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“into the measures which have been adopted of the rate, prepayment partially, the use of for the general introduction of a penny rate stamps, and charge by weight, instead of inof postage and for facilitating the convey- closures or sheets of paper. The public has 'ance of letters, and the result of such mea- quietly submitted to the alleged tyranny of sures, so far as relates to the revenue and paying a penny for all distances, both long expenditure of the Post-Office and the gen- and short; and Colonel Maberly's logic, that eral convenience of the country, and to re- “ because objections had been made to difport their observations thereupon to the ferent rates for the same distances, they House." Nearly seven weeks were occu- would therefore be made to a uniform rate pied by their proceedings. Mr. Hill, the for different distances has proved fallacious.” Postmaster-General, the Secretary, and chief (Committee of 1838, Evid. 3020, 3029.) functionaries of the Post-Office were ex- His impression that "a uniform rate would amined. The Committee had not only a not be practicable in this country, consistmajority of ministerial supporters, but a sec- ently with a due regard to public opinion, retary of the Treasury for its chairman, yet which a popular government must always it did not “ report its observations.” Indeed entertain,” (Evid. 3031,) has also turned out a ministerial supporter, Mr. Bramston, speci- erroneous. Uniformity has even proved usefically proposed that the evidence merely, ful and convenient to the Post-Office, in spite without observations, should be reported, of official affirmations that it would not. and the proposition was carried after a divi- Prepayment too has been adopted almost sion, in which a member of the government, universally, and the public has not “objectMr. Emerson Tennant, is to be found in ed to paying in advance, whatever the rate,” the majority. So bad must have been the Post- as was predicted (Evid. 10,932–3.); at the Office case, that even its own defenders (for present time scarcely five per cent of the the present administration has unfortunately letters are unpaid. But the Post-Office blows allied itself with the Post-Office against Mr. hot and cold with the same breath : the PresHill) were unable to stand up in its defence. ident of the Inland-office says :-“ My imThe only report which was made on this im- pression is, that to resort to the old system portant controversy it will be sufficient to of optional payment would make a great deal print as a note.* The Committee, however, of labor, and produce very little revenue in have issued a stout 'blue book, filled with proportion to the labor, for I am inclined to details, which will furnish us with valuable ihink that the Post-Office would be inundated materials for the present discussion.
with unpaid circulars, which you would have The parts of Mr. Hill's plan already car- the trouble of presenting and get nothing ried out are uniformity of charge, reduction for." (Evid. 2513.) But when he is after
wards asked, “Have you found prepayment * The following is the Committee's Report : I cannot say that I have; it has facilitated
a great convenience or not ?" he says, “ No, “ The Select Committee appointed to inquire, etc., . . have, with the view of ascertaining the the delivery of letters, but nothing beyond results of the Penny Postage on the revenue and that.” (Evid. 2592.). expenditure of the Post-Office, called for returns of With respect to the smuggling of letters, the gross and net revenue of the Post-Office for the which has been entirely suppressed, Mr. Hill three years previous and subsequent to its adoption : these returns will be found in the appendix to this said, “ Adopt the Penny Postage and the Report.
smuggler will be put down.” Not so Colo“Your Committee have examined at great length nel Maberly; he said in 1838, "There alMr. Rowland Hill, with regard to several proposals ways must be evasion, inasmuch as
the which were brought under their notice by bim, for extending the facilities of the correspondence of the smuggler must always beat the Post-Office, country, and for improving the management and whatever rate of postage is imposed,” (Rereducing the expense of the Post-Office. They port of 1838, Evid. 2883.) But in 1843, in have also examined several of the officers of the answer to the question, “Has the introducPost-Office, with regard to the expediency and tion of the Penny Post knocked up the illicit practicability of adopting these measures.
“ Your Committee regret that, on account of the conveyance of letters ?” he answers, “I do not late period of the session to which their inquiries know; but I have always considered that it were extended, they find it impracticable to report would as a matter of course." (Report of their opinions on these various matters, involving: 1843, Evid. 1104.) as they do, many minute details. They are unable to do more than report the evidence which they
The use of stamps is still optional, but have taken; to which they beg leave to refer, as there appears no necessity for its being so, as well as to the correspondence which will be found in every post-office ought to be sufficiently sup
Treasury and the Post-Office ; from both of which plied with them; and since every letter passdepartments, they entertain no doubt, these propo
ing through the Post-Office must be posted, stions will receive the fullest consideration." there could be no hardship in compelling
the purchase of a stamp previously to the no other positive fact to produce, beyond my posting of the letter. The mixed mode of having attempted the partial working of such a collecting the postage partly in money pre-scheme in the case of a single experiment, for paid, partly in stamps, and partly on 'de which I invited (through the local journals) the livery, is rieedlessly cumbrous, however ex- have circulated 100 copies of a printed schedule,
co-operation of not less than fifty farmers. I pedient it may have been at the beginning and could have circulated more, if I had had of the new system. On this point as on them, containing directions how the proposed others, the Post-Office authorities either dis- experiment should be tried.
