University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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
(1887)

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. [1]-42 ff.


Page 12

JOURNEY ON TIE RIVER CONGO.
The expenses of travel from Brussels to Vivi and return are borne by
the State, £6 sterling being allowed for extra expenses.
Experience has taught the executive committee that as long as the
nationalities among the agents are so nearly equal in representation, a&
the English, Belgian, and Swedish now are, there will be constant
bickerings and jealousies, which naturally obstruct the advancement
of the work of the State; and it has, I believe, been decided to officer-
the State with Belgians, retaining only such of the other nationalities as
have proved themselves especially adapted for the work.
In September, 1885, the committee sent out M. Jansens (Belgian
and a staff of legal assistants. These gentlemen are now engaged in
drawing up a form of state government, establishing courts of justice;
and they are to determine in what manner the State can obtain reve-
nues from its exports, rent of land, &c. M. Jansens is to relieve Colonel
de Winten as Administrator-.General.
STATIONS.
The International Association, from the first, acquired the land for
stations, &c., by means of binding treaties with the native chiefs, in
which they made large payments outright, and settled an annuity of
some £10 sterling on each of the principal chiefs.
Vivi, Isanghila, Lukungo, Manyanga South, and Leopoldville, the pres-
ent stations below Stanley Pool, were established by Stanley in 1880.
The station of'Matade, on the south bank, just below Vivi, was not
completed in October, 1885.
Vivi, on the north bank, 115 miles from the sea, the headquarters of
the State, is well situated on a high bluff, which commands the Congo
both above and below the station. There are four large, and several
small frame houses, the former being used as quarters for the agentsr
the latter for store-houses. The quarters are well furnished and most
comfortable.
The last mile of the approach to Yivi, by water, is dangerous. The
whirlpools and strong undercurrent, caused by the Yellala Falls, just
above, make it hazardous for any but light draught, strong-powered
steamers to attempt the passage. Yivi will probably be abandoned
and re-established below the strong water.
Isanghila is 52 miles above Vivi, and is the last station of the State
on the north bank of the Congo, until Bangala, on the Upper River.
Matade, on the south bank, 2 miles below Vivi, is to be the receiving
depot for all stores intended for stations above Vivi. The caravans of
natives, from Lukungo, come down to Matade, and transport goods for
the up-country stations as far as Lukungo.
Lukungo Station is about eight days' march from Matade, and is the
central depot of the Lower River. It is situated in the most fertile sec,
tion of the cataract region. Near the Mission Station, at Lukungolis
a large, never-failing spring that supplies the best water on the Congo.
The Valley of the Lukungo is a lovely spot, and 6trongly contrastS"
with the forbidding aspect of the rest of this region. I was informed
by the chief, Mr. Ingham, that a good supply of vegetables could b6
raised here if he had the time and labor; but the stations on the Lower
River are continually occupied with caravans, and, with the limited nhui
ber of men at their disposal, they have no leisure for vegetable fari-
ing. At the headquarters stations, gardeners are allowed, but not Ot
intermediate stations. At Lukungo a new set of carriers transport the
goods and stores to Leopoldville. I was much struck with the improve-


Go up to Top of Page