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International post in the 18th century

 
 
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 09:30 pm
Hello,

Does anyone know how long it would take for a letter to go from Cambridge, England, to Basel, Switzerland in 1789?

Thanks so much!
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 1,439 • Replies: 9
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dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 10:09 pm
@idempotent1729,
about a league per day.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 10:46 pm
@dyslexia,
So like, you hadda wait a long time for King George to answer yer letters?
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 10:54 pm
@farmerman,
naw I use texting with george.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 02:09 am
Post-boys took two days to deliver mail from Bath to London, or 4-5 miles per hour, while the stagecoach took only seventeen hours. They also reputedly took forty-eight hours to carry a letter from Bath to London – (Great Britain). Post-boys were vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and highwaymen. “Attacks from robbers were so common in the late 18th century that the Post Office advised customers sending banknotes ‘to cut all such Notes and Draughts in Half in the following Form, to send them at two different Times, and to wait for the return of the Post, till the receipt of one Half is acknowledged before the other is sent’.”

Despite resistance
from senior Post Office staff, who believed the
speed of the mail could not be improved, William
Pitt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, accepted the
idea. An experimental mail coach journey,
undertaken at Palmer’s expense, started from Bristol
on 2 August 1784, at 4pm. It reached London at 8am
the next day, exactly on schedule. A journey that had
taken up to 38 hours now took just 16.

so this is within GB. Then one has to figure out the postal system in the coutries the letter had to pass.
idempotent1729
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 08:51 am
@dyslexia,
Thanks, Dyslexia! But, gosh, I think it had to have been faster than that! Taking the route along the Rhine it's about 750 mi = 2,625 leagues which would imply that the letter took more than seven years! If this were the case England and Switzerland would be effectively cut off from each other, and I know people *did* travel back and forth and send letters (for instance Nicolaus Bernoulli visited Isaac Newton in England). Maybe your figure is for post going over land, not water?
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idempotent1729
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 08:52 am
@saab,
Thanks, Saab! This is helpful...now I just need to figure out the speed for the rest of the route! I am guessing the letter will take 3 weeks to a month...
saab
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 09:34 am
@idempotent1729,
http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/14/46/69/PDF/Bretagnole-Verdier_2_.pdf

This link is a looong article about post deliveries in France. I did not read all of it, but interesting for you is at the end maps of the postal routes in France and from there you can almost figure out the length of a route.
The article also tells about the amout of postal stops at different times in France.
idempotent1729
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 09:39 am
@saab,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!
0 Replies
 
idempotent1729
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 09:40 am
@saab,
Reading it now...
0 Replies
 
 

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