POSTAL HISTORY  OF NORD
Small and large numeral cancels Local postage rate
1830-1878
German field post  in Valenciennes 1914-1918 Other  subjects

The local postage rate 1830-1878.

Before 1830. 

The rural post office did not really exist before 1830, even if one could receive his mail at home in a rural district (except the town sit of the post office). This mail was generally brought by Messengers paid by the municipalities or the Prefectures. These messengers when they delivered the mail to the private individuals (without prejudice for the municipalities) were paid by mutual agreement.
Distribution costs were high for the private individuals because letters already supported the postage to which was added the cost of the distribution by messenger at home. The private individuals had however always the possibility of fetching their mail to the closest post office. It so resulted from it a significant number of dead letters because not got back by their addressee. The number of dead letters could be considered at 300000 a year (1).
On August 1, 1828, the MP from Isere, Charles Sapey, publishes his “Opinion on the project to supplement the postal service in France”. It presents an organization of mail delivery at residence and every 2 days. This project was discussed at the National Assembly and the law was voted on June 3, 1829.
This law thus envisages from April 1, 1830, the delivery every 2 days in residence of all the correspondences. It also founds in the same frequency the collection of the correspondences in the localities deprived of post offices. Letters collected or distributed in these municipalties will support a fixed tax of 10 centimes in addition to the postage. The purpose of this tax is to finance the installation of the rural service and its maintains. The local postage rate is not founded here because it existed already before 1829, but it is reduced. 
(1) Alexis Belloc, Les postes françaises. Recherches historiques, 1886.

1830 and after.

From April 1, 1830, the Administration  made install a letter-box in more than 35000 municipalities deprived of post office. It also recruited 5000 mailmen which will be charged to deliver and collect mail once every 2 days in these municipalities. Part of these 5000 mailmen will be recruited among the messengers. Previously, in March 1830, the Post Office also wrote an Instruction on the rural service for the use of all the post employees.  
The deliveries and collections of mail in the rural municipalities were made 1 day out of 2 until 1832. The law of April 3, 1832, § 47 stipulates that from July 1, 1832, the rounds of rural mailmen will be done daily. This law did not have immediate effects, because in NORD for example it is only in 1850, that each rural village was served daily, 18 years after the promulgation of the law.

loi du 21 avril 1832
Extract of the law of April 3rd,1832.
The local postage less expensive than the territorial postage gets along in 4 cases:

1st case: a letter circulating within the limits of the town sit of a post office (it does not matter its classification),

2nd case: a letter circulating frrom  the town of the post office towards the municipalities without post office dependent on this post office. The town of the office as well as the municipalities which are attached to this post office make the rural District of a post office,

3rd case: a letter circulating between the rural District of main post office and the rural municipalities of the post office stations depending on the main post office. 
A main post office could at the time controle one or more other post offices stations.
A post office station is an additional post office of a main post office. The services which it carries out are more reduced. This post office functions enventually with only one person.
A main post office carries out all the postal operations. A Director and one or more employees of all ranks are found there.
The rural Districts of the post offices station depending on the main post office as well as the rural District of this post office make the Postal District of main post office.

These the first 3 cases  offers 18 possible ways for a letter in local postage.

4th case: a letter circulating between 2 main post offices like between their rural district. This last case is rather not very frequent, because one counts only 19 cases where 2 main offices in the departements were the subject of the installation of the local postage rate for the letters circulating between their rural District. This postal rate is called  "tarif  des recettes réunies" (Joined main post offices rate). In NORD one counts 2 cases:
- LILLE/MOULINLILLE/FIVES
- VALENCIENNES/ANZIN
These post offices were very close and the public really did not see why the territorial rate was to apply instead of the local rate.




The installation of the rural mail service generated many expenditure. Those were to be covered by additional incomes and the additional rural tax.

This additional rural Décime is applicable only once even if the letter is collected in a  rural municipality and intended for another (Art. 10 of the Instruction of the 1830).
The law of July 3, 1846 announced the end of this additional rural tax on December 31, 1846. 


loi du 3 juillet 1846
The local correspondences circulated since the beginning in postage due for a very vast majority. Indeed, there was no interest to frank a letter, because the postage due and the franking were identical. One meets the same phenomenon for the territorial postage. It was said at that time that the Post office would be obliged to distribute the letter (in postage due) if it wanted to perceive the postage. The Post office would make less efforts if the postage was paid by advance. Moreover franking a letter meant to go to the post office which could be rather distant.
The appearance of the postage stamp did not change anything. On July 1, 1854, the Administration set up the franking bonus for the territorial postage, but nothing was done for the local postage. The franking bonus consisted in less expensive rates for postage paid letters.              

