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´╗┐Title: Anthropology
Author: Marett, R. R. (Robert Ranulph), 1866-1943
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anthropology" ***

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No. 37


_A complete classified list of the volumes of_ THE HOME UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY _already published will be found at the end of this book_.







CHAP.                            PAGE

   II ANTIQUITY OF MAN  . . . . .  30

  III RACE  . . . . . . . . . . .  59

   IV ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . .  94

    V LANGUAGE  . . . . . . . . . 130


  VII LAW . . . . . . . . . . . . 181

 VIII RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . 204

   IX MORALITY  . . . . . . . . . 235

    X MAN THE INDIVIDUAL  . . . . 241

      BIBLIOGRAPHY  . . . . . . . 251

      INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . 254

"Bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, are these half-brutish
prehistoric brothers. Girdled about with the immense darkness of this
mysterious universe even as we are, they were born and died, suffered
and struggled. Given over to fearful crime and passion, plunged in
the blackest ignorance, preyed upon by hideous and grotesque delusions,
yet steadfastly serving the profoundest of ideals in their fixed faith
that existence in any form is better than non-existence, they ever
rescued triumphantly from the jaws of ever-imminent destruction the
torch of life which, thanks to them, now lights the world for us. How
small, indeed, seem individual distinctions when we look back on these
overwhelming numbers of human beings panting and straining under the
pressure of that vital want! And how inessential in the eyes of God
must be the small surplus of the individual's merit, swamped as it
is in the vast ocean of the common merit of mankind, dumbly and
undauntedly doing the fundamental duty, and living the heroic life!
We grow humble and reverent as we contemplate the prodigious

WILLIAM JAMES, in _Human Immortality_.



In this chapter I propose to say something, firstly, about the ideal
scope of anthropology; secondly, about its ideal limitations; and,
thirdly and lastly, about its actual relations to existing studies.
In other words, I shall examine the extent of its claim, and then go
on to examine how that claim, under modern conditions of science and
education, is to be made good.

Firstly, then, what is the ideal scope of anthropology? Taken at its
fullest and best, what ought it to comprise?

Anthropology is the whole history of man as fired and pervaded by the
idea of evolution. Man in evolution--that is the subject in its full
reach. Anthropology studies man as he occurs at all known times. It
studies him as he occurs in all known parts of the world. It studies
him body and soul together--as a bodily organism, subject to conditions
operating in time and space, which bodily organism is in intimate
relation with a soul-life, also subject to those same conditions.
Having an eye to such conditions from first to last, it seeks to plot
out the general series of the changes, bodily and mental together,
undergone by man in the course of his history. Its business is simply
to describe. But, without exceeding the limits of its scope, it can
and must proceed from the particular to the general; aiming at nothing
less than a descriptive formula that shall sum up the whole series
of changes in which the evolution of man consists.

That will do, perhaps, as a short account of the ideal scope of
anthropology. Being short, it is bound to be rather formal and
colourless. To put some body into it, however, it is necessary to
breathe but a single word. That word is: Darwin.

Anthropology is the child of Darwin. Darwinism makes it possible.
Reject the Darwinian point of view, and you must reject anthropology
also. What, then, is Darwinism? Not a cut-and-dried doctrine. Not a
dogma. Darwinism is a working hypothesis. You suppose something to
be true, and work away to see whether, in the light of that supposed
truth, certain facts fit together better than they do on any other
supposition. What is the truth that Darwinism supposes? Simply that
all the forms of life in the world are related together; and that the
relations manifested in time and space between the different lives
are sufficiently uniform to be described under a general formula, or
law of evolution.

This means that man must, for certain purposes of science, toe the
line with the rest of living things. And at first, naturally enough,
man did not like it. He was too lordly. For a long time, therefore,
he pretended to be fighting for the Bible, when he was really fighting
for his own dignity. This was rather hard on the Bible, which has
nothing to do with the Aristotelian theory of the fixity of species;
though it might seem possible to read back something of the kind into
the primitive creation-stories preserved in Genesis. Now-a-days,
however, we have mostly got over the first shock to our family pride.
We are all Darwinians in a passive kind of way. But we need to darwinize
actively. In the sciences that have to do with plants, and with the
rest of the animals besides man, naturalists have been so active in
their darwinizing that the pre-Darwinian stuff is once for all laid
by on the shelf. When man, however, engages on the subject of his noble
self, the tendency still is to say: We accept Darwinism so long as
it is not allowed to count, so long as we may go on believing the same
old stuff in the same old way.

How do we anthropologists propose to combat this tendency? By working
away at our subject, and persuading people to have a look at our results.
Once people take up anthropology, they may be trusted not to drop it
again. It is like learning to sleep with your window open. What could
be more stupefying than to shut yourself up in a closet and swallow
your own gas? But is it any less stupefying to shut yourself up within
the last few thousand years of the history of your own corner of the
world, and suck in the stale atmosphere of its own self-generated
prejudices? Or, to vary the metaphor, anthropology is like travel.
Every one starts by thinking that there is nothing so perfect as his
own parish. But let a man go aboard ship to visit foreign parts, and,
when he returns home, he will cause that parish to wake up.

With Darwin, then, we anthropologists say: Let any and every portion
of human history be studied in the light of the whole history of mankind,
and against the background of the history of living things in general.
It is the Darwinian outlook that matters. None of Darwin's particular
doctrines will necessarily endure the test of time and trial. Into
the melting-pot must they go as often as any man of science deems it
fitting. But Darwinism as the touch of nature that makes the whole
world kin can hardly pass away. At any rate, anthropology stands or
falls with the working hypothesis, derived from Darwinism, of a
fundamental kinship and continuity amid change between all the forms
of human life.

It remains to add that, hitherto, anthropology has devoted most of
its attention to the peoples of rude--that is to say, of
simple--culture, who are vulgarly known to us as "savages." The main
reason for this, I suppose, is that nobody much minds so long as the
darwinizing kind of history confines itself to outsiders. Only when
it is applied to self and friends is it resented as an impertinence.
But, although it has always up to now pursued the line of least
resistance, anthropology does not abate one jot or tittle of its claim
to be the whole science, in the sense of the whole history, of man.
As regards the word, call it science, or history, or anthropology,
or anything else--what does it matter? As regards the thing, however,
there can be no compromise. We anthropologists are out to secure this:
that there shall not be one kind of history for savages and another
kind for ourselves, but the same kind of history, with the same
evolutionary principle running right through it, for all men,
civilized and savage, present and past.

       *       *       *       *       *

So much for the ideal scope of anthropology. Now, in the second place,
for its ideal limitations. Here, I am afraid, we must touch for a moment
on very deep and difficult questions. But it is well worth while to
try at all costs to get firm hold of the fact that anthropology, though
a big thing, is not everything.

It will be enough to insist briefly on the following points: that
anthropology is science in whatever way history is science; that it
is not philosophy, though it must conform to its needs; and that it
is not policy, though it may subserve its designs.

Anthropology is science in the sense of specialized research that aims
at truth for truth's sake. Knowing by parts is science, knowing the
whole as a whole is philosophy. Each supports the other, and there
is no profit in asking which of the two should come first. One is aware
of the universe as the whole universe, however much one may be resolved
to study its details one at a time. The scientific mood, however, is
uppermost when one says: Here is a particular lot of things that seem
to hang together in a particular way; let us try to get a general idea
of what that way is. Anthropology, then, specializes on the particular
group of human beings, which itself is part of the larger particular
group of living beings. Inasmuch as it takes over the evolutionary
principle from the science dealing with the larger group, namely
biology, anthropology may be regarded as a branch of biology. Let it
be added, however, that, of all the branches of biology, it is the
one that is likely to bring us nearest to the true meaning of life;
because the life of human beings must always be nearer to human students
of life than, say, the life of plants.

But, you will perhaps object, anthropology was previously identified
with history, and now it is identified with science, namely, with a
branch of biology? Is history science? The answer is, Yes. I know that
a great many people who call themselves historians say that it is not,
apparently on the ground that, when it comes to writing history, truth
for truth's sake is apt to bring out the wrong results. Well, the
doctored sort of history is not science, nor anthropology, I am ready
to admit. But now let us listen to another and a more serious objection
to the claim of history to be science. Science, it will be said by
many earnest men of science, aims at discovering laws that are clean
out of time. History, on the other hand, aims at no more than the
generalized description of one or another phase of a time-process.
To this it may be replied that physics, and physics only, answers to
this altogether too narrow conception of science. The laws of matter
in motion are, or seem to be, of the timeless or mathematical kind.
Directly we pass on to biology, however, laws of this kind are not
to be discovered, or at any rate are not discovered. Biology deals
with life, or, if you like, with matter as living. Matter moves. Life
evolves. We have entered a new dimension of existence. The laws of
matter in motion are not abrogated, for the simple reason that in
physics one makes abstraction of life, or in other words leaves its
peculiar effects entirely out of account. But they are transcended.
They are multiplied by _x_, an unknown quantity. This being so from
the standpoint of pure physics, biology takes up the tale afresh, and
devises means of its own for describing the particular ways in which
things hang together in virtue of their being alive. And biology finds
that it cannot conveniently abstract away the reference to time. It
cannot treat living things as machines. What does it do, then? It takes
the form of history. It states that certain things have changed in
certain ways, and goes on to show, so far as it can, that the changes
are on the whole in a certain direction. In short, it formulates
tendencies, and these are its only laws. Some tendencies, of course,
appear to be more enduring than others, and thus may be thought to
approximate more closely to laws of the timeless kind. But _x_, the
unknown quantity, the something or other that is not physical, runs
through them all, however much or little they may seem to endure. For
science, at any rate, which departmentalizes the world, and studies
it bit by bit, there is no getting over the fact that living beings
in general, and human beings in particular, are subject to an evolution
which is simple matter of history.

And now what about philosophy? I am not going into philosophical
questions here. For that reason I am not going to describe biology
as natural history, or anthropology as the natural history of man.
Let philosophers discuss what "nature" is going to mean for them. In
science the word is question-begging; and the only sound rule in
science is to beg as few philosophical questions as you possibly can.
Everything in the world is natural, of course, in the sense that things
are somehow all akin--all of a piece. We are simply bound to take in
the parts as parts of a whole, and it is just this fact that makes
philosophy not only possible but inevitable. All the same, this fact
does not prevent the parts from having their own specific natures and
specific ways of behaving. The people who identify the natural with
the physical are putting all their money on one specific kind of nature
or behaviour that is to be found in the world. In the case of man they
are backing the wrong horse. The horse to back is the horse that goes.
As a going concern, however, anthropology, as part of evolutionary
biology, is a history of vital tendencies which are not natural in
the sense of merely physical.

What are the functions of philosophy as contrasted with science? Two.
Firstly, it must be critical. It must police the city of the sciences,
preventing them from interfering with each other's rights and free
development. Co-operation by all means, as, for instance, between
anthropology and biology. But no jumping other folks' claims and laying
down the law for all; as, for instance, when physics would impose the
kind of method applicable to machines on the sciences of evolving life.
Secondly, philosophy must be synthetic. It must put all the ways of
knowing together, and likewise put these in their entirety together
with all the ways of feeling and acting; so that there may result a
theory of reality and of the good life, in that organic interdependence
of the two which our very effort to put things together presupposes
as its object.

What, then, are to be the relations between anthropology and
philosophy? On the one hand, the question whether anthropology can
help philosophy need not concern us here. That is for the philosopher
to determine. On the other hand, philosophy can help anthropology in
two ways: in its critical capacity, by helping it to guard its own
claim, and develop freely without interference from outsiders; and
in its synthetic capacity, perhaps, by suggesting the rule that, of
two types of explanation, for instance, the physical and the biological,
the more abstract is likely to be farther away from the whole truth,
whereas, contrariwise, the more you take in, the better your chance
of really understanding.

It remains to speak about policy. I use this term to mean any and all
practical exploitation of the results of science. Sometimes, indeed,
it is hard to say where science ends and policy begins, as we saw in
the case of those gentlemen who would doctor their history, because
practically it pays to have a good conceit of ourselves, and believe
that our side always wins its battles. Anthropology, however, would
borrow something besides the evolutionary principle from biology,
namely, its disinterestedness. It is not hard to be candid about bees
and ants; unless, indeed, one is making a parable of them. But as
anthropologists we must try, what is so much harder, to be candid about
ourselves. Let us look at ourselves as if we were so many bees and
ants, not forgetting, of course, to make use of the inside information
that in the case of the insects we so conspicuously lack.

This does not mean that human history, once constructed according to
truth-regarding principles, should and could not be used for the
practical advantage of mankind. The anthropologist, however, is not,
as such, concerned with the practical employment to which his
discoveries are put. At most, he may, on the strength of a conviction
that truth is mighty and will prevail for human good, invite practical
men to study his facts and generalizations in the hope that, by knowing
mankind better, they may come to appreciate and serve it better. For
instance, the administrator, who rules over savages, is almost
invariably quite well-meaning, but not seldom utterly ignorant of
native customs and beliefs. So, in many cases, is the missionary,
another type of person in authority, whose intentions are of the best,
but whose methods too often leave much to be desired. No amount of
zeal will suffice, apart from scientific insight into the conditions
of the practical problem. And the education is to be got by paying
for it. But governments and churches, with some honourable exceptions,
are still wofully disinclined to provide their probationers with the
necessary special training; though it is ignorance that always proves
most costly in the long run. Policy, however, including bad policy,
does not come within the official cognizance of the anthropologist.
Yet it is legitimate for him to hope that, just as for many years already
physiological science has indirectly subserved the art of medicine,
so anthropological science may indirectly, though none the less
effectively, subserve an art of political and religious healing in
the days to come.

       *       *       *       *       *

The third and last part of this chapter will show how, under modern
conditions of science and education, anthropology is to realize its
programme. Hitherto, the trouble with anthropologists has been to see
the wood for the trees. Even whilst attending mainly to the peoples
of rude culture, they have heaped together facts enough to bewilder
both themselves and their readers. The time has come to do some sorting;
or rather the sorting is doing itself. All manner of groups of special
students, interested in some particular side of human history, come
now-a-days to the anthropologist, asking leave to borrow from his stock
of facts the kind that they happen to want. Thus he, as general
storekeeper, is beginning to acquire, almost unconsciously, a sense
of order corresponding to the demands that are made upon him. The goods
that he will need to hand out in separate batches are being gradually
arranged by him on separate shelves. Our best way, then, of proceeding
with the present inquiry, is to take note of these shelves. In other
words, we must consider one by one the special studies that claim to
have a finger in the anthropological pie.

Or, to avoid the disheartening task of reviewing an array of bloodless
"-ologies," let us put the question to ourselves thus: Be it supposed
that a young man or woman who wants to take a course, of at least a
year's length, in the elements of anthropology, joins some university
which is thoroughly in touch with the scientific activities of the
day. A university, as its very name implies, ought to be an
all-embracing assemblage of higher studies, so adjusted to each other
that, in combination, they provide beginners with a good general
education; whilst, severally, they offer to more advanced students
the opportunity of doing this or that kind of specific research. In
such a well-organized university, then, how would our budding
anthropologist proceed to form a preliminary acquaintance with the
four corners of his subject? What departments must he attend in turn?
Let us draw him up a curriculum, praying meanwhile that the
multiplicity of the demands made upon him will not take away his breath
altogether. Man is a many-sided being; so there is no help for it if
anthropology also is many-sided.

For one thing, he must sit at the feet of those whose particular concern
is with pre-historic man. It is well to begin here, since thus will
the glamour of the subject sink into his soul at the start. Let him,
for instance, travel back in thought to the Europe of many thousands
of years ago, shivering under the effects of the great ice-age, yet
populous with human beings so far like ourselves that they were alive
to the advantage of a good fire, made handy tools out of stone and
wood and bone, painted animals on the walls of their caves, or engraved
them on mammoth-ivory, far more skilfully than most of us could do
now, and buried their dead in a ceremonial way that points to a belief
in a future life. Thus, too, he will learn betimes how to blend the
methods and materials of different branches of science. A human skull,
let us say, and some bones of extinct animals, and some chipped flints
are all discovered side by side some twenty feet below the level of
the soil. At least four separate authorities must be called in before
the parts of the puzzle can be fitted together.

Again, he must be taught something about race, or inherited breed,
as it applies to man. A dose of practical anatomy--that is to say,
some actual handling and measuring of the principal portions of the
human frame in its leading varieties--will enable our beginner to
appreciate the differences of outer form that distinguish, say, the
British colonist in Australia from the native "black-fellow," or the
whites from the negroes, and redskins, and yellow Asiatics in the
United States. At this point, he may profitably embark on the details
of the Darwinian hypothesis of the descent of man. Let him search
amongst the manifold modern versions of the theory of human evolution
for the one that comes nearest to explaining the degrees of physical
likeness and unlikeness shown by men in general as compared with the
animals, especially the man-like apes; and again, those shown by the
men of divers ages and regions as compared with each other. Nor is
it enough for him, when thus engaged, to take note simply of physical
features--the shape of the skull, the colour of the skin, the tint
and texture of the hair, and so on. There are likewise mental characters
that seem to be bound up closely with the organism and to follow the
breed. Such are the so-called instincts, the study of which should
be helped out by excursions into the mind-history of animals, of
children, and of the insane. Moreover, the measuring and testing of
mental functions, and, in particular, of the senses, is now-a-days
carried on by means of all sorts of ingenious instruments; and some
experience of their use will be all to the good, when problems of
descent are being tackled.

Further, our student must submit to a thorough grounding in
world-geography with its physical and human sides welded firmly
together. He must be able to pick out on the map the headquarters of
all the more notable peoples, not merely as they are now, but also
as they were at various outstanding moments of the past. His next
business is to master the main facts about the natural conditions to
which each people is subjected--the climate, the conformation of land
and sea, the animals and plants. From here it is but a step to the
economic life--the food-supply, the clothing, the dwelling-places,
the principal occupations, the implements of labour. A selected list
of books of travel must be consulted. No less important is it to work
steadily through the show-cases of a good ethnological museum. Nor
will it suffice to have surveyed the world by regions. The
communications between regions--the migrations and conquests, the
trading and the borrowing of customs--must be traced and accounted
for. Finally, on the basis of their distribution, which the learner
must chart out for himself on blank maps of the world, the chief
varieties of the useful arts and appliances of man can be followed
from stage to stage of their development.

Of the special studies concerned with man the next in order might seem
to be that which deals with the various forms of human society; since,
in a sense, social organization must depend directly on material
circumstances. In another and perhaps a deeper sense, however, the
prime condition of true sociality is something else, namely, the
exclusively human gift of articulate speech. To what extent, then,
must our novice pay attention to the history of language? Speculation
about its far-off origins is now-a-days rather out of fashion. Moreover,
language is no longer supposed to provide, by itself at any rate, and
apart from other clues, a key to the endless riddles of racial descent.
What is most needed, then, is rather some elementary instruction
concerning the organic connection between language and thought, and
concerning their joint development as viewed against the background
of the general development of society. And, just as words and thoughts
are essentially symbols, so there are also gesture-symbols and written
symbols, whilst again another set of symbols is in use for counting.
All these pre-requisites of human intercourse may be conveniently
taken together.

Coming now to the analysis of the forms of society, the beginner must
first of all face the problem: "What makes a people one?" Neither blood,
nor territory, nor language, but only the fact of being more or less
compactly organized in a political society, will be found to yield
the unifying principle required. Once the primary constitution of the
body politic has been made out, a limit is set up, inside of which
a number of fairly definite forms of grouping offer themselves for
examination; whilst outside of it various social relationships of a
vaguer kind have also to be considered. Thus, amongst institutions
of the internal kind, the family by itself presents a wide field of
research; though in certain cases it is liable to be overshadowed by
some other sort of organization, such as, notably, the clan. Under
the same rubric fall the many forms of more or less voluntary
association, economic, religious, and so forth. On the other hand,
outside the circle of the body politic there are, at all known stages
of society, mutual understandings that regulate war, trade, travel,
the celebration of common rites, the interchange of ideas. Here, then,
is an abundance of types of human association, to be first scrutinized
separately, and afterwards considered in relation to each other.

Closely connected with the previous subject is the history of law.
Every type of association, in a way, has its law, whereby its members
are constrained to fulfil a certain set of obligations. Thus our
student will pass on straight from the forms of society to the most
essential of their functions. The fact that, amongst the less civilized
peoples, the law is uncodified and merely customary, whilst the
machinery for enforcing it is, though generally effective enough, yet
often highly indefinite and occasional, makes the tracing of the growth
of legal institutions from their rudiments no less vitally important,
though it makes it none the easier. The history of authority is a
strictly kindred topic. Legislating and judging on the one hand, and
governing on the other, are different aspects of the same general
function. In accordance, then, with the order already indicated, law
and government as administered by the political society in the person
of its representatives, chiefs, elders, war-lords, priest-kings, and
so forth, must first be examined; then the jurisdiction and discipline
of subordinate bodies, such as the family and the clan, or again the
religious societies, trade guilds, and the rest; then, lastly, the
international conventions, with the available means of ensuring their

Again, the history of religion is an allied theme of far-reaching
interest. For the understanding of the ruder forms of society it may
even be said to furnish the master-key. At this stage, religion is
the mainstay of law and government. The constraining force of custom
makes itself felt largely through a magnifying haze of mystic
sanctions; whilst, again, the position of a leader of society rests
for the most part on the supernormal powers imputed to him. Religion
and magic, then, must be carefully studied if we would understand how
the various persons and bodies that exercise authority are assisted,
or else hindered, in their efforts to maintain social discipline. Apart
from this fundamental inquiry, there is another, no less important
in its way, to which the study of religion and magic opens up a path.
This is the problem how reflection manages as it were to double human
experience, by setting up beside the outer world of sense an inner
world of thought-relations. Now constructive imagination is the queen
of those mental functions which meet in what we loosely term "thought";
and imagination is ever most active where, on the outer fringe of the
mind's routine work, our inarticulate questionings radiate into the
unknown. When the genius has his vision, almost invariably, among the
ruder peoples, it is accepted by himself and his society as something
supernormal and sacred, whether its fruit be an act of leadership or
an edict, a practical invention or a work of art, a story of the past
or a prophecy, a cure or a devastating curse. Moreover, social
tradition treasures the memory of these revelations, and, blending
them with the contributions of humbler folk--for all of us dream our
dreams--provides in myth and legend and tale, as well as in manifold
other art-forms, a stimulus to the inspiration of future generations.
For most purposes fine art, at any rate during its more rudimentary
stages, may be studied in connection with religion.

So far as law and religion will not account for the varieties of social
behaviour, the novice may most conveniently consider them under the
head of morals. The forms of social intercourse, the fashions, the
festivities, are imposed on us by our fellows from without, and none
the less effectively because as a general rule we fall in with them
as a matter of course. The difference between manners and morals of
the higher order is due simply to the more pressing need, in the case
of our most serious duties, of a reflective sanction, a "moral sense,"
to break us in to the common service. It is no easy task to keep legal
and religious penalties or rewards out of the reckoning, when trying
to frame an estimate of what the notions of right and wrong, prevalent
in a given society, amount to in themselves; nevertheless, it is worth
doing, and valuable collections of material exist to aid the work.
The facts about education, which even amongst rude peoples is often
carried on far into manhood, throw much light on this problem. So do
the moralizings embodied the traditional lore of the folk--the
proverbs, the beast-fables, the stories of heroes.

There remains the individual to be studied in himself. If the
individual be ignored by social science, as would sometimes appear
to be the case, so much the worse for social science, which, to a
corresponding extent, falls short of being truly anthropological.
Throughout the history of man, our beginner should be on the look-out
for the signs, and the effects, of personal initiative. Freedom of
choice, of course, is limited by what there is to choose from; so that
the development of what may be termed social opportunity should be
concurrently reviewed. Again, it is the aim of every moral system so
to educate each man that his directive self may be as far as possible
identified with his social self. Even suicide is not a man's own affair,
according to the voice of society which speaks in the moral code.
Nevertheless, lest the important truth be overlooked that social
control implies a will that must meet the control half-way, it is well
for the student of man to pay separate and special attention to the
individual agent. The last word in anthropology is: Know thyself.


History, in the narrower sense of the word, depends on written records.
As we follow back history to the point at which our written records
grow hazy, and the immediate ancestors or predecessors of the peoples
who appear in history are disclosed in legend that needs much eking
out by the help of the spade, we pass into proto-history. At the back
of that, again, beyond the point at which written records are of any
avail at all, comes pre-history.

How, then, you may well inquire, does the pre-historian get to work?
What is his method of linking facts together? And what are the sources
of his information?

First, as to his method. Suppose a number of boys are in a field playing
football, whose superfluous garments are lying about everywhere in
heaps; and suppose you want, for some reason, to find out in what order
the boys arrived on the ground. How would you set about the business?
Surely you would go to one of the heaps of discarded clothes, and take
note of the fact that this boy's jacket lay under that boy's waistcoat.
Moving on to other heaps you might discover that in some cases a boy
had thrown down his hat on one heap, his tie on another, and so on.
This would help you all the more to make out the general series of
arrivals. Yes, but what if some of the heaps showed signs of having
been upset? Well, you must make allowances for these disturbances in
your calculations. Of course, if some one had deliberately made hay
with the lot, you would be nonplussed. The chances are, however, that,
given enough heaps of clothes, and bar intentional and systematic
wrecking of them, you would be able to make out pretty well which boy
preceded which; though you could hardly go on to say with any precision
whether Tom preceded Dick by half a minute or half an hour.

Such is the method of pre-history. It is called the stratigraphical
method, because it is based on the description of strata, or layers.

Let me give a simple example of how strata tell their own tale. It
is no very remarkable instance, but happens to be one that I have
examined for myself. They were digging out a place for a gas-holder
in a meadow in the town of St. Helier, Jersey, and carried their borings
down to bed rock at about thirty feet, which roughly coincides with
the present mean sea-level. The modern meadow-soil went down about
five feet. Then came a bed of moss-peat, one to three feet thick. There
had been a bog here at a time which, to judge by similar finds in other
places, was just before the beginning of the bronze-age. Underneath
the moss-peat came two or three feet of silt with sea-shells in it.
Clearly the island of Jersey underwent in those days some sort of
submergence. Below this stratum came a great peat-bed, five to seven
feet thick, with large tree-trunks in it, the remains of a fine forest
that must have needed more or less elevated land on which to grow.
In the peat was a weapon of polished stone, and at the bottom were
two pieces of pottery, one of them decorated with little pitted marks.
These fragments of evidence are enough to show that the foresters
belonged to the early neolithic period, as it is called. Next occurred
about four feet of silt with sea-shells, marking another advance of
the sea. Below that, again, was a mass, six to eight feet deep, of
the characteristic yellow clay with far-carried fragments of rock in
it that is associated with the great floods of the ice-age. The land
must have been above the reach of the tide for the glacial drift to
settle on it. Finally, three or four feet of blue clay resting
immediately on bed-rock were such as might be produced by the sea,
and thus probably betokened its presence at this level in the still
remoter past.

Here the strata are mostly geological. Man only comes in at one point.
I might have taken a far more striking case--the best I know--from
St. Acheul, a suburb of Amiens in the north of France. Here M. Commont
found human implements of distinct types in about eight out of eleven
or twelve successive geological layers. But the story would take too
long to tell. However, it is well to start with an example that is
primarily geological. For it is the geologist who provides the
pre-historic chronometer. Pre-historians have to reckon in geological
time--that is to say, not in years, but in ages of indefinite extent
corresponding to marked changes in the condition of the earth's surface.
It takes the plain man a long time to find out that it is no use asking
the pre-historian, who is proudly displaying a skull or a stone
implement, "Please, how many years ago exactly did its owner live?"
I remember hearing such a question put to the great savant, M.
Cartailhac, when he was lecturing upon the pre-historic drawings found
in the French and Spanish caves; and he replied, "Perhaps not less
than 6,000 years ago and not more than 250,000." The backbone of our
present system of determining the series of pre-historic epochs is
the geological theory of an ice-age comprising a succession of periods
of extreme glaciation punctuated by milder intervals. It is for the
geologists to settle in their own way, unless, indeed, the astronomers
can help them, why there should have been an ice-age at all; what was
the number, extent, and relative duration of its ups and downs; and
at what time, roughly, it ceased in favour of the temperate conditions
that we now enjoy. The pre-historians, for their part, must be content
to make what traces they discover of early man fit in with this
pre-established scheme, uncertain as it is. Every day, however, more
agreement is being reached both amongst themselves and between them
and the geologists; so that one day, I am confident, if not exactly
to-morrow, we shall know with fair accuracy how the boys, who left
their clothes lying about, followed one another into the field.

Sometimes, however, geology does not, on the face of it, come into
the reckoning. Thus I might have asked the reader to assist at the
digging out of a cave, say, one of the famous caves at Mentone, on
the Italian Riviera, just beyond the south-eastern corner of France.
These caves were inhabited by man during an immense stretch of time,
and, as you dig down, you light upon one layer after another of his
leavings. But note in such a case as this how easily you may be baffled
by some one having upset the heap of clothes, or, in a word, by
rearrangement. Thus the man whose leavings ought to form the layer
half-way up may have seen fit to dig a deep hole in the cave-floor
in order to bury a deceased friend, and with him, let us suppose, to
bury also an assortment of articles likely to be useful in the life
beyond the grave. Consequently an implement of one age will be found
lying cheek by jowl with the implement of a much earlier age, or even,
it may be, some feet below it. Thereupon the pre-historian must fall
back on the general run, or type, in assigning the different implements
each to its own stratum. Luckily, in the old days fashions tended to
be rigid; so that for the pre-historian two flints with slightly
different chipping may stand for separate ages of culture as clearly
as do a Greek vase and a German beer-mug for the student of more recent

       *       *       *       *       *

Enough concerning the stratigraphical method. A word, in the next place,
about the pre-historian's main sources of information. Apart from
geological facts, there are three main classes of evidence that serve
to distinguish one pre-historic epoch from another. These are animal
bones, human bones, and human handiwork.

Again I illustrate by means of a case of which I happen to have
first-hand knowledge. In Jersey, near the bay of St. Brelade, is a
cave, in which we dug down through some twenty feet of accumulated
clay and rock-rubbish, presumably the effects of the last throes of
the ice-age, and came upon a pre-historic hearth. There were the big
stones that had propped up the fire, and there were the ashes. By the
side were the remains of a heap of food-refuse. The pieces of decayed
bone were not much to look at; yet, submitted to an expert, they did
a tale unfold. He showed them to be the remains of the woolly rhinoceros,
the mammoth's even more unwieldy comrade, of the reindeer, of two kinds
of horse, one of them the pony-like wild horse still to be found in
the Mongolian deserts, of the wild ox, and of the deer. Truly there
was better hunting to be got in Jersey in the days when it formed part
of a frozen continent.

