§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he could give the House any information as to a concession alleged to have been recently granted by Lobengula to Mr. Rhodes, Chairman of the De Beers Mine, or to Mr. Rudd, the agent of Mr. Rhodes; whether he is aware that such conces- 255 Sion purported to convey certain mineral rights in Mashonaland in consideration of the payment by Mr. Rhodes or by Mr. Rudd of £1,200 and 1,000 Martini-Henry rifles; whether he is aware that at the date of the grant of such concession Sir Sydney Shippard, Her Majesty's Administrator in Bechuanaland, was present in Lobengula's kraal; whether, on 14th May, 1888, Her Majesty's Government declared it would give no countenance to any concession unless made with the knowledge of and approved by the High Commissioner; whether such concession was approved by the High Commissioner, and has been sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government; and, whether he will lay upon the Table the Corespondence and Documents relating to such concession?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR THE COLONIES (Baron H. DE WORMS,) Liverpool, East Toxteth
Her Majesty's Government have received the text of a concession alleged to have been granted to Mr. Rudd. It purports to include all Lobengula's dominions, except the Tati district; and the money consideration appears to be an annuity of £1,260 a year, besides a present of 1,000 rifles and of 100,000 rounds of ammunition. Sir Sydney Shippard was 100 miles away from the chief's kraal on the day the concession was signed, and had no knowledge of the negotiations. Mr. Moffat, the Assistant Commissioner, was also absent from the chief's kraal at the time. Such a letter as is referred to in the fourth paragraph of the Question was written from the Colonial Office on the 14th of May, and will be found in Blue Book C, 5,524, page 23. It is believed that the High Commissioner views Mr. Rudd's concession as an advantageous arrangement on grounds of public policy; but he has had no occasion to approve or disapprove it, and Her Majesty's Government do not consider it necessary to express any opinion, either as to its validity or merits. Papers on the subject will be included in the next Bechuanaland Blue Book.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether, on the 14th of May last, Her Majesty's Government declined to give any countenance to a concession unless such concession was 256 approved of by the High Commissioner; and whether it has since given countenance to this concession?
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
The hon. Gentleman said that the High Commissioner had had no occasion to express approval or disapproval. My question now is whether, Her Majesty's Government having, on the 14th of May, declined to give any countenance to a concession unless it was approved of by the High Commissioner, they have since given consent to this concession?
§ BARON HENRY DE WORMS
Her Majesty's Government have not thought it necessary to express any opinion as to its validity or merits.