Title: "Coming With A Memorial"

Journal: Los Angeles Times

Place of Publication: Los Angeles

Date: October 2, 1904

Place: Congo Free State


There is no analysis for this document yet.

Read More

Coming With A Memorial.

Englishman to Make an Appeal to the President.

Represents the Congo Reform Association.

Will Address the Peace Congress in Boston, Mass.

[Special Correspondence of the Times.]

London, Sept. 10. -- E. D. Morel, Honorable Secretary of the Congo Reform Association, formed last February under the presidency of Earl Beauchamp, is sailing for America on the Baltic on September 21 to present a memorial to President Roosevelt, and to address a session of the Boston Peace Congress on the Congo atrocities. The objects of his mission are of such increasing interest and importance in England and the United States that I sought Mr. Morel to obtain details.

"I am going to America," he said, "partly by invitation, to address the Peace Congress at Boston on the subject of the Congo, in conjunction with the efforts which are being put forward by the Congo Committee of the Massachusetts Commission for International Justice, and various religious and philanthropic bodies in your country, and to present a memorial to the President of the United States on behalf of the Congo Reform Association. I hope to have the privilege of presenting the memorial to the President shortly after my arrival on September 30 -- but that will depend, of course, upon when the President may find it convenient to receive me."

I asked Mr. Morel if his visit could be considered in the light of a semiofficial step.

"Not in the least. I go as the representative of the large section of the British public which is interesting itself in this question, as the representative of an independent association belonging to no particular party in the State, but including men of the most varied political opinions and traditions, creeds and, for that matter, nationalities. I may remind you, by the way, that among the supporters of the Congo Reform Association are some Americans of position and influence, such as Prof. Poultney Bigelow of Boston, Henry Phipps and Bishop Hartzell, who have joined the association, moved by the same spirit of pity for suffering humanity which has led other strangers to join our ranks, like the Russian Prince Boris Czetwertynsky, the well-known African traveler and sportsman; Count Hans Coddenhove, an Austrian nobleman, also of extensive African experience; Herr Ludwig Deass of Hamburg and others.

"Our memorial is a respectful appeal to the American public through their Chief Magistrate. We appeal, that is all, and we give our reasons for the step. We found our appeal upon the historical basis that Stanely, an American citizen, opened up these vast lands to what was thought at time time to be avower of sound statesmanship, inspired by liberty-loving instincts, and humanitarian feeling. We found it upon the historical basis that the government of the United States was the first to recognize the flag of the International Association which subsequently became the Congo State -- and that that recognition had a profound influence in shaping the subsequent course of events. you extended that recognition on certain well-defined lines, on the strength of certain specific and solemn promises. You were told, as we in Europe were told, that King Leopold's policy was practical, liberal and humanitarian; that the natives would receive just and equitable treatment, and that the Congo Basin would be flung open to the legitimate enterprise of all nations. We urge respectfully that if the terms upon which American recognition was secured have not been kept -- and I do not think there can be much doubt on that score -- that the right and obligations of the United States is to insist on their observance, and although you did not actually ratify the Berlin act -- which your representatives helped materially to draw up, and also signed -- you took a prominent part in the framing of the Brussels act, which was the sequel and corroboration of the Conference of Berlin.

"Ridiculous as appears the insinuation to all who are aware of the absolutely spontaneous and steady growth of public opinion in this country, which, far from being inspired by officialdom, has dragged officialdom after it -- we are accused by the henchmen of the Congo State of being animated with ambitious and selfish motives in protesting against the terrible oppression to which the Congo peoples are subjected. That accusation, at least, cannot be brought against you, which immensely strengthens the moral position of the United States. You have no territorial interests in Africa, and you approach the subject, as it were, with an entirely clean state. We know that the American people have it in their power to accomplish a great work for humanity which will bring them imperishable honor. That, in brief, is our point of view. I assure you that there is nothing in our memorial to your President calculated to offend the slightest susceptibilities of the American people.

"Among the peers who have signed the memorial I may mention the Earls of Aberdeen and Beauchamp; among politicians I will choose the following as typical of profound divergences of thought: John Burns, Sir Gilbert Parker, Sir William Holdsworth, Sir Charles Dilke, Sir John Kennaway, Alfred Emmott, Herbert Samuel and Richard Bell. Among churchmen and Nonconformists are the Bishops of Liverpool and hereford, the archdeacon of London. Canon Scott Holland, Dr. John Clifford and the Rev. F. B. Meyer. Among professional men and men of letters. I may cite George Meredith: St. Lee Strachey, the editor of the Spectator; Harold Spender, one of the editors of the Daily News; Sir Edward Russell, editor of the Liverpool Daily Post; and W. T. Stead. Our signatories also include two sons of the late Mr. Gladstone -- the Rev. Stephen Gladstone, rector of Hawarden, and Harry Gladstone -- and men like Herbert Ward, whose knowledge of the Congo is a personal knowledge. Among influential women who are among the signatories. I will content myself with citing Mr.s John Richard Green, one of the most influential Irishwomen of the day, whose eminence is well known in the States."

"Is your visit supported by other public bodies?"

"Yes, among others by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and the Aborigines Protection Society, whose secretary, H. R. Fox Bourne, has been identified with the movement from the very first, long before I took it up, have passed resolutions approving its objects, and the respective presidents of both these societies, Sir T. Powell Buxton Bart, and Sir W. Brampton Gurdon, M.P., have signed the memorial."

In his private capacity Mr. Morel is bringing out almost immediately a book on the Congo question, entitled "King Leopold's Rule in Africa," which is illustrated with many painful pictures of the dark doings on the Congo, and deals with the early history of the Congo State, the nature of the system of administration; the effects of that system upon native life, and upon international commerce, supplemented by many letters received this year from the Congo by the author and others relating the most recent instances of atrocity and misgovernment.

The part which Mr. Morel has played in rousing the public to an understanding of the Congo question and the wide problems bound up in it, is known and appreciated in this country and on the Continent, where he has many sympathizers, and not a few enemies.

He is a young man of quite moderate means who lives in the village of Hawarden, near Liverpool -- famous as the home of the late Mr. Gladstone. An admitted authority on West African questions, his first book, "Affairs of West Africa," published in 1902, was reviewed all over the world, and is universally regarded, even by such distinguished experts as Sir Henry Johnston, as one of the best books written on the subject. It had the distinction of being translated into French by M. Duchene, Chief of the African Division of the French Colonial office. r. Morel has since published another book, "The British Case in French Congo," and is the author of numerous pamphlets on West African questions.