MINISTERIAL NEGLECT OF THE POST-OFFICE QUESTION.
PETITIONS are daily presented to Parliament for Post-office Re- form. Mr. ROWLAND Hues plan, recommended, after the most searching examination, by the Commons Committee, in the Report which lately appeared in this journal, has obtained almost universal approbation. All sorts of men unite in the demand for this im- provement. There is not a shadow of' opposition to it from any "interest" that dares to speak openly. " Unanimity " on this 'subject is not "wonderful," for all, save a few clerks in St. Mar- tin's-le-Grand, perceive what a gain it would be to substitute Mr. HILL'S stamped envelopes, for the present costly and inconvenient mode of taxing the public for the transmission of letters. But the Government moves not in the matter. Probably the Tory Oppo- sition would thwart the Whig effort were it made. Nevertheless, it might be worth the care of Ministers to acquire some honourable popularity by exhibiting readiness to comply with the general de- sire. They might, at least, to this extent overmatch their oppo- nents, by throwing on them the odium of rejecting one really good measure.
Mr. WALLACE has announced his intention to introduce a bill on the subject, if Ministers do not forestall him. But a successful measure from Mr. WALLACE, or any other unplaced Member, is not attainable. The improvement must be effected by the Adminis- tration of the day : and the Tories may offer this excuse for op. posing a motion which, if successful, would deprive them of the opportunity of carrying a practical reform generally desired and that clashes with no party interest. Sir ROBERT PEEL has pro- bably resolved to put Post-office Reform into his first programme. But though Mr. WALLACE may not succeed in carrying a bill through Parliament, he is right, as Chairman of the Postage Com- mittee, in calling the attention of the House of Commons to the
subject of that Committee's Report. The Committee have per- formed their duty admirably, and the public voice has been raised in support of their recommendations: but there is no clamour on the subject ; indignation is not roused by the stubborn resistance of official persons to the proposed improvement ; and therefore Ministers recognize no obligation to undertake it, though well aware
that a case for resistance cannot be made out. The only pretence—
that the revenue would suffer from adopting a reduced rate of post- age—would be met by the declaration of readiness to supply the deficiency, in another way,—if indeed a permanent deficiency should arise, which is not likely.
The people of England arc accustomed to pertinacious opposi- tion from their rulers to demands earnestly enibreed; but there is no precedent for the cool neglect with which the applications for Post-office Reform are treated. Mr. POUI.ETT THOMSON, though President of the Board of Trade, says not a word in support of petitions from merchants, manufacturers, bankers, booksellers, and
publishers, in every part of' the country. Science and literature have no representative in the Cabinet on this question. Mr.
Seam: RICE affects great zeal fur an extension of Copyright, and
declaims upon the duty of the Legislature to protect and reward literary genius : lie would perform a practical service of infinitely higher value to men of letters, by facilitating correspondence and
the interchange of knowledge and ideas by post, than any which Mr. Sergeant TALrounn's bill can effect. The great bulk of the people—the masses who cannot afford the present high rates—
their wants and wishes are not considered by the Government. It is therefore necessary, if any progress is to be made, to have
stirring discussions in Parliament, and for the public to declare in a louder voice, that they will no longer permit their material inte- rests to be sacrificed to the profit or convenience of a clique of clerks.