for husbands? Say, for instance, that a number of Derbet girls are left uncaptured by the Torgots, who have secured their full complement of wives. What is to be done with them? They can not marry within their own tribe, for the tribe is exogamous. The Derbets must be in this perplexing strait: either they must give these women away to the Torgots—which would be a method of wife-procuring other than capture—or they must capture Torgot young men as husbands for those damsels, and forcibly adopt them into their own tribe.
Mr. McLennan's theory of marriage by capture, therefore, requires either—
1. That all the women of a tribe shall be captured by another tribe; or—
2. That men shall be captured for husbands, as well as women for wives. Surely, when a theory brings us to a conclusion such as this, it were better to lay it aside.
The Kocchs and the Hos, brought forward in evidence by Mr. McLennan in a subsequent chapter, are useless witnesses to him, because, as Sir John Lubbock has pointed out, "they are divided into keelis, or clans, and may not take to wife a girl of their own keeli."
Concerning the Khonds, Major McPherson's statement, quoted by Mr. McLennan, is that "intermarriage between persons of the same tribe" (the italics are mine), "however large or scattered, is considered incestuous and punishable by death." This does not prove that no Khond can marry a Khond—and nothing less than this is required by Mr. McLennan's theory. It simply points to the fact that the Orissa Khonds are divided into exogamous clans, and that men and women of the same clan are tribal brothers and sisters.
Taking the term "exogamous tribe" to mean an exogamous community complete in all its parts, and forbidding marriage everywhere within its limits (the sense in which Mr. McLennan's theory requires it to be used with regard to the cases cited by him in his fifth chapter), I do not hesitate to say that nowhere on the face of the earth has such a tribe been found at the present day; and that we have no trustworthy record of any such tribe having existed in bygone days. All the savage communities with which we have anything like a full acquaintance are made up of exogamous intermarrying divisions, and consequently do not forbid marriage everywhere within their own limits. Such a community may properly be said to be endogamous as regards itself, if it forbids or at least discourages marriage beyond its own boundaries (as is frequently—we may say generally—the case), though its law of marriage can not be said to be endogamous, because its clans are strictly exogamous. There is no instance, as far as I know, of any such endogamous tribe which is not divided into exogamous clans. If we could find such a tribe, we should find what has been diligently sought for in vain for the last thirty years and more.
- "Origin of Civilization," second edition, p. 117.