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writers of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Boston.”
In the printed reports of the Post Office department very just and reasonable remonstrances have been made against the exorbitant charges made by Railway Companies, and in some cases by Steamboats, for the conveyance of the mails. It has been truly observed that railways from their very nature are monopolies, and that in many instances competition between steamboats is insufficient to protect the Post Office from injurious and fraudulent combinations, the effect of which is to extort from the General Government a rate of freight many times greater than that which is charged to private individuals. This is an abuse which ought to be put down by the supreme power of the law, and it is happily one in the suppression of which the whole body of |. enlightened public will zealously concur. The rate at which private individuals and companies can carry freight upon railways and in steamboats is generally known, and it is within the legitimate power of the general government, aided and countenanced by Congress, to exact from all public carriers the transport of the mails at equally reasonable rates. To maintain that such parties may with impunity exercise an arbitrary power of fixing one tariff for the government mails and another for private freight, so as to set at defiance the power of the general legislature, would involve an admission of a degree of feebleness in the Constitution which would render it unfit to promote the wellbeing of the nation for which it was framed. The observation which has been made in one of the Post Master General's reports, that certain companies seize the pretext of the mails being required to be dispatched at particular hours, as the ground of an exorbitant demand for their transport, is really so puerile that it hardly deserves to be seriously considered.
The Post Office service, in England, is executed upon the railways, at a greater cost than was ever incurred on any main lines of common roads, but the nature of this service, and its superior efficiency, amply compensates the public for the increased expense. These great lines of internal communication are vast channels of social and commercial intercourse, into which smaller tributaries, in the form of branch railways and common roads, pour their streams in countless number and unbounded quantity. Each main line thus drains an entire Province; the quantity of Post Office business, therefore, transacted upon it is greater, incomparably, than ever was executed on any common road; but it is even more remarkable for the superior efficiency of its execution than for its increased quantity. A house of considerable dimensions, constituting a locomotive Post Office, is actually erected on wheels and transported over the railway at the rate of thirty miles an hour. In this house are well lighted rooms properly furnished with the apparatus requisite for the Post Office functionaries; at the stations, as they pass, the letter-bags are received and delivered; the processes of sortation, weighing, stamping, and bagging are executed in this moving mansion between station and station, so that no inconsiderable part of the entire business of the Post Office is here performed while the letters are in the very act of being transported. But ingenuity is not exhausted even here. Post Offices are established at small and thinly peopled stations, where the flying mail could not afford to pause in its rapid course. In such cases, an apparatus is attached to the locomotive office, on which the letter-carrier or guard hangs the bag to be delivered as the train approaches the station. The bag to be received, is, in like manner, suspended to an arm, projecting from a post erected on the side of the railway, awaiting the expected arrival of the train. As the office rushes E. with the celerity of the wind, the ag suspended on it is left upon the post, and the bag suspended on the post is taken up . carried off by the office, by this simple, self-acting contrivance, without even the slightest retardation of the speed of the train. One of the arrangements in detailadopted in the English system, which, having been productive of great public convenience, seems well worthy of adoption, is the Money Order Office. This is the more worthy of attention, inasmuch as it adds nothing to the expense of the Post Office administration, while it affords at once a source of advantage to the public and perquisites to the postmasters. By means of this official arrangement every postmaster is placed in corresondence with others throughout the ingdom, so that he can draw at sight for cash to a limited amount. Small remittances are made without the transmission either of bill or specie, by the party who desires to remit, depositing at his local post office the sum to be remitted, together with a small commission. The order is given to him, payable at the post office of the place to which the remittance is made, and the whole expense is covered by the postage and commission together. In England, the commission charged for remitting five pounds, (equal to 25 dollars,) was fixed in 1840 at twelve cents, and for all sums under two pounds, or ten dollars, six cents. Thus the smallest class of remittances can be made with perfect security against loss for eight cents, and large sums may be sent for fourteen cents. It has been found that every reduction which has been made in the commission for money sent through the English Post Office, has hitherto caused an increased amount of profit to the Post Office. We are convinced from close attention to the working of the old Post Office system, that no o, privilege can be devised which will not be the source of extensive and insufferable abuse. It was found so in England and has been found so here. But if high rates of postage be attempted to be maintained, the franking privilege cannot be abolished, while under very low rates it ceases to be a privilege for which any class will contend. In England it was surrendered without a murmur ; indeed, any claim to its retention under a penny rate would be eminently absurd. As, however, it might
* The establishment of local Post Offices, if left to the discretion of the Post Office department, is subject to the most intolerable abuses. The inhabitants of some remote country place, that they may have the advantage of a good coach-road between them and some desirable market—and contractors, that they may make the road—and small officeseekers, that they may pocket postage perquisites—all make loud requisitions on the department for the establishment of a post office, when there is not the shadow of a chance that it will pay expenses. In such cases the expenses are paid for, not by the people who enjoy the privileges, nor by the public treasury, but by the letter writers of the larger towns. This is manifestly a gross abuse, and we know no way of correcting it better than to limit the power of the Postmaster General. If letters be carried to distant out-of-the-way places, let post-riders be paid, like our city carriers, a cent or two additional. If they must have roads for coaches, they should make them, without looking for unnecessary mail-contracts to cover the cost.
be inexpedient to establish so low a rate in this country until population thickens and commerce becomes more extended, the more convenient and equitable course may be to allow all officials, who may be supposed to have correspondence on }. business, to transmit through the
ost Office a reasonable increase of their salary as a commutation for their privilege such increase to be diminished with every future reduction of postage.
