sion of any and all letters addressed to the complainant, M well as all such as may hereafter be addressed to him and received at her office. In her answer defendant bases her refusal upon certain instructions from the postmaster general, directing the detention of letters address3ed to the complainant. She denies that the laws of the United States, or the regulations of the department, require the delivery of such letters, and charges, upon information and belief, that all of said letters are letters and communications about and concerning a lottery known as "The Commonwealth Distribution Company;" that all of said letters are intended to be received by said company, although addressed in the name of the complainant, "Secretary," for convenience, and to conceal the fact thatthey were intended for said company, and that they were letters and communications concerning a lottery; that they are the exclusive property of said company, and that the complainant is but the secretary so-called, and employe of said company, and has no ownership or property in said letters; and that said letters, and everyone of them, were deposited in the mail bag of the United States in violation of the laws of said government, and that their transmission from the various offices where they were deposited was also in violation of the law. The answer further sets forth the correspondence with the postmaster general in which he directed defendant to detain letters to "T. J. Commerford, Secretary," and insists such order was justified by law, and was within the scope of his powers as postmaster general. Few intelligent persons will deny that lottery gambling is a. vice which merits the reprobation, visited upon it by almost all the enlightened legislatures of modern times. The moral sense of. the community long since pronounced against it, and the eloquent denunciations of Mr. Justice Catron, in the case of The State v. Smith, 2 Yerg. 272, will touch a responsive chord in the heart of every honest man. The recent report of the postmaster general to the house of representatives sets forth with startling emphasis the
systematio deception and often deliberate swindling practiced by the promoters of these and kindred enterprises, and his efforts to purge his department of all oomplicity in their doings challenges the approval of public opinion. At the same time oourts are bound to administer the law as they find it, and are often powerless to remedy evils, the existence of which is fully admitted. The toleration or inhibition of lotteries is a matter exclusively within the control of the several states, and congress can do no more than to deny them the use of the national mails for the propagation of their schemes. But while there is, undoubtedly, power to prescribe shall or what shall not be carried by post, (ex parte Jackson, 96 U. S. 727-732,) the mails are, prima facie. intended for the service of every person desiring to use them; and So monopoly of this species of commerce is secured to the postoffice department. Rev. St. § 3982. It is, then, scarcely necessary to say that the officers of the department are the agents of the public in the performance of this service, and that no postmaster, whether acting under the instructions of the postmaster general or not, can lawfully refuse to deliver letters addressed to his office, unless special authority for so doing is found in some act of congress. Indeed. the unlawful detention of letters by a postmaster is denounced by sections 8890 and 3891, and a violation of his duty to deliver mail matter is made punishable by fine and imprisonment. Authority for the detention of the complainant's letters by the defendant in this case is claimed to exist under the following section of the Revised Statutes: "Section 3894. No letter or circular concerning lotteries. so-called gift concerts, or other similar enterprises offering prizes, or concerning schemes devised and intended to deceive and defraud the public for the purpose of obtaining money under false pretences, shall be carried in the mail. Any person who shall knowingly deposit or send anything to be conveyed by mail in violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500, nor less than $100, with . costs of prosecution."