Our Grandfathers' Letters

George Washington never saw a postage stamp or an envelope, says the Decemebr issue of Success. They were unknown here until 1837, after Rowland Hill had introduced them in England. Letters were written, folded, and addressed, all on the same sheet, and stuck with a wafer or with sealing wax. Our early statesmen could hardly have dreamed of the millions upon millions of portraits of themselves that would some day be broadcast by a great system. In 1800, the mail routes included a few cities in Maine, Georgia, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia, making tri-weekly deliveries in summer and bi-weekly in winter. There was no postmaster-general in the Cabinet until 1829. Letters were charged twenty-five cents postage for anything over four hundred and fifty miles; half a century later, ten cents, prepaid, carried a letter three thousand miles, and, under that distance, five and three cents. The popular pen was the good gray-goose quill. It ws not until 1819 that we got our first steel pens from England, where Perry had just begun their manufacture. Henry Clay learned to write by tracing the letters on sand with a sharp stick, and Daniel Webster's first pen was surreptitiously plucked from his mother's pet goose, his ink being soot mixed with water. A few individuals were the envied possessors of gold pens which were made in Eurorpe, but the used "Dutch quills."

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Christian Science not Hypnotism
January 31, 1901

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