Congo White King Red Rubber Black Essay

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It is unnecessary to add that the taking of women hostages has, since that circular, become a recognised feature of the rubber slave trade.

^ No wonder King Leopold suppressed the documentary evidence of his own Commission of Inquiry last year.

Others who have gone so far as to carry out with their own hands summary executions, and have thus become assassins, have not been brought before any tribunal or court- martial.

Their immediate Chiefs present in the region, could not have been ignorant of facts of this gravity, and have thus assumed serious responsibility.

The government invites me to take the severest measures at my disposal to cause these deplorable abuses which sully our reputation to cease. If individual caprice was to .substi- tute itself for law, we should become in certain parts of the territory more savage than the natives whom we have to lead to civilisation.

I need not add here that thia order will be executed. " {Sgd.) The Governor-General Wahis."3 After this avowal, we observe the same supreme official and King's " mandatory " in Africa issuing the following instructions to the District Commissioner of Lake Leopold II. It reads: " Where the natives refuse obstinately to work, you will compel them to obey by taking hostages." 1 Ibid.2 Official shorthand report, Belgian Parliamentary debates, February to March, 1906.3 Official shorthand report, Belgian Parliamentary debates, March, 1905.I may add that the value of rubber, even when free from a U admix- ture, has gone down in every market for some time past.Terri- torial chiefs, therefore, must not only remove the two causes of loss which they can eliminate, but they must also try to neutralise the third by making unceasing efforts to increase production to th« extent laid down in the instructions.But for the previous marginal notes will be substituted others, which shall consist in allotting to officials who may have contributed directly or indirectly to the collection of produce, a certain number of marks according to their respective merits, the total of the marks being represented by ten. They must take measures completely to prevent these frauds.It will not be necessary to mention in the Report the names of District Commissioners or Commanders of Expeditions, because the Government will be able, according to the produce collected, to judge of the importance of the services of these Officials. It cannot be doubted that in those parts where the population submits to the tax it will not be impossible to lead the natives to furnish pure produce ; but in order to effect this, constant supervision is necessary, for as soon as the native notices that the supervision is becoming lax he will try to lessen his work by taking latex of a bad quality, if he obtains it easily, or by adding foreign matter.By these measures did the produce of the Congo Basin, " lost to the world," become " a source of prosperity " to the native collector of it !Under this system £13,715,664 of raw produce (85 per cent, rubber) has been forced out of the Congo native in the last seven years at the pomt of the bayonet.It will suffice, therefore, to follow the name of the Official with the number of marks attributed to him, according to the services he has rendered, thus : M. Whenever these frauds are discovered they must be put down. Foreign officers who are inclined to be disagree- able when they return are lunched by the King, told how- bad are the effects of the African sun upon the European temperament, assured that they must have been dream- ing or misinformed, and if possible a douceur sends them away happy — not given direct of course ; that would be vulgar, but quietly arranged in a subsequent confidential chat with one of the high officials.


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