HC Deb 25 May 1891 vol 353 cc969-71
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his at- tention has been drawn to a letter from Mr. Cecil Rhodes, read by Mr. Hofnige at a meeting of the Africander Board in Cape Town, in which Mr. Rhodes states that the Chartered Company of South Africa is prepared to give farms in Mashonaland, on condition that those to whom they are given sign a declaration, on entering that territory, that they will be under the flag and conform to the Chartered Company's rules, and that any person not assenting to this condition will not be allowed to enter the territory; whether the Chartered Company possesses any concession from Lobengula, paramount Chief of Mashonaland, permitting the company to dispose of its land; and whether, in acting as though the land belonged to the company, and in forbidding all or any of Her Majesty's subjects from entering into Mashonaland who decline to sign this declaration, he has the approval of Her Majesty's Government; and, if so, when it was notified to him?

SIR J. GORST (for Baron H. de WORMS)

The Secretary of State has seen in a Cape newspaper the letter to which the hon. Member appears to refer, though he does not quote it correctly. Mr. Rhodes does not state that the company is prepared to give farms in Mashonaland. He says— As regards the land, I think that as soon as a settlement is possible farmers should be invited into the country. … The manner in which the farms would be given out is a subject for future consideration. … I can give the assurance that in the final settlement of the country, with the consent of the High Commissioner, no undue preference will be shown. … In order to pave the way for this I would suggest that a deputation should proceed from the Cape Colony for the purpose of inspecting and reporting upon the country. Mr. Rhodes adds the conditions of subordination to the company on which, according to his idea, intending farmers might be admitted to the country; and as the company is charged with the duty of keeping peace and good order among Europeans, the conditions are necessary and reasonable, though they have not yet been formally approved.


Then do I understand that no British subject can go into Mashonaland without signing the declaration?


The hon. Member is not to understand that from the answer I have given, but he had better give notice of a further question.