Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/47

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37
EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

ghost or the god. In some places the people at large participate in the offering; in some places the medicine-men or priests only; and in some places the last practice is habitual while the first is occasional, as in ancient Mexico, where communicants "who had partaken of the sacred food were engaged to serve the god during the subsequent year."

Here the fact which concerns us is that, from the presents thus used, there arises a maintenance for priests. When we read that the Chippewayan priests "are supported by voluntary contributions of provision," and that the priests of the Khonds have certain perquisites, and receive gifts, we vaguely see how in these rude societies there begins the support of a priesthood out of sacrifices; and in other cases we see this distinctly. Among the Kukis the priest, to pacify the angry deity who has made some one ill, takes, it may be a fowl, which he says the god requires, and, pouring its blood as an offering on the ground while muttering praises, "then deliberately sits down, roasts and eats the fowl, throws the refuse into the jungle, and returns home." In like manner the Battas of Sumatra sacrifice to the gods, horses, buffaloes, goats, dogs, fowls, "or whatever animal the wizard happens on that day to be most inclined to eat." And again we read that, by the Bustar tribes in the Mahadeva hills, Kodo Pen "is worshiped at a small heap of stones by every new-comer, through the oldest resident, with fowls, eggs, grain, and a few copper coins, which become the property of the officiating priest." More developed societies in Africa show us a kindred arrangement. Burton says that, in Dahomey, "those who have the 'cure of souls' receive no regular pay, but live well upon the benevolences of votaries;" and Forbes more specifically states that in their temples "small offerings are daily given by devotees, and removed by the priests." Similarly in the adjoining kingdom of Ashantee, "the revenue of the fetichmen is derived from the liberality of the people. A moiety of the offerings which are presented to the fetich belongs to the priests." It is the same in Polynesia. Ellis, describing the Tahitian doctor as almost invariably a priest, states that he received a fee, part of which was supposed to belong to the gods, before commencing operations. So, too, was it in the ancient states of America. A cross-examination, narrated by Oviedo, contains the passage:

"Fr. Do you offer anything else in your temples?
"Ind. Every one brings from his house what he wishes to offer—as fowls, fish, or maize, or other things—and the boys take it and put it inside the temple.
"Fr. Who eats the things thus offered?
"Ind. The father of the temple eats them, and what remains is eaten by the boys."

 

And then in Peru, where worship of the dead was a main occupation of the living, and where the ecclesiastical system was elaborately developed, the accumulated gifts to ghosts and gods had resulted in sacred estates, numerous and rich, out of which the priests of all kinds were