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you, an adequate supply of all the blanks needed by youself and the post masters in California; also, mail-locks and bags of different kinds needed for that service. The iron lock and key belonging to it will be used for the interior mails; the brass lock and key for the mails conveyed by the steam packets. Hereafter, as the system enlarges in California, further discrimination in the mails may be made by placing the brass lock upon the most important interior routes. At present, the iron lock is deemed sufficient.
You will make report by every mail of the condition and progress of the business under your charge, and will be careful at the expiration of each quarter to render those official returns which will show the state of all pecuniary arrangements of the department in California, and the indebtedness and credits of each party, whether postmasters, contractors, or others; and to keep the Postmaster General advised from time to timer
. of the state and progress of settlements in the country, and what routes should be created by law to furnish them with the mails.
The postage for California is 40 cents on each single letter (which is a letter not exceeding half an ounce in weight) between any place in Cal. ifornia and any place on the Atlantic coast, and 122 cents between any place on the Pacific. Double, treble letters, and so on, will be chargeable with double, treble, and the like increase of rates.
C. JOHNSON, Postmaster General. WM. Vax Voorhees, Esq.
The following reports were received from Vr. Van Voorhees, 21st June, 1849:
San Francisco, CALIFORNIA, March 13, 1849. DEAR Sır: Mr. Robinson, agent for Messrs. Howland & Aspinwall, having arranged with the captain of the brig “ Laura Ann" to take a mail for the States to Panama, I embrace the only opportunity since my arrival to report that the mail steamer - California" reached San Francisco on the morning of the 28th ultimo, after a protracted voyage of twenty-eight days from Panama. Owing to the diminished supply of coal on board—insufficient, it was apprehended, to take the ship to San Francisco, if she were delayed to touch at San Diego and Santa Barbarathose places were omitted, and the mails in my charge to be delivered there were brought on, and are now in my possession here, no opportunity having offered to send them down. At Monterey the mails were de livered to Captain William G. Marcy, who received, opened, and distributed them, without, however, consenting to enter permanently upon the duties of the office. He nevertheless executed his bond as postmaster, which will be sent to the department hereafter, but with the understanding that he should probably relinquish the office in a short time. In case he concludes to do so, it will be found difficult to secure the services of another. No one in California seems at present disposed to take upon himself the trouble of public office, though it yield five times the compensation which may be expected from the post office at California. Young men, for example, daily relinquish places in the custom-house here with salaries of from four to eight dollars per diem; and, indeed, to engage anybody permanently in any business, at any reasonable salary, is exceedingly difficult. Eight and ten dollars per day. are demanded and received for the most common services, and even these sums are respectfully declined during the mining season, which is just opening.. With this state of things existing, you can readily see the difficulties to be encountered in organizing the department in the Territory of California. I am credibly informed that teamslers from Sutter's Fort to the mines may command $200, and often as much as $400 per month. Horses I know to be worth—and very ordinary horses, too—from $200 to $300. To contract with a Californian, therefore, to convey the mails, the department may well calculate a heavy "debit balance” over and above the proceeds of the post offices supplied at the rates of postage now established for the Territory.
The postmaster for San Francisco not having arrived, and the demand for intelligence from the States absolutely requiring it, it was deemed best to have the mails opened and distributed. For this purpose, Mr. C. L. Ross, a merchant of some considerable standing, was selected by me to take charge of them until the arrival of Mr: Dallas, to whom he was directed to pay over such postages as he may have collected, and deliver the office, should he (Dallas) consent to take it, which I am inclined to think is extremely questionable. The compensation afforded postmasters under the existing system in the States will be found wholly inadequate here, if the office is conducted separately from other business. All expenses are exorbitant: boarding $17 50 per week; washing, from $6 to 88 per dozen; fuel from $30 to $40 per cord; and office rent inor. dinately high. Nothing is more common than $100 per month for a small room, scarcely sufficient for an office, to say nothing of lodging apartments for the officers. The cheap desk or case, for which the department usually allows from $5 to $10 in the States, can be had here for not less than from $25 to $30; and so in proportion for all other necessary office furniture. With this office, however, in connexion with some other business, I apprehend no very serious difficulty in respect to obtaining a postmaster; for there are a number of merchants in the place who, having established themselves, will not hesitate to take charge of it in view of the benefit to be derived in the way of calling custom to their
So also with the offices at Stockton, Sutter's Fort, and perhaps the mines. Postmasters, I think, may be readily had for these, if their supply can be arranged; but at San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Benicia, San José, Pueblo de los Angeles, &c., they will be rather more difficult to secure.
