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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 195 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BRITISH COLONIES AND DEPENDENCIES Australian Commonwealth.—In 1905 there were 6654 post offices open; 311,401,539 letters and cards, 171,844,868 news-papers, book-packets and circulars, 2,168,810 parcels, and 13,68o, 239 telegrams were received and despatched; the revenue was £2,738,146 and the expenditure £2,720,735. New Zealand.—In 1905 there were 1937 post offices open; 74,767,288 letters and cards, 47,334,263 newspapers, book-packets and circulars, 392,017 parcels, and 5,640,219 telegrams were dealt with. The revenue from the post office was £410,968, and from telegraphs £273,911, while the expenditure on the post office was £302,146 and on telegraphs £276,581. Dominion of Canada.—In 1905 there were 10,879 post offices open; 331,792,500 letters and cards, 60,405,000 newspapers, book-packets and circulars,' and 58,338 parcels were received and despatched. The revenue from the post office amounted to £1,053,548, and from telegraphs £28,727, while the expenditure was, on the post office £952,652 and on telegraphs £78,934. Cape of Good ITope.—The number of post offices open in 1905 was 1043; 7,596,600 letters and cards, 3,706,960 newspapers, book-packets and circulars, 536,800 parcels, and 6,045,228 telegrams were dealt with. The revenue from the post office was £423,056, and from telegraphs £206,842 the expenditure being, £456;171 on the post office and £272,863 on telegraphs. British India.—In 1905 there were 16,033 post offices open; 597,707,867 letters and cards, 76,671,197 newspapers, book-packets and circulars, 4,541,367 parcels, and 9,098,345 telegrams were dealt with. The revenue from the post office was £1,566,704 and from telegraphs £733,193, while the expenditure was, on the post office, £1,599,557 and on telegraphs £546,914. FRANCE The French postal system was founded by Louis XI. (June 19, 1464), was largely extended by Charles IX. (1565), and received considerable improvements at various Early History. periods under the respective governments of Henry IV. and Louis XIII. (1603, 1622, 1627 seq.).' In 1627 France originated a postal money-transmission system, a system of cheap registration for letters. The postmaster who thus anticipated modern improvements was Pierre d'Almeras, a man of high birth, who gave about £20,000 (of modern money) for the privilege of serving the public. The turmoils of the Fronde wrecked much that he had achieved. The first farm of postal income was made in 1672, and by farmers it was administered until June 1790. To increase the income postmaster-ships for a long time were not only sold but made hereditary. Many administrative improvements of detail were introduced, indeed, by Mazarin (1643), by Louvois (c. 168o seq.), and by Cardinal de Fleury (1728); but many formidable abuses also continued. The revolutionary government transferred rather than removed them. Characteristically, it put a board of post-masters in room of a farming postmaster-general and a con-trolling one. Napoleon (during the consulate') abolished the board, recommitted the business to a postmaster-general as it had been under Louis XIII., and greatly improved the details of the service; Napoleon's organization of 18o2 is, in substance, that which now obtains, although, of course, large modifications and developments have been made from time to time.' The university of Paris, as early as the 13th century, possessed a special postal system, for the abolition of which in the 18th it received a large compensation. But it continued to possess certain minor postal privileges until the Revolution.' Mazarin's edict of the 3rd of December 1643 shows that France at that date had a parcel post as well as a letter post. That edict creates for each head post office throughout the kingdom three several officers styled respectively (I) comptroller, (2) weigher, (3) assessor; and, instead of remunerating them by salary, it directs the addition of one-fourth to the existing letter rate and parcel rate, and the division of the surcharge between the three. Fleury's edicts of 1728 make sub-postmasters directly responsible for the loss of letters or parcels; they also make it necessary that senders should post their letters at an office, and not give them to the carriers, and regulate the book-post by directing that book parcels (whether MS. or printed) shall be open at the ends.' Hi 1758, almost eighty years after Dockwra's establishment of a penny post in London, an historian of that city published an account of it, which in Paris came under the eye of Claude Piarron de Chamousset,' who obtained letters-patent to do the like, and, before setting to work or seeking profit for himself, issued a tract with the title, Memoire sur la petite-poste etablie d Londres, sur la modele de laouelle on pourrait en etablir de semblables clans les plus grandes villes d'Europe. The reform was successfully carried out. By this time the general post office of France was producing ' For the details, see Ency. Brit., 8th ed., xviii. 