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BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 

THE BRITISH CASE IN FRENCH 
CONGO. 

In One Volume. Crown 8vo, With Mmp. Price 6s. 



SOME PRESS OPINIONS. 

The KomlBir Post.— "The story which Mr. E. D. Morel unfolds is one of the 
most amazing, as it certainly is one of the most deplorable, in the history of the 
European colonisation of Africa. . . . Mr. Morel describes with great clearness and 
force the various stages of the process by which this grievous injustice has been 
wrought. . . . His book will be of immense value in educating public opinion as to 
the merits of a painful and disagreeable dispute, but we venture to hope that its clear 
and cogent arguments will help to convince both British and French statesmen that 
they cannot reject the demand for a revision of the international situation in the Congo 
Basin without a grave dereliction of the duty they owe both to their own countries and 
to the cause of civilisation in Africa." 

The I>ally Chronicle.— " This book is important, and demands careful con- 
sideration. ... it demands careful perusal bv statesmen, and by all who are interested 
in the prospects of British commerce in West Africa. No unprejudiced person can 
rise from its perusal without feeling that in the specific instances of the British firms 
trading in the littoral regions of the French Congo, a most signal injustice has taken 
place." 

The Kanoheeter GiiardlAii«— " Mr. Morel, who has done much to enlighten 
the public concerning West African affairs, and who has helped to expose the horrors 
of Congo State misrule, has performed another useful service by explaining the true 
facts of the dispute between our old-established merchants and the newly chartered 
mono|)olists in the French Congo. His book reveals a state of things which is almost 
incredible of a French colony." 



BU Jamesli Ctauette. — " Mr. Morel lias studied his subject thoroughly, 
and presents the case for the British traders in a very dear manner. . . . The book 
serves a very useful purpose." 

The Pall Mall daiette. — "Taking all the facts into consideration, we are 
inclined to think that the author of this book is justified in claiming that the story 
therein unfolded is 'without precedent in the relationship between civilised com- 
munities,' at all events in modern times." 

The Bookmaa. — "Mr. Morel has by this time established his position as one 
of the leading authorities on West Africa, and his latest book will be read with great 
profit by all who are interested in those regions. There can be no doubt as to the 
justice of the cause for which he pleads." 

The Blrmlngliam Oaiette.— " Mr. Morel is a reliable authority on the subject, 
who may be followed with implicit faith. His book is an earnest appeal for justice, 
which should not fail in its effect with a justice-loving people." 

To-Bay. — ' ' Those of my readers who are interested in the great Congo question 
will read with interest Mr. Morel's clever book. . . . Mr. Morel's vigorous style so 
fascinated me that I found myself compelled to read his book from cover to cover. 
... An extraordinary, interesting book. ' 

The Glasgow BeraUL— "The author has collected and colLited facts with 
accustomed industry and acumen, and we must express our deep indebtedness to him 
for the large amount of absolutely new facts that he discloses here." 

The IdverpoOl lleroiixy.— "The work is excellently written, and will be 
attractive to the general reader, as well as to those having commercial interests in 
West Africa." 

London : WILLIAM HEINEMANN, 21, Bedford Street, W.C. 



KING LEOPOLD'S RULE 
IN AFRICA 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 
In One Volume. Demy 8vo. Price 12m. net, 

AFFAIRS OF WEST AFRICA. 



SOME PRESS OPINIONS. 

The Morning Post.—" By far the most searching and outspoken work on the 
poHcy and practice of Europeans on the West Coast that lias appeared since Mary 
Kingsley's books in 1897. Every one seriously concerned for the welfare of British 
colonisation and commerce, and of the races brought under British rule, is bound to 
study the evidence so unreservedly presented in this remarkable volume, the value of 
which is greatly enhanced by the excellent photographs of native types and industries, 
the maps, and the index." 

Sir CHiarles Dilke.— " Mr. Morel's book is no dry compilation of statistics 
flavoured with the usual hypocrisy. It is very different from all other books on the 
West Coast. Some of Mr. Morel's passages rise to a considerable height of eloquence, 
and constitute the best reflection on the condition of Africa which has been produced 
since that curious volume • The Dark Continent,' even if they do not surpass in merit, 
as they certainly surpass in knowledge, what is most excellent in the works of his 
predecessors. Mr. Morel's account of Northern Nigeria is of remarkable interest 
and value." 

Tbm Times. — "It is with great satisfaction that the public will welcome a con- 
tribution to our general knowledge on the subject of British tropical possessions at 
once so intelligent and so informing as Mr. E. D. Morel's volume." 

Tbm Dally News. — " There is room for a book of this kind. Western Africa is 
year by year growing in importance, commercially and politically. This work is an 
evidence of deep and patient study." 

Tbe Westminster Ctasette.— " The book may be commended not only to all 
interested commercially in West Africa, but to those who have to do with the rule 
of the people there." 

Tlie Aeademy.— " Mr. Morel is well known as an expert in West African affairs, 
and his book is opportune and sound. He summarises for us both the history and 
commercial possibilities of West Africa, deals broadly with the native question in all 
its aspects, and suggests reasonable means of development." 

Tlie Literary World.— "If we could suppose that 'Affairs of West Africa' 
would be scattered broadcast and be read attentively by the beneficiaries of Free 
Library provision, we should be able to reckon Mr. Morel among British benefactors." 

The Saturday Review.— " The capture of Kano gives actuality to the greater 
part of this useful survey of Nigerian affairs. Mr. Morel traces the history of Nigeria 
from the time of its discovery to its present administration under Sir Frederick 
Lugard. He devotes two chapters to the industry of the Hausos and their emporium 
at Kano, and the principal town of the State of Sokoto." 

Tlie Standard.-" There are few more competent guides to the ' Affairs of West 
Africa ' than Mr. E. D. Morel His work has a freshness and vigour, and a breadth 
of knowledge and of outlook, which make a mastery of its contents necessary to the 
publicist The book treats exhaustively of the history and condition of Nigeria, o 
sanitary, land, industrial, religious, and other problems, of the history of the Congo 
State, etc., etc., and gives in an Appendix a variety of well-arranged statistical and 
other information. Alike to the politician or the general reader, the volume may be 
commended." 

Tlie Contemporary Review.—" A book that cannot be neglected by those who 
are interested, officially or commercially, in the administration and development of our 
Colonies. It is so well written, and so thoroughly interesting in itself, that it should 
also appeal to a wider circle of the general public. 

The Speaker. — "Mr. Morel's book is so replete with information, so free from 
prejudice, and so full of good suggestions for the greater prosperity of West Africa, 
that it cannot be too widely or too carefully studied. ' 

Tbe Speotator.- " It was quite time that some writer took up Mary Kingsley's 
work on behalf of the black races, and we welcome this book. Mr. Morel's knowledge, 
minute and thorough, and his standpoint, that of the independent and fully informed 
critic who views the matter without racial or religious prepossessions, entitle his book 
to stand beside hers." 

London : WILLIAM HEINEMANN, 21, Bedford Street, W.C 







7.t4*?ijr /n^ Jur/'ri'^ fftt^lc/ 



KING LEOPOLD'S RULE 
IN AFRICA 



BY 

EDMUND D. MOREL 

(E. D. M.) 

AUTHOR OF 

' ArrAiBS or wbst aprica/' "thb British case in prbnch congo" 

" TRS CONGO SLAVS tTATE," " THB BMPIRb'S COTTON SUPPLY * 

" THB SIBRRA LBONB HUT-TAX INSURRECTION " 

" TRADING MONOPOUBS IN WBST AFRICA," BTC. ETC. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS 




LONDON 
WILLIAM HEINEMANN 

1904 



KING LEOPOLD'S RULE 
IN AFRICA 



BY 

EDMUND D. MOREL 

(E. D. M.) 

AUTHOR OP 

' APrAItS OP WBST APRICA," "THK BRITISH CASE IN PRBNCH CONGO*' 

" TRS CONGO SLAVS tTATE," " THE BMPIRX'S COTTON SUPPLY * 

" THE SIBIIRA LBONB HUT-TAX INtUKKBCTION " 

"trading MONOPOLIES IN WEST APRICA," ETC. ETC. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS 




LONDON 

WILLIAM HEINEMANN 

1904 



'(^ 



4\ 



22294fl 



(All rights rturvtd) 



TO THE MEMORY OF 

MY MOTHER 

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED 



PREFACE 



The struggle in England against the misrule of the Congo 
State really dates from September, 1896, when the Abori- 
gines Protection Society, tired of making representations to 
the authorities in Brussels, appealed to the British Govern- 
ment. Its appeal fell on deaf ears. In the spring of the 
following year. Sir Charles Dilke brought the question, 
together with other matters connected with Africa, before 
the House of Commons, and suggested that the British 
Government should approach the Powers with a proposal for 
an international conference, ''with a view to the adoption 
and enforcement of further measures for securing equitable 
treatment of the natives of Africa." He was generally sup- 
ported by Mr. Sydney Buxton, Mr. McKenna, Mr. Thomas 
Bayley, Mr. John Bums, and Sir George Baden-Powell. 
The Congo State found an apologist in Captain Bethell, and 
the suggestion was declined by the Government. 

The debate was followed by a public meeting, held under 
the auspices of the Aborigines Protection Society, at which 
Mr. John Morley, Sir Charles Dilke, and Mr. Courtney 
spoke. From that time onwards, Mr. H. R. Fox-Bourne, 
the Society's secretary, stimulated by the published diary 
of Glave, by the disclosures of the Swedish missionary, 
Sjoblom, and the Irish missionary, Murphy, and by reports 
from other sources, has waged a gallant fight against Congo 
State methods, culminating in the publication of his book, 
" Civilisation in Congoland," early in 1903. 

Some five years ago the author of the present volume, 
whom circumstances some years previously had led to take 
an interest in West African questions generally, became con- 
vinced that the system of government carried on by the 

b 



xii PREFACE 

To put the Congo State in the pillory and pelt it is 
comparatively easy, for elements of conviction increase every 
day. To make people understand that the ill treatment of 
the Natives does not belong — even in the superlative degfree 
it has attained on the Congo^to that class of regretable 
Incidents from which the history of no Colonial Power is 
altogether free, has been, and is, a task of greater difficulty. 
To become an efficient power for good of a lasting kind, 
humanitarian feeling must be constructive. It is not enough 
to denounce a wrong ; it is necessary to show how that wrong 
originates, and to put forward a practical remedy. In this 
respect the process of instructing Public Opinion still lacks 
in completeness, and the recently formed Congo Reform 
Association has a great and useful task to perform. 

The wrong done to the Congo peoples originates from the 
substitution of commerce, which is based upon the recognition 
by Europe of native ownership in land and in the produce 
of the land (which the native alone can gather), with the 
consequent onus upon the European to PURCHASE that 
produce which modem industrialism requires ; by a system 
based upon the right of a European State to expropriate 
the Native of tropical Africa from his land and from the 
produce of the land (which produce constitutes in tropical 
Africa the element of commerce), with the consequent 
elimination of the onus upon the European to PURCHASE 
produce which has ceased to belong to the gatherer of it 
The only remedy lies in the reversal by civilisation of the 
latter system set up in the Congo territories, a system as 
immoral in conception as it is barbarous in execution, and 
disastrous to European prestige in its ultimate effects. It 
was worth while, and it continues to be worth while, to incur 
misrepresentation in the effort to make clear beyond possi- 
bility of doubt that the destruction of commercial relationship 
between the European and the African in tropical Africa 
means the enslavement of the African, and is the fundamental 
cause of all the abominations of Congo State control. 

The alliance between humanitarian sentiment and practical 
knowledge of tropical African conditions was cemented at the 
Mansion House meeting, held under the auspices of the 
Aborigines Protection Society in May, 1902, with Mr. Alfred 



PREFACE xiii 

E. Pease, M.P., in the Chair, supported by Sir Charles Dilke, 
Sir Alfred Lyall, and others, and, either by delegate or by 
letter, by the London, Liverpool, and Manchester Chambers, 
by the African Society, and by the Colonial Society of 
Germany. The resolutions passed expressed the opinion 
that the provisions of the Berlin Conference ** as regards the 
protection of Native populations " had been violated " by pro- 
ceedings ruinous to those Native populations," and called 
upon His Majesty's Government to confer with the Signatory 
Powers to the Act to take steps "with a view to fulfil- 
ment of their joint obligations." In December of that 
year "Affairs of West Africa" appeared, in which a few 
chapters were devoted to Congo State misrule. The publi- 
cation of this volume was followed almost immediately by 
Mr. Fox-Bourne's far completer indictment, "Civilisation in 
Congoland." About this time the movement for reform 
received the powerful support of Mr. Alfred Emmott, M.P. 
for Oldham, and not long afterwards that of Mr. W. T. Stead, 
Dr. Clifford, and Dr. Grattan-Guinness, head of the Congo- 
Balolo Mission.* Resolutions of censure upon Congo State 
methods were passed in succession by the Associated 
Chambers of Commerce, by the Free Church Council, and by 
the London Branch of the International Union.t On March 2, 
1903, Viscount Cranboume replied negatively in the House 
of Commons to a question put by Sir Charles Dilke, asking 
"whether the Government had taken or proposed to take 
steps towards procuring the co-operation of the principal 
Signatories to the Berlin Act in efforts to restrain the abuses 
which had grown up under the rule of the Congo Free State 
in violation of the provisions of that Act." On March 12 
an answer of a similar kind was made by Viscount Cranboume 
to questions by Mr. Channing and Mr. Lansfield. Viscount 
Cranboume admitted, however, that Consular reports had been 
received by the Govemment pointing to the existence of 

♦ It should also be mentioned that the Aborigines Protection Society 
appealed directly to the Belgian Parliament. 

t The warm thanks of all who are interested in this question is due 
to the Morning Post for the conspicuously able and persistent manner 
in which it has ur^ed inauiry into Congo State methods. It would be 
difficult to over-estimate tne value of the work performed by the Morning 
Post. 



xiv PREFACE 

"acts of cruelty and oppression" in the Congo territories. 
On May 5, the Rev. W. M. Morrison, a missionary just home 
from the Congo, delivered an account of his experiences 
before a meeting convened by the Aborigines Protection 
Society, presided over by Dr. Clifford, and supported by Sir 
Charles Dilke, by several members of Parliament, including 
Messrs. Bayley, Emmott, and Samuel, and a number of other 
people. Sir Charles Dilke moved, and the author seconded, 
a resolution once more appealing to the Government to take 
concerted action. 

These persistent efforts were destined to meet with their 
reward at last. Soon after the above meeting it became 
known that a day had been secured for a debate in the House 
on a motion put down by Mr. Herbert Samuel The debate 
took place on May 20. After speeches by Mr. Samuel, 
Sir Charles Dilke, Mr. Alfred Emmott, Sir John Gorst, 
Viscount Cranboume, Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice, and the 
Prime Minister, who admitted the existence of an " over- 
whelming case/' the House adopted without a single dissentient 
voice a resolution pledging the Government to " confer with 
the other Powers, Signatories of the Berlin General Act, by 
virtue of which the Congo Free State exists, in order that 
measures may be adopted to abate the evils prevalent in that 
State." The British Note was presented to the Powers in 
August last 

Meanwhile Mr. Roger Casement, permanent British Consul 
in the Congo State, an official " of wide African experience," * 
had been conducting a personal investigation in the Upper 
Congo. The appalling account of his experiences is now 
before the world, and has been followed by a further debate 
in Parliament, in the course of which absolute unanimity 
prevailed as to the essentiality of putting an end to the present 
horrors. So far as British action alone is concerned, a con- 
structive policy was on that occasion placed before His 
Majesty's Government, which was supported by all the 
speakers in the debate, and which Lord Percy admitted to be 
"practical." 

The fact that Mr. Roger Casement was investigating on 
the spot became known towards the end of 1903, and the 

• British Note. 



PREFACE XV 

nature of his report was shrewdly surmised. Indeed, the 
verdict of any competent, and therefore impartial, British 
official could only have been identical with the verdict of 
instructed Public Opinion at home. It remains to be said 
that Mr. Casement, whose reputation already stood high, 
performed the difficult and unpleasant task entrusted to 
him with extraordinary ability, and that his report might 
have been written by a machine — a painfully eloquent 
machine — so judicious, and free from bias or prejudice is 
its tone. 

The publication of the official report, prefaced by an 
exceedingly scathing and contemptuous appreciation by Lord 
Cromer touching his own experiences in the Lado enclave, 
infused fresh fire into the movement for Congo reform, in 
the shape of new helpers in the cause and a great accretion of 
public strength. Dr. Guinness started a series of public 
lectures early in the year in Scotland, drawing large audiences. 
Although head of a missionary organisation, Dr. Guinness 
dropped all sectarianism in his lectures, which were purely 
humanitarian in character. Early in the year, also, the first 
steps were privately taken to concentrate individual efTor 
into one organisation whose sole aim and object would be the 
enlightenment of Public Opinion on this particular question. 
The work of founding that organisation devolved largely 
upon the author of this volume, who, with the cordial co-opera- 
tion and assistance of Mr. Alfred Emmott, M.P., Mr. John 
Holt, and others, was placed in the position of being able, 
within two months of the idea taking root, to announce the 
creation of the Congo Reform Association at the Philharmonic 
Hall, Liverpool, on March 23, at a demonstration presided 
over by Mr. Emmott. 

The aims of the Association are the restoration to the 
Natives of the Congo of the rights guaranteed to them by 
the Berlin and Brussels Acts. Otherwise stated, it has come 
into being to help on the work of Congo reform, in perhaps 
a completer and more systematised form by appealing on a 
simple issue to a much wider public than had been approached 
hitherto. The Presidency of the Association has been 
accepted by Earl Beauchamp, and its supporters already 
include ten Peers and some forty Members of Parliament, 



xvi PREFACE 

amongst others such men as Mr. John Morley, the Earls of 
Aberdeen, Damley, Listowel, and Norbury ; Lords Brassey, 
Twcedmouth, Ffrench, Kinnaird, Denman, and Overtoun ; the 
Bishops of Liverpool, Durham, Rochester, and St Asaph ; 
virtually all the prominent leaders of Nonconformity ; members 
of Parliament of both sides, including Sir Charles Dilke, Sir 
John Kennaway, Sir Gilbert Parker, John Bums, Austin 
Taylor, Richard Bell; well known personalities like Mr. 
St. Loe Strachey, Professor Bosworth Smith, Rev. Stephen 
Gladstone, Mr. W. A. Cadbury, Dr. E. Wilmot Blyden, and 
many others, together with prominent foreigners, either with 
personal knowledge of Africa and her peoples, or with special 
qualifications, such as Prince Boris ^ Czetwertynski, Count 
Hans Coudenhove, Herr Ludwig Deuss, Professor Poulteney 
Bigelow, etc.* 

Such in brief is the record of British effort against an 
evil which is both gigantic and unique. 

The clear and absolute duty of the Powers is to rid the 
Congo territories of the misrule which is decimating the 
population. They can do so, if they will, without the slightest 
difficulty. The condition of affairs on the Congo is an 
affront to humanity. Britain in taking the lead in protesting 
against that condition of affairs, is animated by no selfish 
motives. The entire movement is primarily due to the dogged 
determination of a few individuals who knew the facts, and 
were determined to do what in them lay to make the truth 
known to the world. It is emphatically not a movement for 
which official initiative openly or secretly engineered is 
responsible. That the support of other civilised peoples 
whose Governments also have their portion of moral re- 
sponsibility will eventually be forthcoming is not to be 
doubted. But to obtain that support, unflagging effort, 
undeterred by disappointment, is essentiaLt If we organise 

* It is significant of the unanimity of feeling prevailing in Great 
Britain that men, who in matters political and religious are strongly, even 
violently opposed, have found themselves able to co-operate in this cause, 
and it is a tribute to the belief in the unselfishness of the Association's aims, 
that foreigners should have allied themselves to a British organisation. 

t In August last, the Executive Committee of the Congo Reform 
Association expressed the wish that the author of this volume should 
present, on their behalf, a memorial to President Roosevelt, and should 
participate in the Boston Peace Congress, where the Congo Question was 



PREFACE 



xvii 



our forces, and pursue resolutely the course which duty and 
honour alike order us to follow, the issue is certain. It is a 
struggle well worth the waging. Our forefathers smashed 
the over-sea slave-trade, and we shall root out the modem 
inland slave-trade on the Congo. The difference between 
the two evils is that the latter is more destructive of human 
life and human happiness, and more demoralising in its 
cumulative effects than the former was, even at the height of 
its power. 

E. D. MOREL. 
Hawarden, 

1904. 

to be discussed, as the representative alike of the Congo Reform Associa- 
tion, and of other Associations and Societies with which the former is on 
terms of cordial and sympathetic co-operation. 



INTRODUCTION 

The object of this book is to place before all men who claim 
the epitiiet of civilised, the condition of the Congo territories 
after nearly twenty years of King Leopold's rule. 

It has seemed to me that at the present stage in the 
struggle against an evil which has attained enormous propor- 
tions, something more was required than a recapitulation of 
pre-existing records. I have thought that an effort should 
be made to explain with some fulness the inward causes 
leading to those outward effects of which the Congo territories 
are, and have been, for a considerable period, the scene. This 
I have endeavoured to do by defining the radical distinction 
between the development of tropical Africa by trade, which 
involves the recognition of Native rights in land and forest 
produce ; and the exploitation of Tropical Africa through the 
methods introduced, legalised, and upheld by King Leopold, 
the sole arbiter of and legislator for the destinies of tlte Congo 
Natives. 

I have tried to show that a humane, common-sense and 
just treatment of the Native races of tropical Africa by the 
European Powers reposes upon certain fundamental principles, 
which, if set aside, must inevitably lead to the adoption of an 
alternate policy profoundly immoral in itself, maintainable by 
force alone, and bound in the long run to prove economically 
and politically disastrous. 



CONTENTS 

PART I.— HISTORICAL 

CHAP. PACK 

I. The Berlin Act 3 

II. The Antecedents of the Berlin Act ... 8 

III. The Sequel to the Berlin Act and the Consti- 

tution OF THE Congo State 17 

PART II.— THE NEW AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE 

IV. Commercial Development versus Coercion . . 31 

V. How THE State destroyed Legitimate Trade in 

THE Upper Congo 39 

VI. The Economic Test of Congo State Rule 44 
VII. The Financial Test of Congo State Rule— The 

Beneficiaries by Government Slavery . . 59 
VIII. The "Property" Plea— the Congo State's Main 

Line of Defence 75 

IX. Native Land-tenure, Trade, and Labour . 89 
X. The Third Test of Congo State Rule— Militarism, 

Murder, Mutilation, and the Traffic in Arms . 102 

PART III.— THE NEW SLAVE-TRADE IN BEING 
{The Working of the System as it affects the Natives) 

XI. Congo State Control in the Central District 

(The Mongalla) 127 

XII. Congo State Control in the Central District 

(The Mongalla— The Caudron Case) . -135 

XIII. Congo State Control in the Central District 

(LOPORI AND MaRINGA) 1 54 

XIV. Congo State Control in the Northern District 171 



CONTENTS 



PART I.— HISTORICAL 

CHAF. fAC« 

I. The Berlin Act 3 

II. The Antecedents of the Berlin Act ... 8 

III. The Sequel to the Berun Act and the Consti- 

tution OF THE Congo State 17 

PART II.— THE NEW AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE 

IV. Com&iercial Development versus Coercion . .31 
V. How THE State destroyed Legitimate Trade in 

THE Upper Congo 39 

VI. The Economic Test of Congo State Rule 44 
VII. The Financial Test of Congo State Rule— The 

Beneficiaries by Government Slavery . . 59 
VIII. The "Property" Plea— the Congo State's Main 

Line of Defence 75 

IX. Native Land-tenure, Trade, and Labour . . 89 
X, The Third Test of Congo State Rule— Militarism, 

Murder, Mutilation, and the Traffic in Arms . 102 

PART III.— THE NEW SLAVE-TRADE IN BEING 
(The IVifrking of the System as it affects the Natha) 

XI. Congo State Control in the Central Disnucr 

(The Mongalla) • . M7 

XII. Congo State Control in the Central Disnucr 

(THE Mongalla-The Caudron Case) • . , y, 

XIII. Congo State Control in the Central D«i,ct 

(LOPORI AND MARINGA) . . . ^ 

XIV. CONGO state CO NTROL IN THE NORTIOwr iHsn^ 




»54 



mk 




CHAPTER I 

THE BERLIN ACT 

How it was brought about — Its aims — The principles it laid down — 

Its trustee 

*' In the Name of Ahnighty God" * 

Events of public policy are seldom dictated by causes other 
than the material interests which the Government that may 
be concerned considers necessary to uphold, on behalf of the 
nation with whose mandate it is for the time being entrusted 
The contention holds good in the case both of Democracies 
and Autocracies. Those interests in themselves may be per- 
fectly respectable and legitimate, or they may be the reverse ; 
the fact remains, that, as a rule, the aim of every Government 
is to promote the interests of its own people, to the exclusion 
and, if necessary, to the detriment of the interests of other 
peoples. The sentiment is natural, and until the millennium 
is reached, frontiers abolished, and universal brotherhood 
established as a working basis, its selfishness is as justifiable 
in ethics as it is inevitable in practice. Yet there have been 
occasions when the Government of a country has been moved 
by a sentiment divorced from selfishness — a sentiment of 
broad humanity, in its true sense. Sometimes, where the 
form of government is democratic, its action has been due to 
public opinion unmistakably expressed; sometimes to the 
intense convictions of a great statesman supreme at its council- 
board. Sometimes it has been due to the lofty ideals of a 
ruler wielding autocratic power to an unlimited extent. These 
noble exceptions have not been numerous, but they have 
occurred, and no student of history is ignorant of them. 

Now, although international jealousies contributed very 
largely to the Berlin Conference of 1885, it is unquestionable 
that the spirit displayed at that Conference and the policy 
it laid down were alike inspired by humanitarian motives — 
practical humanitarian motives. The existence of international 

* Opening to the Berlin Act. 

B 2 



4 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

rivalries in Equatorial Africa was admitted, and the desire 
to allay them expressly stipulated, as one of the principal 
reasons for the Conference. But apart from that, there 
was visible throughout the deliberations which took place in 
the course of tha framing of the clauses of the Act, a desire 
to protect the natives of Africa from injustice and expropria- 
tion ; to guarantee them in the peaceful possession of their 
land and property ; to check, as far as possible, inter-tribal 
warfare and the slave-raiding operations of Arab half-castes ; 
and to maintain and develop trade. Particular stress was 
laid upon the latter point, it being universally recognised that 
commercial intercourse is, above all things, the surest medium 
for the advancement of communities from a state of primitive 
barbarism to a greater knowledge of arts and crafts, and, 
generally speaking, to a higher conception of life. 

The motives which guided the members of the Conference 
can best be understood by the following extracts from the 
discussions. 

Prince Bismarck, in his opening speech, said : 

'' In convoking the Conference, the Imperial Government was guided 
by the conviction that all the Governments invited share the wish to bring 
the natives of Africa within the pale of civilisation by opening up the 
interior of that continent to commerce. • . •" 

** The fundamental idea of this programme is to facilitate the access of 
all commercial nations to the interior of Africa. . • .* 

" The natural development of commerce in Africa gives birth to the 
very legitimate desire to open up to civilisation the territories which are 
at present unexplored and unoccupied. • • •" 

Sir Edward Malet, representing Great Britain, said : 

'' I cannot forget that the natives are not represented amongst us, and 
that the decisions of the Conference will, nevertheless, have an extreme 
importance for them. The principle which will command the sympathy 
and support of Her Majesty's Government will be that of the advance- 
ment of legitimate commerce, with securities for the equsdity of treat- 
ment of all nations, and for the well-being of the native races. ..." * 

'* But I think this Conference, on careful examination of the question, 
will recognise the necessity of providing more in detail for the absolute 
equality of treatment of the subjects of aU Powers as regards duties and 
direct and indirect taxes, residence, liberty to trade and travel, use of 
roads and railroads^ coasting trade, and rehgious freedom. • . .** t 

** I make it a pomt of placing it on record that the regime of fi'eedom 
of commerce in the Conventional Basin of the Congo ... is without 
limit as to duration. . • •" t 

* Protocol No. I. Protocols and General Act of the West African 
Conference, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her 
Majesty, March, 1885. 

t Protocol No. I, op. cit, 

X Protocol No. 8, op. cit. 



THE BERLIN ACT S 

Mr. Kasson, representing the United States, said : 

" It was the earnest desire of the Government of the United States 
that these discoveries should be utilised for the civilisation of the native 
races, and for the abolition of the slave-trade ; and that early action 
should be taken to avoid international conflicts likely to arise from 
national rivahry in the acquisition of special privileges in the vast region 
so suddenly exposed to commercial enterprise. If that country could be 
neutralised against aggression with equal privileges for all, such an 
arrangement ought, in Uie opinion of my Government, to secure general 
satisfoction. • • ."* 

The Marquis of Penafiel, representing Portugal, said that 
his Government 

** shares entirely the far-reaching ideal, so nobly expressed . . . that 
conmierdal relations which will become extended in the African Conti- 
nent will serve the cause of peace and humanity." t 

Baron Lambermont, representing Belgium, and Baron de 
Courcel, representing France, aflix^ their signatures to the 
report of the " Commission charged with examining the pro- 
ject of declaration relating to freedom of commerce in the 
Basin of the Congo, and its affluents," which report contains 
the following passages : — 

^ In immense countries, where communications are rare or imperfect, 
where the traffic is carried on by primitive or special means, where, in 
£act, the administrative machinery is in a great part wanting, reason in 
harmony with experience advises leaving to commerce a great liberty of 
action. . . .^ 

" No doubt whatever exists as to the strict and literal sense which 
should be applied to the term Mn commercial matters.' It refers 
exclusively to traffic, to the unlimited power of every one to sell and to 
buy, to import and export products and manufactured articles. No 
privileged position can be conferred under this head ; the way remains 
open without any restrictions to free competition in the domain of 
commerce." 

** To develop commerce it is not sufficient to open ports or to remove 
custom-house barriers. Without merchants there is no commerce. If 
one wishes to attract merchants towards distant countries still imperfectly 
known, it is necessary to surround with guarantees that which is of 
essential interest to them, their persons, their goods, the acquisition of 
property, the right of inheritance^ and the exercise of professions. Such 
IS the object of the stipulation which terminates Article ^. It protects not 
only merchants, but comprises all foreigners and the pioneers of civilisa- 
tion as well as those of commerce. . . ."t 

Baron de Courcel made the additional declaration : 

** But beyond the special stipulation of Article 4, we have recognised 
and sanctioned a certain number of principles which assure the applica- 
tion of freedom of commerce in the Basin of the Congo against all 

* Protocol No. 3. ^. d/. t Protocol No. 2, op. ciL 

i Annex i to Protocol 4, op. cit. 



6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

infraction in the future. The prohibition of differential duties, of 
monopolies or privileges, and of all inequality of treatment to the 
prejudice of persons belonging to a foreign nationality is affected by no 
umitation of^ time. The good which results therefrom should be con- 
sidered as a definite acquisition." * 

At the final sitting of the Conference, Prince Bismarck 
made use of these words : 

" The resolutions which we are about to sanction formally secure to 
the trade of all nations free access to the interior of the African Continent. 
The guarantees which will be provided for freedom of trade in the Basin 
of the Congo . . . are such as to afford the most favourable conditions 
for the development and security of the trade and industry of all nations. 
In another series of regulations you have shown much careful solicitude 
for the moral and physical welfare of the native races, and we may cherish 
the hope that the principle adopted in a spirit of wise moderation will 
bear fruit and will help to introduce these populations to the advantages 
of civilisation.'' f 

His sentiments were echoed by Count de Launay, repre- 
senting Italy, who remarked : 

" Whatever may be the future reserved for our work, which is subject 
to the vicissitudes of all things human, we can, for the present at least, 
testify that we have neglected nothing in the bounds of possibility for 
opening as far as the centre of the African continent a wide route to the 
moral and material progress of the native tribes, and the development 
of the general interests of commerce. We have at the same time aided 
the cause of religion, of peace, and of humanity, and enlarged the field 
of international law.'' % 

These aspirations expressed by the plenipotentiaries are 
to be found embodied, in brief, in the following clauses of the 
Berlin Act : — 

" Article i. The trade of all nations shall enjoy complete freedom. 

" Article 5. No Power which exercises, or shall exercise, sovereign 
rights in the above-mentioned regions shall be allowed to grant therein 
a monopK)ly or favour of any kind in matters of trade. 

" Article 7. All the Powers exercising sovereign rights or influence 
in the aforesaid territories bind themselves to watch over the preservation 
of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of 
their moral well-being, and to help in suppressing slavery, and especially 
the slave-trade." 

Thus, as it might have been supposed for many years, if 
not for all time, a vast portion of Equatorial Africa had been 
deliberately excluded from international rivalry ; a vast field 
had been thrown open to the legitimate trade of all nations ; 
a policy had been devised which would serve as an example 
and moral in the relations of all European States with the 

* Protocol No. 8, op. cit. t Protocol No. 10, op, cit 

X Protocol No. 10, op. cit. 



THE BERLIN ACT 7 

natives of Africa, a policy at once broad, practical, and 
humane, a policy truly civilising, upright, and sound. 

The " Congo Free State " was solemnly recognised as a 
friendly State, and became a distinct entity under the sympa- 
thetic sponsorship of the Powers. To King Leopold IL of 
Belgium, constitutional monarch of a neutral country, was 
assigned the trusteeship of this great territory so brimful of 
possibilities, was entrusted this great experiment which 
seemed to inaugurate an era of lofty effort and high moral 
purpose. How came it that King Leopold should have been 
selected to that proud position, and how has King Leopold 
fulfilled hb trust > 



CHAPTER II 

THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE BERLIN ACT 

The Conference of 1876 — Foundation of the International Association— 
The germination of a "State"— The professed objects of King 
Leopold— His specific pledges. 

" Is it necessary for me to say that in inviting yon to Brosaels, 
I have not been guided by egotism ? No, ^:entiemen, if Belgium 
is small, Belgium is happy and content with her lot ••• but I 
should be pleased to think that this civilising movement had been 
inaugurated from Brussels."— Kinq Leopold, September Z3, 
Z876, at the International Conference held in Brussels, from v^hich 
was bom the " International Association for the Exploration and 
Civilisation of Central Africa." 

"The spirit of this proposed government is free trade, free 
commerce^ unrestricted entoprise, self-supported arbitration on all 
subjects likely to provoke misunderstandings between man and 
man, impartial adjudication on all points between sutjects irre- 
spective of colour, creed, or nationality ; paternal care of each of 
its subjects' rights, whether black or white, irrespective of rank or 
social status ; encouragement of all enteiprise likely to promote 
the vTell-being of the State; abstention from interference in 
domestic and private matters where the ^blic v^eUare is uncon- 
cerned ; in short, a government paternal, just, discreet, calculated 
to promote happiness and contentment" — Stanley, at the 
Manchester Town Hall, October 2z, Z8B4, urpng the recognition 
by Great Britain of the International Association. 

** With regard to the question, how it is proposed to govern the 
Congo State, the legislation of the Con^ territory, subject to 
the supervision and control of the Association, shall be based upon 
the prmciples of law recognised by civilised nations, and upon the 
p hi lan t hropic principles set forth in the well-known plan of the 
Association, whose aim is to dvilise Africa by encouragement 
given to legitimate trade. • . ."—Manifesto of the International 
Association, which subsequently became the " Independent State 
of the Congo." 

Africa, the Urra incognita of the Western world, the land 
of darkness and of mystery, of monstrous fables and eccentric 
legends, passed by swift transition in the sixties and seventies 
of last century to be the cynosure of all eyes, the loadstar of 
popular imagination, and in a lesser degree the preoccupa- 
tion of European Governments. This revolution in modem 
thought concerning Africa had been brought about by the 




Phctograpk hy Elliott &- Fry 



THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE BERLIN ACT 9 

sensational discoveries of Burton, Speke and Grant, Baker 
and Schweinfurth, and Livingstone. In i876» King Leopold 
II., constitutional monarch of Belgium, which owed its 
poUticad independence to the London Congress of 1830, and 
die preservation of its threatened neutrality to the action 
of the British Government in 1870, invited an international 
Conference to Brussels, to consider the best means which 
could be devised to open up the centre of the Dark Continent 
to European civilisation. Dreams of colonial expansion had 
before that date been nursed by the Belgian monarch, who 
was carefid, however, to assure the assembled explorers and 
scientists at Brussels of the absolute disinterestedness of his 
intentions. The upshot of the Conference was the creation 
of an '* International Association for the Exploration and 
Civilisation of Central Africa," and of which King Leopold 
naturally assumed the presidency. 

After some tentative efforts on the part of the Associa- 
tion from the East Coast, which did not lead to anything 
practical, Stanley suddenly emerged at the mouth of the 
Congo^ from his celebrated voyage across the continent, 
revealing to the world the existence and course of that 
mighty river. 

King Leopold, realising the immense importance of the 
discovery, and its possible effect upon the vaguely ambitious 
projects he was harbouring, hastened to get in touch with the 
great explorer, whose services he succeeded in enlisting. 
The energies of the Association, and of the Comiti d Etudes 
du Haut Congo* — a sort of dual organisation, responding to 
one sole directing will, the King's — were hencefoith concen- 
trated upon the Congo. Stanley went out on behalf of the 
Association in 1879, and again in 1882, making treaties with 
chiefs, founding posts, and establishing a plausible basis in 
Africa for pending developments on the European chess-board 

Step by step the real motives inspiring the King's initial 
action in 1876 were coming to the fore. In the earliest stages 
His Majesty invited, in effect, the world to regard him as a 
second Henry the Navigator. As a philanthropist he has 
ever posed, but by 1880 the idea of an African State of which 
he should be the European sovereign had already defined 
itself very clearly in His Majesty's mind, and given to his 
philanthropy that severely practical side for which it has been 
ever remarkable. 

With the rivalry between Stanley and de Brazza on the 
banks of the Congo, and the dispute between France and 
the Association in respect to the Niadi-Kwilu, it is unnecessary 
* Which had been created in 1880. 



lo KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to deal here. These historical incidents have been frequently 
narrated, with slight variations as to dates and motives, by 
Mr. Fox-Bourne,* by M. Cattier,t M. Jean Darcy,t and others ; 
and apart from the fact that I could not hope to improve 
upon what has been written hitherto on that subject, my 
object is to steer clear of all matters not absolutely germane 
to the question at issue. The event that precipitated the 
rapidly maturing plans pursued by King Leopold with a 
pertinacity which, had the outcome of his intervention been 
anything but what it is, could be described as magnificent, 
was the Anglo- Portuguese Treaty of February 26, 1884, 
which Sir Charles Dilke and, subsequently, Lord Edmund 
Fitzmaurice (Lord Lansdowne's brother), were prominently 
concerned in drafting. By this Treaty Portugal's claim to 
the coast-line between the 8° and 5*" 12" of latitude south 
was recognised by Great Britain, together with a strip of 
territory on both sides of the river Congo as far as Noki, 
Portugal thus obtaining the mouth of the river. In exchange 
for the recognition of this claim, which, as Sir Charles Dilke 
puts it, " historically considered, was, in my opinion good," § 
Portugal pledged herself, amongst other things, to a moderate 
tariff, and to a strict equality of commercial treatment for all 
nations. The objects of this Treaty were several, but to King 
Leopold it conveyed a plain intimation that the true aims of 
the Association had been perceived by the British Govern- 
ment, and that the African sceptre fondly caressed in his 
imagination was slipping from his grasp. But King Leopold 
rose to the occasion, and succeeded in bringing off a signal 
diplomatic victory. 

General Henry Sandford || (King Leopold's political bag- 
man for America, as Stanley had become his mouthpiece for 
England) reported glibly about territory having been ceded 
to the Association "for the use and benefit of free states 
established and being established" — what a grisly satire it 
seems in these days I — and begged for American recognition 
of the Association as an ** independent State." The United 
States Government acceded to this request. This action, 
undertaken, as has long since been apparent, on assurances 
for which there was no basis in fact, confers a peculiar 

♦ " Civilisation in Congoland." H. R. Fox-Bourne (P. S. King & Son). 

t " Droit et Administration de PEtat Ind^pendant du Congo." F. 
Cattier. 

t " Cent ann^es de rivalit^ coloniale." Jean Darcy. 

§ " Civilisation in Africa." Cosmopolis. 

H Subsequently one of the two American representatives at the Berlin 
Conference. 



THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE BERLIN ACT ii 

responsibility upon the American people in connection with 
the state of affairs prevailing in the Congo territories to-day.* 

Simultaneously with the successful efforts to win over 
America, Stanley went to London and Manchester to stir 
up the West African mercantile community against the 
Treaty, which was not popular in Europe, and not favoured 
by the merchant firms established on the Congo (who were 
then doing a very considerable trade), for the identical 
reasons which Stanley skilfully played upon in addressing 
his English audiences. The London and Manchester Chambers 
of Commerce believed what Stanley told them as to the aims 
of King Leopold, and, backed by the Press, started what Sir 
Harry Johnston has called '' a nonsensical agitation " against 
the Treaty. The difficulties of the British Government, already 
considerable, were intensified by the home opposition, and 
finally the Treaty was abandoned. 

Meanwhile tiie international position in Africa was 
singularly complicated. The interests of France, Portugal, 
England, and the Association — that is to say. King Leopold 
— ^were all more or less involved. An inextricable jumble was 
the result, and when Bismarck suggested a conference, the 
various parties concerned acquiesced. Whatever may have 
been uppermost in the famous Chancellor's thoughts at the 
time, there can be no doubt that the Conference embodied a 
great idea and a grand ideal 

The Conference met, took expert advice, discussed and 
elaborated with extreme care a series of principles which 
should regulate European policy in Tropical Africa. The 
result of the Conference, so far as the Association was con- 
cerned, was a foregone conclusion before it had completed its 
labours. Indeed, before the Conference closed, the lead 
given by the United States had been followed by the Powers 
of Europe. But the recognition desired, and obtained by 
King Leopold, was a recognition founded upon certain 
pledges specifically made by his representatives. In the 

• The American Government did not ratify the Berlin Act, but its 
representatives took a prominent part in the Conference, as also in the 
Brussels Conference, and concluded, moreover, in 1891 a separate treaty 
with the Congo State, which secured to American citizens "the treat- 
ment of the most favoured nation in all that relates to rights, privileges, 
exemptions," etc. It should be borne in mind that in his message to 
Congress (December, 1883) explaining the reasons for the initiative 
taken by the United States in recognising the Association, President 
Arthur said, " The objects of this Society are philanthropic ; it does not 
aim at permanent political control." The gravity of the special obliga- 
tion resting upon the American Government is fully recognised in the 
American Memorial addressed to Congress and presented by Senator 
Morgan on April 19, 1904. 



12 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

^Exchange of Declarations" between the British Govern- 
ment and the Association, done at Berlin on December i6, 
1884, the Assodation is described as having been '' founded 
by His Majesty the King of the Belgians, for the purpose of 
promoting the civilisation and commerce of Africa, and for 
other humane and benevolent purposes'^ It is further stated in 
that document (the "Free States" myth being studiously 
kept to the fore) : 

" That the Association and the said Free States will do 
all in their power to prevent the slave-trade, and to sup- 
press slavery." On the faith of these assurances the British 
Government declared " their sympathy with, and approval of, 
the humane and benevolent purposes of the Association." 
Those pledges given by the A^ssociation were amplified and 
set forth clearly and succinctly in the General Act of the 
Conference of Berlin, signed by the Powers collectively, 
which Act became the charter of the new State's existence, 
as is expressly admitted in the Belgian code of laws known 
as the Pandectes Beiges, and as was no less explicitly avowed 
at the close of the Conference by Count van der Straeten- 
Ponthoz, delegate for Belgium, in the following terms : 

" The Acts of the Conference give practically effect to the bold and 
generous ideas conceived by His Majesty. The Belgian Government and 
nation will, therefore, gratefully adhere to the work elaborated bv the 
High Assembly, thanks to which the existence of the New State is hence- 
forth assured, whilst rules have been laid down by which the general 
interests of humanity will profit. ^^ 

The Powers believed in the pledges of King Leopold ; 
pledges categorically defined in the "Exchange of Decla- 
rations " with Great Britain and the United States ; pledges 
recapitulated by the President of the International Associa- 
tion, Colonel Strauch, in the following terms : 

" The Conference to which it is my duty to render homage would, I 
venture to hope, consider the accession of a Power whose exclusive 
mission is to introduce civilisation and trade into the centre of Africa 
as a further pledge of the fruits which its important labour must 
produce ; " 

pledges given in reiterated and glowing periods, and doubt- 
less quite sincerely at the time, by Stanley before the London 
and Manchester Chambers of Commerce. King Leopold 
had devoted his revenues to the work of the Association ; he 
had given expression to such earnest and philanthropic senti- 
ments, he appeared to be animated by feelings so eminently 
worthy of respect and admiration, that Mr. Busch, the repre- 
sentative of Germany, presiding over the last sitting of the 



THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE BERLIN ACT 13 

Conference, was only saying what was the generally accepted 
opinion at the time when he declared : 

** We all do justice to the high aim of the undertaking 
to which His Majesty the King of the Belgians has affixed 
his name." 

Such were the circumstances under which King Leopold, 
constitutional monarch of Belgium, became trustee for one 
million square miles of African territory, and guardian of, 
perhaps, some twenty million Africans. 

It is, I think, especially important to-day, that no shadow 
of doubt should be entertained by a single person in regard 
to the nature of the pledges given by King Leopold to the 
world, through his representatives, at the time the Congo 
State was in process of birth, and prior, therefore, to its 
baptism. The statements already quoted cannot, of course, 
allow of hesitation on the point ; nevertheless, we shall find 
much valuable and additional proof in the speeches delivered 
by Stanley on behalf of the Association in London * and 
Manchester in 1884.! Here are some extracts from the 
London speech on " Civilisation and Commerce " : 

**We wish" {i.e. the Association) ''to secure equal rights to all, and 
the utmost freedom of commerce. . . .'' 

^ While we travelled through and through the Congo lands, making 
roads, stations, negotiating for privileges, surveying the vast area, teach- 
ing and preparing the natives for the near advent of a bright and happy 
future for ttiem, winning them by gentleness, appeasing their passions, 
inculcating commercial principles, showing to them the nature of the 
produce that would be marketable t when the white man should come ; 
and everywhere accepted as their friends and bene&ctors. . . .** 

'* Commerce cannot expand in a new-bom region like the Congo Basin, 
if it is not relieved of all fear of that dread Portuguese tariff.* 

''At the Conference" (the Conference of 1876, at which King Leopold 
disclaimed all " egotism '0 ** it ^^s recommended to establish hospitable 
and scientific stations under a flag, which was to be blue with a gold star 
in the centre, figurative, I suppose, of the morning star, forerunner of the 
light that was to shine over the Dark Continent. One of the objects of 
the Association was to influence as much as possible the suppression of 
the slave-trade in the interior." 

" The purpose of the Association is to compel commerce and industry 
to follow it eagerly by the very inviting prospects held before commercisu 
and industrial enterprise." 

At Manchester, on October 21, 1884, those magnificent 

* Supplement to the ChanUfer of Commerce yaumal^ Sept 19, 1884. 

t Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Special meeting held on 
Tuesday, October 21, 1884, in the large room of the Town Hall, Albert 
Square, Manchester. 

t Will the reader please note the word ** marketable," and refer to 
Chapter VI.? 



14 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

promises and sentiments were renewed. Stanley, who had 
been staying the day previous with Mr. J. F. Hutton, Presi- 
dent of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the father of 
my friend Mr. J. Arthur Hutton, the present Chairman of the 
West African Section of that Chamber, had so impressed his 
host that the latter, upon introducing Stanley to the meeting 
at the Town Hall, exclaimed — 

** He is here to tell us that these millions on the banks of the Congo 
are eager for our trade ; he is here also to show us how the freedom of 
those Africans may be maintained, and how the complete freedom of 
commerce of all countries may be established, and how all the customs 
houses and all vexatious restrictions and impediments to trade may be 
utterly abolished and swept away from the banks of the Congo.'' 

Freedom of commerce, synonymous with the freedom of 
the native — that was, and is, the truth — the truth we are 
preaching now ; the truth embodied in the Berlin Act ; the 
truth enunciated by Stanley; the truth King Leopold and 
his agents bound themselves on their personal honour and 
by public pledges to adhere to. Let us remember these 
solemn and reiterated pledges as we follow the developments 
of a surprising evolution. 

On a par with assurances of freedom to the native, en- 
couragement of commerce, suppression of evils, holy horror 
of the hateful tariff, were the protestations of philanthropic 
motive. Listen to them ! 

"Whatever you do contrary to the Association, or adverse to its 
aspirations, you cannot impoverish the Association. The ;£ 500,000 
sterling which it has given away to the Congo it gave freely, the thousands 
of pounds which it may give annually it gives without any hope of return 
further than a sentimental satisfaction, therefore you cannot injure it 
pecuniarily." (Manchester.) 

'' Scheme we have none, further than to civilise the Congo Basin, dis- 
countenance the slave-trade, keep the road thither open and imtaxed for 
commerce to enter, improve communications in every possible way to the 
extent of its means, keep the peace between man and man, and administer 
what wise laws may be framed for our guidance, and such as are necessary 
in Christian communities." (Manchester.) 

" This society has as little to do wiUi Belgium, as a State, as any 
society in Manchester. It is simply a private society, with a rich prince 
at the head, whose home is in Belgium, and, therefore, it has its head- 
quarters in Brussels. A sentiment animates it — viz. good will to all men, 
white or black, a spirit of free trade, and unrestricted intercourse." 
(Manchester.) 

" Though they understand the satisfaction of a sentiment when applied 
to England, they are slow to understand that it may be a sentiment that 
induced King Leopold II. to father this International Association. He is 
a dreamer, like his confrhres in the work, because the sentiment is applied 
to the neglected millions of the Dark Continent. They cannot appreciate 
rightly, because there are no dividends attached to it, this restless, ardent. 



THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE BERLIN ACT 15 

vivifying and expansive sentiment, which seeks to extend civilising 
influences among the dark races, and to brighten up with the glow of 
civilisation the dark places of sad-browed Amca. . . . Who knows but 
that in some distant future the memories of the founders of the Inter- 
national Association will be also revered as the principal factor in the 
civilisation of regenerated Africa ? " (London.) 

"R^enerated Africa," I wonder whether Sir Henry 
M. Stanley, cited to-day (unjustly, I believe, for Sir Henry 
is an invalid living in the glorious pioneering days of the 
past, with no knowledge of the sordid ends to which his great 
work has been applied) * in conjunction with Sir Hugh Gilzean 
Reid, Sir Alfred Jones (Consul for the Congo State in Liver- 
pool), and Mr. Demetrius Boulger, as defenders of the Congo 
State, ever reads his old speeches. 

Is it surprising that such eloquence won over his hearers ? 
Is it surprising that the Manchester Chamber of Commerce 
expressed by resolution " its warm sympathy with the earnest 
efforts of His Majesty the King of the Belgians to establish 
civilisation and free trade f in the Upper Congo," and 
recommended that " the Independent State or States proposed 
to be founded there may be recognised by all nations, and 
that the beneficent work there inaugurated may be ultimately 
extended throughout the whole of that river from its source 
to its mouth." No wonder the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty 
was unpopular in England ! No wonder that a score of 
splendid men gathered at first round the blue banner with 
the golden star! No wonder the Aborigines Protection 
Society enrolled King Leopold as one of its members ! No 
wonder that all Europe, bowing in respectful admiration at 
the philanthropy of a royal " Peabody," at the re-incarnation 
with added virtues born of advancement in culture and 
civilisation, of a Henry the Navigator, feeling the utmost 
confidence in the integrity, the sense of honour and enlightened 
statesmanship of the Belgian monarch, placed the fate of 

* Since these words were written the great explorer has passed away. 
Taking the man's work as a whole, there is nothing grander in the history 
of exploration and geographical discovery. And there is nothing more 
pitiful than the results which have followed that work. In a recenUy 
published article by Sir Harry Johnston, the latter says of Stanley, " The 
last ^ear of his life was certainly embittered by the gradual growing 
conviction that he had been the indirect means of placing in the Congo 
Basin a Power more imscrupulous and more disastrous in its results 
than might have grown up under the flag of Islam.'' What a picture of 
infinite pathos 1 

t Trade already existed in the Upper Congo, as Stanley specially 
emphasised (see Chapter VII.), but the desire was to keep it "free" — 
free firom interference by vexatious enactments. Do not let us forget this. 
That ^ade itself could be threatened never entered the head of any one. 



i6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

millions of African natives, and the destiny of an immense 
portion of the Dark Continent, with all its promises of future 
good for Africa and for Europe, in the hands of the *' rich 
prince," who, scorning dividends, imbued with views the 
highest and loftiest which could enrich the human mind and 
stir the human heart, had prepared the way for a ** Regene- 
rated Africa ! " 



CHAPTER III 

THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT, AND THE 
CONSTITUTION OF THE CONGO STATE 

There is an impression, very widely existing among the people 
in the Congo State, that when this money is voted by the Brussels 
Conference, there will be war and raids instead of any beneficial 
resnlt, and that great evils will erow far greater than the slave- 
trade, as existing at present (Hear, hearO We contend that it 
ong[ht to be suppressed by judicious efforts, by the extension of 
leptimate commerce, by fair consideration for the natives, by 
bemg just to the Arabs and enlisting their sympathy, and not by 
exterminating the natives or the Arabs in a series of wars."— 
Mr. F. W. Fox.* 

Five years had passed since the foundation of the '/ Congo 
Free State" — a short five years, which had brought many 
lessons, unpalatable disclosures^ bitter disillusion. The veil 
of philanthropic motive concealing the face of the Congo 
sphinx had been brushed aside somewhat, and the features 
which it concealed were not nearly so benign as the world 
had had reason to expect from the many honeyed words 
previously uttered. Strange tales were filtering through 
from Africa anent the treatment of natives by the Belgian 
agents of the new State. Somehow or other they hardly 
tallied with the antecedent professions of humanitarian pur- 
pose. One heard of numerous combats ; of cannibal Bangalas 
in the employ of the State who feasted upon the bodies of 
natives slain in these encounters; of Congo State officers 
receiving tribute of slaves and ivory — for all the world like 
the half-caste Arabs whose evil deeds they were denouncing 
up hill and down dale. With the chief of these same Arabs^f 
the Congo State, through Stanley, had contracted a singular 
alliance, installing him as Governor of Stanley Falls, furnish- 
ing him with a specimen of that flag which was to have been 
the ** forerunner of the light that was to shine over the Dark 
Continent ; " buying that ivory from him of which " every 

* Speaking at the Conference of African merchants, held at the rooms 
of the London Chamber of Commerce, November 4, 1890. 
t Hamed-ben-Mohamed, otherwise Tippu-Tib. 

C 



i8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

pound weight," according to Stanley, had '' cost the life of a 
man, woman, or child," and selling it in Europe, while severely 
taxing its export where merchants were concerned. All this 
might be susceptible of explanation, but it was rather sur- 
prising. It did not accord, somehow, with that glowing report 
to the " Sovereign-King," of which the first paragraph read 
as follows : '' La repression de la traite des esclaves a 6t6 
Tun des objets principaux poursuivis par votre Majesty d^s 
Torigine des entreprises beiges au Congo." That was all 
very well, and there had been some skirmishes with Arab 
bands ; on the other hand, there was that hoary-headed old 
sinner, master at Stanley Falls, furnishing the State with 
ivory ''for gold payable at Zanzibar." A singular military 
complexion, too, for a philanthropic undertaking, was being 
given to the State. Between 1885 and 1888 tiie military 
forces of the State had doubled. In 1889 they reached a 
total of 23 officers, 29 non-commissioned officers, and 2200 
'' regulars ;" but the most cheerful expectations were officially 
held out as to forthcoming increases. '' We can count," ran 
an official report, " in the Bangala country alone upon 5000 
militia, and in the neighbourhood of the Aruwimi and Stanley 
Falls upon at least 3000 men." Here was a prospect of un- 
limited military expenditure which the ''rich prince" was, 
apparently, caressing. A "series of military operations" 
undertaken to "rally" the populations of Upoto, N'Dobo, 
Yambinga, etc., had seemingly necessitated the import in 
1888 of "three maxims and sixteen bronze cannons." Men 
rubbed their foreheads and wondered whether they were 
dreaming. The merchants in the Congo, instead of finding 
an ally in the new State, had discovert a formidable com- 
petitor. Trade, instead of being encouraged, was being 
heavily handicapped. Advantage had been taken of the 
silence of the Berlin Act in the matter of export duties, to 
impose export duties aggregating ;f 50,000 on a year's export 
trade of ^ 175,000 1 'Die most fantastic licences had been 
clapped upon every object used by traders. A man had to 
pay £2 for every rowing-boat, £4 for every sailing-boat, ;f 14 
for every steam-lighter, ;f 40 for every steamer over 50 tons 
burthen ; Sd. per square yard for lodgings for black workmen, 
Ss. 4d, per head for every black workman. Rubber was taxed 
;f 20 per ton ; ivory, £80 per ton. The merchants hardly saw 
the force of being made to pay for the military adventures 
in operation above the Cataracts. It was not part of the 
bargain. They b^an to sigh for that defunct Anglo- 
Portuguese Treaty. More curious still, the State, which had 
passed a decree proclaiming all "vacant land" to be its 



THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT 19 

property, was beginning to display a singular method of 
interpreting the word " vacant." The grotesque absurdity 
of a r^ulation forbidding the hunting of the elephant 
** throughout the whole extent of the State's territory without 
special permission/' when three-quarters of the Congo terri- 
tories were even unexplored, was seen to have a peculiar side 
to it in view of the State's own transactions in that article. 
Another regulation prohibiting the trade in rubber and gum- 
copal in the Aruwimi district under penalty of a fine of 50 
to 2000 francs, was hardly less singular. In short, the cha- 
racter of the new dispensation was already as unlike its 
published programme as chalk from cheese. 

Meanwhile Cardinal Lavigerie was preaching a holy 
crusade against the African internal slave-trade. He found 
a zealous convert, needless to remark, in the philanthropic 
Sovereign of the Congo State, to whom it is said Lavigerie 
suggested the assassination of the worthy Governor of Stanley 
FsdU, the eminently respectable Tippu-Tib.* King Leopold 
preferred to summon a Conference at Brussels, of which the 
Brussels General Act was the outcome. This Conference, 
to which the signatory Powers of the Berlin Act adhered, 
as well as the United States, which had not ratified the 
former, laid down a series of the most excellent rules. Its 
virtual, although not intended, effect was to give King Leopold 
a plausible justification for raising an enormous army of can- 
nibal mercenaries wherewith to destroy the power of the Arab 
slave-traders (who held enormous stocks of ivory), and to levy 
import duties to help to pay for the military conquests and 
promenades he was planning. 

It is of little avail to cry over spilled milk, but one cannot 
but feel amazed at the fatuity of the Powers — Holland 
excepted — in allowing themselves to be so entirely hood- 
winked. However, hoodwinked thty were, and all the 
pledges of the International Association and its agents with 
r^ard to the preservation of " free trade " — that is to say, of 
trade unhampered by those unpleasant customs dues, the fear 
of which had destroyed the Anglo-Portuguese Trea^ — went 
by the board. The merchants protested in no uncertain voice. 
The Dutch Government gave them its support, and at a 
meeting held at the London Chamber of Commerce on 
November 4, 1900, under tiie chairmanship of Sir Albert 
RoUit, M.P., British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese mer- 
chants vigorously denounced the hypocrisy of Africa's 
regenerator, whose Government — in the words of M. Beraud 
— ''has done nothing whatever in the interests of traders that 
* Pierre MiUe, *" Au Congo Beige." 



20 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

they found there." They were accused, for their pains, of 
wishing to encourage the slave-trade I The half-dozen pam- 
phlets which were bandied about at that time by upholders 
and critics of the Leopoldian regime did not leave much 
shred of respectability to the ''Independent State of the 
Congo," whose champions failed to meet the damaging 
exposure of its methods, as already apparent beneath the 
mask of philanthropic intent. But the Powers had committed 
themselves. Holland could not hold out alone indefinitely. 
The merchants had prepared their bed, and they had to lie 
on it In brief, King Leopold had his way, and with prestige 
enormously increased, fortified by loans contracted with 
Belgium, which but for the Brussels Act he would probably 
not have obtained, provided with an additional source of 
revenue which might under certain circumstances have become 
considerable, the Sovereign of the Congo State started upon 
his African career in grim earnest 

At this stage it is necessary to touch upon the personal 
part played by, and the individual responsibility of King 
Leopold in framing the policy pursued by the Congo State 
since 1890. 

It has been the custom, it is even now the custom, of 
people who prefer to indulge in vague and nebulous state- 
ments rather than face the facts as they are^ to lay the blame 
for the evil policy which has been put into operation, and for 
the evil deeds which have necessarily accompanied it, upon 
the King's advisers in Brussels, and the King's agents in 
Africa. The contention is wholly and absolutely at variance 
with the constitution of the State in the first place, and with 
demonstrable facts in the second place. It is also contrary 
to common sense. We need not go beyond Belgian authori- 
ties to prove this, superfluous as any argument on the subject 
must be to all who are acquainted with the Congo problem. 

The most able and learned treatise on the constitution 
of the "Independent State of the Congo" is the work of 
Professor F. Cattier, of the Brussels University. In Part III., 
under the title of "Droit public et droit administratif" he 
defines in its judicial aspect the distinction between the 
" essential principles of the Belgian Constitution (Droit 
Public)" and the "essential principles of the Congo Con- 
stitution (droit Public Congolais)." 

" In Belgium," says Professor Cattier, " the King is but one of the 
Uustees of the national sovereignty. Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. 
Quite different is the situation in the Independent State of the Congo. 
Sovereignty does not reside in the Congolese nation, it is vested in die 
person of the Sovereign. Leopold II. is not the trustee, but the titulary 



THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT 21 

of sovereignty. All the rights and all the duties of Government are sum- 
marised and incorporated in his person.^ In Belgium the nation has in 
its Constitution arranged for the delegation of the attributes of sovereignty. 
It has created and organised its powers, regulated its forms and means 
of action, guaranteed specific rights to citizens. In the Congo the 
Sovereign, being the titulary of the sovereignty absolute {toute entire) is 
the direct fountain-head of the legislative, executive, and judicial power. 
He can, if he chooses, exercise these powers directly and personally. He 
can, if he prefers it, delegate the execution of the same to certain officials 
or bodies of officials. That delegation has no other fountain-head but 
his will. He settles as he pleases the nature and the limits of the dele- 
gation to which he consents. He can, at any moment, cancel or modify 
them. His will cannot meet with any judicial obstacle. Leopold II. 
would say, from this point of view, and with greater accuracy than did 
Louis XIV., *The State, it is I.' . . . Leopold II., titulary of Congolese 
Sovereignty, exercises it without being checked by any constitutional 
link. He is the absolute master of the whole of the internal and external 
activity of the Independent State. He can frame such laws as may appear 
good to him to settle questions of public and private law, except respect 
due to treaties.^ The organisation of justice, the army, the financial 
systems, the industrial and commercial rigimes^ are established freely by 
himself according to the idea, be it accurate or faulty, which he has of 
their utility or efficacy. He regulates with the same independence all 
the external relations of the State ; the despatch and reception of diplo- 
matic and consular agents, the treaties, the negotiations, the alliances and 
the general policy of a State dependent upon him alone,X In a word, 
Leopold II. possesses personally and exercises personally^ save where he 
thinks it advisable to delegate them to others, all the prerogatives that 
popular custom (^droit des gens) reco^ises to Sovereign States \ No 
constitutional rule confines the exercise of these prerogatives. On the 
other hand^ his will is subordinate to the respect of international treaties 
which the Congo State (PEtat du Congo) has concluded,^ 1" 

That is plain enough. Trustee to the Powers for the 
performances of certain pledges, King Leopold, apart from 
this, is the lord and master absolute over one million square 
miles of African territory, and over the lives of many 
millions of human beings, not even the judicial establishment 
being independent. How could it be, under such a regime of 
absolute and unlimited despotism? The judicial establish- 
ment** of the Congo State cannot, indeed, be treated seriously. 
That there are some well-intentioned men connected with it 
need not be doubted, but they cannot go beyond a certain 
point. At a given stage their capacity for usefulness disappears. 

* Italics mine. 

t Italics Professor Cattier's. 

X Italics mine. 

§ Italics Professor Cattier's. 

I Italics Professor Cattier's. 

T Italics Professor Cattier's. 

•• For fuller particulars of the Judicial establishment of the State, the 
reader is referred to F. Cattier, op, cit.y Speyer, " Comment nous goveraons 
le Congo," and Lycops, " Codes congolais et lois usuelles." 



22 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

They cannot expose the system of the Government whose 
servants they are, much less condemn it The judge who 
presides over the Court of First Instance at Boma is an 
official named by the King, and revocable at his pleasure : 
the Boma Appeal Court is composed of a president and two 
judges, revocable ad nutunt. The minutes of the trials and 
judgments passed by these Courts upon individuals guilty 
of perpetrating atrocities upon the natives are invariably 
suppressed by the Government Then there is the famous 
Conseil Sup&ieur in Brussels, constituted in 1889, and 
composed of individuals named without exception by the 
King. Another peculiarity of the judicial establishment 
is that a Belgian condemned in the Congo for atrocities 
upon the natives cannot be prosecuted in Bdgium should he 
succeed in escaping thereto, or should the local authorities 
deem it better policy to allow him to slip quietly away ; 
equally curious is the circumstance that such an official, 
deeming himself unjustly dealt with by the Congo Courts, 
cannot compel the Congo " Government " to prosecute him 
in his own country, try he ever so hard.* Truly Congo 
"justice" is a fearful and wonderful thing, and when an 
unhappy individual unconnected with the Administration or 
the Trusts gets into its clutches, woe betide him. The Stokes 
and Rabinek affairs are cases in point But this is by 
the way. 

To return to the constitution of the Congo State. If the 
reader be not satisfied with the judicial exposition of Pro- 
fessor Cattier, let him turn to M. Wauters, the historian of 
the Congo State. 

" The Congo State being an absolute monarchy, it is evident that one 
does not find therein, properly speaking, separate and independent legis- 
lative, judicial, and aoministrative oowers. • . . All the power enianates 
from the Sovereign, who exercises tnem himself {par lui nUme) or by his 
delegates. He consults, if he thinks well, the Conseil Supirieur at 
Brussels. . . . The Sovereign manifests his will in the form of decrees, 
countersigned by the Secretary of State.*' 

And, if further reference be necessary, we may consult 
M. Alfred Foskine, a " commercial and consular " authority, 
author of an interesting study on the Congo.f 

'' Let us repeat, after so many others, what has become a platitude : 
the success of the African work (famvre africaine) is the result of an 
autocratic Government, that is to say, of the work of a single man, guided 
by a single thought — * homo unius Ubri,' said the Romans of a remark- 
able man ; it is the work of a sole directing will, without being hampered 
by the hesitation of timorous politicians, carried out under his sole 

♦ See the Tilkcns Case, Part V. f "Bilans Congolais," 1900. 



THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT 23 

responsibility, intelligent, thoughtful, conscious of the perils and the 
advantages, discounting with an admirable prescience the great results 
of a near future." 

Finally, the words of M. Van Eetvelde, Congo State 
Secretary, may be given : 

" To-day, it is to your Majesty that the State belongs, and upon whom 
devolves the care of providing for its destinies, in the triple interest of the 
native peoples, the mother country, and civilisation." * 

Thus do the leading Belgian authorities tell us in no 
uncertain voice — that which is claimed by King Leopold 
himself, and by his admirers — that he, and he alone, is the 
Congo State ; that he, and he alone, initiates and directs, and 
has ever initiated and directed, its policy ; that its financial, 
administrative, and judicial system responds to the workings 
of his will ; that the agents he appoints in Europe and in 
Africa are merely the instruments of his conceptions ; and 
that their careers depend wholly and absolutely upon strict 
obedience to instructions. 

After this disgression we may once more take up the 
thread of the narrative. 

The opposition of Holland which delayed the final ratifi- 
cation of the Brussels Act until January, 1892, did not trouble 
King Leopold, who forthwith commenced to put his plans 
into execution. The expenditure estimates for 1891, legalised 
by the Decree of November 29, 1890, were eloquent of the 
nature of the policy about to be inaugurated, for out of a 
total estimated expenditure of 4,544,931.87 francs, military 
expenses {Force Publiqtie) figured to the amount of 2,271,628 
francs, or 50 per cent 

The year following the Brussels Conference saw the in- 
auguration of the New Policy in its three distinct, yet closely 
related branches. 

1. A war of extermination against the Arabs. 

2. A career of conquest in the Nile Valley beyond the 
frontiers of the State. 

3. The rubber and ivory tax — the necessary corollary of 
the other twa 

The first serious collision with the Arabs occurred in 
October 27, 1891 ; the second on May 6, 1892. Battle then 
succeeded battle; Nyangwe, the Arab stronghold, was 
captured in January, 1893, and with the surrender of Ruma- 
liza in January, 1894, the campaign came to an end. If the 
extermination of the Arabs had been followed by a decent 

* BulUHn Officulf January, 1897. 



24 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

native policy, it would perhaps have been justified, notwith- 
standing the fearful havoc and disgusting incidents with 
which the process was accompanied,* but never were words 
more prophetic than those uttered by Mr. F. W. Fox in 
November, 1890, and which are placed at the head of this 
chapter. 

'' There is an impression very widely existing among the people in the 
Congo State that when the money is voted by the Brussels Conference, 
there will be war and raids, instead of any beneficial result, and that 
great evils will grow — ^far greater than the slave-trade existing at present" 

When we see to-day what has replaced Arab rule; when 
we remember that at the very time this slaughter was going 
on — slaughter between natives armed by Arabs and natives 
armed by King Leopold's agents — the Congo State was 
putting into operation a system of so-called " taxation " on 
human beings, in rubber and in ivory, more selfish than the 
system of the Arab, who lived on the land and was interested 
in it to that extent; and infinitely more cruel and more 
degrading in its cumulative effect upon the natives. When 
we bear in mind that the State has merely substituted itself 
for the Arab, as the ivory monopolist of the Upper Congo 
territories ; when we think of these things, when the records 
of the last decade are before us, the word " hypocritical " is 
inadequate to express the conduct of an institution which 
has claimed ever since to have been animated with sentiments 
of the purest philanthropy, in ridding the Upper Congo of 
inconvenient competitors for the acquisition of the rich ivory 
stores of the country. 

Concurrently with the Arab war, the Sovereign of the 
Congo State was flinging column after column into the Nile 
Basin. Expedition followed expedition into the Bahr-el- 
Ghazal, and the territory beyond the 4th parallel of lat 
north. In June, 1893, the ''blue banner with the golden 
star" was run up at Dufile and Kiri ; and a Belgian expedi- 
tion pushed as far north as the confines of Darfur. At first 
both British and French protested against these " filibustering 
promenades;" but in 1894 King Leopold, who had been 
negotiating with France for the joint occupation of the Bahr- 
el-Ghazal, finding the French Government dilatory in coming 
to an arrangement, induced the British Government to con- 
clude a most unfortunate Convention (August 14, 1894) 
which did much to strain Anglo-French relations, has brought 

* The cannibal Batetla, allies of the State, feasted upon the dead and 
wounded upon the battle-field. These appalling scenes are fully described 
by Dr. Hinde in " The Fall of the Congo Arabs." 






*' ^u*.-«* 



1^-^ 



Lf,4^l4V^:irjhj«7)Q^ V. 



,V*F-^«^^JW 




THE CAUSE OF THE MODERN AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE— INDIA- 
RUBBER SHED 

(The rubber is cut up into small pieces, and is then allowed to dry on the large 

platform) 

(Photo by Mr. Herbert Frost) 




INDIA-RUBBER SHEDS AT BARINGA 
(Photo by Mr. Herbert Frost) 



THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT 25 

us nothing but embarrassment, and which materially assisted 
in precipitating the two nations to the brink of war. 

All these adventures necessitated the expenditure of vast 
sums of money which had somehow to be acquired, and the 
unhappy native of the Congo territories was made to bear 
the burden. 

We may now pause to examine the contention which has 
been advanced by the Congo* State and its supporters. In 
its official defence, in its reply to the British Note, and in 
subsequent official publications, the Congo State seeks to 
justify the native policy it definitely inaugurated in 189 1- and 
1892, and which it has since pursued, by the necessity of 
raising funds somehow and anyhow to meet its expenses. 
The argument appears to have found some support even 
among critics of the State's methods. To my mind it is 
quite unsustainable. King Leopold was given the trustee- 
ship of the Congo territories on certain specifically enunci- 
ated lines. To quote a writer whose persistent whitewashing 
of the State's actions has contributed somewhat to confuse 
the public mind : 

'' Europe did not sa^ to the King or his representatives, ' You have done 
so well in Central Africa, you have established so clear a title to its 
possession, that we assign you the Congo region as your fair share in the 
partition of Africa, and leave you to govern it as you see fit ; ' the Powers, 
I say, did nothing of the kind. They acquiesced in what had been done, 
and they sanctioned the creation of the State, but they laid down the 
strictest regulations for its conduct, and they defined the work it was to 
accomplish." 

These sentences, needless to remark, were framed before 
King Leopold had begun to argue — a recent phase of his 
Majest/s diplomatic methods — that the Powers had nothing 
to do with the creation of the State ! The sentences are 
strictly true. Assuming that the declaration of the Brussels 
Conference may be interpreted as justifying the State's war of 
extermination against the Arabs, that Conference also broke 
with one of the chief stipulations of the Berlin Act, in order 
to sanction the imposition of import duties wherewith to 
provide the necessary funds for the purpose. Had a system 
calculated to foster trade been adopted by the Congo State 
in the six years which elapsed between its creation and the 
commencement of the Arab war, the moneys derivable from 
that source would have been considerable. Stanley, whom 
we may presume was in a position to be acquainted with the 
facts, declared in 1884 that the volume of trade which had 
been built up along 68 miles of Congo coast-line, and no 
miles on the banks of the Lower River, amounted in those days 



26 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to ;f 2,800,000. Now, a very large proportion of that trade, as 
will be shown more clearly in Chapter VII., was due to the 
labour of the natives of the Upper Congo above Stanley 
Pool, and became, when the European merchants pushed 
further up the Lower Congo, concentrated to an appreciable 
extent in the Lower Congo, the entire course of which was 
incorporated by the Berlin Act in the Congo State. A 10 
per cent duty on that trade would have produced a large 
sum. It has always appeared to me that the Powers showed 
a most strange lack of perception in crediting for one moment 
the assurances of King Leopold and his agents in respect to 
that monarch's alleged financial philanthropy. Seeing that 
they were desirous of sanctioning the creation of an ** Inde- 
pendent State " in Tropical Africa, they should have recog- 
nised that import duties for revenue purposes were essential 
It is, however, no less true that the ** Independent State " 
would never have been created but for the explicit assurances 
of its founder that no import duties would be levied on trade, 
and that the whole affair was really the sort of hobby of a 
" rich prince " who wished for no return on his capital, and 
who incarnated the chivalrous generosity of a bygone age 
pltis the attribution of a pronounced humanitarian sentiment, 
product of more recent times. Be that as it may, the point 
which I wish to accentuate is this, that a great trade existed in 
the Lower Congo when the Congo State was bom ; that, pre- 
suming King Leopold's promised effort to develop trade had 
been carried out, the existing trade would by 1890 probably 
have increased, or at least not decreased ; so that when 
authorised to raise funds on trade wherewith to tackle the 
Arabs, a great revenue would have been ready at hand. The 
policy of the State — between 1885 and 1890 — had been, how- 
ever, to hamper trade in every conceivable way, and its 
volume had already become perceptibly reduced. But in 
addition to such funds as were procurable in 1890 from the 
levying of import duties on the reduced trade existing in the 
Lower Congo, it must not be forgotten that the immediate 
result of the Arab war was (i) to place in the hands of the 
State the vast stock of ivory (and other valuables) that had 
been accumulated by the Arabs in their strongholds (at 
Kasongo alone ivory to the value of not far short of ;f 25,000 
was captured),* (2) and, further, to substitute for the Arabs, 

* ** We also took about twenty-five tons of ivory^ ten or eleven tons of 
powder, millions of caps, cartridees, for every kind of rifle, gun, and 
revolver perhaps ever made." " The granaries throughout the town were 
stocked with enormous quantities of rice, coffee, maize, and other food, 
etc"— Dr. Hinde, op. ciU 



THE SEQUEL TO THE BERLIN ACT 27 

the agents of the State as monopolists of the ivory contained 
in the country, which they proceeded to collect by measures 
differing but little, and in the matter of expenditure, differing 
probably not at all, from those of their predecessors. Then, 
again, it must not be foi^otten that if the purchase of rifles, 
ammunition, and accoutrements in Europe for the regular 
levies of the State cost money, on the other hand, the 
expenses connected with the commissariat of the State's 
cannibal regulars and irregulars were infinitesimal, the bodies 
of the slain on the Arab side being sufficient for all purposes, 
seeing that each individual cannibal had ** at least one body 
to eat,"* and, indeed, more than he could comfortably 
manage, because cases of death through surfeit or indigestion 
were not unknown.f On the whole, it may be estimated that 
the expenditure involved in exterminating the Arabs was 
very largely recouped. The filibustering expeditions Nile- 
wards must, certainly, have been a source of great expense 
to the State ; but in this case the Sovereign of the Congo 
State could not invoke the slightest mandate from the 
Powers. To his own unsatiable ambitions alone were these 
expeditions, with all the loss of life and international compli- 
cations to which they gave rise, attributable. When, there- 
fore, the Congo State and its apologists plead justification 
for the native policy pursued since 1891, the contention may 
be unhesitatingly refuted, on material as well as humani- 
tarian grounds. 

The State's economic policy — which is its native policy — 
is explained fully, and discussed from every aspect, in Parts 
II. and III. It has been attended, and is being attended, 
with persistent and well-nigh incredible — were the facts not 
built upon an unshakable foundation of truth — barbarity ; a 
barbarity necessary and inevitable to the maintenance of the 
systenL It is accompanied by the up-keep of an enormous 
and constantly increasing army armed with Albinis, and a 
cloud of irregulars armed for the most part with cap-guns.| 
It is characterised by perpetual warfare, slaughter, and de- 
population all over the country. The flag which was to 
symbolise freedom, justice, and progress has become synony- 
mous with grinding oppression, outrage, rapine, and massacre. 
Trade has been destroyed, and a system of Government 
slavery more atrocious than the periodical raids of Arab half- 
castes instituted in lieu thereof. 

It is with mingled loathing and impatience that one 

♦ Dr. Hinde. t Dr. Hinde. 

t They are, however, armed in many cases with the Albini. 



28 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

contemplates the events of the last eighteen years — ^loathing 
for the cruel avariciousness, the callous indifference to human 
life, the odious hypocrisy which have characterised the 
methods of the Congo State, methods unrelieved by a single 
redeeming feature;* impatience at the pusillanimity and 
indifference of the Powers ; the lack of courage, and the 
absence of plain speaking on the part of those who have 
known the truth for years, and held their peace ; the gross 
misrepresentations of a few individuals. 

But if " the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceed- 
ing small." It cannot be that this abomination shall endure 
much longer ; and those of us who in the face of calumny and 
threats have fought the fight — and in so doing, claim to have 
performed no more than an obvious duty which the statesmen 
of Europe should themselves have taken in hand long ago — 
think we see at last, " high in the heavens the flash of an up- 
lifted sword, and the gleam of the arm of the avenging angel." 

♦ The enterprise and dogged determination of Colonel Thys and his 
partners in building the Congo railway, together with the commercial 
activity displayed by the companies he formed, belong to a different 
category of events. Due credit is given to them in various parts of this 
volume. The position of the Thys group, or what remains of it, towards 
the Congo State, ue. the King, is at best one of armed neutrality. 



PART II 

THE NEW AFRICAN SLAVE-TRADE 



COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT VERSUS COERCION 

HOW THE STATE DESTROYED LEGITIMATE TRADE IN 
THE UPPER CONGO 

THE ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 

THE FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE — THE 
BENEFICIARIES BY GOVERNMENT SLAVERY 

THE "PROPERTY" PLEA— THE CONGO STATE'S MAIN LINE 
OF DEFENCE 

NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, AND LABOUR 

THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE— MILITARISM, 
MURDER, MUTILATION, AND THE TRAFFIC IN ARMS 



CHAPTER IV 

COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT VERSUS COERCION 

*'To deny to the natives the riflfht to sell ivoty and rubber 
produced by the forests and plains belonging to their tribes, whidi 
torests and pUins form part of their hereditary natal soil, and with 
which trory and rubber they have traded freely from tmie imme- 
morial, is a veritable vioUudon of natural rights." — Protest of 
Messrs. Urban, Bruqmann, Thys, and weiner m 1892. 

" I cannot forget that the natives are not rroresented amongst 
us, and that the decisions of the Conference will nevertheless have 
an extreme inqxMtance for them. The principle which will com- 
mand the sympathy and support of Her Majesty's Government 
will be that of the advancement of legitimate commerce, with 
security for the equally of treatment of all nations, and tor the 
well-being of the native races."— Sir E. Malet at the Berlin 
Conference, Protocol, November, 1884. 

I HAVE been fortunate in coming into the possession of a 
number of extracts from letters written by Belgians and 
Frenchmen connected with the Belgian trading companies of 
the Rue Briderode^ and carrying on, about the time the new 
policy was inaugurated, their ordinary business in the Upper 
Congo. These letters, which throw a flood of light upon the 
proceedings of the Congo State's representatives thus early 
in the day, are descriptive of events which have characterised 
to an increasing degree of intensity the policy of the Congo 
State from that time onwards. The difference between then 
and now lies in the fact that all independent merchants f — ^all 
merchants at all, in fact — have long since disappeared, and 
we can only rely nowadays upon the courage of some 
English or American missionary, in the relation of chance 
travellers, or in the not always disinterested account of 

• The Thys group. 

t Under present circumstances, the operations of the Thys group can 
hardly be termed '' commercial," for they are based upon the common 
assumption of prior ownership by the white man of^ the elements of 
trade—that is, of the forest produce. Nevertheless, there is reason to 
hope and believe that the procedure adopted by the Sociiti Anonyme 
Beige — the principal '^ Th^s '' Company unabsorbed by the Government 
—compares favourably with that adopted by the Government and the 
Great Trusts. 



32 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

ex-officials or ex-servants of the Trusts to acquaint us with 
what is going on. The extracts I am about to give are also 
extremely valuable, inasmuch as they are explanatory of the 
transition stage between the extinction of trade and the 
substitution in lieu of it, of Government slavery. They are 
the connecting link, as it were, between the two epochs. At 
the time these letters were written home, the New Policy was 
in process of inauguration. Hitherto the native had been 
looked upon by the merchants established in the country as 
the owner of the products of the soil which the merchants 
wished to acquire by legitimate purchase, as everywhere else 
in Western Africa. Commercial relationship had been 
established in the ordinary way, and long before the Congo 
State had come into existence. The native, attracted by the 
merchandise offered for sale by the white man, gathered the 
produce of the forests and brought it to the factories for sale. 
Thus has trade been built up between the white man and the 
black wherever the former has penetrated into the interior of 
the western half of the continent. The letters show us the 
characteristic and necessary accompaniments in Africa of 
introducing as a working policy a conception of African 
development, whereby the native is relegated from the 
position of owner of the forest products, which he has been 
accustomed to sell^ to that of a lawless and ownerless serf on 
the estate of " Bula Matadi." * 

There is always a danger which those of us who have 
long ago mastered the essentials of the Congo problem are 
in fear lest we should overlook, in our endeavours to make 
others see what is so clear to us with equal clearness. One 
doubts sometimes whether it be possible for the ordinary 
reader who does not habitually interest himself in African 
questions, to grasp the absolute revolution which so funda- 
mental a change in the relationship between the white man 
and the black must occasion in the daily life, in the general 
conditions, in the " moral and material " outlook of the native 
population. To realise the full significance of such a revolu- 
tion, the reader must unconsciously allow some play to his 

* Native name for the Congo State— Stanley's old name. The origin 
of this name is not generally known. Stanley was so christened in the 
year 1883 by the inhabitants of the village of MTufu near Vivi. One 
day a man came rushing into the village with the news that a strange 
white man was breaking stones. It was Stanley blasting the rocks to 
make a horizontal road for the transport, in sections, of his boat the 
Ven Avant. In the Ba-Congo laneuage, Ntadi means stone ; the plural 
being formed by prefixes, Ntadi is Matadi in the plural. Thus Bula 
Matadi, the man who broke the stones ; and the place where his blasting 
operations first took place, has preserved the name Matadi. 




Phoiogra/>/t by //. // 'alter Banictt 

THE kKilir HON. SIR CHARLKS \V. LMLKIZ, BART.. M.P. 
(The first to rai.se thr Congo (iiicstion in the House of Commons) 



COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT V. COERCION 33 

imagination in order that he may construct a mental picture 
which shall crystallise into tangible substance the meaning 
of the written words conveyed to his brain. If his imagination 
be divorced from all acquaintance with African conditions, 
the effect of his unconscious efforts may fall far short of 
accuracy. That is what one dreads — that the bald description 
of the revolution wrought in tAe life of the African native, 
through the application of a policy of appropriation of land 
and products, devised in Brussels, may not be fully under- 
stood by merely stating, as though one were dealing with a . 
mathematical problem, the main lines of difference between 
that policy and the practice of legitimate commerce. 

I detest sensationalism, and this appalling Congo business 
is replete with so many elements of horror that the reader 
may well be spared anything beyond the enumeration of 
facts, which in themselves are sufficiently repulsive without 
any attempt at " piling on the agony." But the policy of 
appropriation of the native's land and the products thereof 
is the key to tlie whole Congo problem ; and I almost feel that 
the reader will forgive me if I endeavour to give a brief 
sketch representing the legitimate and illegitimate develop- 
ment of Equatorial Africa, and their respective effects upon 
the African. 

Imagine a broad river, with brown, discoloured waters. 
From either bank stretches a vast sea of dark, impenetrable 
bush, broken here and there by clearings where native villages 
are situate, containing anything from 500 to 5000 inhabitants. 
Round them are plantations of bananas and various crops, 
large or small, according to the needs of the population — 
well or ill kept, according to the relative degree of prosperity 
of the people and to individual characteristics. Here and 
there the bush yawns back from the riverside, and a village 
will be found within a few hundred yards of the bank, for 
where there is a river there is fish, and large numbers will be 
caught for local consumption, or for bartering with inland 
villages «^ainst other food. In the cooler hours of the 
day, the men-folk will hunt or fish, weave mats, make 
knives, work brass wire, or smoke and laze and discuss 
local affairs, while the women attend to household matters, 
work in the plantations, gather firewood, and spend many 
an hour over the intricacies of their coiffure; and the 
children will play about, the elders helping in the fishing 
operations, or keeping off the grey parrots from committing 
havoc with the young crops. At night the fires will be lit, 
and the glow of the embers will flicker on dark forms squat- 
ting round, smoking, and listening perhaps to the professional 



34 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

story-teller spinning " fairy tales " by the yard ; or, if the 
moon be shining brightly, and the sky free from clouds, a 
ivild dance will take place in the street of the village — a 
dance continued for many hours, and only brought to an 
end by the physical exhaustion of the performers. They are 
happy, these people, in their primitive way. Life goes on 
with much the same monotony as at home. An occasional 
affray between villages will come as an exciting diversion, 
accompanied by a good deal more sound and fury than 
bloodshed ; a herd of elephants may wreck the plantations, a 
storm swamp some canoes, fish may be scarce, but on the 
whole existence is distinctly passable. There are no tele- 
phones, no rates and taxes, not even a fiscal policy. In 
those native communities there are good men and bad, just 
as at home — good according to their lights, bad according to 
their individual characters, just as at home. Their lights are 
not our lights, but who shall say which bring the greatest 
happiness? They have no workhouses in the forest, no 
unemployed, no paupers. 

On a sudden a whisper is carried on the wings of the 
wind ; it gathers in volume. The news flies from village to 
village, the drums are sounded summoning the people to the 
palaver. A steamer is coming up the river with white men 
on board. Do they come in peace or war ? It will soon be 
known, for the steamer has anchored, and its occupants are 
parleying with the shore. Then comes the intelligence that 
all is well. The white men have come in peace, and with 
many marvellous articles to sell. Within an enormous radius 
the news is conveyed by drum, and within a day or two 
every village knows what are the white man's wants. It is 
ivory that he wants — ivory live or dead, ivory cut from the 
freshly killed elephant, or ivory stacked in the compounds of 
the chiefs. Ivory ; but also the sap from the great vines 
which grow so luxuriously in the forest, thick sometimes as a 
man's thigh. The white man's servants have told the villagers 
on whose land they are even now erecting a dwelling and a 
store, how to collect that sap ; that he will buy as much as 
the people will bring him ; and that he will give gaudy hand- 
kerchiefs, and cloth, brass wire, beads, iron pots, and copper 
rods for it, and many more wonderful things that he has — 
armlets and leglets, looking-glasses, hair-pins with wonderful 
heads, bright-coloured glass, such marvels as will drive every 
native lady in the country wild with anticipation, and into an 
eager and enthusiastic factor in promoting a taste for rubber- 
collecting on the part of her lord. 

To these primitive folk it is a mine of desirable objects 



COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT V. COERCION 35 

suddenly brought before their deh'ghted vision, a toy-shop, 
whose contents a moderate degree of labour will bring 
within arm's reach; for the man will sit down and make 
bracelets and anklets out of the brass rods, the brass wire 
will do to ornament spear-shafts, knives, and axes, and what 
man will not covet one of those gaily striped cloths which 
will make him a finer peacock than his fellows ? As for the 
women, well, if the iron hoes represent a decided improve- 
ment on the primitive agricultural implements with which 
they have, hitherto, been fain to rest content, what can be 
thought of the articles of personal adornment ? * If Lofinda 
has set her heart upon that string of bright blue beads, 
Yamina must have that kerchief with the gorgeous checks ; 
and shall not Bikela, the comely one, see her beauty reflected 
in that curious shiny thing, brighter even than the spear of 
Molobo her lover ? 

Thus is trade born in Western Africa, the trade 
between the white man and the African : the only incentive 
to the widening in the horizon of the African, the only 
incentive to acquire new ideas, to develop arts and crafts ; 
the awakening of desires before undreamt of — a page in 
the evolution of the human race. And as more white men 

* There are still people to be found who think that the African native 
is a bnUe beast impervious to human sentiment, and that a writer who 
endeavours to paint a different picture is sentimentalising in order to 
improve his case. To such people I commend the following extracts from 
the book of Mr. Herbert Ward (op, cit,). He deals only with the Congo 
natives, who have many traits, repulsive in our e^es, bom of environment 
and the natural craving of the human machine for meat, which is seldom 
procurable in many parts of the Congo territories. 

"A native of the Upper River will embrace his wife ere he sets out on a 
fighting expedition, or will fondle his child, and even condescend to give 
the infant its morning bath in the river if the mother be unable to perform 
the task. ... On one occasion I happened to be journeying from Stanley 
Pool to Boma . . . along with a party of eighty or one hundred Bangala 
men. • . . Probably twenty women accompanied the party, wives of the 
head men. . . . After five days' weary marching our path led us to the 
fords of the Luasa River, through whose swollen waters, running now breast 
high, we had to wade. . . . The party crossed without much difficulty, 
Ix^ood a wetting of the bare skin, but the force of the current was such 
that the fatigued women found trouble in keeping their feet and battling 
their way across. One very young and frail-looking girl feared to enter 
the stream, and stood hesitatmg on the nearer bank, when her husband, a 
strapping young fellow of twenty-five or so, seeing her anxiety, turned back 
from the pointhe had reached in the water, and, tenderly gathering her 
up in his arms, placed her upon his shoulder. Thus burdened he stepped 
again into the nver and bore her safely to the other side, the girl clinging 
to his head and neck the while with every mark of confidence and 
affection.'' 

Such qaotations could be multiplied a hundred-fold. 



36 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

come, so the African learns. He is a very shrewd man, the 
African ; the capacity for barter, the keenness to bargain, are 
marked characteristics. He will go to the store of white 
man No. i and look at it, and the store of white man No. 2 
and look at that, and gradually out of the earlier relationship 
will develop ruling market prices, and commerce will have 
taken a place in the black man's mind and the black man's 
life, which is for his good ; for the good of the European 
merchant, who risks his health and his capital on the com- 
mercial instincts of the Negro — for no one but the Negro 
can gather the produce of the soil the European desires ; for 
the good of the European Administrator, who levies customs 
dues on his countryman's goods in order that he may bring 
improvements into the black man's country and give 
facilities to the European merchant; for the good of the 
Europeans in the far-off Western world, who handle the 
product of the black man's labour. Thus, and thus alone, 
can tropical Africa be legitimately developed by the white 
man. 

But what is that vague and meaningless rumour coming 
from afar? Why are the faces of ttie white merchants 
troubled ? Who are these other white men who come in big 
steamers, with many black men in uniforms and carrying 
rifles? As yet they know it not, our forest-dwellers, who 
since the advent of the first white men have extended their 
villages and plantations and prospered amazingly. As yet 
they know it not, but these other white men, these soldiers 
with guns, are the heralds of the dawn, the dawn of " moral 
and material regeneration " — " Bula Matadi." And soon the 
process begins. In each village soldiers come summoning 
the chiefs to attend the great palaver of "Bula Matadi." 
They enter the villages, do those soldiers, full of insolent 
swagger, and ere they leave, after delivering their message, 
have interfered with women, stolen fowls, and perchance 
robbed the plantations of a bunch or two of bananas. From 
all the villages around the chiefs and head men attend the 
great palaver in fear, knowing not what it may portend. 
They are not kept long in suspense. Each chief is asked 
the number of able-bodied males in his village ; the figure 
is put down by the representative of " Bula Matadi " in a 
book. Each chief is then told that his village must furnish 
so many baskets of rubber every moon, so many goats and 
fowls, so much cassava ; all ivory must be brought to " Bula 
Matadi," no ivory and no rubber must be taken to the white 
men at the factories ; such is the order of " Bula Matadi." 
The chiefs depart, bewildered, angry, sullen, and afraid. 



COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT V. COERCION 37 

That night, and the next and the next, councils are held 
in every village. Runners to the white men in the factories 
report that the latter are powerless ; they will still buy rubber 
and ivory, but only by stealth, for " Bula Matadi " will not let 
them buy openly. The people are filled with consternation ; 
there is a babel of many tongues ; divers opinions are 
expressed. Is not the country theirs, and the trees, and 
the vines in the forest? Are they the slaves of "Bula 
Matadi " ? Shall they be treated not as men but as monkeys ? 
How shall they live if their goats, their fowls, their cassava, 
and their bananas must be taken to the big palaver camp 
every moon ? What is " Bula Matadi " that they should no 
longer gather rubber for the sellers of cloths and beads ? Let 
"Bula Matadi" beware lest the spears of the young men 
pierce the soldiers that steal ! Have they become women ? 
They will collect rubber as before for the white sellers of 
doth. 

The next day a party from the village, laden with rubber, 
starts for the nearest factory. One man creeps back at 
nightfall broken, bleeding, and trembling. He reports the 
party was stopped by soldiers who fell upon them not far 
from the factory, and stole the rubber. They resisted ; Bogasu 
was killed, the others, beaten and buffeted, were dragged 
before the representative of "Bula Matadi," who ordered them 
to be flung upon their faces, when they were cruelly beaten 
with whips, so cruelly that blood flowed. Then they were 
'* tied up," and the survivor was told to go back to his village, 
and inform the chief that he had disobeyed the orders of 
•* Bula Matadi " by sending rubber to the factory. If the 
offence were repeated, " Bula Matadi " would send soldiers to 
the village to punish him. The other men would be kept as 
hostages for the hundred basketfuls of rubber due from the 
village at the full moon. Terror mingled with fury now 
reigns supreme in the village. Let the soldiers come. 

The moon is almost at its full when a messenger arrives from 
the camp of " Bula MatadL" It is a reminder that the time 
for payment of the rubber is nearly at hand. If it is not 
forthcoming, the anger of " Bula Matadi " will vent itself upon 
those who have dared to disregard instructions. The messenger 
is heard in sombre silence. The quantity of rubber required 
could not be gathered if the population of the village were 
twice what it is. 

The soldiers of " Bula Matadi " have come and gone, and 
all is over: a short, fierce resistance, a crackling fusillade, cries 
of agony, and a dull glare lighting up the sombre recesses of 
the forest The sun sets on blackened ruins, smouldering 



38 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

ashes, and rained crops; while here and there outstretched 
figures lie prone. The survivors — men, women, and children 
—are crouching, bereft of shelter, in the forest. And so they 
crouch for days, subsisting on roots and herbs. Then one by 
one they slink back furtively to the site of their former homes. 
Little by little a measure of confidence returns, huts are 
rebuilt, seed is sown. Diminished in numbers, shaken but 
not quite broken in spirit, the community settles down once 
more. And then — then another visit from the soldiers of 
*' Bula Matadi," another summons to the camp, renewed de- 
mands coupled with a pointing of the moral. They have not 
forgotten it, poor souls. No longer can resistance be enter- 
tained. A couple of soldiers are stationed permanently in 
the village, where they rape and steal to their heart's content. 
As for the villagers Uiemselves, they are no longer men, but 
weary slaves. AH day long, and for days together in the 
forest getting rubber, striving to satisfy insatiable demands, 
unmercifully flogged if the amount gathered falls short of the 
amount required, wandering ever further afield, away from 
their homes, unable to attend to their plantations, demoralised, 
degraded, all the manhood driven out of them. If such 
be the lot of the men, what of the women ? The village, 
formerly clean and well kept, becomes dirty and neglected. 
Indifference and despair eat into the hearts of the people ; 
mortality increases, many seek refuge in the forest and perish 
miserably, while others may finally be successful in finding 
shelter in some other village further removed from *'Bula 
Matadi's" immediate sphere of operations. The village 
empties and decays ; it is played out, and the representative 
of '' Bula Matadi " shifts his quarters to the nearest " untapped 
district." In a few years, or perhaps only in a few months, 
since the advent of " Bula Matadi " and his soldiers, the swiftly 
encroaching bush has covered up all traces of what was once, 
before the blasting breath of a " moral and material regenera- 
tion " passed over the land, a little community in the African 
forest with its joys and its sorrows, its elements of badness 
and its elements of good, primitive, savage, but as happy 
perchance, as important assuredly to itself, as any cluster of 
thatched roofed cottages in sunny Devon. 

Overdrawn ? No, the description, minus all its repulsive 
details, of an event a thousand times repeated on the Congo ; 
an illustration of the New African Slave Trade, which prevails 
wherever '' Bula Matadi " has obtained a foothold from Banana 
to the Great Lakes. 

And now for the letters. 



CHAPTER V 

HOW THE STATE DESTROYED LEGITIMATE TRADE IN 
THE UPPER CONGO 

" It is pennissible for the natiye to find by work the remune- 
ratioii whidi contributes to augment his well-being. Such is, in 
fiicty one of the ends of the general policsr of the State to promote 
the regeneration of the race by instilling into him a higher idea of 
the necessity of labour." * 

" Yambuya, February 6, 1891. 
" My relations f with the State have hitherto been of the best. I have 
never opposed any of the laws of the Congo State, and if my relations with 

Messrs. W and V 1 are strained, it is because I have objected to 

their sending their people armed with loaded guns to the very neighbour- 
hood of my factory, threatening natives who had come to trade with 
me. ... It is impossible any longer to buy anything. The country is 

ruined. The passengers in the steamship i?^/ des Beiges^ Messrs. F , 

G ^ T ^ M y von H , and Captain K ^ have been able to 

see for themselves that from Boutya, half a day's journey below our factory 
of Upoto, to Boumba inclusive, there is not an inhabited village left ; that 
is to say, four days' steaming through a country formerly so rich, to-day 
entirely ruined. 

"O. S." 

" Equateur, April 24. 189T. 
" There is much rubber here, but the natives will not bring it in. . . • 
M. R— * declares that we are forbidden to ask the natives to fetch rubber. 
They are supposed to be entitled to bring it without being told, but they 

cannot be asked to fetch any ! ! ! M. B , Commissatre at Bangala, 

despatched latterly a large quantity of rubber ; I am told that it has not 
been bought, but is the product of tribute levied upon the chiefs 1 

"A. P." 

" Gongo, Dona. October 20, 1891. 

*^ I find it necessary to report the proceedings of the State. . . . The 

other day I bought 100 kilos of ivory. The next day, Etiaka, the former 

village chief where our factory is established, who fled five months ago 

after the cruelties inflicted upon him by the Chef de Poste of the State, 

♦ BulUtin Officiel de VEtat Indipetidant du Congo, June, 1903 (No. 
6 Translation). 

t These are, in each case, literal translations from the French 
(Belgian) text. 

X State oflicials. 



40 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

sought me out to inform me that the chiefs of the Mongwandi villages had 
been secretly informed by the State station that all who sold me ivory and 
rubber would no longer be the friends of Bula-Matari ♦ (the State), and 
would have war. . . . The natives have been forbidden by the State to sell 
cassava bread to my men. I have sent an official letter protesting against 
this. . . . The people of the villages of Etiaka wish to settle in the neigh- 
bourhood of my factory. This would be a great advantage to us. The 
State have informed them that if they come and settle near the enemies 
(* Mukondje ') of Bula M atari, the State would know how to punish them 
one way or another. . . . Thanks to the proceedings of the State, we 
cannot travel three hours in a canoe without coming across a hostile 
village ! That is the way they go on. They go to a village and say to 
the chief, * If by noon three tusks of ivory are not here for us to buy^ you 
are no longer our friend.' At noon the chief arrives, and says, ' I have 
only two,' or one as the case may be. ' If that is the case,' replies the 
representative of the State, * we will see.' The whole party then spring 
on shore, Hausasf and Bangalas,} and endeavour to make prisoners. 
That having been accomplished, the chief is told : * Come with so many 
tusks, and your men and women will be returned to you I ' That is how 
the State protects trade. These facts have been certified before me by 
the very men who took part in the palaver and by the chiefs. 

" E. B." 

i** Equateurville, January 21, 1892. 
" I think it necessary to give to you a rapid siunmary of the principal 
facts which have inspired my complamts. . . . (i) The day after my arrival I 
found that our men, instead of bemg employed looking after the craft, had 
been in the service of the State, had made palavers with the Mabali and 
Popouli ; and that they were receiving 40 mitakos per man^ and 25 
mitakosfor every woman they succeeded in making prisoners of. These 
men and women were afterwards bartered by the State against ivory. 
(2) Men coming from the village of Buata to my factory with rubber to 
sell had to pass in front of a branch of the Ebala (?) River, which was 
situate exactly opposite to my factory. The Chef de Poste informed Chief 
Esiaka that if he did not take the rubber to him, he would block the route. 
But the Buata people continued to sell me their rubber, so that the Chefde 
Poste blocked the route and arrested four natives with rubber on their way 
to me. (3) A boy in the service of the State, named M'Boli, having been 
accused of stealing two bananas, was shot the next morning, and his body 
flung into the river. This event made such an impression upon the 
Bangalas that seven of them deserted. 

" E. B." 

" Eiquateur, April 22, 1892. 
" The State has put on rubber taxes. One chief alone has to furnish 
1500 kilos. . . . Under the circumstances, we cannot hope to buy rubber. 

"A. S." 

•• Equateur, July 7, 1892. 
"The Government has sent fresh instructions to the Equateur con- 
cerning the purchase of ivory. ... As for rubber, M sticks to his cir- 
cular. He is acting by Government orders. No one, native or white, has 

* Corruption of Bula-Matadi. 

t State troops. (The British Government subsequently prohibited the 
recruiting of Hausas by the State.) 
X State troops. 



THE DESTRUCTION OF COMMERCE 41 

the right to exploit the domains of the State ! • . . Nearly a ton of rubber 
belonging to the State has arrived at Equateur from Bassankusu, while we 
have not 10 centimes' worth. The reasons are, the rubber taxes, and that 
the natives are forbidden to sell any rubber to the trading firms. 

"A. P." 

k" Bassankusu, September 17, 189a. 

" I have given instructions to M. R to buy all rubber, and to foster 

purchases as much as possible. Unfortunately, the villages are compelled 
to pay heavy taxes on rubber ; they are compelled to furnish so many 
kilos to the State every week,'and it is only by chance that we can buy any 
now and then. To give you an idea, the State has received 1060 kilos in 
one month and a half. The State has made war upon the villages from 
Lulonga to Bassankusu. All the villages in the Maringa suffered the 
same fate. On the other hand, it seems that Arabs have been observed 
in the Upper Maringa. The Commissaire of the Equateur district has 
taken the following decision (September 7th) : 

" ' Considering that the presence of Arab bands in the Maringa creates 
a danger, proved moreover by the capture of a man armed with a snyder 
belonging to the Belgian house, the Commissaire of the district orders : 

" ' The Maringa shall be provisionally closed to all expeditions other 
than those of the State.' 

"The river is, therefore, closed to us. The real motive is not the 
presence of Arabs, but the incessant palavers with the natives who will 
not open up relations with the State. 

"T. S." 

" Likini. October 15, 1892. 
" These gentlemen of the State Post of Mongwandi have set their 
hearts upon the destruction of trade in this country. After the wars with 
the Mombatis and the Boucoundu, where the State people took many 
prisoners, which the Mombatis redeemed with ivory, they have begun the 
same proceedings again. To buy ivory in this way does not require many 
goods, and has the merit of simplicity ! Four days ago, then, they started 
making war again : 13 killed, 6 prisoners, 100 spears and as many knives 
— that was a day*s work. Not content with this, they threatened and 
even detained for some hours people from Businga and Moungoumbouli 
on the pretext that these villages did not produce ivory and rubber. That 
is true enough, because these villages have always sold me their produce. 
The result is that two-thirds of the whole countiy dare not come to our 
factory, and not a ball of rubber is brought to us for sale. The equivocal 
proceedings of the State have destroyed all confidence in the native 
towards the white man, and have led to the big villages near the State 
Station being abandoned by the inhabitants. At Boucoundu, where the 
State has just established itself, the people of the village, which was a very 
important and actively producing one, have emigrated two days' journey 
into the forest of Monboika. 

" E. B." 

" Likini. October, 1892. 
•* The frequent wars upon the natives, undertaken without any motive 
by the State soldiers sent out to get ivory and rubber, are depopulating 
the country. The soldiers find that the quickest and cheapest method is 
to raid villages, seize prisoners, and have them redeemed afterwards 
against ivory. At Boucoundje they took thirty prisoners, whom they 
released upon payment of ten tusks ! There is trade for you I Brilliant 



42 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

trade ! Two villages used to sell me a good deal of rubber, so war was 
made upon them, and we get no more rubber. Everywhere the State is 
exercising formidable pressure to compel the natives not to sell us their 
produce. . . . Each agent of the State receives looo francs conmiission 
per. ton of ivory securwi, and 175 francs per ton of rubber. 

« E. B." 

** Zongo, November 30, 189a. 
'' The Independent State, which is aiming at the destruction of trade 
by men who can see clearly sill its inconceivable and nameless deeds, has 
taken the most outrageous measures against the Sociiti Anonyme Beige ^ 
which has become its bite noire, I do not speak of the instructions given 
out to its agents to have nothing to do with us under the threat of censure, 
a measure which I regret more for them than for us, because they stand 
more in need of us than we of them, but the prohibition to allow us to 
settle in the only places where any results can be obtained, under the 
fallacious pretext of a state of sic^e, or military expeditions, when the sole 
reason is to have the field to itself; is a proceeding of so arbitrary a nature 
as to call forth energetic protest, which, however, will be ineffectual unless 
made from higher quarters. . . . The actual position of affairs is as 
follows : Explicit prohibition to trade with the natives above Cetema (?) 
— there is ivory above that place ; permission, on the other hand, to settle 
below that place where hardly any trade is to be done, and where, if there 
still remains a tusk or two left, the natives dare not bring it in for sale 
for fear of being punished. We are not forbidden to settle or buy there; 
but if the sellers are seen, they are told their village will be burnt. . . . 
Please note, in passin|^, that, having just arrived, I have as yet seen 
nothing except a few stnngs of slaves which are very mat apropos called 
' lib^r^s ; ' but I have enough reports to fill a volume of the scandalous 
proceedings of this singular Government. 

" E. B." 

