§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the revenues paid to King Theebaw from the Burmah Ruby Mines averaged for some years 1,50,000 rupees annually, and in the last year amounted to about 1,90,000 rupees, in addition to the fact that all rubies of the value of 2,000 rupees and upwards became the property of the King; whether, up to December last, the Indian Government had received from these mines only about 25,000 rupees during the preceding 12 months; whether a loss of current revenue is a permanent loss to the Indian 389 Exchequer, owing to the fact that these mines are practically inexhaustible for a great number of years; whether sufficient precautions are taken to prevent smuggling; and whether it is the fact that large numbers of rubies are known to be disposed of to merchants and others without any royalty having been paid upon them; and, whether the difference to the Indian Revenue between the royalties actually received and the terms offered by Messrs. Streeter has been a loss of about 30,000 rupees per month, or 3,60,000 rupees a-year?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JOHN GORST) (Chatham)
(1) According to the best information possessed by the Secretary of State, King Theebaw's revenue from the Ruby Mines did not average so much as £150,000; and he never received so much as £190,000. Stones of the value of 2,000 rupees were Royal perquisites; but were generally secreted, or broken up by the finders. (2) So far as reports have reached the Secretary of State.—Yes. (3) Cannot be answered till the Report of the scientific expert sent out by the Secretary of State has been received. (4) All precautions which are practicable are taken; but some smuggling undoubtedly takes place. (5) The diminution of revenue referred to does take place while the mines are unworked; but as the rubies are still there it is expected to be recouped in years to come.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
replied that he believed he was at the mines now, and his Report might be expected very soon; but he could not fix a date.