Next, the food-heap yields thirteen of somebody's teeth. Had they eaten
him? It boots not to inquire; though, as the owner was aged between
twenty and thirty, the teeth could hardly have fallen out of their
own accord. Such grinders as they are too! A second expert declares
that the roots beat all records. They are of the kind that goes with
an immensely powerful jaw, needing a massive brow-ridge to counteract
the strain of the bite, and in general involving the type of skull
known as the Neanderthal, big-brained enough in its way, but uncommonly
ape-like all the same.

Finally, the banqueters have left plenty of their knives lying about.
These good folk had their special and regular way of striking off a
broad flat flake from the flint core; the cores are lying about, too,
and with luck you can restore some of the flakes to their original
position. Then, leaving one side of the flake untouched, they trimmed
the surface of the remaining face, and, as the edges grew blunt with
use, kept touching them up with the hammer-stone--there it is also
lying by the hearth--until, perhaps, the flake loses its oval shape
and becomes a pointed triangle. A third expert is called in, and has
no difficulty in recognizing these knives as the characteristic
handiwork of the epoch known as the Mousterian. If one of these worked
flints from Jersey was placed side by side with another from the cave
of Le Moustier, near the right bank of the Vezere in south-central
France, whence the term Mousterian, you could hardly tell which was
which; whilst you would still see the same family likeness if you
compared the Jersey specimens with some from Amiens, or from Northfleet
on the Thames, or from Icklingham in Suffolk.

Putting all these kinds of evidence together, then, we get a notion,
doubtless rather meagre, but as far as it goes well-grounded, of a
hunter of the ice-age, who was able to get the better of a woolly
rhinoceros, could cook a lusty steak off him, had a sharp knife to
carve it, and the teeth to chew it, and generally knew how, under the
very chilly circumstances, both to make himself comfortable and to
keep his race going.

There is one other class of evidence on which the pre-historian may
with due caution draw, though the risks are certain and the profits
uncertain. The ruder peoples of to-day are living a life that in its
broad features cannot be wholly unlike the life of the men of long
ago. Thus the pre-historian should study Spencer and Gillen on the
natives of Central Australia, if only that he may take firm hold of
the fact that people with skulls inclining towards the Neanderthal
type, and using stone knives, may nevertheless have very active minds;
in short, that a rich enough life in its way may leave behind it a
poor rubbish-heap. When it comes, however, to the borrowing of details,
to patch up the holes in the pre-historic record with modern rags and
tatters makes better literature than science. After all, the
Australians, or Tasmanians, or Bushmen, or Eskimo, of whom so much
is beginning to be heard amongst pre-historians, are our
contemporaries--that is to say, have just as long an ancestry as
ourselves; and in the course of the last 100,000 years or so our stock
has seen so many changes, that their stocks may possibly have seen
a few also. Yet the real remedy, I take it, against the misuse of analogy
is that the student should make himself sufficiently at home in both
branches of anthropology to know each of the two things he compares
for what it truly is.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having glanced at method and sources, I pass on to results. Some
text-book must be consulted for the long list of pre-historic periods
required for western Europe, not to mention the further complications
caused by bringing in the remaining portions of the world. The
stone-age, with its three great divisions, the eolithic (_eos_, Greek
for dawn, and _lithos_, stone) the palaeolithic (_pallaeos_, old),
and the neolithic (_neos_, new), and their numerous subdivisions,
comes first; then the age of copper and bronze; and then the early
iron-age, which is about the limit of proto-history. Here I shall
confine my remarks to Europe. I am not going far afield into such
questions as: Who were the mound-builders of North America? And are
the Calaveras skull and other remains found in the gold-bearing gravels
of California to be reckoned amongst the earliest traces of man in
the globe? Nor, again, must I pause to speculate whether the
dark-stained lustrous flint implements discovered by Mr. Henry Balfour
at a high level below the Victoria Falls, and possibly deposited there
by the river Zambezi before it had carved the present gorge in the
solid basalt, prove that likewise in South Africa man was alive and
busy untold thousands of years ago. Also, I shall here confine myself
to the stone-age, because my object is chiefly to illustrate the long
pedigree of the species from which we are all sprung.

The antiquity of man being my immediate theme, I can hardly avoid saying
something about eoliths; though the subject is one that invariably
sets pre-historians at each other's throats. There are eoliths and
eoliths, however; and some of M. Rutot's Belgian examples are
now-a-days almost reckoned respectable. Let us, nevertheless, inquire
whether eoliths are not to be found nearer home. I can wish the reader
no more delightful experience than to run down to Ightham in Kent,
and pay a call on Mr. Benjamin Harrison. In the room above what used
to be Mr. Harrison's grocery-store, eoliths beyond all count are on
view, which he has managed to amass in his rare moments of leisure.
As he lovingly cons the stones over, and shows off their points, his
enthusiasm is likely to prove catching. But the visitor, we shall
suppose, is sceptical. Very good; it is not far, though a stiffish
pull, to Ash on the top of the North Downs. Hereabouts are Mr.
Harrison's hunting-grounds. Over these stony tracts he has conducted
Sir Joseph Prestwich and Sir John Evans, to convince the one authority,
but not the other. Mark this pebbly drift of rusty-red colour spread
irregularly along the fields, as if the relics of some ancient stream
or flood. On the surface, if you are lucky, you may pick up an
unquestionable palaeolith of early type, with the rusty-red stain of
the gravel over it to show that it has lain there for ages. But both
on and below the surface, the gravel being perhaps from five to seven
feet deep, another type of stone occurs, the so-called eolith. It is
picked out from amongst ordinary stones partly because of its shape,
and partly because of rough and much-worn chippings that suggest the
hand of art or of nature, according to your turn of mind. Take one
by itself, explains Mr. Harrison, and you will be sure to rank it as
ordinary road-metal. But take a series together, and then, he urges,
the sight of the same forms over and over again will persuade you in
the end that human design, not aimless chance, has been at work here.

Well, I must leave Mr. Harrison to convert you into the friend or foe
of his eoliths, and will merely add a word in regard to the probable
age of these eolith-bearing gravels. Sir Joseph Prestwich has tried
to work the problem out. Now-a-days Kent and Sussex run eastwards in
five more or less parallel ridges, not far short of 1,000 feet high,
with deep valleys between. Formerly, however, no such valleys existed,
and a great dome of chalk, some 2,500 feet high at its crown, perhaps,
though others would say less, covered the whole country. That is why
rivers like the Darenth and Medway cut clean through the North Downs
and fall into the Thames, instead of flowing eastwards down the later
valleys. They started to carve their channels in the soft chalk in
the days gone by, when the watershed went north and south down the
slopes of the great dome. And the red gravels with the eoliths in them,
concludes Prestwich, must have come down the north slope whilst the
dome was still intact; for they contain fragments of stone that hail
from right across the present valleys. But, if the eoliths are man-made,
then man presumably killed game and cut it up on top of the Wealden
dome, how many years ago one trembles to think.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us next proceed to the subject of palaeoliths. There is, at any
rate, no doubt about them. Yet, rather more than half a century ago,
when the Abbe Boucher de Perthes found palaeoliths in the gravels of
the Somme at Abbeville, and was the first to recognize them for what
they are, there was no small scandal. Now-a-days, however, the world
takes it as a matter of course that those lumpish, discoloured, and
much-rolled stones, shaped something like a pear, which come from the
high terraces deposited by the Ancient Thames, were once upon a time
the weapons or tools of somebody who had plenty of muscle in his arm.
Plenty of skill he had in his fingers, too; for to chip a flint-pebble
along both faces, till it takes a more or less symmetrical and standard
shape, is not so easy as it sounds. Hammer away yourself at such a
pebble, and see what a mess you make of it. To go back for one moment
to the subject of eoliths, we may fairly argue that experimental forms
still ruder than the much-trimmed palaeoliths of the early river-drift
must exist somewhere, whether Mr. Harrison's eoliths are to be classed
amongst them or not. Indeed, the Tasmanians of modern days carved their
simple tools so roughly, that any one ignorant of their history might
easily mistake the greater number for common pieces of stone. On the
other hand, as we move on from the earlier to the later types of
river-drift implements, we note how by degrees practice makes perfect.
The forms grow ever more regular and refined, up to the point of time
which has been chosen as the limit for the first of the three main
stages into which the vast palaeolithic epoch has to be broken up.
The man of the late St. Acheul period, as it is termed, was truly a
great artist in his way. If you stare vacantly at his handiwork in
a museum, you are likely to remain cold to its charm. But probe about
in a gravel-bed till you have the good fortune to light on a
masterpiece; tenderly smooth away with your fingers the dirt sticking
to its surface, and bring to view the tapering or oval outline, the
straight edge, the even and delicate chipping over both faces; then,
wrapping it carefully in your handkerchief, take it home to wash, and
feast till bedtime on the clean feel and shining mellow colour of what
is hardly more an implement than a gem. They took a pride in their
work, did the men of old; and, until you can learn to sympathize, you
are no anthropologist.

During the succeeding main stage of the palaeolithic epoch there was
a decided set-back in the culture, as judged by the quality of the
workmanship in flint. Those were the days of the Mousterians who dined
off woolly rhinoceros in Jersey. Their stone implements, worked only
on one face, are poor things by comparison with those of late St. Acheul
days, though for a time degenerated forms of the latter seem to have
remained in use. What had happened? We can only guess. Probably
something to do with the climate was at the bottom of this change for
the worse. Thus M. Rutot believes that during the ice-age each big
freeze was followed by an equally big flood, preceding each fresh
return of milder weather. One of these floods, he thinks, must have
drowned out the neat-fingered race of St. Acheul, and left the coast
clear for the Mousterians with their coarser type of culture. Perhaps
they were coarser in their physical type as well.[1]

[Footnote 1: Theirs was certainly the rather ape-like Neanderthal
build. If, however, the skull found at Galley Hill, near Northfleet
in Kent, amongst the gravels laid down by the Thames when it was about
ninety feet above its present level, is of early palaeolithic date,
as some good authorities believe, there was a kind of man away back
in the drift-period who had a fairly high forehead and moderate
brow-ridges, and in general was a less brutal specimen of humanity
than our Mousterian friend of the large grinders.]

To the credit of the Mousterians, however, must be set down the fact
that they are associated with the habit of living in caves, and perhaps
may even have started it; though some implements of the drift type
occur in Le Moustier itself, as well as in other caves, such as the
famous Kent's Cavern near Torquay. Climate, once more, has very
possibly to answer for having thus driven man underground. Anyway,
whether because they must, or because they liked it, the Mousterians
went on with their cave life during an immense space of time, making
little progress; unless it were to learn gradually how to sharpen bones
into implements. But caves and bones alike were to play a far more
striking part in the days immediately to follow.

The third and last main stage of the palaeolithic epoch developed by
degrees into a golden age of art. But I cannot dwell on all its glories.
I must pass by the beautiful work in flint; such as the thin blades
of laurel-leaf pattern, fairly common in France but rare in England,
belonging to the stage or type of culture known as the Solutrian (from
Solutre in the department of Saone-et-Loire). I must also pass by the
exquisite French examples of the carvings or engravings of bone and
ivory; a single engraving of a horse's head, from the cave at Creswell
Crags in Derbyshire, being all that England has to offer in this line.
Any good museum can show you specimens or models of these delightful
objects; whereas the things about which I am going to speak must remain
hidden away for ever where their makers left them--I mean the paintings
and engravings on the walls of the French and Spanish caves.

I invite you to accompany me in the spirit first of all to the cave
of Gargas near Aventiron, under the shadow of the Pic du Midi in the
High Pyrenees. Half-way up a hill, in the midst of a wilderness of
rocky fragments, the relics of the ice-age, is a smallish hole, down
which we clamber into a spacious but low-roofed grotto, stretching
back five hundred feet or so into infinite darkness. Hard by the mouth,
where the light of day freely enters, are the remains of a hearth,
with bone-refuse and discarded implements mingling with the ashes to
a considerable depth. A glance at these implements, for instance the
small flint scraper with narrow high back and perpendicular chipping
along the sides, is enough to show that the men who once warmed their
fingers here were of the so-called Aurignacian type (Aurignac in the
department of Haute Garonne, in southern France), that is to say, lived
somewhere about the dawn of the third stage of the palaeolithic epoch.
Directly after their disappearance nature would seem to have sealed
up the cave again until our time, so that we can study them here all
by themselves.

Now let us take our lamps and explore the secrets of the interior.
The icy torrents that hollowed it in the limestone have eaten away
rounded alcoves along the sides. On the white surface of these, glazed
over with a preserving film of stalactite, we at once notice the
outlines of many hands. Most of them left hands, showing that the
Aurignacians tended to be right-handed, like ourselves, and dusted
on the paint, black manganese or red ochre, between the outspread
fingers in just way that we, too, would find convenient. Curiously
enough, this practice of stencilling hands upon the walls of caves
is in vogue amongst the Australian natives; though unfortunately, they
keep the reason, if there is any deeper one than mere amusement,
strictly to themselves. Like the Australians, again, and other rude
peoples, these Aurignacians would appear to have been given to lopping
off an occasional finger--from some religious motive, we may guess--to
judge from the mutilated look of a good many of the handprints.

The use of paint is here limited to this class of wall-decoration.
But a sharp flint makes an excellent graving tool; and the Aurignacian
hunter is bent on reproducing by this means the forms of those
game-animals about which he doubtless dreams night and day. His efforts
in this direction, however, rather remind us of those of our
infant-schools. Look at this bison. His snout is drawn sideways, but
the horns branch out right and left as if in a full-face view. Again,
our friend scamps details such as the legs. Sheer want of skill, we
may suspect, leads him to construct what is more like the symbol of
something thought than the portrait of something seen. And so we wander
farther and farther into the gloomy depths, adding ever new specimens
to our pre-historic menagerie, including the rare find of a bird that
looks uncommonly like the penguin. Mind, by the way, that you do not
fall into that round hole in the floor. It is enormously deep; and
more than forty cave-bears have left their skeletons at the bottom,
amongst which your skeleton would be a little out of place.

Next day let us move off eastwards to the Little Pyrenees to see another
cave, Niaux, high up in a valley scarred nearly up to the top by former
glaciers. This cave is about a mile deep; and it will take you half
a mile of awkward groping amongst boulders and stalactites, not to
mention a choke in one part of the passage such as must puzzle a fat
man, before the cavern becomes spacious, and you find yourself in the
vast underground cathedral that pre-historic man has chosen for his
picture-gallery. This was a later stock, that had in the meantime
learnt how to draw to perfection. Consider the bold black and white
of that portrait of a wild pony, with flowing mane and tail, glossy
barrel, and jolly snub-nosed face. It is four or five feet across,
and not an inch of the work is out of scale. The same is true of nearly
every one of the other fifty or more figures of game-animals. These
artists could paint what they saw.

Yet they could paint up on the walls what they thought, too. There
are likewise whole screeds of symbols waiting, perhaps waiting for
ever, to be interpreted. The dots and lines and pothooks clearly belong
to a system of picture-writing. Can we make out their meaning at all?
Once in a way, perhaps. Note these marks looking like two different
kinds of throwing-club; at any rate, there are Australian weapons not
unlike them. To the left of them are a lot of dots in what look like
patterns, amongst which we get twice over the scheme of one dot in
the centre of a circle of others. Then, farther still to the left,
comes the painted figure of a bison; or, to be more accurate, the front
half is painted, the back being a piece of protruding rock that gives
the effect of low relief. The bison is rearing back on its haunches,
and there is a patch of red paint, like an open wound, just over the
region of its heart. Let us try to read the riddle. It may well embody
a charm that ran somewhat thus: "With these weapons, and by these
encircling tactics, may we slay a fat bison, O ye powers of the dark!"
Depend upon it, the men who went half a mile into the bowels of a
mountain, to paint things up on the walls, did not do so merely for
fun. This is a very eerie place, and I daresay most of us would not
like to spend the night there alone; though I know a pre-historian
who did. In Australia, as we shall see later on, rock-paintings of
game-animals, not so lifelike as these of the old days, but symbolic
almost beyond all recognizing, form part of solemn ceremonies whereby
good hunting is held to be secured. Something of the sort, then, we
may suppose, took place ages ago in the cave of Niaux. So, indeed,
it was a cathedral after a fashion; and, having in mind the carven
pillars of stalactite, the curving alcoves and side-chapels, the
shining white walls, and the dim ceiling that held in scorn our powerful
lamps, I venture to question whether man has ever lifted up his heart
in a grander one.

Space would fail me if I now sought to carry you off to the cave of
Altamira, near Santander, in the north-west of Spain. Here you might
see at its best a still later style of rock-painting, which deserts
mere black and white for colour-shading of the most free description.
Indeed, it is almost too free, in my judgment; for, though the control
of the artist over his rude material is complete, he is inclined to
turn his back on real life, forcing the animal forms into attitudes
more striking than natural, and endowing their faces sometimes, as
it seems to me, with almost human expressions. Whatever may be thought
of the likelihood of these beasts being portrayed to look like men,
certain it is that in the painted caves of this period the men almost
invariably have animal heads, as if they were mythological beings,
half animal and half human; or else--as perhaps is more
probable--masked dancers. At one place, however--namely, in the rock
shelter of Cogul near Lerida, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees,
we have a picture of a group of women dancers who are not masked, but
attired in the style of the hour. They wear high hats or chignons,
tight waists, and bell-shaped skirts. Really, considering that we thus
have a contemporary fashion-plate, so to say, whilst there are likewise
the numerous stencilled hands elsewhere on view, and even, as I have
seen with my own eyes at Niaux in the sandy floor, hardened over with
stalagmite, the actual print of a foot, we are brought very near to
our palaeolithic forerunners; though indefinite ages part them from
us if we reckon by sheer time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before ending this chapter, I have still to make good a promise to
say something about the neolithic men of western Europe. These people
often, though not always, polished their stone; the palaeolithic folk
did not. That is the distinguishing mark by which the world is pleased
to go. It would be fatal to forget, however, that, with this trifling
difference, go many others which testify more clearly to the contrast
between the older and newer types of culture. Thus it has still to
be proved that the palaeolithic races ever used pottery, or that they
domesticated animals--for instance, the fat ponies which they were
so fond of eating; or that they planted crops. All these things did
the neolithic peoples sooner or later; so that it would not be strange
if palaeolithic man withdrew in their favour, because he could not
compete. Pre-history is at present almost silent concerning the manner
of his passing. In a damp and draughty tunnel, however, called Mas
d'Azil, in the south of France, where the river Arize still bores its
way through a mountain, some palaeolithic folk seem to have lingered
on in a sad state of decay. The old sureness of touch in the matter
of carving bone had left them. Again, their painting was confined to
the adorning of certain pebbles with spots and lines, curious objects,
that perhaps are not without analogy in Australia, whilst something
like them crops up again in the north of Scotland in what seems to
be the early iron-age. Had the rest of the palaeolithic men already
followed the reindeer and other arctic animals towards the north-east?
Or did the neolithic invasion, which came from the south, wipe out
the lot? Or was there a commingling of stocks, and may some of us have
a little dose of palaeolithic blood, as we certainly have a large dose
of neolithic? To all these questions it can only be replied that we
do not yet know.

No more do we know half as much as we should like about fifty things
relating to the small, dark, long-headed neolithic folk, with a
language that has possibly left traces in the modern Basque, who spread
over the west till they reached Great Britain--it probably was an
island by this time--and erected the well-known long barrows and other
monuments of a megalithic (great-stone) type; though not the round
barrows, which are the work of a subsequent round-headed race of the
bronze-age. Every day, however, the spade is adding to our knowledge.
Besides, most of the ruder peoples of the modern world were at the
neolithic stage of culture at the time of their discovery by Europeans.
Hence the weapons, the household utensils, the pottery, the
pile-dwellings, and so on, can be compared closely; and we have a fresh
instance of the way in which one branch of anthropology can aid another.

In pursuance of my plan, however, of merely pitching here and there
on an illustrative point, I shall conclude by an excursion to Brandon,
just on the Suffolk side of the border between that county and Norfolk.
Here we can stand, as it were, with one foot in neolithic times and
the other in the life of to-day. When Canon Greenwell, in 1870, explored
in this neighbourhood one of the neolithic flint-mines known as Grime's
Graves, he had to dig out the rubbish from a former funnel-shaped pit
some forty feet deep. Down at this level, it appeared, the neolithic
worker had found the layer of the best flint. This he quarried by means
of narrow galleries in all directions. For a pick he used a red-deer's
antler. In the British Museum is to be seen one of these with the miner's
thumb-mark stamped on a piece of clay sticking to the handle. His lamp
was a cup of chalk. His ladder was probably a series of rough steps
cut in the sides of the pit. As regards the use to which the material
was put, a neolithic workshop was found just to the south of Grime's
Graves. Here, scattered about on all sides, were the cores, the
hammer-stones that broke them up, and knives, scrapers, borers,
spear-heads and arrow-heads galore, in all stages of manufacture.

Well, now let us hie to Lingheath, not far off, and what do we find?
A family of the name of Dyer carry on to-day exactly the same old method
of mining. Their pits are of squarer shape than the neolithic ones,
but otherwise similar. Their one-pronged pick retains the shape of
the deer's antler. Their light is a candle stuck in a cup of chalk.
And the ladder is just a series of ledges or, as they call them, "toes"
in the wall, five feet apart and connected by foot-holes. The miner
simply jerks his load, several hundredweight of flints, from ledge
to ledge by the aid of his head, which he protects with something that
neolithic man was probably without, namely, an old bowler hat. He even
talks a language of his own. "Bubber-hutching on the sosh" is the term
for sinking a pit on the slant, and, for all we can tell, may have
a very ancient pedigree. And what becomes of the miner's output? It
is sold by the "jag"--a jag being a pile just so high that when you
stand on any side you can see the bottom flint on the other--to the
knappers of Brandon. Any one of these--for instance, my friend Mr.
Fred Snare--will, while you wait, break up a lump with a short round
hammer into manageable pieces. Then, placing a "quarter" with his left
hand the leather pad that covers his knee, he will, with an oblong
hammer, strike off flake after flake, perhaps 1,500 in a morning; and
finally will work these up into sharp-edged squares to serve as
gun-flints for the trade with native Africa. Alas! the palmy days of
knapping gun-flints for the British Army will never return to Brandon.
Still, there must have been trade depression in those parts at any
time from the bronze-age up to the times of Brown Bess; for the
strike-a-lights, still to be got at a penny each, can have barely kept
the wolf from the door. And Mr. Snare is not merely an artisan but
an artist. He has chipped out a flint ring, a feat which taxed the
powers of the clever neolithic knappers of pre-dynastic Egypt; whilst
with one of his own flint fishhooks he has taken a fine trout from
the Little Ouse that runs by the town.

Thus there are things in old England that are older even than some
of our friends wot. In that one county of Suffolk, for instance, the
good flint--so rich in colour as it is, and so responsive to the hammer,
at any rate if you get down to the lower layers or "sases," for instance,
the floorstone, or the black smooth-stone that is generally below
water-level--has served the needs of all the palaeolithic periods,
and of the neolithic age as well, and likewise of the modern Englishmen
who fought with flintlocks at Waterloo, or still more recently took
out tinder-boxes with them to the war in South Africa. And what does
this stand for in terms of the antiquity of man? Thousands of years?
We do not know exactly; but say rather hundreds of thousands of years.


There is a story about the British sailor who was asked to state what
he understood by a Dago. "Dagoes," he replied, "is anything wot isn't
our sort of chaps." In exactly the same way would an ancient Greek
have explained what he meant by a "barbarian." When it takes this
wholesale form we speak, not without reason, of race-prejudice. We
may well wonder in the meantime how far this prejudice answers to
something real. Race would certainly seem to be a fact that stares
one in the face.

Stroll down any London street: you cannot go wrong about that Hindu
student with features rather like ours but of a darker shade. The short
dapper man with eyes a little aslant is no less unmistakably a Japanese.
It takes but a slightly more practised eye to pick out the German waiter,
the French chauffeur, and the Italian vendor of ices. Lastly, when
you have made yourself really good at the game, you will be scarcely
more likely to confuse a small dark Welshman with a broad florid
Yorkshireman than a retriever with a mastiff.

Yes, but remember that you are judging by the gross impression, not
by the element of race or breed as distinguished from the rest. Here,
you say, come a couple of our American cousins. Perhaps it is their
speech that betrayeth them; or perhaps it is the general cut of their
jib. If you were to go into their actual pedigrees, you would find
that the one had a Scotch father and a mother from out of Dorset; whilst
the other was partly Scandinavian and partly Spanish with a tincture
of Jew. Yet to all intents and purposes they form one type. And, the
more deeply you go into it, the more mixed we all of us turn out to
be, when breed, and breed alone, is the subject of inquiry. Yet race,
in the only sense that the word has for an anthropologist, means
inherited breed, and nothing more or less--inherited breed, and all
that it covers, whether bodily or mental features.

For race, let it not be forgotten, presumably extends to mind as well
as to body. It is not merely skin-deep. Contrast the stoical Red Indian
with the vivacious Negro; or the phlegmatic Dutchman with the
passionate Italian. True, you say, but what about the influence of
their various climates, or again of their different ideals of
behaviour? Quite so. It is immensely difficult to separate the effects
of the various factors. Yet surely the race-factor counts for something
in the mental constitution. Any breeder of horses will tell you that
neither the climate of Newmarket, nor careful training, nor any
quantity of oats, nor anything else, will put racing mettle into
cart-horse stock.

In what follows, then, I shall try to show just what the problem about
the race-factor is, even if I have to trespass a little way into general
biology in order to do so.[2] And I shall not attempt to conceal the
difficulties relating to the race-problem. I know that the ordinary
reader is supposed to prefer that all the thinking should be done
beforehand, and merely the results submitted to him. But I cannot
believe that he would find it edifying to look at half-a-dozen books
upon the races of mankind, and find half-a-dozen accounts of their
relationships, having scarcely a single statement in common. Far
better face the fact that race still baffles us almost completely.
Yet, breed is there; and, in its own time and in its own way, breed
will out.

[Footnote 2: The reader is advised to consult also the more
comprehensive study on _Evolution_ by Professors Geddes and Thomson
in this series.]

Race or breed was a moment ago described as a factor in human nature.
But to break up human nature into factors is something that we can
do, or try to do, in thought only. In practice we can never succeed
in doing anything of the kind. A machine such as a watch we can take
to bits and then put together again. Even a chemical compound such
as water we can resolve into oxygen and hydrogen and then reproduce
out of its elements. But to dissect a living thing is to kill it once
and for all. Life, as was said in the first chapter, is something unique,
with the unique property of being able to evolve. As life evolves,
that is to say changes, by being handed on from certain forms to certain
other forms, a partial rigidity marks the process together with a
partial plasticity. There is a stiffening, so to speak, that keeps
the life-force up to a point true to its old direction; though, short
of that limit, it is free to take a new line of its own. Race, then,
stands for the stiffening in the evolutionary process. Just up to what
point it goes in any given case we probably can never quite tell. Yet,
if we could think our way anywhere near to that point in regard to
man, I doubt not that we should eventually succeed in forging a fresh
instrument for controlling the destinies of our species, an instrument
perhaps more powerful than education itself--I mean, eugenics, the
art of improving the human breed.

To see what race means when considered apart, let us first of all take
your individual self, and ask how you would proceed to separate your
inherited nature from the nature which you have acquired in the course
of living your life. It is not easy. Suppose, however, that you had
a twin brother born, if indeed that were possible, as like you as one
pea is like another. An accident in childhood, however, has caused
him to lose a leg. So he becomes a clerk, living a sedentary life in
an office. You, on the other hand, with your two lusty legs to help
you, become a postman, always on the run. Well, the two of you are
now very different men in looks and habits. He is pale and you are
brown. You play football and he sits at home reading. Nevertheless,
any friend who knows you both intimately will discover fifty little
things that bespeak in you the same underlying nature and bent. You
are both, for instance, slightly colour-blind, and both inclined to
fly into violent passions on occasion. That is your common inheritance
peeping out--if, at least, your friend has really managed to make
allowance for your common bringing-up, which might mainly account for
the passionateness, though hardly for the colour-blindness.

But now comes the great difficulty. Let us further suppose that you
two twins marry wives who are also twins born as like as two peas;
and each pair of you has a family. Which of the two batches of children
will tend on the whole to have the stronger legs? Your legs are strong
by use; your brother's are weak by disuse. But do use and disuse make
any difference to the race? That is the theoretical question which,
above all others, complicates and hampers our present-day attempts
to understand heredity.

In technical language, this is the problem of use-inheritance,
otherwise known as the inheritance of acquired characters. It is apt
to seem obvious to the plain man that the effects of use and disuse
are transmitted to offspring. So, too, thought Lamarck, who half a
century before Darwin propounded a theory of the origin of species
that was equally evolutionary in its way. Why does the giraffe have
so long a neck? Lamarck thought it was because the giraffe had acquired
a habit of stretching his neck out. Every time there was a bad season,
the giraffes must all stretch up as high as ever they could towards
the leafy tops of the trees; and the one that stretched up farthest
survived, and handed on the capacity for a like feat to his fortunate
descendants. Now Darwin himself was ready to allow that use and disuse
might have some influence on the offspring's inheritance; but he
thought that this influence was small as compared with the influence
of what, for want of a better term, he called spontaneous variation.
Certain of his followers, however, who call themselves Neo-Darwinians,
are ready to go one better. Led by the German biologist, Weismann,
they would thrust the Lamarckians, with their hypothesis of
use-inheritance, clean out of the field. Spontaneous variation, they
assert, is all that is needed to prepare the way for the selection
of the tall giraffe. It happened to be born that way. In other words,
its parents had it in them to breed it so. This is not a theory that
tells one anything positive. It is merely a caution to look away from
use and disuse to another explanation of variation that is not yet

After all, the plain man must remember that the effects of use and
disuse, which he seems to see everywhere about him, are mixed up with
plenty of apparent instances to the contrary. He will smile, perhaps,
when I tell him that Weismann cut off the tails of endless mice, and,
breeding them together, found that tails invariably decorated the race
as before. I remember hearing Mr. Bernard Shaw comment on this
experiment. He was defending the Lamarckianism of Samuel Butler, who
declared that our heredity was a kind of race-memory, a lapsed
intelligence. "Why," said Mr. Shaw, "did the mice continue to grow
tails? Because they never wanted to have them cut off." But men-folk
are wont to shave off their beards because they want to have them off;
and, amongst people more conservative in their habits than ourselves,
such a custom may persist through numberless generations. Yet who ever
observed the slightest signs of beardlessness being produced in this
way? On the other hand, there are beardless as well as bearded races
in the world; and, by crossing them, you could, doubtless, soon produce
ups and downs in the razor-trade. Only, as Weismann's school would
say, the required variation is in this case spontaneous, that is, comes
entirely of its own accord.

