§ MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, if his attention has been called to the complaint of Messrs. May, Roberts, & Co., of 9 and 11 Clerkenwell Road, that they have been surcharged on invoices enclosed in halfpenny wrappers, as an insufficiently stamped letter, because one item of description on the invoiced goods was marked with a cross, and such cross so added was treated in the manner of a communication, and not in accordance with the Treasury warrant, while the words "Lines marked × the goods are to follow, and will be procured as soon as possible, and sent with the next order unless customers instruct us to the contrary" are permitted to pass at the halfpenny rate; and, seeing that the words, "To follow," on an invoice under the head of "conveyance" are surcharged, whilst the words "To follow by Sutton, or to follow by Pickford," are permitted at the halfpenny rate, whether he will give directions to the postal authorities to discontinue the practice, which causes delay, of opening the postal packets of this firm in transmission, especially when posted in their private letter box.
(Answer.) The Postmaster General is aware of the circumstances of the case of Messrs. May, Roberts & Co., and holds that the invoices referred to were correctly surcharged on a proper construction of the Treasury warrant. As regards the latter part of the question, it is necessary to examine packets passing through the post at the halfpenny rate of postage in order to check any infringement of the regulations, and the Postmaster General sees no reason for exempting the firm in question from the operation of a regulation which applies to everyone else.—(Post Office.)