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Title: An Abstract of the Proceedings of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, Appointed Session, 1849, to Inquire Into the Contract Packet Service
Author: House, Great Britain. Parliament., Peninsular, Company, Oriental Steam Navigation
Language: English
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  Presented to the Court of Directors.


  _November, 1849._

As the circumstances connected with the origin and progress of the
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and particularly with
its employment in the Contract Mail Packet Service, are but imperfectly
known to a great proportion of the present Proprietors; for their
better information it has been deemed advisable by the Directors to
authorise the printing and circulation of the following Statement and

References, it will be found, are occasionally made to parts of the
proceedings of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, which have
not been printed in this pamphlet, because they would have rendered it
too bulky for convenient perusal. But those who may wish to examine
these proceedings at length, can procure the Parliamentary Blue Book at
Hansard’s offices for the sale of Parliamentary Papers.


_&c., &c._

In their last Report, presented to the Proprietors at the general
meeting held on the 31st of May last, the Directors stated that a
Committee of the House of Commons had been appointed, “to inquire
into the Contract Packet Service;” and expressed “their satisfaction
that such an inquiry had been instituted, feeling, as they did, that
as far as the interests of this Company were concerned, it would have
a beneficial tendency, by eliciting facts connected with the origin
and progress of the Company, and its employment in the Contract Mail
Service, which could not fail to show the important national benefits
which it has been the means of realising, and its consequent claim to
public support.”

It is no doubt known to some Proprietors of the Company, that for
several years past statements have been made, and circulated with
untiring pertinacity, to the effect, that the Contracts made by the
Government with this Company for the Mail Packet Service had been
obtained through undue favouritism, or corrupt jobbing[1]--that fair
competition had been denied to other parties,--and that the Company
had, in consequence, obtained a much larger remuneration for the
Service than ought to have been given, and were deriving enormous
profits from it.

Although the Directors were aware that these misstatements had obtained
some attention, even in influential quarters, they probably did not
consider it was consistent with the eminent position which the Company
occupies to take any legal proceedings against, or to enter into any
public controversy with, the parties who had been chiefly instrumental
in propagating them.

The forbearance of the Directors has led to a highly satisfactory
result. The continued propagation of these misstatements at last
attracted the attention of a member of the House of Commons so far as
to induce that honourable gentleman to move for a Select Committee to
inquire into the Contract Packet Service.

Although the Committee was moved for and appointed ostensibly to
inquire into the Service generally, its principal object was, as is
sufficiently obvious from its proceedings, to investigate the Contracts
and transactions of the Peninsular and Oriental Company. And the
earlier part of the proceedings of the Committee also show that the
honourable mover and Chairman of it, actuated, no doubt, by a sense
of public duty, entertained, at first, no very friendly views on the
subject in reference to this Company.

The facts elicited in the course of the inquiry, and the glaring
self-contradictions exhibited by the principal witness, when brought to
the test of an examination before the Committee, as well as the hostile
tone adopted by him towards this Company, appear, however, to have
satisfied the honourable gentleman that, while induced to believe that
he was prosecuting a public object, and undertaking a public duty, he
had been made use of, for the mere gratification of private feeling.

And the following two first paragraphs of the Committee’s Report,
which was drafted and proposed by the honourable member himself, are a
sufficient refutation of the misstatements which led to the inquiry.

1. “That so far as the Committee are able to judge, from the evidence
they have taken, it appears that the Mails are conveyed at a less cost
by hired packets than by Her Majesty’s vessels.

2. “That some of the existing Contracts have been put up to public
tender, and some arranged by private negotiation; and that a very
large sum beyond what is received from postage is paid on some of the
lines; but, considering that at the time these Contracts were arranged
the success of these large undertakings was uncertain, your Committee
see no reason to think better terms could have been obtained for the

As the detached and inconsecutive form in which the evidence of the
different officers of the Government departments was given to the
Committee does not afford a very clear view of the history of the
connexion of this Company with the Contract Packet Service--and, in
particular, does not show the important public advantages which have
been derived from the undertaking of these services by the Company--it
is considered expedient, previously to proceeding with the abstract
of the Committee’s proceedings, to give a brief consecutive statement
of the circumstances under which the various branches of the Contract
Packet Service were undertaken by the Company. And first,

No. I.


Previous to the 4th of September, 1837, the arrangements for the Mail
Packet communication with the Peninsula were as follows:--

Mails to Lisbon were conveyed by sailing Post-office Packets, which
departed from Falmouth for Lisbon every week--wind and weather
permitting. Their departures and arrivals were, however, extremely
irregular; and it was no very infrequent occurrence for the Lisbon Mail
to be three weeks’ old on its arrival at Falmouth, instead of being
brought in five days, with an almost mail-coach or railway precision,
as is now the case.

The communication with Cadiz and Gibraltar was only once a month by a
steam packet.

The originators and original proprietors of the Peninsular Steam
Company, who had, for upwards of a year previously to the time above
mentioned, been running steam vessels at a considerable loss between
London and the principal Peninsular ports, finding themselves in
a position to effect a great improvement in the arrangements for
transmitting the Mails, applied to the Government of that day on the
subject, but were at first coldly received, and their suggestions
disregarded. They continued, however, to prosecute their enterprise;
and the celerity and regularity with which their steam packets made
their passages soon began to attract the attention of the public.
The merchants began to complain loudly of the inefficiency of the
transmission of the Mails by sailing packets; and it was at last
intimated, from an official quarter, to the Managers of the Peninsular
steamers, that if they had any plan or proposals to submit for an
improvement of the Peninsular Mail Service, the Government was then
prepared to receive and consider the same.

In consequence of this intimation, a plan and proposal was drawn up for
a weekly transmission of the Mails between Falmouth and Vigo, Oporto,
Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar, by efficient steam packets, and at a
cost to the public which should be less than that of the then existing
inferior arrangement--namely, sailing packets to and from the Port of
Lisbon, and a steam packet, once a month only, to and from Cadiz and

The plan, after due examination, was considered to embrace advantages
to the public far exceeding what the then existing arrangements
afforded; and its adoption was consequently intimated to the authors
and proposers of it; but, at the same time, they were informed that the
execution of it would be put up to public competition.

Accordingly, an advertisement was soon afterwards issued, inviting
tenders, from owners of steam vessels, for conveying the Mails between
Falmouth and the Peninsula, in conformity with the plan submitted by
the Peninsular Company; and the Contract for the Service was competed
for against that Company by the proprietors of some steam vessels,
who, under the designation of the British and Foreign Steam Navigation
Company, had a short time previously commenced running two small
steamers to the Peninsula, in opposition to the Peninsular Company’s

This British and Foreign Company, not being able to satisfy the
Admiralty that they had the means of performing the proposed Service,
their tender was rejected. Upon which they addressed the Admiralty, and
requested that the Contract might be postponed, alleging, that if a
month more were given to them, they could provide sufficient vessels.
Their request was granted; and, contrary to all previous practice,
after the tender of the Peninsular Company had been given in, and the
amount of it, in all probability, known to their competitors, the
Contract was again advertised, and a month more given for receiving

The British and Foreign Company again failed to show that they had any
adequate means of performing the Service; and a private negotiation
was then entered into by the Government, with the Peninsular Company,
with a view to reduce the sum required by them. This sum was £30,000
per annum, being about £5,000 less than the estimated annual cost to
the public of the sailing packets and steam packet previously employed
in conveying the Mails. This sum was ultimately reduced to £29,600,[2]
on which terms the Contract was concluded on the 22nd August, 1837,
and may be considered to have formed the basis upon which one of the
most extensive and successful steam enterprises yet known has been

These facts, it is submitted, abundantly show, that so far from any
favour being shown, in regard to this Contract, to the originators of
this Company, they obtained it in the face of adverse circumstances,
and solely because they had, by their own enterprise, placed themselves
in a position to effect an important public improvement, combined with
a reduction of the public expenditure.

No. II.

    _Contract for an accelerated Conveyance of the India and other
    Mails between England and Malta, and Alexandria._


The efficiency with which the Peninsular Mail Packet Service was
performed elicited from the Admiralty repeated testimonials of
approbation; and, proving as it did, that that description of service
could be more advantageously conducted by private enterprise, under
Contract, than by Government vessels and establishments, paved the way
for the subsequent extension of Contract Mail communication which took
place with the West Indies, North America and the East Indies, China,

Previous to the 1st of September, 1840, the arrangements for
transmitting the India Mails to and from Egypt, to meet the East India
Company’s steamers plying monthly between Bombay and Suez, were as

These Malls were forwarded, every fourth Saturday, by the Contract Mail
steamers of the Peninsular Company to Gibraltar, and there transferred
to an Admiralty steam packet, which carried them to Malta. They were
there transferred to another Admiralty packet, which carried them to
Alexandria. The homeward Mails were brought in a similar manner.

As the Peninsular packets had to call at Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon, and
Cadiz, in their passage to and from Gibraltar, and the Government
packets were of inferior power (about 140 horses) and speed, the
transmission of the India Mails by this route was very tardy, occupying
generally from three weeks to a month in their passage between England
and Alexandria.

Imperfect as this mode of transmission was, it probably would have been
continued for an indefinite period, had not some circumstances occurred
to render an alteration of it imperative.

About the middle of the year 1839, the British Government effected a
convention with the French Government, for transmitting letters and
despatches to and from India, &c., overland, through France, _viâ_
Marseilles, from whence a British Admiralty packet conveyed them to
Malta. From thence this portion of the Mail, and the larger and heavier
portion, forwarded by the Peninsular and Admiralty packets, _viâ_
Gibraltar, were carried together to Alexandria by another Admiralty

The portion of the Mails forwarded through France was despatched from
the Post-office on the 4th of every month, while the main, or heavier
portion, continued to be forwarded from Falmouth, by the Peninsular
packets, every fourth Saturday; this arrangement was found, in the
course of a few months, to work very awkwardly, inasmuch as the portion
of the Mail forwarded, _viâ_ Gibraltar, had become a fortnight or more
in advance of that forwarded _viâ_ Marseilles, and had to wait that
time at Malta for the arrival of the Marseilles packet.

This irregularity, which every succeeding Mail increased, together with
the suspicion that the British despatches, in their transit through
France, were not altogether safe from being tampered with, rendered the
Government very desirous of establishing a more accelerated means of
transmission, _viâ_ Gibraltar, for the main portion of the India Mails
and the public despatches.

The Managers of the Peninsular steamers were applied to, to submit
a plan for this object. They proposed to establish a line of large
and powerful steamers, to run direct from England to Alexandria, and
_vice versa_, touching at Gibraltar and Malta only, and, by such an
arrangement, to transmit the Mails in a time that should not exceed
by more than two to three days that occupied by the overland route
through France; and undertook to execute such service, with vessels
of 450-horse power, for a sum which should not exceed the cost to the
public of the small and inefficient Admiralty packets then employed in
the same service.

The plan was examined and adopted by the Government; but, as in the
case of the Peninsular Contract, the execution of it was put up to
public tender, by advertisement. And, as appears by the evidence of Mr.
T. C. Croker, of the Admiralty (see his answer to question No. 2,033),
no less than four competitors tendered for the Contract, viz.:--

  Willcox and Anderson  for   £35,200 per annum.
  J. P. Robinson         ”     51,000     ”
  Macgregor Laird        ”     44,000     ”
  G. M. Jackson          ”     37,950     ”

The tender of Messrs. Willcox and Anderson who, as Managers of the
Peninsular Company, had furnished the plan, was accepted, _because it
was the lowest_. But Mr. Croker in his evidence (see Report) has made a
slight error in calculation, in stating the sum at £35,200 per annum.
The tender made was as follows:--

  For the 1st year of the service    £37,000
     ”    2nd year       ”            35,000
     ”    3rd year       ”            34,000
     ”    4th year       ”            33,000
     ”    5th year       ”            32,000[3]
                       Divided by 5) 171,000
  Gives for the annual cost          £34,200

Besides this reduced sum, as compared with the demands of the other
competitors, the tender of Willcox and Anderson afforded further
important advantages to the public, in a reduced rate of passage-money
for officers travelling on the public service, conveyance free of
Admiralty packages, &c.

The vessels offered by Willcox and Anderson, were the “Oriental,” of
1,600 tons, and 450-horse power, and the “Great Liverpool,” of 1,540
tons, and 464-horse power, (originally destined for the transatlantic
line of communication, but which were placed at their disposal by the
Managers and Proprietors of that enterprise). They were also bound to
provide a subsidiary vessel, of not less than 250-horse power, besides
a vessel of 140-horse power, for the Malta and Corfu Service. The
estimate made at the Admiralty (see question No. 1411) of the cost of
the Government packets which performed the service, and which were
superseded by this Contract, was £33,912. But as that estimate did
not include any allowance for interest on their first cost, nor for
sea risk, nor for depreciation, the following per centages on these
accounts must be added to it, in order to present a tolerably correct
view of the actual cost to the public of the service so performed.

The four vessels employed could not have cost the public less than
£100,000. Upon this sum, therefore, must be calculated--

  Interest       at 4 per cent.
  Sea Risk          5   ”
  Depreciation      5   ”
                   14 per cent. per annum      £14,000

  Add Admiralty estimate of wages, victuals,
    coals, and repairs, as above                33,912
      Total annual expense of these Packets     47,912

  From which deduct proportion of passage-money
    for the public account, estimated
    not to exceed                                3,000
          Net cost of the Service              £44,912

It hence appears that this Service, which cost, in the defective
state of its arrangements, and as carried on by small vessels of
about 140-horse power, £44,912, was undertaken, and has since been
satisfactorily performed, under a greatly improved arrangement, by
large vessels of 450-horse power, for £34,200, realising a financial
saving of about £10,700 per annum to the country.

No. III.

    _Contract for conveying Mails between Suez and Aden, Ceylon,
    Madras, Calcutta, Penang, Singapore, and Hong Kong._


For several years prior to the arrangement of the Contract with this
Company, for the accelerated transmission of the India Mails to and
from Alexandria, much public solicitude had been manifested for a more
comprehensive system of steam communication with India than that which
had been established by the Government and the East India Company. That
establishment being considered, as, indeed, at its commencement it was
professed to be, merely a preliminary and experimental one--intended to
pave the way for a more comprehensive scheme, that should embrace all
the Presidencies, and not be limited to the port of Bombay only, as the
Government and East India Line was,--and which it was expected private
enterprise would undertake, after the navigation of the Red Sea, and
other important questions connected with such an undertaking, had been
tested by the Imperial and Indian Governments.

As a proof of the importance which was attached to this extension of
steam communication with British India, the following declarations of
eminent persons connected with the Government of that empire may be

The late Lord William Bentinck, then Governor-General of India, stated,
in a public despatch, that so great were the advantages which it would
confer, “that it would be cheaply purchased at any price.” The present
Right Honourable President of the India Board, Sir John Cam Hobhouse,
who then filed the same post, in speaking in the House of Commons of
various ameliorations which the Government he was then connected with
had in view for India, in which improved steam communication formed
an item, said, that “it was calculated to benefit India to an extent
beyond the power of the most ardent imagination to conceive.” And the
present Lord Bishop of Calcutta, in a public address at a meeting in
that city, said, that “the extension of steam navigation with India
would be opening the floodgates of measureless blessings to mankind.”

Various attempts, however, under the sanction of eminent merchants,
and other influential parties connected with India, to form a Company
and establish the so much-desired scheme having failed, the parties
who had been instrumental in establishing the Peninsular Company,
and the accelerated conveyance for the India Mails to Alexandria,
feeling that they had placed themselves in a position to effect
this important national object, resolved to adopt it as a part of
their enterprise, which they thenceforth designated “The Peninsular
and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.” It was accordingly formed
into a joint-stock Company, and a Charter of Incorporation from the
Crown was applied for, which, after considerable opposition from
other parties, was granted--but subject to the following conditions,
namely, “That the Company should open an improved steam communication
with India throughout, from England, within two years from the date
of the Charter, or it should be null. That all steam vessels to be
constructed by the Company of 400-horse power, and upwards, should be
so strengthened and otherwise arranged as to carry and fire guns of
the largest calibre then used in Her Majesty’s steam vessels of war.
That the Government should have a power of inspection, as to their
being maintained in good and efficient sea-worthy condition, and that
the Company should not sell any of such vessels without giving the
pre-emption of purchase to the Government.”

The Company under this Charter having obtained the necessary
additional capital, and being joined also by most of the parties who
had previously been endeavouring to effect this object under the
designation of “The East India Steam Navigation Company,” proceeded,
with all practicable speed, to fulfil the conditions, and carry out the
object of their Charter of Incorporation.

On the 24th September, 1842, their first vessel destined for the
India Sea service, the “Hindostan,” of 1800 tons, and 520-horse
power, constructed at Liverpool, at a cost of £88,000, was despatched
from Southampton for Calcutta, to open the “Comprehensive” line of
communication, by plying between Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon, and Suez.

The commencement of this communication, by so large and powerful a
vessel, was looked upon as a public event, and the ship was visited by
members of the then Government, Directors of the Honourable East India
Company, and many other eminent individuals.

It may here be necessary to advert to a circumstance which has been
made the subject of much misrepresentation, and was even attempted,
although without success, to be misrepresented to the Parliamentary
Committee. (See evidence of Mr. Andrew Henderson in the Report,
questions 2200 to 2208, and 2333, and 2334; also, correspondence
between the East India Company and the Peninsular and Oriental Steam
Navigation Company, in the Appendix, page 224 to 227.)

The circumstance alluded to was this:--The Directors of the East India
Company, seeing that the extension of steam communication with India
was at last in the hands of parties likely to place it on a practical
basis, and desirous to encourage it on public grounds, voluntarily
proposed to the Peninsular and Oriental Company to give them a premium
of £20,000 per annum, and to continue the same for five years, on
certain conditions, which, if the Company should at any time neglect or
decline to fulfil, it was at the option of the East India Company to
withdraw the premium or grant.

The conditions were:--

1st. That the communication with India beyond the Isthmus of Suez
should be opened, and carried on by vessels of not less than 520-horse
power, and 1600 tons burthen.

2nd. That a communication between Suez and Calcutta should be
established the first year of the grant.

3rd. That not less than six voyages between Suez and Calcutta should
be performed, in order to entitle the Peninsular and Oriental Steam
Company to the second year’s grant.

4th. That a monthly communication between those places should be
established, to entitle the Steam Company to the third and subsequent
years’ grants.

5th. And that in case a contract should be entered into with the Steam
Company for the conveyance of Mails, the grant should cease, and merge
into such sum as might be paid for that service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such were the principal conditions of an arrangement which was
attempted to be construed into a Contract, binding the Peninsular and
Oriental Company to maintain a Monthly Mail Packet Service between
Suez and India, with vessels of 520-horse power, for five years, for
£20,000 per annum. It is, however, obvious that so far from such being
the true construction, it was perfectly optional to the Peninsular and
Oriental Company to discontinue the arrangement, and relinquish their
claim to the grant, whenever its continuance might be incompatible with
their interests.

The Company having constructed another vessel of 520-horse power
and 1800 tons, the “Bentinck,” and purchased a third new vessel, of
similar power and tonnage, the “Precursor,” considered that the time
had arrived when they might improve the postal communication with
India, upon the same principle as that upon which they had improved
the Peninsular and Mediterranean Services, namely, by combining an
important public improvement with a reduction of the public expenditure.

Finding, from a return which had a short time previously been made
by the East India Company to the House of Commons, that the cost of
conveying the India Mails between Bombay and Suez, as then performed
by that Company, with steam packets of an average power of about 200
horses each, and some of which were of inferior speed, was not less
than £110,000 per annum,--the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company
made a proposal to the East India Company, to relieve the latter of
that Service, and to undertake it with their vessels of 520-horse power
each; and thereby effect a considerable acceleration in the transit of
the Mails--an improvement in the accommodation, and a reduction in the
charge for passengers--a greater facility for the conveyance of light
valuable goods and parcels--and a reduction of about £30,000 in the
public expenditure, inasmuch as the Peninsular and Oriental Company
offered to do the service for £80,000 per annum.

