Casement Report  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Shop


Featured:

Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Enlarge
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Casement Report was a 1904 document written by Roger Casement (1864–1916)—a diplomat and Irish independence fighter—detailing abuses in the Congo Free State which was under the private ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium. This report was instrumental in Leopold finally relinquishing his private holdings in Africa. Leopold had had ownership of the Congolese state since 1885, granted to him by the Berlin Conference, in which he exploited its natural resources (mostly rubber) for his own private wealth.

Full text[1]

ACCOUNTS AND PAPERS:

SIXTY-FIVE VOLUMES.


-C14J-


COLONIES AND BRITISH POSSESSIONS— continued.


AFRICA — continued.


Session

2 February 1904 — 15 August 1904.


vol. mi.


1 9 _0 4. jj V


AFRICA. No. 1 (1904)


COBBESPONDENCE


AND


REPORT FROM HIS MAJESTY'S CONSUL AT BOMA


BESPECTING THE


. -

ADMINISTEATION

OF THE


INDEPENDENT STATE OF THE CONGO.


Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty.

February 1901.


LONDON:

PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICfi, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE,

PRINTERS IX ORDINARY TO HIS MAJESTY.


And to be purchased, either dirrctlf or lirough uny Bookseller from

&YRE and SFOTXISWOODE, Eaot Hardinc; Street, Flket Street, E.C., and 32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.;

OR OLIVER AND BOYD, EDINliURtiHJ

or E. PONSONBY, 116, Gsvfton Street, Purmu,

Cd. 1933.] Price 8%d.


a/LO^aaaaoD



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


No.


Name.


Date.


Subject. ,


Page


1


Lord Cromer



Jan. 21, 1903


Visit to Conjro stations of Kiro and Lado. Native relations with Conjro ofEcials. Few natives to be seen in 1 he stations


1


2


Sir C. Phippa


-


Sept. 19,


Transmits note from .Cons" Government in answer to despatch of 8th August to Powers parties to the Act of Kerhn .. . .


2


3


Mr. Casement


» ■


Dec. 11,


Transmits report on his visit to interior of Congo State and on condition of natives ,»


21


4


To Sir C. Phlpps . .



Feb. 11, IS04


Transmits Memorandum in answer to note of Congo Government of 12 th September inclosed in No. 2


82


S


To His Majesty's Representa- tives at Paris and other Capitals


Feb. 12,

f ff^ ~f f~~ f \ P


Transmits papers on condition of affairs in Congo State .. ..

ip . ■ ■ ■ wmV'-x-


84


R*S 2 ..: .: ■ SB ! - : . r .


■ : ■ ■ ■



■ ■

.... . , ...

■ : ■ :.' ' ■ '■ • ci



"* Consal at Boma respecting the Administration of the Independent State of the Con^o


TAe Earl of Cromer to the Marquess of Lansdowne. — (Received February 9.)

(Extract.) On the Nile, near Kiro, January 21, 1903

I HAVE just visited the Belgian stations of Kiro and Lado, as also the station ot

Gondokoro in the Uganda Protectorate.

Your Lordship may like to receive some remarks on the impressions I derived as

regards the Belgian positions on the Upper Nile.

I should, in the first instance, observe that Commandant Hanolet, who is in

charge of the district, was absent in the interior of the country ; but Sir Reginald

"Wingate and myself were most courteously received by the officers in command at Kiro

and Lado.

ryl .^om the. point of view of appearance, the two Belgian stations contrast favourably with any of the Soudanese stations on the Nile, and still more favourably with G-ondokoro in the Uganda Protectorate. The principal dwelling-houses are of brick. They seem to be well built. The stations are kept scrupulously clean. The troops are well housed. Flourishing gardens have been created. I counted the graves of nine Europeans at Kiro, all of whom died of fever, but I am informed that the health of the place is now greatly Improved. .

I had heard so many and such contradictory accounts of the Belgian Administra- tion that 1 was very desirous of ascertaining some concise and definite evidence on this subject. During a hurried visit, and with opportunities of observation confined to' the banks of the river, I scarcely anticipated that I should be able to arrive at any independent opinion on the point at issue. I saw and beard, however, quite enough to gain an insight into the spirit w^hich pervades the Administration.

It must be remembered that the 1,100 miles of country which I traversed between Khartoum and Gondokoro has, until recently, been the prey of slave-dealers, Egyptian Pashas, and dervishes. Under the circumstances, it might well have been expected that much time would be required to inspire confidence in the intentions of the new Govern- ment. It is, however, certain that, with the exception of a portion of the Nuer tribe, who live iri a very remote region on the upper waters of the Sobat, confidence has been com- pletely established in those districts which are under British rule. Except in the un- inhabitable *< Sudd " region, numerous villages are dotted along the banks of the river, fhe people, far from flying at the approach of white men as was formerly the case, run along the banks, making signs for the steamer to stop. It is clear that the Baris, Shilluks, and Dinkas place the utmost trust and confidence in the British officers with whom they are brought in contact. In spite of the difficulties of communicating with them through an interpreter— himself but slightly educated — it was impossible to mistake their manifest signs and expressions of security and content. They Hock into the Settle- ments without fear; and ifj as often happens, they will not work, it is merely because they are lazy and have few wants,' not because they entertain doubt that they will be paid for working. These remarks apply equally to Gondokoro, although I was only able to see a few of the natives there. I had not time to visit the principal Bari village, which lies at some litt'e distance from the river.

The contrast when once Congolese territory is entered is remarkable. From the frontier to Gondokoro is about 80 miles. ' The proper left, or western, bank of the river is Belgian. The opposite bank is either under the Soudanese or the Uganda Government, ^here are numerous islands, arid as all these are under British rule— for the thalweg, which, under Treaty, is the Belgian frontier, skirts the western bank of the river — [247] B 2


I cannot say that I had an opportunity of seeing a full 30 miles of Belgian territory. At the same time, I saw a good deal, and I noticed that, whereas there were numerous villages and huts on the eastern hank and on the islands, on the Belgian side not a sign of a village existed. Indeed, I do not think that any one of our party saw a single human being in Belgian territory, except the Belgian officers and men and the wives and children of the latter. Moreover, not a single native was to be seen either at Kiro or Lade-, I asked the Swedish officer at Kiro whether he saw much of the natives. He replied in the negative, adding that the nearest Bavi village was situated at some distance in the interior. The Italian officer at Lado, in reply to the same question, stated that the nearest native village was seven hours distant.

The reason of all this is obvious enough. The Belgians are disliked. The people fly from them, and it is no wonder they should do so, for I am informed that the soldiers' are allowed full liberty to plunder, and that payments are rarelv made for supplies. The British officers wander, practically alone, over most parts of the country, either on tours of inspection or on shooting "expeditions. I understand that no Belgian officer can move outside the settlements without a strong guard.

It appears to me that the facts which I have stated above afford amply sufficient evidence of the spirit which animates the Belgian Administration, if, indeed, Administration it can be called. The Government, so far as I could judge, is conducted almost exclusively on commercial principles, and, even judged by that standard, it would appear that those principles are somewhat short-sighted.


No 9

Sir C, Phipps to the Marquess of Lansdowne. — (Received September ■ 21.)

Lord, Brussels, September 1 9 t 1803.

I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith copy of a note, together with, its inclosures, which, has been addressed by the Congo Government to the K-epresentatives at Brussels of the Powers parties to the Act of Berlin to which your Lordship : s Circular despatch of the 8th August respecting the affairs of the Independent State of the Congo had been communicated."'

M, de Cuvelier, in handing me these documents, stated' that he had been instructed to follow the same procedure as that adopted by His Majesty's Government. ■

I have, &c.

. (Signed) CONSTANTINE PHIPPS. . — ,


Inclosure in No. 2.

HE Gouvernement de F El tat Inde pendant du Congo, ayant eu connaissance de la depeche du Foreign Office, datee du 8 Aofit dernier, remise aux Puissances Signa- taires de l'Acte de Berlin, constate qu 'il est d'accord avec le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste sur deux points fondamentaux, a savoir, que les indigenes "doivent etre traites avec humanife et menes graduellement dans les voies de la civilisation, et que la liberie de commerce, dans le bassin conventional du Congo, doit etre cntiere ct complete.

Mais il nie que la manure dont est administre l'Etat entrainerait un regime syste- matique ff de cruaute ou d'oppression " et que le principe de la liberie commerciale apporccrait des modifications au droit de propriete tel qu'il est universellement eompris, alors qu'il n'est pas un mot a cet effet dans l'Acte de Berlin. L'Etat du Congo note qu'il ne se trouve dans cet Acte aucune disposition qui consacrerait des restrictions qoelconques a. l'exercice du droit de propriete ou qui reconnaitrait aux Puissances Signataires un droit d'intervention dans les affaires d'administration interieure les unes des autres. II tient a se montrer fidele observateur de l'Acte de Berlin, dc ce grand Acte International qui lie toutcs les Puissances Signataires ou adherentes, en ce que dit le sens grammatical si clair de son texte, que nul n'a pouvoir dc diminuer ou d'amplifier.

La note Anglaise rcmarquc que e'est en ees dernieres annees qu'a pris consistance ]a campagne menee en Angleterre contre l'Etat du Congo, sous le double pretexte de mauvais traitements des natifs et de 1' existence de monopoles commerciaux.

Africa No. 14 (190S>



5

II est a remarquer, en effet, que cette campagne date du jour ou. Ia prosperitc de l'Etat s'affirma. L'Etat se trouvait fonde depuis des annees et administre comme il Pest aujourd'hui, ses prineipes sur la domanialite des terres vacantes, 1 'organisation et le recrutement de sa force armee etaient conn us et publics, sans que ces philanthropes et ces commercants, de I'opinion desquels fait etat le debut de la note, s'en montrassent preoccupes. C'etait l'epoque ou le Budget de l'Etat ne pcuvait s'equilibrer que grace aux subsides du Boi-Souverain et aux avances de la Belgtque, et ou le mouvement commercial du Congo n'attirait pas l'attention. On ne trouve le terme " the Congo atrocities " utilise alors qu'a prnpos de " the alleged ill-treatment Of African natives by English and other adventurers in the Congo Free State."* A partir de 1895, le. commerce de l'Etat du Congo prend un essor marque, et le chiffre des exportations monte progressivement de 10 millions en 1895 a 50 millions en 1902. C'est aussi a partir d'alors que le mouvement contre l'Etat dn Congo se dessine. Au fur et a mesure que l'Etat affirmera da vantage sa vitalite et ses progress, la campagne ira s'accentuant, s'appuyant sur quclques cas particuliers et isoles pour invoquer des pre- textes d'humanite et dissimuler le veritable objectif des convoitises qui, dans leur impatience,' se sont cependant trahies sous la plume des pamphletaires et par la voix de membres de la Chambre des Communes, mettant nettement en avant la disparition et le partage de l'Etat du Congo.

Ilfallait, dans ce but, dresser Contre T Etat toute une listo de chefs d'accusation. Dans l'ordre bumanitaire, on a repris, pour les re&liter a 1'infini, les cas allegues de violences contre les indigenes. Car, dans - cette multitude de " meetings," d'ecrits, de diseours, diriges ces derniers temps contre l'Etat, ce sont to uj ours les memes faits affirmes et les memes temoignages produits. Dans l'ordre economique, on a accuse Ffitat de violation de l'Acte de Berlin, nonobstant les considerations juridiques des hommes de loi les plus autorises qui justifient, a toute evidence de droit, son regime commercial et son systeme foncier. Dans l'ordre politique, on a imagine cette heresie en droit international d'un Etat, dont l'indcpendance et la souverainete sont entieres, qui releverait d'ingerences etrangeres.

En ce qui concerne les actes de mauvais traitement a 1'egard des natifs, nous attachons surtout de rimportance a ceux qui, d'apr^s la note, ont ete consigses dans les depeches des Agents Consulates de Sa Majeste. A la seance de la Chambre des Communes du 11 Mars, 1903, Lord Cranborne setait deja refere a ces documents officiels, et nous avons demand^ a son Excellence Sir C. Phipps que le Gouvernement Britannique voulut bien nous donner connaissance des faits dont il s'agissait. Nous reiterons cette demande.

Le Gouvernement de l'Etat n'a jamais d'ailleurs m6 que des crimes et debts se eommissent au Congo, comme en tout autre pays ou toute autre Colonie. La note reconnait elle-meme que ces faits delictueux ont ete delercs aux Tribnnaux et que leurs auteurs ont (He - punis. La conclusion a en tirer est que l'Etat remplit sa mission ; 3a conclusion que Ton en deduit est que " many individual instances of cruelty have taken place in the Congo State " et que " the number of convictions falls considerably short of the number of actual offences committed." Cette deduction ne parait pas necessairement indiquee. II semble plus logiquc dc dire que les condamnations severes prononcees seront d'un salutairc exemple et qu'on peut en esperer une diminution de la criminalite. Que si effectiverneut des actes delictueux, sur les terri- toires etendus de l'Etat, ont echappe a la vigilance de l'autorite judiciaire, cette' circonstance ne serait pas specialea l'Etat du Congo.

La note Anglaise procede surtout par hypotheses et par suppositions : " It was

alleged It is reported It is also reported et ellc en arrive

h dire que "His Majesty's Government do not know precisely to what extent these accusations may be true. C'est la constatation que, aux yeux du Gouvernement Britannique lui-meme, les accusations dont il s'agit ne sont ni etablies ni prouvees. Et, en effet, la violence, la passion et Tinvraisemblance de nombre de ces accusations les rendent suspectes aux esprits impariiaux. Pour n'eu donner qu'un exemple, on a fait grand etat dc cette allegation que, sur un train descendant de Leopoldville k Alatadi, trois wagons etaient remplis d'csclaves, dont une douzaine Etaient enchaines, sous la garde de soldats. Des renseignements ont etc demandes au GouYerneur- : General. II repond : "Les individus representes comme composant nn convoi d'csclaves Etaient, pour la plus grande major ite (125), des miliciens diriges du district de Lualaba-Kassai, du Lac Leopold II et des Bangalas, sur le camp du Bas-Oongo. Vous trouverez annexes les 6tats relatifs a ces individus. Quant aux hommes

  • ■•Transactious of the Aborigines Protection Society; 1890-1896," p. loo.


4


enehaines, ils constituaient un groupo d'individus condamnes par le Tribunal territorial de Basoko et qui venaient purger leur peine a la maison centrale . de Boma. Ce sont les numeros 36i2 a 3649 du registre d'ecrou de la prison de Boma."

C'est ainsi encore qu'une "interview "toute recente, reproduisant les accusations couturaieres de cruaute, est due aim ancien agent' de FEtat " declare impropre au service," et qui n'a pas vu accepter par l'Etat sa proposition d'ecrire dans la presse des articles favorables a F Administration. ..

La note ignore les reponses, dementis, ou rectifications qu'ont amenes, dans les differ ents temps ou elles se sont produites, les attaques contre les Agents de l'Etat, Elle ignore les declarations ofncielles qu'en Juin dernier, le Gouverneraent de FEtat fit publiquement a la suite des debats du 20 Mai a la Cbambre des Communes, debats annexes a la note. Nous anneions ici le texte de ces declarations, qui ont, par avance, rencontre" les considerations de la d&peche du 8 Aout.

Le seal grief nouveau qu'clle enonce — en vue sans doute d'expliquer ce fait non sans importance, que le Consul Anglais qui a reside au Congo depuis 1901 ne parait pas appuyer de son autorite personnelle les denonciations de particuliers — e'est que cet Agent aurait ete " principally occupied in tbe investigation of complaints preferred by British subjects." L 'impression en resulterait que de telles plaintes auraient ete exceptionnellement nombreuses. Sans aucun doute, le Consul, en diverses occasions, s'est mis en rapport avec rAdministration de Boma dans Finteret de ses ressortissants, mais il ne parait pas que ces affaires, si Ton en juge par celles d'entre elles dont a eu a s'occuper la Legation d'Angleterre aupres du Gouvernement Central a Bruxelles, soient autres, par leur n ombre ou leur importance, que celles de la vie administrative courante : des cas ont notamment vise le reglement de successions delaissees au Congo par des ressortissants Anglais ; quelques-uns ont eu pour objet la reparation d'erreurs de procedure judiciaire comme il s'en produit ailleurs, et il n'est pas avance que ces reclamations n'ont pas recu la suite qu'elles comportaient. Le meme Consul, dont la nomination remonte a 1898, ecrivait le 2 Juillet, 1901, au Governeur-General

" I pray believe me when I express now, not only for myself, but for my fellow- countrymen in this part of Africa, our very sincere appreciation of your efforts on behalf of the general community — efforts to promote goodwill among all and to bring together the various elements of our local life." •

Les pr6decesseurs de Mr. R. Casement — car des Consuls Anglais avec juridiction sur le Congo ont ete appointed par le. Gouvernement de Sa Majeste depuis 1888— ne paraissent pas davantage avoir ete absorbes par 1'examen de plaintes multiples; tout au moins une telle appreciation ne se trouve pas consignee dans le Rapport, le seul publie, de M. le Consul Pickersgill, qui, par le fait qu'il rend compte de son voyage a l'interieur du Congo, jusqu'aux Stanley Balls, dement cette sorte d'impossibilite, pour les Agents Consulaires Anglais, d'appr^cier de visu toute partie quelconque de leur juridiction.

Comme allegations contre le system e d'administration de l'Etat, la note vise les imp6ts, la force publique et ce qu'on appelle le travail force.

Au fond, c'est la contribution de Findigene du Congo aux charges publiques que Ton critique, comme s'il existait un seul pays ou une seule Colonic ou l'habitant, sous une forme ou sous une autre, ne participe pas a ces charges. On ne concoit pas un Etat sans ressources. Sur quel fondement legitime pourrait-on baser F exemption de tout imp6t pour les indigenes, alors qu'ils sont les premiers a ben^ficier des avantages d'ordre materiel et moral introduits en Afrique ? A defaut de numeraire, il leur est demands une contribution en travail. D'autres ont dit la necessity, pour sauver 1' Afrique de sa barbaric, d'amener le noir a la comprehension du travail, precisement par l'obligation de Fimpot : —

" It is a question (of native labour) which has engaged my most careful attention in connection with West Africa and other Colonies. To listen to the right honourable gentleman, you would almost think that it would be a good thing for the native to be idle. I think it is a good thing for him to be industrious ; and by every means in our power, we must teach him to work. ..... No people ever have lived in the

world's history. who would not work. In the interests of tbe natives all over Africa, we have to teach them to work."

Ainsi s'exprimait Mr. Chamberlain a la Chambre des Communes, le 6 A6ut, 1901- Et recemment, il disait : —

" We are all of us taxed, and taxed heavily. Is that a system of forced labour ? . . . . . To say that because we put a tax on the native therefore he is reduced to a condition of servitude and of forced labour is, to my mind, absolutely ridiculous. . . . v - It -is perfectly fair to my mind that the native should contribute something


r

  • i i o ' ' ' cv^f ^jEj'^'O iic * ' * r ?? >r i r i * ^ ' i. / i * j " C r " * 'frit fy^jxs

towards the cost of administering the country." (House of Commons, tbe 9th March,

1903.)

" If that really is the last word of civilization, if we are to proceed on the assumption that the nearer the native or any human being comes to a pig the more

desirable is his condition, of course I have nothing to say I must continue to

believe that, at all events, the progress of the native in civilization will not be secured until he. has been convinced of the necessity and the dignity of labour. Therefore, I think that anything we reasonably can do to induce the native to labour is a desirable thing."

Et il defendait le principe d'une taxe sur le natif parce que " the existence of the tax is an inducement to him to work." (House of Commons, the 24th March, 1903.)

Aussi l'exemple de taxes sur les indigenes se retrouve-t-il presque partout en Afrique. Au Transvaal, chaque natif paie une taxe de capitation de 21. ; r dans 1' Orange Biver Colony, le natif est soumis a une * poll tax ; " dans la Southern Rhodesia, le Bechuanaland, le Basutoland, dans rUganda, au Natal, il est pertni une " hut tax ; " au Cap, on trouve cette " hut tax " et une " labour tax ; " dans F Afrique Orientale Allemande, il est ^galement pergu un imp6t sur les huttes, payable en argent, en produits, ou en travail. *, Cette sorte d'impAt a 6t& appliquee encore dans le Protectorat de Sierra- Leone, ou elle a pu etre pay^e " in kind by rice or palm-nuts," et la suggestion a ete faite "that work on roads and useful works should. be accepted in lieu of payment in money or produce."

On vpit done que le mode de paiement de Fimp6t, en argent ou en nature, n'en altere pas la legitimite, lorsquc son taux n'est pas excessif. Tel est le cas au Congo } ou les prestations fournies par Findigene ne representent pas plus, de . quarante he.ures de travail par mois. Encore est-jl que ce travail, est retribu^ et que l'impdt pay6 en nature fait, en quelque sorte, l'objet d'une ristourne a 1'indigene.

' Bartout le paiement de I'imp&t est obligatoire ; son non-paiement entraine des voies de contrainte. Les textes qui etablissent les taxes sur les huttes frappent l'mdigdne recalcitrant de peines, telles que l'emprisonnement et le travail force. Au Congo non plus, l'imp6t n'est pas facultatif. On a vu, ailleurs, les actes d'autorite qu'a parfois rendus n6cessaires le refus des indigenes de se soumettre a la loi : telles les difficultes a Sierra -Leone, a propos desquelles un publiciste Anglais, parlant des agents de 3a force publique, afhrmo: —

" Between July 1891 and February 1896, no fewer than sixty -two convictions— admittedly representing a small proportion of offences actually committed — were recorded against them for flogging, plundering, and generally maltreating the natives."

D 'autres exemples pourraient etre rappeles de l'opposition que rencontre chez les populations indigenes Tetablissement des regies gou vern erne nta les. II est fatal que la civilisation se heurte a leurs instincts de sauvagerie, a leurs coutumes et pratiques barbares ; et il se concoit qu'elles ne se plient pas sans impatience a un etat social qui leur apparait comme restrictif de leurs licences et de leurs exees et qu'elles cherehent m£me a s'y soustraire. C'est une chose commune en Afrique que l'exode d'indigenes, passant d'un territoire a l'autre, dans l'espoir de trouver de l'autre cote des frontieres une autorit6 moins elablie ou moins forte, et de s'exonerer de toute dependance et de toute -obligation. II se pourrait, a coup stir, que des indigenes de l'Etat se soient, Sous 1' empire de telles considerations, deplaces vers les territoires voisins, encore qu'une sorte d'emigration sur une large £ehelle, comme la presente la note Anglaise, n : ait jamais, etc signalee par les Commandants des provinces frontieres. II est, au contraire, constate, dans la region du Haut-Nil, que des natif s qui s'etaient install6s en territoire Britannique sont revenus sur la rive gauche a la suite de Tetablissement d'impositions nouvellement edictees par l'autorite Anglaise. Si c'est, d'ailleurs, ces regions qui sont visees, les informations de la note semblent etre en contradiction avec d'autres. renseignements donnas, par exemple, par Sir Harry Johnston

"This much 1 can speak of w'ith certainty and emphasis : that from the British frontier hear Eort George to the limit of my journeys into the Mbuba country of the Congq Free State, up and down the Semliki, the natives appear to be prosperous anel happy The extent to which they were building their villages and cul-

tivating their plantations within the precincts of Fort Mbeni showed that they had no fear of the Belgians."

Le Major H. H. Gibbons, qui s'est trouve plusieurs mois sur le Haut-Nil, ecrit: —

" Ayant eu Foccasion de connaitre plusieurs- officiers et de visiter letirs stations de l'Etat du Congo, je suis convaincu que la conduits de ces messieurs a etebien mal


s

iaterpretee par la presse. J'ai cite comme preuve mon experience personnelle, qui est en opposition avec tine version recemment publiee par la presse Anglaise, qui les accuse de grandes cruautes."

La declaration de Juin dernier, ci-jointe, a fait justice des critiques contre la force publique de l'Etat en signalant que son recrutement est regie par la Ioi et qu'il n'atteint qu'un homme sur 10,000. Dire que " the method of obtaining men for military service is often but little different from that ' formerly employed to obtain slaves," e'est meeonnaitre les prescriptions minutieuses eVIictees pour, au contraire, eviter les abus. Les levees : s'operent dans chaque district; les Commissaires de District reglent, de commun accord avec les Chefs indigenes, le mode de conscription. Les engagements volontaires et les multiples reengagements completent ais^ment les effectifs qui atteignent a peine le chiffre modi que de 15,000 hommes.

Geux qui alleguent, comme le dit la note, que " the men composing tlie armed force of the State were in many cases recruited from the most warlike and savage tribes," ignorent que la force publique est recrutee dans toutes les provinces et parmi toute la population, du territoire. Les inte>ets de l'Etat protestent contre cette notion d'une arm^e que l'autorite elle-meme formerait d 'elements indisciplines et sauvages et des exemples — tels que les exces qui ont ete mis a charge des auxiliajres irreguliers utilises dans l'Uganda, ainsi que les revoltes qui se sont produites jaclis au Congo, imposent, au contraire, une circonspection speciale pour la composition de la force arm.ee. Les cadres Europeans, qui se composent d'officiers Beiges, Italiens, Suedois, Korwegiens, et Danois, y maintiennent une s^vfere discipline, et Ton cher- cherait en vain a quelles reelles cir Constances fait allusion 1 'assertion que les soldats " not infrequently terrorized over their own officers." Elle n'est pas plus fondee que cette autre assertion, " that compulsion is often exercised by irresponsible native soldiers uncontrolled by an European officer." Depuis longtemps, l'autorite etait consciente des dangers que presentait l'existence de postes do soldats noirs, dont le Rapport de Sir D. Chalmers, sur I insurrection a Sierra-Leone, a constats les inevitables abus de pouvoirs. Au Congo, ils ont ete - graduellement supprim6s.

II apparaitra, a ceux qui ne nient pas 1' evidence, que des reproches articules contre l'Etat, 1c plus injuste est d'avancer " that no attempt at any administration of the natives is made, and that the officers of the Government do not - apparently concern themselves with such work."

On peut s'etonner de trouver semblable affirmation dans une depeche d'un Gouvernement dont l'un des membres, Lord Cranborne, Sous -Secretaire d'Etat pour les Affaires Etrangeres, disait le 20 Mai dernier : —

" There was no doubt that the administration of the Congo Government had been marked by a very high degree of a certain kind of administrative develop- ment. There were railways, there were steamers upon the river, hospitals had been established, and all the machinery of elaborate judicial and police systems had been set up."

Un autre Membrc de la Cbambre des Communes reconnaissait — "That the Congo State had done good work in excluding alcoholic liquors from the greater part of their domain, that they had established a certain number of hospitals, had diminished small-pox by means of vaccination, and had suppressed the Arab Slave Trade/'

Si attenuees que soient ces appreciations, eneore dementent-elles cette affirmation d'aujourd'hui que " the natives are left entirely to themselves, so far as any assistance in their government or in their affairs is concerned."

Telles ne semblent pas etre les conclusions auxquelles, dejk en 1898, arrivait le Consul Anglais Pickersgill.

  • '" Has the welfare of the African," se demande-t-il, " been duly cared for in the

Congo State ?" II repond : <f The State has restricted the liquor trade it is

scarcely possible to over-estimate the service which is being rendered by the Congo

Government to its ; subjects in this matter Intertribal wars have been

suppressed over a wide area, and, the imposition of European authority being steadily pursued, the boundaries of peace are constantly extending. . . . . . . The State

must be congratulated upon the security it has created for all who live within the shslter of its flag and abide by its laws and regulations. ...... Credit is also

due to the Congo Government in respect of the diminution of cannibalism. . ...

The yoke of the notorious Arab Slave Traders has been broken, and traffic in human beings amongst the natives themselves has been diminished to a considerable degree."

Ce Rapport consfatait aussi que les travaux des natifs etaient remuneres et



rendait hommage aux efforts de l'Etat pour instruire les ieunes indigenes et ouvrir des ecoles.

Depuis 1898 l'amelioration de la condition general e de l'indigene a encore progressed Le portage a dos d'homme, dont preeisement Mi*. Pickersgill signalait le c6t6 penible pour les indigenes, a disparu la ou il etait le plus actif, en raison de la mise cn exploitation des voies ferrees. Ailleurs, l'automobilc est utilisee comme moyen de transport La "sentry" — le poste de soldats negres qu'il critiquait non sans raison — n'existe plus. Le betail est introduit dans tous les districts. Des Commissions d'Hygiene sont institutes. Les ecoles et les ateliers se sont multiplies.

" L'indigene,*" dit le document ci- joint, " est mieux loge, vetu, nourri ; il remplaee ses huttes par des habitations plus resistantes et mieux. appropriees aux exigences de 1'hygiene; grace aux facilites de transport, il s'approvisionne des produits necessaires a ses besoins nouveaux; des ateliers lui sont ouverts, ou il apprend des metiers manuels — tels que, ceux de forgeron, charpentier, mecanicien, macon ; il etend ses plantations, et, a l'exemple des blancs, s'inspire des modes de culture vationnels ; les soins medieaux lui sont assures ; il envoie ses enfants dans les colonies scolaires de l'Etat et aux ecoles des missionnaires."

II est juste de reconnaitre, a-t-on dit a la Chambre des Communes, que la regeneration materielle et morale de l'Afrique Centrale ne peut etre l'oeuvre d'em jour. Les resultats obtenus jusqu'a present sont considerables ; nous chercherons a les consolider et a les accentuer, malgre les entraves que Ton s'efforce de mettre a Taction de l'Etat, action que i'mttret bien entendu de la civilisation serait, au contraire, de f avoriser.

La note Anglaise ne demontre pas que le systeme cconomique de l'Etat est oppose & l'Acte de Berlin. Elle ne rencontre pas les elements de droit et de fait par lesquels l'Etat a justifie la conformite de ses lois foncieres et de ses concessions avec les dispositions de cefc Acte. Elle n'explique pas pourquoi ni en quoi la liberte de commerce, termes dont la Conference de Berlin s'est servie dans leur sens usuel, grammatical et economique, ne serait plus entiere au Congo parce qu'il s'y trouve des proprietaires.

La note confond 1'exploitation de son bien par le proprietaire avec le commerce. L'indigene, qui recolte pour compte du proprietaire, ne devient pas proprietaire des produits recoltes et ne peut naturellement les ceder a autrui, pas plus que l'ouvrier qui extrait les produits d'une mine ne peut en frustrer le proprietaire en en disposant lui-meme. Ces regies sont de droit et sont mises en lunaiere dans de multiples documents : consultations juridiques et decisions judicial res dont quelques-unes sont amiexees. Le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste ne conteste pas que l'Etat a le droit de repartir les terres domaniales entre les occupants bond fide et que l'indigene ne peut plus pretendre aux produits du sol, mais seulement lorsquc "land is reduced into individual occupation." La distinction esc sans base juridique. Si l'Etat peut ceder les terres, e'est que l'indigene n'en a pas la propriete, et a. quel titre alors con- serverait-il un droit aux produits d'un fonds dont la propriete est legitimement acquise par d'autres ? Pourrait-on soutenir, par exemple, que la Compagnie du Chemin de Per du Bas-Congo ou la Societe du Sud-Cameroun ou l'ltalian Colonial Trading Company sont tenues de to hirer le pillage par les indigenes des terres qu'elles ont recues, parce qu'elles ne les occuperaient pas actuellement ? En fait, d'ailleurs, au Congo, Impropriation des terres explores en regie ou par les Compagnies Con- cessionnaires est chose realisee. L'Etat et les Societes ont eonsacre a leur mise en valeur, notamment des forets, des sommes considerables se chiffrant par millions de francs. II n'y a done pas de doute que dans tous les territoires du Congo, l'Etat exploite reellement et completement ses proprietes, tout eomme les Societies exploitent reellement et completement leurs Concessions.

Cet etat de choses existant et consolide dans l'Etat Independant permettrait, en ce qui le concerne, de ne point insister plus longuement sur la theorie formulee par la note et qui envisage four a tour les droits de l'Etat, ceux des occupants bond jide y ceux des indigenes.

Cependaut, elle s'impose a 1'attention des Puissances par les graves difficultes quelle ferait surgir si elle etait implicitement acceptee. La note contient les trois propositions suivantes : —

"The State has the right to partition the State lands among bond fide occupants."

"The natives will, as the land is so divided out amongst bond fide occupiers, lose their right of roaming over it and collecting the natural fruits which it produces." " Until unoccupied land is reduced into individual occupation and so long as the [247] C


s


produce can only be collected by the native, the native should be free to dispose of that produce as be pleases." - ■

II n'est pas une de ces propositions qui ne semble excluro les d f ?ux autres, et a vrai dire ces contradictions ahoutissent a la negation du droit de Concession.

S'il a exist e des occupants bond fide, ils sont devenus proprietaires : Poccupation, lorsqu'elle trouve a s'exercer, est dans toutes les legislations un des modes d' acquisi- tion de la propri£te\ et, au Congo, les titres en derivant ont ete legalement enregistres. Si la terre n'a etc valab lenient occupee par personne, elle est sans maitre ou, plus exactement, elle a FEtat pour maitre : il peut en disposer au profit d'un tiers, et celui-ei trouve dans cet acte de disposition un titre complct et absolu, Dans Fun comme dar^ P autre cas, il ne se contjoit pas que les fruits du sol puissent etre r^serv^s a d'autres qu'au proprietaire sous lepretexte qu'il n'est pas apte, en fait/a recolter les produits de son fonds.

Par une singuliere- contradiction, le systeme de la note dit qu'a la suite de 1 'attribution des terres par FEtat, les indigenes "lose their right of collecting the natural fruits," et, d'autre part, qu'ils conservent le droit de disposer de ces produits " until unoccupied land is reduced into individual occupation." On ne comprend pas la notion d'un droit appar tenant aux natifs qui existerait ou non de par le fait de tiers. Ou bien, par suite de F attribution des terres, ils ont perdu leurs droits, et alors ils les ont perdus totalement et completement ; ou bien, ils les ont conserves, et ils doivent les conserver, quoique " the land is reduced into individual occupation."

Que faut-il d'ailleurs entendre dans le systeme de la note par occupants " bond fide " et par " individual occupation ? " Qui sera juge du point de savoir si l'occupant a mis ses terres en 6tat d'occupation individuelle, s'il 6tait- apte a en recueillir les produits ou si c'etait encore Findigene? Ce serait, en tous cas, des points relevant essentiellement du droit interne.

La note, au surplus, est incomplete sur un autre point. Elle dit que la on l'exploitation ne se ferait pas encore par les ayants droit, la faculte d 'exploiter devrait appartenir aux indigenes. Bile voudrait done donner un droit aux indigenes au prejudice des Gouvernements ou des concessionnaires blancs, mais n'explique pas comment ni par qui le tort ainsi cause" serait compense ou indemnise. Quoique le systeme ainsi pr&xmise ne puisse avoir d'application dans FEtat du Congo, puisqu'il ne s'y trouve plus de terres inapproprices, cette remarque s'impose dans Finteret des blaucs etablis dans le bassin eonventionnel. S'il est equitable de bien traiter lesnoirs, il est juste de ne pas spolier les blancs, qui, dans 1'intcret de tous, doivent rester la race dirigeante.

Economiquement parlant, il serait deplorable qu'en depit des droits reguliere- ment acquis par les blancs, les terres domaniales se trouvassent livrees aux indigenes, fu.t-ce temporairement. Ce serait le retour a lenr 6tat d'abandon de jadis, alors que les natifs les laissaient inproductives, car les recoltes de caoutchouc, les plantations de caf'6, de cacao, de tabac, &c, datent du jour ou. l'Etat en a pris lui-meme 1'initiative : le mouvement des exportation etait insignifiant avant Fessor que lui ont donne les entreprises gouvernementales. Ce serait aussi 1'inobservance certaine des mesures d' exploitation rationnelle, de plantation et de replantation auxquelles s'astreigncnt FEtat et les Societes Concessionnaires pour assurer la conservation des riebesses naturelles du pays.

Jamais au Congo, que nous saebions, les demandes d'achat des produits naturels n'ont 6te adressees aux legitimes proprietaires. Jusqu'ici l'on n'a cherche a y acheter ■que des produits provenant de recels, et l'Etat, comme c'etait son devoir, a fait poursuivre ces tentatives delictueuses.

La politique de FEtat n'a pas, comme on Fa dit, tue le commerce: elle l'a, au contraire, cree, et elie perpetue la matiere commerciale ; e'est grace a elle que, sur le marche commercial d' An vers et bient6t au Congo meme — on examine la possibility d'y etabiir des dep6ts de vente— peuvent etre offertes annuellement a tous indistincte- ment, sans privilege ni monopole, 5,00u tonnes de caoutchouc recolte au Congo, alors qu'anterieurement, par exemple en 1887, Fexportation du caoutchouc se chiffrait a peine par 30 tonnes. C'est FEtat qui, apres avoir a ses frais cree la matiere commerciale, en maintient soigneusement la source au moyen des plantations et replantations.

II n'est pas a oublier que l'Etat du Congo a du compter sur ses propres ressources. Ce fut une necessite pour lui d utiliser son domaine dans Finteret general. Toutes les recettes du domaine sont vers^es au Trevor, ainsi que le revenu des actions dont FEtat est detenteur en raison de Concessions accordees. Ce n'est meme qu'en tirant tout le


9


parti utile de ses domaines et en engageant la plus grande partie de leurs revenue qu'il a pu eontracter des emprunts et provoquer h des entreprises de chemins de fer par des garanties d'interet, realisant ainsi Fun des moyens les plus desires par la Conference de Bruxelles pour faire ptmel;rer la civilisation au centre de l'Afriq.ue. Aussi n'a-t-il pas hesite a gaser sesdomaines dans ce but.

L'Acte de Berlin ne s'y oppose pas, car il n'a 6dicte" aucune proscription des droits de propriete, comme on veut, apres coup, le lui faire dire, tendant ainsi ? consciemment ou non, a la ruine de tout le bassin eonventionnel du Congo.

II n'echappera pas non plus aux Puissances que les conclusions de la note Anglaise, en suggerant une reference a la Cour de La Haye, ten dent a faire considered comme cas d'arbitrage des questions de souverainete" et d'administration interieure que la doctrine courante a toujours exclues des decisions d'arbitres. Pour ce qui concerne le eas actuel, il est a supposer que la suggestion d'une reference a la Cour de La Haye a une portee generate, s'il est vrai que, do 1'avis des Chambres de Commerce Anglaises, " the principles and practice introduced into the administration of the affairs of the Erench Congo, the Congo Eree State, and other areas in tbe conventional basin of the Congo being in direct opposition to the Articles of the Act of Berlin 1885." Le Gouverne- ment de l'Etat n'a cesse, pour sa part, de preconiser Farbitrage pour les dissentiments d'ordre international qui en comportaient l'appli cation : ainsi, il voudrait voir deferees a. Farbitrage les divergences de vues qui se sont produites au sujet du bail des territoires du Balir-el-Ghazal.

Apres un examen attentif de la note Anglaise, le Gouvernement de TEtat du Congo reste convaincu qu'en raison du vague et du manque complet de preuves, ce dont elle fait implicitement Faveu, il n'est pas une juridiction au monde, en en supposant une qui ait competence pour etre saisie, qui puisse, bien loin de prononcer une sorte de condamnation, prendre une autre decision que celle de ne pas donner suite a de simples suppositions.

Si FEtat du Congo se voit attaque, FAngleterre peut se dire que, plus que nulle autre nation, elle s'est trouvee, elle aussi, en butte aux attaques et aux accusations de toute espece, et longue serait la liste des campagnes poursuivies en divers temps et jusque dans recentes occasions centre son administration coloniale. Elle n'a certes pas (Schappe aux critiques que lui ont valu ses guerres multiples et sanglantes contre les populations indigenes ni aux reproches de violenter les natifs et de porter atteinte a leur liberty. Ne lui a-t-on pas fait grief de ces longues insurrections a Sierra- Leone— de cet etat d' hostility dans la Mgerie, ou tout dernierement, d'apres les journaux Anglais, la repression militaire a, en une seule circonstaace, coute" la vie a 700 indigenes, a la plupart de leurs Chefs et au Sultan — de cette lutte qui se poursuit au Somaliland au prix du sacrifice de nombreuses vies bumaines, sans que cependant il ne so it exprime a la Chambre des Communes d'autre regret que celui du chiffre eleve des d^penses ?

Alors que ces attaques adressees a FAngleterre Font laissee indifierente, il y a lieu d'etre surpris de la voir aujourd'hui attacher une toute autre importance a celles dirigees contre l'fitat du Congo,

On peut croire, cependant, que les preferences des indigenes de FEtat du Congo demcurent acq ui ses au Gouvernement d'une petite nation pacifique, dont les visees. restcnt pacifiques comme a 6t6 pacifique sa creation basee sur les Traites conclus avec les indigenes.

(Signe) CHB. DE CT1VELIEE.

Bruxelles, le 17 8eptembre> 1903.

(Translation.)

THE Government of the Independent State of the Congo have examined the despatch from the Foreign Office, dated the 8th August last, which was communicated to the Signatory Powers of the Berlin Act, and declare themselves in agreement with His Majesty's Government on two fundamental points, viz., that natives ought to be treated with humanity and gradually led into the paths of civilization, and that freedom of commerce in the Conventional Basin of the Congo ought to be entire and complete.

They deny, however, that the manner in which the State is administered involves a systematic regime "of cruelty or oppression," and that the principle of commercial freedom would introduce modifications in the rights of property as universally under- stood, seeing that there is not a word to this efiect in the Berlin Act. The Congo State observes that there is in that Act no provision which would sanction restrictions of any kind on the exercise of the rights of property, or give to one Signatory Power the right of intervention in the interior administration of another. It desires faithfully to observe [247] C 2


10


the Berlin Act, that great International Act which binds all Signatory or adhering Powers, according to the clear grammatical sense of the text, which none has power either to take from or add to.

The English note observes that it is within the last few years that a definite shape has been assumed by the campaign conducted in England against the Congo State, on the twofold pretext of the ill-treatment of natives and the existence of com- mercial monopolies.

It is indeed worthy of remark that this campaign dates from the time when the prosperity of the State became assured. The State had been founded for years, and administered in the same way as it is now, its principles in regard to the State-ownership of vacant lands, and the manner in which its armed forces were organized and recruited, were known to the public, without any interest in the matter being shown by the philan- thropists and traders to whose opinion the note begins by referring. This was the period during which the State Budget could only be balanced by means of the King-Sovereign's subsidies and Belgian loans, and when the commerce of the Congo did not attract attention. The term " Congo atrocities " was at that time only used in connexion with " the alleged ill-treatment of African natives by English and other adventurers in the Congo Eree State. "* After 1895 the trade of the Congo State developed remarkably, and the amount of its exports shows a progressive increase from 10 millions in 1895 to 50 millions in 1902. It is also about this time that the anti- Congo movement took shape. As the State gave increased proof of vitality and progress, the campaign became more active, reliance being placed on a few individual and isolated cases with a view to using the interests of humanity as a pretext and concealing the real object of a covetousness which, in its impatience, has betrayed itself in the writings of pamphleteers and in the speeches of Members of the House of Commons, in which the abolition and partition of the Congo State has been clearly put forward.

Such being the object in view, it became necessary to bring a whole series of charges against the State. So far as the humanitarian side of the question is concerned, the alleged cases of violence offered to natives have once more been brought forward and re-edited ad infinitum. Eor in all the meetings, writings, and speeches which have latterly been directed against the State, it is always the same facts which are brought up, and the same evidence which is produced. With regard to the economic side of the question, the State has been accused of having violated the Act of Berlin, notwithstanding the legal opinions of such lawyers as are most qualified to speak to the point, which afford ample legal justification both for its commercial and for its land system. With regard to the political side, a heresy in international law has been imagined, viz., that a State, the independence and sovereignty of which are absolute, should, at the same time, owe its position to the intervention of foreign Powers.

With regard to the cases of ill-treatment of natives, we attach special importance to those which, according to the note, have been reported in the despatches of His Majesty's Consular Agents. At the sitting of the House of Commons on the 11th March, 1903, Lord Cranborne referred to these official documents, and we have requested through his Excellency Sir C. Phipps that the British Government will make known to us the facts alluded to. We repeat the request.

The Government of the State have, however, never denied that crimes and offences are committed in the Congo, as in every other country or Colony. The note itself recog- nizes that these offences have been brought before the Tribunals, and that the criminals have been punished. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the State fulfils its mission ; the conclusion actually drawn is that " many individual instances of cruelty have taken place in the Congo State," and that " the number of convictions falls considerably short of the number of offences actually committed." This deduction does not appear necessarily to follow. It would seem more logical to say that the severe sentences inflicted will serve as a wholesome example, and that a decrease of crime may on that account be looked for. If some offences have indeed, in the extensive territories of the State, escaped the vigilance of the judicial authorities, this is a circumstance which is not peculiar to the Congo State.

The English note proceeds chiefly on hypotheses and suppositions : " It was alleged .... It is reported .... It is also reported . . . ." and it even says that " His Majesty's Government do not know precisely to what extent these accusations may be true." This is an acknowledgment that, in the eyes of the British Govern- ment themselves, the accusations in question are neither established nor proved. And, indeed, the violence, the passion, and the improbability of many of these accusations must raise doubt in an impartial mind as to their genuineness. To give but one

  • "Transactions of the Aborigines Protection Society, 18D0-1S96," p. 155.


II

example : — a great deal has been made of the statement that, in a train coming down from Leopoldville to Matadi, three carriages were full of slaves, a dozen of whom were in chains and guarded by soldiers. The Governor-General was asked for a report on the case. He replied ; " The individuals represented as composing a convoy of slaves were, the great majority of them (125), levies proceeding from the district of Lualaba-Kasai, Lake Leopold II, and the Bangalas to the camp in the Lower Congo. Annexed you -wilt find lists of these persons. As regards the men in chains, they were certain individuals on whom sentence had been passed by the territorial Tribunal at Basoko, and who were on their way to undergo their sentence at the central prison at Boma. They are Nos. 3642 to 3649 on the prison register at Boma."

In the same way, quite a recent " interview," in which the usual accusations of cruelty were reproduced, is due to a person formerly in the employ of the State, who was " declared unfit for service," and who has failed to persuade the State to accept his proposal to write for the press articles favourable to the Administration.

The note ignores the replies, contradictions, and corrections which the attacks on the Agents of the State have occasioned at the various times when they have taken place. It ignores the official declarations publicly made by the Government of the State in June last, after the debate in the House of Commons on the 20th May, the report of which is annexed to the note. We also annex the text of these declarations which dealt, by anticipation, with the considerations set forth in the despatch of the 8th August.

The only fresh cause of complaint which the note brings forward-— doubtless with the object of explaining the not unimportant fact that the English Consul, who has resided in the Congo since 1901, does not appear to support, by his personal authority, the accusa- tions of private individuals — is that this Agent has been " principally occupied in the investigation of complaints preferred by British subjects." The impression which one would derive from this is that such complaints have been exceptionally numerous. JS.0 doubt the Consul has, on different occasions, communicated with the Administration at Boma in the interests of his countrymen, but the subjects of his representations, if one may judge by such of their number as the English Legation has had to bring to the notice of the Central Government at Brussels, do not appear, either in number or importance, to have been more than matters of every day administrative routine : some cases in particular concerned the regulation of the succession to property in the Congo left by deceased English subjects; the object in others was to repair errors of judicial pro- cedure, such as occur elsewhere, and it is not even alleged that the proper action has not been taken upon these representations. The same Consul, who was appointed in 1898, wrote to the Governor-General on the 2nd July, 1901, as follows : —

" I pray believe me when I express now, not only for myself, but for my fellow- countrymen in this part of Africa, pur very sincere appreciation of your efforts on behalf of the general community — efforts to promote goodwill among all and to bring together the various elements of our local life."

IS or do the predecessors of Mr. E. Casement — for English Consuls with jurisdiction in the Congo were appointed by His Majesty Government as long ago as 1888 — appear to have been absorbed in the examination of innumerable complaints ; at all events, that is not the view taken in the Report (the only one published) by Consul Pickersgill, who, by the mere fact of giving an account of his journey into the interior of the Congo as far as Stanley Palls, disproves the alleged impossibility for the English Consular Agents to form an opinion de visu in regard to every part of their district.

With regard to the charges against the administrative system of the State, the note deals with taxes, public armed forces, and what is termed forced labour.

It is, at bottom, the contributions made by the Congo natives to the public charges which are criticized, as if there existed a single country or Colony in which the inhabitants do not, under one form or another, bear a part in such charges. A State without resources is inconceivable. On what legitimate grounds could the exemption of natives from all taxes be based, seeing that they are the first to benefit by the material and moral advantages Introduced into Africa? As they have no money, a contribution in the shape of labour is required from them. It has been said that, if Africa is ever to he redeemed from barbarism, it must be by getting the negro to understand the meaning of work by the obligation of paying taxes : —

" It is a question (of native labour) which has engaged my most careful attention in connection with West Africa and other Colonies. To listen to the right honourable gentleman, you would almost think that it would be a good thing for the native to be idle. I think it is a good thing for him to be industrious ; and by every means in our power we must teach him to work No people ever have lived in the world's


history who would not work. In the interests of the natives all over Africa, we have to teach them to work."

Such was the language used by Mr. Chamberlain in the House of Commons on the 6th August, 1901 ; and still more recently he expressed himself as follows : —

" We are all of us taxed, and taxed heavily. Is that a system of forced labour %

To say that because we put a tax on the native therefore he is reduced

to a condition of servitude and of forced labour is, to my mind, absolutely ridiculous.

It is perfectly fair to my mind that the native should contribute something

towards the cost of administering the country." (House of Commons, the 9th March, 190a.)

" If that really is the last word of civilization, if we are to proceed on the assumption that the nearer the native or any human being comes to a pig the more desirable is his

condition, of course I have nothing to say I must continue to believe that, at

all even is, the progress of the native in civilization will not be secured until he has been convinced of the necessity and the dignity of labour. Therefore, I think that anything we reasonably can do to induce the native to labour is a desirable thing/'

And he defended the principle of taxing the native on the ground that " the existence of the tax is an inducement to him to work." (House of Commons, the 24th March, 1903.)

Moreover, it is to be observed that in nearly every part of Africa the natives are taxed. In the Transvaal every native pays a "head tax" of 21. ; in the Orange .River Colony he is subject to a "poll tax;" in Southern Rhodesia, Bechuanaland, Basutoland, Uganda, and Natal a "hut tax" is levied; in Cape Colony we find a "hut tax" and a " labour tax ; " in German East Africa also a tax is levied on huts, payable either in money, in kind, or in labour. This species of tax has also been applied in the Sierra Leone Protectorate, where payment could be made " in kind by rice or palm nuts/' and it has been suggested that work on roads and useful works should be accepted in lieu of payment in money or produce.

The legality of a tax is, therefore, not affected by the mode of its payment, whether in money or in kind, so long as the amount is not excessive. It is certainly not so in the Congo, where the work done by the native does not represent more than forty hours' work a-month. Such work, moreover, is paid for, and the tax in kind thus gives the native as it were some return for his labour.

Payment of taxes is obligatory everywhere ; and non-payment involves measures of compulsion. The regulations under which the hut- tax is levied impose on the native, for non-payment, such penalties as imprisonment and forced labour. Nor in the Congo is payment of taxes optional. Repressive measures have occasionally been rendered necessary elsewhere by the refusal of natives to conform to the law, e.g., the disturbances at Sierra Leone, in connexion with which an English publicist, speaking of the police force, states : —

"Between July 1894 and Eebruary 1896 no fewer than sixty-two convictions, admittedly representing a small proportion of offences actually committed, were recorded against .them for flogging, plundering, and generally maltreating the natives."

Further instances might be recalled of the opposition encountered among native populations to the institution of governmental regulations. Civilization necessarily comes into collision with their savage instincts and barbarous customs and habits ; and it can be understood that they submit but impatiently to, and even try to escape from, a state of society which seems to them to be restrictive of their licence and excesses. It frequently happens in Africa that an exodus of natives takes place from one territory to another, in the hope of finding beyond the frontier a Government less well established or less strong, and of thus freeing themselves from all obligations and restraints. Natives of the State may quite well, under the influence of considerations of this kind, have crossed into neighbouring territories, although no kind of emigration on a large scale, such as is referred to in the English note, has ever been reported by the Comman- dants of the frontier provinces. On the contrary, it is a fact that natives in the Upper Nile region who had settled in British territory have returned to the left bank in consequence of the imposition of new taxes by the English authorities. Besides, if it is these territories which are alluded to, the information contained in the note would seem to be in contradiction with other particulars furnished, for instance, by Sir Harry Johnston.

" This much I can speak of with certainty and emphasis, that from the British frontier near Fort George to the limit of my journeys into the Mbuba country of the Congo Free State, up and down the Semliki, the natives appear to be prosperous and happy. . ' . The extent to which they were building their villages and cultivating their plantations within the precincts of Fort Mbeni showed that they had no fear of the Belgians."


13


Major H. H. Gibbons, who was for several months on the Upper Wile, writes s —

" Having had occasion to know many officers, and to visit their stations in the Congo State, I am convinced that their behaviour has been much misunderstood by the press. I have quoted as a proof' my experience, which is at variance with an article recently published in the English press, in which they are accused of great cruelties."

The declaration of last June, of which a copy is inclosed, has disposed of th= criticisms directed against the public forces of the State, by pointing out that recruitment for them is regulated by law, and that it is only one man in every 10,000 who is affected. To say that " the method of obtaining men. for military service is often but little different from that formerly employed to obtain slaves " is to misunderstand the carefully drawn regulations which have, on the contrary, been issued to check abuses. Levies take place in each district ; the district Commissioners settle the mode of conscription in agreement with the native Chiefs. Voluntary enlistment, and numerous re-enlistments, easily fill •up the ranks, which only reach, all told, the moderate total of 15,000 men.

Those who allege, as the note says, that " the men composing the armed force of the State were in many cases recruited from the most warlike and savage tribes " must be unaware that the public forces are recruited from every province, and from the whole population. It is inconceivable that the authorities of a State, with due regard to its interests, should form an army out of undisciplined and savage elements, and instances are to be found— such as- the excesses said to have been perpetrated by irregular levies in Uganda, and the revolts which formerly occurred in the Congo — which, on the contrary, render it necessary that special care should be exercised in raising armed forces. The European establishment, consisting of Belgian, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish officers, maintains strict discipline, and it would be vain to seek the actual facts alluded to in the assertion that the soldiers " not infrequently terrorized over their own officers." Such an assertion is as unfounded as the one " that compulsion is often exercised by irresponsible native soldiers, uncontrolled by an European officer." For a long time past the authorities have been alive to the danger arising from the existence of stations of negro soldiers, who inevitably abuse their authority, as recognized in the Report of Sir D. Chalmers on the insurrection in Sierra Leone. In the Congo such stations have been gradually abolished.

Those who do not refuse to accept patent facts will recognize that of the reproaches levied at the State, the most unjust is the statement " that no attempt at any administration of the natives is made, and that the officers of the Government do not apparently concern themselves with such work."

It is astonishing to come across such an assertion in a despatch from a Government, one of whose members, Lord Cranborne, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, stated on the 20th May last : —

" There was no doubt that the administration of the Congo Government had been marked by a very high degree of a certain kind of administrative development. There were railways, there were steamers upon the river, hospitals had been established, and all the machinery of elaborate judicial and police systems had been set up."

Another member of the House of Commons acknowledged —

" That the Congo State had done good work in excluding alcoholic liquor from the greater part of their domain ; that they had established a certain number of hospitals, had diminished small-pox by means of vaccination, and had suppressed the Arab Slave Trade."

However limited these admissions, still they contradict the assertion now made that " the natives are left entirely to themselves, so far as any assistance in their government or in their affairs is concerned."

Such does not seem to have been the conclusion at which Mr. Pickersgill, the English Consul, had arrived as long ago as 1898.

" Has the welfare of the African," he asks, " been duly cared for in the Congo State?" He answers: "The State has restricted the liquor trade ..... it is scarcely possible to over-estimate the service which is being rendered by the Congo

Government to its subjects in this matter Intertribal wars have been suppressed

over a wide area, and, the imposition of European authority being steadily pursued, the

boundaries of peace are constantly extending The State must be congratulated

upon the security it has created for all who live within the shelter of its flag and abide by its laws and regulations. .... Credit is also due to the Congo Government in respect of the diminution of cannibalism The yoke of the notorious Arab slave-

traders has been broken, and traffic in human beings amongst the natives themselves has been diminished to a considerable degree."

This Report also showed that the labour of the native was remunerated, and gave


due credit to the State for its efforts to instruct the young natives, and to open schools.

Since 1898 *;he general condition of the native has been still further improved. The system of carriers ("le portage a dos d'homme 3 '), the hardships of which, so far as the native was concerned, were specially pointed out by Mr. Pickersgill, has disappeared from those parts of the country where it was most practised, in consequence of the opening of railways. Elsewhere motor cars are used as means of transport. The " sentry," the station of negro soldiers which the Consul criticized, not without reason, no longer exists. Cattle have been introduced into every district. Sanitary Commissions have been instituted. Schools and workshops have multiplied.

"The native," says the inclosed document,* " is better housed, better clad, and better fed ; he is replacing his huts by better built and healthier dwelling-places ; thanks to existing transport facilities, he is able to obtain the produce necessary to satisfy his new- wants ; workshops have been opened for him, where he learns handicrafts, such as those of the blacksmith, carpenter, mechanic, and mason ; he extends his plantations and, taking example by the white man, learns rational modes of agriculture ; he is always able to obtain medical assistance ; he sends his children to the State school-colonies and to the missionary schools."

As stated in the House of Commons, it is only right to recognize that the material and moral regeneration of Central Africa cannot be the work of a day. The results so far obtained have been considerable, and these we shall try to consolidate and develop, in spite of the way in which an effort is being made to hamper the action of the State, which in the real interests of civilization should rather be promoted.

The English note does not show that the economic system of the State is in opposi- tion to the Berlin Act. It does not meet (he points of law and fact by means of which the State has demonstrated the conformity of its system of land tenure and concessions with the provisions of that Act. It does not explain either how or why freedom of trade — a term used at the Conference of Berlin in its usual, grammatical, and economic sense — is incomplete in the Congo State because there are landowners there.

The note confuses the utilization of his property by the owner with trade. The native who collects on behalf of the owner does not become the owner of what is so collected, and naturally cannot dispose of it to a third party, any more than a miner can rob the proprietor of the produce of the mine and dispose of it himself. These rules are in accordance with the principles of justice and are explained in numerous documents, such as legal opinions and judicial decisions, some of which are annexed. His Majesty's Government do not deny that the State is justified in allotting domain lands to bond fide occupants, or that the native has no longer any right to the produce of the soil as soon as the " land is reduced into individual occupation." The distinction is without legal foundation. If the State can part with land, it is because the native is not the owner ; by what title could he then retain a right to the produce of property which has been lawfully acquired by others ? Could it be contended, for instance, that the Low-er Congo Railway Company, or the South Cameroons Company, or the Italian Colonial Trading Company are, on the ground that they are not at present in occupation, bound to allow the native to plunder the territories allotted to them ? As a matter of fact, more- over, in the Congo State the appropriation of lands worked on Government account or by the Concessionary Companies is an accomplished fact. The State and the Companies have devoted large sums, amounting to many millions of francs, to the development of the lands in question, and more especially to that of the forests. There can, therefore, be no doubt that throughout the territories of the Congo the State really and completely works its property, just as the Companies really and completely work their Concessions.

The state of affairs then which actually exists, and is established in the Independent State, is such that there is really no need, as far as the State itself is concerned, to dwell longer on the theory set forth in the note which deals in turn with the rights of the State, with those of bond fide occupiers, and those of the natives.

Still this theory calls for the attention of the Powers in view of the serious difficulties which would arise were it to be implicitly accepted.

The note lays down the three following propositions ■. —

" The State has the right to partition the State lands among bond fide occupants."

" The natives will, as the land is so divided out amongst bond fide occupiers, lose their right of roaming over it and collecting the natural fruits which it produces."

" Until unoccupied land is reduced into individual occupation, and so long as the produce can only be collected by the native, the native should be free to dispose of that produce as he pleases."

  • See Annex No. 1.


15


There is no single one of these propositions but apparently excludes the other two, and, as a matter of fact, such contradictions amount to a denial of the right to grant Concessions.

If bond fide occupiers ever existed they have become proprietors ; occupation, where it can be exercised, is under all legislative codes, one of the methods by which property can be acquired, and in the Congo State titles of ownership deriving from it have been legally registered. If the land has never been legally occupied, it is without an owner, or, rather the State is the owner: the State can allot it to a third party, for whom such allotment is a complete and absolute title. In either case it is hard to see how the fruits of the soil can be reserved for any but the owner on the pretext that the latter is not able to collect the produce of his property.

By a curious contradiction it is observed in the note that, as a consequence of the allotment of lands by the State, the natives " lose their right of collecting the natural fruits," and, on the other hand, that they retain the right of disposing of these fruits " until unoccupied land is reduced into individual occupation." It is difficult to under- stand what is meant by a right which belongs to the natives or not according to the action of a third party. Either they lost their rights on the lands being allotted, and in that case they have lost them entirely and completely, or else they have retained them, and are entitled to retain them, although " the land is reduced into individual occupation."

Again, what are we to understand by the expressions " bond fide" occupiers and " individual occupation ? " Who is to determine whether the occupier has brought his lands into a state of individual occupation, whether he is able to collect their produce, or whether it is still for the native to do so ? In any case, such a question is essentially one to be settled by municipal law.

The note is, moreover, incomplete in another respect. It states that where the land has not yet been worked by those who have a right to it, the option of working should belong to the native. Bights would thus be given to the natives to the prejudice of the Government or of white concessionnaires, but the note does not explain how nor by whom the wrong thus caused would be repaired or made good. Though the system thus advocated cannot be applied in the Congo State, as there are no longer any unappropriated lands there, attention should be called to the statement in the interest of white men established in the conventional basin. If it is right to treat the negro well, it is none the less just not to despoil the white man, who, in the interest of all, must remain the dominant race.

Prom an economic point of view, it would be very regrettable if, in spite of the rights regularly acquired by white men, the domain lands were, even temporarily, handed over to the natives. Such a course would involve a return to their former condition ol abandonment, when the natives left them unproductive, for the collection of rubber, the plantation of coffee, cocoa, tobacco, &c, date from the day when the State itself took the initiative : the export trade was insignificant before the impetus it received from Government enterprise. Such a course would furthermore certainly involve the neglect of rational methods of work, of planting and of replanting — measures which the State and the Concessionary Companies have assumed as an obligation with a view to securing the preservation of the natural riches of the country.

Never in the Congo, so far as we know, have requests to buy natural produce been addressed to the rightful owners. Up to now the only attempts made have been to buy the produce which has been stolen, and the State, as was its duty, has had those guilty of these unlawful attempts prosecuted.

It is not true, as has been asserted, that the policy of the State has killed trade ; it has, on the contrary, created the materials which trade deals in and keeps up the supply ; it is thanks to the State that, on the Antwerp market — and soon even in the Congo where the possibility of establishing trade dep&ts is being considered — 5,000 tons of rubber collected in the Congo can be annually put on sale to all and sundry without privilege or monopoly, while formerly, in 1887, for instance, the rubber export amounted to hardly 30 tons. It is the State which, after having created, at its own expense, the material of, trade, carefully preserves the source of it by means of planting and replanting.

It must not be forgotten either that the Congo State has been obliged to rely on its own resources. It was forced to utilize its domain in the public interest. All the receipts of the domain go into the Treasury, as also the dividends of the shares which the State holds in exchange for Concessions granted. It has only been by fully utilizing its domain lands, and pledging the greater part of their revenues, that it has been able to raise loans, and encourage the construction of railways by guarantees of interest, thus realizing one of the means most advocated by the Brussels Conference for promoting- [247] D


16


civilization in Central Africa. Nor has it hesitated to morto'acre its domain lands whb this object.

The Berlin Act is not opposed to such a course, for it never proscribed the rights of property as there is now an ex post facto attempt to make out, an attempt tending, consciously or not, to the ruin of the whole conventional basin of the Congo.

It will not escape the notice of the Powers that the English note, by suggesting a reference to the Court at The Hague, tends to bring into consideration as cases for arbitration questions of sovereignty and internal administration as questions for arbitra- tion which, according to prevailing doctrines, are excluded from arbitral decisions. As far as the present; case is concerned, it must be assumed that the suggestion of referring the matter to the Court at The Hague has a general meaning, if it is true that, in the opinion of the English Chambers of Commerce, " the principles and practice introduced into the administration of the affairs of the Erench Congo, the Congo Free State, and other areas in the conventional basin of the Congo being [sic] in direct opposition to the Articles of the Act of Berlin, 1885." The Government of the Con^o State have never ceased advocating arbitration as a mode of settling questions which are of an international nature, and can thus be suitably treated, as, for instance, the divergencies of opinion which have arisen in connexion with the lease of the territories of the Bahr-el-Ghazal.

The Government of the Congo State, after careful examination of the English note, remain convinced that, in view of its vagueness, and the complete lack of evidence, which is implicitly admitted, there is no tribunal in the world, supposing there were one possessing competent jurisdiction, which could, far from pronouncing a condemna- tion, take any decision other than to refuse action on mere supposition.

If the Congo State is attacked, England may admit that she, more than any other nation, has been the object of attacks and accusations of every kind, and the list would be long of the campaigns which have at various times, and even quite recently, been directed against her colonial administration. She has certainly not escaped criticism in regard to her numerous and bloody wars against native populations, nor the reproach of oppressing natives and invading their liberty. Has she not been blamed in regard to the long insurrections in Sierra Leone ; to the disturbed state of Nigeria, where quite recently, according to the English newspapers, military measures of repression cost, on one single occasion, the lives of 700 natives, of most of their Chiefs, and of the Sultan ; acid to the conflict in Somaliland. which is being carried on at the cost of many lives, -without, however, exciting expressions of regret in the House of Commons, except on the score of the heavy expense ?

Seeing that these attacks have left England indifferent, it is somewhat surprising to find her now attaching such importance to those made on the Congo State.

There is, however, reason to think that the natives of the Congo State prefer the Government of a small and pacific nation, whose aims remain as peaceful as its creation which was founded on Treaties concluded with the natives.

(Signed) CHR DE CUVELIEE.


Brussels, September 17, 1903.


— .


Annexes.*

I. " Bulletin Officiel de l'Btat Independant du Congo," Jum 1903. •

II. Judgments delivered by the Tribunals of Erench Congo.

III. Opinions of Messrs. Yan Maldeghem and de Paepe, Van Berchem, Barboux, and Nys.


Translations of Extracts from Annex L Page 142.


In conformity with Articles II and XIII of the Berlin Act, it (the Congo State) has assured to all flags, without distinction of nationality, free access to all its interior waters and full and entire freedom of navigation. The railway, which has been con- structed to obviate the innavigabiiity of the lower river, is open to the traffic of all nations in conformity with Article XVI,

  • Copies have been sent to the Library of each House of Parliament,


17


In conformity with Article III, there is no differential treatment either of ships or coods, and no tax is levied on foreigners which is not equally borne by nationals. % In conformity with Article IV, no transit due has been imposed.

In conformity with Article VI, freedom of conscience and the free exercise of worship are guaranteed to natives, to foreigners, and to the missions of all creeds.

In conformity with Article VII, the State has adhered to the Convention of the Universal Postal Union.

Availing itself of the power conferred by Article X, the Congo State has declared itself perpetually neutral, and in no circumstance has failed in the duties imposed by neutrality. # ■ m

In conformity with Article XII, it has endeavoured, in case of any international difference, to 'have recourse to mediation and arbitration, and has never declined to accept such procedure.

In conformity with the Declaration of the 2nd July, 1890, the import and export duties levied do not exceed the limits fixed by the Agreements of the 8th April, 1892, and the 10th March, 1902, between the State, France and Portugal.

Article I of the Act of Berlin lays down that "the trade of all nations shall enjoy complete freedom in the Conventional basin of the Congo," and, by Article V, "no monopoly or favour of any kind in matters of trade" shall be granted there. These provisions, like the rest, have been respected by the Congo State in the 1 and in the spirit.


Page 144.


Ereedom of trade is complete in the Congo, and is restricted neither by monopoly nor privilege. Every one is free to sell or buy every sort of produce in which it is lawful to trade. The law protects this freedom by forbiddirg any interference with the freedom of business transactions ; it punishes "any one who has employed violence or threats with a view to compel the natives, whether on the roads in the interior, or in the markets, to part with their goods to particular persons or at particular prices ;"* it punishes " those who, by violence, abuse, or threats, shall, have interfered with the freedom of trade, with aview either to stop trade caravans on the public roads or to obstruct the freedom of traffic whether by land or water."!

It is asserted that the principle of the freedom of trade is infringed by the appro- priation by the State of vacant and ownerless lands within its boundaries. When by the Decree of the 1st July, 1885, the State declared that "no one has the right to occupy vacant lands without a title; vacant lands are to be considered as belonging to the State," t it did so in reliance on a legal principle which is universally admitted, its action in this matter was not, as has been said, the first step in a deliberate policy of' exclusiveness. That principle was inscribed in the Codes of all civilized countries; it has been sanctioned by all Colonial legislative systems.

Page 152.

If it were true that, by declaring all ownerless lands to be Government property, the Congo State had expropriated the natives, all these various legislative systems could be attacked on the same ground. It is generally admitted that the native has no real title to the ownership of the vast stretches of country which from time immemorial be has allowed to lie fallow, or to the forests which he has never turned to profit. But the law of the Congo State is careful to maintain the natives in the enjoyment of the lands they occupy and, as a nlatter of fact, not only are they not disturbed in this enjoyment, hut they are actually extending the lands they cultivate and their plantations as' their needs grow. The State has been at much pains to prevent the natives from being, robbed.

"No one has the right to dispossess natives of the lands which they occupy (Ordinance of the 1st July, 1885, Article 2).

"The lands occupied by the native, population under the authority of their Chiefs, shall continue to be governed by the local customs and usages (Decree of the 14th September, 1886, Article 2).

" All Acts or Agreements which would tend to drive the natives from the territories they occupy, or to deprive them directly or indirectly of their liberty or means of liveli- hood, are prohibited (Decree of the 14th September, 1886, Article 2).

  • Penal Code, Art. 56 (Decree of the 26th May, 1888, Bulletin Officiel, 1897, p. 31).

t Penal Code, Art. 57 (fdem, p. 31). t Bulletin Officiel, 1885, p. 31.

[247] D 2


18


" In cases where the lands which form the subject of application are occupied in part by natives, the Governor-General, or his Delegate, shall intervene in order, if possible, to effect an arrangement with them, securing to the applicant the lands so occupied either by cession or by lease, but the State is not to be put to any expense in the matter (Decree of the 9th April, 1893, Article 5).

"When native villages are inclosed in lands which have either been disposed of m leased, the natives may, so long as the land has not been officially measured, take into cultivation, without the consent of either the owner or the lessor, the vacant lands surrounding their villages (Decree of the 9th April, 1893, Article 6).

" The members of the Land Commission shall examine with special care the question whether the lands applied for ought not to be reserved either for the public use or with a view to allow oi the extension of cultivation by the natives (Decree of the 2nd February, 1893, Article 2)."


Page 156.

If it is inexact to say that the natives have been robbed of immemorial rights, it is equally so to assert that the policy of the State has aimed at the exclusion of private trading in order to assure greater advantages for its own commercial enterprises.

Such a statement can only be the result of a misapprehension of the various phases through which the Congo trade has passed since 1885. At that time private enterprise was centred in the Lower Congo only. The Government, far from wishing to close the Upper Congo, declared its access free to all. The Decree of the 30th April, 1887, led, on the contrary, to various commercial firms establishing themselves above Stanley Pool, owing to the facilities it afforded for settling on the domain lands.

Article 6 of that Decree provided ; —

" Non-natives who desire to found commercial or agricultural establishments in the districts above Stanley Pool, or in others to be eventually designated by the Governor- General of the Congo, shall be at liberty to take possession with this view of an area, the maximum size of which shall be fixed by the Govern or- General ; provided that they fulfil such conditions as he shall lay down, they shall enjoy a preferential right to the eventual acquisition of property in such lands at a price which shall be fixed by him beforehand."

And Article 7 added : —

" The non-natives who, in the same regions, shall desire to occupy lands, of which the area shall exceed the maximum referred to in the preceding Article, may occupy them provisionally on such conditions as the Governor-General shall determine. He shall further decide whether the preferential right alluded to in the preceding Article shall be given to them in regard to this larger extent of land."*

"With a view to assist commercial enterprise in the regions of the interior, the Government even exempted from export duty — the only customs duties which they could at that time levy- — all native produce coming from the territories above Stanley Pool.

" Prom the 1st January, 1888," so ran Article 1 of the Ordinance of the 19th October, 1 8^7, "and till further orders, native produce coming from the State territories on the left bank of Stanley Pool and above that lake shall be exempted from export duty."f

Later, by the Decree of the 17th October, 18S9,t the Government announced that applications might be presented for concessions to work rubber and other vegetable .produce in the State 'forests of the Upper Congo where such produce was not already worked by the native population.

By the Decree of the 9th July, 1890, the collection of ivory within the State .domains was entirely given up to private persons throughout such parts of the Congo as were at that time visited by the steamers.

These Regulations were applicable to all foreign enterprise, without distinction of nationality ; they show that there was no such policy of ostracism in regard to private enterprise such as is now attributed to the State.

It has not been the fault of the Government that nationals of all countries have not profited by this liberal system. They continued, however, to confine themselves, with few exceptions, to the Lower Congo. The Companies which decided to extend their operations in the central districts of the Congo found every facility for the establishment of agencies, and acquired the favourable position which they now enjoy.

  • Bulletin Offlciel, 1887. p. 72,

t Bulletin Offlciel. 1888, p. 3. + Bulletin Offlciel, 1889, p. 2 18.


19

The State can hardly be blamed because, in face of the almost universal inaction on the part of private individuals, it endeavoured to turn its territories to account by working its domain lands, either on its own account or through others. It was, how- ever, the only way to secure the funds necessary for the Budget, the charges in which steadily increased with the extension of the public service, and to give the country the benefit of an economic system by imposing upon the concessionary Companies the obligation to undertake works of public utility.

The Government, further, were careful not to abandon a policy of moderation in the matter. When by the Decree of the 30th October, 1892, they defined regions reserved for working by the domain (those, that is to say, in which it had been ascer- tained, after inquiry, that the natives had never engaged in the collection of rubber), they still left vast zones at the disposal of the public, and allowed to private persons the exclusive right to work the rubber on the Government properties there. As a matter of fact, the zones in question comprised more than a quarter of the vacant State lands, apart from the whole country below Stanley Pool. Nevertheless, the Companies per- sisted for some years more in not moving towards these regions ; it has only been since 1897 that there have been any signs of general activity. It was then that the numerous factories which are still co be found there were started in the Kassai, Ikelemba, and Lulonga districts, and on the banks of the Congo. But it is to be noted that with one exception none but Belgian Companies decided to put their capital into those enter- prises, and to take the consequent risks. Foreigners have held aloof, in spite of the fact that they were at perfect liberty to establish themselves in these regions ; even the firms which had been long established in the Lower Congo, and especially the English bouses, did not consider the moment favourable for establishing branches in the Upper Congo. The above remark is generally applicable, in so far that, also in the territories for which Concessions have been given, not one of the concessionary Companies has found any foreign interests previously existing ; indeed, certain foreigners who were interested in one of the most important of them, the Anglo-Belgian India-Rubber and Exploration Company, which was founded by an English group, have parted with their interests.

The commercial field open to private persons in the Congo never has been and is not limited ; trade is free, so far as it is legitimate, throughout the country, and in certain regions the State, far from organizing any excessive working of its domain lands, has even renounced the exercise of its rights of property. To give one instance only the Dutch Company, the value of whose exports was 730,000 fr. in 1887, exported m 1901 goods to the value of more than 3,000,000 fr.


Page 162.

The work of organization has since been going on over the whole country by the more and more effective occupation of the territory ; posts and stations have been multiplied, and now number 215 ; the work of the administrative, judicial, and sanitary authorities has expanded ; transport facilities have been introduced ; two lines of railways have been laid in the Lower Congo, and there are others either being constructed or proposed in the Upper Congo; seventy-nine steamers and boats have been put on the river and its affluents; 1,500 kilom. of telegraph and telephone lines have been laid; carriage roads have been built, on which the use of automobiles will put an end to the system of carriers (" portage a dos d'homme "); vaccine institutes have been established with a view to putting a stop, through the increased use of lymph, to the ravages of small -pox ; water- works have been built in important centres, such as Boma and Matadi ; hospitals for blacks and whites have been founded at different posts, as also Red Cross stations and a bacteriological institute ; importation of spirituous liquors and trade in them has been prohibited almost everywhere, while the importation of alcoholic drinks made with absinthe, as also trade in them, have been forbidden everywhere ; the trade in improved fire-arms and ammunition for them has been absolutely forbidden ; cattle have been introduced at all the stations, and model farms have been established ; Sanitary Commissions have been instituted whose duty it is to watch over the requirements of the elements of public health.

This general development is necessarily accompanied by an improvement of the conditions in which the native lives, wherever he comes into contact with the European element. Materially, he is better housed, better clad, and better fed; he is replacing his huts by better built and healthier dwelling-places ; thanks to existing


20

transport facilities, he is able to obtain the produce necessary to satisfy his new wants ; workshops have been opened for him, where he learns handicrafts, such as those of the blacksmith, carpenter, mechanic, and mason; he extends his plantations, and, taking example by the white man, learns rational modes of agriculture ■; he is always able to obtain medical assistance ; he sends Ins children to the State school-colonies and to the missionary schools. Steps have been taken to safeguard the individual liberty of the blacks, and especially to prevent labour contracts between blacks and non-natives degenerating into disguised slavery. It is on this point that the Decree of the Sth November, 1888, enters into tiie most minute details concerning the length of the engagement, the form of the contract, and the payment of wages. Recent legislation in French Congo, which has very properly been praised by the English organs, bas been dictated by the like solicitude for the natives.

The native is free to seek by work the remuneration which contiibutes to the increase of his well-being. One of the objects, indeed, of the general policy of the State is to aim at the regeneration of the race by impressing them with the high idea of the necessity of work. It is intelligible that Governments, conscious of their moral responsibility, should not advocate the right of the inferior races to be idle, which would entail the continuance of a social system opposed to civilization. The Congo State aims at carrying out its educational mission by requiring the native to contribute, by means of a tax in kind, for which, however, payment is made to him, to the development of the State forests; the amount of Mich payments was, in the Budget for Iy03, nearly 3,000,000 f'r. The legality' of such a system of developing the State property rests not only on the universal principle which attributes to the State the possession of ownerless lands, but also on the cession which the local Chiefs have made to the State, by peaceful methods and Treaties, of such political and land rights as they may have possessed; and on the fact that it is the State itself which bas revealed to the natives the existence of those natural riches of which they were ignorant by showing them how to work ; it is the State, too, which has bound itself, equally with private persons, to plant and replant, and thus to insure the preservation and perpetuity of those natural relies which the carelessness of some and the lust of gain of others could not have failed to destroy.


Page 165.

