Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/554

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496 Reviews.

is the section from p. 37 to p. 93, which deals with Islam in the Western Soudan. It is, of course, repugnant to the orthodox Colonial Office official, as to all well-brought-up civil servants, to investigate the beliefs of the races whom they are called upon to rule. Missionary societies do not concern themselves with the beliefs of non-Christian races, save as awful examples ; it is their business to convert them and put them into European clothes, without considering whether sobriety, health, and every other virtue might not be better promoted by other beliefs and methods. It thus being to no one's interest to know about such things, it is by no means surprising to find that there is but little known of the importance of Islam in the Soudan. The only English works on the subject known to Dr. Blyden — two in number — are apparently hopelessly inaccurate, and the Torik e Soudan, the most important work, has only lately seen the light in an occidental language.

Dr. Blyden's book deserves to be read by all anthropologists, not only for its own interest, which is considerable, but as a plea for the proper recognition of the religions of our subject races and as a contribution to the bearings of anthropology at large on the problems of empire. From an imperial point of view we should try to raise the peoples of lower cultures ; it is useless to despise them and tell them they are necessarily and inevitably lower races. In the interests of humanity though not of anthropology, let us snuff them out (though not with the gin bottle), if we cannot respect them and teach them to respect themselves.

N. W. Thomas.

Books for Review should be addressed to The Editor of Folk-Lore,

c/o David Nutt, 57-59 Long Acre, London.

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