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Between Anarchy and SocietyTrusteeship and the Obligations of Power$

William Bain

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199260265.001.0001

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The Internationalization of Trusteeship

The Internationalization of Trusteeship

(p.53) 3 The Internationalization of Trusteeship
Between Anarchy and Society

William Bain

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Examines the internationalization of trusteeship as it arose in the context of British colonial administration in Africa, the Berlin and Brussels Conferences, and the experience of the Congo Free State. It is out of these experiences and events that the idea of trusteeship emerges as a recognized and accepted practice of international society. The chapter has five sections: the first discusses British attitudes towards Africa; the second looks at Lord Lugard's ‘dual mandate’ principle of colonial administration—the proposal that the exploitation of Africa's natural wealth should reciprocally benefit the industrial classes of Europe and the native population of Africa; the third discusses the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 and the Brussels Conference of 1890; the fourth describes trusteeship in relation to the Congo Free State. The fifth section of the chapter points out the progression from the idea of trusteeship in the East India Company's dominion in India—in which the improvement of native peoples would come about rapidly and result in institutional forms and practices that closely resembled those in Europe—to a new incrementalist approach in which societies and people were thought of as occupying different rungs on a progressive ‘ladder of civilization’, and, depending on their stage of development on this ladder, were suited to different forms of constitution.

Keywords:   Africa, barbarian, Berlin Conference, British Africa, British colonial administration, British colonial administration, Brussels Conference, Thomas Fowell Buxton, Christianity, civilization, Congo Free State, dual mandate, free trade, incremental development, incrementalism, Indian Mutiny, international law, internationalization, internationalization of trusteeship, ladder of civilization, David Livingstone, Lord Lugard, Manchester School economics, missionaries, racism, religion, savage, slave trade, slavery, Adam Smith, trusteeship

The partition and colonization of Africa is one of the most noteworthy, and perhaps misunderstood, events of nineteenth century international history. The so-called ‘scramble for Africa’ is most commonly identified with the machinations of power politics, the search for imperial glory, and the pursuit of private and national wealth. That European powers pursued all of these things in Africa, and committed misdeeds in doing so, is not in doubt. Greed and vanity, as well as feelings of cultural superiority and racial antipathy, are all part of the story of European mastery in Africa. But it would be an exaggeration of some magnitude to say that Africa's encounter with European international society discloses nothing more than a simple and brutal story of domination and exploitation. For the history of imperialism in Africa also provides ample evidence of a novel claim–that the conditions of life for at least a portion of Africa's population constituted a legitimate subject of international scrutiny. In other words, members of European international society internationalized the idea of trusteeship by establishing in international law obligations that explicitly repudiated relations based on domination and exploitation; and, in doing so, they accorded international legitimacy to the principle that the strong should rule on behalf of the weak. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the internationalization of trusteeship as it arose in the context of British colonial administration in Africa, the Berlin and Brussels Conferences, and the experience of the Congo Free State. It is out of these experiences and events that the idea of trusteeship emerges as a recognized and accepted practice of international society.

Attitudes Towards Africa

British attitudes towards Africa at the turn of the nineteenth century were shaped to a considerable degree by an earnest desire to atone for Britain's role in purchasing and transporting slaves to work in the sugar and indigo plantations of the New World. William Pitt expressed the substance of this sentiment before the House of Commons in 1792: ‘how shall we hope to obtain, if it be possible, forgiveness from Heaven for the enormous evils we have committed, if we refuse to make use of those means which the mercy of Providence has still reserved for (p.54) us for wiping away the shame and guilt with which we are now covered?’1 This sense of shame and guilt provided the seed for a great national crusade to eradicate slavery, not only within the British Empire, but also throughout the entire world. Stations were established along the West African coast for sole purpose of combating the slave trade; and in 1807, the same year that the slave trade was formally abolished within the Empire, the Crown assumed direct responsibility for Sierra Leone–a colony founded by British philanthropists for the purpose of settling freed slaves.2 The British government also endeavoured to hasten the end of slavery and the slave trade by impressing upon Africa's native rulers the advantages of a free and unencumbered trade, or legitimate and peaceful commerce as it was commonly called in nineteenth century parlance. Agents were dispatched to tell native rulers of the advantages of lawful trade, and to convince them that innocent commerce would be most productive of industry, virtue, and well-ordered society. Native rulers that failed to heed this advice with sufficient vigour often found themselves faced with the persuasive powers of the Royal Navy. Thus, the crusade to eradicate slavery in all its manifestations joined the art of persuasion and armed intimidation, blockade, and bombardment in righteous service of humanity. Indeed, Lord Palmerston wrote in 1851 that ‘the Friendship of Gt. Britain is to be obtained by the Chiefs of Africa only on the condition that they abandon Slave Trade and expel the Slave Traders, and that those Chiefs who may refuse to do these things, will surely incur the Displeasure of the British Govt.’3

But atoning for past sins imposed on the most ardent abolitionists a responsibility far greater than that of prohibiting slavery within the British Empire and putting down the traffic in human beings on the high seas. For example, Thomas Fowell Buxton insisted that ‘[o]ne part of our national debt to Africa has already been acknowledged by the emancipation of our colonial slaves. There remains yet, however, a larger debt uncancelled–that of restitution to Africa itself’.4 The burden of this responsibility weighed most heavily on Christian missionaries who set out, armed with the promise of salvation, to deliver Africa from the oppressive burden of slavery and to inculcate in its people the perfection of their own (higher) morality. While most of these missionaries toiled in obscurity, braving inter-tribal war, infectious (p.55) disease, and enormous personal hardship, the travels of David Livingstone awakened the British public fully to the evil of slavery and to the ‘debased’ state of society in Africa.5 In Livingstone's theory of social change, we encounter not only the beliefs and assumptions of the missionary purpose in Africa, but major currents of mid-nineteenth century Victorian thought as well. He betrayed no doubt of his fundamental conviction that the salvation of Africa depended fundamentally on the dissemination of Christian truth. But when he wrote to the London Missionary Society that ‘[w]e must I conceive go forward, and go forward far too, in order to get at the heathenism of this country’,6 he had in mind something more than just spiritual salvation. The remedy of ‘evil’ in Africa, he argued, enjoined not only the communication of the Gospel, but the introduction and application of all that was good about British religious and economic life. Free trade, in conjunction with the Christian message of fraternity and universal brotherhood, would pacify isolated and warring tribes, create bonds of interdependence, and join them together in a condition of mutual amity, peace, and prosperity. And together these great engines of civilization–Christianity and commerce–would destroy the odious traffic in human beings and ameliorate the barbarism of tribal life.7