The system which the State has followed, while forwarding the economical develop- ment of the country, has at the same time caused a considerable commercial movement inasmuch as the exports now amount to a value of .50,000,000, and 5,000 tons of rubb from the Congo forests are sold every year at Antwerp to the highest bidder.

Whatever may have been said this prosperity has not been attained to the detriment of the native. It has been asserted that the native populations must of necessit be badly treated because they are subjected on the one hand to military service, an on the other to the payment of certain taxes.

Military service is no more slavery in the Congo than anywhere else where the system of conscription is in force. The manner in which the public forces are recruited and organized has formed the subject of the most minute legislative provisions, with a view to the avoidance of abuses. As a matter of fact military service is not a heavy burden to the population, from whom it only takes one man in 10,000. To show the errors^which have been believed in regard to the public forces it is necessary once more to point out that they are composed entirely of regular troops, and there are no t( irregular levies " composed of undisciplined and barbarous elements. Care has been taken gradually to get rid of posts of black soldiers, and at the present moment every military post is commanded by a white officer. The increase in the number of officials has allowed of giving European officers to all detachments of these forces.

In regard to contributions in kind which are levied on the native by the authorities, such taxes are as legitimate as any other. They do not impose on the native burdens of a different or heavier kind than the forms of impost enforced in the neighbouring Colonies, such as the but tax. The native thus bears his share of the public burden as a return for the protection afforded him by the State, and this share is a light one since on an average it means for the native no more than forty hours of work a- month.

It is unfortunately true that acts of violence have been committed against the natives in the Congo, as everywhere else in Africa: the Congo State has never sought either to deny or to conceal them. The detractors of the State show themselves to be prejudiced when they quote these acts as the necessary consequence of a bad system of administration, or when they assert that they are tolerated by the higher authorities.


it

?


21

"Whenever any European official has been guilty of such acts he has been punished by the Courts, and a certain number of Europeans are at this moment in the prisons of the State expiating their offences against the penal laws which protect the life and person of the native. If the enormous extent of the Congo State is taken into account, such cases are the exception, as is obvious from the fact that recent publications attacking the Congo State have been obliged, in support of their indictment, to take up incidents nearly ten years old, and even to have recourse, amongst others, to the testimony of a commercial agent actually condemned for his excesses against the blacks. It is worthy of remark that the Catholic missionaries have never called attention to this general system of cruelty which is imputed to the State, and if judicial statistics demonstrate the stern measures that have been taken by the Criminal Courts, it does not follow that there is more crime in the Congo than in other Central African Colonies.


No. 3.

Mr. Casement to the Marquess of Lansdowne.—( Received December 12.)

My Lord, London, December 11, 1903.

I HAVE the honour to submit my Report on my recent journey on the Upper Congo.

I left Matadi on the 5th June, nnd arriving at Leopold ville on the 6th, remained in the neighbourhood of Stanley Pool until the 2nd July, when I set out for the Upper Congo. My return to Leopoldville was on tho 15th September, so that the period spent in the Upper River was one of only two and a-half months, during which time I visited several points on the Congo River itself, up to the junction of the Lulongo River, ascended that river and its principal feeder, the Lopori, as far as Bongandanga. and went round Lake Mantumba.

Although my visit was of such brief duration, and the points touched at nowhere lay far off the beaten tracks of communication, the region visited was one of the most central in the Congo State, and the district in which most of my time was spent, that of the Equator, is probably one of the most productive. Moreover, I was enabled, by visiting this district, to contrast its present day state with the condition in which I had known it some sixteen years ago. Then (in 1887) I had visited most of the places I now revisited, and I was thus able to institute a comparison between a state of affairs I had myself seen when the natives lived their own savage lives in anarchic and disorderly communities, uncontrolled by Europeans, and that created by more than a decade of very energetic European intervention. That very much of this intervention has been called for no one who formerly knew the Upper Congo could doubt, and there arc to-day widespread proofs of the great energy displayed by Belgian officials in introducing their methods of rule over one of the most savage regions of Africa.

Admirably built and admirably kept stations greet the traveller at many points; a fleet of river steamers, numbering, I believe, forty-eight, the property of the Congo Government, navigate the main river and its principal affluents at fixed intervals. Regular* means of communication are thus afforded to some of the most inaccessible parts of Central Africa.

A railway, excellently constructed in view of the difficulties to be encountered, now connects the ocean ports with Stanley Pool, over a tract of difficult country, which formerly offered to the weary traveller on foot many obstacles to be overcome and many days of great bodily fatigue. To-day the railway works most efficiently, and I noticed many improvements, both in the permanent way and in the general manage- ment, since the date of my last visit to Stanley Pool in January 1901. The cataract region, through which the railway passes, is a generally unproductive and even sterile tract of some 220 miles in breadth. This region is, I believe, the home, or birthplace, of the sleeping sickness — a terrible disease, which is, all too rapidly, eating its way into the heart of Africa, and bas even traversed the entire continent to well-nigh the shores of the Indian Ocean. The population of the Lower Congo has been gradually reduced by the unchecked ravages of this, as yet, undiagnosed and incurable disease, and as one cause of the seemingly wholesale diminution of human life which I everywhere observed in the regions revisited, a prominent place must be assigned to this malady. The natives certainly attribute their alarming death-rate to this as one of the inducing causes, although they attribute, and I think principally, their rapid decrease in numbers to other causes as well. Perhaps the most striking change observed during


22


my journey into the interior was the great reduction observable everywhere in native life. Communities I had formerly known as large and flourishing centres of popula- tion are to-day entirely gone, or now exist in such diminished numbers as to he no longer recognizable. The southern shores of Stanley Pool had formerly a population of fully 5,000 Batekes, distributed through the three towns of Ngaliema's ( Leopold ville), Kinchasa, and ISTdolo, lying within a few miles of each other. These people, some twelve years ago, decided to abandon their homes, and in one night the great majority of them crossed over into the French territory on the north shores of Stanley Pool. Where formerly had stretched these populous native African villages, I saw to-day only a few scattered European houses, belonging either to Government officials or local traders. In Leopoldville to-day there are not, I should estimate, 100 of the original natives or their descendants now residing. At Kinchasa a few more more may he found dwelling around one of the European trading dep6ts, while at Ndolo none remain, and there is nothing there but a station of the Congo Kailway Company and a Government post. These Bateke people were not, perhaps, particularly desirable subjects for an energetic Administration, which desired, above all things, progress and speedy results. They were themselves interlopers from the northern shores of the Congo River, and derived a very profitable existence as trading middlemen, exploiting the less sophisticated population among whom they had established themselves. Their loss to the southern shores of Stanley Pool is none the less to be deplored, I th ink, for they formed, at any rate, a connecting link between an incoming European commercial element and the background of would-be native suppliers.

Leopoldville is sometimes spoken of as a Congo town, but it cannot rightly be so termed. Apart from the Government station, which, in most respects, is very well planned, there is nothing at all resembling a town — barrack would be the correct term. The Government station of- Leopoldville numbers, I was informed by its Chief, some 130 Europeans, and probably 3,000 native Government workmen, who all dwell in well ordered lines of either very well-built European houses, or, for the native staff, mud -built huts. Broad paths, which may be termed streets, connect the various parts of this Government Settlement, and an elementary effort at lighting by electricity has already evolved three lights in front of the house of the Commissaire-General. Out- side the Government staff, the general community, or public of Leopoldville, numbers less than one dozen Europeans, and possibly not more than 200 native dependents of their households or trading stores. This general public consists of two missionary establishments, numbering in all 4 Europeans; a railway station with, I think, 1 European ; 4 trading establishments — 1 Portuguese, 1 Belgian, 1 English, and 1 German — numbering 7 Europeans, with, perhaps, 80 or 100 native dependents; 2 British West African petty traders, and a couple of Loan go tailor boys, who make clothes for the general community. This, I think, comprises almost all those not immediately dependent upon the Government.

These shops and traders do scarcely any business in native produce, of which there may be said to be none in the district, but rely upon a cash trade in Congolese currency, carried on with the large staff of Government employes, both European and native. Were this cash dealing to cease, the four European shops would be forced to put up their shutters. During the period of my stay at Leopoldville it did actually cease, and, for reasons which were not known publicly, the large native staff of Congo Government workmen, instead of receiving a part of their monthly wages in cash to spend locally — as also those being paid off on the expiry of their contracts— were remunerated by the Government in barter goods, which were issued from a Govern- ment store. This method of payment did not satisfy either the native Government employes or the local traders, and I heard many complaints on this score. The traders complained, some of them to myself, that as they had no other form of trading open to them, save this with the Government staff against cash, for the Government to itself now pay these men in goods was to end, at a blow, all trade dealings in the district. The native workmen complained, too, that they were paid in cloth which often they did not want in their own homes, and in order to have the wherewithal to purchase what they wanted, a practice at once arose amongst these men to sell for cash, at a loss to themselves, the cloth they had been forced to receive in payment from the Government store. The workmen lost- on this transaction, and so did the traders. Pieces of cloth which were charged by the Government at 10 fr. each in- paying off the workmen, these men would readily part with for 7 fr., and even for 6 fr. in cash. I myself, one day in June, bought for 7 fr. a-piece, from two just-discharged Government workmen, two pieces of (doth which had been charged against them at 10 fr. each. These men wished to buy salt at one of the local stores, and to obtain the m


23

of doing so, they readily sacrificed 3 fr. in each 10 fr. of their pay. The traders, too, complained that by this extensive sale of cotton goods at reduced rates by the Govern- ment employe's, their own sales of cloth at current prices were rendered well-nigh impossible throughout the district.

The 3,000 Government workpeople at Leopoldville are drawn from nearly every part of the Congo State. Some, those from the cataract district especially, go Toluntarily seeking employment, but many— and I believe a vast majority — are men, or lads, brought from districts of the Upper Congo, and who serve the authorities not primarily at their own seeking. On the 16th June last, five Government workpeople brought me their contracts of engagement with a request that I might tell them how longa period they still had to serve. They were all Upper Congo men, and had already nearly completed the full term of their engagement. The contracts, in each case, appeared as having been signed and drawn up at Boma on behalf of the Governor- General of the Congo. State, and were, in each case, for a term of seven years. The men informed me that they had never been to Boma, and that the M'hole of their period of service hart been spent either at Leopoldville or on the Upper Congo. In three of these cases I observed that an alteration had been made in the period of service, in the following terms : —

" Je reduis de sept a cinq ans le terme de service du "

This entry was signed by the acting State Inspector of the district. It seemingly had not been observed, for it was struck out by his successor, and, as a matter of fact, the full period of seven years was, in each case, within a few months of completion.

On the whole the Government workmen at Leopoldville struck me as being well cared for, and they were certainly none of them idle. The chief difficulty in dealing with so large a staff arises from the want of a sufficiency of food supply in the surrounding country. The staple food of the entire Upper Congo is a preparation of the root of "the cassava plant, steeped and boiled, and made up into loaves or puddings. of varying w r eight. The natives of the districts around Leopoldville are forced to provide a fixed quantity each week of this form of food, which is levied by requisitions on all the surrounding villages. The European Government staff is also- main ly dependent upon food supplies obtained from the natives of the neighbourhood in a similar manner. This, however necessary, is not a welcome task to the native- suppliers who complain that their numbers are yearly decreasing, while the demands- made upon them remain fixed, or tend even to increase.

The Government station at Leopoldville and its extensive staff, exist almost solely in connection with the running of Government steamers upon the Upper Congo.

A hospital for Europeans and an establishment designed as a native hospital are- in charge of a European doctor. Another doctor also resides in the Government station whose bacteriological studies are unremitting and worthy of much praise. The native hospital — not, I am given to understand, through the fault of the local medical staff — is, however, an unseemly place. When I visited the three mud huts- which serve this purpose, all of them dilapidated, and two with the thatched roofs almost gone, I found seventeen sleeping sickness patients, male and female, lying about in the utmost dirt. Most of them were lying on the bare ground — several out on the pathway in front of the houses, and one, a woman, had fallen into the fire just prior to my arrival (while in the final, insensible stage of the disease), and had burned herself very badly. She had since been w^ell bandaged, but was still lying out on the ground with her head almost in the fire, and while I sought to speak to her, in turning, she upset a pot of scalding water over her shoulder. All of the seventeen persons I saw were near their end, and on my second visit, two days later, the 19th June, I found one of them lying dead out in the open.

In somewhat striking contrast to the neglected state of these people, I found, within a couple of hundred yards of them, the Government workshop for repairing and fitting the steamers. Here all was brightness, care, order, and activity, and it was impossible not to admire and commend the industry which had created and main- tained in constant working order this useful establishment. In conjunction with a local missionary, some effort was made during my stay at Leopoldville, to obtain an amelioration of the condition of the sleeping-sickness people in the native hospital, but it was stated, in answer to my friend's representations, that nothing could be done in the way of building a proper hospital until plans now under consideration had [24?] E


24


been matured elsewhere. The structures T had visited, which the local , medical staff greatly deplored, had endured for several years as the only form of hospital accommo- dation provided for the numerous native staff of the district.

The Government stores at Lecpoldville are large and well built, and contain not only the goods the Government itself sends up river in its fleet of steamers, but also the goods of the various Concession Companies. As a rule, the produce brought down river by the Government steamers is transhipped direct into the railway trucks which, run alongside the wharf, and is carried thence by train to Matadi for shipment "to Europe. The various Companies carrying on operations on the Upper Congo, and who hold Concessions from the Congo Government, are bound, I was told, by Conventions to abstain from carrying, save within the limits of their Concessions, either goods or passengers. This interdiction extends to their own merchandise and to their own agents. Should they carry, by reason of imperative need, outside these limits any. of their own goods or their own'people, they are bound to pay to the Congo Government either the freight or pa c sage money according to the Government tariff, just as though the goods or passengers had been conveyed on one of the Government vessels. The tariff upon goods and passengers carried along the interior waterways is a fairly high one, not perhaps excessive under the circumstances, but still one that, by reason of this virtual monopoly, can produce a yearly revenue which must go far towards maintaining the Government flotilla. By the estimates for 1902, published in the " Bulletin Officiei " of January this year, the transport service is credited with a production of 3,100,000 fr. of public revenue for 1902, while the expenditure for the same year is put at 2,0^3,376 fr. That this restriction of public conveyance to Government vessels alone is not altogether a public gain my own experience demonstrated. I bad wished to leave Stanley Pool for the Upper Congo at an early date after in y arrival in Leopoldvifle, but as the Government vessels were mostly crowded, I could not proceed with any comfort by one of these. The steam-ship " Plandre," one of the largest of these vessels, which left Leopold ville for Stanley Falls on the 22nd June, and by which I had, at first, intended to proceed, quitted port with more than twenty European passengers over her complement, all of whom, I was informed, would have to sleep on deck. 1 accordingly was forced to seek other means of travelling, and through the kindness of the "Director of one of the large commercial Companies (the " Societe Anonyme Beige du Haut- Congo 5 ') I found excellent accom- modation, as a guest, on one of his steamers. Although thus an invited guest and not paying any passage money, special permission had to be sought from the Congo Government belore this act of courtesy could be shown me, and 1 saw the telegram from the local authority, authorizing my conveyance to Chumbiri.

This commercial Company has three other steamers, hut the interdiction referred to ap2>lies to the entire flotilla of trading vessels of Congolese nationality on the Upper River. Bespite the fact that these vessels are not allowed to earn freight or passage, they are all, for their tonnage, heavily taxed, while the Government vessels, which earn considerable sums on transport of general goods and passengers, pay no taxes. The four vessels of the Societe Anonyme .Beige du Haut-Congo referred to, of which the largest is only, I believe, one of 30 tons, pay annually, I was informed, the following taxes :■ —

Fr.

Frr permission to cut firewood .. .. 17,870

Licence for each steamer, according to her tonnage . . . . . . 400 to 600

The master ot each vessel must be licensed, for which a tax of 20 fr. per annum is levied.

Himself and each European member of the crew must then pay 30 fr. per annum as " imposition personnelle," whilst each native member of the crew costs his employers 3 fr. per head for engagement licence annually, and 10 fr. per head per annum as " imposition personnels."

The "President Urban," the largest steamer of the Company referred to, under these various heads pays, I was informed, a sum of not less than 11,000 fr. in taxes per annum. Should she carry any of the agents of the Company owning her, or any of its goods, save within the restricted area of its Concession, her owners must pay to the Congo Government both passage money and freight on these, just as though they had been sent by one of the Government vessels.

No firewood may be cut by the public within half-an-hour's steaming distance of any . of the Government wooding posts, which are naturally chosen at the best wooding, sites available along the various waterways, so that the 10,000 fr. wood- cutting licence which the " President Urban " pays entitles her only to cut up for


fuel such suitable timber as her crew may be able to find in the leas ^accessible spots.

At P * I spent four days. I had visited this place in August 1887 when the line of villages comprising the settlement contained from 4,000 to 5,000 people. Most of these villages to-day are entirely deserted, the forest having grown over the abandoned sites, and the entire community at the present date cannot number more than 500 souls. There is no Government station at P *, but the Government telegraph line which connects Leopoldville with Coquilhatville, the headquarters of the Equator district, runs through the once townlands of the P * villages close to the river bank. The people of the riverside towns, and from '20 miles inland, have to keep the lino clear of undergrowth, and in many places the telegraph road serves as a useful public path between neighbouring villages. Some of the natives of the neighbourhood complained that for this compulsory utilitarian service they had received no remunera- tion of any kind ; and those at a distance that they found it bard to feed themselves 1 when far from their homes they were engaged on this task. Inquiry, in the neighbourhood established that no payment for this work had seemingly been made for fully a year.

Men are also required to work at the neighbouring wood-cutting post for the Government steamers, which is in charge of a native Headman or Kapita, who is under the surveillance of a European "Chef de Poste " at Bolobo, the nearest Government station, which lies about 40 miles up-stream. These wood-cutters, although required compulsorily to serve and sometimes irregularly detained, are adequately paid for their services.

The P * villages have to supply kwanga (the prepared cassava root already referred to) for the neighbouring wood-cutting post, and the quantity required of them is, they asserted, in excess, of their means of supply and out of proportion to the value received in exchange. The supply required of them was fixed, I found, at 380 kwanga (or boiled cassava puddings) every six days, each pudding weighing from ^ lb. to 6 lb., or a total of from 1,700 lb. to 1 ton weight of carefully prepared food- stuffs per week. Por this a payment of one brass rod per kwanga is made, giving a sum of 19 fr. in all for the several villages whose task it is to keep the wood post victualled. These villages by careful computation I reckoned contained 240 persons all told — men, women, and children. In addition to preparing and carrying this food a considerable distance to the Government post, these people have to take their share in keeping the telegraph line clear and in supplying Government workmen. One elderly man was arrested at the period of my visit to serve as a soldier and was taken to Bolobo, 40 miles away, but was subsequently released upon representations made by a missionary who knew him. The number of wood-cutters at the local post is about thirty I was informed, so that the amount of food levied is beyond their , requirements, and the excess is said to be sold by them at a profit to the crews of passing steamers. At one of the smallest of these P* villages, where there are not more than ten persons all told, and only three of these women able to prepare and cook the food, 40 kwanga (180 lb. to 270 lb. weight of food) had to be supplied every week at a payment of 40 rods (2 fr.). These people said: ,c How can we possibly plant and weed our gardens, seek and prepare and boil the cassava, make it into portable shape, and then carry it nearly a day's journey to the post ? Moreover, if the kwanga we make are a little small or not well-cooked, or if we complain that the rods given us in settlement are too short, as they sometimes are, then we are beaten by the wood- cutters, and sometimes we are detained several days to cut firewood as a punishment."

Statements of this kind might be tediously multiplied.

The local mission station at P 8 requires much smaller kwanga than the < Government size, getting from 1^ lb. to 2 lb. weight of food at the same price—viz., 1 rod. The kwanga made up for general consumption, as sold in local markets, weigh only about 1 lb. each. The Government requires, delivered free, even at considerable distances, from four and a-half to six times the weight of prepared food to that sold- publicly for \d.

In most parts of the Upper Congo the recognized currency consists of lengths of brass wire; these lengths varying according to the district. At one ; period the recognized length of a brass rod was 18 inches, but to-day the average length of a rod cannot be more than 8 or 9 inches. The nominal value of one of these rods is ^d. f twenty of them being reckoned to the franc ; but the intrinsic value, or actual cost of a rod to any importer of the brass wire direct from Europe, would come to less than a ±d. t I should say. Such as it is, clumsy and dirty, this is the principal form of [247] E 2


26


currency known on the Upper Congo where, saving some parts of the French Congo I visited, European money is still quite unknown.

The reasons for the decrease of population at F * given me, both by the natives and by others, point to sleeping sickness as probably one of the principal factors. There has also been emigration to the opposite side of the river, to the French shore, but this course has never, I gather, been popular. The people have not easily accommodated themselves to the altered condition of life brought about by European Government in their midst. Where formerly thsy were accustomed to take long voyages down to Stanley Pool to sell slaves, ivory, "dried fish, or other ]ocal products against such European merchandise as the liateke middlemen around the Pool had to offer in exchange, ihe-y find themselves to-day debarred from all such form -<of activity.

The open selling of slaves and the canoe convoys, which once navigated the Upper

  • .Congo, have everywhere disappeared. No act of the Congo State Government has

'perhaps produced more laudable results than the vigorous suppression of this wide- spread evil. In the 160 miles' journey from Leopold ville to E * I did not see one large native canoe in mid-stream, and only a few small canoes creeping along the -shore near to native villages. While the suppression of an open form of slave dealing has been an undoubted gain, much that was not reprehensible in native life has dis- appeared along with it. The trade in ivory has to-day entirely passed from the hands of the natives of the Upper Congo, and neither fish nor any other outcome of local ■industry now changes hands on an extensive scale or at any distance from home.

So far as I could observe in the limited time at my disposal, the people of F * now rarely leave their homes save when required by the local Government ■official at Bolobo to serve as soldiers, or woodcutters at one of the Government posts, -or to convey the weekly supplies of food required of .them to the nearest Government station. These demands for food-stuffs comprise fowls and goats for consumption by dhe European members of the Government staff at Leopoldville, or for passengers on the Government steamers. They emanate from the Chief of the post at Bolobo who, I understand, is required in so far as he can, to keep up this supply. In order to obtain this provision he is forced to exercise continuous pressure on the local popula- tion, and within recent times that pressure has not always taken the form of mere requisition. Armed expeditions have been necessary and a more forcible method of levying supplies adopted than the law either contemplated or justifies. Very specific statements as to the harm one of these recent expeditions worked in the country around ■F* were made to me during my stay there. The officer in command of the -G * district, at the head of a band of soldiers passed through a portion of the

• district wherein the natives, unaccustomed to the duties expected of them, had bee]

• backward in sending in both goats and fowls.

The result of this expedition, which took place towards the end of 1900, was that in fourteen small villages traversed seventeen persons disappeared. Sixteen of these whose names were given to me were killed by the soldiers, and their bodies recovered by their friends, and one was reported as missing. Of those killed eleven were men, ' three women, and one a boy child of 5 years. Ten persons were tied up and taken .;away as prisoners, but were released on payment of sixteen goats by their friends, except one, a child, who died at Bolobo. In addition 4S goats were taken away and 225 fowls ; .■several houses were burned, and a quantity of their owners' property either pillaged or destroyed. Representations on behalf of the injured villages were made to the Inspecteur d'Etat at Leopoldville, who greatly deplored the excesses of his subordinate, and sent to hold an inquiry and to pay compensation to the relatives of those killed and for the live-stock or goods destroyed or taken away. The local estimate of the damage done amounted to 71,730 brass rods (3, 5 SO fr.), which included 20,500 brass rods (1,025 it.), assessed as compensation for the seventeen people. Three of these were Chiefs, and the amount asked for would have worked out at about 1,000 brass rods (50 fr.) per head, not probably an extravagant estimate for human life, seeing that the goats were valued at 400 rods each (20 fr.), A total sum, 1 was told, of 18,000 brass .rods (950 fr.) was actually paid to the injured villages by the Government Commis- sioner, who came from Stanley Pool ; and this sum, it was said, was levied as a fine for his misconduct on the official responsible for the raid. I could not learn what other form of punishment, if any, was inflicted on this officer. He remained as the Govern- ment Representative for some time afterwards, was then transferred to another post in the immediate neighbourhood, and finally went home at the expiration of his period of service.

At Bolobo, where I spent ten days waiting for a steamer to continue my journey,


27

a, somewhat similar state of affairs prevails to that existing at F *. Bolobo used to be one of the most important native Settlements along the south bank of the Upper Congo, and the population in the early days of civilized rule numbered fully 40,000 people, chiefly of the Bohangi tribe. To-day the population is believed to be not more than 7,000 or 8,000 souls. The Bolobo men were famous in former days for their voyages to Stanley Pool and their keen trading ability. All of their large canoes have to-day disappeared, and while some of them still hunt hippopotami — which are stiJl numerous in the adjacent waters — I did not observe anything like industry among them.

Indeed, it would be hard to say how the people now live or how they occupy their own time. They did not complain so much of the weekly enforced food supplies required of them, which would, indeed, seem to be an unavoidable necessity of the situation, as to the unexpected calls frequently made upon them. Neither rubber nor ivory is obtained in this neighbourhood. The' food supply and a certain amount of local labour is all that is enforced. As woodcutters, station hands in the Govern- ment post, canoe paddlers, workers on the telegraph route ov in some other public capacity, they are liable to frequent requisition.

The labour required did not seem to be excessive, but it would seem to be irregularly called for, unequally distributed, and only poorly remunerated, or some- times not remunerated at all.

Complaints as to the manner of exacting service are much more frequent than complaints as to the fact of service being required. If the local official has to go on a sudden journey men are summoned on the instant to paddle his canoe, and a refusal entails imprisonment or a beating. If the Government plantation or the kitchen garden require weeding, a soldier will be sent to call in the women from some of the neighbouring towns. To the official this is a necessary public duty which he cannot hut impose, but to the women suddenly forced to leave their household tasks and to tramp off, hoe in hand, baby, oh back, with possibly a hungry and angry husband at home, the task is not a welcome one.

One of the weightier tasks imposed upon the neighbourhood during my stay at Bolobo was the construction of a wooden pier at the Government beach whereat Government vessels might come alongside.

I visited this incompleted structure several times, and estimated that from 1,500 to 2,000 trees and saplings had already been used in its partial construction. All of these were cut down and carried in by the men of some of the neighbouring towns, and for this compulsory service no remuneration had, up to that date, I was on all sides informed, been made to any one of them. They were ordered, they said, to do it as a public duty. The timber needed had to be sought at a considerable distance, most of the trees had been carried some miles, and. the task was not altogether an agreeable one. The chief complaint I heard directed against this work, however, was that the pier was being so badly put up that when finished it would be quite useless, and all their work would thus be thrown away. My own opinion of the structure was that this criticism was well founded, and that the first annual rise of the river would sweep most of the ill-laid timbers away.

The Bolobo people do not object so much to the regular food tax, just because this is regular, and they can prepare and regularly meet it, as to the sudden and unexpected labour tasks, such as canoe journeys, or this more onerous pier building. They could, I perceived, trace no connection between this hastily-conceived exaction on their time and labour and a system of general contribution in the public interest, which, to he readily admitted, should be clearly defined. Were a regular anuual tax levied in money, or some medium of barter exchange serving as a legal currency, the people would in time be brought to see that a payment of this kind evenly distributed and enforced was, indeed, a public duty they were bound to acquit themselves of, and one their Government was justified in strictly enforcing ; but they do not assign any such value to the unsystematic calls upon them which prevail to-day. To he hastily summoned from their usual home avocations, or even from their possibly habitual idleness, to perform one or other of the tasks indicater] above, and to get neither food nor pay for their exertions, as is often the case, seems to these un- progressive people not a public service they are called upon to perform in^ the public interest, but a purely personal burden laid upon their bodies and their time by the local agent of an organization which, to them, would seem to exist chiefly for its own profit.

The weight of the kwanga required at Bolobo seemed to he less than that enforced at F*, and I found that this variance existed throughout the Upper Congo.


28

At Bolobo the kwanga loaves supplied to the "Government post _ weighed each a little over 3 lb- That made for ordinary sale in the public market just over 1 lb. - one of each that I weighed myself gave 3 lb. £ oz. to the Government loaf, and 13 oz. to that made for general consumption. The price paid in each case was the same — vi&* one brass rod.

At the village of H*, some 4 or 5 miles from the Government post, which I visited, I found the village to number some forty adult . males with their families. This village lias to supply weekly to the Government post 400 of these loaves (say 1,250 lb. weight of food) for which a payment of 20 fr. (400 rods) is made. The people of H* told me that when short of cassava from their own fields for the preparation of this supply, they bought the root in the local market and had to pay for it in the raw state just twice what they received for the prepared and cooked product they delivered at the post. I had no means of verifying this statement, but I was assured by many persons that it was strictly true. In addition to supplying this food weekly, H * is liable to the usual calls for canoe paddlers, day labourers at the Government station (male and female), timber gatherers for the pier, and woodcutters at the local wood-post of the Government steamers.

There was a good deal of sickness in this town, and in that beyond it at the date of my visit. Sleeping sickness and, still more, small-pox. Both diseases have done much to reduce the population. Emigration to the French shore, once active, would seem now to have ceased. Efforts are made locally, to improve the physical and sanitary condition of the people, and improvements due to these efforts are becoming apparent, but I was given to understand that progress is very slow.

The insufficiency of food generally observable in this part of the Congo would seem to account for much sickness, and probably for the mental depression of the natives I so often observed, itself a frequent cause of disease. The Chief of the Government post at G * during a part of my stay there told me that he thought the district was quite exhausted, and that it must be ever increasingly difficult to obtain food from it for the public requirements of the local administration.

Some 40miles above Bolobo a large " camp d ; instruction," with from 600 to SOO native recruits and a staff of several European officers is established at a place called Yumhi. I had, to my regret, no opportunity of visiting this camp, although I met one of its officers who very kindly invited me there, promising a hearty welcome. He informed me that native food supplies were fairly plentiful in the neighbourhood of this camp, and that the principal rations of the soldiers consisted of hippopotamus meat, the Congo in that neighbourhood affording a seemingly inexhaustible supply of these creatures.

In front of the house of one of the natives in a village, I saw some seventy hippopotamus skulls. The animals, I was told, had all been killed by one man. Many are speared, and some are shot by the native hunters with cap-guns. A somewhat considerable trade in these weapons appears to have been done until recently by the Government Agents in the district, and I found several of the Bolobo "young men with guns of this description which they had bought at different times from the local official, generally paying for them with ivory tusks. The sale of these arms by Representatives of the "Congo Government would seem to have ceased somewhat more than a year ago, since which date the holders of the guns have been exposed to some trouble in order to obtain licences. Dealing in or holding guns of this description would seem to be regulated by clearly drawn up Regulations, which, however, do not seem to have been observed until last year. A tax of 20 i'r. is now levied on the issue of a licence to bear arms, which the law renders obligatory on every gun holder, but this tax is also collected in an irregular manner.

I learned while at Bolobo that a large influx from the I* district (wdiich comprises the " Domaine de la Couronne ") had lately taken place into the country behind G*. The nearest Settlement of these emigrants was said to be about *20 to 25 miles from it and I determined to visit this place. I spent three days on this journey, visited two large villages in the interior belonging to the Ky tribe, wherein I found that fully half the population now consisted of refugees belonging to the tribe who had formerly dwelt near I s . I saw and questioned several groups of these people, whom I found to be industrious blacksmiths and brass-workers. These people consisted of old and young men, women, and children. They had fled from their country and sought an asylum with their friends the K e during the last four years. The distance they had travelled in their flight they put at about six or seven days' march — which I


29


should estimate at from 120 to 1 50 miles of walking. They went on to declare, when asked why they had fled,, that they had endured such ill-treatment at the hands of the Government officials aud the Government soldiers in their own country that life had become intolerable, that nothing had remained for them at home but to be killed for failure to bring in a certain amount of rubber or to die from starvation or exposure in their attempts to satisfy the demauds made upon them. The statements made to me by these people were of such a nature that I could not believe them to be true. The fact remained, however, that they had certaiuly abandoned their homes and all that they possessed, had travelled a long distance, and now preferred a species of mild servitude among the K * to remaining in their own country. I took careful note of the statements made to me by these people, which will be found in the transcript attached (In closure 1).* I subsequently found when at M * some days later, other L *, who confirmed the truth of the statements made to me at .V *.

On reaching Bolobo in September I obtained information amply confirming the statements made to me. My own further inquiries at M * are embodied in the accompanying document (Inelosure l).f

Leaving Bolobo on the 23rd July, I passed on up river in a small steam-launch I had been fortunate enough to secure for my private use. We touched at several points on the French shore, and on the 25th July reached Lukolela, where I spent two days. This district had, when I visited it in 1887, numbered fully 5,000 people ; to-day the popula- tion is given, after a careful enumeration, at less than 600. The reasons given me for their decline in numbers were similar to those furnished else' where, viz., sleeping- sickness, general ill-health, insufficiency of food, and the methods employed to obtain labour from them by local officials and the exactions levied on them. The Lukolela district furnishes a small supply of rubber, which is required by the Local Government posts to be brought in at fixed periods as a general contribution, food—" kwanga " and fish— are also required of the riverside dwellers. The towns I visited were very ill-kept and tumble-down, and bore no comparison, either in the elass of dwelling-houses now adopted or in the extent of cultivated ground around them, to the condition in which these people formerly dwelt.

Several reasons for the increase of sickness and the great falling-off in the population of the district were stated by the local missionary, who has resided for many years at Lukolela, in two letters which he recently addressed to the Governor- General of the Congo State. A copy of these letters was handed to me by the writer— the Rev. John Whitehead— on my calling in at Lukolela on my way down river on the 12th September. I had no opportunity of verifying, by personal observation, the statements made by Mr. Whitehead in his letter, for my stay at Lukolela was only one of a few hours. I have, however, no right to doubt Mr Whitehead's veracity, and he declared himself prepared to accept 'full responsi- bility for the statements his letter contained. A copy of these letters is appended (Inelosure 2)4 , iX

The Government post at Lukolela I did not visit, but viewed from the river it Presents a charming aspect ; well-built houses, surrounded by plantations of coffee- trees, extend for some distance along the shore.

From Lukolela I proceeded to O *, which I purposed visiting. O * with its two adjoining villages, when I had last seen them in the autumn of 188 7, had presented a scene of the greatest animation. The population of the three towns then numbered some 4,000 to 5,0(J0 people— O * alone, it was estimated, containing at least 3,000. Scores of men had put off in canoes to greet us with invitations that we should spend the night in their village. On steaming into 0*1 found that this village had entirely disappeared, and that its place was occupied by a large "camp destruction," where some WO native recruits, brought from various parts of the Congo State, are drilled into soldierhood by a Commandant and a staff ot seven or eight European officers and non- commissioned officers.

There is also a large plantation of coffee-trees, a telegraph office, and a trading store, but I could see no indications of native life beyond those dependent on these establishments. The once villages and their fields had been converted into a very jpell-laid-out and admirably-maintained military station. Erom the Commandant and his officers a cordial welcome was received. The camp as a military centre is excellently chosen, the situation of Irebu commanding not only the Lake' Mantumba waterway, but one of the chief navigable channels of the Congo ; and it is, moreover situated opposite the estuary of the great Ubangi River, which is probably the most


  • See p. 60.


f See p. 60.


t See p. 64.


30


important Congo affluent. The Commandant informed me that a very large supply of native food, amply sufficient for the soldiers under his command, was supplied weekly hy the natives of the surrounding district.

It is difficult to exactly estimate the number of soldiers enrolled and maintained by the Congo Government. There are, I think, four separate " camps ^instruction " upon the Upper Congo, each of which should have an effective of 700 men. The effective strengths of "the companies of Manyuema, Lake Leopold II, Lualaha-Kasai, Aruwimi, and Ruzizi-Kivu were fixed respectively by Circular of the Governor- General, dated the 25th June, 1902, at 750. 175, 850, 450, and 875 men. There are many other companies of the " Force Publique " in the Congo State, and I think it might safely be estimated that the number of men with the colours does not amount to less than 18,000. By a Circular addressed to the local authorities, dated the 26th May last, the Governor-General stated thai it was necessary to add 200 men to each of tlic camps in the "Upper Congo. In the same Circular a proposed increase of the general strength of the army was" indicated in the following terms :—

" Notre programme roilitaire est tres vaste et sa realisation exige une attention soutenue et de "grands efforts, mais sans son execution integrate notre situation, demeurera precaire.

" S'il le fallait, mais je ne pense pas merae que ce soit neeessaire, le Gouverne- ment se montrera.it dispose^ a augmenter dans une certaine mesure le contingent poor 1903."

The same Circular added tbat : —

" Certains districts en effet ne remplacent pas les milicieus decedes, desertes en cours de route et ceux reform es a leur arrivee au camp.

"De plus, pendant la periode destruction dans les camps un grand nombre de dechets se produisent aussi parmi ces recrues, les transports de milicieus laissant encore a desirer."

The Commandant informed me that some of the natives who had fled into the French territory opposite ten years ago. when the Irebu tribes had deserted their homes, were now gradually returning to Congo State territory. I found, subsequently, tbat this was the case, the people alleging that since the rubber tax had been dropped in the Mantumba district they preferred returning to their home lands to remaining on the strange sites in French territory, to which they had fled when that tax was at work.

From Irebu I proceeded some 25 miles to Ikoko, once a large village on the north shore of Lake Mantumba. I remained in Lake Mantumba seventeen days visiting*, during that time, the Government post at Bikoro on the east shore of the lake, and many native towns scattered around the lake side. I also ascended by boat one of the rivers falling into the lake, and visited three native villages in the forest situated along this waterway. Lake Mantumba is a fine sheet of water about 25 or 30 miles long and some 12 or 15 miles broad at the broadest part, surrounded by a dense forest. The inhabitants of the district are of the Ntomba tribe, and are still rude savages, using very tine bows and arrows and ill-made spears as their weapons. There are also in the forest country many families or clans of a dwarf race called Bat was, who are of a much more savage and untameable disposition than the IStombas, who form the hulk of the population. Both Bat was and Ntombas are still cannibals, and cannibalism, although repressed and not so openly indulged in as formerly, is still prevalent in the district. The Mantumba people were, in the days before the establishment of Congo State rule, among the most active fishermen and traders of the Upper Congo. In fleets of canoes they used to issue out upon the main waters of the Congo and travel very great distances, fighting their way if necessary, in search of purchasers of their fish or slaves, or to procure these latter. All this has ceased and, save for small canoes used in catching fish, I saw neither on the lake itself nor at the many villages I touched along its shores, any canoes comparable to those so frequently seen in the past. A man I visited told me that a fine canoe he bought for 2,000 brass rods (100 fr,), in which to send the weekly imposi- tion of fish to the local State post, had been kept by the official there, had been used to transport Government soldiers in, and was now attached to a Government wood-cutting post, which he named, out on the main river. He had received nothing for the loss of this canoe, and when I urged him to lay the matter


31

before the local official responsible, who had doubtless retained the canoe in ignorance; he pulled up his loin cloth and, pointing to where he had been flogged with a chicotte; said : "If I complained I should only get move of those." Although afraid to complain locally, he declared he would be perfectly willing to accompany me if I would take him before one of the Congo Judges or, above all, down to Bo ma. I assured him that a statement such as that he had made to me would meet with attention at Boma, and that if he could prove its truth he Would get satisfaction for the loss of the canoe.

Statements of a similar character, often supported by many witnesses, were made to me more than once during my journey around the lake, some of them pointing to far greater derelictions of duty. The same man told me, on the same occasion, that one of the Government officials of the district (the same man, indeed, who had retained the canoe) had recently given him three wives. The official, he declared, had been' | making war " on a town in the forest I was then in, for failing to bring in its fixed- food supply, and as a result of the punitive measures undertaken the town had been destroyed and- many prisoners taken. As a result, several women so taken were homeless, and were distributed. "Wives were being given away that day, " said my informant, " he gave me three, but another man got four. 11 The man went on to say that one of these " wives " had since escaped, aided, as he complained, by one of his own townsmen, who was a slave from her own native town.

The population of the lake-side towns would seem to have diminished within the last ten years by 60 or 70 per cent. It was in 1893 that the effort to levy an india- rubber imposition in this district was begun, and for some four or five years this imposition could only be collected at the cost of continual fighting. Finding the task of collecting india-rubber a well nigh impossible one, the authorities abandoned it in' this district, and the remaining inhabitants now deliver a weekly supply of food-stuffs for the up -keep of the military camp at Irebu, or the big coffee plantation at Bikoro. Several villages I visited supply also to the latter station a fortnightly tax of gum- • copal, which the surrounding forests yield abundantly. Gum-copal is also exposed and washed up on the shores of the lake. The quantify of this commodity supplied by each village on which it is assessed is put at 10 hags per fortnight. Each bag is officially said to contain 25 kilog., so that the imposition would amount to a quarter of a ton weight per fortnight. I found; when trying to lift some of these bags I saw being packed at a native village I was in, that they must weigh considerably more than 25 kilog., so that I concluded that each sack represents that quantity net of gum-copaL There is a considerable loss in cleaning, chipping, and washing crude gum as collected: The quantity brought by each village would thus work out at Q§ tons per annum. When I- visited the Government station at B % the chief of that post showed me ten sacks of gum which lie said had been just brought in by a very small village in the neighbourhood. For this quarter of a ton of gum- copal he said he had paid the village one piece of blue drill— a rough cotton cloth which is valued locally, after adding" the cost of transport, at ll£ fr. a-piece. Bv the Congo Government "Bulletin Officiel " of this year (.No. 4, April 1903) I found" that 339-£ tons of gum-copal were exported in 1902, all from the Upper Congo, and that- this was valued at 475,490 fr. The value per ton would, therefore, work out at about 56/. The fortnightly yield of each village would therefore seem to be worth a maximum of 14/. (probably less), for Which a maximum payment of 11$ fr. is .made. ■ At one village I visited I found the majority of the inhabitants getting ready the gum-copal and the supply of fish which they had to take to P » on the morrow. They were putting it into canoes to paddle across the lake— some. 20. miles— and they left with their loads in the night from alongside my steamer. ■ These people told me' ' that they frequently received, instead of cloth; 150 brass rods (7£ fr.) for the quarter of a ton of gum-copal they took fortnightly.- . • ••• -'-■ ■ - ' -

v -The value of the annual payment in gum-copal made by each town would seem to he about 360/., while at an average of 9 fr. as the . remuneration each receives •"• fortnightly j they would appear to receive some 10?. in annual return.

\ Ibt the village of Montaka; at the south end of the lake, where I spent two days, : the people seemed,- during- iny stay, to be chiefly engrossed in the task of chipping and preparing the gum- eOpal for shipment to-BikWo, and in getting ready their weekly yield of fish for the same post, I saw the filling with gum of the ten basket-sacks ' taking place under the eyes of the Chief— who himself contributed— and a State sentry who - was posted there; - Each' household in the' town was represented at this-. ' final task, and every adult householder of Montaka shared in the general contribution. ^ Assuming the population of Montaka at from 600 to 800— and it cannot now be more [24?] F


32


although a town of 4,000 souls ten years ago— fully 150 householders are thus directly affected hy the collection and delivery, each fortnight, of this " imp6t en nature," and are affected for the great majority of the days throughout the year.

Since for the 6^- tons of gam-copal which the 150 householders of Montaka contribute . annually, they are seen to receive not more than a total payment of 10/. in the year— viz., 26 fortnightly payments of, on an average, say 9 fr. 50 a, giving 14<7 fr. annually— it follows that the remuneration each adult householder of Montaka receives for his' entire year's work is the one hundred and fiftieth part of that total — or just Is. 4d, This is just the value of an adult fowl in Montaka. I bought ten fowls, or chickens, rather, the morning of my going away, and for the oniy reasonably sized one among them I gave 30 rods (1 fr. 50 'c), the others, small fledglings, ranging from 15 to- 20 rods each (75 cents, to 1 fr.).

The 6^ tons of gum-copal supplied annually by these 150 householders being valued at about 364/., it follows that each householder had contributed something like 2f. 8s. per annum in kind.

The labour involved may or may not be unduly excessive — but it is continuous throughout the year—each man must stay in his town and be prepared each week and fortnight to have his contribution ready under fear of summary punishment.

, The natives engaged as workmen on my steamer were paid each a sum of 20 rods (t fr.) per week for food rations only, and 100 rods (5 fr.) per month wages. One of : these native workmen thus earned more in one week of my service— which was that, of any other private establishment employing ordinary labour— than the Montaka householder got in an entire year for his compulsory public service rendered to the Government.

■'; At other villages which I visited, I found the tax to consist of baskets, which the inhabitants had to make and deliver weekly as well as, always, a certain amount of foodstuffs — either kwanga or fish. These baskets are used at Bikoro in packing up; the gum-copal for conveyance down the river and to Europe — the river transport being, effected by Government steamers. The basket-makers and other Workers complained : that they were sometimes remunerated for their labour with reels of sewing cotton and shirt buttons (of which they had no use) when supplies of cloth or brass wire ran short at Bikoro. As these natives go almost entirely naked, I could believe that neither thread or shirt buttons were of much service to them. They also averred that they were frequently flogged for delay or inability to complete the tale of these baskets, or the weekly supply of food. Several men, including a Chief of one town, showed broad weals across their buttocks, which were evidently recent. One, a lad of 15 or so, removing his cloth, showed several scars across his thighs, which he and others around him said had formed part of a weekly payment for a recent shortage in their supply of food. That these statements were not all untrue was confirmed by my visit, to P % when the :l domaine prive " store was shown to me. It had very little in it, and I ; learned that the barter stock of goods had not been replenished for some time. There appeared to be from 200 to 300 pieces of coarse cotton cloth, and nothing else, and as the cloth was visibly old, I estimated the value of the entire stock at possibly 15 1. It certainly would not have fetched more if put up to auction in any part of the Upper Congo,

The instructions regulating the remuneration of the native contributors and the mode of exploitation of the " forets domaniales " were issued in the " Bulletin Officiel " ■ of 1896, under authority of Decrees dated the 30th October and the 5th December, 1892.

These general instructions require that : —

" Sexploitation se fait par les agents de rintendance, sous la direction dn Commissairo de District.

"Tout ce qui se rapporte a l'exploitation du domaine prive doit 6tre separe nettement des autres services gouvernementaux.

"Les agents proposes a l'exploitation du domaine prive consacrent tous leurs soins au developpement de la recolte du caoutchouc et des autres produits do la forel.

" Quel que soit le mode d' exploitation adopte a cet effet, ils sont tenus d'accorder ; aux indigenes une remuneration qui ne sera en aucun cas inferieure au montant du prix de la main-d'eenvre necessaire a la recolte du produit ; cette remuneration est fixee par le Commissaire de District, qui sonmet son tarif a 1'approbation du Gouverneur- G eneral.

" L'Inspecteur d'etat en mission verifie si ce tarif est en rapport avec le prix de !&. main-d'oeuvre ; il veille a sa stricte application, et il examine si les conditions generates d'exploitation ne donnent lieu a aucune plainte justifies.


33


LiteWe^ntTE^ T agen / S - C ^i g ^ S d ? SerYice Q - Ue ' P ar le fait de retribuer gquitawement 1 indigene, lis emploient le seul moyen effieace d'assurer la bonne

administration du domame et de faire naltre chez lui le gout et l'habitnde du travaih"

Both from the condition of the Domaine Prive Store I inspected at p * and the obviom p 0verty and iv j disconteilt of the natiye Cfmtribut h 1 ^ n

I visited during the seventeen days spent in Lake Mantumba, it was clear that these mstructions had long since ceased to be operative. The responsihilitv for the ion- nlwf. i Sa ^ re S ula tions could not be attributed to the local officials

who, obviously if left without the means of adequate remuneration could not themselves make .good the oversights or omissions of their superiors. That these

TftTti T/ art ° f a 7l tematic brea <* of instructions conceived in the interest, ot the native I do not assert, but it was most apparent that neither in Lake Mantumba northcotheniortionsof the Domaine Prive which I visited was an v adequate mo^ vision made for inculcating the natives with any just appreciation of the vain e of work. W Wars ^jf at Bikoro ? s been established as a Government plantation for abou ten years It stands on the actual site of the former native town of Bikoro, an important Settlement m 1893, now reduced to a handful of ill-kept, untidy huS inhabited by only a remnant of its former expropriated population. 7 '

i. c f™ er 1 sm f I . vlIIa ^, Bomenga, stands on the other side of the Government houses ; _the plantation enveloping both villages, and occupving their old cassava fields and gardens which are now planted with coffee trees. Portlier inland these give place to cocoa and india-rubber trees (fantumia elastica), and also to the indigenous Landolphia E 7^Jl em ? -^-j-ly titivated. The entire plantation ewers 800 hecZes!

11 5™ • i ; r U f e ^' ed pathwa y throu ^ h jt > orie of these wads measuring 11 kilom. m almost a straight line; 400 workmen are empioved, consisting in small par of local natives, but chiefly of men brought from a distance. OneVumeS iSmo%SfT \ ™ m I°^ e Lr VG "P rison ^" f">m the Ruki district. There are nWml ?bnn ri C6S andl7 ^ 000 ™ TOa ^ees actually in the ground, the latter a later Bl' ff 6 ? ° ffee - L T t * Vear the y ieU was : coffee US tons, and cocoa 7 tons, Suno^n p. T a % P re P arm ? at Government depot at Kinchasa, was

th f Government account. India-rnbber planting was not begun

700 000 voTn A r , J 1 ! \ - rhere ^ n ° W , ¥ 6 h6CtareS alread - v ™ der cultivation, bavin, lh ff?JT S w P mCi ;f p6rS) and elsewhere on the plantation, on portions mainly

tree? it ft S i°^ ^ ^ 5 °'° 00 fantumia dastka and 50 '°°° "hot glaziovii ^ station Imildiogs are composed entirely of native materials, and are erected .

f ht^L?nT^ atiy H e ab0Ur " f ° f the P ° st haS ^ ^ directed the work

TJZF A T'l } e " SV ° T SSeS a11 his iime > and imt il quite recently he had no

ff ': , t S " 1 ?f dma ? official 18 now V^ei under his orders. When he took over I? 1 ! ^ tdd m ? there ™ sixty-eight native soldiers attached to the post, which S f iias been able to reduce to nineteen. In the days when the india- rubber tax prevailed m Lake Mantumba there were several hundreds of soldiers required m that region. No rubber is now worked in the neighbourhood I am informed. f«.n,«TJF ■ ! j n ? m> ° f road W through the plantation, much of which has to be S } ;w d ^ d / ad 'V t T er ^ d ^ th r 6 -? W ^ Eur °P eails have no means of locomotion Sation ^ on foot * 7 inspection to various points of this large

is th?i4pf pw T^° l ° Sihh flourisbin ? establishment, the Chief of the Post oeio' r^lT ?^ °M the entlre d,Strict ' but ifc is e ™ nt that but little time or sconFofT i * t0 i he m ? st e ^etic official for duties outside the immediate 5rL » It* f S a r° ffe " and india -ruhber grower, in addition to those "engrossing State domt-f ^ructions cited above impose upon the agents who exploit the

LalAr^f d i W6lt Up ° n the conditi011 ^ P * and the towns I visited around GnnW Sri'* f my - ^°- eS taken at the time, and these are appended hereto' ri f 3 ), ' A caretul investigation of the conditions of native life around tiie Pobu^ statements made to me-that the great decrease in

Population, the dirty and iQ-kept towns, and the complete absence of goats, sheep or

  • mt^TV C 7 P Ie 7 ntl / uI > this country-were to be attributed above all else to the

EC fcSf * made i lrmg manj yearS t0 Com P el the Batives t0 work ^ d ^-rabber. T)uni+ natlV ^ troops had form eriy been quartered in the, district, and the

l^mtive measures undertaken to this end had endured for a considerable period


f2471


See p. 70,


34


During the course of these operations there' had been much loss of life, accompanied j I fear, by a somewhat general mutilation of the dead,. as. proof that the soldiers hud done their duty. Each village I visited around the lake, save - that of Q * and one other, had been abandoned by its inhabitants. To some of these villages the people have only just returned ; to others they are only now returning. In one I found the bare and burnt poles of what had been dwellings left standing, and at another —that of R *— the people had fled at the approach of my steamer, and despite the loud cries of my native guides on board, nothing could induce them to return, and it was im- possible to hold anv intercourse with them. At the three succeeding villages I visited beyond R *, in traversing the lake towards the south, the inhabitants all fled at the approach of the steamer, and it was only when they found whose the vessel was that they could be induced to return.

At one of these villages, S *, after confidence had been restored and the fugitives had been induced to come in from the surrounding forest, where they had hidden themselves, I saw women coming hack carrying their babies, their household utensils, and even the food they had hastily snatched up, up to a late hour of the evening. Meeting some of these returning women in one of the fields I asked them why they had run away at my approach, and thev said, smiling. "Wo thought you were Bala Matadi " (i.e.* men of the Government J! ). Pear of this kind was formerly unknown on the Upper Coneo ; and in much more out-of-the-way places visited many years ago the people flocked from all sides to greet a white stranger. Bui to-day the apparition of a white man's steamer evidently gave the signal for instant flight.

The. .chief of the P* post told me that a similar alarm reigned almost everywhere in the country behind his station, and that when he went on the, most peaceful missions only a few miles from his house the villages were generally, emptied of all human beings when he entered them, and it was impossible .in the majority of cases to get into touch with the people in their own homes. It was not so in all cases, he said, and he instanced certain villages where he could go certain of a, friendly reception, but with the majority, he said, he had found it quite impossible to ever find them " at home." He gave, as an explanation, when I asked for the reason of this fear of the white man, that as these people were great savages, and knew themselves how many crimes they had committed, they doubtless feared that the white man of the Government was corning to punish their misconduct. He added that they had undoubtedly had an " awful past" at the hands of some of the officials who had preceded him in the local administration, and that it would take -time for confidence to be restored. Men, he said, still came to him whose hands had been cut off by the Government soldiers during those evil days, and he said there were still many victims of this species of mutilation in the surrounding country. Two cases of the kind came to my actual notice while I was in the lake. One, a young man, both of whoso hands had' been beaten off with the butt ends of rifles against a tree, the other a young lad of 11 or 12 years of age, whose right hand was cut off at the wrist. Tins boy described the circumstances of his mutilation, and, in answer to my inquiry, said that although wounded at the time he was perfectly sensible of the severing of his wrist, but lay still fearing that if he moved he would be killed! In both these cases tM Government soldiers had been accompanied by white officers whose names were, given to'me. 'Of sis natives (one a girl, three little boys, one youth, and one old woman) who. had been mutilated in this way during the rubber regime, all except one were dead at the date of my visit. The old woman had died at the beginning of this year, and her .niece described to mo how the act of mutilation in her case. ha{l been accomplished. The day I left Lake Man turn ba five men whose hands had been cut oft came 'to the village of T * across the lake to see me, but hearing that I had already gone away thev returned to their homes. A messenger came in to tell me, and I sent to T * to find them, but they had then dispersed. Three of them subsequently returned, but too late for me to see them. These were some of those, I presume, to whom the official had referred, for they, came from the country in the vicinity ot P * station. Statements of this character, made both by the two mutilated persons 1 saw and by others who had witnessed this form of mutilation in the past, are appended (Inclosure 4).* ,

The taxes levied or the people of the district being returnable each weeK or fortnight, it follows that they cannot leave their homes. At some of tft| villages I visited near the end of Lake Mantumba the fish supplies have to P§ delivered weekly to the military camp at Irebu, or when the water is high in the law*

  • "See p. 7G.


35

and fish harder to catch, every ten days. The distance from Irebu of one of these, towns could not have been less than 45 miles. . To go and come between their homes and the camp involved to the people of this town 90 miles of canoe paddling, and with the lake stormy and its waters rough— as is often the case— the double journey would take at least four days. This consumption of time must he added to that spent in the catching of the fish, and as the punishment for any falling off in quantity or delay in delivery is not a light one, the Chief responsible for the tax stoutly opposes any one quitting the town. Some proof of this incidentally arose dmring my 'stay, and threatened to delay my journey. Being short-handed I sought, when at Ikoko, to engage six or seven young men of the town as woodcutters to travel on board the steamer. I proposed to engage them for two or three months, and offered good wages, much more than by any local service they could hope to earn. More men offered than I needed, and I selected six. The State Chief of the village hearing of this at once came to me to protest against any of his people leaving the towm, and said that he would have all the youths I had engaged tied up and sent over to the Government official at Bikoro. There were at the time three soldiers armed with Albini rifles quartered at Ikoko, and the Chief sent for them to arrest my would-be crew. The Chief's argument, too, was perfectly logical. He said, " I am responsible each week for 600 rations of fish which must he delivered at Bikoro. If it fails I am held responsible and will be punished. I have been flogged more than once for a failure in the fish supply, and will not run any risks. If these men go I shall be short-handed, therefore they must stay to help in" getting the weekly tax." I was forced to admit the justice of this argument, and we finally arrived at a compromise. I promised the Chief that, in addition to paying wages to the men I took, a sum representing the value to him of their labour should be left at Ikoko, so that he might hire extra hands to get the full quantity of fish required of him. SI admitted that he had been forced to flog men from villages which failed in their weekly supplies, but that he had for some months discontinued this course. He said that now he put defaulters into prison instead. If a village which was held to supply, say, 200 rations of fish each week brought only ISO rations, he accepted no excuse, but put two men in "block. If thirty rations were wanting he detained three of the men, and so on— a man for each ten rations. These people would remain prisoners, and would have to work at Bikoro, or possibly would be sent to Coquilbatville, the administrative head- quarters of the Equator district, until the full imposition came in.

I subsequently found when in the neighbourhood of Coquilhatville that summary arrest and imprisonment of this kind for failure to complete the tale of local imposi- tion is of constant occurrence. The men thus arrested are kept often in the " chain gang" along with other prisoners, and are put to the usual class of penitential work. They are not brought before or tried by any Court or sentenced to any fixed term of imprisonment, hut are merely detained until some sort of satisfaction is obtained, and while under detention are kept at hard. work.

Indeed, I could not find that a failure to meet the weekly tax is punishable by law and no law was cited to me as a warrant for this summary imprisonment, but if such a law exists it is to be presumed that it does not treat the weekly taxpayers' failure as a grave criminal offence. The men taken are frequently not those in fault ; the requisi- tioning authority cannot discriminate.' He is forced to insure compliance with the demands imposed on each village, and the first men to hand from the offending community of necessity have to pay in the chain-gang the general failure and possibly the individual fault of others. Men taken in this way are sometimes not seen again in their own hemes. They are either taken to distant Government stations as workmen, or are drafted as soldiers into the Force i'ublique. The names of many men thus taken from the Mantumba district were given to me, and in some cases their relatives had heard of their death in distant parts of the country. This practice was, I believe, more general in the past, but that it still exists to-day, and on an extensive scale, I had several instances of observing in widely separated districts. The officials effecting these arrests do not seem to have any other course open to them, unless it be a resort to military punitive measures or to individual corporal punishment ; while the natives assert that, as the taxes are unequally distributed, and their own numbers constantly decreasing, the strain upon them each week often becomes unbearable, and some of their number will shirk the constantly recurring unwelcome task. Should this shirking become general instead of being confined to individuals, punit : vo measures are undertaken against the refractory community. Where these do not end in fighting, loss of life and destruction of native property, they entail very heavy fines which are levied on the defaulting village. An expedition of the minor kind occurred some five months


before my presence in Late Mantumba.. The village in fault was that of R*, the one where when I sought to visit it no people would remain to face me. This village was said to have been some three weeks in arrears with the fish it was required to supply to the camp at Irebu. An armed force occupied it, commanded by an officer, and captured ten men and eight canoes. These canoes and the prisoners were con- veyed by water to Irebu, the main force marching back by land.

My informant, who dwelt in a village near R *, which I was then visiting,' said he saw the prisoners being taken back to Irebu under guard of six: black soldiers, tied up with native rope so tightly that they were calling aloud with pain. The force halted the night in his town. These people were detained at Irebu for ten days until the people of B * had brought in a supply of fish and had paid a fine. Upon their release two of these men died, one close to Irebu and the other within sight of the village I was in, and two more, my informant added, died soon after their return to B* A man, who saw them, said the prisoners were ill and bore the marks on wrists and legs of the thongs used in tying them. Of the canoes captured only the' old ones were returned to B *, the better ones being confiscated.

The native relating this incident added that he thought it stupid of the white men to take both, men and eanoes away from a small place like B * as a punish- ment for a shortage in its fish supply. "The men were wanted to catch fish and so were the canoes," he said, " and to take both away only made it harder for the people of R* to perform their task." I went to R* in the hope of being able to verify the truth : of this and other statements made to me as to the hardships recently inflicted on its people by reason of their disobedience, hut owing to their timidity, to whatever, cause this might have been due, it was impossible for me to get into touch with any of them. That a very close watch is kept on the people of the district and their movements is undoubted. In the past they escaped in large numbers to the French territory, but many were prevented by force from doing this, and numbers were shot in the attempt.

To-day the Congolese authorities discourage intercourse of this kind, not by the same severe measures as formerly, but probably none the less effectively. By a letter dated the 2nd July, 1902, the present Commandant of the camp of Irebu wrote as follows to the Rev. E. V. Sjoblom, a Swedish Missionary (since dead), who was then in charge of the Mission at Ikoko :

" Je vous serais bien oblige de ne pas pcrmettrc a vos jeunes gens de se rendre sur la rive Erancaise ct vendrc aux indigenes Eran?ais qui out fni notre rive, des vivres, produits du travail de nos indigenes, que eux-mcmes n'ont pas fui et ne se sont pas soustraits au travail que nous I cur avons impose."

From Lake Mantumba I proceeded to the immediate neighbourhood of Coquilhat- ville, where five days were spent, chiefly at native communities which stretch for some distance along the east bank of the Congo. These villages formerly extended for 15 miles, and were then filled with a numerous population. To-day they are" broken up into isolated settlements, each much reduced in numbers, and with (in most cases) the houses badly constructed. There were no goats or sheep to be seen, whereas formerly these were very plentiful, and food for the crew was only obtained with difficulty. In the village of V *, which I twice visited, the usual tax of food-stuff, with firing for the steamers, had to be supplied to Coquilhatville, which is distant only some 6 miles. A Government sentry was quartered here, who,along with one of the Chiefs of the town, spoke fully of the condition of the people. The sentry himself came from the Upper Bussira River, some hundreds of miles distant. This was, he said, his third period of service with the Force Publique. As his reason for remaining so long in this service he asserted that, as his own village and country were subjected to much trouble in connection with the rubber tax, he could not live ia his own home, and preferred, he said, laughing, tc to be with the hunters rather than with the hunted." Both a Chief Y* and this sentry represented the food taxes levied on this village as difficult for the people to collect, and only inadequately remunerated. There would appear in all these statements a contradiction in terms. The contributions required of the natives are continually spoken of as a ,f tax," and are as continually referred- to as being "paid for" or "remunerated." It is obvious that taxes are- neither bought nor sold, but the contradiction is only one of terms. The fact is that the weekly or fortnightly contributions everywhere required of the native communities I .visited are levied as taxes, or " prestations annuelles," by authority of a Royal Decree of the Sovereign of the Congo State. , The Decrees authorizing the levy of these taxes are dated the 6th October, 1891 (Article 4), that of the 5th December,


37


1892, and (for the district of Manyeuma) that of the 2Sth November, 1893. There is a further Decree, dated the 30th April, 1897, requiring the establishment and up-keep by native Chiefs of coffee and cocoa plantations. I nowhere saw or heard of such plantations existing as institutions maintained by the natives themselves. There are plantations of both existing, but these are the property of either the Government itself or of some European agency acting with its sanction and partly in its interests, on lands declared as public lands. With regard to the two first Decrees establishing 9 system of taxation, provision was made for the investiture of a native Chief recognized by the local Government authority, who should give to this Chief a copy of the proch-verbal, as registered in the public archives, and a medal or other symbol of office. With this investiture a list was ordered to be drawn up, indicating the name of the village, its exact situation, the names of the Headmen, the number of its houses, and the actual number of the population — men, women, and children. The Decree then goes on to provide for the manner in which the " prestations annuelles " imposed on each village were to be assessed. A list of the products to be furnished by each village— such as maize, sorghum, palm oil, ground-nuts, &c, corvees of workmen or soldiers — was to be drawn up by the Commissaire of the district. It was provided that this list should also indicate the lands which were to be cleared and cultivated under the direction of the Chiefs, the nature of such cultivation put in hand, and " all other works of public utility which might be prescribed in the interest of public health, the exploitation or improvement of the soil, or otherwise." These lists had first of all to be submitted for his approval' to the Governor-General. I could not find that, save in respect of the strict enforcement of the contributions, this law was' generally or rigorously observed. In many villages where I asked for it no copy, of any procfo'-verbal could be produced, and in several cases no act of investiture of the local Chief seemed to have ever taken place. Plantations, such as those outlined in. the Decree which made provision for them, nowhere exist in any part of the country I traversed. The' enumeration of the houses and people had in some instances been; made, I was informed, but it was many years ago ; and as the population had since' greatly declined, this enumeration could not to-day always serve as an accurate basis 1 on which to reckon the extent of the existing contribution.

■ At the village of A*, which I visited twice during my stay in the neigh- bourhood, A furnished me with particulars as to his own public obligations. His portion of A* had formerly been extensive, and at the date when an enumeration' was made contained many people. To-day it has only six adult householders, including himself, inhabiting now eleven huts in all, with their wives and children — a total population of twenty-seven persons. My attention was first drawn to him and his village by my meeting with a young boy— a lad of 7 years old, I should judge—;, whom I found in the village of U' :i; " as the recently acquired property of B. B told, me he had bought the boy, C, from A for 1,000 rods (50 fr.). A, he said, having to : meet a, fine imposed by the Commissaire-General for shortage in some of the weeks'.; supplies, and being 1,000 rods short of the amount required, had pawned his nephew 6 to him for that sum. This had taken place on the , and my interview

with B, and the boy took place on the . The next day I walked to [

A *, which lies within a few miles of Coquilhatville, and saw A and his town and people. There were then exactly eight men in the town, including himself ; but as two have since been detained as prisoners at Coquilhatville for deficiencies in the weekly supplies, there were, when I last saw A * in September, only six adult males there. The weekly imposition levied on A's part, of A " s was —

Kwanga .. .. .. », .. 150 rations (about 700 lbs. - ,.

height of food).

Fish . , .. ., 95 rations.

Palm thatching mats . , . » , . . . 900

Firewood, for steamer fuel ,. . . ,, 2 canoe loads. . . ...

- , Also each, week one large fresh fish or, in lieu thereof, two fowls for the European table at Coquilhatville. In addition, the. men had to help in hunting game in the woods for the European station staff.

The payments made each week for these supplies (when they were completely delivered) were -

' ' Fr. c.

Kwansa, 150 rods .. ... . . 7 50

Fish, 95 rods .. ,. ., , A.., 75 .

Paltn mats, 180 rods . , .. ,, ,-, ..9

2 canoe loads firewood, 1 rod »'« , "',.= ■ ». 5

I I ; - 1 'v.-.;. . ; . • . •■ i . : ■ : r . r *». : i ",/". " A . -r— •""


38


Payments for firewood were made by a paper receipt to be redeemed annually, but A told me lie had refused to accept the annual payment of 50 rods (2 fr. 50 c.) for 104 canoe loads of wood delivered during tbe twelve months. To obtain these supplies A bad frequently to purchase both fish and palm mats. The fish; as a rule, cost from 10 to 20 rods per ration, and the market price of thatching mats is 1 rod each; while the kwanga, which the Government paid 1 rod , for, fetched just 5 rods each in the open market. The value of A's weekly contribution was, according to current prices, as follows : —


-



Rods.


Value.



p

1£0 ratio is, kwaii^a, each 5 rods . .

95 „ fish, each 10 rods 900 palm mats, each 1 rod. . 2 canoe loads firewood, each 20 rods


. . Ww

« *

r • i " ■


?50 950 900 40


Fr. c. 37 50 47 50 45 2


" •' •


Total

H - t



  • *


132



Thus, taking no account of the fresh fish or fowls, A's small township of eight households lost 110 fr. 70 c. per week. At the year's end, while they had contributed 6,861 fr. worth of food and material to the local Government station, they had received as recompense 1,107 fr. 60 c. . A, personally, had a larger share of the tax to meet than any of the others, and I found that the value of his personal con- tribution reached 80*/. 3s. 4d. per annum by local prices, while he received in settlement 9/. 15s. in Government payments. He therefore contributed on his household of two wives, his mother, and dependents, inhabiting three grass and cane huts, an amount equal to 70/. 8s. 4sd. per annum net.

These figures, I found on inquiry, were confirmed as correct by those who were, acquainted with the local conditions. A stated that his elder brother, D, was in reality Chief of the township, but that some eight months previously T> had been; arrested for a deficiency in the fish and kwanga supplies. The Commissaire had then imposed a fine of 5,000 rods (250 fr.) on the town, which A, with tbe assistance of a neighbouring Chief named C, had paid. D was not thereupon at once released, and soon af terwards escaped from the prison at Coquilhatville, and remained in hiding in the forest. Soldiers came from the Government station and tied up eight women in the town. A and all the men ran away upon their coming, but he himself returned, in the morning. The Commissaire-General visited A *, and told A ttiat as D bad : run away he (A) was now the recognized Chief of the town. He was then ordered to find his fugitive brother, whose whereabouts he did not know, and a town in the neighbourhood name E, suspected of harbouring him, was fined 5,000 rods, Since that date, although D bad returned to A* to reside, A had been, held, against his will, as responsible Chief of the town. He was a young man of about 23 or 24 years of age I should say. He had repeatedly, he stated, begged to be relieved of the honour thrust upon him, but in vain. His brother, D, had recently been put again in prison at Coquilhatville in connection with the loss of two cap-guns furnished him when Chief in order to procure game for tbe local white men' s_ table. The present impositions laid on A* were, A asserted, much more than it was possible for him to meet. He had repeatedly appealed to the Commissaire-General and other officers at Coquilhatville, including .the law, officer, begging them to visit his town and see for themselves— as I might see— that he was speaking the truth. But, so far, no one would- listen 'to him, and he had been always rebuffed. On the last occasion of his making this appeal, unly three days before I saw him, he_ had been threatened with prompt imprisonment if he failed in his supplies, and he said he now saw no course before him but flight or imprisonment. He could not run away, he said, and leave his mother and dependents ; besides, he would be surely found, and, in any case, whatever town harboured him would be fined as E had been. . . ..

On a certain Sunday, when he had gone in with the usual weekly supplies, which are returnable on Sundays, he had been short of eight- rations of fish and ten rations of kwanga and 330 palm mats, representing a; 'value of 81 rods (1 fr. 20 c), as estimated on the scale of Government payments. On the same date the other and larger portion of A * town was also short of its tale of supplies, and a fine of 5,000 brass rods (250 fr.) was imposed upon the collective village. A's share


39


of this fine was fixed by the natives among themselves at 2,000 rods, of which 1 000 rods were to be his own personal contribution. Having himself now no money and no other means of obtaining it, he had pledged— with the consent of the father"— his little nephew D s son, whom I had seen with B. In making inquiry A's story received much confirmation. He was, at any rate, known as a man of very good character, and everything pointed to his statement beins true. On my return down nyer I again saw A, who came after nightfall to see me, in the hope that ! might perhaps be able to help him. He said that, since I had left a month previously, two of the boys of his town had been detained at Coquilhatville as prisoners when taking the rations on two successive weeks, owing to a deficiencv on each occasion of 18 rods in value (90 cents.), and that these two boys— whose names he gave me^wero still in prison. He had been that very day, he said, to beg that they might be released, but had failed, and there were now only five adult males in his village, including himself.

While in Coquilhatville on this mission, he declared that he had seen eleven men brought m from villages m the neighbourhood, who were put in prison before him— all of them on account of a shortage in the officially fixed scale of supplies required from their districts. I offered to take him away with me in order to lay his case bet ore the judicial authorities elsewhere, but he refused to leave his mother That As statements were not so untrustworthy as on the face they might seem to be was proved a few days later by a comparison of his case with that of another village I visited. ^ 1 his was a town named W » lying some three miles inland in a swampy forest situated near the mouth of tbe X » River. On quitting Coquilhatville I proceeded to the mouth of this river, which enters the Congo some forty-five miles above that station, and I remained two days in that neighbourhood. Learning that the people of the immediate neighbourhood had recently been heavily fined for failure m their food supplies, which have to be delivered weekly at that station, and that these fines had fallen with especial severity on W *, I decided to visit that town

It was on the 2 1st August that I visited W *, where I found that the state- ments made to me were borne out by ray personal observation. The town consisted of a long single street of native huts lying in the midst of a clearing in the

£T n j. vi traversm S * from end to end I estimated the number of its people at about 600 all told. r

At the upper end of the town a number of men and women assembled and some came forward, when they made a lengthy statement to the following effect irom this upper end of the town wherein I was 100 rations of kwanga had to be supplied weekly, and thirty fowls at a longer interval. These latter were for the use of Coquilhatville, while the kwanga was very largely for the use of the wood-cutters at the nearest Government wood-cutting post on the main river The usual prices for these articles, viz., for the kwanga, 1 rod each, and for the fowls 20 rods were paid. The people also had to take each week 10 fathoms of firewood to the local wood-post, for which they often got no payment, and their women were required twice a week to work at the Government coffee plantation which extends around the wood-post.

I saw some bundles of firewood being got ready for carriage to this place They were large and very heavy, weighing, I should say, from 70 to 80 lb. each Some months earlier, at the beginning of the year, owing, as they said, to their failure to send m the fowls to Coquilhatville, an armed expedition of some thirty soldiers commanded by a European officer, had come thence and occupied their town. At first they had fled into the forest, but were persuaded to come in. On returning many of them— the principal men— were at once tied up to trees. The officer informed them that as they had failed in their duty they must be punished. He required first that twenty-five men should be furnished as workmen for Government service. These men were taken away to serve the Government as labourers, and those addressing me did not know where these men now were. They gave eighteen names of men °so taken and said that the remaining seven came from the lower end of the town through which 1 had passed on entermg, where the relatives themselves could give me particulars if 1 wished. The twenty-five men had not since been seen in W % nor had any one there cognizance of their whereabouts. The officer had then imposed as further punishment a fine of 55,000 brass rods (2,750 fr.)— 110/. This sum they had been forced to pay, and as they had no other means of raising so large a sum they had many of them, been compelled to sell their children and their wives. I saw no live-stock of any kind m W ** save a very few fowls— possibly under a dozen— and it seemed indeed, not unlikely that, as these people asserted, they had great difficulty in always

L 24 n g


40

•getting their supplies ready. A father and- mother stepped out : and said that they had been forced to sell their son, a little boy called E, for 1,000 rods to meet their share of the fine. A widow came and declared that she had been forced, in order to meet her share of the fine, to sell her daughter G, a little girl whom I judged from her description to be about 10 years of age. She had been sold to a man m Y * who was named, for 1,000 rods, which had then gone to make up the fine.

A man named H stated that while the town was occupied by the soldiers, a woman who belonged to his household, named I, had been shot dead by one of the soldiers. Her husband, a man named E, stepped forward and confirmed the statement. They both declared that the woman had quitted her husbands house to obey a call of Nature, and that one of the soldiers, thinking she was going to run away, had shot her through the head. The soldier was put under arrest by the officer, and "they said they saw him taken away a prisoner when the force was withdrawn from their town, hut thev knew nothing more than this. They did not know it he had been tried or punished. *No one of them had ever been summoned to appear, no question had been addressed to them, and neither had the husband nor the head of I l s nousehold received any compensation for her death. Another woman named L, the wife of a man named M, had been taken away by the native sergeant who was with the soldiers. He bad admired her, and so took her back with Mm to Coquilhatville. Her husband heard she had died there of small-pox, but he did not know anvthing certain of her circumstances after she had been taken away from W - A man named N said he had sold his wife O to a man in Y * for 900 rods to meet his

share of the fine. ,

It was impossible for me to verify these statements, or to do much beyond noting down as carefully as possible, the various declarations made. I found, however, on returning to Y * that the statements made with regard to the little boy E and the girl G were true. These children were both in the neighbourhood, and owm°- to my intervention E was restored to his parents. The girl G, I was told, had again changed hands, and was promised in sale to a town on the north bank of the Con^o, named Iberi, whose people are said to be still open cannibals. 1 h rough the hands of the local missionarv this transfer was prevented, and I paid the 1,000 rods to her original purchaser, and left G to be restored to her mother from the Mission. I saw her there on the 9th September, after she had been recovered through this missionary's efforts, while about to be sent to her parent.

With regard to the quantity of food supplies levied upon W I did not obtain the total amount required of the entire community, but only that which the upper end of the town furnished. The day of my visit happened to be just that when the kwanga, doe at the local wood-post, was being prepared for delivery on the morrow. I saw many of the people getting their shares ready. Each share of kwanga, for. which a payment of 1 rod is made by the Government, consisted of five rolls of this food tied together. One of these bundles of five rolls I sought to buy, offering the man carrying it 10 rods— or ten times what he w^as about to receive for it from the local Government post. He refused mv offer, saying that, although he would like the 10 rods be dare not be a bundle of his ration short. One of these bundles was weighed and found to weigh over 15 lb. This may have been an extraordinarily Tar^e bundle, although I saw many others which appeared to be of the same size._ I think it would be safe to assume that the average of each ration of kwanga required . from this town was not less than 12 lb. weight of cooked and carefully prepared food— a not ungenerous offering for By this computation the portion of W 1 visited sends in weekly 1,200 lb. weight of food at a remuneration of some 5 fr. Cooked bread-stuffs supplied at 9 or 10 f r. per ton represent, it must be admitted, a phenomenally cheap loaf. At the same time with this kwanga, being prepared for the Government"' use. I saw others being made up for general public consumption. ^ 1 bought some of these, which were going to the local market, at their current market; value, viz,., 1 rod each. On weighing them I found they gave an average of 1 lb. each 5 The weight of food-stuffs required by the Government from this town would seem to have exceeded in weight twelve times that made up for public

-consumption. , „ - i

Whilst I was in Y * a fresh fine of 20,000 rods (1,000 fr.) was m course ol collection among the various households along the river bank. This fine had been

quite recently imposed by direction of for a further failure on the part of they

towns in the "supply of foodstuffs from that neighbourhood. I sawnt several houses piles of brass rods being collected to meet it, and in front of one of these houses 1 counted 2,700 rods which had been brought together by the various dependents of that


41

family ; 6,000 rods of this further fine was, I was told, to be paid by W * which had not then recovered from its previous much larger contribution. The W * men begged me to intervene, if I could at all help them to escape this further imposition. One of them- —a strong, indeed a splendid dooking man— broke down and wept, saying that their lives were useless to them, and that they knew of no means of escape from the troubles which were gathering around them. I could only assure these people that their obvious course to obtain relief was by appeal to their own constituted authorities, and that if their circumstances were clearly understood by those responsible for these fines, I trusted and believed some satisfaction would be forthcoming.

These fines, it should be borne in mind, are illegally imposed : they are not " fines of Court " • arc not pronounced after any judicial hearing, or for any proved offence against the law, but are quite arbitrarily levied according to the whim or ill-will of the executive officers of the district, and their collection, as well as their imposition, involves continuous breaches of the Congolese laws. They do not, moreover, figure in the account of public revenues in the Congo " Budgets ; " they are not paid into the public purse of the country } but are spent on the needs of the station or military camp of the officer imposing them, just as seems good to this official.

