HC Deb 04 June 1878 vol 240 cc1165-6

asked the Postmaster General, If a man named Channer, who has been employed for many years as an occasional messenger in the sub-postal district of West Malling, Kent, was last year refused permanent employment as a rural messenger, though strongly recommended for the appointment; if a small boy named Langridge aged sixteen, received such a similar appointment as a rural messenger, and has since been suspended, having been convicted of drunkenness; if a convict on ticket of leave not long ago received the appointment of rural messenger near Edenbridge, and has since been dismissed or again convicted; if there is not difficulty in finding full grown men to undertake the duty of a rural messenger at the present rates of remuneration; and, if he will refuse his sanction to the practice of entrusting Her Majesty's mail bags in lonely country districts to boys of small stature and tender years, who are physically incapable of protecting themselves and the valuable property entrusted to them?


The man named Channer was not eligible, being above the age at which rural letter-carriers are admitted. Langridge, being 16, was eligible, and having obtained a Civil Service certificate was appointed. He afterwards got drunk, and was dismissed. A man, who it turned out was a convict on ticket-of-leave, was unfortunately employed by the sub-postmaster of Cowden to deliver the letters, with the knowledge and concurrence of the postmaster of Edenbridge, and of a resident magistrate whom he consulted. This man has again been convicted of stealing and sentenced to penal servitude. As a rule, there is no difficulty in finding suitable persons to undertake the duties required at the present rate of remuneration. The system now in force has not been found generally to work badly, and it does not seem desirable to alter it.