Leaving the question of use-inheritance open, I pass on to say a word
about variation as considered in itself and apart from this doubtful
influence. Weismann holds, that organisms resulting from the union
of two cells are more variable than those produced out of a single
one. On this view, variation depends largely on the laws of the
interaction of the dissimilar characters brought together in
cell-union. But what are these laws? The best that can be said is that
we are getting to know a little more about them every day. Amongst
other lines of inquiry, the so-called Mendelian experiments promise
to clear up much that is at present dark.

The development of the individual that results from such cell-union
is no mere mixture or addition, but a process of selective organization.
To put it very absurdly, one does not find a pair of two-legged parents
having a child with legs as big as the two sets of legs together, or
with four legs, two of them of one shape and two of another. In other
words, of the possibilities contributed by the father and mother, some
are taken and some are left in the case of any one child. Further,
different children will represent different selections from amongst
the germinal elements. Mendelism, by the way, is especially concerned
to find out the law according to which the different types of
organization are distributed between the offspring. Each child,
meanwhile, is a unique individual, a living whole with an organization
of its very own. This means that its constituent elements form a system.
They stand to each other in relations of mutual support. In short,
life is possible because there is balance.

This general state of balance, however, is able to go along with a
lot of special balancings that seem largely independent of each other.
It is important to remember this when we come a little later on to
consider the instincts. All sorts of lesser systems prevail within
the larger system represented by the individual organism. It is just
as if within the state with its central government there were a number
of county councils, municipal corporations, and so on, each of them
enjoying a certain measure of self-government on its own account. Thus
we can see in a very general way how it is that so much variation is
possible. The selective organization, which from amongst the germinal
elements precipitates ever so many and different forms of fresh life,
is so loose and elastic that a working arrangement between the parts
can be reached in all sorts of directions. The lesser systems are so
far self-governing that they can be trusted to get along in almost
any combination; though of course some combinations are naturally
stronger and more stable than the rest, and hence tend to outlast them,
or, as the phrase goes, to be preserved by natural selection.

It is time to take account of the principle of natural selection. We
have done with the subject of variation. Whether use and disuse have
helped to shape the fresh forms of life, or whether these are purely
spontaneous combinations that have come into being on what we are
pleased to call their own account, at any rate let us take them as
given. What happens now? At this point begins the work of natural
selection. Darwin's great achievement was to formulate this law;
though it is only fair to add that it was discovered by A.R. Wallace
at the same moment. Both of them get the first hint of it from Malthus.
This English clergyman, writing about half a century earlier, had shown
that the growth of population is apt very considerably to outstrip
the development of food-supply; whereupon natural checks such as
famine or war must, he argued, ruthlessly intervene so as to redress
the balance. Applying these considerations to the plant and animal
kingdoms at large, Darwin and Wallace perceived that, of the
multitudinous forms of life thrust out upon the world to get a
livelihood as best they could, a vast quantity must be weeded out.
Moreover, since they vary exceedingly in their type of organization,
it seemed reasonable to suppose that, of the competitors, those who
were innately fitted to make the best of the ever-changing
circumstances would outlive the rest. An appeal to the facts fully
bore out this hypothesis. It must not, indeed, be thought that all
the weeding out which goes on favours the fittest. Accidents will
always happen. On the whole, however, the type that is most at home
under the surrounding conditions, it may be because it is more complex,
or it may be because it is of simpler organization, survives the rest.

Now to survive is to survive to breed. If you live to eighty, and have
no children, you do not survive in the biological sense; whereas your
neighbour who died at forty may survive in a numerous progeny. Natural
selection is always in the last resort between individuals; because
individuals are alone competent to breed. At the same time, the reason
for the individual's survival may lie very largely outside him. Amongst
the bees, for instance, a non-working type of insect survives to breed
because the sterile workers do their duty by the hive. So, too, that
other social animal, man, carries on the race by means of some whom
others die childless in order to preserve. Nevertheless, breeding
being a strictly individual and personal affair, there is always a
risk lest a society, through spending its best too freely, end by
recruiting its numbers from those in whom the engrained capacity to
render social service is weakly developed. To rear a goodly family
must always be the first duty of unselfish people; for otherwise the
spirit of unselfishness can hardly be kept alive the world.

Enough about heredity as a condition of evolution. We return, with
a better chance of distinguishing them, to the consideration of the
special effects that it brings about. It was said just now that heredity
is the stiffening in human nature, a stiffening bound up with a more
or less considerable offset of plasticity. Now clearly it is in some
sense true that the child's whole nature, its modicum of plasticity
included, is handed on from its parents. Our business in this chapter,
however, is on the whole to put out of our thoughts this plastic side
of the inherited life-force. The more or less rigid, definite,
systematized characters--these form the hereditary factor, the race.
Now none of these are ever quite fixed. A certain measure of plasticity
has to be counted in as part of their very nature. Even in the bee,
with its highly definite instincts, there is a certain flexibility
bound up with each of these; so that, for instance, the inborn faculty
of building up the comb regularly is modified if the hive happens to
be of an awkward shape. Yet, as compared with what remains over, the
characters that we are able to distinguish as racial must show fixity.
Unfortunately, habits show fixity too. Yet habits belong to the plastic
side of our nature; for, in forming a habit, we are plastic at the
start, though hardly so once we have let ourselves go. Habits, then,
must be discounted in our search for the hereditary bias in our lives.
It is no use trying to disguise the difficulties attending an inquiry
into race.

       *       *       *       *       *

These difficulties notwithstanding, in the rest of this chapter let
us consider a few of what are usually taken to be racial features of
man. As before, the treatment must be illustrative; we cannot work
through the list. Further, we must be content with a very rough division
into bodily and mental features. Just at this point we shall find it
very hard to say what is to be reckoned bodily and what mental. Leaving
these niceties to the philosophers, however, let us go ahead as best
we can.

Oh for an external race-mark about which there could be no mistake!
That has always been a dream of the anthropologist; but it is a dream
that shows no signs of coming true. All sorts of tests of this kind
have been suggested. Cranium, cranial sutures, frontal process, nasal
bones, eye, chin, jaws, wisdom teeth, hair, humerus, pelvis, the
heart-line across the hand, calf, tibia, heel, colour, and even
smell--all these external signs, as well as many more, have been
thought, separately or together, to afford the crucial test of a man's
pedigree. Clearly I cannot here cross-examine the entire crowd of
claimants, were I even competent to do so. I shall, therefore, say
a few words about two, and two only, namely, head-form and colour.

I believe that, if the plain man were to ask himself how, in walking
down a London street, he distinguished one racial type from another,
he would find that he chiefly went by colour. In a general way he knows
how to make allowance for sunburn and get down to the native complexion
underneath. But, if he went off presently to a museum and tried to
apply his test to the pre-historic men on view there, it would fail
for the simple reason that long ago they left their skins behind them.
He would have to get to work, therefore, on their bony parts, and
doubtless would attack the skulls for choice. By considering head-form
and colour, then, we may help to cover a certain amount of the ground,
vast as it is. For remember that anthropology in this department draws
no line between ancient and modern, or between savage and civilized,
but tries to tackle every sort of man that comes within its reach.

Head-shape is really a far more complicated thing to arrive at for
purposes of comparison than one might suppose. Since no part of the
skull maintains a stable position in regard to the rest, there can
be no fixed standard of measurement, but at most a judgment of likeness
or unlikeness founded on an averaging of the total proportions. Thus
it comes about that, in the last resort, the impression of a good expert
is worth in these matters a great deal more than rows of figures.
Moreover, rows of figures in their turn take a lot of understanding.
Besides, they are not always easy to get. This is especially the case
if you are measuring a live subject. Perhaps he is armed with a club,
and may take amiss the use of an instrument that has to be poked into
his ears, or what not. So, for one reason or another, we have often
to put up with that very unsatisfactory single-figure description of
the head-form which is known as the cranial index. You take the greatest
length and greatest breadth of the skull, and write down the result
obtained by dividing the former into the latter when multiplied by
100. Medium-headed people have an index of anything between 75 and
80. Below that figure men rank as long-headed, above it as round-headed.
This test, however, as I have hinted, will not by itself carry us far.
On the other hand, I believe that a good judge of head-form in all
its aspects taken together will generally be able to make a pretty
shrewd guess as to the people amongst whom the owner of a given skull
is to be placed.

Unfortunately, to say people is not to say race. It may be that a given
people tend to have a characteristic head-form, not so much because
they are of common breed, as because they are subjected after birth,
or at any rate, after conception, to one and the same environment.
Thus some careful observations made recently by Professor Boas on
American immigrants from various parts of Europe seem to show that
the new environment does in some unexplained way modify the head-form
to a remarkable extent. For example, amongst the East European Jews
the head of the European-born is shorter and wider than that of the
American-born, the difference being even more marked in the second
generation of the American-born. At the same time, other European
nationalities exhibit changes of other kinds, all these changes,
however, being in the direction of a convergence towards one and the
same American type. How are we to explain these facts, supposing them
to be corroborated by more extensive studies? It would seem that we
must at any rate allow for a considerable plasticity in the head-form,
whereby it is capable of undergoing decisive alteration under the
influences of environment; not, of course, at any moment during life,
but during those early days when the growth of the head is especially
rapid. The further question whether such an acquired character can
be transmitted we need not raise again. Before passing on, however,
let this one word to the wise be uttered. If the skull can be so affected,
then what about the brain inside it? If the hereditarily long-headed
can change under suitable conditions, then what about the hereditarily

It remains to say a word about the types of pre-historic men as judged
by their bony remains and especially by their skulls. Naturally the
subject bristles with uncertainties.

By itself stands the so-called Pithecanthropus (Ape-man) of Java, a
regular "missing link." The top of the skull, several teeth, and a
thigh-bone, found at a certain distance from each other, are all that
we have of it or him. Dr. Dubois, their discoverer, has made out a
fairly strong case for supposing that the geological stratum in which
the remains occurred is Pliocene--that is to say, belongs to the
Tertiary epoch, to which man has not yet been traced back with any
strong probability. It must remain, however, highly doubtful whether
this is a proto-human being, or merely an ape of a type related to
the gibbon. The intermediate character is shown especially in the head
form. If an ape, Pithecanthropus had an enormous brain; if a man, he
must have verged on what we should consider idiocy.

Also standing somewhat by itself is the Heidelberg man. All that we
have of him is a well-preserved lower jaw with its teeth. It was found
more than eighty feet below the surface of the soil, in company with
animal remains that make it possible to fix its position in the scale
of pre-historic periods with some accuracy. Judged by this test, it
is as old as the oldest of the unmistakable drift implements, the
so-called Chellean (from Chelles in the department of Seine-et-Marne
in France). The jaw by itself would suggest a gorilla, being both
chinless and immensely powerful. The teeth, however, are human beyond
question, and can be matched, or perhaps even in respect to certain
marks of primitiveness out-matched, amongst ancient skulls of the
Neanderthal order, if not also amongst modern ones from Australia.

We may next consider the Neanderthal group of skulls, so named after
the first of that type found in 1856 in the Neanderthal valley close
to Dusseldorf in the Rhine basin. A narrow head, with low and retreating
forehead, and a thick projecting brow-ridge, yet with at least twice
the brain capacity of any gorilla, set the learned world disputing
whether this was an ape, a normal man, or an idiot. It was unfortunate
that there were no proofs to hand of the age of these relics. After
a while, however, similar specimens began to come in. Thus in 1866
the jaw of a woman, displaying a tendency to chinlessness combined
with great strength, was found in the Cave of La Naulette in Belgium,
associated with more or less dateable remains of the mammoth, woolly
rhinoceros and reindeer. A few years earlier, though its importance
was not appreciated at the moment, there had been discovered, near
Forbes' quarry at Gibraltar, the famous Gibraltar skull, now to be
seen in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Any
visitor will notice at the first glance that this is no man of to-day.
There are the narrow head, low crown, and prominent brow-ridge as
before, supplemented by the most extraordinary eye-holes that were
ever seen, vast circles widely separated from each other. And other
peculiar features will reveal themselves on a close inspection; for
instance, the horseshoe form in which, ape-fashion, the teeth are
arranged, and the muzzle-like shape of the face due to the absence
of the depressions that in our own case run down on each side from
just outside the nostrils towards the corners of the mouth.

And now at the present time we have twenty or more individuals of this
Neanderthal type to compare. The latest discoveries are perhaps the
most interesting, because in two and perhaps other cases the man has
been properly buried. Thus at La Chapelle-aux-Saints, in the French
department of Correze, a skeleton, which in its head-form closely
recalls the Gibraltar example, was found in a pit dug in the floor
of a low grotto. It lay on its back, head to the west, with one arm
bent towards the head, the other outstretched, and the legs drawn up.
Some bison bones lay in the grave as if a food-offering had been made.
Hard by were flint implements of a well-marked Mousterian type. In
the shelter of Le Moustier itself a similar burial was discovered.
The body lay on its right side, with the right arm bent so as to support
the head upon a carefully arranged pillow of flints; whilst the left
arm was stretched out, so that the hand might be near a magnificent
oval stone-weapon chipped on both faces, evidently laid there by design.
So much for these men of the Neanderthal type, denizens of the
mid-palaeolithic world at the very latest. Ape-like they doubtless
are in their head-form up to a certain point, though almost all their
separate features occur here and there amongst modern Australian
natives. And yet they were men enough, had brains enough, to believe
in a life after death. There is something to think about in that.

Without going outside Europe, we have, however, to reckon with at least
two other types of very early head-form.

In one of the caves of Mentone known as La Grotte des Enfants two
skeletons from a low stratum were of a primitive type, but unlike the
Neanderthal, and have been thought to show affinities to the modern
negro. As, however, no other Proto-Negroes are indisputably
forthcoming either from Europe or from any other part of the world,
there is little at present to be made out about this interesting racial

In the layer immediately above the negroid remains, however, as well
as in other caves at Mentone, were the bones of individuals of quite
another order, one being positively a giant. They are known as the
Cro-Magnon race, after a group of them discovered in a rock shelter
of that name on the banks of the Vezere. These particular people can
be shown to be Aurignacian--that is to say, to have lived just after
the Mousterian men of the Neanderthal head-form. If, however, as has
been already suggested, the Galley Hill individual, who shows
affinities to the Cro-Magnon type, really goes back to the drift-period,
then we can believe that from very early times there co-existed in
Europe at least two varieties; and these so distinct, that some
authorities would trace the original divergence between them right
back to the times before man and the apes had parted company, linking
the Neanderthal race with the gorilla and the Cro-Magnon race with
the orang. The Cro-Magnon head-form is refined and highly developed.
The forehead is high, and the chin shapely, whilst neither the
brow-ridge nor the lower jaw protrudes as in the Neanderthal type.
Whether this race survives in modern Europe is, as was said in the
last chapter, highly uncertain. In certain respects--for instance,
in a certain shortness of face--these people present exceptional
features; though some think they can still find men of this type in
the Dordogne district. Perhaps the chances are, however, considering
how skulls of the neolithic period prove to be anything but uniform,
and suggest crossings between different stocks, that we may claim
kinship to some extent with the more good-looking of the two main types
of palaeolithic man--always supposing that head-form can be taken as
a guide. But can it? The Pygmies of the Congo region have medium heads;
the Bushmen of South Africa, usually regarded as akin in race, have
long heads. The American Indians, generally supposed to be all, or
nearly all, of one racial type, show considerable differences of
head-form; and so on. It need not be repeated that any race-mark is
liable to deceive.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have sufficiently considered the use to which the particular
race-mark of head-form has been put in the attempted classification
of the very early men who have left their bones behind them. Let us
now turn to another race-mark, namely colour; because, though it may
really be less satisfactory than others, for instance hair, that is
the one to which ordinary people naturally turn when they seek to
classify by races the present inhabitants of the earth.

When Linnaeus in pre-Darwinian days distinguished four varieties of
man, the white European, the red American, the yellow Asiatic, and
the black African, he did not dream of providing the basis of anything
more than an artificial classification. He probably would have agreed
with Buffon in saying that in every case it was one and the same kind
of man, only dyed differently by the different climates. But the
Darwinian is searching for a natural classification. He wants to
distinguish men according to their actual descent. Now race and descent
mean for him the same thing. Hence a race-mark, if one is to be found,
must stand for, by co-existing with, the whole mass of properties that
form the inheritance. Can colour serve for a race-mark in this profound
sense? That is the only question here.

First of all, what is the use of being coloured one way or the other?
Does it make any difference? Is it something, like the heart-line of
the hand, that may go along with useful qualities, but in itself seems
to be a meaningless accident? Well, as some unfortunate people will
be able to tell you, colour is still a formidable handicap in the
struggle for existence. Not to consider the colour-prejudice in other
aspects, there is no gainsaying the part it plays in sexual selection
at this hour. The lower animals appear to be guided in the choice of
a mate by externals of a striking and obvious sort. And men and women
to this day marry more with their eyes than with their heads.

The coloration of man, however, though it may have come to subserve
the purposes of mating, does not seem in its origin to have been like
the bright coloration of the male bird. It was not something wholly
useless save as a means of sexual attraction, though in such a capacity
useful because a mark of vital vigour. Colour almost certainly
developed in strict relation to climate. Right away in the back ages
we must place what Bagehot has called the race-making epoch, when the
chief bodily differences, including differences of colour, arose
amongst men. In those days, we may suppose, natural selection acted
largely on the body, because mind had not yet become the prime condition
of survival. The rest is a question of pre-historic geography. Within
the tropics, the habitat of the man-like apes, and presumably of the
earliest men, a black skin protects against sunlight. A white skin,
on the other hand--though this is more doubtful--perhaps economizes
sun-heat in colder latitudes. Brown, yellow and the so-called red are
intermediate tints suitable to intermediate regions. It is not hard
to plot out in the pre-historic map of the world geographical provinces,
or "areas of characterization," where races of different shades
corresponding to differences in the climate might develop, in an
isolation more or less complete, such as must tend to reinforce the
process of differentiation.

Let it not be forgotten, however, that individual plasticity plays
its part too in the determination of human colour. The Anglo-Indian
planter is apt to return from a long sojourn in the East with his skin
charged with a dark pigment which no amount of Pears' soap will remove
during the rest of his life. It would be interesting to conduct
experiments, on the lines of those of Professor Boas already mentioned,
with the object of discovering in what degree the same capacity for
amassing protective pigment declares itself in children of European
parentage born in the tropics or transplanted thither during infancy.
Correspondingly, the tendency of dark stocks to bleach in cold
countries needs to be studied. In the background, too, lurks the
question whether such effects of individual plasticity can be
transmitted to offspring, and become part of the inheritance.

One more remark upon the subject of colour. Now-a-days civilized
peoples, as well as many of the ruder races that the former govern,
wear clothes. In other words they have dodged the sun, by developing,
with the aid of mind, a complex society that includes the makers of
white drill suits and solar helmets. But, under such conditions, the
colour of one's skin becomes more or less of a luxury. Protective
pigment, at any rate now-a-days, counts for little as compared with
capacity for social service. Colour, in short, is rapidly losing its
vital function. Will it therefore tend to disappear? In the long run,
it would seem--perhaps only in the very long run--it will become
dissociated from that general fitness to survive under particular
climatic conditions of which it was once the innate mark. Be this as
it may, race-prejudice, that is so largely founded on sheer
considerations of colour, is bound to decay, if and when the races
of darker colour succeed in displaying, on the average, such qualities
of mind as will enable them to compete with the whites on equal terms,
in a world which is coming more and more to include all climates.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus we are led on to discuss race in its mental aspect. Here, more
than ever, we are all at sea, for want of a proper criterion. What
is to be the test of mind? Indeed, mind and plasticity are almost the
same thing. Race, therefore, as being the stiffening in the evolution
of life, might seem by its very nature opposed to mind as a limiting
or obstructing force. Are we, then, going to return to the old
pre-scientific notion of soul as something alien to body, and thereby
simply clogged, thwarted and dragged down? That would never do. Body
and soul are, for the working purposes of science, to be conceived
as in perfect accord, as co-helpers in the work of life, and as such
subject to a common development. Heredity, then, must be assumed to
apply to both equally. In proportion as there is plastic mind there
will be plastic body.

Unfortunately, the most plastic part of body is likewise the hardest
to observe, at any rate whilst it is alive, namely, the brain. No
certain criterion of heredity, then, is likely to be available from
this quarter. You will see it stated, for instance, that the size of
the brain cavity will serve to mark off one race from another. This
is extremely doubtful, to put it mildly. No doubt the average European
shows some advantage in this respect as compared, say, with the Bushman.
But then you have to write off so much for their respective types of
body, a bigger body going in general with a bigger head, that in the
end you find yourself comparing mere abstractions. Again, the European
may be the first to cry off on the ground that comparisons are odious;
for some specimens of Neanderthal man in sheer size of the brain cavity
are said to give points to any of our modern poets and politicians.
Clearly, then, something is wrong with this test. Nor, if the brain
itself be examined after death, and the form and number of its
convolutions compared, is this criterion of hereditary brain-power
any more satisfactory. It might be possible in this way to detect the
difference between an idiot and a person of normal intelligence, but
not the difference between a fool and a genius.

We cross the uncertain line that divides the bodily from the mental
when we subject the same problem of hereditary mental endowment to
the methods of what is known as experimental psychology. Thus acuteness
of sight, hearing, taste, smell and feeling are measured by various
ingenious devices. Seeing what stories travellers bring back with them
about the hawk-like vision of hunting races, one might suppose that
such comparisons would be all in their favour. The Cambridge Expedition
to Torres Straits, however, of which Dr. Haddon was the leader,
included several well-trained psychologists, who devoted special
attention to this subject; and their results show that the sensory
powers of these rude folk were on the average much the same as those
of Europeans. It is the hunter's experience only that enables him to
sight the game at an immense distance. There are a great many more
complicated tests of the same type designed to estimate the force of
memory, attention, association, reasoning and other faculties that
most people would regard as purely mental; whilst another set of such
tests deals with reaction to stimulus, co-ordination between hand and
eye, fatigue, tremor, and, most ingenious perhaps of all, emotional
excitement as shown through the respiration--phenomena which are, as
it were, mental and bodily at once and together. Unfortunately,
psychology cannot distinguish in such cases between the effects of
heredity and those of individual experience, whether it take the form
of high culture or of a dissipated life. Indeed, the purely temporary
condition of body and mind is apt to influence the results. A man has
been up late, let us say, or has been for a long walk, or has missed
a meal; obviously his reaction-times, his record for memory, and so
on, will show a difference for the worse. Or, again, the subject may
confront the experiment in very various moods. At one moment he may
be full of vanity, anxious to show what superior qualities he
possesses; whilst at another time he will be bored. Not to labour the
point further, these methods, whatever they may become in the future,
are at present unable to afford any criterion whatever of the mental
ability that goes with race. They are fertile in statistics; but an
interpretation of these statistics that furthers our purpose is still
to seek.

But surely, it will be said, we can tell an instinct when we come across
it, so uniform as it is, and so independent of the rest of the system.
Not at all. For one thing, the idea that an instinct is apiece of
mechanism, as fixed as fate, is quite out of fashion. It is now known
to be highly plastic in many cases, to vary considerably in individuals,
and to involve conscious processes, thought, feeling and will, at any
rate of an elementary kind. Again, how are you going to isolate an
instinct? Those few automatic responses to stimulation that appear
shortly after birth, as, for instance, sucking, may perhaps be
recognized, since parental training and experience in general are out
of the question here. But what about the instinct or group of instincts
answering to sex? This is latent until a stage of life when experience
is already in full swing. Indeed, psychologists are still busy
discussing whether man has very few instincts or whether, on the
contrary, he appears to have few because he really has so many that,
in practice, they keep interfering with one another all the time. In
support of the latter view, it has been recently suggested by Mr.
McDougall that the best test of the instincts that we have is to be
found in the specific emotions. He believes that every instinctive
process consists of an afferent part or message, a central part, and
an efferent part or discharge. At its two ends the process is highly
plastic. Message and discharge, to which thought and will correspond,
are modified in their type as experience matures. The central part,
on the other hand, to which emotion answers on the side of consciousness,
remains for ever much the same. To fear, to wonder, to be angry, or
disgusted, to be puffed up, or cast down, or to be affected with
tenderness--all these feelings, argues Mr. McDougall, and various more
complicated emotions arising out of their combinations with each other,
are common to all men, and bespeak in them deep-seated tendencies to
react on stimulation in relatively particular and definite ways. And
there is much, I think, to be said in favour of this contention.

Yet, granting this, do we thus reach a criterion whereby the different
races of men are to be distinguished? Far from it. Nay, on the contrary,
as judged simply by his emotions, man is very much alike everywhere,
from China to Peru. They are all there in germ, though different customs
and grades of culture tend to bring special types of feeling to the

Indeed, a certain paradox is to be noted here. The Negro, one would
naturally say, is in general more emotional than the white man. Yet
some experiments conducted by Miss Kellor of Chicago on negresses and
white women, by means of the test of the effects of emotion on
respiration, brought out the former as decidedly the more stolid of
the two. And, whatever be thought of the value of such methods of proof,
certain it is that the observers of rude races incline to put down
most of them as apathetic, when not tuned up to concert-pitch by a
dance or other social event. It may well be, then, that it is not the
hereditary temperament of the Negro, so much as the habit, which he
shares with other peoples at the same level of culture, of living and
acting in a crowd, that accounts for his apparent excitability. But
after all, "mafficking" is not unknown in civilized countries. Thus
the quest for a race-mark of a mental kind is barren once more.

       *       *       *       *       *

What, then, you exclaim, is the outcome of this chapter of negatives?
Is it driving at the universal equality and brotherhood of man? Or,
on the contrary, does it hint at the need of a stern system of eugenics?
I offer nothing in the way of a practical suggestion. I am merely trying
to show that, considered anthropologically--that is to say, in terms
of pure theory--race or breed remains something which we cannot at
present isolate, though we believe it to be there. Practice, meanwhile,
must wait on theory; mere prejudices, bad as they are, are hardly worse
guides to action than premature exploitations of science.

As regards the universal brotherhood of man, the most that can be said
is this: The old ideas about race as something hard and fast for all
time are distinctly on the decline. Plasticity, or, in other words,
the power of adaptation to environment, has to be admitted to a greater
share in the moulding of mind, and even of body, than ever before.
But how plasticity is related to race we do not yet know. It may be
that use-inheritance somehow incorporates its effects in the offspring
of the plastic parents. Or it may be simply that plasticity increases
with inter-breeding on a wider basis. These problems have still to
be solved.

As regards eugenics, there is no doubt that a vast and persistent
elimination of lives goes on even in civilized countries. It has been
calculated that, of every hundred English born alive, fifty do not
survive to breed, and, of the remainder, half produce three-quarters
of the next generation. But is the elimination selective? We can hardly
doubt that it is to some extent. But what its results are--whether
it mainly favours immunity from certain diseases, or the capacity for
a sedentary life in a town atmosphere, or intelligence and capacity
for social service--is largely matter of guesswork. How, then, can
we say what is the type to breed from, even if we confine our attention
to one country? If, on the other hand, we look farther afield, and
study the results of race-mixture or "miscegenation," we but encounter
fresh puzzles. That the half-breed is an unsatisfactory person may
be true; and yet, until the conditions of his upbringing are somehow
discounted, the race problem remains exactly where it was. Or, again,
it may be true that miscegenation increases human fertility, as some
hold; but, until it is shown that the increase of fertility does not
merely result in flooding the world with inferior types, we are no
nearer to a solution.

If, then, there is a practical moral to this chapter, it is merely
this: to encourage anthropologists to press forward with their study
of race; and in the meantime to do nothing rash.


When a child is born it has been subjected for some three-quarters
of a year already to the influences of environment. Its race, indeed,
was fixed once for all at the moment of conception. Yet that superadded
measure of plasticity, which has to be treated as something apart from
the racial factor, enables it to respond for good or for evil to the
pre-natal--that is to say, maternal--environment. Thus we may easily
fall into the mistake of supposing our race to be degenerate, when
poor feeding and exposure to unhealthy surroundings on the part of
the mothers are really responsible for the crop of weaklings that we
deplore. And, in so far as it turns out to be so, social reformers
ought to heave a sigh of relief. Why? Because to improve the race by
way of eugenics, though doubtless feasible within limits, remains an
unrealized possibility through our want of knowledge. On the other
hand, to improve the physical environment is fairly straight-ahead
work, once we can awake the public conscience to the need of undertaking
this task for the benefit of all classes of the community alike. If
civilized man wishes to boast of being clearly superior to the rest
of his kind, it must be mainly in respect to his control over the
physical environment. Whatever may have been the case in the past,
it seems as true now-a-days to say that man makes his physical
environment as that his physical environment makes him.

Even if this be granted, however, it remains the fact that our material
circumstances in the widest sense of the term play a very decisive
part in the shaping of our lives. Hence the importance of geographical
studies as they bear on the subject of man. From the moment that a
child is conceived, it is subjected to what it is now the fashion to
call a "geographic control." Take the case of the child of English
parents born in India. Clearly several factors will conspire to
determine whether it lives or dies. For simplicity's sake let us treat
them as three. First of all, there is the fact that the child belongs
to a particular cultural group; in other words, that it has been born
with a piece of paper in its mouth representing one share in the British
Empire. Secondly, there is its race, involving, let us say, blue eyes
and light hair, and a corresponding constitution. Thirdly, there is
the climate and all that goes with it. Though in the first of these
respects the white child is likely to be superior to the native,
inasmuch as it will be tended with more careful regard to the laws
of health; yet such disharmony prevails between the other two factors
of race and climate, that it will almost certainly die, if it is not
removed at a certain age from the country. Possibly the English could
acclimatize themselves in India at the price of an immense toll of
infant lives; but it is a price which they show no signs of being willing
to pay.

