27 NOVEMBER 1886, Page 2

Mr. Raikes, as was to be expected, has been the

first Minister to get the Government into hot water. He has given part of the contract for carrying the American mails to the German Lloyd's,. and, it is reported, has let the mails for the Gambia to a French. Company. As the mail subsidies are intended to secure the services of large transports in time of war, as well as to pay for the carrying of letters, these arrangements seem, at first sight, most impolitic. It is not worth while to lose the willing services of a Company like Canard's for the sake of a few hundreds a year. Free competition is a great principle, but not one on which, it is possible to secure a powerful reserve system of transport available at twenty-four hours' notice. At the same time, the Postmaster-General has still to give his explanation in Parlia- ment, and it may be found that he had reason for his otherwise unintelligible decision. A combination of Steam Companies to. dictate their own terms would be injurious to the public service, and Mr. Raikes may have suspected one on in sufficient evidence