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Within the two days past three letters have been dropped in this office, directed respectively to Mrs. Mary Wormuth, Hawkinsville, Oneida co., N. Y., James Spaulding, Attica Gennesee co., N. Y., and Charles M. Rich, North Brookfield Mass., all of them marked “soldiers letters” in pencil, and all of them without postage stamps. Many other similar cases have occurred. The frequency of the occurrence indicates a wide spread misapprehension in the community in reference to the mailing of soldiers letters without the prepayment of postage.
None can be mailed without prepayment, unless written by the
soldier himself or by someone on his behalf, and the endorsement
verified by the signature
of some officer of the regiment to which the soldier belongs,
designated for that purpose, with the officer’s title and the
number of the regiment attached to the signature.
All soldiers letters, where this regulation is not complied
with, are necessarily sent to the dead letter office at
Another misapprehension prevails, in relation to the right of postmasters to receive mailable matter free of postage. No postmaster has that right, except the comparatively small number, whose commissions for the last fiscal year did not amount to $200, and, with these, the right is “restricted to sending letters written by himself on his private business, and receiving written communications, addressed to himself on his private business, such letters or written communications not to exceed half an ounce in weight. He can not, therefore, receive or send free any description of printed matter. He can not frank or receive free letters written or addressed to his wife of any member of his family, or by or to a firm of which he is a member. Nor is he authorized to frank letters of his own, containing money or other things, nor letters written by himself on the business of others.”
It will thus be seen that all letters directed to postmasters, with the above exceptions, should be prepaid by stamps. And those who write to postmasters, not on the business of the post office or of the postmaster, should recollect to enclose a stamp for their return, or their letter will probably remain unanswered.
I would renew the caution to the public against the use of worn, mutilated and defaced stamps. the numerous and sometimes successful, frauds attempted by the use of stamps a second time, has compelled the department to adept and enforce stringent measures against the use of such stamps, and those who persist therein must expect to learn that their letters, instead of reaching the intended destination, have gone to the dead letter office. The department can in no other way protect itself against fraud, as the haste with which the mailing of letters is necessarily performed, prevents the necessary scrutiny, if such imperfect stamps are used.
Those who happen to hold such stamps, are not to suppose that there is any disposition, by these regulations, to compel them to submit to a loss of their value, as the department has announced its intention of making early provision for the redemption, without use, of all such stamps as do not appear to have been once used upon letters for postage. J. M. EARLE, P. M.