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greater ratio, because, in point of fact, the weight of the mails increase as well as the service expands. What is eminently to be desired is that some method of compensation be found and adopted which, while it will not reduce the character and efficiency of the service, will reduce the ratio of increase in cost.

On the other hand, it is not to be forgotten that about 95 per cent. of all the mails of the United States, at some period in their transit and for a greater or less distance, are carried on railroads, and the railroads now constitute what may be called the basis of supply for all the star and steamboat service of the United States. It may be truly said that upon a satisfactory solution of this question the economical administration of this branch of the postal service largely depends, since the rail. roads furnish, admittedly, the most expeditious dispatch and the best distribution of the mail.

I will add that under your orders, I am now engaged in an investigation of this very interesting and important question, the result of which will form the subject of a special report.

It would be difficult to state with any degree of accuracy the actual annual tonnage of mails transported by railroads in the United States. The present system of weighing gives but an inconclusive test of that tonnage, as some of the mail matter may be carried in the course of its transit on several of the roads throughout the country. I may mention in this connection, and as furnishing something of an index to the enormous weight of mail transported over the railroads of the country yearly, that the average daily mail between New York and Philadelphia, as ascertained by the late regular weighing in the first section, is over 68 tons.

An additional reason for a change in the present method of compensation of railroad transportation is found in the great cost which the mere work of weighing the mails entails on the Department, exceeding, as it did during the last fiscal year, the sum of $100,000.



Cost of transportation on all routes on which rates were fixed June 30,

1885, by Post-Office Department books Cost June 30, 1804

$14,758, 495 13, 273, 606

$1,4-4, 889

Increase for 1885 over 1884

Rate of increase, 11.18 per cent.
New routes unadjusted June 30, 1885, 2,945.16 miles, estimated at $60 per

mile, half year



$1,573, 243


Cost June 30, 1883....
Add for 2,945. 16 miles, at $60 per mile, from July 1, 1885.

$14, 758, 495

176, 709

$14,9:35, 204

Less amount earned by and withheld from Pacific roads indebted to the

United States..



$13, 735, 204

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Cost June 30, 1885, Auditor's statement.
Estimated liabilities on account of the year 1885, September 30, 1885...

$13, 558, 313


Total ...
Cost June 30, 1885..

$13, 628, 313

12, 200,000

Increase for 1885 over 1884..

$1,4-8, 313 To which must be added the cost of new service ordered prior to June 30, 1885, on which pay was not fixed September 30, 1885, 1,574.47 miles, and to this mileage is attributable the difference between the estimated and the audited cost.

The increase in the length of routes for the year ending June 30, 1885, was 3,872 miles, showing, as compared with last year, a decrease of 3,080 miles. The indications are, trom reasons hereinafter stated, that the new service for 1887 will be about 6,000 miles.


The foregoing statement, showing that the $14,010,000 appropriated for this item for the current fiscal year, must be supplemented by a deficiency appropriation sufficient to cover new routes and expansion of service on old routes, which, it is thought, will bring the cost of service to $14,696,668 for the current year.


Following the practice of preceding years, the cost on June 30, 1885, $13,735,204, as above ascertained, will be used as the basis upon which to estimate.

The rate of increase for 1886 was estimated in previous report at 7 per cent. Adding this increase to cost on June 30, 1885, brings the cost for the present fiscal year up to $14,696,668. Add 7 per cent. increase for fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, and it makes the amount required for service during that year, exclusive of Pacific roads, $15,725,435.

It is believed that an amount greater than the above stated sum, rather than less, will be required. The increase is placed at 7 per cent., the same as the present year's percentage, as against 8 per cent. for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1884. An increase in railroad construction is anticipated during the next fiscal year. This estimated increase is placed at 6,000 miles, and is based upon the more prosperous business out. look, and upon the fact that, according to late statistics on railroad construction, during the first nine nionths of 1885, a large number of railways have been projected, on 200 of which, aggregating 9,000 miles in length, the work of construction has already been begun. The readjustment of pay for the regular term, beginning July 1, 1886, will fall in the fourth section, embracing a number of great trunk lines, running East and West, on which it is believed there will be a large increase in the weight of mails, and for which a corresponding increase in compensation will be required.

In addition to this, the reduction of postage on second class matter to ove cent per pound has caused the dispatch by mail of heavy weights of newspapers that were formerly sent by express, thus increasing the weight and cost whenever a readjustment is made.

The increase on account of readjustment in the eastern section the present year amounted to $439,158, or 11.12 per cent., and it is ex

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pected that the increase in the fourth section will amount to fully 12 per cent.

The above reasons seem to justify an estimated increase for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, over the estimated cost on June 30, 1886, of $1,028,767, or 7 per cent., as stated above, and exclusive of the Pacific roads.


the age.


A fully equipped railway postal car traveling over a route, with clerks to receive and distribute the mails without delay, is the best illustration of the advancement made in late years in postal progress. Prior to the introduction of this railway postal system the mails were simply carried in bulk on railroads as freight, and were subject in most cases to frequent and vexatious delay at various distributing post offices, where they were made up in new packages and remailed to their destination through the distributing offices. The distribution is promptly, efficiently, and economically made while the mail is in transit, not only to all points over the line traveled, but the mail is made-up for points far beyond. The railway postal service is one of the happiest inventions of

It saves an immense amount of time, labor, and conseqnently money, and its present organization is satisfactory and efficient.

In 1864 the cost of maintaining 22 distributive offices amounted to $800,000. With the large increase in the weight of the mails since that time, and the greatly increased rents paid for ottices in large cities, it is believed that the cost of maintaining local distributing offices would now reach the annual sum of $8,000,000, far exceeding the present cost of railway post-offices and railway posi-office clerks.

