Franklin and Foxcroft rate chart
The postal rate chart from 1765 shows the amount of postage required for letters traveling between various towns. The large chart was to be hung in a post office for customers and postal employees to read the following:
"Tables of the Post of all Single Letters carried by Post in the Northern District of North America as established by Act of Parliament, pass'd in the fifth Year of the Reign of his Majesty King GEORGE the Third, entitled, An Act to Alter certain Rates of Postage, and to amend, explain, and enlarge several Provisions in an Act made in the Ninth Year of the Reign of Queen Anne and in other Acts relating to the Revenue of the Post-Office."
Below the chart are instructions on how to read the amount of postage due. The document specifies that rates be paid in "Penny weights and Grains of Silver, at Three Pence Sterling for each Penny weight." James Parke printed the table by order of the deputy postmaster general.
Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft served as joint postmasters general of the British colonies in North America at the time this table was printed. The British postal system was being revamped in this period, and Franklin was charged with making the colonial system more efficient and prosperous. To accomplish this, he standardized distances and postal charges and suggested a general lowering of rates to improve the financial difficulties of the institution. According to Franklin, if rates were lowered, correspondence would increase and generate greater revenue. In accordance with Franklin's advice, the Act of Parliament of 1765 reduced postage rates by about thirty cents.
In its preamble, the Act of 1765 stressed the importance of security and improvement of correspondence between England and the American colonies for the preservation of trade and commerce. As Franklin predicted, the lowered rates did increase correspondence and revenue.