POSTAL HISTORY Two autograph letters signed by Serjeant Thomas Noon Talfourd, the judge, author and dedicatee of Pickwick,  Monmouth, 9 January 1840
Lot 60
POSTAL HISTORY
Two autograph letters signed by Serjeant Thomas Noon Talfourd, the judge, author and dedicatee of Pickwick, Monmouth, 9 January 1840
Sold for £375 (US$ 501) inc. premium

Lot Details
POSTAL HISTORY
Two autograph letters signed by Serjeant Thomas Noon Talfourd, the judge, author and dedicatee of Pickwick, one to his sister-in-law Elizabeth Rutt ("...I send you one of the last franks...") and announcing that Frost has been found guilty of treason; the second to his brother-in-law Pattison Rutt ("...In sending you one of the last franks ever to be allowed, I can only send you news... that Frist was found guilty last night..."); with two autograph envelopes, both franked with place, date and signature, and both postmarked 'FREE/ 10 JA 10/ 1840', with Monmouth datestamps on the reverse for 9 January, the first envelope bearing the additional postmarks 'T.P./ RATE/ 2D' and on the reverse a 10 January datestamp, 2 pages, 8vo, Monmouth, 9 January 1840

Footnotes

  • 'THE LAST FRANKS EVER TO BE ALLOWED' – two free-franks delivered on the day the Uniform Penny Post was introduced and the franking privilege held by Members of Parliament such as Talfourd (which allowed them free postage) was abolished. The first of these envelopes also bears the 'To Pay' postmark indicating that 2d was owing: this applied to areas outside London where local postage charges were not covered by the franking privilege, and was also rendered obsolete with the introduction of the Uniform Penny Post.

    Both of Talfourd's letters describe the trial of the Chartist John Frost who had led the great march on Newport that November and been found guilty at the Monmouth Assizes. His prosecution was conducted by Talfourd in his capacity as Solicitor General – this was something that Talfourd, who belonged to the radical wing of the Liberals (supporting universal male suffrage, and campaigning ardently for black emancipation) came to regret, and spurred his interest in prison reform. Frost was sentenced on 16 January to be hanged drawn and quartered: 'Appeals against the sentences by several MPs and prominent public figures and large-scale national radical protest came to nothing. However, following legal review, it was agreed by the government on 1 February 1840 that the sentences be commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land' (Matthew Lee, ODNB).
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