The Lewaniki anecdote reminds me of an admirable epigram that was produced in Rhodesia. Out there food is commonly known as "skoff," just as "chop" is the equivalent in the Congo. A former Resident Commissioner, noted for the keenness of his wit, once asked a travelling missionary to dine with him. After the meal the guest insisted upon holding a religious service at the table. In speaking of the performance the Commissioner said: "My guest came to 'skoff' and remained to pray."
Whenever you visit a new land you almost invariably discover mental alertness and progressiveness that often put the older civilizations to shame. Let me illustrate. Go to England or France today and you touch the really tragic aftermath of the war. You see thousands of demobilized officers and men vainly searching for work. Many are reduced to the extremity of begging. It has become an acute and poignant problem, that is not without its echo over here.
Rhodesia, through the British South Africa Company, is doing its bit toward solution. It has set aside 500,000 acres which are being allotted free of charge to approved soldier and sailor settlers from overseas. Not only are they being given the land but they are provided with expert advice and supervision. The former service men who are unable to borrow capital with which to exploit the land, are merged into a scheme by which they serve an apprenticeship for pay on the established farms and ranches until they are able to shift for themselves.
The Chartered Company, despite its political machine, has developed Rhodesia "on its own," and in rather striking fashion. It operates dairies, gold mines, citrus estates, nurseries, ranches, tobacco warehouses, abattoirs, cold storage plants and dams, which insures adequate water supply in various sections. It is a profitable example of constructive paternalism whose results will be increasingly evident long after the famous Charter has passed into history.
No phase of the Company's activities is more important than its construction of the Rhodesian railways. They represent a double-barrelled private ownership in that they were built and are operated by the Company. There are nearly 2,600 miles of track. One section of the system begins down at Vryburg in Bechuanaland, where it connects with the South African Railways, and extends straight northward through Bulawayo and Victoria Falls to the Congo border. The other starts at Beira on the Indian Ocean and runs west through Salisbury, the capital, to Bulawayo.
These railways have a remarkable statistical distinction in that there is one mile of track for every thirteen white inhabitants. No other system in the world can duplicate it. The Union of South Africa comes nearest with 143 white inhabitants per mile or just eleven times as many. Canada has 27, Australia 247, the United States and New Zealand 400 each, while the United Kingdom has over 200 inhabitants for every mile of line.
Rhodesia is highly mineralized. Coal occurs in three areas and one of them, Wankie,—a vast field,—is extensively operated. Gold is found over the greater part of the country. Here you not only touch an American interest but you enter upon the region that Rider Haggard introduced to readers as the setting of some of his most famous romances. We will deal with the practical side first.
Rhodes had great hopes of Rhodesia as a gold-producing country. He wanted the economic value of the country to rank with the political. Thousands of years ago the natives dug mines and many of these ancient workings are still to be seen. They never exceed forty or fifty feet in depth. Many leading authorities claimed that the South Arabians of the Kingdom of Saba often referred to in the Bible were the pioneers in the Rhodesian gold fields and sold the output to the Phoenicians. Others contended that the Phoenicians themselves delved here. Until recently it was also maintained by some scientists and Biblical scholars that modern Southern Rhodesia was the famed land of Ophir, whence came the gold and precious stones that decked the persons and palaces of Solomon and David. This, however, has been disproved, and Ophir is still the butt of archaeological dispute. It has been "located" in Arabia, Spain, Peru, India and South-East Africa.
Rhodes knew all about the old diggings so he engaged John Hays Hammond, the American engineer, to accompany him on a trip through Rhodesia in 1894 and make an investigation of the workings. His report stated that the rock mines were undoubtedly ancient, that the greatest skill in mining had been displayed and that scores of millions of pounds worth of the precious metal had been extracted. It also proved that practically all this treasure had been exported from the country for no visible traces remain. This substantiates the theory that perhaps it did go to the Phoenicians or to a potentate like King Solomon. Hammond wrote the mining laws of Rhodesia which are an adaptation of the American code.
The Rhodesian gold mines, which are operated by the Chartered Company and by individuals, have never fully realized their promise. One reason, so men like Hammond tell me, is that they are over-capitalized and are small and scattered. Despite this handicap the country has produced L45,227,791 of gold since 1890. The output in 1919 was worth L2,500,000. In 1915 it was nearly L4,000,000.
Small diamonds in varying quantities have also been found in Rhodesia. In exchange for having subscribed heavily to the first issue of British South Africa Company stock, the DeBeers which Rhodes formed received a monopoly on the diamond output and with it the assurance of a rigid enforcement of the so-called Illicit Diamond Buying Act. This law, more commonly known as "I. D. B." and which has figured in many South African novels, provided drastic punishment for dishonest dealing in the stones. More than one South African millionaire owed the beginnings of his fortune to evasion of this law.
Just about the time that Rhodes made the Rhodesian diamond deal a prospector came to him and said: "If I bring you a handful of rough diamonds what will I get?"
"Fifteen years," was the ready retort. He was never at a loss for an answer.
We can now turn to the really romantic side of the Rhodesian mineral deposits. One of the favorite pilgrimages of the tourist is to the Zimbabwe ruins, located about seventeen miles from Victoria in Southern Rhodesia. They are the remains of an ancient city and must at various times have been the home of large populations. There seems little doubt that Zimbabwe was the work of a prehistoric and long-forgotten people.
Over it hangs a mantle of mystery which the fictionist has employed to full, and at times thrilling advantage. In this vicinity were the "King Solomon's Mines," that Rider Haggard wrote about in what is perhaps his most popular book. Here came "Allan Quartermain" in pursuit of love and treasure. The big hill at Zimbabwe provided the residence of "She," the lovely and disappearing lady who had to be obeyed. The ruins in the valley are supposed to be those of "the Dead City" in the same romance. The interesting feature of all this is that "She" and "King Solomon's Mines" were written in the early eighties when comparatively nothing was known of the country. Yet Rider Haggard, with that instinct which sometimes guides the romancer, wrote fairly accurate descriptions of the country long before he had ever heard of its actual existence. Thus imagination preceded reality.
The imagination miracles disclose in the Haggard books are surpassed by the actual wonder represented by Victoria Falls. Everybody has heard of this stupendous spectacle in Rhodesia but few people see it because it is so far away. I beheld it on my way from Bulawayo to the Congo. Like the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, it baffles description.
The first white man to visit the cataract was Dr. Livingstone, who named it in honor of his Queen. This was in 1855. For untold years the natives of the region had trembled at its fury. They called it Mois-oa-tunga, which means "Smoke That Sounds." When you see the falls you can readily understand why they got this name. The mist is visible ten miles away and the terrific roar of the falling waters can be heard even farther.
The fact that the casual traveller can see Victoria Falls from the train is due entirely to the foresight and the imagination of Cecil Rhodes. He knew the publicity value that the cataract would have for Rhodesia and he combined the utilitarian with his love of the romantic. In planning the Rhodesian railroad, therefore, he insisted that the bridge across the gorge of the Zambesi into which the mighty waters flow after their fall, must be sufficiently near to enable the spray to wet the railway carriages. The experts said it was impossible but Rhodes had his way, just as Harriman's will prevailed over that of trained engineers in the construction of the bridge across Great Salt Lake.
The bridge across the Zambesi is a fit mate in audacity to the falls themselves. It is the highest in the world for it rises 400 feet above the low water level. Its main parabolic arch is a 500 foot span while the total length is 650 feet. Although its construction was fraught with contrast hazard it only cost two lives, despite the fact that seven hundred white men and two thousand natives were employed on it. In the building of the Firth of Forth bridge which was much less dangerous, more than fifty men were killed.
I first saw the Falls in the early morning when the brilliant African sun was turned full on this sight of sights. It was at the end of the wet season and the flow was at maximum strength. The mist was so great that at first I could scarcely see the Falls. Slowly but defiantly the foaming face broke through the veil. Niagara gives you a thrill but this toppling avalanche awes you into absolute silence.
The Victoria Falls are exactly twice as broad and two and one-half times as high as Niagara Falls. This means that they are over a mile in breadth and four hundred and twenty feet high. The tremendous flow has only one small outlet about 100 yards wide. The roar and turmoil of this world of water as it crashes into the chasm sets up what is well called "The Boiling Pot." From this swirling melee the Zambesi rushes with unbridled fury through a narrow and deep gorge, extending with many windings for forty miles.
In the presence of this marvel, wars, elections, economic upheavals, the high cost of living, prohibition,—all "that unrest which men miscall delight"—fade into insignificance. Life itself seems a small and pitiful thing. You are face to face with a force of Nature that is titanic, terrifying, and irresistible.
Since we bid farewell to Cecil Rhodes in this chapter after having almost continuously touched his career from the moment we reached Capetown, let us make a final measure of his human side,—and he was intensely human—particularly with reference to Rhodesia, which is so inseparably associated with him. His passion for the country that bore his name exceeded his interest in any of his other undertakings. He liked the open life of the veldt where he travelled in a sort of gypsy wagon and camped for the night wherever the mood dictated. It enabled him to gratify his fondness for riding and shooting.
He was always accompanied by a remarkable servant named Tony, a half-breed in whom the Portuguese strain predominated. Tony bought his master's clothes, paid his bills, and was a court of last resort "below stairs." Rhodes declared that his man could produce a satisfactory meal almost out of thin air.
Rhodes and Tony were inseparable. Upon one occasion Tony accompanied him when he was commanded by Queen Victoria to lodge at Sandringham. While there Rhodes asked Tony what time he could get breakfast, whereupon the servant replied:
"Royalty does not breakfast, sir, but you can have it in the dining-room at half past nine." Tony seemed to know everything.
