Benjamin Franklin Papers

Notes on Establishing a Packet Boat Service to and from New York, [c. 31 August 1783]

Notes on Establishing a Packet Boat Service to and from New York3

AD (draft): American Philosophical Society

[c. August 31, 1783]

American Postmaster at New York to receive and distribute all Letters brought by the Pacquets of England & France

To give Receipts for the Amount, & keep an Account with each

Settle & pay every three Packets

Allow’d for dead, return’d or missent Letters.—

All preceding Postage of Packet Letters to be paid on both sides before they are sent forward by the respective Offices So that when the Letters arrive in America or Europe they may have no Charge on them but the Pacquet Postage, for the more easy & clear keeping of4 the Accounts—

The American Postmaster at New York shall send all American Letters that come to his Hands by the first Pacquet that sails whether French or English, unless otherwise directed by Words on the Superscription, such as via England or via France, or by the English Packet, or French Pacquet &c5

England & France to add their respective Inland Postages on Letters receiv’d by Packet according to their respective Regulations—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3On Sept. 19, 1783 (APS), Anthony Todd answered a now-missing letter of Aug. 31 in which BF outlined his thoughts on a coordinated French and British packet boat service to the United States. Todd’s answer makes it clear that BF’s proposal was based on the ideas outlined here.

4This phrase is interlined above another (“which will save much Trouble in”), which BF underlined and presumably was considering deleting.

5This entire paragraph was written below one that BF deleted with a single line. He had originally given the American postmaster the job of sorting overseas mail and routing it accordingly: “The American Postmaster at New York to sort all American Letters that come to his hands, and send by the French P. Boats all directed for France or the Continent of Europe, and all by the English P. Boats all directed for England, Scotland or Ireland, unless the writer has signified a different Intention by writing on the Superscription via France or via Engld.” When Todd answered on Sept. 19, he objected to the “first Pacquet” idea and proposed what BF himself had originally written.

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