§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that considerable inconvenience having arisen in consequence of the different interpretations put by the postmasters on the regulations issued by the Post Office authorities in regard to the transmission of newspapers to the British colonies, he begged to ask the Secretary to the Treasury the following questions—Whether the charge for the transmission of newspapers to the British Colonies is higher now than it was before the passing of the recent Newspaper Stamp Duties Act?Whether the charge for the transmission of newspapers to the British West Indies is higher than the charge for their transmission to Peru, New Granada, and other foreign countries?Whether the charge upon the transmission of newspapers to the Colonies has been so raised with a view to compensate the revenue for the loss sustained by the partial repeal of the stamp duty in this country?Whether any arrangement can be made for forwarding to the West Indies by the mail of the 17th instant such newspapers as may have been erroneously posted, either with an impressed stamp, but without a postage label, or with a postage label, but without an impressed stamp, before the last notice issued by the Postmaster General; and, whether such orders have now been given on the subject of the postage of newspapers as will prevent any future misconception on the part of the district, postmasters?
§ MR. WILSON
said, in reply to the first question, he might say that the charge for the transmission of a newspaper to the Colonies was higher than before the alteration of the law, inasmuch as a newspaper went free of postage before that time, whereas it was now charged 1d. independently of the stamp. In answer to the second question, he had to say that the charge for the transmission of newspapers to the British West Indies was higher than the charge for their transmission to Peru, New Granada and other foreign countries, 887 inasmuch as we had treaties with those countries which compelled us to send newspapers altogether free; therefore, the impressed stamp was not considered as a postage stamp; but, in all cases where we had no treaties to bind us, the charge was 1d. independently of the impressed stamp. With regard to the newspapers for the Colonies that have been posted up to the present time, the authorities at the Post Office would forward every newspaper with an impressed stamp, although it might not have an adhesive stamp; but no newspapers would be forwarded in future to the West Indies, or to foreign countries, without an impressed stamp. Every means had been taken to inform the local postmasters as to the state of the law, but some irregularities must, in the first instance, be expected.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that it was impossible to say whether the question of compensation of the revenue entered into the consideration of the charge to be made for the transmission of newspapers to the Colonies. He ought to say that the increased Colonial postage was in contemplation prior to the Newspaper Postage Act.