HC Deb 12 December 1812 vol 24 cc295-6

On the order of the day for the second reading of the Bill for authorizing the Assistant Secretary to the Post-master-general to frank letters and packets,

Mr. Creevey

objected to any extension of the privilege of franking by public officers, observing, that there was no one privilege more abused. It was only from the newspapers that he had been aware of the House meeting this day, a thing which he observed had been objected to, though unsuccessfully. The reason assigned, however, for this unusual meeting of the House on Saturday was the necessity of forwarding some Bills which required dispatch. He could not conceive the present to be a Bill of that description, and therefore he hoped it would not be pressed, that he might have an opportunity of demanding from the right hon. gentlemen on the other side, on some future day, some explanation as to the grounds on which the measure in question was proposed.

Mr. Wharton

was convinced if the hon. member had attended to the statement made by him on the introduction of this measure; if he had reflected on the immense multiplicity of business in the Post Office, all falling to the share of one man, and the impossibility of conceiving that any one person, who had such important duties to perform, could be always on the spot, attending from day to day without intermission; if he had considered that without such a Bill as the present, the whole of the important duties of this office must be at a stand, during any occasional indisposition or necessary absence of the Secretary, he was satisfied the hon. gentleman must have been convinced, that the present Bill was not only not unreasonable, but necessary. For his own part, instead of expecting any objection to the Bill now, he was surprised that such a measure had not hitherto been thought of. As to any abuse of this privilege by any public officer, he was not aware that such had existed; but if it did, and the hon. gentleman would point it out, a speedy check should be put to it.

Mr. Creevey

alluded to the privilege enjoyed by a noble lord, one of the paymasters general of the forces, who never entered the door of the office; and to a similar privilege enjoyed by the three commissioners of woods and forests. This certainly was less objectionable, and if on enquiry he found it was as the hon. gentleman had stated, the Bill should experience no farther objection from him.

The Bill was then read a second time.