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Certain red tape officials have prepared a report recommending that Wells, Fargo & Co. be restrained from carrying letters, though the United States postage thereon be fully paid. We do not believe that anything of the kind can be done, and we are very certain it ought not to be done if it can be. There is no law to prevent a private individual or a corporation carrying letters, if only the United States postage is paid. There is no such law now, and we do not believe there can be one in the future. The Government may have a right to a postage it has not earned, but, that conceded, its rights stop there. Individual liberty of action requires that every person should be entitled to have his letters carried by any private method that may be advantageous to him. The public good requires that the Government should have a monopoly of collecting the legal postage. When it gets that its interest ceases, and it has, of right, no further concern in the action of individuals. Its interests being protected, it should leave others to protect what they consider their interests. The fact should be borne in mind that it is not a question of payment of postage. The right to collect that is, and always has been, conceded to the Government, and the payment has always been duly made. But if, in addition to that payment, the public are willing, as they show they are, to pay an additional fee for advantages the Government does not supply, whose business is it to interfere? Nobody is wronged, but everybody is benefited. The company is satisfied with the patronage it enjoys. The public is manifestly satisfied, or they would not elect to voluntarily pay the additional fee, and, in the end, even the Government is greatly advantaged. Mining camps, villages and towns are built up, and become places of importance, contributing not only to the postal revenue, but to every other branch of the revenue of the nation. The company carries letters to places where there are no postal facilities, and by paying the postage to even such places they contribute money to the revenue, which the Government is not in a position to earn for itself. The Express companies have been a boon, incalculable, to the whole Pacific Coast. They were a necessity, and grew up with the country. They have performed services that the Government is in no position to perform. They are continuing them still, and will be required to do so for long years to come. It would be little short of a calamity to many outlying portions of the coast, if Express facilities were cut off. The service required, especially among the camps in the mountains, is altogether exceptional. No mail service has ever adequately discharged such service, and will hardly be likely to do so hereafter. Government has not been in the habit of letting contracts for carrying mails a hundred miles or more, in order to reach a solitary mining camp, where the service must be performed in winter by following a trail, often on snow shoes. The Government gets its full revenue for services it does not, and cannot perform, and therewith, it should be satisfied, and even rejoice that thousands of miles of service is performed, toward which it contributes nothing. The report of the Commission is conceived in error, and ought to be ignored. It will be time enough for the Government to interfere when our people complain that they are paying two fees for a single service. They do not so complain, and there is no more popular or convenient institution on this coast than that of the Express Co. of Wells, Fargo & Co.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
March 20, 1880