Imagens das páginas

&c. Motogon, the author of good, is confronted with Cienga, the author of evil. This latter being is unchainer of the whirlwind and the storm, and the invisible author of the death of their children ; wherefore the natives fear him exceedingly. What is remarkable, however, is, that although the natives believe themselves to be afflicted by Cienga, they do nothing to propitiate him. When a sudden thunderstorm comes upon them, they raise hideous cries, strike the earth with their feet, imprecate death and misfortune upon Cienga, whom they think the author of it, and then take refuge under the nearest trees. The general belief is, that Cienga prowls about at night among the trees; and for this reason the natives can scarcely be got to stir from their fire after sunset. Only mothers who have lately lost a child will brave these dangers to go in quest of its soul, and if they hear the cry of a bird in the bush, will spend hours there calling upon it and begging it to come to them. So strong is the Australian mother's love."

Note XXIX., page 274.


The second volume of Waitz's Anthropology gives by far the best general view of African religions. I should have attempted to summarise his statements, had this not been already and recently done by Professor Max Müller in his Hibbert Lectures. The facts collected by Waitz show not only that all the African peoples regarding which we possess any considerable amount of information have religious conceptions, but that the belief in a Supreme Being is very widely spread among them.

The travels of Baker, Barth, Cameron, Grant, Speke, and Stanley have not contributed greatly to our knowledge of the religions of the peoples they visited. Their not seeing in certain cases traces of religion, may perhaps be some slight evidence that what is called fetichism is not prevalent in districts which they traversed.

Sir Samuel Baker says of the Dinkas, Shilluks, Nuehrs, and other White Nile tribes, that “they are without a belief in a Supreme Being, neither have they any form of worship or idolatry, nor is the darkness of their minds enlightened by even a ray of superstition.” But as Mr Tylor (Primitive Culture, vol. i. pp. 423, 424) has pointed out, the religions of these very tribes have been described by Kaufmann, Brun-Rollet, Lejean, and other travellers. All the evidence which Sir Samuel produces for the atheism of the Latukas is a conversation with the chief Commoro regarding the future life and the resurrection. — See Albert N'Yanza, vol. i. pp. 246250. The impression which the report of the conversation leaves on my mind is, that Commoro was not frankly stating his own views, but trying to ascertain those of his interrogator. Even if this were not the case, however, his disbelief of a future life was obviously a conclusion arrived at through considerable reflection. When Sir Samuel made a mistaken application of St Paul's metaphor of the grain of wheat, Commoro detected the fallacy at once. Sir Samuel was, in consequence, obliged to "give up the religious argument as a failure;" but instead of inferring that here was a Latuka Hume or Bradlaugh, whose very scepticism plainly implied

religious thought, he concluded that “ in this wild, naked savage” (“one of the most clever and common-sense savages that I had seen in these countries," says he elsewhere), “there was not even a superstition upon which to found a religious feeling.”

Probably the best work on the Hottentots, Bushmen, and Kaffirs is G. Fritsch’s ‘Eingeborenen Süd-Afrikas,' 1872. Canon Callaway's account of the religion of the Kaffirs is well known; also Casalis' work on the Bassutos. The sketches of the religion of the Hottentots by Prichard in his ‘Natural History of Man' and 'Researches' are very much superior to most of the later accounts. The celebrated missionary Robert Moffat affirms that the Bechuanas, Kaffirs, &c., have no religion ; yet in chapters xv. and xvi. of his ‘Missionary Labours and Scenes in South Africa' he supplies a considerable amount of evidence to the contrary.

Note XXX., page 275.


Probably the best account of the religion of the Esquimaux will be found in the introduction to Dr H. Rink's 'Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo,'—see pp. 35-64. According to it, few traces of ideas as to the origin and early history of the world and the supreme powers are discoverable among them. They believe, however, that the whole visible world is ruled by powers or "owners,” each of which is an inua-a person or soul. They divide it into an upper and under world, and suppose the latter to be the best, because it is warm and rich in food. Its inhabitants are called the arsissuti.e., those who live in abundance. Souls which go to the upper world are imagined to suffer from cold and hunger. They are called the assartuti.l., ball-players; and the aurora borealis is ascribed to their being engaged in their favourite occupation. The supreme ruler dwells with the happy deceased in the under world, and makes the subordinate rulers helping spirits, or tornat, to the angakut. A secondary deity, represented as a female, is credited with sending forth all animals needed for food. Witchcraft is distinguished from the power of the angakut, and, being deemed selfish and evil, is punished. The Esquimaux have prayers, invocations, spells, amulets, and a priesthood. Religious belief is the chief connecting-link between their scattered tribes.

Note XXXI., page 279.



Dobrizhoffer's work was originally published in Latin at Vienna in 1784, but there is an English translation of it by Sara Coleridge—' An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay,' 3 vols., 1822.

That the Hottentots, as Kolben reports, not only worshipped the moon, but believed in a higher deity, is distinctly testified to by G. Schmidt, Ziegenbalg, Kolb,

Unkulunkuleptions from a derived some

and other missionaries. The Kaffirs have derived some of their chief religious conceptions from the Hottentots. Thus the Kaffir Unkulunkulu has originated in the Hottentot Heitsi-eibib, or moon-god-a fact which renders very doubtful the conjecture of Mr Spencer and others, that the former is to be regarded as merely a deified ancestor. Among the names by which the Kaffirs express their highest and most general apprehension of divinity -Utixo (the inflicter of pain), Umdali (the shaper or former), and Umenzi (the creator)—the first has been adopted from the Hottentots.

Colonel Dalton's account of the Khasias will be found in pp. 54-58 of the work already mentioned, and Colonel Yule's Note on the Khasia Hills and people in No. 152 of the Asiatic Society's Journal (1844). Hooker's account (vol. ii. pp. 273-277) is drawn mainly from the information of Mr Inglis, and quite agrees with that in Yule's Note. His words as to the religion of the Khasias are certainly curious, but Sir John Lubbock's use of them is much more so. The words are,—“The Khasias are superstitious, but have no religion; like the Lepchas, they believe in a Supreme Being, and in deities of the grove, cave, and stream.”

Note XXXII., page 289.


The author at one time hoped to devote two lectures to polytheism, and to the theories which have been promulgated regarding its origin, nature, and evolution, but

« AnteriorContinuar »