HC Deb 13 March 1890 vol 342 cc689-91
MR. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he can explain the circumstances under which the Scotch mails for America of Saturday, 24th August, Saturday, 7th September, 1889, and Saturday, 25th January, arrived in New York a week, four days, and four days late respectively, those of 31st August being delivered at the same time as those mailed on the previous Saturday; whether he is aware that by these delays British merchants in New York were put to serious expense and annoyance by their shipments of goods being placed under general order by the Custom House in New York, and could not be touched until the certified invoices mailed by the retarded mails arrived; and whether the Post Office Department, in each case of the delay of the Scotch mails to America, investigates the cause and addresses a remonstrance to the party responsible for it?

* THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES,) University of Cambridge

From the inquiries I have made the hon. Member appears to have been misinformed as to delay having occurred to the Scotch mails for America, of Saturday, August 24th last. I find that those mails reached Queenstown in due course, and were embarked on the 25th on board the Cunard packet Servia, and were delivered at New York on September 1st. The Scotch mails of September 7th, 1889, unfortunately missed the Cunard steamer owing to an accident on the railway near Carlisle, which blocked both lines of railway. These mails reached America four days late. The delay of the mails of Saturday, January 25th last, occurred through exceptionally stormy weather, which delayed the train, as I explained on the 3rd inst., in reply to the hon. Member's question on that subject. I can quite understand that delays such as those referred to are the cause of serious expense and annoyance to shippers, and I can assure the hon. Member that my department carefully inquires into each case of delay and makes a special representation to the company in fault whenever it appears that the delay has resulted from circumstances over which the company could have exercised control.

MR. SUTHERLAND, (Greenock)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether, in the event of the Scotch-American mails missing the outward bound packet at Queenstown, he would cause a notification of the fact to be made through the Press, together with an intimation of the name of the steamer by which such delayed mails would be forwarded?


I can readily appreciate the convenience it would be to merchants and others to have the information suggested by my hon. Friend whenever a delay of the kind unfortunately takes place. I propose, accordingly, to cause notices to be inserted in the daily Post Office List, which, as the official organ of the Department, goes to all the principal Post Offices throughout the United Kingdom, and is taken by a large number of merchants and others. If, however, this turns out to be an inadequate way of affording the information desired, I shall have no objection to giving further publicity to the notices through the Public Press.