Frederick Millar is upset that especially at Christmas time the bad effects of the letter-carrying monopoly of the Post Office are felt by the public (1891)

Frederick Millar

In a collection of essays edited by Thomas Mackay over 100 years ago there is this interesting attack on the evils of the government monopoly Post Office at Christmas-time:

Notwithstanding the very profitable nature of the letter-carrying monopoly, it cannot be said that, at times of great press of business, the public is served with that absence of fuss and effort which ought to characterise a great and wealthy corporation. At Christmas-time the Post Office is completely disorganised. Its customers are pitifully implored not to pay exclusive regard to their own convenience, and to despatch their packages and letters according to a timetable drawn up by the Post Office to suit its own convenience… It may, however, be pointed out that private carriers do not cry to be let off, but rise to the requirements of the occasion, provide additional facilities, and all the time by prodigal advertisement solicit rather than deprecate the patronage of the public.

This book is the first salvo (of two) fired by the Liberty and Property Defence League in their war against the Fabian socialists led by George Bernard Shaw in 1890. As Christmas was approaching and the U.S. and other nationalised postal services were coming under the strain of the heavy seasonal burden, this seemed like an appropriate quotation.