No. 365.
Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard.

No. 551.]

Sir: Your No. 272 of November 18 communicated to me, at the request of the Postmaster General, two copies of a printed memorial, signed by prominent American merchants,* suggesting the propriety [Page 513] of the general adoption of the policy of dispatching all foreign mails by the fastest steamers. In the interest of the facilitation of commercial intercourse I was directed to bring this memorial to the notice of the French Government, and I did so immediately upon receiving it. I am now in possession of a note from Mr. Flourens stating, in behalf of the French postal department, that the policy referred to is the one followed by that department.

I inclose a copy and translation of Mr. Flourens’s note herewith.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

Robert M. McLane.
[Inclosure in No. 551.]

Mr. Flourens to Mr. McLane.


Sir: I had taken care to transmit to the president of the council minister of finances the memorandum you kindly sent me on the 9th of December last, by which a great number of notable merchants from the large cities of the United States call the attention of different European powers to the propriety of using for the expedition of the mails, as the United States Post-Office does, the fastest steamers, without any regard to the nationality of the ship or to any other consideration.

In acknowledging reception of this communication Mr. Tirard remarks that his department has always concerned itself with the means of insuring the most rapid transmission of the mails intended for abroad. Thus the French administration sends regularly the mail bags to the United States, five times a week by all steamers, whatever their nationality may be, which seem to offer any advantage to postal relations.

My colleague adds that the expedition of the normal mail, addressed to the New York office, is regulated at present in such a way as to secure successive departures through the lines considered to be the most regular and most rapid, viz:

departures from paris.

Tuesday evening by the Inman Line. (English.)

Wednesday morning by the White Star Line. (English.)

Wednesday evening by the North (G.) Lloyd. (German.)

Friday evening by the Transatlantic Line. (French.)

Saturday morning by the Cunard Line.

Besides, as Mr. Tirard remarks, mail matter bearing the indication of any other ship (Guion Line, Hamburg Line, etc.) is always forwarded in conformity with the desire expressed by the sender.

I have the honor, sir, to communicate this information to you, which you will perhaps judge to be of such a character as will interest the Post-Office Department of the United States.

Receive, etc.,