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POSTMASTER, or DEPUTY POSTMASTER. An officer of the United States appointed
by the postmaster general to hold his office. during the, pleasure of the
former. Before entering on the duties of his office, he is required to give
bond with surety to be approved by the postmaster general. Act of 3d March,
1825, s. 3. 12. Every postmaster is required to keep an office in the place
for which he may be appointed; and it is his duty to receive and forward by
mail, without delay, all letters, papers, and packets as directed; to
receive the mails and deliver, at all reasonable hours, all letters, papers
and packets to the persons entitled thereto.
3. In lieu of commissions allowed deputy postmasters by the 14th section of the act of 3d March, 1845,.the postmaster general is authorized by the act of March 1, 1847, s. 1, to allow, on the proceeds of their respective offices, a commission not exceeding the following rates on the amount received in any one year, or a due proportion thereof for less than a year: On a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, forty per cent; on a sum over the first hundred and not exceeding four hundred dollars, thirty-three and one-third per cent; on a sum over and above the first four hundred dollars and not exceeding twenty-four hundred dollars, thirty per cent.; on a sum over twenty-four hundred dollars, twelve and one-half per cent.; on all sums arising from the postage on newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets, fifty per cent.; on the amount of postages on letters or packets received for distribution, seven per cent.: Provided, That all allowances, commissions, or other emoluments, shall be subject to the provisions of the forty-first section of the act which this is intended to amend; and that the annual compensation therein limited shall be computed for the fiscal year commencing on the first of July and ending the thirtieth of June each year, and that for any period less than a year the restrictions contained in said section shall be held to apply in a due proportion for such fractional period: And, provided further, That the compensation to any,, deputy postmaster under the foregoing provisions to be computed upon the receipt at his office of a larger sum shall in no case fall short of the amount to which he would be entitled under a smaller sum received at his office.
4. By act of congress approved March 3, 1851, Sec. 6, it is enacted, That to any postmaster whose commissions may be reduced below the amount allowed at his office for the year ending the thirtieth day of June, eighteen hundred and fifty-one, and whose labors may be increased, the postmaster general shall be authorized, in his discretion, to allow such additional commissions as be may deem just and proper Provided, That the whole amount of commissions allowed such postmaster during any fiscal year, shall not exceed by more than twenty per centum the amount of commissions at such office for the year ending the thirtieth day of June, eighteen hundred and fifty-one.
5. Although not subject to all the, responsibilities of a common carrier, yet a postmaster is liable for all losses and injuries occasioned by his own default in office. 3 Wils. Rep. 443; Cowp. 754; 5 Burr. 2709; 1 Bell's Com. 468; 2 Kent. Com. 474; Story on Bailm. Sec. 463.
6. Whether a postmaster is liable for the acts of his clerks or servants seems not to be settled. 1 Bell's Com. 468, 9. In Pennsylvania it has been decided that he is not responsible for their secret delinquencies, though perhaps he is answerable for want of attention to the official conduct of his subordinates. 8 Watts. R. 453. Vide Frank; Post Office.