§ MR. DAVISON
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any renewal of the subsisting Mail Contracts to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company for the West Indian and Brazilian Mail Service has been granted or promised to that Company without advertising for competitive tenders; whether Her Majesty's Government has had under their consideration any complaints of colonists or passengers or other persons respecting the irregularities, inconvenience, or mismanagement of the said services; and whether any investigation as to the convenience or management of the present service is contemplated previously to the renewal of such contracts; and whether it is intended that such renewals shall be opened to competition?
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said in reply, that before the late Government went out of office application was made to them on the part of the Royal Mail Steam-packet Company, to extend for two years the existing contract for the West Indian and Brazilian Mail Service, on the ground that the Company proposed to increase the accommodation afforded with respect to the service to Brazil and the River Plate. The application was granted, as he found from the Treasury Minute, in conformity with the practice always followed in relation to other mail companies. No alteration was made in the terms of the contract, it was only extended from 1862 to 1864. He was not aware that any complaints had reached the Treasury such as those to which the hon. and learned Member referred. Complaints, he was told, had reached the Admiralty, but he was ignorant of their nature.