I can nowhere learn upon what legal basis, if any, the punishments inflicted upon native communities or individuals for failure to comply with the various forms of " prestations " rest.

These punishments are well-nigh universal and take many shapes, from punitive expeditions carried out on a large scale to such simpler forms of fine and im- prisonment as that lately inflicted on TJ *.

I cannot find in the Penal Code of the Congo Statute Book that a failure to meet or a non-compliance with any form of prestation or impot is anywhere defined as a crime ; and so far as I can see no legal sanction could be cited for any one of the punishments so often inflicted upon native communities for this failure.

By a Royal Decree of the 11th August, 18S6, provision was made for the punishments to be inflicted for infractions of the law not punishable by special penalties.

Since no special penalty in law would seem to have been provided for cases of failure or refusal to comply with the demands of the tax-gatherer, it would seem to be in the terms of this Decree that the necessary legal sanctions could alone lie. .

.But this Decree provides for all otherwise unspecified offences far other punishments, and far other modes of inflicting them than so many of those which came to my notice during my brief journey.

Article 1 of this Decree provides that : —

" Les contraventions aux. dec rets, ordonnances, arretes, reglements d'admini- strafion interieure et de police, a l'egard desquelles la loi ne determine pas de p ernes particulieres, seront punies d'un a sept jours de servitude penale et d'une amende n'excedant pas lOO fr., ou d'une de ces peines seulement,"

Article 2 requires that : —

" Ces peines seront appliquees par les Tribunaux de FEtat conformement aux lois en vigueur."

It would be manifestly impossible to say that either in form or mode of procedure this law had been applied to the failure of the community at W ® to meet ike demands made upon them.

Neither the summary arrest and taking away from their homes of the men whose names were given to me nor the imposition of the very heavy line of brass rods find any warrant in this page of the Congo Statute Book.

If a legal warrant exists for the action of the authorities in this case — as in the numerous other cases brought to my notice that action would still call for much adverse comment.

The amount of the fine levied on W B was not only out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence committed, but was of so crushing a character as to preclude the possibility of its being acquitted by any reasonable or legitimate means that com- munity disposed of.

Among the earliest enactments of civilized administrations, recognition ■ h^s invariably been given to the pronouncement that no fine or imposition, or exaction,, shall exceed the powers of the person on whom it is imposed to meet it.

But if, as I venture to presume, no Congolese law or judicial pronouncement [247] G 2


42


exists, or could exist, for the levying, in this manner, of these fines, very explicit Regulations for the treatment of the natives on general lines and their right to judicial protection do exist.

In the " texte coordonne des diverges instructions relatives aux rapports des Agents de l'fitat avec les indigenes," which are to be found in the " Bulletin Officiel" of°l896 (p. 255), these Regulations are published at length and would seem, textually, to leave little room for criticism.

Were their application enforced it is abundantly clear that a situation such as that I found in existence at W * could not arise, and much of the general unhappiness and distress of the natives I witnessed on all sides would disappear along with the fines and much also of the " prestations," within the first month of the translation into action of these Regulations.

One paragraph only need here be cited to emphasize the bearing and import of these remarks : —

"Les agents doivent se souvenir que les peines diseiplinaires prevues par le re "dement de discipline militaire ne sont applicable qu'aux recrutes militaires, umquement pour des infractions eontre la discipline, et dans les conditions speeialemcnt prevues par le dit reglement.

" Elles ne sont applicables, sous aucune pretexte, aux servitsurs de 1 Mat non militaire ra aux indigenes, que ceux-ci soient ou non en rebellion vis-a-vis de 1'Etat.

u Ceux d'entre eux qui sont prevenus de delits ou crimes doivent etre defies aux Tribunaux. competents et juges conformement aux lois."

At neither W * nor T * is any rubber worked. With my arrival _ in the Lulongo River, I was entering one of the most productive rubber districts of the Congo State, where the industry is said to be in a very flourishing condition. The Lulongo is formed by two great feeders— the Lopori and Marmga Rivers— which, after each a course of some 350 miles through a rich, forested country, well peopled by a tribe named >longos, unite at Bassankusu, some 120 miles above where the Lulongo enters the Congo. The basins of these two rivers form the Concession known as the A.B.I.R., which has numerous stations, and a staff of fifty-eight Europeans engaged in exploiting the india- rubber industry, with head-quarters at Bassankusu. Two steamers belonging to the A.B.I.R. Company navigate the waterways of the Concession, taking up European goods and bringing^lown to Bassankusu tlie india-rubber, which is there transhipped on board a Government steamer which plies for this purpose between Coquilhatville and Bassankusu, a distance of probably 160 miles. The transport of all goods and agents of the A. B. I. R. Company, immediately these quit the Conces- sion, is carried on exclusively by the steamers of the Congo Government, the freight and passage-money obtained being reckoned as part of the public revenue. I have no actual figures giving the annual output of india-rubber from the A.B.I.R. Conces- sion, but it is unquestionably large, and mav, in the case of a prosperous year, reach from 600 to S00 tons. The quality of the A.B.I.R. rubber is excellent, and it commands generally a high price on the European market, so that the value of its annual yield mav probably be estimated at not less than 150,000/. The merchandise used bv the Company consists of the usual class of Central African barter goods— cotton 'cloths of different quality, Sheffield cutlery, matchets, beads, and salt. The latter is keenly sought by the natives of all the interior of Africa. There is also a considerable import by the A.B.I.R. Company, I believe, of cap-guns, which are chiefly used in arming the sentinels—termed " forest guards "—who, m considerable numbers are quartered on the native villages throughout the Concession to see that the picked men of each town bring in, with regularity, the fixed quantity of pure rubber required of them every fortnight. I have no means of ascertaining the -number of this class of armed men employed by the A.B.I.R. Company, but I saw many of them when up the Lopori River, and the gun of one of these sentries— himself an Ngombe savage— had branded on the stock " Dep6t 2210." In addition to its numerous forest guards, armed with cap-guns, which, at close quarters, can he a very effective weapon, the A. B. I. R. Company has a fairly strong armament ot rifles. These are limited to twenty-five rifles for the use of each factory. The two steamers, I believe, have also a similar armament.

The Secteur of Bongandanga, which was the only district of the A. B.l. R. Concession I visited, has three "factories," so that the number of rifles permitted in that one district would be seventy-five. I do not know if any limits or what


43


limits are imposed on the number of cartridges which are permitted for the defence of these factories. One of the largest Congo Concession Companies had, when I "was on the Upper River, addressed a request to its Directors in Europe for a further supply of ball-cartridge. The Directors had met this demand by asking what had become of the 72,000 cartridges shipped some three years ago, to which a reply was sent to the effect that these had all been used in the production of india-rubber. I did not see this correspondence, and cannot vouch for the truth of the statement ; hut the officer who informed me that it had passed before his own eyes was one of the highest standing in the interior.

When at Stanley Pool in June I had seen in one of the Government stores at Leopold ville a number of cases of rifles marked A. B. I. R, awaiting transport up river in one of the Government vessels ; and upon my return to that neighbourhood, I was told by a local functionary that 200 rifles had, in July, been so shipped for the needs of the Lomami Company.

The right of the various Concession Companies operating within the Congo State to employ armed men— whether these bear rifles or cap-guns — is regulated by Govern- ment enactments, which confer on these commercial Societies what are termed officially "rights of police" (" droits do police "}. A Circular of the Governor-General dealing with this question, dated the 20th October, 1900, points out the limits within which this right may be exercised. Prior to the issue of this Circular (copy of which is attached— In closure 5),* the various Concession Companies would appear to have engaged in military operations on a somewhat extensive scale, and to have made war upon the natives on their own account. The Regulations this Circular provides, to insure the licensing of all arms, rifles, and cap-guns7 do not seem to be strict ly observed, for in several cases the scntties or forest guards I encountered on my journey up the Lulongo had no licence (Modele C) of the kind required by the Circular ; and in two cases I found them provided with arms of precision. That the extensive use of armed men in the pay of the so-called Trading Societies, or in the service of the Government, as a means to enforce the compliance "with demands for india-rubber, had been very general up to a recent date, is not denied by any one' I met on the Upper Congo.

In a conversation with a gentleman of experience on this question, our remarks turned upon the condition of the natives. He produced a disused diary, and in it, I found and copied the following entry : —

M. P. called on us to get out of the rain, and in conversation with M. Q. in presence of myself and R„ said: 'The only way to get rubber is to fight for it. The natives are paid 35 centimes per kilog", it is claimed, but that includes a large profit on the cloth ; the amount of rubber is controlled by the number of guns, and not the number of bales oF cloth. The S. A. B. on the Bussira, with 150 guns, get only 10 tons (rubber) a-month ; we, the State, at Momhoyo, with 130 guns, get 13 tons per month.' ' So you count by guns ? ' I asked him. ' Partout,' M. P. said, * Each time the corporal goes out to get rubber cartridges are given to him. He must bring back all not used ; and for every one used, he must bring baek a right hand.' M. P. told me that sometimes they shot a cartridge at an animal in hunting ; they then cut off a hand from a living man. As to the extent to which this is carried on, he informed me that in six months they, the State, on the Momhoyo River, had used 6,000 cartridges, which means that 6,000 people are killed or mutilated. It means more than 6,000, for the people have told me repeatedly that the soldiers kill children with the butt of their guns."

In conversation upon this entry, I was told that the M. P. referred to was an officer in the Government service, who, at the date in question, had come down from the Momboyo River (a tributary of the great Ruki River, and forming a part, I believe, of the " Dotnaine de la Couronne ") invalided, on his way home. He had come down in very bad health. He stated then that he was going home, not to return to the Congo, but he died, only a little way further down the river, very soon afterwards.

_ The same gentleman stated that he had reported this conversation orally at Boma, •as instancing the methods of exaction then in force. It is probable that the issue of the circular quoted was not unconnected with these remarks.

_ The region drained by the Lulongo being of great fertility has, in the past, maintained a, large population. In the days prior to the establishment of civilized rule in the interior of Africa, this river offered a constant source of supply to the slave


  • See p


markets of the Upper Congo, The towns around the lower Lulongo River raided the interior tribes, whose prolific humanity provided not only servitors, but human meat for those stronger than themselves. Cannibalism had gone hand in hand with slave raiding, and it was no uncommon spectacle to see gangs of human beings being conveyed for exposure and sale in the local markets. I had in the past, when travelling on the Lulongo Paver, more than once viewed such a scene. On one occasion a woman was killed in the village I was passing through, and her head and other portions of her were brought and offered for sale to some of the crew of the steamer I was on. Sights, of this description are to-day impossible in any part of the country I traversed, and the full credit for their suppression must be given to the authorities of the Congo Government. It is, perhaps, to be regretted that in its efforts to suppress sueb barbarous practices the Congo Government should have had to rely upon, often, very savage agencies wherewith to combat savagery. The troops employed in punitive measures were— and often are— themselves savages, only removed by outward garb from those they are sent to punish. Moreover, the measures employed to obtain recruits for the public service were themselves often but little removed from, the malpractices that service was designed to suppress. The following copy of an order for Government workmen drawn up by a former Commissaire of the Equator District, and having reference to the Maringa affluent of the Lulongo River indicates that the Congo Government itself did not hesitate some years ago to purchase slaves (required as- soldiers or workmen), who could only be obtained for sale by the most deplorable means : —

" Le Chef Ngulu de Wangata est envoye" dans la Maringa, pour m'y acheter des esclaves. Priere a MM. les agents de 1' A.B.I.R, de bien vouloir me signaler les mefaits que celui-ci pourrait commettre en route.

" Le Capitaine -Commandant,

(Signe) " Sabbazzytt."

" Colquilhatville, le 1" Mai, 1696."

This document was shown to me during the course of my journey. The officer who issued this direction was, I was informed, for a considerable period chief executive authority of the district ; and I heard him frequently spoken of by the natives who referred to him by the sobriquet he had earned in the district, "Widjima," or

The course of the Lulongo River below Bassakanusu to its junction with the Congo lies outside the limits of the A.B.I.R. Concession, and the region is, I believe, regarded as one of the free-trading districts wherein no exclusive right to the products of the soil is recognized. The only trading-house in this district is one termed the La Lnlanga, which has three dep6ts, or factories, along the river bank, the principal of which is at Mampoko. This Company has a small steamer in which its native produce is collected, but the general transport of all its goods, as in the case of the Concession Societies, is performed by Government craft. The La Lulanga does not, I understand, enjoy the rights of police as defined bythe Governor-General's Circular of the 20th October, 1800, but it employs a considerable number of armed men equally termed "forest guards." These men are quartered throughout the lower course of the Lulongo River, and I found that, as with the A.B.I. R.j the sole duty they performed was to compel by force the collection of india-rubber or the supplies which each factory needed. As the district in which the La Lulanga Society carries on these operations is, one that had already been subjected to still more comprehensive handling by two of the large Concession Companies, who only abandoned it when, as one of their agents informed me, it was nearly exhausted, the stock of rubber vines in it to-day is drawing to an end, and it is only with great difficulty that the natives are able to produce the quantity sufficient to satisfy their local masters; In the course o± my dealings with the natives I found that several of the sentries of this Company had quite recently committed gross offences which, until my arrival, appeared to have gone undetected— certainly unpunished. Murder and mutilation were charged against several of them, by name by the natives of certain- townships close to the head- quarters of this Company, who sought me in the hope that I might help them- ■These people in several eases said that they diad not complained elsewhere because they had felt that it was useless.- As long as the rubber tax imposed upon them endured in its present compulsory form with the- sanction of the authorities, they said it was idle to draw attention to acts which were but incidental to its collects


The La Lulanga Company, not any more than the A.B.I.R., would seem to have a legal right to levy taxes, but the fact remains that from the ' natives^ who ; supply :ttese two trading Companies with all that they export as well as with their b5eal supplies of food and material, the Congo Government itself requires' no contribution to the public revenue. These people, therefore, must be either legally exempted from ■supporting the Government of their country, or else a portion of the contributions they make to the A.B.I.R. and Lulanga Companies must be claimed bv that Govern- ment in lieu of the taxes it is justified in imposing on these districts.

In the case of the A.B.I.R. Society, it is said that a portion of the profits are paid into the public revenues of the Congo Government (who hold certain shares in the undertaking!, and that these figure annually in the Budget as "produit de porte- feuille." In making this explanation to me, an agent of one of the Upper Congo trading Companies said the term should more correctly be " produit de portc-fusil," and to judge from the large numbers of armed men I saw employed, the correction was not inapposite.

The Concession Companies, I believe, account for the armed men in their ■service on the ground that their factories and agents must be protected against the possible violence of the rude forest dwellers with whom they deal ; but this legitimate need for safeguarding European establishments does not suffice to account for the presence, far from those establishments, of large numbers of armed men quartered throughout the native villages, and who exercise upon their surroundings an influence far from protective. The explanation offered me of this state of things was that, as the " impositions " laid upon the natives were regulated by law, and were calculated on the scale of public labour the Government had a right to require of the people, the ■collection of these " impositions " had to be strictly enforced. When I pointed out that the profit of this system was not reaped by the Government, but by a com- mercial Company, and figured in the public returns of that Company's affairs, as well as in the official Government statistics, as the outcome of commercial dealings with the natives, I was informed that the " impositions " were in reality trade, " for, as you observe, we pay the natives for the produce they bring in." " But," I observed, you told me just now that these products did not belong to the natives, but to you, the Concessionnaire, who owned the soil ; how, then, do you buy from them what is already yours ? " " We do not buy the india-rubber. What we "pay to the native is a remuneration for his labour in collecting our produce on our land, and bringing it to us."

Since it was thus to the labour of the native alone that the profits of the Com- pany were attributed, I inquired whether he was .not protected by contract with his employer; but I was here referred back to the statement that the native performed these services as a public duty required of him by his Government, He was not a ■contracted labourer at all, but a free man, dwelling in his own home, and was simply acquitting himself of an i: imposition " laid upon him by the Government, <f of which we are but the collectors by right of our Concession." "Tour Concession, then, implies," I said, "that you have been conceded not only a certain area of land, but also the people dwelling on that land ? " This, however, was not accepted either, and I was assured that the people were absolutely free, and owed no service to any one but to the Government of the country. But there was no explanation offered to me that was not at once, contradicted by the next. One said it was a tax, an obligatory burden laid upon the people, such as all Governments have the undoubted right of imposing ; but this failed to explain how, if a tax, it came to be collected by the agents of a trading firm, and figured as the outcome of their trade dealings with the' people, still less, how, if it were a tax, it could be justly imposed every week or fortnight in the year, instead of once, or at most, twice a year.

Another asserted that it was clearly legitimate commerce with the natives because these were well paid and very happy. He could not then explain the presence of so many armed men in their midst, or the reason for tying up men, women, and children, and of maintaining in each trading establishment a local prison, termed a * niaison des otages," wherein recalcitrant native traders endured long periods of con- finement

A third admitted that there was no law on the Congo Statute Book constituting his trading establishment a Government taxing station, and that since the product of his dealings with the natives figured in his Company's balance-sheets as "trade, and paid customs duty to the G overnment on export, and a dividend to the shareholders, and as he himself drew ajc'0'm.miss|^n of '2 per cent, on his turnover, it must be trade ; but this exponent could not explain ^how, if these operations were purely commercial,


they rested on a privilege denied to others, for since, as he asserted, the products of his district could neither be worked nor bought by any one but himself, it was clear they were not merchandise, which, to be merchandise, must be marketable. The summing up of the situation by the majority of those with whom I sought to dismiss it was that, in fact, it was forced labour "conceived in the true interest of the native, who, if not controlled in this way, would spend his days in idleness, unprofitable to himself and the general community. The collection of the products of the soil by the more benevolent methods adopted by the Trading Companies was, in any case, preferable to those the Congo Government would itself employ to compel obedience to this law, and therefore if I saw women and children seized as hostages and kept in detention until rubber or other things were brought in, it was better that this should be done by the cap-gun of the "forest guard" than by the Albini armed soldiers of the Govern- ment who, if once impelled into a district, would overturn the entire country side.

No more satisfactory explanation than this outline was anywhere offered me of what I saw in the A.B.I.E. and Lulanga districts. It is true alternatives of excuse with differing interpretations of what I saw were offered me in several quarters, but these were so" obviously untrue, that they could not he admitted as having any real relation to the things which came before me.

At a village I touched at up the Lulonga Liver, a small collection of dwellings named Z *, the people complained that there was no rubber left in their district, and yet that the La Lulanga Company required of them each fortnight a fixed quantity they could not supply. Three forest guards of that Company were quartered, it was said, in this village, one of whom I found on duty, the two others, he informed me, having gone to Mampoko to convoy the fortnight's rubber. No live- stock of any kind could be seen or purchased in this town, which had only a few years ago been a large and populous community, filled with people and well stocked with sheep, goats, ducks, and fowls. Although I walked through most of it, I could only count ten men with their families. There were said to be others in the part of the town I did not visit, but the entire community I saw were living in wretched houses and in most visible distress. Three months previously (in May, I believe), they said a Government force, commanded by a white man, had occupied their town owing to their failure to send in to the Mampoko head-quarters of the La Lulanga Company a regular supply of india-rubber, and two men, whose names were given, had been killed by the soldiers at that time.

As Z * lies upon the main stream of the Lulongo Eiver, and is often touched at by passing steamers, I chose for the next inspection a town lying somewhat off this beaten track, where my coming would be quite unexpected. .Steaming up a small tributary of the Lulongo, I arrived, unpreceded by any rumour of my coming, at the village of A *" :! \ In an open shed I found two sentries of the La Lulanga Company guarding fifteen native women, five of whom had infants at the breast, and three of whom were about to become mothers. The chief of these sentries, a man called S— who was hearing a double-barrelled shot-gun, for which he had a belt of cartridges— at once volunteered an explanation of the reason for these women's detention. Four of them, he said, were hostages who were being held to insure the peaceful settle- ment of a dispute between two neighbouiing towns, which had already cost the life of a man. His employer, the agent of the La Lulanga Company at B near by, he said, had ordered these women to be seized and kept until the Chief of the offending town to which they belonged should come in to talk over the palaver. The sentry pointed out that this was evidently a much better way to settle such troubles between native towns than to leave them to be fought out among the people themselves.

The remaining eleven women, whom he indicated, be said he had caught and was detaining as prisoners to compel their husbands to bring in the right amount of india-rubber required of them on next market day. When I asked if it was a woman s work to collect india-rubber, he said, " No ; that, of course, it was man's work/ " Then why do you catch the women and not the men ? " I asked. " Don't you see, was the answer, " if I caught and kept the men, who would work the rubber ? But it I catch their wives, the husbands are anxious to have them home again, and so the rubber is brought in quickly and quite up to the mark. 5 ' When I asked what would become of these women if their husbands failed to bring in the right quantity ot rubber on the next market day, he said at once that then they would be kept there until their husbands had redeemed them. Their food, he explained, he made the Chief or A *® provide, and he himself saw it given to them daily. They came from more than one village of the neighbourhood, he said, mostly from the Ngombi or inland country


47

where he often had to catch women to insure the rubber being brought in in sufficient quantity. It was an institution, he explained, that served well and saved much trouble. When his master came each fortnight to A to take away the rubber so collected, if it was found to be sufficient, the" women were released and allowed to return with their husbands, but if not sufficient they would undergo continued detention. The sentry's statements were clear and explicit, as were equally those of several of the villagers with whom I spoke. The sentry further explained, in answer to my inquiry, that he caught women in this way by direction of his employers. That it was a custom generally adopted and found to work well; that the people were very lazy, and that this was much the simplest way of making them do what was required of them. When asked if he had any use for his shot-gun, he answered that it had been given him by the white man " to frighten people and make them brin<* in rubber," but that he had never otherwise used it. I found that the two sentries at A *** were complete masters of the town. Everything I needed in the way of food or firewood they at once ordered the men of the town to bring me. One of them, gun over shoulder, marched a procession of men— the Chief of the village at their bead- down to the water side, each carrying a bundle of firewood for my steamer. A few chickens which were brought were only purchased through their intermediary, the native owner in each case handing the fowl over to the sentry, who then brought it on board, bargained for it, and took the price agTeed upon. When, in the evening, the Chief of the village was invited to come and talk to me, he came in evident fear of the. sentries seeing him or overhearing his remarks, and the leader, S, finding him talking to me, peremptorily broke into the conversation and himself answered each question put to the Chief. When I asked this latter if he and his townsmen did not catch fish in the C *« Eiver, in which we learned there was much, the sentry, intervening, said it was not the business of these people to catch fish — "they have no time for that, they have got to get the rubber I tell them to."

At nightfall the fifteen women in the shed were tied together, either neck to neck or ankle to ankle, to secure them for the night, and in this posture I saw them twice during the evening. They were then trying to huddle around a fire. In the morning the leading sentry, before leaving the village, ordered his companion in my hearing to " keep close guard on the prisoners." I subsequently discovered that 'this sentry, learning that I was not, as he had at first thought, a missionary, had gone or sent to inform his employer at C ** that a strange white man was in the town.

An explanation of what I had witnessed at A— was later preferred by the representative of this Company for my information, but was in such direct conflict with what I had myself observed that it could not be accepted either as explaining the detention of the women 1 had seen tied neck to neck, or as a refutation of the state- ments of the sentry, made to me at a time when he had no thought that his avowals had any bearing on his employer's interests.

_ Prom A «« I proceeded to Bongandanga, a station of the A.B.I.E. Company which lies some 120 or 130 miles up the Lopori, a tributary of the Lulongo, and only halted for very brief . periods en route. I arrived at Bongandanga on the 29th August when what was locally termed the rubber market was in full swing. The natives of the surrounding country are, on these market days, which are held at. intervals of a fortnight, marched in under a number of armed guards, each native carrying his fort- night's supply of india-rubber for delivery to the agent of the Comuany. During my stay at Bongandanga I had frequent occasion to meet the two agents of this Society, who received me with every kindness and hospitality.

The A.B.I.E. station was well built and well cared for, and gave evidence of unremitting industry on the part of those in charge of it. There were two good houses for the European staff and a number of large well-built bamboo stores for the storing and drying of india-rubber. All the houses were constructed of native materials, indeed, with the exception of a small stock of barter goods in one of the stores and the European provisions required for the white men, everv thing I saw came from the surrounding district, provided in one form or another by its native inhabitants, This applies to practically every European establishment in the interior of the country, the only differences being as to the manner in which the help of the nabves may be sought and recompensed. Building material of all kinds from very heavy timber to roofing mats and native string to tie these on with are provided by the natives; but their services in supplying these indispensable adjuncts to civilized existence do not appear to be everywhere equally remunerated. At Bongandanga I saw thirty-three large tree trunks, each of which could not have weighed less than 2 a ton, some of them nearer 1 ton, which, I was told, had been felled and carried in [24?] H



"by the natives for his use in building a new house. Tie explained that as the natives came hi from different districts fortnight] y, and then had only to carry very small baskets of india-rubber, this additional burden was imposed upon them, but that this ■was one reserved for unwilling workers of india-rubber. It was, in fact, one of the punishments for backward ' recolteurs."

At Bougandanga the men of the district named E ;:>y , distant about^ 20 miles, had been brought in with the. rubber from that district. They marched in in a long file, guarded by sentries of the A.B.I.B. Company, and when I visited the factory grounds to observe' the progress of the " market," I was informed by the local agent that there were 242 men actually present. As each man was required, I was told, to bring in 3 kilog. nett of rubber, the quantity actually brought in on that occasion should have yielded about three-quarters of a ton of pure rubber. The rubber brought by each man, after being weighed and found correct, was taken off to be cut up in a large store, and then placed out on drying shelves in other stores. As considerable loss of weight arises in the drying to obtain 3 kilog. nett a dead weight of crude rubber considerably in excess of that quantity must he brought in. There were everywhere sentries in the A.B.I.B. grounds, guarding and controlling the natives^ many of whom carried their knives and spears. The sentries were often armed with rifles, some of them with several cartridges slipped between the fingers of the hands ready for instant use ; others had cap-guns, with a species of paper cartridge locally manufactured for charging this form of muzzle-loader. The native vendors of the rubber were guarded in detachments or herds, many of them behind a barricade which stretched in front of a house I was told was the factory prison, termed locally, I found, the "maison des otages." The rubber as brought up by each man under guard, was weighed by one of the two agents of the A.B.I.B. present, who sat upon the verandah of bis house. If the rubber were found to be of the right weight its vendor would be led off with it to the cutting up store or to one of the drying stores. In the former were fully 80 or 100 natives who had already passed muster, squatting on raised cane platforms, busily cutting up into the required sizes the rubber which had been passed and accepted. At the corners of these platforms stood, or equally squatted, sentries of the A.B.I.B. with their rifles ready.

In another store where rubber was being dried seven natives came in while I was inspecting it carrying baskets which were filled with the cut-up rubber, which they then at once began sorting and spreading on high platforms. These seven men were guarded by four sentries armed with rifles.

Somewhat differing explanations were offered me of the reasons for the constant guarding of the natives I observed during the course of the " market." This was first said to be a necessary precaution to insure tranquillity and order within the trading factory during the presence there of so many raw and sturdy savages. But when I drew attention to the close guard kept upon the natives in the drying and cutting sheds, I was told that these were " prisoners." If the rubber brought by its native vendor were found on the weighing machine to be seriously under the required weight, the defaulting individual was detained to be dealt with in the "maison des otages." One such case occurred while I was on the ground. The defaulter was directed to be taken away, and was dragged off by some of the sentries, who forced him on to the ground to remain until the market was over. While being held by these men he struggled to escape, and one of them struck him in the mouth whence blood issued, and he then remained passive. I did not learn how this individual subse- quently purged his offence, hut when on a later occasion I visited the inclosure in front of the prison I counted fifteen men and youths who were being guarded while they worked at mat-making for the use of the station buildings. These men, I was then told, were some of the defaulters of the previous market day, who were being kept as compulsory workmen to make good the deficiency in their rubber.

Payments made to the rubber-brhigers, depending on the quantity brought, con- sisted of knives, matchets, strings of beads, and sometimes a little salt. I saw nuny men who got a wooden handled knife of Sheffield cutlery, good and strong—others got a matchet. The largest of these knives with a 9-inch blade, and the smaller with a 5-inch, cost in Europe, I find, 2s. 10d., and Is. od. per dozen respectively, less 2\ per cent, cash discount. The men who got the knife of the larger kind, or a matchet, had brought in, I understood, a full basket of pure rubber, which may have represented a European valuation of some 27 fr. To the original cost of one of these knives, say 2frf., should be added fully 100 per cent, to cover transport charges, so that their local cost would be about 6d. Among the natives themselves these knives pass at 25 rods (1-25 fr.) and 15 rods (75 centimes) each. From two of these rubber workers I later


49


purchased two of these knives, giving twenty-five teaspoonfuls of salt for the larger, and six teaspoonfuls with an empty bottle for the smaller. From a third member of their party whose payment had consisted of a string of thirty-nine blue and white glass beads (locally valued at 5 rods), I bought his fortnight's salarv for five teaspoonfuls of salt. This youth, indeed, confessed that his basket of rubber had not been so well filled as those of the others.

. I went to the homes of these men some miles away and found out their circumstances. To get the rubber they had first to -o fully a two days' journey from their homes, leaving their wives, and being absent for from five to six days. They were seen to the forest limits under guard, and if not back by the sixth day trouble was likely to ensue. To get the rubber in the forests— which generally speaking are very swampy— involves much fatigue and often fruitless searching for a well-flowing vine. As the area of supplv diminishes, moreover, the demand for rubber constantly increases. Some little time hack I learned the Bougandanga district supplied 7 tons of rubber a-month, a quantity which it was hoped would shortly be increased to 10 tons. The quantity of rubber brought by the three men in question would have represented, probably, for the three of them certainlv not less than 7 kilog. of pure rubber. That would be a very safe estimate, and at an average of 7 fr. per kilog. they might be said to have brought in 21. worth of rubber. In return for this labour, or imposition, they had received goods which cost certainlv under Is., and whose local valuation came to 4-5 rods (Is. 10d.). As this process repeats itself twenty-six times a-year, it will be seen that they would have Yielded 521. m kind at the end of the year to the local factory, and would have received in return some 24s. or 25s. worth of goods, which had a market value on the spot of 21. 7s. Sd. In addition to these formal payments they were liable at times to be dealt with in another manner for should their work, which might have been just as hard, have proved less profitable m its yield of rubber, the local prison would have seen them. The peonle everywhere assured me that they were not happv under this system, and it was apparent to a callous eye that in this they spoke the strict truth.

In September I visited a native* village called D ' :;: "®, situated some miles irom the A.B.I.B. factory at Bongandanga. I went there to see one of the natives, who, with his wife and little children, had come to visit me My going to his town was solely a friendly visit to this man's household, since I was told that he was an excellent character, and one who set a good example to his countrymen. On the way, at some 4 or 5 miles onlv from the A B I E factory, I passed through a part of 1) :: » (which is a very long town) where were several sentries of the A.B.I.B,. Society. One of these had a 6-chamber revolver loaded with six 4'50 Ely cartridges— doubtless given, like the shot-gun at A - for intimidation rather than for actual use. Another sentry present had only his cap-gun. He said there were in this one vdlage six sentries of the A.B.I.B., but that the other four had just gone into Bongandanga guarding some prisoners. These were, it was explained to me, some of the natives of the country side who had not brought in what was thought to be a sufficiency of india-rubber A little further on I met two more sentries of the A.B.I.B. in this town. Coming home from D » « by another road I found two other sentries apparently acting as judges and settling a "palaver" among the natives, this bein» one of the commonest uses to which these men put their authority in their own interest, levvin^ blackmail and interfering in the domestic concerns of the natives by comnellin^ payment for their >' judicial" decisions.

The following day my host at D * * came in to say that the sentries were makin^ trouble with him on account of my visit of the previous day, declaring that they would inform the agent of the A.B.I.B. that he and others had told me lies about their treatment by that Company, and that they would all be put in the prison gang and sent away out of their country. That evening C E spoke to me of my visit to D * * ot the previous day, assuring me that the natives were all liars and rogues. The fact that I had personally gone to see a native community, theoretically as free as I was myself, and that I had spoken at first hand to some of these natives themselves, caused -L could not but perceive, considerable annoyance.

That the fears of my native host were not entirely groundless I subsequently learned by letter from Bongandanga, wherein I was informed that two of his wives and one of the children I had seen had fled in the middle of the night for refuse to the Mission evangelist— the sentries quartered at 1) * - having arrested mv friend at midnight, and that he had been brought in a prisoner to the A.B.I.B. factory.

As to the condition of the men who paid by detention in the "maison des otages" [247] 2


50


their shortcomings in respect of rubber, I was assured by tbc local agent that they were not badly treated and that " they got their food." On the other band, I was assured in many quarters that flogging with the chicottc— or hippopotamus-hide whip— was one of the measures used m dealing with refractory natives in that institution. I was told that men have frequently been seen coming away from the facto 17, after the rubber markets, who had been flogged, and that on two occasions this year, the last of them in March, two natives had been so severely flogged that thev were being carried away by their friends.

  • The A.B.I.R. Society effectually controls the movements of the natives both

by water as well as by land. Since almost every village in the Concession is under control, its male inhabitants are entered in books, and according to age and strength have to furnish rubber or, in the villages close to the factory, food-stuffs, such as antelope meat or wild pig (which the elders are required to hunt), as also the customary kwanga bread, or bananas, and fowls and ducks. An agent showed me some of "these village lists, during the purchasing of the rubber, of the 242 E * «  men, explaining that the impositions against the individuals named are fixed by the Government, and are calculated on the bodily service each man owes it, but from which he is exempted in the Concession in order to work rubber and assist the progressive development of the A. BJ.lt. Company's territory. He added that it was not the few guns ho disposed of at F ;;; * which compelled obedience to this law, but the power of the Congo State "Force Publiqiie" which, if a village absolutely refuses obedience, would be sent to punish the district to compel respect to these civilized rights. He added that, as the punishment inflicted in these cases was terribly severe, it was better that the milder measures and the other expedients he was forced to resort to should not be interfered with. These measures, he said, involved frequent imprisonment of individuals in his local "house of hostages." A truly recalcitrant man, he said, who proved enduringly obstinate in his failure to bring in his allotted share of rubber, would in the end be brought to reason by these means. He would find, I was assured, as a result of his perversity that the whole of his time must be spent either in the prison or else in being marched under guard between it and his native town. Terms of fifteen days, from <* market " day to "market" day, were the usual period of detention, and generally proved sufficient— during which time the prisoners worked around the factory— hut longer periods were not at all unknown. My informant added that an excellent project for dealing with obstinate opponents to the rubber industry had recently been mooted, but had not been carried into practice. This was to transport to the Upper Lopori, or the Upper Maringa, far from their homes and tribes, such men as could not be reclaimed by milder methods. In these distant regions they would have no chance of running away, but would be kept under constant guard and at constant work. This proposal had,* however, been disapproved of by the local authorities. In one town I visited, the Chief and some thirty people gave me the names of several men of the town who had, about eighteen months previously, been transported in this manner to G K " , an A.B.I.R. post, some 340 miles by water from Bongandanga. Three^ whose names were stated, had already died, only two had returned, the others being still detained.

Heaths even in the local prison are not, however, unknown. I heard of several. The late Chief of H * a town I visited with the agent of the AB.LR. station had died some mouths before as the result, it was said, of imprisonment. He had been arrested because another man of the town had not brought in antelope meat when required. After one and a-half months' imprisonment the Chief was released. He was then so weak that he could not walk the 2 miles home to H * but collapsed on the way and died early the following morning. This was on the 14th June last.

On the September a man named T came to see me. He bad been very badly wounded in the thigh, and walked with difficulty. He stated that a sentry of the A.B.X.B., a man named U, had shot him, as I saw; and at the same time had killed V, a friend. The sentries had come to arrest the Chief of H * w on account of meat, which was short for the white man— not the present white man, but another— and his people had gathered around the Chief to protect him. An inquiry I gathered had been held by a Law Officer into this and other outrages committed the previous year, and as a result the sentry U had been removed from the district, T went on "to say to me that this sentry was now back in the country at large, and a free man. When I asked him if he himself had not been com- pensated for the injuries entailing partial disablement he had received, he said: " Four months ago I was- arrested for not having got meat, and was kept one and a-halt


51

months in prison on that account. H. who killed V, and shot me here in the thigh, is a free man, as all men know; but I, who am wounded, have to hunt meat."

This statement I found on fuller inquiry in other quarters was confirmed : and it became apparent that while the murderer was at large, one of those he had seriously injured, and almost incapacitated, was still required to hunt game, and paid for his failure by imprisonment. On further inquiry, I gathered that this occasion was the only one locally known when a qualified Law Officer had ever visited the Lopori, although charges from that region involving very grave accusations bad, on several occasions, been preferred. There being no Magistrate resident in the whole of the A.B.I.R. Concession, inquiries, unless conducted by the agents of the A.B.I.R. themselves, have to be investigated at Coquilhatville— distant fully 270 miles from Bongandanga, and over 400 miles from some parts of the Concession.

It is true an officer of the Congo Executive is deputed to exercise a qualified surveillance within this Concession ; but be is not a qualified Magistrate or legally empowered to act as such.

The occupant of this post is a military officer of inferior rank, who is quartered, with a force of soldiers, near to Basankusu, the chief station of the A.B.I.R. Company.

This officer, when he enters the A.B.I.R. territory, is accompanied by soldiers, and his actions would appear to be generally confined to measures of a punitive kind, the necessity for such measures being that which almost everywhere applies — namely, a refusal of or falling off in the supplies of india-rubber.

At the date of my visit to the Lopori he was engaged in a journey, not uncon- nected with fighting, to the Maringa River. His independence is not complete, nor is. his disassoeiation from the A.B.I.R. Company's agencies as marked a3, in view of the circumstances attending the collection of rubber, it should be.

His journeys up the two great rivers, the Maringa and Lopori, which drain the A.B.I.R, territory, are made on the steamers of that Company, and lie is, to all intents, a guest of the Company's agents.

The supervision of this officer extends also over the course of the Lulongo river, outside the A.B.I.R. Concession, and be it was who had occupied the town of Z ® on an occasion some months before my visit, when two native men had been killed.

The Commissaire- General of the Equator District has also, at recent periods, visited the A.B.T.R. Concession, hut Ibis officer, although the Chief of the Executive and the President of the Territoral Court of the entire district, came as a visitor to the AJ3.I.B. stations and as guest on the steamer of that Company.

lS 7 o steamer belonging to the Congo Government regularly ascends either the lopori or Maringa rivers, and the conveyance of mails from the A.B.I.R. territory depends, for steamer transport, on the two vessels of that Company.

On the 15th June last, the Director of this Company by 'letter informed tbo Missions of Bongandanga and Baringa that he had given orders to the steamers of the Company to refuse the carriage of any letters or correspondence coming from or intended for either of those Mission stations, which are the only European estab- lishments, not belonging to the A.B.I.R. Company, existing within the limits of the' Concession.

Resulting from this order the missionaries at these two isolated posts are now compelled, save when, some three times a year, the Mission steamer visits them, to dispatch all their correspondence by canoes to their agent at Tkau, lying just outside the Concession.

This involves the engagement of paddlers and a canoe journey of 120 to 130 miles from each of these Missions down to Tkau.

But as the A.B.I.R. Company claims a right to interrogate all canoes passing up . or down stream, this mode of transport leaves some elements of insecurity, apart from the delay and inconvenience otherwise entailed.

At the date of my visit to the Concession, the Mission at Baringa, situated ■J 20 miles up the Maringa river, had despatched a canoe manned by native dependents with mails intended for the outer world — the nearest post office being at Coquilhatville, some 260 miles distant.

When seeking to pass the A.B.I.R. station at Waka, situated half-way down the Marmga river, this eanoe was required by the European agent there to land and to deliver to him its correspondence.

The native canoe men reported that this agent had opened the packet and questioned them, and that the letters intrusted to them for delivery to the Mission


52


representative at Tkau were not restored to them without delay and much incon-,

VCUIGHCC

It might not be too much to expect that, in return for the very extensive privileges it enjoys of exploitation of public lands and a large native population, the A.B.I.R Company should be required, in the entire absence of the public flotilla, to lischarge the not onerous task of conveying the public mails by its steamers which so frequently navigate the waterways of the . Concession in the collection oi: india- rubber "

Were a qualified Magistrate appointed to reside within the limits of this Concession— as within the other Tipper Congo Concessions, some of them territories as large as a European State, and still containing a numerous native population—the public service could not but be the gainer.

As it is to-day, no Court is open to the appeals of these people that lies at all within their reach, and no European agency, save isolated Mission stations, has any direct influence upon them except that immediately interested m their profitable exploitation.

It is only right to sav that the present agent of the A. RLE. Society I met at Bongandanga seemed to me to try, in very difficult and embarrassing circumstances, to minimize as far as possible, and within the limits of his duties, the evils of the system I there observed at work.

The requisitions of food- stuffs laid on the villages adjoining the factories were said to be less onerous than those affecting the rubber towns. They rested, I was informed, on the same legal basis as that authorizing rubber working, and a failure to meet them involved the same desultory modes of arrest and imprisonment. During my stay at Bongandanga several instances of arrest in failures of this kind came to my notice. . _ .. J

On a Sunday in August, I saw six of the local sentries going back with cap-guns and ammunition pouches to E' s * after the previous day's market, and later in the day, when in the factory grounds, two armed sentries came up to the agent as we walked, guarding sixteen natives, five men tied neck by neck, with five untied women and six young children. This somewhat embarrassing situation, it was explained to me, was due to the persistent failure of the people of the village these persons came from to supply its proper quota of food. These people, I was told, had just been caotured " on the river" bv one of the sentries placed there to watch the waterway. They had been proceeding in their canoes to some native fishing grounds, and were espied and brought in. I asked if the children also were held responsible for food supplies, and they, alone? with an elderly woman, were released, and told to run over to the Mission, and go to school there. This they did not do, but doubtless returned to their homes in the recalcitrant village. The remaining five men and tour women were led off to the (: maison des otages " under guard of the sentry.

An agent explained that be was forced to catch women in preference to the men as then supplies were brought in quicker; but be did not explain how the children deprived of their parents obtained their own food supplies.

He deplored this hard necessity, but he said the vital needs of his ovvn station, as well as of the local missionaries, who, being guests of the A.B.I.R Society, had to be provided for, sternly imposed it upon him if the peopled failed to keep up their proper supplies.

While we thus talked an armed sentry came along guarding four natives— men-- who were carrying bunches of bananas, a part of another food imposition. This sentry explained to his master that the village he had just visited had failed to give antelope meat, alleging the very heavy rain of the previous night as an excuse for not hunting.

The agent apologized to me for his inability to give me meat during my stay, pointing out the obvious necessitv he now was under of catching some persons without delay. He should certainly, he said, have to send out and catch women that very night.

On leaving the A.B.I.R. grounds, still accompanied by this gentleman, another . batch of men carrying food supplies were marched in by three armed guards, and were conducted towards the " maison des otages,' ' which two other sentries apparently guarded.

At 8 P.M. that evening, just after the Sunday service, a number of women were taken through the Mission grounds past the church by the A.B.I.R. sentries, and in. the morning I was told that three such seizures had been effected during the nigh^ On the 2nd September I met, when walking in the A.B.I.R grounds with tae-


S3

subordinate agent of the factory,- a file of fifteen women, under the guard of three unarmed -sentries, who were being brought in from the adjoining villages, and were led past me. These women, who were evidently wives and mothers, it was explained in answer to my inquiry, had been seized in order to compel their husbands to bring in antelope or other meat which was overdue, and some of which it was very kindly promised should be sent on board my steamer when leaving. As a matter of fact, half an antelope was so sent on board by the good offices of this gentleman.

As I was leaving Bongandanga, on the 3rd September, several elderly Headmen of the neighbouring villages were putting off in their canoes to the opposite forest, to get meat wherewith to redeem their wives, whom I had seen arrested the previous day. I learned later that the husband of one of these women brought in, two days afterwards, to the Mission-station, his infant daughter, who, being deprived of her mother, had fallen seriously ill, and whom he could, not feed. At the request of the missionary this woman was released on the 5th September. I took occasion to say to the agent of the A.B.I.R. Company, before leaving, that the practice of imprisoning women for impositions said to be due by their husbands was to my mind unquestion- ably illegal, and that I should not fail to draw the attention of the Governor- General of the Congo State to what I had seen. The excuse offered, both on this occasion as on others when I had ventured to allude to the condition of the natives around Bongandanga, was that the station compared most favourably with all others within the A.B.I.R Concession, which were run, I was assured, on much sterner lines than those which caused me pain at Bongandanga. I later made official communication to the local Government at Bora a on these points, in so far as the system I had seen at work affected the English missionaries within the A.B.I.R. Concession, and in that letter I sought to show that neither the local agent nor his subordinate were responsible for a state of affairs which greatly wounded the feelings of my countrymen at Bongan- danga, and which had fdled me with a pained surprise. My attention, it was true," had been drawn to the systematic imprisonment of women in parts of the Tipper Congo some two years previously, in a case wherein a British coloured subject— a native of Lagos — along with three Europeans, all of them in the service of the Compagnie Anversoise du Commerce au Congo— a Concession Company — had been charged with various acts of cruelty and oppression which bad caused' much loss of life to the natives in the Mongala region. These men had been arrested by the authorities in the summer of 1900, and had been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, against which they had made appeal. The facts charged against the British coloured subject (who sought my help) were, among others, that he had illegally arrested women and kept them in illegal detention at his trading station, and it was alleged that many of these women bad died of starvation while thus confined. This man himself, when I had visited him in Boma gaol in March 1901, said that more than 100 women and children bad died of starvation at his bands, but that the respon- sibility for both their arrest and his own lack of food to give them was due to his superiors' orders and neglect. The Court of Appeal at Boma gave final Judgment in the case on the 13th February, 1901 ; and in connection with the Lagos man's degree of guilt, a copy of this Judgment, in so far as it affected him, at my request had been communicated to me by the Governor-General. Erom this Judgment I learned that the case against the accused had been clearly proved. Among other extenuating circumstances, which secured, however, a marked reduction of the first sentence imposed on the coloured man, the Court of Appeal cited the following : —

" That it is just to take into account that, by the correspondence produced in the case, the chiefs of the Concessiou Company have, if not by formal orders, at least by tli eir example and their tolerance, induced'their agents to take no account whatever of the rights, property, and lives of the natives ; to use the arms and the soldiers which should have served for their defence and the maintenance of order to force the natives to furnish them with produce and to work for the Company, as all 3 to pursue as rebels and outlaws those wdio sought to escape from the requisitions imposed upon them.

That, above all, the fact that the arrest of women and their detention, to

compel the villages to furnish both produce and workmen, was tolerated and admitted even by certain of the administrative authorities of the region."

I had gathered at the time of this finding of the Boma High Court that steps had then been taken to make it everywhere effective and to insure obedience to the law in this respect, and that a recurrence of the illegalities brought to light in the Mongala region had been rendered impossible in any part of the Congo State. From what I saw during the few days spent in the A. BLR. Concession, and again outside its limits in the Lower Lulongo, it seemed to be clear that the action taken by the


authorities nearly tbree years, ago could not have produced the results undoubtedly then desired.

On my leaving Bongandanga on the 3rd September I returned down the Lopori and Lolongo Rivers, arriving at J** The following day. about 9 at night, some natives of the neighbourhood came to see me, bringing with them a lad of about 16 years of age whose right hand was missing. His name was X and his relatives said they came from K**, a village on the opposite side of the river some few miles away. As it was late at night there was some difficulty in obtaining a translation of their statements, but I gathered that X's hand had been cut off in K** by a sentry of the La Lulanga Company, who was, or had been, quartered there. They said that this sentry, at the time that he had mutilated X, had also shot dead one of the chief men of the town. X, in addition to this mutilation, had been shot in the shoulder blade, and, as a consequence, was deformed. On being shot it was said he had fallen down insensible, and the sentry had then cut off his hand, alleging that he would take it to the Director of the Company at Mampoko. When I asked if this had been done the natives replied that they believed that the hand had onlv been carried part of the way to Mampoko and then thrown away. They did not think the white man had seen it. They went on to say that they had not hitherto made any complaint of this. They declared they had seen no good object in complaining of a case of this kind since they did not hope any good would result to them. They then went on to say that a younger boy than X, at the beginning of this year (as near as they could fix the date at either the end of January or the beginning of February), had been mutilated in a similar way by a sentry of the same trading Company, who was still quartered in their town, and that when they had wished to bring this latter victim with them the sentry had threatened to kill him and that the boy was now in hiding. They begged that I would myself go back with them to their village and ascertain that they were speaking the truth. I thought it my dutv to listen to this appeal, and decided to return with them on the morrow to their town. In the moraine, when about to start for K ** many people from the surrounding country came in to see me. They brought with them three individuals who had been shockingly wounded by gun fire, two men and a very small boy, not more than 6 years of age, and a fourth— a bov child of 6 or 7— whose right hand was cut off at the wrist. One of the men, who had been shot through the arm ; declared that he was Y of L s: % a village situated some miles away. He declared that he had been shot as I saw under the following circumstances : the soldiers bad entered his town, he alleged, to enforce the due fulfilment of the rubber tax due by the community. These men had tied him him up and said that unless be paid 1,000 brass rods to them they would shoot him. Having no rods to give them they had shot him through the arm and had left him. The soldiers implicated he said were four whose names were given me. They were, he believed, all employes of the La Lulanga Company and had come from Mampoko. At the time when he, Y, was shot through the arm the Chief of his town came up and begged the soldiers not to hurt him, but one of them, a man called Z, shot the Chief dead. No white man was with these sentries, or soldiers, at the time. Two of them, Y said, he believed had been sent or taken to Coquilbatville. Two of them— whom he named— he said were still at Mampoko. The people of L*' s had sent to tell the white man at Mampoko of what his soldiers had done. He did not know what punishment, if any, the soldiers had received, for no inquiry had since been made in L nor had any persons in that town been required to testify against their aggressors. This man w~ accompanied by four other men of his town. These four men all corroborated Y statement.

These people were at once followed by two men of M *• situated, they said, close to K. and onlv a few miles distant. They brought with them a full-grown man named A A, whose arm was shattered and greatly swollen through the discharge of a gun, and a small boy named B B, whose left arm was broken in two places from two separate gun shots— the wrist being shattered and the hand wobbling about loose and quite useless. The two men made the following statement : That their town, like all the others in the neighbourhood, was required to furnish a certain quantity of india- rubber fortnightly to the head-quarters of the La Lulanga Company at Mampoko ; that at the time these outrages were committed, which they put at less than a year previously, a man named C C was a sentry of that Company quartered in their village ; that they two now before mc had taken the usual fortnight's rubber to Mampoko. Un returning to M they found that C O, the sentry, had shot dead two. men of the tmvn named D D and E E, and had tied up this man A A and the boy B B, now before me,



55

t0 ir ^Ar Th6 f nt 7J ai i was *> punish the two men for having taken the

rubber to Mampoko without having first shown it to him and paid him a commission

Wed the BUZ™ fTV that ' th 7 ^ at ° nCe returned t0 Mampoko, and had begged the Director of the Company to return with them to M - and see what his servants had done. But, they alleged, he had refused to comply with 'S£%n£ On getting hack to their town they then found that the man A A and the child B B were still tied to the trees, and had been shot in the arms as I now saw. On pleading with the sentry to release these two wounded individuals, he had required a payment of 2,000 brass rods (100 fr.). One of the two men stayed to coHect this money, and another returned to Mampoko to again inform the Director of what had ?w i° Ue \? * tW ° m f* dedared tbat ™ thi ng was done to the sentry C C but II tT 6 T U n^ ^ if , tbe pe °P l8 beWd badly again he ™ to punish them lhe sentry C C, they declared, remained some time longer in M«* and they do not now know where he is. b 5

. These people were immediately followed by a number of natives who came before

a TH na11 &E ° £ T l m ° re than 7 yearS of wbose "* ht ^nd was gone TW ^^f^ name was E F, they had brought from the village

Si£ M ™ " y i f th fi fTJ™™ a -° ^ could not even ^proximately fix the bv 13 I \ ndlCatl f n ?, that P T * was only just able to run) N * * had been attacked by several sentries of the La Lulanga Company. This was owing to their failure in Hf 27 £ SUffi( T Cy ° f mc ia l^ber. They did not know whether these sentries had f 7/ p ny 5 U n ? ea f* ? Ut ? Cy kneW a11 their names ' and tbe Chief of them was fv f V 8 ? 0t dGad the CMef of their t0 ™> a * d the people had run £ P P !t The sentries pursued them, and G G had knocked down the child 1 1 with the butt of his gun and had then cut off his hand Thev declared that the hand of the dead man and of this boy B B had then S carried away by the sentries. The sentries who did this belonged to the La Lulanga

thaTK La 7 °r- " * "J 6 Wh ° a ?P eared ™ th * * went on to sfy

hat they had never complained about it, save to the white man who had then been

that Company s agent at O They had not thought of complaining to the

°l r 16 i 1Stn , Ct k N °* ° nlj Was 116 far awa y> but th *J were ^id thev would not be believed, and they thought the white men only wished for rubber, and that no good could come of pleading with them.

At the same time a number of men followed, with the request that I

SVt t °^ h r- 1 y deC i ai : ed that their P* e . which Ltd formerly

been on the north bank of the X « « River {where I had myself seen it), had now been transferred by force to the south bank, close to the factory at Q*» He said that this act of compulsory transference was the direct act of "the Commissaire- General of the . district. The Commissaire had visited P»» on his

steamer, and had ordered the people of that town to work daily at Q« « for the La Lulanga factory. W had replied that it was too far for the women of P*» S ° JZ y t0 Q " "\ as was re <Bured \ tut the Commissaire, in reply, had nS fif r f/ women and ca V ied them awa 7 with him. The women were taken to Ww'; t ? ^ were taken at the same time. To get these women back,

iftey had paid this money to the Commissaire- General himself. Thev had then been

and e h d IT th f 6 °rr SSai T t0 aband ° n thdr t0W ^ Since ft % ^ ^ W the fLtory and build a fresh town close to Q - so that they might be at hand for the white man s needs. This they had been forced to do-many of them were taken across by force all n 7 6 f S ag ° W thou g h t that this deportation had been effected,

S™H T me , t0 + be ? that 1 would use my influence with the local authorities to. P™t their return to their abandoned home. Where they were now situated close to tL y Z GVe * m °- uaba PPJ' and they only desired to be allowed to return to the former site of B * • They have to take daily to Q « * the following :-

10 baskets gum-copal. 1,000 long canes (termed » ngodji "), which grow in the swamps, and are used m thatching and roofing. 500 bamboos for building.

Each week they are required to deliver at the factory- ■ ;

200 rations of kwanga. 120 rations of fish. | [247] J j


56


In addition, fifty women are required each morning to go to the factory and work there all day. They complained that the remuneration given for these services was most inadequate, and that they were continually beaten. When I asked the Chief w w hy he had not gone to D 1? to complain if the sentries beat him or his people, opening his mouth he pointed to one of the teeth which was just dropping out, and said- "That is what I got from the D E four days ago when I went to tell him what I now say to you." He added that he was frequently beaten, along with others of his people, by the white man. .

One of the men with him, who gave his name as H H, said that two weeks ago the white man at had ordered him to serve as one of the porters or his hammock on a journey he proposed taking inland. HH was then just completing the buildin- of a new house, and excused himself on this" ground, but, offered to fetch a friend as a substitute. The Director of the Company had, in answer to this excuse burnt down his house, alleging that he was insolent. He had had a box of cloth and some ducks in the house-in fact, all his goods, and they were destroyed in the hre The white man then caused him to be tied up, and took him with bim inland, and loosed him when he had to carry the hammock.

Other people were waiting, desirous of speaking with me. but so much time was taken in noting the statements already made that I had to leave, if I hoped to reach K** at a reasonable bour. I proceeded in a canoe across the Lulongo and up a tributary to a landing-place which seemed to be about .... miles from 1- Here, leaving the canoes, we walked for a couple of miles through a flooded forest to reach the village. I found here a sentry of the La Manga Company and a considerable number of natives. After some little delay a boy of about 15 years of age appeared, whose left arm was wrapped up in a dirty rag Hemovin- this, I found the left hand had been hacked off by the wrist, and that a shot hole appeared in the fleshy part of the forearm. The boy, who gave Ins name m 1 1 in answer to my inquiry, said that a sentry of the La Lulanga Company now in the town bad cut off his hand. I proceeded to look for this man who at first could not be found, the natives to a considerable number gathering behind me as I walked through the town. After some delay the sentry appeared, carrying a cap-gun. The boy, whom I placed before him, then accused him to his face of having mutilated him The men of the town, who were questioned in succession, corroborated the boy's statement. The sentry, who gave his name as K K, could make no answer to the charge. He met it by vaguely saying some other sentry of the Company had mutilated 1 1 ; his. predecessor, he said, had cut off several hands, and probably this was one of the victims. The natives around said that there were two other sentries at present in the town, who were not so bad as K K, but that he was a villain As the evidence against him was perfectly clear, man after man standing out and declaring he had seen the act committed, I informed him and the people present that I should appeal to the local authorities for his immediate arrest and trial. In the course of my interrogator several other charges transpired against hum These were of a minor nature, consisting of the usual characteristic acts of blackmailing, only too commonly reported on all sides. One man said that K K had tied up his wife and only released her on payment of 1,000 rods. Another man said that Iv K had robbed Into of two ducks and a dog. These minor offences K K equally demurred to and again said that 1 1 had been mutilated by some other sentry, naming several. 1 took me boy back with me and later brought him to Coquilhatville, where he formally charged K K with the crime, alleging to the Commandant, who took Ins statement, through a special Government interpreter, in my presence, that it had been done "on account of rubber." I have since been informed that, acting on my request, the authorities at Coquilhatville had arrested K K; who presumably will be tried in due course. A copy of my notes taken in K. ::;ii , where 1 1 charged K K before me, is appended (Inclosure 6) * J

It was obviously impossible that I should visit all the villages of the natives who came to beg me to do so at J°° or elsewhere during my journey, or to verity on the spot, as in the case of the hoy, the statements they made. In that one case the truth of the charges preferred was amply demonstrated, and their significant was not diminished by the fact that, whereas this act of mutilation had been com mitted within a few miles of Q», the head-quarters of a European civilizing agencj ,, and the guilty man was still in their midst, armed with the gun with wmon he had first shot his victim (for which he could produce no licence when I asked tot i , saying it was his employers'), no -one of the natives of the terrorised town n»

  • See p. 78.


57

attempted to report the occurrence. They had in the interval visited Mampoko each fortnight with the india-rubber from their district. There was also in their midst another mutilated hoy X, whose hand had been cut off either by this or another sentry. The main waterway of the Lulongo River lay at their doors, and on it well nigh every fortnight a Government steamer had passed up and down stream on its way to bring the india-rubber of the A. B.I. It. Company to Coquilhatville. They possessed, too, some canoes ; and, if all other agencies of relief were closed, the territorial tribunal at Coquilhatville lay open to them, and the journey to it down stream from their village could have been accomplished in some twelve hours. It was no greater journey, indeed, than many of the towns I had elsewhere visited were forced to undertake each week or fortnight to deliver supplies to their local tax collectors. The fact that no effort had been made by these people to secure relief from their unhappy situation impelled me to believe that a very real fear of reporting such occurrences actually existed among them. That everything asserted by such a people, under such circumstances, is strictly true I should in no wise assert; That jj discrepancies must be found in much alleged by such rude savages, to one whose sympathies they sought to awaken, must equally be admitted. But the broad fact remained that their previous silence said more than their present speech. In spite of contradictions, and even seeming misstatements, it was clear that these men were stating either what they bad actually seen with their eyes or firmly believed in their hearts. No one viewing their unhappy surroundings or hearing their appeals, no one at all cognizant of African native life or character, could doubt that they were speaking, in the main, truly; and the unhappy conviction was forced upon me that in the many forest towns behind the screen of trees, which I could not visit, these people were entitled to expect that a civilized administration should be represented among them by other agents than the savages euphemistically termed " forest guards.*, The number of these " forest guards " employed in the service of the various Concession Companies on the Congo must be very considerable ; but it is not only the Concession Companies which employ " forest guards," for I found many of these men in the service of the La Lulanga Company, which is neither a Concession Company nor endowed with any " rights of police," so far as I am aware. In the A.B.I.R. Concession there must be at least twenty stations directed by one or more European agents.

Each one of these " factories " has, with the permission of the Government, an armament of twenty-five rifles. According to this estimate of the A.B.I.B,, factories, and adding the armament of the two steamers that Company possesses, it will he found that this one Concessiou Company employs 550 rifles, with a supply of cartridges not, I believe, as yet legally fixed. These rifles are supposed by law not to he taken from the limits of the factories, whereas the " sentries " or " forest guards "' are quartered in well-nigh every rubber-producing village of the entire Concession.

These men are each armed with a cap-gun, and the amount of ammunition they may individually expend would seem to have no legal limits. These cap- guns can be very effective weapons. On the Lower Lulongo I bought the skin of a fine leopard from a native hunter who had shot the animal the previous day. He produced a cap- gun and his ammunition for my inspection, and I learned from all the men around him that he alone had killed the beast with his own gun. ' This gun, be informed mc, he- had purchased some years ago from a former Commissaire of the Government at Coquilhatville, whose name he gave me.

It would be, I think, a moderate computation to put the number of cap-guns- issued by the A.B.I.E. Company to its " sentries " as being in the proportion of six to one to the number of rifles allowed to each factory. These figures could be easily verified, but whatever the proportion may be of cap-guns to rifles, it is clear that the A.B.I.R. Society alone controls a force of some 500 rifles and a very large stock of cap-guns.

The other Concession Companies on the Congo have similar privileges, so that it might not be an excessive estimate to say that these Companies and the subsidiary ones (not enjoying rights of police) between them, direct an armed force of not less than 10,000 men.

Their " rights of police;' by the Circular of Governor- General "Warns of October 1900, were seemingly limited to the right to " requisition " the Government forces in their neighbourhood to maintain order within the limits of the Concession. That Circular, while it touched upon the arming of " Xapitas " with cap-guns, did not . dearly define the jurisdiction of these men as a police force or their use of that weapon, but it is evident that the Government has been cognizant of, and is respoai- [247] I 2


58


sible for, tlie employment of these armed men. By a Boyal Decree, dated the 10th March, 1892, very clear enactments were promulgated dealing with the use of all fire-arms other than flint-locks. By the terms of this Decree all fire-arms and their munitions, other than flint-lock guns, were required, immediately upon importation, to he deposited in a dep6t or private store placed under the control of the Government. Each weapon imported had to be registered upon its entry into the depot and marked under the supervision of the Administration, and could not be withdrawn thence save on the presentation of a permit to carry arms. These permits to carry arms wore liable each to a tax of 20 fr., and could be withdrawn in case of abuse. By an Ordinance of the Governor-General of the Con^o State, dated the 16th June, 1892, various Regulations making locally effective the foregoing Decree were published. It is clear that the responsibility for the extensive employment of men armed with cap-guns by the various commercial Companies on the Upper Congo rests with the governing authority, which either by law permitted it or did not make effective its own laws.

The six natives brought before me at I •* had all of them been wounded by gun-fire, and the guns in question could only have come into the hands of their assailants through the permission or the neglect of the authorities. Two of these injured individuals were children — one of them certainly not more than 7 years of age — and the other a child (a boy of about; the same age), whose arm was shattered by gun-fire at close quarters. Whatever truth there might be in the direct asser- tions of these people and their relatives, who attested that the attacks upon them had been made by sentries of the La Lulanga Company, it was clear that they had all been attacked by men using guns, which a law already eleven years old had clearly prohibited from being issued, save in special cases, and "to persons who could offer sufficient guarantee that the arms and the munitions which should be delivered to them would not be given, ceded, or sold to third parties "—and, moreover, under a licence which could at any time be withdrawn.

Three of these injured individuals, subsequent to the initial attack upon them, had had their hands cut off — in each case, as it was alleged to me, by a sentry of the La Lulanga Company. In the one case i could alone personally investigate — that of the boy 1 1— I found this accusation proved on the spot, without seemingly a shadow of doubt existing as to the guilt of the accused sentry. These six wounded and mutilated individuals came from villages in the immediate vicinity of I and both from their lips and from those of others who came to me from a greater distance it was clear that these were not the only cases in that neighbourhood. One man, coming from a village 20 miles away, begged me to return with him to his home, where, he asserted, eight of his fellow- villagers had recently been killed by sentries placed there in connection with the fortnightly yield of india-rubber. But my stay at I " sw was necessarily a brief one. I had not time to do more than visit the one village of B and in that village I had only time to investigate the charge brought by 1 1. The country is, moreover, largely swampy forest, and the difficulties of getting through it are very great. A regularly equipped expedition would have been needed, and the means of anything like an exhaustive inquiry were not at my disposal. But it seemed painfully clear to me that the facts brought to my knowledge in a' three days' stay at I would amply justify the most exhaustive inquiry being made into the employment of armed men in that region, and the use to which they put the weapons intrusted to them — ostensibly as the authorized dependants of commercial under- takings. "From, what I had observed in the A. B.I. It. Concession it is equally clear to me that no inquiry could be held to have been exhaustive which did not embrace the territories of that Company also.

The system of quartering Government soldiers in the villages, once universal, has to-day been widely abandoned ; but the abuses once prevalent under this head spring to life in this system of " forest guards," who, over a wide area, represent the only form of local gendarmerie known. But that the practice of employing Govern- ment native soldiers in isolated posts has not disappeared is admitted by the highest authorities.

A Circular on this subject, animadverting on the disregard of the reiterated instructions issued, which had forbidden the employment of black troops unaccom- panied by a European officer, was dispatched by the Governor- General as recently as the 7th September, 1903, during the period I was actually on the Upper Congo. In this Circular the Commandants and officers of the Eorce Publique are required to rigorously observe the oft-repeated instructions on this head, and it is pointed out that, in spite of the most imperative orders forbidding the employment of black soldiers by


59


themselves on the public service — " on continue en maints endroits a pratiquer ce deplorable usage." Copy of this Circular is appended (Id closure 7).*

From my observation of the districts I travelled on in the Upper Congo, it would seem well-nigh impossible for European officers to be always with the soldiers who may be sent on minor expeditions. The number of officers is limited ; they have much to do in drilling their troops, and in camp and station life, while the territory to be exploited is vast. The ramifications of the system of taxation, outlined in the foregoing sketch of it, show it to be of a wide- spread character, and since a more or less constant pressure has to be exercised to keep the taxpayers up to the mark, and over a very wide field, a certain amount of dependance upon the uncontrolled actions of native soldiers (who are the only regular police in the country) must be permitted those responsible for the collection of the tax. The most important article of native taxation in the Upper Congo is unquestionably rubber, and to illustrate the import- ance attaching by their superiors to the collection and augmentation of this tax, the Circular of Governor- General Wahis, addressed to the Commissionaires de District and Chefs de Z6ne on the 29th March, 1901, was issued. A copy of that Circular is attached (Inclosure 8).f

The instructions this Circular conveys would be excellent it coming from the head of a trading house to his subordinates, but addressed, as they are, by a Governor- General to the principal officers of his administration, they reveal a some- what limited conception of public duty. Instead of their energies being directed to the government of their districts, the officers therein addressed could not but feel themselves bound to consider the profitable exploitation of india- rubber as one of the principal functions of Government. Taken into account the interpretation these officials must put upon the positive injunctions of their chief, there can be little doubt that they would look upon the profitable production of india-rubber as among the most important of their duties. The praiseworthy official would be he whose district yielded the best and biggest supply of that commodity ; and, succeeding in this, the means whereby he brought about the enhanced value of that yield would not, it may be believed, be too closely scrutinized.

When it is remembered that the reprimanded officials are the embodiment of all power in their districts, and that the agents they are authorized to employ are an admittedly savage soldiery, the source whence spring the unhappiness and unrest of the native communities I passed through on the Upper Congo need not be sought far beyond the policy dictating this Circular.

I decided, owing to pressure of other duties, to return from Coquilhatville to Stanley Pool. The last incident of my stay in the Upper Congo occurred on the night prior to my departure. Late that night a man came with some natives of the S " s " ffi ' district, represented as his friends, who were fleeing from their homes, and whom he begged me to carry with me to the Erench territory at Lukolela. These were L L of T and seven others. L L stated that, owing to his inability to meet the imposi- tions of the Commissaire of the S- ilf * district, he had, with his family, abandoned his home, and was seeking to reach Lukolela. He had already come 80 miles down stream by canoe, but was now hiding with friends in one of the towns near CoquilhatvUle. Part of the imposition laid upon his town consisted of two goats, which had to be supplied each month for the white man's table at S 00 . As all the goats in his neighbourhood had long since disappeared in meeting these demands, he could now only satisfy this imposition by buying in inland districts such goats as were for sale. Eor these he had to pay 3,000 rods each (150 fr.), and as the Government remuneration amounted to only 100 rods (5 fr.) per goat, he had no further means of maintaining the supply. Having appealed in vain for the remission of this burden, no other course was left him but to fly. I told this man I regretted I could not help him, that his proper course was to appeal for relief to the authorities of the district ; and this failing, to seek the higher authorities at Boma. This, he said, was clearly impossible for him to do. On the last occasion when he had sought the officials at S ss , he had been told that if his next tax were not forthcoming he should go into the " chain gang. 1 ' He added that a neigh- bouring Chief who had failed in this respect had just died in the prison gang, and that such would be his fate if he were caught. He added that, if I disbelieved him, there were those who could vouch for his character and the truth of his statement ; and I told him and his friend that I should inquire in that quarter, but that it was impossible for me assist a fugitive. I added, however, that there was no law on the Congo Statute Book


  • See p. 80.


t See p. 61.


60

which forbade hiui or any other man from travelling freely to any part of the country, and his right to navigate in his canoe the Upper Congo was as good as mine in my steamer or any one else's. He and his people left me at midnight, saying that unless they could get away with me they did not think it possible they could succeed in gaining Lukolela. A person at T ® *, to whom I referred this statement, informed me that LL's statement was true- He said: What L L told you, re price of goats, was perfectly true. At TJ * * they are 3,000, and here they are 2,500 to 3,000 rods. Ducks, are from 200 to 300 rods. Powls are from 60 to 100 rods. Re " dying in the chains," he had every reason to fear this, for recently two Chiefs died in the chain, viz., the- Chief of a little town above TJ B * ; his crime : because he did not move his houses a

few hundred yards to join them to as quickly as the Commissaire thought

should do. Second, the Chief of T * * ; crime : because he did not go up every fortnight with the tax. These two men were chained together and made to carry heavy loads of bricks and water, and were frequently beaten by the soldiers in charge of them. There are witnesses to prove this.

Leaving the township of Coquilhatville on the 11th September, I reached Stanley Pool on the 15th September. . '

1 have, &c


(Signed) E.. CASEMENT.

Inclosure 1 in No. 3. (See p. 2S>.)

Notes on Refugee Tribes encountered in July 1903.

HEARING- of the L * refugees from I * I decided, to visit the nearest Settlement of these fugitives, some 20 miles away, to see them tor myself.

- At N * found large town of K *, and scattered through it many small settlements of L * refugees. The town of N * consists approximately of seventy-one K * houses, and seventy-three occupied by L *. These latter seemed industrious, simple folk, many weaving palm fibre into mats or native cloth ; others had smithies, working brass wire into bracelets,, chains, and anklets ; some iron- workers making knives. Sitting down in one of these blacksmith's sheds, the five men at work ceased and came over to talk to us. I counted ten women, six grown-up men, and eight lads and women in this one shed of L *. I then asked them to tell me why they had left then- homes. Three of the men sat down in front of me, and told a tale which I cannot think can be true, but it seemed to come straight from their hearts. I repeatedly asked certain parts to be gone over again while I wrote in my note-book. The fact of my -writing down aud asking for names, &c, seemed to impress them, and they spoke with what certainly impressed me as being great sincerity.

I asked, first, why they had left their homes, and had come to live in a strange far-off country among the K *, where they owned nothing, and were little better than servitors. All, when this question was put, women as well, shouted out, "On account of the rubber tax levied by the Government posts."

I asked particularly the names of the places whence they had come. They answered they were from V * *. Other L * refugees here at N * were W * *, others again were X * *, but all bad fled from their homes for the same reason— it was the " rubber tax." j

I asked then how this tax was imposed. One of them, who had been hammering out an iron neck collar on my arrival, spoke first. He said : —

" I am N N. These other two beside me are O O and P P, all of us Y **. From our country each village had to take twenty loads of rubber. These loads were big : they were as big as this . . . ." (Producing an empty basket which came nearly up to the handle of my walking-stick.) <f That was the first size. 'We had to fill that up, but as rubber got scarcer the white man reduced the amount. We had to take these loads in four times a-month."

Q. " How much pay did you get for this'? " . .

A. (Entire audience.) " We got no pay ! We got nothing!

And then NN, whom I asked, again said :—

II Our village got cloth and a little salt, but not the people who did the work. Our Chiefs eat up the cloth ; the workers got nothing. The pay was a fathom of cloth and a little salt for every big basket full, but it was given to the Chief, never to the men. .: It used to take ten days to get the twenty baskets of rubber — we were always in the forest and then when we were late we were killed. We had to go further and further into the forest to find the rubber vines, to go without food, and our women had to give up cultivating the fields and gardens. Then we starved. Wild beasts — the leopards— killed some of us when we were working away in the forest, and others got lost or died from exposure and starvation, and we begged the white man to leave us alone, saying we' could get no more rubber, but the white men and their soldiers said: 'Go! You are only beasts yourselves, .you are nyama (meat).' We; tried, always going further into the forest, and when we failed and our rubber was short, the soldiers came to our towns and killed us. Many were .shot, some had their ears cut off; others were tied up wit. i ropes around their necks and bodies' and taken away. The white men sometimes at the posts



did not know of the bad things the soldiers did to us, but if, was the white men who sent the -soldiers to punish us for not bringing in enough rubber." Here P P took up the tale from N N :—

" We said to the white men, ' We are not enough people now to do what you want us. Our country has not many people an it and we are dying fast. We are killed by the work you make us do, by the stoppage of our plantations, and the breaking up of our homes.' The w r hite man looked at us and said: < There are lots of people in Mputu '"" (Europe, the white man's country). " 'If there are lots of people in the white man's country there must be many people in the black man's country.' The white man who said this was the chief white man at F F *, his name was A B, he was a very bad man. Other white men of Bula Matadi who had been bad and wicked were B C, CD, and D E." " These had killed us often, and killed us by their own hands as well as by their soldiers. Some white men were good. These were E F, F G, GH, H I, IK, KL."

'These ones told them to stay in their homes and did not hunt and chase them as the others had done, but after what they had suffered they did not trust more any one's word, and they had fled from their country and were uow going to stay here, far from their homes, in this country ■where there was no rubber.

Q. "How long is it since you left your homes, since the big trouble you speak of ? "

A. " It lasted for three full seasons, and it is now four seasons since we fled and came into the K* country."

Q. " How man}' days is it horn N * to your own country?"

A. "Six days of quick marching. We fled because we could not endure the things done to us. Our Chiefs were hanged, and we were killed and starved and worked beyond endurance to get rubber."

Q. "How do you know it was the white men themselves who ordered these cruel things to be done to you? These things must have been done without the white man's knowledge by the black soldiers."

A, (P P) : "The white men told their soldiers: 'You kill only women; you cannot kill men. You must prove that you kill men.' So then the soldiers when they killed us" (here he stopped and hesitated, and then pointing to the private parts of my bulldog— it was lying asleep at my feet), he said : " then they cut off those things and took them to the white men, who said : ' It is true, you have killed men.' "

Q. "You mean to tell me that any white man ordered your bodies to be mutilated like that, and those parts of you carried to him V

P P, O O, and all (shouting) : " Yes ! many white men. D E did it."

Q. " You say this is true ? Were many of you so treated after being shot ? "

All (shouting out) : " Nkoto ! hlkoto ! " (Very many ! Very many jjj

There was no doubt that these people were not inventing. Their vehemence, their flashing eyes, their excitement, was not simulated. Doubtless they exaggerated the numbers, but they were clearly telling what they knew and loathed. I was told that they often became so furious at the recollection of what had been done to them that they lost control over themselves. One of the men before me was getting into this state now.

I asked whether L* tribes were still running from their country, or whether they now stayed at home and worked voluntarily,

NN answered: "They cannot tun away now — not easily; there are sentries in the country there between the Lake and this ; besides, there arc few people left."

P P said : " W r e heard that letters came to the white men to say that the people were to be well treated. We heard that these letters had been sent by the big white men in 'Mputu' (Europe) ; but our white men tore up these letters, laughing, saying: 'We are the "basango " and " banyanga " (fathers and mothers, i.e., elders). Those who write to us are only " bana " (children).' Since we left our homes the white men have asked us to go home again. We have heard that they want us to go back, but we will not go. We are not warriors, and do not want to fight. We only want to live in peace with our wives and children, and so we stay here among the K *, who are kind to us, and will not return to our homes."

Q. " Would you not like to go back to your homes ? Would you not, in your hearts, all wish to return ? "

A. (By many.) " We loved our country, but we will not trust ourselves to go back."

P P : " Go, you white men, with the steamer to I *, and see wdiat we have told you is true. Perhaps if other white men, who do not hate us, go there, Bula Matadi may stop from hating us, and we may be able to go home again."

I asked to be pointed out any refugees from other tribes, if there were such, and they brought forward a lad who was a X * * and a man of the Z * *. These two, answering me, said there were many with them from their tribes who had fled from their country. .

Went on about fifteen minutes to another L * group of houses in the midst of the K * town. Found here mostly W * * an old Chief sitting in the open village Council- house with a Z * * man and two lads. An old woman soon came and joined, and another man. The woman began talking with much earnestness. She said the Government had worked them so hard they had had no time to tend their fields and gardens, and they had starved to death. Her children had died; her sons had been -killed. The two men, as she spoke, muttered murmurs of assent.

The old Chief said : " We used to hunt elephants long ago, there were plenty in our forests, and we got much meat ; but Bula Matadi killed the elephant hunters because they could not get inbber, and so we starved. We were sent out to get rubber,- and when we came back with little rubber we were shot."


62

Q. "Who. shot you?"

A. " The white men sent their soldiers out to kill us."

Q. "How do you know it was the white man who sent the soldiers? It might be only these savage soldiers themselves."

A. « No, no. Sometimes we brought rubber into the white man's stations. We took rubber to E> E's station, E E *, and to F F * and to .... 's station. When it was not enough rubbei- the white man would put some of us in lines, one behind the other, and would shoot through all our bodies. Sometimes he would shoot us like that with his own hand; sometimes his soldiers would do it."

Q. " You mean to say you were killed in the Government posts themselves by the Government white men themselves, or under their eyes ? "

A. (Emphatically.) " We were killed in the stations of the white men themselves. We were killed by the white man himself. We were shot before his eyes."

The names D E, B C, and L M, were names I heard repeatedly uttered.

The Z * * man said he, too, had fled ; now he lived at peace with the K *.

