§ MR. BAXTER
asked the Postmaster General, If the Post Office has employed any line, other than that of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, of full powered steamships, for the conveyance of the Mails to and from Australia; and, if so, whether he can state the average time occupied by such steamers, as compared with those of the Peninsular and Oriental Company; why tenders wore not invited for the conveyance of the Mails direct between this Country and Australia; if there will be any objection to lay upon the Table of the House the Correspondence which has taken place with the Australian Colonies on this subject; and, if he can state to the House, in the event of the Contract of the 7th of February being ratified, what sums are to be received from the Australian Colonies for the conveyance of their Mails between this Country and Point do Galle?
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
Since the beginning of 1874, the Imperial Post Office has not employed any line of steam vessels for the conveyance of mails to and from Australia, the conveyance of all such mails from Point de Gallo, Singapore, and San Francisco having boon provided for by the Governments of the several Australian Colonies. Bags of ship letters have, at intervals during the last two years, been despatched from the United Kingdom by steam vessels other than those of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company; but the Post Office has no record of the average time occupied on each voyage by such steam vessels. Tenders were not invited by the Home Government, because, as already stated, the arrangements have been left in the hands of the Australian Colonies. There has been no Correspondence between the Post Office and the Australian Colonies on the subject. The arrangements under which the Australian Mails will be conveyed between this country and Point de Gallo, in the event of the contract of 398 the 7th of February being approved by the House of Commons, are being considered at the Treasury. But there is no reason to suppose that any sums will be received on that account from the Australian Colonies.