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The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1838–1956A History$
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James Heartfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190491673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190491673.001.0001

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The Congo

The Congo

(p.367) 15 The Congo
The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1838–1956

James Heartfield

Oxford University Press

Doubts about the imperial project crept slowly into the Society’s work. In the first instance the BFASS saw fault in the colonies run by other powers, like the French in Madagascar. The one mission that the Society had been most implicated in, King Leopold’s Congo, was proving to be a monstrous atrocity. Leopold’s officers and his Force Publique terrorized Congolese villages to meet targets for rubber tapping, by holding hostages, and maiming them. Spurred on by the more aggressive exposures of the Congo by Aborigines’ Protection Society and E. D. Morel’s Congo Reform Association, the Society did acknowledge the atrocities. Missionary John Harris, who exposed the violence in evidence to an inquiry and in a slide show that he toured in Britain, was recruited by the Society, and later made its new Secretary – but only once Charles Allen, and Queen Victoria, a patron of the Society, had died.

Keywords:   Congo, Leopold, Imperialism, Congo Reform Association, Atrocities, Rubber

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