HC Deb 27 April 1899 vol 70 cc703-4
MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster-General, whether he is aware that the British mails to New York were dispatched from Liverpool on 12th instant by the White Star cattle ship "Cymric," and only arrived in New York on the 22nd, three days after the Continental mails, which left Southampton also on the 12th, and which arrived in New York on the 19th; that the Cunard steamship "Umbria," and another liner, which sailed three days after the "Cymric," reached New York the same day as she did; whether the Continental mails viâ Southampton do, on the average, arrive in New York in advance of the British mails sent from Liverpool the same day; and whether, as British business is by these arrangements seriously handicapped against Continentals, any alterations can be made in them?

MR. ANSTRUTHER(for Mr. HANBURY) (St. Andrews Burghs)

The Postmaster-General has not yet received any information from the New York Post Office as to the times at which the vessels referred to arrived at New York; but, according to reports in the newspapers, the "Kaiser Friedrich," conveying mails embarked at Southampton on the 12th instant, arrived at New York on the 19th, between two and three days earlier than the British packet "Cymric," which carried mails embarked at Queenstown on the 13th. The reports also show that the Cunard packet "Umbria," which left Queenstown on the 16th instant, and the American packet "New York," which left Southampton on the 15th, arrived at New York on the same day as the "Cymric." The White Star Company, however, state that their steamer arrived off Fire Island at 1 a.m. on the 22nd—not at 10 a.m. as reported—so that the correspondence carried by her should have been delivered the same morning, whereas that carried by the two other vessels, which arrived in the afternoon would not be delivered in New York until the following Monday morning. Although the "Cymric" carried cattle from New York to this country, that fact does not affect her speed; and from this country to New York she is an ordinary passenger and cargo steamer and does not carry any cattle. She is not, however, regularly employed in the mail service, but had to be used on this occasion in place of the "Germanic," which sank in New York Harbour in February, and which, although refloated, it is not yet again fit for the mail and passenger service. She is, however, expected to resume her place shortly. It is the fact that the foreign packets starting from Southampton on the same days as the British packets leave Liverpool (i.e., the day before they leave Queenstown) more frequently reach New York before than after the British packets; but the correspondence carried from Queenstown includes practically letters posted a day later than that carried from Southampton. It should be remembered that, on the exceptional occasions on which a comparatively slow steamer has to be employed in the British service, the senders of the letters can, by using a special superscription, have them forwarded by another steamer.

MR. A. THOMAS (Glamorgan, E.)

Is it not the fact that the mails from Southampton arrive in New York two or three days before the mails starting from Liverpool?


I think I should be unwise to add anything to the reply I have just given.