Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/271

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.


JULY, 1877.


ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY.

By HERBERT SPENCER.

II.

AND here we come in face of the fact before obliquely glanced at, that Sir Henry Maine's hypothesis takes account of no stages in human progress earlier than the pastoral or agricultural. The groups he describes as severally formed of the patriarch, his wife, descendants, slaves, flocks, and herds, are groups implying that animals of several kinds have been domesticated. But before the domestication of animals was achieved, there passed long stages stretching back through prehistoric times. To understand the patriarchal group, we must inquire how it grew out of the less-organized groups that preceded it.

The answer is not difficult to find if we ask what kind of life the domestication of herbivorous animals entailed. Where pasture is abundant and covers large areas, the keeping of flocks and herds does not necessitate separation into very small clusters: instance the Comanches, who, with their hunting, join the keeping of cattle, which the members of the tribe combine to guard. But where pasture is not abundant, or is distributed in patches, cattle cannot be kept together in great numbers; and their owners consequently have to part. Naturally, the division of the owners will be into such clusters as are already vaguely marked off in the original aggregate: individual men with such women as they have taken possession of, such animals as they have acquired by force or otherwise, and all their other belongings, will wander hither and thither in search of food for their sheep and oxen. As already pointed out, we have, in prepastoral stages, as among the Bushmen, cases where scarcity of wild food necessitates parting into very small groups; and clearly when, instead of game