Throughout Rhodesia I found many of Rhodes' old associates who affectionately referred to him as "The Old Man." I was able to collect what seemed to be some new Rhodes stories. A few have already been related. Here is another which shows his quickness in capitalizing a situation.
In the days immediately following the first Matabele war Rhodes had more trouble with concession-hunters than with the savages, the Boers, or the Portuguese. Nearly every free-lance in the territory produced some fake document to which Lobengula's alleged mark was affixed and offered it to Rhodes at an excessive price.
One of these gentry framed a plan by which one of the many sons of Lobengula was to return to Matabeleland, claim his royal rights, and create trouble generally. The whole idea was to start an uprising and derange the machinery of the British South Africa Company. The name of the son was N'jube and at the time the plan was devised he held a place as messenger in the diamond fields at Kimberley. By the system of intelligence that he maintained, Rhodes learned of the frame-up, the whereabouts of the boy, and furthermore, that he was in love with a Fingo girl. These Fingoes were a sort of bastard slave people. Marriage into the tribe was a despised thing, and by a native of royal blood, meant the abrogation of all his claims to the succession.
Rhodes sent for N'jube and asked him if he wanted to marry the Fingo girl. When he replied that he did, the great man said: "Go down to the DeBeers office, get L50 and marry the girl. I will then give you a job for life and build you a house."
N'jube took the hint and the money and married the girl. Rhodes now sent the following telegram to the conspirator at Bulawayo:
"Your friend N'jube was divided between love and empire, but he has decided to marry the Fingo girl. It is better that he should settle down in Kimberley and be occupied in creating a family than to plot at Bulawayo to stab you in the stomach."
This ended the conspiracy, and N'jube lived happily and peacefully ever afterwards.
Rhodes was an incorrigible imperialist as this story shows. Upon one occasion at Bulawayo he was discussing the Carnegie Library idea with his friend and associate, Sir Abe Bailey, a leading financial and political figure in the Cape Colony.
"What would you do if you had Carnegie's money?" asked Bailey.
"I wouldn't waste it on libraries," he replied. "I would seize a South American Republic and annex it to the United States."
Rhodes had great admiration for America. He once said to Bailey: "The greatest thing in the world would be the union of the English-speaking people. I wouldn't mind if Washington were the capital." He believed implicitly in the invincibility of the Anglo-Saxon race, and he gave his life and his fortune to advance the British part of it.
For the last I have reserved the experience that will always rank first in my remembrance of Rhodesia. It was my visit to the grave of Rhodes. Most people who go to Rhodesia make this pilgrimage, for in the well-known tourist language of Mr. Cook, like Victoria Falls, it is "one of the things to see." I was animated by a different motive. I had often read about it and I longed to view the spot that so eloquently symbolized the vision and the imagination of the man I admired.
The grave is about twenty-eight miles from Bulawayo, in the heart of the Matopo Hills. You follow the road along which the body was carried nineteen years ago. You see the native hut where Rhodes often lived and in which the remains rested for the night on the final journey. You pass from the green low-lands to the bare frontiers of the rocky domain where the Matabeles fled after the second war and where the Father of Rhodesia held his historic parleys with them.
Soon the way becomes so difficult that you must leave the motor and continue on foot. The Matopos are a wild and desolate range. It is not until you are well beyond the granite outposts that there bursts upon you an immense open area,—a sort of amphitheatre in which the Druids might have held their weird ritual. Directly ahead you see a battlement of boulders projected by some immemorial upheaval. Intrenched between them is the spot where Rhodes rests and which is marked by a brass plate bearing the words: "Here Lie the Remains of Cecil John Rhodes." In his will he directed that the site be chosen and even wrote the simple inscription for the cover.
When you stand on this eminence and look out on the grim, brooding landscape, you not only realize why Rhodes called it "The View of the World," but you also understand why he elected to sleep here. The loneliness and grandeur of the environment, with its absence of any sign of human life and habitation, convey that sense of aloofness which, in a man like Rhodes, is the inevitable penalty that true greatness exacts. The ages seem to be keeping vigil with his spirit.
For eighteen years Rhodes slept here in solitary state. In 1920 the remains of Dr. Jameson were placed in a grave hewn out of the rock and located about one hundred feet from the spot where his old friend rests. It is peculiarly fitting that these two men who played such heroic part in the rise of Rhodesia should repose within a stone's throw of each other.
During these last years I have seen some of the great things. They included the British Grand Fleet in battle array, Russia at the daybreak of democracy, the long travail of Verdun and the Somme, the first American flag on the battlefields of France, Armistice Day amid the tragedy of war, and all the rest of the panorama that those momentous days disclosed. But nothing perhaps was more moving than the silence and majesty that invested the grave of Cecil Rhodes. Instinctively there came to my mind the lines about him that Kipling wrote in "The Burial":
It is his will that he look forth Across the world he won— The granite of the ancient North— Great spaces washed with sun.
When I reached the bottom of the long incline on my way out I looked back. The sun was setting and those sentinel boulders bulked in the dying light. They seemed to incarnate something of the might and power of the personality that shaped Rhodesia, and made of it an annex of Empire.
CHAPTER IV—THE CONGO TODAY
Unfold the map of Africa and you see a huge yellow area sprawling over the Equator, reaching down to Rhodesia on the south-east, and converging to a point on the Atlantic Coast. Equal in size to all Latin and Teutonic Europe, it is the abode of 6,000 white men and 12,000,000 blacks. No other section of that vast empire of mystery is so packed with hazard and hardship, nor is any so bound up with American enterprise. Across it Stanley made his way in two epic expeditions. Livingstone gave it the glamour of his spiritualizing influence. Fourteen nations stood sponsor at its birth as a Free State and the whole world shook with controversy about its administration. Once the darkest domain of the Dark Continent, it is still the stronghold of the resisting jungle and the last frontier of civilization. It is the Belgian Congo.
During these past years the veil has been lifted from the greater part of Africa. We are familiar with life and customs in the British, French, and to a certain degree, the Portuguese and one-time German colonies. But about the land inseparably associated with the economic statesmanship of King Leopold there still hangs a shroud of uncertainty as to regime and resource. Few people go there and its literature, save that which grew out of the atrocity campaign, is meager and unsatisfactory. To the vast majority of persons, therefore, the country is merely a name—a dab of colour on the globe. Its very distance lends enchantment and heightens the lure that always lurks in the unknown. What is it like? What is its place in the universal productive scheme? What of its future?
I went to the Congo to find out. My journey there was the logical sequel to my visit to the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia, which I have already described. It seemed a pity not to take a plunge into the region that I had read about in the books of Stanley. In my childhood I heard him tell the story of some of his African experiences. The man and his narrative were unforgettable for he incarnated both the ideal and the adventure of journalism. He cast the spell of the Congo River over me and I lingered to see this mother of waters. Thus it came about that I not only followed Stanley's trail through the heart of Equatorial Africa but spent weeks floating down the historic stream, which like the rivers that figured in the Great War, has a distinct and definite human quality. The Marne, the Meuse, and the Somme are the Rivers of Valour. The Congo is the River of Adventure.
In writing, as in everything else, preparedness is all essential. I learned the value of carrying proper credentials during the war, when every frontier and police official constituted himself a stumbling-block to progress. For the South African end of my adventure I provided myself with letters from Lloyd George and Smuts. In the Congo I realized that I would require equally powerful agencies to help me on my way. Wandering through sparsely settled Central Africa with its millions of natives, scattered white settlements, and restricted and sometimes primitive means of transport, was a far different proposition than travelling in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal, or Rhodesia, where there are through trains and habitable hotels.
I knew that in the Congo the State was magic, and the King's name one to conjure with. Accordingly, I obtained what amounted to an order from the Belgian Colonial Office to all functionaries to help me in every possible way. This order, I might add, was really a command from King Albert, with whom I had an hour's private audience at Brussels before I sailed. As I sat in the simple office of the Palace and talked with this shy, tall, blonde, and really kingly-looking person, I could not help thinking of the last time I saw him. It was at La Panne during that terrible winter of 1916-1917, when the Germans were at the high tide of their success. The Belgian ruler had taken refuge in this bleak, sea-swept corner of Belgium and the only part of the country that had escaped the invader. He lived in a little chalet near the beach. Every day the King walked up and down on the sands while German aeroplanes flew overhead and the roar of the guns at Dixmude smote the ear. He was then leading what seemed to be a forlorn hope and he betrayed his anxiety in face and speech. Now I beheld him fresh and buoyant, and monarch of the only country in Europe that had really settled down to work.
King Albert asked me many questions about my trip. He told me of his own journey through the Congo in 1908 (he was then Prince Albert), when he covered more than a thousand miles on foot. He said that he was glad that an American was going to write something about the Congo at first hand and he expressed his keen appreciation of the work of American capital in his big colony overseas. "I like America and Americans," he said, "and I hope that your country will not forget Europe." There was a warm clasp of the hand and I was off on the first lap of the journey that was to reel off more than twenty-six thousand miles of strenuous travel before I saw my little domicile in New York again.
Before we invade the Congo let me briefly outline its history. It can be told in a few words although the narrative of its exploitations remains a serial without end. Prior to Stanley's memorable journey of exploration across Equatorial Africa which he described in "Through the Dark Continent," what is now the Congo was a blank spot on the map. No white man had traversed it. In the fifties Livingstone had opened up part of the present British East Africa and Nyassaland. In the Luapula and its tributaries he discovered the headwaters of the Congo River and then continued on to Victoria Falls and Rhodesia. After Stanley found the famous missionary at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika in 1872, he returned to Zanzibar. Hence the broad expanse of Central Africa from Nyassaland westward practically remained undiscovered until Stanley crossed it between 1874 and 1877, when he travelled from Stanley Falls, where the Congo River actually begins, down its expanse to the sea.
