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respectfully ask that commissions be sent to them as follows, viz: to John Adair, as postmaster at Astoria; to Thomas Smith, as postmaster at Portland; to George S. Curry, as postmaster at Oregon City; to J. B. McLane, as postmaster at Salem. The India-rubber mail bag is entirely unfit for this service. I would respectfully request you to cause an as. sortment of the smaller leather pouches, say fifty in all, to be sent to the office in this place, for use in this Territory and Oregon. There are no 66 distribution blanks” among those heretofore sent to the Pacific coast; a full assortment is greatly needed for the post office in this place; they should be sent in quantity by the first steamer. Jesse D. Carr, esq.,
an'attaché of the custom house here, has presented a claim, on which I need instructions from the department. It appears that the postmaster at New Orleans confided to his care a mail of eight bags for this coast, which Mr. Carr receipted for and brought to Panama at his own expense; he now asks to be reimbursed in the sum of two hundred dollars, ($200.) This mail was turned over to onr consul at Panama, as shown by his receipt, without passing through the New Granadian post office, and of course without paying the usual toll to that government. It is proper to add, that he did not come from New Orleans to Chagres in the mail steamer. The matter will be left in “statu quo" until instructions are received to cover the case. So little care is taken of the mail on the steamers, and in the transit of the isthmus, that I have thought it proper, pending a permanent arrangement, to commit it to the care of a special agent, who will deliver also a budget to the department at Washington. This agent will be entitled to no compensation other than the free passage secured to mail agents.
Having received information that J. Ross Brown, the temporary special agent whom I sent southward, has gone no further than Monterey, (haring been detained there by sickness,) I have recalled him, and will, so soon as the steamer leaves, proceed in person to establish the southern offices. For this purpose I will leave San Francisco early next week, and remain in the field on the southern route until the middle of October or the first of November.
Judging from information derived from Mr. Moore, I think it probable that the authorities on the isthmus do not adhere to the arrangement, made during my stay in Panama, diminishing the tax on our mails by counting all the bags as one mail, and that Messrs. Howland & Aspinwall decline carrying them across the isthmus according to their proposition to your predecessor. I earnestly commend this matter to your early attention. The mails should by all means cross the isthmus in charge of an American, and the old postal convention with New Granada should be terminated.
At the commencement of the ensuing rainy season, when I will be unable to travel in the interior for several months, and shall have completed mail arrangements for both Territories, I will visit the isthmus, and, probably, report to you in person the condition of the service, as, during the season indicated, such an absence from the Territory as the expedition would require would not be detrimental to the interests of the service, and my presence in Washington and on the isthmus might be of material advantage to it in many respects.
Owing to the inadequate compensation of postmasters, I find it very difficult to procure proper persons to serve in offices where there is so
much business as to interfere with the incumbent's ordinary avocations. This is the case at Sacramento city, where a very large amount of mail matter will be distributed. I enclose a letter (marked D) from the postmaster at that place, and solicit instructions on the subject. Can I in any case authorize a postmaster to employ a clerk? Can I, where it appears necessary to use a separate building, authorize one to be rented ? On examination, it will appear that in all cases clerk hire and office rent would each exceed the postmaster's entire commissions. I am, sir, very respectfuly, your obedient servant,
R. T. P. ALLEN,
Special Agent for California and Oregon. Hon. JACOB COLLAMER.
The following instructions were addressed by the Postmaster General to Mr. Allen:
Post OFFICE DEPARTMENT, May 16, 1849. Sir: Mr. Jacob B. Moore having been appointed and commissioned as postmaster at San Francisco, in California, and having duly executed and filed his bonds to the United States for the faithful performance of the duties of said office, the special instructions given you in reference to the post office at San Francisco are, by said appointment, suspended, and are therefore revoked. You will, however, furnish Mr. Moore, out of the supplies taken with you for the offices in California, all blanks, stationery, mail pouches, sacks, &c., which may be required for the use of his office; and also render him any aid in the due enforcement of the laws of the United States regulating the Post Office Department which he may from time to time require, and your instructions warrant. As the post office at San Francisco is a distributing office, you will report to Mr. Moore all offices which you may establish under your instructions, with the names of the postmasters, and also the names of all contractors and mail carriers whom you may employ, and the routes over which they travel, the times of arrival and departure, the distance from point to point, the mode of conveyance stipulated, &c., and the compensation allowed to each, in order that he may be enabled, according to law, to report to the inspection office at Washington, from time to time, the condition of the service.
And you will also file in the office at San Francisco copies of all contracts which you may make for the transportation of the mails.
You will instruct each and every postmaster in California and Oregon to render their quarterly accounts to the department, through the postmaster at San Francisco, and to deposite with him the nett proceeds of their respective offices, or to pay the same to the contractors or others engaged in the service, on his order. The instructions addressed to you on the 31st March last are therefore so modified as to conform to the above.