'• Banzyville, December 30, 189a. 
" The so-called freedom of State in four or five villages placed under 
the active supervision of the State appears ridiculous to me,'because, as I 
wrote you from Zongo — when I only knew of it from hearsay — the State 
terrorises anv natives who might feel inclined to trade with merchants. 
I have now the proof of this. During^ my voyage from Zongo to Banzy- 
ville, when in the evening hailing the villages on the Belgian Banks where 
we had been advised there was ivory tor sale, we found the natives 
fearful and undecided, first saying they had nothing, then saying they 
would bring a tusk the next day, and then the next day saying they did 
not dare to bring it for fear of having their village burnt. And from 
what I have seen de visu it is only too obvious that such things do take 
place. Under these conditions, which will be the same at Yakoma, I do 
not see that it is any use our going there, because we should be just near 
the State Poste^ and would have no facilities for buying produce at 
night. " E. B." 

" Equateur, January 29, 1893. 
"The 19th January, I learnt that the State's agents, Peters and 
ThermoUe, had been massacred near the Station by the natives. . . . 
The motive was the following : they were tired of the various taxes 
levied by the State, especially the rubber tax. 

«T. S." 



THE DESTRUCTION OF COMMERCE 43 

" Yambuya, March 23, 1893. 
'' The trade in nibber becomes more unfavourable every day. The 
natives say there is very little of it left. Some chiefs had promised to 
collect some, but after fourteen days' journey in the neighbourhood, I have 
not been able to obtain a single ball. Moreover, the reason is clear 
enough. The majority of natives in every village are fleeing to the forests 
on account of the perpetual troubles with the State. 

" J. N." 

Thus was trade destroyed in the Upper Congo, and thus 
did forced production and slavery take its place. The latter 
system has now endured for twelve years, with the result that 
vast stretches of country are depopulated, that tens of thou- 
sands of natives have been killed, that emigration on a huge 
scale has taken place, and that the natives that remain have 
been reduced to the condition of miserable slaves, poverty- 
stricken and helpless, a prey to sickness and despair. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 

"Thanks to trade, all this prodace will enter into drcuUition ; 
the Gounterpmrt of Itn vaiue wlU return to Africa,* for which 
it will prove a source of prosperitj." — Manifesto of the International 
Association, October, Z884. 

''The mtem of the State at the same time that it hastens the 
economic development of the country has given rise * to a con- 
siderable commerclml* movement, since the exports now show a 
value of two millions sterling, and that there are sold at Antwerp 
every year 5000 tons of rubber, taken from the forests of the 
Congo."— Bulletin 0£Sdel de TEtat Ind^pendant du Congo, i^oz 
(No. 6 Translation). 

There are several ways of testing the conclusions advanced 
in the last chapters — ways which are particularly valuable 
inasmuch as they exclude the element of hypothesis and 
merely deal with figures recorded in official publications. 

Now, one of the principal tests which can be applied by 
the impartial investigator to the characteristics of Congo 
State administration lies in an examination of the Com- 
mercial Statistics — so called. 

The difficulty facing those who are contending in the 
cause of the Congo natives — in which cause is bound up the 
honour of the white races in tropical Africa — is that of making 
people not entirely familiar with the subject understand the 
inevitableness of the misrule reported from the Congo 
territories so long as the legislative and economic basis of 
the Administration remains what it is to-day ; that is to say, 
so long as the Congo State, as at present constituted and 
managed, is allowed by civilised mankind to exist 

Ninety-nine per cent, of Englishmen, who have even 
casually investigated the subject, have, it is safe to say, been 
convinced for a considerable time past, and before reading 
Consul Casement's report, that the Congo territories are the 
scene of gross misgovernment and oppression. How profound 
is the feeling engendered by the mass of evidence which has 
been accumulating for years, was seen in the famous House 

* Italics the author's. 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 45 

of Commons debate on May 20 of last year, when the House, 
without a single dissentient voice, passed a resolution pledging 
the Government to approach the other signatory Powers of 
the Berlin Act, with a view " that measures should be adopted 
to abate the evils prevalent in that State." 

It is seldom that Governments display enthusiasm in 
matters of this kind, even though their members may be 
convinced, as they were in the present case, of the shame of 
this Congo business, and the present Government has certainly 
not erred in that direction. Nevertheless, Mr. Balfour 
admitted that if the resolution, even as originally proposed, 
were pressed, it would be impossible for the Government to 
vote against it, "BECAUSE IT indicated a policy the 
GOVERNMENT DESIRED TO FOLLOW;" and the Prime 
Minister recognised that an " overwhelming case " had been 
made out 

The language used by members was eloquent of the 
depth of feeling aroused, as may be judged by the following 
passages : 

** If the administration of the Congo State was civilisation, then, he 
asked, what was barbarism ? "—Mr. Herbert Samuel, M.P. 

"It was obvious that here was a complete enslavement of the whole 
population, and that it could lead to nothing but a system of horrors." — 
Right Hon. Sir C. W. Dilke, Bart., M.P. 

" Surely we, who were responsible for the Berlin Act, had a perfect 
right to take such steps as would bring this terrible state of things to an 
end."— Right Hon. Sir John Gorst. 

" Judged by any decent standard, what were they to say of the Congo 
State?"— Mr. Alfred Emmott, M.P. 

" Atrocities had been committed which curdled the blood and made 
civilisation ashamed of its name."— Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice. 

It is well to recall these deliberate statements ; especially 
is it necessary to accentuate the fact that a unanimous House 
of Commons endorsed them, and that the Prime Minister 
endorsed them, ei^/it montlts before Mr. Roger Casement, 
H.M. Consul at Soma, verified their accuracy on t/ie spot. 
The verdict of the House of Commons was a striking justifi- 
cation of the deliberate and unanswerable charges made 
outside the House of Commons by those who had studied 
the subject The contents of the Congo White Book con- 
taining Mr. Casement's report, and Lord Cromer's scathing 
allusions, were a complete justification of the verdict of the 
House of Commons, which verdict it has repeated in accents 
even more emphatic this year (June 9). 

So much for the British House of Commons. But it is 
the people, not only of Great Britain, but of America and 
the Continent of Europe, whose hearts and whose thinking 



46 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

capacities must be reached before we can hope to rouse 
feelings sufficiently intense to complete the work begun so 
well on May 20, 1903. 

What are the arguments with which one becomes most 
familiar in endeavouring to educate the public to a true 
appreciation of the "evils prevalent" in the Congo State? 
They may be briefly summed up thus : " We know that evils 
exist, evils on a large scale. But we are told that the Congo 
Government is doing its best to eliminate them. We read of 
trials and punishments of guilty agents. Are not these evils 
in a measure inseparable from the early stages of a vast 
oolonising enterprise ? Should they not be regarded as acts 
of individual wrongdoing, terribly blameworthy in themselves, 
but attributable, perhaps, to the indifierent class of officials 
selected, and calculated to right themselves in time ? And 
again, how comes it that men are to be found who believe 
that these evils are no greater than those which exist, or have 
existed in the possessions of other Powers, when the conquer- 
ing white race is opposed to primitive people in a low state 
of civilisation ? Are there not two sides to this question ? 
Are there not means, outside conflicting testimony and 
individual statements on both sides, whereby the ordinary 
man can test the accuracy of these grave charges for himself 
on general principles, and find out definitely whether the 
entire system is at fault, or whether the Congo Government 
is, more or less, inefficient, and the victim of circumstances ? " 

Such, in brief, is the substance of the objections which are 
raised, not infrequently, by those — and they are the vast 
majority still — whose knowledge of the Congo question is 
necessarily incomplete. They are perfectly legitimate objec- 
tions. The last point covers them all. "Are there not 
means, outside conflicting testimony and individual state- 
ments on both sides, whereby the ordinary man can test the 
accuracy of these grave charges for himself on general 
principles, and find out definitely whether the entire system 
is at fault, or whether the Congo Government is, more or less, 
inefficient, and the victim of circumstances?" There are 
several such means. The one I propose to treat of now is, 
perhaps, the most convincing, if the facts can be brought 
with sufficient clearness to people's minds. 

For purposes of simplicity in exposition we will begin our 
inquiry, with the reader's permbsion, by a series of questions 
and answers, elaborating by this means, as briefly as is 
possible, the grounds upon which the relationship between 
the white and black races in tropical Western-Central Africa 
is based. 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 47 

Q. What is primarily the explanation of European activity 
in tropical Africa ? 

A. Trade relationship. 

Q. What does trade in tropical Africa consist of? 

A. The exchange of produce collected by the natives, 
and bartered by them against merchandise of Europe imported 
into their country. 

Q. What is that produce composed of? 

A. Palm-oil and kernels, ground-nuts, cabinet woods, 
rubber, piassava, gum-copal and gum-arabic, cocoa, cotton, 
shea-butter, and various other vegetable products. 

Q. How is this trade regulated ? 

A. By ruling market prices in Europe. 

Q. You mean that if the selling price in Europe of palm 
oil or rubber falls, the native producer will receive pro- 
portionately less in merchandise of Europe, and vice versa ? 

A. Precisely. 

Q. Then this collection of produce by the natives repre- 
sents their purchasing capacity in European goods — that is to 
say, in goods which they cannot otherwise procure ? 

A, Precisely. 

Q. And it also represents the labour of the country ? 

A* It represents a portion of the labour of the country. 

Q. Why do you say " a portion " ? 

A. Because, in addition to the labour expended by the 
people in collecting produce with which to purchase European 
goods, there is the labour required to provide for their own 
sustenance in food-stuffs ; that is to say, agricultural labour, 
cattle-rearing where cattle can live, hunting, fishing, and so 
on. Then there are also local industries, developed to a 
greater or lesser degree according to circumstances, such as 
cotton^rowing, the manufacture of cotton cloths, the dyeing 
of cotton cloths, the manufacture of leather ware and brass 
ware, the extraction of salt and potash, basket, and sometimes 
pottery work, smelting, the manufacture of weapons for war 
and the chase, and many other things, including the search 
for precious metals, where such exist. These industries 
supply the ordinary wants of the people, and provide 
material for the vast internal trade of Western Central 
Africa between native communities, often at very great 
distances apart 

Q, So the collection by the natives of produce for the 
European markets is a self-imposed task, over and above 
their usual avocations, in order to acquire articles of European 
manufacture ? 

A. That is so. The natives are not in their natural state 



48 KING LEOPOLD^S RULE IN AFRICA 

in any way impelled to collect produce for the European 
markets, being able to supply their positive requirements at 
home. If they collect palm-oil and rubber, cultivate cocoa, 
cotton, and ground-nuts, it is because they desire to purchase 
European manufactured goods. 

Q. Does the produce thus collected by the natives amount 
to much ? 

A. The British possessions in West Africa have, in the 
last five years, exported produce to Europe amounting to 
II millions sterling; in the similar period the French 
possessions in West Africa have exported produce to Europe 
amounting to 9 millions sterling, and the German posses- 
sions in West Africa have exported produce to Europe 
amounting to 4^ millions sterling. 

Q. Then the export to Europe of this produce, voluntarily 
collected and cultivated by the native, constitutes the export 
trade of the possessions of the various Powers in West Africa? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And the export of manufactured goods from Europe 
to those possessions represents the price paid to the natives 
for their produce, and constitutes the import trade of those 
possessions ? 

A. That is so. But bear in mind that, in addition to the 
manufactured goods imported by those possessions to purchase 
the produce collected and cultivated by the natives, the local 
Administration imports material for its own use. 

Q. So the value of the imports of a West African posses- 
sion exceeds the value of its exports ? 

^. As a rule, yes ; and sometimes very greatly, as, for 
instance, where there is a large white population to cater for, 
railways and steamers requiring replenishment of material 
and coal, public works in course of construction requiring 
material for building purposes, and hired native labour — where, 
in short, there is considerable capital expenditure, but not 
necessarily. Some years there may be a large increased 
quantity of merchandise imported to replenish stocks, and the 
value of trade goods thus imported may exceed the value of 
the produce exported, while the following year the reverse 
may be the case. 

Q. In a general way, the margin over a number of years 
covering genuine trade, imports and export, will, I suppose, 
represent the profit of the importing and exporting merchant, 
who is presumably the middleman between the native pro- 
ducer and the manufacturer at home, and who makes his 
profit, after paying the expenses of his establishment, on the 
transaction ? 




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ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 49 

A. Yes. 

Q. To resume, then ; if I understand you aright, the 
native is a voluntary collector and cultivator of produce for 
the European markets. That produce, which represents a 
portion of the labour of the country, represents also the pur- 
chasing capacity of the native in European goods. He 
disposes of his produce to the merchant, who sells him 
European goods in exchange at rates depending upon ruling 
market prices, and allowing a fair profit — the profit being 
large or small according to prevailing conditions at home 
and locally. This native production constitutes the export 
trade of the country, and the goods imported to pay for it 
constitute the true import trade, in addition to which the 
Administration imports goods and material for its own uses ; 
sometimes, when much capital is being invested, to a con- 
siderable extent. The greater the native production, the 
larger the quantity of trade goods required to pay for it ? 

A. Precisely. 

I trust that, put in the above form, the principles under- 
lying the relationship between the white and black races in 
tropical Africa will be made quite clear to the reader. 

We will now examine the import and export returns of 
three British West African colonies for the four years, 
1 899-1902. 

Sierra Leone. 

Imports (less specie and Colonial stores). Exports of produce. 

1899 . • £S^,o67 1899 .. . £2^S,SS4 

1900 • 478,462 1900 . 297,332 

1901 . 45i>8oo 1901 . 242,024 

1902 . . . $28,197 1902 . 299455 

Total . . ^^2,024,526 Total . . ^^1,127,395 

The total exports of all kinds amounted to ;£" 1,406,006, 
the balance between this figure and the export of produce 
consisting partly in the re-exportation of imports. 

Gold Coast. 

Imports Oess specie). Exports of produce. 

1899 . . . ^1,066,503 1899 .. . ^1,074,205 

1900 . i|099,04i 1900 • • . 852,368 

1901 . . 1,595,965 1901 . . . 534,423 

1902 . ifis^fis? ' 1902 . . . 715,551 

Total . . ;f 5,594,366 Total . . £y,i7^S47 

£ 



so KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

It has not been possible (owing to the construction of 
the Blue Book) to separate Government imports from trade 
imports.* The large excess of imports over exports is an 
illustration (touched on in the questions and answers) of a 
colony spending large sums in capital expenditure, connected 
in this case largely with a nascent gold industry. 

Lagos. 



Imports (less specie). 


Exports of produce and manufactu] 


1899 . . ;f 800,472 

1900 .. . 751,362 

1901 . . 717,996 

1902 . , . 895,231 


1899 . . ^^804,174 

1900 . 726,679 

1901 . 768,150 

1902 . . . 1,220,338 



Total . ;£3ii6s,o6i Total .;£3,5i9»34i 

The same remark applies to Imperial and Colonial stores, 
as in the case of the Gold Coast. Here we have one of those 
comparatively rare cases in a tropical African possession 
administered on civilised lines, where the exports exceed, to 
a limited extent, the imports in a given period, the excess 
being almost wholly accounted for by the exports in 1902, 
which was a big produce year in Lagos, and when much of the 
stock of 1 90 1 was raised in paying for 1902 produce : 1902 
being also an abnormal year in other ways. The railway to 
Ibadan opened that year, and tapped accumulations of palm- 
kernels especially, which otherwise would probably never have 
been marketed, because of the cost of transport 

Passing from the British West African possessions to 
the possessions of foreign Powers in West Africa, we may 
examine in the first place the two French Colonies of Senegal 
(which includes the vast territories in the Upper Niger and 
Western Soudan attached thereto) and Dahomey. 

Senegal. 

Imports. Exports. 

1899 . . 50,059,834 francs. 1899 . . 23,546,425 francs. 

1900 . . 46,805,147 w 1900 • • 32,932,142 „ 

1901 . . 64,073,960 „ 1901 . . 38,205,361 „ 

1902 . . 38,205,361 „ 1902 . . 25,562,781 „ 



Total . 199,144,302 „ Total . 120,246,709 „ 

Thus, in this French Colony, which in many respects — 
in the sense of possessing a considerable white population, 

* I understand that the Colonial Office has now given instructions for 
a common form to be adopted in all the British West African Colonies, 
which will certainly be an improvement upon the existing system. 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 51 

two railways, large military forces ; and in the sense, too, of 
produce from the interior being subject to railway charges — 
is on all fours with the Congo State, the imports in the four 
years, 1899-1902, have been £7f96sj72, and the exports 
;f 4, 809,868, which is what we should expect to find. It 
should be noted, in passing, that Senegal is a prosperous and 
expanding Colony, and is to-day the largest vegetable-oil 
producing country in the world, the natives cultivating their 
lougans (fields) in freedom, owners of their land, and of the 
product of their labour. From Senegal we turn to Dahomey, 
where conditions are somewhat similar to Lagos, it being 
chiefly a palm oil and kernel producing country, with a single 
line of railway, but of more recent construction, and still 
incomplete. 

Dahomey. 





Imports. 




Exports. 


1899 . 


. 12,348,970 francs. 


1899 . 


. 12,719,189 francs. 


1900 . 


. 15,221,419 „ 


1900 . 


. 12,755,894 „ 


I90I 


. 15,752,650 


1901 


. 10,478,916 „ 


1902 . 


. 17,090,386 


1902 . 


. 13,669,216 „ 



Total . 60,413425 „ Total . 49,623,215 „ 

We find, therefore, Dahomey importing in four years 
articles of a value of ^^2,416,537, and exporting articles to 
the value of ;£'i,984,928. 

Let us next examine the two German West African 
Colonies, Togoland and Cameroons. 





Togoland 


« 




till 


Imports. 

. i:i24,546 

. 151,480 

. 175,840 

236,145 


till 


Exports. 

. £ 73,524 

. 100,785 

. 152,945 

184,525 


Total 


. ;£688,oii 


Total 


• i;5".779 




CAMEROONS.t 




1898 . 

1900 . 

1901 . 

1902 . 


Imports. 
. ;£464,829 
. 712.250 

: &. 


1898 . 

1900 . 

1901 . 

1902 . 


Exports. 

. ;£230,08l 

294,300 

. 299,229 

. 313,204 



Total .^2,303,421 Total .;£i,i36,8i4 

Capital expenditure is the main explanation of this large 
disproportion. Finally, we may turn to the old Portuguese 

• Not having the figures for 1902, 1 take the four years 1898-1901. 
t Not having the figures for 1899, 1 have incorporated those for 1898. 



52 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

West African possession of Angola, where capital expenditure 
is not much in evidence. I have the figures for three years. 

Angola. 

Imports. Exports. 

1899 • . ;f953,94i 1899 . . ;£i,io5,323 

1900 . . 973,611 1900 . 1,084,707 

1901 . . 981.635 1901 . 813,825 

Total . ;t2,909,i87 Total . ;£3.oo3,855 

In nearly all the colonies of the Powers in Western Africa 
we find, therefore, that the value of the imports largely exceeds 
the exports. In the case of Sierra Leone we observe that, 
even after deduction of Imperial and colonial stores, the value 
of the trade goods imported is largely in excess of the produce 
exported. That, no doubt, is partly attributable to the fact 
that stocks have needed replenishing, in view of the destruc- 
tion which took place during the troubles of 1898, and also 
that a considerable proportion of trade goods imported are 
sold to the natives of Freetown and suburbs against cash, the 
balance going to the Protectorate natives to pay for produce. 

In the Gold Coast there is a large import of machinery — 
capital expenditure for the mines; Imperial stores; rolling 
stock for the railway and other colonial stores ; and the needs 
of a large European population to cater for. 

In 3ie case of Lagos we find, with the exception of the 
year 1902, trade more or less in its normal conditions, the 
margin between exports being accounted for by colonial 
stores, and the profits of the importer.* In Dahomey and 
Cameroons there has been a large import of what we should 
term Imperial and colonial stores — ^in other words, large de- 
velopment works going on — to swell the total of imports. 

In all these colonies we have the native voluntarily col- 
lecting and cultivating produce for the European market, 
which produce is PURCHASED from him with European 
goods. 

And now let us examine the statistics of the Congo State. 
What do these trade statistics tell us ? 

In the four years 1 899-1902 the natives of the Congo 
State have collected raw produce to the value of ;£'7,36o,i30 
sterling, the vast majority of which consists of rubber (which, 
like ivory and gum-copal, comes from the vast Upper Congo) 
valued at £6^idfi,^T^ 

• The figures for 1903, which I have now received, show trade to be 
recovering its normal equilibrium compared with the abnormal year 1902 ; 
the exports have decreased ;£334;734» ^ile the imports only show a fall 
of;£3ii743- 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 53 
Here are the figures — 

1899 ;^i,442,7i8 

1900 1,895,096 

1901 2,019,535 

1902 2,c»2,756 

That IS a large export of produce, and represents, or 
should represent, a very large purchasing capacity in European 
goods — a purchasing capacity which we may fairly reckon at 
}f6,500,ooa If, then, produce to that amount had been col- 
lected by the natives of a British, French, or German tropical 
African possession, we should have this result — 

Export Trade. Import Trade. 

Raw produce collected by the natives European merchandise import to pay 
in four years. for produce in four years. 

Value in sterling : £7^3/60^1310 Value m sterling : ;£6, 500,000 

But there are the wants of 2400 white men to be catered 
for in the Congo State, in the shape of food-stuffs, liquors, 
clothing, linen, haberdashery, drugs, hardware, soap, manu- 
factured tobacco, and so on. There is a long line of railway 
and a shorter one, both constructed, requiring large imports 
of patent fuel, railway waggons, rails, and machinery of 
various kinds. There is also a third railway under construc- 
tion, necessitating large import of material. There are more 
than forty steamboats of various kinds on the upper river 
necessitating a large import of machinery, boilers, sectional 
partSi anchors, chains, and so forth. There is an army of 
nearly 20,000 r^ular troops, requiring a large import of 
military equipment ; and there is, in addition, an irregular 
army, estimated by H.M. Consul in the Congo at 10,000, 
likewise necessitating a large import of war material. There 
is an enormous number of military and other stations, 
depdts, and what not These require a considerable import 
of furniture, paints, varnish, crockery, and building materials 
of all kinds. Finally, articles are required, and imported, 
such as camping materials, coffee, candles, seeds, scientific 
instruments, note-paper, desk fittings, live stock and fodder, 
and many others. 

From a careful computation of the officially published 
import returns of the Congo State, we can ascertain that the 
minimum average value of the various articles enumerated 
abov^ imported into the Congo territories during the period 
of four years under review, has amounted to ^450,000 per 
annum. If, then, we were dealing with a British, French, or 



54 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

German tropical possession, we should be able to extend our 
previous table thus — 

Export Returns. 

Value in sterling. 
Raw produce collected by the natives in four years ;t7,36o,i3o 

Import Returns. 

European merchandise imported to pay for produce 

in four years . ;^6,5oo,ooo 

Articles imported for administrative needs and local 

European consumption 1,800,000 

Total .... ;^8,3oo,ooo 

Over and above the articles mentioned, however, the 
Congo State Government, and the Great Trusts dependent 
upon it, require large quantities of cloth and brass rods, the 
only currency in the Upper Congo, to pay the services of 
their native military staff. Thus we find from an examina- 
tion of the statistics that the Congo State pays a minimum 
yearly average in articles other than cash (cloth almost 
entirely) to its soldiers of ;^45,ooo, which in four years 
would amount, therefore, to ;^i 80,000. The sums paid 
by the Trusts for these irregular troops are necessarily not 
given, but on the basis (already established) that the irregular 
troops number half the regulars, we may estimate the value 
of the payment made to the irregular troops in articles other 
than cash at the low yearly average of ;^20,ooo, deducting, 
as will be seen, a yearly sum of ;f 5000 from our average, on 
the assumption that the regulars are, perhaps, more highly 
remunerated. This, in four years, will amount to ;^8o,ooo. 
But apart from these military necessities, both the Congo 
State and its trusts require very large imports, principally of 
cloth, to pay the tens of thousands of natives they employ all 
the year round in various capacities. In Leopoldville alone 
3000 workmen in State employ — as we learn from H.M. 
Consul's report — are kept busy : maintaining telegraph lines, 
keeping roads clear, supplying up-river steamers with fuel, 
building stations, and attending to Government plantations 
— these are some of the uses to which native labour is put. 
And we must not forget the perennial supply of food-stuffs 
demanded from the natives all over the country, usually in 
fortnightly instalments. In endeavouring to estimate the 
sum expended in this manner, we shall, of course, be entering 
for the first time in our calculations the region of hypothesis ; 
but as we are informed that the natives are "adequately 
remunerated " for their labour^ we can hardly suppose that 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 55 

they receive on the average less than, say, ten francs, or 8s. 4^., 
per month in goods ; and in view of the enormous number 
of stations — both State stations and those belonging to the 
various Trusts — the large personnel to feed, and so forth, we 
can hardly suppose — it is a very moderate estimate — that 
less than 50,000 natives are kept continuously employed as 
workmen, carriers, suppliers of food-stuffs and wood fuel. 
Let us, however, for purposes of argument, allow that only 
30,000 natives are thus continually employed ; this would give 
us 30,000 natives at 10 francs per month, payable in goods, 
300,000 francs ; multiply by 12 — to get at the yearly expen- 
diture — 3,600,000 francs, or, say, ;f 144,000 per annum — in 
four years, £^6,000. Our completed table would thus 
appear as follows : — 

Export Returns. 

Value in sterling. 
Raw produce collected by the natives in four years ^7,360, 130 

Import Returns. 

European merchandise imported to pay 

^ for produce in four years . . ;^6, 500,000 

Articles imported for administrative 
needs and local European consump- 
tion in four years .... ;£ 1,800,000 

Trade goods imported to pay soldiers, 

regular and irregular, m four years 260,000 

Trade goods imported to pay for hired 

native labour in four years . . 576,000 2,636,000 

Total .... ;^9> 136,000 

A British, French, or German tropical African possession 
whose inhabitants collected raw produce in four years amount- 
ing to ;f7,36o,i30, which had a white population of 2400, a 
large river flotilla, two railways constructed and one in course 
of construction, and a regular and irregular native army of 
30,000 men, would, therefore, possess a total import trade of, 
at the very least, in round figures, ;f9,ooo,ooo, of which 
;f 6, 500,000 would be composed of trade goods wherewith 
to purchase the raw produce from the natives. 

What do we find when we refer to the import returns of 
the Congo State ? We find that the total imports in the four 
years under review only amounted to ;^3i529,3i7 ! 

Here are the figures for each year — 

'899 ^^2»®33 

1900 9««,964 

1901 ..... . 924,084 

1902 723,236 



56 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Imagine I Here is a possession, whose rulers inform the 
world that their policy is not only just and humanitarian, 
but positively philanthropic ; and whose subjects collect in 
four years raw produce to the value of ;f 7,360, 130 (;f 6,146,973 
being indiarubber) — which has a value in European goods of 
;(f 6, 500,000 — while the TOTAL IMPORT into that possession 
only amounts to ;^3,529,3I7, of which articles of a minimum 
value of ;f 2,636,000 never reach the native producer at all ! 

I have taken the four years 1899-1902 because at the 
time of writing, the figures for 1903 were incomplete in 
the case of most of the tropical African possessions of the 
civilised Powers. But by taking the quinquennial period, 
1899-1903, of the Congo State's statistics, an even better 
case could be made out In that period the total exports 
have amounted to ;^9,544,043, and Uie total imports to only 
;^4,365,i70, a difference in favour of the exports of no less 
than ;f 5,178,873. In 1903 — last year — the exports were 
;f2,i83,9i3, the imports only ;f835,8S3! The figures are 
even more striking when placed side by side in francs — 

Year. Imports. Exports. 



1899 . 22,325,846 francs. 

1900 . . 24,724,108 

1901 . . 23,102,064 

1902 . 18,080,909 

1903 . . 20,896,331 



36,067,959 francs. 
47,377,401 „ 
50488,394 „ 
50,069,514 „ 

54,S97,83S „ 



Total . 109,129,258 „ Total . 238,601,103 „ 

In Other words, the Congo State, which should have imported 
a strict minimum of ;^i 1,500,000 in five years, to pay for an 
export of raw produce valued at ;^9, 544,043,///^ the material 
required for the Administration, only imported material and 
goods valued at ;^4«365,i70, of which articles to the value of 
;£* 3,295,000 were not intended for the native producer, thus 
leaving a balance of ;f 1,070,170 Xopay for produce of a value 
of ;^9,544,043 ! But it should be borne in mind that these 
figures are worked out on a basis eminently favourable to 
the Congo Government They represent the conclusions 
which may be arrived at by a study of the Congo State's 
economics available in Europa From the numerous and 
detailed particulars we now possess of the modus operandi 
in Africa, it is morally certain that goods to the value of not 
one half of the balance above indicated have found their way 
into the hands of the native collector of nearly ten millions 
sterling of forest produce. 

What does it all mean ? But need we ask ? Here is a test 
which all men can apply to the Congo State, its Government, 



ECONOMIC TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 57 

and its methods. It means that the indianibber, collected 
by the natives, and exported in vast quantities, is not paid 
for, or paid for in such a way as to constitute a farce of 
payment* It means not only that the native producer does 
not obtain the intrinsic value for his produce in European 
goods, but that he is not even paid for his labour in 
collecting it 

And what in turn does that mean ? 

The native of tropical Africa under natural conditions is, 
as we have seen, a collector and cultivator of raw produce 
for the European markets whenever such markets are made 
accessible to him ; voluntarily adding to such labour, which 
may be fairly considerable, or light according to circumstances, 
as is necessitated for his own sustenance and comfort, and in 
doing so responding to that commercial and trading instinct 
inbred in his race. But does this additional labour to supply 
the European market remain a voluntary labour, where the 
producer obtains — after, as is the case with rubber, for 
instance, very considerable labour, exposure, and hardships — 
nothing for his produce ? Of course it does not 

The lesson derivable from a study of the export and 
import returns of the Congo State is a plain and simple one. 
It proves conclusively that the vast indiarubber output of the 
Congo territories is not a voluntary production, but that it is 
a production FORCED UPON the natives. It proves that the 
system itself is " at fault" 

And in practice this forced production necessitates that 
whole tribes — a rubber output of over ;^6,ooo,ooo in four 
years means the unceasing labour of tens of thousands of 
men — ^must be subjected to a condition of abject and impotent 
submission; that whole tribes must be virtually enslaved, 
living on from day to day, from week to week, from month 
to month, from year to year, only to serve the behests of 
their taskmasters; that slaughter and gross and perpetual 
oppression must be the accompaniments of such a system ; 
that depopulation, disease, n^lect, apathy, and despair must 
be its endemic concomitants. 

• Here is a practical instance of "payment" as reported by H.M. 
Consul (White Book, Africa, No. i, 1904). 

•• Production." •' Payment." 

Per basket ofpore rubber,;^ I is,Sd, Knife worth 6^. (after adding 100 

per cent transport charges). 

Rubber brought in by three men, 7 Goods worth under is, ; local 

kilos, at 7 francs per kilo = £2. valuation, is. lod. 

Process repeats itself every fort- Goods worth 24X. or 25^.; local 

night, or twenty-six times a year valuation, £2 js. &/. 
--£$2 per annum. 



58 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

We know — ^those of us who have followed the atrocious 
records of the Congo State for many years — we know that 
these things are. We knew them long before their irrefutable 
confirmation by H.M. Consul in the Congo. 

A study of these figures enables every man to be per- 
suaded of them. 

And if we seek amidst all the cant and the perennial out- 
pourings of hypocritical falsehoods, which, like some poisonous 
stream, wells forth from the headquarters of those concerned 
in the maintenance of this system of African enslavement — 
if we seek amidst all this to find here and there, uttered at 
odd times and in some unguarded moment, a cynical revelation 
of the established fact, where shall we find a more striking 
illustration than in the words of M. de Smet de Naeyer, pro- 
nounced in the Belgian House in July of last year, in the 
course of the famous three days' Congo debate — 

"They (the natives) are not entitled to any- 
thing : WHAT IS GIVEN THEM IS A VERITABLE GRATUITY " 
— words which should be bracketed with the quotation at 
the head of this article. The promise in 1884: the per- 
formance in 1903 1 

In four years the natives of the Congo territories have 
been robbed, in the name of philanthropy and civilisation, 
of produce collected by them to the tune of nearly ;^6,ooo,ooo. 
And that is the least count in the indictment. The number 
of human lives that have been sacrificed directly and in- 
directly in the process is appalling to contemplate. One of 
the largest of the Trusts, Mr. Roger Casement tells us, 
expended in three years 72,000 cartridges " in the production 
of indiarubber," and he quotes a diary shown him testifying 
to the usage by the Government of 6000 cartridges in six 
months on the Mamboyo River, " which means that 6000 are 
killed or mutilated, because for every cartridge used the 
soldiers must bring back a right hand." The diary adds, 
** It means more than 6000, for the people told me repeatedly 
that the soldiers kill the children with the butt of their guns." 
The Mongalla Trust imported — as we know from the Caudron 
case — 40,000 ball cartridges last year, and the murder of 122 
inoffensive natives was brought home to one of its agents 
only in March, 1904. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE THE 

BENEFICIARIES BY GOVERNMENT SLAVERY 

" In less than twenty-five years^ acting under the impulse of a 
perseverinfi' and tenacious vml, immense territories nave been 
explored, the basin of a vast Empire established, and considerable 
natural nches exploited, which, however, are of very small import- 
ance to the I'eneral trade of Belgium, but which brinsr enormous 
profit to the Congo State and its associates. ... To collect rubber 
or ivory to-day in the Congo, one must either be the Sovereign- 
King, or one of the Companies of the Domaine Priv6. . . . There 
is no doubt that the economic results of this rigime have been 
very brilliant for the Sovereign of the Congo State, and for the 
Companies of the Domaine Priv^, but not to Belgium. Belgian 
trade in the Congo does not represent even z per cent of the 
general trade of Belgium. A few people make enormous profits 
out of the sale of the rubber and ivory which fall into their hands. 
. . . Considerable sums are invested by the Congo State in 
Eastern, and especially in Chinese undertaking Moreover, the 
Congo State has latterly taken to buying land m the Commune of 
Laeken and elsewhere. Proper^ is also being bought up bv the 
Congo State in Brussels, representing a value of several millions 
of francs. . . ."— M. Vandervelde, in the Belgian House, July, 

Z9Q3- 

''The administrative rigime of the State is an absolute des- 
potism."— Professor Cattier,* Brussels University. 

"All the Powers emanate from the Sovereign, who exerdses 
them personally or through his delegates. If he deems it advisable 
he consults the Superior Council sitting in Brussels. He person- 
ally drafts the most important measures. . . . The Sovereign 
manifests his will in the form of decrees countersigned by the 
Secretary of Stote."— M. A. J. WAUTERS.t 

"The success secured for the benefit of one person, and that 
person's immediate entourage^ has been at the price of the enslave- 
ment of millions of men."— M. Lorand, in the Belgian House, 

Jnlji I9Q3. 

" It is a danger, it is an abuse, it is a thing contrary to the prin- 
ciples of our Constitution, that the King, to whom is allotted 
emoluments by the nation, should become a merchant and a specu- 
lator."— M. Janson, in the Belgian House, July, 1903. 

The figrures set forth in the previous chapter are in themselves 
sufficient to condemn the whole fabric of Congo State rule 
in Africa. They are the fitting background to the Leopoldian 

♦ Op. at. t Op. dt. 



6o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

conception of tropical African development as defined in the 
typical exclamation of M. Smet de Naeyer, the Belgian 
Premier and faithful henchman of the Sovereign of the Congo 
State. Producer, under compulsion, of ;f 6, 146,974 sterling 
worth of rubber (let alone ivory, and other articles having 
market value in Europe, and without counting, of course, the 
vast quantities of food-stuffs for the up-keep of officials and 
the army), in four years, the native must still consider himself 
lucky — according to M. Smet de Naeyer — if he gets anything 
at all for his arduous labour in collecting these products, 
while he gets nothing at all for the intrinsic value of the 
articles which his labour produces, on the ground that the 
said articles do not belong to him either before or after 
collection, but to the State which compels him to gather 
them, either directly, or indirectly through the corporations 
to which it delegates its ownership, and in the profits of whose 
operations it is the largest participant 

And who in the last resort benefits by this Government 
slavery ? On whose behalf are these natives robbed of the 
fruits of their toil ? This is a matter which requires careful 
investigation. The ground we shall cover will be found to 
provide us with the second test, the financial test, of Congo 
State rule. I have shown that the rulers of the Congo have 
destroyed, throughout the vast territories assigned to them 
in trust for civilisation, the basis of commercial relationship 
between the European and the African by appropriating the 
elements pertaining to the African which constitute commerce, 
viz. the raw produce of the soil which the African alone can 
gather. I have shown that, notwithstanding this elimination 
of the commercial or natural relationship between the European 
and African in tropical Africa, the natives of the Congo State 
have nevertheless collected in five years for the European 
markets raw produce valued at over nine and a half millions 
sterling. And I have shown that such a condition of affairs 
can only be the outcome of a regime of coercion persistently 
and pitilessly applied. 

As every act of man, good or bad, is the outcome of 
motive, so every policy, affecting the lives of many millions 
of men, must have behind it, whether it be beneficial or the 
reverse, purpose. The •* development " of the Congo terri- 
tories is pointed to by apologists of Congo State methods as 
a triumph for what is called the " colonising aptitudes " of 
the Belgian people ; as an enormous moral asset to Belgium, 
and a material one to boot ; as a vivifying and instructive 
example of what a small nation can do by energetic effort 
Persons who argue in this way have a most pronounced 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 6i 

objection to face facts, and either through ignorance, as, 
personally, I believe is die case in many instances, or through 
deliberate and interested misrepresentation, seek to blind, if 
not themselves, at least the public. 

For example, are we not repeatedly told of the great 
increase in the ** trade " of the Congo territories ; when it is 
palpably obvious, when the facts are gone into, that there is 
no " trade " in the Congo territories at all, if we except the 
infinitesimal Lower Congo, where a miserable turn-over of 
some ;f 200,000 per annum takes place, a large proportion of 
which is not an Afro-European transaction, but a retail 
business for local European consumption ? That is but one 
specimen of the hollow contentions put forward. Is it not 
continually repeated that the admirable civilising work per- 
formed by the Sovereign of the Congo State in Africa is 
enriching the Belgian people? Could anything be more 
fallacious, when the facts are looked at ? True, the whole of 
the indiarubber and most of the ivory obtained from the 
Congo find their way, in the first place, to Belgium, brought 
thereto in the steamers of the Compagnie Beige Maritime du 
Congo, of which Sir Alfred Jones is a director and an impor- 
tant shareholder, and so give employment to a certain amount 
of Belgian labour. But this is a very small matter. Con- 
sider, on the other hand, the opportunities of extending his 
business of which the Belgian manufacturer is deprived, 
owing to the methods adopted on the Congo. If this india- 
rubber and ivory were purchased from the native producer in 
European goods, as would be the case if it came from a British, 
a German, or a French West African possession, and some 
sort of privilege over his competitors were conferred upon the 
Belgian manufacturer — whicl^ we can hardly suppose would 
be beyond the ingenuity of a sovereign who has driven a 
coach-and-four through the Berlin Act — look at the enormous 
export trade with the Congo which Belgium would be able 
to boast of I If in the four years we have reviewed, Belgian 
manufacturers had only supplied ;^4,500,ooo out of the 
;f 6,500,000 of manufactured goods required to purchase the 
;f 7,360,130 of raw produce exported from the Congo, it would 
have represented a trade of 12^. per head for the population 
of Belgium. ^King Leopold seems to have realised the 
crowning importance of acquiring a colony as a trade outlet,"* 
says Major St. H. Gibbons in his recent book,* in which we 
find much that is sound on the subject of Congo misrule 
coupled with a great deal which shows that the author is not 
acquainted with the essentials of Congo State policy and 

* ** Africa fixym Soath to North through Barotseland,'' 1904. 



62 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

knows little of the European aspects of that policy.* And 
he speaks of the object of King Leopold as having been "the 
reservation of nearly a million square miles as a protected 
field for Belgian commerce." That the Congo territories 
may with accuracy be termed a " protected field " is not to 
be disputed ; but that they are " a protected field for Belgian 
commerce," or that they can be spoken of as a " trade outlet " 
for Belgian industry, facts disprove conclusively. Commerce 
there is none, and trade there is none, and if we compare the 
turn-over of Belgium's connection with the Congo after 
twenty years of misplaced "energy," we find that it only 
represents i per cent, of the total trade of Belgium I 

And that is why, outside the small and noisy clique which 
runs the Congo and those who benefit indirectly from its 
operations, the Belgian people are absolutely indiflferent to 
the African undertaking of their Sovereign. One has only 
to travel in Belgium and converse with Belgians of all classes 
to see how true this is. Often and often have I, in endeavour- 
ing to interest Belgians in the Congo question, come across 
this brick wall of indifference and ignorance : " The Congo — 
why should we trouble about the Congo ? We are not re- 
sponsible for the Congo. It is no use to us. We get nothing 
out of it It only interests the King and a few financial 
groups who hold shares in the Companies." That is the 
substance of statements repeatedly made to me by Belgian 
individuals. To an important member of an international 
Jesuit college which numbers many Belgians among its adepts, 
to whom I was deploring the silence of the Belgian Priest- 
hood on the Congo in the face of the atrocities and oppression 
endemic in that unhappy land, the answer was : " Our brothers 
know that these things occur, and I have read many private 
letters from some of our Belgian workers on the Congo which 
more than confirm your statements ; but what can they do ? 
Belgian public opinion is indifferent, and they are the subjects 
of their King, and would be at once disavowed if they spoke 
or allowed their letters to be published." 

But the Congo clique, however numerically small, is 
financially extremely powerful; the King can always count 
upon the support of the Catholic Right in his African under- 
taking as the price paid for keeping the Socialists out of 
office ; the old Liberal party is an agglomeration of inchoate 
atoms ; the majority of the Belgian newspapers are, I am 
sorry to say, easily purchasable ; and the Belgian ambassadors 
and consuls in foreign countries obey, as they needs must do, 

* Major St. H. Gibbons has since declared that he was driven to the 
conclusion that the "general system of government is bad." 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 63 

the royal mot dordre. The consequence is that Europe is 
altogether misled as to the real sentiments or lack of senti- 
ments of the Belgian people, among whom King Leopold is 
not at all respected, let alone liked. The real condition of 
the Congo, for which Belgium is made to appear responsible 
by her Constitutional monarch, and is, in effect, morally re- 
sponsible beyond all other Powers, is studiously kept from 
the nation, which is not one naturally given to philanthropic 
impulse. I do not think, however, that this state of things 
can last for ever. The high standing and European reputa- 
tion of several Englishmen, known as the defenders constitu- 
tionally of small peoples, who have allied themselves with a 
movement for the reform of the abominations of Congo misrule, 
must have an effect, before very long, which will be heightened 
by the splendid labours of Belgians like Vandervelde and 
Lorand. Even now it is beginning to be apparent that, 
despite the incessant efforts of the King and his entourage^ 
the Belgian people are becoming aware that the condemna- 
tion pronounced upon Congolese methods by civilisation — 
with England, I am proud to say, in the van — is not a con- 
demnation of themselves as a people, but of those who are 
dragging the fair fame of Belgium in the mire. 

Before dealing in specific fashion with the query set forth 
at the commencement of this chapter, it may be advisable 
to give some little-known particulars as to the condition of 
Congo State finances — *^ finances vireuses^^ as their Belgian 
critics say. In point of fact, the Congo State is pretty 
heavily mortgaged, as the following figures of loans con- 
tracted tell : — 

Francs. 

1904 30,cx)o,ooo 

1902 (balance of 1888 loan) . . 80,000,000 

1 90 1 (Great Lakes railway) . . 25,000,000 

1901 50,000,000 

1896 1,500,000 

1888 70,000,000 

1885 (balance) .... 422,200 

Total . . 256, 922,200 

In addition to this indebtedness of ;^io,276,88o, of which 
France is understood to hold stock amounting to ;£'3,200,ooo, 
there is a capital of ;6'i,200,ooo (30,000,000 francs) lent by the 
Belgian State, of which neither capital nor interest is repay- 
able, Belgium having renounced both in 1901, provided she 
annexes the Congo. If she should not annex the Congo, 
then her loan would have to be paid off. Much of this money 
has been borrowed ostensibly for works on the Congo; in 



64 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

reality, to allow King Leopold to meet some of his other 
engagements, notably in China. His Majesty found it neces- 
sary recently [to put up 55,000,000 francs (jf 2,200,000) in 
this connection. He endeavoured to do so by issuing a loan 
in February, 1904, That loan did not, however, come off. 
There were openly expressed opinions that it was ill^al in 
its form and conception, and, at any rate, it has not ** pro- 
ceeded." Valuable light is thrown upon the peculiar part 
played by the Sovereign of the Congo State in connection 
with the sinking fund of the 1888 Congo loan, the American 
Chinese Development Company, TAsiatique, and the National 
Savings Bank of Belgium {Caisse iTEpargne), by the pro- 
ceedings of the Belgian House of Representatives in March, 
1903.* 

These loans, I may remark, are, as a rule, devised in the 
seclusion of Ostend, remote from the control or advice of the 
Belgian Finance Minister. They have even been known to 
be put into being over a dinner-table. There is not the least 
doubt that the true reason no lands are now sold on the 
Congo, but only leased, is to be found in the conditions of 
the Belgian renunciation in 1901, of both the capital and 
interest of her loan. By the terms of that loan all sums 
derivable from the sales of land were to be devoted to paying 
off the capital. In other words, the proceeds of the sales 
would go to Belgium, and not to the Congo State. The 
Sovereign of that State finds he can obtain quite as much for 
leasing land as for selling it, and as in the former case the 
proceeds go towards that mysterious compilation, the Congo 
State " budget,'' and not to Belgium, it is seen to be prefer- 
able to lease land instead of selling it The advantage of 
being Constitutional monarch of a country whence you can 
obtain a loan on such terms, and Sovereign absolute of another 
country where 2,000,000 kilometres square of Domaine 
Priv^ are leasable on such terms, is not to be reckoned 
lightly. 

Passing from these under-currents of Congolese high 
finance, the full depth of which I do not profess to have yet 

* ^ Annales parleraentaires." In 1889 the Soci^t^ Asiatique, one of 
the King's Chinese ventures, ** the King and the creatures of the Kin^g." 
to quote M. Vandervelde, was successnu in getting the Committee which 
has charge of the Sinking Fund of the 1888 loan to invest in the Chinese 
concern ; the game was tried again in 1902, when the Asiatique made a 
bid for 10 million francs out of the same fund. Two of the members 
objected. Thereupon the Committee was increased from three members 
to six, and the 10 millions were secured. A still bolder move was made 
in the spring of 1903 to involve the Caisse d'Epargne in the undertaking, 
and the delate which took place on that occasion was most instructive. 




Photograph by 



ALFRKD KMMOTT, ESQ., M.P. 



FJliott <Sr* Fry 



Has taken a prominent part in denouncing Coni^o niisijovernment and in creating 
the Congo Reform Association. 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 65 

sounded, the Congo State's yearly budgetary returns offer 
a field of equally revealing investigation. First of all, the 
true revenue and expenditure returns are never published. 
In this respect the Congo State enjoys a unique distinction 
among civilised states. The only returns which see the light 
of day are "estimates." These "estimates" are drafted, 
apparently, with the clear and definite purpose of causing the 
world to believe that, administratively, the Congo State is 
a losing concern, or at best barely meets expenses. The 
expenditure is either shown as exceeding the revenue, or 
providing a very small margin on the right side. This is, 
however, like so much which pertains to that anachronism, 
the Congo State, excessively fallacious. For instance, the 
" taxes in kind " paid by the natives figure as the principal 
item in the revenue returns, which per se is perfectly accurate. 
If it were not for these "taxes" the Congo State, as at 
present managed, would be bankrupt to-morrow. The "taxes " 
in question are supposed to represent the value of the india- 
rubber and ivory thus " paid " by the natives for the great 
benefits conferred upon them by civilisation, vid King Leopold 
and his agents. It is rather amusing to note, by the way, 
that the values of the articles thus obtained by imfdt 
ligitime are incorporated in the trade returns 1 They are 
included in the exports under the designation of statisques 
commerciales ! So, on the one hand, we are invitee! to 
express admiration at the growth of the export "trade" 
which includes the product of "taxation." When, however, 
we point out the extraordinary difference in the respective 
values of the exports and imports in the case of a country 
whose purchasing capacity in European goods lies in its 
exports alone ; and when, going further, we are uncharitable 
enough to remark that the Congo State, by its own legisla- 
tion, by the utterances of its officials, by its own diplomatic 
documents, admits that the entire products of economic value 
throughout the Congo territories have been appropriated by 
the State, and that consequently the element of " trade " has 
disappeared with the elimination of the right of possession 
on tiie part of the native to the very articles which con- 
stitute trade; the reply is, "You are confusing trade with 
taxation I"* And, to crown all, the Congo Government 
points to the growth in the exports as proving the economic 
development of the country in the shape of a ** considerable 
commercial movement I " 

The published figures of this estimated ''taxation" 
between 1894 and 1902 are as follows : — 

• Bulletin Officiei^ Junc^ 1903. 



66 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Francs. 

1895 1,250^000 

1896 1,200,000 

1897 3i5a>,ooo 

1898 6,700,000 

1899 10,000,000 

1900 10,500,000 

1901 17,424,630 

1902 15452,000 

But these estimates are much below the actual amounts 
realised by the Congo State on the Antwerp market for the 
sale of the products of these ''taxes." The realisations 
between 1895 and 1900 are as follows : — 

Francs. 

1895 5,500,000 

1896 6,000,000 

1897 8,500,000 

1898 9,000,000 

1899 19,130,000 

1900 H1991.300 

Since my publication of the 1899 and 1900 figures the 
sources of information have been more jealously guarded 
than ever, and so far it has not been possible to ascertain 
the figures for 1901, 1902, and 1903. 

Let us take the year 1899 as an example, and see how 
it works out. 

The budgetary estimates of revenue and expenditure for 
that year were published as follows : — 

Revenue. Expenditure. 

19,966,500 francs 19,672,965 francs, 

(of which 10,000,000 francs derived 
from " taxes ** as per estimate). 

According to the official figures, therefore, the excess of 
revenue over expenditure was only 293,535 fr^tncs. But the 
"taxes," as we see by the second column of figures given 
above, exceeded the budgetary estimates by no less a sum 
than 9,130,000 francs, and with this important correction (I 
cannot imagine that the compilers of the " estimates " would 
under-estimate the expenditure, but you cannot check theml) 
the revenue and expenditure returns figure out as follows : — 

Revenue. Expenditure. 

29)096,500 francs 19)672,963 francs, 

(of which 10,130,000 francs derived 
from " taxes '*)• 

The excess of revenue over expenditure, therefore, was 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 67 

not a paltry 293,535 francs, but amounted to the very sub- 
stantial sum of 9423,535 francs. 

Take the year 1900, according to the budgetary estimates : 

Revenue. Expenditure. 

26,256,500 francs 27,73 1 >254 francs, 
(of which 10,500,000 francs derived 
from ** taxes " as per estimate). 

Here we have an apparent excess of expenditure over 
revenue amounting to 1474,754 francs, whereas, in point of 
fact, the figures should read — 

Revenue. Expenditure. 

30,747,800 francs 27,731,254 francs, 

(of which 14,991,300 francs derived 
from " taxes "). 

A New York newspaper published last year an interview 
with a personality on the subject of the Congo to whom was 
attributed royal prescience and knowledge, and in that inter- 
view the royal person interviewed remarked upon the con* 
fusion which was being made between gross and net revenue ; 
unhappily for the enlightenment of the community the 
interviewer did not attempt a differentiation as between 
gross and net expenditure. 

Where do these surpluses go? We shall certainly not 
find the explanation in the budgetary '' estimates,'' and 
nothing beyond them is ever published on Congo State 
finances. We must therefore look further afield, which 
brings us to a consideration of the Domaine Priv6 and its 
various branches. 

The Domaine Priv6 covers, theoretically, the entire area 
of the Congo territories above Leopoldville^ with the excep- 
tion of a few tracts along the banks of some of the rivers 
which are nominally open to trade, but where, as in the case 
of the La Lulonga Company, the " traders " have the right 
to exact rubber d Hire d'impdt. But the Domaine Priv6 
is split up into sections. There are the areas given over to 
the great Trusts, and there is the Domaine de la Couronne, 
of which very little was heard prior to the debate in the 
Belgian House in July, 1903. What is not incorporated in 
the Domaine de la Couronne or absorbed by the Trusts is 
the area in which the black subjects of King Leopold are 
" taxed " in order to provide revenues for the Government 

Lord Cromer tells us that the Congo Government, so far 
as he could judge, is conducted '' almost exclusively on com- 
merdal principles," and even judged by that standard, added 
his Lordship^ those principles appeared to be ''somewhat 



68 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

short-sighted." * In his Note to the Powers, Lord Lansdowae, 
basing himself upon — 

** information which has reached His Majesty's Government from British 
officers in territory adjacent to that of the State, tends to show 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, but devote all their energies to the collection of revenue." t 

Many are the records to the same effect in Consul Casement's 
report,^ and, apart from such testimony, there is a mass of 
irrefutable data from unofficial sources beyond suspicion, 
proving that the chief, if not the main, solicitude of the 
authorities is the acquisition of indiarubber for revenue pur- 
poses, which, in practice, means getting as much indiarubber as 
possible out of each rubber-producing district in the Domaine 
Priv^ by way of "taxes." This anxiety is, moreover, so 
conspicuously evident in the pronunciamientos of the Congo 
State authorities themselves, that we really need not go 
beyond them. Take, for example, the memorandum of 
Governor-General WaJhis to the Commissioners of Districts 
and Chiefs of Zones, a copy of which is given in the White 
Book.§ 

The memorandum is all about rubber from beginning to 
end. It concludes as follows : — 

"A cette cause de la diminution de la valeur du caoutchouc, il faut 
ajouter celle provenant de Pemballage d^fectueux du produit, qui par suite 
voyage souvent pendant plusieurs mois dans les plus mauvaises ccmditions. 
Uon peut dire qu'a cause de cette negligence une notable partie des efibrts 
qui ont ^t^ faits pour obtenir une production en rapport avec la richesse 
du pays, doivent ^tre consid^r^s comme perdus, puisque la valeur du 
caoutchouc peut diminuer de moiti^ par suite de ce manque de soin. 
J'ajouterai que la valeur du caoutchouc, mdme pur de tout mdange, a 
diminu^ depuis quelque temps sur tous les marches ; il faut done que les 
chefs territoriaux fassent non seulement disparaitre les deux causes de 
pertes quUls peuvent ^liminer, mais encore qu'ils compensent la troisi^me 
en faisent des efforts continus pnour augmenter la production dans la 
mesure prescrite par les instructions. Mon attention sera d'une fa9on 
constante, fix^e sur les prescriptions que je donne ici.'' 

Here we have the Governor-General himself abjuring the 
high officials under him to make ''continued efforts" to 
increase the output of rubber. As Mr. Casement sarcastic- 
ally remarks — 

'' The instructions this circular conveys would be excellent if coming 
from the head of a trading house to his subordinates, but addressed, as 
the^r are, by a Govemor-G^eral to the principal officers of his Adminis- 
tration, they reveal a somewhat limited conception of public duty." 

* Africa, No. 1, 1904, op. cit. t British Note to Powers. 

X Africa, No. i, 1904, ^, cit. % Idem. 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 69 

It must not be forgotten, however, that the "conception 
of public duty" held by the Governor-General of the Congo 
State is the conception required and prescribed by a higher 
authority than he. The brain which directs the Congo 
machine is not in Africa, but in Brussels, and the Govemor- 
Greneral is the ''personal mandatory," as the Congo text- 
books tell us, of the Sovereign King. What, again, could be 
more significant than the memorandum of M. Felix Fuchs, 
the Govemor-Genersil ad inUrim to Commandant Verstraeten, 
the Commissaire of the Rubi-Welle zone, coupled with the 
latter^s instructions to the subordinate " administrators " of 
that district, as quoted by M. Vandervelde in the course of 
the Congo debates in the Belgian House last year? 

"Je terminerai," wrote M. Felix Fachs, "en vous disant que le 
gonvemement a le ferme espoir que, vous inspirant des considerations 
ezposto en t^te de la pr^sente, vous fournirez une nouvelle preuve 
d'activitd et de d^vouement, en faisant produire k la zone que vous com- 
Qumdez le maximum de ressources qu'on en peut tirer.'' 

And the faithful under-strapper to those placed under his 
authority — 

** Messieurs les chefs de poste de la zone de Rubi-Ouelle, 
« J'ai Phonneur de porter k votre connafssance qu'a partir du ler 
Janvier 1899, il f^ut arriver a foumir mensuellement 4000 kilogrammes de 
caoutchouc. • . . Vous avez done deux mois pour travailler vos popula- 
tions," etc 

The outcome of those particular instructions we shall read of 
in Chapter XIV. 

"Du caoutchouc, encore du caoutchouc, toujours du 
caoutchouc ! " — that is the insistent demand, and might well 
be adopted by the Congo State as its motto, with a severed 
hand as its emblem ; but we will come to the emblem 
presently. These words, so pregnant of meaning for the 
unhappy peoples of the Congo, whispered at the Place du 
Trdne^ consigned in confidential memoranda (which some- 
times see the light of day) at Boma, thence despatched all 
over the vast Congo State, even unto the Great Lakes, to be 
passed from Commissaire de District to Chef de Zone ; from 
Chef de Zone to Chef de Factorerie ; from Chef de Factorerie 
to the humblest sub-agents of the great Machine, the latter 
to be sacrificed when local risings and the cause thereof 
have become too intensive and too notorious to be hushed 
up, to answer for the crimes of their employers. India- 
rvbher, first discovered in Africa by a Minister of Grod, has, on 
the Congo, become synonymous with oppression, outrage, and 
massacre ; gathered at the point of the bayonet, hurried down 



JO KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

river to the ocean, sweating in the hold of the great steamer, 
flung upon the quay at Antwerp ; the theme of every sordid 
tale of crime unfolded before the Boma Courts ; the constant 
preoccupation of every State official from the day he lands 
m the sphere reserved to the process of *' moral and material 
regeneration " — ^how many lives are sacrificed for each ton 
of it I 

The right of a European Government to tax directly its 
subjects in tropical Africa will not be queried (although there 
may be differences of opinion as to the wisdom of a European 
Government desirous of building up a healthy, happy, and 
prosperous dependency for future generations in applying 
direct taxation to peoples among whom a recurring impost is, 
in the majority of cases, unknown in native custom), provided 
that the taxation bears a reasonable relationship to the capa- 
bilities in labour and wage-earning capacity of the tax-payer. 
It may be remarked in this connection that whereas England, 
France, and Germany are content to tax their African sub- 
jects once or at most twice a year, the Congo Government, in 
its laudable zeal to inculcate to a sufficient degree the dignity 
of labour, prefers to tax its subjects once a week or once a 
fortnight, with the not infrequent result that from year's 
end to year's end the Congo native is employed in meeting 
demands which, apparently, remain stationary, or even 
increase with the corresponding decrease of the population — 
the infallible consequence of such a continuous strain.* 

So much for the Domaine Priv^ stricto sensu, the portion 
of the Congo territories exclusively set aside for purposes of 
acquiring indiarubber for Government " taxation." f 

Until the debates of 1903 in the Belgian House, public 
opinion in Belgium and outside of it was made to understand 
that the taxation of natives in the Domaine Friv^ represented 
the sutnmum of " taxation " exacted from the natives of the 
Congo. The Congo Government, in official documents, its 
apologists, official and unofficial, and its paid writers in the 
Press, have declared over and over again that the whole 
amount derived from the " taxation " of the natives appeared 
in the Budget, a statement in itself manifestly misleading, if 

* See inter alia^ Africa, No. i, 1904, op, cit,; the letters of Mr. Weeks 
in the IVest African Mail, etc. The statement put forward by the Congo 
Government and its apologists to the effect that the native of the Congo 
is only required to give forty hours' labour per month is a fair example of 
a mendacity whose shamelessness is only equalled by its absurdity. 

t The word '* taxation " is placed in inverted commas because it is the 
word used by the Congo Government. Personally, I do not think that 
the word is applicable to the process whereby Government revenues are 
acquired. 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 71 

not positivdy untrue, since, as we have had occasion to 
obsenre, only *' estimates'' are published, never actual returns. 

The author of the present volume had consistently main- 
tained the contrary,* viz. that large sums were obtained from 
•* taxation " which figured nowhere, not even as " estimates." 
To dismiss the author as '^ a calumniator," the epithet reserved 
for those who disagree with the methods of the Congo 
Government, and more particularly, it would seem, for the 
individual against whom the choicest compliments of the 
Congo State's defenders are directed, was a sufficiently easy 
task until the afore-mentioned debate. The revelations 
made on that occasion have, however, corroborated my pre- 
vious statements up to the hilt It was then made clear for 
the first time that, in addition to the Government "taxes " re- 
quired of the natives '* for benefits rendered," in the Domaine 
Privi stricto sensu^ "taxes " were imposed upon the natives in 
a special section of the Domaine Friv^, called Domaine de la 
Couronne, not for Government purposes, but for account and 
on behalf of the Sovereign-King. It transpired that the 
Domaine de la Couronne, of which many members of the 
House had never heard, was ^ a civil personality " ruled by a 
special staff, and the proceeds of whose revenues were managed 
for the Sovereign-King in Europe by a committee of three 
persons, two of them attached to the Court (Baron Raoul 
Snoy and Baron Goffinet), and the other the Finance Minister 
of the^ Congo State (M. Droogmans). The extent and the 
disposal of these revenues, it also transpired, figured in no 
public accounts and were nowhere specified. This scandalous 
exposi^ forced out of the official defenders of the Congo 
Government in the course of an extraordinarily heated dis- 
cussion, was received with loud protests and expressions of 
indignation from the Left, and in slavish silence by the Right.f 

Thus is partially explained the wide margin between the 
revenue " estimates " and the actual returns from " taxation " 
in the shape of produce sold by the State's brokers on the 
Antwerp market, and thus is finally disposed of the con- 
tention that the Congo State is, administratively, a losing 
concern. It has now been made abundantly clear that the 
budgetary ^estimates" bear but the faintest relation to truth, 
and that, in addition to " taxation " imposed for Government 
requirements, the natives of the Congo are "taxed " for the 
benefit of, shall we say, in the language of the Bulletin 
Officiel^ " a civil personality " ? 

* "Afiairs of West Africa,^ and notably the "Congo Slave Sute," 
1903, chap. ii. p. 22. 

f " Annales parlementaires," vide Part V. 



72 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

The query at the opening of these pages is partly answered. 

The answer will be complete when we have examined the 

constitution and the nature of the great Trusts. I should 

say here that, apart from the Domaine Friv^, the Domaine 

de la Couronne, and the areas allotted to the Trusts, there 

exists what is known as the Thys group of companies, of 

which the Socidt^ Anonyme du Haut Congo is the principal 

company. So far as these companies act independently, I 

have not a word to say against them. The enterprise 

originated as a genuine commercial undertaking, as we have 

already noted. For years the Soci^t^ Anonyme du Haut 

Congo carried on a legitimate trade, and was well served by 

honourable agents, until the Congo Government violently 

interfered, destroyed a trade which had been built up, and 

forced the company to its knees. I cannot think that the 

men connected with the Thys concerns, bad and demoralising 

as has been the example set them, have altered their original 

methods, and adopted the policy of compelling the natives 

vi €t armis to produce for nothing that which there had been 

no previous difficulty in purchasing from them on fair terms. 

They were pursuing a legitimate trade prior to 1891. That 

they have been conducting their business on the same lines 

in such restricted areas as the stand they then made has 

enabled them in some degree to retain, I would fain hope. 

But I confess to have but little information on the subject 

of those companies, save, of course, that which is public 

property, to wit, the open rupture which has come about 

once more between the King and Colonel Thys — a rupture 

that may yet have far-reading results. The turnover of 

the Soci^t6 Anonyme is very small compared with that of 

the Trusts; its profits are reasonable, and such as one 

would expect from trading operations so far inland, and 

it is not under present conditions a factor with which we 

need concern ourselves very greatly in reference to the query, 

" Who are the beneficiaries under the slave system which 

prevails in the Congo territories ? " It should be stated that 

in many respects the interests of the Thys group are bound 

up very closely with the Congo Grovemment, notably in the 

Katanga country, and in connection with the Matadi-Stanley 

Pool Railway. 

The Trusts are eight in number. Two of them, the 
Lomami (in which the Thys group is concerned) and the 
Soci6t6 d'Agriculture et de plantations, are relatively unim- 
portant The following list provides their titles, and the 
financial and administrative relationship between them and 
the Government : — 



FINANCIAL TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 73 

Titles. Relations with the Government. 

L'Abir (A.B.I.R.). . Congo State holds 50 per cent, of shares. 

L'Anversoise . . Congo State holds 50 per cent, of shares. 

Kasai .... Congo State holds qo per cent of shares ; 
appK)ints president, manager, and 
majority of administrators. 

Kwango • . Congo State gets one-third of profits. 

Grands Lacs . . Congo State holds 100,000 dividend-pay- 
ing shares ; approves nomination of 
administrators, and appoints three 
delegates. 

Katanga • . . Congo State gets two-thirds of the pro- 
fits ; s^points the president in Europe, 
the manager in Amca, and two-thirds 
of the administrators. 

The men who participate in controlling these Trusts are 
virtually the King's bodyguard, financiers and others without 
whose good-will even Leopold II. might find it difHcult to 
manage satisfactorily his African undertaking. 

Most of these Trusts, their operations, their profits, the 
dull routine of oppression and atrocity which characterises 
the management of their estates, are dealt with in Fart III. 

Our query is now answered. It is not to serve a national 
interest that the Congo natives have been enslaved. The 
egotism which has imposed upon the inhabitants of the vast 
Upper Congo a burden more crushing than ever applied by 
Arab half-caste, is not even a national egotism. It is far 
more restricted than that 1 If people will only realise that 
the chaos and destruction which the Policy put into practice 
a dozen years ago has wrought in the Congo territories is 
the work not of a misguided and misled nation, but of a 
few individuals working for their own ends and their own 
pecuniary benefit, they will be in a position to solve what 
has been a puzzle to so many, viz. the apparent short-sighted- 
ness of the conception. How often has it not been said to 
me, in effect, "The stupidity, the crass stupidity of this 
system which is killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, 
is such that, despite the overwhelming proofs afforded of its 
existence, and of its effects, the mind retains an element of 
doubt, it being seemingly impossible that the Belgian people 
can be so blind to their own most obvious interests." 

If the Policy were one pursued as a deliberate national 
end ; if the Congo territories were colonisable by a white 
race; if its vegetable riches were obtainable by any other 
race but the race indigenous to its forests and its plains, and 
which moral and material regeneration is fast exterminating 
— ^then the Policy from top to bottom would indeed be 
incredibly stupid. But as it is not, and has never been, a 



74 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

national enterprise, but a private one, it is really the reverse of 
stupid. Why should the present rulers of the Congo care for 
posterity ? Their objects are wholly of the moment, and the 
havoc which has been caused already in the acquirement of 
the fortunes they have made by battening upon the misery 
of an entire people, will take generations of patient effort on 
the part of their successors — successors, whoever they may 
be, to a heritage of woe — to remedy, if, indeed, the mischief 
has not gone too deep for remedial measures. 

For millions of African men, women, and children, 
oppression, despair, wretchedness appalling and unimagin- 
able ; for Belgium, moral bankruptcy ; for a handful of callous 
and selfish men, enormous weal^ ;— that, in brief, is the 
result of twenty years of King Leopold's rule in tropical 
Africa. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE ** PROPERTY " PLEA — THE CONGO STATE'S MAIN LINE 

OF DEFENCE 

" But beyond the special stipulations of Article IV., we have 
recognised and sanctioned a certain number of principles which 
assure the application of freedom of commerce in the Basin of the 
Congo against all infraction in the future."— Protocol No. 8, Berlin 
Act 

*'Celles-ci (les communaut^s indigtoes) toutefois telle est 
Tobserration qui m^te d'toe recueillie, n'ont point €t€ consid^r^es 
commes des agglomerations assez d^umies de fixit6 et de con- 
sistance pour que le sol au'elles habitent lors mteie qu'il n'est pas 
iitilis6 put toe qualifi^ de terre inappropri^e . . . toutes les tois 
au*un vote ou qavait simple proposition a mis en cause les intdrte 
des peuples alricains. Tassemblee de Berlin a demontir6 qu'elle ne 
▼oyait pas en euz des associa t ions purement acddentelles, sans 
personality juridique et en dehors de la communaut6 dn droit des 
gens."— Rapport Enoblhardt (a French Delegate at the 
Berlin Conference). 

** L'Acte g^^ral de la Conference de Berlin fait partie du droit 
public de TEtat Ind^pendant du Congo, il lie celui-d vis-lt-yis des 
autres Puissa n c es et les dispositions legislatives du nouvel Etat ne 
pourront jamais se trouver en contradiction avec les resolutions de 
rActe g<bi6ral."— Pandectes beiges.* 

As the knowledge of Congo State methods has gradually 
extended, and the criticism of those methods taken specific 
form and substance, so the Authorities of the State have 
gradually fallen back upon their main line of defence. So far 
as this country, which since 1896 has led the van in censuring 
the proceedings of the State, is concerned, no very clear con- 
ception of the root of the evils prevalent in the Congo territories 
appears at first to have been formed. Attention was directed 
mainly to the symptoms of mal-administration in the shape 
of constantly recurring reports of ill-treatment of natives in 
connection with the rubber and ivory tribute ; to the per- 
petual warfare waged all over the country, and to the fearful 
slaughter and cannibal festivities which characterised the 
extermination by the State troops of the Arab half-castes, 
who, if they were slave-raiders, also possessed the monopoly 
of the ivory trade, of which they held enormous stocks, 

* The Pandectis bilges are a collection of Belgian laws ; a sort of 
standard legal code of great weight and importance. 



^6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

subsequently seized and disposed of by the Congo State 
authorities on the Antwerp market It is only little by little, 
perhaps within the last two years, that the full significance 
of the economic policy embodied in the decrees and circulars of 
1 89 1 and 1892, and the relation borne by those decrees and 
circulars to the symptoms^ have become apparent, even to 
those who have studied the Congo State and its ways for a 
much longer time. I am quite sure that the majority of the 
British people have not yet grasped the situation ; but until 
the economic policy of the Congo State is grasped, the Congo 
problem and the much lai^er problems, present and future, 
bound up in it can never be properly understood. It is the 
crux of the whole matter. 

But there were men who did understand from the start 
Those men were Belgians, and their leaders were Messrs. Thys, 
Brugmann, and Urban, the founders of the Belgian Trading 
Companies in the Upper Congo, the men who built the Matadi- 
Stanley Pool Railway, the men who represent the only legiti- 
mate Belgian enterprise of which the Congo Basin has been the 
scene. They saw plainly the immediate effect of the decrees 
and circulars, and with equal perspicacity, borne of acquaintance 
with Equatorial African conditions, they foresaw the resultant 
effect The immediate effect was the elimination of trade. The 
resultant effect was the enslavement of the population. In 
the clearest terms did they assert these incontrovertible 
facts, and their statements are on record. Truly deplorable 
is it to look back at that crisis in the modem histoty of 
Africa, and to realise that its gravity was totally underrated. 
The Belgian Trading Companies, as we have seen, were com- 
pelled after a hard fight to give way. Had they been effica- 
ciously backed up from without, tiie history of the Congo 
territories would have been very different Had but one 
signatory Power to the Berlin Act protested officially against 
the violation of the Act which the newly promulgated policy of 
the Congo State entailed, the Authorities of the State would 
to-day be deprived of a useful weapon ; the plea of the accom- 
plished fact If England had protested she could have rebutted 
the Continental taunt of insincerity of motive by the strongest 
of all arguments, the ailment of consistency in censure. But 
alas I no one in England realised the great issue which had 
been raised, nor the vital principles at stake, and two years 
later the British Government concluded with the Congo State 
a Treaty which has brought us nothing but perplexities and 
embarrassments.* 

* This Treaty was publicly acknowledged as a mistake, by one of 
the Cabinet Ministers concerned, three years after it was signed. 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA 77 

The earlier criticisms against the State were met successively 
by blank denials and indignant repudiations; by high-sounding 
expressions of philanthropic motive ; by perfervid allusions to 
the noble work of suppressing the internal slave-trade; by 
promises of inquiry which never came to anything ; by the 
enumeration of sundry laws drafted to ensure tlie protection of 
natives;* by admitting the existence of individual abuses 
common to die Colonial enterprise of all nations ; by the con- 
stitution of a " Commission for the Protection of Natives;" by 
asserting the existence of a perfected judicial establishment 
which ensured the punishment of all evil doers ; by the actual 
punishment of a few sub-agents ; by pointing to sundry legis- 
lative measures calculated to confer "moral and material 
regeneration " in a variety of ways upon the natives ; by 
emphasising the material improvements introduced into the 
countty, such as steamers, brick houses, fine stations, telegraph 
lines, even automobiles ; by accentuating the enormous increase 
in " trade ; " by imputing the basest motives to the critics. 

Nearly all these lines of defence are still put forward. Thus 
in the special Bulletin issued early this year the old familiar 
claims of benefits conferred upon the natives are recapitulated, 
down to the inevitable suppression of polygamy among the 
native troops (!) and prophylactic measures against small-pox.t 
Again, in reply to the British Note issued September 18, we 
read that the Congo State has proved itself a " faithful servant " 
of the Berlin Act ; we note that " isolated acts are invoked 
under humanitarian pretences in order to conceal the true object 
of a barely concealed covetousness ; " that " the same charges 
of alleged violence to natives are continually dished up," and 
so on and so forth. But now these old counters in the game 
of bluff, played so long and so successfully, are merely sub- 
sidiary to the main line of defence. As the attack is pressed 
home, the masked batteries come into action. The instruction 
of the public has gone on apace, and more serious weapons 
are needed to check the assault It has even been found 
necessary to abandon some of the outer lines. The claim to 
philanthropy, for instance, is not nearly so accentuated as 
formerly. In its place the contention is put forward that the 
native of Western Africa is a slothful creature, and that com- 
pulsion is absolutely essential to make him produce. We are 
also informed that in matters of internal administration the 
Congo State has no account to render to any one. But all 

* The same farce is now being repeated. 

t The subscription given by Kine Leopold to the expedition sent by 
the Liverpool Scho<d of Tropical Medicine to the Congo to study sleeping 
sickness will no doubt be invoked in the next edition. 



78 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

this is by the way. These various arguments are useful inso- 
much as they are calculated to give rise to discussion, and to 
help to obscure the main issue. They are incidental to the 
grand theory of PROPERTY, the battle-ground upon which the 
Congo State has concentrated all its forces for the supreme 
resistance. 

Briefly stated, the contention amounts to this. All land 
not built upon by natives, nor under cultivation by natives for 
food-stuffs, is "vacant" The official Decree of July i, 1885, 
provided Uiat " vacant land must be considered as belonging 
to the State." Hence all land not built upon, nor under culti- 
vation by natives for food-stuffs, is the property of the State. 
For six years the State made no attempt to develop its 
property. It allowed natives living upon it (the contradiction 
implied in "vacant" land being inhabited does not trouble the 
Congo State dialectians) to tap the rubber vines and sell the 
latex to European merchants ; it allowed European merchants 
to buy that latex from the natives ; its foolishness in doing so 
being doubtless a manifestation of the philanthropic spirit. 
But at a given moment the State saw the folly of its ways, and 
issued a series of regulations forbidding the natives to collect 
and sell rubber * or ivory to merchants, and forbidding mer- 
chants to buy those articles from natives. In doing so it was 
merely exercising its rights as a land-owner. It has done 
nothing more than that ever since ; and the assertion that trade 
is thereby interfered with reposes upon no judicial foundation 
whatever, the State disposing, as it is entitled to do, of the 
products of economic value yielded by its PROPERTY. 

Thus epitomised, and epitomised, I think, quite accurately, 
the contention of the Congo State appears so absolutely puerile 
that it seems a perfect waste of time to discuss it I must 
confess that I take that view of it myself. But I am told that 
I am a very ignorant person, and that, clothed in all the trap- 
pings and paraphernalia of legal dissertations, the contention 
looks quite different to what it really is. Let us, then, see the 
appearance it presents with the needful embellishments. We 
will turn, first, to the official defence of the Congo State pub- 
lished in the Bulletin Officiel of June, 1903. In it we find the 
following : — 

« When the State, in the rqrulation of July i, 1885, decreed that *no 
one has the right to occupy without title vacant lands ; vacant lands 
must be considered as belonging to the State,' it referred to a principle 

* Which, let it be repeated for the twentieth time, the natives had 
been doing long before King Leopold conceived the wish to regenerate 
them. 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA 79 

of law universally admitted, without its bein^ intended, as had been said, 
as the first stsuce in a premeditated policy of exclusiveness. This 
principle was inscribed in the codes ol all civilised countries, it had 
been established by all Colonial legislations. Its consequence — that is 
to say, the right of the State to dispose to the best of the general interest* 
of the lands of which it has the proprietorship — is not less le^timate. 
The Berlin Act, in its text or in its protocols, does not restrain either the 
right of property on the part of individuals, or on that of bodies, or the 
free exercise of its use or its effects. Liberty of commerce, such as it 
has been defined, is in nothing exclusive of the right of property, that 
not being a ' commercial monopoly ' of the kind which the Berlin Act 
prohibits." 

The contention is repeated in much the same words in the 
Congo State's reply to the British Note. 

^ The Government of the independent State of the Congo,'' says the 
Official Reply, ^ denies that the way in which the State is administrated 
involves a systematic regime of cruelty and oppression ; or that the 
principle of fi-ee trade can modify rights of proprietorship such as are 
universally admitted, when there is not a word to that effect in the 
Berlin Act The Congo State notes that there are no clauses in that 
Act tending to restrict in any way the right of property. . . . The 
British Note does not demonstrate that the economic system of 
the State is opposed to the Berlin Act. It does not meet the 
arguments of law, and of a fact by which the Congo State has 
justified its land laws and its concessions, with the clauses of that Act. 
It does not explain how, or in what way, the freedom of trade-terms, 
which the Berlin Conference used in their usual, grammatical, and 
economic sense, is not complete because there are owners of property 
in the Congo. The Note confuses trade with the development of his 
property by a landlord. The native who gathers products for account of 
the owner t does not become owner of the harvested products, and can 
naturally not dispose of them to others, any more than the workman 
who extracts ore from the mine can defraud the owner by disposing 
of it himself. These rules are law, and are propounded in a multiplicity 
of documents." 

The official defenders of the Congo State in the Belgian 
House on the occasion of the great Congo debate last July — 
which will be found in Part V. — naturally adopted the same 
line. 

" It is, therefore^ solely as regards trade," said M. de Favereau, the 
Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, ''that monopoly and privilege 
were forbidden by the Berlin Act But no one can argue that such 
stipulations can be interpreted as signifying the claim to interfere with 
the sovereign ri^ht of the State to rebate its property as it chooses. . . . 
In what legislation in the world will it be found that to sell the products 
of one's domain constitutes a commercial act ? " 

* Italics the author's — the words should be borne in mind : '' general 
interests " includes, necessarily, the interests of the native producer of 
raw material in the Upper Congo. 

t That the native is the ''^owner " himself is a detail unworthy of 
notice, apparently ! 



8o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

After M. de Favereau, M. Woeste, leader of the Catholic 
party: 

*' In appropriating for itself the fruits of the Domaiuiy the State was 
justified. . . . The argument which attributes to the Congo State a 
violation of the commercial clauses in the Berlin Act is a sophism. 
Trade is confounded with the right of the State to exploit its own 
Domaine." 

After M. Woeste, M. Smet de Naeyer, the Belgian 
Premier : 

"The appropriation of vacant lands is the first inevitable and 
necessary step in constituting property in a country which is being 
opened to civilisation. ... It has been twenty times demonstrated that 
realising the fruits of a ' Domaine ' is not commerce or speculation." 

In the learned treatises of Professor Descamps, Maitre 
Nys, and Maitre Barboux there is a repetition in degrees of 
varying eloquence of the same thesis. 

The Congo State finds much consolation in pointing a tu 
quoque. Other Powers, it seems, have declared "vacant" 
lands to be State property. A regulation passed in German 
East Africa declares that " the Government alone has the right 
to take possession of vacant lands." The Bulletin Officiet of 
the Congo State (June, 1903) also quotes from agreements 
made in 1890 and 1894 between the German Government and 
the Deutsche Ostafrikanische GeseUsckaftvn&i regard to vacant 
lands, but naturally omits to indicate the modifications vidiich 
experience has, since that date, led the German Govermnent 
to make ; and similarly as regards the Cameroon Concession' 
noire Companies, likewise referred to in the Bulletin Officiet. 
The French Congo regulation of 1891, declaring that ** waste 
lands and abandoned lands^ to the ownership of which no one 
can legitimately lay claim, will be considered as belonging to 
the State," is quoted in the Bulletin Officiel^ as also the circum- 
stance that some forty concessions have been granted in that 
colony by the French Government Finally, an extract from 
a report by Sir Harry Johnston, dated 1900, is given in con- 
nection with waste land in British East Africa. After this 
enumeration, the Congo State triumphantly points out in 
indifferent English : 

^ If it was true that the Congo State had, in proclaiming its owner- 
ship of waste lands, expropriated natives, this reproach should be 
addressed to all these different legislations." 

In short, the Congo State aigues, " If we have done wrong, 
so have you ; and you are not one whit better than we are." 
It will not hold water for a moment That the Congo State's 




Photograph by Stuart^ London 

MR. RO(iKR CASKMKNT 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA 8i 

Decree of July, 1895, might have remained as innocuous as 
similar decrees issued by the European Powers having pos- 
sessions in tropical Africa, is an assumption which has never 
been disputed. The enunciation of a theoretical right of 
sovereignty over uninhabited wilderness is a paper measure 
perfectly harmless and legitimate in itself; it may, indeed, 
become useful to protect at some future date the Colony from 
the schemes of adventurers attracted by mineral or other 
natural wealth. But when these theoretical rights of sove- 
reignty over territory in Africa, having been satisfactorily in- 
scribed on thick pardiment, signed, sealed, and put away with 
due pomp, in European archives, are made a pretext for sub- 
sequently treating all territory not actually built upon or in 
cultivation as " vacant," followed by a claim to ownership over 
every product of commercial value which the territory in 
Africa supplies, then it is a very different matter. The Congo 
State did not stop at the enunciation of a harmless platitude. 
By a succession of decrees it broadened those " vacant " lands, 
until the point was reached when everything had become 
" vacant," save where the native had built his village, and was 
cultivating his plantations for food consumption.* All land, 
^ which the natives do not occupy in the sense which must be 
given to that word" — ^the Leopoldian "sense," of course — 
became terre domanicUe. And still the Congo State remained 
in the "domaine" of theory, and still its decrees were so 
much waste paper, and as ineffective as a wasp without its 
sting. The Congo State had not " expropriated natives " in 
proclaiming " its ownership of waste land." It had not " ex- 
propriated natives" by a series of decrees which, on paper, 
deprived them of all ancestral tenure outside the clearings 
round their villages. But by those decrees // had paved the 
way for expropriation if ever tftese decrees came to be applied 
in practice. In 1891 the time came, and the Sovereign of the 
Congo State drafted secret instructions, and in secret despatched 
them to his Commissioners, ordering those decrees to be 
applied; and applied they were, with the results which we 
have seen in the previous chapters. The instructions bade 
the Commissioners "take urgent and necessary measures to 

• That the Congo State has any more regard for the natives in their 
villages than outside of them, or respects native plantations any more 
than rubber forests, is, of course, absurd. The whole argument is a piece 
of bluff, draped in legal phraseology, from beginning to end. The 
evidence adduced, in Consul Casement's report, is overwhelmingly 
conclusive on the point In theory, the native has some sort of right 
to his village and plantations ; in practice, their village grounds are no 
more theirs than any of the grounds of that vast country, and the 
produce from their plantations belongs to the State. 

G 



82 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

preserve the fruits of the Domaine, especially ivory and 
rubber," or, in other words, to preserve the products of 
economic value which the "vacant lands" contained. A crop 
of circulars drafted locally followed the receipt of the instruc- 
tions; forbidding the natives to hunt elephants, unless they 
brought the tusks to the State stations ; forbidding the natives 
to collect rubber, unless they brought it to the State stations ; 
and warning European merchants " purchasing such articles from 
the natives, whose right to collect them the State only recog- 
nised provided that they were brought to it," that they " would 
be looked upon as receivers of stolen goods, and denounced to 
the judicial authorities." The policy laid down in those regu- 
lations in the Congo State has followed ever since. Therein 
have the actions of the Congo State differed from the actions 
of the European Powers on whose level it ventures to place 
itself Unhappily, a still later feature of the Congo State's 
policy — ^to wit, its delegation of proprietorship over " vacant " 
lands and over the articles of commercial value contained 
therein to financiers with whom it had contracted debts, and 
others — has, within the last few years, found imitators in France 
and Germany. But there is a brighter side even to that 
picture, because of those two Powers one has already recog- 
nised, and the other is fast recognising, that the Concessionnaire 
conception is an impossible and imbecile conception if it be 
not accompanied by the forced enslavement of the native, 
which neither of these Powers is disposed to tolerate within 
its over-sea possessions.* 

It now behoves us to examine in closer detail, in the light 
of the principles embodied in the Berlin Act, the claim of the 
State as to its rights of proprietorship over the territories of 
the Congo Basin entrusted to the stewardship of King Leopold. 
In the first place, where are such rights to be found } In the 
Berlin Act ? I defy any Belgian jurist to quote them. It is 
not enough to repeat, parrot-like, that the Congo State has 
adhered to the Berlin Act,- because the Berlin Act did not 
forbid the Congo State from appropriating everything of any 
commercial value in the Congo territories ! But that is pre- 
cisely what the Act of Berlin did forbid, not in so many words, 
perhaps — no more than it forbade in so many words the 
taking of hostages from native tribes in order to enforce taxa- 
tion, nor the chaining up of women to accelerate the production 
of food-stuffs, nor a dozen other concomitants of the " moral 
and material regeneration" policy. The Act of Berlin laid 
down categorically that commerce should be free and unre- 
stricted in the Congo Basin, that no monopolies or privileges 

^ Vide M. Dubiefs report oq the French Colonial Budget for 1904. 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA 83 

in matters of trade or commerce should be granted therein, 
and that the rights of the natives should be respected. Those 
were the three main co-ordinate requirements, and although 
indicated in the briefest fashion in the Articles of the Act, t£e 
protocols show clearly what the Powers meant when they 
authorised their representatives to attach their signatures to 
that document The Congolese jurists have sought to establish 
that all that was intended by " freedom of trade " was the non- 
imposition of differential duties. But that is a narrowing 
down of the commercial clause of the Act, for which no justi- 
fication exists. 

" The Berlin Act — to quote once more the passage in the Congo State's 
defence— in its text or in its Protocols does not restrain either the right 
of property on the part of individuals, or on that of bodies, or the free 
exercise of its use or its effects.* 

''Liberty of commerce such as it has been defined, is in nothing 
exclusive of the right of property, that not being a * commercial 
monopoly ' of the kind which the Berlin Act prohibits." 

The above should be bracketed with two other passages 
from the same publication : 

" The field of action in trade open to individuals in the Congo has 
never been, and is not restricted ; throughout the whole territory this 
commerce can be carried on in what is l^itimate. . . ." 

** In law and in equity no one can be deprived of his property except 
for a just and previously-agreed-upon indemnity." 

Before analysing these passages, may I ask the reader to 
bear in mind this, that, owing to the heavy cost of transport 
from the far interior of Africa, only two articles can at present 
be dealt with — ivory and rubber f — these two articles forming, 
as has been previously shown, practically the entire export of 
the Congo State, with the exception of a little palm-oil and 
kernels from the Lower River, and a few thousand pounds' 
worth of " oddments " not worth considering. 

Therefore, when we talk of "commerce" in the Congo 
territories, the term refers virtually to rubber and ivory, and to 
ivory in a relatively small and rapidly diminishing quantity. 

Now, when the Congo State tells us that liberty of com- 
merce, as defined in the Berlin Act, is " in nothing exclusive 
of the right of property," the only possible reply to the conten- 
tion is that whatever value it may contain to minds saturated 
in a sort of fourth-class legal jugglery, to the plain man who 
sees the interpretation placed by Uie Congo State on the word 
" piroperty," it conveys nought but a contradiction in terms, and 

* K<^ Chapter I. 

t Gum-copal would also pay carriage, and a little is being exported 
under circumstances detailed m Consul Casement's report, op. cit. 



84 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

amounts, in practice, to a transparent and dishonest absurdity. 
Did the plenipotentiaries of the Berlin Act know what consti- 
tuted "trade and commerce" in Equatorial Africa? What 
impartial inquirer can doubt it? Can it be seriously main* 
tained that when they stipulated that trade or commerce should 
be allowed to follow its natural developments, they were talking 
about something they did not understand? It is simply 
ridiculous to suggest such a thing. Besides, the speech of 
Baron Lambermont, the Belgian delegate, is specific Said 
Baron Lambermont, "... Mr. Woerman, the most competent 
authority on these subjects, has explained to us how, in these 
countries, commerce is carried on exclusively by barter . . .," 
that is to say, by bartering European merchandise against 
raw material, against produce collected by the native of the 
country. That is the only trade which exists in Western 
Africa. What other trade could exist,* or has ever existed, 
except the slave-trade ? 

Then how, in the name of common sense, can liberty of 
commerce remain either for the European or the native when 
the Congo State has declared that the elements which con- 
stitute Aat commerce are its property? when the very 
decrees of the Congo State prove that it allows no freedom to 
the native to dispose of those elements of commerce whose 
ownership of the same the State does not admit, either before 
or after they are gathered, but which claims them far itself? 
when, in point of fact, it has destroyed commerce in the Congo 
territories f and has substituted for it a system of Government 
slavery, carried out either directly or by proxy ? The words 
" commerce " or " trade " applied to transactions between the 
European and the African in tropical Africa necessitate two 
entities, and involve two conditions — a seller, a purchaser ; 
the possession by the seller of articles to sell, the possession 
by the purchaser of articles wherewith to purchase. If we 
eliminate one or other or both these entities, one or other or 
both these conditions, the commercial relationship is itself 
eliminated. If, notwithstanding the elimination of this com- 
mercial relationship, the African continues to produce in large 
quantities those articles which are required by European 
industrialism, and which, let it be repeated, he alone can 
gather, then must it be obvious to the meanest understanding 
3iat the relationship between the European and the African 
in tropical Africa has altered, and that, whatever it may be, it 
is not, and cannot by any possibility be, "commercial" 

* The introduction of currency merely duplicates transactions, 
t The Lower Congo excepted. There the Congo State has indirectly 
almost destroyed it by taxation and by depopulating the country. 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA 85 

The sophistry of the Congo State is equally apparent in the 
second passage I have quoted. 

Individuds, it asserts, can trade on the Congo freely, but 
only in " what is legitimate^' the truth being, of course, that the 
only two articles such individuals could by any possibility trade 
in at all are rubber and ivory, and trade in those articles is, of 
course, illegitimate, because rubber and ivory in the Congo 
territories are the property of the State I 

The Act of Berlin forbade commercial monopoly or privi- 
lege. The Congo State attempts to elude that point in similar 
fashion. The elements which constitute trade having become 
the property of the State, it virtually follows that whether 
the State's Department of the Interior compels the native to 
collect those " elements " — that is, rubber and ivory — or whether 
it delegates its powers to the Trusts it has formed, which it 
controls, and in whose profits it shares, the State cannot be 
accused of having granted a " commercial monopoly ! " Was 
there ever such a series of palpable subterfuges ? 

The Congo State now claims to have appropriated, not in 
theory, but in fact, the entire Congo territories. It says so 
explicitly in its reply to the British Note.* It thereby excludes 
many millions of natives from the slightest proprietary rights, 
not only in their land, but in the raw material which their land 
produces, treating them in effect as degraded serfs, wherever it 
can establish its authority by the help of its 30,000 soldiers, 
and in the same breath protests that " law and equity both forbid 
deprivation of property except by just and previously-agreed- 
upon indemnity ! " Indeed, its claim to proprietorship extends 
to the very bodies of the people themselves ! 

At the same time the Congo State keeps up its double-faced 
attitude in Africa with quite remarkable ingenuity. The occa- 
sion may arise when its representatives on the spot, in portions 
of the territory adjoining the territory of other Powers, may be 
formally asked by some new arrival in, say, British or German 
territory, what regulations a merchant must conform to in 
order to trade in the " Congo Free State." If such an indi- 
vidual were to receive a communication telling him he was not 
allowed in the country, it might find its way to some European 
Foreign Office or pestilent journalist, and give rise to unpleasant 
questions ; so, although the Congo State advances in Europe, 
as a piece of diplomatic arrogance, the preposterous claim that 
*^ no unappropriated " land is left in the Congo territories (while 
urging inter alia that the land is *' vacant " so far as native rights 
are concerned), the State is quite ready to play an outwardly 

* " Quoique le syst^me ainsi prdconis^ ne puisse avoir d'application 
dans l'£tat du Congo puisqu'il ne sV rxovLVtplus de terns inapproprUes,^ 



86 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

different game in Africa. I have before me the reply, dated June, 
1903, sent by one of the officials of the Katanga Trust to a 
merchant established in Northern Rhodesia, enumerating the 
conditions under which the applicant might open trade in the 
Congo territory. The official in question quotes the laws of 
November 21, 1896, and May 17, 1898. Here is a summary of 
the requirements of the Congo State. To trade in rubber 
(that and ivory, as I have already explained, are the only two 
articles which can be traded in) a licence must be obtained 
from the Governor-General in Boma (3000 miles away) ; if 
answered at once, and in the affirmative — ^which we may feel 
pretty sure would not be the case either way — three months at 
the very least would elapse before the reply would reach the 
applicant " Such a licence costs 5000 francs.*' TAe applicant 
would therrfare have to pqy^ provided he got his licence, a pre- 
liminary sum of £200. On all goods imported, other than 
spirits, articles for Divine Service {sic), agricultural tools, and 
one or two other specifically mentioned things, the import duty 
is 10 per cent, and *' to this the customs officer adds 20 per 
cent, for transporting expenses to the frontier." So there is a 
30 per cent import duty to begin with on cottons, brass wire, 
handkerchiefs, and other genuine trading articles, plus the ;^200 
licence. But the export duties " lick creation," as the American 
would say. On rubber there is an export duty of ^francs per 
100 kilos,, or £1 I2s. for every 200 lbs,, or £36 per ton. In 
other words, trading, in the most important article of trade, 
is made just as absolutely prohibitive as if the applicant were 
informed point blank that he was not allowed in the country. 
And this is the Congo Free State. 

I am told by those whose opinions I am bound to treat 
with deference that this is a legal question. For the life of me 
I cannot see it The defence of the Congo State appears, the 
more one looks at it, as nothing but a feeble attempt to 
justify the most vulgar swindle perpetrated at the expense 
of the European Powers, and with the most terrible effects 
upon the natives. It is with facts — with facts arising out of 
specific causes — not with judicial dissertations and theoretical 
rights of sovereignty, that we are called upon to deal. The 
one paragraph in the British Note which lacks in conciseness 
is the paragraph referring to the partition of land by the Congo 
State. It gave the Congo State a rare chance for the exercise 
of that tortuous political Jesuitism in which it excels. Never- 
theless, the meaning of the British Government, though need- 
lessly involved, is clear enough. Here is the passage : 

" His Majesty's Government in no way deny either tliat the State has 
the right to partition the State lands among bond fide occupants, or that 



THE "PROPERTY" PLEA Sj 

the natives will, as the land is so divided out among bond fide occupiers, 
lose their rights of roamine over it and collecting the natural fruits which 
it produces. But His Niajest^r's Government maintain that until un- 
occupied 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." 

Now, it is obvious from the above that the actions which 
H.M. Government do not disapprove of are subject to the exist- 
ence of a given state of things which in point of fact does not 
exist, and, what is more, never will exist " So long," says the 
Note, " as the produce can only be collected by the native, the 
native should be free to dispose of that produce as he pleases." 
Precisely ; but why the preamble ? The produce of the forests of 
Equatorial Africa can never, until the end of time, be collected 
by any one but the native. The paragraph would have been 
better minus the padding. 

Solely on its merits, and presuming that the defence were 
not the last resort to justify, by pitiful legal quibbles, the 
committal of the most systematic outrages of modem times, 
we should have to admit an absolute revolution in all our pre- 
conceived notions of good and evil, of morality and immorality, 
of the knowledge of African conditions and requirements, of 
the entire principles guiding European effort in Africa, before 
the Congo State's apologies could even be discussed. Have the 
economic conditions of Equatorial Africa changed so wholly 
and completely since the Berlin Act was signed, that what was 
considered right then is wrong now } Has the African native 
ceased to be a being whose life and property the Powers of 
Western Europe, in 1885, thought it necessary, in their own 
ultimate interests, as well as in common decency, to protect, 
and become a being so low that it were fantastic foolery to 
credit him with rights of any kind whatsoever, a slave so 
debased that only forced labour at the end of the lash or the 
point of a bayonet can make of him even a docile beast ? 
Have the material elements which constituted trade eighteen 
years ago become, by the touch of a magician's wand, some- 
thing entirely different? Has commerce, which used to be 
regarded as a civilising medium, become an agency of evil so 
great that forced production must be accepted as a panacea ? 
Has the act of purchasing certain articles from the native on a 
fair basis of exchange become an outrage against international 
usage in the relations between peoples of the higher and lower 
"culture" ? Have those gloomy forests of the Congo, so rich 
in certain vegetable products required by modem industry, so 
stupendously vast in extent, so virgin of anything approaching 
"occupation" by the white man or his soldiers, suddenly 



88 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

become suitable to the enforcement of rules and r^ulations 
applicable only to the Western world, and then only after 
twenty centuries of development under the Christian creed ? 
Is the basis of relationship prevailing between European and 
Negro to sink back, at the opening of the twentieth century, to 
the level of the over-sea Slave-Trade epoch ? 

This is not a matter for lawyers, but for enlightened states- 
manship and civilised public opinion to settle once and for all, 
by an unhesitating negative reply to the above questions, 
followed by speedy, positive action. 



CHAPTER IX 

NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, AND LABOUR 

**I admit that labour is Imposed upon the natives (le traTail est 
in^KM^). but it 2s In the Interest of all, and iHien the work Is done, 
the natiYe Is paid.'*— M. db Favereau, Belfi:ian Minister lor 
Forelffp Affairs.* 

^Thcj are not entitled to anrthlng : what Is given to them Is a 
pure gratoity/'^M. Smbt db Naeybr, Belgian Premier.t 

The twistings and wrigglings of Congo State diplomacy, 
whatever attraction they may have for learned gentlemen 
like Professor Descamps, who recently devoted a volume to 
proving "judicially" and to his entire satisfaction that the 
Congo State represented the perfectibility of human foresight 
and goodness in the treatment of native races, can only in- 
spire the plain man with contempt and repulsion. Stripped 
of its trappings, the policy of King Leopold stands naked 
before the world, a loathsome thing. It is the old, old story : 
the story of evil and greed and lust perpetrated upon a 
weaker people, but never before, assuredly, has the hypocrisy 
with which such deeds have been cloaked, attained to heights 
so sublime. Never before has hypocrisy been so successful 
For nearly twenty years has the Sovereign of the Congo State 
posed before the world as the embodiment of philanthropic 
motive, high intent, humanitarian zeal, lofty and stimulating 
righteousness. No more marvellous piece of acting has been 
witnessed on the world's stage than this. 

And let us remember that if the story in itself is old, it 
nevertheless contains distinctive features of peculiarity. The 
canquisitadores of Peru were, after all, the repositories of the 
national purpose, and their ruthless cruelties were but the con- 
comitants of the national policy. The over-sea slave-trade, 
first started by Portugal under the plea of religious zeal, and 
afterwards continued by her, and adopted by other Powers for 
frankly material reasons, was acquiesced in by the nationsd 
conscience of the times, and was put to national ends. But 
what nation is interested in the perpetuation of the system 

* Congo debate in Belgian House^ July, 1903. f Ibid. 



90 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

which has converted the Congo territories into a charnel- 
house ? Not Belgium, whose Congo turn-over, as we have 
noted already, amounts, after nearly twenty years, to i per 
cent of her total trade ! * Such a thing has never been known 
as one man with a few partners controlling, for his benefit and 
that of his associates, one million square miles of territory, and 
wielding the power of life and death over many millions of 
human beings. 

And what has rallied to his side the support of a certain 
class of latter-day colonial politicians and amateurs of all that 
is bad in the frenzied expansionism of the hour ? I do not 
speak of paid journalistic or legal hacks. How can one 
explain the fascination which a policy absolutely selfish 
has nevertheless exercised over the minds of many ? To 
those whose business it has been to follow the evolution of 
European thought concerning tropical Africa during the last 
decade, the answer to the question need not be sought for. 
The Sovereign of the Congo State is the living personation ; 
and the administrative system he has conceived and applied 
is the working embodiment, of the theory that the Negro will 
not produce without compulsion ; and that if tropical Africa 
can ever be developed, it must be through a rlgime of forced 
labour. Thus has the Sovereign of the Congo State become 
a sort of point (Tappui for the thoughtless, the inexperienced, 
the inhumane. He has been the one strong man, resolute in 
his views, inflexible in carrying them out His would-be 
imitators have never been deceived by the " Property" quibble. 
They have known what his policy meant, although they may 
have conveniently shut out some of its unpleasant details 
from their mental vision. As Mr. Stephen Gwynne has justly 
remarked, "This new servitude has in it the worst of all 
elements, in that the slave-owner no longer sees the slaves at 
work, but sits at home and receives his dividends." f But the 
success of the Sovereign of the Congo State in maintaining 
with marvellous ability and resource the New African Slave 
Trade has enlisted the support and the sympathies of all those 
who, in their haste to get rich, would to-morrow convert the 
black man throughout Africa, if they could, into a tenant 

^ ,/ It must not be supposed that the Belgian newspapers have always 
foUowcd the slavish attitude towards the Congo State which prevails 
S^?1?irl^f "" ^""'.^y- '^^^ t^c R^forme of September 14, 1896, wrote : 
««,U^ pcrsiste dans son systeme actuel, il pourrait bicn voir les 
S? r^f J?^** Tf™^* ^"^.^^ ^^^ »^ complices ou ses dupes, forces 
S^sl SSI'^P P«W>que de I'Europe k se r^uiir en une Conference qui 
fcrait, eUe, Penquftte s^neuse que Beiges et Congolais n'auntient oas 
voulu faire, m6me oour laver leur honneur." ^ nauraient pas 

t Fortnightly keview^ March, 1903. 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, ETC. 91 

on his own land, a serf doomed to ceaseless and unre- 
munerated toil, in the interests of cosmopolitan exploitationists 
in Europe. 

The peculiar conditions under which the Congo State was 
created has greatly intensified the mischief, already consider- 
able, of the existence of such a focus of pernicious influence. 
Its neighbours in Europe and Africa — for if the arms of the 
Congo State are in Africa, its brain, it cannot be too often stated, 
is in Brussels — have |seen within the last decade the growth 
of a great revenue through direct " taxation," so-called : the 
sudden upspringing of an enormously valuable export of raw 
material which the unremitting labour of literally millions of 
men could alone have produced ; the acquisition of colossal 
profits by nominally trading Companies — and this while their 
own possessions were advancing but slowly. They have seen 
Belgian colonial securities leap to heights undreamt of ; fortunes 
made in a few hours ; huge dividends earned after a year or 
two's working ; — all these striking results accomplished by 
Belgian tyros at colonisation, by a so-called State run to all 
intents and purposes by a single man. And so, greatly in 
ignorance, urged on by designing men who had their own 
ends to serve, two of the Congo State's neighbours in Africa 
thought they would try their hands at a system which could 
yield such magnificent material returns. But being civilised 
nations, they have found, or are ascertaining, that the system 
cannot be carried out in practice without unending barbarity, 
and they have but added to their difficulties. 

The doctrine of forced production is based upon data 
deliberately falsified. The whole thing, to put it bluntly, is 
a lie — a mere excuse to palliate the exploits of the buccaneer. 
The two essentials of this doctrine are, denial to the native of 
any rights in his land and in the products of commercial value 
his land produces ; to which is added physical force to compel 
the native to gather those products for the European. 

It is simply untrue that the native of Western Africa will 
not work unless compelled. Experience, facts, the existence of 
which cannot be disputed because they are there palpably and 
unmistakably before us, disprove the assertion, which is not 
believed in by those who make it. 

Experience, reason, common sense, and justice tells us that 
it is as wrong as it is foolish, and as foolish as it is wrong, to 
treat native rights of land-tenure as non-existent " In deeding 
with the natives," says Sir William MacGregor, one of our most 
experienced West African administrators, "one must never 
touch their rights in land." Similarly we find Doctor Zimmer- 
man, an eminent German colonial authority, declaring that the 



92 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

" protection of property is the surest means " to develop Africa 
rationally. No student of African questions needs to be 
reminded of the passionate insistence with which the late Mary 
Kingsley urged the conservation of native land-tenure, with a 
force of conviction and a scientific perception of the needful 
which has never been equalled. Wherever native law and 
custom have been studied in tropical Africa, we find the same 
doctrine preached, " If you want to govern successfully and 
justly, respect native land-tenure." 

Says M. Bohn, one of the ablest Frenchmen who have 
handled West Airican affairs : 

^ Land laws exist in these countries as they do in Europe, and have 
not been overthrown by wars of conquest or change of rulers. There is 
nothing more antagonistic to the native mind, whether in the case of 
Chie£i or subjects, than to have their rights of land-tenure discussed, let 
alone taken from tnem." 

Or take another experienced Frendiman, M. Fondire : 

'' The right to sell his products to whomsoever he mav please cannot 
be denied to the native, because he has always possessed it Moreover, 
all stipulations to the contrary notwithstanding, it would be quite illusory 
to think of taking this right away from the native. That could only be 
done by force of arms." 

The best school of Colonial thought in France is coming to 
the same conclusion, witness recent published statements by M. 
Cousin, M. Chailley Bert, and M. Dubief. One could give 
pages of quotations to the same effect from Dennett, Ellis, 
Clozel, Delafosse, and many others,* but it is unnecessary. 
Every Governor of a British West African Possession knows 
that land-tenure is, as a recognised authority has aptly put it, 
perhaps the " greatest ruling passion of the negro ; " and knows 
that in every legislative measure he adopts, this factor of the 
internal politics with which he has to deal is the paramount 
factor. The most distinguished amongst French Government 
officials in Western Africa are absolutely of the same opinion ; 
for example, the present Governor-General, M. Roume, the late 
Governor-General, M. Ballay, the late Governor of the French 
Ivory Coast, M. Binger (now head of the African Department 
of the French Colonial Office), and also the present Governor of 
that Colony, M. ClozeL The only two West African natives who 

* ^ We must leave to the native his land, and no longer attempt any 
direct means to alienate him therefrom." — Chailley-Bert in La QianMoine 
CoUmiale, *' The Belgian system, which is the apotheosis of monopoly, 
and consequently of arbitrariness, • • • has as its object the rapid accumu- 
lation of dividends, and leads to the exhaustion of the country. ** — 
Lucien Hubert in La Politique Africaim (Dejarric et Cie., Paris). See 
also thepamphlet by Gaston Bouteillier published by Pezous, Albi, France. 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, ETC. 93 

have established themselves as authorities, Sarbah,* the great 
Fanti lawyer, and Blyden, who though American bom has lived 
the greater part of his life in West Africa, and traces his descent to 
the Ibo tribe, are naturally of the same opinion. Better far is it 
for European Governments to respect native land-tenure even 
to the point which, to its credit be it said, the British Colonial 
Office has followed in the matter of the Gold Coast mining 
industry, much to the annoyance of various estimable people ; 
than to abandon a principle which, if once set aside, paves the 
way for a whole crop of legislative abuses, and puts us on the 
patih which must lead to denying to the native any proprietaiy 
right over the articles of value which his land produces, and 
consequently to slavery. 

