MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA
(Minutes of Evidence)
Dé Céadaoin, 25adh Meán Fhómhair, 1935.
Wednesday, 25th September, 1935.
The Committee sat at 11 a.m.
Senator Michael Comyn, K. C., sworn and examined.
2590. Senator Comyn.—Before I go into the general evidence which I propose to give, I would like to call attention to suggestions that have been made in the course of this inquiry, namely, that there is a differentiation to be made between Deputy Briscoe and myself. I wish to inform the Committee that everything we have done in connection with this prospecting lease and other matters has been done in perfect agreement between us and in full consultation. The reason I am associated with Deputy Briscoe in this matter is because, from my experience of him, there is no person in our Party, and, I would venture to say, in the Oireachtas, who is more anxious and eager to spend his time and his money in endeavouring to develop the resources of this country and to give employment. It has been said that a prospecting note should not be given to us unless full inquiry was made, and I think Stubb’s was mentioned. I am not in “Stubb’s Peerage,” but I have considerable experience of mining and prospecting in this country and all my work was known to the Department of Industry and Commerce and to the Department of Agriculture when I, in conjunction with Deputy Briscoe and Mr. Norman, made application for a take-note in Co. Wicklow. I think it would be proper for me, with your permission, Sir, to give a brief account of what I have done in connection with prospecting in this country, because, of course, the general opinion might be that a barrister has very little interest in commercial matters. I first became interested in prospecting a good many years ago—I think it was during the Great War when, under conditions of secrecy, to use a phrase that has been used here, I was shown a mine by a very old man. He brought me to the mine very far in amongst the Burren Mountains and very high up in the Burren Mountains and he told me what it was. I did not believe it was a mine because it looked like two or three little fields in the middle of a bare crag, but he dug and showed me samples of ore. I took these samples of ore and brought them to a Professor in Trinity College, Professor Werner, and he analysed the ore. It was galena, containing fifty ounces of silver to the ton. There was also another sample of ore. It was not galena which is lead sulphide. The other sample which I brought to him was phosphate of lead. He analysed it in my presence and showed me that it was phosphate of lead and asked me to look for phosphate of lime. At that time, there was a great need of phosphate of lime. It was during the War, and it was almost impossible to get it. While Professor Werner was making his analysis, I made enquiry everywhere I could as to whether there was any record of this mine. There was no record, but in connection with another mine in Kinahan’s “List of the Mines of Ireland,” I found a note to this effect: “In O’Loughlin’s country, near his Castle in Burren, a silver mine.” I at once came to the conclusion that the note referred to the mine which had beer shown to me, and I caused enquiries to be made. The authority given was Lord Burleigh’s papers, a Minister of Queen Elizabeth. I got a searcher to search in the British Museum and we there found the report of an Inquiry which was held before the Privy Council of Queen Elizabeth and the evidence of an intelligence officer. This evidence gave the location of the mine very accurately—twenty miles south of Galway. It is twenty miles south of Galway by road or bridle path, but only fifteen miles due south as the crow flies. He gave an account of his visit to this territory——
2591. Chairman.—Will you allow me for a moment, Senator? What you are saying now is very interesting in an academic way, but it does not seem to concern the immediate task of this Committee.
Witness.—All this was known to the people who gave me the take-note. I found the phosphates——
2592. Chairman.—I think you will have to take more rapid steps through that mining survey.
Witness.—Very well; I will go on to the other question. When I was advised to search for a phosphate, I and my men made a search. I always keep four or five men, and we did find an outcrop of phosphates about six miles to the south of this mine. We have developed these phosphate deposits. I have expended £5,000 in the development of the phosphate deposits, and the result of my work is here shown in a map of the phosphate area in the County of Clare which I would like the Commission to look at. I have several copies for the Commission. That map shows that in the north of the County of Clare, we have a deposit of phosphate rock equal to any deposit in the world and more convenient than any other deposit. The rock is of the same quality as the North African rock, and. of course, it would be of the greatest national advantage in the event of any complications that would prevent us getting rock from North Africa. As I say, that is the rock that ought to be used for the fertilisation of this country which is so much in need of phosphates because of the fact that so many store cattle are sent away from year to year. When these discoveries were made and that map was perfected by a very able young man who is an assistant to Mr. Lyburn, I made application that a Commission should be set up, and a Commission was set up consisting of Mr. Maguire of the Department of Industry and Commerce, Professor Nolan, of the National University; Mr. T. Hallissy, the able head of the Geological Survey, and Dr. Drumm, and as a result of that Commission it was recommended that 10 per cent. of Irish rock should be used immediately.
2593. Chairman.—I still must call your attention, Senator, to the fact that we have very limited terms of reference.
Witness.—These are the facts that were within the knowledge of the Department when I applied to them for a take-note in the County Wicklow, and having these facts within their knowledge I claim that so far from their being required to make any enquiries about the matter that they should give me a preference if a preference was needed. Therefore, I claim with great respect, seeing that I have listened for weeks to statements here that were made on false information, that I am entitled to tell this Committee what the Department , knew about my activities. Very well. The Commission reported, and having so reported, the manufacturers— the importers—offered to take my phosphate rock at 5d. per unit, which means. about 23/- a ton. I agreed to accept 5d. a unit and to supply the phosphate rock to any quantity required up to 100,000 tons a year. They then said that they wanted the rock crushed.
2594. Chairman.—Again, Senator, I must call your attention to our limited terms of reference. I am prepared to allow you to say anything within reason to establish that you have a mining tradition and an exploration tradition, but now you seem to be arguing the merits of some phosphate rock deposits in which you have some interest and which you helped to develop.
Witness.—I come now to the question of what the Minister said as a result of the Commission. I asked for a subsidy. The Minister said that a subsidy could not be given to me. I said I would like to know why it could not be given to me. “If it cannot be given to me, I will not use any subterfuge, and if I cannot do the thing over my own name, I will not do it at all.” That is what they knew about the matter. In connection with that I knew that the Parliamentary representatives for Wicklow were most anxious to develop the mineral resources of that county. I knew that there were sulphur deposits in Wicklow and that they would be useful for making superphosphates. I went down to Wicklow with one of the Parliamentary representatives for Wicklow, with Mr. Briscoe and some others. We examined the sulphur mines as far as we could. We came to the conclusion that they were very good and ought to be developed, and developed at once, and so I informed the forty or fifty unemployed labouring men who were there congregated. Soon after that we went on an excursion to Woodenbridge. Mr. Briscoe was there and several others. There were two or three cars. When I was at Woodenbridge I looked up the hillside and I saw some excavations. I asked Mr. Briscoe to come with me to see what was in these gravels. We went up, and after a little while, we found a piece of gold in the gravel. Nothing happened then for several months until one day Mr. Briscoe asked me if I would join him in a speculation. I said, “I will. What is it?” And he said, “prospecting for gold in Wicklow.” “How much?” said I. “£50,” said he. “Very well,” said I, “I will try £50.” He then told me that there was a young fellow who was unemployed who had been concerned in lead mining in Wicklow. I said I would like to see him. He brought Mr. Norman, and I met him. Mr. Norman seemed to have very good theoretical knowledge. I said to Mr. Briscoe, “he will do, he is all right.” Mr. Briscoe then said, “we will give him £2 5/- a week.” “Agreed,” said I. He went to work and, I think, some days afterwards Mr. Briscoe said to me that, in addition to the £2 5/- a week we ought to give a share. “Agreed,” said I; “it will encourage him.” That was the position then. Mr. Briscoe was to pay half, and I was to pay half, and it was to be a three shares, if anything was found. An application was lodged accordingly. Mr. Briscoe was also to do the business part of it, to keep the accounts and the correspondence, and I was to contribute, whenever required, from time to time. That is the way we have been working. After a week or a fortnight I went down there. Mr. Briscoe drove me down in his car. I saw this young man working. He had some little bits of gold, some platinum, little bits of garnets, and other minerals of that kind. He was working up in Ballintemple, in the little stream that flows out of the Holy Well in Ballintemple. I said: “Well, I think he is working on dumps.” There were little hillocks, that is, dumps, in places which had been worked over before, because, of course, the ancient people were not able to get all the gold out of the gravels. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that he was working on dumps. I said that we ought to go where Kinahan advised working—Kinahan was a great geologist in former times —that we ought to go to the lower gravels, lower down to the deep gravels. We went down to the deep gravels and we met a farmer, a very decent man, a Mr. Steadman. We agreed with Mr. Steadman that we should make a trial in a piece of waste ground, that is between his land and the river. We made a trial. Mr. Norman panned and found gold, little bits, not much, but he found gold. It was auriferous. I said the best thing that we can do now is—we have not very much—is to find the thickness of that gravel, that it had never been found before. Books have been written about this gold, but no one has ever gone to find out how thick the gravel is. Mr. Norman said he could sink a shaft. The timber and everything was provided for the sinking of the shaft, and when we went down five or six feet, water was coming in. We provided him with a pump—Mr. Briscoe did. That was not enough. Two pumps were provided, and even with the two pumps and the help of several men—there were a lot of people there, I do not know how many—they were not able to go down more than eight or nine feet, because it was water-logged and open.
The next thing then was that we must get to the rock, so it was suggested that we should get a Boring Company to bore to the rock and tube the gravel. The meaning of the tubing was in order that we might be able to get a sample of the gravel at each level. Mr. Briscoe employed the Boring Company, and they went down. After some days, I went down to see Mr. Briscoe. I did not go very often to the place at that time. We saw the boring. When we got down 35 feet we came upon rock, and the man reported to his employers that he could not go any further. I said to him: “Why do you not go through the rock, because,” I said, “if you are at the bottom, we want some rock?” He said he could not do it. Mr. Briscoe and myself went and had a talk with the farmer, Mr. Steadman. Mr. Steadman said to us: “Look here, you are being deceived; they have not tubed that bore.” We went back to the man. I said to him: “Did you tube the bore?” “No,” he said, “when I came on a rock I was not able to put down any more tubes.” “Well,” said Mr. Briscoe, “you have not performed your contract, and we will not pay you”; and he went away saying: “I cannot go through the rock, and I cannot do it.” He admitted then that he had not tubed it. Then there was correspondence between Mr. Briscoe and the Boring Company, and they made the point that we had not made it quite specific that we needed tubing, although they knew that we wanted samples at each foot or two feet. He refused to pay. The Boring Co. issued a process, and I said to Mr. Briscoe: “I do not like litigation about these things. Will you allow me to settle this case?” “Very well,” he said, “I am very busy and I cannot be going to Court every day. You can do what you like.” I met Mr. O’Reilly, the solicitor on the other side, and I said: “About that boring, I want to settle that.” “What interest have you in it?” he asked, and I replied: “I am a partner.” “Well,” he said, “if you are a partner, I will settle, but you know that these people have gone down, and have been to expense on one thing or another, and spent all this money, and I think you ought to pay the amount. I will not charge you professional fees at all, but just out of pocket expenses.” “Very well,” I said, “how much?” He told me the amount. I gave him a cheque for the amount and Mr. Briscoe allowed me for it in the account. That is one of the cases brought up against us here.
When we had done the boring the only thing we knew was that there was at least 35 feet of gravel in the valley. It was gold bearing down to a depth of 8 feet. All the experts said that it must be getting richer but we did not know. Of course, it was useless to sent samples for analysis because the tubes had not been put down. What had we to do then? We were near our limit—I think well over £100 was spent then. I would not go to more than £100. That is the reason that we have, in our first applications, mentioned a maximum of £200— that we would not go beyond £200. I would only go to £100. Already a good deal of money had been spent and the boring was not satisfactory. Young Norman said: “Look here, would you provide me with equipment and I will make this thing pay.” I said that nothing would suit me better than that, because that was my original idea. As it had been suggested in the newspapers that we were forming a company, I put in a correction the following day—in the form of an interview—indicating that I would have nothing to do with a company; that my idea was to work it by groups of men with equipment. “Very well,” he said, “if you get the equipment I will make it pay.” I said: “We will give you the equipment.” Mr. Briscoe also said: “We will give you the equipment.” Norman also said: “I want it made according to my own ideas.” We said: “Very well, we will get a cradle, sluices and quicksilver.” I think they cost about £20. We also told him, “Work where you like.” He said that he would rather go up the river. I said: “You had better stay down,” or “Do not go on the river; go to some place not worked already.” He went up the river. After a fortnight I went down. There were 3 cubic yards of gravel washed and it had gold and amalgam. Mr. Briscoe paid the men that day, because he asked me for some money and I did pay out money. I know that he paid everyone that day. He took away all the ore they had found and sent it to Professor Bailey of Trinity College. Professor Bailey sent in the result. There was gold—22 carat. He told me that the value of the gold was between 5/- and 6/-. I do not remember that exactly. Professor Bailey told Mr. Briscoe that a good many people had spent a lot of money, and had lost money in Wicklow, and said that perhaps he would spend money there too. We were disappointed at the amount of gold, but not so very much, seeing that they had only washed about 3 cubic yards. Mr. Norman said he would go further down the river and we agreed that he should go on. Finally, one day when we went down, the cradle, sluices and all were left there. Norman was living five or ten miles away from the place, and was not working there, so we put another man named Keogh to work. That went on for a few weeks. Finally they abandoned the enterprise. The next I know that happened was that Mr. Briscoe came to me and said Norman wants £25. “For what?” I said. Mr. Briscoe said it was for his share, as he was clearing out. I said to Mr. Briscoe: “Well, that is very curious; for his share in an application for a lease that we gave him for nothing he wants £25. I will not buy him out. Let him sell now to whom ever he likes. Whoever he sells to will have to buy his share—one-third. I will not buy him out.” I said to Mr. Briscoe: “Do not buy him out. Let him take his chance.” I continued: “My money is in that, and I will follow my money a little further. Do not buy the man out. Let him take his chance.” Mr. Briscoe did not buy him out. Some time afterwards Mr. Briscoe showed me a letter from a solicitor threatening an action for Norman’s share. I said to Mr. Briscoe: “Did you agree with this man; did you give him your word?” “I did,” he said. “Very well,” I said, “if you agreed with him we will have to pay him. Get a release. You will have to pay the costs.” Mr. Briscoe wrote to the solicitor, and the solicitor wrote back. We asked that the costs should not be very heavy. The solicitor wrote back again, and finally the release was drawn up. Mr. Briscoe paid £14 5s., and I paid £14 5s., making £28 10s. We lodged the document with the Department, and then sent in an application in the two names. What we offered in the original application was to spend a maximum of £200, and a royalty of 2½ per cent. In the second application, after conversations and various other things, we were induced, I think, to go a little higher, to 4 per cent.
2595. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.—I did not catch what you said?
