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Washington Letter

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From our Regular Correspondent. Washington, D. C, Oct. 27, 1883. It will only be flve weeks from this date before the 48th C'ongress begins its first session. The eveuts which will follow will be of importance both from a political and business view. Business and politics are associated in Congress, in fact, they cannot well be separated. The material interests of the country are the first considerations with the people. When Congress meets, the first business, afterorganizing, is to listen to the President's message upon these important niatters. Ilis ïficommendations usually outline the party policy for the future, as well as the past business. Before this occasion arrivés, it will no doubt be interesting to your readers to have a resume of the work done under the great business departmenta of the Goyernment. Nearest to the interests of the people perhaps, is the Postal Service, a bianch of government business in which everybody has a partnership. In the Dead Letter Office of tlie Postoffice Department may be seen an old leather-bound book, which contains on a few pages, each day's record of the whole number of letters malled in the United States. This volume was kept by Benjamin Franklin, Postraaster General of the Colonies, in bis own handwriting. The little retal! govermnent postofflee wbich began in this wiiy bas now increascd to an ¦ 1 - i - , - : Y - ¦ ¦ ¦ _¦¦¦¦¦. i i - .. pendituw of nearly filty million dollars a year to carry the peoples'inails. And the people tor theirpart though they are now taxed but two cents a letter, send so much mail that it is estimated that the Department will rooü beself-sustaining. Let us look into the great business system, and gain an idea of how it is manipulated and managed with so little triction and sucli fine results in convenience and benefit to the public. The Postmaster-Genera), and the First, Second and Tliird Assistant Postmaster Generáis are appointed by the President, and are the business managers of the great concern. The fornier is a Cabinet Minister and is the responsible head of the great Postal Service. He appoints all offlcers, and employés of the Department, and all postmasters and officials whose pay is not more than one thousand dollars per annutn. Wlth the advice and consent of the President he makes postal treaties with foreign countries aïvards contraets, and generally directs the management of the domestic and foreign mail service. No one man could possibly give supervisión personally to all the details which this scheme includes. Asa matter of fact, the Postmaster General only deals with results, or with ideas in the aggregate. His assistants are each respectively the Chiefsof certain branches of the concern. The First Assistant inaster General has charge of the appointing oflice, which itself includes five hwge divisions each presided over by a chief, who manages lts affairs. The Second Assistant Postmaster General has charge of quite anotlier and distinct branch of the service. This is the arrangement of the mail routes and mail service. The letting of contracts for canyiug mails by railroad, river and " Star " routes. It is the province of the Inspector's división to see tliat mail service is properly performed under Qiail contracts, and the equipment división issues locks, bags, keys, catches, etc. The Third Assistant Postmaster General has charge of the Postal Finances. His oilice isdivided into theFinancc, Postage stamp and Stamped envelope, Registered letter, Oead letter, Foreign mail, Money, and Postal order divisiona, the titles of which sisnify their respective duties. All three divisions or branches of the Postoifice Department are üke the separate departments of any large business establishment, and have an infinite nutnber ol sub-divisons which are in charge of the upper grade officials under the chiefs or Assistants. It will thus be seen how the whole business is systematizcd and controlled. The Postmaster General has an aggregate of something like twenty-live thousand assistants in the nianipulation of the mails. Each one of these aids perforan certain duties and the aggregate of all that is done comes to the Chief Official in a condensed report whicli shows at a glancethe whole result. So thorongh and nice is the manipulation that any trouble comes at once to his attention and is corrected. Among the matters which are now being discussed as improvements to mail service and which the next Congress may consider, are tlie establishment of postal savinjrs baiiks, the further reduction of postage, the establishment or purchase of telegraph lines to be operated by the Department, and olher matters of less general importance.


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