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Lieutenant Curry Gabriel Treffenberg

Curry Gabriel Treffenberg was born in Gothenburg on 6 March 1791.

He was a son of Anders Leonard Treffenberg, a colonel of the Gotha Regiment of Artillery.

After his graduation as an officer, Curry Gabriel Treffenberg was appointed a junior lieutenant of the above mentioned regiment, subsequently promoted to senior lieutenant in 1815, transferred to the South Scania Infantry Regiment in 1819.

He participated in the 1808-09 Finnish War and in the Swedish campaigns of 1813-14.

He resigned from the army in 1823. He was given a position as a registrar in the State loan office at Gothenburg. He became bankupt and left this appointment in 1827. He moved to Copenhagen to escape punishment. In 1830 he was declared bankrupt and sentenced "in absentia".

It was not till 1874 that Treffenberg was able to return to his native country. He died in Stockholm on 28 October 1875.

His son was Governor Curry Treffenberg, a prominent statesman and official.

PROPOSAL by Curry Gabriel Treffenberg
On 23 March 1823 Lieutenant Curry Gabriel Treffenberg introduced a bill, for the use of stamped paper as a means for the prepayment of postage fees, to the congress (Riksdag) of the four States of the kingdom in Sweden.

The text of the bill is as follows (as translated by H Harald Kjellstedt and published in The Philatelic Record Volume 32, January & February 1910).

The method of collecting dues and rendering accounts, heretofore in use in the Department of Posts, I do not consider as safe as could be desired where public funds are concerned.

Although there has been no embezzlement, it is wrong not to guard against the chance of such an occurrence, when conditions may make it a possibility. The receiving and accounting at and from the post offices should, in my opinion, disappear, and in its place I propose the use of some kind of stamped paper of varying value which might be purchased for cash in different places, the same as Chartae Sigillatae; this paper to be used as a cover for letters, which thus provided, should, without further proceedings, be received at the post offices, entered on the post-office way-bill and forwarded.

The proposition, in detail, for this change is too lengthy to be given here, but I respectfully request that it accompany the motion to the committee of State and Grants.

It is with no idea that my proposition is without fault that I take the liberty of making it. I think, on the other hand, that in every section there is room for improvement, but the main question, which is so secure to the State a better and safer way of accounting for this part of its revenues, seems to me not without claim to a closer investigation.

Scheme for Changes in and for the Postal Department.
(1) All cash payments at the post offices, under whatever name, should cease.

(2) No accounts for postage due should hereafter be permitted with private persons or associations, except in the single case referred to in Paragraph 19.

(3) The free franking privilege should continue and be regulated in the same manner as heretofore.

(4) Stamped paper of varying values, to be used as wrappers for letters, should be introduced and kept for sale in the cities by the Chartae Sigillatae deputies or by other persons appointed for that purpose by the General Chartae Sigillatae Office at Stockholm, and in the rural districts, by the sheriffs and other private persons.

(5) All private persons who apply for the privilege of selling these Postage Charts (as I shall call them) should do so to the local Crown authorities, who will give permission thereto, after demanding sufficient security for the amount taken.

(6) An established maximum, for each locality, estimated on the basis of a probable three months demand for the Postage Charts, should be arranged, and above this amount nothing should be delivered to private persons, who have undertaken such sales, except against cash payment.

(7) Tax collectors should be privileged to provide themselves with half a year's supply of Postage Charts, subject to the same accounting as for any other taxes due the Crown, and without giving further security than such as has already been furnished.

(8) The provincial governments should make known the names of those who have been authorized to sell, through announcements to be read in the churches.

(9) It should be permitted to the ordinary sales agents to entrust the sale of larger or smaller quantities to other persons, the sales agent alone, however, to be responsible for any loss incurred thereby.

(10) The Sheriffs should obtain Postage Charts from the Chartae Sigillatae deputies and give receipt for the amount when received. Private persons who apply without at the time paying cash, should show a certificate from the provincial government that proper security has been placed for the amount to be obtained, and should give a receipt when the Postage Charts are delivered to them.

(11) Every half year there should be an audit of the Postage Chart sales of the Chartae Sigillatae deputies, at which time they should show receipts for Charts delivered and show the Postage Charts in their possession, and be authorized to pay over proceeds from the sale of Charts.