Witness.—We had various conversations and went a little higher, I think to 4 per cent. You will never catch me. My story is right. In any case, 4 per cent. is in the second application. I should say that at this stage Mr. Briscoe was not very keen on the gold. The draft lease was made out and the Department naturally was very anxious that some one should spend money on prospecting. There were some things in the draft lease that I objected to. When I told Mr. Briscoe, he said “let it go.” I agreed to the draft lease, the engrossment was made out, and I signed my name. Mr. Briscoe did not. I had business in the Department from time to time and they were urging me as to why we did not perfect the lease. I met the solicitor, Mr. Horan, who said: “Look here, I am troubled about this lease; Mr. Briscoe did not sign it.” Whether it was in jest or in earnest—I do not know—he said: “I will sue for specific performance to make him sign.” I had asked Mr. Briscoe to sign several times. I went to him again but he said he was too busy about the factory that has been mentioned here and various other things. I said to him: “Look here, Bob, will you sell your share?” I did not ask him to sign then. He asked me: “What will you give me,” and I said: “I do not know. What will you take?” “I do not know,” said he. “Very well,” I replied, “will you come and sign it, Bob, anyway?” He then went and signed it. My object was to make him sign, and sign quickly. When he signed the lease he ought to have been asked for the rent and the costs. I suppose the costs were not made out. I do not know. In any case, if he had been asked for the rent and the costs when he signed the lease, I am sure he would have paid them. The rent was not paid for a month or six weeks. That is the second point made against us. I think Mr. Briscoe paid up as soon as it was adverted to. I have paid my share and we owe no money to workmen or traders in respect of this lease. In regard to the lease, you have assumed that it is a lease at 4 per cent. royalty. It is nothing of the kind. Under this lease, for every £ made by the lessees the Government will get a minimum of 12/- and probably 15/- out of anything made out of it. The first thing in the lease is 4 per cent. minimum, but here you have a clause that has not been adverted to: “And in the event of the lessees granting any sublease of or licence to work the mineral substances hereby demised then paying in lieu of the rent and royalties hereinbefore reserved half of the rent and royalties for the time being payable under any sub-lease or licence hereafter granted.” Therefore, what the Government are entitled to is half—4 per cent. or half. Therefore, if we got, as it was agreed to give us in the six months’ licence, one-sixth, the Government would get one-twelfth; that is, 8 per cent. the Government would have got under one of these agreements. That is the first advantage the Government had, and I pointed out at the time that that is unusual, but they said that, seeing that they were a new Government and that the mines and minerals were undeveloped, they thought it would be desirable that they should have that right—to charge more than the named royalty. Now, there is another matter about this lease. This is a lease that contemplates a sub-letting, and the Minister, as I respectfully say. very truthfully said there must be a sub-letting after a prospecting lease. It is contemplated there. Now, it is said that we did not pay the rent. We did. It said: “To constantly keep and employ on said lands at least four able-bodied and experienced miners and to supply them with all proper tools and appliances.” That was adverted to several times. That is put forward here as a matter for your inquiry, as to whether we have fulfilled that covenant. I think that the economic geologist gave you a proper explanation. That clause arises only when a mine is found. You cannot employ a miner until you have a mine, and the object of that clause is to see that the lessee does not sit on the lease and do nothing. That is what Mr. Lyburn says, and with that I agree, and, with all respect to the legal gentlemen here, I think that that is the construction put upon it in countries where mining is known and mining leases are known. The next thing said about us is that we did not make the return. We did make the return. It is said that we did not make the return under clause 5:— “Within three days next after the expiration of each calendar month during the continuance of this demise to deliver to the lessor a true and fair account in writing showing particulars of the quantity of all minerals which during such month shall have been respectively gotten and raised from the said lands and which during such month shall have been stored, crushed and stamped.” That clause does not arise until there are minerals which are to be stored, crushed and stamped, and, of course, the lease must be construed, as my legal friends know, against the grantor. Now, there is another thing in this lease. There is a provision in this lease that the Minister is to inquire whether we have financial and technical resources before a full lease is made to us following upon the option to be exercised under this lease. Now, at the time this lease was going through the Department, there was another lease in which Deputy MacDermot says he is concerned to the extent of £50 for adjacent townlands. I respectfully submit to this Committee that they ought to send for that lease-the lease to Colonel Pakenham-Mahon— because I believe, and I charge, that there is no such clause in the Mahon lease.
2596. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.—No such clause as what?—No such clause as a clause requiring, before a lease is granted, in pursuance of the option, that the Minister is entitled to inquire as to whether we have the necessary technical and financial backing. That is somewhere in this lease, though I cannot find it at the moment.
2597. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.—Yes, it is there. There is no question about it. What is your point?—I respectfully ask that the other lease be sent for in order to see if that clause is contained in it. Here is the clause I am referring to: “And the lessor hereby agrees with the lessees that if the said search be successful, and any metals or minerals, the right of taking which is hereby demised, shall be discovered on or under the said lands the lessors shall, if required by the lessees at any time prior to the determination of this demise and on being satisfied that the lessees possess the financial and technical resources necessary for the full development of the undertaking, grant and execute unto the lessees a lease.” I said to the officer: “That is an unusual clause. That is not in any lease that I have met with in the course of my reading,” because, of course, there are very few mining leases in Ireland, but there are a great many in Great Britain. “Well,” he said, “I think you ought to agree, seeing that we are merely starting on this matter of mineral development.” I said: “Very well, I will agree.” I pointed out the matter to Mr. Briscoe, and he said that he would agree; we would make no objection. However, I now say that I wish the other lease to be produced so as to ascertain whether there is such a clause in it. I believe there is not. Now, we are asked why did we limit the amount to £200. I would not agree to anything more on general principles, and. Mr. Chairman, for this reason, that I believe that a labouring man is as much entitled as I am, or as anybody else to prospect, and I believe that if he finds a mineral he is entitled to get a take-note, and that, following the take-note, he is entitled to a lease. I certainly strongly protest against the idea that no person is to get a take-note or lease except a person who has plenty of money. That is the reason that I kept this matter—one of the reasons that I kept it down to £200. Of course, we have spent more than £200. We have spent a good deal more, and we mean to spend still more. Well, we got the lease, and when we got it I said: “I will go on with this; I will follow my money.” I was more or less free from matters in County Clare at that time, and was able to devote vacations to it. I may say that I never did anything myself at mining except in vacations. Of course, when not there myself, I would have others working. I employed men at 5/- a day for a man and 10/- a day for a ganger. That is the money I always paid. But I myself only work in vacation times, except perhaps on Saturdays. Mr. Briscoe and myself said: “We will prospect this ourselves.” Accordingly, we prospected it ourselves, and Mr. Briscoe went down very frequently and spent a lot of time there. I also went down fairly frequently and spent a considerable time there, and every time I went down I took samples. I would do, one day, field work, and, say, three days’ laboratory work. In that way, we came to the conclusion that probably the river was not the right place at all. Then I consulted with Mr. Hallissy who, if I may say so, is a man who knows all about these resources in Wicklow, and who is an extremely able man. The possibility of glacial action was mentioned.
2598. Deputy Costello.— Did you say Hallissy?—Yes, Mr. Hallissy, the head of the Geological Survey, the best man in this country on that question, and a man whose abilities are not used as they ought to be. He showed me the direction of the glaciers and everything like that and told me to go to the deep gravels. I did so, and we kept away from the rivers, because they have been worked for ages past as far down as the poor people could go. Then, after some time, Mr. Breen spoke to me and said: “Look here, will you give me a share in that?” “For what?” I said. “I will have it examined for you,” he said. “I will have it inspected, bring engineers, and find the finance; I have friends.” He told me who the friends were. “Very well, Dan,” I said,” I will give you 10 per cent. if you do that, but, mind you, start working now. You are to do this for it. You are to get a mining engineer, to have a full report, and you say your friends have the finance. You will work this—no public company?” “Yes.” “Very well, then, Dan, 10 per cent.,” I said. “That is very little,” he said. “That is all you will get.” So, the next day he came to me and said: “I have a friend. Will you give a little more?”—and he mentioned the name of a friend, Mr. Seán Hayes. “I will,” I said. “I will give 5 per cent. to him.” That is 15 per cent. I have agreed to. I agree to give 10 per cent. to Dan and 5 per cent. to Seán. He said that Mr. Briscoe, for the same consideration, had also given him a share. Then Mr. Breen introduced his friend Mr. D’Arcy who was to go to London in connection with the mining lease. He had no authority, however, to sell the mine. Soon after Mr. D’Arcy had been in London, Mr. Briscoe told me that a Mr. Heiser wanted to see me. I said that I would see Mr. Heiser. We went to the Gresham Hotel. Mr. Heiser informed me, as I had known before, that he had spent a lot of his time in Wicklow prospecting; that he knew a great deal about Wicklow; that he was an expert miner; that he owned a mine; and I believed he was a good prospector. “Well, Mr. Heiser,” said I, “how much money have you?” He said that he had £80,000. “Who are your associates, Mr. Heiser?” said I. “Well,” said he, “I have Sir Harry Brittain, Sir Basil Clarke, Professor Holman of the School of Mines; I have a big Greek mining magnate, and I have an American friend, and I also have my own money.” “You have £80,000, Mr. Heiser?” I asked. “I have,” said he. “To work this mine?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “I have £80,000 to work this mine.” “Very well, Mr. Heiser,” said I. We parted, and Mr. Briscoe told me then that he offered 20,000 shares to us for a sub-lease. So I said, or wrote—I do not know which, but if I wrote it must be the only letter I wrote—that I thought it would be much better for us to give a sub-lease at a profit royalty. We will charge him six one-quarter per cent. royalty and we will take £12,000 in shares.” He had been sent over to offer 20,000 and I divided it. I said: “That is better,” and Heiser agreed. Then we heard from Mr. Heiser, and some of his associates here, that they had bought a 250 horse-power engine and they had given orders for the tubing. Everything was being got ready to start work immediately. We made an agreement and we signed that agreement—the agreement of the 12th March. That is an agreement made with people on the basis that they have money, not that they are going to get it from the public. Some time afterwards Mr. Heiser said to us: “Do you know I cannot go in on this? You have not given me any title to this.” This was at Woodenbridge. I said: “I will give you a licence to go in,” and I wrote the licence at once, terminable at will, to go in and work. After some time he said: “That is not enough.” I said: “Produce your money and you will get your lease.” Then we got an intimation that he was coming over with a mining engineer and that his friends would not put up the money until the mining engineer returned. The mining engineer came over, a man of great experience, a Mr. Dunn, and they went down to Wicklow. They went down in the morning and we went down in the afternoon. We met them at the hotel. Mr. Heiser called us into a private room —Mr. Briscoe and myself. Mr. Breen, Mr. Hayes and Mr. Nunan were also there. Mr. Heiser suggested to us that in the Agreement he had made a mistake, that he signed as representing Risberget —they were a London group whose names I have given you—and that he ought to have signed as representing Crusade Prospectors. He asked our permission to make a change. We said that under no circumstances would we give any such permission. I thought he did not understand the significance of what he was trying to do. We gave him no permission. We went out, and outside we met Mr. Dunn. Heiser said: “Now, Senator, show us your gold.” “Come on,” said I, and we went off in motor cars. We went off to the junction of the Lyre and Goldmine rivers. We went in there and Mr. Heiser went into the stream, panning away. Several other people also went in panning. Mr. Dunn and I were standing some distance away talking of various subjects until he said: “I am not very interested in this river.” “Well,” I said, “he did not ask me where he was to pan.” Then Mr. Dunn and myself had a discussion. He was a very clever mining engineer and we had a discussion where he ought to pan. “Of course,” said I, “it is in these fields all round.” Mr. Dunn came to the bank of the river. “Heiser.” said he, “you did not ask Senator Comyn where you should pan. Pan anywhere where we stand. Pan anywhere except in the river.” So he did, and I think it was Seán Hayes who dug a panful and Heiser panned it. It nearly fell out of his hands when he was coming to the end. There were six pieces of gold in the pan and soon after, I think, he said he wanted a glass of brandy. Then they panned all round the place. You never saw such work as they had panning and they were coming up to Mr. Dunn and asking him: “How much is that worth a ton or a cubic yard?” Of course, Mr. Dunn was not telling them. “I will tell my employers that,” he said. Mr. Dunn and I started to make some very rapid calculations, allowing 5,000 sq. yards for every acre to a depth of three feet. We calculated the number of cubic yards and how much it was worth per cubic yard. “The worst I have seen,” he said, “is worth 1/-.” That being the case we went away and Mr. Dunn said: “I will have to look into this.” They remained three or four days and we were expecting them back in Dublin. I said to Mr. Briscoe: “What is keeping these fellows in Wicklow?” He said he did not know. “Look here,” said I, “Heiser wanted us to join him in taking a lease and we refused to join him in taking that lease. We want to work and maybe Heiser does not. He wants leases. Will you see whether he is looking for leases?” So Mr. Briscoe telephoned to the Stationery Office and asked for certain maps of Wicklow. “You have got them already.” said the attendant. “Who has got them?” “Mr. Heiser has got them.” So then we knew what he was at. Then I looked at the geological survey map and I knew several townlands, so I wrote down a list of the townlands and lodged an application. With that application we sent the letter of the 25th April, 1935. Now, gentlemen, I claim the indulgence of this Committee to read that entire letter.
2599. Deputy Costello.—Spare us that.
Witness.— We claim that it is our right to read and have published the entire letter and nobody knows we have that right better than Deputy Costello.
Deputy Costello.—I am not going to stop you but it has already been read several times.
Chairman.—Are you sure the letter has not been already read?
2600. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.—I suggest that he should be allowed to read it. We have already heard it several times.
Witness.—If it has been read it has not been commented upon. Extracts have been published from that letter and misrepresented—not wilfully by anyone here, I am sure—but still it has been grossly misrepresented. Here is the letter:—
“With reference to the application for mining lease or take-note in respect of various townlands in the County of Wicklow, in the water shed of Avoca, Aughrim, Ow, McReddin and Goldmine rivers, we beg to state as follows:—
When we got a lease from the Minister for the three townlands at the junction of the Lyre and Goldmine rivers, and along their banks, we made a thorough investigation of their mineral deposits, and as a result we discovered that there is in these three townlands a very big deposit of auriferous gravel.”
That paragraph is wholly and literally true, and the proof of it is that we found the gold. The letter goes on:—
“Some time ago a mining engineer— a Mr. Heiser who was represented to us as a gentleman of great experience —made us an offer on behalf of a Company called Risberget, and after certain modifications in the offer, we accepted it, and we now beg to send you a copy of the said agreement comprised in said offer and acceptance. This Agreement provides that Risberget should form a company with a minimum capital of £80,000 for the working of these deposits.”
Where is the suggestion there that they should issue shares to the public? None. It was not a public Company; it was a private Company which contracted to buy the mine, and which had full knowledge of mining operations.
“Mr. Heiser brought the Agreement to London, and returned last week with a mining engineer named Mr. Dunn, who was represented to us by Mr. Heiser as a gentleman who had been sent over at a fee of 1,000 guineas to examine the deposits.”
That is what Mr. Heiser told us, and Mr. Dunn also.
“On Friday last, Mr. Heiser Mr. Dunn and Mr. Noonan went down to the leasehold and panned some gravel; we arrived later in the day and in an interview between Mr. Heiser, Mr. Noonan, Mr. Breen, Mr. Seán Hayes and ourselves, Mr. Heiser requestd us to alter the Agreement by making it appear that he was acting, not for Risberget, but for some other combination which he named the Crusade Prospectors, and he said that he had not intended to sign as Managing Director of Risberget. We refused to allow any alteration of the agreement.”
That is true, literally and actually.
“Mr. Heiser thereupon proposed to us that we should join with him in a syndicate for the purpose of acquiring leasehold interest in various mining areas. We refused to consider this proposition. Mr. Heiser then requested us to point out where the deposits of gold were to be found in our leasehold property. We went with him, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Noonan, Mr. Breen and Mr. Hayes to the junction of the Lyre and Goldmine rivers, and there, at the points chosen by Mr. Dunn, pans of gravel were taken and washed. In some of the pans was found five or six pieces of gold. This panning showed clearly that gold can be worked in the particular area at a profit, and we expect the results will be such that mining leases will be applied for in other areas, not so much for the purpose of working the deposits as for getting money from the public through the formation of companies.”
That is what we were afraid of.
“It was, indeed, suggested to us that working for gold at the junction of the Lyre and Goldmine river would make every other area in the district saleable. When we refused to be parties to the alteration of our Agreements, and showed to those mining engineers where gold was to be found in quantities, we anticipated that applications would be made for mining leases in the neighbourhood, and our purpose in making this application is to prospect the area with the object of working it, and to deal fairly with Risberget and the Company which is to put a capital of £80,000 into the working of gold in the district.
