Arago: Documents


Broadside issued by Franklin and Hunter


Benjamin Franklin and William Hunter signed this broadside as joint deputy postmasters general of the American colonies. The document, dated April 10, 1758, was used to excuse Woodward Abraham, postmaster of Marblehead, Massachusetts, from jury duty. As noted in the text, the work of His Majesty's postal employees was never to be impeded or delayed by subjecting them to responsibilities due the monarch by its citizens.

"To the End the Deputies, Agents and other Officers employed in the Service of His Majesty's Revenue of the Post-Office not be impeded or hindered in their respective Duties. . . . That no such Deputies, Agents and other Officers shall be compelled to serve on any Jury or Inquest . . . or to bear any public office or Employement either Eccesiastical, Civil or Military."

Franklin and Hunter felt that by excusing postal workers from anything that might interrupt or delay the mail service, the mail would move faster. The document was also a crucial step in making our secret jury system inviolate. Post riders during this time had access to the contents they carried. Under duress they could have been forced to reveal the contents of otherwise secret mail.

April 10, 1758
paper; ink; wax
Overall: 37.5 x 22.9cm (14 3/4 x 9in.) Height x Width (width measured at top): 37.6 x 22.9cm (14 13/16 x 9in.)
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