Congo White King Red Rubber Black Essay

Congo White King Red Rubber Black Essay-46
It will not be retrospective and annuls all preceding regulations on the subject. "Certified correct, Governor-General Wahis."2 Thus the less the Official employed by King Leopold cost his royal master in obtaining his royal master's revenues, the more his royal master was pleased, and the greater his reward. Permission is afterwards given for the conversion of this credit entry into bonds to bearer. The official's future is bound up with the production of revenue. A proportion of the bonuses due may be given to a subordinate in accordance with the lists which must be furnished me by Station Chiefs, District Commissioners, and Leaders of Expeditions, This measure will begin and will apply to all products collected from October 1st. Public debt {grand livre de la dette publiqae) of the Congo State, on which interest is paid.2 Official shorthand report, Belgian Parliamentary debates, February to March, 1906.

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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 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.

Oflicials whose districts have produced much revenue (e.g., rubber, for the ivory is becoming exhausted) receive an annual grant : District Commissioners from 6,000 to 10,000 1 Official shorthand report, Belgian Parliamentary Debates, March, 1905.

The commissioners of districts and chiefs of zones must examine the product at frequent intervals, in order to report in time to their heads of stations, and not to permit a condition of affairs which is most prejudicial.

The orders which I have here given will have my constant attention." Such circulars as these from the fountain head of the Congo autocracy are accompanied as may be supposed by circulars from the subordinates to their subordinates — the men who actually get the revenue, not those whose task it is to say that the revenue must be secured 1 Few of these documents have ever seen light. Here are two in sequence from the higher to the lower rung of Congolese hierachy : Acting Governor- General Felix Fuchs to Commandant Verstraeten in charge of the Kubi Welle zone : " I close by advising you that the Government firmly hopes that, inspired by the considerations set forth in the present communica- tion, you will exhibit a fresh proof of your activity and devotion, by making the district you command produce the maximum of resources which can be drawn from it." l Commandant Verstraeten to the Officials in charge d the Stations of the Rubi Welle district : 1 Official shorthand report, Belgian Parliamentary debat«, Jul v. A PKOGEAMME IN THEEE PAKTS H5 " I have the honour to inform you that from January 1, 1899, you must succeed in furnishing 4,000 kilos of rubber every month. You have, therefore, two months in which to work your people. They have just been and cut some rubber vines at Hull.

Employ gentleness first, and if they persist in not accepting the imposition of the State employ force of arms.''l Here are extracts from another : " District Commissioner Jacques to the Ofl Bcial in charge of the Station of Inoryo : " M. We must fight them until their absolute submission has been obtained, or their complete extermination." 2 When the inevitable results of such appeals to pillage by violence attain too great proportions, we get a circular of this kind. " Gentlemen, — From information which has reached the central government recently it appears that some of our agents settle palavers, make war upon the natives, burn villages without report- ing their actions.

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.


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