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these expenses, including the balance on the books of the Auditor, the gross rev enue, and the balances of appropriations available, amount to $10,584,074, leaving a deficiency of $1,469,173 to be provided for.
OCEAN STEAMSHIP AND FOREIGN MAIL ARRANGEMENTS.
The contract with the Ocean Steam Navigation Company for monthly trips between New York and Bremen, and New York and Havre, via Southampton, expired on the 1st of June last, and temporary arrangements were made for the continuance of that service. The contract for the service on the Bremen Line is with Cornelius Vanderbilt, and upon the Havre Line with the New York and Havre Steamship Company. Each contract provides for thirteen round trips annually; and the compensation to be paid is limited to the United States postages, sea and inland, accruing from the mails conveyed. This, it will be observed, is a very considerable reduction upon the former pay, assuming that the postages for the year will be nearly the same as for the year ending 30th June last, when on the Bremen Line they amounted to $124,193, and on the Havre Line to $90,042. * Moreover,” says the Postmaster-General, “it appeared to be a fit occasion to inaugurate a system of self-sustaining ocean mail service ; and I shall esteem it fortunate if the present temporary arrangements lead, as I trust they may, to the adoption of this as a permanent system.”.
A contract has been made with the Panama Railroad Company for the conveyance of the mails, as frequently as may be required, between Aspinwall and Panama, at an annual compensation of one hundred thousand dollars. It took effect on the 1st day of April last, and is to continue until the 1st of October, 1859, the date of expiration of the contract for the connecting lines from New York and New Orleans to Aspinwall. Prior to this contract, the price of the Isthmus service was regulated by the weight of the mails, at twenty-two cents a pound, and at that rate the cost for the last year was $160,321.
A temporary contract has been made for semi-monthly mails between New Orleans and Vera Cruz, at $29,062, being the same rate as that with the former contractors, who abandoned the service.
The report recommends an appropriation for an extension, for one year, of the existing contract with the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
The existing postal arrangements between the United States and England ope rate unequally upon the former, and negotiations are pending for a radical change. A postal convention has been concluded with France, and also with the Hanseatic Republic of Hamburg. (These were published in full in vol. xxxvii. of the Merchants' Magazine.)
CITY POSTS. Improvements have been made in the letter-carrier system in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, providing for the delivery and collection of letters several times a day. If the system works well, it is proposed to extend it to all the principal cities of the Union. The Postmaster-General states that he “ does not feel at liberty to advise the free delivery of letters by carriers," bat recommends a modification of the present laws, so as to give him authority to have the deliv. ery made at one cent a letter, whether the carriers' receipts are sufficient to meet the expenses or not.
EXPRESS AGENTS ON RAILROADS.
Arrangements are being perfected to secure the more regular transmission of the mails on the great through routes. Additional agents are employed on several of the long routes, whose duty it is to receive the mail pouches at one end of the line, giving his receipt, and accompany them to the other, guarding against all delays that can possibly be avoided, and especially to see that passengers enjoy no advantage over the mails, but that both are equally expedited under all circumstances. These arrangements are now being tested on a few of the leading routes, and, if they succeed, the system will be extended to all through routes.
NEW YORK AND NEW ORLEANS ROUTE.
The consideration of the measures necessary to be adopted to insure greater
speed and regularity in the transmission of the mails between New York and New Orleans occupies a large space in the report. Under the present arrangement sixteen different parties are employed in the service, with separate schedules, each of which must be exactly complied with to insure the performance of the through trips in contract time. The time prescribed in the contract schedules for the performance of the through trip is six days; but the instances in which this speed is actually attained constitnte rather the exceptions than the rule. Numerous accidents conspire to interrupt its regular transmission. Proposals had been received for carrying a mail between New York and New Orleans across the peninsula of Florida, but as the railroad connecting Fernandina and Cedar Key is yet unfinished, a contract had not been concluded. The transportation of the mail between these cities by the proposed route-by steamship from New York to Fernandina, by railroad to Cedar Key, and thence to New Orleans by steamship--would avoid many of the causes of interruption and delay to which the land route is subject. The Postmaster-General, in calling attention to the proposals of the Florida Railroad Company, and to the advantage of having the whole of the line under contract to a single party, with a schedule fixing the period within which the entire trip should be performed. observes :
"Upon the question of accepting the proposals for this service, considering the oncertainty of the period at which the railroad portion of the proposed line will be completed, I have been unable, thus far, to announce to the bidders any dennite determination. But the subject is referred to here because it is deemed to be one of vast public interest, in view of the promise which the contemplated new arrangement affords of so materially facilitating the communication between the two sections and the two great commercial capitals of the country.”