Livingstone is perhaps best remembered for engaging the imagination of a nation by skilfully combining Christian respect for individual personality with Adam Smith's idea of economic individualism. However, against missionary wishes for greater spiritual and political involvement in Africa, adherents of the so-called Manchester School marshalled principles of Smith's political economy to argue in favour of liquidating Britain's burdensome imperial commitments. Colonies, as John Bright would have it, did not pay: ‘I am inclined to think that, with the exception of Australia, there is not a single dependency of the Crown which, if we come to reckon what it has cost in war and protection, would not be found to be a positive loss to the people of this country.’8 More importantly, though, Bright and Richard Cobden (p.56) rarely tired of extolling the virtues of private enterprise and restricted government because they believed that markets were productive not only of material wealth, but of great social energy and individual improvement. Markets, they argued, cultivate a sense of responsibility, discipline, industry, and all that was required of the virtuous citizen; and, consequently, moral refinement and material prosperity would naturally arise in human beings that were free to think, speak, worship, and work without interference from the heavy hand of the state.9 This unbridled commitment to the benefits of market economy transformed the maintenance of empire into an impediment to moral and material progress. The folly of retaining political control over vast territories in Africa and Asia imposed an unnecessary financial and military burden that ran counter, and imprudently so, to the laws of economy. Life within empire necessarily entailed a pattern of relations that deviated from the natural equality of all men and consequently imposed an unnatural state of dependence that could not be sustained, as the results of the American Revolution amply demonstrated. Indeed, Britain's colonies, Cobden argued, ‘serve but as gorgeous and ponderous appendages to swell our ostensible grandeur, but, in reality, to complicate and magnify our government expenditure, without improving our balance of trade’.10

Out of these ideas grew the general belief that the colonies should be cut loose and that the Crown should avoid assuming new political, financial, and military responsibilities beyond the jurisdiction of ‘Little England’.11 The mid-nineteenth century British official was less concerned with ruling distant lands than with expanding the nation's commerce: free commerce, rather than the controlling interests of the flag, would see to the prosperity of Britain and Africa alike. Thus, colonial questions were settled with an eye to retrenchment; and colonies themselves were generally regarded as temporary possessions that were to be self-supporting and self-governing at the earliest opportunity. That the colonies would gradually seek greater autonomy and, eventually, demand independence was regarded as significant only so far as it signalled the natural maturation of empire. It is in this context that British officials remained decidedly indifferent to African affairs; for Africa afforded little in the way of interest or value–apart from an abiding interest in suppressing the slave trade–that joined it to Britain in common cause. British trade with Africa compared rather poorly with the commercial ties that (p.57) linked Britain to India and to the Americas; and official opinion believed that the constant threat of war, an inhospitable climate, and the financial responsibilities of empire outweighed any advantage that could be had in Africa. James Stephen expressed the fundamental premise of this view, which dominated Colonial Office thinking right up to the eve of partition, with unmistakable clarity: ‘[i]f we could acquire the Dominion of the whole of that Continent it would be but a worthless possession.’12 Even Benjamin Disraeli, a man acutely attuned to the prestige afforded by empire, tended to regard colonies in Africa as millstones rather than sources of imperial power. And, in view of avoiding the acquisition of additional millstones, Parliament resolved in 1865 that the assumption of new responsibilities in Africa would be ‘inexpedient’ and that the administration of all colonial governments, excepting only Sierra Leone, should be transferred to the natives.13

The sudden abandonment of this policy of retrenchment has long been the subject of speculation. For instance, John Hobson argued in his celebrated volume, Imperialism, that political, racial, and cultural accounts of European expansion in Africa were far less important than economic interests that wished to dispose ‘of their surplus wealth by seeking foreign markets and foreign investments to take off the goods and capital they cannot sell or use at home’.14 And, of course, no account would be complete without mentioning the British drive for imperial security or French, German, and Italian efforts to secure places in the sun. Still, Alan Cairns insists that cruelty and suffering, more than commercial or strategic interests, provoked the reaction against British indifference towards involvement in Africa. Sir Andrew Cohen similarly argues that ‘[t]he abolition of slavery and, in revulsion from the slave trade, the sense of mission toward the people of Africa were the first motives in time in the British penetration of both West and East Africa’.15 Indeed, to the distant European, life in much of Africa was a sordid tale of anarchy, war, and shocking brutality. The character and effects of inter-tribal warfare and certain native customs struck the British public as being utterly repugnant. For the ordinary person could not possibly reconcile witchcraft, mutilation, trial by ordeal, human sacrifice, and especially the torture and murder of women and children, with any known standard of justice or reason. Thus, to the British mind, savage custom, paganism, and slave raiding so profoundly (p.58) disrupted the course of ordinary life that humanity and common decency dictated intervention.

This concern for human suffering and pervasive insecurity was at least partially responsible for inducing the British government to abandon its policy of retrenchment. Missionaries were, predictably, the most enthusiastic advocates of intervention, for they believed, as did Lord Wellesley in India at the turn of the century, that the people of Africa would benefit most from the ameliorating effects of British rule. Pervasive lawlessness and disorder left no less a lasting impression on European traders once it became apparent that Cobden's recipe for security–that ‘civilized’ men should treat ‘savages’ like men so that no quarrel might arise between them–was simply beyond the realm of possibility.16 Before long they too began to demand the protection afforded by the flag in contravention of the orthodoxy of Manchester sensibilities. The Crown responded by declaring protectorates over territories–many of which held little strategic or obvious commercial value–that were believed to be incapable of maintaining law and order, dispensing justice, and protecting persons and property. In these places, as John Stuart Mill once said of savage life, there was an absence of commerce, agriculture, and manufactures; and interests were satisfied by asserting strength and cunning rather than by resorting to settled social arrangements–the collective strength of society. Buxton and others who laboured to make amends for the past vowed to remedy this unhappy state of affairs by teaching the African to abandon his affection for cruelty and love of warfare, and to impress upon him that the happiest people are those who conscientiously keep God's commandments.17 It can come as no surprise, then, that these same people believed that securing the ‘savage’ African in the pax Britannica held out the best opportunity of fastening him to a mild and progressive government and bestowing upon him the advantages of civilization.

The Dual Mandate

If the call of humanity compelled British intervention in order to establish tolerable conditions of peace, order, and security, to conduct a peaceful commerce and to disseminate God's law, then British colonial administrators were also compelled to devise methods by which to rule their new charges. (p.59) The most important and influential understanding of these methods is expressed in Lord Lugard's notion of the ‘dual mandate’, which imposed a very simple yet extraordinarily powerful principle of colonial administration: the exploitation of Africa's natural wealth should reciprocally benefit the industrial classes of Europe and the native population of Africa.18 The underlying claims of the dual mandate are most clearly intelligible in the practice of indirect rule, a method of colonial administration which, at its heart, supposed that vast differences in native custom, tradition, and level of improvement necessarily entailed the rejection of universally applicable rules and administrative forms. Indeed, Lugard submitted that the ‘slavish adherence to any particular type, however successful it may have proved elsewhere, may, if unadapted to the local environment, be as ill-suited and as foreign to its conceptions as direct British rule would be’.19 Prosperity, welfare, and improvement depended on the recognition of at least a degree of tolerable difference. The dispensation of justice, the framing of law, the delivery of health and educational services, attitudes towards race relations, and agricultural, religious, and labour policies must all be fitted to the particular circumstances and sensibilities of particular communities. And native Africans must have a stake in their government; they must be sufficiently free to direct their own affairs through their own leaders and their own institutions, albeit under the supervision of British officials. Thus, for Lugard, indirect rule aimed at constituting native leaders as integral parts of government–leaders endowed with clearly defined duties that were assigned in accordance with a community's capacity for self-government. But, in an obvious affirmation of the justification of political power laid down by Edmund Burke nearly a century earlier, the rights and powers exercised by these native leaders were justified solely by service rendered to the community and to the state.20

