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Chapter Three.
Bulawayo, November 11, 1897.
The New Era in Rhodesia.

The festivities are over, and the guests are departing. For seven days we have been entertained as well as the resources of Bulawayo would admit, and the Administrator and Committee have been continuously unflagging in their attentions to us. Next Monday the trains and railway will be occupied in bringing stores and machinery and cattle to supply the needs of the mining industry, and henceforward the traffic will be ordinary and uninterrupted between Cape Town and Bulawayo. On Monday morning also every Bulawayan intends to resume his own proper work, and I suppose that should be the real date of the beginning of the new era in Rhodesia.

What is Rhodesia?

And here, it seems to me, is a fitting place to ask: What is Rhodesia, about which so much has been said and written? What are its prospects? I cannot help but wish I were more qualified by local and technical knowledge to describe the country; but as I have been at some trouble in soliciting the judgment of experienced men, conscientiously weighing the merits of what was told me, and carefully considering what I have personally seen, I can only hope the following summary may have some value to those interested in Rhodesia.

The Land to the North.

I have been asked by my fellow guests at Bulawayo how the face of the country appeared as compared with the tropical regions further north with which I am more familiar. With regard to the superficial aspect of Rhodesia, I see but little difference between it and East Central Africa, and the southern portion of the Congo basin. Indeed, I am much struck with the uniformity of Inner Africa on the whole. Except in the neighbourhood of the great lakes, which mark the results of volcanic action, where great subsidences have occurred, and the great plains have been wrinkled up or heaved into mountains of great height, the body of Inner Africa away from the coasts is very much alike. The main difference is due to latitude. From the Cape Peninsula to north of Salisbury, or the Victoria Falls, the whole country is one continuous plain country. Between the tops of the highest hills and the highest grassy ridge in the Transvaal the difference of altitude seems solely due to the action of the rain. In the Zambesi basin you have a great shallow basin, and directly you cross the river and travel northward the ascent is being made to reach the crest of the watershed between the Zambesi and the Congo, which is but little higher than the highest grassy ridge in the neighbourhood of Salisbury. From thence a gradual descent is made to reach the central depression of the Congo basin. Northward of the Congo watershed, you gain the average altitudes of the grassy ridges of South Africa, and then begin a descent into the basin of the Tchad Lake, and from thence to the Mediterranean the same system of great land waves rolling and subsiding continues.
Noble Timber in Rhodesia.

Latitude—and I might say altitude—however, changes the appearance of the land. Rarely on the tableland of Equatorial Africa do we see the scrub and thorn trees of South Africa. The vegetation there is more robust, the trees taller, the leafage thicker and of a darker green; the mere grasses of the tropics are taller than the trees growing on the plains of Cape Colony, Bechuanaland, and Rhodesia, though in the latter country there are oases favourable to the growth of noble timber. In nitrous belts—fortunately of no great width—in Ugogo, Nyasaland, East Africa, we should be reminded of the thorny productions of Bechuanaland, and ten degrees north of the Equator we should again see a recurrence of them.
A Magnificent Forest of Teak.

It must have struck even the most unobservant of our guests how the land improved as we travelled northward. How the ungrateful looking Karroo of Cape Colony was presently followed by expansive plains covered with dwarf shrubs; how the plains became more promising after we passed the Hart River: how the rolling grassy prairie-like country of Southern Bechuana was followed by the acacias and mimosas of Northern Bechuana; and how as we neared Rhodesia these trees in a few hours of travel rose from 10 feet to 20 feet in height; how the land became more compact, and lost much of its loose porous texture, and consequently the grasses were higher and water might be found at a lesser depth. That improvement, I am told, continues as we go northward towards Salisbury, even though we may keep on a somewhat uniform level, that is on the tableland separating the river flowing eastward, south to the Limpopo and north-west to the Zambesi. So rapid is the effect of a lower altitude, and consequent greater heat and moisture, that about 80 miles from Bulawayo to the north-west a magnificent forest of teak has been found, from whose grand timber we saw several specimens of furniture, such as tables, desks, and bureaus, a log of 20 feet long and a foot square, besides a quantity of planks.

Rhodesia’s Fine Climate.

