Notes from the Past

Postage Rates in 1847 - Part IV

Newspapers have long been major users of the postal system.  They have been favored with regard to rates as a matter of public policy as well as a tribute to the "power of the press." Newspaper rates were provided by Postal Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department published in 1847 as follows:

Postage on Newspapers.

    147.  Newspapers carried not over 100 miles, or any distance within the State in which they are mailed, are to be charged with a postage of one cent each.
    148.  If carried over 100 miles, and out of the State in which they are mailed, they are to be charged with one and a half cents each.--Act of 1825, sec. 30.
    149.  This postage is chargeable by the newspaper, not by the sheet.  hence if two or more newspapers be printed on one sheet, as has been done, full postage is to be charged on each; nor is the postage to be abated on a newspaper printed on less than a whole sheet.
    150.  Newspaper postage is to be charged upon newspapers, extra newspapers, supplements to newspapers, and the printed or written notices sent by the publishers of newspapers to their subscribers, attached to the margin of the newspaper, stating the amount due for subscription.--Act of 1825, sec. 13.
    151.  Publishers' receipts cannot be so sent, but bills only; and this privilege does not extend to publishers of pamphlets and magazines.
    152.  A newspaper is defined to be any printed publication issued in numbers, and published at stated intervals of not more than a month, conveying intelligence of passing events.  It generally consists of a sheet, but may be composed of two sheets, of paper.  In such case it is chargeable with only single newspaper postage; provided the two sheets, in the aggregate, do not exceed nineteen hundred square inches.  If it exceed that superficial extent, it is to be rated as a pamphlet.
    153.  An extra newspaper, or a supplement to a newspaper, when they are such, bona fide, will be rated separately, with newspaper postage.  When they are styled extra or supplementary newspapers, but are in fact mere advertisements or circulars, they will be charged as such, with three cents each sheet, (to be prepaid,) if not more than a single cap or quarto post; if on a sheet larger, then they will be charged as pamphlets.
    154.  When the article to be mailed is a circular, pamphlet, or newspaper, it should be so enveloped or folded that it can be distinctly seen at the office to be such, and also that it contain no writing, marks, or signs, to serve the purpose of written communications.  If not done up so as to be open at the end, it is to be charged as a letter, by weight.
    155.  Contractors, mail carriers, railroad and steamboat lines may carry newspapers out of the mails, for sale or distribution among regular subscribers.  But if such newspapers are delivered to the postmaster, to distribute among subscribers, postage must be charged and collected.
    156.  Reprints of books or magazines in newspaper form, are likewise to be rated with periodical pamphlet postage.
    157.  Extras of a paper which contain mainly and chiefly a republication of books or private matter must be placed on the footing of periodical pamphlets.--See Opinion of the Attorney General, at the end of the volume of Laws.
    158.  Newspapers not sent from the office of publication, by which is meant those not sent by editors or publishers, except such as are legally franked, are to be rated at three cents, and the postage paid in advance at the time they are deposited in the office.

To Be Continued.

Posted September 2, 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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