1893 Military Franchise Essays of the New Hebrides

1893 French Military Franchise Essays of the New Hebrides

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The New Hebrides in the late 1800s

In the late 1800s, Britain and France were both reluctant to take ownership of the New Hebrides islands because of the tough climate and the savage inhabitants. However, their settlers looked to them to provide some sort of authority and stability.

The French's grand plan

In 1893, French military officers in New Caledonia came up with a plan whereby troops could be stationed on certain islands which could eventually be acquired for France.

They would issue a Military Franchise stamp similar to that already issued for New Caledonia. To encourage the cooperation of the British, a bi-national design was chosen: President Sadi Carnot facing Queen Victoria.

sample essay

A military officer as printer

The essays were lithographed in sheets of four subjects with each drawn slightly differently. They are attributed to Lt Col Delauney, the Commander of the naval artillery squadron stationed in Noumea at the time, and who designed the New Caledonia military franchise stamps.

The concession for the military at that time was 15 centimes for personnel on station or part of an occupying force. The full concession rate of 25c was for those engaged in combat - their mail was sent for free.

The British's response

The British saw through the French’s plan. They objected to the use of military forces stationed in the islands, and rejected the stamps. Thus they were never issued.

This was an important victory for the British in the political jockeying that took place between the two countries, and foreshadowed joint government of the New Hebrides as a Condominium in 1906.

Oceania

New Hebrides and New Caledonia


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