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Mr. Hill always contemplated an instantane- the hours and enlargement of the means for ous improvement of the revenue; and the posting late letters, and a much more speedy Post-Office affects a well-acted surprise, that circulation of letters by the London Districtthe letters should not have instantly increas- post, to be effected by establishing more frequent
collections and deliveries, (making them hourly ed five-fold. Instead of quoting Mr. Hill in London itself,) by avoiding the necessity of himself, the present prime minister (Sir R. conveying all letters to and from St. Martin's-lePeel) may be called as a witness in his be- Grand, by uniting the District-post and Generalhalf; he at least understood Mr. Hill rightly. post letter-carriers in one corps; by improved He says, (Mirror of Parliament, 1839, p. modes of sorting, and by other means. 3. Im3916,) “ The author of the plan, Mr. Row-provements, similar in their objects, in other land Hill, whose remarks it is impossible to of weight, say to two ounces for a penny, in all
large towns. 4. An increase in the allowance read without being prepossessed in his favor, district-posts. 5. The extension of rural disadmits that the Post-Office rivenue may tribution, first to some place in every registrar's suffer."
district, and afterwards so as gradually to comWhatever may have been Mr. Hill's ex- prehend within the free official delivery (daily, pectations, they rested upon the complete or less frequently, according to the importance adoption of his plan; and until the plan has of the place,) every town, village, and hamlet, been carried out in its full integrity, no one the system of London day-mails; more frequent
throughout the kingdom. 6. The completion of can justly assert that it has failed. And now despatches between large towns, by means of the we are led to consider what remains to be ordinary mid-day railway trains. 7. The next done, remarking, before we proceed to this was suggested by recent experience: Convenpart of the subject, that people speak dole- iences for the transmission, at extra charge, of fully of the loss of the Post-Office revenue, prints, maps, and other similar articles. 8. The as a real and substantial one,-just as if next is of the same description, “The relaxation some 700,0001. or 1,000,0001. were annually next also, “The establishment of a parcel-post
of the present restrictions as to weight.' 9. The thrown into the sea as an atonement for
at reduced rates, similar in some respects to the sending letters at a penny postage,-a sacri- Banghy post in the East Indies.' 10. The next fice by no means too great if indispensable. also, The completion of the arrangements with The fact however is that letters are carried foreign Powers for mutual reductions of postage.' for a penny, while the lost surplus of Post- 11. The next also, 'Increased facilities to foreign Office revenue quietly remains in our own nations for the transmission of letters through
this country.' pockets.
“ The next head is, “MEASURES INTENDED Mr. Hill thus sums up the measures of im- TO AFFORD INCREASED SECURITY TO THE CORprovement not yet effected :
RESPONDENCE.'— These are all parts of the ori
ginal plan, or are proposed to meet changes “ The measures are divided under heads, the which have been subsequently made in the Postfirst of which is · MEASURES INTENDED TO AF- Office. 1. A cheap system of registration. 2. ford Incrcased Facilities for Post-OFFICE Receipts (for a small fee) to be given, if requirDistribution.—1. An earlier delivery of Loned, on posting a letter. 3. A more rigid and don General-post letters. 2. An extension of systematic investigation as to the character of
applicants for admission into the Post-Office der a Penny Postage (subject to certain modifica service, and arrangements for making the supetion as respects the distribution of letters to rural rior of each department responsible, as far as parts which has never been carried out, assuming; practicable, for the conduct of the inferiors. 1. That the number of chargeable letters remained stationary. 2. That it should increase two-fold. of the money-order system. 2. Reduction in the
"Measures of Economy. I 1. Simplification 3. That it increase three-fold and so on to sevenfold. It appeared from this calculation that“ cost of railway conveyance, by establishing a posing the chargeable letters to increase six-fold, fairer principle of arbitration; by discontinuing the benefit to the Exchequer would be practically useless lines; by substituting, when practicable, the same as at present, and that supposing it to in- cheaper means of conveyance; by reducing crease seven-fold, that benefit would be angmented within proper limits the space occupied by the by 23,0901.; while on the most unfavorable suppo- mails; and by avoiding as much as possible the sition,-one indeed which can never be verified, use of special trains. [The latter object would viz., that the enormous reduction in postage should be greatly promoted by appointing a later hour, produce no increase whatever in the number of say five or six P. M., for the arrival in London letters,—the Exchequer would sustain scarcely any of the day.mails.] 3. Reduction in the cost of injury beyond the loss of its present revenue. In
ordinary conveyance by discontinuing all useother words, while every individual in the country would receive his letters at an almost nominal less lines, by invariably resorting to public comexpense, the whole management of the Post-Office petition, (avoiding all unnecessary restrictions would bring upon the State a charge of only as to the description of carriage. speed, number 24,0001. por annum, and as this would also cover of horses, passengers, etc.;) and by invariably the gratuitous distribution of franks and news adopting the cheapest suitable means. [The papers, may be fairly considered as a mere de reduced traffic on many roads appears to reduction from the produce of the newspaper stamps." |quire the substitution of light one or two-horse -See Post-Office Reform,
carriages for the present four-borse mail.
