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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 3   View pdf image (33K)
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William Goddard, Printer and Founder of the American Post Office

Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser, at the moderate price
of ten shillings current money per annum ... ,"4 After several delays in
establishing a special post between Baltimore and Philadelphia to carry
news and in getting subscribers, the Maryland Journal and Baltimore
Advertiser at last appeared on August 20, 1773. His ill health caused
the publication of the paper to be irregular. But in February, 1774, his
sister, Mary Katherine, relieved him of the responsibilities of printing it.
A year later his name was removed from the imprint and did not reap-
pear there until nine years later, but doubtless he greatly influenced its
policies. After leaving it in the competent hands of his sister, he turned
his attention to developing an efficient post between Baltimore and
Philadelphia and ultimately to establishing the "Continental Post

It is only recently that Goddard's contribution to the American postal
system has been realized.5 By winning over the leaders in the colonies
to his "Plan for establishing a New American Post Office," he organized
single-handed a complete system of post routes and post offices, the
competition of which forced the discontinuance of the British postal
system. The Continental Congress took the first step in assuming con-
trol of Goddard's postal system when, on May 29, 1775, a committee
with Franklin at its head was appointed to work out the organization of
an independent postal establishment. On July 26, 1775, Congress took
over the postal system which at that time, through Goddard's enter-
prise and personal industry, was operating from New Hampshire to
Georgia. With the usual impersonal neglect of legislative bodies, Con-
gress made no provision for reimbursing those who had contributed
the capital in establishing postmasters and hiring riders for Goddard's
system, and he received no compensation for his services other than the
position of Surveyor of the Post Office for a year. Franklin was made
Postmaster General, his son-in-law, Richard Bache, became Comptroller,
and when Franklin went to France in the following year, Bache was
promoted to the position of Postmaster General. Goddard doubtless
felt that he was badly treated when he was offered only the choice of
becoming postmaster at Baltimore or Norfolk, or of being Surveyor to

4 Maryland Gazette, October 20, 1772.

5 Wesley E. Rich wrote as his doctoral dissertation in 1917 The History of the United States Post Office to the Year 1829.
His death in 1918 came before he had an opportunity to make a comprehensive investigation of the post office, but in 1924
his thesis was published in the Harvard Economic Studies, Vol. XXVII. In the meantime, Dr. Lawrence C. Wroth, in
investigating Goddard's career as a printer, came upon and gave the first full discussion of the important, and until that
time, neglected portion of his life as organizer of the postal system that was later taken over by Congress and exists today
as the United States Post Office.


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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Page 3   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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