HC Deb 19 February 1895 vol 30 cc1081-2

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that while some of the steamships of the White Star and Cunard lines employed to convey the British Mails from Liverpool to New York are fast boats, others are comparatively slow, and that there is a difference of two, three, or even four days in the passage; for instance, the mails despatched from London viâ Liverpool on January 23 were delivered at the same time as those despatched from London viâ Southampton on January 26; whether vessels of other lines sailing from Southampton two or three days later than the slow or "tramp" boots from Liverpool have constantly reached New York before or side by side with the latter; whether the British Post Office pays for the conveyance of letters to New York 3s. per pound to the boats leaving Liverpool whether slow or fast, and 1s. 8d. per pound to those leaving Southampton; and whether he will arrange to despatch the mails by fast boats exclusively, irrespective of the port of departure or the company to which they belong?


Full information in regard to the various steamship services to New York is regularly furnished to the House in the Paper known as Sir John Leng's Return. The steamers carrying the two mails mentioned in the first paragraph reached New York on the same day, but information as to the arrival of the mails at the New York Post Office has not yet been received. It is the fact that, while the sea conveyance by German arid American steamers going direct from Southampton to New York is paid for at the Postal Union rate, 1s. 9½d. (not 1s. 8d.) a pound, a special rate of 3s. a pound is paid to the contractors for the British Packet Service, who are bound to despatch their steamers on fixed days and to call at Queenstown for the mails. The senders of letters can secure by special superscription the carriage of any letter by any steamer they may prefer to the mail steamer; and it is not proposed to alter the present arrangement by which letters not so superscribed are sent by the Contract Packets.