§ MR. STEUART
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any complaints have reached him regarding the non-delivery of Letters posted in this Country for the Colonies, especially for Australia; and, if so, whether he can suggest any remedy, by rendering it optional to prepay wholly or in part, or otherwise?
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Sir, in answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman, I beg to say that I believe that a certain number of letters, the postage for which to Australia was prepaid, have not reached their destination, but that num- 515 ber is not so great as was supposed, for it turned out, upon inquiry, that many letters about which complaints were made have since reached their destination. However, a considerable number of letters have not yet been received by the parties in Australia to whom they were addressed. Inquiries have been made in the Post Office, and endeavours made to ascertain the cause. There is no particular reason to suppose that these letters have failed to reach their destination in consequence of having been prepaid by stamps; but in certain cases in which the prepayment was in money, and not in stamps, the postmaster may possibly have appropriated the money, and may have failed to send the letter. The only suggestion that has been made for a remedy of this evil is that letters should be prepaid by stamps in all such cases. I may mention that the system of rendering the prepayment of letters to Australia compulsory has now for some time been in operation. It originated in a suggestion from the Governor of New South Wales.