The mere suggesagree with the facts or differ among them- (tion of this scheme has involved me in a corresselves.
pondence which I never could have sustained if
it had not been for the penny postage. To the “ Colonel Maberly (in 1838) being asked importance of the penny postage to those who what effect compulsory prepayment, as a sub-cultivate science, I can bear most unequivocal stitute for all other modes of payment, would testimony, as I am continually receiving and have in reducing the expenses of the Post-Office, transmitting a variety of specimens, living and answered, “Very little:' and on the other hand, dead, by post
. Among them you will laugh to being questioned as to what difference in ex- hear that I have received three living carnivopense would arise from the treble mode of col rous slugs, which arrived safe in a pill-box. Secting the tax, (the plan now in use,) answered, This very day I have received from a stranger Scarcely any.
(by post) a parcel of young wheat-plants attack“Mr. Bokenham in 1843: The abolition of ed by the larvæ of some fly; and ihese having money prepayment would be a great conven- arrived in a living state, I can as readily hand ience to his department. (Report of 1843, Evid. them over to an entomologist for his inspection 2511.)
and remarks.* That the penny postage is an “ Recent notice at the Manchester Post-office: important addition to the comforts of the poor The public would facilitate the business of laborer, I can also testify. From my residence this office by using stamps instead of paying in a neighborhood where scarcely any laborer money.'"
can read, much less write, I am often employed
by them as an amanuensis, and have frequently Upon the social and commercial influences heard them express their satisfaction at the which have resulted from cheap postage it facility they enjoy of now corresponding seems superfluous to speak at any length : with distant relatives. As the rising gereration there is hardly a person in the kingdom ihat are learning to write, a most material addition does not benefit by them, whatever be his to the circulation of letters may be expected station in life. The smallest commercial from among this class of the population ; indeed, transactions are managed through the post, school children are already put into requisition
I know that the pens of some of my villageThe advantages to science, literature, and by their parents. A somewhat improved arevery branch of social development and in- rangement in the transmission of letters to our tellectual culture, are inestimable; large as- villages, and which might easily be accomplished, sociations have been actually created by the would greatly accelerate the development of new system. Mr. Hill observes :
country letter-writers. Of the vast domestic
comfort which the penny postage has added to “Mr. Stokes, the honorary secretary to the homes like my own, situate in retired villages, I Parker Society, (a society that contains among need say nothing. its members nearly all the dignitaries of the “I remain, dear Sir, yours very faithfully, Church, and many other influential men, anong " (Signed) J. S. HENSLOW.-(24) whom is the present Chancellor of the Ex- " To Rowland Hill, Esq.” chequer,) states that the Society could not have come into existence but for the penny postage. It is for reprinting the works of the early Eng
The present number of letters appears to lish Reformers. There are 7000 subscribers, be about three-fold the number in 1837. At It pays yearly from 2001. to 300l. postage. It that time the chargeable letters were estialso pays duty on 3000 reams of paper." mated at 75,000,000 per annum. In Janu
ary 1843 (the date of the latest return), the Professor Henslow gives so interesting a number of letters was at the rate of 221,000, picture of the operation of the Penny Postage 000 per annum. We cannot resist showing that we must find room for it.
what were the expectations of the Post-Office Hitcham, Hadleigh, Suffolk, 16th April, 1843. authorities in respect of the increase of the
“Dear Sir,- The observation to which you number of letters :reser in one of my letters to the farmers of Suffolk, respecting the advantages of the penny
*" It is curious,” says Mr. Hill, “ to notice the postage, relates to a scheme of experimental co- feelings with which the officials regard such uses operation for securing the rapid progress of ag- of the Post-office. Had they considered that, exricultural science, which I have been surgest-cept for scientific purposes, no one is likely to pay ing to the landed interest. The practicability at the rate of 25. 8d. a pound for the conveyance of of such a scheme depends entirely upon the ad-fish, much needless anger would have been spared." vantages offered by the penny postage. I have (Evid. 2654–63.)
