Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
December 14, 1798 Stampless Letter to Brown & Ives
From St. Petersburg, Russia through London  

(Scroll Down for Background Information and Text of Letter)

Edward James Smith Docking
Petersburg, Russia 16 Dec 1798

This Stampless Folded Letter (SFL) was mailed from St. Petersburg, Russia on December 16, 1798. It was sent through London where it was charged at the 1 schilling Packet Rate on March 7, 1799.The Packet charge was pre-paid in London, (Note the paid M R 7 1799 CDS). It was received in New York on June 7, 1799 and charged at 3 times the 17 cent rate, (51 cents) for a single letter. (The text of the letter states, that a list of of the general exports is enclosed - There would have been three separate sheets in all for the 3x rate).
The rate for mail traveling 150 to 300 miles, (New York to Providence, RI) was 17 cents for a single letter set by the Postal Act of March 2, 1799, effective on the same day. The previous 1792 Postal Act set the rate as 17 cents for 200 to 250 miles. This letter would have been charged under the 1799 rate, as it entered the U.S. postal system after that date. The distance between New York and Providence is approximately 175 miles, so in either case the rate would have been the same. The letter has a small burn mark on the cover over Providence which didn't effect the contents. It appears from the July 12th script marking that a reply was sent on that date.
The text of the two page letter follows below. Where misspellings or colloquialisms occur they have been left as written.. There were a few words that I was unsure of and these are followed by a question mark.

Brown & Ives Esqrs.
at Providence

Sirs,                                                                St Petersburg the 14th Decem 1798

   We had the honor to waite upon you last the 12th of last month and with a full detail of our market, to which beg leave to refer. Having now a full winter and business of this season begins to come into motion, we again take the liberty of paying you our respects.
   Inclosed you will find the list of the general exports from hence this year wherein you will observe particularly, those for the sons & ships of your United States and of Great Britain; we sincerely wish it may be of service in your speculations.
   Since we waited upon you last, more of the very best of old sable gron
? has been bought; as the very best of old sable gron? at 235CU and new sable at 210CU per )
NOTE: Russian money in use during this era was the Ruble and the Kopek. 100 Kopeks equaled 1 Ruble. In this letter the St. Petersburg factor uses the abbreviations CU and RU, The RU obviously stands for ruble, but I'm not sure what the CU stands for. I don't believe that it stands for the Kopek as that would mean Sable was selling for only 2.35 rubles.
   The greatest life at present in trade, is with clean hemp; the price of it is drove up amazingly and in all appearance will get still higher, all on around the Braek?, which is to be next season on the Riga Fasting. I hear hemp on the spot is bought already at RU42 & 43 money down; on contract given RU43 with hard beforehand at which latter price yet purchases, but no sellers; if it continues this way, we shall not be surprised to see the price drove up to RU50 - which most of the sellers are expecting.
   In Outshott? Wharf clean hemp nothing passed yet, nor anything in Flax. As sailcloth, other manufactory goods and linens are only bought to market in January & February, nothing projective can be said of their prices. Middling Round Wik? has however been contracted at RU20 - good middling at RU131/2 & 14, middling flens? at RU20  - good middling at RU21 & 211/2 with all the money down. On the spot yellow candle tallow stands RU62 and soap tallow RU56 & 57 per Birk2? on contract yellow candle tallow has been bought at RU58 & 59 all money & at RU63 with part down; while at RU55 and 56 all money & at RU59 with part beforehand. Soap tallow at RU55 & 56 the whole and at RU59 part advance. & Pott? Ashes? seems in advance  - Say demand on the spot paid already RU5.10CU and contracted at 525CU & 530CU with part beforehand. Hempseed oil on contract is 360CU with part advance. In all other goods, nothing passed and no real prices to be noted. 
   We beg leave to recommend ourselves and so repeat our tender of services in this place, not doubting to give you in every respect the fullest satisfaction and your investment of ours.

London 26
1/4 . 26%
Hamburg 24
1/4 . 24 . 237/8
Amsterdam 28%
Sirs !
Your most ob hum Serv

Edward James Smith

See below links for further information: 
The History of Brown and Ives with Brown family Genealogy 
1789 Brown and Benson Letter from Champion and Dickason - London 
1834 Brown & Ives Letter from Amsterdam Factor
1852 Brown & Ives Letter from Baring Brothers - London, England 
Brown and Ives Family of Providence - Covers & Letters 

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

Recently Added Pages