Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/132

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I lo Reviews.

with an account of them. Recently, in Native Races of South- east Australia (pp. 488-508), Dr. Howitt has stated the evidence for the belief in the "All- Father" among many tribes whose social organization is of the most primitive type. He adds, " In this being, although supernatural, there is no trace of a divine nature." A supernatural All-Father and benefactor of men seems to me to have as much of the " divine nature " as can reasonably be expected, and how Dr. Howitt defines " divine nature" or "religion" — ("it cannot be alleged that these abori- gines have consciously any form of religion ") — I do not know. Dr. Howitt, however, thinks that, "under favourable conditions" these beliefs "might have developed into an actual religion, based on the worship of Mungan ngaua or Baiame." Probably Dr. Howitt defines religion as " belief //z/i' cult," though he does not say so. The invocation of the name of Daramulun, and the dances round his figure, says Dr. Howitt, " might certainly have led up to worship." I shall not argue that they are worship, nor trouble the reader with evidence as to prayers to Baiame. At present I am content to leave the case where Dr. Howitt places it, as an unborrowed Australian belief in an "All-Father," who has sometimes an interest in human conduct, who is not evolved out of ancestor-worship, and who might be evolved into a centre of religion, as Dr. Howitt understands religion.

Much akin to the Australian "All-Father" is the West-African belief in Nyambe, as described by Monsieur Alle'gret, and by the Rev. Robert Nassau, in his Fetishism iti West Africa. M. AUegret may be a missionary. M. Nassau is a zealous missionary, American and Presbyterian, of forty years' standing, deeply versed, as is M. Allegret, in the languages of the West African tribes. These gentlemen have not scampered through the tribes asking point-blank questions, but after learning the dialects and acquiring the confidence of the natives, have listened to recitals in the evenings, have joined in conversations, have told stories, and been rewarded with native stories in exchange ; and reckon more than fifty years of study (adding M. AUegret's fifteen to Mr. Nassau's forty). Mr. Nassau is Miss Kingsley's " one copy of a collection of materials." They may thus be supposed to know what they are talking about. They give absolutely the same