As soon as Stanley's articles about the Congo began to appear, King Leopold, who was a shrewd business man, saw an opportunity for the expansion of his little country. Under his auspices several International Committees dedicated to African study were formed. He then sent Stanley back to the Congo in 1879, to organize a string of stations from the ocean up to Stanley Falls, now Stanleyville. In 1885 the famous Berlin Congress of Nations, presided over by Bismarck, recognized the Congo Free State, accepted Leopold as its sovereign, and the jungle domain took its place among recognized governments. The principal purposes animating the founders were the suppression of the slave trade and the conversion of the territory into a combined factory and a market for all the nations. It was largely due to Belgian initiative that the traffic in human beings which denuded all Central Africa of its bone and sinew every year, was brought to an end.
The world is more or less familiar with subsequent Congo history. In 1904 arose the first protest against the so-called atrocities perpetrated on the blacks, and the Congo became the center of an international dispute that nearly lost Belgium her only colonial possession. In the light of the revelations brought about by the Great War, and to which I have referred in a previous chapter, it is obvious that a considerable part of this crusade had its origin in Germany and was fomented by Germanophiles of the type of Sir Roger Casement, who was hanged in the Tower of London. During the World War E. D. Morel, his principal associate in the atrocity campaign, served a jail sentence in England for attempting to smuggle a seditious document into an enemy country.
With the atrocity business we are not concerned. The only atrocities that I saw in the Congo were the slaughter of my clothes on the native washboard, usually a rock, and the American jitney that broke down and left me stranded in the Kasai jungle. As a matter of fact, the Belgian rule in the Congo has swung round to another extreme, for the Negro there has more freedom of movement and less responsibility for action than in any other African colony. To round out this brief history, the Congo was ceded to Belgium in 1908 and has been a Belgian colony ever since.
We can now go on with the journey. From Bulawayo I travelled northward for three days past Victoria Falls and Broken Hill, through the undeveloped reaches of Northern Rhodesia, where you can sometimes see lion-tracks from the car windows, and where the naked Barotses emerge from the wilds and stare in big-eyed wonder at the passing trains. Until recently the telegraph service was considerably impaired by the curiosity of elephants who insisted upon knocking down the poles.
While I was in South Africa alarming reports were published about a strike in the Congo and I was afraid that it would interfere with my journey. This strike was without doubt one of the most unique in the history of all labor troubles. The whole Congo administration "walked out," when their request for an increase in pay was refused. The strikers included Government agents, railway, telegraph and telephone employes, and steamboat captains. Even the one-time cannibals employed on all public construction quit work. It was a natural procedure for them. Not a wheel turned; no word went over the wires; navigation on the rivers ceased. The country was paralyzed. Happily for me it was settled before I left Bulawayo.
Late at night I crossed the Congo border and stopped for the customs at Sakania. At once I realized the potency that lay in my royal credentials for all traffic was tied up until I was expedited. I also got the initial surprise of the many that awaited me in this part of the world. In the popular mind the Congo is an annex of the Inferno. I can vouch for the fact that some sections break all heat records. The air that greeted me, however, might have been wafted down from Greenland's icy mountain, for I was chilled to the bone. In the flickering light of the station the natives shivered in their blankets. The atmosphere was anything but tropical yet I was almost within striking distance of the Equator. The reason for this frigidity was that I had entered the confines of the Katanga, the most healthful and highly developed province of the Congo and a plateau four thousand feet above sea level.
The next afternoon I arrived at Elizabethville, named for the Queen of the Belgians, capital of the province, and center of the copper activity. Here I touched two significant things. One was the group of American engineers who have developed the technical side of mining in the Katanga as elsewhere in the Congo; the other was a contact with the industry which produces a considerable part of the wealth of the Colony.
There is a wide impression that the Congo is entirely an agricultural country. Although it has unlimited possibilities in this direction, the reverse, for the moment, is true. The 900,000 square miles of area (it is eighty-eight times the size of Belgium) have scarcely been scraped by the hand of man, although Nature has been prodigal in her share of the development. Wild rubber, the gathering of which loosed the storm about King Leopold's head, is nearly exhausted because of the one-time ruthless harvesting. Cotton and coffee are infant industries. The principal product of the soil, commercially, is the fruit of the palm tree and here Nature again does most of the ground work.
Mining is, in many respects, the chief operation and the Katanga, which is really one huge mine, principally copper, is the most prosperous region so far as bulk of output is concerned. Since this area figures so prominently in the economic annals of the country it is worth more than passing attention. Like so many parts of Africa, its exploitation is recent. For years after Livingstone planted the gospel there, it continued to be the haunt of warlike tribes. The earliest white visitors observed that the natives wore copper ornaments and trafficked in a rude St. Andrew's cross—it was the coin of the country—fashioned out of metal. When prospectors came through in the eighties and nineties they found scores of old copper mines which had been worked by the aborigines many decades ago. Before the advent of civilization the Katanga blacks dealt mainly in slaves and in copper.
The real pioneer of development in the Katanga is an Englishman, Robert Williams, a friend and colleague of Cecil Rhodes, and who constructed, as you may possibly recall, the link in the Cape-to-Cairo Railway from Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia to the Congo border. He has done for Congo copper what Lord Leverhulme has accomplished for palm fruit and Thomas F. Ryan for diamonds. Congo progress is almost entirely due to alien capital.
Williams, who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, went out to Africa in 1881 to take charge of some mining machinery at one of the Kimberley diamond mines. Here he met Rhodes and an association began which continued until the death of the empire builder. On his death-bed Rhodes asked Williams to continue the Cape-to-Cairo project. In the acquiescence to this request the Katanga indirectly owes much of its advance. Thus the constructive influence of the Colossus of South Africa extends beyond the British dominions.
In building the Broken Hill Railway Williams was prompted by two reasons. One was to carry on the Rhodes project; the other was to link up what he believed to be a whole new mineral world to the needs of man. Nor was he working in the dark. Late in the nineties he had sent George Grey, a brother of Sir Edward, now Viscount Grey, through the present Katanga region on a prospecting expedition. Grey discovered large deposits of copper and also tin, lead, iron, coal, platinum, and diamonds. Williams now organized the company known as the Tanganyika Concessions, which became the instigator of Congo copper mining. Subsequently the Union Miniere du Haut Kantanga was formed by leading Belgian colonial capitalists and the Tanganyika Concessions acquired more than forty per cent of its capital. The Union Miniere took over all the concessions and discoveries of the British corporation. The Union Miniere is now the leading industrial institution in the Katanga and its story is really the narrative of a considerable phase of Congo development.
Within ten years it has grown from a small prospecting outfit in the wilderness, two hundred and fifty miles from a railway, to an industry employing at the time of my visit more than 1,000 white men and 15,000 blacks. It operates four completely equipped mines which produced nearly 30,000 tons of copper in 1917, and a smelter with an annual capacity of 40,000 tons of copper. A concentrator capable of handling 4,000 tons of ore per day is nearing completion. This bustling industrial community was the second surprise that the Congo disclosed.
Equally remarkable is the mushroom growth of Elizabethville, the one wonder town of the Congo. In 1910, when the railway arrived, it was a geographical expression,—a spot in the jungle dominated by the huge ant-hills that you find throughout Central Africa, some of them forty feet high. The white population numbered thirty. I found it a thriving place with over 2,000 whites and 12,000 blacks. There are one third as many white people in the Katanga Province as in all the rest of the Congo combined, and its area is scarcely a fourth of that of the colony.
The father of Elizabethville is General Emile Wangermee, one of the picturesque figures in Congo history. He came out in the early days of the Free State, fought natives, and played a big part in the settlement of the country. He has been Governor-General of the Colony, Vice-Governor-General of the Katanga and is now Honorary Vice-Governor. In the primitive period he went about, after the Congo fashion, on a bicycle, in flannel shirt and leggins and he continued this rough-and-ready attire when he became a high-placed civil servant.
Upon one occasion it was announced that the Vice-Governor of the Katanga would visit Kambove. The station agent made elaborate preparations for his reception. Shortly before the time set for his arrival a man appeared on the platform looking like one of the many prospectors who frequented the country. The station agent approached him and said, "You will have to move on. We are expecting the Vice-Governor of the Katanga." The supposed prospector refused to move and the agent threatened to use force. He was horrified a few minutes later to find his rough customer being received by all the functionaries of the district. Wangermee had arrived ahead of time and had not bothered to change his clothes.
When I rode in a motor car down Elizabethville's broad, electric-lighted avenues and saw smartly-dressed women on the sidewalks, beheld Belgians playing tennis on well-laid-out courts on one side, and Englishmen at golf on the other, it was difficult to believe that ten years ago this was the bush. I lunched in comfortable brick houses and dined at night in a club where every man wore evening clothes. I kept saying to myself, "Is this really the Congo?" Everywhere I heard English spoken. This was due to the large British interest in the Union Miniere and the presence of so many American engineers. The Katanga is, with the exception of certain palm fruit areas, the bulwark of British interests in the Congo. The American domain is the Upper Kasai district.
