Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/49

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39
EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

state-functionary is paid, the king gives his ministers and officers royal bounty. Without traveling further a-field for illustrations, it will suffice if we note these relations of causes and effects from early European times downward. Of the ancient Germans, Tacitus says: "The chief must show his liberality, and the follower expects it. He demands at one time this war-horse; at another, that victorious lance imbrued with the enemy's blood. The prince's table, however inelegant, must always be plentiful; it is the only pay of his followers." That is, a monopolizing supremacy had, as its sequence, gratuities to dependents. Mediaeval times were characterized by modified forms of the same system. In the thirteenth century, "in order that the princes of the blood, the whole royal house, the great officers of the crown, and those. . . of the king's household, should appear with distinction, the kings gave them dresses according to the rank they held and suitably to the season at which these solemn courts were celebrated. These dresses were called liveries because they were delivered," as the king's free gifts; a statement showing clearly how the reception of such presents signified subordination. Down to the fifteenth century on a feast-day, the Duke of Burgundy gave to the knights and nobles of his household "presents of jewels and rich gifts. . . according to the custom of that day;" such presents, in addition to maintenance, house-room, and official dresses for themselves and their servants, probably constituting the sole acknowledgment for their attendance. It need scarcely be added that, throughout the same stages of progress in Europe, the scattering of largesse to the people by kings, dukes, and nobles, was similarly a concomitant of that servile position in which such return as they got for their labor in addition to daily sustenance was in the shape of gratuities rather than in the shape of wages. Moreover, we still have, down to our own day, in vails and Christmas-boxes to servants, etc., the remnants of a system under which fixed remuneration was eked out by gifts—a system itself sequent upon the earlier system under which gifts formed the only remuneration.

Thus it becomes tolerably clear that, while from presents offered by subject persons there eventually develop tribute, taxes, and fees, from donations made by ruling persons there eventually develop salaries.

 

Something must be added concerning presents passing between those who do not stand in acknowledged relations of superior and inferior. Consideration of these carries us back to the primitive form of present-making, as it occurs between strangers or members of alien societies; and, on looking at some of the facts, there is suggested a question of much interest: whether from the propitiatory gift made under these circumstances there does not originate another important kind of social action? Barter is not, as we are apt to suppose, universally understood. Cook, speaking of his failure to make any exchange of articles with the Australians of his day, says, "They had, indeed, no idea of