This bonus made increase the number of franked letters increasing the receipts from the Post Office.
With regard to the local letters, they remained in majority in postage due. Also on January 1, 1863, was founded the franking bonus for the local rate. There too, it was a success because the number of franked letters increased considerably.
The local rate did not know any more of large changes after this date until May 1, 1878, date of its suppression.

Local postage in  Nord.

Nord is a very populated Departement, and nevertheless everything very rural at the 19th century. The inhabitants of the campaigns are relatively far away from the State. They do not know or little what occurs in the remainder of France or even of NORD. The rural mailman is an extension of the Administration; it brings the news, it represents the State with its uniform. It thus contributes to reduce the isolation of the municipalities.
What is true for Nord is even truer for primarily rural departments.
The local postage is closely related to the rural mail service.
However, the installation of the rural mail service was not done however without difficulty in North. Indeed, when the Administration decides in 1832 to set up
daily rounds of mailmen, it was far from being a reality for many villages of NORD. The daily rounds  was effective for all the municipalities of this Departement in 1850,  18 years after the decision taken by the Administration. It appeared impossible in 1832 to carry out daily rounds, because the number of post offices was too weak. It is necessary to add to that the distance of many villages. Certain post offices had Rural Districts of more than 30 municipalities. The rounds of mailmen were not always logical. The low number of rural mailmen made that it was not rare that the inhabitants of certain villages receive their mail in the end of the afternoon.

Even if it represents a real progress for the users, the rural service remains in several cases a headache for the Administration.
Lastly, although the inhabitants of the rural municipalities were very attached to this service, the number of local letters (collected and delivered in the same Postal District) was rather weak in NORD.
Indeed, the statistical survey of 1847 shows that for each inhabitant of this Departement, less than one local letter (0.3) is addressed to him per annum. This figure is obviously an extrapolation of the 2 weeks results of survey (from November, 15 to 28, 1847). Over these 2 weeks and 42147 letters addressed to the communes of North:
- 33686 were territorial letters;
- 8461 were local letters.
This survey concerned 785053 inhabitants out of the 1132980 whom the department in 1847 counted, because the main post offices or the post office stations were not obliged to answer, for the town of the post office.
The postal survey of 1847 gives us many informations as well as the number of letters received or sent for each rural district, as the location of the letter-box. It is learned in particular that this letter-box was not always fixed at the Town hall. 

 The postmarks.  

The letter-stamp:
Boîte ruraleboîte rurale supplémentaire
The letter-stamp can be met since 1836 until 1912 on all  letters having been posted in a mailbox of a village without post office. One can also meet additional letter-stamps. Indeed, it happened that a rural community whose surface was very wide or from which the postal traffic was important was equipped with several mail boxes. So the letter-stamp of the additional mailboxes was provided with a figure.
This letter-stamp is inside the mail box, the postman does not carry it.
At the beginning of the installation of the rural service, the mailman has to affix the print of this letter-stamp on a form. It is not held to affix this mark on the letter which it collects in mailboxes.
The mailman form is a document which must collect all the prints of letter-stamps in the order of the round imposed by the Administration. Upon return to the office, the rural mailman must return the form in order to prove that it carried out well its round in all the rural municipalities which it has to visit.

Instruction générale sur le service rural
Extract of the rural service instruction of 1830.

Form of a rural mailman type 1835.

These letter-stamps are often called “mailmen stamps”, it is an error, because they are rather mailboxes stamps. The true “mailman stamp” is the stamp “OR”.
It is only at the beginning of 1836 and until 1912 that the letter-stamps will have to be stricken on all the letters having been posted in a letter-box of a village deprived of post office.
circulaire du 19 novembre 1835
Extract of the regulation of November 19, 1835, imposing on the mailman the striking of the letter-stamp on letters collected in the rural boxes.