The then Court of Directors of the East India Company being opposed to
the relinquishment of the postal service between Bombay and Suez into
the hands of private enterprise this proposal was not entertained;
and, the matter having engaged the attention of her Majesty’s
Government, it was ultimately arranged that the East India Company
should be allowed to retain the Packet Service between Bombay and Suez,
and that the Peninsular and Oriental Company should submit proposals
for the establishment (under Contract with the Admiralty) of a Monthly
Mail Service between Suez, _viâ_ Ceylon, and Madras and Calcutta, with
vessels of 500 horse-power; and, in connection therewith, a monthly
communication between Ceylon, Penang, Singapore, and Hong Kong, with
vessels of 400 horse-power, thus effecting a Mail communication twice a
month with India, and a Monthly Steam Packet communication with China.

After a lengthened negotiation a Contract was effected, in virtue of
which the Peninsular and Oriental Company were to receive £115,000 per
annum, equal to about 20s. per mile, for the Suez, Ceylon, Madras, and
Calcutta Service; and £45,000 per annum, equal to about 12s. per mile,
for the Ceylon, Penang, Singapore, and China Service.

This Contract was not put up to public competition, and there are
obvious reasons to show why to have done so would have been useless,
and unjust. It would have been useless, because it was well known that
there were then no vessels in existence capable of performing such an
extensive service, on the plan proposed, except the vessels which had,
in fulfilment of the conditions of their Charter of Incorporation,
been provided by this Company expressly for the East India Steam
Communication; and it would have been unjust to the Peninsular and
Oriental Company, after they had been induced to embark so large an
amount of capital in providing ships of a description adapted to
important national objects, not to have given them the opportunity of
executing the Service on reasonable terms.

That the terms concluded upon were as reasonable and advantageous to
the public interests as could have been at that time obtained, is
sufficiently confirmed by the Report of the Parliamentary Committee.

A few facts may, however, serve to further elucidate this point.

In giving in their proposals for these Services, the Managing Directors
submitted therewith detailed estimates of the expenses and receipts,
to enable the Government to see and examine the grounds upon which the
sums required for the Mail Service were based. And it appears, by the
evidence taken before the Committee of the House of Commons, as well
as before another Committee of the House of Lords, on the Post-office
Service, (Session 1847,) that this part of the question was subjected
to a very close and rigid scrutiny at the Admiralty. Also, that an
estimate was made to ascertain what the proposed Services could be done
for by public vessels; the result of which was, that it would have cost
by such means not less than 42s. 6d. per mile, (less such returns as
might be obtained from the conveyance of passengers.)

Looking therefore, to this estimate, and the fact that the Bombay
and Suez Service, with vessels of only about 200 horse-power, was
actually costing, under the management of the East India Company, after
deducting the receipts for passage-money, at the rate of 31s. 6d. per
mile, namely, £110,000 for 70,000 miles, the rates received by the
Peninsular and Oriental Company--being about 20s. per mile for the
Suez and Calcutta Service, and 12s. per mile for the Ceylon and China
Service, or if averaged for the two Services together, about 17s. 1d.
per mile--it cannot be considered as exorbitant by any reasonable or
unbiassed mind; but it will rather be admitted that the Company in
this, as in the previous instances, are entitled to take credit for
effecting a great public improvement, at a less cost than what it
could otherwise have been obtained for.

The following evidence on this subject was given by Mr. Croker, of the

       *       *       *       *       *

1388. Does there appear to have been any estimate made by the Admiralty
of the expense of doing that service?--Yes.

1389. When was that made, or when was it sent to the Treasury?--It
appears to have been sent to the India Board.

1390. At what date?--On the 20th of January, 1844; the points upon
which they gave information were, “The practicability of the proposal
made by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company respecting
the mode of ‘effecting the accelerated transmission of the East India
Mails and Despatches between Bombay and Suez, combining therewith,
for the year 1844, a two-monthly communication with Calcutta and
Madras.’ The sufficiency of the means which the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company proposed to employ, and the propriety of
their demand of £80,000 per annum for performing a service which the
Admiralty understood to be that then performed by the East India
Company, namely, conveying the mails by steam vessels between Suez
and Bombay monthly; and, in addition to this, between Bombay and
Calcutta every second month.” The estimate then goes on in detail:
and “With respect to the propriety of the demand of £80,000 per annum
the Admiralty forwarded a statement from the Accountant-general of
the Navy, showing that the cost of building and equipment of the four
steam vessels required for the service, under the naval regulations
would be about £250,000, including £6,500 which the Admiralty added to
the estimate of their Accountant-general to meet additional fittings
for the necessary accommodation of passengers. The Admiralty, however,
had every reason to believe that to this estimate of the cost, &c., of
the vessels, which they considered to be absolutely necessary for the
satisfactory performance of the Mail Packet Service in the Indian seas,
the outlay of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
would be increased by an additional sum of nearly £50,000, for what may
be termed the luxurious accommodation now expected by passengers. Upon
this speculation the Company, of course, subjected themselves to a risk
of loss, or corresponding advantage. With respect to the item of coals,
which was omitted in the Accountant-general’s return, the Admiralty,
in the absence of precise knowledge, estimated the cost upon the best
information they could obtain, and their Lordships considered the
Commissioners for the Affairs of India to be competent judges of the
correctness of their assumed estimate, as well as of the assumed cost
of coal depôts, coaling, and other incidental and contingent expenses.
The item of oil, tallow, &c., was also assumed, as the consumption of
these articles depended on the construction of the engine, both as to
principle and manufacture. In explanation of the differences between
the following calculations and the Accountant-general’s statement,
the Admiralty observed, that the interest of the money was not taken
into account in naval expenditure; and that 15 per cent. for wear and
tear, and depreciation of hull and machinery, had been adopted, with
six per cent. for insurance, in compliance with the suggestion of the
India Board, for the purpose of maintaining a comparative uniformity
with the estimate given in their Secretary’s letter of the 24th of
November, founded upon the Parliamentary documents supplied by the East
India Company. The investment the Admiralty were willing to admit for
the first cost and equipment of three first-class and one second-class
steam vessels, being £250,000; this capital, if dealt with as
suggested, would require an annual expenditure, for performing the Mail
Service between Bombay and Suez, in wages and victuals, of £35,000;
for coals (taken at 48s. per ton,) £29,000; for oil, tallow, &c.,
£1,500; 15 per cent. on £250,000 for wear and tear, and depreciation
of vessels and machinery, £37,000; six per cent. insurance, £15,000;
four per cent. interest on capital, £10,000; making £128,300. To this
sum of £128,000 must be added the expenses of coal depôts at Bombay,
Aden, and Suez, and the cost of coaling the vessels at these stations,
&c., which, according to the items supplied by the Parliamentary
document, ordered to be printed on 3rd July, 1843, appeared to be, for
coal depôts, £7,644; wages of mechanics and apprentices not attached
to particular vessels, expense of receiving ships, and miscellaneous
charges of the steam department, £8,594, making a total of £16,238;
thus increasing the amount of annual expenditure by upwards of £20,000,
as the Admiralty considered that at least £4,000 difference must exist
between supplying vessels of more than double the horse power and
tonnage of those of the East India Company, making an annual outlay of
£148,000 per annum for performing a distance of 70,080 miles.[4] The
result of this calculation, therefore, exhibited the comparative cost
of the Mail Service on the line between Suez and Bombay as follows: If
performed by the East India Company, in their, comparatively speaking,
small vessels, as shown by their return to Parliament, after deducting
passage-money, £108,000 per annum, which does not appear to include
the cost of coal depôts. If performed by vessels of 500-horse power,
and 1,500 tons, without deducting passage-money, £148,000 per annum.
If performed by contract, by vessels of 500-horse power, and 1,500
tons, £80,000 per annum. The Admiralty, in conclusion, observed, that
should a mail communication, as suggested by them, extending from
Suez to Calcutta, be determined on, the increase in the item of coals
(calculated at 33s. 6d. per ton) would be £15,000, and three coal
depôts, with the expense of coaling, &c., might be taken at £20,000 per
annum, in round numbers.”

1391. What is the date of that report you are reading from?--It is the
report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords, ordered to be
printed 21st June, 1847.

1392. You spoke of vessels of 1,800 tons, and vessels of 1,500 tons; do
you mean to say they were of that number each, or that there were three
vessels 600 tons each?--1,500 tons each, or 1,800 tons each, the larger
class of vessels.

1393. If I understand you, from what you have stated from that report,
the estimate of the Admiralty for the cost of their vessels, for three
first-class vessels and one second-class vessel, was £148,000?--Yes,

1394. That makes no allowance for any receipt from passengers?--It is
without deducting passage-money.

1395. What was the amount of passage-money deducted from the East India
Company’s account, which comes to £108,000?--That will be shown by the
Parliamentary document ordered to be printed on the 3rd of July, 1843,
I presume; It is not stated here.

No. IV.

    _Contract for conveying the Bombay Branch of the India Mails
    between Southampton and Alexandria._

Two Mail Communications per month with India being thus
established,--viz., that by the Peninsular and Oriental Company to
Calcutta, _viâ_ Ceylon, and that by the East India Company’s packets
between Suez and Bombay,--the Mails for the former being despatched
_viâ_ Southampton on the 20th, by the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s
vessels, to meet the same Company’s vessels plying between Suez
and India, China, &c.,--it became necessary to provide a means of
conveyance for the Bombay branch of the India Mail between Southampton
and Alexandria, which had hitherto been conveyed by the Peninsular and
Oriental Company’s vessels, and was despatched from Southampton on the
3rd of every month. The Government required, at first, a continuous
line of steam vessels, of not less than 400-horse power, to ply between
Southampton and Alexandria, similar to that conveying the Calcutta
branch of the India Mails; and the Peninsular and Oriental Company were
called upon to submit proposals for undertaking the Service on that

The Managing Directors represented that to undertake the Service upon
that plan would entail a heavy expense upon the public, inasmuch as the
expense of maintaining such a communication, by such vessels, would be
equal to the expense of the Southampton and Alexandria communication
for the Calcutta branch of the Mails, for which the public were then
paying about £30,000 per annum; while the passenger traffic, _viâ_
Bombay, would be considerably less, in consequence of the obstruction
presented to the conveyance of goods, and the high charge and
inadequate accommodation for passengers by the East India Company’s
packets. In short, that, looking to these circumstances, £40,000 per
annum would scarcely be remunerative for such an undertaking.

This plan was, therefore, abandoned; and, after some others proposed by
the Government had been also abandoned, on account of the expense, or
being otherwise found impracticable, the Managing Directors submitted a
plan and proposal for transmitting the Bombay branch of the India Mail
between Southampton and Alexandria, _viâ_ Malta, _without causing any
additional expense to the public_.

This plan was as follows:--They proposed to convey monthly between
Southampton and Malta that branch of the India Mails, by means of steam
vessels which they had recently placed for commercial traffic, to ply
between Southampton, Malta, Constantinople, and ports in the Black
Sea; and to provide a steam vessel to convey the Mails between Malta
and Alexandria, which should run in concert with these Constantinople
steamers, and the East India Company’s steamers conveying the mails
between Suez and Bombay. This plan was adopted by the Government;
and, after some negotiation, the remuneration for this Mail Service
was fixed at £15,535 per annum, or about 4s. 3d. per mile, on an
arrangement for twelve months only, as the Company wished to reserve
to themselves the option of abandoning it, should it prove seriously
unremunerative, or embarrass their commercial traffic. To meet the
expense of this Service, it was proposed to the Government to withdraw
an Admiralty packet which then formed a monthly communication between
Gibraltar and Malta; inasmuch as the steamers of this Company plying to
Constantinople, touched regularly both at Gibraltar and Malta, on their
passages out and home, and would supply the place of that packet, by
which a saving to the public would be effected of from £7,000 to £8,000
per annum. Also, that as, with the two lines of India Mail steamers per
month touching at Gibraltar, besides the Peninsular Mail steamers every
week, Gibraltar and the south of Spain would have no less than six
Mails per month, the Peninsular Mail Service might be reduced to three
times a month, or every ten days; for which the Company were willing
to make an abatement of £9100 per annum from their contract-money for
that Service. These suggestions were adopted, effecting a saving to the
public of £16,000 to £17,000 per annum; and, consequently, the monthly
conveyance of the Bombay branch of the India Mails between Southampton
and Alexandria was, by this arrangement, obtained not only free of any
additional expense to the public, but with a financial benefit to it by
an increase of the postage revenue.


This arrangement was not remunerative to the Company, inasmuch as the
expense of the steam vessel, which, in consequence of it, the Company
were obliged to run between Malta and Alexandria, was fully equal
to the whole amount of the sum received for the conveyance of the
Mails between Southampton and Alexandria, and it also subjected the
Company to some additional expenses in carrying on their trade with
Constantinople and the Black Sea ports.

The Directors have on former occasions publicly stated that they
had, notwithstanding, no intention of breaking up the arrangement,
considering it as a link in the chain of extensive postal
communication, from which, as a whole, the Company were deriving a
large portion of their income.

The Government, however, thought proper to discontinue it, on the
alleged grounds of its being unnecessary, and that a saving of expense
to the public would be effected thereby. The various memorials from
Bombay, praying in urgent terms for its re-establishment, form a
sufficient refutation of the first allegation. And the facts--that
its discontinuance necessitated the employment, by Government, of an
additional packet, to replace this Company’s vessel, which carried the
Mails between Malta and Alexandria, at an expense exceeding the whole
sum previously paid to the Company--and that the breaking off of an
important branch of postal communication could not fail to cause some
diminution in the postage revenue--are sufficient to show, that so far
from the public being financially benefited by the change, it has been
accompanied by a positive loss.

    _Termination and Renewal of the Contract of 1840, for conveying
    the India and China Mails between England and Alexandria._

The result of the recent proceedings of the Government, in reference
to this Contract, has been of a most satisfactory character, not only
as regards the interests of this Company, but the interests of other
extensive enterprises employed in the Contract Packet Service.

A summary of these proceedings will be found in the evidence of Mr.
T. C. Croker, in his answer to question 1306, wherein he read the
following _précis_ of them, furnished by the Admiralty, viz.:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“On the 6th January, 1848, the Admiralty gave notice to the Peninsular
and Oriental Company, for the termination of the contract, at the
end of twelve months, on the 18th January, 1849. Their object in so
doing was, to ascertain whether the service could not be done at a
cheaper rate. There had previously been correspondence on the subject
between the Admiralty, the Treasury, and the Post-office; and the
Treasury, by a Minute, dated 4th February, and communicated on the
5th, requested the Admiralty to give this notice. On the 27th of March
the Admiralty wrote to the Treasury, proposing that an advertisement
should be issued, calling for tenders for conveyance of mails to
and from Alexandria. On the 5th of April the Treasury approved. The
advertisement appeared in the _Gazette_ of the 21st of April. It
was for the monthly conveyance of the Calcutta and China Mails and
despatches between England and Alexandria, by way of Gibraltar and
Malta, leaving England on the 20th of each month. The contract was to
commence on the 8th of January, 1849, and to last at least three years.
On the 18th of May two tenders were received, one from the Peninsular
and Oriental Company, for the following sums: for the first year of
contract, £27,500; for the second, £27,000; for the third, £26,500;
for the fourth, £26,000; and so on, reducing £500 for each subsequent
year that the contract remained in force, with two vessels of 450-horse
power, and a reserve vessel of 250-horse power. Another tender was
received from the India and Australia Company for £25,650, offering the
‘Minerva,’ of 400-horse power, 627 tons; the ‘Admiral,’ of 400-horse
power, 929 tons; and one spare steam vessel, of 250-horse power. The
Peninsular and Oriental Company accompanied their tender by a letter,
in which, after stating the grounds upon which they considered that
the Government ought not to take away the conveyance of the Mails
from a Company which had embarked so much capital in the undertaking,
and had performed the service satisfactorily, they propose, that if
the contract is continued to them they will submit the accounts of
all their transactions connected with the mail service, from time to
time, to the inspection of such competent persons as the Government
may appoint; and that when the financial position of the Company,
with respect to such mail service, shall be such as, after making the
customary allowance for the repairs, wear and tear, and sea risk of
the vessels and property, a maximum dividend of 10 per cent. can be
realised, any surplus of earnings over and above such maximum dividend
shall be placed at the disposal of the Treasury, for the benefit of
the public. On the 19th of May the Admiralty wrote, that, previous to
coming to a decision upon the tender, they were anxious to ascertain
whether this proposal, if adopted, might be expected to cause any
deduction, and, if so, to what extent, from the account that would
be paid by the public if their tenders were accepted; they therefore
begged to be informed what surplus of profit beyond a dividend of 10
per cent., after deductions for repairs, wear and tear, sea risks of
vessels and property, might be expected, from the calculations the
Company were able to make; and whether, in case a satisfactory reply
could not be given to this question, two officers deputed by the
Admiralty might at once have access to the accounts, for information on
that point, and previous to a decision being come to on the tenders.
This latter alternative was at once adopted by the Directors of the
Company, and they opened all their accounts to the inspection of
Captain Ellice and Mr. Bond, who made a report on the subject, from
which it appeared that the Shareholders had never received a dividend
of 10 per cent., and that the balance of receipts, after payment of
all expenses and charges, was not then sufficient for a dividend of
that amount; the Admiralty having ascertained that no diminution of the
tenders was likely to accrue from this proposal, and, considering both
tenders too high, declined them both. The Admiralty then made an offer
to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, founded on the mileage rate,
viz., 4s. 6d. paid to them for the Lisbon and Gibraltar Line. This was
not accepted--but after several interviews with the Directors of the
Company, it was signified to the Admiralty that they would be willing
to undertake the service for £24,000 a year, diminishing annually by
£500, until the expiration of the contract, which was not in any case
to cease before the 1st of January, 1853. The India and Australia
Company also made an offer, which was, however, not admissible, for it
required a fourteen years’ contract; it was for a mileage of 5s. 6d. a
mile for the first seven years, and at 4s. 6d. a mile for the remaining
seven years. They afterwards modified the offer as to the duration of
the contract; and the Government, finding that there were competing
offers before them, determined upon affording another opportunity for
public competition; and on the 2nd of November, 1848, tenders were
again sent in, in accordance with a public advertisement, from the same
parties. The tender of the Peninsular and Oriental Company was higher
than their offer made in pursuance of private negotiation, though the
terms were the same. It was for £26,750, with a diminution of £500
after the first four years, in the event of its being continued, and
£1,000 additional a year, if the port of embarkation were removed to
Plymouth. The India and Australia Company tendered for £18,450, in two
vessels of 400-horse power, and one reserve of 150-horse power; the
same vessel being mentioned in both tenders, as in the former one. The
lowest tender was directed by the Treasury to be accepted, provided
they could furnish satisfactory security for the due performance of
the service they were to undertake. Much inquiry and negotiation then
took place, and the Company were allowed until the sailing of the
last packet provided for under the expiring contract, to prove that
they had capital sufficient for the undertaking,--but they failed in
showing that they possessed sufficient paid-up capital, and they did
not actually possess the vessels mentioned in their tender, so that on
the 20th December, the Board of Admiralty closed that negotiation, and
having obtained the consent of the Peninsular and Oriental Company to
renew their former offer of £24,000, recommended it for the sanction of
the Treasury, and it was adopted in the existing contract.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The result of this transaction has, there is every reason to believe,
satisfied the Government of the correctness of the opinions which were
pressed upon its attention, on behalf of this Company, in the course of
the proceedings above detailed, namely:--

1. That fully recognising, as one of the first duties of a Government,
the protection of the public interests, by economising the public
resources, the mode adopted for doing so, by closing at short periods
and re-opening to public tender these large Contracts for the Mail
Service, is neither effective for benefiting the public, nor altogether
equitable as regards the interests of those private parties who had
embarked capital in the formation of the extensive steam navigation
enterprises, by means of which these important postal communications
were first established.

