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Post Office Inspectors In The Dominion Of Canada, by Alexander Campbell

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Title: General Instructions For The Guidance Of Post Office Inspectors In The Dominion Of Canada

Author: Alexander Campbell

Release Date: October 1, 2006 [EBook #19414]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jeannie Howse, Adrian Mastronardi, The
Philatelic Digital Library Project at
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Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text.
For a complete list, please see the end of this document.







1. General Instructions, 3
2. Arrangement of Papers, 9
3. Books and Records, 10
4. Returns to the Department at Ottawa, 12
5. Salaries and Allowances, 15
6. New Post Offices, 18
7. Mail Arrangements, 19
8. Mail Service, 19
9. Establishment of New Routes or Alteration in Routes already in operation, 20
10. Contracts for Mail Service, 21
11. Bonds, 23
12. Railway Mail Service, 24
13. Circulation or Distribution, 26
14. Travelling, 27
15. Cases of Loss or Abstraction, 28
16. Arrears and Outstanding Accounts, 32
17. Conclusion, 33



1.  You are required personally to superintend the performance of the routine work of your office and see that it is properly done.

2.  This routine work should be suitably and fairly apportioned amongst your clerks—each clerk (under your superintendence) being responsible for the duty assigned to him. You will, after fair warning, report to the Postmaster General any clerk who fails correctly and efficiently to perform this duty.

3.  Carefully superintend the working of the Department in all its branches within the limits of your Division. As however, it is important, that the operations of the Department should be carried on under one uniform plan throughout the Dominion, do not make any alterations in the system of doing the work without the permission first obtained of the Postmaster General.

4.  Endeavor to instil into all persons connected with the Department in your Division the importance of a harmonious working together for the good of the Service, and of each, in his own sphere, performing the duties assigned to him in an intelligent and thorough manner.

5.  All letters received on official business should be carefully and promptly attended to.

6.  All matters referred to you from the Department at Ottawa should be disposed of with the least possible delay.

7.  Provision should be made for the performance of the ordinary routine work of your office when you are absent, under the superintendence of your senior clerk.

8.  No portion of your work should be allowed to fall into arrear; If it should do so, however, from circumstances beyond your control, you will at once report the fact to the Postmaster General.

[4]9.  See that the Time Bills and Mail Transfer Receipts are properly examined and fyled away every day. A separate pigeon hole should be provided for each set of Time Bills and Transfer Receipts, the pigeon holes being arranged and labelled in alphabetical order.

10.  When fines should, in your opinion, be imposed upon Railway Mail Clerks, Clerks in City Offices, and other officers in the employ of the Department—full particulars of each case should be communicated to the Postmaster General, and his authority for the imposition of the fine obtained.

11.  Make once in every three months a regular and thorough inspection of all the details of account and general business in each City Post Office in your Division—without any pre-arranged date or notice of the time at which such inspection will be made.

The inspection should, however, take place on the 1st of a month, so that the Accountant may be able to verify from your report the entries in the accounts of the Postmaster for the month preceding.

In making these inspections you must verify the Stamp Account of the office—personally count the stock on hand, and see that it agrees with the amount stated in the Postmasters' Stamp Account, made up to the last day of the month, to which account you should attach your signature.

Satisfy yourself that all other items of revenue, such as postage on unpaid matter, on insufficiently paid matter and on newspapers, also rent of boxes, and drawers, &c., are duly brought to account.

Certify to the numbers of both boxes and drawers rented at the time of your inspection.

Investigate the state of the Money Order and Savings Bank business, and see that the regulations and instructions are closely adhered to.

Enquire into the conduct and efficiency of each person employed.

See that all the work of the Letter Carrier's Branch is promptly and accurately performed. That all the Carriers are supplied with and wear uniforms. That an account is kept by the Postmaster of the cost thereof, and that the outlay incurred does not exceed the amount allowed by the Postmaster General.

Forward to the Postmaster General the result of your inspection [5]as promptly as possible, giving clear and full information on the several points enquired into.

12.  See that all errors and irregularities are reported to you by the Postmaster or Railway Mail Clerk by whom observed, and that prompt steps are taken for their correction.

Irregularities of whatever kind should be promptly enquired into and corrected; if overlooked they have always a tendency to increase.

13.  Investigate thoroughly all cases of complaint. Obtain a clear statement of the charges made, and of the facts which can be proved in support of these charges, and from these facts draw your conclusions.

In cases where the evidence is conflicting, the characters and antecedents of the parties concerned may probably be important elements for consideration.

14.  In making investigations bear in mind that any person who haw been detected in one dishonest act may probably have been guilty of other dishonest acts, and that your enquiry should therefore cover, not only the particular case under investigation, but other irregular or fraudulent proceedings, which it is possible may have been committed by the party suspected. This point should be particularly remembered in regard to offices transacting Money Order and Savings Bank business.

15.  You have authority, for the purpose of any official enquiry or investigation it may be your duty to make, to apply to any Judge of the Superior or Exchequer Court of Canada, or of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec, or of any one of the Superior Courts of either of the Provinces, or to any Judge or Stipendiary Magistrate in and for the Territories, for an order that a subpœna be issued from the Court or Magistrate, commanding any person therein named to appear before you at the time and place mentioned in the subpœna, and then and there to testify to all matters within his knowledge, and (if so required) to produce any document or thing he may have in his possession relative to such enquiry or investigation. And any witness may be summoned from any part of Canada, within or without the ordinary jurisdiction of the Court. Judge, or Magistrate issuing the subpœna,—any reasonable travelling expenses being tendered to any witness so subpœned at the time of such service. And any person thus summoned who may neglect or refuse to appear, or refuse to give evidence or to produce the papers demanded of him, may, by order of the Court, Judge or [6]Magistrate who issued the subpœna, be taken into custody and imprisoned in the common gaol of the locality, as for contempt of Court, for a period not exceeding fourteen (14) days.

16.  You have also authority to examine any person on oath or affirmation on any matter pertinent to any investigation you may make; and such oath or affirmation may be administered by you to any person you may so desire to examine.

