It seems that privacy concerns during times of conflict are not a new problem. On February 2, 1776, Anglican clergyman James Reed wrote a letter to the secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. In the letter, Reed comments on the “exorbitant passions of Men” and the “desolating progress of civil discord” occasioned by the American Revolution. As a loyalist sending a letter to London, he obviously realized that the correspondence would arouse suspicion and would likely be opened. So, he added a nota bene, which stated:

“Any person prompted by curiosity to open this Letter is desired to Seal it up again in a Cover and forward it.”

This letter made it to London, but we unfortunately do not have any record about how it arrived–opened, sealed, or opened and resealed.