HC Deb 20 August 1853 vol 129 cc1828-9

In answer to a question from Sir DELACY EVANS,


said, that the boundary of the Cape Colony and the boundary of the Queen's Dominions were different things. There was a broad belt between them, which had been occupied by the Kafirs, where the Amatola Mountains were. The struggle had been to dislodge the Kafirs from that mountain stronghold, and, when once removed, it was necessary to take care that they did not regain possession of it. For that reason General Cathcart had made the Amatola Mountains a Crown reserve, and had established fortified posts there. That, of course, was the Queen's property, and under the shelter of those forts there would be a village or two. The Government at home had not disallowed any proposition of General Cathcart, neither had they sanctioned it; but they had authorised him to carry out his plans provisionally. They had not sanctioned it, because they thought that such a course would be premature, and might possibly embarrass General Cathcart, if, after consulting with Sir George Clerk, he might find it desirable not to carry his proposition into effect.


said, he must admit that the complaints which had been made with respect to the Irish Post Office in the course of the present Session were not without some ground. At the same time it must be remembered that it was difficult to make arrangements immediately railways ways were opened, especially when there were contracts unexpired based upon the old modes of communication. Besides, direct lines of railway did not always afford the same accommodation to the side towns as the old roads. Undoubtedly, however, a great deal might be done to obviate these difficulties, and his noble Friend at the head of the Post Office had undertaken, during the recess, to examine the whole question very minutely, in order to see whether those side towns might not be accommodated which had been inconvenienced by railway communication. He wished to state to the House one or two facts with respect to the Post office. There were no fewer than 156,000 letters and 40,000 newspapers passing daily through the Post Office more than in 1846. Even the number of letters now passing through the Post Office, as compared with the number last December, had increased 33,000 daily. Taking 1841, 1846, and 1853, as three periods, to test the increase, and taking a single week, the last week in June, the number of letters in one week was 3,773,000 in 1841, 5,553,000 in 1846, and 7,700,000 in 1853, Such an increase of Business might suggest the almost impossibility of keeping the arrangements in a state adequate to meet it. Registered letters required four entries and the signatures of two clerks. The numbers of such letters was, in 1846, 27,000, in the present year, 61,000; being an increase of 123 per cent. Another department on which there was a great pressure was the Money Order Office. In 1841 the whole amount was 960,000l.; in 1852, it was 9,400,000l.; and this year it would be upwards of 10,000,000l. if it went on at its present rate. He thought these facts were a sufficient apology, if any were required, for any deficiency in the Post Office; but he could only say that the noble Lord who was at the head of the Post Office and Mr. Rowland Hill were occupied in endeavouring to give every possible facility, and especially in the south of Ireland.