2. Because experience has amply proved, that capitalists cannot be
induced to embark their money in any extensive steam navigation
enterprise, intended to compete with one previously established.

3. Because the very act of terminating these Contracts at short
periods, and then putting them up to public competition, increases
the difficulty of obtaining _bonâ fide_ competitors, inasmuch as no
capitalist of ordinary prudence will embark in an enterprise dependent
for its success upon its employment in a public service of so uncertain
or transient a duration.

4. Because, were it even possible to create a competing Company on
so extensive a scale as would be required to perform efficiently the
Contract Mail Services alluded to, the two Companies would either, one
or both of them, be ruined--or, what is much more probable, for the
protection of their mutual interests would coalesce, and thus establish
a stronger monopoly than could ever be effected by a single Company.

5. Because it is but just that parties who have embarked so large an
amount of capital in the establishment of such enterprises, and who
have thereby, as has already been shown, been the means of effecting
important public benefits, should have a preference of employment,[5]
so long as they perform the public service efficiently, and are willing
to do so on terms realising to them no more than a fair commercial

6. That there is no practical difficulty in protecting the public
interest, without opening these Contracts to public tender, by either
of the following means:--

First, By stipulating for a diminishing scale of payments, on the plan
adopted by this Company in their Contract for the Southampton and
Alexandria Mail Service. The public, by this plan, derive a benefit
from any increase of income which, by the progressive development of
their enterprise, the Contractors may obtain from the increase of
commercial traffic.

Secondly, By stipulating that, at intervening periods of the Contract,
the question of reduction should be submitted to two competent
arbitrators, one to be appointed by the Government, who should
investigate the Contractor’s transactions, and make an award as to
whether any and what reduction ought to be made in the payment for the
Mail Services.

The Committee of the House of Commons seem to have recognised the
eligibility of the principle of the last mode of proceeding, in the
third and concluding resolution of their Report, namely--“They suggest
that if it be decided to renew the existing Contracts, the most strict
and searching inquiry should be instituted, by some responsible
department of the Government, into the cost of the execution, into the
manner in which the Service has been performed, and into the profits
resulting from the several transactions to the Companies by which they
have been respectively carried on.”

This suggestion, it has been shown, was anticipated by the Directors
of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, in offering their books and
accounts to the inspection of Government.




_Efficiency of Performance of the Mail Service._

Extract from Mr. T. C. Croker of the Admiralty’s evidence.

1115. Has the contract been well performed?--I can speak from a
knowledge of nine years to the manner in which that contract has been
performed, and it has been performed most admirably, and has given
general satisfaction; in fact, the only fault which has been found with
the manner in which it has been performed is, that it has been done too

1116. Will you explain what you mean by being done too well?--The
vessels arrived sooner than it was calculated they should have done,
which was made matter of public complaint.

1176. At our last meeting we had brought your examination down to the
period at which the alteration took place in the arrangements between
the Peninsular Company and the Government?--Yes.

1177. The Committee then understood from you that up to that period
the contract had been carried on, as far as you were aware, in a
satisfactory manner?--Highly so; here are the testimonials of the
Admiralty as to the satisfactory manner in which the contract was
carried on.

1606. With reference to the Indian part of it, is it within your
knowledge how far that contract has been performed?--It has been well

1607. Throughout?--Yes.

_No Breaches of Contract committed._

Mr. Croker further examined--

1152. Would not the Admiralty agent on board those packets be
cognizant of any breach of contract which had occurred?--Certainly.

1153. Do not they make reports to the Admiralty through the officers
conducting the packet service at Southampton?--Certainly.

1154. Would not any breach of contract come immediately to the
knowledge of the Admiralty, through the report of the Admiralty

1155. Therefore the absence of any such report is direct proof that the
contract has not been broken, provided the Admiralty agent does his

_Complaints made to the Admiralty against the Company._

1974. At your last examination you carried down a statement of any
complaints, or in the absence of any complaints, to a certain date,
with respect to the performance of the contracts of which we were then
inquiring, of the vessels of the Oriental Company; have you furnished
yourself since with any further particulars upon that subject?--This is
a _précis_ of the correspondence respecting complaints of the manner in
which the contract mail service in the Indian and China Seas has been

1975. At what date does that _précis_ commence?--The 23rd of August,

1976. Does that _précis_ come down to the present time?--It does.

1977. Who is responsible for that being a correct statement of what has
taken place?--Mr. Worth, the head of the packet department.

1978. Have you sufficiently examined that _précis_ to be able to give
to the Committee a statement of the number of complaints which are
contained in it?--I should say there were three or four complaints; I
have read it through.

1979. Were any of those complaints on examination found to be just?--I
think the last complaint is at present undergoing investigation.

1980. What is the date of the last complaint?--October, 1848.

1981. Will you state the general grounds of the complaints; were
the complaints of the state of accommodation and the conduct of the
officers on board, or of the time that the vessels occupied upon the
voyage, whether beyond the limited time or not?--The first complaint
states that “Lady Mary Wood” was much out of repair.

1982. What is the date of that?--The 23rd of August, 1846.

1983. From whom is that complaint?--Captain Ellice, the superintendent
of the packet service at Southampton.

1984. He is a Government officer?--Yes; the complaint was that in
consequence she exceeded the contract time by nineteen hours.

1985. By nineteen hours on the whole voyage, or between England and
Suez?--The statement is, that in her last voyage from Hong Kong to
Ceylon she exceeded the contract time by nineteen hours.

1986. How is it that the Government agent at Southampton makes a
report of the state of a vessel in the Indian Seas; did he transmit
a complaint from somebody else?--He transmitted a letter from the
Admiralty agent on board.

1987. What was the result of that complaint?--“The contractor was
acquainted that the Board of Admiralty had been informed that the
‘Lady Mary Wood’ was getting exceedingly out of repair, and requested
to be informed when a vessel, such as is required by the contract,
will be substituted for her. The contractors stated in reply that the
information furnished to the Admiralty was exaggerated; this vessel
had no defects but what could be made good on her return to Hong Kong,
defects mostly caused by the severity of the passage from that port to
Point de Galle; and they inclosed a copy of the carpenter’s report, and
extract of the commander’s letter. They further stated, that (as the
Admiralty is, no doubt, aware) in consequence of the recent demand in
engineering and shipwright work, the builders have not possibly been
able to fulfil their contracts in point of time; and the result is,
that of six steam ships of 450-horse power building for them, not one
is yet completed, though contracted to be delivered within the last
year. They fully expect to be able to despatch one of those vessels in
substitution of the ‘Lady Mary Wood,’ in November next, and a second of
the same class and power about three months after, in substitution of
the ‘Braganza.’”

1988. What is the date of that letter?--The 28th of August.

1989. What is the date of the complaint?--The 23rd of August.

1990. What is the date of the complaint transmitted?--That does not
appear from the _précis_. The Admiralty agent employed on the voyage
from Hong Kong to Ceylon writes this complaint, which reaches Captain
Ellice about the 23rd August, 1846.

1991. What would be the ordinary length of communication between Ceylon
and Southampton?--That is arranged by the contract; as I have had very
little to do with the contracts in the Indian Seas, I am not prepared
to say.

1992. Is it not about five months?[6]--Yes.

1993. Taking it at five months preceding this date of the complaint,
they say that another vessel will be ready by November of the same

1994. What was the result of the complaint as to the want of
punctuality in the time?--The contractors were acquainted, on the
23rd of August, with this complaint, and what I have read is their

1995. The explanation which you have read is with reference to the
non-repair of the vessel, it is not with reference to the time at all.
Is there any letter from the Admiralty, either admitting the excuse to
be satisfactory or otherwise?--The Admiralty seem to have admitted the
excuse, for they minute the letter, acknowledging the receipt of it.

1996. Did the Admiralty officer on board the ship report anything
respecting the improper state of the ship before leaving Hong Kong?--He
stated that the “Lady Mary Wood” was much out of repair in her last
voyage from Hong Kong to Ceylon.

1997. It was after his arrival in Ceylon that he made that report?--Yes.

1998. But he does not appear to have made any statement of that sort
previous to the commencement of the voyage from Hong Kong?--There is
nothing in the _précis_ to show that he did.

1999. What is the next complaint?--“On the 28th of September of the
same year, Captain Ellice sent a copy of a letter from the Admiralty
agent on board the ‘Lady Mary Wood,’ reporting that vessel having
grounded on a bank of sand or mud off the town of Penang, and reporting
the deficiency of night-signals on board her; and he states that the
vessel was got off on the following day, in a fit state to proceed with
the mails, and, it was supposed, would proceed with the mails to China.”

2000. What is the next complaint?--The next complaint is transmitted by
Captain Ellice, who sends a report of the survey on the “Braganza,”
held at Hong Kong; he sent this on the 21st of June, 1847.

2001. What is the result of the survey?--“A copy was sent to the
contractors, and the contractors stated, in reply, that they had
transmitted orders, some time ago, to their agent at Bombay, to have
this vessel docked on the first opportunity, and had reason to believe
that this had been done. They also stated that their new steamships
‘Pekin,’ of 1,200 tons and 430-horse power, and ‘Pottinger,’ of 1,400
tons and 450-horse power, are now stationed on the line between Point
de Galle and China, in performance of the mail contract service.”

2002. What is the next complaint?--“On the 2nd of October, Captain
Ellice transmitted an extract of a letter from the Admiralty agent on
board the ‘Pekin,’ reporting the unfitness of that vessel for the mail
service.” This forms a part of Lieutenant Waghorn’s complaint, and is
already before the Committee.

2003. What was the result of that; was the complaint decided to be
well-founded or not?--I think not.

2004. Was Lieutenant Waghorn a passenger on board that vessel?--I put
in his letter on the last occasion.

2005. Will you proceed to the next complaint?--“On the 2nd of June,
1848, the Postmaster-general transmitted an extract of a letter from
the post-office agent at Suez, stating that the ‘Haddington’ was
detained at that port, waiting for the arrival of cargo, until one
o’clock A.M. on the 11th ultimo, although the mails were put on board
at ten minutes past five o’clock on the previous morning; and, further,
that some of the packages forming the cargo were of an unnecessarily
cumbersome size.”

2006. What was the result of that?--The contractors were called upon to
state whether they can account for this delay; and in reply they state
that they are not aware of this delay, but will call upon the agent at
Suez for explanation; that the mails being transmitted by land from
Alexandria to Suez, there is seldom any variation in the time of their
transit, whilst the passengers and baggage, at the period of low Nile
(May and June), are frequently retarded in getting the steamers round
the bends of the river; and they apprehend that the Admiralty must
have been misinformed as to the size of the packages, the weight of
which are, by their regulation, limited to under 100 lbs., four of such
packages forming a camel load for the desert passage.

2007. Is there any thing further upon that complaint, because the
Company seem to doubt the fact?--Nothing further appears upon the
subject of the complaint.

2008. Is there any subsequent report from the Company?--No subsequent
report from the Company appears to have been received.

2009. Is there any subsequent complaint?--“On the 3rd of October, 1848,
another complaint is made: The Indian and Australian Mail Steam Packet
Company complain that the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company
do not employ steam vessels of the size required by the contract,
between Suez and Calcutta, and between Ceylon and Hong Kong, and offer
to do the service at less expense.”

2010. What is the result of that?--“They were acquainted that they had
omitted to state in what particulars they considered the contract with
this Company is now infringed, that the Admiralty were not aware that
any requirements of that contract are not now observed, excepting that
the ‘Haddington,’ temporarily employed in the place of another vessel,
is 442-horse power instead of 500-horse power.”

2011. Have you any other complaint?--There is no other complaint, but
there is another communication from the Indian and Australian Steam
Packet Company. They “enter into further explanation and remarks,
and hope the contract with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet
Companies may be forthwith dissolved.” That is marked as “read.”

2012. With reference to the complaint to which your attention was
called the last time you were examined, from Admiral Collier, what
is the result of that?--I have here a paper endorsed, “Complaint of
irregularities in the performance of the East India and China contract,
in the case of the ‘Achilles.’”

2013. Is that the complaint referred to by Admiral Collier?--It is.

2014. Was there a letter or memorial of the merchants of Hong Kong
transmitted by Admiral Collier to the Admiralty?--There was.

2015. What was the subject of that memorial or letter?--The merchants
represented to Sir Francis Collier the serious inconvenience which
they, “and, in particular, the Canton community, have suffered, and
continue to suffer, by the frequent late arrival of the steamers
conveying her Majesty’s mails. The delay seems to have arisen from
the steamers being generally unable to keep the time contracted for
by the Admiralty, for the performance of the several distances, as
will be seen, we believe, by the reports sent home by the Admiralty
agents, appointed to the several steamers. The time slowed is very
ample, rendering it seldom necessary to exceed a speed of eight miles
per hour; and had the steamers been the superior class of vessels
contracted for by the Admiralty, and ‘keeping pace with the advanced
state of science,’ no difficulty in performing the passages within the
specified time ought ever to be experienced. An improvement has lately
taken place in the class of boats, by the arrival of other steamers;
but the system adopted, and particularly, of late, of overloading
them, and to such an extent as to render it necessary to carry a
large quantity of coal on deck, tends to perpetrate the evil, and to
create even greater detention than before, while it greatly endangers
the lives of her Majesty’s subjects, and the safety of her Majesty’s
mails. It is our opinion, that on several occasions it may solely be
attributed to unforeseen and fortunate circumstances that the steamers
have been enabled to reach their destination. Considering the large
sum given by her Majesty’s Government for the purpose of carrying
the mails, and also that thereby the Peninsular and Oriental Company
are enabled to have a monopoly of the traffic on this side of Egypt,
we think the mercantile community have reason to expect that, at all
events, the contract shall be faithfully adhered to, and that the
steamers shall not be allowed to carry beyond a certain and safe amount
of cargo;” and they request Sir Francis Collier to call the attention
of the Lords of the Admiralty to the subject.

2016. Was that transmitted by Admiral Collier?--It was transmitted to
the Admiralty by Admiral Collier.

2017. What was Sir Francis Collier’s remark or observation when he
transmitted that memorial?--Sir Francis Collier’s letter does not
appear to be in this correspondence, but I presume it can be produced.

2018. What was done in consequence of the transmission of that
memorial?--“A letter appears to have been written on the 11th of April,
1849, by the Secretary of the Admiralty to the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company, enclosing a copy of the memorial which had
been received from Sir Francis Collier, and the Company were acquainted
that the Board of Admiralty trusted that they had already taken steps
to prevent the recurrence of the delays complained of.”

2019. Will you read any previous letter on the same subject which was
laid before the Admiralty by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet
Company?--“Admiralty, 6th March, 1849.” (This is from the Secretary of
the Admiralty to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company.)
“Gentlemen, it having been represented to my Lords Commissioners of
the Admiralty that the contract steam packet, ‘Achilles,’ was delayed
in her voyage from Point de Galle to Hong Kong, in November last,
she having sailed from the former place on the 29th of that month,
and not arriving at Hong Kong until the 23rd of December; thus being
175 hours beyond the time allowed by the contract; I am commanded by
my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to call your attention to
the circumstance, and to acquaint you that it appears that the place
intended for coals on board the ‘Achilles’ was occupied by opium
chests, and the coals placed on deck, and the vessel overloaded; and
that my Lords are informed that her arrival at Hong Kong, 175 hours
after she was due, was owing to the excess of cargo, and to the
negligent and lazy manner in which the vessel was coaled at Singapore.”

2020. What was the result of that letter?--The secretary of the
Company answered it on the 10th of March, 1849--“I have the honour to
acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 6th instant, calling the
attention of the Directors of the Company to a representation which
has been made to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that the
Company’s contract steamer, ‘Achilles,’ was considerably delayed upon
her voyage from Point de Galle to Hong Kong, in November last, and
that such delay was owing to the excess of cargo, and to negligence
in the coaling at Singapore. In reply, I am instructed to express the
great regret with which the Directors have received this communication,
and to acquaint you, for the information of their Lordships, that a
rumour having already reached them that some representations of the
kind had been addressed to their Lordships, the Directors, by the
mail of the 24th of February, wrote to the Company’s superintendent
at Bombay, calling upon him for full and immediate explanation of the
circumstances. Until the receipt of his report it will be impossible
for the Directors to say how far the allegations in question are well
founded; but, in the meantime, they are anxious to state that their
standing instructions to all the agents and officers of the Company
are, that the punctual performance of the mail service is to be ever
regarded by them as paramount to every other consideration, and that
any departure from that principle will be visited by the Directors with
the utmost severity. The Directors take this opportunity of acquainting
you, for the information of their Lordships, that having found by
experience that no commercial house, however high its respectability,
can represent the Company so efficiently at foreign stations as an
officer of their own, they, by the last steamer, despatched Captain
Sparkes, lately the Company’s superintendent at Southampton, to relieve
the firm at present acting as the Company’s agents at Singapore, in
the superintendence of the Company’s affairs at that port, and they
feel every confidence that he will actively and zealously discharge his
duties at that station. The Directors also think it right to state,
that from such information as they are at present in possession of,
they have reason to consider that the representation which has been
made to their Lordships is exaggerated, both as regards the extent of
the delay of the ‘Achilles,’ and the alleged causes thereof.”

2021. This letter is of the date of the 10th of March, 1849; what is
the date of the memorial of the merchants of Canton?--The 29th of
December, 1848.

2022. Was there any corresponding complaint or representation from the
Admiralty officer on board the vessel to the Lords of the Admiralty?--I
cannot state.

2023. Was not the first letter which you read in consequence of the
official representations made to the Admiralty, through their officer,
as to the delay of the “Achilles,” previous to the reception of the
memorial from Hong Kong?--I have no doubt it was.

2024. The Company say, in the letter of the 10th of March, that they
can give no answer to the complaint made of misfeasance in the contract
between Ceylon and China, til they shall receive a report from their
agent at Bombay?--They state that they wrote to their superintendent
at Bombay, calling upon him for an immediate explanation of the

2025. Do you know that the service is now performed from Ceylon to
China by a vessel that starts from Bombay, and picks up the mail
there?--I believe it is so.

2026. What was the result of those communications; did the Admiralty
come to any decision upon them?--On the 12th of March, the Admiralty
acquainted the Company that they “were gratified to learn that they
had despatched an officer of their own to act as superintendent at
Singapore, and who may be able to prevent the recurrence of the delay
complained of.”

2027. Nothing was done by the Admiralty but to express their
satisfaction that the Company had sent out an agent to Singapore, as an
answer to that complaint of the Company overloading their vessels, and
being out of time?--The Admiralty subsequently sent forward the letter
I have read from the merchants, stating, “that their Lordships trust
you have already taken steps to prevent the recurrence of the delays
complained of.” The Admiralty appear to have done nothing more; the
matter is still in the course of investigation; it is not yet closed;
the explanation has not yet been received from the Company.[7]

2028. Have you any other complaints?--No.

_Charge of corrupt Jobbing, and Favouritism by the Admiralty towards
the Peninsular and Oriental Company._

Examination of Mr. Andrew Henderson--

2138. Am I to understand that you make two complaints: first, that
there was no opportunity for tendering; and, secondly, that the price
was too high?--Yes.

2139. Were you during the period, from the beginning, in 1844, to
the time at which the contract was finally signed, in constant
communication with the Admiralty?--I used to go to the Contract Packet
Office, which was the only place I could go to; I could get no answer
to my letter.

2140. Did it come before the Board?--It appears not; Mr. Sidney Herbert
told me that he had never heard of it.

2141. On the 8th of August Mr. Sidney Herbert told you it was open to
you to send in any contract that you wished?--Yes.

2142. Did you send in a contract, offering to do the service with
efficient vessels for £60,000?--No; I gave this proof that it could be
done; but I made no tender for it, because I had no vessel for it.

2143. Your opinion was, that £60,000 was an adequate price, and
that the public in general, and you in particular, ought to have an
opportunity of making a tender; did you tender to do the service at
that price?--In reply to that question I may state, that early in
December the representative of the “Precursor,” Sir George Larpent,
and myself, waited upon the President of the Board of Control, and
asked him to take care that our interests should be considered, and we
received an assurance that they should be considered; and in the scheme
for the mails it is particularly stated that those two vessels were
ready, and it was suggested that they should take alternately the mails
with the other two vessels.

