« PreviousContinue »
THE BELGIAN CONGO
THE BERLIN ACT
ARTHUR BERRIEDALE KEITH
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, BARRISTER-AT-LAW
It is the aim of this work to examine in the crucial instance of the history of the Independent State of the Congo the defects of the Berlin Act, and to indicate the amendments which must be made in that international compact if it is to serve the high purposes for which it was destined, the extension to central Africa of the benefits of civilization and freedom of trade. This limitation of purpose has involved the omission in the historical sketch of the vivid detail of individual heroism and achievement in which the record of the Congo State abounds, but it has also justified the decision not to enter into particulars of the acts of cruelty committed upon natives under the State régime. The exposure of these crimes was a public duty, honourably fulfilled in England, during the period of the agitation to secure the reform of the administration, but since Belgium, under King Albert, has accepted in principle all the reforms. urged by Viscount Grey, it is permissible to refrain from entering minutely into the investigation of these deplorable events.
In the account of the constitution and administration of the Colony the dislocation produced by the usurpation of authority in Belgium by Germany has been wholly ignored, and the relations between the Congo and the metropolis have been described as they