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Parliamentary Reports

This section consists of official reports made by the order of Parliament, either from the Post Office itself or from various commissions of inquiry. While the reports themselves made recommendations as to what should be done, they often contained extensive appendices that dwarfed the report itself, and these are often a key source for information on what was happening in the Post Office of the time. For example, these often have verbatim transcripts of interviews with various members of Post Office staff (both senior and junior), and other interested parties, in which the interviewees describe how the mails were handled in their area of operations. There are also often extensive statistics on mail volumes, postal salaries, post offices and so on.

The Indexes published in 1840 (see below) gave a listing of reports up to that time, so ones mentioned there but not currently available are also listed below. Later reports are included where available.

Date Title
1735
(16 Apr)

Report from the Committee to whom the Copy of His Majesty's Warrant, whereby Letters are permitted to pass free from the Duty payable upon Post Letters, was referred

Extract from the Journals of the House of Commons

17pp, 3.4Mb (link)
1764
(28 Mar)

Report from Committee on the Frauds and Abuses in Relation to the Sending or Receiving of Letters and Parcels free from Postage, &c.

Extract from the Journals of the House of Commons

14pp, 2.0Mb (link)
1793
(17 Jun)

10th Report of Commissioners of Enquiry Into Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites, and Emoluments

Appointed to enquire into salaries, Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites, and Emoluments received in Public Offices, examine abuses, and report observations respecting business transacted
Post Office

49pp, 7.9Mb (link)
1797
(23 May)

Report from Committee Appointed to Enquire into Certain Abuses in the Post Office

Corruption in payments for appointments and the dismissal of Postmaster General Lord Tankerville after objecting

167pp, 6.5Mb (link)
1797
(13 Jul)

Report from Committee Appointed to Consider the Agreement made with Mr. Palmer for the Reform and Improvement of the Post-office

This and subsequent Palmer reports relate to the claims he made for compensation for his improvement in the conveyance of mails (Reprinted 1808)

180pp, 118Mb (link)
1797
(19 Jul)

6th Report of Select Committee on Finance

Appointed to examine the total amount of the public debts, and of interest and charges, as of 5th of Jan. 1797, particularizing the receipts and disbursements of mentioned offices
Stamp Office

60pp, 2.7Mb (link)
1797
(19 Jul)

7th Report of Select Committee on Finance

Appointed to examine the total amount of the public debts, and of interest and charges, as of 5th of Jan. 1797, particularizing the receipts and disbursements of mentioned offices
Post Office

84pp, 3.9Mb (link)
1807
(31 Jul)

Report from the Committee on Mr. Palmer's Petition

1808
(9 Jun)

Report from the Committee on Mr. Palmer's Account of the Percentage due on the Net Revenue of the Post-office beyond £240,000, from the 5th April 1793 to the 5th January 1808, &c

1810
(6 Feb)

9th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into Fees and Emoluments in Public Offices in Ireland

Appointed to enquire into the Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites, and Emoluments received in certain Public Offices in Ireland, and any abuses, and the mode of receiving, collecting, issuing, and accounting for public money in Ireland
General Post Office

31pp, 1.4Mb (link)
1813
(3 Jun)

Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee appointed to consider of the Agreement made with Mr. Palmer for the Reform and Improvement of the Post-office and its Revenue, and to whom several Reports and Accounts relating thereto were referred

1815

Report on plans and papers relating to the new post-office

1820
(17 Jul)

Report from Select Committee on the New GPO

Appointed to consider the report on the petition of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons, of the City of London, praying for an extension of the time, and enlargement of the powers of an Act for providing a site for a New Post-Office between Saint Martin's-le-Grand and Forster Lane

64pp, 6.1Mb (link)
1822
(23 Jul)

Report from Committee on the Means of Improving and Maintaining the Foreign Trade of the Country

Evidence relating to the inconvenience for captains of vessels by having to make their declaration respecting ship-letteis at the GPO, and ways to improve the situation

