THE POST OFFICE OF FIFTY YEARS AGO.
Leicester, Sept. 12, 1839.
Before I give you my opinion, I think it better to prevent the possibility of misapprehension, by putting in writing the heads of what you have reported to me as having occurred at the interview between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and yourself on Tuesday, respecting your proposed employment by the Government in carrying your plan of Post Office reform into operation.
You state that Mr. Baring, having regard to what had been arranged between Lord Monteagle and himself, offered to engage your services for two years for the sum of £500 per annum; you, for that remuneration, undertaking to give up your whole time to the public service. That on your expressing surprise and dissatisfaction at this proposal, the offer was raised to £800, and subsequently to £1000 per annum. You state that your answer to these proposals was, in substance, that you were quite willing to give your services gratuitously, or to postpone the question of remuneration until the experiment shall be tried; but that you could not consent to enter upon such an undertaking on a footing in any way inferior to that of the Secretary to the Post Office. You explained, you say, the object which you had in view in making this stipulation—you felt that it was a necessary stipulation to insure you full power to carry the measure into effect.
I have carefully considered the whole matter in all its bearings, and I cannot raise in my mind a doubt of the propriety of your abiding by these terms; and I will set down, as shortly as I can, the reasons which have occurred to me to show that the course you have taken was the only one really open to you.
It is quite clear that to insure a fair trial for your plan you will require great powers; that Ministers will not interfere with you themselves, nor, as far as they can prevent it, suffer you to be thwarted by others, I can readily