Henry Wellington Wack
The Story of the Congo Free State
New York & London : Putnam 1905



Dispatch from his Majesty's Minister at Brussels Respecting the Commission for the Protection of the Natives, Instituted by the Government of the Independent Congo State under the Decree of September 18, 1896 (pp.561-562)


Sir C. Phipps to the Marquess of Landsdowne - (Received May 19). (Extract)

Brussels, May 18 1903
M. de Cuvelier handed to me this morning the documents herewith inclosed on the subject of the working of the Commission for the Protection of the Natives, instituted by the Congo State Government under the Decree of the 18th September, 1896, which had been collected and prepared for me in consequence of my request made to that effect the day before yesterday.
Your Lordship will observe that the Congo Government places at my disposal, without concealment, the whole correspondence which has passed in regard to the Commission under discussion, including dispatches not intended for publication. It undoubtedly leads to the conclusion that, if the operation of the Commission has not been so effective as might have been anticipated, the fault has rather been due to the great extent of territory which it had the duty to watch, and to the considerable distances by which it's members were separated, and not to any deficiency of conception or absence of energy on the part of the Central Government.



Settlements for Native Children

Leopold II., King of the Belgians, Sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo.
To all present and to come, greeting ;
Whereas it is expedient to make provision for the protection of those children who have been victims of the Slave Trade; and
Whereas it is the general duty of the State to assume the guardianship of abandoned children, or of those whose parents do not fulfil their duties;
Now, therefore, on the proposal of our Administrator-General of the Foreign Department, we have decreed and do hereby decree : -
Article 1. The State shall assume the guardianship of children liberated in consequence of the arrest and dispersal of a convoy of slaves; of fugitive slaves who demand such protection, of children forsaken, abandoned, or orphans, and of those whose parents do not fulfil their duty with regard to maintaining and educating them.
They shall be provided with the means of livelihood and a practical education, and established in life.
Article 2. With this object agricultural and professional settlements shall be established, which shall admit only such children as come under the definitions of Article 1, but, as far as may be, those children who shall ask to be admitted.
Article 3. From the day of their admission the children shall be placed exclusively under the guardianship of the State, to which they shall remain subject, and shall be liable to work at the discretion of the Governor-General, up to the expiration of their twenty-fifth year in return for maintenance, food, lodging, and free medical attendance.
Article 4. Rules of administration proscribed by our Governor-General shall decide the mode and conditions of admission to the settlements, the composition of the directing staff, the programme of manual and intellectual work, the details of supervision, disciplinary penalties and their application, and the public services to which the children shall be attached.
Article 5. The administration of the guardianship of the children admitted to the settlements shall, as far as their personal rights and property are concerned, be regulated by the Civil Code.
Article 6. Our Administrators-General of the Foreign and Home Departments are charged, each in so far as it concerns him, with execution of this Decree.
Done at Brussels this 12th day of July 1890.
..........................................(signed) .... Leopold.
By the King Sovereign : The Administrator-General of the Foreign Department,
(signed) ... Edm. van Eetvelde








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