§ MR. BOUVERIE
wished to ask a question of the right hen. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, viz., whether the Board had sanctioned, on the part of the Crown, the granting of a Royal Charter to a trading company for the carrying on of mining, agricultural, and trading operations in the Eastern Archipelago? He was desirous of knowing whether such was the case, because it had been made a subject of complaint, and he thought of just 700 complaint, on the part of the merchants of this country, that a company had been so formed in which the shareholders had a limited responsibility, as well as other advantages. He also begged to be informed whether the charter had been actually given, and whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that one of the gentlemen connected with the promotion of the company was the agent of Mr. Brooke, the Governor of Borneo?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that the charter had been granted as far back as the month of June last. He (Mr. Labouchere) was not then connected with the Board of Trade; but he believed he could state the conditions on which it had been granted. The object was, that a company should be incorporated, not for the purpose of carrying on trading operations generally in the Eastern Archipelago, as had been stated by the hon. Gentleman, but for the purpose of carrying on mining and agricultural operations, and developing the resources of the settlement of Labuan and the parts of Borneo adjacent. It had been considered right by his noble Friend who had preceded him in office at the Board of Trade, that the charter should be granted to the company, under the peculiar circumstances. The charter was limited to twenty-one years, and the mining and trading operations of the company were limited to Labuan and the parts of Borneo adjacent to it. In answer to the last question, he should say, that he did not know that Governor Brooke was at all connected with the company, and he did not conceive it possible that he could be.