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404. Proposals for mail contracts shall be delivered to the department sealed, and shall be kept sealed until the biddings are closed, and shall then be opened and marked in the presence of the postmaster-general and of one of the assistant postmasters-general, or in the presence of two of the assistant postmasters-general. And the contracts in all cases shall be awarded to the lowest bidder, except when his bid is not more than five per centum below that of the last contractor, on the route bid for, who shall have faithfully performed his contract: Provided, however, That the postmaster-general shall not be bound to consider the bid of any person who shall have wilfully or negligently failed to execute or perform a prior contract.(1)
405. It shall be the duty of the postmaster-general to have recorded in a well-bound book, a true and faithful abstract of offers made to him for carrying the mail, embracing as well those which are rejected, as those which are accepted. The said abstract shall contain the names of the party or parties offering; the terms on which he or they propose to carry the mail, the sum for which it is offered to contract, and the length of time the agreement is to continue. And it shall also be the duty of the postmastergeneral to put on file and preserve the originals of the propositions of which abstracts are here directed to be made, and to report at each session of congress a true copy from the said record of all offers made for carrying the mail as aforesaid.(2)
406. Every proposal for the transportation of the mail shall be accompanied by a written guaranty, signed by one or more responsible persons, to the effect that he or they undertake that the bidder or bidders will, if his or their bid be accepted, enter into an obligation in such time as may be prescribed by the postmaster-general, with good and sufficient sureties, to perform the service proposed. No proposal shall be considered, unless accompanied by such guaranty. If, after the acceptance of a proposal, and notification thereof to the bidder or bidders, he or they shall fail to enter into an obligation within the time prescribed by the postmaster-general, with good and sufficient sureties for the performance of the service, then the postmaster-general shall proceed to contract with some other person or persons, for the performance of the said service, and shall forthwith cause the difference between the amount contained in the proposal so guarantied, and the amount for which he may have contracted for the performance of said service, for the whole period of the proposal, to be charged up against the said bidder or bidders, and his or their guarantor or guarantors, and the same may be immediately recovered by the United States, for the use of the post office department, in an action of debt against either or all of the said persons.(3)*
407. No contract for the transportation of the mail shall knowingly be made by the postmaster-general, with any person who shall have entered
(1) Act July 2, 1836, sec. 24.
(2) Ibid. sec. 25.
(3) Ibid. sec. 27.
• This section supplies apparently the 44th section of Act 3d March, 1825, which is in the following words:
Any person who shall hereafter make any proposal in writing to transport the mail upon any route which may be advertised to be let, and determined by the postmaster-general to be entitled to the contract, by virtue of such proposition, and shall fail or refuse to enter into an obligation, with good and sufficient security, to perform such contract within the time required by the postmaster-general, in such advertisement, such person shall forfeit and pay so much money as shall be the difference between the amount contained in such proposal, and the amount the postmaster-general shall have to pay for the same transportation of the mail on such route; which sum may be recovered by the postmaster-general in an action on the case.-Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 44.