2144. I ask you whether you did or did not offer to do the service
for £60,000?--I can hardly say whether you can call it an offer, but
I submitted a scheme by which it was shown that it could be done for
£60,000; contracts were not advertised for, and therefore we were not
in a position to send in contracts.

2145. You placed in the hands of Mr. Crofton Croker a lithographic
statement, from which you considered the inference might be drawn that
£60,000 would be sufficient for that service?--Yes.

2146. Was that statement anonymous, or was it guaranteed by any
name?--It was guaranteed by my own name; and the same thing was stated
in the plan submitted to Government; and that plan has, every bit of
it, been carried out since.

2147. My only object is to come to an accurate understanding of the
facts; I understand your grievance to be, that the more expensive
tender, from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company, was
accepted by the Admiralty, when a cheaper contract might have been had
from other parties, and that, in your judgment, £60,000 a year would
have been ample for that service; is that so?--My complaint is, that
the proposal of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company to
undertake the Bombay mails was not accepted, but that they were allowed
to adopt all my plans, and I was refused all participation in it. It
could not be called a contract, it was not the time for a contract;
contracts were never asked for; but there was clear evidence given
that, if we were allowed to take it, it could be done for £60,000.

2148. You complain that an unfair advantage was allowed to be taken of
you, by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company?--Certainly;
I complain that they were allowed to take advantage of my plans and to
adopt them, and that I was not allowed to compete for the contract.

2149. In your plan, you said it could be done for £60,000?--Yes.

2150. Your general plan has been adopted by the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Packet Company?--Yes; my plan was distinctly opposed to theirs.
Their plan was this: the vessels which were bound to go every month to
Bengal, they purposed that those vessels should go to Bombay, and that
once in every two months those vessels should go to Calcutta. That was,
in point of fact, reducing the present communication, from a separate
mail to Bombay and Calcutta, to one mail to Bombay.

2151. Your complaint was, that you were excluded from the opportunity
of competing for the contract?--Yes; and that my plans were adopted.

2152. You have put it on record, that on the 6th of August the
Chancellor of the Exchequer stated to you, that he had given no
authority for the conclusion of the contract?--Yes, he said that he had
nothing to do with it.

2153. On the 8th of August, two days afterwards, you have put it on
record that the Secretary to the Admiralty told you that it was quite
open to you to send in any tender you pleased?--Yes.

2154. And it was therefore open to the public in general, and to you in
particular, to put in a tender thereupon?--I sent in a distinct tender
for the China mail.

2155. But we were speaking of the service for which you say £60,000
was ample; viz. the Suez and Calcutta service. Confining yourself at
present to that, you were told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
on the 6th of August, that the contract was not concluded, and you
were told by the Secretary of the Admiralty, on the 8th of August,
that it was open to you, in particular, to send in any tender for the
conveyance of the mail from Suez to Calcutta?--I was engaged in the
other one at the time.

2156. Then is there any grievance at all as regards your being deprived
of the mail from Suez to Calcutta?--Certainly, a very great grievance.

2157. Be as good as to explain what that grievance is?--The grievance
is, that the “India” and the “Precursor” were not allowed to
participate in the advantage.

2158. Then, whether the sum paid for the service was £60,000 or
£170,000, your grievance is, that the “India” and the “Precursor” did
not come in for a share of it?--That is one point; but, on public
grounds, I maintain that the sum given was a great deal too large, and
that that sum was not given to merchants and shipowners in India, but
to a London company.

2159. To whomever it was given, £60,000 would have been the sum for
which shipowners would have been ready to do the service?--Yes.

2160. You had a knowledge of the fact, at the time the tender was open
to you, that it could be done for £60,000?--I had not money enough to
do it.

2161. Were you not in communication with all the principal shipowners
who signed the petition?--Yes.

2162. Did you get up the petition which was presented on the 8th of
August?--I did.

2163. Are those parties whose names were signed to it parties who had
capital to compete for a good contract, if it was to be had?--Certainly.

2164. Did they, or any of them, send in a tender to the Board of
Admiralty to do this service for £60,000?--No; they stated their belief
that it was of no use to send in a tender, as it would not be attended
to; that the contract would be sure to be given to the Peninsular and
Oriental Company, whatever they chose to ask.

2165. Did you tell Mr. Green, and all the other parties who signed the
petition, that Mr. Sidney Herbert had told you that it was open to you
to send in a tender?--My impression is that it was known to them, but
Mr. Green said, “No, let them alone; they are too strong for us.”

2166. Then it was known to Mr. Green, and all the other parties who
petitioned, that they had an opportunity to make a tender?--The
expression they used was, that it was taken out of their hands, and
that it was of no use their doing it; but I do not know that I saw Mr.
Green after that time.

2167. Do you mean to represent that the principal shipowners having
information that the Secretary of the Admiralty had stated that the
contract was open, were nevertheless of opinion, that if they offered
to do the service for £60,000, the Board of Admiralty would still give
the contract to a party who required a much larger sum?--I hardly know
how to answer that question. I cannot say that I saw Mr. Green after
the petition, but his impression was that it was of no use to compete
with that powerful Company.

2168. Do you mean to represent to the Committee your opinion that while
the Board of Admiralty told you that you might compete if you pleased,
they had in point of fact made up their minds to give the contract
to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company at a much higher
price?--That was our firm belief, that they had made up their minds
to give it to them. This I know as a fact, that when the matter was
handed over from the East India Company, and the East India Company
had nothing to do with it, the Peninsular and Oriental Company asked
£170,000, and they had it all their own way; but the East India Company
said that they would not pay more than a certain amount annually; they
were to pay a certain proportion, but they said, “We will do nothing of
the kind; you may do as you like: we will have nothing to do with it
beyond paying a certain amount.”

2169. Did it occur to you that if so scandalous a spirit of jobbing
as you describe had actuated the Board of Admiralty, you might have
put them completely in the wrong by offering a contract from parties
competent to perform the service for £60,000, which you laid down as
the proper sum?--I can answer the question in this way: it is all very
well to say, “Why did you not send in a contract?” but it is a contract
that required a large capital and great arrangements. It is impossible
to make all those great arrangements in two days; the Peninsular
Company, by obtaining under false pretences £20,000 for the Calcutta
mail, had put all other parties out; and if you say, “Will you make a
contract in a couple of days now for £60,000?” it is impossible; it
requires a large fleet and great capital. Mr. Green has a large fleet,
but they are employed in other parts; and his expression was, “It is of
no use competing with the Peninsular Company, for they are too powerful
for us; their influence is so great.”

2170. You mean to represent that all the shipowners in London
acquiesced in the opinion that public money to a large amount was
going to be given from favouritism to the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Packet Company; but that it was of no use, on account of the
secret influence which the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company
had got at the Admiralty, to contend with them?--That was my own
individual belief, and the petitioners, I think, agreed in that.

2171. Did you lend a large share in the drawing up of this petition?--I

2172. Is it your composition?--I do not know that it is.

2173. In the petition you object not to one contract in particular,
but to the system of contracts altogether?--We object not to the whole
system of contracts, but to the system under which it has been carried
on; in the first place, there are put into the contracts conditions
which are never acted upon; that I consider extremely wrong; it keeps
all honest men away.

2174. The stringent conditions put into the contracts keep all honest
men away?--That is going too far; I mean to say that you are asked to
agree to very strict conditions, which a man cannot honestly say, “I
agree to.” If the condition says that if I am half an hour behind time
I shall forfeit £500, a man naturally asks himself, “Shall I enter into
the contract? for if those clauses are inserted, I am a ruined man, and
therefore I cannot guarantee that.”

2175. If you and your friends had tendered this service for £60,000,
you would have required more reasonable conditions?--I should have
no objection to being bound to all reasonable conditions. The late
contract for the mail to the Brazils is as it ought to be; there is no
kind of trap of so many hours; the condition is simply this, the ships
are to be efficient vessels.

2176. No honest man, in your opinion, would have undertaken such a
contract as that which the Peninsular and Oriental Company undertook,
for £60,000?--What I mean is this, that no honest man would undertake
a thing which he was not competent to perform; for instance, he would
not undertake that the passage shall be a certain number of hours; and
putting in those strict conditions would prevent an honest man from
taking part in it.

2177. I understood you to say, that no honest man would undertake,
and therefore I presume you would not have recommended anybody to
undertake, so strict a condition as that of which we are speaking?--I
am afraid you are putting a wrong construction upon what I said; I say,
no honest man would undertake a condition which he could not honestly
say he could perform. If I bound myself to go in a certain number of
hours between certain points, an honest man would say, if that was a
great speed, “I cannot bind myself to accomplish that.”

2178. That would prevent an honest man from complying with the
conditions imposed upon the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet
Company?--That is putting it in the other way; I am certain that I
would have taken the contract, because I know that Government would not
exact the penalty.

2179. You would have taken it, though an honest man would not have
taken it?--I am afraid you are misinterpreting me; you use the words
“honest man” in a different sense from that in which I use them. I mean
to say that an honest man could not honestly undertake to do a thing
which was almost impracticable; but, as I know the Government would not
have exacted the penalty, I would have taken the contract if I had had
an opportunity; but I had no opportunity.

2180. You would have taken the contract?--Yes, anybody would take the
contract for £170,000 a year; nobody would have refused it.

2181. You were under the impression that the Peninsular and Oriental
Company were so strong that nobody could compete with them?--Yes, and
that is the impression now.

2182. That was your impression at the time you lent your aid to the
drawing up of that petition?--Yes, it was.

2183. It was the impression, you believe, of the parties who signed the

2184. Is that, in point of fact, one of the allegations of the
petition?--I do not know.

2185. Are not the allegations of the petition totally of a different
effect; are they not against contracts in general?--Certainly not
against contracts in general; they are against contracts being given
without fair competition; they are not against contracts generally, for
contracts must be had somehow, but they should be fair and open.

2186. The prayer of the petition is “that public money granted for the
purposes of steam navigation shall be applied, not for the exclusive
advantage of any companies or individuals, but so that all engaged in
shipping may fairly participate therein, or equally compete; therefore
affording to your petitioners the opportunity of showing to your
Honourable House the truth (if doubted) as to facts and principles of
all the statements of this their humble petition.” If you were under
the impression that the Admiralty were actuated by so corrupt a spirit
that it was not of any use for solvent parties to send in tenders, will
you explain to the Committee why it was that you left that out, as one
of the allegations of the petition which you drew up at the time?--I do
not understand the question.

2187. Your grievance was, that you were shut out from fair competition
by a corrupt predetermination at the Admiralty to exclude you, and to
give the contract, at all hazards, to the other Company?--In answer to
that, I state the fact that I was not allowed to compete with them in
any way.

2188. You have told me that you did not send in a tender to the
Admiralty, and that you prepared a petition which you presented to
Parliament; that petition contains no allegation of such a corrupt
predetermination on the part of the Admiralty; having, therefore, such
a feeling in your mind at the time, you neither put it to the test by
sending in a tender to the Admiralty, nor did you venture to state that
in the petition to the House of Commons?--The petition will speak for
itself; it is there.

2189. There is no such allegation in the petition. What information
has come to your knowledge, since you petitioned Parliament, which
justifies you now in making such an improbable statement here,
viz., that there was that corrupt predetermination at the Board of
Admiralty?--I did not use the word “corrupt.”

2190. Have you learnt anything since you presented the petition,
which justifies you in making a charge now, which you would not have
been equally justified in making then: it appears that the petition
presented on the 8th August, 1844, contains no such charge of
favouritism against the Board of Admiralty; what information have you
received since that time, which you think justifies you in making the
charge now?--I think it is self*-evident that there most have been
favouritism, or the public would have been admitted, and also from the
way in which the contract has been carried out. The Peninsular Company
have several times broken their contract, and no penalties have been
exacted. There was one distinct case of favouritism, which was this:
one of the reasons assigned to me why the China contract was given to
them was, that the Peninsular and Oriental Company had offered to do it
with vessels of 400-horse power for £45,000 a year; apparently at the
same price as our tender. but ours was to be reduced the third year,
and theirs was to continue at the same rate; but their condition was,
that they were to find vessels, from the 1st July, 1846, of 400-horse
power, and they failed to do so; and in consequence of their not
providing those vessels, the vessels were overworked, and the mails
were delayed; but yet the penalty has not been exacted, and that arises
from favouritism.

2191. Is your impression that it is one part of the duty of the
Admiralty to take care that the parties tendering are in the
possession of efficient vessels, and are men of sufficient property
and respectability to afford a security that the contract will be
performed?--My opinion is, that a contract of that kind is a matter
which ought not to be left to the Admiralty; it is a matter more
concerning the Board of Trade than the Admiralty; and it is all a
mistake for one department of the Board of Admiralty to have the
management of it.

2192. Be so good as to inform me whether you think the Government, in
making a contract, are bound to foresee, as far as may be possible,
whether the parties will really be able to fulfil it. You have stated
that the Peninsular and Oriental Company have repeatedly broken or
not performed their contract. Do the Committee understand you to mean
that it is one part of the duty of Government to take precautions
beforehand, that the parties who make a contract shall be capable to
perform the contract?--It is their duty, but I believe in that instance
they neglected it.

2193. Do you think that if they had selected the owners of the steamer
“India,” they would have selected people more competent to perform the
contract?--To perform the China line; and I may state as the reason,
that we gave them a distinct account of the number of ships at work
there; the expense of the ships, and also a description of the seas;
and the very letter which I wrote to them, as to the necessity of
having a peculiar kind of vessel for the China seas, has turned out
perfectly true; and the protest, of which we heard at the last meeting
of the Committee, was in consequence of that. The letter sent in to the
Admiralty stated that the Calcutta Company were in a better position
to do that local service than the Peninsular and Oriental Company, who
have so many interests to look after.

2194. The reason you did not compete with the Peninsular and Oriental
Company between Suez and Calcutta, was the impression that you had that
there was a determination at the Board of Admiralty to favour them.
Did you make any attempt to compete with them between Ceylon and Hong
Kong?--As to Suez and Calcutta contract, it is like asking a man who
has his hands tied behind his back, to swim; as to Ceylon and Hong Kong
contract, the answer is plain enough on record, that we sent a tender
and got no answer.

2195. Am I right in understanding you to say, that you abstained
from competing with regard to the service between Suez and Calcutta,
because you thought the Peninsular and Oriental Company too strong for
you?--That was one reason expressed by many persons; but if you ask
my reason for not competing, it was this: when I proposed to tender,
the “Precursor” party were in possession of the “Precursor,” but in
the interim the Peninsular and Oriental Company very advantageously
obtained possession of the “Precursor,” and we had no large vessels,
and it was of no use tendering without them.

2196. The reasons for not tendering for the contract between Suez
and Calcutta were two-fold; first, because there was favouritism at
the Admiralty, and secondly, you had not the means of making the
tender?--If the tenders were reasonable, I ought to have had the means,
because we ought to have been allowed to build vessels; when they had
bought the “Precursor,” we were not in so good a position as we had
been in before.

2197. If it was an object with the Government to make the contract
immediately, you would not be in a condition to make a tender?--There
was no necessity for a new contract; there was no necessity for any
change then, but it was got up by the Peninsular and Oriental Company,
by political agitation.

2198. I understand you to say, that if there was to be a contract
immediately, you were not in a condition to tender for it, as far as
regards Suez and Calcutta?--I was in a position to tender for it, if
reasonable tenders had been allowed.

2199. By reasonable tenders you mean that the Government, instead of
taking for the service ships that were then ready to do it, should have
waited eighteen months, in order that you might be put in the same
position?--There was no necessity to wait, as the ships were bound to
carry the mails, whether there was a new contract or not.

2200. Your opinion is, that there was no necessity for a new
contract?--No, not for five years.

2201. In your opinion there ought to have been no contract at all?--Not
for the Bengal and Suez line, for five years.

2202. What ships were bound to carry the mails?--The three ships
which were bound to do the service were bound to maintain a monthly

2203. By what engagement?--By an engagement with the East India Company
they were bound to make a monthly communication for £20,000 a year.

2204. Was there any such arrangement with the East India Company?--Yes.
I had ascertained that there was that arrangement by correspondence,
which is the usual way with great companies.

2205. Did you ever read the correspondence which passed?--No; I know
that certain deputations went; when I came home from India, I found
among the papers of the East Indian Steam Company a document proving
the terms upon which they were to undertake it.

2206. Was it not an offer of the East India Company to give £20,000 a
year upon certain conditions?--Certainly not; there was no offer of the
East India Company.

2207. Your impression of the correspondence that you saw was, that it
was a distinct engagement on the part of the East India Company to
give that sum, and a distinct engagement on the part of the Peninsular
and Oriental Steam Packet Company, at all hazards, to perform the
service?--Yes; but I should go farther than that, in explanation.

2208. Your impression is, that it was an engagement binding upon both
parties; that the East India Company were bound to pay that sum, and
that the other parties were bound to perform the service, whether
they liked it or not?--My answer to that is, that this £20,000 a year
originated in an amalgamation, or at least a pretended amalgamation,
between the East Indian Steam Company and the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Packet Company, in 1841. But inasmuch as on 14th October,
1839, the East India Company had replied to the East Indian Steam
Company in London, and again in Calcutta, on the 27th of May, 1840,
to the inhabitants of Calcutta generally, “that to any well-devised
measures, by which the established means of communication might be
extended, the Court would be ready to afford due encouragement; but
in the present state of circumstances they are unwilling now to enter
into any arrangement affecting the measures in progress regarding the
communication between Suez and Bombay;” that letter and publication
was considered as an engagement on the part of the East India Company
to support the extension of a line between Calcutta and Suez. The
consequence of that was, that the “Precursor” built for, and the
“India” was employed upon that line, under the supposition that they
would, when they had adopted this measure, be remunerated. A junction
was proposed between the small section of the London shareholders of
the East Indian Steam Company and the Peninsular and Oriental Company;
and what I say is, that they communicated, either by deputation or by
letter, with the East India Company, and proposed that they should
give them a grant of £20,000 a year, holding forth that the three
parties were to be united. This was a long time in abeyance, but some
time in July, as it appears to me, the proposal of the Peninsular and
Oriental Company was accepted by the East India Company; but at the
time it was accepted, it was accepted upon the recorded opinion that
the interests of the “India” and the “Precursor” party were likely
to be amalgamated with those of the Peninsular and Oriental Company
who had made the offer, and that upon certain terms which are there
stated; they were granted the 20,000 a year provided they made four
voyages the first year, six voyages the second year, and maintained a
monthly communication the third, fourth, and fifth year, with vessels
of 500-horse power, between Calcutta and Suez.

2209. Am I to understand you to state that the proposal or contract to
which you referred the other day, that the steamers should be 500-horse
power, originated with the East India Company?--No, it originated with
the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company.

2210. Then that excluded the “India?”--Yes; the conditions are already
in evidence, in answer to question 1819.

2211. What was the date of that condition which required vessels of
1,600 tons and 500-horse power?--It was a proposal made originally by
the Peninsular and Oriental Company, early in the year. I believe it
was accepted about the middle of July, 1841; but I was not in this
country at the time.

2212. From that time to the present, the “India” was excluded from the
benefit of the arrangement?--She was excluded in this way----

2213. Was she of the requisite horse power?--I was going to state how
it was proved that she was not.

2214. That arrangement was made in the year 1841?--Yes; the arrangement
was made by the Court of Directors in July 1841.

2215. Then the “India” was from that time excluded from the benefit
of the arrangement?--Under the clause requiring 500-horse power, the
“India” was excluded; but the Peninsular and Oriental Company proposed
to purchase her, and after a good deal of squabbling they offered us

2216. We do not want to go into that matter; but I understood you to
say that by the original conditions imposed by the East India Company,
in 1841, the steamer “India” was excluded from the benefit of the
arrangement?--She was excluded, but the Peninsular and Oriental Company
asked them to accept her.

