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the original amount to the additional duties required; and the postmastergeneral shall, in all such cases, within thirty days thereafter, transmit to the first comptroller of the treasury an account of such additional services, and the compensation to be allowed therefor.(1)
All waters on which steamboats regularly pass from port to port, shall be considered and established as post roads, subject to the provisions contained in the several acts regulating the post office establishment.(2)
428. Whenever it shall be made appear, to the satisfaction of the postmaster-general, that any road established, or which may hereafter be established as a post road, is obstructed by fences, gates, or bars, other than those lawfully used on turnpike roads to collect their toll, and not kept in good repair, with proper bridges and ferries where the same may be necessary, it shall be his duty to report the same to congress, with such information as can be obtained, to enable congress to establish some other road instead of it, in the same main direction (3)
Of the Postmasters and Agents.
Postmaster to keep an office-his Penalty in case of failure for one
434 Compensation to postmasters--pen- Postmasters, &c. exempt from mili. alty for extortion 430 tia and jury service
435 Letters remaining in post offices to Penalty on postmaster detaining let
be advertised-proceedings in ter or giving preferences in delicase of dead letters 431 very
436 Emoluments of postmaster exceed. Restriction on postmasters' privilege
ing $2000 to be paid postmaster- of franking-residence of postgeneral advertising of letters, masters
437 lottery agency, &c. forbidden 432 Sureties of postmasters may be rePostmasters, &c. failing to render leased-how-payments applicaaccounts-procecdings against
ble to old bonds
433 Certain postmasters to be appoint
ed by president and senate 439
ART. 429. Every postmaster shall keep an office, in which one or more persons shall attend on every day on which a mail shall arrive, by land or water, as well as on other days, at such hours as the postmaster-general shall direct, for the purpose of performing the duties thereof; and it shall be the duty of the postmaster, at all reasonable hours, on every day of the week, to deliver, on demand, any letter, paper, or packet, to the person entitled to, or authorized to receive the same; and all letters brought to any post office half an hour before the time of making up the mail at such office, shall be forwarded therein, except at such post offices, where, in the opinion of the postmaster-general, it requires more time for making up the mail, and which he shall accordingly prescribe ; but this shall, in no case, exceed one hour.(4)
430. The postmaster-general may allow to each postmaster, such commission on the postage by him collected, as shall be adequate to his services and expenses : Provided, That his commission shall not exceed the follow. ing several rates on the amount received in one quarter, viz. On a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, thirty per cent.
On any sum over and above the first hundred dollars, and not exceeding four hundred dollars, twenty-five per cent.
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 43. (2) Act 3d March, 1823, sec. 3,
Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 8.
On any sum over and above the first four hundred, and not exceeding two thousand four hundred dollars, twenty per cent.
On any sum over and above the first two thousand four hundred dollars, eight per cent.
Except to the postmasters who may be employed in receiving and despatching foreign mails, whose compensation may be augmented, not exceeding twenty-five dollars in one quarter ; and excepting to the postmasters at offices where the mail is regularly to arrive between the hours of nine o'clock at night and five o'clock in the morning, whose commission on the first hundred dollars collected in one quarter may be increased to a sum not exceeding fifty per cent. The postmaster-general may allow to the postmasters, respectively, a commission of fifty per centum on the moneys arising from the postage of newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets; and to the postmasters whose compensation shall not exceed five hundred dollars in one quarter, two cents for every free letter delivered out of the office, excepting such as are for the postmaster himself; and each postmaster, who shall be required to keep a register of the arrival and departure of the mails, shall be allowed ten cents for each monthly return which he makes thereof to the general post office. The postmaster-general may allow to the postmaster at New Orleans, at the rate of eight hundred dollars a year, in addition to his ordinary commissions; to the postmaster of the city of Washington, in addition to the allowance made by this act, for postage collected, and for free letters received by him for delivery, a commission of five per centum
on the amount of mails distributed at his office: Provided, nevertheless, That the whole annual emolument of the said postmaster, including the extra compensation of eight hundred dollars which is hereby allowed him, shall be subject to the restrictions imposed by article 432(1)
