Lot 30321775 (Dec. 20) Bristol, England to Philadelphia Pa., folded cover to James & Drinker with sender's routing "P New York Pacquet QDC", brownish "BRISTOL" straightline backstamp and manuscript "4" pence due for 4d inland rate, London "23/DE" bishop mark backstamp and re-rated "Inall 1N4" for 1sh packet rate plus the 4d internal postage, carried by packet Swallowtail from Falmouth Jan. 9th 1776 to New York arriving Mar. 9th, carried privately to Philadelphia where manuscript "2/6" due rating in local currency (16d stg. x 180% inflation + 2d carrier fee = 30d = 2/6), and additional unusual "16d at 180 PCt" notation at bottom which must be an inflation calculation, receipt docketing "Bristol 12th & 20th Decb. 1775 from Lancelot Couper & Co."; slight wear and toning along folds, Very Fine and fascinating use.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.
A RARE ARMED PACKET USE THROUGH THE AMERICAN PRIVATEER BLOCKADE OF NEW YORK. ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES CARRIED ON THIS SAILING BY PACKET "SWALLOW".
War broke out in April 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. American attacks on British ships soon followed, and led to withdrawal of scheduled packet service to New York. The last Post Office packet left Falmouth on 6 October, after which the Admiralty assumed scheduling and protection of the packets.
Swallow was carrying a larger volume of mail than any previous transatlantic voyage and offloaded her mails to the HMS Asia, a 64-gun frigate in New York Harbor. Deputy PMG Foxcroft was given permission to board Asia with clerks to sort the mails, so on 19 March, Francis Dashwood (PO Secretary) and Elias Nixon were sent by the New York Committee of Safety to bring mails ashore. Agents traveled to New York to pay for and collect their town's letters from Nixon and Henricus Boel (First Clerk). The 1765 British postal rates were retained.