CHAPTER XXVII. CONCLUSION.
The foregoing chapters will have afforded a sufficiently distinct view of the expedition to enable the public to form their own opinion of the position of the slave trade.
It will have been seen that I had acted directly against that infamous traffic from the commencement of the work, according to the explicit instructions of my firman; at the same time I had made due allowances for the ambiguous position of the traders upon the White Nile, who were actual tenants of the government. Thus I never visited the interior of their camps, nor had I disturbed their stations in any way, but I had passed them as without the pale of my jurisdiction; at the same time I gave the vakeels due warning, and entirely prevented them from making use of the river as the highway of the slave trade.
In 1870, while I was camped at Tewfikeeyah, I entirely suppressed the river traffic; but the fact of my leaving over-taken three vessels with 700 slaves belonging to Abou Saood at the close of the expedition, on my return towards Khartoum, must be a damning proof of complicity on the part of certain government officials.
Thus it is plain that, while I was endeavouring to do my duty, others who should have been supporting me were actually supporting the slave-hunters. No people could have had the absurd audacity to attempt the passage of the river in front of Fashoda - a government station, garrisoned by two regiments, and provided with two steamers - unless they were in league with the officials.
My personal interference has rendered the slave trade of the White Nile impossible so long as the government is determined that it shall be impossible. At the close of the expedition, the higher officials had been changed, and the country appeared to be in good hands. The governor of Fashoda, Jusef Effendi, had captured the slave vessels of Abou Saood according to my instructions. Ismail Ayoub Pacha had been appointed governor of Khartoum. Hussein Khalifah, the Arab desert sheik, was governor of Berber, and various important changes had been made among the higher authorities throughout the Soudan, which proved that the Khedive was determined upon reform.
One grand and sweeping reform was absolutely necessary to extinguish the slave trade of Central Africa, and this I lead the honour to suggest: - "That all the present existing traders or tenants of the White Nile should be expelled from the country, precisely as I had expelled them from the territory under my command." The government would then assume the monopoly of the ivory trade of the White Nile, and the natives would in a few years be restored to confidence.
So long as the so-called traders of Khartoum should be permitted to establish themselves as independent piratical societies in the Nile Basin, the slave trade would continue, and the road through Darfur and Kordofan would be adopted in place of the tabooed White Nile.
Should the White Nile companies be totally disbanded, the people now engaged must return to their original agricultural pursuits in the Soudan, and their labour would tend to an increase of the revenue, and to the general prosperity of the country.
I have already published so much on the subject of the slave trade in "The Albert N'yanza," that I fear to repeat what I have before so forcibly expressed. I have never changed my original opinions on this question, and I can only refer the public to page 313, vol. ii., of that work, whence I take the following extract: - "Stop the White Nile trade; prohibit the departure of any vessels from Khartoum to the south, and let the Egyptian government grant a concession to a company for the White Nile, subject to certain conditions, and to a special supervision . . . .
. . . "Should the slave trade be suppressed, there will be a, good opening for the ivory trade; the conflicting trading parties being withdrawn, and the interest of the trade exhibited by a single company, the natives would no longer be able to barter ivory for cattle; thus they would be forced to accept other goods in exchange. The newly-discovered Albert Lake opens the centre of Africa to navigation. Steamers ascend from Khartoum to Gondokoro in lat. 4 degrees 55'. Seven days' march south of that station the navigable portion of the Nile is reached, whence vessels can ascend direct to the Albert Lake; thus an enormous extent of country is opened to navigation, and Manchester goods and various other articles would find a ready market in exchange for ivory at a prodigious profit, as in those newly-discovered regions ivory has a merely nominal value.
"Beyond this commencement of honest trade I cannot offer a suggestion, as no produce of the country except ivory could afford the expense of transport to Europe. (The proposed railway from Cairo to Khartoum will overcome this obstacle.)
"If Africa is to be civilized, it must be effected by commerce, which, once established, will open the way for missionary labour; but all ideas of commerce, improvement, and the advancement of the African race that philanthropy can suggest, must be discarded until the traffic in slaves shall have ceased to exist.
"Should the slave trade be suppressed, a field would be opened, the extent of which I will not attempt to suggest, as the future would depend upon the good government of countries now devoted to savage anarchy and confusion." . . . .
"Difficult and almost impossible is the task before the missionary. The Austrian mission has failed, and their stations have been forsaken; their pious labour was hopeless, and the devoted priests died upon their barren field."
By a reference to that work also - "The Albert N'yanza" - it will be seen that in the present expedition I carried out the plans that I had proposed at the termination of my first journey.