Conspicuous among the Americans at Elizabethville was Preston K. Horner, who constructed the smelter plant and who was made General Manager of the Union Miniere in 1913. He spans the whole period of Katanga development for he first arrived in 1909. Associated with him were various Americans including Frank Kehew, Superintendent of the smelter, Thomas Carnahan, General Superintendent of Mines, Daniel Butner, Superintendent of the Kambove Mine, the largest of the Katanga group, Thomas Yale, who is in charge of the construction of the immense concentration plant at Likasi, and A. Brooks, Manager of the Western Mine. For some years A. E. Wheeler, a widely-known American engineer, has been Consulting Engineer of the Union Miniere, with Frederick Snow as assistant. Since my return from Africa Horner has retired as General Manager and Wheeler has become the ranking American. Practically all the Yankee experts in the Katanga are graduates of the Anaconda or Utah Mines.
With Horner I travelled by motor through the whole Katanga copper belt. I visited, first of all, the famous Star of the Congo Mine, eight miles from Elizabethville, and which was the cornerstone of the entire metal development. Next came the immense excavation at Kambove where I watched American steam shovels in charge of Americans, gouging the copper ore out of the sides of the hills. I saw the huge concentrating plant rising almost like magic out of the jungle at Likasi. Here again an American was in control. At Fungurume I spent the night in a native house in the heart of one of the loveliest of valleys whose verdant walls will soon be gashed by shovels and discoloured with ore oxide. Over all the area the Anglo-Saxon has laid his galvanizing hand. One reason is that there are few Belgian engineers of large mining experience. Another is that the American, by common consent, is the one executive who gets things done in the primitive places.
I cannot leave the Congo copper empire without referring to another Robert Williams achievement which is not without international significance. Like other practical men of affairs with colonial experience, he realized long before the outbreak of the Great War something of the extent and menace of the German ambition in Africa. As I have previously related, the Kaiser blocked his scheme to run the Cape-to-Cairo Railway between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu, after King Leopold had granted him the concession. Williams wanted to help Rhodes and he wanted to help himself. His chief problem was to get the copper from the Katanga to Europe in the shortest possible time. Most of it is refined in England and Belgium. At present it goes out by way of Bulawayo and is shipped from the port of Beira in Portuguese East Africa. This involves a journey of 9,514 miles from Kambove to London. How was this haul to be shortened through an agency that would be proof against the German intrigue and ingenuity?
Williams cast his eye over Africa. On the West Coast he spotted Lobito Bay, a land-locked harbour twenty miles north of Benguella, one of the principal parts of Angola, a Portuguese colony. From it he ran a line straight from Kambove across the wilderness and found that it covered a distance of approximately 1,300 miles. He said to himself, "This is the natural outlet of the Katanga and the short-cut to England and Belgium." He got a concession from the Portuguese Government and work began. The Germans tried in every way to block the project for it interfered with their scheme to "benevolently" assimilate Angola.
At the time of my visit to the Congo three hundred and twenty miles of the Benguella Railway, as it is called, had been constructed and a section of one hundred miles or more was about to be started. The line will pass through Ruwe, which is an important center of gold production in the Katanga, and connect up with the Katanga Railway just north of Kambove. It is really a link in the Cape-to-Cairo system and when completed will shorten the freight haul from the copper fields to London by three thousand miles, as compared with the present Biera itinerary.
There is every indication that the Katanga will justify the early confidence that Williams had in it and become one of the great copper-producing centers of the world. Experts with whom I have talked in America believe that it can in time reach a maximum output of 150,000 tons a year. The ores are of a very high grade and since the Union Miniere owns more than one hundred mines, of which only six or seven are partially developed, the future seems safe.
Copper is only one phase of the Katanga mineral treasure. Coal, iron, and tin have not only been discovered in quantity but are being mined commercially. Oil-shale is plentiful on the Congo River near Ponthierville and good indications of oil are recorded in other places. The discovery of oil in Central Africa would have a great influence on the development of transportation since it would supply fuel for steamers, railways, and motor transport. There is already a big oil production in Angola and there is little doubt that an important field awaits development in the Congo.
It is not generally realized that Africa today produces the three most valuable of all known minerals in the largest quantities, or has the biggest potentialities. The Rand yields more than fifty per cent of the entire gold supply and ranks as the most valuable of all gold fields. Ninety-five per cent of the diamond output comes from the Kimberley and associated mines, German South-West Africa, and the Congo. The Katanga contains probably the greatest reserve of copper in existence. Now you can see why the eye of the universe is being focused on this region.
When I left Elizabethville I bade farewell to the comforts of life. I mean, for example, such things as ice, bath-tubs, and running water. There is enough water in the Congo to satisfy the most ardent teetotaler but unfortunately it does not come out of faucets. Most of it flows in rivers, but very little of it gets inside the population, white or otherwise.
Speaking of water brings to mind one of the useful results of such a trip as mine. Isolation in the African wilds gives you a new appreciation of what in civilization is regarded as the commonplace things. Take the simple matter of a hair-cut. There are only two barbers in the whole Congo. One is at Elizabethville and the other at Kinshassa, on the Lower Congo, nearly two thousand miles away. My locks were not shorn for seven weeks. I had to do what little trimming there was done with a safety razor and it involved quite an acrobatic feat. Take shaving. The water in most of the Congo rivers is dirty and full of germs. More than once I lathered my face with mineral water out of a bottle. The Congo River proper is a muddy brown. For washing purposes it must be treated with a few tablets of permanganate of potassium which colours it red. It is like bathing in blood.
Since my journey from Katanga onward was through the heart of Africa, perhaps it may be worth while to tell briefly of the equipment required for such an expedition. Although I travelled for the most part in the greatest comfort that the Colony afforded, it was necessary to prepare for any emergency. In the Congo you must be self-sufficient and absolutely independent of the country. This means that you carry your own bed and bedding (usually a folding camp-bed), bath-tub, food, medicine-chest, and cooking utensils.
No detail was more essential than the mosquito net under which I slept every night for nearly four months. Insects are the bane of Africa. The mosquito carries malaria, and the tsetse fly is the harbinger of that most terrible of diseases, sleeping sickness. Judging from personal experience nearly every conceivable kind of biting bug infests the Congo. One of the most tenacious and troublesome of the little visitors is the jigger, which has an uncomfortable habit of seeking a soft spot under the toe-nail. Once lodged it is extremely difficult to get him out. These pests are mainly found in sandy soil and give the Negroes who walk about barefooted unending trouble.
No less destructive is the dazzling sun. Five minutes exposure to it without a helmet means a prostration and twenty minutes spells death. Stanley called the country so inseparably associated with his name "Fatal Africa," but he did not mean the death that lay in the murderous black hand. He had in mind the thousand and one dangers that beset the stranger who does not observe the strictest rules of health and diet. From the moment of arrival the body undergoes an entirely new experience. Men succumb because they foolishly think they can continue the habits of civilization. Alcohol is the curse of all the hot countries. The wise man never takes a drink until the sun sets and then, if he continues to be wise, he imbibes only in moderation. The morning "peg" and the lunch-time cocktail have undermined more health in the tropics than all the flies and mosquitoes combined.
The Duke of Wellington recommended a formula for India which may well be applied to the Congo. The doughty old warrior once said:
I know but one recipe for good health in this country, and that is to live moderately, to drink little or no wine, to use exercise, to keep the mind employed, and, if possible, to keep in good humour with the world. The last is the most difficult, for as you have often observed, there is scarcely a good-tempered man in India.
If a man will practice moderation in all things, take five grains of quinine every day, exercise whenever it is possible, and keep his body clean, he has little to fear from the ordinary diseases of a country like the Congo. It is one of the ironies of civilization that after passing unscathed through all the fever country, I caught a cold the moment I got back to steam-heat and all the comforts of home.
No one would think of using ordinary luggage in the Congo. Everything must be packed and conveyed in metal boxes similar to the uniform cases used by British officers in Egypt and India. This is because the white ant is the prize destroyer of property throughout Africa. He cuts through leather and wood with the same ease that a Southern Negro's teeth lacerate watermelon. Leave a pair of shoes on the ground over night and you will find them riddled in the morning. These ants eat away floors and sometimes cause the collapse of houses by wearing away the wooden supports. Another frequent guest is the driver ant, which travels in armies and frequently takes complete possession of a house. It destroys all the vermin but the human inmates must beat a retreat while the process goes on.
Since my return many people have asked me what books I read in the Congo. The necessity for them was apparent. I had more than three months of constant travelling, often alone, and for the most part on small river boats where there is no deck space for exercise. Mail arrives irregularly and there were no newspapers. After one or two days the unceasing panorama of tropical forests, native villages, and naked savages becomes monotonous. Even the hippopotami which you see in large numbers, the omnipresent crocodile, and the occasional wild elephant, cease to amuse. You are forced to fall back on that unfailing friend and companion, a good book.
I therefore carried with me the following books in handy volume size:—Montaigne's Essays, Palgrave's Golden Treasury of English Verse, Lockhart's Life of Napoleon, Autobiography of Cellini, Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Lorna Doone, Prescott's Conquest of Mexico and The Conquest of Peru, Les Miserables, Vanity Fair, Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Pepys' Diary, Carlyle's French Revolution, The Last of the Mohicans, Westward Ho, Bleak House, The Pickwick Papers, A Tale of Two Cities, and Tolstoi's War and Peace. When these became exhausted I was hard put for reading matter. At a post on the Kasai River the only English book I could find was Arnold Bennett's The Pretty Lady, which had fallen into the hands of an official, who was trying to learn English with it. It certainly gave him a hectic start.