“Mr. Dunn actually stated to us that the three townlands, together with the other six of our original application, should be of sufficient size to give the working for gold a proper test. We, therefore, while we are applying for other areas, want to make it clear that the favourable consideration of our present application for a lease as distinct from a licence to prospect should depend upon our making a success of the leasehold which we have already obtained.
“You will notice that in our Agreement every operative clause makes provision for the sanction of the Minister to be obtained before any step is taken, our primary object being the protection of the people who might be asked to subscribe in this country, and to secure that the deposits will be worked rather than used for the purposes of exploitation.”
You see our object.
“The reason we said in our Agreement ‘a licence for their Company is to be obtained from the Minister,’ is because we felt this speculative class of venture should rather be subscribed for abroad than by our own people.”
We felt it then, we feel it now, and we stand over that. Here is the meaning of it in plain language. The meaning of it is this: Here are people whose names we know, men of eminence in the financial life of London, expert mining engineers, a Professor of the Royal School of Mines, and a mining magnate from Greece. They say: “We have £80,000; we will form a Company with that £80,000.”
2601. Chairman.—On that point, was it Mr. Heiser said that on their behalf? —Heiser said that they had the money, and that is the basis upon which the agreement was made. “It should rather be subscribed for abroad.” Certainly. Let them subscribe for it abroad, but not a public company. I have always objected to the formation of a public company. When a public company was mentioned in 1933—Mr. McGilligan referred to something that appeared in the Press —if Mr. McGilligan looked up the Press on the following day he would have seen that in an interview Senator Comyn, or Mr. Comyn, as he then was, said that he would have nothing to do with any public company; that his object was to work the gold in Wicklow by means of small units to be worked by labouring men. I wonder why Mr. McGilligan, in common fairness, did not refer to that. I am willing to believe that he probably did not see it. That was why we wanted —“should rather be subscribed for abroad than by our own people.” It was necessary that we should get a licence in order to enable Professor Holman, Sir Basil Clarke, and the others to put £80,000 into the Wicklow gold mine. I think that was quite right. Subject to what you, gentlemen, may think, I would be inclined to do the same again, because they told us that they knew more about the area than we did. In fact, they said to Mr. Briscoe: “We are surprised that you know so much about this gold.” They professed to know everything about it; they were surprised that we were making such a stiff bargain and were standing on the private company and objecting to public companies. In fact, Mr. Heiser told Mr. Dunn in our presence: “We cannot go on without those three townlands, because the lode is there.” Mr. Heiser said that to Mr. Dunn, a man who has spent his life as a mining engineer. Professor Holman, who had been on the ground, professes to know that. The people who had all the knowledge said they had £80,000, and we were willing to make a bargain with them, but we would not have a public company. I should like to mention the reasons why we would not have a public company. This is the first gold mine that has been started here. I would not have a public company because I was not sure that the gravels lower down were as rich as the gravels on the surface. The experts told me they were, and must be, richer, but our boring was defective: we were not sure, and I would not consent to a public company on that account. Then, in order to get us, if they could. to consent to a public company, Mr. Heiser suggested: “I cannot get those men to put money into it unless I have it tried.” He suggested that £20,000 should be put up by himself; that one unit should be started; that that one unit should be worked, and if it was a success then they would work the rest. I agreed to that and Mr. Briscoe agreed to it. We gave him then a licence to set up a mining unit. That licence was to expire on the 16th September, or such other date as he should call upon us to make a sub-lease of the £80,000 company. That document is before the Committee. I have not heard of any reference to it in the course of this inquiry. It is a document which gives a licence to Mr. Heiser to set up one unit at a cost of £20,000, and pay us for the remainder of the term of six months a royalty of one-sixth, that is, a 16 per cent. royalty. He did not go on with that unit. Instead of doing so he sent us a letter that he was coming to Dublin accompanied by a financial associate from Belfast. He said that to Mr. Briscoe, and Mr. Briscoe told me. Mr. Harrison appeared with Mr. Heiser. Mr. Briscoe and myself met them at the Gresham Hotel, and the moment we sat down—I think it was in the lounge—Mr. Harrison said: “I bought this lease of gold in Wicklow and I am coming to see it.” I asked: “Well, who did you buy it from?” He answered: “From Mr. Heiser.” I asked: “What did you agree to give?” He told me what he had agreed to give, and, taking a pencil in my hand, I remarked: “Will you say that again, please?” He said: “I have agreed to give £10,000 in cash, and £50,000 in shares fully paid-up, for an assignment of the lease, subject to 6¼ per cent. royalty. I propose to start a company. I represent underwriters. The whole sum is underwritten—£200,000 in cash.” “Mr. Harrison,” I said, “what is your firm?” He replied: “Harrison Sugden and Company, Australia House.” I then said: “Well, Mr. Harrison, I think we had better retire to a private room.” We did go to a private room and sat down at a table. When we were seated nobody spoke for a few seconds. Then I said: “Heiser, what do you mean by selling a lease that did not belong to you?” Harrison said: “What does all this mean?” I replied: “It means this—you have bought a lease from a man who did not own it. This man represented himself to us as having £80,000 in cash between himself and his friends, and we made a bargain with him that he would work it on certain terms; but we never authorised him nor anybody else to sell this, and we will not consent to any public company.” Mr. Harrison said: “Heiser, what sort of a man are you?” Heiser said: “Oh. I showed you that agreement.” “You did not,” said Harrison. “I did,” said Heiser, “it is in your papers.” “Well,” said Harrison, “I will get my papers.”
He went up for his papers and the agreement, right enough, was in his papers. “Yes,” said Harrison, “it is in my papers; it is not worth 6d. to you, anyway. Here is what I have in my papers. Do you remember when you and Melkman came to my office; I went out for about an hour, and I told you to write out a statement of facts. You remember, Heiser, that you wrote a statement of facts; that you signed that statement of facts, and that Melkman signed that statement of facts?” “I do,” said Heiser. “Very well,” was the reply, “here it is. You are not selling any patent; you are not selling any process; you are selling a lease, and there it is—a lease of a rich mine; 17 millions of money; you are selling that and it did not belong to you.” Then we were silent for a while. Then he said: “You brought me over here.” I said: “It was not he brought you over here. You came over here on Dunn’s report, and you came over here on Holman’s report. That is what brought you over.” He said: “Well, it is. That is what brought me over.” I then went on to say: “Well, I suppose as you came over you may as well go down and see the place, Mr. Harrison. I will not be there, but Mr. Briscoe will accompany you.” That is the last I saw of Harrison. Harrison then looked at me for a while and looked at Mr. Briscoe, and said: “Look here, Heiser, these men are inclined to give you a fair show. Can you possibly get rid of the sharks you have gathered around you—the commercial sharks in London and the hammer-headed sharks in Dublin?” He did not say “hammer-headed,” but we know they are.
2602. Chairman.—Who were they?—I will tell you later, if I am asked. Heiser and Harrison then started to talk about all the sharks, and I did not take much notice of what they were saying. I heard names mentioned, but I did not recognise them, so I took no notice. I said: “Very well, Mr. Harrison; in any case you had better go and see the place. Mr. Briscoe will accompany you, and Mr. Breen will accompany you.” They went down to see the place, and some days afterwards in the Dáil Mr. Briscoe told me that somebody wanted to see me. The people who came to see me were Mr. Smyth and Mr. Summerfield. I think Smyth had spoken to me about Summerfield’s coming before that, but in any case Mr. Briscoe was in conversation with Mr. Summerfield and Mr. Smyth in the dining-room. I was not there, and a messenger was sent for me. I saw Mr. Breen and said: “You had better turn up at this conclave, and Hayes also.” I went in, and they came after me. Mr. Summerfield started: “Well now, what happened between you and Heiser?” “Tell me,” said I, “who are you?” “Summerfield,” said he “Tell me, Mr. Summerfield.” I asked, “what interest have you in this matter?” He replied: “I am a shareholder in Risberget.” I then enquired: “How did you get your shares, Mr. Summerfield,” and his reply was: “I got them in lieu of shares or interest I had in Crusade Prospectors.” I then said: “Look here, Mr. Summerfield, you had better go at once and get the advice of a solicitor.” I thought the man did not know what Heiser had suggested we should do when we were down at Woodenbridge, and I thought it only fair to the man to tell him to look sharp and go to a solicitor. Smyth, who was at the other side of the table, said to Summerfield: “You are all right.” So then I stood up and said if it is all right I shall have no more to do with this conversation. As I stood up Mr. Summerfield said: “You will hear more about this; you are not finished with us yet.” That is what Mr. Summerfield said. After that I think the formal Prospectus* of our solicitor, Mr. Cox, and told him to look after this. Mr. Harrison subsequently came to Dublin and saw Mr. Cox. After that I think the formal Prospectus was sent to Mr. Briscoe. That is the Prospectus for a public company being carried out on the terms he suggested in his interview with us, and which we had absolutely refused to have anything to do with. We have nothing to do with the formation of a public company whatever.
2603. Chairman.—Can you say whether that Prospectus is to implement the alleged sale by Mr. Heiser of his interest in the business?—It was not to implement that; it was probably to try and find out whether in any circumstances we would consent to the formation of a public company. At any rate, he handed this document to Mr. Briscoe.
2604. What is the proposed capital?— The proposed capital is £250,000 divided into 2,500,000 shares at 2/- each. The Directors are Bernard Whelpton Holman, O.B.E., A.R.S.M., M.Inst.M.M., M.Inst. Chem.E., E.C.S., Granville House Arundel Street, London, W.C.2, Professor at Royal School of Mines, London; and Maurice Emmanuel Heiser 39a Maddox Street, London, Mining Engineer; the solicitors are D & T. Fitzgerald, 30 Anglesea Street, Dublin; Harrison Sugden & Co., Australia House, London, W.C.2. The Consulting Engineer is G. V. S. Dunn, M.Inst.M.E., F.R.G.S., Grove Lodge, Isle— worth, Middlesex, and the Secretary, John Douglas George, A.C.A., Australia House, London, W.C. That was handed to Mr. Briscoe. I had nothing to do with it. We would not consent to the promotion of any company by Mr. Harrison. We never made any agreement, or ever authorised Heiser, or any other person, to sell our interest in this case. If the Committee wishes, they can see the report of these gentlemen in reference to Wicklow mining, and if they want it read I shall read it.
2605. Chairman.—Do the Committee want to hear these reports?
Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.—I do not, but I do not want to stop Senator Comyn reading anything he likes.
Witness.—This is the report of Mr. Dunn:—
“I have pleasure in handing you hereunder an abridged report on my visit of inspection to the gold alluvial mining areas in County Wicklow. acquired by you, made in April and May of this year.
“History of Gold in Ireland.—So much has been written on this widely discussed subject by geologists and mining authorities, among whom may be numbered Dr. G. Simoens, Member of the Commission for Geological Survey, Belgium; Dr. J. Malcolm Maclaren, late Chief Consulting. Geologist to the Consolidated Goldfields of South Africa; Mr. T. Hallissy, Director of Geological Survey of the Irish Free State; Mr. G. K. Kinahan, Sir Robert R. Kane, Professor Holman, and many others, who all agree on the existence and wide distribution of gold in Ireland, and of its sources being strictly local, that I am not enlarging, on this feature, except to state that indisputable proofs exist, in situ, in the County Wicklow, evidencing the fact that the alluvial gold occurrences in the extensive flats, banks, creek beds, and the rivers and creeks themselves, have been derived from adjacent gold bearing reefs, lodes or veins, and, in many cases, the metal has travelled but a short distance, its mechanical condition evidencing this sufficiently.
“Area Traversed and Sampled.—Some 2,000 acres of alluvium along the river flats and banks were examined by me, from which I selected, for special circulation as to quantity and values-appraisement, 1,200 acres. These last named should yield auriferous gravels, sands clay, etc., up to at least 36,000,000 cubic yards of “pay-dirt,” capable of having their gold contents extracted therefrom by modern appliances … at a profit. The remaining 800 acres were also proved by me as gold bearing, and would probably increase the above yardage by a further 14,000,000 cubic yards, and of approximately an equal value. The flats and banks being narrower in this section of your concessions accounts for the disparity in their proportionate relation to the former and wider area. In addition to the acreage examined, further extensive creek beds and adjacent lands have, I understand, been applied for in the County Wicklow by you.
“Values.—The 1,200 acres traversed by me, composed of valleys, flats and river beds, affording the area as careful an examination as the time at my disposal permitted, and testing both deep and shallow ground where approachable, may be safely regarded as having a value of 1/1½ per cubic yard (gold at 128/- per fine ounce), or a net saleable of 11d. per yard. The depth of the ‘pay-dirt’ over all may be taken as 21 feet on an average.
“Revenue Recommendations, etc.— It is obviously the object of any organisation taking in hand this large enterprise to obtain the greatest result possible in the shortest time.
“I am, therefore, recommending the installation of a fairly extensive plant system, viz., of three units to being with.
“There are certain firms in Great Britain who are prepared to quote at reasonable prices apparati to handle with one unit as much as 170 cubic yards per hour (solids on a 12 per cent. basis) with a 14-inch gravel pump, and which I compute in a 20-hour working day will treat 3,400 cubic yards. Fifty working weeks will be taken in the year, and this single unit should be capable of breaking down and washing 1,200,000 cubic yards, continuous operation, in the 12 months. Three units should, therefore, treat 3,600,000 cubic yards.
“Economic Situation.—To instal three units to hydraulically sluice this area simultaneously in order to handle 3,600,000 yards per annum, I consider that approximately £120,000 cash working capital will be required, of which £70,000 will be the cost of the necessary plant and equipment and £50,000 for working capital.
“Cost of Working.—I estimate that the all-in cost per cubic yard of alluvium treated will be 4d., which figure includes the 4 per cent. royalty payable to the Irish Free State on gross gold extracted, and that the value of gold recovered per cubic yard of alluvium treated should be not less than 11d., thus leaving an estimated profit of 7d. per cubic yard, subject to London overheads, extra royalty to lessees, and incidentals as below. I therefore compute the net profit which should be earned by your company with three units in operation to be as follows:—
“3,600,000 yards at 7d. net profit— £105,000 per annum; less royalty payable to lessees, 2¼ per cent. on gross gold won—£4,000; contingencies or incidentals—£6,000; overheads, office, directors, depreciation, etc.—£12,000, making £22,000. Estimated net profit per annum with three units—£83,000. On this basis, with an initial capital of £200,000 the earning capacity should be equal to 41½ per cent. per annum.”
That is Mr. Dunn’s report. Then comes the report of Professor Holman, and then there is the report of Mr. Heiser. We did not agree, and we had nothing to do with them. We were willing to agree to a private company with a capital of £80,000 to work the deposits with experts of thorough experience. I do submit very respectfully that everything we did in regard to this matter has been plain and above board. We were perfectly entitled to look after the interest of the public and our own people; and we were also entitled to make a bargain with experts who said they had £80,000 to put into the company. That is all I have to say except that in working this mine Mr. Hallissy was the man I relied upon. It was his advice I took, and that of Kinahan. I was not talking much to the present economic geologist to the Department, but I have no doubt he found the mother-lode on the top of Ballintemple; but that is not the lode that supplies the gold to the valley at Woodenbridge. That is what I am told. I know very little about these matters myself.
2606. Chairman.—You mentioned that Mr. Heiser had assured you that certain persons were associated with him who were prepared to put up £80,000 to exploit these resources. Do you still believe that Mr. Heiser had friends prepared to put up the £80,000?—I believed it at the time. They asked for leave to put up a twenty thousand pound plant.
