THE POST-OFFICE DEPARTMENT
References. -- MARSHAL CUSHING: The Story of Our Post Office.-- Ameri- can and English Encyclopedia of Law, 22:1036.-- United States Official Postal Guide.--Senate Executive Documents, 48th Congress, 2d session, No. 40.-- Senate Documents, 56th Congress, 2d session, No. 89.-- GEORGE G. TUNNELL: Railway Mail Service.-- North Amer- ican Review, 149:399; 159:24; 166:342; 172:420, 551; 174:807; 175:115; 178:220.-- American Law Journal, 18:218.-- American Law Review, 27:75.-- Central Law Journal, 5:258.-- Forum, 24:471, 723. -- Atlantic Monthly, 77:95.-- Publications Rhode Island Historical Society, 1894.-- United Service Magazine, 7:732, 934.-- The World's Work, 7:4074, 4280, 4589.-- Banker's Magazine, 12:337, 433.
WHILE the highly organized and elaborate postal service of to-day is of distinctly modern development, its earliest origins are to be found in the period of antiquity. From primitive beginnings there developed under the Roman empire organized systems of transportation by relays of horses on the main high- ways, which carried not only correspondence, but passengers and baggage. These "posts" were abandoned as a result of the Germanic invasions; but were revived during the later middle ages, notably in France under Louis XI. From early in the sixteenth century a system of posts existed in England, for the convenience of the government; in the seventeenth century posts were organized in that country for the conven- ience of the public; and in 1710 the postal service was placed under the charge of a postmaster-general.
In America the earliest official action was taken by the Gen- eral Court of Massachusetts Bay in 1639; which selected Rich- ard Fairbanks to take charge of the delivery of letters. In