Then, too, there was the eternal servant problem, no less vexing in that land of servants than elsewhere. I had cabled to Horner to engage me two personal servants or "boys" as they are called in Africa. When I got to Elizabethville I found that he had secured two. In addition to Swahili, the main native tongue in those parts, one spoke English and the other French, the official language in the Congo. I did not like the looks of the English-speaking barbarian so I took a chance on Number Two, whose name was Gerome. He was a so-called "educated" native. I was to find from sad experience that his "education" was largely in the direction of indolence and inefficiency. I thought that by having a boy with whom I had to speak French I could improve my command of the language. Later on I realized my mistake because my French is a non-conductor of profanity.
Gerome had a wife. In the Congo, where all wives are bought, the consort constitutes the husband's fortune, being cook, tiller of the ground, beast-of-burden and slave generally. I had no desire to incumber myself with this black Venus, so I made Gerome promise that he would not take her along. I left him behind at Elizabethville, for I proceeded to Fungurume with Horner by automobile. He was to follow by train with my luggage and have the private car, which I had chartered for the journey to Bukama, ready for me on my arrival. When I showed up at Fungurume the first thing I saw was Gerome's wife, with her ample proportions swathed in scarlet calico, sunning herself on the platform of the car. He could not bring himself to cook his own food although willing enough to cook mine.
I paid Gerome forty Belgian francs a month, which, at the rate of exchange then prevailing, was considerably less than three dollars. I also had to give him a weekly allowance of five francs (about thirty cents) for his food. To the American employer of servants these figures will be somewhat illuminating and startling.
One more human interest detail before we move on. In Africa every white man gets a name from the natives. This appellation usually expresses his chief characteristic. The first title fastened on me was "Bwana Cha Cha," which means "The Master Who is Quick." When I first heard this name I thought it was a reflection on my appetite because "Cha Cha" is pronounced "Chew Chew." Subsequently, in the Upper Congo and the Kasai I was called "Mafutta Mingi," which means "Much Fat." I must explain in self-defense that in the Congo I ate much more than usual, first because something in the atmosphere makes you hungry, and second, a good appetite is always an indication of health in the tropics.
Still another name that I bore was "Tala Tala," which means spectacles in practically all the Congo dialects. There are nearly two hundred tribes and each has a distinctive tongue. In many sections that I visited the natives had never seen a pair of tortoise shell glasses such as I wear during the day. The children fled from me shrieking in terror and thinking that I was a sorcerer. Even gifts of food, the one universal passport to the native heart, failed to calm their fears.
The Congo native, let me add, is a queer character. The more I saw of him, the greater became my admiration for King Leopold. In his present state the only rule must be a strong rule. No one would ever think of thanking a native for a service. It would be misunderstood because the black man out there mistakes kindness for weakness. You must be firm but just. Now you can see why explorers, upon emerging from long stays in the jungle, appear to be rude and ill-mannered. It is simply because they had to be harsh and at times unfeeling, and it becomes a habit. Stanley, for example, was often called a boor and a brute when in reality he was merely hiding a fine nature behind the armour necessary to resist native imposition and worse.
The private car on which I travelled from Fungurume to Bukama was my final taste of luxury. When Horner waved me a good-bye north I realized that I was divorcing myself from comfort and companionship. In thirty hours I was in sun-scorched Bukama, the southern rail-head of the Cape-to-Cairo Route and my real jumping-off place before plunging into the mysteries of Central Africa.
Here begins the historic Lualaba, which is the initial link in the almost endless chain of the Congo River. I at once went aboard the first of the boats which were to be my habitation intermittently for so many weeks. It was the "Louis Cousin," a 150-ton vessel and a fair example of the draft which provides the principal means of transportation in the Congo. Practically all transit not on the hoof, so to speak, in the Colony is by water. There are more than twelve thousand miles of rivers navigable for steamers and twice as many more accessible for canoes and launches. Hence the river-boat is a staple, and a picturesque one at that.
The "Louis Cousin" was typical of her kind both in appointment, or rather the lack of it, and human interest details. Like all her sisters she resembles the small Ohio River boats that I had seen in my boyhood at Louisville. All Congo steam craft must be stern-wheelers, first because they usually haul barges on either side, and secondly because there are so many sand-banks. The few cabins—all you get is the bare room—are on the upper deck, which is the white man's domain, while the boiler and freight—human and otherwise—are on the lower. This is the bailiwick of the black. These boats always stop at night for wood, the only fuel, and the natives are compelled to go ashore and sleep on the bank.
The Congo river-boat is a combination of fortress, hotel, and menagerie. Like the "accommodation" train in our own Southern States, it is most obliging because it will stop anywhere to enable a passenger to get off and do a little shopping, or permit the captain to take a meal ashore with a friendly State official yearning for human society.
The river captain is a versatile individual for he is steward, doctor, postman, purveyor of news, and dictator in general. He alone makes the schedule of each trip, arriving and departing at will. Time in the Congo counts for naught. It is in truth the land of leisure. For the man who wants to move fast, water travel is a nightmare. Accustomed as I was to swift transport, I spent a year every day.
The skipper of the "Louis Cousin" was no exception to his kind. He was a big Norwegian named Behn,—many of his colleagues are Scandinavians,—and he had spent eighteen years in the Congo. He knew every one of the thousand nooks, turns, snags and sand-bars of the Lualaba. One of the first things that impressed me was the uncanny ingenuity with which all the Congo boats are navigated through what seems at first glance to be a mass of vegetation and obstruction.
The bane of traffic is the sand-bar, which on account of the swift currents everywhere, is an eternally changing quantity. Hence a native is constantly engaged in taking soundings with a long stick. You can hear his not unmusical voice, from the moment the boat starts until she ties up for the night. The native word for water is "mia." Whenever I heard the cry "mia mitani," I knew that we were all right because that meant five feet of water. With the exception of the Congo River no boat can draw more than three feet because in the dry season even the mightiest of streams declines to an almost incredibly low level.
My white fellow passengers on the "Louis Cousin" were mostly Belgians on their way home by way of Stanleyville and the Congo River, after years of service in the Colony. We all ate together in the tiny dining saloon forward with the captain, who usually provides the "chop," as it is called. I now made the acquaintance of goat as an article of food. The young nanny is not undesirable as an occasional novelty but when she is served up to you every day, it becomes a trifle monotonous.
The one rival of the goat in the Congo daily menu is the chicken, the mainstay of the country. I know a man who spent six years in the Congo and he kept a record of every fowl he consumed. When he started for home the total registered exactly three thousand. It is no uncommon experience. Occasionally a friendly hunter brought antelope or buffalo aboard but goat and fowl, reinforced by tinned goods and an occasional egg, constituted the bill of fare. You may wonder, perhaps, that in a country which is a continuous chicken-coop, there should be a scarcity of eggs. The answer lies in the fact that during the last few years the natives have conceived a sudden taste for eggs. Formerly they were afraid to eat them.
Of course, there was always an abundance of fruit. You can get pineapples, grape fruit, oranges, bananas and a first cousin of the cantaloupe, called the pei pei, which when sprinkled with lime juice is most delicious. Bananas can be purchased for five cents a bunch of one hundred. It is about the only cheap thing in the Congo except servants.
Not all my fellow passengers were desirable companions. At Bukana five naked savages, all chained together by the neck, were brought aboard in charge of three native soldiers. When I asked the captain who and what they were he replied, "They are cannibals. They ate two of their fellow tribesmen back in the jungle last week and they are going down the river to be tried." These were the first eaters of human flesh that I saw in the Congo. One conspicuous detail was their teeth which were all filed down to sharp points. I later discovered that these wolf teeth, as they might be called, are common to all the Congo cannibals. The punishment for cannibalism is death, although every native, whatever his offence, is given a trial by the Belgian authorities.
So far as employing the white man as an article of diet is concerned, cannibalism has ceased in the Congo. Some of the tribes, however, still regard the flesh of their own kind as the last word in edibles. The practice must be carried on in secret. To have partaken of the human body has long been regarded as an act which endows the consumer with almost supernatural powers. The cannibal has always justified his procedure in a characteristic way. When the early explorers and missionaries protested against the barbarous performance they were invariably met with this reply, "You eat fowl and goats and we eat men. What is the difference?" There seems to have been a particular lure in what the native designated as "food that once talked."
In the days when cannibalism was rampant, the liver of the white man was looked upon as a special delicacy for the reason that it was supposed to transmit the knowledge and courage of its former owner. There was also a tradition that once having eaten the heart of the white, no harm could come to the barbarian who performed this amiable act. Although these odious practices have practically ceased except in isolated instances, the Congo native, in boasting of his strength, constantly speaks of his liver, and not of his heart.
It was on the Lualaba, after the boat had tied up for the night, that I caught the first whisper of the jungle. In Africa Nature is in her frankest mood but she expresses herself in subdued tones. All my life I had read of the witchery of these equatorial places, but no description is ever adequate. You must live with them to catch the magic. No painter, for instance, can translate to canvas the elusive and ever-changing verdure of the dense forests under the brilliant tropical sun, nor can those elements of mystery with their suggestion of wild bird and beast that lurk everywhere at night, be reproduced. Life flows on like a moving dream that is exotic, enervating, yet intoxicating.
Accustomed as I was to dense populations, the loneliness of the Lualaba was weird and haunting. On the Mississippi, Ohio, and Hudson rivers in America and on the Seine, the Thames, and the Spree in Europe, you see congested human life and hear a vast din. In Africa, and with the possible exception of some parts of the Nile, Nature reigns with almost undisputed sway. Settlements appear at rare intervals. You only encounter an occasional native canoe. The steamers frequently tie up at night at some sand-bank and you fall asleep invested by an uncanny silence.
