Death of an American Institution

16 Oct

In February, 1692 (New Style), definite progress was marked, when a grant from William and Mary empowered Thomas Neale “to erect, settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties’ colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years.”

Two months later Neale appointed, to manage the general Post Office, Andrew Hamilton, of New Jersey, who lost little time in presenting his credentials to Benjamin Fletcher, Governor of New York. The result was the establishment, by the legislative body of that colony in November of the same year, of a general letter office in the city of New York. The next year (1693) Penn, having been temporarily removed through royal disfavor, Fletcher was made Governor of Pennsylvania, and in the spring his administration enacted a law ordering the erection by Andrew Hamilton of a post office in Philadelphia.

This law must have taken effect almost immediately, for in 1732 Andrew Bradford, postmaster of Philadelphia, complains that nothing practical has been done to develop the post south of this city in spite of the fact that the service has been established for thirty-eight years.

A trial of four years convinced Hamilton that he could not afford to run the post at the existing rates. His appeal to the Council of Pennsylvania resulted in the passage (1697) of a law for the better support of the post, which provided, among other things, “That there be from henceforth one general letter office erected and established within the town of Philadelphia.” It must not, however, be assumed from this that Philadelphia was to have a post office building. With the postmaster general collecting his allowance out of the receipts of the office and complaining of the inadequacy of that source it is quite unlikely that any money was available for building, and we must look far into the future for the first instance of a home being specially prepared for the local Post Office.

“Presumably, Philadelphia had a Post Office, though where it was situated may not be known. The earlier arrangements for the shipment and receipt of letters and parcels probably did not include a house devoted to this use.”

Fast forward ~ 10/17/2012

Postal Service Hits Borrowing Cap for First Time

The U.S. Postal Service in September hit its $15 billion borrowing limit from the U.S. Treasury for the first time in its history, leaving the agency with only the revenue it takes in from selling stamps, shipping and other services to cover its operating costs.

The Postal Service has added $2.4 billion to its debt since June 30, pushing the agency to its borrowing cap, said Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer.

“Being at the limit is a serious situation …”


Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Death of an American Institution

  1. Wildflower

    October 17, 2012 at 12:58 am

    every time they tried to “improve the system” private buisness beat them at package delivery

    what worse, internet has allowed many to comunicate via “E mail” or “blackberry” killing the letter carrying

    and as even most have gone electronic from banking to payments to correspondence, the system all suffered from sheer incompitance to restrictions making a wonderfful dying albatrose out it all

    • The Soffitrat

      October 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Well said. This is just another example of government at its best.


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