Lugard's affection for native practices and institutions did not, however, extend so far as to accord them recognition as fully legitimate ways of organizing and conducting human relations. He believed that while custom and tradition varied in proportion to a society's level of improvement, the ends of political life did not. Thus, the district officer must be well acquainted with local customs and social organization; and he must adapt principles of administration to native life so that they are productive of ends common to all. But the danger of imprudent interference in native practices, or introducing the ways of civilization too rapidly, did not escape the attention of colonial administrators in Africa.21 The Indian Mutiny of 1857 provided an (p.60) ever-present reminder of the dangers presented by overly ambitious schemes of assimilation and Anglicization. Lugard believed that education would help bring the natives into sympathy with British authority; however, he also recognized that the implementation of a thoroughly Anglicized curriculum risked great danger and perhaps disaster. And in that respect the gradualist approach preferred by John Malcolm won out in Africa over the revolutionary approach favoured by T. B. Macaulay. Lugard was also attuned to the fact that the destruction of native authority and institutions, before the reins of government could be turned over to native peoples, would leave an improbably small cadre of British administrators to govern vast stretches of territory. Thus, he counselled that administrative officers must ‘make it apparent alike to the educated native, the conservative Moslem, and the primitive pagan, each to his own degree, that the policy of the Government is not antagonistic but progressive– sympathetic to his aspirations and the guardian of his natural rights’.22

That expediency shaped the policies of British colonial administrators is universally admitted; however, the character of indirect rule is not fully intelligible without taking account of a quality that, at least formally, underpinned the dual mandate and British dominion in Africa generally. The reciprocal relationship expressed by the dual mandate is best understood in the context of a professed duty that obliged the ‘advanced’ to assist the ‘backward’ in becoming what they were not–civilized peoples–rather than as a manifestation of greed, avarice, and ambition. Few people would hold that British rule in Africa was without defect, but it would be a gross exaggeration to say that British officials devised the methods of indirect rule for the sole purpose of conquest, domination, and exploitation. The methods of indirect rule were for Lugard intended to instil in the natives a sense of responsibility, initiative, fair play, discipline, and justice–qualities that were required of a people fit for self-government. Indeed, he defended the principle of supervised self-government by saying:

[t]o abandon the policy of ruling [the natives] through their own chiefs, and to substitute the direct rule of the British officer, is to forego the high ideal of leading the backward races, by their own efforts, in their own way, to raise themselves to a higher plane of social organisation, and tends to perpetuate and stereotype existing conditions.23

But not all accepted the value that Lugard ascribed to the practice of indirect rule. Herbert Tugwell, a member of the Church Missionary Society and one of Lugard's contemporaries in Nigeria, argued that indirect rule robbed the (p.61) native of desire for progress of any sort. Indirect rule, he claimed, amounted to little more than ‘direct rule by indirect means’.24 Criticism of this sort did not, however, question the professed end of indirect rule, nor did it allege that indirect rule was directed towards an end less worthy than ensuring the happiness and well-being of Africa's native inhabitants. Rather than criticizing the professed ends of British rule in Africa, Tugwell and others of similar opinion merely probed the means by which the trusteeship of its people might be best achieved.

In spite of repeated professions of solicitude for the well-being of Africa's native inhabitants, accounts of economic exploitation provided a seductive explanation for Britain's purpose in establishing and maintaining its empire in tropical Africa. When confronted with this theory of imperial expansion, Lugard did not disclaim all pretence of self-interest:

Let it be admitted at the outset that European brains, capital, and energy have not been, and never will be, expended in developing the resources of Africa from motives of pure philanthropy; that Europe is in Africa for the mutual benefit of her own industrial classes, and of the native races in their progress to a higher plane; that the benefit can be made reciprocal, and that it is the aim and desire of civilised administration to fulfil this dual mandate.25

This claim of reciprocal benefit is grounded in the belief that all human beings possess a right to a fair share of the earth's natural wealth. Scripture confirms this right as a gift from God: ‘The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth he has given to the sons of men’.26 And in the Western political tradition John Locke makes this gift from God the basis of property, the protection of which requires the constitution of political society.27

Lugard similarly justifies the dual mandate by appealing to the universal right of mankind–the Kantian idea of jus cosmopoliticum. On this view, the wealth of the earth is by natural right the common inheritance of all men; and the fact that groups of human beings hold a juridically determined proprietary right to a portion of the earth's surface in no way restrains the exercise of this right. All men, as citizens of the world, are endowed with the right to settle in distant territories so long as they do not injure others in the use of the soil. For this reason, Kant asserts that ‘the possession of the soil upon which an inhabitant of the earth may live can only be regarded as possession of a part of a limited whole and, consequently, as a part to which every one has (p.62) originally a right’.28 Thus, rather than clothing naked ambition in the garb of humanitarian platitude, Lugard argues that Europeans have a right to a fair share of Africa's natural wealth, an endowment wasted by the natives on account of their inability to comprehend its value or proper use. Indeed, he asks: ‘[w]ho can deny the right of the hungry people of Europe to utilise the wasted bounties of nature, or that the task of developing these resources was … a “trust for civilisation” and for the benefit of mankind?.’29

The claims and the obligations of the dual mandate inform the understanding of trusteeship that prevailed throughout most of British Africa, including territories that were not administered according to the principles of indirect rule. Experience in India certainly influenced the interpretation and implementation of trusteeship in Africa; however, the practice of trusteeship in Africa marks a clear break with the Anglicist experiments of the East India Company. The Indian Mutiny and the ascendance of race thinking ruled out any attempt at creating a class of Africans who were in every respect English except in blood and colour. In Africa, as in India, rights of dominion were justified by the benefit they conferred on native subjects; but in method, trusteeship in Africa more closely approximated the gradualist approach championed by Mountstuart Elphinstone, John Malcolm, and Thomas Munro. And like trusteeship in India, the condition of native subjects in Africa remained a concern of paramount importance.

This central and, indeed, indispensable tenet of trusteeship eventually obtained a formal recognition within the British Empire, in part certainly because the events of the First World War subjected colonial administration to considerable scrutiny. Thus, in the famous Kenya White Paper of 1923, the Crown declared that as a matter of official British policy:

His Majesty's Government regard themselves as exercising a trust on behalf of the African population, and they are unable to delegate or share this trust, the object of which may be defined as the protection and advancement of the native races. It is not necessary to attempt to elaborate this position; the lines of development are as yet in certain directions undetermined, and many difficult problems arise which require time for their solution. But there can be no room for doubt that it is the mission of Great Britain to work continuously for the training and education of the Africans towards a higher intellectual, moral, and economic level than that which they had reached when the Crown assumed the responsibility for the administration of this territory.30

(p.63) This declaration of trusteeship does not specify a practice of a peculiar sort; nor does it propose a particular administrative type or specify a particular political form. Rather, trusteeship in this context refers to a standard of rule, as opposed to a substantive empirical condition, which accommodates a multitude of principles and methods with which to raise the natives of Africa in the standard of civilization. And the ultimate test of these principles and methods was such that ‘the interests of the African natives must be paramount, and that if, and when, those interests and the interests of the immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail’.31

The Berlin Conference

The principal claims of the dual mandate are fully intelligible in the proceedings of the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 that effectively internationalized the idea of trusteeship. Although the Conference is notoriously associated with the partition of Africa, in a literal sense, the continent's population did not find itself suddenly divided by arbitrarily drawn boundaries as a result of agreements reached at Berlin. Rather, Prince Bismarck opened the Berlin Conference in a discourse that is more suggestive of trusteeship than territorial aggrandizement:

[i]n convoking the Conference, the Imperial Government was guided by the conviction that all the Governments invited share the wish to bring the native of Africa within the pale of civilization by opening up the interior of that continent to commerce, by giving its inhabitants the means of instructing themselves, by encouraging missions and enterprises calculated to spread useful knowledge, and by preparing the way for the suppression of slavery, and especially of the over-sea Traffic in blacks.32

But these words should not be misinterpreted to mean that Bismarck, or the Berlin Conference generally, stood for a single-minded devotion to the cause of philanthropy. Instead, the deliberations at Berlin disclose the same mode of argument that underpins Lugard's dual mandate: the interests of Europe and those of Africa would be served best by the interrelated and reciprocal benefit of free commerce, tutelage, and security from war.

