« PreviousContinue »
to pressure of other duties, to return from Coquilhatville to Stanley Pool. The last incident of my stay in the Upper Congo occurred on the night prior to departure. Late that night a man came with some natives of the S** district, represented as his friends, who were fleeing from their homes, and whom he begged me to carry with me to the French territory at Lukolela These were LL of T** and seven others. LL stated that, owing to his inability to meet the impositions of the Commissairé of the S** district, he had, with his family, abandoned his home, and was seeking to reach Lukolela. He had already come 80 miles down stream by canoe, but was now hiding with friends in one of the towns 'near Coquilhatville. Part of the imposition laid upon his town consisted of two goats, which had to be supplied each month for the white man's table at S**. As all the goats in his neighbourhood had long since disappeared in meeting these demands, he could now only satisfy this imposition by buying in inland districts such goats as were for sale. For these he had to pay 3000 rods each (150 fr.), and as the Government renumeration amounted to only 100 rods (5 fr.) per goat, he had no further means of maintaining the supply. Having appealed in vain for the remission of this burden, no other course was left him but to fly. I told this man I regretted I could not help him, that his proper course was to appeal for relief to the authorities of the district; and this failing, to seek the higher authorities at Boma. This, he said, was clearly impossible for him to do. On the last occasion when he had sought the officials at 'S**, he had been told that if his next tax were not forthcoming he should go into the chain gang". He added that a He added that a neighbouring Chief who had failed in this respect had just died in the prison gang, and that such would be his fate if he were caught. He added that, if I disbelieved him, there were those who could vouch for his character and the truth of his statement; and I told him and his friend that I should inquire in that quarter, but that it was impossible for me to assist a fugitive. I added, however, that there was no law on the Congo Statute Book which forbade him or any other man from travelling freely to any part of the country, and his right to navigate in his canoe the Upper Congo was as good as mine in my steamer or any one else's. He and his people left me at midnight, saying that unless they could get away with me they did not think it possible they could succeed in gaining Lukolela. A person at T**, to whom I referred this statement, informed me that LL's statement was true. He said: What L L told you, re price of goats, was perfectly true. At U** they are 3000, and here they are 2500 to 3000 rods. Ducks are from 200 to 300 rods. Powls are from bo to 100 rods. Re„dying
in the chains," he had every reason to fear this, for recently two Chiefs died in the chain, viz., the Chief of a little town above U**; his crime: because he did not move his houses a few hundred yards to join them to. . . . as quickly as the Commissaire thought he should do. Second, the Chief of T**; crime: because he did not go up every fortnight with the tax. These two men were chained together and made to carry heavy loads of bricks and water, and were frequently beaten by the soldiers in charge of them. There are witnesses to prove this. || Leaving the township of Coquilhatville on the 11th September, I reached Stanley Pool on the 15th September.*) R. Casement.
Nr. 13378. GROSSBRITANNIEN.
auf Nr. 13376.
Denkschrift als Antwort
His Majesty's Government have not until now offered any observations upon the note from M. de Cuvelier of the 17th September last, because they desired, before doing so, to learn the result of the inquiries instituted by Mr. Casement, His Majesty's Consul at Boma, during the visit which he has recently paid to certain districts of the Upper Congo. Mr. Casement returned to this country at the beginning of last month, and has since furnished the report of which a copy is annexed to this Memorandum for communication to the Congo Government. The report will also be communicated to the Powers parties to the Berlin Act, to whom the despatch of the 8th August last was addressed, and it will be laid before Parliament. || The descriptions given in the report of the manner in which the administration is carried on and the methods by which the revenue is collected in the districts visited by Mr. Casement constitute a grave indictement, and need no comment beyond the statement that, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, they show that the allegations to which reference is made in the despatch were not without foundation, and that there is ample ground for the belief that there are, at any rate, extensive regions in which the pledges given under the Berlin Act have not been fulfilled. || M. de Cuvelier's note dwells at considerable length upon the necessity of the natives contributing by some form of taxation to the requirements of the State, and upon the advantage of their being induced to work. The history of the development of the British Colonies and Protectorates in Africa shows that His Majesty's Government have always admitted this necessity. Defects of
*) Die Anlagen sind hier fortgelassen Red.
administration of the character referred to in M. de Cuvelier's note are, no doubt, always liable to occur in dealing with uncivilized races inhabiting vast areas and differing in manners, in customs and in all the attributes which are necessary for the construction of a social system. But when ever difficulties have arisen, most notably in the case of the Sierra Leone insurrection of which M. de Cuvelier makes special mention, prompt and searching inquiry has been publicly made, redress of grievances has been granted where due, and every endeavour has been made to establish such considerate treatment of the natives as is compatible with the just require ments of the State. The reference to the disturbed state of Nigeria appears to relate to the campaign undertaken early last year against Kano and Sokoto. The campaign was not a measure of military repression" in the sense of being the suppression of a native rising. It was necessitated by the hostile action of powerful Mahommedan Chiefs within the Protectorate, over whom authority had not been previously asserted, who refused to maintain friendly relations with the Administration, hospitably entertained the murderer of a British officer and declared that the only relations between themselves and the Government were those of war. By the mention of the loss of 700 lives reference is no doubt made to the action at Burmi on the 27th July last, when about that number of the enemy were killed, including the ex-Sultan of Sokoto and most of the Chiefs who had joined him, while on the British side Major Marsh, the Commanding Officer, and ten men were killed, and three officers and sixty-nine men were wounded. This decisive and successful action completely broke up the party of the irreconcilables as well as a remmant of the Mahdi's following. || The military operations which are now in progress in Somaliland have been forced upon His Majesty's Government, as is generally known, by the assumption of power on the part of a fanatical Mullah, and by the cruelties which he practised upon tribes within the British Protectorate. || In both these cases, measures of military repression have been necessary to save the territories in question from falling once more under the complete control of uncivilized or fanatical Rulers, and of thus relapsing into barbarism. The Congo Government and other Powers possessing Colonies in Africa have had to meet similar contingencies, and no blame is attached to them, nor, so far as His Majesty's Government are aware, has ever been attached to them, for adopting measures to protect the cause of civilization. || After dealing with the treatment of natives, M. the Cuvelier's note proceeds to explain the views of the Congo Government with regard to the system of trade now existing in the State. The opinion of His Majesty's Govern
ment has been set forth; they hold that the matter is one which could properly be the subject of a reference to the Tribunal at The Hague, but they are still awaiting an answer on this point from the powers to whom the despatch of the 8th August was addressed. || Memoranda will be forwarded separately giving examples of injuries suffered by British subjects which have been the cause of complaint. These Memoranda have been prepared in order to confirm the statement, upon which M. de Cuvelier throws doubt, that the time of His Majesty's Consul had been principally occupied in the investigation of such cases.*)
Foreign Office, February 11, 1904.
*) Die Denkschrift ist den an der Kongoakte beteiligten Mächten mitgeteilt. Red.
Druck von Bär & Hermann in Leipzig.