You will find Mr. Moore ready to co-operate with you in the best mode of arranging the mail service, and establishing post offices at proper points; and, as he has had experience in the department, and is well acquainted with the post office system, you will consult with him on those matters, and all others touching the interest of the department. Respectfully,
Postmaster General. Col. R. T. P. ALLEN,
Special Agent, &'c., San Francisco, California,
The following additional instructions were addressed by the Postmaster General to Mr. Allen:
Post Office DEPARTMENT,
December 10, 1849. Sır: Your letter of appointment of the 31st March last specified it to be your first duty to see that post offices were established, and suitable persons were selected for postmasters, at San Diego, San Pedro, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Francisco, and such other points on the Pacific, at which the United States steam packets shall touch, as may need such appointments. It appears that such appointment has been much needed at San Diego, but it does not appear that any has as yet been made.
You were also instructed that, as no route into the interior of California had yet been established by act of Congress, all post offices not supplied by government vessels would be special—that is, depend for their supply of mail on nett proceeds of the offices severally. And you were enjoined, that in extending the mail system into the interior of the Territory you must have a strict regard to economy, that the expense of the service may not exceed the means arising from it and properly applicable to it.
The last mail from San Francisco brings accounts against this depart. ment for fourteen weeks' transportation of the mail from San Francisco to Sacramento city, and thence to Culloma, at the amount of $9,800, being at the rate of $36,400 per annum; also, accounts for eight weeks' transportation of the mail from San Francisco to Monterey, and from San Francisco to Stockton, at $4,000, which is at the rate of $26,000 per annum. Said accounts recite that the service was performed as per contract with you, as the special agent of this department for California. There is nothing to show that the offices above named yield at the rate of $62,400 per annum--an amount that is believed to be vastly beyond the nett proceeds of those offices, to which nett proceeds you are instructed to limit the cost
mail arrangements. The only knowledge or intimation that the department has of such contracts being made is contained in these accounts, which, however, come through a channel that induces full reliance on the correctness of their statements; whereas your letter of appointment requires that you should, as soon as practicable after the expiration of each quarter, render those official returns which will show the state of all pecuniary arrangements in California, and the indebtedness and credit of each party, &c., &c., and that you cause all contracts to be executed in triplicate-one of which you were to file in the office in San Francisco, as per instructions of the 16th of May, 1849, and the two others in each case were to be transmitted to Washington, to be filed in the department and the Auditor's office, as required by law. No contract, or duplicate thereof, in the foregoing or any other case, has been received from you for file as aforesaid; nor any account of contract arrangements or expenditures whatever.
The department has received information through different channels, but unofficial, that you have entered into new contracts for a term of one year from the first of October, 1849, at amounts in the aggregate exceeding $50,000 per annum. But no report is received from you to show officially whether such be the fact or not; detailing, as your report should, the advertisement put before the public, the bids received, and that those accepted were, in the language of your instructions, the lowest that competition could produce; and showing, moreover, that the amounts you had engaged to pay were within the means arising from the service itself
that is, the nett proceeds of the offices agreeably to the limitations prescribed in your instructions.
I desire it to be distinctly understood that payments cannot be made for mail transportation service at San Francisco or here, until the contracts in triplicate are executed and placed on file, one in the office at San Francisco and the other in Washington, which can easily be done, before any payment can become due, at the expiration of the first quarter; and that a contract for any service, made at a higher amount than the lowest bid, or made for an amount beyond what is well understood to be the revenue of the route, cannot be considered as authorized by this department.
In my letter to you of the 16th of May, after speaking of the experience in the department of J. B. Moore, esq., the newly-appointed postmaster of San Francisco, and his acquaintance with the post office system, I directed that you should consult with him in the arrangement of the mail service, and the establishment of post offices, and all other matters touching the interests of the department. I trust that this instruction will be faithfully observed. Mr. Moore will make payment, so far as his means will go, not upon your order as such, but upon the contract, duly filed, agreeably to the instructions of May last, and upon your certificate of the performance of service, setting forth the amount to be deducted for failures and delinquencies, if any.
By the instructions of March last, the general superintendence of Oregon was placed in your charge, in addition to the special agency of California; and you were instructed to continue the present agent in Oregon as your assistant, or to supersede him, and employ another, as you should think best ; and, in case of his removal, you were forth with to report the name of a suitable person as his successor, that a commission might be sent to him; during the mean time, to give him full authority and instructions to act at once in the business.
Great complaint is made that nothing whatever has been done in the way of providing any mail arrangements for Oregon ; and, although the then special agent had returned to the States, as appears by your letter of June 23, yet no report of a successor has been made by you.
To recur again to the contracts which it is said you have made, I have to remark that, if they are of the character stated, the sanction of this department must be withheld—not only because they are beyond the limi. tations prescribed in the instructions, but beyond the limitations prescribed by law, because, as the letter of 31st March informed you, no routes in the interior of California had yet been established by act of Congress.
The expediency of establishing a route parrallel to the one created by act of Congress, and used by the steam ship, is not perceived; nor the propriety of drawing on the postinaster of San Francisco for your salary, until an account is duly made up and sent to this department for audii. Respectfully, &c.,