The abnormal refugee population in tbis one K * town must equal the actual K * population itself. On every hand one finds these refugees. They seem, too, to pass busier lives than their K * hosts, for during all the hot hours of the afternoon, wherever I walked through the town — and I went all through N * until the sun set — I found L * weavers, or iron and brass workers, at work.

Slept at M M's house. Many people coming to talk to us after dark.

Left N * about 8 to return to the Congo bank. On the way back left the main path and struck into one of the side towns, a village called A A *. This lies only some 4 or 5 miles from "the river. Found here thirty-two L * houses with forty-three K *, so that the influx ot fugitives here is almost equal to the original population. Saw many L *. All were frightened, and they and the K * were evidently so ill at ease that I did not care to pause. Spoke to one or two men only as we walked throu gh the town. The L * drew away from us, but on looking back saw many heads popped out of doors of the houses we had passed.

Got back to steamer about noon.

Heard that L * came sometimes to M * from I * I am now 100 miles (about) up-river fro N *. Went into one of the M* country farm towns called B B *. Found on entering plantation two huts with five men and one woman, who I at once recognized by their head-dress as L *,

like those at N *. The chief speaker, a young man named who lives at B B *. He

seems about 22 or 23, and speaks with an air of frankness. He says : " The L * here and others who come to M *, come from a place OC*. It is connected with the lake by a stream. His own town in the district of C C* is D D *. C C* is a big district and had many people. They now bring the Government india-rubber, kwanga, and fowls, and work on broad paths connecting* each village. His own village has to take 300 baskets of india-rubber. They get one piece of cotton cloth, called locally sanza, and no more." (Note. — This cannot be true. He is doubtless exaggerating.) Four other men with him were wearing the rough palm-fibre cloth of the country looms, and they pointed to this as proof that they got no cloth for their labours. K K continuing said : " We were then killed for not bringing hi enough rubber."

Q. " You say you were killed for not bringing in rubber. Were you ever mutilated as proof that the soldiers had killed you ? "

A, " When we were killed the white man was there himself. No proof was needed. Men and women were put in a line with a palm tree and were shot."

Here he took three of the four men sitting down and put them one in line behind the other, and said : " The white men used to put us like that and shoot all with one cartridge. That was often done, and worse things."

Q. " But how, if you now have to work so hard, are you yourselves able to come here to M * to see your friends 1 "

A. " We came away without the sentries or soldiers knowing, but when we get home we may have trouble."

Q. " Do you know the L * who are now at N * ? " (Here I gave the names of N N, 0, and

PP.)

A. " Yes; many L* fled to that country. N N we know ran away on account of the things done to them by the Government white men. The K* and L * have always been friends. That is why the L * fied to them for refuge."

Q. " Are there sentries or soldiers in your villages now ? "

A. "In the chief villages there are always four soldiers with rifles. When natives go out into the forest to collect rubber they would leave one of their number behind to stay and protect the women. Sometimes the soldiers finding him thus refused to believe what he said, and killed him for shirking his work. Tbis often happens."

Asked how far it was from M * to their country they say three days' journey, and then about two days more on to 1 * by water, or three if by land. They begged us to go to their country, they said: "We will show you the road, we will take you there, and you will see how things are, and that our country has been spoiled, and we are speaking the truth."

Left them here and returned to the river bank.

The foregoing entries made at the time in my note-book seemed to me. if not false, greatly exaggerated, although the statements were made with every air of conviction and sincerity. -*- did not again meet with any more L * refugees, for on my return to G * I stayed only a few


63


■ ■!,.■'■■■ ■ •• • • • •• • .-.v-

hours. A few days afterwards, while I was at Stanley Pool, I received farther evidence in alettoi of which the following is an extract : —

  1. # * * * ' : * if'"*" 1 •

" I was sorry not to see you as you passed down, and so missed the opportunity of conveying to you personally a lot, of evidence as to the terrible maladministration practised in the past, in the district. I saw the official at the post of E E *. He is the successor of the infamous wretch D E, of whom you heard so much yourself from the refugees at N *. This D E was in this dis- trict in ...... ., and . . ,, and lie' it was that depopulated the country. His successor, M N, is

very vehement in his denunciations of him, and declares that he will leave nothing undone that he can do to bring him to justice. He is now stationed at G G *, near our station at H H *• Of M N I have nothing to say but praise. In a very difficult positiou he has done wonderfully. The people are beginning to show themselves and gathering about the many posts under his charge. M W told ine that, when he took over the station at E E * from D E he visited the prison, and almost fainted, so horrible was the condition, of the place and the poor wretches in it. He told me of many things he had heard of from the soldiers. Of D E shooting with his own, hand man after man who had come with an insufficient quantity of rubber. Of his putting several one behind the other and shooting them all with one cartridge. Those who accompanied . me, also heard from the soldiers many frightful stories and abundant confirmation of what was told us at N* about the taking to D E of the organs of the men slain by the sentries of the various posts. I saw a letter from the present officer at F F * to M N, in which he upbraids him for not using more vigorous means, telling him to talk less and shoot more, and reprimanding him for not killing more than one in a district under his care where there was a little trouble. M N is due in Belgium in about three months, and says he will land one day and begin denouncing his prede- cessor the next. I received many favours from him, and should be sorry to injure him . in any

way He has already accepted a position iu one of the Companies, being unable to

continue longer in the service of the State. I have never seen in all the different parts of the State which I have visited a neater station, or a district more under control than that over which this M N presides. He is the M N the people of N * told us of, who they said was kind.

" If I can give you any more information, or if there are any questions you would like to piit to me, I shall be glad to serve you, and through you these persecuted people."

From a separate communication, I extract the following paragraphs:—

" I heard of some half-dozen L * who were anxious to visit their old home,

and would be willing to go with me ; so, after procuring some necessary articles in the shape of provisions and barter, I started from our post at N *. It was the end of .the dry season, and many of the water-courses were quite dry, and during some days w;e even found the lack of water somewhat trying. The first two days' travelling was through alternating forest and grass plain, our guides, as far as possible, . avoiding the

villages Getting fresh guides from a little village, we got into a region almost

entirely forested, and later descended into a gloomy valley still dripping from , the rain. According to our guides we should soon be through this, but it was not until the afternoon of the second day after entering that we once more emerged from the gloom. Several times we lost the track, and I had little inclination to blame the guides, for several times the undergrowth and a species of thorn palm were trodden down in all directions by the elephants. It would seem to be a fa vourite hunting ground of theirs, and once we g"t very close to a. large herd who went off at a furious pace, smashing down the small trees, trumpeting, and making altogether a most terrifying noise. The second night in this forest we came across, when looking for the track, a little village of runaways from the rubber district. When assured of our friendliness they took us in and gave us what shelter they could. During the night another tornado swept the country and blew down a rotten tree, some branches of which fell in amongst my tent and the little huts in which some of the boys were sleeping. It was another most narrow escape.

" Early the next day we were conducted by one of the men of this village to the right road, and very soon found ourselves travelling along a track which had evidently been, at only a recent date, opened up by a number of natives. ' What was it? ' ' Oh ! it is the road along which we used to carry rubber to the white men.' 'But why used to?' 'Oh, all the people have either run away, or have been killed or died of starvation, and so there is no one to get rubber any longer.' '

" That day we made a very long march, being nearly nine and a-half hours walking, and passing through se veral other large depopulated districts. On all sides were signs of a very recent large population, but all was as quiet as death, and buffaloes roamed at will amongst the still growing manioc and bananas. It was a sad day, and when, as the sun was setting, we came upon .a large State post we were plunged into still greater grief. True,' there was it comfortable house at our ; service, and houses for all the party ; but we had not been long there before we found that we; had reached the centre of what was once a very thickly populated region, known as (J *, froim which many refugees in the neighbourhood of G* had come. It was here a white man,, known by the name of D E, lived. .... He came to the district, and, after seven months- of diabolical work, left it a waste. Some of the stories current -about him are not fit to record here, but the native evidence is so consistent and so universal; that it is difficult-: to disbelieve- that murder and rapine on a large scale were carried on here. His successor, a man .of a different' nature, and much liked by the people, after more than- two. -and a-half years has succeeded •ha. winning back to the side. of the State post a few natives, and there I saw thefn - in their, wretched little huts, hardly able to call their lives their own in the presence of -the new white man ;( myself),, vdiose coming among them .had set them .-all a-wondering. From : this tjiere wasv no- tear of losing the track. For many miles it was a broad road, from 6 to \Q feet in width, [247] K.

.


64


and wherever there was a possibility of water settling logs were laid down. Some of these viaducts were miles in length, and must have entailed immense labour ; whilst rejoicing in the great facility with wbich we could continue our journey, we could not help , picturing the many cruel scenes which, in all probability, were a constant accompaniment to the laying of these huge logs. I wish to emphasize as much as possible the desolation and emptiness of the countiy -we passed through. That it was only very recently a well-populated country, and, as things go out drere, rather more densely than usual, was very evident. After a few hours we came to a State rubber post. In nearly every instance these posts are most imposing, some of them giving rise to the supposition that several white men were residing in them. But in only one did we find a .white man — the successor of DE. At one place I saw lying about in the grass surrounding the post, which is built on the site of several very large towns, human bones, skulls, and, in some places, complete skeletons. On inquiring the reason for this unusual sight : ' Oh ! ' said my informant, ' When the bambote (soldiers) were sent to make us cut rubber there were so many killed we got tired of burying, and sometimes when we wanted to bury we were not allowed to,' " ' But why did they" kill you so V

" 'Oh! sometimes we were ordered to go, and the sentry would find us preparing food to eat while in the forest, and he would shoot two or three to hurry us along. Sometimes we would try and do a little work on our plantations, so that when the harvest time, came we should have something to eat, and the sentry would shoot some of us to teach us that our business was not to plant but to get rubber. Sometimes we were driven off to live for a fortnight in the. forest without any food and without anything to make a fire with, and many died of cold and hunger. .Sometimes the quantity brought was not sufficient, and then several would be killed to frighten us to bring more. Some tried to run away, and died of hunger and privation in the forest in trying to avoid the State posts.'

" 'But,' said I, ' if the sentries killed you like that, what was the use? You could not bring more, rubber when there were fewer people.'

, •* 1 Oh 1 as to. that, we do not understand it. These are the facts.'

"And looking around on the scene of desolation, on the untended farms and neglected palms, one could not bnt believe that in the main the story was true. From State sentries came confirma- tion and particulars even more horrifying, and the evidence of a white man as to the state of the country — the unspeakable condition of the prisons at the State posts — all combined to convince me over and over again that, during the last seven years, this ' domaine prive ' of King Leopold has been a veritable < hell on earth.'

• l " The present regime seems to be more tolerable, A small payment is made for the rubber now, brought in. A little salt— say a pennyworth — for 2 kilogrammes of rubber, worth in Europe from 6 to 8 fr. The collection is still compulsory, but, compared with what has gone before, the natives consider . themselves fairly treated. There is a coming together of families and com- munities and the re-establishment of villages; but. oh! in what sadly diminished numbers, and with what terrible gaps in the families . . ... Near a large State post we saw the only large and apparently normal village we came across in all. the three weeks we spent in the district. One. was able to form here some estimate of what the population was before the advent of the white man and the search for rubber . . . ,"

. It will be observed that the devastated region whence had come the refugees I saw at N * comprises a part of the " Domaine de la Couronne."


Inclosure 2 in No. 3. (See p. 29.) (A.)

2he Bev. J. Whitehead to Governor-General of Congo State,

■ i - f ■ ■

Dear Sir, Baptist Missionary Society, Lukolela, July 28, 1903.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the Circular and the List of Questions respecting the sleep sickness sent through the Kev. J. L. Forfeitt,

1 h:\sten to do my best in reply, for the matter is of paramount importance, and I trust that if I may seem to trespass beyond my limits in stating my opinions in reference to this awful sickness and matters kindred thereto, my zeal may be interpreted as arising from excessive sorrow and sympathy for a disappearing people. I believe I shall be discharging my duty to the State and His Majesty King Leopold II, whose desire for the facis in the interests of humanity have long been published, if I endeavour to express myself as clearly as I can regarding the necessities of the natives of Lukolela.

?vi?^ population in the villages of Lukolela in January 18 91. must have been not less than -MP*? F-!?P le > kut when I counted the whole population in Lukolela at the end of December 1896 I found it tq be only 719, and I estimated from the decrease, as far as. we could count up the number of known deaths during the year, that at the same rate of decrease in ten years the people would he reduced to about 400, but judge of ray heartache when, on counting them all again on. Friday' and Saturday last to find only a population of 352 people, and the death-rate rapidly increasing; I note also a decrease very appallingly apparent in the inland districts during


svn


the same number of years ; three districts are well-nigh swept out (these are near to the riveriF, : and others are clearly diminished ; so that.it something is not soon done to give the people fieai't a nd remove their fear an d trembling (conditions which generate fruitfully morbid conditions and pronenessto attacks of disease), doubtless the whole place will' be very soon denuded of its population. The pressure under which they live at present is crushing them; the food which they sadly need themselves very often must, under penalty, be carried to the State pOst, also grass, cane string, baskets for the " caoutchouc (the last three items do not appear to be paid for); the "caoutchouc" must be brought in from the inland districts; their Chiefs are being weakened iu their prestige and physique through imprisonment, which is often cruel, and ttms : weakened, in their authority over their own people, they are put into chains for the 'shortage of manioc bread and " caoutchouc;^'

In the riverine part of Lukolela we have done our very best as non-official members of the State to cope with disease in every way possible to us ; but so far the officials of the State have never attempted even the feeblest effort to assist the natives of Lukolela to recover themselves or guard themselves in any way from disease. In times of small-pox, when no time can be lost in the interests of the community, I have, perhaps, gone sometimes beyond my rights as a private citizen in dealing with it. Bnt there has always been the greatest difficulty in getting food for them (the patients) and nurses for them, even when the people were riot compelled to take their food supply to the State post, but when food supplies and labour are compressed into one channel all voluntary philanthropy is paralyzed. It is quite in vain for us to teach these poor people the need of plenty of good food, for we appear to them as those who mock ; they point to the food which must be taken to the post. A weekly tax of 900 brass rods' worth of manioc bread from 160 women, half of whom are not capable of much hard and continuous work, does not leave much margin for therh to listen to teaching concerning personal attention in matters of fobd. "At present they are compelled to supply a number of workmen, and some of these are retained after ^ their terms are completed against their will ; the villages need the presence of their men, there are at present but eighty-two in the villages of Lukolela, and I can see the shadow of death over nearly twenty of them.*

The inland people and their Chiefs tremble when they must go down to the river, so much has been done latterly to shake their confidence, and this fear is not strengthening them physically, but undermining their constitutions, such as they are. They hate the compulsory " caoutohouc " buriuess, and they naturally do their best to get away from it. If something is not quickly done " to give these timid and disheartened people contentment and their home life assured to them, ' sickness will speedily remove many, and those who remain will look upon the white man, of whatever nation or position, as their natural enemy (it is not far from that now). Some have already sworn to die, be killed, or anything else rather than be forced to bring in "caoutchouc," which spells imprisonment and subsequent death to them ; what they hear as having been done they quite imderstand can be done to them, so' they conclude they may as well die first as last. The State has fought with them twice already, if not more ; but it is useless, they will not submit. A cave of Adullam is a thing not always easily reckoned with.

May I be permitted to seize the present opportunity of respectfully pleading on behalf of this" people that their rights be respected, and that the attention as of a father to his children be sympathetically shown them? May I also be permitted to place before you a few suggestions ■ diich have been impelled into my mind face to face with this dying people of what is their need 'bile medical inquiry goes forward, please God, to master this terrible scourge? I suggest the following as immediately needful for the riverine people

1. That the present small population of Lukolela be requested to vacate the present site of their dwellings, and form a community on the somewhat higher ground at present used for gardens, the soil of which has been impoverished by years of manioc growing. This is known by the name Ntomba ; and that they be requested to clear the undergrowth on the beach, the sites of their present dwellings, and plant bananas, &c.

2. That no one known to have sleep-sickness be permitted to dwell on the new site ; but all be removed to a site lower down the river; and' that it shall be the duty of the people to supply " their sick with the necessary food and caretakers. The islands are unsuitable, being uninhabitable for a large part of the year. '

3. That they be compelled to bury their dead at a considerable distance from the dwellings, and to bury them in graves at least a fathom deep, and not as at present in shallow graves in close proximity to the houses.

4. That they be encouraged to build higher houses with more apertures for the ingress of sunshine and air in the daytime, and with floors considerably raised above the outside ground. ' ; ..;/

5. That a strong endeavour be made to get them to provide better latrine arrangements.

6. That they be encouraged to give up eating and drinking together from the same dish" or. Vessel in common.

7. That the men be encouraged to follow their old practices of hunting, fishing, black- fimithhig, &c„ and with the women care for their gardens and homes, and that they be given eyery protection in these duties and in the holding of their property against the State soldiers and workmen and everybody else that wants to interfere with their rights.

. o. AU the .foregoing they will not be able to do unless the present compulsory method of acquiring their labour and their food by the State is exchanged for a voluntary one!

9. That the Chiefs or present chief representatives of the deceased Chiefs among whom the ■

fei'- : : ■ - • '■' tilt - ■ - - - L. ,-. • vilhip?.

  • September 12. Mr. Whitehead informed me when I passed Lukolela this day, nine, of these twenty have died

ho wrote the above.— E. C,

[247] K 2


66


land, was divided before the State came into existence (I believe about three will be found at Lukolela itself) be recognized as the executive of these matters, and that they be requested to devote their levies (restored as of old) made on the produce, &o, of their lands to the betterment of their towns and district, by making mads through their lands, &c.

10. To appoint sentries to carry out either the above or any other beneficent rules in any of the villages would be to endeavour to mend the present deplorable condition with an evil a hundred-fold worse.

All the above suggestions adjusted to suit the locality are equally applicable to the inland districts.

Tn answering the list of questions i would say : —

1. Sleep-sickness is sadly only too well known at Lukolela. It is prevalent in the whole of the riverine and inland districts. In the inland districts I am not yet able to say whether it ie more prevalent than in the riverine oris; that* can only be ascertained by a more prolonged residence there than as yet I have had opportunity to make. In the riverine district I estimate that quite half of the deaths are from sleep-sickness. The cases do not occur in hatches like cases of small-pox and measles do ; there are too many in a given place unaffected at one time. It will, however, gradually sweep away whole families. The common notion among the natives is that the sickness came from down-river ; and it was prevalent, though not to such an extent as now, as far back as the oldest people I have met can remember. Before our Mission waB founded here a suspected ease would be thrown into the river ; but inland I do not think there is any evidence to show that they did otherwise than to-day— nurse their sick perfectly, heedless of the contagion in respect of them (the nurses) or their friends, and, as they do on the beach, bury their dead close to their houses, and in some cases live on the top of the graves.

2. From my own observation (since January 1891) the sickness is endemic ; in the riverine villages the death-rate slowly increased until 1894, when the people quite lost heart and felt their homes were no longer secure to them, and then hunger, improper food, fear, and horn elessness appeared to increase the death-rate from sleep-sickness and other causes most appallingly, and the rate has still further increased, especially during the last two years. The fewer the population becomes the proportionate rate of death increases most fearlully.

3. The district of Lukolela may be described as follows: The beach line is wooded, broken by one or two creeks, one of which winds for a considerable distance mland to a district which can be reached overland by a journey of at least' three days at the shortest. There is more or less of low-lying land connected with the' creeks. The b' miles below the Mission station is lower than the 8 miles above. The high est point of our land is about 19 metres above high-water level, and possibly there is a further rise of 3 metres or so further up stream. The ground which I suggest the people be removed to may be on an average about 12 to 15 metres above high- water level. This ridge of river bank shelves down into low- wooded land and grass plains which are flooded at high water, though for the most part dry at the lowest ebb; then behind these rise small plateaus separated by low valleys of wooded and grassy land. From the pools and streams of this low ground the people get most of their fish; even when the river is at medium height a journey between the various plateaus where the villages and farms are found requires about half the time to be spent in wading, sometimes breast deep,

,4. A large proportion of the population is comprised of slaves, mostly from the tributaries of the Equator district, some from the Mobsi, Liknba, and Likwala peoples on the north bank, some from Ngombe below Irebu, some from as far as the district of Lake Leopold II and other places. All the tribes represented seem equally affected, and neither slave nor freeman seems to have preferential treatment.

  • . 5. To an ordinary observer the men, women, and children appear to be affected alike. It is

not easy to always differentiate the sickness from other maladies, for often it may be that the malady gives rise to various complications; these complications are extremely intractable if sleep- eickness be present. When a man in the prime of life has his prestige and spirit broken through fear and punishment he loses interest in his home, refuses to take food and drink; a sleep-sickness patient will do the same. "With the women in all cases we have known there is also present amenorrhoea; sometimes treatment for this has restored the patient in this respect for a time, but there has in all cases we have known of this sort been a relapse ; so whether the patient died of one or the other would be difficult to say.

6, The well-fed do not seem to fall before the scourge so rapidly as the ill-fed. The progress of the disease seems to us considerably slower as a rule with those who take care of their food and habits, but it attacks even the most scrupulously attentive to these matters.

There is a very bad practice amongst them : they will go sometimes days without eating, although they may have manioc and plantain, and other foods from the soil at hand, simply because they have no fish or flesh to eat with them; sometimes they pinch themselves in food to retain their brass rods for the purchase of some coveted article. The natives to-day are not so careful in the preparation of food, and it is more hastily performed ; the manioc is eaten as nearly the raw state as they dare use it. The bitter manioc is mostly grown, as the yield from it is greater than from any other kind. Plantains are largely eaten roasted, and boiled, and beaten into a pudding. Palm-nuts, too, they are very fond of, and the oil forms a good part of the cooked foods. They use, especially in the absence of fish or flesh, the leaves of the manioc, which are bruised and boiled ; in nearly every case, however, head- and stomach-ache follow, which pass on in a few days if bowels be active.' Well-peppered food they enjoy, aud rotten hell and flesh they do not, as a rule, despise. Their dried fish, of which a large quantity is eaten, is not by any means always free from maggots. Elephant meat seems to give them diarrhoea ; dog-headed bats similarly ; hippo meat generally produces slight constipation. I am afraid a dood deal of disease is- passed from. person, to person in...the,j preparation . of -dbod.. There, is a great deal of.eatiog


together and drinking together from one and the same vessel ; they dip their hands in the mess prepared as they sit round the pot, and I cannot say that they are too careful of the condition of their hands at the time. Clothing is usually scant except for decoration; hence the colder the -whether the less the clothing, the brighter and warmer the more they carry. Washing is not a very frequent exercise among the natives. They like, as a rule, teeth kept clean, washing them every day and after every meal. They like to smear their bodies with oil and camwood. The hair is left undressed or dressed as the case maybe for weeks at a time without further cleansiug. Sleeping is mostly done on raised constructions of sticks, varying from half a-foot from the ground to about 3 feet or so. I am afraid that not much in the way of covering is used while sleeping, a blanket being mostly worn during the day as an article of fine clothing. Many, especially those in temporary residence, sleep on the ground floor with only a mat intervening. Jiggers, bugs, mosquitcs, and vermin abound in their houses on the beach, but jiggers are not so plentiful, and niosquitos very rare inland. The inland people take great care of their water sources, but on the beach the river water is largely used, and this is of a dark brown colour ; some is taken from the creeks, but it is very impure, abounding with decayed vegetation and clay, and some from springs, such as they are, and these are only surface drainings over the clayey subsoil. The f; weepings or their huts and refuse from their food is not thrown far away, sometimes even being quite close up against one of the walls of the hut. In the daytime they relieve themselves in the nearest sheltered spot without further discrimination, and these places, in the present uncleared character of their surroundings, are very close at hand; in the night time they are not so parti- cular, but will even relieve themselves in the open, and on the paths trod by every one. The common belief is that the disease is communicated by means of the secretions, and yet, strange to say, the natives take scarcely any precautions.

■ 7. All the cases we have known have been fatal. We have thought sometimes we have done good with iodide of potassium and cod-liver oil, but if it did any good at all it was only very temporary. We judge from our observations that from the first symptoms which appear to be mental ones, the best cared for cases last for from one to three years. Others in which food is soon refused and neglect is suffered may speedily terminate in a IVw months, or even weeks, from the first certain indications. The first symptoms seem to be mental, the balance of thought fails at intervals, then come the physical signs of pain in the lower part of the back; often thought here to be piles, and they seek the usual remedies for this ; later the pain extends to the whole back and then to the head, especially at the back of the neck, and drowsiness steals over the patient at inconvenient times, often the eyes become staring, the face assumes a haggard ap- pearance, and anaemia casts its pallor over the whole body ; intelligence rapidly diminishes, and often the patient dies foaming at the mouth ; if burial does not take place quickly maggots soon make their appearance in the body. When the natives begin to stuff their remedies up their patient's nostrils to take away the " confusion of eyes" (a phrase which they use to describe a person going out of his senses) the patient will v^ry likely become violently deranged, and then he has to be forcibly restrained in stocks or otherwise.

Isolation is undoubtedly the first thing to do, but when to begin the isolation is a difficulty, and when that is settled to maintain the isolation is still a greater one. The patients could not be left to die, they would need food, attending to (for they become so helpless latterly) and burying, and almost all who undertook that work would be sure eventually to succomb. To get a person here, however, to look after somebody else's relative is a well nigh impossibility by moral suasion.

I should have noted above that the experiment of better houses, such as the youths and workmen have built in the little village adjoining the Mission station (wattle and daub, with good iiigh roofs), have given no benefit whatever. Very few of them will be able to remain for more than one or two years; the occupants are showing signs that are ominous ; we shall need to burn them down at the decease of the occupants.

Apologizing for trespassing on your attention at so great a length, I beg you to accept, &c.

(Signed) JOHN WHITEHEAD


(B.). " '

Ihe fiev. J. Whitehead to Governor- General of Congo State.

Baptist Missionary Society, Lukolela, Haut Congo. Dear Sir, _ September 7, 1903.

I HAVE recently paid a visit, along with my wife, to the inland district of Lukolela, and I have bad related to me such accounts, and have myself seen such evidence of what seems to me both illegal and cruel occurrences, that my blood had been made to boil with indignation and abhorrence. I take upon myself the humanitarian duty, which is truly the call of God, to supplement my letter to you on the subject of sleep-sickness and the general decline of these peoples, and confirm some of my statements by the presentation of facts of which I have the knowledge. It may be that in some of my statements I -may be trusting to bruised reeds, but, as far as possible, I am persuaded of the truth uf what I present to your consideration.

On the 16th August, 1902, I called the attention of the Commissaire-General at Leopold ville to a murder which had been committed by a soldier by shooting two men while still in the chain.


68


They had been sent, in addition, to a youth who was walking unchained to draw water from a pool some 2 kilom. distant from the lower post of Lukolela by a telegraph clerk named M. Gadot (M. de Becker being the Chef de Poste resident at the upper station). The unchained youth was flogged by the soldier by a cliicotte taken from a house on the way, and the youth fled, and the soldier shot the two men left. My letter was taken down river by a steamer which passed here in course of a week. Nothing was done by the men in charge of the posts here until, by letter of the 15th September, 1902, 1 was requested by the Ch«f de Post to send up my witnesses. Those witnesses could have been had the same day of the deed if the officers had done their duty. I went up with such witnesses as I was able to get together, and their evidence was taken Nothing more was heard of the matter until the 24th April of this year, when I received a note from the State Agent here asking for certain people attached to our station, whose names he gave. He did not mention the reason of their being required at Leopoldville, but I guessed the reason. I was only able to send one of them, one other having returned to his home, and another being near to death. The man resident in the village, who was one of the witnesses I took up previously, was sent for to the State post and detained, and not allowed to return to make any provision of Ins journey to the pooh My apprentice and this man went down to the pool to bear witness concerning that murder ; on the way the captain of the steamer ordered them off to carry and cut firewood ; they demurred, naturally, but for peace sake did a little. In a storm of rain the shelter of the large steamer was denied them, and they spent the night sitting on the beach— the , two of them beneath one frail umbrella. When they arrived at the pool, no one seemed to know why they had come ; they were sent from pillar to post, then there seems to have been discovered some reason or other to interrogate them. The soldier concerned was with his fellows just the same as though there was no trial, and had, indeed, been no wrong done. But for the friendly offices of a sister Mission these two witnesses would have fared very badly during the six weeks they were detained at Leopoldville; they were practically shelterless and unfed; even as it was, they were hungry enough. At length they returned by our Mission steamer. It seems that the only sufferers in the matter were myself, in the loss of my apprentice for six weeks, and his loss of six weeks' wages, together with his considerable discomfort and the loss of the man from the village — not much, perhaps, in the eyes of the officials of the State, but much to them; then all their suffering is easily traceable to myself, for if I had not drawn the Comnhssaire's attention to the murder no witnesses would have been' necessary, for wbo would have mentioned it? Considering the way in which this matter Was" dealt with, and the witnesses I produced were treated, I hesitate to bring other matters to light. The treatment these witnesses received only strengthens the distrust of the State, which, m this place, everywhere abounds. I there! ore appeal for just treatment of witnesses and those : who bring wrong-doing to light.

On the 6th March, 1903, I reported to the State Agent here (M, Lecomte) that I had seen at Mibenga a Chief, named Mopali, of Ngelo, who had been carried from the Lukolela post, where he had been imprisoned, so as to induce his village to bring more rubber. ELis head was wounded as with an iron instrument of some kind, his lips were swollen as if from a severe blow, and his legs were damaged as with blows from sticks. He and his bearer asserted that these wounds were given him while he was chained and made to carry firev-ood. M. Lecomte replied that the man had been seen by him before he left, and he was then all right and asked for my witnesses. I replied that the man himself and bearer were my informants. He said he wished to trace the doers of the deed. Nothing more was heard of the matter, so later I acquainted the Directeur- General at Leopoldville by letter, dated the 10th July, of the factsl Meanwhde, up to the present, I have heard of nothing being done in the matter, only a repetition" of a similar case.

1 was at the village of Mopali on the 18th August, and I inquired for the poor fellow ; some said he was dead, but most said that he had been carried by his wife, at his own request, away out of the way, so that he should not be found. He was afraid of the State chaining him again. From them I heard he had been even worse maltreated thau at first I knew ; they told me that his feet had been cut so that he despaired of walking again, and those who had seen him last said he got along by dragging himself along on his buttocks. I asked them pointedly whether they heard from Mopali where he got his wounds ; was it not after he left the white man's presence? With one voice the little crowd I asked replied, "No; he received those wounds while in the chain." I gathered also that at first they were forced to take five baskets of rubber, and to make them take ten they had chained up Mopali, and that two more baskets had been recently added,

I learnt also that the youth who had run away from the soldier on the occasion of the murder of the two chained prisoners was dead. I asked how it was he was imprisoned at the post ; they explained that he was taken to free his master from the chain, which had been put round his neck, to get more rubber from his village, and both youth and master were since dead. They recounted these things to me, and asked me if they were just. A case-hardened Jesuit would find it difficult to say yes. I could only blush with shame and say they were unjust.

On the 17th August, at' Mibenga, the Chief, Lisanginya, made a statement to me in the presence of others, to the following effect : They had taken the usual tax of eight baskets of rubber, and he was sent for (I think it was the 8th June when he passed on his way through our station), and the white man (M. Lecomte, M. Gadot also being present) said the baskets were top few, and that they must bring other three ; meanwhile, they put the chain round his neck, the soldiers beat him with sticks, he had to cut firewood, to carry heavy junks, and to haul logs in common with others. Three moruings he was compelled to carry the receptacle from the white man's latrine and empty it in the river. On the third day (sickening to relate) he was made to drink therefrom by a soldier named Lisasi. A youth named Masuka was in the chain at the same


»


place and time, and saw_ the thing done. When the three extra baskets were produced he was set at liberty. He was ill for several days after his return. I referred to this in my letter of the 28th July, but it was too horrible a thing to write the additional item until I had heard the thing from the man's own lips. I blush again and again as I hear the fame of the State wherever I go, that when they chain a man now at the post they may make the chained unfortunate drink the white man's defecations.

In the evening of the 21st August, on returning to Mibenga, from a more inland town Bokoko, Mrs. Whitehead and myself saw Mpombo of Bobanga, village of Mbongi, some distance inland. He was in a horrible state. He stated that he hacftaken ten baskets of rubber to the post, and they wanted one more, so they chained him up to get it. He stated that he had been roughly treated by Mazamba, who had charge of bim. In his utter weakness, he had stayed at Libonga (which was a village on the way), to get stronger, for about thirteen days. What must have been his condition when he arrived there I cannot imagine ; he was so bad when I saw him at Mibenga. His left wrist appeared to be broken (broken by a log of wood, too heavy for him. slipping from his shoulder), one finger of the right hand was severely bruised, and had developed a large sore (this had been done he said with a stick with which he had been beaten), his back was badly bruised, the left shoulder was much bruised, and had been evidently slit with a knife, the left knee was bruised and feet swollen from being badly beaten, and altogether he was in a very disordered condition.

Later, I met Mabungikindo, a Chief from Bokoko, a large town inland, who was also returning from the chain in which he had been detained to get three more baskets of rubber. Their tax of rubber I understand had been doubled this year, and this was to get three more on the top of that. Poor fellow ! How thin his thick-set frame had become ! He was wearing his State Chiefs medal. He took it in his hand and asked me to look at it. I cringed with shame. He asked me if we did that sort of thing in our country. I replied we did not. And this - he

I said is how the State treats us : gives us this, and chains up the wearer and beats him. Is that good? Do you wonder, Sir, that the natives hate the State, and that its fame is almost impossible of cleansing in this part? Again and again I had the painful fortune to meet men coming back_ from imprisonment on account of rubber. The State through its Agents at Lukolela is driving these undisciplined people to desperation and rebellion. There is a rumour set abroad from the State post that the soldiers are coming from Yumbi to fight the inland

■ people because of some words which have been brought back from Bolebe and Bonginda. If we are going to have another war, it will be one which has been engendered by this sort of treatment ■ ,

Allow me to trespass on your patience with another story of injustice which can scarcely be equalled by any of these barbarians. At Mibenga' the Chiefs on the 14th August had great difficulty in getting their young men to carry down the tax of 500 mitakos' worth of manioc bread. This w r as owing to the fact that a youth named Litambala had run away from the post. The carriers usually returned the following day, but it was not till the morning of Sunday, the 16th, that they arrived, and it was found that one of them, named Mpia, had been chained up for Litambala. To deal thus with w-hat is called a market is in the native eyes (and not unjustly so) pure treachery. Why had been Litambala detained? I will explain. Sometime ago a youth named Yamboisele was living on the river side, although a native of Mibenga; he fell ill of small-pox, and I nursed him through it — it was very bad. And it was only with diligent and careful nursing that he was saved from imminent death. After his recovery he did odd jobs about the station, and, unfortunately, began to be dishonest. When he was found out he was dismissed. I presumed he would return to his own home, but he engaged himself at the State. After some time he ran away, and although he had engaged himself without his people's knowledge his Chief, Lisanginya., was sent for, and they chained him up as a hostage for a replace for Yamboisele; after a brief space, the same day, on a promise of sending someone, he was released, and he sent a youth named Bondumbu. Presently Yamboisele turned up at Mibenga, and they took him to the post and asked for the release of Bomdumbu. They refused to release Bondumbu, and retained also Yamboisele. Presently Yamboisele (report says) was sent with 2,000 mitakos and 10 demijohns for water to the lower post, some distance down river, and he made off with the lot to the French side. When the earners came down from Mibenga on the Saturday (this was the 16th May) they chained np Moboma, and he was beaten by the soldiers : I myself saw the weals from the strokes. The rest of the youths pleaded that he should not be tied up, as he did not belong to the same Chief, so they released him and chained np Manzinda. Next week they released him and chained up Mola, who had come down also as a carrier.

After two weeks the white man (the natives say it was M, Gado) sent Mango' (a native of the village of Lukolela, not then in the employ of the State) to tie up a man to come and work in place of Mola. Lisanginya, the Chief, w r as away at time, but the man tied _ up Litambala and took him to the . State, and Mola was set at liberty. Litambala continued a little time, till at length he was given some work to do, which he thought, he ■was not strong enough for, and so ran away. Then in the week following the chaining of Mpia, so much trouble seemed likely to ensue in getting carriers for the manioc bread," and much recrimination of one another in the village, that Mombai, an able-bodied and diligent man, went to the post and gave himself up to free Mpia. But Yamboisele has not been

heard of.

I have had several cases brought to my knowledge lately of the mode of slavery adopted at the post. Briefly, it is as follows : a man for some reason (sometimes his own and some- tunes not) commences work at the post ; he completes his term, and he. is told he cannot We his pay unless he engages himself another term or brings another in his place. I know


70


those who have left the earnings in the hands of the Chef de Poste rather than begin again. Such compulsion is contrary to civilized law, and is rightly termed slavery, and is utterly illegal. I quote one case in point— a recent one. On the 26th August I noticed a lad, Ngodele, at Mibenga ; I noticed he was a lad from the State post, and I inquired why he was not at his work. The information was given that his term was finished, and the white man had sent him to say that when they sent another in his place he would give him his pay. I learnt that Ngondele bad been compelled to go by his Chief, because the Chef de Poste had demanded some one to fill the place of another named Mokwala, who had died at the post.

I appeal to you, Sir, that these things may cease from being perpetrated on your subjects, and this defaming of the name of the State.

Accept, &c, (Signed) JOHN WHITEHEAD,


lnclosure 3 in No. 3.

(See p. 33.)

Statement in regard to (he Condition of the Natives in Lake Mantumba region during the period of the

Rubber Wars which began in 1893.

THE disturbance consequent on the attempt to levy a rubber tax in this district, a tax which has since been disc on tinned, appears to have endured up to 1 900.

The population during the continuance of these wars diminished, I estimate, by some 60 per cent., and the remnant of the inhabitants are only now, in many cases, returning to their destroyed or abandoned villages.

Daring the period 1893-1901 the Congo State commenced the system of compelling the natives to collect rubber, and insisted that the inhabitants of the district should not go out of it to sell their produce to traders.

The population of the country then was not largo, but there were numerous villages with an active people — very many children, healthy looking and playful. They had good huts, large planta- tions of plaintains and manioc, and they were evidently rich, for their women were nearly all ornamented with brass anklets, bracelets, and neck rings, and other ornaments.

The following is a list of towns or villages — giving their approximate population in the year 1893 and at the present time. These figures are very carefully estimated : —



1893.


1903.


Botunu


500


80


Bosende


600



Sfgombe


500


40


Irebo


3,000


CO


Bokaka


500


30


Lobwaka


200


30


Boboko


300


35


Mwenge


150


30


Boongo


mo


50


Jtuta


300


60


Ikenzo


320


20


Ngero


2,500


300


Mwe.be


700


75


Ikoko


2,500


800


Remarks .


These are not in the old village,

but near it. Now a State camp with hundreds

of soldiers acid women.


In several small clusters of huts.

Including fishing camps.

' — ~~ ' - '■ ■ ' — —


This list can be extended to double this number of villages, and in every case there has been a great decrease in the population. This has been, to a very great extent, caused by the extreme measures resorted to by officers of the State, and the freedom enjoyed by the soldiers to do jus as they pleased. There £tre more people in the district near the villages mentioned, but they are hidden away in the bush like hunted animals, with only a few branches thrown together for shelter, for they have no trust that the present quiet state of things will continue, and they have no heart to build houses or make good gardens. In all the villages mentioned there are very few good huts, and' when the natives are nrged to make better houses for the sake of their health, the reply is, that there is no advantage to them in building good houses or making extensive gardens, as these would only give the State a greater hold upon them and lead to more exorbitaut demands. The decrease has several causes : —

l.O* was deserted because of demands made for rubber by M. N and several others were similar cases. The natives went to the French territory.

2. " War,'-' in which children and women were killed as well as men. Women and children were killed not in all causes by stray bullets, but were taken as prisoners and killed. Sad to say, these horrible cases were not always the acts of some black soldier. Proof was laid against one officer who shot one woman and one man, while they were before him as prisoners with their hands tied, and no attempt was made by the accused to deny the truth of the statement. To those killed in the so-called "war" must be added large numbers of those


7t


who died while kept as prisoners of war. Others were carried to far- distant camps, and have never returned. Many of the young were sent to Missions, and the death-rate was enormous. Here is one example: Ten children were sent from a State steamer to a Mission, and in spite of comfortable surroundings there were only three alive at the end of a month. The others had died of dysentery and bowel troubles contracted dnriug the voyage. Two more struggled on for about fifteen months, but never recovered strength, and at last died. In less than two years onlv one of the ten was alive.

3. Another cause of the decrease is that the natives are weakened in body through insufficient and irregular food supply. They cannot resist disease as of old. In spite of assurances that the old state of things will not come again, the native refuses to build good houses, make large gardens, and make the best of the new surroundings— he is without ambition because without hope, and when sickness comes he does not seem to care.

4. Again a lower percentage of births lessen the population. Weakened bodies is one cause of this. Another reason is that women refuse to bear children, and take means to save themselves from motherhood. They give as the reason that if "war" should come a woman "big with child," or with a baby to carry, cannot well run away and hido from the soldiers. Confidence will, no doubt, be restored, but it grows but slowly.

There are two points in connection with the " war" (so-called) : —

(1.) The cause.

(2.) The manner in which it was conducted.

. -p

(1.) The natives never had obeyed any other man than their own Chiefs. When Leopold If became then- King they were not aware of the fact, nor had they any hand in the making of the new arrangement. Demands were made on them, and they did not understand why thov should obey the stranger. Some of the demands were not excessive, hut others were simrdv nnpossible. From the OH* people and the O * group of towns large demands of rubber were made. Ihere was not much within their reach, and it was a dangerous thine- to be ■< stranger m a strange part of the forests. The * people offered to pay a monthly tribute of goats, fowls, &c, but M. N O would have rubber, so they left. The ixll* had to bear the scourge of war frequently and many were killed. Now they supply what they probably would have supplied without the loss ot one person, kwanga and fresh meats, and roofing materials and mats. Rubber was demanded from some others and war resulted. These are now providing th£ State with fish and fowls. r &

_ Another fertile source of war lay in the actions of the native soldiers. Generally spealdiK>- their statements against other natives were received as truth that needed no support Take tbo following as an example: One morning it was reported that State soldiers had shot several people near the channel leading from H K * to the Congo. Several canoes full of manioc had been also seized, and the friends of the dead and owners of two of the canoes asked that they might have the canoes and food, and that they might take the bodies and bury them. But this was refused. It was alleged the people were shot in the act of deserting from the State into trench territory. Ihe Chief who was shot was actually returning from havino- gone with ■* message from M, OP to a village, and was killed east of the camp and of his" home while 1< ranee lay to the west. The soldiers said that the people had been challenged to stop and that they refused and that they had been shot as they paddled away. But really they had landed when called by the soldiers; they had been tied hand and foot, and then "shot One woman had struggled when shot, and had broken the vines with which her feet were tied and she, though wounded, tried to escape. A second bullet made her fall, but yet she rose and ran a tew steps, when a third bullet laid her low. Their bands had all been taken off— ie the right hand of each-for evidence of the faithfulness of the soldiers. M. O P shot two of the soldiers, but the leader of the party was not shot, though the whole matter was carried thronHi by him, and he it was that gave M. OP the false report. °

A Chief complained that certain soldiers had taken his wives and had stolen all of life belongings that they cared to have. He made no complaint against the " tax " that the soldiers had gone there to secure, but told of the cruelty and oppression of the soldiers carried on for - then own gam. The white officer kicked him off the verandah and said that he told many lies itie Chief turned round with fury written on his face, stood silently looking at the white man, and then stalked off; two days later there was a report that all the soldiers with their - wives and followers had been killed in that Chief's town. A little later the white officer who rehired to set matters right, along with another Belgian officer, were killed with a number of ma soldiers m an expedition for the purpose of punishing the Chief and his people for killing - the first lot of soldiers. 1 r b

After the rubber demand was withdrawn, in some places labour was demanded. A very large- proportion of the women from this village had to go to P * every week and work there two days, luey returned here on the third day. Nearly every week there were complaints made that' someone s wife had been kept by a soldier, and when it was suggested that the husband gwud ™>mu go and report the matter to the white man, they would reply: " We dare not" Xheir fear was not so much of the white man but of the black soldiers.

(2.) The manner in which this war was conducted was very objectionable to any one with European ideas. The natives attacked P * and O *, but that was only after numerous expeditions had been made against them, and the whole population roused against the " white num.' In 99 per cent, of the "wara" in this district the cause was simply failure on the part of we people to supply produce, labour, or men, as demanded by the State. There was the Ion* struggle W ]th LLLm his long resistance to State authority ; but he at first was known as t i 24 U L


- qiifei man: wko tried to please the State; and he only started on his career as a fighting man 1 after • he 1 had been out to help- Mv N 0. After the departure of M. N to Colquilhatville, he went hack

and made demands and fought the people as he had done with M. N as his Chief.

When this matter was reported to M. N O, he was angry, and called the Chief a " brigand^'

and said that he would be punished. . For numerous offences he was put " on the chain," and some

timo after his release the fight occurred fin which fight the two white men were killed) and he

joined with others in an in effectual attempt, to drive out the white man.

lu most of the fights then the natives were merely trying to defend themselves and their

homes from attacks made on them by black soldiers sent to "punish them for some failure to

do their dtity to the State ;" and if tbe cause for war was weak, the way in which it was carried ' s on was often revolting. It was stated that these soldiers were often sent out to make war on a

village without a white officer accompanying them, so that there was nothing to keep them

frqm awful excesses.

It is averred that canoes have been seen returning from distant expeditions with no white man in charge, and with human hands dangling from a stick in the bow of the canoe — or in small baskets — being carried to the white man as proofs of their courage and devotion to duty. If one in fifty of native reports are true, there has been great lack on the part of some white men. They, too, are accused of forgetting the subjects and conditions of war.

Statements made to me by certain natives are appended.

Many similar statements were made to me during the time I spent at Lake Mantumba, some .of those made by native men being unfit for repetition.


........ . . .

Q Q's Statement.

I was born at K K *. After my father died my mother and I went to L L *. When we ' returned to K K * soon after that P Q came to fight with us because of rubber. KK * did not want to take rubber to the white man. We and our mothers ran away very far into the bush. The Bula Matadi soldiers were very strong and they fought hard, one soldier was killed, and they killed one KK* man. Then the white man said let us go home, and they went home, and then we, too, came out of the bush. This was the first fight. After that another fighting took place. I, my mother, grandmother, and my sister, we ran away into the bush. The soldiers came and fought us, and left the town and followed us into the bush. When the soldiers came into the bush near us they were calling my mother by name, and I was going to answer, but my mother put her hand to my mouth to stop me. Then they went to another side, and then we left, that place and went to another. When they called my mother, if she had not stopped me from answering, we would all have been killed then. A great number of our people were killed by the soldiers. The friends who were left buried the dead bodies, and there was very much weeping. After that there was not any fighting for some time. Then the soldiers came again to fight with us, and we ran into the bush, but they really came to fight with M M * They killed a lot of MM* people, and then one soldier came out to KK* and the KK* people killed him with a spear. And when the other soldiers heard that their friend was killed they came in a large number and followed us into the bush. '■ Then the soldiers fired a gun, and some people were killed. After that they saw a little bit of my mother's head, and the soldiers ran quickly towards the place where we were and caught my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and another little one, younger than us. Several of the soldiers argued about my mother, because each wanted her for a wife, so they finally decidad to kill her. They killed her with a gun — they shot her through the stomach— and she fell, and when I saw that I cried very much, because they killed my mother and grandmother, and I was left alone. My mother was near to the time of her confinement at that time. And they killed my grandmother too, and I saw it all done. They took hold of my sister and asked where her older sister was, and she said : " She has just run away." They said, " Call her." She called me, but I was too frightened and would not answer, and I ran and went away and came out at another place, and 1 could not speak much because my throat was very sore. I saw a little bit kwanga lying on the ground and I picked it up to eat. At that place there used to be a lot of people, but when I got there there were none. My sister was taken to P *, and I was at this place alone. One day I saw a man coming from the back eouutry. He was going to kill me, but afterwards he

took me to a place where there were people, and there I saw my step-father • « 

He asked to buy me from this man, but the man would not let him. He said, " She is my slave now ; I found her." One day the men went out fibbing, and when I looked I saw the soldiers coming, so I ran away, but a string caught my foot and I fell, and a soldier named N N ^ caught me. He handed me over to another soldier, and as we went we saw some Q * V Q0 V# fishing, and the soldiers took a lot of fish from them and a Q * woman, and we went to 1 , and they took me to the white man.

  • * » * * * *

(Signed) Q Q-

Signed by Q Q before me,

(Signed) Roger Casement,

His Britannic Majenttfs Consul. .


'^':v\ • 1< Sh Statement, t


'L'"R R, came from-NN'*. ' N N * and R * fought, and they killed several ' R *;ipeOfde,. and one R* man took a mam and sent ■ him to L L L to go and< tell the white mm- to come and fight with Nkoho. . The white man who fought with N N* first was *amed QR.* He fought with us in the morning; then I ran away with my mother. Then tb« .men came to call us back to our town. When we were returning to our town, as we were nearing, we asked how many people were killed, and they told us three were killed. Q R had :btti>ned down all the houses, so we were scattered to other places again; only some of the men. 1 were' left' to build again. After a while we returned to our town and began to plant our gardens. a£-. have finished the first part of the story. '

We stayed a long time at our town, then the white man who fought with N.N:* first went and told R S that the N N * people were very strong, so R S made up his mind to! come and fight us. When he came to * we heard the news ; it was high -water season. We got into our canoes to run away, but the men stayed behind to wait for the soldiers. When .the white man came he did not try to fight them during the day. but went to the back and waited for night to come. When the soldiers came at night the people ran away, so they did not kill anybody, only a sick man whom they found in a house, whom they (the soldiers) killed and disfigured his body very much. They hunted out all the native money they could get, and in the morning they went away. After they went away we came back to the' town, but we, found it was all destroyed. We remained in our town a long time ; the white man did not come back to fight with us. After a while we heard that RS was coming to fight us, RS sent some' Q * men to tell the NN* people to send people to go and work for him, and also -to send goats. The NN* people would not do it, bo he went to fight our town. When we were told by the men that the soldiers were coming, we began to run away. My mother told me to wait for her until she got some things ready to take with us, but I told her we must go now, as the soldiers were coming. I ran away and left my mother, and went with two old people who were running away, but we were caught, and the old people were killed, and the soldiers made me carry the baskets with the things these dead people had and the hands they cut off. I went on with the soldiers. Then we came to another to wn, and they asked me the way and the name of the place, and I said " I do not know ;" but they said, " If you do. not tell us we will kill you,"! w I told them the name of the town. Then we went into : the bush to look for people,' and we heard children crying, and a soldier went quickly over to the place and killed a mother and .four- children, and then we left off looking for the people in the bush, and they asked m£ again to show them the way out, and if I did not they would kill me, so I showed them the way. They took me to R S, and be told me to go and stay with the soldier who caught me. They tied/ up six people, but I cannot tell how many people were killed, because there were too many for, me to count. They got my little sister and killed her, and threw her into a house and set fire .to the house. When finished with that we went to 00 *, and stayed there four days, and then we went to P P *, and because the people there ran away, they killed the PP* Chie£ We stayed there several days; then we came to P *, and from there we came on to QQ*, and there they put the prisoners in chains, but they did not put me in chains, and then Re (RS)- went to fight with L L *, and killed a lot of people and six people tied up. When he came hack from LL* we started and came on to Q *. 1

  • # * * * , * ' * ' .

My father was killed in the same fight as I was captured. My mother was killed by .a sentry stationed at N N * alter I left. . ' . 1

(Signed) R U.

Signed by R R, before me,

(Signed) * Roger Casement,

His Britannie Majesty's Consul.


,- . . i , . i .


S iSrg Statement. • ■..-.!■:,

SS came from the far backRR*. One day the soldiers went to .her town to fight; she did not know that the soldiers had come to fight them until she saw the people from the other side of the town running towards their end, then they, too, began to run away. Her father, mother, three brothers, and sister were with her. About four men were killed at this scare. It was at this fight that one of the station .girls PPP was taken prisoner. After several days, during which time they. were staying at other villages, they went back to their own' town. They Were only a few days in their owp town when they heard that the soldiers who had been, at the other towns were coming their way too, so the men gathered up all their bows and arrows and went put to the next town to wait for the soldiers to fight them. Some of the men stayed behind with all the women and children. After that S S and her mother went out to their garden to work ; while there S S told her mother that she had dreamed that Bula Matadi was coming fo fight with them, but her mother told her she was trying to. tell stories. .After that S S went back to the house, and left her mother in the garden. After she had been a little while in the house with her little brother and sister she heard the firing of guns. When she heard that she took up her little sister and ajoig basket with a. lot of native money* in it, but she could not manage both, so she left the basket behind and ran away with the youngest child; the little boy

j 2


74

vati away by himself. The oldest boys had gone away to wast for the soldiers at the other town. As she went past she heard her mother calling to her, but she told her to inn away in another direction, and she would go on with the little sister. She found her little sister rather heavy for her, so she could not run very fast, and a great number of people went past her, and she was left alone with the little one. Then she left the main road and went to hide in the bush. When night came on she tried to find the road again and follow the people who had passed her, but she could not find them, so she had to sleep in the bush alone. She wandered about in the bnsh for sis days, then she came upon a town named SS* At this town she found that the soldiers were fighting there too. Before entering the town she dug up some sweet manioc to eat, because she was very, very hungry. She went about looking for a fire to roast her sweet manioc, but she could not find any. Then she heard a noise as of people talking, so she hid her little sister in a deserted house, and went to see those people she had heard talking, thinking they might be those from her own town, but when she got to the house where the noise was coming from she saw one of the soldier's boys sitting at the door of the house, and then also she could not quite understand their language, so she knew that they were not her people, so she took fright and ran away in another direction from where she had put her sister. After she had reached the outside of the lown she stood still, and remembered that she would be scolded by her father and mother for leaving her sister, so she went back at night. She came upon a house where the white man was sleeping ; she saw the sentry on a deck chair outside in front of the house, apparently asleep, because he did not see her slip past him. Then she came to the house where her sister was, and took her, and she started to run away again. They slept in a deserted house at the very end of the town. Early in the morning the white roan sent out the soldiers to go and look for people all over the town and in the houses. S S was standing outside in front of the house, trying to make her sister walk some, as she was very tired, but the little sister could not run away through weakness. While they were both standing outside the soldiers came upon them and took them both. One of the soldiers said: " We might keep them both, the little one is not bad-looking;" but the others said "No, we are not going to carry her all the way; we must kill the youngest girl." So they put a knife through the child's stomach, and left the body lying there where they had killed it. They took S S to the next town, where the white man had told them to go and fight. They did not go back to the house where the white man was, but went straight on to the next town. The white man's name was CD.f The soldiers gave SS something to eat on the way. When they came to this next town they found that all the people had run away.

In the morning the soldiers wanted S S to go and look for manioc for them, but she was afraid to go out as they looked to her as if they wanted to kill her. The soldiers thrashed her very much, and began to drag her outside, but the corporal (N NJi) came and took her by the hand and said, " We must not kill her; we must take her to the white man." Then they went back to the town where C D was, and they showed him S S. CD handed her over to the care of a soldier. At this town she found that they had caught three people, and among them was a very old woman, and the cannibal soldiers asked C D to give them the old woman to eat, and D told them to take her. Those soldiers took the woman and cut her throat, ;;nd then divided her and ate her. S S saw all this done. In the morning the soldier who was looking after her was sent on some duty by C D, and before the soldier went out he had told S S to get some manioc leaves not far from the house and to cook them. After he left she went to do as he had told her, and those cannibal soldiers went to C D and said that S S was trying to run away, so they wanted to kill her; but he told them to tie her, so the soldiers tied her to a tree, aud she had to stand in the sun nearly all day. When the soldier who had charge of her came back he found her tied up. C D called to him to ask about S S, so he explained to CD what he had told S S to do, so he was allowed to untie her. They •stayed several days at this place, then B D asked S S if she knew all the towns round about, and she said yes, then he told her to show them the way, so that they could go and catch people. They came to a town and found only one woman, who was dying of sickness, and the soldiers killed her with a knife. At several towns they found no people, but at last they came to a town where several people had run to as they did not know where else to go, because the soldiers were fighting everywhere. At this town they killed a lot of people— men, women, and children— and took some as prisoners. They cut the hands off those they had killed, and brought them to C D; they spread out the hands in a row for C D to see. After that they left to return to Bikoro. They took a lot of prisoners with them. The hands which they had cut off -they just left lying, because the white man had seeu them, so they did not need to take thern to P *. Some of the soldiers were sent to P * with the prisoners, but C I> himself and the other .soldiers went to T T * where there was another white man. The prisoners were sent to S T. S S was about two weeks at P *, and then she ran away into the bush at P * fo" three days, and when she was found she was brought back to S T, and he asked her why she ^ run away. She said because the soldiers bad thrashed her.

S S's mother was killed by soldiers, and her father died of starvation, or rather, he reft <to eat because he was bereaved of his wife and all his children.

(Signed) S S-

.Signed by S S before me,

(Sigued} Roger Casement,

His Britannic Majesty's Consul.


  • Brass rods.


| The name of a Military Officer in Command of the troops at that date.


75

T 7's Statement. \

States she belonged to the village of R*, where she lived with her grandmother. K* was attacked by the State soldiers long ago. It was in S T's time. She docs not know if he was with the soldiers, but she heard the bugle blow when they were going away. It was iu the afternoon when they came, they began catching and tying the people, and killed lots of them. A lot of people— she thinks perhaps fifty —ran away, and she was in the crowd with them, but the soldiers came after them and killed them all but herself. She was small, and she «hd into the bnsh. The people killed were many, and women— there were not many children. The children had scattered when the soldiers eame, but she stayed with the big people, thinking she might be safe.

When they were all killed she waited in the grass for two nights. She was very frightened, and her throat was sore with thirst, and she looked about and at last she found some water- in a pot. She stayed on in the grass a third night, and buffaloes came near her and she was very frightened— and they went away. When the morning came she thought she would be better to move, and went away and got up a tree. She was three days without food, and was very hungry. In the tree she was near her grandmother's house, and she looked around and, seeing no soldiers, she crept to her grandmother's house and got some food and got up the tree again. The soldiers had gone away hunting tor buffaloes, and it was then she was able to get down from the tree. The soldiers eame back, and they came towards the trees and bushes calling out : " Now we see you ; come down, come down ! " This they used to do, so that people, thinking they were really discovered, should give themselves up ; but she thought she would stay on, and eo she stayed up the tree. Soon afterwards the soldiers went, but she was still afraid to come down. Presently she heard her grandmother calling out to know if she was alive, and when she heard her gran dm other's voice she knew the soldiers were gone, and she answered, but her voice was very small. — and she came down and her grand mother took her home.

That was the first time. Soon afterwards she and her grandmother went away to another town called U U * near V Y *, and they were there some days together, when one night the r,oldiers came. The white man sent the soldiers there because the TJ U * people had not taken to the State what they were told to take. Neither her own people nor the UD* people knew there was any trouble with the Government, so they were surprised. She was asleep. Her grandmother— her mother's mother— tried to awaken her, but she did not know. She felt the shaking, but she did not mind because she was sleepy.

The soldiers came quickly into the house— her grandmother rushed out just before. When she heard the noise of the soldiers around the house, and looked and saw her grandmother not there, she ran out and called for her grandmother; and as she ran her brass anklets made a noise, and some one ran after and caught her by the leg, and she fell and the soldiers took her.

There were not many soldiers, only some boys with one soldier {Note. — She means a corporal and some untrained men. — R. C), and they had caught only one woman and herself. In the morning they began robbing the houses, and took everything they could find and take.

They were taken to a canoe, and went to VV*. The soldier who caught her was the sentry at V V *. At W * she was kept about a week with the sentry, and when the V V * people took their weekly rations over to P * she was sent over. The other woman who was taken to VV* was ransomed by her friends. They came after them to VV*, and the sentry let her go for 750 rods. She saw the money paid. Her friends eame to ransom her too, but the sentry refused, saying the white man wanted her because she was young — the other was an old woman and could not work.

(Signed) T T.

Sigued by T T before me.

(Signed) Roger Casement,

His Britannic Majesty's Consul.


U U's Statement.

When we began to run away from the fight, we ran away many times. They did not catch me because I was with mother and father. Afterwards mother died ; four days passed, father died also. I and an older sister were left with two younger children, and then the fighting came where I had run to. Then my elder sister called me : " U U, come here." I went. She said: " Let us run away, because we have not any one to take care of us." When we were running away we saw a lot of W W * people coming towards us. We told them to Tun away, war was coming. They said : " Is it true ? " We said : " It is true ; they are coming." The W W * people said: "We will not run away ; we did not see the soldiers." Only a little while they saw the soldiers, and they were killed. We stayed in a town named XX*. A male relative called me: "UU, let us go ;" but I did not want to. The soldiers came there ; 1 ran away by myself : when I ran away I hid in the bush. While I was running I met with an old man who was running from a soldier, He (the soldier) fired a gun. I was not hit, but the old man died. Afterwards they caught me and two men. The soldiers asked : ' ; Have you a father and mother ? " I answered, "No." They said to me, "If vou do not tell us we will kill you." I said:


W

"Father and mother are dead." After that my oldest sister was caught, too, in the bush, and they left my little brother and sister alone in the bush to die, because heavy rain came on, and they had not had anything to eat for days and days. At night they tied my hands and feet for fear that I should run away. In the morning they caught three people. — two had children ; they hilled the children. Afterwards I was standing outside, :and a soldier asked me, ".Where are you going?" I said, " I am going home." He said, "Come on. JJ I He- took his : gun he put me in the house; he wanted to kill me. Then another soldier came and took "me. We heard a big noise; they told us that the fighting was over, but it was not sq. When we -were going on the way they killed ten children because they were very, very small ; they killed them in the water. Then they killed a lot of people, and they cut off their hands and put them 'into basis ets and took them to the white man. He counted out the hands— 200 in all ; they left the hand* 'yi D g- Tire white man's name was "CD." After that CD Rent us prisoners with soldiers to_P * to S T. S T told me to weed grass. When I was working outside a soldier came and said : " Come here ; " and when I went he wanted to cut my band off, and so' I went to the white man to tell him, and he thrashed the soldier, - " ■

On our way, when we were coming to P*, the soldiers saw a little child, and when they went to kill it the child laughed so the soldier took the butt of the gun and struck the child with it, and then cut off its head. One day they killed my half-sister and cut off her head; hands, and feet because she had on rings. Her name was Q Q*Q. Then they caught another sister, and they sold her "to the WW* people, and now she is a slave there. When we came to P* the white man said to send word to the friends of the prisoners to come with goats to buy off some of their relatives. A lot were bought off, but I had no one to come and buy me off because father was dead. The white man said to me, " You shall go to ... . ." The white man (ST) gave me a small boy to care for, but I thought he would be killed, so I helped to get him away.^ S T asked me to bring the boy to him, but I said : "He has Tun away." He said

tru.


he would kill me, but . .

  • * * * * , *


Signed by U U before me.

(Signed) Roger Casement,

Bis Britannic Majesty's Consul.


Inclosure 4 in No. 3. " ' " (See p. 34.) '

Aotes in the Case of V V, a Native of LL* in the Mantumba District, both of whose /lands have been hacked or beaten off, and with reference to other similar cases of Mutilation in that District.

1 FOUND this man in the ..... station at Q * on , , and learned that he had

been kept by the missionaries for some years, since the day when. a party of native teachers had found him in his own town, situated in the forest some miles away from Q *. In answer to my inouiry as to how he came to lose his hands, V V's statement was as follows:—

" State soldiers came from P *, and attacked the R R * towns, which they burned, killing people. They then attacked a town called A B * and burned it, killing people there also. From that they went on to L L *. The L L* people fled into the forest, leaving some few of their number behind with food to offer to the soldiers— among whom was V Y. The soldiers came to L L * under the command ot a European officer, whose native name was T U. The soldiers took prisoner all the men left in the town, and tied them up. Their hands were tied very tight with native rope, and they were tied up outside in the open ; and as it was raining very hard, and they were in the rain all the time and all the night, their hands swelled, because the thongs contracted. His ("V V's) hands had swollen terribly in the morning, and the thongs had cut into the boue. The soldiers, when they came to L L *, had only one native a prisoner with them ; he was killed during the night. At L L * itself eight people, including himself (V V) were taken prisoners; all were men; two were killed during the night. Six only were taken down in the morning to Y Y * The white man ordered four of the prisoners to be released ; the fifth was a Chief, named RRR. This Chief had come back to L L * in the night to trv secretlv to get some fire to take bank into the forest, where the fugitives were hiding. His wife had become sick during the heavy rain in the forest, and the Chief wanted the fire for her ; but the soldiers caught him, and he was taken along with the rest. This Chief was taken to P*, but he believes that on the way. at 7. 'I*, he tried to escape, and weis killed. V V's hands were so swollen that they were .quite useless." . The soldiers seeing this, and , that the thongs had cut into the bone, beat his hands, against a tree with their rifles, and he was released. He does not know why they beat Iris hands._ The white man, TO, was not far off, and could see what -they were doing. T P was drinking palm-wine while the soldiers beat his hands with their rifle-butts against the .tree. His hands subsequently fell off (or sloughed away), . When the soldiers left him by the TVaterside, he got back to . L L *, and when his own people returned from the forest : they found him there. Afterwards some boys— one of whom was a relation— name to.L L'* f and they found him without his hands, '. * ." : '\ ; ' ' , • ;V" c

. r". if ., There sas, seme dgnbt/in-.the' Ar^#iori..Qf ^ V's .^t^eni\%hStb^',bis hands had beeu


cut with a knife;- but later. in quiuy established that they fell off through the. tightness of the native rope and the beating of them by the soldiers with their rifle-butts.

". .. Oil the 14th August, I again visited the State camp at Irebu, where, in the course of con-

versation with the officer in command, I made passing but intentional reference to the fact. that

T had seen V V. and had heard his story from himself. I added that from the boy's statement it would seem that the loss of his hands was directly attributable to an officer who was apparently close at hand and in command of the soldiers at the time. I added that I had heard of other cases in the neighbourhood. The Commandant at once informed me that such things were impossible, but that in this specific case of V Y he should cause inquiry to be instantly made.

On my return from the Lulongo River I found that this remark in passing conversation had borne instant fruit, although previous appeals on behalf of the boy had provod unsuccessful The Commissaire-General of the Equator District had, learning of it, at once proceeded to Lake Mantumba, and a judicial investigation as to how V V lost his hands had been immediately instituted. The boy was taken to Bikoro, and I have since been informed that provision has been made for him and a weekly allowance.

When at the village of B *, I had found there a boy of not more than 12 years of age with the right hand gone. This child, in answer to my inquiries, said that the hand had been

..cut off by the Government soldiers some years before. He could not say how long before, but judging from the height he indicated he could not then have been more than 7 years of age if now 12. His statement was fully confirmed by S S S and his relatives, who stood around him while I questioned him. The soldiers had come to B C * from Coquilhatville by land through the forest. They were led by an officer whose name was given as " U V." His father and mother wore killed beside him. He saw them killed, and a bullet hit him and he fell. He here showed me a deep cicatrized scar at the back of the head, just at the nape of the neck, and said it was there the bullet had struck him. He fell down, presumably insensible, but came to his senses while his hand was being hacked off at the wrist. I asked him how it was he could possibly lie silent and give no sign. He answered that he felt the cutting, but was afraid to move, knowing that he would be killed if he showed any sign of life. I made some provision for this boy.

The names of six other persons mutilated in a similar way were given to me. The last of these, an old woman, had died only a few mouths previously, and her niece stated that her aunt had oiten told her how she came to lose her hand. The town had been attacked by Government troops and all had fled, pursued into the forest. This old woman (whose name was Y W) had fled with her son, when he fell shot dead, and she herself fell down beside him— she supposed she fainted, i She then felt her hand being cut off, but had made no sign. When all was quiet and the soldiers had gone, she found her son's dead body beside her with one hand cut off and her own also taken away.

Of acts of persistent mutilation by Government soldiers of this nature I had many statements made to me, some of them specifically, others in a general way. Of the fact of this mutilation and the causes inducing it there can be no shadow of doubt It was not a native custom prior to the coming of the white mau; it was not the outcome of the primitive instincts of savages in their fights between village and village ; it was the deliberate act of the soldiers of a European Administration, and these men themselves never made any concealment that in committing these acts they were but obeying the positive orders of their superiors. I obtained several specific instances of this practice of mutilation having been carried out in the town of Q * itself, when the Government soldiers had come across from P* to raid.it or compel its inhabitants to work.


Inclosure 5 in No. 3. (See p. 43.)

Circular dated October 20, 1900.

LE Gouvernement a delegue a des Societes Commcrciales operant dans certaincs parties du territoire non soumise a Taction immediate de son autorite une partie de ses pouvoirs en matiere de police gene rale.

Ces Soeie~t.es sont dites avoir " le droit de police." Des interpretations erronees out ete donnees & cette appellation.

On a voulu y voir Tattribution aux Directeurs de ces Societes et nienie a des agents subalternes, du droit de diriger des operations militaires offensives, "de faire la guerre aux populations indigenes; d'autres, sans meTne s'inquieter d'examiner quelles pouvaient etre les "Iimite3 de ce droit de police, se sOnt serves de moyens que cette delegation avait mis entre leurs mains, pour eommettre les abus les plus graves, _

C'est-a-dire que "le droit de police" qui leur donnait le rnoyen de se proteger eux-memes et 1' obligation de proteger les individus contre 1'abus de la force, allait completement a Fencontre de Tun de ces buts principaux.

En presence de cette situation, j'ai decide que "le droit de police, terme dont je conserve pro vised rem ent l'emploi, ne laisserait que le pouvoir de requisitionner, k Teffet de maintemr on de retablir Tordre. la force armee qui se trouvera soit dans la Concession, soit en dehors, mais rae"me dans ce cas il doit e"tre bien entendu que les officiers de l'Etat conserveront, au cours des evenements le Commandant \? commandement] des soldats et seront seuls juges, sous leur responsabilite, des operations militaires qu'il importerait d'entreprendre.


78


Les arm es perfectionnees que les Societes possederaient dans leurs divers es factoreries on* etablissements et qui doiverit faire t'objet eomme les armes d'autres Societes n'ayant pas le droit de police, d'uu perniis reodele B, ne peuvent en aucun cas sortir des etablissements pour lesquclfs clles out ete dclivrees.

Quant aux fusils a piston ils ne peuvent etre mis en dehors des factoreries qu'entre les mains des Capitas et it condition que ceux-ci aient un permis suivant modele C.

Les fusils a piston ne sortiront ainsi des factoreries qu' is o lenient. Ne pouvant etre remis ei* dehors des etablissements commerciaux dans les mains de groupes plus on moins importants ils n& constitueront ainsi jamais une force offensive.

Je donne a uouveau les ordres les plus form els pour que tous les fonetionuaires de l'Etai concourent a faire reprimer les infractions a, ces strictes defenses.

Le Gouverneur-General,

(Signe) WAHIS.

JJoma, le M Octohre, 1900.

(Translation.)

THE Government have delegated to commercial Companies operating iu certain parts ot the- territory not subject to the immediate exercise of Government authority a part of their powers in matters of general police.

These Companies are described as having " the right of police." Erroneous interpretations- have been given to this expression.

It has been held by some as giving to the Directors of these Companies, and even tt> inferior officers, the right to undertake offensive military operations, to "make war "on the native- population ; others, without even troubling to ascertain what the limits of this right of police- might be. have used the means afforded by this delegation of power to commit the gravest abuses.

That is to say, " the right of police," which gave them the means of protecting themselves, and imposed upon them the obligation of protecting individuals against abuse ot force, was used in a manner absolutely opposed to one of these principal objects.

In view of these circumstances, I have* decided that -Mia; right of police, an expression liu- use of which I retain provisionally, shall imply no more than the power of requisitioning,, with a view to maintaining or restoring order, the armed force existing either within or without the Concession ; but even in this case it must be well understood that the officers ot the State will retain command of the soldiers during the proceedings, and will be the sole judges, on their owm responsibility, of the military operations which it may be desirable to undertake.

Improved weapons which the Companies possess in their various factories or establishments and for which, as for the arms of other Companies not having the right of police, a permit, form (B), must be taken, out, may not in any case be removed from the establishments for which they were issued.

With regard to cap-guns, they may not be removed from the factories except into the hands; of the Capitas. and on the condition that the latter are in possession of a permit, form (C).

Cap- guns will thus only be removed from the factories one by one. As they cannot be issued from the commercial establishments into the hands of more or less numerous groups, they will thus never constitute a means of offence.

I again give the most formal orders that all the State officials co-operate to repress violatioi of these strict prohibitions.

The Governor- General,

(Signed) WAHIS.

Bonta, October 20, 1890.


Inclosuve G in No. o. (See p. 5t>.)

Note of Information taken in the Charge of Cutting off the hoy I I's hand, preferred to

Mr. Casement by the People of E*.

AT village of E * in the C D * country, on left bank of E D *, tributary of the X * River..

Y Y, with many of the townsmen and a few women and children, also present.

A lad, about 14 or 15 years of age, 1 1 by name, whose left hand had been cut off, the- stump wrapped up iu a rag, the wound being yet scarcely healed, appears, and, in answer to Consul's question, charges a sentry named K K (placed in the town by the local agent of the La Lulanga Society to see that the people work rubber) with having done it. This sentry M called, and after some delay appears with a cap-gun.

The following inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the loss of IPs hand them takes place : —

The Consul, through W W, speaking in E F *, and X X repeating his utterances both m F G * to the sentry and in the local dialect to the others, asks II, in the presence of the accused - " Who cut off your hand ? " . < <

II:" The sentry there."


The sentry denies the charge (interrupting), and stating that his name is T T T and not K K< Consul requests him to keep silence — that he can speak later.

Y Y is called and questioned by Consul through the interpreters. After being exhorted to speak the truth without fear or favour, he states:

" The sentry before us cut off I I's hand."

Consul : " Lid you yourself witness the act ? "

Answer : " Yes."

Several of the Headmen of the town called upon by the Consul to testify. To the first of these, who gave his name as Z Z, Consul asked, pointing to I I's mutilated wrist-bone: " Who cut off this boy's hand ?"

Z Z (pointing to the sentry) : " That man did it."

The second, who gave his name as AAA, asked by Consul: "Who cut off this boy's hand?"

Answers: "KE."

The third, giving his name as B B B, asked by Consul ; " Who cut off this boy's hand ? * Answers : "This man here, the sentry."

Z Z (re-questioned ) : " Did you yourself see this sentry cut off this boy's hand ? " Answer: "Yes, I saw if."

A A A (re-questioned) : " Did you yourself see this sentry cut off this boy's hand ? "

Answers: " I should think so. Did I not get this wound here" (pointing to a cut by the tendon Achilles on the left heel) "the same day, when running away in fright? My own knife wounded me. I let it fall when 1 ran away."

Consul questions I I : "How long ago was it your hand was cut off? "

Answer : " He is not sure."

Two fellow- villagers — young men, named C C C and D D D — step out and state that they remember. The act occurred when the clay was being dug over at CD, when the slip- place for the steamers was begun.

EE E, of E *, another section of the village of ft**, questioned by Consul: "Did you see this lad's hand cut off ?"

Answer : " Yes. I did not actually see it being cut off. I came up and saw the severed hand and the blood lying on the ground. The people had run away in all directions."

Consul asked interpreters to ask if there were others who had seen the crime and charged K K with it.

Nearly all those present, about forty persons, nearly all men, shouted out with one voice that it was K K who did it.

Consul ; " They are all sure it was K K here ? " i Universal response : " Yes ; he did it."

Consul asked the accused K K : "Did you cut off this boy's hand ?"

This question was put in the plainest language, aud repeated six times, with the request thai, a plain answer — " yes " or " no " — should be given.

The accused failed to answer the question, beginning to talk of other things not relevant to the question, such as that his name was T T and not K K and that the people of R * * had done bad things to him.

He was told to confine himself to the question put to him, that he could talk of other things later, but that now it was his place to answer the questions put, just as simply and plainly as the others had answered. He had heard those answers and the charge they levied against him, and he should answer the Consul's questions in just the same way.

The accused continued to speak of irrevelant subjects, and refused or failed to give any answer to the question put to him.

After repeated attempts to obtain answer to the question : "Did you or did you not cut off this boy I I's hand ? "

Consul states: "You are charged with this crime. You refuse to answer the questions I put to you plainly and straightforwardly as your accusers have done. You have heard their accusation. Your refusal to reply as you should reply — viz.,, yes or no — to a direct and simple- question leaves me convinced that you cannot deny the charge. You have heard what has beem charged against you by all these people. Since you decline to answer as they did, you may tell your story your own way. 1 shall listen to it."

Accused began to speak, but before his remarks could be translated to me through X X: first, to whom he spoke direct, and then through W W, a young man stepped out of the crowd and interrupted.

There was noise and then the man spoke : —

He stated he was F F F of R * * He had shot two antelopes, and he had brought two- of their legs to this sentry as a gift. The sentry refused to accept them, and tied his wife up.. The sentry said they were not a sufficient present for him, and he kept F F F's wife tied up- until he, F F F, paid him 1,000 brass rods for her release

Here a young man giving his name as G G G stepped into the ring and accused the sentry of having robbed him openly of two ducks and a dog. They were taken from him for no- reason save that the sentry wanted them and took them by force.

Consul again turned to the sentry and invited him to tell his story, and to give his answer to the charge against him in his owu way. Consul enjoined silence on all, and not to interrupt the sentry.

K K stated that he did not take G G G's ducks. The father of G G G gave him a duck. (All laughed.) It is true thatF F F killed two antelopes and gave him the two legs as a gift hut he did not tie up his wife or require monev for hev release.

[247] " M


80


Consul : "That is all right. -That finishes the ducks and the antelopes' legs; but now 1 want to hear about I I's hand. Tell me what you know about I I's hand being out off."

K K again evaded the question. . ' ".' *..'

Consul : "Tell him this. He is put here by his master in this town, is he not? This is his town. Now, does he say he does not know what goes on here where he lives ?"

The sentry states : " It is true that this is his town, but he knows nothing about I I's hand being cut off. Perhaps it was the first sentry here before he came, who was a very bad man and cut people's hands off. That sentry has gone away— it was he who cut hands off, not himself. He does not know anything of it."

Consul: "What was the name then of this bad sentry, your predecessor, who cut people's hands off? You know it ? "

The sentry giyes no direct answer, and the question is repeated. He then gives a statement about several sentries, naming three, as predecessors of himself here at R * *

Here a man named H H H jumped up, interrupting, and asserted that those three sentries did not reside at B * *, but had been stationed in his own town — his, H H H's, town.

( Consul (to the sentry) : " How long have you been in this town ? "

Answer: "Five months."

Consul : " You are quite sure ? "

Answer : ^' Five months."

Consul : "Do you, then, know this boy I I ? Have yon seen him before V Answer: " I do not know him at all."

Here the entire auditory roared with laughter, and expressions of admiration at the sentry's lying powers were given vent to.

The sentry, continuing, stated that possibly 1 1 comes from H H H's town. Anyhow, he (the sentry) does not know I I ; he does not know him at all.

