Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 477–82.

Editor's Literary Record



Regular Feature, Review

Publications reviewed:

Stanley 1885 Lansdell 1885


Exploration, Imperialism, Race, Commerce, Religion, Anthropology, Christianity, Human Development

    Reflecting that 'Barbarous races should be "let alone" according to philosophers such as Mr. William Morris', states that if 'such long views [...] had always been acted on, [they] would have left all humanity, perhaps, in a low state of savagery' (477). According to Henry M Stanley, the African 'natives, though indolent, have a surprising commercial instinct', and 'If Mr. Stanley is right, our Bourses will soon be crowded by speculative blacks'. Complains that 'Stanley's book will somewhat disappoint people who turn to it, as we confess we have done, for accounts of African manners and beliefs', for its author 'probably regards all the religions of Africa as fit only to be exchanged for the higher faith offered by Baptist and other missionaries'. (478) Insists, nevertheless, that 'Every one who intends to "try Africa" must be a reader' of these 'two bulky volumes' (477–78). Disagrees with a point in Henry Lansdell's book, contending that Levirate law and other biblical 'manners do exist among most races, at a certain stage of their development; they are the legal recognition of customs naturally evolved by men in harmony with their social condition and environment. Wherever advanced nomads, tribal in society, partly pastoral and partly agricultural in manner of life are found, there also will probably be found the customs of the "children of Abraham". To explain this neither community of origin nor transmission of ideas needs be postulated' [cf. HM1/10/2/7] (479).

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