LONDON, July 1.--Mark Twain tomorrow will endeavor to prove that the
Saturday Review's designation of him as "the real American ambassador
to Great Britain "is founded on truth, for after luncheon in the
house of commons he will accompany Mr. Henniker Heaton to the British
postmaster general and urge the establishment of penny postage (2 cents)
between the United States and Great Britain. Speaking of his project tonight,
"The whole burden of postal cost comes upon the senders of letters.
To my mind it is nothing but downright robbery to extort $1 a pound
for letters. If the post office is in the robbery business let it be
on a decent scale. If it is going to rob the public, let it do it for
$10, instead of $1. A crime of magnitude may be forgiven, but petty
larceny always is abhorrent.
"Speaking postally, my mind goes back to the days when it cost
as much as a quarter to send letters to New Orleans. We did not have
stamps in those days. My father used to give me the letters with the
money to take them to the post office. This constituted my one source
of income, as it did for most of the youths of Missouri. I pocketed
the money and the letters went just the same, only the receiver had
"I believe this system did more to undermine the moral fiber of
the boys of Missouri than anything I know. Fortunately, my moral character
since has been rehabilitated.
"When England in 1848 invented stamps, my feelings were decidedly
anti-English, as America took up the system and my income disappeared,
as my father used to buy stamps, put them on the letters, and I had
to trudge to the post office and mail them without any recompense.
"At that time when the proposition was advanced to reduce postage
to 5 cents for short and 10 cents for long distances, the same cry was
made which is now raised, that the reduction would ruin the post office,
but the cry was false. The reduction increased the revenue. A reduction
in postage between the United States and great Britain to a penny would
have the same effect."