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The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Masters And Postmasters

The Philatelist | 2006-04-23.3030 LMT | Philately

Good day, and welcome to another enthralling edition of Stamp Nook! Today we look at the hubris that lurks in the hearts of men of great power -- Postmasters-General.

In 1859, Charles Connell, Postmaster-General of the then British colony of New Brunswick, was entrusted by Lieutenant-Governor J.H.T. Manners-Sutton with procuring new stamps for the switch from pence to decimal currency for postal use by May 1, 1860. These would include 1, 5, 10, and 12½ -cent denominations. Connell, foreseeing the need for overseas postage, added a 17-cent stamp to list. Late that year, Connell went to New York to oversee their production by the American Bank Note Company, whom he had contracted to do the printing.

Connell Stamp (Scott #5)

In April when a set of the new stamps arrived at the office of the Lieutenant-Governor, furore erupted upon learning that the 5-cent stamp -- the most commonly used denomination, being the rate for domestic first class mail -- bore a portrait of Postmaster-General Charles Connell himself! Unprofessional behaviour even today, but positively scandalous at a time when nearly every stamp featured the likeness of Her Majesty or one of Her Majestic Offspring.

This controversial stamp (Scott #5) resulted in Connell's resignation on May 18. Writing to the Lieutenant-Governor, Connell unrepentantly declared: "I have fulfilled my duty and did what I supposed I was fully authorized to do ... At all events I have violated no law." Quite.

The stamps were never issued. Connell's replacement, James Steadman, had new 5-cent stamps printed bearing Queen Victoria (Scott #8). Connell supposedly purchased all 500,000 of his stamps and burned them "sheet by sheet in his garden". Still, some of them managed to escape the conflagration, including a set of printing proofs up at auction by Sotheby's next month that are expected to bring US$50,000. (See here for more on how many Connell Stamps actually survived and insights into Connell's anti-Royalist sentiments.)

While a bold move on Connell's part, the idea of placing Postmaster-Generals on stamps is hardly novel; the first regular postal issue by the United States in 1847 (Scott #1) bore the image of Continental Congress Postmaster-General Benjamin Franklin, who was stripped of his Crown appointment as Colonial Postmaster-General for his role in fomenting anti-Royalist rebellion in order to form a new society based on Philatelic Enlightenment. Undoubtedly, Franklin served as a role model for Connell.

Even today, this position of postal power leads its holders to controversial and subversive acts. The current US Postmaster General, John E. Potter, is embroiled in an attempt to "circumvent the will of Congress" -- apparently there's one Sioux too many for Gen. Potter. (Interestingly, Potter is an alumnus of the Sloan School of Management, which is aligned with the Tavistock Institute, a crypto-Royalist faction of the NWO. Of topical interest to Mr Zapato, the SSM is based at MIT, that hotbed of mind-control boffins.)

But are these acts of hubris or a justified movement toward a new and natural Postal Paradigm? The essence of the post is the flow of information -- and hence power. This has been so since the time of Xerxes and his Angarum, without which the mighty Persian Empire wouldn't have been possible. All the military might in the world won't be of any use if you're not up on what's what.

Those who control the post are the gatekeepers to this power, and while Postmaster Generals are the most powerful agents of the post, they are still subservient to other political masters -- uncomfortably so, as can be seen in the actions of Franklin, Connell and Potter. But if the King is only the King because the mail is addressed to him, what happens if the mailman stops delivering?

In 1516, King Henry VIII established the office of "Master of the Posts", a title that eventually became "Postmaster". That subtle name change was an act of deliberate irony by those who hold the office as post-master is in fact a crypto-anarchic statement -- a call to put our masters behind us. Postmasters want nothing less than the overthrow of our current power structure, replaced by their own system of information-power flow in which we will all be post-men (little do parents suspect that Postman Pat is actually conditioning their children to accept a form of transhumanism!)

According to my connections in philatelic circles, when the Postmasters finally take their rightful place as the informed leaders of a post-master society, the collective Postmaster Generals of the world will unite under the command of a more powerful post officer -- Postmaster Ultra:

Postmaster Ultraman photo from Mainichi Daily News

I, for one, eagerly await the Philatelic Golden Age he will bring. Can't be much worse, can it?

In the mean time, happy philateling!

End of post.