Wherever their forms have been examined, native laws of 
land-tenure f have been found to repose upon just principles, to 
be thoroughly well understood, recognised, and adhered to by 
the people of the land, and to be worthy of serious and sympa- 
thetic study. Tropical Africa is an immensity, and much of it 
has never been trodden by the white man's foot, let alone 
observed by the white man's brain, and consequently native 
laws of land-tenure in a very small portion of it only have 
been gone into. The results of such study as has been made 
are on record, and not only do they exclude the idea that 
native land-tenure is the imaginary product of certain so-called 
negrophiles in this country, but they prove that it is part and 
parcel of the social organisation of the people, a knowledge of 
which, as every competent official knows, is essential to good 
government in tropical Africa. Such knowledge, however, is 
not essential to slave-driving, and we need not be surprised 
that the Congo State dismisses the idea that such a thing as 
native rights in land can by any possibility be held to exist at 
all, and affectedly ignores any other proprietary rights to land 
but the ones which it has vested in itself or in its associates.} 

♦ Sec " Fanti Customary Law " in particular. Blyden's works are 
numerous. 

t Roughly stated, the laws of most tropical African peoples with 
regard to limd are very similar. The land laws of the old native 
kingdom of Congo are given by Mr. Dennett in his *'The Laws and 
Customs of the Bavili." 

t *' Dans IHm comme dans Pautre cas, il ne se congoit pas que les 
fruits du sol puissent toe reserve \ d'autres qu'au propri^aire sous le 
pr^exte qu^il n'est pas apte, en feite, k recolter ces produits de son fonds " 
\Camgo Staii's reply to British Note). The "propri^taire*' here is, of 
coursie, either the State or the conassumnaire ; and again. '* Jamais au 
Congo que nous sachions les demandes d'achat des proauits naturels 
n'ont m adr^s^ aux l^times propri^taires" {IM.). Here, once more, 
the **propri^taires" are not the natives, but the coneessioftnaires—^t 
Government, acting by proxy. And even Uiis passage of the reply is 



94 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA* 

A European Government may be justified in evolving 
theoretical paper rights of sovereignty over land which — and 
such land does exist in many parts of tropical Africa — is, 
through pestilence, inter-tribal warfare, emigration, or some 
such cause, really and truly " vacant" It is the clear duty of 
the European over-lord in tropical Africa to draft such laws 
and r^ufations affecting land duly held under native tenure, 
which shsdl make it difficult, if not impossible, for the native 
owner to be cheated out of his land by adventurers and 
swindlers. But to treat native land-tenure as a factor of no 
account in Afro-European relationship, on the plea that native 
ownership disappears with the simple enunciation of a theo- 
retical right of proprietorship in Europe, or by signing a piece 
of parchment conveying the proprietorship of some thousands 
of square miles of African territory and all that therein is to a 
group of financiers, is merely an attempt to cover spoliation, 
robbery, and violence under \^gi[ formula. 

To sweep away native land-tenure is the preliminary step 
to forced labour, and forced labour in tropical Africa means 
the enslavement of the African by the European-armed and 
European-directed African ; and that, in tropical Africa, spells 
the coming destruction of European effort 

And so, from denying the rights of the natives to their 
land, we come by natural sequence to the doctrine of forced 
production. The Congo State claims that, by its system — 

'' it is permissible for the native to find by work the remuneration * 
which contributes to augment his well-being.f Such is, in fact, one of 
the ends of the ^eral policy of the State to promote the regeneration 
of the race, by instilling into him a higher idea of the necessity of 
labour.t It can be imagined that Governments conscious of their moral 
responsibility do not advocate among inferior races the right to idleness 
and laziness with, as their consequence, the maintenance of an anti- 
civilising social state." 

Could hypocrisy reach serener heights ? The Congo State's 
consciousness of " moral responsibility " compels it to keep on 
a war footing an army of nearly 20,000 men,§ so that the 
" regeneration of the race " shall not be hindered by this inbred 
" idleness and laziness." 

untrue, because Rabinek, the Austrian trader, had obtained from the 
concessionnaire, and from the State itself, licences to trade for which he 
had paid, and yet he was persecuted and condemned to a year's imprison- 
ment 1 (See Part IV.) The contention is, therefore, doubly dishonest. 

* Mark the word "remuneration," and turn back to Chapter VI 1 1. 

t Mark the word •* well-being," and read Part III. 

t ^' Our only programme I am anxious to repeat, is the work of 
moral and material regeneration." — King Leopold. 

§ And to allow its Trusts to arm at least half as many irregulars. 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, ETC. 95 

The Congo State authorities, however, do not appear to 
have been particularly impressed with the " laziness and idle- 
ness" of the native when, in June, 1896, they attached to their 
own Bulletin Officid the report of an agricultural tour under- 
taken by M. Emile Laurent, before the completion of the 
Matadi'StanUy Pool Railway, This gentleman was sent on 
an extensive survey to report upon the " agricultural " possi- 
bilities of the country, the characteristics of the various tribes, 
etc His testimony to the " idleness " of the native is emphatic 
Referring to the region of the Cataracts (Lower Congo, between 
Matadi and Stanley-Pool), he says : 

^ It is here that the natives often build their villages ; they plant the 
palm tree and the sofa^ which grows well In this neighbourhood they 
cultivate sweet potatoes, manioc, and ground-nuts. . . . There is also 
sandy ground in the district ; they form rather large plains, often utilised 
for the cultivation of the ground-nut. This plant gives abimdant crops. 
Formerly the natives brought the ground-nuts to Matadi to the Dutch 
factory, in exchange for salt, which .they in turn sold to the people of the 
interior." * / 

Not much sign of " idleness " there, at the time that par- 
ticular report was penned, apparently. A little later on 
there was '^ idleness ; " but it was the inertia of death, for 
death and depopulation had stalked through the land in the 
shape of forced labour and forced porterage. The published 
narratives of M. Pierre Mille and Baron de Mandat Grancy 
may be consulted with advantage in that connection.* The 
ground-nut trade of the Lower Congo region, it is useful to 
remember, was a very large one before the Congo State 
assumed the reins of government in the river. It has now 
virtually disappeared. The Congo Government has recently 
inaugurated a system of forced labour in the Cataracts region, 
in order to revive the cultivation of this nut Reference is 
made to the subject in Chapter XX. 

We will follow M. Laurent on his journey. Of the Stanley- 
Pool and Eastern Kwango region he writes as follows : — 

" From what Messrs. Costermans and Deghilage, two officials who 
have visited this district, tell me, the ground rubber covers vast extents 
of sandy soil, and the natives exploit it on a large scale. Not long ago 
the rubber from this region was exported to Portuguese Angola, and 
there was a considerable trade in it. M. Deghilage tells me that he has 
seen on the native markets of Kenghe-Diadia thirty tons of this rubber 
exposed for sale every four days." 

That was before the Congo State was paramount in the 
land ; the days when the native could sell his produce on 

* Or Mr. Fox-Bourne's book, "Civilisation in Congoland," which 
contains many useful extracts from those two works. 



96 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

legitimate commercial lines ; the days when the native either 
bartered his rubber with other native traders from Portuguese 
territory, who afterwards sold it to the Portuguese on the coast, 
or direct with European merchants established in Portuguese 
territory. Compare the above passage — ^which, mind you, ts 
an official report — with the claim of the Congo State put 
forward to-day, to have taught the native of the Congo terri- 
tories how to collect rubber ! " The policy of the State," says 
the official reply to the British Note, ** has not, as has been 
asserted, killed trade ; it has, on the contrary, created it" It 
did not create the ground-nut trade of the Lower Congo, or 
the rubber trade of 3ie Kwango, on the testimony of its own 
expert ! But it has certainly killed the former ; and as for the 
latter, the rubber which used to belong to the native, and which 
the native sold, is now the property of the Kwango Trust, for 
which the native is expected to collect it, on the usual regene- 
rating lines. One fails to detect any signs of ** idleness " in 
the Kwango region at the time of M. Laurent's report 

From the Kwango district, M. Laurent takes us to Lake 
Leopold II. district Here we learn that : 

'' I saw a rubber vine which was ten centimetres in diameter and bore 
numerous transversal incisions, which is a proof that the natives know 
and practice the right method of extracting rubber. ... I also noticed 
the large quantities of gum-copal which is to be found in the neighbour- 
hood of the lake, and which the natives extract from the ground at the 
foot of the trees along the river." 

Always the same peculiar form of " laziness." The district 
of Lake Leopold II. is now the centre of the secret revenues 
department, the Doniaine de la Couronne^ the scene of the 
horrors and desolation so graphically described by Consul 
Casement and the Rev. A. E. Scrivener, vide Chapter XV. In 
the Kasai and Lualaba region the " idleness " of the native 
becomes still more apparent from this report : 

*' The population is coinparatively dense, and is distinguished for its 
truly remarkable trading and labour capacities." 

The feeling of " moral responsibility " entertained by the 
State towards these particular tribes may be estimated from 
Morrison's account, which is given in Chapter XVII. The 
" idleness " of the native, " from the Sankuru River to Nya- 
ngwe," is simply deplorable, for, according to M. Laurent : 

" Around these truly negro towns the bush is cultivated for a distance 
of an hour and a halfs walk, and the plantations are often as carefully 
cultivated as they are in Flanders. The natives cultivate manioc, maize, 
millet, rice, voandMou, and ground-nuts. The lauer yield magnificent 
crops." 




PhotogTaf>h h Elliott ^r' Fry 

MR. H. R. FOX-BOL'RXI-: 



(Socrotary of iln' Aborigines Protection Society) 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, ETC. 97 

So much for the " idleness " of the Congo native, as observed 
by a trained " agriculturist " employed by the Congo State and 
as embodied in an official report It is always well to confound 
the Congo State authorities with their own published documents ; 
but men who traded with, or travelled among, the Upper Congo 
natives in many parts of the territory before the grip of Africa's 
regenerator tightened upon the land, know well that these unfor- 
tunate people are no more idle than any of the tropical African 
peoples, among whom labour other than the labour required 
for the supply of food-stuffs is not an economic necessity ; that 
their commercial instincts were very highly developed, that they 
were eager to trade with the white man, and did trade indirectly 
with the white man ; and that, given a fair chance, a large and 
legitimate trade would have sprung up there, as it has every- 
where else in West Africa, when Sie native has been given 
markets and decent treatment. 

Is this a general statement easy to make, but difficult 
to prove, so far as the Congo natives are concerned } Let us 
see. Well, in the first place, we have the official report of 
M. Laurent But, after all, that is one man's statement One 
of the earlier pioneers of the Congo was M. Herbert Ward. 
Here is a passage from his book, which rather bears out 
M. Laurent : 

'' The rocky banks and tree-hidden bays concealed no worse foe than 
the keen Bateke or Byanzi trader, thirsting, not for the white man's blood, 
but for his cotton cloths and bright brass rods, and anxious only to get 
the better of him in bargaining, when his natural timidity and suspicion 
had been lulled to sleep by the exhibition of such * inconsidered trifles ' 
of this description as my fast-failing and scanty stock enabled me to 
display whenever my own wants or the necessities of my men induced 
OS to call at any of the villages we might pass.** 

There we have the picture of a riverain population of keen 
trading instincts. 

With Mr. R. E. Dennett, whose ethnological studies are well 
known, and who is probably an unrivalled authority on the 
commercial capacities of the Congo tribes, among whom he has 
lived for some twenty years, I have exchanged occasionally a 
friendly correspondence. Some few weeks ago I wrote to him — 
he was then in Africa — pointing out the State's claim to have 
introduced commerce in the Upper Congo, and asking him 
what he thought of it His reply is now before me. 

'* Certainly most of the trade," he writes, '' done in the Lower Congo 
came from the Upper Congo from beyond the Kasai. In 1879 I assisted 

to trade in Kinsembo, and we bought quite a lot of ivory and rubber 

coming in from the Upper Congo. In 1880 I was in Ambrizette, and we 
boug^ht large quantities of the same produce coming from the same 
district and passing through ^Moaquita's' town. About 1881 most of 

H 



98 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the traders on the South-West Coast opened up above Musuku, at Noki, 
Ango-Ango, Kola-Kola, and Matadi,* and as a proof that the Coast trade 
came, for the most part, from the Upper Congo, it may be stated that 
as soon as these firms commenced buymg at these places great quantities 
of rubber and ivory, the Coast trade fell off enormously. This can a^ain 
be proved by the fact that as soon as the Belgian Companies went mto 
the mterior (i./. the Upper Congo, above the Cataracts, which divide the 
Uoper from the Lower Congo, now connected by a railway) the factories 
below Matadi (f>. in the Lower Congo, below the Cataracts) fared very 
badly, only gettmg that trade which came from the Portuguese Upper 
Congo." 

So, on this evidence — the competency of which no one 
acquainted with West African affairs will presume to discuss — 
we find that long before M. Laurent went on his tour of inspec- 
tion, long before Mr. Ward recorded his experiences, the 
natives of the Upper Congo were selling large quantities of 
African produce to the Ba-Congo peoples — ivory and rubber — 
who in turn carried that produce to the Lower Congo along 
the caravan road of 200 odd miles, which their feet had 
trodden and made. And this testimony, let us bear carefully 
in mind, is amply corroborated in the Protest drawn up by the 
Belgian companies alluded to in Mr. Dennett's letter (and whose 
treatment at the hands of " Bula Matadi " are fully set forth in 
Part II.) when they declared : 

" To forbid the natives from selling the ivory and rubber from their 
forests and plains, which constitutes their hereditary birthright, and in 
which they have traded from time immemorial, is a violation of natural 
rights." 

Is any more proof needed to confirm the accuracy of my 
contention, that the natives of the Upper Congo, if they had 
been decently treated, would have built up a trade of infinitely 
greater volume, so far as the export of raw material is con- 
cerned, than the quantity wrung from them to-day by massacre 
and outrage ; while that produce, legitimately acquired, bartered 
for, traded for, would have necessitated an import " the counter- 
part of its value," bringing prosperity to the producer, progress, 
and development? Whether the reader considers additional 
proof to be necessary or not, I propose to adduce it, and from 
no less an authority than the late Sir Henry M. Stanley. Speak- 
ing at the London Chamber of Commerce in 1884, Stanley 
remarked : 

** The fixed and permanent way (he was referring to a railway) which 
would be such a benefit to the Cataract region just described, would be 
of still greater benefit to the Upper Congo and its plain-like lands, and 

* Places up the Lower Congo River. 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TRADE, ETC. 99 

to the keen, enterprising, hifi^h-spirited * peoples who occupy them. Even 
now many a flotilla descends the great river 500 miles down to Stanley- 
Pool,t to wait patiently for months before their goods can be disposed of 
to the Lower Congo caravans." 

That was before a single European merchant had estab- 
lished himself beyond Matadi, and, therefore, long prior to the 
rubber " taxes " of " Bula Matadi " ! 

I began with a Belgian authority to drive my point home. 
I will end with another. In an official publication printed in 
Brussels in 1897 (in connection with the Brussels Exhibition 
of that year), under the auspices of "M. le Commandant 
Liebrechts," one of the principal Secretaries of State of the 
Congo Administration in Brussels, I find the following reference 
to the trading instincts of the great riverain tribe of the Batekes { 
above Stanley- Pool : — 

'' To this incessant movement produced for long years is due that, 
much before the arrival of Europeans, the Congo river tribes as far even 
as the Aruwimi had European goods which had passed from hand to 
hand from the Coast, and had acquired extraordinary value." 

That is a true statement, and the European merchandise 
was paid for by the native producer in rubber and ivory. 
Purchased from the factories in the Lower River by natives, 
transported by them for 200 weary miles along the Cataracts to 
the Upper River ; sold by them to Upper River natives at the 
Pool against rubber and ivory, which rubber and ivory was 
carried down to the factories by the native middlemen who had 
brought up the goods to buy those articles ; while the native 
middle-men in tihe Upper River, who, Stanley tells us, some- 
times waited " for months," having disposed of their rubber and 
ivory, started off with full canoes to their customers along the 
banks of the mighty river and its branches. Such the trade — 
viewed in its native aspect — which " Bula Matadi " has wiped 
out by declaring the rubber and ivory of the Upper Congo to 
be its property, and by compelling the natives to produce it for 
nothing ; such the natural commercial instincts of a people that 
it has crushed ; such the commerce which the Berlin Act was 
intended not only to preserve, but even to keep unhampered by 
vexatious customs dues. What are we to think of the honesty 

* Will any one who was acquainted with those peoples in 1884, and 
who has seen them recently, appl^ those adjectives to diem now ? Mr. 
Casement's report is peculiarl]f illuminating on this point Will the 
r^er bear also carefully in mind the worcT ''occupy,'' and compare it 
with that convenient term " vacant " so dear to Congolese jurists ? 

t At the head of the Cataracts. 

t These Batekes have now nearly all emigrated to the French CongO| 
abandoning Congo State territory. See Official White Book, ^. a'/. 



100 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

of a Government which can declare in 1903 that it has "created 
trade " and taught the natives the art of collecting rubber, when 
it has destroyed trade which European enterprise and native 
energy had established ? 

Leaving the Congo, the commercial proclivities of the 
Negro meet us wherever we care to pursue our inquiry, and 
his alleged idleness vanishes into the mists of mendaciousness 
whence it originates. Every year the voluntary labour of the 
West African Negro supplies Europe with nearly four millions 
sterling of palm-oil and kernels alone, requiring infinite time, 
infinite toil, and infinite trouble in their preparation ; * employ- 
ing hundreds of thousands of African men and women. The 
voluntary labour of the natives of the French Colony of 
Senegal and the British Colony of Gambia supplies Europe 
every year with ground-nuts to the tune of over one million 
sterling. 

Last year the voluntary labour of the natives of the Gold 
Coast supplied Europe with ;f 100,000 worth of high-class 
cocoa, and they and their relatives on tiie French Ivory Coast 
sent us ;f 500,000 worth of mahogany. From West Africa the 
Negro sends us every year thousands of tons of precious cabinet 
woods, involving the expenditure of an enormous amount of 
physical labour in felling and squaring the logs, and floating 
them down the rivers and creeks to the sea. Europe, and 
especially Great Britain, rely to-day upon the voluntary labour 
of the Negro to relieve the intolerable strain of the cotton 
industry, groaning under the dead weight of dependence upon 
America for the source of the raw material, and the Negro is 
responding right gallantly to the demand. After only a few 
months' effort, Lagos is beginning to send us cotton, and 
Nigeria will do so just as soon as we can give her the light 
railway that she needs. In the five years ending with 1900 
the trade of the British West African Possessions amounted to 
43 millions sterling. 

These are facts, and they are not got over by calling a man 
who points them out a " sentimentalist" But the apostles of 
coercion, and the upholders of the New Slave Trade, do not care 
for facts ; they prefer legal conundrums in which to wrap their 
selfish creed, and give it an appearance of respectability. Now, 
as in the days when the conscience of the world awoke to the 
iniquities of the over-sea slave-trade, we are flooded with hypo- 
critical arguments drawn from false premises, with specious 
pleadings and judicial compositions designed to confuse the 

* For a detailed description of the palm-oil and palm-kernel trade 
of West Africa, see " Affairs of West Africa " (London : William Heine- 
mcuin, 1902). 



NATIVE LAND-TENURE, TR ADE, ' £.T.C. loi 

judgment, cloud the understanding, and distort the teachings 
of history. The Congo State, as I have said before, is'-'tfe. 
incarnation of all this callous and pernicious humbug. W^ 
have fought it, a handful of us, from different standpoints for " 
many a long year, and at last we have dragged the Govern- 
ment and public opinion along with us. We must go on 
fighting it until the diseases it has introduced into Africa and 
the virus with which it has temporarily saturated a portion of 
European thought are utterly destroyed. The one bulwark 
of the Negro in tropical Africa against the worst excesses of 
European civilisation is the determination of Europe to con- 
serve his rights in his land and in his property. In helping 
him to develop his property on scientific lines ; in granting 
him internal peace ; in proving to him that he is regarded not 
as a brute, but as a partner in a great undertaking from which 
Europe and Africa will derive lasting benefit — Europe will be 
adopting the only just, right, and practical policy. 

That was the policy laid down by the Powers in Berlin in 
1885. Any other policy is doomed to ultimate failure and 
disaster to Europe,* and must result in untold misery to the 
peoples of tropical Africa. Any other policy must be resisted 
to the uttermost by all those who believe in the great future 
which is in store for tropical Africa wisely administered by 
the white man, and who have some regard for the honour of 
Europe and the just and humane treatment of the races of 
Africa. 

* Just as the Van den Bosch '^culture-system" in the Dutch East 
Indies perished amid universal execration after almost ruining the 
country. 



CHAPTER X 

THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE — MILITARISM, 
MURDER, MUTILATION, AND THE TRAFFIC IN ARMS 

" The wretched negroes, however, who are still under the sole 
sway of their traditions, have that horrible belief that victoiy is 
only decisive whea the enemy, (alien beneath their blows, is annihi- 
lated. The soldiers of the State, who are recndted necessarily 
from among the natives, do not mmiediatehr forsake those san« 
gninary huits that have been transmitted from generation to 
generation. The example of the white officer and vidiolesome 
military discipline gradually injure in them a horror of human 
trophies of which t£ey previously had made their boast"— King 
Leopold, in a letter to his Agents. 

The indispensable instrument of a poliqr which denies to the 
native of tropical Africa all rights in land, and in the products of 
economic value the land produces, but which requires, in order 
to maintain itself, vast quantities of those products, is an army 
of very large dimensions. The late Governor-General of the 
West African Possessions of France put the truth in one, fierce — 
M. Ballay was opposed to the New Slavery — ^terse expression. 
"The system," he said, necessitated " an armed soldier behind 
every producer." This the Sovereign of the Congo State 
thoroughly understood from the beginning. In the words of 
Pierre Mille,* another Frenchman of much African knowledge 
and experience, " The basis of the King's economic policy has 
been the formation of an army sufficiently strong to force the 
native to pay the rubber and ivory tax." 

The International Association was bom in an atmosphere 
of virtuous philanthropy. Philanthropic aspirations presided 
over its entry into the " family of nations," under the title of 
the " Congo Free State," in charge of a ruler dedicated " from 
his cradle to the exercise of every kind of freedom." f The 
ruler, upon whom fell the choice of the Powers, laid claim 
to the loftiest of human motives. To-day, the Congo State 
keeps on a war-footing a regular native army of nearly 20,000 
men, armed with repeating rifles, while the Trusts it has created, 

♦ " Au Congo Beige." 

t Baron de Courcel. Protocol No. 9, Berlin Act, op. cit. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 103 

whose policy it controls, and in whose profits it shares, raise 
their own troops, which may be estimated at a further 10,000 
to 15,000.* To-day, munitions of war pour into the Congo 
territories in one continuous stream. To-day, from almost 
every part of the Congo territories, the tale of fighting, more 
fighting, and again fighting comes with monotonous persistency. 
When M. Georges Lorand declared in the Belgian House a 
few months ago that the Congo State's "work of civilisation " 
had been " an enormous and continual butchery," he was not 
exaggerating. The carnival of massacre, of which the Congo 
territories have been the scene for the last twelve years, must 
appal all those who have studied the facts. From 1890 onwards 
the records of the Congo State have been literally blood- 
soaked. Even at that early date, the real complexion of 
Congo State philanthropy was beginning to appear, but public 
opinion in Europe was then in its hoodwinked stage. It is 
instructive to quote from one or two of the earlier accounts 
which filtered through. In 1889, Mr. E. Sowerbutts, Secretary 
of the Manchester Geographical Society, published letters from 
the Lower Congo to the effect that " the Belgians* methods of 
trade were to employ 100 armed soldiers round each station to 
terrorise the natives into bringing them produce " — all, as the 
writer added bitterly, " in the name of philanthropy and no 
slavery." In March, 1891, further correspondence of the same 
nature from the Lower Congo was read at a meeting of the 
same Geographical Society. 

" I would to God," ran one of the letters, " we had a population able 
to cope with these so-called philanthropists in the summary way they 
should be dealt with ; but alas ! the poor creatures are unarmed against 
the Snider rifles and machine-guns of the holy philanthropists." 

Another letter speaks of atrocities committed upon young 
children by the State's soldiers ; of women and children being 
seized as prisoners in order to obtain carriers, and so on ; and 
the " prime- movers," continues the writer, "in this diabolical 
and unholy so-called civilising Power are actuated, we are told, 
by holy motives, by a sincere love for their fellow-men and 
black brothers." 

Mr. R. Cobden Phillips, who presided over the meeting, gave 
it as his opinion that the whole question wanted investigating. 
" If an inquiry were made," he said, " it might be possible to 

* From the accotuts which reach me from one of these Trust's 
territories alone, where the non-regular troops are said to number nearly 
10,000, I am inclined to think that the total number must be even 
greater. The British Consul (Africa, No. i, 1904) estimates the figure 
at 10,000. I am inclined to think that had his travels carried him as 
far as the Katanga country, his estimates would have been higher. 



104 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

obtain some guarantees against the continuance of the atrocities 
which had marked the hi^ory of the Congo State from the 
beginning." That was in 1891 1 The year previous, at the 
gathering held in London, on November 4, 1900, under 
5ie chairmanship of Sir Albert RoUit, M.P., to protest against 
the proposed imposition of import duties and to denounce the 
hypocrisy which attributed to philanthropic motives the desire 
of the Congo State to so impose them, it was shown on the 
testimony of Europeans on the spot, such as Mr. Herbert 
Ward and Colonel Williams, that the Congo State was 
exchanging natives captured by its soldiers in raids against 
ivory. Colonel Williams' letter to King Leopold was read to 
the meeting by Mr. Phillips, representing the Manchester 
Chamber of Commerce. Here is an extract from it : 

" Your Majesty's Government has been, and is now, guilty of waging 
tmjust and cruel wars again the natives, with the hope of securing slaves 
and women to minister to the behests of the officers of your Government. 
In such slave-hunting raids one vil^ge is armed by the State against the 
other, and the force thus secured is incorporated with the r^ular troops. 
I have no adequate terms with which to depict to your Majesty the 
brutal acts of your soldiers upon raids such as these." 

The army was very small then compared with its numbers now. 
The war of extermination against the Arabs begun in 1886, 
more or less postponed until 1891, renewed and on a graver 
scale in October of that year, and brought to an end in 
January, 1894, occasioned as much positive slaughter probably 
as during the forty years of Arab dominion round the Great 
Lakes and the eastern districts of the Congo. The Congo State 
employed thousands of cannibal auxiliaries, and thousands of 
auxiliaries fought on the side of the Arabs. The Arabs fought 
for their independence, their ivory markets, and to keep their 
bodies horn post mortem desecration at the teeth of the cannibal 
troops opposed to them. The Congo State fought for its 
prestige and the ivory stores and markets which it hoped to 
capture, and did. The opening of the Arab campaign was more 
or less synonymous with the application of the Congo State's new 
policy embodied in the decrees and regulations already referred 
to, and the unhappy native passed from the bondage of the 
Arab, which, brutal as it was, had something to recommend it — 
gave the native some hope in his life, at any rate — to the bon- 
dage of the Congo State, which has nothing to recommend it 
whatsoever, except dividends for the few men who pull the 
strings in Belgium.* It is perfectly safe to say that ever since 

* Since the above passage was written I have perused Major W. St H. 
Gibbons' book (^. at.), and I find therein the following confirmatory 
appreciation : '* Under Arab influence the freedom of organised native 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 105 

the annihilatiQn of the Arab power, warfare has never ceased 
for a day in some part or other of the Congo territories. It 
takes a long time to kill 20 million souls, so, notwithstanding 
the frightful depopulation of many of the get-atable regions, 
the whole country is not yet " vacant" But there is abundant 
evidence to show that in parts the native is simply being wiped 
out Here are passages from private letters written home from 
the Upper Congo in 1896. lit the reader compare them with 
the evidence given in Chapter XXL, which brings us down 
to the present time. The similarity is eloquent 

** It is impossible for you to understand how bitterlv all are in power 
of the unscrupulous men in office. Law, truth, and justice are only 
names or instruments to serve the cause of tyranny and oppression. 
Their soldiers are the worst and vilest savages, and they are let loose 
upon the imoffending population. So that rubber may be extorted. . . . ** 

" Every week we hear of some fighting, and there are frequent rows 
even in our village with the armed and unruly soldiers. God save poor 
hunted Africa from the iniauitous rubber traffic ! During the past twelve 
months it has cost more lives than native wars and superstition would 
have sacrificed in five years. . . ,^ 

I merely touch upon one or two of these old records by 
way of illustrating the truth of the words "enormous and 
continual butchery" used by M. Georges Lorand In Mr. 
Fox-Bourne's book will be found numerous and authenticated 
testimony covering all that earlier period, such as the published 
diaiy of that fine man, £. J. Glave ; the revelations of the 
Swedish missionary Sjoblom, also a splendid character ; the 
statement of Murphy, eta With the growth of the regular 
army, with the appearance of the Trusts and their soldiers, the 
area of oppression and devastation has rapidly spread, and is 
making fresh strides every year. The "civilised native troops " 
— to use Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid's delicate euphemism * — are 
doing their work well. 

Let us consider for a moment the significance of this 
admitted army of 20,000 1 regular troops, to say nothing of the 
armed bands raised by the Trusts, which, at the very lowest 
computation, we may place at 10,000. 

This armed force is considerably larger than that which 

communities was not interfered with. These people came to trade — to 

five and take, not to take only. Morally speaking, I will content myself 
ere with the bare assertion that the natives are not the gainers by the 
Belgian occupation." 
* SpeakiTy April, 190a 

t The Offidel Bulletin of 1900 speaks of 15,000. In the debate in 
the Belgian House the number was spoken of as between 16,000 and 
17,00a A decree issued at the close of 1903 puts the number to be 
recruited in 1904 at 2600. 



io6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

France, England, and Germany put together maintain in the 
whole of their West African possessions. The troops and 
police of England in West Africa* number 8000. The 
Governor-General of French West Africa disposes of 9400 
men in troops and police, including the European element ; 
the French Congo troops (including the Chad territories) 
number 2700— a gross total of 12,000. The German forces in 
the Cameroons and Togo number 1800. 

The significance of the Congo State's military strength is 
the greater when we bear in mind that, ever since the over- 
throw of the Arabs, it has been faced by no native combination, 
and has persistently, and of set purpose, destroyed all organisa- 
tion in native communities susceptible of containing the seed 
of possible combination. Unhappily for themselves, and 
happily for their oppressors, the unfortunate tribes of the 
Congo territories appear to be unable to combine — at least, the 
bulk of them cannot The day when a Bantu leader of men, 
in one of the larger and more powerful tribes, such as the 
Batetla or Asande, can direct a true combination against the 
State, might well see the end of Belgian domination in 3ie Upper 
River, despite the disintegrating effect of Congo State rule. 
Yet, notwithstanding this fact, although the only weapons 
possessed by the Congo natives have been spears, bows and 
arrows, and knives, and, in some parts, axes — notwithstanding 
the network of fluvial communication ; in the absence of the 
fanaticism which Islam inspires (together with the capacity of 
combination and organisation), and which France and, to a 
lesser extent, Great Britain have had to face in Western Africa 
— the regular army of the Congo State, nursed in philanthropy, 
and whose watchword is " moral and material regeneration," 
owns to a regular army of nearly 20,000 men, while the irregu- 
lars raised by its Trusts number at the very least half that 
figure! And the Congo State tells us that it controls its 
soldiers, when the total number of white men — not merely 
wMte officials of the State^ but the total number of white men 
in the Congo territories — is 2400 ! It controls them so well 
that they raid the territories of their neighbours f in search of 
loot, committing havoc and atrocity. It controls them so well 
that in the remoter districts, at any rate, they are absolutely 
out of hand, and assault Europeans as soon as look at them,| 
which is not to be wondered at, for the Congolese officials have 
shown their soldiers on several occasions the amount of respect 
with which Europeans unconnected with the State or its Trusts 

* Exclusive of the West Indian garrison (300 men) at Freetown, 
t See Part III. 
X IHd. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 107 

are treated by the Government* It controls them so well 
that it has had two great rebellions, and that a considerable 
portion of the South-Eastem District, and also the Kivu District, 
is still, after eight years, in the hands of the rebels.t It 
controls them so well that but three years ago they seized the 
fort outside the capital itself, upon which they rained shell for 
a day and a half | It controls them so well that it allows 
them — because its policy renders such things inevitable and 
necessary — to plunder, rape, murder, and mutilate to their 
hearts' content The Congo State army, regular and irregular, 
with its leaders — often non-commissioned officers of the Belgian 
army, or civilians in the employ of the Trusts — poorly paid, 
brutalised, and degraded by a policy to which they have 
become bound as in fetters of steel, and which is a direct 
incentive to the worst elements in their character, sweeps like 
a destroying breath across the equatorial forests, and no chance 
Arab slave-trader left more ruin and desolation in his track 
— ruin from which there is no recovery, desolation for ever 
desolate. It is called in Brussels, and on the Congo, " restoring 
order." 

Not only is the policy which the officials are paid to cany 
out by means of the tens of thousands of black mercenaries 
which have been raised for the purpose, a policy demoralising 
to the officials, and tending to accentuate the fiercest instincts 
of the fighting Bantu tribes of the Congo territory whence the 
majority of the soldiers are drawn, but the way these soldiers 
are recruited constitutes in itself a system little, if at all, 
removed from slavery. 

The authorities of the Congo State describe it, indeed, in 
very different terms. 

"Military service no more constitutes slavery in the Congo State 
than it does in any country where the system of the conscription exists. 
The recruiting and the organisation of*^ the public force are the subjects 
of minute legislative enactments to prevent abuses. After all, military 
service does not weigh heavily on the population from which it asks only 
one man in every ten thousand." 

The latter paragraph is delicious. The population of the 
Congo territory is believed to be somewhere about twenty 

* The hanging of Stokes, and the despatch of Rabinek, a prisoner 
under native escort from Albertville to the Con^^o. are cases in point. 

t See Part III. In the Congo State's official report for looo it was 
admitted that the rebellion had lasted then three years, and had not 
been put down. The rebellion referred to was that of 1897, but the 
rebels who hold the Lake region of Katanga are probably the rebels 
of 1896. 

t Had they known the secret of the time-fuse, Boma would have 
been levelled to the ground. 



io8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

million ; * but no positive data, of course, exist, because, 
speaking generally, the ofHcials have no authority within a 
mile or two of the river banks. The Congo State's regular 
army, as already stated, is close on 20,000, without counting 
the irregulars raised by the Trusts ; yet we are told that only 
one man in every ten thousand men is taken 1 The " minute 
legislation " is on a par with the minute calculation. The bald 
facts are — 

1. That the Congo recruits are taken for twelve years, 
seven in active service, and five in the reserve. 

2. That the levy is a compulsory levy. 

3. That recruits used to be, and may, for aught we know to 
the contrary, be now, in many districts secured by raids upon 
villages.! 

How many soldiers are there in the Congo State army 
to-day whose mothers and fathers have been slat^htered in 
connection with the rubber traffic ? 

I have referred to the term of service already. With 
regard to the levy being a compulsory levy, even when no 
actual raiding goes on, there is an abundance of evidence. 

At one time — before the proceedings of the Congo Govern- 
ment became known — Cong^o State agents were allowed to 
enlist Hausas in Lagos, and also recruits in the Gold Coast 
and Sierra Leone, as so-called '* labourers." These labourers 
were promptly impressed as soldiers when they got to Boma, 
and sent up country on military expeditions lasting for years, 
and whence many of them never returned. The survivors 
sufTered terrible hardships, and were sometimes most brutally 
treated by their officers.^ Finally, the British Government 
stepped in, and absolutely forbade any further recruiting. In 
a letter to the author, received a few months ago from a native 
of Lagos who had " served twelve 3^ars as a soldier in rubber 
and ivory collecting districts such as Equateur, Bangala, 

* Probably verv much overstated even in 1884 ; since then it has, 
of course, dwindled enormously. 

t " It is reported that ... the method of obtaining men for labour or 
for military service is often but little different from that formerly 
employed to obtain slaves." — British Note to Powers^ 1903. 

X Judging from its own published declarations, the British Govern- 
ment possesses much evidence of the mal-treatment of its subjects which 
has not yet been made public, although Parliament has pressed for it. It 
would seem to be the clear duty of the British Government, in view of the 
proved incompetency of the Congo Courts to secure Justice for British 
coloured subjects, to exercise its rights of Consular jurisdiction secured 
under the Convention of 1884. I say nothing, for the moment, on the 
subject of British, and also American, missionary enterprise, which is 
being hampered in many respects, and, from that point of view alone, 
the exercise of our Consular rights is greatly to be desired. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 109 

Basoko, Stanley Falls, and Kasongo," the writer thus describes 
the duties of the Congo soldiery : 

'' To ' trade ' with Albini rifles ; to collect rubber and ivory without 
payment ; to flog women in the hot African sun — 100 lashes on their 
naked backs ; to murder children on their mothers' breasts for refusing 
to show where food is stored ; to take the natives' goats, sheep, fowls ; 
to take their land and bum their villages." 

Shortly afterwards the French Government prohibited the 
recruiting of Senegalese in its own Colony of Senegal. Efforts 
were then made to entice Senegalese over the Gambia border, 
and embark them at Bathurst The attempt succeeded on one 
occasion, when several hundred men Were so shipped ; but a 
proclamation was subsequently issued by the Gambia Govern- 
ment which put a stop to that On one occasion Congo agents 
secured several hundred West Indian blacks, in Barbadoes, as 
"labourers." When the vessel arrived at Boma, the men 
learned that they were to serve as soldiers, and being seized 
with panic, refused to land. They were actually fired upon 
from the shore, and several of the poor fellows were killed and 
wounded. This shocking outrage was never properly shown 
up. Some two years later, I met one of the survivors in a 
northern port, and I have a letter from him in my possession 
now which he wrote me after reaching his own home in 
Barbadoes.* 

The methods which characterise recruiting operations in 
the Congo territories ; the fact that the " recruiting " synchro- 
nises in many cases with the loss to the recruit of all beings 
for whom he may have entertained affection ; that the recruit 
knows, in any case, he will probably never see his people or his 
village again ; the natural tendency of the African, if placed in 
possession of weapons which give him an immeasurable advan- 
tage over his fellows, to oppress and bully — these things, com- 
bined with the deplorable example given by his officers and 
the horrible tasks he is called upon to perform,t convert the 
Congo soldier into a man-hunter of the most accomplished 
type. Perpetual warfare makes him desperate and ferocious ; 
unlimited authority of life and death, and unlimited oppor- 
tunities to kill, violate, plunder, and rob, make him the fit 

* In it he says he complained to the agent who shipped him under 
false nretences, but got no redress. 

t Mr. Casement had some conversation with a Government soldier 
(p. 36, Africa^ No. i, 1904). ''This was," he said, "his third term of 
service with Uie Force Publigue. 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 in his own home, and prefierred," he said, laughing, *' to be with 
the hunters, rather than with the hunted." 



no KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

instrument of an inhuman and callous policy, of which his 
officers, himself, and the natives are alike the victims in 
different degrees of suffering. The Nemesis of such a state 
of affairs is certain. Either grievances or a sense of power will 
lead to a rebellion on an even larger scale than the Batetla and 
Bakusu revolts ; or, some day, a more than usually intelligent 
native corporal, with the characteristic of leadership, will sud- 
denly realise diat the black man is on the wrong tack in 
continually slaughtering his brother for the sake of the white 
interloper. And then ... the deluge. 

Meanwhile, the Congo soldier is kept busy at the game 
of murder and outrage, in order that the supplies of rubber 
shall not fall short of the appointed quantity, that the revenues 
of the Domaine Privi shall be maintained at their proper 
level, that the " Committee of Three " * shall not fail in attend- 
ing to certain artistic longings attributed to the Belgian 
people by the State apologists,! and that the Trusts shall pay 
good dividends. 

One of the most atrocious features of the persistent warfare 
of which year in year out the Congo territories are the scene, 
is the mutilation both of the dead and of the living which 
goes on under it, and of which ocular demonstration is given 
in this volume. In connection with this rather ghastly side 
of the " moral and material regeneration " policy introduced 
into the Congo territories, the time has come for straight 
speaking. I have used the word " introduced " advisedly, and 
I propose to explain why. Meanwhile it is necessary to 
examine carefully, and in detail, the available evidence on the 
subject 

The first intimation that Congo State troops were in the 
habit of cutting off the hands of men, women, and children in 
connection witli the rubber traffic reached Europe through the 
Rev. J. B. Murphy, of the American Baptist Missionary Union, 
in 1895. He described how the State soldiers had shot some 
people on Lake Mantumbat (Tumba), ''cut off their hands, 
and took them to the Cammissaire** § The survivors of the 
slaughter reported the matter to a missionary at Irebu, 
who went down to see if it were true, and was quickly con- 
vinced by ocular demonstration. Among the mutilated 
victims was a little girl, not quite dead, who subsequently 
recovered. In a statement which appeared in the Times, 
Mr. Murphy said,|| "These hands — ^the hands of men, women, 

♦ Sec Part V. t See Part V. 

1 Situated within the Domaine de la Couronne. 
i Quoted from Fox-Bourne, op. cit. 
I Times^ November 18, 1895. IHd. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE in 

and children — ^were placed in rows before the Commissary^ who 
counted them to see that the soldiers liad not wasted cartridges^ 
The second intimation was conveyed in the diary of Glave 
(one of the fine type of Englishmen connected with the Congo 
in the early days), and published in 1896 after his death, in tlie 
Century Magasine. Glave wrote that the Rev. J. Clarke, a 
missionary at Mantumba, reported that he had seen '' several 
men with bunches of hands, signifying their individual skill. 
These^ I presume (Glave), they must produce to prove their 
successes, ... I have previously heard of hands, among them 
children's, being brought to the stations. ..." * 

Mr. Sjoblom, a Swedish missionary, confirmed, in 1897, 
the statements of Murphy and Glave. He reported having 
seen a native shot by a soldier before his eyes. After the 
murder the soldier 

'' told a little boy ... to go and cut off the right hand of the man who 
had been shot. . • . The bov after some labour (the native was not quite 
dead) cut the hand off and laid it by a fallen tree. A little later the 
hand was put on a fire to smoke before being sent to the Commissary, . . . 
If the rubber does not reach the full amount required, the sentinels 
attack the natives ; they kill some and bring the hands to the Com- 
missary. . • . The sentinels, or else the boys in attendance on them, 
put these hands on a little kiln, and after they have been smoked, they 
by-and-by put them on the top of the rubber baskets. I have many 
times seen this done. . . . From this village I went to another, where 
I met a man, who pointed to a basket, and said to me, ' Look, I have only 
two hands 1 ' He meant there were not enough to make up for the rubber 
he had brought . . . When I reached the river^ I turned round and saw 
that the people had large hammocks in which they were gathering the 
rubber to be taken to the Commissary. I also saw smoked hands and 
prisoners to be taken down to the Commissary » That is only one of the 

E laces. . . . When I crossed the stream, I saw some dead bodies 
anging down from branches in the water. As I turned my face away 
from the horrible sight, one of the native corporals who was following us 
down said, ' Oh, that is nothing ; a few days ago I returned from a fight, 
and I brought the white man 160 hands,^ • . . Two or three days after 
a fight, a dead mother was found with two of her children. The mother 
was shot, and the ri^ht hand taken off. On one side was the elder child, 
also shot, and the neht hand also taken off. On the other side was the 
younger child with Uie right hand cut off, but the child still living was 
resting against the dead mother's breast. This dark picture was seen 
by four missionaries. On December 14 a sentinel passed our mission 
station and a woman accompanied him, carrying a basket of hands. 
Mr. and Mrs. Banks, beside myself, went down the road, and they told 
the sentinel to put the hands on the road that they might count them. 
We counted eighteen right hands smoked, and from the size of the 
hands we could judge uat they belonged to men, women, and even 
children. ... I have seen extracts from letters in which the writers 
have freely told about hundreds of hands being brought by the sentinels. 
Another agent told me that he had himself seen a State officer at one of 

* Fox- Bourne, op. cit. 



112 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the outposts pay a certain nufnber of brass rods to the soldiers far a 
number of hands they had brought. One of the soldiers told me ike 
same. ... * The Comtnissary has promised us, if we bring plenty flf 
hands, he will shorten our service. . . . / have brought m fleniv ^ 
hands already, atid I expect my time of service will soon be finished^ ^ • 

The confessions of the agents of the Anversoise are fiil^ 
dealt with later on. In that same year vve had the debate 
in the Belgian House, in the course of which M. Lorand citod 
a Belgian officer who had admitted in writing to him that 
his soldiers had brought in hundreds of hands. 

M. Lorand : " It is so true that, as a result of what I have stated 
here, the particular ofticer whom I challenged to deny the facts has 
written giving me information, in which he admits that these 'war 
trophies ' were brought in. That is Congo civilisation ! On all sides 
war, massacre, crimes." M. de Smet de Naeyer : " The cxploitatioii 
of the Domaine Privi is conformable with jurisprudence. • • . Why 
suspect the Congo State of cruelty?'' M. Lorand: "Remember the 
1300 severed hands." M. de Smet de Naeyer : ''Fauhs have certainly 
been committed." t 

Again, in 1900, the particulars sent home by the Americstfi 
Baptist Missionary Society at Luebo were published for the 
first time, and will be found at length in Chapter XVL The 
native affidavits published in Chapter XVI I., dealing with the 
South-Eastern District tell the same tale, as also die lettets 
from my correspondents in British territory adjoining that 
district of the State, and received in 1902 and 1903. 

The following passage from a letter received by the author 
from a correspondent in the Bangala District in 190 1 may be 
quoted : — 

**Re cutting off of hands. I do not know from whom the order 
emanates, but this I do know : there are victims who have survived 
this cruelty in every district, in some more than others. I know white 
men who have seen the baskets of hands being carried to the central 
State station, and others have told me of the hands being put in line or 
lines. State soldiers themselves give us their reason for this barbarous 
deed, that they have to account for the use of their cartridges in this 
way. The cutting off of hands for this reason is a conunon report on 
the Upper River, and is generally believed by all who live diere.'' 

Personally, I had always thought, until the early part of 
1 90 1, that these mutilations were carried out upon <&0!t/ people 
only — natives slain in connection with the odious raids upon 
villages, for not bringing in a sufficiency of rubber, and that 
the idea was at once to strike terror into the hearts of other 

♦ The whole of Sj6blom's evidence is quoted from Fox-Bourne, 
op, cit, 

t Debate in the Belgian House, July, 1900 (not to be confounded 
with the debate of 1903). 




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THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 113 

villages, and to justify, in the eyes of the Congo State officer, 
the expenditure of the cartridges by soldiers whom he had 
sent out upon the work of slaughter, to prove to the satisfac- 
tion of their superiors that a village behindhand in its tribute 
of rubber or food-stuflfs had been really and eflfectively wiped 
out. 

But it was only towards the end of 1901 that I ascertained, 
by receiving photographs and letters from the Upper Congo, 
that mutilations were frequently practised by tiie Congo 
soldiery upon the livings upon men, upon women, upon poor 
little innocent children of tender years. The information I 
then received has been, alas ! but too amply corroborated since 
from various sources, and notably by Mr. Roger Casement 
Consul Casement's evidence is abundant and precise. In 
the Lake Mantumba District he saw two mutilated natives, 
whose cases, authenticated beyond doubt, proved the com- 
mittal of the deed by Government soldiers " accompanied by 
white officers." The Government official in this district said 
men still came to him who had been victims of the practice 
while the rubber regime vfzs in force ; in that particular district 
it seems to have been abandoned a 3^ar or two ago, probably 
owing to the enormous depopulation which had ensued from 
its application. The Consul was given by the natives the 
names of six other persons mutilated in a similar way. Many 
statements were also given to him, and are printed in the 
report, showing on what a colossal scale these mutilations were 
carried out, by instructions, in that district The day he left 
the Lake five men crossed it from another direction to see him, 
all being mutilated in the same manner. When informed of 
the fact by a messenger, the Consul was on his return journey, 
and did not, therefore, meet them. The estimate of a Govern- 
ment officer that 6000 people had been killed or mutilated in six 
months in the Mamboyo District of the Domaine de la Couronne 
is referred to in Chapter XIX., as is also the sexual mutilations 

inflicted by the Government soldiers upon the people of L , 

which the Consul obtained from the lips of the refugees from 
Lake Leopold II. On the Lulongo River a boy of sixteen whose 
right hand was missing was brought to the Consul. This boy, 
the natives said, had been first shot in the shoulder, and then 
mutilated by a soldier. Here, two boys not older tiian seven 
were also brought to him in a similar condition — both mutila- 
tions perpetrated by sentries, as part of the " punishment " to 
which the village they belonged to was subjected for not bring- 
ing in enough rubber. A fourth case of mutilation, which hsul 
occurred a few months previously in the same neighbourhood, 
was personally investigated by the Consul. It was that of a 

I 



114 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

boy of fifteen years of age/'v4iose left arm was wrapped up 
in a dirty rag. Removing this, I found the left hand had 
been hacked off at the wrist" He declared that a soldier of 
the La Lulanga Company had done the deed, "on account 
of the rubber." The boy was confronted with the soldier, 
whose statements were quite unsatisfactory, and at the 
Consul's insistent request he was arrested. The Consul, 
after pointing out that it was impossible for him to visit all 
the villages whence similar complaints come pouring in to 
him, adds : 

" In that one case the truth of the charges preferred was amply 
demonstrated, and their significance was not diminished by the fact that» 
whereas this act of mutilation had been committed within a few miles 

of Q i the head-quarters of a European civilising agency, and the 

guilty man was still in their midst, armed with the gun with which he had 
first shot his victim, not one of the natives of the terrorised town had 
attempted to report the occurrence. They had in the interval visited 
Mampoko each fortnight with the indiarubber from their district. There 
was also in their midst another mutilated boy, X., whose hand had been 
cut off 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. K. Company to Coquilhatville. They possessed, 
too, some canoes ; and, if all other agencies of relief were closed, the 
territorial tribunal of Coquilhatville lay open to them, and the journey 
to it down stream from their village could have been accomplished in 
some twelve hours. • . . The fact that no effort had been made by these 
people to secure relief from their unhappy situation impelled me to 
beheve that a very real fear of reporting sucn occurrences actually existed 
among them." 

Comment is needless. 

Now, the question arises, who is responsible for these 
atrocities ? I do not mean responsible in a general sense, of 
course, because the Congo Administration is obviously and 
palpably responsible; I mean in a much more specific and 
direct sense. Let us see what the attitude of the authorities in 
Brussels has been in connection with the matter. So long as 
it could, the Congo State denied that mutilations were inflicted 
by its soldiers upon the natives when those soldiers were sent 
against them. When denial became no longer possible — since 
the confessions of the Anversaise agents and the Belgian 
Parliamentary Debates of 1900 — the official defenders of the 
Congo State declared that these terrible practices had been 
immemorially rife amongst the natives themselves, and that, as 
the soldiers were locally recruited, they would naturally be 
imbued with such habits, which could only be eradicated by 
degrees. At the head of this chapter will be found King 
Leopold's version, which is much the same as the above, only 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 115 

clothed in the exalted language with which the world is so 
perfectly familiar. 

A Roman Catholic priest, the " Superior " of the " Upper 
Kasai Mission/' while demurring at the idea that "a young 
soldier animated with a desire to show his prowess " should be 
forbidden to " bring back war trophies," * professed, similarly, 
to see in the practice merely the continuation of an old order 
of things. M. Woeste, the leader of the Catholic party in 
Belgium, made a sort of spology for the existence — after 
eighteen years' administration— of such horrors when referring 
in the Belgian House last July to the disclosures of Morrison. 
He said they would disappear " little by little." 

Now, I assert deliberately that the employes of the Congo 
State in Africa have themselves introduced these practices — 
that is to say, the bringing in of " trophies " by their men as a 
sign of prowess in war ; that they were unknown until the 
policy of " moral and material r^eneration " was introduced ; 
that they are the direct outcome of that policy ; that they have 
attained widespread notoriety from the example set by these 
agents and officials ; that what was first intended to be con- 
fined to mutilation of the dead has by continuous usage come 
to mean, not infrequently, mutilation of the living, and that, far 
from disappearing " little by little," they will increase if the 
blood-stained and barbarous rigime to which they are attribut- 
able is not swept out of existence. The chaise is a serious 
one, and is not lightly made. I may say that I had made it 
before reading the Consul's report, the present chapter having 
been written before that report appeared. As the Consul 
brings a similar charge against the Administration, I cannot do 
better than preface my observations by quoting the words used 
by the Consul in the same connection. 

"Of acts of persistent mutilation," says Mr. Casement, "by Govern- 
ment soldiers of this nature, I had many statements made to me, some 
of them specificaUy, others in a general way. Of the fact of this mutila- 
tion and tne causes inducing it there can be no shadow of doubt 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 concesdment that in committing these acts they were but obeying 
the positive orders of their superiors." 

The subject is such an important one that I feel it should be 
dealt with at some length. 

The whole evidence which has come to hand points 

• «The Truth about the Civilisation in Congoland,^ by a Belgian 
(Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1903}. 



Ii6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

conclusively to this — ^that the soldiers, in mutilating the dead 
bodies of the natives whom they have been sent to punish, have 
acted under definite instructions, although, needless to say, 
such instructions have probably not been committed to writing. 
Why should they have brought the hands to the State posts 
unless instructed to do so ? Apart from the several positive 
statements to that effect elicited from the soldiers themselves, 
the mere circumstance of the preservation of these " trophies," 
the counting of them, the placing of them in baskets, and so 
on, is, in my opinion, conclusive proof The frequency and 
extent of the occurrence and the systematic procedure adopted 
is also overwhelmingly significant Admitting that a peculiarly 
brutal soldier should be addicted to the habit, and admitting 
(for the sake of argument only) that many soldiers should be 
addicted to it, how explain the trouble and care taken to keep 
such relics? Why should soldiers campaigning, travelling 
light, burden themselves with hundreds of severed human 
hands, which in the aggregate must weigh fairly heavy ? Why 
this provision of baskets ? 

On two occasions, Belgian agents of the State and one of 
its Trusts have publicly confessed to (i) soldiers bringing in 
severed hands, (2) ordering mutilation. 

I have read, I think, nearly all that is to be read of Congo 
literature, and, eliminating the recent bald official statements 
— statements unsupported by a shadow of proof — I have come 
across nothing whidi tends to show, or even to suggest, that the 
native tribes of the Congo territories mutilate their enemies 
either dead or living. In cases of serious crime against native 
law, it is the habit of many native tribes all over Africa to muti- 
late the culprits. In one or two of the eastern districts of the 
State the existence of that habit has been reported.* Adultery 
among some of the Upper Welle peoples is punished, in the 
case of the men, by mutilation. Where Arab influence has 
predominated for many years, the practice of castration may, to 
a very limited extent, have been adopted by certain powerful 
native kings. But of a wholesale, or even partial, system of 
mutilating the dead body of the foe, there is no trace anywhere 
in the Congo territories. Many of the tribes, being cannibals, 
would eat the dead bodies of the slain, like the Batetla allies of 
the State devoured the corpses of natives fighting on the Arab 
side ; but of a system of cutting off of hands or the sexual 
members of males as a sign of prowess in war, much as a Red 
Indian would take a scalp, there is absolutely no trace in Congo 
native custom, that I have been able to discover. Neither have 
I found any positive traces of the recorded mutilation of living 
* In Urua, and among the Bakusus on the Lomami. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 117 

wofnerty by the cutting oflf of hands, even for offences which 
might have been committed against native law ; and certainly 
nowhere any trace of little children undergoing such torture. 

Yet there are women and little children who have survived 
that mutilation in the Congo territories to-day, and the mutila- 
tion can only have been inflicted by the Congo soldierj', regfular 
or irregular. 

So far as my own individual researches go, they tend to 
accentuate the reasons already given for believing that the 
practice of mutilation in war is an exotic so far as the Congo 
natives are concerned. 

On the other hand, the Arab half-castes have not, that I am 
aware of, been accused of having mutilated the bodies of the 
natives they fought against, although they did, on occasion, 
revenge themselves on individual chiefs, and sometimes muti- 
lated prisoners in that way. The Congo State would surely 
not have neglected to bring forward such a charge when calling 
upon high Heaven to bear witness to its philanthropic motives 
in exterminating those inconvenient competitors I 

I have endeavoured to obtain corroboration or refutation of 
the result of my researches among published records, by soliciting 
the opinions of Englishmen who saw service in the Congo 
territories "in the old, humane days," ue. between 1884 and 
1889. The testimony is clear and unhesitating. To my 
question as to whether the custom of mutilating in war was a 
native custom, so far as their extensive experience went, 
Mr. Herbert Ward writes as follows : 

" In answer to your question I would say at once that I have never 
seen an instance of such a thing on the Congo, and, moreover, have 
never heard of such a thing as mutilating foes. I would say emphatically 
that during the period between 1884 and 1889 no instance was known 
of the Congo natives mutilating their foes by cutting off their hands." 

I have not the honour of Mr. Joseph Conrad's acquaint- 
ance, but I am permitted to quote the following letter to a 
friend of his on the subject He speaks, needless to say, with 
de visu experience : 

^ During my sojourn in the interior, keeping my eyes and ears well 
open too. rve never heard of the alleged custom of cutting off hands 
among the natives. I am convinced that no such custom ever existed 
along the whole course of the Congo River to which my experience is 
limited. Neither in casual talk of white men, nor in the course of definite 
inquiries as to the tribal customs, was ever such a practice hinted at. 
My informants were numerous, of all sorts, and many of them possessed 
of abundant knowledge." 

Mr. Theodore Hoste, for thirteen years a missionary on the 



ii8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Congo, and a noted scholar of Congo langus^es, writes this 
year as follows, privately to a friend : 

** Re mutilation. During my thirteen years' residence in Congoland, 
I never from any source, native or foreign, heard any report that mutila- 
tion was practised hy natives of the Congo country/ 

Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, of the Congo Balolo Mission, 
writes as follows : 

'' I entirel]^ reprobate the suggestion made by the officers of the 
State that it is a native custom to cut off the hands of their foes. To 
die best of my knowledge, speaking after careful discussion on this 
subject with our missionaries who were in the country before the advent 
of the rubber concessionnaires, no such mutilations ever took place. . . . 
I believe that this was the invention of the white man purely and simply, 
and introduced in the first instance as a proof that cartridges were not 
being wasted by the native soldiers of tne Trust. Unfortunately, the 
custom thus introduced and practised on so wide a scale has evidently 
become a recognised form ot indignity, and is now carried on by the 
native sentries upon the living as a sheer act of cruelty and tyranny." 

Theodora McKenzie, Daniel Hayes, Emily Banks, Peter 
Whytock, and William Wilkes, all missionaries belonging to 
the Congo Balolo Mission and American Baptist Mission, 
have made sworn declarations to the eflfect that the custom is 
entirely unknown amongst the natives, and detailing instances 
where they saw soldiers in the possession of these ghastly 
trophies. Mr. Hayes says : " The truth is that the Adminis- 
tration is doing its best to bring this practice about . . ." These 
declarations, which have been published by Dr. Guinness, 
cover experiences between 1890 and 1898. The evidence 
of Mr. Charles Bond, another member of the Congo Balolo 
Mission, is more recent Writing in September, 1903, he says : 

*' I have the evidence of a number of men, working for us at the 
present time, that at their town — on the Bosamba River— numbers of 
men have been killed outright, and others have died from having their 
hands cut off because they would not submit to demands. However, all 
the mutilated people do not: die, as the State officials have had ocular 
demonstration quite recently." 

The Rev. A. E. Scrivener, of the British Baptist Mission, 
whose experiences in the Domaine de la Couranne are detailed 
in Chapter XIX., in a private letter accompanying his notes of 
that journey, written to m)^self, sa)rs : 

" I heard at Bongo (soldiers told the evangelists who were with me) 
confirmation of a report common amongst the refugees that the soldiers 

took the organs of the men they had killed to ^,* to show that they 

were men and not women who were being killed." t 

* The native name of a Congo State official 

t Confirmed by the statements made to Mr. Casement (Africa, 
No. I, 1904). 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 119 

In conclusion, I can vouch for the truth of the following 
incident, although I cannot in this particular instance, not 
having the necessary authority, the informant being in Africa 
at the present time, give any names. Some years ago, two 
English missionaries came across a Hausa soldier in the employ 
of the State (the British Government had not then stopped 
the recruiting of Hausas in Lagos by Congo State Govern- 
ment agents) with a bag full of human hands. The bag was 
deposited at the foot of a tree, and the stench arising from 
it was so horrible that the missionaries could not count the 
hands it contained. The soldier being interrogated replied in 
English^ " Those are hands I am taking to the Commissaire^ 
to show that we have done what we were ordered to do." I 
merely give that story to point out that here was a case where 
a semi-civilised^ English-speaking native from a British Colony 
had to commit these atrocities acting under orders! Here 
was no " debased primitive instinct," but a sample of the effect 
of Congolese civilisation. Even the official defenders of the 
Congo State would not venture to suggest a predisposition to 
mutilate on the part of the Hausaman t And now, to crown 
all, we have the deliberate statement of Mr. Roger Casement, 
to which I have already referred.* 

The systematic hand-cutting and worse forms of mutilation 
which for over a decade have b^n practised all over the Congo 
territories — mutilation of dead and living — must be assigned 
to the direct instigation of State officisds and agents of the 
Trusts appointed to terrorise the rubber districts. The soldiers, 
let loose throughout the country with the object of reducing, by 
perpetual and repeated slaughter, the people of a specific district 
to abject and absolute submission, have been required to bring 
back tangible proof that proper punishment was inflicted, and 
the hands of slain, or partly slain, people were the readiest and 
most acceptable form of proof. Many of these victims have 
survived, and the soldiery, grown callous by years of this moral 
example; absolute masters of the villages and townships 
upon which they are quartered; themselves brutalised and 
degraded, have probably long since ceased to distinguish 
between the motives which inspired the earlier instructions 
they received and the exercise of their own particular quarrels 
with the people among whom they are sent Not one in a 
thousand of the dark deeds performed under such a riginte 
can ever, in the nature of things, become publicly known. 

The charge has surely b^en made out; and are we not 

* As this book is going to press further detailed, specific, and 
abundantly corroborative information is to hand, and will be found 
among recent letters received in the Appendix. 



lio KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

entitled to ask, why, in God's name, should a so-called Adminis- 
tration, whidi tolerates — nay, whidi incites, and by its officers, 
whom its policy converts but too often into incarnate fiends, 
orders the perpetration of— such practices as these, be permitted 
any longer to pollute the earth with its abominations and 
bestialities ? I cannot write down here many things I have 
heard by word of mouth, from men whom I know to be truth- 
ful, as to what goes on in the Congo territories, and which 
would only be fit for a treatise on European criminology under 
the African sun. 

The term " cannibal troops " has been used in reference to 
the Congo soldiers; I have used it myself. It is, perhaps, 
open to misconstruction. It is not suggested that the Congo 
soldiers are all active cannibals at the present time, and feed 
upon recalcitrant rubber-collectors, as well as mutilate them, or 
indulge in the same cannibal orgies as the Batetla allies of the 
State did in 1893-94, as graphically told by Dr. Hinde. But 
a considerable portion of them are recruited from tribes which 
are still notably cannibalistic, such as the Asandes, Batetla, 
Manyema, etc. Cannibalism clings, and if you stick a rifle 
into a cannibal's hand, and put a uniform on his back, you 
don't thereby convert him into a vegetarian. In the more 
accessible regions of the Congo the troops of the State may 
have been drilled out of it, but that in districts further afield 
some of them still indulge in a human steak is not to be 
doubted. The testimony of various travellers (Wright, Grogan, 
etc) is given in Part III. 

Moreover, it would appear that, even in proximity to the 
main stream and under the eyes of their European officers, the 
practice is by no means unknown. Only a few months ago 
Messrs. John Howell, S. O. Kempton, R. H. Kirkland, and 
W. B. Frame, all experienced members of the British Baptist 
Missionary Society, were the horrified witnesses of a cannibal 
orgie which rivals Dante's inferno. They were coming down 
river in the steamer Goodwill^ and landed near a village well 
known to some of the members of the party, to camp for the 
night They speedily ascertained that fighting was going on. 
The rest had better be given in the words of the account itself: 

''The S.S. Goodwill^ of the Baptist Missionary Society, with four 
missionaries on board, put into the village of Yandiali below Yakusu on 
the Upper Congo on tne 28th November. Yandjali is a native town 
in the Basoko district, and the mission steamer had frequently put into 
that locality for stopping the night and obtaining fuel On this occasion 
the town was found to be occupied by a party of Government soldiers 
under two white officers. The four missionaries on board were horrified 
to find the native soldiers of the Government under the very eyes of their 
officers engaged in mutilating the dead bodies of the natives who had 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 121 

just been killed. The senior missionary on board, the Rev. John 
Howell, of Bolobo, reported to the Commissaire of the Aruwimi district, 
and later to the Governor-General of the State, what the party had 
witnessed Three native bodies were lying near the river's edgje as the 
Goodwill put into the bank, and human limbs were lying within a few 
yards of the steamer, as she sought to make fast to the bank. One of 
the slaughtered natives was a child. A State soldier was seen drawing 
away the legs and other portions of a human body. Another soldier 
was seen standing by a lar^ native basket in which were the viscera of 
a human body. The missionaries were promptly ordered off the beach 
by the two officers presiding over this human shambles ; and as the 
Goodwill steamed away from the bank firing was renewed, and one 
bullet struck a fleeing native in a canoe just ahead of the steamer. The 
Goodwill proceeded to Basoko, where the missionaries entered an instant 
protest against these horrible proceedings. Their statements were taken 
down in writing, and a ' trial ' is promised. The ground covered by the 
military operations is described by the missionary spectators as very 
small — ^a narrow stretch of cleared river bank where the village of 
Yandjali stood, measuring some three hundred yards long, but not more 
than twenty yards deep. It mi^ht have been thought that two European 
officers could effectively control their savage troops over so tiny a field 
of action."* 

To speak of the "cannibal" troops of the Congo State 
does not appear, therefore, to lend itself to the epithet 
" exaggerated." f 

In Mr. Roger Casement's report also, on p. 74, there is the 
distinct statement made on native testimony that the Govern- 
ment soldiers asked their white officer " C. D." for permission 
to eat a prisoner taken by them, which permission was given, 
and the deed performed. 

The Congo State, which in five years has iniported, 
according to the official figures, £6$fiO0 of guns and ^45,000 
of cartridges and caps into its territories, directly and indirectly, 
does not appear to be in the least chary of distributing them 
to the natives, or rather to important chiefs, when it suits its 
convenience to do so. The Belgian papers inform us that the 
Asande chieftains in Congo State territory (Upper Ubanghi- 
Welle), under the authority of Sultan Semio, possess many 
guns: "Bondono and Semio have 350 guns; Djeme has 50; 



* I have since heard from Mr. Frame personally on this subject. 
He confirms the horrible details given in the published accoimt. He 
says he will never forget the sight as long as he lives. Imagine that it 
should be possible for an incident of this kind to take place on the main 
river after twentv years' European rule ! Vide West African Mail 
(Organ of the Congo Reform Association^ letter from Mr. Framey 
Mav, 1904, 

t The reader is referred to the recent letters of Mr. Harris and others 
in the Appendix, g^iving atrocious instances of cannibalism by soldiers of 
the AHr Trust which have occurred this year. 



122 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Gatanga, lOO; Yapato, 64; Kipa, 50; Biamboro, 60, etc."* 
Of course, the policy will in the long run prove as suicidal a 
one as it is dangerous for the Congo State's neighbours. Of 
course, it is in flagrant violation of the Berlin Act But what 
does the Congo State care for the Berlin Act, or the future ? 
M. Leon C. &rthier's f notes enable us to understand why the 
big Asande chiefs are being armed by the Congo State. He 
writes as follows : 

'*The M'Bomu River (at Bangasso) is very wide here, and forms the 
southern basis of the square ; it is the route through which the ivory 
passes, under our noses and beneath the eyes of our Post, to be sold on 
the other bank (Belgian), where it is paid for in Albini rifles, despite all 
the Acts of Berlin and Brussels forbidding even the sale of cap-guns. 
On all the convoys of rifles and ammunition which are sent there, the 
representative of the Congo State declares \>y froch verbal in good and 
due form the disappearance of a few cases of nfles and cartridges, which 
are not lost for every one, by virtue of the adage that nothing is lost 
and nothing is created in nature. They are stden. By a new magic, 
the secrets of which I know, these quick-flring ^ns thus * virtually lost ' 
become transformed into ivory, at the rate of a nfle and a small quantity 
of cartridges for about 50 kilos, of ivory." 

M. Berthier calls the attention of his Government to this 
affair. That Government has received (and, I believe, our own 
has also) similar information direct The official report of 
M. Bonnel de M^ziires % on the Upper Ubanghi, M'Bomu, and 
Bahr-el-Ghazal regions, confirms M. Berthier's statements and 
the cheerful admissions of the Belgian newspapers up to the 
hilt M. Bonnel de M^zi^res is, indeed, most specific. Describ- 
ing the relations of the Belgians with these Asande or Niam- 
Niam § sultans, he says : 

" These Belgians pay for ivory like princes. They give the petty 
Sultans muskets and repeaters ; yea, even cannon and ammunition figure 
among their generous presents, so eflective in these parts is the Inter- 
national Agreement forbidding weapons of precision to be supplied to 
the African peoples. . . • The Belgians get 35 to 40 kilos, of ivoiv for 
a musket worth 20 francs, which works out at about 50 centimes a kilo., 
and 100 kilos, for a repeater worth 20 francs, which is about 20 centimes 



♦ Tribune Congolaise^ May 21, 1903. "This form of rule,*' adds 
that Congophile organ, *' gives excellent results." 

t A Frenchman ; travelled on the Ubanghi and Welle in 1899-1901. 
'^ Notes de reconnaissance et d'exploration dconomique au Congo 
Francais. Annales de L'Institut Colonial de Marseilles." 

X ^' Rapport de M. A. Bonnel de Mdzi&res, Charg^ de Mission." 
Paris. Imprimerie V*. Albony. 

§ The word "Niam-Niam" means cannibal The word occurs also 
in the Chad District The Bomuese legends speak of their struggles 
against *' Nyam-Nyams "—meaning cannibals. 



THE THIRD TEST OF CONGO STATE RULE 123 

a kilo.* If they use beads, the bargain is not so profitable ; a kila of 
beads worth 4 francs will fetch 2 kilos, of ivory, which brings the ivory 
up to 2 francs a kilo., that is to say^ eighteen to twenty times dearer than 
it can be got for gims, which are, m fact, the only medium of exchange 
for ivory. . . . The guns most highly prized are repeaters, AlbinL 
Remington, Gras, etc. . . . The result of all this must be that the period 
of prohibition of guns is over so effectually that Europeans and n^^roes 
will soon be marshalled for the fray equally armed with weapons of 
precision.** 

The Congo State would thus appear to be deliberately 
arming the big Asande chiefs, whom it does not feel itself 
powerful enough to crush, in order to obtain ivory! The 
Asandes, it may be remarked, are great fighters, and although 
cannibalism is rampant among them, they are progressive, and 
were able to combine against Dervish raids. About half the 
tribe live in the Congo State territories, a considerable number 
in the Anglo-Egyptian, and the remainder in the French 
sphere. It is in the hands of these people that the Congo 
State is placing weapons of precision and cap-guns. A pretty 
task will lie before the Anglo-Egyptian Government one of 
these days I What the Congo State officials f may be doing 
elsewhere, it is impossible, in the absence of accessible informa- 
tion, to say ; but there is no reason to believe that they would 
act more scrupulously in other cases than they are doing with 
the Asandes. 

Apart, however, from subsidies in quick-firing guns to 
powerful chiefs, it is be3^ond question that the Congo Govern- 
ment and its Trusts are instructing tens of thousands of fierce 
black men in the usage of rifles and cap-guns (which, at short 
range, are very deadly weapons), and are supplying them freely 
with these weapons. The Congo State may say that in its 
** Codes congolaises " is to be found legislation controlling the 
issue of cap-guns from the depdt But are the authorities of that 
State prepared to prove — not to assert, but to prove — ^that any 
of these decrees were put into effective force before the middle 
of 1902, when, for reasons best known to itself, greater stringency 
was shown ? Will the Brussels authorities explain the ultimate 
use to which the contents of those hundreds of ballots fusils^ 
which prior to the middle of 1902 were shipped out with 
punctual regularity from Antwerp, were put ? Did they go into 
store, as the law provides, unless issued to individuals on a 
licence given by authority of the Governor-General, and at a 
cost of 20 francs per licence ; or were they allowed to go up 
country to arm the gardes foresturs maintained by the 

♦ Or, say, id. per pound. 

t In domg so, of course, they are merely agents of a policy, as fixed 
and unalteraue as the pyramid8--we must never forget that 



124 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Trusts in violation of the law ? * If, on the other hand, the 
authorities enforced the law, then they stand convicted of 
having armed by licence the irregular levies of the Trusts 
which have committed, as the prosecutions of the Boma Courts 
prove, and are committing, as recent correspondence shows, 
abominable outrages under the direction of the sub-agents of 
the Trusts, victimised to save their superiors, and with their 
superiors " Bula Matadi " itself 

The authorities of the Congo State are putting these black 
men to tasks which must for ever stifle in their breasts all 
sentiments other than mere blood-letting and lust On a 
natural and, in many cases, very much exaggerated savagery, 
which does not exclude many good qualities, as Belgian 
travellers and official reports admit themselves, the authorities 
have grafted the vices of the European savage and the power 
to minister to them. By this detestable policy, by the incul- 
cation of horrible practices not previously known in the country, 
in their greed for gain, in the furtherance of the unutterably 
egotistical ambitions prevalent at the fountain-head, the autho- 
rities of the Congo State have converted the Congo territories 
into an earthly hell for African humanity, and have raised a 
monster which is already outgrowing, and will one day entirely 
outgrow, their control. 

« • • « « 

With this chapter closes Part II., in which the author has 
endeavoured to explain the fundamental basis of King Leo- 
pold's rule in Trd^ical Africa, wherein it differs from the policy 
of civilised Powers having possessions in that part of the world, 
wherein it is opposed to morality and common sense. Treated 
on its economic side, its iinancisd and its military aspects, the 
colossal egotism and wickedness of the whole conception has, 
the author hopes, been made manifest The disease has been 
diagnosed We have now to study more particularly the 
inevitable effects of that disease by its recent manifestations. 

^ In this connection the reader is invited to study carefully the 
Caudron case in Chapter XII. 



PART III 



THE NEW SLAVE-TRADE IN BEING 

The working of the System as it affects the Natives 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT 
The Mongalla—I. 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT 

The Mongalla— II. (The Caudeon Case) 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT 

In the Lopori-Maeinga Country, and in the Lulanga District 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICT 
The Welle-Rubi, Welle-Makua, and Lado Enclave 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE DOMAINE DE LA COURONNE 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT 
Basin of the Kasai 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT 

From the Lomami to the Eastern Frontier: the Aruwimi, 
Lakes Tanganyika, Kivu, Albert Edward, and Albert 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE SOUTH-EASTERN DISTRICT 
Katanga 

CONGO STATE CONTROL ON THE RIVER BANKS 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE LOWER CONGO 

THE GENERAL CONDITION OF NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO 
STATE CONTROL 



CHAPTER XI 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT 

The Mongalla 

** BAr. Morel*8 indictment is one of the most terrible things erer 
written, iftruey^Sk Harry Johnston, Dec ao, xgoa.* 

" If Mr. Morel is aceuratdy ifrformed ... the sufferings of 
which the pictnre is given to the worid in ' Uncle Tom's Cabin ' 
are as no&ing to those which he r e pr es ents to be the habitual 
accompaniments of the acquisition of rubber and ivory by the 
Belgian Companifs. "— Tfaw, Dec xp, xpos-t 

The Abir and Anversaise Trusts being situated on the main 
highway of the Congo River system, it naturally follows that 
their performances have attracted more publicity. For atrocious, 
and well-nigh incredible oppression, it would be difficult to 
award the palm between them. 

In 1892 was founded the Sod^tS Anversaise du Commerce au 
Congo^ under Belgian law. It was dissolved in January, 1898, 
and reconstructed under Congo law. Its sphere of operations 
is the Mongalla district, and Uie area is understood to be twice 
the size of Belgium, or over 22fiOO square miles in extent — all 
" vacant " territory, of course ! The administrators of this Trust 
are (or were) Baron Goffinet, E. Bunge, and C. de Brown de 
Ti^ge. After its reconstruction, the principal shareholders 
were: 

1. The Congo State, 1000 shares ; 

2. A. de Brown de Tifege, 1 100 shares ; 

3. Bunge and Company, 100 shares ; 

4. E. P. Grisar, 130 shares ; 

5. Deyman-Druart, 100 shares. 

The capital of the Anversaise was, after reconstruction, 

* Sir Harrv Johnston's review of ''Affairs of West Africa'' in the 
Daily ChranicU. 

t The Times review of ''Affairs of West Africa." A brief epitome — 
conveyed in three chapters — of Congo State rule was given in the voliune 
referred to. The italics are the author's. I quote tnese passages wiUi 
some diffidence, but with frank egotism. It is difficult to refrain some- 
times from referring to the scepticism of a recent past 



128 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

declared to be i,700,0(X) francs, or il'eS.ooo, in 3400 "privileged" 
shares of i;'20 each, the State being, therefore, holder to the extent 
of 50 per cent The State receives (or received), moreover, 300 
francs per ton of rubber " collected " by the Trust, and 5 per 
cent on the market value in Europe of ivory " collected " by the 
Trust The concession was a renewable one of 50 years* dura- 
tion.* The year of its reconstruction (1898) under Congo law, 
the net profits of the Anversoise leaped from 120,697 francs in 

1897 to 3,968,832 in 1898 ; or considerably more than twice as 
much as its total capital. In 1899 its net profits amounted to 
3i083,976 francs. In 1900, owing to the determined opposi- 
tion of the natives to the process whereby these profits were 
obtained, the figure fell to 84,333 francs. 

In 1902 the profits were 1,080,247 francs. Major Lothaire, 
the hangman of the unfortunate Stokes, was, shortly after his 
farcical trials and acquittal, appointed manager of the Trust in 
Africa — that is to say, at the end of 1897. He was per- 
mitted to leave that post and return to Europe, at the time 
of the scandals of 1900. The Anversoise^ like the Abir^ has 
its own levies, which it arms with Albinis and cap-guns ; and 
its operations are assisted by the regular army when necessary, 
which appears to be pretty often. That this frequently denied 
state of affairs still existed at the end of 1903 is seen from the 
findings in the Caudron case, to which allusion will be made. 

The first stories of really heavy fighting in the Anversoise 
concession reached Europe about the autumn of 1898, when it 
transpired that the Anversoise station at Dundasame had been 
attacked by natives of the Budja tribe, and the two European 
agents, Bardard and Gydens, killed, together with their soldiers. 
This was followed by the intelligence that two other agents, 
Ceulemans and Kessels, on their way to relieve Dundasame, 
had also been cut up, together with their force. Fighting 
appears to have gone on intermittently during the whole of 

1898 and 1899, developing towards the end of that year in an 
attack upon the Yambata station by the natives, and in a very 
serious and general uprising. The usual explanations were 
given as to the causes which had led to this long series of 
struggles, when suddenly a bombshell fell at the feet of the 
worSiy administrators of the Trust, and greatly disturbed that 
equanimity which large profits and steady dividends may be 
presumed to cultivate. 

One of the Trust's agents, Lacroix by name, sent a con- 
fession and explanation to the Niemve Gazet^ of Antwerp, in 
which paper it appeared on April 10, 1900. It then became 

• A. J. Wautcrs, op, cit^ 1890, d. 395. Under present arrangements, 
it would appear to receive the whole ! 




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IN THE MONGALLA 129 

apparent why the natives of the Mongalla district had shown 
themselves so refractory to civilisation. Lacroix asserted, 
amongst other things, that in November, 1899, he was instructed 
by his chief to massacre all the natives of a certain village. 
Twenty-two women and two children were killed, and two other 
women who were fleeing in a canoe were dro>\7ied. The 
massacre had been ordered because the village had been slow in 
bringing in rubber. On another occasion Lacroix's chief had 
put sixty women " in chains," nearly all of whom had been 
allowed to die of starvation because the village to which it 
belonged, Mummumbula, Itad not brought in enough rubber.^ 
Lacroix wound up his letter with the following flourish : — 

'*I am going to appear before the judge (i) for having assassinated 
I CO men, and cut off 00 hands ; (2) for having crucifi^ women and 
children, and for having mutilated many men and hung the remains on 
the village fence ; (3) for having shot a native with a revolver ; (4) for 
having murdered a native." t 

This very inconvenient confession was promptly followed by 
the publication in Le Petit Bleu, also of Antwerp — ^then a 
courageous free-lance, now a most devoted organ of "Bula 
Matadi "—of sworn affidavits by soldiers in the employ of the 
Trust, to the effect that, acting by order of another European 
agent of the Trust, who wished to " make an example " of 
several villages for failure in the rubber supply, they had pro- 
ceeded to carry out their mission. The substance of the 
declarations was this. The doomed villages were surrounded, 
every man, woman, and child butchered without mercy, their 
remains mutilated in the most flendish manner, and the villages 
then burnt. A statutory declaration by Moray, another of the 
Trust's sub-^ents, was also published in Le Petit Bleu, from 
which the following is a brief extract : — 

" At Ambas we were a party of thirty under X ^ who sent us into a 

village to ascertain if the natives were collecting rubber, and in the contrary 
case to murder all, includins^ men, women, and children. We found the 
natives sitting peaceably. We asked them what they were doing. They 
were unable to reply, thereupon we fell upon them all, and killed them 

* Corroborated by Cyrus Smith, a Lagos sub-agent of the Company, 
Vide White Book— Africa, No. i, 1904. 

t The full list of crimes which formed the basis of the prosecution 
of the agents of the Anversoise was as follows : Killing 150 persons and 
cutting off 60 lumds ; crucifying women and children ; cutting off the 
sexuad members and the heads of men, and nailing them on the palisades 
of the village ; shooting a native with a revolver ; killing a native chief; 
shooting 32 women and 2 children of the village of Manbia, and 
shooting 3 women outside it ; shooting a native soldier ; imprisoning 
60 women and patting them ''in the chains," where all but five died Si 
starvation. 

K 



130 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

without mercy. An hour later we were joined by X ^ and told him 

what had been done. He answered, ' It is weU. but you have not done 
enough 1 ' Thereupon he ordered us to cut oft the heads of the men 
and nang them on the village palisades, also their sexual members, 
and to hang the women and children on the palisades in the form of 
a cross." 

Several other statements of a similar nature were published in 
the Belgian Press. The extent of the military operations which 
became necessary to cope with the infuriated natives had caused 
such a commotion, and the *' revelations " in Belgium were so 
explicit, that the legal paraphernalia of the Congolese Courts 
had been set in motion, and a number of the sub-agents of the 
Anversaise were arrested, as Lacroix's confession indicates. 
He and some of the others seemed to have determined that if 
they were to suffer for having carried out the instructions of 
their superiors, the least they could do by way of revenge 
was to communicate what had been going on to the Belgian 
newspapers. Those newspapers were not so subservient at that 
time as they have become since ; hence the unusual publicity 
given to these particular atrocities which, however, were not 
specially remarkable, and did not differentiate from others. 

Official explanations and excuses were speedily forthcoming. 
M. Liebrechts, one of the Secretaries of the central Adminis- 
tration of the State in Brussels, was positively astonished. 

'' A customs ofRcer," he declared, " recently made a tour of inspection 
in the district, and found everything in such an excellent state, the 
peoi^e so well disposed, order so perfect, that he reported to us officially : 
Ah I you can rest assured, light will be forthcoming, complete, striking. ' * 

Stormy scenes took place in the Belgian Chamber, the 
gallant opponents of the new dispensation, Vandervelde and 
Lorand, protesting in the name of humanity against a system 
which could allow of such barbarities. M. de Favereau, the 
Minister for Foreign Affairs, was virtuously indignant, but 
declared that Belgium could not ask explanations of the Congo 
State, to which 3ie Mouvement Giographique retorted that, 
while M. de Favereau's thesis might be "judicially accurate," 
it was contrary to common sense to affirm that Belgium " had 
not the right to concern herself with the administrative methods 
of the Congo State," a line of argument which that excellent 
oi^an appears to have forgotten when M. de Favereau made 
a similar statement in the course of the Congo debate in 
July, I903.t 

An explanatory statement was also issued by the Congo 

* MomtmitU Giographiqui* Brussels, April 29, 1900. 
t See Part V. 



IN THE MONGALLA 



131 



State to the effect that the Budja region had been occupied in 
September, 1899, the natives appearing at that time "favour- 
ably disposed " " But," continued the official statement, " when 
they were asked to furnish food-stuffs to the newly formed 
stations, they became suspicious, and abandoned the neigh- 
bourhood, trying by starving out the posies * to compel the 
Europeans to evacuate them" — a rather ingenious way of 
putting it To accentuate the unreasonableness of the natives, 
M. de Cuvelier, another of the Congo State Secretaries, issued 
a lengthy statement describing the modus operandi followed 
by the Anversoise. This statement appeared almost simul- 
taneously with another by Moray, the incriminated agent 
already referred to, in the Messager de Bruxelles^ and yet 
another by an ex-agent of the Trust, in the Petit Bleu, The 
three versions may be usefully placed side by side : 



M. de Cuvelier's version. 

** Each factory makes 
a census of the men 
inhabiting the adjacent 
villages. Nominative 
lists are thus formed, 
and the natives in- 
scribed thereon are 
summoned to the 
factory, where they are 
made to understand 
the benefits which will 
accrue to them through 
collecting rubber, by 
showing them mer- 
chandise, which they 
greatly covet The 
Company, from the 
start, naid the natives 
in a cur manner, and 
acquired their con- 
fidence. The natives 
inscribed on the list 
have got into a habit 
{pntpris pour habitude) 
to go each week to the 
factory to exchange 
their produce. The 
means employed by 
this Compsiny are of 
the most legal and 
pacific nature?* 



Moray's version. 

** When natives bring 
rubber to a factory, 
they are received by 
an agent surrounded 
by soldiers. The 
baskets are weighed. 
If the baskets do not 
contain the five kilos, 
required, the natives 
receive 100 blows with 
a chicotte. Those 
whose baskets attain 
the correct weight 
receive a piece of 
cloth or some other 
object. If a certain 
village contains 100 
male inhabitants, and 
50 come to the factory 
with rubber, they are 
retained as hostages, 
and a force is sent to 
bring the 50 unruly 
natives and bum their 
village* 



The ex-agent's version. 

'< At first the blacks 
generally promised 
what they are asked for 
— 1000 kilos, monthly 
for every village of 
100 persons — but they 
hardly ever keep their 
word. Then it is 
necessary to use coer- 
cion. The refractory 
village is attacked, a 
certain number of 
hostages are seized, 
and only released upon 
the payment of so 
many baskets of rubber 
for every hostage. 
Sometimes the out- 
break extends to the 
neighbouring villages, 
and then Uie entire 
region is in revolt, and 
the troops of the State 
placed at the disposal 
of the Company have 
to put it down. In 
this manner a con- 
dition of war exists 
almost continuously in 
one portion or another 
of the Mongalla dis- 
trict." 



Stations. 



132 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

M. Liebrechts had promised light "complete" and " striking," 
but the manager of the Company, Lothaire,* was allowed to 
return to Europe ''sans itre inquUtiy' as a Belgian newspaper 
put it, while his miserable subordinates were being tried. M. 
Liebrechts had promised light " complete " and " striking," but 
the minutes of the trials never saw the light of day, with the 
exception of one passage — a very significant one — from the 
verdict on Mattheys quoted by M. Vandervelde in the Be^an 
House in July, iQOS.f Lacroix was released after four years. 
Van Eycken was acquitted. Moray, whose testimony at the 
trial would, for special reasons, have been of great importance, 
died mysteriously just as the trial was coming on. He was 
found dead in bed. Mattheys was condemned to twelve years' 
penal servitude, and after serving three years was liberated last 
October (1903). He appears to have been f&ted in Boma on 
his release, and La Tribune Congolaise^ an Antwerp newspaper 

♦ The Petit Bleu published, in connection with this person's home- 
coming, the following remarks from its diminutive and courageous— his 
courage has not been equally conspicuous of late — correspondent in the 
Lower Congo, Paul Conreur : 

'* The precipitate return of M. Lothaire to Belgium is the subject of 
general discussion. He arrived (at Matadi) the day before the steamer 
sailed, went on board immediately, and left in the steamer the following 
morning. People do not understand how, after having handed over 
to justice seven of his agents, who accuse him of having instructed them 
to act as they did towards the natives, Lothaire should not have been 
retained by the Public Prosecutor of Boma to facilitate the inquiry. Is 
it really true that in the Congo justice specially works to hush up the 
responsibility of a powerful agent, thus showing itself less severe for 
the great than the smdl? We have, in the Mongalla afiair, terrible 
accusations against agents, who claim that they acted under orders. 
As chief, Lothaire is responsible for the acts of his agents. At least, 
he should be interrogated at Boma, and confronted with his accusers. 
Instead of that, he returned to Belgium, where he explains the massacres 
as he chooses, accuses the agents of bebg the cause of same, together 
with the savagery of the Budjas, who prefer to rebel rather than be shot 
in the process of ' making rubber.'" 

It is useless to refer to the mutual accusations bandied about in the 
Belgian Press by Lothaire against his accusers, and vice versd. It need 
only be said that Lothaire has again visited the Congo in his position 
as Director-General of various enterprises more or less connected with 
the Government ; and in spite of the fact that he has been " wanted " by 
Congolese justice to relmer an explanation in connection with these 
scandals, he has flouted their " invitations," and treated with derision the 
" reouests " of the Director of Justice. His appointment by the Sovereign 
of the Congo State to the directorship of the Anversoise^ subsequent to 
the murder of Mr. Stokes, accounts perhaps for the way in which Lothaire 
has laughed at the efforts of Congolese ** law " to examine him in con- 
nection with the Mongalla massacres. 

t See Part V. Here is part of it : *' Seeing that it is also just to 
take into account the example which his superiors gave him, in snowing 
no respect for the lives or the rights of the natives.'' 



IN THE MONGALLA 133 

dealing wholly with Congo affairs, published in its issue of 
November 19, 1903, a eulogistic article on ''le pauvre Garfony 
Of such is the kingdom of Congo. So much for the revelations 
of 1900 from exclusively Belgian sources.* 

An ex-agent of the Trust stated in 1903 that fully ten 
thousand natives must have been done to death in the Mon- 
galla country since the advent of the Anversoise, 

During 1902 and 1903, the efforts to teach the Mongalla 
natives the dignity of labour do not appear to have much 
relaxed, as the following extracts, taken from the Belgian 
Press, show : — 

February y i902.~Fighting in the Mongalla district. M. Mardulier, 
Commissaire for Bangsda, captures three of the most important Badja 
chiefs, and 450 cap-guns, 50 Albinis, 4 revolvers, and much ammunition. 

April. — Of the three Budja chiefs captured by M. Mardulier, one 
was hanged, one exiled, and one escaped. 

May, — Mongalla district quiet. The paramount Budja chief Eseko, 
condemned to transportation, is at Banana. Two other chiefs are in 
prison at Nouvelle Anvers. 

October. — ^A partial uprising has taken place in the Bangala district 
(the Mongalla concession is within the " Bangala district ''). 

May^ 1903. — ^'^ Complaints have been received that a white agent 
has murdered many peK>ple in the Mongalla district, and burned several 



June. — ^Annual meeting of the Trust, reports the Company's work 
now proceeds on *' normal lines, and it is very prosperous." The 
President declares that the debate in the House of Commons does not 
trouble him in the least. An agent of the Trust expected at Boma to 
answer charges of " exactions smd fails tParmes^ 

August — *'We learn that the Tribunal of the First Instance has 

condemned to ten years* penal servitude on August 28, M. G ^ 

who attacked without any motive the village of Boli and massacred 
45 Budjas."! 

October.'—^*' Perfect calm" in the Mongalla district. 

November. — '* The position is not preciselv agreeable in the Mongalla. 

A^ent £ has disappeared. He is said to have been massacred. 

Fifteen soldiers who accompanied him have been killed." 

November. — ''A force of 700 soldiers is proceeding to the Ebunda 
district (Budja country)." 

No editorial comment ever accompanies these statements. 
They are noted — and accepted. 

In May, 1904, a document was published which, while 

* In any civilised country, at the hands of any civilised government, 
these men would have been shot out of hand. But if such drastic 
measures had been adopted, public opinion in Belgium might have 
insisted upon the production of the minutes of the trials ! Compare the 
treatment of these men with the summary execution of Stokes by 
Lothaire. Yet the apologists of the State declare that agents guilty m 
atrocity are punished with " rigour " I 

t i^ Pairiale^ October, 1903. 



134 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

completing the link in this chain of misery and wickedness, 
dealt the State one of the most staggering blows it has ever 
received. It deserves a chapter to itself.* 

* In July, 1904. a further outbreak was reported, an asent of the Trust 
being kiUed, togetner with many soldiers. A column ot 200 men was to 
be sent against the *' rebels." As this book goes to press, it is announced 
that the '^rebels " have compelled the ** column " to retreat. 



CHAPTER XII 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT — 
THE MONGALLA — THE CAUDRON CASE (cOftttnued). 

'* It is tmfortmiately true that acts of violence have been com- 
mitted against the nwves in tiie Congo, as e veijwhei e else in 
Africa : the Congo State has never sought eitlier to deny or to 
conceal them. The detractors of the State show themselves to be 
prejudiced when thev quote these acts as the necessary conse« 
quence of a bad system of administration, or when they assert that 
they are tolerated by the higher atithorities.**— Congo State's reply to 
British Note, Sept 17, 1903. Africa, No. z, 190^ 

"No agreement can be entertained to the dTect that acts of 
violence are improbable or imponible under a system such as that 
revealed by the judgment pronounced by the Court of i^;ipeal at 
Boma in the Candron case.^'— The Marquess of Lansdownb to 
Sir C. Phipps, June 6, 1904. Africa, No. 7. 

Before May of this year, the world had never been placed in 
possession of the minutes of a single judgment of the law 
courts of the Lower Congo. In one case only — that of the 
Mongalla atrocities of 1900 — had a few extracts from the find- 
ings of the judges filtered through to Europe. 

On May 4*1 published the complete text of the judgment 
of the Court of Appeal at Boma — the supreme tribunal of the 
Congo State's judicial establishment. The publication of this 
document caused an immense stir, and forced King Leopold 
to the issue of a singular manifesto. By common accord the 
publication of the judgment has been regarded as the most 
damaging blow ever received by the Congo State. Why was 
this ? Why should the verdict of the highest judicial court in 
the Congo State, in a specific case, have such an effect, or be 
regarded as so momentous an event .^ Should it not rather 
have strengthened the position in Europe of an institution 
which boasts of the independence of its judicature, which places 
on record its unalterable determination to pursue evil-doers ; 
the inevitable and rigorous punishment which follows crime on 

* Congo Supplement of the HVf/ African Mail for May. The 
Congo Supplement of the West African Mail is the official organ of the 
Congo RdTorm Association. Six weeks later^the judgnotent was published 
in the White Book— Africa, No. 7, 1904. 



136 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the Congo; the impartiality of the judges who prosecute, 
regardless of the position of offenders, those guilty of repre- 
hensible acts towards natives ? 

A backward glance is required to appreciate the situation. 
The annals of European dealing with the races of Western 
Central Africa are stained with individual acts of wrong-doing. 
Instances of barbarity towards natives have, I am afraid, been 
frequent ; acts of brutality amounting to atrocity have been 
far less common. But isolated instances of the sort have 
occurred, and, so far as my knowledge goes, they have been 
dealt with by the civilized governments concerned, whenever 
the facts have come to light During the last ten years, the 
Congo State, according to the Belgian newspapers themselves, 
has been the scene of a perfect epidemic of such cases. Times 
almost without number has one come across a bald paragraph 
in the Congo correspondence of Belgian newspapers, announc- 
ing the arrest of Mr. So-and-So, for sMces against the natives. 
The penal code contains numerous provisions for safeguarding 
the native population.* Yet it is safe to say that in no part of 
Africa has European criminality in regard to natives in the 
remotest degree approadied the {»oportion or the character 
recorded in the Congo State. And, curious to relate, the pro- 
secution in the Congo of Europeans guilty of such outrages 
seems to have been marked by considerable increase of energy 
whenever the voice of protest in Europe has been loudest. 
Last year, for instance, the cry for reform was very emphatic, 
and the Boma courts were exceptionally busy. ''Men are 
being brought to Boma every week," a correspondent wrote to 
me last summer, " from the interior on the charge of atrocities 
upon natives." Indeed, to such lengths was the Executive in 
Brussels willing to go, to convince me world of its determina- 
tion to put down abuses, that it was semi-officially and some- 
what disingenuously announced in the autumn of 1903 that no 
fewer than thirty-five f Europeans were at Boma awaiting trial ! 

* There is also an amusing body, in the Congo^ going by the name 
of Commission for the Protection of the Natives. This Commission, upon 
which two Baptist missionaries are not ashamed to serve, was appointed 
in 1896 in response to the thrill of horror which went through Europe 
at Mr. Sj5blom's narration. During the first three vears of its appoint- 
ment it held two brief and ineffective sittings. It has held none at all 
since iu reappointment in 1901. White Book Co. 1754, February, 1904. 
See also pubhshed correspondence between the Abcmgines' Protection 
Society and the Baptists. May, 1904. 

t More cautious in its diplomatic correspondence, the Congo State 
speaks of ^ a certain number of Europeans who at this moment are in 
the prisons of the State expiating their offences against the penal laws 
whicn protect the life and person of the native." Africa, No. i, 1904. 
According to a letter dated July 25 of this year, received from a 



THE CAUDRON CASE 137 

Think of it ! Think of the fuss which is made if one English- 
man, German, or Frenchman, in an English, German, or French 
possession in West Africa, is accused of a crime of this nature t 
All the world is apprised of the facts, and many are the solemn 
leading articles devoted to discussing the ill effects which con- 
tact with the Negro in his natural surroundings produces upon 
European morale. But on the Congo it all seems to be a matter 
of course. That there should be thirty-five, or even three, 
Europeans, involved in acts of atrocity upon the natives, await- 
ing trial in Boma at one time, does not, apparently, cause the 
flutter of an eyelid in Brussels or Antwerp. It provokes no 
public comment, and the minutes of these trials never see tite 
light of day I unless by chance, and despite the Government I 

It was, no doubt, owing to the publicity given to the 
Mongalla massacre of 1900, thanks to Lacroix's confession, 
the despatches of the Petit BUtis correspondent in the Congo, 
and the controversy which arose over the personality of Lothaire, 
that brief extracts from the findings of the Boma courts 
eventually reached Belgium. 

Such as they were, they possessed considerable interest, 
because they appeared to point to the complicity of local 
officials in the rubber raids conducted by the accused. But it 
was not until long afterwards, that is to say, until the issue of 
the White Book — ^Africa, No. i, 1904, that a quotation from the 
findings, in so far as the case of a British coloured subject (an 
agent of the Anversoise was also involved) was concerned, gave 
us a fuller acquaintance with the facts. From this quotation, 
it is quite clear that, in the mind of the judges of 1900, the 
complicity of the local authorities in specific acts of illegal 
violence towards the natives was established. Here is 3ie 
quotation, given by Consul Casement : 

"That, above all, the facts that the arrest of women and their 
detention, to compel the vill^es to furnish both produce and workmen, 
was tolerated and admitted even by certain of the Administrative 
Authorities of the region." 

None of the " Administrative Authorities " were troubled, 
however ; and, as we have had occasion to notice, the manager 
in Africa of the Anversoise at the time was not " inquiiti'* 
Further, with the exception of Moray, whose sudden demise gave 
rise to much speculation (doubtless a decree of Providence), 

correspondent in the Congo who is thoroughly well informed, there were on 
that date thirteen Europeans in Boma prison, viz. Enbach, Goffat, Covers, 
Dagot, Delatte, Caudron, Merrens, Haibel, Claus, Honart, PeriUeux, 
Manquette, Sarmain. Four more had just arrived, and were awaiting 
trial. 



138 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the atrocious crimes of the subordinate agents— crimes which 
one cannot read without feeling that hanging was too good 
for the men guilty of perpetrating or ordering them — were 
visited nominally with long terms of imprisonment, in reality 
serving four and three years respectively. 

At the time, be it noted, the Congo Government posed, 
albeit not very successfully, before the world as the resolute 
guardian of the natives' rights. Horror at the possibility of 
such deeds was openly expressed. The Commission for the 
Protection of Natives (see footnote, p. 136) was shortly after- 
wards reappointed. Justice had been vindicated. The guilty 
men had been punished. The immunity enjoyed by Lothaire 
was perhaps not quite satisfactory ; still the matter blew over. 
Ever since, the Congo Government, as before, has loudly and 
insistently proclaimed its determination to prosecute evil-doers 
with all the rigour of the Law with a capital L ; failing, of 
course, to explain why Belgians who slaughter men and 
impale their sexual remains on village palissades, because 
when living those men failed to bring in enough rubber to a 
company in which the State owned half the shares; who 
slaughter, crucify, imprison, and starve women by way of 
encouraging their male relatives to increase the production of 
that article ; — are considered to have pui^ed their crimes after, 
in one instance three, and in the other instance four, years of 
" imprisonment" 

That, I repeat, was the summum of knowledge the 
European public — ^though not, I am sorry to say, some of the 
European Governments — possessed of the efficacy and pro- 
cedure of the Congolese Courts in '' safeguarding the lives and 
the property of the natives" in accordance with the Berlin 
Act, in cases of fiendish atrocity perpetrated upon the bodies 
of native men, women, and children by Europeans — until I 
published the verdict of the Appeal Court in the Caudron and 
Sylvanus Jones cases, which endorses not only the very worst 
chaises ever brought against King Leopold's rule in Africa, 
but, in the condition of affairs it discloses, is alone sufficient to 
justify the immediate intervention of the civilised Powers. 
The Judgment is published in full in the Appendix. Its 
salient points may be given here. 

Caudron was the C/uf de Zone Commercial of the Melo 
district Brought before the Court of First Instance on an 
indictment of eight counts, he was condemned on February 12, 
1904, to twenty years' imprisonment Appealing, he saw his 
sentence reduced to fifteen years' imprisonment, with extenu- 
ating circumstances, by the Appeal Court at Boma. The 
counts were, briefly, as follows: Attacking the village of 



THE CAUDRON CASE 139 

Liboke with the armed soldiers of the Company, whereby a 
"certain number" of natives were killed. Attacking a number 
of villages in the Banza country, whereby a " great number " 
of natives were killed. Shooting at and wounding a native 
woman. Arbitrarily detaining for nearly a month twenty 
prisoners taken from the Banza villages attacked. Indirectly 
causing the death of an escaping prisoner by having previously 
given instructions to his soldiers to shoot all who might 
attempt to escape. Ordering the murder of a Mogwande 
Chief when a prisoner at Bonga. Arming soldiers of the 
Company with rifles and cartridges taken from two police- 
stations of the State. Disposing of Government cartridges to 
his subordinates. 

As regards the first count, the defence argued that existing 
documents proved that Caudron's superior was present at the 
spot whence the attack took place, and ordered it Every 
single witness called denied this. The prosecution alleged the 
documents were forged subsequently, in the interests of the 
accused. In view of the fact, however, that the said documents 
were found at the police-station, that they were actually 
incorporated in the dossier by the examining magistrate, and 
that their existence was confirmed by the manager of the 
station at the preliminary inquiry, the Appeal Court con- 
cluded that the chief of police " was at Akula when the attack 
against the village of Liboke took place, and that he was 
aware of, and authorised that attack." 

The Court decided, however, that the police officer at Akula 
was not Caudron's superior, and the latter could not shelter 
himself behind this officer, and that in attempting to do so he 
was merely trying to shield himself from the consequences of 
his own delinquencies. 

Withdrawn from their ponderous legal phraseology, the 
facts thus appear : 

The manager of the station of the Socitti Anversoise at 
Akula writes on October 12 to the neighbouring Government 
police-station at Binga, demanding " intervention " against the 
village of Liboke. In the night of the I5th-i6th an expedition 
attacks the village, and a "certain number" of natives are 
killed. Caudron, of the SocUU Anversoise^ was present at the 
attack, together with the Government official commanding the 
Government police-station at Binga and his subordinates. 
Irregulars belonging to the Sociiti Anversoise armed with 
rifles, and Government troops co-operating, together deliver the 
attack. " All the witnesses," according to the minutes of the 
Court of Appeal, agreed that Caudron was the presiding 
genius at the affray. It would, perhaps, be more Ic^cal to 



I40 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

assume that he commanded his own men, and that the State 
officials commanded their own troops. However, that is not a 
very important point What is important is the admitted fact 
that Government troops and Saditi Anversoise irregulars 
co-operated in making a night attack, at the written request of 
the manager of the SociiU Anversoise station at Akula, upon 
an unfortunate village in the neighbourhood, which, as the 
Appeal Court found, had committed no hostile act, and was 
merely guilty of "failing to furnish the Company with the 
amount of labour exacted by it" On October i6, the day 
after the attack, the manager of the SodiU Anversoise station 
at Akula writes to the Government official commanding the 
Government police-station at Binga, whose "intervention" 
against the village of Liboke he had, as we have seen, solicited, 
thanking him for that "intervention," and telling him that 
the survivors of the attack had "come in the morning to 
the station, and had undertaken to furnish regularly the 
impositions." * 

The story is instructive. Its sequel is more informing 
still. The defence put forward the plea, on this Liboke in- 
cident, as in the case of the expedition against the Banza, 
that the accused Caudron had " precedently and subsequently 
partkripated in other expeditions against the natives," accom- 
panied by Government officials and officers. This the Appeal 
Court found established from the evidence of witnesses, and 
mention is made, in particular, of an expedition against the 
Gwakas — not forming part of the indictment. Yet on February 
12, 1904, the accused is condemned, amongst other counts, to 
twenty years' imprisonment by the Court of First Instance for 
participating in such an expedition in October, 1902. 

While justly condemning such practices in the abstract, the 
Appeal Court, admitting the existence of " toleration " towards 
them on the part of the " superior authorities," and allowing 
that such " toleration " might be held to constitute " extenuat- 
ing circumstances in favour of the accused," rejected, on various 
grounds, the appeal of the accused, that he was merely carrying 
out his normal work in accordance with recognised practice. 
It did not, the Court held, "form part of his business as an 
agent of a company to co-operate in acts of repression." The 
Court did not pronounce as to whether it formed part of the 
business of the Company's manager at Akula f to invoke the 

* Note this word in connection with the operations of a reputed 
"trading " company ! 

t The following description of Akula is supplied to me by one who 
has "been there": "The houses are built upon what is practically an 
island raised from the swamp by the unremitting and unrecompensed 



THE CAUDRON CASE 141 

co-operation of Government ofikials and troops in attacking a 
village solely guilty of failing in its labour supply, which was 
the origin of the affair. The Court also held, as already 
stated, that the Government official in charge of the police- 
staticHi at Binga and his subordinate were not the superiors 
of the accused, and that, even if they had been, " obedience 
to one's superiors does not constitute an excuse when the 
illegality of the order is obvious." 

In the expedition, or series of expeditions, against the 
Banza villages, carried out in January, February, and March 
of last year, a " great number of natives " were killed. These 
expeditions were undertaken " in order to force the natives of 
the region of Banza to increase their rubber supply." The 
Sociiti Anversoise du Commerce au Congo^ be it noted, is, as 
its name and constitution imply, a trading company! The 
accused was accompanied by twenty of the Company's irregulars 
armed with rifles, and by a non-commissioned officer of the 
Government — described as " Chief of Police Jamart " — with 
fifty Government soldiers. 

The expeditions against the Banzas formed, as the Liboke 
incident, a count in the indictment under which the accused 
was condemned in February, 1904, by the Court of First 
Instance, to twenty years' imprisonment, against which he 
appealed. In rejecting that appeal, the Court found the fact 
of Government co-operation borne out, and all that remained 
to be examined was whether " the presence and the authorisa- 
tion of these representatives of authority may be taken as 
justifying the action of the accused." 

The Court found that the accused was acting in the interest 
of his Company, in order that the output of rubber might be 
increased ; that no precedent act of hostility had been com- 
mitted by the natives ; that not a solitary casuality occurred 
among the attacking party ; that '* killing under such cir- 
cumstances constitutes a crime which no law, which no necessity, 
authorises." Having reached these conclusions, the Appeal 
Court rejected the appeal. Many of the grounds for rejection 
adduced by the Court, in this case, were similar to those 
adduced by it in the case of the Liboke affair, and it is, there- 
fore, unnecessary to repeat them. 

The complicity of the local representatives of authority 

work of labour of hundreds of native women, who are forced by the 
Company's agents to perform this work, in spite of their pitiful appeals 
to be allowed time to attend to their work, as many were starving 
through being forced to neglect it. When employed on this labour, the 
women either carry their young children or have to leave them in the 
villages." 



142 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

was set aside, so far as the plea of justification set up by the 
accused was concerned. 

The Court displayed great caution in respect to the 
demand of the defence in connection with the production of 
official documents. The defence demanded a supplementary 
inquiry with the object of including in the dossier^ the political 
reports of the "superior authorities" of the region to the 
Government, which documents, the defence alleged, would 
show that the "authorities had known and approved of the 
action " of the accused. The Government declined to furnish 
them. The Appeal Court, after protesting its right to insist 
upon their production, explained why it forbore to do so, on 
the grounds, inter alia^ tiiat the greatest "circumspection" 
should be made use of in such matters, and that if toleration, 
or even positive orders on the part of the authorities, for the 
committal of the acts charged against the accused were proved, 
" facts contrary to law" could not thereby be justified, and all 
that could be urged therefrom in palliation of the charges 
against the accused would be "extenuating circumstances." 
llie Court declared itself satisfied that a case for " extenuating 
circumstances " had been made out inter alia on the basis of 
such documents as the dossier already contained and the 
proved co-operation of Government troops, and concluded that 
"any supplementary inquiry on this subject, if it served to 
prove the responsibility of other persons, could be of no utility 
to accused." 