(12) This audit should be in charge of the Provincial Treasurer, who should also receive the cash and give the Chartae Sigillatae deputies a receipt therefor, and then forward the amount to the Chartae Sigillatae Head Office at Stockholm.

(13) The Postage Charts should be made of the size of an ordinary letter sheet, but without being folded lengthwise as these are. The paper should be strong, but not coarse, and, in order to make forgery more difficult, should contain a circular design, easy to discover. It should also be of some light colour.

In the centre of the paper two stamps should be impressed side by side, occupying together a space of 6 square inches. One of the stamps should be impressed into the paper and the other should be printed with black ink. Both should contain, besides the value of the Chart, some suitable emblem which would be difficult to imitate. The assortment of values should be made to meet all requirements.

(14) Letters should be so folded that the stamps shall always be on the outside and so placed that some part of the address shall be written over them, thereby preventing a second use of the same wrapper. Perhaps a mark at the side, indicating the date of mailing, would also be necessary. On the other hand there seems to be no necessity for stamping the name of the place of mailing, as at present.

(15) When larger packages are to be sent, and the Postage Chart is not strong enough or large enough to be used as a wrapper, a Postage Chart of proper value, according to the weight of the package and its destination, should be loosely attached. This loose chart should be cut down to the size of one-eighth of the full sheet, showing the stamps, over which should be written in ink — Belonging to package which will be forwarded (date and year)—and when the package is inquired for, the Postage Chart should be delivered with it by the Post Office. On the package itself in such cases should be noted — Accompanied by Postage Chart.

(16) If correspondents post letters or packages without Postage Charts, the Post office should not refuse to receive them or to promptly forward them, provided the address side has the note — without Postage Chart. Such letters and packages on arrival should not be delivered until a Postage Chart of the size of one-eighth of a sheet has been left as postage. On this Chart should then be written in ink — Used [date and year)—also across the stamps.

(17) If a letter is found to be wrapped with a Postage Chart of less value than the weight of the letter would require, it should not prevent it from being forwarded, but not before the Postmaster has written plainly on the address side —Postage Due. When it has reached the last station it should not be delivered until the difference has been paid with a Postage Chart. These Charts should also be cut down to the size of an eighth of a sheet, but in order to differ from those mentioned in previous paragraphs — Complementary Chart (date and year)—should be written across these stamps. The proposed Charts mentioned in the last two paragraphs should remain in the Post office in order to be shown at the time of auditing, as mentioned in Paragraph 25.

(18) Every way-bill accompanying letters should contain four divisions: (1) for free letters. (2) for prepaid letters. (3) for insufficiently prepaid letters, and (4) for non-prepaid letters, and in every case where the letter is registered, it should be noted.

(19) Rural residents may arrange to have agents in the cities to examine the way-bills, when the post has arrived, in order to ascertain whether there are any letters to be redeemed with Postage Charts, in which case the necessary Postage Charts must be handed to the Postmaster, who will write across them with ink —Without Postage Chart—or—Postage Due—and the letters may then be forwarded in care of the post office. The Postmasters may carry out everything referred to in this paragraph. Peasants should arrange with persons of standing in their own neighbourhood so that their letters may be redeemed through the latter's agents.

(20) The Postage Chart should not cost more for registered letters than for others and receipts should be obtained from the receiver as heretofore. This should also apply to letters on which special registration is requested.

(21) Postmasters should receive from the State a fixed salary, sufficient for the payment of assistants, rent, fuel, light and writing materials, and should be solely responsible for any disorder occurring in their offices.

(22) Postmasters should be required to receive letters up to within one hour before the post actually departs. On proof that they have failed in this, they should be fined a half-year's salary, payable to the Postage Chart fund, and in addition pay any damage caused thereby. No one may post letters later than 8 o'clock in the evening nor ask to receive them earlier than 8 o'clock in the morning. The post offices should be open on all week days.

(23) Within two hours at the latest after the post has arrived the letters should be delivered to those who inquire for them. Failure to do so should be punished as stated in the previous paragraph.

(24) Postmasters should keep for sale Postage Chart tables of rates per ounce charged between the cities, and on which are given days and hours for the departure of the mails, as well as the probable time of their arrival, also a tariff of postage rates for letters which exceed a certain number of ounces. The price of such tables should be fixed and the income from their sale should go to the Postmaster.