420-424, and Maxime Du Camp, " L'Administration des Postes," in Revue des deux mondes (1865), 2nd series, vol. lxvii. 169 seq. 2 28 Pluviose, an XII. =the 18th of February 1804. 3 Le Quien de la Neufville, Usages des postes (1730), pp. 59-67, 8o, 121-123, 147–149, 286–291; Maxime du Camp, op. cit. passim; Pierre Clement, Appreciation des consequences de la reforme postale, passim: Loret, Gazette rimee (Aug. 16, 1653); Furetiere, Le Roman Bourgeois (in Du Camp, ut supra) ; " Die ersten Posteinrichturlgen, u.s.w., " in L' Union postale, viii. 138; Ordonnances des Rois de France, as cited by A. de Rothschild, Histoire de In poste-auxlettres (3rd ed., 1876), i. 171, 216, 269. We quote M. de Rothschild's clever book with some misgivings. It is eminently sparkling in style, and most readable; but its citations are so given that one is constantly in doubt lest they be given at second or even at third hand instead of from the sources. The essay of M. du Camp is, up to its date, far more trustworthy. He approaches his subject as a publicist, M. de Rothschild as a stamp-collector. There are several charters confirmatory of this original privilege. The earliest of these is of 1296 (Philip " the Fair "). Ordonnances, &c., as above. ° There is an interesting biographical notice of Piarron de Chamousset in Le Journal officiel of July 5, 1875. X%II. 7a considerable and growing revenue. In 1676 the farmers had paid to the king £48,000 in the money of that day. A century later they paid a fixed rent of £352,000, and covenanted to pay in addition one-fifth of their net profits. In 1788—the date of the last letting to farm of the postal revenue—the fixed and the variable payments were commuted for one settled sum of £480,000 a year. The result of the devastations of the Revolution and of the wars of the empire together is shown strikingly by the fact that in 1814 the gross income of the post office was but little more than three-fifths of the net income in 1788. Six years of the peaceful government of Louis XVIII. raised the gross annual revenue to £928,000. On the eve of the Revolution of 1836 it reached £1,348,000. Towards the close of the next reign the post office yielded £2,100,000 (gross). Under the revolutionary government of 1848–1849 it declined again (falling in 185o to £1,744,000); under that of Napoleon III. it rose steadily and uniformly with every year. In 1858 the gross revenue was £2,296,000, in 1868 £3,596,000. The ingenuity of the French postal authorities was severely tried by the exigencies of the German War of 1870-71. The first contrivance was to organize a pigeon service (see pigeon and also PIGEON Posr), carrying microscopic despatches Bauoon prepared by the aid of photographic appliances.' The posts. number of postal pigeons employed was 363, of which number fifty-seven returned with despatches. During the height of the siege the English postal authorities received letters for transmission by pigeon post into Paris by way of Tours, subject to the regulations that no information concerning the war was given, that the number of words did not exceed twenty, that the letters were delivered open, and that 5d. a word, with a registration fee of 6d.,8 was prepaid as postage. At this rate the postage of the 200 letters on each folio was £40, that on the eighteen pellicles of sixteen folios each, carried by one pigeon, £11,520. Each des-patch was repeated until its arrival had been acknowledged by balloon post ; consequently many were sent off twenty and some even more than thirty times. The second step was to establish a regular system of postal balloons, fifty-one being employed for letter service and six for telegraphic service. To M. Durnouf belongs much of the honour of making the balloon service successful. On the basis of experiments carried out by him a decree of the 26th of September 187o regulated the new postal system. Out of sixty-four several ascents, each costing on the average about £200, fifty-seven achieved their purpose, notwithstanding the building by Krupp of twenty guns, supplied with telescopic apparatus, for the destruction of the postal balloons. Only five were captured, and two others were lost at sea. The aggregate weight of the letters and newspapers thus aerially mailed by the French post office amounted to about eight tons and a half, including upwards of 3,000,000 letters; and, besides the aeronauts, ninety-one passengers were conveyed. The heroism displayed by the French