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READJUSTMENT OF PAY ON RAILROAD ROUTES.
In anticipation of the close of the contract term in the New England States and the State of New York, and with a view to obtain data upon which to base the readjustment of the rates of pay for the transportation of mails on railroad routes in those States for the new term commencing July 1, 1869, circulars were sent out in February last to the proprietors of all such routes, requesting them to weigh the mails they conveyed for thirty days from the 1st March, and report the result to the department, and to furnish, also, descriptions of the accommodations provided for mails and agents, together with statements showing the number of times per week the mails were conveyed in each direction. The information obtained in answer to this call is comprised in table E of the report of the Second Assistant Postmaster General, hereto appended, in which there are also embraced returns from a number of routes in other States, made at various times since the publication of a similar table in the annual report for 1867. It is the purpose of the department in the future to make a similar call upon the proprietors of railroad routes near the close of the contract term in each of the four contract sections into which the country is divided, so that the readjustment of pay in every case may be made upon new and corrected meturns.
The rates heretofore paid for railroad mail service in New England and New York have been carefully compared with the returns just received from those States; and in every instance in which the amount and character of the service have been found to be clearly insufficient to justify the rate allowed, a commensurate deduction has been made. On the other hand, whenever a demand for increased pay has been made which the returns appeared to warrant, such increase has been allowed. Changes have thus been made in the rates of pay on more than fifty railroad routes in that section, comprising over one-third of the whole. number. These roads have been classified, and their pay readjusted and established, in strict conformity with the conditions prescribed by law, to wit: “the size of the mails, the speed with which they are conveyed, and the importance of the service.” The details of this classification and readjustment appear in table F of the report of the Second Assistant, also hereto appended, which embraces also a number of routes in other States on which changes have been made, on application by the proprietors of the several roads, at different times, since the preparation of the last annual report. On all of these routes together, 78 in number, the former annual pay amounted to $742,852 63. The annual pay, as readjusted, now amounts to 8803,706 38, showing an excess of the present over the former amount of annual pay of $60,853 95.
In these tables, (E and F,) as in similar ones heretofore published, the routes are arranged, not by States, but according to the rate of pay
per mile per annum, the highest being first. Each is accompanied by an alphabetical index, for easy reference.
Great complaints have been made by some of the principal railroad companies in relation to the alleged inadequacy of their compensation for carrying the mails. They assert that the rates of their pay were fixed by the act of 3d March, 1845, and have remained unchanged for nearly twenty-five years; and that although the pay thus established was, at the time of the passage of the act, just and ample, it now falls short of what they are fairly entitled to. It cannot be denied that, since the passage of the act of 1845, important changes have taken place, the most conspicuous of which are the following: a large increase in the quantity and weight of mail matter; an additional number of trips per day to meet the necessities of the service; and the introduction of railway post offices, requiring much heavier and more expensive mail cars. These changes have imposed additional duties upon the railroads constituting the great trunk lines, and have largely increased their expenses. In justice to this class of roads, I respectfully recommend a careful revision and readjustment by Congress of railroad compensation, and the establishment of such rates as will be just and equitable to all concerned.
POST-ROUTE MAPS. During the past year, the preparation and publication of the series of post-route maps of the United States have been continued, under the supervision of the Topographer of the department.
The map, in four sheets, of the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, and of the District of Columbia, having been completed, copies are now being furnished to such postmasters and other agents of the department as the interests of the service require.
The map of the State of Maine, which embraces portions of New Hampshire and the Dominion of Canada, and one sheet of the double-sheet map of the States of Ohio and Indiana, are nearly finished, and will be ready for issue during the coming winter.
The drawings for a double-sheet map of the States of Michigan and Wisconsin have been placed in the hands of the engraver, to be completed next summer. To continue the series as projected, there come next in order the States of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota.
With a view to the future construction of accurate post-route maps of the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, which have not been covered by the rectangular system of land survey of the general government, nor by sufficiently precise and reliable surveys by the State or local authorities, the Topographer suggests that some provision be made beforehand for the determination of the exact position on the earth's surface of, at least, the most important points in these States; and he inquires whether, in case the State themselves should continue indifferent to the subject, an accurate survey could not be undertaken under the
joint direction of the engineer officers of the army and the astronomers of the Coast Survey and of some of the standard observatories. The subject is worthy of careful consideration.
FINES AND DEDUCTIONS.
The amount of fines imposed on contractors, and deductions made from their pay, on account of failures and other delinquencies, during the last year, was $94,193 81; and the amount remitted was $43,950 99, leaving the net amount $50,242 S2.
MAIL BAGs, Locks, AND REYs.
The number, description, and cost of mail bags, locks, and keys, pur. chased during the year, will appear in detail by reference to a table annexed. The amount expended for new mail bags of all kinds was $89,420, or $31,403.13 more than the amount expended the preceding year. The cost of mail-bag catchers, recently introduced into the service, for delivering and receiving mails from and on railway trains at full speed, was $1,900. This amount does not appear in the table last mentioned, but is included in the item of mail bags.
