Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
March 20, 1816 to Job Durfee - Tiverton, Rhode Island
Providence CDS with 12 cent War Rate
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The Stampless Folded letter above was sent from Providence, RI by R. H. Ivy for the appointing committee of the United Brothers Society. This is the second such letter informing Mr. Durfee and his selection as second poet for the next society anniversary, (He had refused the first appointment; most likely out of mistaken pride at not being chosen first poet). The letter sets forth reasons for Mr. Durfee to accept the appointment and is actually a mild rebuke.

The cover has a red Providence CDS with the date and R.I. inverted. The 12 cent rate at the upper right is the War Rate which was established by the Postal Act of December 23, 1814 and increased the rates established in 1799 by 50 percent. This act was repealed by the Act of February 1, 1816, (effective March 31, 1816). The letter was sent just 11 days before the rates were changed to the 1799 restored rates.

The rate was 8 cents for under 40 miles + the 50% charge for 12 cents total.

SEE ALSO: 1816 Brown & Ives - Restored Rate Cover

Job Durfee was born on September 20, 1790 in Tiverton, Rhode Island to Thomas and Mary Lowden Durfee. He was a fourth generation descendent of Thomas Durfee, (born 1643) who emigrated to the colonies in 1660 and settled in Portsmouth, RI. Job's father was Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Newport.

Job married Judith Borden, (born June 14, 1796 in Fall River, MA) on November 16, 1820 and they had seven children; Lucy D., Amy Borden, Thomas, Mary D., Simeon Borden, Sarah Ann, and Julia Marie. 

Job received his primary education at home and in the public schools. He entered Brown University in 1890, graduating in 1813 with honors and began studying law under his father's tutelage.  Job's political leanings were Jeffersonian-Republican and in 1816 he was elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly. He was called to the Bar in 1817. In 1820, Job Durfee was elected to the United States House of Representatives and held that office until 1825. In 1826 he was reelected to the State Legislature and held the position of Speaker of the House until 1829

Job published a poem in 1832 entitled "What Cheer - Roger Williams in Banishment," which was not favorably received at home, although it received considerable praise in England. He was appointed to the bench as an Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 1833; becoming the Chief Justice in 1835, which office he held until his death in 1847

Chief Justice Durfee's strong stand against the Dorr Rebellion and his early declaration that the movement was "illegal, without law and against law" and his later charge to the Grand Jury on the subject of treason, helped crystallize public opinion against the rebellion. Judge Durfee presided at the trial of Thomas Door, in which Door was sentenced to life imprisonment, (reduced to 1 year).

I found one additional item of interest which ties into my Hazard family Correspondence. Roland G. Hazard delivered a discourse to the Rhode Island Historical Society on January 18, 1848 entitled, "The Character and Writings of Chief Justice Durfee."

SEE: The Hazard Family Letters

Chief Justice Job Durfee died July 26, 1847 in Tiverton, Rhode Island.


Mr. Job Durfee
                           I had the pleasure sometime last term of informing you that the United
Brothers Society had appointed you their second poet for the ensuing anniversary.
A few days since I received a letter in reply explaining your intention to decline, being
cautious of filling that office. According to custom the letter was read to the Society. 
When it occurred to some of the members that your reply was in some degree dictated
by an erroneous opinion of the office in question & the former committee was instructed
to explain to you the views of the Society on the subject & likewise to renew their
solicitation for you to accept the appointment.
                           You will know the many difficulties & disappointments the UB Society
has been subjected to on account of their orator & both being chosen so short time
previously to the anniversary that in case of their refusing to serve, there had not been
sufficient time for others to propose themselves. Thus it has frequently happened that
one of the exercises of a celebration has been unavoidably surprised with.-- Such was
the case on the last anniversary & the society then thought proper to make a new
arrangement. It was determined that Poet & Orator of our anniversary should be
appointed at the anniversary preceding, & furthermore that there should be appointed a
first and second poet & orator in order that the second should be prepared in case of
the failure of the first. Otherwise he would be considered as the first for the anniversary
following. Accordingly, immediately after the last celebration, a first & second orator
was appointed and Mr. Knight was chosen first poet & yourself second. The sole
reason of your being appointed as second Poet was that the Society supposed it would
be more agreeable to yourself than being first since you had so recently delivered
a poem before them. Taking these things into consideration, I hope Sir that you will
conform to the solicitation of the society by permitting us to count on you as our
second poet for the ensuing anniversary. 
  With Sentiments of Expectation
I am your Obedient Liet.

                        R. H. Ivy
                        For the

        P. Job Durfee

                   You are expected to return an immediate answer.

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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