"The Damaras attribute the origin of the sheep to a large stone." They regard a big tree as the origin of Damaras. "Cattle of a certain color are venerated by the Damaras." "To the Bechuanas rain appears as the giver of all good." The negro whips or throws away a worthless fetich. "The Hottentots and Bushmen shoot poisoned arrows at the lightning and throw old shoes at it." Exactly! And do these Damaras, Bechuanas, and Bushmen do this solely because they think that the sun and moon, the lightning, the rain, the trees, the cattle, and the snakes are the abodes of the disembodied spirits of their dead relatives? And do they never do this until they have evolved a developed Ghost theory?
This is more than I can accept, for all the robustness of faith which Mr. Spencer attributes to me. Whilst I find in a hundred books that countless races of Africa and the organized religion of China attribute human qualities to natural objects, and grow up to regard those objects with veneration and awe, I shall continue to think that fetichism, or the reverent ascription of feeling and power to natural objects, is a spontaneous tendency of the human mind. And I shall refuse, even on Mr. Spencer's high authority, and that of his three compilers, to believe that it is solely a result of a developed Ghost theory. To ask us to believe this as "proved" on the strength of a pile of clippings made to order is, I think, quite as droll to ordinary minds as anything Mr. Spencer can pick up out of the Positivist Calendar.—Nineteenth Century.
|LAST WORDS ABOUT AGNOSTICISM.|
THOSE who expected from Mr. Harrison an interesting rejoinder to my reply, will not be disappointed. Those who looked for points skilfully made, which either are, or seem to be, telling, will be fully satisfied. Those who sought pleasure from witnessing a display of literary power, will close his article gratified with the hour they have spent over it. Those only will be not altogether contented who supposed that my outspoken criticism of Mr. Harrison's statements and views, would excite him to an unusual display of that trenchant style for which he is famous; since he has, for the most part, continued the discussion with calmness. After saying thus much it may seem that some apology is needed for continuing a controversy of which many, if not most, readers, have by this time become weary. But gladly as I would leave the matter where it stands, alike to save my own time and others' attention, there are sundry motives which forbid me. Partly my excuse must be the profound importance and perennial interests of the questions raised. Partly I am prompted by the con-