1824
(14 Jun)

Report from the Committee on the Foreign Trade of the Country

Evidence relating to the inconvenience caused by the regulation compelling captains of vessels arriving from foreign parts to make a declaration at the GPO before reporting at the Custom-house, and how letters coming from Constantinople are released from quarantine

1828

Return of Post Towns in Ireland making Extra Charge for Delivery for Letters

2pp, 42Kb (link)
1829
(20 Mar)

18th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Public Revenue in Ireland, and certain departments of the Public Revenue in Great Britain
Post Office Revenue, United Kingdom: Part I

109pp, 4.2Mb (link)
1829
(5 Jun)

19th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Public Revenue in Ireland, and certain departments of the Public Revenue in Great Britain
Post Office Revenue, United Kingdom: Part II – Ireland

131pp, 4.4Mb (link)
1830
(8 Feb)

20th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Public Revenue in Ireland, and certain departments of the Public Revenue in Great Britain
Post Office Revenue, United Kingdom: Part III – Scotland

68pp, 2.8Mb (link)
1830
(24 Feb)

21st Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Public Revenue in Ireland, and certain departments of the Public Revenue in Great Britain
Post Office Revenue, United Kingdom: Part IV – England, Twopenny Post

72pp, 2.8Mb (link)
1830
(25 Jun)

22nd Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Public Revenue in Ireland, and certain departments of the Public Revenue in Great Britain
Post Office Revenue, United Kingdom: Part V – Packet Establishments – Home Stations

108pp, 3.7Mb (link)
1831

Report from the Select Committee on the Reduction of Salaries of Offices, held during the pleasure of the Crown, by Members of either House of Parliament

1832

Report from the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the Post-office Communication between Great Britain and Ireland

1832

Report of Vice-Admiral Malcolm respecting packet service at Falmouth

Names and rank of officers, freight of specie carried by each packet in 1832, showing sum received by each commander; also passengers conveyed, and sums paid by them

1834
(18 Apr)

23rd Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Collection and Management of the Revenue

Offices which remain to be reported on, also, Letter from the Postmaster-General to the Treasury on the Report, how far recommendations have been carried out

1835
(12 Jun)

1st Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Contracts for supply of mail coaches to be thrown open

1835
(18 Jun)

2nd Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Extension of Mr Vidler's mail coach contract for six months recommended, models and drawings of mail coaches to be invited

1835
(2 Jul)

3rd Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Mr Vidler having declined to extend the mail coach contract, immediate notice for tenders recommended (with Mr Vidler not permitted to tender)

1835
(20 Jul)

Report, with Evidence, and a Memorandum from the French Post-office, sent in to the Treasury by the Commissioners of Post-Office Inquiry, in December 1834

1835
(23 Jul)

4th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Recommendation that the office of Postmaster General be replaced by a Board of Commissioners, with a responsible chief in Parliament

68pp, 6.4Mb (link)
1835
(13 Aug)

5th Report (No. 1) of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Tenders for mail coaches

1836
(11 Apr)

5th Report (No. 2) of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Recommendation that Prices Current be allowed to pass at a reduced rate, either of postage or by means of a (revenue) stamp

45pp, 4.2Mb (link)
1836
(30 Apr)

6th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Consideration of the Packet Establishments, on account of their extent and importance, and the large annual expenditure which they occasioned

304pp, 28Mb (link)
1837
(8 Feb)

7th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Contracts for horsing the mail coaches and other matters relating to stage coaches, consolidation of Acts relating to Post Office recommended

1837
(15 Apr)

8th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Recommendations relating to the Secretary's Office, no officer to derive income from postal fees or official privileges

1837
(7 Jul)

9th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Recommedations relating to the Twopenny Post, including the use of stamped covers and additional despatches

1837

Report from Select Committee appointed to inquire into the best means of establishing a Communication by Steam with India by way of the Red Sea

1838
(Jan)

