Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/292

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278
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

appears no limit until the strongest tribe, continuing to supply itself with women from the less strong, finally alone survives and has no tribes to rob.

Should it be replied that female infanticide is, on the average of cases, not carried so far as to make the number of wives insufficient to maintain the aggregate population—should it be said that only exceptional tribes rear so few women as not to have mothers enough to produce the next generation—then we are met by a still greater difficulty. If in each of the exogamous tribes forming the supposed cluster the men are forbidden to marry women of their own tribe, and must steal women from other tribes, the implication is that each tribe knowingly rears wives for neighboring tribes, but not for itself. Though each tribe kills many of its female infants that it may not be at the cost of rearing them for its own benefit, yet it deliberately rears the remainder for the benefit of its enemies. Surely this is an inadmissible supposition. In proportion as the interdict against marrying women within the tribe is peremptory, the preservation of girls will be useless—worse than useless, indeed, since adjacent hostile tribes, to whom they must go as wives, will be thereby strengthened. And as all the tribes, living under like interdicts, will have like motives, they will all of them cease to rear female infants.

Manifestly, then, exogamy in its original form can never have been anything like absolute among the tribes forming a cluster, but can have been the law among some of them only.

 

In his concluding chapter Mr. McLennan says that, "on the whole, the account which we have given of, the origin of exogamy appears the only one which will bear examination" (p. 289). It seems to me, however, that setting out with the postulate laid down by him, that primitive groups of men are habitually hostile, we may, on asking what are the concomitants of war, be led to a different theory, open to none of the objections above raised.

In all times and places, among savage and civilized, victory is followed by pillage. Whatever portable things of worth the conquerors find, they take. The enemies of the Fuegians plunder them of their dogs and arms; pastoral tribes in Africa have their cattle driven away by conquering marauders; and peoples more advanced are robbed of their money, ornaments, and all valuable things that are not too heavy. The taking of women is manifestly but a part of this process of spoiling the vanquished. Women are prized as wives, as concubines, as drudges; and, the men having been killed, the women are carried off along with the other movables. Everywhere among the uncivilized we find this. Turner tells us that "in Samoa, in dividing the spoil of a conquered people, the women were not killed, but taken as wives." We learn from Mitchell that in Australia, upon some whites telling a native that they had shot a man of another tribe, his only remark