A. Herbert to Frederick Chesson, 6 February 1880

A. Herbert to Frederick Chesson, 6 February 1880

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C143 – 156

Author(s): A. Herbert

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: Natal

Date: 6 February 1880

Government House



February 6 1880


With reference to your letter of the 23rd October last to General Sir Garnet Wolseley and to my reply of the 21st December on the subject of the delivery to you in an unsatisfactory state of letters coming from Natal, I have the honour to inform you that the Post Master General of Natal has made a thorough enquiry into the circumstances attending the despatch of the letters in question.

The Post Master General regrets that you did not facilitate his enquiry by sending for inspection the envelops in which the letters were delivered to you; for he inclines to belief that the words quoted by you as written upon the envelops by the General Post Office should read thus:

‘Found upon in the Register Letter Bag and resealed,’ 

And that the intention of such notification was to make you aware that the envelops having been found open by the General Post Office were resealed by that office.

The Postmaster General of Natal thinks that there is thus no cause for inference that there was any mishandling of the letters in Natal, and he further calls attention to the fact that Mr Jones who posts letters for the Bishop of Natal states that many of these letters to you are bulky and are posted usually only a half or a quarter of an hour before the mail closes, and that it would thus be impossible, under such limitations of time, that the letters should be tampered with.

The Postmaster General complains also that letters addressed to you are frequently posted without due care, and under flimsy coverings; he quotes the following instance:

‘I may add that yesterday a parcel for Miss Chesson containing a large mass of printed matter was posted with no other address than “Miss Constance Chesson.” The mail left without it; it was advertised upon the notice board and Mr Jones was told of it today: when I spoke to him on the subject he told me that he had seen the native from Bishopstowe about to post two other parcels for Miss Chesson without address but had intercepted him and directed them himself.’

I enclose herewith for your information memoranda from officers of the Postal Department and a letter from Mr Jones which I trust will satisfy you that the Postmaster General of most careful in investigating the case of the two letters in question, and has wholly vindicated the character of the office under his charge.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient servant,

… A. Herbert

Private Secretary

F.W. Chesson Esq