balloon postmen was equalled by that of many of the ordinary lettercarriers-in the conveyance of letters through the catacombs and quarries of Paris and its suburbs, and, under various disguises, often through the midst of the Prussian army. Several lost their lives in the discharge of their duty, in some cases saving their despatches by the sacrifice.' During the war the Marseilles route for the Anglo-Indian mails was abandoned. They were sent through Belgium and Germany, by the Brenner Pass to Brindisi, and thence by Italian packets to Alexandria. The French route was resumed in 1872.10 7 The despatches carried by the pigeons were in the first instance photographed on a reduced scale on thin sheets of paper, the original writing being preserved, but after the ascent of the twenty-fifth balloon leaving the city an improved system was organized. The communications, whether public despatches, newspapers or private letters, were printed in ordinary type, and micro-photographed on to thin films of collodion. Each pellicle measured less than 2 in. by 1, and the reproduction of sixteen folio pages of type contained above 3000 private letters. These pellicies were so light that 50.000 despatches, weighing less than. I gramme, were regarded as the weight for one pigeon. In order to ensure their safety during transit the films were rolled up tightly and placed in a small quill which was attached longitudinally to one of the tail feathers of the bird. On their arrival in Paris they were flattened out and thrown by means of the electric lantern on to a screen, copied by clerks, and despatched to their destination. This method was afterwards improved upon, sensitive paper being substituted for the screen, so that the letters were printed at once and distributed. 8 Seventeenth Report of the Postmaster-General, p. 7. 8 Boissay, " La Poste et la telegraphie pendant le siege de Paris," in Journal des economistes, 3rd series, vol. xxii. pp. 117–129 and pp. 273–282. Cf. Postal Gazette (1883), i. 7. 10 Sixteenth Report of the Postmaster-General, p. 8. II The comparative postal statistics for all France during the years 'goo and Igo5 stands thus: 1900. 1905. No. No. Letters 980,629,000 1,113,090,000 Post-cards . . . 62,591,000 450,889,000 Newspapers, printed matter, 1,390,246,000 1,441,713,000 samples, circulars, &c. . Value of money French francs 1,422,736,000 1,834,360,000 orders Internatl. , 56,210,000 73,22 000 Value of postal orders „ 40,688,000 54,582,000 209,982,000 261,454,000 Receipts 1 8,399,000 10,458,000 The savings banks system of France, so far as it is connected with the postal service, dates only from 1875, and began then (at first) simply by the use of post offices as agencies and feeders for the pre-existing banks. Prior to the postal connexion the aggregate of the deposits stood at £22,920,000. In 1877 it reached (32,000,000. Postal savings banks, strictly so called, began only during the year 188,. At the close of 1882 they had 210,712 depositors, with an aggregate deposit of £1,872,938 sterling; in 1905 they had 12,134,523 depositors, with an aggregate deposit of £229,094,155. The union of the telegraph with the post office dates only from 1878. The following table gives the figures for 1900 and 'gas: 1900. 1905. i kilometres 117,559 129,826 Length of line . 73,004 80,622 ( miles . . Length of wire kilometres 388,814 418,331 miles 241,453 259,784 Total gross receipts francs . . 43,977,000 46,490,000 £ 1,759,000 1,860,000 Number of messages forwarded: 36,723,000 39,433,000 Home service International 3,374,000 3,686,000 Amount of International tele- 6,145,455 10,239,546 graphic money orders: From foreign countries to France . . (Total francs) From France to foreign 6,124,913 4,754,960 countries . . (Total francs) postal telephonic system began in 1879. The following table gives the figures for 190' and 1905: 1901. 1905. Length of line e kilometres 3°,142 46,992 miles 18,718 29,182 Length of wire kilometres 453,287 498,389 miles . 281,491 309,500 Messages 175,340,000 232,727,645 Receipts francs . . 17,518,000 23,495,000 £ 701,000 940,000 zux-lettres (1875); Entwickelung des Post- u. Telegraphenwesens in Frankreich,” in -Archie f. Post. u. Telegraphic (1882); " Die franzosischen Postsparkassen,” and other articles, in L' Union postale (Berne). AUSTRIA-HUNGARY The Austrian postal system is among the oldest on record. Vienna possessed a local letter post and a parcel post, on the plan of prepayment, as early as May 1772, at which date no city in Germany possessed the like. This local post was established by a Frenchman (M. Hardy) and managed by a Dutch-man (Schooten).1 Thirteen years after its organization it became merged in the imperial post. The separate postal organizations of the empire (Austria) and of the kingdom (Hungary) date from 1867. In Austria the post office and the telegraph office are 1 Loeper, " Organisation des postes de ville," in L' Union postale vii. I seq.placed under the control of the minister of commerce, in Hungary under that of the minister of public works. The following table gives the figures for 'goo and 1go4: Austria. . 