2217. In your former examination, in answer to question 1835, you
stated, “The 500-horse power was put in purposely to exclude all but
the Peninsular Company’s vessels.” Will you state upon what grounds you
attribute to the Admiralty, in 1844, a condition which appears to have
been in force against you, by the orders of the East India Company, as
early as 1841?--I had intended to commence the examination by referring
to my statement with respect to that very case. It is so put here that
I really cannot understand it myself, and I must request to be allowed
to make the explanation of horse power; if you will allow me to make
the explanation of what I mean by horse power, I shall be able to make
my answers intelligible.

2218. Are you a person of experience in nautical matters?--I profess to
know all that a man who has devoted his life to the subject can know of
the building and working of ships.

2219. And not only sailing ships, but steam vessels?--Yes.

2220. Are there two meanings to the term “horse power!”--No; “horse
power” has no meaning at all; if you will allow me to give an
explanation I can state what it is.

2221. Before you give your explanation, allow me to ask this question,
whether you mean to say that the term “horse power” has no meaning?--It
has no meaning as to the capacity of ships for carrying the mails; that
I assert.

2222. Then when the East India Company, in 1841, put in a clause that
no vessel employed in carrying the mails should be less than 500-horse
power, they put in a clause which had no meaning at all?--The East
India Company never put in the clause at all; it was put in by the
Peninsular and Oriental Company, with the very object of excluding us.

2223. Whoever put it in, it had no meaning?--No, it has not, to my

2224. Then, having no meaning, it had no operation or effect?--It had
the effect of excluding any other vessels but their own, so long as it
was allowed to remain.

2225. How did it have that effect?--The Peninsular and Oriental Company
having vessels of 500-horse power, which no others had got, they of
course obtained the contract.

2226. You came here, on the previous day, charging the Admiralty with
having, in 1844, made a certain condition for the purpose of excluding
you, and you have now stated that that condition was in force under
the arrangement made by the East India Company as early as 1841. Will
you have the goodness to explain to the Committee how it is that
you attribute that to the Admiralty in 1844, which appears to have
originated with the East India Company in 1841?--I was mistaken if I
said it originated with the East India Company; it originated with the
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Packet Company. The horse power of a
vessel gives no means of knowing what the efficiency of the vessel is.
There is a good deal of the evidence of the former day which is of no
use, unless you allow me to explain what horse power is. Those answers,
as they stand, I cannot understand myself.

2227. Do you mean to say, that unless you are to be allowed to show
that the ordinary words “horse power,” when introduced into a contract,
render that contract unintelligible, you cannot explain your case?--I
never said that. May I be allowed to state what I do mean; it takes
a little time and a little trouble to explain the meaning of “horse
power.” The putting in the “horse power” had no reference to the
efficiency of the steam vessels.

2228. Whatever the horse power meant in 1841, it meant in 1844?--Yes;
but you are mistaken in supposing that I attribute it to the East India
Company putting in that condition; I attributed it to the Peninsular
and Oriental Company.

2229. We have here a contract made in 1844, by the Admiralty on one
side, and the Peninsular and Oriental Company on the other; and you
charge the Admiralty with having introduced a certain condition for
the purpose of excluding you, and of favouring the Peninsular and
Oriental Company?--No; I said that the Peninsular and Oriental Company
introduced the condition as to the 400-horse power.

2230. How did they introduce it?--Because they proposed it.

2231. Do you find fault with a competitor for having proposed vessels
of a higher horse power than yourself?--I do; because they did it to
keep all other Companies out.

2232. What would you have had the Admiralty do?--I would have had the
Admiralty go and ascertain what the vessels were, and not go upon the
nominal horse power.

2233. You complain of the Admiralty going upon the individual horse
power?---I do; it is a wrong system.

2234. Why do you complain of the Admiralty having done that in 1844,
which we find was part of the existing arrangement between the East
India Company and the Peninsular and Oriental Company in 1841?--The
question of horse power began with the Peninsular and Oriental Company
in 1840.

2235. And I to understand from you, that in your opinion the Admiralty
should have laid down no general condition about horse power, but
should have inquired into the capabilities of each particular ship;
is that your view?--Certainly, that is one view; But as you said,
just now, I had stated that the Peninsular and Oriental Company had
originated that condition about horse power; that is the hinge upon
which all the mischief has turned; and I will now, if I may be allowed,
explain how it occurred.

2236. The hinge upon which all the mischief has turned, has been that
condition about horse power?--Yes.

2237. Whatever imputations you have made against the Admiralty of
favouritism, have turned upon improperly requiring a compliance with
that condition?--I do not say that; I say the two things are quite
distinct; but if you will allow me to state how it did occur, I can
explain it; I have a statement here to show how it originated, and
another statement to show what “horse power” really means. I beg to
state that the question of horse power originated in 1840, and it was
the proposal of the Peninsular and Oriental Company; it originated with
them, and not with the Admiralty or the East India Company.

2254. Do you impute corrupt conduct to the Admiralty, in reference to
the ship “India?”--Certainly not; I think the Committee are labouring
under a mistake in that respect.

2255. If, in any part of your former examination, you have been
understood to impute either to the Board of Admiralty, or to any
other Government department, any favouritism towards the Peninsular
and Oriental Company, to the exclusion of their competitors, you have
been misunderstood?--As far as the facts are on record, I could get no
answer to my tender; I imputed certainly not a corrupt motive, but I
said that all along I believed they were under a mistake, induced by
this nominal “horse power.”

2256. In answer to question 2216, you stated that in 1841 the steamer
“India” was excluded, by the conditions imposed by the East India
Company, but that the Peninsular and Oriental Company wished them to
accept her?--Yes, that is so.

2257. It was, therefore, the East India Company, and not the Peninsular
and Oriental Company, who insisted upon the higher amount of horse
power?--The two things are quite distinct.

2258. Do you adhere to your answer to question 2216?--So far it is
correct that she was excluded, but the Peninsular Company, after they
had bought her, urged the East India Company to accept her, and said
she was an efficient vessel; they had abused her before, but they then
said she was efficient.

2259. Are you now speaking of 1841?--Yes.

2260. Whose property was the steamer “India” in the year 1841?--She was
the property of the Comprehensive party, who sent her out; at the time
this negotiation was going on she was in Calcutta; I do not know what
particular month this alludes to.

2261. It does not signify where she was?--It occurred in this way: we
will say it was in June; two months would alter the matter altogether;
there was a negotiation; the Peninsular and Oriental Company told the
representative of the “India” in this country, Mr. Mackillop, that
they would amalgamate with him; but the moment they got the engagement
signed, they abused the “India” as much as they could; but when they
found they could get her for little or nothing, then they said they
would take her for £23,000, and they said “We will take her if the East
India Company will pay £20,000 for her hire.” And then they write to
the East India Company, and they say, notwithstanding the condition
about the 500-horse power, that she was an efficient vessel.

2262. That was the opinion of the Peninsular and Oriental
Company?--Yes; after she was theirs.

2263. But at that time it was not the opinion of the East India
Company, and they refused it?--Yes. If you will allow me to explain, I
will show that there is a wide difference between the mail contract and
the engagement made with the Peninsular Company.

2264. In your opinion the Admiralty, making the mail contract on behalf
of the public, were bound to accept a vessel that was not good enough
for the East India Company?--I never said so; but perhaps you will
allow me to put in an explanation of the horse power; I have taken
great pains in preparing it.

2265. This vessel, whatever be her merits, was rejected by the East
India Company in 1841, though tendered by the Peninsular and Oriental
Company at that time?--She was rejected in a different way----

2266. She was rejected, whatever the mode of rejection?--The mistake is
this: you fancy me to have said that the nominal horse power was fixed
by the East India Company or by the Government; now that is a mistake;
neither the one nor the other fixed it.

2267. Can you answer the question whether the vessel was or was not
rejected by the East India Company?--She was rejected because the
Peninsular Company had proposed the condition with regard to 500-horse

2268. Was the steamer “India” tendered to the East India Company at
the suit of the Peninsular and Oriental Company in the year 1841, and
rejected by the East India Company?--I was not in this country at the
time, but it must be in the records of the Company.

2269. Do you believe that your answer to question 2216 was a true
answer?--Yes, it was a true answer.

2270. And your case now against the Admiralty is, that they rejected
in 1844 the same ship which the East India Company had rejected in
1841?--I cannot see that they have any reference to each other.

2271. Do you complain of the steamer “India” being rejected by the
Admiralty in 1844?--Yes.

2272. She having been rejected by the East India Company in 1841?--It
was not for the same service, but for a very different service; but she
was, in fact, employed upon the line.

2273. I understood you to complain, that in the year 1844, the Board of
Admiralty laid down a certain condition with regard to the horse power
of the vessels to be employed in conveying the mails between Suez and
Calcutta, which condition excluded the steamer “India?”--Yes.

2274. I understood you also to say, that that very same condition as
to the horse power had been previously laid down by the East India
Company, and that in the year 1841 the steamer “India” was pressed upon
the East India Company by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, who had
expected to buy her as a good bargain; and that the East India Company,
being so pressed, refused to accept her?--I can now explain it.

2275. Is all that true?--Partly so, but not in the way you put it.

2276. But are the facts true; yes or no. I have collected the facts
from your previous answers, and am putting them to you again; if any
one of them be inaccurate, point out the one which is inaccurate?--You
ask whether she was rejected in 1841; she was. But allow me to give the

2277. Was she rejected for the service between Suez and Calcutta in the
year 1841?--She was refused to be received under a certain engagement.

2278. Did the East India Company, in the year 1841, refuse to accept
the “India” steamer for the line between Suez and Calcutta?--Yes, but
that had no reference to her capacity as a mail steamer.

2279. Be so good, then, as to explain the difference between the
two cases?--The difference was this: in 1841 it was the voluntary
proposition of the Peninsular and Oriental Company to undertake the
communication between Suez and Calcutta, with vessels of 520-horse
power; it was not for a mail contract, a mail contract not being
necessary; and they put in the 520-horse power with the intention, I
believe, of shutting out the “India” and other vessels. It was for
a passenger line, not for a mail line, because the same mails were
carried by Government vessels to Bombay, and therefore there was no
necessity for a mail line, or for her service as a mail packet; but it
had been an object of great consideration, both by the Government at
home and the inhabitants of India, to have a passenger communication
with Calcutta the same to which the remuneration had been promised. The
“India” was on the spot, about to establish that, and the “Precursor”
was being prepared to extend it; the Peninsular and Oriental Company
came in with an engagement to do, for, apparently, a very small sum,
what those vessels were then about doing; that was for the purpose of
maintaining the passenger communication between Calcutta and Suez.
They offered to do this with vessels of 520-horse power as a passenger
line, which was, of course, a good deal better than doing it with
vessels of 300-horse power, because the object was the accommodation
of passengers, and, no doubt, a vessel of 520-horse power must have
a great deal more accommodation for passengers than one of 300-horse
power; and therefore, in asking the East India Company to accept a
vessel of 300-horse power, instead of a vessel of 520-horse power,
they were simply asking them to take a very considerable sum off their
engagement. That was a very different thing from carrying the mails,
which the “India” might have done; and, in fact, the experience of one
year has proved that she was capable of doing it.

2280. You having stated your view of the reasons which influenced the
East India Company, whether you are right in your view of those reasons
or not, the fact was, that the steamer “India,” being pressed upon
the East India Company by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, was
rejected; is that so?--I understood that she was rejected, because it
was not----

2281. Whatever were the reasons, was the fact so?--Yes.

2282. And your opinion was, that the Admiralty ought to have made
in 1844 a different set of conditions, which would have included
the steamer “India?”--I think the Admiralty, having the plans and
specifications of the ship “India” before them, ought to have judged
from them as to the sufficiency of the vessel, and not from the nominal
horse power.

2283. Do you think that if a public department, instead of laying down
specific rules to which all parties must conform who make engagements
with regard to the specifications of particular vessels, that would
be a better mode of excluding favouritism than the mode which is now
pursued?--Most assuredly it would be a proper mode.

2284. Am I right in understanding that the “India” was, afterwards,
employed upon this very line by the Peninsular Company?--Yes, and they
got £15,000 a year by her. They bought her for less than £15,000, and
they patched her up for £1,000, and then got her surveyed in 1845,
and she remained for two or three years in the contract ready to be
employed, after being so patched up.

2285. Was she there as a reserve vessel?--Yes.

2286. Was there any difference in the specification of horse power for
a reserve vessel, in comparison with the vessels which were to carry
the mails regularly?--Yes, there was a difference, and she was admitted
upon that.

2287. What was the amount of horse power required by the contract for a
reserve vessel?--I suppose it must have been less than 300-horse power.

2288. Have you seen the contract?--Yes, but I do not recollect whether
it was 300 or 250-horse power.

2289. Is it not customary that the reserve vessel is of less tonnage
than the vessels which are regularly performing the voyages with the
mails?--Yes, it is so, and we intended her to be so originally.

2290. When you tendered the “India,” did you propose her as a reserve
vessel, or as one of the regular vessels to carry the mails?--We
proposed her for the China line.

2291. You never proposed her for this line at all?--We could not.

2292. With reference to the Ceylon and Hong Kong contract, in the year
1844, did you tender the steamer “India” for the Ceylon and Hong Kong

2293. Your intention being that the mails should be carried as far as
Point de Galle by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and taken up at
that point by you, and carried in your ships to Hong Kong?--Yes.

2294. How many vessels would that service have required?--It would have
required three vessels.

2295. How many vessels were you in possession of, at that time?--We had
one vessel.

2296. Where did you intend to get other vessels from?--We offered to
hire them in India, where we had four or five at our disposal.

2297. You said the other day that it was not possible for you to
guarantee any particular vessels in the Indian Seas as being obtainable
by you for that purpose?--We stated in the tender that we would hire
such vessels as we could procure, but we could not do that, because no
time was allowed.

2298. You said the other day that the “India,” being a paddle ship,
and over-built, was not particularly well qualified to deal with the
typhoons in the China seas?--She was not the vessel that I would have

2299. You also told us that you had in your eye, as one of the other
vessels of the contract, a steamer which had gone to China in the year

2300. Will you be so good as to state what, according to your
intention, was to have been the third ship by which the contract was
to be performed?--The tender states that two vessels were to be built
within a year for that purpose.

2301. But, speaking of time present, you intended to employ the
“India,” and to take the chance of a steamer which went out to China
in the year 1830, and to take the risk of your being able to pick up a
third vessel; was that your intention?--Yes; but a company, of which I
was a large proprietor, had five ships in India besides the “India.”

2302. Was that company, of which you were a large proprietor, able
to guarantee that there would be other vessels to perform the
contract?--Certainly. I made this tender quite certain that they would
be very glad to employ their vessels there.

2303. Why, then, did you say, in answer to question 1931, that you
could not guarantee any vessels?--If we had not time to offer it to
them, and get an answer from them, I cannot say that they might not
turn round and refuse to let us have the vessels.

2304. Did you expect the Admiralty, in the absence of any guarantee, to
form a contract with you to take the “India,” which in your judgment
was bad of her kind, as one ship, and to take a steamer which went to
China in the year 1830, and which you thought you probably could get
as a second ship, and the chance of some third ship then in the Indian
seas; upon that basis, did you expect the Admiralty to form a contract
with you; was that so?--What I expect is stated in my former evidence.

2305. The “India” lay for a long time for sale in the London docks, did
she not, in 1839?--I think, for three or four months, she lay there for

2306. Was she not put up for sale at Lloyd’s?--Yes, I believe she was.

2307. Who were the owners of the “India” when she sailed for India?--An
old gentleman from Norfolk, a Mr. Banyan, was the registered owner.

2308. He was not the real owner?--Yes, he was a real owner; she
belonged to a company got up by Captain Ross, and he represented them.

2309. When she went to India, was she not mortgaged?--Yes, she was.

2310. To what amount?--She was under two mortgages, I understood,
but what the other mortgage was I do not remember. There was $20,000
advanced to the builders, as stated in answer to question 1814; but she
was not under mortgage when I tendered her for contract mail service.
The real owners were some forty residents and natives in India, and
seven firms and individuals in England, who purchased her from the
mortgagees, and established the India Steam Company of Calcutta in 1841.

2311. You have stated that the “India” has been running on the line
between Calcutta and Suez?--I never said that she was running on the
line; she was employed on the line; she was receiving a certain portion
of the money paid for the contract. I suppose about £15,000 a year
would be her proportion.

2312. Are you aware that she never left her moorings?--Yes.

2313. The Peninsular and Oriental Company bought her, did they
not?--Yes; after a desperately hard bargain.

2314. Are you aware that she was full of dry rot at the time they
bought her?--Yes, but I am aware that they deducted £1,300 from the
£15,000 which they engaged to pay, in consequence of that; and I am
also aware that they told me it would require £15,000 to repair her
when they offered £23,000 for her; and I sent in the same drawings that
I had sent in to the Admiralty, and offered to do it for £8,000, upon
which they said, we will give you £15,000.

2315. Are you aware that the “India” has been broken up?--I never heard
it till now.

2316. You stated that the Peninsular Company sent out to the China line
two old vessels?--Yes, they were used in the Peninsular lines.

2317. What were their names?--The “Lady Mary Wood” was one, and the
“Braganza” was the other.

2318. Are you not aware that in 1844 the “Lady Mary Wood” was only two
years old?--Yes, I know it perfectly.

2319. Would you call her an old vessel?--Yes, she had been a good deal
used there; the best proof of her age is, that she was inefficient
before she could be relieved.

2320. How do you know that?--I have heard so.

2321. Are you aware that the “Braganza” was within a few months of the
same age as the “India?”--I do not know that; I know that she had some
repairs before she went there; such repairs as I should have given the

2322. You said that you expected to hire in India a vessel called the
“Fire Queen?”--I never said a word about the “Fire Queen;” the “Fire
Queen” we had nothing to do with; the vessels which I mentioned are
mentioned here.

2323. It is in the answer to question 2135: “In Bengal, the ‘Forbes,’
‘India,’ ‘Dwarkanauth Tagore,’ ‘Henderson,’ and ‘Gordon;’ at Singapore,
‘The Royal Sovereign,’ ‘Express,’ and ‘Windsor Castle;’ on her passage
out to India, the ‘Fire Queen,’ built for a Calcutta Company?”--If you
look you will see that those are mentioned as the ships that are in
India, I did not say that I had them; that is a quotation from a letter
to Mr. Sidney Herbert, stating that there are those vessels there.

2324. But the India Steam Company possessed no other vessel than the
“India,” did they?--No.

2325. In one of your answers you stated first, that “no honest man,”
which you afterwards qualified by saying, “no man intending to act
honestly, would sign a contract with such stringent clauses and
penalties for over-times on arrivals?”--I did not say, “no honest man”
would sign it. I said that you would not like to undertake such things,
if you could not honestly undertake to do them.

2326. Did you allude to the penalties for non-arrival in proper

2327. I suppose you have read these contracts attentively?--Yes.

2328. And know them by heart, probably?--No, I do not think I know them
by heart.

2329. Has it escaped you that there is this clause in the contract:
“The contractors are not to be liable to any penalties under this
contract for any matters arising from circumstances over which they and
their servants had not and could not have had any control, and which
shall be so proved to the satisfaction of the said Commissioners?”--I
do not recollect that particularly; there was some such clause.

2330. Did you ever see that clause before?--I see that if a vessel
should have a very foul wind and could not get on, that clause would
perhaps meet that case. But there are a great many causes from which an
engine might break down, which would not be provided for by that clause.

2331. You particularly specified stringent clauses, and alluded to the
penalties for arrival after time; you said that the clauses were so
stringent that no honest man, or no man intending honestly, would sign
the contract, because there were penalties for arriving over time?--I
was speaking then with reference to the tenders, which I got in 1840.
This is the contract I was speaking of. I saw that the first condition
was, that they were to be properly built and efficient vessels of
400-horse power; and then there are a number of clauses which I have
marked here; the result of them is, first, that the contract was to
provide for the passages being performed in a certain number of hours,
under a penalty of £500 for twelve hours’ delay.