What, then, are the limits of the geographical control? Where does
its influence begin and end? Situation, race and culture--to reduce
it to a problem of three terms only--which of the three, if any, in
the long run controls the rest? Remember that the anthropologist is
trying to be the historian of long perspective. History which counts
by years, proto-history which counts by centuries, pre-history which
counts by millenniums--he seeks to embrace them all. He sees the
English in India, on the one hand, and in Australia on the other. Will
the one invasion prove an incident, he asks, and the other an event,
as judged by a history of long perspective? Or, again, there are whites
and blacks and redskins in the southern portion of the United States
of America, having at present little in common save a common climate.
Different races, different cultures, a common geographical
situation--what net result will these yield for the historian of
patient, far-seeing anthropological outlook? Clearly there is here
something worth the puzzling out. But we cannot expect to puzzle it
out all at once.

In these days geography, in the form known as anthropo-geography, is
putting forth claims to be the leading branch of anthropology. And,
doubtless, a thorough grounding in geography must henceforth be part
of the anthropologist's equipment.[3] The schools of Ratzel in Germany
and Le Play in France are, however, fertile in generalizations that
are far too pretty to be true. Like other specialists, they exaggerate
the importance of their particular brand of work. The full meaning
of life can never be expressed in terms of its material conditions.
I confess that I am not deeply moved when Ratzel announces that man
is a piece of the earth. Or when his admirers, anxious to improve on
this, after distinguishing the atmosphere or air, the hydrosphere or
water, the lithosphere or crust, and the centrosphere or interior mass,
proceed to add that man is the most active portion of an intermittent
biosphere, or living envelope of our planet, I cannot feel that the
last word has been said about him.

[Footnote 3: Thus the reader of the present work should not fail to
study also Dr. Marion Newbigin's _Geography_ in this series.]

Or, again, listen for a moment to M. Demolins, author of a very
suggestive book, _Comment la route cree le type social_ ("How the road
creates the social type"). "There exists," he says in his preface,
"on the surface of the terrestrial globe an infinite variety of peoples.
What is the cause that has created this variety? In general the reply
is, Race. But race explains nothing; for it remains to discover what
has produced the diversity of races. Race is not a cause; it is a
consequence. The first and decisive cause of the diversity of peoples
and of the diversity of races is the road that the peoples have followed.
It is the road that creates the race, and that creates the social type."
And he goes further: "If the history of humanity were to recommence,
and the surface of the globe had not been transformed, this history
would repeat itself in its main lines. There might well be secondary
differences, for example, in certain manifestations of public life,
in political revolutions, to which we assign far too great an
importance; but the same roads would reproduce the same social types,
and would impose on them the same essential characters."

There is no contending with a pious opinion, especially when it takes
the form of an unverifiable prophecy. Let the level-headed
anthropologist beware, however, lest he put all his eggs into one
basket. Let him seek to give each factor in the problem its due. Race
must count for something, or why do not the other animals take a leaf
out of our book and build up rival civilizations on suitable sites?
Why do men herd cattle, instead of the cattle herding the men? We are
rational beings, in other words, because we have it in us to be rational
beings. Again, culture, with the intelligence and choice it involves,
counts for something too. It is easy to argue that, since there were
the Asiatic steppes with the wild horses ready to hand in them, man
was bound sooner or later to tame the horse and develop the
characteristic culture of the nomad type. Yes, but why did man tame
the horse later rather than sooner? And why did the American redskins
never tame the bison, and adopt a pastoral life in their vast prairies?
Or why do modern black folk and white folk alike in Africa fail to
utilize the elephant? Is it because these things cannot be done, or
because man has not found out how to do them?

When all allowances, however, are made for the exaggerations almost
pardonable in a branch of science still engaged in pushing its way
to the front, anthropo-geography remains a far-reaching method of
historical study which the anthropologist has to learn how to use.
To put it crudely, he must learn how to work all the time with a map
of the earth at his elbow.

First of all, let him imagine his world of man stationary. Let him
plot out in turn the distribution of heat, of moisture, of diseases,
of vegetation, of food-animals, of the physical types of man, of
density of population, of industries, of forms of government, of
religions, of languages, and so on and so forth. How far do these
different distributions bear each other out? He will find a number
of things that go together in what will strike him as a natural way.
For instance, all along the equator, whether in Africa or South America
or Borneo, he will find them knocking off work in the middle of the
day in order to take a siesta. On the other hand, other things will
not agree so well. Thus, though all will be dark-skinned, the South
Americans will be coppery, the Africans black, and the men of Borneo

Led on by such discrepancies, perhaps, he will want next to set his
world of man in movement. He will thereupon perceive a circulation,
so to speak, amongst the various peoples, suggestive of interrelations
of a new type. Now so long as he is dealing in descriptions of a detached
kind, concerning not merely the physical environment, but likewise
the social adjustments more immediately corresponding thereto, he will
be working at the geographical level. Directly it comes, however, to
a generalized description or historical explanation, as when he seeks
to show that here rather than there a civilization is likely to arise,
geographical considerations proper will not suffice. Distribution is
merely one aspect of evolution. Yet that it is a very important aspect
will now be shown by a hasty survey of the world according to
geographical regions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us begin with Europe, so as to proceed gradually from the more
known to the less known. Lecky has spoken of "the European epoch of
the human mind." What is the geographical and physical theatre of that
epoch? We may distinguish--I borrow the suggestion from Professor
Myres--three stages in its development. Firstly, there was the
river-phase; next, the Mediterranean phase; lastly, the present-day
Atlantic phase. Thus, to begin with, the valleys of the Nile and
Euphrates were each the home of civilizations both magnificent and
enduring. They did not spring up spontaneously, however. If the rivers
helped man, man also helped the rivers by inventing systems of
irrigation. Next, from Minoan days right on to the end of the Middle
Ages, the Mediterranean basin was the focus of all the higher life
in the world, if we put out of sight the civilizations of India and
China, together with the lesser cultures of Peru and Mexico. I will
consider this second phase especially, because it is particularly
instructive from the geographical standpoint. Finally, since the time
of the discovery of America, the sea-trade, first called into existence
as a civilizing agent by Mediterranean conditions, has shifted its
base to the Atlantic coast, and especially to that land of natural
harbours, the British Isles. We must give up thinking in terms of an
Eastern and Western Hemisphere. The true distinction, as applicable
to modern times, is between a land-hemisphere, with the Atlantic coast
of Europe as its centre, and a sea-hemisphere, roughly coinciding with
the Pacific. The Pacific is truly an ocean; but the Atlantic is becoming
more of a "herring-pond" every day.

Fixing our eyes, then, on the Mediterranean basin, with its Black Sea
extension, it is easy to perceive that we have here a well-defined
geographical province, capable of acting as an area of
characterization as perhaps no other in the world, once its various
peoples had the taste and ingenuity to intermingle freely by way of
the sea. The first fact to note is the completeness of the ring-fence
that shuts it in. From the Pyrenees right along to Ararat runs the
great Alpine fold, like a ridge in a crumpled table-cloth; the Spanish
Sierras and the Atlas continue the circle to the south-west; and the
rest is desert. Next, the configuration of the coasts makes for
intercourse by sea, especially on the northern side with its peninsulas
and islands, the remains of a foundered and drowned mountain-country.
This same configuration, considered in connection with the flora and
fauna that are favoured by the climate, goes far to explain that
discontinuity of the political life which encouraged independence
whilst it prevented self-sufficiency. The forest-belt, owing to the
dry summer, lay towards the snow-line, and below it a scrub-belt,
yielding poor hunting, drove men to grow their corn and olives and
vines in the least swampy of the lowlands, scattered like mere oases
amongst the hills and promontories.

For a long time, then, man along the north coasts must have been
oppressed rather than assisted by his environment. It made
mass-movements impossible. Great waves of migration from the
steppe-land to the northeast, or from the forest-land to the north-west,
would thunder on the long mountain barrier, only to trickle across
in rivulets and form little pools of humanity here and there. Petty
feuds between plain, shore, and mountain, as in ancient Attica, would
but accentuate the prevailing division. Contrariwise, on the southern
side of the Mediterranean, where there was open, if largely desert,
country, there would be room under primitive conditions for a
homogeneous race to multiply. It is in North Africa that we must
probably place the original hotbed of that Mediterranean race, slight
and dark with oval heads and faces, who during the neolithic period
colonized the opposite side of the Mediterranean, and threw out a wing
along the warm Atlantic coast as far north as Scotland, as well as
eastwards to the Upper Danube; whilst by way of south and east they
certainly overran Egypt, Arabia, and Somaliland, with probable
ramifications still farther in both directions. At last, however, in
the eastern Mediterranean was learnt the lesson of the profits
attending the sea-going life, and there began the true Mediterranean
phase, which is essentially an era of sea-borne commerce. Then was
the chance for the northern shore with its peninsular configuration.
Carthage on the south shore must be regarded as a bold experiment that
did not answer. The moral, then, would seem to be that the Mediterranean
basin proved an ideal nursery for seamen; but only as soon as men were
brave and clever enough to take to the sea. The geographical factor
is at least partly consequence as well as cause.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let us proceed farther north into what was for the earlier
Mediterranean folk the breeding-ground of barbarous outlanders,
forming the chief menace to their circuit of settled civic life. It
is necessary to regard northern Europe and northern Asia as forming
one geographic province. Asia Minor, together with the Euphrates
valley and with Arabia in a lesser degree, belongs to the Mediterranean
area. India and China, with the south-eastern corner of Asia that lies
between them, form another system that will be considered separately
later on.

The Eurasian northland consists naturally, that is to say, where
cultivation has not introduced changes, of four belts. First, to the
southward, come the mountain ranges passing eastwards into high
plateau. Then, north of this line, from the Lower Danube, as far as
China, stretches a belt of grassland or steppe-country at a lower level,
a belt which during the milder periods of the ice-age and immediately
after it must have reached as far as the Atlantic. Then we find, still
farther to the north, a forest belt, well developed in the Siberia
of to-day. Lastly, on the verge of the Arctic sea stretches the tundra,
the frozen soil of which is fertile in little else than the lichen
known as reindeer moss, whilst to the west, as, for instance, in our
islands, moors and bogs represent this zone of barren lands in a milder

The mountain belt is throughout its entire length the home of
round-headed peoples, the so-called Alpine race, which is generally
supposed to have originally come from the high plateau country of Asia.
These round-headed men in western Europe appear where-ever there are
hills, throwing out offshoots by way of the highlands of central France
into Brittany, and even reaching the British Isles. Here they
introduced the use of bronze (an invention possibly acquired by contact
with Egyptians in the near East), though without leaving any marked
traces of themselves amongst the permanent population. At the other
end of Europe they affected Greece by way of a steady though limited
infiltration; whilst in Asia Minor they issued forth from their hills
as the formidable Hittites, the people, by the way, to whom the Jews
are said to owe their characteristic, yet non-Semitic, noses. But are
these round-heads all of one race? Professor Ridgeway has put forward
a rather paradoxical theory to the effect that, just as the long-faced
Boer horse soon evolved in the mountains of Basutoland into a
round-headed pony, so it is in a few generations with human
mountaineers, irrespective of their breed. This is almost certainly
to overrate the effects of environment. At the same time, in the present
state of our knowledge, it would be premature either to affirm or deny
that in the very long run round-headedness goes with a mountain life.

The grassland next claims our attention. Here is the paradise of the
horse, and consequently of the horse-breaker. Hence, therefore, came
the charging multitudes of Asiatic marauders who, after many repulses,
broke through the Mediterranean cordon, and established themselves
as the modern Turks; whilst at the other end of their beat they poured
into China, which no great wall could avail to save, and established
the Manchu domination. Given the steppe-country and a horse-taming
people, we might seek, with the anthropo-geographers of the bolder
sort, to deduce the whole way of life, the nomadism, the ample food,
including the milk-diet infants need and find so hard to obtain farther
south, the communal system, the patriarchal type of authority, the
caravan-system that can set the whole horde moving along like a swarm
of locusts, and so on. But, as has been already pointed out, the horse
had to be tamed first. Palaeolithic man in western Europe had
horse-meat in abundance. At Solutre, a little north of Lyons, a heap
of food-refuse 100 yards long and 10 feet high largely consists of
the bones of horses, most of them young and tender. This shows that
the old hunters knew how to enjoy the passing hour in their improvident
way, like the equally reckless Bushmen, who have left similar Golgothas
behind them in South Africa. Yet apparently palaeolithic man did not
tame the horse. Environment, in fact, can only give the hint; and man
may not be ready to take it.

The forest-land of the north affords fair hunting in its way, but it
is doubtful if it is fitted to rear a copious brood of men, at any
rate so long as stone weapons are alone available wherewith to master
the vegetation and effect clearings, whilst burning the brushwood down
is precluded by the damp. Where the original home may have been of
the so-called Nordic race, the large-limbed fair men of the Teutonic
world, remains something of a mystery; though it is now the fashion
to place it in the north-east of Europe rather than in Asia, and to
suppose it to have been more or less isolated from the rest of the
world by formerly existing sheets of water. Where-ever it was, there
must have been grassland enough to permit of pastoral habits, modified,
perhaps, by some hunting on the one hand, and by some primitive
agriculture on the other. The Mediterranean men, coming from North
Africa, an excellent country for the horse, may have vied with the
Asiatics of the steppes in introducing a varied culture to the north.
At any rate, when the Germans of Tacitus emerge into the light of
history, they are not mere foresters, but rather woodlanders, men of
the glades, with many sides to their life; including an acquaintance
with the sea and its ways, surpassing by far that of those early
beachcombers whose miserable kitchen-middens are to be found along
the coast of Denmark.

Of the tundra it is enough to say that all depends on the reindeer.
This animal is the be-all and end-all of Lapp existence. When Nansen,
after crossing Greenland, sailed home with his two Lapps, he called
their attention to the crowds of people assembled to welcome them at
the harbour. "Ah," said the elder and more thoughtful of the pair,
"if they were only reindeer!" When domesticated, the reindeer yields
milk as well as food, though large numbers are needed to keep the
community in comfort. Otherwise hunting and fishing must serve to eke
out the larder. Miserable indeed are the tribes or rather remnants
of tribes along the Siberian tundra who have no reindeer. On the other
hand, if there are plenty of wild reindeer, as amongst the Koryaks
and some of the Chukchis, hunting by itself suffices.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now pass on from the Eurasian northland to what is, zoologically,
almost its annexe, North America; its tundra, for example, where the
Eskimo live, being strictly continuous with the Asiatic zone. Though
having a very different fauna and flora, South America presumably forms
part of the same geographical province so far as man is concerned,
though there is evidence for thinking that he reached it very early.
Until, however, more data are available for the pre-history of the
American Indian, the great moulding forces, geographical or other,
must be merely guessed at. Much turns on the period assigned to the
first appearance of man in this region; for that he is indigenous is
highly improbable, if only because no anthropoid apes are found here.
The racial type, which, with the exception of the Eskimo, and possibly
of the salmon-fishing tribes along the north-west coast, is one for
the whole continent, has a rather distant resemblance to that of the
Asiatic Mongols. Nor is there any difficulty in finding the immigrants
a means of transit from northern Asia. Even if it be held that the
land-bridge by way of what are now the Aleutian Islands was closed
at too early a date for man to profit by it, there is always the passage
over the ice by way of Behring Straits; which, if it bore the mammoth,
as is proved by its remains in Alaska, could certainly bear man.

Once man was across, what was the manner of his distribution? On this
point geography can at present tell us little. M. Demolins, it is true,
describes three routes, one along the Rockies, the next down the
central zone of prairies, and the third and most easterly by way of
the great lakes. But this is pure hypothesis. No facts are adduced.
Indeed, evidence bearing on distribution is very hard to obtain in
this area, since the physical type is so uniform throughout. The best
available criterion is the somewhat poor one of the distribution of
the very various languages. Some curious lines of migration are
indicated by the occurrence of the same type of language in widely
separated regions, the most striking example being the appearance of
one linguistic stock, the so-called Athapascan, away up in the
north-west by the Alaska boundary; at one or two points in
south-western Oregon and north-western California, where an absolute
medley of languages prevails; and again in the southern highlands along
the line of Colorado and Utah to the other side of the Mexican frontier.
Does it follow from this distribution that the Apaches, at the southern
end of the range, have come down from Alaska, by way of the Rockies
and the Pacific slope, to their present habitat? It might be so in
this particular case; but there are also those who think that the signs
in general point to a northward dispersal of tribes, who before had
been driven south by a period of glaciation. Thus the first thing to
be settled is the antiquity of the American type of man.

A glance at South America must suffice. Geographically it consists
of three regions. Westwards we have the Pacific line of bracing
highlands, running down from Mexico as far as Chile, the home of two
or more cultures of a rather high order. Then to the east there is
the steaming equatorial forest, first covering a fan of rivers, then
rising up into healthier hill-country, the whole in its wild state
hampering to human enterprise. And below it occurs the grassland of
the pampas, only needing the horse to bring out the powers of its native

Before leaving this subject of the domesticated horse, of which so
much use has already been made in order to illustrate how geographic
opportunity and human contrivance must help each other out, it is worth
noticing how an invention can quickly revolutionize even that cultural
life of the ruder races which is usually supposed to be quite hide-bound
by immemorial custom. When the Europeans first broke in upon the
redskins of North America, they found them a people of hunters and
fishers, it is true, but with agriculture as a second string everywhere
east of the Mississippi as well as to the south, and on the whole
sedentary, with villages scattered far apart; so that in pre-Conquest
days they would seem to have been enjoying a large measure of security
and peace. The coming of the whites soon crowded them back upon
themselves, disarranging the old boundaries. At the same time the horse
and the gun were introduced. With extraordinary rapidity the Indian
adapted himself to a new mode of existence, a grassland life,
complicated by the fact that the relentless pressure of the invaders
gave it a predatory turn which it might otherwise have lacked.
Something very similar, though neither conditions nor consequences
were quite the same, occurred in the pampas of South America, where
horse-Indians like the Patagonians, who seem at first sight the
indigenous outcrop of the very soil, are really the recent by-product
of an intrusive culture.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now let us hark back to southern Asia with its two reservoirs of
life, India and China, and between them a jutting promontory pointing
the way to the Indonesian archipelago, and thence onward farther still
to the wide-flung Austral region with its myriad lands ranging in size
from a continent to a coral-atoll. Here we have a nursery of seamen
on a vaster scale than in the Mediterranean; for remember that from
this point man spread, by way of the sea, from Easter Island in the
Eastern Pacific right away to Madagascar, where we find Javanese
immigrants, and negroes who are probably Papuan, whilst the language
is of a Malayo-Polynesian type.

India and China each well-nigh deserve the status of geographical
provinces on their own account. Each is an area of settlement; and,
once there is settlement, there is a cultural influence which
co-operates with the environment to weed out immigrant forms; as we
see, for example, in Egypt, where a characteristic physical type, or
rather pair of types, a coarser and a finer, has apparently persisted,
despite the constant influx of other races, from the dawn of its long
history. India, however, and China have both suffered so much invasion
from the Eurasian northland, and at the same time are of such great
extent and comprise such diverse physical conditions, that they have,
in the course of the long years, sent forth very various broods of
men to seek their fortunes in the south-east.

Nor must we ignore the possibility of an earlier movement in the
opposite direction. In Indonesia, the home of the orang-utan and gibbon,
not to speak of Pithecanthropus, many authorities would place the
original home of the human race. It will be wise to touch lightly on
matters involving considerations of palaeo-geography, that most
kaleidoscopic of studies. The submerged continents which it calls from
the vasty deep have a habit of crumbling away again. Let us therefore
refrain from providing man with land-bridges (draw-bridges, they might
almost be called), whether between the Indonesian islands; or between
New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania; or between Indonesia and Africa
by way of the Indian Ocean. Let the curious facts about the present
distribution of the racial types speak for themselves, the
difficulties about identifying a racial type being in the meantime
ever borne in mind.

Most striking of all is the diffusion of the Negro stocks with black
skin and woolly hair. Their range is certainly suggestive of a
breeding-ground somewhere about Indonesia. To the extreme west are
the negroes of Africa, to the extreme east the Papuasians (Papuans
and Melanesians) extending from New Guinea through the oceanic islands
as far as Fiji. A series of connecting links is afforded by the small
negroes of the pygmy type, the so-called Negritos. It is not known
how far they represent a distinct and perhaps earlier experiment in
negro-making, though this is the prevailing view; or whether the negro
type, with its tendency to infantile characters due to the early
closing of the cranial sutures, is apt to throw off dwarfed forms in
an occasional way. At any rate, in Africa there are several groups
of pygmies in the Congo region, as well as the Bushmen and allied stocks
in South Africa. Then the Andaman Islanders, the Semang of the Malay
Peninsula, the Aket of eastern Sumatra, the now extinct Kalangs of
Java, said to have been in some respects the most ape-like of human
beings, the Aetas of the Philippines, and the dwarfs, with a
surprisingly high culture, recently reported from Dutch New Guinea,
are like so many scattered pieces of human wreckage. Finally, if we
turn our gaze southward, we find that Negritos until the other day
inhabited Tasmania; whilst in Australia a strain of Negrito, or Negro
(Papuan), blood is likewise to be detected.

Are we here on the track of the original dispersal of man? It is
impossible to say. It is not even certain, though highly probable,
that man originated in one spot. If he did, he must have been
hereditarily endowed, almost from the outset, with an adaptability
to different climates quite unique in its way. The tiger is able to
range from the hot Indian jungle to the freezing Siberian tundra; but
man is the cosmopolitan animal beyond all others. Somehow, on this
theory of a single origin, he made his way to every quarter of the
globe; and when he got there, though needing time, perhaps, to acquire
the local colour, managed in the end to be at home. It looks as if
both race and a dash of culture had a good deal to do with his
exploitation of geographical opportunity. How did the Australians and
their Negrito forerunners invade their Austral world, at some period
which, we cannot but suspect, was immensely remote in time? Certain
at least it is that they crossed a formidable barrier. What is known
as Wallace's line corresponds with the deep channel running between
the islands of Bali and Lombok and continuing northwards to the west
of Celebes. On the eastern side the fauna are non-Asiatic. Yet somehow
into Australia with its queer monotremes and marsupials entered
triumphant man--man and the dog with him. Haeckel has suggested that
man followed the dog, playing as it were the jackal to him. But this
sounds rather absurd. It looks as if man had already acquired enough
seamanship to ferry himself across the zoological divide, and to take
his faithful dog with him on board his raft or dug-out. Until we have
facts whereon to build, however, it would be as unpardonable to lay
down the law on these matters as it is permissible to fill up the blank
by guesswork.

It remains to round off our original survey by a word or two more about
the farther extremities, west, south, and east, of this vast southern
world, to which south-eastern Asia furnishes a natural approach. The
negroes did not have Africa, that is, Africa south of the Sahara, all
to themselves. In and near the equatorial forest-region of the west
the pure type prevails, displaying agricultural pursuits such as the
cultivation of the banana, and, farther north, of millet, that must
have been acquired before the race was driven out of the more open
country. Elsewhere occur mixtures of every kind with intrusive
pastoral peoples of the Mediterranean type, the negro blood, however,
tending to predominate; and thus we get the Fulahs and similar stocks
to the west along the grassland bordering on the desert; the Nilotic
folk amongst the swamps of the Upper Nile; and throughout the eastern
and southern parkland the vigorous Bantu peoples, who have swept the
Bushmen and the kindred Hottentots before them down into the desert
country in the extreme south-west. It may be added that Africa has
a rich fauna and flora, much mineral wealth, and a physical
configuration that, in respect to its interior, though not to its
coasts, is highly diversified; so that it may be doubted whether the
natives have reached as high a pitch of indigenous culture as the
resources of the environment, considered by itself, might seem to
warrant. If the use of iron was invented in Africa, as some believe,
it would only be another proof that opportunity is nothing apart from
the capacity to grasp it.

Of the Australian aborigines something has been said already. Apart
from the Negrito or Negro strain in their blood, they are usually held
to belong to that pre-Dravidian stock represented by various jungle
tribes in southern India and by the Veddas of Ceylon, connecting links
between the two areas being the Sakai of the Malay Peninsula and East
Sumatra, and the Toala of Celebes. It may be worth observing, also,
that pre-historic skulls of the Neanderthal type find their nearest
parallels in modern Australia. We are here in the presence of some
very ancient dispersal, from what centre and in what direction it is
hard to imagine. In Australia these early colonists found pleasant,
if somewhat lightly furnished, lodgings. In particular there were no
dangerous beasts; so that hunting was hardly calculated to put a man
on his mettle, as in more exacting climes. Isolation, and the
consequent absence of pressure from human intruders, is another fact
in the situation. Whatever the causes, the net result was that, despite
a very fair environment, away from the desert regions of the interior,
man on the whole stagnated. In regard to material comforts and
conveniences, the rudeness of their life seems to us appalling. On
the other hand, now that we are coming to know something of the inner
life and mental history of the Australians, a somewhat different
complexion is put upon the state of their culture. With very plain
living went something that approached to high thinking; and we must
recognize in this case, as in others, what might be termed a
differential evolution of culture, according to which some elements
may advance, whilst others stand still, or even decay.

To another and a very different people, namely, the Polynesians, the
same notion of a differential evolution may be profitably applied.
They were in the stone-age when first discovered, and had no bows and
arrows. On the other hand, with coco-nut, bananas and bread-fruit,
they had abundant means of sustenance, and were thoroughly at home
in their magnificent canoes. Thus their island-life was rich in ease
and variety; and, whilst rude in certain respects, they were almost
civilized in others. Their racial affinities are somewhat complex.
What is almost certain is that they only occupied the Eastern Pacific
during the course of the last 1500 years or so. They probably came
from Indonesia, mixing to a slight extent with Melanesians on their
way. How the proto-Polynesians came into existence in Indonesia is
more problematic. Possibly they were the result of a mixture between
long-headed immigrants from eastern India, and round-headed Mongols
from Indo-China and the rest of south-eastern Asia, from whom the
present Malays are derived.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have completed our very rapid regional survey of the world; and
what do we find? By no means is it case after case of one region
corresponding to one type of man and to one type of culture. It might
be that, given persistent physical conditions of a uniform kind, and
complete isolation, human life would in the end conform to these
conditions, or in other words stagnate. No one can tell, and no one
wants to know, because as a matter of fact no such environmental
conditions occur in this world of ours. Human history reveals itself
as a bewildering series of interpenetrations. What excites these
movements? Geographical causes, say the theorists of one idea. No doubt
man moves forward partly because nature kicks him behind. But in the
first place some types of animal life go forward under pressure from
nature, whilst others lie down and die. In the second place man has
an accumulative faculty, a social memory, whereby he is able to carry
on to the conquest of a new environment whatever has served him in
the old. But this is as it were to compound environments--a process
that ends by making the environment coextensive with the world.
Intelligent assimilation of the new by means of the old breaks down
the provincial barriers one by one, until man, the cosmopolitan animal
by reason of his hereditary constitution, develops a cosmopolitan
culture; at first almost unconsciously, but later on with
self-conscious intent, because he is no longer content to live, but
insists on living well.

As a sequel to this brief examination of the geographic control
considered by itself it would be interesting, if space allowed, to
append a study of the distribution of the arts and crafts of a more
obviously economic and utilitarian type. If the physical environment
were all in all, we ought to find the same conditions evoking the same
industrial appliances everywhere, without the aid of suggestions from
other quarters. Indeed, so little do we know about the conditions
attending the discovery of the arts of life that gave humanity its
all-important start--the making of fire, the taming of animals, the
sowing of plants, and so on--that it is only too easy to misread our
map. We know almost nothing of those movements of peoples, in the course
of which a given art was brought from one part of the world to another.
Hence, when we find the art duly installed in a particular place, and
utilizing the local product, the bamboo in the south, let us say, or
the birch in the north, as it naturally does, we easily slip into the
error of supposing that the local products of themselves called the
art into existence. Similar needs, we say, have generated similar
expedients. No doubt there is some truth in this principle; but I doubt
if, on the whole, history tends to repeat itself in the case of the
great useful inventions. We are all of us born imitators, but inventive
genius is rare.

Take the case of the early palaeoliths of the drift type. From Egypt,
Somaliland, and many other distant lands come examples which Sir John
Evans finds "so identical in form and character with British specimens
that they might have been manufactured by the same hands." And
throughout the palaeolithic age in Europe the very limited number and
regular succession of forms testifies to the innate conservatism of
man, and the slow progress of invention. And yet, as some American
writers have argued--who do not find that the distinction between
chipped palaeoliths and polished neoliths of an altogether later age
applies equally well to the New World--it was just as easy to have
got an edge by rubbing as by flaking. The fact remains that in the
Old World human inventiveness moved along one channel rather than
another, and for an immense lapse of time no one was found to strike
out a new line. There was plenty of sand and water for polishing, but
it did not occur to their minds to use it.

To wind up this chapter, however, I shall glance at the distribution,
not of any implement connected directly and obviously with the
utilization of natural products, but of a downright oddity, something
that might easily be invented once only and almost immediately dropped
again. And yet here it is all over the world, going back, we may
conjecture, to very ancient times, and implying interpenetrations of
bygone peoples, of whose wanderings perhaps we may never unfold the
secret. It is called the "bull-roarer," and is simply a slat of wood
on the end of a string, which when whirled round produces a rather
unearthly humming sound. Will the anthropo-geographer, after studying
the distribution of wood and stringy substances round the globe,
venture to prophesy that, if man lived his half a million years or
so over again, the bull-roarer would be found spread about very much
where it is to-day? "Bull-roarer" is just one of our local names for
what survives now-a-days as a toy in many an old-fashioned corner of
the British Isles, where it is also known as boomer, buzzer, whizzer,
swish, and so on. Without going farther afield we can get a hint of
the two main functions which it seems to have fulfilled amongst ruder
peoples. In Scotland it is, on the one hand, sometimes used to "ca'
the cattle hame." A herd-boy has been seen to swing a bull-roarer of
his own making, with the result that the beasts were soon running
frantically towards the byre. On the other hand, it is sometimes
regarded there as a "thunner-spell," a charm against thunder, the
superstition being that like cures like, and whatever makes a noise
like thunder will be on good terms, so to speak, with the real thunder.