It has been our desire, with a sincere view to the public good, to urge on those who possess the power, and on whom the duty of regulating the postage laws devolves, the advantages which appear to us to be derivable from an extensive reform in our Post Office, embracing the best features of the improved English system, and realizing the project of Mr. Hill, even more fully than has been attempted in England. That we have not inconsiderately urged the application of that system without giving due weight to the geographical and statistical differences, which exist between our extensive territory and the crowded country where the system has been successfully tried, will, we trust, be manifest. These circumstances cannot affect the broad principle of the system. No element of it can be modified by them except the amount of the uniform rate which it may be expedient to charge. Now it is true that our sparse population and limited amount of correspondence are good reasons in favor of a higher rate. But, on the other hand, no revenue to the state is sought for here, and no more is expected from the finances of the Post Office than the liquidation of its own expenses— whereas, in the United Kingdom, a revenue of many millions of dollars is looked for from it. This is pro ta, to a reason in favor of a reduced rate here as compared with England. We have, however, from a desire to keep within a safe limit, and to conciliate the timid and distrustful, assumed a rate two and a half times greater than the English postage.
Whether this vast improvement is destined to confer lustre on the present legislature and administration, we will not venture to affirm, but we hesitate not to pronounce that no force of prejudice, or official or administrative opposition, can long deprive this great commercial country of the advantages of a system which are now shared by a population much more averse to change than that of the United States.
IT was well,wherhaps, that the incognita of this book should be carefully guarded. It is “full of matter for quarrels as an egg is of meat;” but, with all its heterodoxy, it bears, from the first line to the last, such evidences of profound learning and subtlety as cannot fail to impress with respect those who are most startled by its boldness. It has that in it which will set the Philosophico-Theological world together by the ears, for there are thousands who will think the book as full of errors as any of modern times. This nominis umbra joins issue with grave and revered doctrines which lie at the very core of the existing Christian theory of things. He professes, though, with a fair seeming of impressive logic, to enter the field only as a new interpreter. Without aiming at the vitality of the Mosaic record, he merely waives its authority under the received version as inconsistent with the stubborn facts of Analytical Science; while, his interpretation being accepted, all incongruities are done away with by a recognition of “the doctrine of Creation by Law,” in place of the supposed “antiquated and insufficient one of Creation by special exercise,” or act. These are to be the great points at issue between the “New,” or progressive Philosophy, as it styles itself, and the “Old.” It will be a war of tomes and folios, for a vast deal hinges upon the result. But it must be acknowledged, that with whatever reserve he may be approached, if his great postulate “ of Creation by Law” be once admitted, his deductions, pregnant and subversive as they are, claim imperiously to follow. His assumed facts are massive, and—if facts they shall be found—resistless wedges, which once insinuated rive the received System to the core... It will not do to shirk the question. If he is not met fairly, and refuted fully upon this point, his audacious and remarkable speculations will hardly fail to fasten themselves strongly upon the convictions of men. He makes creation a progressive act, the
growth of laws, which in their steady march out from the eternity of chaos have compelled all elements into the forms they wear now, whether of suns and worlds, or stocks, stones and things that move. Heat and electricity are the great modifying agents, which, together with gravitation, hold within themselves, as a medium, that creative energy which has heretofore been considered an immediate and active attribute of God. Creation, then, subjective to these laws, must be through a prospective eternity progressive—its types forever pushing on and up towards the perfect.
“The whole train of animated beings, from the simplest and oldest up to the highest and most recent, are, then, to be regarded as a series of advances of the principle of Development, which depend upon external physical circumstances, to which the resulting animals are appropriate.” " " * “Is our race, then, but the initial of the grand crowning type? Are there yet to be species superior to us in organization, purer in feeling, more powerful in device and art, and who shall take a rule over us? There is in this, nothing improbable on other grounds. The present race, rude and impulsive as it is, is perhaps the best adapted to the present state of things in the world; but the external world goes through slow and gradual changes, which may leave it, in time, a much serener field of existence. There may, then, be occasion for a nobler type of humanity, which shall complete the Zoological circle on this planet, and realize some of the dreams of the purest spirits of the present race 1"
An induction as novel as the process has been ingenious ! But the book has too much matter of parlance in it to be thus cursorily dismissed. We shall endeavor to take it up again. JEgei Somnia, Recreations of a Sick
Room. By Ezekiel BAcon. N. York:
John Allen, 139 Nassau-street. 1843.