On peut aussi rencontrer des lettres-timbres de boites rurales supplémentaires.En effet, il arrivait qu'une localité dont la superficie était très étendue ou à partir de laquelle le trafic postale était important soit pourvue de plusieurs boites aux lettres. De ce fait, la lettre-timbre de la boite supplémentaires est munie d'un chiffre. Il arrivait aussi que le nombres de lettres de l'alphabet soit insuffisant pour identifier toutes les communes d'un même Arrondissement et que l'on doive ainsi doublonner certaines lettres-timbres.

The stamp "OR":

The stamp "OR" means "Origine Rurale" (Rural Origin). This stamp was in the bag of the mailman and was to be stricken on the correspondences which were given to him at the time of its round. If a letter could be given to its recipient during the round, the mailman was to cancel the franking with the assistance this stamp. It is the circular of June 9, 1836 which brings it into service.


Extract of the circular n° 64 of June 9th,1836.

If the mailman finds a letter franked with postage stamps which can be delivered in the course of round, he must cancel the franking with its stamp "OR" and not with the letter-stamp of the rural box.

The additional rural decime:

The rural decime stamp was to be affixed on all the letters coming or bound for a rural municipalities (without office). This stamp was used from April 1, 1830 until January 1, 1847. It was however not to be affixed on the correspondences circulating in the rural district of a post office (town where the post office is like all the municipalities dependent on this office). The rural additional decime can be struck in red if the letter comes from a village without post office and intended for a locality out of the rural district. It can be in black if this one comes from a village where a post office is located and be intended for another rural municipality out of the rural district of this office.
Extract of the general instruction of 1832. 

The stamp "CL":

This stamp meaning “Correspondance Locale” (Local Correspondence) was to be affixed on all the letters in postage due circulating inside the same rural district. From 1830 to 1832, this stamp was also useful in the post office stations. After 1832, the post office stations used the stamp "CD".
This stamp is an accounting postmark.
The stamp "CL" ceases being used in December 1858.
Circulaire du 5 juin 1830.
Extract of the circular n°45 of June 5, 1830 about the CL stamp. 

The stamp "CD":

The stamp “Correspondance de Distribution” (Correspondance of post office station) was brought into service in 1832. It must be affixed on all postage due letters circulating inside the rural district of a post office station. It ceases being used in December 1858 as the stamp "CL".
The stamp "CD" is not very common, because mail circulating in the district of post office stations was in general not very important.
One does not know the regulation which brings this stamp into service. Only the Instruction  of June 1832, mentioned it in chapter II and the list of the material which the post office stations must have.

Additional urban letter-stamp:

In the suburbs of the towns were often one or more additional urban mailboxes. They were described as additional, because they were far from the central post office mail box.
The  additional urban letter-stamp can be easily recognized by the fact that it is a boxed stamp .

The stamp "OL":

This stamp was in the mail bag of the urban mailman and meant "Local Origin" ("Origine Locale" in french).It was struck on all the letters given to the postman during his delivery.
If a letter  could be given to its recipient during the delivery, the urban mailman had to cancel the postage stamp using the OL stamp.
- continuous circle: town mailman
- dotted circle: local mailman.


The local postage rates.

Inside of a town:

From March 22nd, 1800:

First rate
Second rate
Third rate
Progression
less than 15 g:
10 c
less than 30 g:
20 c
less than 60 g:
30 c
addtional 30 g section :
+ 10 c
There is no difference between postage due and postage paid.

From January 1st, 1863:
From this date the franking premium is set up.
First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid jusque 10 g:
10 c
jusque  20 g:
20 c
jusque 100 g:
40 c
par 100 g en + :
+ 40 c
Postage due to 10 g:
25 c
to 20 g:
40 c
to 50 g:
60 c
addtional 50 g section :
+ 40 c
Chargée letter: + 20 c.
Declared Value: Postage + 20 c for registration + 10 c for insurance per 100 fr section.


From  September 1st, 1871:

First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid to 10 g:
10 c
to 20 g:
20 c
to 100 g:
40 c
addtional 100 g section : + 40 c
Postage due to 10 g:
15 c
to 20 g:
30 c
to 100 g:
60 c
addtional 100 g section : + 60 c
Chargée letter: + 50 c.
Registered letter: + 50 c
Declared Value: Postage + 50 c for registration + 20 c for insurance per 100 fr section.