2332. With such a clause as that you would be afraid to make such a
contract?--It exactly amounts to what I say; it is of no use to put
such a condition into a contract, except to keep people away.

2333. In answer to a question put to you by the Chairman (1816),
which was, “Whatever the nature of the arrangement between the India
Company and the Peninsular Company was, the result is that they
received £20,000 a year for five years, from the spring of 1841, for
doing certain services; is that so?” you answer, “Yes.” Is that answer
correct, that for five years they received £20,000 a year?--That is a
mistake; they were to receive that.

2334. For how many years did they receive that £20,000 under the letter
of the East India Company?--For two years.

2335. You have been speaking about screw vessels; did you ever command

_Inspection of the Company’s Affairs by the Government._

It will have been observed, from the evidence of Mr. Croker of the
Admiralty (see page 27), that in consequence of the Directors offering
to the Government the permission to investigate the accounts and
books of the Company, the Admiralty appointed Capt. A. Ellice, R.N.,
the comptroller of steam machinery, and previously superintendent of
the packet service at Southampton, together with Mr. W. H. Bond, an
experienced accountant, connected with the civil department of the
naval service, to make that Investigation. The following is their
Report, which, although it was considered by the Admiralty as a
confidential one, and therefore not to be published without the consent
of the Company, the Directors had no hesitation in permitting to be
produced to the Committee, and which has, accordingly, been published
in the Appendix to the Committee’s Report.

_Report by_ CAPTAIN ELLICE _and_ W. H. BOND, _on the Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Packet Company_.

  SIR,      Admiralty, 17 June, 1848.

In obedience to their Lordships’ instructions of the 30th ultimo,
I have inquired into the matters therein mentioned respecting the
Peninsular and Oriental Contract Steam Packet Company, having called
to my assistance, for this purpose, Mr. W. H. Bond, purser of her
Majesty’s navy; and I have now the honour of enclosing the Report
thereon for their Lordships’ information.

  H. G. Ward, Esq.,      (Signed)      A. ELLICE.
  &c., &c., &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

This Report being founded on certain documents which were
confidentially placed in my hands, I consider that this Report should
be confidential also.

  (Signed)      A. E.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Admiralty, 16 June, 1848.

In compliance with the instructions of the Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty, contained in their minute of the 30th ultimo, “To ascertain
whether the profit of the voyages between Southampton, Malta, and
Alexandria, have been such as would provide a dividend of 10 per cent.
per annum on the capital, after the ordinary deductions of wear and
tear, and sea risk of vessels,--if the directors had not thought fit to
invest a portion of their profits in the extension of the stock, by
the purchase of additional vessels:”

“Also to endeavour to institute a comparison between the expenses
of carrying on the mail services by the company, and those
which are incurred by her Majesty’s naval service in similar
duties:”--Application was made to the directors of the Peninsular
and Oriental Company to furnish a copy of the balance-sheet for the
last half year, ending the 1st March, 1848, together with such other
documents as would serve to explain the various items contained in it.
These being furnished, the readiest access was afforded to the ledger
and other books of the company, for their verification.

As these accounts are kept so as to include all the operations of the
company, without distinguishing the profits on the different branches,
it became necessary, in order to carry out the spirit of their
Lordship’s instructions, to inquire into the state of the company’s
affairs generally; and to conduct this inquiry in such a way as to
arrive at a satisfactory conclusion on the following points:--

1. Whether the postal duties performed by the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Company are proportionate to the amount paid for those duties.

2. Whether such duties can, with advantage, be transferred from the
contract steam vessels to those of her Majesty’s navy.

3. The propriety of throwing these duties open to public competition.

4. The expediency of accepting the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s
proposal for a modification of the terms of the contract.

Upon these important points the most careful and mature consideration
has been bestowed; all the documents have been closely examined and
compared with the books of the company, and the following are the
results which are submitted for their Lordships’ information:--

First. That the amount paid to the Peninsular and Oriental Company for
the duties it has performed has not hitherto been more than it was
justly entitled to receive, on the principle that the shareholders are
entitled to a fair commercial profit on the capital invested in the
undertaking, and admitting that the affairs of the company have been
managed, as they appear to have been, with economy and efficiency. The
dividend hitherto made has never reached the amount of 10 per cent.
per annum, and the additions made to their shipping and other capital
are from reserves to meet contingencies. The principles on which these
reserves have been laid aside, instead of being divided as profits,
will be hereafter explained in this report.

Second. That the present inadequate means of ascertaining the expense
of her Majesty’s steam vessels, especially in the Indian and China
seas, renders it difficult to determine the comparative pecuniary
results which would follow the transfer of the duties. Considering,
however, the difficulty of adapting her Majesty’s vessels to commercial
purposes, accommodation of passengers and freight of merchandise,
and the superior convenience and advantages of mercantile companies
in these respects, the success or expediency of such a change is
exceedingly doubtful, except on a necessity, arising from exorbitant
demands for carrying the mails by contract.

Third. Considering that the postal duties have been well and
satisfactorily performed; that the company has never been fined for
any breach of contract; that it has never asked for any increase of
remuneration, or decrease of the duties to be performed, as has been
the case in other instances of contract with companies; considering,
also, the energetic manner in which this company has persevered in
extending steam communication through new and untried channels, and
that it has formed extensive establishments on the faith of the
continued support of the Government, and that it still contemplates an
extension of its communications with the farthest southern and eastern
point of the British possessions; establishing for these proposes a
steam navy of considerable magnitude, at the command of the public, on
any emergency,--it appears to be entitled to as much consideration as
is compatible with an economical administration of the duties of the

Fourth. That for reasons hereafter suggested, the contract may now with
great propriety be brought under conditions more favourable to the
Government; and that this may be done either by a fixed reduction for a
permanent term, or on a scale varying with the profits of the company.

In either case it will appear essential that any new arrangement to be
made should rather be of a permanent than of a temporary character,
both to ensure confidence to the company in the conduct and extension
of their concerns, and efficiency in the discharge of the service
entrusted to them.

The reasons for adopting these results, which are submitted with great
deference to their Lordships’ consideration, are founded upon facts
contained in the following statement:--

First: As regards the duties performed, and payments made.

The annexed table, No. 1, shows the routes, distances, and amounts of
the existing contracts. Of these, the third route has been recently
transferred to Government vessels. From this return it appears that
hitherto the company has been paid the sum of £224,525, which, however,
has been reduced by this transfer to £209,000.

For the performance of these duties, and the other business of the
company, the establishment of vessels detailed in the annexed table,
No. 2, is in efficient operation, with the exception of the “Ariel,”
recently stranded in the vicinity of Leghorn.

The original project fixed the capital at £1,000,000, but the amount
paid up was, and remains, at the sum of £973,378 16s. 8d. In addition
to this capital, reserved amounts have been credited, arising from
undivided profits, under the heads of “Repair,” “Insurance,” and
“Depreciation” funds, amounting to £306,424 19s. 2d., as will be seen
by the annexed statement, No. 3.

The balance-sheet of the company, No. 4, shows the last half-yearly
expenditure to amount to £238,404 19s.; and the receipts, including the
amount paid by the Government for the conveyance of mails, £301,034
10s. 2d.

Some idea of the extent of this establishment may be formed from the
following items of expenditure:--

For the half-year ending the 31st March last, the company disbursed for
the shipping department alone--

                                     £   _s._ _d._
  Coal                            93,568   2   4
  Oil and tallow                   2,687  14   0
  Victualling seamen              16,501  14   6
  Wages to seamen                 29,383   6   0
  Incidental expenses              8,114   1  11
  Chartering hired vessels         6,326  12   0
                                £158,581  10   9

The receipts under the following heads, for the same periods, amounted

  Passage-money, after deducting the charge for     £    _s._ _d._
    maintenance                                  110,508   4    6
  Stewards’ fees                                   1,677  16    8
  Freight and parcels                             72,894   9    9
  Conveyance of mails                            112,262  10    0
                                                £297,343   0   11

The company has not thought it prudent to pay a larger dividend than 8
per cent. per annum to the shareholders.

In addition to the dividend, the before-mentioned reserved funds have
accrued from the annual profits, viz.:--

  Depreciation    £175,183
  Insurance        137,162
  Repairing         74,079

Beyond 2½ per cent. on the freight and passage-money, paid to the
directors under the head of management; and 5 per cent. on the profit
balance on closing the account, paid on the same account.

These charges of 2½ per cent. on the freight and passage-money, and
5 per cent. on the balance, include, beyond all other expenses of
management, allowance to the managing directors, for conducting the
affairs of the company, to the net amount of from £15,000 to 16,000 per

This remuneration is paid to them under the deed of settlement, and has
probably secured to the shareholders an efficiency and economy in the
general arrangements which have contributed greatly to the success of
the concern; at the same time it may be doubted whether, in estimating
the profits of the company, the amount paid to the directors may not be
considered (beyond the usual compensation for such services) as part of
the general profits, rather than as a charge of management.

The principles on which the reserved funds have been laid aside appear
fair and reasonable.

The insurance is at a rate of 5 per cent. on the first cost of the
vessels employed, after deducting the amount already carried to
depreciation account; out of which amount the premiums for insurance at
Lloyd’s are paid on such assurances as are effected there, the balance
being added to the insurance fund. The portion of the insurance
actually effected is at rather a higher rate than the 5 per cent. It
would not be fair, therefore, to include any portion of this reserved
fund in an estimate of the company’s profits as shipowners or mail
contractors. It belongs fairly to them in their character of insurers,
as, if they had insured the full value of their property, it would have
been paid to underwriters.

The depreciation fund is calculated at a rate of 5 per cent. per annum
on the first cost of the vessels, after deducting the amount previously
carried to the same account.

The repair fund is at the rate of 10 per cent. per annum, calculated
on the same amount as the preceding; and it will be seen that the sum
thus reserved for the last six months was £37,633 13_s._ 3_d._, which
did not provide for the actual expenditure of £39,630 6_s._ 3_d._

So far, therefore, as the affairs of the company have hitherto
proceeded, the amount paid to them under the contract would not appear
to have exceeded a reasonable remuneration for the services performed,
on the principles before stated.

Second: The comparative advantages which might result from the
employment of her Majesty’s vessels, instead of contract vessels, for
the performance of those duties, appears to be a question of somewhat
difficult solution.

The present mode of keeping the accounts of the navy, and the
commixture of expenditure for the steam and other departments in the
dockyards and public offices, must render it exceedingly difficult to
ascertain the cost of any separate branch of service.

Supposing, however, that the financial comparison could be made, yet
there are many other important elements in the consideration of the

For the rapid and secure performance of the public mail duty, no
branch of the mercantile marine is so well prepared as her Majesty’s
naval department. But by the employment of her Majesty’s vessels,
light merchandise could not be conveyed; the habits and comforts of
the passengers could never be so well provided for as by persons paid
for such duties; and as regards the troublesome details of carrying
passengers, freight, and merchandise, the war steamer must be less
adapted than the merchant vessel.

It must be recollected, also, that a sufficient number of vessels
must be fitted up, equipped, provisioned, stored, and specially and
exclusively adapted to and employed upon this service; and that fresh
arrangements, depôts, and agencies along the lines of route would
be required; the preparation for such services would therefore be
necessarily attended with an expense which years of any probable saving
could scarcely defray.

Third: The question then arises whether, in the continued employment of
the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company’s vessels, considering the
actual condition and the established profits and credit of the company,
owing in some measure to the existing contract, some modification of
the terms, for the advantage of the public, may not be fairly expected.

With a view to the consideration of this question, the following facts
are submitted.

The general transactions of the last half-year, the best period for
judging clearly the present operation of the company, furnish the
following points:

  The gross profits, after deducting 2½ per cent. for        £  _s._ _d._
    management, and 5 per cent. for repairs, and 2½ per
    cent. for insurance, amount to                           62,629 11   2

  From which is deducted 2½ per cent, for depreciation       16,915  0   0
      Leaving, beyond the amount deducted for directors     £45,714 11   2

The dividend to the shareholders, at the rate of 4 per cent. for six
months, or 8 per cent. per annum, on the original capital of £973,378,
amounted to £38,933, leaving a surplus balance of about £6,781, to be
carried to the next account.

If even the amount paid to the directors from the 2½ per cent.
(deducted for charges of management, being for a half year, £8,248 10s.
9d.), were added to the surplus balance of £6,781, and a dividend paid
to the proprietors at the rate of 10 per cent., the scale suggested by
their lordships, a residue would only be left of about £5,296; from
which residue the expenses of management, and ordinary salaries for
managing directors, would have to be defrayed.

Their lordships will thus have before them the means of considering
what modification of the terms of the contract the present and
prospective state of the profits of the company would appear to
justify; or whether it would be expedient to adopt such modification
to the varying profits of the company in the terms proposed by it;
viz., that when the financial position of the company, with respect
to such mail services, shall be such as, after making the customary
allowances for the repairs, &c., a maximum dividend of 10 per cent.
can be realised to the shareholders, any surplus over and above such
maximum dividend shall be placed to the credit of the Government.

  (Signed) A. ELLICE,
  WM. H. BOND.


    _No. 1.--Memorandum of Contracts with Government for the
    Conveyance of Her Majesty’s Mails by the Peninsular and Oriental
    Steam Navigation Company._

                                    |Distance|         |        |
             STATION.               |  per   | Annual  | Annual | Per Mile.
                                    |Voyage. |Distance.|  Sum.  |
  1. Southampton to Vigo, Oporto,   |        |         |   £    |
       Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar;|        |         |        |
       three times a month, say on  |        |         |        |
       the 7th, 17th, and 27th      |  2,400 |  86,400 | 20,500 | 4/8¾
                                    |        |         |        |nearly 4/9
  2. Southampton to Malta and       |        |         |        |
       Alexandria, once a month, on |        |         |        |
       the 20th                     |  6,084 |  73,008 | 28,500 | 7/9½
                                    |        |         |        |nearly ¾
  3. Southampton to Malta and       |        |         |        |
       Alexandria (bi-monthly) on   |        |         |        |
       the 3rd                      |  6,084 |  73,008 | 15,525 |   4/3
  4. Calcutta to Madras, Point de   |        |         |        |
       Galle, Aden and Suez, and    |        |         |        |
       Point de Galle to Penang,    |        |         |        |
       Singapore, and Hong Kong,    |        |         |        |
       once a month                 | 15,590 | 187,080 |160,000 | 17/1¼
                                    |        | 419,496 |224,525 | 10/8¼
                                    |        |         |        |nearly ½

  London, 8th June, 1848.

_No. 2--List of the Steam Ships belonging to the Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Navigation Company.--June 10, 1848._

      |             |              REGISTER TONNAGE.               |         |         |
      |             +---------------+----------------+-------------+         |         +
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
  No. | NAME of the |               |                |             |         |         |
      |   VESSEL.   |     Ship.     |  Engine Room.  |     Old     | Horse   |         |
      |             |               |                | Measurement.| Power.  |  Cost.  |
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
      |             |         New Measurement.       |             |         |     £   |
    1 | Bentinck    |  941-50/100   | 1,032-81/100   | 1,702-20/94 |    520  |   89,000|
    2 | Precursor   |1,133-3/10     |   684          | 1,640       |    460  |   63,000|
    3 |*Haddington  |1,166-84/100   |   480-60/100   | 1,303-13/94 |    450  |   61,500|
    4 | Oriental    |1,103-5/10     |   684          | 1,303-20/94 |    420  |   78,000|
    5 | India       |  501-1750/7500|   369-1750/7500|   755-74/94 |    350  |   10,500|
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
    6 | Achilles    |  586-79/100   |   405-36/100   |   853-78/94 |    430  |   26,500|
    7 |*Pottinger   |  934-9/10     |   467          | 1,225       |    450  |   66,000|
    8 |*Pekin       |  759-24/100   |   423-9/100    | 1,000       |    400  |   46,000|
    9 | Lady M. Wood|  296-51/100   |   256-59/100   |   503-20/94 |    260  |   31,500|
   10 | Braganza    |  570          |   284          |   707-70/94 |    264  |   21,100|
   11 |*Canton      |  218-35/100   |   170          |   387-27/94 |         |   14,000|
   12 | Hindostan   |  971-6/10     | 1,046-6/10     | 1,552-39/94 |    520  |   88,000|
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
   13 |*Indus       |  927-3/10     |   458-9/10     | 1,251-5/94  |    450  |   62,000|
   14 |*Ripon       |1,167-8/10     |   458          | 1,394-39/94 |    450  |   66,000|
   15 |*Ariel       |  443-8/10     |   265          |   821-7/94  |    300  |   38,500|
   16 |*Erin        |  532-6/10     |   265          |   810       |    280  |   35,000|
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
   17 |*Euxine      |  729-407/3500 |   435-2065/3500| 1,039-67/94 |    400  |   43,500|
   18 |*Sultan      |  728-79/100   |   361-57/100   |   990-85/94 |    400  |   38,500|
   19 | Tagus       |  497       285|                |   709-88/94 |    286  |   28,000|
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
   20 |*Pacha       |  302-53/100   |   245-88/100   |   517-74/94 |    210  |   16,000|
   21 | Iberia      |  301-9/10     |   213-8/10     |   520       |    190  |   22,000|
   22 | Jupiter     |  288          |   255          |   437-9/94  |    210  |   15,500|
      |             |               |                |             |         |         |
   23 | Montrose    |  283-4/10     |   322          |   596       |    260  |   18,500|
   24 |*Madrid      |  315-1/10     |   163-6/10     |   446-8/94  |    140  |   17,000|
   25 |*Malta       |  776-82/100   |   440-64/100   | 1,225       |    450  |   57,500|
   26 | Bombay      |     ....      |      ....      | 1,209-43/94 |    400  |   58,000|
   27 | Ganges      |     ....      |      ....      | 1,209-43/94 |    400  |   58,000|
   28 | Vestis      |     ....      |      ....      |   905-86/94 |    370  |   47,000|
                                                     |27,017-70/94 |  9,870  |1,220,500|
      |             |                    CREW.                 |  NATIVE CREW.   |     |
      |             +-----+---------+------+-------------------+------+-----+----+     |
      |             |     |         |      | Engineering |     |      |     |    |     |
      |             |     |         |      | Department. |     |      |     |    |     |
      |             |     |         |      +-------+-----+     |      |     |    |     |
      |             |     | Mates,  |Stew- |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
  No. | NAME of the |     |Surgeons,| ards |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
      |   VESSEL.   |     |Pursers, | and  |       |Fire-|     |      |     |    |     |
      |             |Cap- |   and   |SERV- |ENGIN- | men,| SEA-|SERV- |FIRE-|SEA-|TOTAL|
      |             |tain.| CLERKS. |ANTS. | EERS. | &C. | MEN.|ANTS. |MEN. |MEN.|CREW.|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
    1 | Bentinck    |  1  |    7    |  21  |   5   |  4  |  23 |  10  |  67 | 39 |  181|
    2 | Precursor   |  1  |    7    |  25  |   5   |  9  |  28 |   8  |  60 | 28 |  171|
    3 |*Haddington  |  1  |    7    |  27  |   5   |  9  |  28 |  10  |  60 | 30 |  177|
    4 | Oriental    |  1  |    5    |   7  |   3   |  8  |  31 | ...  | ... |... |   55|
    5 | India       | ... |    1    |  ... |  ...  | ... | ... | ...  | ... |... |    1|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
    6 | Achilles    |  1  |    5    |   6  |   4   | 12  |  23 | ...  | ... |... |   51|
    7 |*Pottinger   |  1  |    6    |  11  |   4   |  6  |  17 |  30  |  60 | 43 |  178|
    8 |*Pekin       |  1  |    6    |  10  |   5   |  7  |  14 |   7  |  45 | 41 |  136|
    9 | Lady M. Wood|  1  |    5    |   4  |   4   |  3  |   9 |   8  |  26 | 29 |   89|
   10 | Braganza    |  1  |    5    |   9  |   4   |  3  |   5 |   4  |  31 | 30 |   92|
   11 |*Canton      |  1  |    2    |   3  |   2   |  6  |  12 | ...  | ... |... |   26|
   12 | Hindostan   |  1  |    7    |  28  |   4   | 24  |  27 | ...  | ... |... |   91|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
   13 |*Indus       |  1  |    7    |  28  |   4   | 24  |  27 | ...  | ... |... |   91|
   14 |*Ripon       |  1  |    7    |  31  |   4   | 23  |  25 | ...  | ... |... |   91|
   15 |*Ariel       |  1  |    5    |  13  |   3   | 12  |  19 | ...  | ... |... |   53|
   16 |*Erin        |  1  |    5    |  12  |   3   | 13  |   8 | ...  | ... |... |   52|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
   17 |*Euxine      |  1  |    6    |  15  |   4   | 18  |  22 | ...  | ... |... |   66|
   18 |*Sultan      |  1  |    6    |  15  |   4   | 18  |  22 | ...  | ... |... |   66|
   19 | Tagus       |  1  |    5    |  14  |   3   | 12  |  17 | ...  | ... |... |   52|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
   20 |*Pacha       |  1  |    3    |  13  |   3   |  8  |  15 | ...  | ... |... |   43|
   21 | Iberia      |  1  |    3    |  12  |   3   |  9  |  13 | ...  | ... |... |   41|
   22 | Jupiter     |  1  |    3    |  11  |   2   |  9  |  12 | ...  | ... |... |   38|
      |             |     |         |      |       |     |     |      |     |    |     |
   23 | Montrose    |  1  |    3    |  10  |   2   | 10  |  14 | ...  | ... |... |   40|
   24 |*Madrid      |  1  |    2    |  11  |   2   |  9  |  13 | ...  | ... |... |   39|
   25 |*Malta       | ... |   ...   |  ... |  ...  | ... | ... | ...  | ... |... | ... |
   26 | Bombay      | ... |   ...   |  ... |  ...  | ... | ... | ...  | ... |... | ... |
   27 | Ganges      | ... |   ...   |  ... |  ...  | ... | ... | ...  | ... |... | ... |
   28 | Vestis      | ... |   ...   |  ... |  ...  | ... | ... | ...  | ... |... | ... |
                    |  23 |  119    |  340 |  82   | 256 | 434 |  77  | 349 |240 |1,920|
      |             |               |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
  No. | NAME of the |               |                             |
      |   VESSEL.   |    When       |        STATION.             |        REMARKS.
      |             |  commenced    |                             |
      |             |   Running.    |                             |
      |             |               |                             |
    1 | Bentinck    |24 August, 1843| Calcutta & Suez.            |
    2 | Precursor   |10 Sept.   1844|     Ditto.                  |Purchased afloat.
    3 |*Haddington  | 4 Dec.    1846|     Ditto.                  |
    4 | Oriental    | 2 Sept.   1840|     Ditto.                  |
    5 | India       |     ....      |      ....                   |Reserve ship, purchased
      |             |               |                             |  in India.
    6 | Achilles    |     ....      | Bombay & China              |Purchased by the
    7 |*Pottinger   |20 Sept.   1846|     Ditto.                  |  Company afloat;
    8 |*Pekin       |28 Jan.    1847|     Ditto.                  |  first voyage, 17th
    9 | Lady M. Wood| 1 Feb.    1842|     Ditto.                  |  October, 1845
   10 | Braganza    |   Sept.   1846|     Ditto.                  |
   11 |*Canton      |not comd runng.| Hong Kong & Canton.         |
   12 | Hindostan   |29 Sept.   1842|Southampton and              |
      |             |               |  Alexandria.                |
   13 |*Indus       |20 June    1847|     Ditto.                  |
   14 |*Ripon       |20 Nov.    1846|     Ditto.                  |
   15 |*Ariel       |26 Sept.   1846| Malta & Alexandria.         |
   16 |*Erin        | 3 Sept.   1846| Southampton, Constantinople,|
      |             |               |   & Black Sea.              |
   17 |*Euxine      | 3 Jan.    1848|     Ditto.                  |
   18 |*Sultan      | 3 August  1847|     Ditto.                  |
   19 | Tagus       |16 Nov.    1840|Southampton and              |
      |             |               |  Peninsula.                 |
   20 |*Pacha       |13 May     1843|Southampton & Italy.         |
   21 | Iberia      |19 Sept.   1840|     Ditto.                  |
   22 | Jupiter     |    ....       |Southampton and              |
      |             |               |  Peninsula.                 |Purchased afloat.
   23 | Montrose    | 5 Sept.   1840|     Ditto.                  |     Ditto.
   24 |*Madrid      |17 Nov.    1845|     Ditto.                  |
   25 |*Malta       |               |                             |Not yet running.
   26 | Bombay      |     ....      |      ....                   |     Ditto.
   27 | Ganges      |     ....      |      ....                   |     Ditto.
   28 | Vestis      |     ....      |      ....                   |

