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possibly be returned to the writer without once appear by the following statement for doing so. The seals of chartered companies the year ending 5th January, 1949 and of noblemen are usually sufficient to ef
Postage. fect this object; and if the public, especially Gross number and amount men of business would inscribe upon their seals
of letters returned to their addresses, instead of their crests,or coats
626,073 663 8 11 of-arms, they would in any of the cases we Returned letters finally have mentioned, including that of sending refused, or not delivered 28,546 119 15 0 money in undirected envelopes, enable the Postage received in the inspector of the dead letter office to return
Dead-Letter Office for them their packets &c., unopened.
letters delivered from
226 10 0 On the receipt of country dead letters, the
Postage on Irish, Colonial, first duty of the department in London is to
and Foreign letters redetermine whether the rural postniaster has turned for disposal
53,873 1,330 0 4 made every possible effort to find “the Postage of letters to be party”—bis reasons for not having done so tendered at corrected
addresses being written by him on the back of the let
45,800 905 0 3 ter. This investigation having been made in Destroyed in ordinary vain, as soon as, in the six rooms we have
course, (number not
7,675 18 7 mentioned, the letters have been opened, they are, if possible, returned without delay Under the old system of heavy postages, in an envelope to the senders. If containing the number of rejected valentines (all, of property, they are registered ; and the course, anonymous) that found their way writers, when resident in London, are re- into the Dead-Letter Office amounted to no quested to call for them; if resident in the less than 120,000. Under the penny postcountry, the document is enclosed there to age, the number of “dead valentines
has the postmaster for delivery, on obtaining a fallen to 70,000. It appears, therefore, that receipt. Those containing no property, and at all events as regards postage, Cupid in for which owners cannot be found, are torn London is not-as he is poetically believed by the clerk who opened them into six or to be-stone-blind ! eight pieces, and then, without even noting
NEWSPAPERS.-We have stated that the the numbers, they are, according to an old newspapers, as fast as they are either decustom, sold, on a legal engagement that livered at the windows of the Post-Office or they be disposed of to paper makers to be unpacked from the red mail-carts, which remanufactured.
shortly after six begin to arrive, are lifted Considering the immense importance which in white wicker basketsfull from the great throughout the United Kingdom is justly double sorting-hall on the ground floor to attached to letters addressed to living per- that suspended above it. On entering, at sons, or even to the dead, we must own it about half-past six, these splendid apartments appeared to us that the gentlemen whose --which, being beautifully lighed by the sacred duty it is to make themselves, to a sunshine of heaven, form a striking contrast certain degree, acquainted with the confiden- to the dark and apparently subterranean, tial contents of all dead letters, ought not to gas-smoking sorting cavern beneath-we be the persons entrusted to destroy them, or must confess that, although for some time rather, according to the old custom we have we had been gazing on the ascending panmentioned, to transfer each letter, in about niers, we were altogether astonished at sudhalf a dozen pieces only, to the hands of a denly finding ourselves in a new world, and, salesman who merely undertakes to destroy indeed, almost in a new atmosphere of newsthem. Cf the newspapers, waste vouchers, papers. and letters, sold annually by the Post-Office As the baskets in rapid succession rose for about £450, not one-tenth of this money from below, their contents were emptied by is received for the dead letters. For the very powerful men upon a large table, in the paltry sum, therefore, of about £45 a year, middle of which, on an enormous heap--a the respect due by a great country to the literary mountain in labor, composed of a remains of so many hundreds of thousands celestial and terrestrial conglomeration of of dead letters is openly, and, we must add, Suns, Stars, Globes, Records, Spectators, in our opinion, unnecessarily violated. Standards, Times, Heralds, Posts, Chronicles,
The valuable results of the exertions of Punches, Bulls, Examiners, Household the Dead-Letter Office in London will at | Worc's, &c.—there stood a stout scarlet
postman armed with a long-handled wooden | wherever it is possible, punished. The broad-hoe (such as is used in the London present Postmaster-General is also making streets for collecting macadamized mud), very strenuous exertions to suppress a spewith which very dexterously and violently cies of petty larceny by which a few " househe kept pushing the white mass from the hold words,” whieh many of the writers, no centre to the circumference, which was sur- doubt, consider as perfecily innocent, are inrounded by red postinen, who, as quickly as scribed, sometimes openly on the envelope, they could fill their arms, carried off the and sometimes confidentially within. The papers (each hugging about seventy) toward following are a sample of the punishments the sorting-tables. In doing so, they un- which have been inflicted :avoidably dropped several on the floor; and thus, beneath, above, in the pigeon-holes of
For writing on the Envelope. all the sorting tables, as also moving about
by weight. in all directions there was to be seen that
S. d. astonishing creation of English newspapers
“ With speed
1. 2 which, like the rays of the sun, enliven and
“ Send soon
10 enlighten every region of the globe. On “ To be punctually forwarded
4 Friday evenings the mountain is increased by "" With my compliments”
1 2 above half a ton of “Sunday" publications,
“ It is requested that this paper be deto be delivered in the country on Saturday,
livered without delay, otherwise a
complaint will be made to headAs the processes of sorting are, generally
11 0 speaking, similar to those of the letters
Postman, you be honest and true 1 2 below, we will not weary our readers by detailing them, but will merely observe that, For merely writing in the inside.
