§ Mr. Hume
said, that as no objection would be made to his motion, he would not detain the House by more than one or two remarks. It appeared that the charge of management of the Post-office amounted to 617,962l.; and when such a sum was paid, the House ought to be informed of all the particulars of its application. The sum which he had just mentioned was more than a third of the entire revenue of that establishment. It was his intention to have submitted a motion respecting the number of postmasters, but the notice which the noble lord (Normanby) had given having the same object, it would be unnecessary for him to trouble the House on the subject. In alluding to the post- 991 office, he begged to be understood as not objecting to the general arrangements of that department: they were such as reflected great credit on the gentleman (Mr. Freeling) who directed them. There was one regulation, by which newspapers were sent, free of postage, to all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland; but this indulgence did not extend to the Colonies; for the post-office charged for transmitting a daily paper, the whole cost of which was not more than 9d., the sum of 5l. 5s. They charged 4l. 4s. for a paper published three times a week, and 2l. 2s. for a weekly paper. Those sums were not paid in as part of public revenue, but collected and paid into a separate office as fees, which were afterwards distributed among the clerks. Now, he objected to this on two grounds. In the first place, he thought, that the remuneration of the clerks in public offices ought to be by fixed salaries, and not by fees; and next, he considered, that by loading a newspaper with such heavy duties, a check was given to their circulation, and thereby a great limitation to the consumption of stamps. He had it from very good authority, that if this tax were taken off, the circulation of newspapers in our colonies would be increased by one half—a most important consideration in point of revenue. Besides, he thought the colonies ought to be placed on the same footing with England, Scotland, and Ireland; and when it was considered, that the packets only carried letters and newspapers, the increase on the number sent would be no inconvenience. Another point which he thought worthy the consideration of the House, was that regulation by which the foreign papers were nearly excluded. A French paper, the price of which, annually, did not exceed 72 francs, or about 3l., would cost the person who received it through the post-office here, a sum of 12l. This necessarily limited their circulation here, which he was satisfied was never in the contemplation of ministers. He was convinced that by an alteration of the regulations in this respect, a great increase would be made in the circulation of newspapers, and thereby a considerable addition to the revenue. He then moved for an account of the establishment of the general post-office for the year 1822, the names of all the officers, their salaries, fees, and allowances, where those salaries exceeded 100l. a year, stating also whether 992 they held any other pensions or emoluments, and also the number of those who held offices under 100l. a year; &c. &c.—
§ The motion was agreed to.