17.  You and any officer under you having the rank of Assistant P.O. Inspector, have authority to require any Postmaster or Assistant Postmaster in any Post Offices, Mail Contractor or other person in the employment or service of, or undertaking to perform any duty or work for the Post Office Department, to make and sign an oath or declaration in the following form, or to a like effect.—

I (insert the name of the person and the capacity in which he is employed in or by the Post Office) do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, (or declare if the person is one entitled to declare instead of taking an oath in civil cases), that I will faithfully perform all the duties required of me by my employment in the service of the Post Office, and will abstain from everything forbidden by the laws for the establishment and government of the Post Office Department in Canada, so help me God.

Signature of person taking oath or declaration.

The oath (or declaration) was                                   (sworn or made) and subscribed before me,
the                             day of                             187     .

Signature of P.O. Inspector, or Asst. P.O. Inspector,
as the case may be.

18.  When a formal investigation is necessary, always give due notice to the complainant or complainants, and the party or parties complained against, of the time and place at which the investigation will be held.

19.  In your reports to the Postmaster General of the result of an investigation, state whether the enquiry made was personal or by correspondence. State also clearly in the proper order all the facts bearing on the case, and the conclusions which these facts appear to justify.

20.  In reporting on cases of a confidential character, in which it [7]is not desirable that the facts should be made public, mark the word "confidential" both on the report and on the cover in which it is transmitted.

21.  In all reports in which a previous report is referred to, state in addition to the number and date of the report referred to, its general purport.

22.  In all reports Post Offices should be called by their official names, and not by the name by which they may be known in the locality. This rule applies especially to the Maritime Provinces.

23.  It is desirable that you should make yourself acquainted, as far as may be practicable, with the general character and financial standing of each Postmaster in your Division who has charge of Money Order or Savings Bank duties; and in any case where you have reason for suspecting the possibility of irregular practices, or a disposition to withhold—even for short periods—Post Office monies, a confidential report should be made to the Postmaster General, in order that a close supervision may be kept by the Superintendent on the returns and remittances received from such Postmasters.

24.  In cases of doubt always ask for instructions from the Postmaster General—by letter, if time permits; if not, by telegraph.

25.  When absolutely necessary, make use of the telegraph, compressing your message into as few words as are consistent with clearness of meaning. Do not, however, use the telegraph in cases where a letter will answer all the purposes required.

26.  Observe in all matters connected with the Department as strict an economy as is consistent with the efficient performance of the Service. Do not in any case recommend additional expenditure unless the circumstances appear fully to justify it.

27.  No outlay, whether for alteration in a Mail Service, or for repairs, improvements or fittings, must be incurred without the specific authority first obtained of the Postmaster General.

In every case application for this authority must be accompanied by a full description of the work to be done, and an estimate of the probable expenditure involved.

28.  No person must be employed, even in a temporary capacity, without the sanction of the Postmaster General previously obtained.

[8]29.  Furnish full particulars of any changes, especially of distribution, to the Inspectors of other Divisions which may be affected in any way by these changes, and cordially co-operate with them in the consideration and carrying out of any improvements which may generally benefit the Service.

30.  Make yourself thoroughly conversant with all Acts of the Dominion Parliament relating in any way to the Post Office Service, and with all regulations relating to the Post Office Department, as well as with all details connected with its operation.

31.  You have authority when you find it necessary to suspend a Postmaster, Clerk, or any other employé in your Division.

All the circumstances, however, should be at once reported to the Postmaster General.

32.  When it is noticed that Postage Stamps attached to letters or other postal matter frequently fall off, or if it should be found that the stamps are insufficiently gummed or badly perforated, the fact should be reported to the Postmaster General, the name of the office at which the posting took place being given.

33.  In closing a Post Office, or in transferring a Post Office to a newly appointed Postmaster, always see that the accounts are made up to the day of closing or transfer; and that the balance due thereon is paid and deposited in the Bank to the credit of the Postmaster General. The assumption by an incoming Postmaster of a balance due by his predecessor is objectionable. The amount due from the out-going Postmaster should, in all cases, be deposited as above, to the credit of the Postmaster General.

34.  Except in very special cases, the opening and closing of offices should take effect on the first day of each month.

35.  In the case of the transfer of a Money Order Office, the Transfer Receipt should be sent to the Superintendent of the Money Order Branch, at Ottawa, by the first mail after the transfer takes effect.

36.  Immoral publications and other articles, the transmission of which through the mail are prohibited—and which are sent to you by the Railway Mail Clerks in your Division—should be at once forwarded to the Postmaster General.

37.  All forms, books, stationery, &c., required for your office must be applied for by requisition to the Postmaster General in [9]accordance with the Instructions contained in the Catalogue of articles in stock in the Printing and Supply Branch of the Department, a copy of which has been furnished to you.

38.  If any of the Regulations laid down in these instructions cannot be carried out in your Division, you will make a confidential report to the Postmaster General, stating the reasons why this cannot be done.



1.  All papers and correspondence referring to the same case should be kept together.

2.  No letters or papers should be put away until the matter to which they refer is finally disposed of.

3.  Separate pigeon-holes should be provided for all papers and letters according to their classification, so that when required they can be readily found.

4.  The following classification is recommended:

For Papers not finally disposed of.

1. Papers in reference to applications for new Post Offices.

2. Papers in reference to Postmasters' Bonds for execution.

3. Papers in reference to Applications for alterations in Mail Routes.

4. Papers in reference to Railway Mail Service.

5. Papers in reference to Advertisement of Mail Contracts.

6. Papers in reference to Execution of Mail Contracts.

7. Papers in reference to Arrears due from Postmasters and ex-Postmasters.

8. Papers in reference to Cases of supposed loss of or abstractions from Letters.

9. Papers in reference to Distribution.

10. Papers in reference to Matters requiring personal enquiry.

11. Letters from Secretary awaiting answers.

12. Letters from Postmasters, Contractors and the Public awaiting answers.

For Papers finally disposed of.