Postage charged in order to ensure the utmost possible atten
by weight. tion to this public work, in which not only
S. d. the British people, but the whole family of From John" (not Lord John) mankind are interested, it is notified on a
My love to Jessey
1 2 board hung up in as nearly as possible the
My sweetest "
“Ai's well" middle of the hall, that for every paper mis- • Do come"
1 .2 sent, the man who shall have made the
“ One o'clock on the 10th "
0 10 mistake will be fined a penny, which at the
i No news yet”
1 0 end of the quarter is divided among his com- “ Mrs. B. is suckling”
All newspapers for foreign countries, as Of what strange and minute materials fast as they are collected, are despatched is the enormous revenue of the British Emthrough a zinc shoot into the “ Foreign De pire composed ! partment” below.
At seven minutes before a quarter to In arranging the multitudinous mass which eight the newspapers, which throughout remains, one of the most important duties both the upper halls have by this time been that the sorter has to perform is to detect all sorted, are, almost simultaneously, accordany fraud on that indulgence of the Imperial ing to their destinations, packed into leather Parliament which liberally allows them to cir- bags, a few of which are tied, sealed, and culate, even in India, postage free. Under then dropped through a wooden shoot to be the old system of heavy charges on letters, conveyed at once to the termini of the several there were innumerable attempts to carry on railway stations; the remainder are also put an illicit correspondence by means of news into bags, which, without being closed, are, papers. One of the most common of these at a quarter to eight precisely, lowered in frauds was, commencing at the beginning of charge of scarlet postmen, via the machine, the first page, to under-dot consecutively into the great sorting-halls beneath. As fast with ink, or to under-mark, by little holes as they arrive there, the letters belonging to made with a pin, each letter needful to make each sack (the letter-carrier holds it open up the several words of the fraudulent com- while the sorter fills it) are super-packed in munication,
strata above the newspapers, until by about Letters, and enclosures even of plum three minutes to eight the bags are not only cake, are still very commonly concealed all sealed, but are to be seen, eight or ten in within newspapers ; but by very ingenious a lump, on the shoulders of postmen, who, means, wbich it would not be proper for us appearing almost as if they would break to reveal, they are usually detected, and, down from the loads they are standing under,
completely block up, like ladies waiting for the bag and seal, and if there appears to be their carriages, the passages which lead to anything wrong about either, without openthe main exeunt-door. As soon, however, ing, he reports it. If, however, all be right, as the clock, which has been attentively he cuts it open, and then turning it inside watching the operations, benevolently strikes out, he deposits the whole of its contents on eight, the president's authoritative voice is his table. heard from his elevated desk to utter very Although all the Queen's heads in the distinctly the monosyllable “ Go!" on which heap have been obliterated by the different the door flies open, the mass of white and postmasters in the country, the letters have brown bags, of scarlet cloth, red faces, and each to be examined to ascertain whether its horizontal backs moves on, and in a very few postage by stamp or by money is correct, in minutes the great sorting-halls above as well which operation the clerk separates the mass as below are all empty! The night-scene as he proceeds into two divisions, “ Town" outside of stuffing the bags into accelerators, and "Country”-the former usually containoften leaving therein merely room enough ing about three-fourths and the latter onefor the guard, is very soon concluded, and thus fourth. He also lays aside in one compartby a very few minutes after eight—the last ment the large - letters and parcels. sharp exclamation of “All right! drive on!” The small letters are then, by messengers, having already died away-the whole of the stamped, if pre-paid on their faces, and if by letters and newspapers from the Inland De- postage-stamps, on their backs, with the letpartment of the London Post-Office are in ter of the table, day, month, and year, and various directions rumbling through the in order that every operator may be made streets toward their respective destinations. responsible for the work he undertakes, a
MORNING DELIVERY. — Our heart aches book is stamped and signed daily by the when we state, that most of those intelligent stamping messenger, which of course not public servants whom we have but just dis- only identifies him, but shows whether the missed to homes more or less poor, as well letter, dates, &c., he had used on his instruas more or less distant, to enjoy that pittance ment were correct. As fast as the messenof domestic happiness, and of rest, which ger, in stamping, passes the letters behind alone, excepting on the Sabbath-day, is him, his satellite letter-carrier bears them off allowed to them, have to arise, dress, and to other sorting tables, at, which“
"country walk to St. Martin's-le-Grand early enough letters," including foreign ones, are disposed to arrive there before five A. M., to arrange of at one double desk, divided on either side the morning delivery; and if, as is the case, into twelve compartments, each two feet they cheerfully, week after week, month after nine inches broad, labelled in two tiers of month, and year after year, daily assemble pigeon-holes, the same as for the evening to perform this endless duty, our readers, as delivery. The “large packets” are taken to they sit reclining in their easy chairs, will a single adjoining table containing three comnot, we hope, shrink from the fatigue of partments, each of the extra breadth of four reading, for a few minutes, a very brief ab- feet seven inches. The “ Town letters” are stràct of the manner in which these important taken to desks divided into two tiers of seven duties are performed.