The conclusion is interesting. Put briefly, the story as 
unfolded in the minutes appears somewhat as follows. An 
agent of the SocUti Anversoise conducts military expeditions 
in co-operation with Government officials and Government 
troops against various native villages. The operations last 
three months, and a large number of natives are killed. These 
natives, it is expressly admitted, had committed no hostile act, 
and there was no state of war. Their fault was that they had 
not supplied the SacUti Anversoise with a sufficient quantity 
of indiarubber, for which the Government, according to the 
constitution of the Company as stated by M. A. J. Wauters, 
the historian of Congo, received ;f 12 per ton collected, and in 
which Company the Government held one-half the shares. A 
year after these expeditions, the agent of the Sociite Anversoise^ 
who conducted, or participated in them, is condemned, for 
having done this and other things, to twenty years' imprison- 
ment He appeals. His appeal is rejected, but his sentence 
is lightened by five years, with extenuating circumstances. 
His defence is that the authorities knew and approved of these 
expeditions. The Appeal Court admits the co-operation of 



THE CAUDRON CASE 143 

Government official troops, and from this fact and from docu- 
ments produced concludes that official "toleration" existed, 
and allows extenuating circumstances on that account But 
the accused goes further. He demands the production of 
official reports, which he says will prove that the "superior 
authorities" themselves knew and approved of his actions. 
These reports are refused by Government, and the Appeal 
Court observes in effect that even if they were produced, and 
proved all that the accused says they would, even to direct 
orders given, the actions of the accused were themselves con- 
trary to law, and could under no circumstances be considered 
justified. 

The fourth count was the imprisonment of natives for being 
short in supplies of rubber. In addition to the " great number 
of natives " killed in the course of the three months' expedition 
against the Banzas, twenty natives (sexes not given) were 
imprisoned on the premises of the factory of the Sociiti 
Anversoise du Commerce an Congo. Their detention, it was 
shown, " had no other object than to force their villagers to 
collect rubber." This arbitrary detention formed the fourth 
count in the indictment against the accused. The accused 
pleaded in his defence that the Government authorised the 
Sociiti Anversoise du Commerce an Congo^ in April, 1901, "to 
exact rubber as a tax from the people," and had decreed, in case 
of refusal, " the bodily detention of the defaulters." It was 
admitted by the prosecution that the Governor-General had 
written a letter authorising this procedure. The Court, how- 
ever, decided in effect that the instructions of the Governor- 
General were invalid, and " that the right of establishing taxes 
on the people, and to fix punishments, can only belong to the 
Sovereign King, or by the authority legally delegated by him 
to that effect." The Court concluded that this letter could not 
"justify the wrong done to individual liberty;" but as the 
accused might have been led into error thereby, extenuating 
circumstances were allowable. 

The findings of the Court in regard to extenuating circum- 
stances are worthy of some little attention. The extenuating 
circumstances^were made applicable only to the first, second, 
and fourth counts. The shooting of a native woman in a fit 
of temper (third count) ; the cold-blooded murder, committed 
by authority of the accused upon the person of a Mogwande 
Chief in prison (sixth count) ; and a breach of the fire-arms 
regulations (seventh count) ; these acts did not benefit by 
" extenuating circumstances." The fifUi and eighth counts — 
alleged responsibility for the shooting of an escaping prisoner, 
and breach of the fire-arms regulations, were dismissed. 



144 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

With regard to the first, second, and fourth counts, the 
Court held that '' killing, under such circumstances, constitutes 
a crime which no law, which no necessity, authorises" — an 
assertion which will not be queried. But in concluding for 
extenuating circumstances, the President of the Appeal Court 
used remarkable language. To the reasons already given — 
and which we have passed in review — he added the ''good 
antecedents of the accused, and the difikulties under vfhidk he 
must have laboured in the accomplishment of his mission," in 
the midst of a population " entirely refractory to all kinds of 
i^-ork, and which only respects the law of force, knows no other 
persuasion than terror" ("et qui ne respecte d'autre loi que la 
force, ne connait d'autre persuasion que la terreur"). And 
again : 

''Although the acu are in themselves very grave, they lose a part of 
their gravity when taken into consideration with their environment, 
where, according to secular custom, htmian life had no value, and 
where pillage, murder, and cannibalism constituted, until yesterday, 
daily life." 

The Appeal Court reduced the sentence upon Caudron by 
five years, making his sentence fifteen years instead of twenty 
years, which in view of the Lacroix and Mattheys cases, there 
is not the least likelihood of his ever serving. 

Now, what in a nutshell does this verdict prove i It 
proves : 

1. The existence of a system of organised oppression, 
plunder, and massacre, in order to increase the output of 
indiarubber for the benefit of a " Company," which is only a 
covering name for the Government itself. 

2. ftat the local authorities of the Government are cogni- 
sant, and participatory in this system. 

3. That local officials of the Government engage in these 
rubber raids, and that Government troops are regularly em- 
ployed thereon. 

4. That the Judicature is powerless to place the real 
responsibility on the proper shoulders. 

5. That, consequently, these atrocities will continue until 
the system itself is extirpated. 

Overwhelmingly clear as the above conclusions are, it is 
necessary to drive them home, in order that their full signifi- 
cance may be grasped. Let us take first, because it is, perhaps, 
the most important point, the proved complicity of the local 
authorities. What is meant by local authorities } The local 
authorities are the representatives of the Government scattered 
about the district of Bangala, of which the MongalLa forms a 










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THE CAUDRON CASE 14S 

part They are under the direct orders of the Chief of the 
District, the Commissaire-G^n^ral of Nouvelle Anvers (Ban- 
gala), who is himself under the orders of the Governor- 
General Is it likely that these local authorities would act on 
their own initiative ? From the highest to the lowest, the main 
object of the *' Administration," so called, is the increase of 
revenue, which means an increase in indiarubber. These men 
were merely carrying out the normal duties assigned to them 
by their own Government Caudron's counsel stated in open 
court that Caudron's expeditions against the Banza and his 
attack on Liboke were ordered by the Commissaire-G^n^ral, 
who required, by written orders^ Caudron's presence with his 
deputies on these raids. 

Moreover, Caudron's counsel demanded the production of 
the ^^ political reports " of the district to make good his assertion. 
Here was an opportunity for the Congolese Judicature, had it 
been independent, to confound, once and for all, the accusers 
of the State, who maintain that the Executive, and not its 
agents, is responsible for the abominations of the Congo. If 
it could have been shown that local officials alone were guilty, 
a case of individual wrong-doing — terribly scandalous, it is 
true, proving the culpable negligence of the supreme autho- 
rities, but not involving them as actual particeps criminis — 
could have been made out But the risk, on the other hand, 
was great The Commissaire-G^n^ral of a District is one of 
the highest officials of the State. If his direct responsibility 
were established by the reports asked for, proceedings would 
have had to have been taken against him, and where would 
they have ended ? Where, indeed ! I cannot pretend to sur- 
mise the nature of the discussions which may have passed 
between the President of the Appeal Court and the Public 
Prosecutor. Certain is it, that — acting according to the dic- 
tates of duty, as we should understand it — the former demanded 
from the Executive the production of the reports asked for by 
Caudron's counsel. 

Their production was refused I 

Here was an open defiance of the Judicature. Did the 
President of the Appeal Court resign ? Not a bit of it He 
declined to press the point He declared that in such matters 
the greatest *' circumspection" was necessary — " a certain tolera- 
tion " on the part of the authorities was proved by the docu- 
ments in the aossier — '* consequently all supplementary inquiry 
on the subject, if it served to prove the responsibility of other 
persons'" — ^that ia to say, as is obvious on the face of it, higher 
officials than those already implicated — "could be of no utility 
to the accused." What could be more significant? The 

L 



146 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Executive flouted the Judicature, and the highest representative 
of that JUSTICE which the Congo State declares to be absolutely 
independent, unimpeachable, and impeccable, bows his head. 

The fact of the matter is, of course, that the President of 
the Appeal Court, nominated by the Sovereign, however 
wishful to do the right thing he may have been, could not 
enter upon a course of action which, if successfully and reso- 
lutely pursued through one labyrinth after another, would have 
pilloried the real and supreme offender, the Sovereign himself! 
As it was, the President was compelled to go uncommonly near 
doing so on one point — in dealing with the fourth count against 
Caudron. The existence of 3ie Governor-General's letter 
authorising an illegal act had to be admitted, for Caudron's 
counsel cited both its number and its date (No. 548, April 1 1, 
1900). That the act of the Governor-General was illegal could 
not be denied. But although the Govemor-Greneral is, accord- 
ing to the constitution of the Congo State, the " personal man- 
datory " of the Sovereign in Africa, the Appeal Court contrived 
to pass off that illegsd act as a personal one, thus covering 
the responsibility of the Sovereign, who not only does not 
impeach his " personal mandatory," the Governor-General, but 
addresses the manifesto, to which we shall presently refer, to 
the " Governor-General " ! 

In the graver question of the murderous expeditions, how- 
ever, it was palpably impossible to allow full light to be thrown 
thereon by insistence upon the whole truth being dragged out. 
How inconvenient such a proceeding would have been may 
be still further recognised by the statements of the very able 
counsel by whom Caudron was defended. That gentleman's 
pleadings may be epitomised thus : 

The operations of the SocUti Anversoise were conducted 
on a portion of the Domaine Privi of the Sovereign, with the 
open assistance of the Government forces and their officers. 
Tlie full responsibility laid with the Executive, which used the 
Anversoise as its tax-collector, which was itself a shareholder, 
and which took three-fourths of the profits of that alleged 
** trading Company." 

The Executive had itself required by letter the agents of 
the Anversoise to collect indiarubber d titre d'impdt (as a tax), 
and had authorised them by delegation to imprison those who 
failed in complying with the demands. 

The arms and ammunition permitted the Anversoise vrere 
in themselves proof that the Government recognised the right 
of the Anversoise to employ them, since they could by law 
only be placed in the hands of those specially authorised by 
the Governor-General under his licence. 



THE CAUDRON CASE 147 

The Anversoise — a " trading Company," let us never forget ! 
— had imported close on 40,000 ball cartridges during the 
year 1903 by special permission of the Executive^ whose own 
vessels carried this ammunition to its destination on the Upper 
Congo. 

The commission Caudron received on indiarubber "col- 
lected " was paid to him with the full consent of the Congo 
Government, and was, indeed, paid by that Government out of 
the profits it made from Caudron's raids, and was a commission 
on the " taxes " he was deputed to collect ; and that if Caudron 
went out on these raids, it was in company with State officials 
of the district and the Public Force, and that he was not 
responsible for the effects of those expeditions he was called 
on to accompany, or for the great loss of life they entailed. 
The Public Prosecutor in charge of the case against Caudron 
averred that he was guilty of murdering 122 natives in cold 
blood, that this number had been actually verified, but that it 
represented only a small portion of those who suffered death 
during the course of these rubber expeditions, on the proceeds 
of which Caudron reaped a commission of 3 per cent But 
that for those results the Congo Government was itself alone 
responsible by the illegal methods it had adopted and enforced 
by prescription on its employees for compelling the natives to 
work for its profit and sole advantage. 

It is obvious from the above, coupled with the findings of 
the Court, that the whole hideous fabric upon which reposes 
the personal rule set over the Congo territories would have 
been disclosed with the production of the reports demanded, 
and the consequences to which that production would have 
given rise could not be faced by a Judicature depending for 
its existence upon the Sovereign's will and pleasure. " Circum- 
spection " was therefore essential 

Before we treat of the action of King Leopold, taken as a 
result of the wide publicity given to this case, it is necessary to 
touch upon one other feature of Congo State " administration," 
which this exhibition of Congolese JUSTICE accentuates. For 
bestial atro^ties upon natives, two Belgians are sentenced, in 
1900, to long terms of imprisonment, and released after three 
and four years respectively. For killing a minimum of 122 
human beings in cold blood, the Congo Appeal Court sentences 
another Belgian, in 1904, to fifteen years' imprisonment ; in other 
words, the sentence is in the proportion of eight human beings 
slaughtered to one year's imprisonment, and a purely nominal 
imprisonment at that — a term of imprisonment, moreover, which 
will never be completed. And the supreme representative of 
Justice, who thought a sentence of twenty years too heavy for 



148 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

such crimes, added to the causes I have already detailed as 
justifying the exercise of partial clemency, the fact that " until 
yesterday" the slaughtered people were a veiy bad people, 
only respecting the law of " Force," and amenable only to the 
persuasion of " Terror." I am not condemning the plea of 
^ extenuating circumstances." To my mind, Caudron, scoundrel 
though he be, was in one sense as great a victim as the people 
he slaughtered by authority ; victim of a system from which 
there is no escape when once in its clutches in the heart of 
Africa, where the agent must obey, or be — removed. But 
could any utterance be more revealing than this utterance of 
the President of the Court of Appeal of the Congo, not neces- 
sarily reflecting upon him personally, but reflecting upon the 
whole conception of what should constitute the duties of die 
European in his relationship to the African ? " Until yesterday," 
he tells us in effect, these people had every vice under heaven. 
But ''yesterday" implies a past state. Are we to infer that 
the President of the Appeal Court was referring to the period 
immediately preceding dieir murders ? But if so, why was the 
murder of these poor people — ^the Judgment itself says they 
were peaceful, inoffensive, and too helpless even to offer resist- 
ance to their hired murderers — a '' crime which no law, which 
no necessity authorises " ? And what is the ideal put before 
those who have future dealings with the survivors of these 
*' cold-blooded " massacres ? 'Diat FORCE and terror alone 
can prove adequate in dealing with them I What does the 
application of " force " and what does the inculcation of " terror " 
imply in tropical Africa, when those deputed to apply and 
inculcate those morally and materially regenerating sentiments 
are themselves savages armed with weapons of precision, 
trained to outrage and slaughter, commanded by men drilled 
in this conception of the nature of a trust entrusted them by 
civilisation — the trust of caring for the " well-being " of the 
native population ? In those expressions of the President of 
the Boma Appeal Court is embodied the whole history of the 
Congo State, past, present, and future, whatever further pro- 
longation of records blood-stained to the core is allowed to it 
by civilisation. 

It would need a particularly vivid imagination to discover 
in the Caudron case any elements of a humorous character. 
But only Mr. W. S. Gilbert could hope to rival the humour 
displayed in the Manifesto drafted in hot-haste by King 
Leopold and his secretaries, when the effect of the publication 
of die Judgment in the West African Mail began to be 
apparent The occasion was serious. Here was no ''odious 
calumniator" to be reckoned with: but the deliberate Judgment 



THE CAUDRON CASE 149 

of the highest tribunal in the land ; the first one of a long, 
long series, upon which the eye of the world had been 
allowed to rest. And what did it disclose ? And what did it 
stop short of disclosing? Plainly, the sublimest heights of 
altruistic epistolary effort could alone meet the case. And so 
a declaration was issued — a declaration full of melancholy 
dignity, clothed in language of sonorous reproof, breathing 
through every sentence the unadulterated essence of philan- 
thropic motive, struggling with the natural viciousness of man. 
In the first place, we have the familiar note of profound 
astonishment No fairy princess falling asleep at night in an 
enchanted palace, with the murmurs of splashing fountains, 
the sweet odours of flowers, and the song of the nightingale 
floating through the open windows of her perfumed and 
sumptuous chamber, and awakening amid the sordid sur- 
roundings of the lowest slum in London, could have exhibited 
more surprise, more pained, more poignant sorrow than the 
"Godefroi de Bouillon of the Nineteenth Century Crusade," 
when apprised of the conduct of his knights in Africa. Some 
of them had positively "tolerated" abuses, had been found 
" sufficiently forgetful of their duties to associate themselves 
directly or indirectly in acts of maltreatment" Disgraceful ! 
Such acts were "contrary to the principles of superior order 
which guide the State in its policy towards native peoples," 
and so on. Does the Sovereign of the Congo State really 
imagine that he can deceive public opinion in Europe or in 
America by such obstetrical pedantries, and dishonest trifling } 
The crimes of Caudron, committed by authority and in co- 
operation with the officials of the Government and the regular 
army, were not marked by such ghastly incidents as the 
massacres perpetrated in the very same region, and under the 
very same circumstances in 1899- 1900. But on the former 
occasion no copy of the Judgment reached Europe, and King 
Leopold left one of his secretaries to display the required 
•* astonishment" As for the " duties " of Congo State officials, 
tiieir association " in acts of maltreatment " is but the obvious 
indication of their devotion to duties they are called upon 
to perform — duties consigned in innumerable circulars from 
the highest authorities in the State, some of which have 
been published, and of which the refrain runs somewhat 
thus — 



^* Rubber, rubber, rubber, 
Mind you get the rubber. 
It really does not matter 
Haw yom get it. 



ISO KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

** But be careful to remember 
That your principal endeavour 
Must be rubber, rubber, rubber 
AiltJUday. 

" On this the Government relies 
And abundantly supplies 
The necessary allies 
For the purpose. 

^ The chicotte, the cartridge, and the gun 
The more easily to dun 
(While providing extra fun) 
' A titre itimpSt: 

** The Force Publrgtu^ the chain, the prison 
Must be the limit of your vision 
When making adequate provision 
For the Domatne, 

''To this confidential information 
We draw your strict attention. 
Just as well not to mention 
// outside. 

** For the world, another tale 
We have perpetually on sale 
Which can never, never fail 
To be effective. 

" Regeneration, moral and material 
From the daily to the serial 
Is preached in tones ethereal 
To the universe. 



** But pray once again remember 
That your principal endeavour 
Must be rubber, rubber, rubber 
AiithedayJ' 



L9i uc ruuucr. 

Ait the day. 

The Manifesto goes on to positively abjure the Judicature to 
" seek out " the agents who accompanied Caudron, and " to fix 
the responsibilities of those who have really been found to be 
implicated in the incriminating practices " — " no matter who they 
may be!' It is likewise stated that the Government intends 
that " no indulgence " shall be displayed " towards any of its 
agents participating in blamable acts towards the natives." 
That is a clear issue. 

In the first place, then, the Governor-General, the " personal 
mandatory" of the Sovereign in Africa, must arrest himself. 
There is no help for it He is indicted by the President of the 
Appeal Court with the perpetration of an illegal act : to wit, 
the issue of instructions in writing, authorising by delegation 



THE CAUDRON CASE 151 

the exaction of indiarubber from the natives, on the part of the 
agents of a "commercial" company "as a tax," to be accompanied 
in case of default by the bodily detention of the recalcitrant tax- 
payers, which implies — as we know from the incidents of 1900 
— the detention of women and children, who are sometimes 
allowed to die of neglect and starvation during their confine- 
ment in the " tnaison des dtagesy* as these modem black-holes 
of Calcutta are termed. The President of the Appeal Court 
will then have to judge between the personal guilt of the 
impeached " mandatory " of the Sovereign, and certain persons 
in Brussels who transmit to him the orders of his Sovereign ! 
Doubtless the Govemor-Greneral will be adequately defended, 
and he will produce documents in his defence of the highest 
historical value. On the occasion of such an interesting trial, 
representatives of the world's Press will, of course, be invited. 
Pending that trial, the substitute for the impeached Governor- 
General will doubtless order the immediate arrest of (i) the 
Commissaire-G^n^ral of the Bangala District, the supreme 
authority of Grovemment in the Mongalla region ; (2) the 
official who participated in the attack on the village of Liboke ; 
(3) the officials who participated in the series of expeditions 
against the Banza people ; (4) the official who sanctioned the 
arrest of the twenty natives whose villages had failed in their 
rubber supply, as authorised so to do by the letter of the 
impeached Governor-General ; and (5) finally all the officials 
who participated in the similar expeditions for similar purposes 
undertaken "precedently and subsequently" to the Liboke 
and Banza incidents, in the course of which the forty thousand 
rounds of ball cartridges imported last year with the knowledge 
of the Government were presumably utilised. The prison at 
Boma will have to be enlarged, that is quite certain, and an entire 
new staff appointed to the Bangala district Most people 
will think that there is even more pressing need for a change 
in the European Directorship of this Equatorial African 
slaughter-house. Of course the Manifesto from top to bottom 
is a farce de premier ordre. The instructions are instructions 
pour rire, TTie fact that they are addressed to the Governor- 
General himself, whom the Court has indicted for the committal 
of an illegal act, renders it superfluous to labour the point 
The glory of Pecksniff is for ever dimmed. Thou wast but a 
tyro, oh worthy Pecksniff! 

There is just one last matter concerning this Manifesto 
which should be touched upon. It concludes with the 
announcement that the territory assigned to the Anversoise 
is now taken over by the State, replacing a " private enterprise " 
in which the State holds 50 per cent of the shares, controb 



152 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the machinery, appoints the directors, and gets heavy royalties 
on all produce exported What does that mean? In the 
eyts of the world it is meant to mean this : '' Appalled and 
grieved at the misdoings of a commercial company as dis- 
closed by the Judgment in the Caudron case, We have 
dissolved it Observe, read, mark, and learn this further proof 
of Our determination to put down abuses." What it means, 
in reality, is this: The Anversoise was the "tax-collector" for 
the Sovereign of the Congo State in the Mongalla region of 
the Domaine Privi, It now ceases to be so, and the Govern- 
ment which formerly obtained a lai^e portion of the yield of 
such " taxes," will now obtain the entire yield. No doubt the 
handful of financiers, principally concerned in the Anversoise, 
will receive royal compensation. How will the change work 
out in practice? The following quotation from an Antwerp 
newspaper supplies the answer. This statement, apparently 
sent to the newspaper in question from the spot, and appearing 
almost simultaneously with the royal Manifesto in Brussels, 
may be usefully compared with the latter — 

Manifesto (yum), '' Lb Tribune Congolaise " 

(yune). 

''The Government which has ''It is announced from the 

taken over the exploitation of a Mongalla that, with the assistance 
concession made to this Society, of the Government police, four 
repeats its inflexible will that the new factories {sic) have just been 
whole of the person$ul in the established in the Mandika* region. 
Congo, whether belonging to the Last April preparations were com- 
State or the Companies, shall be plete for tne establishment of a 
inspired with its views, and shall police-station at Yalombo, the 
reconcile, with the necessary firm- result of which will doubtless be 
ness towards the natives, the the pacifying {sicS of this district, 
absolute respect of the rules of whicn is peopled by the Budia. 
the law." Ten factories {sid) will then be 

erected, i>. one in each group of 
villages. Captain V f com- 
mands the police." 

It would seem from the above that the rubber required of 
the natives of the Mongalla is not likely to diminish in quantity 
under the new rigime. What he has been compelled hitherto 
to bring in in the form of a " trade " to the factories of the 
Anversoisey the native will now be forced to bring in to the 
" factories " of this singular Government d titre (Timpdt ! And 

* Moray, the agent concerned in the massacre of 1900^ and who 
died at a most convenient moment, was in charge of the Mandika 
fiactory. 

t This Captain V is now repeated by the Belgian newspaoers to 

be suppressing a " rebellion " in the district mentioned ! (August.) 



THE CAUDRON CASE 153 

if he is too slow ; then, in addition to those indispensable moral 
elements in dealing with a primitive people, according to the 
President of the Appeal Court, " Force" and "Terror" ; there 
is, as we also learn from the same authority, a brand-new law 
authorising his corporal detention — ^the corporal detention of 
his women-folk would appear to be the procedure which com- 
mends itself more especially to the regenerating representatives 
of " Bula Matadi " — for default, and proceedings which might 
have been " illegal " when performed by a " trading company " 
will, of course, be strictly legal when performed by a Government 
What the natives will gain by the re-absorption of the 
Anversoise into the Domaine Privi^ stricto sensu, may be 
judged by their treatment in other regions of that Domaine, 
and its annex, the Domaine de la Couronne, But the Domaine 
Privi, as already pointed out, will certainly gain. It is an 
unpleasant story, is it not ? But then it has its rosy side too, 
for, as Chateaubriand tells us, " Les mendiants vivent de leurs 
plaies: il y it des hommes qui profitent de tout, mdme du 
mipris." * 

* " Melanges et Po^es." 



CHAPTER XIII 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT (iN 
THE LOPORI-MARINGA COUNTRY, AND IN THE LU- 
LANGA district) 

** Our refined Sodetr attaches to human life (and with reason) 
a Talne unknown to bailMtfous communities.'*— Letter from Kino 
Lbopold to his agents in the Congo. 

The region drained by the Lopori and Maringa Rivers is 
situate between the Congo River and the Equator. The 
rubber it produces is said to be of excellent quality, and it 
appears to command very high prices on the Antwerp market. 
This is the district which is " exploited " by one of the most 
powerful of the Congo State's Trusts, viz. VAbir, 

Originally, the Anglo-Belgian Indiarubber Company, 
founded in August, 1892, and in which Colonel North was at 
one time largely interested, it was like VAnversoise recon- 
structed under " Congo Law " in 1898, with a capital of 1,000,000 
francs, divided into 2000 shares without designation of value, 
" giving right of ^^^ of the " Avoir Social." From that date 
it has been known as VAbir. At the time of reconstruction, 
the following were the principal shareholders : — 

Shares. 
Alex, de Browne de Ti^e, as Mandatory of the Congo State 1000 
Societe Anversoise du Commerce au Congo . .150 

Alex, de Browne de Ti^ge 60 

Horace van den Burch, as mandatory of A. van den Nest 125 

Horace van den Burch 58 

C. de Browne de Ti^ 50 

The foregoing particulars are taken from the official Statutes 
of the "Company" {AMr : SocUti d responsabiliti Limit i), 
printed by Ratinckx Brothers, at Grande Place, Antwerp. It 
is interesting to note that M. A. de Browne de Ti^e is the 
famous Antwerp banker, with whom in 1892, 1893, and 1894, 
the Congo State secretly contracted loans " bearing interest at 
6 per cent, and reimbursable on July i, 1895, by 5,287415 
francs." These secret loans the Congo State was compelled 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 155 

to reveal early in 1895, for it appeared that, failing payment, 
M. de Browne de Ti%e would have become owner of the 
" greater portions of the Basins of the Aruwimi, Rubi, Lomami, 
Lake Leopold II., the Lukenye, and Manyemba . . . equal to 
sixteen million hectares^ So King Leopold cried peccavi 
to the Belgian Government, and the Belgian Grovemment 
obligfingly paid M. de Browne de Ti^ge the 5,287,415 francs ! * 
That gentleman, however, managed to remain one of the fore- 
most partners in the Belgian Clique, which runs the Congo for 
the good of humanity in general, and the Negro race in par- 
ticular. Besides the important part he plays as shareholder in 
VAbir^ he is President of L Anvers<nse^\ which is the second 
largest original shareholder in L* A dir, and, in addition to being 
President, is the original shareholder of 1000 shares (out of 
3400) in the former concern. To all intents and purposes, 
then, the fate of the natives of the Lopori and Maringa districts 
would appear to be primarily in the hands of King Leopold ; 
M. A. de Browne de Ti^e ; a near relative of the latter, pre- 
sumably, in the shape of C. de Browne de Tiige of that ilk ; 
M. A. van den Nest, a Senator and Ex-Sheriff of Antwerp, 
who is also President of the "Company"; and Count 
Horace van den Burch, an ex-artillery officer, who is also one 
of the administrators of the " Company " — or, say, five men. 
M. A. van den Nest is reported to have declared at a meeting 
in Brussels shortly after the debate in the House of Commons 
of May 20, 1903, that " Europe would do full justice to the 
civilising efforts of Belgians in Central Africa." Possibly the 
speaker was thinking primarily of the efforts of LAbir in that 
particular line. Let us, then, first examine the material aspects 
of this " civilising " process, and then pass to its moral aspects 
— for has not King Leopold repeatedly declared that the 
" moral " as well as the " material " regeneration of the natives 
of Africa is the one end and aim of Congo State administration ? 
Its " material " effects — from the point of view of M. A. 
van den Nest and his friends — have certainly been most 
remarkable. In the five years, 1 898-1903, the net profits of 
the "Company" have amounted to no less a sum than 
15,078,805 francs, and each full share has received dividends 
in that period aggregating an enormous amount In 1903 
the dividend per share was £/fi. In 1901 the Antwerp Stock 
Exchange drove up the shares to 27,000 francs per share ; at 
that time, therefore, the value of the thousand shares held by 
the " Congo State " was twenty-seven million francs — or, say, 

♦ June 27, 1895. Sec A. T. Wauters, op, cit. 

t The Anversoise is said to have been now reincorporated in the 
Domaine Privi. (See previous chapters.) 



156 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

;Ci,oo8,ocx>. For some time past the shares have been quoted in 
tenth sJiares. Owing to certain disclosures beginning in 1901, 
anent the " moral " side of this " civilising process," and also, 
no doubt, to the criticisms of wicked Englishmen, tlie value of 
the shares has fallen considerably : the shares only stand now 
at about 13,000 francs per share — a truly deplorable figure, and 
each one-tenth part of a share is quoted at about 1300 francs. 
It is instructive to look at these figures in tabular form — 

Number of shares. Capital in francs. Each share value. 

2000 1,000)000 500 francs. 

Net profits on four years* working. 
15,078,805 francs. 

Market value of aooo shares in 1901. Market value of aooo shares in Jane, 1904. 
54,000^000 francs. 26,000^000 francs. 

Market value per 500 francs share in Market value per 500 francs share in 

190Z. June. Z904. 

27,500 francs. t3iOoo francs. 

Thus in five years the profits of this ** Company '' have been 
fifteen times g^reater than its capital, and the market value of 
its shares to^y is twenty-six times greater than its capital. 
Is it surprising that the President of VAHr should expatiate 
on the '* civilising effects" of his countiymen on the Congo ? 

Now, it does not require more than a very general know- 
ledge of African conditions to enable one to declare emphatically 
that these colossal profits have not been legitimately acquired. 
There is no need to refer to any reports, from whatever source, 
to arrive at that conclusion. One has only to consider that 
the centre of this ^Company's" operations is situate 1000 
kilometres above Stanley Pool, that all its rubber has to be 
transported over 1000 kilometres of waterway, transhipped at 
the Pool, embarked on a railway which charges excessively 
high rates of freight, carried on that railway from the Pool 
to Matadi (the limit of ocean steamer navigation on die 
Congo), there shipped on board a steamer which conveys it 
to Antwerp at a charge of 52^. yd. per ton freight : one has 
only to consider those facts, and the further point that the 
"Company's" imported goods— supposing that W traded vA^ 
the natives for rubber on commercial lines — ^would have to 
go through the same enormous tranq)ort difficulties and 
expenses, to realise that no commercial undertaking could by 
the wildest stretch of imagination be able under such cir- 
cumstances to make such profits. But then we have to 
remember that VAbir is not a commercial undertaking ; it is 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 157 

merely a factor in the regeneration of the African native. 
And that brings us to a consideration of the " moral " aspect 
of the " civilising effort " put forth in the Lopori and Maringa 
District of the Donudne Privi, 

The exact privileges obtained by VAbir were, according to 
M. Wauters— ♦ 

'*the full proprietorship of the vacant lands belonging to the Domaine in 
the basins of the Lopori and Maringa, around eight stations {huit posits 
dUxploUoHon) and within a perimetre of five leagues ; moreover, it 
obtained for a period of thirty years the ri|[ht of exploiting all the jpro- 
ducts of the forest in the Basins of the Lopon and Maringa, starting from 
Basankusu." 

Judging from the reports to hand since 1900, it would 
seem that these '' vacant " lands, whose inhabitants have been 
civilised up to the point of producing during the last four years 
enough rubber to enable the worthy shareholders of UAbir to 
reap a net profit of over fifteen million francs, will really and 
truly become " vacant," in the sense of being uninhabited, long 
before the thirty years are up. 

In October, 1901, the Belgian papers published particulars, 
of which the following are extracts : — 

'' The Abir is a Company in which many bigwigs were, or are inte* 
rested. . • . The enormous quantities of rubber sold on its account, and 
on account of the Anversoise^ caused astonishment. But people thought 
that the territories conceded were very rich, and that the Companies 
having received— from all-powerful sources — certain privileges and advan- 
tages, all was weU.** 

The papers then went on to refer to the scandals attending 
the Anversoise operations, speaking of the crimes committed 
on behalf of the shareholders "as exceeding in horror and 
cruelty anything that can be imagined." As to that, the 
reader can form his own opinions from the previous chapters. 
It was thereupon stated that "three months ago" reports 
" giving absolutely precise details " had been furnished to the 
Council of Administration of the Abtr^ as to the atrocities 
taking place upon its concession. 

" I. A sub-agent of the Abir ordered a native who had not made 
enough rubber to receive fifty blows of the ckicotte. After the punishment 
the agent pulled out his revolver and shot the man, breaking his shin- 
bone. 

"2. The head of a foctory, dismissed for brutality towards the nativeSy 
had tied up for a whole day several rubber coUectors^ in a state of nudity, 
to stakes, m the full glare of the sun. 

" 3- In September, 1899, all the Upper Balombo region was put to fire 

♦ Op.cU. 



158 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

and sword by the Dikila factory, to force the natives, with whom the 
Company had not yet come in contact, to make rubber. 

**4, On August 24, 1900, passing bv Boyela (in the Adir concession) 
I met in the said village two young girls, one of whom was enceinU^ with 
their right hands cut off. They told me that they belonged to the village 
of Bossombo. and that the soldiers of the white man of Boyela had cut 
off their hands, because their master did not make enough rubber." 

Stirred by the publicity given to these reports, the Company 
or the State — there is not much difference — ordered an inquiry, 
and the Belgian papers announced the year before last, witfi 
complacency, that Judge Rossi had looked into the charges, 
whidi he had found "much exaggerated" — naturally. The 
worthy judge apparently did more. The Belgian papers of 
October, 1902, reported him to have said that the "English 
missionaries were inciting the natives to complain." 

Now I happen to have before me the copy of the minutes 
of the examination by Judge Rossi of Mr. Ruskin, one of the 
representatives of the Congo Balolo Mission ("Regions Beyond") 
with reference to these and other atrocities. The examination 
of Mr. Ruskin took place at Bongandanga, which is on the 
Abir territory, and where the Congo Balolo Mission have a 
station, on April 12, 1902; the minutes were taken down in 
shorthand at the time by M. Jeffrey, who accompanied Mr. 
Ruskin, and acted as witness to his statements. As the report 
of the proceedings cover twelve type-written pages, I cannot 
reproduce them in extensOy much as I should like to do so. 
Here are some extracts — 

" Mr, Ruskin, In the early months of 1 899 M * had a large number 

of prisoners at the factory .f They were improperly fed and cared for y so 
much so that they died at the rate of three , fivcy and sometimes as many as 
ten a day. These were dragged by a piece of ngoji^ tied to the foot, out 
into the bush, and only a little earth and a few sticks thrown on top of 
them. Hands and feet were left sticking up, and the stench was awful. 
... On Sunday, June 10, 1899, four were released. An old man was 
found on the Mission Station. We gave him food and water, which he 
ate ravenously ; but he was too far gone to recover. He died, and was 
buried by our own people. Another died at Boyela ; the other two were 
never heard of agam. They were Nsumgamboyo people. ... On July 

18, 18^, M , the director, came up with M , and after making 

inquiries, he went back to the factory, and released one hundred and six 
Prisoners, We saw them pass our station — living skeletons. Some were 
so much reduced thcU they had to be carried home, A mong them were old 

* One of the agents of UAHr. I see no necessity to reproduce the 
actual names of these fiends. 

t Note this in connection with Consul Casement's report four years 
later, when he found precisely thi same state of affairs prevailing / And 
compare with similar practices revealed by the Boma Law Courts in 1900 
and 1904, by Scrivener, Consul Casement, and others, to which should 
now be added recent letters given in the Appendix. 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 159 

griy-htadedmen and women. Many children were born in prison. One 
poor woman was working in the sun three days after the child was bom. 

" Mr. Ruskin. {Balua.) Early in 1899, M. F sent a number of his 

workmen into Bongandanga to arrest some men for not bringing in suffi- 
cient meat. They also seized Balua, the wife of Bontanga, and M. F 

had her flogged^ grving her two hundred chicotte. So severely was she dealt 
with that urine and blood flowed from her. Just as they were dragging 
her away to the prison^ her husband appeared with twenty fowls to redeem 
her. He took her home, but she diea shortly after from the effect of the 
punishment she received. Bokato is the name of the sentry who inflicted 
the punishment, and he is at oresent at Bosidikolo in the service of the 
Abir. Botanea, who now resides at Mpona, afterwards appeared before 
the judge, and verified these statements relating to his wife Balua. 

** Mr, Ruskin. M. F thought that his men were not strong enough, 

and therefore could not compel the people to bring in what he considerad 
sufficient rubber. Once when he was away, his men stole some rubber, 
and for this he had them tied up, right in the sun, to stakes for a day and 
a night. Mrs. Cole (now Mrs. Harber), when passing on her way to the 
schools, saw the men tied there from a distance. They were naked and 
without food and water all day, and so great was their agony that their 
tongues were hanging out. Mrs. Cole having seen it herself, came and 
reported it to me. The names of the men who were thus tied up were 
Lokilo, Lokwa, Bateko, and Lomboto. (Lokilo and Lokwa both appeared 
before the judge and reported all they knew.) 

" Judge. What do you know of the G palaver ? 

'*if/r. Ruskin. I know it well. In December— near Christmas— 1899^ 
M. G — — went to Bosidikolo. . . . One man had bad rubben M. G— — 
compelled him to lie down on the ground, and Ilunga, one of his sentries, 

gave the man chicotte. G then struck the man with the fiat of a 

machet, and he jumped up. G drew his revolver and shot him 

through the leg, breaking the tibia. Ilunga asked whether he should 
shoot him, but G- said no. Three days afterwards, I went to Bosi- 
dikolo and saw this man myself. Ekuva, one of our workmen, who was 
at that time boy to the sentry, saw it all. Ilunga is a native of Bongan- 
danga, and is at Bosidikolo now. (Ekuva afterwards went before the 
judge, and reported all that he knew about the above palaver.) 

*' Mr. Ruskin. Mpanza palaver. Some months previous to the Botilo- 
sombo attack, the natives of Mpanza had killed five Abir *■ gardes fores- 
tiers ' * out of revenge for brutality. I spoke to the director, who was 
passing down country at the time, about this af&ir, pointing out that it 
was the result of the Abir ^ gardes forestiers ' having killed many of the 
Ngombe people. He went on to Basankusu, and a short time after a 
State officer went in behind Boyela with a compsmy of soldiers, and a lot 
of innocent people were killed. The State soldiers afterwards came to 
Bongandanga selling spears and other loot|from the fight. ... I wish to 
make a general statement about the Abir. The sentries often make pre- 
tence ; they go to vUlages, seize a number of spears, come back and say 
they have been attacked. The natives are too much afiraid of the chicotU 

* These 'gardes forestiers,' or sentries, are native soldiers armed 
with rifles or cap-guns despatched by Z,'^^ir— and the other trusts — into 
the villages to terrorise the inhabitants into producing rubber. 



i6o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to come out and report, and should they come, the sentries (gardes 
forestiers) would punish them on the road. 

"^^udgt. What about the Van B ♦affair? 

^^Mr.RuskiH, This is from the natives. They say that Van B ipent 

to a village called Lendo, in the Ngombe country, and attacked it ; and 
the report reached us that he had b^n wounded by a speax. M. Gamman 

went with Mr. M. B 1 to the Abir factory at Ngwire, M. B to 

make inquiry, and M. Gemman to attend to Van S ^'s wound. M. 

B— — questioned the ' gardes forestiers/ and they said that fourteen had 

. been killed. M. Van B saidit was not true, as onhr a few were killed* 

He also said that he sent the Gardes to one village, and as he was return^ 
ing from another, a man attacked him with a spear and wounded him. 

... On January 14, 1902, M. B told me, in the presence of Mrs. 

Ruskin and Mr. Gamman, that 38 cartridges had been expended in that 
one fight. He also said that 90 Albini cartridges had been expended 
at Ngwire in December, 1 901, also 200 caps and 120 cartridp^es— instoo— 

native name pataki. M. B only told me about the cartndges. There 

are various native reports. 

Re M. Van S ^ Bokecu \ and Lulama affair. 

'* Mr. Ruskin. On March 27, 1902, I vasu and Bangenge, of Tjil^^^a^ 
came to Mr. Jeffrey and myself and reported that EiokecU| one of tbe 
Abir gardes, had killed Ivasu and badly wounded Bonyoma. The body 
of Ivasu was brought here at 1 1 o'clock the same day, and we (M. Jeffireyi 
Mrs. Ruskin, and myself) saw where the bullet had entered the upper 
part of the left lun^. Bonyoma is now very sick. As far as we know the 

Salaver, Bokecu did it on his own responsibility. He and some others 
ad been sent to arrest the Chief, because the Lulama people had not 
brought in their meat (they were compelled to bring in four animala— 
fresh meat— every week). . . . This is a case in point, showing that the 
policy of the Abir is bad. They engage as * gardes,' savages, cannibals^ 
and fools, and supply them with guns without discrimination.** 

These reports which were read, interpreted, and signed by 
the judge and Mr. Ruskin, and then forwarded to ^ma on 
April 13, 1902, have been placed at my disposal by Dr. 
Grattan Guinness. Mr. Ruskin, it seems, had promised the 
judge that if satisfaction were given and justice done he would 
" not make these things public in Europe." Nothing was done, 
of course. Nothing ever is, except the occasional imprison- 
ment of individual offenders — and then always sub-agents. 

Nothing ever will be, until the Congo territories are freed 
from the rapacious and callous scoundrels who are fattening 
upon it It is not upon the men in Africa that the chief blame 
must be laid, bad as many of them are ; but upon the men in 
Brussels and Antwerp, whose policy the usually low type of 
agent sent out has perforce to carry through. 

It will be observed that these ordinary incidents in the 

* Agent of Z'^^. Ibid. 

t Ibid. 




2 % 
^ 8 



o 
o 



E 



5 1 

^ E 

< u 

^' 1 

3 1 

5 § 

< s 

2 i 

i I 

^^ £ 

^ c 

p I 

y. eg 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA i6i 

process of "trading" in rubber occurred in 1899, 1900, 1901, 
and 1902. 

We have seen that in October, 1902, the Belgian papers 
reported that Judge Rossi had declared after investigation 
that the reports had been " much exaggerated." The judges 
of the Congo State, as I have stated before, are appointed by 
the Sovereigfn of the Congo State, and are revocable at the 
Sovereign's will; and the "Congo State" is the holder of 
1000 shares in UAbir, The Judicial Establishment of the 
Congo State is distinctly Gilbertian in nature. 

In April, 1903, Dr. Grattan Guinness sent the author a 
letter just received from one of the representatives of the 
Congo Balolo Mission in the territory di UAbir^ from which it 
appeared that, far from Judge Rossi's investigations in April, 
1902, proving efficacious, matters were worse than ever — 

" * The Trading Company,' says the letter, * have now a different system 
in order to get rubber. Ten soldiers, with rifles, are apportioned to 
Sungamboyo ; ten also to Banlongo, two to Boseke, Ilinga, Lumala* 
Boyela, and Bavaka respectively. This means, as you understand, that 
the country is in the hands of these merciless fellows, who abuse, oppress, 
rob, and kill at their pleasure. M. L., who is here, . . . told me that he 
was only producing nve and a half tons per month, and that although 

M. had promised him another agent, he writes now that he cannot 

do so unless seven and a half tons are forthcoming per month. This is 
impossible, as every available man is working rubber, and that with a 
gun behind him. The laws that appeared to come into force just bf^ore 
you left here are now considered «i7, and we have the terrors of the gun ; 
the wretched prison life and work ; the chicottej the chain ; the transport 
down river ; and other offshoots of oppression too numerous to mention. 
The place is greatly changed. They have made a new line of towns, but 
the houses are scattered and poor. The people are tyrannised over by 
the sentries, and therefore spend most of their time in the bush.' " 

The extract given in Dr. Guinness's letter brings the 
picture of the " civilising effort " of the Company directed by 
Messrs. A. van den Nest, Alex, de Browne de Tiige, C. de 
Browne de Tifege, Van den Burch and the " Congo State " in 
the Lopori and Maringa District down to the early part of 

1903. 

Mr. Charles Bond, of the same Mission, in a letter dated 
from Lolanga, September 28, and published in the Daily News^ 
in December, speaks of the measures employed by the Abir to 
" compel the natives " to bring in the rubber by the wholesale 
arming of the " Company's " black agents. Writing from a 
point south of the Abir concession, in the direction of Lake 
Mantumba, he says — 

" I have the evidence of a number of men working for us at the present 
time, that at their towii,on the Bosomba River (Lake Mantumba), numbers 

M 



ifa KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

of men hsve been killed outright, and others have died from having their 
hands cut off, because they would not submit to demands. ..." 

The profits of VAbir in 1903 were 2,975,91 5*09 francs, 
nearly three times the amount of its capital, and the dividend 
paid per share was, as already stated, ;£'48, or more than double 
the original value of a full share. 

Consul Casement has shown us, in detail, the habitual con- 
ditions prevalent under which these legitimate trading profits 
are being earned at the present time. 

I have shown the elements of VAbir in Europe. Consul 
Casement gives us the elements in Africa. A stafT of 58 
Europeans, managing " at least " 20 '' factories " ; each factory 
has, with the permission of the Government, of course, 25 rifles ; 
two steamers, each canying 25 rifles ; total number of rifles 550 ; 
number of cartridges unlimited ; a ** moderate computation " 
gives 150 cap-guns to each *' factory" ; total number of cap- 
guns 3000 ; total, 3500 armed men— all for the " exploitation " 
of indiarubber! Dr. Guinness thinks that the figures are 
considerably below the actual I have shown tfie connection 
between the Executive and VAbir ^ so far as that connection 
is ascertainable in Europe. Consul Casement gives us its 
aspects in Africa, first, as regards the arming of the " sentries " 
which is directly authorised by Government, and could not, 
in any case, be carried out without Government sanction and 
approval ; secondly, in the fact that the rubber brought down 
fnnn the waterways of the concession is transhipped at 
Bassankusu on a Government steamer, " which plies for this 
puroose between Coquilhatville and Bassankusu, a distance of 
probably 160 miles" ; thirdly, in the fact that the "transport 
of all goods and agents of the Company, immediately these 
quit the concession, 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." 

Such is the healthy basis for "trading" operations, described 
by one of the agents to our Consul in these terms, " We do not 
buy the indiarubber. What we pay to the native is a remunera- 
tion for his labour in collecting our produce on our land, and 
bringing it to us!* • The " remuneration " — ^what M. de Smet 
de Naeyer would call a " veritable gratuity," since, according to 
that gentleman,t the native is " not entitled to anything " — 
Mr. Casement found upon working it out de visu^ and by 
actually purchasing from the natives their fortnight's "pay" 
for five teaspoonfuls of salt, amounted to the ratio of 25.r. 
worth of goods with a local market value of £2 ys, id. for £$2 

* Italics mine. t The Belgian Premier. See Part V. 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 



163 



worth of pure rubber ! On these lines the modest profits of * 
VAbir are not difficult to understand. 

Rifles and cap-guns for stores, arsenals for "factories," 
robbeiy in guise of "payment" — so much is clear. But what 
of the modus operandi t Perfectly simple. "Sentries" in the 
villages, in the "factories" prisoners as "hostages," and la 
chicotte for slothful workers. 

I cannot forbear quoting the Consul's description of a 
typical rubber " market" scene on the territory o{ VAbir. In 
reading it, the reader will do well to have before him just a 
few of King Leopold's explanations on this subject, intended 
for European consumption. Perhaps I had better put them 
and the Consul's description in parallel columns. 



" Freedom of trade is complete 
in the Congo, and is restricted 
neither by monopoly nor privilege." 

" The law protects this freedom 
by forbidding any interference with 
the freedom of business transac- 
tions." 

''The State has been at much 
pains to prevent the natives from 
being robbed." 

*' Steps have been taken to safe- 
guard the individual liberty of the 
blacks, and especially to prevent 
labour contracts between blacks 
and non-natives degenerating into 
disguised slavery." 

" The native is free to seek by 
work the remuneration which con- 
tributes to the increase of his well- 
being." 

"One of the objects of the 
general policy of the State is to 
aim at the regeneration of the race 
bv impressing them with the high 
iaea of the necessity of work." 

"The system which the State 
has followed while forwarding the 
economic development of the coun- 
try has at the same time caused 
a considerable commercial move- 
ment" 

* Whatever may have been said, 
this prosperity has not been at- 



" I arrived at Bongandanga on 
August 29, when what was locally 
termed the rubber market was in 
full swing. The natives of the sur- 
rounding 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 fortnight's 
supply of indiarubber for delivery 
to the agent of the Company.*' 

"At Bongandanga the men of 

the district named E , distant 

about 20 miles, had been brou^^ht 
in with the rubber from that district. 
They marched in in a long file, 
guaurded by sentries of the Abir 
Company, and when I visited the 
factory grounds to observe the pro- 
l^ess 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 rub- 
ber, 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 
tiJcen off to be cut up in a large 
store, and then placed out on dry- 
ing shelves in other stores. As 
considerable loss of weight arises 
in the drying, to obtain 3 kilog. 
nett, a dead weight of crude rubb^, 
considerably in excess of that 
quantity, must be brought in. 
There were everywhere sentries in 



i64 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 



tained to the detriment of the lot 
of the natives.'* 

Ad infinitum et nauseam. 



the Abir grounds, guarding and 
controlling the natives, many of 
whom carried their Imives and 
spears. The sentries were often 
armed with rifles, some of them 
with several cartridges sUpped be- 
tween 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 Stages, 
The rubber as brought up by each 
man under guard, was weighed by 
one of the two agents of Sie Abir 
present, who sat upon the verandah 
of his 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, squat- 
ting 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 equallv 
squatted, sentries of the Abir with 
their rifles ready. 

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

*' Somewhat differing explana- 
tions were offered me of the reasons 
for the constant guarding of the 
natives I observed during the course 
ofthe' market.' This was first said to 
be a necessary precaution to insure 
tranc^uillity and order within the 
trading factory during the presence 
there of so many raw and sturdy 
savages. Butwhen I drew attention 
to the close guard kept upon the 
natives in the drying and cutting 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 165 

sheds, 1 was told that these were 
'prisoners.' If the rubber brought 
in by its native vendor were found 
on the weighing-machine to be 
seriously under the reauired weight, 
the defaulting individual was de- 
tained to be dealt with in the 
maisan des Stages. One such 
case occurred while I was on 
the ground. The defaulter was 
directed to be taken away, and 
was dragged off bv 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 u&e 
mouth, whence blood issued, and 
he then remained passive. I did 
not learn how this individual sub- 
sequently purged his offence, but 
when on a later occasion I visited 
the enclosure 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 nuurket 
day, who were being kept as com- 
pulsory workmen to make good the 
deficiency in their rubber." 

This "considerable commercial movement" which "con- 
tributes to the well-being of the native " is supplemented by 
another sort of movement, what might be described as the 
Victualling Department. The theory in this case is to " aim 
at the regeneration of the race " in another form. Indiarubber 
is not in itself a sufficient regenerator. Moreover, it is surely 
right that the fifty-eight European regenerators in this particular 
district, and their crowd of armed and unarmed retainers — also 
regenerators, of course * — should be abundantly supplied with 
adequate means of sustenance during the exhausting process 
of regeneration ? No one, save perhaps some " prejudiced 
detractor of the work of civilisation in the Congo," would argue 
that a profit in five years of over ;^6oo,ooo is sufficient reward 
for the labour entailed in such work. To pretend that so 

* " . . . Ces gardes forestiers ont pour mission de veiller d ce que la 
recolte du caoutchouc se fasse rationnellement et d'emp^cher notamment 

2ue les indigenes ne coupent les lianes.^ This extract is not from Comic 
"uts^ or Le Journal Amusant. It is from the Congo State's " Notes" 
issued in reply to the British White Book ! 



i66 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

paltry a sum is commensurate with the immense debt of 
gratitude owed by the natives to their regenerators, affords 
palpable evidence of the gross partiality of the Congo State's 
critics. But any kind of gratitude, like any kind of work, is, 
of course, quite unknown among the natives, so a little pressure 
has to be exercised occasionally. The gentle and humane 
forms which such persuasion takes is thus described by our 
Consul from the standpoint of an eye-witness : 

'* On a Sunday in August, I saw six of the local sentries going back 

with cap-guns and ammunition pouches to £ , after the previous day's 

market, smd later in the day, when in the factory grounds, two armed 
sentries came up to the agent as we walked, guardmg sixteen natives, five 
men tied neck to neck, with ^ve 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 
captured * on the river ' by one of the sentnes 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, along with an 
elderly woman, were released, and told to nm over to the Mission, and 

go to school there. This they did not do, but doubtless returned to their 
omes in the recalcitrant village. The remaining five men and four 
women were led off to the maison des Stages under guard of the sentry. 

*' An agent explained that he was forced to catch women in preference 
to the men, as then supplies were brought in quicker ; but he 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 own 
station, as well as of the local missionaries, who, being guests of the 
Alnr Society, had to be provided for, sternly imposed it upon him if the 
people failed to keep up tneir 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 heavy rain 
of the previous night as an excuse for not hunting. 

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

" On leaving the Abir grounds, still accompamed by this ^ntleman, 
another batch of men carrying food supplies were marched m by three 
armed guards, and were conducted towards the maison des Stages^ 
which two other sentries apparently guarded. 

'' At 8 p.m. that evening, iust after the Sunday service, a number of 
women were taken through the Mission grounds past the church by the 
Abir sentries, and in the morning I was told that uiree seizures had been 
effected during the night. On September 2j I met, when walking in the 
Abir grounds with the subordinate agent of^ the factory, a file of fifteen 
women, under the j;uard of three unarmed sentries, who were being brought 
in from the adjoinmg villages, and were led past me. These women, ^o 
were evidently wives and mothers, it was explained in answer to my 
inquiry, had been seized in order to compel tiieir husbands to bring in 



IN THE LOPORI-MARINGA 167 

antelope or other meat which was overdue, and some of which it was 
very kmdly 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 gcM 
offices of this gentleman. 

'' As I was leaving Bongandanga, on September 3^ several elderly head- 
men of the neighbouring villages were putting off m 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 September 5.'* 

The effect of these sights upon our Consul would appear 
to have been quite contrary to that which the philanthropic 
monarch of the Congo territories in Brussels had a right to 
expect Mr. Casement, extraordinary to relate, was painfully 
affected In an extremely courteous letter to the " supreme 
authorities " in the Congo, chiefly concerned with certain well- 
founded complaints on the part of British subjects, Mr. Case- 
ment says : 

'^ I am sure your Excellency would share my feelings of indignation 
had the nnJiappy spectacles I have witnessed of late come before your 
£xcellency*s own eyes. I cannot believe that the full extent of the ill^^ty 
of the system of arbitrary impositions, followed by dire and illegal punish- 
ments, which is in force over so wide an area of the country I nave so 
recently visited, is known to or properly appreciated by your Excellency, 
or the central administration of the Congo State Government. I have 
seen women and young children summarily arrested, taken away from 
theur homes and families, to be kept in a wholly illegal and painful deten- 
tion, guarded often bv armed sentries, because, as I was informed by 
their captors, their villages, or their male relatives, had failed to bring in 
antelope meat or some other commodity desired by the local Europeans. 
... On September 2, 1 encountered at Bongandanga fifteen women and 
girls, one with a baby at the breast, being led to the prison (termed, I find, 
the fnaison des Stages) and yarded by three sentries of the AHr Company ; 
and in answer to my inquiry as to who these women were, and why they 
were being thus led away, I was told by the acting representative oH that 
company, a M. Peters, that they were arrested, and would be kept m 
detention, until their husbands or male relatives had redeemed them in 
antelope or other meat, which was required from their village for the use 
of the white man*s table. . . . This method of obtaining supplies, I am 
informed, is in frequent operation, and I saw, during my brief stay at 
Bongandanga, sev^al other cases of arrest and detention by the local 
agent of the Abir^ which were, I believe, equally illegaL The effect nro- 
duced on mvmind from a very limited inspection of the system, revealing 
itself in such painful incidents as these, was that that system, and not the 
agents who are forced to keep it at work, was wrong in the extreme. . • . 
I gather, too, that Bongandanga is, perhaps, noteworthy amone the 
stations of the Abir concession m the forbearance and discretion wown 
by its agent, M. Lejeune, in his manner of imposing these exactions upon 
the local inhabitants ; but I must confess with pain and astonishment 
that, instead of a trading or commercial establishment, I felt that I was 
visiting a penal settlement." 



i68 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

The lot of the natives of the Lopori-Maringa r^on does 
not appear to be much brighter now than it was when " Judge 
Rossi" made his tour of inquiry. But what matter; have 
not the dividends of VAbir been fat and comely ? Was not 
the native of Africa created for the especial purpose of con- 
tributing to the well-being of Messrs. A. Van den Nest & Co. ? 
As the Congo Note says : 

*^It is intelligible that Governments {sict) 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 
civilisation.** 

Let "civilisation" flourish, then, and down with the 
" sentimentalists " ! * 

The " civilisation " of the Lulonga district has been taken 
in hand quite a number of times. After being subjected to 
"comprehensive handling" by two of the large Concession 
Companies — possibly one of those mentioned by Consul 
Casement as having expended in " three years 72,000 rounds 
of ball cartridge" in the production of indiarubber — "who 
only abandoned it when, as one of their agents informed me, 
it was nearly exhausted," the district has been handed over to 
a small "company" known as the La Lulanga. The stock of 
rubber vines is nearly exhausted, and " it is only with great 
difficulty that the natives are able to produce the quantity 
sufficient to satisfy their local masters." Oppression, outrage, 
murder, and mutilation supply the stimulus to their exertions 
in this respect This "Trading Company," we infer from 
Consul Casement's report, is entitled to claim its indiarubber 
from the natives i titre dHmpSt. That the inference is correct, 
we have since learned from the document issued by the Congo 
Government as a " reply " to the British White Book, wherein 
we are informed, inter alia, that the natives of tfie Lulonga 
lied to the Consul (in connection with the mutilation of Epondo, 
see Chapter! XXX.) in order to escape from '' t obligation de 
Fimpdt ! " Singular form of " trading " I 

The following extract from our Consul's report describes 
more eloquently the condition of the people of the Lulanga 
district than any words of mine : 

"At a village I touched at up the Lulon|;a River, 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 

* For still more recent and more appalling details from the AHr 
territory, the reader is referred to the letters in the Appendix, received 
since this volume was completed. 




iwo wkilTcuki; mongu \v(.)MI::n ikc'M tiii-: Aiiik coxciissiox. 



ON THE LULONGO 169 

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 
Cailure to send in to the Mampoko head-quarters of the La Luluiga 
Company a reeular supply of indiarubber, and two men, whose names 
were given, had been killed by the soldiers at that time. 

" As Ir- — lies upon the main stream of the Lulongo River, 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 guard- 
ing 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 bearing a double-barrelled shot-gun, for which he 

had a belt of cartridges, at once volunteered an expl^iation of the reason 
for these women's detention. Four of them, he said, were hostages who 
were being held to ensure the peacefid settlement of a dispute between 
two neighbouring 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 themiselves. 

'*The eleven remaining women, whom he indicated, he said he had 
caught and was detaining as prisoners to compel their husbands to bring 
in the right amount of indiarubber required of them on next market day. 
When I asked if it was a woman's work to collect indiarubber, he said, 
'No; that, of course, 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 if I 
catch the wives, the husbands are anxious to have them home again, and 
so the rubber is brought in quickly and quite up to the mark.' When I 
asked what would become of these women if their husbands failed to 
bring in the right quantity of 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 of 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, where he often had to catch women to ensure 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 sentiys statements were clear and explicit, as were eaually those of 
several of the villagers with whom I spoke. The sentry furtner explained, 
in answer to my inquiry, that he caught women in this way by direction 



170 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

of his employers. That it was a custom generally adof^ted and found to 
work wdl ; that the people were very lazy, and that this was mudi 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 bring in 
rul^>er,' 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 (ndered 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 tiieir head — 
down to the water side, each carrying a bundle of firewood for my 
steamer. A few chickois which were brought were only purchased 
through their intermediary, the native owner m eadi case handinfi^ iht 
fowl over to the sentry, who then brought it on board, bargained tor it, 
and took the price agreed upon. When, in the evening^ the Chief of the 
village was invited to come and talk to me, he came m evident fear of 

the sentries seeing him or overhearing his ranaiks, and the leader, S , 

findinsf him talkmg to me, peremptorily broke into the conversation ana 
himse& answered each qo(»tion put to Ae Chief. When I asked this 
latter if he and his townsmen did not catch fish in the C-*-*- River, in 
which we learned there was much, the sentry, intervening, said it was 
not the business of these people to catch fishr— ^they have no time for 
that, they have got to get the rubber I tell them to.' 

'' At nightfoU the fbfteen women in the died were tied together, either 
neck to neck or ankle to anlde, 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 feading sentry, before leaving 
the village, ordered his companion in my hearing to 'keep close guard cm 
the prisoners.*" 

In conclusion, the reader should be reminded that ^ what- 
ever may have been said," the "prosperity" of the Congo 
State '' has not been attained to the detriment of the lot of the 
native." 



CHAPTER XIV 

congo state control in the northern district 
(the welle-rubi, welle-makua, and lado enclave) 

** When onr directisiff will !• impUuited among tiiem (' barbaixms 
conwiiunitieB ') its aim is to triiunph orer all obstacles^ and results 
lifaidi oould not be attained bj lengthy speeches may follow 
fdlantkropic influence."— KiNQ LEOPOLD, in a letter to his 
agents. 

*' Je terminerai, en tous distant ^ne le gonvemement a le ferme 
espohr que, tods inspirant des considerations ezpos^es en tftte de 
la pf^^soite, Tons fonmires une noovelle prenve d'acttvit6 et de 
d^TOnement en laisante produire ^ la Zom quevous eommanda U nuud^ 
m$tm d€ restcurces ^on en piut tirer** — Gore m o r gener a l ad interim 
Pblix Puchs to District Comndssiooer of the Rafai-WeUs 
Zone.* 

*' It appears to me that the (acts which I have stated above 
afford amply sufficient evidence of the spirit which animates tiie 
Belgian Administration^ if, indeed, adminmration it can be called." 
—Lord Cromer (Africa, Na I., 1904). 

Between the Welle and Rub! rivers, and immediately south 
of the former, is the country of the Aba-Buas. Early in 1901, 
these people rose, attacked, captured, and sacked the Congo 
!^te Station of Libokwa, killing forty-five soldiers, and carry- 
ing away many rifles and nearly 50,000 rounds of ammunition. 
For nearly a year the State was powerless to regain control of 
the country, and its communications with the Lado Enclave 
were cut off. However, in January, 1902, the Belgian Press 
announced that " the revolt of the Aba-Buas was ended " by 
Commandant Lahaye, who had recaptured 107 rifles and muc^ 
ammunition from the rebels. Whether the victory was th^ 
crushing one it was represented to be, may well be doubted. 
At any rate, the Belgian papers announced, in November, 1902, 
that trouble had again broken out in the Welle district, and 
that Commandant Lahaye had been killed by Chief Kodja, 
who then committed suicide ; and in December a further 
announcement was made that a European sei^eant of die 
Force Publique had been killed by the natives in the Welle 

* Congo Debate, Belgian House, July, 1903. 



172 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

region. Of course, the Welle region is very lai^e, and these 
occurrences may have referred to other portions of it* 

The reader who has followed up to this point the un- 
ravelling of the Congo problem, as attempted in the present 
volume, will not presumably entertain much doubt as to the 
origin of the Aba-Bua rising. He will put it down to the 
same causes which have led, for the last thirteen years, to 
those innumerable risings of natives, tormented beyond en- 
durance by the grinding oppression of which the Congo terri- 
toiy has been the scene. And he will be right 

Here, however, is what the Belgian public was told, and 
the European public outside of Belgium invited to believe, in 
regard to this particular revolt In May, 1902, Commandant 
Chaltin, in charge of the Congo State forces in the Lado 
Enclave, and whose comfort, in the absence of fresh supplies, 
may have been interfered with by the Aba-Bua rising which 
closed the route for a time, returned to Belgium and was 
interviewed by the Belgian Press. The world was informed 
by the gallant officer — ^he was, at any rate, reported thus to 
have said — ^that the reason of the Aba-Bua revolt " is the same 
as that which provokes nearly all the uprisings, viz. the laziness 
of the negro and his opposition to civilisation." 

We have discussed both the " laziness " of the Negro and the 
particular brand of civilisation which is offered to him under 
the " blue banner with the golden star," so it is unnecessary to 
go into that again. But by the merest chance the facts as to 
3iis specific " revolt " have come to light ; they do not alto- 
gether fit in with Commandant Chaltin's dictum. They con- 
stitute what has since become known as the Tilkens case, 
which will be found fully set forth in the speeches of M. Van- 
dervelde in the Belgian House (Part V.). Meanwhile here, in 
brief, is a summary of the events which led to the Aba-Buas* 
" opposition to civilisation." 

Captain Tilkens, a non-commissioned officer of the Belgian 
army, but a commissioned one in the Congo army, having 
already spent some time in the Congo in the State's employ, 
returned to Africa in November, 1897, and was given command 
of the Government station of Libokwa in the Rubi- Welle Zone, 
in the country of the Aba-Buas. His station was on the route 
which supplies for the Congo State " posts " on the Nile had 
to take. At that period the State was organising heavy 
transport for its Nilotic stations, and the Aba-Buas had to 
furnish carriers. The official in chaise of Libokwa had to find 
the men. He was the only European in the station, and he 

* The Aba-Buas are once more reported to be in revolt, by the Belgian 
Press (August). 



IN THE RUBI-WELLE 173 

had eighty native soldiers under him, over whose actions he, 
being the only white man, could in any case have had little or 
no control. The people were much oppressed by this continued 
drain upon their resources. Tilkens wrote home to a military 
friend about this time, telling him of the state of affairs, and 
mentioning that, to make matters worse, he had just been 
instructed by the official of the neighbouring post that he 
would be expected to produce 1500 carriers, as very lai^e 
transport was coming up. He wrote to his friend in a despair- 
ing tone. Three times, he said, he had had to make war upon 
the people, to force them to come in as carriers ; his soldiers 
raped the women and stole the children ; the people were 
wretchedly paid for the work ; the road was a very bad one, 
and numbers of carriers used to die of exhaustion and priva- 
tion. Notwithstanding these heavy calls upon their " laziness," 
the Aba-Buas at that time apparently produced some little 
rubber, in the usual form, of course, viz. taxation, " for benefits 
rendered" But, early in 1898, the Rubi- Welle Zone was placed 
under the regime militaire spicial^ and a new District Com- 
missioner was appointed. To this man, the acting Grovemor- 
General of the Congo, M. Felix Fuchs, wrote on March 28 of 
that year, instructing him to increase the rubber yield of the 
region, and assuring him that he could best serve his interests 
and those of the Government ^' en faisant produire d la Zone 
que vous commandez, le maximum de ressources que Von en peut 
tirery The District Commissioner, acting upon his instructions, 
promptly informed by letter his subordinates who were scat- 
tered about the country that their stations must produce 4000 
kilos, of rubber per month, and that they could use force if 
required.* By October, 1898, Libokwa was producing 1500 
kilos, compared with 360 kilos., the average of the previous 
months! In a letter to his relatives, Tilkens wrote in high 
spirits, explaining the system of bonuses whereby his earnings 
were to be proportionate to the quantity of rubber product. 
At the same time, Tilkens was unbosoming himself in letters 
to his military friend in Belgium. It is important to note that 
they were written at the time Tilkens was actually displaying 
that " activity," and earning rewards, distinctions, congratula- 
tions, and military stripes. 

They are a strange mixture, these letters, of the sort of 
dull ferocity of a man rendered callous and desperate by the 
knowledge that he is placed between the devil and the deep 
sea, and of one who is appalled at the task which he has to 
perform. They afford in themselves a psycholc^ical study of 

* Vide Vandervelde in the course of the debate referred to. 



174 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

no little interest* The writer warns his friends over and over 
^ain that the natives will rise. They have to furnish rubber, 
foxi-stuffs, carriers. He has been raiding and fighting them 
for three months; several of his soldiers have been killed; 
he has 152 '' hostages "t whidi he is taking back to his post 
Chiefs come to him saymg that they cannot fulfil his requests, 
as they are ruined, and their people are abandoning the 
country ; he puts them in " the chains." On one occasion he 
is ordeied to attack Chief Beretio, who b not supplying 
enough rubber ; he cannot use his own soldiers, for fear of 
weakening his station, so invites auxiliaries, who join on the 
understanding that they get a woman apiece as their share of 
the loot! For two years this butchery and miseiy goes on. 
Then he is ordered to leave Libokwa and take diarge of the 
larger station at Jabir. 

That was in September, 190a On November 17 the 
Governor-General of the Congo writes him a letter bestowing 
good-conduct stripes, and "sincerely congratulating" him on 
his labours I Then the dreaded rising takes place. The 
natives attack Libokwa and sack it ; the whole country is up. 
**La boutique sautei^ writes Tilkens to a military friend on 
February 3, 1901, " the native is tired, worn out, and in every 
mouth are heard complaints and recriminations against this 
cursed rubber which will bring the State to ruin." 

The main thing to bear in mind is (i) the entire similarity 
between the revelations of Tilkens and the proved atrocities 
of the Mongalla in 1900 and 1903 ;. the condkion of the Abir 
territories as disclosed by Judge Rossi's interrogatory, by Consul 
Casement in 1903, and by die resident missionaries in 1903 
and 1904 ; the revelations of Scrivener from the Domaine de la 
Couronne, Morrison from the Kasai, Campbell and others from 
Katanga, etc., identical results ensuing from the same sj^tem. 
But the Tilkens case in another respect is unique, being the 
first instance where a Belgian officer, condemned in default in 
the Congo, returns to Be^um and bees to be allowed to clear 
himself, and to prove that what he did, he did because he was 

* They recall vividly to mind the poweffiil picture of Congo life drawn 
by Mr. Joseph Conrad in the '' Heart of Darkness." 

t One of the counts of the indictment against this man, read out to 
the Belgian House by the Minister for Foreien Affairs, was that of ill- 
treating and starving prisoner8| to which TiUcens replied through M. 
Vandervelde that tte tact of his keeping hostages was perfectly well 
known to his superiors. Compare in tnis connection Consul Casement's 
references to the case of the British subject in the MongaQa Concession, 
the Consul's references to the maison des Stages in the Abh: concession^ 
etc. It is the same all throngh. Whenever a ray of light pierces the 
clouds, the same system is sees at work, piodudng the same results. 



IN THE RUBI-WELLE 175 

a soldier compelled to obey instructions. He begs the boon 
earnestly and repeatedly, and it is refused, because — the facts 
are absolutely conclusive — ^because the Congo Executive no 
more dare prosecute in open court in Belgium than it would 
dare to assent to an international commission of inquiry unless 
certain beforehand of being able to pack it 

However greatly we may reprobate the acts of a Tilkens, 
a Caudron, a Matdieys, or a Lacroix, it must never be for- 
gotten that they are victims of a murderous system of oi^ranised 
extortion. What can these men — ^seldom of a high type— do 
in the heart of Africa but what they are told ? They cannot 
get out of the country save by the Congo ports ; they would 
not be allowed to leave; they are at the mercy of the 
Executive ; half their salary is detained in Europe, and nine 
times out of ten, even if by exceptional good fortune they 
managed to reach Matadi, they would not have sufficient 
money to pay their passage home. That there have been 
occasions when a young fellow of good instincts, realising 
upon reaching his destination the full horror of his duties, has 
unbosomed himself and begged piteously to be allowed to 
return, I know, and also that the request has been refused 
That officers of humane feelings have been rebuked on occasion 
by their superiors for "softness," I know. That several of the 
recently recruited Italian officers, who are on a different foot- 
ing, have resigned, and sent home burning letters of protest, 
I Imow. The responsibility before God and man is not theirs, 
but that of the barbarous and disgraced " Government " into 
whose clutches they fall, and through which they are debased. 
Thus was brought about the "opposition" of the Aba- 
Buas to "civilisation." But the Rubi- Welle "Zone" of the 
Damaine Privi has produced much rubber for two years ; and, 
for still longer, many carriers to transport those munitions of 
war with whidh the Sovereign of the Congo State has been 
filling the Lado Enclave these many years past And that 
is only one small item of Congolese history, one bloody page 
alone in the Book of the Dead.* 

The Belgian papers reported in 1901 and 1902 fighting in 
the Niam-Niam country bordering the Bahr-el-Ghazd, and in 
the Welle-Makua "Zone" against a branch of the Asande 
people. La Tribune CongoUnse^ of Antwerp, referring to the 
Makua " Zone," publifdied in 1902 a letter from a correspon* 
dent to the effect that, after the fightings " all the rich Southern 
region has submitted; it is making rubber. It brings in 
enormous quantities, and will bring in more," etc One can 

* For a full account of the Tilkens affair, and the various aspects of 
the Congo probleoi wUch it raises, see Part V. 



176 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

only imagine what the condition of affairs must be in this 
region, by what one knows it to be where particulars have 
come to hand But one cannot but be struck by the cheer- 
fulness or the indifference with which the Belgian papers make 
periodical announcements such as these : " 'fiie Asandes have 
risen. A column is being sent against them." " The Dinkas, 
who live on the Congo State frontier, have revolted." " Rein- 
forcements have been sent to the Welle district" No questions 
are ever asked ; no editorial comments ever indulged in 1 It 
seems the most natural thing in the world. It is all part of 
the " pacification " of those vast regions ; necessary accompani- 
ments of " social development ; " 3ie resistance of " primitive 
nature " to the " pressing appeals of Christian culture." * In 
September, 1903, the Belgian papers announced another 
" revolt " of the Asandes. 

The political intrigues of the Sovereign of the Congo State 
in respect to the Bahr-el-Ghazal territories were more or less 
fully set forth by the author in the Nineteenth Century for 
August, igoi.t As we are dealing in this section of the present 
volume solely with the results of the application of the New 
African Slave Trade upon the natives of the Congo territories, 
it would be out of place to refer either to the political history 
of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, or to that portion of it known as the 
Lado Enclave, since the thrice unfortunate Agreement of 1894, 
one of the most unhappy diplomatic entanglements in which 
this country ever found itself inveigled. For the same reason, 
it is unnecessary to deal with the more recent developments of 
the question. 

The small Lower Congo and the Lado Enclave are on a 
somewhat different footing to the enormous territory of the 
Congo State outside of them. In the Lower Congo it has 
not been thought worth while hitherto to put the " Domaine " 
theory in "execution," but, from what I hear, the Lower 
Congo will not escape much longer, as the Executive is said 
to t^ filling the Mayumbe with troops, and the condition of 
affairs is steadily worsening. 

On the other hand, the occupation of the Lado Enclave 
has been a political move throughout on the part of King 
Leopold He did not go there, and has not maintained him- 
self there at fabulous expense, and at the cost of thousands 
of lives (for the Sovereign of die Congo State's Nilotic ambi- 
tions not only led to one of the two great military rebellions, 
but have necessitated the enslavement and death of innu- 
merable natives forced into carriers to keep the Government 

* King Leopold, in a letter to his agents. 

t "The Congo State and the Bahr-el-Gha«al.'' 




MANYAXGA NATIVKS, CATARACTS REGION (LOWER CONGO) 



IN THE LADO ENCLAVE 177 

oflScers, soldiers, and forts in the Lado Enclave supplied for 
nearly a decade, to say nothing of the expense and the conse- 
quent rubber " taxes "), in order to obtain rubber and ivory out of 
a very restricted area, such as the Enclave covers. To extend 
the State's sphere right over the Bahr-el-Ghazal province, with 
its huge supplies of ivory and enormous herds of cattle, was no 
doubt one of the main ideas of King Leopold in filling the 
Lado Enclave with troops and war material That he had 
others, and even more ambitious ones, there is no doubt, nor 
of their nature ; but Dhanis's failure,* and the timely informa- 
tion sent home by Colonel Pulteney, wrecked his plans, to the 
great good of Africa. So we find that the duties of the officials 
in the Lado Enclave, which the Sovereign of the Congo State 
continues to occupy, and it is said with much appearance of 
truth, to fortify, have been mainly military. They have not, 
so far as can be gathered, had to play the part of " farmers ol 
the taxes " levied upon the inhabitants. The consequence is 
that the policy of " moral and material regeneration " has been 
less conspicuous. Several British officers have testified to the 
fine military stations and the smart equipment of Congo State 
soldiers in the Enclave, and as on several occasions British 
officers, whose business brought them either permanently or 
temporarily in touch with the Congo State officers, have been 
courteously treated by the latter, one or two British military 
observers have rather rashly jumped to the conclusion that the 
Lado Enclave is a typical example of Congo State administra- 
tion in Africa. They have been the more prone to judge thus 
hastily, as the British Treasury has not been so lavish in its 
expenditure of money on the British stations facing the Congo 
State side of the river as the Sovereign of the Congo State has 
been to embellish the State posts. But although the territory of 
the Lado Enclave is virgin of the worst aspects of Congo State 
policy, the treatment of the native population appears to be 
tainted by the general disregard of elementary native rights, 
which is the characteristic feature of that policy all through. 

Thus M. Didier of the (French) du Bourg de Bozas expe- 
dition, which passed through the Lado Enclave in October, 
1902, reports that the neighbourhood of the Congo State fort 
at Dufile " has been deserted by its former inhabitants." Along 
the whole course of the route followed by the expedition no 
villages were found ; the natives, he reports, had fled, " tearing 
the white man's impositions." 

Lord Cromer's allusions to the administration of the State, 
as observed and gathered by him, in the Lado Enclave, are 
given in the White Book (Africa, No. i, 1904) : 

* See Chapter XIX. 

N 



178 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

''The reason of all this (deserted condition of country, oppression^ 
etc) is obvious enough. The Belgians are disliked. 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, that payments are rarely made 
for supplies. ... I understand that no Belgian officer can move outside 
the s^Uements without a strong guard. It appears to me that the facts 
I have stated above afibrd 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." 

A polite condemnation and, in view of the high position 
and experience of the writer, a weighty indictment, root and 
branch, of the " administration " in a part of the territory where 
its evil methods are least conspicuous. 



CHAPTER XV 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE DOMAINE DE LA 
COURONNE 

*' I may add that the value of rubber, even when free from all 
admixture, has gone down in erery market for lome time. Terri- 
torial chiea must, therefore, not only remove the two causes of 
loss iidiich they can eliminate, but they must also tiy to neutralise 
the third by making unceasing efforts to increase production to tbit 
extent laid down in the instructions."— Governor-General Wahis, 
March ap, Z90Z (Africa, No. L, 2904). 

"The personnel of the diirtnct of Lake Leopold IL increases 
progressively with the exploitation of those vast territories ; there 
are now thirty-five Europeans therein. From the commercial point 
of view, the situation is most prosperous ; the natives continue to 
cultivate, and labour, with regularity. The most perfect calm 
does not cease to exist in all parts of the district which have sub- 
mitted to the authority of the State. "— Tndum Cangolaise^ Antwerp, 
Feb. z8, Z904. 

" In the Name of Almighty God," the great Powers met in 
Brussels in 1890, and with that invocation— as at Berlin five 
years before — they closed their sittings on July 2. They 
declared themselves to be " equally animated by a firm inten- 
tion of putting an end to the crimes and devastations engen- 
dered by the traffic in African slaves, of protecting effectually 
the aboriginal population of Africa, and of ensuring for that 
vast continent the benefit of peace and civilisation." The 
Congo State, to whom was chiefly committed the conduct of 
this campaign of light against darkness, launched many 
crusaders into the night of Central Africa. The dawn has 
broken ; the work these champions of Christendom have 
accomplished grows slowly clear. 

To aid in this noble project the Sovereign of this high 
order even gave a special portion of his Royal Domain- 
carved from the ampler whole — which, as the Domaine de la 
Couronne, constitutes a " civil personality," administered by a 
special board of civil knights composed of three persons, all 
high in His Majesty's confidence. The revenues of this 
region were devoted to the cause of Right — so we were told. 
Virtue, true virtue, is ever modest No public account has 



i8o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

ever been given of the revenues of the Domainede la Couronne. 
The truly great, and truly generous man, does not care that 
his neighbours shall know the full extent of his private 
charities. He prefers to distribute alms in silence and secrecy, 
lest the extent of his benefactions, becoming common property, 
should lead the vulgar to declare, "See the gifts of this 
fellow. They are but conceived in ostentation and distributed 
as an indication of self-constituted righteousness." So to tliis 
day, the world ignores the amount of the revenues yielded up 
yearly from the mysterious depths of the Domaine de la 
Couronne, 

But here, if anywhere, this holy cause, the world felt, was 
at home ; here, if anywhere, " the lilies of eternal peace " must 
be springing from the blood-stained soil of heathendom ; here, 
if anywhere, through the blackness of the long African mid- 
night, had shone the bright armour of Galahad. 

But that " divinity which doth hedge a king " set a thicket 
of thorns— or bayonets — around this divine demesne ; here no 
curious philanthropic eye might invade the sacred enclosure 
where the Master Philanthropist devised peace for the be- 
nighted African. These were the home-lands of material and 
moral regeneration ; sweetness and light reposed upon their 
threshold, across which the knights of the holy quest alone 
were permitted to tread. Afar off the missionary might look 
with wonder at the smoke he saw issuing from the lips of 
a thousand rifles which built up that sacred barrier. It was 
the smoke of peace — so we were told. 

In 1899 a party of missionaries ascended the Ruki, a great 
central affluent of the Congo, which drains a portion of this 
mystic domain of the Crown. They laboured under the 
delusion that here, if anywhere, they might found a temple to 
the Christian God. But the Knights of the Grail willed 
otherwise. They were pursued by some of the chivalry of the 
region, and, under a strict guard of thirty rifles, were barred 
from all intercourse with the regenerated heathen. They were 
not allowed to speak, or even to buy food from their nearest 
native neighbours. After a month of vain effort to enter into 
relations with the natives, whose lips were sealed to them, as 
were theirs, with their message of good-will, by that potent 
barrier of rifles, they had to descend 5ie Ruki in canoes, and in 
a state of semi-starvation. 

That was the sole effort outside Christendom had made to 
see the knights of the anti-slaveiy crusade in the inner house 
of their order . . . until last year. It was reserved Tor another 
missionary, this time alone, and on foot, across 150 miles of 
wasted desolation whence all human life has been extirpated, 



DOMAINE DE LA COURONNE i8i 

to at length penetrate this innermost sanctuary of Congo State 
rule; where theory has given place to practice, and where moral 
regeneration has laid its bloody grip upon the entrails of 
Africa. It has been reserved also for a British official, of 
experience and repute, to gather from the lips of some of the 
fugitive tribesmen from this holy of holies the tales of horror 
and bestial savagery to which their poor bodies have been 
subjected. Mr. Scrivener is an Englishman who has been a 
missionary in the Congo since 1888. He entered and traversed 
a tract of the Domaine de la Cotironne in July, August, and 
September, 1903. Mr. Roger Casement is an official of tried 
experience, of great and peculiar knowledge of Africa and 
African conditions. Moved by a worthy impulse, Mr. Scrivener 
placed his journal of notes at my disposal. Mr. Casement's 
account figfures in the official report recently published. 

I append the following extracts from Mr. Scrivener's 
journal : 

" Leavin^^ Bombenda on the 12th August, we struck inland, making a 
somewhat circuitous route to Mpoko. Here I heard of several men * 
who were wishful of seeing their old home near Lake Leopold II. Sent 
for them to come. . . . Started on Tuesday, i8th August^ for the lake, 
caravan mustering in all thirty-two, including a widow who wanted to see 
her mother near the lake. Six hours' wallang took us to Kebembe, a 
rather miserable group of villages on the side of a low hill. Country 
through which we passed only sparsely populated. • . . 

'* On the 2 1st we came to some cassava plantations, and we saw a man 
running away. He was called to, but would not stop. A little later we 
saw a tew little huts. When we got into the village, we found it to consist 
of four wretched huts with three men. four women and a few boys and girls, 
all looking as miserable as they could be. ... At six in the morning woke 
up to find it still raining. It kept on till nine, and we managed to get off 
by eleven. All the cassava bread was finished the day previous, so a little 
rice was cooked, but it was a hungry crowd that left the little village. I tried 
to find out something about them. They said they were runaways from a 
district a little distance away, where rubber was being collected. They 
told us some horrible tales of murder and starvation, and when we heard 
all we wondered that men so maltreated should be able to live without 
retaliation. The boys and girls were naked, and I gave them each a strip 
of calico, much to their wonderment. . . . The broad road we had seen was 
a relic of the days when the rubber war was in full swiug, and the people 
of that district had been compelled to collect it by the ton. The country 
had been depopulated, hence the difficulty in finding roads, the unbumt 
grass, and increase in buf&loes. ... In the afternoon we passed a ruined 
mud house, and were told that this had been a rubber post with soldiers 
in charge, but that since aU the people had run away it had been given 
up. Later on we saw still more numerous sites where only recentljr thoo- 
tands of people had been living. Cassava was still growing in the 

}>lantations, and bananas were rotting on the trees. Here and there a 
iew blackened sticks showed where the huts had been, and sometimes 

* Refugees. 



i82 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

huts were seen fiurly well preserved and with cooking utensils lying about ; 
but never a man, woman, or child : all as still as the grave. A little 
further on we found another deserted rubber post. This one had evidently 
been quite an imposing afTair, and although I heard it had been abandoned 
for over two years, it still looked as if at one time it had been a place of 
considerable importance. But I was assured Uiat at no time had a white 
man been resident here, but only a soldier with a few raw helpers. The 
white man had made occasional visits, and ^ret the whole district was 
practically cleared of every vestige of population. Just as the sun was 
setting we reached a large and imposing State post. A large quadrangle, 
say 300 yards square, surrounded by wattle and daub erections. I 
expected at least two white men would be resident, but was surprised to 
find only a retired soldier with a few nondescripts to assist There was a 
long house which I was told had been the residence of a white man they 

called . I had heard before of this white man from the refugees in 

the neighbourhood of Bolobo, and was naturally curious to know more 
about him. But there was no need to probe or question. From the 
work-people about the post, and the few miserable people in the wretched 
village aajoining the post, came spontaneously stories of the most atro- 
cious deeds, and of murders of such a wholesale character that it was 
difficult to believe them. All round the post, which was splendidly 
situated and commanded fine views in all directions, were plentiful signs 
of the former population. This place, Mbolo, had been the home of 
some of the people near Bolobo, and I heard many stories of the big 
villages and the many chiefs. But, alas ! I could only hear of three very 
smaU villages, and later I heard from a whhe official that the totsd 
remaining population did not number 100 all told. ... On the Monday 
(24th} we made an early start, and with a well-cleared road, through a 
fine open country, made good progress. . . . Here and there on both 
sides were frequent signs of a recent population, but for hours we walked 
through a deserted country, and not once did we see the slightest sign of 
human habitation, excepting the road over which we walked. . . . Four hours 
and a half brought us to a place called Sa. . . . On the way we passed 
two villages with more people than we had seen for days. There may 
have been 120. Close to the post was another smaU village. We decided 
to stay there the rest of the day. Three chiefs came in with all the adult 
members of their people, and altogether there were not 300. And this 
where, not more than six or seven years ago, there were at least 3000 1 It 
made one's heart heavy to listen to the tales of bloodshed and cruelty. 
And it all seemed so foolish. To kill the people off in the wholesale way 
in which it has been done in this lake district, because they would not 
bring in sufficient quantity of rubber to satisfy the white men — and now 
here is an empty country and a very much diminished output of rubber 
as the inevitable consequence. . . . Next morning when we started again 
we had to be ferried over a small river. We began to think we must be 
getting near the lake. We passed a deserted post with fine houses all in 
good repair, and a little farther on we went through another village. On 
tor another good spell of walking through fairly open country to a very 
large and flourishing-looking post, with several oig villages close by. 
This place must formerly have been a very large settlement of the Basen- 
gele or BakutiL We passed through miles and miles of deserted sites, 
and on all sides were groves of palms, and bananas, and many other 
evidences of a big people.* 

Finally, Mr. Scrivener emei^ed in the neighbourhood of a 
"big State station." He was hospitably received, and had 



DOMAINE DE LA COURONNE 183 

many chats with his host, who seems to have been a very 
decent sort of man, doing his best under very trying circum- 
stances. His predecessor had worked incalculable havoc in 
the country, and the present occupant of the post was endeavour- 
ing to carry out the duties assigned to him (those duties 
consisting, as usual, of orders to get all the rubber possible out 
of the people) with as much humanity as the nature of the 
task permitted. In this he, no doubt, did what was possible 
as one whom the system had not yet degraded to its level — 
one of the rare few ; and one cannot wonder that they should 
be rare, seeing the nature of the bonds, and the helplessness in 
which an official is placed who does not carry out the full 
desires of his superiors. But he had only succeeded in getting 
himself into trouble with the district commander in con- 
sequence. He showed Mr. Scrivener a letter from the latter 
upbraiding him for not using more vigorous means, telling him 
to talk less and shoot more, and reprimanding him for not 
killing more than one man in a district under his care where 
there was a little trouble ! * 

Mr. Scrivener had the opportunity while at this State post, 
under the rigime of a man who was endeavouring to be as 
humane as his instructions sdlowed, to actually see the process 
whereby the secret revenues of the Domaine de la Couronme 
are obtained. He says : 

^ Everything was on a military basis, but so far as I could see, the one 
and only reason for it all was rubber. It was the theme of every con- 
versation, and it was evident that the only way to please one's superiors 
was to increase the output somehow. I saw a few men come in, and the 
frightened look even now on their faces tells only too eloquently of the 
awful time they have passed through. As I saw it brought in, each man 
had a little basket, containing say, four or five pounds of rubber. This 
was emptied into a larger basket and wei{^ed, and being found sufficient, 
each man was given a cupful of coarse salt, and to some of the headmen 
a £athom of caHco. ... I heard from the white men and some of the 
soldiers some most gruesome stories. The former white man (I fed 
ashamed of my colour every time I Uiink of him) would stand at the door 
of the store to receive the rubber from tlft poor trembling wretches, who 
after, in some cases, weeks of privation in the;forests, had ventured in with 
what they had been able to collect. A man bringing rather under the 
proper amount, the white man flies into a rage, and seizing a rifle from 
one of the guards, shoots him dead on the spot. Very rarely did rubber 
come in, but one or more were shot in that way at the door of the store 
— * to make the survivors bring more next time.' Men who had tried to 
run from the country and had been caught, were brought to the station 
and made to stand one behind the other, and an Albini bullet sent through 
them. ' A pity to waste cartridges on such wretches.' On — -* removing 

* See also "Africa," No. I., p. 63. This official has since died, and 
his predecessor has apparently gone out to the Congo once more. 



i84 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

from the station, his successor aUnost fainted on attempting to enter the 
station prison, in which were numbers of poor wretches so reduced by 
starvation and the awful stench from weeks of accumulation of filth, that 
they were not able to stand. Some of the stories are unprintable. . . . 
Under the present rigime a list is kept of all the people. Every town is 
known and visited at stated intervals. Those stationel near the posts 
are required to do the various tasks, such as the bringing in of timber and 
other material. A little oayment is made, but that it is in any respect an 
equivalent it would be aosurd to suppose. The people are regarded as 
the property of the State for any purpose for which tney may be needed. 
That they have any desires of their own, or any plans nmth canying out 
in connection with their own lives, would create a smile among the officials* 
It is one continual grind, and theinative intercourse between one district 
and another in the old style is practically non-existent. Only the roads 
to and fro from the vanous posts are kept open, and lam tracts of 
country are abandoned to the wikl beasts. The white man himself told 
me that you could walk on for five days in one direction, and not see a 
single viUage or a single human being. And this where formerly diere 
was a big tribe 1 . . • From thence on to the Lake we found the road more 
and more swampy. Leaving Mbongo on Saturday (29U1) we passed 
through miles of deserted viUages, and saw at varying distances many 
signs of the former inhabitants. . . . Leaving the plain, we entered a 
forest and found the road followed for three-quarters of an hour the course 
of a £Etst-flowing, swollen stream. Then for half an hour through some 
deserted gardens and amongst the ruins of a number of villages, then a 
sharp turn to the left through another low-lying bit of grassland. . . •" 

In due course Mr. Scrivener arrived at Ngongo, where the 
surviving relatives of the refugees whom Mr. Scrivener had 
brought with him, as already mentioned, met after their long 
parting: 

^ As one by one the surviving relatives of my men arrived, some 
affecting scenes were enacted. There was no falling on necks and weep- 
ing, but very genuine joy was shown and tears were shed as the losses 
death had made were told. How they shook hands and snajq^ their 
fingers ! What exnressions of surprise--the wide-opened mouth c o vered 
wiui the open hand to make its evidence of wonder the more apfiarent. 
. . . So far as the State post was concerned, it was in a very dib^dated 
condition. ... On three sides of the usual huge quadrangle there were 
abundant signs of a former population, but we only found three villages 
— ^bigger indeed than any we had seen before, but sadly diminished fmoL 
what had been but recently the condition of the place . • . Soon we 
began talking, and, without any encouragement on my part, they b^an 
the tales I had become so accustomed ta They were hving m peace and 
quietness when the white men came in from Uie Lake with all sorts of 
nequests to do this and to do that, and they thought it meant slaveiy. 
So they attempted to keep the white men out of their country, but with- 
out avaiL The rifles were too much for them. So they submitted, and 
made up their minds to do the best they could under the altered circimi- 
stances. First came the conmiand to build houses for the soldiers, and 
this was done without a murmur. Then they had to feed the soldiers, 
and all the men and women — hangers-on who accompanied them. Then 
they were told to brine in rubber. This was quite a new thine for them 
to do. There was rumr in the forest several days away from their home. 



DOMAINE DE LA COURONNE 185 

but that it was worth anything was news to them.* A small reward was 
offered, and a rush was made for the rubber ; * What strange white men 
to give us cloth and beads for the sap of a wild vine.' They rejoiced in 
what they thought was their good fortune. But soon the reward was 
reduced until they were told to bring in the rubber for nothing. To this 
they tried to demur, but to their great surprise several were shot by the 
soldiers, and the rest were told, with many curses and blows, to go at once 
or more would be killed. Terrified, they began to prepare their food for 
the fortnight's absence from the village, which the collection of the rubber 
entailed. The soldiers discovered them sitting about. * What, not gone 
yet ! ' Bang ! bang ! bang I And down fell one and another dead, in 
the midst of wives and companions. There is a terrible wail, and an 
attempt made to prepare the dead for burial, but this is not allowed. 
All must go at once to the forest And off the poor wretches had to go 
without even their tinder-boxes to make fires. Af any died in the forests 
from exposure and hunger, and still more from the rifles of the ferocious 
soldiers in charge of the post. In spite of all their efforts, the amount fell 
off, and more and more were killed. ... I was shown round the place, 
and the sites of former big chiefs' settlements were pointed out. A care- 
ful estimate made the population of, say, seven years ago, to be 2000 
people in and about the post, within the radius of, say, a quarter of a mile. 
All told they would not muster 200 now, and there is so much sadness 
and ^loom that they are fast decreasing. . . . Lying about in the grass, 
withm a few yards of the house I was occupying, were numbers of human 
bones, in some cases complete skeletons. I counted thirty-six skulls, and 
saw many sets of bones from which the skulls were missing. I called one 
of the men, and asked the meaning of it. * When the rubber palaver 
began,' said he, ' the soldiers shot so many we grew tired of burying, and 
very often we were not allowed to bury, and so just dragged the bodies 
out into the grass and left them. There are hundreds sdl round if you 
would like to see them.' But I had seen more than enough, and was 
sickened by the stories that came from men and women alike of the 
awfiil time they had passed through. The Bulgarian atrocities might be 
considered as mildness itself when compared with what has been done 
here. ... In due course we reached Ibali. There was hardly a sound 
building in the place. . . . Why such dilapidation ? The Commandant 
away for a trip likely to extend into three months, the sub-lieutenant 
away in another direction on a punitive expedition. In other words, 
station must be neelected and rubber-hunting carried out with all vigour. 
I stayed here two days, and the one thing that impressed itself upon me 
was the collection of rubber. I saw long files of men come as at Mbongo 
with their little baskets under their arms, saw them paid their milk-tin- 
fuU of salt, and the two ^rards of calico flung to the head men ; saw their 
trembling timiditv, and in fact a great deal more, to prove the state of 
terrorism that exists, and the virtual slavery in which the people are held. 
... So much for the journey to the Lake. It has enlarged my know- 
ledge of the country, and also, alas ! my knowledge of the awfiu deeds 
enacted in the mad haste of men to get rich. So &r as I know I am the 
first white man to go into the DomcUne privi of the King, other than the 



* The district now under review is, of course, a remote district, and 
consequently had not entered into relationship with the white man, either 
before or after the State inaugurated its 1891 policy of general a^ropri- 
ation and slavery. The first contact of these people with the white race 
is a grisly satire on the alleged blessings of '' avilisation." 



i86 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

imployh of the Sute. I expect there will be wrath in some quarters, but 
that cannot be helped." 

Mr. Scrivener is quite right There will be wrath — such 
enduring wrath, let us hope, as will rescue the inhabitants of 
the Domaine de la Couronne, or what may be left of them, 
from these modem Knights of the Grail, and from the gigantic 
infamy which is being perpetrated " In the name of Almighty 
God " by the legatees of the Berlin and Brussels Acts. 

From Mr. Srivener we turn to the report of Mr. Roger 
Casement On pages 60, 6i, 62, and 63 of the Appendix to 
that appalling document we have full and detailed reports of 
the Consul's conversations with some of the refugees of the 
Domaine de la Couronne region.* A few extracts will give the 
nature of the revelations made to the Consul by these hunted 
beings. 

" 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 imt| 
women as well as men, 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. ... All had fled from their homes for the same 
reason — ^it was the ' rubber tax.' I asked them how this tax was imposed. 
One of them who had been hammering out an iron neck-coUar on my 
arrival spoke first He said, '. . . From our country each viUa^ had 
to take twenty loads of rubbo-. . . . We had to take Uiese loads m four 
times a month.' Q. — * How much pay did you get for this ? ' A. (Entire 
audience) — * We ^ot no pay I We got nothing ! ' And then NN, whom 
I asked again, said, * Our village got cloth and a little salt, but not the 
people who did the work. Our Chiefe ate up the cloth ; the workers got 
nothing. The pay was a fathom of cloth and a little salt for every baslKt- 
fill, but it was given to the Chief. ... It used to take ten days to get the 
twenty baskets full 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 starva- 
tion, 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 with ropes round their 
necks and bodies, and taken away. • . .' Q. — * How many days is it from 

N to your own country ? ' A. — ' Six days of quick marching. We 

fled because we could not endure the things done to us. Our Chidfs were 

* Scrivener, it will be observed, met and spoke with the survivors on 
the spot. Mr. Casement interrogated an entirely different set of 
individuals, viz. refugees who had fled into another district 



DOMAINE DE LA COURONNE 187 

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. — 'The white men told their soldiers, ''You kill only women ; you can- 
not kill men. You must prove that you kill men.' So then the soldiers 
when they killed us ' Here he stopped and hesitated, and then, point- 
ing to the private parts of my buU-dog — 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, smd 
those parts of you carried to him?' A. (PP, 00, and all, shouting) — 
• Yes, many white men.* Q. — * You say this is true ? Were many of 
you so treated after being shot ? ' A. (All shouting out) — * Nkoto ! 
Nkoto I ' (Very many ! ^^ry many !). 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 dearly 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 that state now." 

''An old woman soon came and joined, and another man. The 
woman b^;an talking with much earnestness. She said the Government 
had worked them so hard, they 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 
rubber, and so we starved. We were sent out to get rubber, and when 
we came back with little rubber we were shot.' 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 I Sometimes we brought 
rubber into the white man's stations . . . When it was not enough rubber 
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 
Goverment white men themselves, or under their eyes ? ' A. (emphatic- 
ally)—' 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 initials of several white men guilty of these murders 
are given in the Government report 

It would really be interesting to know the value of the 
rubber got out of the Domaine de la Cauronne^ say within the 
last few years, if only to attempt a calculation as to the number 
of human lives taken per ton of that useful article exported. 

* For a confissian of similar practices the reader is referred to the 
Mongalla Massacres of 1900 already referred to. 



i88 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Both Mr. Scrivener's aocx)unt • of what he personally witnessed, 
and the statements made to the Consul, merely cover, be it 
noted, a very small portion of the area specially set aside as 
the home-land par excellence of the philanthropic efforts of 
Africa's regenerator. 

* A further and more recent letter from Mr. Scrivener, in which he 
describes another journey taken by him this year in a different district of 
the Domaine de la Couronne, is given in the Appendix. 



CHAPTER XVI 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT 
(BASIN OF THE KASAl) 

*'The produce of the Domain, iodiidliifl: the taices in kind, ont 
of a tmdget of jCi,zaoyooo figures therein for a total of j£640,ooa 
. • . The Statelias tbs found itaelf able to maolj itadf to the 
realieation of the humanitarian views of the Berun and Brussels 
Conferences. The results obtained in the material and moral 
spheres could not be entirelj overlooked, so evident are thej, despite 
a qrstematic parti^, ... No matter what has been said, this 
prosperity has not been attahied by any detriment to the lot of the 
native."— ^iv//Etfif Official de FEtat Indipendant du Congo, No. 6 
Translation, June, 1903. 

To follow the developments of Congo State control in the 
Basin of the Kasai, it is necessary to indulge in an historical 
retrospect 

When the New Slave Trade was introduced into the Congo 
territories, the Belgian Trading Companies, as we have seen, 
objected very strongly ; and one of the measures taken to 
pacify them was a temporary arrangement to leave the Kasai 
Basin open to trade. This did not mean, of course, that the 
State forbore applying the '* rubber tax" in that immense 
region, when and wherever it chose, and was powerful enough 
to do so. King Leopold's gracious permission to allow 
merchants in the Kasai was eagerly seized upon, and between 
1893 and 1899 a considerable number of firms opened factories 
along the Kasai and its tributaries. The Basin of the Kasai 
remained, therefore, nominally at any rate, open to free trade. 
Competition between the merchants became keen, and Aeir 
transactions were not assisted by the ''tax-gathering" opera- 
tions of " Bula Matadi," complaints, especially in recent years^ 
being forthcoming from the merchants, that the natives were 
told by the State officers to bring them their rubber and ivory, 
under pain of chastisement — a repetition, in short, of the tactics 
pursued in 189 1 and 1892 in other parts of the Congo territory, 
and pursued in the Kasai, as on the Congo and UlMmghi, with 
a definite object which has since become apparent At this 



i88 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Both Mr. Scrivener's aocx)unt • of what he personally witnessed, 
and the statements made to the Consul, merely cover, be it 
noted, a very small portion of the area specially set aside as 
the home-land par excellence of the philanthropic efforts of 
Africa's r^enerator. 

* A further and more recent letter from Mr. Scrivener, in which he 
describes another journey taken by him this year in a different district of 
the Domaine de la Couronne, is given in the Appendix. 



C05G0 sr*rx car 




To fdlov the dentucce^ it Zicir- ^r2Z^ -jrr-:. i- ie 
Basin of the Kaai x\= ^ecssiar:. v/-c~^^ r: ir. hL^^rial 
retrospect 

)iWico Ae Xcar 5.av- Tnce vii r:tr:c-ced ir.ro the Coc^c 
tciritoriesj Ae Bcigian Trading Ciccanies, as w-e have »ea, 
objected vcfy stroogly : ar.c :r.e of the measures taken io 
P9c% them u-as a teri:porar>- arrangement to leave the Kant 
Basin open to trade. Thii'did not mean, of course, that tbe 
State forbore appl>-ing the "* rubber tax" in that imtni^yi if, 
region, when and where\'er it chose, and was powerful cpoMffc 
to do so. King Leopold's gracious permission to allov 
n«rchants in the Kasai was eagerly seized upon, and 1 
1893 and 1899 a considerable number of firms opened U 
along the Kasai and its tributaries. The Basin of the 
remained, therefore, nominally at any rate, open to fice t 
Competition between the merchants became keen, and 1 
transactions were not assisted by the " tax-gadierinf * i 
tkms of " Bula Matadi," complaints, especially in recotf 
being forthcoming from the merchants, that the 



told by the State officers to bring tliem their vOAitrmikm^ 
under pain of chastisement— a repetition, in Aottcttlt^Z 
pursued m 1891 and 1892 in other parts of theGM— ^JSZ T 
and pursued in the Kasai, as on the Congo and uCZ^Sb 
a definite object which has since becooie BppmmtM^^ 



A 



i88 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Both Mr. Scrivener's aocx)unt • of what he personally witnessed, 
and the statements made to the Consul, merely cover, be it 
noted, a very small portion of the area specially set aside as 
the home-land par excellence of the philanthropic efforts of 
Africa's r^enerator. 

* A further and more recent letter from Mr. Scrivener, in which he 
describes anoUier journey taken by him this year in a different district of 
the Domaine de la Couronne, is given in the Appendix. 



CHAPTER XVI 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT 
(BASIN OF THE KASAl) 

*'The produce of the Domain, incliidlii|B: the taxes in kind, ont 
of a tmdget of jCi,zaowooo figures therein for a total of j£640,ooa 
. . . The StateHias tbis found itself able to aimly itself to the 
realisation of the humanitarian views of the Benin and Brussels 
Conferences. The results obtained in tiie material and moral 
qiheres could not be entutlj overlooked, so evident are thej, despite 
a qrstematic parHpris, ... No matter what has been said, this 
prosperity has not been attained by any detriment to the lot of tiie 
native."— ^ivi^if Official de tEtat Indipendant du Congo, No. 6 
Translation, June, X9<^ 

To follow the developments of Congo State control in the 
Basin of the Kasai, it is necessary to indulge in an historical 
retrospect 

When the New Slave Trade was introduced into the Congo 
territories, the Belgian Trading Companies, as we have seen, 
objected very strongly ; and one of the measures taken to 
pacify them was a temporary arrangement to leave the Kasai 
Basin open to trade. This did not mean, of course, that the 
State forbore applying the "rubber tax" in that immense 
region, when and wherever it chose, and was powerful enoi^ 
to do so. King Leopold's gracious permission to allow 
merchants in the Kasai was eagerly seized upon, and between 
1893 and 1899 a considerable number of firms opened factories 
along the Kasai and its tributaries. The Basin of the Kasai 
remained, therefore, nominally at any rate, open to free trade. 
Competition between the merchants became keen, and their 
transactions were not assisted by the "tax-gathering" opera- 
tions of " Bula Matadi," complaints, especially in recent yearsi 
being forthcoming from the merchants, that the natives were 
told by the State officers to bring them their rubber and ivoiy, 
under pain of chastisement — a repetition, in short, of the tactics 
pursued in 1891 and 1892 in other parts of the Congo territory, 
and pursued in the Kasai, as on the Congo and Utxmghi, with 
a definite object which has since become apparent At this 



igo KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

stage it is necessary to refer to an event of considerable im- 
portance, as it subsequently led to an alliance fatal in results 
to all the natives of the country, between " Bula Matadi " and 
a "fierce tribe of pronounced cannibals, the " Zappo-Zaps." 

The eastern portion of the Kasai District was in 1895 the 
scene of the explosion of one of the two great military uprisings 
which have nearly brought the State toppling to the ground. 
Congo Lutete, the famous Batetla Chief, without whose aid the 
State forces would probably never have got the better of the 
Arabs, having been murdered — legally, of course, much as 
Stokes was at a later date promoted to the majority by Lothaire 
— on a false chaise by a State officer at Gandu, as a reward for 
the military and sanitary * assistance rendered by his soldiers ; 
his picked body-guard, numbering 350 men, "were removed 
as a matter of precaution " t to Lusambo, and afterwards to 
Luluabourg. Here they were enrolled as regular soldiers. 
In 1895 they mutinied, killed their officers, defeated several 
detachments of State troops, captured one or two stations, and 
marched eastwards till they arrived at Gandu exactly two years 
after their leader's execution. Here they were met by Lothaire 
at the head of a lai^e force, the ranks of the mutineers having 
been swelled meanwhile by sympathisers to double the nimiber 
they originally started wiUi, and defeated. Some days after- 
wards Uiey repaid their defeat with interest, and cut up a 
State column, killing four European officers. They were, 
however, followed by Lothaire, and again beaten in November, 
1897. By this last action the State claimed to have '* wiped 
out" the rebellion. It was speedily undeceived In 1900 
and 1901 further fighting took place, and in March of the 
latter year, the State announced their utter destruction by 
Major Malfeyt In point of fact, these Luluabourg mutineers, 
joined probably by remnants from the still greater mutiny 
which occurred two years later, and the members of whidi 
worked their way down from the frontiers of the Bahr-el- 
Ghazel to the banks of the Luapula, are to-day the apparently 
uncontested masters of a region about the size of Belgium (see 
map, p. 466) in the Western Katanga country. 