1. Mail Contracts in force alphabetically arranged.

2. Mails Contracts terminated alphabetically arranged.[10]

3. Postmasters' Bonds in force alphabetically arranged.

4. Postmasters' Bonds terminated alphabetically arranged.

5. Letters from Secretary arranged according to number.

6. Letters from Post Office Department not numbered.

7. Letters from Post Office Inspectors.

8. Letters from Postmasters, Contractors and the Public alphabetically arranged, there being a separate pigeon-hole for each letter of the alphabet.

9. Papers in reference to cases of actual losses of or abstractions from letters.

10. Papers in reference to Cases of supposed losses of or abstractions, in which the enquiry instituted shows that no actual loss or abstraction occurred.

11. Papers in reference to Accounts included in monthly requisitions.

12. Papers in reference to Arrears due from Postmasters.

13. Papers in reference to Railway Mail Service.

14. Papers in reference to Distribution.



1.  The books to be kept are as follows:—

1. Book for press copies of reports to the Postmaster General.

2. Book for press copies of such other letters, &c., as it may be necessary to copy.

3. Record of letters and references from the Secretary.

4. Record of applications for lost letters, &c.

5. Record of actual losses of letters and abstractions of articles of value from letters.

6. Journal of travel and proceedings (forms bound up.)

7. Conduct Return Book (press copies).

8. Order Book for instructions to Railway Mail Clerks, in which should be entered the address of each clerk.

9. Book for recording number of miles travelled by Railway Mail Clerks.

10. Record of errors made by Railway Mail Clerks, as shown by labels on packages which they have made up, and which should be forwarded to you by the Mail Clerks or Postmasters by whom opened, as also of other errors made by Railway Mail Clerks reported to you.

11. Record of Mail Contracts.

12. Record of Postmaster's Bonds.

[11]13. Record of dates of expiration of Contract.

14. Variation of Expenditure Book.

15. Record of transfer of offices.

16. Salary Pay List Book.

17. Contractors Pay Book.

18. Book for the Record of Requisitions to the Postmaster General for payment of travelling charges and all other official expenses, with the exception of salaries and Mail Services.

19. Arrears Book.

20. Register of Employés attached to your office, including Railway Mail Clerks in your Division, or under your superintendence. In the book a page should be devoted to each employé, in which should be recorded name, date, and place of birth, religion, class, salary, date of promotion, increase of salary, transfer, suspension, cases in which the employé has received special commendation or censure, date of resignation or removal, or any other particular of which it is desirable a memorandum should be kept.

21. Cash Book for entry of all monies received on P.O. account, with manner of disposal thereof.

22. Money Order Cheque Book.

23. Pass Book in which to record all Registered Letters despatched.

24. Order Book with margin to be used in all cases when an order is given for any article required for official use.

25. Telegraph Books with margin, on which should be recorded copies of all telegraphs sent on official business.

26. Corresponding Offices Book shewing name of Office with which each Office in your Division exchanges direct mails.

27. Book for recording changes in distribution.

28. Book for daily entry of Time Bills on ordinary mail routes.

29. Record of new offices established, of old offices closed, and changes in names of offices.

30. Book for requisitions for printing and stationery, (blank forms bound up.)

31. Guard Book for copies of notices inviting tenders for contracts.

32. Guard Book for Department orders and circulars.

33. Guard Book for Time Bills of Railways, &c.

2.  It is very necessary that entries of all transactions should be promptly made in the books provided for their record. The keeping of memoranda on pieces of paper, or trusting to memory in such matters is very objectionable.

3.  All printing and binding required both by your own office and city or other offices must be done on requisition to the Department, at Ottawa.

[12]4.  Further, all stationery required, both by your own and city or other offices, must be obtained by requisition in the proper form to the Postmaster General. The number of the articles, as shown by the official catalogue, being in all cases given.



1.  The Returns required by the Department at Ottawa should be rendered punctually, as follows:

2.  Pay Lists for salaries to be forwarded so as to reach Ottawa not later than the 23rd of each month. Should any fines be imposed or stoppage of pay take place after the list has been despatched, the fact should be communicated to the Postmaster General by telegraph.

In every case in which a new name appears on the pay list, or in which there has been any fine or alteration of salary, the number and date of the letter conveying the Postmaster General's authority therefor must be written at the foot of the list.

3.  Pay Lists for Mail Services, accompanied by the necessary receipts or vouchers, to be transmitted on the last day of each quarter, and to include all services performed during the quarter. If the exact amount due to a contractor cannot be ascertained, the service should be entered in the proper place, and the figures left blank. The voucher in such case should be transmitted to the Accountant as soon afterwards as possible. The figure columns in the pay list should always be added up, and the total entered in ink. The distances entered in the vouchers or receipts for Mail Services should, agree with the distances entered in the variation returns.

4.  Return of Variations in the Mail Service expenditure to be transmitted on the last day of each month, and to include all new contracts and Mail Services, all renewals and transfers of existing contracts, and all variations in Mail Service taking effect during the month.

As cheques are issued to the contractors on the entries in the pay lists and variation returns, it is necessary that they should be correct in every particular, and that both names and figures should be distinctly written.

5.  Return of new Post routes established and of Post routes discontinued to be transmitted not later than the seventh day of each [13]month, and to include all such changes in Mail Services taking effect during the previous month.

6.  Return of New Post Offices established, Post Offices closed, and changes of Names in Post Offices, to be transmitted not later than the seventh day of each month, and to include all operations under this head up to the first day of the month on which the return is sent in, inclusive.

7.  Weekly Journals of Railway Mail Clerks in your Division to be transmitted every Tuesday morning.

8.  Return of Losses of and Abstractions of money and other articles from letters to be transmitted on the first day of each month. This return can be made out from the record of applications for missing letters, and should include all supposed cases of loss and abstraction entered in the record during the month which have not been erased, in accordance with the instructions under the head of "Cases of Loss and Abstraction." Those cases not erased should be consecutively numbered and the number entered[1] in the return. In the event of a letter being reported as lost which is subsequently found, you should state in the next month's return "No.                       reported in the return for the month of                       found;" and erase from your record of applications for lost letters.

