§ LORD KNUTSFORD
My Lords, as the First Lord is in his place, I will ask him whether any arrangements have been made to enable sailors who have survived from H. M. S. Victoria to telegraph home to their relatives from Malta?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Earl SPENCER)
In answer to my noble Friend, I can inform the House that we received a letter at the Admiralty to-day from Sir John Pender, as follows:—
§ "The Eastern Telegraph Company (Limited), Winchester House, 50, Old Broad Street, E.C., London, June 29.
§ Dear Admiral Hoskins,—It has occurred to me that many applications will be made to you for information from Malta on the part of relatives of the officers and crew of the ill-fated Victoria. As these inquiries will, as a rule, come from people who cannot afford to pay for telegrams, I shall be glad to forward free any messages which in your judgment are entitled to this privilege. The telegrams should be as short as possible and forwarded to Mr. George Draper, the Secretary of the Company. If telegraphed the registered address 'Eastern, London,' will be sufficient.
§ Yours very truly,
§ JOHN PENDER, Chairman."
§ I think your Lordships will be of opinion that this is a very thoughtful and generous action on the part of the Eastern Telegraph Company, and that it deserves our thanks. I am glad to take the first opportunity of publicly thanking the company for their offer. We have telegraphed to Admiral Tracy, the senior officer in command of the Mediterranean Fleet at the present time, and informed him of this proposal, and he will make it known to the survivors who have now reached Malta that they will be able to telegraph home, in accordance with the offer which has been made by the Eastern Telegraph Company. I think it right to make this public acknowledgment, and I trust that the announcement will be received with satisfaction by those who otherwise would not be able to communicate with their friends at home.490
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
May I ask my noble Friend whether the Government have received any further information with regard to the details of the catastrophe to the Victoria?
§ EARL SPENCER
We have no further information with regard to the disaster beyond what has already been communicated to the House, but the Government expect to receive the official Despatches of Admiral Markham on Sunday morning, when they will be at once made public.