and eight compartments each, numbering The bags reaching London from all the from one to fifteen, of which Nos. 1 to 13 are inland Post-offices, or in other words from for “ Divisions,” each of which comprehends all parts of the United Kingdom, as well as about one-thirteenth of that portion of Lon. from abroad, are rapidly brought from the don which lies within the three-mile circle, termini of the principal railways by two- No. 14 for small letters for public offices; wheeled mail-carts and four-wheeled acceler- and No. 15 for the remaining portion of the ators (for no mail-coaches are now employed London district lying between the three and in this work) to St. Martin's-le-Grand, twelve mile circles, the letters and documents where they begin to arrive at 5 o'clock A. M. for which, are at once, by means of a fly. As fast as they are unloaded at the door, the wheel and endless rope, forwarded through large, long “roadsacks” containing them are the tunnel from the Inland” to the “ Disopened, and the bags from within these are trict Office.” then brought on the shoulders of the 'red This first process of assortment having letter-carriers to twenty-four "opening ta- been concluded, the letter-carriers next conbles," arranged alphabetically, so as to give vey the whole of the thirteen London Divito each as nearly as possible the same sions of letters to one double and one single amount of work. '. A junior clerk examines | desk, divided into forty-seven compartments, each of which is subdivided into a double rumbling of the tunnel ropes and of the row of eight bins, called " walks,” and as steam-engine,--form the everlasting musical fast as this latter operation is effected, they accompaniment to which the sorters, mesare again carried off in wooden trays, con- sengers, bagmen. &c., seem to work. The structed to be held under one arm, to the floors of both the double halls appear litertwo lifting machines at each end of the hall ally swarming alive with human beings, --in or upon which machines the red carriers dressed in dark clothes or in scarlet ones: in tiers, or, geologically speaking, in strata and as the eye of the stranger, in mute adone above another, are rapidly uplifted to miration of the busy scene, glancing norithe large, well-lighted, double hall used at zontally over the mass, suddenly observes at night for newspapers, where, by arrange- each end of the room jaded human figures in ments which we shall detail in describing bright red uniforms, standing bolt upright the deliveries of the London District De- with white letter-bags in their hands, letters partment, the letters are finally sorted into under their arms, or newspapers at their streets by the very letter-carriers who are feet, and vertically moving upwards or themselves to deliver them.
downwards in iron cages from one floor to The whole of these operations throughout the other—it is almost impossible for him to the halls above and below must, if possible, help fancying them to be the spirits of debe concluded by seven o'clock a. M., after parted postmen, who, according to their which balf an hour is allowed to the Lon- general performances, and especially accorddon letter-carriers finally to arrange and tie ing to the mode in which they may have up their parcels for actual delivery-and been in the habit of handling letters containaccordingly, at half-past seven precisely, they ing sovereigns, half-sovereigns, shillings, and and their bags are dispatched by accelera- sixpences, are, from the troubled interior of tor-omnibuses, which, starting brim full of St. Martin's-le-Grand, ascending or descendred postmen and white bags, rapidly drop ing to their dooms ! one after another at the commencement of his respective walk, until the last carrier, bag in hand, having descended from the of social advantages which Mr. Rowland
MONEY ORDER OFFICE.- Among the list steps, the rehicle veers round and slowly Hill's penny postage system has conferred returns to its resting place. Each "walk” is so constructed as to enable the postman, ex
upon the community, may be enumerated cepting on Mondays, to complete his delivery afforded to the transmission of money orders;
the extension and increased facility it has in about an hour, when he takes his “ timecard” to the nearest receiving house that an arrangement which, from its original esthe name and time may be certified thereon.
it The postmen's duties end generally about
was composed of three clerks,) has now half-past nine, according to distance-and, grown into a vast banking system, identical excepting seventy men reserved for the little which at a very trifling charge, and with al
in dimensions with the United Kingdom, by midday dispatches 10 Brighton and Southampton, and deliveries of the letters of the
most perfect safety, any small sum can by day-mails, they are then their own masters any person be transmitied from and to any until 5 P. M., when they again assemble for part of England, Ireland, Scotland, Guernthe busy and exhausting duties we have de sey, or Jersey. The number of postmasters
and receivers authorized to issue and pay scribed.