In 1898 and 1899, terrible tales of oppression reached 
Europe from the Kasai region, sent by the representatives of 
the American Baptist Missionary Society at Luebo. We may 
pause here to give a Belgian estimate of some of the largest 
and most important native tribes inhabiting the Kasai Basin, 

* Congo's men kept the neighbourhood of the State camps fiurly 
healthy by devouring tne dead bodies of the natives who had fought on 
the Arab side. 

t " The Congo State," D. C. Boulgcr, page 242. 



IN THE KASAI 191 

to whom M. A. J. Wauters, the historian of the Congo State, 
applies the following general estimate. "The inhabitants of 
the Kasai are justly regarded as the most industrious in the 
State." Of the Balunda, we are told that they are " a peaceful 
and hospitable people." Of the Bakuba, that they are " great 
traders and workers in iron." But it is over the great Baluba 
nation and its various branches — the Bashilange, the Bambue, 
Bakolosh, Basonge, Beneki, etc. — that the Belgian authorities 
wax enthusiastic. "Sous le rapport," says M. Wauters, "de 
r^tendu du territoire et de la density de la population, comme 
aussi de la beauts physique et morale de la race," the Bakuba 
nation is " la plus importante et la plus int^ressante du basin 
m6ridionale du Congo." The German von Wissmann dubs 
them " great thinkers." They are clever s^riculturists, hardly 
darker in colouring than the Fellaheen, and have regular 
features.* Here, if anywhere in the Congo, one would have 
thought was a grand field open to the exercise of the regenera- 
ting influences of " Bula Matadi ; " fine material to work upon, 
calculated to stir the imagination and stimulate the eflbrts of 
an honest Administration. We shall see presently to what 
usage the State has put its opportunities. 

At the close of 1901 the Congo State threw off the mask, 
and inaugurated a new policy in the Kasai Basin, a policy 
calculated to bring "prosperity" without "any detriment to 
the lot of the native." T The State had been directly exploit- 
ing the fruits of its Kasai " domain " en rigie before. Hence- 
forth it would also exploit it indirectly. The independent 
trading companies were converted into a Trust on the lines of 
the Abir and Anversaise, controlled by the State, and 50 per 
cent of whose shares the State retained. Thus did the sole 
remaining region of the Upper Congo, not previously closed to 
trade, become monopolised. The Trust received a huge 
concession " more than twelve times the area of Belgium." 

It is worth while studying its composition a little closely. 
The capital of the Trust is 1,005,000 francs (;f 40,200), of whidi 
the State contributes 502,500 francs, or a little over a third, 
the remainder being subscribed by the fourteen Arms previously 
trading in the district, the largest amount subscribed by any 
one firm being 85,000 francs, and the smallest 5750 francs. 
The above capital is represented by 4020 shares of 250 francs 
each. In addition to these shares, 4020 more dividend-paying 

* The Batetla and Bakasus inhabit partly the Kasai and partly the 
Lomami Basin. Physically very fine peoples, they are great fighters, 
and, like the Zappo-Zaps, inveterate canniDals—choice subjects tor the 
State army. 

t Bulletin OfficieL 



192 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

shares were issued {parts binificiaires\ of which the State holds 
20IO, the balance being distributed amongst the fourteen firms. 
So far as the control of the Trust is concerned, the State has 
matters all its own way. One-half of the administrators are 
subject to the State agreeing with their nomination (Article 13). 
A permanent committee exists to which the Administrative 
Council del^ates its powers. This committee is composed of 
four members, two of whom the State appoints, while the 
nomination of the other two must be submitted and agreed to 
by it (Article 1 5). The State appoints the Chairman in Europe 
and the manager in Africa (Article 15). The Administrative 
Council and the permanent committee cannot meet unless a 
majority be {)resent, and the chairman has the casting vote 
(Article 15). Or, in other words, the Kasai Trust is a ^ State 
institution." "The policy of the State," declared the now 
defunct Gazette Coloniale of Antwerp, in January, 1902, is ib/t 
" absorption of the Trading Companies ; the State has absorbed 
the fourteen companies which previously existed, leaving them 
only a purely nominal autonomy." 
The Gazette Coloniale went on — 

"There will be in the Coiito nothing but vast organisations j^ced 
under the direction and controi of the Government Private initiative 
will disappear. ... To employ an expression which appears accurate 
under the circumstances, the Congo Sute will soon he nothing but 
a vast farniy exploited either directly or for joint account by a few 
officials. The interests of Belgian trade have nothing to gain by such 
a state of affairs. The Damaine Prwi will probably increase its rubber 
production, but, save for a few rare shareholders holding " parts,* the 
Congo State will become, in the eyes of the majority of the Belgian^ 
a Colony more and more foreign to them." 

That is a very good description of the condition of affairs 
to-day. The newspaper I have quoted from was a resolute 
supporter of the State, but the Kasai Trust was too much for 
its digestion, and it is since deceased. Candid friends are 
not appreciated in Congolese circles ; they either disappear, or 
— well, they cease to be candid. 

In 1899 and 1900, as before stated, the American mission- 
aries at Luebo sent home detailed accounts of terrible atrocities 
committed by State troops in that neighbourhood. They 
appealed to the President of the American Republic, and tl^ 
Congo State promised an inquiry— as usual. However, things 
went on just the same, and early in 1903 the Rev. W. M. Mor- 
rison,* who had just returned from the Congo, addressed a 

* I would like to say here that the Rev. W. M. Morrison impressed 
all those who heard him or conversed with him, including the authoTi 
by his honesty and straightforwardness. The attempts of the State to 




2 ?^ 



^ 1 



V c 

c 

7. - 



'X- .= 



c 



IN THE KASAI 193 

public meeting at the United Service Institution, Whitehall, 
on May 5, in the course of which he amplified the reports 
previously forwarded to his Government by the Mission, of 
which he is the principal representative. The events recorded 
cover roughly a period of four years, from 1898 to the time of 
the Rev. W. M. Morrison's return. The following is an epitome 
of his experiences, and those of other members attached to the 
Mission. They are confined to the immediate vicinity of 
Luebo, the head-quarters of the Mission. Luebo is situate at 
the confluence of the Kasai, Lulua, and Luebo rivers, is the 
centre of a populous district inhabited by the fine Baluba race, 
already referred to, and its branches ; while north of Luebo, 
between the Kasai and its great eastern tributary the Sankuru, 
the Bakuba people predominate. 

Prior to 1902, the Luebo District, as I have explained, was 
nominally open to trade, although the rubber tax remained in 
force,* so that it was until that time in a measure a " favoured 
section." The people suffered occasionally from periodical visi- 
tations of State troops. " Even when an officer is present, we 
have had the greatest difficulty in keeping the soldiers from loot- 
ing and otherwise abusing the native population. The latter know 
from bitter experience that it is useless to resist the soldiers." t 

In 1898 a State officer arrived at Luebo, "followed, as 
usual, by a squad of native soldiers, together with carriers and 
camp followers." As he entered the town, "natives came 
running into the Mission house to report that the soldiers were 
pillaging their villages." Morrison immediately went to the 
scene of the disturbance, " found the villagers fleeing to the 
forests, and the soldiers in full possession of a village which 
they were busy looting, having already severely wounded an 
innocent woman." Morrison sought out the officer, who was at 
the house of a trader, " only a few yards distant, and demanded 
protection for the people. He professed ignorance as to what 
the soldiers were doing." A few days later the natives reported 
— ^the report being confirmed by one of the European traders 
— that the State officer intended to " compel the entire Baluba 
population of Luebo, consisting of several thousands, to remove 
to Luluabourg, the State post, five days distant" t Morrison 

discredit him because he made the tactical error of going to Brussels 
and asking for a grant of land to build a school upon — which, indeed, 
he had every right to do under the Berlin Act— is a fair specimen of 
the State's methods. 

* All the rubber vines in the Congo territories belong, of course, to the 
State and the latex within them. See Part II. 

t Morrison. 

t Such wholesale expropriation is by no means unusual. It has been 
carried out at Irebo, round Lake Mantumba, and elsewhere. 

O 



194 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

called upon the officer, who admitted his intention, " but gave 
as an excuse that the people of Luebo did not work " — the 
same people, be it noted, described by M. Wauters, who has 
access to all the reports of Belgian explorers, in the highest 
terms — and that he wanted to take them to Luluaboui^, " where 
they would have to work." Morrison pointed out that, on the 
contrary, the natives worked for the traders, and that " many 
of them had even gone far away down the Kasai River, where 
they had willingly accepted contracts to work." Morrison 
protested against such action being taken, threatened to report 
the matter to Boma, and to " publish the facts to the world." 
Impressed by the attitude of Morrison, the State officer gave 
up his plan. 

In July, 1899, the American missionaries at Luebo heard 
that a large band of Zappo-Zaps, under a famous warrior chief 
named Mlumba Nkusa, " was proceeding into the Bena Pianga 
country, not far from one of the Mission stations, in order to 
collect tribute and get stores for the State." The Zappo-Zap 
chiefs appear to be* used by the State much in the same 
way as the so-called Arab Chiefs of the Manyema, the local 
"capitas" on the Mongalla by the Anversoise^ and on the 
Lopori-Maringa by the Abir^ that is to say, as auxiliary tax- 
gatherers. They rendered some assistance to the State posts 
in 1895, when the mutiny of Congo Lutete's bodyguard 
took place, which has, no doubt, partly accounted for the 
friendly relations existing between them and the State, 
while their qualities of "fierce warriors and cannibals" 
doubtless commend themselves to " Bula Matadi " rather than 
the " physical and moral beauties " of the Baluba race, upon 
whom they prey on the State's account. Morrison describes 
the Zappo-Zaps as " cannibals, the greatest slave-dealers and 
slave-raiders of the district." He says — 

" Perhaps half of the 7000 or 8000 people at Luebo who have been, 
or are now slaves,! have been caught by Zappo-Zaps in their numerous 

* According to Morrison, the Zappo-Zaps were imported into the 
Luluabourg district by Lieutenant Le Marinel in 1890, or thereabouts. 

t The word "slaves" used in this connection being somewhat 
obscure, I have written to Mr. Morrison, who is at present in the United 
States, for a clear explanation. His answer reads as follows : 

" The slave in the Congo State may be divided into four classes, as 
follows : 

"(i) Those caught in raids made by one village upon another. This 
form of slavery is not now allowed by the State ; the latter evidently 
prefers that all such slave-raiding shall be done under its own auspices, 
in a proper, systematic way. 

" (2) Those caught by the State either in formal, or informal, raids 
for this purpose. Many of this class are caught by Sepoys or fnendlies 



IN THE KASAI 195 

raids. . . . The State must of necessity know of the manv thousands 
of slaves who have passed, and are now passing, through the hands of 
these Zappo-Zaps. The only possible explanation is that the State and 
the Zappo-Zaps are in alliance in the matter. Up to the time I left 
Luebo, slaves caught in the regions to the east of Luluabourg and 
Lusambo are almost daily exposed for sale, and always by the Zappo- 
Zaps. Either the latter themselves have done the raiding, or it has 
been done by some of the State soldiers about Lusambo, who sold the 
slaves to the Zappo-Zaps." 

Soon after the arrival of the tribute-collecting Zappo-Zaps 
into the Bena Pianga country, news reached the Rev. W. H. 
Sheppard, F.R.G.S., in charge of the American Mission House 
at Ibanj, that the Zappo-Zaps had made the village of Chin- 
yama, which they had stockaded, their headquarters, and were 
looting and slave-raiding in every direction. Five days oflF, at 
Luluabourg, was the State-post ! " Great terror prevailed 
throughout the whole region," and thousands of people de- 
serted their homes and fled to the forest. Sheppard then 
heard that the Zappo-Zaps had " treacherously invited a large 
number of the prominent chiefs of the region to come inside 
this stockade, and had there shot them down without quarter." 
Mr. Sheppard, who knew many of the Zappo-Zaps, there- 
upon set oflF for Chinyama (a singularly courageous act, by the 
way), taking "reliable natives with him, who could serve as 
witnesses. Along the way to Chinyama, Sheppard saw several 
burnt villages, also some wounded persons. He was received 

who act under surveillance of the State. Out of this number the State 
selects what it wants for labour or military purposes ; the remainder are 
left in the hands of the soldiers, or Sepoys, to be sold to other native 
free men. 

" (3) Those who are forced into the labour and military service of the 
State by levies made upon the villages by the State. 

" (4) Those held in domestic slavery, having been caught in one or 
the other of the ways above-mentioned. 

" The majority of the slaves at Luebo belong to this latter class ; they 
have been caught for the greater part by the soldiers of the State, or 
by some of the State Sepoys. Most prominent among these Sepoys in 
our district are the Zappo-Zaps, and a large chief near Lusambo called 
Mpenya Mutombo. It is simply puerile of the State to deny that they 
know nothing about the raids by the 2^ppo-Zaps and Mpenya Mutombo. 
They are right near the State post, ana have lone been known to be 
friendlies of the State. A fifth class might be added to the others, those 
who, though living in their own villages, are yet compelled to bring in 
tribute of ivory and rubber. These latter, perhaps, suffer more than any 
others, because they are absolutely at the mercy of the soldiery and 
the Sepoys." 

The above very valuable description shows the system of Govern- 
ment slavery and slave-raiding, introduced bv the ^'Administration" 
of the Congo State by way of regenerating the natives of the Congo 
territories. 



196 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

in a friendly way by Mlumba Nkusa, and " his five hundred 
or more followers," inside the stockade. Sheppard " saw and 
counted " eighty-one human hands slowly drying over a fire ; 
outside the stockade he counted " more than two score " bodies 
piled in a heap. The flesh had been carved off some of the 
bodies, and eaten, as Mlumba Nkusa cheerfully admitted. 
Several Albini rifles — which the natives not employed by the 
State are forbidden by law to possess — and a pistol and car- 
tridges, were seen by Mr. Sheppard in the stockade. " Mlumba 
Nkusa said plainly that he had been sent by the State officer 
at Luluaboui^." 

The same year (1899) a State officer visited the village of 
Chief Lukenga, five days from Luebo. The chief knew the 
American missionaries, and sent messages to them to come at 
once. They went, and found the community " in the greatest 
excitement" The State soldiers, they were told, had fired 
upon the villages, killing fourteen. The villagers had defended 
themselves wi3i bows and arrows. A year later a further visit 
was paid to Lukenga's village by a State officer. Lukenga 
was killed, and " from native reports, which we have every 
reason to believe to be true, also a great number of men, 
women, and children." 

In June, July, and August, 1902, another " reign of terror" 
took place at Luebo, " and in fact throughout the region be- 
tween Luluabourg and Luebo." But here I will quote Morri- 
son's statement in full — 

"A new officer named Deschamps had just come into power at 
Luluabourg. During my absence he came to Luebo, and there, without 
warning to the chiefs or villagers, sent out his soldiers to catch men by 
force wherever they could be found. The people fled at once to the 
forests for safety ; some of the women and cnilaren, as is their custom 
in such times of fear, found refuge about the Mission premises. He 
went away with a number of men thus caught Upon my return to 
Luebo, only a few days after the departure of the omcer, and finding 
the whole community naturally in a state of unrest, I made conjoint 
to the authorities about the matter. Scarcely had my letter been 
despatched when another officer, named Duc^s, sent by Deschamps, 
came to 'recruit' soldiers, as he said. I went to him, and in person 
demanded protection for the natives, that none be taken by force. This, 
M. Duc^s promised, and I in turn told the natives what he had said. 
Within a few days, however, he received imperative orders from his 
chief, Deschamps. Consequently he began catching the people by force. 
They fled to the forests for safety, but day by day, for perhaps a week 
or ten days, the soldiers scoured the woods in search of men. They 
succeeded in catching about eighteen or twenty, and these I saw taken 
away under guard, tied about the necks with ropes. When I began to 
make trouble about the matter, some of the men were returned, but some 
were never given up. Only Uie day before I left Luebo, the old Chidf 
of the village came to me and begged me to try to find and send back 



IN THE KASAI 197 

his boys whom the State had taken away. This whole affair I reported 
to the Native Protection Commission, appointed by the King some years 
ago, to see tiiat the natives were protected in their rights I The only 
answer I received was that the State had establishedf laws for forced 
labour, and that doubtless the officers were acting entirely within their 
powers, the Commission thus sheltering itself and the officers guilty of 
these outrages under a form of legality? 

Vague statements of fighting and uprisings in the Kasai 
district were published by the Belgian Press in 190 1 and 1902. 
But the next positive statement we have had concerning the 
Kasai district was that published by the Belgian, papers in 
June, 1903. The information given referred to the results of 
the first year's operations of the new Trust, and were to the 
following effect : 

'' The cargo brought by the last steamer, the PhilippeviUe^ brings 
the amotmt received up to the present by the Kasai Company to 
330^000 kilos. The rubber collected is of two kinds, one fetches 9 francs 
10 centimes per kilo., the other, 7 francs 75 centimes per kilo. The 
sales have produced two million and a half francs (;£9o,ooo), without 
counting 50,000 francs 0^2000) of ivor^r. At the last sale the Company's 
rubber import fetched nearly half a million francs G£20,ooo). The total 
rubber collected during the year ending December 31 (that is, the first 
years's working) is estimated at 565 tons. From the above an opinion 
can be formed of the Company's operations.* 

I do not guarantee the above figures ; I merely quote them. 
In September, 1903, the Belgian newspapers reported a fight 
between the State troops in the neighbourhood of Luluaboui^, 
in which Lieutenant Liar was killed ; and as this book goes 
to press a further " revolt " is reported from the same quarter. 
The civilising of the Baluba nation would appear to be 
proceeding satisfactorily. 

The most ingenious attempts, of course, have been made 
by the Congo State and its agents to discredit the testimony 
of the American missionaries on all the counts of their in- 
dictment. That is a fixed policy which has been pursued for 
many years with signal success. " Discredited missionaries," 
" untruthful travellers ; " and as for Mr. Fox-Bourne and Mr. 
Morel, the Belgian vocabulary is long since exhausted ! 

I propose to deal with only one of these counts, the 

^ The story current on the Con^o about this farcical Commission — 
— reports from which have been vainly asked in the Belgian House — is 
that the two things which the Commission must never inquire into are 
(i) the rubber traffic ; fi) the forced military and labour service. One 
can ^ite understand mat those two items being responsible for all the 
atroatles which occnr f I have already referred to the active perform- 
ances of this Commission. 



198 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

massacre at Chinyama. I think the respective versions tmy 
be compared at greater advantage in parallel columns — 



Morrison. (Head, and legal 
representative of American 
Baptist Missionary Society). 

1899- 

Morrison makes report of Chin- 
yama massacre to State officer at 
Luluabourg, demanding immediate 
recall of Zapoo-Zaps. (Reports 
also to Congo dtate Government at 
Brussels in a letter dated October 
21, acknowledged February 29, 
1900.* 

Morrison's account of the " in- 
quiry is as follows : — " Upon my 
arrival at Ibory, the so-called 
investigation was begun, but it 
was from the first painnilly evident 
that the Judge, who was writing 
down the evidence to send to 
Boma, was doing all in his power 
to free his fdlow-officer, even 
attempting to influence witnesses 
by making an argument in favour 
of the officer charged. I was 
permitted to hear some of the 
evidence on this case, but I was 
told by another judge that the 
Government had reprimanded his 
collea^e for permittmg me to hear 
the evidence.*^ 



Congo State 
Action in Africa. 



1899. 

1. State officer at Luluabourg 
writes Morrison denying having 
anything to do with the matter. 

2. Judge arrives at Luebo and 
summons Morrison to Ibory to 
establish his charges. " Inquiry 
takes place.* 

Result : State officer at Lulua- 
bourg exonerated from all blame, 
Mlumba Nkusa declared at fault 

3. Mlumba Nkusa said to have 
been kept in confinement a short 
time at Luluabourg, but a few weeks 
only after the massacre **A€ was 
back at LueboJ* Natives reported 
the " Zappo - Zaps had been 
treacherously dealt with, were on 
the eve of revolting, ana it would 
have been a most serious af£air, 
seeing that their number is esti- 
mated at about 25,000 or 30,000, 
and that they have many guns, 
and know from long expenence 
how to use them." 

iQoo. (In Europe.) 
I. Father Cambier, a Roman 
Catholic priest at Luluabourg, 
endeavours in La MitropoU of 
June 3 to discredit the report of 
the American missionaries, but as 
his statement admits that ''with 
respect to the behaviour of the 
Zappo-Zaps — for which they alone 
are responsible — if the facts are 
as stated, I wiU not discuss them. 
I have no personal knowledge of the 
facts ;'' and further on, as regaids 
the mutilations, admits that "they 
are still carriea on," his evidence 
may be taken as rather confirma- 
tory than otherwise. 



♦ Morrison to Baerts, Chef de Cabinet Letter dated May 9, 1903. 
Published in the West African Mail^ Morning Post^ and Daily News. 



IN THE KASAI 



199 



1903. 
Morrison returas home and re- 
capitulates before a public audience 
the Zappo-Zap incidents, together 
with more recent events. 



Morrison replies as follows :— 

1. Had reported Zappo-Zap 
affair locally. Nothing had been 
done, and *'you will also bear in 
mind that up to this time I have 
received no official notification of 
the result of the Zappo-Zap affair 
reported to you in my letter of 
October 21, 1899, the receipt of 
which was duly acknowledged in 
yours of February 23, 1900." 

2. Had reported events of 1902 
to the Governor-General of Boma. 
and was in due course informed 
that after 'Mnvestigation," the 
charges were found to be ''much 
exaggerated." 

3. Felt it to be simply useless 
to refer to such matters in Brussels, 
so long as the present system of 
forced labour and forced military 
system prevails; ''to be perfectly 
candid, 1 cannot bitterly condemn 
the subordinate officials who have 
to put such laws into operation." 



2. Belgian papers admit the 
accuracy of the American mis- 
sionary's report, but explain that the 
atrocities '* were perpetrated by the 
Zappo-Zaps, who had been armed 
by the State in order to protect 
the Catholic Missions, and who 
through oversight were sdlowed to 
retain the arms given to them. 
The piilty parties had been severely 
funtshedJ* 

1903. 

1. M. Jules Houdret, Consul- 
General of the Congo State in 
London, writes to the papers point- 
ing out that a judicial inquiry had 
exonerated the State Officer at 
Luluabourg, and that Mlumba 
Nkusa was alone to blame. It 
was "conclusively proved" that 
the 2^ppo-Zaps had not acted on 
the State's instructions. 

2. M. Jules Houdret sends to 
the British Press a letter from M. 
Baerts, Chef de Cabinet of the 
Congo State's administration in 
Brussels, reminding Morrison that 
he had been in Brussels asking for 
a grant of land for his mission, that 
he had not referred to atrocities. 
" The administration of the Congo 
Free State takes note that you 
have kept silence towards the 
administration with respect to the 
alleged offences which you after- 
wards publicly denounced." 



The above furnishes a concrete instance of the State's 
methods when the miserable efTects of its policy in one par- 
ticular spot are brought to light It needs no comment, only 



200 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

an addition which will serve as an instructive and illuminating 
moral. The addition is an extract from the speech of M. 
Woeste — more fully reported in Part V— the ardent defender 
of the Congo State in the Belgian House last July : — 

** In the House of Commons, an old fact * was brought up, that 
of the cut hands. . . . M. Samuel made use of the following words : 
' In one place an ocular witness saw slowly drving over a fire 
eighty human hands.f Is the fact true? I do not imow. But I will 
admit that it is. What should have been added^ however ^ is that^ anyhow^ 
they were not the hands of living men** 

M. Woeste is easily satisfied I I have shown that the cutting 
off of hands, from living and dead men, women, and children^ 
is not a native custom — and what is more important, M. Roger 
Casement, H.M. Consul on the Congo, has shown this also — 
but is an exotic introduced by the regenerators of the African. 
With this knowledge, with photographic evidence of living 
victims, with the published confessions of Belgian agents, with 
the testimony already available from many parts of the Congo, 
— with all this before us, it is only possible to come to one 
conclusion, viz. that the eighty severed hands on the stockade 
of Mlumba Nkusa, and his band of armed ruffians, some with 
Albini quick-firing rifles, were intended to show the Congo 
State officials that the work given to Mlumba Nkusa to per- 
form had been well and effectively performed. It is only 
possible to come to the conclusion that Mlumbo Nkusa did 
not lie when he told Mr. Sheppard that he was in the employ 
of the State. How much " physical and moral beauty " will 
be left to the Baluba natives after a few more years of " Bula 
Matadi".? 

• Note the words " old fact," and refer to Chapter X., and to recent 
letters in the Appendix. 

t The Chinyama incident. 



CHAPTER XVII 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT 
(from THE LOMAMI TO THE EASTERN FRONTIER: 
THE ARUWIMI, LAKES TANGANYIKA, KIVU, ALBERT 
EDWARD, AND ALBERT) 

«< Our only pro8:nuiime, I am anzloiis to repeat, is the woric of 
moral and material regeneratioQ, and we most do this amonff a 
popnlation whose degeneration in its inherited conditions it is diffi- 
out to measure. The many horrors and atrocities which dissrace 
humanity gire way little try little before our intervention."— Kl no 
Leopold, in a letter to his agents. 

From the accounts, all too few, unfortunately, which have 
reached us of late years, from the Eastern district, it appears 
that the Congo State officials have replaced the rule of the 
Arabs, which they destroyed, by something quite as bad, and 
in many respects worse. The Arab committed many atrocities, 
but he had a certain constructive faculty : he did not merely 
destroy, he also built up. Dr. Hinde, in his famous Fall of ike 
Congo ArabSy bears witness to this. 

" Despite their (the Arabs) slave-raiding propensities during the forty 
years of their dominion," he writes, '^the Arabs had converted Ithe 
Manyema and Malela countries into some of the most prosperous * in 
Central Africa.'' 

Mr. Arnold Malet, an official in the employ of the Congo 
State, who is, or was, in chaise of some of the State's coffee 
plantations, wrote to a friend of mine from Stanley Falls on 
December 4, 1901, as follows — 

" Here we are in the midst of the ' Arab Zon^' and all around us we 
see the results of their industry in the shape of unmense tracts of land 
planted with rice, manioc, etc, and flocks of goats and sheep. The most 
mteresting part c^ the Congo perhaps." 

^ No country^certainly no country in tropical Africa— can be 
described as ''prosperous," if the people of the land whose cultivation 
induces that prosperity are not well-oflf^ settled, and contented. 



202 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Major Gibbons has recently remarked • — 

'' To say that the status and lot of the native population have been in 
any wav improved by the Belgian occupation seems to me more than 
doubtful. The Arab traders have been exterminated, and Western civilisa- 
tion has been substituted for that of the East ; but by how much has the 
change benefited the natives ? Certainly it has resulted in their subjuga- 
tion to the yoke of ' civilisation/ that is to say, it has reduced once homo- 
geneous communities to countless impotent groups from which taxes, just 
or unjust, can be conveniently squeezed with the alternative of a punitive 
expMcdition to enforce the law f — ^and we all know what that means when 
native soldiery under a certain type of white man is employed. Under 
Arab influence the freedom of organised native communities was not 
interfered with. The people came to trade — to give and take^ not to take 
cnly\ Morally speakmg, I will content myselfhere with the bare asser- 
tion that the natives are not the gainers by the Belgian occupation. ..." 

The results of the State's " industry," on the other hand, 
we may gather fairly comprehensibly from the account given 
by Mr. A. B. Lloyd (latter part of 1899) ; Mr. Ewart Grogan 
(1899-1900) ; Mr. Robert Codrington (1902) ; and various 
information from diflFerent sources, to date. 

The state of aflFairs in the Tanganyika region is partly 
covered by the particulars given in Chapter XVIII. 

From the latter region, two recent reports may be cited. 
Mr. Robert Codrington (1902), now a British official in Nyassa- 
land, writes — 

" There is no trade, properly so-called, on the Congo coast of Tangan- 
yika, but all rubber ana ivory is regarded as the property of the State, 
and has to be surrendered in fixed quantities annually. The natives are, 
however, continually in rebellion, and the country is unsafe, except in the 
immediate vicinity of the military garrisons, and within the sphere of 
influence of the missionaries." 

In a letter received by the author from a correspondent in 
Nyassaland, the following passage can be quoted. The letter 
is dated Abercorn, February 10, 1903, and the passage reads 
as follows — 

" The latest news we have of the Belgians in Congo State territory 
is to the effect that they are building a new fort at Uwiri (north end of 

♦ Op. cit, 

t The method of enforcing these taxes in the Congo State is in itself 
wholly illegal, even according to the State's own " law." 

} Italics mine. That is precisely the point. The Arab rule'was bad, 
but it was not wholly destructive, it was marked by the species of rude 
statesmanship which looks ahead, albeit through faulty glasses. Congo 
State rule is wholly destructive, and its effects are one long demoralisation ; 
Uie breath of the pestilence from which recovery is either hopeless or 
terribly protracted, rather than the whirling Harmattan, which is followed 
by sumight giving play for the exercise of internally recuperative forces. 



THE EASTERN DISTRICT 203 

Lake Tanganyika), only women being employed in its construction. 
These women are said to be slaves by a European who has visited the 
fort. They have probably been forced into service or hired somewhere 
in the interior. They work all day, and at night are at the disposal of 
the soldiers, of whom there are about 800 in the neighbourhood. These 
particulars are known to the German authorities at Ujiji (east shore of 
Lake Tanganyika)." 

Mr. Ewart Grogan, whose remarkable journey from the 
Cape to Cairo via Lakes Tanganyika, Kivu, Albert Edward, 
and Albert, will be fresh in every one's mind, published his 
experiences and those of his companion, Mr. Arthur H. Sharpe, 
in an exceedingly attractive book.* Prior to its appearance, 
Mr. Grogan lectured before the Royal Geographical Society, 
and was interviewed by several newspapers. Judging from 
Mr. Grogan's emphatic remarks, he does not appear to have 
been particularly struck by the " civilising " methods of the 
Congo State. I may venture to observe that Mr. Grogan's 
evidence is specially valuable, insomuch as his ideas of labour 
necessities and the treatment of natives are so drastic that 
no one would venture to accuse him, in his references to the 
Congo State, of being influenced by any feelings remotely 
approaching sentimentalism, a charge sometimes levelled at 
those who urge that the natives of Africa have rights after all, 
and that it is generally wiser in the long run for the white man 
not to treat the native as a species of anthropoid ape. Here 
is what Mr. Grogan has to say on Congo State methods along 
tlu whole Eastern frontier region — 

*' From the north of Lake Albert to Lake Mweru there is a perfect 
state of chaos. Whole districts are administered by incompetent onicialsy 
often non-commissioned officers, and the troops are the lowest type ot 
natives, almost invariably cannibals." 

In British territory, in the neighbourhood of Lake Albert, 
Mr. Grogan found that — 

*' The people were terrorised and were living in marshes . . . the 
Belgians have crossed the frontier, descended into the valley, shot down 
lar^e numbers of natives — British subjects— driven off the young women 
and cattle, and actually tied up and burned the old women.t I do not 
make these statement without having gone into the matter. ... I re- 
marked on the absence of women, and tne reason for this was given. . . . 
It was on further inquiry that I was assured by the natives that white 
men had been present when the old women had been burnt In each 
village I heard the same tale. The natives said that the troops had come 
from Uie adjacent Belgian posts — the nearest was only a few miles across 

* '* From the Cape to Cairo.*^ London : Hurst & Blackwell, Ltd. 
t For a somewhat similar incident in a widely removed part of the 
country, see Consol Casement, Africa, No. I. (1904), p. 73. 



204 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the frontier— and thev even described to me the personal appearance of 
the white officers with the troops. . . . For days the natives left me to 
starve, until I hit upon the idea of calling myself Lugard's brother, and 
of producing Colonel Lufi;ard's photograph, which I happened to have 
witn me. Then the wretched people came to me and zsked me why the 
British had deserted them." 

Here is a description of the Mushari district, near Lake 
Kivu, in Congo territory, which had been attacked by Congo 
State revolted soldiery, and then ravaged by a cannibal tribe. 

** Every village had been burnt to the ground, and as I fled from the 
country, I saw dceletons, skeletons eveiywhere ; and such postures, what 
tales of horror they told ! . . .* I would not have entered into these re- 
volting details, but that I think it advisable that those who have not the 
chance of seeing for themselves should know what is going on every day 
in this country. A beautiful yellow covers this spot on the nutp, with a 
fringe of red spots with flags attached, denoting (as the map informs you) 
stations of the Congo Free State. And yet a peaceful, agricultural people 
can be subjected to horrors like thb for months {^mthout any one knowing. 
And why ? Because the whole system is bunkum— the so-called partition 
of Africa. The stations marked do not exist ; and read, mark, learn, and 
inwardly digest this fact : I have to pay a licence to shoot game, or to 
carry a pin in the country. . . . Thus a tract of country about 3000 
square miles in extent has been depopulated and devastated. I do not 
believe that 2 per cent, of the thousands of the inhabitants have survived 
Uie massacre and famine ; in Kishari and Kameronse t there is not one 
single souL And all this is directly attributable to the revolted Askaris 
oi the Congo ; they led the attack, with thirty guns, took all the cattle, 
and then departed. . . . Rapid movements alone could save us frx>m 
annihilation, and we travelled from sunrise to sunset, camping in patches 
of forest, and concealing our route by leaving the paths and forcmg our 
way through the grass. Mummies, skulls, limbs, putrifying carcases, 
washing to and fro in every limpia stream, marked the course of the 
fiendish horde. An insufferable stench filled the land, concentratine 
round every defiled homestead. This was the Congo Free Sute, and I 
thought with bitterness on the vast sums recently expended in sending 
filibustering expeditions up the Nile.) 

Mr. Grogan's observations in the Semliki valley (between 
Lakes Albert and Albert Edward) and Kavalli's country, 
south-west of Lake Albert, are in contradiction with Sir 
Harry Johnston's — both men apparently visited the Semliki 
the same year. Sir Harry Johnston § penetrated " for about 
thirty miles west of the Semliki." Grogan appears to have 

* " From the Cape to Cairo,* p. 156, ofi. cit. 

t So far as Kameronse is specificaUy mentioned by Dr. Kandt, Mr. 
Grogan's account confirms the former explorer's story. Dr. Kandt passed 
through Kameronse early in 1899. He says of it, *< All is destroyed • all 
is burnt ; the population is in fl^ht." ' 

} Mr. Grogan refers no doubt to the Congo State's Bahr-el-Ghaxal 
expedition under Dhanis, wrecked by the mutiny of his troops 

§ DaUy Chronicle^ September 28, 1903. 



THE EASTERN DISTRICT 205 

travelled right through the region the river traverses on his 
way northwards from Lake Altert Edward to Kavalli's country 
on the south-west of Lake Albert, and would naturally have 
seen a great deal more of the country than Sir Harry Johnston. 
Here is Grogan's account : 

" I asked him why all the people were so frightened, and where they 
had all gone ; whereupon he proceeded to recount the same tales of misery 
and oppression that I had heard the day before, from which I gathered 
that a Con^o Free State (I like the title ' Free State '— 40 suitable !) 
official, rejoicing in the name of ' Billygee,' had suddenly swooped down 
on the country a year ago, and after shooting down numbers of the natives 
had returned west, carrying off forty young women, numerous children, 
and all the cattle and goats. ..." 

After recapitulating in greater detail the burning of the 
old people in their villages, which has been touched upon 
already, Mr. Grogan continued : 

** When in Mboya, the Balegga told me similar tales : here I was 
repeatedly given accounts that tsdlied in all essentials, and further north, 
the Wakoba made the same piteous complaints ; and I saw myself that 
a country apparently well populated and responsive to just treatment in 
Lugard's time is now practically a howling wilderness." 

Mr. A. B. Lloyd, who crossed the Semliki on his way from 
Uganda to the west coast through the Congo State in the latter 
part of 1899, did not form a high idea of Belgian administration 
in that particular region either, judging from the following 
passage in his book : * 

" In the afternoon I was walking through the potato fields when I 
came upon sixty or a hundred women, ^1 with hoes, cultivating the 
ground, and close at hand was a native soldier with a rifle across his 
shoulder, acting as guard. I inquired where all the poor creatures had 
come from, and I was told a sad, sad story — alas ! not an uncommon one 
in the Beleian Free State. A Wakona chief had been told to do some 
work for the Belgians, and when he refused soldiers were sent, and upon 
the least resistance the men were shot down, and the women were cap- 
tured as slaves and made to work. It was a sad sight to behold these 
poor creatures, driven like dogs here and there, and kept hard at their 
toil from morning to night One of the Belgian soldiers told me that 
there had been many kiUed, including the chief, and when I said what a 
terrible thing it was, he merely laughed and said, ' Washenzi Bevana ' 
(*They are only heathen y 

About the middle of 1902, Lieutenant Tondeur, an official 
of the Congo State, and his escort were killed by natives near 
Lake Kivu. In December of that year, the Belgian papers 
announced that an expedition left in October to avenge his 

♦ "In Dwarf-land and Cannibal Country." Albert B. Lloyd. (T. 
Fisher Unwin.) 



2o6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

death, and defeated the natives, several of whom were hanged. 
The latest news available from that district was published on 
October 25, 1903, in the Morning Post, from an English 
sportsman in the north of Lake Kivu. The extracts published 
by the Morning Post from this gentleman's letters, read as 
follows : 

" The natives are not actively hostile, but they run away to the top 
of the hills, and refuse for a long time to sell anythin^^ or give any 
assistance. The Belgian Government does not inspire a liking for white 
men, and I am not surprised, for their askaris* up there do anything 
they like." 

The opinions formed by Mr. Grogan from his de visu 
experiences of the " moral and material regeneration " theory 
— otherwise stated, the theory of the Domaine Privi — as it 
works out in practice were strong, and he does not mince his 
words — 

". . . The participation or occupation of Africa " — ^he writes—** with a 
view to sound colonisation, is the obvious duty of the nations that form the 
vanguard of civilisation. . . . But what can be said in favour of commit- 
ting a vast tract of country to be run merely as a commercial specidation 
without more legitimate objective than that of squeezing as much rubber 
and ivory out of the natives as possible; of arming large numbers 
of savages, and entrusting them to inexperienced exports from a land of 
untravefied commercials, to whom expatriation is akin to disgrace ; of 
making the administrators of districts to all intents and purposes farmers 
of the taxes?" 

And further on, after describing the Congo State territory 
from Mweru to the Nile as ** chaos, hopeless abyssmal chaos," 
he concludes : 

** I have no hesitation in condemning the whole State as a vampire 
growth, intended to suck the country dry, and to provide a happy hunt- 
ing-ground for a pack of unprincipled outcasts and untutored scoundrels." 

The Congo State Administration, it may be useful to 
remember, is directly concerned in the regions covered by 
Mr. Grogan and Mr. Lloyd, and referred to above. There are 
no trusts in that portion of the country. It forms part of the 
Domaine Privi-^stricto sensu. 

After crossing the Semliki (end of 1899), Mr. A. B. Lloyd, 
already referred to, struck the Aruwimi, and followed it through 
the great forest and beyond. Early In the same year, an 
Englishman, Captain Bell, in the State's service, was killed by 
the natives on this river, and Lieutenant Andrews, another 

* Askaris is a word commonly used in Central and East Africa, 
meaning soldiers. 



THE EASTERN DISTRICT 207 

British officer who returned to England also that year, gave it 
as his opinion that the " zone of safety, and so-called civilisation " 
did not extend a mile back from the river side. 

Perhaps that was not altogether surprising, for we find 
Mr. Lloyd writing of "the smouldering fire at the heart of 
the people (Bangwa)" with whom he spoke at Avakubi, 
Banelya, and elsewhere, owing to the brutality of the Congo 
State officials. Mr. Lloyd's version of the procedure of the 
State's representatives in that region is the familiar one : the 
same story, which in a continuous and barely diversified form, 
and from every district whence information has filtered through, 
has come to us for the last decade down to the report of the 
official representative of his Majesty's Government, Mr. Roger 
Casement 

" A Chief of the district ''—writes Mr. Lloyd — " where some European 
of the Congo Free State is stationed, is called up and told to sena his 
people out for rubber, so many pounds' weight are required and must be 
Drought in. The chief, perhaps, has but a small following, and cannot 
produce what is asked ot him ; he is given another chance to get it, and 
again fails and must be punished. A native officer is instructed to take a 
number of soldiers and destroy the Chiefs village. Then follows the most 
bloodthirsty wickedness that is anywhere recorded — men, women, and 
children ruthlessly murdered, and the whole place destroyed." 

On January 4, 1902, the Compagnie des clieftiins de fer du 
Congo supfrieur aux grands Lacs Africains was started. It has 
received large concessions * in the Aruwimi country. Its 
object is to build a railway — preliminary work on the line is 
understood to be going on with somewhat feverish haste — 
from Stanley Falls to Ponthierville and Lake Albert. In 
most countries the construction of a railway is the forerunner 
of progress, civilisation and development. In the case of the 
Domaine Privi in the Congo, a railway is merely an instrument 
for the extension and aggravation of a crushing and perpetual 
tyranny. The lot of the Aruwimi natives is not an enviable 
one. Their forests, hardly tapped as yet, are understood to be 
very rich in rubber ; and the railway can only accentuate the 
merciless exploitation to which they will presently be subjected. 
It is a remote region, and it will be probably a long time before 
anything more definite than the usual vague reports of risings, 
followed by "repressions," reach the civilised world. It will 
then be no great consolation to the victims to pillory the 
shareholders of this newest Trust, which includes a member of 
the present Government of the French Republic, and unhappily 
a considerable portion of French capital. We are likely to 

* Some 22,000 square miles. 



208 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

hear a good deal about the " vacant lands " of the Aruwimi, 
the scene of the operations of the Trust At present our 
information is limited to the knowledge that an American 
engineer was killed a few months ago by the natives ; that 
" labour troubles " were reported from Basoko * last August, 
that in September last the Belgian ne\\'spapers published the 
following : 

*'The situation is grave in the Basoko District. Commander Van 
Werdt is establishing order. The natives complain of the heavy transport 
work {portage intensif) to which they are subjected." 

and finally, that the Trust is already exporting no inconsider- 
able quantities of rubber, coupled with the intelligence that 
the State " is now exploiting ** its domains in the district 



The Lomami District. 

The Lomami Company belongs virtually (although the 
State shares in the profits to the extent of 25 per cent) to the 
Thys group, and, like the SocUU Ananyme Beige is, there is 
reason to hope, run on different lines, as I have remarked 
already. Founded in July, 1898, with a capital of 3,000,000 
francs, its profits in 1898-^ were 130,605 francs ; 1899-1900, 
152,000 francs; 1900-01, 155,000 francs. Belgian reports to 
hand during the latter part of last year, announce uprisings 
in the district, although whether in tfie Company's sphere or 
outside it is not yet apparent.! M. Langeld, an agent of the 
Sociiti Anonynie Beige, reported in 1898 of tlie people on the 
Lomami banks, as follows : — 

'* . . . Numerous and populous villages, inhabited by a very fine race 
{de grande beaut fy^ a superb people, most intelligent in appearance, quite 
inclmed to welcome the white men, and with whom the latter will do 
good business, on condition that they treat them well.^ 

* At the mouth of the Aruwimi. 

t The Bdgian newspapers have since given the following version. 
Lieutenant Vandevdde was sent to a Chief who " had not submitted to 
the State, to make him hear reason" {sic). Lieutenant Vandevelde 
attacked the Chief and was taken prisoner. The natives made him 
labour continuously for many days, and then released him. Evidently 
another " rubber palaver " of the State. 




NATIVE METHOD OF MENDING A BROKEN LEG. 




THE NATIVE AT HOME 
(French explorer enjoying the hospitality of Ji village in French Congo) 



CHAPTER XVIII 

congo state control in the south-eastern district 

(katanga) 

'' Each atq> forward made by onr people moat markanimprore- 
meiit In the condition of the nattres."— KiNO Leopold, hi a 
letter to Ma Agenta on the Congo. 

The spGdfic case of the treatment meted out to a white 
merchant by the Congo State Authorities in this district is 
fully set forth in Part IV. We may now examine the 
general condition of affairs in the Katanga District, where 
3ie persecution of the Austrian trader, Rabinek, took place. 
Since 1896, or thereabouts, a portion of the South-Eastern 
District has been entirely in the hands of mutineers from the 
State army, remains of the force which mutinied at Lulua- 
bourg in 1895, and Dungu in 1897. The State Authorities 
have claimed on many occasions to have wiped out these 
people. This is far from being the truth, according to many 
independent reports. The rebels of 1897, who had gradually 
made their way eastward, inflicted three successive defeats 
upon the Congo State forces in 1898 at Agusa, Hubari, 
and Kabambare. The last disaster was the most serious of 
all, as Kabambare was one of the strongest military posts in 
the Eastern Districts. It was captured, and the whole of the 
munitions it contained, '' enough — as a participant in the rout 
informed one of my correspondents shortly afterwards — ^to arm 
2000 Batetlas," fell into the enemy's hands. The mutineers, 
instead of following up their successes, retreated southwards 
into the Katanga District proper, where they joined,* ap- 
parently, the rebels of 1895, who were in occupation of the 
Katanga Lake country. At the present time they are said 
to be absolute masters of the regions around Lakes Kisale 
and Kabele, and one or two feeble efforts to evict them on 
the part of the authorities have entirely failed. They have 

* It would seem, however, that some of the rebel bands still exist 
in the neighbourhood of the Eastern frontier about Lake Kivu. See in 
this respect Major Gibbons (^. a'/.}. 

P 



2IO KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

appointed, it is said, their own War and Finance Ministers, 
and have reared a sort of State, modelled upon that of their 
former masters. Mr. Dugald Campbell, who has ten years' 
experience of the country, writes from Johnstone Falls, May 19, 
1904, that the rebels are "to-day. May, 1904, as busy and 
lively as ever in the districts round the Lubudi river." 

Outside the "Rebel Zone," as it is usually termed, the 
sway of the officials and their murderous auxiliaries is more 
or less in evidence, and is accompanied by the usual incidents. 
Here, as elsewhere in the territories of the State, the officials, 
to use the term of the British Note of August 8, 1903 (which, 
by the way, has special application to the South-Eastem 
District of the Congo State, for it is from officials in North- 
Eastem Rhodesia and Nyassaland that the particular reports 
referred to by the British Government have been received), 
" do not apparently concern themselves with such work (ad- 
ministration), but devote all their energy to the collection of 
revenue." We know what the " collection of revenue " means 
in the Congo State! It means the systematic pillaging of 
native villages for ivory by bands of soldiery despatched 
throughout! the country from the various State stations, and 
the levying of the eternal rubber tribute. 

"The Congo State stations," continues the Note, "are shunned, the 
only natives seen being soldiers, prisoners, and men who are brought 
in to work"— a polite formula for slaves. '^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 to the territory 
of neighbouring States, the natives usuallv averring that they are driven 
away from their homes by the tyranny and exaction of the soldiers." 

Precisely similar information, only given in more detail, has 
reached me for some time past from non-official European 
residents in North-Eastem Rhodesia and Nyassaland. I have 
before me at the present moment a statement by a former 
agent of the Katanga Company,* sworn before a British official 
at Karonga (Nyassa), bearing the seal and stamp of the British 
Central Africa Protectorate, and dated March 9, 1903. It 
contains the following passages : 

" At the different Congo State Government stations women are kept 
for the following purposes :— 

" In the daytime, they do all the usual station work, such as carrying 
water for the Government officials, cleaning their rooms, etc., ana 
during the night they are obliged to be at the disposal of the soldiers. 
The soldier must live with the women as long as [he is at the station ; 
should he be removed, the woman must remain at the station whether 

* Who left the Company upon its amalgamation with the Congo 
Bute. 



IN KATANGA 211 

he has children by her or not. The women are slaves captured by the 
Government soldiers when raiding the country, they are there to facilitate 
the ordinary requirements of labour, and to prevent the soldiers from 
their usual customs of raping in the native villages." 

Two affidavits, the one made by two British protected 
natives (apparently recruited by a Congo State official in 
British territory), the other by a native woman before a British 
official in Nyassaland, in each case in the presence of European 
witnesses, and bearing the official seal and stamp, are also 
before me. The first affidavit contains the following passages 
descriptive of the powerlessness of the Congo State officers to 
control their soldiery : 

" On our arrival in the Congo State, we leamt from the inhabitants 
and the Government soldiers that there always is war between the white 
man, the soldiers and the natives. . . • The white men are so afraid 
of the soldiers that they let them do whatever they like. They rape« 
murder, and steal everything of the inhabitants, and if the Chief or 
villagers obiect, they are often shot dead on the spot. The officers all 
know this, but they never take any notice of it, as they are afraid to 
punish their soldiers. Another officer called by the natives Kaputisnasinga 
. . . punished the natives by cutting off their hands, ears, etc., or hang^ 
them according to the crime.^ 

The second affidavit describes a characteristic raiding 
expedition on the part of the Congo State officials. 

" They (the Belgian soldiers with four white men) came from Lukafii 
and made war with our Chief Chiwala, many people were killed, but the 
Chief and his wife escaped to the English side of tne Luapula. I, together 
with other women, and many tusks of ivory, were captured. • . • When 
we were transported to Lukafu we were fastened together by a rope 
round our necks, and at night time our hands and feet were tied together 
to prevent us from escaping. • . • After one month at Lukafu I and the 
three other girls were sent to Mpueto ; we were tied together the whole 
way. ... At Mpueto I witnessed the killing of two natives who had 
stolen rubber from the Government stores. By the order of the white 
man called Lutina,* the two natives were beaten by his soldiers with 
hippo-hide whip, after this they were made to stand up, the soldiers then 
threw bricks on them till they died. One native was from Chewerchewera's 
village, very near Mptueo, and was buried by his relations, the other, who 
had no relations so near, was thrown into Lake Mweru." t 

An official of the African International Flotilla Transport 
Company, Ltd., writes from Kambwe (Nyassa) on November 
18, 1892, as follows — 

"There are many, many atrocities and cruelties which have taken 
place in the Congo (Free ?} State which have not yet come to light, but 

• Native name. 

t I may mention that all these affidavits have been conununicated by 
the author to his Majesty's Government. 



212 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

which I sincerely trust and hope will be shown up now, although there 
are many which never will be shown up. If people at home only knew 
the disgraceful way in which the natives are treated and the Congo Free 
State run, the Belgians would be dispossessed of the territory immediately. 
While I was stationed at Chienji, Lake Mweru, from April 1890 to Apnl 
1892, 1 had ample opportunities of meeting the officials of the Comit^ 

Special du Katanga. ... I also knew Mr. ♦ of the Mission, 

stationed for many years at . I spoke to him of the abominable 

way in which native soldiers were armed and let loose over the 
country, to the curse of all other native men and women, facts which he, 
of course, knew to be true, and told him that he, as a missionary, ought 
really to report and expose ; but he was afraid his mission would be 
turned out of the country .'^ 

A correspondent in Nyassaland, writing under date of 
January 17, 1903, after giving a long description of the state 
of affairs in the Katanga territory, as taken down before two 
European witnesses from the lips of a native merchant in 
British territory, which fully bears out the statements of other 
correspondents, says : 

''For the last six years, English and German traders have been 
establishing their d^ls as far as the Congo boundaries, but the 
Belgians will not allow them to trade in Congo State territory. • . . You 
can form a pretty good idea from this of tne way that our natives are 
treated by the Belgmns. If they go into the Congo State territory at all, 
tiiey do so in fear of their lives. I suppose the profits tempt them. 
What we traders want to know is, why the great Powers — and especially 
England, who signed the Berlin Treaty — stand this sort of thing. From 
all we hear, what goes on in the Congo territory itsdf begf^ars description. 
There are not hundreds, but thousands of mutilated natives all over the 
Congo. ... I am trying to get some photographs of these cases, with a 
fully certified statement of the facts in each case. It is difficult to bring 
home these mutilations to the State soldiers. To take down what the 
native says is not considered sufficient proof, without another European 
being present ; and for white men to go into the Congo territory, or to 
bring a native out of the Congo, is always very risky and expensive." 

From another letter, received in 1903 from the same 
correspondent, I give the following extracts : 

'* The rebels," he writes, *' in the Katanga country are well armed, 
and not at least afraid of the Belgians ; and this makes a very bad 
impression on the whole of the native population of these parts. The 
Belgians are also, as a rule, in the hands of their soldiers, and in many 
cases the officers have been threatened by them, to such an extent that 
the future of the country will be in the greatest danger for the develop- 
ment of Europeans. The Belgians do not allow any white men in the 
Katanga territory. It is thus very difficult to actually witness the daily 
reports of disgraceful treatment of the inhabitants by the Belgians and 

* The name is suppressed because I have no authority on the part of 
the missionary named to give it, and without his authority I do not wish 
to expose him to unpleasantness. 



IN KATANGA 213 

their soldiers, and the way the soldiers treat their officers. The reports 
are, usually, that several soldiers are sent out to collect rubber in the 
interior, and have a free hand to do so, so long as they bring in long 
caravans of rubber. The natives are forced to collect rubber, otherwise 
their villages are burnt, and in many cases people mutilated or killed. 
This is what I hear of every black man, and fh>m white men who know 
what goes on. The soldiers are generally selected from warlike tribes 
Car in the interior, and as long as those soldiers have the right to treat 
the inhabitants as they like, large quantities of rubber are got, which is 
what is required. The natives, knowing the soldiers act for the white 
men, are all the more frightened. In addition to this, the soldiers are 
supplied with good guns and plenty of ammunition ; they are imiformed, 
and lead an independent life ; are not troubled with military instructions, 
have plenty of women, slaves, beer and food, and the right of disposing 
of life and death at their option. Any one who knows natives will agree 
that the danger of such a state of matters is very great. That such a 
policy on the part of the Belgians makes a bad, dangerous impression 
upon all the natives is without question. The increasing hatred and 
terror of the natives against Europeans is proved by the hiCt that both 
peace and welfare, and also the population, are decreasing wherever the 
Belgians take possession. With tne exception of half-a-dozen villages, 
the whole Belgian Luapula, from Mwerutothe Falls, has been abandoned 
by the natives. They have all crossed to the British side, simply on 
account of the Belgians and their soldiers." 

The above testimony, coming from a variety of sources, is 
conclusive. It bears out, moreover, the dec-'-'ations of M. 
L^vdque, the Director of the Katanga Com>dny, as to the 
condition of affairs in the territory assigned to his Company 
by the Congo State authorities.* Extracts from the diary 
of an English representative of the Katanga Company, which 
has come into my possession, will put the finishing touches to 
the picture of Congo State "Control" in the South-Eastem 
District, in so far as die treatment of natives and general 
administration are concerned. 

The writer of this diary was despatched by his Chief, M. 
Ldv£que,t along the Belgian bank of the Luapula, in order 
to build trading stations for the Company. The very briefness 
of the extracts accentuates their significance. They are the 
hurried jottings, written down de visu, of an ordinary un- 
emotional individual. He has set down just what he saw 
roughly, and with no attempt at literary embellishments. 

*' Johnston Falls, October 20th, 1900. 
'' October 14/A. — Paid the canoes off and we left for our journey up river 
at 6 ajn., and reached the village of Kawine at 4 p.m. Here we heard 
that the Lufoi soldiers had been again shooting, and have killed one maOi 

• See Part IV. 

t It may be useful to mention, by the way, that I have never held 
any communication of any kind wiUi this M. L^v6que, who is only known 
to me by name. 



214 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

also hsidly wounding another. This took place above here, and there is 
fighting, in fact, along the whole river (when I say fighting, I mean 
stealing, and taking women prisoners for their own use). The people 
have all gone across to the English side for safety. 

'* October \tth, — Left at 6 a.m., and passed a small village on the 
Enghsh side. . . . 345 p.m. we passed a great many small villages on 
the English side, but could get no labour, as they are afi-aid of this side. 

" October 17M.— Left at 6 a.m., and about 8 a.m. we passed a great 
many people on the English side, about, I should say, two to three 
hundred men, women, and children. I stayed and spoke to them, also 
telling them to wait till we could arrange for their return to their own 
villages again. It is really sad to see these poor hungry people, whose 
food crops have all been destroyed and their property stolen. 

'' October \%th, — Left at 4 a.nL, and we stuck on a small sandbank for 
about one hour. We passed the villages of ' Musoka,' who have had to 
flee to the English side for protection. Here the soldiers have taken 
away women as prisoners, all because these people have no rubber for 
the Lufoi station. Again I have told these people to wait, and all will be 
well when we have our steamer on the river to assist them and their 
troubles. 

'' October 19/A.— Left at 5.30 a.m. and reached the falls at 11 a.m. 
Got our baggage on shore and camped on the Katanga Company's 
territory at the foot of the falls. Here we find also all the people gone 
over the river. I shall have to arrange about getting men from the 
English side. 

'^ Mr. Milstead came across * to see us, and he tells me that no less 
than seven chiefs from this side t have been to see him, saying that they 
wish to build on the English side. The reasons given him by these 
chiefs are that the Lufoi askaris have robbed and molested their people 
to such an extent that they find it impossible to live on this side any 
longer. I have told some of them that we would give them protection soon. 

"Johnston Falls, October 23rd. 

'^ I find that owing to the impossibility to obtain carriers for us both 
to proceed at once, I must go on ahead and procure men. . . . This 
has been caused by the devastation of the country, and also the 
ravishing of native women by the Lufoi soldiers. 

" October 2\thy 9 a,m, — Left Johnston Falls with only sufficient men 
to take myself and loads to Chinamas. We went alons^ a ridge for 
about two hours, and came to a large number of temporary nuts of people 
who had fied from inland. I understand that between the river and 
Lufoi the people have now settled on the English side of the river. 

'* October 25/A. — Left camp at 9 ajn., and after two and a half hours' 
walk we passed a small village of some ten huts, but the people had all 
fled. We then went on until 11.30 a.m., and camped. There was a 
large village on the English side of the Luapula, but we could not get 
them to come to us, as they were aft'aid we were from the Lufoi station. 

•* October Tjth, — . . . The road to-day has been through forest, and 
only once did we pass water en route. We also passed a village deserted. 
The large gardens show there must have been a very large population, 
and that they had not long left the place. 

" October 30/A. — Left camp at 7 a.m., after another bad night of rain. 
We reached Chinamas at 10.30 a.m. I find that, owing to so many 

* That is, from the English side of Luapida. 
t That is, the Congo State side. 



IN KATANGA 215 

dif&ctilties, I must give up the idea of going any further south. The 
people are a poor hunted race so far ; and, further south, we should onl^r 
nave the blame of the mischief put on our shoulders for what the Lufoi 
soldiers have done to destroy the natives. 

^^ October 31J/. — The men I sent yesterday to call 'Chinamas' 
returned, and the chief is now on his way to see me. He arrived at 
1 1 ajn., and we held a meeting. The old chief was a very intelligent 
old man, and it seems he has been hardly dealt with, and hunted about 
for his wealth of ivorv. He says most of his cattle and ivory have been 
taken from him at odd times." 

The treatment of M. Teixeira de Mattos, a trader of Dutch 
extraction, long established in Nyassaland, a representative of 
Sharrar's Zambesi Traffic Co., Ltd., and Zambesi Trading Co., 
at the hands of the Congo State people may, in conclusion, be 
briefly touched upon. M. Teixeira de Mattos it should be 
mentioned, is a creditor on the late Herr Rabinek's * estate, 
which may account in some measure for the action of the 
Comity Special du Katanga — the name of the Trust under 
which the Congo State now conceals its operations in the 
South Eastern District. 

I understand from M. Teixeira de Mattos that the Dutch 
Government is concerning itself in an endeavour to obtain 
compensation from the Congo State for the outrage of which 
its subject has been the victim, at the hands of the Camitfs 
agents. 

The main facts of the case are these : 

In September, 1901, M. Teixeira de Mattos went down the 
Luapula from Chienji to Fort Rosebery, in the African Lakes 
Corporation Steamer, Scotia. The steamer took in fire- 
wood at the English village of Kampalla-Luapula. Two 
natives employed by M. de Mattos were at Kampalla, whither 
they had been sent by M. de Mattos' agent on Lake Tangan- 
yika to buy rubber in British territory. They reported the 
need of cloths to pay carriers to bring the rubber they had 
bought to Chienji. Two canoes were hired by M. de Mattos 
from the chief of the village at Kampala to convey the rubber 
by water to Chienji. The task was undertaken by the son of 
the chief and three other natives. M. de Mattos then pro- 
ceeded to Chienji in the Scotia. Four days after his 
arrival at that place his two rubber buyers turned up, report- 
ing that all the rubber had been loaded into one canoe, and as 
they did not know how to paddle, they had travelled overland 
The canoe, however, did not arrive. Some three days later 
the Katanga Company's steamer arrived, and upon inquiry 
being made, M. de Mattos ascertained that his canoe had been 

• See Part IV. 



2i6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

seized on the Luapula, when on its way to Chienji, and con- 
fiscated, together with its contents, by the Katanga Company's 
agent The captain of the Katanga Company's steamer, 
challenged by M. de Mattos^ admitted the fact, adding that 
upon seeing the Belgian steamer bearing down upon them, 
two of the natives in the canoe had sprung into the water, but 
that one remained, and the canoe with the remaining native 
on board had been towed to Mpueto, the Congo State station 
on Lako Mweru. M. de Mattos lost no time in going to 
Mpueto and confronting the " Commandant " in charge. The 
latter replied that he was on board the Belgian steamer when 
she captured the canoe, and that the native who had remained 
on board was in gaol. He refused to answer any questions, 
declined to give the weight of the rubber seized, and behaved 
in an insolent manner generally. M. de Mattos thereupon 
left Mpueto and laid his complaint before Dr. Blair Watson, 
British Magistrate for the Mweru District The latter com- 
municated with the " Commandant " at Pueto. This individual 
replied that the rubber had been collected from the Congo 
State side of the Luapula, from territoiy belonging to the 
Comity Spicial du Katanga — otherwbe stated, the Katanga 
Trust — that the seizure was perfectly legal, and that the native 
would be dealt with by la justice. This reply showed once 
again that the Congo Authorities, contrary to the Act of Berlin, 
do not allow the natives of the Congo State territory to sell 
rubber to European traders, or to any one. But the statement 
in itself was also totally untrue^ because^ as already stated^ the 
rubber was gathered by British tiatives in British territory^ and 
was being conveyed to a British port in a British canoe^ 
manned by British natives. There were several witnesses, 
white and black, to testify to this, and sworn declarations by 
the native buyers of M. de Mattos were made before Mr. J. L. 
Green, the British native Commissioner. Owing to the 
energetic representations of Dr. Blair Watson, the Katanga 

Trust was subsequently compelled to change its tune. W , 

the Trust's chief representative, discredited his " Command- 
ant," and on April 29, 1902, six months after the seizure 
occurred, M. de Mattos received the following letter from M. 
Chesneye, acting administrator at Fort Jameson. 

" Administrator's Office, Fort Jameson, N.E. Rhodesia, 

"April 29, 1903. 
^* Sir, — I have the honour to inform you tiiat I have received a letter 
from Dr. Blair Watson, Civil Commissioner, Mweru District, to the eflRtct 
that W-~-, representaitive of the Comiti Spdcial du Katanga^ of the 

Congo Free State, had discredited the action taken by M. C in 

seizing a canoe containing rubber belonging to you. At Dr. Watson's 



IN KATANGA 217 

request, the rubber in question is being sent to Chienji, to be delivered 
to yourself or your agents. Dr. Watson informs me that he has com- 
municated with you on this subject. Representations are now being 
made to the Congo Free State Authorities with a view of effecting the 
immediate release of the canoe and the native of Kampallas, which were 
illegalljr seized by order of M. C . Should you claim any com- 
pensation for illegal detention and seizure on the part of the Katanga 
Company, I will be glad to receive your claims and the reasons on 
which these demands are based. 

"I have the honour to be, sir, 

'* Your obedient servant, 

" C. J. Chbsneve. 
" M. Teixeira de Mattos, Esq., 

^ Acting Administrator, Katonga." 

The amount claimed by M. de Mattos amounted to about 
;f 500. All he has received, however, at the time his latest 
communication has reached me, is the value of three bags 
of rubber, all that the canoe contained according to the 
agents of the Katanga Trust! Possibly, however, M. de 
Mattos may still get adequate compensation, for a passenger 
on board the Belgian steamer when the seizure took place, has 
signed an affidavit (copy of which is in my possession) before 
M. C. MacKennon, Magistrate at Murongo, N.E. Rhodesia, and 
dated January, 1903. In this affidavit, it is stated that the 
quantity seized was very much larger than the "three bags" 
allowed by the Katanga Trust. The circumstances of the 
seizure and the treatment of the unfortunate British native 
are minutely described in the affidavit The native was tied 
up to the steamer rail, and was left there for two nights and 
one day. The native, as already explained, was finally handed 
over to la justice at Mpueto. Whether he ever escaped from 
the clutches of Congo "justice" does not transpire. 

The following extract from Mr. Owen Stroud's diary, 
published in the Bournemouth Guardian in 1903, adds another 
touch to the condition of the South-Eastern District Mr. 
Stroud was recently entrusted with the task of placing a 
monument on the spot where Dr. Livingstone died The 
extract is dated September 9, 1902 : 

" Left early, and after travelling for about three hours, I met a Mr. 
Wright, a hunter and trader, and as I had known him years ago at a 
I^ce called Blantyre, in the Shire highlands, I stopped my loads, put 
the kettle on, opened tinned meats, etc. ... He tokl me to look out for 
the Belgian p<uice of the Congo territory, as they were now raiding in 
British tsrriUny^*--all cannibals j having just killed and eaten seven men 
of the African Lakes Corporation^ Ltd. ... He said I had better keep 
my eyes open, and have my revolver and rifle always by the side of me* 

* That would be in the neighbourhood of Lake Bangwelo. 



2i8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

The latest information from this part of the Congo comes 
in the form of a letter to my friend, Mr. Fox-Bourne (received in 
February of this year), from the Rev. Dugald Campbell, who has 
spent nearly eleven years in the Katanga country. This gentle- 
man goes through his experiences since 1894 down to November 
of last year. He speaks of the raids for ivory, in the course 
of which " baskets of human heads " were brought in to the 
State's post, and " long strings of captives, mostly women and 
children, who were made to serve seven years as * prisoners of 
war.' " The usual shooting and torturing of women is reported 
by the writer. Upon one occasion when he protested against 
the summary shooting of natives, and referred to " rules and 
regulations," the officer concerned replied, " Ah, monsieur, je 
n'ai ni livre de riglements, ni de lois de I'Etat Que puis-je 
faire moi } Je suis la seule loi. Moi, je suis le seul Dieu dans 
le Katanga." He graphically describes the arrival at his 
mission station of an expedition commanded by a Captain 

X and Lieutenant Z , returning from an " ivory and 

head hunting expedition round the populous Chivanda District 
and Lubaland," which they had reduced to "beggary and 
ashes." 

"They filed into the mission town, with Hags flying and bugles 
blowing, and came up the long street to my home at the top of the 
mountain, where I entertained them for two days. Long strings of old 
women and children tied together, mere skin and bone, and numbers of 
long, deep baskets filled with human heads (hair shaved ofif) were 
emptied, and the heads counted and put to dry in the sun." 

In another case, mentioned in considerable detail by the 
writer which occurred about 1898 : 

" The heads were counted at the officer's feet, and then returned to 
Mukandu Bantu * and his people with a barrel of eunpowder, for a war 
dance to celebrate the victory. I sat by and saw tne dance with heads, 
which was also witnessed by about five hundred people, three Congo flags 
fiying high over the proceedings.'' 

After enumerating other instances of frightful oppression, 
injustice, and murder, the writer adds a postcript, dated 
November 9, 1903 : 

" I must add a postscript to what I have written above, as news came 
to hand yesterday from Mweru (Congo Free State side) of a Belgian 
officer^ who was sent to hunt up carriers in the district of Tambe. He 
shot sue natives on no known pretext whatever ; my informant, who lives 
near the place of the murders, suggests ' prestige.' Along wiUi the above, 

* Who had been raiding on the State account, much like the Zappo- 
Zaps in the Kasai. See Chapter XVI. 



IN KATANGA 219 

my messengers tell me of the brutal murder of a native, a British subject^ 
who had unfortunately crossed over into the Congo Free State, and, 
being a hunter, had killed two hippopotami. He was caught by the same 
officer, and, lagging behind, was knocked on the head with the butts of 
the soldiers' rifles. When the soldiers reported to the officer that the 
man was unable to travel — * Shoot him,* was the prompt reply. There- 
upon he was tied to a pole stuck in the ground at the cross-roads, and 
shot dead, his body bemg left fastened to the pole, to be carried off and 
eaten at night by hyenas." 

Some of these statements would appear incredible were it 
not that similar incidents — the head-hunting (although the 
proved Mongalla atrocities of 1900 included the placing of 
severed heads on village palisades) excepted — are reported on 
every hand ; the same cause in every case, rubber, and ivory 
raids, and officials demoralised by a policy which impels them 
to acts that after a certain time become, as it were, second 
nature.* 

Thus do the agents of the Congo State in Africa pursue 
their mad course, oblivious of all law and international usage ; 
dealing with the natives as the beast of prey deals with its 
victims ; arming and letting loose cannibal troops all over the 
country to pillage, outrage, and murder ; breeding hatred and 
fury against the white man in tens of thousands of dusky 
breasts ; unable to control the excesses of their savage allies ; 
not hesitating to go to almost any lengths against Europeans 
who inconvenience them ; callous of human suffering, and 
drunk with self-importance — worthy representatives of the 
European institution which calls itself a medium for the 
" moral and material regeneration " of Africa, and whose 
diplomacy consists for the most part in opposing to the crush- 
ing weight of evidence accumulated against its POLICY and 
procedure, the miserable legal quibbles of a handful of cosmo- 
politan jurists. 

* Mr. H. R. Fox-Bourne has now received a further and much more 
detailed letter from Mr. Campbell, wherein the writer gives a brief history 
of the thirteen years of Coneo misgovemment in Katanga. It is a story 
of incredible horror, and will be found in full in the Appendix. 



CHAPTER XIX 



CONGO STATE CONTROL ON THE RIVER BANKS 

'*. . . grand State sUtions with wide iXMuls, fine avennes, large 
rardens and solid bridk hooaes— regular show plaoe8--tibat teiB- 
fied to tiie enerey of some of tiie Belgian officials, and one oonld 
not he^ tmt a&ire them witil one rememb«ed that thqr were 
tmilt. and are now maintained at the cost of the heart's blood of tiie 
ndgnbouing tribes. . • . To one who sees only the telegrrah, the 
railway and the State stations^ the p ro g re ss seems vnm&nal^ and 
they cannot withold exclamations of admiration ; but to one who 
can compart the condition of the natives to-day o n the Umr 
Congo with their condition thirteen yeara ago, I say without lear 
of contradiction by any one able to make 9ie comparison impar- 
tially, that tiie condition of the pe<^, to mit it milcuy. is one hun- 
dred per cent worse now than then."— Rev. T. H* weeks, for 
twenty-four yean a representatiTe of tiie British Baptist Mis- 
sionary Society on the Congo, in a letter to the anthor, dated 
Monsembe, Upper Congo, July, 191^ 

The endeavour is being made in this volume to localise, as far 
as possible, the records of Congo State misrule which have 
reached us of late. The actual effects of the application of 
this policy vary in intensity, and correspond with the character 
of the people, and the nature of the productive power of the 
country. Districts which are rubber-producing suffer most, 
for they are bled unmercifully for that valuable product 
Other districts which do not produce rubber are mulcted in 
heavy food taxes ; in other districts, again, taxation takes the 
form of levies upon the population for soldiers and for work- 
men. But everywhere there is the same disregard of the laws 
of humanity and decency, the same everlasting oppression and 
outrage ; for although abuses in the Congo territories take 
many forms, there is only on^ policy — ^the policy devised in 
1 89 1, and applied with relentless determination ever since. It 
is important for the reader to bear this in mind. The system 
I have adopted of localising reports has its disadvantages. But 
what it may lack in picturesqueness, it gains, I think, in precision, 
and one cannot be too specific in exposing the recorded results 
of a conception, the general nature and inevitable consequences 
of whidi have been dealt with early in the volume on broad lines. 



THE RIVER BANKS 221 

The first and fullest particulars which are available in 
regard to effects of Congo State rule on the great arteries, 
refer to the banks of the Congo itself between Stanley Pool 
and Bangala (Nouvelle-Anvers). Both Stanley Pool and 
Nouvelle-Anvers are important administrative centres of the 
Congo State. Before the State was powerful enough to make 
its baneful influence felt, the banks of the river between those 
two places were very populous. On a portion of that distance 
— 50 miles only — from Bokongo to Likunugu, Stanley estimated 
in 1888 the population at 80,000 souls. In 1891, the Belgian 
Lieutenant, Lemaire, Commissaire of the Equateur District, 
reported as follows : 

** The truth is, that from Stanley Pool onwards, one meets with nothing 
but large centres of population, thus Chumbiri 10,000^ Bolobo 35,000, 
Lukolela 5000, Iredu 10,000— NGandas, Wangatas, Bandakas, Burukia, 
Loliva (30,000 souls on 50 kilometres of river), etc." 

About the same period the Belgian, Captain Coquilhat, 
estimated the population of other towns along this stretch of 
river, such as " Monsembe at 3000, Bolumbo 3000, Lulanga 
8000, Lobengo 3000," etc 

The depopulation of this r^ion of late years through 
administrative exactions, in the form of cru^ing taxation, 
and military levies, has been terrible in the extreme. Take, 
for instance, the town of Irebu, now a military station. Mr. 
Hall, a West Indian member of the American Baptist 
Missionary Society of Boston, tells me that when he left 
Irebu, after eight years* residence, 1889- 1897, "The population 
only amounted to about three or four hundred." Mr. J. H. 
Weeks, one of the oldest and most respected members of the 
British Baptist Missionary Society, with an experience of the 
Upper Congo of almost a quarter of a century, writing from 
Monsembe, in July, 1903, says that in Irebu " there are not 
now 50 persons"! In a letter to the Commissaire of the 
Equateur District, written at Monsembe, in June, 1903 (and a 
copy of which is in my possession) Mr. Weeks says : 

^When we came to settle in Monsembe, in 1890, there were over 
7000 people between here and Bokonga In 1901 there were very few 
over 3000, and now there are not many above looa If the dec^eue 
continues at the same rate, there will be no people left" 

The population between Bokongo and Likunungu, Mr. Weeks 
now estimates at only 9400, from 80,000 in 1888, and he adds : 

" Of the 9400 now on the banks in this district, quite half have jnst 
been driven from the bush to repopulate the river banks, for we foond 
that if we had gone up only six wedcs earlier than we did, we should have 
scarcely found 50QO people." 



222 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Mr. Weeks continues : 

'' Starting from Stanley Pool, Bwemba has about a hundred for every 
thousand it once had ; Bolobo has not a third of its former population ; 
Lukolela had about 4000 people and now it has not 300 ; Bolenge has 
not half its former population ; Lulanga had over 3000 people in 1890, 
but now there are not 80a" 

One stands aghast at these figures ; but the story is universally 
the same, whether the Upper Ubanghi is in question, or the 
Luapula in the Eastern District, or even the Lower Congo, 
the north bank of which used to be crowded with villages in 
the pre-Congo State days, and which are now virtually deserted, 
except in the immediate neighbourhood of Banana, Boma and 
Matadi. 

From whatever part of the Congo territories information 
filters through, the tale is repeated : one monotonous round of 
oppression, depopulation, emigration, dying out. Occasionally 
species of battues are organised, and villages from the interior 
are compulsorily evacuated, their inhabitants being driven to 
the water's edge, there compelled to reside until food taxes, 
labour taxes, and military taxes have reduced them to vanish- 
ing point, when the process is repeated. 

In the particular region which we are examining at present, 
Mr. Weeks has supplied detailed explanations of the reasons 
for the depopulation. He has protested to the officials. Thus 
in his afore-mentioned letter to the Commissaireof the Equateur- 
ville District, a copy of which he forwarded to the Governor- 
General, Mr. Weeks writes : 

'* Manv things have conduced to this deplorable decrease in popula- 
tion. Will you pardon me if I presume on my thirteen years' residence 
in this district and my twenty-two years* residence on the Congo, to point 
out to you what appear to me to be the principal reasons for this saa and 
alarming diminuuon of one of the finest tribes of the Congo Free State ? 

**They are, I think, as follows : — 

'' I. The continual deportation of young men (and in a lesser degree 
of young women) to serve as soldiers and workmen for the State, and the 
very few that ever return home. As a consequence of this drainage of 
the young blood and strength of the district, there is a marked paucity of 
children, so that the deaths are far in advance of the births. Had the 
demand for men been levied in a fixed and rn^ar manner, it might not 
have been so harmfuL But it has been levie(r(so it appears to us; at the 
caprice 6i the authorities for the time being, without any regard to the 
population. 

^ 2. The flight of the people from the river to get away from oppressive 
taxation. As an example of this, I would mention the towns of Lobengo 
and Mantde, which, a few years aeo, were large and prosperous towns, 
but are now simply grass and bush, with not a single pmon living in 
them. 

'' 3. Sleeping sickness has undoubtedlv carried off many, but from care- 
ful observation of this and other parts of the Congo where I have resided, 



THE RIVER BANKS 223 

I think that this disease would never have taken such a hold on the 
people if they had not had their spirit crushed out of them by an ever 
mcreasing burden of taxation that has taken the heart out of them and 
made life not worth living. 

'*4. The heavy burden of taxation, which for each person is becoming 
heavier and heavier, because fewer are left to share it It was some time 
in 1896 that the people in this district were first taxed, and the tax was 
then fixed, I presume, according to the population of the district Since 
then three-fourths of the people have bc^ deported, fled^ or died, yet the 
tax has not been reduced one iota to relieve a broken-spinted, diminished, 
and dving people. Again, in 1890-95, goats exchanged for 100 to 150 
rods ; * from 1896 to 1901 the price rose steadily to 800 rods ; and now, 
in IQ03. the price ranges fi'om 1500 to 2500 rods. Yet, notwithstanding 
the high price of goats and the decrease in population, the tax on goats 
and fish, which was doubled in 1897, has remamed the same ever smce. 
I think you will see firom this that the burden of taxation has becmne 
more than a dying people can bear, if you wish to have any people left 
to govern. 

** 5. The imposition of whimsical fines, out of all proportion to real or 
supposed ofifences, is sapping the life of the people. As an example of 
this, take the recent visit of'Mabata't (I regret that I can only give 
his native name) to this town. He quartered himself, with over twenty 
soldiers and many paddlers, twice on a people that had broken no law 
and refiised no demand of the State. The second time he came, because 
food for his increased crowd was not forthcoming at once, he took the 
chief Mangumbe, appointed by the State itseli and carried him as hostage 
to his sleeping camp some miles up river until the food arrived. He also 
demanded from this Monsembe district of 300 people 8000 rods, and 
although he was frequently asked the reason for such a demand, he never 
deigned to g[ive one. Among the 800 people that comprise the districts 
bdow us, viz. Bongwde, Malele, Bokomela, Mungunbu, and Bokongo, 
he quartered himsdf and his men for over a month, which sadly ta»^ 
their resources, and in addition demanded and tied up { people until he 
obtained nearly 50,000 rods fix>m them. Surely, if no proper explanation 
of this is given, we shall be within our rights m refemng this matter to 
the authorities at Bona. 

**Have the delinquencies of these people been tried in a properly 
constituted court? Is 'Mabata' a judge that he has power to impose 
these so-called fines ? In addition to a tax that presses sorely, tnese 
unfortunate people are subjected also to irregular and capricious demands. 
We pray you, for humanitarian reasons, to lighten the ourdens of these 
people and to bring their taxation within their limited and decreasing 
means. It is heart-rending to compare this district now with what it was 
in 189a At that date, in the Mungala Creek, there were more than ijoo 
people, now there are scarcely 200 ; and thus one can take district after 
district with the same sad tale to tell. 



* The currency of the district. 

t The native name of a Congo State official 

t This ''tying up" of people the reader may not auite understand. 
The meaning is this : Ever since 1891 this system of taJdng ''hostages," 
that is to say, capturing prisoners and tying them up until redeemed 
either for ivory^ rubber, ibod-stufis, or what not, has been regularly 
practised. In this connection, too, the reader is referred to many instances 
of the practice given in this volume, and to the admissions of General 
Wahis nimself, mentioned in the Congo Debate^ Part V. 



224 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

'* In 1890 the towns were well kept, clean, and tidy, with neatly built 
houses ; now they are ill kept and very slovenlr, because at any moment 
the inhabitants fear thev may have to flee to the bush for refuge, or have 
their towns looted and burned through inability to meet some heavy 
demand. Then, also, there was some securit^r for life and property, for 
men defended them by the strength of their arms, now there » do 
security for either. 

In reply to some of the above statements, it may be said that the 
State pays for what the natives take to Bangala, but the remwieration 
paid is less than one-tenth of the real value. And the natives are forced 
to take produce to the State under threat of having their towns burned 
down, and have to accept for their goods what is given them.* Again we 
pray you to do all you possibly can for the amelioration of these nn- 
ibrtunate people, that the remnant may not die out, but rather be fostered 
again into a strong tribe.'* 

Mr. Weeks speaks of the people who are thus sufTering as 
one of the '^ finest tribes of the Congo," whom, owing to their 
splendid physique, the State uses largely for militaiy service. 
The system of military recruiting by the State is on a par with 
its other methods of ^* moral and material r^eneration," not- 
withstanding the oft-repeated official assurances that the men 
are eager to enlist, and that recruiting is entirely voluntary.t 
The very nature of the terms of service precludes the possibility 
of the levy being otherwise than coercive and forced. Tie 
men are taken on twelve years' contracts. Imagine any native 
acquiescit g in a twelve years' contract I By no one has this 
abominable system been so warmly denounced as in Belgium 
by Professor Cattier,J of the Brussels University, in his remark- 
able book on the Congo, published in 1898 — a book which, by 
reason of the many excuses which it contains for sundiy aspects 
of the State's policy, only makes his indictment the more telling: 
" For twelve years," he writes, " they are deprived of their 
liberty, removed from their centres, taken away from their 
villages. In fact, they become foreigners to their tribe ; after 
such an absence, how could they return ? This militaiy impo- 
sition is excessive. . . . Such practices must be fought in the 
name of humanity." 

Times without number has this military " tax " been de- 
nounced in the Belgian House. A high French oflddal, 
recently returned from the Congo, has declared that it is one 

* In a letter published by the Daily News^ in December, 1903, from 
Mr. Charles Bona, and referred to in Chapter XL, the writer says that at 
the State station of Coquilhatville on the river, capital of the '' Equateur" 
district, the Commandant ** regularly" imprisons men ''for weeks at a 
time," and puts them <* in the chain,*' because sufficient supplies of rubber 
are not forthcoming. 

t See in this connection Mr. Campbell's letter in the Appendix. 

i ''Droit et Administration de I'Etat Ind^pendant du Congo." By 
F. Cattier. Brussels, 1898. 



THE RIVER BANKS 225 

of the most fruitful sources of the perpetual uprisings in 
the State.* From the Upper Congo, between Stanley-Pool 
and Nouvelle-Anvers, we pass to the Ubanghi, the great 
northern branch of the Congo. The Colonial Institute of 
Marseilles has recently published the diaiy of M. Leon C. 
Berthier, who spent two years — May, 1899, to June, 1901 — 
in that neighbourhood. M. Berthier speaks of the hatred 
and fear of the white man which Belgian oppression has 
caused among the natives in the entire region he passed 
through. He speaks of the difficulties experienced by 
merchants on the French banks of the Ubanghi, on account 
of these proceedings. "The terrifying example of the 
Belgians is the cause," he writes, "that the natives from 
Brazzaville to Banghi retreat before the white man, and that, 
notwithstanding their intense desire for European goods, they 
will not come in to acquire them against rubber, fearing that 
the Moloch of European rapacity will oppress them as in the 
territory of Bula Matadi." And again, "The Belgian bank 
is far less inhabited than the Frendi bank ; the natives leave 
the Belgian bank in masses to take refuge with us." Here is 
a further typical passage from his notes : 

^^ Belgian Post of Imesse^ well constructed. The chief of the Post of 
Imesse (Belgian Congo) is absent. He has gone to punish the village of 
M'Batchi up river, guilt^r of being a little late in paying the rubber tax 
imposed by Bula Matari. 

" Nine o'clock in the evening. A canoe full of Congo State soldiers 
returns from the pillage of M'Batchi. And yet this Free State was created 
in order to civilise the black races ! 

" Post of Ibengai in the river of that name, affluent of the Congo. 
Before arriving, we passed the canoe of the Chef de Poste of Imesse, 
who gave us details of the punishment of M'Batchi : thirty killed, fifty 
wounded I 

"At three o'clock, APBatchij the scene of the bloody punishment of 
the Chef de Poste^ of Imesse. Poor village ! The ddbris of miserable 
huts, and of canoes covered with a bark which resembles birch ; in the 
huts, above the smoking embers, one or two human skulls. The natives 
have taken refuge in the bush, and the blandishments of Shaw, who 
speaks to them in Bangala, cannot induce them to approach. One goes 
away, humiliated and saddened, from these scenes of desolation, filled 
with indescribable feelings. How can these negroes be really blamed if 
one fine day they surprise one of their white oppressors and exterminate 
him ? Probably it will not be one of those guil^ of the destruction of the 
village, but an mnocent person who will suffer for the guilty.** 

In the South-Eastem District, as will be found recorded 
in fuller detail in Chapter XIV., the Belgian banks of the 
Luapula River are deserted, the natives having emigrated in 
large numbers to the British bank, owing to the raids of Congo 

♦ M. Gentil. 



226 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

State soldiery, for rubber and ivory. The migration from the 
Congo State bank of die Congo to the opposite side is also 
referred to by M. de Lamothe, ex-Governor of the French 
Congo. From the Kasai District, and Lakes Leopold II. 
and Matumba, comes the same tale ; the people seek refuge 
from the accursed white man and his soldiers in the solitudes 
of the forest, leaving homes, plantations, fisheries, an3^ing 
and everything to get away — if they can — ^from the oppressor. 
Mr. Weeks' letter to the Governor-General, to which I 
have alluded, was apparently taken no notice of ^diatever, 
until it appeared in the IVsst African Mail Then the 
action of the Congo State followed its invariable precedent 
Monsignor von Ronsl6 was put up to answer it, and the 
answer was incorporated in the Congo State's "reply" to the 
British White Book.* But the answer was no answer at aU. 
Mr. Weeks had cited specific facts with regard to the eflfect 
of oppressive taxation upon the Bangalas. Mons^or von 
Ronsl^'s answer is almost entirely concerned with Mr. 
Weeks' casual allusion — not of his own investigation — to 
the Bobangis. Yet the Roman Catholic Prelate's "answer" 
was trumpeted abroad as a conclusive reply to Mr. Weeks' 
"misrepresentations." Such as it was, the "answer" has^ 
been subsequently riddled through and through by Mr. 
Weeks.t The amusing part of this particular controversy is 
that, in a further letter, one dated December 24, 1903, 
Mr. Weeks specified at great length, and with considerable 
detail, the nature and extent of Sie taxation in food-stuffs 
levied upon the population of the "four native sections of 
Malela, Bokomela, Mungunda, and Bokongo," showing that 
a small native community of 820 persons, including both 
sexes, infants, children, and sick persons, was compelled to 
contribute food-stuffs amounting in value to ;f 1605 its. Zd. 
per annum. The publicity given in Europe to these out- 
rageous instances compelled the Congo Executive, while deny- 
ing the facts in Europe, to " inquire " into them in Africa (let 
it be borne in mind that the taxation was applied by the 
Government itself), with the result that a further letter from 
Mr. Weeks announced an enormous reduction in this " taxa« 
tion." Mr. Weeks again took a specific instance, comparing 
the just instituted new tax with the old as levied upon the 
"Creek towns" immediately above his own station of 
Monsombe. In 1890 the population of these towns was 
estimated by Mr. Weeks and his colleagues at 1500. In 

* Notes sur le rapport de M. Casement, Consnl de Sa Ma|e8t€ 
Britannique du 11 Ddcembre, 1903. 

t Special Congo supplement, West African Mail^ June, 1904. 



THE RIVER BANKS 227 

June, 1903, there were 6y men, women, and children left. 
The "tax" was first levied in 1896, and doubled in 1897. 
It remained at its 1897 figure down to this year, notwith- 
standing the decrease in population almost to vanishing point 
In December, 1903, these 6y men, women, and children were 
paying a paternal government £1^7 lis, lod. per annum in 
food-stuflfs. It has now been reduced to £2^ jr. 8rf., yet, to 
its European hearers, the Congo Executive was loudly pro- 
claiming the unreliability of Mr. Weeks' 23 years' experience 
on the Congo 1 * There is an example of what can be done by 
courage on the Congo, and by publicity at home. 

Now take the reverse side of the picture, or rather, I 
should say, that portion of it which refers to the value oi 
publicity in these matters. In July, 1903, Mr. Gilchrist, 
belonging to the Congo Balolo Mission, and consequently to 
a different mission from that to which Mr. Weeks is attadied, 
writes to the Governor-General from Lolanga, describing the 
fearful oppression visited upon the riverain population of that 
neighbourhood, far removed, of course, from Mr. Weeks' 
sphere. On August 26, the Governor-General replies that 
the state of things " signalised by the Rev. Gildirist's letter 
will be the object of serious inquiry." In January, 1904, 
Mr. Gilchrist writes to the head of his mission in England to 
the effect that " the measures promised to put an end to these 
things have either not been taken, or else they have proved 
ineffective, for the same order of things continues practically 
the same as th^ were." Correspondence is subsequently 
exchanged between Dr. Guinness (the head of the Congo 
Balolo Mission) and the Congo Executive in Brussels, and 
the reply of the latter is to the effect that Mr. Gilchrisfs 
charges were unfounded. They had not been published, tiiat 
is all ; but it made all the difference. The full text of Mr. 
Gilchrist's letter is given in die Appendix, as also Mr. Gil- 
christ's version of the ''inquiry" made. I will merely quote 
here its conclusion : 

^ Eight years ago there was a population in these towns of at least 
5000 people compared with the 1200 of to-day. The impositions then 
were not nearly so heavy as at the present time. In conclusion, I would 
draw your attention to the money value of the taxes and fines, over and 
above the nominal value of price they receive for their supplies—// is at 
the rate of £fioper month for the last eighteen months. I also would like 
you to know that the people themselves are literally starving to keep up 
these supplies. In becoming acquainted with these facts, I cannot but 

* Meantime the oppressive ** taxation " has done its work^ and the 
reduction, as a result of publicity in Europe, will not bring back to life 
those who have died under it. 



228 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

think you will feel it your duty to take steps to remove these oppressive 
measures, under which the people are groaning — and dying." 

In dealing with the Congo State control on the river 
banks, one might easily fill half a dozen chapters alone. Our 
own Consul's observations on this point have been referred 
to, although quite inadequately. With few exceptions — 
the imm^iate neighbourhood of Stanley Falls for one, and 
in that case there are very tangible existing causes en- 
joining greater caution on the Executive and its allies 
— ^the tale is everywhere the same. Mr. Whitehead at 
Lukolela,* Mr. Whitmore and Mr. Clark at Ikoko, Mr. 
Billington at Bwanbu, Mr. Layton on a lai^e stretch of 
river, and especially at Bolangi, all have the same story to 
tell, and all consist of recent testimony, which can be 
perused (Mr. Whitehead's excepted) in the American 
Memorial to Congress.! Nor does that exhaust the list, for 
we have Mr. Frame describing his recent trip (in the course 
of which he came upon the cannibalistic orgie at Yandjali, to 
which reference is made, inter aliay in Chapter X.) to me, 
where he says : 

'^ On a single trip one sees enough and hears enough to convince him 
that the lot ofthe native is that of a harassed and crushed slave." t 

There are others, who prefer not to give their names, and 
whose testimony, while equally true, is, therefore, less valuable 
for our purpose ; and finally there is the most recent testimony 
of all, letters received this year, in the Appendix. Against 
this crushing mass of testimony from almost every part of 
the banks of the great river and its affluents, who but those 
who are directly or indirectly interested in concealing the 
truth, and acting as " devils " — a term used in law, I believe, 
to indicate a paid collaborator — ^to a "Government" which 
has befouled Christendom in tropical Africa, and has caused 
the very name of " civilisation," in its application to the races 
of Africa, to stink in the nostrils of every honest man, would 
venture to oppose their word } 

* Africa, No. i, 1904, op, ciU 

t Document 282. 

X West African Maily Congo issue, May, 1904. 



CHAPTER XX 

CONGO STATE CONTROL IN THE LOWER CONGO 

" Mt aim throughout life has been to find the truth, and make 
the truu known to others.**— Kino Leopold, as quoted bj Sir 
Hugh Gilzean-Reid. 

The portion of the Congo territories known as Lower Congo 
includes the north bank of the river below Matadi and the 
Cataracts region, or virtually the Congo State up to Stanley 
Pool. Until this year no rubber tax had been applied in the 
Lower Congo, and, therefore, there have been no organized 
massacres, and probably no mutilations ; only the milder forms 
of " Bula Matadi's " oppression prevailed. Happy Ba-Congo 
peoples I 

In this chapter I deal mainly with the condition of affairs 
down to December, 1903. At the close of the chapter the 
new r^gimi is briefly indicated. Although there have been 
no murders on a large scale, the country has been sadly 
depopulated by forced labour, forced military service, seizure 
of live stock, and so on. For nearly twenty years the Ba-Congo 
have known the blessings of " Bula Matadi," and the result is 
seen in emigration to Portuguese and French territory on the 
north bank, and to Portuguese territory on the south bank ; 
and in the decay of trade, and notably the ground-nut trade, 
which at one time, in the pre-generating days, was consider- 
able. The north bank of the Lower Congo, where twenty 
years ago numerous villages existed, is to-day virtually silent 
and deserted ; the Cataracts region, which used to be thickly 
populated, is but sparsely so, for the breath of " Bula Matadi " 
has passed over the land. It has brought ocean steamers 
and workshops, a railway, a couple of piers, fine houses, a 
public library, a prison,* and a fort ; useful things in their way, 
admirable and necessary things, especially the prison ^for 
"Bula Matadi's" servants). But these eminently desiraole 
accompaniments of civilisation have not come alone, and the 

* Where the mortality of the native prisoners is terrific. 



230 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Ba-Congo have suffered much. Here are some typical 
instances of their suffering. 

Unkind European critics had pointed to the circumstance 
that the output of the Ba-Congo people — the only trade out- 
put in the whole of the Congo territories — ^was largjely on the 
decrease, and in particular that the great ground-nut trade 
which existed prior to 1885 had virtually disappeared. The 
petition of the merchants established in the Lower Congo — 
there are still a few merchants left in the Lower Congo — ^had 
also reached Europe, and had been published in a wicked book 
called " Affairs of West Africa." TTiat petition, after pointing 
out the heavy import and export duty on goods and produce 
(20X. per ton on palm-oil, for instance), and showing how small 
the existing export trade had become, owing to the taxes and 
the emigration of native labour, due to the " means employed 
in raising native levies," went on to say : 

*' We do not disguise from ourselves that business in the Lower Con^o 
is practically nil, . . Each of us consistently hopes for an increase m 
trade ; but these hopes appear to be more and more unreliable. . . " 

So ^'Bula Matadi" hit upon an excellent plan. The 
ground-nut trcule should be revived and the critics confounded. 
The last " commercial " Bulletin Officiel chuckles softly over 
the revival of the " collection of this useful product" But the 
authorities of the Congo State, who are able to conceal their 
practices in the vast Upper Congo to no little extent, do not 
fare quite so well in the Lower Congo, which is more accessible 
to inquiry. I am in a position to explain under what circum- 
stances the Ba-Congo are again producing ground-nuts. Two 
words express the modus operandi — forced labour. Each 
village is compelled to produce a given number of bags of 
ground-nuts in the shell. Each of these bags— which have 
to be carried by the producers, in many cases for a distance 
of eighty miles, to Tumba, the head-quarters of the Cataracts 
District — weighs 120 lbs. A nominal payment is given of 5^. 
lod. per bag. This munificent sum is divided as follows. 
TTie two natives who carry the bag — it takes two natives to do 
so— get IS, id, apiece at the end of Aeir eighty miles' journey, the 
balance of 2s, 6d. being remitted to the Chief of the producing 
village. If the requisite number of bags is not forthcoming in 
the stated period, " punishment " is inflicted ; the said punish- 
ment consisting of the seizure of men and boys, who are made 
to work, without food or pay, at the State post of Luozi, or at 
other Government stations, until the offending village is con- 
sidered as having wiped off its debt The natives would like 
to sell their prodfuce to the merchants at Matadi, as they used 



THE LOWER CONGO 231 

to do in the old days, and from whom th^ would get a price 
commensurate with the trade value of the article. But " Bula 
Matadi" forbids ; the nuts must go to the Government as a slight, 
a very slight contribution for benefits rendered I The natives 
vainly plead that the compulsory transport imposed by the 
State before the railway was completed has decimated them 
in numbers — in point of fact, the population of the Cataracts 
region alone has gone down seventy-five per cent in the last 
ten years — and, nevertheless, they are now expected to furnish 
more compulsory transport, at lower rates, than under the 
former r/gime. It follows as a natural sequence that the 
" punishments " are more or less perpetual, and as the units 
which each village behindhand in its tribute of nuts has to 
furnish get neither food nor pay, as already stated, these 
unfortunate people have to depend upon their relatives in the 
neighbourhood of Luozi to keep them supplied with food- 
stuffs, which, of course, is a tax upon the latter also. Indeed, 
the system works so well that, owing to the food difficulty, 
many of the " labourers " fall ill and die, while those who 
survive, reach their homes in a broken-down condition. 

Another outcome of the system is this. Human nature 
being what it is, and the natives of the villages in the Cataracts 
region dreading and hating the forced labour at Luozi and 
elsewhere, the full-grown men and able-bodied youths shirk it, 
and the boys and immature youths have to expiate the sins of 
the village. Early in the present year it transpired that the 
Acting-Governor General's attention had been called to the 
sickness among the boys who had been working at the 
Government stationa It also became known that the receipt 
of these complaints had been immediately followed by the 
despatch of a large body of troops into the Luozi District By 
chance a copy of the Acting-Governor General's letter — to a 
member of the farcical "Commission for the Protection of 
the Natives " — has come into my hands. It is characterised 
by the superlative hypocrisy and guarded respect for appear- 
ances which invariably distinguish the official communications 
of"BulaMatadi." 

" In reply to your letter of January 2Sth last," writes M. Fuchs, ^ I 
have the nonour to inform }rou that I have asked the Cammissaire of 
the Cataracts Districts to kmdly give me some information as to the 
work of children at Luozi. That official has told the head of the region 
to only accept in future for that work adults in good health. It is, in 
point of fact, the latter who, by showing themselves refractory to work 
which b imposed by their viUage Chief, must undergo constraint {la 
contrainU). 

The " contrainte " consisted in the quartering of soldiers 



232 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

upon the villagers, and doubtless the natives of that district 
are now in a position — or would be if they knew how to read 
French and were furnished with a copy of the Bulletin Offidel 
— to appreciate the full humour of the " encouragements (m 
the words of the Bulletin) which have been lavished upon them 
(the natives) for the active resumption of planting and gather- 
ing this useful product" 

The pretence which is made in the official letter to ignore 
the existence of unremunerated and unfed child labour at 
Luozi until attention was called to it, is equalled by the 
remark that the labour of cultivating ground-nuts in the form 
of taxation was " imposed by the village chief" ; as if " the 
village chief" had any freedom in the matter ! Such are the 
features of the " revival " of the ground-nut industry in the 
" free " Lower Congo : — i. Compulsory production, remunerated 
at a price that enables the State to assert that it " pays " its 
people, but which does not even pay the producer for transport, 
let alone trouble of cultivation or the trade value of the article 
itself. 2. Punishment by forced labour, unremunerated and 
unfed, if villages fall short in production. 3. Result, sickness 
and death. 4. On its being pointed out that boys and im- 
mature youths are employed at this forced labour, soldiers are 
quartered upon the villages. So much for the Cataracts 
region. 

In the Mayumbe District, immediately north of Boma, the 
capital of the State, the benevolent policy of " Bula Matadi " is 
again apparent The experiences of the Rev. A. R, Williams 
of the Christian Missionary Alliance of New York, who 
returned from that district in 1903 after a four years' residence, 
as related to the author, are notable. 

Mr. Williams* remarks may be given in his own words : 

" The inhabitants of Mayumbe are Fjorts, very peaceable folk, and 
naturally friendly towards the white man. The State post of Tshala is 

g\ hours' march to the west of my station at Kinkonse. It is garrisoned 
y about eighty soldiers from the Upper Congo. The existing taxation in 
this district takes the form of labour. The pay is utterly inadequate both 
for labour and victuals with which the natives are compelled to furnish 
the State posts. The men are employed in carrying loads of rice from 
the neighbourhood of Tshala to rail-head (Mayimibe railway). So hea%'y 
are these loads that the men come back utterly played out, and not 
infrequently die from the effects of over-fatigue. U proper wages were 
paid, and the loads more fairly adjusted, there would be no difficulty in 
getting carriers. Moreover, cases have come to my personal knowledge 
where the men have not been paid at alL The soldiers are a perfect 
terror to the whole place, and the bad characters of the neighbourhood 
are enlisted to help them. They rape the women and clear the villages 
of live stock, and generally behave m a most oppressive and imjust way. 
I have taken soldiers red-handed in acts of oppression, and complained 
to their officers ; but, as a rule, they are never punished, although promises 



THE LOWER CONGO 233 

are made. A day or two after such an event has occurred, the soldier 
has passed by me grinning. The result of this wholesale levying of a tax 
on foot-stuffs is that towns become almost destitute of animals. This 
means, of course^ the impoverishment of the people. Natives are con- 
tinually complaining to us. When news arrives that the soldiers are going 
to visit a particular district, all the women take refuge in the bush, and 
live there shelterless, homeless, and half-starved with their children until 
the soldiers have gone, to escape being rap^ or seized. I have seen with 
my own eyes streams of women and children, with such household utensils 
as they could carry, flying to the bush, or to villages close to our stations, 
where they were sure of not being molested. I was at our own out-school 
last December when about 100 women and children came in, flying from 
the soldiers." 

Mr. Hall, a West Indian missionary of good family, trained 
at the Calabar College, Kingston, Jamaica, attached to the 
Baptist Missionary Society of Boston, and conveying in a visit 
he paid to the author in 1903 the highest testimonials as to his 
uprightness and veracity from Dr. E. Wilmot Blyden, General 
Director of Mohammedan education in Sierra Leone, and from 
the Rev. J. H. Weeks (whose reports in respect to the Upper 
Congo have been quoted), gives the following account of 
his observations after an eight years' residence in the Lower 
Congo ending in December, 1902 : 

" There is no progress whatever among the natives of the Lower Congo. 
In fact, except in the immediate vicinity of the Mission Stations, they are 
going back. There is no rubber tax there ; but towns and little hamlets 
have to supply labourers for the State for three months at a time. After 
three months' work they have, of course, nothing left out of their earning, 
and they go home a^ain with nothing with whidb to support their famihes 
or better their position. The result is the}[ simply live on from year to 
year in the same condition, getting more impoverished every year. In 
many parts of the Lower Congo there is much depopulation. In what is 
now Congo State territory, near the Portuguese frontier, there used to be 
very large towns and villages. They are now quite abandoned, the 
natives preferring the rule of the Portuguese, which is not of the best, to 
the rule of the Belgians, which is £ur worse. ... In conclusion, I can assert, 
after my long experience, that the State rule has in no way benefited the 
natives. On the contrary, they are being utilised for the pecuniary bene* 
fits of the State, while the State does nothing to benefit their conc&tion." 

But the relative elysium of the Ba-Congo will not, I am 
afraid, last very much longer. Mr. Frame, who did not believe 
the reports of native ill-treatment, writes me under date of 
March 16 of this year as follows : 

" As I traversed the old caravan route to the Pool, my eyes were 
opened. Crowds of people passed me every now and then, bearing heavy 
loads of Kwanga (Cassara puddings), and all were for the State. Some 
were little girls of twelve years of age, carrying eight or ten ; some were 
women converted into sweating beasts of burden, for besides the twelve 
Kwanya on the head, they often had a baby on the back ; some were men, 
and some were little boys. No one will accuse me of exaggeration if I 



234 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

say each Kwang^ weighs 3^ to 4 lbs., and that the women often carry 
loads varying from 42 to 50 lbs. It is quite true that the State does not 
fix the loads that the women should carry. What it does demand is that 
sach and such a town shall bring in, say 3CO Kwanga every fourth, eighth, 
or twelfth day, according to distance, and if the people fail to do it, then 
punishment follows. What it means to the people is nothing to the State, 
and the cry of the poor women who have to grind on from morning to 
night to provide, and often to cany, is not heard by the State officers. 
The labour is forced. If in reply it be said that the people are paid for it, 
let it be understood that the payment is very small compared with local 
rates, and, as a matter of fact, if a man pays another to carry his load of 
Kwanga, he has to pay all he gets from the State and something on top. 
Some have to carry three days* journey. These have to bring m every 
twelfth day. That means they spend five days on the road and seven in 
their towns, which have to be spent in planting and cooking for the State. 
They have time for nothing else. They are slaves." 

That account refers to the northern part of the Lower Congo. 
Now here is a letter which reached me in June from a British 
trader (one of the few left) at Matadi, describing the new 
rigime in the southern part : 

''In the Mayumbe country behind Boma, the State has begun 
collecting rubber by force from the natives. We were supposed to have 
* free-trade ' below Stanley Pool^ but even that narrow belt is now to be 
invaded by the ' tax-collector.' . . . The oil and kernel trade has almost 
died out at Boma, as a consequence of these Mayumbe prestations. The 
State are founding a camp * of 1000 soldiers^ndependent of the one 
already at Luki, seventeen miles inland of Boma, where Mr. Meyer and 
the Sierre Leone men were arrested, and so many of them done to death. 
This new camp is at Boma Sundi, or rather between that place and the 
Lukula river, about 35 or 40 miles from Boma, in the heart of the 
Mayumbe country, where the people have brought oil and kernels from 
time immemorial to the Boma foctories. This invasion of these ancient 
trading rights will damage considerably the old-established trade in the 
Chilango District, and the exports there, through the Portuguese provinces, 
wiU also fail. £ver3rthing in the country is for the Government The 
traders, who are not concession holders, but who made such trade as 
exists are only to be taxed and thwarted, and the poor natives are to pay 
the piper. Of course, as soon as this new camp is established, the State 
will begin to force the peoi}le in the usual way to bring in food, etc, for 
the soldiers. I see no possible foture for the country, or the poor people, 
unless something is done by the Powers." 

The Ba-Congo people have evidently got a rosy time in 
store for them. 

* Confirmed by the Belgian Press. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE GENERAL CONDITION OF NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO 

STATE RULE 

Tbe persecution ot the Netterkmda ia the Sixteenth 
Century under Philip II. 

"The Gomitry was absotntelj hglplesa. . • . The moct In- 
dnatriooa and wnable part of the popnlatioii left tiie land In 
drofes. . • • The Venetian envoy, Nav^g;iero, estimated the victims 
In the prorlnGes of Holland and Friesland alone at thirty thousand. 
. • • The tide swept onwards with such rapidity that the NeUier- 
lands seemed fast becoming: tiie desolate waste vdiich they had 
been before the Christian era."— Motley, "The Rise of the 
Dntch RqrabUc^ 

The persecution ot the Congo territories in tite Twen- 
tieth Century under Leopold 11. 

** The popolatkm dnrinsf the continuance of these wars (* conse- 
qnentoodieattenmtto leiya rubber tax ') difflktished I est^iate, 
1^ some do per cent, and the remnant of the inhabitants are only 
now, m many cases, retamin^ to tiieir destroyed or abandoned 
▼mages."— Consul Casbmbnt, describing Lake Mantnmba 
fiMnon* KO%t 

"The southern shores of Stanley Pool had fbrmeriy a popular 
tion of fully 5000 Ba te k es , These people dedded to abandon 
ttsir homea, and In one night fht great majority of than crossed 
over Into French territory . . . where formerly had stietdied 
populous native African villages. I saw to-day only a few 
scattered houses.— "Consul Casement at Leopoldriue, 1903. 

