Post Office (Management) Act 1837
(1 Vict c.33, 12th July 1837)
An Act for the Management of the Post Office.
[12th July 1837.]
WHEREAS an Act was passed in the present Session of Parliament, intituled An Act to repeal the several Laws relating to the Post Office; be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That on the Day on which the recited Act shall come into operation this Act shall come into operation for the Management of the Post Office within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and all other Her Majesty's Dominions and Territories.
II. And be it enacted, That Her Majesty's present Postmaster General, and the Person or Persons to be from Time to Time hereafter appointed by the Queen's Majesty by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Great Britain, shall be the Master of the Post Office by the Style of Her Majesty's Postmaster General; and wheresoever within the United Kingdom and other Her Majesty's Dominions Posts or Post Communications are now or may be hereafter established, the Postmaster General, by himself or by his Deputies and their respective Servants and Agents, shall have the exclusive Privilege of conveying from one Place to another all Letters, except in the following Cases, and shall also have the exclusive Privilege of performing all the incidental Services of receiving, collecting, sending, despatching, and delivering all Letters, except in the following Cases; (that is to say,)
Letters sent by a private Friend in his Way, Journey, or Travel, so as such Letters be delivered by such Friend to the Party to whom they shall be directed:
Letters sent by a Messenger on purpose, concerning the private Affairs of the Sender or Receiver thereof:
Commissions or Returns thereof, and Affidavits and Writs, Process or Proceedings, or Returns thereof, issuing out of a Court of Justice:
Letters sent out of the United Kingdom by a private Vessel (not being a Packet Boat):
Letters of Merchants, Owners of Vessels of Merchandize, or the Cargo or Loading therein, sent by such Vessels of Merchandize, or by any Person employed by such Owners for the Carriage of such Letters, according to their respective Directions, and delivered to the respective Persons to whom they shall be directed, without paying or receiving Hire or Reward, Advantage or Profit for the same in anywise:
Letters concerning Goods or Merchandize sent by common known Carriers, to be delivered with the Goods which such Letters concern, without Hire or Reward or other Profit or Advantage for receiving or delivering such Letters:
But nothing herein contained shall authorize any Person to make a Collection of such excepted Letters for the Purpose of sending them in the Manner hereby authorized:
And the following Persons are expressly forbidden to carry a Letter, or to receive or collect or deliver a Letter, although they shall not receive Hire or Reward for the same; (that is to say,)
Common known Carriers, their Servants or Agents, except a Letter concerning Goods in their Carts or Waggons or on their Pack Horses, and Owners, Drivers, or Guards of Stage Coaches:
Owners, Masters, or Commanders of Ships, Vessels, Steam Boats, or Boats called or being Passage or Packet Boats, sailing or passing Coastwise or otherwise between Ports or Places within Great Britain or Ireland, or between, to, or from a Port or Ports within Her Majesty's Dominions or Territories out of the United Kingdom, or their Servants or Agents, except in respect of Letters of Merchants, Owners of Ships or Goods on board:
Passengers or other Persons on board any such Ships, Vessels, Steam Boat, Passage or Packet Boat:
The Owners of, or Sailors, Watermen, or others on board a Ship, Vessel, Steam Boat, or other Boat or Barge passing or repassing on a River or navigable Canal within the United Kingdom or other Her Majesty's Dominions.
III. And be it enacted, That there shall be One General Post Office in the City of London, where Letters may be received from all Places within the United Kingdom and Parts beyond the Seas, and whence all Letters may be despatched to all Places within the United Kingdom and Parts beyond the Seas.
IV. And to the Intent that there may be other Chief Letter Offices from which the Distances for which the Rates of Postage granted by the Post Office Acts may be computed, be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may keep a Chief Letter Office at each of the following Places; (that is to say,)
The City of Edinburgh,
The City of Dublin,
The Isle of Man,
The Islands of Jersey and Guernsey,
Each of Her Majesty's Provinces or Colonies in North America,
Each of the Islands of the West Indies,
And in any other of Her Majesty's Provinces or Dominions wheresoever,
And in any other Places abroad where he shall deem the same expedient.
