§ MR. KNOX (Cavan, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the fact that the concession obtained by Messrs. Nichol and Hicks in N'gamiland in 1889 was recognised by the High Commissioner, and used by the Foreign Office in negotiations with the German Government in 1890 as a reason for making N'Gamiland British territory; that the validity and due ratification of the concession was proved before Mr. Justice Mathew and a jury in an action brought in 1893 by Messrs. Nichol and Hicks against the African and General Exploration Company, in which the jury decided in favour of the plaintiffs, who have been unable to recover their judgment debt by reason of the financial condition of the defendant Company; that the validity of the concession is affirmed by Mr. Buckle, who made a special journey to N'Gamiland to test it, as the representative of interests hostile to Messrs. Nichol and Hicks, i.e., of Mr. Maund and the African and General Exploration Company; and that before the recent Bechuanaland Commission the legal representative of the Chartered 582 Company admitted that ho could not dispute the genuineness of the concession; and whether, under the circumstances, the Secretary of State will refuse to ratify the concession; if so, for what reason?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE POK THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTOX,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
The Bechuanaland Concessions Commission appointed to inquire into this and into other concession claims were, on the evidence before them, unable to come to any decision on the concession referred to in the question, and recommended that further inquiry should be made. Before coming to any decision, therefore, further inquiry will be necessary.
§ MR. S. BUXTON
I am not able wholly to admit the accuracy of the facts, and I do not understand that the legal representative of the Company could not dispute the genuineness of the concession. We are sending up a small force, and the officer in charge will be instructed to make further inquiry.