From January 1st, 1876.

First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid to 15 g:
15 c
to 30 g:
30 c
to 50 g:
45 c
addtional 50 g section : + 25 c
Postage due to 15 g:
25 c
to 30 g:
50 c
to 50 g:
75 c
addtional 50 g section : + 40 c

Inside a Postal District:

From April 1st, 1830:
First rate
Second rate
Third rate
Progression
less than 7,5 g:
10 c
less than 15 g:
20 c
less than 30 g:
30 c
addtional 30 g section :
+ 10 c
Ther is no difference between postage due and postage paid.
10 c addtional tax for letters circulating between 2 rural district.


From January 1st, 1863.
From this date the franking premium is set up.

First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid to 10 g:
10 c
to 20 g:
20 c
to 100 g:
40 c
addtional 100 g section : + 40 c
Postage due to 10 g:
15 c
to 20 g:
30 c
to 100 g:
60 c
addtional 100 g section : + 60 c
Chargée letter: + 20 c.
Declared Value: Postage + 20 c for registration + 10 c for insurance per  100 fr section.


From September 1st, 1871:

First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid to 10 g:
15 c
to 20 g:
20 c
to 100 g:
40 c
addtional 100 g section : + 40 c
Postage due to  10 g:
25 c
to  20 g:
40 c
to  50 g:
60 c
addtional 50 g section : + 40 c
Chargée letter: + 50 c.
Registered letter: + 50 c
Declared Value: Postage + 50 c for registration + 20 c for insurance per  100 fr section.


From January 1st, 1876:

First rate Second rate Third rate Progression
Postage paid to 15 g:
15 c
to 30 g:
30 c
to 50 g:
45 c
addtional 50 g section : + 25 c
Postage due to 15 g:
25 c
to 30 g:
50 c
to 50 g:
75 c
addtional 50 g section : + 40

Special rates:

From March 1st, 1829: Opened printed matters  to 11 dm²(inclusive): 5 c. Double postage if more than 11 dm².
From  January 1 1847: Suppression of the addition rural Décime.
From  January 1st, 1849: Chargée and registered letter : double postage and postage paid. 
From  July 1st, 1850: Chargée letter : double postage and postage paid.  Registered letter: + 25 c (and postage paid)
From Décember 31st, 1852: Printed matters in opened envelope  ( calling card, etc ): 5 c
From  July 1st, 1854: Chargée letter: + 25 c. Registered letter: suppressed
From August 1st, 1856: Printed matters in opened envelope (visiting cards, etc): 5 c untill 10 g inclusive. (+ 5 c per additional 10 g section).

How to find informations?

Books dealing with the rural postal service are not very numerous but very comprehensive. 
- Histoire de la Poste en milieu rural: Marino CARNAVALE-MAUZAN. GENOBLE 1994
- Le port local de la lettre ordinaire en Province. Tome 1. 1800/1858 : Pascal CHOISY. Editions André RUPP. 16, avenue Robert Schuman 68100 MULHOUSE
- Contribution à l'étude de la poste en milieu rural dans le département du Nord : Paul STOPIN, 47 av. F. Mitterand 59494 PETITE FORET. 2000
- Les tarifs postaux français (Editions Brun et fils1989): ALEXANDRE, BARBEY, BRUN, DESARNAUD et JOANY (Editions Brun et fils 1989)
- Etre facteur dans le Nord (1830-1940) M. MARGUERIT, C. DA FONSECA. Comité pour l'Histoire de la Poste.
- Introduction à l'Histoire postale des origines à 1849.M. CHAUVET(Editions Brun et fils 2002)
- Introduction à l'Histoire postale de 1848 à 1878.M. CHAUVET(Editions Brun et fils 2002)
- Enquête postale de 1847. BNF Richelieu, Fond français 9787-10129.
- Instruction Générale sur le Service des Postes de 1832, Tomes 1,2,3. Réimpression société des amis du musée de la Poste.
- Instruction spéciale sur le service des Distributions de 1834. Réimpression société des amis du musée de la Poste.
- Instruction Générale sur le service des postes de 1856. BNF , Gallica.
- Instruction Générale sur le service des postes de 1868. BHPT(Paris) cote PB28



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