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Mr˙ Goddard' s Proposal for establishing an American Post Office



Baltimore, July 2, 1774. William Goddard, Printer of the Maryland Journal, with great pleasure, acquaints the publick that his proposal for establishing an American Post Office on constitutional principles, hath been warmly and generously patronised by the friends of freedom in all the great commercial towns in the Eastern Colonies, where ample funds are already secured; Postmasters and riders engaged; and, indeed, every proper arrangement made for the reception of the Southern mails, which, it is expected, will soon be extended thither. As therefore the final success of the undertaking now depends on the publick spirit of the inhabitants of Maryland and Virginia, it is hot doubted, from the recent evidence they have given of their noble zeal in the cause of liberty and their country, but they will cheerfully join in rescuing the channel of publick and private intelligence from the "horrid fangs of Ministerial dependents;" a measure indispensably necessary in the present alarming crisis of American affairs.

The following Plan has been published and universally approved of at the Eastward:


The present American Post Office was first set up by a private gentleman in one of the Southern Colonies, and the Ministry of Great Britain finding that a revenue


might arise from it, procured an Act of Parliament in the ninth year of the reign of Queen Anne, to enable them to take into their own hands, and succeeding Administrations have ever since, taken upon them to regulate it — have committed the management of it to whom they pleased, and avail themselves of its income, now said to be at least £3,000 sterling per annum clear.

By this means a set of officers, Ministerial indeed, in their creation, direction, and dependence, are maintained in the Colonies, into whose hands all the social, commercial, and political intelligence of the Continent is necessarily committed; which at this time, every one must consider as dangerous in the extreme. It is not only our letters that are liable to be stopped and opened by a Ministerial mandate, and their contents construed into treasonable conspiracies, but our newspapers, those necessary and important alarms in time of publick danger, may be rendered of little consequence for want of circulation. Whenever it shall be thought proper to restrain the liberty of the press, or injure an individual, how easily may it be effected? A Postmaster General may dismiss a rider and substitute his hostler in his place, who may tax the newspapers to a prohibition; and when the master is remonstrated to upon the head, he may deny he has any concern


in the matter, and tell the Printer he must make his terms with the Post.

As, therefore, the maintenance of this dangerous and unconstitutional precedent of taxation without our consent — as the parting with very considerable sums of our money to support officers of whom it seems to be expected that they should be inimical to our rights — as the great danger of the increase of such interest and its connections, added to the considerations above mentioned, must be alarming to a people thoroughly convinced of the fatal tendency of this Parliamentary establishment, it is therefore proposed:

1st. That subscriptions be opened for the establishment and maintenance of a Post Office, and for the necessary defence of Post Officers and Riders employed in the same.

2d. That the subscribers in each Colony shall annually appoint a Committee from among themselves, consisting of seven persons, whose business it shall be to appoint Postmasters in all places within their respective Provinces, where such offices have hitherto been kept, or may hereafter be judged necessary, and to regulate the postage of letters and packets, with the terms on which newspapers are to be carried; which regulations shall be printed and set up in each respective office.

3d. That the Postmasters shall contract with and take


bonds, with sufficient securities, of suitable persons to perform the same duty as hath heretofore been performed by Post Riders, subject to the regulation and controul of the Committee.

4th That the several mails shall be under lock and key, and liable to the inspection of no person but the respective Postmasters to whom directed, who shall be under oath for the faithful discharge of the trust reposed in them.

5th. That a Postmaster General shall be annually chosen by the written votes of all the Provincial Committees, enclosed and sent to the Chairman of the New-York Committee, who, on receiving all the votes, and giving one month' s publick notice in all the New-York papers, of the time and place appointed for that purpose, shall open them in Committee, in presence of all such subscribers as shall choose to attend, and declare the choice, which choice shall be immediately communicated to all the other Provincial Committees by a certificate under the hand of the said Chairman.

6th. That the Postmaster General shall be empowered to demand and receive the accounts from the several Post


masters throughout the Colonies connected with this Post Office, and shall adjust and liquidate the same, and by his order, transfer in just proportion, the surplusages of one office to make good the deficiencies of another, if any such should appear; and in case of a deficiency upon the whole, he shall have power to draw for the same on the several Committees in proportion to the amount of the subscriptions in their departments; and, at the year' s end transmit to the said Committees a fair and just account of the whole Post Office under his inspection.

7th. That the several Postmasters shall charge * * * per cent˙ on all the monies received into their respective offices, for their services; and also, * * * per cent˙ for the use of the Postmaster General, which they shall remit to him quarterly, with their accounts.

8th. That whatever balances may remain in the hands of the several Postmasters, after all charges are paid, shall, by the direction of the subscribers in the Province or Provinces where such Postmasters reside, be appropriated to the enlargement of the present Institution within their respective Provinces.