Notes from the Past

Postmaster's Oath and Bond

The job of postmaster, while a political appointment, was one of responsibility.  Postmasters were required to take an oath of office and to be bonded.  The Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department included in Postal Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department published in 1847 recorded the process as follows:.

Steps to be taken on receiving the appointment.

    46. Every person who receives the appointment of postmaster, will take and subscribe, before a magistrate, the following oaths, viz:
    "I, ___________ ______________, do swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will faithfully perform all the duties required of me, and abstain from everything forbidden by the laws in relation to the establishment of the Post Office and post roads within the United States"
    "I do solemnly swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will support the Constitution of the United States." -- Act of 1825, sec. 2 -- Constitution of the United States, art. 6.
    47.  these oaths should be certified by the magistrate who administers them.
    48.  The person appointed will then execute the bond forwarded to him by the Department, and signed in the presence of suitable witnesses, by himself and at least two  sureties, the sufficiency of each of whom for the payment of the sum inserted in the bond, must be shown by the certificate of the magistrate who administers the oath.  Act of 1825, sec. 3.
    49.  In case of the death, removal from the State, or bankruptcy of one or both of the sureties, the postmaster will report the fact to the Department, in order that a new bond may be taken.
    50.  The oaths and bond are then to be placed in the mail, and transmitted to the Appointment Office , and when received a commission will issue.

Posted June 10, 2000

Editor's Note:  Modern philatelists are indebted to Theron Wierenga who republished this volume in 1980.  Italics follow the original.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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