Since the first edition of this pamphlet was issued, the Congo story has entered upon a new chapter. The king's Commission concedes the correctness of the delineation contained in the foregoing pages. It affirms the prevalence of frightful abuses under the king's rule. For eight months the king held back the Report but his commissioners had been too deeply moved by the horrors unfolded before them in their visit to the Congo State and the testimony presented to them had reached the world through other sources. The digest of the report, as forwarded from Brussels to the European and American press, was skilfully edited; and the report itself does its best to gloss over the king's responsibility for the shame; but the story told in the genuine document is essentially as hideous as anything found in the depositions of plain-speaking missionaries. So the facts are clear, -- indisputable, undisputed. The train of revilers of missionary testimony, whose roseate pictures of conditions under the king's rule have beguiled the uninformed, hurries out at the wings and Leopold is left to hold the stage, with the skeleton that refuses longer to stay hidden in his Congo closet.
One thing the report omits to do. It does not brand or judge the system out of which the foul breed of iniquities has sprung, -- the king's claim to personal ownership of 800,000 square miles of territory, with all their products, and his employment of savage hordes to realize on his claim. Judgment of this policy the Commission holds to be beyond its function. Being thus disqualified for striking at the roots of the enormity, the commissioners propose such superficial reforms as occur to them. And the king hastens to take up with their suggestion by calling to his assistance in the work of reform a new Commission. Of this body of fourteen members all but two are committed by their past record to defense and maintenance of the king's Congo policy.
So ends the king's investigation of himself; doubtless less jubilantly than he had planned, but withal as ineffectively as it was foredoomed to end. One stage is achieved. The next in order is action by the Powers responsible for the existence of the Congo State. The United States is one of these. Such procedure is advocated in petitions to the President and Congress, signed by John Wanamaker, Lyman Abbott, Henry Van Dyke, David Starr Jordan and many other leading citizens. If ever the sisterhood of civilized nations have just occasion to go up to the Hague or some other accessible meeting place, a foreordained hour for their assembling has now struck.