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Packet Boat

In the eighteenth century, a Packet Boat, or Packet as it was more often called, was a ship appointed by government to carry letters, packets, and official documents as speedily as possible.

In England, the carriage of letters by vessels under royal patent appears to date back to Tudor times, and the term packet boat appears to have been in general usage by the early seventeenth century.

The first Act by the English Parliament establishing a post office in the American Colonies was passed in April, 1692. Postal historian John J McCusker suggests that the first trans-Atlantic packet service between New York England and its American colonies began in 1702.


Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 28 October 2001
Modified: 1 December 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000097

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