United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/5th Congress/3rd Session/Chapter 43
Repealed May 1, 1810, ch. 37.
Act of March 3, 1825, ch. 65.
General post-office to be established.
Powers and duties of the Postmaster General.
Acts of March 3, 1845, ch. 43, 69.Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there be established at the seat of government of the United States, a General Post-office, under the direction of a Postmaster General. The Postmaster General shall appoint an assistant, and such clerks as may be necessary for performing the business of his office; he shall establish post-offices, and appoint postmasters, at all such places as shall appear to him expedient, on the post roads that are or may be established by law; he shall give his assistant, the postmasters, and all other persons whom he shall employ, or who may be employed in any of the departments of the general post-office, instructions relative to their duty; he shall provide for the carriage of the mail on all post roads that are or may be established by law, and as often as he, having regard to the productiveness thereof, and other circumstances, shall think proper; he may direct the route or road where there are more than one between places designated by law for a post road, which route shall be considered the post road; he shall obtain from the postmasters their accounts and vouchers for their receipts and expenditures once in three months, or oftener, with the balances thereon arising in favour of the general post-office; he shall pay all expenses which may arise in conducting the post-office, and in conveyance of the mail, and all other necessary expenses arising on the collection of the revenue, and management of the general post-office; he shall prosecute offences against the post-office establishment; he shall once in three months render to the Secretary of the Treasury a quarterly account of all the receipts and expenditures in the said department, to be adjusted and settled as other public accounts; he shall also superintend the business of the department in all the duties that are or may be assigned to it.In case of vacancy his duties to devolve on his assistant. Provided, that in case of the death, resignation, or removal from office of the Postmaster General, all his duties shall be performed by his assistant, until a successor shall be appointed and arrive at the general post-office to perform the business.
Officers of the post-office to take an oath.Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Postmaster General, and all other persons employed in the general post-office, or in the care, custody, or conveyance of the mail, shall, previous to entering upon the duties assigned to them, or the execution of their trusts, and before they shall be entitled to receive any emoluments therefor, respectively take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, before some magistrate, and cause a certificate thereof to be filed in the general post-office, “I, A. B. do swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will faithfully perform all the duties required of me, and abstain from every thing forbidden by the laws in relation to the establishment of the post-office and post roads within the United States.” Every person who shall be in any manner employed in the care, custody, conveyance or management of the mail, shall be subject to all pains, penalties and forfeitures for violating the injunctions, or neglecting the duties required of him by the laws relating to the establishment of the post-office and post roads, whether such person shall have taken the oath or affirmation above prescribed or not.Penalty on obstructing the mail.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall knowingly or wilfully obstruct or retard the passage of the mail, or of any driver or carrier, or of any horse or carriage carrying the same, he shall, upon conviction, for every such offence, pay a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars: And if any ferryman shall, by wilful negligence or refusal to transport the mail across any ferry, delay the same, he shall forfeit and pay for each half hour that the same shall be so delayed, a sum not exceeding ten dollars.
Contracts for carrying the mail.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Postmaster General to give public notice, in one or more of the newspapers published at the seat of government of the United States, and in one or more of the newspapers published in the state or states where the contract is to be performed, for at least six weeks before entering into any contract for carrying the mail, that such contract is intended to be made, and the say on which it is to be concluded, describing the places from and to which such mail is to be conveyed, the time at which it is to be made up, and the day and hour at which it is to be delivered: He shall, moreover, within ninety days after the making of any contract, lodge a duplicate thereof, together with the proposals which he shall have received respecting it, in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States. Provided, that no contract shall be entered into for a longer term than four years.
Duty of Postmasters.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That every postmaster shall keep an office, in which one or more persons shall attend at such hours as the Postmaster General shall direct, for the purpose of performing the duties thereof, 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 required more time for making up the mail, and which he shall accordingly prescribe, but this shall in no case exceed one hour.
No fees to be received by persons employed in the general post-office.Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That no fees or perquisites shall be received by any person employed in the general post-office on account of the duties to be performed by virtue of his appointment.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the following rates of postage shall be charged on all letters and packets (excepting such as herein after exempted) conveyed by the posts of the United States, viz.
