Notes from the Past

Postage Rates in 1847 - Part I

The postage rates in 1847 give insight into the structure of mail rates much of which continues even today.  This series of excerpts will show how the rates established by Congress were included in the regulations.  The regulations and postage revenue recording requirements were provided by Postal Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department published in 1847 as follows:
CHAPTER 14.

Postage on Letters.

    115.  On a letter not exceeding half an ounce in weight, sent any distance not exceeding three hundred miles, five cents.
    116.  When sent any distance over three hundred miles ten cents.
    117.  For every additional weight of half an ounce, or any fractional excess of less than half an ounce, there shall be charged an additional postage of five or ten cents, according to the distance.
    118.  On letters "dropped" in the post office for delivery in the same place, two cents each.
    119.  Letters addressed to different persons, enclosed in the same envelope or packet, cannot be sent through the mails, under a penalty of ten dollars, unless addressed to foreign countries.  This is not applicable to packets made up by postmasters to be forwarded from one office to another.
    120.  The distance according to which postage is chargeable, is that on the post road from one office to another, upon which the mail is conveyed.
    121.  Letters should in all cases be sent by the most expeditious routes, unless otherwise ordered by the person sending the same.

To Be Continued.

Posted August 30, 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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