OVERLAND MAIL TO CALIFORNIA. A large portion of the report is devoted to the “ overland mail service to Cal. ifornia," which has been put in operation, in accordance with the act of March 3, 1857. A lengthy statement is made, setting forth the considerations which induced the PostmasterGeneral to select the southern route as the most practicable, and the reasons which decided the Department to accept the bids of Messrs. Butterfield & Co. Although the route selected does not bear out the glowing descriptions given of it by some of its earlier explorers, the evidence laid before the Department led it to concur in the opinion of Mr. Bartlett, that it presents more advantages for a great national highway, than any yet discovered, to California. The service is semi-weekly, and is to be done for $600,000 per annum. The contractors bind themselves to carry the entire letter mail within twenty-five days for each trip from the Mississippi River to San Francisco; according to a fixed schedule of arrivals and departures, and in a safe manner, they being accountable to the United States for any damages which may be sustained tbrough their want of care. The term of the contract is six years, commencing on the 16th of September, 1858.
POSTAL DELIVERY AND SUB-POST-OFFICES IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, The Postmaster-General, after conference with the postmaster of the city of New York, has established in that city, as far as the present laws of the Department will permit, a system of post-office delivery somewhat similar to that of London. There are six sub-post-offices in different parts of the city, and to these offices letters are sent seven times each day, and collections from them for the mails are made eight times a day, by horse express. The locations of the subpost-offices are :-Station A, No. 129 Spring-street; station B, No. 439 Grandstreet; station C, Troy-street, corner of Fourth-street; station D, No. 12 Bible House ; station E, No. 368 Eighth-avenue ; station F, 408 Third-street.
VOL. XXXVIII.-NO, I.
RAILROAD, CANAL, AND STEAMBOAT STATISTICS.
RECEIPTS AND WORKING EXPENSES OF RAILROADS IN ENGLAND AND WALES.
The following well-considered article, copied from the London Economist, will be read with interest by all who are interested in the cost and earnings of railroads in the United States :ENGLISH RAILWAYS :—WHAT THEY HAVE COST, AND WHAT THEY MAY EARN, AND
It became very apparent, in our recent article on this subject, if any reliance can be placed on the official evidence then adduced, that on the clearest and most urgent grounds of financial policy the general maxim of railway management must be to seek increasing receipts by cheapening the service—that is to say, by bringing the railways more and more into favor with the great bulk of the people.
This is a conclusion, which, however plain it may appear to be now, was not considered to be plain at all a few years ago. The notion then was that an expensive system of transport could only be supported by an expensive class of customers; and hence arose that unfortunate misapprehension which led railway managers to run into all kinds of absurdities of expense and attention to firstclass passengers, and to tax their ingenuity in the infliction on the second and third-class carriages and trains of inconveniences and delays, which might have the effect of compelling the humbler class of travelers to pay as much as the rich ones, by obliging them to resort in self-defense to the most expensive kinds of railway conveyance. There never was a greater practical mistake. Those who fell into it set out with a fundamentally erroneous view of the most important and simplest facts of the case; for the very circumstance of the costliness of the kind of transport afforded, was in itself decisive against the possibility of working it to a profit by the aid of the limited class of rich people. Traveling on railways, except in a comparatively few cases, is a purely voluntary act, and like all other voluntary acts involving some bodily exertion and some expenditure of money, it will be avoided as much as possible, unless strong inducements of facility and cheapness are held out. There is a rate of fare which would effectually keep out of first-class railway carriages even all rich people, except those who for business purposes were compelled to pass from one place to another. But for the accommodation of this class—and of a large class besides--the comparatively rude and inexpensive machinery of the stage coaches was amply sufficient. The machinery of the railways, compared with the machinery of the coaches, was in a proportion somewhat resembling the relation between Mr. Denison's new clock at Westminster and the commonest American time-piece; and it is abundantly plain that if the railways were to spend £40,000 á mile in constructing a road which should carry no more passengers than the ancient turnpike, whatever might be the scientific or patriotic claims of the enterprise, it could never even pay its own expenses.
The very expensiyness, therefore, of the article compelled those who controlled it to charge a very low price, and to charge a very low price for the obvious reason that there is not in existence any class or classes of persons who have the means, even if they had the inclination, to pay a high one. The managers of great public enterprises seem to forget constantly, that in Great Britain, for every single person who has an annual income of more than £100, there are fifteen or sixteen whose incomes are less than £100; and that for every person who lives in a house worth £10 a year, there are more than two persons who live in houses worth considerably less than £10.
Now, it is by the power of the pence that all great financial economical results are worked out upon a large scale. It is a shallow and imperfect philosophy, which allows itself to be dazzled and misled by the imposing appearance on paper
of a few large totals. It was that sort of philosophy which (aided of course by the protectionist views) upheld so long the reign of high duties on tea, sugar, coffee, fruits, and all the other articles of comfort and luxury required by our popalation. It was seen that the consumption of the rich classes would remain the same, whatever (within reasonable limits) the duty might be, and it was sought to make the fixed but limited consumption of these classes the basis of a national revenue, by taking it as highly as possible. But the consumption of tea and sogar in Belgravia, when compared with the possible consumption among the swarming households of Whitechapel or the Borough, was hardly so great as the consumption of the valiant youth of the nursery tale, compared with the powers of absorption manifested by the giants whom he overthrew.
