HC Deb 13 July 1897 vol 51 cc26-7
MR. C. E. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that Mr. H.T. Gaddum, a leading Manchester merchant, whose firm in that city was expecting important documents from the East, inquired on the 6th instant of the Secretary of the General Post Office, London, whether the Aden, the steamer lately wrecked on Socotra, carried mails, and received a printed slip on the 9th to the effect that the matter would have attention, and that on Mr. Gaddum's requesting a reply by wire, on the morning of the 10th, in order that he might advise his friends in the colonies by the quick mail viâ San Francisco on the 10th, he received no telegram: whether, in cases of doubt as to the loss of mails, he will direct that information be published widely with regard to them, and in special cases more prompt attention paid to inquiries; anti whether it is now known at the General Post Office if the Aden carried mails or not?


It is the fact that Mr. H. T. Gaddum inquired on the fit h instant whether the Aden carried mails, and that a reply was sent to him on the 8th to inform him that the matter should receive attention. On the same day the postmaster at Manchester was instructed to inform Mr. Gaddum that the Aden was coming from China, and in all probability had no mails on board either from New Zealand or elsewhere. Mr. Gaddum wrote a further letter on the 9th requesting that he might receive a telegraphic reply to his question on the 10th, but as instructions had already been given to the postmaster at Manchester to furnish him with the information at the disposal of the department it was not thought necessary to telegraph to him. Mr. Gaddum was informed of the facts by the Manchester office at 11 a.m. on the 10th inst. The Postmaster General, however, much regrets that he should not have received a direct reply from the Department on the 8th, and that a telegraphic answer was not sent to him on the 10th. The Aden was not a mail packet, and in the case of private ships the Post Office has no information whether or not any particular vessel of this kind is bringing correspondence to this country, and is not, therefore, in a position to issue any notices to the public in case of loss of such steamers. It has now been ascertained from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company that the Aden had no mails on board.