2607. Apart from Mr. Heiser’s statement that these persons were associated with him in this project, had you any evidence in fact that they were?—Oh yes, Mr. Heiser produced credentials from most reputable people. Here is something that we got. It is a letter from the High Commissioner’s Office, Australia House, dated the 22nd of March, 1935, as follows:—
“I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th instant concerning Mr. Maurice Heiser, an Australian Mining Engineer.
“I have to state that for twenty years Mr. Heiser has been actively employed in Australia and in other parts of the world in gold and gem mining. He had a very prominent position in the saphire market through his patented dredging processes. In Queensland he owned the Crocodile Gold Diggings, and opened up the Dee rush gold diggings in Central Queensland. I believe that he was the first to locate course gold on the Dee diggings.
“I am of the opinion that any recommendation made by Mr. Heiser is worthy of serious consideration.”
2608. That is signed by whom?—It is signed by H. C. Smart of the High Commissioner’s Office. Mr. Briscoe met some of these people that I have mentioned.
2609. Whom did he meet?—I think he met Sir Harry Brittain, Sir Basil Clarke, and Mr. Melkman, and he met this eminent firm of solicitors, Harrison Sugdon and Company, and people connected with them in London.
2610. Did they indicate in the course of these conversations that they were prepared to put up £80,000 for the flotation of this company?—They did. What they indicated most of all was their surprise that we knew that the place was so valuable. It was afterwards that they desired to put the £80,000 cash.
2611. If it was true that Heiser had available £80,000 to exploit the resources mentioned, does it not seem strange that he should, as you suggest, appear to have disposed of his interest in the matter for a certain sum?—I shall answer that fully. Here is a letter of the 28th of March from Heiser:—
“Your letter of the 26th to hand for which I thank you, and I am very glad that the bond was accepted.
“For you and your associates’ information we wish to announce that we are applying for the machinery for the first unit this week or the early part of next, and soon after that I shall be returning to Ireland. I shall advise you in advance of my arrival.
“I am much obliged for the kind message of Senator Comyn and yourself, and for your kind offer of assistance.”
That letter is dated the 28th of March, that is a fortnight after he signed the agreement and showed what was going on; no question of floating a company. The first knowledge we had of his intending to try and get us to consent to the flotation of a public company was on the 23rd of May, 1935, in this letter:—
“Dear Mr. Briscoe.
“This is to you know that Mr. Heiser intends to arrive in Dublin on Sunday morning next.
“He is having a financial associate come over from Belfast in the afternoon, and he hopes you will be able to come over to the Gresham Hotel on Sunday evening at 8.30, so that his friend may meet you and Mr. Comyn.”
Up to that it was all work, work. You asked me why he changed from the scheme of an £80,000 private company to work the mine and tried to get up a public company. I think that probably he wants to get quick money, because I see here that under this proposed company about £70,000 or £80,000 would be made by people abroad, not by us. We were to make nothing unless the mine was a success. People abroad would make £70,000 or £80,000 before a wheel was turned in the mine. In any case, I would not consent to a public company. When you ask me what was the reason, I do not know what reason animated him, except it was to turn over money quickly, because there is not the slightest doubt about it that it could have turned over that at a premium.
2612. After arranging with you for a company with £80,000 capital, subsequently Mr. Heiser appeared in the role that he purported to sell some lease he had for £10,000 cash and £50,000 in shares in a £200,000 company?—That is it.
2613. What period elapsed between these two things?—Less than three months. In the meantime, he was getting the machinery ready, and he asked us for a licence to put up a £20,000 unit. In that way, the thing was going on and the time was passing. I think the period was less than three months. The moment we heard of it, it was smashed at once.
2614. Because it was a public company? —Because it was a public company and because he was expecting to get too much profit out of a public company. We would not allow him to form a public company at all.
2615. What would your attitude be if it had been a private company?—If he put up the £80,000 I would keep to my bargain. If he and the friends whom I have named came forward with £80,000 I would have held to my bargain and Mr. Briscoe would do the same. We would all do the same. We wanted the place worked.
2616. If he was prepared to keep his bargain with you on the basis of a £200,000 company?—No, I never agreed to that. I would stand by my agreement and I kept him to his agreement.
2617. Did you object to a private company with £200,000?—There was never a suggestion of a £200,000 private company.
2618. What interpretation did you put on the statement by Mr. Harrison, solicitor, to Mr. Heiser to get rid of the sharks?—Heiser was a man who had lived in Australia. He is a mining man and he had undoubtedly, at least I believe, collected around him a great many people who wanted to get money for nothing. I do not know the names. I did not attend to the conversation. It was a most interesting conversation that took place between the two, but I did not take any notice of it. I did not know some of the people.
2619. Did you know at any time when you were discussing the matter with Heiser that any people in Ireland were interested in Risberget?—I did know one man, the Irish Secretary, Mr. Nunan. I did know others. There are others. I did not know at the time, but I know now. There are others in various parts of Ireland interested in Risberget.
2620. Were the remaining shareholders of Risberget to benefit under the Wicklow Gold Fields, Limited?—That I do not know. He had nothing to sell. I scouted him.
2621. In your discussions with other shareholders of Risberget did they indicate they were sympathetically disposed towards Heiser’s proposal in that respect? —I understood from the conversation I had with Summerfield that he was disposed to support the proposal of Mr. Heiser. He asked me: “What happened between you and Heiser?” and I said: “What do you mean? What interest have you?” and he told me and I told him to consult a solicitor.
2622. Was the position that the allocation of shares to Heiser under the Wicklow Gold Fields, Limited, was to be an allocation not merely to Heiser personally but on behalf of the shareholders of Risberget?—It is Risberget that was to get the £10,000.
2623. So all the shareholders in Risberget were to participate in the £10,000 that was to be paid to Heiser? —They were, sir. That was not said at any interview where I was present, but it is indicated in the prospectus.
2624. Did any shareholders ask you to accept this arrangement?—Nobody ever approached me to accept that arrangement. They had enough of it. One interview was enough.
2625. Have you any idea what the shareholders of Risberget thought of the project?—I have not. I had a bargain with them. If they kept that bargain we would keep our bargain. Harrison also said to Heiser “You are trying to get money on the names of these two gentlemen.”
2626. Would this be a fair statement of the position—that Heiser made an arrangement with you and Briscoe to give you a royalty of 2¼ per cent. and shares to the nominal value of £12,000?—Yes.
2627. Subsequently Heiser sought to arrange a deal with some people in London by which he would get, for whatever interest he had in your lease, a sum of £10,000 in cash and £50,000 in shares in a £200,000 company?—That is it, if we were such fools as to consent to a public company or any such company.
2628. Can you say whether your refusal to consent to this arrangement had anything whatever to do with the publicity which has been given to the granting of this lease to you?—No, I make no charge against anybody, I am giving my evidence and I have told you what happened. Summerfield said to us “You will hear about this.”
2629. When was that?—A couple of days after Harrison had been here—about the 25th or 26th May. I do not say anything about anybody at all—no charge against anybody.
2630. Within a month all this publicity was directed towards this lease— is that the position?—Within a couple of days, I think, it was brewing—well, within two or three weeks. It was a couple of days after the 24th May I saw Mr. Summerfield. It is not part of my business. I do not want to connect dates at all.
2631. How does this project between yourself and Mr. Heiser and the other shareholders of Risberget now stand?— You have seen the agreement?
2632. Yes?—The agreement provides that they were to form a company within six months; that they were to send men down there and to produce the £80,000, and when they had produced the £80,000 we were to make them a sub-lease. They have not produced the £80,000 and we have not made a sub-lease and the six months have expired.
2633. And the agreement is voided?—I would say so.
2634. Are they carrying out any work for you?—We gave them every sort of facility. In the first place, that agreement provides for a bond by an insurance company. We did not rely on that. We took their own bond. Then they told us they had men working there and we took their word they had men working there. I have not seen any of their men working there.
2635. Is this agreement in existence at all now?—I would say not.
2636. Is any work being done by Heiser under this agreement?—When that agreement was signed we sent it to the Department to Keep them fully informed. We got a demand from the Department asking us to furnish returns. In order to enable us to do that our solicitor sent a communication asking them whether they were doing anything. They sent no reply and their secretary told me they would not reply, so they have not given us the information.
2637. You have rights over this particular land?—I have.
2638. So far as you know is Heiser, or any person acting under his instructions, trespassing on this land?—They would not be exactly trespassing. On one occasion, Heiser asked me for a licence and I gave him a licence—Briscoe and myself, in the presence of Breen, gave him a licence to go in and work as our agent, a licence at will, so that he could say he was working under that licence.
2639. Have you taken any steps to revoke that licence?—Since the moment this thing started we have done nothing until this Committee has reported.
2640. What is your view of the arrangement entered into with Risberget?—At the present moment my view of that arrangement is that it was a reasonable arrangement and if they had the £80,000 and were ready to invest £80,000 it would have resulted in a great success. My view is that instead of going on and working the deposit they thought it would be much better to try to float a company, and we stopped them and that created the deadlock that arose.
2641. Is this agreement in existence at present?—In my opinion, no.
2642. Is any person on behalf of Risberget endeavouring to prove it is?—Not that I am aware of.
2643. So, in fact, that agreement is dead now?—That may be a matter of law.
2644. But in so far as you are concerned?—In so far as I am concerned it is dead, but I am anxious to work the mine always.
2645. Do you regard the proposal to exploit the mine as a good proposition financially?—Most certainly I do.
2646. You quoted Dunn’s report in which he indicated the profit would be approximately 41½ per cent.?—Yes.
2647. Do you believe that?—I do. Mr. Dunn has made that report on the basis that the pannings would turn out the one colour. I have seen myself six colours in a pan. That means six shillings for a cubic yard; but he valued it only at 11d. I was told that these shares were, in fact, underwritten.
2648. Do you think you could get capital in this country to exploit this mine?—We are not a mining people, and I have to think of myself. If 20, 40 or 60 per cent. is made by shareholders, it is all very well and there is no blame to Mr. Comyn; but if by any chance the deeper gravels we have not tested are not as rich as the other gravels and they do not make profit, then it will be said Michael Comyn started a company and got people’s money. I will not have that.
2649. Taking a broad view of Dunn’s report, do you regard it as indicating that this would be a profitable investment from the point of view of those who wished to invest money in it?—Most certainly I do.
2650. Do you think it would be possible to get money in Ireland for that project?— I do, but they will not get it on my name; they will not get public money over my signature, and they will not put my name into any prospectus, although I put my own money into it.
2651. If it were a matter of allowing foreign or Irish investors to get 41½ per cent. profit, where would your feelings lie? —My anxiety was to get them to put up £20,000 and work one unit. If they put up £80,000 and worked three units and made a profit, it would be only working three townlands. It is only a small part of the Wicklow gold area. You can see in the map of Wicklow that the three townlands are very little, and there will be plenty of other land available. For instance, there might be available the land which was fed by the mother lode that my friend, Mr. Lyburn, spoke about.
2652. If Mr. Dunn’s report is to be believed, that there would be 41½ per cent. profit per annum available from this mine, in two and a half years the original capital would be repaid?—Yes.
2653. Is not that the kind of a scheme that people, taking a broad, national view, would say ought to be conserved for nationals?—I had made up my mind I would have no public company long before I met Mr. Dunn, and even now, having seen Mr. Dunn’s report, I am not prepared to consent to the formation of a public company, or the invitation of capital in Ireland or abroad. Let these men who say they have £80,000 and who have made a bargain with me, try it out first.
2654. The persons you mentioned are, in the main, British subjects?—Australians, Americans.
2655. Not Saorstát nationals?—Yes.
2656. If Mr. Dunn’s report is to be believed, then the 41½ per cent. is going to find its way into the pockets of these non-nationals?—I made my bargain before I saw that report and if that bargain is advantageous to them, then they are entitled to the benefit of it so far as I am concerned.
2657. Had you any desire to overcome your scruples about a public company in view of the profits indicated by Mr. Dunn? —If the matter were open now what I would do is: I would say to Mr. Dunn and the others, “That is a good report. Would it not be better to start one unit and go to the bottom of this deposit and see what is there?” and if the one unit was a success I might then say to the Minister, “What do you think of a public company?” I will not risk my name. I am not a company promoter and I have nothing to do with companies. It would be very easy to manage that and get one unit going for £20,000. It is only a very small bit of Wicklow. The smaller circle contains three townlands and the larger circle nine townlands.
2658. Do you think it would not be advantageous to let Saorstát nationals in on this project if capital could be obtained from them?—After I had Mr. Hallissy’s advice I made various investigations. I was not prepared at the time to invite public subscriptions although I was prepared to risk my own money. The boring was defective. I was not sure of what was down at the bottom. If it was a question of the gravels that are on the top, that is not a mining proposition at all; as Mr. Dunn said, it is a commercial proposition. There are so many million cubic yards and they are worth so much, and if you can wash the stuff at 4d. and get 11d. you have 7d. profit.
2659. You mentioned that you spent more than £200 in connection with this undertaking. How much did you spend? —Mr. Briscoe kept the figures. I think we have spent about £250. He has the figures.
2660. Have you got them convenient?— I have.
2661. What was the broad grouping of that expenditure?—There was the first £105. Norman’s account was furnished on 23rd June, 1933, and there was £50 12s. in that, mostly wages, thirteen weeks’ wages of his own. Then for tools there was £7 16s. There was an item of £6 5s. for Keogh and the cradle and sluice meant £15. Mercury, on 13th March, 1933, was £4 16s, 8d. We have other items such as wages for Keogh, £7 10s.; boring, £13 8s. Then there were various other expenses. Mr. Briscoe has the figures. I am perfectly satisfied £250 has been expended up to the present and probably £250 more will be expended. I have paid my share of that and we owe no money to any person.
2662. How many men did you employ? —When we were boring there, there were five or six men. When the cradle and sluice were going on there were two or three men.
2663. Over a given period of 12 or 18 months, how many men were employed?— I do not know.
2664. How many days were they employed?—I do not know, but I know what we have spent.
2665. Was there any complaint at any time by any of the work people that they were not paid regularly?—I received from the Department a letter, unsigned, making a complaint that we had not paid wages. I wrote back to the Department a letter to the effect that all wages had been paid, with the request that they should furnish me with the name of the person giving the information, because if he was worth powder and shot I would have sued him. We did have a letter from a person who said he was not paid. We had a curious document. Here is the letter:
“Dear Sir,—I am writing to you again after twelve months to see if you will think of paying the balance of my wages, due to me since 17th February, 1934. I think it is nearly time it was paid by now. I have had some gentlemen down here looking for information as regards your working here, but I have told them nothing yet, as I see by the Press that it is going on in the Dáil at present. Please give me an answer to this letter before I do anything and oblige.—I am, dear Sir, yours sincerely,—T. Keogh.”
That letter was written on 20th June, 1935. That man has been paid his wages and here is his receipt, dated 13th March, 1934:
“Dear Sir,—I received your letter on the 29th instant and am most thankful for the money you did send to me. Sir, there is no water in the river to stop us cleaning out that hole, but there is a lot of gravel in it.—I am, dear Sir, your sincerely, T. Keogh.”
That is the same gentleman who wrote the other letter, and here is the cheque which was sent to Mr. Keogh and signed by Robert Briscoe. It was payable to Tom Keogh on the 27th March, 1934, and the amount was £5. It was endorsed by Mr. Keogh and by Peter Moore. That is the gentleman who obviously is trying to fish in troubled waters. We owe him no money.
2666. Had you any other complaints?— None, sir.
2667. For what period did you employ Keogh?—He was employed on the 26th January, 1934.
2668. Is there not another Keogh? Patrick Keogh was mentioned?—We only know of one Keogh.
2669. For what period was he employed? —From January to March, 1934. In any case, he has been paid.
2670. What rate of wages was he paid? —He was paid £2 10s. a week. I did not think we were paying him so much. Mr. Briscoe has paid everything, and I have paid my share.