Rates of postage.For every letter composed of a single sheet of paper, conveyed not exceeding forty miles, eight cents.
Over forty and not exceeding ninety miles, ten cents.
Over ninety, and not exceeding one hundred and fifty miles, twelve and an half cents.
Over one hundred and fifty, and not exceeding three hundred miles, seventeen cents.
Over three hundred, and not exceeding five hundred miles, twenty cents.
Over five hundred miles, twenty-five cents.
And for every double letter, or one composed of two pieces of paper, double those rates; and for every triple letter, or one composed of three pieces of paper, triple those rates; and for every packet composed of four or more pieces of paper, or other thing, and weighing one ounce avoirdupois, quadruple those rates, and in that proportion for all greater weight: Provided, that no packet of letters conveyed by the water mails shall be charged with more than quadruple postage, unless the same shall actually contain more than four distinct letters.Packets containing more than three lbs. may not be carried. No postmaster shall be obliged to receive, to be conveyed by the mail, any packet which shall weigh more than three pounds.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That every letter or packet brought into the United States, or carried from one port therein to another, in any private ship or vessel, shall be charged with six cents, if delivered at the post-office where the same shall arrive, and if destined to be conveyed by post to any other place, with two cents added to the ordinary rates of postage.
Penalty on fraudulently receiving illegal postage, &c.Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That if any postmaster, or other person authorized by the Postmaster General to receive the postages of letters, shall fraudulently demand or receive any 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, and shall be rendered incapable of holding any office or appointment under the United States.
Masters of vessels to deliver letters into the post-office.Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That no ship or vessel arriving at any port within the United States, where a post-office is established, shall be permitted to report, make entry, or break bulk, until the master or commander shall have delivered to the postmaster, all letters directed to any person or persons within the United States, which under his care, or within his power, shall be brought in such ship or vessel, except such as are directed to the owner or consignee of the ship or vessel, and except also such as are directed to be delivered at the port of delivery, to which such ship or vessel may be bound. And it shall be the duty of the collector, or other officer of the port empowered to receive entries of ships or vessels, to require from every master or commander of such ship or vessel, an oath or affirmation, purporting that he has delivered all such letters, except as aforesaid.
Masters of vessels allowed two cents for each letter.Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That the postmasters to whom such letters may be delivered, shall pay to the master or commander, or other person delivering the same, except the commanders of foreign packets, two cents for each letter or packet, and shall obtain from the person delivering the same, a certificate specifying the number of letters and packets, with the name of the ship or vessel, and the place from whence she last sailed; which certificate, together with a receipt for the money, shall be, with his quarterly accounts, transmitted to the Postmaster General, who shall credit him with the amount.
Penalty on persons, not authorized, carrying letters, &c.Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That if any person, other than the Postmaster General, or his deputies, or persons by them employed, shall be concerned in setting up or maintaining any foot or horse post, stage wagon, or other stage carriage, on any established post road, or from one post town to another post town on any road adjacent or parallel to an established post road, or any packet boat or other vessel, to ply regularly from one place to another between which a regular communication by water shall be established by the United States, and shall receive any letter or packet, other than newspapers, magazines, or pamphlets, and carry the same by such foot or horse post, stage wagon, or other stage carriage, packet boat, or vessel, excepting only such letter or letters as may be directed to the owner or owners of such conveyance, and relating to the same, or to the person to whom any package or bundle in such conveyance is intended to be delivered, every person so offending shall forfeit, for every such offence, the sum of fifty dollars: Provided, that it shall be lawful for any person to send letters or packets by a special messenger.
