Censorship! Persmuseum IISG

1800-1900: Struggling against Censorship
Uit het leven van Koning Gorilla
Uit het leven van Koning Gorilla,
S.E.W. Roorda van Eysinga
[From the Life of King Gorilla]
King Gorilla
In February 1887 the brochure Uit het leven van Koning Gorilla [From the Life of King Gorill] was published in The Hague. This was an anonymous diatribe against King William III; only later was it revealed that the author was the editor of the socialist journal Recht voor Allen [Rights for All] and admirer of Multatuli, Sicco Roorda van Eysinga. The lampoon appeared on the eve of the king’s seventieth birthday, and in the following weeks tens of thousands of copies of the booklet were sold. Supporters and opponents of the booklet joined the debate and many of the latter tried to prevent distribution of Uit het leven van Koning Gorilla at various bookshops. The brochure rails against the king’s 'criminal life' and the 'degenerate nature of the family'; the king is also portrayed as a 'sadistic monster' who shows no consideration for his people whatsoever.
In 1893 a new attack on the royal family appeared in the 'humorous-satirical' socialist weekly De Roode Duivel [The Red Devil]. The publisher, editor and cartoonist L.M. Hermans, presented a drawing for the design of a King Gorilla statue, to commemorate the death of King William III five years earlier. The wild-looking gorilla with a crown holds a crock of gin in one hand and a virgin in the other. Because of this and other articles about the royal family, Hermans was sentenced to several spells in prison at the end of the 19th century.
Call number: IISG
N 1190/11