Notes from the Past

Foreign Mail Rates

In our previous Note From the Past, we recorded the regulations for handling foreign mail in 1847.  The rate morass which eventually led to the Universal Postal Union was revealed by the regulations regarding postal rates for foreign mail reported in the Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department included in Postal Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department published in 1847 as follows:
CHAPTER 64.

Postage on Letters, &c. to foreign countries transported in United States mail vessels.

     465.  On all letters and packets not exceeding one half ounce in weight, from any port in the United States to any foreign port, twenty-four cents.
    466.  Over one half ounce, and not exceeding one ounce in weight, forty-eight cents.
    467.  And for every additional half ounce, or fraction of an ounce, fifteen cents.
    468.  Upon each newspaper, pamphlet, and prices current, three cents.
    469.  All letters and packets not exceeding half an ounce in weight, sent to the West Indies and other islands in the Gulf of Mexico, Havana excepted, ten cents.
    470.  Over one half ounce and not exceeding one ounce, twenty cents, and five cents for every additional half ounce, or fraction of an ounce.
    471.  Newspapers, pamphlets, and prices current the same as other foreign ports. -- See act of March 3, 1845, relative to mail steamers. sec 3.
    472 The above regulation does not apply to Havana, in which port letters will be chargeable with twelve and a half cents postage.
    473 All letters and packets to and from Chagres, when conveyed in mail vessels, shall be charged with twenty cents postage; to Panama, thirty cents, and to other ports on the Pacific, forty cents. -- Act of March 3, 1847, sec. 7.
    474 It shall not be lawful for any person to carry any letter packet, or newspaper for distribution, or any printed circular or prices current on board vessels transporting the United States mail to foreign countries.  Violations of this law will subject the offender to a penalty of five hundred dollars.

Posted July 14, 2000

Editor's Note:  Modern philatelists are indebted to Theron Wierenga who republished this volume in 1980.  Italics follow the original.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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