10th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

Consideration of Registration of Letters and the current practices for money letters and overseas letters, recommending that a cheaply priced registration service be introduced, and that the Money Order Office be brought into public control

38pp, 4.1Mb (link)
1838
(Jan)

10th Report of Commissioners of Inquiry into the Management of the Post Office

As above, in a transcription

63pp, 492Kb (link)
1838
(28 Mar)

Report from the Committee appointed to consider the present state of the Communications by Railroad

Consideration of how far it affects regularity and convenience of the transmission of letters, on what terms mails are conveyed, and what further measures should be taken

1838
(10 May)

1st Report from Select Committee on Postage

Appointed to inquire into the rates and mode of charging postage, with a view to a reduction if without injury to the Revenue; and especially into the mode recommended in Rowland Hill's pamphlet. With testimony from Hill, Wallace etc

529pp, 47Mb (link)
1838

2nd Report from Select Committee on Postage

Evidence relating to Penny Postage reforms

1838

3rd Report from Select Committee on Postage

Together with References to the Index to the First and Second Reports of Evidence

1840
(22 Jan)

Indexes to Parliamentary Reports and Papers Relating to the Post Office 1735-1839

Listing of reports, with summaries of contents

497pp, 45.1Mb (link)
1842
(27 Jun)

Report of Select Committee on Post Office Communications with Ireland

Appointed to inquire into Post Office communication between Great Britain and Ireland, to whom the petitions on the subject were referred. Principally inquiring into communication between the southern parts of Britain and Ireland, but also direct line between London and Dublin

437pp, 33.6Mb (link)
1843
(14 Aug)

Report from Select Committee on Postage

Appointed to inquire into the measures adopted for the penny rate of postage, and facilitating the conveyance of letters, and the results so far as relate to the revenue and expenditure of the Post Office, and the general convenience of the country. Progress report on Penny Postage, with extensive testimony from Rowland Hill

707pp, 61Mb (link)
1844
(5 Aug)

Report from Secret Committee on the Post-Office

Appointed to inquire into the state of the law in respect to detaining and opening letters at the General Post Office, and the mode under which the authority given has been exercised. The report on postal powers to intercept letters in the wake of the Anti-Graham campaign, it also included texts of almost all the extant papers of the English Postal Service from 1252 to the Restoration in 1660

147pp, 10.4Mb (link)
1845

Return of Names of Persons employed in GPOs London and Dublin

35pp, 45.1Mb (link)
1850
(10 Aug)

Report from Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into Sunday Labour in the Post Office

Appointed to inquire "whether the amount of Sunday labour in the Post Office might not be reduced, without completely putting an end to the collection and delivery of letters, &c, on Sundays"

52pp, 3.5Mb (link)
1855
(31 Jul)

Report from Select Committee on Waterford etc Postal Arrangements

Appointed to inquire into the postal arrangements in the City and County of Waterford, and other postal arrangements in Ireland

330pp, 28.7Mb (link)
1859
(10 Aug)

Report from Select Committee on Packet and Telegraphic Contracts

Appointed to inquire into the manner in which contracts extending over periods of years have been formed with various Steam Packet Companies, and any arrangements for the purposes of telegraphic communications beyond sea

562pp, 54.2Mb (link)
1861
(23 Jul)

Report from Select Committee on the Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Company

Appointed to inquire into the circumstances attending the termination, by the Postmaster General, of the postal contract with the Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Company

389pp, 40.2Mb (link)
1869
(23 Mar)

Report from Select Committee on Mail Contracts

Appointed to enquire into the contracts entered into by the Postmaster General with Messrs. Cunard & Co. and Mr. William Inman, for the conveyance of mails from the UK to the United States

262pp, 16.9Mb (link)
1869
(22 Jul)

Report from Select Committee on the Telegraph Bill

Examination of the "allegations" of the Bill, and amendments in accordance with the Order of the House

34pp, 2.8Mb (link)