Here F F F_ stepped out and said he was full brother of I I; they had lived here always. Their father was U U U, now dead ; their mother is also dead.

Consul (to the sentry) : " Then it is finished. You know nothing of this matter."

The sentry : " It is finished. I have told you all. I know nothing of it."

Here a man giving his name as I I I, of K K *, the neighbouring section of R * *, came forward with his wife.

He stated that the other sentries ia then town were not so bad, but that this man was a villain.

The sentry had tied up his wife— the woman he brought forward— and had made him pay 500 rods before she was released. He had paid the money.

Here Consul asked 1 1 how his hand had been cut off He and C C C and DDD statedthat he had first been shot in the arm, and then when he fell down the sentry had cut his hand off.

Consul : " Did you feel it being cut off ? "

Answer: "Yes, 1 felt it."

This terminated the inquiry. The Consid informed Y Y and the people present that he should report what he had seen and heard to the Congo Government, and that he should beg them to investigate the charge against the sentry, who deserved severe punishment for his illegal and cruel acts. The things that the sentry was charged with doing were quite illegal, and if the Government of his country knew of such things being done, the perpetrators of such crimes .would, in all cases, be punished.

(Signed) ROGER CASEMENT,

Bis Britannic Majesty's Consul.


Inclosure 7 in No. 3. (See p. 59.)


Circular of September 1, 1903, forbidding Soldiers armed with Rifles from going out on Service without

Europeans over them. \


Etat Inbependant du Congo.

Boma, le 7 Septembre, 1903. ,

LA lecture de rapports sur des operations et reconnaissances militaires demontre que les prescriptions formelles— et si scuvent repetees— du Gouveruement concernant l'lnstructum d'envoyer des soldats armes sous la conduite de grades noirs ne sont pas observees rigoureuse-

meil Je constate meme avec regret de la part du certains fonctionnaires et agents cette mauvaise volonte a se confomier h ces instructions, qui sont pourtant; dictees par le souci des interets

superieurs de l'Etat. '■ 1 -, JS

Les operations militaires dcivent etre conduites d apres Ics xeglements sur le service e" campagne que nos offieiers et sons-officiers doivent appliquer frequemment au cours des exercices iournalicrs et d'apres les nombreuses prescriptions sur la inatiere. Et a cet effct le personne superieur, avant de se prononcer sur les operations a conduire aura, au prealable, a examinei les moyens dont disposent leurs sous-ordres sont suffisants. _ .

J'ai 1'homieur d'inviter les Chefs territoriaux a rappeler a leur personnel les instructions q precedent et a l'informer de ce que toute contravention a la defense d'envoyer des soldats arrue


81


sous la conduite de grades noirs sera, severeraent reprimee et de nature me"me. k provoquer la revocation de 1'agent en faute.

Les soldats doivent etre l'objet d'une surveillance constante afin qu'il leur soit impossible de se livrer a des cruantes auxquelles ponrraient les pousser leurs instincts primitifs, ..

Les instructions defendent aussi d'employer les soldats au service des courtiers et des transports.

Malgre cela on continue en maints en droits a pratiquer ce deplorable usage.

II importe que les soldats ne soient plus constamment di straits de leur garnison et de leur metier militaire et qu'ils restent, en tout temps, sous le controle de leurs chefs ; Instruction et I'education militaires des hommes de la force publique ne peuvent qu'y gagner.

Je prie, en consequence, le personnel interesse de faire cesser immediatement l'etat de choses signale ci-dessus : le service des courtiers doit etre assure par des travailleurs ou des hommes specialement designes a cet effet.

Si 1'autorite juge uecessaire, dans certains cas, de faire escorter soit un courtier soit un convoi de marchandises, il faut qne la patrouille soit organisee reglementairement et commandee par un Europeen.

Ce n'est qu'a titre tout k fait exceptionnel et si e'est absolument necessaire que cette patrouille pourra etre commandee a defaut d' Europeen par un grade de choix et de confiance.

Mais dans ce cas, que 1'autorite aura a justifier, les hommes eommandes par un grade noir devvont etre munis du fusil a piston d'armemcnt qui constitue une bonne arme defensive.

Le Yice-Gouveraeur-General,

(Signe) F. FUCHS.

(Translation.) Independent State of the Congo.

Boma, September 7, 1903.

THE perusal of reports on military operations and reconnaissances shows that the formaF orders of the Government, so frequently repeated, respecting the instruction to send armed soldiers under the command of black non-commissioned officers, are not rigorously observed.

I even note with regret this disinclination, on the part of certain officials and agents, to- conform to these instructions, which are, however, dictated by care for the higher interests of the State.

Military operations must be conducted in accordance with the regulations respecting service in the field, of which our officers and non-commissioned officers must make frequent application: at daily drill, and in accordance with the numerous instructions in the matter. And to this end the superior staff, before deciding on the operations to be undertaken, must ascertain beforehand whether the means at the disposal of those below them are sufficient.

I have the honour to invite the territorial Chiefs to remind their staff of the preceding- instructions, and to inform them that any breach of the rule forbidding the dispatch of armed soldiers under the command of black non-commissioned officers will be severely put down, and may lead to the dismissal of the agent in fault.

The soldiers must be the object of constant supervision, so that it may be impossible for them to commit cruelties to which their primitive instincts might prompt them.

The instructions also forbid the employment of the soldiers on post or transport work.

Nevertheless, this deplorable custom continues to obtain in many places.

It is important that the soldiers should not in future be constantly withdrawn from their garrison and from their military duties, and that they should remain at all times under the control of their Chiefs, This cannot fail to improve the instruction and military education of the men of the public force. I therefore request the staff whom it concerns to put au end at once to the above-mentioned condition of affairs ; the postal service must be assured by workmen or by men specially chosen for that purpose.

If the authorities deem it necessary in certain cases to have the post or a convoy of merchan- dise escorted, the patrol must be organized according to the regulations, and must be commanded by a European.

It is only in most exceptional cases, and if it is absolutely necessary, that this patrol can. lading European, be commanded by a specially-selected and trustworthy non-commissioned' officer.

But in such cases, which will have to be justified by the authorities, the men commanded by a black non-commissioned officer must be provided with a regulation cap-gun, which constitutes a good defensive weapon.

The Vice-Governor-General,

(Signed) F. FUCHS.


Inclosure 8 in No. 3. (See p. 59.)

Circular of Governor- General Wahis, addressed to the Commissioners of District and Chiefs

of Zones.

LA qualite du caoutchouc exporte du Congo est sensiblement inferieure a ce qu'elle etait il y a'quelque temps. Cette difference a plusieurs causes, mais la principale resulte de 1'adjV""^"" [247] M 2


82


au latex qui devrait etre recolte, d'autres latex de valeur tres inferienre ou meme des niaticres poussie reuses quelconques.

Cette cause de perte peut etdoit disparaitre. Les Commissaires de District et Chefs de Zone qui out tous de I'experience, coiinaissent les moyens de fraude que les indigenes cherchent souvent a employer.

lis out a prendre des mesures pour empCcher d'une facon complete ces tromperies. 11 n'est pas douteux que la ou la population ss soumet a Pimpot il ne sera pas impossible de l'amener a fournir un produit pur, mais il faut pour atteindre ce but une surveillance const ante ; des que I'indigene constatera qu'elle se relacbe, il essaiera de diminuer son travail en prenant du latex de mauvaise qualite, quand il obtient cehii- ci facilement, ou en ajoutant au produit des matieres etrangeres.

Uhaque fois que ces fraudes sont constatces elles doivent etre reprimees. Les Comnhssaires de District et Chefs d e Zone out h examiner frequemment les produits, afin de faire a temps des observations a leurs Chefs dePoste, et k ne plus laisser perdurer des situations qui causent le plus grand prejudice.

A cette cause de la diminution de la valeur du caoutchouc, il faut ajouter celle provenant de 1'emballage defectueux du produit, qui par suite voyage souvent pendant plusieurs mois dans les plus mauvaises conditions. L'on peut dire qu'a cause de cette negligence une notable partie des efforts qui out ete faits pour obtenir une production en rapport avec la richesse du pays, doivent etre consideres comme perdus, puisque la valeur du caoutchouc peut diminuer de moitie par suite de ce manque do soin.

J'ajouterai que la valeur du caoutchouc, memo pur de tout melange, a diminue depuis quelque temps sur tous les marches; il faut done que les Chefs Territonaux fassent non sculement disparaitre les deux causes de pertes qu'ils peuvent eliminer, mais encore qu'ils compensent la troisieme en faisant des efforts continus pour angmenter la production dans la mesure prescrite par les instructions.

Mon attention sera d'une facon constante, fixee sur les prescriptions que je donne ici.

Le Gouverneur- General,

(Signe) WAHIS*

Boma, le 29 Mars, 1901;


(Translation.)

THE quality of the rubber exported from the Congo is sensibly inferior to what it was some time ago. This difference arises from several causes, but principally from the addition, to the latex which is fit to be gathered, of other kinds of latex of very inferior value, or even of any dust-like matter.

This cause of loss can and must be removed. The Commissioners of districts and Chiefs of zones, who all have experience, know the fraudulent means which the natives often try to employ.

They must take measures completely to prevent these frauds. It cannot be doubted that in those parts where the population submits to the tax it will not be impossible to lead the natives to furnish pure produce ; but in order to effect this, constant supervision is necessary, for as soon as the native notices that the supervision is becoming lax he will try to lessen his work be- taking latex of a bad quality, if he obtains it easily, or by adding foreign matter.

Whenever these frauds are discovered they must be put down. The Commissioners of districts and Chieis of zones must examine the produce at frequent intervals, in order to report in time to their Heads of stations, and not to permit a condition of affairs which is most prejudicial.

To this cause of the decline in the value of rubber must be added that arising from defective packing of the produce, which thus often travels during several months under the worst conditions. Much of the effort which has been taken to obtain produce in keeping with the richness of the country may be said to be lost through this neglect, for the value of the rubber may be diminished by half through this want of care,

I may add that tbe value of rubber, even when free from all admixture, has gone down in every market for some time past ; territorial Chiefs must, therefore, not only remove the two causes of loss which they can eliminate, but they must also try to neutralize the third by making unceasing efforts to increase production to the extent laid down in the instructions.

The orders which I have here given will have my constant attention.

The G-overnor-G-eneral,

(Signed) WAHIS.

Boma, March 29, 1901.


No. 4.


The Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir C. Phipps.

Sir, Foreign Office, February 11, 1904.

WITH reference to Sir C. Phipps' despatch of the 19th September, 1903, I transmit to you herewith a Memorandum which has been prepared in reply to the note respecting the condition of affairs in the Congo addressed hy the Government ot


83


the Independent State on the 17th September last, to the Powers parties to the Act of Berlin.

I request you to communicate this Memorandum to M. de Cuvelier, and in doing so to call special attention to the inclosed Report by Mr. Casement, His Majesty's Consul at Boma, upon his recent visit to certain districts of the Upper Congo.

I am, &c. (Signed) LANSDOWNE.


Inelosure in No. 4.

Memorandum.

HIS Majesty's Government have not until now offered any observations upon the note from M. de C livelier of the 17th September last, because they desired, before doing so, to learn the result of the inquiries instituted by Mr. Casement, His Majesty's Consul at Boma, during the visit which he has recently paid to certain districts of the Upper Congo.

Mr. Casement returned to this country at the beginning of last month, and has since furnished the report of which a copy is annexed to this Memorandum for communication to the Congo Government. The report will also be communicated to the Powers parties to the Berlin Act, to whom the despatch of the 8th August last was addressed, and it will be laid before Parliament.

The descriptions given in the report of the manner in which the administration is carried on and the methods by which the revenue is collected in the districts visited by Mr. Casement constitute a grave indictment, and need no comment beyond the statement that, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, they show 'that the allegations to which reference is made in the despatch were not without foundation, and that there is ample ground for the belief that there are, at any rate, extensive regions in which the pledges given under the Berlin Act have not been fulfilled.

I M. de Cuvelier's note dwells at considerable length upon the necessity of the natives contributing by some form of taxation to the requirements of the State, and upon the advantage of their being induced to work. The his tor v of the development of the British Colonies and Protectorates in Africa shows * that His Majesty's Government have always admitted this necessity. Defects of administration of the character referred to in M. de Cuvelier's note are, no doubt, always liable to occur in dealing with uncivilized races inhabiting vast areas and differing in manners, in customs and in all the attributes which are necessary for the construction of a social systeuu But whenever difficulties have arisen, most* notably in the case of the Sierra Leone insurrection of which M. de Cuvelier makes special mention,* 1 prompt and searching inquiry has been publicly made, redress of grievances has been granted where due, and every endeavour has been made to establish such considerate treatment of the natives as is compatible with the just requirements of the State.

The reference to the disturbed state of Nigeria appears to relate to the campaign undertaken early last year against Kano and Sokoto. The campaign was not a measure of "military repression" in the sense of being the suppression of a native rising. It was necessitated by the hostile action of powerful Mahommedan Chiefs within the Pro- tectorate, over whom authority had not been previously asserted, who refused to maintain friendly relations with the Administration, hospitably entertained the murderer of a British officer and declared that the only relations between themselves and the Government were those of war. By the mention of the loss of 700 lives reference is no doubt made to the action at Burmi on the 27th July last, when about that number of the enemy were killed, including the ex-Sultan of Sokoto and most of the Chiefs who had joined him, while on the British side Major Marsh, the Com- manding Officer, and ten men were killed, and three officers and sixty-nine men were wounded. This decisive and successful action completely broke up the party of the irreconctlables as well as a remnant of the Mahdi's following.

The military operations which are now in progress in Somaliland have been forced upon His Majesty's Government, as is generally known, by the assumption of power on the part of a fanatical Mullah, and by the cruelties which he practised upon tribes within the British Protectorate.

  • The 62 convictions mentioned occurred between July 1894 and March 1808, not February 1896, as

stated in the quotation from an " English publicist."


84,

In both these cases, measures of military repression have been necessary to save . the territories in,, question from falling once more under the complete control of uncivilized or fanatical Rulers, and of thus relapsing into barbarism. The Congo Government and other Powers possessing Colonies in Africa have had to meet similar contingencies, and no blame is attached to them, nor, so far as His Majesty's Govern- ment are aware, has ever been attached to them, for adopting measures to protect the cause of civilization.

After dealing with the treatment of natives, M. de Cuvelier's note proceeds to explain the views of the Congo Government with regard to the system of trade now- existing in the State. The opinion of His Majesty's Government has been set forth J they hold that the matter is one which could properly be the subject of a reference to the Tribunal at The Hague, but they are still awaiting an answer on this point from the Powers to whom the despatch of the 8th August was addressed.

Memoranda will be forwarded separately giving examples of injuries suffered by British subjects which have been the cause of complaint. These Memoranda have been prepared in order to confirm the statement, upon which M. de Cuvelier throws doubt, that the time of His Majesty's Consul had been principally occupied in the investigation of such cases.

Foreign Office, February 11, 1904.

. .

No. 5.

The Marquess of Lansdowne to His Majesty's Representatives at Paris, Berlin, Vienna^ St, Petersburgh, Rome, Madrid, Constantinople . Brussels, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Lisbon.

Sir, Foreign Office, February 12, 1904.

I TRANSMIT to you, for communication to the Government to which you are accredited, a collection of papers, as marked in the margin/" which relate to the present condition of affairs in the Independent State of the Congo.

In handing these documents to the Minister for Foreign Affairs I request that you will call special attention to the Report by Mr. Casement, His- Majesty's Consul at Boma, upon his recent visit to certain districts of the Upper Congo, and that you will at the same time inquire when an answer may be expected to my despatch of the 8th August last.

I am, &e. (Signed) LANSDOWNE.

■ , ■

f


■■. . . ■

I<> 3*«fU . ' ■ ..'!<.; '.fit I !

  • Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 1



Sr. H


>- o

» b

5 §


b


o


9 S | J

& t

fe fcq

C if

4 I

J a 3 i


CD

o _


5" s

^ ft!

S, I

a 5'

o 5-

o re


O O W

pa

P!

u o

o

w

a

o


1 si


AFRICA. No. 7 (1904).


FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE


RESPECTING THE


ADMINISTBATTOJNT


OF THE


INDEPENDENT STATE OF THE CONGO.

[In continuation of "Africa No. 1 (1904) ".]


Presented to both Houses of Parliament hy Command of His Majesty.

June 1904.


LONDON:

PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE,

PRINTERS ltr ORDINARY TO HIS MAJESTY.


And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from

BYRE & SPOTTISWOODE, East Harding Street, Fleut StbjMT, B.C., and 32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.

on OLIVER St BOYD, Edinburgh;

or E. PONS OMR Y, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin - .

[Od. 2097.] Price Id.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.


No.


Name.


Date.


SOBJBCT.


Page


1


Sir C. Phipps



Mar. 13, 1904


Transmits Notes prepared by Congo Government as a preliminary reply to Mr, Casement's Report . .


1


2


To Sir C. Phipps . .



April 19,


Observations upon the '< Notes" of Congo Govern- ment. Satisfaction of His Majesty's Government at learning that inquiry will be "made into the allegations against administration of Free State . .


40


3


Mr. Nightingale , .


  • *


» 7,


Casea of Caudron and Silvanus Jones. Transmits Judgment in Appeal


■42


4


Sir C. Phipps


  • *


May 14,


Transmits Memorandum drawn up at Congo Ministry in reply to No. 2 , .


58


5


To Sir C. Phipps . .


• *


June 6,


Memorandum on further points calling for observa- tion in " Notes of Congo Government, and reply to M. de Cuvelier's Memorandum of May 14


GO


2


Further Correspondence respecting the Adminis- tration of the Independent State of the Congo.


[In continuation of " Africa No. 1 (1904) ".]


No. 1.

Sir C. Phipps to the Marquess of Lansdowne. — (Received March 14).

My Lord, Brussels, March 13, 1904.

I HAVE the honour to inclose the rejoinder on the part of thp Congo Govern- ment to the Report of His Majesty's Consul at fioma on the condition of the Congo.

In handing these " Notes " to me this afternoon M. de Cuvelier was instructed to call my attention to the passage where his Government expresses a desire to be placed in possession of the full Report, including names, dates, and places referred to. The "Notes " will be communicated to-morrow to the Representatives of the other Powers.

I have, &>c. (Signed) CONSTAT TINE PHIPPS.


Inclosure in No. 1.

Notes on the Report of Mr. Casement, Consul of His Britannic Majesty, of the

llth December, 1903.

A LA seance de la Cbambre des Communes du 11 Mars, 1903, Lord Cranborne avait dit : —

" We have no reason to think that slavery is recognized by the authorities of the Congo Free State, hut reports of acts of cruelty and oppression have reached us. Such reports have been received from our Consular officers."

Le Couvernement de l'Etat du Congo demanda, par lettre du 14 Mars, 1903, a son Excellence Sir C. Phipps, de bien vouloir ltd communiquer les faits qui avaient ete l'ohjet de rapports de la part des Consuls Britanniques.

Cette demande ne regut pas de suite.

La depeche de Lord Lansdowne du 8 Aottt, 1903, portait

" Representations to this effect (alleged cases of ill-treatment of natives and existence of trade monopolies) are to he found .... in despatches from His Majesty's Consuls."

L'impression etait ainsi creee qu'a cette date le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste se trouvait en possession de renseignements Consulates concluants : la necessite d'un voyage de M. le Consul Casement dans le Haut- Congo n'en a pas moins paru evidente. La reflexion s'ensuit que les conclusions de la note du 8 Aout 6taient au moms prematurees ; il s'en deduit egalement que, contrairement a rappr^ciation de cette note, il a 6t6 loisible au Consul Britannique d'entreprendre dans les regions interieures tel voyage qui lui convenait. II est a noter en tout cas que le " White Paper " (Africa, No. 1, 1904), qui vient d'etre presente au Parlement, ne contient pas, nonobstant le d&ir qu'en a reitere PElat du Congo, ces rapports Consulaires anteneurs, qui, cependant, offraient d'autant plus d'interet qu'ils dataient d'un temps oil la campagne presente n'etait pas ne>.

Le Rapport actuel signale qu'en certains points visites par le Consul, la population se trouve en decroissance. M. Casement n'indique pas les bases de ses recensements comparatifs en 1887 et en 1903. 11 est a se demander comment pour cette derniere [828j B 2


2


annee le Consul a pu etablir ses chiffres au cours de visites rapides et hatives. Sur quels elements certains s'appuye-t-il, par exemple, pour dire que la population des localite's riveraines du Lac Mantumba semble avoir diminue dans les dix demieres ann£es de 60 k 70 pour cent ? En un point dcsigne F*, il declare que l'ensemble des Tillages ne compte pas aujourd'hui plus ne 500 ames ; quelques lignes plus loin, ces memes villages ne comportent plus que 240 habitants en tout. Ce ne sont la que des details, mais ils caracterisent immediatement le defaut de precision de certaines appreciations du Consul. Au reste, il n'est malheureusement que trop exact que la diminution de la population a ete constated ; elle est due a d'autres causes qu'a un regime excessif ou oppressif exerce par 1' Administration sur les populations indigenes. C'est en premier lieu la maladie du sornmeil, qui d6cime partout les populations en Afrique 6quatoriale. Le Rapport remarque lui-meme que : "a prominent place must be assigned to this malady/' 1 et que cette maladie est "probably one of the principal factors," de la diminution de la population, 2 II suffit de lire la lettre du Reverend John "Whitehead (Annexe II du Rapport), citee par le Consul, pour se rendre compte des ravages do la maladie, a laquelle ce missionnaire attribue la moitie des d^ces dans la region riveraine du district. Dans une interview recente, Mgr. Van Ronsle, Vicaire Apostolique du Congo Beige, avec l'autorite qui s'attache a une grande experience des choses d' Afrique et a des sejours prolonges en de multiples residences au Congo, a montre revolution du fleau, le deperissement fatal des populations qui en sont f rap pees, quelles que soient d'ailleurs les conditions de leur etat social, citant entre autres les pertes effrayantes de vies dues a ce mal dans 1' Uganda. Que si Ton ajoute a cette cause fondamentale de la depopulation au Congo, les epidemies de petite verole, l'impossibilit6 aetuelle pour les tribus de main- tenir leur chiftre par des achats d'esclaves, la facilite de displacement des indigenes, il s'explique que le Consul et les missionnaires aient releve la diminution du nombre d'habitants de certaines agglomerations, sans que necessairement ce soit le resultat d'un systeme d' oppression. L' Annexe No. I reproduit les declarations sur ce point de Mgr. Van Ronsle. Ce qu'il dit des consequences, sur le chiffre numerique de la population, de la suppression de l'esclavage, se trouve reproduit ailleurs : —

" The people (slave) ' are for the most part originally prisoners of war. Since the Decree of Emancipation they have simply returned to their own distant homes, knowing their owners have no power to recapture them. This is one reason why some think the population is decreasing, and another is the vast exodus up and down river." s — " So long as the Slave Trade flourished, the Bobangi nourished, but with its abolition they are tending to disappear, for then towns were replenished by slaves. 4

Le Consul cite des cas, dont du reste les raisons lui sont inconnues, d'exode d'indigenes du Congo sur la rive Frangaise, On ne voit pas k quel titre il en ferait grief a, l'Etat, si Ton en juge d'aprds les motifs qui ont determine^ certains d'entre eux, a preuve les exemples de ces emigrations, donnes et expliques par un missionnaire Anglais, le Reverend Pere W. H. Bentley. L'un est relatif a la station de Lukolela : —

" The main difficulty has been the shifting of the population. It appears that the population, when the station was founded in 1865, was between 5,000 and 6,000 in the riverine Colonies. About two years later, the Chief, Mpuki, did not agree with his neighbours or they with him. When the tension became acute, Mpuki crossed over with his people to the opposite (French) side of the river. This exodus took away a large number of people. In 1890 or 1891, a Chief from one of the lower towns was compelled by the majority of his people to leave the State side, and several went with him. About 1893, the rest of the people at the lower towns either went across to the same place as the deposed Chief, or took up their residence inland. Towards the end of 1894, a soldier who had been sent to cut firewood for the State steamers on an island off the towns, left his work to make an evil request in one of the towns. He shot the man who refused him. The rascal of a soldier was properly dealt with by the State officer in charge ; but this outrage combined, with other smaller difficulties, to produce a panic, and nearly all the people left for the French side, or hid awayjinland. So the fine township has broken up." c

L' autre cas a trait a la station de Bolobo : —

" It is rare indeed for Bolobo, with its 30,000 or 40,000 people, divided into some dozen elans, to he at peace for any length of time together. The loss of life from these petty wars, the number

1 Rapport, p. 21. 3 Idem. p. 26.

s M. Boudot, rcissionnaire de la Congo Batolo Mission. " Regions Beyond," Decern bre 1901, p. 337.

  • W. H. Bentley, " Pioneering on the Congo," II, p. 229.

s Idem, p. 243.


3


of those killed for witcheraft, and of those who are buried alive with the dead, involve, even within our narrow limits here at Bolobo, an almost daily drain upon the vitality of the country, and an

incalculable amount of sorrow and suffering The Government was not indifferent to these

murderous ways In 1890 the District Commissioner called the people together, and warned

them against the burying of slaves alive in the graves of free people, and the reckless killing of slaves

which then obtained. The natives did not like the rising power of the State Our own

settlement among them was not unattended with difficulty There was a feeling against

white men generally, and especially so against the State. The people became insolent and haughty. .... Just at this time . . . . as a force of soldiers steamed past the Moye tpwns, the steamers were firei upon. The soldiers landed, and burnt and looted the towns. The natives ran away into the grass, and great numbers crossed to the French side of the river. They awoke to the fact that Bula Matadi, the State, was not the helpless thing they had so long thought. This happened early in 1891." 1

Ces exemples donnent, comme on le voit, a. 1' emigration des indigenes, des causes n'ayant aucun rapport avec —

The methods employed to obtain labour from them by local officials and the exactions levied on them. 3

Le Rapport s'etend longuement sur l'existence des imp6ts indigenes. II constate que les indigenes sont astreints a des prestations de travail de diverses sortes, ici sous forme de fournitures de " chikwangues " ou de vivrcs frais pour les postes Gouverne- mentaux, la sous forme de participation a des travaux d'utilite publique, tels que la

construction d'une jetee a Bololo, ou l'eutretien de la ligne telegraphique a P ;

ailleurs sous la forme de la recolte des produits domaniaux. Nous maintcnons la legitimate" de ces impots sur les populations natives, d'accord en cela avec le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste, qui, dans le Memorandum du 11 Pevrier, 1904, declare que l'mdustrie et le developpement des Colonies et Brotectorats Britan- niques en Afrique montrent que le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste a tou jours admis la necessity de faire contribuer les natifs aux charges publiques et de les amener au travail. Nous sommes d'accord egaleinent avec le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste que si en cette matiere des abus se commettent, comme, il est vrai, il s'en est produit en toutes Colonies, ces abus appellent des reformes, et qu'il est du devoir de l'autorite" sup6rieure d'y mettre tin et de concilier, dans une juste mesure, les necessites Gouvernemen tales avec les interets bien entendus des indigenes.

Mais l'Etat du Congo en tend a cet egard se mouvoir fibre ment dans l'exercice de sa souverainet6 — comme, par exemple, le Gouvernement Britannique explique dans son dernier Memorandum l'avoir fait a Sierra-Leone — en dehors de toute pression exterieure ou de toute ingerence etrangere, qui seraient attentatoires a ses droits essentiels.

Le Rapport du Consul vise manifestcment a creer Timpression que la perception de rimpdt, au Congo, est violente, inhumaine et couelle, et nous voulons, avant tout, rencontrer l'accusation si souvent dirig6e contre l'fitat, que cette perception donnerait lieu a d'odieux actes de mutilation. A cet egard, la lecture superficielle du Rapport est de nature a impressionner, par 1'accumulation complaisante, non pas de faits nets, precis, verifies, mais de d6clarations et d'afnrmations des indigenes.

Une remarque preliminaire s'impose sur les conditions dans les quelles le voyage du Consul s'est effectue.

Qu'il l'ait voulu ou non, M. le Consul Britannique a apparu aux populations comme le redresseur des griefs, reels ou imaginaires, des indigenes, et sa presence a La Lulonga, coincidant avec la campagne menee contre l'Etat du Congo, en une region x>h s'exerce depuis longtemps l'influence des missionnaires Brotestants, devait fatal e- ment avoir pour les indigenes unc signification qui ne leur a pas echappe. C'est en dehors des agents de l'Etat, en dehors de toute action ou de tout concours de l'autorite reguliere que le Consul a fait ses investigations ; c'est assiste par des missionnaires Brotestants Anglais qu'il a precede ; c'est sur un vapeur d'une Mission Protestante qu'il a fait son inspection ; c'est dans les Missions Protestantes qu'il a generalement recu l'hospitalit^ : dans ces conditions, il a du. inevitable in ent etre considere par l'indigene comme l'antagoniste de l'autorite etablie.

Nous n'en voulons d'autre preuve que le fait caracteristique d'indigenes, pendant le sejour du Consul a Bonginda, s'attroupant a la rive, au passage en pirogue d' agents de la Socidte " La Lulonga " et s'ecriant : —

" Votre violence est finie, elle s'en va ; les Anglais seuls restent ; mourez vous autres ! "


i W. H. Bentley, " Pioneering on the Congo," II, pp. 234-236.


s Rapport, p. 29.


4


... . Et cet aveu signiflcatif d'un missionnaire Protestant qui, a propos cle ce fait, expiique:—

"The Consul was here at ; the time, and the people were much excited, and evidently thought themselves on top, .... The people have got this idea (that the rubber work was finished) into their heads of themselves, consequent, I suppose, upon the Consul's visit."

Dans ces circonstances, en raison de l'^tat d'esprit qu'elles revelent chez les .indigenes, en raison de leur caractere impressionnable et de leur desir naturel de se soustraire a la charge de l'imp6t, il n'etait pas douteux que les conclusions auxquelles ■ arriverait le Consul ne seraient pas autres que celles de son Rapport.

II suffira, pour mettre ce point en evidence et pour caracteriser le manque de valeur de ses investigations, de s'arreter a un seul cas, celui sur lequel s'est port6 tout l'effort de Mr. Casement, nous voulons parler de l'affaire Epondo. C'est cells de l'enfant II dont le Rapport parle aux pages 56, 58, et 78.

II est indispensable d'entrer un peu longuement dans les details de cette affaire, qui sont significatifs.

Le Consul se trouvait, a la date du 4 Septembre, 1903, k la Mission de la " Congo Bololo Mission," a Bonginda, de retour d'un voyage dans la Riviere Lopori, au cours duquel il n'avait constate" aucun de ces actes de mutilation qu'il est d'usage de mettre a la charge des agents au Congo.

A Bonginda, des indigenes d'un village voisin (Bossunguma) viennent le trouvet et lui signalent entre autres qu'une " sentinelle " de ]a Compagnie "La Lulonga," nommfe Kelengo, avait, a Bossunguma, coupe la main d'un indigene du nom d'Epondo, dont les bless ures 6taient a peine gueries. Le Consul se transporte a Bossunguma ; il est accompagne des deux Reverends W. 1). Armstrong et D. J. Daniel son et se fait presenter 1'indigene estropie, lequel, " eu r^ponse a la question du Consul, accuse de ce mefait une sentinelle nommee Kelengo (placed dans cet endroit par l'agent local de la Soci^te - £ La Lulonga ' pour verifier si les indigenes recoltaient du caoutchouc)." Ce sont les termes du Consul : il s'agissait en. effet d'etablir un rapport de cause a effet entre la recolte du caoutchouc ef; ce cas pr6tendu de cruaute\

Le Consul procfede a l'interrogatoire du Chef et de quelques indigenes du village, lis repondent en accusant Kelengo ; la plupart declarent avoir ete" temoins oculaires du fait. Le Consul fait demander par ses interpretes s'il se trouve Ih. d'autres temoins qui ont vu le crime et en accusent Kelengo: "presque tous les individus presents, au nombre environ de quarante, s'ecrienl d'une seule voix que c'est Kelengo le coupable."

II faut lire toute cette enquete telle qu'eile a &t6 libelee par le Consul lui-meme, en des sortes de procds-verbaux des 7, 8, efc 9 Septembre (Annexe 2), pour se rendre compte de l'aeharnement avec lequel les indigenes accablent Kelengo, et des deneg:. tions de l'accus^ se heurtant a l'unanimite de tous ceux qui le chargent. De partout surgissent les denonciateurs et de la foule surexcitee jaillissent les accusations les plus diverges : il a coupe" la main d'Epondo, enchalne des femmes, vole des canards et un chien ! L' attention du Consul ne veut pas s'eVeiller en presence du caractere passionne des depositions; sans autre garantic de leur sincerite, sans autre controle de leur veracity il considere son enquete comme concluante. et, de meme qu'il s'etait substitue au Parquet pour ^instruction de Falr'aire, de memo il prejuge la decision de I'autorit^ competente en declarant a la population assemblee que " Kelengo deserved severe punishment for his illegal and cruel acts." Dramatisant l'incident, il emmene avec lui la pre ten due vie time, I'exhibe le 10 Septembre devant le Chef de Poste de Coquil- hatville, auquel il remet la copie de son enquete, et le 12 Septembre, il adresse au Gouverneur- General une lettre qu'il qualifie de ,( personal and private," dans laquelle il prend texte entre autres de l'incident pour accuser "the system of general exploita- tion of an entire population which can only be rendered succssf ul by the employment of arbitrary and illegal force." Cette enquete terminee, il reprenait aussit6t la route du Bas-Congo.

Les circonstances de fait eussent-elles ete exactes, encore serait-on frapp6 de la disproportion des conclusions que le Consul en d6duit, en generalisant avec em phase son systeme de critiques centre I'Etat du Con go. Mais le fait meme, tel qu'il l'a present^, est inexact.

En effet, des la denonciation du Consul connue du Parquet, celui-ci se rendit sur les lieux en la personne du Substitut du Procureur d'£tat,M. Gennaro Bosco, et proceda a une enquete judiciaire dans les conditions normales en dehors de toute influence etrangere. Cette enquete demontra que M. le Consul de Sa Majeste Britanniq^ avait ele" l'objet d'une machination ourdie par les indigenes, qui, dans l'espoir de n'avoir


plus a travailler, avaient complote de representer Epondo comme la victime deprocede's inhumains d'un capita d'une Soci^te commerciale. En realite, Epondo avait 6te victime d'un accident de chasse et raordu a la main par un sanglier; la blessure s'etait, gangrenee et avait occasionne la perte du membre, ce qui avait dte habilement exploite par les indigenes vis-a-vis du Consul. Nous joignons (Annexe 3) les extraits de l'enquete faite par le Substitut relatifs a cette affaire Epondo. Les depositions sont typiques, uniformes et concordantes. Elles ne laissent aucun doute sur la cause de Faccident, attestent que les indigenes ont menti au Consul, et revelent le mobile auquel ils ont obei, dans l'espoir que l'intervention du Consul les dechargerait de 1'obligation de l'imp6t, L'enquete montre Epondo, enfin accule, retractant ses premidres affirmations au Consul, et avouant avoir ete influence" par les gens de son village. II est interroge : —

" J). Persistez-vous a accuser Kelengo de vous avoir coup6 la main ; gauche ? " £. Non ; j'ai menti,

" D. PLacontez alors comment et quand vous avez perdu la main.

" M. J'etais eselave de Monkekola, a Malele, dans le district des Eangala. Un jour, j'allai avec lui a la chasse au sanglier, II en blessa un avec une lance, et alors la bete, devenue furieuse, m'attaqua. Je tachai de me sauver avec la suite, mais je tombai ; le sanglier fut bientot sur moi, m'arrachant la main gauche, au ventre et a la hanche gauche. Le comparant montre les cicatrices aux endroitB design es, et spontanement se met par terre pour faire voir dans quelle position il se trouvait lorsqu'il fut attaque et blesse par le sanglier.

" D. Depuis combien de temps cet accident vous est-il an-ive ?

" II. Je ne me rappelle pas. C'est depuis longtemps.

" U. Pourt^uoi alors aviez-vous accuse Kalengo ?

11 R. Parce que Momaketa, un des Chefs de Bossunguma, me l'a dit, et apres tous les habitants de

mon village me Tont repete. ...

  • * * * * *

" D. Les Anglais vous ont-ils photographic ?

" M. Oui, a Bonginda et a Lulanga, lis m'ont dit de mettre bien en evidence le moignon. II y iiyait Xenele, Mongongolo, Torongo, et autres blancs, dont je ne connais pas les noms. Ils etaient les blancs de Lulanga, Mongongolo a porte avec lui six photographies." 1

Epondo a reltere" ses declarations et retractations spontanement a un missionnaire Protestant, M. Earis, residant a Bolengi. Ce R6v6rend a remis au Commissaire- ■General de Coquilhatville la declaration ecrite suivante: —

" Je soussigne E.-E. Earis, missionnaire, residant a Bolengi, Haut-Cougo, declare que j'ai interroge l'enfant Epondo, du village cle Bosongoma, qui a et4 chez moi le 10 Septembre, 1903, avec Mr. Case- ment, le Consul d'Angleterre, et que j'ai mene" a la Mission de Bolengi, le 16 Octobre, 1903, selon la requete de M. le Commandant Stevens, de Coquilhatville, et que le dit enfant m'a dit aujourd'hui, le 17 Octobre, 1903, qu'il a perdu sa main par la moi sure d'un sanglier.

" II m'a dit egalement qu'il a inforrae Mr. Casement que sa main a ete coupe par un soldat, on bien d'un des travailleurs de blancs, qui ont fait la guerre dans son village pour faire apporter le ■caoutchouc, mais il affirme que cette derniere histoire qu'il m'a dite aujourd'hui est la verity.

"E.-E. Paris.

" A Bolengi, le 17 Octobre, 1903."

L'enquete aboutit a une ordonnance de non-lieu ainsi motiv^e en ce qui concerne le cas Epondo : —

" Nous, Substitut du Procureur d'Etat pres le Tribunal de Coquilhatville ;

"Vu les notes rcdigees par le Consul de Sa Majeste" Britannique, k Y occasion de sa visit e aux villages d'Ikandja et Bossunguma, dans la region des Ngombe, d'ou r&ulte que le nomine Kelengo, .garde forestier au service de la Societe ' La Lulonga, 1 aurait —

" (a.) Coupe . . . , la main gauche au nomine Epondo. ....

«( C .)

"Vu l'enquete faite par M. le Lieutenant Braeckman, confirmaot en partie l'enquete faite par le Consul de Sa Majesty Britannique, mais le contredisant en partie, et ajoutant aux accusations precedemment faites a Kelengo, celle d'avoir tue un indigene nomine Baluwa ;

Vu les conclusions posees par cet ofHcier de police judiciaire teudant a faire naitre des soupcons ■assez graves sur la verite de toutes ces accusations ;

" Attendu que tous les indigenes qui ont accuse Kelengo, soit au Consul de Sa Majeste" Britan- nique, soit au Lieutenant Braeckman, eonvoques par nous, Substitut, ont pris la fuite, et tout les efforts faits pour les retrouver n'ont abouti a aucun resultat ; que cette fuite discredite eVidemment leurs -afnrmations ;

" Que tous les temoins interroges dans notre enquete attestent .... qu'Epondo a perdu la main .;gauche parce qu'un sanglier la lui a arrachee . . . , ;

" Qu'Epondo continue ces attestations, avouant qu'il a menti par suggestion des indigenes de

1 Voir Annexe 3,


Bossunguina et Ikondja, qui esperaient de se soustraire a la recolte du caoutchouc moyennant l'lnter- vention du Consul de Sa Majeste Britannique, qu'ils jugeaient tres puissant :

" Que les tenioins, presque tous indigenes des villages accusateurs, eonfirmcnt que tel fuL le but de leur mensonge :

" Que cette version, indepen dam merit de Punanimite des affirmations des tsmoins et des parties lesees, se presente aussi eomme la plus plausible, parce que personne n'ignore, soit la repugnance des indigenes pour le travail en general et la recolte du caoutchouc, soit leur facility a mentir et a porter de fausses accusations ;

" Qu'elle est confirmee par 1' opinion, nettemeut formulae, du missionnaire Anglais Armstrong, qui retient les indigenes ' capables de tout eomplot pour eviter de travailler, et surtout de faire le caoutchouc ' ;

" Que rinnoeence de Kelerigo etant completement prouvee, il n'y a pas lieu a le pour- suivre ;

" Par ces motifs :

"Nous, Substitut, d&larons non-lieu a, poursuivre le nomine Kelengo, garde forestier au service de la Society 1 La lulonga,' pour les crimes prevus par les Artieles 2, 5, 11, 19 du Code Penal.

Le Substitut, (Signe) Bosco.

" Mampoko, le 9 Octobre, 1903."

r-

Si nous avons insiste sur les details de cette affaire, c'est qu'ellc est consideree par le Consul lui-meme eomme d'une importance capitale et qu'il se base sur ee seul eas pour conclure a l'exactitude de toutes les autres declarations d'indigenes qu'il a recueillies.


" Dans le seul cas sur lequel j'ai pu enqu§ter person nellement, dit-il 1 — celui de l'enfant II — j'ai trouve' cette accusation etablie sur les lieux, sans apparemment une ombre de doute quant a la culpa- bilit<$ de la sentinelle accusee."

Et plus loin : —

"Dans le village de R*, j'ai en seulement le temps de faire enqueue sur 1' accusation faite par IL a

Et ailleurs

" II etait evidemment impossible que je puisse verifier sur place, eomme dans le cas de

l'enfant, les declarations que me firent les indigenes. Dans ee seul cas, la verite des accusations fut amplement demontree." s

O'est aussi a propos de cette affaire que, dans sa lettre du 12 Septembre, 1903, au Gouveraeur-General, il disait :-—

"When speaking to M. le Commandant Stevens at Coquilhatville on the 10th instant, when the mutilated boy Upondo stood before us as evidence of the deplorable state of affairs I reprobated, I said : ' I do not accuse an individual, I accuse a system.' "

La reflexion s' impose que si les autres informations du Eapport du Consul ont toutes la me me valeur que eel les qui lui ont 6te fournies dans cette seule espeee, elles ne peuvent, a aucun degre, etre conside'rees eomme probantes. Et il saute aux yeux que dans les autres cas ou le Consul, de sa propre declaration, ne s'est livre a au verification des affirmations des indigenes, ces affirmations ont moms de poids enco si possible.

11 faut reconnattre, sans doute, que le Consul s'exposait deliberement a d'inevi- tables mecomptes, de par sa mauiere d'interroger les indigenes, — ce qu'il faisait, en effet, a 1'aide de deux inter pretes : " par Tintermediaire de Vinda, parlant en Bobangi, et de Bateko, repetant ses paroles dans le dialecte local, 1, de sorte que le Consul etait a- la mere! non seulement de la sincerity de l'indigene interroge, mais encore de la fideiite de traduction de deux autres indigenes, dont l'un, d'ailleurs, etait un de ses serviteurs, et dont l'autre, semble-t-il, etait l'interprete des missionnaires. 5 Quieonque s'est trouve en contact avec l'indigene sait cependaut son habitude du mensonge : le Eeve'rend C. H. Harvey constatait : G —

1 " Les natifs du Congo qui nous entouraient etaient meprisables, per fides, et cTuels, impudemment menteurs, malbonnetes et vils."

1 Kapport, p. 58. • ■ — 3 Idem, p, 58.

3 Idem, p. 56.

4 Voir Annexe No. 2.

« Regions Beyond," 1900, p. 198.

6 " Regions Beyond," Janyier-Fevrier 1903, p. 53.


7


Et le fait n'est pas non plus sans importance,— si l'on veut exactement se rendre compte de la valeur des temoignages, — de la presence aux c6tes de Mr. Casement, qui interrogeait les indigenes, de deux missionnaires Protestants Anglais de la region, presence qui, a elle seule, a d& ne"cessairement orienter les depositions. 1

Nous de*passerions nous-memes la mesure si, de ce qui precede, nous concluions au rejet en bloe de toutes les informations indigenes enregis trees par le Consul. Mais jl en ressort a l'evidence qu'une telle documentation est insuffisante pour asseoir un jugement fonde, et que ces informations obligent a une verification minutieuse et impartiale.

Que si l'on degage du volumineux Rapport du Consul, les autres cas qu'il a vus et qu'il enregistre eomme des cas de mutilation, on constate qu'il en cite deux eomme s'etant produits au Lac Matumba 3 " il y a plusieurs annees." 3 II en eite quelques autres— sur le nombre desquels les renseignements du Eapport ne semblent pas etre concordants*— qu'il renseigne eomme ayant ete commis dans les environs de Bon- ginda, 5 precisement en cette region oil s'est placee Tenquete Epondo et ou, commo on l'a vu, les esprits etaient montes et influences. Ce sont ces affaires que, dit-il, il n'a pas eu le temps d'approfondir, G et qui, au dire des indigenes, etaient imputables aux agents de la Societe " La Lulanga." Efadent-ce la des victimes de la pratique de coutumes indigenes, que les natifs se seraient bien gardes d'avouer ? Les blessures constatees par le Consul etaient-elles dues a l'une ou l'autre lutte intestine entre villages ou tribus ? Ou bien etait-ce reellement le faitde sous-ordres noirs de la Societe ? On ne saurait se prononcer a la lecture du Eapport, les indigenes, ici eomme to uj ours, etant la seule source d'informations du Consul et celui-ci s 'etant borne a prendre rapirlement note de leurs multiples affirmations en quelques heures de la matinee du 5 Septembre, presse qu'il etait par le temps " to reacb K* (Bossunguma) at a reasonable hour. 7

Nonobstant la consideration qu'il attache a "Fair de franchise" et "a 1'air de conviction et de sincerit6 " s des indigenes, Texperience faite par lui-meme commando incontestablement la prudence et rend temeraire son appreciation: "qu'il etait clair que ces hommes declaraient soit ce qu'ils avaient reellement vu de leurs yeux, soit ce qu'ils pensaient fermement dans leurs coeurs. v9

Toutefois, il suffit que soient signales ces quelques faits, actes de cruaute ou non, auxquels se reduisent en definitive ceux constates personnellement par le Consul, sans qia'il puisse a suffisancs de preuve en etablir les causes reelles, pour que l'autorite doive y porter son attention et pour que des enquetes soient ordonnecs a leur sujet. A cet egard, le regret doit etre exprime de ce que l'exemplaire du Eapport, commu- nique au Grouvernement de l'Etat Independant du Congo, ait systematiquement omis toute indication de date, de lieu, de noms. II n'est pas a meconnaitre que ces suppressions rendront excessivement malaisee la tache des Magistrats Instructeurs, et, dans llnteret de la manifestation de la verite, le Gouvernement du Congo formule le voeu d'etre mis en possession du texte complet du Eapport du Consul.

On ne s'etonnera pas si le Gouvernement de l'Etat du Congo s'eleve, en cette occasion, contre le procede de ses detracteurs, mettant dans le domainc public la reproduction de photographies d'indigenes mutiles, et creant cette odieuse legende de mains coupees a la connaissance ou meme a Tinstigation des Beiges en Afrique. C'est ainsi que la photographic d'Epondo, estropie dans les conditions que Ton sait, et qui " a ete deux fois pbotographie," est probablement une de celles circulant dans les pamphlets Anglais eomme preuve de l'execrable administration des Beiges en Afrique. On a vu une revue Anglaise reproduisant la photographic d'un " cannibale entoure des cranes de ses victimes," et la legende portait : "In tbe original photograph, the

cannibal was naked. The artist has made him decent by covering his breast

with the star of the Congo State. It is now a suggestive emblem of the Christian veneered cannibalism on the Congo." 10 A ce compte, il sufhrait, pour jeter le discredit sur l'Admmistration de l'Uganda, de mettre dans la circulation des cliches reproduisant

1 Voir Annexe No. 2 : " Present, Rev. W. D. Armstrong and Rev. D. J. Dauielson, of the Cougo Balolo Mission of Bonginda, Vinda Bidiloa (Consul's Headman) and Bateko, as interpreters, anci His i3ri tannic Majesty's Consul." (Je passage est omis dans I'Annexe 6 du Rapport ciu Consul (p. 78), s Rapport, p. 34. s Idem, pp. 76, 77.

  • Compares Rapport, pp. 54, 55, et 58.

6 Rapport, pp. 54, 55.

6 Idem, p. 50.

7 Idem, p. 56. H Idem, p. 62. 9 Idem, p. 57.

10 "Review of Reviews," February 14, 1903.

rS9.ft"l c


s


les mutilations dont le Dr. Castellani dit, dans une lettre datee d' Uganda, du 16 Deoembre, 1902, avoir constats 1 'existence aux environs memes d'Entebbe : "II n'est pas difficile d'y rencontrer des indigenes sans nez, sans oreilles, &C." 1 . ^

G'est dire que dans r Uganda comme au Congo, les indigenes sacrifient encore a lenrs instincts sauvages, Mr, Casement a prevu I 1 objection en affirmant : —

" It was not a native custom prior to the coming of the white man ; ifc was not the outcome of the primitive instincts of savages in then: fights between village and village ; it was the deliberate act of soldiers of a European Administration, and these men themselves never made any concealment that in committing these acts they were but obeying the positive orders of their superiors." 3

L'articulation d'une aussi grave accusation, sans qu'elle ' soit en meme temps etayee sur des preuves irrefragables, semble donner raisoa a ceux qui pensent que les emplbis anterieurs de Mr. Casement ne l'avaient pas prepare entierement aux f onctions Consulates. Mr. Casement est reste dix-sept jours au Lac Mantumba, un lac, dit de 25 a 30 milles de long et de 12 ou 15 milles de large, entoure* d'epaisses forets. 8 II ne s'est guere eloigne de la rive. On ne voit pas d£s lors quelles investigations utiles il a pu faire sur les mcsurs d'autrefois et les habitudes anciennes des populations. La constatation que ces tribus sont encore tres sauvages et adonnees au cannibalisme* permet de croire, au contraire, qu'elles n'6taient pas exemptes de la pratique de ces actes cruels qui, d'une maniere gen^rale en Afrique, etaient le cortege habituel de la barbarie des mceurs et de 1'anthropophagie. Dans une partie des regions que le Consul a visitees, les temoignages des missionnaires Anglais ne sont a cet egard que trop instructifs. Le Beverend McKittrick, parlant des luttes meurtrieres entre indigenes, dit- ses efforts d'autrefois aupres des Cbefs pour pacifier la conferee : " . . . . Xous leur dimes qu'a 1'avenir nous ne laisserions plus passer par notre station aucun bomme arme de lance ou de couteau. Notre Dieu e'tait un Dieu de paix, et nous, ses enfants, nous ne pouvions supporter de voir nos fr&res noirs se couper et se blesser l'uu l'autre (cutting and stabbing each other)." 5 "Lorsque j'allais ca et la dans la riviere, dit un autre missionnaire, on me montrait les endroits de la rive d'ou avaient coutume de partir les guerriers pour capturer les canois et les hommes. II etait afSigeant d' entendre decrire les terribles massacres qui avaient lieu d'habitude a la mort d'un grand Chef. Un trou profond etait creuse en terre, ou des vingtaines d'esclaves jetes apres que leurs tetes avaient ete coupees (after having their heads cut off), et'sur cette horrible pile, on placait le cadavre du Chef couronnant ce carnage humainindescriptible." 8 Et les missionnaires constatent combien encore en ces jours actuels les indigenes reviennent aisement a leurs anciennes coutumes. II apparalt aussi que cette autre affirmation du Rapport 7 qu'a la difference d'aujourd'hui, les indigenes autrefois ne s'enfuyaient pas a l'approche d'un steamer, n'est pas d' accord avec les remits des voyageurs et explorateurs.

II est, en tout cas, a remarquer que le Consul n'a constate dans le territoire ou s'exerce l'activite de la Societe A.B.I. R. aucun de ces faits de cruaute qui eftt pu etre represent^ comme imputable aux agents commerciaux. La coincidence est a relever, puisque la Societe A.B.I.R, est precisement une Compagnie k Concession et qu'on ne cesse d'attribuer au regime des Concessions les consequences les plus d^sastreuses pour les indigenes.

Ce qui domino les innombrables questions touchees par le Consul et la multiplicity des menus faits qu'il a recueillis, c'est de savoir si vraiment cette sorte de tableau d'ane existence miserable, qui serait celle des indigenes, repond a la realite des cboses. Nousprendrons pour exemple la region de la Lulanga et du Lopori, parce que la se trouvent, depuis des annees, des centres de Missions de la A Congo Balobo Mission." Ces missionnaires y sont etablis en des endroits les plus distants et les plus interieurs : a Lulonga, Bonginda, Ikau, Bougandanga, et Baringa, tous points situes dans la region ou operent la Societe " La Lulonga"" et la Societe A.B.I.R.; Us sont en contact suivi avec les populations indigenes, et nne revue speciale mensuelle, "Regions Beyond," public regulierement leurs lettres, notes, et rapports. Que Ton pareoure la collection de ce recueil ; nulle part, a aucun moment avant Avril 1903— a cette derniere date, la motion de Mr. Herbert Samuel 6tait, il est vrai, annoncee au Parlement— on ne trouve trace d'une appreciation quelconque signalant ou revelant que la situation

i " La Tribuna " de Rome. 3 Rapport, Annexe 4, p. 77. s Rapport. Annexe 4, p. 30.

  • Rapport, p. 30.

s "Ten Tears at Bonginda," D. McKittrick, " Regions Beyond," p. 21.

  • "Congo Contrasts," Mr. Boudot, "Regions Beyond," 1900, p. 197,

7 Rapport, p. 34.


g^nerale des populations indigenes dut etre denoncee au monde civilise. Les Boissionnaires s'y felicitent de la sympathie active des agents, officiels, et commerciaux a leur egard, 1 des progres deleur ceuvre d'evangelisation, 3 des facilites que leurapporte 1» ereation de routes, 3 de la pacification des mceurs, "du a la fois aux missionnaires et aux commercants,"* de la .disparition de l'esclavage, 5 de la densit6' de la population, 6 du noinbre grandissant de leurs eleves, " grace a l'Etat, qui a donne des ordres pour que les enfants fussent menes a recole," 7 dela disparition graduelle des pratiques indigenes' primitives, 8 du contraste enfin entre le present et le passe. 9 Admettra-t-on que ces missionnaires Chretiens et Anglais, qui, au cours de leurs itineraires, visitaient les postes. de factorerie et- etaient t^moins des marches de caoutchouc, se seraient rendus, complices par leur silence d'un regime inhumain ou tortionnaire ? Un des Rapports annuels de la " Congo Bolobo Mission " dit dans ses conclusions : " Dans l'ensemble, le coup d'oeil retrospectif est encouragcant. S'il n'ya pas eu une avance considerable, il d'y a pas eu de triste deception, et il n'est aucune opposition definitive k I'osuvre ... . II y a eu de la disette et des maladies parmi les natifs, notammeut a, Bonginda ;,• . A part cela, il n'y a pas eu de serieux empechements au progres . . . " :o Et, parlant incidemment des effets bietifaisants du travail sur l'etat social des indigenes, un missionnaire ecrit : '* The greatest obstacle to conversion is polygamy. Many evils have been put down, e.g. s idleness, thanks to > the "State having compelled the men to work ; and fighting, through their not having time enough to fight." 11 Ces appreciations des missionnaires nous paraissent plus precises que les donnees d'un Rapport a chaque page duquel, pour ainsi dire, on lit : "I was told ; " "it was said ; " "I was informed ; '* "I was assured ; " " They said ; " " it was alleged ; " "I had no means of verifying j •" <{ It was impossible to me to verify ; " "I have no means of ascertaining," &c. En dix lignes, par exemple, on rencontre quatre fois 1' expression : " appears ; " " would seem ; " " would seem ; " "do not seem." 13

Le Consul ne semble pas s' etre rendu compte que c'est le travail qui constitue l'impot indigene au Congo, et que cette forme d'imp6t se justifie autant par son caractere moralisateur que par l'impossibilite de taxer antrement 1'indigene, en raison meme du fait, constate par le Consul, que Tindigene n'a pas de numeraire. Cette derniere consideration fait, pour en dormer un autre exemple, que sur 56,700 huttes imposees dans la North-Eastern Rhodesia, 19,653 payent la taxe "in labour", et 4,938 la payent " in produce." 13 Que ce travail soit i'ourni directement a l'Etat ou a telle ou telle entreprise privee, qu'il soit adapts, selon les possibilit^s locales, a telles prestations ou a telles autres, sa justification a toujours Tune de ses bases dans ce que le Memorandum du 11 Eevrier dernier reconnalt etre la " necessity of the natives being induced to work." Le Consul s'inquiete surtout de la qualification a donner a la f'ourniture du travail ; il s'etonne, si c'est la un imp6t de ce que cet imp6t soit pay^ et recouvrable parfois par des agents commerciaux. Dans la rigueur des principes, il est a reconnaltre, en effet, que la remuneration d'un impfit heurte les notions fiscales ordinaires ; elle s'explique cependant en fait si Ton songe qu'il s'est agi de faire contracter l'habitude de travail a des indigenes qui y ont ete refractaifes de tout temps. Et si cette idee du travail peut etre plus aisement inculquee aux natifs sous la forme de transactions commercial es entre eux et des partieuliers, faut-il necessaire- ment condamner cc mode d'action, notamment dans des regions dont rorganisation administrative n'est pas completee P Mais il s'impose que, dans leurs rapports de cet ordre avec les indigenes, les agents commerciaux, comme d'ailleurs les agents de l'Etat eux-memes, s'inspirent de pratiques bienveillantes et bumaines. A cet egard, les elements que fournit le Rapport du Consul seront l'objet d'une 6tude approfondie, et si le r^sultat de cet esamen revelait des abus reels ou commandait des reformes, 1' Administration supeiieure agirait comme 1'exigcraient les cir Constances,

Nul n'a jamais pense, d'ailleurs, que le regime fiscal au Congo cut atteint d'emblee la perfection, notamment au point de vue de l'assiette de l'imp6t et des moyens de

1 " Regioas Beyond," 1900, p. 150; 1902, p. 209. Idem, passim.

■ « Idem, 1900, p. 199. ' V

c Idem, 1900, pp. 243, 297, '606. '

  • Idem. 1901, p. 40; 1902, p. 315.

8 Idem, 1901, p. 40.

• Idem, 1900, p. 196.

10 "Regions Beyond," 1901, p. 43.

11 Idem, 1901, p. 60. "A ' 13 Rapport, p. 28.

« "Reports on the Administratioa of Rhodesia," 1900-1902, p. 408.

C 2


10


recouvrement. Le system e des " chefferies," boa en soi en ce qu'il place entre l'autorite et Pindigene I'intermediaire de son chef nature], procedait d'une idee mise en pratique ailleurs :—

™ The more important Chiefs who helped the Administration have been paid a certain percentage of the taxes collected in their districts, and I think that if this policy is adhered to each year, the results will continue to be satisfactory and will encourage the Chiefs to work in harmony with the Administration." 1

Le Decret sur les chefferies 3 etablissait le principe de Pimp6t, et sa perception selon " un tableau des prestations annuelles k fournir, par chaque village, en produits, en corvees, travailleurs ou soldats." L' application de ce Decret a ete formulee en des actes d'investiture, des tableaux statistiques et des £tats de prestation, dont les modeles sont reproduits a 1' Annexe IV. Contrairement a ce que pensele Rapport, ce Deeret a recu Pexecution compatible avec l'^tat d'avancement social des tribus ; de nombreux actes d'investiture ont ete dresses et des efforts ont ete faits pour £tablir des £tats de repartition equitable des prestations. Le Consul eut pu s'en assurer dans les bureaux des Commissariats, notamment des districts du Stanley-Pool et de l'fiquateur qu'il a traverses ; mais il a general ement neglige les sources d'in formations officielles. Sans doute, l'application fut et devait etre limitee dans les debuts, et il a pu en r£sulter que les demandes d'impots ont atteint, pendant quelque temps, les seuls villages dans un certain perimetre autour des stations ; mais cette situation s'est amelioree progressivement au fur et a mesure que, les regions plus distantes se trouvant englobees dans la zone d' influence des postes gouvernementaux, le nombre des villages astreints a l'imp6t s'est accru successivement et que les taxes ont pu etro reparties sur un chiffre plus grand de contribuables. Le Gouvernement vise a ce que le progres soit constant dans cette voie, e'est-a-dire k ce que l'impdt soit le plus equitablement reparti et soit, autant que possible, personnel ; le Decret du 18 Novembre, 1903, tend a ce but en prescrivant 1'etablissement de "r61es des prestations indigenes" de maniere que les obligations de chacun des natifs soient nettement precis^es.

" Chaque annee, dit TArticIe 28 de ce Secret, les Conimissaires de District dresseront dans les limites do TArticIe 2 du present Eeglement (c'e3t-a-dire dans la limite de quarante henres de travail par mois par indigene), les roles des prestations a fonrnir, en espeee et en duree de travail par chacun des indigenes residant dans les territoires de leur district respectif." Et PArticle 55 pun it "qu icon que, charge de la perception des prestations, aura exige' des indigenes, soit comme impSt en nature soit comme henres de travail, des prestations d'une valeur superieure a celles prevues dans les roles depositions."

Nul n'ignore que le recouvrement de l'impot se heurte parfois au mauvais vouloir, et meme au refus de payer. La demonstration qu'en fait le Rapport du Consul pour le Congo est corroboree par l'experience faite, par exemple, dans la Rhodesia.

" The Ba-Unga (Awemba district), inhabitants of the swamps in the Chambezi delta, gave some trouble on being snmmoned to pay taxes." 3 — " Although in many cases whole villages retired into the swamps on being called upon for the hut tax, the general result was satisfactory for the first year (Luapula district)." 4 — " Milala's people have succeeded in evading taxes." 5 — " A few natives bordering on the Portuguese territory, who, owing to the great distance they reside from the Native Commis- sioners 5 stations, are not under the direct supervision of the Native Commissioners, have so far evaded paying hut tax, and refused to submit themselves to the authority of the Government. The rebel Chief, Mapondera, has upon three occasions successfully eluded punitive expeditions sent against him.

Captain Gilson, of the British South Africa Police, was successful in coming upon him and a

large following of natives, and inflicting heavy losses upon them His kraal and all his crops

were destroyed. He is now reported to be in Portuguese territory. ..... Siji M'Kota, another

powerful Chief, living in the northern parts of the M'toko district, bordering on Portuguese territory, has also been successful in evading the payment of hut tax, and generally pursuing the adoption of an attitude which is not acceptable to the Government. I am pleased to report that a patrol is at present on its way to these parts to deal with this Chief, and to endeavour to obtain his submission. It wT be noted that the above remarks relate solely to those natives who reside along the borders of ou territories, and whose defiant attitude is materially assisted by reason of this proximity to the Portuguese border, across which they are well able to proceed whenever they consider that any meeting or contact with the Native Commissioner will interfere in any way with their indolent and lazy li- ? » They possess no movable property which might be attached with a view to the recovery of hut tax unpaid for many years, and travel backwards and forwards with considerable freedom, always placin themselves totally beyond the reach of the Native Commissioner/' 6

1 " Reports on the Administration of Rhodesia," 1900-1902, p. 424,

  • Dtoet du 6 Octobre, 1891 ("Bulletin Officiel," 1891, p. 259).

s "Reports on the Administration of Rhodesia" 1900-1902, p. 409.

  • Idem, p. 410.

G Idem, p. 410.

  • Idem, pp, 145, 146.


C'estlaun exemple de ces "punitive expeditions auxquelles l'autorite se voit obligee de recourir parfois, et aussi de ce procede des natifs, non special aux indigenes Congolais, de se deplacer en territoire voisin pour se soustraire a l'exeoutiou de la loi. — Que si, au Congo, dans le recouvrement des prestations indigenes, des cas, parmi ceux cites par le Consul, ont reellement depasse* les limites d'une rigueur justo et pondered, ce sont Ik des circonstances de faits que des investigations sur les lieux pourront seules elucider, et des instructions seront, a cet effet, donnees a Padmioistra- tion de Boma.

II ne peut 6tre da vantage accepte, jus qua plus ample inform e, les considerations du Rapport sur Taction des gardes forestiers au service de la Societe A.B.LR. et de "La Lugonga." Ces sous-ordres sont representes par le Consul comme exclusive- ment preposes a " obliger par force la recolte du caoutchouc ou les approvisionnements dont chaque facto rerie a besoin." 1 Une autre explication a cependant ete donnee, mais elle n'emane pas d'un indigene, a savoir que ces gardes forestiers ont pour mission de veiller a ce que la recolte du caoutchouc se fasse rationnellement et d'empecher notamment que les indigenes ne coupent les lianes. 3 On sait, en effet, que la loi a prescrit des mesures rigoureuses pour assurer la conservation des zones caoutcbou- tieres, a reglemente leur exploitation et a impose des plantations et replantations, en vue d'eviter l'epuisement complet du caoutchouc, comme ou Pa vu par exemple dans la " North-Eastern and Western Rhodesia." 3 Les Societes et particuliers exploitants ont de ce chef une lourde responsabilite et ont incontestablement une surveillance minutieuse a exercer sur les modes et proced^s de recoltes. La raison d'etre de ces gardes forestiers peut done, en r£alit£, etre tout autre que celle dite par le Consul ; en tout cas, les plaintes formulees a ce sujet formeront Pun des points de l'enquete au Congo, de meme que cette autre remarque du Rapport que l'armement de ces gardes forestiers serait excessif et abusif. II faut des a present remarquer que dans ses evaluations du nombre des gardes armis, le Consul procede par deductions hypothe'tiques 4 et qu'il dit lui-meme : " L have no means of ascertaining the number of this class of armed men employed by the A.B.LR. Company." 5 II donne le detail que le fusil d'un de ces hommes 6tait marque" sur la crosse : "Dep6t 2,210." Or, il est evident qu'une telle indication ne peut avoir la signification que voudrait lui donner le Consul que pour autant qu'il soit etabli qu'elle se rapporte a un numirotage des armes utilisees dans la Concession, et tel n'est pas le cas, car cette marque:

Dep6t n'est employee ni par les Agents de l'fitat ni par la Societe, et il est

a supposer qu'elle constitue une aucienne marque, soit de fabrication, soit de magasin. Quant a l'armement des capitas, le Consul ne doit pas ignorcr que ce point— qui n'est pas sans difficulte, puis qu'il faut a la fois tenir compte de la necessite de la defense personnelle du capita et de l'^cueil d'un usage abusif de 1'arme qui lui est confine — n'a cesse d'etre Fob jet de Pattention de l'autorite" superieure. II n'y a pas que la senle Circulaire du 20 Octobre, 1900, reproduite par le Consul, qui ait traite la question ; il en est tout un ensemble, datant notamment des 12 Mars, 1897, 31 Mai et 28 Novembre, 1900, et 30 Avril, 1901. Nous les reproduisons en Annexes, comme temoignant de Pabsolue volonte du pouvoir de faire appliquer strictement les dispositions legal es en la matiere (Annexe V). Nonobstant les precautions incessantes, le Consul a constate que plusieurs capitas n'etaient pas porteurs de permis— ces permis

ne se trouvait-ils pas au siege de la Direction ? — et que deux

n one o f the towns. He shot the man who rerused him. I he rascal of a soldier was properly dealt with by the State officer in charge- °ut tins outrage combined with other smaller difficulties to produce a panic, and nearly all hfokfnup "" Ch Side ' 01 Hd inland ' S ° fiD6 t0WDshi P fl as I Report, p. 21. 3 Idem, p. 26.