V. And be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may establish any Cross Posts or Stages between any Places, and may continue Posts of that Description which are already established; and he may continue Bye-Bags as hath been heretofore accustomed, the respective Postages of Letters conveyed thereby being duly accounted for and paid by the Officers receiving the same to the Receiver General of the Post Office for the Use of Her Majesty; and he may undertake, at the Expence of the Post Office, the Conveyance of Letters by Post (including the incidental Services of Collection and Delivery) between Post Towns and Places not Post Towns, and between one Place and another, both not being Post Towns, at such Rates of Postages for such extra Services as may from Time to Time be mutually agreed upon between the Postmaster General and the Inhabitants respectively; nevertheless, the Inhabitants of Places where any such Convention Posts shall be established may carry or recarry, or employ any Person to carry or recarry, any Letters between such Places respectively.
VI. And be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may extend the Twopenny Post of London to any Distance from London he may think fit; and, with the Consent of the Lord Lieutenant, may extend the Penny or Twopenny Post of Dublin to any Distance from Dublin; and he may establish a Penny Post Office in any other City or Town, or the Suburbs thereof, or Places adjacent, within the United Kingdom or other Her Majesty's Dominions, and may continue as long as he may deem expedient all Posts of that Description now established; and he may from Time to Time alter the Limits of any Twopenny or Penny Posts.
VII. And be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may enter into an Agreement with or take Security from any Person applying to him to extend the Accommodations of the Post to any Place for indemnifying the Revenue against the Expences which shall be incurred thereby beyond the Amount of Postages received, and the Indemnification may be either for the Whole or Part of the Expences incurred, and for such Time as the Postmaster General shall think necessary.
VIII. And for the better Management of the Post Office, be it enacted, That the Postmaster General shall observe such Orders and Instructions concerning the Settlement of Posts and Stages upon the several Roads, Cross Roads, and Bye-ways within the United Kingdom and other Her Majesty's Dominions as Her Majesty shall from Time to Time give in that Behalf.
IX. And be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may appoint sufficient Deputies, Agents, and Servants under him, for the better managing the Post Office Revenue at the several Places within the United Kingdom and other Her Majesty's Dominions where Posts or Post Communications shall be established; and whenever the Postmaster General is by the Post Office Laws empowered or required to do any Act, all such Deputies, Servants, and Agents, according to the Nature and Extent of their Commission or Deputation or Appointment, shall be construed to be so empowered or required, unless the contrary be expressed therein.
X. And be it enacted, That no Person hereafter appointed shall be capable of holding the Office of Postmaster General, or of being an Officer of the Post Office, unless such Person shall have first made and subscribed the Declaration contained in the Schedule hereunto annexed before a Justice of the Peace acting for the Place where such Person resides, which Declaration such Justice shall (on Application to that Effect) administer and take accordingly.
XI. And be it enacted, That the Letters Patent granted by His late Majesty, and dated the Thirtieth Day of May One thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, appointing the Right Honourable Thomas William Earl of Lichfield to the Office of Postmaster General for the United Kingdom and other Her Majesty's Dominions, by the Name of "His Majesty's Postmaster General," and all Powers, Privileges, and Pre-eminences to the Office of Postmaster General belonging and in force at the Commencement of this Act, shall continue in force as if the same had been afterwards granted by virtue of this Act; and that all Commissions, Deputations, and Appointments granted to any of the Officers of the Post Office in force at the Commencement of this Act shall continue in force as if the same had been afterwards granted by virtue of this Act; and that all Bonds to the Crown, or any other Person on behalf of the Crown, which shall have been given by such Officers and their respective Sureties for good Conduct in their respective Offices or otherwise, shall remain in force, and that the Postmaster General shall have all the same Powers and Immunities, Rights and Privileges, as the Two Postmasters General of Great Britain and Ireland would have been entitled to in right of their respective Offices in case they had been separately appointed by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Great Britain and Ireland respectively; and that all Contracts and Agreements or other Engagements entered into by, with, or between Her Majesty's Postmaster General for the Time being in Great Britain and Ireland and any other Person, and all Bonds, Instruments, or other Securities for the due Performance of the same, shall be of the like Force as the same would have been in case the said recited Act of the present Session, intituled An Act to repeal the several Laws relating to the Post Office, had not been passed.