It is neither possible to make sense of the European encounter with Africa, nor of the Berlin Conference in particular, without making some reference to the all-important issue of slavery. By the close of the eighteenth century, (p.64) abolitionists, especially those in Britain, brought the full weight of religious and secular opinion to bear against the practice of slavery. Abolitionists equated slavery with an offence against humanity; it was a cruel, barbarous, and incurable injustice that amounted to an irreparable offence against the sanctity of human personality. Necessity in no way lessened the burden imposed on all civilized members of the family of nations to destroy such evil. Slavery, as William Wilberforce repeatedly explained, constituted an abomination whose perpetuation was not essential to the welfare of slave-holding interests in the Americas.33 Widespread acceptance of Adam Smith's theories of economy also dealt a blow to the argument of necessity. Smith argued to great effect that the liberal reward of labour encouraged industry, wealth, a growing population, and supplied all the necessities and conveniences of life. Thus, ‘the work done by freedmen’, he asserted, ‘comes cheaper in the end than that performed by slaves’.34 But in spite of the signal importance that abolitionists and liberal economists attached to the complete eradication of slavery, the issue of slavery enjoyed a rather reserved place in the Berlin Act. Article IX of the Act simply states: ‘each of the powers binds itself to employ all the means at its disposal for putting an end to [the slave trade] and for punishing those who engage in it.’35

In order to grasp the full significance of Article IX it must be placed in the context of Article VI, which obliged signatory powers to ‘watch over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of their moral and material well-being, and to help in suppressing slavery, and especially the Slave Trade’.36 Article VI presupposed the assumption that, more than anything else, slavery and the slave trade had paralysed the development of Africa's people and natural wealth. Thus, all hopes of economic and political progress, and the very future of Africa itself, depended upon the destruction of the ‘vulgar’ and ‘illegitimate’ commerce in human beings. Indeed, a report submitted to the Conference equated the slave trade with the denial of every law and of social order itself: ‘[m]an-hunting constitutes a crime of high treason against humanity.’37 But the obligations imposed by Article VI consisted in something more than the duty of destroying slavery in all of its manifestations. Article VI also assumed the inability of Africa's native population to direct their own affairs; and on account of some (p.65) manner of incompetence, they were regarded as being unable to understand their true interests or to defend them even if they were made known to them. Signatory powers to the Berlin Act were, therefore, obliged to act on behalf of the natives, to assume guardianship over their rights, security, and property, and to confer upon them the advantages of civilization. And towards this end, they pledged to protect without distinction all religious, scientific, and charitable institutions which aimed at imparting to the natives the benefits of civilization; for ‘[t]he necessity of insuring the preservation of the natives, the duty of assisting them to attain a more elevated political and social state, the obligation of instructing them and of initiating them in the advantages of civilization, are unanimously recognized’.38

Although the star of free trade had dimmed somewhat towards the end of the nineteenth century, the deliberations at Berlin reveal a firmly held belief that advancing the state of society in Africa would be best served by complete and perfect freedom in commerce. The British representative to the Conference, Sir Edward Malet, conveyed this opinion when he declared before his colleagues: ‘[t]he principle which will command the sympathy and support of Her Majesty's Government will be that of the advancement of legitimate commerce, with security for the equality of treatment of all nations, and for the well-being of the native races.’39 The claims of the dual mandate are at once recognizable in this statement of British policy: free trade must not advance national economic interests at the expense of the well-being of Africa's native population. Thus, the Conference made no attempt, as is consistent with the demands of the dual mandate, to separate questions of commerce from questions of philanthropy. Free and unencumbered trade furnished meaningful answers to questions belonging to both categories. Indeed, the declaration on free commerce adopted by the Conference obliged signatories to ‘assist and aid the labours of the missions and all institutions having for their object the instruction of the natives, and making them understand and appreciate the advantages of civilization’.40 It is in view of this end, as well as the national advantage that might be obtained through unrestricted commerce, that adherents to the Berlin Act accepted the principle of the Open Door. They resolved that no nation should enjoy the privilege of monopoly, in the belief that perfect freedom in commerce would advance the economic interests of Europe and at the same time advance the ‘cause of humanity, of civilisation, of science, and religious feeling’.41

(p.66) To ensure that the advantages of unrestricted commerce would be enjoyed to the fullest extent possible, the Conference felt it necessary to adopt uniform rules for the recognition of future occupations and to establish a system of neutrality in tropical Africa. Only these steps, the parties agreed, would spare the continent of Africa from the intrigues, rivalries, and passions that all too easily lead to war. Thus, a report commissioned to study the prevention of war in tropical Africa concluded:

after having surrounded freedom of commerce and navigation in the centre of Africa with guarantees, and after having shown your solicitude for the moral and material welfare of the populations which inhabit it, you are about to introduce rules into positive international law which are destined to remove all causes of disagreement and strife from international relations.42

The underlying justification of this decision, like the justification of free commerce, is intelligible in the reciprocal relation proposed by the dual mandate. John Kasson, the representative of the United States, argued that it was not enough to safeguard European interests and property from the threat of war; to do so would be to transform Africa into little more than an estate meant to serve the productive forces of Europe and America. Rather, as trustees of civilization, Europeans were obliged to introduce science, literature, the arts, and other forms of useful knowledge; they must encourage the formation of productive labour; and they must assist the natives of Africa in adapting their lives to the customs and usages of civilization. The success of this enterprise, he reminded fellow delegates, was fundamentally dependent on a condition of peace that must be enjoyed by trustee and ward alike; for ‘war quickly lets loose every barbarous passion and destroys the progress of many years of civilisation’.43 Thus, parties to the Berlin Act agreed in Article X to respect the neutrality of territories placed under the system of free trade ‘in order to give a new guarantee of security to trade and industry, and to encourage, by the maintenance of peace, the development of civilisation’.44