The Committee adjourned at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 3 p.m.
2671. Chairman.—Senator Comyn, I just want to ask you one or two other questions. You read for the Select Committee the report of Mr. Dunn, the expert, on the value of the deposits in Wicklow?—Yes.
2672. Have you any reason to doubt the general accuracy of that report?— No, Sir, I believe Mr. Dunn to be a mining engineer of great experience and high character.
2673. In the light of that report, do you consider that the £12,000 worth of shares which it was proposed to allocate to you in this company which was to be formed were valuable?—Oh, yes.
2674. Worth £12,000?—In my opinion, yes.
2675. Would you tell the Committee what the lessees have done to the deposits in County Wicklow which would justify them in claiming that they have rendered some kind of service—a service which would justify them according to accepted commercial standards—eliminating the element of good luck—to get £12,000 for their work on these deposits? —They have found the gold. That is what they have done. A proposition that was worthless has now become of great value because of what the lessees have done.
2676. Do I take it, then, that you consider that your good luck in finding the gold is such as would justify you in accepting £12,000 worth of shares in a company plus a royalty of two and a quarter per cent.?—I do; why not? I will say this—if I had not spent £5 in the area but if I had found the gold I would consider that I was entitled to the benefit of my contract, and you will remember, if I may suggest it to you, that the economic geologist said that even now he considered the terms which were received by the Government were good terms, namely, four per cent. or half of what we might get.
2677. In the course of your evidence earlier to-day you quoted some figures to show that the State would secure a very substantial royalty on any gold made merchantable by you on these particular deposits?—Yes.
2678. Tell me how you arrived at that opinion?—The State, under this lease, is entitled to four per cent., or, “in lieu of the said rent and royalties hereinbefore reserved, being the rent and royalties for the time being payable under the sublease or licence hereinafter granted or made.” You will find that in page 2. In that way the State has half the royalties. Then, suppose we are entitled to the other half of any profit royalties, there is the income tax on account of the gold we win, 5/- in the £; is not that 12/6 in the £?
2679. Would you work that out, expressing it as a percentage of what the State would receive?—I would say, having regard to the way mines are worked, that one way or another in addition to the employment this mining would give, if this mine is successful that the State will get 12/- to 12/6 out of every £. If it is very successful the State may get 15/- or more out of every £ under the rents and the various charges which will be made.
2680. Tell us in what parts of the lease and by what process of reasoning you deduce that the State will get that sum? —Take this first—they are entitled to half the rent and royalties. That is 10/-in the £. They are then entitled to charge income tax on whatever the lessees make.
2681. You mentioned that they are entitled to half the rent and royalties. I do not see where that comes in in the lease?—They are entitled to it out of any profits made by the lessees. Suppose the lessees sublet at any profits, suppose it was ten per cent.——
2682. Let us suppose the State is charging you £5 dead rent on this place plus a royalty of four per cent., and you sublet your interest in the matter for £10 ground rent and two and a quarter per cent, royalties?—In that case the State would receive twice as much out of this lease as we would receive.
2683. What is the sum?—Say that we receive £6 5s. 0d. out of this lease the State would receive £4 of that.
2684. That is four per cent?—Yes, but suppose we receive a royalty of twenty per cent. the State would receive ten per cent. not four per cent.
2685. Now, applying that method of calculation to the agreement with Mr. Heiser the State would receive £4 royalty from you?—Yes, Sir.
2686. They would still receive a four per cent royalty under your agreement with Heiser?—Yes, Sir.
2687. How do you arrive at the calculation you have given us of 12/6 in the £?—Even taking that agreement I made with Mr. Heiser I would expect the State to come forward and say:—“Oh, very well, in addition to the six and a quarter per cent. you have also other advantages; you have £12,000 worth of shares; we are entitled to half of them.”
2688. You do not see that in this lease?—Well that is a matter for consideration.
2689. Do we take it that you concede the State would be entitled to say that? —I am perfectly sure the State would come forward and say: “We are entitled to half of that.”
2690. Under what clause of the lease could they say it?—I think they would say it in this way—and I do not know whether I ought to be asked to argue a case like this but here is the way I expect the State would put it:—“You are getting six and a quarter per cent. and you are getting shares as well; what is the value of these shares; well the value of these shares is about three per cent. or two and three quarter per cent.” The State would value it in that way. The way it arose is this: It was believed that six and a quarter plus £12,000 of shares would be equivalent to about nine and a half per cent. royalty or say nine per cent., and the State might say:—“Very well, now, the considerations that you are receiving under this sub-lease are equivalent to a royalty of about nine per cent. and we are entitled to half of that:”
2691. It seems to be difficult for the State to contend that under the sublease as drawn?—Do you mean under the lease as drawn?
2692. Yes?—With great respect I am quite sure that is what their contention would be. That is what they would say it was equivalent to.
2693. You take it therefore that the lessees, in considering this project with Mr. Heiser, had in mind the fact that the State would make a claim on £12,000 worth of shares received as a consideration?—I had it in mind that the State would. There are very able men in this Department of Industry and Commerce. We discussed the question with them. Deputy Briscoe and myself discussed it.
2694. With the Department?—Not exactly with the Department but I understand that there were some suggestions from the Department that of course the State would participate.
2695. Do I take it that you did not accept that proposition?—That is another danger. I am afraid that I might have to accept it. I would make as good a fight as I could but I am afraid that is the position. I am answering you quite frankly.
2696. I am asking the question as to your generosity to the State?—There is no question of generosity but I am quite sure the State would look after its own interests.
2697. Assuming that this six and a quarter per cent. with £12,000 is equivalent to a royalty of nine per cent., what percentage of that would the State be entitled to?—Four and a half per cent.
2698. That seems a good deal short of 12/- or 15/- in the £?—We get nine per cent, and of that nine per cent. the State gets four and a half. That would be 10s. in the £ out of what we were to get. Then, in addition to that, we would pay income tax of 5/- in the £ to the State and there are other charges of various kinds and I come to the conclusion that it would run beyond 15/-in the £.
2699. But these are the ordinary liabilities on you as a citizen?—They would be profits to the State arising from the fact that we went into this business of gold mining.
2700. But if you went into the business of selling potatoes and you made a profit, the State would get income tax?—What I state is this, that out of every £ we would get, the State would get at least 12/6d.
2701. You said a while ago that 2/6 of that would be income tax. How is the other arrived at?—The State is to get half the rent and royalties out of any sub-lease. It is a very good bargain for the State. I hope the same clause is inserted in the other leases.
2702. This seems to be an important point, and I would like to know how you arrive at the conclusion that the State would get 10/- in the £.—That lease is said to have value. I negotiated that lease. The value I would get from it is the private royalty plus the royalty that I get on the sub-lease. If that came to 20 per cent. for me, it would mean 10 per cent. to the State.
2703. Take it on what it really is?— Well, it is this way, the State gets 4 per cent., and the State would come to me and say: “We are entitled to the value of what you got, from that lease. It is not merely 6¼ per cent., but something more, and we are entitled to have that value put on it with something more, and of that something more we should get half.”
2704. All that something more with the royalty would come to 9 per cent?—Yes.
2705. The State would get a royalty of 4½ in that case?—They would claim that.
2706. What I want to know is how do you make it that that comes to 12/6 in the £?—Does not all I have said mean that if we got £1 they would get 10/- out of it? Suppose we got £100 profit, the State would claim half that, and then there would be income tax.
2707. But your royalty is only 4½ per cent., and then there is the figure of 6¼ per cent. plus £12,000 worth of shares. The royalty is estimated on certain profits. You would get a royalty of 4½ per cent., and the State would get 4½ per cent.?— Yes.
2708. Do not these percentages fall very short of 10/- in the £?—No, the State gets as much as we get. Perhaps the Chairman is thinking of the entire income made by the sub-lease.
2709. Yes?—But we have nothing to do with that. We have only what we get ourselves.
2710. In arriving at your calculation of 10/- in the £ you are assuming that all the profits will be divided between the two royalty owners?—The value of the lease, not the profits of working it. What is coming to us would be the royalty and the leasehold interest.
2711. When you state that the State would get 10/- what you meant is that the State would get the equivalent of what you get?—Yes, and 2/6 more.
2712. That is an extraneous consideration—that is what every citizen has to pay?—I was making out that that lease is on very advantageous terms to the State.
2713. You say the State gets half of what you get?—No, but as much as we get. Whatever royalties are paid to us the State gets half, and we get the other half.
2714. When you are speaking of 10/- in the £ you mean that if there is £9,000 you would get £4,500, and the State £4,500?—Yes, and the State would get the income tax on our £4,500 also.
2715. But the State’s rights are limited to the share of the royalty that you get?— The other is a profit on the investment of the money.
2716. It was suggested in your earlier arguments that the State would get 10/- to 12/6 out of every £—No; what I said was out of the value of the lease. That is a different matter. There must be interest on the capital invested.
2717. Deputy Costello.—In your opening statement this morning you gave us a long account of your activities in connection with phosphates?—I did, Sir.
2718. And you spent a considerable number of years developing certain phosphates in the County Clare?—Yes.
2719. And I think you said you spent £5,000?—Yes.
2720. Did these activities come to an end before you took on activities in connection with gold mining?—They did not; we have reached the point at which I called for a Commission of Inquiry. The Commission had reported that 10 per cent. of the phosphate required in Ireland should be taken from County Clare.
2721. You told us that?—The merchants had agreed to give me 5d. a unit for the phosphate and I had agreed to supply the phosphate at 5d. per unit. The merchants then said I would have to grind it, and I then represented to the Department that it was impossible for me to grind it and that something must be done to bridge the gap. I requested the Department either to compel the merchants to grind it down to half an inch or to give me such a subsidy as would enable me to supply the phosphate rock to the merchants. I sent that communication and I received a reply to the effect that a subsidy of 5/- per ton could not be given to me. Probably they might give less to me and probably they might give it to somebody else. I have made no reply to that communication for this reason, that I will do nothing that I cannot do over my own name.
2722. The next result of that long explanation is that your activities in connection with phosphates did come to an end?—They have not come to an end. I am trying to interest other people in phosphate deposits and I have great hopes that probably this year I will sell 50,000 tons of phosphate. Certainly I will if there is a war. I have 1,000 tons of phosphates ready to deliver.
Chairman.—I cannot see how the delivery of phosphates is relevant to this inquiry.
2723. Deputy Costello.—During the years you were inquiring into phosphates, you were not inquiring into gold?—No.
2724. So that, I take it, this Wicklow venture is your first excursion into gold? —That is curious. It is not my first knowledge of gold in Ireland.
2725. I assume that you have read some papers about it?—I do not publish things.
2726. Read some papers?—Might I explain? When I was first interested in mines I wanted the former Government to develop the lead mines in Clare. They sent down a very eminent geologist——
Chairman.—You are wandering again.
Witness.—One of the best minds in Ireland or in Great Britain, and he found gold.
2727. Deputy Costello.—You did not find any gold? What I want to get is that you were all these years developing phosphates and because of a casual remark, or something in the nature of a casual remark, by Mr. Briscoe to you, you suddenly made excursions into gold? —There was nothing casual about it. We found gold in Wicklow and I did not go to Wicklow as a result of a casual remark. I was invited by a person who had a great interest in finding employment for people in Wicklow.
2728. We will come to that, too. I understood that you met Mr. Briscoe one day and that he said to you: “Will you join me in a speculation?” “I will,” said you. “What is the speculation?”? —Yes, that is the way it happened.
2729. You would take on a speculation that Mr. Briscoe would put up without inquiring what it was?—I would be very much inclined to.
2731. And in fact that is what you did, according to your statement here?— If that was the form of it, and I think it was. Whether he told me it was gold prospecting first, before I said I would give £50, I do not know, but I was certainly willing to give £50.
2732. Those are the words as I took them down: “I will,” said you, “What is it?”?—Yes, I think that is how it happened.
2733. And you were prepared to put up £50?—I was.
2734. And to chance £50 to that extent?—I was.
2735. And neither Mr. Briscoe nor yourself had the slightest technical knowledge in reference to gold mining or the finding of gold?—So far as practical knowledge is concerned, I had considerable practical knowledge of prospecting.
2736. For phosphates?—All minerals are much the same. I did not know very much about gold.
2737. And Mr. Briscoe knew, perhaps, less?—We had found it.
2738. Where had you found it at this time?—At Woodenbridge.
2739. You had not found it when he asked you to join him in a speculation?— I had.
2740. You had found gold in Wicklow before he put up this proposition?—I had.
2741. You have not told us a word about that?—One day we went on an excursion to Woodenbridge——
2742. What day was this?—I could not say; it was after we had been down to look at the sulphide mines.
2743. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.— What year?—It was about 1933, I think.
2744. Deputy Costello.—Are you sure? —It was 1932. It was immediately after the change of Government.
2745. Let us say it was 1932?—We went to Woodenbridge—two or three motor cars of us—not for any particular purpose, on an excursion and outside on the bridge I was looking at the hillside and I saw an excavation there. I said to Mr. Briscoe: “Come on, there is gold here; we will try these gravels.” We went up and tried the gravels and we found a little speck.
2746. And you left it at that?—Certainly.
2747. You went home from your excursion and forgot all about the speck of gold you found in Woodenbridge?—I was thinking more of phosphates, and I am thinking more of it now.
2748. You did not think much of the gold?—There have been a lot of books written about Wicklow gold; I wonder that the people who wrote them have not found it.
2749. A lot of people are wondering why it has not been found?—The persons whom I value most are Kinahan and Hallissy and Mr. Parnell and what he did.
2750. I take it that neither you nor Mr. Briscoe had any great technical knowledge about the finding of gold?— We had not. I could not pan for gold, for instance.
2751. And when you agreed to put up £50, you went down and saw Mr. Norman, junior?—No, I did not.
2752. When did you meet him for the first time?—He was brought to see me.
2753. By whom?—Mr. Briscoe.
2754. So that Mr. Briscoe knew Mr. Norman, junior, before you were acquainted with him?—Oh, yes. I did not know him at all.
2755. And he was introduced to you by Mr. Briscoe as a young man who had technical knowledge?— Who had no job and who had been working on lead. From what he said, I understood he had some theoretical knowledge but very little technical knowledge. I thought he was a smart young fellow.
2756. Am I to take it from you that you thought this young Mr. Norman was a smart young fellow, without any great knowledge of gold?—That is so. He had what you might call the vocabulary—he had all the words.
2757. But none of the practice?—I do not suppose he had very much.
2758. What age was he at the time you met him?—About 21 or 22.
2759. Was he less than 20?—I do not know.
2760. Would you be surprised to know that he was?—I met him once and thought he was a smart young fellow. That is all I know about him.
2761. You thought he was a smart young fellow without any knowledge of gold?—He had a good knowledge of the words—the terminology.
2762. Able to talk—with a gift of the gab?—He was a good boy and I would like to give him a chance.
2763. Yourself and Mr. Briscoe and this young man, whose practical knowledge of gold was confined to fluency in reference to the vocabulary?—He was a nice fellow.
2764. ——and a nice fellow, went off to Wicklow to look for gold?—We did not; he went down.
2765. This man, accompanied by his vocabulary, went down to look for gold for you and Mr. Briscoe?—Yes, at £2 5s. a week.
2766. We will come to that later on also?—There was reality about that.
2767. We will see to what extent there was reality about the £2 5s. a week subsequently. At all events, he went down and started a search for gold?—He did.
2768. And then you sank a shaft at some stage?—It was on my advice and Mr. Briscoe’s.
2769. You sank a shaft?—We did.
2770. And sinking it cost £13 8s.?— More.
2771. Is that not what you paid the Irish Boring, Company?—That was another shaft. This was only a bore hole.
2772. That bore hole cost £13 8s.?—Yes, and the shaft cost more.
2773. What did the shaft cost?—I do not know what it cost, but in ascertaining that there were at least 35 feet of gravel, we must have spent about £30.