coaches.] 4. Reduction in the present unneces- receive a reply between one part of London sarily expensive establishment of mail-guards. and another is about seven or eight hours, 5. Economy in the packel service by the dis- and between London and the suburbs ten or continuance of useless lines, and by the substi- eleven hours, even when night does not intertution, when practicable, of contract for Government-packets; (the communication with Ireland, vene; but in the latter part of the day, letters for instance, may very probably be made more for the suburbs are still more unreasonably convenient and certainly much less expensive. delayed. A letter for Bayswater, if posted There is little doubt that the principal mails at an ordinary receiving-house after four from most parts of Ireland via Dublin, may be o'clock, is not delivered till next mornbrought to London half a day earlier than at ing; and as the reply, even if immediate, present.) 6. Revision of all salaries and al, would not be delivered till about one P. M., lowances on the receipt of the intended annual return of fees, etc. The regulation of the re
the intervening time would, in extreme cases, ceipt of fees, etc., so as to prevent large and un- amount to twenty-one hours." These deexpected claims for compensation. 7. The fects arise from two causes; the infrequency establishment of scales of salaries applicable to of collection and delivery, and the now aball offices, beginning low and advancing with surd practice of carrying almost all letters to length of service. 8. The extension of the hours St. Martin's-le-Grand before they are delivof attendance in the metropolitan offices, to a full day's work for all employed, of course with ered. The metropolis already is more poputhe regulation of the salaries accordingly. The lous than sixty-nine of the principal cities extension where practicable of the system, which and towns of England, including Liverpool is found so convenient and economical in many and Manchester; even they would leave a provincial offices, of employing females in as- balance of 487 on 1,873,676 persons; yet sorting letters. 9. Simplification in the mode the Post-Office, in spite of all remonstrance, of assorting letters and newspapers. 10. The continues to treat the metropolis as but one investigation of the more economical manage
place. ment in certain offices, with a view to its exten
The principle would not be more sion, where practicable, to others. 11. Improve absurd, if, instead of having nearly 2000 ment and economy in the manufacture and dis- post-towns and sorting-offices throughout tribution of postage-stamps. 12. The abolition England and Wales, the Post-Office should of money-prepayment, and the adoption of the have but one office, say at Birmingham, and economical arrangements consequent thereon. bring thither all the letters of the kingdom 13. The adoption of measures to induce the for distribution, taking thither the letters public to facilitate the operations of the PostOffice, by giving complete and legible addresses posted in Cornwall to be delivered in Cornto letters, by making slits in doors, and by other wall, as well as the letters posted in Essex to
be delivered in Kent. The metropolis is es“ Miscellaneous MEASURES; viz.—1. The timated to increase 3000 houses yearly, but extension of the money-order system to every the Post-Office remains obstinate. place in the United Kingdom where there is a post-office ; also, if practicable, to the Colonies. and a suitable remedy suggested by Mr. Hill,
Seven years ago this defect was exposed, 2. The re-adjustment of the free-delivery boundaries, which at present exclude large portions of in all fulness of detail : he recommended that many towns. 3. The placarding at each office London should be divided into several disof the regulations in which the public has an intricts, * each one retaining and distributing terest, as the hours of opening and closing the its own letters, and that there should be a colletter-boxes, of commencing and completing the lection and delivery of letters every hour : deliveries, the authorized fees, etc., as a means upon which plan he calculated that the maing in keeping the postmasters to their duties.'5 jority of district-post letters would be deliver
ed within about an hour and a half of the -(82, pp. 33-35.)
time of their being posted. Colonel Maber
ly affects that he cannot understand the proWe shall say but a few words upon some posal :-“What we have always wished to asof the more important suggestions in the pre- certain from Mr. Hill, has been the exact ceding extract.
plan upon which we should work it out in Improvement in the organization of the detail, if we were to attempt to carry it out, metropolitan correspondence has been talked and to that we have never been able to fix about for several years.