9.  Return of transfer of Post Offices to be transmitted by the tenth day of each month, and to include all transfers taking effect up to the first of the month (on which the return is sent in), inclusive.

10.  Journal of Travel and Proceedings not later than six days after the expiration of each month.

11.  Requisition for payment of Miscellaneous expenses to include travelling allowances, telegraph bills, and all outlays, except salaries and contractors' pay, not later than six days after the expiration of each month. Only one requisition should be sent in each month. Each requisition should be numbered consecutively throughout each fiscal year. No. 1 should be the first requisition made, for accounts the dates of which should embrace the month of July. On each voucher it must be stated clearly for what object the expense has been incurred. Further, each account must bear a certificate as to its correctness in the hand-writing of the Inspector, and must be accompanied by an official voucher on which must be written the number and date of the authority for the expense.

Trademen's accounts should be included in the requisition made for the last month in each quarter. All outstanding accounts should [14]be included in the requisition for the last month in each quarter, as it is very objectionable that accounts for expenses incurred in one quarter should be included in the requisition made for any following quarter.

The vouchers for travelling expenses claimed by officers not entitled to a per diem allowance, should bear your certificate that the amount claimed is the amount of the actual expenses incurred.

The vouchers for telegraph accounts should bear your certificate that all the telegrams charged for have been sent and received on official business.

All accounts for advertising must be accompanied by copies of the advertisement for which the accounts are rendered.

In making out the requisition the accounts should be entered according to their amounts, the largest amount being entered first, and the smallest amount last.

The accounts should be numbered consecutively in the above order on the back.

The number on each account should correspond with the number of its entry in the requisition.

The accounts and vouchers themselves should be placed and forwarded in the order in which entered.

It is very important that the cheques received in payment of accounts should be promptly acknowledged by returning the form sent with them, and that when paid the vouchers should be always returned with the printed letter of advice, in the same order in which entered in the requisition, so that they can be readily checked.

12.  One copy of each Time Bill in use should be forwarded on the first day of each quarter. The Bills sent to be classified according to frequency of service, and arranged alphabetically.

Accompanying these Bills should be sent a memorandum of all changes made during the past month in the Bills used.

13.  Returns of Railway and Steam Boat Service to be sent in on the first of each month. These Returns to be personally examined by the Inspector before they are sent in.

[15]14.  Annual Return of all cases of loss or abstraction to be transmitted on or before the 1st October in each year.

This return should include all cases of loss or abstraction occurring within the year ended the 30th June last past, as well as all such cases occurring at the end of the preceding year as it may not have been possible to include that year's return.

Each case should be entered in order according to the date on which the letter was posted. The Return should be divided into two parts.

The first part should include only Registered Letters, the cases of entire loss of the letter being entered separately from cases of abstraction of the contents of the letter.

The second part should include only unregistered letters, the cases of loss being also entered separately from the cases of abstraction.

This return should be very carefully prepared. It constitutes the material from which the annual statement for Parliament has to be compiled, and the explanations given under the head of "Result of Proceedings" should be such as fully to justify every step taken during and subsequent to the investigations instituted.

15.  A Return of the Mail Service in operation in your Division on the 1st day of July, in each year, to be transmitted by the first of the following month.

The services in this return to be entered alphabetically and to be classified according to frequency of service, the distances between the termini of the several routes also, to be accurately stated. Suspended winter services to be given as a supplement.



1.  With the exception of Postmasters in the cities, Postmasters' salaries are based on a commission on the amount of postage on matter prepaid by stamps and posted at their offices, viz.: 40 per cent. on the first $800 per annum or $200 per quarter, and 25 per cent. on the balance, with a minimum salary of $10 per annum in cases where the postage on the matter pre-paid by stamps is less than $25. These salaries are to be revised every two years, but in very special cases where there has been an exceptional increase of [16]revenue or work, the case may be reported on for the Postmaster General's consideration.

2.  In cases where the Postmaster is required to perform duty between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., 50 per cent. instead of 40 per cent. is allowed on the first $800 per annum, or $200 per quarter of prepaid postage revenue, provided always that the Postmaster General considers that there are sufficient grounds for such increased allowance.

3.  Allowances for forward duty are made to Postmasters who are required to re-mail letters and papers for and from other offices.

The amount of remuneration should be regulated according to,—

1. The number of offices for and from which the Postmaster distributes mails.

2. The number of mails per week despatched to and received therefrom.

3. The average amount of matter re-mailed each week, viz.:—number of
Ordinary Letters,
Registered Letters,
Postal Cards,
Books and Parcels, &c.

It must be clearly understood that in the above must not be included the matter posted, or delivered, at the office to which the allowance forward duty is proposed to be made.

4. The time occupied in the duty and the number of persons required to accomplish it.

5. The hours at which the duty is performed.

In no case, however, should the allowance for forward duty excel 12 per cent. of the revenue of the offices—the correspondence for and from which is distributed.

4.  When, in consequence of any change in the Mail arrangements the forward duty performed by a Postmaster is either increased or diminished, you should at once report to the Postmaster General what corresponding increase or diminution in the forward allowance [17]should be made, so that the necessary adjustment may take effect from the date on which the change goes into operation.

5.  All reports regarding forward allowance should be accompanied by a tracing from the Postal Map showing the Distributing Office, and the offices dependent thereon.

6.  Allowances for rent, fuel and light are regulated by the Revenue collected at the office, as follows:—

Annual Revenue. Annual Allowance.
Over $ 800 and up to $1,200 $ 40 00
Over 1,200 and up to 1,600 60 00
Over 1,600 and up to 2,000 80 00
Over 2,000 and up to 3,000 120 00

and so on, the allowance increasing $40 per annum for every $1,000 or fraction of $1,000 of yearly Revenue. No allowance for rent is made at offices where the Revenue is loss than $800 per annum.

