To sum up briefly:—(1) Mr. Muller’s arguments against the evidence for, and the primitiveness of, fetichism seem to demonstrate the opposite of that which he intends them to prove. (2) His own evidence for primitive practice is chosen from the documents of a cultivated society. (3) His theory deprives that society of the very influences which have elsewhere helped the Tribe, the Family, Rank, and Priesthoods to grow up, and to form the backbone of social existence.
What are the original forms of the human family? Did man begin by being monogamous or polygamous, but, in either case, the master of his own home and the assured central point of his family relations? Or were the unions of the sexes originally shifting and precarious, so that the wisest child was not expected to know his own father, and family ties were reckoned through the mother alone? Again (setting aside the question of what was ‘primitive’ and ’original’), did the needs and barbarous habits of early men lead to a scarcity of women, and hence to polyandry (that is, the marriage of one woman to several men), with the consequent uncertainty about male parentage? Once more, admitting that these loose and strange relations of the sexes do prevail, or have prevailed, among savages, is there any reason to suppose that the stronger races, the Aryan and Semitic stocks, ever passed through this stage of savage customs? These are the main questions debated between what we may call the ‘historical’ and the ‘anthropological’ students of ancient customs.