I am unable to state with any degree of accuracy at what time the steamer California may be expected to start upon
her return voyage to Panama. Without coal or crew, the prospect of her speedy departure is certainly not the most flattering. Her crew have all, I believe, together with engineers, second and third mates, deserted or otherwise left her; and to hire others, especially engineers, is not an easy matter. I do not see that the other two steamers will be in any better condition upon their arrival, so that there is no guessing when the Pacific line of steamers shall commence operations. It is to be hoped, however, some arrangement will be made to establish the line. If nothing else can be done, they might be put in command of regular naval officers, and manned by the government.
In the course of a day or two I shall set out for the upper country,
where most of the inhabitants of California, particularly at this season, “do congregate,” and where it is very desirable to establish offices, if arrangements to supply them may be effected. As speedily as practicable I shall endeavor to collect all the information to be had relative to the establishment of post offices and post roads in the Territory, and communicate the same to the department without unnecessary delay. In the mean time it will give me pleasure to attend to any further instrultions from the department. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient serrant,
W. VAN VOORHEES,
Special Agent. To the POSTMASTER GENERAL.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA,
March 14, 1849. DEAR Sir: In addition to my report of yesterday, I have the honor !) add that the mails therein mentioned for Santa Barbara and San Diego (at neither of which places has an office yet been established or postmaster appointed) I authorized to be opened and distributed here. This was considered expedient and advisable; first, because it was believed (and so turns out) that the most important communications they containei were of an offcial character, addressed to officers connected with the army in California, the greater part of whom it was known did not now reside there; and, secondly, because I have not been able to select any person to take charge of the mails at either of those points, owing to the failure of the steamers to touch there on their passage up.
Until necessary arrangements are made for the conduct of other officers than those provided for by the department at Washington, of which I will advise the department immediately upon effecting them, I would beg to suggest, that the postmasters at Washington city and New York be directed to mail all letters for California (except Monterey) to this office, Persons who would probably be written to at San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, &c., from the States, and who, perhaps, resided there some six or eight, or even two or three months since, are now as likely to be found here, or “ parts adjacent," as there-indeed more so, for in the neighborhood of the mine's congregate, I may venture to say, fully two-thirds, if not a greater proportion, of the citizens and residents of California. But were this not the case, it would be decidedly better, it soms to me, that the mails for points not yet provided for be kept at this ollice, from whence they may be forwarded to their destination so soon as proper officers have been appointed to receive them, rather than deliver them, is required now to do, if made up direetly for such places, to per. sons irregularly and temporarily selected for the purpose.
In respect to such official letters as may be intended for officers of the omny stationed at the above mentioned points, they could be sent, if necessary, to Monterey, and thence orer the country by military express, (see the accompanying letter from Blajor Canby) or by the steum packets upon their return trip, when the line stall be put regularly into operation.