The postmaster-general may allow to the postmasters at the several distributing offices, a commission, not to exceed five per cent. on the amount of postage on letters and packets received for distribution. The allowance to commence on the third of March, eighteen hundred and twenty-five: Prorided, That if the number of mails received at, and despatched from, any such office, is not increased by the distributing system, then no allowance shall be made therefor, except where special provision is made.(2)
The postmaster-general is authorized to allow to each postmaster, one cent for every letter received from any ship or vessel, and mailed by him : Provided, his usual commission, together with the allowance aforesaid, shall not exceed the sum of two hundred dollars a year : and the letter-carriers employed at post offices, shall be authorized to receive, for each newspaper delivered by them, an half cent, and no more.(3)
If any postmaster, or other person authorized by the postmaster-general to receive the postage of letters, shall fraudulently demand, or receive any rate of postage, or gratuity, or reward, other than is provided by this act, for the postage of letters or packets, on conviction thereof, he shall forfeit, for every such offence, one hundred dollars.(4)
431. The postmasters shall, respectively, publish, at the expiration of every three months, or oftener, when the postmaster-general shall so direct, in one of the newspapers published at or nearest the place of his residence, for three successive weeks, a list of all the letters remaining in their respective offices, or, instead thereof, shall make out a number of such lists, and cause them to be posted at such public places in their vicinity, as shall appear to them best adapted for the information of the parties concerned ; and, at the expiration of the next three months, shall send such of the said let. ters as then remain on hand, as dead letters, to the general post office, where the same shall be opened and inspected ; and if any valuable papers or matters of consequence, shall be found therein, it shall be the duty of the postmaster-general to return such letter to the writer thereof, or cause a descriptive list thereof to be inserted in one of the newspapers published at the place most convenient to the supposed residence of the owner, if within the United States ; and such letter, and the contents, shall be preserved, to be delivered to the person to whom the same shall be addressed, upon payment of the postage, and the expense of publication. And if such letter contain money, the postmaster-general may appropriate it to the use of the depart. ment, keeping an account thereof, and the amount shall be paid by the de. partment to the rightful claimant so soon as he shall be found.(1)
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 14.
(3) Ibid. sec. 2.
Advertisements of letters, remaining in post offices, may, under the direction of the postmaster-general, be made in more than one newspaper, provided the whole cost of advertising shall not exceed four cents for each let. ter.(2)
432. Whenever the annual emoluments of any postmaster, after deducting therefrom the necessary expenditures incident to his office, shall amount to more than two thousand dollars, the surplus shall be accounted for, and paid to the postmaster-general, and by him to be accounted for in the same manner as other moneys accruing from the post office establishment.(3)
No postmaster, or assistant postmaster, shall act as agent for lottery of fices or under any colour of purchase or otherwise, vend lottery tickets; nor shall any postmaster receive, free of postage, or frank lottery schemes, cir. culars or tickets. For a violation of this provision, the person offending shall suffer a penalty of fifty dollars.(4)
433. If any postmaster, or other person authorized to receive the postage of letters and packets, shall neglect or refuse to render his accounts, and pay over to the postmaster-general the balance by him due, at the end of every three months, it shall be the duty of the postmaster general to cause a suit to be commenced against the person or persons so neglecting or refusing. Certified statements, under the seal of the general post office, of the accounts of the several postmasters and contractors, after the same shall have been examined and adjusted at that office, shall be admitted as evi. dence in all suits brought by the postmaster general for the recovery of ba. lances or debts due from postmasters or contractors; and, also certified copies of the quarterly accounts of postmasters: or, if lodged in the treasury, copies, certified by the register, under the seal of his office, shall be admitted as evidence.(5)
434. If any postmaster shall neglect to render his accounts for one month after the time, and in the form and manner prescribed by law, and by the postmaster-general's instructions, conformable therewith, he shall forfeit double the value of the postages which shall have arisen at the same office in any equal portion of time previous or subsequent thereto; or, in case no account shall have been rendered at the time of trial of such case, then such sum as the court and jury shall estimate, equivalent thereto, to be recovered by the postmaster-general, in an action of debt, on the bond against the postmaster and his securities, and for which the securities shall be liable.(6)
435. The postmasters, assistant postmasters, and clerks, regularly employed and engaged in post offices, post riders, and drivers of the mail stages,
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 26.
