The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 01, 1913, Page 13, Image 13

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The Commoner
Free Delivery for the Towns and Villages
Speech of Hon. Warren Worth Hailey in the House of Representatives
Mr. Speaker, I wish in a few words
to direct attention to what seems to
me a most unwarranted and an ex
tremely flagrant and inexcusable dis
crimination in our postal service a
discrimination so rank and so utterly
indefensible that it is a marvel it has
gone so long practically unchallenged.
I refer to the denial of that free
delivery and collection of mail to the
towns and villages of the country
which have long been enjoyed by the
cities and which in recent years have
been extended to rural districts. The
injustice to the towns and villages is
obvious. It puts them at a distinct
disadvantage. It subjects them to a
handicap which would not be toler
ated for an instant were it to come
in the form of a different and a
higher rate for postage. Yet a dif
ferent and a higher rate of postage
would not be a worse hardship than
that imposed by a discrimination in
service such as that which actually
has been accepted with scarcely a
murmur for so many years.
City delivery service is now in
operation in 1,709 towns and cities,
serving approximately a population
of 47,000,000, at a cost of $38,000,
000. Experimental delivery is in
operation in 114 communities, at a
cost of $90,000. Officials uf the post
oflice department estimate that there
are 6,604. communities, with an aver
age population of 2,000 where there
is no carrier delivery service. Esti
mating that it would require an aver
age of two carriers, at 600 each per
annum, to serve each of these com
munities, should delivery service be
established) the cost would be
$7,924,800 per annum.
Mr. Speaker, can there be any
sound reason why the 12,000,000
residents of townu . nd villages
should 1 e denied what is freely and
most properly given the reside! '3 of
city and rural districts? To me the
situation seems a- ialous. It is
glaringly inequitable. In proportion
to number the tdwns an." villages are
bearing an equal burden with cities
and rural districts in supporting this
government. They are therefore
equally entitled to all its benefits and
Can there be any gentleman on
this floor or elsewhere, Mr. Speaker,
who would seriously propose that
letters mailed in a town or village
should bear a 3-cent stamp while
those mailed in the city or on a rural
route were required to bear only a
2-cent stamp? Such a proposition
would be rejected instantly. Yet
little protest has thus far been heard
against a discrimination which in ef
fect is just as little capable of de
fense. If the patron of the postofflce
who lives on Bror Iway or out in the
country is entitled to have his mail
collected and delivered at his door, is
not the patron who lives in a town or
village equally entitled to similar
Mr. Speaker, he is not get'lng it.
Two or three or more times every
day he must drop his work to go to
the postoffiqe to receive or to deposit
his mail. This means loss of time;
it means inconvenience? it aeansjust
as much to him relatively as it would
mean to the banker or the farmer if
he were obliged to quit i'i counting
house or his plow for a trip to the
postoflice. The notion that time in a
town or village is a negligible quan
tity is as idle as the notion that we
may tax ourselves rich or that to ship
more gooda out of the country than
we bring in is to create a "favorable"
balance. Time is money in the town
or village as much as in the cly or
the rural district, and the resident of
town or village is entitled in all con-
postmaster general undor such rogu
mtions as he may prescribe.
"That all acts or parts of acts In
consistent with the provisions of this
act are hereby repealed."
1 would hardly be fair to mysolf
did I not admit that I nm nntiintntl
science to every consideration and j to such delivery, and for this purpoao
advantage which wo accord to tho the sum of $10,000,000, or so much
4 V iuu vu.) vi me larmer oui tnoreor as may bo necessary, is hero
vo jcmuie ruiui uiatrici.
It was with these thoughts in mind
Mr. Speaker, that a few days ago I
brought in a bill (H. R. 8947) under
the provisions of which free delivery
Is to be extended to all towns and
villages in the United States which
are not entitled undor existing laws
to such delivery. I am extremely
glad to say that this proposal met
with an instant response from com
munities which it is designed to re
lieve. Newspaper comment upon this
measure has been wide and mainly
favorable. The tone of the country
press is especially enthusiastic.