'* Here and tiiere. on both sides, were freouoit signs of a recent 
population, but for nours we walked through a deserted countiy, 
and not once did we see the slightest signs of a human habitation. 
• . • Large tracts of country are abandoned to the wild beasts; "— 
Scrivener, describing the Domalne de la Conronne, 1903. 

"The population has In thirteen years dropped from about 

S^ooo to less than 500a • • • At this rate of decrease you will 
¥e nothlnif down there to gorem but palm trees and imsh."— 
Weeks, describing the Banyila District, 1903. 

We have now examined successively the effects of Congo State 
control during the last few years in various distinct portions of 
the vast territory assigned to King Leopold 11. in trust for 
civilisation. Some of the regions reviewed are as far apart as 
Paris from St Petersburg, and the peoples inhabiting them 



236 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

differ almost as much as the Gaul from the Slav. Yet every- 
where we see the same policy at work, with the same results. 
What are the chief symptoms of the effects of that policy upon 
native life ? 

Outwardly the most striking effect is depopulation : 
slaughter, mutilation ; emigration ; sickness, lai^ely agg^vated 
by cruel and systematic oppression ; poverty, and even positive 
starvation, induced by unlimited taxation in food-stuffs and 
live stock ; a hopeless despair, and mental depression en- 
gendered by years of grinding tyranny ; neglect of children by 
9ie general maltreatment of women, one of the most odious 
and disgraceful features of the system — these are some of the 
many recorded causes of depopulation which, in certain districts, 
has assumed gigantic proportions. Mr. Casement tells us how 
5000 Batekes — spoken of in official Congo State publications 
as the greatest native pioneers of the Upper Congo trade, 
which existed prior to the advent of " Bulu Matadi "—crossed, 
in one night, from the Belgian to the French shore ; M. de 
Lamothe,* ex-Governor of French Congo, speaks of the 
emigration of 30,000 Congo State natives to the French bank 
of the river ; M. Berthier also refers to the visible depopulation 
of the Belgian banks of the main river, and its tributary, the 
Ubanghi ; the Congo State side of the Luapula is to-day a 
desert for many miles inland from the river side, the entire 
population having emigrated to the British bank ; missionaries 
and other eye-witnesses speak of the constant emigration of 
Congo State natives in the Lower Congo to Portuguese and 
French territory — ^the instances might be easily multiplied. 
There we have depopulation through emigration consequent 
upon maladministration and terrorism. 

Mr. Casement found the population of the Lake Mantumba 
region reduced in seventeen years by 60 to 70 per cent. Mr. 
Scrivener gives a terrifying account of the depopulation of part 
of the Western portion of the Domaine de la Couronne (Lake 
Leopold II. District) ; the reduction of the population of the 
Mongalla Basin in connection with the continual fighting, 
connected with the rubber battues^ which has been going on 
for the past seven years without intermission, must be enor- 
mous ; a Belgian deputy asserts, on the strength of reliable 
information from the Congo, that the Equateurville District has 
been thinned to the extent of 9000 people from the same 
cause ; a " gentleman of experience " shows Mr. Casement a 
diary indicating that some 6000 people have been killed or 
mutilated in a period of six months in the Momboyo r^ion ; 

* Examination before CoteUe Commission : on the advisability of ex- 
tending the Conassiannaire rigtme to all French West African Colonies. 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 237 

an c^iker " of the highest standing in the interior " tells our 
Consul that he has seen correspondence between the head 
agent of one of the Trusts, and his directors in Europe, to the 
effect that in three years 72,000 cartridges have been expended, 
in the production of indiarubber ; it is averred in open Court in 
the Caudron proceedings, that the Anversoise Trust imported 
on Government steamers, and with Government sanction, 40,000 
rounds of ball cartridge in 1903 ; Mr. Grogan finds the country 
of Mboga a " howling wilderness " ; missionary evidence from 
the Katanga country points to Congo State military exploits 
reducing Sie populous Chivanda District and Lubaland to 
" beggary and ashes." In fact, from almost every part of the 
Congo State comes abundant evidence of depopulation by 
wholesale slaughter, irrespective of depopulation by emigration. 
It is impossible, unfortunately, to present reliable statistics on 
this subject, but the following table will give a fair idea of the 
scale in which depopulation is going on : — 



238 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 






% 

^ I 

gi 
a " 

2 6 



5 

O fii 




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NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 239 



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6 



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s 






I 



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I 






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68 

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240 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 



ai"!! 



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(2 







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60. 2 

3 : 
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NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 241 



J 
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242 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

But depopulation, after all, is only an outward and visible 
sign of inward causes. What a sum total of human wretched- 
ness does not lie behind that bald word " depopulation " ! To 
my mind, the horror of this curse which has come upon the 
Congo peoples reaches its maximum of intensity when we 
force ourselves to consider its everyday concomitants; the 
crushing weight of perpetual, remorseless oppression ; the 
gradual elimination of everything in the daily life of the natives 
which makes that life worth living. Under the prevailing 
system, every village is a penal settlement Armed soldiers 
are quartered in every hamlet ; the men pass nearly the whole 
of their lives in satisfying the ceaseless demands of the " Ad- 
ministration," or its affiliates the Trusts ; whether it be in the 
collection of rubber, of gum-copal, of food-stuffs, or forced 
labour in Government plantations, or in the construction of 
those " fine brick houses " on which the apologists of the State 
are for ever harping. Women and children do not enjoy as 
much protection as a dog in this country. They are imprisoned, 
flogged, left at the mercy of the soldiery, taxed beyond en- 
durance, regarded as lower than the beasts. Native industries 
die out Intercommunication between native communities 
ceases. The people who are taxed in what may be termed 
sedentary taxation can never leave their homes, where they 
reside under the vigilant eye of a sentry, loaded rifle or cap-gun 
in hand, the real king of the village, omnipotent and insolent 
Monstrous fines are inflicted for the slightest shortage in taxes, 
and punishments varying in d^ree from murder and mutilation 
to the chain-gang, the " house of hostages," and the chUotte. 
If the taxation involves long journeys, such as the fish tax, the 
natives' whole time is taken up in joumeyings to and fro from 
the fishing grounds and the State stations. " It would be hard 
to say how the people live," says Consul Casement of the Bolobo 
tribe, famous in the old days for their trading abilities. Flog- 
gings are perpetual ; for insufficient supplies of rubber ; for 
inadequate supplies of food ; as a punishment for lack of 
activity or ability in forced labour ; on the most trivial pretexts, 
sparing neither age nor sex. La chicotUy like the collier 
natioruU^ otherwise the " chains," is r^arded as an indispensable 
adjunct in production — a sort of trading asset* It is one un- 
ending, heartrending story of odious brutality from first to last 

* Mr. Whitehead, in his letter to the Governor-General (Lokolela, 
Sept 7, 1903), mentions the case of a Chief who had been so trightfally 
flogged and cut about the feet '* that he despaired of walking again, and 
those who had seen him last said he got along by dragging mmsdf along 
on his buttocks." 

Mr. Casement refers to men " so severely flogged, in one of the maisan 
des Stages^ that they were seen being carried away by their friends.* 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 243 

Chiefs are shamelessly degraded in the eyes of their people ; 
made to fetch and carry for the soldiers ; cast in the chains, 
and fic^g^ for remissness in village taxes ; flung into the 
" prisons " often to die of neglect, ill-treatment, and starvation ; 
forced to the commitment of unspeakable bestialities* by their 
" moral and material " regenerators. Mr. Whitehead t mentions 
the case of a Chief— Mabungikindo from Bokobo— who was 
actually wearing his " State Chief's medal " when Mr. White- 
head (who knew him) met him " returning from the chains in 
which he had been detained to get three more baskets of 
rubber." He had also been beaten. He took his medal in 
his hand and asked Mr. Whitehead to look at it, remarking 
bitterly upon his treatment " I cringed with shame," says 
Mr. Whitehead. And no wonder! Such things are an in- 
effaceable blot upon the white race in Africa ; and every white 
man who has a soul, whether brought into contact with them 
on the spot, or acquainted witfi them from a distance, cannot 
but "cringe with shame" for his race. I have before me the 
translation of a pathetic statement % drawn up by the people of 
Monsembe concerning the death of their Chief " in the chain " 
which took place a few months ago. It is worthy, it seems to 
me, of r^roduction : 

'^ Afterwards, M (native name of the local Congo State official) 

called Mangumbe (that was the name of the Chief of Monsembe) and 
said to him, ' Your tax is very good ; however, because you do not come 
with the tax everv time, you must go to prison for eight days.' Mangumbe 
said to him, * I did not come because 1 went to seek a goat (goats are 
part of the tax levied, and being now very scarce, have to be fetched at 

fon^ distances) at Malele.' When M heard that, he called soldiers 

to tie the Chief up, and to put him in prison. And the soldiers seized 
him, and beat him with the Dutt end of their guns on his chest and side 

and loins, because M himself spoke to them thus, ' It does not 

matter, if he dies, no jpalaver.' And the soldiers cast him into prison. 
And on account of this persecution and beating, Mangumba suffered in 

his back, chest, and sides. When the time appointed by M , eight days, 

was passed, we went up river to embark Mangumbe. On arrival at 

Nouvelle Anvers, we went to L (another State official), and we said 

to him that the time appointed by them for our father (the natives call 
their Chiefs * our father having ended, we had come to fetch him away. 

Then L said, • But he will not be released just now, because he does 

not understand tax collecting. He constantly delays, and does not bring 
his tax quickly, he despises me. He will not be released until 22 days 
are over. At present I shall punish him, and if he does not obey them 
afterwards I shall hang him.' And we replied, *' Commissaire, if hitherto 

• The Chief Lisanginya, of Mbenga, was compelled to drink from the 
white man's latrine.— Whitehead to Govemor-Ueneral, Africa, No. i, 
1904, op. cit. 

t Letter to Governor-General, ^. cit. 

X For which I am indebted to Mr. Charles Dodds. Mr. Weeks writes 
me the wretched man was only 20 days in the chains. 



244 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

he has not been energetic TcunniDg) enough, how dare he do so again ? 
As regards the tax, he will bring you, everything you want he will ^ve 
you. When is there anything he has refused you ? You sav he despises 
vou.' We besought him passionately again and again, but ne would not 
hear, until at last we grew weary, and returned to our town. We had 
been home just over a week, when we saw some men coming with our 
father's corpse. We asked them if they had brought his body. They 
said, * He died in prison, and we b^ged his bodv from the Commissaire, 
just as we bring it to you.' We received the boay and buricxl it" 

Of the treatment of women and children by King Leopold's 
" agents of civilisation " it is difficult to write calmly. You will 
find nothing worse in the pages of Motley. And the agents 
of Phillip of Spain had this much in their favour that, in their 
eyes, every woman killed meant the elimination of unborn or 
unconceived heretics. It was clearly the Lord's work from 
their point of view, if we saturate our minds so far as we can 
with the spirit of those distant days. But on the Congo, in 
the twentieth century, where is the ghost of an excuse to be 
found ? Talk of the exploits of the Arab ! The exploits of 
the Arabs pale beside these, and Civilisation, stirred to its 
depths by Livingstone's revelations, still hearkens to the blas- 
phemies and hypocrisies of Brussels. Civilisation, which held 
up its hands in horror at the thought of Tippu-Tib, is content 
to do no more than look somewhat askance at Leopold II. 
The former was a rough, uneducated Arab half-breed; the 
latter is a product of Christian culture, and wears a crown. 

The European defenders of the conception of tropical 
African "development" which the Sovereign of the Congo 
State has so logically and ruthlessly carried out, all^e that in 
his natural condition, the native of tropical Africa is content to 
smoke and drink all day, while his wife labours. It is either 
grossly exaggerated, or totally untrue ; but even were it true 
to the very letter, then the male African is an angel of light by 
comparison with those who, on the Congo, profess (in Europe) 
to lead him into better ways. Under the aboriginal African 
system women are not flogged to death, and there are no 
"prisons" — maisons des Stages — for the detention of women 
for faults, or allied faults committed by their husbands, where 
such things, as these are the habitual accompaniments 
thereof: 

"Women, often hie with child, or with babies at their breast, tied 
neck by necl^ in long files, are imprisoned at the ' factory * until redeemed 
by a large (quantity of rubber. In the * prisons' can always be seen 
men and children, and women in all stages of pregnancy, all herded 
together." ♦ 

♦ Report from a missionary on the spot. Equateurvillc District, 1903. 
In a letter conununicated to the author. 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 245 

'' Men are first applied for, and if they do not present themselves, a 
soldier^ or soldiers are sent, who tie up the women or the chiefs mitil the 
workmen are forthcoming.'* * 

** I have seen men and women chained together by the neck, being 
driven by an armed soldier." f 

** They also seized Balua, the wife of Botanga, and M. F had her 

flogged, giving her 200 chtcotte, % So severely was she dealt with that 
urine and blood flowed from her. Just as they were dragging her away 
to the prison, her husband appeared with 20 fowls to r^eem her. He 
took her home, but she died shortly after from the effect of the punishment 
she received."! 

''On July 8, 1899, M , after making inquiries, went to the 

fectory, and released 106 prisoners. We saw them pass our stations- 
living skeletons . . . among them grey-headed old men and women. 
Many children were bom in prison. One poor woman was working in 
the sun three days after the child was bom." | 

'' Imprisoning 60 women and putting them in the chain, where all but 
five died of starvation." ^ 

''This man himself, when I visited him in Boma goal, in March^ 1901, 
said that more than 100 women and children had <ued of starvation at 
his hands, but that the responsibility for both their arrest and his own 
lack of food to give them was due to his superiors' orders and neglect." ** 

" That, above all, the facts that^the arrest of women and their detention, 
to compel the villages to fumish both produce and workmen, was tolerated 
and admitted even by certain of the Administrative Authorities of the 

region." tt 

" Upon the least resistance the men were shot down, and the women 
were captured as slaves and made to work. It was a sad sight to behold 
these poor creatures, driven like dogs here and there, and kept hard at 
their toil from morning to night." tt 

^ At the different Congo Govemment stations, women are kept for the 
following purposes. In the daytime they do all the usual station work . . . 
at night they are obliged to be at the disposal of the soldiers. . . . The 
women are slaves captured by the Govemment soldiers when raiding the 
countiy."S§ 

" Here the soldiers have taken away women as prisoners all became 
these people have no robber for the Lufoi station." || 

" Long strings of captives, mostly women and children," brought in after 
raids by State troops, " made to serve seven years as prisoners of war." W 

• Rev. A. Billington, Bwanbu, 1903. American Memorial, op, ciU 

t Rev. Joseph Clarl^ Ikoko, 1903. Ibid. 

X 200 blows this means. 

§ Mr. Ruskin's evidence before Judge Rossi in 1903. Incident in 
1899- I Ibid. 

^ One of the counts in the indictment drawn up against the agents of 
the Anversoise in the Mongalla massacres of 1900. 

** Cyrus Smith to Consul Casement. Incident in the Mongalla 
atrocities of 1900 (Africa, No. i, 1904). 

ft Findings of the Boma Court in the above case. Arguments for 
" extenuating circumstances " towards Cyrus Smith. 

gSemliki region. Lloyd, 1899. 
Katanga region. Affidavit. March 1903. 
in Johnston Falls neighbourhood. Diary. 

11 Katanga region. Missionary evidence received by Mr. H. R. Fox 
Bourne in 1903— covering period from 1894 to 1903. 



246 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

'^ On removing from the station^ his successor ahnost fiunted on 

attempting to enter the station prison, m which were numbers of poor 
wretches so reduced by starvation and the awful stench from weeks of 
accumulation of filth, that thev were not able to stand." * 

" The accused detained arbitrarily a large number of men and women, 
many of whom died owing to the insanitary condition of the prison where 
the accused incarcerated them, and through the fearful misery in which 
he left them.*' t 

" In an open shed I found two sentries of the La Lnlanga Company 
guarding fifteen women, five of whom had infants at the breast, and three 
of whom were about to become mothers. . . . The remaining eleven 
women, whom he indicated, he said he had caught, and was detaining as 
prisoners to compel their husbands to bring in die right amount of india- 
rubber required of them on the next market da^. When I asked if it was 
a woman's work to collect indiarubber, he said ' No ; t that of course it 
was man's work.' 'Then why do yon catch the women and not the 
men?' I asked. SDon't you see,' was the answer, Mf I caught and kept 
the men, who would work the rubber? But if 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 marie' When I asked what would 
become of these women if their husbands foiled to bring in the right 
quantitv of rubber on the next market day, he said at once that Uien they 
would be kept there until their husbands had redeemed them.' ... 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." § 

'' Later in the day . . . two armed soldiers came up to the agent as 
we walked, guarding sixteen natives, five men tied neck to 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 ])roper quota 
of food. ... I asked if the children also were held responsible for food 
supplies, and they, along with an elderly woman, were released. . • • The 
remaining five men and four women were led off to the nuUson des btagies 
under guard of the sentry. The agent explained that he was forced to 
catch women in preference to the men, as then supplies were brought in 
quicker ; but he did not explain how the children dq>rived of their parents 
obtained their own food supplies." | 

" I met, when walking in the Abir grounds with the subordinate agent 
of the factory, a file of fSteen 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 

* Domaine de la Couronne region. Scrivener. 

t Rubi- Welle region. M. de Favereau reading out to Belgian House 
charges against Tilkens. Tilkens' defence is that ''these hostages were 
inscribed each month on the reports sent to my Chiefs. If there was 
mortality amon^ them my Chiefs knew it, and never made of the fact a 
cause of complaint against me." — Annales partementains^ Part V. 

% Mr. Scrivener writes me that he hears that women are also about to 
be compelled to collect indiarubber in his district. He does not mention 
it as a fact, but as a rumour. 

§ Lulonga district. Consul Casement, 1903. Africa, White Book, 



No. I, 1904. 



pori-Maringa District Consul Casement, 1903. Ibid. 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 247 

wasezplained in answer to my inquiry, had been seized in order to compel 
their husbands to bring in antelope or other meat which was overdue.* 

"The Commissaire had visited P and had ordered the people of 

tYi3t town to work daily at Q for the La Lulonga factory. W 

had readied that it was too tar for the women of P to go daily to 

Q as was required ; but the Commissaire in reply had taken fifty 

women and carried them away with him." t 

" 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.) 

''A considerable number of children necessarily engaged in this 
work, and, moreover, were often held by the State as ' hostages ' because 
of delinquencies or defects."! 

If this is not the slave trade, what is it ? How much longer 
will the civilised world tolerate these things } || 

It would need a volume in itself to deal in a thorough 
manner with the exotic abominations introduced into the 
Congo territories under King Leopold's sway. One labours 
under the weight of well-nigh overpowering testimony. These 
short extracts I have quoted can give no adequate account 
of the full misery upon the people which such measures entail 

The cumulative effects of depopulation and infantile 
mortality by dragging women away from their homes for 
forced labour requisitions — seizing them as "hostages," and 
"tying them up," whether vii^ins, wives, mothers, or those 
about to become mothers, in order to bring pressure to bear 
upon brothers, husbands, and fathers for the adequate supply 
of rubber or food taxes ; flinging them into " prison," 
tc^ether with their children, often to die of starvation and 
neglect ; flogging them, sometimes even unto death ; leaving 
them at the mercy of the soldiers ; distributing them after 
punitive raids among hangers-on — must be enormous. There 
we have depopulation through the infamous torture of women 
^-often enough shot outright or mutilated 1" — and the neglect 

* Lopori-Maringa District. Consul Casement, 1903. Africa, White 
Book, No. I, 1904. 

t Lulonga District. Consul Casement, 1903. Ibid. 

i Lulonga District Consul Casement, 1903. Ibid. 

f £. A. Layton. Coquilhatville District. Ainerican Memorial, op, cit, 

II It will be observed that I have left out of account all records of a 
similar character, of ancient date, such as Glave's, Sj5blom, Murphy, etc. 

Y Referring to the dejxypulation of the Lake Mantumba towns. Consul 
Casement says : *' War in which children and women were killed as 
well as men. Womentand children were killed, not in all cases 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, when they were 
baore him as prisoners with their hands tied, and no attempt was made by 
the accused to deny the truth of the statement"— Africa, No. i, 1904, p. 70. 



248 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

and the mutilation oTyoang children and boys ; most of whom, 
it may be presumed, when so mutilated do not survive the 
operation, in order to have ''the bad taste to show their 
stumps to the missionaries^'' as one of the Belgian deputies 
said in the course of the Congo ddi>ate in the Belgian House 
last year. 

What has come over the civilised people of the globe that 
th^ can allow their Governments to remain inactive and 
apQOhetic in the face of incidents which recall in aggravated 
form the worst hcMTors of the over-sea slave trade, which sur- 
pass the exploits of Arab slave catchers ? What could be 
worse than scenes such as these, which can be culled by the 
dozen from Consul Casement's report, and from the testimony 
of a score of independent, non-of&ial resident observers, 
scattered throug^iout the country : 

''Then the soldiers came again to fight its. We ran into the bosh. 
• • . After that they saw a little of my mother*s head, and the soldiers 
ran quickly towards the place where we were, and caught my grand- 
roolher, my mother, my sister, and another little one yoonger than us. 
Several of the sokUers argued about my mother, because each wanted her 
for a wife, so they finally decided to kill her. They killed her with a 
gun, they shot her through the stomach and she fis^ and when I saw 
that I cried very much, because they killed my grandmother and my 
mother, and I was left alone. My mother was near her confinement at 
the time. And they killed my grandmother too, and I saw it all 
done ..." 

Offence : villages slow in the production of rubber ! 

"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 carrv her all the way ; we must kill the younser girL' So 
they put a knife through the child's stomach, and left the body lying there 
where they had killed it ..." 

Merely an incident in a rubber war ! 

Take the case of the twenty poor wretches belonging to 
the villages of Bokongo and Bongondo, murdered for being 
behindhand in their supply of goats. Eleven of the victims 
of this outrage, which occurred last May twelvemonth, were 
women, and one was a girl. The crime has gone unpunished, 
although I have published the full list of names.* That is a 

♦ This atrocity was brought to my notice by Mr. Weeks, who de- 
nounced it to the authorities on November 30, 1903. See IVesi African 
MmI^ January 22, 1904; also Congo issue, June. The crimes were 
perpetrated by State soldiars under a Government officer, who, if not 
actually present, was in the nei^bourhood, and who has been allowed 
to return with this charge hanni^ over his head. Several weeks after 
he was allowed to leave, a jucucial officer was sent to investigate and 
found the sutements fully proved ! 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 249 

recent case. The massacre of 120 natives in " cold blood " in 
the raids against the Banza (Caudron case) is another recent 
case. How many of the victims were women and children, I 
wonder ? Let the reader never fail to bear in mind that it is 
only by accident we ever hear of any of these deeds of dark- 
ness which, as I pen these lines, are going on all over the 
Congo unchecked and unpunished, a necessary and endemic 
effect of the new slave trade which has replaced the milder one 
of the Arabs. 

The Congo Government boasts that, in stopping inter- 
tribal warfare, it has stopped the selling of tribal prisoners of 
war into domestic slavery. The condition of the domestic 
slave under the African system is blissful beyond words, if you 
compare his lot with that of the degraded serf under the 
Leopoldian system.* 

But, in point of fact, the State, having violently reduced 
free communities to agglomerations of broken-spirited bonds- 
men, is deliberately encouraging the slave traffic in another 
form. Individuals in a village are frequently compelled to 
sell themselves, and each other, to neighbouring tribes, in 
order that the village as a whole may not suffer from one or 
other of the fearful punishments inflicted for non-compliance in 
that filling of a bottomless sack which the Congo Executive 
describes as " taxation " — the light, extremely light, " taxa- 
tion " of " 40 hours per month " ! We have reports of this 
from various widely removed parts of the Congo. 

'^A close acquaintance with the conditions," writes Dr. Lyon,t 
** shows the cogency of the natives' contentions that they are no less than 
slaves to the State. And as slaves, I have observed thty must sometimes 
* make bricks without straw,' as when one must furnish fish nearly the 
year round, and he can catch fish only at certain seasons. Then one is 
forced to buy in other parts, paying in this way ten to forty times what 
will be received in return at the State post. To meet these obligations 

A f of W , one of the remaining few of a once lar^e family, nad to 

pawn, i^. sell into slavery, a younger member of his family." 

Mr. Weeks gives me the names of twenty-one persons, with 
their villages, whom their relatives were compelled to sell into 

* If it be objected that in certain instances the lot of the domestic 
slave was apt to be cut short for culinary purposes in the pre-regenerating 
days, it may with equal point be retorted that, after 20 vears of ^ re- 
generation," Government soldiers and auxiliaries are found in the plenti- 
tude of their civilising mission, and under the eyes of Government officials, 
disembowelling and cutting up the recently slaughtered bodies of recalci- 
trant native taxpayers for similar purpose. — Vtde Yandjali massacre, 
1903. And further, that instances of cannibalism by soldiers in the 
Abir territory have been openly committed — ^the facts clearly established 
—many times during the last few months. See letters in Appendix. 

t Mierican Memorial, op. a/. 



250 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

slavery, in his district last year in order to supply the goats 
required as part of the food tax levied upon their villages.* 
In his letter to the Commissaire-General of the Bangala 
District (November 30, 1903) protesting against this occur- 
rence, which letter was published in the West African Mail of 
January 22 1904, Mr. Weeks says : " Thus to supply your 
table at Bangala the life of these people is being slowly 
crushed out, and many sold into slavery." 

Mr. Gilchrist, in his letter f to the Governor-General (July, 
1903), explains how in order to meet an exorbitant fine levied 
for shortness in the supply of food-stuffs : " Some of the men 
had to sell their wives and children into slavery, and some 
sold themselves to the river people." 

Consul Casement reports similar incidents. A village near 
Coquilhatville, for instance, is fined 55,000 rods (jfiio) for 
failure in supplying food-stuffs in sufficient quantities : 

'' This sum they had been forced to pay, and as they had no other 
means of raisin? so large a sum, they had, many of them, been compelled 
to sell their children and their wives." 

And again : 

''A father and mother stepped out and said that they had been 

forced to sell their son, a little Doy called F ^ for 1000 rods to meet 

their share of the fine. A widow came and declared 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 ten years of age." 

Our Consul remarks that he was not able to verify all 
these statements, but the one he was able to do turned out 
correct It was the case of two little children. One of them 
was, by his intervention, restored to her parents, but the other 
had " again changed hands, and was promised in sale to a town 
on the north bank of the Congo named Iberi, whose people 
are still said to be open cannibals." Charming picture of moral 
and material regeneration ! 

Again, I ask, if this is not the slave trade, what is it ? 

Pages could be given to the evidence available proving 
that workmen and soldiers are obtained by methods differing 
in very little, if at all, from open slave-raiding, but it will be 

* A few years ago every village in the Congo had its goats. Now 
very few villages, which are not too remote from the State potts to be got 
at, have any left But the natives are still expected to provide the 
officials with these animals, as part and parcel of the food tax. The 
result is that the price of goats has reached a phenomenal figure. These 
particular twenty-one poor people were sold to other tribes— 29,000 rods, 
tor thirty-one goats ! 

t Appendix. 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 251 

suflficient to give a translation of the following order for 
Government workmen drawn up by " Le Capitaine-Comman- 
dant Sarrazyn,"* a former Commissaire of the Equateur District, 
sumamed by the natives " Widjima," or " Darkness ": 

'^The Chief Ngula of Wan^asa is sent into the Maringa to buy slaves 
for me. The agents of the Abir are instructed to be goMl enough to let 
me know of the ill-deeds (Jes mifaits) which he may commit on the road." 

Comment is needless, f 

Once more — if this is not the slave trade, what is it ? 

We have many sad glimpses of the inward effect produced 
upon the people by this system o! organised murder, robbery, 
and oppression. The women, Consul Casement tells us, are 
deliberately practising abortion, because, as they say, " If war 
should come, a woman big with child, or with a baby to cany, 
cannot well run away and hide from the soldiers." The Rev. 
Joseph Clark has the same tale to tell : 

** The native mind is not at rest. He has no desire for the improve- 
ment of his surroundings. He will not make a good house or lar|p;e 
gardens, because that will give the State a p;reater hold on him. His wife 
refuses to become a mother because she will not be able to run away in 
case of an attack. Twice this week the people of Ikoko have been 
rushing off to the 'bush ' to hide on the approach of a large canoe with 
soldiers." t 

Weeks, writing of the effect of a yearly taxation of 
;f 1605 i&r. M, on a miserable population of 820 persons, of 
both sexes, says : 

^ I need scarcely point out that young children, very old people, and 
invalids cannot earn a wage, or even farm or fish ; conseauently the 
burden falls heavier on those who can, and the vision before them is one 
of unceasine toil in order to comply with the demands of the State. Is 
it any wonder the natives die under the burden ? The wonder to me is 
that so many are alive after these seven years of oj>pression and taxation. 
Were this tax a yearly, or even a half-yearly one, it would not be so bad ; 
but it is a fortnightly one, and consequently an ever-present nightmare. 
No sooner is one tax sent off in canoes than they have to worry about 
collecting materials for the next. Thus it is a constant grind, grind, 
grind, that is sapping the spirit and strength of these people, and causing 
them to succumo. Death is kinder than this kind of living." § 

* White Book, Africa, No. i, 1904. 

t '' 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 . . . commences work at the post He completes his term, 
and he is told he cannot have his pay unless he engages himself another 
term or brings another in his place. I know of those who have left their 
earnings in the hands of the Chef de Poste rather than begin again. 
Such compulsion is contrary to civilised law, and is rightly termed slavery, 
and is utterly illegal."— Whitehead to Govemor*General, Sept, 1903. 

X American Memorial, op, cit 

% Weeks to Author, Dec. 24, 1903. 



252 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

** Death and decay in all around I see," was the impression 
of a colleague of my friend Mr. Weeks in returning last 
December from a visit to the Ndobo towns, whose inhabitants 
live on the banks of streamlets and lakelets about twenty miles 
from Monsembe and the main river. "A policy" — to quote 
Weeks once more — " that is impoverishing these people, sapping 
their strength, and sending them to the grave."* "Surely 
this is slavery," writes Mr. Frame, describing the usual tale of 
brutal oppression, and adds : " The slavery of the people on 
this side of Stanley Pool to the Nkissi River is fairly complete, 
with no hope of improvement" t "Oppressive measures 
under which the people are groaning and dying," writes 
Mr. Gilchrist! 

" The people are regarded as the property of the State for any purpose 
for which they may be needed. That they have any desires of their own, 
or any plans worth carrying out in connection with their own lives, would 
create a smile among the officials." § 

" The poor people of this section " (Bolengi near Coquilhatville, one 
of the most important State stations on the Upper River) "are broken- 
spirited and poverty-stricken by an arbitrary and oppressive system of 
taxation." | 

" In the village of W ^^ writes Consul Casement, " extortionatelv 

fined for beine in arrears, one of the natives, a strong, indeed a splendid- 
looking man, oroke 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 round them."^ 

Our Consul's report abounds in incidents showing the utter 
misery and demoralisation of the people. Some persons seem 
to think that rubber falls off the trees in Africa like apples in 
autumn, and all that the '* lazy native " has to do is to pick it 
up. In point of fact, rubber collecting is, even under normal 
conditions, dangerous to health — any one acquainted with the 
South American rubber business will bear me out What 
must it be under the compulsory conditions prevalent in the 
Congo ? Hundreds, if not thousands, of natives on the Congo 
must die every year merely through fatigue, exposure, chilb, 
ill-health, engendered by working in foetid swamps, the attacks 
of wild animals, and privations of all kinds. Rubber collecting 
in the tropical African forests is the most ultimately exhaust- 
ing of all forms of labour voluntarily undertaken by the 
African ; but he knows the product is of value, and that he 

* Weeks to Author, Dec. 23, 1903. 

t W. B. Frame to Author, March 16, 1904. 

t S. Gilchrist to Governor-General, Sept. 1903. 

Scrivener to Author, Oct, 1903. 

Dr. Lyon, 1903 or 1904, American Memorial, ofi, ciL 

Africa, No. I, 1904, op, cit* 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 253 

will get many more goods for a couple of pounds of pure 
rublm' than for most otiier things that the white man requires. 
On the Congo, however, the native is driven into the forest 
He is not a trader, but a beast If he brings in the stipulated 
quantity after days of absence from his family, he gets a few 
teaspoonfuls of ssdt, or a handful of beads, and imm^iately he 
must begin again, and so on, until he dies or manages to escape 
to remoter r^ions. 

Here is a typical insight into native life in a rubber district, 
under the gloriously humanitarian system beneath the *' blue 
banner with the golden star," so dear to the severely impartial 
hearts of Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid, Mr. Demetrius C. Boulger, 
Sir Alfred Jones, and his crowd of obedient followers : 

'' I went to the homes of these men, some miles away, and found out 
their circumstances. To get the rubber they had first to go 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 supply diminishes, moreover, the demand 
for rubber constantly increases. Some little time back I learned the 
Bongandanga District supplied seven tons of rubber a month, a quantity 
which it was hoped would shortly be increased to ten tons. ... In siddition 
to these formal payments, they are 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 in its yield of rubber, the local prison 
would have seen them. The people everywhere assured me that they 
were not happy under this system, and it was apparent to a callous eye 
that in this they spoke the strict truth." 

"They were not happy." Mr. Casement has never for- 
gotten in the course of his report that he was a machine sent 
to record in a spirit of calm, judicial impartiality the sights he 
witnessed, and he performed his task with marvellous self- 
restraint ; for, though an official, he may be presumed to have 
the feelings of an ordinary mortal, and his "they were not 
happy" conveys, under the circumstances, a story of abject and 
unspeakable wretchedness. Enough has been said to show 
that under this system of " moral and material regeneration," 
constituting a monstrous invasion of primitive rights which has 
no parallel in the whole world, the family life and social ties 
of the people are utterly destroyed. Another horrible aspect 
of Congo State rule is touched upon by Mr. Dugald Campbell 
in the letter which will be found in the Appendix, viz. the 
spread of syphilis through promiscuous " forcing into lives of 
shame " of women and young girls to pander to the lusts of 

* Africa, No. I, 1904, op, cii. 



254 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the ceaselessly shifting and enormous army. Under native 
conditions, he says, strict measures are taken to circumscribe 
the area of this disease, but under the Congo Government 
sj^tem it is everywhere extending and infecting whole districts. 

Within the last few weeks detailed and specific accounts, 
clearly established, have come to hand from Messrs. Stannard, 
Harris, and Frost, all in the Baringa district of the AUr con- 
cession, painting a picture of native misery at the hands of 
the servants of that insatiable rubber-hunting corporation 
wluch would touch a heart of stone. They will be found in 
full in the Appendix. What is the reply which King Leopold 
flings to the world ? * It consists in the appointment to the 
Board of Administration of Count John d'Oultremont, Grand 
Marshal to the Belgian Court, and Baron Dhanis, an ex- 
Govemor-General of the Congo State! This measure is 
accompanied by a statement from the worthy Senator who 
nominally presides over the destinies of this Trust, to the 
effect that its rubber-producing capacities have not nearly 
attained their zenith, for the labour of the natives may be easily 
requisitioned to produce one hundred and twenty tons of that 
article a month, whereas the present output is only sixty tons ! 

I will conclude with an extract oi a letter I have recently 
received from my friend Mr. Weeks, who has rendered sudi 
invaluable service during the past year, in helping the cause of 
these oppressed people. The letter is dated Monsembe, Dec. 
26, 1903. 

** What does the native receive in return for all this taxation ? I 
know of absolutely no way in which he is benefited. Some point to the 
telegraph. In what way does that benefit a native? Those who live 
near the line have to keep the road clear for nothing, and in tropical 
Africa diat is not an easy task. Others point to the scores of steamers 
running on the Upper Congo. In what way do they benefit the native ? 
Here and there along the river, natives are forced to supply lai^ 
quantities of firewood for an inadequate remuneration. Others, again, 
point to well-built State stations. In what way do they benefit the 
native? They are largely built, and are now largely maintained, by 
forced labour. Then others point to the railway. It is a splendid 
achievement of engineering skill, and is paying large dividends to share- 
holders, but in what way does it benefit the thousands of natives on the 
Upper Congo ? It certainly takes the rubber they are forced to supi^y 
io cheaply, more rapidly than otherwise possible, to the European 
markets. Is there more security for life now than under the old rdgtme f 
It does not appear so when a white officer of the State allowSl his 
soldiers last May to shoot down 22 men and women for the paltry 
offmce of owing a paternal State a few groats. Is there more security 
for property now than under the old rMmg f No, for then men defended 
his gocxis by his spear ; now their goods are open to the d^nredations of 
State messengers and soldiers. And there is no redress.** 

* The Congo Government, as already shown, holds half the shares of 
the Abir. 



NATIVE LIFE UNDER CONGO STATE RULE 255 

If Gladstone had been alive he would perhaps have found 
a phrase adequate to describe the revival of the slave trade 
under the aegis of a European Sovereign in Equatorial Africa, 
and the forms which that revival takes. But I doubt if even 
he could have found one more fittingly characterising it than 
that he so truly applied to other quarters. The " N^ation of 
God " erected with a system — ^yes, indeed ! 

Why are these people allowed to suffer thus cruelly ? What 
crime have they collectively committed in past ages that they 
should undergo to-day so terrible an expiation? Are they 
*' groaning and dying " under this murderous system as a great 
object-lesson to Europe ? What price, then, will Europe later 
on have to pay for the teaching ? Inscrutable are the decrees 
of Providence. One wonders whether the deepening horror of 
this colossal crime will end by a reaction so violent Siat an era 
of justice will, for the first time in the history of Caucasian 
relationship with the Dark Continent, arise, never to be eradi- 
cated, for the peoples of Africa. Or that some day tropical 
Africa may breed brains as she breeds muscles, and then . . . ? 
But it bodes little to dwell among the mists of conjecture. The 
future is closed to us. We grope in the dark, puzzled, incensed, 
impatient The future is with God. To the past man may 
look and gather consolation in the knowledge that evils such 
as these bring their own Nemesis upon the nation whose moral 
guilt is primarily involved. Belgium, technically unconcerned, 
is morally responsible, and Belgium will suffer. Strange that 
it should be the seceded Southern Provinces of those very 
Netherlands, so terribly served five hundred years ago, which 
are allowing another foreign Monarch of theirs to plagiarise 
in Africa, exploits formerly visited upon themselves. Strange 
too, perhaps, that a descendant of one of the victims of 
Philip II. should have been driven by Fate to participate 
in the movement directed against his latter-day prototype, 
in all respects save religious fanaticism. We are powerless 
as to the future, and if in past history we may find a partial 
solace, it is the present that concerns us. And here we are 
neither blindfolded nor impotent for action. Action it is we 
claim ; action there must be. 

If the policy of the Congo State were a national policy ; if 
the Congo tribes were being systematically bled to death either 
through distorted zeal, as the population of the Netherlands 
were harried with fire and sword by Philip and his lieutenants, 
or through lust of conquest ; if the Congo Basin were capable 
of being colonised by the Caucasian race, the policy we con- 
demn and reprobate would still be a crime against humanity, 
an outrage upon civilisation. But the Congo territories can 



256 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

never be a white man's country ; the " Congo State " is naught 
but a collection of individuals — with one supreme above them 
all — ^working for their own selfish ends, caring nothing for 
posterity, callous of the present, indifferent of the future, as of 
the past, animated by no fanaticism other than the fanaticism 
of dividends — and so upon the wickedness of this thing is 
grafted the fatuous stupidity and inhumanity of the Powers in 
allowing the extermination of the Congo races to go on un- 
checked, barely, if at all, reprovwl. 

Surely the time has come to cease the usage of kid gloves 
and rose-water in dealing with this Congo question ? For 
eight years that process has been adopted, and it has yielded 
nothing — absolutely nothing. Things are infinitely worse 
to-day than they were eight years ago. Anyhow, it is time 
some one called a spade a spade in this infernal business, even 
if the tender susceptibilites of certain estimable people are 
hurt by so unfashionable a method. 




r 



PART IV 

THE WORKINGS OF THE SYSTEM AS IT AFFECTS 
INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL INTERESTS 

' THE CASE OF GUSTAV MARIA RABINEK 

RABINEK'S PERSONALITY AND HISTORY 

THE KATANGA COMPANY AND THE CONGO STATE: 
RABINEK'S RELATIONS WITH BOTH 

THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 

THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE CASE OF GUSTAV MARIA RABINEK — I. RABINEK's 
PERSONALITY AND HISTORY. 

"The trade of all natioiis shall enjoy perfect fineedom."^ 
Article x, Berlin Act 

"So complete is this restriction that only recently— without 
attending to other cases n^ich might be dted — an Anstriaa 
sabiect, Herr Rabinek, was sentenced to one year's imprisonment 
and to a fine, for no other crime than that of darins" to pnrchase 
rubber from the natives ; and this in a district solemniT (guaranteed 
to be open to unfettered commerce."— Memorial to uie oeoples of 
Europe signed by seventeen Members of the House of CommooSy 
July, X9P3. 

Having gained, under false pretences, an introduction among 
the family of States, the Congo Government proceeded — as 
I have shown — by a series of carefully planned and inter- 
related acts, to translate the freedom to which the "Congo 
Free State " was dedicated by making free of everything the 
African possessed, including his body and his life. 

Having imposed this conception of " freedom " upon his 
African subjects, the Sovereign of the Congo issued in- 
structions that the European, equally with the African, must 
be forced to recognise his unquestioned personal right to eveiy 
article of economic value the Congo territories possessed. 

The first European victim to this unpublished decree * was 
the British subject, Stokes. 

Accused of trading with the natives, of having arms in his 
possession, and even of selling these to native traders, Mr. 
Stokes was invited by Captain Lothaire, the Sovereign's 
representative, to visit his camp. Mr. Stokes, nothing doubt- 
ing and conscious of no wrong-doing, accepted this invitation, 
and arrived as Captain Lothaire's guest in the latter's camp at 
4 p.m. one hot African afternoon. Instead of an invitation to 
dinner, he found his host awaiting him with a drawn revolver 
and a band of armed cannibal soldiers. At once seized, in 

* The circulars issued by the various Commandants on the strength 
of that unpublished decree have been made public. Vide Part II. 

S 2 



26o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

violation of all decency and in the face of strenuous protest, 
and charged with an offence which, even had he been guilty, 
entailed a sentence of imprisonment and fine only, Mr. Stokes 
found himself condemned to immediate death. At four in the 
morning of the night of his arrival in Captain Lothaire's camp 
as a guest, he was taken out to the forest and hanged. 

When the news of this summary method of dispensing 
Congolese justice reached Europe, some comment was excited, 
and both the German* and British Governments took 
diplomatic steps to ensure a " proper " trial of the murderer. 

In the face of the remonstrances of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, the " trial " of Captain Lothaire at Boma by the Congo 
Courts constituted an even more flagrant violation of decency 
than the original act of Lothaire himself, for which act the 
Congo Government had hastened to disclaim responsibility by 
declaring it, in the most specific terms, to have been ill^aL 

Refusing to accept the finding of the ** High Court " at 
Boma as final, Lord Salisbury pressed for a further trial in 
Belgiumu Lothaire was indicted before a tribunal in his own 
land ; and s^ain an offensive exhibition of *' patriotism " 
induced the Public Prosecutor to throw down his brief in 
dramatic pose, and to declare that it was impossible for him, as 
a Belgian, to impeach " this brave Belgian officer." 

Lothaire was again triumphantly acquitted, his trial being 
but an ovation. Brussels rang with his triumphs. 

Her Majesty's Government of the day dropped the matter 
in contemptuous disgust Stokes lay dead in his Central 
African grave. His murderer, whose illegal action in trsnng 
and sentencing him, the Congo Government had been prompt 
to disown by despatch, was rewarded for his " breach of law " 
by being promptly appointed by the Sovereign of the Congo 
State director in Africa of the Sod/t^ Anversoise du Commerce 
au CongOy with whose history the reader is now familiar. At 
the end of a three years' administration, characterised by the 
series of tragedies termed the Mongalla scandals, the director 
of this Company returned to Belgium. 

The second European to fall a victim to this unpublished 
decree has been an Austrian subject, Rabinek. It is the 
history of this second tragedy, this second example of the 
working of the Congo State system as it affects international 
commercial interests, that I am about to relate. 

In unfolding the story of the circumstances connected with 
the arrest of Herr Gustav Maria Rabinek, an Austrian 

* The defenceless porters of Stokes' caravan were shot down in cold 
bkNMl, subsequent to die murder of their leader, to the number of fully 
one hundred. They were natives of German East Africa. 



THE CASE OF GUSTAV MARIA RABINEK 261 

merchant trading in Katanga, by the Congo State Authorities, 
and the various incidents whicli preceded and followed that 
arrest, the reader is asked to bear in mind that it is to an even 
greater degree, perhaps (for reasons which will appear in the 
narrative), than the murder of Mr. Stokes, a test case as 
illustrative of the Congo State's interpretation of articles i and 
5 of the Berlin Act where white metiy unconnected with the 
Government, or the corporations it controls, are in question. 

Who was Rabinek ? How did his life's trs^edy reach the 
ears of Europe ? 

Towards the end of July, 1902, I received a letter dated 
Blantyre, May 8 of the same year, and signed by a name 
quite unfamiliar to me, viz : " M. T. de Mattos." The letter 
paper bore the following printed description : " M. Teixeira de 
Mattos & Co., Chiromo (this word crossed out), British Central 
Africa, Nyassa Land, Agent for Sharrar's Zambesi Traffic Co., 
Ltd., and Zambesi Trading Co." Under the above, the words 
"Karonga, Lake Nyassa via Chinde," were written. The 
writer, after referring to an article* of mine in the Clwi- 
temporary Review for March of that year, and corroborating 
the strictures passed therein upon the administration of the 
Congo State, went on to say that a friend of his, Rabinek, an 
Austrian merchant, trading in the vicinity of Lake Mweru, 
'' with full permission " from the Katanga Company had been 
arrested on a British steamer and in British waters by the 
Congo State Authorities, and handed over to an escort of 
Congo soldiery to be taken to Boma, and '' had died on the 
road." My correspondent made a vague allusion, explanatoiy 
of Rabinek's arrest, to "the alteration" of the Katanga 
Company, into the "Comit^ Especial {sic) du Katanga," t 
and referred to Messrs. Ludwig Deuss & Co., % of Hamburg, 
who supplied Rabinek with trade goods. It was due, there- 
fore, to the fortuitous circumstances of a copy of the Can^ 
temporary Review falling into the hands of a European trader, 
(a subject of Holland) in the wilds of Central Africa, that the 
Rabinek trs^edy first became publicly known. § 

* «* The Belgian Cane in Africa." 

t Comitd Special du Katanga. 

X I subsequently ascertained that Messrs. Ludwig Deuss & Co. were 
a highly respectable firm of German merchants, established since 1S86 in 
Hamborg and East Africa ; factories at Chinde, Quelimane, Tete, Chic(M^ 
Chiromo, and Luangwe ; own a steamer and lighters on the Zambesi ; 
agents for German East Africa Line at Chinde, and for Aberdeen Line at 
Quelimane. 

§ The reptile Cougophile Press of Brussels and Antwerp was good 
enough to sumst subsequently that the Rabinek case had been raised 
by a gang of Dlackmailers, of which I was at once the most distinguished 



262 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Gustav Maria Rabinek was bom at Olmutz and was thirty- 
eight years of age when he met his death. Vienna is the 
residence of his nearest relatives, and Rabinek was well known 
in that city. M. Leonard Rabinek, the brother of the deceased 
merchant, is a bank clerk ; two sisters are living, one married 
to a captain in the Austrian Army, the other to an oflkial of 
the Northern Railway Company. For some years Rabinek 
was employed as a clerk in the Northern Railway Company, but 
he was of a roving, adventurous disposition, and after visiting 
Constantinople, Cairo, and German East Africa, he finally 
settled down to business as a rubber and ivory merchant in the 
neighbourhood of Lakes Mweru and Tanganyika. His com- 
mercial ability and integrity appear to have been conspicuous. 
He was trusted by European and native alike, and firms* 
established in Nyassaland advanced him practically all the 
credit in goods he asked for. From several written documents 
in my possession testifying to the esteem in which Rabinek 
was held, I may quote two opinions : that of Mr. E. A. Young, 
Native Commissioner, Mirongo, N. Shuangwa, N. E. Rhodesia, 
and of Mr. L. Deuss, head of the firm of that name. Mr. 
Young says t : 

''You wish to know what I know about the late G. M. Rabinek; 
wdl, I made his acquaintance in 1897, when he came here from Karonga, 
to trade in rubber and ivory. He stayed here for some time, and on 
several occasions he and I travelled together over the greater part of this 
district, also of the Awenba District, for weeks together. I always found 
the late M. Rabinek a gentleman in every way. He was anxious to leam 
the ways of the country concerning his business, and never c^ve me any 
trouble in trying to avoid what was required of him by the Government. 
... I never had any complaints from natives about the late M. Rabinek's 
treatment of them. He, I knew from personal observation, when travel- 
ling for weeks together, was very good to natives, paying them well and 
treating them well in every possible way. ... As far as my experience 
goes, M. G. M. Rabinek always did his best to conform to the laws of 
Uiis country, and the natives to-day speak of him as a good man." 

M. Ludwig Deuss, writing to his firm from Karonga in 1900, 
g^ves the following impression of M. Rabinek : 

" Rabinek interests me by his enterprising character. He is a man 
of good education and learning, and has the valuable capacity to earn the 
confidence and affection of the natives." 

member and the docile instrument — a somewhat contradictory statement, 
by the way. — *^ Une affaire de gros sous," Tribune CongokUse^ August, 1^2. 

* Among these firms may be mentioned the African Lakes Corporation ; 
KeiUei's African Trading Co., Ltd., Glasgow ; Ludwig Deuss & Co. ; 
Teixeira de Mattos & Co. ; £. H. C. Michahelles & Co. ; and Prins & 
Stuerken. 

t In a letter written to a correspondent, and published in the West 
African Mail, 



THE CASE OF GUSTAV MARIA RABINEK 263 

Some six years ago Rabinek paid a visit to Europe, stayed 
with his relatives in Vienna, and gave a lecture on Central 
African trade before the Chamber of Commerce of that city. 

Rabinek's head-quarters, and the centre of his trading 
operations, were at Kazembe, in the British Central Africa 
Protectorate. He seems to have had agents travelling about 
in various directions, amongst others in the South-Eastem 
District of the Congo State, commonly known as the Katanga 
Country — directing that portion of his trade from Kamambas on 
the British side of the Luapula, which river forms the boundary 
between British and Congo State territory. That district was 
absolutely closed to the Congo State Autiiorities, being largely 
in the power of numerous bands of revolted soldiery,* with 
whom apparently the natives of the country were in sym- 
pathetic co-operation.t But if the district was closed to the 
Belgians, it was not closed to Rabinek, to whose legitimate 
trade neither the " rebels " nor the natives offered any opposi- 
tion. How were Rabinek's trading operations viewed at first 
by the officials of the Congo State in the nearest stations to 
the scene of his commercial activity, and what was the former's 
attitude towards them ? In view of the fact that the Congo 
State Authorities were incapable of exercising any influence 
whatever in many parts of the Congo State's sphere where 
Rabinek was pursuing his legitimate business, the Austrian 
trader might have been excus^ had he ignored their existence. 
But he did nothing of the kind. He showed himself on the 
contrary, as solicitous of regularising his position with the 
Congo State Authorities, as he had been in conforming to 
the regulations in vogue in the British Protectorate. The first 
available official record of his relations with the Congo State 
Authorities dates back to September 10, 1899, in the shape of 
a licence for trading in the Congo, dated September 10, 1899, 
signed Cerckel,t official in chaise of the Congo State Station 
at Kilwa, and reading as follows : 

'' Le porteur de la prdsente patente ayant acquittd la taxe annuelle de 
dix francs dtablie par I'ordonnance de M. le Gouverneur-G^ndral, en 
date du 29 Aout, 1896, est autoris^ k op^^er sur le tdrritoire de V £tat 

* A portion of it.is still held by them. See Chapters XVI I. and XVI 1 1. 

t Vtde published testimony of M. L^v6que, Director of the Katanga 
Company. Appendix. 

t As showing the excellent terms existing between this Congo State 
official and Rabinek, I may quote the following sentence from a letter 
written to the latter by the former on September 10^ 1899: "Vos 
capitaos sont partis ce matin vers le sud : je leur souhaite beaucoup de 
chance dans leur entreprise." The writer signs, " Your devoted " 
(" Votre ddvoud ") Ccrckel. 



264 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

** Norn et prdnoms du porteur de la patente : Rabinek G. M. 
*' Quality ou profession : commercant 



" Signalement : {JgJls particuliers : 



^ Date de la d^vrance de la {Mitente : lo Septembre, 1899. 
^ Id. de rdxpiration de la validity de la patente : 9 Septembrei 1900. 
''A. Kilwa, le 10 Septembre, 18^ 

" Le receveur des impots ff*", 

''Cercrel, Leon," 

To this trading licence, Rabinek added two others. One 
dated February 4, 1900, involving a charge of 500 francs, and 
reading as follows : 

"ETAT INDEPENDANT DU CONGO 



'^Permis de Port i^Armbs. 
'*No. 17. 

*'(i) M. Rabinek, GusUve Maria. 
"(2) Commercant 
Est autorisd k porter les armes renseigndes ci-dessous dans le territoire 
de PEtat Independent du Congo pendant tin terme de cinq ann^ con- 
s^cutives k dater du pr^ent permis. 

Nombre (en toates 

lettres). D^gnation et Description. Lettre et Numeros. 

deux Lee-Metford Tan No. i et 2 

un Teffreys-Metford i No. 3 

un Mauser Mod. 88 i No. 4 

trois Martini-Henri i No. 5, 6, 7 

un Mauser Mod. 71 i No. 8 

deux Martini-Henry j No. 9, 10 

un Ex^n'ess rifle calibre 461 i No. 1 1 

un Fusil du chasse i No. 12 

vingt-cinq Fusils a piston i No. 13 i 37 

" Recu 500 frcs. 
'' O. Hennebert. 

" Albertville, le 4 Fevrier, 190a 
'' Le fonctionnaire d6\6gvL6 par le Gouyemeur-G^^raly 
** (L.S.) O. Hennebert." 

The other of equal date, and reading as follows : 

"ETAT INDEPENDANT DU CONGO. 



*' Permis de Port d'Armes Provisoire. 
'' Pour la chasse k TEldphant 
"No. 18. 

" Ti^ M. Rabinek, Gustave Maria. 
''(2) Commercant. 
Est autoris^ k porter les armes renseign^ ci-dessous dans le territoire 
de r^tat Ind^pendant du Congo pendant un terme de cinq tamita con- 
s^tives k dater du present permis. 



THE CASE OF GUSTAV MARIA RABINEK 265 



Nombre (en toutes 






lettres). 
deux 


D^sfffoation et Description. 
Lee-Metford 


Lettre et Numeros. 
Tan No. I et 2 


un 
iin 


Jefireys-Metford 
Mauser Mod. 88 


1 No. 3 
i No. 4 


trois 


Martini-Henri 


i No. 5,6, 7 


on 


Mauser Mod. 71 


i No. 8 


deux 


Martini-Henry 


i No. 9, 10 


un 


Express rifle calibre 461 


i No. II 


un 


Fusil de chasse 


i No. 12 


vingt-cinq 


Fusils a piston 


i No. 13 k 37 



" Recu 500 frcs. 
** O. Hennebert. 

" Albertville, le 4 Fevrier, 1900. 
'' Le fonctionnaire d6\6ga6 par le Gouvemeur-G^ndral, 
" (L.S.) O. Hennebert." 

Both these licences refer apparently to one lot of guns : 
one licence allows him to carry them, the other to shoot 
elephants with them. In addition to the cost of licence, 
Rabinek paid 1950 francs customs duty on their importation. 

Thus Rabinek went out of his way to conform to the 
regulations of the Congo State, although no Congo State 
official dared show his face in the district where the Austrian 
was trading. Similarly, when the Katanga Company in the 
person of M. L6v6que, its manager, subsequently appeared 
upon the scene, Rabinek — having already paid pretty heavily 
for official licences— came to an understanding with the former, 
whereby, in exchange for the recognition by that Company of 
his right to trade in territory assigned to it (which, as may be 
gathered from M. Livfique's testimony, consisted, partly at 
any rate, of a district where Rabinek had been trading for 
years previous to that Company's resuscitation) he agreed to pay 
the Company ;f 10 per annum for a licence for each European 
engaged by him "to collect ivory in the territories of the 
Katanga Company, which are situated within the rebel zone," * 
plus one franc tax per kilo on rubber and ivory, " bought and 
remitted in our hands before leaving the Congo, and the 
obligation to plant 150 plants of rubber for every ton exported." 
The agreement was signed on September 23, 1900, in ignorance, 
of course, that the Katanga Company, as such, had meanwhile 
ceased to exist, owing to the absorption of that Company by 
the Congo State Government, as detailed in the next chapter. 

Such was the character and such the proceedings of the 
man whom the Congo State Press has called a " filibuster," and 
whom the Congo State Authorities illegally sentenced to one 

* Vide Agreement between Rabinek and the Katanga Company. 
Appendix. 



266 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

year's imprisonment; despatched across Africa in charge of 
native soldiers, and treated * from beginning to end with 
cynical, calculated cruelty, which lays the moral responsibility 
for his death directly at their door. 

* '^ Treated as a common criminal," as Major Gibbons puts it, op. ciL 



CHAPTER XXIII 

the katanga company and the congo state — 
rabinek's relations with both 

"Fordgners, without distlnctioii, shall enfoy protectton of 
their penons and property/'— Article v., Berlin Act 

"No doubt exists on the strict and literal meaninsf to be 
assigned to the word, ' Trade.' It means exdusiYely * Traffic '— 
tAf unlimited option far every one to sell and to buy : to import and to export 
produets and manufactured articles. In this respect no priTileged 
position can be created ; business remains open and unremicted for 
tree competition on commercial lines."— Baron Lambbrmont 
(Belgian representative at the Berlin Conference). 

''Liberty of commerce is complete in the Congo and is not 
restricted by any monopoly or priYij<^:e. Eveiy one is free to sell 
all produce in whidi the traffic is lroitimatb."— 
Offidal defence of the Congo State, " Bulletin Offidel," No. 6» 
June, X9C^ 

On April 15, 1891, the parent of the Thys group of Belgian 
Congo Companies, La Compagnie pour le commerce et fin" 
dustrie^ founded the Katanga Company, Compagnie du Katanga^ 
with a capital of 3,000,000 francs in 6000 " privileged " shares 
of 500 francs each: 18,000 ordinary shares were also issued 
" without designation of value." * The mineral value of the 
Katanga District was supposed to be considerable, and 
preferential rights over all the mines were granted to the 
Company, by the Congo State Government for twenty years, 
with further privileges, on condition that, inter alia^ two steamers 
should be launched on the affluents of the Upper Congo or the 
adjacent lakes, and at least three stations establish^ within 
the district The object of the Company was that of conducting 
" all industrial enterprise, public and private works, commerce^ 
agriculture, eta" Article i refers to the Company " exploit- 
ing " the regions allotted to it " from the point of view of 
colonisation, agriculture, commerce^ and mining." Article 3 
authorises the Company to " constitute by its own resources, or 
by special companies, enterprises of colonisation or exploitation 
of the soil^ and subsoil, etc." The Congo State received under 
this agreement 600 of the " privil^ed " shares, and 1800 of the 

* Bilans CongolaiSy Alphonse Poskin, Brussels, 1900. 



268 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

ordinary shares. The Katanga Company received from the 
Congo State, in full proprietorship, a third of the territories, 
** belonging to the Domaine of the State, situated in the 
territories referred to in the present Convention " ; and the 
concession for 99 years of the mining rights in the conceded 
territories." * Thus the Katanga Company received from the 
Congo State in full proprietorship a third of the so-called 
"vacant" territories of the State situated in the Katanga 
region. 

So little were these territories " vacant," that the Katanga 
Company, which lost no time in despatching an expedition to 
explore and open up its concession, found therein a ruler, 
Msiri, who, proving recalcitrant — ^that is the right word, I think 
— was promptly shot while the " blue banner with the golden 
star" was run up at Bunkeia, his capital, December, 1901. 
So little were they "vacant" that tiie Company's second 
expedition was entirely wiped out t in May, 1892. But that is 
by the way — merely an illustration of the appropriateness of 
that charming word " vacant" 

Just about this time, the famous circulars and decrees 
embodying the new policy of the Congo State came out and 
as the Congo State Government, through the obliging inter- 
mediary of Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid, has recently taken the oppor- 
tunity of reminding us, t " The exploitation of india-rubber was 
forbidden in the territory of the Katanga by virtue of the 
decree of October 30, 1892 " ; § or, in other words, the Katanga 
territory was by that decree closed to merchants. The 
Katanga Company then virtually became moribund, and so 
remained until July, 1899, when it was galvanised into life 
again. On December 18 of that year (1899) M. Geoi^;es 
Brugmann,|| presiding over the annual meeting of the Com- 
pagnie du Congo pour U Commerce et t Industrie^ made the 
following statement : 

^The Katanga Company has at last emerged from its period of 
inactivity which circumstances, foreign to its wishes, had imposed upon it. 

* Bulletin Official^ September, 1891, and antuxt to same. The Con* 
vention was signed in March, 1891. 

t By Arabs under a misapprehension. The Arabs took them for 
State people ! (Wauters), op. cit. 

Vide the Congo State's official reply, viA Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid to 
my articles on the Rabinek affair in the Morning PosL 

§ I^fi^i^ Appendix. 

y M. Brugmann, it may be remembered, protested against the circulars 
and decrees of 1891 and 1892, together with Messrs. Thys, Urban, etc, 
'*To forbid th« natives selling their iroiy and rubber from their forests 
and plains, which constitute their heredit^ birthright and in which they 
have traded from time immemorial, is a violation cm natural rights," etc 



KATANGA COMPANY AND CONGO STATE 269 

In execution of its convention with the Congo State on March 12, 189I1 
the Company has sent two steamers and four lighters to the TanganyUut 
rM^on, to be launched on Lakes Tanganyika and Mweru. . . . Let me 
add that the extraordinary meeting of the shareholders of the Katanga 
Company, hdd on July 12 last, approved the resolution adopted by the 
Company's Directorate, in consequence of the correspondence exchanged 
with the Congo State^ following upon which a mixed commission to delimit 
the conceded territories has been sent to Africa." * 

The Katanga Company was thus at last to benefit by its 
original arrangement with the State — that is to say, conduct all 
industrial enterprise, to trade, to develop its property by {inter 
alia) commerce, to create {inter alia) subsidiary commercial 
enterprises. It is important to bear this in mind. 

So a manager was appointed by the Company and sent out, 
a M. Gustave L^vfique, an engineer and a Frenchman, I believe. 
M. Livfique, who was handed a power of attorney of the most 
extensive kind,t did not, we gatlier from his statement % made 
at a later date, find matters in a very pleasant condition when 
he got out there. The natives were up in arms against the 
State, more or less everywhere, owing to the organised raiding 
carried on by the Congo State soldiery. § Some parts were in 
the hands of the rebels, the officials had no power outside gun- 
shot of their stations, there was no rubber in the neighlx)ur- 
hood of Lake Tanganyika, and the quantity procurable in the 
Lake Mweru District did not sufKce to pay the Company's 
expenses. It may be readily understood, dierefore, that the 
manager of the Katanga Company was very pleased to make 
an arrangement with Rabinek to work a portion of the vast 
and, under the circumstances, unprofitable territory made over 
to his Company. *' Rabinek," remarks M. L6v£que in his 
published declaration, I "reckoned to be able to collect 100 
tons of rubber per annum, which would have brought in a 
profit of 100,000 francs ^^4,000) per annum, to the Company 
without any risks, or disbursements, all the more so, as we 



t 



* The resuscitation of the Katanga Company ^ in consequence " of the 
correspondence above referred to by M. Brugmann, appears to have had 
a marked effect upon the Coropanv's shares, for in July, 1899, we find the 
"00 francs '* privil^^ * shares (of which, be it remembered, the State 
leld 600) quoted on the Antwerp Stock Exchange at 1250 francs, and 
the ordinary shares (of which, be it remembered, the State held 1800) 
of undesignated value, quoted at 895 francs, giving a total capitalisation 
at these valuations for the 6000 privileged and 18^000 ordinaries, of 
33,610,000 francs, or close upon ;£i,oop,ooo sterling. 

t KiM^ Appendix. 

X FmSt Appendix. 

I The condition of affairs is eloquently described by Mr. Dugald 
Campbell (Appendix). 

II Vide Appendix. 



270 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

were not sufficientiy strong to enter the territories of the rebels." 
The arrangement was one which would naturally commend 
itself to a man in the position of the manager of the Katanga 
Company. Here was a trader, well known throughout the 
country, upright and highly thought of, who had been doing 
business for some years with the natives in a district which now 
formed part of the Company's territory, but which no Belgian 
dared enter owing to the detestation in which they were 
r^arded by the inhabitants,* and to the circumstances that it 
was held by mutineers, whom neither the State nor the 
Company were strong enough to tackle. This trader volun- 
teered to pay the Katanga Company certain royalties from 
which the Company stood to benefit largely, without going to 
any expense or trouble. Clearly the manager would have 
displayed singular neglect of his Company's interests had he 
refused an offer which had everything to recommend it He 
appears, moreover, to have exercised particular care in defining 
the agreement The privileges conferred upon Rabinek were 
very modest, when the considerable royalties he was expected 
to pay are borne in mind. They consisted in a licence con- 
ferring upon Rabinek the right, for five years, of trading in 
rubber and ivory, in the portion of the Company's territories, 
which was held by the rebels. That was all. No territorial 
rights were granted of any description. It was further stipu- 
lated in the agreement that over and above the royalties to be 
paid, Rabinek should undertake to plant 150 rubber trees for 
every ton of rubber he exported ; that he should pass all his 
goods through the custom-house (which he had been regularly 
in the habit of doing before L6v6quecame on the scene t), and 
conform generally with the laws of the country. The agree- 
ment, then, was nothing more than a trading licence, pure and 
simple, and one extremely favourable to the licensor, for it 
involved the acquisition of a revenue from territories which the 
licensor could not enter I % 

The agreement was signed on September 23, 1900, as 
already stated, and after M. Lev^que, apparently at Rabinek's 

* So ignorant were the Belgian officials even of the state of affairs in 
the *' revolted district," that they asked Rabinek for information on the 
subject — Vide M. Ldv6que's testimony. 

t We find him importing in April, 1900, inter alidy 22,080 yards of 
Bombay cloth ; 1 1,360 yards of printed cottons ; 1,276^000 kilos of beads, 
etc Total value, 29,105*52 francs: customs duty levied, 1749*93 francs, 
signed as received by '* Le Receveur, f. fons C. Haubroe " at the *' Bureau 
de Pweto, No. 63*85." In May, 1900, at the same place, inter alia^ 
800 yards printed cottons, etc Total value, 1278*60 francs : customs duty 
levied, 77*26 fhmcs, etc 

X Vide Agreement, Appendix. 



KATANGA COMPANY AND CONGO STATE 271 

request as a business precaution, had submitted his power of 
attorney, for inspection to a British official in the adjacent 
territory.* It is important to remember the date. It is also 
important to bear in mind, before we leave Central Africa for 
Europe, in order the better to piece together the different parts 
of the narrative, that before obtaining his licence from the 
Katanga Company, Rabinek, as I have already explained, had 
obtained hunting and trading permits and licences from the 
officials of the Congo State Government^ for which permits and 
licences he had paid the sum (including import duty) of 2450 
francs. Rabinek was, then, in the position of having fulfilled 
every formality which could possibly be required of him. 

Meanwhile, events were occurring in Brussels, the effect 
of which was to alter profoundly the status of the Katanga 
Company, and to convert it from a more or less private concern 
of the Rue Briderode (Colonel Thys) group of genuine trading 
Companies into a State institution on the lines of the other 
Trusts of the Domaine Privi, but, if possible, with an even 
greater official complexion. On June 15, 1900— a little more 
Sian three months before the Katanga Company, in the person 
of its manager in Africa, granted Rabinek his licence — a 
Convention had been sig^ned in Brussels between the Katanga 
Company on the one part, and the Congo State Government 
on the other. The first article of the Convention provided for 
the creation of a " Special Committee " to ensure and direct a 
joint exploitation of all the territories belonging to the Domaine 
of the State, and to the Katanga Company, "between the 5th 
degree of south latitude to the 24 degrees 10 min. of longitude 
east of Greenwich, a straight line joining that point at its inter- 
section with the 6th degree of south latitude, with the 23rd 
degree 54 min. of longitude east, with the 23rd degree 54 min. 
of longitude, and the southern and eastern frontiers of the 
Congo State." According to Article i, the Committee had 
" the most extended powers of administration, gestation, and 
alienation, without exception or reserve." Article 2 provided 
that the Committee should be composed of six members, " four 
of these members, and amongst diem the president, who will 
have the preponderating voice, will be named by the Congo State^ 
and two by the Katanga Company." Article 5 reads as follows : 
"All advantages and profits obtained from the exploitation 
mentioned in Article i, and all expenses, charges, or losses, 
etc, will be distributed by the Committee of Management, as 
to two-thirds for the Congo State, and as to one-third for the 
Katanga Company." The Compagnie du Katanga became 
transformed into the Comiti Spicial du Katanga. Its 
* Vide Agreement, Appendix. 



272 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

management and directorship were establi^ed on the following 
lines : The interests of the Congo State were represented l^ 
M. H. Droogmans, General Secretary of the Finance Depart* 
ment of the Congo State, President ; • Messrs. N. Arnold, 
Director of the Service of Agriculture of the Domaine, and of 
" Central Book-keeping '' ; E. de Keyser, Director of the Finance 
Department ; R. Lombard, Director of the Department of the 
Interior — all "members." The Katanga Company's interests 
were represented by two directors of that Company.f Hie 
Comiti Spictal du Katanga was authorised to raise, arm, and 
equip its own soldiers. 

Thus the " exploitation " of the Katanga country became 
to all intents and purposes vested in the State, and die State 
was to retain two-thirds of the proceeds of the sale in Europe 
of the rubber and ivory obtained therefrom d titn JPimpdt — 
which is what '' exploitation " signifies ! There appears to be 
some good ground for the presumption that the Katanga 
Company was forced against its will into absorption by ^ 
Congo State, % but that in itself is not a matter of peculiar 
interest, except for the additional evidence it provides of die 
intention of the Congo State to be the absolutely supreme 
"exploitationist" throughout the Congo territories from 
Leopoldville to the Great Lakes. § 

Although the Convention was signed on June 15, 1900^ it 
was only on August 9 of that year tlmt the Katanga Company 
advised its manager in Africa of the fact, the advice reaching 
him on November 7, not quite two months after the conferring 
of the licence upon Rabinek. || 

Meanwhile, the manager of the Katanga Company had 
written home to his directors, informing them of the Rabmek 
s^eement It was repudiated in a letter dated January 12, 
1901, which reached the manager on April 11, and was com- 
municated by him on April 20 to Rabinek in the presence of 

* One of the '^ Committee of Three " for the unpublished revenues 
derived from the Domcune de la Couronm^ from the labours and the 
slaughter of the natives within that sanctuary. 

t Messrs. Gambier and Delcomunne. 

X Vide L^v^que's published declaration. Appendix. 

§ Of which we now have further evidence in the absorption of the 
Anversoise, 

II By this means, of course, a legitimate barter trade in rubber con- 
ducted by third parties in the Katanga territory would become '' Ulegiti- 
mate " on the strength of the decree of 1892— itself internationally illegal — 
prohibiting the sale and purchase of rubber in the State's '' Domaine," to 
which the Katanga territory had reverted with the disappearance of 
legitimate trade within it, represented by the Katanga Company. That 
such a contention is hi flagrant violation with the Benin Act, goes without 
saying. 




S 
< 



a: 
< 



> 

o 







i4 

< 



^3 « 



> 






KATANGA COMPANY AND CONGO STATE 273 

M. Weyns, a retired Belgian oflBcer sent out by the Comiti 
Sptcial du Katanga to take M. L^vdque's place — Rabinek 
declining to admit the validity of the refusal. Rumours had 
about that time, seemingly, reached Africa that something was 
in the wind, because on April 8 we find Rabinek writing to a 
friend as follows : 

'* You will have beard that serious complications have arisen between 
the Katanga Company and the Congo Free State Government, which 
may have some influence on m^ concession. I have not so £Eur thoueh 
received any official information,* but I learn from my agent in me 
Congo Region that the Belgian Government will not allow the export of 
rubto- and ivory." 

To his relatives in Austria he writes: "The ex-major 
Weyns has, I learn, succeeded L^vfique. It is rumoured he 
will not respect the concessions made by former directors." 

He little knew when he penned those lines that a warrant 
had been out for his arrest since December, 1900, on the osten- 
sible charge of violating the rubber law of 1892 ! 

This chapter may be fittingly concluded by quoting from 
M. Ldvfique's published declaration made at Abercom on 
August 12, 1901 : 

'' Weyxis sent Rabinek with the Company's steamer to Kasanga't to 
buy provisions for his officers, who were short of provisions at Sumbu.{ 
These provisions have not even yet been paid for, although thev were 
consumed at Sumbu, as the Europeans at that place wUl easilv cor- 
roborate. As soon as the steamer returned from Sumbu, Weyns left on 
April 23 for Mtoa,S and came back on May 4 to Mvoa, informing us that 
a warrant for arrest, which had been applied for some time before from 
Boma by Commandant Hennebert, had just arrived. ... He then spoke 
of Rabinek, pretending that the latter had furnished the rebels with 
weapons by sending armed capitaos to hunt the elephant in that country. 
On May 17 Major Weyns left Sumbu for Mpueto, and on June 7 
M. Richard came back to Sumbu. I learned from the latter that he had 
seen Rabinek a free prisoner at Mpueto, and that he had been able to 
speak to him. On June 18, 1901, the German steamer Von Wissman 
arrived at Sumbu : bringing us the news that Rabinek at Mtoa had been 

• Major Weyns wrote to Rabinek repudiating on behalf of the Comiti 
special du Katanga the agreement concluded by the Katanga Company 
with Rabinek. The letter is dated March 30, 1901, but it is obvious from 
Rabinek's above Quoted letter that he had not received it on April 8. A 
copy of Major Weyns* letter is before me. It contains the following 
sentence, a significant comment upon the Berlin Act 1 *' Seul le Comite 
pent n^colter ks produits de son domaine, dans toute la r^on qui lui est 
conc^d^" 

t In German territory, east shore of Lake Tanganyika. Weyns and 
his party had come out by the East African route vid German East 
Africa. 

1 Weyns' first step, therefore, was to utilise the services of Rabinek I 

f M'Towa. 



274 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

condemned to one year's imprisonment and a looo francs fine, and 
that he was being compelled to midertake a journey from Mtoa to Boma 
to be judged once more, the charges against him beine very serious, 
ilUml introduction of weapons and ammunition into the Congo. . . • 
Such a journey from Mtoa to Boma certainly means death {est certain- 
ment la mort),** 

That there was not a word of truth in the charge of supply- 
ing the rebels with arms and ammunition, and that the charge 
was never officially preferred by the State authorities on the 
spot, and has never been officially preferred by the Executive 
in Europe, will presently be shown. That Rabinek would 
never reach Boma alive appears to have been the belief enter- 
tained by other local Europeans besides M. L^vfique. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 

''Nerer in the Congo, to far as we know, have reqaeats to Imy 
natural prodacta been addressed to the rirhtfnl 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, nas had those 
guiltr of these unlawful attempts prosecuted."— Congo Goyem- 
menrs rephr to British Note. 

** The State can hardly be blamed because, in face of the almost 
uniTersal 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."— Ibid. 

" The commercial field open to private persons on the Congo 
never has been and is not limited."— Ibid. 

It has been previously stated that Rabinek, before the 
Katanga Company appeared upon the scene, had obtained 
a licence for " trading on the Congo " from the Congo State 
official in chaise of the Kilwa Station (September lo, 1899), 
and two licences from Commandant Hennebert, the District 
Commissioner of " Tanganyika- Katanga," one for "hunting 
elephants for five years," the other for carrying thirty-nine 
guns" (February, 1900). Similar licences appear to have been 
granted to other Europeans, such as Mr. G. T. Hilpert, a German 
trader, who had also obtained a licence from M. L^vfique, the 
manager of the Katanga Company, in July, 1900, for purchasing 
and gathering rubber in the Katanga Company's territory. 
Indeed, it would seem to be well established that prior to the 
absorption of the Katanga Company by the Congo State 
Government in June, 1900, becoming known in Africa^ the 
officials of that Government, being powerless to exercise any 
influence outside the immediate vicinity of their stations, were 
not loath to collect revenue from traders in British and German 
territory out of such licences, and for the time being tacitly 
allowed independent merchants to carry on a legitimate barter 
trade within Congo State territory. 

The substitution of the Comiti Spicial du Katanga — or, in 
other words, the State — for the Katanga Company however, 
involving as it did the clearly declared intention of the Govern- 
ment to itself "exploit" the Katanga territory, introduced an 



276 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

entirely new element into the situation. It was not likely 
that the Congo State Government, which, according to some 
accounts, had forced the Katanga Company to '' amalgamate," 
would tolerate lesser fry interfering with its plans, and it became 
necessary, therefore, to repudiate the trading and hunting 
licences its agents had issued, and to clear these smaller fry 
out of the country. The ingenuity of the Authorities of the 
Congo State is never at fault in matters of this kind, whether 
the undertaking it is desirable to slide out of is international 
or personal in nature. In this case the means lay ready at 
hand, for did not the Decree of 1892 declare that the exploita- 
tion of rubber was prohibited in the Katanga region ? * 
True, the " law " had remained by force of circumstances some- 
what of a dead letter in that portion of the Katanga territory 
neighbouring the British possessions I But now that the 
Congo State, in the shape of the Camiti Spicial du Katanga 
had decided to send out an expedition for the purpose of 
" exploiting " it in the interest of the " Grovemment," it was 
obviously necessary to revive the law, or rather, to act as if it 
had always been in force. Thus could a legal basis f be 
devised in order to justify the expulsion of the inconvenient 
" third parties." 

That Rabinek should have been singled out as an example 
to the " others " — to quote the statement attributed by 
M. L^vfique to Major Weyns — is not altogether surprising. 
He was the principal independent merchant doing business in 
the country, and his downfall or disappearance would serve as 
a salutary example.} 

• In violation of the Berlin Act 

t Although manifestly ill^al, interaationaliy. 

X Mr. G. T. Hilpert, writing to the West African Mail^ from Sumbu, 
Bismarkburg, Tanganyika (German territory), May 21, 1903, gives the 
following account of his treatment at the hands of the Congo State 
Authorities in the South-Eastem District. He obtained a licence in 
July, 1900, from the manager of the Katanga Company to trade in rubbo' 
in the Katanga territories. On the strength of his agreement, he entered 
the Katan^ country with £,1000 of trade eoods. He paid Customs 
duties on his goods at Moliro in September ot the same year. Some of 
his native traders were arrested by Congo soldiery. He started off to 
MToa to protest to the Belgian Conunandant. Meanwhile the Congo 
soldiers broke into his factorv, stole many of his effects, and seized 75 
loads of his property, which they took to M'Towa. The Commandant 
at MTowa, after seeing Hilpert's papers, apologised, and restored the 
loads. In November, Hilpert returned to MoDro with some rubber, 
leaving his head men and goods at his factorv. At Moliro the Ckefde 
P&sie produced the letter Irom the Commandant at MTowa, ordering 
the confiscation of sdl Hilpert's rubber. Hilpert then went to MTowa 
again, and was told he had better wait, as the Congo State and the 
K!atanga Company would ** amalgamate.** He placed his case before the 



THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 277 

What passed between the Congo State and its ^ents we 
shall probably never know, but we are justified in assuming — 
and the presumption, moreover, is a common-sense one— Aat 
the representatives of the Congo State Grovemment in the 
Katanga region received orders from Brussels, that they knew 
of the contemplated absorption of the Katanga Company by 
the State, and that they were instructed in consequence. 

A month after Rabinek obtained from the Congo State 
official, Cerckel, his licence to trade, it was withdrawn, so far as 
trading in rubber was concerned, and the caravans which 
Rabinek had sent into the country on the strength of that 
licence were seized. In July he seems to have got a letter 
from a Commandant Verdick, in which the following passage 
occurs: 

" It is forbidden in the most formal manner, and until the 
Grovemment has adopted measures on the subject, to exploit 
or buy rubber in the region which I administrate." 

A nice sort of communication for the representative of a 
Grovemment which, in Europe, asserts that " trade is free " on 
the Congo I The letter further says : " Your obstinacy in not 
conforming to the existing rules and decrees renders you liable 
to the most serious repressive judicial measures." In his reply 
(July 8) Rabinek expresses surprise at the communication. 
'' Up to this moment I have done nothing gainst the existing 
r^^lations which gives you the right to call me obstinate.** 
He says that his agents have been told not to buy rubber^ 
but only to buy ivory, and he concludes by hoping that " all 
differences of opinion may be arranged upon my arrival at 
your station." * 

We gather from these communications that some of the 
Congo State officials were seeking to deprive Rabinek of the 
rights under his trade licence to trade in rubber, that Rabinek 
disputed theu- right to do so, and was prepared to discuss 
matters of '' opinion " on a convenient opportunity, meanwhile 
instmcting his agents only to buy ivory, which, apparently, was 
not objected to. 

Now, setting aside for a moment the Protocols and the Act 
of the Berlin Conference which prohibited any obstacle to 

German Government. So far he does not appear to have got any com- 
pensation or satisfaction. — West African Mail^ September 4, 1903. 

Since penning the above, I have heard from a correspondent in 
Central Aurica tluit the German Government has succeeded in getting 
;£iooo conmmsation for Mr. Hilpert I do not guarantee the information^ 
but I think it is likely to be accurate. There are obvious reasons for 
King Leopold to keep on good terms with the German Foreign Office. 

* I am indebted to Dr. Rudolf Hertz, of Hambuig, for the documents 
from which the above extracts are taken. 



278 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

freedom of trade, it is exceedingly doubtful whether the local 
authorities in the Katanga District had any legal g^unds 
whatever for interfering with the free exercise of the Austrian's 
business, seeing that, at the time they were so interfering, the 
Katanga country had been handed over to the Katanga 
Company. Unquestionably they had no such right from the 
moment that M. L^v^ue, the Katanga Company's manager 
in Africa, arrived on the scene, prior to that gentleman being 
officially apprised of the absorption of the Katanga Company 
by the Congo Government 

However, to cut short such matters of " opinion," and to 
further regularise his position, Rabinek, as we have seen, made 
an arrangement in September of the same year — 1900— with 
the representative of the Company which had received "full 
proprietorship " of the territory, involving the right to develop 
its property by trader to conduct trading enterprise, or to create 
subsidiary trading enterprises. 

It is quite beside the mark, therefore, for the Congo 
Government to argue, as it has done, that repeated warnings 
" were addressed to Rabinek by the officials of the State that 
his trade was * illegal.' " 

What is not beside the mark are the facts that Rabinek 
applied to local Government officials for permits to trade, to 
carry thirty-nine guns, and to shoot elephants, for which 
licenses he paid pretty heavily ; that he conducted his trading 
operations in a legitimate manner, which is proved by the 
Custom House returns of the port of Mpueto ; and, finally, that 
when L^vfique came out as supreme authority in the country, 
he made the necessary arrangements with that gentleman for 
the continuation of his business. 

So much for the Austrian's relations with the local Govern- 
ment Authorities, and subsequently with the manager of the 
Katanga Company, prior to the news of the fresh alteration in 
that Company's affairs, which had occurred in Brussels, reaching 
either Rabinek or L^vfique. 

As we have seen, the news of the absorption of the Katanga 
Company by the Congo Government only reached that Com- 
pany's manager in Africa on November 7, not quite two months 
after the arrangement with Rabinek had been concluded. 

The technical effect of that fresh alteration in the Katanga 
Company's affairs was, of course, to vest once again in the 
Congo Government — disguised under the name of Comiti 
Spictal du Katanga — the products of the soil in the Katanga 
country, which for a short period had been made over to the 
Katanga Company, and consequently to revive once more the 
Decree of 1892 forbidding trade in rubber, which decree had 



THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 279 

technically lapsed during the period when the rubber of the 
country was vested in the Katanga Company. 

Henceforth the one end and aim of the officials of the 
Congo Government was to eliminate Rabinek, who, paying for 
that rubber which both commerce and morality recognises as 
belonging to the man who gathers it, appeared as a formidable 
competitor to a Government which claims to ownership over 
that article both prior and subsequent to its collection. 

The story of the proceedings of the Congo Government 
officials towards this desired end is really almost incredible. 
A warrant for Rabinek's arrest was applied for. The document 
reads as follows : 

•* Mandat— lyARRfir. 
^^Projustitia, 

"Nous Officiers du Minist^re Public pr^ le tribunal territorial 
d'AlbertviUe. 

" Vu les pieces de la procedure instruite k charge de Rabinek, n^gociant 
de nationality autrichienne sans residence connue, pr^venu de contraven- 
tion aux articles 3 et 10 du dto^t du 30 Octobre, 1893, sur I'exploitation 
du caoutchouc ou tout au moins de reed, fiait pr^vu par Fartide 29 du 
code p^nal. 

" Attendu que le pr^venu n'est pas present et qu^ est signally comme 
continuant k contrevenir aux articles pr^it^s. Vu I'article 28 du d^rret 
du 27 Avril, 1869. 

^ Mandons et ordonnons que le susdit Rabinek soit arr^t^ et conduit 
k la maison de detention d'AIbertville. 

" Requerons tous agents de la Force Publique auxquels le present 
mandat sera exhib^ de pr6ter main forte pour son execution, k Pefiet de 
quoi nous avons sign^ le present mandat. 

•* Fait k Albertville, le 17 Decembre, 190a 
" L'Officer du Ministfcre Public, 
(Sig.) " DUPONT." 

Major Weyns and Captain Tonneau, both of the Comiti 
Spicial du Katanga, told Mr. Alfred Sharpe H.M. Com- 
missioner for British Central Africa, that the warrant for 
Rabinek's arrest had been issued by the State Procurator at 
Boma (Africa, No. 4, 1903), and Major Weyns told L^vfique 
the same thing. But the document itself is signed as above 
and dated as above. It is, of course, possible that Dupont was 
acting upon instructions from Boma, but it is at least curious 
that the Congo State, in its communication to the Morning 
Post, distinctly states that " M. Dupont issued on December 17, 
1900, a warrant against Rabinek," and makes no allusion to 
a warrant from Boma. 

What is more important is to note that the warrant accuses 
the Austrian of one offence, and of one offence only, viz. 



280 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

violation of the rubber laws. — Decree of October 30, 1892. 
The judicial formulas necessary to Rabinek's ruin being thus 
complete, all that remained to be done, one might have 
supposed, was to arrest him. Not so, however. 

Article 10 of the Decree of October 30, 1892, under which 
the warrant of arrest was issued, provides that violation of the 
law shall be visited by a fine of 10 to 1000 francs, and to 
imprisonment (" Servitude pinaW) of one day to a months or 
to one of these penalties only* Had Rabinek been indicted on 
this charge alone^ he could have got out of the clutches of the 
State, and made himself uncommonly unpleasant afterwards on 
the strength (i) of the free trade clauses of the Berlin Act, (2) of the 
official licences granted him^for which he had paid, and {3) of the 
licence granted him by the Katanga Company to benefit by which 
he had opened large credits with European firms. 

So, with truly devilish ingenuity, a charge of gun-running 
was concocted against Rabinek, which should be made to 
appear all the more plausible since his trading relations with 
the " rebels " was known to every one, and, indeed, expressly 
recognised in his agreement with the Katanga Company.f 
This charge, locally made, might or might not be afterwards 
officially endorsed ; but in the meantime it would serve its 
purpose — and it did so serve, as we shall see. That these 
charges were secretly made, we learn from M. L^vfique's testi- 
mony, who mentions having received on December 6 a note 
from the Congo State official at Mpueto, asking if a certain 
gun taken from a native headman had been given to the latter 
by himself (Ldvfique) or by Rabinek; and again that the 
newly arrived manager of the Comiti Spicial du Katanga had 
" insinuated before him (L^vfique) that Rabinek had sold arms 
to the rebels." % 

It may be as well to state now, before dealing with the 

* See Penal Clause^ Appendix. 

t Vide Agreement, Appendix. 

X The Central African Times, Blantyre, of February 21, 1903- 
publishes an interview with Major Weyns, in which the latter is reported 
as having said, '^ I might tell you that it is a matter of conmion Imow- 
ledge that Rabinek and some of his agents had been found to have 
supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels in the Congo Free State, 
and as this portion of the country referred to was under martial law, he 
could have been tried for this and executed. The officials did not wish 
to do this, however." In the same interview, Major Weyns is reported 
to have declared, '* I may say that the Comiti Spicial du Katanga, is an 
entirely private Company "—a fair sample of that gentleman's veracity ! 
Vide text of agreement, Appendix, and Weyns* letter to Rabinek. Siee 
also L^vdque's published declaration, which, in this respect, at any rate, 
is amply corroborated by Weyns' own reported declarations to the 
Central African Times. 



THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 281 

irregular proceedings which characterised the trial of Rabinek, 
that no jot or tittle of evidence has ever been publicly pro- 
duced by Rabinek's persecutors to substantiate the charge. 
Apart from the specific nature of the accusation made in tiie 
warrant for arrest, viz. that of violating the Decree of 1892, in 
respect to the collection of rubber, the judgment itself, to 
which I shall subsequently return, explicitly repeats the 
accusation mentioned in the warrant ; while the Congo State, 
in its communication to the Morning Post^ justifies its 
proceedings towards Rabinek solely on the same ground. In 
addition to this amply sufficient official testimony, we have an 
abundance of outside evidence. Several men acquainted with 
the nature of Rabinek's business affairs flatly deny that he 
ever traded in arms. M. L^v£que does the same, and Mr. 
Robert E. A. Young, Native Commissioner for Northern 
Rhodesia, in a letter to a correspondent, dated November 15, 
1902, and published in the West African Mail of September 
II, 1903, says: 

'' A great part of the late G. M. Rabinek's fi^oods for the Congo Free 
State passed through my hands,* and if I had seen any importation of 
rifles or ammunition I would have detained such until I received orders 
in writing from the Civil Commissioner to allow such to be sent on." 

The evidence of Mr. Alfred Sharpe, H.M. Commissioner 
for Central Africa, is equally conclusive : 

^ I could ascertain nothing," he says, '* to show that Rabinek traded 
in firearms or ammunition ; these could, I think, onl3r have been obtained 
by the Nyassa route, and he appears to have received none from this 
direction.** t 

The chaise may therefore be summarily dismissed. It had 
not the slightest foundation, and was merely used locally at 
that time to gain an end which, it is obvious, must have been 
deliberately planned. 

And now we approach the moment when the drama about 
to be enacted gathers in the intensity of its human interest 
L^v£que's declaration shows us that Rabinek was in April, 
1904, — four months after the issue of the warrant for his 
arrest — actually assisting Major Weyns to revictual his ex- 
pedition in German territory! It is difficult to believe that 
he would have acted thus had he been aware at the time that 
a warrant was out for his arrest ; but he evidently knew about 
it shortly afterwards, if we are to believe the agent at Chienji 
of the African Lakes Corporation. % 

* That is to say, were imported through British territory. 
t Africa, No. 4, I903> pagc 3. 
X Africa, No. 4, 1903, enclosure 5. 



282 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

On May 14, 1901, Rabinek embarked at Chienji,* together 
with one of his agents, on the Scotia, a small steam launch 
plying on Lake Mweru and belonging to the African Lakes 
Corporation. The Scotia had cargo on board for the 
Comitf Spicial du Katanga, consigned to Mpueto, and Rabinek 
had apparently arranged to charter the Scotia to convey 
him to Kazembe (British territory) after discharging the 
Comit^s cargo. At half-past eleven on the morning of the 
15th the Scotia anchored in British waters,t forty yards from 
the Congo State port of Mpueto. The captain landed after 
discharging the cargo, and went up to the station to get his 
papers signed ; Rabinek remaining on board. % The Congo 
State official asked the captain if Rabinek was on board, and, 
being answered in the affirmative, demanded that he should be 
handed over to him. § The captain declining, M. Chai^ois, 
the official in question, threatened to refuse to take delivery of 
the cargo, and said he would take steps to withdraw all the 
Comiti Spicial du Katanga's transport work from the hands of 
the African Lakes Corporation — the captain's employers. 
The captain replied that he could do as he liked. There- 
upon M. Chargois sent a lieutenant on board to arrest 
Rabinek. The name of this officer was Louis Sarol^ and on 
his way down to the boat he remarked to the captain, " That 
he did not think it a pleasant job to arrest a white man 
before natives." The party having boarded the Scotia, 
Lieutenant Sarol^a descended into the cabin, and read out 
the warrant to Rabinek. We have two versions of what then 
took place, both supplied by Captain Milne. Q 

The earlier version reads as follows : 

'' As it (the warrant) was in French, I did not understand what it 
contained. However, Rabinek said to me, * I am arrested. What are 
you going to do in the matter, as I am on a British steamer?' I 
answered that I did not know international law on the subject, and did 
not see what I could do, as Mr. Chargois might have the right to arrest 
in a Congo State port Rabinek then said he would go on snore and see 
the matter through. For the meantime, the lieutenant had been turning 

♦ British territory. 

t Africa, No. 4i I903» page 3- 

t According to the agent of the African Lakes Corporation at Chienji. 
Africa, No. 4, 1903. 

§ Vid€ sworn declaration of A. J. C. Milne, in charge of the Scotia, 
before the British Consulate-General at Zomba. Africa, No. 4, 1903, 

pages- 

II Captain Milne made two declarations, one before the British 
Consulate-General at Zomba {op, cit,) on February 16, 1903, and the 
other two months after the event took place, viz. August 24, 1901, 
before three witnesses. The latter was published in the Morning Post^ 
in an article contributed by the author on the subject. 



THE PLOT AND THE ARREST 283 

sick, as the steamer had been rolling a good deal, so he went on shore 
and waited till Rabinek came also. Then the two of them went up to 
the house together." 

The latter version reads as follows : 

** Rabinek, after hearing the warrant read, turned to me and asked 
me what I would do. The warrant was written in French, and I did not 
know more than a word or two. In reply to Mr. Rabinek, I stated it was 
for him to decide, and that he could either stop on board and allow them 
to take him by force, or else go on shore as he pleased. The officer at 
this point said he felt very sea-sick, and asked us to excuse him, and 
went on shore in the canoe. Mr. Rabinek, after some reflection, said, 
' They evidently want to deprive me of my concession in the Katanga 
territory. I will go on shore, and see the matter through, even though 
they send me to Mtowa.' " 

Thus did the unfortunate Austrian place himself in the 
hands of his enemies, conscious of the strength of his case, and 
little reckoning on what was in store for him. He appears to 
have spent a few days at Mpueto, a prisoner on parole un- 
molested, and lulled into a sense of false security. While 
there, he formally protested by letter against his treatment 
He says in his letter that the first representation made to him 
by the Government since his arrangement with M. Ldvfique 
has been the warrant of arrest. His letter contains the follow- 
ing important sentence: "I came by the Scotia to see M. 
Chargois zvitA the authority of Major Weyns" 

He was then conveyed to Mtowa. Rabinek's state of mind 
at that time, his fearless determination to face his accusers, and 
to insist on having his rights respected, his unconsciousness of 
danger, or that anything more than an attempt to jockey him 
out of his agreement with the Katanga Company was on the 
tapisy is clearly shown in the following extract from a letter he 
wrote from Mpueto to one of his agents — a Mr. Hastings — the 
original of which is in my possession. 

" Mpueto, May i6, 190X. 

" I have been originally yesterday formally arrested, but am now free 
and I consider it the best to fp through this mock trial, and to setde once 
and for adl the pending questions." 

And from the following letter written to the same person, 
which, in view of its interest, I reproduce. 

" Mpueto, May 18, 1901. 

'^ There is no need for anxiety, as I am at liberty, but I do not want to 
leave here till everything is settled. The best is, you come over here and 
see for yourself how matters stand. I shall give you instructions and 
power of attorney here, and then I intend to go to Mtowa to finish once 
for all this unbearable situation. Within four weeks everything will be 



284 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

decided, and I wish to answer the charge brought against me. There 
can be no serious punishment ; even if I am foimd guilty of havin^^ bought 
rubber in my concession, I can only be fined with a fine amounting firom 
lo francs to looo francs. If I refuse to attend the courts I probably shall 
lose all my claims on the Government and the Katanga Company^ so I am 
determined to fulfil all formalities ; even by the officials here there is no 
doubt as to my final success." 

Whether or no the subordinate officials and the representa- 
tive of the Comit^ Special du Katanga at Mpueto were ignorant 
of the plot to efTectually prevent Rabinek from troubling either 
the Congo State or the Katanga Company with his future 
claims it is difficult to say. But that his treatment at Mpueto, 
was desigpied, as I have said, to lull him into a sense of 
false security is, when we consider subsequent events, very 
obvious. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 

''With consisteiit enterprise he (Rabinek) had within the lart 

two or tiiree years founded the basis of a monster trading scheme 

for the exploitation of rubber and ivory. He had established 

himself in British Central Africa, where he was quali^riiu[ for 

naturalisation. His agents worked in that protectorate, m North 

Charterlandy and in German East Africa, and he had recently 

purchased trading rights in Katanga, which, by the treaty coo- 

lerring existence on the Congo State, is, in common with the rest 

of Omgolancl, open to the trade of tibe world ; he therefore merely 

purchased rif^ts which were his already. ... He was then 

treated as a common criminal, and transported, under escort for 

\ BonuL after bemg fined and sentenced to a year's impriaooment 

^ • • • for iwparent^ standing on the rights he had acquired in good 

^ faith."— Btiyor A. St H. Gibbons, F.RG.S. C' Africa from 

South to North through Marotseland,'' 1904.) 



f 



" Mtowa, June 15, 190X. 

"My dear Mr. Hastings, 

" The most unexpected thing happened here,* and I have 
been condemned bv court-martial to one years imprisonment, against 
which judgment I nave launched an appeal before the High Court at 
Boma, so I am compelled to make a veiy involuntary traverse of Africa. 
The court-martial consisted of tAe CommandaHt and a judge. The 
judee proposed to fine me with ^^40, but the Commandant of his own 
added one year prison^ against which judgment even the judge protest^ 
and has also made an appeal in mv favour to the Court in Boma. . . . 
The judgment pronounced here by the Commandant has no foundation,! 
and I have not even been told for what reason I am condenmed. I 
asked to-day the judge about it, and he also declared not to know what 
for I am condemned, as the Commandant did not give explanation or 
reasons for his jtu^ment. and therefore the judge himself has also 
launched an appeal m my favour.t . • • Although I don't consider my 

* Rabinek telegraphed to a friend of his early in June, that he would 
have to go from Mpeuto to Mtowa, 150 miles, under an escort of native 
soldiery. 

t Meaning, presumably, " no foundation " in law— which, of course, 
is true, because the sentence was a violation of the law in so far as the 
law related to the only specific count upon which the warrant for arrest 
was issued, and judgment passed. 

t In a letter to a friend of his dated June 18, Rabinek repeats this 
statement. ^ Mr. Codrington will have told you, I hope, that even the 



286 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

condemnation serious,* and am absolutely convinced to find full justice 
in Boma, I am depressed in my mind. . . . Please accept my sincere 
thanks for what yon have done np to date, and my best wishes for the 
future. 

"Yours faithfully, 

(Signed) "G. M. Rabinek. 

*• P.S. — Please send this letter to M and copv to Mr. . Just 

received notice that I have been condemned by the Commasidant for 
nothing else but for exploitation of rubber in the Katanga country 
genersdly." 

The dead man's original letter to his agent in British terri- 
tory, from which the above extracts are reproduced, is before 
me as I write. It is a very long letter, and portrays the writer's 
feelings at the unexpected blow fallen upon him. Yet it is full 
of digfnity and business-like considerations. He leaves direc- 
tions as to the management of his affairs during his absence ; 
begs that a personal friend, whom it is unnecessary to name, 
will sell some of his (Rabinek's) personal effects in order to 
send a sum of money to his brother in Vienna, so that the 
latter may engage a lawyer to go to Boma to assist him at the 
coming trial : laments that his prolonged absence will jeopardise 
the interests of the firms who have credits open with him, and, 
a characteristic note, begs that one of his employes whose wages 
are overdue shall be paid. He expresses the hope that his 
friends and agents will not abandon him in his hour of 
trial. 

Let us examine the bald facts. 

The nature of the offence with which Rabinek was chained, 
and for which he was condemned to one yearns imprisonmenty 
and a fine of looo francs, was for " illegal " trading in rub- 
ber in the Katanga country generally. The warrant for arrest, 
the dead man's letter, the communication which the Congo 
State Grovemment sent to the Morning Post (in reply to my 
articles), the reply given to Mr. Alfred Sharpe (Commissioner for 
British Central Africa) by Captain Tonneau, are all conclusive 
and concordant on the point, AND SO IS THE VERDICT OF 
THE COURT MARTIAL. Here it is : 

Belgian judge made an appeal in my favour, and that I shall certainly be 
set at liberty immediately on arrival in Boma." Codrington was then 
administrator for N.£. Rhodesia. That the prosecuting judge did appeal 
is true, and is proved by the minutes of the £oma Appeal Court, October 
33rd, 1901 (G. Nisco, President). 

* I think the word used here must be read in the sense in which the 
French use it — Rabinek was a French scholar — ** ce n'est pas s^rieux," 
would in the above connection signify, ** it is all nonsense," or *' it is a 
farce," or again, ** it carries no weight ; it is not valid." 



THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 287 

*'JUGEMENT. 

*' CoNSEiL DE Guerre d'Albertville. 

'* Audience publique du 14 Juin 1901. En cause du Minist^re Public 
^ Contre Rabinek, n^gociant, sujet autrichien. 
'' Vu'par le Conseil de Guerre seant k Albertville, laiprocedure k charge 
du pnEvenu ci-dessus pour avoir : 

^ A. exploit^ le caoutchouc dans les terrains r^rv^ par Part. 3 du 
d^ret du 30 Octobre, i892,subsidiairement recel^ du caoutchouc obtenu 
k Paide d^lne infraction. 

** Vu Passignation en date du 13 juin, ick>i ; 
^ Oui le Minist^re Public en ses requisitions ; 

'* Oui les temoins dans leur depositions ainsi que le pr^venu dans 
ses dires et mo^ens de defense ; 
" Le Conseil de Guerre. 

"Attendu que les faits mis k charge du pr^venu sont ^tablis, 
le candamne d une servitude pinole de un an^ k une amende de 
mille francs et h. defaut de paiement k une servitude p^nale de six mois, 
k un quart de frais du proc^ et k defaut paiement k une contrainte ]^ 
corps de deux mois ; ordonne la restitution k PEtat du caoutchouc saisi, 
prononce la confiscation des marchandises saisies, ordonne Parrestation 
imm^iate. 

*' Ainsi jug^ et prononc^ k Paudience du 14 juin, 1901, ou si^geaient 
" MM. Morisseau Juge Levdvre, Minist^re Public, 
"Van Staegen, Gr^ffier, 

" Le Juge du Conseil de Guerre, 
(sig.) " Morisseau. 
"LeGrtfffier 

(Sig.) "Van Staegen." 

There can be, therefore, no doubt or question on the point 
Yet the Austrian was condemned to one year's imprisonment 
— ^an absolutely illegal sentence according to the law under 
which he was chargeable I 

His " immediate arrest " was ordered. 

It seems inconceivable ; but it is true. 

In a letter describing the " trial," written to Mr. Codrington, 
on June 16, 1901, Rabinek says : 

" As everybody knows, I got my concession to trade in rubber and 
ivory from the Manager of the Katanga Company. In my trial before 
the Conseil de Guerre^ this fact was not even mentioned. The whole 
trial did last (sic) only about 40 minutest* 

He goes on to say that certain of his agents were accused by 
the judge of buying rubber, and that he " as their employer, is 
responsible for their illegal actions." In reply to this charge, 
he refers inter alia to his agreement with the Katanga Com- 
pany, that the manager — M. L^vfique — had produced his power 
of attorney when making the arrangement, and that he. 



288 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Rabinek, had acted in good faith. The prosecuting judge 
then declared that " I have certainly been guilty of buying 
rubber; but as I was in the believe {sic) of having a right 
to do so, he proposed to fine me i^4a" Rabinek again 
speaks. 

*' Then the Commandant rose and said something which I (tid not 
understand — it were {sic) only a few words — ^and I am sentenced to one 
year prison, when I was arrested. There was no reason ffiven for this 
judgement by the Commandant, and I asked the judge and the usher of 
the Court, who both declared that the Commandant did not ezi^ajn die 
judgement. I cannot say more as that I have been coxidemnedi without 
any witnesses or proves {sic) of my guilt." * 

Such is JUSTICE to independent Europeans under the blue 
banner with the golden star ! 

Rabinek seems to have been under the impression that 
Judge Lev^vre was the judge. He says that the "judge" — 
meaning Lev^vre — "proposed" to fine him £^, In other 
words, the judicial officer acting as public prosecutor demanded 
the maximum fine under law. It is sigpiificant to note that 
this official (who protested f against the illegal sentence of a 
year's imprisonment, pronounc^ by the President of the Court 
Martial) did not even urge Xhit full penalty against the Austrian 
provided by the law, that is to say, looo francs fine, and one 
month's imprisonment. That official was evidently not privy 
to the plot — at first, at any rate — for Rabinek tells us that he 
did not " understand the sentence." 

In the belief that Levivre was his judge, Rabinek was, of 
course, mistaken. It was a Court Martial sitting upon him, 
and the President of the Court Martial was Commandant 
Morisseau, by whom the minutes are sigpied. 

This illegal sentence was the consummation of the plot 

The President of the Court Martial knew the sentence was 
illegal, and imposed it The acting Public Prosecutor knew it 
was illegal, and, to his credit be it said, protested against it 
The Congo Government knows it was illegal, and has upheld it 

The violent interference with Rabinek's business, the 
seizure of his caravans, the warrant issued for his arrest, and 
the arrest itself — these constituted so many outrages against 
the International Treaty under which the Congo State was 
admitted into the family of States. His trial was a mockeiy, 

* I am indebted to Dr. Rudolf Hertz, of Hamburg, for the document 
from which the above extracts are made. 

t " Vu les appels interjet^s contre le dit jugement par le prevenu et le 
mimsthre Public.^ " Tribunal d*Afipel de Boma siant en tribunal 
repressif. Audience PubUque du OcttAre 23, 1901." 




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THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 289 

and the sentence passed upon him was a judicial outrage 
according to the Congo State's own laws. 

The Congo authorities meant to get Rabinek removed, 
and to achieve their purpose they stopped short of nothing, 
save actual murder, fearing perhaps that a second Stokes affair 
might stir even the torpid conscience of Europe. 

The offence charged against the Austrian was illegal trad- 
ing in rubber, and the verdict lays no other charge at his door. 

But the sentence pronounced was the sentence which would 
have been pronounced had Rabinek been convicted of illegal 
traffic^ not in rubber, but in weapons of war I 

The decree of March 10, 1892, which provides for the latter 
offence, stipulates that : 

" Whoever shall commit or allow to be committed by his subordinates 
an infraction of the present decree . . . will be punished by a fine of 100 
to 1000 francs, and to imprisonment not exceeding one year, or to one of 
these punishments only. The sentence of imprisonment will always be 
Pronounced^ 

Is the word " plot " too strong, and is the qualifying 
expression " devilish ingenuity " I have applied to that plot 
too emphatic ? 

From the moment the verdict was pronounced, Rabinek 
was a prisoner under sentence of one year's imprisonment. 
He appealed, and was sent away " a prisoner " under escort. 

The Congo State being hard put to frame a defence (for 
the attitude of its representatives which it endorsed) when I 
first brought this case to public notice, not then knowing its 
full history ; sought to found one upon the dead man's appeal. 

In its communication to the Morning Post of July 22, 
1903, the Congo State argues as though the fact of Rabinek 
being allowed the faculty of appealing against the sentence 
passed against him, was in itself a proof of the admirable 
manner in which the judicial organisation of the State is carried 
out I The passage reads as follows : 

"It is, in short, the simple matter of a foreign trader carrying on 
operations in the Congo State, who has committed an offence against 
conmion law. Being proceeded against and condemned by the local 
court, he appealed as was his right, and undertook the voyage to Boma, 
to present himself before the higher court which sits there." 

