12 JANUARY 1850, Page 11



London, 8th January 1850.

Sin—It seems doubtful whether passports are really yet dispensed with in France • and from experience I can well imagine how the bureaucracy that afflicts flat country will combine to a man to frustrate the good intentions of the President. The declaration of Louis Napoleon against this barbarous custom ix, however, fatal to its continuance; - and he is entitled to the grati- tude of all Anglo-Saxon travellers for the fatal blow he has dealt this relic of serfdom.

It is in the power of Sir Charles Wood to show forth the national grati- tude, at no loss to the revenue, in a manner that will be appreciated by every Frenchman who visits us, and make him the most popular Chancellor of the Exchequer his travelling countrymen ever had, by simply abolishing the expensive and useless practice of searching the luggage _cot passengers arriving from foreign ports.

I would propose to abolish the practice, but to keep the power, and occa- sionally without warning to exercise it ; and if any passenger were detected smuggling, to punish him or her severely, with imprisonment and hard labour if possible, as sinners not only against the revenue but against that parole of honour which the abolition of the practice of searching would tacitly place all passengers under.

Customhouse officials will object that the revenue would suffer : but what can a man smuggle now from the Continent that he cannot buy, cheaper and better in Ludgate Hill or Regent Street, excepting tobacco and spirits ? and how many passengers would risk detection, imprisonment, and disgrace, for the sake of a few pounds of the one or gallons of the other ?

Taking into account the number of officials that could be dispensed with, I do not think the revenue would loso anything ; but suppose it lost fifty thou- sand pounds per annum, -what is that to the saving of time alone to the hundreds of thousands that annually: arrive at our ports from all parts of the world, who however pressing their business may be, have to beat the "Devil's tattoo" in the wading-rooms of Southampton or London Bridge for two or three hours, with the pleasing consciousness that they have no- thing in their portmanteaus to pay duty upon ? It is bad enough, Sir, for a single man ; but when one has a wife and thirteen packages (the average number a lady travels with) to unpack and pack, it is almost too much for poor human nature. I hope, Sir, you will use your influence with Sir Charles, and induce him to present the travelling public with this "New Year's gift" ; which will do as much to facilitate and increase national intercourse as the " Christ- mas-box" the French President presented MB with, in the abolition of the Passport igetem• main, Sir, your obedient servant, COSMOPOLITE.