Million Dollar Mail Contract

“During the Congressional short session of 1860-61, advocates of the Central route renewed their efforts for an adequately subsidized mail service on their favorite line. They at last succeeded and the law of March 2, 1861, provided for a daily overland mail on the Central route and a semi-weekly Pony Express, the compensation for the joint undertaking to be $1,000,000 per annum.”

“[The secession of of seven states] perhaps helped Congress to decide the features embodied in the above law, but the Civil War was not responsible for the establishment of the daily overland mail on the Central route. As noted above, Hale’s bill in 1860 provided for such a daily service. The defeat of all overland mail legislation during the first session only stimulated greater effort in the next.

The feature of this legislation of March2, 1861, that was affected, if not produced by the secession and its probable consequences, was the provision for the transfer of the Butterfield line to the Central route.”