  • w ^n *' , missionar y » f Cougo Batolo Mission. " Regions Beyond," December 1901, p. 337
t^H.BenUey. « Pioneering on the Congo," II, p. 229, ' '* 14 The other refers to the station at Bolobo : — « It is rare indeed for Bolobo, with its 30,000 or 40,000 people, divided into some dozen elans, to be at peace for any length of time together. The loss of life from these petty wars, the number of those killed for witchcraft, and of those who are buried ahye with the dead, involve, even within our narrow limits here at Bolobo, an almost daily dram upon the vitality of the country and an incalculable amount of sorrow and suffering The Government was not indifferent to these murderous ways In 1890, the District Commissioner called the people together and warned them against the burying of slaves alive in the graves of tree people, and the reckless killing of slaves which then obtained. The natives did not like the rising power of the State . . Our own settlement among them was not unattended with difficulty There was' a feeling against white men generally, and especially so against the State. The people became insolent and haughty Just at this time . . . as a force of soldiers steamed uast the Move towns, the steamers were fired upon. The soldiers landed and burnt and looted the towns. The natives ran away into the grass, and great numbers crossed to the French side of the river. They awoke to the fact that Bula Matadi, the btate, waa not the helpless thing they had so long thought. This happened early in 1891." i It will be seen that these examples do not attribute the emigration of the natives to any such causes as : — " The methods employed to obtain labour from them by local officials and the exactions levied on them." 3 The Report dwells at length on the existence of native taxes. It shows how the natives are subject to forced labour of various kinds, in one district having to furnish the Government posts with " chikwangues," or fresh provisions, in another being obliged to assist in works of public utility, such as the construction of a jetty at Bololo, or the up-keep of the telegraph line at E* ; elsewhere being obliged to collect the produce of the domain lands. We maintain that such imposts on the natives are legitimate, in agreement on this point with His Majesty's Government, who, in the Memorandum of the 11th February last, declare that the industry and development of the British Colonies and Protectorates in Africa show that His Majesty's Government have always admitted the necessity of making the natives contribute to the public charges and of inducing them to work. We also agree with His Majesty's Government that, if abuses occur in this connection and undoubtedly some have occurred in all Colonies— such abuses call for reform, and that it is the duty of the authorities to put an end to them, and to reconcile as far 'as may be the requirements of the Government with the real interests of the natiVeS * - n f J- 1 - L • 1-1. t But in this matter the Congo State intends to exercise freely _ its rights of sovereignty— as, for instance, His Majesty's Government explain in their last Memo- randum 5 that they themselves did at Sierra Leone— without regard to external pressure or foreign interference, which would be an encroachment upon its essential rights. The Consul, in his Report, obviously endeavours to create the impression that taxes in the Congo are collected in a violent, inhuman, and cruel manner, and we are anxious before all to rebut the accusation which has so often been brought against the State that such collection gives rise to odious acts of mutilation. On this point a superficial perusal of the Report is calculated to impress by its easy accumulation not of facts, simple, precise, and verified, but of the declarations and affirmations of natives. There is a preliminary remark to be made in regard to the conditions in which the Consul made his journey. . Whether such was his intention or not, the British Consul appeared to _ the inhabitants as the re dresser of the wrongs, real or imaginary, of the natives, and his presence at La Lulonga, coinciding with the campaign which was being directed against the Congo State, in a region where the influence of the Protestant missionaries has long been exercised, necessarily had for the natives a significance which did not escape them. The Consul made his investigations quite independently of the Government officials, quite independently of any action and of any co-operation on the part of the regular authorities ; he was assisted in bis proceedings by English Protestant missionaries ; he made his inspection on a steamer belonging to a Protestant Mission ; he was entertained for the most part in the Protestant Missions; and, in these circumstances, it was inevitable that he should he considered by the native as the antagonist of the established authorities. Other proof is not required than the characteristic fact that while the Consul was at Bonginda, the natives crowded down to the bank, as some agents of the La Lulonga
  • I
l " Pioneering on the Congo," by the Rev. W. Hoi man Uentley, II, pp. 235-236. s Report, p , 29, 15 Company were going by m a canoe, and cried out : « Tour violence is over, it is passing TIL-r y the i ^ hs } 1 r P ema l" » ™y you others die ! " There is also this significant ^marked - & Protcstant ^^sionary, who, in alluding to this incident,
  • i [< £ h ?i OOHS 1 U1 WaS W at the W ' and tIlc P eo P le ™ ere nmch excited and evidentlv
thought themselves on top. The people have got this idea (that the rubber work wS finished) into their heads of themselves, consequent, I suppose, upon the Consul's visit." In these circumstances, in view of the state of mind which they show to exist among the natives, m new of their impressionable character and of their natural desire to escape taxation, it could not be doubted but that the conclusions at which the Consul would arrive would not be other than those set forth in his Report. To bring out this point, and to show how little value is to" be attached to his investigations, it will be sufficient to examine one case, that on which Mr. Casement principally relies; we allude to the Epondo case. It is that of the child II, mentioned on pp. 5b, 08, and 78 of the Report. It is indispensable to enter somewhat at length into the details of this case which are significant, -d i ? n B e - 4th Se P tember > 1903, the Consul was at the Bonginda station of the Congo v i°u fr- having returned fl * om a journey on the Lopori, during the course of which he had not come across any of those acts of mutilation which it is the custom to attribute to officials in the Congo. At Bonginda, the natives of a neighbouring village (Bossunguma) came to him and mlormed him, amongst other things, that a "sentry" of the La Lulonjra Company named Kelengo, 1 nad, at Bossunguma, cut off the hand of a native called Epondo whose wounds were still scarcely healed. The Consul proceeded to Bossunguma, accompanied by the Kev, W. D. Armstrong and the Rev. D. J. Danielson, and had the mutilated native brought before him, who, "in answer to Consul's question, charges a sentry named 'Kelengo' (placed in the town by the local agent of the La Lnlonga Society to see that the people work rubber) " with having done it. Such are the Consuls own words: it was necessary to establish a relation of cause and effect between the collection of india-rubber and this alleged case of cruelty. The Consul proceeded to question the Chief and some of the natives of the village Ihey replied by accusing Kelengo; most of them asserted that they were Eye- witnesses of the deed. The Consul inquired through bis interpreters if there were other witnesses who saw the crime committed, and accused Kelengo of it. "Nearly all those didTt ab0Ut f ° rty p6rSOnS ' sllouted 0llt with one voice that it was < Kelengo ' who In order to understand the violence with which the natives accused Kelen°-o and the unanimous manner in which the denials of the accused were rejected by his accusers it is necessary to read the whole of the report of this inquirv, as drawn up by the Consul himself m a kind of proces-verbaux, dated the 7th, Sth, and 9th September (Annex II). irom all quarters accusers appeared, and the excited crowd gave vent to all sorts of accusations : he had cut off Epondo's hand, chained up women, stolen ducks and a dog! I he Consul did not allow his suspicions to be aroused by the passionate character of these accusations; without any further guarantee* of their sincerity or further examination into their truth, he looked upon his inquiry as conclusive, and as he had taken upon himself the duties of the Public Prosecutor in making preliminary inquiries into the matter, so he anticipated the decision of the responsible authorities by declaring to the assembled people that " Kelengo deserved severe punishment tor his illegal and cruel acts." He proceeded to dramatize the incident by carryino- off the pretended victim, and exhibiting him on the 10th September to the official in command of the station at CoquilhatvMe, to whom he handed a copy of the record or his inquiry, and on the 12th September he addressed a letter to the Governor- general which he marked as "personal and private," and in which he makes the incident in question among others a text for an attack on "the system of general exploitation of an entire population which can only be rendered successful by the employ- ment of arbitrary and illegal force." His inquiry terminated, he immediately started on his return journey to the Lower Congo. Even if the circumstances had been correctly reported, the disproportion would still 1 K IC in "Africa No. 1 (mi)." have teen striking between them arid the conclusions which the Consul draws when e^hSng hS general criticism, of the Congo State. But the facts themselves are inC ° mSteToffact, no sooner did the Consul's denunciation reach the Public Prosecutor' Department 'than M. Gennaro Bosco, Acting Public Prosecutor, pro- ceeded to the "spot and held a judical inquiry under the usua co-nd: t^ns fr,e from all outside influences. This inquiry showed that His Britannic Majesty s cTsul nad been the object of a plot contrived by the natives, who, m the hope of no longer beL obliged to work, had agreed among themselves to represent Epondo as the v iclm of" the inhuman conduct of one of the capites ot a commercia Companv In reality, Epondo had been the victim of an accident while out hunW and had been bitten in the hand by a wild boar; gangrene had set in and caused the loss of the member and this fact ha been c evenly turned to account hv the natives when before the Consul. We annex (Annex Ho. 3) extracts from he inquiry conducted by the Acting Public Prosecutor into the Epondo case ST evidence is 7 typical, uniform, and without discrepancies. It leaves no doubt as to the cause of the'accident, makes it clear that the natives lied to t^sd «d reveals the object which actuated them, namely, the hope that the Consuls inter- vention would relieve them from the necessity of paying taxes. The inquiry shows how Epondo a? £t b ought to account, retracted what he had in the first instance said to the Consul, and confessed that he had been influenced by the people of his village. He was questioned as follows Q. Do you perBist in accusing Kelengo of having cut off your left hand? A. No. I told a He. i f^^r^^^ZX^ Bangala district. One day I went out hn.vt^tint with him He wounded one with a spear, and thereupon the animal, enraged, toed t me I trieri to run off with the others, but falling down the boar was on me m a turned on me. i fwounded me) in the stomach and left thigh. m ° m Sl a :?w M£. ™ bf iS. 2 the places nn^on.d, £& do™ of h„ own aeoorf she™ the position he was in when the boar attacked and wounded him. Q. How long ago did this accident happen t A I don't remember. It was a long time ago. 1 XZ^ESS. STP*. Bos.nngn.na Chiefs, told me to, and afterwards ,U the inhabitants of my village did so too.^ »#*•■* I ^h^tS^^m^^ the ^ Tr U f = d. There were Nenele Mongongob, Toronto, and other white, whose names I dont know. They were white* ^from Lulanga. Mongongolo took away six photographs.' - ; Epondo of his own accord repeated his declarations and retractations to a Protestant missionary Mr. Paris, who lives at Bolengi. This gentleman has sent the Commissaiy- General at Coquilhatville the following written declaration « j E E Faris, missionary, residing at Bolengi, Upper Congo, declare that I questioned the boy Epondo of the village of Boson goma, who was at my house on the 10th Sept ember 19W, w4 Mi- Casement, the British Consul, and whom, in accordance wi h h e reque t ma de to m b> Sb^^^ W -Mdt» a^thlsametime^at he informed Mr. Casement that his hand was cot off eith. bv a soldier or perhaps, by one of those working for the white men (« travarUeurs de blanc ) who have been m^g J T in his village with a view to the collection of rubber, hut he asserts that the account which he has given me to-day is the truth. (Signed) " E. E. FABIS.". « Bolengi, October 17, 1903." The inquiry resulted in the discharge of the prisoner, which, so far as it concerned •the Epondo question, was in the following terms - We Acting Public Prosecutor of the Court of Coquhhatyille : ! < . HaviUg refard tothenotesmade by His Britannic Majesty's Consul on the occasion o h » visit to thf villages of Ikandja and Bossunguma in the territory of the Ngombe, from whichU Wf appearS certain Kelengo, a forest guard in the service of .the La Lulonga Company- (a) Cut off the left hand of a certain Epondo ; (&■) s
i See Annex No. 3.
17 Having regard to the inquiry instituted by Lieutenant Braeckman, which partly confirms the result of the inquiry instituted by His Britannic Majesty's Consul, but also partlv contradicts it, and to the charges already brought against Kelengo adds that of having killed "a native of the name of Baluwa ; Having regard to the conclusions arrived at by the police employe in question, which tend to raise grave doubts as to the truth of all these charges ; In view of the fact that all the natives who brought these charges against .Kelengo, whether before His Britannic Majesty's Consul or Lieutenant Braeckman, on being summoned by us, the Acting Public Prosecutor, took to flight, and all efforts to find them have been fruitless; that this flight obviously throws doubt on the truth of their allegations ; That all the witnesses whom we have questioned during the course of our inquiry declare .... that Epondo lost his left hand from the bite of a wild boar; That Epondo confirms these statements, and admits that he told a lie at the instigation of the natives of Bossunguma and Ikondja, who hoped to escape collecting rubber ■ through the intervention of His Britannic Majesty's Consul, whom they considered to be very powerful ; That the witnesses, almost all inhabitants of the accusing villages, admit that such was the object of their lie ; That this version, apart from the unanimous declarations of the witnesses and the injured parties, is also the most plausible, seeing that every one knows that the natives dislike work m general and having to collect rubber, and are, moreover, ready to he and accuse people falsely ; That it is confirmed by the clearly stated opinion of the English missionary Armstrong, who considers the natives to be " capable of any plot to escape work and especially the labour of collecting rubber " ; That the innocence of Kelengo having been thoroughly established, there is no reason for proceeding against him ; On the above-mentioned grounds, we, the Acting Public Prosecutor, declare that there are no glounds for proceeding against Kelengo, a forest guard in the service of the La Lulonga Company, for the offences mentioned in Articles 2, 5, 11, and 19 of the Penal Code. (Signed) Bosco, Acting Public Prosecutor. Mampoho, October 9, 1903 "We have dealt at length with the above case because it is considered by the Consul himself as being one of the utmost importance, and because he relies upon this single case for accepting as accurate all the other declarations made to him by natives. " In the one case 1 could alone personally investigate," he says, 1 " that of the boy II, I found this accusation proved on the spot without seemingly a shadow of doubt existing as to the guilt of the accused sentry." And further on : — ■ "I had not time to do more than visit the one time to investigate the charge brought by 1 1." 1 • And elsewhere : — "It was obviously impossible that I should .... verify on the spot, as in the case of the hoy, the statements they made. In that one case the truth of the charges preferred was amply demonstrated." s It is also to this case that he alludes in his letter of the 12th September, 1903, to the Govern or- General, where he says : — "When speaking to M. le Commandant Stevens at Colquilhatville on the 10th instant, when the mutilated boy Epondo stood before us as evidence of the deplorable state of affairs I reprobated, I saidj 'I do not accuse an individual, I accuse a system.'" It is only natural to conclude that if the rest of the evidence in the Consul's Report is of the same value as that furnished to him in this particular case, it cannot possibly be regarded as conclusive. And it is obvious that in those cases in which the Consul, as he himself admits, did not attempt to verify the assertions of the natives, these assertions are worth, if possible, still less. It is doubtless true that the Consul deliberately incurred the certain risk of being misled owing to the manner in which he interrogated the natives, which he did, as a matter of fact, through two interpreters — "through Vinda, speaking in Bobangi, and 1 Report, p. 5,8. 3 Idem, p. 58. 3 Idem, p. 56. U [828] D 2. i of R**, and in that village I had only 1 8 Bateko, repeating his utterances .... in the local dialect; 1 so that the Consul was at the mercy not only of the truthfulness of the native who was being questioned, but depended also on the correctness of the translations of two other natives, one of whom was a servant of his own, and the other apparently the missionaries' interpreter. 3 But any one who has ever been in contact with the native knows how much he is given to lying ; the Rev. 0. H. Harvey 3 states that — " The natives of the Congo who surrounded us were contemptible, perfidious and cruel, impudent liars, dishonest, and vile." It is also important, if one wishes to get a correct idea of the value of this evidence, to note that while Mr. Casement was questioning the natives, be was accompanied by two local Protestant English missionaries, whose presence must alone have necessarily affected the evidence. 4 ' We should ourselves be going too far if from all this we were to conclude that the whole of the native statements reported by the Consul ought to be rejected. But it is clearly shown that his proofs are insufficient as a basis for a deliberate judgment, and that the particulars in question require to be carefully and impartially tested. On examining the Consul's voluminous Report for other cases which he Ms seen, and which he sets down as cases of mutilation, it will be observed that he mentions two as having occurred on Lake Man turn ba 3 f( some years ago." 6 He mentions several others, in regard to the number of which the particulars given in the Report do not seem to agree, 7 as having taken place in the neighbourhood of Bonginda, 8 precisely in the country of the Epondo inquiry, where, as has been seen, the general feeling was excited and prejudiced. It is these cases which, he says, he had not time to inquire into fully ,' J and which, according to the natives, were due to agents of the La Lulanga Company. Were these instances of victims of the practice of native customs which the natives would have been careful not to admit ? Were the injuries which the Consul saw due to some conflict between neighbouring villages or tribes ? Or were they really due to the black subordinates of the Company ? This cannot he determined by a perusal of the Report, as the natives in this instance, as in every other, were the sole source of the Consul's information, and he, for bis part, confined himself to taking rapid notes of their numerous statements for a few hours in the morning of the 5th September, being pressed for time, in order to reach K* (Bossunguma) at a reasonable hour. 15 Notwithstanding the weight which he attaches to the "air of frankness" and the " air of conviction and sincerity " 11 on the part of the natives, his own experience shows clearly the necessity for caution, and renders rash his assertion "that it was clear that these men were stating either what they had actually seen with their eyes or firmly believed in their hearts." 13 Now, however, that the Consul has drawn attention to these few cases — whether cases of cruelty or not, and they are all that, as a matter of fact, he has inquired into personally, and even so without being able to prove sufficiently their real cause — the authorities will of course look into the matter and cause inquiries to be made. It is to be regretted that, this being so, all mention of date, place, and name has been systemati- cally omitted in the copy of the Report communicated to the Government of the Inde- pendent State of the Congo. It is impossible not to see that these suppressions will place great difficulties in the way of the Magistrates who will have to inquire into the facts, and the Government of the Congo trust that, in the interests of truth, they may be placed in possession of the complete text of the Consul's Report. It is not to be wondered at if the Government of the Congo State take this opportunity of protesting against the proceedings of their detractors, who have thought fit to submit to the public reproductions of photographs of mutilated natives, and have started the odious story of hands being cut off with the knowledge and even at the instigation of Belgians in Africa. The photograph of Epondo, for instance, mutilated in 1 See Annex No. 2 (really Inclosure 6 in No. 3). 3 " Uegions Beyond," 1900, p. 198. 3 Idem, January-February, 1903, p. 53.
  • See Annex No, 2. " Present: Kev. W. D. Armstrong and Rev. D. J. Dauielsou of the Congo Balolo
Mission of Bonginda, Vinda Bidilou (Consul's headman) and Bateko as interpreters, and His Britannic Majesty's Consul." Tins passage is omitted in Amies No. 6 of the Consul's Report (p. 78). 5 Report, p. Si. fi Idem, pp. 76 and 77. 7 Cf. Report, pp. 54 and 55 and p. 58, 8 Report, pp. 54, 55. 9 Idem, p. 56. 3 « Idem, p. 5C. u Idem, p. 62. is Idem, p. 57. (be manner known, and who has "twice been photographed," is probably one of those which the English pamphlets are circulating as proof of the execrable adminis- tration of the Belgians in Africa, One English review reproduced the photograph of a (i cannibal surrounded with the skulls of his victims," and underneath was written : " In the original photograph the cannibal was naked. The artist has made him decent by .... covering bis breast with the star of the Congo State. It is now a suggestive emblem of the Christian-veneered cannibalism on the Congo." 1 At this rate it would suffice to throw discredit on the Uganda Administration if the plates were published illustrating the mutilations which, in a letter dated Uganda, 16th December, ]902, Dr. Castellani says be saw in the neighbourhood of Entebbe itself: "It is not difficult to find there natives without noses or ears, &c." s The truth is, that in Uganda, as in the Congo, the natives still give way to their savage instincts. This objection has been anticipated by Mr. Casement, who remarks "It was not a native custom prior to the coming of the white man ; it was not the outcome of the primitive instincts of savages in their fights between village and village; it was the deliberate act of the soldiers of a European Administration, and these men themselves never made any concealment that in committing these acts they were but obeying the positive orders of their superiors." 3 That Mr. Casement should formulate so serious a charge without at the same time supporting it by absolute proof would seem to justify those who consider that his previous employment has not altogether been such as to qualify him for the duties of a Consul. Mr. Casement remained seventeen days on Lake Mantumba, a lake said to be 25 to 30 miles long and 12 to 15 broad, surrounded by dense forest. 4 He scarcely left its shores at all. In these circumstances it is difficult to see bow he could have made any useful researches into the former habits and customs of the inhabitants. On the contrary, from the fact that the tribes in question are still very savage, and addicted to cannibalism/ it would seem that they have not abandoned the practice of those cruelties which throughout Africa were the usual accompani- ments of barbarous habits and anthropophagy. In one portion of the districts which the Consul visited, the evidence of the English missionaries on thi3 point is most instructive. The Rev, McKittrick, in describing the sanguinary contests between the natives, mentions the efforts to pacify the country which he formerly made through the Chiefs :■ — " .... We told them that for the future we should not let any man carrying 'spears or knives pass through our station. Our Cod was a God of peace, and we, His children, could not bear to see our black brothers cutting and stabbing each other/' 6 "While I was going up and down the river," says another missionary, "they pointed out to me the King's beaches, whence they used to dispatch their fighting men to capture canoes and men. It was heartrending to hear them describe the awful massacres that used to take place at a great Chief's death. A deep hole was dug in the ground, into which scores of slaves were thrown after having their heads cut off ; and upon that horrible pile they laid the Chief's dead body to crown the indescribable human carnage." 7 And the missionaries speak of the facility with which even nowadays the natives return to their old customs. It would seem, too, that the statement made in the Report, 8 that the natives now fly on the approach of a steamer as they never used to do, is hardly in accordance with the reports of travellers and explorers. Be this how it may, it is to be observed that nowhere in the territory which is the scene of the operations of the A.B.J.R. Company did the Consul discover any evidence of acts of cruelty for which the commercial agents might have been considered responsible. The coincidence is remarkable, since it so happens that the A.B.I.R. Company is a concessionary Company, and that it is the system of concessions to which are constantly attributed the most disastrous consequences for the natives. What it is important to discover from the immense number of questions touched on the Consul, and the multiplicity of minor facts which he has collected, is whether the 1 "Review of Reviews," February 14, 1903. 3 The " Tribuna " of Rome. 3 Report. Annex No. 4, p. 77,
  • Idem, p. 80.
5 Idem, p. 30. « " Ten Years at Bonginda." D. McKittrick. " Regions Beyond," 1900, p. 21, "< "Congo Contrasts." Mr, Boudot. "Regions Beyond," 1900, p. 197. 8 Report, p. 34. , 1 t 20 sort of picture he has drawn of the wretched existence led by the natives corresponds to the actual state of affairs. We will take, for instance, the district of the Lulanga and the Lopori, as the head-stations of the missions of the " Congo Balolo Mission " have been established there for years past. These missionaries are established in the most distant places in the interior, at Lulonga, Bonginda, Ikau, Bongandanga, and Baringa, all of which are situated in the scene of operations of the La Lulonga and A.BXR.- Companies. They are in constant communication with the native populations and a special monthly review, called " Regions Beyond," regularly publishes their letters, notes, and reports. An examination of a set of these publications reveals no trace, at any time previous to April 1903 — by that date, it is true, Mr. Herbert Samuel's motion had been brought before Parliament — of anything either to point out or to reveal that the general situation of the native populations was such as ought to be denounced to the civilized world. The missionaries congratulate themselves on the active sympathy shown them by the various official and commercial agents, 1 on the progress of their work of evangelization/ on the facilities afforded them by the construction of roads, 3 on the manner in which the natives are becoming civilized, "owing to the mere presence of white men in their midst, both missionaries and traders,"* on the disappearance of slavery, 5 on the density of the population, 6 on the growing number of their pupils, " especially since the State has issued orders for all children within reach to attend the mission schools," 7 on the gradual disappearance of the primitive customs of the natives, 8 and lastly, on the contrast between the present and the past, 8 Will it be admitted that these Christian English missionaries, who, during their journeys, visited the various factories, and witnessed markets of rubber being held, would, by keeping silence, make themselves the accomplices of an inhuman or wrongful system of government ? Among the conclusions of one of the Annual Reports of the Congo Balolo Mission is to be found the following: " On the whole, the retro-, spect is encouraging. If there has been no great advance, there has been no heavy falling off, and no definite opposition to the work There has been much famine and sickness among the natives, especially at Bonginda Apart from this, there has been no serious hindrance to progress " 10 And speaking incidentally of the beneficial effect produced by work on the social condition of the natives, a missionary writes ; "The greatest obstacle to conversion is polygamy. Many evils have been put down, e.g., idleness, thanks to the State having compelled the men to work; and fighting, through their not having time enough "to fight. 11 These opinions of mis- sionaries-appear to us to be more precise than those expressed in a .Report on every page of which it may be said one finds such expressions as : "I was told," " it was said," "I was informed," *I was assured," "they said," "it was alleged," "I had no means of verifying," " it was impossible for me to verify," " I have no means of ascer- taining," &c. Within a space of ten lines, indeed, occur four times the expressions, "appears," "would seem," " would seem," " do not seem." 13 The Consul does not appear to have realized that native taxes in the Congo are levied in the shape of labour, and that this form of tax is justified as much by the moral effect which it produces, as by the impossibility of taxing the native in any other way, seeing that, as the Consul admits, the native has no money- It is to this consideration that is due the fact, to give another example, that out of 56,700 huts which are taxed in ISorth -Eastern Rhodesia 19,653 pay that tax " in labour," while 4,938 pay it "in produce." 13 Whether such labour is furnished direct to the State or to some private undertaking, and whether it is given in aid of this or that work as local necessities may dictate, one ground of justification is always to be found in what the Memorandum of the 11th February last recognizes is the '"'necessity of the natives being induced to work." The Consul shows much anxiety as to how this forced labour should be • described ; he is surprised that if it be a tax it is sometimes paid and recovered by commercial agents. Strictly speaking, of course, it cannot be denied I "Reg-ions Beyond," 1900, p. 150; 1902, p. 209. 3 Idem, passim. s Idem, 1900, p. 150.
  • Idem, 1901, p. 27.
5 Idem, 1900, p. 199. 6 Idem, 1900, pp. 243, 297, 306. 1 Idem, 1901, p. 40; 1902, p. 315. 8 Idem, 1901, p. 40. 9 Idem, 1900, p. 196. Idem, 1901, p. 43. « Idem, 1901, p. 60. » Report, p. •)%. " Reports on the Administration of Rhodesia, 1900-1902, p. 408. that the idea of remunerating a person for paying his taxes is contrary to ordinary notions of finance; but the difficulty disappears if it is considered that the object in view has been to get the natives to acquire the habit of labour, from which they have always shown a greaf aversion. And if this notion of work can more easily be inculcated on the natives under the form of commercial transactions between tbem and private persons, is it necessary to condemn such a mode of procedure, especially in those parts where the organization of the Administration is not vet complete ? But it is essential that in the relations of this nature which they have with the natives, commercial agents, no iess than those of the State, should be kind and humane. In so far as it bears on this point the Consul's Report will receive the most careful consideration, and if the result of investigation be to show that there are real abuses and that reforms are called for, the beads of the Administration will act as the circumstances may require. But no one has ever imagined that the fiscal system in the Congo attained perfec- tion at once, especially in regard to such matters as the assessment of taxes and the means for recovering them. The system of " Chieftaincies," which is recommended by the fact that it enables the authorities and the native to communicate through the lattcr's natural Chief, was based on an idea carried into practice elsewhere : — "The more important Chiefs who helped the Administration have been paid a certain percentage of the taxes collected in their districts, and I think that if this policy is adhered to each year, the results will continue to be satisfactory and will encourage the Chiefs to work in harmony with the Administration." 1 The Decree on the subject of these Chieftaincies 3 laid down the principle of a tax, and its levy in accordance with " a table of contributions to be made every year by each village in produce, forced labour, labourers, or soldiers." The application of this Decree has been provided for by deeds of investiture, tables of statistics, and particulars of contributions, forms of which will be found in Annex IY. In spite of ' what is stated in the Report, this Decree has been carried out so far as has been found ■ compatible with the social condition of the various tribes; numerous deeds of investiture have been drawn up, and efforts have been made to draw up an equitable assessment of the contributions. The Consul might have found this out at the Commissioners' offices, especially in the Stanley Pool and Equator districts, which he passed through ; but he neglected as a rule all official sources of inform ation._ J$o doubt the application of the Decree was at first necessarily limited, and it is possible that the result has been that for a certain time only such villages as were within a short distance from stations have been required to pay taxes ; but this state of things has little by little altered for the better in proportion as the more distant regions have become included in the areas of influence of the Government posts, the number of villages subject to taxation has gradually increased, and it has been found possible to levy taxes on a greater number of persons. The Government aim at making progress in this direction continuous, that is to say, that taxation should be more equitably distributed, and should as much as possible be personal; it was with this object that the Decree of the 18th November, 1903, provided for drawing up " lists of native contributions" in such a way that the obligations of every native should be strictly defined. "Article 28 of this Decree lays down that within the limits of Article 2 of the present regu- lations (that is to say, within the limit of forty hours' work per month per native) the District Commissioners shall draw up annual lists of the' taxes to be paid, in kind or duration of labour, by each of the natives resident in the territories of their respective districts. And Article bf> punishes 'whoever, being charged with the levy of taxes, shall have required of the natives, whether in kind or labour, contributions which shall exceed in value those prescribed in the tables of taxes.' " It in matter of common notoriety that the collection of taxes is occasionally met by opposition, and even refusal to pay. The proofs of this, which are to be found in the Report of the Consul for the Congo, are borne out by what has happened, for instance, in Rhodesia: — " The Ba-TJnga (Awemba district), inhabitants of the swamps in the Zambezi delta, gave some trouble on being summoned to pay taxes." 3 , "Although in many eases whole villages retired into the swamps on being called upon ■ for .the hut-tax, the general result was satisfactory for the first year (Luapula district)." * "Milala's people have succeeded in evading taxes." 5 1 Reports on the Administration of .Rhodesia, 1900-1902, p. 408. : 3 Decree of the 6th October, 1891 (" Bulletin Officie-1 " 1891, p. 259). 3 Reports on the Administration of Rhodesia, 1900-1902, p. 409.
  • Idem, p 410.
s Idem, p. 410. ... 22 " A few natives bordering on the Portuguese territory, who, owing - to - the great distance they reside from the Native Commissioners' Stations, are not under the direct super- vision of the Native Commissioners, have so far evaded paying hut tax, and refused to submit themselves to the authority of the Government. The rebel Chief, Mapondera, has upon three occasions successfully eluded punitive expeditions sent against him. Captain Gilson, of the British South Africa Police, was successful in coming upon him and a large following f natives, and inflicting heavy losses upon them. His kraal and all his crops were destroyed. He is now reported to be in Portuguese territory. Siji M'Kota, another powerful Chief, living ; a the northern parts of the M'toko district, bordering on Portuguese territory, has also been successful in evading the payment of hut tax, and generally pursuing the adoption of an attitude which is not acceptable to the Government. I am pleased to report that a patrol is at present on its way to these parts to deal with this Chief, and to endeavour to obtain his submission, Tt will be noted that the above remarks relate solely to those natives who reside along the borders of our territories, and whose defiant attitude is materially assisted by reason of this proximity to the Portuguese border, across which they are well able to proceed whenever they consider that any meeting or contact with the Native Commissioner will interfere in any way with their indolent and lazy life. They possess no movable property which might be attached with a view of the recovery of hut tax unpaid for many years, and travel backwards and forwards with considerable freedom, always placing themselves totally beyond the reach of the Native Commissioner." 1 The above is an instance of those "punitive expeditions" to which the authorities are occasionally obliged to resort, as also of the native custom, which is not peculiar to the natives of the Congo, of moving into a neighbouring- territory when they are seeking to evade the operation of the law. Whether in the process of collecting native taxes there have been cases in the Congo, amongst those mentioned by the Consul, in which the limits of a just and reasonable severity have been, overstepped is a question of fact which investigation on the spot can alone ascertain, and instructions to this effect will be given to the authorities at Bo ma. We are also unable to accept, on the information at present before ns, the conclusions of the Report in regard to the conduct of the forest guards in the employ of the A.B.LR. and La Lulonga Companies. These subordinate officers are repre- sented by the Consul as being exclusively employed in " compelling by force the collection of india-rubber or the supplies which each factory needed."" It is true that another explanation has been given — though not, indeed, by a native — according to which the business of these same forest guards is to see that the india-rubber is harvested after a reasonable fashion, and especially to prevent the natives from cutting the plants. 5 It is, indeed, well known that the law has made rigorous provision for preserving the rubber zones, has regulated the manner in which they are to be worked, and has made planting and replanting obligatory, with a view to avoiding the complete exhaustion of the rubber plant which has occurred, for instance, in Sorth- eastern and Western Rhodesia.* A heavy responsibility in this direction lies on the Companies and private persons engaged in developing the country, and it is obvious that they are bound to exercise the most careful superintendence over the way in which the harvest is collected. The object for which these forest guards are employed, therefore, may well be quite different from that alleged by the Consul ; in any case, the complaints which have been made on this head will form a subject for inquiry in the Congo, as also the other remark of the Report that the manner in which these forest guards are armed is excessive, and liable to abuse. It is to be here observed that in calculating the number of these forest guards the Consul is obliged to rely on hypothesis," and that he himself admits : " I have no means of ascertaining the number of this class of armed men employed by the A.B.I.R. Company."" He mentions that the gun of one of these men was marked on the butt " I)ep6t 2210." But it is evident that such a mark can only have the significance which the Consul would like to see in it, in so far as it can be proved that it refers to the numbering of the arms used in the Concession, and such is not the case, since this particular mark " Depot : ' is not used either by the officials of the State or those of the Company, end it would seem that it is an old manufactory or store mark. In regard to the manner of arming the capitas, the Consul can hardly be ignorant that the higher authorities have always given great attention to the matter, which is, indeed, one surrounded with difficulties, seeing that while on the one hand it is necessary to consider the question of the personal protection of the capita, on ... 1 Reports on the Administration of Khodesia, 1900-1902, pp. 145, 146. 3 Annex III, p. 26. 4 Reports on the Administration of Kb odes! a, 1900-1902, pp. 397, &c. s Report, p. 57. B Idem, p. 42. the other the possibility of the arms in question being used for improper purposes must not be lost sight of. It is not only in the Circular of the 20th October, 1900, which the Consul has reprinted, that this question is dealt with : there is a whole collection of Circulars on the subject, arhong which may be mentioned those of the 12th March, 1897, 31st May and 28th November, 1900, and 30th April, 1901. Copies of them are annexed as proof of the fixed determination of the Government to see that the law relating to this question is strictly enforced (Annex V). Tet, in spite of all these precautions, the Consul has ascertained that several capitas were not provided with permits (perhaps they might have been found at the head office), and that two of them were furnished with arms of precision. 1 But these few infractions of the rule are obviously not enough to prove the existence of a sort of vast armed organization destined to strike terror into the natives. On the contrary, the Circular of the 7th September, 1903, printed in Annex VII of the Consul's Report, is a proof of the care taken by the Government that the regular black troops should always be under the control of European officers. 3 Such are the preliminary remarks suggested by Mr. Casement's Report, and we reserve to ourselves the right of dealing with it more in detail as soon as the Government shall be in possession of the results of the inquiry which the local authorities are about to make. It will be observed that the Government, in its. desire not to seem to wish to avoid the discussion, has not raised a question in regard to the manner, surely unusual, in which His Britannic Majesty's Consul has acted in a foreign country. It is- obviously altogether outside the duties of a Consul to take upon himself, as Mr. Casemeut has done, to institute inquiries, to summon natives, to submit them to interrogatories as if duly authorized thereto, and to deliver what may be styled judgments in regard to the guilt of the accused. The reservations called for by this mode of procedure must be all the more formal, as the Consul was thus intervening in matters which only concerned subjects of the Congo State, and which were within the exclusive jurisdiction of the territorial authorities. Mr. Casement, indeed, made it his business himself to point out how little authorized he was to interfere when on the 4th September, 1903, he wrote to the Governor-General : "I have no right of representation to your Excellency save where the persons or interests of British subjects dwelling in this country are affected." It is thus obvious that he was aware that he was exceeding his duties by investigating facts which concerned only the internal administration, and so, contrary to a'l laws of Consular jurisdiction, encroaching on the province of the territorial authorities. "The grievances of the natives have been made known in this country by , who brought over a petition addressed to the King, praying for relief from the excessive taxation and oppressive legislation of which they complain." These lines are extracted from the Report for 1903 of the British and Foreign A nti- Slavery Society, and the natives referred to are the natives of the Fiji Isles. The Report goes on "The ease has been brought before the House of Commons, The grievances include forced labour on the roads, and restrictions which practically amount to slavery; natives have been flogged without trial by magistrate's orders, and are constantly subject to imprisonment for frivolous causes. Petitions lodged with the local Colonial Secretary have been disregarded. Mr. Chamberlain, in reply to the questions asked in Parliament, threw doubt upon the infor- mation received, but stated that the recently appointed Governor is conducting- an inquiry into the whole situation in the Fiji Islands, in the course of which the matter will be fully investigated." Such are also our conclusions in regard to Mr, Casement's Report. Brussels, March 12, 1904. ^ tteporfc, p. 8 The Circular of the 7th September, 1903, has reference to the " prohibition " to dispatch armed soldiers in charge of black non-commissioned officers, and not, as would appear from the incorrect copy produced by the Consul, to the " ^nstr^st^on. I, (Annex Ylf of the Report, p. 80). [828] 24 Annexe 1. •. . . ■ ' ' i " Declaration de Mgr. Van Rondi, £vegue de Jkymbrium, Vicaire Aposiolique du Congo Beige. DANS son numero du 23 Octobre, le "West African Mail" publie une serie: de lettres du Reverend J. W. Weeks, missionnaire Anglais, etabli a Monsembe, district de Bangala. Ces lettres, emanant d'un auteur qui a habite la contre'e de longues annees et qui proteste d'ailleurs de sa pa'rfaife sincerite et de sa bonne fbi, m'oflxaient un interet particulier, ayant moi-mSme parcouru et habite la con tree depuis quatorze ans, et en etant revenu recemment. Mr. Weeks fait preuve de prudence en limitantses considerations ace qu'il a yu sur les deux riyea du Congo, entre Bokongo et Ikunungu, dans les villages Bangala, avoisinant Nouvelle-Anvers ; .niais i{ se hasarde un peu plus, en etendant ses affirmations a la plus grande partie du. Congo navigable, e'est-a-dire, du Stanley-Pool a Bopoto. * • . , v| " C Sa these est que, sur cet immense espace, les rives se depeuplent et que les tribus de'gdnerent sous l'oppression de l'Etat, au moyen d'un systeme d'impositions, de deportations, et d'amendea. Nous le reconnaissons, l'auteur ne formule pas positivement cette these ainsi generalisee'; mais apres 1' avoir formulae specialement pour Nouvelle-Anvers, il continue a deerire la situation generale de maniere. a faire croire que les populations riveraines sont toutes decimees parce que toutes sont egalement opprimees par le Gouvernement. Le lecteur ne peut pas tirer d'autres conclusions de sea lettres, ni interpreter autrement certa/nes propositions qui les resument. Le souci de la vMte nous engage a mettre le public en garde contre des conclusions aussi natives. » . L'auteur salt que parmi les tribus Bobangi (citees sous les noms de Bwembe, Bolobo, Lukolela), qui sont un unfortunate dying people (un peuple qui deperit), le Gouvernement n'a jamais fait de recrutement de soldats ni de travailleurs, et que les impositions qui out ete exigees de leurs nombreux villages, etablis le long du fleuve sur un parcours de 100 lieues, consistent a ravitailler trois postes, dont celui de Yumbi seul est important, et a entretenir (depuis deux ans) la route de la ligne telephonique — impositions reellement iusigmfiantes pour ceux qui y mettent quelque peu de bonne volonte. C'est un fait, en outre, que ces populations subissaient de grandes pertes des 1890, epoque a laquelle les impositions ebaient nulles; et c'est un autre fait que leurs voisins de la rive Franoaise, qui ne sont pas imposes, se meurent egalement, notamment ceux qui sont Etablis dans les environs de la Mission Catholiqne des Reverends Peres Franeais: Saint-Louis de Liranga. On pourrait d'ailleurs. eiter d'autres exemples de populations qui s'e*teignent quoique a l'abri d'oppTession. Nous voila done en presence de depeuplenients qui ne sont eertainement pas causes par l'oppression, et auxquels fl faut chereher d'autres causes. Si done les lettres de Mr, Weeks induisent en erreur pour la generalite" des cas, il est des lors permis de douter qu'elles nous exposeut la situation veritable pour Nouvelle-Anvers. N'existe-t-il pas Ik aussi des causes autres que l'oppression ? A notre avis, ces causes existent reellement. II y en a deux qui teudent non seulemenfc au depeuplement des rives, mais a l'extinction meme des tribus de Nouvelle-Anvers. Elles ne sont pas speeiales a cette region, mais communes a tous les villages riverains du fleuve. Elles suffisent a elles seules a expliquer une diminution extraordinaire de la population. La premiere et la principale, c'est l'epidemie qu'on nomine comniunement la maladie du sommeil. Que cette maladie a enleve beaucoup cle monde, Mr. Weeks en convieut ; mais il ajoute qu'il pense que le progres de la maladie a ete active" par l'oppression et que sans celle-ci le mal n'aurait pas ete fli tenace. Mr. Weeks a trop d'experience de l'Afrique pour ne pas s'apercevoir qu'il avanee ici une inexactitude et une erreur. II le penee, mais il n'en donne pas la preuve. 11 est un fait avere et reeonnu par les metlecins et par tous ceux qui ont observe la maladie du sommeil, c'est que ce fleau, une fois introduit dans une region, en abat lentement mais surement tous les habitants et reste, quoi qu'on fasse, maitre du terrain ; une fois que ee mal a pris pied dans une population, U la ddfcruit sans merci, quelles que soient les conditions de bien-gfcre, de paix, et de tranqudlite de cette population. A l'appui de ceci, nous donnerons deux exemples de deperissement que Ton ne pourra pas attribuer a l'oppression. Notre Mission de Berghe-Sainte-Marie, contaminee par le contact des tribus Bobangi parmi lesquelles elle etait situee, a vu disparaftre tous ses habitants jusqu'au dernier. Lea 100 families qui s'y ^taient formees vivaient heureuses, dans des conditions presque ideales. Autre fait : Les journaux ont relate que dans l'TJganda, des Colonies Anglaises, on perd annuel lement 50,000 personnes. Et aujourd'hui, a propos d'une ddcouverte qu'aurait faite le Colonel Bruce, dans la matiere en question,, un journal ecrit un article qui finit comme suit : " La maladie du sommeil continue a faire d'enormes ravages dans l'Uganda. I)aus l'lle de Brevnna, qui comptait 82,000 habitants, il n'y a plus que 22,000 individus, alors que la population de la Province de Basaga est completement eteinte." Si le travad et les occupations avaient une influence sur la maladie, ils auraient plutot un effet tout a fait contraire a celui qu'on leur attribue. Mais nous n'y insistons pas, parce que le travail lui- mSme n'est pas un remede, mais tout au plus une espece de reactif temporaire. Jusqu'a present aucun moyen n'a pu vaincre la tenacite de cette maladie ; mais, a notre avis, ses ravages eeraient plus rapides en terrain inerte et endormi qu'en terrain actif. Et voila six ana que cette peste, independamment de toute autre cause, fait journellement aes victimes chez les riverains de Nouvelle-Anvers ; rien d'etonnant done que la population y diminu* japidement, comme partout ailleurs on. la maladie regne. 25 . La cause que je place au second rang, en raison de son importance, n'esfc pas signal^e par le Reverend Mr. Weeks. Elle consiste dans la suppression du commerce des esclaves et daus le de'faut de la natalite; meme 1'hypothese que les tribus Bangala fussent rest^ee sainea, cette cause les aUrait rendues incapables de maintenir leur population a niveau, et aurait meme en pour effet de la dimiuuer consid^rablement. ' ' Mr. Weeks estime que la population de Nouvelle-Anvers atteignait les 50,000 en 1890. Nous avons observe que parmi cette population, il y avait un nonibre tres considerable d'esclaves d'origine 4trangere, notamment des Mongo, Disons qu'un tiers n'etaifc pas originaire de Nouvelle-Anvers. Les Bangala les avaient acquis, soit par les guerres, soit par les rachats. Cette source d'acquisition leur a £te" fermde par le Gouvernement. La natalite' leur restait comme seul moyen de remplacer les morts. Or, meme a'vant 1'epoque de la maladie, la moyenne des naissances etait tres basse. J'estime qu'elle ne depassait pas l'unit^ par femme. Je ne dis pas par famille, parce que les hommes libres y sont tous polygames, au d diriment des hommes esclaves, qui le plus sou vent, n'ont pas de femme. Avec une telle moyenne de naissances, il ne leur etaifc pas possible de conserver le me^me nombre d'habitants, et le defaut de la natahte, independamment de la maladie, causait necessairement un recul. Or, depuis que l'epidemie a fait son apparition, ce de'faut; est double^ et au moment ou, a la suite des nombreux debes, le nombre des naissances aurait du croitre, il a diminue graduellement a mesure que la maladie devenait plus intense. Le Reverend Mr. Weeks constate avec nous que les enfants sont si peu nombreux que le nombre des deces est de loin en avance sur celui des naissances, mais il attribue ce fait a 1'expatriation des jeunes gens. Qu'il veuillc remarquer toutefois, que les jeunes Bangala qui ont ete au service de l'Etat ou des Compaguies Commerciales etaient, a de rares exceptions pres, d'anciens esclaves qui, generaleraent, ne possedaient pas de femme. Cette consideration infirme cette derniere maniere d'expliquer le petit nombre dc naissances, la situation polygame restant a peu pres la meme apres comme avant le ddpart de ces jeunes gens. Je pourTais corrob^rer ma maniere de voir en citant l'exemple des tribus Bobangi, oil il n'y a pas en d'expatriations du tout. Par ee qui a ete dit, il est facile de comprendre que les deux causes preeitees, de nature, indepen- damment Tune de 1'autre, au lieu de simplement reduire la population, sont assez puissantes pour l'e'teindre completement dans le cas ou elles se combinent, comme a Nouvelle-Anvers et en general dans tous les villages riverains situes en aval de Bohaturaku ; et nous pouvons deja eonclure que r Ies assertions de Mr, Weeks, qui mettent tout le mal sur le compte de l'oppression, ne sont pas soufcenables. II nous rests a. signaler, deux autres causes qui ne sont que secondaires. Elles n'ont pas eu , d'influence sur le deperissement constate chez la race de Bangala: elles ont contribue relativement peu a dindnuer le nombre d'individus appartenant a cette race ; mais elles ont hate le depeuplement des rives du fleuve, — L'une de ces causes, c'est l'abandon des emplacements riverains pour d'autres emplacements isoles a l'intdrieur des terres, ou retires dans les iles. — Peut-on legitimemeut conclure, comme le fait Mr. Weeks, que les populations quittent leurs villages pour ebhapper a des taxes qui les oppriment ? Aucuneraent, a notre avis. II suffit qu'il lui soit demand^ un travail regulier quelconque aussi minim e qu'il soit, pour que l'indigene mette tout en ceuvre pour s'y derober. S'il juge le ddplacement comme un moyen sur et efficace, il ne manquera pas d'y recourir, Le transport et la reconstnjction de ses habitations ne lui demandent d'ailleurs pas grande besogne. II est passion n£ pour la libcrtd sauvage qu'il goutait avant ramvee des Eiiropeens, et par laquelle l'homme libre vivait dans un dolce farniente, passant ses journees a se reposer, k fumer, a boire, a " palabrer " et a commander a ses esclaves, II y a en outre chez le noir une tendance generale a eviter tout contact avec les Europeens, et a reculer devant la civilisation. Enfin, une mortalite extraordinaire est une cause suffisante pour expliquer les deplacements ; l'indigene, soit par superstition, soit par motif d'hygiene, ne reste pas sur l'emplacement ou les deces
deviennent nombreux.
L'autre cause enfin consiste dans les expatriations des jeunes Bangala, Les engagements volontaires, d'abord, ont e^e" nombreux. Se derober, prendre un terme de service a l'Etat ou aux Compagnies Commerciales, voyager, voir du pays et gagner de l'argent dtait a la mode eliez les jeunes gens. Mais depuis trois ou quatre ans, le recrutement de travailleurs chez la population riveraine de Nouvelle-Anvers a e'te' interdit par le Gouvernement. Un grand nombre, toutefois, de ceux qui se sont ainsi engages volontairement ne sont pas rentres dans leurs foyers, mais restent eparpilles — de plein gre — dans les differentes localise d'Europeens, parce qu'ils preferent leur etat actuel a celui dans lequel ils se trouvaient anterieurement dans leur village. On peut aussi compter qu'il y a eu parmi ces expatries volontaires un grand nombre de d^ces, causes principalement par la dysenterie et la pneumonie, sur tout parmi ceux qui formaient les equipages des vapeurs. Yiennent ensuite les recrutements de soldats. A ma connaissance, parmi les populations de Nouvelle-Anvers, l'Etat n'a pas fait des recrutements reguhers pour son arraee permanente, II a jadis recrut^ des Bangala dans des circonstanees exceptionnelles pour les employer comme auxi- liaires dans certaines expeditions. Ces auxiliaries ont ete rapatries, ou ont eu l'oceasion de letre. Les deplacements de villages et les expatriations doivent §tre considered comme des causes partieDes et secondaires, non pas du deperissement des tribus, mais simplement de l'abandon des rives, et il n'est pas raisonnable d'en faire un grief au Gouvernement. L'aversion profonde pour tout travail l'attrait pour lg. sauvage independance chez l'homme libre ; le desir de se soustraire k l'escla- 26 v&ge doinestique et la passion des voyages, chez la classe inferieure, voila le fond ou il faut chereher les motifs de ces faits. En examinant &n detail les lettres de Mr, Weeks, je n'aurais pas de peine a y trouver d'autres considerations dignes d'etre contredites, mais je erois avoir fait un travail suffisant en montrant que la degenerescenee et le depeuplement constates a No uve lie- An vers sont le resultat do. causes et d'influences etrangeres a ce que I'auteur des lettres appelle l'oppression. (Signe) C. van RONSLE. /,« 14 Noremhre, 1903, Annexe 2. Notes du Consul Casement sur sa Vtsite aux Villages oTEkanza et de Bosunguma dans la Contrie de Ngomhe, pres de MompoJto, sur la Rive gauche de t'lleka, Affluent de la Lulongo. (Traduction.) I* * 7 Septembre, 1903. En presence du Beverend W. D. Armstrong et du Eeverend 1). J. Danielson, de la Congo Balolo Mission de Bonginda, de Vinda Bidiloa (" headman" du Consul) et de Bateko, servant d'interpretea, et du Consul de Sa Majcste" Britannique. 1 Le Chef de cette section de Bosunguma, du nom de Tondebila, avec beaueoup d'hommes du village et quelques femmes et enfants, etant presents. Un garcon de 14 a 15 ans, du nom d'Epondo, dont la main gauche a ete coupee, et dont le moignon est enveloppe dans une piece de tissu, la bleBsure e'tant a_ peine guerie, apparalt, et en reponse a la question du Consul, accuse de cette mutilation une sentinelle nommee Kelengo (places dans le village par 1'agent local de la Society " La Lulonga " pour veiller a ce que les noirs travaillent le caoutchouc). t Cette sentinelle est appelee, et, apres s'efcre fait quelque peu attendee, se presente arme d un fusil a capsule. L'enquete suivaute sur les eireonstances qui ont entoure la perte de la main d'Epondo est faite alors : — Le Consul, par Plnteraiediaire de "Vinda, s'exprimant en-Bobangi, et Bateko, repetant ses paroles en Mongo pour Kelengo— et dans le dialeote local pour les autres— demande a Epondo, en presence de raccuse" :
  • ' Qui a coupe votre main ? "
Epondo : " La sentinelle Kelengo que voila." Kelengo nie le fait, interrompant, et disant que son nom est Mbilu, et non Kelengo. Le Consul le requiert de garder le silence- — qu'il parlera apres. te Chef du village, Tondebila, est appele et questionne par le Consul, par 1'intermediairedes interpretes. Apres avoir e'te prie do dire la verite sans crainte ni partialite, il declare : " La sentinelle Kelengo devant nous a coupe la main d'Epondo." Le Consul : " Avez-vous ete vous-meme ternoin de facte I " Beponse : " Oni." Plusieurs des Chefs du village sont appeleVpar le Consul pour temoigner. An premier d'entre eux, qui declare se nommer Mololi, le Consul demande, en designant le poignet inutile d'Epondo : •'Qui a coupe la main de ce garcon ? " Mololi, de'signant la sentinelle : "Cette humme-la Pa fait," Le second, qui dit s'appeler Eyileka, est interroge par le Consul : " Qui a coupe la main de ce garcon ? " Beponse ; " Keleniio." Le troisieme, qui declare se nommer Alomli, est interrogc par le Consul : " Qui a coupe la main de ce garcon ? " Beponse : " Cet homme-ci, Kelengo," Mololi est questionne a nouvcau : " Avez-vous, vous-meme, vu cette sentinelle couper la main de ce garcon ? " " Oui, je l'ai vu." Kyikela est questionne a nonveau : " Avez-vous, vous-rnSme, vu cette sentinelle couper la main de ee garcon ? " Beponse : " Oui, je l'ai vu." Alondi est questionne a nouvcau : ■' Avez-vous, vous-meme, vu cette sentinelle couper la main de ce garcon V Beponse : " Je le croirais. Si je ne m'etais pas blesse iei— il montre une eoupuie pres du tendon d'Achille, au talon gauche— le mgme jour en m'enfuyant effraye. Mon propre couleau ra'a blesse . ■ • je l'ai laisse tomber en m'enfuyant." Le Consul questionne Epondo : " Combieu de temps y a-t-il que voire main a ete coupee ? " "Beponse ; II n'est pas sfir. . Passage orais dans le teste de ces notes, t«l qa'il se ftrouve reproduit a 1* Annexe 6 da Rapport du Oow* 1 * 27 Deux jeunes hommea du rneine village, nommfe Boujhigeni et MaaeH, s'avaueerent et dirant qu'ils s'en souvenaient. Cela s'^tait passe" pendant qu'on de'friehait la terre sur ! Ia rive devant la station a Bonginda r quand on eommencait a amiSnager un point d'accostage (un "slip") pour lea steamers. Mr. Danielson declare que le travail en question — le defrichement de la rive — -en vue de lMtablissement du "slip" de la Mission de Bouginda, fut commence le 21 Janvier de cette annee. 1 . ■ Botoko, d'Ekanza, une autre section du village de Bosunguma, est questionne par le Consul : " Avez-vous vu couper la main de ce garcon ? " Beponse; "Oui. Je ne l'ai pas rfellement vu couper. Je vins et je vis la main separee et le sang couler sur le sol. Les gens s'etaient enfuis dans toutes les directions." Le Consul demande aux interpretes de demander s'il y en avait d'autres qui avaient vu le crime et en accusaient Kelengo. Presque tons ceux qui etaient presents, k peu pres quarante personnes, presque tous des hommes, crierent d'une seule voix que e'etaifc Kelengo qui l'avait fait. Le Consul : " lis sont tous certains que c'^tait ce Kelengo que voici ? " , Beponse unanime : * Oui. II Ta fait" Le Consul demande a l'accuse Kelengo : " Avez-vous coupe la main de ce garcon ? " Cette question a tHe posee dans le langage le plus clair possible, et a ete rep^tee six fois, et il a ete" demands qu'une reponse clair e, par oui ou par non, soit faite. L'accuse evite de repondre a la question, commencant a parler d'autres choses n'ayant pas de rapport avec la question — par exemple, que son nom etait Mbilu et non Kelengo, et que les gens de Bosungama lni out fait de mechantes choses. II lui a etc" dit de se confiner dans les lirnites de la question qui lui a 6t6 pose*e, qu'il pourrait parler d'autres choses apres, mais que maintenant il y avait lieu pour lui de repondre aux questions posees, tout aussi simplement et tout aussi clairement que les autres avaient repondu. II avait entendu ees reponses et Taccusation portee contre lui, et devait repondre aux questions du Consul de la mSme maniere. L'accuse" continua k parler de choses etrangeres, et refusa ou evita de donner de reponse a la ques- tion qui lui etait posee, Apres des tentatives repcJtees pour obtenir une reponse dirscte a la question : " Avez-vom, ou n'avez-vous pas, coup^ ]a main de ce gar9on Epondo % " le Consul dit : " Vous etes accuse de ce crime. " Vous refusez de repondre aux questions que je vous pose clairement et franchement comme voss accusateurs l'ont fait. Vous avez enfcendn leur accusation. " Votre refus de repondre comme vous devriez repondre, k savoir par oui ou par non, k une ques- tion directe et simple me laisse convaincu que vous ne pouvez nier raccusation. Vous ayez entendu ce dont vous avez et6 accuse par tout ce monde. "Puisque vous ne consentez pas a repondre comme ils l'ont fait, vous pouvez raconter votre histoire comme vous voulez. " Je l'ecouterai." L'accuse" commence a parler, mais avant que ses remarqucs puissent m etre traduites par 1'inter- mediaire de Bateko d'abord, a qui il parle directement, et de Vinda ensuite, un jeune homme s'avance hors de la foule et interrompt. 11 y eut du bruit, puis cet homme park. II dit qu'il etait Cianzo, de Bosunguma. II avait tue deux antilopes, et il porta deux de leurs jambes k cette sentinelle Kelengo pour lui en faire cadeau. Kelengo refusa son cadeau et lia sa iemme. Kelengo dit que ce n'etait pas un cadeau suffisant pour lui, et il tint la femme de Cianzo liee jusqu'a ce que lui (Cianzo) eut paye 1,000 baguettes de laiton pour sa ranepn. A ee moment uu jeune homme, disant se nommer Ilungo, de Bosunguma, s'avanca dans le eercle et accusa Kelengo de lui avoir vole ouvertement deux canards et un chien. lis lui furent pris sans aucun motif, siuon que Kelengo en avait besoin, et les prit de force. Le Consul se tourna de nouveau vers Kelengo, et 1'invita a raconter son histoire et a faire une reponse k l'accusation portee contre lui, de la maniere qui lui convenait. Le Consul ordonna le silence a tous, et leur enjoignit de ne pas inteiTompre Kelengo. Kelengo dit qu'il n'a pas pris les canards dTlungo. Le pere d'llungo lui a donne un canard. (Tous lient.) II est vrai que Cianzo a tu£ deux antilopes et lui eu a donne - deux jambes en cadeau, mais il n'a pas \i6 la femme de Cianzo et n'a pas demande d'argent pour rancon. Lc Consul: " C'est bien. Cela termine les canards et les jambes d'antilope : mais maintenant je veux entendre parler de la main d'Epondo. Bacontez-moi ce que vous savez au sujet de la main couple d'Epondo." Kelengo elude de nouveau la question. Le Consul : "Dites-lui eeci. II est posfce par ses maitres dans ce village, n'est-ce pas ? C'eci eat, sou village. Maintenant en vient-il k dire qu'il ne sait pas ce qui se passe ici, ou il vit ? " Kelengo dit : " II est vrai que ceci est son village, mais il ne connait rien au sujet de la main coupee d'Epondo. "Peut-efcre e'etaifc la premiere sentinelle ici avant qu'il ne vint qui etait uu ties mfohant hommg et coupait les mains. " Cette sentinelle-la est partie ; e'etait elle qui coupait les mains, pas lui, Mbilu. II ne sait rien a ce sujet." Le Consul : Quel etait le nom, alors, de cette mecbante sentinelle, votre predecesseur, qui coupait les mains dea gens ? Le connaissez-voua ? " '. Passage Qtnis dans le teattc aunex^ au Rapport, J_ - . ■_ 28 Kelengo ne donne pas do rdpouse directe, efc la question eat repdtde. II commence alors vine declaration au sujet de plusieurs sentinelles. II en nomme trois; Bobudjo, Ekua et Lokola Lpngonya, comme ses p rdd dees seurs ici, a Bosunguma. '*:,.■' Ici, un homme, nomme Mali worn bo udo, bondit et interrompanfc affirma que ces trois eentinelles 'ne residaient pas a Bosunguma, mais avaient die" statidnnees dans son propre village, le village de MakWonbondo. - • Le Consul, a Kelengo : " Depuis combien de temps Stes-vtma dans ce village?" ■ . , Rdponse: '*Oinq mois." . : , \ - ; Le Consul: "En etes-vous bien sur ? " ■ " Edponse :- " Cinq mois." ■ - • * • \ ' .:<.'*■ . : Le Consul : " Connaiaaez-vous alors le gareon Epondo— l'avez- vous de'ja 'vu ? " ■ : , „, . • ., c "' Rdponse^ Je-ne le connais pas du tout." (Ici tout l'auditoire delate derire et ■ certains- expiimentdeur-adrnkation pour les aptitudes de •Kelengo au niehsonge.) . - : . ... Kelengo, continuant, ddclara qu'il dtait possible qu'Epondo vint du village de Makwombondo. Quoi qu'il en soit, lui, Kelengo, ne eonnait pas Epondo. 11 ne le eonnait pas du tout. Ici Cianzo s'avance et dit qu'il eat le propre frere d'Epondo ;■ ils ont ton jours vden ici. Leur pere dtait Itengolo, mort maintenant ; leur mere est morte egalement. .-. i Le Consul, a Kelengo : " Alors e'est fiei ;- vous^ne «onnaissez -rien <lo cette affaire ? " Kelengo : " C'est fini. Je vous iti dit tout, Je ne connais rien de cela." . -gjfa) j ;- Ici un homroe, qui dit se nommer Elenge, d'Ekanza, la section voisine de Bosunguma, fc'&vanca avec sa femme. II ddclara que les autres seutinelles, dans leur village, n' dtaient pas aussi m^eliantes, mais que ce Kelengo dtait un gredin. Sgcsfi" Kelengo a lid sa' femme Sondi, la femme avec laquelle il se presenta, et lui a fait paj:er 500 • baguettes', avant de la relacher. II les a paydes. ... Ici le Consul demande a Epondo comment sa main a dtd coupee. Avec Bonjingeni et Maselvil ddclara qu'il avait d'abord racu un coup de feu dans le bras et que, quand il tomba, Kelengo h&ayait coupd la main. ^i*. : •'■ ■ . I.e Consul : " Avez-vous senti qu'on vous la coupait ? " Rdponse: " Oui, je l'ai senti." ... ••
Ceci terminait 1'enquSte.' ' '■ ■■■ . ■ ;
- - - ■ Le- Consul a informe le Chef Tondebila et les indigenes presents qu'il feraifc rapport au Gouverne- ment de ce qu'il avait vu et entendu et qu'il lui demanderait de faire unc enquete sur l'accusation portde centre Kelengo, qui mdritait une punition sdvere pour ses actes illegaux et cruels. Que les faits dent dtait accusd Kelengo etaient tout a fait illegaux et que si le Gouvernemeut savait que des clioses seinblables se commettent, eeux qui se rendent coupables de pareils crimes seraient, daus chaque cas, punis. ROGER CASEMENT, Consul de Sa MajettS Britannique. 1 La . ddelaration qui precede a dtd lue par nous et nous ddclarons par la prdsente qu'elle est eompte .rendu juste et fidele dece qui a dtd dit en notro prdsence hier au village de tdmoignage de quoi nous avons appose nos signatures ci-dessous. (Signe) William Douglas Armstbong. ... . . D.-J. Danielson, Signd" par les prdnommds William Douglas Armstrong et D.-J. Danielsou, missionnaires a Bonginda, ce 8 Septembre, 1903. , (Signd) Roger Casement, Consul de Sa MaiesU Britannique. s.v« =■ J.® declare par la prdsente que j'ai entendu Kre par le Consul de Sa Majestd Britannique P , ddelaration ci-dessus et qu'elle est un eompte rendu juste et fidele des ddclarations faites par les tdmoius questionnds hier a Bosunguma par le Consul de Sa Majestd Britannique par mon :" ' agissant comme interprets (Signd) VlNDA BlDILOA. Signd par Vinda Bictiloa, k Bonginda, ce 8 Septembre, 1903, par devant moi, ■ (Signc)- Roger Casement, • Consul de Sa Majeste Britannique. Je certifie que ee qui prdcede est nue copie veritable et fidele des notes originales, en ma posses- sion, sur ce qui s'eat passd le 7 Septembre, 1903, au village de Bosunguma, dans la contrde de Kgombe, sur la Riviere Lulanga, ou je me suis rendu le 7 Septembre, 1903, sur la demande d'in de ce village. En foi de quoi j'ai apposd ci-dessous ma signature et le seeau de mon office, a Lulanga, ce 9 Septembre, 1903. (Signe) Roger Casement, .■ • Cvmul de Sa Majeste' Britannique, ; . T l * Les cteclarations suiyantes aont omises dans le'tesW^nnWau Rapport," 2^ Annexe 3. .. - - ■■ • Enquite du Substhut du Procureur d'Etat, Gennaro Bosco, a charge de Kelengo. (Extraits relatifs a 1'afFaire Epondo.). L'an 1903,-le 28 Septembre, a Coquilhatville, devant nous, Substitut, comparatt Efundu, Chef du village Bosunguma, qui apres serment, repond comme d'apres aux questions que nous lui posons 7 D. Parlez de la main d'Epondo ? Jt. Je ne puis que rdpdter ce qu'Epondo mSme m'a racontd. II m'a dit que dans les Bangala, il dtait alld a la chasse au sanglier avec un camarade, dont il ne me dit pas le nom. Celui-ci blessa un sangher et il voulut l'attraper par les oreilles, mais le sanglier le mordit si fortement qu' une . main tomba, apres gangrene. B. Pourquoi les indigenes d'Ekanza et Bosunguma aecusent-ils Kelengo ? E. Pour ne pas faire de caoutchouc. Kelengo est sentinelle de caoutchouc. Les indigenes n'aiment pas de faire du caoutchouc et ont ddcide, sachant que les Anglais dtaient la, de leur dire un mensonge dans l'espoir de ne plus faire de caoutchouc. I), ^tiez-vous present lorsque le Consul Anglais interrogeait les indigenes ? E. Non, j'etais dans la foret. B. Lorsque le Consul Anglais fut parti, qu'est-ce que disaient entre eux les indigenes 1 E. "Maintenant, e'est bien. Maintenant qu'il croit qu'on m'a coupd la main, nous ne ferons plus de caoutchouc ; nous ne ferons que la kwanga." B. Avez-vous entendu dire que Kelengo avait tud un homme et coupe la main a deux autres parce qu'on refusait de lui donner une antilope qu'on avait tude ? E. C'est ce qu'on est alld raconter aux Anglais, mais e'est un mensonge. B. Savez-vous que Kelengo a amarre pour la m^me raison la femme de Ciango et qu'il ne l'a laiasde qu'apres un paiement de 1,000 mitakos ? . ' E. C'est encore un mensonge. Je ne connais pas ce Ciango. C'est un nom qui n 'est pas memo usite parmi les indigenes. i>. Savez-vous que Kelengo a vole un canard et un chien d'llungo ] •* E. Mensonge. Cet Ilungo n'existe pas. Dont proees-verbal lu et signe", hors le tdmoin illettrd. . .. Le Substitut, ....... '; (Signd)" BOSCO. ■■■ .j ..... i Apres coniparait Mongomhe, d'Ikandja, qui, interrogd, apres serment, ddclare : Epondo a perdu la main a la cbasse du sanglier dans les Bangala. Lui-ineme l'a racontd en disant que son camarade, dont il ignore le nom, avait blessd le sanglier, et il avait voulu l'attraper par les oreilles. Le sanglier alors lui avait arrachd la main.
  • # * • 4
B. Pourquoi les indigenes aecusent-ils Kelengo ? E. lis ne veulent pas faire le caoutchouc efc sonfc alles dii-e des mensonges aux Anglais dans ' l'espoir de ne pas faire de caoutchouc, et quand les Anglais sont partis, ils disaient : " Maintenant, c'est bien. Maintenant plus de caoutchouc. Seulement la kwanga." J'ai entendu ces expressions plnsieurs fois. Kelengo n'a pas amarrd la femme de Sandjo, ni tud personne. L'histoire de l'antilope est un mensonge. Je ne connais pas Ilungo. B. Etes-vous au courant du complot des indigenes pour aller dire des mensonges aux miasionnaires ? E. Oui; j'ai entendu les indigenes se plaindre qu'ils travaillaient beaueoup pour rien, que les Chefs s'emparaient des mitakos que les blancs payaient pour la r^colte du caoutchouc ; enfin, qu'ils mouraient de faim. Ils ajoutaient qu'ils avaient reclame plusieurs fois inutijement efc qu'ils allaient esaayer si, par 1'intermddiaire des Anglais, qui dtaient tres puissants, ils pouvaient obtenir de changer leur sort. Et ils disaient : " Allons, allons vite, vite chez les Anglais ; allous dire que Kelengo eoupa les mains." B. ' Avez-vous entendu ces mots ? E. Oui ; je les ai entendus parfaitement. . Dont proees-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin illettrd. Le Substitut, - ; . . : . ' (Signd) BOSCO. Aprea comparatt Bangwala, d'Lkandja, qui, interrogd, apres serment, ddclare : — 3). Parlez maintenant de la main d'Epondo. E. II l'a perdue a cause d'une morsure de sangher, dans les Bangala. C'est Epondo lni-m$mequi le disait. B. Pourquoi les indigenes accusent-ils Kelengo ? E. lis ne veulent plus faire.de caoutchouc et ont cru, en accusant Kelengo, de. se soustraire. a ce ^ travail. J'ai entendu de mes. oreilles lorsqu'ils disaient: " Allon.s vite, vite dire des mensonges aux Anglais." Ils allerent done appeler les Anglais pour leur faire voir 1'homme sans mains et les Anglais 30' vinrent. Kt qu&ud ils furent partis, iia disaient : " Bieu, bieu, nous allous faire la kwang* seulement. Maintenant le caoutchouc est fini," ■ . . Dont proces-verbal lu et sign£, hors le te'moin illettre. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres cornparatt Moraobo, de Bossungutna, qui, interroge, apres senneut, declare : —
  • * * * * *
Epondo a perdu la main k cause de la morsure d'un sanglier ; Kelengo n'a tue personne. i Dont proces-verbal lu et sign4, hors le temoio illettre\ (Signe)" BOSCO. Apres comparait Ekumeloko, de Boselemb?. travailleur a la Society Lulonga, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare :— ♦ * * * «... * D. Et qui a coupe la main d'Epondo ? R. Epondo arriva dans notre village sans une main et nous montra qu'un sanglier la lui avait. couple. D. Pourquoi les indigenes accusent-ils Kelengo ? R. Pour se soustraire an travail du caoutchouc : ils raconterent des mensonges aux Anglais et bornent leur travail a la kwanga pour les Anglais. J). Kelengo a-t-il tue* quelqu'un ? R. Personne. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe", hors le te'moin illettre\ (gfeae) BOSCO. Apres, nous interrogeons l'un apres 1'autre Bundja, de Bosibendarna, et Bawsa, de Bossundjidu, travailleurs de la Soctfte Lulonga, qui font une declaration identique a la precedent*. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors les eomparants iHetfcree. (Signe) BOSCO. L'an 1903, le 19 Septembre, devant nous, Substitut, comparait Kelengo, de Bokakata, qui, renseigne sur l'accusation qu'on lui fait, declare: — Mon nom officiel (kOmbo na mukanda) est Mbilu, mais les indigenes m'appellent Kelengo, Je n'ai pas coupe" les mains d'Epondo . . . . Je ne connais pas meme Epondo. Je sais seulement qu'un sanglier lui a mordu la main .... Du reste, je ne suis dans le village de Bosunguma que depuis cinq niois. J'ai e"te" surpris lorsque les indigenes m'ont accuse pres des Anglais, mais je dois vous dire que quelques jours apres, ils m'ont donne" 100 mitakos pour que je n'aille pas reclamer cfaez le blanc et m'ont avoue" qu'ils avaient dit des mensonges aux Anglais pour se soustraire au travail du caoutchouc. Je portai ces 100 mitakos a Bumba (M. Dutrieux), qui dit: "Les indigenes sont des menteur?." D, Le Chef Tondebila dit qu'il vous a vu lorsque vous coupiez la main d'Epondo. R> II est un menteur. D'ailleurs pourquoi s'est-il sauve ? II a e^te" arrete deux f ois pour venir ici ' rendre son temoignage La premiere fois par Bumba, la second e par le Commandant de la Compagnie (Braeckman), et il a pns toujours la fuite. Moi aussi, j'aurais pu m'enfuir et je n'ai pas voulu parce' que je snis innocent. I). Mololi, Botoko, Eykela, et Alondi vous accusent comme auteur de la mutilation d'Epondo. R. Ils men tent. Je ne connais ni Botoko, ni Eykela, ni Alandi. Je connais seulement Momoli. 2>. On vous accuse aussi d'avoir amarri la femme de Ciango parce que celui-ci, ayant tue deux antilopes, ne vous en avait donne" que les cuisses et de n'a voir laisse cette femme qu'apres avoir recu cadeau de 1,000 mitakos. On vous accuse en outre d'avoir vole on de vous etre empare par force de deux canards et d'un ohien appartenant a Ilungo. Que repondez-vous 1 R. Mensonge. Je ne connais pas Ciango. Je connais Ilungo, mais je n'ai rien pris. Quand on m'apporte des cadeaux, je les accepte, mais je ne preuds pas les objets des indigenes, parce que Bumba nous l'a defendu sous menace de nous met t re en prison. D. Tous ctes accuse" par Ilengi d'avoir amarre la femme de Sundbet de l'a voir liberie seulemen* apres paiement de 500 mitakos. R. Mensonge. Uundji et Sundi appartiennent a une autre section, lis de'pendent d'ttne autre sentinelle, un nomine Ikangola. C'est un com plot des indigenes pour se soustraire au travail da caoutchouc, lis me disaient toujours qu'ils ne voulaient pas le faire, qu'ils pr^feraient faire la kwrn"" pour les Anglais et pr^tendaient d'y parvenir avec leur aide. Dont proces-verbal lu et sign£, hors le tSmoin illettre. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres, nous interrogeons suecessivement toils les temoins ; Bandja, Bansu, Ekumaleko, Mamho, Bangula, Monaumbu, Ffundu, pour leur demander depuis combien de temps Kelengo se trouve Bosunguma, et tous diseut qu'il s'y trouve depuis quatre mois. (Signe) BOS' L'an 1903, le 4 Oetobre; a Mampoko, devant nous, Substitut, a Coquilbatville, comparait Dutrieux, Charles -Alexandre, ne" a Namur, Directeur de la Soci&e Lulonga, qui, interroge^ apres serment, declare : — Je connais Kelengo sous le nom de M'Bilo, II est au service de le Societe Lulonga en qualite de garde forestier, depuis le mois de Mars dernier. Sa tache est uniquement celle d'accompagner les indigenes a la reoolte du caoutchouc et de leur enipSeher de couper les lianes. Je ne sais rien au sujet de l'atrocite" dont on 1'accuse Je ne sais pas maintenant pourquoi on accuse Kelengo on Mbilu d'avoir coupe une main a un garcon. Je sais seulement que le nomme" Kelengo ou Mbilu est venu chez moi le jour d'arrivee du Lieutenant Braeckman, e'est-a-dire, sauf erreur, le 12 Septembre, m'apporter 100 mitakos en me disant que les indigenes les lui avaient donnes pour qu'il ne me dise pas qu'ils avaient meuti pres des Anglais, dans le but de ne pas faire de caoutchouc. Le Lieutenant Braeckman a fait rendre ces mitakos au Chef du village de Bossunguma, Dont proces-verbal lu et signe". \ (Signe) BOSCO, (Signe) Dutrieux. Apres, Pingo, de Bokakata, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare : — Je suis boy de M. Dutrieux. Tin jour, le nomnnS Mbilu est venu chez mon malfcre lui apporrer 100 mitakos, disant que le Chef de Bossunguma, nomine", si je ne me troupe, Mateka ou Lofundu, les lui avait donnes comme cadeau pour qu'il n'aille pas dire que les indigenes avaient menti pies des Anglais en l'accnsant d'avoir coupe" une main a un gamin, mensonge qu'ils avaient dit pour se soustraire an travail du caoutchouc, Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le teinoin illettre. r (Signe) BOSCO, L'an 1903, le 6 Oetobre, a Mampoko, devant nous, Substitut, a Ccquilhatville, comparait le nomine 1 Eponga, alias Mondondo, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare Epondo a une main couple parce que, dans les Bangala, un sanglier la lui a arrachee J), Pourquoi alors les habitants de votre village ont-ils accuse Kelengo ? R. Pour se soustraire au travail du caoutchouc ; ils out dit des mensonges aux Anglais, qui ont repondu : "Nous ferons une lettre au Juge." D. Est-ce qu'ils ont ajoute quelque autre chose ? R. Non. - J). Combien de temps sont-ils reste's dans votre village ? Le temoin indique oil se trouvait le soleil lorsqu'ils sont ai'rives et lorsqu'ils sont partis. Nous calculons qu'ils sont restcs an moins quatre heures. P, Est-ce que les Anglais ont ecrit quand ils etaient au village ? R, Oui ; ils ont ecrit sur un grand papier. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe\ hors le temoin illettre. (Signe) BOSCO, Apres comparait Liboso, fils de Lekela, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare — Epondo a une main coupee parce qu'un sanglier l'a mordue 1), Pourquoi les indigenes ont-ils accuse Kelengo ? R, Parce qu'ils etaient fatigue's de faire du caoutchouc, qui n'etait plus dans leur foret. Ils ont cm qu'avec l'intercession des Anglais ils pourraient se soustraire a un travail tres dur, et pour interposer les Anglais, ils sont alius leur dire que la sentinelle de Bumba (Dutrieux) avait coupe' une main. D. Qui est alle parler avec les Anglais ? R. Bodjengene et un autre, dont je ne me rappelle pas le nom. Les Anglais dirent : " Yous fttentez. Ou est cet liomme avec la main coupee ? Allez le prendre." Alors ils sont alles ehereher . . Epondo et 1'ont prfsente aux Anglais. D. Lorsque les Anglais sont venus k votre village, qu' est-ce qu'ils ont fait ? R. Ils ont parle avec les habitants qui se plaignaient de ce qu'ils devaient tiavailler beaueoup. lis disaient que le caoutchouc n'etait plus dans leur foret, qu'ils voulaient faire un travail moins dur, comme la kwanga et la peche. Les Anglais repondirent : "C'est bien ; vous etes des homines de Bula Matari. Nous ecrirons a Bula Matari." Et dans leur village ils firent une grande moukande, comme vous maintenant. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Etoko, fils d'Uembe, decede, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare : — ■ Un sanglier coupa la main d'Epondo ... J). Pourquoi les indigenes ont-ils accuse" Kelengo ? 1'* « ; ; | R. Pour rien. Pour se soustraire au travail du caoutchouc; ils. ont dit des mensonges aux Anglais. • >" t J}. Qui est alle parler aux Anglais ? R. Bodjengene. D. Bodjengene seul [828] J 32 B. Oui; lui seul. Apres, Epondo est alle travailler ehez Ies Anglais, ou. 'il Be trobve main- tenant Dont proces-verbal lu etf (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Akindola, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare : — Un sanglier a coup & la main d'Epondo. D. Pourquoi les indigenes accusent-ils Kelengo ? B. Non ; ils n'accusent pas Kelengo. D. N'etiez-vous pas present lorsque le Consul Anglais est venu dans votre village? B. Non ; j'e"tais dans la forSt et je ne sais rien de ee qui s'est passe\ Dont proces-verbal lit et signe 1 , hors le temoin illettre. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Mafainbi, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge\ apTes serment, declare : — ■ Un sanglier a mordu la main d'Epondo, et c'est pour cela qu'il l'a perdue ..... Kelengo est innocent^ Les habitants des Bossunguma l'ont ace us e esperant d'eviter la recolte du caoutchouc, j D. Etes-vous alle a la Mission de Bonginda pour vous plaindre ? B. Moi, non, Bodjengene ; et les Anglais lui ont repondu de s'adresser au Juge. D. Ikabo n'esfc-il pas alle chez les Anglais ? B. Non. Epondo alia chez les Anglais. Ikabo resta au village. Les Anglais vinrentlapres chez nous et nous dirent que la question du caoutchouc n'etait pas de leur competence. D. Ont-ils recherche Ikabo ? B. Non ; ils ont recherche Epondo settlement. I), Les avez-vous vus ? B. Oui. D. A quelle heure sont-ils venus et k quelle lieure sont-ils partis ? Le temoin, indiquant ou se trouvait le soleil, fait supposer qu'ils aont arrives vers midi et sont repartis vers deux heures. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin illettre. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Ekoinbo, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare : — Epondo a perdu la main a la chasse du sangher Les indigenes ont accuse Kelengo, esperant se soustraire au travail du caoutcbouc. 1) . Qui alia a Bonginda cbez les Anglais pour leur parler ? B. Ikabo, Bodjengene, et Epondo. Les Anglais leur dirent de s'adresser au Juge. 2) , Ikabo, Bodjengene, et Epondo sont-ils restes k Boginda ou sont-ils rentres a Bossu B. lis sont rentres, hors Epondo, qui est rests" a Bonginda, et lorsque les Anglais : Bossunguma Epondo les a accompagnes et est retourne' avec eux k Bonginda. D. Est-ce que les Anglais vous ont dit : Le caoutchouc est fini ? B. Non. C'est nous qui l'avous dit. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin ill. , : i (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Mondonga, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare J). Qui est alle" a Bonginda pour appeler les Anglais ? B, Bodjengene. D, Seulernent lui ? B. Oui. D. Ekabo et Epondo ne sont-ils pas alles a Bonginda ? B. Oui, mais apres, parce que ies Anglais ont dit de vouloir les voir. Alors Ikabo est retourm au village et Epondo est reste a Bonginda, Lorsque les Anglais sont venus k Bossunguma, Epondo a accompagnes et est rentre avec eux k Bonginda. Ikabo est restd a Bossunguma. D. Quelle heure <?tait-il lorsque les Anglais sont venus a Bossunguma '( B. D apres les indications du temoin, on dirait qu'ils sont arrives vers 1 heure de 1'apres-midi et sont rentres vers 5 heures. I). Est-ce qu'ils ont e"crit a Bossunguma ? B. Non. D. Le comparant fait une declaration conforme a celle des autres temoins en ce qui concerne mutilation d'Epondo et les raisons pour lesquelles les indigenes out accuse Kelengo. la Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin illettre\ (Signe) BOSCO. mam. Apres comparait Makurua, de Bossunguma, qui, apres serment, declare :— - - ■ J'etais a, la chasse et je ne sais rien du tout. Je sais seulernent que Kelengo- h'a : coupe auetmf Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin illettre. (Signe);: • BOSCO. Apres comparait Lopembe, de Bossunguma, qui, interroge, apres serment, declare : — ' D. Qui est alle a Bonginda parler aux Anglais ? Personne. Nous n'avons pas appele 1 les Anglais. J). Pourquoi les Anglais sont-ils alors venus a Bossunguma ? B. Parce que Bodjengene les a appeles pour la question du caoutchouc, mais Kelengo n'a coupe" la main a personne ; il n'a tu6 pcrsonue ; il n'a amarre" aucune femme JJ. Lorsque Ies Anglais sont arrives k Bossunguma, Epondo ou. etait-il ? B. Dans leur pirogue. 11 les a accompagnes a Bossunguma, et quand ils sont partis pour rentTer a Bonginda, il les a suivis et est reste 1 avec eux. D. Lorsque les Anglais sont venus a Bossunguma, ont-ils ecrit 1 B, Oui. Ils ont ecrit snr un petit papier, beaucoup plus petit que celui sur lequel vous ecrivez. Dont proces-verbal lu et sisme, hors le comparant illettre. (Signe) BOSCO. L'an 1903, le 7 Octobre, a Bonginda, devant nous, Bosco Gennaro, Substitut a Coquilhatville, comparait Mr. Armstrong, William Douglas, missionnaire, qui, inteirogd, apres serment, declare : — Un Dimanche soir le nommeMkabo, accompagne par deux on trois indigenes, vint k la Mission et demanda de parler au Consul Anglais. Je le vis, mais je ne sais pas ce qu'il dit au Consul Anglais. Les indigenes voulaient que le Consul les voyat. D. Le Consul a-t-il interrog6 lui-meme Ikabo ? B. Je pense qu'il l'interrogea avec 1'aide de son interprete et d'un autre encore. Moi anssi je suis intervenu. Nous etions assis autour de la meme table, et moi-m&me j'ai pose des questions en m'adressant k un noir, qui les repetait a Ikabo. Moi, je parlais le dialecte local de Bonginda et le noir repetait mes demandes en langue Ngombe. D. Quelles sont les questions que vous avez posees a, Ikabo ? B. Je ne m'en rappelle pas exactement; mais elles se referaient k la mutilation' qu'on lui a faite subir. B. Qui a dit qu J a Bossunguma il y avait un autre garcon avec la main coupee ? B. Les indigenes qui aceonipagnaient Ikabo. Apres, le lendemain, nous sommes allfe, avec M. Ie Consul, k Bossunguma, avons vu Epondo, et tout le village nous dit que Kelengo l'avait inutile. On dit aussi qu'il avait tue 1 un bomme et lui avait coupe les deux mains. Le Consul dressa proces- verbal a Bossunguma, ou nous sommes rested deux ou trois heures. Nous arrivames vers 7 heures du matin. . . . D. Les indigenes se sont-ils plaints que le travail du caoutchouc e'tait excessif et qu'ils voulaient un autre travail moins dur ? B. Ils se plaignaient toujours du travail du caoutchouc, et dans cette occasion, ils- repe'terent leurs plaintes. Nous les exhortames a continuer a travailler pour leurs maitres. D, Comment alors expliquez-vous que les gens memes de votre Mission ont ens' deux fois, la premiere fois a la pirogue et la second e au bateau ou se trouvait M. Spelier, agent de La Lulonga, que le caoutchouc e'tait fini et que les Soeietes devaient parti r ? B. La premiere fois j'etais dans in a maison et j'ai entendu des cris sans coniprendre ce qu'ils disaient. La second e fois j'etais dans Teglise; j'ai entendu encore des oris, sans pourtant eomprendre ee qu'on disait ; mais, ayant vu les boys qui criaient, je les ai reprimandds. Ils m'ont repondu qu'ils saluaient leurs amis qui dtaient sur le bateau, et en ce qui concerne la premiere fois, ayant fait une enqueue, on m'a dit que e'etaient des gens qui n'appartenaient pas a la Mission qui avaient crie, des Ngombe et des indigenes de Bokemjola (pres de Boieka). If. Pourtant, croyez-vons que ces cris aient etd rdellement pousses ? B. II est tres possible que le caoutchouc est la Mte noire des indigenes. Je ne crois pas que les homines de la Mission aient poussd ces cris, puisqu ils ne s'occupent pas de caoutchouc, et nous sommes tres pradents a ce sujet, ayant soin de ne pas en parler. D. Comment expliquez-vous le bruit que maintenant on ne doit plus faire de caoutchouc et que Consul Anglais allait supprimer ce travail dans toute la riviere ? R. Le desir est pere de la pensee. Les noirs sont par esse u x, et ils serai en t capables de tout complot pour eviter de travailler, partant de faire du caoutchouc. Du reste, lorsque le Consul Anglais est alle a Bossunguma, il a dit qu'il aurait port£ a la connaissance de la justice le crime, dont on accusait : Kelengo,- mais ii n'a pas dit un mot' qui put £tre interprete, soit cornme instigation a ne pas travailler, soit comme proinesse de son intercession pres des autorites de I'E^tat, pour la suppression ou la diminution du travail. B. D'apres votre opinion, depuis combien de temps la mutilation a en lieu ? B. Je ne saurais pss, mais on dit depuis six mois. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe\ (Signe) BOSCO. (Signe) W.-D. Armstrong. Apres "comparait Epondo, de Bossunguma. Le comparant a la main gauche coupee. II pr6te serment et declare: — II ne comprend que le Ngombe, et comme a la Mission Anglais e il n'y a personne qui connaisse cette langue, nous Tinterrogeons, par l'entremise de son frere Nnele, boy de la Mission Anglaise, qui pr§te serment de remplir fidelement la mission qui lui est confiee, et nous procedons a l'interrogatoire d'Epondo. B. Qui vous a coupd la main ? : • .. B f Kelengo. ..... [828] F 2 34 D. Pourquoi? , r B. Pour le caoutchouc. II est venu faire la guerre dans notre village et a tue Elua et _m'a coupe une main. Je suis tombd presque mort. Je me suis rdveille apres un certain temps et je me suis trouvd sans main. B. Connaissez-vous Bossole ? B. Non ; je connais Kelengo. B. Etes-vous sur que c'est Kelengo qui vous a coupd la main ? Ce n'est pas Bossole ? B. Non ; c'est Kelengo.
