HC Deb 01 May 1899 vol 70 cc959-60
MR. J. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what mileage of the railway in respect of which an Imperial guarantee has been asked for by the British South Africa Company lies within the territory subject to their control, what mileage in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and what (if any) within Cape Colony; whether the Cape Government had been asked to contribute a portion of the guarantee; and, in that case, what portion; whether the reply of the Imperial Government was conditional on that of the Cape Government; and whether the railway from Beira to Salisbury with an extension to Bulawayo will shortly be opened, with the result of diverting a large portion of traffic and receipts from the railway for which a guarantee has been asked?


With reference to paragraph 1, the Bechuanaland Railway Company's existing line lies for about 80 miles within Southern Rhodesia, for about 394 miles within the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and for about 111 miles within the Cape Colony; and, with reference to paragraph 4, the Beira-Salisbury line at present stops at Salisbury, and I have not heard of any present intention of extending it to Bulawayo. Papers will shortly be laid on the Table which will contain an answer to paragraphs 2 and 3; but I may say, in anticipation of them, that we were unable to accept the proposals made to us by Mr. Rhodes; and he has been unable to accept the offer which we made in return.


I beg to ask whether the right honourable Gentleman's attention has been called to the statement in a letter in the Money Article in "The Times" of April 26th that the debentures of the Mashonaland Railway have been refused a quotation on the Stock Exchange in consequence of the British South Africa Company not having performed the covenants entered into when they were issued.


When the Papers to which I have already referred are presented the honourable Member will, I think, see that this matter, whatever may be the facts, does not bear on the proposal Her Majesty's Government have had before them.