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Letter Excerpt on Unrest in the Congo (S650ab: 1908)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Excerpt from a letter to the Editor printed in the 'Notes by the Way' column of the 15 February issue of Light (London). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S650AB.htm

     As a rather close rule, we refrain from touching affairs of State, but we have found it extremely difficult to keep our hands off the horrible doings in the Congo, and in the outraged name of 'civilisation' too! We can refrain no longer, and for the simple reason that an affair of State has been completely transformed into a question of elementary humanity, and has thus come right over into our territory. But we shall content ourselves with quoting a passage from a letter we have lately received from our old friend, Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, who once again proves his interest in everything humane, and his zeal for righteousness, justice and truth:--

     "The most horrible thing of to-day is the 'Congo business.' Was it not originally handed over to the King of the Belgians, as a humanitarian, to guide, protect and advise the natives, not to possess and rule as a despot?

     Did not the whole essence of the arrangement consist in this? Can he morally or legally claim to possess one acre of the soil, or to claim one hour of the labour of the natives as his right? Why allow him to give the country to the Belgian Government? Can it not be resumed by the Powers that gave it, and supervised (not governed) by a consul from each Power, under strict limitations as to trade? Nothing less drastic will do real good."

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