4 Sep 1906
Robert MacLehose & Co. Ld.
Vol ----P 2080[underlined]
Reply to Mr. Howitt and Mr. Jevons. 289
this as the meaning of Mr. Howitt. I therefore, in Folk-
lore [italic] and elsewhere, as in The Secret of the Totem [italic] (pp.
197-200), said that Mr. Howitt's statement that there was
no All Father belief among tribes with female descent (so
I understood it), "seems in collision with his own evidence
as to the facts."
To cut a long story short, I now gather from Mr.
Howitt's recent paper that he did not mean what he
seemed to mean. He now says: "The All Father belief
is not found in such primitive tribes as the Dieri, but in
other tribes which have advanced to individual marriage,
while yet retaining traces of primitive structure, such as
the two-class organisation" (Folk-Lore [italic], p. 186). To this
relic of "primitive structure" we must add female descent
and absence of local organisation.
Mr. Howitt asks me "what I desire to prove?" I
desire to prove that [italic]; namely, that tribes so far backward as
to lack "sub-classes," and to reckon descent in the female
line, have the All Father belief. My misfortune was to
suppose that Mr. Howitt implied denial of this fact in his
book, p. 500. I explain the source of my error, which,
here and elsewhere I withdraw.
In the preface to The Secret of the Totem [italic] (p. ix.) I wrote,
"Since critics of my Social Origins[italic] often missed my mean-
ing, I am forced to suppose that I may in like manner
have misconstrued some of the opinions of others. . . . I
have done my best to understand, and shall deeply regret
any failure of interpretation on my part." I apologized in
advance for any such errors as I fell into about the mean-
ing of Mr. Howitt in his page 500.
The whole importance of the matter is this: I supposed
Mr. Howitt, on p. 500, to mean that the All Father belief
is a concomitant of advance from "group marriage" to
individual marriage, and from female descent to local
organisation. Perhaps I again misinterpreted him? I do
not know. I therefore, understanding him as I did, said
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