Way letters.Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That the deputy postmasters, and other agents of the Postmaster General, shall duly account and answer to him, for all way letters which shall come to their hands: and for this purpose, the post riders, and other carriers of the mail, receiving any way letter or letters (and it shall be their duty to receive them, if presented more than two miles from a post-office) shall deliver the same, together with the postage, if paid, at the first post-office to which they shall afterwards arrive, where the postmaster shall duly enter the same, and specify the number, and rate or rates in the post-bill, adding to the rate of each way letter, one cent, which shall be paid by the postmaster to the mail carrier from whom such way letter shall be received. And that letters directed to persons living between post-offices may be delivered, and the postage thereof duly collected, it shall be the duty of the carriers of the mail to take charge of, and deliver all such letters as shall, for that purpose, be committed to them, by any postmaster, and collect the postage thereof, which shall be paid over to such postmaster on demand. And for every letter so delivered, the mail-carrier delivering the same shall be allowed to demand and receive two cents to his own use, besides the ordinary postage. And if any postmaster, or other agent of the Postmaster General, shall neglect so to account, he or they so offending, shall, on conviction thereof, forfeit, for every such offence, a sum not exceeding fifty dollars: Provided, that no mail-carriers shall make such deliveries at any place not on the post road: Provided also, that the receipt and delivery of letters on the way, between post-offices, shall not be required of the mail-carriers in cases where, in the opinion of the Postmaster General, the time or manner of carrying the mail, or the speed of conveyance is incompatible with such receipts and deliveries.
Penalty on detaining, delaying or embezzling letters.Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That if any person employed in any of the departments of the general post-office, shall unlawfully detain, delay or open any letter, packet, bag or mail of letters, with which he shall be entrusted, or which shall have come to his possession, and which are intended to be conveyed by post, or if any such person shall secrete, embezzle or destroy any letter or packet entrusted to him as aforesaid, and which shall not contain any security for, or assurance relating to money, as herein after described, every such offender, being thereof duly convicted, shall, for every such offence, be fined, not exceeding three hundred dollars, or imprisoned, not exceeding six months, or both, according to the circumstances and aggravations of the offence. And if any person employed as aforesaid, shall secrete, embezzle, or destroy any letter, packet, bag or mail of letters, with which he shall be entrusted, or which shall have come to his possession, and are intended to be conveyed by post, containing any bank note, or bank post-bill, bill of exchange, warrant of the treasury of the United States, note of assignment of stock in the funds, letters of attorney for receiving annuities or dividends, or for selling stock in the funds, or for receiving the interest thereof, or any letter of credit, or note for, or relating to payment of monies, or any bond or warrant, draft, bill or promissory note whatsoever, for the payment of money; or if any such person, employed as aforesaid, shall steal or take any of the same out of any letter, packet, bag or mail of letters, that shall come to his possession, he shall, on conviction for any such offence, be publicly whipped, not exceeding forty stripes, and be imprisoned not exceeding ten years.Penalty on carriers deserting the mail; or carrying letters contrary to law. And if any person, who shall have taken charge of the mail of the United States, shall quit or desert the same, before his arrival at the next post-office, every such person so offending, shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars for every such offence. And if any person concerned in carrying the mail of the United States, shall collect, receive or carry any letter or packet, or shall cause or procure the same to be done, contrary to this act, every such offender shall forfeit and pay, for every such offence, a sum not exceeding fifty dollars.
Penalty on robbing the mail-carriers, or attempting it;—Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall rob any carrier of the mail of the United States, or other person entrusted therewith, of such mail, or of part thereof, such offender or offenders shall, on conviction, be publicly whipped, not exceeding forty lashes, and be imprisoned not exceeding ten years; and if convicted a second time of a like offence, he or they shall suffer death: or if in effecting such robbery of the mail, the first time, the offender shall much wound the person having custody thereof, or put his life in jeopardy, by the use of dangerous weapons, such offender or offenders shall suffer death. And if any person shall attempt to rob the mail of the United States, by falling upon the person having the custody thereof, shooting at him or his horses, or threatening him with dangerous weapons, and the robbery is not effected, every such offender, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by whipping, not exceeding thirty lashes, or with imprisonment, not exceeding two years, or with both, according to the discretion of the court before whom such conviction is had. And if any person shall or stealing the mail, &c.steal the mail, or shall steal or take from or out of any mail, or from or out of any post-office, any letter or packet, or if any person shall take the mail, or any letter or packet therefrom or from any post-office, whether with or without the consent of the person having custody thereof, and shall open, embezzle, or destroy any such mail, letter or packet, the same containing any article of value, or evidence of any debt, due, demand, right or claim, or if any person shall, by fraud or deception, obtain from any person having custody thereof, any mail, letter or packet, containing any article of value, or evidence thereof, such offender or offenders, on conviction thereof, shall be whipped, not exceeding thirty lashes, or imprisoned, not exceeding two years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom such conviction is had.Penalty on taking away or opening letters. And if any person shall take any letter or packet, not containing any article of value or evidence thereof out of a post-office, or shall open any letter or packet which shall have been in a post-office, or in the custody of a mail-carrier, before it shall have been delivered to the person to whom it is directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, to pry into another’s business, or secrets, or shall secrete, embezzle or destroy any such mail letter or packet, such offender, upon conviction, shall pay for every such offence a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars.Proviso. Provided also, and be it further enacted, that every person who shall be imprisoned by a judgment of court under the 14th and 15th sections of this act, shall be kept at hard labour during the period of such imprisonment.
