Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Franking was the privilege of sending and receiving letters without payment to Government. The origin of the practice probably was that the Post Office at first only transmitted official correspondence. Anyone, therefore, who occupied an official position, claimed in after days to share the benefit of it. Thus, in England in 1660 the Commons claimed it in granting the postal revenue. The privilege was not, however, expressly granted till 1764, when it was declared by statute that every member of either House was entitled to send out free 10 letters, of not more than an ounce in weight, every day, and to receive 15. The privilege was so much abused that in 1837 it had to be guarded by provisions that the member must write his whole address on the letter, which must also bear his name, the name of the post-town, and the date when it was posted; and that this last must be either the day on which it was written, or the next; moreover, the post-town must be within 20 miles of the franker's residence. With the introduction of the.Penny Post in 1840 the privilege came to an end. In the United States franking was even more abused, and was not abolished till 1873.