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of Africa instead of the battle-fields of Europe. It is a civilizing institution, comparable to the Order of Malta, and still more nearly resembling the Teutonic Order -which, in the Middle Ages, induced the barbarous inhabitants of the shores of the Baltic to become subject to the influences of Christian Europe.
'' A company of pious souls—compassionate Liibeck ship-captains diligently forwarding it, and one Walpot von Bassenheim, a citizen of Bremen, taking the lead—formed themselves into a union for succour of the sick and dying, 'setup canvas tents,' medical assuagements from the Liibeck ship stores, and did what utmost was in them, silently, in the name of mercy and heaven.
"On the whole, this Teutsch Ritterdom, for the first century and more, was a grand phenomenon, and flamed like a bright blessed beacon through the night of things in those northern countries. For above a century, we perceive, it was the rallying-place of all brave men who had a career to seek on terms other than vulgar. The noble soul, aiming beyond money, and sensible to more than hunger in this world, had a beacon burning (as we say), if the night chanced to overtake it, and the earth to grow too intricate, as is not uncommon."*
The native chiefs have given up a certain amount of land to the Association, by contract; and these contracts must be considered to hold good, for they are precisely similar to the one held by M. De Brazza from King Makoko with respect to the land on which the French stations, Franceville and Brazzaville, are built. Nor is England in a position to dispute the validity of such contracts, for in the documents recently laid before Parliament by the Government (Africa, No. 2, 1883, pages 87 to 95), we find thirteen treaties concluded between the Queen and various local chiefs. The chief aim and end of these "engagements" is to obtain the suppression of the slave trade, free trade, and liberty for missionaries, f
An incident, which has occurred recently, incontrovertibly establishes the validity of treaties concluded between native chiefs, strangers to the concert of civilized nations and free companies, or even individuals. In 1878, the Sultans of Brunei and De Sala, in the island of Borneo, gave up to an Austrian, Baron Overbeck, and an Englishman, Mr. Dent, all rights to a considerable portion of their territory situated at the south of the island. They were to receive in return a permanent annual payment.
The grantees handed over this land to an English society, which latter obtained a charter of incorporation from the Government in
« "Frederick the Great," B. II. chap. vi.
+ The following is an example of the treaty, signed March 19, 1877, with the King of Mellalla:—
"Art. I. The export of slaves to foreign countries is for ever abolished in my territory.
"Art. IV. The subjects of Her Brittanic Majesty and all white foreigners may always trade freely'with my people.
"Art. X. Missionaries or other ministers of the Gospel are to be allowed to reside i> my territory, and those of my heirs and successors, for the purpose of instructing the people in all useful occupations."
In some treaties, as for instance in one with Jumbo, Prince of Malimlta, tbe atlkesion of France is foreseen and provided for in these words :—" Power is hereby reserved to the French Government to become a party to this treaty, if it should think tit, agreeably to the provision of Art. V. of the convention signed in London, the 29th May, 1815.'
1881. The granting of this charter gave rise to a discussion in the House, which is most interesting, as touching the question of the Congo grants of land. The Opposition accused the Government of having been guilty of disguised annexation, in thus assuming control over the rights of sovereignty of the company. The Cabinet replied that they found themselves in presence of an accomplished fact; a legally constituted association was in possession of foreign territory, and in exchange for certain control to be exercised there by the Crown, in the interest of the native population, and also of general peace, the Government accorded them the advantage of commercial recognition, but that this act entailed no fresh responsibilities for England.
"These rights," said the Attorney-General, Sir Henry James, "were granted to, and legally became the property of the company. .... Her Majesty's Government had no power to enter into the general expediency of a trading company occupying Borneo. It would have been confiscation of their property if, after what had occurred, the Government had attempted to take away the rights
they had acquired The simple matter which the Government
had to decide was, he repeated, whether they should leave the company to act unfettered and entirely without control or not." And Mr. Gladstone's statement was not less affirmative. He said:— "There is not a single privilege given to it by the charter over and above what it had already acquired upon a title sufficient to enable it to enter into the exercise of all its powers."
Finally, the statements made by Lord Granville in the House of Lords, on the 15th of March, 1882, prove that the protestations, made in the first instance against the company by Holland and Spain, were made in consequence of these two Powers considering themselves to be possessed of prior rights in the northern part of Borneo; but neither they nor Germany, which the British Government formally consulted on this occasion, had ever thought of questioning the rights of individuals or companies to obtain for themselves, from uncivilized monarchs, concessions of rights implying an exercise of sovereignty.
Is it not clearly apparent that the object of treaties between England and the chiefs of the Congo—i.e., the suppression of the slave trade and free liberty of commerce and of religion—would be better guaranteed by a proclamation of the neutrality of all the stations founded on the Congo by the emissaries of the International African Association, than in any other manner? In declaring this neutrality, England would remain faithful to the policy she has pursued for long years in these regions; and, as she would be supported by both Germany and the United States, it may be safely affirmed that all other nations would accept the arrangement, as they have done for the " Red Cross Society." To show that the idea of neutralizing the world's great highways is daily gaining ground, I here quote a summary of Sir George Elliot's views with respect to the project of a second canal being made between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Sir George entertains ti strong opinion that the existing situation is capable of heing met without resort to any new canal or railway. The widening and deepening of the existing canal he regards as the best and most economical way of meeting the requirements and difficulties of the time, because no canal, in his view, could be better situate than the Suez Canal. But for that canal to become all that it should be, it should be made an international concern.
