HC Deb 08 April 1853 vol 125 cc807-8

said, he wished to know from the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he had received any memorial from Barbadoes, and other places, complaining of delays and irregularities in respect to the West India Mail-packet service; and, if so, whether any steps had been taken to enforce a more due performance of the contract?


was very sorry to state to the House that complaints were pouring in from every quarter in respect to the irregularity with which the contract of the West India Mail packet Company was fulfilled. Those complaints came from all the principal outports of the United Kingdom—from Liverpool, Bristol, Belfast, and Glasgow. The complaints were not confined to the United Kingdom, but came also, as the hon. Member had observed, from West India Colonies, on the other side of the Atlantic. The country, under the contract, paid to that company 270,000l. a year for the conveyance of mails, and since the contract had been entered into, large importations of treasure had been a source of great profit to the company. Notwithstanding all these profits, he was sorry to say, that the irregularity with which the contract was performed had increased. The company contended that irregularities in point of time did not void the contract. That was a question of law, and it was now submitted to the law officers. The Government was resolved, if these irregularities could not be remedied, to set aside the contract, if the law would permit it.