§ MR. HENNIKER HEATON (Canterbury)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General the exact date and hour of the arrival of the Orient steamship "Orotava" at Naples last week, at what hour the mails left Naples for London, and the cause of the delay in their arrival here; whether he is aware that this steamship, the "Orotava," arrived at Plymouth from Adelaide on Tuesday last, the 7th instant, one day before the Australian mails were due overland from Naples; and whether he has inquired what sum of money the 902 Peninsular and Oriental and Orient Companies would require to bring the Australian mails all the way by sea under the present contract time?
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
The "Orotava" reached Naples on the 1st, being four days in advance of contract time; the mails were forwarded by the first train and reached London at 6 p.m. on the 4th, having been delayed, as reported, by the heating of an axle of the train in Italy. The "Orotava" reached Plymouth on the 7th. I have not inquired for what additional payment the companies would accelerate their contract service by three or four days and continue it to an English port. It would doubtless be heavy.