The graud idea of the King of the Belgians, to unite in a great International Association all, without any distinction as to either nationality or religion, who are willing to do what they can towards advancing the work of civilization in Central Africa, is an enterprise at once so noble, so disinterested, so worthy of our age, that no nation could find grounds for refusing to recognize the neutrality of the stations founded by this Association iu the sole iuterest of general humanity. England has but to say a word, and the work is done; the future of this great enterprise is assured. I do not hesitate to say that it would be a crying shame for the age in which we live, if one of its most noble conceptions were doomed to succumb through the indifference or hostility of States from which but a very simple thing is required—viz., to recognize an admirable institution which has been created by private zeal and the disinterested love of humanity and science. It is only from the French Government that any opposition can be apprehended. But as a Member of the International African Association recently remarked, in an open letter which was published at Brussels :—
"France can do much to quiet present apprehensions, and she has already given too many proofs of her devotion to the cause of progress not to understand the grandeur of the part she would be called upon to play if, while maintaining the advantages of her own position there, she do her best to prevent particular interests becoming opposed to the general interests of civilization, which latter are represented in Africa by a flag whose chief merit consists in its being no nation's colours. Would France's position on the Congo be preferable if the African Association, goaded to the last limit by direct and indirect aggressions, imitated the example of the first grantees of Borneo and sold their rights either to a company or to a power. In the latter hypothesis M. de Brazza would, it is true, be in contact with the representatives of a European Government. But I do not see what France would have gained by the exchange."*
Emile De Laveleye.
* "Le Congo,"article du "Courrier deeEtats-Unis."snr XI. de Brazza, et l'Anj(letcrre et repoiioe d'un membre de 1'Association Internationale Africaine. Bruxelles: Mucquardt. 1883.
AGNOSTICISM, if we may trust some recent indications, is passing out of the jubilant stage and entering one of well-befitting seriousness. There lies the experience of a generation between the delirious exultation of Harriet Martineau over her "Spring in the Desert," and the sober sadness of the writer in the last number of this Review on the " Responsibilities of Unbelief." The creed that "Philosophy founded on Science is the one thing needful," which the first considered to be " the crown of experience and the joy of life," has become to the second a burden and a sorrow—a " spring" indeed, but of waters of Mara. "I have been shorn of my belief," says one speaker in Vernon Lee's dialogue, "I am emancipated, free, superior; all the things which a thorough materialist is in the eyes of materialists. But I have not yet attained to the perfection of being a hypocrite, of daring to pretend to my own soul that this belief of ours, this truth, is not bitter and abominable, arid and icy to our hearts."
No reader of this thoughtful and powerful paper can fail to see that the indignant antagonism which the earlier blatant Atheism called forth, ought now to give place to mournful recognition of the later Agnosticism as a phase through which many of the most luminous intellects of our time are doomed to pass; the light which is in them waning till the thin crescent disappears. That it will be renewed again in the lustre of its fulness is not to be doubted, for this Agnosticism is no unfaithfulness to the true God of love and righteousness. It is precisely because the Agnostic fails to find that God where he persists in exclusively looking for Him—namely, in the order of the physical world—that the darkness has fallen on his soul. Perhaps the example of Agnosticism, as the last result of a logically
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vicious method of religious inquiry, may not be useless in awaking us to the dangers of that method which has hitherto been used indiscriminately by friends as well as foes of faith.
All methods of religious inquiry resolve themselves into two— that which seeks God in the outer world, and that which seeks Him in the world within. Out of the first came the old Nature-worship, and dim chaotic gods with myths alternately beautiful and sweet, and lustful, cruel and grotesque; the Greek stories which Vernon Lee recalls of Zeus and Chronos and Cybele, and the wilder tales of ruder races, of Moloch and Astarte, Woden and Thor. In " the ages before morality," the mixed character of the gods drawn out of Nature, and who represented her mixed aspects of good and evil, was not felt to be incongruous or unworthy of worship. As morality dawned more clearly the gods were divided between good and evil, Ormuzd and Ahrimanes, Osiris and Typhon, the Devs and Asuras. Some ages later, in the deeply speculative era of Alexandrian philosophy, the character of the author of Nature and creator of the world presented itself as so dark a problem that many schools of Gnostics—Basilidians, Marcionites, Valentinians—deemed him to be an evil or fallen god, against whom the supreme and good God sent Christ to recall mankind to a higher obedience. The loftiest point ever reached, or probably attainable, by this method of religion was the Deism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries ; and to reach it two things were needful not included in the problem—namely, that those who found so good a God in Nature should have looked for Him there from the vantage ground of Christian tradition gained by the opposite method; and secondly, that they should have been yet in ignorance concerning much in Nature which is now known, aud so have raised their induction from imperfect premises. Pope, the typical poet of this Deism, could say as the result of his survey of things:
"One truth is clear—\vhatevcr is, is right."
Tennyson, on the other hand, who knows somewhat of the doctrines of
the " Struggle for Existence" and the "Survival of the Fittest," when
he has cast his glance around on Nature, "red in tooth and claw
with ravin," and on all her " secret deeds" of wastefulness of the
seeds of joy and life—feels that he can only "fall"
"Upon the great world's altar-stairs
The second method of religious inquiry, which seeks for God in the inner world of spirit and conscience, leads to a very different conclusion, even though it be but "in a glass darkly" that the mirror of the soul receives the Divine reflection, and many a blur of human error has been mistaken for a feature of the Divine countenance.