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A history of postal agitation from fifty years ago till the present day

A history of postal agitation from fifty years ago till the present day
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Author: Swift H. G.
Title: A history of postal agitation from fifty years ago till the present day
Release Date: 2018-09-09
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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[1]

A HISTORY OF
POSTAL AGITATION


[2]

NEW SIX SHILLING NOVELS

THE SEAFARERS

By J. Bloundelle-Burton

NELL GWYN, COMEDIAN

By F. Frankfort Moore

AN IMPERIAL LIGHT-HORSEMAN

By Harold Blore

A LOYAL LOVER

By Mrs. Lovett Cameron

BECKY

By Helen Mathers

THE TIGER’S CLAW

By G. B. Burgin

THE ACCUSED PRINCESS

By Allen Upward

MARCELLE OF THE LATIN QUARTER

By Clive Holland

THE GENTLEMAN PENSIONER

By Albert Lee

A LEGEND OF EDEN

By Harry Lander

LYONA GRIMWOOD, SPINSTER

By L. Higgin

PHARAOH’S BROKER

By Ellsworth Douglass


[3]

A HISTORY OF
POSTAL AGITATION

FROM FIFTY YEARS AGO TILL THE
PRESENT DAY

INCLUDING A FEW FORGOTTEN PAGES IN THE
WIDER “HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES”

BY
H. G. SWIFT

I have eaten your bread and salt,
I have drunk your water and wine;
The deaths ye have died I have watched beside
And the lives that ye led were mine.
I have written the tale of our life.
Kipling’s Departmental Ditties.

LONDON
C. ARTHUR PEARSON, LIMITED
HENRIETTA STREET
1900

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[5]

CONTENTS

PAGE
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTORY—THE CAUSES OF DISCONTENT AND THE RISE OF POSTAL AGITATION 5
CHAPTER II
BEGINNINGS OF COMBINED AGITATION—THE COMPULSORY SUNDAY LABOUR QUESTION—FIRST PUBLIC PROTEST AT EXETER HALL 23
CHAPTER III
ECONOMICAL REFORM, AND A LOWERING OF STATUS—AN ESTIMATE OF ROWLAND HILL—EFFORTS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE GAZETTE—THE CONDITIONS OF THE SERVICE, 1854-60 30
CHAPTER IV
GROWING DISCONTENT AMONG LETTER-CARRIERS—PROHIBITION OF PUBLIC MEETING—THE FRANCHISE AMONG POSTAL SERVANTS AND ITS HISTORY 46
CHAPTER V
FORMATION OF AN ORGANISATION—BOOTH, THE LETTER-CARRIER—CONDITION OF THE LETTER-CARRIERS—PROPOSED PETITION TO PARLIAMENT 58[6]
CHAPTER VI
BOOTH THE LEADER OF THE AGITATION—A MASS MEETING IN THE GENERAL POST-OFFICE—A PETITION TO PARLIAMENT 65
CHAPTER VII
ASSERTING THE RIGHT OF PUBLIC MEETING—PUBLIC AND PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS—CONFERENCE OF M.P.’S—THE ORGANS OF THE MOVEMENT—MEETING AT EXETER HALL—A MONSTER PETITION TO PARLIAMENT—ELUDING THE LAW OF CONSPIRACY 72
CHAPTER VIII
A TEST OF “THE LABOUR MARKET”—THE UGLY DUCKLING OF TRADES UNIONISM—MR. GEO. HOWELL’S ASSISTANCE—FURTHER DEMONSTRATIONS—THE DEPARTURE OF BOOTH 89
CHAPTER IX
FORCED LABOUR—A GENERAL POST-OFFICE RIOT—A POSTAL POET—THE WANING OF THE MOVEMENT—THE PUBLICATION OF A MEMORIAL—WHOLESALE DISMISSALS 100
CHAPTER X
INTRODUCTION OF BOY LABOUR—CONDITIONS OF SERVICE—DEATH OF COMBINATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES—POSTAL HELOTISM 116
CHAPTER XI
A PERIOD OF STAGNATION—THE BLIND POSTMASTER-GENERAL AND A GLEAM OF LIGHT—A MEMORABLE VISIT—THE FAWCETT SCHEME 124[7]
CHAPTER XII
BEGINNINGS OF THE TELEGRAPHISTS’ MOVEMENT—AN EARLY ATTEMPT AT A STRIKE—A COUP D’ÉTAT—“SCUDAMORE’S FOLLY” 135
CHAPTER XIII
DISSATISFACTION AMONG TELEGRAPHISTS—STARTING A NEW ORGANISATION—CONFERENCE AT LIVERPOOL—THREATENED TELEGRAPH STRIKE—THE FAWCETT SCHEME AND THE TELEGRAPHISTS 157
CHAPTER XIV
SEVEN YEARS OF STAGNATION—THE POST-OFFICE AND GUTTER JOURNALISM—REVIVAL OF POSTAL JOURNALISM—A CHRISTMAS STRIKE AVERTED—FIRST GLIMPSE OF A NOTABLE AGITATOR—THE PETITION THAT “HELD THE FIELD” 170
CHAPTER XV
WORK OF THE FAWCETT SCHEME COMMITTEE—A NOTABLE PAMPHLET—MR. RAIKES AND THE “AGITATOR”—A NEW POSTAL ORGAN—THE FAWCETT SCHEME AND THE “LUMINOUS COMMITTEE” 183
CHAPTER XVI
A REAWAKENING OF THE LETTER-CARRIERS—PETITIONS—DEGRADATION AND DISMISSAL OF THE LEADER—FORMATION OF THE POSTMEN’S UNION—MR. JOHN BURNS—A PLASTER-OF-PARIS CÆSAR—THE INTERVENTION OF W. E. CLERY—THE POSTMEN’S STRIKE 204[8]
CHAPTER XVII
CONTINUANCE OF TELEGRAPHISTS’ AGITATION—NATURE OF GRIEVANCES—“TELEGRAPHISTS’ CRAMP”—AN OUTCOME OF THE SUNDAY QUESTION—THE CARDIFF EXILES—CONDEMNATION OF POSTMASTER-GENERAL—THE “NO OVERTIME” PROTEST 222
CHAPTER XVIII
THE PROVINCIAL SORTING CLERKS—THEIR POSITION—THE RIDLEY COMMISSION, AND EVIDENCE PREPARED—THE FORMATION OF AN ORGANISATION—THE RIGHT OF PUBLIC MEETING 236
CHAPTER XIX
THE AFTER EFFECTS OF THE POSTMEN’S STRIKE—THE RAIKES SCHEME—FRESH DISSATISFACTION—AN ESTIMATE OF MR. RAIKES 248
CHAPTER XX
BENEFITS OF THE RAIKES SCHEME—A MARTINET POSTMASTER-GENERAL—A NEW PARLIAMENTARY POLICY—A PARTING OF THE WAYS—POLITICAL RIGHTS OF POSTAL SERVANTS—A BLOW AT COMBINATION 256
CHAPTER XXI
REORGANISATION OF THE POSTMEN—THE PROVINCIAL POSTAL CLERKS—GENERAL CONDEMNATION OF THE DISMISSALS—THE NEWCASTLE INTERVIEW—AN M.P. AND THE POSTAL AGITATOR—THE RIGHT OF COMBINATION—CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. GLADSTONE ON RIGHT OF FREE MEETING—ANOTHER BLOW AT COMBINATION—RIGHT OF FREE MEETING CONCEDED BY MR. GLADSTONE—THE GRANTING OF AN INQUIRY 267[9]
CHAPTER XXII
PROGRESS OF THE TELEGRAPH MOVEMENT—CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY—ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE—FIRST SITTINGS—THE AWARD OF THE TWEEDMOUTH COMMITTEE—DISAPPOINTMENT AND CONDEMNATION 285
CHAPTER XXIII
CONTINUANCE OF AGITATION—ANOTHER THREATENED STRIKE OF TELEGRAPHISTS—THE NORFOLK-HANBURY CONFERENCE—THE “HARDY ANNUAL” OF THE POST-OFFICE—POSTAL FEDERATION—THE JUBILEE OF POSTAL AGITATION—CONCLUSION 297

