DR. CLAEK (Caithness)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he is aware that the concession to make the Delagoa Bay Railway was given to an American named Edward M'Murdo, in 1883, by the Portuguese Government, on the condition that the concessionaire should complete the Railway within four years; that renewed extensions of time having been granted, as the concessionaire was unable to complete his contract during the time fixed by the concession, the Portuguese Government began the construction of the line; that the concessionaire took over the line from the Portuguese Government, but has not yet completed it according to the terms of the concession; whether he is aware that less than £300,000 has been spent in making the Railway by the Company, and that the contractor employed by the Company has lately had a decision in his favour by the Court of Appeal for a balance of about £40,000 spent by him in constructing the Railway; whether he is aware that the Company is practically bankrupt, and the Portuguese Government, who began the construction of the Railway, are now taking possession to finish it in accordance with the terms of the concession; and whether under these circumstances, the Government are remonstrating with the Portuguese Government for their action?
§ * THE UNDER SECEETAEY OF STATE FOR FOEEIGN AFFAIES (Sir J. FERGUSSON,) Manchester, N.E.
Much of the hon. Member's question is argumentative. I am not prepared to give an opinion on the details referred to in it.