[ Sir Andrew Halliday, Scottish physician. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('Andrew Halliday') to the Postmaster General the Duke of Manchester, giving details of his investigation into 'some system of individual plunder' involving franks.

Sir Andrew Halliday (1782-1839), Scottish physician [ William Montagu, 5th Duke of Manchester (1771-1843), Governor of Jamaica, Postmaster General; Sir Horace Beauchamp Seymour (1791-1851) ]
Publication details: 
Hampton Court. 27 June 1829.
SKU: 19804

4pp., 4to. Bifolium. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. Docketed crosswise across the valediction, including the signature, but not in an overly-obtrusive fashion. An interesting letter, casting light on the franking system and fraud within the pre-Hill Post Office. Halliday begins by explaining that as he has 'often been engaged in very extensive and to me most expensive correspondence connected with the welfare of my fellow Creatures', he has 'most gladly availed myself of the kind indulgence sometimes granted me by my friends in Parliament to get a few of my letters under their Covers – Among others Mr Horace Seymour of this place has allowed me to desire some of my correspondents to put their letters to me under his Cover'. He has often been surprised to have 'received double & treble letters charged full Postage that I knew ought & probably were sent to London under a Cover that conveyed them free'. Suspecting that 'all was not right' he 'desired Mr William Arndale Child a Writer to His Majesty's Signet in Edinburgh to send me a letter under Cover to Mr Horace Seymour & to take care that it might easily be seen that it was a letter under Cover'. He describes the process, and then the result, 'that the letter to Mr Seymour has been broken open my letter taken out and besides being detained in the Office or somewhere else for a period of 24 hours it is charged the full postage from Edinburgh'. Halliday continues indignantly: 'Now My Lord Duke I am directed by Mr Seymour to inform your Grace that he has given no power or authority to any one on earth to detain or open letters addressed to him and that he considers it as much a felony for any officer or person under Your Grace to open a sealed letter addressed to him and abstract its contents even supposing it to be a letter addressed to a friend as if it had been a bank note addressed to himself'. He is certain that once the Duke has the matter investigated he will find 'that it is connected with some system of individual plunder that has been carried on for a considerable time & to a very great extent'.