7.  The scale of salaries of Railway Mail Clerks is as follows:—

Class. On Appointment. After 2 years service in any class. After 5 years service in any class. After 10 years service in any class.
  Day. Night. Day. Night. Day. Night. Day. Night.
1 720 880 800 1,000 800 1,100 960 1,200
2 600 720 640 800 720 880 800 1,000
3 480 600 520 640 560 700 640 800

8.  In all cases where a Railway Mail Clerk is entitled to an increase of salary, a special report should be made and the Postmaster General's sanction obtained previous to the increased salary being entered on the monthly pay list.

9.  Railway Mail Clerks, in addition to their salaries, are entitled to half a cent for each mile travelled whilst on actual duty. Until, however, a Railway Mail Clerk is reported to the Postmaster General as fully competent to take charge of the Mails, he is to be paid only one quarter of a cent for each mile travelled.

10.  The scale of salaries of Clerks employed in city offices is as follows:—

[18] 1st Class from $1,000  to $1,600
2nd Class from    900   to   1,100
3rd Class from     600   to      800
4th Class from     400   to      520

In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classes, the Clerks receive the lower salary on appointment or promotion with an increase of $40 each year, until the higher salary is attained.

In the first class there is no annual increase, the salary which is fixed by the Postmaster General in each case, having regard to the merits and services of the Clerks and the relative importance of the duty entrusted to them.

11.  Letter Carriers will receive such salaries and allowances for uniforms as may be from time to time fixed by the Postmaster General.



1.  In each report on an application for a new Post Office describe the locality in which it is proposed to establish the office, giving name of the township, number of lot and concession stating whether front or rear of the concession, and county in which situated. In places where land is not so divided give such particulars as may serve to indicate the exact position. State further the number of churches, schools, mills, stores, houses or other buildings in the immediate neighborhood; the character of the surrounding land, whether well settled, and the estimated number of families that the office applied for would accommodate; its distance from all neighboring offices; its estimated postal revenue; the mode and frequency of the service proposed; the estimated annual cost; whether any previous application for a Post Office in the same locality has already been reported on, and such other information as may bear on the matter.

2.  With each report on an application for a new Post Office should be sent a sketch or tracing (from the map of your Division) shewing as nearly as can be ascertained the position of the proposed office and mail route, and the offices and mail routes already in operation in its neighborhood.




1.  The principal object of all mail arrangements is to ensure the transit of the letters and papers to destination with the utmost possible despatch.

2.  The main routes throughout the Provinces should connect with each other as closely as it is possible.

3.  The branch routes should be so arranged as to form as close a connection as possible with the main lines.

4.  Through bags should be exchanged by all offices between which pass a large number of letters and papers, including Travelling Post Offices on different routes.

5.  When, as a general rule, an office has a large number of registered letters for another office with which it does not exchange a direct mail, the registered letters may be enclosed in a sealed registered packet, addressed to the office for which the letters are intended. The address of the packet, however, should, in all cases, be entered in the Letter Bill with which it is despatched.

When a packet is sent as above, it should be accompanied by a Letter Bill containing at foot an acknowledgment for registered letters. This acknowledgment should be filled up by the receiving office and returned to the despatching office by the first post.

6.  Where large numbers of registered letters pass between two offices, it is desirable that bags secured with the lead seal should be used.

7.  An Inspector should always be on the watch to ascertain what improvements can be made in the postal arrangements in his Division. It should be his aim to anticipate the wants of the general public, and to combine, as far as practicable, efficiency of service with economy of expenditure.



1.  It is very essential that a strict supervision should be maintained over the performance of the mail service; that all delays and [20]irregularities should be promptly checked, and, when necessary, fines imposed and enforced.

2.  On all the important routes there should be suitable Time Bills, in which should be entered the hours of arrival and departure at each office, the names of the couriers, and the No. of the mails received and delivered.

3.  These Time Bills should be carefully checked and fyled away, the check clerk affixing his initials to each bill.

4.  You should be ready at all times to receive suggestions for improvements in the Mail Service, and, if desirable, submit them for the consideration of the Postmaster General.

5.  Leather bags should, as a general rule, be used on stage routes.

On the outlying routes, where the mails are exposed to the weather, waterproof canvass bags should be used.



1.  In making reports on proposed new mail routes, or alterations of existing routes—state clearly—

Advantages to be obtained;

Additional cost per annum to be incurred;

Present revenue of the offices to be served;

Increased revenue which it is estimated would result from proposed additional mail facilities;

Give tables also of the present and proposed routes, showing offices served and intermediate distances. State, also, dates on which contracts which it is proposed to discontinue would terminate provided previous notice were not given by the Postmaster General.

2.  With each report send a sketch or tracing from the Post Office Map of your Division, showing all the offices affected by the proposed arrangements, denoting the lines of existing routes which it is [21]recommended should be discontinued in blue, and the new routes which it is recommended should be established in red.

3.  All changes in Mail Services should—except in very special cases—take effect on the first day of each mouth.



1.  For every Mail Service there should be a written contract or memorandum of agreement, which should be made out and executed in triplicate, one copy being for the Department at Ottawa, one for the contractor, and one for yourself.

2.  All contracts for Mail Services should be made so as to terminate at the end of a quarter, or if that is not possible, at the end of a month.

3.  The contracts terminating at the end of each quarter should be entered in the record of expiration of contracts, a page or two pages in this book as may be required, being appropriated for each quarter.

4.  Six months previous to the expiration of the contracts, the usual printed circular should be issued to the Postmaster at each of the termini of the several routes, asking whether any improvements can be made in the service.

5.  Should any change be desirable a report should be made thereon to the Postmaster General, at least one month previous to the preparation of the notices inviting tenders for a new contract.

6.  Four months before the expiration of each Quarter separate reports should be made to the Postmaster General.

1. Of all contracts expiring at the end of the next ensuing Quarter in which no change of mail service is proposed.

2. Of all contracts expiring at the end of the next ensuing Quarter in which an alteration is recommended.

These reports should be accompanied by the usual notices of advertisement inviting tenders.

7.  All advertisements for tenders and all contracts for Mail [22]Services should be carefully prepared, it being borne in mind that nothing more than what is expressed therein can be legally enforced.

The advertisements should be dated a fortnight later than the date of their transmission to the Department.

8.  There should be at least six weeks between the date of the advertisements and the date up to which tenders for the service are receivable, and at least eight weeks between the day fixed on for the reception of tenders and the date on which they are to take effect.

9.  Duplicates of the notices inviting tenders for Mail Services, should be fyled in the Guard Book provided for that purpose.

10.  When the notices have received the approval of the Postmaster General, one copy at least should be sent to each office on the route to be advertised, to be posted up in a conspicuous place in the office for the public information, and as many copies as may be considered necessary to the office at each terminus.

11.  The usual forms of tender should also be supplied to Postmasters at those places where these forms of tender will probably be enquired for by parties proposing for the service.

12.  Unless there is any good and sufficient objection, contracts for Mail Services must be made with parties whose tenders, being the lowest, have been accepted.

13.  It should, however, be ascertained that the party proposing to undertake the service is able satisfactorily to perform it, and that the sureties he names are good and sufficient for the penalty of the required bond.

14.  In the event of there being any serious objection to entering into a contract with the parties whose tenders have been accepted, full particulars of the objection should at once be reported to the Postmaster General, and application made for the next lowest tender.

15.  Full particulars should also be promptly furnished to the Postmaster General of the action taken on tenders forwarded to you for acceptance on certain conditions, or in cases where none of the tenders received have been accepted in consequence of the high prices demanded.

16.  In dealing with accepted tenders for mail services, and in [23]making out the contract therefor, the greatest possible promptness should be observed.

17.  Contracts for Mail Services should be very carefully prepared, and no contract should be forwarded for the signature of the Postmaster General unless correct in all its terms and provisions.

18.  The contract should specify all the offices served en route.

19.  All contracts sent for the Postmaster General's signature must be accompanied by the printed form or letter, in which should be entered separately and alphabetically:—

1. Contracts entered into without change of service;

2. Contracts for new services.

Against each contract should be entered the number and date of the letter under authority of which the contract was made.

Against the entry of each new contract it should be clearly stated whether the service is entirely a new one. If not, the names of the contract or contracts which it supersedes should be given.

20.  Every contract made upon an accepted tender should (when sent to the Department) be accompanied by the tender on which it is based.



1.  Bonds must be taken from the following Officers:—

Assistant Postmasters in City Offices.
Money Order Savings Bank and Registration Clerks in City Offices.
Railway Mail Clerks.
Letter Carriers.

2.  The amount of the penalty of the bond required from Postmasters must be governed by the revenue collected, and the amount of business transacted. Care must be taken to use the Money Order form of bond for all Postmasters transacting Money Order and [24]Savings Bank business. A Postmaster's bond should in all cases be completed before he is placed in charge of the office.

3.  The amount of the penalty of the bond required

From Assistant Postmaster in City Office, is from $1,000 to $1,600
From Money Order and Registration Clerks in City Office, from 600 to  1,000
according to amount of responsibility.  
From Railway Mail Clerks 800
From Letter Carriers 400

4.  Bonds can be accepted either from the Canada Guarantee Company, or from two private parties whose sufficiency for the penalty must be certified by a magistrate. Bonds from the Guarantee Company are preferred.

5.  Great care must be taken in the filling up and execution of the bonds. The names in the body of the bond must be spelt in the same way as they are in the signature. In the description of the residence of the parties, the name of the judicial, and not the name of the electoral, county must be inserted.

6.  All erasures and corrections should be avoided, but, if made, should be initialed by the parties whose signatures as witnesses are attached to the bond.

7.  The bond should be sealed.

8.  The signature of the principal and the sureties should in every case be witnessed by two persons. The witnesses should always sign their names. Marks as substitutes for signatures of witnesses cannot be accepted.

9.  If, as sometimes, it happens through the removal of an office, the township mentioned in the new bond as the residence of the Postmaster differs from the township in which the office is situated, as shown in the Postal Guide, a special report of the fact should be made to the Postmaster General.



1.  This is a very important branch of the Postal Service, and will require your constant supervision.

[25]2.  A Distribution Book should be supplied the Mail Clerks on each road, which book should be corrected, at least, once in each month, or oftener, should circumstances render it necessary.

3.  Each Mail Clerk in your Division should be examined frequently with the object of ascertaining if he has a proper knowledge of the distribution and of the changes which have taken place in the distribution on the railway on which he is employed.

4.  On every railway route there should be a Time Bill which should pass from one end of the line to the other, and in which should be entered the particulars of all bags received and delivered by the Mail Clerks.

5.  You are not authorized to issue passes for travelling in a Postal Car except to a Railway Mail Clerk actually going on duty.

6.  No person, excepting Railway Mail Clerks on duty, the conductor of the train (in the ordinary course of his duty), and the Post Office Inspectors should be allowed access to the Postal Cars whilst en route with the mails.

7.  You should make yourself acquainted with the conduct of the Railway Mail Clerks, when off, as well as when on duty, and report to the Postmaster General any Railway Mail Clerk who, to your knowledge, is at any time under the influence of liquor or otherwise misconducting himself.

8.  Compensation is made to Railway Companies for Mail Service performed in a Postal Car, at the rate of 6 cents per mile actually travelled by mixed trains and 8 cents per mile for quick passenger trains. Compensation is also made for the conveyance of bags in charge of the company's servants at the rate of from 2 to 4 cents per mile actually travelled by the trains performing such service.

9.  When service by postal cars is necessary, the companies are bound to furnish Travelling Post Offices suitably fitted up, and to see that they are properly heated, lighted and cleaned, and supplied with water.

10.  All plans for the fitting up of these Travelling Post Offices should, previous to being carried out, be submitted for the approval of the Postmaster General.

11.  No promise of remuneration for services performed in connection with the Postal Service should be made to any person in the employ of a railway company. For all such services, compensation is made to the company in the regular allowance paid to them.

[26]12.  Canvas bags, as a general rule, should be used for the Railway Mail Service. The necessary supplies will be furnished on application to the Postmaster General.



1.  On the correct distribution of Mail Matter greatly depends the efficiency of the Postal Service, and this is, therefore, a point which requires your constant and careful supervision.

2.  As a general rule all officers between which pass large numbers of letters and papers should exchange direct mails, and the termini of routes should be constituted forward or distributing offices.

3.  Each Distribution Book or List should be prepared on a uniform plan. Books and forms for Manuscript Distribution Lists can be obtained on application to the Secretary.

4.  You should see that all the Railway Mail Clerks and such Postmasters as require them, are furnished with proper Distribution Books, and that these books are from time to time revised and corrected.

5.  All changes in the distribution in your Division should be recorded in a book kept for that purpose, and from this book the necessary corrections in the several Distribution Lists affected should be made.

6.  Changes in the distribution affecting offices in other Divisions should be at once communicated to the Inspectors for the Divisions in which the offices are situated.

7.  Postmasters and Railway Mail Clerks should be instructed at once to report to you any errors in the distributions which may come under their observation, and prompt steps should be taken for a prevention of their repetition.

8.  When a Mail Clerk or Postmaster has a large number of letters for any particular office with which he does not exchange direct mails, he should tie them all up in one package, either addressing the package or facing the top and bottom letters outwards.

9.  Provision should in all cases be made for the direct transmission of letters and papers between offices on the same route.




1.  Visit and inspect each Money Order and Savings Bank Office in your Division and make a report thereon to the Postmaster General on the printed forms, as often as occasion serves, but at least once every year.

2.  Visit and inspect every other office in your Division as often as circumstances permit.

3.  Do not, unless with good and sufficient reason, pass a Post Office without calling and inspecting it.

4.  Keep before you a memorandum of cases requiring personal investigation, so that in travelling you may be able to attend to as many of these cases as may be in the direction of your journey.

5.  In travelling ascertain, as far as you are able, if the service on the several routes over which you pass is in every respect satisfactorily performed, and make memoranda in your Pocket Memorandum Book of any irregularities which you may observe, or of any changes which you may think desirable.

6.  Note and take down particulars of any locality at which it is likely a Post Office may be required, so that when applied for, you may be able to report thereon.

7.  In visiting a Post Office the following points should engage your attention:

1. Is the office provided with—

A Sign?
A Letter-box?
Pigeon-holes for letters and papers for delivery and despatch?
Other necessary fittings?
Forms and other necessary equipments?

2. Is it conveniently situated and provided with proper accommodation for the public?

3. Are the Postmaster and his assistants duly sworn, and do they understand their duties?

4. Has the Postmaster proper stamps and material for post-marking letters, &c., and obliterating the stamps thereon?

5. Are the Letter Bills properly post-marked and fyled?

6. Are the Registered Letters and Mail Key kept in a safe place?

[28]7. Are the letters and papers for delivery properly post-marked? Are they all intended for the delivery of the office? Are they sorted into the proper boxes? Are there any which should have been sent to the Dead Letter Office?

8. Are the newspapers for delivery all sorted in their proper pigeon-holes.

9. Are all letters and papers posted for despatch as well as for delivery at the office properly pre-paid by stamp?

10. Are the entries in the Book of Mails sent and received, and the Registered Letter Books properly made?

11. Are the instructions and circulars received from the Department properly fyled?

12. Are the notices sent for exhibition to the public properly posted?

13. Is there a notice posted in the lobby indicating the office hours and the times at which mails are closed and received?

14. Is the Postmaster supplied with postage stamps sufficient to meet the requirements of the public?

15. Are the mails regularly received and despatched, and the provisions of the contracts under which the office is supplied properly carried out?

8.  In the event of the office being a Money Order Office ascertain—

1. If the entries in all the books are properly made.

2. Whether the Cash Book at Offices where a Cash Book is kept is made up to date, and whether the date of the Deposit Receipts agree with the date for which credit is taken therefor.

3. Whether the Postmaster has in hand the balance due on Money Order Account.

4. Whether all the numbers of the Money Orders taken from the Order Book are properly accounted for.

9.  You should take every opportunity of ascertaining and noting down the character and standing of the several parties employed in the Postal Service. The information thus obtained may be of value.

10.  You should also take every opportunity of collecting accurate information in regard to the settlement of the country, the position of Post Offices, roads and distances, and with this object you should carry a map of the section of country through which you pass, and mark thereon as much as you can of the above information.



1.  All cases of alleged loss of mails or letters, or of abstraction of [29]money or articles of value from letters should be promptly and thoroughly investigated.

2.  The circumstances attending those cases are so various that it is difficult to lay down any specific rule as to the mode in which the investigation should be conducted.

This must be left to the judgment of the Inspector. The following course, however, may be taken in ordinary cases.

3.  The printed form of questions should be filled up by the applicant in each case. If the applicant cannot supply all the particulars required, they should be obtained from such other parties as may be able to furnish them.

4.  A "Tracer" should be filled up, and sent to the office at which the letter was posted.

5.  The particulars of the cases should be at once entered in the book for the record of applications for lost letters.

6.  The papers connected with each case should be enclosed in a printed "Missing Letter Envelope." This should be docketed, the date on which, and the name of the office to which the Tracer was despatched entered thereon, and placed in a pigeon hole appropriated to Missing Letter cases "awaiting answers."

7.  A prompt return of the Tracer must in all cases be insisted on. On no account should its unnecessary detention at any office be permitted.

8.  If on return of the Tracer it is shown that no loss has occurred, the applicant should be so informed, a memorandum to that effect written on the envelope in which the papers are enclosed, the papers put away amongst cases of application for letters which have been found, and the entry of the case in the record of applications for Lost Letters scored out with a blue pencil.