(4) Act 2d March, 1827, sec. 6.
shall be exempt from militia duties, and serving on juries, or any fine or pe. nalty for neglect thereof.(1)
436. If any postmaster shall unlawfully detain in his office any letter, package, pamphlet, or newspaper, with intent to prevent the arrival and delivery of the same to the person or persons to whom such letter, package, pamphlet, or newspaper may be addressed or directed in the usual course of the transportation of the mail along the route; or if any postmaster shall, with intent as aforesaid, give a preference to any letter, package, pamphlet, or newspaper, over another, which may pass through his office, by forwarding the one and retaining the other, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, and imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months, and shall, moreover, be forever thereafter incapable of holding the office of postmaster in the United States.(2)
437. No postmaster shall receive free of postage, or frank, any letter or packet composed of, or containing any thing other than paper or money; and for a violation of this provision, the offender shall be dismissed from office, and upon conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction, pay a fine of twenty dollars. And no person shall hold the office of postmaster who shall not be an actual resident of the city or town wherein the office is situated, or the district of country usually supplied by said office.(3)
433. When any one or more of the sureties of a postmaster shall notify to the postmaster-general their desire to be released from their suretyship, or when the postmaster-general shall deern it necessary, he shall require the said postmaster to execute a new bond, with security, which, when ac. cepted by the postmaster-general, shall be as valid as the bond given upon the original appointment of said postmaster, and the sureties in the prior bond shall be released from responsibility for all acts or defaults of said postmaster, which may be done or committed subsequent to the acceptance of the new bond, the date of which shall be endorsed thereon. Provided, That payments made subsequent to the execution of the new bond by said postmaster shall be applied first to discharge any balance which may be due ce the old bond, unless he shall, at the time of payment, expressly direct them to be applied to the credit of his new account.(4)
439. There shall be appointed by the president of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a deputy postmaster for each post office at which the commissions allowed to the postmaster amounted to one thousand dollars or upwards in the year ending the thirtieth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, or which may, in any subsequent year, terminating on the thirtieth day of June, amount to or ex. ceeed that sum, who shall hold his office for the term of four years, unless sooner removed by the president.(5)
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 35.
(4) Ibid. sec. 37. (5) Ibid. sec. 33.
Rates of Postage, foc.
On letters, pamphlets, &c. 440 Newspapers to be dried and enclosOn ship letters
441 ed numbers endorsed-when 444 On newspapers-newspapers how Contractor may carry newspapers, packed
442 &c.—when. Periodical magazine Penalty on opening, destroying, may be transported-when-postor stealing newspapers or con
445 cealing letter, &c. in newspa- Postage on letters deliverable at 443 the place where lodged
ART. 440. The following rates of postage shall be charged upon all letters and packets, (excepting such as are excepted by law) conveyed in the mail of the United States, viz: For every letter composed of a single sheet of paper, conveyed not exceeding thirty miles, six cents. Over thirty, and not exceeding eighty, ten cents. Over eighty, and not exceeding one hundred and fifty, twelve and a half cents. Over one hundred and fifty, and not exceeding four hundred, eighteen and three quarters of a cent. Over four hundred, twenty-five cents.
And for every double letter, or letter composed of two pieces of paper, double those rates, and for every triple letter, or letter composed of three pieces of paper, triple those rates; and for every packet composed of four or more pieces of paper, or one or more other articles, and weighing one ounce avoirdupois, quadruple those rates; and in that proportion for all greater weights: Provided, That no packet of letters, conveyed by the water mails, shall be charged with more than quadruple postage, unless the same shall contain more than four distinct letters. No postmaster shall receive, to be conveyed by the mail, any packet which shall weigh more than three pounds; and the postage marked on any letter or packet, and charged in the post bill which may accompany the same, shall be conclusive evidence in favour of the postmaster who delivers the same, of the lawful postage thereon ; unless such letter or packet shall be opened in the presence of the postmaster or his clerk. Every four folio pages, or eight quarto pages, or sixteen octavo, or twenty-four duodecimo pages, or pages less than that of a pamphlet size, or magazine, whatever be the size of the paper of which it is formed, shall be considered a sheet, and the surplus pages of any pamphlet or magazine, shall also be considered a sheet; and the journals of the legislatures of the several states, not being bound, shall be liable to the same postage as pamphlets.(1)
One or more pieces of paper, mailed as a letter, and weighing one ounce, shall be charged with quadruple postage, and at the same rate, should the weight be greater ; and quadruple postage shall be charged on all packets containing four pieces of paper. Every printed pamphlet or magazine which contains more than twenty-four pages on a royal sheet, or any sheet of less dimensions, shall be charged by the sheet, and small pamphlets printed on a half or quarter sheet of royal, or less size, shall be charged with half the amount of postage charged on a full sheet; and there shall be printed or written, on one of the outer pages of all pamphlets and magazines to be sent by mail, the number of sheets they contain ; and if such number shall not be truly stated, double postage shall be charged.(1)
Any memorandum, which shall be written on a newspaper, or other
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 13. Act 2d March, 1827, sec. 5.