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Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
XXIV. To the Emperor Trajan
 
 
I AM informed by a letter from the king of Sarmatia that there are certain affairs of which you ought to be informed as soon as possible. In order, therefore, to hasten the despatches which his courier was charged with to you, I granted him an order to make use of the public post. 1  1
 
Note 1. The first invention of public couriers is ascribed to Cyrus, who, in order to receive the earliest intelligence from the governors of the several provinces, erected posthouses throughout the kingdom of Persia, at equal distances, which supplied men and horses to forward the public despatches. Augustus was the first who introduced this most useful institution among the Romans, by employing post-chaises, disposed at convenient distances, for the purpose of political intelligence. The magistrates of every city were obliged to furnish horses for these messengers, upon producing a diploma, or a king of warrant, either from the emperor himself or from those who had that authority under him. Sometimes, though upon very extraordinary occasions, persons who travelled upon their private affairs, were allowed the use of these post-chaises. It is surprising they were not sooner used for the purposes of commerce and private communication. Louis XI. first established them in France, in the year 1474; but it was not till the 12th of Car. II. that the post-office was settled in England by Act of Parliament. M. [back]
 

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