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[11]

A HISTORY OF
POSTAL AGITATION

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY—THE CAUSES OF DISCONTENT ANDTHE RISE OF POSTAL AGITATION

The long continuance of agitation and disaffection in thepostal service would seem almost to entitle the public to thebelief that the Post-Office is a place where the Englishman’sprivilege, which is to grumble, is systematically maintainedand indulged in as a recreation. Possibly to many it mightseem to justify some such cynicism as that the Post-Office isa public institution whose employés make mild conspiracy theirserious business in their working hours, and deliver letters andsend telegrams only as a pastime.

The spirit of unrest, at last finding expression in organisedagitation, has for so long been associated with the Post-Officethat that department has come to be regarded in the publicmind as not merely a vehicle of general convenience, butprincipally as a hot-bed of discontent. In strange contrastto that serene contentment and peaceableness which so distinguishesthe rest of the Civil Service, the Post-Office hascontinued to stand out, with its familiar declaration of grievances,a single discordant note in the harmony. The Templeof Mercury in St Martin’s-le-Grand has been found from timeto time the scene of angry discord, and the caduceus of themessenger of the gods, with its twining snakes, receives anew significance as a postal emblem. The ground about, that[12]should be expected to yield nothing but the perennial goldenharvest, is found to be given over to weeds, and the productionof a crop of nettles.

Until recently almost, discontent in a Government departmentwas thought a form of moral disease, and agitators werehunted as assiduously as was the Colorado beetle. There aredoubtless many among the public who actually entertain somesuch view in regard to postal servants. There are many againto whom the Post-Office is represented by the principal livingemblem in livery, the postman; and him perhaps a few tolerateas something of a nuisance, to whom they have to give

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