Six years ago an bim yet." (Ev. 1039.) Being pressed, hourly delivery of letters in London would Colonel Maberly retreats from his position have been accomplished but for the vis in- and admits that “he is not thoroughly acertiæ of the Post-Office. “ The interchange of quainted with the details." (Ev. 1045.) So letters by the district-post is so slow, that little indeed did he know of the plan, that he special messengers are employed by the public whenever despatch is important. The
* In the suburbs the principle of district-offices is time ordinarily required to send a letter and adopted.
misunderstood "hourly delivery" to mean a letters be not furnished; and this was a part delivery within an hour, calling it “ a bait of Mr. Hill's plan, in which Mr. Baring look held out to the public that they would get an especial interest. their letters within an hour,” (848) and pro
“ The establishment of rural post-offices does nouncing the scheme "a physical impossi- not appear to have been regulated by any wellbility.”
defined principle. In some districts, owing apThere is another practical absurdity con- parently to the greater activity of the surveyors, nected with the delivery of the London letters; they are exceedingly numerous ; in others, of alınost every morning, within three miles of superior relative importance, they are comparaSt. Martin's-le-Grand, letter-carriers dressed tively infrequent. Some places, of 200 or 300 in blue and red carrying one sort of letters, inhabitants, have them; others, with 2000 or
3000, are without. and letter-carriers dressed in red and blue car
“Of the 2100 registrars' districts, comprised in rying another sort of letters, start at the same England and Wales, about 400, containing a minute from the General Post-Office, go over million and a half of inhabitants, have no postthe saine route and down the same streets to- offices whatever. The average extent of these gether, knocking even at the same doors to- 400 districts is nearly 20 square miles each; the gether! This process seems somewhat un- average population about 4000. The average necessary, and
population of the chief place of the district about might be thought that one
1400; and the average distance of such chief man would do the business quite as well as two. The Post-Office threatens that, if it be and five miles. In one instance, the chief place
place from the nearest post-office between four driven to hourly deliveries and consolidation of the district (Saxilby, in Lincolnshire), conof letter-carriers, the public shall pay for its taining nearly 1000 inhabitants, is as much as intrusiveness to the tune of 26,0001. per an- 16 miles from the nearest post office; and in some num. (Evid. 1988.) But Mr. Hill con- parts of Wales the distances are even greater
than this. clusively proves (Evid. p. 37) terat these im
“ Again, while we have seen that those disprovements may be effected without any ma- tricts which are altogether without post-offices terial addition to the expenditure ; he says.- contain, in the aggregate, a million and a half
“On the full efficiency of the means 1 propose of inhabitants, it can scarcely be doubted that I am willing to stake my reputation. The offer even those districts which are removed from this which I made before leaving the Treasury, to class by having a post-office in some one or othcontinue my general services without any remu-er of their towns or villages contain, in their reneration, I am perfectly willing to renew for this maining places, a much larger population destispecific object, pledging myself that if the ar- tute of such convenience.” rangements be left to me I will effect
"In some places quasi post-offices have been “ 1st. An hourly delivery in London, so ar- established by carriers and others, whose chargranged as to reduce the time occupied in the in- es add to the cost of letter in some instances terchange of district-post letters by about one as much as 6d. A penny for every mile from half.
the post-office is a customary demand.” “2nd. A delivery of General-post letters throughout London to be completed by nine The Treasury, after very careful inquiry o'clock in the morning; and
into the subject, framed a minute in Au“ 3rd. Such an extension of time for receiving gust 1841, for the remedy of this state of late letters in the evening as will enable the pub- things. Its object was to establish a postlic, by sending to offices to be established near the railway-stations, to post letters in case of office in every registrar's district which did emergency to a very late hour, say a quarter not already possess one. This minute fully past eight.”
detailed the inconveniences sustained. When Mr. Hill has failed, it will be time “In some places a messenger is employed to enough to let the Post-Office try an experi- carry the letters to and from the nearest postment which will cost 26,0001. a-year; but it office (a distance occasionally of 10 or 15 miles), will be wanton profligacy to give that office who is remunerated either by a subscription the first trial in despite of Mr. Hill's offer.
raised among the inhabitants, or more frequently The next material improvement of which by a fee charged on each letter; in other places the public are deprived by the dismissal of tra expense is reduced, if not altogether avoided.