I spent six days on the Lualaba where we made many stops to take on and put off freight. Many of these halts were at wood-posts where our supply of fuel was renewed. At one post I found a lonely Scotch trader who had been in the Congo fifteen years. Every night he puts on his kilts and parades through the native village playing the bagpipes. It is his one touch with home. At another place I had a brief visit with another Scotchman, a veteran of the World War, who had established a prosperous plantation and who goes about in a khaki kilt, much to the joy of the natives, who see in his bare knees a kinship with themselves.
At Kabalo I touched the war zone. This post marks the beginning of the railway that runs eastward to Lake Tanganyika and which Rhodes included in one of his Cape-to-Cairo routes. Along this road travelled the thousands of Congo fighting men on their way to the scene of hostilities in German East Africa.
When the Great War broke out the Belgian Colonial Government held that the Berlin Treaty of 1885, entitled "A General Act Relating to Civilization in Africa" and prohibiting warfare in the Congo basin, should be enforced. This treaty gave birth to the Congo Free State and made it an international and peaceful area under Belgian sovereignty. Following their usual fashion the Germans looked upon this document as a "scrap of paper" and attached Lukuga. This forced the Belgian Congo into the conflict. About 20,000 native troops were mobilized and under the command of General Tambeur, who is now Vice-Governor General of the Katanga, co-operated with the British throughout the entire East African campaign. The Belgians captured Tabora, one of the German strongholds, and helped to clear the Teuton out of the country.
Lake Tanganyika was the scene of one of the most brilliant and spectacular naval battles of the war. Two British motor launches, which were conveyed in sections all the way from England, sank a German gunboat and disabled another, thus purging those waters of the German. The lake was of great strategic importance for the transport of food and munitions for the Allied troops in German East Africa. It is one of the loveliest inland bodies of water in the world for it is fringed with wooded heights and is navigable throughout its entire length of four hundred miles. Ujiji, on its eastern shore, is the memorable spot where Stanley found Livingstone. The house where the illustrious missionary lived still stands, and is an object of veneration both for black and white visitors.
From Kabalo I proceeded to Kongolo, where navigation on the Lualaba temporarily ends. It is the usual Congo settlement with the official residence of the Commissaire of the District, office of the Native Commissioner, and a dozen stores. It is also the southern rail-head of the Chemin de Fer Grands Lacs, which extends to Stanleyville. Early in the morning I boarded what looked to me like a toy train, for it was tinier than any I had ever seen before, and started for Kindu. The journey occupies two days and traverses a highly Arabized section.
Back in the days when Tippo Tib, the friend of Stanley, was king of the Arab slave traders, this area was his hunting ground. Many of the natives are Mohammedans and wear turbans and long flowing robes. Their cleanliness is in sharp contrast with the lack of sanitary precautions observed by the average unclothed native. The only blacks who wash every day in the Congo are those who live on the rivers. The favorite method of cleansing in the bush country is to scrape off a week's or a month's accumulation of mud with a stick or a piece of glass.
In the Congo the trains, like the boats, stop for the night. Various causes are responsible for the procedure. In the early days of railroading elephants and other wild animals frequently tore up the tracks. Another contributory reason is that the carriages are only built for day travel. Native houses are provided for the traveller at different points on the line. Since everyone carries his own bed it is easy to establish sleeping quarters without delay or inconvenience. On this particular trip I slept at Malela, in the house ordinarily occupied by the Chief Engineer of the line. The Minister of the Colonies had used it the night before and it was scrupulously clean. I must admit that I have had greater discomfort in metropolitan hotels.
I was now in the almost absolute domain of the native. The only white men that I encountered were an occasional priest and a still more occasional trader. At Kibombo the train stopped for the mail. When I got out to stretch my legs I saw a man and a woman who looked unmistakably American. The man had Texas written all over him for he was tall and lank and looked as if he had spent his life on the ranges. He came toward me smiling and said, "The Minister of the Colonies was through here yesterday in a special train and he said that an American journalist was following close behind, so I came down to see you." The man proved to be J. G. Campbell, who had come to install an American cotton gin nine kilometers from where we were standing. His wife was with him and she was the only white woman within two hundred miles.
Campbell is a link with one of the new Congo industries, which is cotton cultivation. The whole area between Kongolo and Stanleyville, three-fourths of which is one vast tropical forest, has immense stretches ideally adapted for cotton growing. The Belgian Government has laid out experimental plantations and they are thriving. In 1919 four thousand acres were cultivated in the Manyema district, six thousand in the Sankuru-Kasai region, and six hundred in the Lomami territory. Altogether the Colony produced 6,000,000 pounds of the raw staple in 1920 and some of it was grown by natives who are being taught the art. The Congo Cotton Company has been formed at Brussels with a capitalization of 6,000,000 francs, to exploit the new industry, which is bound to be an important factor in the development of the Congo. It shows that the ruthless exploitation of the earlier days is succeeded by scientific and constructive expansion.
Campbell's experience in setting up his American gin discloses the principal need of the Congo today which is adequate transport. Between its arrival at the mouth of the Congo River and Kibombo the mass of machinery was trans-shipped exactly four times, alternately changing from rail to river. At Kibombo the 550,000 pounds of metal had to be carried on the heads of natives to the scene of operations. In the Congo practically every ton of merchandise must be moved by man power—the average load is sixty pounds—through the greater part of its journey.
Late in the afternoon of the day which marked the encounter with the Campbells I reached Kindu, where navigation on the Lualaba is resumed again. By this time you will have realized something of the difficulty of travelling in this part of the world. It was my third change since Bukama and more were to come before I reached the Lower Congo.
At Kindu I had a rare piece of luck. I fell in with Louis Franck, the Belgian Minister of the Colonies, to whom I had a letter of introduction, and who was making a tour of inspection of the Congo. He had landed at Mombassa, crossed British East Africa, visited the new Belgian possessions of Urundi and Ruanda which are spoils of war, and made his way to Kabalo from Lake Tanganyika. He asked me to accompany him to Stanleyville as his guest. I gladly accepted because, aside from the personal compensation afforded by his society, it meant immunity from worry about the river and train connections.
Franck represents the new type of Colonial Minister. Instead of being a musty bureaucrat, as so many are, he is a live, alert progressive man of affairs who played a big part in the late war. To begin with, he is one of the foremost admiralty lawyers of Europe. When the Germans occupied Belgium he at once became conspicuous. He resisted the Teutonic scheme to separate the French and Flemish sections of the ravaged country. After the investment of Antwerp, his native place, accompanied by the Burgomaster and the Spanish Minister, he went to the German Headquarters and made the arrangement by which the city was saved from destruction by bombardment. He delayed this parley sufficiently to enable the Belgian Army to escape to the Yser. Subsequently his activities on behalf of his countrymen made him so distasteful to the Germans that he was imprisoned in Germany for nearly a year. For two months of this time he shared the noble exile of Monsieur Max, the heroic Burgomaster of Brussels.
I now became an annex of what amounted to a royal progress. To the Belgian colonial official and to the native, Franck incarnated a sort of All Highest. In the Congo all functionaries are called "Bula Matadi," which means "The Rock Breaker." It is the name originally bestowed on Stanley when he dynamited a road through the rocks of the Lower Congo. Franck, however, was a super "Bula Matadi." We had a special boat, the "Baron Delbecke," a one hundred ton craft somewhat similar to the "Louis Cousin" but much cleaner, for she had been scrubbed up for the journey. The Minister, his military aide, secretary and doctor filled the cabins, so I slept in a tent set up on the lower deck.
With flags flying and thousands of natives on the shore yelling and beating tom-toms, we started down the Lualaba. The country between Kindu and Ponthierville, our first objective, is thickly populated and important settlements dot the banks. Wherever we stopped the native troops were turned out and there were long speeches of welcome from the local dignitaries. Franck shook as many black and white hands as an American Presidential candidate would in a swing around the circle. I accompanied him ashore on all of these state visits and it gave me an excellent opportunity to see the many types of natives in their Sunday clothes, which largely consist of no clothes at all. This applies especially to the female sex, which in the Congo reverses Kipling's theory because they are less deadly than the male.
At Lowa occurred a significant episode. This place is the center of an immense native population, but there is only one white resident, the usual Belgium state official. We climbed the hill to his house, where thirty of the leading chiefs, wearing the tin medal which the Belgian Government gives them, shook hands with the Minister. The ranking chief, distinguished by the extraordinary amount of red mud in his wool and the grotesque devices cut with a knife on his body, made a long speech in which he became rather excited. When the agent translated this in French to Franck I gathered that the people were indignant over the advance in cost of trade goods, especially salt and calico. Salt is more valuable than gold in the Congo. Among the natives it is legal tender for every commodity from a handkerchief to a wife.
Franck made a little speech in French in reply—it was translated by the interpreter—in which he said that the Great War had increased the price of everything. We shook hands all round and there was much muttering of "yambo," the word for "greeting," and headed for the boat.
Halfway down the hill we heard shouting and hissing. We stopped and looked back. On the crest were a thousand native women, jeering, hooting, and pointing their fingers at the Minister, who immediately asked the cause of the demonstration. When the agent called for an explanation a big black woman said:
"Ask the 'Bula Matadi' why the franc buys so little now? We only get a few goods for a big lot of money."
I had gone into the wilds to escape from economic unrest and all the confusion that has followed in its wake, yet here in the heart of Central Africa, I found our old friend the High Cost of Living working overtime and provoking a spirited protest from primitive savages! It proves that there is neither caste, creed nor colour-line in the pocket-book. Like indigestion, to repeat Mr. Pinero, it is the universal leveller of all ranks.
