HC Deb 22 August 1860 vol 160 cc1692-3

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, when it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to call for Tenders for the Aus- tralian Postal Service via Panama, pursuant to the notice recently issued by the Colonial Office when calling for the Australian Overland Postal Service; and in what state are the negotiations between the Treasury and the Colonial Government of New South Wales as to the proffered subsidy of the latter Colony for a Postal Service so essential as is that via Panama to the interests of the said Colony, and of New Zealand, Vancouver's Island, and other important portions of Her Majesty's Colonial Dominions?


replied, that he was not aware that there was any intention at that moment of advertising for tenders for the Australian Postal Service via Panama. There was already a postal service by way of Suez, under a contract to which this country was bound for a term of years. The Panama route could not be substituted for that of Suez under any circumstances, because the advantage of sending overland to Marseilles gave to the Suez route a great superiority over that of Panama. The parties principally interested in the adoption of the Panama route were the colonists of New South Wales, because in that case Sydney would be the first port touched at, whereas by the eastern route Melbourne was first made. He did not conceive that this country would be justified in doubling the amount of its present subsidy for a purely colonial object, or in order to secure a second and a decidedly inferior means of communication. There had been no negotiations on the subject between the Treasury and the Colonial Government; but if the Australian colonists wished to establish a line of their own between Australia and Panama, no doubt the Imperial Government would be quite ready to meet them in a spirit of liberality, and to give them facilities for the conveyance of letters and papers as far as Panama.