§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the delay of the last West India Mail has been brought to the notice of the Treasury; whether any fine has been required or will be required of the Royal Mail Company in consequence; and, whether the steamer conveying such Mails was surveyed previous to her departure from the; West Indies? In explanation of the Question, he had to state that the last vessel, the Danube, was five days overdue when it arrived. It was a vessel which had beenemployed in the intercolonial traffic, was wholly unfit for the purpose, and if it had not been fine weather would probably have gone to the bottom, in consequence of its being necessary to place 400 tons of coal required for the voyage on deck.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
, said, in reply, that it is not the practice to report to the Treasury delays which occur in the cases of steamers under contract; but he had made inquiries and found that the Danube, with the last West India Mail, was three days, or rather more, late at Southampton. Unless the delay arose from unavoidable accidents, a fine of £250 will be imposed, the Danube had been surveyed, but not immediately before her return to this country. She was an intercolonial steamer, and by special permission of the Postmaster General she was allowed to be sent home, in order to facilitate some new arrangements in the West Indies.