Now, this Rhodesia consists of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and covers about a quarter of a million square miles. It is the northern portion of the Great South African tableland, and its highest elevations run north-east and south-west, varying from 4000 to nearly 6000 feet above the sea. This height declines on the eastern, southern, and north-western sides, as it slopes along with the rivers flowing from them. This high land, which is eminently suitable for European families, is about 70,000 square miles in extent, of solid, unbroken agricultural country as compared with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Those who remember what countries of similar superficial area in Europe can contain in population may be able to gauge what numbers of the white race may exist in Rhodesia. Outside the limit I have mentioned the resident must expect to be afflicted with malarial fevers, and the lower one descends towards the sea, the more frequent and severe will they become. There is this comfort, however, that long before the upper plateau is over-populated, population will have made a large portion of the malarious districts healthy and inhabitable—at least, it has been so found in every land that I have visited. On the upper lands, the resident who has come by way of the Cape and Bechuanaland need have no fear of malaria. I regard my own oft-tried system as a pretty sure indicator of the existence of malaria, for a very few hours’ residence in a country subjected to this scourge would soon remind me of my predisposition to it; but during the whole of the time I have spent in Rhodesia I have not felt the slightest symptom. I have seen white women driving their babies in perambulators on the plain outside Bulawayo in a sun as hot as any in the Egyptian or Moroccan desert, and, though I felt they were unwise, it was clear to me that in such a climate a sufficient head protection was the only thing necessary to guard against a sunstroke or the feverish feeling which naturally follows a rash exposure to heat.

The Rainy Season.

Rhodesia has been visited by us during what is generally said to be its worst period. The rainy season begins in November and ends in March. We arrived November 4, and, though we have been here only a week, we have had four showers and one all-night downpour. The rainfall during the season amounts to as much as 45 inches. I fancy few men have had larger experience of the pernicious effects of cold rains alternating with hot suns than I, and the composure of the Bulawayo population under what seems to promise four months of such weather strikes my imagination, and is to me a strong testimony of the healthfulness of the climate.

No Stint of Vegetables.

The park of Bulawayo, the grounds of Government House, and especially the advanced state of Mr Colenbrander’s charming gardens, afforded to me valuable proofs that the soil responded very readily to civilised treatment; but the most conclusive proof to me of the capacity of the soil was furnished by a large market garden laid out in a depression just outside of the town. From end to end the garden, supplied with water by a windpump from a well, was a mass of robust European vegetables, whence cabbages weighing 30 pounds each, and tomatoes of extraordinary size, have been sent to market. At the Palace Hotel the hundreds of guests made large demands for vegetables, and there was no stint of them. Further on towards old Gubulawayo we were attracted by native women hoeing in a field, and our attention was drawn to the native fields, which showed by the old corn-stalks that the Matabele must have found the black earth of the plains gracious to their toils. Here and there in these villa gardens, market gardens, public pleasaunces, and ornamental grounds we found sufficient evidences that, given water, the soil of Rhodesia was equal to supplying anything that civilised man with his fastidious taste and appetite could possibly demand.

The Gold of Rhodesia—Something to Satisfy an Anxious Mind.

The next thing to do was to find out something relating to the precious metal, whose presence in Rhodesia was the immediate cause of the railway. I remember last session having heard in the Smoking Room of the House of Commons the most disparaging views regarding the prospects of Rhodesia and the quality of the reefs. The gold of Rhodesia was said to be “pocket” gold, and that the ancients, whose presence long ago in this land is proved by the multitude of old workings and disused shafts, were too clever to have left any for us moderns. Not knowing how to controvert such statements, I had left them unanswered, half believing that they were true. Sir James Sivewright, in his speech on the first festal night, said that Bulawayo was built upon faith, and the majority of the guests I discovered held the most doubtful views, and I must confess little was needed to confirm the scepticism which had been planted in me in England. But when I heard that there was an exhibition of ores to be seen in the Hall of the Stock Exchange, I felt that the Reception Committee had provided for us something more valuable than banquets—something which should satisfy an anxious mind. Within a well-lighted, decent-sized hall, on an ample shelf ranged around it, a few of the mining companies of Rhodesia had sent various specimens of the ores. Above these shelves hung admirably-drawn maps to illustrate the reefs whence they were taken. I had noticed, as I went in, other specimens of Rhodesian products ranged along the passages—bulky lumps of coal from the Zambesian coal district, a coal that is said to give only from 8 per cent, to 12 per cent, of ash; fine red sandstone blocks, a stone closely resembling that of which most of the houses on Fifth Avenue, New York, are built; blocks of grey sandstone, to which substance I had already been attracted, it being so much used for lintels and doorways of Bulawayan houses; and rough and polished granite blocks, which reminded me of the famous Aberdeen stone, besides several limestone briquettes.
Plenty of Evidences of Gold.

