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pany leased the premises in 23d street, the neighborhood has come rapidly into popularity as a retail business quarter, and some of the finest stocks in New York are to be found there.
Asa S. Blake, the popular agent of the Broadway branch of the Adams, having been assigned to a more active position, was succeeded by Fred. H. Piper, who was afterwards transferred to "headquarters;" the position is now filled by John T. Marshall, formerly of the freight department.
The 23d street office is becoming of great importance from its locality, and is doing a large social, as well as mercantile business, under the management of its very courteous agent, John H. Andrus.
The 42d street office, one of the Express bee-hives, is in charge of that reliable “old-time Expressenger," Andrew W. Swett, and is most ably conducted.
ORGANIZATION OF THE ADAMS EXPRESS CO. IN 1880.-President—Wm. B. Dinsmore; Vice-president—E. S. Sanford; Directors-Wm. B. Dinsmore, E. S. Sanford, S. M. Shoemaker, Alfred Gaither, John Hoey, Henry Sanford, Jas. M. Thompson, Clapp Spooner, Jas. E. English; Manager-John Hoey; General Superintendent-Henry Sandford; TreasurerJ. C. Babcock; Secretary-Jas. M. Thompson; Cashier-D. B. Barnum; Auditor-C. P. Dieffendorf; Superintendent-Wm. Hoey.
The Government Express Company, that is to say, the post-office department, is a powerful rival for the small merchandise package business, and the Adams, like the American and other companies, finds it hard to compete with an institution whose rates are not at all governed by the actual cost of transportation; any deficit in receipts (meaning Uncle Sam's loss by the mail express) being made up by an appropriation.
The postal money-order system, and the sale of drafts by the banks, are all proper enough, but, of course, the more there is of it, the more it takes from the Express.
Still the Adams does a very large business for the Wall street monetary institutions and firms, and for the banks in
general, and transports over its routes the money of the United States Government.
Out of the metropolis this Company has very little operation within New York State, an area almost exclusively worked by the "American" and "United States." The immense amount of business accruing to the brokers and speculators of the stock exchange, averaging a hundred millions of dollars, or more, every week, affords some "coign of vantage" to the Express.
THE "MERCHANTS' UNION," AND WHAT BECAME OF IT.
In the history to which this is the sequel, Charles S. Higgins is mentioned as the general superintendent of the American's so-called South Western Division. Just prior to that time, Robert L. Johnson had resigned the supervision of the Eastern Division (mainly New York State) to Col. Daniel Butterfield, whose assistant was W. B. Peck, now agent at Buffalo. It was in 1857 or 1858, when the duty of general supervision of this division was devolved upon the too-willing Higgins, as a mark of the company's approval of his long service in important positions. It gave him an extensive area, viz.: a portion of Pennsylvania, all of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Louisville, Ky., Canada, and New York; and east, via the Albany and Springfield route, to Boston. He had excellent division superintendents under him, but the work was too much for him at his advanced life, and in 1871 he died, very sincerely lamented.
In 1860, the American's capital stock was increased to $1,000,000. (It is now estimated at $18,000,000.) Henry Wells was president; John Butterfield, vice-president; William G. Fargo, secretary; Johnston Livingston and Alex. Holland, directors.
The interests and their proprietors, consolidated in the new organization, rendered the American what the drivers would call a strong team in 1860. Every man in the board knew his business very thoroughly, having had long experience; and back of all was a resolute energy united to physical and mental power.
Circumstances soon brought their capacity to "the crucial test." The war of the rebellion began, and with it came extraordinary demands upon the American for Express facilities. The business doubled in magnitude the first year of the war, and increased until hostile operations began to decline, and the
beginning of the end was at hand. All of the important railroads and freight companies had as much as they could do for the War Department in the transportation of clothing, tents, commissary supplies, munitions of war, cannon, firearms, etc., without competing with the express companies, or taking a pound of freight away from them. Indeed, the American Express Company was compelled, by force of circumstances, to accept a great many things, in the way of freight, not usual for it to carry-even to considerable quantities of cotton in bales. Probably, its business was larger from the fact that the enemy occupied the lion's share of the Adams Express territory, west and south of Washington. [The Adams can well afford the loss, as its business for government, always important, was greatly increased by the war.]
Both the American and the Adams were unjustly accused by malicious persons, at the outset of the war, of lending their facilities indirectly to the enemy, by forwarding goods to and from the south. Messrs. Wells and Holland answered one and all of these aspersions, as far as they related to their company, in a communication to the New York press, as early as May, 1861. It was as follows:
THE EXPRESS COMPANIES AND THE REBELS.
THE AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY IN REPLY TO MR. GAZZAM.
OFFICE OF THE AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY,
To the Editors of the Evening Post:
The communication from E. D. Gazzam, chairman of the Committee on Transportation of Contraband Goods, dated at Pittsburg, April 29th, and published in your paper of May 2d, gives a very incorrect statement of the course pursued by this company (the American Express Company) in regard to the transportation of contraband goods destined for the seceding States or for any other point. In place of this company or its officers or agents having, as alleged, "gone around to various houses which had been shipping this kind of goods by the Adams Express Company * * and informing those houses that if they would ship their goods by the American Express Company such goods would pass safely by other and more northern routes," &c., &c., this company has, on the contrary, through its officers and agents, issued orders to all their collectors and receivers of freight to take nothing like arms or munitions of war, or any kind of contraband articles, for any point in the seceding States, or on the borders, or any
other place, without the same was accompanied by a permit from the chief of police, and they have numbers of these permits now on file; besides which they have stopped on the way and refused to forward many articles of which they had only a doubt of their nature, their intention and object having been to place every obstacle they could in the way of allowing anything of the kind passing out of the city, for fear that it might get to points from which the smuggling into the southern States (into which this company run no lines and have no interest) would be more easily effected. The officers of the federal, State, and city governments are fully aware of the course we have pursued from the beginning, and approve of the same, and are constantly employing us in transporting for them.
Will you please, as an act of justice, to insert this in your paper of to-day. Respectfully, &c.,
HENRY WELLS, President. ALEX. HOLLAND, Managing Director at New York.
A large number of expressmen had enlisted at the first call of President Lincoln for soldiers.
All of the principal Express companies were fully represented in the ranks of the Union armies. The American's quota was a gallant one. From New York to Chicago, and from Chicago to Omaha and St. Paul, agents, messengers, clerks, and drivers were found quite ready to give up "Express life," and go to the front, in defense of the dear old flag. How many of the hundreds who went ever returned deponent saith not, but all who did, came back with an honorable record, and found places and promotion awaiting them.
When the Confederate armies had capitulated, and peace was established, the American had amply vindicated its claim to usefulness, for it had been of incalculable service to Abraham Lincoln and his government, through its facilities in the empire states and throughout the west.
No quarter of the Union had contributed so many men to fight our battles as the vast region traversed by the Express cars and messengers of this great company. Of course, the easy and constant communication of the three thousand or more New York and western States' local agents of the American with the families and friends of the brave fellows who had gone from that region into the ranks of the Union armies, was not only a grand convenience, but a most beneficent amenity of the war. It was of prodigious advantage to the government,