Page:The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago.djvu/73

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POSTAGE TOO HIGH.

If it be granted, then, that the demand for the conveyance of letters has increased during the last twenty years, in the same ratio as that for the conveyance of persons and parcels, which can scarcely be doubted, it follows inevitably that, for some cause or other, there is, in effect, a loss in the Post Office revenue of £2,000,000 per annum.

In support of this view of the case it may be stated, that, in France, where the rates of postage are less exorbitant than with us, the gross receipts are said to have increased from nearly 24,000,000 francs (£960,000) in 1821, to 37,000,000 francs (£1,480,000) in 1835, or fifty-four per cent., in fourteen years. The increase of the net receipts of our own Post Office, which it is assumed above ought to have taken place, within the same period, is seventy-one per cent.; but this difference is more than justified by the superior increase in population and commerce in this country, as compared with France. Besides, the high probability is, that the net revenue in France would be found to have increased more rapidly than the gross revenue. These considerations would lead us to infer, that the effective loss to the Post Office revenue, resulting from some cause or other, is even more than two millions per annum.

The unsatisfactory state of our Post Office revenue is thus referred to by Sir Henry Parnell: "The revenue of the Post Office has been stationary, at about £1,400,000 a year, since 1818. This can be