Puslapio vaizdai

shore if it were to mislead mariners? Could the merchants of the country enter into an alliance and fit out an armed fleet? States are prohibited, but if individuals were not impliedly, would it be in the power of each man to make coin for himself?

The post-office department seems to be one of those things, of which the regulation of commerce and the coinage of money are not unfit illustrations in other departments, which, from its very nature, must be exclusive. It is very true that if government has a line of posts from Boston to Washington, one might yet send letters by express over the same route and have the advantage of the double conveyance. Let it be supposed that all other objections are overcome and this is true. Still it will not be thought that private posts can be sustained save on a limited scale. For, were one ever to rival that of the gov ernment of this day in completeness, it would be the most dangerous power in the State. Now what is needed is, that every man should be able at his very door to drop his letter into a post that shall with sureness and promptness convey it to any place desired. Practically one sees at a glance that completeness is necessary. It must be borne in mind that nothing but an exclusive system can secure any post to frontier settlements, or to a large portion of the Southern States, because nothing could pay its way.

Now turning to the question of the postal system between our own and foreign countries, we can see more clearly the force of the argument in its application to the internal mail carriage.

It is true, letters can be carried to England by ship, cheaper, if you please in any given instance, under private contract than by mail. But it is also true that it will not be practically possible for one, every time he wishes to send a letter across the Atlantic to make his own arrangements for that purpose. It will not do to trust to private expresses. There might never be one. A man from a far inland town could not avail himself of either. This is a subject that must exist by system, complete and exact system. The general government alone has the only means that can establish such in the treaty making power. It is therefore a fit subject for the exercise of that power. It is also a subject not to be neglected in view of other powers granted to Congress and the duties of the sovereign power in the country. We are very fast coming to the time when a man in the most remote spot on our bor

ders can communicate with his friends anywhere in the civilized world, through the mail that runs regularly to his door, perhaps through the telegraph, speak in his friend's ear, wherever he may be. Surely it is for the interest of all men that there shall be no speculation in, or monopoly of intel ligence, or the means of its transmission. One wishes to know that wherever he is, the government is pledged to carry and bring his messages with unerring certainty, under the inviolable seal. In a democratic state of society, any thing is monopoly which does not keep this power entirely in the control of the whole body of the people, not by competition, but by united and efficient action.

The need of unity of action, in connection with the fact that the general government is the only power that can enter into the necessary stipulations with foreign powers, and make the regulations between the States of the Union requisite to establish a postal system, adds new force to the reasons on which private individuals have been excluded from interference with this most delicate machinery, the action of a single part of which, sensibly affects the whole. The whole government, then, is to be the exclusive manager of the mails, internal and foreign, for the sake of safety, promptness, unity, universality, and sureness of operation throughout this vast country and with all foreign powers. None of these ends can be secured by any thing less than the whole power of the Union.

Whilst such reasons lead to the result that Congress has the right of the exclusive and absolute control of the internal and foreign post-office department, using that phrase in its broadest acceptation, the receiving, carriage, and distribution of all mail matter, and of all such inventions and means of communicating intelligence as may or shall be resorted to for purposes for which the mail is now used, they go far to demonstrate the soundness of some principles touching the mode of exercising this right, which, though not yet beyond dispute, have been partially cyphered out by experience.

Indeed it is a corollary from them, that the power vested in Congress should be so exercised as to enable each man, from any point in the country, to communicate promptly, surely, and in the cheapest mode, with any other point in the world.

Years of returns, that should show a minimum, below which postage would not pay, should not shake one's faith in this conclusion. Yet all returns go far to prove that all mail

matter will pay best at the cheapest postage; for the reason that the actual cost of its carriage and delivery cannot equal the value of the smallest sum that can be paid. It is only because of the burden of what is not mail matter, or of free matter, that the minimum cost is not below the value of the smallest coin-if such be the fact.

The postal system is supported, not for revenue, nor any purpose but the public good. The theory is that it is paid for by a dircet tax on all those benefited by it. Government, roads, schools, and the like, are paid for by all, it being conceded that all derive benefit therefrom; though many a taxpayer never votes, or travels over the roads, or sends children to school. It might very well be urged that the direct benefit to the whole people would be quite as great from a free mail, as from various other things, which, from this reason alone, are supported at public cost. It is very well worth considering whether the mere cost of collecting the post-office tax, in the present mode, be not vastly disproportionate to its amount.

It is plain, however, that the nature of the uses for which the mail is resorted to is such, that it is for the interest of the world, that every man should be able to avail himself of the mail, with the least possible restraint; quite as much as it is that streets or schools should be free.