Free trade bas emancipated us from the odious burden of protection, but it has done for us a scarcely less service in proving beyond all cavil, that in order to raise a large revenue from an article in great demand, the price of that article must be so low as to bring it within the reach of the poorest.
Now the condition of the railways as regards passengers and goods is pre cisely that of the custom-house, as regards the duties on sugar and coffee. There is a choice of two courses in both cases, namely—high rates and a small, fluctuating, sickly demand, or low rates and a roaring tide of consumption.
There is strong evidence of the soundness of this conclusion in the return of the number of persons conveyed on the different classes of carriages even during the last three years, 1854-56. For cxample :
(C) England and Wales railways. Three years, 1854–56. Number of persons conveyed in first, second, and third-class carriages in each year :Year. First.
14,448,000 35,490,000 68,348,000 1855..
13,151,000 31,397,000 51,608,000 1854.
12,249,000 33,284,000 46,793,000 We find there that the first and second-class passengers exhibit but little progress ; but in the third-class the increase is from 47 millions to 58 millions of persons, and in point of magnitude the third-class exceed the first-class very considerably more than three-fold.
If better railway dividends are to be obtained, they must come from this source. The reservoir containing the pence and the shillings must be still more vigorously and skillfully tapped. The cheaper carriages and the cheaper traine must be made so convenient and attractive as to present inducements to the working classes to resort to them as the most agreeable mode in which to expend the funds they are willing or able to apply to purposes of curiosity or amusement. We are happy to perceive that most of the railways are now finding out the soundness of this au vice. Many of them, to be sure, admit it very reluctantly. They still adhere to the old modes of petty annoyance to second and third-class passengers, they inflict upon them frequent changes at junction stations, they push them into ill-ventilated carriages, and they do as little for the decent provision of the commoner waiting rooms as it is possible. This policy is wholly & mistake. There is no law compelling a poor man to travel, and he will most assuredly stay at home unless a railway journey comes before him surrounded by many attractions. But unless all the facts we have adduced are delusive, the parties who will most suffer by the distaste of the poorer classes for railway traveling are not those classes themselves, but the persons who, having spent more tnan 300 millions sterling in making railways, are naturally desirous to obtain a fair return for the risk and outlay.
It most not be supposed that we urge upon railway managers the necessity of cultivating the cheap passenger traffic upon any sentimental or fanciful grounds. We are not so foolish as to expect that 70 or 80 millions of railway passengers are to be accommodated every year with superior railway carriages and fast trains, simply because some benevolent person may desire to see everybody as well off as bimself. We argue the question on no such absurd basis. It happens, however, in this instance, as in most other large instances of the same kind, that the very course which is financially the most profitable to the owners of the capital which
has been expended, is also the most beneficial on moral grounds to the large body of the inhabitants of the country where the works have been raised. There are wonderful resources of control and remedy in that stern and constant law, which compels those who may be enabled to expend vast capital in the construction of works destined to earn a revenue, to seek that revenue by the most direct appeals for the support of the poorest, and, therefore, the most numerous order of per
We have seen, then, that any increase which may have taken place during the last four or five years in the non-preferential dividends on railway property is to be traced, if not wholly, at least in great part, to increased receipts obtained by a more skillful and decided reliance on the cheap kinds of service. We have now only to ascertain in what degree, if at all, a diminution of working expenses may have been an element of increased profit.
In the following table (D,) a statement is given, under the leading heads of the working expenditures, per mile open, on the English lines during the three years, 1854–56 :
(D) ENGLAND AND WALES RAILWAYS—THREE YEARS, 1854-5-6.
3,175 3,013 2,922
46.2 It is manifest from these figures, that a diminution of working expenses has not in any manner contributed to the improved dividends. On the contrary, there has been a growth since 1854 in the proportion borne by the expenses to the receipts. The wbole, therefore, of the improvement in the net return is due to augmentation of the commoner kinds of traffic.
It is not to be disguised that one of the most important questions connected with the future results of railway management, as concerns the shareholders, relates to the probability or non-probability of a growth of the working expenses. The high prices of nearly all the commodities required for working a railway, and the higher rates of wages, have already sensibly affected the cost of keeping a line open. If, from the gradual influence of the new gold, the general range of prices and wages should be further advanced, it is quite possible that for a time, longer or shorter, somewhat difficult struggle might have to be maintained by the railways between the augmentation of the working charges on the one hand, and the limits imposed by their parliamentary maximum fares on the other.
At present, however, the cases are very few in which the rates of toll actually charged are the same or nearly the same as the maximum rates authorized by the empowering statutes. And further, not only is there at present a considerable margin between the actual and authorized rates, but, as we have ed