Stamps - Whither Are We Drifting?
( Originally Published 1893 )
EACH mariner on the Philatelic seas remembers full well the day upon which he first shipped before the mast, unlearned, yet eager to learnówith what joy he embarked upon the long voyage outlined before him.
What fond recollections cluster around us as in memory's light we read the logbook of our voyage !
Yet, as we sit in the quiet of our state-room to-day: we pause and wonder at the causes of so many staunch craft that have weathered the gales for years, now drifting hopelessly about on the open sea.
Could we but divine the causes of the vessels hopelessly drifting, could we but read the records of their voyages, they might serve as a lesson to us to keep to the prescribed track, and not wander into each frail arm of the sea which is 0pening before us.
For example, there is a craft in the distance which is foundering on the coral reefs of despair, and which any moment may plunge down, down through the unfathomable depths to the ocean bed.
Years ago, a trim, unassuming, but staunch craft, was launched for its first voyage, and for years it has plied its way, picking up cargoes here and there, and proving a source of remuneration as well as deep knowledge to its owner. But to-day, what do we see ? A water-logged craft, full to the deck with a miscellaneous cargo, all heaped together in the wildest confusion.
A little of this, and a little of that, all in the same compartment, separated by naught, and the constant heaving of the vessel has promiscuously united all these ingredients into an admixture positively worthless.
And to gain this mixed cargo the captain has put into every little by-port where channels were narrow and breakers cast their white caps on the shore. Few vessels could withstand such shocks, and is it any wonder that today that once promising craft seems but a wreck of its former self ?
Let us take this as a lesson, to forever keep to the open sea, t0 accumulate only a distinct cargo, and never t0 overload.
Let our cargo be the regular postal issues only ; let us not take on a few hundred locals, a few thousand revenues, and an indefinable cargo of steamship companies, express franks, official seats, double impressions and perforations.
Should we ship such a mixed cargo as our dismantled neighbor has done, we would find ourselves in the same distressing plight, with no helping heart or willing hand to tow us into port.
And let us keep to the open sea ; let us not steer off two or three degrees to the westward to take on a cargo of postal cards, nor two or three degrees to the northward to take on an assortment of entire envelopes, but let us keep to the open sea, where free from narrow channels, with never a fear of a coral reef or a hidden rock, we push on and on until our cargo is completed, and our voyage nears its end.
But you ask, what of the frail craft that is now foundering off the rocky reef ? Let the skipper, if he be a sensible one, throw that portion of his cargo which is thrown together, overboard, or at least a large portion of it. When this has been accomplished, he will see his vessel right herself and stretch forth her wings to catch the breeze as she gallantly plows the waves towards fairer seas.
Whither are we drifting ? Are we mindful of the chart ? Do we keep to the prescribed path ? I fear there are too many of us taking on these miscellaneous cargoes. and at last we will find ourselves overloaded and going down.
Let us keep to the open sea, and complete our voyage so auspiciously begun.
UNIVERSALITY OF PHILATELY.
WHERE is the class of persons who have no representative marching under the Where banner of ? Is there any sort of people who have not surrendered one of their number to the fascinations of Philately ? What nation can boast of a total insusceptibility to the charms of stamp collecting ? In casting about for an explanation of the power wielded by Philately over the fancy of its followers, one is moved to exclaim, in despair of evolving a logical answer : " Tell me where is fancy bredóor in the heart or in the head ? How begot, how, nourished ?" Stamp collecting is wholly monopolized by no one class of individuals. It is the common property of all sorts and conditions of men, and it is our purpose to cite a few illustrations in the hope of proving the truth of the assertion.
A writer recently stated that Philately was free from toughs" and the baser sort of men. Generally speaking, this may be true, but it is not strictly so. There are bad men who collect stamps ; men as bad as any who " ever scuttled ship or cut a throat," although they form a very small percentage of the totality of collectors, It is not every one who can appreciate the enjoyments 0f stamp-collecting different things amuse different minds. We know of low-minded and inferior individuals who have enthusiastically embraced Philately, while it was rejected by those of superior mental and moral qualities. No one can tell who is a stamp collector in embryo until the beauties of collecting are unfolded to the person ; none can tell or know whether his final judgment will be unfavorable to or favoring the pursuit.
There is no particular standard of intellectuality required of the one collecting stamps; the condition of purse would not dictate against collecting, and the station of life argues neither one way nor the other. These but regulate stamp collecting. A person gifted very highly intellectually, if he be a collector, would abstract keener and more refined pleasure from his stamps than the one of grosser mind, whose enjoyment would naturally be of a different order. It is truly convenient for a collector to have a pocketbook full in proportions, but it is not imperative that he have a pocket-book at all ! One could still collect stamps even though he had no money. Could one not beg, borrow or steal them. " Yes," some ill-natured individual might say, " if he be a Chicagoan he could beg, borrow and steal them.-
The cottage can with modest pride point to its stamp collection as well as the palace; a day laborer can collect stamps with zest as pronounced as that of him eminent in his profession. One of the most kindly features of Philately is, that all its followers meet upon an equal footing ; social and other considerations are cast aside, Philately is the great leveller, and yet it is the great elevator.