FESCH, JOSEPH: French cardinal, half-brother of Laetitia, mother of Napoleon I.; b. at Ajaccio, Corsica, Jan. 3, 1763; d. at Rome May 13, 183^. He studied at the seminary in Aix and became a priest before 1789. At the outbreak of the French Revolution he took service in the army, and in 1796 was Napoleon's commissary of war in Italy. When Napoleon was made consul he returned to the Church, and became archbishop of Lyons in 1802. The following year he was made a cardinal and sent to Rome as French ambassador. In 1804 he successfully negotiated for the coronation of the emperor by the pope at Paris, and in 1805 he was made Grand Almoner of France, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, and a member of the Senate. Although until now he had been ready to further the interests of his illustrious nephew, he had no intention of completely surrendering his rights =s cardinal. The result was a break with Napoleon; and in May, 1806, Fesch was recalled from Rome. In 1809 he declined the archbishop ric of Paris, a peace-offering from Napoleon, and also declined to declare Napoleon's divorce of the same year valid. As president of the National Ecclesiastical Council at Paris in 1811 he led the opposition. Accordingly, the council was dis solved, and Fesch fell into complete disgrace. He retired to Lyons, and in 1814 to a nunnery he had established at Gravina, Italy. After Napoleon's return from Elba he was made a member of the House of Peers. On the restoration of the Bour bons he withdrew to Rome, leaving his bishopric in the hands of a vicar for twenty-four years. In 1856 Ajaccio, his native city, erected a monument to his memory.

(C. Pfender.)

Bibliography: Lyonnet, Le Cardinal PeeeA, 2 vols., Lyons,

1841; A. du Cases, Hdat. des negociationa diplomatiquas, . la comeapondance inbdite de l'empxsur Napoldm aeea

Zs cardinal Fesch, 3 vols., Paris, 1855; HL, iv. 1383-86.

FESTUS. See Felix and Festus.


The Word and Its Employment (§ 1).
Primary and Secondary Fetishism (§ 2).
Character of the Fetish (§ 3).
Operation Aided by Suggestion (§ 4)
Objects Employed and Area of Cult (§ 5).
Cases of Reversion (§ 6).

Fetishism (Portuguese feitigo, "charm, talisman ") is a form of worship regarded as in itself superhumanly powerful in directing or assisting to the attainment of some desired end. The use of the word as denoting a religious cult goes back to C. de Brosses, Du eulte des dietw ftfiches (Paris, 1760), who rightly supposed that certain customs of the Africans constituted a form of primitive religion. The Portuguese term is the name given to the beads, medals, and crucifixes carried by sailors, and supposed by them to afford protection when in danger and was applied to the fetishes of the Africans by these same sailors,

i. The from whom De Brosses obtained it. Word and in more modern treatises on religion Its Employ- the term has been used very loosely.

ment. Comte (Philosophic pOSitive, Paris, 1830-·12) made fetishism equivalent to animism. Lippert' (Die Religionen der eurO pdischen Culturvolker, Berlin, 1881) meant by it the embodiment of departed' spirits in some tangi ble or visible object. Miss Mngaley and Mr. Nas sau cover by it practically the whole of African religious life, though Miss Yingaley recognizes the looseness of her own usage. A delimitation of the term is necessary to abolish the confusion which has developed in its use. The Neto English Dic tionary defines a fetish as "differing from an idol in that it is worshiped in its own character, not as the symbol, image, or occasional residence of a deity." Mr. Lang describes fetishism as " the worship of odds and ends," a description which admirably hits off the fortuitous selection of a fetish and the apparent lack of intrinsic worthfulnew. in the object chosen. Schultze regards it as " a religious worship of material objects," a definition which would suit many phases of animism. And Waits defines a fetish as "an object of religious veneration, wherein the material and the spirit within it are regarded as one, the two being inseparable."