2774. You must have? Surely you know?—I do know. He was 13 weeks on the job at £2 5s. a week.
2775. Who was?—Norman.
2776. He was thirteen weeks, at £2 5s. a week, sinking a shaft?— Yes. There were various things being done at the time.
2777. What were they?—How do I know what they were?
2778. You do not know what they were? —He was sinking a shaft and searching for gold in other places. I had other things to do besides going down every day to watch how my £50 was going.
2779. That was the point I was going to make. He sank a couple of shafts?—He did.
2780. And it cost £30, and he looked for gold?—Yes, and found it.
2781. And he was helped by Keogh?— No, he did not appear on the scene for a long time after.
2782. He sank it on his own?—No, other people helped.
2783. Who were the other people?—I do not know—two local people. Mr. Briscoe was the person who did the business side of it, kept the accounts and paid. My part of the transaction was only to pay my share.
2784. But you were down there off and on?—I was there off and on at the beginning and very frequently towards the end.
2785. Did you not know what precise work was going on?—I did. The precise work that was going on was the sinking of a shaft in a piece of waste ground, and the making of excavations in other parts of the ground.
2786. You speak of the sinking of a shaft, and you spoke previously of sinking three shafts?—Excavations—they were not really shafts.
2787. You sank three shafts, and excavations were done in other places?— Yes.
2788. And the whole thing cost £30?— It did. At a certain time, we had £105 out of pocket expenses. That was on 23rd June.
2789. And nothing came of the boring done by the Irish Boring Company?—This came of it: we did find that the gravel at the junction of the Lyre and Gold Mine rivers was auriferous gravel. That was the first thing. The second thing was that there were at least 35 feet of it in depth.
2790. Would you tell me when you discovered that?—When the man bored.
2791. When was that?—About 1st June.
2792. Of what year?—The year 1933.
2793. What document are you reading from?—I am reading from a letter from the Irish Boring Company of the 1st June, 1933, to R. Briscoe, T.D.:—
“We thank you for your letter of 31st ultimo, and have pleasure in stating that the plant and men left for Wicklow first thing this morning.
Assuring you of our best attention at all times,
The Irish Boring Company.”
2794. What is the date of that letter? —1st June.
2795. Surely you did not find out that there was auriferous gravel there on the date they wrote that letter?—I had known before that there was auriferous gravel from the shaft which was being sunk.
2796. I put the plain question: “When did you find out there was gold in this place”?—We found out that there was gold some few days before we made the first application.
2797. When was that?—About March.
2798. March, 1933?—Yes.
2799. Were you satisfied with the amount you had found there as a result of Mr. Norman’s activities or otherwise? —I did not know there was gold in it
2800. You did not know?—I did not.
2801. I understood you to say that you did know, a short time before March, 1933, that there was gold there?—There was gold.
2802. Were you satisfied with the amount of gold you had found and with the prospects that were there?—I could not say anything at all about the quantity of gold, but I was satisfied to go on and spend £50, and perhaps £100, in prospecting.
2803. Were you or were you not satisfied with the results that had been obtained up to the time you made your application in March, 1933?—I had not formed any opinion.
2804. You had formed no opinion whatever?—I had formed no definite opinion as to the value. I knew there was gold there, but as to whether it was workable I did not know at that date.
2805. Did you still think it was a chance proposition?—I did not think anything about it except that I was determined to prospect.
2806. Young Mr. Norman dropped out of it subsequently?—He did.
2807. Why?—I have explained in my main evidence that, after the boring was made, and when it transpired that there was no tubing put down, and when we had arrived at an expenditure of well over £100 he suggested that we should provide him with equipment. We provided him with equipment, but he was not able to make it pay and he threw it up.
2808. And you paid him something like £25 for his share?—I paid £14 5s.
2809. Then you made a fresh application to the Department in your own and in Deputy Briscoe’s names?—Yes.
2810. You dropped young Mr. Norman? —We did.
2811. And I gather that at the time the application was made, or certainly at the time when the application was granted and when the lease was ready for signature, Deputy Briscoe was not very keen?—No, but I was determined to follow my money.
2812. We are all quite clear on that point?—And I was clear on it, too.
2813. What I want to get from you is that at the time the lease was granted by the Department, when the lease was engrossed and ready for signature, you having signed it, Deputy Briscoe was loath to sign it?—He certainly was not keen on it, and I believe the reason was that he had received advice from the professor.
2814. You need not go into that. He will tell us about that himself. At all events, it was some weeks after you had signed that Deputy Briscoe put his signature to it?—Yes.
2815. You were determined to keep him up to scratch? Was it near Christmas when Deputy Briscoe signed?—I do not know.
2816. I thought you said it was about six weeks after you had signed?—About six weeks after the lease was made we said we would pay the rent.
2817. Was it some time after that that he signed it?—Yes. I did not know, of course, that the rent had not been paid.
2818. I am not asking you about that, but when did Deputy Briscoe sign the lease?—I am not able to give you the date.
2819. You forced Deputy Briscoe to sign it?—I put pressure on him to sign it.
2820. What happened as regards working the mine when you had both signed the lease?—When we had both signed the lease we said that we would go on into this ourselves.
2821. That was when Mr. Norman, junior, had gone?—Yes.
2822. Was Mr. Keogh there?—I do not know.
2823. Had you anybody at all on the ground after the lease was signed by Deputy Briscoe?—I cannot say whether we had anyone on the ground, but I am perfectly certain that we had ourselves on the ground and that we had the best scientific advice.
2824. On the ground?—Not on the ground.
2825. And where?—In various places. For instance, we had Mr. Hallissy, the best man in the whole of Ireland on this question, and we went to him for advice. He gives advice to everyone.
2826. Would I be correct in saying that from the time that young Mr. Norman dropped out, and certainly from the time the lease was signed by you, until Mr. Heiser appeared on the scene, not one scrap of work was done on the ground except by yourself in an amateurish sort of way?—It was done by myself and done by Deputy Briscoe, and it was very valuable work.
2827. By amateurs?—By the persons who found gold.
2828. By amateurs, whether they found gold or not?—Certainly.
2829. Am I correct in saying that from the time this lease was granted until Mr. Heiser appeared on the scene nothing was done except what was done by yourself and Deputy Briscoe?—And that was a great deal.
2830. What was it?—The finding of the gold.
2831. But you had found that already? —Not in the same places or in the same quantities. I did not go near the river at all.
2832. You went to different places and found different quantities?—We did.
2833. Were you delighted at the amount you found in the other places?— No. I could not ascertain what the amount was because my method was this: to go and take samples and to make then on the benches a qualitative analysis to ascertain whether there was gold in the samples that I brought up. Deputy Briscoe went down several times and brought up samples.
2834. Were you surprised that Mr. Heiser put up an offer of £80,000 for a proposition which, so far as you knew, was only worth £50? You were only prepared, at all events, to risk £50 in that proposition?—I did not say that it was not worth more than £50.
2835. Were you surprised that Mr. Heiser should appear making an offer of £80,000?—I was surprised, but not after he made an explanation.
2836. What was the explanation?—The explanation was that he had spent three years on the ground and that Mr. Holman, who had also been on the ground, had probably found the mother lode. I was not surprised then.
2837. So that the result of it was that this gold mining proposition suddenly became very valuable, not by reason of any of your or Deputy Briscoe’s efforts, but because Mr. Heiser had had his engineers on the ground years before?—No; it acquired real value when, Mr. Dunn being there, and when he was shown where the gold was and when Mr. Heiser panned it——
2838. You are becoming discursive again, Senator; let us keep to the point. Up to the time that Mr. Heiser appeared on the scene, your attitude of mind was that you would follow your £50, and that was about all?—No. I would not have given up the lease until I had the thing fully examined.
2839. But neither you nor Deputy Briscoe nor anybody employed by you had found any great indications that would lead you to believe that there was anything valuable there?—It was looking more valuable. The area was getting bigger.
2840. Then you went there with Mr. Heiser and Mr. Dunn and the finds on that particular day were so startling that one of them had to get brandy to help him to recover from the shock?—He had to get a glass of brandy.
2841. I understood you to say this morning that on the day Mr. Dunn went down there you suddenly found a pan of gold. I think you said that Deputy Hayes panned it, and that when Mr. Dunn saw this he gasped and had to get a glass of brandy?—No. What I said this morning was that Mr. Heiser went down with Mr. Dunn. They went along the rivers panning and Mr. Dunn was not satisfied. Mr. Heiser plunged into the stream and was panning in the stream. Mr. Dunn and I were on the banks far away. Mr. Dunn said to me that he was not very much interested. I said to him: “This man did not ask me where he was to pan.” Mr. Dunn then said to Mr. Heiser: “You did not ask the Senator where you were to pan.” Heiser was a good man at panning, but he did not know where the gold was.
2842. But you did not know where the gold was either, even the day before these people came?—I knew where the gold was, but I was not able to pan.
2843. And you were not able to pay a technical man who would pan for you before Mr. Heiser appeared on the scene? —I was well able to pay.
2844. I should not have said that you were not able to pay. What I meant to say was that you did not think it worth your while to pay an expert to pan for you before Mr. Heiser got on the job. Up to the time that Mr. Heiser came on the scene you had got no gold worth talking about, and then when Mr. Heiser and Mr. Dunn suddenly appear on the scene, a pan of gold appears?—I have never panned; I am an analyst.
2845. And a good barrister?—We are all good barristers, I hope, but still we can have our pastimes.
2846. That is my point—that it is a hobby of yours?—It started as a hobby, but I have now spent a lot of money on it.
2847. And it being a hobby of yours, until Mr. Dunn went down no gold worth talking about was found, but on that day such an amount of gold was found that one man gasped and had to get a glass of brandy?—We were doing very well, and a lot of people were interested.
2848. At any rate, up to the time that Mr. Heiser came down nothing worth talking about was found?—That is not right.
2849. But on the day that Mr. Heiser came down your colleague, Deputy Hayes, found a pan of gold?—Deputy Hayes shovelled it up and Mr. Heiser panned it.
2850. At all events, neither you nor Deputy Briscoe had done one single thing in connection with the finding of gold on this ground that would justitfy you earning £12,000?—Nothing, except finding the gold.
2851. You did not find the gold?—We had got to such a position that Mr. D’Arcy was prepared to go to London to bring over a specialist to examine it.
2852. But you had not got to that position, because you had found nothing until Mr. Dunn came over?—We had. We had found it by analysis in places that Mr. Heiser never suspected. Mr. Dunn was not interested until they panned gold from the hillside and the fields and then he became very much interested, and he and I went into serious calculations as to the value.
2853. When he panned from the fields and hills, but not from the river, he found gold?—He did.
2854. You pointed it out?—No, I said that Mr. Hallissy said it was not from the river at all; it was glacial.
2855. And you were in a position to do anything before Heiser appeared on the scene but you did not do it?—I had done it.
2856. What?—Had I not made an arrangement that a mining engineer should be sent from London?
2857. That was Heiser?—No. Mr. Dan Breen and Mr. D’Arcy. I gave ten per cent. of my interest for it. I made a hard bargain and I got value.
2858. Perhaps Mr. Breen will agree with that. Apart from getting Mr. Breen and Mr. Hayes into the job, you had found no gold. They might be gold in themselves but, apart from that, you had found no gold. They were prepared to take a chance?—I found gold by analysis.
2859. Where?— In the University room over there.
2860. You did?—Qualitative analysis.
2861. You did not find enough gold to persuade Deputy Briscoe that this was a good proposition, because he was loath to sign the lease and you had to put on pressure?—This was after the lease was made and I really went into it.
2862. Did you get Deputy Briscoe to be any more enthusiastic?—I did.
2863. You had very little time, just three months, because Heiser appeared on the scene in March?—I heard Mr. McGilligan say that it was very rapid to get a lease three months after applying.
2864. Did not Heiser appear on the scene early in 1935?—About March, 1935. That was after Mr. D’Arcy had been in London to engage a mining engineer. This was like a whispering gallery.
2865. In March, 1935, Heiser appears on the scene. Did he not appear before that, because the sub-lease is dated 12th March?—I think Mr. D’Arcy was in London on Friday and Mr. Heiser appeared on Saturday or Sunday.
2866. He appeared early in March, 1935?—He did.
2867. What did you do between the 1st of November, 1934, and the 1st March, 1935?—I had been there about twenty-five or thirty times for more than an eight-hour day. I took samples on each occasion of each day’s work. I did work in the laboratory. That was very heavy and very profitable work.
2868. You got in touch with Breen and Hayes?—They got in touch with me.
2869. And produced D’Arcy?—They got in touch with me. I never approached anyone.
2870. It is immaterial. They got in touch with you?—They told me they had a mining engineer, a man who would finance it. Mr. Breen said: “Will you give me a share? I think it is a good one.” I asked: “What will you give me for it?” He said: “I will get it going. My friend, D’Arcy, is in touch with money, and we will get a mining engineer to examine it and get it going.” “Very well,” I said, “in consideration of that I will give you ten per cent.
2871. Mr. D’Arcy was in touch with money?—Undoubtedly.
2872. What was the money he was in touch with? Did he tell you?—No.
2873. Was it his own money?—I think he is a very rich man. Mr. Breen told me and I made a bargain.
2874. Did Mr. Breen say Mr. D’Arcy was the man who had the money, or that he had a friend who had money?—My information was that Mr. D’Arcy was in command of money.
2875. Either his own or someone else’s? —Yes.
2876. Whatever is the true position he had to go to London to look for the money?—No, he had no authority to look for the money. He was to go to London for a mining engineer.
2877. And having gone to London to employ a mining engineer he comes back with Mr. Heiser?—No, he was never in touch with Heiser.
2878. How did Mr. Heiser arrive on the scene?—That is what I want to know. That is the whispering gallery.
2879. Do you suggest that Mr. D’Arcy when he went to London only went there to employ the services of a mining engineer?—He had no further authority from me.
2880. That is not the question?—He did not go for any other purpose.
2881. Did he come back with the mining engineer?—No.
2882. Did he tell you why he had not? —I was not speaking to him.
2883. Having gone to employ a mining engineer did he suddenly disappear?—No. He will be here if necessary to give evidence.
2884. I asked what happened at that time. You told me that Mr. D’Arcy was not in touch with Heiser when he went to London to employ the services of a mining engineer, and that he came back without doing so. Did he offer any explanation why he did not employ a mining engineer?—He did. Heiser was on the scene almost immediately. We asked Mr. D’Arcy before we made any bargain whatever with Heiser. We went to Mr. Breen and I said: “I want to deal with Heiser.”
2885. Heiser had not appeared?—I asked him to withdraw. I said: “Heiser has experience of this area.”
2886. But Heiser had not appeared on the scene?—Up to the time he appeared I had not seen D’Arcy.
2887. All you knew was that Darcy had gone to London on your express instructions to employ a mining engineer and did not carry out the commission?—The only express instructions Mr. D’Arcy had from me was that in consideration of the 10 per cent, they were to have the thing examined by a mining engineer and find the money to work it.
2888. Mr. D’Arcy was not getting the 10 per cent?—I think he was associated with Mr. Breen. I had no dealings with Mr. D’Arcy except through Mr. Breen.
2889. You sent him?—I did not send him.
2890 Who?—Mr. Breen, probably.
2891. Sent him to London?—I do not know. May be he did not go to London for that purpose. I had nothing to do with Mr. D’Arcy.