  The vessels marked * are built of iron.

_No. 3.--Statement of the Debts, Assets, and Effects of the Peninsular
and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, 31st March, 1848._

  |                                                   |      £.   _s._ _d._|      £.    _s._ _d._|
  | General coal account                              |                    |     44,345  2    5  |
  |   Ditto purser’s ditto, stores afloat             |    22,923   2   0  |                     |
  |   Ditto ditto    ditto  ditto  ashore             |    28,451  19   4  |                     |
  |   Ditto material ditto  ship’s stores             |    28,474  12   3  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+     74,849  13   7  |
  |                                                   |                    |                     |
  | Ships, &c., at work                               |   754,670  16   0  |                     |
  |   Ditto     stock                                 |   304,600   0   0  |                     |
  |   Ditto     building            £152,841   11   7 |                    |                     |
  | Advanced on account of repairs    19,273   15   7 |                    |                     |
  |                                 ------------------|   172,115   7   2  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+                     |
  |                                                   | 1,231,385   3   2  |                     |
  | Less received from the Portuguese government,     |                    |                     |
  |   on account of the “Royal Tar”                   |     4,799   0   1  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+  1,225,587   3   1  |
  | Debts due by agents            £25,388   18   2   |                    |                     |
  | Less due to agents               4,396   16   3   |                    |                     |
  |                                                   |    20,992   1  11  |                     |
  | Cash, Bills, &c.                                  |    94,728  19   3  |                     |
  | Insurance fund invested in Government securities  |    34,168   8   0  |                     |
  | Freehold property, King’s Arms                    |    16,958  15  11  |                     |
  | Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s|                    |                     |
  |   shares                                          |    18,004   2   6  |                     |
  | Outstanding freights                              |     3,054   7   3  |                     |
  | O. C. Edmond                                      |       421  16   7  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+    188,328  11   5  |
  |                                                   |                    |                     |
  | General stock account, barges, hulks, &c.         |      ...  ... ...  |      4,231  10   7  |
  | Purser’s cash account                             |       245  10   1  |                     |
  | Mazagon Dock, working expenses                    |     1,724  12   0  |                     |
  | Petty cash                                        |        90   0   0  |                     |
  | Bills receivable in suspense                      |        57   5   1  |                     |
  | Pacha voyage to Havre                             |         4   0   8  |                     |
  | Colombo agency                                    |        25  18   1  |                     |
  | New iron steam ships                              |       423  10   3  |                     |
  | Transit for the Pacha of Egypt                    |        80   0   0  |                     |
  | Dadabhoy Rustomjee                                |     1,078  13   1  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------|      3,729   9   3  |
  |                                                   |                    +---------------------+
  |                                                   |                    | £1,542,071  10   4  |
  |                                                   |     £.    _s._ _d._|      £.    _s._ _d._|
  | Bills payable                                     |   121,475  19   5  |                     |
  | Dividend, 8th to 13th, half-year                  |     2,197   6  20  |                     |
  |   Ditto  14th          ditto                      |     2,426   6   4  |                     |
  | London and South Western Railway Company          |     3,722  12   1  |                     |
  | Southampton Dock      ditto                       |     1,944   7   0  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+    131,766  11   1  |
  |                                                   |                    |                     |
  | Suspense account                                  |       334  19   3  |                     |
  | R. Franck, stamp account                          |         6   0   0  |                     |
  | S. R. Engledue   ditto                            |        13   0   0  |                     |
  | Oil and Tallow   ditto                            |       199   2  11  |                     |
  | Patent Fuel Company                               |        76  19   0  |                     |
  | Burton and Co.                                    |     1,515  10   0  |                     |
  | Lord and Co.                                      |       211  18   7  |                     |
  | Transfer fees                                     |        33  15   0  |                     |
  | “Bredalbane,” for the Pacha of Egypt              |       896   5   5  |                     |
  |  W. Longridge                                     |        14   2   8  |                     |
  |                                                   +--------------------+      3,301  12  10  |
  |                                                   |                    |                     |
  | Capital                                           |   304,600   0   0  |                     |
  | Additional amount called up                       |   668,778  16   8  |                     |
  | Repairs account                  £76,075  17   6  +--------------------+     973,37  16   8  |
  | Addition made this half-year      37,633  13   3  |                    |                     |
  |                                 ------------------|                    |                     |
  |                                  113,709  10   9  |                    |                     |
  |                                   39,630   6   3  |                    |                     |
  |                                 ------------------|    74,079   4   6  |                     |
  | Insurance account               £123,639   9   4  |                    |                     |
  | Addition made this half-year      15,683   4   9  |                    |                     |
  |                                 ----------------- |                    |                     |
  |                                  139,322  14   1  |                    |                     |
  |                                    2,160   7   3  |                    |                     |
  |                                 ----------------  |   137,162   6  10  |                     |
  | Depreciation account             £158,268  7  10  |                    |                     |
  | Addition made this half-year       16,915  0   0  |                    |                     |
  |                                 ------------------|   175,183   7  10  |                     |
  |    Profit and Loss:                               +--------------------+    386,424  19   2  |
  | Balance of this account remaining from last year                       |      1,484  19   5  |
  |   Ditto      ditto       ditto    from the half-year now concluded     |     45,714  11   2  |
  +                                                                        +---------------------+
  |                                                                        | £1,542,071  10   4  |
           (True Copy.)                (Signed)                    C. W. HOWELL, _Secretary_.

_No. 4.--Disbursements and Receipts of the Peninsular and Oriental_


                  (Six Months from 1st October, 1847, to 31st March, 1848.)
                                                               |   £     _s._ _d._|    £   _s._ _d._
  To 58,789 tons of Coals (cost)                               | 93,568    2    4 |
     Oil and Tallow                                            |  2,687   14    0 |
     Victualling Crews                                         | 16,501   14    6 |
     Charter Money for Hire of Vessels to supply the place     |                  |
       of “Royal Tar,” (sold), and “Tiber,” (lost)             |  6,326   12    0 |
     Wages to Commanders, Officers, and Crews                  | 29,383    6    0 |
     Fees to Commanders of the Company’s Ships                 |    445   16    3 |
     Port Charges, Sea Stores, and other incidental expenses   |                  |
       in the ships                                            |  8,114    1   11 |
     Directors’ Attendances                                    |    918   15    0 |
     London Office; Expenses, Salaries, &c.                    |    976   18    8 |
     Southampton     ditto     ditto                           |  1,341    0   11 |
     Malta           ditto     ditto                           |    461    1    4 |
     Constantinople Agency                                     |  1,508   18    6 |
     Calcutta    ditto  (exclusive of Repairs to Ships)        |  3,323   19    0 |
     Bombay      ditto  (ditto    ditto)                       |  1,382    7    8 |
     Hong Kong   ditto                                         |    835    1    7 |
     Lisbon      ditto (for two years)                         |  1,206   19    3 |
     21 Minor Agencies at sundry Foreign Stations              |  2,237    0    4 |
     London Agency, 2-1/2 per cent. Commission on Freight }    |                  |
       and Passage Money, comprehending Rent of           }    |                  |
       Offices, Taxes, Stationery, Account Books, Office  }    |                  |
       Expenses, Postages (not foreign), Custom House     }    |  8,246   10    9 |
       business, and Clerks’ Salaries, for the business of}    |                  |
       the management, &c. &c., pursuant to the Deed      }    |                  |
       of Settlement                                      }    |                  |
     Advertisements during the half year                       |  1,121    3   11 |
     Floating Light (Suez) Expenses, ditto                     |     71   15    5 |
     Condemned Pursers’ Stores                                 |    271   15    1 |
     Income Tax for six months                                 |    811    3    1 |
     Damages (and goods stolen on China line £463 10s 10d)     |    578    1    2 |
     Law Charges                                               |    325   16    5 |
     Auditors’Fees (for two years)                             |     42    0    0 |
     Captain Guthrie’s pay (nautical examiner)                 |    120    0    0 |
     Stationery and Printing for Foreign Agencies, &c.         |    323   10    1 |
     Donations; viz.--Mrs. M’Leod           £305 0 0           |                  |
                      Lieutenant Waghorn     300 0 0           |                  |
                      Captain Bingham        100 0 0           |                  |
                      Sundries                39 0 0           |                  |
                                            --------           |    744    0    0 |
     Subscriptions (see particulars at foot[8])                |    163   16    8 |
     Gratuities to Officers                                    |    105    0    0 |
     Telegraph Charges                                         |     35   19    0 |
     Foreign Postages, Travelling Expenses, Charts, Newspapers,|                  |
       and Petty Expenses                                      |    908    0    2 |
     Repair Account for the half year                          | 37,633   13    3 |
     Insurance (on vessels at work) ditto                      | 15,683    4    9 |
                                                               +------------------+ 238,404  19   0
     Balance carried down                                                         |  62,629  11   2
                                                                                  |£301,034  10   2

  To Depreciation for the half-year                                                  16,915   0   0
     Dividend     ditto    about                                                     40,000   0   0
     Balance carried down                                                             5,714  11
                                                                                    £62,629  11   2

_Steam Navigation Company.--Fifteenth Half Year, ending March 31, 1848._

                (Six Months, from 1st October, 1847, to 31st March, 1848)
                                                       |    £   _s._ _d._|   £    _s._ _d._
  By Passage Money received during the half-year       | 151,757  4   8  |
       Loss, Transit through Egypt       £14,767  6  6 |                 |
             Victualling Passengers       26,481 13  8 |                 |
                                         ------------- |  41,249  0   2  |
                                                       +-----------------+ 110,508  4  6
    Freights and Parcels received during the half-year |  77,764  3   3  |
      Less, Cattle, head money           £    16  1  0 |                 |
        Proportion of Carriage on Constantinople       |                 |
          Cargoes                          2,057 14  3 |                 |
        Cartage and Lighterage               399  2  2 |                 |
        Carriage of Goods, Southampton                 |                 |
          (Railway Expenses)               2,396 16  1 |                 |
                                          ------------ |   4,869 13   6  |
                                                       +-----------------+  72,894  9  9
    Mail Contracts during the half-year                |                 | 112,262 10  0
    Stewards’ Fees, ditto ditto                        |                 |   1,677 16  8
    Interest                                           |   1,059 15  11  |
    Ditto (Dividend on Company’s Shares invested)      |   2,229  3   4  |
                                                       +-----------------+   3,288 19  3
                                                       |                 |
    Profit on Exchequer Bills, for gain on sale of £20,000 invested      |     402 10  0
                                                                         |£301,034 10  2

  By Balance brought down                                                  £62,629 11  2

        31st March, 1848.
  By balance brought down                                                   £5,714 11 2

                            (Signed)  JOHN PIRIE.  AR. ANDERSON.
                                      FRAN. CARLETON.  B. M. WILLCOX.

                        (True Copy.)

                            (Signed)  C. W. HOWELL, Secretary.

    _Copy of a Memorandum made by_ Mr. COWPER _on the Contract
    for the Calcutta Mails, after the receipt of the Report of
    Investigation by_ Captain ELLICE _and_ Mr. BOND, _and sent to_
    Lord AUCKLAND.

“The contract for the Calcutta mails, from Southampton to Alexandria,
expires on the 8th January, 1849. Two offers have been made for its
renewal, one by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, for £27,500
the first year, and for sums diminishing by £500 a year for every
subsequent year that the contract may remain in force. A new company,
the India and Australia, offer to do the same service for £25,650; the
sum now paid is £28,500.

“The Peninsular and Oriental Company accompanied their tender by an
offer to pay over to the Government any earnings or profits they might
receive beyond a maximum dividend of ten per cent. to the shareholders,
after the customary allowances have been deducted for repairs, wear
and tear, and sea risk of the vessels and property; and as a security,
they offered to submit, from time to time, the accounts of all their
transactions connected with the mail service, to the inspection of such
competent persons as the Government may appoint.

“Captain Ellice and Mr. Bond were then requested to examine the
accounts of this company before any decision was come to upon the
tenders; and having had every facility afforded them, have made the
accompanying report. From this it appears that the profits made upon
the capital of the company, about equal ten per cent. as a total sum;
but that after reserves for depreciation, repairs and insurance, and
expenses of management, there has remained hitherto not more than
eight per cent. for the shareholders. The question of how much of
the earnings ought to be kept in reserve to meet depreciation, is so
discretionary that I have no expectation that any company would ever
admit that there was a surplus profit to be handed over to Government;
and this report confirms my impression, that we ought not to make such
an arrangement a part of the contract.

“But I think both the tenders too high, and that we ought to decline
them both; and this we can do without irregularity, for they are not
tenders called for absolutely, but only tenders ‘to treat.’

“If this be done, we should then make an offer on our part; and as
the Peninsular and Oriental Company have performed their contract
perfectly, and furnish every guarantee that can be desired for the
regular execution of a future contract, I consider that we ought to
make our offer to them only; and if they should refuse it, we might
repeat it to the India and Australia Company.

“The mileage we pay them at present is estimated by the hydrographer
at 8s. 0-1/4d. a mile and by the company at 7s. 9-1/2d. a mile (he
measures the distance of the voyage out and back at 5,920 nautical
miles, they at 6,084); but we pay the same company about 4s. 6d. a mile
for the line to Lisbon and Gibraltar, and I think we are justified in
offering the same payment for the Alexandria line. But in that case
we must not tie them down as to size of vessels, for the lowness of
the remuneration on the former line is explained by the contract not
requiring the vessels to be more than 140-horse power.

“To this department the size of the vessels is a matter of
indifference, we care only that it be sufficient to secure speed; and
we should stipulate only for a certain rate of speed.

“If my proposition be adopted we should immediately signify to the
parties that their tenders are not accepted, and make a communication
to the Treasury.

“I omitted to mention, that by directions from the Treasury we fixed
the duration of the contract for which we demanded tenders, at three
years; and also, that a reason for offering 4s. 6d. a mile may be
found in the agreement made in May, 1845, by this same company,
to convey mails between Southampton and Alexandria, in vessels of
280-horse power, as far as Malta; and of 180-horse power between Malta
and Alexandria, for £15,525, which gives a mileage of about 4s. 6d.
This agreement was entered into for only one year, since the company
complained of its lowness, and declined, on that account, to make a
formal and permanent contract at that rate; but they have continued it
ever since, and it has been terminated by ourselves in May last.

  (Signed)      “W. COWPER.”

_Copy of a Memorandum by the_ Earl of AUCKLAND, _on the receipt of that
of_ Mr. COWPER.


  “27th June, 1848.

