By E. Alexander Powell.
"THE best business man and the keenest financier in Europe. He should have been a Yankee!"
Such was the characterization of King Leopold II recently given me by a diplomat stationed in Brussels legations. And his Belgian majesty unquestionably deserves the description. Belgium has profited largely by his business acumen. No sovereign in Europe has shown so keen an interest in the welfare, comfort, and happiness of his people, or demonstrated it in so practical a manner.
The less said of King Leopold's family relations the better. To say the least, they have been unfortunate, though his troubles have been exaggerated by an unfriendly press. As a ruler, however, he is ideal. "Merely a figurehead," the term commonly applied to most of the European monarchs, is not applicable in his case. He cares as little for prejudiced opposition as a Theodore Roosevelt. He takes as deep and as practical an interest in haute finance as a Pierpont Morgan. He forms his plans and carries them through as determinedly, as unflinchingly, as a Rockefeller.