Ducking Jury Duty

1758 note to excuse Woodward Abraham from jury dutyEven in 1758, you needed a note to duck jury duty. When America was still a colony of Great Britain, Benjamin Franklin and his fellow postmaster general, William Hunter, excused the postmaster of Marblehead, Massachusetts—one Woodward Abraham— from jury duty.

“To the End the Deputies, Agents and other Officers employed in the Service of His Majesty’s Revenue of the Post-Office not be impeded or hindered in their respective Duties. . . . That no such Deputies, Agents and other Officers shall be compelled to serve on any Jury or Inquest . . . or to bear any public office or Employment either Ecclesiastical, Civil or Military.”

The title of Joint Post-Masters-General of all his Majesty’s Provinces and Dominions on the Continent of North America carried some serious clout! However, Ben is no longer around to pull rank so the staff at your neighborhood post office now have to report for jury duty like the rest of us.