Doc. 141.-Postmaster-General's decision.
Confederate States of America, Post-office Department, contract Bureau, Richmond, Virginia, July 18, 1861.Sir: The legislation of the Government of the United States, so far as it relates to mailable matter and the rates of postage, and the mode of transmitting mail matter, has been substituted by the legislation of the Confederate States, and is thereby repealed. Newspapers and periodicals sent to ordinary subscribers for single copies, or for more than one copy, or to news-dealers, who send large orders to supply subscribers of their own, or the general trade within the limits of the delivery of post-offices, other than at the place of publication, are equally mailable matter, and cannot be sent by mail-carriers or expressmen, without the payment of postage. They cannot be carried, under our laws, as merchandise to supply subscribers or the regular trade, except through the mails or by express or other chartered companies, on the payment of the regular rates of postage. The object of our legislation was to declare what should be mailable matter, and to require postage to be paid on such matter, so as to secure a sufficiency of revenue to gender the Post-Office Department self-supporting. If the law be so construed as to allow the transmission and delivery of papers by express companies or others, to subscribers or dealers at points other than the place of publication, at a cost less than the regular rates of postage, it will at once be seen that the Department would lose much of its revenues; and publishers availing themselves of such modes of transmission, would secure such an advantage over others sending their papers by mail, as to injure the circulation of the latter or drive them to the same means of transmission, and the result would be, that the express companies would become the rivals of the Post-Office Department, and deprive it of a large amount of its legitimate revenues, and to that extent defeat the object had in view by Congress of making the Department self-sustaining. This reasoning does not apply, however, to books of a permanent character, other than periodicals sent in boxes or packages to merchants and dealers. Very respectfully yours,
John H. Reagan. To the President Southern Express Company.
--Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, July 31.