The office at San Francisco bids fair to be of the first importance. I tho now rapidly growing prospects of the town, its advancing commerce
and increasing wealth and population continue, it must soon be second to few offices in the Union. In the absence of other and better accommodation, it is now kept in the counting room of C. L. Ross, esq., but at no distant period it must unquestionably become of quite too much consequence to be thus « cabined." What better arrangement can be made for it, unless the department authorizes the rent or purchase of a house for the purpose, I cannot well see. As stated in my report of yesterday, the emoluments and commissions afforded postmasters under the existing system in the States, considering the exorbitant expenses incurred here for fuel, office rent, and living, are not sufficient to induce the acceptance of the office by anybody unconnected with other business. Merchants may be had to take it in charge, but it is accepted by them as a sort of secondary auxiliary business, promotive of other private and more important concerns. Properly conducted, it requires, or soon will require, the undivided attention of some efficient and capable officer; and I do not think it possible, under the state of things existing here at present, to secure the services of such upon such conditions, unless some more increased compensation be in some way provided. But in relation to this I shall report more fully hereafter. I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
W. V. VOORHIES,
Special Agent Post Office Department. To the POSTMASTER GENERAL.
« ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
“ Monterey, California, March 9, 1849. “DEAR Sır: Please send me, by the first opportunity, any letters or packages that may be iņ your hands for General Riley, or for officers, &c., of the 2d infantry. The regiment will debark at San Diego, and I will have an opportunity of sending them south by the military express which runs from this pluce to the South Fork nightly. “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"ED. R. S. CANBY,
"Assistant Adjutant General. “Mr. W. VAN VOORutes,
“U. S. Mail Agent, San Francisco, California.” Referred to in my communication of this date.
W. V. VOORHIES.
Mr. Van Voorhies was, on the 30th of March, 1849, superseded by the appointment of R. T. P. Allen, esq., to whom the following instructions were given :
Post Office DEPARTMENT,
March 31, 1849. Being authorized by an act of. Congress approved the 14th of August, 1848, to extend mail facilities to the Territory of California, I have, bus
letter of appointment dated the 30th instant, selected you as special agent for that purpose, vice W. Van Voorhies, removed. You will, accordingly, so soon as, practicable, proceed, by way of the isthmus of Panama, to California, and relieve Mr. Voorhies, receiving of him the public property in his possession, and giving him a receipt for the same.
Your duties will embrace whatever may appertain to the operations of the contract, appointment, and fiscal bureaus of the department in California; and the efficiency of the mail service in that Territory will mainly depend upon your energy, industry, and integrity.
It will be your first duty to see that post offices are established, and suitable persons selected for postmasters, at San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Francisco, and at such other points on the Pacific, at which the United States steam packet shal touch, as may need such appointments. Should you find that a post office is inexpedient or unnecessary at any of the above-named points, vou will, of course, govern yourself accordingly.
On selecting a postmaster, you will place him in charge of the duties of his office, under a letter of appointment signed by yourself, nntil his commission may issue from the Postmaster General, or official information be received that it has been refused.
You will cause each postmaster, before entering on the discharge of bis duties, to be duly sworn, and see that he executes his bond, with good and sufficient sureties, for such amount as you may deem adequate in the case.
You will furnish him with proper blanks for post bills, accounts of mails sent, accounts of mails received, quarterly returns, and whatever else may be found necessary to enable him properly to discharge his duties of postmaster, and to keep and return full and faithful accounts.
You will also instruct each postmaster how to perform his duties, and especially that he render his accounts for each quarter, immediately after the expiration thereof, to you, and through you to the Postmaster General of the United States at Washington, to be forwarded after the returns shall have been examined and registered at your office.
The collection of balances due from postmasters will demand yeur utmost care and vigilance.
As no route into the interior of California has yet been established by act of Congress, all offices not supplied by government packets will be special, and will, in general, depend for their supply of mail on the net proceeds of the offices severally; and, in extending the mail system into the interior of the Territory, you will have strict regard to economy, that the expense of the service may not exceed the means arising from it and properly applicable to it. At present, no more can be contemplated than semi-monthly or weekly transportation, by the cheapest mode of conveyance.
You will bear in mind that no contract can be made for a longer period than four years ; that the quarterly periods are for three months, com: mencing on 1st January, 1st April, 1st July, and 1st October; and that arrangements, accounts, and settlements should be made to conform to these divisions of time, unless circumstances be such as to render such conformity impracticable.
You will make your contracts for transportation of the mails at the lowest offers the competition will produce, recollecting that the distance is