Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/294

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

required as qualifications for marriage, will carry home this conclusion. Herndon tells us that among the Mahués a man cannot take a wife until he has submitted to severe torture. Bates, speaking of the Passes on the Upper Amazons, says that formerly "the young men earned their brides by valiant deeds in war." Before he is allowed to marry, a young Dyak must prove his bravery by bringing back the head of an enemy. Bancroft quotes Colonel Cremony as saying that when the Apache warriors return unsuccessful, "the women turn away from them with assured indifference and contempt. They are upbraided as cowards, or for want of skill and tact, and are told that such men should not have wives." That, among other results of sentiments thus exemplified, abduction of women will be one, is obvious; for a man who, denied a wife till he has proved his courage, steals one, satisfies his want and achieves reputation at the same time. If, as we see, the test of deserving a wife is in some cases obtainment of a trophy, what more natural than that the trophy should often be the stolen wife herself? What more natural than that where many warriors of the tribe are distinguished by stolen wives, the stealing of a wife should become the required proof of fitness to have one? Hence would follow a peremptory law of exogamy.

In so far as it implies that usage grows into law, this interpretation agrees with that of Mr. McLennan. It does not, however, like his, assume either that this usage originated in a primordial instinct, or that it resulted from scarcity of women caused by infanticide. Moreover, unlike Mr. McLennan's, the explanation so reached is consistent with the fact that exogamy and endogamy in many cases exist; and with the fact that exogamy often coexists with polygyny. Further, it does not involve us in the difficulty raised by supposing a peremptory law of exogamy to be obeyed throughout a cluster of tribes.

 

But can the great prevalence of the form of capture in marriage ceremonies be thus accounted for? Mr. McLennan believes that, wherever this form is now found, complete exogamy once prevailed. Examination will, I think, show that the implication is not necessary. There are several ways in which the form of capture naturally arises; or rather, let us say, it has several conspiring causes.

If, as we have seen, there still exist rude tribes in which men fight for possession of women, the taking possession of a woman naturally comes as a sequence to an act of capture. That monopoly which constitutes her a wife in the only sense known by the primitive man is a result of successful violence. Thus the form may originate from actual capture within the tribe instead of originating from actual capture without it.

Beyond that resistance to a man's seizure of a woman apt to be made by other men within the tribe, there is the resistance of the