The first exhibits of ores I happened to inspect were from the Camperdown Reef, in which the virgin gold was conspicuous enough to satisfy the most unbelieving. The next exhibit consisted of a number of briquettes of cement manufactured in Bulawayo. The third was a glass case which contained old gold beads, discovered at Zimbabwe, and attracted a great deal of attention from the dusky appearance of the metal which centuries had given it, the rude workmanship, evidently African, and the puerility of the ornaments. Beyond this the Rhodesia Ltd. Company had specimens from the Criterion Reef, situate eight miles from Bulawayo. The rock contained no visible gold, and the Curator who guided me round had the assurance to say that the quartz where gold was not visible was more appreciated than that which showed nuggets. This made me think of the mountains of white quartz I had seen on the Congo, and to wonder whether the Curator was indulging in unseemly levity. However, perceiving some doubt in my glance, he said it would be demonstrated shortly. Adjoining the Criterion ores was a heap from the Nellie Reef in the Insiza district, fifty miles from Bulawayo. The Curator said these were “very rich,” and taken from old workings; but despite the Curator and the old workings, I could not see a trace of gold in the rock, even with a magnifier. Next to the Nellie exhibit was a pile of rock from the Unit and Unicorn Reef—in the Selukwe district, Eastern Rhodesia—but I saw no gold in any one of these rocks.

A Successful Crushing of Gold Quartz.

Just at this juncture the Curator told me that one of these apparently valueless rocks was about to be crushed and panned for our instruction. We went out into a yard, where there was quite a crowd of curious people assembled. The lump of rock was put into a small iron mortar, and in a few minutes it was pounded into a dusty looking mass. It was then passed through a fine sieve and the larger fragments were returned into the mortar to be again pounded. A sufficient quantity of the greyish dust having been obtained, the mortar was emptied into a broad iron pan. The pan was dipped into a tub full of muddied water, a dexterous turn or twist of the wrist, and the coarser material was emptied into the tub. Frequent dippings and twists reduced the quantity of material in the pan, until at last there was barely a tablespoonful of it left, and still I saw no glitter. Again the dipping and twisting and rinsing were repeated, until at last there was only a teaspoonful of the dirt left; but all around the bottom of the pan was a thin thread of unmistakable gold dust. It was beyond belief that such a barren-looking piece of quartzose rock should contain gold; but then these experts are wonderful fellows. I pay them my most respectful homage.

How the Ancient Miners Worked.

Returning to the Hall under the influence of this very needful lesson, I resumed my examination of the exhibits. Beyond the Unit and Unicorn exhibit stood some planks of a teaky quality, beautifully polished, and showing numbers of small dark knots, and wavy patterns, which gave a walnuty appearance to the wood. The next exhibit was from the Gwanda district by the Geelong Gold Mining Company, taken from a 90-foot level. In this district the ancient workings are found deepest. The prehistoric miners were accustomed to build charcoal fires on the quartz, and when the rock was sufficiently heated threw water on it, which soon disintegrated it and enabled the picks and gads to be used. This reminded me how often I had done the same to huge rocks which blocked the way for my wagons on the Congo. The broken quartz, being brought to the surface, was handed to natives who crushed it to dust on blocks of granite with diorite hammers, or ground it as the modern natives do mealies. The dust was then panned in much the same way as is done by prospectors of to-day. In one of the old shafts, over 60-foot deep, was found the dome of a human skull and some pieces of human bone. These relics lay side by side with the quartz exhibits. One could moralise here if one had time.

Fine Specimens of Coal.

The exhibit of the Ellen Reef of the United Matabele Claims Development Company showed distinct gold. Just near it were blocks of fine-looking coal from the Matabele Gold Reefs and Estates Company. The coal field is situated 120 miles north of Bulawayo. The coal has been already tested, and is found to be admirable for all uses.

120 Ounces to the Ton.

The Nicholson Olympus Block, Gwanda district, showed specimens which panned 120 ounces to the ton. The Mary Reef specimens assayed 5 ounces 3 pennyweight 10 grains to the ton. Next to these was a clock frame made out of trachyte in the form of a Greek temple. This trachyte is greyish white in colour and easily workable, but hardens by exposure. As there is plenty of this material it is probable Bulawayo will make free use of it in future. Mansions and villas of this stone would look extremely chaste and beautiful.

