§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD MOUNT-TEMPLE,
in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that it would enable persons disposed to be laconic to communicate by telegraph, at half the present cost. It would, therefore, confer a very considerable boon upon those persons who were now obliged to pay for 20 words when their messages contained less than 10 words. It was calculated that if the 1027 Bill passed there would be a large increase in the number of messages sent; and there was no doubt that the measure would be a very great advantage to the public at large. The provisions of the Bill were very simple, but would be important to all classes of the community.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Lord Mount-Temple.)
THE EARL OF MILLTOWN
said, he could not quite understand how the Bill came to be in charge of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Mount-Temple). He would like to know from that whether the Government assented to the Bill; and also whether the 1st section meant that the name and address of the sender must be upon the message, as the name and address were now to be counted as parts of the 12 words allowed to be sent for 6d.?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (The Earl of IDDESLEIGH)
said, that the Bill was introduced into the Commons by the late Postmaster General (Mr. Shaw Lefevre). When it came on for discussion, his (the Earl of Iddesleigh's) noble Friend the present Postmaster General (Lord John Manners) proposed that it should be carried with an Amendment respecting free addresses of which he had given Notice. His noble Friend was defeated upon that, and thereupon left his Predecessor to take charge of the Bill. So far as the Government were concerned, they looked upon the Bill as one for which the late Government were responsible.
§ LORD MOUNT-TEMPLE
said, he was not like the noble Earl who asked the question (the Earl of Milltown), and who had pounced upon the Medical Relief Disqualification Removal Bill against the wish of the promoters of the Bill—he had been requested by the late Postmaster General (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) to take charge of the Bill, and he had done so. Under its provisions the sum of 6d. was to be paid for any number of words not exceeding 12; and the sender might put them either in the address or in the message, sending as many or few as he desired in either.
THE EARL OF MILLTOWN
said, that in Committee he would move an Amendment in order to make the Bill more clear on the point raised by his question.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.