Today in Postal History


Jamaica to Scotland
May 17, 1829

This folded letter was sent from the Clifton Hill Estate in Port Morant.
Port Morant is located on the south coast near the eastern end of Jamaica.
Port Morant is the home of a special rum.
The markings suggest that this was carried outside the mails.
Note the 'favd. by Steven Barclay, Esq.' annotation on the lower left.

The 3-page letter was addressed by John Wallace to his
mother at Mill of Leggat, Auchterless in Aberdeenshire.
Today known as the Kirktown of Auchterless, it is
about 45 km northwest of Aberdeen in northeast Scotland.

The letter was struck with a ship letter with crown CDS
on its arrival in London on July 13.

There is also a 'Bishop mark' (smaller circular stamp) on the back which
is probably dated July 13 indicating when the letter went into the mail for distribution.
There is another 'Bishop mark' in red dated JULY | A. 15 A. | 1829
which is an Edinburgh transit mark.*

There is also a boxed handstamp on the front.
This indicated payment of the Scottish Additional Halfpenny Mail Tax.
In 1785, Parliament enacted a law exempting all vehicles,
including horses, carrying mail from paying any tolls.
This reduced the revenue of the toll operators who lobbied for a repeal of the act.
An act of Parliament on June 3, 1813, effectively
repealed this exemption insofar as it applied to Scotland.
To reimburse the Post Office for this additional toll expense, the Post Office
was permitted to apply a d added charge or tax to all mail carried to, from, or within
Scotland on mail coaches with more than 2 wheels using the toll roads.
This tax was applied from 1813 to 1839.
Letters to the towns of Coldstream, Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick, Melrose,
St. Boswells Green, Earlston and Galashiels were exempted from the tax.*

There are two manuscript ratings - '8' and '1/11.'
This analysis of the rate and markings was provided by David Parsons*:

The inward ship letter rate was 8d; inland postage rate was 1/3 being rate for a distance of between 500 and 600 miles.  This agrees with a rough mileage calculation (via Edinburgh) of 530 miles.  Total 1/11 plus the d wheel tax.  The wheel tax mark was applied in London.  The red cds is an Edinburgh transit mark.  The manuscript "8" was added at the foreign branch.  The 1/11 total and d tax stamp were added at London GPO where it would have been rated.

*Thanks to Jim Whitford-Stark for his help in getting information on this d mark.
Thanks, too, to David Parsons for his help in identifying and interpreting the rates and marks.


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