into any combination, or proposed to enter into any combination, to prevent the making of any bid for a mail contract by any other person or persons; or who shall have made any agreement, or shall have given or performed, or promised to give or perform, any consideration whatever, or to do or not to do any thing whatever, in order to induce any other person or persons not to bid for a mail contract. And if any person so offending be a mail contractor, he may be forthwith dismissed from the service of the department: Provided, That whenever the postmaster-general shall exercise the power conferred on him by this section, he shall transmit a copy or statement of the evidence on which he acts to congress, at its next session.(1)
408. No person whose bid for the transportation of the mail may be accepted, shall receive any pay until he shall have executed his contract according to law and the regulations of the department; nor shall any payment be made for any additional regular service in the transportation of the mail, unless the same shall have been rendered in obedience to a prior legal order of the postmaster-general.(2)
409. It shall be the duty of the postmaster-general to furnish to the postmasters at the termination of each route, a schedule, specifying the times of arrival and departure at their offices, respectively, of each mail, a copy of which the postmaster shall post up in some conspicuous place in his office; and the postmaster-general shall also furnish a notice in like manner, of any change or alteration in the arrivals and departures which may be ordered by him. And it shall be the duty of every postmaster promptly to report to the department every delinquency, neglect, or malpractice of the contractors, their agents or carriers, that may come to his knowledge. And the postmaster-general shall cause to be kept, and returned to the department, at short and regular intervals, by postmasters at the ends of routes, and such others as he may think proper, registers, showing the exact times of the arrivals and departures of the mails.(3)
410. In case the postmaster-general shall deem it expedient to establish an express mail, in addition to the ordinary mail, on any of the post roads in the United States, for the purpose of conveying slips from newspapers in lieu of exchange newspapers, or letters, other than such as contain money, not exceeding half an ounce in weight, marked "express mail," and public despatches, he shall be authorized to charge all letters and packets carried by such express mail with triple the rates of postage to which letters and packets, not free, may be by law subject, when carried by the ordinary mails.(4)
411. In case of the death, resignation, or absence of the postmaster-ge. neral, all his powers and duties shall devolve, for the time being, on the first assistant postmaster-general.(5)
412. The postmaster-general shall be authorized, whenever the same may be proper for the accommodation of the public in any city, to employ letter carriers for the delivery of letters received at the post office in said city; except such as the persons to whom they are addressed may have requested, in writing, addressed to the postmaster, to be retained in the post office; and for the receipt of letters at such places in the said city as the postmastergeneral may direct, and for the deposite of the same in the post office; and for the delivery by a carrier of each letter received from the post office, the person to whom the same may be delivered shall pay not exceeding two cents; and for the delivery of each newspaper and pamphlet, one half cent;
(1) Act July 2, 1836, sec. 28.
(2) Ibid. sec. 29.
(3) Ibid. sec. 31.
(4) Ibid. sec. 39.
and for every letter received by a carrier to be deposited in the post office, there shall be paid to him, at the time of the receipt, not exceeding two cents; all of which receipts, by the carriers in any city, shall, if the postmastergeneral so direct, be accounted for to the postmaster of said city, to constitute a fund for the compensation of the said carriers, and be paid to them in such proportions and manner as the postmaster-general may direct. Each of the said carriers shall give bond with sureties, to be approved by the postmaster-general, for the safe custody and delivery of letters, and for the due account and payment of all moneys received by him.(1)
413. The postmaster-general shall cause a mail to be carried from the nearest post office, on any established post road, to the court house of any county, which is now, or may hereafter be established in any of the states or territories of the United States, and which is without a mail; and the road, on which such mail shall be transported, shall become a post road, and so continue until the transportation thereon shall cease. He may enter into contracts, for a term not exceeding four years, for extending the line of posts, and may authorize the persons so contracting, as a compensation for their expenses, to receive, during the continuance of such contracts, at rates not exceeding those from like distances, established by law, all the postage which shall arise on letters, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and packets, conveyed by any such posts; and the roads, designated in such contracts, shall, during the continuance thereof, be deemed and considered as post roads, within the provision of this act.(2)
414. The postmaster-general may have the mail carried in any steamboat, or other vessel, which shall be used as a packet, in any of the waters of the United States, on such term and conditions as shall be considered expedient: Provided, That he does not pay more than three cents for each letter, nor more than one half cent for each newspaper conveyed in such mail.(3)
415. The postmaster-general shall be authorized, in his discretion, to contract for carrying the mail on the navigable canals of the several states, in all cases where, in his opinion, the public interest and convenience shall require it, and for the time during which mails may be carried on such canals, or any parts thereof, the same are hereby declared to be post roads.(4)
416. Every master or manager of any steamboat, which shall pass from one port or place to another port or place in the United States, where a post office is established, shall deliver within three hours after his arrival, if in the day time, and within two hours after the next sunrise, if the arrival be in the night, all letters and packets addressed to or destined for such port or place, to the postmaster there, for which he shall be entitled to receive of such postmaster, two cents for every letter or packet so delivered, unless the same shall be carried or conveyed under a contract with the postmastergeneral; and, if any master or manager of a steamboat shall fail so to deliver any letter or packet, which shall have been brought by him, or shall have been in his care, or within his power, he shall incur a penalty of thirty dollars for every such failure. And every person employed on board any steamboat, shall deliver every letter, and packet of letters, entrusted to such person, to the master or manager of such steamboat, before the said vessel shall touch at any other port or place; and for every failure or neglect so to deliver, a penalty of ten dollars shall be incurred for each letter or packet.(5)
(1) Act July 2d, 1836, sec. 41.
