Letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting, in compliance with resolution of January 27, report of Lieutenant Taunt of a journey on the river Congo
Letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting, in compliance with resolution of January 27, report of Lieutenant Taunt of a journey on the river Congo, pp. -42 ff.
JOURNEY ON THE RIVER CONGO. In September, 1876, the King of the Belgians invited a convention of geographers to his palace in Brussels, to discuss the question of the exploration and civilization of Africa, by opening it up to CoUI1lerce, and crushing the slave trlode. This conference formed an International African Association. The committee was established at Brussels, with the King of the Belgians presiding over it. The Association established stations from the East Coast to Lake Tangaryika, and in 1879 Mr. Stanley was made commander-in-clief of the International Association of the Congo. This branch was to open up the Congo from the West Coast, establish stations, and connect, if possible, with the expeditions from the East Coast. It had been p)roved beyond question, that in order to facilitate trading and explora- tion in Central Africa, it would be necessary to have stations as bases of supplies to fall back on. Stanley arrived at the Congo, via Zanzibar, in August, 1880, and, starting from Boma, he established stations as far as Stanley Pool, 336 miles from the sea. Here he was taken ill and returned to Europe, hav- ing in the mean time met M. De Brazza, who had explored south and east, from the French Territory on the Oqowe River to Stanley Pool, making treaties with the chiefs, and claiming sovereign rights for France over the territory he had explored. Stanley retuirned to the Congo in January, 1883, continued his work, and succeeIed in establishing stations as far as Stanley Falls, which point was reached in December, 1883. While this work was being carried on, the Association sent out Gen- eral Sir F. Goldsmid to negotiate treaties with the natives, establish sovereign rights for the Association, and also to report on the work already accomplished. General Goldsmid was desirous of forming a confederation of the native chiefs, on the system of the East India Coin- pany, and in that way interest the natives in keeping out the French and other nations. General Goldsmid was out six months, reached Stanley Pool, and then returned to Europe. The troubles and disputes between the French, Portuguese, and the Association, was the cause of the convening of the recent Berlin Conference, which defined the limits of the territory belonging to the dif- ferent nationalities, and ended in the founding of the Independent State of the Congo, with the King of the Belgians as the nominal head. The greater part of the expenses of the expedition, it is said, have been borne by the King, who is reported to have expended $500,000 per annum, and he has now settled an annuity of $200,000 on the State. The flag adopted is a blue field with gold star in center. There are no revenues of any kind at present. In October, 1885, the Congo State had stations as far as Stanley Falls. The expeditions from the East Coast have established stations as far as M'Palla, on the west side of Lake Tanganyika. All the stations 01 the east side of Stanley Falls have lately been abandoned. By the decision of the Berlin Conference, there are to be no tolls or passage dues levied by the State, and no import duties for twa'ty years. Revenues are to be raised by taxes and rents, and by exp )t duties. There is to be religious freedom, and the slave trade is condemned. SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT. The territory granted to the Congo State, from Banana to StanloY Falls, has been divided into four sections or divisions. Each divisiOfl contains one or more stations or bases of supplies, with small garrisolls
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