HC Deb 20 February 1834 vol 21 cc629-30
Mr. Secretary Stanley

rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill to enable the Legislatures of his Majesty's Colonies in North America to alter and amend the laws relating to their internal postage. He believed that there would be no objection to his Motion, as the object he had in view was to remove an evil which had given rise to many complaints. The matter did not involve any principle, but rather was of a technical or legal nature. In the North American Colonies the charges for the postage of letters were levied under the orders of the Postmaster-General, without any control existing on the part of the Local Legislatures. The sum received for postage, which was not very large after deducting the expenses, was brought to the general fund of the Post-Office. The present arrangement was made by the Act of 1788. In consequence therefore, of its being made by an Act of the British Parliament, it was necessary to apply to the House on the subject, as it was obvious that it could not be repealed by an Act of the Colonial Legislature. The whole object of the measure was, to give to the Local Legislatures power to make regulations as to the internal postage, and to fix the rate of postage, which he trusted would not be higher than it was in the United States, and which certainly would be considerably lower than it was now in the Colonies. After deducting the expenses of collection, the surplus would be left wholly and entirely at the disposal of the different Local Legislatures. He thought that it would be better not to have different rates of postage, and to obviate that, it was intended that the general expenditure of the whole should be deducted from the general revenue. In the Bill, provision would be made, by which, if the different Local Legislatures should agree as to another mode of distributing the surplus, they should be enabled to do so.

Mr. Hume

expressed his satisfaction at the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, and hoped that this measure would be followed up with others of a similar nature. He always entertained the opinion that this country should interfere as little as possible in the internal government of the Colonies.

Mr. Roebuck

said, that in consequence of his connexion with Canada, he was anxious to express the great pleasure he felt at the measure now proposed. He was sure that it would give great satisfaction in the Colonies, and he hoped that ere long the Colonial Legislatures would be empowered to exercise an efficient control over other matters connected with their internal government.

Leave given, and Bill brought in.