Postage due 1830-1862

Letters circulating in the town of the post office

There are many letters circulating within a municipality that has a post office. In addition, postal rates has existed since 1800.

1834: Letter from TOURCOING to TOURCOING dated 5 August 1834. This letter is postage due and taxed at 1 decime (letter weighing less than 15 g).

1848: Letter from LILLE to LILLE dated 6 December 1848. Postage due taxed at 1 decime (letter weighing less than 15g).

Letters circulating in the district of a post office

Since 1830, a letter circulating between the town of the post office and the villages dependent on it was subject to a reduced postal rate. This letter was said to circulate within the rural district of the post office.

Most of the time, at least in the early days, a postal district consisted solely of the rural district of the head post office, as there were few post office stations. Letters circulating in the rural district of the post office had to bear the CL stamp.

The CL stamp was printed in red, black, green, or blue. Circular no. 34 of 18 October 1834 specifies that CL stamps should be struck in red ink like CD, PP, PD and PF stamps.

1849: Letter weighing less than 7.5 g from VALENCIENNES to TRITH ST LEGER.

1848: Letter weighing less than 7.5 g SOLESMES for the rural commune of BRIASTRE.

It should be noted that the CL stamp impression is sometimes missing. These shortcomings are excusable at the beginning of the process, but they continued for a very long time afterwards.

In fact, the mail circulating within a rural district circulated in an enclosed space and far from the eyes of the Administration. Checks on compliance with the rules were not frequent. This could give way to “shortcuts” or local interpretations of the rules. These practices were often aimed at saving time, especially in small post offices with few staff.

1838: Letter from the village of RECOURT in Pas-de-Calais (rural mailbox L) to DOUAI (Nord). It could happen that one or more rural communes of a Department depended on a post office located in another Department. The CL (Correspondance Locale) stamp indicates that the letter is circulating in the Postal District of DOUAI (DOUAI + rural communes attached to this post office).

1850: Letter from SOMMAING (rural mailbox M) for SOLESMES. The letter was brought back to the post office on 15 October (presumably) after the last distribution and was delivered on the 16th.

1838: Postage due letter from PONT A MARCQ to TEMPLEUVE taxed at 1 decime.

1837: Postage due letter from VALENCIENNES to ANZIN.

This letter weighs 7.5g and is therefore normally taxed at 2 decimes.

Heavy local letters (above the 2nd weight step) are uncommon. The sender often preferred to carry this type of letter himself or go through another intermediary, as the tax on this type of letter was prohibitive.

Local service by a rural postman

These 2 letters show what might appear to be irregularities (at least in relation to the guidelines of the General Instruction of 1832). They were collected by a rural postman either in a rural mailbox or because they were given to him, but neither of them bears the mention of a tax. Even though they are intended for the commune of the post office. They should therefore have been brought back to the post office, because a rural postman could not at that time deliver mail inside the commune of the post office. This was the job of the local postman. Article 546 of the 1832 General Instruction is very clear on this subject: “Under no circumstances should rural postmen deliver letters in the commune where a post office is located; and conversely, town postmen should not deliver letters in the rural district”.

However, at certain times, it seems that post offices temporarily set up local services (i.e. in the town of the post office) with one or more rural postmen. The administration was well aware of this, because in the Special Instruction for Postal Inspectors of May 1838, it asked its inspectors to check that post offices were not contravening article 546 of the General Instruction. Local services by postmen were officially authorised in 1847.

1838: Letter handed to the postman (OR stamp: Rural Origin) in the commune of BERSEE. This letter should have been taken to the PONT A MARCQ post office, which would have taxed it. A rural postman could not deliver mail in the commune of the post office. In this case, the letter does not appear to have passed via the post office (no tax, no date stamp). We can therefore conclude that the PONT A MARCQ post office had organised a local service with the rural postman.

1837: Letter from the mailbox of the village of HAVELUY depending on VALENCIENNES post office. This letter does not seem to have been taxed or even to have handled by the post office.

The VALENCIENNES post office must have put in place at least a partial local service to the town by a rural postman.

Letters circulating between 2 rural districts in the same Postal District

Letters circulating between 2 different rural districts in the same Postal District of a head post office were also subject to local postage rates.

1847: Letter from HALLUIN for the commune of LINSELLES which depends on the TOURCOING post office.

The CD stamp is used here by mistake, as it can only be applied on letters circulating in the rural district of a post office station.

1847: Letter posted at the QUESNOY-SUR-DEULE office for LILLE.

This letter shows a type 15 from QUESNOY-SUR-DEULE without a date. In 1847, this post office was still a post office station and therefore should not have had a date stamp. Having been received by error, it was used as a linear (standard postmark of post office stations) .

1836: Letter from SECLIN to LILLE.

The SECLIN post office was then a post office station reporting to the LILLE head post office.

1856: Letter from a rural commune (G stamp letter) served by the RACHES post office station to DOUAI.

The RACHES post office station depended on DOUAI head post office.

Locally made tax stamp

The taxation of letters represented a great deal of work, since all the taxes were handwritten according to a prescribed calligraphy. On 2 June 1831 (circular no. 30), the Administration provided all the post offices with a tax stamp corresponding to the tax between each post office and Paris for a letter weighing up to 7.5g.

Some post offices have had tax stamp locally made at their own expense. Here are a few examples for post offices in the Nord and for the local postage.

Few tax stamps are known to have been used before the postage stamp period. To date, only the MAUBEUGE post office is known to have used this type of tax stamp in 1841 (at least).

The post offices in the Nord known to have used locally made tax stamps are: MAUBEUGE, DOUAI, LILLE, ST AMAND LES EAUX and MOULINLILLE.

1841: Letter from BOUSIGNIES SUR ROC (G2 letter-stamp) for COLLERET.

COLLERET was before BOUSIGNIES on the MAUBEUGE rural postman's round. Therefore, all letters collected from the BOUSIGNIES mailbox for COLLERET had to be brought back to the post office to be sent back to COLLERET the next day.

1841: Letter posted in the village of AIBES (letter-stamp H). This letter weighed between 7.5 and 15 g, as a map was included. For this weight range, 20 c. had to be paid.

1856: Letter from LILLE to LILLE, postage due. Instead of a pen stroke, a stamp impression marks the tax. This stamp is locally made and was not included in the post office equipment.

The number 51 in the top left-hand corner is the serial number of this letter in the list of postage due letters circulating inside a city. Since January 1852, post offices have been required to number postage due letters from the city to the city. This numbering is done by the day, and the numbers must also be entered on the survey no. 262.

1858: Letter from DOUAI to AUBY. Letter weighing less than 7.5 g taxed at 1 decime.