a pauper performs the service, and thus the exMr. Hill, is a systematic provision for the Frequently the messenger is employed by the distribution of letters, etc., throughout the ru- postmaster of the neighboring post-town,ral parts of the kingdom. Had Mr. Baring cumstance which has in many instances led to remained in office, it is probable that the fee being erroneously considered by the in
habitants as established by authority, and conevery part of the kingdom would now enjoy the means of participating in the benefit of sequently to its being submitted to even when the Penny Post. It must be confessed that ed that the mail-guard or other person employ
obviously excessive ; and in some cases it is statthe reduction of postage is rendered compar- ed in conveying the mail through or near the vilatively valueless, if the opportunity of posting | lage, leaves the letters at an appointed place
and obtains a fee, generally a penny for each. hundred a week, shall be deemed entitled to But in numerous instances nothing like a sys- the privilege of a receiving-house and a free teinatic arrangement exists.
delivery of letters, and that whenever such We doubt not that our country readers will places apply for post-offices the same shall be fully sympathize with this statement. The granted." The Postmaster-General then proestimated cost of establishing at once four ceeded to prepare the Treasury for an unlimhundred new post-offices was about 80001. per ited demand for such offices, and he was annum, which the Treasury thought would not prepared to say what might be the be well expended in effecting "so important total cost of carrying out the measure throughan extension of the benefits of cheap, rapid, out the kingdom.” (App. page 147.) and secure communication by post.” Subsequently he estimated the number of
In addition, Mr. Hill proposed to extend offices at about 400, and the expense at 70001. the system to smaller districts, by the follow- or 80001., whilst his Secretary said that “it ing or a similar arrangement:
was impossible to give any idea of what the “ 1st. Establish weekly posts to every village
number would be, and that there would be and hamlet, increasing the frequency of such some thousands of such posts.” If the Postposts in proportion to the number of letters. Office persist in this ill-digested scheme, and
“ 2nd. Lay down a general rule, under which expend thereon, as it very likely may, some places not otherwise entitled to posts may obtain hundred thousand pounds, it is but justice to them (or those entitled may have them more Mr. Hill to show that he is in no way responfrequently), on payment by the inhabitants, insible. He says :either case, of the additional expense incurred, minus a certain fixed sum per 1000 letters. “In the course of my examination before the
• Extend the above arrangements, with such parliamentary Committee of 1838, I was repeatmodifications as may be needful,ʻto Ireland and edly questioned as to the feasibility of extending Scotland.
the penny rate indefinitely, and the following ex“Large as is the number of post-offices that tracts are from my answers to such interrogawould be required for carrying out these plans, tions: the expense would be comparatively inconsider- 6. If this Committee has time to go into the able. First, because many of the places in ques- investigation, I think there will be no difficulty tion are upon the present lines of communica- at all in showing that, if the rate is to be uniform, tion; and, secondly, because every increase in as respects all houses in the kingdom (for I see the number of offices necessarily reduces the dis- no point at which you can stop short of that), if tance from one to another, thereby diminishing every letter is to be conveyed to every house in the expense of conveyance. Taking these mat- the kingdom at an uniform rate, either that rate ters into consideration, it may be safely estimat- must be considerably higher than 1d., or the ed that an annual outlay of about 70,0001. would Government must make up its mind not to look suffice for the addition of 600 daily posts, and to the Post-Office any longer as a source of revemany thousand weekly posts; in short, for the nue. If the Government is willing to convey completion of the whole plan of rural distribu- letters without profit, I for one shall be very glad tion, as here indicated. And when it is consid- to see such an arrangement made, but I see no ered that the arrangement would in all probabil- reason at present to think this will be done' (733). ity add one-third to the population now included 6* * * I considered that I had to device the within the range of the Post-Office, there can best plan consistent with the condition of affordscarcely be a doubt that the increased receipts ing the Government a great part of the revenue ; would far more than cover the additional expen- if the revenue is abandoned, uniformity of postditure.”
age, no doubt, may be carried out to an unlimFor a period of nearly two years, the Post-ited extent; that would be a better mode of disOffice set this good intention of the Treasury the case the question of revenue” (735).
tributing the letters undoubtedly, leaving out of at defiance. On the 21st of March, 1843, the Secretary says, “No definitive arrange- Suggestions upon the completion of the ments have been made." Questions being system of day mails, respecting the rates asked in parliament, the Post-Office was charged by foreign Powers on British letters, "forced” into action in the necessary way, colonial letters, a better general distribution to use the Postmaster-General's own word, between large towns, the removal of restricand something was done, -not any thing how- tions upon weight, rail-way stations being ever proposed by Mr Hill! His plan was giv- made official post-offices (private post-offices en up as too expensive, and with ludicrous they already are to a considerable extent, inconsistency the Post-Office substituted a where the clerks are obliging), are all given plan which will be vastly more expensive,- in detail by Mr. Hill, but we have not space whose cost indeed it is nearly impossible to to examine them. The suggestions for a calculate. The principle suggested by the parcel-post, and for the security of correspondPost-Office and adopted by the Treasury, is, ence, are however too important to be passthat all places whose letters shall exceed one ed over.
