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 31

JOURNEY ON THE RIVER CONGO.
ship; each man, woman, and child has his or her own special 1inkissil,
or fetich charm, which is supposed to protect and do everything good
for the owner. There are medicinemen in all villages, but as for wor-
ship in any form whatever, I have never seen or heard of it. They be-
lieve that after death the person assumes the same form in another
world, where he will require his slaves and other wealth that he pos-
sessed in this life.
Missionaries should under no circumstances go to the Congo, except
they go as members of one of the missions already established, or with
means and authority to establish a new mission that can look for per-
manent support to some sect or society at home. A sad example of the
absurdity of sending missionaries with no provision for their establish-
ment was related to me by a Mr. Gerrish, who was one of six men sent
ont from the Twenty-third Street Tabernacle, New York City, Rev. A.
B. Simpson. These men left New York in November, 1884, with $500
each; this sum was to transport them to the Congo, establish them
and support them. They were members of the "1faith-curing" sect.
They had no letters, and they never heard from their church. Their
$500 was soon exhausted. Some of their number were taken sick,
but refused all medicine until one died; then they were persuaded to
try the medicines. In fact, they were totally unfit and unprepared to
live in the country. Finally, after being supported by the charity of
the other missions for some months, they were all provided a passage
to Europe by the English Baptist Society, excepting Mr. Gerrish, who
was received into the American Mission. This sort of thing will always
happen unless the religious societies are made to understand that it is
useless to send missionaries to the Congo unless they are supplied with
ample means for establishment and for permanent support; should they
neglect this provision, they are sending their people to certain death, un-
less they are succored by the charity of other missionaries, who can ill
afford the double burden.
COMMERCIAL.
The old established trading firms on the Congo are the Dutch-Afri-
can Trading Company, of Rotterdam; the Congo and Central African
Company, of Liverpool; Hatton & Cookson, of Liverpool; Hamburg
African Trading Company, of Hamburg; Dumas Bereux & Co., of Paris,
and a Portuguese firm.
The factories or trading stations of these firms are not confined to
the Congo, but are scattered up and down the coast and nearly 150
miles inland. The Dutch-African Trading Company, the largest and
most important of all the firms, has factories for 300 miles above and
300 miles below the mouth of the Congo, and for 100 miles inland.
The factories on the Congo proper are established as far as Matade,
a mile below Vivi, on the south bank, and from this point down, princi-
pally on the south bank, are found factories of all the firms.
The Dutch, the Congo and Central African, and the French have their
head factory at Banana. Hatton & Cookson are at Ponta de Leuba,
a few miles below Boma, and the Portuguese fimn is down the coast at
Ambriz. The Dutch house had, in October, 1885, sent one of its agents
to the interior, with instructions to establish factories on the Upper
River.
The Dutch house always has from 2,000 to 3,000 tons of coal on hand,
and will supply steamers at a reasonable rate; this firm has also opened
a good hotel at Banana.


Go up to Top of Page