But that was just what they had not done! Even at Magellan's Straits, the Fuegians picked up from a casual Spanish sea-captain and adored an image of Cristo. Name and effigy they accepted. The Tshi people took neither effigy nor name of a deity from the Portuguese settled among them. They neither imitated Catholic rites nor adapted their own; they prayed not, nor sacrificed to the 'new' Nyankupon.
In some cases, when the theory of several souls is held, one of these souls is supposed to become extinct at death: this is the case with the Malagasy saina, and the 'beast-soul' among the Eẃe, Tshi, and Congoans; but such a soul represents only a part of the man, and its disappearance does not signify the extinction of the man's personality.
From these lucrative elements the creed of the Apostles was free, and a similar freedom marks the religion of Australia or of the Pawnees. We cannot possibly, then, expect to find the 'original' state of religion among a people subdued to a money-grubbing priesthood, like the Tshi races.
Let religion begin as pure as snow, it would be corrupted by priestly trafficking in its lucrative animistic aspect. And priests are developed relatively late. Major Ellis discriminates Tshi gods as General, worshipped by an entire tribe or more tribes. 2. Local deities of river, hill, forest, or sea. 3. Deities of families or corporations. 4. Tutelary deities of individuals.
There are few general, many local or personal, objects of veneration. Major Ellis only met this passage when he had formed his own ideas by observation of the Tshi race.
We do not pretend to guess what 'the original form of all religion' may have been; but we have given, and shall give, abundant evidence for the existence of a loftier faith than this, among peoples much lower in material culture than the Tshi races, who have metals and an organised priesthood.
The appointment of a deputy-god is not so strange as it may seem, and modern African peoples are familiar with the expedient. About one hundred years ago the priests of the god Bobowissi of Winnebah, in the Tshi region of West Africa, found their business so large that it was absolutely necessary for them to appoint a deputy.
Unfortunately, Major Ellis gives no evidence for his statements about the past history of Tshi religion. Authorities he must have, and references would be welcome.
Among the Tshi peoples of West Africa women are not allowed to remain even in the town but retire at the period to huts erected for the purpose in the neighbouring bush, because they are supposed to be offensive to the tribal deities at that time. The Karoks of California have a superstition like that of the Israelites.