(25) Postmasters should keep all Postage Charts which have been handed in for postage due, as noted in Paragraphs 16 and 17, and when the Provincial Exchequer makes the semi-annual audit of the Chartae Sigillatae deputies' accounts, an audit of the postage due charts in the post offices should also be made. These charts should then be found to correspond with the information regarding them given in the way-bills.

If a shortage is found the Postmaster should immediately refund the amount in cash, and such money should immediately be forwarded to the Chartae Sigillatae head office at Stockholm.

(26) Anyone detecting and proving embezzlement in a post office should receive an award of 500 Rdr, bco., which should be recovered from the private property of the Postmaster, who should also lose his position without possibility of re-instatement.

I cannot hope that what I have now proposed will fulfil its purpose, and it has not been presented with such a conviction, but rather to give an idea to someone more able to work out in detail a better plan, and one which unites a more secure control of the postal revenue to the State with convenience to the letter writing public. I even believe that the Diet should award a suitable premium to anyone presenting an acceptable proposition on this subject.

I do not think that I should omit, on this occasion, to mention how it often happens that letters, which are sent with the loose mail, never reach their destination, especially when they are accompanied by small change in an envelope to pay the forwarding postage from the nearest post office. Such letters are held back at some post stations, the money is extracted and the letters burned, without there being any possibility of discovering at which post station it happened, when the letter has passed through several and no list has accompanied the letters from one station to the other. Not only may these destroyed letters be of the greatest importance, but the peasants have a temptation to vice, which may lead to greater crimes and this reason alone, which in my opinion is very weighty, should lead to the adoption of such measures as would not so openly tempt the citizens to become thieves.

As an additional control of the postal revenue which I find necessary, I also propose the following: —
(1) Postmasters should be compelled, through fines, to exhibit to the community, the day after the departure of each mail, checked duplicate way-bills on which have been entered letters received for and sent by the last mail. This way-bill, on which should also be entered the weight of the letters in ounces, should be accessible to the public until the way-bill for the next departing mail takes its place. Later they should be sent to the General Post Office for comparison as to conformity with the original copies held for the accounting.

(2) A suitable and fixed fine should be paid by Postmasters in case of any difference, either in the number of letters .or ounces, being found in these way-bills when compared with the entries on those that accompanied the mail. In my opinion, the suggestions contained in the last two paragraphs, at least, should be followed by the Postal Department in the future, if no other control is found which is more to the purpose.

The Philatelic Record (Volume 32, February 1910) comments as follows:
"This, as it appears, well founded and timely proposition, was referred to the Commission on Grants but did not meet with its approval. In its deliberation, the committee bore in mind the real purpose of the postal establishment : to provide, for a small fee to the State, a communication between persons living in different places, which should be sure, expedient and free from all extraneous interference. The committee considered that the proposition certainly aimed at a desirable and fixed control, but delays and inconveniences, which acted against the purpose of the postal establishment and made communication between the citizens more difficult, seemed to be connected with its execution. On account of the extent of the country, it would be almost impossible, with a proper regard for security, to furnish the people with 'charts' of many different values without hindering, or at least delaying and making more difficult, the exchange of letters, so important to the commonwealth as well as to the individual. It would be difficult to adjust the value of the Postage Chart to the weight of the letter, thus affording opportunity for chicanery, extortion and losses. All senders of letters, especially the peasants, would be largely dependent on the postal agents, who alone would be acquainted with the value of the stamped paper needed to despatch letters, and would, therefore, be frequently required to furnish them with necessary wrappers. Finally, persons residing in the country, who would be obliged to keep special agents in the cities to look after their correspondents, would thereby be caused considerable expense and loss of time.

When the findings of the committee were debated in the proposer's own division, he made a detailed argument against the reasons on which the committee had based its disapproval, and in his remarks at that time Treffenberg showed how far ahead of his contemporaries he was in a true insight into the conditions of the future.

After an extended debate, during which the proposition met with both antagonism and favour, the proposer's request for a return to the committee was granted. As the three other divisions, without debate, voted against the bill, it fell through.

This far-reaching proposition thus met with a fate which in our time must be considered as particularly undeserved. It was 32 years after Treffenberg had presented the above-mentioned bill that he saw the introduction of postage stamps into Sweden. But in the meantime they had been introduced under the English flag.

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