But it has always been a principle of investigation with me, to base any
conclusions, if possible, upon some evidence, and not to frame a hypothesis
upon conjecture, as to what the conditions of ancient society may have been.
In that feeling I wrote the passage which commences Chapter III
(p.p. [sic] 173, 174) of my Native Tribes of South East Australia, in which I guarded myself from
being thought, necessarily, to imply complete and continuous
communism between the sexes.
This was an amended form of a similar passage, which, I wrote
in the year 1883 and which contains the same guarded expression (1).
Mr Lang quotes (op. cit. p. 60) this pioneer work in preference to the
later expression of opinion, and does not notice, so far as I have
seen, the guarded expression in either of those works.
The examination of Mr Lang's criticsms, led me to a further
examination of all the evidence I have bearing on the terms of
relationship [s crossed out], of the tribes of South East Australia, most of which
was collected during my earlier investigations. Thus I came to the
important conclusion, that they afforded direct evidence of the
former existence of group-marriage in those tribes which have now
only individual marriage. Moreover that their terms of relationship
are identical in application to the same individuals with those of the Dieri, and conse
quently a wider inference is justified, than I had thought possible.
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