7 MARCH 1885, Page 14


[TO THE EDITOR Or THE " SPECTATOR "] Stn,—A very remarkable instance of the speed at which messages can be carried under a well-organised system was afforded by the "Overland Pony Express" between St_ Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, established exactly a quarter Of a century

ago, on April 3rd, 1860. The distance was two thousand miles, and the time occupied was eight days, or at the rate of 250 miles a day. The stages were sixty miles each, the ponies a cross between the American horse and Indian pony, the total weight of matter carried was ten pounds, and the charge for carriage was $5 per quarter-ounce.

The riders were trappers, scouts, and plainsmen, selected for their hardihood and courage, and they received for their arduous and dangerous work, according to Mr. H. T. Williams, the enormous salary of $1,200 per month each. They are said to have been rarely a minute late ; and the trains at each end being timed to start on their arrival, the distance between ocean and ocean was covered in fourteen days.

The Company, however, was not a financial success; and on the opening of the telegraph, in 1862, it was wound-up, with a loss of $200,000.

Another recorded instance of a rapid ride was the carrying of an election dispatch from St. Joseph to Denver, a distance of ,625 miles, in sixty-nine hours, the last ten miles being covered in thirty-one minutes.—I am, Sir, &c., Manchester, Afarch 3rd. V. K. ARMITAGE.