HC Deb 16 August 1836 vol 35 cc1269-70

Dr. Bowring moved for a return, showing in detail and in columns the gross and net income of the deputy post-masters and mistresses in Great Britain and Ireland.


Mr. Hume

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it was the intention of the Government to carry into effect any of those reforms contemplated by the late excellent Bill sent up to the other House, on the subject of the Post-office? He deeply regretted the loss of that Bill, and feared that, in consequence of its loss, many beneficial changes proposed in the constitution of the Post-office could not be carried into effect. He believed that this was the first attempt on the part of the other House at interfering with Bills of this nature.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

deeply regretted the loss of the Post-office Bill, which, no doubt, would have been productive of much good if it had passed into a law. The failure of that measure was altogether unexpected by him. For his own part, he should not be lax in carrying into effect many alterations which, he believed, would be beneficial in the Post-office. He understood, from the nature of the law regarding the constitution of the Post-office, that the Crown was not able to carry into effect many of the changes proposed in the Bill without the sanction of the Legislature; and, therefore, many improvements could not be effected, as if the Bill had passed into a law. If the Post-office had been constituted like the stamps and some other Government departments, then many changes would at once have been made by the Crown, and he should not have hesitated in making them; but finding this to be the case, he had held it to be his duty to apply to Parliament, and he was sorry to find that he had been unsuccessful. Although, then, they should not be able to effect all that was desired, still the exertions of Government would be directed to provide various improvements in the Post-office. Certain alterations could and would be made with regard to the Post-office packets and other departments.

Dr. Bowring

stated, that he understood, notwithstanding the arrangement that had been entered into for the transmission of English newspapers on the continent at a small postage, that the Belgian government had imposed a fiscal charge on their introduction into Belgium. He should like to hear some explanation on the subject.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

observed, that the Bill on the subject of the postage of English newspapers abroad had only received the Royal Assent a few days ago, and, therefore, the statement of his hon. Friend was, no doubt, correct; but, of course, a change would shortly take place.