As regards its uses in the rest of the world, it may be said at once
that here and there, in Galicia in Europe, in the Malay Peninsula in
Asia, and amongst the Bushmen in Africa, it is used to drive or scare
animals, whether tame or wild. And this, to make a mere guess, may
have been its earliest use, if utilitarian contrivances can generally
claim historical precedence, as is by no means certain. As long as
man hunted with very inferior weapons, he must have depended a good
deal on drives, that either forced the game into a pitfall, or rounded
them up so as to enable a concerted attack to be made by the human
pack. No wonder that the bull-roarer is sometimes used to bring luck
in a mystic way to hunters. More commonly, however, at the present
day, the bull-roarer serves another type of mystic purpose, its noise,
which is so suggestive of thunder or wind, with a superadded touch
of weirdness and general mystery, fitting it to play a leading part
in rain-making ceremonies. From these not improbably have developed
all sorts of other ceremonies connected with making vegetation and
the crops grow, and with making the boys grow into men, as is done
at the initiation rites. It is not surprising, therefore, to find a
carved human face appearing on the bull-roarer in New Guinea, and again
away in North America, whilst in West Africa it is held to contain
the voice of a very god. In Australia, too, all their higher notions
about a benevolent deity and about religious matters in general seem
to concentrate on this strange symbol, outwardly the frailest of toys,
yet to the spiritual eye of these simple folk a veritable holy of

And now for the merest sketch of its distribution, the details of which
are to be learnt from Dr. Haddon's valuable paper in _The Study of
Man_. England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales have it. It can be tracked
along central Europe through Switzerland, Germany, and Poland beyond
the Carpathians, whereupon ancient Greece with its Dionysiac mysteries
takes up the tale. In America it is found amongst the Eskimo, is
scattered over the northern part of the continent down to the Mexican
frontier, and then turns up afresh in central Brazil. Again, from the
Malay Peninsula and Sumatra it extends over the great fan of darker
peoples, from Africa, west and south, to New Guinea, Melanesia, and
Australia, together with New Zealand alone of Polynesian islands--a
fact possibly showing it to have belonged to some earlier race of
colonists. Thus in all of the great geographical areas the bull-roarer
is found, and that without reckoning in analogous implements like the
so-called "buzz," which cover further ground, for instance, the
eastern coastlands of Asia. Are we to postulate many independent
origins, or else far-reaching transportations by migratory peoples,
by the American Indians and the negroes, for example? No attempt can
be made here to answer these questions. It is enough to have shown
by the use of a single illustration how the study of the geographical
distribution of inventions raises as many difficulties as it solves.

Our conclusion, then, must be that the anthropologist, whilst
constantly consulting his physical map of the world, must not suppose
that by so doing he will be saved all further trouble. Geographical
facts represent a passive condition, which life, something by its very
nature active, obeys, yet in obeying conquers. We cannot get away from
the fact that we are physically determined. Yet, physical
determinations have been surmounted by human nature in a way to which
the rest of the animal world affords no parallel. Thus man, as the
old saying has it, makes love all the year round. Seasonal changes
of course affect him, yet he is no slave of the seasons. And so it
is with the many other elements involved in the "geographic control."
The "road," for instance--that is to say, any natural avenue of
migration or communication, whether by land over bridges and through
passes, or by sea between harbours and with trade-winds to swell the
sails--takes a hand in the game of life, and one that holds many trumps;
but so again does the non-geographical fact that your travelling-machine
may be your pair of legs, or a horse, or a boat, or a railway, or an
airship. Let us be moderate in all things, then, even in our references
to the force of circumstances. Circumstances can unmake; but of
themselves they never yet made man, nor any other form of life.


The differentia of man--the quality that marks him off from the other
animal kinds--is undoubtedly the power of articulate speech. Thereby
his mind itself becomes articulate. If language is ultimately a
creation of the intellect, yet hardly less fundamentally is the
intellect a creation of language. As flesh depends on bone, so does
the living tissue of our spiritual life depend on its supporting
framework of steadfast verbal forms. The genius, the heaven-born
benefactor of humanity, is essentially he who wrestles with "thoughts
too deep for words," until at last he assimilates them to the scheme
of meanings embodied in his mother-tongue, and thus raises them
definitely above the threshold of the common consciousness, which is
likewise the threshold of the common culture.

There is good reason, then, for prefixing a short chapter on language
to an account of those factors in the life of man that together stand
on the whole for the principle of freedom--of rational self-direction.
Heredity and environment do not, indeed, lie utterly beyond the range
of our control. As they are viewed from the standpoint of human history
as a whole, they show each in its own fashion a certain capacity to
meet the needs and purposes of the life-force halfway. Regarded
abstractly, however, they may conveniently be treated as purely
passive and limiting conditions. Here we are with a constitution not
of our choosing, and in a world not of our choosing. Given this
inheritance, and this environment, how are we, by taking thought and
taking risks, to achieve the best-under-the-circumstances? Such is
the vital problem as it presents itself to any particular generation
of men.

The environment is as it were the enemy. We are out to conquer and
enslave it. Our inheritance, on the other hand, is the impelling force
we obey in setting forth to fight; it tingles in our blood, and nerves
the muscles of our arm. This force of heredity, however, abstractly
considered, is blind. Yet, corporately and individually, we fight with
eyes that see. This supervening faculty, then, of utilizing the light
of experience represents a third element in the situation; and, from
the standpoint of man's desire to know himself, the supreme element.
The environment, inasmuch as under this conception are included all
other forms of life except man, can muster on its side a certain amount
of intelligence of a low order. But man's prerogative is to dominate
his world by the aid of intelligence of a high order. When he defied
the ice-age by the use of fire, when he outfaced and outlived the
mammoth and the cave bear, he was already the rational animal, _homo
sapiens_. In his way he thought, even in those far-off days. And
therefore we may assume, until direct evidence is forthcoming to the
contrary, that he likewise had language of an articulate kind. He tried
to make a speech, we may almost say, as soon as he had learned to stand
up on his hind legs.

Unfortunately, we entirely lack the means of carrying back the history
of human speech to its first beginnings. In the latter half of the
last century, whilst the ferment of Darwinism was freshly seething,
all sorts of speculations were rife concerning the origin of language.
One school sought the source of the earliest words in imitative sounds
of the type of bow-wow; another in interjectional expressions of the
type of tut-tut. Or, again, as was natural in Europe, where, with the
exception of Basque in a corner of the west, and of certain Asiatic
languages, Turkish, Hungarian and Finnish, on the eastern border, all
spoken tongues present certain obvious affinities, the comparative
philologist undertook to construct sundry great families of speech;
and it was hoped that sooner or later, by working back to some
linguistic parting of the ways, the central problem would be solved
of the dispersal of the world's races.

These painted bubbles have burst. The further examination of the forms
of speech current amongst peoples of rude culture has not revealed
a conspicuous wealth either of imitative or of interjectional sounds.
On the other hand, the comparative study of the European, or, as they
must be termed in virtue of the branch stretching through Persia into
India, the Indo-European stock of languages, carries us back three
or four thousand years at most--a mere nothing in terms of
anthropological time. Moreover, a more extended search through the
world, which in many of its less cultured parts furnishes no literary
remains that may serve to illustrate linguistic evolution, shows
endless diversity of tongues in place of the hoped-for system of a
few families; so that half a hundred apparently independent types must
be distinguished in North America alone. For the rest, it has become
increasingly clear that race and language need not go together at all.
What philologist, for instance, could ever discover, if he had no
history to help him, but must rely wholly on the examination of modern
French, that the bulk of the population of France is connected by way
of blood with ancient Gauls who spoke Celtic, until the Roman conquest
caused them to adopt a vulgar form of Latin in its place. The Celtic
tongue, in its turn, had, doubtless not so very long before, ousted
some earlier type of language, perhaps one allied to the still
surviving Basque; though it is not in the least necessary, therefore,
to suppose that the Celtic-speaking invaders wiped out the previous
inhabitants of the land to a corresponding extent. Races, in short,
mix readily; languages, except in very special circumstances, hardly
at all.

Disappointed in its hope of presiding over the reconstruction of the
distant past of man, the study of language has in recent years tended
somewhat to renounce the historical--that is to say,
anthropological--method altogether. The alternative is a purely
formal treatment of the subject. Thus, whereas vocabularies seem
hopelessly divergent in their special contents, the general apparatus
of vocal expression is broadly the same everywhere. That all men alike
communicate by talking, other symbols and codes into which thoughts
can be translated, such as gestures, the various kinds of writing,
drum-taps, smoke signals, and so on, being in the main but secondary
and derivative, is a fact of which the very universality may easily
blind us to its profound significance. Meanwhile, the science of
phonetics--having lost that "guid conceit of itself" which once led
it to discuss at large whether the art of talking evolved at a single
geographical centre, or at many centres owing to similar capacities
of body and mind--contents itself now-a-days for the most part with
conducting an analytic survey of the modes of vocal expression as
correlated with the observed tendencies of the human speech-organs.
And what is true of phonetics in particular is hardly less true of
comparative philology as a whole. Its present procedure is in the main
analytic or formal. Thus its fundamental distinction between isolating,
agglutinative and inflectional languages is arrived at simply by
contrasting the different ways in which words are affected by being
put together into a sentence. No attempt is made to show that one type
of arrangement normally precedes another in time, or that it is in
any way more rudimentary--that is to say, less adapted to the needs
of human intercourse. It is not even pretended that a given language
is bound to exemplify one, and one alone, of these three types; though
the process known as analogy--that is, the regularizing of exceptions
by treating the unlike as if it were like--will always be apt to
establish one system at the expense of the rest.

If, then, the study of language is to recover its old pre-eminence
amongst anthropological studies, it looks as if a new direction must
be given to its inquiries. And there is much to be said for any change
that would bring about this result. Without constant help from the
philologist, anthropology is bound to languish. To thoroughly
understand the speech of the people under investigation is the
field-worker's master-key; so much so, that the critic's first
question in determining the value of an ethnographical work must always
be, Could the author talk freely with the natives in their own tongue?
But how is the study of particular languages to be pursued successfully,
if it lack the stimulus and inspiration which only the search for
general principles can impart to any branch of science? To relieve
the hack-work of compiling vocabularies and grammars, there must be
present a sense of wider issues involved, and such issues as may
directly interest a student devoted to language for its own sake. The
formal method of investigating language, in the meantime, can hardly
supply the needed spur. Analysis is all very well so long as its
ultimate purpose is to subserve genesis--that is to say, evolutionary
history. If, however, it tries to set up on its own account, it is
in danger of degenerating into sheer futility. Out of time and history
is, in the long run, out of meaning and use. The philologist, then,
if he is to help anthropology, must himself be an anthropologist, with
a full appreciation of the importance of the historical method. He
must be able to set each language or group of languages that he studies
in its historical setting. He must seek to show how it has evolved
in relation to the needs of a given time. In short, he must correlate
words with thoughts; must treat language as a function of the social

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, however, it is not possible to attempt any but the most general
characterization of primitive language as it throws light on the
workings of the primitive intelligence. For one reason, the subject
is highly technical; for another reason, our knowledge about most types
of savage speech is backward in the extreme; whilst, for a third and
most far-reaching reason of all, many peoples, as we have seen, are
not speaking the language truly native to their powers and habits of
mind, but are expressing themselves in terms imported from another
stock, whose spiritual evolution has been largely different. Thus it
is at most possible to contrast very broadly and generally the more
rudimentary with the more advanced methods that mankind employs for
the purpose of putting its experience into words. Happily the careful
attention devoted by American philologists to the aboriginal languages
of their continent has resulted in the discovery of certain principles
which the rest of our evidence, so far as it goes, would seem to stamp
as of world-wide application. The reader is advised to study the most
stimulating, if perhaps somewhat speculative, pages on language in
the second volume of E.J. Payne's _History of the New World called
America_; or, if he can wrestle with the French tongue, to compare
the conclusions here reached with those to which Professor Levy-Bruhl
is led, largely by the consideration of this same American group of
languages, in his recent work, _Les Fonctions Mentales dans les
Societes Inferieures_ ("Mental Functions in the Lower Societies").

If the average man who had not looked into the matter at all were asked
to say what sort of language he imagined a savage to have, he would
be pretty sure to reply that in the first place the vocabulary would
be very small, and in the second place that it would consist of very
short, comprehensive terms--roots, in fact--such as "man," "bear,"
"eat," "kill," and so on. Nothing of the sort is actually the case.
Take the inhabitants of that cheerless spot, Tierra del Fuego, whose
culture is as rude as that of any people on earth. A scholar who tried
to put together a dictionary of their language found that he had got
to reckon with more than thirty thousand words, even after suppressing
a large number of forms of lesser importance. And no wonder that the
tally mounted up. For the Fuegians had more than twenty words, some
containing four syllables, to express what for us would be either "he"
or "she"; then they had two names for the sun, two for the moon, and
two more for the full moon, each of the last-named containing four
syllables and having no element in common. Sounds, in fact, are with
them as copious as ideas are rare. Impressions, on the other hand,
are, of course, infinite in number. By means of more or less significant
sounds, then, Fuegian society compounds impressions, and that somewhat
imperfectly, rather than exchanges ideas, which alone are the currency
of true thought.

For instance, I-cut-bear's-leg-at-the-joint-with-a-flint-now
corresponds fairly well with the total impression produced by the
particular act; though, even so, I have doubtless selectively reduced
the notion to something I can comfortably take in, by leaving out a
lot of unnecessary detail--for instance, that I was hungry, in a hurry,
doing it for the benefit of others as well as myself, and so on. Well,
American languages of the ruder sort, by running a great number of
sounds or syllables together, manage to utter a portmanteau
word--"holophrase" is the technical name for it--into which is packed
away enough suggestions to reproduce the situation in all its detail,
the cutting, the fact that I did it, the object, the instrument, the
time of the cutting, and who knows what besides. Amusing examples of
such portmanteau words meet one in all the text-books. To go back to
the Fuegians, their expression _mamihlapinatapai_ is said to mean "to
look at each other hoping that either will offer to do something which
both parties desire but are unwilling to do." Now, since exactly the
same situation never recurs, but is partly the same and partly
different, it is clear that, if the holophrase really tried to hit
off in each case the whole outstanding impression that a given
situation provoked, then the same combination of sounds would never
recur either; one could never open one's mouth without coining a new
word. Ridiculous as this notion sounds, it may serve to mark a downward
limit from which the rudest types of human speech are not so very far
removed. Their well-known tendency to alter their whole character in
twenty years or less is due largely to the fluid nature of primitive
utterance; it being found hard to detach portions, capable of repeated
use in an unchanged form, from the composite vocables wherein they
register their highly concrete experiences.

Thus in the old Huron-Iroquois language _eschoirhon_ means
"I-have-been-to-the-water," _setsanha_ "Go-to-the-water,"
_ondequoha_ "There-is-water-in-the-bucket," _daustantewacharet_
"There-is-water-in-the-pot." In this case there is said to have been
a common word for "water," _awen_, which, moreover, is somehow
suggested to an aboriginal ear as an element contained in each of these
longer forms. In many other cases the difficulty of isolating the
common meaning, and fixing it by a common term, has proved too much
altogether for a primitive language. You can express twenty different
kinds of cutting; but you simply cannot say "cut" at all. No wonder
that a large vocabulary is found necessary, when, as in Zulu, "my
father," "thy father," "his-or-her-father," are separate
polysyllables without any element in common.

The evolution of language, then, on this view, may be regarded as a
movement out of, and away from, the holophrastic in the direction of
the analytic. When every piece in your play-box of verbal bricks can
be dealt with separately, because it is not joined on in all sorts
of ways to the other pieces, then only can you compose new constructions
to your liking. Order and emphasis, as is shown by English, and still
more conspicuously by Chinese, suffice for sentence-building. Ideally,
words should be individual and atomic. Every modification they suffer
by internal change of sound, or by having prefixes or suffixes tacked
on to them, involves a curtailment of their free use and a sacrifice
of distinctness. It is quite easy, of course, to think confusedly,
even whilst employing the clearest type of language; though in such
a case it is very hard to do so without being quickly brought to book.
On the other hand, it is not feasible to attain to a high degree of
clear thinking, when the only method of speech available is one that
tends towards wordlessness--that is to say, is relatively deficient
in verbal forms that preserve their identity in all contexts. Wordless
thinking is not in the strictest sense impossible; but its somewhat
restricted opportunities lie almost wholly on the farther side, as
it were, of a clean-cut vocabulary. For the very fact that the words
are crystallized into permanent shape invests them with a suggestion
of interrupted continuity, an overtone of un-utilized significance,
that of itself invites the mind to play with the corresponding fringe
of meaning attaching to the concepts that the words embody.

It would prove an endless task if I were to try here to illustrate
at all extensively the stickiness, as one might almost call it, of
primitive modes of speech. Person, number, case, tense, mood and
gender--all these, even in the relatively analytical phraseology of
the most cultured peoples, are apt to impress themselves on the very
body of the words of which they qualify the sense. But the meagre list
of determinations thus produced in an evolved type of language can
yield one no idea of the vast medley of complicated forms that serve
the same ends at the lower levels of human experience. Moreover, there
are many other shades of secondary and circumstantial meaning which
in advanced languages are invariably represented by distinct words,
so that when not wanted they can be left out, but in a more primitive
tongue are apt to run right through the very grammar of the sentence,
thus mixing themselves up inextricably with the really substantial
elements in the thought to be conveyed. For instance, in some American
languages, things are either animate or inanimate, and must be
distinguished accordingly by accompanying particles. Or, again, they
are classed by similar means as rational or irrational; women, by the
bye, being designated amongst the Chiquitos by the irrational sign.
Reverential particles, again, are used to distinguish what is high
or low in the tribal estimation; and we get in this connection such
oddities as the Tamil practice of restricting the privilege of having
a plural to high-caste names, such as those applied to gods and human
beings, as distinguished from the beasts, which are mere casteless
"things." Or, once more, my transferable belongings, "my-spear," or
"my-canoe," undergo verbal modifications which are denied to
non-transferable possessions such as "my-hand"; "my-child," be it
observed, falling within the latter class.

Most interesting of all are distinctions of person. These cannot but
bite into the forms of speech, since the native mind is taken up mostly
with the personal aspect of things, attaining to the conception of
a bloodless system of "its" with the greatest difficulty, if at all.
Even the third person, which is naturally the most colourless, because
excluded from a direct part of the conversational game, undergoes
multitudinous leavening in the light of conditions which the primitive
mind regards as highly important, whereas we should banish them from
our thoughts as so much irrelevant "accident." Thus the Abipones in
the first place distinguished "he-present," _eneha_, and
"she-present," _anaha_, from "he-absent" and "she-absent." But
presence by itself gave too little of the speaker's impression. So,
if "he" or "she" were sitting, it was necessary to say _hiniha_ and
_haneha_; if they were walking and in sight _ehaha_ and _ahaha_, but,
if walking and out of sight, _ekaha_ and _akaha_; if they were lying
down, _hiriha_ and _haraha_, and so on. Moreover, these were all
"collective" forms, implying that there were others involved as well.
If "he" or "she" were alone in the matter, an entirely different set
of words was needed, "he-sitting (alone)" becoming _ynitara_, and so
forth. The modest requirements of Fuegian intercourse have called more
than twenty such separate pronouns into being.

Without attempting to go thoroughly into the efforts of primitive
speech to curtail its interest in the personnel of its world by
gradually acquiring a stock of de-individualized words, let us glance
at another aspect of the subject, because it helps to bring out the
fundamental fact that language is a social product, a means of
intersubjective intercourse developed within a society that hands on
to a new generation the verbal experiments that are found to succeed
best. Payne shows reason for believing that the collective "we"
precedes "I" in the order of linguistic evolution. To begin with, in
America and elsewhere, "we" may be inclusive and mean "all-of-us,"
or selective, meaning "some-of-us-only." Hence, we are told, a
missionary must be very careful, and, if he is preaching, must use
the inclusive "we" in saying "we have sinned," lest the congregation
assume that only the clergy have sinned; whereas, in praying, he must
use the selective "we," or God would be included in the list of sinners.
Similarly, "I" has a collective form amongst some American languages,
and this is ordinarily employed, whereas the corresponding selective
form is used only in special cases. Thus if the question be "Who will
help?" the Apache will reply "I-amongst-others," "I-for-one"; but,
if he were recounting his own personal exploits, he says _sheedah_,
"I-by-myself," to show that they were wholly his own. Here we seem
to have group-consciousness holding its own against individual
self-consciousness, as being for primitive folk on the whole the more
normal attitude of mind.

Another illustration of the sociality engrained in primitive speech
is to be found in the terms employed to denote relationship.
"My-mother," to the child of nature, is something more than an ordinary
mother like yours. Thus, as we have already seen, there may be a special
particle applying to blood-relations as non-transferable possessions.
Or, again, one Australian language has special duals, "we-two," one
to be used between relations generally, another between father and
child only. Or an American language supplies one kind of plural suffix
for blood-relations, another for the rest of human beings. These
linguistic concretions are enough to show how hard it is for primitive
thought to disjoin what is joined fast in the world of everyday

No wonder that it is usually found impracticable by the European
traveller who lacks an anthropological training to extract from
natives any coherent account of their system of relationships; for
his questions are apt to take the form of "Can a man marry his deceased
wife's sister?" or what not. Such generalities do not enter at all
into the highly concrete scheme of viewing the customs of his tribe
imposed on the savage alike by his manner of life and by the very forms
of his speech. The so-called "genealogical method" initiated by Dr.
Rivers, which the scientific explorer now invariably employs, rests
mainly on the use of a concrete type of procedure corresponding to
the mental habits of the simple folk under investigation. John, whom
you address here, can tell you exactly whether he may, or may not,
marry Mary Anne over there; also he can point out his mother, and tell
you her name, and the names of his brothers and sisters. You work round
the whole group--it very possibly contains no more than a few hundred
members at most--and interrogate them one and all about their
relationships to this and that individual whom you name. In course
of time you have a scheme which you can treat in your own analytic
way to your heart's content; whilst against your system of reckoning
affinity you can set up by way of contrast the native system; which
can always be obtained by asking each informant what relationship-terms
he would apply to the different members of his pedigree, and,
reciprocally, what terms they would each apply to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before closing this altogether inadequate sketch of a vast and
intricate subject, I would say just one word about the expression of
ideas of number. It is quite a mistake to suppose that savages have
no sense of number, because the simple-minded European traveller,
compiling a short vocabulary in the usual way, can get no equivalent
for our numerals, say from 5 to 10. The fact is that the numerical
interest has taken a different turn, incorporating itself with other
interests of a more concrete kind in linguistic forms to which our
own type of language affords no key at all. Thus in the island of Kiwai,
at the mouth of the Fly River in New Guinea, the Cambridge Expedition
found a whole set of phrases in vogue, whereby the number of subjects
acting on the number of objects at a given moment could be concretely
specified. To indicate the action of two on many in the past, they
said _rudo_, in the present _durudo_; of many on many in the past _rumo_,
in the present _durumo_; of two on two in the past, _amarudo_, in the
present _amadurudo_; of many on two in the past _amarumo_; of many
on three in the past _ibidurumo_, of many on three in the present
_ibidurudo_; of three on two in the present, _amabidurumo_, of three
on two in the past, _amabirumo_, and so on. Meanwhile, words to serve
the purpose of pure counting are all the scarcer because hands and
feet supply in themselves an excellent means not only of calculating,
but likewise of communicating, a number. It is the one case in which
gesture-language can claim something like an independent status by
the side of speech.

For the rest, it does not follow that the mind fails to appreciate
numerical relations, because the tongue halts in the matter of
symbolizing them abstractly. A certain high official, when presiding
over the Indian census, was informed by a subordinate that it was
impossible to elicit from a certain jungle tribe any account of the
number of their huts, for the simple and sufficient reason that they
could not count above three. The director, who happened to be a man
of keen anthropological insight, had therefore himself to come to the
rescue. Assembling the tribal elders, he placed a stone on the ground,
saying to one "This is your hut," and to another "This is your hut,"
as he placed a second stone a little way from the first. "And now where
is yours?" he asked a third. The natives at once entered into the spirit
of the game, and in a short time there was plotted out a plan of the
whole settlement, which subsequent verification proved to be both
geographically and numerically correct and complete. This story may
serve to show how nature supplies man with a ready reckoner in his
faculty of perception, which suffices well enough for the affairs of
the simpler sort of life. One knows how a shepherd can take in the
numbers of a flock at a glance. For the higher flights of experience,
however, especially when the unseen and merely possible has to be dealt
with, percepts must give way to concepts; massive consciousness must
give way to thinking by means of representations pieced together out
of elements rendered distinct by previous dissection of the total
impression; in short, a concrete must give way to an analytic way of
grasping the meaning of things. Moreover, since thinking is little
more or less than, as Plato put it, a silent conversation with oneself,
to possess an analytic language is to be more than half-way on the
road to the analytic mode of intelligence--the mode of thinking by
distinct concepts.

If there is a moral to this chapter, it must be that, whereas it is
the duty of the civilized overlords of primitive folk to leave them
their old institutions so far as they are not directly prejudicial
to their gradual advancement in culture, since to lose touch with one's
home-world is for the savage to lose heart altogether and die; yet
this consideration hardly applies at all to the native language. If
the tongue of an advanced people can be substituted, it is for the
good of all concerned. It is rather the fashion now-a-days amongst
anthropologists to lay it down as an axiom that the typical savage
and the typical peasant of Europe stand exactly on a par in respect
to their power of general intelligence. If by power we are to understand
sheer potentiality, I know of no sufficient evidence that enables us
to say whether, under ideal conditions, the average degree of mental
capacity would in the two cases prove the same or different. But I
am sure that the ordinary peasant of Europe, whose society provides
him, in the shape of an analytic language, with a ready-made instrument
for all the purposes of clear thinking, starts at an immense advantage,
as compared with a savage whose traditional speech is holophrastic.
Whatever be his mental power, the former has a much better chance of
making the most of it under the given circumstances. "Give them the
words so that the ideas may come," is a maxim that will carry us far,
alike in the education of children, and in that of the peoples of lower
culture, of whom we have charge.


If an explorer visits a savage tribe with intent to get at the true
meaning of their life, his first duty, as every anthropologist will
tell him, is to acquaint himself thoroughly with the social
organization in all its forms. The reason for this is simply that only
by studying the outsides of other people can we hope to arrive at what
is going on inside them. "Institutions" will be found a convenient
word to express all the externals of the life of man in society, so
far as they reflect intelligence and purpose. Similarly, the internal
or subjective states thereto corresponding may be collectively
described as "beliefs." Thus, the field-worker's cardinal maxim can
be phrased as follows: Work up to the beliefs by way of the

Further, there are two ways in which a given set of institutions can
be investigated, and of these one, so far as it is practicable, should
precede the other. First, the institutions should be examined as so
many wheels in a social machine that is taken as if it were standing
still. You simply note the characteristic make of each, and how it
is placed in relation to the rest. Regarded in this static way, the
institutions appear as "forms of social organization." Afterwards,
the machine is supposed to be set going, and you contemplate the parts
in movement. Regarded thus dynamically, the institutions appear as

In this chapter, then, something will be said about the forms of social
organization prevailing amongst peoples of the lower culture. Our
interest will be confined to the social morphology. In subsequent
chapters we shall go on to what might be called, by way of contrast,
the physiology of social life. In other words, we shall briefly
consider the legal and religious customs, together with the associated

How do the forms of social organization come into being? Does some
one invent them? Does the very notion of organization imply an
organizer? Or, like Topsy, do they simply grow? Are they natural
crystallizations that take place when people are thrown together? For
my own part, I think that, so long as we are pursuing anthropology
and not philosophy--in other words, are piecing together events
historically according as they appear to follow one another, and are
not discussing the ultimate question of the relation of mind to matter,
and which of the two in the long run governs which--we must be prepared
to recognize both physical necessity and spiritual freedom as
interpenetrating factors in human life. In the meantime, when
considering the subject of social organization, we shall do well, I
think, to keep asking ourselves all along, How far does force of
circumstances, and how far does the force of intelligent purpose,
account for such and such a net result?

If I were called upon to exhibit the chief determinants of human life
as a single chain of causes and effects--a simplification of the
historical problem, I may say at once, which I should never dream of
putting forward except as a convenient fiction, a device for making
research easier by providing it with a central line--I should do it
thus. Working backwards, I should say that culture depends on social
organization; social organization on numbers; numbers on food; and
food on invention. Here both ends of the series are represented by
spiritual factors--namely, culture at the one end, and invention at
the other. Amongst the intermediate links, food and numbers may be
reckoned as physical factors. Social organization, however, seems to
face in both directions at once, and to be something half-way between
a spiritual and a physical manifestation.

In placing invention at the bottom of the scale of conditions, I
definitely break with the opinion that human evolution is throughout
a purely "natural" process. Of course, you can use the word "natural"
so widely and vaguely as to cover everything that was, or is, or could
be. If it be used, however, so as to exclude the "artificial," then
I am prepared to say that human life is preeminently an artificial
construction, or, in other words, a work of art; the distinguishing
mark of man consisting precisely in the fact that he alone of the
animals is capable of art.

It is well known how the invention of machinery in the middle of the
eighteenth century brought about that industrial revolution, the
social and political effects of which are still developing at this
hour. Well, I venture to put it forward as a proposition which applies
to human evolution, so far back as our evidence goes, that history
is the history of great inventions. Of course, it is true that climate
and geographical conditions in general help to determine the nature
and quantity of the food-supply; so that, for instance, however much
versed you may be in the art of agriculture, you cannot get corn to
grow on the shores of the Arctic sea. But, given the needful inventions,
superior weapons for instance, you need never allow yourselves to be
shoved away into such an inhospitable region; to which you presumably
do not retire voluntarily, unless, indeed, the state of your arts--for
instance, your skill in hunting or taming the reindeer--inclines you
to make a paradise of the tundra.

Suppose it granted, then, that a given people's arts and inventions,
whether directly or indirectly productive, are capable of a certain
average yield of food, it is certain, as Malthus and Darwin would remind
us, that human fertility can be reckoned on to bring the numbers up
to a limit bearing a more or less constant ratio to the means of

At length we reach our more immediate subject--namely, social
organization. In what sense, if any, is social organization dependent
on numbers? Unfortunately, it is too large a question to thrash out
here. I may, however, refer the reader to the ingenious classification
of the peoples of the world, by reference to the degree of their social
organization and culture, which is attempted by Mr. Sutherland in his
_Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct_. He there tries to show that
a certain size of population can be correlated with each grade in the
scale of human evolution--at any rate up to the point at which
full-blown civilization is reached, when cases like that of Athens
under Pericles, or Florence under the Medici, would probably cause
him some trouble. For instance, he makes out that the lowest savages,
Veddas, Pygmies, and so on, form groups of from ten to forty; whereas
those who are but one degree less backward, such as the Australian
natives, average from fifty to two hundred; whilst most of the North
American tribes, who represent the next stage of general advance, run
from a hundred up to five hundred. At this point he takes leave of
the peoples he would class as "savage," their leading characteristic
from the economic point of view being that they lead the more or less
wandering life of hunters or of mere "gatherers." He then goes on to
arrange similarly, in an ascending series of three divisions, the
peoples that he terms "barbarian." Economically they are either
sedentary, with a more or less developed agriculture, or, if nomad,
pursue the pastoral mode of life. His lowest type of group, which
includes the Iroquois, Maoris, and so forth, ranges from one thousand
to five thousand; next come loosely organized states, such as Dahomey
or Ashanti, where the numbers may reach one hundred thousand; whilst
he makes barbarism culminate in more firmly compacted communities,
such as are to be found, for example, in Abyssinia or Madagascar, the
population of which he places at about half a million.

