Online Encyclopedia

POST

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 176 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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POST, and POSTAL SERVICE. The germ of modern postal systems is to be looked fcr in the earliest organized establishment of a staff of government couriers. In the postal system of Spain and the German empire there is express record of permission to government couriers to carry letters for individuals in April 1544; and within fifteen or sixteen years that permission had grown into a legalized and regulated monopoly, whence the counts of Taxis drew part of their profits as postmasters-general. In Great Britain existing private letters of the 15th century—some, perhaps, of the 14th—bear endorsements which show that they were conveyed by relays of men and horses maintained under the control of the government, and primarily intended for its special service. In several states on the continent of Europe the universities had inland postal establishments of a rudimentary sort at an early date. The university of Paris organized a postal service almost at the beginning of the 13th century, and it lasted in a measure until 1719. In various parts of Europe mercantile gilds and brotherhoods were licensed to establish posts for commercial purposes. But everywhere—as far as the accessible evidence extends—foreign posts were under state control.
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