Many of the principles that were adopted at Berlin, especially those related to Articles VI and IX, received more elaborate treatment at the Brussels Conference of 1890. The Brussels Conference was convened for the ostensible purpose of strengthening existing obligations pertaining to the suppression of the slave trade. But the decisions taken there amounted to nothing short of a revolution in Europe's dealings with Africa. Signatories to the Brussels Act (p.67) declared their ‘firm intention of putting an end to the crimes and devastations engendered by the Traffic in African Slaves, protecting effectively the aboriginal populations of Africa, and insuring for that vast continent the benefits of peace and civilization’.45 To that end they committed themselves to constructing roads and railways, restricting the importation and sale of fire-arms, powder, and ammunition, regulating the sale of liquor, and, perhaps most ominously, establishing fortified posts in the African interior. They further agreed that the most effective way of combating the slave trade involved the ‘[p]rogressive organization of the administrative, judicial, religious, and military services in the African territories placed under the sovereignty or protectorate of civilized nations’.46 It is hardly possible to overstate the implications of this undertaking; for it collapsed the distinction between the juridical status of a colony and that of a protectorate, the latter being a dependency that ceded control of its foreign relations but retained control over its domestic affairs.47 For Lugard the implications were at once profound and far-reaching: ‘[t]he moment at which the civilised Powers of the world have asserted the unequivocal right and obligation of the more advanced races to assume responsibility for the backward races seems an appropriate one to brush aside these archaic and anomalous distinctions, and to abandon the farce of “acquiring” jurisdiction by treaties not understood by their signatories and foreign to their modes of thought’.48 The obligation to undertake the domestic organization of African societies entailed nothing less than the extension of European dominion over the entire African continent.

In order to appreciate the underlying justification of the Berlin Act, as well as that of the Brussels Act, it is necessary to suspend judgement, at least momentarily, of consequences that by all accounts proved to be detrimental to native interests and welfare. It is no doubt true that delegates to the Berlin Conference worked to increase the wealth of their own countries; and, in doing so, they concealed their efforts to obtain greater access to the natural wealth of Africa for their traders and investors. However, they also went to great lengths to establish principles of conduct that were meant to protect Africa's native inhabitants from the ravages of slavery and war, and to promote their advancement in the standard of civilization. And in the attempt to reconcile these ends, and to ensure that decisions taken by the Conference could withstand the scrutiny of doubt, representatives were mindful of the danger that things might go wrong. Indeed, Malet spoke for several fellow (p.68) delegates at Berlin when he implored that they all remain fully conscious of the proper relation between the pursuit of national wealth and the work of civilization: ‘[w]hile the opening of the Congo markets is to be desired, the welfare of the natives should not be neglected; to them it would be no benefit, but the reverse, if freedom of commerce, unchecked by reasonable control, should degenerate into licence.’49 The Berlin and Brussels Acts rest on the belief that the nexus of commerce, civilization, and peace would destroy the institution of slavery that kept Africa in a retarded state of development, and would impart knowledge of science, Christian morality, and the virtues necessary to bring the light of civilization to the ‘dark heart of Africa’. Hence the great achievement of the Africa conferences–and perhaps their only lasting achievement–lies in the fact that they internationalized the idea of trusteeship. They established in international law the principle that the condition of Africa's native inhabitants constituted a legitimate subject of international concern.

Trusteeship and the Congo Free State

Whereas the deliberations of the Berlin Conference provide insight into the type of argument that underpinned the internationalization of trusteeship, the character of political rule that followed in the aftermath of internationalization provides insight into its consequences. These consequences are most readily intelligible in the experience of what is surely the most ambitious humanitarian enterprise of nineteenth century, even more so than the crusade to put down slavery and the slave trade. This enterprise owes its existence to King Leopold II of Belgium who, in 1876, founded the International Association of the Congo, a society ‘whose exclusive mission is to introduce civilisation and trade into the centre of Africa’.50 Members of the Conference agreed without controversy that the Association embodied the principles that were the subject of their work. Mr Busch of Germany expressed his satisfaction by saying: ‘we all pray that the most complete success may crown an enterprise which may so practically assist the views which directed the Conference.’51 To this sentiment the Italian delegate, Count de Launay, added: ‘[t]he whole world cannot fail to exhibit its sympathy and encouragement on behalf of this civilizing and humane work which does honour to the nineteenth century, from which the general interests of humanity profit, and (p.69) will always continue to derive further advantage.’52 And so the Congo Free State was born.

In spite of the optimism that greeted Leopold's humanitarian aspirations, the newly constituted Congo Free State proved to be grossly ill-prepared to undertake its self-proclaimed mission of spreading civilization in the heart of Africa. Most accounts of this failure stress Leopold's overriding interest in profit rather than philanthropy.53 That such assessments bear an element of truth is certainly correct. But in all fairness, the problems of creating a functioning civil society, not to mention the difficulties in imparting the advantages of civilization, were so daunting that today it is hardly conceivable that a private association would attempt such an undertaking. Since Belgium lacked established commercial links with Africa, as well as experience in administering a distant territory, Leopold relied upon volunteers from throughout Europe, including large numbers from Italy, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. Some were drawn by humanitarian sentiment, others by the desire for loot. And their general view of the native African as being naturally idle, and, therefore, wholly ignorant of the principles of Adam Smith's ‘economic man’, slid quite easily into the coercive atrocities for which the Congo Free State is now best remembered. But the most daunting problem of all stemmed from the fact that ‘Leopold faced the task of conquering and holding vast areas with his personal funds and a tiny budget that was more adequate for ruling a county than a country.’54 Many of the tribes in the Congo had scarcely heard of the Association; and the fact that large tracts of territory to which Leopold laid claim remained under the control of Arab slave-traders only magnified these problems. And in a rather perverse way, the Berlin Act only exaggerated the difficulties in establishing an effective administration, as the government was financially crippled by a free trade system that severely curtailed its ability to raise revenue. Thus, the task of establishing a competent and recognized authority in the Congo, and the duty to eradicate the slave trade, engaged Leopold in a series of ongoing wars that he could ill-afford to fight.55

But the most troubling failure of the Congo Free State, one that dishonours its humanitarian justification, involves the reckless and malevolent treatment of the native population. Leopold quickly transformed the Congo into a private commercial estate that was supported by a system of compulsory labour. The (p.70) totality of this transformation hastened Sir Constantine Phipps to report: ‘the State has monopolized the entire fruits of the soil, and has interfered with the whole evolution of native existence.’56 And to exploit the bounties of the estate the government elevated the provision of labour into a public duty. Able-bodied males were compelled to work on behalf of the state, for a period not to exceed 40 h per month, through the imposition of excessive taxation and through the use of arbitrary force. Sir Roger Casement reported that throughout the country native subjects were inadequately remunerated for their labour, they were forced to supply food to government posts, and they were afforded no protection of their property. District officers enforced compliance with this system of coercion through illegally imposed fines and summary imprisonment.57 However, the most grievous instances of abuse were perpetrated by armed sentinels that concessionary companies employed to supervise the gathering of rubber. These ‘forest guards’ extracted industry, demanded obedience, and inflicted punishment with floggings, imprisonment, mutilation, and murder. Moreover, families were held hostage, village chiefs were imprisoned to induce greater productivity, and labourers were retained against their will even after they had completed their term of service. Victims of such abuse possessed no means of redressing their complaints because the courts were reluctant to punish agents of the state, even when they involved serious criminal matters. The pernicious effects of this system of taxation and forced labour led Casement to conclude that the deplorable conditions in which the natives lived ‘were to be attributed above all else to the continued effort made during many years to compel the natives to work india-rubber’.58

