HC Deb 30 May 1861 vol 163 cc244-5

Sir, I wish to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, Whether the Representations made to Her Majesty's Government on behalf of the Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Company, relative to a recent Letter of the Postmaster General in reference to the Galway Contract, have been considered, and with what result?


Sir, the only communication which Her Majesty's Government have had with the Company in question since the communication made to them by the Postmaster General consists of a very long and elaborate statement, comprising ten pages of closely printed matter, dated yesterday, and which I received late yesterday afternoon. The facts contained in that statement will have to be considered by the Postmaster General, and whenever an answer is prepared and given to the Company, that answer, together with the statement, will be laid before Parliament, in addition to the Papers already moved for.


Are we to understand from the answer of the noble Lord, that it is the intention of the Government to withdraw the subsidy at present paid for postal communication between Ireland and America?


I have no hesitation in saying that in our opinion it would be advantageous to the commercial interests of the whole of the United Kingdom that a more rapid communication—as rapid a communication as possible, in fact, should be established between the United Kingdom and North America. My belief is, that Ireland is the part of the United Kingdom from which that communication could best and most surely be established, and Her Majesty's Government are not indisposed to take into consideration, and, if they should think fit, to submit to the House any proposal for establishing that communication which is founded upon open competition, and which upon consideration might appear well calculated to accomplish the purpose.


Then we are to understand that the Government have determined not to continue the subsidy?


The House is already in possession of all that has passed between the Government and the Galway Company.


here rose and said, I beg to inform the noble Lord, after what he has stated of the intentions of the Government ["Order, order!"]


Does the hon. Gentle-propose to ask a question?


I wish to ask the noble Lord whether he is aware that a Memorial has been sent from the Corporation of the City of Dublin in favour of maintaining the Galway Contract, and also Memorials from the Corporation of Limerick and from the County of Galway to the same effect?


I received a Memorial on the subject about five days ago, but I cannot say from what quarter it proceeded. I am not aware whether the other Memorials mentioned by the hon. Gentleman have been received or not.