XII. And to the end that the Postmaster General and his Officers may not be hindered in their respective Employments, be it enacted, That no Postmaster General nor any Officer of the Post Office shall be compelled to serve as a Mayor or Sheriff, or in any Ecclesiastical or Corporate or Parochial or other Public Office or Employment, or to serve on any Jury or Inquest, or in the Militia; any Law or Custom to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.
XIII. And be it enacted, That the Monies to arise by the several Duties granted by the Post Office Acts (except the Monies which shall be necessary to defray such Expences as shall be incurred in the Receipt and Management of the same, and except all Annuities and yearly Sums now charged thereon by Law,) shall be paid into the Receipt of Her Majesty's Exchequer, and carried to and made Part of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
XIV. And be it enacted, That all Charges, Outgoings, and Disbursements necessary for the Receipt and Management of the Duties of Postage, and all other Expences attending the Management of the Post Office, and the due Execution of the several Post Office Acts, shall be allowed and paid in like Manner as the same have heretofore been allowed and paid.
XV. 'And whereas there is a separate Receivership and Accountancy of the Post Office Revenues in Great Britain and Ireland respectively, and such Revenues are paid into Her Majesty's Exchequer in different Ways;' be it enacted, That the Postmaster General may apply to the Revenue of the Post Office of Great Britain the Amount of all Rates of Postage received in Great Britain on Letters sent to or from Ireland, and may apply to the Revenue of the Post Office of Ireland the Amount of all Rates of Postage received in Ireland on Letters sent to or from Great Britain, and all Sums so received shall be paid and applied as the Revenue of Postage arising in Great Britain and Ireland respectively.
XVI. And be it enacted, That at the Time of paying the Post Office Revenue into Her Majesty's Exchequer the respective Receivers General of England and Ireland shall distinguish in their Accounts the respective additional Rates of Postage granted in respect of the Menai and Conway Bridges, and on Letters conveyed by way of Milford and Waterford; and having deducted in such Accounts the necessary Charges of paying, collecting, and accounting for the same, shall pay the Amount thereof into the Exchequer on account of the Persons by Law entitled to receive the same, to be carried to the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and to be applied as the same respectively are now or shall at any Time hereafter be applicable by Law.
XVII. And be it enacted, That the Postmaster General shall cause an Account to be kept by an Accountant General in England and Ireland respectively of all Monies arising from the Duties of Postage as they shall from Time to Time be brought into the Post Office to the Hands of the Receivers General of the Post Office in England or Ireland: Provided always, that the Powers, Authorities, and Duties of the said Accountant General shall be to the Extent and shall be exercised in the like Manner as they have heretofore existed and been exercised under the Provisions of any Act in force at the Commencement of the present Session, notwithstanding any thing in the Post Office Acts to the contrary, subject to such Alterations and Regulations as may from Time to Time be made by the Postmaster General, with the Concurrence of the Lords of the Treasury.
XVIII. And in order that the Progress of Her Majesty's Mails may not be retarded by the Demand of Tolls at Toll Gates or other Places where Tolls are by Law chargeable on Horses and Carriages passing such Places, be it enacted, That no Person shall demand any Toll upon the passing of any Carriage or Horse conveying the Mail at Places where Tolls are otherwise demandable, but such Tolls shall be accounted for and paid by Her Majesty's Postmaster General according to the following Provisions; (that is to say,)
The Tolls leviable in Scotland shall be paid out of the Revenue of the Post Office in Scotland at such Time and in such Manner as may be agreed upon between the several Trustees entitled to receive the same and Her Majesty's Postmaster General, but so that Payment shall be made at least once in every Three Calendar Months; and the Trustees of any Turnpike Road in Scotland may enter into any Agreement with Her Majesty's Postmaster General as to the Amount of Tolls that shall be paid for a Mail Coach travelling along such Turnpike Road, without any Limitation as to the Amount of the Tolls to be payable, or the Number of Years for which such Agreement shall subsist; nevertheless when such an Agreement shall not be made, or being made shall not be performed, then the several Tolls leviable for such Carriage or Horses carrying the said Mail or Packet may be recoverable in the Name of the respective Treasurers or Clerks of the respective Trusts in the Court of Session in Scotland by summary Application against Her Majesty's Postmaster General:
And with respect to the Tolls leviable in Ireland the Postmaster General shall cause an Account to be kept of all Tolls payable for Four-wheel Carriages carrying Her Majesty's Mail at the respective Turnpike Gates, either on Turnpike Roads or at the Ends of Bridges through which they shall pass, and shall from Time to Time cause the Amount thereof to be paid by equal quarterly Payments to the Treasurers to the Turnpike Roads and to the Treasurers of the Bridges or other Persons to whom such Tolls are respectively payable; but no Mail Coach, Mail Diligence, or Mail Cart conveying or employed to carry any Mail or Bag of Letters in Ireland shall be charged with any Toll more than once in the same Division of Road in the same Day, calculating from Twelve of the Clock at Night till Twelve of the Clock the succeeding Night, and no Change of Horses shall subject any such Coaches, Diligence, or Cart to any additional Toll at any Turnpike Gate whatsoever, except where any additional Toll shall be payable by virtue of any Act in force immediately preceding the passing of the Act for repealing the several Laws relating to the Post Office first herein recited.