Letters on hand to be advertised.Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That 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 letters as then remain on hand as dead letters,Dead letters. to the general post-office, where the same shall be opened and inspected; and if any valuable papers or matter 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 with its contents, be not demanded by the person to whom it is addressed, or the owner thereof, or his lawful agent, within two years after the advertisement thereof as aforesaid, the said contents shall be applied to the use of the United States, until the same shall be reclaimed by the proprietor thereof. The manner of such application to be specially stated by the Postmaster General to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Free letters and newspapers.Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That letters and packets to and from the following officers of the United States, shall be received and conveyed by post, free of postage. Each postmaster, provided each of his letters or packets shall not exceed half an ounce in weight; each member of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States; the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the house of Representatives, provided each letter or packet shall not exceed two ounces in weight, and during their actual attendance in any session of Congress, and twenty days after such session; the President of the United States; Vice President; the Secretary of the Treasury; Comptroller; Auditor; Register; Treasurer; Commissioner of the Revenue; Supervisors of the Revenue; Inspectors of the Revenue; Commissioners for direct taxes; Purveyor; the Secretary of War; Accountant of the War office; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of the Navy and Accountant of the Navy; the Postmaster General; Assistant Postmaster General: Provided, that the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Secretary of the Senate, and Clerk of the House of Representatives, shall receive their newspapers free of postage only during any session of Congress, and twenty days after the expiration of the same:Manner of franking letters. And provided, that no letter or packet from any public officer shall be conveyed by post, free of postage, unless he shall frank the same, by writing his name and office on the outside of such letter or packet, and until he has previously furnished the postmaster of the office where he shall deposit the same, with a specimen of his signature: Provided also, that all letters and packages to and from George Washington, late President of the United States, shall continue to be received and conveyed by post, free of postage.
Penalty on franking letters improperly.Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall frank letters other than those written by himself, or by his order, on the business of his office, he shall, on conviction thereof, pay a fine of ten dollars: Provided, that the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, and Postmaster General, may frank letters or packets on official business, prepared in any other public office, in the absence of the principal thereof. And if any person having the right to receive his letters free of postage, shall receive enclosed to him any letter or packet addressed to a person not having that right, it shall be his duty to return the same to the post-office, marking thereon the place from whence it came, that it may be charged with postage. And if any person shall counterfeit the hand-writing or frank of any person, or cause the same to be done, in order to evade the payment of postage, each person so offending shall pay for every such offence fifty dollars.
Newspapers may go free to printers.Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That every printer of newspapers may send one paper to each and every other printer of newspapers within the United States, free of postage, under such regulations as the Postmaster General shall provide.
