Why the Victorians Needed a Revolution in Letter Writing

Catherine J. Golden

in Posting It

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033792
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039336 | DOI:
Why the Victorians Needed a Revolution in Letter Writing

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter looks at postal reform stories that appear, for example, in Rowland Hill's pivotal 1837 pamphlet Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability, reports from the Mercantile Committee on Postage and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Postage, period books and articles, and Henry Cole's postal reform skit, which casts Queen Victoria as a major proponent of postal reform, a part she, in turn, played in real life. It considers the extravagant claims of supporters alongside the dire predictions of opponents of postal reform. Tales of Rowland Hill running to the pawnshop and allegedly playing the part of the Good Samaritan in the Lake District, pre-reform anecdotes of isolation and impoverishment due to high-priced mail, and post-reform stories aligning moral, social, and economic improvements with the Penny Post share a key attribute: they moved their audience to take revolutionary action.

Keywords: Mercantile Committee; Penny Post; Post Office; postal reform; Henry Cole

Chapter.  17733 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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