On this trip Franck outlined to me his whole colonial creed. It was a gorgeous June morning and we had just left a particularly picturesque Arabized village behind us. Hundreds of natives had come out to welcome the Minister in canoes. They sang songs and played their crude musical instruments as they swept alongside our boat. We now sat on the upper deck and watched the unending panorama of palm trees with here and there a clump of grass huts.
"All colonial development is a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link and that is the native," said the Minister. "As you build the native, so do you build the whole colonial structure. Hence the importance of a high moral standard. You must conform to the native's traditions, mentality and temperament. Give him a technical education something like that afforded by Booker Washington's Tuskegee Institute. Show him how to use his hands. He will then become efficient and therefore contented. It is a mistake to teach him a European language. I prefer him to be a first-class African rather than third-class European.
"The hope of the Congo lies in industrialization on the one hand, and the creation of new wealth on the other. By new wealth I mean such new crops as cotton and a larger exploitation of such old products as rice and palm fruit. Rubber has become a second industry although the cultivated plantations are in part taking the place of the old wild forests. The substitute for rubber as the first product of the land is the fruit of the oil palm tree. This will be the industrial staple of the Congo. I believe, however, that in time cotton can be produced in large commercial quantities over a wide area."
Franck now turned to a subject which reflects his courage and progressiveness. He said, "There is a strong tendency in other Colonies to give too large a place to State enterprise. The result of this system is that officers are burdened with an impossible task. They must look after the railways, steamers, mills, and a variety of tasks for which they often lack the technical knowledge.
"I have made it a point to give first place to private enterprise and to transfer those activities formerly under State rule to autonomous enterprises in which the State has an interest. They are run by business men along business lines as business institutions. The State's principal function in them is to protect the native employes. The gold mines at Kilo are an example. They are still owned by the State but are worked by a private company whose directors have full powers. The reason why the State does not part with its ownership of these mines is that it does not want a rush of gold-seekers. History has proved that in a country with a primitive population a gold rush is a dangerous and destructive thing.
"We are always free traders in Belgium and we are glad to welcome any foreign capital to the Congo. We have already had the constructive influence of American capital in the diamond fields and we will be glad to have more."
The average man thinks that the Congo and concessions are practically synonymous terms. In the Leopold day this was true but there is a new deal now. Let Monsieur Franck explain it:
"There was a time when huge concessions were freely given in the Congo. They were then necessary because the Colony was new, the country unknown, and the financial risk large. Now that the economic possibilities of the region are realized it is not desirable to grant any more large concessions. It is proved that these concessions are really a handicap rather than a help to a young land. The wise procedure is to have a definite agricultural or industrial aim in mind, and then pick the locality for exploitation, whether it is gold, cotton, copper or palm fruit."
"What is the future of the Congo?" I asked.
"The Congo is now entering upon a big era of development," was the answer. "If the Great War had not intervened it would have been well under way. Despite the invasion of Belgium, the practical paralysis of our home industry, and the fact that many of our Congo officials and their most highly trained natives were off fighting the Germans in East Africa, the Colony more than held its own during those terrible years. In building the new Congo we are going to profit by the example of other countries and capitalize their knowledge and experience of tropical hygiene. We propose to combat sleeping sickness, for example, with an agency similar to your Rockefeller Institute of Research in New York.
"The Congo is bound to become one of the great centers of the world supply. The Katanga is not only a huge copper area but it has immense stores of coal, tin, zinc and other valuable commodities. Our diamond fields have scarcely been scraped, while the agricultural possibilities of hundreds of thousands of square miles are unlimited.
"The great need of the Congo is transport. We are increasing our river fleets and we propose to introduce on them a type of barge similar to that used on the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers.
"An imposing program of railway expansion is blocked out. For one thing we expect to run a railway from the Katanga copper belt straight across country to Kinshassa on the Lower Congo. It is already surveyed. This will tap a thickly populated region and enable the diamond mines of the Kasai to get the labour they need so sorely. The Robert Williams railway through Angola will be another addition to our transportation facilities. One of the richest regions of the Congo is the north-eastern section. The gold mines at Kilo are now only accessible by river. We plan to join them up with the railway to be built from Stanleyville to the Soudan border. This will link the Congo River and the Nile. With our railroads as with our industrial enterprises, we stick to private ownership and operation with the State as a partner.
"The new provinces of Ruanda and Urundi will contribute much to our future prosperity. They add millions of acres to our territory and 3,000,000 healthy and prosperous natives to our population. These new possessions have two distinct advantages. One is that they provide an invigorating health resort which will be to the Central Congo what the Katanga is to the Southern. The other is that, being an immense cattle country—there is a head of live stock for every native—we will be able to secure fresh meat and dairy products, which are sorely needed.
"The Congo is not only the economic hope of Belgium but it is teaching the Belgian capitalist to think in broad terms. Henceforth the business man of all countries must regard the universe as his field. As a practical commercial proposition it pays, both with nations as with individuals. We have found that the possession of the Congo, huge as it is, and difficult for a country like ours to develop, is a stimulating thing. It is quickening our enterprise and widening our world view."
It would be difficult to find a more practical or comprehensive colonial program. It eliminates that bane of over-seas administration, red tape, and it puts the task of empire-building squarely up to the business man who is the best qualified for the work. I am quite certain that the advent of Monsieur Franck into office, and particularly his trip to the Congo, mean the beginning of an epoch of real and permanent exploitation in the Congo.
CHAPTER V—ON THE CONGO RIVER
Two days more of travelling on the Lower Lualaba brought us to Ponthierville, a jewel of a post with a setting of almost bewildering tropical beauty. Here we spent the night on the boat and early the following morning boarded a special train for Stanleyville, which is only six hours distant by rail. Midway we crossed the Equator.
Thirty miles south of Stanleyville is the State Experimental Coffee Farm of three hundred acres, which produces fifteen different species of the bean. This institution is one evidence of a comprehensive agricultural development inaugurated by the Belgian Government. The State has about 10,000 acres of test plantations, mostly Para rubber, cotton, and cacao, in various parts of the Colony.
One commendable object of this work is to instill the idea of crop-growing among the natives. Under ordinary circumstances the man of colour in the tropics will only raise enough maize, manioc, or tobacco for his own needs. The Belgian idea is to encourage co-operative farming in the villages. In the region immediately adjacent to Stanleyville the natives have begun to plant cotton over a considerable area. At Kongolo I saw hundreds of acres of this fleecy plant under the sole supervision of the indigenes.
Stanleyville marked one of the real mileposts of my journey. Here came Stanley on his first historic expedition across Central Africa and discovered the falls nearby that bear his name; here he set up the Station that marked the Farthest East of the expedition which founded the Congo Free State. Directly south-east of the town are seven distinct cataracts which extend over fifty miles of seething whirlpools.
Stanleyville is the head of navigation on the Congo and like Paris, is built on two sides of the river. On the right bank is the place of the Vice-Governor General, scores of well stocked stores, and many desirable residences. The streets are long avenues of palm trees. The left bank is almost entirely given over to the railway terminals, yards, and repair shops. My original plan was to live with the Vice-Governor General, Monsieur de Meulemeester, but his establishment was so taxed by the demands of the Ministerial party that I lodged with Monsieur Theews, Chief Engineer of the Chemin de Fer des Grands Lacs, where I was most comfortable in a large frame bungalow that commanded a superb view of the river and the town.
At Stanleyville the Minister of the Colonies had a great reception. Five hundred native troops looking very smart were drawn up in the plaza. On the platform of the station stood the Vice-Governor General and staff in spotless white uniforms, their breasts ablaze with decorations. On all sides were thousands of natives in gay attire who cheered and chanted while the band played the Belgian national anthem. Over it all waved the flag of Belgium. It was a stirring spectacle not without its touch of the barbaric, and a small-scale replica of what you might have seen at Delhi or Cairo on a fete day.
I was only mildly interested in all this tumult and shouting. What concerned me most was the swift, brown river that flowed almost at our feet. At last I had reached the masterful Congo, which, with the sole exception of the Amazon, is the mightiest stream in the world. As I looked at it I thought of Stanley and his battles on its shores, and the hardship and tragedy that these waters had witnessed.
Stanleyville is not only the heart of Equatorial Africa but it is also an important administrative point. Hundreds of State officials report to the Vice-Governor General there, and on national holidays and occasions like the visit of the Colonial Minister, it can muster a gay assemblage. Monsieur Franck's presence inspired a succession of festivities including a garden party which was attended by the entire white population numbering about seventy-five. There was also a formal dinner where I wore evening clothes for the first and only time between Elizabethville and the steamer that took me to Europe three months later.
At the garden party Monsieur Franck made a graceful speech in which he said that the real missionaries of African civilization were the wives who accompanied their husbands to their lonely posts in the field. What he said made a distinct impression upon me for it was not only the truth but it emphasized a detail that stands out in the memory of everyone who visits this part of the world. I know of no finer heroines than these women comrades of colonial officials who brave disease and discomfort to share the lives of their mates. For one thing, they give the native a new respect for his masters. All white women in the Congo are called "mamma" by the natives.
The use of "mamma" by the African natives always strikes the newcomer as strange. It is a curious fact that practically the first word uttered by the black infant is "mamma," and in thousands of cases the final utterance of both adult male and female is the same word. In northern Rhodesia and many parts of the Congo the native mother frequently refers to her child as a "piccannin" which is almost the same word employed by coloured people in the American South.
Stanleyville's social prestige is only equalled by her economic importance. It is one of the great ivory markets of the world. During the last two years this activity has undergone fluctuations that almost put Wall Street to the blush.
