HC Deb 12 March 1869 vol 194 cc1186-7

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether a Contract with Mr. Inman for a Service from Queenstown to New York, on Friday instead of Thursday, on terms in other respects identical with those of the Contract now before the House, has been sanctioned by the present Board of Treasury; and, whether Mr. Inman, in agreeing to the change of day which was proposed to him by the Government, did not stipulate that all the other conditions of his Contract made with Her Majesty's Government should be maintained?


said, that to the first part of the Question of the hon. Gentleman he must reply in the negative. The matter stood thus—On the 9th of December last a Treasury Minute was made by the late Government, sanctioning the contract with Mr. Inman for carrying the mails from Liverpool to New York for a certain sum. That contract had been executed by the Postmaster General of the late Government, the Duke of Montrose, on the 11th of December. That contract, so far as the present Government were concerned, was still in force, and remained uncancelled, awaiting the pleasure of the House of Commons whether it was to become valid or not. A negotiation had been entered into between the Government and Mr. Inman that, in case it should be the pleasure of Parliament the contract should stand, Mr. Inman should convey the mails on a different day, the contract in other respects remaining the same. But that contract had not been entered into by the present Government. The only contract entered into therefore was the contract between the Duke of Montrose and Mr. Inman, and that, as he had said, still waited the pleasure of Parliament. It was quite true that Mr. Inman, in agreeing to a change of day, had stipulated that the terms of the contract should in other respects remain the same, and if it should be the pleasure of the House that the terms of the contract between Mr. Inman and the late Government should be accepted, then the present Government would be ready to execute the contract on the same terms in all other respects.