D. Dans le temps, n'etes-vous pas alle* chez lea Bangala ? B. Non ; je suis restd toujours dans nion village. I). Votre main ne vous a-t-elle pas ete enlevde par un sanglier ? B. Non. Kelengo me l'a coupee. ■ Dont proces-verbal lu et sign 4. hors le temoin illettrd. (Signe) BOSCO Apres nous interrogeons Nuele, qui, apres serment, declare : — Je ne savais pas que mon frere avait la main coupee. Je le vis revenir avec _ main coupee, et c'est alors qu'il m'apprit que c'dtait Keleugo qui la lui avait coupde. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, (Signe) Nnele. (Signe) avec la BOSCO. Apres comparait nouvellemcnt Mr. Armstrong, qui, apres serment, declare B. Depuis combien Nnele est au service de la Mission ? B. Depuis environ cinq ans. J). Vous a-t-il jamais dit d'avoir un frere sans line main ? 2?. Non ; jamais. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe. (Signe) W.-D. Armstrong. BOSCO. Nous, Substitut, donnons ordre a Epondo de nous suivre k Mampoko. Apres, le meme jour, a Mampoko, comparait nouvellement Epondo, que nous interrogeo nouvellement avec l'aide de Korony, qui prdte entre nos mains le serment d'aecomplir fidelement mission d'iuterprete qui lui est confine. Epondo prgte nouvellement serment et declare ; — B. Etes-vous esclave de Bandebonja ? Vous a-t-il conduit dans la Ngiri % B. Je ne connais ni Bandebonja ni la Ngiri. B. N'avez-vous jamais ete blessd a la chasse du sanglier? Ne vous a-t-il pas mordu a main ? B. Non ; jamais. Kelengo m'a coupe la main. D. Les habitants de votre village ne vous ont-ils pas suggdrd d'accuser Kelengo pres des pour se soustraire au travail du caoutchouc ? B. II y a presque un mois, deux Anglais sont venus a. notre village et nous out dit : Beauconp monde meurt pour le caoutchouc. Dorenavant vous ne ferez plus cle caoutchouc, vous ferez seulehr la kwanga pour nous. Nous, Substitut, appelons, comme second interprete, Munenge Gabriel, qui, apres serment, i la reponse d'Epondo identiquement a Korony. La reponse est rappelee deux fois. B. Qui etaient ces Anglais ? B. Torongo et Mongougolo. lis m'ont vu, m'ont questionne et m'ont fait aller avec eux a Bonginda. Les habitants de mon village ne m'ont jamais suggere de dire que Kelengo m'avait coupe la main. Les Anglais m'ont fait monter dans leur bateau et m'ont conduit a Coquilhatville pour me montrer au Juge, mais le Juge dtait dans l'Ubangi. Alors nous sommes alles k Bolengi, et apres Mongongolo est alld en Europe et moi je suis retourne en pirogue a Bonginda. B. Les Anglais vous ont-ils photographie ? B. Oui, k Bonginda et a Lulanga. lis m'ont dit de mettre bien en Evidence le moignon. H / avait Nnele, Mongongolo, Torongo et autres blancs dont je ne connais pas les noms. lis etaient les blancs de Lulanga, Mongongolo a portd avec six photographies. Dont proces-verbal lu et signd, hors le temoin illettrd. (Signe) BOSCO. L'an 1903, le S Oetobre, devant nous, Substitut, comparait Bofbko, Chef du village Ikandja. Comparait aussi, comme interprete, le nomme Korony, qui prdte entre nos mains le serment de rempU r lidelement la mission qui lui est confide. Le eomparant Bofoko prete serment et declare : — B. Savez-vous qui a coupe" la main d'Epondo ....»? B. Personne n'a coupd la main d'Epondo. II est alle' avec son maitre Makekele a 3a chasse au sanglier a Malela, dans le district des Bangala, et le sanglier lui a arrachd la main. C'est lui-meme qui, k son retour dans son village, nous a racontd d'avoir etd victime de cet accident de chasse B. Lorsque d'apres les coutumes indigenes, on coupe une main pour punir quelqu'un, quelle est la main que Ton coupe ? R. Toujours la main droite. B. Pourquoi alors les habitants de Bossunguma Ont-ils accusd Kelengo d'avoir commis ces atrocites % B. Parce qu'ils trouvent que le travail du caoutchouc est trop dur et out cru de pouvoir s'en liberer, et pour les induire a s'en' occuper, ils sont alles leur conter des mensonges, B. Pourquoi vous-rngme avez-vous ddclard au Consul Anglais avoir vu la main coupde par terre ; le sang coulait et les habitants du village qui couraient dans toutes les directions ? B. Je n'ai pas parle avec les Anglais. Je ne les ai pas meme vus. Quand ils sont arrives k Bossunguma, je n'etais pas la. B. Vous mentez, parce que le Consul Anglais ddclare avoir parlc avec vous. B. Oui, c'est vrai. J'y etais. J'ai dit comme les autres. Tout le monde se plaignait que le travail du caoutchouc etait trop dur. B. Et le Consul Anglais qu'est-ce qu'il a dit ? . B. 11 a dit qu'il aurait parle au Juge et il a dent un grand papier pour vous. B. Done, vous n'avez pas vn la main coupee, le sang qui coulait, les gens qui se sauvaient dans toutes les directions 1 B. Non; je n'ai rien vu. B, Est-ce que Keleugo aurait tue ou blessd quelqu'un ? A-t-il amarre des femmes ? B. Non ; il n'a tue personne. II n'a amarre aucune femme. On a dit comme ca pour interposer les Anglais, pour faire voir que le blanc dtait violent. B. Oil sont Tonbebola, Mileli, Eykela, Alondi, Bouingeni, Mopili % Pourquoi ne sout-ils pas venus ? M. lis sont dans la foret ; ils ont peur. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe, hors le temoin illettrd. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres comparait Mongombe, dTkondju, qui, apres serment, declare: J'atteste qu'Epondo, d'apres ce que lui-me'nie a racontd, a perdu la main gauche k la chasse au sanglier. La bete blessee 1'aurait attaque - et lui aurait arrache la main. Ce ne serait pas arrird dans le village, mais dans le pays des Bangala, oil il dtaitavec un homme dont j'ignore le nom B. Lorsque les indigenes coupent les mains pour punir ou pour se venger, eoupent-ils la main droite ou la main gauche ? B. Toujours la main droite. B. Pourquoi a-t-on accusd Kelengo ? - B. Nous sommes fatigues du caoutchouc et a vons voulu obtenir une diminution de travail avec l'aide du Chef des Anglais, en lui montrant la violence du blanc. En effet les Anglais sont arrives et out fait un grand papier pour le Juge. Leur Chef disait : " Nous verrons, nous verrons." B. Savez-vous si Kelengo a tuc quelqu'un, s'ils ont amarre' des femmes ? B. Non. II n'a tud personne et il n'a amarrd aucune femme. B, Oil sont Tondebola, Molili, Eykela, Alondi, Bonsigeni, Mopili ? B. En fuite ; ils ont peur. Dont proces-verbal lu et signe', hors ]e temoin illettrd. (Signd) BOSCO. Apres nous interrogeons successivement Lopimbe, de Bassombwene, Boloko, de Bossonguma Alekois, de Bassombwene, Itoke et Itobe, de Bossunguma, et leur posons les m§mcs questions que nous avons posdes aux deux prdeddents tdmoins. Les comparants pretent serment et rdpondent identiquement concordement a Botoko et MonjoMbeki, affirmant l'mnocence absoluc de Kelengo. (Signe) BOSCO. Apres eoniparait nouvellement Epondo, qui prete serment et declare : B. Persistez-vous a accuser Kelengo de vous avoir coupd la main gauche ? B. Non ; j'ai menti. B, Bacontez alors comment et quand vous avez perdu la main, B. J'dtais esclave de Monkekola, a Malele, dans le district des Bangala. Un jour, j'allai avec lui k la chasse- au sanglier. II en blessa un avec une lance, et alors la bete, devenue furieuse, m'attaqua. Je tachai de me sauver avec la suite, mais je tombai, le sanglier fut bientot sur moi, m'arrachant la main gauche, au ventre et a la hanche gauche. Le eomparant montre les cicatrices aux endroits ddsignds et spontandment se met par terre pour faire voir dans quelle position il se trouvait lorsqu'il fut attaqud et blesse* par le sanglier. B. Depuis combien de temps cet accident vous est-il arrive ? B. Je ne me rappelle pas. C'est depuis longtemps. B. Pourquoi alors aviez-vous accuse Kelengo ? B. Parce que Momaketa, un des Chefs de Bossunguma, me Ta dit et apres fcous les habitants de mon village me l'ont repetd. Dont proces-verbal lu et eigne, hors le eomparant illettrd. (Signd) BOSCO. ■ Annexe 4. (A.) Etat Ixdependant du Congo. (Department de rinterieur.) District de ■ :' ■
I/an 1880 District d Chefferies Indighies. (Arrete du 2 Janvier, 1892.— Formule No. 1.) Prods-verbal cC Investiture. le jour du mois d , avons confirm^ 2 chef de 3 Nous, Conimissaire de et de la region de * relevant du Chef do 5 - dans l'autorite qui lui est attribute par les us et coutumes locanx en tant qu'ils n'ont rien de contraire a l'ordre public ni aux lois de l'Etat et lui avons fait remise de Iinsigne decrit a 1' Article 3 de 1 J Arrets du 2 Janvier, 1892. _ Le Chef predesigne" s'est engage & fournir les prestations annuelles mdiquees au tableau ci-annexe. et a executer ou f'aire executer les travanx y mentionnes. De tout quoi nous avons dress4 le present proces-verbal en double original aux jour, mois et au que dessus. . . , Le Commissaire de District, Le Chef reconnu, N.B .— Ce Chef est le successcur du Chef confirme suivant le proces-verbal No. Chefferies indigenes reconnues. District de Tableau Statistique Chefferie de (ArrSte du 2 Janvier, 1892.— Formule No. 2.) "Villages sown is ' a r'Autorit/6 du Chef. Leur Situation et leurs Limites. Noras des Sous-Chefs et des Notables. Nombre des Cases. ■ .... Homines. Population. Femmes Enfants. Observations. ■ ». Numero d'ordre du praces-verbal. \ Nom du Chef reconnu.
  • . Kom du village ou des villages sous la dependance du Chef. " ' ' te i s
Region sui- laqusUe il e*<5ce sou autorite.-Mentionner si 1'investiture lui a ete doimee pour toute region.
  • . Nom du Chef auquel il peut etre sourois. .... ■
m • ;y;
mes reconnues. . . : Tableau des prestations annuelles a fournir par le Chef de (Arrete du 2 Janvier, 1892.— Formule No. 3.) District de M>- d: Villages souwis a l'Autorite du Chef. Produits a fournir par chaque Village. Corvees. Travailleurs. Soldats. Travaux a Executer. Observations. • (Sgsr Le Chef indigene reconnu. Le Commissaire de District, x Annexe 5. (A.) Circulaire Interpretative des Prescriptions concemant les FormaliUs du Permis de Port d'Armes. Soma, le 12 Mars, 1897. J'ai constate, au sujet des prescriptions concemant les formality du permis de port d'arnies, des divergences d'intevpr Station qu'il convient de dissiper. Certaines personnes pensent, a tort, qu'il suffit de se munir d'un seul permis de port d'armes, sans avoir k tenir compte ni de 1'usage qui sera fait des armes importdes, ni de leur lieu de destination. Ainsi que le dit le dernier paragraphe de ma Circulaire A, VI, 58, du 8 Juillet, 1893, la taxe de 20 fr., exigee pour la delivrance des permis de port d'armes, ne doit etre percue qn'une setde fois par permis, quelle que soit la quantity d'armes y figurant ; mais il doit Stre bien entendu qu'il faut un permis distinct par destination des armes, c'est-a-dire, qu' autre le permis individuel, il y a le permis par etablissement et par bateau. Les capitas qui, dans le Haut-Congo, parcourent le pays pour compte de commercants et qui sont pourvus d'un fusil, doivent egalement etre munis d'un permis de port d'armes. Je rappelle & ee piopos que les capitas ne peuvent avoir en leur possession aucune arme perfec- tionnee autre que le fusil i piston non <ray4 ; des permis de port d'armes ne pourront, en consequence, leur etre delivres que pour des fusils de l'espece, efc ceux concemant des fusils, " Albini " ou " Chassepot " qui se trouveraient entre leurs mains devraient Stre retires. Les commercants peuvent souls disposer, pour la defense eventuelle de leurs factoreries et bateaux de fusils " Albini," " Chassepot " ou autres armes ray^es. Jusqu'ici on s'etait servi d'un imprimd, uniforme pour la delivrance de permis de port d'armes. Afin que des erreurs ne puissent plus se produire a l'avenir, il sera fait usage, selon le cas, des imprimes dont les mo deles sont ci-contre. Celui portant la lettre (A) est rimprime' ancien dont Temploi sera exclusivcment reserve" a la d4hvrance de permis individuels, Celui portant la lettre (B) est Tim prims' qui servira aux permis a delivrer pour des armes destine es a la defense d'un etablissement ou d'un bateau. Celui portant la lettre (C) est rimprime" a utihser pour les permis se rapportant aux fusils a piston confies aux capitas. Ces permis ne doivent pas indiquer les noms des capitas qui en sont porteurs ; ils peuvent e*tre etablis au nom d'un etablissement et chaque permis a une durde de validite de cinq ann6es pour une meme arme. Les Commissaires de District, Chefs de Zone, et Chefs de Poste ou leurs delegues ont a exercer une surveillance tres s<5rieuse pour empgcher que les armes perfectionnees dont disposent les commercants ne passent aux mains des indigenes. Ils ont a verifier minutieusement les permis de port d'armes et a faire proc^der a des poursuites lorsque ,ceux-ci ne sont pas strictement en regie. Us ont notamment a examiner si le nombre d'armes existant correspond bien a celui renseignd sur les permis, et a faire saisir les armes pour lesquelles les formalites prescrites n'auraient pas ete aecomplies. Je crois utile de rappeler, au sujet des permis de port d'armes, le § 2 de 1' Article VI du Deeret du 10 Mars, 1892 (" Bulletin Offieiel " de 1892, p. 14), sur les armea a feu : 38 " Le porteur d'un permis de port d'armes peut etre requis, en tout temps, par le Commissaire de District competent de justifier de la possession de 1'arme ou des armes renseignees sur ce permis ; h defaut die cette justification, il eneourra les penalites prevues par l'Artiole IX du Decret." 1 r Le Gouverneur-General, (Signe) WAHIS, m Circulaire rappelant les Prescriptions sur ^Importation et la Detention des Armes a F m perfectionnees. Boma, le 31 Mat, 1900. J'ai acquis la certitude que les cominenjante etablis sur le territoire de l'Etat ne font aucun effort, malgre les pressantes recomrnandations qui leur ont etd adressees, pour remplir les obligations imposees par la legislation sur les armes a feu, Quantite d'armes qu'ils ont etd autorises k importer pour la defense des etablissements de negoce, des bateaux et la protection des capitas de negoce ne sont pas inscrites sur les permis reglementaires ou figurent sur des permis perimes, ou encore ont disparu sane qu'ils en aient ete donn<5 eonnaisssance aux autorites. . . J'ai 1'honneur d'attirer encore l'attention des interosses sur les dispositions legislatives en vigueur en cette matiere, en les prcvenant que je donne les ordres les plus severes pour la recherche des infractions et Implication rigoureuse des penalites edictces par 1' Article 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892, reproduit ci-apres : ■ . . " Quiconque commettra ou Iaissera coinmettre par ses subordonnes des infractions au present Decret, aineiqu'aux Arretes et Eeglements d'exeeution, sera puni de 100 fr. a 1,000 fr. d'amende et de servitude penale n'excedant pas une annee, ou de l'une de ces peines seulement " L'importation de toute arme perfectionnee, y compris le fusil k piston non rayi, est subordonnee ;t la delivrance d'un permis de port d'armes. Celui-ci se subdivise, suivant la destination des armes, en trois categories : 1. Le permis individuel ou particulier ; 2. Le permis collectif applicable aux armes destinees k la defense des etabhssenients de commerce ou des bateaux : il peut comprendre, suivant le eae, vingt-cinq ou quinze fusils, maximum d'armes autorisees par le Gouvernement, pour un etablis seinent ou un bateau ; 3. Le permis de capita. Celui-ci ne peut comprendre qu'uue seule arme, le fusil a piston non rayl II ne doit pas indiquer le nom du capita qui en est porteur, mais le nom de l'etablisseoient auquel ee dernier est attache. Ce sont la les trois eas bien determines, oit 1'imporfcation et I'usage des armes perfectionnees sont autorises. Les amies ne peuvent, en aueune eirconstance, etre distraites, sans autorisation prealable, de leur premiere destination. Elles ne peuvent, sous aucun pretexte, litre employees k des incursions a 1'interieur des terres. La repression de seditions on d'aetes de brigandage est inclusive-ment reservee aux antonies de l'Etat. Tout permis de port d'armes est valable pour cinq ans. Le porteur d'un permis peut etre requis en tout temps par les Commissaires de District, leurs delegues ou les agents du service des finances, de justifier de la possession de 1'arme ou des armes renseignees sur ce permis; k defaut de cette justification, il encourra les penalites prevues par l'Artiele 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892. (Article 6 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892, et Arrete du 26 Mars, 1900 ) Si, dans eertaines circonstances, des chefs de factoreries avaient k dinger des convois de negoce, soit par voie d'eau, soit par terre, a travers des regions qu'ils jugeraient peu sures, ils auraient, darjs chaque eas, a demander 1'escorte neeessaire au Commissaire du District dans lequel ils se trouvent, ou au Chef du Poste de l'Etat le plus rapproche. Cette escorte ne peut, en aucune circonstance, etre constitute par des agents a leur service, a moins qu'ils n'aient obtenu, a ce sujet, un permis qui ne pourra etre delivrd que par le Commissaire de District, et qui devra se trouver entre les mains du chef de 1'escorte et pouvoir etre exhibe a tout agent de l'Etat charge du eontrole des armes. Les contraventions aux diffeientes prescriptions ci-dessus evictees, pourront amener, outre les penalites, la fermeture des etablissements qui auront contrevenu a la loi. Le Gouverncur- General, (Signe) WAHIS. '. Article 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892 (•' Bulletin Officiel " de 1892, p. 14) :— r j " Quieonque commettra ou Iaissera commettre par des sdbordonnes, des infractions an present; Dec set , ai ^a'aux Arretes et Reglements d'exeeution, sera puni de 100 a 1,000 fr, d'amende et do servitude pen * n'excedant pas une annee, on de l'une de ces peines seulement. La peine de servitude penale sera toujo ^ prononeee, et elle pourra etre portee a cinq ans lorsque le delinquant se sera livre au trafic des armes a feu o lenrs munitions dans les regions oil sevifc la Traite. " Dans les cas preVus ci-dessns, les armes, la poudre, les nalies, et cartouches sont eonfisquees. 39 (C.) Circulaire relative aux Prescriptions sur la Detention des Armes a Feu perfectionnhs a I' Usage des Maisons de Commerce, Boma, le 2S Novewtbre, 1900. Je constate par des rapports qui me sont adresses des di verses parties du territoire, que les prescriptions en matiere d'armes a feu perfectionnees a I'usage des Societes commerciales ne recoivent pas leur execution. — Depuis la publication, en Juin dernier, de ma Circulaire No. 30/g du 31 Mai, 1900, qui a et£ a dress ee a tous les chefs des firmes commerciales etablies dans l'Etat, ces derniers auraient pu se mettre en regie vis-a-vis de la loi, soit en demandant des permis de port d'armes, soit en requerant les modifications necessaires aux permis qu'ils posse dent deja, mais quine correspondent plus a l'armement de leurs factoreries, ou au nombre maximum fixe par la loi, pour un etablissement. Ils auraient pu donner des instructions formelles a leurs agents, a l'effet de leur defendre de faire- servir les armes k tir rapide a d'autres usages qu'a celui de la ddfense des etablissements de negoee, et les fusils a piston a eouvrir des convois de negoee, sans autorisation prealable. II m'a ete signal^ que ces dernieres armes etaient parfois confines k des indigenes non munis de> licences. L'inobservation des dispositions legislatives et reglementaires regissant l'importation et la- detention des armes k feu, doit amener des desordres qu'il faut empecher. Ce n'est qu'en sEvissant avec rigueur contre les personnes en fante qu'on parviendra a faire- respecter la loi. Je prescris done a tous les fonctionnaires charges des fonetions d'officier de police judiciaire et notamment les Commissaires de District, les Chefs de Zone, et leurs Chefs de Poste, de verifier, chacun dans son ressort, les permis de port, d'armes et l'armement des factoreries qui y sont etablies, Toutes. les infractions seront constatees par proces-verbaux dont une expedition me sera transmise concurrem- ment avec celle qui doit etre remise au Parquet. Les armes, objet du de7it, devront etre saisies. Ces verifications doivent commencer des la reception de la presente Circulaire. Les autorites territoriales ine feront rapport, a bref d^lai, sur les prescriptions qui y sont contenues. ^ Le Gouverneur-G^n^ral, (Sigue) WAHIS. (D.) Circulaire faisant suite a V Arriti du 30 Avril, 1901, sur les Permis de Port d' Armes edictant des Regies en ee qui eoncerne le systeme qui sera, dorenavant mivi en cette matiere, ainsi que concernant eertaines mesures prScautionnelles que les Commissaires de District et les Chefs de Zone pourront prescrire et la sanction administrative qui y sera attachee. Boma, le 30 Avril, 1901, De renents evenements ont encore demontre que les prescriptions en matiere d'armes a feu etaient k chaque instant violees par les chefs ou gerants des etablissements de commerce en depit des nombreux avis de l'autorite. II a aussi et^ etabli que le depot d'un certain nombre de fusils perfectionnhs dans ces etablisse- ments pouvait, k d'autres egards, compromettre la shcurith publique, en ce que les armes pouvaient a un moment donne etre utihshes par le personnel indigene de l'etablissement pour former des bandes armees dont les premiers mefaits portaient sur la vie des Europeans qui les employaient et sur leur propriete. Le danger est d'autant plus grand que le personnel indigene des Etablissements de commerce est constitute souvent par d'anciens militaires, qui connaissent bien le inaniement des armes perfectionnees. II y a done lieu de prendre de nouvelles mesures non seulement pour renforeer les moyens que la loi met a la disposition de 1'autorits pour faire respecter par les gerants d' etablissements de commerce les prohibitions evictees notamment par ma Circulaire No, 30/g du 31 Mai, 1900, mais egalement pour empecher que les dep6ts d'armes perfectionnees autorisees par le Gouvernement dans les etablissements de commerce ou a bord des bateaux, et pour la defense de ces Etablissements ou de ces bateaux, ne donnent point a des rebelles a la loi la possibility de commettre les pires mefaits. En ce qui concerne le premier point, mon Arrete en date de ce jour a pour but d'assurer 1'action repressive contre ceux qui, contrairement aux regies qui avaient ete determine'es, notam- ment par ma Circulaire 30/g du 31 Mai, 1900, deplaceraient les armes dont l'introduction et la deten- tion ont ete permises pour la defense des etablissements de commerce ou des bateaux. D'apres le systerae qui sera dorenavant suivi, les permis de port d'armes (B) de la Circulaire du 12 Mara, 1897, seront dedivre au nom du Directeur ou Chef en Afrique de la Socie'te' ou de l'entreprise qui a sollieifce l'introduction et la detention de ces armes; le permis devra stipuler, en vertu de TArticle 1 st de TArr^th en date de ce jour, a quel etablissement les armes, ainsi que les munitions y afferentes, sont destinees, et prescrire l'obligation de justifier Temploi de celles-ci, Les anciens permis dflivres en conformity avec la Circulaire du 12 Mars, 1897, seront modifies [828] G 40 •endeans le delai de six mois ; les Directeurs on Chefs des Socidtes on entreprises seront invites par le Beceveur des linpots competent a representer les permis actnellement existants, et a former des demandes en conformity avec 1' Article 2 de mon Arr^te" en date de ce jour. L' Administration en delivrant de nouveaux permis stipulera que les armes et les munitions y afferentes ne pourront sortir des e'tablissements auxquels elles sont destinies. La delivrance de permis, pour les armes destinees a de nouveaux etablissements se fera dans les memes conditions. La sanction penahyxrarra s'excrcer ainsi, en conformity avec ] 'Article 9 du Decret du 12 Mars, 1892, centre le geVant de retablissement qui se servirait des amies et des munitions dans un but autre que caiui pour lequel le permis a ete delivre\ et le cas eche"ant, contre le Directeur de la Society on ■entreprise. Les permis devront etre renouveles, ou tout an moms modifies, lorsqne la direction de la Soeiete •on de l'entreprise sera donnee a une autre personne que celle au nom de laquelle le permis a &t& delivre. Les permis pour capita, permis (C) de la Circulaire du 12 Mars, 1897, seront egalement delivres k titre individuel soit par le Commissaire de District ou Chef de Zone, soit par un agent d&signe - par eux. La mSme sanction pr<$vue par T Article 9 du Decret du 12 Mars, 1892, atteindra l'individu qui serait porteur d'un fusil a piston sans avoir de permis regulier delivre en son nom, et, le cas echeant, le Directeur ou Gerant de la Socie'te, de Ditablissement, ou de l'entreprise. De plus, sans prejudice aux poursuites repressives eventuelles, les iufractions aux regies present es, notamment par mon Arrete en date de ce jour, en ce qui coneerne les armes pour lesquelles un permis est deli v re, pourront avoir pour suite le retrait du pennis, que lies que soient les consequences qui en resulteraient pour I'etablissement. Pour satisfaire a l'autre interet que je signale au d^but de cette Circulaire, je soumets de plus la delivrance du permis (B) et (C) a l'engagement pour les chefs d'etablissements d'admettre et de respecter les mesures precautionn elles que le Commissaire de District ou Chef de Zone croira devoir prescrire pour prevenir tout danger, et qui pourront Stre differentes selon les circonstanees ; ainsi ces fonctionnaires pourront, et devront dans la majority des cas, prescrire : — ■ (a.) Que les armes perfeetionnees, et les munitions destinees a I'etablissement ou au bateau (ou meme les fusils a piston du moment que leur nombre est snpdrieur a cinq), soient remises dans un local special, pre sent ant des garanties suffisantes de solidite pour empecher ^effraction, ferine" soigneu semen t, et de telle sorte que faeces ne puisse en etre possible qu'au blane qui en detient les clefs ; (6.) Que la garde en soit eonfiee a un homme stir ; (c.) Que 1'fStablissement lui soumette mensuel lenient la liste du personnel indigene qu'il emploie en renseignant, pour cbaeun des niembres de- celui-ci, la tribu a laquelle il appartient, ses services anterieurs, et tous autres renseignements utiles, notamment quant a son esprit, et sans prejudice aux prescriptions de 1' Article 14 du Decret du 8 Novembre, 1888, de l'Artiele 11 de 1' Arrete du l er Janvier, 1890, eelles de l'Artiele 46 du Decret du 4 Mai, 1895, et cedes de 1'Arrete dn 4 Avril, 1899. Les Coinmissaires de District et Chefs de Zone veilleront a la stricte observation des mesures qu'ils auront edictees a ce sujet ; ils visiteront, soit par eux-mgmes, soit par delegues, le plus souvent possible, les etablissements auxquels des permis (B) et (C) ont etc a-ccordes, s'assureront que les prescriptions legales ou administratives a ce sujet sont rigour eusement respected et contrSleront le personnel. Dans les cas oll des infractions a la Ioi ou aux mesures precautionn el les qu'ils auraient Edictees seront relevees, ou que d'une facon quelconque et par suite de circonstanees speciales, le depot d'armes perfectionnees auxqnelles s'appliquent les permis collectifs (B) et (C) serait une cause de clanger pour la securite generate, ils m'en refereront en me faisant connaitre d'une facon detaillee les infractions ou la situation, de facon a me mettre a m6me de juger en connaissance de cause s'il y a lien ou non de retirer le permis. lis veilleront, dans tous les cas ou il y aura eu revocation ou retrait du permis, a ce que les armes et munitions qui y sont portees soient deposees dans un entrepot public pour telle suite qu'il ■ conviendra. Le Gouverneur-General, (Signe) WAHIS. No, 2. The Marquess of Lamdovme to Sir C. Phipps. Sir, Foreign Office, April 19, 1904. THE " Notes " prepared by the Congo Government, and handed to yon on the 13th ultimo as a preliminary reply to Mr. Casement's report, contain statements, to the careful consideration of which some time must be devoted. His Majesty's Government desire, _ however, to express at once their great satisfaction at learning that the Congo Government concur in their view of the general principles which should prevail in dealing with, the native African races, and at 41 announcement that a searching and impartial inquiry will he made into the allegations against the administration of the Free State, and that if real abuses or the necessity for reform should be thereby disclosed, the central Government will act as the necessities of the ease may demand. His Majesty's Government have every confidence that an investigation of this character will be followed by the redress of any grievances or actual wrongs which may he proved to exist, and that if the present administrative system shonld be found to provide no adequate security against the abuse of power by tl lose who are employed hy the State, or by the Companies over which the State has control, the necessary steps will be taken to remedy these grave defects. His Majesty's Government have been actuated in this matter by no other motive than a desire to" arrive at the truth, and to fulfil the obligation which is incumbent upon all the Powers who were parties to the Berlin Act, " to watch, so far as each may be able, over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of their moral and material well-being." They are, therefore, glad to observe that the notes do not indorse the regrettable and unfounded insinuation contained in M. de Cuvelier's communication of the 17th Septemher, 1903, that the interests of humanity have been used in this country as a pretext to conceal designs for the abolition and partition of the Congo State. The request made in the notes for the full text of Mr. Casement's report raises a question of considerable difficulty. Personal names and indications of place and date were suppressed, not from any want of confidence in the central Government at Brussels, but from the knowledge that if these particulars were published they would of course v be accessible to the very officials in the Congo to whom abuses are attributed. The knowledge of these particulars would have given these persons opportunities for exercising pressure upon those who gave evidence, or for concealing the evidence of their own malpractices, so as to render impossible that effective inquiry which it is the object of the Congo Government to secure. These apprehensions appear, in some degree at least, to be borne out hy the fact^ mentioned in the " Notes " when quoting M. Bosco's report, that those who gave evidence in the Epondo Case had taken flight, and that all efforts to find them had been fruitless. His Majesty's Government are naturally desirous to further, so far as lies in their power, the inquiry which they are now assured will take place. They feel bound, however, to proceed on this point with the utmost caution , and, before considering whether they can hand over the complete text of the report, they must ask whether the Congo Government will accept full responsibility for the manner in which the information thus furnished is used, and whether they will communicate to His Majesty's Government the measures which they are prepared to adopt and enforce in order .to protect the witnesses, both European and native, from, an}' violence or acts of retaliation on the part of those against whom they have given evidence. With regard to the application, renewed in the " Notes," for previous reports from British Consular officers, it is necessary to explain that these reports, though forwarding testimony upon which reliance could apparently he placed, were founded on hearsay, and lacked the authority of personal observation, without which His Majesty's Government were unwilling to come to any definite conclusion unfavourable to the administration of the Congo State. Moreover, some of the reports are of old date ; the Congo State have admittedly been very active in pushing forward occupation of the country, and it would be unjust to bring forward statements regarding a condition of affairs which may have entirely passed away. In the despatch of the 8th August, 1903, His Majesty's Government explicitly declared that they were unaware to what extent the allegations made against the Congo State might be true, and it was in order to obtain direct and personal information as to the state of things actually existing that Mr. Casement undertook the journey of which the results are recorded in his report. I reqiiest you to read this despatch to M. de Cuvelier, and to hand a copy of it to his Excellency. Copies will be transmitted to the Powers with which, as Parties to the Berlin Act, His Majesty's Government have been in communication. I am, &c. (Signed) LANSDOWNE. 42 No. 3. Acting Consul Nightingale to the Marquess of Lcmsdowne — [Received May 3.) <Extract.) Eoma > A P ril 7 > 19 °4- I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith, for your Lordship's information, a -copy of the Judgment in Appeal in the cases of M. Caudron and Silvanus Jones. I am informed that the Procureur d'Etat demanded the severest punishment for Caudron, accusing him of being the direct cause of the murder in cold blood of over 122 natives (this is the number verified, but many more ' are supposed to have been murdered of which there is no record) during his expeditious and raids in the Mongalla district for the obtainment of rubber, in order to reap a handsome commission on his extortions from the natives The lawyer for the defence sought, on the other hand, to prove by documents and other evidence that Caudron committed no individual act save the accidental shooting ■of the women at Muibembetti ; that the whole of the responsibility of the regime in vogue in Mongalla lay at the door of the State, who employed the Societe Coramerciale Anversoise as its tax collector, the State itself being half shareholder and taking three-fourths of all the profits of the Company ; that the Company operated on the Domaine Prive of the State, having no lands of its own ; that all the attacks on the natives were ordered by the Oomniissaire-Geueral of the district, who gave written orders to his deputies, and that Caudron was only requisitioned to accompany those expeditions as being the only person who knew every nook and corner of the Mongalla River. As your Lordship will observe, Caudron' s sentence was reduced from twenty years' penal servitude to fifteen years', whilst that of Silvanus Jones, of ten years, was upheld, but with a strong recommendation for a speedy reduction of the sentence, which was the least the Court could impose. After the Judgment in Appeal, 1 obtained permission from the Vice-Governor- -General to go and visit Jones in prison, and inclosed I send a note of my interview with him. On speaking to the Director of Justice, after my interview with Jones, I men- tioned the fact that the man had not been defended by counsel, to which the Director replied that his case ran concurrently with that of Caudron' s, and that there was no necessity for him to employ counsel. As a matter of fact, Jones was not asked whether he wished to employ counsel to •defend him, neither was he (according to his statement) aware of the nature of the charges made against him." He had money, and would have engaged some one to defend him had be known what those charges were. He was, he said, under the impression that he had been brought to Boma as a witness against Caudron. I inclose a further note, given me by the Director of Justice, which gives the ■different Decrees dealing with arms and showing the infractions committed by Jones. "Out of evil comes good" is an old saying, and it is my opinion that, if the Upper Congo were thrown open to free trade and the concessionnaire Companies done away with, "when once confidence were restored amongst the natives and they were given to understand that they could bring in and sell their produce to whomsoever they pleased, the Congo State would in a short while become the biggest export market for rubber in the world. The African native is a born trader, and now it is so well known the value the white men set upon rubber they would naturally commence to bring it in when once confidence were fully restored. The State would reap its reward in the trading licences and export duties. And that is all it is fairly entitled to. Before closing I would call your Lordship's attention to the fact that, in the " Bulletin Ofliciel " (No. 12) for last December there is a Decree published giving powers to the agents of the Katanga Company to collect the State taxes. This means that the same abuses may go on in the Katanga country as have hitherto gone on in the Mongalla district, unless most stringent measures are adopted to prevent them. 43 In closure 1 in No. 3. Judgment in Appeal respecting the Cases of M. Caudron and 8. Jones. Le Tribunal d'Appel de Borne, siegeant en Matiere Penale, a rendu l'Arret suivant : — ■ Audience Pubhque du 15 Mars, 1904. (No. du role 395.) "En cause : Minister© Public contre — (1) CATJDRON, PHILLIP CHARLES EB-ANCOIS, ne k Auderlecht, Belgique, Chef de Zone commercial de la Melo, au service de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo ; et (2) Jones, Silvanus, originaire de Lagos, clerc au service de la meme Societe: Pr6 venus — le premier a la fin de 1'ann^e 1902, et au commencement de 1'annee 1903, alors qu'il ctait Chef de Zone commercial de la Melo, au service dc la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo : 1. D' avoir fait attaquer pendant la nuit le village dc Lib ok e par ]es hommes a fusil de la Societe armes d'Albini, pro vo quant ainsi directement la mort d'un certain n ombre d'indigenes du dit village de Liboke ; 2. D 'avoir circule avec une troupe composes de soixante soldats de l'Etat et de vingt hommes a fusil de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, armes d'Albini, et avoir fait attaquer par cette troupe, divisee en petits detachemeuts, les indigenes des villages Magugu, Tariba, Mandingia, Muibembetti, et Kakore, provo- quant ainsi directement la mort d'un grand nombre d'indigenes des dits villages ; 3. D'avoir a Muibembetti volontairement fait des blessures a la femme Mennieg- " hire, en lui tirant un coup de fusil de ehasse dans les seins ; 4. D'avoir fait detenir arbitrage nient a Mini bo, pendant pres d'un mois, une vingtaine de prisonniers fait au cours des expeditions dana les villages Magugu, Teriba, Mandingia, Muibembetti, et Kakore ; 5. D'avoir a Mimbo etc la cause directe de la mort d'un prisonnier, ayant ante- rieurement donne aux sentinelles armecs sous ses ordres la consigne de tuer tout prisonnier qui tenterait de s'enfuir ; 6. D'avoir au poste de Binga- Stat donne l'ordre aux sentinelles de tuer un Chef Mogwande, ordre qui a etc execute par le soldat Kamassi ; 7. D'avoir etabli ou laisse etablir a, Bussu-Baya, et a Dengeseke, des faetoreries »de commerce ou se trouvaient installed des travailleurs armes d'Albini et de cartouches faisant par tie de 1'armement des faetoreries de Mimbo et de Binga, ces armes et munitions ayant ete deplac6es sans authorisation, et ayant servi a eommettre les infractions pour les quelle s sont poursuivis Jones, Silvanus, chef de la factorerie de Bussu-Baya, et Bangi, le domestique du precedent ; 8. D'avoir, au poste de Mimbo, remis a son Capita Kassango, 100 cartouches d'Albini, appar tenant a l'Etat, et au poste de Binga, en avoir remis 200 a Houart, chef de cette factorerie ; ces faits constituant une soustraction fraudulente de cartouches au prejudice de l'Etat, ou suhsidiairement une infraction aux dispositions sur les armes a feu— infractions prevues par les Articles 1% 2, 3, 4, 11, 18, 19 du Code Penal, 101 bis, 101 (4), du Code Penal, Decret du 27 Mars, 1900 ; 2 et 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892 ; et l'Arretc du 30 Avril, 1901, sur les armes a feu. Le second d'avoir, a la fin de 1'annee 1902, envoy 6 des travailleurs de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, armCs de fusils Albini, dans les environs de la factorerie de Bussa-Baya, en leur donnant l'ordre de tuer les indigenes, et avoir ainsi ete la cause directe de la mort d'une femme de Bassango, tuee d'un coup d'Albini par son domestique Bangi— infractions prevues par les Articles l ec et 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892, et l'Arrete du 30 Avril, 1901, sur les armes a feu, et 1 et 2 du Code P6ual ; Yu la procedure a charge des prenomm6s ; vu le Jugement du Tribunal de Premiere Instance du Bas-Congo, en date du 12 Janvier, 1904, condamnant le premier ■a une servitude penale de vingt ans et aux sept huitiemes des frais du proces ; le second a une servitude p6nale de dix ans, et a un huitieme des frais du proces ; Vu les appels inter] etes contre le dit Jugement par le Ministere Public et le prevenu Caudron, suivant declarations revues au Greffier du Tribunal d'Appel le 12 Eevrier, 1904 ; 1 L 44 Vu les notifications des dits appels au Ministere Public, et aux prgrenus en date- du meme jour ; Vu 1' assignation don nee aux prevenus; par acte du 22 Yevrier, 1904 ; Ou'i le Juge Albert Sweerts en son rapport ; Vu l'instruction. faite deyant le Tribunal d'Appel ; Oui M. le Procureur d'Etat en ses requisitions ; Ou'i les prcvenus en leurs dires et moyens de defense presenters pour Caudron par M, de Nen tor, defenseur agree par le Tribunal ; Attendu que le Tribunal d'Appel est saisi par l'appel du prevenu Caudron., et en meme temps par l'appel du Ministere Public relatif a ce dernier et a l'autre prevenu., Jones, Silvanus ; Que l'appel du prevenu Caudron n'est pas recevable, l'appelant n'ayant pas- consigne prealablement les frais conform^ment k l'Article 78 du Decret du 27 Avril, 1SS9; Que, cependant, l'appel du Ministere Public remet tout en question meme dans- 1'interet des in times ; En ce qui conecrne le prevenu Caudron ; Sur les premiere et deuxieme preventions : — Attendu qu'il est etabli par les depositions des temoins et par les pieces versees. au dossier : 1. Que, dans la nuit du 15 au 16 Octobre, 1902, au poste d'Akula dans la region de la Melo, le preVenu Caudron, Cbef de Zone de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo dans cette region, pour punir les indigenes du village de Liboke de ne pas avoir fourni les corvees qu'il exigeait d'eux, a donne ordre a cinq de ses travailleurs, armes d'Albini, de se rend re au dit village et de tirer sur les indigenes, ordre que les travailleurs ont execute, en tuant le Chef et plusieurs indigenes de ce- village ; 2. Que, dans le courant des raois de Janvier, Pevrier, et Mars 1903, dans le but de Forcer les indigenes de la legion des Banga a augmenter la reeolte du caoutchouc, il a fait une expedition dans la elite region avec vingt de ses travailleurs, armes d'Albinis, et accompagne d'un sous-officier et de cinquante soldats de l'Etat ; que, au cours de cette expedition, il a envoye les travailleurs armSs d'Albini, et les soldats di vises en petits detachements. dans les localites de Mogugu, Teriba, Bongu, Muibembetti, et Kakore, avec ordre de tirer sur les indigenes qu'ils auraient rencontres, ordre que les travailleurs et les soldats ont execute^ causant ainsi la mort d'un grand nombre- d 'indigenes ; Que le prevenu reconnait ces faits dans leur ensemble, mais qu'il allegue pour sa. defense d'avoir agi d'accord avec l'autorisation, et meme par ordre de l'autorite, representee lors du fait de Liboke par M . Nagant, et lors de 1'expedition chez les Banga par M. Jamart— tous les deux Cliefs du Poste de Police de Binga ; Attendu, en ce qui concerne le fait de Liboke, que tous les temoins interroges a ce sujet ii l'audience de Premiere Instance et d'Appel ont nie de la maniere la phis formelle que M. Nagant aurait ete a Akula lors de l'attaque du dit village, et qu'H ait pu par consequent ratifier par sa presence l'ordre donne par le prevenu Caudron, ainsi que celui-ci le soutient; Que, cependant, existent au dossier les copies certifiees conformcs de denx Iettres qui auraient ete adressees par M. Collet, gerant du poste d' Akula, a M. Nagant, la premiere en date du 12 Octobre, 1902, demandant son intervention contre le village- de Liboke, et la deuxieme en date du 16 Octobre, e'est-a-dire, au lendemain de l'attaque, le remerciant de son intervention et l'informant que les indigenes s'etaient presentes le matin au poste et s'etaient engage? k fonrnir regulierement les impositions ; que 1'accusation conteste l'autbenticite de ces Iettres, et soutient qu'elles ont ete- forgees apres pour les besoins de la cause ; Que, cependant, le fait qu'elles ont ete versees an dossier par le Magistrat- Instructeur, qu'elles ont ete trouvees dans les bureaux du poste de police, et le fait qu'elles ont ete confirmees par M. Collet a l'instruction prdparatoire ne permettent pas- de les considerer comme fausses et de les ecarter ; Que puisqu'un doute subsiste il faut admettre la version la plus favorable au prevenu, e'est-a-dire, que le Chef du Poste de Police Nagant se trouvait a Akula lors- de l'attaque de Liboke, et qu'il a connu et autorise cette attaque ; 45 Que, par consequent, tout supplement d'ins traction relativement aux dites <drconstanees serait, dans i'interet de la defense, absolument inutile ; Attendu, en ce qui eoncerne 1'expedition chez les Banga, que la presence dans ■cette expedition du Chef du Poste de Police Jamart avec cinquante soldats de 1' fitat n'est pas contestee, et qu'il est aussi prouve que le prevenu a agi dans cette occasion toujours de parfait accord avec lui ; qu'il reste done a examiner si la presence et Tautorisation de ces representants de l'autorite pourraient justifier le fait du prevenu ; Attendu que e'est un principe de droit consacre meme expressement dans les Codes dont notre legislation s'est inspiree que, pour qu'il n'y ait pas d'infraction, il ne suffit pas que le fait ait ete commande par l'autorite, mais qu'il faut en meme temps qu'il soit ordonne par la loi; qu'il est hors de doute qu'il s'agit dans l'espece unique- meat de debts de droit eommun, e'est-a-dire, d'homicides commis pour un interet prive dans le but de forcer les indigenes a fournir leur travail ou leur produits; Que, quoiqu'onait parie parfois vaguement de retablissement de l'ordre. il resulte bien formellement des declarations de tous les temoins et meme des rapports adresses par le prevenu au Directeur de la Societe, et de ses Iettres aux gerants de sa zone, -qu'il ne visait dans les actes d'hostilite poses contre ces indigenes que I'interet de son commerce, et no tarn me nt 1'aug mentation de la recoltc du caoutchouc ; Que si un doute pouvait ctre souleve en ce qui eoncerne 1' expedition pre- ■cedemment faite chez les Gwakas, aucun doute ne pent exister k cet egard pour les faits objet de la prevention ; Que, en tout cas, il est bien etabli qu'au moment ou ces faits se sont passes, l'ordre n'avait ete nullement trouble ni a Liboke ni chez les Banga ; qu'il ne resulte pas que les vie times de ces faits aient commis d'autre faute que de ne pas avoir fourni a la Societe la quantite de travail qu'elle exigeait ; Attendu, d'autre part, que le seul fait de ne pas avoir paye les impdts, meme s'ils etaient legale ment dus (ce qui n'etait pas dans l'espece, puis qu'auc une loi ne les avait . encore autorises), ne pourrait jamais justifier des repressions sanglantes ; Qu'on pourrait encore moins parler dans l'espece de faits de guerre, car ce n'est ■certainement pas faire la guerre que d'attaquer des populations tranquilles et de tirer des coups de feu sur des individus isoles et moffensifs ; Qu'il est prouve par les depositions des temoins, et par les declarations du prevenu lui-m6me, que jamais au cours de ces faits les indigenes n'ont attaque ou pose un acte d'hostilite quelconque ; Que ni parmi les soldats, ni parmi les hommes de la Societe, il y a eu un seul tue ■ou un seul blesse ; Qu'il serait done absurde de parler de guerre; que tuer dans ces conditions ne peut que constituer un crime qu'aucune loi, aucune necessite n'autorise, et qui tombe sous l'application de la Loi Penale, qu'il soit commis par un particulier ou par un agent de l'autorite ; Attendu, d'autre part, que le prevenu ne peut non plus invoquer en sa faveur 1'excuse de l'obeissance hierarchique, car cette excuse n'existe que pour les agents de l'autorite qui executent l'ordre d'un superienr hierarchique et dans les limites du ressort de celui-ci ; Que le prevenu n'etait pas agent de l'autorite ; qu'il ne devait obeissance hierarchique a personne ; qu'il ne rentrait aucunement dans ses attributions d'agent ■de Societe de cooperer a des actes de repression ; qu'il avait done tout le droit de refuser d'executer les ordres qu'on pouvait lui donner a ce sujet, et que s'il les executait, ■e'etait a ses risques et perils ; Qu'il est du reste de principe que meme l'obeissance hierarchique ne constitue plus une excuse lorsque Tiliegalite de l'ordre est evidente ; Attendu, d'ailleurs, qu'il est tout a fait contraire a la verite que le prevenu n'aurait fait, ainsi qu'il l'affirme, qu'exeeuter les ordres des Chefs du Poste de Police; Que la verite, au contraire, est que ces derniers etaient en fait sous ses ■ordres ; Qu'un simple sous-officier comme Nagant, un simple adjoint militaire (caporal) comme Jamart, ne pouvait certainement avoir aucune autorite sur le prevenu qui occupait la haute position de Chef de Zone de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, et qui avait sous ses ordres un nombreux personnel blanc et noir ; Que tous les temoins ont ete d'accord pour declarer que dans toutes les expeditions qu'il a faites avec les Chefs du Poste de Police, e'etait lui qui commandait, ■qui donnait des ordres, et qui punissait, non seulement ses hommes, mais meme les 46 soldats del'Btat; que notamment, en ce qui concerne l'expedition contre les Banga, il est bien evident que le Caporal Jamart, tout jeune homme, a, peine arrive en Afrique, ne eonnaissant ni la langue, ni le pays, et pour surplus malade au point de devoir se faire presque to u jours porter et rester en arriere me me de plusieurs jours, n'etait qu'un simple comp-arse 'dont le prevenu se servait dans la croyance de pouvoir, par sa presence, couvrir les illegalites qu'il commettait, et enchainer a la sienne la responsabilite de l'Etat ; Que c'est en vain done que le prevenu invoque sa bonne foi pour avoir agi d'accord avec les representants de 1'autorite ; Qu'il savait bien qu'on ne pouvait pas tuer et d'autant moins dans un interet commercial ; II savait que les lois de TBtat ne le tolere pas ; II savait aussi que plusieurs de ses predecesseurs et de ses collegues dans la metne region, et dans la me me Societe, avaient 6te tres sereremsnt coudamnes par les Tribunaux pour des faits semblables ; II a cru etre plus adroit que les autres en tachant de couvrir sa responsabilite en se servant des agents de 1' JStat ; Mais si cette precaution se montre a la preuve impuissante, s'il s'apercoit trop tard que la responsabilite penale ne peut pas s'eluder si facilement, il n'a pas le droit de se dire la victime d'une erreur ; \ Que s'il s'est trompe, c'est non pas sur la moralite des actes qu'il posait, mais sux la valeur de la ruse qu'il a employee pour les couvriv ; Attendu, cependant, que le prevenu insiste sur la demande qu'il avait deja presentee en Premiere Instance; que le Tribunal ordonne un supplement ^instruc- tion pour faire verscr au dossier les rapports politiques envoyes par les autorites superieures administratives de la region au Gouvernement local, d'ou il r^sulterait que les dites autorites avaient connu et ap prouve les faits qui lui sont reprocbes, et meme d'autres expeditions anterieures et poster ieures qu'il aurait faites avec les troupes de Ffitat, que le Gouvernement local, interpelie par le Magistrat-Instructeur. a declare qu'en principe il ne croyait pas pouvoir donner communication de ces pieces, que, du reste, elles ne renfermaient rien pouvant se referer aux faits indiqu^s par le prevenu ; Que la defense conteste ces declarations en droit et en fait ; Attendu qu'en principe on ne pourrait certainement pas contester le droit de 1'autorite judiciaire de demandcr et meme de recbercher en tout lieu public ou prive toute piece pouvant servir a conviction ou a d^cbarge ; Que ce droit, qui est donne a 1'autorite par la loi, ne pourrait &tre limit^e que par la loi elle-meme ; que ni la legislation Congolaise, ni la legislation dont elle s'est inspiree ne fixent aucune limitation en favour des Administrations publiques ; Que si on recommit une exception en faveur des agents diplomatiques, c'est a cause de la fiction d'exterritorialite de leur residence ; qu'il n'existe pas de lieu d'asile ; Attendu, toutefois, qu'il est du devoir de 1'autorite judiciaire de proceder en cette matiere avec la plus grande reserve et dans le seul cas ou les pieces requises pourraient etre d'une utilite evidente pour l'accusation ou la defense ; Que dans l'espece la defense croit pouvoir deduire de ces pieces l'approbation et en tous cas la tolerance de 1'autorite relativement a ces agissements ; Qu'ainsi qu'on l'a ci-dessus expose meme l'ordre formel et a plus forte raison la tolerance des autorites ne pourrait justifier des faits contraires a la loi; que ce principe a ete deja depuis longtemps et a plusieurs reprises affirm e par les Tribunaux de 1'fitat; - Que par consequent dans aucun cas le prevenu ne pourrait trouver dans les pieces dont il demande la production la justification des faits mis a sa charge; Que, tout au plus, il pourrait invoquer la tolerance des autorites comme circon- stance attenuante ; Qua cet egard, il y a lieu d'observer que la preuve d'une certaine tolerauee de la part des autorites resulte des pieces meme du dossier et des depositions des temoins ; Qu'en effet, la presence et la cooperation des Chefs du Poste de Police de Binga lors des affaires de Qiboko et de l'expedition chez les Banga cnt ete admises par le Tribunal ; qu'il resulte aussi des depositions des temoins que precedemment et pos- terieurement le prevenu avait fait d'autres expeditions de repression contre les indigenes accompagne d 'agents et de soldats de l'Etat ; _ , Que cela suffit pour faire tout au moins supposer la tolerance des autorites 47 superieures de la region, et pour faire admettre cette tolerance comme circonstanco attenuante en faveur du prevenu ; Que par consequent tout supplement destruction k ce sujet, s'il pourrait servir a prouver la responsabilite d'autres personnes, ne pourrait avoir aucune utilite pour le prevenu ; Sur la troisieme prevention : Attendu qu'il est prouve par les depositions des temoins et qu'il est reeonnu par les prevenus qu'a Muibembetti au cours d'une expedition contre les Banga s'etant mis en colere pour un retard des porteurs, il a decharge sur eux son fusil de chasse charge k petit plomb • qu'un des deux coups a blesse une femme indigene an dos ; que la blessure a ete legere et n'a entraine aucune incapacity de travail ; Sur la quatrieme prevention : Attendu que le prevenu reconnait avoir fait detenir a la f actorerie de Mimbo une vingtaine d'indig^nes faits prisoaniers au CDurs de 1' expedition contre les Banga et que leur detention n'avait d'autre but que de forcer leurs villages a la recoite de caout- chouc ; qu'il allegue pour sa defense que ces gens avaient ete arretes avec l'autorisa- tion et le concours du Chef du Poste de Police Judiciaire Jamart; qu'ils attendaient a Mimbo les instructions du Commandant des troupes de police ; qu'il soutient que ce fait ctait parfaitement legal, puisque le Gouvernement avait, depuis le mois d'Avril 1901, autorise la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo a exiger le caoutchouc a titre d'impot de la population indigene, et avait edicte encas de refus la peine de la contrainte par corps; Attendu qu'en effet le Mmist&re Public a declare a l'audieuce de Premiere Instance avoir ete autorise a declarer qu'il existe une lettre du Gouverneur- General au Commissaire de District de Nouvelle-Anvers, dounant le droit a la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo d'exiger le caoutchouc a titre d'imp6t ; que cette lettre ajoute que le commandant du corps de police pourra, en cas de refus, exercer la contrainte par corps ; qu'il pourra deleguer ce droit meme a un agent de la Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, mais qu'il appartiendra toujours a lui de decider s'il faut ou non maintenir la detention ; Attendu qu'il est trop evident qu'on ne pouvait pas, par simple lettre, etablir des imp6ts, et edicter la contrainte par corps en cas de non-paiement ; Que le droit d' etablir des impots sur les populations et fixer des peines, ne peut appartcnir qu'au Roi-souverain, ou a 1'autorite par lui legalement delenuee a cet effet ; Que le pouvoir judiciaire manquerait a son devoir et a sa mission s'il reconnaissait a d'autre auto rite les pouvoirs qui sont reserves a 1'autorite souveraine ; Qu'il aurait fallu done ^^ne loi dfiment edictee et publiee ; Qu'une pareille loi n'a paru que tout dernierement tres longtemps apres les faits objet de la prevention, et qu'elle exige d'ailleurs pour l'application de la contrainte par corps des conditions qui n'existent pas dans l'espece ; Que par consequent la lettre du Gouverneur-General, ne pouvant pas deroger a la loi penale, ne pourrait pas justifier l'atteinte portee a la liber te individuelle ; Qu'on concoit bien que le prevenu ait pu se tromper sur ce point, mais que la bonne foi, pour erreur de droit, ne peut pas etre admise ; qu'il est juste toutefois d'en tenir compte pour appliquer sur ce chef au prevenu des circonstances attenuantes dans la mesure la plus large possible; Sur la cinquidme prevention : Attendu qu'il est etabli et reeonnu par les prevenus qu'un des prisonniers detenus a Mimbo, ayant tente de s'evader pendant la nuifc, fut tue d'un coup d'Albini par la sentinelle de garde ; Que le prevenu soutient etre absolument etranger a ce fait; Attendu que, quoiqu'il soit etabli par les depositions des temoins que le prevenu avait toujours donne a ses hotnmes la consigne detirer sur les prisonniers qui tentaicnt de s'evader, il n'est pas prouve, cependant, que la sentinelle qui a tire etait un des homines places direct ement sous ses ordres : Qu'il paralt, au con traire,resu Iter des debats que e'etait un travailleur du poste de Mimbo et qu'il avait ete place de sentinelle par le gerant de cette factorerie ; Que ce meurtre, par consequent, ne pourrait pas etre impute au prevenu ; Sur la sixieme prevention : Attendu que le prevenu reconnait qu'au retour de son expedition chez les Banga [828] H 1* un Chef indigene a ete tue dans la prison du poste- de police de Banga. par les soldats de ce poste ; Qu'il reconnalt qu'a deux repasses les soldats, alors qu'il se trouvait avec Jaraart, etaient venus demander des instructions relativernent a ce prisonnier, qui causait du d&ordre ; qu'il reconnait aussi qu'il se trouvait present dans la prison lorsque le prisonnier a ete - tud ; qu'il affirme cependant que ni lui, ni Jamart, n'avait donne aucun ordre aux soldats, et qu'il s'etait rendu a la prison uniquement pour induire le prisonnier a rester tranquille ; Attendu que tous les temoins en tend us sur ce fait a 1 'instruction preparatoire, et a l'audience, ont, de la manure la plus precise et concordante dans les moindres ietails, affirme que le prevenu a donne deux fois 1' ordre de tuer : une premiere fois an Sergent Tangua, qui etait alle" demander des instructions, et une deuxieme fois au m^me sergent, et au soldat Rixassi, lorsqu'ils etaient re venus pour se faire confirmer l'ordre, et que c'est le prevenu meme, qui, dans la prison, apres que le sergent eut tir6 sur le prisonnier, en lui manquant, a passe le fusil au soldat Rixassi, qui l'a tu6 : Que ce dernier detail a etc" donne aussi par le te'moin Houart, detenu a la prison de Boma alors que les autres temoins se trouvaient encore dans la haute riviere ,; qu'il est impossible done qu'il ait ete invente ; Que ces deux circon stances, ahsolument etahlies meme par des depositions autres que celles des temoins noirs, que le prevenu se trouvait dans la prison, et qu'il a passe" le fusil a l'homme qui a tire, coufirment de la maniere la plus certaine que c'est bien lui qui a donne ! ordre de tuer, ordre que les soldats. qui revenaient de l'expedition, ott. ils avaient consider^ toujours le prevenu comme Commandant, ne pouvaient pas hesiter a executer ; Qu'il est du reste tres evident qu'ils n'auraient eertainement pas tu6 sans ordre, meme en la presence du prevenu ; Sur la septieme prevention : Attendu que les faits indiques a 1'assignation sont etablis et reconnus par le prevenu qu'ils constituent des contraventions aux dispositions sur les armes a feu ; Sur la huitieme prevention : Attendu qu'ainsi que l'a declare le premier Juge, il ne s'agitdans l'especc que d'un simple echange de la munition entre les troupes de 1'Etat et les hommes armes de la Compa£rnie ; qu'un simple echange ne peut constituer ni une soustraction fraudu- lente, ni (lor qu'il s'agit de cartouches, et non pas de 1'arme elle-meme) une contra- vention aux dispositions sur les armes a feu : Attendu que, pour les motifs repris ci-dessus, le prevenu doit etre declare coupable de meurtrcs avec premeditation, comme autcur moral, pour abus d'autorite, des faits mis a sa charge par les premiere, deuxieme, et sixieme preventions ; de coups et blessures pour la troisieme prevention ; de detention arbitraire pour la quatrieme ; de contravention aux dispositions sur les armes a feu pour la, septieme prevention ; et qu'il doit etre renvoy6 des fins de la poursuite pour le surplus de la prevention ; Attendu qu'il y a lieu d'accorder au prevenu des circonstances attenuantes, non seulement a raison des considerations exposees aux numeros uu, deux, et quatre de la prevention, mais a raison aussi de ses bons antecedents pendant son long sejour en Afrique, et des graves difficultes dans lesquelles il a du. se trouver devant accomplir sa mission au milieu d'une population ahsolument refractaire a toute idee de travail, et qui ne respecte d'autre loi que la force, ne connalt d'autre persuasion que la terreur ; Qu'il faut reconnaitre qu'il doit etre bien difficile de se tenir dans la legalite dans un pays encore absolument barbare et sauvage, et notamment lorsque les lois a suivre dans ce pays sont les m ernes qui regissent les peuples les plus civilises ; Qu'il est en fin equitable de tenir compte que, quoique les faits soient en eux- memes tres graves, ils perdent cependant une partie de leur gravite lorsqu'ils sont mis en rapport avec le milieu, ou, d' apres la coutume seculaire, la vie hu amine n'a pas de valeur, et oil le pillage, le meurtre, et le cannahalisme ont constitue jusqu'a hier la vie habituelle ; En ce qui concerne le prevenu Jones, Silvanus : Attendu qu'il est demeure etabli par les depositions concordantes des temoins et par les contradictions mime du prevenu, que dans le courant du mois d'Octobre 1902, alors qu'il etait Cbef du Poste de la Societe Anversoise de Commerce au Congo a Bussa-Baya, il a ordonne aux hommes places sous ses ordres de se rendre dans les 4& environs de la factorerie et de tuer les indigenes qu'ils avaient rencontres, pour les punir de ne pas avoir foiirni une quantite suffisante de caoutchouc, ordre que son domestique Bongi a execute en tuant une femme; Attendu que le prevenu soutient subsidiairement qu'en tout cas il aurait agi, ainsi qu'en d'autres circonstances, d' apres les ordres de ses superieurs, et notamment du Chef de Zone M. Caudron ; Attendu que, quoique ces ordres ne soient pas bien etablis, les procedes employes par le Chef de Zone Caudron pour obtenir du caoutchouc des indigenes, et le fait que le prevenu avait ete place a Bussa-Baya clandestinement, et qu'on avait arm6 ce poste de huit fusils Albini sans permission, permet tout ou moins de supposer, dans l'int6ret du prevenu, que reellement il n'a fait que suivre les instructions de ses Chefs ; Que cependant, pour les raisons deja exposees, ces ordres ne pourraient en aucun cas justifier ou excuser le prevenu ; Qu'on ne pourrait pas meme le considerer comme un instrument passif et incon- scient entre les mains de ses Chefs, puisque, quoique nouyil a une certaine culture d'esprit et appartient a un pays deja en partie civilise; Qu'il devait bien savoir que tuer est un crime ,* Qu'il a agit d'ailleurs aussi, dans son interet parti culier, puis qu'il etait paye en proportion du caoutchouc qu'il percevait; Que cependant il est juste de lui faire application des circonstances attenuantes dans la mesure la plus large possible, en tenant compte du milieu ou il se trouvait et des exemples qu'il recevait de ces Chefs ; qu'il faut reconnaitre que bien difficile- ment un noir aurait pu se soustraire a rinfluence des exemples ; Que le Tribunal d'Appel, par consequent, exprime le voeu que la liberation condi- tionneUe vienne, aussitot qu'il sera possible, temperer pour ce prevenu la rigueur de la peine que, par application de la loi, il est force de confirmer ; Par ces motifs et ceux non contraires du premier juge ; Le Tribunal d'Appel : Yu les Articles 78 du Decret du 27 Avril, 1889 ; 3, 4, 11 , 98, 101 bis, et 1 01 (i) du Code Penal, 2 et 9 du Decret du 10 Mars, 1892, et l'Arrete du 30 Avril, 1901, declare I'appel du prevenu Caudron non recevable ; Et statuant sur I'appel du Ministere Public ; Emendant le Jugement dont appel relativement au prevenu Caudron, en ce qui concerne la peine prononcee, le condamne, du chef de ^meurtres avec premeditation ; de coups et blessures, de detentions arbitrages, et de contraventions aux dispositions sur les armes a feu, avec circonstances attenuantes, a cinq ans de servitude penale; Confirme pour le surplus le Jugement dont appel meme en ce qui concerne l'autre prevenu, Jones, Silvanus; Bit que les frais d'appel resteront a charge de 1'Etat, Ainsi juge et prononce en audience publique, ou siegeaient — M. Giacomo Nisco, President; MM. Albert Sweerts et Michel Cuciniello, .luges; M. Eernand Waleffe, Ministre Public ; M. Paul flodiim, Greffier. Le President, (Signe) a nisco. Les Juges, (Signe) Sweerts. M. Cuciniello. Le Greffier, P. Holium. (Translation.) Judgment in Appeal respecting the Cases of M. Caudron and S. Jones. The Court of Appeal at Boma, sitting for the consideration of Criminal Gases, has
pronounced the following Judgment 
Public Hearing of March 15, 1904 JNo. on the list 395.) The Public Prosecutor versus— (1.) CAUDRON, PHILLIP CHARLES FRANCOIS, born at Auderlecht, Belgium, Superintendent of the Melo Comtnercial Zone, in the service of the Societe' Anversoise du Commerce au Congo; and [828J H 2 50 (2.) Jones, Silvanus, a native of Ligos, clerk in the service of the said Company : The charges against the first-named were that, at the end of 1902, and at the heginning of 1903, when he was Superintendent, of the Alelo Commercial Zone, in the service of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo : _ 1. He caused the village of Liboke' to be attacked at night by the servants of the Societv, armed with Albini rifles, thus directly bringing about the death of a certain number of natives of the said village of Liboke' ; 2. That he went about the country with a force composed of sixty State soldiers and of twenty servants of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce an Congo, armed with Albinis T and caused the natives of the villages of Magugu, Teriba, Mandingia, Muibembetti and Kakore* to be attacked by this force, divided into small detachments, thus directly bringing about the death of a great number of natives of the said villages ; 3. That he, f at Muibembetti, deliberately wounded the woman Menniegbire bv discharging a shot-gun into her breast ; 4. That he arbitrarily detained at Mimbo for nearly a month about twenty prisoners taken during his expeditions in the villages of Magugu, Teriba, Mandingia, Muibembetti, and Kakore ; 5. That at Mimbo he directly caused the death of a prisoner, having previously given instructions to the armed sentries under his orders to kill any prisoner who might attempt to escape ; 6. That at the station of Binga- 111 tat, he gave an order to the sentries to kill a Mogwande Chief, an order which was executed by the soldier Karnassi ; 7. That he established, or allowed to be established, at Bussu-Baya, and at Dengeseke, commercial factories where workmen were installed, armed with Aibinis and cartridges, forming part of the armament of the factories of Mimbo and Binga, these arms and ammunition having been moved without authority, and having been used in committing the breaches of law, for which Silvanus Jones, chief of the factory of Bussu-Baya, and Bangi, his servant, are being prosecuted ; 8. That, at the post of Mimbo, he handed over to his Headman (" Capita ") Kassango 100 Albini cartridges belonging to the State, and, at the post of Binga, handed over 200 cartridges to Houart, head of that factory ; which proceedings constituted a fraudulent abstraction of cartridges, the property of the State ; and, in the second place, a breach of the Regulations in regard to fire-arms, offences covered bv Articles 1,2, 3, 4, 11, 18, 19 of the Penal Code, 101 bis, 101 (4) of the Penal Code, Decree of 27th March, 1900; 2 and 9 of the Decree of 10th March, 1892, and the Order of 30th August, 1901, respecting fire-arms. The charges against the second were that, at the end of 1902, he sent workmen of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, armed with Aibinis, into the neighbour- hood of the factory of Bussu-Baya, with instructions to kill the natives, and thus directly caused the death of a woman of Bassango, who was killed by a rifle-shot by his servant Bangi — offences covered by Articles 1 and 9 of the Decree of 10th March. 1892, and by the Order of 30th April, 1901, respecting fire-arms, and 1 and 2 of the Penal Code; In view of the terms of the indictment against the above-named persons, and the verdict, of the Court of First Instance of the Lower Congo, dated the 12th January, 1904. condemning the first-named to twenty years' penal servitude and to seven-eighths of the costs of the action, and the second to ten years' penal servitude and to one-eighth of the costs of the action ; Whereas appeals against the said verdict were made by the Public Prosecutor and bv the accused Caudron, according to declarations received at the office of the Registrar of Court of Appeal on the 12th February, 1904 ; Whereas the said appeals were notified to the Public Prosecutor and to the accused on the same day ; Whereas a summons was served on the accused on the 22nd February, 1904 ; Whereas Judge Albert Sweerts has reported on the case ; Whereas the case has been heard before the Court of Appeal ; Whereas the Procurer d'Btat has addressed the Court for the prosecution ; Whereas the statements and defence of the accused have been heard, being presented on behalf of Caudron by M. de Neutor, the defending Counsel accepted by the Court; Whereas the Court of Appeal has received the appeal of the accused Caudron, and the appeal of the Public Prosecutor relating to the latter, and to the other accused, Silvanus Jones ; Whereas the appeal of the accused Caudron is inadmissible, the appellant not having deposited the costs in advance, in conformity with Article 78 of the Decree of the 27th April, 1889; 51 Whereas, nevertheless, the appeal of the Public Prosecutor reopens the whole case even in ihe interest of those served with the notice of appeal. With regard to the accused Caudron ; On the first and second counts : Whereas it is proved by the evidence of the witnesses and by the documents included in the "dossier": (1) that, on the night of the 15th to 16th October, 1902, at the station of Akula in the district of the Melo, the accused Caudron, District Superintendent of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce an Congo, with a view to punish the inhabitants of the village of Liboke for not furnishing the forced labour required of them, gave orders to five of his workmen, armed with Aibinis, to go to the said village and fire on the inhabitants, orders which the workmen executed, killing the Chief and several inhabitants of the village ; (2) That in the course of the months of January, February, and March 1903, in order to force the natives of the region of the Banga to furnish a greater supply of rubber, he conducted an expedition into the said region with twenty of his workmen, armed with Aibinis, and accompanied by a non-commissioned officer and fifty soldiers of the State; that in the course of this expedition he dispatched the workmen, armed with Aibinis, and the soldiers, in small detachments, into the localities of Magugu, Teriba, Bongu, Muibem- betti and Kakore', with instructions to tire upon any natives they might meet — instructions which the workmen and soldiers carried out, thereby causing the death of a large number of natives ; Whereas the accused acknowledges the general truth of these facts, but pleads in extenuation that he acted in accordance with the authorization, and even by the order, of the authorities, represented, in the case of the Liboke incident, by M. Nagant, and,; in the case of the expedition against the Banga. by M. Jamart, both Heads of the police- station at Binga ; Whereas, in the ease of the Liboke incident, all the witnesses questioned on this point before the Court of First Instance and before the Court of Appeal denied categori- cally that M. Nagant was at Akula when the attack against that village took place, and that consequently he could not have authorized by his presence the order given by the accused Caudron, as the latter maintains; Whereas the " dossier " contains, however, certified copies of two letters addressed by M. Collet, Manager of the station of Akula, to M. Nagant, the first dated the 12th October, 1902, asking him to take action against the village of Liboke', and the second dated the 16th October— that is, the day after the attack — thanking him for his action, and informing him that the natives had come in in the morning to the station and had undertaken to accomplish their allotted tasks with regularity ; and the authenticity of these letters is denied by the prosecution, who maintain that they were forged subsequently in the interest of the accused ; Whereas, however, the three facts : that they have been included in the " dossier " by the Magistrate in charge of the case; that they were found in the office of the police- station, and that they were admitted by M. Collet in the course of the preliminary inquiry, do not allow of their being considered as forgeries and consequently rejected; Whereas, since a doubt exists, the version most favourable to the accused must be accepted — that is to say, that the Chief of the police station, Nagant, was at Akula when the attack on the village of Liboke took place, and that he was aware of, and authorized that attack ; Whereas, consequently, any supplementary examination relative to the said circum- stances would be absolutely useless in the interest of the defence ; Whereas, in the case of the expedition against the Banga, the presence in that expedition of the Chief of Police, Jamart, with fifty soldiers of the State is not denied, and it is, moreover, proved that the accused acted throughout on that occasion in perfect accord with the former; whereas it remains, therefore, to be determined whether the presence and the authorization of these representatives of authority may be taken as justifying the action of the accused ; Whereas it is a principle, expressly recognized by the codes on which our legislation is based, that, in order to exclude the idea of an offence, it is not enough that the action may have been ordered by the Executive authorities, but it is necessary also that it should be prescribed by the law; Whereas there is no doubt in the present instance that it is a case of offences against common law, that is to say, of manslaughter committed for a private purpose with the object of forcing the natives to supply labour or produce ; Whereas although the restoring of order has been occasionally vaguely mentioned it is clearly shown by the evidence of all the witnesses, and even by the reports addressed by the.adcu's.ed to the Director of the Company, and by his letters to the officers of the district, that, in committing these acts of hostility against the natives, he only had in view the interest of his Company's trade, and more especially the increase in the amount of rubber collected; . Whereas, even if there could be any doubt as to the nature of the previous expedition against the Gwakas, no doubt can exist in this respect in connection with the facts which are the subject of the prosecution ; . :. " ; - ' : i< '. ' Whereas, in any case, it is a well-established fact that at the time these acts took place order ( had in no way been disturbed, either at Liboke or among the Banga ; that it does not appear that the" victims of these actions had committed any ether fault than that of failing to furnish the Company with the amount of labour required by it ; Qn the other hand, seeing that the sole fact of not having paid the taxes, even if they had been legally due (which they were not in this case, because no law had yet authorized their collection), could not justify such sanguinary measures ; In the present instance it is. still less possible to speak of war-like acts, because to attack peaceable people and to fire upon single and inoffensive individuals is certainly not making war; W hereas it is proved bv the evidence of the witnesses, and by the statements ot the accused himself, that on no occasion during these events did the natives attack or commit any sort of hostile act ; Whereas there was not one killed or wounded among the soldiers or among the Com- pany employes ; . Whereas, therefore, it would be absurd to call it war ; and killing under such circum- stances con sti lutes a crime which no law or necessity authorizes, and which is punishable by : the Penal Code, whether it be committed by a private person or by a representative of authority ;. '., ; , , . , Whereas, on the other hand, the accused cannot plead in extenuation the principle or official subordination, in view of the fact that such a plea is only valid in the case of repre- sentatives of authority who carry out the orders of an official superior, and then only so far as the authority of that superior extends ; Whereas the accused was not a representative of authority and he did not owe official obedience to any one ; it was in no way part of his duty as, an agent of a Company to co-operate 'in measures of repression; he was, therefore, fully entitled to refuse., to execute the orders which might be given him to this effect, and, if he executed them, it was at his own nsk ; _ _ i Whereas, moreover, it is a principle of law that even obedience to one s official superior does hot constitute a valid plea, when the illegality of the order is obvious; Further, whereas there is no truth in the statement that the accused, as he affirms, only obeyed the orders of the Chiefs of the police station ; ' Whereas the truth, on the contrary, is that the latter were, in point of fact, under his orders * " ' . Whereas a mere non-commissioned officer like Nagant ; a mere military assistant (corpora!) like Jamart, could not have any authority over the accused, who occupied the high position of a District Superintendent of the Soeiete Anversoise da Commerce au Congo, and had under his orders a iarge staff of white men and natives ; Whereas all the witnesses were unanimous in stating that in all the expeditions which he made with the Chiefs of the police station, it was he who commanded, gave orders to, and punished, not only his own men, but even the soldiers of the State ; whereas, especially in the case of the expedition against the Banga, it is evident that corporal Jamart, quite young and but recently arrived in Africa, knowing neither the language nor the country, and, i besides, so ill that he nearly always had to be carried, and remained several days journey, to the rear, was simply a lay figure made use of by the accused in the belief that by J.amart's presence he would be able to cover his own illegal actions and to involve the State in his own responsibility ; Whereas it is therefore useless for the accused to plead good faith in having acted K| accord with the representatives of authority ;
Whereas he knew that he ought not to kill, and that he was even less justified in so
doing in the interests of trade ; . He knew that it is not tolerated by the laws of the State ; He knew, also, that several of his predecessors and colleagues in the same region and belonging to the same Company had received very severe sentences from the Court for similar offences ; ... . , , >ui\Uv He thought he would be cleverer than the others in trying to cover his responsibility by risking use of State. employes ; .. , . , , But if . this '.precaution .turns out to be ineffectual— if he realizes too late tnat 53 criminal responsibility cannot be so easily eluded— he has no right to describe himself as the victim of an error; So '"- Whereas, if he was mistaken, it was not with regard to the morality of the actions which he committed, but with regard to the value of the ruse which he 'made use -of to cover them ; Whereas, however, the accused insists upon the request which he had already made in First Instance — to wit, that the Tribunal should order a supplementary inquiry, in order to have incorporated in the "dossier" the political Reports sent by the higher administrative authorities of the region to the Local Government — which would show that the said authorities had known and approved of the actions of which he is accused, and even of previous and subsequent expeditions which he had made with the troops of the State ; whereas the local Government, questioned by the examining Magistrate, declared that, as a matter of principle, it did not think it possible to produce these documents, and, moreover, the said documents contained nothing that could refer to the faets mentioned by the accused ; Whereas the defence contests these declarations in law and in fact ; Whereas the right of the judicial authority to demand, and even to search for in any public or private place, any document which might lead to a conviction or an acquittal, cannot be denied in principle ; Whereas this right, which is given to the judicial authority by law, can only be cur- tailed also by law ; whereas neither the Congo legislation, nor the legislation on which it is founded, fixes any limitation in favour of the Public Departments; Whereas if an exception be made in the case of diplomatic representatives, that is on account of the fiction of the extra- territoriality of their residence ; whereas there is no place of asylum ; Whereas, however, it is the duty of the judicial authority to proceed in such matters with the greatest circumspection, and only if the documents demanded are of obvious use to the prosecution or the defence; Whereas, in the present instance, the defence thinks that it can deduce from these documents the approval, and, in any case, the toleration of the authorities in connection with these actions ; Whereas, as has been set forth above, even the definite order, and, therefore, still less the toleration of the authorities, could not he held to justify acts contrary to the law ; Whereas this principle has already, for a long time past, and on several occasions, been affirmed by the Tribunals of the State ; Whereas, consequently, in no case could the accused find in the documents, the production of which he demands, justification for the actions with which he is charged; Whereas the utmost he could do would he to adduce the toleration of the authorities as an extenuating circumstance; "Whereas, in this connection, it may be fittingly observed that the documents of the "dossier" itself, and the evidence of witnesses, go to prove the existence of a certain toleration on the part of the authorities ; Whereas, indeed, the presence and the co-operation of the heads of the police station of Binga, at the time of the Qihoke affair, and of the expedition against the Banga, have been admitted by the Tribunal. Whereas the evidence of the witnesses also' goes to prove that the accused, accompanied by agents and soldiers of the State, had, previously and subsequently, conducted other punitive expeditions against the natives ; \V hereas this is sufficient ground at least for presuming the toleration of the higher authorities of the district, and for admitting this toleration as an extenuating circum- stance in favour of the accused ; Whereas, consequently, all supplementary inquiry on this subject, even if it might serve to prove the responsibility of other persons, could be of no service to the accused ; On the third count : Whereas it is proved by the evidence of witnesses, and admitted by the men accused, that at Muihembetti, in the course of an expedition against the Banga, the accused in question, having lost his temper owing to a delay on the part of the carriers, fired upon them with his shot-gun loaded with small shot; one of the two discharges wounded a native woman in the back ; and the wound was slight and did not cause her to be incapaci- tated from work ; On the fourth count: W hereas the accused admits having caused to be detained at the factory of Mimbo some twenty natives who had been taken prisoners in the course of the expedition against 54 the Banga, and that their detention had no other object than to force their villages to collect rubber ; whereas he alleges in his defence that these people had been arrested with the authorization and assistance of Jam art, the Chief of the police station ; whereas they were awaiting at Mimbo the instructions of the Commander of the police forces; whereas he maintains that this act was perfectly legal because the Government had 3 since the month of April 1901, authorized the Societe Anversoise clu Commerce au Congo to exact rubber as a tax from the people, and had decreed the penalty of detention in the case of refusal ; Whereas, in fact, the Public Prosecutor declared in the course of a trial before the Court of First Instance that he was authorized to state that a letter was in existence from the Governor-General to the Commissioner of the district of .Nouvelie-Anvers, granting to the Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo the right to exact rubber as a tax ; whereas this letter adds that the Commander of the police force may, in case of refusal, put in force the penalty of detention ; that he may delegate that right to an agent of the Socie'te Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, but that it will always rest with him to decide if the detention is to be confirmed or not ; Whereas it is quite evident that taxes could not be established, or .detention in case of non-payment decreed, by a mere letter ; And whereas the right of imposing (axes on the people, and of fixing penalties can only belong to the King Sovereign, or to those to whom he has legally delegated his authority for that purpose ; And whereas the Judicature would fail in its duty and its mission if it recognized in any other authority those powers which are reserved to the sovereign authority; And whereas a law duly decreed and published would therefore have been necessary; And whereas such a law has only appeared quite recently, a very long time after the acts which form the subject of the prosecution, and it requires, moreover, in order to render the penalty of detention applicable, conditions which do not exist in this case ; Whereas, consequently, the letter of the Governor-General being unable to run
ounter to the Penal Code could not justify the violation of individual liberty ;
And whereas it is quite possible that the accused may have been mistaken on this point, hut the fact of acting in good faith cannot be taken as a justification for a breach of the law ; Whereas it is just, however, to take this into consideration in order to give the accused, on this head, the benefit of extenuating circumstances to the greatest extent possible ; On the fifth count : Whereas it is established and admitted by the men accused that one of the prisoners detained at Mimbo, having attempted to escape during the night, was killed with an Aibini rifle by the sentry on guard ; And whereas the accused maintains that he had absolutely nothing to do with this act; Whereas, although it is established by the evidence of the witnesses that the accused had always given his men orders to fire on prisoners who tried to escape, it is not, however, proved that the sentry who fired was one of the men placed directly under his orders; Whereas, on the contrary the proceedings seem to show that the man in question was a workman of the post of Mimbo, and that he had been placed as a sentry by the Manager of that factory ; And whereas the murder, therefore, could not be imputed to the accused ; On the sixth count : Whereas the accused admits that upon his return from the expedition against the Banga, a native Chief was killed in the prison of the police station of Banga by the soldiers of that station ; Whereas he admits that on two occasions, when he was in the company of Jamart, the soldiers came to ask for instructions relating to r,his prisoner, who was making a dis- turbance ; and he also admits that he was actually present in the prison when the prisoner was kilted ; whereas, however, he affirms that neither he, nor Jamart, gave any order to "the soldiers, and that he went to the prison solelv to induce the prisoner to remain quiet ; Whereas all the witnesses interrogated on this point in the course of the preliminary inquiry, and at the hearing of the case, did, in a manner the most precise, and consistent in the most minute details, affirm that the accused twice gave the order to kill ; first to Sergeant Tangua, who had come for instructions ; and on the second occasion to the same sergeant and to the soldier Rixassi when they returned to get the order confirmed; and that it was the accused himself, who, in the prison, after the sergeant had fired upon the prisoner and missed him, handed the gun to the soldier Rixassi, who killed him; 55 Whereas the latter detail was also given by the witness Houart, confined in the prison at Bom a, when the other witnesses were still in the Upper Congo ; and it is, therefore, impossible that it was invented ; Whereas these two circumstances, absolutely established by other evidence as well as that of native witnesses, that the accused was in the prison and that he handed the gun to the man who fired, confirm in the most positive manner the fact that it was he who gave the order to fire, an order which the soldiers who were returning from the expedition, on which they had always looked upon the accused as their Commandant, could not hesitate to execute ; ■ Whereas it is, -moreover, amply evident that they certainly would not have killed without instructions, even in the presence of the accused; On the seventh count : Whereas the facts cited in the prosecution are established, and admitted by the accused, and constitute breaches of the Regulations as to fire-arms ; On the eighth count : Whereas, as the first Judge declared, it is merely a question in this case of a simple exchange of ammunition between the troops of the State, and the Company's armed men ; and whereas a simple exchange cannot constitute a fraudulent abstraction, or (when it is only a question of cartridges, and not of the weapon itself) a contravention of the Regulations as to fire-arms ; Whereas, for the reasons given above, the accused must be declared guilty of murders with premeditation, as the moral author, through abuse of authority, of the deeds he is charged with on the first, second, and sixth counts; of blows and wounds on the third count ; , of arbitrary detention on the fourth count ; of contraventions of the Regulations as to fire-arms en the seventh count ; and he should be acquitted on the remainder of the counts ; . . Whereas there are reasons for granting extenuating circumstances to the accused, not only on account of the considerations submitted on the first, second, and fourth counts, but also on account of his good previous character during his long stay in Africa, and the great difficulties under which he must have laboured, as he had to do his duty in the midst of a population entirely hostile to all idea of work, and which only respects the law of force, and knows no other argument than terror ; Whereas it must be recognized that it must be very difficult to act within the law in a country still absolutely barbarous and savage, more especially when the laws to be obeyed in that country are the same as those which govern the most civilized peoples ; Whereas, to conclude, it is just to bear in mind tbat, although the acts are in them- selves very grave, they lose a part of their gravity when they are considered in connection with the surroundings, in which, according to immemorial custom, human life has no value, and pillage, murder, and cannibalism were, until the other day, of ordinary occurrence. ^ As regards the accused Silvanus Jones : Whereas it is duly established by the consistent testimony of the witnesses, and even by the contradictory evidence of the accused himself, that, during the month of October 1902, when he was Chief of the post of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo at Bussa-Baya, he ordered the men placed under his orders to proceed to the neighbour- hood of the factory, and to kill the natives that they met, to punish them for not having furnished a sufficient quantity of rubber, an order which his servant Bongi executed by killing a woman ; Whereas the accused maintains, as a subsidiary plea, that in any case he acted, as in other circumstances, in accordance with the orders of his superiors, especially with those of the District Chief M. Caudron ; Whereas — although these orders are not well established— the methods adopted by the District Chief Caudron to obtain rubber from the natives, and the fact that the accused had been placed at Bussa-Baya secretly, and that that post had been armed with eight Aibini rifles without permission, give colour to the supposition, in favour of the accused, that in point of fact, he did but follow ibe instructions of his Chiefs; And whereas, however, for the reasons already given, these orders could in no way justify or exculpate the accused ; And whereas he could not even be regarded as a passive and unconscious instrument in the hands of his Chiefs, because, although a black, he possesses some mental culture and belongs to a countrv already partly civilized ; [828] I 51 the Banga, and that fcheir detention had no other object than to force their villages to collect rubber; whereas be alleges in his defence that these people had been arrested with the authorization and assistance of Jamart, the Chief of the police station ; whereas they were awaiting at Mimbo the instructions of the Commander of the police forces; whereas lie maintains that this act was perfectly legal because the Government had, since the month of April 1901, authorized the Sociefe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo to exact rubber as a tax from the people, and had decreed the penalty of detention in the case of refusal ; Whereas, in fact, the Public Prosecutor declared in the course of a trial before the Court of First Instance that he was authorized to state that a letter was in existence from the Governor- General to the Commissioner of the district of .Nouvelle-Anvers, granting to the Socie'te Anversoise du Commerce au Congo the right to exact rubber as a tax ; whereas this letter adds that the Commander of the police force may, in case of refusal, put in force the penalty of detention ; that he may delegate that right to an agent of the Socie'te Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, but that it will always rest with him to decide if the detention is to be confirmed or not ; Whereas it is quite evident that taxes could not be established, or detention in case of non-payment decreed, by a mere letter ; And whereas the right of imposing taxes on the people, and of fixing penalties can only belong to the King Sovereign, or to those to whom he has legally delegated his authority for that purpose ; And whereas the Judicature would fail in its duty and its mission if it recognized in any other authority those powers which are reserved to the sovereign authority; And whereas a law duly decreed and published would therefore have been necessary; And whereas such a law has only appeared quite recently, a very long time after the acts which form the subject of the prosecution, and it requires, moreover, in order to render the penalty of detention applicable, conditions which do not exist in this ease; Whereas, consequently, the letter of the Governor-General being unable to run