“Relative to increase in the number of letters, / age at all would not be doubled in a year.” and the fiscal effects of the change, Colonel Ma- Then there was a Superintendent of Mails berly was of opinion that the poor were not dis- at the time, who estimated that the adoption posed to write letters ; and Mr. Lawrence, the of a Penny Postage would cause a loss of assistant-secretary, 'thought there were quite as many letters written then as there would be from 7d. to 8d. a letter, which upon being even if postage were reduced. Again, Culo- calculated proved to be a loss of more than nel Maberly, after stating that he consid- whatthe Post-Office actually received! Mr. ered that every experiment that had been made Hill thus sums up the blunders of the late (in the Post-Office) had shown the fallacy of Post-master-General: Mr. Hill's plan, and that it appeared to him a most preposterous plan, utterly unsupported by “ The hopelessness, too, of obtaining a revefacts, and resting entirely on assumption, nue from a penny rate, is supported by a stateadded, "If postage were reduced to one penny, ment of Lord Lichfield, who had ascertained I think the revenue would not recover itself for that each letter costs the Post-Office within the forly or fifty years. He also gave it as his smallest fraction of 21d.,' by which calculation, opinion, that in the first year the number of let- if we could suppose the cost per letter to remain ters would not double, even if every one were the same, the penny rate must entail an expense allowed to frank."
twice as great as the amount of its produce. Again, Lord Lichfield stated as follows:- He
(Mr. Hill, anticipates only an increase of five The effect of the Penny Postage on the and a quarter fold: it will require twelve-fold revenue deserves more than a passing notice, on our calculation, and he does not say that he for it has been made the subject of great expects any thing to that extent. Therefore, if misrepresentation. We shall first state the it comes to that point, which is right, and which facts, which the reader will do well to bear is wrong, I maintain that our calculations are in mind. The gross annual revenue in 1842 demonstrable that the increase necessary to sus
more likely to be right than his. It is now was 1,578,0001. or 67 per cent. (two-thirds) tain the gross revenue, the point in debate, is of the revenue for 1837, which was adopted little more than four-fold. On the twelve-fold as a standard by the Post Committee. The theory, however, Lord Lichfield said, in his net revenue in 1842 was 600,0001., whilst in place in Parliament, · The mails will have to 1837 it was 1,640,0001. The cost of man- carry twelve times as much in weight (on Mr. agement has risen from 757,0001, in 1839, H ll's plan), and therefore the charge for transto 978,0001. in 1842, or 221,0001. But the mission, instead of 100,0001., as now, must be
twelve times that amount.' So unfavorable, greater part of this increased expenditure indeed, were the late Postmaster-General's has nothing to do with the Penny Postage. views on the whole subject, that he said, " Were Upwards of half of it arises from the substi- the plan adopted, instead of a million and a half tution of railway for common road convey
of money being added to the revenue, after the ance, compensations for loss of fees occa- expenditure of the establishment was provided sioned chiefly by this change of locomotion, for, he was quite certain that such a loss would
bc sustained as would compel them to have reexpenses of transit, foreign postage, etc.
course to Parliament for money to maintain the Making these deductions, the expenses have establishment.'”—(72, p. 21.) increased about 15 per cent., whilst the increase of Post-Office business, letters and Let us now see who has turned out to be newspapers combined, has been about 100 right and who wrong. Mr. Hill says :per cent., or, counting letters only, nearly
"I calculated on eventually obtaining the 200 per cent. For several years before the
same gross revenue as in 1837, and that to affect Penny Postage was introduced, there was a this a five-fold increase of letters would suffice. gradual annual increase in the Post-Office ex. Of course this calculation, which had no referpenditure. Comparing the expenditure ofence to inmediate consequences, was founded 18:9 with that of 18:36, three years before the upon the supposition, yet unrealized, that the reduction, the increase was 27 per cent. Com- plan was to be adopted in its integrity. It restparing the expenditure of 1842 with that of cd also upon the circumstances of the country 1839, three years after the reduction, the remaining in their ordinary state, and neither increase was only 24 per cent. Be the in- which has ensued. In 1942, however, the gross
did nor could anticipate the season of calamity creased expenses as they may, there is still revenue was fully two-thirds the former amount, a net revenue from the Post-Office of 600, and it is steadily increasing. Again, there is 0001. a year. Let us see what were the now no doubt that little more than a four-fold official anticipations before the reduction of increase of letters will suffice. That such is the postage? We have already quoted the Sec- fact will be shown by the following stateretary's rash prediction, " that if the postage were reduced to one penny, the revenue which must be increased by 48 per cent., in or
“ The gross revenue of 1842 was 1,578,0001. would not recover itself for forty or fisty der to raise it to an equality with the gross revyears," and "that the letters without any post- enue of 1837, which in the Committee was taken
as a standard. The number of letters delivered At least one-half of the cost of these packin the United Kingdom, in 1812, was about 209, lets has no reference at all to Post-Office ob000,000, which increased by 48 per cent., becomes jects, and the adoption of steamers to the 309,000'000, or little more than four times the East and West Indies and to America, in the number of chargeable letters delivered in the United Kingdom before the reduction of the rate. full knowledge that no conceivable increase
“ In January 1843 (the date of the last return), of correspondence would cover the expense, the number of letters delivered was at the rate cannot be fairly attributed to the Post-Office. of about 221,000,000 per annum, or almost ex- | The West India packets were established at actly three times the former number.
