SIR TOLLEMACHE SINCLAIR
said, he would beg to ask the Postmaster General, Whether he is aware that the mails between Golspie and Thurso during the snow storms of last winter were frequently detained in consequence of the refusal of the men, who were in the habit of conveying the mails on such occasions on horseback, to proceed, as they were not paid by the Post Office for past services; and, why the speed of the mail from Golspie to Thurso has been reduced from nine to seven miles per hour?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
, in reply, said, he was quite aware that the winter before last there was some delay in the settlement of the accounts to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, and it was possible that some reluctance had been felt by some of the men in undertaking the same service in the beginning of last winter. He was not aware, and did not believe, that the public service had been put to any serious inconvenience, and the postmasters along the road received orders last winter to pay for these services immediately after they were rendered. The reduction in the speed of the mails, to which the latter part of the Question referred, was owing to the circumstance that since the opening of the railway to Golspie the mails arrived at most of the towns at so early an hour in the morning that a small diminution of speed was 1408 really a matter of indifference. The delay that had occurred was not so great as the hon. Baronet supposed.