Manner of sending newspapers by the mail, and rates of postage.Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That all newspapers conveyed in the mail shall be under cover, open at one end, and charged with a postage of one cent each for any distance not more than one hundred miles, and one and an half cents for any greater distance: Provided, that the postage of a single newspaper from any place to another in the same state, shall not exceed one cent; and that the Postmaster General may make such regulations as to require those who receive newspapers by post, to pay always the amount of one quarter’s postage in advance.Offences in relation to newspapers.If any person employed in any department of the post-office shall improperly detain, delay, embezzle or destroy any newspaper, or shall permit any other person to do the like, or shall open or permit any other to open any mail or packet of newspapers not directed to the office where he is employed, he shall, on conviction thereof, forfeit a sum not exceeding fifty dollars for every such offence. And if any other person shall open any mail or packet of newspapers, or shall embezzle or destroy the same, not being directed to himself, or not being authorized to receive and open the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, pay a sum not exceeding twenty dollars for every such offence. And if any person shall take or steal any packet, bag or mail of newspapers from or out of any post-office, or from any person having custody thereof, such person shall, on conviction, be imprisoned, not exceeding three months for every such offence, to be kept at hard labour, during the period of such imprisonment.
Concealing letters, &c. in newspapers.If any person shall enclose or conceal a letter or other thing, or any memorandum in writing in a newspaper, or among any package of newspapers, which he shall have delivered into any post-office, or to any person for that purpose, in order that the same may be carried by post, free of letter postage, he shall forfeit the sum of five dollars for every such offence; and the letter, newspaper, package, memorandum, or other thing, shall not be delivered to the person to whom it is directed, until the amount of single letter postage is paid for each article of which the package shall be composed.
Newspapers to be dried, &c.No newspapers shall be received by the postmasters to be conveyed by post, unless they are sufficiently dried and enclosed in proper wrappers, on which, besides the direction, shall be noted the number of papers which are enclosed for subscribers, and the number for printers.
Postmaster General may authorize certain persons to carry newspapers, &c.The Postmaster General, in any contract he may enter into for the conveyance of the mail, may authorize the person with whom such contract is to be made, to carry newspapers, magazines and pamphlets other than those conveyed in the mail.
Conveyance of magazines and pamphlets.When the mode of conveyance, and the size of the mails will admit of it, magazines and pamphlets may be transported in the mail at one cent a sheet for any distance not exceeding fifty miles, at one cent and a half for for any distance over fifty and not exceeding one hundred miles, and two cents for any greater distance.
Commissions and allowance to postmasters.Sec. 21. And be it further enacted, That the Postmaster General be authorized to allow to the postmasters, respectively, such commission on the monies arising from the postages of letters and packets, as shall be adequate to their respective services and expenses: Provided, that the said commission shall not exceed thirty per cent. on a sum over one hundred, and not more than three hundred; and twenty per cent. on any sum over four hundred and not exceeding two thousand dollars; and eight per cent. on any sum collected, being over two thousand four hundred dollars; except to the postmasters, who may be employed in receiving and dispatching 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 cent. on the monies arising from the postages 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.
Postmasters, &c. refusing to account and pay over.Sec. 22. And be it further enacted, That if any postmaster, or other person authorized to receive the postages 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: and if the Postmaster General shall not cause such suit to be commenced within six months from the end of every such three months, the balances due from every such delinquent shall be charged to and recoverable from the Postmaster General.
In what name suits shall be.That all suits which shall be hereafter commenced for the recovery of debts or balances due to the general post-office, whether they appear by bond or obligations made in the name of the existing or any preceding Postmaster General, or otherwise, shall be instituted in the name of the “Postmaster General of the United States.”
Certified copies of accounts evidence.That certified copies under the seal of the general post-office, of the accounts current of the several postmasters, after the same shall have been examined and adjusted at that office, shall be admitted as evidence in all suits brought by the Postmaster General for the recovery of balances or debts due from postmasters, and in like manner copies of such accounts current as are lodged in the office of the Register of the Treasury, certified by the Register under the seal of his office, shall be admitted as evidence.
Penalty on not accounting.Sec. 23. And be it further enacted, That if any postmaster, or other person, who shall receive and open, or dispatch mails, shall neglect to render accounts thereof 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 accounts 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 on the case.
Distribution of penalties.Sec. 24. And be it further enacted, That all pecuniary penalties and forfeitures incurred under this act, shall be, one half for the use of the person or persons informing and prosecuting for the same, and the other half to the use of the United States.