The day has gone by when the post-office was thought to be only for the merchant. Men know now that it is not for the interest of any body, or any State, that any sort of barriers should be set against the freest inter-communication with all parts of the world. In view of this, our foreign postal system is of incalculable importance. It should be sustained with most liberal hand, as the most powerful of engines to contribute to the comfort and convenience of those entitled to the protection of our government, and from far higher considerations of its influence on the culture and peace of the world. Vast as the cost might be of sustaining a foreign system of sufficient completeness to carry out the idea, one cannot help reflecting that it would be well spent, and would not be so great in comparison with some expenditures that now swell the annual debt of the country, on the army and navy list. Perhaps, if a more liberal policy were to govern foreign relations, it might be found that its cost would be saved in the reduced expenditures for the national police, and the ends of man quite as much promoted by provisions for kindly intercourse, as by costly outlays for war.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Every one has at hand ample material, on which he can. reckon for himself and decide on the proper price of internal postage. The main problem may be stated thus: does the actual cost of each letter amount to the value of our smallest coin.

But, without dwelling on this topic, we would remark, that the rates of foreign postage are very extravagant. It cannot cost twenty-five cents to take a letter to England or Ireland, or forty cents to carry one to California. The postage to most foreign countries varies from a quarter of a dollar to one dollar. Such rates are so enormous as to be a serious obstacle to the correspondence which most needs fostering. With many countries the postal arrangement is such that it can hardly be said that it secures a mail at all.

Whilst we aim, within our own borders, to secure in the most perfect form, completeness, promptness, safety and cheapness, either from some lingering jealousy of foreigners, or other causes as idle, our foreign postal policy seems to be managed with different views.

Yet it cannot be denied, on a just or practical estimate of the relative importance of different relations, that if a distinc tion were to be made at all, it might be found expedient to discriminate not against, but in favor of foreign correspondence. It is well to hold Americans, scattered as they are over the world, true to their allegiance; to keep them warm with American ideas, and keep alive their love for their country, for in these days they are missionaries to the rest of men; and whilst there are within our borders many thousands of men and women, from almost every country on the globe, who have given the best proof of their love and fidelity to our government by adopting it, it is well that no means should be omitted that can aid in cherishing their love of home, the land of their nativity and education, the relatives and friends of their childhood.

The foreign influence that would result would be, increase of knowledge, advancement in science and the arts, increase of wealth and comfort, and, above all, sympathy, love, which would quietly settle many troublesome questions that present hard problems to generalship and statesmanship, and would do some good work in the causes on which man is laboring.

[blocks in formation]


I.-Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte von Dr. Ph. G. A. Fricke a. Prof. d. Theol. zu Leipzig. Erster Theil., &c. Leipzig, 8vo. Vol. I. pp. xxii. and 391.

DR. FRICKE is a young man not long ago appointed extraordinary Professor of Theology at Leipsic. We have before us a small work from his pen at an earlier day, with the title: Nova Argumentorum pro Dei Existentia Expositio. Pars I. et II. (Lips. 1846. 8vo. P. I. pp. 40. P. I. pp. 39.) It is a valuable tract, learned, judicious, and promising much from the diligence and ability of the author in years to come. It was noticed at the time by Schöberlein, in the tenth No. of Reuter's Repertorium for 1847 (S. 27, et seq.). Prof. Fricke has recently prepared the volume named above, as a manual to aid him in teaching ecclesiastical history. Without finding fault with the valuable works of Gieseler and Neander, both of which have been translated by accomplished American scholars, and laid before the public, there is still need of a manual like this of Dr. Fricke. He divides the history of the Christian Church into three periods, namely:

I. The Ancient Period, from Christ to the Reign of Charlemagne ;

II. The Middle Period, from Charlemagne to the Reformation; III. The Modern Period, from the Reformation to the present time.

He intends to devote a volume to each period.

This volume contains an introduction with the usual discussions on the history of the Church; and a preliminary history of Christianity, in which hebraism and heathenism are briefly defined and described; then comes a brief and special introduction to the history of the first period; and next, that history itself, which he divides into three parts, namely:

I. Of the Inward Development of Christianity;

II. Of the External Development or extension of Christianity; III. Of the Constitution of the Christian Church.

I. He is sometimes inclined to follow the authority of the Acts rather than Paul's epistles. In treating of the three portions of Church history, he is necessarily brief, but by no means a compiler from general histories of the Church; he always goes back to original sources, and refers his students also to the modern protestant writers, whose works bear upon the subject in hand. His chapters on the Apostles and the Apostolic Fathers are well considered and valuable; he does not make the antithesis between Paul and Peter so great as Schwegler and others have done,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »