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184

Detailed Addresses.

were

Their poorer classes,' he continues, are certainly better educated, and whilst seldom profuse on their letters, they are cautious enough not to leave anything of consequence unwritten.' Time was, however, when even in enlightened Scotland, quaint superscriptions

not entirely unknown. The following examples are given, under the head of 'Postal Arrangements,' in Captain Dunbar's curious work entitled Social Life in Former Days, chiefly in the Province of Moray, the relative letters being all dated at the beginning of the eighteenth century :

'ffor Mr. Archbald Dumbarr of Thundertoune to be left at Capt. Dumbar's writing Chamber at the Iron revellthird storie below the Cross north end of the close at Edinr.'

For Captain Philip Anstruther off Newgrange att his lodgeing a litle above the fountain-well south side of the street Edenbrough.'

ffor Mrs. Mary Stowel at Whiteakers in St Andrew Street next door save one to the blew balcony near the sun dyall near long aiker London.'

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At a still more recent date, an 'unsophisticated Highlander' is said to have thus addressed an epistle to his brother in the Scottish Metropolis :-Heer she coes to Embro to Tonald my proather doon a pack closs 3 stares 185

Post-Office Statistics. upp-if this winna fin' er oot the deil winna fin' er oot.

When it has been fully ascertained, after much elaborate procedure, that nothing further can be done to effect the delivery of a letter--if it contains an address, it is returned to the writer on the same day that it reaches the Returned or Dead' Letter Branch; and when possible, this is done without breaking the seal or examining the contents, by means of information on the outside of the cover.

Post-Office Statistics.

According to the latest Report of the Postmaster-General, the correspondence of the kingdom has risen from about 70,000,000 of letters in 1839 (the last year preceding the introduction of penny postage) to 808,118,000 letters in 1868. Several causes have combined to bring about this vast increase of correspondence. The reduction of postage-thanks to Sir Rowland Hill--the growth of the population, the increase of trade, the spread of education, and the improvements (over and above the reduction of postage) which the post-office

186

Unaddressed Letters.

has effected with regard to the transmission of letters, have all contributed to produce this remarkable result.

Of the 808,118,000 letters which passed through the post-offices of the United Kingdom during the year 1868, upwards of 3 millions were disposed of as follows :Returned to writers,

3,196,044 Re-issued to corrected addresses,

151,810 Returned unopened to Foreign Countries,

135,629 Destroyed, or in hand,

331,826

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It appears, however, that the proportion of returned letters in Foreign countries is considerably larger.

Perhaps it will hardly be credited that, during the same year, no fewer than 13,833 letters were posted without any address; and of these, 281 contained cash, notes, bills, and cheques, to the amount of £6375. The numbers applicable to the respective sections of the United Kingdom are not separately stated in the PostmasterGeneral's Report, but I am satisfied that the posting of unaddressed letters, either with or without coin, is a very rare occurrence on the north side of the Tweed !

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crease.

The number of Valentines which passed through the London post-office in 1864 was upwards of 530,000, being an increase of more than 35,000 upon the previous year; and in 1865 there was a further and still larger in

As in former years, nearly one-fourth of the Valentines posted in London in 1865 were posted in the western district; and those sent from London to the country were more than twice as numerous as those sent from the country to London. Surely this must indicate a very large amount of unrequited love in the Great Metropolis! About six years ago it was computed that more than 91 per cent. of the inland letters were sent in envelopes; while in the case of foreign and colonial letters, the proprotion, as might have been expected, was considerably smaller ; viz., about 65 per cent. During the year 1864, our foreign and colonial correspondence (outward and inward) amounted to 28,000,000 letters, being an increase of 2,000,000 on the previous year. Of these, 6,771,000—or nearly one-fourth of the whole-passed between this country and France ; and 4,865,000 between this country and Canada, British North America, and the United States.

188

Undated Letters.

I ought to mention that all my figures relate entirely to letters, independently of the very large and rapidly increasing number of newspapers and articles transmitted under the Book and Pattern privilege.

Sometimes it becomes a matter of great importance to ascertain the date of a letter, and where it is not specified inside, the post-mark is, in most cases, sufficiently distinct to supply the information. This is perhaps the only reasonable objection that can be urged against the use of envelopes, seeing that, in many instances, they are not preserved along with their enclosures ; and even where they are preserved, it does not necessarily follow that their connexion with the letters which they contain will always be admitted. A very ingenious contrivance, in which letter and envelope were combined, was introduced a few years ago, but it does not appear to have come into use even among men of business, some of whom still adhere to the old form of making up a letter. Many persons are extremely careless in regard to the dating of their letters, and great inconvenience occasionally results from inattention to this important point. The vague announcement of Monday

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