Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society (10 december 1887)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

This article is a report of the Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society published in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle on 10 december 1887.

The report is about a lecture "Congo Free State" by Dr. G. Smith, attended by Arthur Conan Doyle where he spoke as well.


Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (10 december 1887, p. 6)

Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society

The second ordinary meeting of the members of this Society for the session was held on Tuesday night in the Sailor Boys' Room of the Soldiers' Institute, when among those present were : The President (Mr. J. Hay), General J. W. Cox, C.B., F.R.G.S., General A. W. Drayson, F.R.A.S., Colonel J. Muskett, Colonel J. E. Taylor, Col. Wintle, Captain Fawkner, R.N., Captain Millar, R.N., Captain G. Harris, Captain Jardine, Drs. W. H. Axford, J. Watson, F. G. Driver, Bernard J. Guillemard, Edmonds, and C. C. Claremont; Revs. Dr. W. Stern, Calvert, and W. J. Staples, Messrs. Hugh S. Maclauchlan, H. Percy Boulnois, W. Weston, R. West Taylor, G. Ollis, Percy, W. Inglis, R.N., J. S. Robinson, R.N., A. Howell, F. H. Wollaston, E. T. Mayne, J. R. Constantine, C. Joram, H. Gruzelier, T. R. Dennis, J. L. Childs, J. S. Roberton, W. Carter, G. Löhr, G. Cooke, W. S. M. McCallum, C.E., J. W. Bonghton, R. East, G. F. Bell, Dr. A. Conan Doyle and Dr. J. Ward Cousins (Hon. Secs.), &c. The following gentlemen were elected members of the society: Messrs. J. W. Boughton, W.S.M. McCallum, C.E., and A. Seale. Messrs. J. Robson and R. East were nominated for membership Dr. G. Smith, who read a paper on the "Congo Free State," described the origin of the State, which owed its existence to the liberality of Leopold II., the King of the Belgians, and then traced, with the help of a map, the difficulties that were experienced in administering it, not only through its dual Government, but also by being surrounded by tracts of territory under the sovereignty of several European Powers. The people occupying the districts, with their barbarous customs, were humorously described, after which interesting observations were made on the fauna and flora of the country. Dealing with the commerce and future prospects of the Congo, he pointed out that the value of the territory around the river was as yet unknown, but whoever could obtain possession of the river would have the highway to Central Africa. He did not believe there was a sufficiently inexhaustible store of ivory to be found to make the enterprise remunerative, while though the country produced a rich supply of coffee he questioned whether the expensiveness of conveying it to the coast would not outweigh the advantages of the natural productiveness of the soil. An interesting discussion followed, in which the President, General Drayson, Dr. Conan Doyle, Dr. J. W. Cousins, Mr. A. Howell, and Mr. McCallum took part, and a vote of thanks was accorded the lecturer.