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Lord Temple took it up, and investigated it with great ato tention and ability. He approved of the plan originally fug. geited, but as his lordship was foon called away, he had not an opportunity of carrying it into effect.

Lord Northington adopted these ideas which Lord Temple had approved. His lordsip repeated the proposal which Lord Buckingham had made to the Bricish ministers, but could not prevail on them to accede to it. His lordship sent over Mr. Lees to London to explain the fubject, and give every information upon it. He was authorised to represent, that Ireland was willing to take upon herself the expence of pacquets, and to account to England for all foreign postage received in Ireland.

During the space of near three months Lord Clermont and Mr. Lees, laboured this point with the most unremitting zeal and attention ; but the ministers adhered firialy to the reasoning which had decided against the measure, during Lord Buckingham's adminiftration.

The first objection was, the great inequality in point of revenue to the disadvantage of England, as might be clearly exemplified in the case of a single letter. Ireland, they said, might receive on a fingle letter, at an average, 8d. pofiage from every part of England, whereas England could in no case receive for the internal postage of a single letter conveyed in Ireland more than 4d.—but that which was principally urged, and seemed the most relied upon, was, that as Great Britain conveyed at her own charge, the mails, both to and from Ireland, Ireland could have no just claim to any part of the revenue arising from the labours and expence of England. That every country should be recompented for its own services, that as England alone performed the duty, England ought of course, alone, to receive the profit; and that with every disposition on their part, not only to do justice, but to shew kindness to Ireland, they could not in this instance relinquish the right of England. The situation of the country could not afford it, nor could they jultify such a proceeding to parliament. It was the justice of this argument was too ftrong not to be admitted. But it was said on the part of Ireland, that she would establish pacquet boats, and pay the expence of all foreign letters to Holyhead. Her right to do so was not denied; but it was objected that by the law of England, the mails of that kingdom muft be sent out in pa: quet boats of her own; and though it was confessed that Ireland had the fame right to fend out her mails in pacquet boats of her own, yet for the accommodation of both sides, and to prevent the trouble and expence of doubling the number of pacquet boats, it was proposed as a compensation to Ireland, until the should think proper to establish pacquet boats of her own, to pay her 4,000l. per annum, for the liberty of carrying her letters across the channel. The dificulties, inseparable from any other plan, and the impropriety of either nation interfering with the revenue of the other, had induced Lord Northington to agree to those terms, and England had in consequence paffed an act, for the separation of the post-offices of Great Britain and Ireland, which is however, not to take place until a fimilar act shall have been passed in this kingdom.

The meaning of the bill, and the spirit of it was to allow each country to receive the postage of letters so far as the carries them.

To restrain the privilege of franking letters to the respective members of parliament within their respective kingdoms, and to enable the treasury of England to pay over to that of Ireland, by quarterly payments, 4,000l. per annum, until Ireland shall think proper to establish pacquet boats of her own.

Now it appears to me that the compensation is fully adequate, and a much greater revenue than could be raised by establishing Irish pacquet boats, which would be a very expensive undertaking, and in the end, perhaps, not quit the cost; besides this, England has assigned over to Ireland, free of expence, the poft-office which lately cost her between 7, and 8,000l. Upon the whole, I trust the House will perceive that every thing possible has been done by Lord Northington for the advantage of Ireland; and that he has been as successful as could rea. sonably be hoped.

The Attorney General then proceeded to state the plan upon which it was intended to establish the Irish office. On the present establishment, he said it would do little more than pay its own expences; and in order to raise a revenue, the privilege of franking must be restrained to the personal convenience of the members of parliament, to which end it was proposed that no letter should pass free that was not superscribed, and dated on the back with the day of the week and month, by a member of parliament; and that if it was not put into the office the day of its date, it should not be considered as free. He stated that it would be necessary to make a {mall increase in the postage of Letters, and moved the following resolutions :

Refolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that towards raising the supply granted to his Majesty a general letter office, or post office, together with all inferior neceffary offices, shall be established within this kingdom, to continue to the 25th day of March, 1785; and that there thall be levied and paid to his Majesty, his heirs and fucceffors, for the portage and conveyance of letters and packets by the said offices, the several rates hereafter mentioned.

Refolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that there thall be levied and paid to his Majetty, his heirs and successors, from the establishment of such general post-office, until the time aforesaid, for the port and conveyance of every single letter or piece of paper from the office in this kingd m where such letter or piece of paper shall be put in, to any distance within said kingdom not exceeding fifteen miles Irish measure, the sum of 2d. and to any distance exceeding fifteen miles, and not exceeding thirty miles, the sum of 3:1, and to any distance exceeding thirty miles, the sum of 41. and for the port and conveyance of every double letter, double the faid fums respectively; and of every treble letter, treble the said fums respectively; and of every ounce weight, four times the said sums respectively, and so in proportion for any greater weight than an ounce, reckoning every quarter of an ounce equal to a single letter. * Refolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that every letter or packet directed from any place in this kingdom to any parts beyond the seas, shall be charged and pay according to the rates aforesaid, for its portage and conveyance within this kingdom from or to Dublin or Donaghadee, according as it shall be respectively shipped from or landed in either of the faid places.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that every letter or packet passing through the general post-office in the city of Dublin, 'from any place within this kingdom not less distant than four miles from the said office, to any place within the said kingdom, not less distant likewise than four miles from the faid office, shall be charged and pay according to the distances in the foregoing resolutions to Dublin, and be further charged and pay according to the same from Dublin.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that for every letter or packet directed on board, or brought or sent from on board any ship or veffel riding or stopping in any port within this kingdom, there shall be charged and paid to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, over and above the rates aforesaid, the sum of id.,

Refolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that towards raising the faid supply a penny-post-office be established in the city of Dublin, for the port and conveyance of lerters and packets within a circuit of four miles from the general poft-office in the said city.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that for every letter or packet of any weight which shall be sent to of delivered from the general post-office by the penny-post, from or to any place not being within the said city, there shall be paid the sum of in. over and above or exclusive of the rates aforesaid.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that for the port and conveyance of any letter or packet, being not more than four ounces in weight, from and to any place within the city

of Dublin, by the penny-post-office, there shall be paid, at the time of putting such letter or packet into the office, the sum of id. and for the port and conveyance of every letter or packet, not exceeding the like weight, from any place in the faid city to any place outside of the said city within the circuit of the pennypost-office, or from any place outside of the said city within the circuit of the penny-post to any place in the said city, there shall be paid, at the time of putting in such letter or packet, the sum of iú. and a further sum of id. on the delivery thereof.

Mr. Molyneux said, that he saw. no reason why we should trust · England with the conveyance of our letters, while she refused to trust us ; that the establishment of pacquet boats would be a small expence and productive of a great revenue. And finally, that the proof of his assertion was this, that the office as left with Ireland, was unequal to its own expence, and therefore the ministry was obliged to raise the price of postage, and contract the privileges of the House; though formerly it had been stated as an object of revenue, capable of producing 12, or 14,000l. per annum, without any such increase of expence or diminution of privilege.

Mr. Gardiner did not approve of the increase of postage, when too, it did not supersede the necessity of abridging the privilege of that House, which he thought ought to be kept perfect, and entire.

Mr. Corry objected to the tax as burthensome to the commerce of this country. He represented a commercial town, and he could not be satisfied with the tax for his conftituents.

Mr. Orde.- I would not thus obtrude myself upon the House, the first day I have the honour of sitting here, but for the purpose of answering some questions which gentlemen have been pleased to direct to me, and which render it improper for me to remain silent.

This bill is not the act of the present administration, but a continuation of what was begun by the former; yet I should be sorry it was made an object of opposition, because I believe it will be found a very fair and useful measure ; but what I am most anxious to impress upon the House is, that I should be the most unhappy man existing, if gentlemen could for one moment imagine that I have any intention to impose upon them ; on the contrary, whenever it ihall be their pleasure to call upon me, I shall most chearfully give them every satisfaction in my power.

I have reason to think that the revenue now arising from the inland postage of this kingdom, is hardly sufficient to maintain the expence of the officers; but this revenue, affitted by the four thousand pounds a year which Britain is to pay, will be equal to the future establithment, though it will not go much beyond it.

It has been asked, Whether there be any intention to aid the supply by this mealure? I answer, Yes ; by restraining the pri

vilege of franking to the personal convenience of the members of parliament--by circumscribing the unlimited manner in which the privilege has hitherto been exercised, and by the alteration in the charge of postage, I think ten thousand pounds may annually be brought to the national aid,

I have been but a short time in this country, but I must have been very inattentive indeed, if I had not ere now discovered the refpcct and deference which is due to the gentlemen I now have the honour to sit among; and I beg leave to fay, that they value too highly the good opinion of such men ever to risque it by bringing forward a measure injurious to the country, or which might not be laid open to the inspection of all the world. Mr. Orde concluded with saying, that every necessary document should be laid before the House.

Sir Richard Musgrave said, when the business of the nation was lately interrupted by repeated adjournments of the House, gentlemen complained of it, and now that an affair of the greatest consequence is before it, they make a wanton and unnecessary opposition to it.—The regulation of the post-office took place during an administration in England, which this House and this nation should look up to with gratitude; and this law should be wilhed for, because it will wipe away the last veftige of that odious principle, so much and fo justly spurned at, that English laws can operate in Ireland; besides it will produce a l rge revenue, the appropriation of which can be attended to in the different processes through which the resolutions of the committee must pass, before they are executed into a law,

Mr. Brownlow confessed himself prejudiced in favour of the Right Hon. Gentleman's intentions by the open and candid manner in which he had expressed himself; but begged that one day more might be given to consider the measure now before the committee, which he would receive as a favour. He said, he could not sit down without returning the Right Honourable Secretary his thanks, for the favourable sentiments he expressed, and alsured him, that an administration attentive to the public good, as he believed the present to be, might always rely on support from the independent gentlemen of Ireland.

Mr. Curry thanked the minister, for his unexampled candour, and readiness to give the members of the House satisfaction on a subject so highly interesting to the nation.

The committee reported progress, and prayed leave to fit again.

END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.

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