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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/117

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acter, will be found as satisfactory as if they were those of a single state. In later years the development and application of this general idea, through the progress made by the physical sciences, have far exceeded the hopes of the most sanguine. Take, for example, the post and the telegraph. A few years ago the wildest visionary would never have dreamed of the cordiality which to-day exists between the different peoples in their international relations. The postal and telegraphic services have contributed largely to this result. The same treaty unites Turkey and Russia, France and Germany, Montenegro and the United States.

Down to 1830 the postal system was not very well developed even between different parts of the same country; and of course was much less efficient between different countries, where greater obstacles to its progress would naturally be encountered. It was only after this period and in consequence of the new relations to which a long peace had given rise, aided by the development of means of communication by land and sea, that the different countries felt the necessity of regulating their international postal communications. Without studying those treaties as such, let us take a view of their object and utility.

Two countries who wish to regulate their international postal exchanges in a secure way must come to an understanding on the means of transportation they will use, whether it is by railroad, stage, steamers, or sailing-vessels, and what contribution to the expense of carriage will be made by the respective parties to the contract. The questions to be considered are: What will be the expense of mails thus transported? Will the postage be paid by the sender or receiver? In what proportion will the expenses be borne by the offices coöperating in this transportation? It is on these points also that naturally arise the chief difficulties, in consequence of the conflicting interests of the contracting parties, each viewing the matter from his particular standpoint, and each seeking to obtain the greatest benefits from the regulations adopted.

In general, two postal administrations do not content themselves with exchanging mails directly between the two countries; each of them, generally, has existing arrangements with other states which they use as an intermediary. For instance, France, on account of its geographical situation, plays this rôle for a number of countries; it serves as an intermediary for communications between the countries of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and Great Britain. A letter may have to traverse many countries to arrive at its destination: thus, a letter addressed from Lisbon to the Hague passes through Spain, France, and Belgium; it has three intermediate countries to traverse. Therefore, regulations must be made between the services of direct exchange and those of transit. By transit we mean the countries traversed; thus, the French transit is necessary to communicate between the United States and Italy, under present regula-