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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 33

JOURNEY ON THE RIVER CONGO.
*arch, 1885, and, after a most successful trip, returned to the Pool in
June, where they were received with great rejoicing. This successful
journey was the signal for an entire revolution in the trade; that from
the Upper River, and from many places in the interior, being directed
via the territory of the Congo State to Augu-Augu. Makito, with the
ivory from the north bank, also turned to the new route.
There has been an enormous increase in the ivory trade at the mouth
of the Congo during the last few months. For example, in May, 18857
1 made the journey from Vivi to Stanley Pool and did not meet one
ivory caravan. In October, 1885, I made the return trip. I met six
hundred of Makito's people returning from Augu-Augu, and traveled
in company with several large caravans en route for the coast, among
them being four hundred and fifty Kinsuku people with ivory. These
people have heretofore been very hostile, not willing to trade pr have
any intercourse with the whites.
on the two last trips, the Dutch-house steamer for Europe has car-
ried 25 tons, and 23 tons, of ivory, the greater part of this coming from
Augu-Augu, on the Lower River. This was the ivory trade of a single
firm in six months' time.
As before stated, none of the many natural products of the valley of
the Upper Congo have been developed, but it must be remembered that
it was only nine years ago that Stanley made his first trip down the
Congo, and Vivi was not established until 1880. And considering the
many difficulties of disease, rough country, and hostile natives, the As-
sociation first, and Congo State later, have certainly made great progress
in the work of opening up this part of Africa, which, of course, must be
accomplished before anything can be gained from the natural wealth.
Tribal wars have but little effect on the native trade; they are of
short duration, and are soon settled either by "palavers" or through the
intervention of the State authorities.
ARTICLES USED IN TRADE.
Between Banana and Lukungo, on the Lower Congo, the chief arti.
des used in trade are different colored handkerchiefs, cotton cloth of
different qualities, such as stripe, check, &c., case-knives, rum, gin,
guns (flint-lock), powder, and cheap crockery.
From Lukungo, and until reaching Lut6t6, in addition to the cloth, a
blue and white bead is used, and is regarded as a sort of standard.
Above Lutet6, the blue and white beads disappear, and matakos take
their place; these are one-seventh-inch brass wire, cut in lengths of 22
inches below the equator, and 24 inches above the equator. Each ma-
tako is valued at 5 cents in trading with the natives. The matako is
he standard for all trade from Lut~t6 to Stanley Falls. Above the
Pool, cowries (shell), small white beads, and red and blue sarelist (blan-
keting), are used in addition to the articles already mentioned. To this
may be added empty bottles, empty cans, fancy caps, colored umbrel-
las, brass bells, &c. In fact, almost anything that is likely to attract
the attention of the native can be used in trade; brass tacks and nails
are frequently in great demand, especially on the Upper River.
Handkerchiefs are about 18 inches square, of all colors and patterns;
each piece contains twelve handkerchiefs; they are sold separately or
by the piece. Cloth is sold by the fathom, or long (a long is 3 fathoms).
Beads are sold by the string; 100 on each string.
In trade there is seldom any fixed price. When trading with natives,
there is usually 100 per cent. added to the value of the article, which is
S. Ex. 77--3
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