DescriptionJohn Marshall Free Frank as secretary of state. One page, folded to 5.5" x 3.5", Washington, D.C., November 23, n.y. Red wax seal remnants. John Marshall served as chief justice of the United States from February 4, 1801, until his death in 1835. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1799, to June 7, 1800, and served was secretary of state from June 6, 1800, to March 4, 1801, under President John Adams.
This simple transmittal envelope, devised from a folded sheet of paper, is addressed to David Riddick, Prothonotary of Washington County, Pennsylvania, and bears Marshall's signature "JMarshall" at upper right. Marshall has also added "Department of State" above his signature. Beneath it, an ink hand stamp reading "FREE." Although the exact dates of Riddick's tenure as Prothonotary of Washington County, Pennsylvania are unknown, there are several references to his having served in this capacity in 1798.
Franks are devices or markings, printed or stamped impressions, codes, labels, manuscript writings (including "privilege" signatures), and/or any other authorized form of markings affixed or applied to mails to qualify them to be sent free of charge. The First United States Congress enacted a franking law in 1789 during its very first session. On January 31, 1873, the senate abolished the congressional franking privilege, but within two years, Congress began to make exceptions to this ban. Finally, in 1891, noting that its members were the only government officials required to pay postage, Congress restored full franking privileges. Since then, the franking of congressional mail has been subject to ongoing review and regulation. This unique item is lightly age toned, with minor wear at folds. Small tears at seal. Near fine condition.
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