HC Deb 30 April 1863 vol 170 cc993-4

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, If the details of the Galway Contract have been agreed upon, and the cause of the delay in laying the Contract upon the table of the House?


said, that before his right hon. Friend answered that question he wished to put another upon the same subject. It had been stated in another place, that the stipulations of the new Contract would be based upon the conditions of the old one. But a difference of opinion had arisen between the Post Office and the Committee of the House of Commons, of which he (Mr. Gregory) had been Chairman, as to whether the ships of the Company should go to Newfoundland in three days. He wished to know whether the Treasury had considered the matter, and whether they were prepared to state if they would abide by the opinion of the Post Office or by that of the Committee?


replied, that the Admiralty Report upon the state of the Company's ships had only reached the Treasury about three days ago; and the conditions under which the Company should be allowed to resume that service had not yet been finally determined on. The matter, however, was in a forward state. In answer to the question of his hon. Friend the Member for Galway, he had to state that the Company's vessels, under the Contract of 1859, were bound to call at St. John's on their way out and on their way home, and to land passengers and also to deliver telegraphic messages at that port if they were required to do so. But there had been a difference of opinion between the Post Office and the Company as to whether the Company were bound to deliver mails at St. Johns. The Committee of the House of Commons expressed no opinion as to the obligations of the Company under the Contract, but they did express an opinion as to the intention of the parties entering into the Contract. Considering the larger subsidy that would be payable to the Company, he thought that they ought to render every service to the public which they could be reasonably called upon to do.


said, he wished to ask whether any proposal has been made for alternating the destination of those steam-packets at the other side of the At- lantic; and, if so, whether the Government have come to any decision upon that point.


said, that no proposal had been made to the Government with reference to a change of the port of arrival on the other side of the Atlantic. But he had been informed that parties representing interests in Canada had been in communication with the Company, with a view to convert the fortnightly service into a weekly service.