26 APRIL 1890, Page 12



(To THE EDITOR OF THY " SPECTATOR:1 SIB,—Your interesting article on "The New Cause of Quarrel in Europe" seems to fall short of a practical suggestion. May I offer one ? It appears to me that the time is at hand, if it has not actually arrived, for the European nations interested in the "Dark Continent" to determine their respective spheres of action. As an ordinary observer of events, I have for some time said that the African Question demanded a Conference of the Powers concerned, with a view to the partition of those regions where ill-defined claims exist. Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, and Belgium are the European nations actively concerned. Holland may possess some interest indirectly. Why do these nations not meet in conference and define the areas over which their authority in Africa shall operate P Whatever they individually under- take would be to the advantage of the unprogressive and ill-governed native populations, and the present seems the opportune moment to endeavour to effect an understanding,

-and so avoid the international complications which are threatening. In speaking of the "partition of Africa "- among the Powers interested, I should suggest that the area to be dealt with be limited to twenty degrees north of the Equator, and that Egypt, Morocco, and Abyssinia should be entirely exempted from the consideration of such a Congress as I venture through your columns to advocate.

Africa must be the gainer. With defined territories and responsibility, each European nation concerned could extend its civilising operations over the vast areas of barbarism, as its resources and opportunities permitted.

Surely the time seems to have arrived for some such action as I suggest, in which clearly Great Britain should take the

Dane Ghyll, Furness Abbey, Barrow-in-Fv.rness, April 21st.

[Mr. Fell wants "influence," in fact, to be exchanged for sovereignty. He is probably right; but we do not wonder at Governments hesitating before such vast responsibilities.— ED. Spectator.]