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":
... from the six days at Muntok in 1883, this was Conrad's first opportunity to see the East up close ... The Otago stayed close to the Australian coast ... 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, presented his start on Almayer's Folly as a casual and non-b ...
Famous quotes containing the words close and/or letters:
“He began therefore to invest the fortress of my heart by a circumvallation of distant bows and respectful looks; he then entrenched his forces in the deep caution of never uttering an unguarded word or syllable. His designs being yet covered, he played off from several quarters a large battery of compliments. But here he found a repulse from the enemy by an absolute rejection of such fulsome praise, and this forced him back again close into his former trenches.”
—Sarah Fielding (17101768)
“The entire merit of a man can never be made known; nor the sum of his demerits, if he have them. We are only known by our names; as letters sealed up, we but read each others superscriptions.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)