Since the completion of the railroad line to the Pacific, arrangements have been made to have records kept showing the time occupied in the transit of mails from Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis to Denver City, Salt Lake City, Sacramento City, and San Francisco, and back. The appendix contains a copy of the circular giving the necessary instructions to postmasters and others. The records of arrivals on the Atlantic side during the month of October have reached the department. They show that mails are carried through from San Francisco to Washington in 6 days, 23 hours, and 15 minutes; to New York, in 6 days, 15 hours, and 20 minutes; to Boston, in 7 days, 4 hours; to Chicago, in 5 days, 7 hours, and 30 minute-: to Cincinnati, in 5 days, 22 hours, and 30 minutes; and to St. Louis, in 5 days, 1 hour, and 30 minutes. The above figures show the time of the shortest trips. The average time was: to Washington, 7 days, 7 hours, and 11 minutes; to New York, 7 days, 2 hours, and 23 minutes; to Boston, 7 days, 10 hours, and 25 minutes: to ("hicago, 5 days, 14 hours, and 55 minutes; to Cincinnati, 6 days, 8 hours, and 32 minutes; and to St. Louis, 5 days, 16 hours, and 2.3 minutes. Compared with the time from Stn Francisco, the time from Sacramento City is 6 hours and 20 minutes less; from Promontory, 2 days and 10 minutes less; from Salt Lake City, 2 days and 9 hours less; from Denwer City, 1 day, 23 hours, and 30 minutes less; and from Omaha City, 4 days, 7 hours, and 30 minutes less—Salt Lake City being distant from the railroad 29 miles, and Denver City 102 miles. Under the old over
land mail contracts, the time from the Missouri River to Folsom City, 23 miles east of Sacramento City, was 16 days from April 1 to December 1, and 20 days for the remainder of the year.
Mails have been transmitted twice a day each way between New
ork and New Orleans since the 1st of March last, once over the Southwestern route, via Washington, D. C., Lynchburg, Va., and Knoxville, Tenn., and once over the Western route, via Louisville, Ky., and Humboldt, Tenn. By the latter route a portion of the trips have been made in shorter time than by the former, the shortest being 78 hours and 30 minutes going south, and 76 hours and 15 minutes going north, while the shortest by the former was 84 hours and 35 minutes going south, and 85 hours and 20 minutes going north. Greater regularity exists on the Southwestern route, however, on which the average time from March to September, inclusive, was 89 hours and 29 minutes going south, and 90 hours and 59 minutes going north ; while the average on the Western route for the same period was 92 hours and 13 minutes going south, and 90 hours and 14 minutes going north. Taking both directions together, there were carried through, from March to September, inclusive, on the Southwestern route, 429 mails, at an average speed of 90 hours and 14 minutes; and on the Western route, 359 mails, at an average speed of 91 hours and 18 minutes. By comparison with the through-mail tables in the last annual report, it will be seen that the average time on both these routes is sensibly improved.
A greater expedition has recently been obtained between New York and Chicago, one of the three daily trips over the Allentown route (via Pittsburg) being made in less than 31 hours each way.
SPECIAL AGENTS. The number of special agents in the employ of the department during the last fiscal year was forty-eight, at an aggregate compensation of $134,342. Under the impression that this force was excessive, Congress, in the appropriation act for the current year, appropriated $100,000 “for detecting and preventing mail depredations, and for special agents," and then restricted the action of the department by declaring that "no greater sum shall be paid special agents than is hereby provided.” The department, desiring to conform to the law, and at the same time to render the force of special agents as efficient as possible, deemed it necessary to reorganize this branch of the service. The following plan was adopted and promulgated, to take effect July 1, 1869, viz:
The Union is divided into six divisions, which are subdivided into districts.
To each of five of these divisions is assigned one special agent, with the designation of “Assistant Superintendent of Railway Mail Service.”
These six divisions are as follows: 1. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachnsetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
II. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
III. Virginia, (excluding the Eastern Shore,) North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
IV. Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, (excluding the upper peninsula,) Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
V. Ilinois, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
VI. Embraces all that territory west of the 96tb meridian, and Louisiana.
First Division.-First district, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; second district, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Second Division.-First district, New York; second district, Pennsylvania; third district, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Third Division.-First district, Virginia, (excluding the Eastern Shore,) and North Carolina ; second district, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; third district, Alabama and Mississippi.
Fourth Division.-First district, Ohio and West Virginia; second district, Indiana and Michigan, (excluding the upper peninsula ;) third district, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Fifth Division.-First district, Illinois and Iowa; second district, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the upper peninsula of Michigan; third district, Missouri and Arkansas.
Sixth Division. First district, Nebraska, Kansas, and Dakota ; second district, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona; third district, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho; fourth district, California and Nevada ; fifth district, Oregon and Washington; sixth district, Louisiana and Texas.
To each of the districts in the first five divisions is assigned one special agent with the designation of “ Post Office Inspector."
And to each of the districts in the sixth division is assigned one special agent, without any designation other than that in the original text of his letter of appointment.
It will be observed that the foregoing arrangement divides the force in manner following: Five assistant superintendents of railway mail service, charged with the supervision of the transportation of the mails; fourteen inspectors, authorized to inquire into the management and expenditures of post offices; and six agents with general powers in the sixth division. In addition to the foregoing, the department has in its service one agent engaged on the free delivery, one agent on the moneyorder system, and eight agents in detecting and preventing mail depredations; making in all thirty-five men, all of whom are under the general direction of a Superintendent of Railway Mail Service, appointed under the act of March 3, 1863, section 5. By this division of labor it is believed that much more satisfactory results will be attained. But as the field of operations of these officers has been much enlarged, and their duties made more specific and exacting, it is respectfully submitted that the amount of the appropriation for the current year is too small to meet the wants of the service. It is therefore recommended eitheil that the appropriation be increased to $125,000 per annum, or that the department be permitted to charge the expense of the five “Assistant Superintendents of Railway Mail Service” to the transportation fund, and the expense of the special agents in charge of the free delivery and of the money-order system to the account of the free delivery and the money-order system, respectively. It is further submitted that a sum should be placed at the disposal of the department to defray the expenses of such temporary special agents as the extraordinary emergencies of the service may demand.