Could the attitude of a Grovemment be more despicable ? 
Note the statement " offence against common law." Note the 
words " local court" Rabinek having been condemned by Court 
Martial, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment which violates 
the provisions of the very law he was accused of breaking ! 
Note also the " undertook," which suggests willingness on the 

u 



290 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

part of the individual— as if the unfortunate man had any other 
course open to him. Note the words "to present himself" 
when he left a " prisoner " under escort ! • Does a nian under- 
take a journey of 2000 miles to present himself to sudh and 
such a party, when he leaves a Court House as a "prisoner," as 
the official document records : 

'' Etat Inddpendant du Congo. Feuille de route pour l^agent noinmi6 
ci-apr^s qui se rend d^Albertville k la prison de Boma.'' 

A mere enumeration of such documents as are available 
will now suffice to enable the reader to follow Rabinek to his 
lonely, nameless grave in the African forest 



From the Feuille de route already referred to it appears that 
Rabinek left Albertville on June 17, three days after the trial ; 
arrived at Kabambare June 29: left Kabambare June 30: 
arrived at Kasorigo July 6 : left Kasorigo July 7 : arrived at 
Nyangwe July 8. That would mean a 21 days' land joum^ 
as a prisoner under native escort. 



II 

In a letter written by Rabinek directly after his trial to his 
relatives, he expressed anxiety as to his personal fate. The 
postscript contains the following sentence : 

'* Rumours have it that Europeans who have been taken are poisoned, 
so if I disappear without any further news you may guess what has 
become of me." 

He added that he had made his will, and would post it 
home. It has not, I believe, been received. This letter was 
published in the Viennese papers. 



Ill 

In a letter written by Rabinek directly after his trial, to a 
friend at Karonga, he says : " I will send you from the next 
post-office the whole account of my illegal condemnation." 
This letter was never received. 

* Under " an escort of 50 Askari " (Africa, No. 4, 1902). 



THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 291 



IV 

From the FeuiUe de route we gather that Rabinek left 
Nyangwe on July 9 ; arrived (after several days) at Ponthier- 
ville, July 16 ; arrived at Stanleyville, July 17. Here there 
was a delay of nearly a month, for, according to the FeuiUe de 
route, Rabinek did not leave there before August 18. Of his 
physical condition when he arrived, and his treatment during 
his stay,* we know practically nothing, the only allusion being 
contained in the declaration of Mr. C. Fuhler, agent of the 
Tanganyika Concession, Limited, who writing from Ujiji, 
Januaiy 14, 1903, says: 

'' I was told by Captain Anderson, of the Katanga steamer, when 
coming up the Lake Tanganyika, from the West Coast, that he saw 
Rabinek carnring his own food under an escort of Congo soldiers. If 
that is true^ i then come to the conclusion that his death is only due to the 
hardships of the voyage^ which would be enough to kill any European^* 

But although we can only guess as to his physical condition, 
we have the last despairing ciy of the broken-hearted man, 
before he vanishes from the mortal ken of all save that of his 
tormentors. It is conveyed in two letters which he wrote to 
the judicial officer of the State at Stanleyville the day after his 
arrival, imploring to be allowed to continue his journey. They 
are written in French.t 

" Stanleyville, July 19, 1901. 

<< Monsieur le Juge ! 

" I have the honour to refer to my respectful demand of yester- 
day, and I beg you to procure for me an audience of the President of the 
Appeal Court. It is a month to-day since I left Mtowa, and I hastened 
in the hope of having the good fortune of finding the President here, and 
now I am naturallv impatient to make my statement I beg you, Mon- 
sieur le Juge, to take into account my state of nervous excitement, and to 
give me the opportunity of listening to the opinion of an impartial judge, 
because at Mtowa I was sentenced without any witnesses and without 
any evidence, and I was not able to produce my witnesses or to undertake 
my defence. I hope you will not take my importance (j/lr— importunity ? ) 
as arro£[ance, and that you will agree to my request. I have the honour 
to remain, 

** Your very devoted servant, 

(Sgd.) «*G. M. Rabinek." 



* I reject a statement made long afterwards on oath by his cook, that 
he repeatedly asked to see a doctor and was denied one ; because the 
cook's statement contains many flagrant inaccuracies. 

t I am indebted to Dr. Rudolf Heitz, of Hamburg, for a copy of these 
two letters. 



292 KING LEOPOLDS RULE IN AFRICA 

•• StanlcjnriUc. July 30, 1901. 

" Monsieur le Juge ! 

" I take the liberty to make once more an appeal to you to let 
me leave on this occasion (read by this steamer ? — E.D.M.) I do not want 
more room than a native, and I submit myself under those conditions 
absolutely ; only let me go, because I am in a condition of despair. 

" Your devoted servant, 

(Sgd.) "G. M. Rabinek." 

He knew too well how " Bula Matadi " treats its black subjects, 
yet he only asked to be treated as one of them, so long as he 
could continue his journey I 

Did they keep him at Stanleyville hoping that he would 
die — as he subsequently did — before getting to Boma, where 
his case would be pleaded by counsel ? 



The Feuille de route ends abruptly as follows : " D6c6de le 
ler Septembre, 1901, i bord du Hainaut k Black River." 



VI 

But we have a fuller document,* and from no less a person 
than Commandant Hennebert. The following is a literal 
translation : f 

" Boma, September i8. 1901. 
"M. Le GOUVERNEUR-GfeNiRAL, 

*' On August 20, I embarked at Bumba on the Hainaut The 
boat coming from Stanleyville had several passengers on board, amongst 
them Rabinek«t I noticed that the latter had access to the bridge, and 
to the saloon in the same way as the passengers. I remarked {Je fis 
observer) to the purser the irregularity of this situation. He replied that 
the Substitut du Procureur <VEtcU at Stanleyville had declared, when 
Rabinek embarked {en faisant embarguer Rabinek) that be could be 
treated like an ordinary passenger, because he desired to plead his case 
before the Appeal Court. I refrained from modifying these instructions. 
During the voyage Rabinek showed himself in a careless mood {insouciant 
ePhumeur). Most of the passengers were on good terms with him, and he 
was generally among the ^oup speaking loud and gaily. I will mention 
among his usual companions, the captain of the steamer Otto^ purser 
Paiiaunt, Sub-lieutenant Rosendale, the agriculturist Wen Waert, and the 
non-commissioned officer Rovers, the engineer Carey, etc. Rabinek 

* A copy of this document was conununicated to the Austro- 
Hungarian Government b^ the Congo State. 

t The original extract is given in the Annex (Appendix). 

i It was Commandant Hennebert who, it will be remembered, origi- 
nally issued two licences to Rabinek. 



THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 293 

became ill on the 27th or 28th of August. He had fever attacks and bile 
vomitings. On the 29th the doctor attached to the camp at Irebu ^ 
examined him, diagnosed bilious fever, but did not manifest any fears. 
The illness followed its course until September i. The patient was 
looked after by the purser ; several passengers, and especially Mr. Carey, 
often visited him. Sunday, September i, about 8 o'clock at night, Uie 
condition of Rabinek, which had never be^ alarming (inquidtant), became 
worse, and I was informed that his temperature was very high. I •recog- 
nised, indeed, the urgency of administering a hypodermic injection of 
quinine. This medicine (m^dicament^ had not the hoped for results, the 
temperature of the patient increased, and half an hour afterwards he 
expired. I heard the general opinion passed that Rabinek, by his long 
sojourn in the Tropics, and by the passion for morphia which dominated 
him, was not in a condition to resist a violent access of fever. Every- 
thing that he left was enclosed in his trunks, which were sealed up as nr 
as Leopoldville. Next morning Rabinek was interred at the wooding- 
station at Black River, where Uie Hainaut had stayed during the night. 
I followed the corpse with nearly all the passengers. 

(Signed) " Commandant Hennebert." 

I will confine myself to two comments on this document One 
will be an expression of opinion, the other a statement of fact. 

The expression of opinion is one which, I think, most of 
my readers who have followed this tale of wrong will agree 
with. The statement attributing sprightly cheerfulness to 
Rabinek, in view of his letters to his relatives and his pathetic 
communications to the official at Stanleyville, appears to me to 
be as odious as the rest of the proceedings of the agents of the 
Congo Government The suggestion that the dead man was 
a morphomaniac has been emphatically repudiated by four 
persons who knew Rabinek, viz. Messrs. Robert Young, C. L. 
Greer, M. Leyer, and C. Fuhler, the first three being Native 
Commissioners, and Justices of the Peace in North-East 
Rhodesia.! 

An affidavit dated September 2, 1901, by the captain 
of the Hainaut states that Rabinek died on board, and was 

* One of the calling places. There was, apparently, no doctor on 
board. 

t Major St. H. Gibbons, now writes me in that connection : " I cer- 
tainly never saw anything in the manner of Rabinek to lead me to 
suspect that he was addicted to morphia-taking. On the contrary, it 
seemed to me that a man of his energy and ambition was extremely 
unUkely to be at the same time a morphomaniac, and the statement 
in the Press to that effect caused me much surprise. Of course a 
traveller like myself, on the strength of a short acquaintance, cannot 
give positive evidence in such a case ; but in this instance I see more 
reason for taking the charitable view than the reverse." 

The Congo State has published a statement by an ex-employ^ of 
Rabinek, confirming Commandant Hennebert*s accusation* but seeing 
that this man is in the employ of Rabinek's persecutors, no attention need 
be given to the said statement, especially in view of the independent and 
emphatic testimony of so many witnesses. 



394 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

buried at Black River Station ; and a further affidavit made on 
May 24, 1902, before "Uofficier de TEtat Civil" at Leopold- 
ville (countersigned as valid by the Directeur de la Justice at 
Boma on June 10, 1902) by S. Pruddhomme and Emile 
Pecklers, declaring that "Rabinek Gustave, aged 38 years^ 
merchant, living at Ungarish-Ostra (Moravia), died at Black 
River the first day of September, 1901," completes the list of 
available documents concerning the unfortunate Austrian from 
the time of his condemnation to his death. 

Although I had proposed to give a detailed account of what 
in Europe and in Africa has followed the wished-for disappear* 
ance of Gustav Maria Rabinek, I feel on consideration that the 
simple narrative here set forth is sufficient for my purpose. I 
will add merely this, that all the deceased*s effects in Congo 
territoiy have been seized * by the agents of the Comiti Spicial 
du Katanga^ to the value, it is estimated, of ;^ 12,000; that 
neither the heirs nor the European creditors of the deceased 
have received a penny piece compensation, notwithstanding 
interminable legal proceedings which are still going on ; that, 
owing to the apathy of the German and Austrian Grovemments, 
the Congo Executive has been allowed to continue its game 
of chicanery and deceit ; that Rabinek's persecution and death 
remain unavenged and unresented, save by the few who have 
interested themselves in his sad and unmerited fate. May 
these chapters assist in some small degree the efforts of the 
handful of men — my friend Ludwig Deussf amongst them — who 
are endeavouring to break the Chinese wall of indifference 
which for some occult reason the German Foreign Office has 
of late built up between itself and the dictates of duty and 
honour on the Congo. May they stimulate public opinion in 

^ There is an enormous amount of documentary evidence to prove 
this. Much of it Dr. Hertz, the extremely able solicitor for the creditors 
of Rabinek, has published. The following extracts from letters written 
at the time by an English sportsman in the country, Mr. Poulett 
Weatherly (the gentleman is referred to, by the way, in Major St H. 
Gibbons' volume, op, cii.) may, however, be given here. The first letter 
is dated Nymbwa Kunda, Urua, 9/7/01. It says, '* I am awfully sorry to 
hear things have come to such a pass with Rabinek for whom I have 
the most sincere liking. ... As regards getting damages out of the 
Katanga Company — ^hq>eless— not the ghost of a chance. As to the 
rubber caravans — ^none will come back. All will have been seiz^ by 
now.** In a subsequent letter, the writer says : ** Rabinelds caravans are 
being seized all over the country.'* He adds the following note : '^ The 
new Katanga Company seem to have a rooted objection to anything 
English, except ;£ s. d. I have been informed that no one not connect^ 
with the Company can remain in their territoryi so C— and I must 
port." 

t Whose acquaintance I have been privileged to make since I first 
heard of his name through poor Rabin^s tragedy. 



THE TRIAL, THE SENTENCE, AND THE END 295 

Great Britain and America to the contemplation of this monster 
which those Powers have helped to raise in Central Africa, 
and which, like Frankenstein, they are, apparently, unable to 
control. 

First an Englishman, now an Austrian have fallen victims 
to the insatiable greed, the disreputable avariciousness, the 
brutality and illegality of the system of " moral and material 
regeneration " in Africa. Who will be the next European to 
suffer ? 

Once more has King Leopold with impunity said in effect 
to civilisation, "The Congo is my property ; its people are nty 
slaves ; its products belong to me. Whoever enters that terri- 
tory without my approval will be dealt with according to mj^ 
laws." The fact is, it is "hands off" to the natives in one 
sense, and "hands off" to the Western world in another! 
This situation may also commend itself to Mr. Gilbert, 
although its humour is not precisely genial. 

The Congo forests now cover the remains of two Europeans 
(and most probably others) — one actually, the other morally 
murdered by the representatives of King Leopold. 

In an abandoned clearing, where once stood a Government 
wooding-post, at the mouth of Stanley Pool, lies all that is left 
of Gustav Maria Rabinek. A grave hastily dug and roughly 
closed ; the body flung there like a dog, with not even a stone 
to mark its resting-place^ — only the' grim African forest mount- 
ing guard. 

Twenty-five miles from the spot is the port of Leopoldville, 
boasting two churches (a Catholic and Protestant Mission) and 
a cemetery, where at least the common decencies of Christian 
interment might have been rendered. But no . . . alive, Rabinek 
was a competitor in "trade." Long before he died "Bula 
Matadi " had rifled his goods, and stolen his produce in far- 
away Katanga. When he breathed his last his body could not 
be left on board the Hainaut for the two hours* further steaming 
required to convey it to Leopoldville ! As though with unquiet 
consciences they thrust it into the shadows . . . and then pursued 
the even tenor of their way. I agree with Dr. Berthold Reif, 
the solicitor for the Rabinek family, who in a letter to me 
remarks : " Such a deed offends the law of nations, and will 
find its retribution." 

I said at the beginning of the narrative which now closes 
that the Rabinek scandal was a test case^ and on that account I 
have deemed it necessary to deal with it at considerable length. 
Let the reader bear well in mind that had Rabinek not hap- 
pened to have the support of friends among Europeans in 



296 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Nyassaland, and had he not been connected in business rela- 
tions with several European firms, the history of his treatment 
at the hands of the Congo State Government might never have 
transpired If that Grovemment can behave as it has done 
where a European is concerned, what must be its habitual 
methods of handling natives who have no one to inquire into 
their wrongs and expose, except on rare occasions, the outrages 
of which they are the victims ? 



PART V 

THE GREAT CONGO DEBATE IN THE BELGIAN 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES'^— JULY, 1903 

FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 
SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 
THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 
LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 



* From the Annales Parlementaires — Chambre des Repr^sentants 
Stance du ler Juillet, 1903. 



1 



CHAPTER XXVI 

FIRST DAY*S PROCEEDINGS 

(M. Vandervelde opens the Debate) 

On July I of last year, at the afternoon sitting of the Belgian 
House, on the interpellation by Messrs. Vandervelde and 
Lorand, Congo affairs coming up for discussion, M. Lemon- 
nier proposed that the debate stand adjourned. The proposal 
being resisted by Messrs. Vandervelde and Lorand, M. de 
Favereau, Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced that the 
Government were prepared to accept the debate. M. Lemon- 
nier having given way, M. Vandervelde opened the debate. 
He began by saying that he had never denied the greatness 
of the effort accomplished by some of his compatriots in 
Africa. 

" In less than twenty-five years, acting under the impulse 
of a persevering and tenacious will, immense territories have 
been explored, the basis of a vast empire established, and 
considerable natural riches exploited which, however, are of 
very small importance to the general trade of Belgium, but 
which bring enormous profits to the Congo State and its 
associates." M. Vandervelde then proceeded to explain why 
the Belgian Parliament could not disinterest itself from the 
resolution recently adopted by the British House of Commons.' 
" The object of the discussion," he said, " is solely the question 
of knowing if the Congo State has fulfilled its international 
obligations, if it has faithfully carried out its stipulations in 
accordance with Articles i, 5, and 6, of the Act of Berlin. 
** Belgium had the right and the duty to intervene, because 
Belgium was a signatory party to the Berlin Act ; because the 
responsibility of a certain number of Belgians was involved ; 
because Belgium had put 15,000,000 francs into the Congo 
railway, had lent 35,000,000 francs to the State, had given 
money and men to the Congo State ; and, therefore, possessed 
in the administration of the Congo State moral and material 

* Resolution of May 20, 1903. 



300 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

interests which it was essential for Belgium to safeguard, not- 
withstanding the fact that no official link existed between the 
Government of Belgium and the Congo State. After referring 
in some detail to the Congo debate in the House of Commons, 
and emphasising the fact that the feeling of the House was 
absolutely unanimous in respect to the grave charges made by 
members against the Congo State, M. Vandervelde went on 
to criticise the reply of the Congo State to these charges as 
published in a special issue of the Bulletin Officiel* Beginning 
with the commercial aspect, the speaker said that he would 
only touch upon it lightly, were it not for the fact that the 
commercial question was closely and inseparably linked to the 
question of the treatment of the natives. 

M. Vandervelde pointed out that if the policy pursued by 
the Congo State up to 1892 had been continued, there would 
have been no complaints.t " At that time the rights of the 
natives were recognised, not only over the land they cultivated, 
and over the land upon which they had built their habitations, 
but also over the forests which form the markets of their 
villages ; the forests where, from time immemorial, they and 
their ancestors hunted the elephant and the antelope, collected 
palm-oil and kernels, and gathered rubber either for the 
purposes of sale or for home usage. During that period the 
Congo State acted as Sovereign and not as merchant" 

M. Vandervelde then sketched out the new policy, showing 
how, by decrees and regulations, J the Congo State had appro- 
priated to its own exclusive uses all the products of commercial 
value throughout the country. He quoted the protests made 
at the time against this policy, by the Belgian Trading 
Companies established in the Upper Congo, under the 
managership of Messrs. Thys, Brugmann, and Urban.§ " To 
forbid, declared these gentlemen, the natives from selling the 
ivory and rubber from their forests and plains which consti- 
tutes their hereditary birthright, and in which they have 

♦ Op, at. 

tlfp to 1892 — i.e, prior to the Decree of September, 1891, and the 
decrees and circulars of 1892 — ^the theoretical right of the Congo State 
to declare all lands not built upon or under cultivation for food-stuffs, 
"vacant," and to declare all such so-called ** vacant" land State 
property, which theoretical right was first laid down in July, 1885, had 
not been carried out in practice. The assumption of State proprietorship 
over land, logically carried with it a claim to the produce of the land, or 
''fruits of the soil;" but that claim was allowed to lie fallow until 1892 
as aforesaid. 

t Decree of September, 1891 ; Cu-culars of December 15, 1891 ; 
February 14, 1892 ; May 8, 1892 ; Decree of October. 1892, etc 

§ Refer to early reports by agents in Africa of these companies, in 
Chapter V. 



FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 301 

traded from time immemorial, is a violation of natural rights. 
To forbid European merchants exchanging this rubber and 
ivory with the natives against goods ; to compel them to pay 
for concessions to * trade ' with the natives, is contrary to the 
spirit and the text of the Berlin Act, which proclaimed the 
unrestrained freedom for every one to buy and sell, and forbade 
monopoly and privilege." M. Vandervelde proceeded to taunt 
those who to-day professed indignation at British attacks : — 
"You are indignant at the speeches made by Englishmen 
when those speeches are nothing more than the almost textual 
reproduction of those which were formerly made by Belgians, 
and which received the unanimous approval of the share- 
holders of the Belgian Trading Companies." Going into facts 
and figures, and dissecting the areas of the various " Trusts," 
M. Vandervelde showed that the whole of the Congo State, 
with the exception of an infinitesimal proportion, had been 
split up between the Government and its various concession- 
naires. "The Domaine Privi^^ declared the speaker, "is 
forty-six times the size of Belgium ; the area farmed out to 
' Companies ' managed by the State is twenty-nine times the 
size of Belgium ; the area farmed out to ' Companies ' in 
which the State is interested, is six times the size of Belgium ; 
and the area in which trade is free is only once again as large 
as Belgium ! " The statements made by the State that free- 
dom exists under such circumstances, either for merchants or 
natives, was scathingly denounced by the speaker. " To trade 
in rubber and ivory, to-day, in the Congo, one must either be 
the Sovereign-King, or one of the Companies of the Domaine 
Priv^, The only things which will bear cost of carriage to 
Europe are rubber and ivory ; according to the Congo State's 
decrees, neither of these objects can be sold to traders. They 
must either be handed over to the State, or to the Domaine 
Privi Companies. On that basis, we have the right to assert 
that the Congo natives have been .absolutely expropriated. 
The common market which surrounded their farms has been 
taken from them ; freedom of trade has been taken from 
them ; and they are compelled, by measures which I shall 
refer to, to deliver produce of the soil to the State and its 
nominees. There is no doubt that the economic results of 
this rigime have been very brilliant for the Sovereign of the 
Congo State, and for the companies of the Domaine Privi^ 
but not for Belgium. Belgium trade in the Congo does not 
represent even one per cent, of the general trade of Belgium 1 • 

* It is King Leopold's object to make European and American 
public opmion believe that our condemnation of his personal rule in 
Africa, is a condemnation of the people over whom he rules as 



302 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

A few people make enormous profits out of the sale of the 
rubber and ivory which falls into their hands, and these profits 
explain the patriotic ebullitions which are taking place. As 
for the Congo State itself, only the estimated receipts are ever 
published ; it is perfectly obvious that the State is making 
large sums. Considerable amounts are placed by the Congo 
State in Eastern, and especially in Chinese undertakings.* 
Moreover, the Congo State has latterly taken to bu3ang up 
land in the Commune of Laeken and elsewhere. Property is 
also being bought up by the Congo State in Brussel^ repre- 
senting a value of several millions of francs. 

" Let us now examine the social aspect of this affair. We 
shall find a painful contrast between the patriotic enthusiasm 
and the humanitarian sentiments of Congo State apolc^^ists 
and the condition of the unfortunate natives. It is asserted 
that the Congolese institutions are beyond criticism. To refute 

constitutional monarch. The game can only deceive the superficial 
investigator. In this connection it is somewhat pertinent to quote the 
following extracts from a very well-known Belgian newspaper, La 
Bel^ique financilrey of August i8, 1904: 

'* Speaking economicsdly — says La Belgique finoitcihre — the system 
of the rue de Namur {i,e. the Congo Government) is worse than the 
famous Van den Bosch system. ... It is so universally condenmed 
that its adoption can only be explained by one motive ; the aim is to 
make the Congo State — the word is a hard one, but we do not find any 
other — into a paying farm for the Sovereign- King, and the object is 
nearly attained already." 

This surprising outburst is, apparently, not unconnected with the 
rumours prevalent that King Leopold intends to absorb wholly the Adir 
Trust. What La Belgiquefinancilre says is in all respects true, but it is 
certainly news that the "economic system" of the Congo State is 
"universally" condemned ... in Belgium! La Belgique financiltre 
continues : 

" Belgium has no interest in the Congo, as administered to-day. This 
is a surprising statement, but one which is profotmdly true. ..." 

Undoubtedly true, but why then does Belgium allow her fair fame to 
be dragged in the mire ? 

♦ Through the Soci^t^ G^ndrale Africaine (one of the Domatne Privi 
Companies in whose name the rubber and ivory coming from the 
Domatne Privi and the Domatne de la Couronne was, until quite recently, 
shipped) or, in other words, the Congo State Government, or, in other 
words, the King ; a large amount of money has been invested by the 
'' Congo State ^ in China. This Belgian undertaking is known, or was 
known, as the SociiU Asiatiqtu; it is connected with the American 
Chinese Development Company, an American Company founded in 
New York in 1S97 (capital, 600,000 dollars). In this way. King Leopold 
has managed to secure the sympathy and interest of an Amencan 
financial group, of which the principals stppear to be *' General" 
Wittier and Messrs. Pearson, Belmont and WuLrich. M. Mali, Belgian 
Consul in the States, is, or was, also one of the Directors of the 
Company. 



FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 303 

these sophistries, let us examine the fiscal and military organi- 
sation of the Congo." M. Vandervelde went on to point out, 
in the first place, that an army of 16,000 to 17,000 men * 
existed ; that these men had to undergo a total military service 
of twelve yearSf and, chosen for the most part from tiie slave 
element f of the population, were placed in authority over free 
men. The speaker next examined the principle and system 
of taxation, and how the soldiers were used as tax-ga^erers 
by the Congo State. He quoted official documents to show 
that the State not only recognised, but actually encouraged, 
the capturing of hostages,^ and the use of force when the 
natives did not produce a sufficiency of rubber. Thus, M. 
Wahis, Grovemor-General of the Congo State, had, in 1897, in 
a circular to the District Commissioner of the district known 
as Lake Leopold II., made use of the following language: 

" * Where natives obstinately refuse to vfork, you will compel 
them to obey by taking hostages. You will not make use of your 
arms unless you meet with resistance, . . .' Thus," exclaimed 
M. Vandervelde, "treat the natives with kindness, but compel 
them to work ; if they obstinately refuse,§ take hostages, take 
their children, take their wives. If they resist, use armed force. 
And to think that it is in the name of civilisation, and of 
humanity, that a Government which professes never to have 
inflicted bad treatment upon natives, tells us that to collect 
rubber and ivory, to furnish to the owner of the DomainePrivi 
and his friends, the requisite millions, it is legitimate to capture 
hostages, and to shoot those who resist such a demand ! 

" Think what these soldiers are — cannibals, belonging to 
other tribes than those over whom they are set, imperfectly 
and superficially trained to military discipline ! Think that 
this Force Publique is commanded by non-commissioned 
officers intoxicated with self-importance; free, or practically 
so, from all control, demoralised by the pernicious effect of 
the climate, exasperated by resistance. How can any one 
dare to maintain that such a rigime must not fatally, inevitably 

* Since increased. These figures, of course, only refer to the regular 
army. 

t That is to say, domestic slave element. 

X For capturing of hostages see direct testimony in Part III. 

§ It should be carefully borne in mind that the word '* work," as used 
on the Congo, has a peculiar and special significance of its own. The 
Government has expropriated the natives from their land, and from the 
products of economic value which grow therein — ^the natives not being 
allowed to dispose of those products — which constitutes their sole wealth 
— by barter ; but, on the contrary, being compelled — ^by force, if they 
object — to bring in the said products (rubber principally) to the State 
in the form of taxation. That is "work" as understood in Congoland. 



304 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

lead to innumerable atrocities? How can it be pretended 
that these atrocities do not involve the responsibility of all 
those who practise, or order these acts of exploitation and 
oppression ? " M. Vandervelde thereupon referred to the 
Mongalla atrocities of 1900 and 190I1 and brought out a new 
fact throwing a singular light on Congo " justice." One of 
the sub-agents of the Mongalla Trust (Sociiti Anversoise du 
Commerce au Congo) was condemned to imprisonment for 
"abominable tortures" perpetrated upon the unfortunate 
natives. But the rider of the Court, explaining the lightness 
of the sentence, had never previously been published. M. 
Vandervelde read it over to the House : " Seeing that the 
accused should benefit by attenuating circumstances in view 
of the nervous troubles to which he is subject, and to the 
critical circumstances in which he found himself in the midst 
of hostile tribes ; that it is also just to take into account the 
example which his superiors gave him, in showing no respect 
for the lives or the rights of the natives ; and from the fact that^ 
instead of trading, he had been told to make war and punish 
the natives who would not work for the Company." " Thus," 
continued M. Vandervelde, "while the subordinates went to 
prison, their superiors were covered with honour and glory." 

Passing rapidly in review the Rev. W. M. Morrison's dis- 
closures,* M. Vandervelde brought forward another case — not 
previously recorded. " Since the Congo State affirms that it 
is prepared to pursue all those who are found guilty of acts 
of cruelty and oppression upon the natives, I bring forward 
specific facts, and I demand, in the name of Captain of the 
Force Publiqtie — Tilkens — that he should be brought before 
the Assize Court of his own country.f 

" I shall, no doubt, be told : * Do you propose to quote as 
a witness an officer who himself has been condemned for having 
committed acts of cruelty and oppression ? ' If I were only 
bringing forward here a report compiled subsequent to con- 
demnation, in order to lay the burden of responsibility upon 
other shoulders, the above contention would be sound ; but, 
during his period of service in the Congo, at a time when the 
Congo State was lavishing upon him advancement and favours, 
M. Tilkens wrote letters periodically to a senior officer of the 
Army — retired Major Lenssens. These letters constitute a 
diary, and their very text is a proof of their sincerity. It is 
those letters which I shall refer to, and not to subsequent 
statements. In 1893, Tilkens, Sergeant of the 9th Regiment 

• In the territories of the Kasai Trust. (See Part III.) 
t That is Belgium. The Congo State Courts constitute " a separate 
judicial entity," to use a phraseology so dear to the Descamps School 




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FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS . 305 

of the Line, applied to go to the Congo ; upon the expiry of 
his first term of service, he returned as a sub-lieutenant with 
service medal with one stripe. On November 6, 1897, he left 
for the second term of service, and was sent to the Rubi- Welle 
zone, to take charge of the station of Libokwa. For many 
months he was there alone, or with an assistant, in the equa- 
torial forest, with seventy to eighty black soldiers under his 
command, and with the duty of imposing a very heavy burden 
upon one of the most savage tribes in the Congo State — the 
Aba-Buas. His station was on the line of transports to the 
Nile ; and as long as Commandant Meeus, who was then chief 
of the district, occupied his post, the exploitation of rubber 
was only a secondary consideration, and the energies of the 
native population were directed towards supplying the Bahr- 
el-Ghazal Expedition with food-stuffs. The natives threatened 
over and over again to rebel Tilkens, as I have said, was 
condemned by default at Boma to ten years' penal servitude ; 
but, as I propose to show the House, he asks to be brought 
before the Assize Court, in order to justify himself and to 
prove that he acted upon the orders of his superiors, and was 
merely an instrument in their hands. This, moreover, is shown 
clearly by these letters, the originals of which are before me, 
and which one cannot read without being convinced that Til- 
kens, having at that time no interest in lying, and still less in 
accusing himself, rather under-stated than over-stated the case. 
Here, for instance, is what he wrote to Major Lenssens on 
July 20, 1898 :— 

" * The Chef de Poste, of Buta, announces the arrival of the steamer 
Vande Kerkhaue, which is to be floated upon the Nile. He will require 
the colossal number of 1500 carriers. Unhappy blacks ! I do not like 
to think of it. I ask myself where I can find them ? If the roads were 
good, it might be different, but they are barely cleared, crossed repeatedly 
by marshes, where many will find a certain death. Hunger, and the 
fatigues of an eight-day march, will account for many more. What 
blood this transport has not made to flow ! Already, three times have I 
been forced to make war upon chiefe who refuse to co-operate in the 
work. Unfortunately, they are but poorly paid for such arduous labour, 
5d. (50 centimes) worth of cowries for the outward journey, and a piece 
of American cloth for the homeward journey. If a Chief refuses, it is 
war ; and that atrocious war — perfected weapons of destruction against 
spears and lances ! . . . A native Chief has just come to tell me : " My 
village is a heap of ruins : all my wives have been kiUed. Yet, what 
can I do ? I am Chief, because my father was Chief, but I have not his 
strength and power. When I tell my people to carry the white man's 
transports, they flee to the woods, and when your soldiers come to 
recruit, I can give them no one, because my people prefer to die of 
hunger in the woods rather than do transport work. . . " Oflen am I 
compelled to put these unhappy Chiefs in the chains, until some 100 
or 200 carriers are obtained, which procures their liberation. Very often 

X 



3o6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

my soldiers find the villages deserted ; then they seize women and 
children, and capture them.' 

" Such was the condition of things," continued M. Vander- 
velde, " in the Rubi- Welle zone, when Commandant Meeus 
was in charge. In due course, Commandant Verstraeten, 
District Commissioner, replaced Commandant Meeus, and 
rubber taxes were added to transport work. By the decree 
of July 22, 1898, the Rubi-Welle district had been placed 
under special military law. At this time the station of Buta 
only furnished two tons of rubber monthly, and the post of 
Libokwa 360 kilos. But, in a letter dated March 28, 1898, 
M. Felix Fuchs, ad-interim Governor of the Congo State, wrote 
to the new District Commissioner Verstraeten to emphasise 
the necessity of an immediate increase in production. 

** ' It will end,' " the letter concluded, *• * by telling you that the Govern- 
ment has the strong hope that you will give a new proof of your activity 
and devotion by making the district under your command provide the 
maximum of its resources.' 

"To arrive at this result, it was indispensable to take 
energetic measures. Commandant Verstraeten, shortly after 
taking up his new duties, sent a circular letter to the different 
Chefs de Poste of Libokwa, Jabir, and Buta — a letter relating 
to the exploitation of rubber, which is copied, according to m! 
Tilkens, in all the station books of the Rubi-Welle district 
Here is the letter, reconstituted from memory by M. Tilkens, 
and the accuracy of which can easily be verified. 

" * To THE " Chefs de Poste " of the Rubi-Welle District. 

*' ' I beg to bring to your notice that from January i, 1809, it is necessary 
that 4000 kilos (4 tons) of rubber be furnished every month. To ensure this 
result, I give you carU blanche. You have two months in which to work your 
people. Use gentleness, first of all, and, if they persist in not accepting 
the State's taxes {impositions)^ employ armed force.' 

" I have said that the existence of this document is easily 
verifiable. I would add that, in the event of its being decided 
to prosecute M. Tilkens — a step which I maintain should be 
undertaken — I hold at the disposal of the Minister of Justice 
a long list of witnesses who can affirm the existence of this 
document. And now, gentlemen, let us see the results of this 
rubber exploitation in the Rubi-Welle district, commanded 
by District Commissioner Verstraeten. But first of all a 
parenthesis." 

M. Vandervelde thereupon proceeded to refer to the 
subject of the payment by the Congo State of bonuses to its 



FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 307 

agents, proportionate to the amount of rubber sent home from 
their respective stations. M. Vandervelde quoted the denials 
which the Congo State have constantly formulated against 
this chaise ; and particularly the well-known correspondence 
exchanged between Count Alvensleben, Ambassador for 
Germany, in Brussels, and M. Van Eetvelde, Congo State 
secretary, shortly after the Stokes affair.* 

"Here," continued M. Vandervelde, "are precise and 
categorical statements. The Congo State does not give 
bonuses either on rubber or ivory, and the Congo State has 
no intention of establishing them. Very well, gentlemen, I 
would ask how these statements can be reconciled with the 
following letter which the commandant of the Libokwa station 
wrote to his mother, in 1898, and the original of which is 
before me : — 

" ' Commandant Meeus, my District-Commissioner, is about to return, 
and Commandant Verstraeten, the friend of Major Lenssens, replaces 
him. It is he who inspected my station, and who complimented me 
highly upon the discipline and exactness with which I accomplished my 
duties. He told me that the nature of his report would depend upon the 
quantity of rubber produced. When he left, he told me to employ myself 
actively in collecting rubber, and from 360 kilos in September my pro* 
duction rose to 1500 in October, and this month, I trust it wiU be over 
two tons. Here is the way it is divided cent, per cent, {sic) ten points 
[sic) are granted by the Government to the collecting agent. Of these 
ten points {sic) Commandant Verstraeten said that he would take ^\^ 
and leave me five, which represents 12^ per cent, per kilo (125 francs per 
ton). By January i, I shall be making 4000 kilos per month, which 
makes 500 francs profit over and above my salary. . . I really am a 
lucky fellow, and if I play at rubber (Joue caoutchouc) for two years, I 
shall make 12,000 francs over and above my salary.' 

" Tilkens also wrote home to say that as soon as he got 
back he would buy a house. After that he would return and 
do another term of service, then he would marry and settle 
down comfortably with the profits of his African campaign ! 
However, it seems that the system of * points ' resembled too 
closely the system of bonuses, because, instead of giving 
Tilkens what he was promised. Commandant Verstraeten 
thought out another system. On January 26, 1899, he wrote 
to the Governor-General at Boma the following letter : — 



" * Monsieur Le GouvERNEUR-GfiNiRAL, 

'^ ' I draw the Government's attention to Lieutenants Tilkens, 
Landeghem^ and Verslype. These agents have specially distinguished 
themselves in putting in train the exploitation of rubber. To tnem is 

* The correspondence is given in full in M. Demetrius C. Boulger's 
book on the Congo State. See also ^ A(&irs of West Africa." 



3o8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

due the honour of the surprising results obtained in the area allotted to 
their action. It is, I think, useless to suggest their advancement, or 
increase in their wages, seeing that advancement in the Congo is similar 
to that in the Belgian army, that is to say, by seniority. Deeming how- 
ever that the aforesaid officers deserve special favours^ I ask that they 
shall receive, either an honorific recompense or some gratuity. 

(Signed) ** * Verstraeten, 

" ' Bembo. January 26, 1899.* 

"This gratuity was given them, in the shape of a retiring 
grant of a nominal capital of 55CX) francs. Gentlemen, I ask 
that the denial of the Congo State, as regards the system of 
bonuses, be envisaged in the light of the letter of Tilkens, 
concerning the 'points' granted to agents, and the particular 
bonus which was granted to him for having produced 4(XX> 
kilos per month ; and I should like to be told if the Govern- 
ment of the Congo State spoke the truth when questioned by 
the German Minister.* 

" I will now show by what means, and under what con- 
ditions an output of 4CXX) kilos of rubber per month has been 
obtained from several stations in the Rubi- Welle district To 
arrive at this result, it was necessary to bring such coercive 
measures to bear upon the natives that keen resentment was 
occasioned. I find the proof of this in a series of letters 
written by M. Tilkens to Major Lenssens, on May 12 and 25, 
July II, and August 10, 1899. 

"* I expect a general uprising. I think I warned you of this, I Major, 
in my last. The motive is always the same. The natives are tired of 
the existing rigime — transport work, rubber collecting, furnishing live 
stock for whites and blacks. . . For three months I have been fighting, 
with ten days' rest. . . I have 152 prisoners. . . ' t 

"In another letter, written to a Belgian officer, Tilkens 
said: 

" * For two years I have been making war in this couhtry, always 
accompanied by forty or fifty Albinis,\ Yet I cannot say I have 
subjugated the people. . . They prefer to die. . . What can I do ? I am 
paid to do my work, I am an instrument in the hands of my chiefs, and 
I obey the orders which discipline exacts.' 

" Such, gentlemen, are the facts." 

M. Vandervelde then went on to describe the sequel He 
first read to the House letters to M. Tilkens, from his District 
Commissioner, and even from Governor-General Wahis, 
complimenting him on the services he had rendered. But 

♦ Alvensleben. — Van Eetvelde correspondence, op, cit, 

t More " hostages " ! 

X That is to say, soldiers armed with the Albini rifle. 



FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 309 

Nemesis was approaching. The natives of the Rubi-Welle 
district, goaded to frenzy by this long oppression, rose, 
attacked the station of Libokwa, sacked it, capturing many 
rifles and much ammunition. Then the high officials of the 
State, probably to save their "face," turned upon their too 
docile instrument The very acts which the instructions given 
to Tilkens rendered inevitable, were brought up against him. 
He was accused of various crimes. He returned to Europe. 
The Congo State declined to re-engage him, but he obtained 
an appointment with the Upper Kasai Company. He went 
back, landed at Boma in September, 1902, was arrested, and 
let out on bail of ;^200. The amount of this bail elicited a fine 
passage from M. Vandervelde : 

"You will admit, gentlemen, that Congolese justice does 
not take much account of the lives of the natives, when a man 
accused of the most terrible crimes is allowed his liberty on 
a bail of £200** 

Tilkens stowed away on board ^ steamer, and was con- 
demned in default to ten years' penal servitude.* 

Concluding his speech, M. Vandervelde said : " I submit 
that, in the face of these facts, the Congo State must prosecute 
Tilkens. . . . But the Tilkens incident is only an instance. 
What has taken place in the Welle is merely a reproduction 
of what has taken place in the districts of Mongalla, Equateur, 
Luebo, etc. The revolt of Libokwa is the repetition of other 
native uprisings, which have been endemic for over ten years, 
and which necessitate the up-keep on the war footing of 17,000 
men. It is only with the help of this army that the Congo 
State succeeds in forcing upon the natives a Government 
which constitutes, perhaps, the most perfect form of absolutism 
in the world. Is there any other sovereign in the world who 
disposes to this extent of men and land? It is he who 
possesses or concedes the land, who assigns duties, who fixes 
the price of labour, who specifies the number of recruits, who 
incarnates the only source of legislative and executive power. 
To execute his orders he borrows from the Belgian army 
officers and non-commissioned officers habituated to passive 
obedience. He puts them in the presence of savages who 
yesterday were cannibals, and perhaps are still. Is it not 
sufficient to think for a moment of the inevitable consequences 
of such a rigime to understand the charges which are accumu- 
lating from all sides against the Congo State ? " 

M. Vandervelde finally concluded with an eloquent appeal 

* The whole truth of the circumstances under which Tilkens left 
the Congo has yet to be disclosed. It is virtually impossible that he 
could have left the Congo unknovm to the authorities. 



310 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

that the Belgian Government should approach the Congo 
State with a view to a thorough, searching inquiry. 

M. De Favereau then rose to reply, He remarked that 
M. Vandervelde had invited the Belgian Government ^to 
make representations to the Independent State, so that it 
may constitute an inquiry, an inquiry on a vast scale offering 
all the guarantees of impartiality for the purpose of throwing 
the most complete light on its own administration.'' But, 
argued M. de Favereau, an inquiry was impossible. The 
reasons given by the Minister were as follows : ** There is in 
international law an essential principle, of which all Govern- 
ments have with reason shown themselves particularly jealous. 
This principle consists in no Government possessing the right 
to interfere in the administration of another State." 

M. de Favereau expressed surprise that " a member of the 
Belgian Parliament should seek to force us into a breach of 
this principle, and ask us to mix ourselves up even indirectly 
in the affairs of a Foreign Stated* * 

Several speakers here interrupted, saying that the Congo 
State was affiliated to {unefiliale) Belgium, and was frequently 
called Belgian Congo.t The Minister took no notice of the 
interruptions, and, after declaring that the Congo State was 
an independent Sovereign State, remarked that M. Vander- 
velde ''has not told us whence the Belgian Government 
would derive the right to intervene in &e affairs of the 
Independent State." 

M. Vandervelde : " In its friendly relations with the In- 
dependent State, and by reason of the practical links (liens de 
fait) which exist between the two Governments." 

M. de Favereau retorted that what they had to go on was 
international law, and therefore " from the point of view of 
the individual relations of Belgium and the Congo State, the 
hon. member has himself recognised that we have no right 
of intervention." % As to the Berlin Act, the Act would 
have to have been violated for Belgium to intervene. " And 
this flagrant violation, where do you see it ? We have heard 
the hon. member mention certain abominable acts committed 
by an agent of the Congo Independent State. But has 
not the Congo Independent State prosecuted and punished 
him?" 

M. Vandervelde : '' You arrested him, and afterwards let 
him go." 

• M. de Favereau gave the same reply in 1901, in the course of the 
debate on the Mon^dla atrocities. 
t Usually so by Bdgians themselves. 
X Refer to Vandervelde's opening statement 



FIRST DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 3" 

M. Huysmans having said that crimes were also com- 
mitted in civilised countries, M. Anscele exclaimed, ^'Yes, 
but the Belgian Government does not give carte blanche * to 
its agents to steal and assassinate." 

M. de Favereau contended that no proof had been 
furnished that the Congo State had violated the Act of Berlin. 
The Congo State had " done a great deal for the protection 
of Missions." It had also organised scientific expeditions. 
As regards Article 6, respecting the treatment of the natives, 
the Congo State had "punctually observed " its engagements. 
It had destroyed the Arab Slave Trade, of which the speaker 
gave details. 

The House then rose. 

* Refer to instructions of Commandant Verstraeten, quoted by 
Vandervelde. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

SECOND day's proceedings 
(M. de Favereau continues his reply to M. Vandervelde) 

The debate being resumed (July 2), 

M. de Favereau said: "The hon. member (M. Vandervelde) 
asks the Government to approach the Congo Government 
with a view of throwing light upon everything that takes 
place on the Congo. Yesterday I said that the Belgian 
Government has no right to do this. The special Convention 
between Belgium and the Congo State no longer exists, and 
on that ground we have no right. The hon. member quotes 
the Berlin Act, but we have no right to interfere in the 
internal affairs of the Congo State. Moreover, the Congo 
State has fulfilled all its duties under the Berlin Act." 
M. de Favereau thereupon enumerated sundry laws of the 
State for the protection of religion, the lessening of the liquor 
traffic, the safe-guarding of the natives, the abolition of canni- 
balism, etc. In particular, M. de Favereau contended that the 
judicial system of the Congo State was admirable. " Con- 
golese legislation is complete, and the penal code reaches all 
evil-doers. In thirty different places there are tribunals." 

M. de Favereau proceeded to read laws and decrees* 
affecting the judicial establishment and the " Commission for 
the Protection of the Natives." He then spoke of the work 
of the religious missions in elevating the natives ; " instructing 

* The laws and decrees of thfe State fill many volumes of the 
Bulletins Officiels, The language in which they are clothed, the 
sentiments they in many cases display, are philanthropic to the most 
extreme degree. Underneath this monument of hypocrisy lies the great 
foundation-stone, the primaiy law of the founder of the Congo State, that 
the land and the proaucts of the land belong to the State, and that the 
natives have no right to gather those products for the purposes of sale. 
Add to this primary law the bald fact that the financial existence of the 
State, and tne wealth accruing to a few men out of its exploitation is 
obtained from the sale of the products of the land which the natives are 
compelled to bring in to the posts of the Domaine Privi and the Trusts ; 
and Congo legislation will be understood. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 313 

them in all kinds of craft, and conducting them progressively 
in the path of civilisation, that supreme object of the founder 
of the Congo State." 

As regards the native army, M. de Favereau asserted that 
10 per cent, of it was composed of recruits who had volun- 
tarily re-engaged themselves.* He admitted that the Congo 
soldiers served seven years on active service, and added, 
" But, gentlemen, these soldiers ask to remain on the expiry 
of their first term."t "Slavery," declared M. de Favereau, 
" does not exist on the Congo." 

M. de Favereau then continued at great length to argue 
that the Congo State had not violated the Berlin Act in 
the matter of freedom of trade. The thesis developed by 
M. de Favereau has been fully discussed in Part II. Having 
quoted the various declarations of the plenipotentiaries at the 
Conference in respect to the interpretation of the commercial 
clause of the Berlin Act, M, de Favereau exclaimed, " And 
yet no one would think that provisions of that kind could be 
interpreted as diminishing the Sovereign rights of the State 
to regulate its property as it chooses." As a proof that trade 
was free in the Congo State, M. de Favereau enumerated 
403 "commercial factories J existing in the Congo State, 
many of which were in no way connected with the administra- 
tion." § After this enumeration, M. de Favereau triumphantly 
exclaimed, " That is my reply to M. Vandervelde, who says 
that everthing, or nearly everything, is in the hands of the 
State, and that it is only the State which disposes of the 
produce of the land." And once more the Minister put 
forward the "juridical" basis of the Congo State's con- 
ception : " In what legislation in the world would it be 
found that to sell the products of one's domain constitutes a 
commercial act ? " 

Proceeding, M. de Favereau maintained that some of 
M. Vandervelde's statements regarding the Domaine Privi 
Companies were wrong. "The Lomami Company," he 
explained, " is the owner of the land it exploits. The Sociiti 

• The assertion was not backed up by any attempt at proof. 

t Ibid. No attempt to prove this assertion was made. It remains 
a mere assertion, and no one who knows how lightly domestic slavery— 
which, be it noted, is a national institution — weighs upon the natives, in 
comparison with an active military service of seven years, plus five years 
in the reserves, can credit for one moment M. de Favcreau's statement. 
To describe a conscription which removes natives from their homes and 
their relatives for twelve whole years as voluntary, is, of course, trans- 
parently absiu'd. 

X See Chapter XXIX. 

§ Ibid. 



314 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Anonyme Beige is the owner of the land it exploits, the Cam-' 
pagnie du Katanga is the owner of one-third of the territory 
it exploits. The Campagnie du Kasai is not managed by the 
Congo State, but is composed of fourteen firms. The Cam-' 
pagnie des Clumins de fer du Congo Superieur aux Grands 
Lacs Africains possesses 4,000,000 hectares for a subscribed 
capital of 25,000,000 francs. The SocUti d' Etudes des Chemins 
defer du Stanley Pool au Katanga et deVItinibri d P Udli had 
20,000 hectares to choose among vacant land, plus 5,ooo,ocx> 
hectares for every 25,000,000 francs subscribed."* Aifter this 
enumeration, M. de Favereau repeated once again the formula 
that the Congo State '' has never contravened the stipulations 
of the Berlin Act with regard to freedom of trade. It has, 
I repeat, kept all its engagements. How can we justify the 
intervention asked? How can the Belgian Government 
bring about such an intervention when it is convinced that 
the Congo State has done its duty and kept its engagements ? " 

Passing to the Tilkens case, M. de Favereau said, 
^ M. Vandervelde finished his discourse by a long plea for 
M. Tilkens." 

M. Vandervelde (interrupting): "It was a prosecutor's 
address, because I demanded Uiat M. Tilkens should be 
prosecuted." 

M. de Favereau : " M. Vandervelde supported him, as he 
supports the campaign abroad against the Congo State. He 
lacks in patriotism.'' (Murmurs.) " This is a national question. 
It is not only the august founder of the Congo State who is 
attacked, but a Belgian work. ... I admit that labour is 
imposed upon the natives {le travail est impost), but it is in 
the interest of all, and when the work is done, the native is 
paid.f What is there to object to "i " 

M. Lorand : " It is forced labour." 

M. de Favereau : " Moreover, the peasants of parts of our 
country have to keep the roads in good order. It is the 
same tiling as in the Congo— " 

M. Vandervelde: "Do you suggest that there is any 
resemblance between road-clearing in the communes of this 
country, and the rubber rigime in the Congo } " 

M. de Favereau : " It is an impost applied by the 
authorities. ... I do not think that I shall be contradicted 
when I assert that all progress in the path of civilisation is 
subordinate to the appropriation of the soil, and that " 

• See Part II. 

t Fivcpcnce for an eight days' march, carrying heavy cases, and a 
pece of American cloth on returning. Vide Tilkens^ letters. For the so- 
called '' payment " to the natives, see also various testimony in Part III. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 31 S 

M. Lorand : " The Congo State's conception is a collec- 
tivism of the worst kind." 

M. Vandervelde : " A collectivism for the profit of one, or 
a few." 

M. de Favereau : ** You say that in the Congo it is one, or 
a few. No ; the Congo is useful to every one in Belgium. 
The Congo State ordered 7,000,000 francs 0^280,000) from 
Belgian industries last year." 

M. Lorand : ** But that is uncommonly little compared 
with our enormous trade—— " 

M. de Favereau (interrupting): ''No doubt M. Lorand 
thinks it little." 

M. Lorand : " Of 700,000,000 francs (5^8,000,000), it is the 
millionth part of our general trade." 

M. de Favereau : " I return to the Tilkens incident" The 
speaker then gave a list of the charges of atrocities against 
M. Tilkens, and reproached M. Vandervelde for undertaking 
to defend such a person. M. de Favereau sought to destroy 
the effect of Tilkens' letters in connection widi bonuses for 
rubber. The Minister's statements were so lame and incom- 
prehensible that they are here given textually : 

"M. Vandervelde has spoken of 'the points' granted to 
the State agents. He commits an error when he establishes 
a correlation between the 'points' granted to the State 
functionaries, and the quantity of rubber collected by them. 
The ' points ' are used to graduate the agents — ^all the agents 
of the State— whether they are given up to the collection of 
rubber or not. Tilkens," M. de Favereau declared, ''was 
sentenced because he deserved to be, because he had broken 
the State instructions, because he had violated the provisions 
of the penal code. The Independent State acts thus each 
time that a reprehensible deed is brought to its knowledge. 
The severity shown is great,* and I may say that never, wl^n 
it is a question of outrages on the blacks, are the sentenced 
pardoned." 

M. de Favereau wound up his speech by quoting Sir 
Harry Johnston's declaration that in the very small portion 
of the Congo territory he had visited, he had seen nothing 
to complain of. He also quoted M. Mohun f as an impartial 
witness, and finished with the ususd peroration of which this 
is the concluding sentence : " I end, gentlemen, by expressing 
my unmistakable conviction that t^e neighbouring nations 
will appreciate, as it deserves, the great work of civilisation." 

M. Vandervelde, rising upon the conclusion of the 

* Matthys' and Lacroix's punishment, for instance I Vide Part III. 
t This individual is, or was, in State employ. 



3i6 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Minister's speech, said that M. Lorand and himself would 
reply in due course to the same. Meanwhile, he wished to 
make a personal explanation. ''The hon. Minister has 
reproached me," said M. Vandervelde, "with being anti- 
patriotic, of associating myself in a campaign against our 
country. Let us, however, understand one another. It is 
inadmissible that in one part of an oration it should be 
declared that the Congo State Government is a foreign 
government, so far as we are concerned, of whom we may not 
ask explanations ; and that in another part of the same 
oration, we should be told that the Congo is so closely 
identified with Belgium, that to criticize the former is to attack 
the latter 1 The truth is, that Belgium, happily, is not the 
Congo, but that the acts committed by Belgians in the Congo 
may be of a kind to compromise our international good name. 
Therefore we cannot disinterest ourselves from the question. It 
was on that account specially tJtat I spoke of the Tilkens affair^ 
and all the details brought forward by the hon. Minister for 
Foreign Affairs do but confirm and aggravate the information 
which I myself gave to the House. The judgment pronounced 
by default against Captain Tilkens (rightly or wrongly, the 
future will decide) has been read to us. This judgment sets 
forth that Tilkens committed crimes, raided for slaves, caused 
carriers to be killed, and so on. Now, this man who has been 
condemned on these counts — this man is in Belgium 1 His 
whereabouts are known. The Congo State has merely to give 
official notice to the Minister of Justice to ensure his being 
brought before the Assize Court. Tilkens wants that ; he 
only asks to be allowed to defend himself. As I have already 
stated, he certifies that he acted upon the instructions of his 
superior officers. He asks to prove it in open Court I say 
you have no right to refuse this man, judges : and I await the 
official notice of the Congo State to the Minister of Justice to 
prosecute Tilkens. As for myself, I think that in bringing 
these facts before the House, I acted with a much truer 
patriotism than that which is concerned in trying to prevent 
scandals instead of suppressing abuses." 

M. Woeste * then continued the debate. 

M. Woeste began by characterising Mr. Herbert Samuel's 
and Sir Charles Dilke's speeches as " passionate and violent." 
The attacks abroad were " dictated by envy and malice." He 
sought to justify the Congo State in its appropriation of 
" vacant lands," alleging that the onus of proving that the 

* M. Woeste is the leader of the Catholic party in the Belgian House. 
He is the King's ally in all Congo affairs bv virtue of an understanding 
with which students of Belgian politics are thoroughly familiar. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 317 

lands were not "vacant" fell upon those who criticise the 
system. The natives, he said, had no knowledge of gathering 
forest products before the Congo State went there.* 

[M. Vandervelde here referred the speaker to the protest 
of the Belgian Trading Companies in 1892, against the appro- 
priation policy of the State, in which the petitioners asserted 
that the natives had been in the habit of collecting forest 
products for the purposes of trade " from time immemorial"] 

M. Woeste, taking no notice of the interruption, said, 
"The decree of the Congo State, of September 29, 1891, 
mentioned yesterday, declares that the * Administration will 
take the necessary measures to preserve for the State the 
fruits of the Domaine, notably, ivory and rubber.' You hear, 
gentlemen, * the fruits of the Domaine.' That is the main 
point, and from the fact that th^ forests, like the other territories, 
belong to the State, it follows that the State in appropriating 
what belongs to it, that is to say, the fruits of the Domaine, did 
not interfere with private property ^ \ 

" The argument," continued M. Woeste, " which attributes 
to the Congo State a violation of the commercial clauses of 
the Berlin Act, is a sophism. Trade is confounded with the 
right of the State to exploit its own domains." 

The only remarkable part of the speech was that in which 
M. Woeste gave his views on what might perhaps be called 
the economy of severed hands. "Mr. Samuel," said M. 
Woeste, " speaking in the House of Commons, said, ' In one 
locality an eye-witness saw eighty human hands slowly drying 
over a fire.' Is the fact true ? I do not know. But I will 
admit that it is. What Mr. Samuel ought to have added was 
that, at any rate, the hands had not been cut from living 
men. . . ." M. Woeste then referred to the Fi^vez incident 
of 1896, and read an extract from the statements { of that 
individual (a Congo State Official) : '* * Do not tell me that 
these practices do not still occur. Hands are still cut off . . . 
and other things. § Evidently, soldiers who have served three, 
four, and five years, respect our instructions ; but can you 
forbid a young soldier, anxious to exhibit proofs of his 
bravery, bringing back war trophies ? ' Commandant Fidvez," 

* An obviously faulty statement, as I have shown. Vide Part 1 1. 

t This passage should be carefully noted. It explains the policy of 
the Congo State in the clearest possible manner, from the mouth of one 
of its principal apologists in Belgium. 

X The statements of M. Fi^vez were confirmed by Father Cambier, 
and his statement is to be found in the collection of cuttings issued as a 
defence of the Congo State this year^ and entitled, '' The Truth about 
Civilization in Congo-land,'* by a Belgian. See Part II. 

§ See Parts II. and III. 



3i8 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

continued M. Woeste, " was talking common sense.* He put 
matters in their true light, and showed that it was pdssible 
that cruelties take place in this great territory, but that the 
State suppresses them when it found them out" 

M. Vandervelde: **Did the State punish the 'young 
soldiers' when they brought back the trophies of their 
valour ? " 

M. Woeste : "You had better ask the State." (Ironical 
laughter from the Left.) 

M. Vandervelde : " You ask it You are the King's Post- 
man. Take him my letter." (Laughter.) 

M. Woeste : " But what I contend is, that if the practice 
of cutting off hands still continues, it must not be forgotten 
that those who practise it are blacks, yesterday barbarous, 
to-day still semi-barbarous ; and that it is only by degrees 
that the custom can be eradicated." f 

M. Vandervelde : " And it is those very blacks who 
compose the Force Publiqtie of the Congo State ! " 

Concluding, M. Woeste declared that he was convinced if 
there was a new Conference of the Powers, the Conference 
would result in paying a well-deserved homage to the work 
which had been accomplished by the Congo State, and that 
England would associate herself in that homage. He proposed 
the following order of the day : " The Chamber, confiding 
together with the Government in the normal and progressive 
development of the Congo, under the aegis of the King-Sove- 
reign of the Congo State, passes to the order of the day/ " 
(Loud cheers.) 

M. Huysmans violently criticised M. Vandervelde and 
Lorand for their anti-patriotism in attacking the Congo State 
at home when it was being attacked abroad. As regards the 
"juridical" rights of the Congo State to "vacant lands," the 
question, he considered, was settled. 

M. Vandervelde : " The question is : What do you mean 
by ' vacant lands ' ? " 

M. Huysmans : " If you say lands have been appropriated 
which were not vacant, it is your business to prove that they 
were not vacant You tell us that the natives were owners of 
enormous forests, from which they took a little rubber to put 

* Evidently a very paying '' common sense," for in the BuHetin 
OfficUl for June, 1896, we read, " The results obtained by M. Fi^vez are 
unrivalled. The district produced in 1895 more than 650 tons of rubber, 
bought at 25 centimes per kilo (about i^ per pound), and sold in 
Antwerp at 6 francs 50 centimes \fx kilo." ;^i7o/xx> a year from one 
district. That was really ^ood business 1 

t The mendacity of this argument is fully exposed in Chapter X. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 319 

on their drum-sticks." (Laughter.) " It is just as though some- 
one in this country, by picking a few nuts in the wood, 
declared himself owner of them." (Laughter.) 

M. Vandervelde : " You do not refute an argument by 
caricaturing it." 

M. Huysmans, continuing, said that *' the attacks upon the 
Congo State in Belgium and elsewhere were exaggerated. 
It was abominable that such attacks should be made in 
Belgium. The Congo was a national work . . ." 

M. Bertrand : " International I " 

M. Carton de Wiart : " It is a Belgian work." 

M. Vandervelde : " The Minister himself (M. de Favereau) 
has declared it to be a foreign work." 

M. Huysmans: "I repeat it is a Belgian work. The 
Congo State will emerge triumphant from this struggle." 

M. Lorand : " Gentlemen, when I associated myself with 
my hon. friend, M. Vandervelde, in his interpellation, I 
expected to hear these objui^ations and patriotic counsels such 
as have been addressed to us by M. Huysmans. I thank him 
for the trouble he has taken to censure me, but I do not in 
the least regret my action. . . •" M. Lorand went on to say 
that he did not think the English Government was conducting 
an intrigue against the Congo State, but that there was a 
movement of public opinion in England against the Congo. 
** In our opinion," declared the speaker, '' the facts which have 
been given, and which are of undeniable importance, both by 
their numbers and their seriousness, are the direct, immediate, 
and necessary outcome of the commercial exploitation of the 
Congo State. I say that the Congo State began by general 
and absolute denials of such facts long before they were 
taken up in England. All the facts we brought forward in 
this Chamber were, I repeat, denied at first most energeti- 
cally, and in general terms ; but later, little by little, they 
were proved by documents and by official texts. Now they 
are admitted, but it is said that they are isolated incidents. 
The Minister (M. de Favereau) spoke for two hours yester- 
day without meeting a single one of the arguments and facts 
brought forward by M. Vandervelde. It is always the same 
system. We bring forward specific facts, weighty arguments, 
and the reply is, * It is not our business to ask the Congo 
State for information ' I But, immediately afterwards, a whole 
series of assertions, of details, and documents are produced, 
which emanate directly from the ofHces of the Congo State Ad- 
ministration ; which shows that when the Minister for Foreign 
Affairs cares to take the trouble, he obtains from the Adminis- 
tration of the Congo State all the information he requires." 



320 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

M. de Favereau: "All the information and documents I 
quoted I got from the publications of the Bureau for the 
Suppression of the Slave Trade." 

M. Lorand : "You certainly did not seek your information 
about the Tilkens affair there." 

M. de Favereau : " I suppose that there were matters in 
your interpellation beyond the Tilkens affair ? " 

M. Lorand: "Since yesterday you have put yourself in 
such close communication with the Congo State on the 
subject, that to-day you know all the details of the Tilkens 
affair, and you bring your judgment to bear upon it with an 
assurance which astonishes me." 

M. Van den Heuvel (Minister of Justice) : " You are 
narrowing considerably the debate in concentrating it upon 
the Tilkens affair." 

M. Lorand : " I am not narrowing the debate, because, 
incidentally, I am compelled to refer to an affair whidi is 
assuredly important, since it concerns a Belgian condemned in 
default abroad * for very serious offences, and to whom judges 
are refused in Belgium, when he asks to be prosecuted." 

M. Van den Heuvel : " It was his look out not to be con- 
demned by default." 

M. Lorand : " It was also his look out if he preferred to 
be judged in Belgium ; and that is easily understood. When 
we consider that this man, accused of such crimes, is walking 
about freely in Belgium, because it was considered sufficient, 
notwithstanding the gravity of the accusations against him, to 
exact a bail of only ;^200 (fcs. 5000), which enabled him to 
take passage to Belgium ; when we consider that others are 
in Belgium — where they are living at ease, although accused 
in the Congo of the gravest of crimes, — we have the right to 
ask, as they are not prosecuted, if it be true that the State 
punishes facts of this kind with that severity it would have 
us believe ? How is it in that case that the Congo State does 
not send a Note to the Belgian Government, whereby these 
men would be at once prosecuted in Belgium, and if guilty, as 
is said, would no longer walk about amongst us with impunity? " 

M. Vandervelde : " As long as that question has not been 
answered, everything that we have said remains un- 
challenged." t 

• That is to say, in the Congo State, which has separate laws, and 
which the Belgian Government declares to be a foreign country when 
asked to inquire into its actions, but asserts to be a national enterprise 
when those actions are attacked. 

t It is a notable fact that no one on the Government side of the 
House attempted to take up this categorical challenge. That is one of 
the lessons to be derived from the debate, which is referred to later on. 




Photogrixph by Ciruzet^Fr^res^ Brussels 

M. KMILE VANDEKVELDE 

(Leader of the Helgi.iii Lal)our Parly) 

(I he most prominent Belgian critic of Congo misgovernmcni) 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 321 

M. Lorand : ^ It is that which makes the importance of 
the Tilkens affair. The position of the Congo State is 
peculiar. The whole of its agents are foreigners, and amongst 
those foreigners the greater number are Belgians, and even 
belong to die Belgian army ! They serve for three years and 
come back to Belgium. If non-prosecution in Belgium for 
crimes committed in the Congo is a system, it will often 
happen that guilty agents will be assured of impunity because 
it frequently happens that the punishable facts have only been 
ascertained after the return of the agent to Belgium. That 
is the case of Tilkens. M. Woeste — and I confess that I 
thought he would have advanced worthier arguments — tells 
us that abominable crimes are also committed in Belgium. 
Perhaps the Minister of Justice will tell us if abominable 
crimes are often committed in Belgium by officials, by agents 
of the Administration, by representatives of the powers that 
be, by police officials ; if we often meet in this country with 
(^cers, officials, and magistrates who are torturers, assassins, 
and incendiaries, and who take hostages I . . . 

'* In the Congo, we are told, there are individual abuses. It 
is no longer denied that abuses exist ; but it is said they are 
individusd acta It would, however, be extremely interesting 
to learn the extent and the nature of these individual abuses. 
Of what kind are they, and in what number have they been 
perpetrated ? We know of two judgments in this connection 
which are of a nature to cause us anxiety. I read in the 
IfuUpendance Beige the judgment on the Mongalla affair, 
which condemned Lacroix and Matthys for the committal of 
acts which were brought before this House. The truth was on 
that occasion ascertained, save in one particular — that other 
agents were also guilty, and ^at they should be sought for 
higher up I Indeed, it is a curious circumstance that up 
to the present — to my knowledge — only non-commissioned 
officers or agents of the Companies have been punished ; 
never an officer." 

"There must be some very interesting things in those 
Boma trial cases, for those who wish to know sdl the truth 
about the abuses perpetrated on the Congo. We have a 
Belgian Consul on the Congo : why do you not ask your 
Consul to give you a detailed report of all trials in which 
Belgians are implicated? You smile, M. le Ministre, 
but we have the right to say that these judgments throw 
a sorry light upon the condition of affairs in the Congo. 
We should have a complete collection of these trials and 
judgments." 

Referring to the commission for the Protection of the 

Y 



322 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

Natives,* "which was entrusted with the important duty of 
seeing to the execution of measures — so admirable on paper 
— which have been drafted in favour of the Natives," M. Lorand 
remarked " that it has not yet published, to my knowledge, a 
report — a document of any kind, stating that these measures 
have been applied, telling us what are tiie abuses which have 
been recorded, and what are their gravity and extent ; and 
that is necessary, seeing that, at last, it is admitted that abuses 
exist." 

M. Lorand, continuing, referred to M. Woeste's revival of 
the Fiivez affair. M. Woeste, he said, had revived a document 
which he himself (M. Lorand) had read to the Chamber two 
years ago. This document constituted the defence of an 
accused officer in connection with the cutting off of hands, 
and denoted amongst Congolese agents " a mental condition 
which was really alarming." M. Lx>rand pointed out that it 
was precisely the phrase used by this officer, and also by a 
priest, when interviewed by a defender of the State, viz. 
** How can you forbid a young soldier, animated with a desire 
to show his prowess, from bringing back war trophies ? " which 
had wrung from Lord Cranboume, notwithstanding his bias 
in favour of the Congo State, these words, " It was precisely 
such a passage as that which made him doubt whether the 
authorities of the Congo Free State realised their responsi- 
bilities as the white Grt)vemors of these barbarous regions." 
" Now, it is a curious thing," continued M. Lorand, " that the 
only incident which stirred Lord Cranbourne is the very one 
that M. Woeste brings forward again now. M. Woeste does 
not think it astonishing that young soldiers should bring in 
these war trophies either." 

M. Woeste: "I said it was a practice f which must 
be uprooted * little by little.'" (Exclamations from the 
Left.) 

M. Lorand: "I take note of that 'little by little.' Now, 
this incident, which drew from Lord Cranboume the only 
distinct statement which is to be found in his speech, is 
reproduced in this Chamber by M. Woeste without protest 
and without reserve! It is precisely against this way of 
looking upon such abominable practices that we protest, 
notably against the toleration of this practice of counting the 
number of people killed in war by the number of hands which 
the conquerors cut from the fallen enemy and bring back to 

♦ Sec in this connection, the Rev. W. M. Momson*s experiences re 
this farcical commission. Part III. 

t It is a practice which has been introduced by the Congo State 
officials. Vide Chapter X. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 323 

justify the number of cartridges given out to these soldiers, 
who, yesterday cannibals, have now become agents and in- 
culcators of civilisation. It must not, in point of fact, be 
forgotten that the instructions given to the agents of the 
State, and which appear to be drafted with a singular humour, 
remind them that they have the part of teachers to fulfil'' 
(Laughter.) " No doubt the practice of cutting off hands is not 
approved ; it is said to be contrary to instructions. But you 
are content to say that indulgence must be shown, and that 
this bad habit must be corrected 'little by little;' and you 
plead, moreover, that only the hands of fallen enemies are 
cut off ; and that if hands have been cut off enemies not quite 
dead, and who, after recovery, have had the bad taste to go 
to the missionaries and show them their stumps, that it was 
due to an original mistake in thinking that they were dead. 
What strange ideas are possessed by tiie inculcators of civili- 
sation ! In the face of such declarations, are we not entitled 
to assert that the civilisation of the Congo State is not a 
brilliant one? And it is easy to understand that people 
whose eyes are not blinded, as yours are ; people who do not 
speak of the Congo with an evident bias and with the intention 
of praising everything, — it is easy to understand that people 
not in your condition look upon Congo civilisation as detest- 
able. I, therefore, exaggerate nothing when I state that, as 
regards European public opinion — and especially British publfe 
opinion, which honours itself by its passionate interest in such 
matters — ^the Congo State is judged and condenmed; and 
neither do I exaggerate when I say tiiat that is a serious position 
for Belgium to be in — for Belgium is continually being made 
conjointly responsible with the Congo State, which tolerates 
such practices, and whose Be^ian admirers— even statesmen 
in the position of M. Woeste— develop a mental condition 
which makes them the apologists of this toleration — and I 
repeat that it is all the more to be r^^retted that the official 
representatives of our country should identify themselves so 
completely with the Congo State." 

Dealing with the charges of anti-patriotism, M. Lorand 
said : " When we speak of patriotism, I have the right to say 
that, in his speech of yesterday, and in his speech of to-day, 
the Minister for Foreign Affairs seemed to forget that he was 
a Belgian Minister, and spoke absolutely as Siough he were 
Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Congo State, accepting, 
without the least reserve, responsibility for all the assertions 
and all the views of the Congo State. He brought to the 
Chamber the official Congolese version of all the facta given 
in the debate, and which were being discussed." 



324 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

M. Bethone * : ** The official version is the trae oae." 
M. da Faverean : ^ I b^an by saying that theie was no 
longer any legal link between Belgium and the Congo Free 
State." 

M. Lorand : ^ But you spoke all along as a Minister for 
the Sovereign of the Congo, accepting, without the least 
reserve, without the least discussion, all the theses which it 
pleases the Congo State to put forward. So much so, that 
when you receive the British Note, jrou will have replied to it 
in advance, and you will have replied that you are always and 
in everytbing of the same opinion as the Congo State. As 
was said at my side during your oration, you deposit 3rour 
conclusions witjiout having received the promised summons. 
Even before England has spoken officially, you reply tiiat 
England is in the wrong on all points. Well, I consider you 
are wrong in taking up that attitude, from the point of view 
of Belgian interests. Amongst the questions raised is the 
question of atrocities committed, frequent, proved, and which, 
with much appearance of reason, are said to be the result c^ 
the system of exploitation adopted by the Congo State. Then 
there is the question of Free Trade. Again you have adc^ed 
the Congo State's view with a strange enthusiasm. I under- 
stand M. Woeste doing that — ^he has no official position ; I 
understand M. Bethune doing that — ^he is a Congolese magis- 
trate. But I do not understand why the Minister for Fore^ 
Affairs of Belgium should say, as you say, that there is no 
foundation in the complaints put forward from the point of 
view of commercial liberty. I am all the more astonished, 
when we are accused of being anti-patriotic in interpellating 
you, that you should have taken the direct part of the Congo 
State against Belgian interests, in favour of which one of your 
predecessors had to make representations to the Congo State. 
For this thesis that commercial liberty is violated by a 
monopoly over the land — which, according to you, has been 
pulverised by Messrs. Woeste, Nys, Barboux, Picard, and other 
Congo State jurists — has been defended by other jurists. It 
is an arguable thesis. But far from being a British thesis ; it is 
a Belgian thesis,t brought forward ten years ago by the SociiU 
Anonynte pour U Commerce du Haut Congo — ^Uiat is to say, by 
the very earliest pioneers of the Congo. • • . That association 

* M. Bethune is a Congo State official. 

t It is really a thesis maintained b^ every competent stndent of 
Africa, of every nationality. If you depnve the Native of his land and 
the fruits thereof, by virtue of a piece of paper signed in Europe, you 
make him theoreticidly a slave in his own land. And when you put that 
policy in practice, you make him a slave in foct. 



SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 325 

and its subsidiaries protested against the land appropriation 
of the Congo State, and denounced it as a violation of the 
Berlin Act The resolution, adopted unanimously on September 
9, 1892, at the general meeting of the shareholders of the 
Sociiti Anonyme, was energetiodly defended by Messrs. Thys, 
Urban, and Brugmann, Administrators of the Company, and 
approved by the managers, among whom was Mr. Sam Wiener, 
and now you refute their arguments and their position without 
discussion or reserve, without troubling whether, in refuting 
them, you may not be injuring Belgian as well as British 
interests. And it is us whom you accuse of lack of patriotism I 
Well, gentlemen, may not the debate of 1892 between the 
Belgian Companies and the Congo State be revived one day 
or another? Messrs. Thys, Urban, and Brugmann have 
declared that, provisionally, they reserve their opinions upon 
the violation of the Berlin Act, because they have received 
a portion of the monopolised lands. The Congo State con- 
ceded to them a portion of its domain thus appropriated, and 
then they suspended their claim in favour of Free Trade. 
But they may have to wage another conflict of interests with 
their all-powerful competitor. They know now that Belgian 
interests cannot expect to have your protection. Does not 
that prove that you are going too far in adopting, blindly and 
without reserve, the side of the Congo State, even against 
Belgian interests ? " 

M. de Favereau (Minister for Foreign Affairs): "The 
Belgian Government is entitled to have an opinion of its own 
on a specific subject" 

M. Lorand : " Undoubtedly." 

M. de Favereau : "You do not dispute that right ?" 

M. Lorand : "No ; but I think it extraordinary that ** 

M. de Favereau : " We are asked to intervene in Congo 
State affiairs. I have given the reasons why we cannot. I 
have naturally given reasons justifying our attitude. I have 
shown that the Congo State has not violated the Berlin Act, 

and that we are not entitled to intervene " 

M. Lorand: "I repeat, M. le Ministre, that the Congo 
State is accused in England of having violated the stipulations 
of the Berlin Act by 5ie Domaine Privi^ but that the Congo 
State was accused of having done so in Belgium first ; and 
while we are accused of want of patriotism, ^cause we have 
instigated the debate in this Chamber, you are refuting^ 
without reserve^ in the interest of the Congo State^ the thesis to 
which are subordinated important Belgian interests engaged in 
the Congo — interests which are always at the mercy of the 
autocracy of the Congo State. We have only to remember 



326 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

the instance of the struggle of 1892 by the Belgian private 
trading companies against the Congo State to understand that 
the renewal of that struggle is sAways possible, and I am 
compelled to recognise that if, in 1892, Be^^ian interests were 
protected and safeguarded by the Belgian Government, 
to-day the Belgian Government, in its zeal to defend — ^before 
everj^ing else, and under any circumstances — the Congo 
State, is taking in advance the side of the Congo State 
against Belgian interests. I say that, after that, it is more 
than strange for us to be accused of lack of patriotism.*' 
The House then rose. 




CHAPTER XXVIII 

THIRD day's proceedings 

M. LORAND, continuing his speech, gave an extract from the 
protest drawn up in 1892 by Messrs. Urban, Brugmann, Thys, 
and Wiener, Administrators of the Belgian Trading Com- 
panies, against the land appropriation policy of the Congo 
State. This protest, as the hon. member explained in the 
second day's proceedings, was based upon precisely the same 
ground as the critics of the Congo State based their condem- 
nation of the State's methods to-day, viz. that appropriation 
by the State of the land, and the products of the land, violated 
the Berlin Act, swept commerce, properly so called, out of 
existence, and reduced the Natives to the level of slaves. The 
Associated Companies, presided over by the gentlemen named, 
received in 1892— as M. Lorand pointed out—the support of 
the Belgian Cfovemment, with the result that the Sovereign 
of the Congo State was virtually compelled, by the pressure 
of public opinion, to cede a portion of the territory appropriated 
by the Congo State to these companies ; which surrender had 
silenced them for the time being. But M. Lorand specially 
insisted on the fact that the truce might be only temporary ; 
that the Associated Companies were at the mercy of the 
" autocracy " of the Congo State ; that the present Belgian 
Government had wholly and absolutely thrown over the 
arguments originally employed by the Associated Companies, 
and now advanced in England and elsewhere against the 
Congo State ; that in doing so the Belgian Government had 
adopted blindly the thesis put forward by the Congo State, 
and had thereby prejudiced eventual Belgian interests, and 
also placed itself in the position of having refuted the British 
representations even before those representations had been 
made. Here is the extract read to the Chamber by M. Lorand, 
from the protest drawn up Messrs. Urban, Brugmann, ^Thys, and 
Wiener, Administrators of the Associated Companies in 1892 : 

" To deny to the Natives the right to sell ivory and rubber produced 
by the forests and plains belonging to their tribes, which (forests and 
plains) form part 01 their hereditary natal soil, and with which (ivory 



328 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

and rubber) they have traded freely from time immemorial, is a veritable 
violation of natural rights. To forbid European merchants from buying 
ivory and rubber from the Natives, to compel them to purchase conces- 
sions in order to trade with the Natives, is contrary to the spirit and the 
letter of the Berlin Act, which proclaimed the unlimited freedom of every 
one to trade, and forbade the creation of all monopoly.'* 

M. Lorand continued : " It is all very well for the jurists 
of the Congo State to say that the Congo State's appropriation 
of the land is in conformity with the theoretical principle of 
the sovereignty of States, combined with the principles of the 
Belgian Civil Code, which have been transplanted and applied 
wholesale to the Congo State, to primitive people ; it is none 
the less true that when nine^-nine per cent of the territory 
is monopolised and exploited like a farm, either by the Congo 
State or by companies to which the State has oiade conces- 
sions, there can no longer be in practice any freedom of trade, 
and there can only be in practice the enslavement of the 
unfortunate inhabitants of tiiG territory. Every one, we are 
told, can carry on licensed trade freely in the Congo with the 
Natives. Yet almost the entire territory has been appropriated, 
and no one can find thereon an inch of land whidi has not 
been appropriated by the State and the Concessionnaire Com- 
panies.* Again, there are no commercial products of any 
importance except ivory and rubber. Now these products are 
looked upon as the natural products of the domainial forests, 
and are appropriated by the Domaine Privi, the Damaine de 
la Cotironne, and the Concessionnaire Companies." 

After pointing out the inferior type of agent sent out to 
the Congo, and referring to the humanitarian instincts whidi 
preceded the birth of the Congo State, M. Lorand continued : 
"As an exploiting enterprise it may be admitted that the 
State has been a success. Its revenues enable it to support 
the constantly increasing expenses and the innumerable mili- 
tary expeditions. The Congo State has not only become the 
greatest vendor of ivory and rubber in the world, but has been 
enabled with its surplus revenues to conduct enterprises in 
China and elsewhere, to purchase property in Belgium, and 
concessions at Hankow. But the methods which have procured 
this success are without precedent, save, perhaps, in the case 
of the Jesuits in Paraguay. The success secured for the benefit 
of one person, and that person's immediate entourage, has been 
at the price of the enslavement of millions of men t handed 

• This statement was fully borne out subsequently by the terais of 
the Congo State's reply to the British Note (see Part II.). 

t "L'esclavage de millions d'hommes livrds \ une exploitation sans 
merd et k des horreurs malheureusement trop relies qui doivent neces- 
sairement r^sulter d'un tel syst^me." 



THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 329 

over to merciless exploitation and to horrors — unhappily, but 
too true — horrors which are the inevitable accompaniment of 
such a system. A Domaine Privi of the extent of that of the 
Congo State the world has never known. Never has a private 
property, a domaine^ been created of such a vast size, eighty- 
one times the size of Belgium, worked like a farm, but, like 
one of the tropical farms of the planters of long ago, where 
free labour does not exist, and where the population is of^[an* 
ised into vast droves of slaves." * 

M. Lorand then went on to discuss the nature oi the taxes 
levied upcMi the Native, his scathing denunciations eliciting 
from M. de Smet de Naeyer a declaration which will assuredly 
remain historic, and will go down to posterity as the embodi* 
ment of the Be^ian conception of tropical African colonisation. 
Here are the sentences of M. Lorand's speech which drew 
from the Belgian Premier the declaration referred to : 

'' It is said that this taxation {impdt) is remunerated I 
Because what distinguishes the system applied in the Congo 
is that the taxpayer is compelled to work for the State, but 
that his labour, which the State imposes^ is paid for by the 
same State 1 It is true that the amount of labour whidi the 
Natives have to give is arbitrarily r^^ulated at the pleasure of 
the European Administrator, and that the price paid to them in 
remuneration thereof is also regulated by the Administrator I ** 

M. de.Smet de Naeyer : " They are not entitled to anything : 
what is given to them is a pure gratuity." (^ lis n'ont droit k 
rien : ce qu'on leur donne est une veritable gratification.") 

M. Lorand : " What I You went there with the pretence 
of saving the Natives from the slave trade and barbarism — 
with the pretence of initiating them to the advantages of 
civilisation, and you take their forests, you forbid them tx> 
hunt and to collect produce, you drive them to military ser- 
vice and forced labour I They did not call you to Africa ; they 
did not want you, never having felt a need of working for 
anything beyond their own very modest needs, which they 
supplied from their lands and forests, which you have appro- 
priated by the right of the strongest, and to-day a Belgian 
Minister says that they are entitled to nothing 1 • • • And is it 
under this form that the blessings of civilisation are given to 
them — forced labour ? They used to be free to gather what 
they required in their forests. To-day these forests belong to 
a potentate they have never seen, who lives in Brussels ; and 
to financiers whose existence they are ignorant of, who live in 

* '' Oil le travail libre n^existe pas, et 0^ toute la population est 
organis^e en vastes troupeaux d'esdaves travaillant sous rempire de la 
menace et de la contrainte." 



330 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

BrasselSy or in Antwerp, and who are represented in Africa by 
soldiers armed with weapons of precision." 

M. Lorand proceeded to particularise the system of forced 
labour and terrorism existing in the Congo State, in order to 
collect the revenues which the Sovereign and his financial 
friends require ; the taking of hostages, the chain-gangs, the 
flc^gings, and tiie perpetual massacres. " The work of civili- 
sation, as you call it," exclaimed the Belgian Deputy, '' is an 
enormous and continual butchery." * 

M. de Smet de Naeyer, the Belgian Premier, rising to reply, 
spoke of the "anti-colonial passion" of M. Lorand. The 
attacks against the State abroad were "interested." There 
were fewer abuses than formerly. "The appropriation of 
vacant lands was the first inevitable and necessary step in 
constituting property in a country which was being opened to 
civilisation." The interpellation M. de Smet de Naeyer cha- 
racterised as " inane." " In foreign countries," he added, " people 
would be delighted to see Belgians attacking a Belgian work." 
" It is stupid ; it is odious," declared the Premier. " Common 
sense," continued M. de Smet, " indicates that this claim of 
the State upon unowned possessions is the first stadium in the 
constitution of property in a country opening itself to coloni- 
sation. Has not the collective appropriation of the soil at the 
origin of the formation of society been seen everywhere to 
precede individual appropriation ? " t As for the Domaine 
Privi, the Premier contended that there was "no nation that 
does not have its private domain." Similarly, M. de Smet 
sought to justify the Congo State's shares in the Trusts it has 
created — which he termed "stock and share portfolio" — on 
the following grounds : " The Independent State exploits its 
private domain partly itself, and partly, indirectly by the inter- 
mediary of concessionnaire societies, and the part that the 
State reserves to itself is represented by the shares of those 
* Companies.' " With regard to the Domaine de la Couronne, 
" The Domaine de la Couronne'* said M. de Smet de Naeyer, 
" is not the private property of the King Sovereign ; " it was 
an official instrument borrowed from English law, created by a 
decree of Congo State legislation. The Domaine de la Couronne 
was a juridical entity; it was managed under an oi^anic 
decree of the Sovereign-King, and by three Administrators.^ 

• " Une dnorme ct continucUe tuerie." 

t Precisely, and all the more reason for respecting Native land tenure, 
which is a collective appropriation, destined, in course of centuries, no 
doubt, to become modin^ in the direction of individual ownership. 

\ For the names of these gentlemen and remarks connected therewith, 
see Chapter XXIX. 



THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS . 331 

The object was to create out of the revenues derived from 
its works institutions of public utility. The purposes of 
the Sovereign-King in founding the Dontaine de la Couranne 
partook of a "social, scientific, and artistic {sic) order." 
Founder and owner of the Congo State constituted by his care 
and at his expense, the Sovereign-King was master of its 
revenues ; but he drew no personal profits. The Dontaine de 
la Couronne was for public purposes. The revenues of the 
Congo, apart from the revenues of the Dontaine de la Couronne^ 
figured in the Budget ; as for the latter revenues, " the Sove- 
reign had abandoned them to works of social and public 
interests." (Applause.) 

M. Vandervelde rose to reply. In the first place, he wished 
to refer to the speech of M. de Favereau the day before. He 
had, he said, endeavoured to show the House that practically 
the whole territory of the Congo State was divided between 
the Dontaine Privi or the Dontaine de la Couronne^ 1,375,000 
kilometres square ; Companies controlled by the State, 865,000 
kilometres square ; Companies in which the State had interest, 
180,000 kilometres square ; which left only 30,000 kilometres 
square for independent traders. The Minister for Foreign 
Affairs had tried to contradict He had argued that the 
Contpagnie du Lontanti and the Cie. du Katanga owned 
wholly or partly their property, and also that Qie Kasai 
Company was not managed by the State. To this he (M. 
Vandervelde) would reply by giving precise facts and figures. 
M. Vandervelde then gave a number of particulars of the 
Congo State and its Trusts, quoting from official returns. 

M. Vandervelde concluded his speech with a fierce indict- 
ment of the King. " I am told," said M. Vandervelde, " * col- 
lectivism is appropriation by the State.' I agree. But what 
is * the State ' in Belgium ? It is the representative of the 
people. And what is ' the State ' in the Congo ? It is the 
representative of one individuality. You tell me that no one 
draws personal profits. You make the apologies of the Royal 
giver. You assert that, personally, he spends nothing out of 
the personal revenues which he draws from the Congo. I ask, 
Where is the proof of the statement ? Where are the revenue 
and expenditure returns ? I only see budgetary estimates, 
which have always been exceeded. You tell me the King is 
not influenced by pecuniary considerations ; I do not assert 
the contrary. At a given moment, riches become so enormous 
that they cease to be a means of enjoyment, in order to 
become a source of power and an instrument of corruption." 
(Applause on the Left) "And when you come and tell me 
that, thanks to the revenues of the Dontaine de la Couronne^ of 



332 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

that * domaine,' which is nine times as large as Belgiiun, the 
King sheds his favours not cmlynpon the Natives of the Congo^ 
but on citizens of Belgium, I refdy that in Be^um we do 
not care to live under a rigime of favouritism, or to see the 
prosperity of the State at Uie meny of the powerful. What 
we demand is to govern ourselves, and not to be governed by 
a man who devotes a large portkm of his revenues to buy 
consciences and to manufacture public opinion." (Proloaged 
applause on the Left) 

Concluding his speech, M. Vandervelde referred once 
more to the Tilkens affair, and accentuated again its deep 
significance. "^ It is a strange thing," remarked the Belgian 
Deputy, "* that if we deal with genmdities, we are tcdd that 
our allegations are too vague ; and if, on the other hand, we 
bring forward specific facts, we are told that we are restrictii^ 
the debate. We are reproached also iot quoting as a witness 
a man condemned for acts of cruelty, for having traded in 
slaves, for having killed carriers and tortured prisoners. But 
this is the man you let out on the absurd bail of 5000 francs 
(;f 200) 1 He is at the present moment on Belgian territory, 
and yxm do nothing to prosecute him I A sim[de official 
notification given by the Congo State in conformity with 
Article 8 of the Law of April 17, 1878, would sufi&ce to pot 
the Minister of Justice in the position of having to arrest 
Captain Tilkens, and bringing him before an A^ize Court. 
Why do you leave this man, whom you call a criminal, un- 
punished ? Why do you not give him the judges he asks for ? 
So long as you do not abandon your inaction, we shall have 
the right to say that you fear the revelations that Tilkens 
might make ; that you fear to involve the superior officer 
whom Tilkens accuses of having forwarded to his Chrfs de Poste 
the order which I have already read to the House : ^ I beg 
to bring to your notice that from January i, 1899, you must 
furnish monthly 4000 kilos of rubber. To that effect I give 
you carte blanche. You have two months in which to work 
your people. Use gentleness first, and, if they persist in not 
accepting the taxes of the State, employ armed force.' There 
has been neither protest nor denial ci this order. Where is 
the protest of M. Verstraeten ? Where is the prosecution 
you ought to be making? To these pertinent questions 
you have no answer to give. Now, gentlemen, a word as to 
the order of the day. We have demanded an inquiry 
recognising that there is no official link between the two 
States, and that consequently all that we can ask the Govern- 
ment is to use its friendly relations with the Congo State in 
order to get the latter to bind itself to a serious and impartial 



THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 333 

inquiry. The Government refuses. It will not take advantage 
of the legitimate influence which it possesses owing to tiie 
subsidies granted by Belgium to the Congo State ; to the 
officers which Belgium lends to the Congo State ; by the ad- 
vantages of all kinds which Belgium gives to the Congo State. 
We, therefore, can only decline to prcq>ose an order of the day, 
contenting ourselves with rejecting that proposed by M* 
Woeste. It is a curious thing that M. Woeste, after having 
contended that no official link exists between the two countries^ 
should prcq>ose to the Belgian Parliament, to express confi- 
dence in a foreign Government! The hon. member may 
perhaps explain this singular contradiction ; as for us, we 
shall limit ourselves with giving a resolutely hostile vote to 
his order of the day." (Applause on the Left.) 

M. Buyl regretted that, seeing the gravity of the circum- 
stances, he should not be able to vote in favour of the 
Government He was an upholder of a Colonial policy for 
Belgium. But precisely on that account, he could not endorse 
the dangerous opinions given by M. de Favereau. The 
hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs had not hesitated to 
affirm that no link existed between Belgium and the Congo 
State. The rights of Belgium in Africa had, therefore, been 
allowed to lapse. If such were the meaning of the law which 
the Government induced the Chambers to vote in 1901, it had 
gravely neglected its duties in not explaining it to the repre- 
sentatives 6t the people. ''You have disarmed Belgium in 
the face of other Powers," concluded M. Buyl. 

M. Degroote thought that the Government had "vic- 
toriously " defeated the attacks upon the Congo State. 

M. Janson said he thought the attacks upon the State 
abroad were directed from selfish and mercenary motives. 
He thought that the Congo was the scene of some abuses, 
but he could not admit that it should be the object of special 
suspicion. On the other hand, he rejected the idea that there 
was anything wrong for Belgians to point out abuses which 
they thought existed. England transported many hundreds 
of thousands of N^roes every year to America at one time, 
but an illustrious Englishman, Wilberforce, succeeded — ^thanks 
to his energy, his courage, and his perseverance — in sup- 
pressing the over-sea slave trade. 

M. Vandervelde : " And Wilberforce was accused of lack of 
patriotism becausehe damaged the interests of the slave traders." 

M. Janson : " I know, and I consider that charges of anti- 
patriotism cannot be levied against people who point out 
abuses, and who honour themselves in so doing." (Applause 
on the Left.) 



334 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

M. Janson went on to say that he wished the State itself 
would undertake to stamp out abuses. No one, he thoi^ht, 
OMild deny to the State the right of having a private 
domaine, a right which had been exercised by every State 
since the days of the Romans. But in this case, it was 
necessary to examine whether the theory of "vacant lands " 
had not been exaggerated What were the ''vacant lands " 
of the territory? In what way were they vacant ? The first 
people who objected to the land appropriation of the State 
were Belgians ; they were the Administrators and Directors 
of the Sociiti du Haut Congo. They were not accused of 
lack of patriotism. 

M. Huysmans : ^ The situation was not the same. The 
Congo State was not being attacked abroad" 

M. Janson : " I am absolutely disinterested, and have no 
lessons on patriotism to receive from any one." 

M. Huysmans : " Neither have you any to give." 

M. Janson : '' I do not give any, and I am showing you 
where you are leading to in accusing your colleagues, who are 
doing their duty, of lack of patriotism." 

M. Huysmans : ''All Belgians should have the patriotism 
to hold their tongues at the right moment" (Interruptions on 
the Left Applause on the Right) 

M. Dufrane : " That is your thecwy ; we may be permitted 
to have ours." 

M. Janson : " It is your interpretation of patriotism." 

M. Dufrane : " But it is not ours." 

M. Janson : " In all Parliaments, men who denounce 
abuses are true patriots." (Applause on the Left) 

M. Frederick Delvaux : " If you do not see the difference, 
I am sorry." 

M. Janson : " M. Delvaux and M. Huysmans are very 
excitable, and one might think that they are afraid of hearing 
ailments." M. Janson went on to repeat that Belgians had 
been the first to protest against the land appropriation policy 
of the State. He read tiie order of the day voted by the 
Belgian Companies in 1892: — ''This general meeting of 
shareholders, after having heard the report on the operations 
of the last period, and the speech of the President of the 
Company on the position, protests emphatically against the 
violation of free trade, and of the stipulations of the General 
Act of the Conference of Berlin, by the Congo State." 
M. Janson continued his speech amidst frequent interruptions 
from the members of the Congo Party. At one point, M. 
Janson asked M. Huysmans, who interrupted him, whether 
he approved of taking Natives as hostages to insure the 



THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 335 

payment of the tax. " If your patriotism goes as far as that," 
added M. Janson, " I pity you." 

M. Huysmans: "You are manifestly exaggerating." 

M. Janson : " No ; I allude to precise facts stated in 
official documents." M. Janson then went on to say that 
while he did not admit that the Domaine Privi was contrary 
to the Berlin Act, he was persuaded that abuses were con- 
nected with its exploitation — there was forced labour. 

M. Vandervelde: "And uncontrolled." 

M. Janson : " The representatives of the Government are 
expected to collect the tax by force of arms." 

M. Anseele : " And they receive indirectly gratuities for 
so doing." 

M. Janson : '' It is also officially admitted that hostages 
are taken to ensure the payment of the tax." 

M. Bethune : " To what documents do you allude ? " 

M. Vandervelde : "To the circular of M. Wahis (Governor 
of the Congo State) to the Commissioner of the Equateur 
District, which was published in the Times as a defence of 
the State." 

M. Deans : " M. Bethune will not listen. He has been 
told so three times." 

M. Janson : " This exploitation of the Domaine Privi, if 
it does not constitute a monopoly, is at least exaggerated, 
and the best proof of that is that it yields enormous returns. 
How the times have changed ! We went to the Congo for 
purposes of humanity and civilisation. It was a fine principle. 
To-day, the spirit of ' lucre ' is pushed to excess. Taxes are 
produced by forced labour ; the budget is made to balance by 
the proceeds of forced labour. Side by side with the officisd 
budget there is a secret budget — ^the budget of the Domaine 
Privi de la Couronne'* 

M. de Smet de Naeyer : " There is nothing secret." 

M. de Favereau : " Absolutely nothing." 

A Member of the Left : " Everything is secret." 

M. Vandervelde: "Where are the expenditure and 
revenue returns ? " 

M. de Smet de Naeyer: "The receipts of the Domaine 
Privi * figure in the budget." 

M. Lorand : " Everything is secret in your institution." 

M. Janson : " There are two Domaines Privis — the Domaine 
Privi properly so called, and the Domaine de la Couronne. 
The latter, exploited in the same way as the former, 
produces enormous returns, of which we are not advised. I 

* Only the estimates are published. The receipts of the Donudne de 
la Couronne figure nowhere, even in estimate form. 



336 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

am not one of those detestable flatterers, ' the most dangerous 
present which Divine wrath can give to kings.* I speak the 
truth, and I say the King has lost sight of his earlier inten- 
tions, and, it is undeniable, has become a merchant and a 
speculator." (Applause on the Left) " That is the peculiarity 
of the Congo rlgime. As deputies, by virtue of the constitu- 
tion, we cannot accuse the personality of the King. I admire 
him for what he may have done, which is great; but as 
regards the Congo question, we have no responsible ministers 
before us, and, unless we hold our tongues, we must challenge 
the King's action." (Applause on the Left.) ** I give him a 
counsel and a warning : let him return to his original inten- 
tions, and work in the interests of Belgium. I am told that 
a portion of the revenues has gone to defray the expenses 
attendant upon the acquisition of land and property to 
establish in Brussels an institution to Art (Le MatU dis Arts). 
I say I do not want that institution if it is to be constructed 
from revenues obtained by the forced labour of black men." 
(Loud applause on the Left) 

M. Bertrand : " And by their blood." 
M. Janson : '' I repeat that the Domaine de la Couronne is 
a secret affair, of which we have learned the existence to<lay,* 
and is managed by three unknown persons." 

M. de Smet de Naeyer : " Why do you say unknown ? " 
M. Janson : " Because their names have not been disclosed." 
M. de Smet de Naeyer: "I am prepared to give you 
them." 

M. Janson : '' Now let us look at the Constitutional 
aspect of the matter. Under the rigime of a Constitutional 
monarchy, considerable emoluments {liste Uvili) are allotted 
to the King, but on the distinct understanding that he shall 
not meddle in business affairs. The most humble official of 
the State is not permitted to embark in commercial under- 
takings without ministerial authorisation. The same rule 
holds good for the King. ... It is a danger, it is an abuse, it 
is a thing contrary to the principles of our Constitution, that 
the King, to whom is allotted emoluments by the Nation, 
should t^icome a merchant and a speculator. ... I cannot 
give my vote to the order of the day proposed. I cannot 
say that all is for the best in the best of all possible Congos." 

* This admission would almost lead one to hope that if the Belgian 
deputies were properly informed about the Congo, Messrs. Vandervelde 
and Lorand would be more widely supported. The existence of the 
Domaine de la Couronne was known to foreigners long before this debate. 
See die ^ Consro Slave State," page 22. There is even a decree on it in 
one of the Bulletins Officiels. 



THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS 337 

M. Huysmans declared that he heartily endorsed the 
order of the day proposed by M. Woeste. He again accused 
M. Vandervelde and his friends of being lacking in patriotism. 
This led to a stormy altercation between the two deputies, 
in which an interesting disclosure was made, viz. that M. 
Huysmans was a Congo State official. 

M. Huysmans (to M. Vandervelde) : " I say that your 
systematic attacks and your Republican ideals make your 
arguments suspicious, and deprive them of all authority." 

M. Vandervelde : " I say that your systematic apologies 
make your arguments suspicious, and deprive them of all 
authority." (Applause on the Left) 

M. Huysmans : '' I am familiar with that kind of chaige. 
M. Vandervelde thinks that all who do not share his views 
are animated by courtesan and base feeling. ..." 

M. Vandervelde : " You are a Congo State official" 

M. Huysmans : '' Yes, I am a member of the Superior 
Council of the Congo Free State." 

M. Vandervelde : " I do not reproach you with the fact ; 
I take note of it" 

M. Huysmans contended that his independence was not 
on that account compromised, and that he received no por- 
tion of the Domaine PrivS revenues — a statement which was 
greeted with laughter. "I said just now," continued M. 
Huysmans, " that national interests were at stake. What is 
the object of the campaign against the Belgian Congo ? The 
object pursued under a cloak of humanitarianism is reaUy 
the destruction of the Congo State. Sir Charles Dilke 
admitted it himself, for after attacking the Congo State's 
colonial rigime, he declared 'the day when this regime falls 
to the ground the Congo State will fall with it' Such was 
the peroration of Sir Charles Dilke. That is why we say 
that national interests are at stake." M. Huysmans concluded 
by repeating that he would vote the order of the day of 
M. Woeste "with two hands." 

M. de Smet de Naeyer said "he did not rise to reply to 
M. Vandervelde, because there were some things one did not 
reply to. He, however, protested against M. Janson's state- 
ments when he said that the King was a speculator and a 
merchant. It was untrue. ' The Domaine Privi is a normal 
institution, and what it yields merely serves to feed the 
budget' * As for the Domaine de la Couronne^ it was 
'a creation,' the total revenues of which are expended in 
works of public utility, without the Sovereign-King retaining 
a centime. Its administration is confided to men well known 

* But its true yield is never disclosed. What is the inference ? 

Z 



338 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

in Belgium, whose names are above suspicion, viz. Baron 
GofBnet, Baron Raoul Snoy, and M. Droogmans." M. de 
Smet de Naeyer continued that M. Janson's imputations as to 
the revenues of the Damaine de la Couronne were false, and 
he should loyally admit his error. 

M. Janson : " The Minister has said that if I wish to be 
loyal, I should admit my error. I do not think that loyalty 
necessitates admitting an error when one has on the contrary 
asserted an incontrovertible fact I affirm, and you have 
admitted, that the Domaine Privi de la Couronne produces 
considerable revenues." 

M. de Smet de Naeyer: "I did not refer to their 
importance." 

M. Janson : ^ They must be considerable, to judge by the 
investments made from them in Belgium alone. I cannot 
look upon this exploitation of the Domaine Privi or the 
Domaine de la Couronne otherwise than as a commercial 
exploitation, because to obtain revenues it is necessary to 
collect rubber and ivory, which, after collection, give rise to 
commercial operations in order to derive profit from them.'' 

M. de Smet de Naeyer: "It has been twenty times 
demonstrated that realising the fruits of a ' Domaine ' is not 
commerce or speculation." 

M. Coifs declared his adhesion to the Woeste order of 
the day. 

M. Denis said he could not vote the order of the day. 

M. Neugean did not altc^ether approve of the Woeste 
order of the day ; but, under the circumstances, he would 
vote for it. 

M. Deans would not vote the order of the day. Belgium 
gave her money and soldiers to the Congo State, and Belgium 
had a right to know how it was managed. Belgium was 
responsible for the grave abuses committed there. 

The debate was then closed. 

The Woeste order of the day was carried by three to one. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 

The indictment— The antecedents of the Debate— The main counts of the 
indictment— Violation of the Free Trade principles of the Berlin Act 
—What followed the policy of 1892 — How revenue is obtained— The 
treatment of the Natives under the existing system— Sub-ajg^ents 
punished as a sop to Public Opinion — ^A concrete instance, the TiUcens 
case. 

What the dominating impression of the non-Belgian, who 
has hitherto paid but little attention to the Congo scandal, 
may be, after perusing this historic debate, I do not pretend 
to determine. But some of us, who, after many years of 
study of the Congo State and its methods, have almost reached 
the stage when nothing surprises ; astonishment is nevertheless 
the dominant feeling — astonishment that the Belgian people^ 
in the face of the damning exposure which this debate provides, 
should be content to bear the burden of shame which the 
cowardly subservience of the great majority of their public 
men, and the purchasable conscience of the vast majority of 
their newspapers, is passing down to their children and 
children's children. It would seem as though some corroding 
and corrupting medium had eaten into the very vitals of the 
nation ; the perversion, or indifferentism of the mass being all 
the more startling by contrast with the splendid protest of the 
veiy few. Of Messrs. Vandervelde and Lorand it may be 
truly said that they are reviving the noble traditions of the 
men of a hundred years ago, who fought the over-sea slave 
trade. They are fighting another species of slavery, more 
insidious, and more terrible in its effects — the slavery in- 
troduced into unhappy Africa by the foreign Potentate who 
rules the destinies of their country. All honour to them. 
How difficult their task is may be appreciated when it is 
borne in mind that, in the course of this debate, the leader of 
the Catholic Party made the apologia of atrocity, while the 
Premier and Foreign Minister showed themselves the eager 
and willing tools of the financiers who, with their royal head. 



w.. 



340 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

have converted the territories of the Congo State into a 
shambles. 

Let us now examine the principal featnres of the d eb ate^ 
and accentuate the lessons conveyed thereby. 

The debate took place last July, rather more dian a month 
after the British House of Commons had passed, with an 
unanimity rare in Parliamentary annals, the following resolu- 
tion: — 

** That the Government of the Congo Free State having, at its incq>- 
tion, guaranteed to the Powers that its native subjects should be governed 
with humanity, and that no trading monopoly or privilege shoukl be 
permitted within its dominions; this House requests His Majesty's Govern- 
ment to confer with the other Powers, Signatories of the Berfin Genend 
Act, by virtue of which theCoogo Free State exists, in order that measures 
may be adopted to abate the evils prevalent in that State." 

MM. Vandervelde and Lorand, leaders of the Labour and 
Radical sections of the Belgian assembly, thereupon announced 
their intention of interpelkting the Go\remment The inter- 
pellation was accepted by the Government, and on July i 
M. Vandervelde opened a debate which was to last three 
days, and in the course of which the Congo State and its 
ruler were to be exposed to an indictment even more crushing 
and more unanswerable — because more detailed and specific 
in the counts — than that inflicted by the House of Commons. 
After pointing out the special duty and right of Belgium to 
inquire into the management of the Congo State, M. Vander- 
velde went straight to the point He ^owed that in iSq2 
King Leopold claimed that the products of the land belonged 
to the State, that the Natives had no right to gather or collect 
them unless they brought them to the State stations, and that 
the European merchants established in the country would be 
orosecuted if they attempted to buy such products from the 
Natives ; the ''judicial " basis for Uiis step— the basis upon 
which it is defended— having been laid in 1885, when the 
State declared all land to be '* vacant " that was not actually 
built upon, or under cultivation for food-stuffs by the Natives.* 
He referred to the protests which this claim brought forth from 
the Belgian traders at the time, the latter invoking the clauses 
of the Berlin Act which proclaimed unrestrained freedom for 
every one to buy and to sell ; and he reminded his hearers 
that those who in England maintained the injustice of such a 
claim in its effects upon the Natives, were urging the same 
considerations, which the Belgian trading companies in the 
Congo had urged in 1892. 

• Sec Chapter XXVI. 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 341 

M. Vandervelde reviewed the policy of 1892 in its 
successive stages. The initiatory claim had been followed by 
the partitioning of the whole of the territories of the Congo 
State, with the exception of the infinitesimal Lower Congo, 
into a series of vast trusts. The " State " Trust — the Domaine 
PrivS * and Domaine de la Couronne — ^was forty-six times the 
size of Belgium ; the subsidiary trusts covered between them 
an area of twenty-nine times the size of Belgium, while the 
original Belgian trading companies, who had been compelled 
to abide by a modus vivendi which gave the State an interest 
in their business, had an area six times the size of Belgium. 
No one outside these groups could enter the Congo territories. 
This policy, M. Vandervelde contended, was a violation of the 
Berlin Act, both as regards the freedom of trade stipulated 
under the Act, and the prohibition of granting monopolies or 
privileges as stipulated under the Act 

The immediate consequence of the policy, continued 
M. Vandervelde, was the acquisition of enormous sums by the 
Sovereign of the Congo State and his financial associates. 
The sums drawn by the Sovereign could not be ascertained, 
because only the estimated revenues of the Domaine Privi 
were published, and the actual returns never; while the 
revenues of the Domaine de la Couronne were kept entirely 
secret So lai^e were they, however, that the " Congo State " 
was investing considerable amountsin property in Belgium itself, 
and was sinking important sums in sundry Chinese undertakings. 