Missionaries performed an invaluable role of criticizing and drawing attention to a state plunged in the depths of rapacity, corruption, and misrule. More effective, though, were efforts undertaken by the Congo Reform Association, which took the lead in exposing the horrors of Leopold's ‘humanitarian’ venture to the conscience of the world. Indeed, E. D. Morel, the founder of the Congo Reform Association, complained that ‘[f]rom the ashes of an international conference, summoned in the name of Almighty (p.71) God, has sprung a traffic in African misery more devilish than the old, more destructive, more permanently ruinous in its cumulative effect.’59 The Association petitioned the British government, recalling that ‘[e]ver since Sir E. Malet defined at Berlin in 1884 the part Her Majesty's Government took at the conference held to settle the affairs of the Congo, as being that of trustees for the absent native population, the Government of this country have played the leading part in a wholly unselfish effort to obtain for those unrepresented African peoples the rights the British people believed at the time had been not only morally but materially secured to them.’60 The British government eventually internationalized the matter by transmitting to the signatories of the Berlin Act a diplomatic note that called attention to allegations of abuse in the Congo. The Congo Free State parried these complaints, saying that its administration was not unlike the administration of British and other European possessions. It also repudiated the right of the Hague Tribunal to adjudicate disputes, as stipulated in Article XII of the Berlin Act, relating to the internal administration of the State. Still, Leopold undertook a programme of reform that stripped concessionary companies of their rights to collect taxes and to employ sentinels, and which granted to the natives extended land rights. But (well-founded) scepticism of the government's ability and willingness to reform itself persisted, and in time the preponderance of British opinion reached the consensus that the situation called for a more radical remedy.61

Belgium's annexation of the Congo State in 1908, which Britain belatedly recognized five years later, finally put to rest the great philanthropic experiment that Leopold initiated. However, it is in the debates that transpired in the intervening years that we are able to discern in full relief the idea of trusteeship that was internationalized at Berlin. Opponents of Leopold's African government generally believed that redressing mistreatment of the natives required nothing less than a change in administration; and yet they also understood that administrative change would not yield the desired effects unless the principles of administration were changed as well. The British government hoped to induce reforms that would, once and for all, destroy a system of taxation and forced labour that kept the natives in a state of poverty and which denied them a fair share in the natural wealth of the land. Thus, the British government declared that ‘the Belgian Government are under (p.72) treaty obligations in regard to their treatment of the natives of the Congo, and that … His Majesty's Government will not recognise the annexation until they are satisfied that these obligations are in a fair way to be fulfilled.’62 Of these obligations, the government indicated that the most urgent consisted in granting the natives relief from the system of taxation that supported the rubber monopolies. Indeed, the government decided that ‘[t]he first and foremost subject of complaint under Article VI of the Berlin Act are the abuses resulting from the system of labour.’63

It is an event of signal importance that the British government pressed its claims by appealing to the Berlin Act and to the declarations that bestowed an international legal personality upon the International Association of the Congo. The British side recalled the Association's declaration, made at Berlin, that it had been founded ‘for the purpose of promoting the civilization and commerce of Africa, and for other humane and benevolent purposes’; and, in turn, the British government proclaimed its ‘sympathy with, and approval of, the humane and benevolent purposes of the Association, and hereby recognize the flag of the Association … as the flag of a friendly Government’.64 Britain claimed, on the basis of this exchange, a right of interference in order to ensure the faithful implementation of the purpose for which Her Majesty's government recognized the Congo Free State. Therefore, just two days after the Belgian Parliament approved the annexation of the Congo Free State, the British government proposed a comprehensive programme of reform. These proposed reforms included relief from excessive taxation, land reform to encourage the transition from a subsistence to a commercial economy, and permitting traders of all nationalities to establish direct relations with the native population.65 The British government also expressed apprehension about the exclusive rights possessed by concessionary companies because, as Sir Edward Grey put it, they ‘fail[ed] to meet the requirements of Article VI of the Berlin Act, under which the Signatory Powers pledge themselves to (p.73) provide for the improvement of the natives’ moral and material well-being'.66 It was believed that, implemented together, these reforms would re-establish the system of free trade established by the Berlin Act, remedy injustices arising from excessive taxation and compulsory labour, and destroy the power of the concessionary companies and the privilege of their rubber monopolies. Indeed, Grey confidently predicted that ‘[t]he joint effect of these three reforms would go far to ameliorate the condition of the natives in the Congo’.67

It should come as no surprise that the Belgians received British criticism as an unwanted and unwarranted intrusion. In 1906, British overtures were rebuffed on the grounds that no foreign power had the right to interfere in matters pertaining to the internal administration of the Congo Free State. Moreover, authorities in the Congo expressly denied that the Berlin Act provided any right or pretext of interference. Mr de Cuvelier stated emphatically the obligations enumerated in Article VI ‘were a declaration of general principles and intentions as regarded the treatment of the native populations rather than a binding obligation which the remaining Signatories, or any one of them, had a right to enforce’.68 The juridical status of the Congo State is of some consequence when considering the veracity of this response. The Congo Free State is sometimes (and mistakenly) regarded as an international philanthropic enterprise. In reality, though, it was an independent state (though not a member of the European society of states) whose independent status was confirmed in a series of separate international agreements between the International Association of the Congo and various European powers. And the British government maintained that the Association assumed, in its exchange of declarations with Britain and other European powers, the obligations of the Berlin Act and ‘thus both legally and morally became subject to the full rigour of the provisions of the Act’.69

The British government pursued its claims against the Congo State while conceding that Article VI did not imply a right that permitted foreign powers to dictate the character of specific reforms. However, the British government insisted nevertheless that ‘no system can be allowed to operate so as to interfere with Treaty obligations to the prejudice of the moral and material well-being of the natives’.70 The Belgian government eventually abandoned its defence (p.74) premised on the claim of non-interference and it offered assurances that a proposed (new) colonial law would safeguard the rights and interests of the natives. Under this law, natives would no longer be forced to labour, either directly or indirectly; religious, charitable, and scientific institutions would enjoy equal protection; and the system of free trade would be re-established in all of the territories comprising the Congo basin. The Belgian government also recognized obligations of international law pertaining to the welfare of the natives and it proclaimed that its rule in the Congo would be directed at achieving ‘an immediate amelioration in the moral and material conditions of existence of the inhabitants of the Congo, and the extension, as rapidly as possible, of a system of economic freedom to the different regions of the vast country’.71

Britain's subsequent recognition of the annexation of the Congo Free State marked a major milestone in the development of the theory and practice of trusteeship in international society. There can be no question that the International Association of the Congo failed absolutely in fulfilling its self-proclaimed humanitarian mission. At nearly every opportunity the government of the Congo Free State vacated its obligation to watch over the natives as unselfish trustees of civilization. It is also true that most of the signatory powers to the Berlin Act responded rather indifferently to mounting evidence of misrule in the Congo. Only the United States, Italy, and Turkey responded favourably to a British note that documented flagrant violations of the obligation set out in Article VI of the Berlin Act.72 But, for all this, the events that transpired between the creation of the Congo Free State and its annexation did not discredit trusteeship or render it merely platitudinous fiction. The British government's repeated references to the obligations imposed by Article VI reaffirmed, and, indeed, vindicated, the legitimacy of the idea of trusteeship. That Belgium eventually accepted the legitimacy of the British position, and, consequently, that it affirmed that ‘improving the lot of the natives is not less a matter of solicitude in Belgium than it is in England’, gave practical effect to the authority of trusteeship. In that respect the settlement of the Congo question signalled the emergence of trusteeship as an accepted practice of international society.

