The Town Child. Reginald A. Bray

M. Lightfoot Eastwood
1909 International Journal of Ethics  
This work affords a clear and definite statement of many hitherto vague and unformulated notions, which are prevalent concerning life to-day. It does not give to us ideas of striking originality, but it does give that general survey of our position which is so essential if we are to insure progress as distinct from meaningless change. This is presented clearly and vigorously and with such a wealth of illustration that the account is easily readable and interesting throughout. The book is
more » ... The book is divided into two parts. In the first, our author seeks to determine the mental, moral and physical influence upon the race of an environment which is coming, almost generally, to be that of the town. Part II develops the author's own system of social philosophy. Here the problem is viewed from the standpoint of the social reformer, and an endeavor is made to determine the means whereby something of the spirit and health of the country may be developed by the town child. Mr. Bray would have him assimilate its repose, silence and beauty. It should be made possible for him to realize, no less than for his farming brother, the rich and abiding fruits of his individual toil. In the town, the so-called triumphs of civilization tend to make the workers themselves smaller, shallower and more discontented, as increasingly minute specialization allots to each individual a mere fragment of a whole, and leaves his sense of personal achievement and value to atrophy. In actual treatment, however, no very definite line seems to have been drawn between the attitudes of the two sections. The subject of Part I is much amplified in Part II, whereas, in defining what ought to be the relative spheres of voluntary and state enterprises, our author is presenting in the first part something of his system of social philosophy. It is upon the subject of Part I, wherever it arises, that we have found the most conspicuous points of interest and value. In spite of Mr. Bray's practical knowledge of social difficulties, we should be inclined to doubt the efficacy of several of the remedies he offers. As usual, the state is to intervene and achieve at many points. Such intervention has often been known to aggravate existing evils. School meals encourage the mothers to This content downloaded from 130.133.008.
doi:10.1086/intejethi.19.2.2376708 fatcat:gbnk4fkdkvhqzeeutjsj7iw65a