Letters close (Latin: litterae clausae) are a type of legal document which is a closed letter issued by a monarch or government granting a right, monopoly, title, or status to someone or some entity such as a corporation. These letters are personal in nature and were delivered folded sealed so that only the recipient can read the contents of the letter. This type of letter contrasts with the better known letters patent.
In this type of letter, the attached seal has a rather different function to play - as it will be destroyed when the letter is opened and so shows that the letter has not been tampered with. However, in being destroyed the seal can no longer ratify the authenticity of the document. The original charters of Edward the Confessor can be considered to be a form of letters close, as they were delivered wrapped, with the seal hanging down.
This type of letter later developed into the formal business letters that we are familiar with today.
It is thought that the earliest surviving example of an English Royal letters close remaining unopened dates to the reign of Henry VIII. In England these letters are typical of those generated by the developing state bureaucracy. From 1204, copies of English letters close transcribed on to the Close Rolls are extant. However, examples of actual letters close, instead of the recorded copies in the Close Rolls, are extremely rare, and most of those exist because King Henry II required the return of some to the government.
Another example of a letters close is a Papal Letters close. These often had the leaden papal bulla attached to the letter by way of a hemp cord and this contrasts with the fine silk cords which were used for higher grades of document. The cords were often threaded through the letter to keep it folded, with the address written on the dorso of the document allowing it to be read when folded.
Other articles related to "close, letters":
... was Conrad's first opportunity to see the East up close ... The Otago stayed close to the Australian coast ... a writer, praised by his uncle for the beautiful style of his letters, the man who from the very first page showed a serious, professional approach to his work ...
Famous quotes containing the words close and/or letters:
“Indiana was really, I suppose, a Democratic State. It has always been put down in the book as a state that might be carried by a close and careful and perfect organization and a great deal of[from audience: soapMa reference to purchased votes, the word being followed by laughter].
I see reporters here, and therefore I will simply say that everybody showed a great deal of interest in the occasion, and distributed tracts and political documents all through the country.”
—Chester A. Arthur (18291886)
“This is the Night Mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.”
—W.H. (Wystan Hugh)