Rare 'Post Haste' letter to Oliver Cromwell
A hugely rare 'Haste Haste Haste Post Haste with All Speed' letter from Deal Castle to Oliver Cromwell as Lord General in London.
Dated June 2, 1653.
Addressed: 'For the speciall service of the Commonwealth, To his Exly the Ld Genal, Cromwell at White Hall, London’.
‘Hast hast hast post hast with all speed’.
Sent and signed by 'Sam Tavenor' (Governor of Deal Castle in Kent].
This letter was the first news that Cromwell received of the British Navy’s battle with the Dutch fleet at the Battle of the Gabbard (June 2 and 3).
The Dutch were routed. Eight Dutch ships were sunk or burned in the battle and a further eleven were captured. No English ships were lost or seriously damaged. Following defeat, the Dutch were forced to seek peace.
The envelope records a detailed account of the letter’s journey:
D'atched at Deale past 10 at night
Recd att Canterbury past one in the morning
R'd at Setting Born past five in the morn
Recd att Rochester past 8 in ye morning
Dartford now 12
Reced at South Work past 3 in the Afternone
Only letters of great national urgency could travel 'Post Haste'.
Post haste envelopes had always to be signed on the front by the person authorising it, in this case Sam Tavenor.
Every time the Post Boy stopped, for any reason, the letter had to be signed with the town name and time so that any delay could be traced.
Post haste letters are extremely rare in private hands. This is the only known poste haste letter to Cromwell we are aware of.
A rare opportunity to own one of the key pieces of British postal history.
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