(2) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 4. (3) Ibid. sec. 5.
(4) Act July 2d, 1836, sec. 42.
417. No other than a free white person shall be employed in conveying the mail; and any contractor, who shall employ, or permit any other than a free white person to convey the mail, shall, for every such offence, incur a penalty of twenty dollars.(1)
418. If any person shall, knowingly and 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 every ten minutes that the same shall be so delayed, a sum not exceeding ten dollars.(2)
419. If any person shall be accessary after the fact, to the offence of stealing or taking the mail of the United States, or of stealing or taking any letter or packet, or enclosure in any letters or packet sent or to be sent in the mail of the United States, from any post office in the United States, or from the mail of the United States, by any person or persons whatever, every person so offending as accessary, shall, on conviction thereof, pay a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and be imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years: and such accessary after the fact may be tried, convicted, and punished in the district in which his offence was committed, though the principal offence may have been committed in another district, and before the trial of the principal offender: Provided, such principal offender has fled from justice, or cannot be arrested to be put upon his trial.(3)
420. The postmaster-general shall give public notice, in one newspaper published at the seat of government of the United States, and in one or more of the newspapers published in the state or states or territory, where the contract is to be performed, for at least twelve weeks before entering into any contract for carrying the mail, that such contract is intended to be made, and the day 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. No contract shall be entered into for a longer term than four years.(4)
421. No 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 within the United States, or the territories thereof, which, under his care, or within his power, shall be brought in such vessel, except such as are directed to the owner, or consignee of the vessel. And it shall be the duty of the collector or other officer of the port, empowered to receive entries of vessels, to require from every master or commander of such vessel, an oath or affirmation, purporting that he has delivered all such letters, except as aforesaid; and if any commander or master of any such vessel shall break bulk before he shall have complied with the requirements of this act, he shall, on conviction thereof, forfeit, for every such offence, a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars.(5)
422. The postmaster, to whom such letters may be delivered, shall pay 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 vessel, and the place from whence she last sailed; which certificate, together with a receipt for
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 7. (2) Ibid. sec. 9.
(3) Act 2d July, 1836, sec. 38.
(4) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 10.
the money, shall be, with his quarterly accounts, transmitted to the postmaster-general, who shall credit him with the amount.(1)
423. No stage or other vehicle, which regularly performs trips on a post road, or on a road parallel to it, shall convey letters; nor shall any packet boat or other vessel, which regularly plies on a water declared to be a post road, except such as relate to some part of the cargo. For the violation of this provision, the owner of the carriage or other vehicle, or vessel, shall incur the penalty of fifty dollars. And the person who has charge of such carriage, or other vehicle or vessel, may be prosecuted under this section, and the property in his charge may be levied on and sold, in satisfaction of the penalty and costs of suit: but it shall be lawful for any one to send letters by special messenger.(2)
424. The deputy postmaster, 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 one mile 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 letters shall be received.(3)
425. 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: But no preference shall be given to the publisher of one newspaper over that of another, in the same place. When the mode of conveyance, and size of the mail will admit of it, such magazines and pamphlets as are published periodically, may be transported in the mail, to subscribers, at one and a half cents a sheet, for any distance not exceeding one hundred miles, and two and a half cents for any greater distance. And such magazines and pamphlets as are not published periodically, if sent in the mail, shall be charged with a postage of four cents on each sheet, for any distance not exceeding one hundred miles, and six cents for any greater distance.(4)
426. The postmaster-general may 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 bound; 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. 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 office.(5)
427. No additional allowance shall be made by the postmaster-general, to the contractor or carrier of any mail, on any route, over or beyond the amount stipulated in the contract entered into for the transportation of the mail on such route, unless additional service shall be required; and then no additional compensation shall be allowed to exceed the exact proportion of
(1) Act 3d March, 1825, sec. 18.
(2) Ibid. sec. 19.
(3) Ibid. sec. 20.
(4) Ibid. sec. 30, cl. 4.