18 MARCH 1899, Page 15


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—In a review of Mr. Boulger's book in the Spectator of March 11th, you use these words :—" The ugliest story of all, repeated by Sir Charles Dilke in the House of Commons, that Baron Dhanis rationed his troops with the flesh of slain enemies, is, as Mr. Boulger points out, quite inaccurate." If you will refer to the debate, you will find that I made no inaccurate statement. All that I did was to quote the book of Dr. Hinde, which is admitted by Mr. Boulger to be accurate. I have never been inclined myself to make it a heavy charge against the Congo State, that they employed cannibal allies who habitually practised cannibalism in the course of the ware in which they were serving. Gessi was Gordon's best man, and absolutely in sympathy with Gordon in all his best views upon the future of the Soudan. Yet Gessi, serving under Gordon, employed cannibals, who prac- tised cannibalism when they were fighting for the Govern- ment of the Soudan, Gordon being Governor-General, and Gessi makes exactly the same claim, as a set-off in favour of cannibalism (on account of immunity from disease), which is made by Captain Hinde, and which seems so horrible to us. My reference to cannibalism by the allies of the Europeans in Central Africa has always been intended to show how little right we have to maintain that the state of things which the European Powers bring to Central Africa is better than the state of things they find. My attacks on the Congo State have been frequent and strong; but they are mainly based upon its decrees, and upon the application of these decrees in the "sentry" system and the hunt for indiarnbber generally, rather than on cannibalism by its allies.—I am, Sir, Sze., CHARLES W. DUKE. 76 Sloane Street, S.W., March. lJth.