XIX. And in order that the Charges of the Post Office may not be unnecessarily increased by the Addition of other Charges of a public Nature, be it enacted, That no Toll shall in England be demanded or taken by virtue of any Act or Acts of Parliament, on any Turnpike Road, for any Horses or Carriages of whatever Description employed in conveying Mails or Expresses under the Authority of the Postmaster General, either when employed in conveying, fetching, or guarding such Mails or Expresses, or in returning back from conveying or guarding the same, except where such Horses or Carriages were legally chargeable with Toll immediately preceding the passing of the Act for repealing the several Laws relating to the Post Office first herein recited; and no Turnpike Tolls shall in Scotland be charged on Carriages with Two Wheels conveying only the Mail or Packet, with their Driver, and any Horse or Horses drawing the same, and any Horse not drawing employed in conveying the said Mail or Packet; and no Turnpike Tolls shall in Ireland be charged on Carriages with Two Wheels conveying the Mail or Packet, and any Horse or Horses drawing the same, and any Horse not drawing, employed in conveying the said Mail or Packet, except where any such respective Horses or Carriages were legally chargeable with Toll immediately pre ceding the passing of the Act for repealing the several Laws relating to the Post Office first herein recited.
XX. And be it enacted, That wherever the Consent or Direction or any other Act of the Lords of the Treasury is prescribed by the Post Office Acts, such Consent or Direction or any other Act may be signified either under the Hands of the Lords of the Treasury or any Three of them, or under the Hand of One of their Secretaries or Assistant Secretaries.
XXI. And be it enacted, That all the Provisions of this Act shall be construed according to the respective Interpretations of the Terms and Expressions contained in an Act passed in the present Session, intituled An Act for consolidating the Laws relative to Offences against the Post Office of the United Kingdom, and for regulating the judicial Administration of the Post Office Laws; and for explaining certain Terms and Expressions employed in those Laws, so far as those Interpretations are not repugnant to the Subject or inconsistent with the Context of such Provisions.
XXII. And be it enacted, That this Act may be repealed or altered during the present Session of Parliament.
SCHEDULE to which the foregoing Act refers.
I ____________________ do solemnly and sincerely declare, That I will not wittingly or willingly open or delay, or cause or suffer to be opened or delayed, contrary to my Duty, any Letter or any thing sent by the Post which shall come into my Hands or Custody by reason of my Employment relating to the Post Office, except by the Consent of the Person or Persons to whom the same shall be directed, or by an express Warrant in Writing under the Hand of One of the Principal Secretaries of State [or, as to Ireland, under the Hand or Hands of the Lord Lieutenant or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland,] for that Purpose, or except in such Cases where the Party or Parties to whom such Letter or any thing sent by the Post shall be directed, and who is or are chargeable with the Payment of the Postage thereof, shall refuse or neglect to pay the same, and except such Letters or any thing sent by the Post as shall be returned for Want of true Directions, or when the Party or Parties to whom the same shall be directed cannot be found: and that I will not in any way embezzle any such Letter or any thing sent by the Post as aforesaid; and I make this solemn Declaration conscientiously intending to fulfil and obey the same, and by virtue of the Provisions of an Act passed in the First Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, intituled "An Act for the Management and Regulation of the Post Office."
This Declaration was made before me _____________ the _____ Day of _________.