The Ladder of Civilization

Colonial administration in nineteenth century Africa and the subsequent internationalization of trusteeship marked the triumph of a particular conception of how humanity should be ordered. In Africa, a preference for deliberation, (p.75) patience, and incrementalism displaced the belief that prevailed throughout much of the East India Company's dominion in India, namely that the improvement of native peoples would come about rapidly and would result in institutional forms and practices that closely resembled those in Europe. An incrementalist approach to imparting the advantages of civilization made it possible to think of societies and peoples as occupying different rungs on a progressive ladder of civilization. It was then possible to make graded distinctions, as did Lugard, between primitive tribes and advanced communities. Primitive tribes were said to languish in a patriarchal stage of development in which superstition and a crude social organization prevailed. In contrast, more advanced communities were said to have moved further along the road of progress on account of some form of enlightenment, such as the adoption of an alien monotheistic religion. Indeed, Lugard viewed Muslim rule as a creative force to the extent that it brought primitive Africa into contact with foreign culture and written language, and destroyed the most heinous of African habits and customs. However, he expressed doubt that the Islamic religion could carry African society beyond a stage of barbarism; for he understood Islam as merely a rung on a ladder that progressed onwards to Christianity and European civilization.73

The idea that societies were differently placed along a ladder of civilization is also amply reflected in nineteenth century political theory and international law. For example, John Stuart Mill suggested that the institutions of government must be fitted to the character of the people destined to operate them. Thus, civilized peoples were most suited for a popular constitution, which required the surrender of a portion of personal freedom in order to secure public benefit, because they were able to act as interdependent parts of a complex whole. But representative institutions were inappropriate in ‘savage societies’ in which each person acts for himself without regard for the interests of the whole. Thus, Mill concluded that savages must learn to obey before taking the first steps towards the ideal of popular government; and until they have done so, so that they are able to act with due regard for the interests of the community, they were fit only for despotic government.74 James Lorimer similarly reconciled the conventional differences that divide humanity by combining what he called national and cosmopolitan international law. Lorimer proposed that humanity consisted in three concentric spheres: civilized, barbarous, and savage. In that respect he argued:

whether arising from peculiarities of race or from various stages of development in the same race, belong, of right, at the hands of civilized nations, three stages of (p.76) recognition–plenary political recognition, partial political recognition, and natural or mere human recognition. Intensively, the first of these forms of recognition embraces the two latter; extensively, the third embraces the two former [emphasis in original].75

In this scheme of things, the Christian nations of Europe were entitled to formal political recognition on account of their ability to perform the obligations of a civilized society–domestically and internationally. Barbarians were regarded as not having achieved political age; they were old children, but children nevertheless that could not be expected to reciprocate the duties of civilized society. And, finally, savages were viewed as the undeveloped residue of humanity that was entitled to nothing more than guardianship and guidance ‘in becoming that of which they are capable’.76

This progressive ordering of human relations prepared the ground for the objective verification of African inferiority. The superiority ascribed to ‘civilized man’ reduced ‘savage man’ to an object of pity and contempt. Whereas ‘civilized man’ was disciplined, guided by reason, and aware of a common good, ‘savage man’ lacked self-control, acted on passion, and knew only the satisfaction of individual will and appetite.77 It is in this context that Lugard described the African as being naturally happy and thriftless, and as an excitable person who was in want of self-control, foresight, and discipline. These traits, he argued, are those of the ‘child races of the world’ and ‘the virtues and the defects of this race-type are those of attractive children whose confidence when once it has been won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior, without question and without envy’.78 J. C. Smuts offered a very similar assessment of these ‘child’ races of the world. The African, he suggested, is good-tempered, carefree, and is easily satisfied with wine, women, and song; and, like a child, he is not burdened by past troubles and nor does he anticipate future problems. Thus, Smuts concluded that the African race ‘has largely remained a child type, with a child psychology and outlook’.79 The idea of trusteeship ordered relations between this residue of humanity, to use Lorimer's words, and their civilized guardians and teachers in so far as it expressed a standard against which the tutelage of these peoples should be judged.

(p.77) In that respect it is worth noting that even the most strident critics of empire did not disavow the value of trusteeship. John Hobson's complaint was not that empire existed, but that European trustees of civilization had failed to fulfil their obligations. Indeed, he submitted that the ‘chief indictment of Imperialism in relation to the lower races consists in this, that it does not even pretend to apply to them the principles of education and of progress it applies at home’.80 Still, he maintained that trusteeship, understood as the progress of world-civilization, constituted a valid moral reason for interfering in the lives of uncivilized peoples. Hobson's complaints about vested economic interests, and the many miscarriages of justice, racial and religious arrogance, and the horrors of the Congo Free State, did not diminish the value that attached to the idea of trusteeship. In fact, they had the opposite effect. Experience in Africa furthered the development of the idea of trusteeship by establishing its status in international law so that the condition and welfare of the world's most underdeveloped peoples became a legitimate subject of international scrutiny. And at a time when Joseph Chamberlain was busy proclaiming that ‘the British race is the greatest of governing races that the world has ever seen’,81 the internationalization of trusteeship and the scrutiny it entailed loosened ever so slightly the absolute (national) grip on empire.


(1) Quoted in R. Coupland, Wilberforce (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), 169.

(2) L. H. Gann and P. Duignan, Burden of Empire: An Appraisal of Western Colonialism in Africa South of the Sahara (New York: Praeger, 1967), 167.

(3) ‘Lord Russell: Instructions to Her Majesty's Niger Commissioners, 30 January 1841’ and ‘Lord Palmerston: Minute, Lagos, 18 February 1851’, in C. W. Newbury (ed.), British Policy Toward West Africa: Select Documents 1786–1874 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 155, 349.

(4) T. F. Buxton, The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy (London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1967), 512.

(5) R. Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1933), 225.

(6) D. Livingstone, ‘Missionary Correspondence (1841–42)’, in A. Burton (ed.), Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 177.

(7) See D. Livingstone, ‘Cambridge Lecture No. 1 (1858)’, in B. Harlow and M. Carter (eds.), Imperialism and Orientalism: A Documentary Sourcebook (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 276; A. P. Thornton, The Imperial Idea and Its Enemies: A Study in British Power (London: Macmillan, 1959), 14–15; and H. A. C. Cairns, Prelude to Imperialism: British Reaction to Central African Society, 1840–1890 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965), 139, 192–8.

(8) J. Bright, ‘Principles of Foreign Policy, Birmingham, October 29, 1858’, in E. R. Jones (ed.), Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy, 1738–1914 (London: Oxford University Press, 1914), 340.

(9) R. Robinson and J. Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (London: Macmillan, 1965), 1–3.

(10) R. Cobden, ‘England, Ireland, America, 1835’, in G. Bennett (ed.), The Concept of Empire: Burke to Attlee, 1774–1947 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1953), 165.

(11) C. A. Bodelsen, Studies in Mid-Victorian Imperialism (London: Gydendalske Boghandel, 1924), 33–5.

(12) Robinson and Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians, 14–17; Lord Hailey, The Future of Colonial Peoples (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1943), 10; and J. D. Hargreaves, Prelude to the Partition of West Africa (London: Macmillan, 1963), 70.

(13) Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement, 240.

(14) J. A. Hobson, Imperialism (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1938), 85.

(15) Cairns, Prelude to Imperialism, 125; and A. Cohen, British Policy in Changing Africa (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1959), 13.

(16) R. Cobden, ‘Speech at Manchester, 10 January 1849’, in G. Bennett (ed.), The Concept of Empire: Burke to Attlee, 1774–1947 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1953), 168.

(17) J. S. Mill, ‘Civilization’, Essays on Politics and Culture, in G. Himmelfarb (ed.) (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973), 46; and Buxton, The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy, 250–60, 305.

(18) F. D. Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 4th edn. (London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1929), 617.

(19) Ibid. 104, 211.

(20) Ibid. 94, 193–4, 203.

(21) Ibid. 194–8.

(22) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 194; also see R. L. Buell, The Native Problem in Africa, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1928), 684.

(23) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 215.

(24) Quoted in Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 223.

(25) Ibid. 617.

(26) Psalm 115, The Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, revised standard version (Philadelphia, PA: Lutheran Church in America, 1971), 16.

(27) J. Locke, ‘Second Treatise of Government’, in P. Laslett (ed.) Two Treatises of Government, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 26, 88.

(28) I. Kant, ‘The Science of Right’, in R. M. Hutchins (ed.) and W. Hastie (trans.) Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952), 456.

(29) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 615.

(30) ‘Indians in Kenya, July 1923’, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 1922 xviii (1923), 10.

(31) Ibid. 10; and Lord Hailey, An African Survey: A Study of Problems Arising in Africa South of the Sahara, rev. edn. (London: Oxford University Press, 1957), 246.

(32) ‘Protocol No. 1–Meeting of November 15, 1884’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.435, 9.

(33) Coupland, Wilberforce, 162.

(34) A. Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1, eds. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1981), 98–9.

(35) General Act of the Conference of Berlin, Parliamentary Papers, 1886 LXVII, mf. 92.353, 15.

(36) Ibid. 14.

(37) ‘Annex 1 to Protocol No. 4’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.436, 80.

(38) Ibid. 80.

(39) ‘Protocol No. 1–Meeting of November 15, 1884’, 11.

(40) ‘Annex to Protocol No. 1’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.436, 13.

(41) ‘Annex to Protocol No. 5’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.436, 151.

(42) ‘Annex 1 to Protocol No. 8’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.437, 217.

(43) ‘Annex 13 to Protocol No. 5’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.437, 163–4.

(44) General Act of the Conference of Berlin, 15.

(45) General Act of the Brussels Conference, 1889–90; with Annexed Declaration, Parliamentary Papers, 1890 LI mf. 96.405, 21.

(46) Ibid. 20.

(47) See M. Wight, British Colonial Constitutions, 1947 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), 7.

(48) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 38.

(49) ‘Protocol No. 1–Meeting of November 15, 1884’, 11.

(50) ‘Protocol No. 9–Meeting of February 23, 1885’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.438, 254.

(51) Ibid. 254.

(52) Ibid. 255.

(53) See, for example, A. Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (London: Macmillan, 1998).

(54) L. H. Gann and P. Duignan, The Rulers of the Belgian Africa, 1884–1914 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979), 56–61, 217.

(55) A. B. Keith, The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919), 69.

(56) ‘Sir C. Phipps to the Marquess of Landsdowne, November 7, 1905’, Correspondence Respecting the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Administration of the Independent State of the Congo, June 1906, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 3002 lxxix (1906), 1.

(57) R. Casement, ‘Mr. Casement to the Marquess of Landsdowne, December 12, 1903’, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 1933 lxii (1904), 25–41.

(58) Ibid. 42–52; J. Whitehead, ‘The Rev. J. Whitehead to Governor-General of the Congo State, July 28, 1903’, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 1933 lxii (1904), 65; and J. Whitehead, ‘The Rev. J. Whitehead to Governor-General of the Congo State, September 7, 1903’, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 1933 lxii (1904), 68–9.

(59) E. D. Morel, Red Rubber (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1906), 180; and Whitehead, ‘July 28, 1903’, 65. For a general history, see W. R. Louis and J. Stengers, E. D. Morel's History of the Congo Reform Movement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968).

(60) ‘Congo Reform Association, Memorial, June 7, 1912’, Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of the Congo, February 1913, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 6606 lix (1912–13), 23.

(61) Keith, The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act, 131–5.

(62) ‘Foreign Office to Mr. Lamont, May 29, 1912’, Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of the Congo, February 1913, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 6606 lix (1912–13), 22.

(63) ‘Memorandum Respecting Taxation and Currency in the Congo Free State’, Correspondence Respecting the Taxation of Natives, and Other Questions, in the Congo State, June 1908, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 4135 lxxi (1908), 4.

(64) ‘Annex 1 to Protocol No. 9’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, Parliamentary Papers, 1885 LV mf. 91.438, 264; and Memorandum, Respecting the Taxation of Natives, and Other Questions, in the Congo State, November 1908, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 4178 (1908), 3.

(65) See ‘Memorandum, Respecting the Taxation of Natives, and Other Questions, in the Congo State’, 3; and Sir Edward Grey to Sir A. Hardinge, March 27, 1908, Correspondence Respecting the Taxation of Natives, and Other Questions, in the Congo State, June 1908, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 4135 lxxi (1908), 2.

(66) ‘Sir Edward Grey to Sir A. Hardinge, March 27, 1908’, 3.

(67) Ibid. 4.

(68) ‘Sir A. Hardinge to Sir Edward Grey, May 11, 1906’, Correspondence Respecting the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Administration of the Independent State of the Congo, June 1906, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 3002 lxxix (1906), 19.

(69) ‘Annex 1 to Protocol No. 9’, Protocols and the General Act of the West African Conference, 65.

(70) ‘Memorandum Respecting Taxation and Currency in the Congo Free State’, 5.

(71) ‘Memorandum Communicated by the Belgian Minister, April 25, 1908’, Correspondence Respecting the Taxation of Natives, and Other Questions, in the Congo State, June 1908, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 4135 lxxi (1908), 37–9.

(72) Keith, The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act, 131.

(73) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 75–8.

(74) J. S. Mill, Considerations on Representative Government (Amherst, MA: Prometheus Books, 1991), 34–40, 47–50; and Mill, ‘Civilization’, 48–50.

(75) J. Lorimer, The Institutes of the Law of Nations: A Treatise of the Jural Relations of Separate Political Communities, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1883), 13–16, 21, 101.

(76) Ibid. 101–58. It is worth noting that the League of Nations carried this division of humanity into the twentieth century inasmuch as the A, B, and C classes of mandated territory corresponded with Lorimer's distinction.

(77) See Cairns, Prelude to Imperialism, 120; and Mill, ‘Civilization’, 48–9.

(78) Lugard, The Dual Mandate of Africa, 69–72.

(79) J. C. Smuts, Africa and Some World Problems (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930), 75.

(80) Hobson, Imperialism, 237–43.

(81) J. Chamberlain, ‘Speech at the Imperial Institute, 11 November 1895’, in G. Bennett (ed.), The Concept of Empire: Burke to Attlee, 1774–1947 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1953), 315.