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My labors have not been in vain. A young and vast state, managed from Brussels, has peacefully taken its place in the sunlight, thanks to the kindly support of the powers which have welcomed its appearance. Belgians administer it, while others of our countrymen, each day more numerous, are already investing their capital there.
The immense network of rivers of the upper Congo opens to our energies rapid and economical means of communication, which allow of penetrating directly to the center of the African continent. The construction of the railroad from the region of the cataracts, now assured thanks to the recent vote of the Legislature — will remarkably increase the ease of access. Under these conditions, a great future is reserved for the Congo, whose immense value will soon burst upon the sight of all.
On the morrow of this great act, I have thought it my duty to put Belgium in a position, so that when death shall overtake me, it will profit by my work as well as by the labors of those who have aided me in its foundation and management, and whom I thank again. I have made, as sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo, the testament which I address to you; I shall ask you to communicate it to the Legislative Chambers at what seems to us the most opportune moment.
The beginnings of enterprises like those with which I have occupied myself are difficult and burdensome. I have had to support the expenses of it. A king, in order to serve his country, should not fear to conceive and carry out a work, even if it appear rash. The wealth of a sovereign consists in public prosperity: that alone may form in his eyes an enviable treasure which he ought constantly to attempt to increase.
Until the day of my death I shall continue to be guided by the same thought of national interest as heretofore, to direct and maintain our African work; but if, without waiting until that time, the country shonld desire to contract closer relations with my possessions in the Congo, I would not hesitate to put them at its disposal. I should be happy to see it in full enjoyment thereof during my lifetime. Let me, in the meantime, tell you how grateful I am to the Chambers, as well as to the Government, for the aid which they have lent me at different times in this enterprise. I do not believe I am mistaken in asserting that Belgium will derive substantial advantages from it, and will see opened before it on a new continent wide and happy prospects.
Believe me, dear Minister,
GENERAL ACT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND OTHER
POWERS FOR THE REPRESSION OF THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE AND THE
RESTRICTION OF THE IMPORTATION INTO, AND SALE IN, A CERTAIN DEFINED ZONE OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION AND SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS.
Signed July 2, 1890.
In the name of God Almighty.
The President of the United States of America;
His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia, in the name of the German Empire;
His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, &c., and Apostolic King of Hungary;
His Majesty the King of the Belgians;
His Majesty the King of Spain, and in his name Her Majesty the Queen Regent of the Kingdom;
His Majesty the Sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo; The President of the French Republic;
Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India;
His Majesty the King of Italy;
His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxemburg;
His Majesty the Shah of Persia;
Being equally actuated by the firm intention of putting an end to the crimes and devastations engendered by the traffic in African slaves, of efficiently protecting the aboriginal population of Africa, and of securing for that vast continent the benefits of peace and civilization;
Wishing to give fresh sanction to the decisions already adopted in the same sense and at different times by the powers, to complete the results secured by them, and to draw up a body of measures guaranteeing the accomplishment of the work which is the object of their common solicitude;
Have resolved, in pursuance of the invitation addressed to them by the Government of His Majesty the King of the Belgians, in agreement with the Government of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, to convene for this purpose a conference at Brussels, and have named as their plenipotentiaries: The President of the United States of America,
Mr. Edwin H. Terrell, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Pleni
potentiary of the United States of America near His Majesty
the King of the Belgians, and
Mr. Henry Shelton Sanford; His Majesty the Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia, in the Name of
the German Empire,
Actual Privy Councillor, His Envoy Extraordinary and
General of the German Empire at Amsterdam ;
King of Hungary,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary near his
Majesty the King of the Belgians, His Majesty the King of the Belgians,
Auguste Baron Lambermont, His Minister of State, His Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, and
eign Affairs of Belgium; His Majesty the King of Denmark,
Mr. Frederic-George Schack de Brockdorff, Consul-General of
Denmark at Antwerp;
Queen Regent of the Kingdom,
Minister Plenipotentiary near His Majesty the King of the
His Majesty ihe Sovereign-King of the Independent State of the Congo,
Mr. Edmund Van Eetvelde, Administrator-General of the De
partment of Foreign Affairs of the Independent State of the
M. Albert Bourée, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipo
tentiary of the French Republic near His Majesty the King
of the Belgians, and M. George Cogordan, Minister Plenipotentiary, Director of the
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France;
Ireland, Empress of India,
dinary and Minister Plenipotentiary near His Majesty the
King of the Belgians, and
Sir John Kirk;
Francis de Renzis, Baron of Montanaro, His Envoy Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary near His Majesty the King
of the Belgians, and Mr. Thomas Catalani, His Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary; His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxemburg,
Louis Baron Gericke de Herwynen, His Envoy Extraordinary and
Minister Plenipotentiary near His Majesty the King of the
General Nazare Aga, His Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary near His Majesty the King of the Belgians; His Majesty the King of Portugal and of the Algarves,
Mr. Henrique de Macedo Pereira Coutinho, Member of His
Council, Peer of the Kingdom, Minister and Honorary
His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias,
Leon Prince Ouroussoff, Master of His Court, His Envoy Ex
traordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary near His Majesty
the King of the Belgians, and Mr. Frederic de Martens, His Actual Councillor of State, Perma
ment Member of the Council of Foreign Affairs of Russia; His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway,
Mr. Charles de Burenstam, His Chamberlain, His Minister Pleni
potentiary near His Majesty the King of the Belgians and
near His Majesty the King of the Netherlands; His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans,
Étienne Carathéodory Efendi, High Dignitary of His Empire,
His Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary near
His Majesty the King of the Belgians; His Highness the Sultan of Zanzibar,
Sir John Kirk, and
Mr. William Goehring; Who, being furnished with full powers, which have been found to be in good and due form, have adopted the following provisions :
CHAPTER I. Slave-trade countries. - Measures to be taken in the places
ARTICLE I. The powers declare that the most effective means of counteracting the slave-trade in the interior of Africa are the following:
1. Progressive organization of the administrative, judicial, religious, and military services in the African territories placed under the sovereignty or protectorate of civilized nations.
2. The gradual establishment in the interior, by the powers to which the territories are subject, of strongly occupied stations, in such a way as to make their protective or repressive action effectively felt in the territories devastated by slave-hunting.
3. The construction of roads, and in particular of railways, connecting the advanced stations with the coast, and permitting easy access to the inland waters, and to such of the upper courses of the rivers and streams as are broken by rapids and cataracts, with a view to substituting economical and rapid means of transportation for the present system of carriage by men.