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be computed at the minimum estimates of $1 25 per pound for letters and 16 cents per pound for documents, we have a postage value for free letters of $738,550, and for public documents $598,727, being an aggregate of $1,337,277, as indicated by the returns made at a period when the mails were almost entirely relieved of the burden of the heavy departmental reports. All this from the Washington City post oflice alone.

There is no sound reason for believing that, estimating by weight, the present basis of the postage rates, the proportion of free matter is really less than thirty per centum, as ascertained by the careful investigations of a committee of the British Parliament; but, even if we adopt the results of the imperfect information attainable in this country, and assume twenty-five per cent. of the ordinary annual expenditures as the just equivalent for the unpaid services of the Post Office Department, it will appear that the government is bound in honor and justice to appropriate $5,000,000, instead of $700,000, for this service.

But the most potential reason of all for the abolition of the franking privilege is found in the incurable abuses and frauds which seem to be inseparable from its exercise. When the number of persons who are clothed with the franking privilege, and of judges who are expected to pass upon the genuineness of franks, is considered, the opportunity for boundless frauds will appear to be almost infinite. The following statement, made up from official sources, will show how far the privilege is extended under existing laws:

Statement of officials exercising the franking privilege.

2 1 7

241

5

President of the United States and his secretary
Vice-President ...
Members of the Cabinet.
United States senators.
Members of Congress..
Delegates in Congress.
Secretary of Senate and Clerk of House of Representatives..
Assistant Secretaries, chief clerk, &c., State Department ..
Assistant Attorney General and chief clerk.
Assistant Secretary, Commissioners, chief clerk, &c., Inte-

rior Department.....
Chiefs of bureaus, chief clerk, &c., of Navy Department.
Chiefs of bureaus, chief clerk, &c., of War Department......
Assistant Secretaries, chief clerks, &c., of the Treasury Depart-

ment......
Assistant Postmasters General, superintendents of foreign mails

and money-order system, and chief clerks Post Office Department...

13 17 21

9

Add internal revenue officers, assessors and assistant col

lectors and deputies)..... Postmasters on 1st November, 1869.

4, 115 27,378

Total.....

31, 933

In this statement alone is an army of 31,933, who, generally speaking, load the mails at will with whatever matter they please. Some of them, to be sure, are granted only a limited privilege, yet, practically, the restrictions are no longer operative. To these should be added the countless host who address communications to members of Congress, delegates, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate, heads of departments, heads of bureaus, chief clerks, and all others authorized to frank official matter. How is it possible that any checks whatever can be imposed and enforced against a privilege so widely extended !

But the difficulties increase when it is further considered that the judges who decide upon the genuineness of franks are the entire corps of 27,378 postmasters, scattered all over the country, none of whom, with the utmost diligence, can hope to acquire a tolerable familiarity with the signatures of more than a few of the privileged. In the larger offices, where one hour is the longest time that can be allowed for making up the mails, and where it is necessary to receive and manipulate thousands of letters daily, it is impossible, even if the genuine signatures were known, to make a systematic attempt to exclude matter improperly franked. What is the result? Boundless frauds, of course, without a possibility of detecting them, or even a hope of preventing their further increase. In fact, every frank, counterfeit or genuine, is equally effective, and the extent of the evil is limited only by the wants of those who desire to impose upon the service.

It has been well said that “there is no middle ground between boundless franking and no franking." The truth of this observation will be perfectly manifest to all who will take the trouble to inquire into the subject. With the appliances now at the command of the department, or that can be devised in its interest, it would be a sheer impossibility to eliminate fraud from the exercise of the franking privilege. The privilege itself is the fruitful mother of frauds, and cannot be reformed. Estimating the frauds and evasions perpetrated under cover of this system to be equal in amount to the postages upon matter bearing genuine signatures, and this is no exaggeration,) the total expense is swelled to an amount equal to the entire deficit of the department for the last fiscal year. Certainly, these stupendous frauds should be prevented; and, as they cannot be separated from the practice of the system, the only remedy is to abolish the system itself.

How is it possible for the department to escape from the slough into which it has been cast, so long as government fastens inextricably about

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its neck an ever-increasing weight? Under the frightful burden imposed by the franking privilege, no further reforms can ever be made in the way of reducing domestic postages. An appalling deficit will be a perpetual bar to all progress-all substantial improvement.

In England, the postal service was rescued from pitiable imbecility and inefficiency by the illustrious Rowland Hill and his associates, in 1839; but it was necessary first to destroy this badge of subserviency to rank and class, although in that country it was limited both in the number of privileged persons and in the number of letters each could frank per day. So here, as the initial step to reform, I earnestly urge the total abolition of the franking privilege.

The objection that Congress may desire to print and disseminate public documents should not avail against the appeal of the department for deliverence from the frauds that are fast overwhelming it. If the privilege be abolished, official publications may still be forwarded in the mails. It is only asked that they, like all private matter, may be chargeable with postage. If it be urged that this would prevent or impede the diffusion of the knowledge of public affairs among the people, then it may be said, in reply, that if it be the purpose of Congress to give information to the people, a far more telling expedient may be resorted to. An unburdened press, managed and directed by private enterprise, can do more than Congress to enlighten the masses. Better far that the franking privilege should be abolished, and that all newspapers sent to regular and bona fide subscribers from a known office of publication should be carried free, without regard to weight, throughout the United States, as now throughout the county wherein printed and published. The receipts of the department for the last year from “newspapers and pamphlets” amounted to $778,882 30. This portion of its receipts the department can forego, provided it can be protected against the frauds, more than three times in amount, inseparable from the franking privilege.

It is not proposed or desired that government officials should be personally taxed for the transmission of their public correspondence. It is asked, on the other hand, that every department, every member of Congress, and every other public officer, shall have a liberal allowance of stamps for postages, subject to a proper accountability, and that the sum necessary therefor shall be appropriated out of the general treasury.

Should Congress conform to my recommendations in this respect, I confidently predict that millions will be saved annually to the government, that the department will be at once redeemed from its present condition of chronic bankruptcy, and that the postal service will speedily become the potent coadjutor of the people in developing and adorning our great country.

My predecessor addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives a letter, under date of 9th January last, in relation to the postal telegraph, inclosing an elaborate communication on the same subject from Gardiner G. Hubbard, esq., of Boston. This is a subject of great importance, and deserves the most careful consideration. Several European nations have adopted the system with apparent success. I shall defer making any recommendation concerning it until a greater degree of efficiency can be attained in the service as at present constituted.

The commission heretofore appointed by Congress has submitted to me a codification of the statutes relating to the postal service, which has been referred to a committee of competent gentlemen of long experience in the practical working of the department for careful revision. Their report will be presented to Congress at an early day. The codification, when perfected and adopted by Congress, will greatly facilitate the public business.

Regarding the present as a favorable opportunity, I call the attention of Congress to the penal laws providing for the punishment of offenses against the postal service. The penalties prescribed are in many cases too severe, and, by reason of their apparent harshness, have tended to create a sympathy in the minds of jurors and others in behalf of this class of offenders. Experience has shown that the certainty of punishment, more than its severity, deters from crime. I recommend that the terms of imprisonment in most cases be shortened and graduated, with a more careful regard to the nature and character of the offenses which the framers of the laws designed to punish and prevent.

A reorganization of the department has become a necessity. The recommendation of my predecessor in that regard is cordially approved.

It would be unjust to close this report without making a proper recognition of the important services of the heads of the respective bureaus of the department, including the superintendents of foreign mails and of the money order office. They are all gentlemen of singular fitness for their several positions. In all things they have come up to the full measure of my expectations, and I esteem myself most fortunate in having secured their valuable aid. In consideration of the ability, integrity, industry, and zeal they have continually exhibited, I earnestly recommend such an increase in their salaries as will afford them the means of a respectable livelihood, their present compensation being inadequate for that purpose. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

JNO, A. J. CRESWELL,

Postmaster General. The PRESIDENT.

Table of mail service for the year ended June 30, 1869, as exhibited by the state of the arrangements at the close of the year.

[Tho entiro service and pay are not down to the State under which they are numbered, though extending into other States, instead of being divided among tho Statos in

which each portion lies.)

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Celerity, certainty, and

security.

By steamboat.

By railroad.

Miles.

Dollars.

Miles.

63

1, 150

22, 776

68
160

3,975
2,500

42, 432
99, 810

*6, 292

72
94

157, 163

3, 873 6, 300

566, 661 61, 776 58, 656

Miles.
3,921
1, 430
1, 706
1,076

242

873
7, 474

1, 143
10, 623

306
2, 238
6, 924
4,025
6, 789
5, 533

964
2, 528
1, 772
5, 842
5, 302
6, 662
6, 288
7, 491
7, 856
5,721
4, 948
4,163
5, 073

Dollars.

71, 510
27, 517
35, 196
42, 350

6, 091
24, 773
202, 171

37, 622
235, 939

9, 620
57, 922
132, 695

49, 911
116, 456
75, 207
27, 801
45, 975
34, 017
113, 836

77, 848
137, 148
100, 469
138, 618
148, 335
109, 068
86, 299
62, 269
110, 563

66, 109
187, 7H3

91, 075 514, 05 414, 603

40
231
250
517
2:27

86
584
3, 120
1, 708

Miles.

571
423

513
1, 448

130

776
3, 344

893
2, 782

199

779
4,418

142
1, 406

913
1, 144
1, 491

373
1, 512
1, 849
3, 226
1, 228

835
1, 407

581

660
1,146
1, 045

102

750
8, 440
12, 149
33, 825
3, 847
1, 324

8, 679
111, 600
27, 058

Dollars.

56, 549
37, 485
67, 892
209, 861

19, 217
107, 303
504, 907
117, 149
258, 787

15, 030
179, 428
574, 550

13, 840
116, 612
62, 595
96, 605
115, 814

28, 390
145, 829
224, 200
402, 364
126, 050

49, 698
183, 411
46, 560
69, 795
89, 306
H8, 100
01, 791
10, 600
30, 160
30, 697
196, 535

Miles.
1,577, 754

549, 172
411, 492
781, 326
110, 240

4*, 016
3, 335, 618

540, 956
3, 462, 697

112, 640

803, 795
2, 147, 054

700, 700
1, 461, 724

892, 398
271, 414
425, 568

263, 322
1, 677, 889
1, 237, 754
2, 009, 268
1,597, 5:22
2, 269, 800
1, 949, 773
1, 224, 238
1, 329,188

Miles.
418, 860
377, 208

444, 022
1,682, 405

199, 290

819, 228
4,799, 7-29
1, 181, 939
4, 102, 689

238, 292
1, 417, 617
4, 700, 592

88, 920
1,072, 127

657, 372
1, 027, 119
1, 177, 291

232, 936
1, 443, 596
1, 843, 742
3, 494, 148
1, 277, 463

618, 662
1, 349, 514

610, 315
498, 401
88, 403
032, 048
619, 226

54,912
129, 332
21,516
967, 613

12, 480
101, 400
156, 312
281, 334
52, 624

8,944
60, 736
273,528
366, 782

Miles.
1, 996, 614

949, 156
1, 255, 574
2, 506, 163

409, 370
1, 307, 244
8, 702, 008
1, 784, 671
7, 024, 042

380, 932
2, 233, 892
6, 949, 046

945, 932
2, 815, 185
1, 602, 394
1, 307, 477
1, 663, 595

769, 786
3, 488, 267
3,081, 496
5, 503, 416
2, 966, 115
2, 888, 462
3, 444, 055
1,969, 233
2, 253, 161
1,631, 327
1,677, 384
1, 131, 730
1, 669, 122
1,200,906
2, 464,392
3,203, 319

Dollars.
12,089

66, 152
103, 0-8
256, 186

27, F08
132, 076
864, 241
158, 644
501, 026

24, 630
238, 100
.715, 683

75, 900
266, 893
141, 649
123, 730
170, 468
174, 007
286, 723
302, 048
539, 512
239, 099
18R, 316
339, 746
171, 915
196, 562
151, 575
22, 11
157, 900
231, 343
225, 735
SOX, 002
67:, 358

259

12, 580

91, 130

370
882

8,000
16, 287
* 40, 468

144, 768 134, 680 425, 472

400

24, 178

156, 936

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States and Territories.

Length of

routes.

Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
New York
New Jersey,
Pennsylvania
Delaware
Maryland
Ohio.
West Virginia
Virginia
North Carolina.
South Carolina.
Georgia.
Florida
Michigan
Indiana
Illinois
Wisconsin
Iowa.
Missouri
Minnesota
Kentucky
Tennessee
Alabama.
Mississippi
Arkansas
Louisiana
Texas
California.

Miles.
4, 492
1,916
2, 219
2, 632

532
1, 649
17, 110

2, 108
13, 499

505
3, 057
11, 393
4, 417
8,712
6, 673
3, 194
4, 603
5, 2013
9, 002
7, 151
9, 888
7, 775
8, 326
9, 495
6, 672
6, 490
5, 309
6, 5:27

7, 172
4,676
11, 141
7, 384

2, 30H
9,021
5,744

868, 400

535, 444
1, 442, 194

533, 0:30 2,060, 710 2,026,936

33, 000
104,500
52,500
02, 000

778 865

172, 016
51%, 544
149, 136
208,500

775

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