ounter to the Penal Code could not justify the violation of individual liberty ;
And whereas it is quite possible that the accused may have been mistaken on this point, but the fact of acting in good faith cannot be taken as a justification for a breach of the law ; Whereas it is just, however, to take this into consideration in order to give the accused, on this head, the benefit of extenuating circumstances to the greatest extent possible ; On the fifth count : Whereas it is established and admitted by the men accused that one of the prisoners detained at Mimbo, having attempted to escape during the night, was killed with an Alhini rifle by the sentry on guard ; And whereas the accused maintains that he had absolutely nothing to do with this act; Whereas, although it is established by the evidence of the witnesses that the accused had always given his men orders to fire on prisoners who tried to escape, it is not, however, proved that the sentry who fired was one of the men placed directly under his orders ; Whereas, on the contrary the proceedings seem to show that the man in question was a workman of the post of Mimbo, and that he had been placed as a sentry by the Manager of that factory ; And whereas the murder, therefore, could not be imputed to the accused ; On the sixth count : Whereas the accused admits that upon his return from the expedition against the Banga, a native Chief was killed in the prison of the police station of Banga by the soldiers of tbat station ; Whereas he admits that on two occasions, when he was in the company of Jamart, the soldiers came to ask for instructions relating to this prisoner, who was making a dis- turbance ; and he also admits that he was actually present in the prison when the prisoner was lulled ; whereas, however, he affirms that neither he, nor Jamart, gave any order to the soldiers, and that he went to the prison solely to induce the prisoner to remain quiet ; Whereas all the witnesses interrogated on this point in the course of the preliminary inquiry, and at the hearing of the case, did, in a manner the most precise, and consistent in the most minute details, affirm that the accused twice gave the order to kill ; first to Sergeant Tangua, who had come for instructions ; and on the second occsision to the same sergeant and to the soldier Rixassi when they returned to get the order confirmed; and that it was the accused himself, who, in the prison, after the sergeant had fired upon the prisoner and missed him, handed the gun to the soldier Rixassi, who killed him; 55 Whereas the latter detail was also given by the witness Houart, confined in the prison at Boma, when the other witnesses were still in the Upper Congo ; and it is, therefore, impossible that it was invented; Whereas these two circumstances, absolutely established by other evidence as well as that of native witnesses, that the accused was in the prison and that he handed the gun to the man who fired, confirm in the most positive manner the fact that it was he who gave the order to fire, an order which the soldiers who were returning from the expedition, on which they had always looked upon the accused as their Commandant, could not hesitate to execute ; Whereas it is, mureover, amply evident that they certainly would not have killed without instructions, even in the presence of the accused ; On the seventh count : Whereas the facts cited in the prosecution are established, and admitted by the accused, and constitute breaches of the Regulations as to tire-arms ; On the eighth count : Whereas, as the first Judge declared, it is merely a question in this case of a simple exchange of ammunition between the troops of the State, and the Company's armed men; and whereas a simple exchange cannot constitute a fraudulent abstraction, or (when it is only a question of cartridges, and not of the weapon itself) a contravention of the Regulations as to fire-arms ; Whereas, for the reasons given above, the accused must be declared guilty of murders with premeditation, as the moral author, through abuse of authority, of the deeds he is charged with on the first, second, and sixth counts; of blows and wounds on the third count;, of arbitrary detention on the fourth count; of contraventions of the Regulations as to fire-arms on the seventh count; and he should be acquitted on the remainder of the counts ; Whereas there are reasons for granting extenuating circumstances to the accused, not only on account of the considerations submitted on the first, second, and fourth counts, but also on account of his good previous character during his long stay in Africa, and the great difficulties under which he must have laboured, as he had to do his duty in the midst of a population entirely hostile to all idea of work, and which only respects the law of force, and knows no other argument than terror; Whereas it must be recognized that it must be very difficult to act within the law in a country still absolutely barbarous and savage, more especially when the iaws to be obeyed in that country are the same as those which govern the most civilized peoples ; Whereas, to conclude, it is just to bear in mind tbat, although the acts are in them- selves very grave, they lose a part of their gravity when they are considered in connection with the "surroundings, in which, according to immemorial custom, human life has no value, and pillage, murder, and cannibalism were, until the other day, of ordinary occurrence. ^ As regards the accused Silvanus Jones : Whereas it is duly established by the consistent testimony of the witnesses, and even by the contradictory evidence of the accused himself, that, during the month of October 1902, when he was Chief of the post of the Socie'te Anversoise du Commerce au Congo at Bussa-Baya, be ordered the men placed under his orders to proceed to the neighbour- hood of the factory, and to kill the natives tbat they met, to punish them for not having furnished a sufficient quantity of rubber, an order which his servant Bongi executed by killing a woman ; Whereas the accused maintains, as a subsidiary plea, that in any case he acted, as in other circumstances, in accordance with the orders of his superiors, especially with those of the District Chief M. Caudron ; Whereas — although these orders are not well established— the methods adopted by the District Chief Caudron to obtain rubber from the natives, and the fact that the accused had been placed at Bussa-Baya secretly, and that that post had been armed with eight Albini rifles without permission, give colour to the supposition, in favour of the accused, that in point of fact, be did but follow the instructions of his Chiefs ; And whereas, however, for the reasons already given, these orders could in no way justify or exculpate the accused ; And whereas he could not even be regarded as a passive and unconscious instrument in the hands of his Chiefs, because, although a black, he possesses some mental culture and belongs to a country already partly civilized; r«9.Sl T 56 And whereas lie must have known perfectly well that to kill is a crime ; And whereas he, moreover, acted in his personal interest because he was paid in proportion to the rubber he collected ; Whereas, however, it is just to concede to him extenuating circumstances to the greatest possible extent, taking into account his surroundings and the example set by his Chief ; and whereas it must be admitted that it would have been very difficult for a black man to withstand the influence of example ; And whereas, therefore, the Court of Appeal expresses the hope that the rigour of the penalty, which, according to law, it is compelled to confirm, may, in the case of this prisoner, be modified as soon as possible, b} his conditional release ; For these reasons and those, cited by the First Judge, which do not conflict with them; The Court of Appeal : Taking into consideration Articles 78 of the Decree of the 27th April, 1389 ; 3, 4, 11, 98, 101 (bis) and 101 (4) of the Penal Code; 2 and 9 of the Decree of the 10th March, 1892, and the Order of the 30th April, 1901 ; Declares the appeal of the accused Caudron to be inadmissible ; And, on the appeal of the Puhlic Prosecutor- Amends the Judgment appealed against with respect to the accused Caudron, in regard to the penalty pronounced, and condemns him on the count of murders with premeditation, of blows and wounds, of arbitrary detention, and contraventions of the Regulations as to fire-arms, with extenuating circumstances, to five years' penal servitude ■ Confirms in other respects the Judgment which was" the subject of appeal, also as regards the accused Silvanus Jones ; Ordains that the costs of the appeal shall be borne by the State. Thus judged and pronounced in public sitting by the Tribunal, composed of M. Giacomo Nisco, President; MM. Albert Sweerts and Michel Cuciniello, Judges; M. Pern and Waleffe, Public Prosecutor ; M. Paul Hodiim, Clerk. The President, {Signed) G. NISCQ. The Judges, (Signed) Sweerts. M. Cuciniello. The Clerk, P. HODUM. Inclosure 2 in No. 3, Acting Consul Nightingale s Interview with Silvanus Jones, a Native of Lagos, under Sentence of Ten Years' Penal Servitude, in the Prison at Boma, for certain Atrocities committed whilst in the Employ of the S.C.A. (Societe Congolaise Anversoise). Q. HOW long have you been in the emplov of the S.C.A. ? — A. I served five years, and then went home to Lagos, and after staying at home some time I returned to the Congo, and was re-engaged by the same Company. I am now completing the second year of my new contract. Q. In what capacity were you engaged by the S.C.A. ? — A. As a carpenter. Q. How is it that, being engaged as a carpenter, you were buying rubber ?— j A. There was no more carpentering to be done, and as I had not completed my contract, I was ordered to buy rubber. Formerly I used to buy rubber at the same time as I was doing the carpentering. Q. Have you ever killed, ill-treated the natives, or burnt down their houses ?— A. On my oath, I never have. Q. Do you understand the nature of an oath ? — A. Yes ; and if there were a Bible here I would swear on it. Q. Can you read and write ? — A. Only a very little — just my name. Q. Were you aware that people were being shot or otherwise ill-treated, and that their villages were burnt ?— A Yes; I heard of such things going on, but I never witnessed anything of the sort except on one occasion at my own station. It was one day (the 9th December, 1902) when I was lying down, and suddenly I heard firing from outside, and a shot came through my house and nearly hit me. When I went 57 outside I found a white agent of the Company, who had ordered his men (soldiers) to fire on a man and woman from about 120 yards' distance. They were both killed. The woman w r as pregnant. When I asked the white agent (whose name I cannot remember) why he came and upset the people of my station, he replied, " How dare you speak to me, you black man ; don't you see that I am a white man, and can give what orders I like 1 " Q. Were you ever ordered to go and punish the natives ? — A. Yes. On one occasion, especially, I was ordered to send and punish some people who had fled into the bush. So I thought for a time as to what I should do, and at last resolved to send four soldiers into the bush to try and catch the people and bring them to me to see if I could make friends with them. I ordered the soldiers not to shoot any one, and sent my boy (a Bangala) with them to see that no shooting was done. They caught a man and a woman in the bush and took them to Little Basango (about three hours from my station), instead of coming back to me. It was my Bangala boy who shot the woman whilst she was stooping down at the side of the river, and she fell into the water and was carried away. I never saw the woman or her corpse, as it was carried away by the stream. I went down the river (about two and a-half hours' journey in a canoe going there, and about six hours to come back) to report the affair to the white agent at the post there. It is for this affair, I am given to understand, that I am punished. But really I am not to blame, as I gave strict orders to the soldiers not to shoot any one. Q. Did you know when you were sent for to come to Boma that you were going to he tried for committing certain outrages on the natives ? — A. No. Q. Were you brought down to Boma under a military escort ? — A. No ; I came down alone ; but when I arrived at Boma I was met by a guard of soldiers, and was taken to the prison, where I remained five days, and was then let out. Q. Did you know that you were going to be tried for various outrages committed on the natives ? — A. No ; I was under the impression that I had been called as a witness against that man. [Jones pointed to a man who was writing at a desk in the gaoler's office, who, I was told, was M, Caudron.] Q. You knew absolutely nothing about your being kept in Boma to be tried for serious offences you were accused of having committed?—^. I knew absolutely nothing. Q. Would you have employed an advocate to defend you had you known that you were going to be tried for such serious offences against the laws of the country ? — A. Most certainly I would, I brought down with me 3,500 fr., and the Judge has got 3,000 fr. of that sum, which I wish you to mind for me. I think you have the receipt. [Note. — The receipt was handed to Mr. Nightingale by a Lagos man named Shanu a few days ago.] Q. Ypu know, I suppose, that you have been sentenced to ten years' penal servi- tude ? — A. Yes ; I was sentenced to ten years by the first Judge, but the second Judge reduced it to two and a-half years ; and they say that if I behave properly that I may get my liberty in six months. [Note.— Jones has misunderstood his sentence. The sentence of ten years passed in the Court of First Instance was upheld in the Appeal Court.] Q. What work have they given you to do here ? — A. I am employed on the carpentering work of this building (pointing to a stone house that is in course of construction). Q. You declare you are perfectly innocent of the charges brought against you, and for which you have been condemned to ten years' penal servitude ? ~A. Yes, Sir ; I am innocent. Q. You wish me to hold the 3,000 fr. for you— A. Yes ; if you please, Sir. (Signed) A. NIGHTINGALE. Boma, March 21, 1904. [828] 58 Inelosure 3 in 15 o. 3. Note. JONES, SILVANUS, originaire de Lagos, clerc au service de la Societe Commereiale Anversoise, prevenu d 'avoir, a la fin de l'annee 1902, envoye des travailleurs de la Society Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, armes de fusils Albini, dans les environs de la faetorerie de Bussu-Baya et avoir ainsi ete la cause directe de la mort d'une femme de Bassanga, tuee d'un coup d'Albini, par son domestique Bangi— infractions prevues par les Articles 1 et 9 du Decret de 10 Mars, 1892, et FArret6 du 30 Avril, 1901, sur les armes a feu et 1 et 2 du Code Penal. L 5 Article 1 du Decret du 10 IMars, 1892 (B.O., 1892, p. 14), interdit l'importation, le trafic, le transport, et la detention d'armcs a feu quelconques, ainsi que la poudre, de balles et de cartouches. L Article 9 du meme Decret punit toute infraction a cette disposition d'une amende de 100 fr. a 1,000 fr., et d'une servitude penale n'excedant pas une annee, ou de Tune de ces peines seulement. L'Arrete du 30 Avril, 1901 (R.M., p. 86), subordonne a certaines formalites les demandes pour la delivrance de per mis de port d'armes. L' Article 1 du Code Penal (L. 11) definit l'homicide et les lesions corporelles volontaires. L'Article 2 definit le meurtre et le punit de la servitude penale a perpetuite. (Translation.) SILVANUS JONES, native of Lagos, clerk in the Service of the Societe Commereiale Anversoise, accused of having, at the end of the year 1902, sent some workmen in the employ of the Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, armed with Albini rifles, to the neighbourhood of the Bussu-Baya factory and thus been the direct cause of the death of a woman of Bassanga, who was killed by a shot from an Albini fired by his servant Bangi — which offences are covered by Articles 1 and 9 of the Decree of the 10th March, 1892, and the Order of the 30th April, 1901, respecting fire-arms and 1 and 2 of the Penal Code. Article 1 of the Decree of the 10th March, 1892 (B.O., 1892, p. 14), forbids the importation, trade in, transport and keeping of, any fire-arms whatever, or of powder, bullets, or cartridges. Article 9 of the same Decree punishes every infraction of this provision by a fine of 100 fr. to 1,000 fr. and by a term of penal servitude not exceeding one year, or by one only of those penalties. The Order of the 30th April, 1901 (R.M., p. 86), attaches certain formaHties to requests for the delivery of permits to carry arms. Article 1 of the Penal Code (L. 11) defines homieide and wilful bodily injury. Article 2 defines murder and punishes it by penal servitude for life. No. 4. Sir C. Phipps to the Marquess of Lansdowne. — (Received May 16.) My Lord, Brussels, May 14, 1904. M. DE CTTVELIER handed to me this evening a Memorandum, of which I have the honour to inclose copy, which has been drawn up at the Congo Ministry in rejoinder to the points raised in your Lordship's despatch of the 19th ultimo, on the subject of the administration of the Congo. I have, &c. (Signed) CONSTANTINE PHIPPS. Inelosure in No. 4. Memorandum. LA depeche de Lord Lansdowne du 19 Avril, 1904, dont copie a ete remise par Son Excellence Sir Constantino Phipps au Gouvernement du Congo le 27 Avril suivant, appelle quelque considerations. Kelativement a l'appreeiatioo contre laquelle s'eleve cette depeche "that the interests of humanity have been used in this country as a pretext to conceal designs 59 for the abolition of the Congo State," Ton voudra bien se souvenir qu'un mcmbre de la Chambre des Communes declarait qu'il prefererait " voir la vallee du Congo passer une Puissance etrangere," et que des pamphlets indiquaient comme " absolute and immediate necessities," " Disruption of the Congo Eree State, " Partition of the Congo Free State among the Powers," et suggeraieot meme les bases d'un tel partage, tandis que des organes de la presse Anglaise envisageaient soit l'alternative " advocated by the more thorough-going critics of the present Administration, namely, the disrup- tion of the Congo Eree State, soit l'alternative de "the partition of the Congo territory among the Great Powers whose possessions in Africa border those of the Congo State," ou declaraiant " what Europe ought to do, under the leadership of Great Britain, is summarily to sweep the Congo Pree State out of existence." La Note de l'Etat du Congo du 17 Septembre a releve ces suggestions, dont nous n'indiquons ici que la tendance et qui toutes avaient pour objet de spolier le Roi- Souverain, de le deposseder de l'Etat qui etait sa creation personnelle — suggestions qui se concilient bien mal avec le respect du droit et des Trails, et avec les motifs d'ordre purement humanitaire et philanthropique dont se disent exclusivement animes les adversaires de l'fitat dans la campagne passionnee qu'ils menent contre lui. En reponse aux objections que le Gouvernement de Sa Majesty eleve contre la communication du texte integral du Eapport de Mr. Casement, le Gouvernement de l'Etat du Congo fait remarquer qu'il a demande la communication de ce Rapport complet en vue precisement de le transmettre aux autorites judiciaires et administra- tives competentes, sans quoi cette communication serait sans objet. Le souci d'une enquete impartiale et les droits de la defense exigent imperieusement que les accuses connaissent, d'une maniere precise et dans leurs details, les faits mis a leur charge, et Tap prehension que les personnes accusees pourraient, de par la connaissance qu'elles auraient de ces details, influencer ou supprimer des temoignages ne semble pas justifiee par ce seul fait que des indigenes, qui, dans i'affaire Epondo, avaient fourni au Consul des informations mensongeres, ont evite par la suite de se representer devant le Magistrat enqueteur ; la fuite de ces temoins s'explique plus naturellement par le sentiment de la faute grave qu'ils avaient commise en trompant sciemment le Consul Anglais. Si le Gouvernement du Congo peut donner, et donne volontiers, l'assurance que tout acte ou toute tentative de subornation de temoins serait poursuivi, il n'est evidemment pas en son pouvoir de prejuger ou d'enrayer les mesures legates que croiraient devoir prendre, dans Pinteret de leur honneur ou de leur consideration, des personnes qui se trouveraient avoir ete faussement accusees. Le Gouvernement de l'Etat dn Congo regrette que le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste Britannique n'estime pas devoir lui communiquer les autres Rapports Consulaires anterieurs auxquels faisait allusion la depeche de Lord Lansdowne du 8 Aout, 1903. Ainsi que le disaient les notes du 12 Mars dernier, ces rapports presentaient l'interet d'avoir ete ecrits k une date a laquelle de debat actuel n'etait pas ne. Hne copie de ce Memorandum sera adressee aux Puissances auxquelles a ete transmise la copie de la depeche de Lord Lansdowne du 19 Avril dernier. Etat [nde'pendant du Congo, Bruxelles, le 14 Mai, 1904. (Translation.) LORD LANSDOWNE'S despatch of the 19th April, 1904, a copy of which was handed to the Congo Government on the 27th April by his Excellency Sir Constantine Phipps, calls for certain remarks. With regard to the opinion to which this despatch takes exception, " that the interests of humanity have been used in this country as a pretext to conceal designs for the abolition of the Congo State," it will be well to remember that a Member of the House of Commons declared that he would prefer "to see the Valley of the Congo pass into the hands of a foreign Power," and that some pamphlets described the " Disruption of the Congo Eree State," the " Partition of the Congo Eree State among the Powers," as absolute and immediate necessities, and even went so far as to suggest the bases of such a partition, while the organs of the English press contemplated one of two alternatives, either that " advocated by the more thorough-going critics of the present Administration, namely, the disruption of the Congo Eree State," or "the partition of the Congo territory among the Great Powers whose possessions in Africa border those of the Congo Eree State," or declared that " what Europe ought to do, under the leadership of Great Britain, is summarily to sweep the Congo Free State 60 out of existence." The Congo State Note of the 17th September has called attention to these suggestions, of which we merely point out the tenour in this instance, and which all aimed at despoiling the Sovereign King, and at dispossessing him of the State which was his own creation— suggestions which are entirely incompatible with respect for rights and Treaties, and with the motives of a purely humanitarian and philanthropic nature by which the enemies of the State allege themselves to be exclusively animated in the passionate campaign which they are conducting against it. In reply to the objections raised by His Majesty's Government against the com- munication of the entire text of Mr. Casement's Report, the Government of the Congo State points out that it has asked for the complete Report precisely with a view to transmitting it to the competent judicial and administrative authorities, without which this communication would be purportless. The anxiety to obtain an impartial inquiry and the rights of the defence render it an imperative necessity that the men accused should be informed, in a precise and fully-detailed manner, of the acts laid to their charge ; the fear that the persons accused might be able, by means of the knowledge they would have of the details, to influence or suppress evidence, does not appear to be justified by the mere fact that the natives, who, in the Epondo case, had given mendacious information to the Consul, subsequently avoided presenting themselves before the Magistrate presiding over the inquiry ; the flight of these witnesses is explained more naturally by the fact that they were conscious of the grave fault they had committed in wittingly deceiving the English Consul. If the Congo Government be permitted to give an assurance, which it does willingly, that any case of suborning witnesses, or any attempt to do so, would form the subject of a prosecution, it is evidently not within its power to prejudice or quash such legal measures as persons who might find themselves wrongfully accused might consider it necessary to take, either in the interests of their honour or their dignity. The Government of the Congo State regrets that His Majesty's Government does not deem it necessary to communicate to it the other previous Consular Reports to which Lord Lansdowne's despatch of the 8th August, 1903, alluded. As was stated in the notes of the 12th March last, these reports possessed the interest of having been written at a date anterior to the inception of the present discussion. A copy of this Memorandum will be addressed to the Powers to whom copies of Lord Lansdowne's despatch of the 19th April last was transmitted. Conga Free State, Brussels, May 14, 1904. No. 5. The Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir C. Pkipps. Si rj Foreign Office, Jane 6, 1904. WITH reference to my despatch of the 19th April, I transmit to you, for communication to the Congo Government, a Memorandum on the remaining points in the " Notes " handed to you on the 13th March which would appear to His Majesty's Government to call for observation. I request you, in presenting this Memorandum, to take the opportunity of stating that His Majesty's Government much regret that, in M. de Cuvelier's Memorandum of the 14th May, a more definite reply is not returned to the inquiries which they deemed it necessary to make before considering whether they could furnish the full text of Mr. Casement's Report. My despatch explained that the names in the Report had been suppressed, not from any want of confidence in the Central Government of the Congo State, but from apprehension that the information, if made generally public, would place it in the power of persons charged with abuses to procure the suppression or repudiation of evidence, or to punish those who had given it. His Majesty's Government asked, therefore, whether the Congo Govern- ment would accept full responsibility for the use which would be made of the infor- mation, and would communicate the measures they were prepared to adopt and enforce in order to protect the witnesses who gave evidence to Mr. Casement from the possibility of exposure to acts of intimidation or retaliation. It was clearly incumbent upon His Majesty's Government to provide as far as possible for the safety of those at any rate whose statements to a British officer were made with no knowledge that 61 they would be cited by name as responsible for charges upon which public proceedings would be based. They entertained therefore no doubt that the Congo Government would appreciate their motives, and would willingly undertake, in furtherance of the object which both Governments have in view, to meet, so far as lay in their power" the requirements of the case. The Memorandum handed to you by M. de Cuvelier^ after dwelling upon the necessity of full information for the purpose of investigation! merely declares that the Government of the Congo are ready to give an assurance that proceedings will be taken against^ all who attempt to suborn witnesses, but that they cannot prejudice or prevent legal measures instituted in defence of their honour or reputation by those who may have been falsely accused. His Majesty's Government cannot accept as adequate or satisfactory an answer which implies that the information which they are asked to supply will be accessible to the very persons whose conduct has been impugned, before anv measures have been taken to shield the witnesses from the exercise of improper pressure. They have, of course, never entertained the idea that the Congo Government would connive at any such malpractice as the subornation of witnesses. They have not asked, and have never intended to suggest, that legal remedies should be denied to those against whom ■unfounded accusations have been publicly brought, nor do they desire that those, if any, who have given such false evidence should be shielded from the proper legal penalty for their offence. What they require is that the Congo Government, in accor- dance with the recognized principles of civilized administration, will take every means to secure that the witnesses, if their names should be divulged, will suffer no harm in their property or persons from the unlawful violence of those to whose desire for revenge they may be exposed. No argument can be entertained to the effect that acts of violence are improbable or impossible under a system such as that revealed by the Judgment pronounced by the Court of Appeal at Boma in the Caudron Case, and His Majesty's Government earnestly trust that the Congo Government will recognize the immense service that will be rendered both to the cause of humanity and to the credit of their own officers by promoting unreservedly a full and public investigation bv a Tribunal of recognized competence and impartiality into the charges made against their agents and against their system of administration. There is another point to which His Majesty's Government must call attention. The inquiry promised in the " Notes " is, no doubt, intended to be of a searching and impartial character, and His Majesty's Government hoped that they would before now have received some indication of the measures designed to carry out this intention, In the peculiar circumstances which have arisen, strict impartiality will hardly be attributed to an investigation conducted as in the Epondo case solely by the officers of the State or by the agents of the Concessionary Companies, nor will the result carry conviction to the degree which seems essential. The matter is one which must be left to the decision of the Congo Government, and it is only because, in the judgment of His Majesty's Government, the whole question at issue turns in a great measure upon the position and character of those charged with the inquiry that they feel justified in mentioning the point, and in suggesting that a Special Commission should be appointed, composed of Members of well-established reputation, and in part, at least, of person* unconnected with the Congo State, to whom the fullest powers should be intrusted both as regards the collection of evidence and the measures for the protection of witnesses. Were a Commission of this character appointed His Majesty's Government would be prepared to place at the disposal of the Members, for their own use and guidance, all the information they possess respecting the position of affairs in the ■Congo, and would give them every assistance, in the confident belief that an inde- pendent Commission such as they have suggested would elicit the truth, and effect m a manner commanding general acceptance a settlement of the existing controversy. You will read this despatch to M. de Cuvelier and give a copy of it to his -Excellency. Copies of the despatch and of the inclosed Memorandum will also be forwarded to the Powers who Avere Parties to the Berlin Act. I am, &c. (Signed) LANSDOWNE. 02 Inclosure in No. 5. Memorandum. THE first portion of the " Notes " refers to the desire expressed by the Congo Government for the production of the previous Reports of His Majesty's Consuls alluded to in the Circular of His Majesty's Government of the 8th August last. This matter has already been dealt with in the despatch addressed to Sir C. Phipps on the 19 th of April. The next point in the "Notes" is the statement made by Mr. Casement that the population has decreased in certain districts ; doubt is expressed as to how, in the course of his rapid visits, he was able to arrive at the figures which he gives, and attention is drawn to alleged discrepancies in those figures. With regard to Mr. Casement's ability to form an opinion on the subject, it is to be observed that the means at his disposal for doing so were neither greater nor less than those of Mgr. van Ronsle, viz., personal knowledge of what the population had been in former years and what it appeared to him to be at the date of his last visit. The alleged discrepancy in his figures consists in the fact that, having estimated the population of the entire community of the F line of villages at 500, a few lines further on he estimates that of " the several villages whose task it is to keep the wood post victualled " at 240. The explanation is to be found in the fact that in the first instance Mr. Casement alluded to all the villages comprising the Settlement, whereas in the second he referred only to the inhabitants of that portion of the Settlement whose business it was to supply food for the neighbouring wood- cutting post. The Congo Government admit that Mr. Casement attributes, equally with Mgr. van Eonsle, a large share of the diminution of the population to the sleeping sickness, but attach to another cause, viz., the facility with which the natives are able to migrate, greater weight than appears to His Majesty's Government to be justifiable, since more than one reference in the Consul's Report shows that the natives are not allowed to leave their own districts. On p. 4 of the " Notes " (p. 3, supra) the complaint is made that Mr. Casement's Report contains, not exact, precise, and proved facts, but statements and declarations by natives. It is difficult, however, to see how the facts dealt with can be proved without hearing the statements and declarations of natives : the grounds of their complaints at all events can be learnt exactly and precisely from them alone. In the last paragraph of p. 4 (p. 3, supra) an attempt is made to show that because during his journey into the interior of the Congo State, Mr. Casement was not the guest of the authorities, and because during that journey he visited his countrymen, therefore his presence must " inevitably " have been considered by the natives as antagonistic to " established authority." Mr. Casement was, however, obviously at liberty to move about his Consular district without previous consultation with the authorities, and he was at special pains to impress on the people that he had no authority to set things right. It is clear from his Report, as indeed is borne out by the M Notes," that he was careful to refer the natives to the Government of the State. As a matter of fact, in many parts of the country the natives did not know who he was, while it is equally certain that the rumour of the " campagne menee contre l'Etat du Congo " to which allusion is made as having influenced the inhabitants could not possibly have reached them, since it is difficult to imagine that a population who are represented as among the most savage and backward of mankind, and dwelling in the heart of Africa, could be aware of debates in a European assembly, or of the press comments made thereon. Mr. Casement could not, as asserted, have appeared to all the natives of the Lulongo River in the character attributed to him, and this is shown in a letter the agent of the Lulanga Company at Bokakata addressed to Mr. Ellery, of the Congo Balolo Mission at Ikau, on the 28th August. Mr. Casement had found women hostages tied up and guarded by two sentries of that Company who told him how it was these women came to be captured art detained, in order to compel their husbands to bring in rubber. This letter begins by stating that — " Avant-hier, disent les indigenes, des missionnaires de la Congo Balolo Mission se sont rendus & Yvumi (Ifomi), oil ils ont et6 recueillir certain es reclamations apres an prealable avoi fait instiguer les habitants de ce village par le personnel du steamer." 63 The letter then seeks to show that the scene Mr. Casement had witnessed had^ no foundation in fact, and ends with the request that Mr. Ellery should communicate its contents "au monsieur qui s'est rendu a Yvumi. Je regrette, ne le connaissant pas, de ne pouvoir m'adresser a lui." t It is evident from this letter that neither the natives of the village referred to, the sentries placed there, nor the European agent responsible for placing them there had any knowledge of the rfile of " redresseur des griefs " which is now attributed to Mr. Casement. • : \ This is the more significant, since Mr. Casement had passed Bokakata the day before this letter was written, on his way to Ikau, whither the Lulanga Company's steamer, with the Director on board, followed on the 28th August in search of an unknown traveller who the natives said was a missionary. That Mr. Casement travelled independently of Government assistance was a perfectly legitimate action on his part, and one calling for neither comment nor explanation. The necessity for this, moreover, is made clear by that passage in his Beport (p. 24) wherein he points out the difficulty of getting suitable accommodation on the Government steamer "Fiandre," by which he had at first thought of quitting Leopoldville. It may also be observed that it was only when he failed to find a French steamer available at Brazzaville (which he visited in that hope on the 25th and 26th June) that he decided to seek the loan of a steamer belonging to an American Mission. A visit to his countrymen was a correct proceeding on his part, and it was but natural that he should be assisted by them. As their Consul, it was right he should visit his compatriots dwelling in isolated stations amid savage surroundings ; and since he was desirous of coming to an independent j ndgment on the conditions of native life, it was much more natural that he should choose his own means of separate, independent conveyance than restrict himself to the not always convenient itinerary of Government steamers or place himself under the guidance or conduct of local authorities, who, if abuses did exist, were hardly likely to disclose them. His Majesty's Government can in no way accept the view that Mr. Casement necessarily fell under the influence of the missionaries, neither can they think that the English Protestant missionaries are opposed, still less necessarily antagonistic, to the Government of a friendly State in which they reside. Mr. Casement moreover visited several American mission stations, and it is not the ca^e, as asserted in the " Notes," that it was only by English missionaries that he was assisted. The steamer he travelled on was the property of the American Baptist Missionary Union, lent to him by their Board ; the Mission station at which he spent the longest time is an American station, and he had on several occasions Americans, with him as his guests on board and during his visits to the natives. The Congo Government endeavour to support their assertion that Mr. Casement's attitude was one of antagonism to established authority by alleging as " characteristic " the fact that while he was at Bonginda the natives collected on the banks of the river, and as the agents of the Lulanga Company went by shouted out, " Votre violence est finie ; elle s'en va ; les Anglais seuls restent ! Mourez vous autres ! " Had the incident referred to occurred as recorded, it would indicate not so much that the natives of the locality named were excited against " established authority," as against the agents of a trading Company. But the above is hardly a correct description of the occurrence, as the Congo Government must admit, seeing that they have themselves placed on record a totally different version of the incident. On the 2nd December, 1903, the Secretary-General of the Congo St^e. in drawing the attention of Dr. H. Grattan Guinness to the subject of this pretended " disorder." of the natives, described it in the following terms : — " On a vu dernierement, apres le voyage du Consul Britannique dans la Lulanga, des indigenes en rapport avec la mission de la Congo Balolo Mission, etablie a Bonginda, s'attrauper .au passage d'un agent de l'Etat, en s'ecriant dans ieur dialeote — " ' Votre violence est finie ; elle s'en va ; les Anglais seuls restent ! Mourez vous autres I ' u Ces propos seditieux 6taient prof cres en presence de missionnaires de Bonginda." "Without further enlargement upon so trivial an altercation as that which actually occurred between the canoe boys of a passing trader and some natives of the neigh- bourhood, it "is only necessary to call attention to the discrepancy which exists between M. de Cuvelier's complaint of the 2nd December and the terms in which it is now formulated. In the former communication the Secretary of the Congo 1 Government addressed [828] . K .the Congo Balolo Mission in terras of reproof upon a subject upon which he was - obviously but imperfectly informed, since he asserted the incident to have occurred r after Mr. Casement's departure from Bonginda, and the offensive words to have been addressed to a Government official. Dr Guinness, however, explained to M. de Cuvejier • that the incident occurred when Mr. Casement was present, that it had no significance, and that the canoe jeered, at by the natives contained, not a State Agent, but an agent of ..the Lulanga Company ; further, tthat the words used were, in reality, not those imputed, but : tc The rubber is finished ; the people refuse to work rubber." Yet in spite pf this explanation, which seems amply sufficient, the "botes still maintain that the , incident shows that Mr. Casement's attitude was incorrect. [ .■ ... The next subject discussed in the "Notes" is what has come to be known as the Epondo Case. This is dealt with at great length, and the explanation for so doing is afforded by'a statement that His Majesty's Consul himself attributed a capital importance to it. The . inference that it is intended to draw would seem to be that since the result of the investi- gations made by the local authorities, subsequent to Mr. Casement's departure, is said to have demonstrated quite other facts than those he had too hastily assumed, the rest of Eis Report need not be taken seriously. From a consideration of the Consul's Report, it will be seen that the case of this boy Epondo is dealt with in one single paragraph of thirty-seven lines of print on p, 56, and is referred to- again in some few lines of p. 58, in all less than one page of a document of thirty-nine pages; while in the Appendix of nearly twenty-three pages of print a
copy of the notes taken by Mr. Casement in the case at Bosunguma extends to less
than two pages. ■■ On the other hand, the Congo Government, in their reply, devote some six or seven pages of a document of eighteen pages in all to endeavouring to show that in the case , of this one mutilated individual, the boy's hand had not been cut off by a sentry, but had been bitten off by a wild boar ; and in the Appendix to the " Notes," which 'comprises nineteen pages of small print, more than ten pages are devoted to extracts from the proceedings in this one case. Tims, of a document running to thirty-seven pages in all, almost one-half is assigned to a single incident which, in Mr. Casement's Report, had given occasion for some two and a quarter pages of remark and notes out of nearly sixty pages of printed . matter. 1 Far from having attributed capital importance to this incident, it is evident from . the Report itself that it was but one of many cases calling for explanation brought .to Mr. Casement's notice during his journey, and that he himself by no means attributed to it undue weight. ' ; : To show how far he was from generalizing from this one incident, it is only necessary to cite a letter he addressed to the Governor- General on the 4th September when in the Jjopori River, 150 miles away from Bosunguma (of the existence of which he did not then know), written some days before the cases of mutilation on the Lower Lulongo
were brought to, his notice. In that letter, which dealt mainly with certain illegalities
he Rad observed in the Abir territory at Bongandanga, he said : — '•'I am sure your Excellency would shave my feelings of indignation had the unhappy spcctaclea I have witnessed of late come before your Excellency's own ej'es. "I" cannot believe that the full extent of the illegality of the system of arbitrary Imposition's, followed by dire and illegal punishments, which is in force over so wide an area of the country I have recently visited, is known to, or properly appreciated by, your Excellency or the Central 'Administration of the Congo State Government." ■ , Also after recording some of the outrages practised upon women and children He had witnessed in order to obtain food supplies, or compel the production of india- rubber, he said, in referring to one of these so-called trading factories . - " I must confess with pain and astonishment that, instead of visiting a trading or com- mercial establishment, I felt I was visiting a penal settlement." A study of the case will show the successive steps by wRich. the statement made on p. 7 of the " Notes " (p. 5, supra) is reached : — "L'enqnete montre Epondo, enfin aceule, retractant ses premieres affirmations au Consul >■ et avouant avoir <5te influence par les gens; de son village." ■ ; . >' The facts throw a light on the motives which inspired, or the influences which cofn- ,,peUed, this retractation by the mutilated boy other than the " Notes" afford, and sho'w 65 that a not unimportant part of the inquiry was conducted under conditions, which ■ scarcely merit the description of an " enquete judiciaire dans les conditions nor males ■ em dehors de toute influence etrangere," as, on p. 6 of the "Notes" (p. 4, supra), it is said , to have been. - ( A noteworthy illustration of the method adopted to arrive at an impartial finding .hi.; this case will be found to consist in the fact that an inquiry into grave charges preferred against an agent of the Lulanga Company was conducted in part through agents of that ; Society— itself primarily involved; that the Substitut du Procureur d'Etat visited the., district as the guest of that Company, putting up at its stations and travelling on its , steamer in company with its agents, and that the " retractation " of Epondo only took place when the boy had been removed to the head-quarters of that Company, on. the-; steamer of that Company, surrounded, not by friends, but by the agents of the very j Company which had an obvious interest in securing a withdrawal of the charge. . , ■ . ., | Had the "retractation" of Epondo, first made at Mampoko, the head-quarters of the Lulanga Company, on the 5th October (see p. 31, "Notes") (p. 35, supra), been, j sincere and quite uninfluenced by the environment to wdiich he found himself removed at Bonginda, its sincerity would best have been demonstrated by its being repeated \ before Mr. Armstrong at Bonginda, whence the boy had just been removed.
.Mr. Armstrong had cognizance of the case from the first. Bonginda lies only some. ;
8 miles from Mampoko, and it would have been hut just to Mr. Armstrong, a3 well,' as much more convincing, if, when the boy altered his statement, he had been taken back to where only the day before (see p. 29, "Notes ") (p. 33, supra) he had reiterated hi the presence of Mr. Armstrong the original charge against Kelengo. 1 ■ I . Instead of adopting this simple course, however, the boy, having been brought ' to" ' "retract, was carried off to Coquilhatville— fully 80 miles away — and a week later a., declaration is required from Mr. I'aris, a missionary, whose residence was situated far from the scene of the occurrences, who had no knowledge of the boy's antecedents, or any means of testing his statement by cross-examination or otherwise. A retractation by a lad of some 15 years of age brought about at Mampoko under influences not unfavourable to the accused sentry cannot be held as satisfactory. That the authorities at Coquilhatville did not themselves consider it convincing is clear from their action in calling upon Mr. Faris to furnish an extraneous support to the decision arrived at by their own magisterial inquiry at Mampoko. Epondo 's "retractation" was made on the 8th October at Mampoko, and one statement in it, as given on p. 31 of the " Notes," (p. 35, supra) throws doubt oft- much of : the rest. Question (by the Substitut) : " Depuis combien de temps cet accident vous est-il arrive 1 Answer (Epondo) : " Je ne me rappelle pas : e'est depuis longtemps." When Mr. Casement visited Bosunguma on the 7th September the boy's mutilated fciump had evident signs of not being then completely healed : blood showed still in two places, over which the skin had not entirely formed, and it was wrapped up in a cloth. "The "Notes" (p. 9) (p. 7, supra) allude to the attitude of the missionaries in the following words :■ — ■ " Et le fait n'est pas uon plus sans importance, si 1'on veut exaotcment se rendre compta de ■ la valeur des temoignages, de la presence aux cotes de Mr. Casement, qui interrogeaifc les indigenes de deux missionn aires Protestants Anglais de la region, presence qui, a elle seule, a cGl necessairement ori enter les depositions." r- . If it is permissible to cast this reflection upon the attitude towards the Government of tho missionaries of the district, it is certainly relevant to point out that the presence beside Lieutenant Braeckman (who conducted the preliminary inquiry) and the Substitut du Procureur d'Etat of the agents of the Company having a deep interest in the charge against its employe, and the part those agents were permitted to take in the inquiry, must have vitally affected the testimony of the witnesses who deposed at Mampoko that the charge against the Lulanga sentry was inspired solely by a desire on the part of the natives to escape their rubber dealings with that firm. It appears that there were two inquiries : the first conducted by Lieutenant- Braeckman, at which the original witnesses against the sentry and others reaffirmed their accusation that it was he who had mutilated Epondo. At the second inquiry, ; conducted by the Substitut, which took place some fortnight later, none of the original' witnesses against Kelengo appeared (see " Ordonnance de No n- Lieu ■" p. 8, " Notes ") (p. 6, supra) ; but a number of persons— some of them servants of the Lulanga Company- — made statements, contradictory in manv respects, but agreeing with much unanimity that a wild [b'28] E 2 66 boar, which no one of them had seen, at a date no one could assign, in an indeterminate locality, had eaten off the hand of this lad of 14 or 15 years of age', who, according to tht first deposition cited (that of Efundu, on the 28th September, at Coquilhatville. p 24 by thenars ! ^ attemi)ted to catcil the funded and infuriated creature It is obvious that the " conclusions posees " as the result of his inquiry by Lieutenant Braeckman (see « Ordonnance de Non-Lieu " of the 9th October, p. 8 of "Notes ") must m part, have rested on evidence of natives he had interrogated at Bosun^utna in Mr. Armstrong's presence, on the 14th September. ' • • In this " Ordonnance " we find, however, that while the « conclusions " of Lieutenant Braeckman are accepted, the evidence on which those " conclusions," in some part must have rested is rejected on the ground that the witnesses took flight, and did not reappear at the second inquiry. . * , If th f "conclusions " are accepted, the evidence on which they are founded should be also' 1 admissible. There is, moreover, open contradiction if one turns to the evidence of the " Chief Bofoko, of Ikundja," cited on p. 30 of Annexe III in the « Notes " (p. 34, supra) hls deponent appeared before the Substitut at Mampoko on the 8th October and in the course of his interrogatory it is asserted that he was one of those who' had originally testified against Kelengo before the British Consul. Question (by Substitut) : " Pourquoi vous^mgme avez-vous declare au Consu] Anglais avoir ^ n SrSons?" 66 Pai ' t6rre ' 16 SanS C0Ukit ' 6t habitants du vilk S e 9 ui couraient dans toutes les Answer (Bofoko) : « Je n'ai pas parle avec les Anglais. Je ne les ai pas meme vus. Quand its so nt arrives a Bosun guma, je n etais pas la." Substitut: "Vous mentez, parce que le Consul Anglais declare avoir parle avec vous" Answer (Bofoko) : « Oui, c'est vrai. J'y etais. J'ai dit comme les autres," &c.
  • Despite this record by himself on the 8th October of the proch-verhal of the evidence
oi rJoioko, the Substitut, on the following day, draws up his " Ordonnance de Non-Lieu " wherein, m the third paragraph, he states that — " Attendu que tous les indigenes qui ont accuse* Kelengo, soitau Consul de Sa Majesty Britaimicme soit au Lieutenant Braeckman convoqu^s par nous, Substitut, ont pris la fuite, et tous les efforts affirmations !-(p Tot" Not"™* 1 aUC ™ ^ ^ ^ discr(Jdite ^videmment leum In view of a discrepancy of this kind, it is, perhaps, needless further to investigate the character of the evidence upon which a sustained effort is made to discredit Air. Casement s testimony. , It may be observed that the natives cited by the Congo Government concurred in ■ describing the accusation against the Lulanga Company's sentry as prompted by the wish ot the natives to escape from their rubber dealings with that Company. <,i> u ^ he ^ d . e ^i n ? s are but those of commerce, as has been repeatedly asserted (e.g., Bulletin Officiel, June 1903), there would not appear to be any sufficient pretext for the accusation these natives are said to have brought against that Company's sentry We find it stated that the « liberty du commerce " the men of Bosunyuma enioved .presented itself to them in the following guise :— . . ' -<a t" P u Ur ?fv, P o aS fa i 1,e , de caoutchouc : Kelengo est sentinelle du caoutchouc. (Efundu, the 2Sth September, 1903, p, 24.) ' "Qui; j'ai entendu les indigenes se plaindre qu'ils travaillent heaucoup pour rien ; que les ^befe semparaient dee mitekos que les bkncs payaient pour ]» recolte du caoutchouc ; enfin, quils mouraient de faim lh ajoutaient qu'ils avaient reclame" plusieurs fois implement," &o. (Mongombe, the 28th September, 1903, p. 25.) " Parce qu'ils etaient fatigues de faire du caoutchouc, qui n'etait plus dans leur for£t. lis ont cm qu avec 1 intervention des Anglais ils poirrraient se sonstraire a un travail tres dur &c lis ont parle avec les habitants, qui se pfaignaient de ce qu'ils devaient travailler beaucoup. Us dwaient que le caoutchouc n etait plus dans leur lorSt, qu'ils voulaient faire an travail moins dur," &c. ^Liboso, the 6th October, 1903, p. 27, " Notes.") " Parce qu'iJs trouvent que le travail du caoutchouc est trop dur, et ont era de pouvoir e'en noerer et pour les mdmre a s en occuper ils sont alles leur conter des raensonges." (Bofoko, the bm Uotober, 1903, p. 30, " Notes. )
"If; as the Congo "Notes " assert on p. 6 {p. 5, supra), these " de-positions sont typiques,
umrormes, et concordantes, elles ne laissent aucun doute sur la cause de 1 accident, attestent que les indigenes ont menti au Consul, et r^velent le mobile auquelils ont oWi "— 67 they unquestionably leave no doubt that the relations of the Lulanga Company to the natives of the surrounding country were not those of a trading Company engaged in exclusively commercial dealings, but of an organization compelling, with the approval and support of the Executive, a widespread system for which no legal authority exists. Whatever may have been the truth of the charge against the sentry, the very -evidence cited to disprove it attests that the natives spoke truly as to their abject con- dition, and shows that in a region repeatedly visited by Government officials, traversed weekly by Government steamers, lying close to the head-quarters of the Executive of the : district, the trading operations of a private Company depended for their profits upon the il obligation de Pimpot." The appended Table of exports and imports of the Congo State, taken from the f Bulletin Officiel " for April 1903 (No. 4), will suffice to indicate the larger aspect of the situation of the native producer Exports from Imports to Congo State. Congo State. Fr. Fr 1895
  • + +
• • • * 10,943,019 10,685,8i7 189(5
  • • *
12,389,599 15,227,776 1897 • •
  • *
16,146,976 21,181,462 1898 • mi • • 22,163,481 23,084,446 1899 V • •
36,067,959 22,325,846 1900 • % i • • 47,377,401 24,724,108 1901 • m ■ • * ■ • 50,48^,394 23,102,064 1902 • * I • • 50,069,514 18,080,909 The exports of native produce ( M le negoce des autres produits indigenes " — "Bulletin Officiel," April 1903, p. 65), it is seen, have enormously increased. They have considerably more than trebled in the six years from 1897 to 1902. During the same period the imports into the Congo State — a small portion of which are trade goods for the purchase of produce or the remuneration of the producers- remained not merely stationary, but even decreased by 4,000,000 fr. during the last year. These figures, as they stand, are remarkable. Their significance is increased when it is borne in mind that the population of the regions exporting this great increase of native produce has enormously decreased during the same period. That decrease is admitted by the authorities. ( <{ Du reste, il n'est malheureusement que trop exact que la diminution de la population a dte" constatee " — ft Notes," p. 2) (p. 2, supra). We thus find that a diminishing population,* a diminishing market-value of the article pro- duced and a diminishing means of purchase have been accompanied during a period of only six years by a more than trebled production. It may be permitted to doubt whether this state of affairs is adequately explained anywhere in the Congo Government " Notes." It is not met by the statement on p. 14 (p. 9, supra) of this document " Qu'il s'est agi de faire contracter l'habitude de travad a des indigenes qui y ont etc refractaires de tout temps. " Et si cette idee du travail pent 6tre plus aisement inculquee aux natifs sous la forme de transactions commerciales entre eux et des particuliers, faut-il necessairement condamner ce mode d'action ? " &c. On the same page of the "Notes" (14) it is sought to institute a comparison between the system of taxation in force on the Congo and that in operation in iNorth and Eastern Rhodesia, and the conclusion is drawn that, since the latter is justified in a British Colonial administration, no exception can be taken to the former. It is only necessary to point out that in North and Eastern Rhodesia, or in any other British Colony where direct taxation of the natives exists by law, the tax collector is a Government officer responsible for the sums levied to a central authorit}', not a trading agent having a direct personal interest in the amount of the " obligation de l'imp6t." The native under the British system knows the fixed amount of his obligation, and, once discharged from it, he is free to seek, where he wili, labour or leisure. The
  • See Circular of Governor-General of 29th March, 1901, printed as an Appendix to Mr. Casement's
Report in " Africa No. 1 (1904)," p. 81. 66 boar which no one of them had seen, at a date no one could assign, in an indeterminate locality, had eaten off the hand of this lad of U or 15 years of age, who, according to thf hrst deposition cited {that of Efundu, on the 28th September, at Coquilhatville p 24 Annexe 111) (p. 29, supra), had attempted to catch the wounded and infuriated creating by the ears ! G It is obvious that the " conclusions posees " as the result of his inquiry by Lieutenant Braeckman (see « Ordonnance de Non-Lieu " of the 9th October, p. 8 of "Notes ") must in part, have rested on evidence of natives he had interrogated at Bosunomma M Mr. Armstrong** presence, on the 14th September. ' In this " Ordonnance " we find, however, that while the " conclusions " of Lieutenant Braeckman are accepted, the evidence on which those " conclusions," in some part must have rested is rejected on the ground that the witnesses took flight, and did not reapnear at the second inquiry. 1 If the conclusions " are accepted, the evidence on which they are founded should be also '^admissible. . There is, moreover, open contradiction if one turns to the evidence of the " Chief Bofoko, d Ikundja," cited on p. 30 of Annexe III in the " Notes " (p. 34, supra). This deponent appeared before the Substitut at Mampoko on the 8fch October and in . l r e ^course of his interrogatory it is asserted that he was one of those who' had originally testified against Kelengo before the British Consul. Question (by Substitut) : " Pourquoi vous-mSme avez-vous declare" au Consul Anriaia avoir t » SrSns " 66 ten ' e ' ^ S C ° Ulait ' et babJtante du viIIa S 6 1 ui couraient dans toutes les Answer (Bofoko) : « Je n'ai pas parle avec les Anglais. Je ne Ies ai pas mSine vus. Quand lis sont amv& a Bosunguma, je ivetais pas Ik." Substttut : " Vous mentez, parce que Ie Consul Anglais declare avoir parle" avec vous" Answer (Bofoko) : « Oui, c'est vrai. J'y etais. J'ai dit comme les autres," &c. I Despite this record by himself on the 8th October of the proces-verbal of the evidence of Bofoko, the Substitut, on the following day, draws up his " Ordonnance de Non-Lieu " wherein, in the third paragraph, he states that — "Attendu que tons les indigenes qui ont accuse Kelengo, aoit au Consul de Sa Mai est & Britannia ue soit au Lieutenant Braeckman, convoques par nous, Substitut, oot pris la fuite, et tons les efforts faits pour les retrouver n ont abouti a aucun resultat : que cette fuite discredite evidemment leurs affirmations — (p. 8 of " Notes ). ta view of a discrepancy of this kind, it is, perhaps, needless further to investigate the character of the evidence upon which a sustained effort is made to discredit Mr. Casement s testimony. It may be observed that the natives cited by the Congo Government concurred in describing the accusation against the Lulanga Company's sentry as prompted by the Vfbih Of the natives to escape from their rubber dealings with that Company. If these dealings are but those of commerce, as has been repeatedly asserted (e.g., Bulletin Officiel, June 1903), there would not appear to be any sufficient pretext for the accusation these natives are said to have brought against that Company's sentry.
We find it stated that the " liberie" du commerce " the men of Bosunguma enjoyed
presented itself to them in the following guise 11 Pour ne pas faire de caoutchouc : Kelengo est sentinelle du caoutchouc. (Efundu, the 28th beptember, 1903, p. 24.) ' "Oui; j'aienteudu les indigenes se plaindre qu'ils travaillent beau coup pour rien • que les thete a emparaient des rmtakos que les bknes payaient pour la recolte du caoutchouc ■ enfin, quils mouraient de faitn. lis ajoutaient qu'ils avaient reclame plusieurs fois mutilenient" &o. (Mongombe, the 28th September, 1903, p. 25.) " Parce qu'ils etaient fatigues de faire du caoutchouc, qui n'etait plus dans leur foret lis ont cru qu avec 1 intervention des Anglais ila pourraient se soustraire a un travail tres dur, &c lis ont parle avec les habitants, qui se plaignaient de ce qu'ils devaient travailler befucoup. Us disaient que le caoutchouc n'etait plus dans leur foret, qu'ils voulaient faire un travail nioins dur," &c. (Liboso, the 6th October, 1903, p. 27, " Notes.") " Parce qu'ils trouvent que le tra vail du caoutchouc est trop dur, et ont cru de pouvoir s'en hberer et pour les indnire a s'en occuper ils sont alias leur conter des mensonges." (Bofoko, the tsth October, 1903, p. 30, " Notes. )
_ " If, as the Congo << Notes " assert on p. 6 (p. 5, supra), these « depositions sont typiques,
unuormes, et concordantes, elles ne laissent aucun doute sur la cause de l'accident, attestent que les indigenes ont menti au Consul, et revelent le mobile auquel ils ont obe"i 67 they unquestionably leave no doubt that the relations of the Lulanga Company to the natives of the surrounding country were not those of a trading Company engaged iu exclusively commercial dealings, but of an organization compelling, with the approval and support of the Executive, a widespread system for which no legal authority exists. Whatever may have been the truth of the charge against the sentry, the very ■evidence cited to disprove it attests that the natives spoke truly as to their abject con- dition, and shows that in a region repeatedly visited by Government officials, traversed weekly by Government steamers, lying close to the head-quarters of the Executive of the district, the trading operations of a private Company depended for their profits upon the | obligation de Pimp6t." The appended Table of exports and imports of the Congo State, taken from the "Bulletin Officiel" for April 1903 (No. 4), will suffice to indicate the larger aspect of the situation of the native producer : — ■ Exports from Imports to Congo State. Congo State. Fr. Fr 1895 ■ *
  • • • •
10,943,019 10,685,847 1896 • • ■ «  12,389,599 15,227,776 1897 mm • • » • 15,146,976 21,181,462 1898 • • 22,163,481 23,084,446 1899 ■ ■ - ■
  • * * t
36,067,959 22,325,846 1900 + ■ . . 47,377,401 24,724,108 1901
  • *
1 ■ • • 50,483,394 23,102,064 1902 • * * * 50,069,514 18,080,909 The exports of native produce (" le negoce des autres produits indigenes " — " Bulletin Officiel," April 1903, p. 65), it is seen, have enormously increased. They .have considerably more than trebled in the six years from 1897 to 1902, During the same period the imports into the Congo State— a small portion of which are trade goods for the purchase of produce or the remuneration of the producers- remained not merely stationary, but even decreased by 4,000,000 fr. during the last year. These figures, as they stand, are remarkable. Their significance is increased when it is borne in mind that the population of the regions exporting this great increase of native produce has enormously decreased during the same period. That decrease is admitted by the authorities. (" Du reste, il n'est malheureusement que trop exact que la diminution de la population a ete" constated " — "Notes," p. 2) (p. 2, supra). We thus find that a diminishing population,* a diminishing market- value of the article pro- duced and a diminishing means of purchase have been accompanied during a period of only six years by a more than trebled production. It may be permitted to doubt whether this state of affairs is adequately explained anywhere in the Congo Government " Notes." It is not met by the statement on p. 14 (p. 9, supra) of this document : — "Qu'il s'est agi de faire contracter l'habitude de travail a des indigenes qui y ont etc refractaires de tout temps, " Et si cette idee du travail peut &tre plus aisernent inculquee aux natifs sous la forme de transactions commereiales entre eux et des partieuliers, faut-il necessairement condamner ce mode d' action? " &c. On the same page of the "Notes" (14) it is sought to institute a comparison between the system of taxation in force on the Congo and that in operation in North and Eastern Rhodesia, and the conclusion is drawn that, since the latter is justified in a. British Colonial administration, no exception can be taken to the former. It is only necessary to point out that in North and Eastern Ehodesia, or in any other British Colony where direct taxation of the natives exists by law, the tax collector is a Government officer responsible for the sums levied to a central authority, not a trading agent having a direct personal interest in the amount of the "obligation de ^imp6t. , ' The native under the British system knows the fixed amount of his obligation, and, once discharged from it, he is free to seek, where he will, labour or leisure. The
  • See Circular of Governor-General of 29th March, 1901, printed as an Appendix to Mr. Casement's
Eeport in " Africa No. 1 (1904)," p. 81. .■ 68 Congo taxpayer with an ever-present, perpetually-recurring, weekly or fortnightly' imposition to make good, may not. even leave his village, save as a fugitive, and is a close bondsman to these endle-s tasks. With regard to the arming of the sentries or " forest guards " in the employ of: the trading Companies on the Upper Congo, the " Notes " throw doubt on the estimate Mr. Casement formed of the number of these guns, and the use to which they are" put, and it cites Circulars of the Governor-General of the Congo State, dating from the 1 12th March, 1897, to the 30th April, 1901, as evidence that the Executive authority had been careful to guard against a possible misuse of the arms. But the issue of successive Circulars, which, by their own terms, show clearly that" the law had been ignored or evaded, cannot be claimed as an effective fulfilment of a weighty obligation of the Executive. * It must further be borne in mind that the Congo Executive were themselves the direct agency for placing all the arms these Circulars refer to in the hands of those who are there shown to have ignored the. law. Every gun - misused on the Upper Congo, with its accompanying ammunition, was carried to its 'destination by the vessels of the Government flotilla, which charged a considerable sum for their 'transport. They were housed in Government stores en route, for which a charge of " magasinage " is levied, and were distributed to the "factories" from Government steamers by Government Agents, who, having made a profit from their agency in the matter, subsequently issued circular instructions to those into whose hands they knowingly gave the weapons. "Les capita*? qui, dans le Haut-Congo, parcourent le pays pour compte de com men; a] its, et qui sont pourvus d'un fusil, doiveut egalement etre munis d'un perm is de port d'armes." (Circular of the 12th March, 1837. Annexe V. " Notes," p. 34.) " "On a voulu y voir 1 'attribution aux Directenrs de ces Societes, et meme k des agent* subalternes, du droit de dinger des operations militaires offensives, ' de faira la guerre ' aux. populations indigenes; d'autres, sans meme s'in quieter d'examiner quelles pourraient etre les limites de ce droit de police, se sont servis de moyens que cette delegation avait mis entre leurs_ mains, pour commettre les abus les plus graves. "Les armes perfectionnees que les Societes possederaient dans Ieurs diverses factoreries 1 - ou etablissements, et qui doivent faire l'objet comme les armes d'autres Societes n'ayant pas le droit de police, d'un permis Modele B, ne peuvent en aucun cas sortir des etablissements pour lesquels elles ont etc delivrees. Quant aux fusils a piston, ils ne peuvent etre mis en dehors des factoreries qn' entre les mains des capitas et a condition que ceux-ci aient un permis suivant Modele 0." ; (Circular of the 20th October, 1900 ; see p. 78, Mr. Casement's Report.) If the native sentries or capitas of these factories ranged the country with unlicensed arms, if these " Commercial " Companies made war on the natives, it was the Congo Government which carried those arms to their destinations and placed them in the hands of those who used them illegally. " Nonabstant les precautions incessantes, le Consul a constate que plusieurs capitas n etaient pas porteurs de permis." I ("Notes" of the Congo Government, the 12th March, 1904.) The law prescribes clearly that no weapon can be issued for individual use save^ on the authority and personal licence of the Government. That this law can be effectively observed was evidenced in Mr. Casement's own case. - A Winchester rifle for his use arrived ou the Congo while he was in the interior. It could not" be dispatched to him from Bo ma to Stanley Pool (where he found it on coming down river) until a licence had been granted. This rifle was branded and numbered according to law and the tax of 20 fr. levied. A law thus rightly obligatory in the case of a foreign official, who could not be suspected of misuse of the weapon he had imported, should have had at least as stringent application to the capitas, and forest guards and sentries of the numerous Companies, which are shown by the Government Circulars quoted to have been recognized for years as seeking to evade the law. That the Congo Government have intimate cognizance of the exact number of" gun? in use by the commercial Companies on the Upper Congo is evident, since every case of rifles and "ballot de fusils" imported into the Congo. State has to enter the custom-house of Boma or Matadi, where it can only be withdrawn by authority. ;; 69 Its subsequent transport to the interior is effected often by direct Government carriage, and always under Government control and supervision. The Government of the Congo State, in concluding these preliminary " Notes " on Mr. Casement's Eeport, formulate a complaint as to the manner in which lie proceeded in investigating native statements brought to his notice. This complaint has application to the one case of the boy Epondo, and to that case alone. In no other instance did he attempt to interrogate, " comme par voie d'autoriteY' any of the many natives whose homes he visited during his journey. In that one case it may be urged that, however unusual were the proceedings, it was clearly his duty not to turn a deaf ear to the appeal the people of Bosun guma addressed to him. Whether they spoke truly or falsely in accusing the sentry of the act of mutilation, he had no option but to seek to arrive at the truth if he wished his intervention with the local authorities to have any effect. Had he contented himself with merely listening to and reporting the accusation the natives of Bosunguma brought to him at Bonginda, the officials at Coquilhatville would have said he had formulated a grave charge: against an individual on mere native report, without having taken the trouble to satisfy himself of its truth. He could not, clearly, leave the mutilated boy in the town, where his assailant was represented as terrorizing the inhabitants. It was his obvious duty to go to the spot, to see with his own eyes what truth lay in the report brought to him at Bonginda. Once in Bosunguma, the only way to arrive at anything like the truth was to see the accusers and the accused face to face and to hear what each said. He distinctly disclaimed any right of intervention or power to help ; but if he was going to report the charge made against the sentry, and to ask for investigation, it was clearly necessary that he should first find out whether there was good ground for addressing the local authorities. ; With regard to the question of mutilation, His Majesty's Government note with interest that the Congo Government are aware that Mr. Casement is not alone in his opinion that such atrocities occur (§ 5, p. 5, of "Notes ") (§ 5, p. 4, supra). The accusation as to " forced labour on the roads and restrictions which practically amount to slavery in Fiji " are due to an imperfect understanding of the communal system under which land is held there. Individual land ownership does not exist, and the members of each commune have to perform their share of the necessary work, whatever it may be. There is also the custom of " lala," under which the local Chiefs are entitled to exact a certain number of days' work from their commoners for the purpose of planting their gardens, building their houses, &c. The Chiefs are bound to feed the workers so employed, and it is nothing more than a contribution towards their maintenance, paid by the commoners in work instead of taxes. Instances have, no doubt, occurred in which these rights have been abused, but everv effort is made to prevent them. "The whole system has been in force for centuries, aud when His Majesty's Govern- ment took over the islands it was thought expedient to continue it. It is understood by the natives, and is eminently suited to the needs of a primitive and half savage race. The allegation as to the flogging of natives is, doubtless, an allusion to a case which occurred in 1?02, of which the facts are briefly as follows: — A native was arrested for two cases of indecent assault upon European women. He was tried according to native custom by the Commissioner and Chiefs of the island to which he belonged, having first been given his choice of being tried in this way or being referred to the Supreme Court. He pleaded guilty to one assault, and there was strong evidence against him in ihe other case. He was, accordingly, sentenced to be flogged. Although for various reasons this summary procedure was advantageous, the case should properly have been referred to the Supreme Court. The Commissioner was, therefore, severely censured for his action. The statement that the natives are constantly subject to imprisonment for frivolous causes is not borne out by any evidence in the possession of His Majesty's Government. AFRICA. No. 14 (1903). DESPATCH TO CERTAIN OF HIS MAJESTY'S REPRESENTATIVES ABROAD IN REGARD TO ALLEGED CASES OF ILL-TREATMENT OF NATIVES AND TO THE EXISTENCE OP TRADE MONOPOLIES IN THE INDEPENDENT STATE 0E THE CONGO. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Bis Majesty, October 1903. LONDON: PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE, PRINTERS IN ORDINARY TO MIS MAJESTY. And to he purchased, either directly or through «oy Bookseller, from EYRE Ati» SPOTTISWOODE, East H aiding Strebt, Fleet Strset, E.G., and 32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.; or OLIVER and BOYD, Edinburgh; or E, PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin. [Od. 1809.] Price Id. Despatch to certain of His Majesty's Representatives abroad in regard to alleged Cases of Ill-treatment of Natives and to the Existence of Trade Monopolies in the independent State of the Congo. ■ The Marquess of Lansdowne to His Majesty's Representatives at Paris, Berlin, Rome? St. Petersburgh, Vienna, Madrid, Constantinople, Brussels, Lisbon, the Hague, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. Sir, Foreign Office, August 8, 1903. THE attention of His Majesty's Government has during recent years been repeatedly called to alleged eases of ill-treatment of natives and to the existence of trade mono- polies in the Independent State of the Congo, Representations to this effect are to be found in Memorials from philanthropic Societies, in communications from commercial bodies, in the public press, and in despatches from His Majesty's Consuls. The same matters formed the subject of a debate in the House of Commons on the 20th ultimo, when the House passed the Resolution, a copy of which is inclosed. In the course of the debate, the official record of which is also inclosed, it was alleged that the object of the Administration was not so much the care and govern- ment of the natives as the collection of revenue; that this object was pursued by means of a system of forced labour, differing only in name from slavery ; that the demands upon each village were exacted with a strictness which constantly degenerated into great cruelty, and that the men composing the armed force of the State were in many cases recruited from the most warlike and savage tribes, who not infrequently terrorized over their own officers and maltreated the natives without regard to discipline or fear of punishment. As regards the ill-treatment of natives, a distinction may be drawn between isolated acts of cruelty committed by individuals, whether in the service of the State or not, and a system of administration involving and accompanied by systematic cruelty or oppression. The fact that many individual instances of cruelty have taken place in the Congo State is proved beyond possibility of contradiction by the occurrence of cases in which white officials have been convicted of outrages on natives. These white officials must, however, in view of the vast extent of the territory under their administration, in most cases be of necessity isolated the one from the other, with the result that detection becomes additionally difficult. It is therefore not unfair to assume that the number of convictions falls considerably short of the number of actual offences committed. It is, however, with regard to the system of administration that the most serious allegations are brought against the Independent State. It is reported that no efforts are made to fit the native by training for industrial pursuits ; that the method of obtaining men for labour or for military service is often but little different from that formerly employed to obtain slaves ; and that force is now as much required to take the native to the place of service as it used to be to convey the captured slave. It is also reported that constant compulsion has to be exercised in order to exact the collection of the amount of forest produce allotted to each village as the equivalent of the number of days' labour due from the inhabitants, and that this compulsion is often exercised by irresponsible native soldiers uncontrolled by any European officer. His Majesty's Government do not know precisely to what extent these accusations may be true ; but they have been so repeatedly made, and have received such wide credence, that it is no longer possible to ignore them, and the question has now arisen whether the Congo State can be considered to have fulfilled the special pledges, given under the Berlin Act, to watch over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for their moral and material advancement. The graver charges against the State relate almost exclusively to the upper valleys of the Congo and of its affluents. The lands forming these vast territories are held either by the State itself or by Companies closely connected with the State, under a system which, whatever its object, has effectually kept out the independent trader, as opposed to the owner or to the occupier of the soil, and has consequently made it difficult to obtain independent testimony. His Majesty's Government have further laboured under the disadvantage that British interests have not justified the maintenance of a large Consular staff in the Congo terri- tories. It is true that in 1901 His Majesty's Government decided to appoint a Consul of wide African experience to reside permanently in the State, but his time has been principally occupied in the investigation of complaints preferred by British subjects and he has as yet been unable to travel into the interior and to acquire, by personal inspection, knowledge of the condition of the enormous territory forming his district. His reports on the cases of British subjects, which have formed the basis of representations to the Government of the Independent State, afford, however, examples of grave maladministration and ill-treatment. These cases do not concern natives of the Congo State, and are therefore in themselves alien to the subject of this despatch ; but as they occurred in the immediate vicinity of Boma, the seat of the central staff, and in regard to British subjects, most of whom were under formal engagements, they undoubtedly lead to the belief that the natives, who have no one in the position of a Consul to whom they can appeal and have no formal engagements, receive even less -consideration at the hands of the officers of the Government. Moreover, information which has reached His Majesty's Government from British officers in territory adjacent to that of the State tends to show that, notwithstanding the obligations accepted under Article VI of the Berlin Act, no attempt at any admini- stration of the natives is made, and that the officers of the Government do not apparently concern themselves with such work, but devote all their energy to the ■collection of revenue. The natives are left entirely to themselves, so far as any assist- ance in their government or in their affairs is concerned. The Congo stations are shunned, the only natives seen being soldiers, prisoners, and men who are brought in to work. The neighbourhood of stations which are known to have been populous a few years ago is now uninhabited, and emigration on a large scale takes place to the terri- tory of neighbouring States, the natives usually averring that they are driven away from their homes by the tyranny and exaction of the soldiers. The sentiments which undoubtedly animated tne founders of the Congo State and the Representatives of the Powers at Berlin were such as to deserve the cordial sympathy of the British Government, who have been loath to believe either that the beneficent intentions with which the Congo State was constituted, and of which it gave so solemn a pledge at Berlin, have in any way been abandoned, or that every effort has not been made to realize them. But the fact remains that there is a feeling of grave suspicion, widely prevalent among the people of this country, in regard to the condition of affairs in the Congo State, and there is a deep conviction that the many charges brought against the State's administration must be founded on a basis of truth. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government are of opinion that it is incumbent upon the Powers parties to the Berlin Act to confer together and to consider whether the obligations undertaken by the Congo State in regard to the natives have been fulfilled ; and, if not, whether the Signatory Powers are not bound to make such representations as may secure the due observance of the provisions contained in the Act. As indicated at the beginning of this despatch, His Majesty's Government also wish to bring to the notice of the Powers the question which has arisen in regard to rights of trade in the basin of the Congo. Article I of the Berlin Act provides that the trade of all nations shall enjoy complete freedom in the basin of the Congo ; and Article Y provides that no Power which exercises sovereign rights in the basin shall be allowed to grant therein a monopoly or tavour of any kind in matters of trade. In the opinion of His Majesty's Government, the system of trade now existing in the Independent State of the Congo is not in harmony with these provisions. With the exception of a relatively small area on the lower Congo, and with the further exception of the small plots actually occupied by the huts and cultivation patches of the natives, the whole territory is claimed as the private property either of the State or of holders of knd concessions. Within these regions the State or, as the case may be, the concession -holder alone may trade in the natural produce 3 the soil. The fruits gathered by the natives are accounted the property of the State, or of the concession-holder, and may not be acquired by others. In such circum- stances, His Majesty's Government are unable to see that there exists the complete freedom of trade or absence of monopoly in trade which is required by the Berlin Act. On the contrary, no one other than the agents of the State or of the concession- holder has the opportunity to enter into trade relations with the natives; or if he does succeed in reaching the natives, he finds that the only material which the natives can give in exchange for his trade goods or his money are claimed as having been the property of the State or of the concession-holder from the moment it was gathered by the native. His Majesty's Government in no way deny either that the State has the right to partition the State lands among bond fide occupants, or that the natives will, as the land is so divided out among bond fide occupiers, lose their right of roaming over it and collecting the natural fruits which it produces. But His Majesty's Government maintain that until unoccupied land is reduced into individual occupation, and so long as the produce can only be collected by the native, the native should be free to dispose of that produce as he pleases. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government consider that the time has come when the Powers parties to the Berlin Act should consider whether the system of trade now prevailing in the Independent State is in harmony with the provisions of the Act; and, in particular, whether the system of making grants of vast areas of territory is permissible under the Act if the effect of such grants is in practice to create a monopoly of trade by excluding all persons other than the concession-holder from trading with the natives in that area. Such a result is inevitable if the grants are made in favour of persons or Companies who cannot themselves use the land or collect its produce, but must depend for obtaining it upon the natives, who are allowed to deal only with the grantees. His Majesty's Government will be glad to receive any suggestions which the Governments of the Signatory Powers may be disposed to make in reference to this important question, which might perhaps constitute, wholly or in part, the subject of a reference to the Tribunal at the Hague. I request that you will read this despatch to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and leave a copy of it with bis Excellency. I am, &c. (Signed) LANSDOWNE.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Casement Report" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools