Monday, March 25, 2013

1802 Dismissal of Benjamin Lowndes as Postmaster of Bladensburg Maryland

National Intelligencer reports on the dismissal of Benjamin Lowndes as Postmaster of Bladensburg Maryland
            The editor of the National Intelligencer labors hard, to lessen the odium which naturally falls on the Post-Master General, in the removal of Mr. Lowndes, from the post office at Bladensburg, but not withstanding all his ingenuity, the observation he makes in his paper of the 12th inst. are not sufficient for the purpose; []t []is[]true, Mr. Lowndes did confide the business of the post-office to his assistant, a young man deserving of the trust, and who received the emoluments of the office, it is also true, that during the eighteen months residence of Mr. Lowndes assistant, two instances have happened, that the mail went by without being examines, but it is equally true, the office was open at the hour, usual for the arrival of the mail.  It is well known, that accidents on the road, frequently delay the stages, beyond the time specified in their contracts with the post-master general, and does it follow, or is it reasonable to expect a Post-Master is to remain hours in his office without taking the necessary nourishment? and does it follow, that should the mail arrive during this time, he must be censured for the neglect of duty?  For the exchange of mails, one quarter of an hour is allowed, but it can be proven, that of the instances alluded to, the mail carriers did not stay five minutes. 

            It is not true that Mr. Lownde's [sic] dwelling house, even with all the meanders is half a mile from his store, the most direct way does not exceed 630* yards, and it unluckily happens for the editor of the National Intelligencer that Mr. Lownde's house, stands on the same street with the new post[]office, within 175 yards of the tavern, 30 feet of the centre of the present post road, and by which, the stages daily pass to and from the City of Washington, how is it then, that there is not the same objection to the new, as to the old post-office?

            With respect to Mr. Lownde's reason for keeping the office after the 22nd of February, his letter to the Post-Master General will fully explain, for it is well known that there would be not only an impropriety but irregulariay[sic], in giving up an office pending the quarter of removal, and Mr. Lowndes after his letter to the Post-Master General never received any notification to the contrary.
            The public have now an opportunity of judging, how far Mr. Lownde's conduct has been reprehensible and how well founded are the observations for the cause of his dismission [sic].

            From the abo[]e []tatement of facts, which can be amply substantiated, whenever called on, it is evident, that Mr. Lownde's removal, has not been owing to any neglect of duty, but unfortunately for the public, for giving his approbation to the measures of administrations, which derive their existence from the good sense, and not the weakness and vices of the community []s this was the crime, and the crime was not to be forgiven.[1]           
            *Actual measurement.

[1] WASHINGTON FEDERALIST.; Date: 04-19-1802; Volume: II; Issue: 298; Page: [2]

1 comment:

  1. Politics and the post office seem to be a constant, and Bladensburg was no exception. Lowndes undoubtedly lost his position because he was a Federalist, and the new regime under Jefferson was looking to reward its supporters.
    Ironically, when the surveyor of post offices under the Continental Congress, Ebenezer Hazard, visited Bladensburg in 1777, he noted that "The Post Master at Bladensburgh is a furious politician."