said, he would beg to ask the Postmaster General, Whether he has contracted with the West India and Pacific Steam Ship Company, and with the Liverpool, Brazil, and River Plate Steam Navigation Company, to pay them two shillings and sixpence for the carriage of letters; and in that case what rate of postage is charged by the Post Office to the public for letters sent by these ships, and what amount of loss (if any) the Post Office sustains by the Contracts; and, whether he has contracted with the North German Lloyd Company to carry letters from Southampton to New York at three pence per ounce, instead of one shilling per ounce, which had previously been paid for the same service; and if he will state what rate of postage was charged to the public under the previous Contract, and what rate is charged under the reduced Contract?
, in reply, said, that the Government had entered into a contract with the West India and Pacific Steam Ship Company for the conveyance of letters to the West Indies, and with the River Plate Steam Ship Navigation Company for letters to the Brazils; and the charge agreed upon was that stated by the hon. Member—namely, 2s. 6d. per ounce; the charge to the public for the conveyance of such letters was 1s. per half-ounce. No loss was sustained by the Post Office on account of the contract. It was also true that the North German Lloyd's Company had contracted to carry letters at 3d. per ounce from Southampton to New York, instead of at 1s. per ounce, which was the former charge. The rate of charge had been reduced from 6d. per half-ounce to 3d. per half-ounce.