The difficulties of the subject and the resulting confusion are due to two circumstances, its affinities and connections with animism on the one side and with magic oil the other. In fetishism there is the same anthropomorphic conception of material objects as in animism; the most passive objects may be regarded as having volition and power to accomplish some end. A fetish is often used as the materials of magic are used and for similar purposes. But another cause of confusion is the fact that no distinction is made between a primitive and a developed variety. s. Primary Primitive fetishism is suggested by and Second- Mr. Lang's description. The original

ary Fet- fetish is an adventitious find of which ishism. care is taken, to which success in an undertaking is ascribed; and subsequent worship is accorded. The classic example is that of a Bushman who on leaving his but to transact some important business, trod on a stone which caused him some pain. He at once picked up the stone, regarding it as a fetish which had obtruded itself upon his notice for the purpose of forwarding his undertaking. His object was accomplished, and he thereafter paid the stone due homage. The adventitious meeting of this object at the moment of the inception of an enterprise was to the African an indication of its fetishistic character, and his success in the work proved for him its potency in that particular direction. Almost as classic is the case of the anchor cast up on the West African coast. A native broke off a fluke in order to utilize the iron, and soon after died. The natives thereafter on passing the spot always paid reverence to the anchof and frequently employed it as a destructive agent.


The sequence of perception, events, and thought was the novelty of form of the object, the injury done it by breaking off the fluke, the subsequent death of the offender, and the inference that the anchor was a malignant fetish to be propitiated.

On this principle any object of peculiar form-a deformed horn of a deer, the trigger of a gun, or any object dropped by a European, a queerly shaped stone, a particolored feather, a tooth, etc.may become a fetish, the use of which may be indeterminate at the time but which is believed to possess power in some particular direction by reason p of its very strangeness. But resemblance to an object or to the achievement desired plays no nec essary part as it does in mimetic magic (see Comparative Religion, VI. 1, a, 1 5). Secondary fetishism shows a likeness to magic in that it is the result of the exercise of primitive invention like that which attempts to produce rain by simulating its fall. It is an attempt to force or create that which does not readily come to hand. Thus natives on the Guinea Coast take a joint of bamboo, a shell, or some similar object and fill it with oddly assorted materials; this they suppose furnishes a residence for a spirit which may be induced to enter the mass, make it its home, become one with it, and thus be available for assistance to the possessor. Or the home of the spirit may be a piece of wood carved into a rude resemblance to some object. In this case there is recognition of a distinction between the spirit and its home, a distinction which does not exist in primary fetishism, in which the stone, anchor, feather, etc., is itself a fetish. On another side the fetish is to be distinguished from charms, amulets and the like, by the fact that it is supposed to operate by its own inherent power, while charms work by virtue imparted from some higher power.

The fundamental character of a fetish is that the material object is itself the power and the object of worship and possesses personality and will. A second characteristic is that its power is not general, but is used for a definite end, usually material, and for a single kind of purpose. Hence for the various purposes of life the worshiper

3. Character

may accumulate a vast number of of the fetishes. A case is known where an

Fetish. individual had over 20,000, the use of each of which he professed to be able to describe. The assumed value and power of a fetish therefore depends upon accidental coin cidence, upon the savage fallacy of post hoc propter hoc. Success in an undertaking makes almost certain the power of the fetish chosen for that par ticular purpose. But the fetishist may recognize after repeated failures that the object is worth less for the end in view and may then discard it. He will not, even then, admit its impotence but will assert that its power does not lie in that direction. The institution rests therefore upon a rude empiricism. The first essay with a fetish is a test which subsequent essays will either establish or disprove. A series of successes may occur which raise the value of the object so enormously that its service is desired by a tribe, and in that case the finder, who is supposed to know its peculiarities becomes a sort of priest. And the repute of the fetish may grow to such dimensions that its use becomes intertribal, the result being enlarged power and possessions and influence to both possessor and e home tribe.