But how were these enormous sums obtained ? They were 
the product of compulsory taxation, of which it was some- 
times sought to hypocritically disguise the effects, on the 
plea that the Natives were paid for their labour. The truth 
was that the Natives, having been officially expropriated from 
their land, and from all rights in the products of economic 
value growing therein, had been reduced to the level of slaves : 
forced to prcxluce rubber and ivory in unlimited quantities at 
the bidding of the State and the trusts, which the State either 
managed or was financially concerned in. Such systematic 
coercion was only possible by the medium of a large native 
army of " 16,000 to 17,000 men," men recruited chiefly from 
the domestic slave element of fierce cannibal tribes of the 
interior ; stationed in districts other than those of their origin, 
and, therefore, not likely to have any feelings for the tribes 
against whom they might be sent,t and commanded by ''non- 

• Stricto sensu : vide Cattier and others. 

t The curious absence of racial feeling and combination amongst 
African tribes is, of course, too much of a commonplace to n^ 
accentuating here. 



342 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

commissioned officers intoxicated with self-importance, free, 
or practically so, from all control" The soldiers, M. Vander- 
velde incidentally remarked, were compelled to serve twelve 
years, seven in active service and five in the reserves. This 
vast machine simply existed for forcing rubber and ivory out 
of the people in tiiie form of taxes. M. Vandervelde quoted 
the textual instructions of the Governor-General of the Congo, 
authorising the officers of the State to take hostages from the 
people if they were recalcitrant in carrying out the demands 
made upon them, and to use force if opposed 

Such a rigime, ai^ued the leader of the Labour party, led 
" fatally and inevitably " to the perpetration of innumerable 
atrocities. When they reached the ears of public opinion, a 
show was made of punishing- the culprits. But the true 
culprits were those who maintained the system, otherwise the 
Congo State itself For this reason the high officials of the 
Government in the Congo were never punished, a few sub- 
agents being made scapegoats, until such time as the effect of 
the particular disclosures had worn off. In the case of the 
Mongalla massacres, the local judge, more courageous than the 
rest, had not hesitated to explain the lightness of the sentence 
passed upon one of the sub-agents found guilty of nameless 
mutilations upon natives, from the circumstances that he had 
carried out the instructions of his superiors " in showing no 
respect for the lives or the rights of the natives." The judge's 
pronouncement — although three years old — ^had not previously 
transpired, but M. Vandervelde read out the actual wording 
to the House. After referring to other recorded atrocities, 
M. Vandervelde brought a new and specific case of consider- 
able importance before the House. 

Prefacing his observations by emphasising the oft-repeated 
assurances of the Congo State's desire to punish agents guilty 
of atrocity, M. Vandervelde demanded that Captain Tilkens, 
of the Force Publique (Congo Army), condemned by default in 
the Congo to ten years' imprisonment for atrocities, should be 
brought before the Assize Court of his own country (Belgium). 
Anticipating the usual taunt of the apologists of the State 
whenever the testimony of its former officials are given against 
it, M. Vandervelde took care to point out that the documentary 
evidence upon which he relied to bring his facts before the 
House were letters written by Tilkens himself, not subsequent 
to his condemnation, in order to throw the blame of his 
misdeeds upon others, but at a time when the Congo State 
''was lavishing upon him advancement and favours." It is 
useless to recapitulate the whole story here. It will be found 
fully set forth in M. Vandervelde's speech. 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 343 

Suffice it to say that these letters, written by this man 
Tilkens when engaged in carrying out his instructions, are 
symbolic of Congo State rule, and throw an inner light upon 
the working of the Congo State system which is not new, but 
which, nevertheless, is both instructive and informing. In 
brief, Tilkens was officially instructed (letters of instructions 
read by M. Vandervelde) that his district was expected to 
produce a certain quantity of rubber and a certain number of 
carriers per month. He and his soldiers were already work- 
ing the people to death, so that in order to obtain more out 
of them, he had to strike such terror into their hearts as would 
crush out the last spark of resistance to outrageous demands. 
Faithful to his mandate, he and his soldiers shot and massacred 
wholesale ; burning villages, looting, raping, torturing, murder- 
ing : making of his district a small but particularly bad hell 
in the big hell around him. And even so, he could not 
entirely break the people, " Yet I cannot say," he wrote to his 
military friends, "I have subjugated the people. • . . They 
prefer to die. What can I dot" But the method succeeded 
for a time : the requisite quantity of rubber was forthcoming. 
Tilkens was praised, promoted, and remunerated. The after- 
math was, however, looming ahead. The people rose, attacked 
the State post, sacked it. A scapegoat had to be found. 
Tilkens was merely a subordinate after all — a non-com- 
missioned officer of the Belgian Army. After a long interval 
he was arrested, and although the indictment drawn up 
against him included enough crimes to hang a whole regiment, 
he was released on finding sureties for £200. He promptly 
stowed away on a home-coming boat, and, upon arriving in 
Belgium, knowing that the Congo State laws could not touch 
him in Belgium (for such is the convenient legislation of the 
State), claimed to be brought to public trial by the Belgian 
law courts. " I have," he admitted in effect, " acted badly ; 
but I acted upon tiie instructions of my superior officers. 
I was compelled to obey. The instructions are extant 
Witnesses can be brought to prove it Here are their names 
and addresses. Justice I knew I could not obtain in the 
Congo; I have come to Belgium. I demand to be tried 
before a jury in the light of day. I was a soldier : as a soldier 
I had to obey my chiefs." Such was the story brought before 
the House by M. Vandervelde, touching one small comer only 
of the vast Congo State. 

M. Vandervelde concluded his speech by saying that the 
Tilkens incident was only a repetition of what had taken 
place in numerous other districts. The risings which were 
the outcome of the Tilkens atrocities were the reproduction 



344 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

of other risings, ''which have been endemic for over ten 
years, and which necessitate the up-keep, on a war footing, 
of 17,000 men." The honour of Belgium demanded that the 
Government should order a searching inquiry into the whole 
system of G>ngo rule. 

Such were the main counts of M. Vandervelde's indict* 
ment They were subsequently amplified and driven home 
by M. Lorand, by M. Vandervelde (in a later speech), by M. 
Janson, and one or two other speakers. The speakers on the 
Government side were M. de Favereau, the Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, who spoke twice ; M. de Smet de Naeyer, the 
Premier, who spoke once; M. Woeste, the leader of the 
Catholic Party, and often described as the "King's hench- 
man ; " M. Bethune, and M. Huysmans, who, although 
members of the Belgian House, are officially connected with 
the Congo State ! The main body of the House was dis- 
creetly silent, like a regiment of well-drilled soldiers. To 
the most personal, the most direct, the most damaging on- 
slaught and imputations upon the person of the Sovereign of 
the Congo State, the House remained impassive ; which, if it 
proves nothing else, proves at least the amount of respect 
with which the despotic Monarch of the Congo is held in 
Constitutional Belgium ! Belgians should really not complain 
of foreign strictures upon King Leopold, when the Belgian 
House rings with accusations and charges, couched in 
language, the emphasis of which has never been approached 
outside of Belgium! Apart from certain features which 
marked the speech of M. Woeste — ^which will be referred to 
separately — we need only concern ourselves with dissecting 
the defence of Congo State institutions, attempted by M. de 
Favereau and M. de Smet de Naeyer. M. Bethune and M. 
Huysmans being Congo State officials, their effusions may be 
left out of account. 

How was the indictment met by the official defenders of 
the Congo State ? Let us take M. de Favereau's speech 
first. In the first place, he declined to institute an inquiry, 
on the ground that— 

I. 'Die Congo State was a foreign State. 

The facts that — 

(a) King Leopold, the Sovereign of the Congo State, is 
also King of Belgium. 

(6) Belgium has lent ;f 1,400,000 to the Congo State, and 
sunk ;f 600,000 in the Congo Railway. 

(c) Belgium lends her army officers to the State. 

(a) That the moral responsibility of Belgium for the 
management of the Congo State, in view of an obvious 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 345 

solidarity of interest, is evident to the world — these facts 
did not weigh with the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs. 
He did not even discuss them. He set them on one side, 
and met the demand for an inquiry, on the part of Belgium, 
with a direct negative.* 

II. The demand that Be\^um,asoneoftAe Signatory Powers 
of the Berlin Act, should inquire, M. de Favereau also 
refused, on the ground that — 

(a) The Congo State had not violated the Berlin Act 
either in respect to its free-trade provisions, or the obligations 
it laid upon King Leopold to safeguard the rights of the 
Natives. 

Here M. de Favereau deigned to give his reasons, which, 
with two exceptions, consisted in the mere enumeration of the 
usual platitudes, sudi as the Congo State protected religious 
and scientific missions, and had put down the Arab slave 
trade, etc The speaker also gave quotations from numerous 
laws passed by the State. There was positively no attempt 
on the part of M. de Favereau to deal with the specific 
points contained in M. Vandervelde's indictment in regard 
to the working in practice of the Congo State's policy. The 
po/icy itself, viz. appropriation of the land and the fruits 
thereof, M. de Favereau endeavoured to reconcile with the 
commercial clauses of the Berlin Act, by putting forward the 
threadbare claim of the right of the State to constitute itself 
the proprietor of both the one and the other. 

On that point, M. de Favereau was definite enough. I 
have dealt with the contention in Part 11. 

Passing from the question of inquiry to a discussion of 
some of file points raised by M. Vandervelde, the utter 
feebleness of M. de Favereau's defence is indeed remarkable. 
Let us take, in the first place, his attempted refutation of the 
charge of violation of Article 5 of the Act — ^the Free Trade 
article. To begin with, his definition of the fundamental 
basis of the Congo State policy should, if that definition had 
any force at all, have been sufficient for his purpose. He had 
told the House plainly that, in asserting rights of proprietor- 
ship over the land and its products, the Congo State had not 
violated Clause 5 of the Act of Berlin, because the stipulations 
of that Act, in respect to freedom of trade, were rendered 
valueless and non-pertinent by the subsequent conversion of 
the products of the soil {i.e. the elements of trade) into State 
property. There was no necessity then to go into details. If 
all the products of economic value yielded by the land belong 

* This denial of any special locus standi on the part of Belgium in 
1900, and again in 1903, should be carefully noted. 



346 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to the State, it is obvious that the State can do what it likes 
with its own ; it can create and control " companies " to 
* develop" its property — in fact, it need not be required to 
give particulars of its own affairs. It is, however, significant 
of the doubt existing even in the mind of M. de Favereau, as 
to the tenability of that doctrine, that he fdt constrained to 
attempt a demonstration ad absurdum, viz. that trade was 
free in the Congo State ! And here the feebleness of M. de 
Favereau's argument was strikingly conspicuous. 

M. de Favereau's procedure was this. He said, in effect, 
^ You assert that trade is not firee in the Congo State. Why, 
there are 403 trading factories there {comptairs commerciaux) ! 
As for what you alwa)rs assert, that the State controls, or is 
interested in, the trading companies, I will cite one or two 
instances which show how erroneous your information as a 
whole must be." 

With regard to the latter point, it will be observed that 
M. de Favereau was careful not to deny that the bulk of the 
companies so called w^fjf controlled by the State. He merely 
endeavoured, for Parliamentary purposes probably, to convict 
the critics of the State of genend inaccuracy in tiie eyes of 
the House, by citing seversd companies, as to which, it is to 
be presumed, he imagined that the critics did not possess the 
requisite information. Mark what took place on the follow- 
ing day. M. Vandervelde gave facts and figures — ^hich, for 
the matter of that, are simply taken from the Official Bulletins 
of the State for different years — ^showing that regarding the 
''companies" mentioned by M. de Favereau as being in- 
dependent of the State, the Congo State holds in the first one, 
one-half of the shares, gets one-half of the profits, and 
appoints the chairman, the manager, and the majority of the 
directors ; receives 25 per cent of the net profits of the second 
one ; receives two-thirds of the profits of the third, appoints 
two-thirds of the directors, the chairman, and the manager ; 
receives 100,000 dividend-paying shares of the fourth, 
approves the nomination of directors, and appoints three 
delegates ! M. de Favereau was dumb. As for M. de Favereau's 
"403 trading factories," it is only necessary to say that he 
included in his list all the factories of the trusts, including 
those above mentioned, plus the trading factories in the small 
Lower Congo, where, as I have already explained, the State's 
policy did not apply prior to January, 1904 (and which there- 
fore was entirely outside the sphere of debate), down to the 
small grog-shops at Boma and Matadi, which exist for catering 
for European wants ! 

When a Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 347 

endeavours to bolster up a bad case, can stoop to such 
frivolities, the value attaching to the denials and assertions of 
Congo State officials may be surmised. The treatment of 
the Tilkens affair by M. de Favereau is again illustrative 
of the methods of the Congo State defenders. 

M. de Favereau admitted the atrocities committed by 
Tilkens, but exclaimed that he had been punished, because 
he was condemned by default in the Congo to ten years* 
imprisonment, which, of course, is nothing more than a judicial 
farce, because the sentence cannot be enforced in Belgium, 
and there is no law of extradition. Reminded of the fact 
that Tilkens, notwithstanding his deeds, had been let out on 
bail of ;^200, M. de Favereau had nothing to say. On the 
other hand, he dilated at great length upon the system of 
bonuses paid to Tilkens and other agents in proportion to 
rubber collected, endeavouring, by a laboured explanation, to 
show that the " points " referred to by Tilkens in his letters 
could only have meant good conduct marks! He never 
attempted to deny the authenticity of the damning letters of the 
ad-interim Governor-General and of the District Commandant^ 
read out to the House by M. Vandervelde, He was, of course, 
unable to do so, and he knew it quite well 

Again and again M. Vandervelde and M. Lorand returned to 
the assault The Belgian Government, they argued, declined to 
inquire into the Congo State's rigime. They accepted every- 
thing on hearsay. The Congo State denied that its policy 
involved abominable cruelties to the natives, and boasted of its 
judicial purity. Here, then, was an opportunity for the State 
to justify itself in the light of day.* Here was an oppor- 
tunity for Belgium to prove that she was not an accomplice 
to atrocity. Tilkens was in Belgium. Tilkens demanded to 
be tried before a Belgian jury. The Congo State had merely 
to ask the Belgian Government to prosecute. The Belgian 
Government itself could prosecute, if it were willing (M. 
Vandervelde is a barrister, and presumably knows his law). 
The commandant of the district, whose instructions were 
cited by Tilkens, was also in Belgium. Why did not the 
Congo State Government — why did not the Belgian Govern- 
ment take action ? 

M. de Favereau, and M. de Smet de Naeyer, the obedient 
Premier, sat mute. 

"Then you are afraid of what Tilkens would reveal!" 
exclaimed M. Vandervelde. "You dare not prosecute?** 
The direct challenge was ignored. A dead silence was 

* In a different form the Caudron trial, in 1904, provided another 
opportunity. We have seen the result 



348 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

maintained on the Government benches ; proving only too well 
that neither the Cofigo State nor the Belgian Government dares 
to face a public prosecution^ in Belgium^ of one of the agents of 
King Leopold No more deeply significant incident has in 
recent years been recorded in connection with the Congo scandal. 
If there were nothing else, this would be conclusive in itself. 
With regard to the treatment of the Natives, M. de Favereau's 
speech contained nothing which can be at all considered 
definite. He quoted sundry laws in existence, which, in view 
of the fundamental basis of Congo State rule already defined, 
can only remain a dead letter. 

It is like a man who has set fire to a house helping to 
pass the bucket round to extinguish the flames. What use 
can any number of laws be, when grafted upon a central 
law which deprives the Native of his property, vests it 
in the State or the corporations to which the State 
may elect to convey it, and compels the Native to collect 
that property for the State or its corporations ? Such 
laws can only be framed for the purpose of deception, because 
the framers of them know perfectly well they can never be 
applied. M. de Favereau did not, of course, deny the 
existence of the enormous Native army maintained by the 
State : but endeavoured to minimise the arguments derived 
from the fact by going off on a side issue — to wit, the alleged 
hardships of the method of recruiting adopted by the State, 
hardships which he denied by the simple expedient of 
assertions uncorroborated by any attempt at proof, which had 
nothing to do with the main point. 

In summarising M. de Favereau's defence, one can only 
say that it left M. Vandervelde's general indictment of Congo 
State rule wholly unimpaired ; strengthened, indeed, rather 
than weakened. When, passing from high-flown generalities, 
the Minister for Foreign Affairs dealt with specific facts, he 
cannot be said to have improved his reputation. The argu- 
ments by which he sought to demonstrate the existence of 
free trade in the Congo territories, after admitting the 
appropriation by the Congo State of the African elements of 
trade, were proved to be in essential particulars quite 
inaccurate. In the Tilkens matter he showed conclusively 
that neither the Congo State nor Belgium dares to prosecute 
in Europe officials who perpetrate atrocities in Africa; 
nor to publicly investigate in Europe the circumstances 
which lead to the committal of such atrocities. He based 
his whole case, indeed, upon the legitimacy of the funda- 
mental law of the Congo State, to wit, State appropriation 
of land, and the products of economic value yielded by 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 349 

it. What mattered eveiything else? So much for M. de 
Favereau. 

But if M. de Favereau lacked in precision, the same cannot 
be said of M. de Smet de Naeyer, for he made two admissions 
which were more damaging, perhaps, than any of the criticisms 
passed upon the Congo State by its enemies. 

The first admission was of supreme importance as a 
revelation of sentiment. 

The second admission was of supreme importance as a 
revelation of fact. 

The revelation of sentiment was wrung from M. de 
Smet in a moment of irritation. M. Lorand was exposing 
the hollow pretence of payment made by the State to the 
natives in exchange for the produce of the forced taxation 
thrust upon them. He was ironically commenting upon this 
special peculiarity of the State's system of dealing with the 
natives, when M. de Smet exclaimed — 

" They are not entitled to anything. What is given them 
is a pure gratuity." 

That unlucky statement of M. de Smefs embodies to a 
nicety the ideas which prevail in Belgian, or perhaps we 
should say in Congolese, circles, as to the principles which 
should preside over the relations between a European Power 
and the African Natives. In short, it is the conception, 
revived to-day in aggravated form in Belgium, of the Spanish 
canquisitadores in Peru and in the West Indies, of the Portu- 
guese adventurers on the West African coast, of the old 
Dutch culture system of the East Indies, and perhaps we 
might add of Warren Hastings in India. It is the spirit of the 
slave trade^ — the spirit which looks upon the ''coloured" man 
as a brute, destined by nature and circumstance to be the 
slave of the white. Under the boasted philanthropic veneer 
of European civilisation, this spirit lurks in individuab. In 
Belgium a few individuals have acquired for themselves a 
million square miles in tropical Africa, and on the Congo 
this spirit has become the working policy. The difference 
between the application of this policy in the Congo and its 
old prototypes is, that the latter constituted a policy of 
national wrong-doing which in due time found its corrective, 
whereas in the Congo the policy is a personal one, and not in 
any sense national, and, so long as the personal element exists, 
will continue. One might quote innumerable passages from 
the documents issued during the past few months by and on 
behalf of the Congo State, in support of the contention. But 
the words of the present Belgian Premier, whose relations 
past and present with the Sovereign of the Congo State are 



350 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

well known, provide sufficient proof. The Native of the Congo 
territories, whose "moral and material regeneration" King 
Leopold professes to have at heart, having been deprived of 
his land and the fruits of his land by decree, is now declared 
to be entitled to nothing even for his labour in securing the 
products of economic value growing on his land for the benefit 
of his despoilers ! The miserable pittance — about id. per lb. — 
for his rubber paid in rubbishy goods, or in brass rods, which 
are apparently refused not infrequently as currency by the 
payers, is a " pure gratuity," on the part of his philanthropic 
rulers! 

The revelation of fact is a confirmation of the statement 
repeatedly made by myself, and as repeatedly denied by the 
Congo State authorities — until M. de Smet raised the veil, 
viz. that vast sums are annually obtained by the Sovereign of 
the Congo State in the shape of the proceeds of the sale of 
ivory and rubber derived from regions specially marked out 
for State exploitation, which do not figure in the budgetary 
returns. The importance of this admission by M. de Smet 
is twofold. First, no one, not even sceptics who have re- 
jected the accumulated proofs of the last ten years as to the 
motives and true meaning of Congo State rule — can, after the 
declarations of M. de Smet, retain their illusions with any 
attempt at honesty. Secondly, it explains in the clearest 
possible manner the true reasons which actuate the Sovereign 
of the Congo State in refusing to allow any impartial inquiry 
into his affairs. 

The Belgian Premier admitted, for the first time be it 
noted again, that a certain portion of the Congo territories 
produced revenues which did not figure in the revenue and 
expenditure returns, viz. the portion of the territories known 
as the Domaine de la Couronne. Many of the members of 
the House heard of the Domaine de la Couronne for the first 
time. 

Needless to remark, M. de Smet declared that the King 
personally did not touch a centime of these unrecorded revenues. 
The debate, however, definitely established the fact that pro- 
fits derived from the sale of the rubber and ivory of the region 
of the Domaine de la Couronne — a region notoriously ridb in 
rubber — do not figure in the public returns even in the form 
of estimates ; are unaccounted for in the budget. 'Wliere do 
these proceeds go ? It seems from M. de Smet's declaration 
that they are dealt with by a committee of three, viz. Baron 
Raoul Snoy, Baron Goffinet, M. Droogmans. 

Who are these men ? Baron Raoul Snoy is the King's 
diplomatic adviser in Congo afiairs. He accompanied King 



THE LESSONS OF THE DEBATE 351 

Leopold to Paris the other day, and was present at the King's 
interview with M. Delcass^. 

Baron Goffinet is attached to the King's court. One of the 
administrators of the Sociiti Anversoise du Commerce au Congo, 
better known as the Mongalla Trust, the scene of massacres so 
numerous that it has been impossible to withhold them from 
the light of day — in which the Congo State holds 50 per cent, 
of the shares, and which it has now, it seems, entirely absorbed 
is a Baron Goffinet I do not know whether the two are one 
or distinct persons. 

M. Droogmans is Financial Secretary of the Congo State 
and chairman of the Comiti Special du Katanga (Katanga 
Trust), from whose operations the State takes two-thirds of 
the profits, and the Comiti one-third. 

Apart from these declarations, M. de Smet's discourse was 
merely a repetition of M. de Favereau's arguments ; like the 
latter, he left the main counts of M. Vandervelde and M. 
Lorand's indictment unchallenged. 

The only other episode in the Government defence was a 
contribution by M. Woeste, referring to the mutilation of 
natives by the Congo State troops. In seeking to palliate 
these atrocities, and enunciating with affable self-satisfaction 
the dictum that they would disappear " little by little," M. 
Woeste merely afforded further proof of what M. Lorand 
rightly termed the " mental condition " of the defenders of the 
Congo State — or, as it might be put, the depths to which the 
interested Belgian backers of the Congo State have fallen. 

I do not think I can more fittingly close this review of the 
famous Belgian debate than by giving the following quotation 
— which I am permitted to do — from a letter written a few 
weeks ago by Mr. Joseph Conrad to a personal friend. In it 
the well-known author, who has lived in the Upper Congo, 
expresses in a few admirable sentences the feeling which all 
who have studied King Leopold's rule in Africa share with 
him : — 

" It is an extraordinary thing that the conscience of Europe, which 
seventy years ago put down the slave trade on humanitarian grounds, 
tolerates the Congo State today. It is as if the moral clock had been 

gut back many hours. And yet nowadays, if I were to overwork my 
orse so as to destroy its happmess or physical well-being, I should be 
hauled before a magistrate. It seems to me that the black man — say of 
Upoto^is deserving of as much humanitarian regard as any animal, 
since he has nerves, feels pain, can be made physically miserable. But, 
as a matter of fact, his happiness and misery are much more complex than 
the misery or happiness of animals, and deserving of greater regard. He 
shares with us the consciousness of the universe in which we live — no 
small burden. 



352 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

** Barbarism /^ se is no crime deserving of a heavy visitation ; and the 
Belgians are worse than the seven plagues of Egyp^ in so mudi that in 
that case it was a punishment sent for a definite transgression ; but in 
this the Upoto man is not aware of any transgression, and therefore can 
see no end to the infliction. It must appear to him very awful and 
mysterious ; and I confess it appears so to me toa The slave trade has 
been abolished, and the Congo State exists to-day. This is very re- 
markable. What makes it more remarkable is this : the slave trade was 
an old-established form of commercial activity ; it was not the monopoly 
of one small country, established to the disadvantage of the rest of the 
civilised world in defiance of international treaties and in brazen disre- 
gard of humanitarian declarations. But the Congo State, created yester- 
day, is all that, and yet it exists. It is very mysterious. One is tempted 
to exclaim (as poor Thiers did in 187 1), * II n*y a pas d'Europe.* . . • 
And the fact remains that in 1903, seventy years or so after the abolition 
of the slave trade (because it was cruel), there exists in Africa a Congo 
State, created by the act of European Powers, where ruthless, systematic 
cruelty towards the blacks is the basis of administration ; and bad faith 
towards all the other States the basis of commercial policy." 



PART VI 

THE ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT CONSUL 
CASEMENT'S REPORT 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT CONSUL CASEMENT's 
REPORT 

"Coosnl Ct tfii i ff it'f Report has been fooUj sttadBSd*'* — Sir 
Charles Dilke (Honie of ComnMmiL Jiiiie9ra» 1904). 

**Tliere it one man wiio wiU probaUj aooo become the twget 
for profme Belgian and Continental aonae, and tliat ia the one 
Enpithman who knowa more of Belgimn on the Congo than anj 
other of my acqpaintanoe. I refer to Mr. Roger Caiement, Hm 
Mijctty's Conanl on the Conga Mr. Caacment was at Deiagoa 
Bay wnen I landed there in 18061. • . • Roger Casement is the 
sort of man depicted in Jnles Verne's noras, the man who is 
everlastingly exploring and extricating himself from every 
imaginable difficulty bv snperiinman tact, wit» and strength. Ht 
wowd wander away for weeks and months with merely a black 
attendant or two, trekking along the Swaai frontier, stndyhig the 
tannage and the cnstoms of Qie natives, establisning relations 
with the chieft, and somiding them as to their feelings In matters 
interestmg in Downing Street ... It is not saying more than 
the truth when I testirsr that Mr. Casement knew more of the 
Natives betw e en Basutxriand and the riiores of MosamUque than 
any other white man. • • • It is not because Mr. Casement 
impressed me personally tiiat I write. I went behmd his back 
and made inquiries of others in South Africa.'*— Mr. PouLTNBY 
BlOBLOW. (Mifrmng P9st, Dec. 31st, 19Q3.) 

To defend the report of a British ofiicial of the stamp of 
Mr. Rc^er Casement — a report, every page of which bears 
the hall-mark of truth ; a report on which &e British Govern- 
ment has placed implicit reliance ; a report whidi has brought 
the most painful conviction to every unprejudiced mind ^t 
has perused it — ^to defend a document of this kind because it 
has been criticised by interested parties, would be a puerile 
superfluity. 

But if to defend this historical document would be to 
assume a position derogatory both to dignity and common 
sense ; to expose the tactics of those who have sought by 
every means which a sort of third-rate duplicity and a most 
ineffective mendaciousness could suggest, to discredit that 
report, and bespatter with the mud attaching to their own 
unclean fingers both the character and the capacity of its 
author — ^to do this, perhaps, will serve a useful purpose. 

2 A 2 



356 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

The conduct of the Congo State Authorities, of their paid 
allies in the Continental Press, of their contemptible handful 
of acolytes in this country, in the matter of Consul Casement's 
report, has demonstrated with greater clearness than ever the 
characteristic features of this fight, viz. that it is one between 
gentlemen on the one side, and a clique of adventurers on 
tiie other, remarkable for a species of low cunning, and utterly 
and s^solutely shameless. The peculiar morality of the 
Congo Executive in eluding honest criticism by plausibilities 
and evasions, in laying down premises of its own creation, 
attributing them to its own critics, and proceeding to destroy 
them with unctuous elaboration, calling the while upon high 
Heaven to witness the overthrow of its adversaries ; in con- 
cocting stories to pass muster in Europe, while secretly taking 
steps in Africa diametrically opposed thereto ; in hurling 
calumnious charges at individuals in order the better to 
disguise its own turpitude and wrong-doing— of this abundant 
evidence has been given in the present volume, notably in 
the Rabinek tragedy, the Mongalla massacres of 1900 and 
1903, the Rubi- Welle massacres, better known as the Tilkens 
case, the Kasai massacres denounced by Morrison, etc But 
never have these features been so superlatively manifest as in 
the effort to demolish Consul Casement's report Here, 
indeed, has the apotheosis of mendacity been reached. 

To begin with. Consul Casement himself has been sub- 
jected to a stream of malignant abuse and cowardly insinuation. 
The Executive was outwardly content to make a superhuman 
effort to prove the incompetency of the Consul to deal with 
native evidence, varied at one point with the insolent sugges- 
tion that the " former employment of Mr. Casement had not 
entirely prepared him for Consular functions,"* whatever that 
may mean. That effort has recoiled upon its own head, as 
will presently be shown. The myrmidons of the State, taking 
their lead from head-quarters, have subjected our Consul to 
the foulest attacks (even various Consuls for Belgium, actually 
in this country, taking part in the fray), and I regret to say 
that they have been assisted — in Continental eyes at least — 
by a few obscure English prints, whose source of information 
is well known, and whose attacks upon their own distinguished 
countryman have been reproduced with much gusto in every 
issue of that remarkable publication. La Viriti sur le Congo. 

It may be worth while, although certainly unnecessary, to 
devote a paragraph or two to Mr. Casement. Officially, an 
able and distinguished civil servant, with twelve years spent 

• "Notes sur le rapport de Mr. Casement, Consul de sa Majesty 
Britannique du 11 D^cembre, 1903." 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 357 

in the Consular Department in various parts of Africa, with 
twenty years' experience of tropical African peoples and con- 
ditions, whom Sir Claude Macdonald, our present Ambassador 
at Tokio, has described in the following words : * "It would 
be difficult to find anyone in every way more suited " for his 
duties, and as having " considerable experience with Natives " ; 
of whom Lord Lansdowne speaks as an official of "wide 
African experience." f Unofficially, a man almost worshipped 
by his friends, possessed of a personality inspiring respect and 
admiration, absolutely honest, absolutely fearless ; saturated 
with Africa, the greatness, the grandeur of its wide expanse, 
the virgin depths of its vast forests, the natural kindliness 
and hospitality of its peoples. Writes one of his life-long 
friends to me — 

" He is a high-minded man, against whom there has never been a 
breath of any sort of scandal. To me, he has always represented what 
is meant by the words honour and courage. I have known him twenty- 
one years (five years of our friendship being spent together in Africa), 
and I cannot imagine a finer specimen of a man. He invariably wins 
the heart and confidence of all he meets. He is absolutely honourable, 
and without fear." 

Of Roger Casement it may well be said, ** Un Bayard sans 
peur et sans reproche." And it is a man such as this, whom 
the Congo crowd have with a subtlety designed to be Machia- 
vellian, endeavoured to convict primarily of incompetence, 
and secondly of " mauvaise foi," the pet expression of these 
good people when their backslidings and foolish intrigues are 
remorselessly exposed. It is a man such as this upon whom 
Continental organs have exhausted the abusive epithets of their 
extensive vocabulary, while affecting pity for his incapacity. 
These personal insults to Consul Casement have had one 
good effect, at any rate. They have created deep anger in 
5iis country, while his detractors appear to have forgotten that 
from the moment the British Government issued that report, 
officially endorsed and defended it, the personality of its 
author was merged into the impersonality of his Government, 
and that every attack upon the honesty, truth, or integrity of 
H. M. Consul on the Congo has been an imputation upon the 
British Government. 

• " Report on the Administration of the Niger Coast Protectorate," 
August 1891 to 1894. Sir Claude was then High Commissioner for that 
part of the world. 

t Mr. Casement apparently entered the Consular service in 1892. 
From that date to 1895 he served in the Niger Coast Protectorate. 
From 1895 to 1898 he would seem to have served as H.M. Consul at 
Delagoa Bay. 



358 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

And now let us consider the procedure of the Congo 
Government to discredit the repoit, apart fhnn insinuation 
and insult 

They had in Consul Casement's report a document of 
thirty-nine pages and an appendix of twenty-three pages to 
deal with, or sixty-two pages in all ; full of specific facts, of 
detailed and minute observations. They had in Lord Cromer's 
brief but scathing remarks the deliberate judgment of one of 
the most able statesmen and administrators in the world to 
upset Deeming prudence the better part of valour, they 
decided that to attack a man of European reputation like 
Lord Cromer would be futile. So they left him severely 
alone — a silence at once significant and eloquent 

Their ''Notes" in reply to Consul Casement's report 
cover eighteen pages, with an appendix of nineteen pages of 
small print Out of this, seven pages of the ** Notes " ; and 
ten pages of the appendix — almost one-half the entire docu- 
ment — are devoted to a laboured effort to disprove ofte single 
case of mutilation — (the boy Epondo)— observed and inquired 
into by our Consul ! 

The other half of the document is composed in the main 
of the vaguest generalities, and of matters of only indirect 
reference to the indictment The first three pages consist in 
an extremely feeble attempt to explain away the sig^s of 
appalling depopulation noted by our Consul since his previous 
visit to the country, seventeen years ago ; the balance con- 
sists of mere padding in the ^ape of a tu-qtwque, various 
rude remarks anent &e incorrect attitude of our Consul in 
investigating matters of "purely internal administration," 
sneers at the Protestant missionaries, and various sonorous 
platitudes as to the inherent right pertaining to Governments 
of taxing their subjects. The balance of the appendix con- 
sists of a long letter from Monsignor Van Ronsl6 criticising 
the facts and figures given by Mr. Weeks in the West African 
Mail, respecting depopulation and its causes; one or two 
circulars with regard to the distribution of firearms, et vaild 
tout. Such, positively, is the " Reply " to the most terrific — 
and all the more terrific because drafted in language the 
most temperate — exposure to which a Government has ever 
been subjected I 

The way they set about disposing of the case of Epondo 
is thoroughly typical, and their peculiar mentaliti, as M. Van- 
dervelde would say, clearly apparent The supreme object 
is, to prove our Consul in the wrong in one instance of atrocity 
which he investigated. If they can do that, they can say to 
the world, with a shrug, " What can you make of this man ? 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 359 

Here is a sample of his accuracy." But that would not be 
quite enough. It is necessary to make the non-English 
speaking world believe that to this particular case our Consul 
attached quite special value. And this is the way it is done — 
We are told (p. s) : 

'* It will suffice to . . . characterise the lack of value of his investiga- 
tion, to examine a single case, the one on which the entire effort of Mr. 
Casement was concentrated {celui sur lequel s'est porti tout Nffort de AT. 
Casement). We mean the Epondo af£ur.'' 

And again (p. 6) — 

"Even had the facts been accurate, one would be struck with the 
want of proportion in the Consul's conclusions, deducted therefrom, in 
generalising with emphasis his system of criticism against the Congo 
State." 

And yet again (p. 8) — 

^ If we have insisted on the details of this affair, it is because it is 
regarded by the Consul himself as of capital importance^ and because he 
bases himself upon this sole case to conclude as to the accuracy of all the 
other Native declarations he collected^^ 

How do these statements accord with the facts > 
It seems that our Consul founded upon this incident a 
general indictment of the system ; he used this instance to 
" generalise with emphasis,'' etc. 

If that be the case, how comes it that on September 4, 
when our Consul was 1 50 miles from Bosunguma (Epondo's 
village), of whose very existence he did not then know^ he should 
have written the letter to the Grovemor-General given in the 
Appendix, in which the following passages occur ? — 

'* I am sure your Excellency would share my feeling of indignation 
had the unhappy spectacles I have witnessed of late come before your 
Excellency's own eyes. I cannot believe that the full extent of the 
illegality of the system of arbitrary impositions, followed by dire and 
illegal punishment, which is in force over so wide an area of the country 
I have recendy witnessed, is known to, or properly appreciated by, your 
Excellency, or the Central Administration of the Congo State Govern- 
ment I have seen women and young children summarily arrested, 
taken away from their homes and famiues, to be kept in wholly illegal 
and painful detention, guarded often by armed sentries, because, as I 
was informed by their captors, their villages or their male relatives had 
failed to bring in antelope meat, or some other conunoditv desired by the 
local Europeans. I have seen recently, but not within the limits of Uie 
A.6.I.R. Concession, a ntunber of native women (eleven in all) with five 
infants at the breast, and three of them big with child, who had been 
taken from their homes, and were tied together by the neck or ankle, 
guarded by two armed sentries, one of whom haa a cap-gun, and the 
other a double-barrelled shot-gun." 



36o KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

These are samples of the sights witnessed by our Consul, 
and brought by him to the notice of the audiorities, long 
before he knew that Epondo or his village existed. Yet the 
Congo Government has the disingenuousness to say that 
Mr. Casement " generalises ^^ from the Epondo case. Then we 
are informed that on the Epondo incident the " entire effort 
of Mr. Casement was concentrated," that it was r^arded by 
him as of "capital importance," and that "he bases himself 
upon this sole case,'' etc. But what a singular thing if this 
indeed be so, that out of a document covering thirty-nine 
pages, Mr. Casement should only have devoted to it a single 
paragraph of thirty-seven lines, and less than two pages in an 
appendix of twenty-three pages 1 

Thus the Congo Government in Europe. Now let us 
study the Congo Government in Africa. The study will be 
equally instructive. 

In the first place, what were the circumstances under 
which Consul Casement became acquainted with Epondo and 
his history ? The report reads as follows — 

** I proceeded in a canoe across the Lulonga, and up a tributary to 

a landing-place, which seemed to be about . . . miles from I . 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 Lulango 
Company and a considerable number of Natives. After some little 
delay, a boy of about fifteen years of age appeared, whose left arm was 
wrapped up in a dirty rag. Removing 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 his name as I I, in answer to 
my inquiry, said that a sentry of the La Lulanga Company, now in the 
town, had 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 mea of the 
town, who were questioned in succession, corroborated the boy's state- 
ment. 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 I I ; 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 that 
be 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 interrogatory, several other charges transpired 
against him. These were of a minor nature, consisting of the usual 
cnaracteristic 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 looo rods. Another man said that K K had robbed 
him of two ducks and a dog. These minor offences K K equally demurred 
to, and again said that I I had been mutilated by some other sentry, 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 361 

naming several. I took the boy back with me, and later brought him to 
Coauilhatville, where he formally charged K K with the crime, alleging 
to the Commandant, who took his statement, through a special Govern- 
ment intexpreter, 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 ^ where I I 

charged K K before me, is appended.'' 

The notes in the Appendix are too long to reproduce here. 

Three Natives testified to seeing the act committed ; one 
testified to seeing the severed hand and the blood lying on 
the ground. All the Natives present, to the number of " about 
forty . . . nearly all men," testified to the sentry, Kelengo 
(K K. . . . in the report), being the guilty person. 

It is interesting to note that the sentry, in the course of his 
interrogatory, states that his predecessor, " who cut hands off," 
not himself, was responsible. We have here an admission by 
the sentry Kelengo that hands are cut off by these regenerating 
agents. The avowal is the more noteworthy when we consider 
a question afterwards put by M. Gennaro Bosco, the judicial 
officer, with whose subsequent " inquiry " we shall presently 
deal, to Epondo (" Notes," p. 29) — 

Q. '* Etes vous sur que c'est Kelengo qui vous a coup^ la main ? Ce 
fC est pas Bossole f ** 

A. « Non c'est Kelengo." 

A somewhat disingenuous question, suggesting that M. le 
Substitut Gennaro Bosco would appear to be as equally 
familiar as Kelengo with hand-cutting incidents. But this is 
by the way. Consul Casement, we have seen, took Epondo 
down to the important State station of Coquilhatville on 
September 10, and afterwards sent him on to the Mission 
Station at Bonginda, in care of Mr. W. D. Armstrong. What 
happened after that ? 

The Congo Government tells us. There was an inquiry, 
as our Consul had asked there should be — ^^ a judicial inquiry^ 
in normal conditions^ free from all foreign influenced * The 
" inquiry " finally resulted in Epondo himself confessing that 
his hand had been torn off by a wild boar.f Naturally, the 

* *^ Une enqu6te judiciaire dans les conditions normales en dehors 
de tonte influence dtrang^re." 

t It shows the slovenliness with which the Congo Government 
prepares even its most amazing documents, that the passage in which 
this confession occurs (p. 3) reads as follows : ^* M'arrachant la main 
gauche au ventre et la hanche gauche," which may mean something 
in Congolese language, but does not make sense in any other language 
with which I am acquainted. 



362 KING LEOPOLDS RULE IN AFRICA 

innocence of the much injured Kelengo being ** completely 
proved/' he was not prosecuted, and he has no doubt been 
busily employed since in tracking down wild boars, as his 
humble part in the grand scheme of his master— the r^enera- 
tion of the Congo Native from barbarism. 

How was this remarkable conclusion arrived at ? It is a 
long story, and it is only worth going into because, as I have 
shown, Epondo's hand has been thcpiice de comnctum of the 
Congo Government against the Briti^ White Book, which, by 
the way, ought to have been translated into every European 
language. 

Before M. Gennaro Bosco could grapple with the terrible 
problem of Epondo's hand, a preliminary inquiry was held by 
Lieutenant Braeckman, a Congo State officer. The only 
reference to this preliminary inquiry contained in the Congo 
Government's " Notes," is the following (p 8) — 

''Whereas the inquiry made by Lieutenant Braeckman, confirming 
partly the inquiry made by H.M. Consul, but contradicting it in part, 
and adding to the charges previously niade against Kelengo, that of 
having killed a Native named Baluwa. 

Presumably a wild boar was also responsible for Baluwa's 
death, because, as we have seen, Kelengo's innocence was 
"completely proved " to the satisfaction of M. Gennaro Bosco, 
and although we are led to infer from the text that this 
complete proof of innocence only refers to Epondo's hand, the 
death of Baluwa was doubtless accounted for in an equally 
satisfactory way. We are, however, left in doubt about it 
Perhaps it was the same wild boar that disposed of Baluwa. 

It is worth while noting that Epondo and the villagers 
corroborated to Lieutenant Braeckman the testimony they 
had given to our Consul. Although nowhere categorically 
affirmed in the "Notes," this is made quite clear by the 
following reference in M. Gennaro Bosco's finding — 

''Attendu que tous les indigenes qui ont accuse Kelengo, soit au 
Consul de sa Majestd Britannique, soit au Lieutenant Braeckman^ etc. 

It is the more interesting to note this, insomuch as Mr. 
Gilchrist's letter, published in the Appendix, would seem to 
indicate a peculiar method of conducting his investigations on 
the part of Lieutenant Braeckman — 

" The man to whom these people take their supplies at Coquilhatville, 
who, of course, acting on behalf of the Commissaire, received the fines 
levied on them, put them in the chain, when their supplies were short of 
the numbers demanded, and otherwise had dealings with them.*' 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 363 

Mr. Gilchrist thus describes this officiars methods of 
inquiry — 

" Accompanied with seven soldiers armed with rifles and a full supply 
of cartridges, he took a daily excursion into the town. . . ." 

But doubtless Lieutenant Braeckman's performances cannot 
be held to have formed part of that "judicial inquiry in 
normal conditions, free from all foreign influence/' which was to 
come later under the agis of M. le Substitut Gennaro Bosco. 

Whether the thought that Lieutenant Braeckman and his 
seven soldiers, armed with rifles, were to be followed by a 
further inquiry terrified the unfortunate villagers of Bosun- 
guma, or whether the Director of the incriminated La Lulanga 
Company — in whose service the sentry Kelengo was — and 
who appears to have been permitted to " arrest " one of the 
witnesses against his sentry* — an obviously improper pro- 
ceeding — must remain a matter for conjecture. Anyway, 
M. Gennaro Bosco was, according to his own showing, deprived 
of the services of the principsd witnesses in the case — ^the 
villagers of Bosunguma who were present on the Consul's 
visit, '* all of whom," he says — " summoned by us — ^havc 
fled!"t And he adds that that flight "evidently discredits 
their observations." % Unhappily for M. le Substitut s reputa- 
tion for accuracy, it is clear from his interrogatories that one 
at least of the witnesses had not fled — perhaps he had been 
also " arrested " by the incriminated director — ^for we find in 
another part of the notes § the following — 

Q. " Why did you yourself declare to the English Consul that you 
saw the cut hand on the ground, the blood flowing, and the inhabitants 
fleeing in all directions ? ^ 

A. " I did not speak to the English. I did not even see them." 

M. Gennaro Bosco : " You lie, because the English Consul says he 
spoke with you." 

A. ".Yes, it is true. / was there, I spoke like the others." 

The comment of the British Government on this remark- 
able contradiction could hardly be improved — 

'^ 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 Mr. Casement's testimony." || 

I trust the reader is not unduly fatigued, for we are about 
to reach the most entertaining portion of this inquiry, which 
might well be headed : 

* See page 20, notes. Interrogatory of Kelengo. 

t See page 8, notes. % Ibid. 

§ Page 3a II Africa, No. 7, page 66. 



364 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 



A NATURAL HISTORY TREATISE 

The Congo Wild Boar in Normal Conditions free from all Foreign 
Influence, 

A wild boar is associated with the very earliest stage of 
M, le Substiiut Gennaro Bosco's "judicial inquiry," and we 
never lose sight of the strange beast until : 

** LVnqu^te montre Epondo, enfin acculd retractant ses premieres 
affirmations au Consul, et avouant avoir €x.€ influence par les gens de son 
village," 

The French word acculer means "to drive into a comer" 
— not, perhaps a very judicial term to use. It would appear 
to have an additional and special meaning in Congolese ; but 
we will come to that presently. 

The first interrogatory by M. Gennaro Bosco, recorded in 
the Notes, is that of the sentry Kelengo * on September 19, 
held, presumably, although the Notes do not say so, at 
Coquilhatville. Kelengo, naturally, has not only not cut off 
the hand of Epondo ; he does not even know him. But, 
strange to say, Uiere is one thing he does know, " that a wild 
boar bit him in the hand." It seems curious, to say the least, 
that the sentry had not remembered this very simple explana- 
tion of Epondo's lost hand when interrogated by Consul 
Casement, twelve days previously. On that occasion, it will 
be remembered, Kelengo's chief anxiety was to pass on the 
blame to his predecessor of hand-cutting fame, lliis singular 
circumstance did not, apparently, astonish M. le Substitute 
There is nothing to suggest that he even found it remarkable. 
One might almost imagine that he had expected it 

The next interrogatories are also held at Coquilhatville. 
They consist in questions put to seven Natives, three of wliom 
are described as employees of the La Lulanga Company I \ 
With a touching unanimity they plump for the wild boar. 
Coquilhatville, as I have already remarked, is an important 
State station, where the might of Bula Matadi, in the shape of 
soldiers and rifles, is conspicuous. Singular to relate, however, 
their accounts of the way in which that wild boar behaved 
differ somewhat notably. According to Efundu, Epondo and 
a friend went wild-boar hunting. Epondo wounded the pig, 
and tried to catch it by tJie ears, but it bit him so severely that 
the hand " fell off* after gangrening," % Mongombe submits 

♦ Notes, p. 25. t Ibid. X Notes, p. 24. 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 365 

that the wild boar "tore off" Epondo's hand* Bangwala is 
sure that the hand was " lost on account of a wild boar's bite." t 
Momombo agrees with Bangwala. Ekumeleko declares that 
the wild boar "cut off" the hand^ Bungja and Bawsa agree 
with Ekumeleko. 

This concludes the first portion of the "judicial inquiiy in 
normal conditions -free from all foreign influence." 

By October 6, M, le Substitut has gone up river to 
Mampoko, still on the track of the wild boar. There he 
remains as the guest of the La Lulanga Company^ itself 
primarily involved, putting up at its stations^ and travelling 
on its steamers with its agents I That, I beg you to note is 
merely an incident in a "normal" judicial inquiry on the 
Congo. Here more natives are interrogated. They are really 
interesting, these interrogatories. There is not a question in 
them on the part of the Judge tending to elucidate whether 
the Natives are properly or improperly treated, duly or unduly 
worked ; whether the armed sentries placed amongst them 
habitually treat them ill — nothing of that sort. Nowhere do 
we find the slightest evidence of astonishment on the part of 
M, le Substitut that a reputed " trading " company should find 
it part of its business to station armed sentries in the villages 
whence it draws its rubber supplies ! On the other hand, we 
constantly find questions of this kind — 

" How long were the English in the village ? " § 

** Did they write when they were in the village ? " | 

" Who went to speak with the English ? " T 

" When the EngUsh came to your village, what did they do ? " *♦ 

** Who went to speak with the English ? ** 

A. " Bodjcngene." 

Q. " Only Bodjengene ? " tt 

" Did you go to the Mission at Bonginda to complain ? " X\ 

" Did Ikabo go to the English ? " S§ 

" Did they look for Ikabo ? " \\ 

" What time did they come, and what time did they leave ? " W 

" Who went to Bonginda to the English to speak ?^' ♦•♦ 

** Did the English tell you the rubber is finished ? " fft 

" Who went to Bonginda to call the English ? " 

A. " Bodjenje." 

Q. "OnlyBodjenje?"ttt 

♦ Notes, p. 24. t Notes, p. 25. 1 Ibid. (6). 

§ Interrogatory of Eponge, p. 26. H Ibid. 

T Interrogatory of Leboso. ** Ibid. 

tt Interrogatory of Etoko. Xt Interrogatory of Mafambi. 

§§ Another mutilated boy. J||l Interrogatory of Mafambi. 

W Ibid. *** Interrogatory of Ekombo. 

ttt Ibid. XXX Interrogatory of Mondonga. 



366 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

<* What time was it the English came to Bosunguma ? ** * 

"Did they write at Bosunguma ? " t 

" Who went to Bon^nda to speak to the Enelish ? ** $ 

*' Why did the Enghsh come to Bosunguma r*^ | 

" When the Engli^ came to Bosunguma, did they write ? ** | 

To any one ignorant of the special forms of Congo 
judicature, these questions would appear to have been framed 
with a very much more pronounced desire to find out some- 
thing whidi might be brought up against ^the English " than 
the truth about the mutilation. Needless to remark, all the 
natives interrogated declared with one voice that Epondo's 
hand was either bitten, torn off, or cut off by the extraordinary 
animal aforesaid. What a delightful story Mark Twain 
might make of this I Wild boars and cut hands would be a 
fitting pendant — albeit a somewhat ghastly one — to Blue 
Jays and acorns. 

But to proceed, M. le Substitut arrives at Bonginda, where 
Epondo had remained since Consul Casement took him to 
Coquilhatville to testify before the Congo State official He 
first of all interrelates Mr. Armstrong (who accompanied 
Mr. Casement to Bosunguma), and the latter repeats what 
took place on that occasion. Thereupon Epcmdo is brought 
in. M. le Substitute in his opening notes to this interrogatory, 
says : " The deponent's left hand is cut off^ It is extremely 
interesting to find M, le Substitut noting this in his interroga- 
tory — ^the reader can arrive at the same conclusion from the 
photograph. It is all the more interesting as, in his ''ordon- 
nance de non-lieu " on the guilt of Kelengo,ir M. Gennaro 
Bosco says : " Whereas ... all the witnesses interrogated 
in our inquiry attest . . .** that Epondo lost his left hand 
because a wild boar tore it off . . ."tf ("le lui arrach6£ . . ."). 
Now, the hand cannot have been "torn off" as well as ''cut 
off." No one outside a lunatic asylum or unconnected with 
the rue de Namur imagines that a wild boar could c%U olS 2, 
hand (or tear it off for the matter of that), and when M. le 
Substitut tells us that "the deponent's (Epondo's) hand is cut 
off*' we believe him. But when this same official actually 
records in his " ordonnance de non-lieu " that Epondo's hand 
was torn off^ we marvel greatly. 

Epondo was equally precise in his statements before 
M. Gennaro Bosco as he was before Consul Casement and 
Lieutenant Braeckman. 

* Interrogatory of Mondonga. f Ibid. J Interrogatory of Lopenbo. 
5 Ibid. I Ibid. % Page 7. 

*♦ These dots are in the original text. 
ft Ibid 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENT'S REPORT 367 



& 
£ 



" Who cut off your hand ? '' 
'•Kelenga'* 
"Why?" 
-_ ^ For the rubber. He made war in our village, and killed Elua, 
and cut off a hand. I fell almost dead. I awoke after some time, and 
found myself without a hand.'* 
Q. " Do you know Bossole? ** * 
A. "No! I know Kelengo.*' 

Q. " Are you sure it was Kelengo who cut off your hand ? It was not 
Bossole?" 

A. " No ; it was Kelengo." 

• •••••• 

Q. " Did you not go at one time to the Bangalla ? " 

A. " No ; I always lived in my village.** 

Q. "Wasnotvourhand taken off (M^/f) by a wild boar?** 

A. " No ; Ketengo cut it off.** 

That was plain enough. Three times had Epondo been 
questioned by three different men, two of them Congo State 
officials. Three times he had explained the circumstances 
of his mutilation without deviating therefrom. Yet M, le 
Substitut Gennaro Bosco was not satisfied. So he took the 
hoy away from his friendly surroundings to the State post at 
Mampoko. Here, at the mercy of Bula Matadi, Epondo was 
again interrogated, with the result on the second occasion 
that " enfin aiccul^ " he, too, learnt the wild-boar story, and 
repeated it His hand had been "torn off" by a wild boar 
in the course of a hunting expedition I We have M. Gennaro 
Bosco's opinion that it was cut off; but let that pass. Asked 
" How long since the accident took place," the boy replies, 
" I do not know. It is a long time 2^0." And yet the wound 
was not healed^ " bhod showed still in two places over which the 
skin had not entirely formed^ and it was wrapped up in a 
cloth " t when Mr. Casement examined it. 

This is the comic opera they call on the Congo "une 
enqufite judidaire dans les conditions normales en dehors de 
toute ing^rence ^rang^"l No sensible man needs Mr. 
Bond's letter to Mr. Armstrong, dated from Lulanga, in 
which he says — 

" I hear through some Natives that they have found seven cases (of 
mutilation^ on that river (Juapa), two of whom are stationed with a Chief 
near Coquilhatville, who has orders that the English are not to see them. 
This same man says he was at a State place when a white man made a 
soldier stand over the boy— who told the boar story— with a rifle, and 
told him he was not to tell the lie about a sentry cutting off his hand, but 
to tell the truth. The truth which the rifle brought out was the boar 
story ; **— 

• Kelengo*s predecessor. t Africa, No. 7, 1904, p. 65. 



368 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to be edified completely as to the methods followed by the 
Congo State's representatives in this case. All that need 
occasion surprise is the extremely clumsy way in which a 
desired conclusion was arrived at It might have been done 
much more cleverly.* 

Before I refer to the final phase of this " inquiry," it may 
be as well to mention the extremely disingenuous manner in 
which the Congo Authorities have sought to involve Mr. 
Faris in the case. In its " Notes " the Congo Grovemment 
says : " Epondo reiterates his declarations and retractations 
spontaneously to a Protestant missionaiy, M. Faris, residing 
at Bolengi." ** This reverend (sic) has given the Commissaire 
General of Coquilhatville the following written declaration." 
The written declaration reads as follows — 

'*I, the undersigned, £. £. Fans, missionary, residing at Bolengi, 
Upper Congo, decU^ that I questioned the child Epondo, of the village 
of Bosunfi^a, who was with me on September lo, with Mr. Casement, 
the British Consul, and whom I brought to the Mission of Bolengi, on 
October i6, 1903, according to the request of M. le Conmiandant Stevens, 
of Coquilhatville, and that the child told me to-day, October 17, 1903, 
that he lost his hand bv the bite of a wild boar. He also told me that 
he told Mr. Casement that his hand was cut off by a soldier, or by one of 
the workmen of the white men, who made war upon his village to make 
it produce rubber ; but he maintains that the last story he told me to-day 
is the truth." 

Let us examine the circumstances. After the final and 
successful interrc^atory at Mampoko, what would have been 
the natural course to pursue by a judicial officer desirous of 
ascertaining the real truth ? Obviously to have taken the boy 
back to Bonginda — wAUA is only eight miles from Mampoko-^ 
and there confronted him with Mr. Armstrong, in whose 
presence he had reiterated, when interrogated by M. le 
Substitut — only the day before his " retraction " at Mampoko — 
the original charge against Kelengo ; either that, or else to 
have asked Mr. Armstrong to come to Mampoko himself. 
But — and nothing proves more clearly the singular nature of 
this "judicial inquiry in normal conditions," etc. — instead of 
adopting this simple course, Epondo was carried off eighty 

* Side by side with the official version of Epondo's hand, we have had 
a whole crop of unofficial Congolese versions, made, apparently, in 
ignorance of M. Bosco's conclusions. One authority tells us that the 
lx)y was suffering from cancer, the loss of his hand being a mere " surgical 
operation." Another informs us that he has *' personal " cognisance of 
the fact that Epondo lost his hand by the explosion of a gun. A third — 
a worthy bishop this time — has testified that ne himself has seen Epondo, 
and that the mark of " a wolfs tooth, higher up,** is plainly to be seen on 
the lad's arm ! 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENT'S REPORT 369 

miles away to Coquilhatville : no doubt to further refresh his 
memory with the cruel treatment he had met with at an 
unspecified date, in an unspecified place, from the pig. Having 
got him there, it seems to have occurred to the Authorities 
that, after all, their " inquiry " looked rather weak, and that 
it might be well to have some outside backing. So a week 
later Mr. Faris, whose residence was situated far from the 
scene of the occurrences, who had no knowledge of the boy's 
antecedents (he had only seen him for a few minutes on the 
previous occasion) or any means of testing his statement by 
cross-examination or otherwise, is sent for — not Mr. Armstrong, 
be it noted — ^to Coquilhatville, in order to obtain some 
independent testimony favourable to the official thesis. Mr. 
Faris' description of what took place is overwhelmingly 
significant. 

'' Commandant Stevens,** he writes, " told me ke was anxiaus to iearn 
the truth, and was not concerned about anything else. He told me 

THAT THE LAD HAD SINCE DECLARED, IN THE PRESENCE OF MR. 

Armstrong, that his hand had been torn off by a wild boar. 

I AM VERY positive ABOUT THIS STATEMENT, AS I WAS LISTENING 
VERY CAREFULLY AT THE TIME. 

What does the reader think of that f As we have noted 
already, what Epondo dids^y in the presence of Mr. Armstrong, 
and replying to the interrogatory of M, le Substitut Gennaro 
Bosco, was this — 

Q. " Who cut off your hand ? " 
A. " Kekngo." 

******* 
Q. " Are you sure it was Kelengo who cut off your hand ? It was not 
Bossole?'* 

A. '* No ; it was Kelengo." 

*••**•* 
Q. " Was not your hand taken off by a wild boar ? ** 
A. '* No ; Kelengo cut it off." 

After this evidence of Congolese humour — shall I call it ? — 
it seems superfluous to pursue the matter any further. Still, 
it may be just as well to give further extracts from Mr. Faris' 
letter— 

" I had no objection at all to telling the Commandant, or the Judge, or 
the King, or any one else, what the boy said about his hand, but I objected 
till I could learn any reason why I should be sent for from Bolengi merely 
to maJce a statement as to the testimony of the boy. The Commandant 
represented to me thus : ' I am anxious to get at the real truth of the 
matter. The boy tells me that his hand was lost as the result of wounds 
resulting from the attack of a wild boar. The motive of his telling the 
other story to the Consul, he declares, was to excite sympathy, and thus 

2 B 



370 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

to get the rubber tax * removed. He says that the people of the town 
put him up to tell the story. Now, you take him and interrogate him, 
and tell me the truth as you think it is.' Upon my hesitating, and as it 
was getting late, Mr. Stevens proposed that I take the boy home with me 
and examine him at my leisure, and report the result to him. This I 
agreed to do ; I felt sure of getting at some help in the difficulty. But 
not one thing could I do. The poor little fellow was listless, drowsy. He 
didn't seem himself at all. I tried to get out of him some details ot when 
he decided to change his testimony, and why, and what inducements 
were offered ; but he relapsed into a sleepy assertion that it was as he 
had said. I sent him to bed with a good supper, and allowed him to 
sleep all the next morning, so he would be refreshed ; but I got nothing 
else out of him. If he had been threatened (and this could have been 
done without the Commandant's knowledge) it has been very effectual. 
... I sent the Commandant the statement and the letter." 

In a subsequent letter Mr. Paris writes — 

" As to the reasons that the State have in taking this line of defence, 
I suppose it is because they think they are sure to win in this way. The 
plan is to deny the fact. The Consul is to be represented in the defence 
as an honest inquirer, but too hasty, and therefore mistaken. The other 
white witness is to be discredited. A doctor's certificate is to be offered 
to prove that the wound was probably made by an animal, etc. I do not 
think that is the best way for them to proceed, but that is their affair.'* 

The outside help of Mr. Paris to bolster up thoroughly 
discreditable tactics would not appear to be worth very muc^ 
from the Congo State point of view ; the pet witness of the 
Authorities does not seem to have a very high idea of those 
who sought, under the falsest of pretences, to use him for 
their questionable ends. 

The final aspect of the Epondo " palaver *' may be briefly 
dealt with. 

The Natives, cited by the Congo Government, concurred 
in describing the accusation against the Lulanga Company's 
sentry as prompted by the wish of the Natives to escape from 
their rubber dealings with that Company. 

If these dealings are commercial, as is repeatedly asserted 
by the Congo State, there would not appear to be any pretext 
for the accusations brought against that Company's sentry. 

We find it stated that the "liberty du commerce" the 
men of Bosunguma enjoyed presented itself to them in the 
following guise — 

" Pour ne pas faire de caoutchouc : Kelengo est sentinelle du caout- 
chouc. (Efundu, September 28, 1903, p. 24.) 

" Oui ; j'ai entendu les indigenes se plaindre qu'ils travaillent 

* Note this. Bosunguma is in the territory of the La Lulanga, a 
Company which is reputed to get its rubber through the medium of 
" commercial " transactions. 



ATTACKS ON CONSUL CASEMENTS REPORT 371 

beaucoup pour rien ; que les Chefs s'emparaient des mitakos que les 
blancs payaient pour la recolte du caoutchouc ; enfin, qu*ils mouraient 
de faim. lis ajoutaient qu'ils avaient reclamd plusieurs fois inutilement," 
etc. (Mongombe, September 28, 1903, p. 25.) 

** Parce qu'ils ^talent fatigues de faire du caoutchouc, qui n^dtait plus 
dans leur forfit. lis ont cm qu'avec llntervention des Anglais ils pour- 
raient se soustraire k un travail tr^s dur, etc. ... Ils ont parld avec les 
habitants qui se plaignaient de ce qu'ils devaient travailler beaucoup. 
lis disaient que le caoutchouc n^dtait plus dans leur for^t, qu'ils voulaient 
faire un travail moins dur," etc. (Liboso, October 6, 1903, p. 27, 
" Notes.'*) 

** Parce qu'ils trouvent que le travail du caoutchouc est trop dur, et 
ont cm de pouvoir s*en lib^rer, et pour les induire k s'en occuper ils sont 
all^s leur conter des mensonges." (Bofoko, October 8, 1903, p. 30, 
"Notes.*') 

If, as the Congo " Notes " assert on p. 6, these " depositions 
sont typiques, uniformes, et concordantes, elles ne laissent 
aucun doute sur la cause de Taccident, attestent que les 
indigenes ont menti au Consul, et revMent le mobile auquel 
ils ont obei " — 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 commercial dealings, but of an organisation 
compelling, with the approval and support of the Executive, 
a widespread system of compulsory labour by armed force, 
for which no legal authority exists. The peculiar " trade " 
system prevailing is, indeed, revealed, and in characteristically 
clumsy fashion, by the Congo " Notes " themselves, for we are 
therein told that the Natives lied to the Consul in order to 
escape the "obligation de TimpdL" Thus, in a r^ion 
repeatedly visited by Government officials, traversed weekly 
by Government steamers lying close to the capital of the 
district, the trading operations of a private Company are 
shown to consist in the enforcement of a tax in rubber upon 
the people, those to whom the duty is assigned of collecting 
that tax being armed soldiers ! 

Of such is the Kingdom of Congo. 



The tale is told — the tale of " King Leopold's rule in 
Africa." A piratical expedition on a scale incredibly colossal. 
The perfection of its hypocrisy ; the depth of its low cunning ; 
its pitiable intrigues ; the illimitableness of its egotism ; its 
moral hideousness ; the vastness and madness of its crimes — 
the heart sickens and the mind rebels at the thought of them. 
A perpetual nightmare reeking with vapours of vile ambitions 
—cynical, fantastic, appalling. A tragedy which appears 



372 KING LEOPOLD'S RULE IN AFRICA 

unreal, so unutterably ghastly its concomitants, but the grim- 
ness of whose reality is incapable of superlative treatment 
Destroying, decimating, degrading; its poisonous breath 
sweeps through the forests of the Congo. Men fall beneath 
it as grass beneath the sc3rthe, by slaughter, famine, torture, 
sickness, and misery. Women and children flee from it, but 
not fast enough, though the mother destroy the unborn life 
within her that her feet may drag less heavily through the 
bush. 

There has been nothing quite comparable with it since 
the world was made. The world can never see its like again. 

Sufficient that it exists, that each month, each year, the 
terror of this Oppression grows, immolating fresh victims, 
demanding new offerings to minister to its lusts, spreading 
in ever wider circles the area of its abominations. 

Sufficient that twenty years after solemnly and earnestly 
declaring their intentions to saf(^[uard and protect the in- 
habitants of the Congo Basin, the Civilised Powers are 
content to let this thing be ; that until the last few months, 
diplomacy had not even moved a little finger ; and that 
action is still confined to the tentative, timorous efforts of 
one Government Sufficient that after two thousand years of 
professed Christianity, the Civilised Peoples of the world can 
acquiesce in the indifferentism of their rulers. 

Are the pessimists right, after all ? Is the conscience of 
Christendom dead ? Is it possible that the spirit which 
crushed the old African slave-trade is so impaired as to be 
incapable of dealing with the comparatively easy task of 
sweeping away the new African slave-trade } " It is very 
mysterious," as Mr. Joseph Conrad says. Have we gone 
back, and not forward, these last fifty years .> Surely it 
cannot be. 

In the name of humanity, of common decency and pity, 
for Honour's sake, if for no other cause, will not the Anglo- 
Saxon race — the Governments and the Peoples of Great 
Britain and the United States, who between them are prim- 
arily responsible for the creation of the Congo State — make 
up their minds to handle this monstrous outrage resolutely, 
and so point a way and set an example which others would 
then be compelled to follow ? 

In that hope, with humility, with an ever-present con- 
sciousness of inadequacy to portray the greatness of the evil, 
and the greatness of the responsibility, the author submits this 
volume to the Public. 

E. D. M. 



APPENDIX 



MUTILATIONS 

I. BlASIA AND MONOALA. 
IL iKABa 

III. LOKOTA. 

IV. MoLA Ekuliti; Mokili and Eyeka. 

OPPRESSION AT LOLANGA 

L Letter: Gilchrist to Governor-General. 
II. Gilchrist to Dr. Guinness. 
III. De Cuvelier and Guinness. 

CONSUL CASEMENT'S PROTEST TO CONGO STATE 
AUTHORITIES. 

ANNEXES TO RABINEK CASE. 

JUDGMENT OF THE APPEAL COURT OF BOMA IN 
THE CASE OF CAUDRON AND JONES, MARCH, 1904. 

LETTERS RECEIVED FROM THE CONGO THIS YEAR 
SINCE THE PRESENT VOLUME WAS COMPLETED : 

In the Domaine de la Couronne : Rev. A. E. Scrivener. 
In the Domaine Priv^ : Mr. John H. Harris. 
In the Domaine Priv^ : Rev. J. H. Weeks. 
In the Domaine Priv^ : Rev. W. B. Frame. 
In the Lower Congo : A British Trader. 
In the " Equateur " District : A Missionary. 
In and around the Baringa District of the " Abir " Concession 
during the First Six Months of the Present Year : 

Mr. Herbert Frost's Diary. 

Letter from Mr. John H. Harris. 

Letter from Mr. E. Stannard. 
Thirteen Years of Congo State Rule in ICatanga* 
Letter from the Rev. Dugald Campbell 

KING LEOPOLD'S PROMISES. MANIFESTO OF THE 
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION. 



MUTILATIONS 

I 

BiASiA {grown man). 
MoNGALA {small boy). 

These two poor beings, whose arms, as will be ^een, were terribly 
shattered by gun-fire at dose quarters, were brought by their friends 
to the Mission Station at Bonginda, on September 7, 1903, during 
the visit of His Majesty's Consul. 

These photographs were taken on that date by the Rev. W. D. 
Armstrong, the Chief of the Mission. 

Both were natives of the Ngombe town Bosombongo, one of 
those which enjoy the privilege of contributing to the " obligation 
de rimpdt," which, with an extraordinary benevolence, the Congo 
Government assigns as its principal free trade perquisite to the 
trading company, called the La Lulanga Society. In order to carry 
on its tradmg '' operations " on these generous lines, that company 
quartered a variety of sentries throughout the district of the lower 
Lulonga, who, being armed with weapons supplied to the company 
by the Congo Government, and ammunition, also issued from 
Government stores, were able to induce^ by the most gentle means, 
the fortnightly payment of this unique form of ''commercial 
dealing." 

A sentry of the company, a man named Itela, considered that 
he, too, had a right to share in the " obligation de rimp6t" — and 
since his claims to participate in the profit of the system did not 
receive due recognition from the chiefs of Bosombongo, he seized 
four " hostages," in exact accordance with the " regidations " pre- 
scribed by the Governor-General of the Congo State, for the better 
civilising of the Mongalla region as exemplified in the Caudron 
case.* 

Two of these '' hostages," men named Ndekeli and Nabelengi, 
Itela tied up to trees and deliberately shot dead before the ^es of 
the villagers as "proof of his prowess," and to serve as warning of 
what should happen to all who refused to obey. 

The horrified chiefs of the town hurried off to the factory of the 
company which had placed Itela in their midst, with the result that 
they were promptly made &8t in the chain. 

* See Chapter XII. 



376 APPENDIX 

Being rdeased oo promise of "good bdiarionr,* and under die 
cnstomarj bail of diidrms for die white man's taUe, thej reCnmed 
to their town — only to find that, as prniirfiment for their action in 
going to complain, the sentry had shot, in die way these photographs 
indirate, the other " hostages" — die man Biasia and chfld Mongala. 

These trembling creatures, widi shattered limbSy were still tied to 
the trees, bleeding and grieronsly wounded. 

In order to obtain t^ir releaae die cUefi had to pay to Itela a 
fine of 2000 brass rods (j£4 sterling). 

The report of these further proceedings of die r epresentative of 
the organisation, which has opened up an aoooont, ** Central Afiica 
in account with Civilisation,* evoked no response from the employers 
of the sen^, other than commendation, retention at his post, and 
the injunction to the people of Bosombongo, that if their rubber 
was not prompUy brought in each fortni^^t, *' a worse thing" should 
happen. 

Accordingly these living instances of the benefits accruing fixnn 
the fatherly system of Government o( the Congo State, sought His 
Majesty's Consul, in the hope that ocular demonstration of the 
inCunies of that rule might move his heart, and mi^t induce others 
than their benevolent regenerators to believe in the terrors of their 
oppression. 

II 

Ik ABO (a native of the village of). 
BosuNGUMA {the same town as Epondds), 

This boy was brought by his friends into the Mission at 
Bonginda, on Sunday evening, September 6, 1903, with the request 
that His Majesty's Consul, then in the Mission, should visit Bosun- 
guma, to see there another mutilated boy (Epondo). 

Ikabo had lost his hand, he averred, and all the men who 
accompanied him, by the act of one of the sentries of the La Lulanga 
Company. 

This photograph was taken by the Rev. W. D. Armstrong, of 
Bonginda, on September 7, 1903. 

In addition to the loss of his right hand, Ikabo was terribly 
wounded in the shoulder by a bullet wound. The shoulder-blade 
had been broken — and in setting had become distorted — so that the 
boy carried a veritable hump, which the photograph does not show. 

The scar of the bullet was clear and plain across the flesh. 

It will be observed from Mr. Fans' declaration to the Com- 
mandant at Coquilhatville,* that Epondo in his " retraction" assigned 
the loss of Ikabo*s hand and that of another mutilated individual in 
his village of Bosunguma to the acts of the soldiers of the Govern- 
ment in the "wars." 

While publishing that one of Mr. Faris* statements, which the 
• Sec Chapter XXX. 



APPENDIX 377 

Congo Govanment thought might reflect on His Majesty's Consul, 
this damning testimony of their prize witness is carefuUy withheld 
from that extraordinary international document they have termed 
the '' Notes sur le Rapport de M. Casement," but which a plainer 
intelligence would designate by a plainer and much simpler name 



III 

LOKOTA OF MPELENGI. 

This child — a boy — ^was brought by his friends to the Mission at 
Bonginda, on September 7, 1903, during the visit of ^ Majesty's 
Consul 

This photograph of the mutilated^ child was taken by the Rev. 
W. D. Armstrong, on the occasion of the visit to the Mission. 

The village of Mpelengi lies only some three miles away from the 
Mission of Bonginda. This child was only able to run at the date 
of his mutilation, which is stated to have occurred under the 
foUowing circumstances about four and a half or five years ago, at 
a period when the rigime of the rubber blessmg was being worked 
to its utmost in the lower Lulonga : — 

Mpelengi was ''attacked" for its fiulure to bring in enough 
rubber in the way described in March of this year in the Cauckon 
case.* Sentries of the trading organisation appointed to the moral 
and material regeneration of Mpelengi were sent against it, with the 
usual supply of Government-distributed guns and ammunition. 

The sentries, under a leader named Mokwolo, were named Ebomi, 
Mokuba, and Bomolo. These four well-armed men set out from 
a neighbouring town named Bolondo, and attacked Mpelengi at 
dawn. One of the first to fall was a principal chief of the town, 
a man named Eliba. The people fled to the forest, and the child 
Lokota toddled after. Mokwolo pursued and knocked the baby 
down with the butt of his rifle, and cut off its hand. 

The hand of Eliba was also cut off and taken away in triumph, 
to attest that the sentries had done their duty and had punished the 
'' rebel " town, which dared to fiul in supplying the fixed quantity of 
indiarubber. These methods of tax-collecting are simplicity itself, 
and involve no formalities, such as receipt signing. 

They are now so popular that the Congo State is believed to 
meditate a new Coat of Arms— or Hands. 

The design will closely follow that in the Shield of Ulster — 
where the Red-Hand shines conspicuous ; but in the Congo shield, 
I understand, the hands will be numerous and all black — while the 
motto to be substituted for the existing ''Travail et progress," is, I 
am informed, to be " HANDS OFF 1 ^ Trul^ an appropriate motto 
for this poor little State, menaced by the mtrigues of p^dioos 
Albion I 

* See Chapter XII. 



378 APPENDIX 



IV 

In the Lake Mantumba Region : Mola Eruliti : Mokili : 
AND Eyeka. 

The conespondent * in the Congo who forwards me these photo- 
graphs, accompanies them by the following explanations : — 

'' March loth, 1904. 

** Dear Mr. Morel, 

*' In sending you the accompan3rmg photographs of three 
mutikted natives who have come to my notice during my stay on the 
Congo, I wish to give you a few particulars of these cases. 

'' Reading from left to right diese victims are — 

** The youth standing up, with both hands gone — Mola Ekuliti^f 
This boy was a native of Mokili, a town of the Lake Mantumba 
district. 

** His town was attacked by the soldiers of the Government post 
of Bikoro, in 1898, under the command of an officer whom I knew 
and often met. 

" Several Natives were killed, but Mola was tied up and taken 
away to the lake-side, where, owing to the tightness of the thongs 
round his wrists, the flesh had swollen. The officer directed the 
thongs to be beaten off, but his soldiers translated that into beating 
off the hands — ^which they did with the butt end of their rifles 
against a tree. The officer was standing by drinking palm wine. 

'' Mola was shortly afterwards cared for by the Mission Station at 
Okoko. When Mr. Clark went there in 1901, he wrote to Governor- 
General Wahis, at Boma, a letter drawing his attention to the case 
of Mola, and begging that provision should be made for him by the 
Government No reply was sent to this letter. Mr. Clark, on 
reaching Europe, wrote to the Central Administration in Brussels 
(this was in May or June, 1901), and sent a photograph of the boy 
in his helpless plight, b^ging that relief should be forthcoming. 

** No notice was taken of this appeal — save by a paragraph in 
one of the Brussels papers insultmg Mr. Clark. 

"Mr. Clark returned to the Congo from America in 1903. 
Mola, meanwhile, having been always cared for at Okoko. He was 
seen there by our Consul, Mr. Casement, when he visited Lake 
Matumba last year, and the Consul took note of Mola's condition, 
and made a note of his statement as to how the mutilation occurred. 
Mr. Clark gave the Consul a copy of the letter he had written to 

♦ The correspondent sent me two photographs, one of Mola Ekuliti 
by himself (which appears in this volume), the other of Mola Ekuliti in a 
group of three, a little boy (Mokili) and an old woman (Eyeka). The 
second photograph is not sufficiently clear for reproduction. 

t See plate. 




APPENDIX 379 

Governor-General Wahis from Boma in 190X, and the Consul spoke 
to some of the State officers in the Lake about the bojr's condition. 
They pretended to be shocked, and the Commissaire-G^n^ral, with 
the State Attorney's deputy, hurried down from CoquilhatviUe to 
hold an inquiry into the case of mutilation reported to the British 
Consul They all assured the Consul they had known nothing of 
the case, and after holding a Court of Inquiry, as it was termed, 
Mola was provided for with a house, a wife, and twenty brass rods a 
week, as pension, in the State post of Bikoro. This was done in 
reality to hoodwink the Consul, who was assured that this was an 
isolated case, and they thanked him for bringing it to their notice 
and enabling them to make 'reparation,' The Consul told Mr. 
Clark that he was not satisfied at all — ^as it was quite clear to him 
that for two and a half years the Congo Government had known all 
about Mola through Mr. Clark's letters to them, and that they had 
done nothing, save insult Mr. Clark through the papers until he, the 
Consul, appeared on the scene. Then, in response to a few words 
he let drop in friendly conversation, the whole district was put in 
motion to convince him of their sympathy ! The Consul said the 
case struck him as painfully significant, and that it was so fully 
corroborated by the other things he had seen and heard in Lake 
Mantumba — particularly from State officials there, themselves — 
that he had no option but to believe that the country had been 
systematically raided for rubber for several years. 

*^ The woman sitting down was an old creature named Eyeka. 
I knew her well She was the aunt of one of our best girls, who 

is now married to , and she often came here to visit her niece. 

She was the sister of ^'s mother — ^they came from the town of 

Mwebi, which is on the west shore of Lake Mantumba. Mwebi was 
attacked by the troops from Bikoro in pursuance of the customary 
punitive policy for not working rubber. 

'' Eyeka more than once told us in the Mission how she lost her 
hand. When the soldiers came to Mwebi, she said, they heard a 
bugle blow, and she and her son and many people fled. While 
they ran shots were fired, and her son fell by her side. She fainted, 
and fell down toa Then she felt some one cutting at her wrist, and 
she was afraid to move, for she knew that if she moved her life 
would be taken. 

'* When all was quiet she opened her eyes. Her son was lying 
dead beside her. His hand was gone, and hers was gone, and she 
was bleeding away. 

** This story of Eyeka's I have heard from many others. A 

small boy up in Banto had just the same experience when led 

the soldiers from Wangata. 

*' There are still many more poor beings around the Lake without 
hands, and I have heard these poor men tell the present Government 
officer at Bikoro, in my hearing, that their hands had been hacked 
ofif against the sides of canoes to which they were clinging, by the 
State soldiers. No one was ever punished for all these barbarities — 



38o APPENDIX 

that should be always remembered — and no attempt at proriding 
for the mutilated victims of this rule of savagery, whichy for nearly 
seven years, made Lake Mantumba a hdl upon earth, has ever been 
attempted until the British Consul's visit last year, and his inquiry 
into Mola's case showed the authorities that the truth was at last 
likely to come out Since the Consul's visit every effort has been 
made to discredit him, and to get up a case to show that he was mis- 
informed, and we have heard of the efforts in this direction in the 
case of the boy Epondo, whom the Consul found mutilated up the 
Lulonga River and brought down to Coquilhatville. 

** After Mola Ekuliti, which they could not deny, they thought 
the best way of dealing with Epondo's case was to deny the wli^le 
of the facts, to represent the Consul as entirely hoodwinked by the 
Natives, and so, if possible, discredit all he might say about the 
terrible wrongdoing which has f one on here for years. 

** The accompanying letter * from Mr. Paris, at Bolengi, who was 
called in by the Authorities at Coquilhatville to tesdfy to the 
retraction the poor little boy Epondo was forced to niiake after 
the Consul had gone a¥ray, is pretty dear evidence as fieur as it 
goes. 

** But I am foigetting the photo of the mutilated people. The 
third figure — the little boy on the right, whose right hand is gone — 
was a poor little fellow named Mwanza. 

'' He was found by Mr. Clark, in 1897, over in Bikoro Station, 
and the Government officer there allowed Mr. Clark to bring him 
back to Ikoko, and to provide for him. The poor little chap was 
too sick to do much good, and he died about two years ago. There 
were three other children, all mutilated, at Ikoko, who were cared 
for by the Mission there at various times within my knowledge. 
They were — 

" Ipembe — a little girl who was found Ijdng beside the dead body 
of her mother, not far from the Mission Station. The mother had 
been shot by the State soldiers when they came over from Bikoro to 
raid Ikoko in 1895 — in one of the punitive expeditions of that sad 
time. The mother's hand was cut off, and the child's also taken — 
but the poor little thing did not die, but lay beside its mother until 
some of the Mission boys heard of it and told Mr. and Mrs. Clark. 
A man called Moke, who was being taken back as a prisoner, told 
the Mission boys about Ipembe's mother being killed, and the child 
beside her, and so Mr. Clark sent out that evening and Ipembe was 
brought in to the Mission. At dinner-time that day Mr. Claric saw 
a soldier carrying a basket, which he laid down close to the verandah 
of the Mission while he went to get a canoe ready to go back to 
Bikoro in. 

** Mr. Clark went out and looked in the basket, and found it had 
seventeen hands in it Mr. Clark called Mrs. Clark to go out, and 
she told me she went and it made her fed sick. She stc^ over the 

• This letter is referred to in Chapter XXX. 




APPENDIX 381 

basket while her husband oounted the hands — three of them were 
babies' hands. 

** The soldier took the basket of hands away with him in the 
canoe to Bikoro, which lies in sight of Okoko across the lake. 

" The officer who was in command at Bikoro told Mr. Clark once 
that his dog used to eat some of the hands the men brought hack from 
their raiding, 

'' Ipembe, I know, was taken down to the State camp at Irebu 
by Mr. Clark to have her hand seen to, and Dr. Reussens, who was 
there then, dressed the stump and did what he could for her. She 
lived for about six months only. She was only about five or six 
years old. 

'' Then there was another small boy named Mwanza— who was 
brought in in Uie beginning of 1897, after a raid dose to the Mission. 
He was in the school, but did not live long. 

''Another boy was a little chap the late Mr. Sjoblom got from 
the State officer at Bikoro. This boy was called Ingwere, and he, 
too, only lived a short time. 

'' When the British Consul was here in August last year, I know 
he was told by one of the State officers in the neighbourhood — I 
heard the officer tell him myself — that there were still a lot of 
mutilated people in the lake-side country, and that they often came 
in and told the officer how his predecessors had given orders for 
their mutilation. 

''The officer said that one of his predecessors, of whom he was 
speaking by name, had killed 'thousands' of the people around the 
lake, and that the mutilation of those killed had gone on for a long 
time, until the scandal in the Belgian Parliament and the outcry in 
Europe stopped it* 

" Just after the Consul had gone away, three poor men — some of 
those this officer had referred to — came over the lake to try to see 
the Consul, and tell him. They hoped that he might be able to 
help them, as the State officers had not done anything for them. 
Mutilation of the dead is not now permitted openly^ to the Govern- 
ment soldiers; but it must be remembered diat Uie long spell of 
murder and massacre and pitiless destruction of life^ which went 
on from 1893 to 1900, has done its work. 

" The people in the Lake are entirely broken, and only a remnant 
of them remain. 

" It was not a wise policy, apart 'from all other considerations, for 
it has killed the goose that laid the golden egg, so far as this district 
is concerned, and it will take many years of peace and rest for the 
population to recover, while the native belief in the white man's 
truth, or justice, or decency, has gone for ever. They often say to 
me now, ' Will he never go home to his own country ? Has not the 
white man got enough rubber yet ? ' Poor people ! a strange 

* In 1900. Stopped it locally, and in its intensive form, no doubt ; but 
that mutilation of the living is still common — whatever may be the 
case as regards the dead — ^we know. 



382 APPENDIX 

visitation — more dire than that which fell npon the Egyptians, for 
that was from above, with all its earthl j plagues of loathsome nature ; 
but who can say that what has come to the Congo people — ^whatever 
their faults may be — ^has been from above, or prompted by any love, 
but that of gain. 

'' Believe me, dear Mr. Morel, 

"Yours faithfully, 



OPPRESSION AT LOLANGA AND NEIGHBOURHOOD 

I 

Letter of the Rev. S. Gilchrist to the Governor-General 
OF THE Congo State on the Condition of the People 

IN THE LOLANGA DISTRICT, JULY I903. 

" C. B. M., Lolanga, July, 1903. 
"To His Excellency the Governor-General. 

'^ As a member of the white community of this district, I beg to 
address you on a matter which, I feel, needs your interference. This 
matter is the State impositions laid on Lolanga towns. 

" The town is composed of ten small sections. Six of these are 
on the up-river side of our station, three on the lower side, the 
remaining one is on an island near the opposite bank of the main 
river. This latter section was formerly the outlying one on the 
down-river end of the town, but moved to the island on account of 
the close proximity of the old site to the State wooding-post, where 
a soldier is stationed 

** After taking a very careful census, I find that the population of 
the sections on this side is 900. From my personal observation of 
the remaining section, I should say that a maximum estimate of the 
remaining section will be 50. Of these 1000 people 350 are 
children, 50 are working on the State steamers and elsewhere, and 
150 are sick and infirm. Of the remaining 560 — which is the work- 
ing population — 200 are men and youths, 360 are larger girls and 
women. The 560 of the working population is a very variable 
quantity, chiefly on account of the large amount of sickness due to 
continual exposure in getting fish, etc. 

** The impositions consist of * chikwanga,' dried fish, fowls, ducks, 
and firewood. Six of the sections supply the State post at Coquilhat- 
ville, and the Lolanga wooding-post ; three sections are expected to 
supply us — ^the Mission (that is to supply chikwanga, fish, and 
fowls). They work the firewood for the State. The other section 
carries its supplies to Mampoko for the La Lulanga Company. 

'' In the sections which carry ^eir supplies to the State there are, 
on an average, no men to supply 300 bunches of fish per week, 
and 330 women to supply— cultivate and cook — ^430 bunches of 



384 APPENDIX 

chikwanga, each bunch weighing about seven pounds, or a total of 
one ton seven cwt There is also a slave town behind Lolanga 
(four miles away), which supplies Coquilhatville with another 280 
bunches of chikwanga. This village has a population of 1 1 men, 
180 women, and 89 children. All the above sections supply no 
fowls and 12 ducks per month to Coquilhatville. They also have 
each to keep 15 fathoms of firewood supplied to the wooding-post 

" In considering the amount of the tax, it must not be overlooked 
that a large number of men are employed three days each week in 
conveying the various supplies to Coquilhatville, whilst very fire- 
quently canoes are sunk, and if recovered the food is lost ; sometimes 
Uves are lost also. The market value of Lolanga of one week's 
supplies conveyed to Coquilhatville (of chikwanga and fish) is 
j£g los. ; the price actually paid by the State is jQa 3^. Firewood, 
for which Commissaire Du Baw promised the people 10 mitakus 
per fathom — but for which they seldom get any payment — is worth 
(according to prices paid by us on the French Congo) 3 francs per 
fathom or 90 francs per week. 

** In the three sections of the town which supply the Mission there 
are about 67 men to supply 38 bunches of fish — these bunches are 
about three times larger than those taken to Coquilhatville — ^and 
130 women to cultivate and cook 140 bunches of chikwanga. These 
are also supposed to bring fowls weekly. They have, mcnreover, 
each to keep 15 fathoms of firewood supplied to the State wooding- 
post. 

'' The one section which supplies the La Lulanga Company at 
Mampoko has 13 men to procure 50 bunches of fish, and 22 women 
to get 100 bunches of chikwanga. They also supply fowls, and 
keep 15 fathoms of firewood supplied to the wooding-post 

'' With regard to the labour involved in getting these various sup- 
plies, much more is involved than might at first sight be supposed 
In the procuring of the fish the modes of fishing with which these 
people have been familiar are adapted to rising, seceding, or ex- 
treme low water. Before the State Imposition was laid upon them 
they never thought of doing any fishing except at these particular 
seasons, and then caught sufficient to keep themselves going till the 
next fishing season. These modes of fishing are lU-adapted to 
procure the quantities demanded of them — ^in fact, they buy a large 
quantity from another tribe whose surroundings and modes of 
fishing are adapted to other seasons. Of course they pay very much 
more for it than the price they receive for it from the State. 

'* With regard to: the chikwanga : the land suitable for cultivation 
is in this district confined to a very limited area, on account of the 
lowness and consequent swampiness of the ground. They therefore 
have to go back frequently upon the land which has been excessively 
exhausted with manioc crops, and of course get small returns in 
quantity for the labour expended. This fact, coupled with the 
enormous quantity demanded, necessitates the buying of large 
quantities of the raw root (at a great monetary loss), and very often 



\ 



APPENDIX 385 

the chikwanga is short in quantity and bare in quality, the 
poisonous acid not being sufficiently eliminated. This is not 
calculated to be for the well-being of the consumer. 

** Concerning the supply of fowls : besides the ordinary demand 
for fowls and eggs, there are extraordinarily heavy demands made, 
so much so that the people have no nucleus from which to rear. 

" As respects the firewood : the number of steamers passing up 
and down the river is so great that they no sooner get their number 
of fathoms complete than the whole is taken away; and very 
frequently, although they work very hard to keep up the supply, 
there is not a complete store for a week at a stretch. The native 
implements by which the wood is cut are of such a primitive nature 
— little suited to cut the kind of wood required for the steamers — 
that the Native is badly equipped to get the quantities demanded. 
The expense also of these primitive knives is no small item in the 
amount of the tax. The time of the men is also so fully occupied 
in getting the fish that it is a matter of either neglecting that or the 
firewood. 

** What with the variety of the taxes, the enormous demands, the 
small number of the people, and the difficulties encountered in 
attempting to procure the supplies, the people are continually falling 
short in quantities. The consequence of this is that some of the 
men are detained in chain at Coquilhatville until the quantities are 
completed. Another result is the people are exorbitantly fined. 
Only a few weeks ago Captain Hagstrom (acting in the name of the 
Commissaire of the district) imposed a fine of 5000 mitakus (45,000 
in all) because their quantities of firewood had been short. They 
were given one night to gather the mitakus, or, failing to do so, a 
band of soldiers would be sent to sack the towns. During the last 
eighteen months fines amounting to over 100,000 mitakus have been 
imposed on Lolanga town, the white man's valuation of which is 
;^2oo, but according to native value representing much more. 

" One instance of exorbitant fines came to my notice two months 
ago at the slave town, Walla. Besides the (then) usual demand of 
fowls, a special demand was made, to be procured in a few days. 
These not being forthcoming, an under-officer — a white man — ^was 
sent with a band of about thirty soldiers to demand, not only the 
fowls, but 50,000 mitakus, and 20 people to be transported to the 
river wooding-posts — ^that is, away from the neighbourhood. When 
the officer and soldiers arrived, of course all the people ran away to 
the forest. The officer, however, took up his abode in the town, 
and, after a few days' waiting, was able to entice a number of the 
people back, amongst whom were several of the chief men. A 
nutnber of these were tied to sticks in the open sun, and so kept for 
some days — for some time — until the majority of the people had 
returned. After staying in the town for a fortnight — ^the officer and 
soldiers being meantime supported by the people — the greater part 
of the mitakus were gathered, and tlie officer departed with these 
and most of the men demanded, but still keeping a number of people 

2 C 



386 APPENDIX 

in the chain at the wooding-post till the demand was fully met To 
procure these mitakus some of the men had to sell their wives and 
children, and some sold themselves to the river people. 

'' Eight years ago there was a population in these towns of at least 
5000 people, compared with the 1200 of to-day. The impositions 
then were not nearly so heavy as at the present time. 

" In conclusion, I would draw your attention to the money value of 
the taxes and fines, over and above the nominal value or price they 
receive for these supplies. It is at the rate of ;^6o per month for 
the last eighteen months. I would also like you to know that the 
people themselves are literally starving to keep up these supplies. 
In becoming acquainted with these facts I cannot but think you will 
feel it your duty to take steps to remove these oppressive measures, 
uider which the people are groaning — ^and dying. 

(Signed) "S. Gilchrist." 



Additional Note by Mr. Gilchrist. 

" P.S. — ^Afler the above letter was written to the Governor-General 
other fines were imposed which brought the amount up to close on 
200,000 rods. One thing I omitted from that letter was to state 
that the women of the towns have to go down to work at the, or in 
the, coffee plantation three times a week. For this they get abso- 
lutely no payment ; and, as Mr. Bond said in his letter, the coffee 
is allowed to faU on the ground and rot — it is never gathered." 



II 

How Mr. Gilchrist's Charges were " inquired " into. Letter 
FROM Mr. Gilchrist to Dr. Guinness, January, 1904. 

" C. B. M., Lolanga, January 14, 1904. 

"Dear Sir, 

** I beg to enclose a copy of a letter for your perusal and use 
which I sent to the Governor of this State in July of last year. My 
reason for appealing to him was that I thought it just possible the 
state of things indicated by the facts stated in the letter might 
be unknown to him, and therefore existing without his sanction and 
approval 

"The answer of the Governor to the letter, dated August 26th, 
transmitted through our legal representatives, was as follows : ' The 
situation of thmgs signalised in the Rev. — Gilchrist's letter will be 
the object of serious inquiry, and measures will be subsequently 
taken to put an end to them.' 

"This, of course, is a translation from the French. 

" The measures promised to put an end to these things have either 
not been taken, or else they have proved ineffective ; for the same 



APPENDIX 387 

order of things continueSy practically the same as they were. The 
few improvements noticeable are — the fines have not been so 
frequent (only one or two having been levied since the letter was 
written), there have been no detentions in the chain since then, and 
now they have a book for each section of the town, in which the 
quantities are marked and the prices paid for them. But so far as 
lightening their burdens is concerned, nothing has been done. 

** The only inquiry that we know of having been made scarcely 
merits the epithet of * serious.' A day or two after our Consul, Mr. 
Casement, passed down, the Chef de Poste of Coquilhatville passed 
up on a district steamer with 25 soldiers to quell a rising among 
the people in the ' La Lolanga ' territory, which had been insti- 
gated by the missionaries and the Consul! (so the report went 
which the Director of that Company took to the head-quarters of the 
district, but those living in the district never saw anything of it), and 
to inquire into the cases of hand cutting that had been reported. 
This officer called in on his way up to make some inquiries of us, 
the principal of which were : Where and when had we paid the 
taxes on the timber which we had used in the construction of our 
houses ? How many goats and sheep had we on our stations ? How 
many fowls did the people bring us ? and how many would it take 
to supply all the white people on our station? and how many 
rations would be required to supply our workmen more than what 
we get from the towns or sections of the towns allotted to supply us ? 

" On the return of this officer from his inquiry up river he took 
up his abode at the wooding-post, which is about half an hour's 
journey below here at the bottom end of the town. Accompanied 
with seven soldiers, armed with rifles and a full supply of cartridges} 
he took a daily excursion mto the town to make ' inquiry ' in the 
various sections of it 

" One thing is to be noted about the * inquirer.' He is the man 
to whom these people take their suppUes at Coquilhatville, who, of 
course, acting on behalf of the Commissaire, receive the fines levied 
on them, put them in chain when their supplies were short of the 
numbers demanded, and otherwise had dealings with them. His 
manner of making the inquiries was noteworthy too. He selected one 
or two of the older men of the villages, who know very little of the 
State lingo, and are most easily intimidated by the sight of the 
'Bini' (the rifle used by the State soldiers), and who thus are 
easily got into a frame of mind to make statements that are more 
calculated to please the inquisitor than those whom he represented, 
than to give the facts of the case. The younger men, who know 
the lingo used by the State and the traders, and who are less easily 
intimidated, and who have practically all the dealings with the State 
officials about the supplies and frnes, were in most cases not 
listened to. Then, as regards the questions asked, and the manner 
in which they were asked, the principal aim in them seemed, so far 
as we could judge from them as they were stated to us by those who 
heard them, as well as their own conclusions about them, to try 



388 APPENDIX 

to find out something against the missionari^ and to lead them to 
make contradictory statements. In his inquiries about the number 
of brass rods they had been fined, some of those of whom the in- 
quiries were made understood them to mean them as referring to their 
own section, some as referring to the whole district, some as referring 
to all the fines that had been imposed, and others as only to the later 
ones. Some of the questions asked were : What supplies diey took 
to CoquilhatviUe ; what prices they got for them ; what prices they 
got in the towns for the same things ; if any of their people had been 
tied up ; if any had died in the chain ; and such-like questions. One 
man asked the officer if he was trying to make fun of him — he who had 
to do with the whole matter at Coquilhatviile-^asking them such 
questions. 

** That is the last we have heard of the inquiries, but it would 
seem, from the length of time that has elapsed, the last we are likely 
to hear. 

"S. G.** 

Ill 

The Congo State's Reply in Europe to Mr. Gilchrist. 
Extract of Dr. Guinness* Letter to M. de Cuvelibr. 

"April 21, 1904. 

*^ In order to show you the kind of complaint that we make locally, 
I beg to send you a copy of the most recent letter we have received 
on Uiis subject from the Rev. Somerville Gilchrist of Lolanga, 
together with the answer of the Governor-General, and a subsequent 
statement from Mr. Gilchrist. With regard to the latter, I need 
scarcely say that we should have been glad to note a substantial 
reduction of the taxation of the people, so that the actual pressure 
of taxation should correspond with the letter and spirit of tiie laws 
on this subject published in November last, by which it was arranged 
that forty homrs a month should be the limit of labour demanded 
from the natives. I should be glad to hear from you as to whether 
or not you consider the existing conditions at Lolanga, as indicated 
by Mr. Gilchrist, correctly represent the forty hours' effective work 
that the Government considers it has a right to demand from the 
people. May I ask for an answer to this latter question at your 
earliest convenience." 



Extract of M. de Cuvelier's Reply. 

" Bruxelles, Mai 21, 1904. 

" Dans une lettre au Gouvemeur-G^ndral, M. Gilchrist semble 
le r^f^rer k des dires d'indigtees. L'on ne sanrait 6tre assez 
en garde contre cette source d'informations, et c'est sous cette 



APPENDIX 389 

r^rve que je vous signale enti^autres que des indigtees des 
villages de Bokanza et de Bossumba ont d^dar^ qu'ils ne recevaient 
pas des missionnaires le paiement complet des vivres qu'ils leur 
fournissaient, et que ceux du village Bokele se sont plamts de ce 
que les missionnaires de Lulonga ddtenaient des femmes sous pr^ 
texte qu'elles ^taient trop jeunes pour travailler et devaient rester k 
la mission pour recevoir I'enseignement. Cest ainsi encore que T- 
incident de Walla, dont parle M. Gilchrist, lui a ^t^ mal rapport^, 
cet incident ayant ^t^ provoqu^ par un acte de rebellion des 
indigenes de ce village qui avaient attaqu^ le repr^ntant de I'auto- 
rit^ et I'avaient transport^, ligott^, k la mission anglaise." 



CONSUL CASEMENTS LETTER TO THE CONGO STATE 
AUTHORITIES IN AFRICA PROTESTING AGAINST 
TREATMENT METED OUT TO MISSIONARIES, 
AND DRAWING ATTENTION TO ABUSES UPON 
THE PEOPLE* 

"September 4, 1903. 

" M. LE Vice Gouverneur-General, 

*' I have the honour to draw your Excellency's attention to 
the fact that complaints have reached me from several members of 
the Congo Balolo Mission as to restrictions placed upon their free- 
dom of direct dealing, chiefly for food supplies, with the Natives 
dwelling around those of their stations situated in the basins of the 
Lopori and Maringa Rivers. 

'* These restrictions are represented to me as the outcome of the 
system of control established by the Society termed the * A.B.LR.' 
(formerly known as the Anglo-Belgian India-Rubber Company), 
whereby the Natives of the territory leased or conceded to it by the 
Government of the Congo Independent State are compelled, by 
armed force, to work in the exclusive interest of that Society. 

" In drawing my attention to the effiect upon their labours which 
this system of forced dealing induces, the members of the Congo 
Balolo Mission affected by it did not suggest or seek my mtervention 
with the local authorities. But despite the fact that they have main- 
tained silence on this point, doubtless from an earnest wish to cause 
no umbrage to the Society whose guests they are said to be, I feel 
it to be my duty to draw your Excellency's attention to the situation 
of the English Mission stations established within the A.RLR. Con- 
cession, since it is clear to me that the situation thus created is not 
only prejudicial to the prior rights secured to missionary enterprise 
in the Congo State by the terms of the Berlin Act, but is in direct 
conflict with the common law of this country, 

"In making this representation I would, therefore, desire to 
emphasise the fact that it emanates from His Britannic Majesty's 
Consulate alone, and is directed not against individuals, but against 
a system which is, in my opinion, in conflict with the principles of 
an international obligation it is one of my duties as Consul to seek 
to see maintained in its integrity. 

* A copy of this letter Consul Casement deemed necessary to send to 
the representative of the Mission on whose behalf he wrote. I am indebted 
to the head of that Mission in Europe, Dr. Guinness, for this copy. 



APPENDIX 391 

*' I take this step all the more readily, in that I have been given 
to understand that the personal relations of the English missionaries 
with the local agents of the A.B.I.R. Company are, and have been, 
invariably friendly, and that no one of my countrymen seeks to 
attribute the responsibility for the state of affairs which prevails to 
the failure or misconduct of an individual agent of that Society. 

'* On the contrary, the missionaries who have sought my advice 
have one and all expressed themselves in cordial terms of their 
neighbours, and I believe they are very sensible of the many acts of 
personal kindness and of the help so frequently extended to them by 
the local agents of this Company. 

" For my own part I have observed, during my recent stay at 
Bongandanga, how unceasing were the efforts of M. Lejeune, the 
local representative of the A.B.I.IL Society, to furnish the mission 
station there with all necessary food supplies, and to see that the 
comfort and welfare of its members were, in so far as he could 
provide for them, in no wise diminished by reason of the compulsion 
he was forced to exercise upon the surrounding district 

*' I had, moreover, to thank M. Lejeune for much kindness and 
hospitality shown to myself during my few days' stay at Bonga- 
ndanga. 

*' It is, therefore, in no sense a personal complaint that I feel it 
my duty to address to your Excellency, but one directed against a 
system of pressure exercised on the Native inhabitants which very 
seriously affects the work, both moral and material, of the English 
Mission stations established in their midst. 

" This system, as I have seen it at work, I have no hesitation in 
denouncing as entirely illegal 

" By being forced to owe their daily and weekly food supplies to 
it, the English missionaries dwelling within the A.B.I.IL Concession 
are made participators in a systematic breach of the laws of this 
country, as well as sharers in a method of dealing with the Natives, 
which is contrary to the dictates of humanity, and which must 
fatally compromise their teaching in the eyes of the community they 
seek to instruct and lift up. 

** 1 am sure yoiu: Excellency would share my feelings of indig- 
nation had the unhappy spectacles I have witnessed of late come 
before your Excellency's own eyes. 

" I cannot believe that the full extent of the illegality of the 
system of arbitrary impositions, followed by dire and iUegal punish- 
ments, which is in force over so wide an area of the country I have 
recently visited, is known to or properly appreciated by your Excel- 
lency or the central administration of the Congo State Government. 

*' I have seen women and young children summarily arrested, taken 
away from their homes and families, to be kept in wholly illegal and 
painful detention, guarded often by armed sentries, because, as I 
was informed by their captors, their villages, or their male relatives, 
had failed to bring in antelope meat or some other conmiodity 
desired by the local European. 



392 APPENDIX 

" I have seen recently, but not within the limits of the A.RI.R. 
Concession, a number of Native women — eleven in all — ^with five 
infants at the breast, and three of them big with child, who had been 
taken from their homes and were tied together by the neck or 
ankle, guarded by two armed sentries — one of whom had a cap-gun, 
and the other a double-barrelled shot-gun. 

" When I asked the reason of this detention, I was informed by 
the principal of these two guards (the man with the shot-gun) that 
this was but the customary measture of precaution the chief of the 
neighbouring European factory adopted to insure that each week's 
or fortnight's supply of indiarubber * due ' by the husbands of these 
women should be quite up to the mark. 

'* On the 2nd September I encountered at Bongandanga fifteen 
women and girls, one with a baby at the breast, being led to the 
prison (termed, I find, the ' maison des otages '), and guarded by 
three sentries of the A.RLR. Company ; and in answer to my in- 
quiry as to whom these women were, and why they were being thus 
led away, I was told by the acting representative of that Company, 
a M. Peters, that they were arrested and would be kept in detention 
until their husbands or male relatives had redeemed them in antelope 
or other meat which was required from their village for the use of die 
white man's table. 

'* I was further informed that a part of the meat furnished by 
this process of extortion would be sent over to the English Mission 
station, whose guest I was at the time, and that a fiirther part would 
be (very kindly) sent for my own use on board my steamer when 
leaving. 

" This method of obtaining supplies, I am informed, is in fire- 
quent operation, and I saw during my brief stay at Bongandanga 
several other cases of arrest and detention by the local agent of the 
A.B.LR., which were, I believe, equally illegal The effect pro- 
duced on my mind from a very limited inspection of the system, 
revealing itself in such painful incidents as these, was that that 
system, and not the agents who are forced to keep it at work, was 
wrong in the extreme. 

" I gather, too, that Bongandanga is, perhaps, noteworthy among 
the stations of the A.B.I.R. Concession for the forbearance and 
discretion shown by its agent, M. Lejeune, in his manner of imposing 
these exactions upon the local inhabitants, but I must confess with 
pain and astonishment that instead of a trading or commercial 
establishment, I felt I was visiting a penal settlement 

''I have no right of representation to your Excellency, save 
where the persons or interests of British subjects dwelling in this 
country are affected, and I would desire, in making this communi- 
cation, to confine myself strictly to that aspect of the system, to 
which I now draw attention, which unduly presses upon them. 

'* I have a right to request, and one that I would urge with most 
respectful insistence, that my fellow-countrymen residing in any part 
of the Congo State should not be forced, in order to have food for 



APPENDIX 393 

themselves and honseholdsi to share in meastures which are repugnant 
to the most vulgar sentiments of civilized society. 

''Were the people of the Bongandanga villages around the 
mission left at complete liberty to dispose freely of their foodstuffs, 
as they have a legal right to do, my fellow-countr3rmen living there 
would hail the change with joy, even it it meant diminished supplies 
and enhanced prices. 

" But as thmgs are to-day the Mission at Bongandanga, with the 
exception of a stray fowl or an occasional egg, which may be bought 
direct from a Native, is entirely dependent on the neighboiuring 
A.RI.R. factory for all the local necessaries of life, which are 
furnished it daily or weekly, as the case may be, against a signed 
receipt. 

" This system, I find, came into force in July of last year. 

'' Previous to that date, by an understanding arrived at between 
the missionaries and the local representative of the A.KLR. 
Society, certain villages in the secteur of Bongandanga, namely, 
Lilangi, Mpami, Lipongi, Bokoti, and Limboya, were permitted to 
deal direct with the English Mission there. 

'' This liberty of direct dealing with the Natives my countrjrmen 
at Bongandanga no longer effectively possess, as I have had oppor- 
tunity of observing during my stay in that neighbourhood, and I am 
informed that a similar state of affairs prevails at Baringa — ^another 
station of the C.B.M. situated within the A.B.I.R. Concession. 

" This is a liberty that I most respectfully submit these mission- 
aries and the Native subjects of the Congo Independent State, who 
would deal with them, are entitled to enjoytin the fullest degree ; and 
I would, therefore, beg that your Excellency will be pleased to 
require that no restrictions of any kind may be placed upon the 
legitimate intercourse of the Mission of Bongandanga, or any other 
station of the C.B.M., situated within the basins of the Lopori and 
Maringa Rivers, with the Natives of the surrounding districts. 

" I have, etc., 
(Signed) " Roger Casement." 



ANNEXES TO RABINEK CASE 

I. Penal Clause of the Decree of 30TH October, 1892. 
II. Text of M. L^veque's Power of Attorney. 

III. LfivfeQUE's PUBLISHED DECLARATION. 

IV. Agreement between Rabinek