We are glad to record Colonel Maberly's Hill. Lord Lowther's remedy is to prohibit, observation that, within considerable limits, if possible, by a compulsory fee of Is., the the charge ought not to advance at all with transmission of money and other valuable the weight of letters (Rep. of 1838, Ev. letters, not registered. “At present any letter 3114); the cost of receiving, sorting, and dis- is registered on payment of is. by the sender, tributing, being scarcely greater on a packet but not otherwise. The number of registerweighing two, three, or four pounds, than on ed letters is very small, being only about sixone weighing a quarter of an ounce. Of the ty per day of the General-Post letters posted truth of this there can be little doubt, and we in London, or less than one in 1500." If the are satisfied that, if the Government were to compulsory fee is not found sufficient to recarry parcels at a reduced rate, great accom- duce the number, then it is proposed to inmodation would be given to the public and a crease its amount. Now the great evil of large revenue gained. Mr. Hill suggests that this proposal is, that it makes the Post-Office parcels of a certain weight should be carried the judge whether a packet contains money at a penny per ounce, the Post-Office having or jewelry, etc. This folly was practically a right, as in the case of parliamentary pro- demonstrated before the Committee, when a ceedings, to detain them over a post, if neces- quantity of various kinds of letters were laid sary, so as to avoid heavy mails. This meas- before Mr. Bokenham, the head of the inland úre, by justifying more frequent deliveries in department, some containing coin, others the several districts, would tend greatly to specimens of natural history, etc., and he was perfect the Post-Office mechanism. The con- asked to distinguish the one from the other ; venience in rural districts would be very but the wary officer would not venture to great. Such a plau for the carriage of par- touch them, or to say in the presence of the cels is in operation in the East Indies, un- Committee what held coin and what did not. der the name of the Banghy Post ; when the It is easy to see that, if this proposal had been maximum of weight is said to be 15 lb. and sanctioned, the Post-Office would virtually of size 15 in. x 12 in. X 21. What can be have had the power of putting a shilling tax done, under all disadvantages in the East, by on every packet. foot-messengers, would be easily managed Instead of any compulsory payment, to be here by railways and horses.
assessed at the discretion of the office, Mr. The importance of security of correspond- Hill suggested that the public should be inence cannot be overrated. Yet, vital as it is, duced to register their letters by a low fee, it would appear from Colonel Maberly that beginning with 6d. per letter, and reducing the Post-Office morals are in a most rotten it still lower if possible. The Post-Office ob
He says “the department has be-jected to this, that registered letters would come thoroughly demoralized” (Ev. 1174). become so numerous as to render it impossi“I can state that the plunder is terrific" ble to carry on the business of the office. " If (Ev. 1176), a letter posted with money in it you cannot do it, allow me," answered Mr. might as well be thrown down in the street Hill. The feasibility of the plan was fully as put into the Post-Office” (Ev. 1178). Of demonstrated, but still it has been treated course these statements are much exag- only with contempt, upon the allegation that gerated. The number of money-letters lost the duties at the great “Forward” offices, under the new system is doubtless absolutely such as Birmingham, would be rendered ingreater than under the old; but in compari- superable. Allowing for an increase of eightson with the increased number of letters now fold on the present number of registered letsent by the post, and considering the with- ters, they would amount to the alarming numdrawal of the previous gratuitous registration, ber of seventy-two per day, “to be despatchthe losses have not increased ; so that, speak- ed at fifteen periods of the day,”—not five at ing relatively, the number of losses has not each despatch !_“No possible increase of increased at all, and the risk to which mon- force would meet the difficulty!" ey-letters are now exposed is no greater than take Mr. Hill's examination of the case of the heretofore. Indeed, as Mr. Hill well ob- travelling post-offices. serves,
“this conclusion seems almost necessary to account for what excites Colonel “ If bad begins at the 'forward' offices, Maberly's special wonder, viz., the obstinate remains behind in the travelling-office.' How adherence of the public to a practice which, the duty is to be performed there,' the Post-mason his showing, must be pronounced to be ter-General declares himself altogether at a loss absolutely insane."
to imagine. Adding that, if the number of
registered letters should increase largely, this How to remedy the evil,
office must be abolished.' its amount, has been the subject of long con- “ The danger of this injury to the public sertest between the Postmaster-General and Mr. vice, it may be here observed, was strikingly set