When Mr. de Brazza was leaving for Congo to fulfil the mission during which he was to die, had he foreseen that he would have to collect over there and bring back serious documents? The fact remains that he had asked the well-known trunk-maker Mr. Louis Witton a “secretaire trunk”, fitted out specially to keep against any attack or indiscretion the documents that would be entrusted to him. The ingenious manufacturer had made a piece of furniture very practical and at the same time completely impregnable.
From outside this piece of furniture looked like an ordinary trunk, strongly built though, in very dry wood coated with copper dark green painted and strengthened by reinforcing strips in the same metal, with hard-wearing rope handles enabling hanging it up on a pole or a bamboo stick to carry it on one’s shoulder. But that trunk, put on a four foldable iron leg table, constituted once put into place a true secretaire, with file compartments, drawers, a compartment for stationery, whereas the pulled down front part formed a writing desk. Lastly, a complicated mechanism, hidden in the lower part of the trunk, enabled nobody to open it but the people who knew the secret: Mr. de Brazza and one of his secretaries. And it was in that trunk that were brought back all these files that have been half opened too early and that will now be thoroughly examined by the commission of inquiry appointed by the Colonial Secretary, to clarify all those incidents in Congo of which so much has been said lately.