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The Franking Privilege

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We define the frunking privilege to be an ex -'usive riglit of sending letters, paper., or locuoients (o nny part of the United State, at tho public expense, because the writer or ender holds, or has held, some particular Óf ice. This very definitioiv shows the afntf-rejablican charncter of Ihis praclice: for t fi fundomental principie of democracy, enibnded in several of our State constiiutionp, liio; no man or set of men is entitled lo separate or exclusive privileges. Unlcss, therefore, il cnn be Ehown that ii is exercised for ihe pubic good, and is highly conducivc to it, it hould be condemned and abolished as unnecessary in iiself, oppressivo lo ihe people, and inconsistent with rcpubücan usagres. The first class of this privileged order are he Postmaslere. They are. about fourteen housand in number. Their entire private nd business correspondence is car ried at the )ublic expense. Add to this tho uiimber of etters sent by them on the business of otlier eople, and it will amount to as much more. t is true that postmasters, under tlieir frank, brward a vfot number of letters and a hrge mount in remittances from subscribers to the wblisJiers of papéis, and so fr their priviege is exercised for the public good. Bui were thepodtage reduced to lvo cente on ai] etters of halfan ounce, as we contend shonM )e done, each subscriber would prefer to write nd send his own letters. Very many postmasters seek fnr the oficc merely to gain possession of the franking mvinge, and when attained, they hand over he care of the establishment to some person vho will do the duties of the office for its peruisites, and their own cerrespondence is arried at the public expense, Leing a clear gain lo them, and a clear loss to the public. - We go for its entire withdrawal from them, xcpt in iheir correspondence with the De)arment at Washington. Postmasters tnny noi only frank Jelters, but eaci one is allowed üostage equal to one daily paper free of chsrge. Snpposing every Postmaster to avai) himself of this privilege, the number of pRpers taken by them weekly would be -about 84,000, which, multipüed by 52 weeks, shows nn aggregate of 4,263,000 papers transpored annually in ths mail, for the benefit of a piivileged clai?, at the expense of the remain ug jjortion of cotnmunity. T!ie posta ge on hese, at en average of one and a quarter cents each-. would amount to 853, 530 annunlly. - n the report of the House Committee of Congress on this subject lost winter, the numer of letters written by postmasters is computed to be 1,568,G23 annually, which at ten cents ench, costs $156.892 a yenr, to which add the postage on thei-r newspapers as above. dnd we havo an aggregate of more than Two Iundred Thousand Dollars paid annually by he people for tlie benefit of a set of men whose only claim lo this gratuity Í3 that they are office kolders. The second class of office holders who enjoy this mmunüty at the expense of the people, s composed of the 275 Senators and Itepresentatives in Congress, who send any amount of letters or psekages nol exceeding twe ounces in weight.It is contended thnt a free corrcspondence between the people ond their Represeniaiives is desirable, and thot the burden of postnge wonld be too great for them to puy : thcreforn all whouse the mail should bc toxed to psy it, To this we reply, first, ihat it wouirl bc quite as equitable to lay a tox on the Representative and I1Í3 conespondenls, wbo are cliiefly benefitted by ir, as to compel the whole comniuily to pay it, who have but a remóte interest in t: second, that the present per diem and travelling fee3 of a member of Con gress are large enough to admit of the payment of a considerable postage bilí, without distressing the memherp-. and tliird, Ihat if the plan of two cents uniform postoge were ndopted, tlie tax on the ftcuviest correspondence wouJd be inconsiderabJe. Our membeia from Michigan recieve fretn $350 o @.r)00 mout!) while at Washington; and the postatr on even fifty letters and papers a diy, at tw cents each would not reduce them to imme diate poverty. The exlent o which the franking privilcg ïeabused and misused, by this classSof pereon is bevond calculation. The M. Ca fran covers every kind of partisan documenta, i immense quaintilies. It is often lent to jii friends also, for the conveyance of editoria or correspt ndence on private mat'ers. Per haps our readers will recollecta case whic occured two or three ycars since. A gentle man who6C name has escapea hs, while travel ling with his son, died suddenly . The neigh bors interposed their kind offices on the occu sion, and among other things, proposed tha his frienda shonld be immediately apprised o his by letter. Upon which the youn man went to his father's trunk, and broufrl a whole quire of wriling paper, regularl stamped by one of hia friends who was a mem ber of Congrees Í The in-valid had pro videhimself with this as a very chenp means o communicating with his relatives nt home. A third class whose correspondence is pnid for by the people, is composed of the six of ficers of the cubinet. A fonrili class includes all the head clerks n the nationnl offices. A fiftli oxemption e in fnvor of the brigadier generáis of militia, and the adjurant generala of States, on the business of the militia. A sixth clnss is composed of the Presidente nnd Vice Prcsulents of tiie United States, nnr all persons who have been President. Tliis derretí of Jibernlily tronreends that of the regal fovernmenl of Britian: for we are told thnt when Queen Victoria would send a billet lo any of her liege subjects, she sends a penny t o p:iy the' postage." The law malees no expmption i hr favor.So fiar as we cnn onderstand the object of grniiting ihe franking privilege, it is mntle an adjunct of office, in every case except that of the Ex Presidente, where it seems to be a mere gratniíy to eertnm individuáis, permanenlly confcrred by law. and is, therefore, one step towards the establishment of an order of nobïlitj'. In 1843, returns of al! the free letters and pnpers moiled in tlie month of Obiober were receiveü1 by the Postmoster General, nnd thencean estímate mnde of the annual nunijer. thus: Number of letters franked - By MembersofCon. 18,58x12= 222, G 96 " Na?l fc State offic'rs 05,339x12=1,024,063 " Postma&ters, 13(,744xll=l,563,92S To'nl of free !elierp, 2.315,1502 Tiis number of free newspapers was 596,"G0x!2 is equal to 7,161,120 perannum. Our posiüon is, that all these letters shoulfl )ay a uniform postoge of Two Cents, and newspapers the ustrnl rntes, and the franking )rivi!ege be entirely abolished. We know of no reason why office holders would not perbrm all the dutics of their offices as well vhen they pay a moderate and uniform postge, asthry can when the vvhole community s heavily taxed for their exclusive emohiment.


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