The U.S. Postal Inspection Service traces its lineage to William Goddard, a colonial printer. During the American Revolution Goddard established a postal system that functioned separately from the British post, allowing revolutionaries and others to bypass prying British eyes when mailing a letter. The Constitutional Post adapted Goddard’s system, but bypassed the creator and named Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General in 1775. Franklin recognized Goddard’s expertise, appointed him to a new position, Surveyor of the Post, and issued him this travel document in 1776.
The next year Franklin resigned his post and Goddard was once again passed over for the top job, Franklin’s son-in-law Richard Bache became the new Postmaster General. That was the final straw for Goddard, who left the Post Office to return to his printing career.