Page:The Post Office of Fifty Years Ago.djvu/94

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p. 20, forms a very important item in the account; any abridgment of the labours of this class of servants must therefore be of great economical importance. The evidence given before the Commissioners of Revenue Inquiry appears to indicate the means of attaining this desirable object.

At the time of the investigation (1828) there existed in London what was called the "early delivery" of letters; that is to say, any person for a small annual fee was privileged to receive his letters before the usual hour of delivery. The privilege, I believe, still exists, but to a much less extent.

The early delivery was effected thus: the letters in question were separated from the others and distributed by persons, (generally the Letter Carriers of remote quarters, while on their way to their own proper districts,) who delivered the letters at the respective houses, leaving the postage to be collected by the proper Letter Carrier of the district, who for that purpose made a second round after completing his ordinary delivery.

Mr. Benjamin Critchett, Inspector of the Inland Letter Carriers, was examined, among other matters, as to the time required for the early and late deliveries respectively; the following is an extract from his evidence thereon.[1]

  1. Since this evidence was given, the employment of Omnibuses for the conveyance of the Letter Carriers to the remote districts, and other arrangements, have caused the ordinary delivery of letters to commence much earlier.