Now I am very sceptical about Mr. Sutherland's statistics, and regard
his bold attempt to assign the world's peoples each to their own rung
on the ladder of universal culture as, in the present state of our
knowledge, no more than a clever hypothesis; which some keen
anthropologist of the future might find it well worth his while to
put thoroughly to the test. At a guess, however, I am disposed to accept
his general principle that, on the whole and in the long run, during
the earlier stages of human evolution, the complexity and coherence
of the social order follow upon the size of the group; which, since
its size, in turn, follows upon the mode of the economic life, may
be described as the food-group.

Besides food, however, there is a second elemental condition which
vitally affects the human race; and that is sex. Social organization
thus comes to have a twofold aspect. On the one hand, and perhaps
primarily, it is an organization of the food-quest. On the other hand,
hardly less fundamentally, it is an organization of marriage. In what
follows, the two aspects will be considered more or less together,
as to a large extent they overlap. Primitive men, like other social
animals, hang together naturally in the hunting pack, and no less
naturally in the family; and at a very rudimentary stage of evolution
there probably is very little distinction between the two. When,
however, for some reason or other which anthropologists have still
to discover, man takes to the institution of exogamy, the law of
marrying-out, which forces men and women to unite who are members of
more or less distinct food-groups, then, as we shall presently see,
the matrimonial aspect of social organization tends to overshadow the
politico-economic; if only because the latter can usually take care
of itself, whereas to marry a perfect stranger is an embarrassing
operation that might be expected to require a certain amount of
arrangement on both sides.

       *       *       *       *       *

To illustrate the pre-exogamic stage of human society is not so easy
as it may seem; for, though it is possible to find examples, especially
amongst Negritos such as the Andamanese or Bushmen, of peoples of the
rudest culture, and living in very small communities, who apparently
know neither exogamy nor what so often accompanies it, namely, totemism,
we can never be certain whether we are dealing in such a case with
the genuinely primitive, or merely with the degenerate. For instance,
the chapter on the forms of social organization in Professor Hobhouse's
_Morals in Evolution_ starts off with an account of the system in vogue
amongst the Veddas of the Ceylon jungle, his description being founded
on the excellent observations of the brothers Sarasin. Now it is
perfectly true that some of the Veddas appear to afford a perfect
instance of what is sometimes called "the natural family." A tract
of a few miles square forms the beat of a small group of families,
four or five at most, which, for the most part, singly or in pairs,
wander round hunting, fishing, gathering honey and digging up the wild
yams; whilst they likewise take shelter together in shallow caves,
where a roof, a piece of skin to lie on--though this is not
essential--and, that most precious luxury of all, a fire, represent,
apart from food, the sum total of their creature comforts.

Now, under these circumstances, it is not, perhaps, wonderful that
the relationships within a group should be decidedly close. Indeed,
the correct thing is for the children of a brother and sister to marry;
though not, it would seem, for the children of two brothers or of two
sisters. And yet there is no approach to promiscuity, but, on the
contrary, a very strict monogamy, infidelities being as rare as they
are deeply resented. That they had clans of some sort was, indeed,
known to Professor Hobhouse and to the authorities whom he follows;
but these clans are dismissed as having but the slightest organization
and very few functions. An entirely new light, however, has been thrown
on the meaning of this clan-system by the recent researches of Dr.
and Mrs. Seligmann. It now turns out that some of the Veddas are
exogamous--that is to say, are obliged by custom to marry outside their
own clan--though others are not. The question then arises, Which, for
the Veddas, is the older system, marrying-out or marrying-in? Seeing
what a miserable remnant the Veddas are, I cannot but believe that
we have here the case of a formerly exogamous people, groups of which
have been forced to marry-in, simply because the alternative was not
to marry at all. Of course, it is possible to argue that in so doing
they merely reverted to what was once everywhere the primeval condition
of man. But at this point historical science tails off into mere

       *       *       *       *       *

We reach relatively firm ground, on the other hand, when we pass on
to consider the social organization of such exogamous and totemic
peoples as the natives of Australia. The only trouble here is that
the subject is too vast and complicated to permit of a handling at
once summary and simple. Perhaps the most useful thing that can be
done for the reader in a short space is to provide him with a few
elementary distinctions, applying not only to the Australians, but
more or less to totemic societies in general. With the help of these
he may proceed to grapple for himself with the mass of highly
interesting but bewildering details concerning social organization
to be found in any of the leading first-hand authorities. For instance,
for Australia he can do no better than consult the two fascinating
works of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen on the Central tribes, or the no
less illuminating volume of Howitt on the natives of the South-eastern
region; whilst for North America there are many excellent monographs
to choose from amongst those issued by the Bureau of Ethnology of the
Smithsonian Institution. Or, if he is content to allow some one else
to collect the material for him, his best plan will be to consult Dr.
Frazer's monumental treatise, _Totemism and Exogamy_, which
epitomizes the known facts for the whole wide world, as surveyed region
by region.

The first thing to grasp is that, for peoples of this type, social
organization is, primarily and on the face of it, identical with
kinship-organization. Before proceeding further, let us see what
kinship means. Distinguish kinship from consanguinity. Consanguinity
is a physical fact. It depends on birth, and covers all one's real
blood-relationships, whether recognized by society or not. Kinship,
on the other hand, is a sociological fact. It depends on the
conventional system of counting descent. Thus it may exclude real
relationships; whilst, contrariwise, it may include such as are purely
fictitious, as when some one is allowed by law to adopt a child as
if it were his own. Now, under civilized conditions, though there is,
as we have just seen, such an institution as adoption, whilst, again,
there is the case of the illegitimate child, who can claim
consanguinity, but can never, in English law at least, attain to
kinship, yet, on the whole, we are hardly conscious of the difference
between the genuine blood-tie and the social institution that is
modelled more or less closely upon it. In primitive society, however,
consanguinity tends to be wider than kinship by as much again. In other
words, in the recognition of kinship one entire side of the family
is usually left clean out of account. A man's kin comprises either
his mother's people or his father's people, but not both. Remember
that by the law of exogamy, the father and mother are strangers to
each other. Hence, primitive society, as it were, issues a judgment
of Solomon to the effect that, since they are not prepared to halve
their child, it must belong body and soul either to one party or to
the other.

We may now go on to analyse this one-sided type of kinship-organization
a little more fully. There are three elementary principles that combine
to produce it. They are exogamy, lineage and totemism. A word must
be said about each in turn.

Exogamy presents no difficulty until you try to account for its origin.
It simply means marrying-out, in contrast to endogamy, or marrying-in.
Suppose there were a village composed entirely of McIntyres and
McIntoshes, and suppose that fashion compelled every McIntyre to marry
a McIntosh, and every McIntosh a McIntyre, whilst to marry an outsider,
say a McBean, was bad form for McIntyres and McIntoshes alike; then
the two clans would be exogamous in respect to each other, whereas
the village as a whole would be endogamous.

Lineage is the principle of reckoning descent along one or other of
two lines--namely, the mother's line or the father's. The former method
is termed matrilineal, the latter patrilineal. It sometimes, but by
no means invariably, happens, when descent is counted matrilineally,
that the wife stays with her people, and the husband has the status
of a mere visitor and alien. In such a case the marriage is called
matrilocal; otherwise it is patrilocal. Again, when the matrilocal
type of marriage prevails, as likewise often when it does not, the
wife and her people, rather than the father and his people, exercise
supreme authority over the children. This is known as the matripotestal,
as contrasted with the patripotestal, type of family. When the
matrilineal, matrilocal and matripotestal conditions are found
together, we have mother-right at its fullest and strongest. Where
we get only two out of the three, or merely the first by itself, most
authorities would still speak of mother-right; though it may be
questioned how far the word mother-right, or the corresponding, now
almost discarded, expression, "the matriarchate," can be safely used
without further explanation, since it tends to imply a right (in the
legal sense) and an authority, which in these circumstances is often
no more than nominal.

Totemism, in the specific form that has to do with kinship, means that
a social group depends for its identity on a certain intimate and
exclusive relation in which it stands towards an animal-kind, or a
plant-kind, or, more rarely, a class of inanimate objects, or, very
rarely, something that is individual and not a kind or class at all.
Such a totem, in the first place, normally provides the social group
with its name. (The Boy Scouts, who call themselves Foxes, Peewits,
and so on, according to their different patrols, have thus reverted
to a very ancient usage.) In the second place, this name tends to be
the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace that,
somehow flowing from the totem to the totemites, sanctifies their
communion. They are "all-one-flesh" with one another, as certain of
the Australians phrase it, because they are "all-one-flesh" with the
totem. Or, again, a man whose totem was _ngaui_, the sun, said that
his name was _ngaui_ and he "was" _ngaui_; though he was equally ready
to put it in another way, explaining that _ngaui_ "owned" him. If we
wish to express the matter comprehensively, and at the same time to
avoid language suggestive of a more advanced mysticism, we may perhaps
describe the totem as, from this point of view, the totemite's "luck."

There is considerable variation, however, to be found in the practices
and beliefs of a more or less religious kind that are associated with
this form of totemism; though almost always there are some. Sometimes
the totem is thought of as an ancestor, or as the common fund of life
out of which the totemites are born and into which they go back when
they die. Sometimes the totem is held to be a very present help in
time of trouble, as when a kangaroo, by hopping along in a special
way, warns the kangaroo-man of impending danger. Sometimes, on the
other hand, the kangaroo-man thinks of himself mainly as the helper
of the kangaroo, holding ceremonies in order that the kangaroos may
wax fat and multiply. Again, almost invariably the totemite shows some
respect towards his totem, refraining, for instance, from slaying and
eating the totem-animal, unless it be in some specially solemn and
sacramental way.

The upshot of these considerations is that if the totem is, on the
face of it, a name, the savage answers the question, "What's in a name?"
by finding in the name that makes him one with his brethren a wealth
of mystic meaning, such as deepens for him the feeling of social
solidarity to an extent that it takes a great effort on our part to

Having separately examined the three principles of exogamy, lineage
and totemism, we must now try to see how they work together.
Generalization in regard to these matters is extremely risky, not to
say rash; nevertheless, the following broad statements may serve the
reader as working hypotheses, that he can go on to test for himself
by looking into the facts. Firstly, exogamy and totemism, whether they
be in origin distinct or not, tend in practice to go pretty closely
together. Secondly, lineage, or the one-sided system of reckoning
descent, is more or less independent of the other two principles.[4]

[Footnote 4: That is to say, either mother-right or father-right in
any of their forms may exist in conjunction with exogamy and totemism.
It is certainly not the fact that, wherever totemism is in a state
of vigour, mother-right is regularly found. At most it may be urged
in favour of the priority of mother-right that, if there is change,
it is invariably from mother-right to father-right, and never the other
way about.]

If, instead of consulting the evidence that is to hand about the savage
world as it exists to-day, you read some book crammed full with theories
about social origins, you probably come away with the impression that
totemic society is entirely an affair of clans. Some such notion as
the following is precipitated in your mind. You figure to yourself
two small food-groups, whose respective beats are, let us say, on each
side of a river. For some unknown reason they are totemic, one group
calling itself Cockatoo, the other calling itself Crow, whilst each
feels in consequence that its members are "all-one-flesh" in some
mysterious and moving sense. Again, for some unknown reason each is
exogamous, so that matrimonial alliances are bound to take place across
the river. Lastly, each has mother-right of the full-blown kind. The
Cockatoo-girls and the Crow-girls abide each on their own side of the
river, where they are visited by partners from across the water; who,
whether they tend to stay and make themselves useful, or are merely
intermittent in their attentions, remain outsiders from the totemic
point of view and are treated as such. The children, meanwhile, grow
up in the Cockatoo and Crow quarters respectively as little Cockatoos
or Crows. If they need to be chastised, a Cockatoo hand, not necessarily
the mother's, but perhaps her brother's--never the father's,
however--administers the slap. When they grow up, they take their
chances for better and worse with the mother's people; fighting when
they fight, though it be against the father's people; sharing in the
toils and the spoils of the chase; inheriting the weapons and any other
property that is handed on from one generation to another; and, last
but not least, taking part in the totemic mysteries that disclose to
the elect the inner meaning of being a Cockatoo or a Crow, as the case
may be.

Now such a picture of the original clan and of the original inter-clan
organization is very pretty and easy to keep in one's head. And when
one is simply guessing about the first beginnings of things, there
is something to be said for starting from some highly abstract and
simple concept, which is afterwards elaborated by additions and
qualifications until the developed notion comes near to matching the
complexity of the real facts. Such speculations, then, are quite
permissible and even necessary in their place. To do justice, however,
to the facts about totemic society, as known to us by actual observation,
it remains to note that the clan is by no means the only form of social
organization that it displays.

The clan, it is true, whether matrilineal or patrilineal, tends at
the totemic level of society to eclipse the family. The natural family,
of course--that is to say, the more or less permanent association of
father, mother and children, is always there in some shape and to some
extent. But, so long as the one-sided method of counting descent
prevails, and is reinforced by totemism, the family cannot attain to
the dignity of a formally recognized institution. On the other hand,
the totemic clan, of all the formally recognized groupings of society
to which an individual belongs in virtue of his birth and kinship,
is, so to speak, the most specific. As the Australian puts it, it makes
him what he "is." His social essence is to be a Cockatoo or a Crow.
Consequently his first duty is towards his clan and its members, human
and not-human. Wherever there are clans, and so long as there is any
totemism worthy of the name, this would seem to be the general law.

Besides the specific unity, however, provided by the clan, there are
wider, and, as it were, more generic unities into which a man is born,
in totemic society of the complex type that is found in the actual
world of to-day.

First, he belongs to a phratry. In Australia the tribe--a term to be
defined presently--is nearly always split up into two exogamous
divisions, which it is usual to call phratries.[5] Then, in some of
the Australian tribes, the phratry is subdivided into two, and, in
others, into four portions, between which exogamy takes place
according to a curious criss-cross scheme. These exogamous
subdivisions, which are peculiar to Australia, are known as
matrimonial classes. Dr. Frazer thinks that they are the result of
deliberate arrangement on the part of native statesmen; and certainly
he is right in his contention that there is an artificial and man-made
look about them. The system of phratries, on the other hand, whether
it carves up the tribe into two, or, as sometimes in North America
and elsewhere, into more than two primary divisions, under which the
clans tend to group themselves in a more or less orderly way, has all
the appearance of a natural development out of the clan-system. Thus,
to revert to the imaginary case of the Cockatoos and Crows practising
exogamy across the river, it seems easy to understand how the numbers
on both sides might increase until, whilst remaining Cockatoos and
Crows for cross-river purposes, they would find it necessary to adopt
among themselves subordinate distinctions; such as would be sure to
model themselves on the old Cockatoo-Crow principle of separate
totemic badges. But we must not wander off into questions of origin.
It is enough for our present purpose to have noted the fact that, within
the tribe, there are normally other forms of social grouping into which
a man is born, as well as the clan.

[Footnote 5: From a Greek word meaning "brotherhood," which was applied
to a very similar institution.]

Now we come to the tribe. This may be described as the political unit.
Its constitution tends to be lax and its functions vague. One way of
seizing its nature is to think of it as the social union within which
exogamy takes place. The intermarrying groups naturally hang together,
and are thus in their entirety endogamous, in the sense that marriage
with pure outsiders is disallowed by custom. Moreover, by mingling
in this way, they are likely to attain to the use of a common dialect,
and a common name, speaking of themselves, for instance, as "the men,"
and lumping the rest of humanity together as "foreigners." To act
together, however, as, for instance, in war, in order to repel
incursions on the part of the said foreigners, is not easy without
some definite organization. In Australia, where there is very little
war, this organization is mostly wanting. In North America, on the
other hand, amongst the more advanced and warlike tribes, we find
regular tribal officers, and some approach to a political constitution.
Yet in Australia there is at least one occasion when a sort of tribal
gathering takes place--namely, when their elaborate ceremonies for
the initiation of the youths is being held.

It would seem, however, that these ceremonies are, as often as not,
intertribal rather than tribal. So similar are the customs and beliefs
over wide areas, that groups with apparently little or nothing else
in common will assemble together, and take part in proceedings that
are something like a Pan-Anglican Congress and a World's Fair rolled
into one. To this indefinite type of intertribal association the term
"nation" is sometimes applied. Only when there is definite
organization, as never in Australia, and only occasionally in North
America, as amongst the Iroquois, can we venture to describe it as
a genuine "confederacy."

No doubt the reader's head is already in a whirl, though I have
perpetrated endless sins of omission and, I doubt not, of commission
as well, in order to simplify the glorious confusion of the subject
of the social organization prevailing in what is conveniently but
loosely lumped together as totemic society. Thus, I have omitted to
mention that sometimes the totems seem to have nothing to do at all
with the social organization; as, for example, amongst the famous
Arunta of central Australia, whom Messrs. Spencer and Gillen have so
carefully described. I have, again, refrained from pointing out that
sometimes there are exogamous divisions--some would call them moieties
to distinguish them from phratries--which have no clans grouped under
them, and, on the other hand, have themselves little or no resemblance
to totemic clans. These, and ever so many other exceptional cases,
I have simply passed by.

An even more serious kind of omission is the following. I have
throughout identified the social organization with the kinship
organization--namely, that into which a man is born in consequence
of the marriage laws and the system of reckoning descent. But there
are other secondary features of what can only be classed as social
organization, which have nothing to do with kinship. Sex, for instance,
has a direct bearing on social status. The men and the women often
form markedly distinct groups; so that we are almost reminded of the
way in which the male and the female linnets go about in separate flocks
as soon as the pairing season is over. Of course, disparity of
occupation has something to do with it. But, for the native mind, the
difference evidently goes far deeper than that. In some parts of
Australia there are actually sex-totems, signifying that each sex is
all-one-flesh, a mystic corporation. And, all the savage world over,
there is a feeling that woman is uncanny, a thing apart, which feeling
is probably responsible for most of the special disabilities--and the
special privileges--that are the lot of woman at the present day.

Again, age likewise has considerable influence on social status. It
is not merely a case of being graded as a youth until once for all
you legally "come of age," and are enrolled, amongst the men. The
grading of ages is frequently most elaborate, and each batch mounts
the social ladder step by step. Just as, at the university, each year
has apportioned to it by public opinion the things it may do and the
things it may not do, whilst, later on, the bachelor, the master, and
the doctor stand each a degree higher in respect of academic rank;
so in darkest Australia, from youth up to middle age at least, a man
will normally undergo a progressive initiation into the secrets of
life, accompanied by a steady widening in the sphere of his social
duties and rights.

Lastly, locality affects status, and increasingly as the wandering
life gives way to stable occupation. Amongst a few hundred people who
are never out of touch with each other, the forms of natal association
hold their own against any that local association is likely to suggest
in their place. According to natal grouping, therefore, in the broad
sense that includes sex and age no less than kinship, the members of
the tribe camp, fight, perform magical ceremonies, play games, are
initiated, are married, and are buried. But let the tribe increase
in numbers, and spread through a considerable area, over the face of
which communications are difficult and proportionately rare.
Instantly the local group tends to become all in all. Authority and
initiative must always rest with the men on the spot; and the old natal
combinations, weakened by inevitable absenteeism, at last cease to
represent the true framework of the social order. They tend to linger
on, of course, in the shape of subordinate institutions. For instance,
the totemic groups cease to have direct connection with the marriage
system, and, on the strength of the ceremonies associated with them,
develop into what are known as secret societies. Or, again, the clan
is gradually overshadowed by the family, so that kinship, with its
rights and duties, becomes practically limited to the nearer
blood-relations; who, moreover, begin to be treated for practical
purposes as kinsmen, even when they are on the side of the family which
lineage does not officially recognize. Thus the forms of natal
association no longer constitute the backbone of the body politic.
Their public importance has gone. Henceforward, the social unit is
the local group. The territorial principle comes more and more to
determine affinities and functions. Kinship has dethroned itself by
its very success. Thanks to the organizing power of kinship, primitive
society has grown, and by growing has stretched the birth-tie until
it snaps. Some relationships become distant in a local and territorial
sense, and thereupon they cease to count. My duty towards my kin passes
into my duty towards my neighbour.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reasons of space make it impossible to survey the further developments
to which social organization is subject under the sway of locality.
It is, perhaps, less essential to insist on them here, because, whereas
totemic society is a thing which we civilized folk have the very
greatest difficulty in understanding, we all have direct insight into
the meaning of a territorial arrangement; since, from the village
community up to the modern state, the same fundamental type of social
structure obtains throughout.

Besides local contiguity, however, there is a second principle which
greatly helps to shape the social order, as soon as society is
sufficiently advanced in its arts and industries to have taken firm
root, so to speak, on the earth's surface. This is the principle of
private property, and especially of private property in land. The most
fundamental of class distinctions is that between rich and poor. That
between free and slave, in communities that have slavery, is not at
first sight strictly parallel, since there may be a class of poor
freemen intermediate between the nobles and the slaves; but it is
obvious that in this case, too, private property is really responsible
for the mode of grading. Or sometimes social position may seem to depend
primarily on industrial occupation, the Indian caste-system providing
an instance in point. Since, however, the most honourable occupations
in the long run coincide with those that pay best, we come back once
again to private property as the ultimate source of social rank, under
an economic system of the more developed kind.

In this brief sketch it has been impossible to do more than hint how
social organization is relative to numbers, which in their turn are
relative to the skill with which the food-quest is carried on. But
if, up to a certain point, it be true that the structure of society
depends on its mass in a more or less physical way, there is to be
borne in mind another aspect of the matter, which also has been hinted
at as we went rapidly along. A good deal of intelligence has throughout
helped towards the establishing of the social order. If social
organization is in part a natural result of the expansion of the
population, it is partly also, in the best sense of the word, an
artificial creation of the human mind, which has exerted itself to
devise modes of grouping whereby men might be enabled to work together
in larger and ever larger wholes.

Regarded, however, in the purely external way which a study of its
mere structure involves, society appears as a machine--that is to say,
appears as the work of intelligence indeed, but not as itself instinct
with intelligence. In what follows we shall set the social machine
moving. We shall then have a better chance of obtaining an inner view
of the driving power. We shall find that we have to abandon the notion
that society is a machine. It is more, even, than an organism. It is
a communion of souls--souls that, as so many independent, yet
interdependent, manifestations of the life-force, are pressing
forward in the search for individuality and freedom.


The general plan of this little book being to start from the influences
that determine man's destiny in a physical, external, necessary sort
of way, and to work up gradually to the spiritual, internal, voluntary
factors in human nature--that strange "compound of clay and flame"--it
seems advisable to consider law before religion, and religion before
morality, whether in its collective or individual aspect, for the
following reason. There is more sheer constraint to be discerned in
law than in religion, whilst religion, in the historical sense which
identifies it with organized cult, is more coercive in its mode of
regulating life than the moral reason, which compels by force of

To one who lives under civilized conditions the phrase "the strong
arm of the law" inevitably suggests the policeman. Apart from policemen,
magistrates, and the soldiers who in the last resort must be called
out to enforce the decrees of the community, it might appear that law
could not exist. And certainly it is hard to admit that what is known
as mob-law is any law at all. For historical purposes, however, we
must be prepared to use the expression "law" rather widely. We must
be ready to say that there is law wherever there is punishment on the
part of a human society, whether acting in the mass, or through its
representatives. Punishment means the infliction of pain on one who
is judged to have broken a social rule. Conversely, then, a law is
any social rule to the infringement of which punishment is by usage
attached. So long as it is recognized that a man breaks a social rule
at the risk of pain, and that it is the business of everybody, or of
somebody armed with the common authority, to make that risk a reality
for the offender, there is law within the meaning of the term as it
exists for anthropology.

Punishment, however, is by its very nature an exceptional measure.
It is only because the majority are content to follow a social rule,
that law and punishment are possible at all. If, again, every one
habitually obeys the social rules, law ceases to exist, because it
is unnecessary. Now, one reason why it is hard to find any law in
primitive society is because, in a general way of speaking, no one
dreams of breaking the social rules.

Custom is king, nay tyrant, in primitive society. When Captain Cook
asked the chiefs of Tahiti why they ate apart and alone, they simply
replied, "Because it is right." And so it always is with the ruder
peoples. "'Tis the custom, and there's an end on't" is their notion
of a sufficient reason in politics and ethics alike. Now that way lies
a rigid conservatism. In the chapter on morality we shall try to
discover its inner springs, its psychological conditions. For the
present, we may be content to regard custom from the outside, as the
social habit of conserving all traditional practices for their own
sake and regardless of consequences. Of course, changes are bound to
occur, and do occur. But they are not supposed to occur. In theory,
the social rules of primitive society are like "the law of the Medes
and Persians which altereth not."

This absolute respect for custom has its good and its bad sides. On
the one hand, it supplies the element of discipline; without which
any society is bound soon to fall to pieces. We are apt to think of
the savage as a freakish creature, all moods--at one moment a friend,
at the next moment a fiend. So he might be, if it were not for the
social drill imposed by his customs. So he is, if you destroy his
customs, and expect him nevertheless to behave as an educated and
reasonable being. Given, then, a primitive society in a healthy and
uncontaminated condition, its members will invariably be found to be
on the average more law-abiding, as judged from the standpoint of their
own law, than is the case any civilized state.

But now we come to the bad side of custom. Its conserving influence
extends to all traditional practices, however unreasonable or
perverted. In that amber any fly is apt to be enclosed. Hence the
whimsicalities of savage custom. In _Primitive Culture_ Dr. Tylor
tells a good story about the Dyaks of Borneo. The white man's way of
chopping down a tree by notching out V-shaped cuts was not according
to Dyak custom. Hence, any Dyak caught imitating the European fashion
was punished by a fine. And yet so well aware were they that this method
was an improvement on their own that, when they could trust each other
not to tell, they would surreptitiously use it. These same Dyaks, it
may be added, are, according to Mr. A.R. Wallace, the best of observers,
"among the most pleasing of savages." They are good-natured, mild,
and by no means bloodthirsty in the ordinary relations of life. Yet
they are well known to be addicted to the horrid practice of
head-hunting. "It was a custom," Mr. Wallace explains, "and as a custom
was observed, but it did not imply any extraordinary barbarism or moral

The drawback, then, to a reign of pure custom is this: Meaningless
injunctions abound, since the value of a traditional practice does
not depend on its consequences, but simply on the fact that it is the
practice; and this element of irrationality is enough to perplex, till
it utterly confounds, the mind capable of rising above routine and
reflecting on the true aims and ends of the social life. How to break
through "the cake of custom," as Bagehot has called it, is the hardest
lesson that humanity has ever had to learn. Customs have often been
broken up by the clashing of different societies; but in that case
they merely crystallize again into new shapes. But to break through
custom by the sheer force of reflection, and so to make rational
progress possible, was the intellectual feat of one people, the ancient
Greeks; and it is at least highly doubtful if, without their leadership,
a progressive civilization would have existed to-day.

It may be added in parenthesis that customs may linger on indefinitely,
after losing, through one cause or another, their place amongst the
vital interests of the community. They are, or at any rate seem,
harmless; their function is spent. Hence, whilst perhaps the humbler
folk still take them more or less seriously, the leaders of society
are not at pains to suppress them. Nor would they always find it easy
to do so. Something of the primeval man lurks in us all; and these
"survivals," as they are termed by the anthropologist, may often in
large part correspond to impulses that are by no means dead in us,
but rather sleep; and are hence liable to be reawakened, if the
environment happens to supply the appropriate stimulus. Witness the
fact that survivals, especially when the whirligig of social change
brings the uneducated temporarily to the fore, have a way of blossoming
forth into revivals; and the state may in consequence have to undergo
something equivalent to an operation for appendicitis. The study of
so-called survivals, therefore, is a most important branch of
anthropology, which cannot unfortunately in this hasty sketch be given
its due. It would seem to coincide with the central interest of what
is known as folk-lore. Folk-lore, however, tends to broaden out till
it becomes almost indistinguishable from general anthropology. There
are at least two reasons for this. Firstly, the survivals of custom
amongst advanced nations, such as the ancient Greeks or the modern
British, are to be interpreted mainly by comparison with the similar
institutions still flourishing amongst ruder peoples. Secondly, all
these ruder peoples themselves, without exception, have their
survivals too. Their customs fall as it were into two layers. On top
is the live part of the fire. Underneath are smouldering ashes, which,
though dying out on the whole, are yet liable here and there to rekindle
into flame.

So much for custom as something on the face of it distinct from law,
inasmuch as it seems to dispense with punishment. It remains to note,
however, that brute force lurks behind custom, in the form of what
Bagehot has called "the persecuting tendency." Just a boy at school
who happens to offend against the unwritten code has his life made
a burden by the rest of his mates, so in the primitive community the
fear of a rough handling causes "I must not" to wait upon "I dare not."
One has only to read Mr. Andrew Lang's instructive story of the fate
of "Why Why, the first Radical," to realize how amongst savages--and
is it so very different amongst ourselves?--it pays much better to
be respectable than to play the moral hero.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us pass on to examine the beginnings of punitive law. After all,
even under the sway of custom, casual outbreaks are liable to occur.
Some one's passions will prove too much for him, and there will be
an accident. What happens then in the primitive society? Let us first
consider one of the very unorganized communities at the bottom of the
evolutionary scale; as, for example, the little Negritos of the Andaman
Islands. Their justice, explains Mr. Man, in his excellent account
of these people, is administered by the simple method of allowing the
aggrieved party to take the law into his own hands. This he usually
does by flinging a burning faggot at the offender, or by discharging
an arrow at him, though more frequently near him. Meanwhile all others
who may be present are apt to beat a speedy retreat, carrying off as
much of their property as their haste will allow, and remaining hid
in the jungle until sufficient time has elapsed for the quarrel to
have blown over. Sometimes, however, friends interpose, and seek to
deprive the disputants of their weapons. Should, however, one of them
kill the other, nothing is necessarily said or done to him by the rest.
Yet conscience makes cowards of us all; so that the murderer, from
prudential motives, will not uncommonly absent himself until he judges
that the indignation of the victim's friends has sufficiently abated.

Now here we seem to find want of social structure and want of law going
together as cause and effect. The "friends" of whom we hear need to
be organized into a police force. If we now turn to totemic society,
with its elaborate clan-system, it is quite another story.
Blood-revenge ranks amongst the foremost of the clansman's social
obligations. Over the whole world it stands out by itself as the type
of all that law means for the savage. Within the clan, indeed, the
maxim of blood for blood does not hold; though there may be another
kind of punitive law put into force by the totemites against an erring
brother, as, for instance, if they slay one of their number for
disregarding the exogamic rule and consorting with a woman who is
all-one-flesh with him. But, between clans of the same tribe, the
system of blood-revenge requires strict reprisals, according to the
principle that some one on the other side, though not necessarily the
actual murderer, must die the death. This is known as the principle
of collective responsibility; and one of the most interesting problems
relating to the evolution of early law is to work out how individual
responsibility gradually develops out of collective, until at length,
even as each man does, so likewise he suffers.

The collective method of settling one's grievances is natural enough,
when men are united into groups bound together by the closest of
sentimental ties, and on the other hand there is no central and
impartial authority to arbitrate between the parties. One of our crew
has been killed by one of your crew. So a stand-up fight takes place.
Of course we should like to get at the right man if we could; but,
failing that, we are out to kill some one in return, just to teach
your crew a lesson. Comparatively early in the day, however, it strikes
the savage mind that there are degrees of responsibility. For instance,
some one has to call the avenging party together, and to lead it. He
will tend to be a real blood-relation, son, father, or brother. Thus
he stands out as champion, whilst the rest are in the position of mere
seconds. Correspondingly, the other side will tend to thrust forward
the actual offender into the office of counter-champion. There is
direct evidence to show that, amongst Australians, Eskimo, and so on,
whole groups at one time met in battle, but later on were represented
by chosen individuals, in the persons of those who were principals
in the affair. Thus we arrive at the duel. The transition is seen in
such a custom as that of the Port Lincoln black-fellows. The brother
of the murdered man must engage the murderer; but any one on either
side who might care to join in the fray was at liberty to do so. Hence
it is but a step to the formal duel, as found, for instance, amongst
the Apaches of North America.

Now the legal duel is an advance on the collective bear-fight, if only
because it brings home to the individual perpetrator of the crime that
he will have to answer for it. Cranz, the great authority on the Eskimo
of Greenland, naively remarks that a Greenlander dare not murder or
otherwise wrong another, since it might possibly cost him the life
of his best friend. Did the Greenlander know that it would probably
cost him his own life, his sense of responsibility, we may surmise,
might be somewhat quickened. On the other hand, duelling is not a
satisfactory way of redressing the balance, since it merely gives the
powerful bully an opportunity of adding a second murder to the first.
Hence the ordeal marks an advance in legal evolution. A good many
Australian peoples, for example, have reached the stage of requiring
the murderer to submit to a shower of spears or boomerangs at the hands
of the aggrieved group, on the mutual understanding that the
blood-revenge ends here.

Luckily, however, for the murderer, it often takes time to bring him
to book; and angry passions are apt in the meanwhile to subside. The
ruder savages are not so bloodthirsty as we are apt to imagine. War
has evolved like everything else; and with it has evolved the man who
likes fighting for its own sake. So, in place of a life for a life,
compensation--"pacation," as it is technically termed--comes to be
recognized as a reasonable _quid pro quo_. Constantly we find custom
at the half-way stage. If the murderer is caught soon, he is killed;
but if he can stave off the day of justice, he escapes with a fine.
When private property has developed, the system of blood-fines becomes
most elaborate. Amongst the Iroquois the manslayer must redeem himself
from death by means of no less than sixty presents to the injured kin;
one to draw the axe out of the wound, a second to wipe the blood away,
a third to restore peace to the land, and so forth. According to the
collective principle, the clansmen on one side share the price of
atonement, and on the other side must tax themselves in order to make
it up. Shares are on a scale proportionate to degrees of relationship.
Or, again, further nice calculations are required, if it is sought
to adjust the gross amount of the payment to the degree of guilt. Hence
it is not surprising that, when a more or less barbarous people, such
as the Anglo-Saxons, came to require a written law, it should be almost
entirely taken up by regulations about blood-fines, that had become
too complicated for the people any longer to keep in their heads.

So far we have been considering the law of blood-revenge as purely
an affair between the clans concerned; the rest of the tribal public
keeping aloof, very much in the style of the Andamanese bystanders
who retire into the jungle when there is a prospect of a row. But with
the development of a central authority, whether in the shape of the
rule of many or of one, the public control of the blood-feud begins
to assert itself; for the good reason that endless vendetta is a
dissolving force, which the larger and more stable type of society
cannot afford to tolerate if it is to survive. The following are a
few instances illustrative of the transition from private to public
jurisdiction. In North America, Africa, and elsewhere, we find the
chief or chiefs pronouncing sentence, but the clan or family left to
carry it out as best they can. Again, the kin may be entrusted with
the function of punishment, but obliged to carry it out in the way
prescribed by the authorities; as, for instance, in Abyssinia, where
the nearest relation executes the manslayer in the presence of the
king, using exactly the same kind of weapon as that with which the
murder was committed. Or the right of the kin to punish dwindles to
a mere form. Thus in Afghanistan the elders make a show of handing
over the criminal to his accusers, who must, however, comply strictly
with the wishes of the assembly; whilst in Samoa the offender was bound
and deposited before the family "as if to signify that he lay at their
mercy," and the chief saw to the rest. Finally, the state, in the person
of its executive officers, both convicts and executes.

When the state is represented by a single ruler, crime tends to become
an offence against "the king's peace"--or, in the language of Roman
law, against his "majesty." Henceforward, the easy-going system of
getting off with a fine is at an end, and murder is punished with the
utmost sternness. In such a state as Dahomey, in the old days of
independence, there may have been a good deal of barbarity displayed
in the administration of justice, but at any rate human life was no
less effectively protected by the law than it was, say, in mediaeval

       *       *       *       *       *

The evolution of the punishment of murder affords the typical instance
of the development of a legal sanction in primitive society. Other
forms, however, of the forcible repression of wrong-doing deserve a
more or less passing notice.

Adultery is, even amongst the ruder peoples, a transgression that is
reckoned only a degree less grave than manslaughter; especially as
manslaughter is a usual consequence of it, quarrels about women
constituting one of the chief sources of trouble in the savage world.
With a single interesting exception, the stages in the development
of the law against adultery are exactly the same as in the case already
examined. Whole kins fight about it. Then duelling is substituted.
Then duelling gives way to the ordeal. Then, after the penalty has
long wavered between death and a fine, fines become the rule, so long
as the kins are allowed to settle the matter. If, however, the community
comes to take cognizance of the offence, severer measures ensue. The
one noticeable difference in the two developments is the following.
Whereas murder is an offence against the chief's "majesty," and as
such a criminal offence, adultery, like theft, with which primitive
law is wont to associate it as an offence against property, tends to
remain a purely civil affair. Kafir law, for example, according to
Maclean, draws this distinction very clearly.

It remains to add as regards adultery that, so far, we have only been
considering the punishment that falls on the guilty man. The guilty
woman's fate is a matter relating to a distinct department of primitive
law. Family jurisdiction, as we find it, for instance, in an advanced
community such as ancient Rome, meant the right of the _pater familias_,
the head of the house, to subject his _familia_, or household, which
included his wife, his children (up to a certain age), and his slaves,
to such domestic discipline as he saw fit. Such family jurisdiction
was more or less completely independent of state jurisdiction; and,
indeed, has remained so in Europe until comparatively recent times.

What light, then, does the study of primitive society throw on the
first beginnings of family law as administered by the house-father?
To answer this question at all adequately would involve the writing
of many pages on the evolution of the family. For our present purpose,
all turns on the distinction between the matripotestal and the
patripotestal family. If the man and the woman were left to fight it
out alone, the latter, despite the "shrewish sanction" that she
possesses in her tongue, must inevitably bow to the principle that
might is right. But, as long as marriage is matrilocal--that is to
say, allows the wife to remain at home amongst male defenders of her
own clan--she can safely lord it over her stranger husband; and there
can scarcely be adultery on her part, since she can always obtain
divorce by simply saying, Go! Things grow more complicated when the
wife lives amongst her husband's people, and, nevertheless, the system
of counting descent favours her side of the family and not his. Does
the mere fact that descent is matrilineal tend to imply on the whole
that the mother's kin take a more active interest in her, and are more
effective in protecting her from hurt, whether undeserved or deserved?
It is no easy problem to settle. Dr. Steinmetz, however, in his
important work on _The Evolution of Punishment_ (in German), seeks
to show that under mother-right, in all its forms taken together, the
adulteress is more likely to escape with a light penalty, or with none
at all, than under father-right. Whatever be the value of the
statistical method that he employs, at any rate it makes out the death
penalty to be inflicted in only a third of his cases under the former
system, but in about half under the latter.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must be content with a mere glance at other types of wrong-doing
which, whilst sooner or later recognized by the law of the community,
affect its members in their individual capacity. Theft and slander
are cases in point.

Amongst the ruder savages there cannot be much stealing, because there
is next to nothing to steal. Nevertheless, groups are apt to quarrel
over hunting and fishing claims; whilst the division of the spoils
of the chase may give rise to disputes, which call for the interposition
of leading men. We even occasionally find amongst Australians the
formal duel employed to decide cases of the violation of
property-rights. Not, however, until the arts of life have advanced,
and wealth has created the two classes of "haves" and "have-nots,"
does theft become an offence of the first magnitude, which the central
authority punishes with corresponding severity.

As regards slander, though it might seem a slight matter, it must be
remembered that the savage cannot stand up for a moment again an adverse
public opinion; so that to rob him of his good name is to take away
all that makes life worth living. To shout out, Long-nose! Sunken-eyes!
or Skin-and-bone! usually leads to a fight in Andamanese circles, as
Mr. Man informs us. Nor, again, is it conducive to peace in Australian
society to sing as follows about the staying-powers of a
fellow-tribesman temporarily overtaken by European liquor: "Spirit
like emu--as a whirlwind--pursues--lays violent hold on
travelling--uncle of mine (this being particularly derisive)--tired
out with fatigue--throws himself down helpless." Amongst more advanced
peoples, therefore, slander and abuse are sternly checked. They
constitute a ground for a civil action in Kafir law; whilst we even
hear of an African tribe, the Ba-Ngindo, who rejoice in the special
institution of a peace-maker, whose business is to compose troubles
arising from this vexatious source.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now turn to another class of offences, such as, from the first,
are regarded as so prejudicial to the public interest that the
community as a whole must forcibly put them down.

Cases of what may be termed military discipline fall under this head.
Even when the functions of the commander are undeveloped, and war is
still "an affair of armed mobs," shirking--a form of crime which, to
do justice to primitive society, is rare--is promptly and effectively
resented by the host. Amongst American tribes the coward's arms are
taken away from him; he is made to eat with the dogs; or perhaps a
shower of arrows causes him to "run the gauntlet." The traitor, on
the other hand, is inevitably slain without mercy--tied to a tree and
shot, or, it may be, literally hacked to pieces. Naturally, with the
evolution of war, these spontaneous outbursts of wrath and disgust
give way to a more formal system of penalties. To trace out this
development fully, however, would entail a lengthy disquisition on
the growth of kingship in one of its most important aspects. If constant
fighting turns the tribe into something like a standing army, the
position of war-lord, as, for instance, amongst the Zulus, is bound
to become both permanent and of all-embracing authority. There is,
however, another side to the history of kingship, as the following
considerations will help to make clear.

Public safety is construed by the ruder type of man not so much in
terms of freedom from physical danger--unless such a danger, the onset
of another tribe, for instance, is actually imminent--as in terms of
freedom from spiritual, or mystic, danger. The fear of ill-luck, in
other words, is the bogy that haunts him night and day. Hence his life
is enmeshed, as Dr. Frazer puts it, in a network of taboos. A taboo
is anything that one must not do lest ill-luck befall. And ill-luck
is catching, like an infectious disease. If my next-door neighbour
breaks a taboo, and brings down a visitation on himself, depend upon
it some of its unpleasant consequences will be passed on to me and
mine. Hence, if some one has committed an act that is not merely a
crime but a sin, it is every one's concern to wipe out that sin; which
is usually done by wiping out the sinner. Mobbish feeling always
inclines to violence. In the mob, as a French psychologist has said,
ideas neutralize each other, but emotions aggrandize each other. Now
war-feeling is a mobbish experience that, I daresay, some of my readers
have tasted; and we have seen how it leads the unorganized levy of
a savage tribe to make short work of the coward and traitor. But
war-fever is a mild variety of mobbish experience as compared with
panic in any form, and with superstitious panic most of all. Being
attacked in the dark, as it were, causes the strongest to lose their

Hence it is not hard to understand how it comes about that the violator
of a taboo is the central object of communal vengeance in primitive
society. The most striking instance of such a taboo-breaker is the
man or woman who disregards the prohibition against marriage within
the kin--in other words, violates the law of exogamy. To be thus guilty
of incest is to incite in the community at large a horror which, venting
itself in what Bagehot calls a "wild spasm of wild justice," involves
certain death for the offender. To interfere with a grave, to pry into
forbidden mysteries, to eat forbidden meats, and so on, are further
examples of transgressions liable to be thus punished.

Falling under the same general category of sin, though distinct from
the violation of taboo, is witchcraft. This consists in trafficking,
or at any rate in being supposed to traffic, with powers of evil for
sinister and anti-social ends. We have only to remember how England,
in the seventeenth century, could work itself up into a frenzy on this
account to realize how, in an African society even of the better sort,
the "smelling-out" and destroying of a witch may easily become a
general panacea for quieting the public nerves.

When crimes and sins, affairs of state and affairs of church thus
overlap and commingle in primitive jurisprudence, it is no wonder if
the functions of those who administer the law should tend to display
a similar fusion of aspects. The chief, or king, has a "divine right,"
and is himself in one or another sense divine, even whilst he takes
the lead in regard to all such matters as are primarily secular. The
earliest written codes, such as the Mosaic Books of the Law, with their
strange medley of injunctions concerning things profane and sacred,
accurately reflect the politico-religious character of all primitive

Indeed, it is only by an effort of abstraction that the present chapter
has been confined to the subject of law, as distinguished from the
subject of the following chapter, namely, religion. Any crime, as
notably murder, and even under certain circumstances theft, is apt
to be viewed by the ruder peoples either as a violation of taboo, or
as some closely related form of sin. Nay, within the limits of the
clan, legal punishment can scarcely be said to be in theory possible;
the sacredness of the blood-tie lending to any chastisement that may
be inflicted on an erring kinsman the purely religious complexion of
a sacrifice, an act of excommunication, a penance, or what not. Thus
almost insensibly we are led on to the subject of religion from the
study of the legal sanction; this very term "sanction," which is
derived from Roman law, pointing in the same direction, since it
originally stood for the curse which was appended in order to secure
the inviolability of a legal enactment.


"How can there be a History of Religions?" once objected a French
senator. "For either one believes in a religion, and then everything
in it appears natural; or one does not believe in it, and then
everything in it appears absurd!"

This was said some thirty years ago, when it was a question of founding
the now famous chair of the General History of Religions at the College
de France. At that time, such chairs were almost unheard of. Now-a-days
the more important universities of the world, to reckon them alone,
can show at least thirty.

What is the significance of this change? It means that the parochial
view of religion is out of date. The religious man has to be a man
of the world, a man of the wider world, an anthropologist. He has to
recognize that there is a "soul of truth" in other religions besides
his own.

It will be replied--and I fully realize the force of the
objection--that history, and therefore anthropology, has nothing to
do with truth or falsehood--in a word, with value. In strict theory,
this is so. Its business is to describe and generalize fact; and
religion from first to last might be pure illusion or even delusion,
and it would be fact none the less on that account.

At the same time, being men, we all find it hard, nay impossible, to
study mankind impartially. When we say that we are going to play the
historian, or the anthropologist, and to put aside for the time being
all consideration of the moral of the story we seek to unfold, we are
merely undertaking to be as fair all round as we can. Willy nilly,
however, we are sure to colour our history, to the extent, at any rate,
of taking a hopeful or a gloomy view of man's past achievements, as
bearing on his present condition and his future prospects.

In the same way, then, I do not believe that we can help thinking to
ourselves all the time, when we are tracing out the history of
world-religion, either that there is "nothing in it" at all, or that
there is "something in it," whatever form it assume, and whether it
hold itself to be revealed (as it almost always does) or not. On the
latter estimate of religion, however, it is still quite possible to
judge that one form of religion is infinitely higher and better than
another. Religion, regarded historically, is in evolution. The best
form of religion that we can attain to is inevitably the best for us;
but, as a worse form preceded it, so a better form, we must allow and
even desire, may follow. Now, frankly, I am one of those who take the
more sympathetic view of historical religion; an I say so at once,
in case my interpretation of the facts turn out to be coloured by this
sanguine assumption.

Moreover, I think that we may easily exaggerate the differences in
culture and, more especially, in religious insight and understanding
that exist between the ruder peoples and ourselves. In view of our
common hope, and our common want of knowledge, I would rather identify
religion with a general striving of humanity than with the exclusive
pretension of any one people or sect. Who knows, for instance, the
final truth about what happens to the soul at death? I am quite ready
to admit, indeed, that some of us can see a little farther into a brick
wall than, say, Neanderthal man. Yet when I find facts that appear
to prove that Neanderthal man buried his dead with ceremony, and to
the best of his means equipped them for a future life, I openly confess
that I would rather stretch out a hand across the ages and greet him
as my brother and fellow-pilgrim than throw in my lot with the
self-righteous folk who seem to imagine this world and the next to
have been created for their exclusive benefit.

Now the trouble with anthropologists is to find a working definition
of religion on which they can agree. Christianity is religion, all
would have to admit. Again, Mahomedanism is religion, for all
anthropological purposes. But, when a naked savage "dances" his
god--when the spoken part of the rite simply consists, as amongst the
south-eastern Australians, in shouting "Daramulun! Daramulun!" (the
god's name), so that we cannot be sure whether the dancers are indulging
in a prayer or in an incantation--is that religion? Or, worse still,
suppose that no sort of personal god can be discovered at the back
of the performance--which consists, let us say, as amongst the central
Australians, in solemnly rubbing a bull-roarer on the stomach, so that
its mystic virtues may cause the man to become "good" and "glad" and
"strong" (for that is his own way of describing the spiritual
effects)--is that religion, in any sense that can link it historically
with, say, the Christian type of religion?

No, say some, these low-class dealings with the unseen are magic, not
religion. The rude folk in question do not go the right way about
putting themselves into touch with the unseen. They try to put pressure
on the unseen, to control it. They ought to conciliate it, by bowing
to its will. Their methods may be earnest, but they are not propitiatory.
There is too much "My will be done" about it all.

Unfortunately, two can play at this game of _ex-parte_ definition.
The more unsympathetic type of historian, relentlessly pursuing the
clue afforded by this distinction between control and conciliation,
professes himself able to discover plenty of magic even in the higher
forms of religion. The rite as such--say, churchgoing as such--appears
to be reckoned by some of the devout as not without a certain intrinsic
efficacy. "Very well," says this school, "then a good deal of average
Christianity is magic."

My own view, then, is that this distinction will only lead us into
trouble. And, to my mind, it adds to the confusion if it be further
laid down, as some would do, that this sort of dealing with the unseen
which, on the face of it, and according to our notions, seems rather
mechanical (being, as it were, an effort to get a hold on some hidden
force) is so far from being akin to religion that its true affinity
is with natural science. The natural science of to-day, I quite admit,
has in part evolved out of experiments with the occult; just as law,
fine art, and almost every other one of our higher interests have
likewise done. But just so long and so far as it was occult science,
I would maintain, it was not natural science at all, but, as it were,
rather supernatural science. Besides, much of our natural science has
grown up out of straightforward attempts to carry out mechanical work
on industrial lines--to smelt iron, let us say; but since then, as
now, there were numerous trade-secrets, an atmosphere of mystery was
apt to surround the undertaking, which helped to give it the air of
a trafficking with the uncanny. But because science then, as even now
sometimes, was thought by the ignorant to be somehow closely associated
with all the powers of evil, it does not follow that then or now the
true affinity of science must be with the devil.

Magic and religion, according to the view I would support, belong to
the same department of human experience--one of the two great
departments, the two worlds, one might almost call them, into which
human experience, throughout its whole history, has been divided.
Together they belong to the supernormal world, the _x_-region of
experience, the region of mental twilight.

Magic I take to include all bad ways, and religion all good ways, of
dealing with the supernormal--bad and good, of course, not as we may
happen to judge them, but as the society concerned judges them.
Sometimes, indeed, the people themselves hardly know where to draw
the line between the two; and, in that case, the anthropologist cannot
well do it for them. But every primitive society thinks witchcraft
bad. Witchcraft consists in leaguing oneself with supernormal powers
of evil in order to effect selfish and anti-social ends. Witchcraft,
then, is genuine magic--black magic of the devil's colour. On the other
hand, every primitive society also distinguishes certain salutary ways
of dealing with supernormal powers. All these ways taken together
constitute religion. For the rest, there will always be a mass of more
or less evaporated beliefs, going with practices that have more or
less lost their hold on the community. These belong to the folklore
which every people has. Under this or some closely related head must
also be set down the mass of mere wonder-tales, due to the play of
fancy, and without direct bearing on the serious pursuits of life.

The world to which neither magic nor religion belongs, but to which
physical science, the knowledge of how to deal mechanically with
material things, does belong wholly, is the workaday world, the region
of normal, commonplace, calculable happenings. With our telescopes
and microscopes we see farther and deeper into things than does the
savage. Yet the savage has excellent eyes. What he sees he sees.
Consequently, we must duly allow for the fact that there is for him,
as well as for us, a "natural," that is to say, normal and workaday
world; even though it be far narrower in extent than ours. The savage
is not perpetually spook-haunted. On the contrary, when he is engaged
on the daily round, and all is going well, he is as careless and happy
as a child.

But savage life has few safeguards. Crisis is a frequent, if
intermittent, element in it. Hunger, sickness and war are examples
of crisis. Birth and death are crises. Marriage is usually regarded
by humanity as a crisis. So is initiation--the turning-point in one's
career, when one steps out into the world of men. Now what, in terms
of mind, does crisis mean? It means that one is at one's wits' end;
that the ordinary and expected has been replaced by the extraordinary
and unexpected; that we are projected into the world of the unknown.
And in that world of the unknown we must miserably abide until, somehow,
confidence is restored.

Psychologically regarded, then, the function of religion is to restore
men's confidence when it is shaken by crisis. Men do not seek crisis;
they would always run away from it, if they could. Crisis seeks them;
and, whereas the feebler folk are ready to succumb, the bolder spirits
face it. Religion is the facing of the unknown. It is the courage in
it that brings comfort.[6]

[Footnote 6: The courage involved in all live religion normally
coexists with a certain modesty or humility. I have tried to work out
this point elsewhere in a short study entitled _The Birth of

We must go on, however, to consider religion sociologically. A religion
is the effort to face crisis, so far as that effort is organized by
society in some particular way. A religion is congregational--that
is to say, serves the ends of a number of persons simultaneously. It
is traditional--that is to say, has served the ends of successive
generations of persons. Therefore inevitably it has standardized a
method. It involves a routine, a ritual. Also it involves some sort
of conventional doctrine, which is, as it were, the inner side of the
ritual--its lining.

Now in what follows I shall insist, in the first instance, on this
sociological side of religion. For anthropological purposes it is the
sounder plan. We must altogether eschew that "Robinson Crusoe method"
which consists in reconstructing the creed of a solitary savage, who
is supposed to evolve his religion out of his inner consciousness:
"The mountain frowns, therefore it is alive"; "I move about in my dreams
whilst my body lies still, therefore I have a soul," and so on. No
doubt somebody had to think these things, for they are thoughts. But
he did not think them, at any rate did not think them out, alone. Men
thought them out together; nay, whole ages of living and thinking
together have gone to make them what they are. So a social method is
needed to explain them.

The religion of a savage is part of his custom; nay, rather, it is
his whole custom so far as it appears sacred--so far as it coerces
him by way of his imagination. Between him and the unknown stands
nothing but his custom. It is his all-in-all, his stand-by, his faith
and his hope. Being thus the sole source of his confidence, his custom,
so far as his imagination plays about it, becomes his "luck." We may
say that any and every custom, in so far as it is regarded as lucky,
is a religious rite.

Hence the conservatism inherent in religion. "Nothing," says Robertson
Smith, "appeals so strongly as religion to the conservative
instincts." "The history of religion," once exclaimed Dr. Frazer, "is
a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound
theory for absurd practice." At first sight one is apt to see nothing
but the absurdities in savage custom and religion. After all, these
are what strike us most, being the curiosity-hunters that we all are.
But savage custom and religion must be taken as a whole, the bad side
with the good. Of course, if we have to do with a primitive society
on the down-grade--and very few that have been "civilizaded," as John
Stuart Mill terms it, at the hands of the white man are not on the
down-grade--its disorganized and debased custom no longer serves a
vital function. But a healthy society is bound, in a wholesale way,
to have a healthy custom. Though it may go about the business in a
queer and roundabout fashion, it must hit off the general requirements
of the situation. Therefore I shall not waste time, as I might easily
do, in piling up instances of outlandish "superstitions," whether
horrible and disgusting, from our more advanced point of view, or
merely droll and silly. On the contrary, I would rather make it my
working assumption that, with all its apparent drawbacks, the religion
of a human society, if the latter be a going concern, is always
something to be respected.

In considering, however, the relation of religion to custom, we are
met by the apparent difficulty that, whereas custom implies "Do," the
prevailing note of primitive religion would seem rather to consist
in "Do not." But there is really no antagonism between them on this
account. As the old Greek proverb has it, "There is only one way of
going right, but there are infinite ways of going wrong." Hence, a
nice observance of custom of itself involves endless taboos. Since
a given line of conduct is lucky, then this or that alternative course
of behaviour must be unlucky. There is just this difference between
positive customs or rites, which cause something to be done, and
negative customs or rites, which cause something to be left undone,
that the latter appeal more exclusively to the imagination for their
sanction, and are therefore more conspicuously and directly a part
of religion. "Why should I do this?" is answered well-nigh sufficiently
by saying, "Because it is the custom, because it is right." It seems
hardly necessary to add, "Because it will bring luck." But "Why should
I not do something else instead?" meets, in the primitive society,
with the invariable answer, "Because, if you do, something awful will
happen to us all." What precise shape the ill-luck will take need not
be specified. The suggestion rather gains than loses by the
indefiniteness of its appeal to the imagination.

       *       *       *       *       *

To understand more clearly the difference between negative and
positive types of custom as associated with religion, let us examine
in some detail an example of each. It will be well to select our cases
from amongst those that show the custom and the religion to be quite
inseparable--to be, in short, but two aspects of one and the same fact.
Now nothing could be more commonplace and secular a custom than that
of providing for one's dinner. Yet for primitive society this custom
tends to be likewise a rite--a rite which may, however, be mainly
negative and precautionary, or mainly positive and practical in
character, as we shall now see.

The Todas, so well described by Dr. Rivers, are a small community,
less than a thousand all told, who have retired out of the stress of
the world into the fastnesses of the Nilgiri Hills, in southern India,
where they spend a safe but decidedly listless life. They are in a
backwater, and are likely to remain there. At any rate, their religion
is not such as to make them more enterprising. Gods they may be said
to have none. The bare names of certain deities of the hill-tops are
retained, but whether these were once the honoured gods of the Todas
or, as some think, those of a former race, certain it is that there
is more shadow than substance about them now. The real religion of
the people centres round a dairy-ritual. From a practical and economic
point of view, the work of the dairy consists in converting the milk
of their buffaloes into the butter and buttermilk which constitute
their staple diet. From a religious point of view, it consists in
converting something they dare not eat into something they can eat.

Many, though not all, of their buffaloes are sacred, and their milk
may not be drunk. The reason why it may not be drunk anthropologists
may cast about to discover, but the Todas themselves do not know. All
that they know, and are concerned to know, is that things would somehow
all go wrong, if any one were foolish enough to commit such a sin.
So in the Toda temple, which is a dairy, the Toda priest, who is the
dairyman, sets about rendering the sacred products harmless. The dairy
has two compartments--one sacred, the other profane. In the first are
stored the sacred vessels, into which the milk is placed when it comes
from the buffaloes, and in which it is turned into butter and buttermilk
with the help of some of the previous brew, this having meanwhile been
put by in an especially sacred vessel. In the second compartment are
profane vessels, destined to receive the butter and buttermilk, after
they have been carefully transferred from the sacred vessels with the
help of an intermediary vessel, which stands exactly on the line
between the two compartments. This transference, being carried out
to the accompaniment of all sorts of reverential gestures and
utterances, secures such a profanation of the sacred substance as is
without the evil consequences that would otherwise be entailed. Thus
the ritual is essentially precautionary. A taboo is the hinge of the
whole affair.

And the tendency of such a negative type of religion is to pile
precautions on precautions. Thus the dairyman, in order to be equal
to his sacred office, must observe taboos without end. He must be
celibate. He must avoid all contact with the dead. He is limited to
certain kinds of food; which, moreover, must be prepared in a certain
way, and consumed in a certain place. His drink, again, is a special
milk, which must be poured out with prescribed formulas. He is
inaccessible to ordinary folk save on certain days and in certain ways,
their mode of approach, their salutations, his greeting in reply, being
all regulated with the utmost nicety. He can only wear a special garb.
He must never cut his hair. His nails must be suffered to grow long.
And so on and so forth. Such disabilities, indeed, are wont to
circumscribe the life of all sacred persons, and can be matched from
every part of the world. But they may fairly be cited here, as helping
to fill in the picture of what I have called the precautionary or
negative type of religious ritual.

