25 JANUARY 1908, Page 9


The Awakening of a Race, by George E. Boxall (T. Fisher Unwin, 7s. 6d. net), is not a pleasant work, though the obvious earnestness of the author, who has few qualifications, so far as we can see, for tho task he sets before himself, compels the attention of the reader. Mr. Derail imagines a Now Age, an

age when we shall, in accordance with the evolution of scientific ideas, have done away with Christianity, kingship, the family (as understood now), and practically every characteristic note of human life in the West of Europe. No doubt Mr. Boxall was originally driven to some such conception by the terrible social evils which he sees around him, and for which he can conceive of no remedy but the abolition or supersession of the existing order. Having come to this conclusion, he proceeds to seek historical and scientific justification for his conclusion, and, we need hardly say, convinces himself that he finds it. But neither conclusion nor justification is at all convincing, while there is a certain egctism about Mr. Boxall's references to his earlier works (which are quoted frequently), and to other little-known writers, which rather discounts his weight as a scientific thinker. Statements such as this : "The promulgation of Christianity—the religion of the Melanochroi—blotted out such civilisation as had previously existed and plunged Europe into the dark ages," make one wonder where Mr. Boxall gets his history, while his frequent references to a certain unpleasant manorial custom which he does not appear to understand show that he is obsessed with the desire to reform society on lines of some difficulty. It is impossible to quote passages that show Mr. Boxall in all the strangeness of his ideas, but something may be gathcred from his statement that "the prostitute has been, and still is, sacrificed to the interests of the Churches and the family, the institutions specially built up for the glorification of man at the expense of woman and child." Anything more untrue can hardly be imagined. Mr. Boxall is a spirit in revolt, and for some such spirits we all have sympathy. We fully appreciate this writer's legitimate discontent with certain aspects of our social life, and may agree with him that it is ignorance of human nature that underlies much of the evil. But Mr. Boxall is himself not well informed, and his total inappreciation of the inwardness of great religious and social problems renders his book quite valueless for purposes of reform.