Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
Stampless Folded Letter  - June 1, 1824
Bordeaux, France on Brig Charlotte, Captain Martin
Via Newport, RI to New York with Rare Green Oval Cancel
(Explanation of  Rates & Cover Markings follows below)

The Stampless Folded Letter above was mailed from Bordeaux, France on June 1, 1824 to a Mr. George Brown also of Bordeaux in care of Goodhue and Company in New York City. The letter made the Atlantic crossing on the ship Charlotte; Captain Martin Commanding. The port of entry for the letter was Newport, Rhode Island , where it received the Newport Green Oval Cancellation and Ship marking. The letter was then forwarded via overland mail to New York. 

The letter was charged three (3) times the 181/2 cent rate established by Act of Congress on April 9, 1816, (effective May 1, 1816) for mail traveling between 150 and 400 miles. The letter as it exists today contained one folded sheet, so there must have been two enclosures included with the letter for it to have been charged at 3 times the normal rate. In addition, the normal 2 cent fee paid to the Captain of the Charlotte was added to the rate, giving us a total 571/2 cents as marked in red at the upper right hand corner of the cover. 

The zone rate for mail traveling a distance of 150 to 400 miles was changed by Act of Congress on March 3, 1825, (effective May 1, 1825) to 183/4 cents

NOTE: The reason for the rate change was that during the early 19th century the Spanish Real was still in wide usage. The Real was equivalent to $1.00 in U.S. currency and could be divided into 8 bits, (pieces of eight). One (1) bit was equal to 121/2 cents and 183/4 cents was the equivalent of 11/2 bits. (This is also the origin for the term 2 bits equaling a quarter.)

The Newport Oval is a relatively rare and sought after cancel. The cancel is known in various colors; red, blue, black, magenta, and green and was used from 1820 to 1830. There were three basic varieties, (Oval with border, Oval without border and Oval with border in Old English). The type of Newport Oval as seen on the cover above is the 41 x 34 mm green oval  in use from 1821 to 1829.

The mercantile firm of Goodhue & Co was founded by Jonathan Goodhue in 1809 as Goodhue and Swett. The firm operated a line of transatlantic packet ships and served as the agents for Russell & Co of Canton, China. The firm was also a part of the syndicate that operated the Black Ball Line of Liverpool Packet Ships. 

I was unable to find any information on a George Brown of Bordeaux.

RI Historical Society
Stampless I
Stampless II

Stampless III
Stampless IV
Stampless V
Stampless VI
Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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