“I think with Captain Ellice and Mr. Bond, that we should desire to
conclude an arrangement with the Oriental in preference to any other
company, for the present contract has been loyally kept, and the
capital and means of that company give better promise of efficiency
and exactness than could be looked for in any other quarter. The
Indian and Australian Company is indeed supported by good names, but
it has yet no paid-up capital, or body of shareholders, or organised
establishment on which we could depend; and though it may be desirable
to establish a rivalry and competition on the line of communication,
It would not be wise to do so at the hazard of uncertainty and
interruption. We have, however, advertised for tenders; and though we
are not bound to take the lowest offer, we should scarcely be justified
in rejecting it without a fair examination of its value. The first
question, however, must be, which is the lowest offer? The Oriental
Company propose to perform the service in the first instance, for
£27,500; the other company for £25,650. But the Oriental are ready
to lower their charge by sums of £500 in the second, £1,000 in the
third, £1,500 in the fourth, and £2,000 in the fifth year, or £5,000
in the five years. This would reduce the difference between the two
companies to only £850 annually, in the event of the contract winning
for five years, or to £1,350 if it should be taken for three years.
But the Oriental further offer to the Government a share in their
profits on this line, whatever they may be beyond 10 per cent. paid
to the shareholders. It is difficult to calculate to what this might
amount, or to determine upon what principle it should be calculated.
The dividend to the shareholders has not yet amounted to more than
eight per cent., but large sums have been applied to new capital,
to reserve funds, for insurance, and to other purposes. There may
be profit on the Mediterranean line, and there may be loss on other
lines, and an annual inquiry into all these matters might lead to
endless discussions and disputes, and would be a source of frequent
vexation to both parties. It is clear, however, that the company makes
considerable profits, and I would prefer, to a share in them under the
exercise of an inquisitorial power, a liberal compromise by a reduction
of the terms which have been proposed; and I think that this reduction
should be to a sum considerably lower than the £25,650 which has been
tendered by the Indian and Australian Company. Mr. Cowper would reduce
the sum demanded to about £15,000, taking the mileage at 4_s._ 6_d._,
the price of the Lisbon, instead of 8_s._ 0-1/4_d._, the mileage of the
Mediterranean packets. I doubt whether these terms would not be too
hard. The Lisbon packets are less efficient and less expensive than
those of the Mediterranean, and though the profits of the latter are
large at some seasons of the year, there are months when passengers to
India are rare, and the receipt small.

“I am inclined to propose a middle term between the £16,000 and the
£27,500, and to offer £22,000 for five years, as a fixed sum, without
condition for periodical reductions, or for a share in the company’s
profits; but before this is determined on, I should like to have
further opinions upon the result which may be drawn from the company’s

“I have carefully looked into them, and I find it difficult to decide
upon what portion of the receipts is to be regarded as net profit,
and what portion of disbursement is to be referred to necessary
expenditure. Looking to the accumulation of capital which has taken
place in twelve years, the profit must have been large.

  (Signed)  “AUCKLAND.

“NOTE.--I find that from May, 1845, up to this month, the Oriental
Company has been running their Mediterranean packets at 4_s._ 6_d._ the
mile; and I am reconciled, therefore, to the offer which it is proposed
by Mr. Cowper should be made to them.”[9]

_Extract from the Deed of Settlement of the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company, dated 25 January, 1841._

“That the managing directors shall provide and furnish, free of all
costs to the company, suitable offices for the business of the said
company at the house No. 51, St. Mary Axe, in the city of London, or
elsewhere[10] in the said city, including a suitable board-room for
the meetings of the Board of Directors, and the general meetings of
the company; and shall provide all necessary superintendents, clerks,
agents, and servants, for conducting and performing the business and
matters to be done by the said managing directors; and also will
provide and pay such printing and stationery, and office expenses,
as shall be connected with, or necessary for the performance of such
business; but all superintendents, clerks, or other persons employed in
any repairing or building establishment of the said company, and the
salaries of the secretary, and of any clerks employed at outports, at
foreign places, and all other expenses relating to the conduct of the
affairs of the company, except such as are agreed to be transacted by
the managing directors, are to be paid by the said company.

“That in consideration of the duties to be performed by the said
managing directors, and the expense to be incurred by them, and of the
services rendered by them[11] in the formation of the said company,
and of the negotiating and procuring the contracts with her Majesty’s
Government for the mail service, and of applying for and procuring
the aforesaid charter of incorporation for the said company,--the
said managing directors shall be allowed and paid by the said company
a commission of two and a half per cent. on the gross receipts or
earnings of the said company; and also a further commission of £5 per
cent. upon the net profits of the business of the said company, after
deducting from such net profits the amount which shall be considered
necessary to set apart as a reserve fund, as after mentioned, for the
purpose of repairing machinery and vessels and other of the stock
of the said company; the aforesaid commission of £5 per cent. to be
paid on the making up the half-yearly accounts of the company for the
ascertaining and declaring the dividends to be paid to the proprietors;
and that such compensation shall be paid to the managing directors in
equal shares so long as there shall be more than one.[12]

  “B. M. W.”

  “11 August, 1848.”


The preceding statement and evidence can scarcely fail to force on the
conviction of every unbiassed mind “the following conclusions:--

1. That the Company owes its present extensive employment in the
Contract Mail Packet Service to no other circumstance than that of
having placed itself, by its own enterprise, in a position to execute
that Service with greater advantage to the public interests than could
otherwise he obtained.

2. That in the planning, undertaking, and executing of that Service, it
has realised important benefits to the public, whether considered in a
financial, political, social, or commercial point of view.

And, looking to its present position,--namely, the possession of
an ample capital and means--of extensive practical experience in
the management of steam navigation--a well-organised establishment
of agencies at its numerous stations abroad--exclusive docking
accommodation for its large ships at the principal ports of
India--extensive main or trunk lines of communication, established
in the principal tracks of Oriental intercourse, and to which any
further extension of postal communication must of necessity subserve,
as auxiliaries or feeders,--there is scarcely room for entertaining a
reasonable doubt that the Peninsular and Oriental Company will be able
to maintain its ground, both in respect to the Services in which it is
already engaged, as well as in the undertaking of any further Services
which may be required in the East, against any _boná fide_ competition,
and on the same legitimate, and, therefore, invulnerable basis on
which its present connexion with the Contract Packet Service has been
established,--namely, its capability of maintaining the present, and
undertaking such future Services, with the greatest advantage to the
public interests, both as to efficiency and economy.

    _Benefits of the Contract Packet Service, and of Steam
    Communications with our Dependencies and Foreign Countries._

The advantage, as regards economy of the public expenditure, of
maintaining these communications by means of private enterprise under
Contract, instead of by Government vessels, managed by Government
establishments, has now been fully recognised.

It has, however, been the practice in some quarters[13] to estimate the
value of these communications, and the expediency of maintaining them,
by the amount of postage of letters which they produce.

A more narrow and unstatesmanlike view of the question can scarcely be
entertained; and a slight consideration of the following facts will
suffice to show that such a mode of estimating their value to the
public is extremely fallacious.

Who, that has had any experience of the operations of commerce, or of
the practical business of Government, would estimate the value of an
accelerated and certain transit of a merchant’s letter or a Government
despatch by the amount of postage which the one brings in, or the other
would bring in, to the revenue?

The rapid transit of the merchant’s letter is often the means of
originating a commercial operation which gives employment to hundreds
of artizans and labourers, thus increasing production and expenditure,
and thereby returning into the exchequer, in taxes on consumption,
thousands of times the comparatively trifling cost of its conveyance.

And how often does the acceleration of the public despatch facilitate
the duties and contribute to the lessening of the expenses of
Government? Instances are not unknown where the rapid transit of a
despatch has saved an expenditure for warlike supplies and operations,
to the amount of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

That facility of intercourse and transit creates and increases
commerce, is a fact which experience has abundantly established. A
circumstance strikingly illustrative of it, and connected with one
branch only of this Company’s operations, was stated in evidence before
the Parliamentary Committee of last session on the Steam Navy, and is
as follows,--viz.:

_Extract from the Evidence of Mr. Anderson, M.P., a Member of the

But I wish to remark that, to estimate the value of these
communications merely by the postage of the letters carried, I consider
to be a very erroneous estimate; there are incidental public advantages
arising from those communications which I consider far to overbalance
the cost of them; for instance, by facilitating the communications with
those foreign countries and dependencies, you promote the increase
of your commerce. And I will mention one fact, which I think will
illustrate the opinion I am now giving. About some six or seven years
since, the merchants connected with Constantinople and the Levant were
very desirous of having steam communication established with those
places, and the Company with which I am connected were willing to
establish such communication; but the returns being rather uncertain,
while the expenses were certain and very heavy, they considered they
were scarcely warranted in entering upon such an enterprise without
some assistance. It was proposed to the then Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Mr. Goulburn, that he should make some allowance, some few
thousand pounds, for an improvement which was proposed to be made in
the postal arrangements with Constantinople, and which would have
reduced the post between London and Constantinople to thirteen days,
instead of twenty-four. Mr. Goulburn objected to entertain the matter,
but subsequently the communication was established. I find, in looking
to the statistics of our export trade, that comparing the amount of
our exports to the quarters to which those steamers run, previous to
their establishment, with the amount at the end of the year 1846,
there was an increase of about £1,200,000 a year. I find also that the
actual value of the goods exported in those steamers from Southampton
last year amounted to within a very trifling fraction of one million
sterling. And referring to several Greek merchants connected with the
trade, of much intelligence, for the cause of that increase, they told
me that they felt perfectly certain that the establishment of the steam
communication had been the great cause of the increase of the trade. I
asked them on what grounds they formed that opinion, and they said it
was upon these grounds: that the steam communication enabled them to
turn their capital over a great deal oftener than by sailing vessels;
that it gave them a certainty as to the time their goods could be in
the market, and they also had a certainty of return for their exports.
That no less than forty new Greek mercantile establishments had been
formed in this country, since the time of the establishment of those
steamers. Supposing those assumptions to be correct, which I believe
they are, or nearly so, I think I am warranted in forming the opinion
that the revenue has been very greatly increased, inasmuch as the trade
is of the most valuable nature for the employment of our artizans and
labourers. The exports consist of manufactured goods of the finest
class; and the imports of raw material, as for example, silks and
goats’ wool, coming here to be manufactured. I am informed that the
wages of labour on this fine class of manufactured goods amount to
about two-thirds of their value. Assuming that to be the case, and
that the trade has been increased by means of the steam communication
with Constantinople and the Levant to the extent of about £1,000,000
sterling, that is taking the exports and imports together, £600,000
of that amount have been paid to artizans and labourers, and expended
by them for the supply of their ordinary wants. And as the proportion
which goes to the revenue in the shape of direct and indirect taxes is
usually estimated at about twenty per cent. of such expenditure, it
follows that the national exchequer has been benefited to the amount
of twenty per cent. on £600,000, or say £120,000 per annum, by the
establishment of that steam communication. The effects, therefore, of
those communications are, I submit, to increase trade and industry, and
consequently the public revenue, while they at the same time provide us
with an important means of maritime defence in case of need.[14]

The means of maritime defence provided through the three large
Companies employed in the Contract Mail Packet Service are as follows:--

                                   |                |         |Aggregate|
          Name of Company.         | No. of Vessels.|Aggregate|  Horse  |
                                   |                | Tonnage.|  Power. |
  Peninsular and Oriental Company  |   23 vessels   |  25,226 |  8,040  |
  West India Royal Mail Company    |   12 vessels   |  19,993 |  5,520  |
  North American Royal Mail Company|    9 vessels   |  15,560 |  5,400  |
              Total                |   44 vessels   |  60,779 | 18,960  |

      Of which 2 vessels are of 800 horse power.
          ”    4        ”       650       ”
          ”   26        ”       400 and upwards to 520 horse power.
          ”    5        ”       250 and upwards to 380       ”
          ”    7        ”       140 and upwards to 240       ”

The first thirty-two vessels being of the tonnage and power of the
steam frigates of the Royal Navy--the remaining twelve vessels of the
power and tonnage of the steam sloops and gun vessels of the Royal Navy.

By a stipulation in the Mail Contracts, these vessels, with the
exception of a few which are under 400-horse power, are required to
be so constructed as to be able to carry and fire guns of the largest
calibre used in the war steamers, and the Government have the power of
employing them for warlike purposes, if required. The vessels under
400-horse power are included in the above list, as they would, without
doubt, be also placed at the disposal of the Government if required.

Assuming that this reserve fleet supersedes the necessity, as it surely
ought to do, of the employment of war steamers to the extent of only
one-fourth of its number, a financial saving to the country of from
£250,000 to £300,000 per annum on that account is due to the Contract
Packet Service.

The annual amount paid to these three Companies for the East India and
China, Mediterranean and Peninsular, West Indian, Mexican, &c., and
North American Contract Mail Services is £589,000. The returns for
postage, as estimated by the Post-office, is about £380,000--leaving an
apparent cost to the pubic of £209,000 for these communications.

But it appears, from the circumstance stated by Mr. Anderson, that at
least half of this apparent deficiency is made good to the exchequer
by taxes on consumption, proceeding from the increase of commerce and
industrial resources consequent on the establishment of _one branch_
of _one Company’s_ communications only; and it surely cannot be an
exaggerated estimate to assume that the whole of the other improved
communications of that and the other Companies make good to the
exchequer, in a similar manner, at least the other half.

It therefore follows, looking at the question as a merely financial
one, that the establishment and maintenance of these communications,
so far from being any burden on the national exchequer, is a gain to
it; their cost being more than returned to it in postage of letters,
_and revenue derived from the increase of industry and consumption
created by their means_; in addition to which the country is, or ought
to be, a gainer, to the extent of not less than a quarter of a million
sterling in a reduction of naval expenditure, seeing that a large
reserve steam navy, promptly available for the national defence, if
required, is provided by these great steam navigation enterprises.
That reserve navy also, while forming so important an auxiliary to the
means of national defence in case of war, is operating as one of the
most effective instruments for the maintenance of peace, by promoting
the extension of foreign commercial intercourse--thereby tending to
bind nations closer together by the strongest of all ties, that of
mutual dependence on each other for their material wants. Assuming
these facts and conclusions to be correct, instead of the expense
of these communications being grudged, it ought to be regarded as
the most beneficial outlay of public money that occurs in the whole
balance-sheet of our national expenditure.

Although, in the preceding remarks, the benefits of these improved
postal communications have been considered only in reference to their
financial, commercial, and political importance, it ought not to be
forgotten that they also involve social benefits, of equal, if not
superior consideration.[15] How few are the instances, comparatively
speaking, where a family in the United Kingdom is to be met with who
has not one or more of its members absent in our distant dependencies,
engaged in industrial pursuits, or in the public service of their
country. To lessen the hardships of absence and separation to so large
a portion of the community, by facilitating to them the means of social
intercommunication, reducing, as it were, the distance which separates
them (as has been done in many cases, to less than one-fourth of what
it formerly was) is surely an object worthy of national sympathy and
solicitude, and claiming to be supported by national means.


[1] See question 2169, p. 45, and 2187, p. 48; also 2254, and 2255.

[2] Now reduced to £20,500.

[3] Note, the sum of £3500 was deducted subsequently by the Admiralty,
in consequence of their superseding the small vessel engaged in the
Ionian Mail Service by packets of their own; and this sum became
thereby reduced to £28,500.

[4] This sum, of £148,000 for 70,080 miles, is at the rate of 42s. 6d.
per mile. If the same amount for passage-money and parcels which the
East India Company’s packets earned, as shown by their return made
to Parliament, (No. 746,) for the same year, 1844-45, in which the
Peninsular and Oriental Company’s proposal was made, namely--

  For passengers           £23,543
      freight of parcels     2,764
                 Total     £26,307

be deducted from the above sum of £148,000, it will leave for the net
estimated cost of performing the Service between Bombay and Suez,
by Government vessels, of the power of those of the Peninsular and
Oriental Company, £121,693, being £41,693 in excess of the sum of
£80,000, for which the Peninsular and Oriental Company offered to do
it: or,

If this estimate of 42s. 6d. per mile be applied to the service between
Suez and Calcutta, for which the Peninsular and Oriental Company
receive £115,000 per annum, it will amount, for the annual mileage of
that Service--115,000 miles--to £244,375, being no less than £129,375
in excess of the sum received by this Company--or if the passage-money
on this line had been estimated at double the amount of that earned
by the East India packets, on the Bombay and Suez Line, say, in round
numbers, £52,000, an estimate certainly as high as prudence would have
warranted in its then untested state, there would still be an excess of
estimated expenditure, under Government management, of £77,375.

[5] See Lord Auckland’s expression, p. 77.

[6] Five _weeks_, and not months, being all the time necessary for a
communication between Ceylon and Southampton, the word “months” might
be taken to be a typographical error, were it not that the evident
drift of the following question is to make out a case against the
Company of tardiness in sending out another vessel to replace the
_alleged_ defective “Lady Mary Wood.”

[7] The investigation has since been completed, and the Admiralty have
acquitted the Company of the charge of overloading the vessels, and
of any breach of contract. One principal cause of the vessels being
occasionally beyond the time stipulated in the contract, in arriving at
Hong Kong, was, that in defining the time in the contract no allowance
was made for the north-east monsoon on the passage eastward, as is
done for the south-west monsoon on the passage westward. The grievance
to the Hong Kong merchants could, however, have been but of trifling
importance, as the steamers, even when behind contract time, always
arrived so as to afford to the China merchants ample opportunity to
answer letters by the return mail. No complaints from China were made
prior to the Company extending the terminus of the China Line to
Bombay, and thereby coming in competition with the opium clippers in
the carrying of that article to Hong Kong.

[8] Subscriptions referred to above:

                                                  £  _s._ _d._
  Steam Association                              133   6   8
  Infirmary at Southampton                        10  10   0
  Rent of Children’s School at Southampton        20   0   0
                                                £163  16   8

[9] The tenor of this memorandum is satisfactory in so far as it
recognises the efficiency with which this Company has executed the
services contracted for, and its consequent claim to be continued in
the performance of it. But in two points his lordship has fallen into

First--In drawing the conclusion that the mileage rate of payment for
one line of mail service ought to regulate the payment for another
line, without taking into account the various circumstances, such as
the amount of commercial traffic, cost of fuel, &c., on one line as
compared with the other. Had his lordship informed himself on these
matters, he would have learned that it was the large amount of traffic,
in the carrying of merchandise to and from Constantinople and the Black
Sea, by those steamers carrying the India mails to and from Malta, that
enabled the Company to carry the mails in the Mediterranean at so low a
rate as 4_s._ 6_d._ (or rather, as was actually the rate, 4_s._ 3_d._)
per mile, and that such a circumstance formed no criterion of the rate
which would be remunerative on the Southampton and Alexandria line,
where there was no such amount of traffic to meet the expenses.

The second point is in his having mistaken those funds necessary to be
reserved out of earnings to maintain the integrity of the Company’s
property, for an accumulation of capital.

[10] “The company have since built premises in Leadenhall-street, and
the managing directors, in consequence, pay to the company £1,000 per
annum as a rental, under this agreement.”

[11] “The three managing directors established the trade at their risk,
before it became a joint-stock company; and the rate of commission
contemplated a remuneration for past as well as future services.”

[12] “This has since been modified: one managing director will retire
in 1850, without any consideration, the saving to be credited to the
Company.” The salaries of assistants, clerks, and other disbursements
which the managing directors have to pay out of their commissions, now
amount to £6,000 per annum.

[13] See Report of Committee of the House of Lords on the Post Office,
Session 1847.

[14] An instance of the value of these contract steamers, otherwise
than in the postal service, occurred at Ceylon, on the breaking out
of the insurrection in that island. The Governor, not having troops
sufficient at hand to quell it, this Company’s contract steamer,
“Lady Mary Wood,” (subsidiary vessel on the China line), proceeded to
Madras, and brought up a detachment, which mainly contributed to the
prompt putting down of that insurrection. The recent destruction of a
number of piratical vessels on the coast of China by this Company’s
armed steamer “Canton,” is another instance of their value on distant

[15] The enormous extent of the correspondence conveyed by this
Company’s steamers may be inferred from the fact that the mail for
India and China, forwarded from Southampton by the “Indus,” on the
20th instant, consisted of 157 chests, amounting, in bulk, to within a
fraction of twenty tons, exclusive of 13 bags for the Mediterranean. To
this must be added the mail despatched from London on the 24th, _viá_
Marseilles, to be taken up by the same vessel at Malta, averaging 120
smaller chests. Each of the chests or cases forwarded _viá_ Southampton
is computed to be capable of containing 10,000 single letters;
therefore, allowing that a portion of them is occupied with newspapers,
the number of letters must be very great.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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