

                                                         Yours very truly,

                                                            C. J. VAUGHAN.

         _December_ 29, 1849.

_By the Same Author_.

SERMONS, chiefly Parochial.  8vo.  1845.

SERMONS, preached in the Chapel of Harrow School.  8vo.  1847.

NINE SERMONS, preached for the most part in the Chapel of Harrow School.
12mo.  1849.

                                * * * * *

AN EARNEST APPEAL to the Master and Seniors of Trinity College,
Cambridge, on the Revision of the Statutes.  By TWO OF THE FELLOWS.  8vo.


{1}  Lest another inference should possibly be drawn, it is right to
state that this Letter (like the former) is addressed to no one whose
name is known to the Public.

{5a}  Reply to Dr. Vaughan’s Letter on the late Post Office Agitation.
By the Rev. J. R. Pears, M.A., Master of the Bath Grammar School.

{5b}  Reply, page 10.

{7}  Parochial Sermons, page 291.

{8a}  MS. Sermon, preached in the Chapel of Harrow School, Nov. 11, 1849.

{8b}  The Lord’s Day.

{11a}  Reply, page 21.

{11b}  Reply, page 16, &c.

{12}  Reply, page 19.

{13a}  The _Record_, December 3, 1849.

{13b}  Reply, page 19.

{13c}  Reply, page 4.

{13d}  Letter to the Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley, on the Delivery of
Letters on the Lord’s Day.  By the Rev. J. R. Pears, M.A.

{13e}  Ibid, page 10.

{14}  Reply, pages 12, 20.

{16}  The _Record_, as above.

{19a}  Letter I. page 8.

{19b}  Letter I.  Note 7, page 8.

{20a}  Letter I. page 7.

{20b}  See above, page 17.

{20c}  Reply, page 18.

{21a}  See above, page 14.  Reply, page 13.

{21b}  Reply, page 7.

{21c}  Reply, page 6.

{22a}  Letter I. pages 7, 8.

{22b}  Reply, page 8.

{23}  Letter I. note 8, page 10.

{24}  Letter I. note 10, pages 11, 12.

{26}  Letter I. page 13.  See above, page 18.

{28}  Reply, page 19.

{29a}  Reply, pages 13, 14.

{29b}  Letter I. pages 7, 8.

{33}  Letter I. page 12.  Nor is it perhaps altogether presumptuous to
express a hope that the unrestricted _transmission_ of letters on the
Sunday may eventually be followed by an equally general _suspension_ of
their _delivery_; by which London and the country would be placed, in
this respect, on a footing of perfect equality; the due observance of the
Sunday being alike in both secured, with no injurious consequences, in
either, to the business of the following day.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Second Letter on the late Post Office Agitation" ***

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