9.  If it is found that a loss has actually taken place, the names of all the offices through which the letter passed, or should have passed, should be carefully recorded in the book of record of applications for missing letters. These offices should then be carefully indexed and a minute examination made with the object of ascertaining whether any of the offices through which the letter passed, or should have passed, appears with unusual frequency in other cases of loss, and whether in such event there is any reason either from the [30]resemblance in the character of the losses or the circumstances attending them to suspect that the losses may be attributable to the same office.

10.  In the event of frequency of loss at a City Post Office, it should be ascertained through whose hands the missing letter would pass, and an endeavor should in this way be made to concentrate the several losses on the guilty party.

11.  It is a well established fact that a person who has once committed theft will continue to steal, and a concentration of cases of loss, in the manner pointed out, will certainly afford a clue to his detection.

12.  Commencing each month, number each office consecutively, as it appears in the record of cases of loss or abstraction. This will show:—

1st. The number of cases which have occurred at any particular office during the month; and

2nd. In each case the relative number of cases affecting each of the offices through which any lost letter, or letter from which an abstraction has been affected, has or should have passed.

13.  It should be borne in mind that losses or abstractions may have occurred previous to the posting of the letters or after their delivery, and that the occurrence of two or more cases applicable to the same party posting or receiving letters is sufficient, at any rate, to awaken suspicion that the loss may not have taken place in the transit of the letters through the Post Office.

14.  In cases of abstraction it is very important that both the cover and the letter from which the alleged abstraction has taken place should be obtained. A very careful and minute examination thereof will, in many cases, enable the Inspector to determine whether any abstraction has really occurred, or, if it has occurred, to narrow the suspicion down to the office where it has actually been committed.

1. Examine the flap of the letter, if necessary, by means of a magnifying glass, and ascertain if it shows the least sign of having been opened and re-fastened, either by slight tears in the paper, marks of dirt, or moisture, or the application of additional mucilage.

2. Weigh the letter with its alleged contents and see if the weight corresponds with the amount of postage paid on the letter.

[31]3. Carefully examine the post-marks. If the impressions or indentations have penetrated from the cover to the letter inside, ascertain whether there has been any change in the position of the letter in the envelope between the time it received the post-mark of one office and the time it received the post-mark of another office.

This will sometimes enable you to determine at which office the abstraction was affected.

4. Ascertain if any of the post-marks have penetrated through the envelope from one side of the letter to the other. In such a case you may be able to determine whether, at the time the letter was stamped at any particular office, it actually contained an enclosure.

15.  Cases of alleged abstraction have been brought to light in which it has been proved that paper has been enclosed in letters by the senders instead of the money purported to have been remitted.

The proof consisted of the impressions of the postmarks placed on the letter at the office at which posted having gone through the envelope on to the papers enclosed.

It is, of course, important to ascertain whether the stamps were placed on the letter at the time it was posted.

16.  Cases of alleged theft have also been brought to light by the writing on the envelope being in a different hand to the writing in the letter enclosed, by the date of the letter not corresponding with the date of the post-mark of the office at which mailed, and by the dates of the post-marks on the letter showing that it has been subjected to some unusual delay. All these points should, therefore, be closely looked into.

17.  In all cases it would be desirable to ascertain at what point the best opportunity for the alleged theft would have been afforded.

18.  The evidence in each case of enquiry should be carefully taken down in writing, and every circumstance, however trifling, which may in the slightest degree bear on the case, noted. It is frequently by a collection of apparently unimportant facts that important results are arrived at.

19.  Care should be taken in every case to avoid the formation of any opinion until all the facts which it is possible to obtain in regard to it are collected together. It is only from these facts and from the character and antecedents of the parties who may have been [32]concerned in the loss, and not from some suspicion unsupported by facts, that conclusions can with any safety be drawn.

20.  All serious cases of loss or abstraction should be at once specially reported to the Postmaster General, and the most prompt action taken thereon.

21.  In cases of ascertained loss or abstraction, the Inspector for each Division through which the letter passed should be furnished with full particulars thereof.

22.  When there is no moral doubt of guilt, it is desirable that the party suspected should be at once suspended from his duties.

23.  It is not advisable however to take criminal proceedings in cases of theft, unless there is a probability of such evidence being obtained as will secure a conviction of the guilty party.



1.  All outstanding accounts and arrears due from Postmasters and ex-Postmasters must be entered in the book provided for that purpose.

2.  This Book should be divided into three parts:

1. For entry of arrears due from Postmasters in office.

2. For entry of arrears due from ex-Postmasters.

3. For entry of names of offices which have failed to render their accounts.

3.  Prompt steps must be taken to obtain these outstanding accounts and arrears.

Application should first be made to the Postmaster or ex-Postmaster to send them in.

If he fails to do this within a reasonable time—say two weeks—a letter should be addressed to each of his sureties. If this produces no good result, a second application should be made to the sureties informing them that if by a certain day—say in two weeks time—the accounts and arrears are not forwarded, the matter will be reported to the Postmaster General, who will probably order legal proceedings to be taken against them.

[33]4.  If, after the expiration of the time given, the accounts and arrears are not paid, this result should be specially reported to the Postmaster General. In such case it would be desirable to ascertain and report to the Postmaster General whether the Postmaster and his sureties are good and sufficient for the amount of the arrears due.

5.  When the accounts and arrears are sent in, the entry in the Arrears Books should be erased in blue pencil.

6.  On no account should outstanding accounts and arrears be overlooked and neglected. In some cases, when the amounts involved are large, a personal visit may be necessary.



It is very important that each Inspector should make himself thoroughly conversant with the foregoing regulations, and it will be the duty of the Chief Inspector, when visiting the several Divisions, to ascertain whether these Regulations are properly observed and to report to the Postmaster General such deviations as may come under his notice.

Postmaster General.

Ottawa, 1st August, 1879.

Typographical errors corrected in text:

[1] On page 13, entry 8: "Those cases not erased should be consecutively numbered and the number erased in the return." The word 'erased' is marked out and 'entered' is written in the margin. By the context, the word clearly should be 'entered' so I have corrected and noted it here.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of General Instructions For The Guidance
Of Post Office Inspectors In The Dominion Of Canada, by Alexander Campbell


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