Two Covers From Oswestry to Goderich, Canada West

Similar Covers – An Endorsement Can Be Crucial

The similarities are that the covers are franked by a 6d violet, plate 1 cancelled by an OSWESTRY spoon and addressed to the same address in Goderich, Canada West (now Ontario). Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Goderich was first laid out in 1828 and is named after Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich, who was British prime minister at the time.

The later cover is dated 3 July 1860 in Oswestry with the usual code B in the spoon. It was carried by the Allan Line Nova Scotian which left Liverpool on the 4 July, called at Moville, Londonderry, to pick up mails the next day and arrived at Quebec on 16th July, the cover reaching Goderich on 18th. The endorsement by Canada Line Steamer was used instead of the recommended via Halifax (see below).

The Treasury Warrant of 23 March 1854 stated a British uniform rate of 6d per ½oz between the UK, Canada and Prince Edward Island, so no problems there, but what about the 27 May 1859 cover below?

There is no endorsement but there are two other additions, a figure 10 and though only a partial strike enough is visible to suggest it is similar to others found on covers to Canada to indicate 10d Canadian currency to be collected (equal to 8d UK); Canada converted to dollars in July 1859. Also noticeable is a Liverpool accountancy mark for 5d owing to the UK.

The only way the cover could have arrived in Goderich by 11 June 1859 was on the Cunard Line Africa, which left Liverpool on 28 May and arrived at New York on 9 June 1859, not calling at Halifax, Nova Scotia, that was only for the Cunard Boston service, which would have allowed the cover to be charged 6d. Mail tended to be put onto the first available ship.

The same Treasury Warrant quoted above stated covers to Canada should be endorsed via Halifax to be forwarded at the 6d rate, those via the US to be charged 8d per ½oz. As the cover has gone via the US it is 2d short but where is the other UK 6d?

The explanation lies in the Treasury Warrant of 1 April 1859 which stated that ‘Between UK and Canada to be prepaid. Unpaid / underpaid to be forwarded charged with the deficiency (2d, as explained) plus 6d fine’ making 8d UK owing or 10d Canadian currency to be collected.

From the Victoria COVID Times, July 2020
by Brian Atkins

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