Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 36
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A P PENBI.X— To Gales & BeatonItesnster.
^2d Session!8' ( Report Post Master-General—'Post Road to New Orleans. ^Senate*
<lre<l and seventy-four thousand two hundred and seven-
This transportation, computed at the lowest price for
Which similar service is performed, will amount to the
sum of thirty thousand dollars annually. When to this
sum is added the deficiency of receipts to meet the ex-
penditures for the year ending on the 1st April, 1823,
and the probable excess of receipts for the present year,
above the expenditures, tile improvement of the opera-
tions of the department will appear.
For the above service, $30,000 00
Deficiency of receipts to meet the ex-
penditures for the year ending on the 1st
April, 1823, ^ 55,540 39
Probable amount of receipts for postage
the present year, above the current ex-
penses, 15,000 00
From this statement, it appears that the condition o:
the department has been improved, in comparison with
the j ear ending on the first of April, 1823, by a reduc-
tion of expenditure and increase of receipts, one hun-
dred thousand five hundred and forty dollars and thirty-
nine cents per annum.
The advantages from the arrangement adopted respect-
ing newspaper postage have not been fully developed,but
it has been ascertained, that the receipts from that item
have been increased at the rate of about twenty-five
thousand dollars per annum.
Unremitted exertions have been made to collect the
balances due to the department. Within the past year,
many suits have been brought and judgment obtained.
In many cases, where judgments have been obtained on
accounts of long standing, the delinquent I'osttnasters
and their sureties have been found insolvent, and the
costs of suit have been consequently paid by the depart-
ment. To avoid, as far as possible, a useless expendi-
ture of this kind, the Attorney of the United States is
now re que sled, when an account of some years standing
is sent to him for collection, not to commence suit, if, on
inquiry, he shall find that the principal and his surety
art insolvent. To issue process in such a case, would
subject the department to a bill of costs, without answer-
ing any valuable object to the public. In a short time,
all demands against delinquent Postmasters will be in
suit, where there exists any probability that more than
the cos!s can be collected.
The improvement which has been made in the reve
rme of this department, for the past year, authorizes the
opinion that it will be able to meet an increased expen-
diture, by affording additional mail accommodations on
established routes, or by transporting the mail on new
routes, which Congress may think proper to establish.
There are many routes, now in operation, which re-
quire a greater expenditure than any advantage arising
to the public would seem to justify. If these were dis-
continued, and other routes of more general utility esta-
blished, the public convenience would be greatly pro-
moted, without adding to the expenditure of the de-
partment. A judicious revision of the mail routes, and
of the law regulating the Post Office Department, will
enable it, in a very short time, not only to send the mail
into every populous neighborhood of the Union, but to
give every accommodation which may be desirable to
the important commercial posts.
The money lately appropriated by Congress to repair
so much of the mail route, from Nashville in Tennessee,
to New Orleans, as passes through the Indian country, and
winch was placed by your direction at the diposition of
this department, has been applied to the object intend-
ed, except five hundred and ninety dollars and six cents.
As a smidl sum of money was to be expended in re-
pairing a road of great length, and as the public inter-
est required that the repairs should be jaade the whole
extent, so as to remove all obstructions to the transport-
ation of the mail, it was deemed important, before the
commencement of the work, to ascertain the nature and
extent of those obstructions. This was done by the
person appointed to make the repairs; and in making
them, streams of water, which were; occasionally render-
ed impassable to the mail, by high water, were bridged,
and swamps, which were also sometimes impassable,
were cause-waved. The work, it is believed, has been
faithfully executed, and at such places on the route as
most required it.
After the work was done, the money was paid, on the
valuation of two practical men, who were recommend-
ed to the department as well qualified for that purpose.
They were instructed to examine minutely the manner
in which the work had been performed, with a view to
its permanency and the object designed, and to report
what sum would be a reasonable compensation for it.
The balance of the appropriation which remains un-
expended, will be applied in making some additional
repairs during the present winter.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obe-
The President of the U. States.
REPORT OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL,
On the subject of the most practicable Post Route
from New Orleans to Washington City.
15th December, 1824.
Sta :In obedience to a resolution of the Seilate of the
United States, adopted at their last session, requiring
the Postmaster General to report to the " Senate, at the
present session, the most practicable post route from
New Orleans to Washington City," I have the honor to
state, that the route on which the mail has been trans-
ported, for several years past, from tins City to New Or-
leans, is by the way of Fredericksburg and Abingdon, ill
Virginia; Kuoxville and McMinville, in Tennessee ;
Huntsville, Rushville, and Pikeville, in Alabama; Co-
lumbus, Jackson, Fort Gibson, Washington, Natchez,
and Woodviile, in Mississippi; thence, by St. Francis-
ville and Baton Rouge, to New Orleans. This route
is estimated to be 1,380 miles, and requires a travel of
The military road, as it is called, from Columbus, in
Mississippi, to Madisonville, in Louisiana, is on nearly a
direct line from the former to New Orleans, and much
nearer thsn the road by the way of Washington and
Natchez But this road is represented to be so much
out of repair, as to render the regular transportation of
the mail upon it impracticable. The bridges and C ;use.
ways have fallen into decay and, in many parts, the en-
tire space, opened for the road, has become filled with
young growths of timber.
Some years since, a contract was made, by this de-
partment, to transport the mail to New Orleans, from
this City, by Salisbury, in North Carolina; Spartanburg,
in South Carolina; Athens and Fort Hawkins, in Geor-
gia ; and Fort Stoddart, in Alabama, the distance being
computed at 1260 miles. But there were so many ob-
structions on this route, arising from streams of water,
and other causes, that it was found impracticable to per-
form the contract, and it was abandoned.
There is a mail route from Knoxville, in Tennessee, by
the way of Kingston, in the same state ; Ber.netsville,
Cahawba, and St. Stephen's, in Alabama,to New Orleans,
which makes the distance from Washington to that
place, 1,222 miles. But the obstructions on this route
are known to be nearly as great as on the route by the
way of Athens and Fort Hawkins.
The post route to New Orleans, which passes through
the capitals of the Southern states, is estimated at 1,313
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/412/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.