2892. If you had nothing to do with Mr. D’Arcy how can you tell the Committee that he had no authority to speak to Heiser?—After I had made the agreement with Mr. Breen I understood Mr. Breen and Mr. D’Arcy were in association. I met both of them with Mr. Briscoe. I never gave them any authority at all to sell or dispose of the mine.
2893. I am not suggesting that you did?—The only authority was to inspect it and to put it on the map.
2894. Mr. Breen had undertaken with you to supply a mining engineer?—He had.
2895. And I understood Mr. D’Arcy went to London to get one?—I do not know.
2896. Do you know that he went to London?—I do not of my own knowledge. Am I to give evidence that Mr. D’Arcy went to London on the instructions of Mr. Breen to get a mining engineer?
2897. We will take that as being so. Did he come back with the mining engineer?—Not on my instructions.
2898. Did he come back with a mining engineer?—No.
2899. Did he come back with Heiser? —He did not.
2900. Did Heiser come back without D’Arcy?—He did. He came on Sunday. D’Arcy was there on Sunday.
2901. I suggest it was Mr. D’Arcy got Mr. Heiser in London?—Emphatically not. That is my information.
2902. Mr. Briscoe can give evidence subsequently. If you do not know I am satisfied that you do not. Mr. D’Arcy went to London, and your information is that he went for a mining engineer?—That is so.
2903. No mining engineer ever turned up?—Ever?
2904. As a result of Mr. D’Arcy’s visit?—May I explain?
2905. But Mr. Heiser did turn up immediately, subsequent to Mr. D’Arcy’s visit?—He did.
2906. How did he hear of the proposition?—How he heard of the proposition is a thing I do not know. It is a thing that makes me say, as I did say in my evidence, that there was a whispering gallery. His friend Mr. Nunan knew, because I told Mr. Nunan from time to time: “This will be all right. This thing is good.”
2907. Are you suggesting it was Mr. Nunan told Heiser?—I do not know. I do not believe Mr. Nunan would do anything that would not be right and proper. It would not have been wrong of him to tell Heiser. I may have told Nunan, and if I did he would not be wrong if he told Mr. Heiser that there were other men on this job.
2908. Would you regard it as a coincidence that Mr. Heiser, who had shown no interest in the mine for the previous two years, suddenly appeared on the scene, immediately after the visit of Mr. D’Arcy to London?—I do not know. I have a full explanation if I am allowed to give it. Mr. Heiser met me and Mr. Briscoe at the Gresham and made the proposals, or led me to believe that he was a suitable man. Before I made any bargain with Heiser that night I went to Dan Breen and I said: “Dan, your 10 per cent. is all right. There is a man in Dublin, and I think I would like to deal with him.” That is what I said.
2909. Did it strike you as peculiar that this man suddenly appeared at the Gresham Hotel, offering you a share which you now admit to be worth at least £12,000, in this gold mining proposition which, up to that time, was regarded by you as a proposition in which you would risk only about £50?—I did not associate Mr. Breen with Mr. Heiser at all, or with Mr. D’Arcy. I do not regard it as being a coincidence.
2910. Did you regard it as peculiar that Mr. Heiser should turn up?—No.
2911. How did you get in touch with Heiser?—Heiser came to me.
2912. How? Did he write?—No. Mr. Briscoe telephoned and said there was a gentleman named Mr. Heiser in Dublin who wants “to speak to you and me at the Gresham. We will call for you at the house and go to the Gresham.”
2913. That was the first you heard of Mr. Heiser?—Mr. Nunan had frequently told me beforehand that Mr. Heiser had been panning for gold in this river, and that he was a very good prospector. That is the reason I had a preference for Heiser.
2914. Although he had been panning for gold for some time, he suddenly appeared after the visit of Mr. D’Arcy to London? —Yes.
2915. You got in touch with him, as I understand, through Deputy Briscoe?— On the telephone.
2916. You had not heard before that of Heiser being in Dublin?—No.
2917. That was the first time you heard he was in Dublin?—Yes.
2918. It was Deputy Briscoe told you?— It was.
2919. I take it Deputy Briscoe will be able to tell us how he came into touch with Heiser?—He told me, if you would like to know, that Heiser came to him.
2920. In Dublin?—Yes.
2921. Suddenly appeared out of the blue in Dublin?—Yes, and suddenly disappeared out of the blue, poor fellow. I think if poor Heiser had a fair chance he would have done all right.
2922. He had a good chance of making £80,000?—He had not. He never got a chance from the sharks.
2923. We will come to the sharks in a moment. We have these in reserve?— Keep them in reserve.
2924. However, Heiser came, whether as a result of inspiration or otherwise, he arrived at the Gresham and you say the net result is this sub-lease of the 12th March?—That is so.
2925. Your evidence is that all this time you were dead set against the exploitation of this mine, gold mine or whatever it is, by means of a public company?— Yes.
2926. Throughout the whole of this evidence that runs as a motif through it?—Most certainly.
2927. And I take it that it is not today or yesterday you had an objection to the exploitation of the mine by a public company?—Yes.
2928. You are an eminent lawyer?— Well, I am a lawyer. I am an eminent lawyer, I suppose. I am Vice-Chairman of the Seanad.
2929. Did you yourself draft the sublease of the 12th March?—Not at all.
2930. Who drafted it?—I think Mr. McGrath, of Kildare Street. I put a few little touches into it.
2931. I am coming to that. I think you did put a few touches in it. You settled it, in other words, in your own interest?—I settled it.
2932. And you took care it would be settled in your own interest?—No, I settled it.
2933. I am not suggesting, Senator, that it would be unfair to look after your own interests. On the contrary, you would be a fool not to do so, and I take it that you did take care?—Not very much. I would give him a fair chance.
2934. Yes, but look after your own interests also?—Yes, but I would like to see the thing work.
2935. You settled the document very carefully?—I settled it in such a way that we would not have a public company.
2936. You settled this document carefully?—Well, fairly. Not very carefully. It took just about five minutes; I took a very short look at it.
2937. Would you look at that clause 4 of that sub-lease, which sets forth what Mr. Heiser undertook to do. It says: “I undertake to form a company, to be called the Consolidated Gold Fields of Ireland, Ltd., or some other name to be substituted therefor, with paid-up capital of not less than £80,000 with the object of working the mineral substances of the said lands comprised in the said lease and all other lands in the Co. Wicklow which may hereafter be acquired by you under paragraphs 2 and 3 hereof.” That, as I understand it, is the only clause in this sub-lease dealing with the company. I want to know, if you were so keen about a public company not being formed, why did you not put the word “private” before “company” in that clause?—Why should I?
2938. Do not you know, as a lawyer, that that clause leaves it open to Mr. Heiser to form any sort of company he liked, public or private?—It does not.
2939. Do you suggest that?—I do, and here is the reason: That agreement was made on the express understanding that he had the money—that he and his associates had the money—and I have read for you letters to-day showing that he was going on with the business and that there was no talk at all of a public company.
2940. There may have been no talk of a public or private company. What I am putting to you, as a lawyer, is that that clause 4 of the Agreement leave it absolutely open to Mr. Heiser to form a public company called the Consolidated Gold Fields of Ireland, Ltd.?—Not a public company.
2941. Why not?—Because that was made on the express understanding, on the express agreement, that it was to be a private company.
2942. Why was that not embodied in the terms of this written document which was so carefully prepared by you?— There was no necessity.
2943. Why not?—Why have they not made an attempt to form a public company since?
2944. That is not an answer to my question. Why was there no necessity to embody it?—This was a proposal made to me. I looked over it. That was consistent with the agreement that it was a private company, and it is all right—a company, that is, a private company.
2945. Clause 4 may be consistent with the formation of a private company or a public company. I put it to you, as a lawyer, that under clause 4 of that agreement it was quite open to Mr. Heiser to form a public company to exploit this concession?—That is if he had made agreement to that effect. But he had made an agreement to form a private company.
2946. Why was that agreement not embodied in this written agreement?— Because it was unnecessary.
2947. You know, as a lawyer, that the terms of a written agreement cannot be varied by surrounding circumstances in that way?—This agreement was made on the basis, on the representation, that these people had £80,000, and it is not worth 6d. unless they have or had £80,000.
2948. Are you suggesting that you, in the course of your discussions with Mr. Heiser, at any time said that you would not stand for the formation of a public company?—Always.
2949. Did you say that?—Yes.
2950. Was that actually discussed?— Well, I said: “Mr. Heiser, you say you have £80,000—you and your friends.” He said: “Yes.” “And that you are going to invest it in that property. On that understanding that you have the money, you are making this proposal to us.” I can prove that.
2951. That is not an answer to my question, Senator. I asked you did you specifically say and use the words to Mr. Heiser during the negotiations which took place prior to this agreement of the 12th March, 1935, being embodied in a written document, that you would not stand for this mine being exploited by a public company?—I do not think I said that in so many words, but I am sure I said something like that. I am sure I made him and everybody understand that I would have nothing to do with a public company.
2952. Who was Mr. McGrath acting for? Was it for you, or for whom was he acting?—For Mr. Heiser.
2953. So that Mr. Heiser put this agreement into writing, leaving clause 4 as it stands, and you accepted that?— Certainly.
2954. Do you yet agree with me that under that clause it was quite open to Mr. Heiser to form a public company?— Certainly not.
2955. You will not agree to that?—No, under the surrounding circumstances.
2956. Do not you know that the surrounding circumstances are not taken into account in construing a written document?—There might be circumstances under which I would consent to a public company, which I might explain to you if you would listen, but I shall not do so. I think that people have been told a lot of falsehoods and have acted on them during the course of this case.
2957. Did Mr. Heiser, before he signed this document, go down and look at the gold mine? Did he look at the locus in quo?—I do not know that he did so immediately before, but he knows this place inside out.
2958. I understood from your evidence this morning that, after Mr. Heiser signed this document of the 12th March, he told you that his friends would not put up the money until they had the report of a mining engineer?—He did not say that.
2959. That is what you said this morning, I understood?—He said “I want to put up a unit, one unit of £20,000. We will find out what is in it and then go on with the £80,000.”
2960. Surely the mining unit was subsequent to that?—He never gave me the slightest hint that he was not prepared to put up the £80,000 until after the mining unit. He will not admit that he is not able to put it up.
2961. I only want to know what was the effect of the evidence this morning. It seemed to me peculiar and I took a note of it. I understood you to say this morning: “He said his friends will not put up the money until they had the report of a mining engineer.” Is not that so?—I think he said something like that at some time in the negotiations.
2962. After the agreement was signed? —I think so.
2963. Was not that rather peculiar?— No. He told me there was a mining magnate who was a Greek, and somehow or other I understood from him the Greek had disappeared. That was probably the first hint I got that maybe they had not the £80,000.
2964. You are getting discursive, again, Senator. When you are in negotiations for this sub-lease, you heard about the mining magnate and all these titled people that you mentioned this morning as being associates of Mr. Heiser?—Yes.
2965. But Mr. Heiser signed the document?—Yes.
2966. Why did you not ask for the signatures of the other eminent gentlemen who were to be associated with him?— Well, he signed on behalf of Risberget, Ltd. He told me who that syndicate were. He was introduced to me by the High Commissioner for Australia and I had every reason to believe that the man had the money.
2967. But he signed on behalf of Risberget, Ltd.?—Yes. How could I get them to sign if they were in London?
2968. But surely, as a matter of ordinary business precaution, if you were entering into a serious agreement of this kind, you would have seen at least that he had authority from these titled gentlemen and the Greek magnate to enter into a contract?—Well, I did not. They were in a hurry. They brought down the agreement. I looked at it and made alterations in it that would bind him and I was quite satisfied.
2969. Did you even make inquiries as to whether these titled gentlemen and the Greek magnate were members or shareholders in Risberget & Company?— I did not. I made no inquiries. Mr. Briscoe was the business man. I did not make any enquiries.
2970. Did you make any enquiries as to whether the Risberget Company was a reputable company?—I made no enquiries.
2971. Or whether or not Mr. Heiser had authority to bind his company to this sub-lease?—If he had not authority, then it is not binding and he would have put his money into it for nothing.
2972. I am putting it to you that this document was not signed by Mr. Heiser on behalf of the Risberget Company, but by himself, and he only described himself as Managing Director of Risberget? —Is there not a bond sealed by the seal of the Company and signed Risberget?
2973. I am not interested in that. I am interested in the fact that clause 4, which is really the operative part of this instrument providing for the formation of the company to exploit this concession, is an undertaking by Mr. Heiser, personally, to form a company?—No, I would not agree with that. The thing was supplied to me. I did not alter every word in it. I altered things here and there, but I would not agree with that. I think he is binding his company.
2974. Yes, but it is on behalf of Mr. Heiser personally to form a company?— Yes, but I think it would be: “I, Heiser, on behalf of this Company”. I could not be altering everything. I made one or two alterations that were satisfactory to me.
2975. Well, having done that, Mr. Harrison appears on the scene?—Oh, that was a long time after.
2976. How long after this agreement of March, 1935?—Mr. Heiser was trying even before that.
2977. Before what?—Before Mr. Harrison came to get us to give him such a lease or licence as would give him an interest in the premises.
2978. Had he not got that? Had he not got a sub-lease?—He wanted to get an interest in the property without paying £80,000.
2979. So he was trying to do you down? —Oh, no. He was not trying to do me down. He was a miner.
2980. You had to watch him because he was a miner?—Not at all. He wanted to get in without paying the £80,000.
2981. In other words, he was trying to do you?—No, not exactly. He might be trying to find out if he could get a unit going.
2982. Then he would do you down?—He would not. He wanted to get such a licence from me as would give him an interest in the premises.
2983. You had him bound?—Yes.
2984. And he could not do anything else?—No. But if I made another agreement——
2985. That is a different proposition?— Well, mind you, he was fair enough.
2986. Now, as to the agreement of the 12th March, 1935. I want to know when Mr. Harrison appeared on the scene?— I think it was about the 25th or 26th May. I have a letter here dated the 23rd May, 1935, from Risberget, Ltd. The letter states:—
“Dear Mr. Briscoe,
“This is to let you know that Mr. Heiser intends to arrive in Dublin on Sunday morning next. He is having a financial associate come over from Belfast in the afternoon and he hopes that you will be able to come to the Gresham Hotel on Sunday evening at 8.30, so that his friend may meet you and Mr. Comyn.”
2987. That was on the 23rd May?— Yes.
2988. Was that the first you heard of Mr. Harrison?—Yes.
2989. And the associate referred to in that letter subsequently turned out to be Mr. Harrison?—Yes.
2990. Previous to that you had become suspicious of Mr. Heiser?—No, not suspicious, but I rather thought he wanted to get into the mine without paying the money, without paying the £80,000.
2991. You had already written the letter of the 25th April before Mr. Harrison appeared?—Yes.
2992. Right through that letter, I suggest to you, is a suspicion of Mr. Heiser?—There is no suspicion of Mr. Heiser so far as his ability to work the mine is concerned. There is a suspicion of him so far as his efforts to get a mining lease in other lands is concerned.
2993. You thought that he was going to get a mining lease from the Government in adjoining property?—That he was going to seek it.
2994. You were suspicious of him for that reason?—No, not suspicious.
2995. You were determined to stop him, any way?—I was determined to make him work in the three townlands.
2996. You did not want him to get any other concession?—He would rather, if he could, float a company for the second townland. He was a good man to work a mine, if only he would work it.
2997. You wanted to stop him?—Yes.
2998. That was the purpose of the letter of the 25th April, 1935—Yes.
2999. To prevent Heiser getting concessions from the Government?—To prevent Heiser getting concessions without reasonable cause or without saying what he would do.