Numerous applications for the extension of railway postal service have been marle to this office during the present year, and on important and leading lines of railway, but on account of the condition of the appropriation for this branch of the service the Department was compelled to decline many of them. No extensions have been ordered be. yond what was deemned necessary and, indeed, indispensable. Cost, by the Post-Office Department books, June 30, 1885

$1,869, 488 Cost June 30, 1884

1,738,997 Increase for 1885 over 1884, 7.5 per cent....

130, 491 Appropriation for the tiscal year ending June 30, 1886, exclusive of the Pacific roads.....

$1,765, 026 The present annual rate of expenditure will nearly exhaust this sum, and a deficiency will be needed if urgent requirements for additional service are met. The estimated increase for 1886 over 1885 of 7.81.4 per cent. being insufficient, it is believed that it will require fully the increase of 7 per cent., as estimated by the Gereral Superintendent of Railway Mail Service, for the next fiscal year over the amount appropriated for the current year. This will be an increase of $123,551.82; making the amount required for the service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, exclusive of the Pacific roads, $1,888,577.82.

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The appropriation for this item for the current year is $4,632,300, but the expenditure thereunder will not exceed $4,601,000.

Anticipating the probable demand for additional clerical force on existing lines of railway post office cars and the requirements for new

lines, I estimate the increase will be nearly in the same ratio as the growth of railroad transportation. Therefore I recommend that the appropriation for railway post office clerks for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, be $4,877,000.

The suggestion made in the report of the General Superintendent of Railway Mail Service, that Congress empower the Postmaster General to use the fund created by deductions on account of failures of postal clerks, which fund is now covered into the Treasury of the United States, in paying to the widows and minor children of postal clerks killed in the line of duty, a sum equal to one year's salary of such clerk, after the amount of actual fines shall have been ascertained and duly certified by the Auditor of the Treasury for the Post-Office Department, meets with my cordial approbation, as one dictated alike by a sentiment of humanity and by a wise and enlightened consideration of the interests of this branch of the postal service.


The appropriation for special facilities on trunk lines for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1886, is $266,764.

The expenditure on account of this fund is as follows:

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This leaves an unexpended balance of $15,038.18, the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company having declined to perform the special service between Columbia, S. C., and Augusta, Ga. It will require an appropriation of $251,725.82, present rate of expenditure, to maintain this special service during the next fiscal year.

I earnestly approve of the recommendation of the General Superintendent of Railway Mail Service for the maintenance of these special facilities, and for the reasons so fully set forth by him. Very respectfully,


Second Assistant Postmaster-General. Hon. WILLIAM F. VILAS,



Copy of contract with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.
Copy of contract with the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway.
Table A exhibits cost, appropriation, and estimates.

Table B shows length of routes, andual traosportation, and cost in the several classes of inland mail service,

Table C is a statement of the railway mail service.
Table D is a statement of the steamboat service.
Table E shows the increase and decrease in transportation and cost.
Table F is a statement of deductions, fines, and reinissions.

Table H shows weight of mails, speed and accommodations for mails and R. P. O. clerks, and readjustment of pay on railroad routes, with an index.

Table I shows the rate of pay for R. P. O. cars, with increase and decrease since last annual report.

Table K states expenditures for necessary and special facilities on trunk lines.
Table L is a statement of railroad service established since last annual report.
Table M shows the growth of railway mail service from 1836 to 1885.
Table N is a statement of all contracts for mail equipments and use of patents.
Table O is a statement of expenditures for certain mail equipments.
Table P is a statement of expenditures for mail locks and keys.



Whereas an agreement was entered into on the 10th day of March, 1884, between the Postmaster-General of the United States and the Chicago, Burlington and Quinoy Railroad Company, under the provisions of which a special “fast mail train,” starting from Chicago, II., at 3 a. m., has been maintained by said company six tiines per week over the line from Chicago to l'nion Pacitic Transfer since March 11, 1834; and whereas the provisions of said agreement have been carried out with great benefit to the public; and

Whereas said contract or agreement will expire March 10, 1885, the following contract is entered into for the purpose of securing to the public these arlvantages this 7th day of January, 188.), between the Post-Office Department of the United States of America (acting in this behalf by the Postmaster-General) and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company, by Charles E. Perkins, its president, aud Thomas J. Potter and Charles E. Perkins, sureties, witnesseth:

That the said Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Company agrees to maintain the service stipulated and provided for in the agreement of March 10, 1884, and particularly the “special fast mail train,” leaving Chicago at 3 a. m., six times per week, on Ronte 23007, from Chicago, M., to Burlington, Iowa, for the compensation now fixed under the acts of March 3, 1873, July 12, 1876, and June 17, 1878, viz, one hundred and ninety-three thousand and seventy-one dollars and sixty cents ($193,071.60) per annum.

And on Route 27005, from Burlington to Union Pacific Transfer, Iowa, for the conipensation now tixed under the laws above cited, viz, one hundred and seventynine thousand two hundred and sixty-eight dollars ($179,268) per annum, from March 11, 1885, to March 10, 1808, for which period this contract shall be in full force and effect.

And in order to facilitate the transaction of the postal business on the line from Chicago to Union Pacitic Transfer, the said railroad company agrees to add within a reasonable time two railway post-office cars, each 60 feet in length, to the equipment now in use on the line, for which said railroad company shall receive no additional pay, the cars herein provided for being intended to increase the efficiency of the lines of railway post-office now in use.

And it is further stipulated and agreed that the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company shall carry on its lines all through-mails to and from points west of the Missouri River, and to and from Council Bluttis, Iowa, and the said mails shall be so sent by the Post Office Department.

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