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world and having little to excite the cupidity of others, they are not often forced to fight, but they are reputed courageous and vigorous when put to the test.1

It appears that life in the hunter or fisher state tends to individuality and the absence of social organization. It is believed that no instance can be cited of a race of people, living exclusively from hunting or fishing and the spontaneous products of the earth, that has passed the stage of simple tribal organization. Though the civilized man can readily perceive the advantages that might accrue to them from concert of action, conditions are not such as to develop it, and probably, if once developed, any form of extensive organization would soon fall in pieces without a marked change in the habits of the people. Among the very lowest promiscuous intercourse is the rule, and the whole burden of rearing the young is cast on the mother. In a great majority of instances, where a permanent relation is recognized as existing between the man and woman, the latter is treated as a slave and forced to bear his burdens as well as her own and those of her offspring.

The natives of Australia appear to have been below the average of the American Indians in most respects. It is said that they did not till the soil at all, their habitations were of the most crude and temporary character, being mostly of bark or brush. In the manufacture of weapons and implements they exhibited little skill or ingenuity, having no knowledge of metals or skill in weaving fabrics. They did not know the use of the bow and arrow, the almost universal weapon of primitive man, yet the boomerang, a most curious invention unknown elsewhere, is their peculiar weapon. In government they do not appear to have ever advanced beyond the tribal stage, with very little power in their chiefs. As with most savages the women are oppressed and enslaved by the men and family ties are very weak.

In attempting a close study of the development of the first

'For a more full statement of the various customs cencerning the relations of the sexes see Brissaud's "History of French Private Law." Continental Legal History Series, Vol. 3, p. 1.

steps toward the formation of a government, we are met by a surprising complication of difficulties. Savage tribes can furnish no accurate history of their own development. The moment they are brought into close contact with superior people, the course of their development is affected to a greater or less degree by the extraneous influences to which they are subjected. Habits of life, fashions in dress and modes of warfare are quickly adapted to new conditions. Thus in America those who describe the Comanche Indian place him on horseback, though the horse was first brought here by the white man. Blankets and beads were worn by the natives of the eastern and middle states long before the revolutionary war, and a description of an Indian costume without them was hardly complete, though the material came from Europe. Guns and knives soon supplanted bows and tomahawks. Again the wars and migrations of tribes, the changing conditions and vicissitudes under which they lived, afford no opportunity to study a continuing development of a particular tribe or nation.

Few if any American Indians can now be found whose character, customs and even tribal organizations have not been changed and moulded by the influence of the whites. Those that have remained near their ancestral homes have little left of the character or habits of their wild ancestors. Those that have been removed to western reservations have also felt the effects of the teachings and examples of the whites, often to their destruction. This frequent and extreme subjection to vicissitudes is, however, a characteristic of the savage state, and no one need ever hope for an opportunity to calmly study the development of any savage people, uncontaminated by contact with more civilized people for many consecutive generations. The reason for this is plain. Steady development demands steady conditions. Not only were the Indian tribes subject to destruction at the hands of their enemies, but their indolence and improvidence left them constantly liable to famine, which often depopulated their villages.

The rudimentary society is always domestic in character, but usually it is the rule of the strong male over the female

slave. In all quarters of the globe warlike savages have been accustomed to enslave prisoners whom they did not kill. Yet the custom of adopting even prisoners of war to whom the captor chances to take a liking is not uncommon. This was the settled policy of the Iroquois and a great source of strength. The slavery is generally temporary in character, resulting soon in death or emancipation of the slave. The habits of life of the savage are not such as to admit of the propagation and preservation of a servile race. In our efforts to generalize the earliest appearances of social organization, we are liable to take up a preconceived theory and proceed with a smooth and logical narration of orderly development. But, when we attempt to cite authorities and demonstrate the correctness of our theories from known instances, we are met with innumerable perplexities and apparent contradictions. Observers who are ignorant of the language of the people they attempt to describe often give most unsatisfactory accounts. They report what they see and often fill out their descriptions with what they infer to be true. But as we proceed we shall find that these difficulties attend the study of the development of governments in all forms and stages in a marked degree, and that the human capacity and desire to choose and invent leads to most perplexing want of uniformity in the development of social order. While the earliest form of mastery and rulership of a permanent character appears to be domestic and a personal mastery of one over another, the next step generally has its foundation in war.


Bancroft: Native Races of the Pacific States.
Schoolcraft: Indian Tribes of the United States.
Encyclopaedia Britannica-passim.



Passing from our imperfect view of the most low and repulsive specimens of human beings to those possessing more intelligence and exhibiting tendencies toward social organizations, we find everywhere that customs, superstitions and fashions precede governments and laws. The tribal organizations of hunters and fishers do not possess the true attributes of government, in the sense in which it is used by civilized man, to as great an extent as one of the many great corporations of modern times. The authority of the chiefs is hardly more than advisory. Matters affecting the tribe are usually determined by public assemblies, and war parties are made up of volunteers who submit to neither discipline nor command. Yet everywhere and even among the very lowest, customs, ceremonies and fashions are found to exist, the observance of which is compelled by public sentiment. These are often most cruel and unnatural. Let us examine some of them.

The custom of perforating the lips, nose and ears, of cutting off fingers, making incisions in the flesh and inserting most unsightly ornaments in lips, nose and ears is common with more or less variation among American Indians, African tribes and Polynesians. Thus the Thlinkeet women slit the under lip and gradually enlarge the opening until a large block of wood is inserted from two to six inches in length and from one to four inches in width and half an inch thick. It is so large that when withdrawn the lip falls over on the chin. The Koniagas and Thlinkeets imprison girls arriving at the age of puberty in huts so small as to keep them continually in a cramped position for six months or even a year. Dances and feasts of various kinds are characteristic of savages everywhere. Love of ornament seems to precede a desire for cloth

ing. Thus in many parts of the world savages may be found tattooed, painted, adorned with feathers, quills, rings, shells, stone and wooden ornaments, often hideous in appearance to the stranger, but rigidly exacted by custom, while covering for decency or comfort is not thought of. The Indians of North America were remarkably formal and ceremonious in all their negotiations and consultations. Their grand councils are sometimes described as models of decorous procedure. Marriage ceremonies were not generally very formal, and the bond of union often not of great force. Polygamy was generally allowed, but monogamy was the rule. They were undoubtedly far more lax in morals than the whites, yet the difference is still of degree. The Indian lodges among the leading tribes sheltered families where continency and affection were not wholly unknown. Among them there were marked differences as well in moral character as in mental capacity. The curious custom of dividing the tribes by totems was not a mere whim but had its foundation in a sound policy, and the rules relating to marriages based on it tended to check too close in and in breeding, likely to occur where people were divided into such small societies. Funeral rites were often impressive and proportioned to the estimation in which the deceased was held. Medicine men imposed on the ignorant with their charms, incantations, and absurd remedies, yet the medicinal properties of some plants were known and with all their filthiness the natives of the Pacific coast appreciated the value of a hot bath, for which most tribes provided a crude bath-house. Alcholic stimulants seem to have been wholly unknown to them. Their only intoxication was that resulting from war dances, superstition and bloodshed, by which at times they were wrought to a state of frenzy. Tobacco was much used and stupor and sickness often resulted from their gluttony at feasts. Undoubtedly the wild tribes of America. exhibited, over an extensive area and under diverse circumstances, the first beginnings of organized societies more completely than any other people. While many variations of manners and customs are to be noted, there was a marked similarity in their crude tribal organizations, clearly traceable

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