The Tebekwe Mine.

Then we came to the exhibits from the Tebekwe Mine, Selukwe district, seventy miles from Bulawayo on the Salisbury Road. The large map above was worth studying. It illustrated a reef about 1000 yards in length, and eight oval-form excavations made by the ancients resembling the pits Kimberley diamond diggers formerly made in the blue clay. The base lines of these excavations were not much over 60 feet from the surface. On the appearance of water in each shaft the ancients were unable to make their fire on the exposed quartz reef, and consequently had to abandon it, and they probably made another excavation along the reef until the appearance of water compelled them to relinquish that also 900 yards of this reef have now been proved by means of twelve winzes, the majority of which have been sunk to the first level 154 feet below the surface. On this first level 887 feet of driving has been done up to the present. The second level is 234 feet below the surface, and three winzes have been sunk to it. The total footage to now made is 3,311 feet 10 inches. The average width of the reef is 41.5 inches, and the narrowest width is 15 inches. Throughout the mine the average width is 31 inches. I am told that the richest average value of the reef is 84 pennyweight per ton of 2000 pounds, and the poorest 5 pennyweight to the ton. Throughout the reef averages 1773 pennyweight of fine gold per ton; 12 pennyweight is considered a payable quantity at Bulawayo. A block of rock from the centre shaft showed 57 pennyweight to the ton.

A twenty-stamp battery is on the rails between Port Elizabeth and Bulawayo, beside steam hauling gear and electric pumping machinery, and it is anticipated that the mine will be in operation about October, 1898.
“The Best Mines in Rhodesia.”

I next came to the Gaikwa and Chicago Reef, whose old workings had a shaft 70 feet deep. Its present owners sunk this to 100 feet when they came to the abandoned reef. I think the assay showed 1 ounce 11 pennyweight to the ton.

Close to it were specimens from the Adventurers Reef in the Insiza district which assay 1 ounce to the ton. Beyond was the Willoughby’s Consolidated Company, Limited, which had exhibits from the favourite mines, called Bonsor, Dunraven, and Queen’s. Shafts in the Bonsor have been sunk to 365 feet, the lode is 30 inches wide, and the average assay per ton is 18 pennyweight. The Dunraven has been sunk to a depth of 320 feet, lode and assay the same as the Bonsor. The Queen’s has been penetrated 100 feet, lode 30 inches, and assay 18 pennyweight. People who have no pecuniary interest in mines have told me that the best mines in Rhodesia, and of which there is not the least doubt, are the Globe and Phoenix, Bonsor, Dunraven, Tebekwe, and Geelong, all of which are in the Selukwe district, excepting the last, which is in Gwanda.

Next were exhibits from the Matabele Sheba Gold Mining Company: dark quartz, of which there were fourteen specimens. This reef is twenty miles from Bulawayo, and assays 2 ounces 10 pennyweight per ton. The Marlborough Reef, four miles from Bulawayo; the Ullswater Reef, sixteen miles from town; Piper’s Reef, three miles from town, averaging respectively 1 ounce to 5 ounces, 15 pennyweight to 5 ounces, and 25 pennyweight. Very little gold is visible in these specimens; but the owners have panned repeatedly, and are satisfied that they contain the precious metal in profitable quantities.

Bulawayo the Centre of Auriferous Fields.

Just above these specimens was a large map showing the Rhodesian Gold Fields very clearly. From this I learned that the Gwanda district was south of Bulawayo; the Tuli district, which contains the Monarch Mine, is south-west from here, and constitutes a little republic of its own; the Bembezi field is north; Insiza district is east; and so is the Filabusi and Belingwe; the Selukwe district is east-north-east, comprising Gwelo; the Sebakwe, north-east; and the Mafungabusi district, north-north-east; so that the Bulawayan gold field seems to be the centre of this cluster of auriferous fields.

The Fort Victoria exhibit showed a large lump of native copper and excellent bits of gold quartz. The Masterton Reef, forty miles from Bulawayo, had two specimens and certificate of assay of 18 pennyweight and 22 pennyweight respectively. The Springs Reef, Belingwe district, exhibits consisted of galena, copper and gold, and appeared very fine.
The Unreliability of Assays.

