HC Deb 24 August 1860 vol 160 cc1781-2

said, in referring to the answer of the Secretary to the Treasury on the 22nd, that he was not aware there had been any intention on the part of the Colonial Office to advertise for Tenders for an Australian Postal Service viáPanama, he wished to direct his attention to the following notification, conspicuously appended to the Colonial Office Advertisement for Tender for the Overland Australian route, namely— N.B. It is to be observed that so soon as arrangements are completed, it is the intention of the Government to call for Tenders for a Monthly Steam Communication with Australia via Panama, in addition to the Service via Suez. He also wished to ask whether any and what steps have been or will be taken to redeem the pledge thus held out, on the part of the Imperial Government, to the Australian Colonies, and to the various commercial interests at home connected with this subject.


said, he had, on a former occasion, misunderstood the question of the hon. Member. He thought it referred to the present intentions of the Government, and the answer he gave was that there was no intention of doing anything in the way of contracting for a Postal Service by way of Panama. He found, however, on adverting to the question the hon. Gentleman had now put, that he referred to a. circumstance which occurred more than a year ago, when the late Government was in office. It was true that there was an intention on the part of the late Government to call for tenders for a monthly communication with Australia by way of Panama; but the present Government thought that the system of subsidies for mail communication to the Colonies had been carried quite far enough at the expense of the mother country. It could not be held that the mere intentions of the late Government should bind either the present Government or the House to a proposition of this kind.