When both halls, above and below, the money in this manner amounts to 14,487, foreign room, and the blind-man's chamber, forming altogether a series of branch banks
, are each in full and vigorous operation, the ready at any hour of the day to communi
cate with each other or with the London picture altogether is one which, from being office for the accommodation of the public. composed of very odd noises, as well as The growth and practical utility of this devery strange objects of vision, could not possibly be delineated by any crayon or ciently shown as follows:
partment of the Post-office may be suffipencil but Hogarth's. The tramping, puffing and occasional snuffling of the carriers, as with arms full, bags full
, or trays full of In the Quarter ending 5th April, letters, they proceed rapidly from one long
1839, the total amount of
orders issued in England and table to another,--the reverberations of the
49,496 5 8 stampers,--the fluttering or shuffling of In the quarter ending 5th Janumyriads of letters into pigeon-holes, the ary, 1850, they amounted to 1,830,907 17 5
The number of ledgers used at one time in nearly tallied with, the reduction of letters 1838 was four, of 330 folios of 61 lines from the provincial postmasters to the Loneach. In 1847 it was eighty-one, of 550 don money office, as created by the alterafolios of 60 lines each. Since 1847, by a tion we have described. simplification of accounts, these ledgers have In consequence of these as well as other been nearly got rid of. The amount paid at reductions, and the adoption of a the money-order windows of the London simple system of accounts, the services of office alone on the 21st of January, 1850, about one-fourth of the clerks of the money was £4809 38. 9d. Average payment of office have lately been dispensed with, and a the last month about £3500 per day. The saving of about £11,000 a-year effected. money-orders issued in London alone have increased as follows:
The London DISTRICT DEPARTMENT
Commonly called the Two-penny Posl.For the Quarter ending 5th £ s. d. The work of this office is a wearing, wast
7,160 19 4 ing, intermittent fever, which, excepting For the Quarter ending sth
Sundays; comes on regularly every morning January, 1850
263,386 9 4 throughout the year at 6 A. M., and which
in ten cold and hot fits of unequal severity Finally it may be observed, that if the pres- afflicts the various sets of patients, who are ent cost of the money order office were to be successively exposed to it, until ten minutes deducted from the gross amount of pound- past nine at night. ages lately received for money-orders issued After a night's rest, such as only the throughout the United Kingdom, there weary in this world enjoy, the first symptom would remain a small profit or revenue. of uneasiness in this great department—by
The enormous business transacted in this which more letters are now delivered than, branch of the Post-office may be faintly ex- before the introduction of the penny system, emplified by the fact, that every morning's passed through all the postoffices of the post usually brings to the chief office in Lon- United Kingdom—is the arrival, at the early don (in which there are employed 178 hour we have named, of a detachment of clerks) no less than 12,000 advices, amount. clerks and letter-sorters, who, in winter often ing to nearly four millions a-year! The paddling under umbrellas and in mackinpresent Postmaster-General lately deter-toshes through sleet, snow, and dark wet mined to reduce the dimensions of these ad-streets, assemble for the purpose of receivvices from a semi-sheet of foolscap to about | ing, but not opening, a tide of wooden boxes half that size, by which act of apparent in- full of letters and newspapers from all parts significant economy a saving of no less than of the United Kingdom, which, under the £1100 a-year has been effected, although influence of machinery and of an endless the Government is supplied with paper at a chain, flow in a succession of waves from the notoriously cheap rate. By another altera- Inland Department (commonly called The tion, which bis Lordship has lately effected General Post Office) for delivery in that porin the form of the correspondence of the tion of the London District which lies bemoney order departments the number of tween the three and twelve mile circles. At packets transmitted on that service to the six o'clock, the hour of the arrival of the inland London office has been reduced about president and his assistants, amounting alto46,000 a-week, and of course the expense gether to ninety persons, these boxes are and trouble of receiving, of conveying, and opened, and the contents taken out and of sorting these letters on their arrrival at sorted, during which operation boxes full of the London inland office, have also been letters, sometimes in a stream and sometimes saved. The latter effect, however, although in a torrent, continue unceasingly to pour in included in the estimated results, was subse-through the sewer or tunnel. quently overlooked ; and accordingly, shortly While the sorting of all these letters and after the alteration bad been effected, it was newspapers, in a mode we shall shortly deobserved, with no little alarm, that there was scribe, is, like the deposition of honey in the an apparent decrease in the correspondence cells of a hive, going on, a number of men of the country with London! The cause of and boys, like bees Aying from flower to this sickness for a short time remained an flower, are in all directions occupied in the inexplicable mystery, until on a scrutinizing following curious process of collection. analysis it was suddenly discovered that the All the letters throughout London which, deficiency was not only created by, but if stamped or unpaid, have been dropped