From the Number 2 Kirkcubbin Reef, Bulawayo district, it appeared that an assay of 62 ounces 16 pennyweight to the ton was obtained, while from the Number 1 same reef there was an assay of 24 ounces 14 pennyweight to the ton. It should be observed that these assays, no matter by whom they are made, are misleading to the uninitiated, and though the panning is better, neither are to be relied on as sure guides to what the reef will prove throughout. When, say, 10,000 tons are crushed we shall better know by the result the true status of Rhodesia among gold-bearing countries. Nevertheless, every assay or panning has a value as indicating the presence of gold.

The next exhibit was from the Sinnanombi gold belt, south of the Matoppos. The Saint Helen’s Development Syndicate exhibit consisted of several pans full of grey powdered quartz ready for panning, each of which has been assayed by the Standard Bank with the following results: Thirkleby, Antelope, Rosebery, Constitution and Thela Reefs, in the Sinnanombi district, respectively 2 ounce 4 pennyweight, 136 pennyweight, 27 pennyweight 18 grains, 58 pennyweight, and 46 pennyweight. The Syndicate have also properties in the Insiza district, the Nellie Rey Reef, Eileen Reef in Mavin district, Ben Nevis and Guinea Fowl Reefs in Selukwe district.

“In Every Stone the Gold Sparkled.”

The West Glen May Mine exhibit contained sections, one of which was remarkable as showing a 60-foot wide reef. Its rock specimens were rich with visible gold. There was also a rich exhibit from the Christmas Reef, sixteen miles from Bulawayo—in every stone the gold sparkled.

From Purdon’s Reef, in the Makukuku district, alluvial gold was on show. There was also an old iron gad from the ancient workings. Alluvial gold is found in the Myema River, twenty miles from Bulawayo.

Among other things at the Chamber of Mines Exhibition was a thick log of fine grained teak, several planks, furniture from native woods, samples of lime, trachyte blocks, Bulawayo brick, coal blocks from Tuli coal districts 200 miles south-east of Bulawayo and the Zambesi district 120 north of Bulawayo, and a champagne case full of plumbago lately discovered at a spot fifty miles from the Zambesi.

For the patient courtesy shown to me while making my notes, and the instructing and interesting conduct of me round the room, I am under the warmest obligations to Mr Walter Broad, the Hon. Curator, who, as you will be interested to know, is a Canadian, and whose first impulse to seek Africa as a field for his labours was obtained through reading my “Dark Continent.”

A Visit to the Criterion Mine.

After this exhaustive inspection of the ores on exhibition, it remained for us to see one of these Rhodesian mines in operation to dispel the last remnant of doubt which eloquent sceptics had inspired me with. We chose the Criterion Mine, which is by no means the nearest to the town. It belongs to the Rhodesia Ltd. Company, and is situate eight miles south from Bulawayo, and as Mr Hirschler, the Engineer of the mine, was willing to take upon himself the trouble of being our guide, we flung ourselves gladly upon his generosity. In one hour and a half we made the distance in a spring cart drawn by four spirited little mules. We halted at the Engineer’s station on a commanding grassy ridge, which neighbours that once occupied by Mosilikatse’s old kraal of Gubulawayo during the forties, fifties, and sixties of this century. A few spaces from the spot where we outspanned we came to a series of “old workings” which ran along the crest of the ridge for about 2000 feet. Where one of these old workings was untouched by the Engineer, it reminded me of just such a big hole as might have been made to unearth a boulder, or to root out a large tree. One of these hollows was chosen by the Engineer to sink his first shaft. After penetrating through fifty feet of débris, he came upon the reef which the ancients had abandoned because of flooding, and time, aided by rain, had filled up. He continued for about 10 feet more, sampling every 3 feet as he went, to discover the grade of the ore. Since then he has sunk eight other shafts. The mine consists of 170 claims, but the development is concentrated on about twenty-five claims, ten of which are in the centre of the property, and fifteen towards the eastern boundary. In the centre two shafts are being sunk to the 150 foot level, and are at present connected by a drive 300 feet long. On this level the reef is throughout payable, while a chute 100 feet long is of high grade ore. Trenches on the line of the reef indicate its occurrence towards the eastern portion of the mine, where five shafts varying from 100 feet to 150 feet deep have been sunk. At the depth of 150 feet the various shafts will be connected by a gallery, which will give 2000 feet of reef material. At the present time work is being done for the purpose of developing sufficient ore to keep a twenty-stamp mill going. The necessary machinery has been ordered, and the engineers expect to begin producing some time about the middle of 1898. On examining the material at the mouths of the shafts, those among us who knew of what they were speaking declared that much of it was of high grade. High pyritic quartz abounded, and this was rich in fine gold. Sulphide galena was found in some of the quartz. At the mouth of one shaft visible gold was very frequent, and about forty of the visitors obtained specimens wherein miniature nuggets were plainly visible. Where the reef was being worked at the deepest shaft it showed a breadth of 24 inches; in some places it is only 18 inches wide; at others it is 48 inches broad.

