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



Letter of Governor-General Wahis to the Reverend George Grenfell (British), of the Baptist Missionary Society at Bolobo, transmitting Decree, December 26, 1896 (pp.565-566)


...............................................................................................Bolobo, December 26, 1896 Reverend Sir,
I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a certified copy of the Decree of the 18th December last appointing a Commission for the protection of natives, and nominating you to fulfil the duties of Secretary to the said Commission. The authenticated copy will serve you as your letter of appointment to the important functions for the performance of which the King-Sovereign has selected you. The Government are confident that their appeal for your assistance in a work of humanity and protection will not be in vain.
Owing to your powers devolving upon you as a member of the Commission, you will be in a position to form a perfectly independent opinion in regard to any acts of violence of which the natives may have to somplain, and it will be your duty to notify to the judicial authorities any improper proceedings of which the natives in question may be the victims. This right of initiative belongs to you individually, that is to say, you may act separately, without any cooperation on the part of the other members of the Commission. On your information the authorities will open an inquiry, and will institute proceedings, either administrative or, in cases of infractions of the law, judicial.
In view of the action which will be taken on any complaint emanating from you or from the Commission, it is scarcely necessary to remind you that circumspection is called for, and that you should give the authority your support only to those facts of which you may have a personal knowledge, and which are based on trustworthy evidence.
The Commission will also have the duty of drawing the attention of the Government to the measures to be taken to present slave-trading, to render more effective the prohibition or restriction of the trade in spirituous liquors, and gradually to bring about the disappearance of inhuman practices. The simplest mode of procedure in this matter would be, in the opinion of the Government, that you, in your capacity as Secretary - and the Government is convinced that you will be willing to accept this duty - should send in a half-yearly report on these questions, containing the observations and proposals of the members of the Commission on the subject. This half-yearly report might also deal with the working of the Commission, the acts of violence definitely established by it's members, the complaints made, and the results achieved.
But in this matter, as in everything which relates to the working of the Commission, the Government give it full discretion.
In forwarding to each of the members a copy of the new Decree, and in announcing his nomination to each individually, I am informing them of your appointment as Secretary. You will be good enough to place yourself in communication with them in order, if possible, in spite of distance, to arrange, at Leopoldville, for instance, a meeting of all the members of the Commission, or of a certain number of them, or definitely to constitute the Commission by correspondence, and to settle such measures as should be taken for the execution of the Decree.
..... Believe, etc. ... The Governor-General .. (signed) .. Wahis.








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