June 27, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCIC.

A letter dated the 7th of May, 1903, was received by the department on the 8th of May from Messrs. Herrington, Warner and Grange, transmitting to the department a number of affidavits and statutory declarations containing charges against the postmaster at Wilton. In the ordinary course, these complaints, ns set forth in these declarations, were

transmitted to the inspector for investigation. On the 15th of May the inspector made a report in these words :
Post Office Inspector's Office,
Kingston, 15th May, 1903.
Sir,-In returning herewith sundry affidavits and correspondence received by you from Messrs. Herrington, Warner and Grange, barristers, of Napanee, making grave complaints regarding the management of the Wilton post office in the county of Addington, I have the honour to report that I visited the locality on the 11th inst., and made full inquiry into the several charges made : 1st, taking part in a political contest ; 2nd, delay and improper delivery of a registered letter ; 3rd, delay in sending forward ordinary correspondence in order to persoanlly gain a municipal advantage.
I have no reason to doubt or question the correctness of the affidavits made by John Carr, John Cairns, Isaac McEwen, Thos. Clyde, Gay Simmons and others, some of whom were personally interviewed, that Mr. Gallagher did take part in the last political contest, perhaps not as openly as heretofore, but an active part when opportunity offered-to what extent I was unable to definitely leam, although Mr. Gallagher admitted the fact stated in Mr. McEwen's affidavit, that Mr. Uriah Wilson and others were at his house the evening after Mr. Wilson's political meeting held at Wilton at the time of the last Dominion election contest, but denies that the meeting was political. Of course an accurate report of the business transacted or matters discussed cannot now be obtained, but I think the conclusion come to by Mr. McEwen is not unreasonable, and that a political meeting was held and matters in connection therewith discussed.
The second point, delay in a delivery of a registered letter. This fact was clearly established by reference to the registered letter book and the admission of the clerk in charge of the office, showing that the letter, although frequently asked for was not delievered for eight days.
Third charge, delay in sending forward correspondence in order to gain a municipal advantage. In January last Col. Clyde was a candidate for the reeveship of Ernestown township in opposition to Mr. Gallagher and of course no effort was spared by the friends of the respective rival candidates to win. Mr. Simmons a strong supporter of Col. Clyde, wrote a letter on January 3rd, posting it before 2.30 p.m. on that day, to Mr. Harry Timmerman, then at Camden East, urging him to come to Wilton and vote for Col. Clyde on Monday. Mr. Timmerman, who was known as a supporter of Col. Clyde, did not intend returning, having paired with another voter ; this was well known at Wilton and it was common gossip in the village that Mr. Simmons' letter was purposely delayed so that Mr. Timmerman' would not cast his vote against Mr. Gallagher. I am unable to say that the public came to a correct conclusion, but the fact remains that the letter was posted at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday and that the mall for Camden East did not leave Wilton until 6 p.m., and that the letter for Mr. Timmerman did not go forward on that day, although posted in ample time, and did not reach Camden East until Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.
Monday p.m., too late to serve the purpose intended' and suggests to my mind at least, that there was more reason than simply oversight for the delay in sending this letter forward. In my opinion the charges made have been in the main substantiated .
I am, sir,
Your most obedient servant, (Signed) H. MERRICK,
P. O. Inspector.
My hon. friend alludes to private letters, and sent me a letter from Mr. Thomas Prest asking to have a private letter sent by him returned. When my hon. friend moved for their return, I said I would not bring down private letters except with the consent of the writers, and I think X acted unwisely, in offering to act on such consent. When people write private letters to any one engaged in public life we should not allow pressure to be brought upon them to make public what they intended to be private. However, on the receipt from the hon. gentleman of a letter from Mr. Prest, I instructed my secretary to write to those who had sent me private letters, asking whether they were willing to have them made public, and did not get any reply from one of them. I do not consider that I have any authority to make public any private communication.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
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