Sunday, July 25, 2010

"The King's Best Highway"

In his new book, The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America, author Eric Jaffe describes the early days of colonial mail delivery between Boston and New York.

According to a review by Bill Kauffman that appeared in the Wall Street Journal,  "By 1700 mail 'ebbed and surged' along what was by then called the Post Road. Traveling on horseback, sack-bearing 'post riders' crossed rivers and swamps and hills, plunging 'deep into the woods and blind into the darkness' as they hop-scotched the network of inns that doubled as post offices."

It goes on to say, "Ben Franklin, as colonial America's deputy postmaster general, played a major role 'in shaping the modern mail service,' Mr. Jaffe says. Franklin issued punctilious edicts that ranged from mandating sensible accounting practices to requiring post riders to blow their horns every five miles, even if only the bluebirds were within earshot. 'You are not,' Franklin instructed riders, 'out of Friendship or Compliment to any Person whatsoever, to delay his Majesty's Post one Quarter of an Hour."

To read the entire review, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM