PART IV of THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIOLOGY
[FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIOLOGY, VOL. II.,
NEW YORK Ed., 1890.]
PREFACE TO PART IV.1
Of the chapters herewith published, constituting Part IV of the Principles of Sociology, seven have already seen the light: not, however, all of them in England. For reasons which need not be specified, it happened that the chapter on Titles was not, like those preceding it, published in the Fortnightly Review at the same time that it was published in periodicals in America, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Russia; and it is therefore new to English readers. Five other chapters, namely V, IX, X, XI, and XII, have not hitherto appeared either at home or abroad.
For deciding to issue by itself, this and each succeeding division of Vol. II of the Principles of Sociology, I have found several reasons. One is that each division, though related to the rest, nevertheless forms a whole so far distinct, that it may be fairly well understood without the rest. Another is that large volumes (and Vol. II threatens to exceed in bulk Vol. I) are alarming; and that many who are deterred by their size from reading them, will not fear to undertake separately the parts of which they are composed. A third, and chief reason is that postponement of issue until completion of the entire volume, necessitates an undesirable delay in the issue of its earlier divisions: substantially-independent works being thus kept in manuscript much longer than need be.
The contents of this Part are not, indeed, of such kind as to make me anxious that publication of it as a whole should be immediate. But the contents of the next Part, treating of Political Institutions, will, I think, be of some importance; and I should regret having to keep it in my portfolio for a year, or perhaps two years, until [p.vi] Parts VI, VII, and VIII, included in the second volume, were written. [Inclusion of these proves impracticable.]
On sundry of the following chapters when published in the Fortnightly Review, a criticism passed by friends was that they were overweighted by illustrative facts. I am conscious that there was ground for this criticism; and although I have, in the course of a careful revision, diminished in many cases the amount of evidence given (adding to it, however, in other cases) the defect may still be alleged. That with a view to improved effect I have not suppressed a larger number of illustrations, is due to the consideration that scientific proof, rather than artistic merit, is the end to be here achieved. If sociological generalizations are to pass out of the stage of opinion into the stage of established truth, it can only be through extensive accumulations of instances: the inductions must be wide if the conclusions are to be accepted as valid. Especially while there continues the belief that social phenomena are not the subject-matter of a Science, it is requisite, that the correlations among them should be shown to hold in multitudinous cases. Evidence furnished by various races in various parts of the world, must be given before there can be rebutted the allegation that the inferences drawn are not true, or are but partially true. Indeed, of social phenomena more than all other phenomena, it must, because of their complexity, hold that only by comparisons of many examples can fundamental relations be distinguished from superficial relations.
In pursuance of an intention intimated in the preface to the first volume, I have here adopted a method of reference to authorities cited, which gives the reader the opportunity of consulting them if he wishes, though his attention to them is not solicited. At the end of the volume will be found the needful clues to the passages extracted; preceded by an explanatory note. Usually, though not uniformly, references have been given in those cases only where actual quotations are made.
London, November, 1879.
Part IV.—CEREMONIAL INSTITUTIONS.
|I.||CEREMONY IN GENERAL||3|
|VII.||FORMS OF ADDRESS||141|
|IX.||BADGES AND COSTUMES||174|
|XII.||CEREMONIAL RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT||211|
CEREMONY IN GENERAL.
§ 343. If, disregarding conduct that is entirely private, we consider only that
species of conduct which involves direct relations with other persons; and if
under the name government we include all control of such conduct, however
arising; then we must say that the earliest kind of government, the most general
kind of government, and the government which is ever spontaneously recommencing,
is the government of ceremonial observance. More may be said. This kind of
government, besides preceding other kinds, and besides having in all places and
times approached nearer to universality of influence, has ever had, and
continues to have, the largest share in regulating men's lives.
Proof that the modifications of conduct called "manners" and "behaviour" arise before those which political and religious restraints cause, is yielded by the fact that, besides preceding social evolution, they precede human evolution: they are traceable among the higher animals. The dog afraid of being beaten, comes crawling up to his master; clearly manifesting the desire to show submission. Nor is it solely to human beings that dogs use such propitiatory actions. They do the like one to another. All have occasionally seen how, on the approach of some formidable Newfoundland Mastiff, [p.4] a small spaniel, in the extremity of its terror, throws itself on its back with legs in the air. Instead of threatening resistance by growls and showing of teeth, as it might have done had not resistance been hopeless, it spontaneously assumes the attitude that would result from defeat in battle; tacitly saying—"I am conquered, and at your mercy." Clearly then, besides certain modes of behaviour expressing affection, which are established still earlier in creatures lower than man, there are established certain modes of behaviour expressing subjection.
After recognizing this fact, we shall be prepared to recognize the fact that daily intercourse among the lowest savages, whose small loose groups, scarcely to be called social, are without political or religious regulation, is under a considerable amount of ceremonial regulation. No ruling agency beyond that arising from personal superiority, characterizes a horde of Australians; but every such horde has imperative observances. Strangers meeting must remain some time silent; a mile from an encampment approach has to be heralded by loud coorys; a green bough is used as an emblem of peace; and brotherly feeling is indicated by exchange of names. Similarly the Tasmanians, equally devoid of government save that implied by predominance of a leader during war, had settled ways of indicating peace and defiance. The Esquimaux, too, though without social ranks or anything like chieftainship, have understood usages for the treatment of guests. Kindred evidence may be joined with this. Ceremonial control is highly developed in many places where other forms of control are but rudimentary. The wild Comanche "exacts the observance of his rules of etiquette from strangers," and "is greatly offended" by any breach of them. When Araucanians meet, the inquiries, felicitations, and condolences which custom demands, are so elaborate that "the formality occupies ten or fifteen minutes." Of the ungoverned Bedouins we [p.5] read that; "their manners are sometimes dashed with a strange ceremoniousness;" and the salutations of Arabs are such that the "compliments in a well-bred man never last less than ten minutes." "We were particularly struck," says Livingstone, "with the punctiliousness of manners shown by the Balonda." "The Malagasy have many different forms of salutation, of which they make liberal use.... Hence in their general intercourse there is much that is stiff, formal, and precise." A Samoan orator, when speaking in Parliament, "is not contented with a mere word of salutation, such as 'gentlemen,' but he must, with great minuteness, go over the names and titles, and a host of ancestral references, of which they are proud."
That ceremonial restraint, preceding other forms of restraint, continues ever to be the most widely-diffused form of restraint, we are shown by such facts as that in all intercourse between members of each society, the decisively governmental actions are usually prefaced by this government of observances. The embassy may fail, negotiation may be brought to a close by war, coercion of one society by another may set up wider political rule with its peremptory commands; but there is habitually this more general and vague regulation of conduct preceding the more special and definite. So within a community, acts of relatively stringent control coming from ruling agencies, civil and religious, begin with and are qualified by, this ceremonial control; which not only initiates but, in a sense, envelops all other. Functionaries, ecclesiastical and political, coercive as their proceedings may be, conform them in large measure to the requirements of courtesy. The priest, however arrogant his assumption, makes a civil salute; and the officer of the law performs his duty subject to certain propitiatory words and movements.
Yet another indication of primordialism may be named. [p.6] This species of control establishes itself anew with every fresh relation among individuals. Even between intimates greetings signifying continuance of respect, begin each renewal of intercourse. And in presence of a stranger, say in a railway-carriage, a certain self-restraint, joined with some small act like the offer of a newspaper, shows the spontaneous rise of a propitiatory behaviour such as even the rudest of mankind are not without.
So that the modified forms of action caused in men by the presence of their fellows, constitute that comparatively vague control out of which other more definite controls are evolved—the primitive undifferentiated kind of government from which the political and religious governments are differentiated, and in which they ever continue immersed.
§ 344. This proposition looks strange mainly because, when studying less-advanced societies, we carry with us our developed conceptions of law and religion. Swayed by them, we fail to perceive that what we think the essential parts of sacred and secular regulations were originally sub-ordinate parts, and that the essential parts consisted of ceremonial observances.
It is clear, a priori, that this must be so if social phenomena are evolved. A political system or a settled cult, cannot suddenly come into existence, but implies pre-established subordination. Before there are laws, there must be submission to some potentate enacting and enforcing them. Before religious obligations are recognized, there must be acknowledged one or more supernatural powers. Evidently, then, the behaviour expressing obedience to a ruler, visible or invisible, must precede in time the civil or religious restraints he imposes. And this inferable precedence of ceremonial government is a precedence we everywhere find.
How, in the political sphere, fulfilment of forms implying subordination is the primary thing, early European history [p.7] shows us. During times when the question, who should be master, was in course of settlement, now in small areas and now in larger areas uniting them, there was scarcely any of the regulation which developed civil government brings; but there was insistance on allegiance humbly expressed. While each man was left to guard himself, and blood-feuds between families were unchecked by the central power—while the right of private vengeance was so well recognized that the Salic law made it penal to carry off enemies' heads from the stakes on which they were exhibited near the .dwellings of those who had killed them; there was a rigorous demanding of oaths of fidelity to political superiors and periodic manifestations of loyalty. Simple homage, growing presently into liege homage, was paid by smaller riders to greater; and the vassal who, kneeling ungirt and swordless before his suzerain, professed his subjection and then entered on possession of his lands, was little interfered with so long as he continued to display his vassalage in court and in camp. Refusal to go through the required observances was tantamount to rebellion; as at the present time in China, where disregard of the forms of behaviour prescribed towards each grade of officers, "is considered to be nearly equivalent to a rejection of their authority." Among peoples in lower stages this connexion of social traits is still better shown. The extreme ceremoniousness of the Tahitians, "appears to have accompanied them to the temples, to have distinguished the homage and the service they rendered to their gods, to have marked their affairs of state, and the carriage of the people towards their rulers, to have pervaded the whole of their social intercourse." Meanwhile, they were destitute "of even oral laws and institutes:" there was no public administration of justice. Again, if any one in Tonga neglected the proper salute in presence of a superior noble, some calamity from the gods was expected as a punishment for the omission; and Mariner's list of Tongan virtues commences with "paying [p.8] respect to the gods, nobles, and aged persons." When to this we add his statement that many actions reprobated by the Tongans are not thought intrinsically wrong, but are wrong merely if done against gods or nobles, we get proof that along with high development of ceremonial control, the sentiments and ideas out of which civil government comes were but feebly developed. Similarly in the ancient American States. The laws of the Mexican king, Montezuma I., mostly related to the intercourse of, and the distinctions between, classes. In Peru, "the most common punishment was death, for they said that a culprit was not punished for the delinquencies he had committed, but for having broken the commandment of the Ynca." There had not been reached the stage in which the transgressions of man against man are the wrongs to be redressed, and in which there is consequently a proportioning of penalties to injuries; but the real crime was insubordination: implying that insistance on marks of subordination constituted the essential part of government. In Japan, so elaborately ceremonious in its life, the same theory led to the same result. And here we are reminded that even in societies so advanced as our own, there survive traces of a kindred early condition. "Indictment for felony,"' says Wharton, "is [for a transgression] against the peace of our lord the King, his crown and dignity in general:"' the injured individual being ignored. Evidently obedience was the primary requirement, and behaviour expressing it the first modification of conduct insisted on.
Religious control, still better, perhaps, than political control, shows this general truth. When we find that rites performed at graves, becoming afterwards religious rites performed at altars in temples, were at first acts done for the benefit of the ghost, either as originally conceived or as ideally expanded into a deity—when we find that the sacrifices and libations, the immolations and blood-offerings and mutilations, all begun to profit or to please [p.9] the double of the dead man, were continued on larger scales where the double of the dead man was especially feared—when we find that fasting as a funeral rite gave origin to religious fasting, that praises of the deceased and prayers to him grew into religious praises and prayers; we are shown why primitive religion consisted almost wholly of propitiatory observances. Though in certain rude societies now existing, one of the propitiations is the repetition of injunctions given by the departed father or chief, joined in some cases with expressions of penitence for breach of them; and though we are shown by this that from the outset there exists the germ out of which grow the sanctified precepts eventually constituting important adjuncts to religion; yet, since the supposed supernatural beings are at first conceived as retaining after death the desires and passions that distinguished them during life, this rudiment of a moral code is originally but an insignificant part of the cult: due rendering of those offerings and praises and marks of subordination by which the goodwill of the ghost or god is to be obtained, forming the chief part. Everywhere proofs occur.
We read of the Tahitians that "religious rites were connected with almost every act of their lives;" and it is so with the uncivilized and semi-civilized in general. The Sandwich Islanders, along with little of that ethical element which the conception of religion includes among ourselves, had a rigorous and elaborate ceremonial. Noting that tabu means literally, "sacred to the gods," I quote from Ellis the following account of its observance in Hawaii:—
"During the season of strict tabu, every fire or light in the island or district must be extinguished; no canoe must be launched on the water, no person must bathe; and except those whose attendance was required at the temple, no individual must be seen out of doors; no dog must bark, no pig must grunt, no cock must crow. .... On these occasions they tied up the mouths of the dogs and pigs, and put the fowls under a calabash, or fastened a piece of cloth over their eyes."
And how completely the idea of transgression was associated in the mind of the Sandwich Islander with breach of ceremonial observance, is shown in the fact that "if any one made a noise on a tab it day ... he must die." Through stages considerably advanced, religion continues to be thus constituted. When questioning the Nicaraguans concerning their creed, Oviedo, eliciting the fact that they confessed their sins to an appointed old man, asks what sort of sins they confessed; and the first clause of the answer is—"we tell him when we have broken our festivals and not kept them." Similarly among the Peruvians, "the most notable sin was neglect in the service of the huacas" [spirits, &c]; and a large part of life was spent by them in propitiating the apotheosized dead. How elaborate the observances, how frequent the festivals, how lavish the expenditure, by which the ancient Egyptians sought the goodwill of supernatural beings, the records everywhere prove; and that with them religious duty consisted in thus ministering to the desires of ancestral ghosts, deified in various degrees, is shown by the before-quoted prayer of Rameses to his father Ammon, in which he claims his help in battle because of the many bulls he has sacrificed to him. With the Hebrews in pre-Mosaic times it was the same. As Kuenen remarks, the "great work and enduring merit" of Moses, was that he gave dominance to the moral element in religion. In his reformed creed, "Jahveh is distinguished from the rest of the gods in this, that he will be served, not merely by sacrifices and feasts, but also, nay, in the first place, by the observance of the moral commandments." That the piety of the Greeks included diligent performance of rites at tombs, and that the Greek god was especially angered by non-observance of propitiatory ceremonies, are familiar facts; and credit with a god was claimed by the Trojan, as by the Egyptian, not on account of rectitude, but on account of oblations made; as is shown by Chryses' prayer to Apollo. So too, [p.11] Christianity, originally a renewed development of the ethical element at the expense of the ceremonial element, losing as it spread those early traits which distinguished it from lower creeds, displayed in mediaeval Europe, a relatively large amount of ceremony and a relatively small amount of morality. In the Rule of St. Benedict, nine chapters concern the moral and general duties of the brothers, while thirteen concern the religious ordinances. And how criminality was ascribed to disregard of such ordinances, the following passage from the Rule of St. Columbanus shows:—
"A year's penance for him who loses a consecrated wafer; six months for him who suffers it to be eaten by mites; twenty days for him who lets it turn red; forty days for him who contemptuously flings it into water; twenty days for him who brings it up through weakness of stomach; but, if through illness, ten days. He who neglects his Amen to the Benedicite, who speaks when eating, who forgets to make the sign of the cross on his spoon, or on a lantern lighted by a younger brother, is to receive six or twelve stripes."
That from the times when men condoned crimes by building chapels or going on
pilgrimages, down to present times when barons no longer invade one another's
territories or torture Jews, there has been a decrease of ceremony along with an
increase of morality, is clear; though if we look at unadvanced parts of Europe,
such as Naples or Sicily, we see that even now observance of rites is in them a
much larger component of religion than obedience to moral rules. And when we
remember how modern is Protestantism, which, less elaborate and imperative in
its forms, does not habitually compound for transgressions by acts expressing
subordination, and how recent is the spread of dissenting
Protestantism, in which this change is carried further, we are shown that
postponement of ceremony to morality characterizes religion only in its later
Mark, then, what follows. If the two kinds of control which eventually grow into civil and religious governments, originally include scarcely anything beyond observance of [p.12] ceremonies, the precedence of ceremonial control over other controls is a corollary.
§ 345. Divergent products of evolution betray their kinship by severally retaining certain traits which belonged to that from which they were evolved; and the implication is that whatever traits they have in common, arose earlier in time than did the traits which distinguish them from one another. If fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals, all possess vertebral columns, it follows, on the evolution-hypothesis, that the vertebral column became part of the organization at an earlier period than did the teeth in sockets and the mammas which distinguish one of these groups, or than did the toothless beak and the feathers which distinguish another of these groups; and so on. Applying this principle in the present case, it is inferable that if the controls classed as civil, religious, and social, have certain common characters, such characters, older than are these now differentiated controls, must have belonged to the primitive control out of which they developed. Ceremonies, then, have the highest antiquity; for these differentiated controls all exhibit them.
There is the making of presents: this is one of the acts showing subordination to a ruler in early stages; it is a religious rite, performed originally at the grave and later on at the altar; and from the beginning it has been a means of propitiation in social intercourse. There are the obeisances: these, of their several kinds, serve to express reverence in its various degrees, to gods, to rulers, and to private persons: here the prostration is habitually seen, now in the temple, now before the monarch, now to a powerful man; here there is genuflexion in presence of idols, rulers, and fellow-subjects; here the salaam is more or less common to the three cases; here uncovering of the head is a sign alike of worship, of loyalty, and of respect; and here the bow serves the same three [p.13] purposes. Similarly with titles: father is a name of honour applied to a god, to a king, and to an honoured individual; so too is lord; so are sundry other names. The same thing holds of humble speeches: professions of inferiority and obedience on the part of the speaker, are used to secure divine favour, the favour of a ruler, and the favour of a private person. Once more, it is thus with words of praise: telling a deity of his greatness constitutes a large element of worship; despotic monarchs are addressed in terms of exaggerated eulogy; and where ceremony is dominant in social intercourse, extravagant compliments are addressed to private persons.
In many of the less advanced societies, and also in the more advanced that have retained early types of organization, we find other examples of observances expressing subjection, which are common to the three kinds of control—political, religious, and social. Among Malayo-Polynesians the offering of the first fish and of first fruits, is a mark of respect alike to gods and to chiefs; and the Fijians make the same gifts to their gods as they do to their chiefs—food, turtles, whale's-teeth. In Tonga, "if a great chief takes an oath, he swears by the god; if an inferior chief takes an oath, he swears by his superior relation, who, of course, is a greater chief." In Fiji, "all are careful not to tread on the threshold of a place set apart for the gods: persons of rank stride over; others pass over on their hands and knees. The same form is observed in crossing the threshold of a chief's house." In Siam, "at the full moon of the fifth month the Talapoins [priests] wash the idol with perfumed water. ... The people also wash the Sancrats and other Talapoins; and then in the families children wash their parents." China affords good instances. "At his accession, the Emperor kneels thrice and bows nine times before the altar of his father, and goes through the same ceremony before the throne on which is seated the Empress Dowager. On his then ascending his throne, the great [p.14] officers, marshalled according to their ranks, kneel and bow nine times." And the equally ceremonious Japanese furnish kindred evidence. "From the Emperor to the lowest subject in the realm there is a constant succession of prostrations. The former, in want of a human being superior to himself in rank, bows humbly to some pagan idol; and every one of his subjects, from prince to peasant, has some person before whom he is bound to cringe and crouch in the dirt:" religious, political, and social subordination are expressed by the same form of behaviour.
These indications of a general truth which will be abundantly exemplified when discussing each kind of ceremonial observance, I here give in brief, as further showing that the control of ceremony precedes in order of evolution the civil and religious controls, and must therefore be first dealt with.
§ 346. On passing to the less general aspects of ceremonial government, we are met by the question—How do there arise those modifications of behaviour which constitute it? Commonly it is assumed that they are consciously chosen as symbolizing reverence or respect. .After their usual manner of speculating about primitive practices, men read back developed ideas into undeveloped minds. The supposition is allied to that which originated the social-contract theory: a kind of conception that has become familiar to the civilized man, is assumed to have been familiar to man in his earliest state. But just as little basis as there is for the belief that savages deliberately made social contracts, is there for the belief that they deliberately adopted symbols. The error is best seen on turning to the most developed kind of symbolization—that of language. An Australian or a Fuegian does not sit down and knowingly coin a word; but the words he finds in use, and the new ones which come into use during his life, grow up unawares by onomatopoeia, or by vocal suggestions of qualities, or by metaphor which some observable likeness [p.15] suggests. Among civilized peoples, however, who have learnt that words are symbolic, new words are frequently-chosen to symbolize new ideas. So, too, is it with written language. The early Egyptian never thought of fixing ou a sign to represent a sound, but his records began, as those of North American Indians begin now, with rude pictures of the transactions to be kept in memory; and as the process of recording extended, the pictures, abbreviated and generalized, lost more and more their likenesses to objects and acts, until, under stress of the need for expressing proper names, some of them were used phonetically, and signs of sounds came into existence. But, in our days, there has been reached a stage at which, as shorthand shows us, special marks are consciously selected to signify special sounds. The lesson taught is obvious. As it would be an error to conclude that because we knowingly choose sounds to symbolize ideas, and marks to symbolize sounds, the like was originally done by savages and by barbarians; so it is an error to conclude that because among the civilized certain ceremonies (say those of freemasons) are arbitrarily fixed upon, so ceremonies were arbitrarily fixed upon by the uncivilized. Already, in indicating the primitiveness of ceremonial control, I have named some modes of behaviour expressing subordination which have a natural genesis; and here the inference to be drawn is, that until we have found a natural genesis for a ceremony, we have not discovered its origin. The truth of this inference will seem less improbable on observing sundry ways in which spontaneous manifestations of emotion initiate formal observances.
The ewe bleating after her lamb that has strayed, and smelling now one and now another of the lambs near her, but at length, by its odour, identifying as her own one that comes running up, doubtless, thereupon, experiences a wave of gratified maternal feeling; and by repetition there is established between this odour and this pleasure, such an association that the first habitually produces the last: the [p.16] smell becomes, on all occasions, agreeable by serving to bring into consciousness more or less of the philoprogenitive emotion. That among some races of men individuals are similarly identified, the Bible yields proofs. Though Isaac, with senses dulled by age, fails thus to distinguish his sons from one another, yet the fact that, unable to see Jacob, and puzzled by the conflicting evidence his voice and his hands furnished, "he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him," shows that different persons, even members of the same family, were perceived by the Hebrews to have their specific odours. And that perception of the odour possessed by one who is loved, yields pleasure, proof is given by another Asiatic race. Of a Mongol father, Timkowski writes:—"He smelt from time to time the head of his youngest son, a mark of paternal tenderness usual among the Mongols, instead of embracing." In the Philippine Islands, "the sense of smell is developed ... to so great a degree that they are able, by smelling at the pocket-handkerchiefs, to tell to which persons they belong; and lovers at parting exchange pieces of the linen they may be wearing, and during their separation inhale the odour of the beloved being, besides smothering the relics with kisses." So, too, with the Chittagong-Hill people, the "manner of kissing is peculiar. Instead of pressing lip to lip, they place the mouth and nose upon the cheek, and inhale the breath strongly. Their form of speech is not "Give me a kiss," but "smell me." Similarly "the Burmese do not kiss each other in the western fashion, but apply the lips and nose to the cheek and make a strong inhalation." And now note a sequence. Inhalation of the odour given off by a loved person coming to be a mark of affection for him or for her, it happens that since men wish to be liked, and are pleased by display of liking, the performance of this act which signifies liking, initiates a complimentary observance, and gives rise to certain modes of showing respect. The Samoans salute by "juxtaposition of noses, [p.17] accompanied not by a rub, but a hearty smell. They shake and smell the hands also, especially of a superior." And there are like salutes among the Esquimaux and the New Zealanders.
The alliance between smell and taste being close, we may naturally expect a class of acts which arise from tasting, parallel to the class of acts which smelling originates; and the expectation is fulfilled. Obviously the billing of doves or pigeons and the like action of love-birds, indicates an affection which is gratified by the gustatory sensation. No act of this kind on the part of an inferior creature, as of a cow licking her calf, can have any other origin than the direct prompting of a desire which gains by the act satisfaction; and in such a case the satisfaction is that which vivid perception of offspring gives to the maternal yearning. In some animals like acts arise from other forms of affection. Licking the hand, or, where it is accessible, the face, is a common display of attachment on a dog's part; and when we remember how keen must be the olfactory sense by which a dog traces his master, we cannot doubt that to his gustatory sense, too, there is yielded some impression—an impression associated with those pleasures of affection which his master's presence gives. The inference that kissing, as a mark of fondness in the human race, has a kindred origin, is sufficiently probable. Though kissing is not universal—though the Negro races do not understand it, and though, as we have seen, there are cases in which sniffing replaces it—yet, being common to unlike and widely-dispersed peoples, we may conclude that it originated in the same manner as the analogous action among lower creatures. Here, however, we are chiefly concerned to observe the indirect result. From kissing as a natural sign of affection, there is derived the kissing which, as a means of simulating affection, gratifies those who are kissed; and, by gratifying them, propitiates them. Hence an obvious root for the kissing of feet, hands, garments, as a part of ceremonial.
Feeling, sensational or emotional, causes muscular contractions, which are
strong in proportion as it is intense; and, among other feelings, those of love
and liking have an effect of this kind, which takes on its appropriate form. The
most significant of the actions hence originating is not much displayed by
inferior creatures, because their limbs are unfitted for prehension; but in the
human race its natural genesis is sufficiently manifest. Mentioning a mother's
embrace of her child, will remind all that the strength of the embrace (unless
restrained to prevent mischief) measures the strength of the feeling; and while
reminded that the feeling thus naturally vents itself in muscular actions, they
may further see that these actions are directed in such ways as to give
satisfaction to the feeling by yielding a vivid consciousness of possession.
That between adults allied emotions originate like acts, scarcely needs adding.
It is not so much these facts, however, as the derived facts, which we have to
take note of. Here is another root for a ceremony: an embrace, too, serving to
express liking, serves to propitiate in cases where it is not negatived by those
observances which subjection entails. It occurs where governmental subordination
is but little developed. Of some Snake Indians we read, "the three men
immediately leaped from their horses, came up to Captain Lewis, and embraced him
with great cordiality." Marcy tells of a Comanche that, "seizing me in his
brawny arms while we were yet in the saddle, and laying his greasy head upon my
shoulder, he inflicted upon me a most bruin-like squeeze." And Snow says, the
Fuegian "friendly mode of salutation was anything but agreeable. The men came
and hugged me, very much like the grip of a bear."
Discharging itself in muscular actions which, in cases like the foregoing, are directed to an end, feeling in other cases discharges itself in undirected muscular actions. The resulting changes are habitually rhythmical. Each considerable movement of a limb brings it to a position at which a [p.19] counter-movement is easy; both because the muscles producing the counter-movement are then in the best positions for contraction, and because they have had a brief rest. Hence the naturalness of striking the hands together or against other parts. We see this as a spontaneous manifestation of pleasure among children; and we find it giving origin to a ceremony among the uncivilized. Clapping of the hands is "the highest mark of respect" in Loango; and it occurs with kindred meaning among the Coast Negroes, the East Africans, the Dahomans. Joined with other acts expressing welcome, the people of Batoka "slap the outsides of their thighs;" the Balonda people, besides clapping their hands, sometimes "in saluting, drum their ribs with their elbows;" while in Dahomey, and some kingdoms on the Coast, snapping the fingers is one of the salutes. Rhythmical muscular motions of the arms and hands, thus expressing pleasure, real or pretended, in presence of another person, are not the only motions of this class: the legs come into play. Children often "jump for joy;" and occasionally adults may be seen to do the like. Saltatory movements are therefore apt to grow into compliments. In Loango "many of the nobility salute the king by leaping with great strides backward and forward two or three times and swinging their arms." The Fuegians also, as the United States explorers tell us, show friendship "by jumping up and down."2
Feeling, discharging itself, contracts the muscles of the vocal organs, as well as other muscles. Hence shouts, indi- [p.20] cating joy in general, indicate the joy produced by meeting one who is beloved; and serve to give the appearance of joy before one whose goodwill is sought. Among the Fijians, respect is "indicated by the tama, which is a shout of reverence uttered by inferiors when approaching a chief or chief town." In Australia, as we have seen, loud cooeys are made on coming within a mile of an encampment—an act which, while primarily indicating pleasure at the coming reunion, further indicates those friendly intentions which a silent approach would render doubtful.
One more example may be named. Tears result from strong feeling—mostly from painful feeling, but also from pleasurable feeling when extreme. Hence, as a sign of joy, weeping occasionally passes into a complimentary observance. The beginning of such an observance is shown us by Hebrew traditions in the reception of Tobias by Raguel, when he finds him to be his cousin's son:—"Then Raguel leaped up, and kissed him, and wept." And among some races there grows from this root a social rite. In New Zealand a meeting "led to a warm tangi between the two parties; but, after sitting opposite to each other for a quarter of an hour or more, crying bitterly, with a most piteous moaning and lamentation, the tangi was transformed into a hungi, and the two old ladies commenced pressing noses, giving occasional satisfactory grunts." And then we find it becoming a public ceremony. On the arrival of a great chief, "the women stood upon a hill, and loud and long was the tangi to welcome his approach; occasionally, however, they would leave off, to have a chat or a laugh, and then mechanically resume their weeping." Other Malayo-Polynesians have a like custom; as have also the Tupis of South America.
To these examples of the ways in which natural manifestations of emotion originate ceremonies, may be added a few examples of the ways in which ceremonies not originating directly from spontaneous actions, nevertheless [p.21] originate by natural sequence rather than by intentional symbolization. Brief indications must suffice.
Blood-relationships are formed in Central South Africa between those who imbibe a little of each others blood. A like way of establishing brotherhood is used in Madagascar, in Borneo, and in many places throughout the world; and it was used among our remote ancestors. This is assumed to be a symbolic observance. On studying early ideas, however, and finding that the primitive man regards the nature of anything as inhering in all its parts, and therefore thinks he gets the courage of a brave enemy by eating his heart, or is inspired with the virtues of a deceased relative by grinding his bones and drinking them in water, we see that by absorbing each other's blood, men are supposed to establish actual community of nature.
Similarly with the ceremony of exchanging names. "To bestow his name upon a friend is the highest compliment that one man can offer another," among the Shoshones. The Australians exchange names with Europeans, in proof of brotherly feeling. This, which is a widely-diffused practice, arises from the belief that the name is vitally connected with its owner. Possessing a man's name is equivalent to possessing a portion of his being, and enables the possessor to work mischief to him; and hence among numerous peoples a reason for concealing names. To exchange names, therefore, is to establish some participation in one another's being; and at the same time to trust each with power over the other: implying great mutual confidence.
It is a usage among the people of Vate, "when they wish to make peace, to kill one or more of their own people, and send the body to those with whom they have been fighting to eat;" and in Samoa, "it is the custom on the submission of one party to another, to bow down before their conquerors each with a piece of firewood and a bundle of leaves, such as are used in dressing a pig for the oven [bamboo-knives being sometimes added]; as much as to say—"Kill us and [p.22] cook us, if you please." These facts I name because they show a point of departure from which might arise an apparently-artificial ceremony. Let the traditions of cannibalism among the Samoans disappear, and this surviving custom of presenting firewood, leaves, and knives, as a sign of submission, would, in pursuance of the ordinary method of interpretation, be taken for an observance arbitrarily fixed upon.
The facts that peace is signified among the Dacotahs by burying the tomahawk and among the Brazilians by a present of bows and arrows, may be cited as illustrating what is in a sense symbolization, but what is in origin a modification of the proceeding symbolized; for cessation of fighting is necessitated by putting away weapons, or by giving weapons to an antagonist. If, as among the civilized, a conquered enemy delivers up his sword, the act of so making himself defenceless is an act of personal submission; but eventually it comes to be, on the part of a general, a sign that his army surrenders. Similarly, when, as in parts of Africa, "some of the free blacks become slaves voluntarily by going through the simple but significant ceremony of breaking a spear in the presence of their future master," we may properly say that the relation thus artificially established, is as near an approach as may be to the relation established when a foe whose weapon is broken is made a slave by his captor: the symbolic transaction simulates the actual transaction.
An instructive example comes next. I refer to the bearing of green boughs as a sign of peace, as an act of propitiation, and as a religious ceremony. As indicating peace the custom occurs among the Araucanians, Australians, Tasmanians, New Guinea People, New Caledonians, Sandwich Islanders, Tahitians, Samoans, New Zealanders; and branches were used by the Hebrews also for propitiatory approach (II. Macc. xiv. 4). In some cases we find them employed to signify not peace only but submission. [p.23] Speaking of the Peruvians, Cieza says—"The men and boys came out with green boughs and palm-leaves to seek for mercy;" and among the Greeks, too, a suppliant carried an olive branch. Wall-paintings left by the ancient Egyptians show us palm-branches carried in funeral processions to propitiate the dead; and at the present time "a wreath of palm-branches stuck in the grave" is common in a Moslem cemetery in Egypt. A statement of Wallis respecting the Tahitians shows presentation of these parts of trees passing into a religious observance: a pendant left flying on the beach the natives regarded with fear, bringing green boughs and hogs, which they laid down at the foot of the staff. And that a portion of a tree was anciently an appliance of worship in the East, is shown by the direction in Lev. xxiii. 40, to take the "boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees," and "rejoice before the Lord:" a verification being furnished by the description of the chosen in heaven, who stand before the throne with "palms in their hands." The explanation, when we get the clue, is simple. Travellers narratives illustrate the fact that laying down weapons on approaching strangers is taken to imply pacific intentions. Obviously the reason is that opposite intentions are thus negatived. Of the Kaffirs, for instance, Barrow says—"a messenger of peace is known by this people from his laying down his hassagai or spear on the ground at the distance of two hundred paces from those to whom he is sent, and by advancing from thence with extended arms:" the extension of the arms evidently having the purpose of showing that he has no weapon secreted. But how is the absence of weapons to be shown when so far off that weapons, if carried, are invisible? Simply by carrying other things which are visible; and boughs covered with leaves are the most convenient and generally available things for this purpose. Good evidence is at hand. The Tasmanians had a way of deceiving those who inferred from the green boughs [p.24] in their hands that they were weaponless. They practised the art of holding their spears between their toes as they walked: "the black ... approaching him in pretended amity, trailed between his toes the fatal spear." Arbitrary, then, as this usage seems when observed in its later forms only, we find it by no means arbitrary when traced back to its origin. Taken as proof that the advancing stranger is without arms, the green bough is primarily a sign that he is not an enemy. It is thereafter joined with other marks of friendship. It survives when propitiation passes into submission. And so it becomes incorporated with various other actions which express reverence and worship.
One more instance I must add, because it clearly shows how there grow up interpretations of ceremonies as artificially-devised actions, when their natural origins are unknown. At Arab marriages, Baker says, "there is much feasting, and the unfortunate bridegroom undergoes the ordeal of whipping by the relations of his bride, in order to test his courage. ... If the happy husband wishes to be considered a man worth having, he must receive the chastisement with an expression of enjoyment; in which case the crowds of women in admiration again raise their thrilling cry." Here, instead of the primitive abduction violently resisted by the woman and her relatives—instead of the actual capture required to be achieved, as among the Kamtschadalcs, spite of the blows and wounds inflicted by "all the women in the village"—instead of those modifications of the form of capture in which, along with mock pursuit, there goes receipt by the abductor of more or less violence from the pursuers; we have a modification in which pursuit has disappeared, and the violence is passively received. And then there arises the belief that this castigation of the bridegroom is a deliberately-chosen way to "test his courage."
These facts are not given as adequately proving that in all cases ceremonies are modifications of actions which had [p.25] at first direct adaptations to desired ends, and that their apparently symbolic characters result from their survival under changed circumstances. Here I have aimed only to indicate, in the briefest way, the reasons for rejecting the current hypothesis that ceremonies originate in conscious symbolization; and for entertaining the belief that in every case they originate by evolution. This belief we shall hereafter find abundantly justified.
§ 347. A chief reason why little attention has been paid to phenomena of this class, all-pervading and conspicuous though they are, is that while to most social functions there correspond structures too large to be overlooked, functions which make up ceremonial control have correlative structures so small as to seem of no significance. That the government of observances has its organization, just as the political and ecclesiastical governments have, is a fact habitually passed over, because, while the last two organizations have developed the first has dwindled: in those societies, at least, which have reached the stage at which social phenomena become subjects of speculation. Originally, however, the officials who direct the rites expressing political subordination have an importance second only to that of the officials who direct religious rites; and the two officialisms are homologous. To whichever class belonging, these functionaries conduct propitiatory acts : the visible ruler being the propitiated person in the one case, and the ruler no longer visible being the propitiated person in the other case. Both are performers and regulators of worship—worship of the living king and worship of the dead king. In our advanced stage the differentiation of the divine from the human has become so great that this proposition looks scarcely credible. But on going back through stages in which the attributes of the conceived deity are less and less unlike those of the visible man, and eventually reaching the early stage in which the other-self of the dead man, con- [p.26] sidered indiscriminately as ghost and god, is not to be distinguished, when he appears, from the living man; we cannot fail to see the alliance in nature between the functions of those who minister to the ruler who has gone away and those who minister to the ruler who has taken his place. What remaining strangeness there may seem in this assertion of homology disappears on remembering that in sundry ancient societies living kings were literally worshipped as dead kings were.
Social organisms that are but little differentiated clearly show us several aspects of this kinship. The savage chief proclaims his own great deeds and the achievements of his ancestors; and that in some cases this habit of self-praise long persists, Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions prove. Among the Patagonians we see a transition beginning. A ruler haranguing his subjects, "always extols his own prowess and personal merit. When he is eloquent, he is greatly esteemed; and when a cacique is not endowed with that accomplishment, he generally has an orator, who supplies his place." Permanent advance from the stage at which, the head man lauds himself, to the stage at which, laudation of him is done by deputy, is well typified in the contrast between the recent usage in Madagascar, where the king in public assembly was in the habit of relating "his origin, his descent from the line of former sovereigns, and his incontestable right to the kingdom," and the usage that existed in past times among ourselves, when the like distinctions and claims of the king were publicly asserted for him by an appointed officer. As the ruler, extending his dominions and growing in power, gathers round him more numerous agents, the utterance of propitiatory praises, at first by all of these, becomes eventually distinctive of certain among them: there arise official glorifiers. "In Samoa, a chief in travelling is attended by his principal orator." In Fiji each tribe has its "orator, to make orations on occasions of ceremony." The at- [p.27] tendants of the chiefs in Ashantee eagerly vociferate the "strong names" of their masters; and a recent writer describes certain of the king's attendants whose duty it is to "give him names"—cry out his titles and high qualities. In kindred fashion a Yoruba king, when he goes abroad, is accompanied by his wives, who sing his praises. Now when we meet with facts of this kind—when we read that in Madagascar "the sovereign has a large band of female singers, who attend in the courtyard, and who accompany their monarch whenever he takes an excursion, either for a short airing or distant journey;" when we are told that in China "his imperial majesty was preceded by persons loudly proclaiming his virtues and his power;" when we learn that among the ancient Chibchas the bogota was received with "songs in which they sung his deeds and victories;" we cannot deny that these assertors of greatness and singers of praises do for the living king exactly that which priests and priestesses do for the dead king, and for the god who evolves from the dead king. In societies that have their ceremonial governments largely developed, the homology is further shown. As such societies ordinarily have many gods of various powers, severally served by their official glorifiers; so they have various grades of living potentates, severally served by men who assert their greatness and demand respect. In Samoa, "a herald runs a few paces before, calling out, as he meets any one, the name of the chief who is coming." With a Madagascar chief in his palanquin, "one or two men with assagais, or spears, in their hands, ran along in front shouting out the name of the chief." In advance of an ambassador in Japan there "first walked four men with brooms such as always precede the retinue of a great lord, in order to admonish the people with cries of 'Stay, stay!' which means, 'Sit, or bow you down.'"3 In China a magistrate making a progress is [p.28] preceded hymen bearing "red boards having the rank of the officer painted on them, running and shouting to the street passengers, 'Retire, retire! keep silence, and clear the way!' Gong-strikers follow, denoting at certain intervals by so many strokes their master's grade and office." And in ancient Rome men of rank had their anteamhulone whose cry was "Give place to my lord." Another parallelism exists between the official who proclaims the king's will and the official who proclaims the will of the deity. In many places where regal power is extreme, the monarch is either invisible or cannot be directly communicated with: the living ruler thus simulating the dead and divine ruler, and requiring kindred intermediators. It was thus among the ancient Assyrians. Their monarch, could be spoken to only through the Vizier or the chief eunuch. It was thus in ancient Mexico. Of Montezuma II. it is said that "no commoner was to look him in the face, and if one did, he died for it;" and further, that he did not communicate with any one, "except by an interpreter." In Nicaragua the caciques "carried their exclusion so far as to receive messages from other chiefs only through officers delegated for that purpose." So of Peru, where some of the rulers "had the custom not to be seen by their subjects but on rare occasions," we read that at the first interview with the Spaniards, "Atahuallpa gave no answer, nor did he even raise his eyes to look at the captain (Hernando de Soto). But a chief replied to what the captain had said." With the Chibchas "the first of the court officers was the crier, as they said that he was the medium by which the will of the prince was explained." Throughout Africa at the present time it is the same. "In conversation with the King of Uganda, the words must always be transmitted through one or more of his officers." In Dahomey, "the sovereign's words are spoken to the men, who informs the interpreter, who passes it on to the visitor, and the answer must trickle back through the same [p.29] channels." And, concerning Abyssinia, where even the chiefs sit in their houses in darkness, so "that vulgar eyes may not gaze too plainly upon" them, we are told the king was not seen when sitting in council, but "sat in a darkened room," and "observed through a window what was going on in the chamber without;" and also that he had "an interpreter, who was the medium of communication between the king and his people on state occasions; his name meant the voice or word of the king." I may add that this parallelism between the secular and sacred agents of communication is in some cases recognized by peoples whose institutions display it. The New Zealand priests are regarded as the "ambassadors of the gods;" and the title "messengers of the gods" is borne by the officers of the temple of Tensio dai Sin, the chief deity of the Japanese.
There is a further evidence of this homology. Where, along with social development considerably advanced, ancestor-worship has remained dominant, and where gods and men are consequently but little differentiated, the two organizations are but little differentiated. In ancient Egypt "it was the priesthood, directing the ceremonial of court-life, who exacted .... that the king (belonging to their order) did not receive anyone who failed to follow their laws of purity." China furnishes a good instance. "The Chinese emperors are in the habit of deifying .... civil or military officers, whose life has been characterized by some memorable act, and the worship rendered to these constitute the official religion of the mandarins." Further, the emperor "confers various titles on officers who have left the world, and shown themselves worthy of the high trust reposed in them, creating them governors, presidents, overseers, &c, in Hades." And then we learn that one department of the Lipu, or Board of Rites, regulates the etiquette to be observed at court, the dresses, carriages and riding accoutrements, the followers and insignia; while another department superintends the rites to be observed in [p.30] worshipping deities and spirits of departed monarchs, sages, and worthies, &c.: statements showing that the same board regulates both, religious ceremonial and civil ceremonial. To which summarized account I may add this quotation:—"in Court, the master of ceremonies stands in a conspicuous place, and with a loud voice commands the courtiers to rise and kneel, stand or march that is, he directs the worshippers of the monarch as a chief priest directs the worshippers of the god. Equally marked were, until lately, the kindred relations in Japan." With, the sacredness of the Mikado, and with his god-like inaccessibility, travellers have familiarized us ; but the implied confusion between the divine and the human went to a much greater extent.
"The Japanese generally are imbued with the idea that their land is a real 'shin koku, a kami no kooni'—that is, the land of spiritual beings or kingdom of spirits. They are led to think that the emperor rules over all, and that, among other subordinate powers, he rules over the spirits of the country. He rules over men, and is to them the fountain of honour; and this is not confined to honours in this world, but is extended to the other, where they arc advanced from rank to rank by the orders of the emperor."
And then we read that under the Japanese cabinet, one of the eight
administrative boards, the Ji Bushio, "deals with the forms of society, manners,
etiquette, worship, ceremonies for the living and the dead."4
Western peoples, among whom during the Christian era differentiation of the divine from the human has become very decided, exhibit in a less marked manner the homology between the ceremonial organization and the ecclesiastical organization. Still it is, or rather was once, clearly traceable. In feudal days, beyond the lord high chamberlains, grand masters of ceremonies, ushers, and so forth, belong- [p.31] ing to royal courts, and the kindred officers found in the households of subordinate rulers and nobles (officers who conducted propitiatory observances), there were the heralds. These formed a class of ceremonial functionaries, in various ways resembling a priesthood. Just noting as significant the remark of Scott that "so intimate was the union betwixt chivalry and religion esteemed to be, that the several gradations of the former were seriously considered as parallel to those of the Church," I go on to point out that these officers pertaining to the institution of chivalry, formed a body which, where it was highly organized, as in France, had five ranks—chevaucheur, pursuivant d'armes, heraut d'armes, roi d'armes, and roi d'armes de France. Into these ranks successively, its members were initiated by a species of baptism—wine being substituted for water. They held periodic chapters in the church of St. Antoine. When bearing mandates and messages, they were similarly dressed with their masters, royal or noble, and were similarly honoured by those to whom they were sent: having thus a deputed dignity akin to the deputed sacredness of priests. By the chief king-at-arms and five others, local visitations were made for discipline, as ecclesiastical visitations were made. Heralds verified the titles of those who aspired to the distinctions of chivalry, as priests decided on the fitness of applicants for the sanctions of the Church and when going their circuits, they were to correct "things ill and dishonest," and to advise princes—duties allied to those of priests. Besides announcing the wills of earthly rulers as priests announced the wills of heavenly rulers, they were glorifiers of the first as priests were of the last: part of their duty to those they served being "to publish their praises in foreign lands." At the burials of kings and princes, where observances for honouring the living and observances for honouring the dead, came in contact, the kinship of a herald's function to the function of a priest was again shown; for besides putting in [p.32] the tomb the insignia of rank of the deceased potentate, and in that manner sacrificing to him, the herald had to write, or get written, a eulogy—had to initiate that worship of the dead out of which grow higher forms of worship. Similar, if less elaborate, was the system in England. Heralds wore crowns, had royal dresses, and used the plural "we." Anciently there were two heraldic provinces, with their respective chief heralds, like two dioceses. Further development produced a garter king-at-arms, with provincial kings-at-arms presiding over minor heraldic officers; and, in 1483, all were incorporated into the College of Heralds. As in France, visitations were made for the purpose of verifying existing titles and honours, and authorizing others; and funeral rites were so far under heraldic control that, among the nobility, no one could be buried without the assent of the herald.
Why these structures which discharged ceremonial functions once conspicuous and important, dwindled, while civil and ecclesiastical structures developed, it is easy to see. Propitiation of the living has been, from the outset, necessarily more localized than propitiation of the dead. The existing ruler can be worshipped only in his presence, or, at any rate, within his dwelling or in its neighbourhood. Though in Peru adoration was paid to images of the living Incas: and though in Madagascar King Radama, when absent, had his praises sung in the words—"God is gone to the west, Radama is a mighty bull;" yet, generally, the obeisances and laudations expressing subordination to the great man while alive, are not made when they cannot be witnessed by him or his immediate dependants. But when the great man dies and there begins the fear of his ghost, conceived as able to reappear anywhere, propitiations are less narrowly localized; and in proportion as, with formation of larger societies, there comes development of duties greater in supposed power and range, dread of them and reverence for them are felt simultaneously over wide [p.33] areas. Hence the official propitiators, multiplying and spreading, severally carry on their worships in many places at the same time—there arise large bodies of ecclesiastical officials. Not for these reasons alone, however, does the ceremonial organization fail to grow as the other organizations do. Development of the latter, causes decay of the former. During early stages of social integration, local rulers have their local courts with appropriate officers of ceremony; but the process of consolidation and increasing subordination to a central government, results in decreasing dignity of the local rulers, and disappearance of the official upholders of their dignity. Among ourselves in past times, "dukes, marquises, and earls were allowed a herald and a pursuivant; viscounts, and barons, and others not ennobled, even knights bannerets, might retain one of the latter;" but as the regal power grew, "the practice gradually ceased: there were none so late as Elizabeth's reign." Yet further, the structure carrying on ceremonial control slowly falls away, because its functions are gradually encroached upon. Political and ecclesiastical regulations, though at first insisting mainly on conduct expressing obedience to rulers, human and divine, develop more and more in the directions of equitable restraints on conduct between individuals, and ethical precepts for the guidance of such conduct; and in doing this they trench more and more on the sphere of the ceremonial organization. In France, besides having the semi-priestly functions we have noted, the heralds were "judges of the crimes committed by the nobility;" and they were empowered to degrade a transgressing noble, confiscate his goods, raze his dwellings, lay waste his lands, and strip him of his arms. In England, too, certain civil duties were discharged by these officers of ceremony. Till 1688, the provincial kings-at-arms had "visited their divisions, receiving commissions for that purpose from the Sovereign, by which means the funeral certificates, the descents, and alliances of the nobility [p.34] and gentry, had been properly registered in this college [of Heralds]. These became records in all the courts at law." Evidently the assumption of functions of these kinds by ecclesiastical and political agents, has joined in reducing the ceremonial structures to those rudiments which now remain in the almost-forgotten Herald's College and in the Court officials who regulate intercourse with the Sovereign.
§ 318. Before passing to a detailed account of ceremonial government under its various aspects, it will be well to sum up the results of this preliminary survey. They are these.
That control of conduct which we distinguish as ceremony, precedes the civil and ecclesiastical controls. It begins with sub-human types of creatures; it occurs among otherwise ungoverned savages; it often becomes highly developed where the other kinds of rule are little developed; it is ever being spontaneously generated afresh between individuals in all societies; and it envelops the more definite restraints which State and Church exercise. The primitiveness of ceremonial regulation is further shown by the fact that at first, political and religious regulations are little more than systems of ceremony, directed towards particular persons living and dead: the code of law joined with the one, and the moral code joined with the other, coming later. There is again the evidence derived from the possession of certain elements in common by the three controls, social, political, and religious; for the forms observable in social intercourse occur also in political and religious intercourse as forms of homage and forms of worship. More significant still is the circumstance that ceremonies may mostly be traced back to certain spontaneous acts which manifestly precede legislation, civil and ecclesiastical. Instead of arising by dictation or by agreement, which would imply the pre-established organization required for making and enforcing rules, they arise [p.35] by modifications of acts performed for personal ends; and so prove themselves to grow out of individual conduct before social arrangements exist to control it. Lastly we note that when there arises a political head, who, demanding subordination, is at first his own master of the ceremonies, and who presently collects round him attendants whose propitiatory acts are made definite and fixed by repetition, there arise ceremonial officials. Though, along with the growth of organizations which enforce civil laws and enunciate moral precepts, there has been such a decay of the ceremonial organization as to render it among ourselves inconspicuous; yet in early stages the body of officials who conduct propitiation of living rulers, supreme and subordinate, homologous with the body of officials who conduct propitiation of dead apotheosized rulers, major and minor, is a considerable element of the social structure; and it dwindles only as fast as the structures, political and ecclesiastical, which exercise controls more definite and detailed, usurp its functions.
Carrying with us these general conceptions, let us now pass to the several components of ceremonial rule. We will deal with them under the heads—Trophies, Mutilations, Presents, Visits, Obeisances, Forms of Address, Titles, Images and Costumes, Further Class Distinctions, Fashion, Past and Future of Ceremony.
§ 349. Efficiency of every kind is a source of
self-satisfaction; and proofs of it are prized as bringing applause. The
sportsman, narrating his feats when opportunity serves, keeps such spoils of the
chase as he conveniently can. Is he a fisherman? Then, occasionally, the notches
cut on the butt of his rod, show the number and lengths of his salmon; or, in a
glass case, there is preserved the great Thames-trout he once caught. Has he
stalked deer? Then in his hall, or dining-room, are fixed up their heads; which
he greatly esteems when the attached horns have many "points." Still more, if a
successful hunter of tigers, does he value the skins demonstrating his prowess.
Trophies of such kinds, even among ourselves, give to their owner some influence over those around him. A traveller who has brought from Africa a pair of elephant's tusks, or the formidable horn of a rhinoceros, impresses those who come in contact with him as a man of courage and resource, and, therefore, as one not to be trifled with. A vague kind of governing power accrues to him.
Naturally, by primitive men, whose lives are predatory and whose respective values largely depend on their powers as hunters, animal-trophies are still more prized; and tend, in greater degrees, to bring honour and influence. [p.37] Hence the fact that rank in Vate is indicated by the number of bones of all kinds suspended in the house. Of the Shoshone warrior we are told that, "killing a grizzly bear also entitles him to this honour, for it is considered a great feat to slay one of these formidable animals, and only he who has performed it is allowed to wear their highest insignia of glory, the feet or claws of the victim." "In the house of a powerful chief [of the Mishmis], several hundreds of skulls [of beasts], are hung up along the walls of the passage, and his wealth is always calculated according to the number of these trophies, which also form a kind of currency among the tribes." With the Santals "it is customary to hand these trophies [skulls of beasts, &c.] down from father to son." And when, with such facts to give us the clue, we read that the habitation of the king of the Koossas "is no otherwise distinguished than by the tail of a lion or a panther hanging from the top of the roof," we can scarcely doubt that this symbol of royalty was originally a trophy displayed by a chief whose prowess had gained him supremacy.
But as, among the uncivilized and semi-civilized, human enemies are more to be feared than beast-enemies, and conquests over men are therefore occasions of greater triumphs than conquests over animals, it results that proofs of such conquests are usually still more valued. A brave who returns from battle does not get honour if his boasts are unsupported by evidence; but if he proves that he has killed his man by bringing back some part of him—especially a part which the corpse could not yield in duplicate—he raises his character in the tribe and increases his power. Preservation of such trophies with a view to display, and consequent strengthening of personal influence, therefore becomes an established custom. In Ashantee "the smaller joints, bones, and teeth of the slain are worn by the victors about their [p.38] persons." Among the Ceris and Opatas of North Mexico, "many cook and eat the flesh of their captives, reserving the bones as trophies." And another Mexican race, "the Chichimecs, carried with them a bone on which, when they killed an enemy, they marked a notch, as a record of the number each had slain."
The meaning of trophy-taking and its social effects, being recognized, let us consider in groups the various tonus of it.
§ 350. Of parts cut from the bodies of the slain, heads are among the commonest; probably as being the most unmistakable proofs of victory.
We need not go far afield for examples of the practice and its motives. The most familiar of books contains them. In Judges vii. 25, we read—"And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb: and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the wine-press of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan." Similarly, the decapitation of Goliath by David was followed by carrying his head to Jerusalem. The practice existed in Egypt too. At Abou Simbel, Rameses II., is represented as holding a bunch of a dozen heads. And if, by races so superior, heads were taken home as trophies, we shall not wonder at finding the custom of thus taking them among inferior races all over the globe. By the Chichimecs in North America "the heads of the slain were placed on poles and paraded through their villages in token of victory, the inhabitants meanwhile dancing round them." In South America, In the Abipones, heads are brought back from battle "tied to their saddles;" and the Mundrucus "ornament their rude and miserable cabanas with these horrible trophies." Of Malayo-Polynesians having a like habit, may be named the New Zealanders. Skulls of enemies are preserved as [p.39] trophies by the natives on the Congo; and "the skull and thigh bones of the last monarch of Dinkira are still trophies of the court of Ashantee." Among the Hill-tribes of India, the Kukis have this practice. In Persia, under the stimulus of money payments, "prisoners [of war] have been put to death in cold blood, in order that the heads, which are immediately dispatched to the king, ... might make a more considerable show." And that among other Asiatic races head-taking persists spite of semi-civilization, we are reminded by the recent doings of the Turks; who have, in some cases, exhumed the bodies of slain foes and decapitated them.
The last instance draws attention to the fact that this barbarous custom has been, and is, carried to the greatest extremes along with militancy the most excessive. Among ancient examples there are the doings of Timour, with his exaction of ninety thousand heads from Bagdad. Of modern examples the most notable comes from Dahomey. "The sleeping apartment of a Dahoman king was paved with skulls of neighbouring princes and chiefs, placed there that the king might tread upon them." And the king's statement "that his house wanted thatch," was "used in giving orders to his generals to make war, and alludes to the custom of placing the heads of the enemies killed in battle, or those of the prisoners of distinction, on the roofs of the guard-houses at the gates of his palaces."
But now, ending instances, let us observe how this taking of heads as trophies initiates a means of strengthening political power; how it becomes a factor in sacrificial ceremonies; and how it enters into social intercourse as a controlling influence.
That the pyramids and towers of heads built by Timour at Bagdad and Aleppo, must have conduced to his supremacy by striking terror into the subjugated, as well as by exciting dread of vengeance for insubordination among his followers, cannot be doubted; and that [p.40] living in a dwelling paved and decorated with skulls, implies, in a Dahoman king, a character generating fear among enemies and obedience among subjects, is obvious. In Northern Celebes, where, before 1822, "human skulls were the great ornaments of the chiefs' houses," these proofs of victory in battle, used as symbols of authority, could not fail to exercise a governmental effect. And that they do this we have definite proof in the fact that among the Mundrucus, the possession of ten smoke-dried heads of enemies renders a man eligible to the rank of chief.
That heads are offered in propitiation of the dead, and that the ceremony of offering them is thus made part of a quasi-worship, there are clear proofs. One is supplied by the Celebes people just named. "When a chief died his tomb must be adorned with two fresh human heads, and if those of enemies could not be obtained, slaves were killed for the occasion." Among the Dyaks, who, though in many respects advanced, have retained this barbarous practice sanctified by tradition, it is the same: "the aged warrior could not rest in his grave till his relatives had taken a head in his name." By the Kukis of Northern India sacrificial head-taking is carried still further. Making raids into the plains to procure heads, they "have been known in one night to carry off fifty. These are used in certain ceremonies performed at the funerals of the chiefs, and it is always after the death of one of their Rajahs that these incursions occur."
That the possession of these grisly tokens of success gives an influence in social intercourse, proof is yielded by the following passage from St. John;—"Head-hunting is not so much a religious ceremony among the Pakatans, Borneo, as merely to show their bravery and manliness. When they quarrel, it is a constant phrase—'How many heads did your father or grandfather get?' If less than his own number—'Well then, you have no occasion to be proud."
§ 351. The head of an enemy is of inconvenient bulk; and when the journey home
is long there arises the question—cannot proof that an enemy has been killed be
given by carrying back a part only? In some places the savage infers that it
can, and acts on the inference.
This modification and its meaning are well shown in Ashantee, where "the general in command sends to the capital the jaw-bones of the slain enemies."' When first found, the Tahitians, too, displayed in triumph their dead foes' jaw-bones; and Cook saw fifteen of them fastened up at the end of a house. Similarly of Vate, where "the greater the chief, the greater the display of bones," we read that if a slain enemy was "one who spoke ill of the chief, his jaws are hung up in the chief's house as a trophy:" a tacit threat to others who vilified him. A recent account of another Papuan race inhabiting Boigu, on the coast of New Guinea, further illustrates the practice, and also its social effect. Mr. Stone writes:—"By nature these people are bloody and warlike among themselves, frequently making raids to the 'Big Land,' and returning in triumph with the heads and jawbones of their slaughtered victims, the latter becoming the property of the murderer, and the former of him who decapitates the body. The jawbone is consequently held as the most valued trophy, and the more a man possesses, the greater he becomes in the eyes of his fellow-men." Add that in South America some tribes of Tupis, in honouring a victorious warrior, "hung the mouth [of his victim] upon his arm like a bracelet. "
With the display of jaws as trophies, there may be named a kindred use of teeth. America furnishes instances. The Caribs "strung together the teeth of such of their enemies as they had slain in battle, and wore them on their legs and arms." The Tupis, after devouring a captive, preserved "the teeth strung in necklaces." The Moxos women wore "a necklace made of the teeth of enemies killed by their husbands in battle." The Central Americans made an [p.42] image, "and in its mouth were inserted teeth taken from the Spaniards whom they had killed."
Other parts of the head, easily detached and carried, also serve. Where many enemies are slain, the collected ears yield in small bulk a means of counting; and probably Zengis Khan had this end in view when, in Poland, he "filled nine sacks with the right ears of the slain." Noses, again, are in some cases chosen as easily enumerated trophies. Anciently, by Constantine V., "a plate of noses was accepted as a grateful offering;" and, at the present time, the noses they have taken are carried by soldiers to their leaders in Montenegro. That the slain Turks thus deprived of their noses, even to the extent of five hundred on one battle-field, were so treated in retaliation for the decapitations the Turks had been guilty of, is true; but this excuse does not alter the fact "that the Montenegrin chiefs could not be persuaded to give up the practice of paying their clansmen for the number of noses produced."
§ 352. The ancient Mexicans, having for gods their deified cannibal ancestors, in whose worship the most horrible rites were daily performed, in some cases took as trophies the entire skins of the vanquished. "The first prisoner made in a war was flayed alive. The soldier who had captured him dressed himself in his bleeding skin, and thus, for some days, served the god of battles. ..... He who was dressed in the skin walked from one temple to another; men and women followed him, shouting for joy." While we here see that the trophy was taken primarily as a proof of the victor's prowess, we are also shown how there resulted a religious ceremony: the trophy was displayed for the supposed gratification of deities delighting in bloodshed. There is further evidence that this was the intention. "At the festival of the goldsmiths' god Totec, one of the priests put on the skin of a captive, and being so dressed, he was the image of that god Totec." Nebel (pl. 3, fig. 1) gives [p.43] the basalt figure of a priest (or idol) clothed in a human skin; and additional evidence is yielded by a custom in the neighbouring state of Yucatan, where "the bodies were thrown down the steps, flayed, the priest put on the skins, and danced, and the body was buried in the yard of the temple."
Usually, however, the skin-trophy is relatively small: the requirement being simply that it shall be one of which the body yields no duplicate. The origin of it is well shown by the following description of a practice among the Abipones. They preserve the heads of enemies, and
"When apprehension of approaching hostilities obliges them to remove to places of greater security, they strip the heads of the skin, cutting it from ear to ear beneath the nose, and dexterously pulling it off along with the hair. ... That Abipon who has most of these skins at home, excels the rest in military renown."
Evidently, however, the whole skin is not needful to prove previous possession of a head. The part covering the crown, distinguished from other parts by the arrangement of its hairs, serves the purpose. Hence is suggested scalping. Tales of Indian life have so far familiarized us with this custom that examples are needless. But one piece of evidence, supplied by the Shoshones, may be named; because it clearly shows the use of the trophy as an accepted evidence of victory—a kind of legal proof regarded as alone conclusive. We read that
"Taking an enemy's scalp is an honour quite independent of the act of vanquishing him. To kill your adversary is of no importance unless the scalp is brought from the field of battle, and were a warrior to slay any number of his enemies in action, and others were to obtain the scalps, or first touch the dead, they would have all the honours, since they Lave borne off the trophy."
Though we usually think of scalp-taking in connexion with the North American Indians, yet it is not restricted to them. Herodotus describes the Scythians as scalping their conquered enemies; and at the present time the Nagas of the Indian hills take scalps and preserve them.
Preservation of hair alone, as a trophy, is less general; doubtless because the
evidence of victory which it yields is inconclusive: one head might supply hair
for two trophies. Still there are cases in which an enemy's hair is displayed in
proof of success in war. Speaking of a Naga, Grange says his shield "was covered
over with the hair of the foes he had killed." The tunic of a Mandan chief is
described as "fringed with locks of hair taken by his own hand from the heads of
his enemies." And we read of the Cochimis that "at certain festivals their
sorcerers .... wore long robes of skin, ornamented with human hair."
§ 353. Among easily-transported parts carried home to prove victory, may next be named hands and feet. By the Mexican tribes, Ceris and Opatas, "the slain are scalped, or a hand is cut off, and a dance performed round the trophies on the field of battle." So, too, of the Californian Indians, who also took scalps, we are told that "the yet more barbarous habit of cutting off the hands, feet, or head of a fallen enemy, as trophies of victory, prevailed more widely. They also plucked out and carefully preserved the eyes of the slain." Though this is not said, we may assume that either the right or the left foot or hand was the trophy; since, in the absence of any distinction, victory over two enemies instead of one might be alleged. In one case, indeed, I find the distinction noted. "The right hands of the slain were hung up by both parties [of hostile Khonds] on the trees of the villages." Hands were trophies among ancient peoples of the old world also. The inscription on a tomb at El Kab in Upper Egypt, tells how Aahmes, the son of Abuna, the chief of the steersmen, "when he had won a hand [in battle], he received the king's commendation, and the golden necklace in token of his bravery;" and a wall-painting in the temple of Medinet Abou at Thebes, shows the presentation of a heap of hands to the king.
This last instance introduces us to yet another kind of [p.45] trophy. Along with the heap of hands thus laid before the king, there is represented a phallic heap; and an accompanying inscription, narrating the victory of Meneptah I. over the Libyans, besides mentioning the "cut hands of all their auxiliaries," as being earned on donkeys following the returning army, mentions these other trophies as taken from men of the Libyan nation. And here a natural transition brings us to trophies of an allied kind, the taking of which, once common, has continued in the neighbourhood of Egypt down to modern times. The great significance of the account Bruce gives of a practice among the Abyssinians must be my excuse for quoting part of it. He says:—
"At the end of a day of battle, each chief is obliged to sit at the door of his tent, and each of his followers who has slain a man, presents himself in his turn, armed as in fight, with the bloody foreskin of the man he has slain. ... If he has killed more than one man, be many more times he returns. ... After this ceremony is over, each man takes his bloody conquest, and retires to prepare it in the same manner the Indians do their scalps. .... The whole army ... on a particular day of review, throws them before the king, and leaves them at the gate of the palace."
Here it is noteworthy that the trophy, first serving to demonstrate a victory
gained by the individual warrior, is subsequently made an offering to the ruler,
and further becomes a means of recording the number slain: facts verified by the
more recent French traveller d'Hericourt. That like purposes were similarly
served among the Hebrews, proof is yielded by the passage which narrates Saul's
endeavour to betray David when offering him Michal to wife:—"And Saul said, Thus
shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins
of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies;" and David "slew of the
Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and gave them in
full tale to the king."
§ 354. Associated with the direct motive for taking trophies there is an indirect motive, which probably aids [p.46] considerably in developing the custom. When treating of primitive ideas, we saw that the unanalytical mind of the savage thinks the qualities of any object reside in all its parts; and that, among others, the qualities of human beings are thus conceived by him. From this we found there arise such customs as swallowing parts of the bodies of dead relatives, or their ground bones in water, with the view of inheriting their virtues; devouring the heart of a slain brave to gain his courage, or his eyes in the expectation of seeing further; avoiding the flesh of certain timid animals, lest their timidity should be acquired. A further implication of this belief that the spirit of each person is diffused throughout him, is, that possession of a part of his body gives possession of a part of his spirit, and, consequently, a power over his spirit: one corollary being that anything done to a preserved part of a corpse is done to the corresponding pare of the ghost; and that thus a ghost may be coerced by maltreating a relic. Hence, as before pointed out (§ 133), the origin of sorcery; hence the rattle of dead men's bones so prevalent with primitive medicine-men; hence "the powder ground from the bones of the dead" used by the Peruvian necromancers; hence the portions of corpses which our own traditions of witchcraft name as used in composing charms.
Besides proving victory over an enemy, the trophy therefore serves for the subjugation of his ghost; and that possession of it is, at any rate in some cases, supposed, to make his ghost a slave, we have good evidence. The primitive belief everywhere found, that the doubles of men and animals slain at the grave, accompany the double of the deceased, to serve him in the other world—the belief which leads here to the immolation of wives, who are to manage the future household of the departed, there to the sacrifice of horses needed to carry him on his journey after death, and elsewhere to the killing of dogs as guides; is a belief which, in many places, initiates the kindred belief that, by [p.47] placing portions of bodies on his tomb, the men and animals they belonged to are made subject to the deceased. We are shown this by the bones of cattle, &c, with which graves are in many cases decorated; by the placing on graves the heads of enemies or slaves, as above indicated; and by a like use of the scalp. Concerning the Osages, Mr. Tylor cites the fact that they sometimes "plant on the cairn raised over a corpse a pole with an enemy's scalp hanging to the top. Their notion was that by taking an enemy and suspending his scalp over the grave of a deceased friend, the spirit of the victim became subjected to the spirit of the buried warrior in the land of spirits." The Ojibways have a like practice, of which a like idea is probably the cause.
§ 355. A collateral development of trophy-taking, which eventually has a share in governmental regulation, must not be forgotten. I refer to the display of parts of the bodies of criminals.
In our more advanced minds the enemy, the criminal, and the slave, are well discriminated; but they are little discriminated by the primitive man. Almost or quite, devoid as he is of the feelings and ideas we call moral—holding by force whatever he owns, wresting from a weaker man the woman or other object he has possession of, killing his own child without hesitation if it is an incumbrance, or his wife if she offends him, and sometimes proud of being a recognized killer of his fellow-tribesmen; the savage has no distinct ideas of right and wrong in the abstract. The immediate pleasures or pains they give are his sole reasons for classing things and acts as good or bad. Hence hostility, and the injuries he suffers from it, excite in him the same feeling whether the aggressor is without the tribe or within it: the enemy and the felon are undistinguished. This confusion, now seeming strange to us, we shall understand better on remembering that even in early stages of civilized nations, the family- [p.48] groups which formed the units of the national group, were in large measure independent communities, standing to one another on terms much like those on which the nation stood to other nations. They had their small blood-feuds as the nation had its great blood-feuds. Each family-group was responsible to other family-groups for the acts of its members, as each nation to other nations for the acts of its citizens. Vengeance was taken on innocent members of a sinning family, as vengeance was taken on innocent citizens of a sinning nation. And thus in various ways the inter-family aggressor (answering to the modern criminal), stood in a like relative position with the international aggressor. Hence the naturalness of the fact that he was similarly treated. Already we have seen how, in mediaeval days, the heads of destroyed family-enemies (murderers of its members or stealers of its property) were exhibited as trophies. And since Strabo, writing of the Gauls and other northern peoples, says that the heads of foes slain in battle were brought back and sometimes nailed to the chief door of the house, while, up to the time of the Salic law, the heads of slain private foes were fixed on stakes in front of it; we have evidence that identification of the public and the private foe was associated with the practice of taking trophies from them both. A kindred alliance is traceable in the usages of the Jews. Along with the slain Nicanor's head, Judas orders that his hand be cut off; and he brings both with him to Jerusalem as trophies: the hand being that which he bad stretched out in blasphemous boasts. And this treatment of the transgressor who is an alien, is paralleled in the treatment of non-alien transgressors by David, who, besides hanging up the corpses of the men who had slain Ishbosheth, "cut off their hands and their feet."
It may, then, be reasonably inferred that display of executed felons on gibbets, or their heads on spikes, originates from the bringing back of trophies taken from [p.49] plain enemies. Though usually a part only of the slain enemy is fixed up, yet sometimes the whole body is; as when the dead Saul, minus his head, was fastened by the Philistines to the wall of Bethshan. And that fixing up a felon's body is more frequent, probably arises from the fact that it has not to be brought from a great distance, as would usually have to be the body of an enemy.
§ 356. Though no direct connexion exists between trophy-taking and ceremonial government, the foregoing facts reveal such indirect connexions as make it needful to note the custom. It enters as a factor into the three forms of control—social, political, and religious.
If, in primitive states, men are honoured according to their prowess—if their prowess is estimated here by the number of heads they can show, there by the number of jaw-bones, and elsewhere by the number of scalps,—if such trophies are treasured up for generations, and the pride of families is proportioned to the number of them taken by ancestors—if of the Gauls in the time of Posidonius, we read that "the heads of their enemies that were the chiefest persons of quality, they carefully deposit in chests, embalming them with the oil of cedars, showing them to strangers, glory and boast" that they or their forefathers had refused great sums of money for them then, obviously, a kind of class distinction is initiated by trophies. On reading that in some places a man's rank varies with the quantity of bones in or upon his dwelling, we cannot deny that the display of these proofs of personal superiority, originates a regulative influence in social intercourse.
As political control evolves, trophy-taking becomes in several ways instrumental to the maintenance of authority. Beyond the awe felt for the chief whose many trophies show his powers of destruction, there comes the greater awe which, on growing into a king with subordinate chiefs and dependent tribes, he excites by accumulating the trophies [p.50] others take on his behalf; rising into dread when he exhibits in numbers the relics of slain rulers. As the practice assumes this developed form, the receipt of such, vicariously-taken trophies passes into a political ceremony. The heap of hands laid before an ancient Egyptian king, served to propitiate; as now serves the mass of jawbones sent by an Ashantee captain to the court. When we read of Timour's soldiers that "their cruelty was enforced by the peremptory command of producing an adequate number of heads," we are conclusively shown that the presentation of trophies hardens into a form expressing obedience. Nor is it thus only that a political effect results. There is the governmental restraint produced by fixing up the bodies or heads of the insubordinate and the felonious.
Though offering part of a slain enemy to propitiate a ghost, does not enter into what is commonly called religious ceremonial, yet it obviously so enters when the aim is to propitiate a god developed from an ancestral ghost. We are shown the transition by such a fact as that in a battle between two tribes of Khonds, the first man who "slew his opponent, struck off his right arm and rushed with it to the priest in the rear, who bore it off as an offering to Laha Pcnnoo in his grave:" Laha Pennoo being their "God of Arms." Joining with this such other facts as that before the Tahitian god Oro, human immolations were frequent, and the preserved relics were built into walls "formed entirely of human skulls," which were "principally, if not entirely the skulls of those slain in battle;" we are shown that gods are worshipped by bringing to them, and accumulating round their shrines, these portions of enemies killed—killed, very often, in fulfilment of their supposed commands. This inference is verified on seeing similarly used other kinds of spoils. The Philistines, besides otherwise displaying relies of the dead Saul, put "his armour in the house of Ashtaroth." By the Greeks the trophy formed of arms, shields, and helmets taken from the defeated, was [p.51] consecrated to some divinity; and the Romans deposited the spoils of battle in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. Similarly among the Fijians, who are solicitous in every way to propitiate their blood-thirsty deities, "when flags are taken they are always hung up as trophies in the mbure," or temple. That hundreds of gilt spurs of French knights vanquished by the Flemish in the battle of Courtrai, were deposited in the church of that place, and that in France flags taken from enemies were suspended from the vaults of cathedrals (a practice not unknown in Protestant England), are facts which might be joined with these, did not joining them imply the impossible supposition that Christians think to please "the God of love" by acts like those used to please the diabolical gods of cannibals.
Because of inferences to be hereafter drawn, one remaining general truth must be named, though it is so obvious as to seem scarcely worth mention. Trophy-taking is directly related to militancy. It begins during a primitive life that is wholly occupied in fighting men and animals; it develops with the growth of conquering societies in which perpetual wars generate the militant type of structure; it diminishes as growing industrialism more and more substitutes productive activities for destructive activities; and complete industrialism necessitates entire cessation of it.
The chief significance of trophy-taking, however, has yet to be pointed out. The reason for here dealing with it, though in itself scarcely to be classed as a ceremony, is that it furnishes us with the key to numerous ceremonies prevailing all over the world among the uncivilized and semi-civilized. From the practice of cutting off and taking away portions of the dead body, there grows up the practice of cutting off portions of the living body.
§ 357. Facility of exposition will be gained by approaching
indirectly the facts and conclusions here to be set forth.
The ancient ceremony of infeftment in Scotland was completed thus:—"He [superior's attorney] would stoop down, and, lifting a stone and a handful of earth, hand these over to the new vassal's attorney, thereby conferring upon him 'real, actual, and corporal' possession of the fief." Among a distant slightly-civilized people, a parallel usage occurs. On selling his cultivated plot, a Khond, having invoked the village deity to bear witness to the sale, "then delivers a handful of soil to the purchaser." From cases where the transfer of lands for a consideration is thus expressed, we may pass to cases where lands are by a similar form surrendered to show political submission. When the Athenians applied for help against the Spartans, after the attack of Kleomenes, a confession of subordination was demanded in return for the protection asked; and the confession was made by sending earth and water. A like not has a like meaning in Fiji. "The soro with a basket of earth .... is generally connected with war, and is presented by the weaker party, indicating the yielding up of their land to the conquerors." And so is it in India. When [p.53] some ten years ago, Tu-wen-hsin sent his "Panthay" mission to England, "they carried with them pieces of rock hewn from the four corners of the [Tali] mountain, as the most formal expression of his desire to become feudatory to the British Crown."
This giving a part instead of giving the whole, where the whole cannot be mechanically handed over, will perhaps be instanced as a symbolic ceremony; though, even in the absence of any further interpretation, we may say that it approaches as nearly to actual transfer as the nature of the case permits. We are not, however, obliged to regard this ceremony as artificially devised. We may affiliate it upon a simpler ceremony which at once elucidates it, and is elucidated by it. I refer to surrendering a part of the body as implying surrender of the whole. In Fiji, tributaries approaching their masters were told by a messenger "that they must all cut off their tobe (locks of hair that are left like tails)... They all docked their tails." Still, it may be replied that this act, too, is a symbolic act—an act artificially devised rather than naturally derived. If we carry our inquiry a step back, however, we shall find a clue to its natural derivation.
First, let us remember the honour which accrues from accumulated trophies; so that, among the Shoshones for instance, "he who takes the most scalps gains the most glory." Let us join with this Bancroft's statement respecting the treatment of prisoners by the Chichimecs, that "often were they scalped while yet alive, and the bloody trophy placed upon the heads of their tormentors." And then let us ask what happens if the scalped enemy survives. The captor preserves the scalp as an addition to his other trophies; the vanquished enemy becomes his save; and he is shown to be a slave by the loss of his scalp. Here, then, are the beginnings of a custom that may become established when social conditions make it advantageous to keep conquered foes as servants instead [p.54] of eating them. The conservative savage changes as little as possible. While the new practice of enslaving the captured arises, the old practice of cutting from their bodies such parts as serve for trophies continues; and the marks left become marks of subjugation. Gradually as the receipt of such marks comes to imply bondage, not only will those taken in war be marked, but also those born to them; until at length the bearing of the mark shows subordination in general.
That submission to mutilation may eventually grow into the sealing of an agreement to be bondsmen, is shown us by Hebrew history. "Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes." They agreed to become subjects, and the mutilation (not in this case consented to, however) was to mark their subjection. And while mutilations thus serve, like the brands a farmer puts on his sheep, to show first private ownership and afterwards political ownership, they also serve as perpetual reminders of the ruler's power: so keeping alive the dread that brings obedience. This fact we see in the statement that when the second Basil deprived fifteen thousand Bulgarian captives of sight, "the nation was awed by this terrible example."
Just adding that the bearing of a mutilation, thus becoming the mark of a subject race, survives as a token of submission when the trophy-taking which originated it has disappeared; let us now note the different kinds of mutilations, and the ways in which they severally enter into the three forms of control—political, religious, and social.
§ 358. When the Araucanians on going to war send messengers summoning confederate tribes, these messengers [p.55] carry certain arrows as their credentials; and, "if hostilities are actually commenced, the finger, or (as Alcedo will have it) the hand of a slain enemy, is joined to the arrows"—another instance, added to those already given, in which hands, or parts of them, are brought home to show victory.
We have proof that in some cases living vanquished men, made handless by this kind of trophy-taking, are brought back from battle. King Osymandyas reduced the revolted Bactrians; and as shown "on the second wall" of the monument to him "the prisoners are brought forward: they are without their hands and members." But though a conquered enemy may have one of his hands taken as a trophy without much endangering his life, loss of a hand so greatly diminishes his value as a slave, that some other trophy is naturally preferred.
The like cannot, however, be said of a finger. That fingers are sometimes carried home as trophies we have just seen; and that conquered enemies, mutilated by loss of fingers, are sometimes allowed to live as slaves, the Bible is proof. In Judges i. 6, 7, we read:—"Adoni-bezek [the Canaanite] fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me." Hence, then, the fact that fingers are, in various places, cut off and offered in propitiation of living rulers, in propitiation of dead rulers, and in propitiation of dead relatives. The sanguinary Fijians, extreme in their loyalty to cannibal lots, yield sundry illustrations. Describing the sequence of an alleged insult, Williams says:—"A messenger was ... sent to the chief of the offender to demand an explanation, which was forthwith given, together with the fingers of four persons, to appease the angry chieftain." On the occasion of a chief's death, "orders issued that one hundred fingers should be cut off; bar only sixty were [p.56] amputated, one woman losing her life in consequence." Once more, a child's hand "was covered with blood, which flowed from the stump where, shortly before, his little finger had been cut off, as a token of affection for his deceased father." This propitiation of the dead by offering fingers, or parts of them, occurs elsewhere. When, among the Charruas, the head of the family died, "the daughters, widow, and married sisters were obliged to have, each one joint from the finger cut off; and this was repeated for every relation of the like character who died: the primary amputation being from the little finger." By the Mandans, the usual mode of expressing grief on the death of a relation "was to lose two joints of the little fingers, or sometimes the other fingers." A like custom was found among the Dacotahs and various other American tribes. Sacrificed in this way to the ghost of the dead relative, or the dead chief, to express that subjection which would have pacified him while alive, the amputated finger becomes, in other cases, a sacrifice to the expanded ghost or god. During his initiation the Mandan warrior, "holding up the little finger of his left hand to the Great Spirit, he expresses to Him, in a speech of a few words, his willingness to give it as a sacrifice; when he lays it on the dried buffalo skull, where the other chops it off near the hand with a blow of the hatchet." And the natives of Tonga cut off a portion of the little finger as a sacrifice to the gods, for the recovery of a superior sick relative.
Originally expressing submission to powerful beings alive and dead, this mutilation in some cases becomes, apparently, a mark of domestic subordination. The Australians have a custom of cutting off the last joint of the little finger of females; and a Hottentot "widow, who marries a second time, must have the top joint of a finger cut off, and loses another joint for the third, and so on for each time that she enters into wedlock."
As showing the way in which these propitiatory mutilations [p.57] of the hands are made so as to interfere least with usefulness, it may be noted that habitually they begin with the last joint of the little finger, and affect the more important parts of the hand only if they recur. And where, by amputating the hand, there is repeated in full the original mutilation of slain enemies, it is where the usefulness of the subject person is not a consideration, but where the treatment of the external enemy is extended to the internal enemy—the criminal. The Hebrews made the loss of a hand a punishment for one kind of offence, as shown in Deuteronomy, xxv. 11, 12. In ancient Egypt, forgers and other falsifiers lost both hands. Of a Japanese political transgressor it is said—"His hands were ordered to be struck off, which in Japan is the very extremity of dishonour." In mediaeval Europe hands were cut off for various offences.
§ 359. Recent accounts from the East prove that some of the vanquished deprived of their noses by their conquerors, survive; and those who do so, remain identifiable thereafter as conquered men. Consequently, lack of a nose may become the mark of a slave; and in some cases it does this. Certain of the ancient Central Americans challenged neighbouring peoples when "they wanted slaves; if the other party did not accept of the challenge, they ravaged their country and cut off the noses of the slaves." And, describing a war carried on during his captivity in Ashantee, Ramseyer says the Ashantees spared one prisoner, "whose head was shaved, nose and ears cut off, and himself made to carry the king's drum."
Along with loss of nose occurs, in the last case, loss of ears. This is similarly interpretable as having originated from trophy-taking, and having in some cases survived, if not as a mark of ordinary slavery, still, as a mark of that other slavery which is a punishment for crime. In ancient Mexico "he who told a lie to the particular prejudice of another had a cart of his lip cut off, and sometimes his [p.58] ears." Among the Honduras people a thief had his goods confiscated, "and, if the theft was very great, they cut off his ears and hands." A law of an adjacent people, the Miztecs, directed the "cutting off of an adulterer's ears, nose, or lips;" and by some of the Zapotecas, "women convicted of adultery had their ears and noses cut off."
But though absence of ears seems more generally to have marked a criminal than a vanquished enemy who had survived the taking of his ears as trophies, we may suspect that originally it was a trait of an enslaved captive; and that by mitigation, it gave rise to the method of marking a slave that was used by the Hebrews, and still continues in the East with a modified meaning. In Exodus xxi. 5, 6, we read that if, after his six years' service, a purchased slave does not wish to be free, his master shall "bring him to the door, or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever." Commenting on this ceremony Knobel says:—"In the modern East, the symbol of piercing the ears is mentioned as the mark of those who are dedicated. ... It expresses the belonging to somebody." And since where there grows up unqualified despotism, private slavery is joined with public slavery, and the accepted theory is that all subjects are the property of the ruler, we may suspect that there hence results in some cases the universality of this mutilation." All the Burmese without exception have the custom of boring their ears. The day when the operation is performed is kept as a festival; for this custom holds, in their estimation, something of the rank that baptism has in ours." As indirect evidence, I may add the curious fact that the Gond holds "his ears in his hands in token of submission."
A related usage must be noted: the insertion of a ring in the nose. Commenting on this as exemplified by some women of Astrachan, Bell says— "I was told that it was the consequence of a religious dedication of these persons to the service of God." Now read the following passage [p.59] from Isaiah about Sennacherib:—"This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him. ... I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips." And then add the fact that in Assyrian sculptures are represented prisoners being led by cords attached to rings through their noses. Do we not see a kindred filiation—conquest, incidental marking of the captive, survival of the mark as distinguishing subject persons?
§ 360. Jaws can be taken only from those whose lives are taken. There are the teeth, however: some of these may be extracted as trophies without seriously decreasing the usefulness of the prisoner. Hence another form of mutilation.
We have seen that teeth of slain foes are worn in Ashantee and in South America. Now if teeth are taken as trophies from captives who are preserved as slaves, loss of them must become a mark of subjection. Of facts directly showing that a propitiatory ceremony hence arises I can name but one. Among mutilations undergone when a king or chief dies in the Sandwich Islands, Ellis names knocking out one of the front teeth: an alternative being cutting the ears. When we further read in Cook that the Sandwich Islanders knock out from one to four of the front teeth, showing that the whole population becomes marked by these repeated mutilations suffered to propitiate the ghosts of dead rulers—when we infer that in propitiation of a much-dreaded ruler deified after death, not only those who knew him may submit to this loss, but also their children subsequently born; we see how the practice, becoming established, may survive as a sacred custom when its meaning is lost. For concluding that the practice has this sacramental nature, there are the farther reasons derived from the fixing of the age for the operation, and from the character of the operator. In New South Wales it is the Koradger men, or priests, who perform the ceremony; and [p.60] if a semi-domesticated Australian, Haygarth writes that he said one day, "with a look of importance, that he must go away for a few days, as he had grown up to man's estate, and 'it was high time that he should have his teeth knocked out."' Various African races, as the Batoka, the Dor, similarly lose two or more of their front teeth; and habitually the loss of them is an obligatory rite. But the best evidence is furnished by the ancient Peruvians. A tradition among certain of them was that the conqueror Huayua Ccapac, finding them disobedient, "made a law that they and their descendants should have three of their front teeth pulled out in each jaw." Another tradition, naturally derivable from the last, was that this extraction of teeth by fathers from their children was "a service very acceptable to their gods." And then, as happens with other mutilations of which the meaning has dropped out of memory, the improvement of the appearance was in some parts the assigned motive.
§ 361. As the transition from eating conquered enemies to making slaves of them, mitigates trophy-taking so as to avoid causing death; and as the tendency is to modify the injury inflicted so that it shall in the least degree diminish the slave's usefulness; and as, with the rise of a class born in slavery, the mark which the slave bears, no longer showing that he was taken in war, does not imply a victory achieved by his owner; there eventually remains no reason for a mark which involves serious mutilation. Hence it is inferable that mutilations of the least injurious kinds will become the commonest. Such, at any rate, seems a reasonable explanation of the fact that cutting off of hair is the most prevalent mutilation.
Already we have seen the probable origin of the custom in Fiji, where tributaries had to sacrifice their locks on approaching their great chiefs ; and there is evidence that a kindred sacrifice was demanded of old in Britain. In the [p.61] Arthurian legends, which, unhistoric as they may be, yield good evidence respecting the manners of the times from which they descend, we read, "Then went Arthur to Caerleon; and thither came messengers from King Ryons, who said, 'Eleven kings have done me homage, and with their beards I have trimmed a mantle. Send me now thy beard, for there lacks yet one to the finishing of my mantle.'"
Reasons exist for the belief that taking an enslaved captive's hair, began with the smallest practicable divergence from taking the dead enemy's scalp; for the part of the hair in some cases given in propitiation, and in other cases worn subject to a master's ownership, answers in position to the scalp-lock. The tobe yielded up by the tributary Fijians was a kind of pigtail: the implication being that this could be demanded by, and therefore belonged to, the superior. Moreover, among the Kalmucks,
"When one pulls another by the pigtail, or actually tears it out, this is regarded as a punishable offence, because the pigtail is thought to belong to the chief, or to be a sign of subjection to him. If it is the short hair on the top of the head that has been subjected to such treatment, it does not constitute a punishable offence, because this is considered the man's own hair and not that of the chief."
And then I may add the statement of Williams, that the Tartar conquerors of
China ordered the Chinese "to adopt the national Tartar mode of shaving the
front of the head, and braiding the hair in a long queue, as a sign of
submission." Another fact presently to be given joins with these in suggesting
that a vanquished man, not killed but kept as a slave, wore his scalp-lock on
Be this as it may, however, the widely-prevalent custom of taking the hair of the conquered, either with or without part of the skin, has nearly everywhere resulted in the association between short hair and slavery. This association existed among both Greeks and Romans: "the slaves had their hair cut short as a mark of servitude." We find it the same throughout America. "Socially the slave is despised, his hair is cut short," says Bancroft of the [p.62] Nootkas; and "the privilege of wearing long hair was rigorously denied" to Carib slaves and captives. The slavery that punished criminality was similarly marked. In Nicaragua, "a thief had his hair cut off and became a slave to the person that had been robbed till he was satisfied." Naturally, infliction of the slave-badge grew into a punishment. By the Central Americans a suspected adulterer "was stripped and his hair was cut." One ancient Mexican penalty "was to have the hair cut at some public place." And during mediaeval times in Europe cutting of hair was a punishment. Of course, by contrast, long hair became a distinction. If among the Chibchas "the greatest affront that could be put on a man or a woman was to have their hair cropped," the assimilation to slaves in appearance was the reason: the honourableness of long hair being an implication. "The Itzaex Indians," says Fancourt, "wore their hair as long as it would grow; indeed, it is a most difficult thing to bring the Indians to cut their hair." Long hair shows rank among the Tongans: none are permitted to wear it but the principal people. Similarly with the New Caledonians and various others of the uncivilized; and similarly with semi-civilized Orientals: "the Ottoman princes have their beard shaved off to show that they are dependent on the favour of the reigning emperor." By the Greeks, "in manhood, ... hair was worn longer," and "a certain political significancy was attached to the hair." In Northern Europe, too, "among the Franks ..... the serfs wore the hair less long and less carefully dressed than freemen," and the freemen less long than the nobles. "The hair of the Frank kings is sacred. ... It is for them a mark and honourable prerogative of the royal race." Clothair and Childebert, wishing to divide their brother's kingdom, consulted respecting their nephews, "whether to cut off their hair so as to reduce them to the rank of subjects, or to kill them." I may add the extreme case of the Japanese Mikado. [p.63] "Neither his hair, beard, nor nails are ever [avowedly] cut, so that his sacred person may not be mutilated:" such cutting as occurs being done while he is supposed to sleep.
A parallel marking of divine rank may be noted in passing. Length of hair being significant of terrestrial dignity becomes significant, too, of celestial dignity. The gods of various peoples, and especially the great gods, are distinguished by their flowing beards and long locks.
Domestic subordination also, in many cases goes along with short hair. Under low social conditions, females commonly bear this badge of slavery. In Samoa the women wear the hair short while the men wear it long; and among other Malayo-Polynesians, as the Tahitians and New Zealanders, the like contrast occurs. Similarly with the Negrito races. "In New Caledonia the chiefs and influential men wear their hair long. ... The women all crop theirs close to the very ears." Cropped heads in like manner distinguish the women of Tanna, of Lifu, of Vate, and those of Tasmania. A kindred mode of signifying filial subjection has existed. Sacrifice of hair once formed part of the ceremony of adoption in Europe." Charles Martel sent Pepin, his son, to Luithprand, king of the Lombards, that he might cut his first locks, and by this ceremony hold for the future the place of his father and Clovis, to make peace with Alaric, proposed to become his adopted son, by offering his beard to be cut by him.
This mutilation simultaneously came to imply subjection to dead persons. How yielding up hair to the dead is originally akin to yielding up a trophy, is well shown by the Dacotahs. "The men shave the hair off their heads, except a small tuft on the top [the scalp-lock], which they suffer to grow and wear in plaits over the shoulders: the loss of it is the usual sacrifice at the death of near relations." That is, they go as near as may be to surrendering their scalps to the dead. The meaning is again seen in the account given of the Caribs. "As their hair thus constituted their [p.64] chief pride, it was an unequivocal proof of the sincerity of their sorrow, when, on the death of a relation or friend, they cut it short like their slaves and captives." Everywhere the uncivilized have kindred forms. Nor was it otherwise with the ancient historic races. By the Hebrews making "baldness upon their heads" was practised as a funeral rite, as was also shaving off "the corner of their beard." Among Greeks and Romans, "the hair was cut close in mourning." In Greece the meaning of this mutilation was recognized. Potter remarks—"we find Electra in Euripides finding fault with Helena for sparing her locks, and thereby defrauding the dead," and he cites the statement that this sacrifice of hair (sometimes laid upon the grave) was "partly to render the ghost of the deceased person propitious." A significant addition must be made. "For a recent death, the mourner's head was shaved; for an offering to the long dead, a single lock was cut off."
Naturally if, from propitiation of the dead, some of whom become deities, there grows up religious propitiation, the offering of hair may be expected to re-appear as a religious ceremony; and we find that it does so. Already, in the just-named fact that besides the hair sacrificed at a Greek funeral, smaller sacrifices of hair were made afterwards, we see the rise of that recurring propitiation characterizing worship of a deity. And when we further read that among the Greeks "on the death of any very popular personage, as a general, it sometimes happened that all the army cut off their hair," we are shown a step towards that propitiation by unrelated members of the community at large, which, when it becomes established, is a trait of religious worship. Hence certain Greek ceremonies. The cutting off of the hair, which was always done when a boy became an έφηβος, was a solemn act, attended with religious ceremonies ... and the hair after being cut off was dedicated to some deity, usually a river-god." So, too, at the first shaving among the Romans: "the hair cut off on [p.65] such occasions was consecrated to some god." Sacrifice of hair was an act of worship with the Hebrews also. We are told of "fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord," and Krehl gives sundry kindred facts concerning the Arabians. Curious modifications of the practice occurred in ancient Peru. Small sacrifices of hair were continual. "Another offering," writes d'Acosta, is "pulling out the eye-lashes or eye-brows and presenting them to the sun, the hills, the combles, the winds, or whatever they are in fear of." "On entering the temples, or when they were already within them, they put their hands to their eyebrows as if they would pull out the hairs, and then made a motion as if they were blowing them towards the idol:" a good instance of the abridgment which ceremonies habitually undergo.
One further development remains. This kind of sacrifice becomes in some cases a social propitiation. Wreaths of their own hair plaited, were bestowed upon others as marks of consideration by the Tahitians. In France in the fifth and sixth centuries, it was usual to pluck out a few hairs from the beard on approaching a superior, and present them; and this usage was occasionally adopted as a mark of condescension by a ruler, as when Clovis, gratified by the visit of the Bishop of Toulouse, gave him a hair from his beard, and was imitated in so doing by his followers. Afterwards the usage had its meaning obscured by abridgment. In the times of chivalry one mode of showing respect was to tug at the moustache.
§ 362. Already, when treating of trophies, and when finding that those of the phallic class, major and minor, had the same meanings as the rest, the way was opened to explain the mutilations next to be dealt with. We have seen that when the vanquished were not killed but enslaved, it became imperative that the taking of trophies from them [p.66] should neither endanger life nor be highly injurious; and that hence instead of jaws, teeth were taken; instead of hands, fingers; instead of scalps, hair. Similarly in this case, the fatal or dangerous mutilation disappearing, left only such allied mutilation as did not seriously or at all decrease the value of the enemy as a servant.
That castration was initiated by trophy-taking I find no direct proof; but there is direct proof that prisoners are sometimes treated in a way which trophy-taking of the implied kind would entail. The ancient Persians used to castrate the young men and boys of their vanquished enemies. Of Theobald, Marquis of Spoleto, we read in Gibbon that "his captives . ... were castrated without mercy." For thinking that there was once an enforced sacrifice of the nature indicated, made to a conqueror, there is the further reason that we find a parallel sacrifice made to a deity. At the annual festivals of the Phrygian goddess Amma [Agdistis], "it was the custom for young men to make themselves eunuchs with a sharp shell, crying out at the same time, 'Take this, Agdistis,'" There was a like practice among the Phoenicians; and Brinton names a severe self-mutilation of the ancient Mexican priests, which seems to have included this. Coming in the way shown to imply subordination, this usage, like many ceremonial usages, has in some cases survived where its meaning is lost. The Hottentots enforce semi-castration at about eight or nine years of age; and a kindred custom exists among the Australians.
Naturally, of this class of mutilations, the less serious is the more prevalent. Circumcision occurs among unallied races in all parts of the world—among the Malayo-Polynesians in Tahiti, in Tonga, in Madagascar; among the Negritos of New Caledonia and Fiji; among African peoples, both of the coast and the interior, from northern Abyssinia to southern Kaflir-land; in America, among some Mexican peoples, the Yucatanese, and the people of San [p.67] Salvador; and we meet with it again in Australia. Even apart from the fact that their monuments show the Egyptians practised it from early times, and even apart from the evidence that it prevailed among Arab peoples at large, these proofs that circumcision is not limited to region or race, sufficiently dispose of the current theological interpretation. They sufficiently dispose, too, of another interpretation not uncommonly given ; for a general survey of the facts shows us that while the usage does not prevail among the most cleanly races in the world, it is common among the most uncleanly races. Contrariwise, the facts taken in the mass are congruous with the general theory thus far verified.
It was shown that among the Abyssinians the trophy taken by circumcision from an enemy's dead body, is presented by each warrior to his chief; and that all such trophies taken after a battle are eventually presented to the king. If the vanquished enemies instead of being killed are made slaves; and if the warriors who have vanquished them continue to present the usual proofs of their prowess; there must arise the circumcision of living captives, who thereby become marked as subjugated persons. A further result is obvious. As the chief and the king are propitiated by bringing them these trophies taken from their foes; and as the primitive belief is that a dead man's ghost is pleased by whatever pleased the man when alive; there will naturally follow a presentation of such trophies to the ghost of the departed ruler. And then in a highly militant society governed by a divinely-descended despot, who requires all his subjects to bear this badge of servitude, and who, dying, has his dreaded ghost anxiously propitiated; we may expect that the presentation to the king of these trophies taken from enslaved enemies, will develop into the offering to the god of like trophies taken from each generation of male citizens in acknowledgment of their slavery to him. Hence, when Movers [p.68] says that among the Phoenicians circumcision was "a sign of consecration to Saturn," and when proof is given that of old the people of San Salvador circumcised "in the Jewish manner, offering the blood to an idol," we are shown just the result to be anticipated as eventually arising.
That this interpretation applies to the custom as made known in the Bible, is clear. We have already seen that the ancient Hebrews, like the modern Abyssinians, practised the form of trophy-taking which necessitates this mutilation of the dead enemy; and as in the one case, so in the other, it follows that the vanquished enemy not slain but made prisoner, will by this mutilation be marked as a subject person. That circumcision was among the Hebrews the stamp of subjection, all the evidence proves. On learning that among existing Bedouins, the only conception of God is that of a powerful living ruler, the sealing by circumcision of the covenant between God and Abraham becomes a comprehensible ceremony. There is furnished an explanation of the fact that in consideration of a territory to be received, this mutilation, undergone by Abraham, implied that "the Lord" was "to be a god unto" him; as also of the fact that the mark was to be borne not by him and his descendants only, as favoured individuals, but also by slaves not of his blood. And on remembering that by primitive peoples the returning double of the dead potentate is believed to be indistinguishable from the living potentate, we get an interpretation of the strange tradition concerning God's anger with Moses for not circumcising his son:—"And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met Moses, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet." There are further proofs that circumcision among the Jews was a mark of subordination to Jahveh. Under the foreign ruler Antiochus, who brought in foreign gods, circumcision was forbidden; and those who, persevering in it, refused obedience to these foreign gods, were slain. [p.69] On the other hand, Mattathias and his friends, rebelling against foreign rule and worship, are said to have gone "round about, and pulled down the altars: and what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised, those they circumcised valiantly." Moreover Hyrcanus, having subdued the Idumeans, made them submit to circumcision; and Aristobulus similarly imposed the mark on the conquered people of Iturea.
Quite congruous are certain converse facts. Tooitonga (the great divine chief of Tonga) is not circumcised, as all the other men are; being unsubordinated, he does not bear the badge of subordination. And with this I may join a case in which whole tribes belonging to a race ordinarily practising circumcision, are uncircumcised where they are unsubordinated. Naming some wild Berbers in Morocco as thus distinguished, Rohlfs says, "these uncircumcised tribes inhabit the Rif mountains. .... All the Rif mountaineers eat wild boar, in spite of the Koran law.'"
§ 363. Besides mutilations entailing some loss of flesh, bone, skin, or hair, there are mutilations which do not imply a deduction; at least—not a permanent one. Of these we may take first, one which sacrifices a liquid part of the body though not a solid part.
Bleeding as a mutilation has an origin akin to the origins of other mutilations. Did we not find that some uncivilized tribes, as the Samoyedes, drink the warm blood of animals—did we not find among existing cannibals, such as the Fijians, proofs that savages drink the blood of still-living human victims; it would seem incredible that from taking the blood of a vanquished enemy was derived the ceremony of offering blood to a ghost and to a god. But when to accounts of horrors like these we join accounts of kindred ones which savages commit, such as that among the Amaponda Kaffirs "it is usual for the ruling chief, on his accession to the government, to be washed in the blood [p.70] of a near relative, generally a brother, who is put to death on the occasion;" and when we infer that before civilization arose the sanguinary tastes and usages now exceptional were probably general; we may suspect that from the drinking of blood by conquering cannibals there arose some kinds of blood-offerings—at any rate, offerings of blood taken from immolated victims. Possibly some offerings of blood from the bodies of living persons are to be thus accounted for. But those which are not, are explicable as arising from the practice of establishing a sacred bond between living persons by partaking of each other's blood: the derived conception being that those who give some of their blood to the ghost of a man just dead and lingering near, effect with it a union which on the one side implies sub- mission, and on the other side friendliness.
On this hypothesis we have a reason for the prevalence of self-bleeding as a funeral rite, not among existing savages only, but among ancient and partially-civilized peoples—the Jews, the Greeks, the Huns, the Turks. We are shown how there arise kindred rites as permanent propitiations of those more dreaded ghosts which become gods—such offerings of blood, now from their own bodies and now from their infants' bodies, as those which the Mexicans gave their idols; such offerings as were implied by the self-gashings of the priests of Baal; and such as were sometimes made even in propitiating Jahveh, as by the fourscore men who came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. Moreover, the instances of blood-letting as a complimentary act in social intercourse, become explicable. During a Samoan marriage ceremony the friends of the bride, to testify their respect, "took up stones and beat themselves until their heads were bruised and bleeding." "When the Indians of Potonchan (Central America) receive new friends .... as a proof of friendship, they, in the sight of the friend, draw some blood ... from the tongue, hand, or arm, or from some other part." And Mr. W. [p.71] Foster, Agent General for New South Wales, writes to me that he has seen an Australian mother on meeting her son after an interval of six months, gash her face with a pointed stick "until the blood streamed."
§ 364. Cuts leave scars. If the blood-offerings which entail them are made by relatives to the departed spirit of an ordinary person, these scars are not likely to have any permanent significance; but if they are made in propitiation of a deceased chief, not by his relatives alone but by unrelated members of the tribe who stood in awe of him and fear his ghost, then, like other mutilations, they become signs of subjection. The Huns who "at the burial of Attila, cut their faces with hollow wounds," in common with the Turks who did the like at royal funerals, thus inflicted on themselves marks which thereafter distinguished them as servants of their respective rulers. So, too, did the Lacedaemonians who, "when their king died, had a barbarous custom of meeting in vast numbers, where men, women, and slaves, all mixed together, tore the flesh from their foreheads with pins and needles ... to gratify the ghosts of the dead.'' Such customs are likely sometimes to have further results. With the apotheosis of a notable king whose conquests gave him the character of founder of the nation, marks of this kind, borne not by his contemporary followers only but imposed by them on their children, may become national marks.
That the scars caused by blood-lettings at funerals are recognized as binding to the dead those who bear them, and do develop in the way alleged, we have good evidence. The command in Leviticus, "ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you," shows us the usage in that stage at which the scar left by sacrifice of blood is still a sign partly of family subordination and partly of other subordination. And Scandinavian traditions show us a stage at which the scar betokens allegiance [p.72] either to an unspecified supernatural being, or to a deceased ruler who has become a god. Odin, "when he was near his death, made himself be marked with the point of a spear," and Niort "before he died made himself be marked for Odin with the spear-point."
It is probable that scars on the surface of the body, thus coming to express loyalty to a deceased father, or a deceased ruler, or a god derived from him, initiate among other disfigurements those we class as tattooing. Lacerations, and the traces they leave, are certain to take different forms in different places. The Andaman Islanders "tattoo by incising the skin ... without inserting colouring matter, the cicatrix being whiter than the sound skin." Some natives of Australia have ridges raised on this or that part of the body; while others brand themselves. In Tanna the people make elevated scars on their arms and chests. And Burton, in his Abeokuta, says—"the skin patterns were of every variety, from the diminutive prick to the great gash and the large boil-like lumps ... In this country every tribe, sub-tribe, and even family, has its blazon, whose infinite diversifications may be compared with the lines and ordinaries of European heraldry." Naturally, among the various skin-mutilations originating in the way alleged, many will, under the promptings of vanity, take on a character more or less ornamental; and the use of them for decoration will often survive when their meaning has been lost.
Hypothesis apart, we have proof that these marks are in many cases tribal marks; as they would of course become if they were originally made when men bound themselves by blood to the dead founder of the tribe. Among the Cuebas of Central America, "if the son of a chief declined to use the distinctive badge of his house, he could, when he became chief, choose any new device he might fancy;" but "a son who did not adopt his father's totem was always hateful to him." And if refusal to adopt the family-mark [p.73] where it is painted on the body, is thus regarded as a kind of disloyalty, equally will it be so when the mark is one that has arisen from modified lacerations; and such refusal will be tantamount to rebellion where the mark signifies descent from, and submission to, some great father of the race. Hence such facts as the following:—"All these Indians," says Cieza of the ancient Peruvians, "wear certain marks by which they are known, and which were used by their ancestors." "Both sexes of the Sandwich Islanders have a particular mark (tattooed) which seems to indicate the district in which, or the chief under whom, they lived."5 That a special form of tattooing becomes a tribal mark in the way suggested, we have, indeed, some direct evidence. Among the Sandwich Islanders, funeral rites at the death of a chief, such as knocking out teeth, cutting the ears, &c, one is tattooing a spot on the tongue. Here we see this mutilation becoming the sign of allegiance to a ruler who has died; and then, when the deceased ruler, unusually distinguished, is apotheosized, the tattoo mark becomes the sign of obedience to him as a deity. "With several Eastern nations," says Grimm, "it was a custom to mark oneself by a burnt or incised sign as adherent, in a certain worship." It was thus with the Hebrews. Remembering that they were forbidden to mark themselves for the dead, we shall see the meaning of the passage in Deuteronomy—"They have corrupted themselves, the spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation." And that such contrasted spots were understood in later times to imply the service of different deities, is suggested by passages in Revelations, where an angel is described as ordering delay "till we have sealed the [p.74] servants of our God in their foreheads," and where "an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads," are described as standing on Mount Sion while an angel proclaims that, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Even now "this practice of marking religious tokens upon the hands and arms is almost universal among the Arabs, of all sects and classes." Moreover "Christians in some parts of the East, and European sailors, were long in the habit of marking, by means of punctures and a black dye, their arms and other members of the body with the sign of the crucifix, or the image of the Virgin; the Mahommedans mark them with the name of Allah." So that among advanced races, these skin-mutilations still have meanings like those given to them in ancient Mexico, where, when a child was dedicated to Quetzalcohuatl "the priest made a slight cut with a knife on its breast, as a sign that it belonged to the cult and service of the god," and like those now given to them in parts of Angola, where a child as soon as born is tattooed on the belly, in order thereby to dedicate it to a certain fetich.
A significant group of evidences remains. We have seen that where cropped hair implies servitude, long hair becomes an honourable distinction; and that, occasionally, in opposition to circumcision as associated with subjection, there is absence of it along with the highest power. Here we have a parallel antithesis. The great divine chief of the Tongans is unlike all other men in Tonga, not only as being uncircumcised, but also as being untattooed. Elsewhere whole classes are thus distinguished. Not, however, that such distinctions are at all regular: we here meet with anomalies. Though in some places showing social inferiority, tattooing in other places is a trait of the superior. But the occurrence of anomalies is not surprising. During the perpetual over-runnings of race by race, it must sometimes have happened [p.75] that an un tattooed race having been conquered by one which practised tattooing, the presence of these markings became associated with social supremacy.
A further cause exists for this conflict of meanings. There remains to be named a species of skin-mutilation having another origin and different implication.
§ 365. Besides scars resulting from lacerations made in propitiating dead relatives, dead chiefs, and deities, there are scars resulting from wounds received in battle. All the world over, these are held in honour and displayed with pride. The sentiment associated with them among ourselves in past times, is indicated in Shakespeare by sundry references to "such as boasting shew their scars." Lafeu says—"a scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour" and Henry V. foretells of an old soldier that "then will he strip his sleeve and shew his scars."
Animated as are savages in still higher degrees than civilized by the feelings thus indicated, what may be expected to result? Will not anxiety to get honour sometimes lead to the making of scars artificially? We have evidence that it does. A Bechuana priest makes a long cut in the skin from the thigh to the knee of each warrior who has slain a man in battle. The Bachapin Kaffirs have a kindred usage. Among the Damaras, "for every wild animal that a young man destroys, his father makes four small incisions on the front of the son's body as marks of honour and distinction." And then Tuckey, speaking of certain Congo people who make scars, says that this is "principally done with the idea of rendering themselves agreeable to the women:" a motive which is intelligible if such scars originally passed for scars got in war, and implying bravery. Again, we read that "the Itzaex Indians [in Yucatan] have handsome faces, though some of them were marked with lines as a sign of courage." Facts furnished by other American tribes, suggest that the inflic- [p.76] tion of torture on reaching maturity, originated from the habit of making scars artificially in imitation of scars bequeathed by battle. If self-injury to avoid service in war has been not infrequent among the cowardly, we may infer that among the courageous who had received no wounds, self-injury might be not infrequent, where there was gained by it that character desired above everything. The reputation achieved might make the practice, at first secret and exceptional, gradually more common and at length general; until, finally, public opinion, vented against those who did not follow it, made the usage peremptory. And on reading that among the Abipones, "boys of seven years old pierce their little arms in imitation of their parents, and display plenty of wounds/' we are shown the rise of a feeling, and a consequent practice, which, growing, may end in a system of initiatory tortures at manhood. Though when the scars, being borne by all, are no longer distinctive, discipline in endurance comes to be the reason given for inflicting them, this cannot have been the original reason. Primitive men, improvident in all ways, never devised and instituted a usage with a view to a foreseen distant benefit: they do not make laws, they fall into customs.
Here, then, we find an additional reason why markings on the skin, though generally badges of subordination, become in some cases honourable distinctions and occasionally signs of rank.
§ 366. Something must be added concerning a secondary motive for mutilating prisoners and slaves, parallel to, or sequent upon, a secondary motive for taking trophies.
In the last chapter we inferred that, prompted by his belief that the spirit pervades the corpse, the savage preserves relics of dead enemies partly in the expectation that he will be enabled thereby to coerce their ghosts—if not himself, still by the help of the medicine-man. He has a [p.77] parallel reason for preserving a part cut from one whom ho has enslaved: both he and the slave think that he so obtains a power to inflict injury. Remembering that the sorcerer's first step is to procure some hair or nail-parings of his victim, or else some piece of his dress pervaded by that odour which is identified with his spirit; it appears to be a necessary corollary that the master who keeps by him a slave's tooth, a joint from his little finger, or even a lock of his hair, thereby retains a power of delivering him over to the sorcerer, who may bring on him one or other fearful evil—torture by demons, disease, death.
The subjugated man is consequently made obedient by a dread akin to that which Caliban expresses of Prosperous magically-inflicted torments.
§ 367. The evidence that mutilation of the living has been a sequence of trophy-taking from the slain, is thus abundant and varied. Taking the trophy implies victory carried to the death; and the derived practice of cutting off a part from a prisoner implies subjugation of him. Eventually the voluntary surrender of such a part expresses submission; and becomes a propitiatory ceremony because it does this.
Hands are cut off from dead enemies; and, answering to this, besides some identical mutilations of criminals, we have the cutting off of fingers or portions of fingers, to pacify living chiefs, deceased persons, and gods. Noses are among the trophies taken from slain foes; and we have loss of noses inflicted on captives, on slaves, on transgressors of certain kinds. Ears are brought back from the battle-field; and occasionally they are cut off from prisoners, felons, or slaves; while there are peoples among whom pierced ears mark the servant or the subject. Jaws and teeth, too, are trophies; and teeth, in some cases knocked out in propitiation of a dead chief, are, in various other cases, knocked out by a priest as a quasi-religious ceremony. [p.78] Scalps are taken from killed enemies, and sometimes their hair is used to decorate a victor's dress; and then come various sequences. Here the enslaved have their heads cropped; here scalp-locks are worn subject to a chief's ownership, and occasionally demanded in sign of submission; while, elsewhere, men sacrifice their beards to their rulers: unshorn hair being thus rendered a mark of rank. Among numerous peoples, hair is sacrificed to propitiate the ghosts of relatives; whole tribes cut it off on the deaths of their chiefs or kings; and it is yielded up to express subjection to deities. Occasionally it is offered to a living superior in token of respect; and this complimentary offering is extended to others. Similarly with genital mutilations: there is a like taking of certain parts from slain enemies and from living prisoners; and there is a presentation of them to kings and to gods. Self-bleeding, initiated partly, perhaps, by cannibalism, but more extensively by the mutual giving of blood in pledge of loyalty, enters into several ceremonies expressing subordination: we find it occurring in propitiation of ghosts and of gods, and occasionally as a compliment to living persons. Naturally it is the same with the resulting marks. Originally indefinite in form and place but rendered definite by custom, and at length often decorative, these healed wounds, at first entailed only on relatives of deceased persons, then on all the followers of a man much feared while alive, so become marks expressive of subjection to a dead ruler, and eventually to a god: growing thus into tribal and national marks.
If, as we have seen, trophy-taking as a sequence of con quest enters as a factor into those governmental restraints which conquest initiates, it is to be inferred that the mutilations originated by trophy-taking will do the like. The evidence justifies this inference. Beginning as marks of personal slavery and becoming marks of political and religious subordination, they play a part like that of [p.79] oaths of fealty and pious self-dedications. Moreover, being acknowledgments of submission to a ruler, visible or invisible, they enforce authority by making conspicuous the extent of his sway. And where they signify class subjection, as well as where they show the subjugation of criminals, they further strengthen the regulative agency. If mutilations originate as alleged, some connexion must exist between the extent to which they are carried and the social type. On grouping the facts as presented by fifty-two peoples, the connexion emerges with as much clearness as can be expected. In the first place, since mutilation originates with conquest and resulting aggregation, it is inferable that simple societies, however savage, will be less characterized by it than the larger savage societies compounded out of such, and less than even semi-civilized societies. This proves to be true. Of peoples who form simple societies that practice mutilation either not at all or in slight forms, I find eleven—Fuegians, Veddahs, Andamanese, Dyaks, Todas, Gonds, Santals, Bodo and Dhimals, Mishmis, Kamstchadales, Snake Indians; and these are characterized throughout either by absence of chieftainship, or by chieftainship of an unsettled kind. Meanwhile, of peoples who mutilate little or not at all, find but two in the class of uncivilized compound societies; of which one, the Kirghiz, is characterized by a wandering life that makes subordination difficult; and the other, the Iroquois, had a republican form of government. Of societies practising mutilations that are moderate, the simple bear a decreased ratio to the compound: of the one class there are ten—Tasmanians, Tannese, New Guinea people, Karens, Nagas, Ostyaks, Esquimaux, Chinooks, Comanches, Chippewayans; while of the other class there are five—New Zealanders, East Africans, Khonds, Kukis, Kalmucks. And of these it is to be remarked, that in the one class the simple headship, and in the other class the compound headship, is unstable. On coming to the societies distinguished [p.80] by severer mutilations, we find these relations reversed. Among the simple I can name but three—the New Caledonians (among whom, however, the severer mutilation is not general), the Bushmen (who are believed to have lapsed from a higher social state), and the Australians (who have, I believe, similarly lapsed); while, among the compound, twenty-one may be named—Fijians, Sandwich Islanders, Tahitians, Tongans, Samoans, Javans, Sumatrans, Malagasy, Hottentots, Damaras, Bechuanas, Kaffirs, Congo people, Coast Negroes, Inland Negroes, Dahomans, Ashantees, Fulahs, Abyssinians, Arabs, Dacotahs. In the second place, social consolidation being habitually effected by conquest, and compound and doubly-compound societies being therefore, during early stages, militant in their activities and types of structure, it follows that the connexion of the custom of mutilation with the size of the society is indirect, while that with its type is direct. And this the facts show us. If we put side by side those societies which are most unlike in respect of the practice of mutilation, we find them to be those which are most unlike as being wholly unmilitant in organization, and wholly militant in organization. At the one extreme we have the Veddas, Todas, Bodo and Dhimals; while, at the other extreme, we have the Fijians, Abyssinians, and ancient Mexicans.
Derived from trophy-taking, and developing with the development of the militant type, mutilations must, by implication, decrease as fast as the societies consolidated by militancy become less militant, and must disappear as the industrial type of structure evolves. That they do so, European history at large may be assigned in proof. And it is significant that in our own society, now predominantly industrial, such slight mutilations as continue are connected with that regulative part of the organization which militancy has bequeathed: there survive only the now-meaningless tattooings of sailors, the branding of deserters (until recently), and the cropping of the heads of felons.
NOTE TO CHAPTER III.
At the Royal Institution, in April, 1882, Dr. E. B. Tylor delivered a lecture on
"The Study of Customs," (afterwards published in Macmillan's Magazine for May,
1882), which was primarily an attack on this work.
One of the objections he made concerns the interpretation of scars and tatooings as having originated in offerings of blood to the dead; and as becoming, by consequence, marks of subordination to them, and afterwards of other subordination. He says:—
"Now the question here is not to determine whether all this is imaginable or possible, but what the evidence is of its having actually happened. The Levitical law is quoted, 'Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.' This Mr. Spencer takes as good evidence that the cutting oi' the flesh at the funeral develops into a mark of subjection."
But Dr. Tylor ignores the fact that I have referred to the Huns, the Turks, the
Lacedaemonians, as following customs such as Leviticus interdicts (besides eight
cases of like lacerations, leaving marks, in § 89). Nor does he hint that there
are uncited cases of like meaning: instance the ancient Scythians, among whom,
according to Herodotus (iv. 71), each man in presence of a king's corpse, "makes
a cut all round his arm, lacerates his forehead and his nose, and thrusts an
arrow through his left hand;" or instance some modern Australians, who, says
Grey, on the authority of Bussel, "placed the corpse beside the grave, and
gashed their thighs, and at the flowing of the blood they all said—'I have
brought blood'" (p. 332). Not only does Dr. Tylor lead readers to suppose that
the evidence I have taken from Leviticus is unsupported by like evidence
elsewhere derived, but he passes over the fact that this form of bodily
mutilation is associated by me with other forms, similarly originating and
having similar sequences. He omits to say that I have named four peoples among
whom amputated fingers are offered in propitiation of the dead; two among whom
they are given in propitiation of a god; and one—the ferocious Fijians—among
whom living persons also are propitiated by sacrificed fingers; and that I have
joined this last with the usage of the Canaanites, among whom amputated thumbs
and toes marked conquered men, and hence became signs of subordination. He did
not tell his hearers that, as mutilations entailed by trophy-taking, I have
named the losses of hands, feet, parts of the ears and nose, and parts of the
genital organs; and have shown that habitually, the resulting marks have come to
signify subjection to powerful persons, living or dead. Concerning all this
direct and indirect support of my inference he is silent; and he thus produces
the impression that it is almost baseless. Moreover, in contesting the
conclusion that tatooing was derived from lacerations at funerals,
[p.80b] he leaves it to be supposed that this is a
mere guess: saying nothing of my quotation from Burton to the effect that these
skin-mutilations show all gradations from large gashes to diminutive pricks, and
saying nothing of the instances I have given in which a tatoo-mark signifies
subjection to a ruler, human or divine. And then, after asserting that of
"cogent proof there is simply none," he inadvertently furnishes a proof of
considerable cogency—the fact that by lines of tatooing joined to it, the D
branded on deserters was often changed by them into the handle of a sword: a
decorative skin-mark was derived from a skin mark that was not decorative.
My inference that the cropping of the hair of felons is a survival, is supported by more evidence than that given in the text. Dr. Tylor, however, prefers to regard it as an entirely modern regulation to insure cleanliness: ignoring the truth, illustrated by himself, that usages often survive after their original purpose has been forgotten, and are then misinterpreted.
The remaining three errors alleged (which are all incidental, and, if substantiated, would leave the main propositions unshaken) concern chapters that follow. One only of them is, I think, established. Good reason is given for dissenting from my interpretation of the colours used in different countries for mourning (an interpretation not embodied in the argument of Chapter VI, but merely appended as a note, which, in this edition, I have changed). The other two, concerning the wearing of two swords by upper-class Japanese, and the origin of shaking hands, I leave standing as they did; partly because I see further reasons for thinking them true, and partly because Dr. Tylor's explanations fail to account for the origin of the one as a mark of rank, and of the other as a mark of friendship.
Dr. Tylor's avowed purpose is to show that my method "vitiates the whole argument:" having previously asserted that my method is to extract "from laws of nature the reasons how and why men do all things." It is amusing to place by the side of this the assertion of The Times' reviewer (March 11th, 1880), who says that my method is "to state the facts as simply as possible, with just a word or two on their mutual bearings and their place in his [my] 'system;' " and who hints that I have not sufficiently connected the facts with "principles"! The one says I proceed exclusively by deduction; the other says that I proceed almost exclusively by induction! But the reader needs not depend on authority: the evidence is before him. In it he will, I think, fail to recognize the truth of Dr. Tylor's statement; and, having thus tested one of his statements, will see that others of his statements are not to be taken as valid simply because I do not occupy time and space in contesting them.
§ 368. Travellers, coming in contact with strange peoples, habitually propitiate
them by gifts. Two results are achieved. Gratification caused by the worth of
the thing given, tends to beget a friendly mood in the person approached; and
there is a tacit expression of the donor's desire to please, which has a like
effect. It is from the last of these that gift-making as a ceremony proceeds.
The alliance between mutilations and presents—between offering a part of the body and offering something else—is well shown by a statement respecting the ancient Peruvians; which also shows how present-making becomes a propitiatory act, apart from the value of the thing presented. Describing people who carry burdens over the high passes, Garcilasso says they unload themselves on the top, and then severally say to the god Pachacamac—
"'I give thanks that this has been carried,' and in making an offering they pulled a hair out of their eyebrows, or took the herb called tuca from their mouths, as a gift of the most precious things they had. Dr if there was nothing better, they offered a small stick or piece of straw, or even a piece of stone or earth. There were great heaps of these offerings at the summits of passes over the mountains."
Though, coming in this unfamiliar form, these offerings of
parts of themselves, or of things they prized, or of worthless things, seem
strange, they will seem less strange on remembering that at the foot of a
wayside crucifix in France, may [p.82] any day be
seen a heap of small crosses, severally made of two bits of lath nailed
together. Intrinsically of no more value than these straws, sticks, and stones
the Peruvians offered, they similarly force on our attention the truth that the
act of presentation passes into a ceremony expressing the wish to conciliate.
How natural is this substitution of a nominal giving for a real giving, where a
real giving is impracticable, we are shown even by intelligent animals. A
retriever, accustomed to please his master by fetching killed birds, &c, will
fall into the habit at other times of fetching things to show his desire to
please. On first seeing in the morning some one he is friendly with, he will add
to his demonstrations of joy, the seeking and bringing in his mouth a dead leaf,
a twig, or any small available object lying near. And, while serving to show the
natural genesis of this propitiatory ceremony, his behaviour serves also to show
how deep down there begins the process of symbolization; and how, at the outset,
the symbolic act is as near a repetition of the act symbolized as circumstances
Prepared as we thus are to trace the development of gift-making into a ceremony, let us now observe its several varieties, and the social arrangements eventually derived from them.
§ 369. In headless tribes, and in tribes of which the headship is unsettled, and in tribes of which the headship though settled is feeble, making presents does not become an established usage. Australians, Tasmanians, Fuegians are instances; and on reading through accounts of wild American races that are little organized, like the Esquimaux, Chinooks, Snakes, Comanches, Chippewas, or are organized in a democratic manner, like the Iroquois and the Creeks, we find, along with absence of strong personal rule, scarcely any mention of gift-making as a political observance.
In apt contrast come accounts of usages among those [p.83] American races which in past times reached, under despotic governments, considerable degrees of civilization. Torquemada writes that in Mexico, "when any one goes to salute the lord or king, he takes with him flowers and gifts." Of the Chibchas we read that "when they brought a present in order to negotiate or speak with the cazique (for no one went to visit him without bringing a gift), they entered with the head and body bent downwards." Among the Yucatanese, "when there was hunting or fishing or salt-carrying, they always gave a part to the lord." Peoples of other types, as the Malayo-Polynesians, living in kindred stages of social progress under the undisputed sway of chiefs, exemplify this same custom. Speaking of things bartered to the Tahitian populace for food, native cloth, &c, Forster says—"However, we found that after some time all this acquired wealth flowed as presents, or voluntary acknowledgments, into the treasure of the various chiefs." In Fiji, again, "whoever asks a favour of a chief, or seeks civil intercourse with him, is expected to bring a present."
These last cases show us how making presents passes from a voluntary propitiation into a compulsory propitiation; for on reading that "the Tahitian chiefs plundered the plantations of their subjects at will," and that in Fiji, "chiefs take the property and persons of others by force," it becomes manifest that present-making develops into the giving of a part to prevent loss of the whole. It is the policy at once to satisfy cupidity and to express submission. "The Malagasy, slaves as well as others, occasionally make presents of provisions to their chiefs, as an acknowledgment of homage." And it is inferable that in proportion to the power of chiefs, will be the anxiety to please them; both to forestalling their greedy desires and by displaying loyalty.
In few if any cases, however, does the carrying of gifts to a chief become so developed a usage in a simple tribe. At first the head man, not much differentiated from the rest, fails to impress them with a fear great enough to make [p.84] present-giving an habitual ceremony. It is only in a compound society, resulting from the over-running of many tribes by a conquering tribe, that there comes a governing class, formed of head-chief and sub-chiefs, sufficiently distinguished from the rest, and sufficiently powerful to inspire the required awe. The above examples are all taken from societies in which kingship has been reached.
§ 370. A more extended form is simultaneously assumed by this ceremony. For where along with subordinate rulers there exists a chief ruler, he has to be propitiated alike by the people at large and by the subordinate rulers. We must here observe the growth of both kinds of gift-making that hence arise.
A place in which the usage has retained its primitive character is Timbuctoo. Here "the king does not levy any tribute on his subjects or on foreign merchants, but he receives presents." But Caillie adds—"There is no regular government. The king is like a father ruling his children." When disputes arise, he "assembles a council of the elders." That is to say, present-giving remains voluntary where the kingly power is not great. Among the Kaffirs, we see gifts losing their voluntary character. "The revenue of the king consists of an annual contribution of cattle, first-fruits," &c.; and "when a Koossa [Kaffir] opens his granary he must send a little of the grain to his neighbours, and a larger portion to the king." In Abyssinia there is alike mixture of exactions and spontaneous gifts: besides settled contributions, the prince of Tigre receives annual presents. Evidently when presents that have become customary have ceased in so far to be propitiatory, there is a tendency to make other presents that are propitiatory because unexpected.
If an offering made by a private person implies submission, still more does an offering made by a subordinate ruler to a supreme ruler. Hence the making of presents grows into a formal recognition of supremacy. In ancient Vera Pas, "as [p.85] long as some one was elected king ... all the lords of the tribes appeared or sent relations of theirs ... with presents." Among the Chibchas, when a new king came to the throne, "the chief men then took an oath that they would be obedient and loyal vassals, and as a proof of their loyalty each one gave him a jewel and a number of rabbits, &c." Of the Mexicans, Toribio says—"Each year, at certain festivals, those Indians who did not pay taxes, even the chiefs .... made gifts to the sovereigns ... in token of their submission." And so in Peru, "no one approached .Atabuallpa without bringing a present in token of submission." This significance of gift-making is shown in the records of the Hebrews. In proof of Solomon's supremacy it is said that "all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon .... and they brought every man his present ... a rate year by year." Conversely, when Saul was chosen king "the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents." Throughout the remote East the bringing of presents to the chief ruler has still the same meaning. I have before me illustrative facts from Japan, from China, from Burmah.
Nor does early European history fail to exemplify present-giving and its implications. During the Merovingian period "on a fixed day, once a-year, in the field of March, according to ancient custom, gifts were offered to the kings by the people;" and this custom continued into the Carolingian period. Such gifts were made alike by individuals and communities. From the time of Gontram, who was overwhelmed with gifts by the inhabitants of Orleans on his entry, it long continued the habit with towns thus to seek the goodwill of monarchs who visited them. In ancient England, too, when the monarch visited a town, present-making entailed so heavy a loss that in some cases of the passing of the royal family and court was viewed as a great misfortune."
§371. Grouped as above, the evidence implies that from propitiatory presents,
voluntary and exceptional to begin with but becoming as political power
strengthens less voluntary and more general, there eventually grow up universal
and involuntary contributions—established tribute; and that with the rise of a
currency this passes into taxation. How this transformation takes place, is well
shown in Persia. Speaking of the "irregular and oppressive taxes to which they
[the Persians] are continually exposed," Malcolm says—"The first of these extra
taxes may be termed usual and extraordinary presents. The usual presents to the
king are those made annually by all governors of provinces and districts, chiefs
of tribes, ministers, and all other officers in high charge, at the feast of
Nourouze, or vernal equinox. .... The amount presented on this occasion is
generally regulated by usage; to fall short is loss of office, and to exceed is
increase of favour."
The passing of present-making into payment of tribute as it becomes periodic, is clearly exemplified in some comparatively small societies where governmental power is well established. In Tonga "the higher class of chiefs generally make a present to the king, of hogs and yams, about once a fortnight: these chiefs at the same time receive presents from those below them, and these last from others, and so on, down to the common people." Ancient Mexico, formed of provinces dependent in various degrees, exhibited several stages of the transition. "The provinces . ... made these contributions . .. since they were conquered, that the gallant Mexicans might .... cease to destroy them:" clearly showing that the presents were at first propitiatory. Again, "in Meztitlan the tribute was not paid at fixed times ... but when the lord wanted it." Then of the tributes throughout the country of Montezuma, we are told that "some of these were paid annually, others every six months, and others every eighty days." And further of the gifts made at festivals by some "in token of their [p.87] submission," Toribio says—"In this way it seems manifest that the chiefs, the merchants, and the landed proprietors, were not obliged to pay taxes, but did so voluntarily."
A like transition is traceable in early European history. Among the sources of revenue of the Merovingian kings, Waitz enumerates the freewill gifts of the people on various occasions, besides the yearly presents made originally at the March gatherings. And then, speaking of these yearly presents in the Carolingian period, the same writer says they had long lost their voluntary character, and are even described as a tax by Hincmar. They included horses, gold, silver, and jewels, and (from nunneries) garments, and requisitions for the royal palaces; and he adds that these dues, or tributa, were all of a more or less private character: though compulsory they had not yet become taxes in the literal sense. So, too, with the things presented to minor rulers by their feudal dependants. "The dona, after having been, as the name sufficiently indicates, voluntary gifts, were in the twelfth century become territorial dues received by the lords."
In proportion as values became more definite and payments in coin easier, commutation resulted. Instance, in the Carolingian period, "the so-called inferenda—a due originally paid in cattle, now in money;" instance the oublies, consisting of bread "presented on certain days by vassals to their lords," which "were often replaced by a small annual due in money;" instance, in our own history, the giving of money instead of goods by towns to a king and his suite making a progress through them. The evidence may fitly be closed with the following passage from Stubbs:—
"The ordinary revenue of the English king had been derived solely from the royal estates and the produce of what had been the folkland, with such commuted payments of feormfultum, or provision in kind, as represented either the reserved rents from ancient possessions of the crown, or the quasi-voluntary tribute paid by the nation to its chosen head."
In which passage are simultaneously implied the transition from voluntary gifts
to involuntary tribute, and the commutation of tribute into taxes.
§ 372. If voluntary gifts to the supreme man by-and-by become tribute, and eventually form a settled revenue, may we not expect that gifts made to his subordinates, when their aid is wished, will similarly become customary, and at length yield them maintenance? Will not the process above indicated in relation to the major State-functionary, repeat itself with the minor State-functionaries? We find that it does so.
First it is to be noted that, besides ordinary presents, the ruling man in early stages commonly has special presents made to him when called on to use his power in aid of an aggrieved subject. Among the Chibchas, "no one could appear in the presence of a king, cazique, or superior, without bringing a gift, which was to be delivered before the petition was made." In Sumatra, a chief "levies no taxes, nor has any revenue, ... or other emolument from his subjects, than what accrues to him from the determination of causes." Of Gulab Singh, a late ruler of Jummoo, Mr. Drew says—"With the customary offering of a rupee as nazar [present] any one could get his ear; even in a crowd one could catch his eye by holding up a rupee and crying out. .... 'Maharajah, a petition,' he would pounce down like a hawk on the money, and, having appropriated it, would patiently hear out the petitioner." There is evidence that among ourselves in ancient days a kindred usage existed. "We may readily believe," says Broom, referring to a statement of Lingard, "that few princes in those [Anglo-Saxon] days, declined to exercise judicial functions when solicited by favourites, tempted by bribery, or stimulated by cupidity and avarice." And on reading that in early Norman times " the first step in the process of obtaining redress was to sue out, or purchase, [p.89] by paying the stated fees,"' the king's original writ, requiring the defendant to appear before him, we may suspect that the amount paid for this document represented what had originally been the present to the king for giving his judicial aid. There is support for this inference. Blackstone says:—"Now, indeed, even the royal writs are held to be demandable of common right, on paying the usual fees:" implying a preceding time in which the granting of them was a matter of royal favour obtained by propitiation.
Naturally, then, when judicial and other functions come to be deputed, gifts will similarly be made to obtain the services of the functionaries; and these, originally voluntary, will become compulsory. Ancient records yield evidence. Amos ii. 6, implies that judges received presents; as are said to do the Turkish magistrates in the same regions down to our day; and on finding that habitually among the Kirghis, "the judge takes presents from both sides," we see that the assumption of the prophet, and of the modern observer, that this usage arose by a corruption, adds one to those many cases in which survival of a lower state is mistaken for degradation of a higher. In France, the king in 1256 imposed on his judicial officials, "high and subalterns, an oath to make or receive no present, to administer justice without regard to persons." Nevertheless gifts continued. Judges received "spices" as a .mark of gratitude from those who had won a cause. By 1369, if not before, these were converted into money; and in 1402 they were recognized as dues. In our own history the case of Bacon exemplifies not a special and late practice, but an old and usual one. Local records show the habitual making of gifts to officers of justice and their attendants; and "no approach to a great man, a magistrate, or courtier, was ever made without the oriental accompaniment—a gift." "Damage cleer," a gratuity to prothonotaries, had become in the seventeenth century, a fixed assessment. That the presents to State-functionaries formed, in some cases, their [p.90] entire revenues, is inferable from the fact that in the twelfth century the great offices of the royal household were bought: the value of the presents received was great enough to make the places worth buying. Good evidence comes from Russia. Karamsin "repeats the observations of the travellers who visited Muscovy in the sixteenth century:—'Is it surprising,' say these strangers, 'that the Grand Prince is rich? He neither gives money to his troops nor his ambassadors; he even takes from these last all the costly things they bring back from foreign lands. ... Nevertheless these men do not complain.'' "Whence we must infer that, lacking payments from above, they lived on gifts from below. Whence, further, it becomes manifest that what we call the bribes, which the miserably-salaried officials in Russia now require before performing their duties, represent the presents which formed their sole maintenance in times when they had no salaries. And the like may be inferred respecting Spain, of which Rose says:—"From judge down to constable, bribery and corruption prevail. ... There is this excuse, however, for the poor Spanish official. His government gives him no remuneration, and expects everything of him."
So natural has habit now made to us the payment of fixed sums for specified services, that we assume this relation to have existed from the beginning. But when we read how, in slightly-organized societies, such as that of the Bechuanas, the chiefs allow their attendants "a scanty portion of food or milk, and leave them to make up the deficiency by hunting or by digging up wild roots," and in societies considerably more advanced, as Dahomey, "no officer under government is paid;" we are shown that originally the subordinates of the chief man, not officially supported, have to support themselves. And as their positions enable them to injure or to benefit subject persons—as, indeed, it is often only by their aid that the chief man can be invoked; there arises the same motive to propitiate [p.91] them by presents that there does to propitiate by presents the chief man himself. Whence the parallel growth of an income. Here, from the East, is an illustration come upon since the foregoing sentences were first published:—"None of these [servants or slaves] receive any wages, but the master presents each with a suit of clothes at the great yearly festival, and gifts are also bestowed upon them, mostly in money (bakshish), from such visitors as have business with their master, and desire a good word spoken to him at the opportune moment."
§ 373. Since, at first, the double of the dead man, like him in all other respects, is conceived as being no less liable to pain, cold, hunger, thirst; he is supposed to be similarly propitiated by providing for him food, drink, clothing, &c. At the outset, then, presents to the dead differ from presents to the living neither in meaning nor motive.
Lower forms of society all over the world furnish proofs. Food and drink are left with the unburied corpse by Papuans, Tahitians, Sandwich Islanders, Malanans, Badagas, Karens, ancient Peruvians, Brazilians, &c. Food and drink are afterwards carried to the grave in Africa by the Sherbro people, the Loango people, the inland Negroes, the Dahomans, and others; throughout the Indian hills by Bhils, Bantals, Kukis; in America by Caribs, Chibchas, Mexicans; and the like usage was general among ancient races in the East. Clothes are periodically taken as presents to the dead by the Esquimaux. In Patagonia they annually open the sepulchral chambers and re-clothe the dead; as did, too, the ancient Peruvians. When a potentate dies among the Congo people, the quantity of clothes given from time to time is so great "that the first hut in which the body is deposited becoming too small, a second, a third, even to a sixth, increasing in dimensions, is placed over it." And, occasionally, the gifts made by subordinate rulers to the ghost of a supreme dead ruler, simulate the tribute paid to [p.92] him when living. Concerning a royal funeral in Tonquin, Tavemier writes:—
"There proceeds afterwards Six Princesses who carry Meat and Drink for the deceased King. ... Four Governours of the four chief provinces of the Kingdom, each bearing a stick on his shoulder, on which hangs a bag full of Gold and several Perfumes, and these bags contain the Presents which the several Provinces make unto the deceased King, for to be buried with his corps, that he may make use of the same in the other World."
Nor can there be any doubt about the likeness of intention. "When we read that a
chief among the New Caledonians says to the ghost of his ancestor—"Compassionate
father, here is some food for you; eat it; be kind to us on account of it," or
when the Veddah, calling by name a deceased relative, says—"Come and partake of
this. Give us maintenance, as you did when living," we see it to be undeniable
that present-giving to the dead is like present-giving to the living, with the
difference that the receiver is invisible.
Noting only that there is a like motive for a like propitiation of the undistinguished supernatural beings which primitive men suppose to be all around them—noting that whether it be in the fragments of bread and cake left for rives by our Scandinavian ancestors, or in the eatables which Dyaks place on the tops of their houses to feed the spirits, or in the portions of food cast aside and of drink poured out for the ghosts before beginning their meals, by various races throughout the world; let us go on to observe the developed present-making to the developed supernatural being. The things given and the motives for giving them remain the same; though the sameness is disguised by the use of different words—oblations to a deity and presents to a living person. The original identity is well shown in the statement concerning the Greeks—"Gifts, as an old proverb says, determine the acts of gods and kings;" and it is equally well shown by a verse in the Psalms (lxxvi. 11)—"Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be [p.93] rewind about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared." Observe the parallelism in detail.
Food and drink, which constitute the earliest kind of propitiatory gift to a living person, and also the earliest kind of propitiatory gift to a ghost, remain everywhere the essential components of an oblation to a deity. As, where political power is evolving, the presents sent to the chief at first consist mainly of sustenance; so, where ancestor-worship, developing, has expanded a ghost into a god, the offerings have as elements common to them in all places and times, things serving for nutrition. That this is so in low societies no proof is needed; and that it is so in higher societies is also a conspicuous fact; though a fact ignored where its significance is most worthy to be remarked. If a Zulu slays an ox to secure the goodwill of his dead relative's ghost, who complains to him in a dream that he has not been fed—if among the Zulus this private act develops into a public act when a bullock is periodically killed as "a propitiatory Offering to the Spirit of the King's immediate Ancestor," we may, without impropriety, ask whether there do not thus arise such acts as those of an Egyptian king, who by hecatombs of oxen hopes to please the ghost of his deified father; but it is not supposable that there was any kindred origin for the sacrifices of cattle to Jahveh, concerning which such elaborate directions are given in Leviticus. When we read that among the Greeks "it was customary to pay the same offices to the gods which men stand in need of the temples were their houses, sacrifices their food, altars their tables" it is permissible to observe the analogy between these presents of eatables made to gods, and the presents of eatables made at graves to the dead, as being both derived from similar presents made to the living; but that the presentation of meat, bread, fruits, and liquors to Jahveh had a kindred derivation, is a thought not to be entertained—not even though we have a complete parallel between the cakes which Abraham bakes to refresh [p.94] the Lord when ho comes to visit him in his tent on the plains of Harare, and the shew-bread kept on the altar and from time to time replaced by other bread fresh and hot (1 Sam. xxi, 6). Here, however, recognizing these parallelisms, it may be added that though in later Hebrew times the original and gross interpretation of sacrifices became obscured, and though the primitive theory has since undergone gradual dissipation, yet the form survives. The offertory of our Church still retains the words—''accept our alms and oblations" and at her coronation, Queen Victoria offered on the altar, by the hands of the archbishop, "an altar-cloth of gold and an ingot of gold," a sword, then "bread and wine for the communion," then "a purse of gold," followed by a prayer "to receive these oblations."
Evidence from all parts of the world thus proves that oblations are at first literally presents. Animals are given to kings, slain on graves, sacrificed in temples; cooked food is furnished to chiefs, laid on tombs, placed on altars; first-fruits are presented to living rulers, to dead rulers, to gods; here beer, here wine, here chica, is sent to a potentate, offered to a ghost, and poured out as libation to a deity; incense, burnt before ancient kings, and in some places burnt before distinguished persons, is burnt before gods in various places; and besides such consumable things, valuables of every kind, given to secure goodwill, are accumulated in royal treasuries and in sacred temples.
There is one further remark of moment. We saw that the present to the visible ruler was at first propitiatory because of its intrinsic worth, but came afterwards to have an extrinsic propitiatory effect as implying loyalty. Similarly, the presents to the invisible ruler, primarily considered as directly useful, secondarily come to signify obedience; and their secondary meaning gives that ceremonial character to sacrifice which still survives.
§ 374. And now we come upon a remarkable sequence. [p.95] As the present to the ruler eventually develops into political revenue, so the present to the god eventually develops into ecclesiastical revenue.
Let us set out with that earliest stage in which no ecclesiastical organization exists. At this stage the present to the supernatural being is often shared between him and those who worship him. While the supernatural being is propitiated by the gift of food, there is, by eating together, established between him and his propitiators a bond of union: implying protection on the one side and allegiance on the other. The primitive notion that the nature of a thing, inhering in all its parts, is acquired by those who consume it, and that therefore those who consume two parts of one thing, acquire from it some nature in common—that same notion which initiates the practice of forming a brotherhood by partaking of one another's blood, which instigates the funeral rite of blood-offering, and which gives strength to the claims established by joining in the same meal, originates this prevalent usage of eating part of that which is presented to the ghost or to the god. In some places the people at large participate in the offering; in some places the medicine-men or priests only; and in some places the last practice is habitual while the first is occasional, as in ancient Mexico, where communicants "who had partaken of the sacred food were engaged to serve the god during the subsequent year."
Here the fact which concerns us is that from the presents thus used, there arises a maintenance for the sacerdotal class. Among the Kukis the priest, to pacify the angry deity who has made some one ill, takes, it may be a fowl, which he says the god requires, and pouring its blood as an offering on the ground while muttering praises, "then deliberately sits down, roasts and eats the fowl, throws the refuse into the jungle and returns home." The Battas of Sumatra sacrifice to their gods, horses, buffaloes, goats, dogs, fowls, "or whatever animal the wizard happens on [p.96] that day to be most inclined to eat." And by the Bustar tribes in India, Kodo Pen "is worshipped at a small heap of stones by every new-comer, through, the oldest resident, with fowls, eggs, grain, and a few copper coins, which become the property of the officiating priest." Africa has more developed societies which show us a kindred arrangement. In Dahomey, "those who have the 'cure of souls' receive no regular pay, but live well upon the benevolences of votaries." In their temples, "small offerings are daily given by devotees, and removed by the priests." Similarly in Ashantee, "the revenue of the fetishmen is derived from the liberality of the people. A moiety of the offerings which, are presented to the fetish belongs to the priests." It is the same in Polynesia. Describing the Tahitian doctor as almost invariably a priest, Ellis states that he received a fee, part of which was supposed to belong to the gods, before commencing operations. So, too, was it in the ancient states of Central America. A cross-examination narrated by Oviedo, contains the passage:—
"Fr. Do you offer anything else in your temples?
"Ind. Every one brings from his house what he wishes to offer—as fowls, fish, or maize, or other things—and the boys take it and put it inside the temple.
"Fr. Who eats the things thus offered?
"Ind. The father of the temple eats them, and what remains is eaten by the boys."
And then in Peru, where worship of the dead was a main occupation of the living,
the accumulated gifts to ghosts and gods had resulted in sacred estates,
numerous and rich, out of which the priests of all kinds were maintained. A
parallel genesis is shown us by ancient historic peoples. Among the Greeks "the
remains of the sacrifice are the priests' foes," and "all that served the gods
were maintained by the sacrifices and other holy offerings." Nor was it
otherwise with the Hebrews. In Leviticus ii. 10, we read—"And that which is left
of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons' " (the appointed priests);
while other [p.97] passages entitle the priest to
the skin of the offering, and to the whole of the baked and fried offering.
Neither does the history of early Christianity fail to exhibit the like
development. "In the first ages of the Church, those depositee pietatis which
are mentioned by Tertullian were all voluntary oblations." Afterwards "a more
fixed maintenance was necessary for the clergy; but still oblations were made by
the people. ... These oblations [defined as 'whatever religious Christians
offered to God and the Church'], which were at first voluntary, became
afterwards, by continual payment, due by custom." In mediaeval times a further
stage in the transition is shown us:—"Besides what was necessary for the
communion of priests and laymen, and that which was intended for eulogies, it
was at first the usage to offer all sorts of presents, which at a later date
were taken to the bishop's house and ceased to be brought to the church." And
then by continuation and enlargement of such donations, growing into bequests,
nominally to God and practically to the Church, there grow up ecclesiastical
§ 375. The foregoing statements represent all presents as made by inferiors to propitiate superiors; ignoring the presents made by superiors to inferiors. The contrast between the two in meaning, is well recognized where present-making is much elaborated, as in China. "At or after the customary visits between superiors and inferiors, an interchange of presents takes place; but those from the former are bestowed as donations, while the latter are received as offerings: these being the Chinese terms for such presents as pass between the emperor and foreign princes." Concerning donations something must here be said, though their ceremonial character is not marked.
As the power of the political head develops, until at length he assumes universal ownership, there results a state in which he finds it needful to give back part of that [p.98] which he has monopolized; and having been originally subordinated by giving, his dependants are now, to a certain extent, further subordinated by receiving. People of whom it can be said, as of the Kukis, that "all the property they possess is by simple sufferance of the rajah," or people who, like the Dahomans, are owned in body and estate by their king, are obviously so conditioned that property having flowed in excess to the political centre must flow down again from lack of other use. Hence, in Dahomey, though no State-functionary is paid, the king gives his ministers and officers royal bounty. Without travelling further afield for illustrations, it will suffice if we note these relations of causes and effects in early European times. Of the ancient Germans, Tacitus says—"The chief must show his liberality, and the follower expects it. He demands at one time this war-horse; at another, that victorious lance imbrued with the enemy's blood. The prince's table, however inelegant, must always be plentiful; it is the only pay of his followers." That is, a monopolizing supremacy had, as its sequence, gratuities to dependants. Mediaeval days in France were characterized by modified forms of the same system. In the thirteenth century, "in order that the princes of the blood, the whole royal house, the great officers of the crown, and those ... of the king's household, should appear with distinction, the king gave them dresses according to the rank they held and suitably to the season at which these solemn courts were celebrated. These dresses were called liveries (livrees) because they were delivered," as the king's free gifts: a statement showing how acceptance of such gifts went along with subordination. It needs scarcely be added that throughout the same stages of progress in Europe, the scattering of largesse to the people by kings, dukes, and nobles, was similarly a concomitant of that servile position in which such return as they got for their labour in addition to daily sustenance, was in the shape of presents rather [p.99] than in the shape of wages. Moreover, we still have in vails and Christmas-boxes to servants, &c, the remnants of a system under which fixed remuneration was eked out by gratuities—a system itself sequent upon the earlier system under which gratuities formed the only remuneration.
Thus it becomes tolerably clear that while from presents offered by subject persons, there eventually develop tribute, taxes, and fees; from donations made by ruling persons there eventually develop salaries.
§ 376. Something must be added concerning presents passing between those who do not stand in acknowledged relations of superior and inferior.
Consideration of these carries us back to the primitive form of present-making, as it occurs between members of alien societies; and on looking at some of the facts, there is suggested a question of much interest—Whether from the propitiatory gift made under these circumstances there does not originate another important kind of social action? Barter is not, as we are apt to suppose, universally understood. Cook, speaking of his failure to make any exchange of articles with the Australians, says—"They had, indeed, no idea of traffic." And other statements suggest that when exchange begins, the thought of equivalence between the things given and received scarcely arises. Of the Ostyaks, who supplied them "with plenty of fish and wild-fowl," Bell remarks—"Give them only a little tobacco and a dram of brandy, and they ask no more, not knowing the use of money." Remembering that at first no means of measuring values exists, and that the conception of equality of value has to grow by use, it seems not impossible that mutual propitiation by gifts was the act from which barter arose: the expectation that the present received would be of like worth with that given, being gradually established, and the exchanged articles simultaneously losing the character of presents. One may, indeed, see the connexion [p.100] between the two in the familiar cases of gifts made by European travellers to native chiefs; as where Mungo Park writes—"Presented Mama Kussan [the chief man of Julifunda] with some amber, coral, and scarlet, with which he appeared to be perfectly satisfied, and sent a bullock in return." Such transactions show us both the original meaning of the initial present as propitiatory, and the idea that, the responsive present should have an approximately-like value: implying informal barter. Nay more. Certain usages of the North American Indians suggest that even a circulating medium may originate from propitiatory presents. Catlin writes:—
"Wampum has been invariably manufactured, and highly valued as a circulating medium (instead of coins, of which the Indians have no knowledge); so many strings, or so many hand's-breadth, being the fixed value of a horse, a gun, a robe, &c. In treaties, the wampum belt has been passed as the pledge of friendship, and from time immemorial sent to hostile tribes, as the messenger of peace; or paid by so many fathoms' length, as tribute to conquering enemies."
Speculation aside, we have to note how the propitiatory present becomes a social observance. That along with the original form of it, signifying allegiance, there goes the spread of it is a means to friendship, was shown in ancient America. Of the Yucatanese we read that, "at their visits the Indians always carry with them presents to be given away, according to their position; those visited respond by another gift." In Japan, so rigorously ceremonious, the stages of the descent are well shown. There are the periodic presents to the Mikado, expressive of loyalty; there is "the giving of presents from inferiors to superiors;" and between equals "it is customary on the occasion of a first visit to a house to carry a present to the owner, who gives something of equal value on returning the visit." Other races show us this mutual propitiation taking other forms. Markham, writing of Himalayan people, states that exchanging caps is certain a mark of friendship in the hills, as two chiefs in the plains exchanging turbans." But the most striking [p.101] development of gift-making into a form, occurs in Bootan: where "between people of every rank and station in life, the presenting of a silk scarf constantly forms an essential part of the ceremonial of salutation."
"An inferior, on approaching a superior, presents the white silk scarf; and, when dismissed, has one thrown over his neck, with the ends hanging down in front. Equals exchange scarfs on meeting, bending towards each other, with an inclination of the body. No intercourse whatever takes place without the intervention of a scarf; it always accompanies every letter, being enclosed in the same packet, however distant the place to which it is despatched."
How gift-making, first developed into a ceremony by fear of the chief ruler, and
made to take a wider range by fear of the powerful, is eventually rendered
general by fear of equals who may prove enemies if they are passed over when
others are propitiated, we may gather from European history. Thus in Rome, "all
the world gave or received New Year's gifts." Clients gave them to their
patrons; all the Romans gave them to Augustus. "He was seated in the
entrance-hall of his house; they defiled before him, and every citizen holding
his offering in his hand, laid it, when passing, at the feet of that terrestrial
god ..... the sovereign gave back a sum equal or superior to their presents."
Because of its association with pagan institutions, this custom, surviving into
Christian times, was condemned by the Church. In 578 the Council of Auxerre
forbade New Year's gifts, which it characterized in strong words. Ives, of
Chartres, says—"There are some who accept from others, and themselves give,
devilish New Year's gifts." In the twelfth century, Maurice, bishop of Paris,
preached against bad people who "put their faith in presents, and say that none
will remain rich during the year if he has not had a gift on New Year's day."
Notwithstanding ecclesiastical interdicts, however, the custom survived through
the Middle Ages down to modern times. Moreover, there simultaneously developed
kindred periodic ceremonies; such as, in France, the giving of Easter eggs.
[p.102] And present-makings of these kinds have undergone changes like those which we
traced in other kinds of present-makings: beginning as voluntary, they have
become in a measure compulsory.
§ 377. Spontaneously made among primitive men to one whose goodwill is desired, the gift thus becomes, aa society evolves, the originator of many things.
To the political head, as his power grows, presents are prompted partly by fear of him and partly by the wish for his aid; and such presents, at first propitiatory only in virtue of their intrinsic worth, grow to be propitiatory as expressions of loyalty: from the last of which comes present-giving as a ceremonial, and from the first of which comes present-giving as tribute, eventually changing into taxes. Simultaneously, the supplies of food &c, placed on the grave of the dead man to please his ghost, developing into larger and repeated offerings at the grave of the distinguished dead man, and becoming at length sacrifices on the altar of the god, differentiate in an analogous way: the present of meat, drink, or clothes, at first supposed to beget goodwill because actually useful, becomes, by implication, significant of allegiance. Hence, making the gift grows into an act of worship irrespective of the value of the thing given; while, as affording sustenance to the priest, the gift makes possible the agency by which the worship is conducted. From oblations originate Church revenues.
Thus we unexpectedly come upon further proof that the control of ceremony precedes the political and ecclesiastical controls; since it appears that from actions which the first initiates, eventually result the funds by which the others are maintained.
When we ask what relations present-giving has to different social types, we note, in the first place, that there is little of it in simple societies where chieftainship does not exist [p.103] or is unstable. Conversely, it prevails in compound and doubly-compound societies; as throughout the semi-civilized states of Africa, those of Polynesia, those of ancient America, where the presence of stable headships, primary and secondary, gives both the opportunity and the motive. Recognizing this truth, we are led to recognize the deeper truth that present-making, while but indirectly related to the social type as simple or compound, is directly related to it as more or less militant in organization. The desire to propitiate is great in proportion as the person to be propitiated is feared; and therefore the conquering chief, and still more the king who has made himself by force of arms ruler over many chiefs, is one whose goodwill is most anxiously sought by acts which simultaneously gratify his avarice and express submission. Hence, then, the fact that the ceremony of making gifts to the ruler prevails most in societies that are either actually militant, or in which chronic militancy during past times has evolved the despotic government appropriate to it. Hence the fact that throughout the East where this social type exists everywhere, the making of presents to those in authority is everywhere imperative. Hence the fact that in early European ages, while the social activities were militant and the structures corresponded, loyal presents to kings from individuals and corporate bodies were universal; while donations from superiors to inferiors, also growing out of that state of complete dependence which accompanied militancy, were common.
The like connexion holds with religious offerings. In the extinct militant States of the New World, sacrifices to gods were perpetual, and their shrines were being ever enriched by deposited valuables. Papyri, wall-paintings, and sculptures, show us that among ancient Eastern nations, highly militant in their activities and types of structure, oblations to deities were large and continual; and that vast amounts of property were devoted to making their temples glorious. During early and militant times throughout [p.104] Europe, gifts to God and the Church were more general and extensive than they are in our relatively industrial times. It is observable, too, how, even now, that representative of the primitive oblation which we still have in the bread and wine of the mass and the sacrament (offered to God before being consumed by communicants), recurs less frequently here than in Catholic societies, which are relatively more militant in type of organization; while the offering of incense, which is one of the primitive forms of sacrifice among various peoples and survives in the Catholic service, has disappeared from the authorized service in England. Nor in our own society do we fail to trace a kindred contrast. For while within the Established Church, which forms part of that regulative structure developed by militancy, sacrificial observances continue, they are not performed by that most unecclesiastical of sects, the Quakers; who, absolutely unmilitant, show us also by the absence of an established priesthood, and by the democratic form of their government, the type of organization most characteristic of industrialism.
The like holds even with the custom of present-giving for purposes of social propitiation. We see this on comparing European nations, which, otherwise much upon a par in their stages of progress, differ in the degrees to which industrialism has qualified militancy. In Germany, where periodic making of gifts among relatives and friends is a universal obligation, and in Franco, where the burden similarly entailed is so onerous that at the New Year and at Easter, people not unfrequently leave home to escape it, this social Usage survives in greater strength than in England, less militant in organization.
Of this kind of ceremony, then, as of the kinds already dealt with, we may say that, taking shape with the establishment of that political headship which militancy produces, it develops with the development of the militant type of social structure, and declines with tho development of the industrial type.
§ 378. One may go to the house of a blameworthy man to reproach him, or to that
of an inferior who is in trouble to give aid, or to that of a reputed oddity to
gratify curiosity: a visit is not intrinsically a mark of homage. Visits of
certain kinds, however, become extrinsically marks of homage. In its primitive
form, making a present implies going to see the person it is made to. Hence, by
association, this act comes to be itself indicative of respect, and eventually
acquires the character of a reverential ceremony.
From this it results that just as the once-voluntary present grows into the compulsory present, and ends in tribute periodically paid; so the concomitant visit loses its voluntary character, and, as political supremacy strengthens, becomes an expression of subordination demanded by the ruler at stated intervals.
§ 379. Naturally this ceremony takes no definite shape where chiefly power is undecided; and hence is not usual in simple tribes. Even in societies partially compounded, it characterizes less the relations between the common people and the rulers next above them, than the relations between these subordinate rulers and superior rulers. Still there are places where subjects show their local heads the consideration implied by this act. Some of the Coast Negroes, the Joloffs for example, come daily to their village chiefs [p.106] to salute them; and among the Kaffirs, the Great Place (as the chief's residence is termed) is the resort of all the principal men of the tribe, who attend "for the purpose of paying their respects to the chief."
But, as just implied, the visits chiefly to be noted as elements in ceremonial government, are those which secondary rulers and officials of certain grades are required to pay. In a compound society headed by a chief who has been victorious over other chiefs, there arises the need for periodic demonstrations of allegiance. Habitually the central ruler, knowing that these subjugated local rulers must chafe under their humiliation, and ever suspecting conspiracies among them, insists on their frequently recurring presence at his place of residence. He thus satisfies himself in two ways: he receives re-assurances of loyalty by gifts brought and homage performed, while he gets proof that his guests are not then engaged in trying to throw off his yoke.
Hence the fact that in compound societies the periodic visit to the king is a political ceremony. Concerning a conquered people in ancient Peru, we read that the Yncas "ordered that, during certain months in the year, the native chiefs should reside at the court of Cuzco," and, speaking of other subordinate rulers, F. de Xeres says—"Some of these chiefs [who came to visit Atahuallpa] were lords of 30,000 Indians, all subject to Atahuallpa." In ancient .Mexico a like usage is shown to have had a like origin. Prom the chiefs of the conquered province of Chalco, certain indications of submission were required; and "Montezuma II. asked them, besides, to come to Mexico twice a-year, and so take part in the festivals." Africa in our own day furnishes an illustration showing at once the motive for the usage and the reluctant feeling with which it is sometimes conformed to. In Ashantee,
"At that great annual festival [the yam-custom] all the caboceers and captains, and the greater number of the tributary kings or chiefs, [p.107] are expected to appear in the capital. .... Sometimes a chief who suspects that he has become obnoxious to the king, will not trust himself in the capital without the means of defence or intimidation."
Further, as showing how in Africa the visit is a recognized expression of
subordination, we have the fact that "it is not 'etiquette' for the king of
Dahomey to visit even his highest officers." And then Madagascar and Siam yield
instances in which the political meaning of the visit is shown by making it to a
proxy ruler. Ellis mentions certain Malagasy chiefs as "going to the residence
of the governor, to present their homage to the sovereign's representative,
according to the custom of the country at this season;" and, speaking of the
"thirteen other kings" in his dominions who every year pay tribute to the king
of Siam, Bowring quotes evidence that "formerly they used to come to the city of
Odiaa. to make their sumbaya (which was to kiss the sword of their Grand Sefior);
and now, by the Royal command, they come to make it before his viceroy." Writing
in the seventeenth century, Tavernier describes the extreme to which this kind
of ceremony was carried in the empire of the Mogul. "All those that are at Court
are oblig'd, under a considerable Penalty, to come twice every day to salute the
King in the Assembly, once about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning, when he
renders justice; and the second time about six hours at night." And such
scepticism as we might reasonably feel concerning this statement, is removed on
finding that at the present time in Jummoo and Kashmir, the Maharaja receives
bi-diurnal visits from "all of a certain standing." Till lately, Japan furnished
various illustrations of the usage and its meanings. There was the yearly visit
made by the secular monarch to the Mikado, originally in person and then by
proxy; there were the yearly visits of the nobles to court—the superior ones
doing homage to the emperor himself and the inferior ones to his ministers; and,
still more significantly, there were the recurring migrations
[p.108] of certain lords, the Siornio, who were
"allowed but six months stay in their hereditary dominions; the other half-year
they must spend in the imperial capital, Jedo, where their wives and families
are kept all the year round as hostages of their fidelity."
How in feudal Europe like customs arose from like causes, the reader will need only to be reminded. Periodical visits were made by vassals to their suzerains and by these to their higher suzerains—the kings; prolonged residences at places of government grew out of these periodical visits; and the payment of such visits having come to be a recognized expression of allegiance, absence on the appointed occasions was considered a sign of insubordination. As says de Tocqueville, giving an interpretation which partially recognizes the origin of the usage:—
"The abandonment of a country life by the nobility [in France] .... was, no doubt, an idea almost always pursued by the kings of France, during the three last centuries of the monarchy, to separate the gentry from the people, and to attract the former to Court and to public employments. This was especially the case in the seventeenth century, when the nobility were still an object of fear to royalty."
To which facts add that among ourselves down to the present day, going to court
at intervals, expected specially of all who hold official positions above a
certain grade, and expected generally of members of the governing classes, is
taken as an expression of loyalty; and continued absence is interpreted as a
mark of disrespect, bringing disfavour.
§ 380. In the last chapter we saw that to deceased persons as well as to living persons, propitiatory presents are made. We have now to observe that in the one case as in the other visits are entailed.
As in primitive beliefs, the powers of men's ghosts are greater than were those of the men themselves, it results that present-making visits to the dead begin even earlier than do those to the living. In § 83 it was shown that among the Innuits (Esquimaux), who have no chiefs, and [p.109] therefore no visits expressing political allegiance, there are occasional journeys with gifts to the graves of departed relations. In § 85 instances of such periodic journeys performed by various peoples, savage and semi-civilized, were given. And in § 144 we saw how, in subsequent stages, these grow into quasi-religious and religious pilgrimages.
Here, from the usages of more advanced peoples, may be given two examples showing how close is the relation between these visits paid to the deified and undeified dead, and visits paid to the living. Describing the observances on All Saints' Day in Spain, Rose writes—"This festival is observed for three days, and ... the streets are filled with holiday-makers. Yet none of these forget to walk down to the house of their dead, and gaze on it with respect." And then in Japan, where sacred and secular are but little differentiated, these visits made to gods, ancestors, superiors, and equals, are intimately associated. Says Kaempfer:—
"Their festivals and holidays are days sacred rather to mutual compliments and civilities, than to acts of holiness and devotion, for which reason they call them also rebis, which implies as much as visiting days. It is true, indeed, that they think it a duty incumbent on them, on those days, to go to the temple of Tensio Dai Sin, the first and principal object of their worship, and the temples of their other gods and deceased great men... Yet the best part of their time is spent with visiting and complimenting their superiors, friends, and relations."
As further proving how important in super-ceremonious Japan is the visit as a mark of subordination, while it also discloses a curious sequence from the Japanese theory that their sacred monarch rules the other world as well as this world, kt me add an extract showing that the gods themselves pay visits.
"All the other kamis or gods of the country are under an obligation to visit him [the Mikado, the living kami] once a year, and to wait upon his sacred person, though in an in risible manner, during the tenth month .... which is by them called Kaminatsuki, that is, the month without gods .... because the gods are supposed not to be at home in their temples, but at court waiting upon their Dairi."
These and many kindred facts force on us the conclusion that from propitiatory
visits, now to the living and now to the dead, have been developed those visits
of worship which we class as religious. When we watch in a continental cemetery,
relatives periodically coming to hang fresh immortelles round tombs, and observe
how the decayed wreaths on unvisited tombs are taken to imply lack of respect
for the ill act—when we remember how in Catholic countries journeys are made
with kindred feelings to the shrines of semi-deified men called saints—when we
note that between pilgrimages of this kind and pilgrimages made in days gone by
to the Holy Sepulchre, the differences are simply between the distances
travelled and the ascribed degrees of holiness of the places; we see that the
primitive man's visit to the grave, where the ghost is supposed to reside,
originates the visit to the temple regarded as the residence of the god, and
that both are allied to visits of reverence to the living. Remote as appear the
going to church and the going to court, they are divergent forms of the same
thing. That which once linked the two has now almost lapsed; but we need only go
back to early times, when a journey to the abode of a living superior had the
purpose of carrying a present, doing homage, and expressing submission, while
the journey to a temple was made for offering oblations, professing obedience,
uttering praises, to recognize the parallelism. Before the higher creeds arose,
the unseen ruler visited by the religious worshipper was supposed to be present
in his temple, just as much as was the seen ruler visited at his court; and
though now the presence of the unseen ruler in his temple is conceived in a
vaguer way, he is still supposed to be in closer proximity than usual.
§ 381. As with other ceremonies so with this ceremony. What begins as a propitiation of the most powerful man—now living, now dead, now apotheosized—extends as a pro- [p.111] pitiation of men who are less powerful; and, continuing to spread, finally becomes a propitiation of equals.
How, as tacitly expressing subordination, the visit comes to be looked for by one who claims superiority, and to be recognized as an admission of inferiority by one who pays it, is well shown in a story which Palgrave narrates. Feysul, king of the Wahhabees, ordered his son Sa'ood to pay a visit to Abd-Allah, an elder brother. "I am the stranger guest, while he is an inhabitant of the town,' replied Sa'ood, 'and it is accordingly his duty to call first on me.'" ... Feysul entreated Abd-Allah "to fulfil the obligation of a first visit. But the elder son proved no less intractable."
Peoples in various parts of the world supply facts having kindred meanings. The old traveller Tavernier, writes that "the Persians are very much accustom'd to make mutual Visits one to another at their solemn Festivals. The more noble sort stay at home to expect the visits of their Inferiors." So in Africa. Of a rich Indian trader, living at Unyanyembe, Grant says—"Moosah sat from morn till night ... receiving salutes and compliments from the rich and poor." Passing to Europe we have, in ancient Rome, the morning calls of clients on their patrons. And in an old French book of manners translated into English in the seventeenth century, we read—"A great person is to be visited often, and his health to be inquir'd after."
These instances sufficiently indicate that gradual descent of the visit of ceremony which has finally brought it down to an ordinary civility—a civility which, however, still bears traces of its origin; since it is regarded more as due from an inferior to a superior than conversely, and is taken as a condescension when paid by a superior to an inferior. Evidently the morning call is a remote sequence of that system under which a subordinate ruler had from time to time to show loyalty to a chief ruler by presenting himself to do homage.
§ 382. In this case as in preceding cases, we have, lastly, to note the
relations between visit-making and types of social organization.
That in simple tribes without settled headships, it cannot become a political ceremony is obvious; and that it begins to prevail in societies compounded to the second and third degrees, the evidence clearly shows. As before, however, so now, we find on grouping and comparing the facts that it is not so much with the size of the society as with its structure, that this ceremony is connected. Being one of the expressions of obedience, it is associated with development of the militant organization. Hence as proved by the instances given, it grows into a conspicuous element of ceremonial rule in nations which are under those despotic forms of government which militancy produces—ancient Mexico and ancient Peru in the New World, China and Japan in the East. And the earlier stages of European societies exemplified the relation.
The converse relation is no less manifest. Among ourselves, characterized as we now are by predominance of industrialism over militancy, the visit as a manifestation of loyalty is no longer imperative. And in the substitution of cards for calls, we may observe a growing tendency to dispense with it as a formality of social intercourse.
§ 383. Concerning a party of Shoshones surprised by them, Lewis and Clarke
write—"The other two, an elderly woman and a little girl, seeing we were too
near for them to escape, sat on the ground, and holding down their heads seemed
as if reconciled to the death which they supposed awaited them. The same habit
of holding down the head and inviting the enemy to strike, when all chance of
escape is gone, is preserved in Egypt to this day." Here we are shown an effort
to propitiate by absolute submission; and from acts so prompted originate
When, at the outset, in illustration of the truth that ceremony precedes not only social evolution but human evolution, I named the behaviour of a small dog which throws itself on its back in presence of an alarming great dog, probably many readers thought I was putting on this behaviour a forced construction. They would not have thought so had they known that a parallel mode of behaviour occurs among human beings. Livingstone says of the Batoka salutation—"they throw themselves on their backs on the ground, and, rolling from side to side, slap the outside of their thighs as expressions of thankfulness and welcome." The assumption of this attitude, which implies—"You need not subdue me, I am subdued already," is the best means of obtaining safety. Resistance arouses the [p.114] destructive instincts; and prostration on the back negatives resistance. Another attitude equally helpless, more elaborately displays subjugation. "At Tonga Tabu ... the common people show their great chief ... the greatest respect imaginable by prostrating themselves before him, and by putting his foot on their necks." The like occurs in Africa. Laird says the messengers from the king of Fundah "each bent down and put my foot on their heads." And among historic peoples this position, originated by defeat, became a position assumed in acknowledging submission.
From such primary obeisances representing completely the attitudes of the conquered beneath the conqueror, there come obeisances which express in various ways the subjection of the slave to the master. Of old in the East this subjection was expressed when "Ben-hadad's servants girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel." In Peru, where the militant type of organization was pushed so far, a sign of humility was to have the hands tied and a rope round the neck. In both cases there was an assumption of those bonds which originally marked captives brought from the battle-field. Along with this mode of simulating slavery to the Ynca, another mode was employed. Servitude had to be indicated by carrying a burden; and "this taking up a load to enter the presence of Atahuallpa, is a ceremony which was performed by all the lords who have reigned in that land."
These extreme instances I give at the outset by way of showing the natural genesis of the obeisance as a means of obtaining mercy; first from a victor and then from a ruler. A full conception of the obeisance, however, includes another clement. In the introductory chapter it was pointed out that sundry signs of pleasure, having a physio-psychological origin, which occur in presence of those for whom there is affection, pass into complimentary observances; because men are pleased by supposing themselves liked, and are [p.115] therefore pleased by demonstrations of liking. So that while trying to propitiate a superior by expressing submission to him, there is generally an endeavour further to propitiate him by showing joy at his presence. Keeping in view both these elements of the obeisance, let us now consider its varieties; with their political, religious, and social uses.
§ 381. Though the loss of power to resist which prostration on the face implies, does not reach the utter defencelessness implied by prostration on the back, yet it is great enough to make it a sign of profound homage; and hence it occurs as an obeisance wherever despotism is unmitigated and subordination slavish. In ancient America, before a Cbibcha cazique, "people had to appear prostrate and with their faces touching the ground."' In Africa, "when he addresses the king, a Borghoo man stretches himself on the earth as flat as a flounder." Asia furnishes many instances. "When preferring a complaint, a Khond or Panoo will throw himself on his face with his hands joined;" and while, in Siam, "before the nobles all subordinates are in a state of reverent prostration, the nobles themselves, in the presence of the sovereign, exhibit the same crawling obeisance." Similarly in Polynesia. Falling on the face was a mark of submission among the Sandwich Islanders: the king did so to Cook when he first met him. And in the records of ancient historic peoples kindred illustrations are given; as when Mephibosheth fell on his face and did reverence before David; or as when the king of Bithynia fell on his face before the Roman senate. In some cases this attitude of the conquered before the conqueror, has its meaning emphasized by repetition. Bootan supplies an instance:—"They ... made before the Raja nine prostrations, which is the obeisance paid to him by his subjects whenever they are permitted to approach."
Every kind of ceremony is apt to have its primitive-character obscured by abridgment; and by abridgment [p.116] this profoundest of obeisances is rendered a less profound one. In performing a full-length, prostration there is passed through an attitude in which the body is on the knees with the head on the ground; and to rise, it is needful to draw up the knees before raising the head and getting on the feet. Hence this attitude may be considered as an incomplete prostration. It is a very general one. Among the Coast Negroes, if a native "goes to visit his superior, or meets him by chance, he immediately falls on his knees, and thrice successively kisses the earth." In acknowledgment of his inferiority, the king of the Brass people never spoke to the king of the Ibos "without going down on his knees and touching the ground with his head." At Embomma, on the Congo, "the mode of salutation is by gently clapping the hands, and an inferior at the same time goes on his knees and kisses the bracelet on the superior's ancle."
Often the humility of this obeisance is increased by emphasizing the contact with the earth. On the lower Niger, "as a mark of great respect, men prostrate themselves, and strike their heads against the ground." When, in past ages, the Emperor of Russia was crowned, the nobility did homage by "bending down their heads, and knocking them at his feet to the very ground." In China at the present time, among the eight kinds of obeisances, increasing in humility, the fifth is kneeling and striking the head on the ground; the sixth, kneeling and thrice knocking the head, which again doubled makes the seventh, and trebled, the eighth: this last being due to the Emperor and to Heaven. Among the Hebrews, repetition had a kindred meaning. "Jacob bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother."
Naturally this attitude of the conquered man, used by the slave before his master and the subject before his ruler, becomes that of the worshipper before his deity. We find complete prostrations made whether the being to be propitiated [p.117] is visible or invisible. "Abraham fell upon his face" before God when he covenanted with him; "Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel;" and when Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image there was a threat of death on "whoso falleth not down and worshipped." Similarly, the incomplete prostration in presence of kings recurs in presence of deities. When making obeisances to their idols, the Mongols touch the ground with the forehead. .. The Japanese in their temples "fall down upon their knees, bow their head quite to the ground, slowly and with great humility." And sketches of Mahommedons at their devotions familiarize ns with a like attitude.
§ 365. From the positions of prostration on back or face, and of semi-prostration on knees, we pass to sundry others; which, however, continue to imply relative inability to resist. In some cases it is permissible to vary the attitude, as in Dahomey, where "the highest officers lie before the king in the position of Romans upon the triclinium. At times they roll over upon their bellies, or relieve themselves by standing on all fours." Duran states that "cowering .... was, with the Mexicans, the posture of respect, as with us is genuflexion." Crouching shows homage among the New Caledonians; as it does in Fiji, and in Tahiti.
Other changes in attitudes of this class are entailed by the necessities of locomotion. In Dahomey "when approaching royalty they either crawl like snakes or shuffle forward on their knees." When changing their places before a superior, the Siamese "drag themselves on their hands and knees." In Java an inferior must "walk with his hams upon his heels until he is out of his superior's sight." Similarly with the subjects of a Zulu king—even with his wives. And in Loango, extension of this attitude to the household appears not to be limited to the court: wives in general "dare not speak to them [their husbands] but upon their bare knees, and in meeting them must creep upon [p.118] their hands." A neighbouring state furnishes an instance of gradation in these forms of partial prostration; and a recognized meaning in the gradation. The Dakro, a woman who bears messages from the Dahoman King to the Meu, goes on all fours before the king; and "as a rule she goes en all fours to the Meu, and only kneels to smaller men, who become quadrupeds to her."
Here we come, incidentally, upon a further abridgment of the original prostration; whence results one of the most widely-spread obeisances. As from the entirely prone posture we pass to the posture of the Mahommedan worshipper with forehead on the ground; so from this we pass to the posture on all fours, and from this, by raising the body, to simple kneeling. That kneeling is, and has been in countless places and times, a form of political homage, a form of domestic homage, and a form of religious homage, needs no showing. We will note only that it is, and has been, in all cases associated with coercive government; as in Africa, where "by thus constantly practising genuflexion upon the hard ground, their [the Dahomans'] knees in time become almost as hard as their heels;" as in Japan, where "on leaving the presence of the Emperor, officers walk backwards on their knees;" as in China, "where the Viceroy's children .... as they passed by their father's tent, fell on their knees and bowed three times, with their faces towards the ground," and as in mediaeval Europe, where serfs knelt to their masters and feudal vassals to their suzerains.
Not dwelling on the transition from descent on both knees to descent on one knee, which, less abject, comes a stage nearer the erect attitude, it will suffice to note the hansition from kneeling on one knee to bending the knee. That this form of obeisance is an abridgment, is well shown us by the Japanese.
"On meeting, they show respect by bending the knee; and when they wish to do unusual honour to an individual they place themselves on the knee and bow down to the ground. But this is never done in [p.119] the streets, where they merely make a motion as if they were going to kneel. "When they salute a person of rank, they bend the knee in such a manner as to touch the ground with their fingers."
We are shown the same thing equally well, or better, in China; where, among the
specified gradations of obeisance, the third is defined as bending the knee, and
the fourth as actual kneeling. Manifestly that which still survives among
ourselves as the curtesy with the one sex, and that which until recently
survived with the other sex as the scrape (made by a backward sweep of the right
foot), are both of them vanishing forms of the going down on one knee.
There remains only the accompanying bend of the body. This, while the first motion passed through in making a complete prostration, is also the last motion that survives as the prostration becomes stage by stage abridged. In various places we meet indications of this transition. "Among the Soosoos, even the wives of a great man, when speaking to him, bend their bodies, and place one hand upon each knee; this is done also when passing by." In Samoa, "in passing through a room where a chief is sitting, it is disrespectful to walk erect; the person must pass along with his body bent downwards." Of the ancient Mexicans who, during: an assembly, crouched before their chief, we read that "when they retired, it was done with the head lowered." And then in the Chinese ritual of ceremony, obeisance number two, less humble than bending the knee, is bowing low with the hands joined. Bearing in mind that there are insensible transitions between the humble salaam of the Hindoo, the profound bow which in Europe shows great respect, and the moderate bend of the head expressive of consideration, we cannot doubt that the familiar and sometimes scarcely-perceptible nod, is the last trace of the prostration.
These several abridgments of the prostration which we see occur in doing political homage and social homage, [p.120] occur also in doing religious homage. Of the Congoese, Bastian says that when they have to speak to a superior—
"They kneel, turn the face half aside, and stretch out the hands towards the person addressed, which they strike together at every address. They might have sat as models to the Egyptian priests when making the representations on the temple walls, so striking is the resemblance between what is represented there and what actually takes place here."
And we may note kindred parallelisms in European religious observances. There is
the going on both knees and the going on one knee; and there are the bowings and
curtseyings on certain occasions at the name of Christ.
§ 386. As already explained, along with the act expressing humility, the complete obeisance includes some act expressing gratification. To propitiate the superior effectually it is needful at once to imply—"I am your slave," and—"I love you."
Certain of the instances cited above have exemplified the union of these two factors. Along with the attitude of abject submission assumed by the Batoka, we saw that there go rhythmic blows of the hands against the thighs. In some of the cases named, clapping of the hands, also indicating joy, was described as being an accompaniment of movements showing subjection; and many others may be added. Nobles who approach the king of Loango, "clap their hands two or three times, and then cast themselves at his majesty's feet into the sand." Speke says of certain attendants of the king of Uganda, that they "threw themselves in line upon their bellies, and, wriggling like fish ... whilst they continued floundering, kicking about their legs, rubbing their faces, and patting their hands upon the ground." Going on their knees to superiors, the Balonda "continue the salutation of clapping the hands until the great ones have passed;" and a like use of the hands occurs in Dahomey. A further rhythmical movement having like meaning must be added. Already [p.121] we have seen that jumping, as a natural sign of delight, is a friendly salute among the Fuegians, and that it recurs in Loango as a mark of respect to the king. Africa furnishes another instance. Grant narrates that the king of Karague "received the salutations of his people, who, one by one, shrieked and sprang in front of him, swearing allegiance." Let such salutatory movements be systematized, as they are likely to be during social progress, and they will constitute the dancing with which a ruler is sometimes saluted; as in the before-named case of the king of Bogota, and as in the case Williams gives in his account of Fiji, where an inferior chief and his suite, entering the royal presence, "performed a dance, which they finished by presenting their clubs and upper dresses to the Somo-Somo king."
Of the other simulated signs of pleasure commonly forming part of the obeisance, kissing is the most conspicuous. This, of course, has to take such form as consists with the humility of the prostration or kindred attitude. As shown in certain foregoing instances, we have kissing the earth when the superior cannot be approached close enough for kissing the feet or the garment. Others may be added. "It is the custom at Eboe, when the king is out, and indeed indoors as well, for the principal people to kneel on the ground and kiss it three times when he passes;" and the ancient Mexican ambassadors, on coming to Cortes, "first touched the ground with their hands and then kissed it." This, in the ancient East, expressed submission of conquered to conqueror; and is said to have gone as far as kissing the footmarks of a conqueror's horse. Abyssinia, where the despotism is extreme and the obeisances servile, supplies a modification. In Shoa, kissing the nearest inanimate object belonging to a superior or a benefactor, is a sign of respect and thanks. From this we pass to licking the feet and kissing the feet. Of a Malagasy chief Drury says—"he had scarcely seated himself at his door, when his wife came out crawling on her hands and knees [p.122] till she came to him, and then licked his feet ... all the women in the town saluted their husbands in the same manner." Slaves did the like to their masters. So in ancient Peru, "when the chiefs came before [Atahuallpa], they made great obeisances, kissing his feet and hands." Egyptian wall-paintings represent this extreme homage; and in Assyrian records Sennacherib mentions that Menahem of Samaria came up to bring presents and to kiss his feet. "Kissing his feet" was part of the reverence shown to Christ by the woman with the box of ointment. At the present day among the Arabs, inferiors kiss the feet, the knees, or the garments of their superiors. Kissing the Sultan's feet is a usage in Turkey; and Sir R. K. Porter narrates that in acknowledgment of a present, a Persian "threw himself on the ground, kissed my knees and my feet."
Kissing the hand is a less humiliating observance than kissing the feet; mainly, perhaps, because it does not involve a prostration. This difference of implication is recognized in regions remote from one another. In Tonga, "when a person salutes a superior relation, he kisses the hand of the party; if a very superior relation, he kisses the foot." And the women who wait on the Arabian princesses, kiss their hands when they do them the favour not to suffer them to kiss their feet or the borders of their robes. The prevalence of this obeisance as expressing loving submission, is so great as to render illustration superfluous.
What is implied, where, instead of kissing another's hand, the person making the obeisance kisses his own hand? Does the one symbolize the other, as being the nearest approach to it possible under the circumstances? This appears a hazardous inference; but there is evidence justifying it. D'Arvieux says—
"An oriental pays his respects to a person of superior station by taking his hand and patting it to his forehead; but if the superior be of a condescending temper, he will snatch away his hand as soon as [p.123] the other has touched it; then the inferior puts his own fingers to his lips and afterwards to his forehead."
This, I think, makes it clear that the common custom of kissing the hand to
another, originally expressed the wish, or the willingness, to kiss his hand.
Here, as before, the observance, beginning as a spontaneous propitiation of conqueror by conquered, of master by slave, of ruler by ruled, early passes into a religious propitiation also. To the ghost, and to the deity developed from the ghost, these actions of love and liking are used. That embracing and kissing of the lower extremities, which was among the Hebrews an obeisance to the living person, Egyptian wall-paintings represent as an obeisance made to the mummy enclosed in its case; and then, in pursuance of this action, we have kissing the feet of statues of gods in pagan Rome and of holy images among Christians. Ancient Mexico furnished an instance of the transition from kissing the ground as a political obeisance, to a modified kissing the ground as a religious obeisance. Describing an oath Clavigero says—"Then naming the principal god, or any other they particularly reverenced, they kissed their hand, after having touched the earth with it." In Peru "the manner of worship was to open the hands, to make some noise with the lips as of kissing, and to ask what they wished, at the same time offering the sacrifice;" and Garcilasso, describing the libation to the Sun, adds—"At the same time they kissed the air two or three times, which .... was a token of adoration among these Indians." Nor have European races failed to furnish kindred facts. Kissing the hand to the statue of a god was a Roman form of adoration.
Once more, salutatory movements, which, being natural expressions of delight become complimentary acts before a visible ruler, become acts of worship before an invisible ruler. David danced before the ark. Dancing was originally a religious ceremony among the Greeks: from [p.124] the earliest times the "worship of Apollo was connected with a religious dance." King Pepin, "like King David, forgetful of the regal purple, in his joy bedewed his costly robes with tears, and danced before the relics of the blessed martyr." And in the Middle Ages there were religious dances in churches; as there are still in Christian churches at Jerusalem.
§ 387. To interpret another series of observances we must go back to the prostration in its original form. I refer to those expressions of submission which are made by putting dust or ashes on some part of the body.
Men cannot roll over in the sand in front of their king, or crawl before him, or repeatedly knock their heads against the ground, without soiling themselves. Hence the adhering dirt is recognized as a concomitant mark of subjection; and comes to be gratuitously assumed, and artificially increased, in the anxiety to propitiate. Already the association between this act and the act of prostration has been incidentally exemplified by cases from Africa; and Africa furnishes other cases which exemplify more fully this self-defiling as a distinct form. "In the Congo regions prostration is made, the earth is kissed, and dust is strewed over the forehead and arms, before every Banza or village chief," and Burton adds that the Dahoman salutation consists of two actions—prostration and pouring sand or earth upon the head. Similarly "in saluting a stranger, they [the Kakanda people on the Niger] stoop almost to the earth, throwing dust on their foreheads several times." And among the Balonda,
"The inferiors, on meeting their superiors in the street, at once drop on their knees and rub dust on their arms and chest. .... During an oration to a person commanding respect, the speaker every two or three seconds 'picked up a little sand, and rubbed it on the upper part of his arms and chest.' .... When they wish to be excessively polite, they bring a quantity of ashes or pipeclay in a piece of skin, [p.125] and, taking up handfuls, rub it on the chest and upper front part of each arm."
Moreover, we are shown how in this case, as in all other cases, the ceremony
undergoes abridgment. Of these same Balonda, Livingstone says, "the chiefs go
through the manoeuvre of rubbing the sand on the arms, but only make a feint of
picking up some." On the Lower Niger, the people when making prostrations "cover
them [their heads] repeatedly with sand; or at all events they go through the
motion of doing so. Women, on perceiving their friends, kneel immediately, and
pretend to pour sand alternately over each arm." In Asia this ceremony was, and
still is performed with like meaning. As expressing political humiliation it was
adopted by the priests who, when going to implore Florus to spare the Jews,
appeared "with dust sprinkled in great plenty upon their heads, with bosoms
deprived of any covering but what was rent." In Turkey, abridgments of the
obeisance may yet be witnessed. At a review, even officers on horseback,
saluting their superiors, "go through the form of throwing dust over their
heads;" and when a caravan of pilgrims started, spectators "went through the
pantomime of throwing dirt over their heads."
Hebrew records prove that this sign of submission made before visible persons, was made before invisible persons also. Along with those blood-lettings and markings of the flesh and cuttings of the hair which, at funerals, were used to propitiate the ghost, there went the putting of ashes on the head. The like was done to propitiate the deity; as when "Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads." Even still this usage occurs among Catholics on occasions of special humiliation.
§ 388. We must again return to that original obeisance which first actually is, and then which simulates, the [p.126] attitude of the conquered before the conqueror, to find the clue to certain further movements signifying submission. As described in a foregoing paragraph, the supplicating Khond "throws himself on his face with hands joined." Whence this attitude of the hands?
From the usages of a people among whom submission and all marks of it were carried to great extremes, an instance has already been given indicating the genesis of this action. A sign of humility in ancient Peru was to have the hands bound and a rope round the neck: the condition of captives was simulated. Did there need proof that it has been a common practice to make prisoners of war defenceless by tying their hands, I might begin with Assyrian wall-sculptures, in which men thus bound are represented; but the fact that among ourselves, men charged with crimes are hand-cuffed by the police when taken, shows how naturally suggested is this method of rendering prisoners impotent. And for concluding that bound hands hence came to be an adopted mark of subjection, further reason is furnished by two strange customs found in Africa and Asia respectively. When the king of Uganda returned the visit of captains Speke and Grant, "his brothers, a mob of little ragamuffins, several in hand-cuffs, sat behind him. ... It was said that the king, before coming to the throne, always went about in irons, as his small brothers now do." And then, among the Chinese, "on the third day after the birth of a child .... the ceremony of binding its wrists is observed. ... These things are worn till the child is fourteen days old ... sometimes .... for several months, or even for a year. ... It is thought that such a tying of the wrists will tend to keep the child from being troublesome in after life."
Such indications of its origin, joined with such examples of derived practices, force on us the inference that raising the joined hands as part of that primitive obeisance signifying absolute submission, was an offering of the hands to be [p.127] bound. The above-described attitude of the Khond exhibit the proceeding in its original form; and on reading in Huc that "the Mongul hunter saluted us, with his clasped hands raised to his forehead," or in Drury that when the Malagasy approach a great man, they hold the hands up in a supplicatory form, we cannot doubt that this act now expresses reverence because it originally implied subjugation. Of the Siamese, La Loubere says—"If you extend your hand to a Siamese, to place it in his, he carries both his hands to yours, as if to place himself entirely in your power." That presentation of the joined hands has the meaning here suggested, is elsewhere shown. In Unyanyembe, "when two of them meet, the Wezee puts both his palms together, these are gently clasped by the Watusi" [a man of more powerful race]; and in Sumatra, the obeisance "consists in bending the body, and the inferior's putting his joined hands between those of the superior, and then lifting them to his forehead." By these instances we are reminded that a kindred act was once a form of submission in Europe. When doing homage, the vassal, on his knees, placed his joined hands between the hands of his suzerain.
As in foregoing cases, an attitude signifying defeat and therefore political subordination, becomes an attitude of religious devotion. By the Mahommedan worshipper we are shown that same clasping of the hands above the head which expresses reverence for a living superior. Among the Greeks, "the Olympian gods were prayed to in an upright position with raised hands; the marine gods with hands held horizontally; the gods of Tartarus with hands held down.'' And the presentation of the hands joined palm to palm, once throughout Europe required from an inferior when professing obedience to a superior, is still taught to children as the attitude of prayer.
A kindred use of the hands descends into social intercourse; and in the far East the filiation continues to be clear. "When the Siamese salute one another, they join [p.128] the hands, raising them before the face or above the head." Of the eight obeisances in China, the least profound is that of putting the hands together and raising them before the breast. Even among ourselves a remnant of this action is traceable. An obsequious shopman or fussy innkeeper, may be seen to join and loosely move the slightly raised hands one over another, in a way suggestive of derivation from this primitive sign of submission.
§ 389. A group of obeisances having a connected, though divergent, root, come next to be dealt with. Those which we have thus far considered do not directly affect the subject person's dress. But from modifications of dress, either in position, state, or kind, a series of ceremonial observances result.
The conquered man, prostrate before his conqueror, and becoming himself a possession, simultaneously loses possession of whatever things he has about him; and therefore, surrendering his weapons, he also yields up, if the victor demands it, whatever part of his dress is worth taking. Hence the nakedness, partial or complete, of the captive, becomes additional evidence of his subjugation. That it was so regarded of old in the East, there is clear proof. In Isaiah xx. 2-4, we read—"And the Lord said, like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign ... so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot." And that the Assyrians completely stripped their captives is shown by their sculptures. Nay, even our own days furnish evidence; as at the beginning of the Afghan war, when the Afreedces were reported to have stripped certain prisoners they had taken. Naturally, then, the taking off and yielding up of clothing becomes a mark of political submission, and in some cases even a complimentary observance. In Fiji, on the day for paying tribute [p.129] "The chief of Somo-Somo, who had previously stripped off his robes, then sat down, and removed even the train or covering, which was of immense length, from his waist. He gave it to the speaker," who gave him "in return a piece large enough only for the purposes of decency. The rest of the Somo-Somo chiefs, each of whom on coming on the ground had a train of several yards in length, stripped themselves entirely, left their trains, and walked away .... thus leaving all the Somo-Somo people naked."
Further we read that during Cook's stay at Tahiti, two men of superior rank "came on board, and each singled out his friend .... this ceremony consisted in taking off great part of their clothes and putting them upon us." And then in another Polynesian island, Samoa, this complimentary act is greatly abridged: only the girdle is presented.
With such facts to give us the clue, we can scarcely doubt that surrender of clothing originates those obeisances which are made by uncovering the body, more or less extensively. All degrees of uncovering have this meaning. From Ibn Batuta's account of his journey into the Soudan, Mr. Tylor cites the statement that "women may only come unclothed into the presence of the Sultan of Melli, and even the Sultan's own daughters must conform to the custom;" and what doubt we might reasonably feel as to the existence of an obeisance thus carried to its original extreme, is removed on reading in Speke that at the present time, at the court of Uganda, "stark-naked, full-grown women are the valets." Elsewhere in Africa an incomplete, though still considerable, unclothing as an obeisance occurs. In Abyssinia inferiors bare their bodies down to the girdle in presence of superiors; "but to equals the corner of the cloth is removed only for a time." The like occurs in Polynesia. The Tahitians uncover "the body as low as the waist, in the presence of the king;" and in the Society Isles generally, "the lower ranks of people, by way of respect, strip off their upper garment in the presence of their principal chiefs." How this obeisance becomes further abridged, and how it becomes extended to other [p.130] persons than rulers, is shown by natives of the Gold Coast.
"They also salute Europeans, and sometimes each other, by slightly removing their robe from their left shoulder with the right hand, gracefully bowing at the same time. When they wish to be very respectful, they uncover the shoulder altogether, and support the robe under the arm, the whole of the person from the breast upwards being left exposed."
And Burton says that, "throughout Yoruba and the Gold Coast, to bare the shoulders is like unhatting in England."
Evidently uncovering the head, thus suggestively compared with uncovering the upper part of the body, has the same original meaning. Even in certain European usages the relation between the two has been recognized; as by Ford, who remarks that "uncloaking in Spain is ... equivalent to our taking off the hat." It is recognized in Africa itself, where, as in Dahomey, the two are joined: "the men bared their shoulders, doffing their caps and large umbrella hats," says Burton, speaking of his reception. It is recognized in Polynesia, where, as in Tahiti, along with the stripping down to the waist before the king, there goes uncovering of the head. Hence it seems that removal of the hat among European peoples, often reduced among ourselves to touching the hat, is a remnant of that process of unclothing himself, by which, in early times, the captive expressed the yielding up of all he had.
That baring the feet has the same origin, is well shown by these same Gold Coast natives; for while they partially bare the upper part of the body, they also take off their sandals "as a mark of respect:" they begin to strip the body at both ends. Throughout ancient America uncovering the feet had a like meaning. In Peru, "no lord, however great he might be, entered the presence of the Ynca in rich clothing, but in humble attire and barefooted;" and in Mexico, "the kings who were vassals of Montezuma were obliged to take off their shoes when they came [p.131] into his presence:" the significance of this act being so great that as "Michoacan was independent of Mexico, the sovereign took the title of cazonzi—that is, 'shod.'" Kindred accounts of Asiatics have made the usage familiar to us. In Burmah, "even in the streets and highways, a European, if he meets with the king, or joins his party, is obliged to take off his shoes." And in Persia, every one who approaches the royal presence must bare his feet.
Verification of these interpretations is yielded by the equally obvious interpretations of certain usages which we similarly meet with in societies where extreme expressions of subjection are required. I refer to the appearing in presence of rulers dressed in coarse clothing—the clothing of slaves. In Mexico, whenever Montezuma's attendants "entered his apartments, they had first to take off their rich costumes and put on meaner garments." In Peru, along with the rule that a subject should appear before the Ynca with a burden on his back, simulating servitude, and alone with the rule that he should be barefooted, further simulating servitude, there went, as we have seen, the rule that "no lord, however great he might be, entered the presence of the Ynca in rich clothing, but in humble attire," again simulating servitude. A kindred though less extreme usage exists in Dahomey: the highest subjects may "ride on horseback, be carried in hammocks, wear silk, maintain a numerous retinue, with large umbrellas of their own order, flags, trumpets, and other musical instruments; but, on their entrance at the royal gate, all these insignia are laid aside." Even in mediaeval Europe, submission w r as expressed by taking off those parts of the dress and appendages which were inconsistent with the appearance of servitude. Thus, in France, in 1467, the head men of a town, surrendering to a victorious duke, "brought to his camp with them three hundred of the best citizens in their shirts, bareheaded, and barelegged, who presented the keies of the citie to him, and yielded themselves to his mercy." And the doing of [p.132] feudal homage included observances of kindred meaning. Saint Simon, describing one of the latest instances, and naming among ceremonies gone through the giving up of belt, sword, gloves, and hat, says that this was done "to strip the vassal of his marks of dignity in the presence of his lord." So that whether it be the putting on of coarse clothing or the putting off of fine clothing, the meaning is the same.
Observances of this kind, like those of other kinds, extend themselves from the feared being who is visible to the feared being who is invisible—the ghost and the god. On remembering that by the Hebrews, putting on sackcloth and ashes was joined with cutting the hair, self-bleeding, and making marks on the body, to propitiate the ghost—on reading that the habit continues in the East, so that a mourning lady described by Mr. Salt, was covered with sackcloth and sprinkled with ashes, and so that Burckhardt "saw the female relations of a deceased chief running through all the principal streets, their bodies half naked, and the little clothing they had on being rags, while the head, face, and breast," were "almost entirely covered with ashes ;" it becomes clear that the semi-nakedness, the torn garments, and the coarse garments, expressing submission to a living superior, serve also to express submission to one who, dying and becoming a supernatural being, has so acquired a power that is dreaded.6 This inference is con- [p.133] firmed on observing that like acts become acts of religious subordination. Isaiah, himself setting the example, exhorts the rebellious Israelites to make their peace with Jahveh in the words—"Strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins." So, too, the fourscore men who came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, to propitiate Jahveh, besides cutting their hair and gashing themselves, tore their clothes. Nor does the parallelism fail with baring the feet. This was a sign of mourning among the Hebrews; as is shown by the command in Ezekiel (xxiv. 17), "Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet." And then, among the Hebrews, putting off the shoes was also an act of worship. Elsewhere, too, it occurred as in common a mark of political subordination and of religious subordination. Of the Peruvians, who went barefoot into the presence of the Ynca, we read that "all took off their shoes, except the king, at two hundred paces before reaching the doors [of the temple of the Sun]; but the king: remained with his shoes on until he came to the doors." Once more, the like holds with baring the head. Used along with other ceremonial acts to propitiate the living superior, this is used also to propitiate the spirit of the ordinary dead, and the spirit of the apotheosized dead. Uncovering round the grave continues even among [p.134] ourselves; and on the Continent, there is uncovering by those who meet a funeral procession. Taking off the hat to images of Christ and the Madonna, out of doors and indoors, was enjoined in old books of manners. Unhatting on the knees when the host is carried by, occurs still in Catholic countries. And habitually men bare their heads on entering places of worship.
Nor must we omit to note that obeisances of this class, too, made first to supreme persons and presently to less powerful persons, diffuse gradually until they become general. Quotations above given have shown incidentally that in Africa partial uncovering of the shoulder is a salute between equals, and that a kindred removal of the cloak in Spain serves a like purpose. Similarly, the going barefoot into a king's presence, and into a temple, originates an ordinary civility. The Damaras take off their sandals before entering a stranger's house; a Japanese leaves his shoes at the door, even when he enters a shop; "upon entering a Turkish house, it is the invariable rule to leave the outer slipper or galosh at the foot of the stairs." And then in Europe, from having been a ceremony of feudal homage and of religious worship, uncovering the head has become an expression of respect due even to a labourer on entering his cottage.
§ 390. These last facts suggest a needful addition to the argument. Something more must be said respecting the way in which all kinds of obeisances between equals, have resulted by diffusion from obeisances which originally expressed surrender to a conqueror.
Proof has been given that rhythmical muscular movements, naturally signifying joy, such as jumping, clapping the hands, and even drumming the ribs with the elbows, become simulated signs of joy used to propitiate a king. These simulated signs of joy become civilities where there is no difference of rank. According to Grant, "when a [p.135] birth took place in the Toorkee camp .... women assembled to rejoice at the door of the mother, by clapping their hands, dancing, and shouting. Their dance consisted in jumping in the air, throwing out their legs in the most uncouth manner, and napping their sides with their elbows." Where circumstances permit, such emphatic marks of consideration become mutual. On the Slave Coast, "when two persons of equal condition meet each other, they fall both down on their knees together, clap hands, and mutually salute, by wishing each other a good day." In China, during a wedding visit "each visitor prostrated himself at the feet of the bride, and knocked his head upon the ground, saying at the same time, 'I congratulate you! I congratulate you!' whilst the bride, also upon her knees, and knocking her head upon the ground, replied, 'I thank you! I thank you!'" And among the Mosquitos, says Bancroft, "one will throw himself at the feet of another, who helps him up, embraces him, and falls down in his turn to be assisted up and comforted with a pressure." Such extreme instances yield verifications of the inference that the mutual bows, and curtseys, and unhattings, among ourselves, are remnants of the original prostrations and strippings of the captive.
But I give these instances chiefly as introducing the interpretation of a still more familiar observance. Already I have named the fact that between polite Arabs the offer of an inferior to kiss a superior's hand, is resisted by the superior if he is condescending, and that the conflict ends by the inferior kissing his own hand to the superior. Further evidence is given by Malcolm, who says:—"Everyone [Arab] who met a friend took his right hand, and, after shaking it, raised it as high as his breast." And the following, from Niebuhr, is an account of an allied usage:—
"Two Arabs of the desert meeting, shake hands more than tea times. Each kisses his own hand, and still repeats the question, 'How art thou?' ... In Yemen, each docs as if he wished the [p.136] other's hand, and draws back his own to avoid receiving the same honour. At length, to end the contest, the eldest of the two suffers the other to kiss his fingers."
Have we not here, then, the origin of shaking hands? If of two persons each
wishes to make an obeisance to the other by kissing his hand, and each out of
compliment refuses to have his own hand kissed, what will happen? Just as when
leaving a room, each of two persons, proposing to give the other precedence,
will refuse to go first, and there will result at the doorway some conflict of
movements, preventing either from advancing; so, if each of two tries to kiss
the other's hand, and refuses to have his own kissed, there will result a
raising of the hand of each by the other towards his own lips, and by the other
a drawing of it down again, and so on alternately. Though at first such an
action will be irregular, yet as fast as the usage spreads, and the failure of
either to kiss the other's hand becomes a recognized issue, the motions may be
expected to grow regular and rhythmical. Clearly the difference between the
simple squeeze, to which this salute is now often abridged, and the
old-fashioned hearty shake, exceeds the difference between the hearty shake and
the movement that would result from the effort of each to kiss the hand of the
Even in the absence of this clue yielded by the Arab custom, we should be obliged to infer some such genesis. After all that has been shown, no one can suppose that hand-shaking was ever deliberately fixed upon as a complimentary observance; and if it had a natural origin in some act which, like the rest, expressed subjection, the act of kissing the hand must be assumed, as alone capable of leading to it.
§ 391. Whatever its kind, then, the obeisance has the same root with the trophy and the mutilation. At the mercy of his conqueror, who, cutting off part of his body as a memorial of victory, kills him, or else, taking some less [p.137] important part, marks him as a subject person, the conquered enemy lies prone before him; now on his back, or now with neck under his conqueror's foot, smeared with dirt, weaponless, and with torn clothes or stripped of the trophy-trimmed robe he prized. Thus the prostration, the coating of dust, and the loss of covering, incidental on defeat, become, like the mutilation, recognized proofs of it. Whence result, first of all, the enforced signs of submission of slaves to masters and subjects to rulers; then the voluntary assumptions of humble attitudes before superiors; and, finally, those complimentary movements expressive of inferiority, made by each to the other between equals.
That all obeisances originate in militancy, is a conclusion harmonizing with the fact that they develop along with development of the militant type of society. Attitudes and motions signifying subjection, do not characterize headless tribes and tribes having unsettled chieftainships, like the Fuegians, the Andamanese, the Australians, the Tasmanians, the Esquimaux; and accounts of etiquette among the wandering and almost unorganized communities of North America, make little, if any, mention of actions expressing subordination. It is remarked of the Kamtschadales, who when found were without rulers, that "their manners are quite rude: they never use any civil expression or salutation; never take off their caps, nor bow to one another." On the other hand, in societies compounded and consolidated by militancy which have acquired the militant type of structure, political and social life are characterized by grovelling prostrations. We find them in warlike, cannibal Fiji, where the power of rulers over subjects is unlimited; we find them in Uganda, where war is chronic, where the revenue is derived from plunder, and where it is said of the king out shooting that, "as his highness could not get any game to shoot at, he shot down many people," we find them in sanguinary Dahomey, where adjacent societies are attacked to get more heads for decorating the king's palace. Among [p.138] states more advanced they occur in Burmah and Siara, where the militant type, bequeathed from the past, has left a monarchial power without restraint; in Japan, where there has been a despotism evolved and fixed during the wars of early times; and in China, where a kindred form of government, similarly originated, survives. The like happens with kissing the feet as an obeisance. This was the usage in ancient Peru, where the entire nation was under a regimental organization and discipline. It prevails in Madagascar, where the militant structure and activity are decided. And among sundry Eastern peoples, living still, as they have ever done, under autocratic rule, this obeisance exists at present as it existed in the remote past. Nor is it otherwise with complete or partial removals of the dress. The extreme forms of this we saw occur in Fiji and in Uganda; while the less extreme form of baring the body down to the waist was exemplified from Abyssinia and Tahiti, where the kingly power, though great, is less recklessly exercised. So, too, with baring the feet. This was an obeisance to the king in ancient Peru and ancient Mexico, as it is now in Burmah and in Persia—all of them having the despotic government evolved by militancy. And the like relation holds with the other servile obeisances—the putting dust on the head, the assumption of mean clothing, the taking up a burden to carry, the binding of the hands.
The same truth is shown us on comparing the usages of European peoples in early ages, when war was the business of life, with the usages which obtain now that war has ceased to be the business of life. In feudal days homage was shown by kissing the feet, by going on the knees, by joining the hands, by laying aside sundry parts of the dress; but in our days the more humble of these obeisances have, some quite and others almost, disappeared: leaving only the bow, the curtsey, and the raising of the hat, as their representatives. Moreover, it is observable that between the more militant nations of Europe and the less militant, [p.139] kindred differences are traceable. On the Continent obeisances are fuller, and more studiously attended to, than they are here. Even from within our own society evidence is forthcoming; for by the upper classes, forming that regulative part of the social structure which here, as everywhere, has been developed by militancy, there is not only at Court, but in private intercourse, greater attention paid to these forms than by the classes forming the industrial structures. And I may add the significant fact that, in the distinctively militant parts of our society—the army and navy—not only is there a more strict performance of prescribed obeisances than in any other of its parts, but, further, that in one of them, specially characterized by the absolutism of its chief officers, there survives a usage analogous to usages in barbarous societies. In Burmah, it is requisite to make "prostrations in advancing to the palace," the Dahomans prostrate themselves in front of the palace gate; in Fiji, stooping is enjoined as "a mark of respect to a chief or his premises, or a chiefs settlement;" and on going on board a British man-of-war, it is the custom to take off the hat to the quarter-deck.
Nor are we without kindred contrasts among the obeisances made to the supernatural being, whether spirit or deity. The wearing sackcloth to propitiate the ghost, as now in China and as of old among the Hebrews, the partial baring of the body and putting dust on the head, still occurring in the East as funeral rites, are not found in advanced societies having types of structure more profoundly modified by industrialism. Among ourselves, most characterized by the extent of this change, obeisances to the dead have wholly disappeared, save in the uncovering at the grave. Similarly with the obeisances used in worship. The baring of the feet when approaching a temple, as in ancient Peru, and the removal of the shoes on entering it, as in the East, are acts finding no parallels here on any occasion, or on the Continent, save on occasion [p.140] of penance. Neither the prostrations and repeated knockings of the head upon the ground by the Chinese worshipper nor the kindred attitude of the Mahommedan at prayers, occurs where freer forms of social institutions, proper to the industrial type, have much qualified the militant type. Even going on the knees as a form of religious homage, has, among ourselves, fallen greatly into disuse; and the most unmilitant of our sects, the Quakers, make no religious obeisances whatever.
The connexions thus traced, parallel to connexions already traced, are at once seen to be natural on remembering that militant activities, intrinsically coercive, necessitate command and obedience; and that therefore where they predominate, signs of submission are insisted upon. Conversely, industrial activities, whether exemplified in the relations of employer and employed or of buyer and seller, being carried on under agreement, are intrinsically non-coercive; and therefore, where they predominate, only fulfilment of contract is insisted upon: whence results decreasing use of the signs of submission.
FORMS OF ADDRESS.
§ 392. What an obeisance implies by acts, a form of address says in words. If the two have a common root this is to be anticipated; and that they have a common root is demonstrable. Instances occur in which the one is recognized as equivalent to the other. Speaking of Poles and Sclavonic Silesians, Captain Spencer remarks—
"Perhaps no distinctive trait of manners more characterizes both than their humiliating mode of acknowledging a kindness, their expression of gratitude being the servile "Upadam do nog" (I fall at your feet), which is no figure of speech, for they will literally throw themselves down and kiss your feet for the trifling donation of a few halfpence."
Here, then, the attitude of the conquered man beneath the conqueror is either actually assumed or verbally assumed; and when used, the oral representation is a substitute for the realization in act. Other cases show us words and deeds similarly associated; as when a Turkish courtier, accustomed to make humble obeisances, addresses the Sultan—"Centre of the Universe! Your slave's head is at your feet;" or as when a Siamese, whose servile prostrations occur daily, says to his superior—"Lord Benefactor, at whose feet I am;" to a prince—"I, the sole of your foot;" to the king—"I, a dust-grain of your sacred feet." Early European manners furnish kindred evidence. In Russia down to the seventeenth century, a petition began with the words—
"So and so strikes his forehead" [on the ground]; and petitioners were called
"forehead strikers." At the Court of France as late as 1577, it was the custom
of some to say—"I kiss your grace's hands," and of ethers to say—"I kiss your
lordship's feet." Even now of Spain, where orientalisms linger, we read—"When
you get up to take leave, if of a lady, you should say, 'My lady, I place myself
at your feet;' to which she will reply, 'I kiss your hand, sir. " From what has
gone before, such origins and such characters of forms of address might be
anticipated. Along with other ways of propitiating the victor, the master, the
ruler, will naturally come speeches which, beginning with confessions of defeat
by verbal assumptions of its attitude, will develop into varied phrases
acknowledging servitude. The implication, therefore, is that forms of address in
general, descending as they do from these originals, will express, clearly or
vaguely, ownership by, or subjection to, the person addressed.
§ 393. Of propitiatory speeches there are some which, instead of describing the prostration entailed by defeat, describe the resulting state of being at the mercy of the person addressed. One of the strangest of these occurs among the cannibal Tupis. While, on the one hand, a warrior shouts to his enemy—"May every misfortune come upon thee, my meat!" on the other hand, the speech required from the captive Hans Stade on approaching a dwelling, was—"I, your food, have come:" that is—my life is at your disposal. Then, again, instead of professing to live only by permission of the superior, actual or pretended, who is spoken to, we find the speaker professing to be personally a chattel of his, or to be holding property at his disposal, or both. Africa, Asia, Polynesia, and Europe, furnish examples. "When a stranger enters the house of a Scrracolet (Inland Negro), he goes out and says—'White man, my house, my wife, my children belong to thee.'" [p.143] Around Delhi, if you ask an inferior "'Whose horse is that?' he says 'Slave's,' meaning his own; or he may say—'It is your highnesses', meaning that, being his, it is at your disposal." In the Sandwich Islands a chief, asked respecting the ownership of a house or canoe possessed by him, replies—"It is yours and mine." In France, in the fifteenth century, a complimentary speech made by an Abbé on his knees to the queen when visiting a monastery was—"We resign and offer up the abbey with all that is in it, our bodies, as our goods." And at the present time in Spain, where politeness requires that anything admired by a visitor shall be offered to him, "the correct place of dating [a letter] from should be ... from this your house, wherever it is; you must not say from this my house, as you mean to place it at the disposition of your correspondent."
But these modes of addressing a real or fictitious superior, indirectly asserting subjection to him in body and effects, are secondary in importance to the direct assertions of slavery and servitude; which, beginning in barbarous days, have persisted down to the present time.
§ 394. Hebrew narratives have familiarized us with the word "servant," as applied to himself by a subject or inferior, when speaking to a ruler or superior. In our days of freedom, the associations established by daily habit have obscured the fact that "servant" as used in translations of old records, means "slave"—implies the condition fallen into by a captive taken in war. Consequently when, as often in the Bible, the phrases "thy servant" or "thy servants" are uttered before a king, they must be taken to signify that same state of subjugation which is more circuitously signified by the phrases quoted in the last section. Clearly this self-abasing word was employed, not by attendants only, but by conquered peoples, and by subjects at large; as we see when the unknown David, addressing Saul, describes both himself and his father as [p.144] Saul's servants. And kindred uses of the word to rulers have continued down to modern times.
Very early, however, professions of servitude, originally made only to one of supreme authority, came to be made to those of subordinate authority. Brought before Joseph in Egypt, and fearing him, his brethren call themselves his servants or slaves; and not only so, but speak of their father as standing in a like relation to him. Moreover, there is evidence that this form of address extended to the intercourse between equals where a favour was to be gained; as witness Judges xix. 19. And we have seen in the last section that even still in India, a man shows his politeness by calling himself the slave of the person addressed. How in Europe a like diffusion has taken place, need not be shown further than by exemplifying some of the stages. Among French courtiers in the sixteenth century it was common to say—"I am your servant and the perpetual slave of your house;" and among ourselves in past times there were used such indirect expressions of servitude as—"Yours to command." "Ever at your worship's disposing," "In all serviceable humbleness," &c. While in our days, rarely made orally save in irony, such forms have left only their written representatives—"Your obedient servant," "Your humble servant;" reserved for occasions when distance is to be maintained, and for this reason often having inverted meanings.
That for religious purposes the same propitiatory words are employed, is a familiar truth. In Hebrew history men are described as servants of God, just as they are described as servants of the king. Neighbouring peoples are said to serve their respective deities just as slaves are said to serve their masters. And there are cases in which these relations to the visible ruler and to the invisible ruler, are expressed in like ways; as where we read that "The king hath fulfilled the request of his servant," and elsewhere that "The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob." Hence [p.145] as used in worship, the expression "thy servant" has originated as have all other elements of religious ceremonial.
And here better than elsewhere, may be noted the fact that the phrase "thy son," used to a ruler or superior, or other person, is originally equivalent to "thy servant." On remembering that in rude societies children exist only on sufferance of their parents; and that in patriarchal groups the father had life and death power over his children; we see that professing to be another's son was like professing to be his servant or slave. There are ancient examples demonstrating the equivalence; as when "Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up and save me." Mediaeval Europe furnished instances when, as we saw, rulers offered themselves for adoption by more powerful rulers: so assuming the condition of filial servitude and calling themselves sons; as did Theodebert I. and Childebert II. to the emperors Justinian and Maurice. Nor does there lack evidence that this expression of subordination spreads like the rest, until it becomes a complimentary form of speech. At the present time in India, the man who in compliment professes to be your slave, will, on introducing his son say,—"This is your highness's son." And "a Samoan cannot use more persuasive language than to call himself the son of the person addressed."
§ 395. From those complimentary phrases which express abasement of self, we pass to those which exalt another. Either kind taken alone, is a confession of relative inferiority; and this confession gains in emphasis when the two kinds are joined, as they commonly are.
At first it does not seem likely that eulogies may, like other propitiations, be traced back to the behaviour of the conquered to the conqueror; but we have proof that they do thus originate, certainly in some cases. To the victorious Ramses II. his defeated foes preface their prayers for [p.146] mercy by the laudatory words—"Prince guarding thy army, valiant with the sword, bulwark of his troops in day of battle, king mighty of strength, great Sovran, Sun powerful in truth, approved of Ra, mighty in victories, Ramses Miamon." Obviously there is no separation between such praises uttered by the vanquished, and those afterwards coming from them as a subject people. We pass without break to glorifying words like those addressed to the king of Siam—"Mighty and august lord! Divine Mercy!" "The Divine Order!" "The Master of Life!" "Sovereign of the Earth!" or those addressed to the Sultan—"The Shadow of God!" "Glory of the Universe!" or those addressed to the Chinese Emperor—"Son of Heaven!" "The Lord of Ten Thousand Years!" or those some years since addressed by the Bulgarians to the emperor of Russia—"blessed Czar," "Blissful Czar," "Orthodox powerful Czar," or those with which, in the past, speeches to the French monarch commenced—"O very benign! O very great! O very merciful!" And then along with these propitiations by direct flattery, there go others in which the flattery is indirectly conveyed by affected admiration of whatever the ruler says; as when the courtiers of the king of Delhi held up their hands crying—"Wonder, wonder!" after any ordinary speech; or in broad day, if he said it was night, responded—"Behold the moon and the stars!" or as when Russians in past times exclaimed—"God and the prince have willed," "God and the prince know."
Eulogistic phrases first used to supreme men, descend to men of less authority, and so downwards. Examples may be taken from those current in France during the sixteenth century—to a cardinal, "the very illustrious and very reverend;" to a marquis, "my very illustrious and much-honoured lord;" to a doctor, "the virtuous and excellent." And from our own past days may be added such complimentary forms of address as—"the right worshipful," to knights and sometimes to esquires; "the right noble, [p.147] "the honourable-minded," used to gentlemen; and even to men addressed as Mr., such laudatory prefixes as "the worthy and worshipful." Along with flattering epithets there spread more involved flatteries, especially observable in the East, where both are extreme. On a Chinese invitation card the usual compliment is—"To what an elevation of splendour will your presence assist us to rise!" Tavernier, from whom I have quoted the above example of scarcely credible flattery from the Court of Delhi, adds, "this vice passeth even unto the people;" and he says that his military attendant, compared to the greatest of conquerors, was described as making the world tremble when he mounted his horse. In these parts of India at the present day, an ordinary official is addressed—"My lord, there are only two who can do anything for me: God is the first, and you are the second;" or sometimes, as a correspondent writes to me—"Above is God, and your honour is below;" "Your honour has power to do anything," "You are our king and lord;" "You are in God's place."
On reading that in Tavernier's time a usual expression in Persia was—"Let the king's will be done," recalling the parallel expression—"Let God's will be done," we are reminded that various of the glorifying speeches made to kings parallel those made to deities. Where the militant type is highly developed, and where divinity is ascribed to the monarch, not only after death but before, as of old in Egypt and Peru, and as now in Japan, China, and Siam, it naturally results that the eulogies of visible rulers and of rulers who have become invisible, are the same. Having reached the extreme of hyperbole to the king when living, they cannot go further to the king when dead and deified. And the identity thus initiated continues through subsequent stages with deities whose origins are no longer traceable.
§ 396. Into the complete obeisance we saw that there enter two elements, one implying submission and the other [p.148] implying love; and into the complete form of address two analogous elements enter. With words employed to propitiate by abasing self or elevating the person addressed, or both, are joined words suggestive of attachment to him—wishes for his life, health, and happiness.
Professions of interest in another's well-being and good fortune are, indeed, of earlier origin than professions of subjection. Just as those huggings and kissings which indicate liking are used as complimentary observances by ungoverned, or little-governed, savages, who have no obeisances; so, friendly speeches precede speeches expressing subordination. By the Snake Indians, a stranger is accosted with the words—" I am much pleased, I am much rejoiced ;" and among the Araucanians, whose social organization, though more advanced, has not yet been developed by militancy into the coercive type, the formality on meeting, which "occupies ten or fifteen minutes," consists of detailed inquiries about the welfare of each and his belongings, with elaborate felicitations and condolences.
Of course this element of the salutation persists while there grow up the acts and phrases expressing subjection. We saw that along with servile obeisances, good wishes and congratulations are addressed to a superior among Negro nations; and among the Fulahs and the Abyssinians they are elaborate. It is in Asia, however, that the highest developments of them occur. Beginning with such hyperbolic speeches as—"O king, live forever," we descend to speeches between equals which, in like exaggerated ways, signify great sympathy; as among the Arabs, who indicate their anxiety by rapidly repeating—"Thank God, how are you," for some minutes, and who, when well-bred, occasionally interrupt the subsequent conversation by again asking—"How are you!" or as among the Chinese, who on an ordinary visiting billet write—"The tender and sincere friend of your lordship, and the perpetual disciple of your doctrine, presents himself to pay his duty and make [p.149] his reverence even to the earth." In Western societies, less despotically governed, professions of liking and solicitude have been less exaggerated; and they have decreased as freedom has increased. In ancient France, at the royal table, "every time the herald cried—'The king drinks!' every one made vceux and cried—'Long live the king!'" And though both abroad and at home the same or an allied speech is still used, it recurs with nothing like the same frequency. So, too, is it with the good wishes expressed in social intercourse. The exclamation—"Long life to your honour!" may, indeed, still be heard; but it is heard among a people who, till late times under personal rule, are even now greatly controlled by their loyalty to representatives of old families. And in parts of the kingdom longer emancipated from feudalism and disciplined by industrialism, the ordinary expressions of interest, abridged to "How do you do?" and "Good-bye," are uttered in a manner implying not much more interest than is felt.
Along with phrases in which divine aid is invoked on behalf of the person saluted, as in the "May God grant you his favours" of the Arab, "God keep you well" of the Hungarian, "God protect you" of the Negro; and along with those which express sympathy by inquiries after health and fortune, which are also widespread; there are some which take their characters from surrounding conditions. One is the oriental "Peace be with you," descending from turbulent times when peace was the great desideratum; another is the "How do you perspire?" alleged of the Egyptians; and a still more curious one is "How have the mosquitoes used you?" which, according to Humboldt, is the morning salute on the Orinoco.
§ 397. There remain to be noted those modifications of language, grammatical and other, which, by implication, exalt the person addressed or abase the person addressing. These have certain analogies with other elements of ceremony. We have seen that where subjection is extreme, [p.150] the ruler, if he does not keep himself invisible, must, when present, not be looked at; and from the idea that it is an unpardonable liberty to gaze at the supreme person, there has arisen in some countries the usage of turning the back on a superior. Similarly, the practice of kissing the ground before one who is reverenced, or kissing some object belonging to him, implies that the subject is so remote in station, that he may not take the liberty of kissing even the foot or the dress. And in a kindred spirit, the linguistic forms used in compliment have the trait that they avoid direct relations with the individual addressed.
Such forms make their appearance in comparatively early social stages. Of the superior people among the Abipones, we read that "the names of men belonging to this class end in in; those of the women, who also partake of these honours, in en. These syllables you must add even to substantives and verbs in talking with them."' Again, "the Samoan language contains 'a distinct and permanent vocabulary of words which politeness requires to be made use of to superiors, or on occasions of ceremony.'" By the Javans, "on no account is any one, of whatever rank, allowed to address his superior in the common or vernacular language of the country." And of the ancient Mexican language Gallantin says, there is "a special form, called Reverential, which pervades the whole language, and is found in no other ... this is believed to be the only one [language] in which every word uttered by the inferior reminds him of his social position."
The most general of the indirectnesses which etiquette introduces into forms of address, apparently arise from the primitive superstition about proper names. Conceiving that a man's name is part of his individuality, and that possession of his name gives power over him, savages almost everywhere are reluctant to disclose names. Whether this is the sole cause, or whether, apart from this, utterance of a man's name is felt to be a liberty taken with him, the fact is that among rude peoples names acquire a kind of [p.151] sacredness, and taking a name in vain is interdicted: especially to inferiors when speaking to superiors. Hence a curious incidental result. As in early stages personal names are derived from objects, the names of objects have to be disused and replaced by others. Among the Kaffirs "a, wife may not publicly pronounce the i-gama [the name given at birth] of her husband or any of his brothers; nor may she use the interdicted word in its ordinary sense.... The chief's i-gama is withdrawn from the language of his people." Again, "the hereditary appellation of the chief of Pango-Pango [in Samoa] being now Maunga, or Mountain, that word must never be used for a hill in his presence, but a courtly term ... substituted." And then where there exist proper names of a developed kind, there are still kindred restrictions on the general use of them; as in Siam, where "the name of the king must not be uttered by a subject: he is always referred to by a periphrasis, such as 'the master of life,' the lord of the land, 'the supreme head,'" and as in China, where "the 'old man of the house,' excellent honourable one, and 'venerable great prince,' are terms used by a visitor to designate the father of his host."
Similarly, there is avoidance of personal pronouns; which also establish with the individual addressed a relation too immediate to be allowed where distance is to be maintained. In Siam, when asking the king's commands, the pronominal form is, as much as possible, evaded; and that this usage is general among the Siamese is implied by the remark of Pere Bruguiere, that "they have personal pronouns, but rarely use them." In China, also, this style descends into ordinary intercourse. "If they are not intimate friends, they never say I and You, which would be a gross incivility. But instead of saying, I am very sensible of the service you have done me, they will say, The service that the Lord or the Doctor has done for his meanest Servant, or his Scholar, has greatly affected me."
We come next to those perversions in the uses of pronouns which raise the
superior and lower the inferior. "'I' and 'me' are expressed by several terms in
Siamese; as (1) between a master and slave; (2) between a slave and master; (3)
between a commoner and a nobleman; (4) between persons of equal rank; while
there is, lastly, a form of address which is only used by the priests." Still
more developed has this system been by the Japanese. "In Japan all classes have
an 'I' peculiar to themselves, which no other class may use; and there is one
exclusively appropriated by the Mikado ... and one confined to women. ... There
are eight pronouns of the second person peculiar to servants, pupils, and
children." Though throughout the West, the distinctions established by abusing
pronominal forms have been less elaborated, yet they have been well marked. By
Germans "in old times ... all inferiors were spoken to in the third person
singular, as 'er':" that is, an oblique form by which the inferior was referred
to as though not present, served to disconnect him from the speaker. And then,
conversely, "inferiors invariably use the third person plural in addressing
their superiors: "a mode which, while dignifying the superior by pluralization,
increases the distance of the inferior by its relative indirectness; and a mode
which, beginning as a propitiation of those in power, has, like the rest, spread
till it has become a general propitiation. In our own speech, lacking such
misuse of pronouns as humiliates, there exists only that substitution of the
"you" for the "thou," which, once a complimentary exaltation, has now by
diffusion wholly lost its ceremonial meaning. That it retained some ceremonial
meaning at the time when the Quakers persisted in using "thou" is clear; and
that in still earlier times it was employed to ascribe dignity, is inferable
from the fact that during the Merovingian period in France, the kings ordered
that they should be addressed in the plural. Whoever fails to think that calling
him "you," [p.153] once served to exalt the person
addressed, will be aided by contemplating this perversion of speech in its
primitive and more emphatic shape; as in Samoa, where they say to a chief—"Have
you two come," or "Are you two going?"
§ 398. Since they state in words what obeisances express by acts, forms of address of course have the same general relations to social types. The parallelisms must be noted.
Speaking of the Dacotahs, who are politically unorganized, and who had not even nominal chiefs till the whites began to make distinctions among them, Burton says—"Ceremony and manners in our sense of the word they have none;" and he instances the entrance of a Dacotah into a stranger's house with a mere exclamation meaning "Well." Bailey remarks of the Veddahs that in addressing others, "they use none of the honorifics so profusely common in Singhalese; the pronoun 'to' 'thou,' being alone used, whether they are addressing each other or those whose position would entitle them to outward respect." These cases will sufficiently indicate the general fact that where there is no subordination, speeches which elevate the person spoken to and abase the person speaking, do not arise. Conversely, where personal government is absolute, verbal self-humiliations and verbal exaltations of others assume exaggerated forms. Among the Siamese, who are all slaves of the king, an inferior calls himself dust under the feet of a superior, while ascribing to the superior transcendent powers; and the forms of address, even between equals, avoid naming the person addressed. In China, where there is no check on the power of the "Imperial Supreme," the phrases of adulation and humility, first used in intercourse with rulers and afterwards spreading, have elaborated to such extremes that in inquiring another's name the form is—"May I presume to ask what is your noble surname and your eminent name while the reply is—"The name of my cold (or poor) family is, and my [p.154] ignoble name is." If we ask where ceremony has initiated the most elaborate misuses of pronouns, we find them in Japan, where wars long ago established a despotism which acquired divine prestige.
Similarly, on contrasting the Europe of past times, characterized by social structures developed by, and fitted for, perpetual fighting, with modern Europe, in which, though fighting on a large scale occurs, it is the temporary rather than the permanent form of social activity, we observe that complimentary expressions, now less used, are also now less exaggerated. Nor does the generalization fail when we compare the modern European societies that are organized in high degrees for war, like those of the Continent, with our own society, not so well organized for war; or when we compare the regulative parts of our own society, which are developed by militancy, with the industrial parts. Flattering superlatives and expressions of devotion are less profuse here than abroad; and much as the use of complimentary language has diminished among our ruling classes in recent times, there remains a greater use of it among them than among the industrial classes: especially those of the industrial classes who have no direct relations with the ruling classes.
These connexions are obviously, like previous ones, necessary. Should any one say that along with the enforced obedience which military organization implies, and which characterizes the whole of a society framed for military action, there naturally go forms of address not expressing submission; and if, conversely, he should say that along with the active exchanging of goods for money, and services for wages, freely carried on, which characterizes the life of an industrial society, there naturally go exaggerated eulogies of others and servile depreciations of self; his proposition would manifestly be absurd. And the absurdity of this hypothetical proposition serves to bring into view the truth of the actual proposition opposed to it.
§ 399. Adhering tenaciously to all his elders taught him, the primitive man
deviates into novelty only through unintended modifications. Everyone now knows
that languages are not devised but evolve; and the same is true of usages. To
many proofs of this, the foregoing chapters have added further proofs.
The like holds of titles. Looked at as now existing, these appear artificial: there is suggested the idea that once upon a time they were consciously settled. But this is no more true than it is true that our common words were once consciously settled. Names of objects and qualities and acts, were at the outset directly or indirectly descriptive; and the names we class as titles were so too. Just as the deaf-mute who calls to mind a person he means by mimicking a peculiarity, has no idea of introducing a symbol; so neither has the savage when he indicates a place as the one where the kangaroo was killed or the one where the cliff fell down; so neither has he when he suggests an individual by referring to some marked trait in his appearance or fact in his life; and so neither has he when he gives those names, literally descriptive or metaphorically descriptive, which now and again develop into titles.
The very conception of a proper name grew up unawares. Among the uncivilized a child becomes known as "Thunder- [p.156] storm,"' or "New Moon," or "Father-come-home," simply from the habit of referring to an event which occurred on its birthday, as a way of raising the thought of the particular child meant. And if afterwards it gets such a name as "Squash-head," or "Dirty-saddle" (Dacotah names), "The Great Archer," or "He who runs up the Hill" (Blackfoot names), this results from spontaneously using an alternative, and sometimes better, means of identification. Evidently the like has happened with such less needful names as titles. These have differentiated from ordinary proper names, by being descriptive of some trait, or some deed, or some function, held in honour.
§ 400. Various savage races give a man a name of renown in addition to, or in place of, the name by which he was previously known, on the occasion of a great achievement in battle. The Tupis furnish a good illustration. "The founder of the [cannibal] feast took an additional name as an honourable remembrance of what had been done, and his female relations ran through the house shouting the new title." And of these same people Hans Stade says,—"So many enemies as one of them slays, so many names does he give himself; and those are the noblest among them who have many such names." In North America, too, when a young Creek Indian brings his first scalp, he is dubbed a man and a warrior, and receives a "war-name." Among the people of ancient Nicaragua, this practice had established a general title for such: they called one who had killed another in battle tapalique; and cabra was an equivalent title given by the Indians of the Isthmus.
That descriptive names of honour, thus arising during early militancy, become in some cases official names, we see on comparing evidence furnished by two sanguinary and cannibal societies in different stages of advance. In Fiji, "warriors of rank receive proud titles, such as 'the divider of a district,' 'the waster of a coast,' 'the depopulator of [p.157] an island'—the name of the place in question being affixed." And then in ancient Mexico, the names of offices filled by the king's brothers or nearest relatives were, one of them, "Cutter of men," and another, "Shedder of blood."
Where, as among the Fijians, the conceived distinction between men and gods is vague, and the formation of new gods by apotheosis of chiefs continues, we find the gods bearing names like those given during their lives to ferocious warriors. "The Woman-stealer," "the Brain-eater," "the Murderer," "Fresh-from-slaughter," are naturally such divine titles as arise from descriptive naming among ancestor-worshipping cannibals. That sundry titles of the gods worshipped by superior races have originated in a kindred manner, is implied by the ascription of conquests to them. Be they the Egyptian deities, the Babylonian deities, or the deities of the Greeks, their power is represented as having been gained by battle; and with accounts of their achievements are in some cases joined congruous descriptive names, such as that of Mars—"the Blood-stainer," and that of the Hebrew god—"the Violent One;" which, according to Keunen, is the literal interpretation of Shaddai.
§ 401. Very generally among primitive men, instead of the literally-descriptive name of honour, there is given the metaphorically-descriptive name of honour. Of the Tupis, whose ceremony of taking war-names is instanced above, we read that "they selected their appellations from visible objects, pride or ferocity influencing their choice." That such names, first spontaneously given by applauding companions and afterwards accorded in some deliberate way, are apt to be acquired by men of the greatest prowess, and so to become names of rulers, is suggested by what Ximenez tells us respecting the semi-civilized peoples of Guatemala. Their king's names enumerated by him are—"Laughing Tiger," "Tiger of the Wood," "Oppressing Eagle," "Eagle's Head," "Strong Snake." Throughout Africa [p.158] the like has happened. The king of Ashantee has among his glorifying names "Lion" and "Snake." In Dahomey, titles thus derived are made superlative : the king is "the Lion of Lions." And in a kindred spirit the king of Usambara is called "Lion of Heaven:" a title whence, should this king undergo apotheosis, myths may naturally result. From Zulu-land, along with evidence of the same thing, there comes an illustration of the way in which names of honour derived from imposing objects, animate and inanimate, are joined with names of honour otherwise derived, and pass into certain of those forms of address lately dealt with. The titles of the king are—"The noble elephant," "Thou who art for ever," "Thou who art as high as the heavens," "The black one," "Thou who art the bird who eats other birds," "Thou who art as high as the mountains," &c. Shooter shows how these Zulu titles are used, by quoting part of a speech addressed to the king—"You mountain, you lion, you tiger, you that are black. There is none equal to you." Further, there is proof that names of honour thus originating, pass into titles applied to the position occupied, rather than to the occupant considered personally ; for a Kaffir chief's wife "is called the Elephantess, while his great wife is called the Lioness."
Guided by such clues, we cannot miss the inference that the use of kindred names for both kings and gods by extinct historic races, similarly arose. If we find that now in Madagascar one of the king's titles is "Mighty Bull," and are reminded by this that to the conquering Ramses a like laudatory name was given by defeated foes, we may reasonably conclude that from animal-names thus given to kings, there resulted the animal-names anciently given as names of honour to deities; so that Apis in Egypt became an equivalent for Osiris and the Sun, and so that Bull similarly became an equivalent for the conquering hero and Sun-god Indra.
"With titles derived from imposing inanimate objects it is [p.159] the same. We have seen how, among the Zulus, the hyperbolic compliment to the king—"Thou who art as high as the mountains," passes from the form of simile into the form of metaphor when he is addressed as "you Mountain." And that the metaphorical name thus used sometimes becomes a proper name, proof comes from Samoa; where, as we saw, 'the chief of Pango-Pango" is "now Maunga, or Mountain." There is evidence that by sundry ancestor-worshipping peoples, divine titles are similarly derived. The Chinooks and Navajos and Mexicans in North America, and the Peruvians in South America, regard certain mountains as gods; and since these gods have other names, the implication is that in each case an apotheosized man had received in honour either the general name Mountain, or the name of a particular mountain, as has happened in New Zealand. From complimentary comparisons to the Sun, result not only personal names of honour and divine names, but also official titles. On reading that the Mexicans distinguished Cortes as "the offspring of the Sun," and that the Chibchas called the Spaniards in general "children of the Sun,"—on reading that "child of the Sun" was a complimentary name given to any one particularly clever in Peru, where the Yncas, regarded as descendants of the Sun, successively enjoyed a title hence derived; we are enabled to understand how "Son of the Sun" came to be a title borne by the successive Egyptian kings, joined with proper names individually distinctive of them. In elucidation of this as well as of sundry other points, let me add an account of a reception at the court of Burmah which has occurred since the foregoing sentences were first published:—
"A herald lying on his stomach read aloud my credentials. The literal translation is as follows: 'So-and-So, a great newspaper teacher of the Daily News of London, tenders to his Most Glorious Excellent Majesty, Lord of the Ishaddan, King of Elephants, master of many white elephants, lord of the mines of gold, silver, rubies, amber, and the noble serpentine, Sovereign of the Empires of Thuna-paranta and Tampadipa, and other great empires and countries, and of all the umbrella-wearing chiefs, the supporter of religion, the Sun- [p.160] descended Monarch, arbiter of life, and great, righteous King, King of Kings, and possessor of boundless dominions and supreme wisdom, the following presents.' The reading was intoned in a comical high recitative, strongly resembling that used when our Church service is intoned; and the long-drawn 'Phya-a-a-a-a' (my lord) which concluded it, added to the resemblance, as it came in exactly like the 'Amen' of the Liturgy." [Showing the kinship to religious worship.]
Given, then, the metaphorically-descriptive name, and we have the germ from
which grow up these primitive titles of honour; which, at first individual
titles, become in some cases titles attaching to the offices filled.
§ 402. To say that the words which in various languages answer to our word "God," were originally descriptive words, will be startling to those who, unfamiliar with the facts, credit the savage with thoughts like our own; and will be repugnant to those who, knowing something of the facts, yet persist in asserting that the conception of a universal creative power was possessed by man from the beginning. But whoever studies the evidence without bias, will find proof that the general word for deity was at first simply a word expressive of superiority. Among the Fijians the name is applied to anything great or marvellous; among the Malagasy to whatever is new, useful, or extraordinary; among the Todas to everything mysterious, so that, as Marshall says, "it is truly an adjective noun of eminence." Applied alike to animate and inanimate things, as indicating some quality above the common, the word is in this sense applied to human beings, both living aud dead; but as the dead are supposed to have mysterious powers of doing good and evil to the living, the word comes to be especially applicable to them. Though ghost and god have with us widely-distinguished meanings, yet they are originally equivalent words; or rather, originally, there is but one word for a supernatural being. And since in early belief, the other-self of the dead man is equally visible and tangible with the living man, so that it may be [p.161] slain, drowned, or otherwise killed a second time—since the resemblance is such that it is difficult to learn what is the difference between a god and a chief among the Fijians—since the instances of theophany in the Iliad prove that the Greek god was in all respects so like a man that special insight was required to discriminate him; we see how naturally it results that the name "god," given to a powerful being thought of as usually, but not always, invisible, is sometimes given to a visible powerful being. Indeed, as a sequence of this theory, it inevitably happens that men transcending in capacity those around them, are suspected to be these returned ghosts or gods, to whom special powers are ordinarily ascribed. Hence the fact that, considered as the doubles of their own deceased people, Europeans are called ghosts by Australians, New Caledonians, Darnley Islanders, Kroomen, Calabar people, Mpongwe, &c. Hence the fact that they are called by the alternative name gods by Bushmen, Bechuanas, East Africans, Fulahs, Khonds, Fijians, Dyaks, Ancient Mexicans, Chibchas, &c. Hence the fact that, using the word in the above sense, superior men. among some uncivilized peoples call themselves gods.
The original meaning of the word being thus understood, we need feel no surprise on finding that "God" becomes a title of honour. The king of Loango is so called by his subjects; as is also the king of Msambara. At the present time among wandering Arabs, the name "God" is applied in no other sense than as the generic name of the most powerful living ruler known to them. This makes more credible than it might else be, the statement that the Grand Lama, personally worshipped by the Tartars, is called by them "God, the Father." It is in harmony with such other facts as that Radama, king of Madagascar, is addressed by the women who sing his praises as—"our God;" and that to the Dahoman king the alternative word "Spirit" is used; so that, when he summons any one, the messenger says—"The Spirit requires you," and when he has spoken, [p.162] all exclaim—"The Spirit speaketh true." All which facts make comprehensible that assumption of Θεύς as a title by ancient kings in the East, which is to moderns so astonishing.
Descent of this name of honour into ordinary intercourse, though not common, does sometimes occur. After what has been said, it will not appear strange that it should be applied to deceased persons; as it was by the ancient Mexicans, who "called any of their dead teotl so and so—i.e., this or that god, this or that saint." And prepared by such an instance we shall understand its occasional use as a greeting between the living. Colonel Yule says of the Kasias, "the salutation at meeting is singular—'Kuble! oh God.'"
§ 403. The connexion between "God" as a title and "Father" as a title, becomes clear on going back to those early forms of conception and language in which the two are undifferentiated. The fact that even in so advanced a language as Sanscrit, words which mean "making," "fabricating," "begetting," or "generating," are indiscriminately used for the same purpose, suggests how naturally in the primitive mind, a father, as begetter or causer of new beings, ceasing at death to be visible, is then associated in word and thought with dead and invisible causers at large, who, some of them acquiring pre-eminence, come to be regarded as causers in general—makers or creators. When Sir Rutherford Alcock remarks that "a spurious mixture of the theocratic and patriarchal elements form the bases of all government, both in the Celestial and the Japanese Empires, under emperors who claim not only to be each the 'patriarch and father of his people, but also Divine descent,'" he adds another to the misinterpretations produced by descending from our own higher conceptions, instead of ascending from the lower conceptions of the primitive man. For what he thinks a "spurious mixture" of ideas is, in fact, a normal union of ideas; which, in the cases named, [p.163] has persisted longer titan commonly happens in developed societies.
The Zulus show us this union very clearly. They have traditions of Unkulunkulu (literally, the old, old one), "who was the first man," "who came into being and begat men," "who gave origin to men and everything besides (including the sun, moon, and heavens), and who is inferred to have been a black man because all his descendants are black. The original Unkulunkulu is not worshipped by them, because he is supposed to be permanently dead; but instead of him the Unkulunkulus of the various tribes into which his descendants have divided, are severally worshipped, and severally called "Father." Here, then, the ideas of a Creator and a Father are directly connected. Equally specific, or even more specific, are the ideas conveyed in the response which the ancient Nicaraguans gave to the question—"Who made heaven and earth." After their first answers, "Tamagastad and Qipattoval," "our great gods whom we call teotes," cross-examination brought out the further answers—"Our fathers are these teotes;" "all men and women descend from them;" "they are of flesh and are man and woman;" " they walked over the earth dressed, and ate what the Indians ate." Gods and first parents being thus identified, fatherhood and divinity become allied ideas. The remotest ancestor supposed to be still existing in the other world to which he went, "the old, old one," or "ancient of days," becomes the chief deity; and so "father" is not, as we suppose, a metaphorical equivalent for "god," but a literal equivalent.
Therefore it happens that among all nations we find it an alternative title. In the before-quoted prayer of the New Caledonian to the ghost of his ancestor—"Compassionate father, here is some food for you; eat it; be kind to us on account of it"—we are shown that original identification of fatherhood and godhood, to which all mythologies and theologies carry us back. We see the naturalness of the [p.164] facts that the Peruvian Yncas worshipped their father the Sun; that Ptah, the first of the dynasty of the gods who ruled Egypt, is called "the father of the father of the gods;" and that Zeus is "father of gods and men."
After contemplating many such early beliefs, in which the divine and the human are so little distinguished, or after studying the beliefs still extant in China and Japan, where the rulers, "sons of heaven," claim descent from these most ancient fathers or gods; it is easy to see how the name father in its higher sense, comes to be applied to a living potentate. His proximate and remote ancestors being all spoken of as fathers, distinguished only by the prefixes grand, great great, &c, it results that the name father, given to every member of the series, comes to be given to the last of the series still living. With this cause is joined a further cause. Where establishment of descent in the male line has initiated the patriarchal family, the name father, even in its original meaning, comes to be associated with supreme authority, and to be therefore a name of honour. Indeed, in nations formed by the compounding and re-compounding of patriarchal groups, the two causes coalesce. The remotest known ancestor of each compound group, at once the most ancient father and the god of the compound group, being continuously represented in blood, as well as in power, by the eldest descendant of the eldest, it happens that this patriarch, who is head not of his own group only but also of the compound group, stands to both in a relation analogous to that in which the apotheosized ancestor stands; and so combines in a measure the divine character, the kingly character, and the paternal character.
Hence the prevalence of this word as a royal title. It is used equally by American Indians and by New Zealanders in addressing the rulers of the civilized. We find it in Africa. Of the various names for the king among the Zulus, father heads the list; and in Dahomey, when the [p.165] king walked from the throne to the palace, "every inequality was pointed out, with finger snappings, lest it might offend the royal toe, and a running accompaniment of 'Dadda! Dadda!' (Grandfather! Grandfather!) and of 'Dedde! Dedde!' (softly! softly!) was kept up." Asia supplies cases in which the titles "Lord Raja and Lord Father" are joined. In Russia, at the present time, father is a name applied to the Czar; and of old in France, under the form sire, it was the common name for potentates of various grades—feudal lords and kings; and ever continued to be a name of address to the throne.7
More readily than usual, perhaps from its double meaning, has this title been diffused. Everywhere we find it the name for any kind of superior. Not to the king only among the Zulus is the word "baba," father, used; but also by inferiors of all ranks to those above them. In Dahomey a slave applies this name to his master, as his master applies it to the king. Livingstone tells us that he was referred to as "our father" by his attendants; as also was Burchell by the Bachassins. It was the same of old in the East; as when "his servants came near, and spake unto Naaman, and said, My father," &c.; and it is the same in the remote East at the present time. A Japanese "apprentice addresses his patron as 'father.'" In Siam "Children of the nobles are called 'father and mother' by their subordinates." And Hue narrates how he saw Chinese labourers prostrating themselves before a mandarin exclaiming—"Peace and happiness to our father and mother." Then, as a stage in the descent to more general use, may be noted its extension [p.166] to those who, apart from their rank, have acquired the superiority ascribed to age: a superiority sometimes taking precedence of rank, as in Siam, and in certain ways in Japan and China. Such extension occurred in ancient Rome, where pater was at once a magisterial title and a title given by the younger to the elder, whether related or not. In Russia at the present time, the equivalent word is used to the Czar, to a priest, and to any aged man. Eventually it spreads to young as well as old. Under the form sire, at first applied to feudal rulers, major and minor, the title "father" originated our familiar sir.
A curious group of derivatives, common among uncivilized and semi-civilized peoples, must be named. The wish to compliment by ascribing that dignity which fatherhood implies, has in many places led to the practice of replacing a man's proper name by a name which, while it recalls this honourable paternity, distinguishes him by the name of his child. The Malays have "the same custom as the Dyaks of taking the name of their first-born, as Pa Sipi, the father of Sipi." The usage is common in Sumatra; and equally prevails in Madagascar. It is so too among some Indian Hill tribes: the Kasias "address each other by the names of their children, as Pabobon, father of Bobon!" Africa also furnishes instances. Bechuanas addressing Mr. Moffat, used to say—"I speak to the Father of Mary." And in the Pacific States of North America there are people so solicitous to bear this primitive name of honour, that until a young man has children, his dog stands to him in the position of a son, and he is known as the father of his dog.
§ 404. The supremacy associated with age in patriarchal groups, and in societies derived by composition from patriarchal groups, shown primarily in that honouring of parents which, as in the Jewish commandments, is put next to the worship of God, and secondarily in the honouring of old men in general, gives rise to a kindred but divergent group [p.167] of titles. Age being dignified, words indicating seniority become names of dignity.
The beginnings may be discerned among the uncivilized. Counsels being formed of the older men, the local name for an older man becomes associated in thought with an office of power and therefore of honour. Merely noting this, it will suffice if we trace in European language the growth of titles hence resulting. Among the Romans senator, or member of the senatus, words having the same root with senex, was the name for a member of the assembly of elders; and in early times these senators or elders, otherwise called faires, represented the component tribes: father and elder being thus used as equivalents. From the further cognate word senior, we have, in derived languages, signior, seigneur, senhor; first applied to head men, rulers, or lords, and then by diffusion becoming names of honour for those of inferior rank. The same thing has happened with ealdor or aldor. Of this Max Muller says,—"like many other titles of rank in the various Teutonic tongues, it is derived from an adjective implying age;" so that "earl" and "alderman," both originating from this root, are names of honour similarly resulting from that social superiority gained by advanced years.
"Whether or not the German title graf should be added, is a moot point. If Max Muller is right in considering the objections of Grimm to the current interpretation inadequate, then the word originally means grey; that is, grey-headed.
§ 405. "We may deal briefly with the remaining titles; which re-illustrate, in their respective ways, the general principle set forth.
Like other names of honour that grew up in early times, the name "king" is one concerning the formation of which there are differences of opinion. By general agreement, however, its remote source is the Sanscrit gandka; and "in [p.163] Sanscrit, ganalta means producing, parent, then king." If this is the true derivation, we have simply an alternative title for the head of the family-group, of the patriarchal group, and of the cluster of patriarchal groups. The only further fact respecting it calling for remark, is the way in which it becomes compounded to produce a higher title. Just as in Hebrew, Abram, meaning "high father," came to be a compound used to signify the fatherhood and headship of many minor groups; and just as the Greek and Latin equivalents to our patriarch, signified by implication, if not directly, a father of fathers; so in the case of the title "king," it has happened that a potentate recognized as dominant over numerous potentates, has in many cases been descriptively called "king of kings." In Abyssinia this compound royal name is used down to the present time; as we lately saw that it is also in Burmah. Ancient Egyptian monarchs assumed it; and it occurred as a supreme title in Assyria. And here again we meet a correspondence between terrestrial and celestial titles. As "father" and "king" are applied in common to the visible and to the invisible ruler; so, too, is "king of kings."
This need for marking by some additional name the ruler who becomes head over many rulers, leads to the introduction of other titles of honour. In France, for example, while the king was but a predominant feudal noble, he was addressed by the title sire, which was a title borne by feudal nobles in general; but towards the end of the fifteenth century, when his supremacy became settled, the additional word "majesty" grew into use as specially applicable to him. Similarly with the names of secondary potentates. In the earlier stages of the feudal period, the titles baron, marquis, duke, and count, were often confounded: the reason being that their attributes as feudal nobles, as guards of the marches, as military leaders, and as friends of the king, were so far common to them as to yield no clear [p.169] grounds for distinction. But also with differentiation of functions went differentiation of these titles.
"The name 'baron,'" says Cheruel, "appears to have been the generic term for every kind of great lord, that of duke for every kind of military chief, that of count and marquis for every ruler of a territory. These titles are used almost indiscriminately in the romances of chivalry. "When the feudal hierarchy was constituted, the name baron denoted a lord inferior in rank to a count and superior to a simple knight."
That is to say, with the progress of political organization and the establishment of rulers over rulers, certain titles became specialized for the dignifying of the superiors, in addition to those which they had in common with the inferiors.
As is shown by the above cases, special titles, like general titles, are not made but grow—are at first descriptive. Further to exemplify their descriptive origin, and also to exemplify the undifferentiated use of them in early days, let me enumerate the several styles by which, in the Merovingian period, the mayors of the palace were known; viz. major domus regies, senior domus, princeps domus, and in other instances praepositus, praefectus, rector, gubemator, moderator, dux, custos, subregulus. In which list (noting as we pass how our own title "mayor," said to be derived from the French maire, is originally derived from the Latin major, meaning either greater or elder) we get proof that other names of honour carry us back to words implying age as their originals; and that in place of such descriptive words, the alternative words used describe functions.
§ 406. Perhaps better in the case of titles than in any other case, is illustrated the diffusion of ceremonial forms that are first used to propitiate the most powerful only.
Uncivilized and semi-civilized peoples, civilized peoples of past times, and existing civilized peoples, all furnish examples. Among Samoans "it is usual, in the courtesies of common conversation, for all to call each other chiefs. [p.170] If you listen to the talk of little boys even, you will hear them addressing each other as chief this, that, and the other thing." In Siam, a man's children by any of his inferior wives, address their father as "my lord, the king;" and the word Nai, which is the name for chief among the Siamese, "has become a term of civility which the Siamese give to one another." A kindred result has occurred in China, where sons speak of their father as "family's majesty," "prince of the family;" and China supplies a further instance which is noteworthy because it is special. Here, where the supremacy of ancient teachers became so great, and where the titles tze or futze, signifying "great teacher," added to their names, were subsequently added to the names of distinguished writers, and where class distinctions based on intellectual eminence characterize the social organization; it has resulted that this name of honour signifying teacher, has become an ordinary complimentary title. Ancient Borne furnishes other evidences. The spirit which led to the diffusion of titles is well shadowed forth by Mommsen in describing the corrupt giving of public triumphs that were originally accorded only to a "supreme magistrate who augmented the power of the State in open battle."
"In order to put an end to peaceful triumphators, .... the granting of a triumph was made to depend on the producing proof of a pitched battle which had cost the lives of at least five thousand of the enemy; but this proof was frequently evaded by false bulletins. ... Formerly the thanks of the community once for all had sufficed for service rendered to the State; now every meritorious act seemed to demand a permanent distinction. ... A custom came into vogue, by which the victor and his descendants derived a permanent surname from the victories they had won. ... The example set by the higher was followed by the humbler classes."
And under influences of this kind, dominus and rex eventually became titles used
to ordinary persons. Nor do modern European nations fail to exemplify the
process. The prevalence of names of rank on the continent, often remarked,
reaches in some places great extremes. "In [p.171]
Mecklenburg," says Captain Spencer, "it is computed that the nobility include
one half of the population. ... At one of the inns I found a Herr Graf [Count]
for a landlord, a Frau Grafinn [Countess] for a landlady, the young Herren Graf
en filled the places of ostler, waiter, and boots, while
the fair young Fraulein Grafinnen were the cooks and chambermaids. I was
informed that in one village .... the whole of the inhabitants were noble except
French history shows us more clearly perhaps than any other, the stages of diffusion. Noting that in early days, while madame was the title for a noble lady, mademoiselle was used to the wife of an advocate or physician ; and that when, in the sixteenth century, madame descended to the married women of these middle ranks, mademoiselle descended from them to the unmarried women; let us look more especially at the masculine titles, sire, seigneur, sieur, and monsieur. Setting out with sire as an early title for a feudal noble, we find, from a remark of Montaigne, that in 1580, though still applicable in a higher sense to the king, it had descended to the vulgar, and was not used for intermediate grades. Seigneur, introduced as a feudal title while sire was losing its meaning by diffusion, and for a period used alternatively with it, became, in course of time, contracted into sieur. By and by sieur also began to spread to those of lower rank. Afterwards, re-establishing a distinction by an emphasizing prefix, there came into use monsieur; which, as applied to great seigneurs, was new in 1321, and which came also to be the title of sons of kings and dukes. And then by the time that monsieur also had become a general title among the upper classes, sieur had become a bourgeois title. Since which time, by the same process, the early sire and the later sieur dying out, have been replaced by the universal monsieur. So that there appear to have been three waves of diffusion: sire, sieur, and monsieur have successively spread downwards. Nay, even a fourth may be traced. The duplication of the [p.172] monsieur on a letter, doubtless at first used to mark the distinction, has ceased to mark a distinction.
How by this process high titles eventually descend to the very lowest people, we are shown most startlingly in Spain; where "even beggars address each other as Senor y Caballero—Lord and Knight."
§ 407. For form's sake, though scarcely otherwise, it is needful to point out that we are taught here the same lesson as before. The title-giving among savages which follows victory over a foe, brute or human, and which literally or metaphorically distinguishes the individual by his achievement, unquestionably originates in militancy. Though the more general names father, king, elder, and their derivatives, which afterwards arise, are not directly militant in their implications, yet they are indirectly so; for they are the names of rulers evolved by militant activity, who habitually exercise militant functions: being in early stages always the commanders of their subjects in battle. Down to our most familiar titles we have this genesis implied. "Esquire" and "Mister" are derived the one from the name of a knight's attendant and the other from the name magister—originally a ruler or chief, who was a military head by origin and a civil head by development.
As in other cases, comparisons of societies of different types disclose this relation in another way. Remarking that in sanguinary and despotic Dahomey, the personal name "can hardly be said to exist; it changes with every rank of the holder," Burton says—"The dignities seem to be interminable; except amongst the slaves and the canaille, 'handles' are the rule, not the exception, and most of them are hereditary." So, too, under Oriental despotisms. "The name of every Burman disappears when he gets a title of rank or office, and is heard no more;" and in China, "there are twelve orders of nobility, conferred solely on the members of the imperial house or clan," besides "the five [p.173] ancient orders of nobility." Europe supplies further evidence. Travellers in both Russia and Germany, with their social organizations adapted to war, comment on the "insane rage for titles of every description:" the results being that in Russia "a police-office clerk belongs to the eighteenth grade, and has the right to the title of Your Honour;" and in Germany the names of rank and names of office so abundantly distributed, are habitually expected and studiously given, in both speech and writing. Meanwhile England, for ages past less militant in type, has ever shown this trait in a smaller degree; and along with the growth of industrialism and accompanying changes of organization, the use of titles in social intercourse has decreased.
With equal clearness is this connexion seen within each society. By the thirteen grades in our army and the fourteen grades in our navy, we are shown that the exclusively-militant structures continue to be characterized in the highest degree by numerous and specific titular marks. To the ruling classes, descendants or representatives of those who in past times were heads of military forces, the higher distinctions of rank still mostly belong; and of remaining titles, the ecclesiastical and legal are also associated with the regulative organization developed by militancy. Meanwhile, the producing and exchanging parts of the society, carrying on industrial activities, only in exceptional cases bear any titles beyond those which, descending and spreading, have almost lost their meanings.
It is indisputable, then, that serving first to commemorate the triumphs of savages over their foes, titles have expanded, multiplied, and differentiated, as conquests have formed large societies by consolidation and re-consolidation of small ones; and that, belonging to the social type generated by habitual war, they tend to lose their uses and their values, in proportion as this type is replaced by one fitted for carrying on the pursuits of peace.
BADGES AND COSTUMES.
§ 408. The pursuit of interpretations once more takes us back to victories
achieved over men or animals. Badges are derived from trophies; with which, in
early stages, they are identical. We have seen that by the Shoshones, a warrior
is allowed to wear the feet and claws of a grizzly bear, constituting their
"highest insignia of glory," only when he has killed one: the trophy being thus
made into a recognized mark of honour. And seeing this, we cannot doubt that the
buffalo-horns decorating the head of a Mandan chief and indicating his dignity,
were at first worn as spoils of the chase in which he prided himself: implying a
genesis of a badge out of a trophy, which gives meaning to the head-dresses of
certain divine and human personages among ancient peoples.
Beginning as a personal distinction naturally resulting from personal prowess, like the lion's skin which Hercules wears, the trophy-badge borne by a warrior whose superiority gains for him supremacy, tends to originate a family-badge; which becomes a badge of office if his descendants retain power. Hence the naturalness of the facts that in Ukimi "the skin [of a lion] ... is prepared for the sultan's wear, as no one else dare use it;" that "a leopard-skin mantle is the insignia of rank among the Zoolus;" and that in Uganda, certain of the king's attendants wear "leopard-cat skins girt round the waist, the sign of royal blood."
Of course if skins or other parts of slain beasts, tend thus to become badges,
so, too, do parts of slain men. "The Chichimecs flea their heads [of their
vanquished enemies] and fit that skin upon their own heads with all the hair,
and so wear it as a token of valour, till it rots off in bits." Here the scalp
which proves his victory, is itself used in stamping the warrior as honourable.
Similarly when, of the Yucatanese, Landa says that "after a victory they tore
from the slain enemy the jaw-bone, and having stripped it of flesh, they put it
on their arm," we may recognize the beginning of another kind of badge from
another kind of trophy. Though clear evidence that jawbones become badges, is
not forthcoming, we have good reason to think that substituted representations
of them do. After our war with Ashantee, where, as we have seen, jawbones are
habitually taken as trophies, there were brought over to England among other
curiosities, small models of jawbones made in gold, used for personal adornment.
And facts presently to be cited suggest that they became ornaments after having
originally been badges worn by those who had actually taken jawbones from
§ 409. Besides sometimes losing parts of their bodies, which thereupon become trophies, conquered men invariably lose their weapons, which naturally also become trophies; as they did among the Greeks, and as they did again in the time of Charlemagne, to whom swords of subdued chiefs were brought. And if, as we see, parts of vanquished foes' bodies, brute or human, when worn become badges; we may expect that the weapons of the vanquished when carried by the victors, will also become badges.
That swords are thus transformed from trophies into badges, if not directly proved is indirectly implied. In Japan "the constant criterion [of rank] turns upon the wearing of swords. The higher orders wear two .... the nest in rank wear one. ... To the lower orders, a sword is [p.176] strictly prohibited." And since a practice so inconvenient as that of carrying a superfluous sword, is not likely to have been adopted gratuitously; it may be inferred that the "two-sworded man," as he is called, was originally one who, in addition to his own sword, wore a sword taken from an enemy: in which case what is now a badge was once a trophy. Even where both swords are not worn, it results that as the vanquished man is made swordless, the victor's sword marks him as master in contrast with the swordless as slave. Hence, then, the fact that in various countries a sword is a symbol of power. Hence the fact that of old the investiture of princes was in many cases by the girding on of a sword. Hence the use of a sword as an emblem of judicial authority. Implying power and position, the sword is a mark of honour which, in common with all others, has tended to spread downwards; as till lately in Japan, where swordless men in underhand ways acquired the privilege of wearing swords; and as in France, where, two centuries ago, punishments for the unauthorized wearing of swords wore inflicted.
Better than the sword does the spear illustrate this genesis of the badge from the trophy; since, while the sword in becoming a badge retains its original shape, the spear in becoming a badge partially loses the aspect of a weapon. In its untransformed state, the spear is used to signify authority by various semi-civilized peoples. Among several parties met by Mr. Ellis when travelling in Madagascar, he noticed that "the chief usually carried a spear or staff, or both." "No person is permitted to carry weapons of any sort in the palace," of Uganda, says Speke; "but the king habitually bears a couple of spears": a duplication of weapons again suggestive, like the two swords, of a trophy. In Japan, nobles "are entitled in virtue of their rank to have a spear carried before them when moving about officially." That the javelin was a symbol of authority among the Hebrews, Ewald infers from 1 Samuel, xviii., 10 and xxvi., [p.177] 12 and 22. And then there is the still more significant fact that a lance or spear, in the time of Pausanias, was worshipped as the sceptre of Zeus. Early European history yields farther evidence. "The lance was a sign of kingly power," among the Franks, says Waitz; and when Guntchram adopted Childebert, his nephew, he placed a spear in his hand, saying, "this is a sign that I have given over my whole kingdom to thee." Add the evidence famished by the shape of its terminal ornament, and we cannot doubt that the sceptre is simply a modified spear—a spear which, ceasing to be used as a weapon, lost its fitness for destructive purposes while becoming enriched with gold and precious stones. That only by degrees did its character as a weapon disappear, is implied by the fact that the prelate who consecrated Otho in 937, said—"By this sceptre you shall paternally chastise your subjects." And then we may infer that while the spear, borne by the supreme ruler, underwent transformation into the sceptre, the spears borne by subordinates, symbolizing their deputed authority, gradually changed into staves of office, batons of command, and wands. Other facts from various quarters, support the conclusion that all such marks of official power are derived from the weapons or appendages carried by the militant man. Among the Araucanians "the discriminative badge of the toqui [supreme chief] is a species of battle-axe, made of porphyry or marble." Describing a governor-general of a Uganda province, Speke says:—"His badge of office is an iron hatchet, inlaid with copper and handled with ivory." And then mediaeval France supplies two instances in which other parts of the warrior's belongings became badges. Plate armour, originally worn by the knight as a defence, was clung to by the nobility after it had ceased to be useful, because it was a mark of distinction, says Quicherat; and spurs, also at first knightly appendages, grew into appendages of honour, and spread through bishops down even to the ordinary clergy.
§ 410. Another symbol of authority, the flag or ensign, seems to have had a
kindred origin. This, too, is a modified and developed spear.
Certain usages of the Peruvians yield evidence. Garcilasso says, "the lance was adorned with feathers of many colours; extending from the point to the socket, and fastened with rings of gold. The same ensign served as a banner in time of war." This suggests that the appendages of the lance, first used for display, incidentally furnished a means of identification, whereby the whereabouts of the leader could be traced. And then Mr. Markham's statement that planting a lance with a banner at the end seems to have been a sign of the royal presence, while it verifies the inference that the lance became by association a mark of governmental power, suggests also how, by development of its decorative part, the banner resulted.
That along with consolidation of small societies into larger ones by conquest, followed by development of militant organization, there arises not only the need for distinguishing each chief of a tribe from his followers, but also for distinguishing the tribes from one another, is shown by sundry slightly civilized and semi-civilized peoples. During wars in the Sandwich Islands, different ranks of chiefs were distinguished by the sizes and colours of their feather cloaks. Among the Fijians each band "fights under its own flag," and "the flags are distinguished from each other by markings." When armies were formed by the Chibchas, " each cazique and tribe came with different signs on their tents, fitted out with the mantles by which they distinguished themselves from each other." And "the Mexicans were very attentive to distinguish persons, particularly in war, by different badges." When with this last statement we join the further statement that "the armorial ensign of the Mexican empire was an eagle in the act of darting upon a tiger," recalling the animal-names of the kings, we are shown how, at any rate in some cases, the [p.179] distinctive marks on the flags of leaders represented their names; carrying us back to those achievements in war and the chase which originated their names.
That the devices on flags were in early stages commonly of this kind (though naturally not in cases like those of Sandwich Islanders and Fijiaus above named, whose habitats contained no wild beasts of fit characters) seems implied by the fact that even still, the predatory mammals and birds of prey which, in early times, mostly furnished the animal names of great warriors, still linger on flags, or on the standards carrying them: the reason for the gradual subordination of the animal-figure being obviously the growth of that expanse of colour which gives the needful conspicuousness.
§ 411. And here we come upon the now-familiar inference that heraldic badges have descended from these primitive tribal badges, or totems. That the names of tribes, in so many parts of the world derived from animals, and often joined with beliefs that the animals giving the names were the actual ancestors, sometimes originate tribal badges, we have direct proof. Of the Thlinkeets we read in Bancroft that—
"The whole nation is separated into two great divisions or clans, one of which is called the Wolf, and the other the Raven. Upon their houses, boats, robes, shields, and wherever else they can find a place for it, they paint or carve their crest, an heraldic device of the beast or the bird designating the clan to which the owner belongs."
With such support for an inference reasonably to be drawn, we cannot but accept
the hypothesis that the heraldic devices which early prevailed among the
civilized, had a like genesis. When we read that in China, "the Mandarins of
letters have birds on their Habit embroidered in Gold, to distinguish their
rank; the Mandarins of the Army have Animals, as the Dragon, the Lion, the
Tiger," and that [p.180] "by these Marks of Honour
the People know the Rank these officers have in the nine Degrees of the State;"
we can scarcely draw any other conclusion than that this use of animal-symbols,
however much it has deviated from its original use, arose from the primitive
system of tribal naming and consequent tribal badges. And finding that during
early times in Europe, coats of arms were similarly emblazoned upon the dresses,
as well as otherwise displayed, we must infer that whether painted on
coach-panels, chased on plate, or cut on seals, these family-marks among
ourselves have a kindred derivation.
§ 412. Civilized usages obscure the truth that men were not originally prompted to clothe themselves by either the desire for warmth or the thought of decency. When Speke tells us that the Africans attending him, donning with pride their goat-skin mantles when it was tine, took them off when it rained, and went about naked and shivering; or when we read in Heuglin that "among the Schiluk the men go quite naked, even their sultan and his wezir appear in a kind of parti-coloured shirt, only during official interviews and on festive occasions;" we are shown that the dress, like the badge, is at first worn from the wish for admiration.
Some of the facts already given concerning American Indians, who wear as marks of honour the skins of formidable animals they have killed, suggest that the badge and the dress have a common root, and that the dress is, at any rate in some cases, a collateral development of the badge. There is evidence that it was so with early European races. In their Life of the Greeks and Romans, Guhl and Koner remark:—
"The covering of the head and the upper part of the body, to protect them from the weather and the enemy's weapons, originally consisted of the hide of wild animals. Thus the hunter's trophy became the warrior's armour.... The same custom prevailed amongst Germanic nations, and seems to have been adopted by the [p.181] Roman standard-bearers and trumpeters, as is proved by the monuments of the Imperial period."
Whence it is inferable that the honourableness of the badge and of the dress,
simultaneously arise from the honourableness of the trophy. That possession of a
skin-dress passes into a class-distinction, I find no direct proof; though, as
the skins of formidable beasts often become distinctive of chiefs, it seems
probable that skins in general become distinctive of the dominant class where a
servile class exists. Indeed, in a primitive society there unavoidably arises
this contrast between those who, engaged in the chase when not engaged in war,
can obtain skin-garments, and those who, as slaves, are debarred from doing so
by their occupation. Hence, possibly, the interdicts in mediaeval Europe against
the wearing of furs by the inferior classes.
Even apart from this it is inferable that since, by taking his clothes, nakedness is commonly made a trait of the prisoner, and consequently of the slave, relative amount of clothing becomes a class-distinction. In some cases there result exaggerations of the difference thus incidentally arising. Where the inferior are clothed, the superior distinguish themselves by being more clothed. Cook says of the Sandwich Islanders that quantity of clothing is a mark of position, and of the Tongans he says the same; while he tells us that in Tahiti, the higher classes signify their rank by wearing a large amount of clothing at great inconvenience to themselves. A kindred case occurs in Africa. According to Laird, "on all great occasions it is customary for the king" of Fundah "and his attendants to puff themselves out to a ridiculous size with cotton wadding." And the Arabs furnish an allied fact. In Kaseem "it is the fashion to multiply this important article of raiment [shirts] by putting on a second over the first and a third over the second."
That there simultaneously arise differences in the forms and in qualities of the dresses worn by rulers and ruled, [p.182] scarcely needs saying. Obviously, the partial dress of the slave must become distinguished by shape as well as by amount, from the complete dress of the master; and obviously, the clothing allowed to him as a slave will be relatively coarse. But beyond the distinctions thus marking rank in early stages, there must in later stages habitually arise further such distinctions. As wars between small societies end from time to time in subjugation, it must happen that when the dress of the ruling class of the conquering society differs from that of the ruling class of the society conquered, it will become distinctive of the new and higher ruling class. There is evidence that contrasts were thus initiated during the spread, of the Romans. Those inhabitants of Gaul who were inscribed Roman citizens, wore the Roman costume, and formed a privileged order. "The Gallo-Romans, who were incomparably the more numerous ... were obliged to dress otherwise:" freemen meanwhile being distinguished from staves, and slaves from coloni, by their mantles.
Distinctions of rank naturally come to be marked by the colours of dresses, as well as by their quantities, qualities, and shapes. The coarse fabrics worn by the servile classes, must as a matter of course be characterized by those dull colours possessed by the raw materials used; as happened in Rome, where "only poor people, slaves and freedmen, wore dresses of the natural brown or black colour of the wool." Consequently, bright colours will habitually distinguish the dresses of the ruling classes, able to spend money on costly dyes. Illustrations come from many countries. In Madagascar the use of a "dress of entire scarlet is the prerogative of the sovereign alone." In Siam "the Prince, and all who follow him in war or the chase, are clothed in red." "The Kututuchtu [Mongol pontiff] and his lamas are all clothed in yellow, and. no layman is allowed to wear this colour except the prince." In China also, yellow is the imperial colour, limited to the emperor and his clan; and [p.183] among the Chinese other colours, crimson, green, &c., mark potentates of divers grades, while sashes and caps of various bright hues are marks of rank. Then in Europe we have, during the last years of the Roman republic, the wearing of scarlet, violet, and purple, by men of the wealthier classes; ending in the purple of special quality distinctive of the emperor, when his supremacy became established. And among later peoples like causes have effected like distinctions. In mediaeval France scarlet, as the most costly colour, was worn exclusively by princes, knights, and women of high rank. "'The laws ordain that no one shall wear purple, which signifies exalted rank, except the nobles.' Froissart, speaking of Artevelle, chief of the revolted Gantese, says that 'he was clothed in sanguine robes and in scarlet, like the Duke of Brabant and the Count of Hainaut.'"
Of course with that development of ceremonial control which goes along with elaboration of political structure, differences of quantity, quality, shape and colour, are united to produce dresses distinctive of classes. This trait is most marked where the rule is most despotic; as in China where "between the highest mandarin or prime minister, and the lowest constable, there are nine classes, each distinguished by a dress peculiar to itself;" as in Japan, where the attendants of the Mikado "are clad after a particular fashion ... and there is so much difference even among themselves, as to their habits, that thereby alone it is easily known what rank they are of, or what employment they have at Court;" and as in European countries during times of unchecked personal government, when each class had its distinctive costume.
§ 413. The causes which have originated, developed, and specialized badges and dresses, have done the like with ornaments; which have, indeed, the same, origins. The trophy-badges pass into ornaments, we shall see on [p.184] joining with facts given at the outset of the chapter, certain kindred facts. In Guatemala, when commemorating by war-dances the victories of earlier times, the Indians were "dressed in the skins and wearing the heads of animals on their own;" and among the Chibchas, persons of rank "wore helmets, generally made of the skins of fierce animals." If we recall the statement already quoted, that in primitive European times, the warrior's head and shoulders were protected by the hide of a wild animal (the skin of its head sometimes surmounting his head); and if we add the statement of Plutarch that the Cimbri wore helmets representing the heads of wild beasts; we may infer that the animal-ornaments on metal-helmets began as imitations of hunter's trophies. This inference is supported by evidence already cited in part, but in part reserved for the present occasion. The Ashantees who, as we have seen, take human jaws as trophies, use both actual jaws and golden models of jaws for different decorative purposes: adorning their musical instruments, &c. with the realities, and carrying on their persons the metallic representations. A parallel derivation occurs among the Malagasy. When we read that by them silver ornaments like crocodile's teeth are worn on various parts of the body, we can scarcely doubt that the silver teeth are substitutes for actual teeth originally worn as trophies.
We shall the less doubt this derivation on observing in how many parts of the world personal ornaments are made out of these small and durable parts of conquered men and animals,—how by Caribs, Tupis, Moxos, Ashantees, human teeth are made into armlets, anklets, and necklaces; and how in other cases the teeth of beasts, mostly formidable, are used in like ways. The necklaces of the Land Dyaks contain tiger-cat's teeth; the New Guinea people ornament their necks, arms, and waists with hogs' teeth; while the Sandwich Islanders have bracelets of the polished tusks of the hog, with anklets of dogs' teeth. Some Dacotahs wear [p.185] "a kind of necklace of white bear's claws, three inches long." Among the Kukis "a common armlet worn by the men consists of two semi-circular boar's tusks tied together so as to form a ring." Enumerating objects hanging from a Dyah's ear, Boyle includes "two boar's tusks, one alligator's tooth." And picturing what her life would be at home, a captive New Zealand girl in her lament says—"the shark's tooth would hang from my ear." Though small objects which are attractive in colour and shape, will naturally be used by the savage for decorative purposes, yet pride in displaying proofs of his prowess, will inevitably make him utilize fit trophies in preference to other things, when he has them. The motive which made Mandans have their buffalo-robes "fringed on one side with scalp-locks," which prompts a Naga chief to adorn the collar round his neck with "tufts of the hair of the persons he had killed," and which leads the Hottentots to ornament their heads with the bladders of the wild beasts they have slain, as Kolben tells us, will inevitably tend to transform trophies into decorations wherever it is possible. Indeed while I write I find direct proof that this is so. Concerning the Snake Indians, Lewis and Clarke say:—
"The collar most preferred, because most honourable, is one of the claws of the brown bear. To kill one of these animals is as distinguished an achievement as to have put to death an enemy, and in fact with their weapons is a more dangerous trial of courage. These claws are suspended on a thong of dressed leather, and being ornamented with beads, are worn round the neck by the warriors with great pride."
And sundry facts unite in suggesting that many of the things used for ornaments were at first substitutes for trophies having some resemblance to them. When Tuckey tells us that the natives of the Congo region make their necklaces, bracelets, &c, of iron and brass rings, lion's teeth, beads, shells, seeds of plants; we may suspect that the lion's teeth stand to the beads and shells in much the same relation that diamonds do to paste.
And then from cases in which the ornament is an actual trophy or representation
of a trophy, we pass to cases in which it avowedly stands in place of a trophy.
Describing practices of the Chibchas, Acosta says that certain of their
strongest and bravest men had ''their lips, noses, and ears pierced, and from
them hung strings of gold quills, the number of which corresponded with that of
the enemies they had killed in battle:" the probability being that these golden
ornaments, originally representations of actual trophies, had lost resemblance
Thus originating, adornments of these kinds become distinctive of the warrior-class; and there result interdicts on the use of them by inferiors. Such interdicts have occurred in various places. Among the Chibchas, "paintings, decorations and jewels on dresses, and ornaments, were forbidden to the common people.'' So, too, in Peru, "none of the common people could use gold or silver, except by special privilege." And without multiplying evidence from nearer regions, it will suffice to add that in mediaeval France, jewellery and plate were marks of distinction not allowed to those below a certain rank.
Of course decorations beginning as actual trophies, passing into representations of trophies made of precious materials, and, while losing their resemblance to trophies, coming to be marks of honour given to brave warriors by their militant rulers (as in Imperial Rome, where armlets were thus awarded) inevitably pass from relative uniformity to relative multiformity. As society complicates there result orders of many kinds—stars, crosses, medals, and the like. These it is observable are most if not all of them of military origin. And then where a militant organization evolved into rigidity, continues after the life has ceased to be militant, we find such decorations used to mark ranks of another kind; as in China, with its differently-coloured buttons distinguishing its different grades of mandarins.
I must not, however, be supposed to imply that this [p.187] explanation covers all cases. Already I have admitted that the rudimentary aesthetic sense which leads the savage to paint his body, has doubtless a share in prompting the use of attractive objects for ornaments; and two other origins of ornaments must be added. Cook tells us that the New Zealanders carry suspended to their ears the nails and teeth of their deceased relations; and much more bulky relics, which are carried about by widows and others among some races, may also occasionally be modified into decorative objects. Further, it seems that badges of slavery undergo a kindred transformation. The ring through the nose, which Assyrian sculptures show us was used for leading captives taken in war, which marked those who, as priests, entered the service of certain gods in ancient America, and which in Astrachan is even now a sign of dedication, that is of subjection; seems elsewhere to have lost its meaning, and to have survived as an ornament. And this is a change analogous to that which has occurred with marks on the skin. (§ 364)
§ 414. We cannot say that the wish to propitiate, which caused the spread of present-giving, of obeisances, of complimentary addresses, and of titles, has also caused the spread of badges, costumes, and decorations. In this case it is rather that the lower grades have sought to raise themselves into the grades above, by assuming their distinctive marks; and that, where feared, they have been propitiated by allowing them to do this.
Already in passing we have noted how such badges of rank as swords and as spurs, have descended even in spite of interdicts; and here must be added proofs that the like has occurred with dresses and ornaments. It was thus in Rome. "All these insignia," writes Mommsen, "probably belonged at first only to the nobility proper, i.e. to the agnate descendants of curule magistrates; although, after the manner of such decorations, all of them in course of time [p.183] were extended to a wider circle." And then, in illustration, he says that the purple-bordered toga, originally significant of the highest rank, bad, as early as the time of the second Punic war, descended "even to the sons of freedmen;" while the gold amulet-case distinguishing the triumphator, was, at the same date, "only mentioned as a badge of the children of senators." So was it, too, with signet rings.
"Originally only ambassadors sent to foreign nations were allowed to wear gold rings ....; later, senators and other magistrates of equal rank, and soon afterwards knights, received the jus annuli aurei. After the civil war, .... the privilege was frequently encroached upon. The first emperors tried to enforce the old law, but as many of their freedmen had become entitled to wear gold rings, the distinction lost its value. After Hadrian the gold ring ceased to be the sign of rank."
Sumptuary laws in later times, have shown us alike the distinctions of dress
which once marked off classes and the gradual breaking down of those
distinctions; as, for example, in mediaeval France. Just alluding to the facts
that in early days silk and velvet were prohibited to those below a certain
grade, that under Philip Augustus shoe-points were limited in their lengths to
six inches, twelve inches, or twenty-four inches according to social position,
and that in the 17th century, ranks at the French court were marked by the
lengths of trains; it will suffice, in illustration of the feelings and actions
which cause and resist such changes, to name the complaints of moralists in the
14th and 15th centuries, that by extravagance in dress "all ranks were
confounded," and to add that in the 16th century, women were sent to prison by
scores for wearing clothes like those of their superiors.
How this diffusion of dresses marking honourable position and disuse of dresses marking inferiority, has gone far among ourselves, but is still incomplete, is shown in almost every household. On the one hand we have the fashionable gowns of cooks and housemaids; on the other hand we have that dwarfed representative of the muslin cap, which, once hiding the hair, was insisted upon by mistresses as a class [p.189] distinction, but which, gradually dwindling, has now become a small patch on the back of the head: a good instance of the unobtrusive modifications by which usages are changed.
§ 415. Before summing up, I must point out that though, in respect of these elements of ceremony, there are not numerous parallelisms between the celestial rule and the terrestrial rule, still there are some. That the symbol of dominion, the sceptre, originally derived from a weapon, the spear, is common to the two, will be at once recalled as one instance; and the ball held in the hand as a second. Further, in regions so far from one another as Polynesia and ancient Italy, we find such communities of dress between the divine and the human potentate, as naturally follow the genesis of deities by ancestor-worship. Ellis tells us that the Tahitians had a great religious festival at the coronation of their kings. During the ceremonies, he was girded with the sacred girdle of red feathers, which identified him with the gods. And then in ancient Rome, says Mommsen, the king's "costume was the same as that of the supreme god; the state-chariot, even in the city where everyone else went on foot, the ivory sceptre with the eagle, the vermilion-painted face, the chaplet of oaken leaves in gold, belonged alike to the Roman god and to the Roman king."
As clearly as in preceding cases, we see, in the genesis of badges and costumes, how ceremonial government begins with, and is developed by, militancy. Those badges which carry us back for their derivation to trophies taken from the bodies of slain brutes and men, conclusively show this; and we are shown it with equal conclusiveness by those badges, or symbols of authority, which were originally weapons taken from the vanquished. On finding that a dress, too, originally consisting of a wild animal's skin, has at the outset like implications bringing like honours; and on finding also that as a spoil wrenched from the conquered man, the [p.190] dress, whether a trophy of the chase or of other kind, comes by its presence and absence to be distinctive of conqueror and conquered; and on further finding that in subsequent stages such additional dress-distinctions as arise, are brought in by members of conquering societies, differently clothed from both upper and lower classes of the societies conquered; we are shown that from the beginning these conspicuous marks of superiority and inferiority resulted from war. And after seeing how war incidentally initiated badges and costumes, we shall understand how there followed a conscious recognition of them as connected with success in arms, and as being for that reason honourable. Instances of this direct relation are furnished by the militant societies of ancient America. In Mexico, the king could not wear full dress before he had made a prisoner in battle. In Peru, "those (of the vassals) who had worked most in the subjugation of the other Indians ... were allowed to imitate the Ynca most closely in their badges." And how dresses, at first marking military supremacy, become afterwards dresses marking political supremacy, or political power derived from it, we may gather from the statement that in ancient Rome "the toga picta and the toga pahnata (the latter so called from the palm branches embroidered on it) were worn by victorious commanders at their triumphs; also (in imperial times) by consuls entering on their office, by the practors at the pompa circensis, and by tribunes of the people at the Augustalia.'"
Enforcing direct evidence of this kind, comes the indirect evidence obtained by comparing societies of different types and by comparing different stages of the same society. In China and Japan, where the political organization evolved in ancient times by war, acquired a rigidity which has kept it unchanged till modern times, we see great persistence of these class-badges and costumes; and among European nations, those which have retained types [p.191] predominantly militant, are in greater degrees characterized by the prevalence of special dresses and decorations than those which have become relatively industrial in their types. In Russia, "a dress which would not denote the rank of the man, and a man whose only worth should arise from his personal merit, would be considered as anomalies." Describing a Russian dinner-party, Dr. Moritz Wagner says—"I found that on the breasts of thirty-five military guests, there glittered more than two hundred stars and crosses; many of the coats of Generals had more orders than buttons." And this trait which by contrast strikes a German in Russia, similarly by contrast strikes an Englishman in Germany Capt. Spencer remarks—"I do not believe that any people in Europe are more partial to titles and orders than the Germans, and more especially the Austrians." And then after recalling the differences between the street-scenes on the Continent and in England, caused by the relative infrequency here of official costumes, military and civil, we are reminded of a further difference of kindred nature. For here among the non-official, there are fewer remnants of those class-distinctions in dress which were everywhere pronounced during the more militant past. The blouse of the French workman stamps him in a way in which the workman in England is not stamped by his comparatively varied dress; and the French woman-servant is much more clearly identifiable as such by cap and gown than is her sister in England. Along with this obliteration of visible distinctions carried further at home than abroad, there is another kind of obliteration also carried further. Official costumes, in early times worn constantly, have tended in the less militant countries to fall into disuse, save during times for performing official functions; and in England this change, more marked than elsewhere, has gone to the extent of leading even military and naval officers to assume "mufti" when off duty.
Most striking, however, is the evidence yielded by the [p.192] general contrast between the controlling part of each society and the controlled part. The facts that those who form the regulative organization, which is originated by militancy, are distinguished from those who form the organization regulated, which is of industrial origin, by the prevalence among them of visible signs of rank; and that the militant part of this regulative organization is more than the rest characterized by the conspicuousness, multiplicity, and definiteness, of those costumes and badges which distinguish both its numerous divisions and the numerous ranks in each division; are facts unmistakably supporting the inference that militancy has generated all these marks of superiority and inferiority.
§ 416. Foregoing chapters have shown how, from primitive usages of the
ceremonial kind, there are derived usages which, in course of time, lose the
more obvious traces of their origin. There remain to be pointed out groups of
secondarily-derived usages still more divergent.
In battle, it is important to get the force of gravity to fight on your side; and hence the anxiety to seize a position above that of the foe. Conversely, the combatant who is thrown down, cannot further resist without struggling against his own weight, as well as against his antagonist's strength. Hence, being below is so habitually associated with defeat, as to have made maintenance of this relation (literally expressed by the words superior and inferior) a leading element in ceremony at large. The idea of relative elevation as distinguishing the positions of rulers from those of ruled, runs through our language; as when we speak of higher and lower classes, upper and under servants, and call officers of minor rank subordinates or subalterns. Everywhere this idea enters into social observances. That tendency to connect the higher level with honourableness, which among ourselves in old times was shown by reserving the dais for those of rank and leaving the body of the hall for common people, produces in the East, where ceremonial [p.194] is so greatly developed, various rigid regulations. Writing of Lombock, Wallace says—
"The highest seat is literally, with these people, the place of honour and the sign of rank. So unbending are the rules in this respect, that when an English carriage which the Rajah of Lombock had sent for, arrived, it was found impossible to use it because the driver's seat was the highest, and it had to be kept as a show in its coach-house." Similarly, according to Yule, in Burmah. "That any person should occupy a floor over head, would be felt as an intense degradation. ... To the same reason is generally ascribed the little use made by the kings of Ava of the carriages, which have at various times been sent to them as presents."
So too of Siara, Bowring remarks:—
"No man of inferior rank dares to raise his head to the level of that of his superior; no person can cross a bridge if an individual of higher grade chances to be passing below; no mean person may walk upon a floor above that occupied by his betters."
And this idea that relative elevation is an essential
accompaniment of superior rank, we shall presently see dictates several kinds of
Other derivative class-distinctions are sequent upon differences of wealth; which themselves originally follow differences of power. From that earliest stage in which master and slave are literally captor and captive, abundance of means has been the natural concomitant of mastery, and poverty the concomitant of slavery. Hence where the militant type of organization predominates, being rich indirectly implies being victorious, or having the political supremacy gained by victory. It is true that some primitive societies furnish exceptions. Among the Dacotahs "the civil-chiefs and war-chiefs are distinguished from the first by their poverty. They generally are poorer clad than any of the rest." The like holds of the Abipones, whose customs supply an explanation. A cazique, distinguished by the "peculiar oldness and shabbiness" of his clothes, remains shabby because, if he puts on "new and handsome apparel, .... the first person he meets will boldly cry 'Give me that dress' .... and unless he immediately parts [p.195] with it, he becomes the scoff and the scorn of all, and hears himself called covetous and niggardly." But with a few such exceptions, marks of wealth are regarded as marks of honour, even by primitive peoples. Among the Mishmis,
"The skull of every animal that has graced the hoard, is hung up as a record in the hall of the entertainer; ... and when he dies, the whole smoke-dried collection of many years is piled upon his grave as a monument of his riches and a memorial of his worth."
A like usage occurs in Africa. "The Bambnrans," says
Caillie, "hang on the outside of their huts the heads of all the animals they
eat; this is looked upon as a mark of grandeur." And then on the Gold coast,
"the richest man is the most honoured, without the least regard to nobility."
Naturally the honouring of wealth, beginning in these early stages, continues
through subsequent stages; and signs of wealth hence become class-distinctions:
so originating various ceremonial restrictions.
Carrying with us the two ruling ideas thus briefly exemplified, we shall readily trace the genesis of sundry curious observances.
§417. In tropical countries the irritation produced by flies is a chief misery in life; and sundry habits which in our eyes are repulsive, result from endeavours to mitigate this misery. In the absence of anything better, the lower races of mankind cover their bodies with films of dirt as shields against these insect-enemies. Hence, apparently, one motive for painting the skin. Juarros says:—"The barbarians, or unreclaimed Indians, of Guatemala .... always paint themselves black, rather for the purpose of defence against mosquitoes than for ornament." And then we get an indication that where the pigment used, being decorative and costly, is indicative of wealth, the abundant use of it becomes honourable. In Tanna "some of the chiefs show their rank by an extra coat of pigment [red earth on the face], and have it plastered on as thick as clay." Coming in this way to distinguish the man of power [p.196] who possesses much, from subject men who possess little, the putting on of a protective covering to the skin, grows into a ceremony indicating supremacy. Says D. Duran of the Mexicans, "they anointed [Vitziliuitl, the elected king] on his whole body with the bitumen with which they anointed the statue of their god Vitzilopochtli;" and specifying otherwise the material used, Herrera says " they crowned and anointed Vitzilocutly with an ointment they called divine, because they used it to their idol."
Instead of earths, paints, and bituminous substances, other people employ for protecting the skin, oils and fatty matters. Proof exists that the use of these also, in great quantity and of superior quality, serves to indicate wealth, and consequently rank; and, guided by the above facts, we may suspect that there have hence arisen certain ceremonies performed in recognition of superior power. Africa furnishes two pieces of evidence which go far to justify this conclusion.
"The richer a Hottentot is," says Kolben, "the more Fat and Butter he employs in anointing himself and his family. This is the grand Distinction between the Rich and the Poor. .... Everyone's Wealth, Magnificence, and Finery being measured by the Quantity and delicacy of the Butter or Fat upon his Body and Apparel."
And then we read in Wilkinson that—
"With the Egyptians as with the Jews, the investiture to any sacred office, as that of king or priest, was confirmed by this external sign [of anointing]; and as the Jewish lawgiver mentions the ceremony of pouring oil on the head of the high-priest after he had put on his entire dress, with the mitre and crown, the Egyptians represent the anointing of their priests and kings after they were attired in their full robes with the cap and crown upon their head. ... They also anointed the statues of the gods; which was done with the little linger of the right hand. .... The custom of anointing was the ordinary town of welcome to guests in every party at the house of a friend. ... The dead were made to participate in it, as if sensible of the token of esteem thus bestowed upon them."
When we thus find that among some uncivilized people the abundance and fine
quality of the fat used for protecting the skin marks wealth, and consequently
rank; when we [p.197] join with this a proof that
the anointing with unguents among the Egyptians was an act of propitiation,
alike to gods, kings, deceased persons, and ordinary guests; and when we
remember that the ointment with which Christ was anointed was "precious;" we may
reasonably infer that this ceremony attending investiture with sovereignty was
originally one indicating the wealth that implied power.
§ 418. The idea of relative height and the idea of relative wealth, appear to join in originating certain building regulations expressive of class-distinctions. An elevated abode implies at once display of riches and assumption of a position overlooking others. Hence, in various places, limitations of the heights to which different ranks may build. In ancient Mexico, under Montezuma's laws, "no one was allowed to build a house with [several] stories, except the great lords and gallant captains, on pain of death." A kindred regulation exists at the present time in Dahomey; where the king, wishing to honour some one, "gave him a formal leave to build a house two stories high;" and where "the palace and the city gates are allowed five surish [steps]; chiefs have four tall or five short, and all others three, or as the king directs.'" There are restrictions of like kind in Japan. "The height of the street-front, and even the number of windows, are determined by sumptuary laws." So, too, is it in Burmah. Yule says:—"The character of house, and especially of roof, appropriate to each rank, appears to be matter of regulation, or inviolable prescription;" and, according to Sangermano, "nothing less than death can expiate the crime, either of choosing a shape [for a house] that does not belong to the dignity of the master, or of painting the house white; which colour is permitted to the members of the royal family alone." More detailed are the interdicts named by Syme.
"Piasath, the regal spire, distinguishes the dwellings of the [p.198] monarch and the temples of the divinity. To none other is it allowed. ... There are no brick buildings either in Peguo or Ivangoon except such as belong to the king, or are dedicated to their divinity Gaudama. ... Gilding is forbidden to all subjects of the Birman Empire. Liberty even to lacker and paint the pillars of their houses, is granted to very few."
§ 419. Along with laws forbidding those of inferior rank to have the higher and
more ornamental houses which naturally imply the wealth that accompanies power,
there go interdicts on the use by common people of various appliances to comfort
which the man of rank and influence has. Among these may first be noted
artificial facilities for locomotion.
A sketch in an African book of travels, representing the king of Obbo making a progress, seated on the shoulders of an attendant, shows us in its primitive form, the connexion between being carried by other men and the exercise of power over other men. Marking, by implication, a ruling person, the palanquin or equivalent vehicle is in many places forbidden to inferior persons. Among the ancient Chibchas, "the law did not allow any one to be carried in a litter on the shoulders of his men, except the Bogota and those to whom he gave the privilege." Prior to the year 1821, no person in Madagascar "was allowed to ride in the native chair or palanquin, except the royal family, the judges, and first officers of state." So, too, in Europe, there have been restrictions on the use of such chairs. Among the Romans, "in town only the senators and ladies were allowed to be carried in them;" and in France, in past times, the sedan was forbidden to those below a certain rank. In some places the social status of the occupant is indicated by the more or less costly accompaniments. Kaempfer says that in Japan, "the bigness and length of these [sedan] poles hath been determined by the political laws of the empire, proportionable to every one's quality." The sedan "is carried by two, four, [p.199] eight, or more men, according to the quality of the person in it." The like happens in China. "The highest officers are carried by eight bearers, others by four, and the lowest by two: this, and every other particular, being regulated by laws." Then, elsewhere, the character of appliances for locomotion on water is similarly prescribed. In Turkey, "the hierarchy of rank is maintained and designated by the size of each Turkish functionary's boat;" and in Siam "the height and ornaments of the cabin [in barges] designate the rank or the functions of the occupier."
As the possession of chair-bearers, who in early stages are slaves, implies alike the mastery and the "wealth always indicative of rank in societies of militant type; so, too, does possession of attendants to carry umbrellas or other protections against the sun. Hence interdicts on the use of these by inferiors. Such restrictions occur in comparatively early stages. In Fiji (Somo-somo) only the king and the two high priests in favour, can use the sun-shade. In Congo only those of royal blood are allowed to use an umbrella, or to be carried in a mat. The sculptured records of extinct eastern peoples, imply the existence of this class-mark. Among the Assyrians,
"The officers in close attendance upon the monarch varied according to his employment. In war he was accompanied by his charioteer, his shield-bearer or shield-bearers, his groom, his quiver-bearer, his mace-bearer, and sometimes by his parasol-bearer. In peace the parasol-bearer is always represented as in attendance, except in hunting expeditions, or where he is replaced by a fan-bearer."
Adjacent parts of the world show us the same mark of distinction in use down to
the present time. "From India to Abyssinia," says Burton, "the umbrella is the
sign of royalty." Still further east this symbol of dignity is multiplied to
produce the idea of greater dignity. In Siam, at the king's coronation, "a page
comes forward and presents to the king the seven-storied umbrella—the savetraxat
or primary symbol of royalty." And when the emperor of China leaves his palace,
he is accompanied by [p.200] twenty men bearing
large umbrellas and twenty fan-bearers. Elsewhere umbrellas, not monopolized by
kings, may be used by others, but with differences; as in Java, where custom
prescribes six colours for the umbrellas of six ranks. Evidently the
shade-yielding umbrella is closely allied to the shade-yielding canopy; the use
of which also is a class-distinction. Ancient America furnished a good instance.
In Utlatlan the king sat under four canopies, the "elect" under three, the chief
captain under two, and the second captain under one. And here we are reminded
that this developed form of the umbrella, having four supports, is alike in the
East and in Europe, used in exaltation of both the divine ruler and the human
ruler: in the one region borne by attendants over kings and supported in a more
permanent manner over the cars in which idols are drawn; and in the other used
alike in state-processions and ecclesiastical processions, to shade now the
monarch and now the Host.
Of course with regulations giving to higher ranks the exclusive enjoyment of the more costly conveniences, there go others forbidding the inferior to have conveniences of even less costly natures. For example, in Fiji the best kind of mat for lying on is forbidden to the common people. In Dahomey, the use of hammocks is a royal prerogative, shared in only by the whites. Concerning the Siamese, Bowring says:—"We were informed that the use of such cushions [more or less ornamented, according to rank] was prohibited to the people." And we learn from Bastian that among the Joloffs the use of the mosquito-curtain is a royal prerogative.
§ 420. Of sumptuary laws, those regulating the uses of foods may be traced back to very early stages—stages in which usages have not yet taken the shape of laws. They go along with the subordination of the young to the old, and of females to males. Among the Tasmanians, "the old [p.201] men get the best food;" and Sturt says, "only the old men of the natives of Australia have the privilege of eating the emu. For a young man to eat it is a crime." The Khond women, Macpherson tells us, "for some unknown cause, are never, I am informed, permitted to eat the flesh of the hog." In Tahiti "the men were allowed to eat the flesh of the pig, and of fowls, and a variety of fish, cocoa-nuts, and plantains, and whatever was presented as an offering to the gods, which the females, on pain of death, were forbidden to touch." After stating that the Fijian women are never permitted to enter the temple, the United States' explorers add—"nor, as we have seen, to eat human flesh, at least in public."
Of food-restrictions other than those referring to age and sex, may first be named one from Fiji—one which also refers to the consumption of human flesh. Seeman says "the common people throughout the group, as well as women of all classes, were by custom debarred from it. Cannibalism was thus restricted to the chiefs and gentry." Of other class-restrictions on food, ancient America furnishes examples. Among the Chibchas, "venison could not be eaten unless the privilege had been granted by the cazique." In San Salvador, "none formerly drank chocolate but the prime men and notable soldiers;" and in Peru "the kings (Yncas) had the coca as a royal possession and privilege."
Of course there might be added to these certain of the sumptuary laws respecting food which prevailed during past times throughout Europe.
§ 421. Of the various class-distinctions which imply superior rank by implying greater wealth, the most curious remain. I refer to certain inconvenient, and sometimes painful, traits, only to be acquired by those whose abundant means enable them to live without labour, or to indulge in some kind of sensual excess.
One group of these distinctions, slightly illustrated among ourselves by the
pride taken in delicate hands, as indicating freedom from manual labour, is
exhibited in marked forms in some societies that are comparatively little
advanced. "The chiefs in the Society Islands value themselves on having long
nails on all, or on some, of their fingers." "Fijian kings and priests wear the
ringer nails long," says Jackson; and in Sumatra, "persons of superior rank
encourage the growth of their hand-nails, particularly those of the fore and
little fingers, to an extraordinary length." Everyone knows that a like usage
has a like origin in China; where, however, long nails have partially lost their
meaning: upper servants being allowed to wear them. But of personal defects
similarly origining, China furnishes a far more striking instance in the cramped
feet of ladies. Obviously these have become signs of class-distinction, because
of the implied inability to labour, and the implied possession of means
sufficient to purchase attendance. Then, again, as marking rank because implying
riches, we have undue, and sometimes excessive, fatness; either of the superior
person himself or of his belongings. The beginnings of this may be traced in
quite early stages; as among some uncivilized American peoples. "An Indian is
respectable in his own community, in proportion as his wife and children look
fat and well fed: this being a proof of his prowess and success as a hunter, and
his consequent riches." From this case, in which the relation between implied
wealth and implied power is directly recognized, we pass in the course of social
development to cases in which, instead of the normal fatness indicating
sufficiency, there comes the abnormal fatness indicating superfluity, and,
consequently, greater wealth. In China, great fatness is a source of pride in a
Mandarin. Ellis tells us that corpulence is a mark of distinction among Tahitian
females. Throughout Africa there prevails an admiration for corpulence in women,
which, in some places, rises to a great pitch; as in Karague
[p.203] where the king has "very fat wives"—where,
according to Speke, the king's sister-in-law "was another of those wonders of
obesity, unable to stand excepting on all fours," and where, "as fattening is
the first duty of fashionable female life, it must be duly enforced by the rod
if necessary." Still stranger are the marks of dignity constituted by diseases
resulting from those excessive gratifications of appetite which wealth makes
possible. Even among ourselves may be traced an association of ideas which thus
originates. The story about a gentleman of the old school, who, hearing that
some man of inferior extraction was suffering from gout, exclaimed—"Damn the
fellow; wasn't rheumatism good enough for him," illustrates the still-current
idea that gout is a gentlemanly disease, because it results from that high
living which presupposes the abundant means usually associated with superior
position. Introduced by this instance, the instance which comes to us from
Polynesia will seem not unnatural. "The habitual use of ava causes a whitish
scurf on the skin, which among the heathen Tahitians was reckoned a badge of
nobility; the common people not having the means of indulgence requisite to
produce it." Cut of all marks of dignity arising in this way, or indeed in any
way, the strangest is one which Ximenez tells us of as existing among the people
of ancient Guatamala. The sign of a disorder, here best left unspecified, which
the nobles were liable to, because of habits which wealth made possible, had
become among the Guatemalans a sign "of greatness and majesty;" and its name was
applied even to the deity!
§ 422. How these further class-distinctions, though not, like preceding ones, directly traceable to militancy, are indirectly traceable to it, and how they fade as industrialism develops, need not be shown at length.
Foregoing instances make it clear that they are still maintained rigorously in societies characterized by that [p.204] type of organization which continuous war establishes; and that they prevailed to considerable degrees during the past warlike times of more civilized societies. Conversely, they show that as, along with the rise of a wealth which does not imply rank, luxuries and costly modes of life have spread to those who do not form part of the regulative organization; the growth of industrialism tends to abolish these marks of class-distinction which militancy originates. No matter what form they take, all these supplementary rules debarring the inferior from usages and appliances characterizing the superior, belong to a social regime based on coercive co-operation; while that unchecked liberty which, among ourselves, the classes regulated have to imitate the regulating classes in habits and expenditure, belongs to the regime of voluntary co-operation.
§ 423. To say nothing about Fashion under the general head of Ceremonial
Institution would be to leave a gap; and yet Fashion is difficult to deal with
in a systematic manner. Throughout the several forms of social control thus far
treated, we have found certain pervading characters traceable to common origins;
and the conclusions reached have hence been definite. But those miscellaneous
and ever-changing regulations of conduct which the name Fashion covers, are not
similarly interpretable; nor does any single interpretation suffice for them
In the Mutilations, the Presents, the Visits, the Obeisances, the Forms of Address, the Titles, the Badges and Costumes, &c. we see enforced, not likeness between the acts of higher and lower, but unlikeness: that which the ruler does the ruled must not do; and that which the ruled is commanded to do is that which is avoided by the ruler. But in those modifications of behaviour, dress, mode of life, &c, which constitute Fashion, likeness instead of unlikeness is insisted upon. Respect must be shown by following the example of those in authority, not by differing from them. How does there arise this contrariety?
The explanation appears to be this. Fashion is intrinsically imitative. Imitation may result from two widely divergent motives. It may be prompted by reverence for [p.206] one imitated, or it may be prompted by the desire to assert equality with him. Between the imitations prompted by these unlike motives, no clear distinction can be drawn; and hence results the possibility of a transition from those reverential imitations going along with much subordination, to those competitive imitations characterizing a state of comparative independence.
Setting out with this idea as our clue, let us observe how the reverential imitations are initiated, and how there begins the transition from them to the competitive imitations.
§ 424. Given a society characterized by servile submission, and in what cases will a superior be propitiated by the imitations of an inferior? In respect of what traits will assumption of equality with him be complimentary? Only in respects of his defects.
From the usages of those tyrannically-ceremonious savages the Fijians, may be given an instance well illustrating the motive and the result.
"A chief was one day going over a mountain-path, followed by a long string of his people, when he happened to stumble and fall; all the rest of the people immediately did the same, except one man, who was instantly set upon by the rest, to know whether he considered himself better than his chief."
And Williams, describing his attempt to cross a slippery bridge formed of a single cocoa-nut stem, writes:—
"Just as I commenced the experiment, a heathen said, with much animation, 'To-day, I shall have a musket!' ... When I asked him why he spoke of a musket, the man replied, 'I felt certain that you would fall in attempting to go over, and I should have fallen after you;' [that is, appeared to be equally clumsy;] 'and as the bridge is high, the water rapid, and you a gentleman, you would not have thought of giving me less than a musket.'"
Even more startling is a kindred practice in Africa, among the people of Darfur. "If the Sultan, being on horseback, happens to fall off, all his followers must fall off likewise; and should anyone omit this formality, however great he may be, he is laid down and beaten."
Such examples of endeavours to please a ruler by avoiding any appearance of superiority to him, seem less incredible than they would else seem, on finding that among European peoples there have occurred, if not like examples, still, analogous examples. In 1461 Duke Philip of Burgundy having had his hair cut during an illness, "issued an edict that all the nobles of his states should be shorn also. More than five hundred persons .... sacrificed their hair." From this instance, in which the ruler insisted on having his defect imitated by the ruled against their wills (for many disobeyed), we may pass to a later instance in which a kindred imitation was voluntary. In France, in 1665, after the operation on Lewis XIV for fistula, the royal infirmity became the fashion among the courtiers.
"Some who had previously taken care to conceal it were now not ashamed to let it be known. There were even courtiers who chose to be operated on in Versailles, because the king was then informed of all the circumstances of the malady. ... I have seen more than thirty wishing to be operated on, and whose folly was so great that they were annoyed when told that there was no occasion to do so."
And now if with cases like these we join cases in which a modification of dress
which a king adopts to hide a defect (such as a deep neckcloth where a
scrofulous neck has to be concealed) is imitated by courtiers, and spreads
downwards; we see how from that desire to propitiate which prompts the pretence
of having a like defect, there may result fashion in dress; and how from
approval of imitations of this kind may insensibly come tolerance of other
§ 425. Not that such a cause would produce such an effect by itself. There is a co-operating cause which takes advantage of the openings thus made. Competitive imitation, ever going as far as authority allows, turns to its own advantage every opportunity which reverential imitation makes.
This competitive imitation begins quite as early as the reverential. Members of savage tribes are not unfrequently led by the desire for applause into expenditure relatively [p.208] more lavish than are the civilized. There are barbarous peoples among whom the expected hospitalities on the occasion of a daughter's marriage, are so costly as to excuse female infanticide, on the ground that the ruinous expense which rearing the daughter would eventually entail is thus avoided. Thomson and Angas unite in describing the extravagance into which the New Zealand chiefs are impelled by fashion in giving great feasts, as often causing famines—feasts for which chiefs begin to provide a year before: each being expected to out-do his neighbours in prodigality. And the motive thus coming into play early in social evolution, and making equals vie with one another in display, similarly all along prompts the lower to vie, so far as they are allowed, with the higher. Everywhere and always the tendency of the inferior to assert himself has been in antagonism with the restraints imposed on him; and a prevalent way of asserting himself has been to adopt costumes and appliances and customs like those of his superior. Habitually there have been a few of subordinate rank who, for one reason or other, have been allowed to in roach by imitating the ranks above; and habitually the tendency has been to multiply the precedents for imitation, and so to establish for wider classes the freedom to live and dress in ways like those of the narrower classes.
Especially has this happened as fast as rank and wealth have ceased to be coincident—as fast, that is, as industrialism has produced men rich enough to compete in style of living with those above them in rank. Partly from the greater means, and partly from the consequent greater power, acquired by the upper grades of producers and distributors; and partly from the increasing importance of the financial aid they can give to the governing classes in public and private affairs; there has been an ever-decreasing resistance to the adoption by them of usages originally forbidden to all but the high born. The restraints in earlier times enacted and re-enacted by sumptuary laws, have been gradually [p.209] relaxed; until the imitation of superiors by inferiors, spreading continually downwards, has ceased to be checked by anything more than sarcasm and ridicule.
§ 426. Entangled and confused with one another as Ceremonial and Fashion are, they have thus different origins and meanings: the first being proper to the regime of compulsory co-operation, and the last being proper to the regime of voluntary co-operation. Clearly there is an essential distinction, and, indeed, an opposition in nature, between behaviour required by subordination to the great and behaviour resulting from imitation of the great.
It is true that the regulations of conduct here distinguished, are ordinarily fused into one aggregate of social regulations. It is true that certain ceremonial forms come to be fulfilled as parts of the prevailing fashion; and that certain elements of fashion, as for instance the order of courses at a dinner, come to be thought of as elements of ceremonial. And it is true that both are now enforced by an unembodied opinion which appears to be the same for each. But, as we have seen above, this is an illusion. Though when, in our day, a wealthy Quaker, refusing to wear the dress worn by those of like means, refuses also to take off his hit to a superior, we commonly regard these non-conformities as the same in nature; we are shown that they are not, if we go back to the days when the salute to the superior was insisted on under penalty, while the imitation of the superior's dress, so far from being insisted on, was forbidden. Two different authorities are defied by his acts—the authority of class-rule, which once dictated such obeisances; and the authority of social opinion, which thinks nonconformities in dress imply inferior status.
So that, strange to say, Fashion, as distinguished from Ceremony, is an accompaniment of the industrial type as distinguished from the militant type. It needs but to [p.210] observe that by using silver forks at his table, the tradesman in so far asserts his equality with the squire; or still better to observe how the servant-maid out for her holiday competes with her mistress in displaying the last style of bonnet; to see how the regulations of conduct grouped under the name Fashion, imply that increasing liberty which goes along with the substitution of peaceful activities for warlike activities.
As now existing, Fashion is a form of social regulation analogous to constitutional government as a form of political regulation: displaying, as it does, a compromise between governmental coercion and individual freedom. Just as, along with the transition from compulsory co-operation to voluntary co-operation in public action, there has been a growth of the representative agency serving to express the average volition; so has there been a growth of this indefinite aggregate of wealthy and cultured people, whose consensus of habits rules the private life of society at large. And it is observable in the one case as in the other, that this ever-changing compromise between restraint and freedom, tends towards increase of freedom. For while, on the average, governmental control of individual action decreases, there is a decrease in the rigidity of Fashion; as is shown by the greater latitude of private judgment exercised within certain vaguely marked limits.
Imitative, then, from the beginning, first of a superior's defects, and then, little by little, of other traits peculiar to him, Fashion has ever tended towards equalization. Serving to obscure, and eventually to obliterate, the marks of class-distinction, it has favoured the growth of individuality ; and by so doing has aided in weakening Ceremonial, which implies subordination of the individual.
CEREMONIAL RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT.
§ 427. We find, then, that rules of behaviour are not results of conventions at
one time or other deliberately made, as people tacitly assume. Contrariwise,
they are natural products of social life which have gradually evolved. Apart
from detailed proofs of this, we find a general proof in their conformity to the
laws of Evolution at large.
In primitive headless groups of men, such customs as regulate conduct form but a small aggregate. A few naturally prompted actions on meeting strangers; in certain cases bodily mutilations; and. some interdicts on foods monopolized by adult men; constitute a brief code. But with consolidation into compound, doubly compound, and trebly compound societies, there arise great accumulations of ceremonial arrangements regulating all the actions of life—there is increase in the mass of observances.
Originally simple, these observances become progressively complex. From the same root grow up various kinds of obeisances. Primitive descriptive names develop into numerous graduated titles. From aboriginal salutes come, in course of time, complimentary forms of address adjusted to persons and occasions. Weapons taken in war give origin to symbols of authority, assuming, little by little, great diversities in their shapes. While certain trophies, differentiating into badges, dresses and decorations, eventually in [p.212] each of these divisions present multitudinous varieties, no longer bearing any resemblance to their originals. And besides the increasing heterogeneity which in each society arises among products having a common origin, there is the further heterogeneity which arises between this aggregate of products in one society and the allied aggregates in other societies.
Simultaneously there is progress in definiteness; ending, as in the East, in fixed forms prescribed in all their details, which must not under penalty be departed from. And in sundry places the vast assemblages of complex and definite ceremonies thus elaborated, are consolidated into coherent codes set forth in books.
The advance in integration, in heterogeneity, in definiteness, and in coherence, is thus fully exemplified.
§ 428. When we observe the original unity exhibited by ceremony as it exists in primitive hordes, in contrast with the diversity which ceremony, under its forms of political, religious, and social, assumes in developed societies; we recognize another aspect of this transformation undergone by all products of evolution.
The common origin of propitiatory forms which eventually appear unallied, was in the last volume indicated by the numerous parallelisms we found between religious ceremonies and ceremonies performed in honouring the dead; and the foregoing chapters have shown that still more remarkable are the parallelisms between ceremonies of these kinds and those performed in honouring the living. We have seen that as a sequence of trophy-taking, parts of the body are surrendered to rulers, offered at graves, deposited in temples, and occasionally presented to equals; and we have seen that mutilations hence originatinor, become marks of submission to kings, to deities, to dead relatives, and in some cases to living friends. Beginning with presents, primarily of food, made to strangers by savages to [p.213] secure goodwill, we pass to the presents, also primarily of food, made to chiefs; and, answering to these, we find the offerings, primarily of food, made to ghosts and to gods, developing among ancestor-worshipping peoples into sacrifices showing parallel elaborations; as in China, where feasts of many dishes are placed alike before the tablets inscribed to ancestors, apotheosized men, and great deities, and where it is a saying that "whatever is good for food is good for sacrifice." Visits are paid to graves out of respect to the spirits of the departed, to temples in worship of the deities supposed to be present in them, to the courts of riders in evidence of loyalty, and to private persons to show consideration. Obeisances, originally implying subjugation, are made before monarchs and superiors, are similarly made before deities, are sundry of them repeated in honour of the dead, and eventually becomes observances between equals. Expressing now the humility of the speaker and now the greatness of the one spoken to, forms of address, alike in nature, are used to the visible and the invisible ruler, and, descending to those of less power, are at length used to ordinary persons; while titles ascribing fatherhood and supremacy, applied at first to kings, gods, and deceased persons, become in time names of honour used to undistinguished persons. Symbols of authority like those carried by monarchs, occur in the representations of deities; in some cases the celestial and the terrestrial potentates have like costumes and appendages; and sundry of the dresses and badges once marking superiority of position, become ceremonial dresses worn, especially on festive occasions, by persons of inferior ranks. Other remarkable parallelisms exist. One we see in the anointing, which, performed on kings and on the images of gods, extended in Egypt to dead persons and to guests. In Egypt, too, birthday-ceremonials were at once social, political, and religious: besides celebrations of private birthdays and of the birthdays of kings [p.214] and queens, there were celebrations of the birthdays of gods. Nor must we omit the sacredness of names. In many countries it is, or has been, forbidden to utter the name of the god; the name of the king is in other places similarly interdicted; elsewhere it is an offence to refer by name to a dead person; and among various savages the name of the living person may not be taken in vain. The feeling that the presence of one who is to be worshipped or honoured, is a bar to the use of violence, also has its parallel sequences. Not only is the temple of the god a sanctuary, but in sundry places the burial-place of the chief is a sanctuary, and in other places the presence of the monarch, as in Abyssinia where "it is death to strike, or lift the hand to strike, before the king;" and then among European peoples, the interdict on fighting in presence of a lady, shows how this element in ceremonial rule extends into general intercourse. Finally let me add a fuller statement of a curious example before referred to—the use of incense in worship of a deity, as a political honour, and as a social observance. In Egypt there was incense-offering before both gods and kings, as also among the Hebrews: instance the passage from the Song of Solomon (iii., 6-7)—"Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense. ... Behold his bed [litter], which is Solomon's." Clavigero tells us that "incense-offering among the Mexicans, and other nations of Anahuac, was not only an act of religion towards their gods, but also a piece of civil courtesy to lords and ambassadors." During mediaeval days in Europe, incense was burnt in compliment to rank: nobles on entering churches severally expected so many swings of the censer in front of them, according to their grades.
While, then, we are shown by numerous sets of parallelisms the common origin of observances that are now distinguished as political, religious, and social—while we thus find verified in detail the hypothesis that ceremonial [p.215] government precedes in time the other forms of government, into all of which it enters; we are shown how, in conformity with the general laws of Evolution, it differentiates into three great orders at the same time that each of these orders differentiates within itself.
§ 429. From the beaten dog which, crawling on its belly licks its master's hand, we trace up the general truth that ceremonial forms are naturally initiated by the relation of conqueror and conquered, and the consequent truth that they develop along with the militant type of society. While re-enunciated, this last truth may be conveniently presented under a different aspect. Let us note how the connexion between ceremonial and militancy, is shown at once in its rigour, in its definiteness, in its extent, and in its elaborateness.
"In Fiji, if a chief sees any of his subjects not stooping low enough in his presence, he will kill him on the spot;" while "a vast number of fingers, missing from the hands of men and women, have gone as the fine for disrespectful or awkward conduct." And then of these same sanguinary and ferociously-governed people, Williams tells us that "not a member of a chief's body, or the commonest acts of his life, are mentioned in ordinary phraseology, but all are hyperbolized." Africa furnishes a kindred instance of this connexion between ceremonial rigour and the rigour of despotic power accompanying excessive militancy. In the kingdom of Uganda, where, directed by the king to try a rifle presented to him by Speke, a page went to the door and shot the first man he saw in the distance, and where, as Stanley tells us, under the last king, Suna, five days were occupied in cutting up thirty thousand prisoners who had surrendered; we find that "an officer observed to salute informally is ordered for execution," while another who, "perhaps, exposes an inch of naked leg whilst squatting, or has his mbugu tied contrary to regulations," "is condemned to the same fate." And then in Asia a parallel connexion [p.216] is shown us by the more civilized Siamese, whose adult males are all soldiers, and over whom rules omnipotentIy a sacred king, whose "palace must not be passed without marks of reverence" duly prescribed, and "severe punishments follow any inattention to these requirements," and where, in social intercourse, "mistakes in these kinds of duties [obeisances] may be punished with the baton by him against whom they have been committed."
Along with this rigour of ceremonial rule we find great definiteness. In Fiji there are "various forms of salutation, according to the rank of the parties; and great attention is paid to insure that the salutation shall have the proper form:" such precision naturally arising where loss of life or lingers follows breach of observance. A kindred precision is similarly caused in the tyrannically-governed African kingdoms, such as Loango, where a king killed his own son, and had him quartered, because the son happened to see his father drink; or such as Ashantee, where there is much ''punctilious courtesy, and a laboured and ceremonious formality." And this definiteness characterizes observances under the despotisms of the remote East. Of the Siamese La Loubere says—"In the same ceremonies they always say almost the same things. The king of Siam himself has his words almost told [contees] in his audiences of ceremony." So, too, in China, in the imperial hall of audience "stones are inlaid with plates of brass, on which are engraved in Chinese characters the quality of the persons who are to stand or kneel upon them;" and as Huc says, "it is easier to be polite in China than elsewhere, as politeness is subject to more fixed regulations." Japan, also, shows us this precise adjustment of the observance to the occasion:—"The marks of respect to superiors .... are graduated from a trifling acknowledgment to the most absolute prostration." "This state of things is supported by law as well as custom, and more particularly by the permission given to a two-sworded man, [p.217] in case of his feeling himself insulted, to take the law into his own hands." Nor does Europe in its most militant country, autocratically ruled, fail to yield an illustration. Custine says of Russia that, at the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria with the Duke of Leuchtenberg (1839) the Emperor Nicholas "was continually leaving his prayers, and slipping from one side to the other, in order to remedy the omissions of etiquette among his children, or the clergy. .... All the great functionaries of the Court seemed to be governed by his minute but supreme directions."
In respect of the range and elaborateness of ceremonial rule, assimilating the control of civil life to the control of military life, Oriental despotisms yield equally striking examples. La Loubere says:—"If there are several Siamese together, and another joins them, it often happens that the postures of all change. They know before whom and to what extent they should bend or remain erect or seated; whether they should join their hands or not and hold them low or high; whether being seated they may advance one foot or both, or should keep both hidden." Even the monarch is under kindred restraints. "The Phraraxa monthierabnn [apparently, sacred book] lays down the laws which the Sovereign is bound to obey, prescribes the hours for rising and for bathing, the manner of offering and the alms to be offered, to the bonzes, the hours of audience for nobles and for princes, the time to be devoted to public affairs and to study, the hours for repasts, and when audiences shall be allowed to the Queen and the ladies of the palace." Again, in the account of his embassy to Ava, Syme writes:—"The subordination of rank is maintained and marked by the Birmans with the most tenacious strictness; and not only houses, but even domestic implements, such as the bettle box, water flagon, drinking cup, and horse furniture, all express and manifest, by shape and quality, the precise station of the owner." In China, too, the Li ki, or Book of Rites, gives directions for all actions of life; and [p.218] a passage in Huc shows at once the antiquity of their vast, coherent, elaborate system of observances, and the reverence with which its prescriptions were regarded:—"'Under the the first dynasties,' says a famous Chinese moralist, 'the government had perfect unity, the ceremonies and music embraced the whole empire.'" Once more, in Japan, especially in past times, ceremony was elaborated in books so far that every transaction, down to an execution, had its various movements prescribed with a scarcely credible minuteness.
That these connexions are necessary, we cannot fail to see on remembering how, with the compoundings and re-compoundings of social groups effected by militancy, there must go an evolution of the forms of subordination; made strong by the needs for restraint, made multitudinous by the gradations of rank, made precise by continual performance under penalty.
§ 430. The moral traits which accompany respectively the development of ceremonial rule and the decay of ceremonial rule, may with advantage be named while noting how observances weaken as fast as industrialism strengthens.
We have seen that ceremony originates from fear: on the one side supremacy of a victor or master; on the other side dread of death or punishment felt by the vanquished or the slave. And under the regime of compulsory co-operation thus initiated, fear develops and maintains in strength all forms of propitiation. But with the rise of a social type based on voluntary co-operation, fear decreases. The subordinate ruler or officer is no longer wholly at the mercy of his superior; the trader, not liable to be robbed or tortured by the noble, has a remedy against him for non-payment; the labourer in receipt of wages, cannot be beaten like the slave. In proportion as the system of exchanging services under contract spreads, and the rendering of services under [p.219] compulsion diminishes, men dread one another less; and, consequently, become less scrupulous in fulfilling propitiatory forms.
War of necessity cultivates deception : ambush, manoeuvring, feints, and the like, involve acted lies; and skilful lying by actions is regarded as a trait of military genius. The slavery which successful war establishes, implies daily practice in duplicity. Against the anger of his cruel master a successful falsehood is the slave's defence. Under tyrants unscrupulous in their exactions, skilful lying is a means of salvation, and is a source of pride. And all the ceremonies which accompany the regime of compulsory co-operation are pervaded by insincerity: the fulsome laudations are not believed by the utterer; he feels none of that love for his superior which he professes; nor is he anxious for his welfare as his words assert. But in proportion as compulsory co-operation is replaced by voluntary co-operation, the temptations to deceive that penalties may be escaped, become less strong and perpetual; and simultaneously, truthfulness is fostered, since voluntary co-operation can increase only as fast as mutual trust increases. Though throughout the activities of industry there yet survives much of the militant untruthfulness; yet, on remembering that only by daily fulfilment of contracts can these activities go on, we see that in the main the things promised are performed. And along with the spreading truthfulness thus implied, there goes on an increasing dislike of the more extreme untruthfulness implied in the forms of propitiation. Neither in word nor in act do the professed feelings so greatly exceed the real feelings.
It scarcely needs saying that as social co-operation becomes less coercive and more voluntary, independence increases; for the two statements are different aspects of the same. Forced service implies dependence; while service rendered under agreement implies independence. Naturally, the different moral attitudes involved, expressing them- [p.220] selves in different political types, as relatively despotic and relatively free, express themselves also in the accompanying kinds of ceremonial rule that are tolerated or liked. In the one case, badges of subjection are thought honourable and pleasure is taken in acts of homage; in the other case, liveries come to be hated and there is reluctance to use reverential forms approaching the obsequious. The love of independence joins the love of truthfulness in generating a repugnance to obeisances and phrases which express sub-ordination where none is internally acknowledged.
The discipline of war, being a discipline in destruction of life, is a discipline in callousness. Whatever sympathies exist are seared; and any that tend to grow up are checked. This unsympathetic attitude which war necessitates, is maintained by the coercive social co-operation which it initiates and evolves. The subordination of slave by master, maintained by use of whatever force is needful to secure services however unwilling, implies repression of fellow-feeling. This repression of fellow-feeling is also implied by insisting on forms of homage. To delight in receiving cringing obeisances shows lack of sympathy with another's dignity; and with the development of a freer social type and accompanying increase of sympathy, there grows up on the part of superiors a dislike to these extreme manifestations of subjection coming from inferiors. "Put your bonnet to its right use," says Hamlet to Osric, standing bareheaded: showing us that in Shakespeare's day, there had arisen the fellow-feeling which produced displeasure on seeing another humble himself too much. And this feeling, increasing as the industrial type evolves, make more repugnant all ceremonial forms which overtly express subordination.
Once more, originating in societies which have the glory of victory in war as a dominant sentiment, developed ceremony belongs to a social state in which love of applause is the ruling social motive. But as fast as industrialism replaces militancy, the sway of this ego-altruistic sentiment [p.221] becomes qualified by the growing altruistic sentiment; and with an increasing respect for others' claims, there goes a decreasing eagerness for distinctions which by implication subordinate them. Sounding titles, adulatory forms of address, humble obeisances, gorgeous costumes, badges, privileges of precedence, and the like, severally minister to the desire to be regarded with actual or simulated admiration. But as fast as the wish to be exalted at the cost of humiliation to others, is checked by sympathy, the appetite for marks of honour, becoming less keen, is satisfied with, and even prefers, more subdued indications of respect.
So that in various ways the moral character natural to the militant type of society, fosters ceremony; while the moral character natural to the industrial type is unfavourable to it.
§431. Before stating definitely the conclusions, already foreshadowed, that are to be drawn respecting the future of ceremony, we have to note that its restraints not only form a part of the coercive regime, proper to those lower social types characterized by predominant militancy, but also that they form part of a discipline by which men are adapted to a higher social life.
While the antagonistic or anti-social emotions in men, have that predominance which is inevitable while war is habitual, there must be tendencies, great and frequent, to words and acts generating enmity and endangering social coherence. Hence the need for prescribed forms of behaviour which, duly observed, diminish the risk of quarrels. Hence the need for a ceremonial rule rigorous in proportion as the nature is selfish and explosive.
Not a priori only, but a posteriori, it is inferable that established observances have the function of educating, in respect of its minor actions, the anti-social nature into a form fitted for social life. Of the Japanese, living for these many centuries under an unmitigated despotism, castes severely restricted, sanguinary laws, and a ceremonial [p.222] system rigorous and elaborate, there has arisen a character which, while described by Mr. Rundell as "haughty, vindictive, and licentious," yet prompts a behaviour admirable in its suavity. Mr. Cornwallis asserts that amiability and an unruffled temper are the universal properties of the women in Japan; and by Mr. Drummond they are credited with a natural grace which it is impossible to describe. Among the men, too, the sentiment of honour, based upon that regard for reputation to which ceremonial observance largely appeals, carries them to great extremes of consideration. Another verifying fact is furnished by another despotically-governed and highly ceremonious society, Russia. Custine says—"If fear renders the men serious, it also renders them extremely polite. I have never elsewhere seen so many men of all classes treating each other with such respect." Kindred, if less pronounced, examples of this connexion are to be found in Western countries. The Italian, long subject to tyrannical rule, and in danger of his life if he excites the vengeful feelings of a fellow-citizen, is distinguished by his conciliatory manner. In Spain, where governmental dictation is unlimited, where women are harshly treated, and where "no labourer ever walks outside his door without his knife," there is extreme politeness. Contrariwise our own people, long living under institutions which guard them against serious consequences from giving offence, greatly lack suavity, and show a comparative inattention to minor civilities.
Both deductively and inductively, then, we see that ceremonial government is one of the agencies by which social co-operation is facilitated among those whose natures are in large measure anti-social.
§ 432. And this brings us to the general truth that within each embodied set of restraining agencies—the ceremonial as well as the political and ecclesiastical which grow out of it—there gradually evolves, a special kind [p.223] of disembodied control, which, eventually becomes independent.
Political government, having for its original end subordination; and inflicting penalties on men who injure others not because of the intrinsic badness of their acts but because their acts break the ruler's commands; has ever been habituating men to obey regulations conducive to social order; until there has grown up a consciousness that these regulations have not simply an extrinsic authority derived from a ruler's will, but have an intrinsic authority derived from their utility. The once arbitrary, fitful, and often irrational, dictates of a king, grow into an established system of laws, which formulate the needful limitations to men's actions arising from one another's claims. And these limitations men more and more recognize and conform to, not only without thinking of the monarch's injunctions, but without thinking of the injunctions set forth in Acts of Parliament. Simultaneously, out of the supposed wishes of the ancestral ghost, which now and again developing into the traditional commands of some expanded ghost of a great man, become divine injunctions, arises the set of requirements classed as religious. Within these, at first almost exclusively concerning acts expressing submission to the celestial king, there evolve the rules we distinguish as moral. As society advances, these moral rules become of a kind formulating the conduct requisite for personal, domestic, and social wellbeing. For a long time imperfectly differentiated from the essential political rules, and to the last enforcing their authority, these moral rules, originally regarded as sacred only because of their supposed divine origin, eventually acquire a sacredness derived from their observed utility in controlling certain parts of human conduct—parts not controlled, or little controlled, by civil law. Ideas of moral duty develop and consolidate into a moral code, which eventually becomes independent of its theological root. In the meantime, from within that part of cere- [p.224] monial rule which has evolved into a system of regulations for social intercourse, there grows a third class of restraints and these, in like manner, become at length independent. From observances which, in their primitive forms, express partly subordination to a superior and partly attachment to him, and which, spreading downwards, become general forms of behaviour, there finally come observances expressing a proper regard for the individualities of other persons, and a true sympathy in their welfare. Ceremonies which originally have no other end than to propitiate a dominant person, pass, some of them, into rules of politeness; and these gather an authority distinct from that which they originally had. Apt evidence is furnished by the "Ritual Remembrancer" of the Chinese, which gives directions for all the actions of life. Its regulations "are interspersed with truly excellent observations regarding mutual forbearance and kindness in society, which is regarded as the true principle of etiquette." The higher the social evolution, the more does this inner element of ceremonial rule grow, while the outer formal element dwindles. As fast as the principles of natural politeness, seen to originate in sympathy, distinguish themselves from the code of ceremonial within which they originate, they replace its authority by a higher authority, and go on dropping its non-essentials while developing further its essentials.
So that as law differentiates from personal commands, and as morality differentiates from religious injunctions, so politeness differentiates from ceremonial observance. To which I may add, so does rational usage differentiate from fashion.
§ 433. Thus guided by retrospect we cannot doubt about the prospect. With further development of the social type based on voluntary co-operation, will come a still greater disuse of obeisances, of complimentary forms of address, of titles, of badges, &c, &c. The feelings alike of those by [p.225] whom, and those to whom, acts expressing subordination are performed, will become more and more averse to them.
Of course the change will be, and should be, gradual. Just as, if political freedom is gained faster than men become adequately self-controlled, there results social disorder—just as abolition of religious restraints while yet moral restraints have not grown strong enough, entails increase of misconduct; so, if the observances regulating social intercourse lose their sway faster than the feelings which prompt true politeness develop, there inevitably follows more or less rudeness in behaviour and consequent liability to discord. It needs but to name certain of our lower classes, such as colliers and brickmakers, whose relations to masters and others are such as to leave them scarcely at all restrained, to see that considerable evils arise from a premature decay of ceremonial rule.
The normal advance toward that highest state in which the minor acts of men towards one another, like their major acts, are so controlled by internal restraints as to make external restraints needless, implies increasing fulfilment of two conditions. Both higher emotions and higher intelligence are required. There must be a stronger fellow feeling with all around, and there must be an intelligence developed to the extent needful for instantly seeing how all words and acts will tell upon their states of mind—an intelligence which, by each expression of face and cadence of speech, is informed what is the passing state of emotion, and how emotion has been affected by actions just committed.
Mutilations.—In Chap. III., and in the appended note, I have assigned grounds for the conclusion that (beyond some which arise from the simulation of battle-wounds) the skin-marks made on savages, from the scars of great gashes down to tatoo-lines, originate in the wide-spread practice of letting blood for the dead at a funeral: naming, in all, there and elsewhere, fourteen illustrations. I add here an instructive one given by Beckwourth, "who for many years lived among" the Crows. Describing the ceremonies at a head chief's death, he writes:—
"Blood was streaming from every conceivable part of the bodies of all who were old enough to comprehend their loss. Hundreds of fingers were dismembered; hair torn from the bead lay in profusion about the paths; wails and moans in every direction assailed the ear. .... Long Hair cut off a large roll of his hair, a thing he was never known to do before. The cutting and hacking of human flesh exceeded all my previous experience; fingers were dismembered as readily as twigs, and blood was poured out like water. Many of the warriors would cut two gashes nearly the entire length of their arm; then, separating the skin from the flesh at one end, would grasp it in their other hand and rip it asunder to the shoulder. Others would carve various devices upon their breasts and shoulders, and raise the skin in the same manner to make the scars show to advantage after the wound was healed."—H. C. Farrow's Introduction to the Study of Mortuary Customs among the North American Indians, pp. 90-91.
Here, besides seeing that offerings of blood are accompanied by offering's of
fingers and of hair, with which I have associated them (all of them acts of
propitiation which leave marks that become signs of allegiance and
subordination), we get clear evidence of the transition to decorative marks.
Some of the mourners "would carve various devices upon their breasts and
shoulders," and raise the skin "to make the scars show to advantage." Dr. Tylor,
who, describing my method as being that of deducing all men's customs "from laws
of nature," alleges that my inferences are vitiated by it, contends that the
skin-marks are all record-marks, when not deliberately decorative. Whether the
inductive basis for this conclusion is wider than that for the conclusion drawn
by me, and whether the superiority of Dr. Tylor's method is thereby shown, may
be judged by the reader who refers to his essay.
Presents.—In § 376, sundry facts were named which pointed to the conclusion that barter does not begin consciously as such, but is initiated by the exchange of presents, which usage more and more requires to be of equal values. My attention has since been drawn to a verifying instance in the Iliad; where, in token of friendship, an exchange of arms is made between Glaucus and Diomedes:—
"Howbeit Zeus then bereaved Glaucus of his wits, in that he exchanged with Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, golden arms for bronze, a hundred oxen's worth for nine."
Homer's obvious notion being that there should be likeness of worth in the presents mutually made; and the implication being that this requirement was commonly observed. Of course, if a propitiatory gift, at first offered without expectation of a return, came eventually to be offered with expectation of an equivalent return, bargaining and barter would inevitably arise. A clear illustration furnished by a primitive people still extant, occurs in the account of the Andamanese given by Mr. E. H. Man in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute, vol. xi. pp. 285-6. Saying of this people that "it is customary for each family to supply itself with the chief necessaries iu the shape of weapons and food," Mr. Man tells us that—
"They set no fixed value on their various properties, and rarely make or procure anything for the express purpose of bartering with it. These transactions [exchanges] they are pleased to consider as presentations; but it is tacitly understood that no present is to be accepted unless an equivalent is rendered, and, as the opinions of donor and recipient are liable to differ as to the respective value of the articles in question, a quarrel is not unfrequently the result."
These facts, joined with the facts given in Chapter iv., go far to prove that
savages (who invent nothing, but even in the making of implements develop this
or that kind by unobtrusive modifications), were led unawares, and not
aforethought, into the practice of barter.
That in the course of social evolution, presents precede fixed salaries, illustrated in § 375 by the fact, among others, that in the East the attendants of a man of power are supported chiefly by propitiatory gifts from those who come to get favours from him, is further illustrated by the fact that the great man himself similarly remunerates them if need be.
"Should he desire to retain any of them whose income docs not prove sufficient, he himself makes presents to them, or favours them in their business by means of his influence, but never pays them wages."—Van Lennep, Bible Lands and Customs, ii. 592.
Which last fact, joined with others before named of like kind, imply that exchange of services for payments, did not begin as such: services being at first given from fear, or loyalty, or the desire for protection; and any return made for these services, beyond the protection, not being consciously regarded as equivalent payment, but as a mark of approval or good will. The fact that the exchange of service for fixed payment developed out of this practice, harmonizes with, and confirms, the conclusion thab the exchange of commodities had an analogous origin.
1 The two parts of which this volume consists having been separately published, each with its preface, it seems most convenient here simply to reproduce the two prefaces in place of a fresh one for the entire volume.
2 In his Early History of Mankind (2nd ed. pp. 51-2), Mr. Tylor thus comments on such observances:—"The lowest class of salutations, which merely aim at giving pleasant bodily sensations, merge into the civilities which we see exchanged among the lower animals. Such are patting, stroking, kissing, pressing noses, blowing, smiling, and so forth. ..... Natural expressions of joy, such as clapping hands in Africa, and jumping up and down in Tierra del Fuego, are made to do duty as signs of friendship or greeting." But, as indicated above, to give "pleasant bodily sensations" is not the aim of "the lowest class of salutations." Mr. Tylor has missed the physio-psychological Sources of the acts which initiate them.
3 Mr. Ernest Satow, writing from Japan to suggest some corrections, says this cry should be "shita ni, shita ni, Down! Down! (i.e. on your knees)."
4 Concerning Dickson's statement, here quoted, Mr. Ernest Satow writes that this board (long since extinct) was double. The differentiation in the functions of its divisions was but partial however; for while one regulated the propitiation of the gods; the other, beside regulating secular propitiations, performed propitiations of the dead Mikados, who were gods.
5 While this chapter is standing in type, I have come upon a passage in Bancroft, concerning the Indians of the Isthmus of Darien fully verifying the general interpretation given. He says:—"Every principal man retained a number of prisoners as bondsmen; they .... were branded or tattooed with the particular mark of the owner on the face or arm, or had one of their front teeth extracted."
6 For the use of coarse and dingy fabrics in mourning by Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, and of inferior clothing by numerous peoples, two causes, both resulting from ghost-propitiation, appear to act separately or jointly. One is the sacrifice of clothes, often the best, at the grave of the dead man, of which instances were given in § 103; and in further exemplification of which may be named Mr. Willard's account of a funeral in a Californian tribe, the Sen-elig whom, by a man, a "quite new and fine" coat, and by women, " their gaudiest dresses" were thrown on the pyre; or the account by Young of the Blackfeet, who, on such occasions, divested "themselves of clothing even in the coldest weather.''—(Dr. II. C. Yarrow's Introduction to the Study of Mortuary Customs among the North American Indians, pp. 55 and 67.) For, if, to propitiate the ghost, the best clothing is sacrificed, the implication is that inferior or inadequate clothing remains for use. Hence comes "the chief mourner being clad in moss" among the Santee Indians (p. 38). The more obvious and still-continuing motive is that grief is inconsistent with wearing the best, which is usually the gayest, clothing. Thus we read that among the Choctaws the "widow wholly neglects her toilet," and that among the Chippewas she is "not permitted to wear any finery" for twelve moons (Yarrow, pp. 92-3). In a letter of a deceased relative of mine, dated 1810, I find an instructive example of the way in which natural feeling prompts this putting on of inferior clothes. Speaking of a conversation held with a pedler concerning an eccentric but benevolent man, the writer describes the pedler as praising him and saying, "he thought he should put on his worst clothes when he died." That is, not being able to afford mourning, he proposed to revert to this primitive method of showing sorrow.
7 Though the disputes respecting the origins of sire and sieur have ended in the conclusion that they are derived from the same root, meaning originally elder, yet it has become clear that sire was a contracted form in use earlier than sieur (the contracted form of seigneur), and hence acquired a more general meaning, which became equivalent to father. Its applicability to various persons of dignity besides the seigneur, is evidence of its previous evolution and spread; and that it had a meaning equivalent to father, is shown by the fact that in early French, grant-sire was an equivalent for grand-pere, and also by the fact that sire was not applicable to an unmarried man.