§ The Duke of Richmond
presented petitions from a great many places in favour of a Uniform rate of Penny postage. The noble Duke was anxious to call the attention of their Lordships, and more particularly that of her Majesty's Ministers, to the subject of the penny postage, as otherwise he might be too late in his efforts to make any alteration in a measure that was likely to be recommended by the other House of Parliament upon this subject. He did hope, if her Majesty's Ministers did reduce the postage at all, they would do it according to Mr. Rowland Hill's plan, and not according to the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, because if they did not, they would not be able to prevent the illegal conveyance of letters. The only way they could hope to prevent that would be, by taking the postage at the lowest rate, namely, a penny. He hoped, also, there would be nothing in that bill that would prevent an individual sending a letter, not in a penny cover, otherwise the Legislature would be against the very principle of Mr. Rowland Hill, which was to induce and encourage letter-writing. The right principle would be, to allow every man to write and send a letter without a stamp, if he pleased, but that all such letters should be charged, upon delivery, at a higher rate. He could not abstain either from adverting to one of the grossest abuses that ever existed in this country in the Post-Office Department, and that was official franking. He saw no reason why the Treasury should not purchase the stamps as 1232 well as other persons, and then it would be known what the amount of the money would come to in this way, and thereby the whole of the abuse of official franks would be got rid of. He would also throw out the propriety of allowing persons who purchased stamps, to send their letters by any stage coach, carrier, or steam-boat that might choose to take them, because so long as the revenue was secured, parties ought to have their own option as to the mode of conveyance.
§ Petition laid on the Table.