Everywhere the proposal has been
hailed as a sound one, supported by
every consideration of reason and
justice. I shall ask leave, Mr.
Speaker, to append to my remarks
some of these newspaper comments,
believing that the members of this
house will be interested in them, as
I have been, and that they will lend
strength to my appeal for what I
deem to be simple justice to many
millions of our best and most use
ful citizens, for everywhers the qual
ity of the citizenship of town and
village is recognized. It is largely
from the town and village that the
best element of the great centers of
business are recruited.
The town and the village are the
nurseries and tho schools where
strong, capable, ambitious, and re
sourceful men and women are fitted
for the great things which need to
be done. It seems to me .a saf3 as
sertion that five out of six of the
membership of this body were village
bred. The foundations of the careers
they have made for themselves were
laid in these small communities,
where the touch cf elbow was close,
where human syr-pathy was spon
taneous, where life had room to ex
pand, and where the social ameni
ties were unrestrained by dubious
It was my good fortune to grow
up in a village myself, and I can
therefore speak with some knowledge
of village life and of village needs.
There may be a sneer here and there
from the city dweller, who fancies
that the villager has nothing to do,
and that going to the postoflice two
or three times a day is a mere diver
sion, a break in the dreadful
monotony. But life in the town or
village is just as earnest a proposi
tion as life in the city or in the
country. It has its cares, its Inter
ests, its compulsions, its necessities,
its exacting duties, not less than life
elsewhere. Thank God it Is not so
sordid, not so hopeless, not so steeped
in monotony as we see It in some of
the crowded centers; it Is not so
frivolous and idle and meretricious
as we see it as it flaunts its fine
roach out to tho coin munition now
rolntlvoly Isolated. I want It to moan
an much to town and village as It to
day moans to city and rural district.
And so I appoal horo on this floor and
to tho people of tho country for what '
I conceive to bo bare Justice Irt the '
interost of good business. I appeal
for this In behalf of 12,000,000
American citizens whoso rights are
by annronriatnd nut of tmv mnnnv in
the Treasury not otherwise approprl-! 0CUal wIth tho r,K,,tH of ,! t" rent.
ated, to bo available Immediately oniyct wno nro Kottlng less than an equal
tho passage of this act and to bo ox.Hoatment. Thoy soem hitherto to
nondGd for tho niirnnnn iiv ! "nvo been volcolcs. No ono haa
. . w " " " t i .
stood horo to speak for thorn. But
In my humble way lot mo plond
their causo. Thoy are tho victims '
of a sheer Injustlco. A dlspro-
portlonnto burden routs upon thotri.t
Advantages as much their right
as thoy are the right of the
Colonel Roosevelt, at t luncheon
at Oystor Day, told a hunting story. ,
'Smith," he said, "ad a narrow,
escape from being killed by a lion in ,
" 'When the Hon closed Its Jaws on
vou,' asked a friend, 'did you glvor
yourself up for lost?'
" 'Oh, no,' Smith nnxworod clamly,
'You ace, I sleep In a folding bed.' "- ,
New Orleans Statos.
feathers at the resorts of fashion;
but it is sincere, full of zest, alive to
its responsibilities, stimulated always
by neighborly kindness and by that
relative freedom of movement which
the overcrowded city makes Impos
sible. The bill as introduced by me- is as
"A bill (H. R. 8947) to authorize
the postmaster general to extend-the
free-delivery mail service to towns
and villages of 1,000 population or
"Be it enacted, etc., That the post--master
general be, and he is hereby,
authorized and directed to extend
free-delivery mall service to all towns
nnd villages in the United States hav-
. o TnnninHnn of 1.000 or over
that are not by existing law entitled I now neglected element. I want it to
by a double motive In doniandlnr aniothor '"""ons who enjoy them are
ll-n . .. . . . " . til ll Vinl.l fpjltn tltrttii In li rt n.imn s4
equalization ot mo postal servlco in "" " ui
behalf of a class now denied almost economy. But there Is no economy
tho best half of that servlco jt In iJHtico. It always Imposes pea
seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that If we'a,t,e,8, And tho Penalty of this In
open tho way for spending tho1J,,8t,C0 ,8 1)0,l,& ,,a,(l ovori' cIa' b
revenues of tho government for use- thc People or the United Statos In o
ful purposes wo shall automatically , no8!aI ervlcc that falls short of that
closo the way for spending thorn for MBhost efficiency which would Ho
purposes far from userul, say for! attained by carrying the malls to all
battleships and big guna, for fortifi-a tno ma,,s are now crrled to some.