“We saw enough to prove that Rhodesia is an Auriferous Country.”

My readers need scarcely be told that the exhibits of ores are only such as a few companies of Rhodesia were induced to send after urgent appeals from the public-spirited citizens of Bulawayo. I saw none from Salisbury, Mazoe, or any part of Mashonaland, and only a few mines in Matabeleland were represented. There was no time for a proper exhibition. Many more were en route, but the distances are great and the ox-wagon is slow. At any rate we have seen sufficient to prove that Rhodesia is an auriferous country though as yet no one knows what rank it will take among gold-producing lands. My own conviction—a conviction that is, I suppose, made up from what I have seen and heard from qualified men—is that Rhodesia will not be much inferior to the Transvaal. True, it has no Witwatersrand—forty miles of reefs; but the superficial area is twice the size of the Transvaal State, and the prospectors have only succeeded in discovering a few plums.

Then, though the railway has been brought to Bulawayo, it is still far from the Belingwe and Selukwe districts, and within a radius of 100 miles from the town there are many gold fields richer than those in the immediate neighbourhood of the railway terminus. It is necessary to state this in the clearest manner, for many will be carried away by the idea that now the railway is at Bulawayo the output of gold should follow immediately.

But even the most forward among the mining companies can only say: “We have ordered all the needful machinery and shall set to work as soon as it arrives.” The machinery in a few cases is on the rail between Port Elizabeth and Bulawayo; but the necessities of life must precede mining machinery, and several weeks more may elapse before any portion of the material may reach Bulawayo. Then we shall have to consider the terrible calamity endured by Rhodesia, as well as South Africa in general. The rinderpest is not over yet, and cattle, mules, and donkeys are scarce, and the haulage of heavy machinery over the veld with feeble and sickening cattle for forty, seventy, and a hundred miles will be a tedious business.

Then will come the erection of buildings, the fitting of engines, etc., etc., with inexpert natives, and I think I need but suggest that all these preliminaries will occupy much time. The more confident engineers declare that they will be ready to produce about the middle of next year. They may be as good as their word, knowing their business better than we casual visitors; but it seems to me but common prudence to withhold expectation of results until eighteen months from the present.

Rhodesia’s Requirements.

There is no doubt in my mind that gold will be produced in payable quantities from these Rhodesian mines; but the extent of profit depends upon circumstances. It is also as certain that Rhodesia cannot hope to compete with the Transvaal under present conditions. Bulawayo is 1360 miles from the sea, and at least 40 miles from the richest mines. Johannesburg is 390 miles from the sea, and is in the centre of its forty mile long gold field. That simple fact means a great deal, and shows an enormous disadvantage to Rhodesia. The latter country will have to pay four times more for freight than the Transvaal gold fields. Against this must be set the small duties that will have to be paid. After paying five per cent to Cape Colony, goods will be admitted free to Rhodesia. Then the heavy taxes paid to the Boers will still further diminish the disadvantages of Rhodesia; yet when we consider the time wasted in the long railway journey, and the haulage by ox-wagon to the mines, we shall find a much heavier bill of costs against the gold output of Rhodesia, than on that of the Transvaal. A good substantial railway from Beira or Sofala to Bulawayo, via Victoria, would completely reverse things. Bulawayo would then be about the same rail distance from the sea as Johannesburg is; the poorer ores could then be worked profitably, and the aggregate of gold product would in a few years rival that of the Rand. If I were a Chartered Director, my first object should be to get the shortest and most direct route to the sea from Bulawayo, and a substantial railway along it, and having obtained that, and a liberal mining law, I should feel that the prosperity of Rhodesia was assured.


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