Page:The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago.djvu/125

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57
SECONDARY DISTRIBUTION.

the post into remote places; because, generally speaking, they are the less penetrable retreats of ignorance. As an abstract proposition this is undeniable; and by extending the post to every place to which it can be conveyed without injury to the Revenue, the principle would be to a great extent adopted; inasmuch as such an arrangement would throw not only all the tax on the more populous places, but all the fixed expenses of superintendence, &c.: but to attempt to go beyond this, would, as it appears to me, be sacrificing the interests of the more populous, without benefiting the less populous places. For if the charge be in all cases made uniform, it is manifest either that the revenue must suffer, or that the charge, as regards the large towns, must be advanced. If Government can give up the revenue, there is no difficulty in the matter; but if not, the adoption of this principle must lead to an increase in the charge on all letters. There is no eligible medium between a penny and two-pence, therefore the universal charge would become two-pence: but two-pence per letter, or a penny in addition to the primary charge, would, in all probability, suffice for the secondary distribution, as in very remote places there might be a delivery on the alternate days only, as at present. Thus, for the sake of uniformity, postage would be doubled to the whole community, when doubling it for the part only where the transmission is accompanied with increased expense would be sufficient to secure the revenue from injury. It appears, then, that the adoption of the principle under considera-