During the war there was very little trafficking in ivory because it was a luxury. With peace came a big demand and the price soared to more than 200 francs a kilo. The ordinary price is about forty. One trader at Stanleyville cleaned up a profit of 3,000,000 francs in three months. Then came the inevitable reaction and with it a unique situation. In their mad desire to corral ivory the traders ran up the normal price that the native hunters received. The moment the boom burst the white buyers sought to regulate their purchases accordingly. The native, however, knows nothing about the law of demand and supply and he holds out for the boom price. The outcome is that hundreds of tons of ivory are piled up in the villages and no power on earth can convince the savage that there is such a thing as the ebb and flow of price. Such is commercial life in the jungle.
Northeast of Stanleyville lie the most important gold mines in the Colony. The precious metal was discovered accidentally some years ago in the gravel of small rivers west of Lake Albert, and near the small towns of Kilo and Moto. Four mines are now worked in this vicinity, two by the Government and two by a private company. At the outbreak of the war this area was on the verge of considerable development which has just been resumed. At the time of my visit all these mines were placers and the operation was rather primitive. With modern machinery and enlarged white staffs will come a pretentious exploitation. The Government mines alone yield more than $2,000,000 worth of gold every year. Shortly before my arrival in the Congo what was heralded as the largest gold nugget ever discovered was found in the Kilo State Mine. It weighed twelve pounds.
Stanleyville has a significance for me less romantic but infinitely more practical than the first contact with the Congo River. After long weeks of suffering from inefficient service I sacked Gerome and annexed a boy named Nelson. The way of it was this: In the Katanga I engaged a young Belgian who was on his way home, to act as secretary. He knew the native languages and could always convince the most stubborn black to part with an egg. Nelson was his servant. He was born on the Rhodesian border and spoke English. I could therefore upbraid him to my heart's content, which was not the case with Gerome. Besides, he was not handicapped with a wife. In Africa the servants adopt the names of their masters. Nelson had worked for an Englishman at Elizabethville and acquired his cognomen. I have not the slightest doubt that he now masquerades under mine. Be that as it may, Nelson was a model servant and he remained with me until that September day when I boarded the Belgium-bound boat at Matadi.
Nelson reminded me more of the Georgia Negro than any other one that I saw in the Congo. He was almost coal black, he smiled continuously, and his teeth were wonderful to look at. He had an unusual capacity for work and also for food. I think he was the champion consumer of chikwanga in the Congo. The chikwanga is a glutinous dough made from the pounded root of the manioc plant and is the principal food of the native. It is rolled and cut up in pieces and then wrapped in green leaves. The favorite way of preparing it for consumption is to heat it in palm oil, although it is often eaten raw. Nelson bought these chikwangas by the dozen. He was never without one. He even ate as he washed my clothes.
The Congo native is in a continuous state of receptivity when it comes to food. Nowhere in the world have I seen people who ate so much. I have offered the leavings of a meal to a savage just after he had apparently gorged himself and he "wolfed" it as if he were famished. The invariable custom in the Congo is to have one huge meal a day. On this occasion every member of the family consumes all the edibles in sight. Then the crowd lays off until the following day. All food offered in the meantime by way of gratuity or otherwise is devoured on the spot.
In connection with the chikwanga is an interesting fact. The Congo natives all die young—I only saw a dozen old men—because they are insufficiently nourished. The chikwanga is filling but not fattening. This is why sleeping sickness takes such dreadful toll. From an estimated population of 30,000,000 in Stanley's day the indigenes have dwindled to less than one-third this number. Meat is a luxury. Although the natives have chickens in abundance they seldom eat one for the reason that it is more profitable to sell them to the white man.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Congo native suffers from ailments. Unlike the average small boy of civilization, he delights in taking medicine. I suppose that he regards it as just another form of food. You hear many amusing stories in connection with medicinal articles. When you give a savage a dozen effective pills, for example, and tell him to take one every night, he usually swallows them all at one time and then he wonders why the results are disastrous. A sorcerer in the Upper Congo region once obtained what was widely acclaimed as miraculous results from a red substance that he got out of a tin. It developed that he had stolen a can of potted beef and was using it as "medicine."
Stanleyville was called the center of the old Arab slave trade. While the odious traffic has long ceased to exist, you occasionally meet an old native who bears the scars of battle with the marauders and who can tell harrowing tales of the cruelties they inflicted.
The slave raiders began their operations in the Congo in 1877, the same year in which Stanley made his historic march across Africa from Zanzibar to the north of the Congo. It was the great explorer who unconsciously blazed the way for the man-hunters. They followed him down the Lualaba River as far as Stanley Falls and discovered what was to them a real human treasure-trove. For twenty years they blighted the country, carrying off tens of thousands of men, women and children and slaughtering thousands in addition. This region was a cannibal stronghold and one bait that lured local allies was the promise of the bodies of all natives slain, for consumption. Belgian pioneers in the Congo who co-operated with the late Baron Dhanis who finally put down the slave trade, have told me that it was no infrequent sight to behold native women going off to their villages with baskets of human flesh. They were part of the spoils of this hideous warfare.
Tippo Tib was lord of this slave-trading domain. This astounding rascal had a distinct personality. He was a master trader and drove the hardest bargain in all Africa. Livingstone, Cameron, Stanley, and Wissmann all did business with him, for he had a monopoly on porters and no one could proceed without his help. He invariably waited until the white man reached the limit of his resources and then exacted the highest price, in true Shylockian fashion.
According to Herbert Ward, the well-known African artist and explorer, who accompanied Stanley on the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, Tippo Tib was something of a philosopher. On one occasion Ward spent the evening with the old Arab. He occupied a wretched house. Rain dripped in through the roof, rats scuttled across the floor, and wind shook the walls. When the Englishman expressed his astonishment that so rich and powerful a chief should dwell in such a mean abode Tippo Tib said:
"It is better that I should live in a house like this because it makes me remember that I am only an ordinary man like others. If I lived in a fine house with comforts I should perhaps end by thinking too much of myself."
Ward also relates another typical story about this blood-thirsty bandit. A missionary once called him to account for the frightful barbarities he had perpetrated, whereupon he received the following reply:
"Ah, yes! You see I was then a young man. Now my hair is turning gray. I am an old man and shall have more consideration."
Until his death in 1907 at Zanzibar, Tippo Tib and reformation were absolute strangers. He embodied that combination of cruelty and religious fanaticism so often found in the Arab. He served his God and the devil with the same relentless devotion. He incarnated a type that happily has vanished from the map of Africa.
The region around Stanleyville is rich with historic interest and association. The great name inseparably and immortally linked with it is that of Stanley. Although he found Livingstone, relieved Emin Pasha, first traversed the Congo River, and sowed the seeds of civilization throughout the heart of the continent, his greatest single achievement, perhaps, was the founding of the Congo Free State. No other enterprise took such toll of his essential qualities and especially his genius for organization.
Stanley is most widely known as an explorer, yet he was, at the same time, one of the master civilizers. He felt that his Congo adventure would be incomplete if he did not make the State a vast productive region and the home of the white man. He longed to see it a British possession and it was only after he offered it twice to England and was twice rebuffed, that he accepted the invitation of King Leopold II to organize the stations under the auspices of the International African Association, which was the first step toward Belgian sovereignty.
I have talked with many British and Belgian associates of Stanley. Without exception they all acclaim his sterling virtues both in the physical and spiritual sense. All agree that he was a hard man. The best explanation of this so-called hardness is given by Herbert Ward, who once spoke to him about it. Stanley's reply was, "You've got to be hard. If you're not hard you're weak. There are only two sides to it."
Stanley always declared that his whole idea of life and work were embodied in the following maxim: "The three M's are all we need. They are Morals, Mind and Muscles. These must be cultivated if we wish to be immortal." To an astonishing degree he worked and lived up to these principles.
No explorer, not even Peary in the Arctic wilds, was ever prey to a larger isolation than this man. In the midst of the multitude he was alone. He shunned intimacy and one of his mournful reflections was, "I have had no friend on any expedition, no one who could possibly be my companion on an equal footing, except while with Livingstone."
I cannot resist the impulse to make comparison between those two outstanding Englishmen, Rhodes and Stanley, whose lives are intimately woven into the fabric of African romance. They had much in common and yet they were widely different in purpose and temperament. Each was an autocrat and brooked no interference. Each had the same kindling ideal of British imperialism. Each suffered abuse at the hands of his countrymen and lived to witness a triumphant vindication.
Stanley had a rare talent for details—he went on the theory that if you wanted a thing done properly you must do it yourself—but Rhodes only saw things in a big way and left the interpretation to subordinates. Stanley was devoutly religious while Rhodes paid scant attention to the spiritual side. Each was a dreamer in his own way and merely regarded money as a means to an end. Rhodes, however, was far more disdainful of wealth as such, than Stanley, who received large sums for his books and lectures. It is only fair to him to say that he never took pecuniary advantage of the immense opportunities that his explorations in the Congo afforded.
Still another intrepid Englishman narrowly missed having a big role in the drama of the Congo. General Gordon agreed to assume the Governorship of the Lower Congo under Stanley, who was to be the Chief Administrator of the Upper Congo. They were to unite in one grand effort to crush the slave trade. Fate intervened. Gordon meanwhile was asked by the British Government to go to Egypt, then in the throes of the Mahdist uprising. He went to his martyrdom at Khartoum, and Stanley continued his work alone in Central Africa.
While Stanley established its most enduring traditions, other heroic soldiers and explorers, contributed to the roll of fame of the Upper Congo region. Conspicuous among them was Captain Deane, an Englishman who fought the Arab slave traders at Stanley Falls and who figured in a succession of episodes that read like the most romantic fiction.