§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a Chartered Company is not under the obligation to make Returns to Somerset House in regard to the Act of its shareholders and other matters connected with it, which are obligatory on all Limited Liability Companies not being Chartered Companies; whether, in view of this fact, and that by the 25th Article of the Charter of the South Africa Company it is stated thatWithin one year after the date of this Our Charter, or such extended period as may be certified by Our secretary of State, there shall be executed by the Members of the Company for the time being a Deed of Settlement providing, so far as is necessary for,911 amongst other things—The regulation of Members of the Company, and the transfer of shares in the capital of the Company; the division and distribution of profits,he will cause such a Deed of Settlement to be executed, and lay it, when executed, upon the Table of the House, in order that the public may have 'the same opportunity to k no w matters in connection with the transfer of shares in this Company, and with the division and distribution of profits which are available in respect to companies that are not chartered; and whether, in connection with this Return, he will see that it is fully set forth, and that, whilst the Company has to pay all costs and expenditure in regard to carrying out the objects of the concession from Lobengula, one-half of the profits (if any) are retained by the Promoters of the Company, should it appear that this is the case?
§ BARON H. DE WORMS
I believe that the hon. Member is right in supposing that a company under Royal Charter is not subject to all the obligations of an ordinary Registered Company. The Deed of Settlement of the British South Africa Company was executed on the 3rd February last. It is not thought worth while to print it as a Parliamentary Paper, but any hon. Member can see it at the Colonial Office, or at the Company's Office, or be supplied with a copy. Her Majesty's Government have been advised that they ought not to assume any responsibility for the financial arrangements or the internal organisation of the Company, such as is suggested in the last paragraph of the question.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether an Imperial Proclamation has been published in the Gazette of the Cape Colony, declaring that any attempt to occupy Banyailand, or to establish autonomous government in that country, will be regarded as an infringement of the rights of the British South Africa Company, and an aggression against British suzerainty, and will be resisted; whether it is to be understood that no British subject is to to be allowed in Banyailand without the permission of the British South Africa Company; and, if so, from whence this 912 exclusive right of the Company to occupy this territory is derived; whether he can state how many British subjects there are now in Banyailand, and what is the area of that country; whether he is aware that persons wishing to pass through Mashonaland in order to go northwards are impeded by agents of the South Africa Company; whether he is aware that the Company does not permit any of Her Majesty's subjects to trade in Mashonaland, and that the monopoly of opening stores has been granted to two Kimberley firms, notwithstanding that it is set forth in the Charter granted to the Company, that it is conferred upon it because it will tend—To the opening up of the said territories to the immigration of Europeans, and to the lawful trade and commerce of Her Majesty's subjects and of other nations,and that it is stated in the 20th Paragraph of the said Charter that—Nothing in this Our Charter shall be deemed to authorise the Company to set up or grant any monopoly in trade;whether he is aware that the concession from Lobengula in regard to which the Charter was granted is only a concession granting mining rights to the Company, and that it conferred on it no land, and that promises are being held out by advertisements of the Company in the South African newspapers offering to intending settlers land in Mashonaland. (which forms part of the territory included in the mining concession of Lobengula); and whether, in order to prevent Her Majesty's subjects from being deluded into going into Mashonaland by the promise of grants of land from the Company, Her Majesty's Government will take steps to make it known that the Company can make no grants of land, as it has no land to grant?
§ BARON H. DE WORMS
The High Commissioner reported on the 7th inst. that he was about to issue a Proclamation respecting Banyailand; but Her Majesty's Government have not yet received the text of it. As regards the second question, Her Majesty's Government do not understand that there is any such prohibition. I am not at present able to answer the third question. In reply to the fourth question, we are not aware of any such proceed 913 ings. The hon. Member has probably been misinformed. As regards the fifth question, Her Majesty's Government have not been so informed. Any British subject feeling himself aggrieved has every opportunity of stating his complaints to the High Commissioner or to the Secretary of State. As regards the sixth question, the concession (see page 139 of P.P. [C. 5918]) is not merely a grant of mining rights. Her Majesty's Government are riot aware that the company has offered land in Mashonaland to settlers, unless conditionally upon it being able to confer titles. In reply to the last question, Her Majesty's Government do not think it desirable to issue any notice, believing that the position of the company in Mashonaland is fully understood, both in this country and in South Africa.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Will the right hon. Gentleman say from whom he obtained his information with regard to what is going on in that part of the world?