THE poems contained in this little volume seem to be the productions of a man of sensibility and sense, but of less imagination. It would not appear, indeed, that he aimed at displaying the latter faculty, or to startle the world with studied flights
of the Muse. He has rather pleased declining days, and the solitude of chamber hours, with the expression in verse of thoughts that belong to one who has not suffered himself to be hardened by a long professional life. Most of the pieces are written in Cowper's favorite measure, taken from one of the old ballad forms, and are marked with something of the simplicity of that delightful poet. “Departing joys,” “The Early Lilac,” “The Dying Lilac,” and “Man's, Common Lot, ” are pleasant moral reflections, quiet and flowing. The blank verse is of less merit.
.A Chaunt of Life, and other Poems, with Sketches and Essays. By the Rev. RALPH Hoyt. In Six Parts. Part I. New York: Piercy & Reed, Printers. 1844.
THE author of this little book has doubtless felt that he was a poet—as undoubtedly, we think, the severest critic would agree with him. But we suspect the author, like greater poets before him, does not altogether know wherein his best vein lies. The amount published at present consists—a small instalment, by way of experiment upon the public taste—of six pieces. The first is a short canto of the “Chaunt of Life”—to be continued in each number, and giving name to the one in hand. On this, we make no question, the author would rest his claims to a share of Apollo's countenance. Bu the real poet does not always know when the god smiles most propitiously—looking gloriously out, as it were, from many-colored clouds—but is even apt, at times, to take an ungracious scowl for a glimpse of favor. The “Chaunt of Life” has considerable merit, an unexceptionable melody and flow, and something of Young's profoundly solemn and melancholy strain; and when the whole poem appears, we shall be willing to make some extracts, to show that it has many excel. lences. But the two striking pieces of the present little collection, and far more certain evidences of the true poetic element, are, “Snow,” and “The World for Sale.” The former of these is a picture of a winter morning in the country, when a sudden and heavy fall of snow, in the night, has covered up everything familiar, and the
children, tumbling out of bed, clap their hands with delight to see the world so strangely and beautifully transformed. If any Hyperborean, who has roved away (sad wanderers we are apt to be—“circumvagi patria carentes”), and has lived so long towards “the Line,” among constant spring odors, as to have forgotten the smell of frost, wishes to recall how his father’s farm looked—house, barn, sheds, hencoop and all, with fields and rail-fences on every side, up to the leafless great woods, magically covered at once with a dazzling sheet of utterly unspotted white, while the winds have sunk, and the low sun, risen, gleams level through the keen atmosphere over a new world—every crystal angle on every bush, stump, and house-ridge, and the long lines of distant forest-tops, “glinting” back a sunbeam of its own—he has here a part of the clear memory, felicitously given, and the rest he can fill out for himself. Those, indeed—dwellers of “Orinoco and the Isles”—who have looked always upon the primeval and dark verdure of the tropics, would hardly get from the sketch an idea of that subdued and sombre power that belongs to our wide Northern scenery at this season; but of the appearances of things around a New England farm-house, when Ursa Major (whom we take to be a white bear) has donned his winter covering, they can form to themselves a very exact picture. We need, in fact, some such remembrancer for ourselves this season. We had really forgotten the looks of a snow-storm. No Northern Soracte “stands white,” unless it be hoar “ Mohegan,” and some wild ranges towards the forests of Fundy—and our heavy woods, battling often enough with wind and rain, have had no burden to “ labor “” under. Here come in the triumphs of philosophy. Mons. Arago is said to have prophesied that Europe would undergo one of the severest winters she has ever known, while the Western Hemisphere would enjoy one proportionably mild. The event proves your philosopher “even with the Fates.” While Winter seems to have forgotten our Continent from Cape Cod to Oregon, the vallies of Italy are filled with snow— wolves, driven down from the mountainsby the keen cold, prowl around the cities of France, and sentinels are frozen to death in the streets of Madrid. But we are wandering. The “Winter Morn” would have been much improved by some broader and more general outlines, presenting the external landscape. A country scene should always have a back-ground. As it is, however, for simplicity and distinct picturing it is almost worthy of Burns, though of quite a different style. We give but a part, leaving out that well remembered scene in the country—the Family Prayers—and the quiet Breakfast that follows, both of which are described with
much simple beauty. S NO W.
The blessed morn is come again;
Taps at the slumberer's window-pane,
• Break, break from the enchanter's chain, Away,+away !'
"Tis winter, yet there is no sound Along the air
Of winds upon their battle-ground,
The snow is falling, all around
The jocund fields would masquerade; Fantastic scene !
Tree, shrub, and lawn, and lonely glade
And joined the revel, all arrayed
E’en the old posts, that hold the bars
The drifts are hanging by the sill, The eaves, the door;
The haystack has become a hill; All covered o'er
The wagon, loaded for the mill
- The eve before.
Maria brings the water-pail,-
Like magic of a fairy tale,
All vanished—curb, and crank, and rall;-
The wood-pile too is playing hide; The axe—the log—
The kennel of that friend so tried— (The old watch-dog,)
The grindstone standing by its side, Are now incog.