a cost of 240,0001. per annum, while the ut“Finally, I calculated that in consequence of the simple and economical arrangements pro: 40,0001.
most revenue expected from letters was only posed, the five-fold increase in the number of
“ It is not fair to charge 240,0001. letters would involve an addition of not more than to the Post-Office quoad the Post-Office for 300.0001. per annum to the expenses of the Post- the conveyance of letters." (Colonel MaberOffice, consequently that the net revenue would ly, Evid. 1437.) The cost of the Irish packfall from about 1,600,0001. to about 1 300,0001.; ets too is needlessly high for any Post-Office and I gave a table ( Post Office Reform,' 3rd
but rendered so to suit the conedit., p. 67) showing that the net revenue which might be anticipated from a three-fold increase
venience of the government of both coun
tries. of letters was 580,0001. It appears that from a somewhat less than three-fold increase in 1812, Upon the fairness of charging the whole the net revenue was 600,0001., even under the expenses of the packets to the Post-Office revpresent costly management."—(72, pp. 21, 22.) enue, for the purpose of comparing the net
revenue under the Penny Postage with the net Having been disappointed by obtaining revenue before its introduction, official minds so great a net revenue as 600,0001. a year, disagree. The Postmaster-General thinks the Post-Office honorably endeavored to an- the comparison “perfectly just :” (Evid. 2978 nihilate it, in accordance with its wishes -2991,) whilst his Secretary" would not have and prophecies; accordingly a return was included the cost of the packets, and would not framed for the misguidance of the Chan- have thought it sair;" (Evid. 1441.) and hethus cellor of the Exchequer, by which it was complacently throws off the responsibility made to appear that the Post-Office, instead of the deed, “If I am asked whether the of affording a net revenue of 600,0001., is Post-Office would have put in the expense of actually exceeding its receipts by 10,0001. the packets in the Post-Office returns, unless a year. This return, which is distinguished they had been directed to do so, I should say throughout the parliamentary report as the certainly not." (Evid. 1424.)
fallacious return,” accomplishes this appa- The object of this “ fallacious return" was rent result by the innovation of charging to to prove, if possible, that the Penny Postage the Post-Office a sum of 612,8501., being had ruined the revenue. Lord Lowther, the whole cost of the packets which twenty imagining that all revenue was derived from years ago in great part were transferred to foreign and colonial postage, directed a rethe Admiralty, were wholly disunited from turn to be made which was to prove his forethe Post-Office in 1837, and have ever since gone conclusion. It was framed by two figured in the Admiralty accounts, until clerks, who seem to have gone
very the appearance of this "fallacious return.” conveniently. (Evid. 1281, 1625–8.) “I It is true that these packets carry letters, have told the honorable member before, and but it is no less true that the vessels are of a I repeat it again,” says Colonel Maberly, size and character suitable for other far less that the return was prepared under Lord peaceful objects than the trausmission of Lowther's orders by a clerk, whom he has correspondence; and, though they exist since appointed surveyor in Canada, and it under the name of Post-Office packets, they was checked by another clerk who was constitute in fact an armed marine, to be then in the Accountant-general's office, and used in times of war, and are liable, by who has been appointed surveyor at New the very terms of their contract, to be so Brunswick; those clerks therefore are not employed. The Post-Office admits this: here.” (Evid. 1281.)
