HC Deb 15 May 1868 vol 192 cc342-3

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, If it is true that while the sum provided in the Estimates for the three Mail Services from Southampton and Queenstown to New York is £30,000, the Inman Company alone has earned during the first three months of 1868 at the rate of £22,000 per annum; that the steamers of that Company have in that period carried a greater weight of letters to America than those of the Cunard Company, subsidized at the rate of £80,000 per annum; and, that a special messenger has been sent to Washington by the British Post Office Authorities at the public expense to endeavour to negotiate a treaty fur mails to be carried from Liverpool alone without waiting for the result of the present trial services?


, in reply, said, that the sums paid to the Inman Company for the mail service conducted between this country and New York were somewhat in excess of the sum to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded. It was not the case that the Inman Company had carried a greater weight of letters than the Cunard in the same period. The figures stood thus:—The Inman Company up to the end of March in the present year earned £6,160, and the Cunard Company, if the services performed by them were paid for at a similar rate, would have earned £7,423. The hon. Gentleman, in saying that the Cunard Company was subsidized at the rate of £80,000 a year should remember that was the sum paid for the service both ways. There should be a reduction of one-half from that sum, and a further reduction from that one-half before a comparison could be made between the remuneration paid to the Cunard and Inman Companies respectively. The hon. Gentleman was right in saying that £30,000 was the sum put down in the Estimate, and from the information he had received it will probably be sufficient for the purpose. A messenger had been sent to Washington in consequence of the approaching termination of the Postal Convention between this country and the United States. The Government regretted that it should have been necessary to send him so early in the year; but much inconvenience had resulted from contracts having been entered into so late last autumn.