§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that the mail from South Africa was delivered this week on Wednesday, 1st May, instead of on Friday, 26th April, or five days late; whether this was owing to any accident, or to the mail being sent in a slow boat; and whether, seeing that this late arrival has happened on former occasions lately, the Post Office will take steps to secure that the mails are sent by boats doing the voyage in sixteen days, according to the general understanding when the Union and Castle lines were amalgamated by Act of Parliament last year.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, Worcestershire, E.)
The mail to which the hon. Member refers was conveyed by the steamer "Gaul." which reached Southampton at 1 a.m. on the 1st instant, having exceeded the contract time by 3 days 10½ hours. It is understood that in the ordinary course the mail would have been brought by the "Norham Castle," but that in consequence of that steamer having met with a mishap on her outward voyage, her place on the homeward service had to be taken by the "Gaul," one of the slower steamers of the Union-Castle Line. The Postmaster General is not, however, at present in possession of all the facts of the case; but he will make inquiry of the Cape Government, who are responsible for carrying on the contract service. The general question was dealt with in the answer given to a somewhat similar 602 question of the hon. Member on the 28th of February last.†