3000. I suggest to you that this letter had nothing to do with the Control of Manufactures Act?—It had.
3001. What had it to do with it?—Do you not see the last paragraph?
3002. I am suggesting that the explanation which has been put forward is an entire afterthought and that this letter was written in order to stymie Mr. Heiser, and in order to prevent his getting those concessions?—The letter was written to keep the Ministry thoroughly informed of all matters. The object of the letter was to get a licence for these London gentlemen who were putting their £80,000 into the mine.
3003. The object of the letter was particularly and primarily, I am suggesting to you, because you were afraid that this man was going to get a concession, to prevent his getting it?—No.
3004. Is not the whole of the letter taken up with that object?—No. There might have been the purpose, undoubtedly, to endeavour, as far as possible, to make these people work.
3005. There might have been, but that object also might have been specifically stated in the letter, and it is not?—Are you objecting now to what is not in the letter? You objected this morning to my reading what is in the letter.
3006. I did not, as a matter of fact, but let that pass. What I am pointing out is this: that if your object in writing that letter had been to see that Mr. Heiser would work the mine or the concession, and not merely to float a company and overload it on the public, you could easily have said so in the letter, which you did not?—Certainly, it is in the letter.
3007. Will you tell me what was the necessity for this company getting a licence under the Control of Manufactures Act?—It is a foreign company.
3008. Were they going to manufacture gold? Is it not only where things are manufactured that you need a licence?— That is not my opinion. It applies to mining as well as to anything else.
3009. I am suggesting to you that it was not necessary to get a licence under the Control of Manufactures Act for this company and that this explanation as to the Control of Manufactures Act is an afterthought?—My opinion was that it did require a licence. My opinion was, and, with great respect to Mr. Costello, still is, that a licence has to be obtained where foreign capital exceeding 49 per cent. is invested in an enterprise in this country. That was my opinion and the opinion of everybody. We were requested to get a licence and we applied for the licence.
3010. The next transaction was with Mr. Harrison in the Gresham Hotel?— Yes.
3011. Mr. Harrison is a solicitor, I understand?—Yes, a very able solicitor.
3012. It was found subsequently, although he denied it, I understand from your evidence, that he had in fact a copy of the sub-lease to Heiser?—Oh, yes, he had a copy of the sub-lease. He did not exactly deny it. It was amongst his papers and he did not know it.
3013. Although he was an eminent solicitor?—Yes.
3014. Associated with people who were going to put a quarter of a million into this enterprise?—Yes.
3015. Were you credulous enough to believe that a solicitor of such eminence had not read the document before he came over here to negotiate?—I did not arrive at any opinion on that question. I was perfectly determined to look after myself. I did not form any opinion as to whether Mr. Harrison knew that document was amongst his papers or not.
3016. Heiser said he had given it to him?—Mr. Harrison said he had not given it to him and then Heiser said: “It is among your papers.”
3017. And the suggestion of Mr. Harrison was that he did not know anything about it?—Yes.
3018. And then he immediately became very indignant and he said to Heiser: “You are selling something you have no right to sell”?—He was not very indignant, but he certainly said that Heiser had nothing to sell. Heiser said that he had his process, and he said to Heiser: “I would not give you tuppence for your process.”
3019. I understand that Harrison said to Heiser: “You are selling something which does not belong to you”?—“You are a nice fellow,” he said.
3020. Do you believe that he knew nothing about this at all, that he, as an eminent solicitor, came over to negotiate the purchase of property which he valued at a quarter million pounds without inquiring into the title of the property that you proposed to sell to them in England?—I did believe that. Will I tell you why I believed it? Because the existence of that document is inconsistent with the statement which Mr. Harrison made.
3021. What document is inconsistent with what statement?—You do not follow me. What I said is this: Harrison said to Heiser: “Look here, Heiser, do you remember when I left the office I asked you and Mr. Melkman”—“Milkman” was the name he used—“to write a statement of facts for me? I came back in an hour or half an hour’s time and I asked you to sign the statement of facts. You said: ‘There is the statement of facts.’ ” I did believe Mr. Harrison. I believe he is a solicitor of the highest eminence and I believe he had the £250,000 underwritten and could subscribe it.
3022. Why did you not get a whack out of it, Senator?—It was not my bargain. I am not very keen on money, anyhow.
3023. Mr. Harrison was trying to get out of the bargain?—I would not allow them to get £79,000 before a wheel was turned in the mine.
3024. Would I be right in saying that the interpretation that I have put on this is the correct one?—What is that?
3025. That Mr. Harrison put over a bluff on you?—He was not able to do that. He may be an able man but he would not be able to put over any bluff on me. I do believe at this moment that Mr. Harrison was truthful.
3026. You believe that Mr. Harrison thought that Mr. Heiser was able to sell him property which, in fact, according to Mr. Harrison subsequently, he had no title to sell?—I believe that Mr. Harrison never saw the agreement.
3027. Do you think that any solicitor, no matter what his standing was, would enter into any transaction with a person involving a quarter of a million pounds without making some inquiries as to what he had to sell or his title to sell it? —He came to Dublin to start inquiries. He had not put the money in it.
3028. He had inquiries from Mr. Heiser as to what his interest in the proposition was?—I think the general statement of facts is before you. The statement of facts sent by Mr. Heiser and Mr. Melkman is before this Commitee.
3029. I never heard of it. At all events Mr. Harrison, having put what I call a bluff over on you, proceeded to ask could you get rid of the Dublin sharks?—He did not say that to me at all.
3030. Was it Harrison who said: “Can you possibly get rid of the sharks?”?—What he said to Heiser was: “These gentlemen are inclined to treat you fairly and well. Can you possibly get rid of the sharks you have gathered around you?”
3031. Then he proceeded to mention to you the hammer-headed sharks in Dublin?—Oh, no, these are my words. Possibly they mentioned the names of the London sharks.
3032. Who did?—Harrison and Heiser.
3033. Who were the sharks?—I did not know them.
3034. In what context were the London sharks referred to?—Immediately after Harrison said that, Harrison and Heiser had a conversation between themselves in which I took no interest. I did not know the names of the men they mentioned. I do not remember them, but anyhow they were London people.
3035. They were London sharks?— They were.
3036. They were out to get a whack out of the mine. too?—Yes.
3037. And the Dublin sharks were also out for their whack?—The London sharks were ordinary commercial sharks, but the Dublin sharks were the hammer-headed sharks. I say they were on the job too.
3038. What is the difference?—A hammer headed shark is a very stupid but voracious type. It is an Australian species.
3039. We had in connection with this mining concession yourself, Deputy Briscoe, Deputy Breen and Deputy Hayes?—Yes.
3040. You had outside that a group of some hammer-headed sharks?—We had nobody.
3041. But there were some hammer-headed sharks in Dublin?—They were hanging around but they had nothing to do with it.
3042. In addition you had the London sharks?—I did not say that. Mr. Harrison did.
3043. You said you accepted Mr. Harrison’s words?—They are Mr. Harrison’s words.
3044. If he described somebody in London as sharks, I assume they were looked upon in London as sharks?—You can. assume it.
3045. We can put it this way: There were some people in London whom Mr. Harrison described as sharks?—What Mr. Harrison said was: “Why cannot you get rid of the sharks you have gathered around you?”
3046. In Dublin?—No. He did not say in Dublin or London.
3047. When did he mention the London sharks?—He did not mention London sharks. Will you get my evidence?
3048. I want to know precisely?—The people who were surrounding Heiser— some were living in London and some in Dublin.
3049. I would accept that. And the people in London were sharks as well as the people in Dublin?—I do not know. He said it.
3050. According to Harrison, anyway?— Yes.
3051. What does the expression “shark” convey to your mind?—I know what it means, but I never used the word. A shark is a person who tries to get money which he has not earned.
3052. Exactly. So you would agree, Senator, that there were a lot of people trying to get money for nothing out of this gold mine in Wicklow?—I had earned it.
3053. I did not say anything about you? —And Mr. Briscoe had earned it.
3054. Nor did I say anything about Mr. Briscoe?—And the mine is ours.
3055. Nor did I say it was not?—And our title is perfect.
3056. There were a number of people described by Harrison as sharks, in Dublin and London, who were trying to get money for nothing?—Do you think you should be asking me questions like that?
3057. There were a lot of fellows getting a lot of money out of it?—If there were, I do not blame them at all.
3058. Who were the people in Dublin whom you called hammer-headed sharks?— I do not know.
3059. You said it?—You are asking me to say who were the people that were in the mind of Mr. Harrison.
3060. I am not. I am asking you to explain the expression you used yourself this morning—hammer-headed sharks in Dublin. I think you added that you would give the names if necessary?—I never said that.
3061. I am open to correction, but that is my recollection of what you said?—I could not have said that. If you will refer to the shorthand notes you will see.
3062. You did at all events use this morning the expression “hammer-headed” sharks”?—I referred this morning to the commercial sharks that were in London and the hammer-headed variety that was in Dublin.
3063. Tell me the distinction between the two of them?—Do you really want me to go into this, because I do not want to make any charges?
3064. I do. I do not think you should leave it as it stands?—I think you should not be asking me questions of that kind. You should know it yourself.
3065. You made a statement about the City of Dublin?—I then told you the course of events, and I told you of the people who came to interview me.
3066. That is the reason I am putting that question to you—because immediately after you referred to the hammer-headed sharks in Dublin, you proceeded to give the names of particular individuals. Anybody reading that evidence must come to the conclusion that Mr. Smyth and Mr. Summerfield are the people to whom you have referred as hammer-headed sharks? —Some of them—most undoubtedly.
3067. You understand now, Senator, the reason why I had to put that question?— I do not know that you had to put that question.
3068. Some of the people who subsequently interviewed you along the lines about which you told us this morning fall within your description of hammer-headed sharks in Dublin?—They were the people who were surrounding Heiser.
3069. And I take it they were the people who were trying to get money for nothing out of the gold mine?—If you could have paid attention to what I said you would have seen that the implication was more serious than that.
3070. I do see that it was a serious implication?—It was more serious than you suggest.
3071. What is the implication?—Mr. Heiser at Woodenbridge asked us to alter the agreement so as to make it appear that he was acting not for Risberget, but for Crusade Prospectors, who I understood were a group of people in Dublin. The effect of that would have been to take the benefit of the contract from the London people, or whoever they were, and to give it to another group. I said at the time that I did not think Heiser understood what he was doing, and I also said I did not think Mr. Summerfield knew of what Mr. Heiser had done. I wanted to give everybody fair play.
3072. I had intended to ask you the meaning of that phrase you used this morning about Mr. Heiser not understanding the significance of his request? —I do not think he did.
3073. And you are suggesting that what Heiser was really doing was endeavouring to sidetrack Risberget for the benefit of some other people?—No. I do not want to form an opinion against anyone.
3074. But you made very definite allegations this morning in a certain context?—I stated the facts. I do not think Heiser understood his action in the same light that I understood it or that you might understand it. I am sure that he did not. I will do him that much justice. I took a very serious view of the matter, and that is the reason I told Mr. Summerfield he ought to take legal advice.
3075. So that whether they were sharks or whether they were not sharks, or whether they belonged to the hammer-headed variety or any other variety, there were people in Ireland—in Dublin even—who were prepared to put their money into this proposition?—Not to my knowledge.
3076. There were sharks?—No; will you listen, please. What consideration did Mr. Summerfield say he gave for the shares in Risberget? He said it was in consideration of an interest which he had in Crusade Prospectors; that was in respect of money lost three years before. That was the gravamen of it, and that was the reason why I told the man he had better get a solicitor.
3077. Do you not know that Mr. Heiser could not possibly have in any way prejudiced, without their consent, the rights of the people on whose behalf he signed that lease, even with your consent?—Had Mr. Summerfield shares in Risberget?
3078. I do not know anything about it?—He said he had, and that that was the reason he came to speak to me. I asked him then what consideration he gave for them. He said it was in consideration of an interest which he had in Crusade Prospectors; that was in consideration of money which was lost, which was an illegal consideration, as you know.
3079. I am not interested in that?— It is a matter of serious interest to me.
3080. It was your allegation that Heiser was endeavouring to get you to change the agreement of March, 1935, which was made for the benefit, as you said, of the Risberget Company?—So it seemed to me.
3081. He wanted to change that agreement into an agreement for the benefit of another company?—That is so.
3082. Surely as a lawyer, you know that it was impossible, even with your consent, for Mr. Heiser to do that?— How do I know that?
3083. Had you not got the written document?—How did I know what representations Heiser might make in London?
3084. You are attaching a particular and sinister meaning to Mr. Heiser’s application?—Yes.
3085. And you are bringing that sinister interpretation on to other people?—I am not.
3086. You referred to them as hammer-headed sharks?—I do not bring it on to the other people because I do not think they knew about it.
3087. You objected to this £250,000 company that was being formed by Mr. Harrison?—I objected to any public company.
3088. And was it merely because Mr. Harrison proposed to form a public company, as distinct from a private company, that you would not have anything to do with Harrison’s quarter of a million pounds transaction?—It was because it was not in accordance with the agreement made; that is number one. I would not have anything to do with a public company; that is number two. If I could be persuaded to have anything to do with a public company, which I could not at that stage certainly, I would not have allowed a public company to be formed which would give £79,000 to people to put into their pockets before a wheel was turned in the mine, and that was the company proposed to me.
3089. May I take it then that the real reason why you objected to Harrison’s proposition was not because he proposed to form a public company as distinct from a private company, but because you thought he and his associates were going to make too much money out of it?—No. That would be a wrong assumption. I was opposed to a public company in any circumstances.
3090. And although being so strongly opposed to a public company, you omitted to put the word “private” before the word “company” in the fourth clause of the agreement of 1935?—You admit yourself that that means a private company.
3091. On the contrary, you may take me as being very strongly of the opinion that it does not?—I hope you will not advise in that sense. Do not advise in that sense, because you will be wrong. I do not say in law.
3092. I am speaking purely as a matter of law?—This is a question of mixed law and fact.
3093. As you know, Senator, the construction of a written document is purely one of law?—I do not agree.
3094. Let me take you on to another clause of this agreement of the 12th March, 1935. You objected to Mr. Heiser selling his interest in this agreement?— Oh, no—not his interest in the agreement. I objected to his selling my lease or Mr. Briscoe’s lease.
3095. How could he sell a lease which he had not got?—That is what he did.
3096. Did he not purport to sell the sublease which you had agreed to give him?— He did not. He purported to sell the lease.
3097. Surely he was not so asinine as to endeavour to sell to an English solicitor of standing and eminence, according to yourself, an interest in a lease in which he himself had no interest?—He and Melkman represented themselves as owning the lease.
3098. Therefore they committed a fraud on Harrison or endeavoured to do so?—That is what the representation is. I do not make any suggestion.
3099. That is the logical conclusion from your statement, if they represented to Heiser that they were the owners of your lease?—That is the first word I said at the interview. “Heiser,” said I, “what do you mean by selling a lease that did not belong to you?”
3100. So that he was endeavouring to commit a fraud on Harrison?—I do not know. I have stated the facts.
3101. Look at Clause 2 of the agreement of the 12th March, 1935. You were, at the request and expense of Risberget, Limited, or their nominee or nominees, to do all acts of your part which might be necessary for completing the lease to you of the mines and minerals. It was contemplated there in that clause that they could assign their interest in this to “their nominee or nominees”?—With our consent and with the consent of the Minister.
3102. That is not there?—It is implied in it.
3103. Just the same as the word “private” is implied before the word “company” in Clause 4?—They could not assign any interest in our lease without our consent. They could not assign any interest in that agreement without our consent.
3104. As a lawyer, you see the significance of those words “nominee or nominees” in Clause 2 of that agreement?—I do.
Chairman.—It is now five o’clock. Perhaps the Deputy will hold over any further questions which he may wish to ask until to-morrow morning.
Deputy Costello.—Very well.
The Committee adjourned to 11 o’clock on Thursday.