While the individual use of the fetish is as various as the needs of man in the savage state, tribal and intertribal use of it is largely connected with a crude justice, with intertribal disputes, and with war. In cases of justice the operation is by means of suggestion or autosuggestion. Thus, in cases of suspected domestic infidelity or of theft the rocedure is that of the Ordeal (q.v.). For example, where the lizard is fetish, in case of

4. Opera- crime or offense the animal is caught tion Aided and whipped, when the culprit, in by Sugges- terror of the vengeance of the fetish, tion. confesses .and makes restoration.

Much the same process goes on in the case of intertribal disputes, while the tribe which has bought the aid of such a fetish for purposes of war is endowed with a confidence so bold as to be irresistible. Each success enhances the estimation in which the object is held. That out of this sort of fetish may have developed some of the great divinities found among savages is a possibility students of religion now recognize, and fetishism is regarded as one of the springs of polytheism. How it may contribute a priesthood is shown above. The qualities of humanity plus a superhuman power being attributed to the fetish, especially a jealous regard of its own prerogatives, it is an object of the highest care. It must be constantly conciliated. To please it, vows are undertaken which must be scrupulously performed. Thus vows are made for children during their infancy which enslave them for life to the service of the fetish whose protection is thus invoked. But failure to keep such a vow sets autosuggestion in operation, discouragement supervenes, and the death of the victim not seldom results from the terror excited. The same result often issues from the knowledge that an enemy has set a powerful fetish in operation against a man, especially where it is deemed impossible to utilize a still greater power. For fetishes are employed for all purposes for which magic is supposed to operate.

The objects employed as fetish are most wsrious. Nothing is too minute or too great, too repulsive or too attractive to be soused. Stones,

g. Objects mountains, water, wind, fire, plants Employed and trees, animals, human beings and Area possessing exceptional characteristics of Cult. (such as albinos), refuse, parts of animals or of corpses (particularly the eyes)-in short, objects the most insignificant or magnificent are chosen. And there are clear traces that the moat diverse regions and ages have witnessed the operation of the institution. It can be traced in ancient Greece, India, China, Egypt, and Babylonia. It is practised in North America, in Oceanica, New Zealand, and Australia. But its garden is in Africa, so much so that in general the religion of Africans is often described as fetishism (see above).

Notice should be taken of a superstitious persistence of fetishistic practises and conceptions or


of a reversion to them among civilized nations, especially those which lag in the course of progress. Thus there can be no doubt

6. Cases of that in Roman Catholic countries the Reversion. peasantry hold their medals, agni dei, and other religious emblems in fetishis tic regard. A Russian mujik has been known, when about to commit a crime, to cover the icon in the room so that it might not witness the deed. And within a generation the Bible has been fetishistically employed in Scotland by laying it on the doorstep to keep out witches.

Geo. W. Gilmore.

Bibliography: The fundamental work is that of De Brasses, ut sup., and next to that is F. Schultze, Der Fetichismus,

Lsipeic, 1871, Eng. transl., New York, 1885. Consult also: T. Waits, Anthropologie den Naturvelker, Leipsic, 1880; C. F. Keary, Outlines of Religion, chaps. i., iii., London, 1882; R. H. Codrington, The Melanesians, Oxford, 1891; G. Allen, Evolution of Idea of God, London, 1897; D..G. Brinton, Religion of Primitive Peoples, chap. iv., New York, 1897; Miss M. H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, London, 1898; idem, West African Studies, ib. 1899; A. Lang, Custom and Myth, pp. 212-242, ib. 1884; idem, Making of Religion, chap. viii., ib. 1898; M. Gaston, in Folk-Lore, xi., 1900; F. B. Jevons, Introduction to History of Religion, chap. xiii., London, 1902; E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii., ib. 1903; R. H. Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa, New York, 1904; A. C. Haddon, Magic and Fetishism, London, 1906; G. Belueei, II Fetieismo primitivo in Italia, Perugia, 1907.


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