1904. 1900. Post offices . . . No. 6,895 8,327 Letters and post-cards . . „ 1,193,418,000 1,421,107,000 Newspapers 116,000,000 144,986,000 Packet post : 37,521,000 44,624,000 Ordinary packets kilogs. Registered packets kronen 8,043,570,000 8,323,179,000 and letters . £ . 335,148,000 346,799,000 Receipts kronen 107,718,000 123,919,000 £ • 4,488,000 5,163,000 Expenses kronen 98,412,000 121,749,000 £ 4,100,000 5,073,000 1900. 1904. Post offices . . No. 4,923 5,097 Letters, newspapers, &c. 487,670,000 584,081,000 Packet post : 17,730,000 21,367,000 Ordinary packets „ Packets with de- ( korona 6,256,900,000 4,936,403,000 Glared value and 260,704,000 205,683,000 money letters - £ ' Reimbursements and korona 1,095,591,000 1,253,440,000 money orders . £ . . 45,649,000 52,226,000 S Postal orders korona 27,470,000 30,397,000 k 1,145,000 1,266,000 Receipts . orona 47,103,000 57,067,000 1,962,000 2,378,000 Expenses korona 39,912,000 44,560,000 1,663,000 1,857,000 GERMAN EMPIRE The Prussian postal system developed mainly by the ability and energy of Dr Stephan, to whom the organization of the International Postal Union2 was so Iargely indebted, into the admirably organized post and telegraph office of the empire—began with the Great Elector, and with the establishment in 1646 of a Government post from Cleves to Memel. Frederick II. largely extended it, and by his successor the laws relating to it were consolidated. In Strasburg a messenger code existed as early as 1443. A postal service was organized at Nuremberg in 1570. In 18o3 the rights in the indemnity-lands (Entschddigungslander) of the counts of Taxis as hereditary imperial postmasters were abolished. The first mail steam-packet was built in 1821; the first transmission of mails by railway was in 1847; the beginning of the postal administration of the telegraphs was in 1849; and, by the treaty of postal union with Austria, not only was the basis of the existing system of the posts and telegraphs of Germany fully laid, but the germ was virtually set of the International Postal Union. That treaty was made for ten years on the 6th of April 185o, and was immediately accepted by Bavaria. It came into full operation on the 1st of July following, and then included Saxony, Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Holstein. Other German states followed; and the treaty was renewed in August 186o. The following table gives figures for 'goo and 1905: 1900. 1905. Post offices No. 32,135 33,105 Letters received „ 2,893,555,000 3,855,369,000 Letters and parcels 10,508,000 10,518,000 received (value declared) moo marks 15,984,425 16,215,800 Parcels received (value not 153+985+000 186,038,000 declared) No Postal orders re- 126,217,209 162,800,261 ceived . I000 marks 7,868,860 9,807,934 2 The International Postal Union was founded at Berne in 1874. All the countries of the world belong to it, with the exception of Afghanistan, Baluchistan, China, Abyssinia and Morocco. Congresses have been held at Paris (1878), Lisbon (1885), Vienna (1891), Washington (1897) and Rome (1906). Telegraphs.' 1900. 1905. Length of line ss kilometres 108,500 I17,738 miles . . 67,378 73,115 of which under- kilometres 10,969 ' 1,460 ground . t miles 6,812 7,117 Length of wire kilometres 424,500 469,801 miles . . 263,614 291,746 of which under-.t kilometres 49,934 52,014 ground . t miles 31,009 32,301 Number of offices open to the 20,768 26,912 public . . . . Receipts Marks . 33,065,590 39,592,009 1,625,724 1,946,607 Number of messages: 28,643,849 30,275,833 Home service .. . International 12,356,840 15,300,309 ' Exclusive of Wurttemburg and Bavaria. Telephones. 1901. 1905. Length of line . . .miles 59,460 85,450 Length of wire . „ 731,174 1,672,415 Number of messages . . 766,226,337 1,207,400,000 ITALY The origin of the Italian post office may be traced virtually to Venice and to the establishment of the " Corrieri di Venezia " early in the 16th century. As early as 1818 the Sardinian post office issued stamped letter-paper. The total number of letters, newspapers and book-packets conveyed in 1862 was but 111,733,319. In 1900 there were 7234 post offices; letters conveyed amounted to 180,349,449, post. cards 82,544,547, news-papers, &c., 301,495,580, samples 9,117,526, official letters, franked, 46,302,121, postal packets 8,170,988, and registered letters of a declared value of £12,931,026. The receipts amounted to 2,429,000 and the expenses to £1,980,000.

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