Island of St. Helena: November 1853. Envelope or Cover. This stamped, folded broadside, printed in St. Helena for a prominent “shipping agent” in November of 1853, measures approximately 8” x 10”. It was transported in bulk on an unnamed ship from St. Helena to an associate of the agent in Boston. There it was franked, no doubt along with many others, with a blue 1-cent Franklin stamp (Scott #7), canceled with a circular Boston/Paid postmark, and forwarded through the U.S. postal system. At the time (from 1 Oct 1852 to 1 Jan 1857), the U.S. postal rate for mailing up to three ounces of printed matter was one-cent.
The handbill is in nice shape with light toning and shipping/storage folds. The stamp is slightly off-center.
St. Helena is a British Territory in the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the coast of southwestern Africa that, until it became a Crown Colony in 1833, was entirely under the control of the East India Company. For years, the island served as an important provisioning stop-over point for American whaling vessels and transport ships on their return home to Great Britain and the United States from British India and China.
In this letter, Carrol, the first American Consul assigned to St. Helena, who by the time of this letter had become a prominent island land owner and shipping agent, attempts to quell “a most diabolical report, got up by a person lately of this island . . . to do the undersigned a serious injury, and thereby for himself obtaining business under this gross falsity."
Carrol’s handbill goes on to assure his customers in the United States that the owners of many were not fooled by his rival’s subterfuge and have “cheerfully directed the masters of their ships to their address themselves to the undersigned for supplies, advice, and assistance.”
He further reports that his island facility remains an excellent stopover point. “The anchorage at this Port is perfectly safe. The climate most salubrious and there are great facilities for the dispatch of business. [Waterboats] sail alongside vessels [to provide] water discharged water by a Force Pump. And there is a Hospital established for the sick seamen of all Flag, to which all are admitted free of Charge. Funds are always at hand to disburse a’l charges and the credit of Ship Owners ever will be as heretofore, held sacred in his hands”. Very good. Item #009693
(For more information about St. Helena and William Carrol, see All About St. Helena, online.)Perhaps the only extant example of this unusual and uncommon inter-oceanic commercial broadside that used to combat an unethical attempt to usurp a profitable international shipping support service located on an island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.