Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/116

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90 Correspondence.

through many generations in the same place and under the same conditions," and in support of this view he quotes the valuable opinions of Mr. Walter Heape and Mr. F. H. A. Marshall. He thus finds that the principles of exogamy present " a curious resemblance" to the principles of scientific breeding, but he rightly assumes that this analogy cannot be due to any exact knowledge or farseeing care on the part of its savage founders. How then shall we explain this analogy? Dr. Frazer's answer is that "it must be an accidental result of a superstition, an unconscious mimicry of science." In prohibiting incest the poor savages " blindly obeyed the impulse of the great evolutionary forces which in the physical world are constantly educing higher out of lower forms of existence and in the moral world civilisation out of savagery. If that is so, exogamy has been an instrument in the hands of that unknown power, the masked wizard of history, who by some mysterious process, some subtle alchemy, so often trans- mutes in the crucible of sufi'ering the dross of folly and evil into the fine gold of wisdom and good." I hope it will not be con- sidered uncalled-for impertinence on my part to ask if this reason- ing is a specimen of what Dr. Frazer regards as science proper in contradistinction to my own "bastard imitation of it"?

In any attempt to explain the origin of exogamy there are, in my opinion, three parallel groups of facts of general occurrence which necessarily must be taken into consideration : — Firstly, the prohibitions of incest and rules of exogamy themselves ; secondly, the aversion to sexual intercourse between persons living together from early youth; thirdly, the injurious consequences of inbreeding. As for the facts of the first group, Dr. Frazer and I agree that they all have the same root, exogamy being in some way or other derived from an aversion to the marriages of near kin. As for the facts of the second group. Dr. Frazer at all events admits that " there seems to be some ground " for believing in them. As for the facts of the third group, there is complete agreement between us. I ask, — Is it reasonable to think that there is no causal con- nection between these three groups of facts ? Is it right, as Dr. Frazer does, to ignore the second group altogether, and to look upon the coincidence of the first and the third as accidental ? I gratefully acknowledge that Dr. Frazer's chapter on the Origin of