cation and military expansion. The
waste of money in this direction has
been wanton. Had it 1 een thrown
into tho sea less harm would havo
been done; thero would have, been
tho loss only of tho money Itself or
of the labor It represented. But when
It is devoted to the building of dread
noughts and to the maintenance of a
great standing army In a time of pro
found peace, we add to the unneces
sary burdens thus imposed tho waste
of human effort Involved in the draw
ing of thousands of young men from
gainful pursuits into a service vhlch
brings no gain either moral or ma
terial and makes them pensioners
upon the labor and Industry of the
I do not care to dwell particularly
upon this phase of the matter, but it
is one which deserves consideration.
We have been running mad over
militarism in its various aspects, and
even a democratic congress Is propos
ing to spend or will be asked to spend
more than $300,000,000 on the army
and navy during-the fiscal year to
come. Against this I protest. In our
platform wo aro pledged "to that
simplicity and economy which befit
v, democratic government." Our
solemn word is plighted to tho Ameri
can people that we will lighten the
burden of taxation and sharply de
part from the program of extrava
gance to which the republican party
had been committed for years. Shall
wo disregard the duty which our
stewardship Imposes? Shall wo out
do evon the republican party in lavish
expenditure? Or shall we lop off the
useless and the profligate and turn
our attention to matters which will
yield a return on the Investment?
Mr. Speaker, I am willing to spend
money freely where It can be spent
with a reasonable assurance of bring
ing a return. There is therefore no
hesitation on my part in proposing to
spend a few millions for a needed Im
provement In the postal service. This
service has always brought substan
tial betterments. It has always
yielded abundantly in public benefits
on the investment. No function of
the government comes closer to the
people than that of the postoflice. Its
services are of inestimable value. We
can scarcely conceive of the condition
which would prevail were this servlco
cut off. wholly from all as It Is now
cut off In part from the towns and
villages of the land. Our business
and social life is so intimately knit
up with this service that to destroy It
would be almost to destroy that life
Itself. And I want this Intimate rela
tion to be more intimate still.
I want It extended to include the
I feel 'tis growing colder
Evory year;
And my heart, alas! gets older
Every year.
I can win no new affection;
I havo only recollection,
Deeper sorrow and dejection,
Every year.
Of the loves and sorrows blended .
Every year;
Of the joys of friendship ended
Every year;
Of the ties that still might bind mo
Until Time to Death resigned me.
My infirmities remind me
Every year.
Ah! how sad to look before us
Evory year,
When thc cloud glows darker o't uk
Evory year;
When we see the blossoms faded
That to bloom we might have aided,
And immortal garlands braided
Every year.
To the past go more dead faces
Every year,
As the loved leave vacant places
Evory year.
Everywhere the sad eyes meet us;
In the evening's dusk they greet us,
And to come to them entreat us.
Every year.
Yes, tho shores of life are shifting
Every year;
And we are seaward drifting
Every year;
Old pleasures, changing, fret us;
The-living more forget us;
There are fewer to regret us, i
Every year.
But the truer life draws nlgher
Every year;
And Its morning star climbs higher,
Every year.
Earth's hold on us grows slighter,
And tho heavy burden lighter,
And the Dawn immortal brighter,
Every year.
Chamber's Journal.
. x
'1 7i