The return proves “When the late Chancellor of the Exche- with its own figures that 103,0001. is the net quer made the arrangement, he had in con- revenue on inland or penny letters, whilst templation the creation of a fleet of steamers there is a deficiency of 113,0001. on foreign which might be available for the naval ser- and colonial letters, (App. p. 232); both vice of the country in case of war, and that which statements have been proved to be that fleet would be kept up at a much less curiously incorrect. Of course the Commitcost to the country than under the Admi- tee was inquisitive on the subject; for Mr. ralty.” (Colonel Maberly, Evid. 1449.) Hill, upon the publication of the return, had avowed his willingness to stake the issue of ments, Mr. Hill at once proves that 332,0001. the contest between the Post-Office and him- of the 600,0001. are indisputably derived from self on its accuracy. But when the Com- the Penny Postage,—which is three times the mittee began its scrutiny, no one could be amount allowed by the Post-Office; but he found to guarantee even a single detail. The proceeds to show that by far the greater part framers, as we liave seen, had been removed of the 600,0001. really arises from the Penny to America. The “W. L. Maberly," who Postage. had subscribed the return, makes battle for
“As has been observed above, the practice it in a inost amusing way. Being asked followed up to the period of the late return has whether he thinks the estimate of the num- been to make no charge for packet service, nor ber of letters accurate, he says, “I can any allowance for the conveyance of newspledge myself to nothing," and "I cannot papers; and, supposing this to be the correct pledge myself at all to its accuracy.” (Evid. inethod, we should add to the amount last given 1261.) As respects the number of govern-chargeable for packet service, thus making a
the sum of 32 0001, which I have allowed as ment 'letters in this return, which was to total of 364,0001. But this mode of balancing damage the Penny Postage irrevocably, the the charge for packets with the claim for newsSecretary must speak to Mr. Bokenham; as papers, though tolerably fair in viewing the Postregards the dead-letters, he must speak first Office revenue as a whole, becomes absurdly to Mr. Court. He will abide by the 103,0001. unjust when an attempt is made to distinguish as derived from the Penny Postage. (Evid. between the produce of inland postage on the 1394.) The charge of the whole dead and one hand and of foreign and colonial postage on returned letters on the Inland Postage is “in- the other; since it is obvious that, while nearly
the whole amount of the real packet service correct certainly." (Evid. 1401.). Whether must be taken as a deduction from the profits of the larger proportion ought to fall on the foreign and colonial letters, so nearly the whole Foreign Postage or the Inland “he cannot produce of newspaper stamps must be taken as say, and cannot pledge himself to any opinion an addition to the profits of inland postage; on the subject." (Evid. 1421-22.) Advanc- and, if following out this, we claim for inland ing on to question 1426 we there find Colo- postage only nine-tenths of the newspaper nel Maberly saying that "the Penny Post pro- an addition of 225,0001. to the sum of 332,0001.
stamps, (a very low estimate,) we have to make daced from five to six hundred thousand net given above, as the profits on inland letters, revenue," and admitting, in spite of the thus making a total of 557,0001., which, taking Chancellor of the Exchequer's parliamentary the whole subject of inland postage as a general declaration, that “the deficiency before men- question of profit to the Government, is the least tioned of 10,0001. per annum ought not cer- that ought to be set down. tainly to be visited upon the Penny Postage the Inland department, as compared with that
6 As regards the expenses of management in system.” (Evid. 1428.) Then he discovers of the Foreign and Colonial department, I have that Mr. Hill is right, and that the return is entered into no investigation, as I have no suffiincorrect either in the number of letters or cient materials of calculation, but I believe that the amount of foreign postage, but which he the result of a complete examination of the whole is not prepared to say. (Evid. 1475.) In subject of Post-Office revenue would show that course of time, however, he again mounts the Foreign and Colonial department, when his hobby to tilt at Penny Postage. He is of placed on its fair footing, about maintains itself; opinion that the Penny Postage brings very 600,0001. per annum, is derived from inland post
and that the whole profit, probably upwards of little revenue to the country, and that by far
age. For the purpose of comparison, however, the greater proportion of the revenue is de- of the results of Penny Postage with those of the rived, as Lord Lowther thought when he old rates, the distinction between foreign and incame to the Post-Office, from foreign post- land postage is unnecessary, since in estimating age. (Evid. 1650.).“I am firmly of opinion the effect of the change i expressly included
both." that the greater portion of that revenue is derived from foreign and colonial postage." Mr. Hill said from the beginning, “Carry (Evid. 1661.)
out my plan and I assert that letters
be It is difficult to gather from this tissue of
carried for a penny, and that the revenue contradictions, and the mass of fallacious
will be maintained within 300,0001.” He figures on which they are based, what ought to be the exact apportionment of the gave a series of calculations of the effects on
the revenue, even with no increase whatever 600,0001. of net revenue,—for let us never of letters, and a two-fold, three-fold, and up to forget that such a net revenue is now ad
a seven-fold increase, developing the results mitted on every hand,-how much is actual
at each stage.*
Yet it is maintained that ly derivable from foreign and colonial letters, and how much from the inland Penny Post Mr. Hill submitted an estimate of the revenue letters. By making some necessary adjust- / which would be derived from the Post-Office un