Economic Sophisms/200

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"JOHN: We have every sign by which the public satisfaction can be testified. The nation, following the lead of Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, have given Rowland Hill, in true British fashion, substantial marks of the public gratitude. Even the poorer classes testify their satisfaction by sealing their letters with wafers bearing this inscription: "Public gratitude for postal reform" The leaders of the Anti-Corn-Law League have proclaimed aloud in their place in Parliament that without cheap postage thirty years would have been required to accomplish their great undertaking, which had for object the removal of duties on the food of the poor. The officers of the Board of Trade have declared it unfortunate that the English coin does not admit of a still greater reduction! What more proofs would you have?

JACQUES: But the Treasury?

JOHN: Do not the Treasury and the public sail in the same boat?

JACQUES: Not quite. And then, is it quite clear that our postal system has need to be reformed?

JOHN: That is the question. Let us see how matters now stand. What is done with the letters that are put into the post-office?

JACQUES: The routine is very simple. The postmaster opens the letter-box at a certain hour, and takes out of it, say, a hundred letters.

JOHN: And then?

JACQUES: Then he inspects them one by one. With a geographical table before him, and a letter-weigher in his hand, he assigns each letter to its proper category, according to weight and distance. There are only eleven postal zones or districts, and as many degrees of weight.

JOHN: That constitutes simply 121 combinations for each letter.

JACQUES: Yes; and we must double that number, because the, letter may, or may not, belong to the service rural.

JOHN: There are, then, 24,200 things to be inquired into with reference to every hundred letters. And how does the postmaster then proceed?

JACQUES: He marks the weight on one corner of the letter, and the postage in the middle of the address, by a hieroglyphic agreed upon at headquarters.