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Rates of postage were fixed and authorized, and measures were taken to establish a post office in each town in Virginia.
Massachusetts and the other colonies soon passed postal laws, and a very imperfect post office system was established.
On February 17, 1691, a grant of letters patent from the joint sovereigns, William III and Mary II, empowered him: "to erect, settle, and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send, and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years." The patent included the exclusive right to establish and collect a formal postal tax on official documents of all kinds. Neale appointed Andrew Hamilton, Governor of New Jersey, as his deputy postmaster.
The first postal service in America commenced in February 1692.
Neale's patent expired in 1710, when Parliament extended the English postal system to the colonies.
News, new laws, political intelligence, and military orders circulated with a new urgency, and a postal system was necessary.
Before the Revolution, there was only a trickle of business or governmental correspondence between the colonies.
Most of the mail went back and forth to counting houses and government offices in London.
The 1792 law provided for a greatly expanded postal network, and served editors by charging newspapers an extremely low rate.
The law guaranteed the sanctity of personal correspondence, and provided the entire country with low-cost access to information on public affairs, while establishing a right to personal privacy.