§ MB. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the London mails landed at Queenstown, from the steamer Servia, on the 19th February, were delivered ready sorted in London in the space of 16½ hours; and whether he can state what delay was caused by the despatch of the mails for Great Britain and Ireland from New York on 25th February by the American line steamer New York, bound for Southampton, in the delivery of American mails in the London District, the Midland Counties, the North of England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively?
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork, E.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he has received a copy of a resolution passed by the Queenstown Town Commissioners, complaining of the great delay in the delivery of the Irish portion -of the American mail caused by carrying it to Southampton; whether he is aware that specially addressed Irish mail matter was landed at Queenstown at 3 a.m. on Sunday, the 5th inst., from the steamship Aurania, while the remainder, which was despatched on the same day by the International liner New York, was not delivered until Tuesday, the 7th inst.; and whether, in view of the serious loss and inconvenience thus inflicted upon Irish traders, he will communicate with the United States Postal Authorities on the subject, and call their immediate attention to the consequences which must result to Irish commerce by the adoption of this route?
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the Inman-American liner New York, which sailed from New York at 10 o'clock a.m. on the 25th ult., carried not merely English letters, but also the Irish mails from America, with the result that the Irish letters have been landed at Southampton; what loss of time this involved in the delivery of the Irish letters; whether the Queenstown route would also have been better for letters for the North of England; whether the Cunard liner Aurania, calling at Queenstown, left New York on the same day half an hour earlier, but only carrying specially addressed correspondence; when the Irish mail would have been delivered if lespatched by the Aurania; and whe- 1588 ther steps will be taken to secure that the American Post Office shall not defer the interests of the Irish mail service to its preference for an American line of steamers?
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether the mails from the United States to Ireland are to be carried in future via Southampton, instead of via Queenstown; whether, by this arrangement, the mails will reach Dublin and Cork 10 hours and 19 hours respectively later than if landed at Queenstown; and whether, in view of the serious inconvenience that would result in Ireland from the adoption of the Southampton route for the carriage of the mails, he will take steps to have them landed at Queenstown?
§ MR. A. MORLEY
It will doubtless be convenient to the House if I embody in one answer my replies to the several questions asked about the mails brought by the New York and the Aurania. Those steamers left the port of New York within half an hour of each other on. the 25th of February. The New York lauded mails for all parts of the United Kingdom at Southampton at 9.40 p.m. on the 4th inst. The Aurania, carrying correspondence specially superscribed for conveyance by her, lauded mails at Queenstown at 3.45 a.m., on the 5th instant. Correspondence for Ireland was, as a matter of fact, brought by both vessels. Letters, &c, carried by the Aurania were delivered in Dublin only an hour earlier than those carried by the New York, although the last-named packet had been delayed by fog in the Channel, and her mails did not reach London till midnight on Saturday, so that letters could not be delivered in London till Monday morning, and the connection with the Saturday night mails for all parts of the Kingdom was missed. Even as it was, letters for London and for England generally lost nothing by coming to Southampton, and those for Scotland, the Northern and many other parts of England, were accelerated; but those for the Irish Provinces were not delivered till at various times from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning, whereas the Irish provincial letters brought by the Aurania to Queenstown were all delivered by Monday morning. The United States Post Office provides the 1589 conveyance to this country, and has a right to select such steamers as it thinks best. In sending by its new contract-line all correspondence not specially superscribed to go by other lines it does precisely what this country does in regard to the outward mails; and it also follows the lead of this country in allowing the senders of letters to secure by special superscription the use of other steamers. It cannot be stated beforehand what will be the effect on the time of delivery in Dublin and Cork, which depends on many chances impossible to foresee. Under existing arrangements Ireland has the advantage of the latest possible posting for letters, &c, sent to the United States, but I am not in a position to secure her the corresponding advantage in connection with the homeward mails. I shall watch carefully the effect of the recent changes on the distribution of mails throughout the United Kingdom, and, should the facts justify it, I will not fail to communicate with the United States Post Office on the subject. I should add that I have received the resolution mentioned in Question No. 19 passed by the Queenstown Town Commissioners; and also, in reply to Question No. 17, that the mails brought by the Servia reached Queenstown at 4.45 p.m. on the 19th ultimo, and arrived in London completely sorted at 10.50a.m. on the 20th.
§ MR. A. MORLEY
That is not a matter under the control of the British Post Office. The arrangements for the conveyance of the mails from the United States are in the hands of the United States Post Office, and they land the mails where they choose.
§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
Would it not be possible for the right hon. Gentle- 1590 man to urge upon the American Government the desirability of despatching the Irish mails by boats calling at Queenstown?
§ MR. A. MORLEY
If experience justifies the request I will communicate with the United States Government, with the view of having better arrangements made.