Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/141

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JUNE, 1877.


 

ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY.
By HERBERT SPENCER.
I.

LET US now look at the connections between types of family and social types. Do societies of different degrees of composition habitually present different forms of domestic arrangement? Are different forms of domestic arrangement associated with the militant system of organization and the industrial system of organization?

To the first of these questions, no satisfactory answer can be given. The same marital relation occurs in the simplest groups and in the most compound groups. A strict monogamy is observed by the miserable Wood Veddahs, living so widely scattered that they can scarcely be said to have reached the social state; and the wandering Bushmen, similarly low, though not debarred polygyny, are usually monogamic. Certain settled and slightly advanced tribes, too, are monogamic; as instance the New Guinea people, and as instance also the Dyaks, who have reached a stage passing from simple into compound. And then we have monogamy habitual with nations which have become vast by aggregation and reaggregation. Polyandry, again, is not restricted to societies of one order of composition. We find it in simple groups, as among the Fuegians, the Aleutians, and the Todas; and we find it in compound groups in Ceylon, in Malabar, in Thibet. Similarly with the distribution of polygyny. It is common to simple, compound, doubly-compound, and even trebly-compound societies.

One kind of connection between the type of family and the degree of social composition may, however, be alleged. Formation of compound groups, implying greater coordination and the strengthening of restraints, implies more settled arrangements, public and private.