Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
1823 Stampless Folded Letter A. R. Taylor - New Orleans, LA
To Nicholas Peck & Co - Bristol, Rhode Island
With New York Ship Marking - 20mm by 5mm

(Scroll Down for Full Text of Letter and Background History)

This stampless folded letter was sent at the 181/2 cent rate set by the Postal Act of April 9, 1816, effective May 1, 1816 for mail traveling a distance between 150 and 400 miles, (New York to Bristol, RI). It was mailed from New Orleans on April 5, 1823 via the Brig Anethura to New York where it received the 201/2 cent rate marking, (181/2 cent rate plus the 2 cent fee for the Captain of the Brig). The letter was then forwarded  on May 6, 1823 to Bristol, Rhode Island.

The dimensions of the Red Ship Marking are 20 mm by 5 mm. According to the "American Stampless Cover Catalog" Volume II; this marking was used in New York in 1817 and a marking of 21 mm by 6 mm was in use during 1823. However, this marking is clearly 20 x 5 and used at New York in 1823.

The letter is from the factor A. R. Taylor, writing from New Orleans, LA concerning the loading of a Brig with cotton for Nicholas Peck. It mentions current prices and loading rates. It also mentions three possible ports that the ship could visit and talks about repressing the cotton bales.

(I believe the cotton bales were originally more loosely packed for shipping down river to New Orleans and by repacking them, room can me made to carry additional bales in the available space at a 4 for 3 ratio.)

Nicholas Peck was born on May 6, 1736 in Bristol, Massachusetts to Jonathan and Mary Throop Peck. He
was a 5th generation descendant of Nicholas Esq Peck, (born 1630 in Hingham, Norfolk, England; died Bristol, Massachusetts on May 27, 1710.)

NOTE: Bristol did not become part of the state of Rhode Island until 1747.

Nicholas was a successful Bristol Merchant and dealt in such diverse cargos as cotton, vegetables, grains, nails, lumber and rum. He was also engaged in the slave trade and there is record of Peck financing a fishing voyage to the northern Codfish Grounds.

Peck owned several ships outright and also partnered in shipping ventures with John Brown, Thomas Church, Charles Collins, Nathaniel Gladding (Ship Captain), Henry Munro, Samuel Townsend, and John Wardwell. During the late 18th and early 19 centuries the value of the cargos was usually far greater than the cost of the ships that carried them and Peck had a reputation for sending his cargos to sea on ships that were less than seaworthy

NOTE: In the case of the letter below; the factor lists the brig as a class B.No.1, whereas a fully seaworthy vessel would have been rated at A.No.1 or A.No.2.

Nicholas Peck was married to Elizabeth Smith (1766-1797), Jemima Gorham (1774-1798), and Sally Gorham who outlived him. Nicholas Peck died on June 11, 1847 in Bristol, Rhode Island.

One of Nicholas's sons, Nicholas Peck Jr., emigrated to Gonzales, Texas in 1831. He purchased 4 lots in the town in 1835 and joined the Texas Republican Army, serving first under Captain Jacob Eberly and later under Captain Moseley at the Battle of San Jacinto. He returned to Rhode Island in 1837 for his wife and daughter and settled in Texana, Texas. He died in 1838.

SEE ALSO: 1817 Letter - Philadelphia to Nicholas Peck - Safe Arrival of Brig Francis 

The Complete Text of Letter Follows Below:

New Orleans 5th April 1823

Messrs Nicholas Peck & Co.
                  Bristol -- Gents,
                       I wrote on 31st Octo.
per Brig Volant via New York -- since that I have Yr favor of 15th Feb. by mail -- The Brig commences loading on Monday either for Liverpool at  11/2 cents; Havre at 3. cents or Antwerp at 23/4 cents percent for cotton -- at these prices it is greatly to ships advantage to repress the cotton which is done at 75 cents a bale and after repressing them, 4 can be stowed where 3 would be taken only -- she must get at least 4 or 5000.$ freight, if she stows 500 bales & I think with Capt. Bradford that she will stow 550 bales -- I will take care to write you in time before she sales that you may effect insurance on the Brig and freight if you so wish -- as she is to be loaded by one house, I presume she will soon be off -- Capt. B sold his onions at 9.$, the other articles will have to be sold at auction & will go very low -- Part of the bricks he will keep for ballast sooner than pay 3. or 4$ per ton for it, -- Their Brig is classed for B No. 1. Had she been classed A. No. 1 or 2. I think I would have done better for her tho not much -- As I leave here early in July for the East, it is hardly worth while to say anything about other vessels, the freights I think will not go much lower this season, of this tho (I) will frequently advise you. -- You shall here from me again soon & am 

Money very scarce - cotton low
& dull - I annex Prices
Yrs most respectfully,
A. R. Taylor

VIEW: Annexed Price List

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