Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 5, 1894.djvu/61

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53
Presidential Address.

or even the remote forefathers of Highland chiefs now become Scottish dukes, of ancient Armorican nobles in Brittany, and Spanish grandees with Gothic blood in their veins; the founders of that peculiar institution, the noblesse of blood, inheriting rank and formal privileges by a title as good as their sovereign's hereditary right to reign."[1] But the parallel does not end here, as we shall presently see. This aristocracy is of too pure a kinship to be otherwise than at the top of the social system, and we can make out roughly from the other tribal phenomena of India "a graduated social scale starting from the simple aboriginal horde at the bottom and culminating with the pure Aryan clan at the top; nor would it be difficult to show that all these classes are really connected, and have something of a common origin."

I have been careful to dwell upon these conclusions of Sir Alfred Lyall because, more nearly than anything else, they represent what I think can be shown to be much the state of things which must have gone on in early Britain. Sir Alfred Lyall sees in India: (1) The aboriginal horde; (2) The broken clans receiving all the outcasts or useless spirits from the progressing tribes; (3) The pure clans, relieved of all who did not work-in with the theory of blood-kinship. In Britain, the conflicts of race have brought about results not yet clearly seen by the historian; but with this parallel before us, it may be possible to pick out of surviving archaic custom such items as will compose a very clearly-defined mosaic which might nearly represent the picture of British history. Again, in Southern India there exist some castes, the peculiar characteristics of which illustrate strongly the tendency of race-distinctions to create new forms of social phenomena. One of these castes occupies a small fort enclosed by a wall about 150 yards square and ten feet high, containing the houses of about thirty families, who have absolutely no contact with the families of the tribe outside the fort. They live in

  1. Asiatic Studies, p. 154.