Postmaster General may provide for the receipt of letters to be conveyed by sea.Sec. 25. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to make provision, where it may be necessary, for the receipt of all letters and packets intended to be conveyed by any ship or vessel beyond sea, or from any port in the United States to another port therein; and the letters so received shall be formed into a mail, sealed up, and directed to the postmaster of the port to which such ship or vessel shall be found. And for every letter or packet so received, there shall be paid, at the time of its reception, a postage of one cent, which shall be for the use of the postmasters respectively receiving the same.He may make arrangements with foreign postmasters. And the Postmaster General may make arrangements with the postmasters in any foreign country, for the reciprocal receipt and delivery of letters and packets through the post-offices.
Exemptions of postmasters, &c.Sec. 26. And be it further enacted, That the postmasters, and the persons employed in the transportation of the mail, shall be exempt from militia duties, and serving on juries, or any fine or penalty for neglect thereof.
Letter carriers.Sec. 27. And be it further enacted, That letter carriers shall be employed at such post-offices as the Postmaster General shall direct, for the delivery of letters in the places respectively where such post-offices are established; and for the delivery of each such letter, the letter carrier may receive of the person to whom the delivery is made, two cents: Provided, that no letter shall be delivered to such letter carrier for distribution, addressed to any person who shall have lodged at the post-office a written request that his letters shall be detained in the office. And for every letter lodged at any post-office, not to be carried by post, but to be delivered at the place where it is to be so lodged, the postmaster shall receive one cent of the person to whom it shall be delivered.
Before whom suits and prosecutions may be commenced.Sec. 28. And be it further enacted, That all causes of action arising under this act may be sued, and all offenders against this act may be prosecuted, before the justices of the peace, magistrates, and other judicial courts of the several states, and of the several territories of the United States, they having competent jurisdiction by the laws of such states or territories, to the trial of claims and demands of as great value, and of prosecutions where the punishments are of as great extent; and such justices, magistrates, or judiciary, shall take cognizance thereof, and proceed to judgment and execution as in other cases.
Judgment to be rendered the first term.
In certain cases a continuance may be had.Sec. 29. And be it further enacted, That in all suits for causes arising under this act, the court shall proceed to trial, and render judgment the first term after such suit shall be commenced: Provided always, that whenever service of the process shall not have been made twenty days at least previous to the return day of such term, the defendant shall be entitled to one continuance, if the court on the statement of such defendant shall judge it expedient: Provided also, that if the defendant in such suits shall make affidavit that he has a claim against the general post-office, not allowed by the Postmaster General, although submitted to him conformable to the regulations of the post-office, and shall specify such claim in the affidavit, and that he could not be prepared for the trial at such term for want of evidence, the court in such case, being satisfied in those respects, may grant a continuance until the next succeeding term.
Report to be made of certain post roads.Sec. 30. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Postmaster General to report annually to Congress every post road which shall not, after the second year from its establishment, have produced one third of the expense of carrying the mail on the same.
Repeal of parts of former acts.
1794, ch. 23.Sec. 31. And be it further enacted, That from and after the last day of April next, the several clauses and provisions, excepting the first and second sections thereof, of an act, entitled “An act to establish the post-office and post roads within the United States,” and the several clauses, provisions and section of an act (excepting the first and second sections thereof) entitled1797, ch. 19. “An act, in addition to an act, intituled An act, to establish the post-office and post roads within the United States,” approved the third of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, shall be, and the same are hereby repealed: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to exonerate any person who shall not have performed the duty, or who shall have violated any of the prohibitions contained in the said acts, from suits or prosecutions; but as to all bonds, contracts, debts, demands, rights, penalties, punishments, which have been made, have arisen, or have been incurred, or which shall be made, arise, or be incurred previous to the first day of May next, the said acts shall have the same force and effect as though this act had not been made. Provided also, that the Postmaster General, deputy postmasters, contractors for carrying the mail, and others employed under the aforesaid acts, shall continue to hold their several offices, appointments and trusts, until they are otherwise removed; any thing herein contained that might be construed to the contrary notwithstanding; and also the bonds which they, or either of them, have or may give for the faithful execution of their several duties and offices, shall continue to have the same force and effect, to all intents and purposes, after the said first day of May next, as though this act had not been made.
Approved, March 2, 1799.