IN FORM A REPLY, IN REALITY A SURRENDER.
[Liberty, September 10, 1887.]
Appreciating the necessity of at least seeming to meet the indisputable fact which I opposed to its championship of government postal monopoly, the Winsted Press presents the following ghost of an answer, which may be as convincing to the victims of political superstition as most materializations are to the victims of religious superstition, but which, like those materializations, is so imperceptible to the touch of the hard-headed investigator that, when he puts his hand upon it, he does not find it there.
The single instance of Wells, Fargo & Co., cited by B. R. Tucker to prove the advantage of private enterprise as a mail carrier, needs fuller explanation of correlated circumstances to show its true significance. As stated by Mr. Tucker, this company half a dozen years ago did a large business carrying letters throughout the Pacific States and Territories to distant and sparsely populated places for five cents per letter, paying more than three to the government in compliance with postal law and getting less than two for the trouble, and, though it cost the senders more, the service was enough better than government's to secure the greater part of the business.
This restatement of my statement is fair enough, except that it but dimly conveys the idea that Wells, Fargo & Co. were carrying, not only to distant and sparsely populated places, but to places thickly settled and easy of access, and were beating the government there also,—a fact of no little importance.
Several facts may explain this: 1. Undeveloped government service in a new country, distant from the seat of government.
Here the ghost appears, all form and no substance. "John Jones is a better messenger than John Smith," declares the Winsted Press, "because Jones can run over stony ground, while Smith cannot." "Indeed!" I answer; "why, then, did Smith outrun Jones the other day in going from San Francisco to Wayback?" "Oh! that may be explained," the Press rejoins, "by the fact that the ground was stony." The Press had complained against the Anarchistic theory of free competition in postal service that private enterprise would not reach remote points, while government
does reach them. I proved by facts that private enterprise