This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Post-office schoolmaster is after Uncle Samuel's bad boys again, and the hands have to be held out for the ruler. Now that our reformed Congress has re-enacted the franking privilege for its members, so that their dirty linen can be sent free through the mails to their laundries at home, horticulturists have to be looked after, and their facilities cut down to the lowest possible ebb. In all large cities a special agent has been appointed, whose duty is to open packages and examine their contents. The smallest package must be"open at the ends," or it is subject to letter postage. It has been hitherto thought to be quite sufficient that the general envelope be open, but now every 5 or 10 cent package of flower seeds must be "open at the ends," as well as the main wrapper; even good Mr. Cresswell's"transparent wrapper" will pass no more now. On making inquiry at the Philadelphia post-office whether, in the case of coarse seeds, bags sewn at the ends roughly, so that the seeds could be examined through the stitches, would do, we were told it would not.
The package must be so that "the whole interior can be easily examined".
It is strange that in these days, when a person can. send a message by a penny postal card, that a great Government like ours should imagine its "customers" would steal a message through under cover of a package of seeds or cuttings. The whole of these "rules "are insulting to the American people. The fact is, there is no idea that any one will cheat the Government out of a penny postal card in this way. The real intention is to favor the express companies as much as possible, by embarrassing the postage of seeds and cuttings through the mail, and this makes the insulting insinuation that we are all on the alert to rob the Government of a penny message the more unbearable. It will not do, in the face of the liberal postal facilities of other countries, not to seem to be as liberal as they are to their people, so our Government can"pretend to be progressive also, and then so embarrass the working of the law as to make it practically useless.
The express companies have gained a new triumph, and all under the pretence that we will "diddle "the Government out of a penny postal card!