arranged upon a new and more convenient Plan: so that the Routes and the Seats relating to them are brought under the Eye in the same page.I am more taken by the fact that he now gives the names of the coaching inn or inns at the various post towns. I also welcome Paterson's collaboration with the Post Office, which has led to the inclusion of a table of principal towns, giving the time of arrival and departure of the mail.
Since the mail was the fastest service on the roads, by plotting the time of the mail along a route we can get some idea of the shortest possible journey times. Unfortunately the one detail that Paterson leaves out is the time the mails arrive and depart from London. No matter, revisiting the journey to Cheltenham we can get some idea of what went on. Here are the times given by Paterson:
|Southall||10 p.m.||4 a.m.|
|Uxbridge||10-40 p.m.||3-50 a.m.|
|Stoken Church||1-30 a.m.||11-20 p.m.|
|Tetsworth||2-20 a.m.||11 p.m.|
|Oxford||4 a.m.||10 p.m.|
|Witney||6 a.m.||7 p.m.|
|Burford||7 a.m.||6 p.m.|
|Frogmill||10 a.m.||5 p.m.|
|Cheltenham||11 a.m.||4 p.m.|
I would guess that the post left London an hour before it arrived in Southall, and arrived back an hour after leaving there on the inbound journey, giving a journey time of 14 hours out and 13 hours back. For that speed of service you would have paid 8d for a letter consisting of a single sheet of paper.
Paterson also provides a table which can be used to calculate the cost of a pair of post horses for any distance from 5 to 20 miles, at rates of from 12d to 18d per mile. Posting down to Cheltenham by the route given in my earlier post would cost between £4-12s-6d and £6-18s-9d for horses alone if one started at Tyburn Turnpike. Add to that the cost of refreshment along the way, and the various emoluments that you would need to furnish to postillions and inn servants, and long-distance travel starts looking an expensive proposition.