Further, there is something rotten in the state of Toda religion. The
dairymen struck Dr. Rivers as very slovenly in the performance of their
duties, as well as vague and inaccurate in their accounts of what ought
to be done. Indeed, it was hard to find persons willing to undertake
the office. Ritual duties involving uncomfortable taboos were apt to
be thrust on youngsters. The youngsters, being youngsters, would
probably violate the taboos; but anyway that was their look-out. From
evasions to fictions is but a step. Hence when an unclean person
approached the dairyman, the latter would simply pretend not to see
him. Or the rule that he must not enter a hut, if women were within,
would be circumvented by simply removing from the dwelling the three
emblems of womanhood, the pounder, the sieve, and the sweeper;
whereupon his "face was saved." Now wherefore all this lack of
earnestness? Dr. Rivers thinks that too much ritual was the reason.
I agree; but would venture to add, "too much negative ritual." A
religion that is all dodging must produce a sneaking kind of

Now let us turn another type of primitive religion that is equally
identified with the food-quest, but allied to its positive and active
functions, which it seeks to help out. Messrs. Spencer and Gillen have
given us a most minute account of certain ceremonies of the Arunta,
a people of central Australia. These ceremonies they have named
_Intichiuma_, and the name will probably stick, though there is reason
to believe that the native word for them is really something different.
Their purpose is to make the food-animals and food-plants multiply
and prosper. Each animal or plant is attended to by the group that
has it for a totem. (Totemism amongst this very remarkable people has
nothing to do either with exogamy or with lineage; but that is a subject
into which it is impossible to go here.) The rites vary considerably
from totem to totem, but a typical case or two may be cited.

The witchetty-grub men, for instance, want the grubs to multiply, that
there may be plenty for their fellows to eat. So they wend their way
along a certain path which tradition declares to have been traversed
by the great leader of the witchetty-grubs of the days of long ago.
(These were grubs transformed into men, who became by reincarnation
ancestors of the present totemites.) The path brings them to a place
in the hills where there is a big stone surrounded by many small stones.
The big stone is the adult animal, the little stones are its eggs.
So first they tap the big stone, chanting an invitation to it to lay
eggs. Then the master of the ceremonies rubs the stomach of each
totemite with the little stones, and says, "You have eaten much food."

Or, again, the Kangaroo men repair to a place called Undiara. It is
a picturesque spot. By the side of a water-hole that is sheltered by
a tall gum-tree rises a curiously gnarled and weather-beaten face of
quartzite rock. About twenty feet from the base a ledge juts out. When
the totemites hold their ceremony, they repair to this ledge. For here
in the days of long ago the ancestors who are now reincarnated in them
cooked and ate kangaroo food; and here, moreover, the kangaroo animals
of that time deposited their spirit-parts. First the face of the rock
below the ledge is decorated with long stripes of red ochre and white
gypsum, to represent the red fur and white bones of the kangaroo. It
is, in fact, one of those rock-paintings such as the palaeolithic men
of Europe made in their caves. Then a number of men, say, seven or
eight, mount upon the ledge, and, whilst the rest sing solemn chants
about the prospective increase of the kangaroos, these men open veins
in their arms, so that the blood flows down freely upon the ceremonial
stone. This is the first part of the rite. The second part is no less
interesting. After the blood-letting, they hunt until they kill a
kangaroo. Thereupon the old men of the totem eat a little of the meat;
then they smear some of the fat on the bodies of all the party; finally,
they divide the flesh amongst them. Afterwards, the totemites paint
their bodies with stripes in imitation of the design upon the rock.
A second hunt, followed by a second sacramental meal, concludes the
whole ceremony. That their meal is sacramental, a sort of communion
service, is proved by the fact that henceforth in an ordinary way they
allow themselves to partake of kangaroo meat at most but very sparingly,
and of certain portions of the flesh not at all.

One more example of these rites may be cited, in order to bring out
the earnestness of this type of religion, which is concerned with doing,
instead of mere not-doing. There is none of the Toda perfunctoriness
here. It will be enough to glance at the commencement of the ritual
of the honey-ant totemites. The master of the ceremonies places his
hand as if he were shading his eyes, and gazes intently in the direction
of the sacred place to which they are about to repair. As he does so,
the rest kneel, forming a straight line behind him. In this position
they remain for some time, whilst the leader chants in a subdued tone.
Then all stand up. The company must now start. The leader, who has
fallen to the rear, that he may marshal the column in perfect line,
gives the signal. Then they move off in single file, taking a direct
course to the holy ground, marching in perfect silence, and with
measured step, as if something of the profoundest import were about
to take place.

I make no apology for describing these proceedings at some length.
It is necessary to my argument to convey the impression that the
essentials of religion are present in these apparently godless
observances of the ruder peoples. They arise directly out of custom--in
this case the hunting custom. Their immediate design is to provide
these people with their daily bread. Yet their appeal to the
imagination--which in religion, as in science, art, and philosophy,
is the impulse that presides over all progress, all creative
evolution--is such that the food-quest is charged with new and deeper
meaning. Not bread alone, but something even more sustaining to the
life of man, is suggested by these tangled and obscure solemnities.
They are penetrated by quickenings of sacrifice, prayer, and communion.
They bring to bear on the need of the hour all the promise of that
miraculous past, which not only cradled the race, but still yields
it the stock of reincarnated soul-force that enables it to survive.
If, then, these rites are part and parcel of mere magic, most, or all,
of what the world knows as religion must be mere magic. But it is better
for anthropology to call things by the names that they are known by
in the world of men--that is, in the wider world, not in some corner
or coterie of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

In order to bring out more fully the second point that I have been
trying to make, namely, the close interdependence between religion
and custom in primitive society, let me be allowed to quote one more
example of the ritual of a rude people. And again let us resort to
native Australia, though this time to the south-eastern corner of it;
since in Australia we have a cultural development on the whole very
low, having been as it were arrested through isolation, yet one that
turns out to be not incompatible with high religion in the making.

Initiation in native Australia is the equivalent of what is known
amongst ourselves as the higher education. The only difference is that,
with them, every one who is not judged utterly unfit is duly initiated;
whereas, with us, the higher education is offered to some who are unfit,
whilst many who are fit never have the luck to get it. The
initiation-custom is intended to tide the boys over the difficult time
of puberty, and turn them into responsible men. The whole of the adult
males assist in the ceremonies. Special men, however, are told off
to tutor the youth--a lengthy business, since it entails a retirement,
perhaps for six months, into the bush with their charges; who are there
taught the tribal traditions, and are generally admonished, sometimes
forcibly, for their good. Further, this is rather like a retirement
into a monastery for the young men, seeing that during all the time
they are strictly taboo, or in other words in a holy state that involves
much fasting and mortification of the flesh. At last comes the time
when their actual passage across the threshold of manhood has to be
celebrated. The rites may be described in one word as impressive.
Society wishes to set a stamp on their characters, and believes in
stamping hard. Physically, then, the lads feel the force of society.
A tooth is knocked out, they are tossed in the air to make them grow
tall, and so on--rites that, whilst they may have separate occult ends
in view, are completely at one in being highly unpleasant.

Spiritual means of education, however, are always more effective than
physical, if designed and applied with sufficient wisdom. The
bull-roarer, of which something has been already said, furnishes the
ceremonies with a background of awe. It fills the woods, that surround
the secret spot where the rites are held, with the rise and fall of
its weird music, suggestive of a mighty rushing wind, of spirits in
the air. Not until the boys graduate as men do they learn how the sound
is produced. Even when they do learn this, the mystery of the voice
speaking through the chip of wood merely wings the imagination for
loftier flights. Whatever else the high god of these mysteries,
Daramulun, may be for these people--and undoubtedly all sorts of trains
of confused thinking meet in the notion of him--he is at any rate the
god of the bull-roarer, who has put his voice into the sacred instrument.
But Daramulun is likewise endowed with a human form; for they set up
an image of him rudely shaped in wood, and round about it dance and
shout his name. Daramulun instituted these rites, as well as all the
other immemorial rites of the assembled tribe or tribes. So when over
the heads of the boys, prostrated on the ground, are recited solemnly
what Mr. Lang calls "the ten commandments," that bid them honour the
elders, respect the marriage law, and so on, there looms up before
their minds the figure of the ultimate law-giver; whilst his unearthly
voice becomes for them the voice of the law. Thus is custom exalted,
and its coercive force amplified, by the suggestion of a power--in
this case a definitely personal power--that "makes for righteousness,"
and, whilst beneficent, is full of terror for offenders.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now it may seem high time to pass on from the sociological and
external view that has hitherto been taken of primitive religion to
a psychological view of it--one that should endeavour to disclose the
hidden motives, the spiritual sources, of the beliefs that underlie
and sustain the customary practices. But precisely at this point the
anthropological treatment of religion is apt to prove unsatisfactory.
History can record that such and such is done with far more certainty
than that such and such a state of mind accompanies and inspires the
doing. Besides, the savage is no authority on the why and wherefore
of his customs. "However else would a reasonable being think of
acting?" is his sufficient reason, as we have already seen. Not but
what the higher minds amongst savages reflect in their own way upon
the meaning of their customs and rites. But most of this reflection
is no more than an elaborate "justification after the event." The mind
invents what Mr. Kipling would call a "Just-so story" to account for
something already there. How it might have come about, not how it did
come about, is all that the professed explanation amounts to. And when
it comes to choosing amongst mere possibilities, the anthropologist,
instead of consulting the savage, may just as well endeavour to do
it for himself.

Now anthropological theories of the origin of religion seem to me to
go wrong mainly because they seek to simplify too much. Having got
down to what they take to be a root-idea, they straightway proclaim
it _the_ root-idea. I believe that religion has just as few, or as
many, roots as human life and mind.

The theory of the origin of religion that may be said to hold the field,
because it is the view of the greatest of living anthropologists, is
Dr. Tylor's theory of animism. The term animism is derived from the
Latin _anima_, which--like the corresponding word _spiritus_, whence
our "spirit"--signifies the breath, and hence the soul, which
primitive folk tend to identify with the breath. Dr. Tylor's theory
of animism, then, as set forth in his great work, _Primitive Culture_,
is that "the belief in spiritual beings" will do as a definition of
religion taken at its least; which for him means the same thing as
taken at its earliest. Now what is a "spiritual being"? Clearly
everything turns on that. Dr. Tylor's general treatment of the subject
seems to lay most of the emphasis on the phantasm. A phantasm (as the
etymology of the word shows) is essentially an appearance. In a dream
or hallucination one sees figures, more or less dim, but still having
"vaporous materiality." So, too, the shadow is something without body
that one can see; though the breath, except on a frosty day, shows
its subtle but yet sensible nature rather by being felt than by being
seen. Now there can be no doubt that the phantasm plays a considerable
part in primitive religion (as well as in those fancies of the primitive
mind that have never found their way into religion, at all events into
religion as identified with organized cult). Savages see ghosts,
though probably not more frequently than we do; they have vivid dreams,
and are much impressed by their dream-experiences; and so on. Besides,
the phantasm forms a very convenient half-way house between the seen
and the unseen; and there can be no doubt that the savage often says
breath, shadow, and so forth, when he is trying to think and mean
something immaterial altogether.

But animism would seem sometimes to be used by Dr. Tylor in a wider
sense, namely, as "a doctrine of universal vitality." In dealing with
the myths of the ruder peoples, as, for example, those about the sun,
moon, and stars, he shows how "a general animation of nature" is implied.
The primitive man reads himself into these things, which, according
to our science, are without life or personality. He thinks that they
have a different kind of body, but the same kind of feelings and motives.
But this is not necessarily to think that they are capable of giving
off a phantasm, as a man does when his soul temporarily leaves him,
or when after death his soul becomes a ghost. There need be nothing
ghost-like about the sun, whether it is imagined as a shining orb,
or as a shining being of human shape to whom the orb belongs. There
is not anything in the least phantasmal about the Greek god Apollo.
I think, then, that we had better distinguish this wider sense of
animism by a different name, calling it "animatism," since that will
serve at once to disconnect and to connect the two conceptions.

I am not sure, however, how far we ought to press this "doctrine of
universal vitality." Does a savage, for instance, when he is hammering
at a piece of flint think of it as other than a "thing," any more than
we should? I doubt it. He may say "Confound you!" if it suddenly snaps
in two, just as we might do. But though the language may seem to imply
a "you," he would mean, I believe, to impute to the flint just as much,
or as little, of personality as we should mean to do when using similar
language. In other words, I believe that, within the world of his
ordinary work-a-day experience, he recognizes both things and persons;
without giving a thought, in either case, to the hidden principles
that make them be what they are, and act as they do.

When, on the other hand, the thing, or the person, falls within the
world of supernormal experience, when they strike the imagination as
wonderful and wonder-working, then there is much more reason why he
should seek to account to himself for the mystery in, or behind, the
strange appearance. Howitt, who knew his Australian natives intimately,
cites the following as "a good example of how the native mind works."
To the black-fellow his club or his spear are part and parcel of his
ordinary life. There is no, "medicine," no "devil," in them. If they
are to be made supernaturally potent, they must be specially charmed.
But it is quite otherwise with his spear-thrower or his bull-roarer.
The former for no obvious reason enables him to throw his spear
extraordinarily far. (I have myself seen an Australian spear, with
the help of the spear-thrower, fly a hundred and fifty yards, and strike
true and deep at the end of its flight.) The latter emits the noise
of thunder, though a mere chip of wood on the end of a string. These,
then, are in themselves "medicine." There is "virtue" in, or behind,

Is, then, to attribute "virtue" the same thing, necessarily, as to
attribute vitality? Are the spear-thrower and the bull-roarer
inevitably thought of as alive? Or are they, as a matter of course,
endowed with soul or spirit? Or may there be also an impersonal kind
of "virtue," "medicine," or whatever the wonder-working power in the
wonder-working thing is to be called? Now there is evidence that the
savage himself, in speaking about these matters, sometimes says power,
sometimes vitality, sometimes spirit. But the simplest way of
disposing of these questions is to remember that such fine distinctions
as these, which theorists may seek to draw, do not appeal at all to
the savage himself. For him the only fact that matters is that, whereas
some things in the world are ordinary, and can be reckoned on, other
things cannot be reckoned on, but are wonder-working.

Moreover, of wonder-working things, some are good and some are bad.
To get all the good kind of wonder-workers on to his side, so as to
confound the bad kind--that is what his religion is there to do for
him. "May blessings come, may mischiefs go!" is the import of his
religious striving, whether anthropologists class it as spell or as

Now the function of religion, it has been assumed, is to restore
confidence, when man is mazed, and out of his depth, fearful of the
mysteries that obtrude on his life, yet compelled, if not exactly
wishful, to face them and wrest from them whatever help is in them.
This function religion fulfils by what may be described in one word
as "suggestion." How the suggestion works psychologically--how, for
instance, association of ideas, the so-called "sympathetic magic,"
predominates at the lower levels of religious experience--is a
difficult and technical question which cannot be discussed here.
Religion stands by when there is something to be done, and suggests
that it can be done well and successfully; nay, that it is being so
done. And, when the religion is of the effective sort, the believers
respond to the suggestion, and put the thing through. As the Latin
poet says, "they can because they think they can."

What, from the anthropological point of view, is the effective sort
of religion, the sort that survives because, on the whole, those whom
it helps survive? It is dangerous to make sweeping generalizations,
but there is at any rate a good deal to be said for classing the world's
religions either as mechanical and ineffective, or as spiritual and
effective. The mechanical kind offers its consolations in the shape
of a set of implements. The "virtue" resides in certain rites and
formularies. These, as we have seen, are especially liable to harden
into mere mechanism when they are of the negative and precautionary
type. The spiritual kind of religion, on the other hand, which is
especially associated with the positive and active functions of life,
tends to read will and personality into the wonder-working powers that
it summons to man's aid. The will and personality in the worshippers
are in need not so much of implements as of more will and personality.
They get this from a spiritual kind of religion; which in one way or
another always suggests a society, a communion, as at once the means
and the end of vital betterment.

To say that religion works by suggestion is only to say that it works
through the imagination. There is good make-believe as well as bad;
and one must necessarily imagine and make-believe in order to will.
The more or less inarticulate and intuitional forces of the mind,
however, need to be supplemented by the power of articulate reasoning,
if the will is to make good its twofold character of a faculty of ends
that is likewise a faculty of the means to those ends. Suggestion,
in short, must be purged by criticism before it can serve as the guide
of the higher life. To bring this point out will be the object of the
following chapter.


Space is running out fast, and it is quite impossible to grapple with
the details of so vast a subject as primitive morality. For these the
reader must consult Dr. Westermarck's monumental treatise, _The Origin
and Development of the Moral Ideas_, which brings together an immense
quantity of facts, under a clear and comprehensive scheme of headings.
He will discover, by the way, that, whereas customs differ immensely,
the emotions, one may even say the sentiments, that form the raw
material of morality are much the same everywhere.

Here it will be of most use to sketch the psychological groundwork
of primitive morality, as contrasted with morality of the more advanced
type. In pursuance of the plan hitherto followed, let us try to move
yet another step on from the purely exterior view of human life towards
our goal; which is to appreciate the true inwardness of human life--so
far at least as this is matter for anthropology, which reaches no
farther than the historic method can take it.

It is, of course, open to question whether either primitive or advanced
morality is sufficiently of one piece to allow, as it were, a composite
photograph to be framed of either. For our present purposes, however,
this expedient is so serviceable as to be worth risking. Let us assume,
then, that there are two main stages in the historical evolution of
society, as considered from the standpoint of the psychology of conduct.
I propose to term them the synnomic and the syntelic phases of society.
"Synnomic" (from the Greek _nomos_, custom) means that customs are
shared. "Syntelic" (from the Greek _telos_, end) means that ends are

The synnomic phase is, from the psychological point of view, a kingdom
of habit; the syntelic phase is a kingdom of reflection. The former
is governed by a subconscious selection of its standards of good and
bad; the latter by a conscious selection of its standards. It remains
to show very briefly how such a difference comes about.

The outstanding fact about the synnomic life of the ruder peoples is
perhaps this--that there is hardly any privacy. Of course, many other
drawbacks must be taken into account also--no wide-thrown
communications, no analytic language, no writing, no books, and so
on; but perhaps being in a crowd all the time is the worst drawback
of all. For, as Disraeli says in _Sybil_, gregariousness is not
association. Constant herding and huddling together hinders the
development of personality. That independence of character which is
the prime condition of syntelic society cannot mature, even though
the germs be there. No one has a chance of withdrawing into his own
soul. Therefore the individual does not experience that silent
conversation with self which is reflection. Instead of turning inwards,
he turns outwards. In short, he imitates.

But how, it may be objected, does evolution take place, if every one
imitates every one else? Certainly, it looks at first sight like a
vicious circle. Nevertheless, there is room for a certain progress,
or at any rate for a certain process of change. To analyse its
psychological springs would take us too long. If a phrase will do
instead of an explanation, we may sum them up, with the brilliant French
psychologist, Tarde, as "a cross-fertilization of imitations." We need
not, however, go far to get an impression of how this process of change
works. It is going on every day in our midst under the name of "change
of fashion." When one purchases the latest thing in ties or straw hats,
one is not aiming at a rational form of dress. If there is progress
in this direction, it is subconscious. The underlying spiritual
condition is not inaptly described by Dr. Lloyd Morgan as "a

From a moral point of view, this lack of capacity for private judgment
is equivalent to a want of moral freedom. We have seen how relatively
external are the sanctions of savage life. This does not mean, of course,
that there is no answering judgment in the mind of the individual when
he follows his customs. He says, "It is the custom; therefore it is
right." But this judgment can scarcely be said to proceed from a truly
judging, that is to say, critical, self. The man watches his neighbours,
taking his cue from them. His judgment is a judgment of sense. He does
not look inwards to principle. A moral principle is a standard that
can, by means of thought, be transferred from one sensible situation
to another sensible situation. The general law, and its application
to the situation present now to the senses, are considered apart,
before being put together. Consequently, a possible application,
however strongly suggested by custom, fashion, the action of one's
neighbours, one's own impulse or prejudice, or what not, can be
resisted, if it appear on reflection not to be really suited to the
circumstances. In short, in order to be rational and "put two and two
together," one must be able to entertain two and two as distinct
conceptions. Perceptions, on the contrary, can only be compared in
the lump. Just as in the chapter on language we saw how man began by
talking in holophrases, and only gradually attained to analytic, that
is, separable, elements of speech, so in this chapter we have to note
the strictly parallel development from confusion to distinction on
the side of thought.

Savage morality, then, is not rational in the sense of analysed, but
is, so to speak, impressionistic. We might, perhaps, describe it as
the expression of a collective impression. It is best understood in
the light of that branch of social psychology which usually goes by
the name of "mob-psychology." Perhaps mob and mobbish are rather
unfortunate terms. They are apt to make us think of the wilder
explosions of collective feeling--panics, blood-mania,
dancing-epidemics, and so on. But, though a savage society is by no
means a mob in the sense of a weltering mass of humanity that has for
the time being lost its head, the psychological considerations
applying to the latter apply also to the former, when due allowance
has been made for the fact that savage society is organized on a
permanent basis. The difference between the two comes, in short, to
this, that the mob as represented in the savage society is a mob
consisting of many successive generations of men. Its tradition
constitutes, as it were, a prolonged and abiding impression, which
its conduct thereupon expresses.

Savage thought, then, is not able, because it does not try, to break
up custom into separate pieces. Rather it plays round the edges of
custom; religion especially, with its suggestion of the general
sacredness of custom, helping it to do so. There is found in primitive
society plenty of vague speculation that seeks to justify the existing.
But to take the machine to bits in order to put it together differently
is out of the reach of a type of intelligence which, though competent
to grapple with details, takes its principles for granted. When
progress comes, it comes by stealth, through imitating the letter,
but refusing to imitate the spirit; until by means of legal fictions,
ritual substitutions, and so on, the new takes the place of the old
without any one noticing the fact.

Freedom, in the sense of intellectual freedom, may perhaps be said
to have been born in one place and at one time--namely, in Greece in
the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.[7] Of course, minglings and
clashings of peoples had prepared the way. Ideas begin to count as
soon as they break away from their local context. But Greece, in
teaching the world the meaning of intellectual freedom, paved a way
towards that most comprehensive form of freedom which is termed moral.
Moral freedom is the will to give out more than you take in; to repay
with interest the cost of your social education. It is the will to
take thought about the meaning and end of human life, and by so doing
to assist in creative evolution.

[Footnote 7: Political freedom, which is rather a different matter,
is perhaps pre-eminently the discovery of England.]


By way of epilogue, a word about individuality, as displayed amongst
peoples of the ruder type, will not be out of place. There is a real
danger lest the anthropologist should think that a scientific view
of man is to be obtained by leaving out the human nature in him. This
comes from the over-anxiety of evolutionary history to arrive at
general principles. It is too ready to rule out the so-called
"accident," forgetful of the fact that the whole theory of biological
evolution may with some justice be described as "the happy accident
theory." The man of high individuality, then, the exceptional man,
the man of genius, be he man of thought, man of feeling, or man of
action, is no accident that can be overlooked by history. On the
contrary, he is in no small part the history-maker; and, as such, should
be treated with due respect by the history-compiler. The "dry bones"
of history, its statistical averages, and so on, are all very well
in their way; but they correspond to the superficial truth that history
repeats itself, rather than to the deeper truth that history is an
evolution. Anthropology, then, should not disdain what might be termed
the method of the historical novel. To study the plot without studying
the characters will never make sense of the drama of human life.

It may seem a truism, but is perhaps worth recollecting at the start,
that no man or woman lacks individuality altogether, even if it cannot
be regarded in a particular case as a high individuality. No one is
a mere item. That useful figment of the statistician has no real
existence under the sun. We need to supplement the books of abstract
theory with much sympathetic insight directed towards men and women
in their concrete selfhood. Said a Vedda cave-dweller to Dr. Seligmann
(it is the first instance I light on in the first book I happen to
take up): "It is pleasant for us to feel the rain beating on our
shoulders, and good to go out and dig yams, and come home wet, and
see the fire burning in the cave, and sit round it." That sort of remark,
to my mind, throws more light on the anthropology of cave-life than
all the bones and stones that I have helped to dig out of our Mousterian
caves in Jersey. As the stock phrase has it, it is, as far as it goes,
a "human document." The individuality, in the sense of the intimate
self-existence, of the speaker and his group--for, characteristically
enough, he uses the first person plural--is disclosed sufficiently
for our souls to get into touch. We are the nearer to appreciating
human history from the inside.

Some of those students of mankind, therefore, who have been privileged
to live amongst the ruder peoples, and to learn their language well,
and really to be friends with some of them (which is hard, since
friendship implies a certain sense of equality on both sides), should
try their hands at anthropological biography. Anthropology, so far
as it relates to savages, can never rise to the height of the most
illuminating kind of history until this is done.

It ought not to be impossible for an intelligent white man to enter
sympathetically into the mental outlook of the native man of affairs,
the more or less practical and hardheaded legislator and statesman,
if only complete confidence could be established between the two. That
there are men of outstanding individuality who help to make political
history even amongst the rudest peoples is, moreover, hardly to be
doubted. Thus Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, in the introductory chapter
of their work on the Central Australians, state that, after observing
the conduct of a great gathering of the natives, they reached the
opinion that the changes which undoubtedly take place from time to
time in aboriginal custom are by no means wholly of the subconscious
and spontaneous sort, but are in part due also to the influence of
individuals of superior ability. "At this gathering, for example, some
of the oldest men were of no account; but, on the other hand, others
not so old as they were, but more learned in ancient lore or more skilled
in matters of magic, were looked up to by the others, and they it was
who settled everything. It must, however, be understood that we have
no definite proof to bring forward of the actual introduction by this
means of any fundamental change of custom. The only thing that we can
say is that, after carefully watching the natives during the
performance of their ceremonies and endeavouring as best we could to
enter into their feelings, to think as they did, and to become for
the time being one of themselves, we came to the conclusion that if
one or two of the most powerful men settled upon the advisability of
introducing some change, even an important one, it would be quite
possible for this to be agreed upon and carried out."

This passage is worth quoting at length if only for the admirable method
that it discloses. The policy of "trying to become for the time being
one of themselves" resulted in the book that, of all first-hand studies,
has done most for modern anthropology. At the same time Messrs. Spencer
and Gillen, it is evident, would not claim to have done more than
interpret the external signs of a high individuality on the part of
these prominent natives. It still remains a rare and almost unheard-of
thing for an anthropologist to be on such friendly terms with a savage
as to get him to talk intimately about himself, and reveal the real
man within.

There exist, however, occasional side-lights on human personality in
the anthropological literature that has to do with very rude peoples.
The page from a human document that I shall cite by way of example
is all the more curious, because it relates to a type of experience
quite outside the compass of ordinary civilized folk. Here and there,
however, something like it may be found amongst ourselves. My friend
Mr. L.P. Jacks, for instance, in his story-book, _Mad Shepherds_, has
described a rustic of the north of England who belonged to this
old-world order of great men. For men of the type in question can be
great, at any rate in low-level society. The so-called medicine man
is a leader, perhaps even the typical leader, of primitive society;
and, just because he is, by reason of his calling, addicted to privacy
and aloofness, he certainly tends to be more individual, more of a
"character," than the general run of his fellows.

I shall slightly condense from Howitt's _Native Tribes of South-East
Australia_ the man's own story of his experience of initiation. Howitt
says, by the way, "I feel strongly assured that the man believed that
the events which he related were real, and that he had actually
experienced them"; and then goes on to talk about "subjective
realities." I myself offer no commentary. Those interested in
psychical research will detect hypnotic trance, levitation, and so
forth. Others, versed in the spirit of William James' _Varieties of
Religious Experience_, will find an even deeper meaning in it all.
The sociologist, meanwhile, will point to the force of custom and
tradition, as colouring the whole experience, even when at its most
subjective and dreamlike. But each according to his bent must work
out these things for himself. In any case it is well that the end of
a book should leave the reader still thinking.

The speaker was a Wiradjuri doctor of the Kangaroo totem. He said:
"My father is a Lizard-man. When I was a small boy, he took me into
the bush to train me to be a doctor. He placed two large quartz-crystals
against my breast, and they vanished into me. I do not know how they
went, but I felt them going through me like warmth. This was to make
me clever, and able to bring things up." (This refers to the
medicine-man's custom of bringing up into the mouth, as if from the
stomach, the quartz-crystal in which his "virtue" has its chief
material embodiment or symbol; being likewise useful, as we see later
on, for hypnotizing purposes.) "He also gave me some things like
quartz-crystals in water. They looked like ice, and the water tasted
sweet. After that, I used to see things that my mother could not see.
When out with her I would say, 'What is out there like men walking?'
She used to say, 'Child, there is nothing.' These were the ghosts which
I began to see."

The account goes on to state that at puberty our friend went through
the regular initiation for boys; when he saw the doctors bringing up
their crystals, and, crystals in mouth, shooting the "virtue" into
him to make him "good." Thereupon, being in a holy state like any other
novice, he had retired to the bush in the customary manner to fast
and meditate.

"Whilst I was in the bush, my old father came out to me. He said, 'Come
here to me,' and then he showed me a piece of quartz-crystal in his
hand. When I looked at it, he went down into the ground; and I saw
him come up all covered with red dust. It made me very frightened.
Then my father said, 'Try and bring up a crystal.' I did try, and brought
one up. He then said, 'Come with me to this place.' I saw him standing
by a hole in the ground, leading to a grave. I went inside and saw
a dead man, who rubbed me all over to make me clever, and gave me some
crystals. When we came out, my father pointed to a tiger-snake, saying,
'That is your familiar. It is mine also.' There was a string extending
from the tail of the snake to us--one of those strings which the
medicine-men bring up out of themselves. My father took hold of the
string, and said, 'Let us follow the snake.' The snake went through
several tree-trunks, and let us through them. At last we reached a
tree with a great swelling round its roots. It is in such places that
Daramulun lives. The snake went down into the ground, and came up inside
the tree, which was hollow. We followed him. There I saw a lot of little
Daramuluns, the sons of Baiame. Afterwards, the snake took us into
a great hole, in which were a number of snakes. These rubbed themselves
against me, and did not hurt me, being my familiars. They did this
to make me a clever man and a doctor.

"Then my father said, 'We will go up to Baiame's Camp.' [Amongst the
Wiradjuri, Baiame is the high god, and Daramulun is his son. What
'little Daramuluns' may be is not very clear.] He got astride a thread,
and put me on another, and we held by each other's arms. At the end
of the thread was Wombu, the bird of Baiame. We went up through the
clouds, and on the other side was the sky. We went through the place
where the doctors go through, and it kept opening and shutting very
quickly. My father said that, if it touched a doctor when he was going
through, it would hurt his spirit, and when he returned home he would
sicken and die. On the other side we saw Baiame sitting in his camp.
He was a very great old man with a long beard. He sat with his legs
under him, and from his shoulders extended two great quartz-crystals
to the sky above him. There were also numbers of the boys of Baiame,
and of his people who are birds and beasts. [The totems.]

"After this time, and while I was in the bush, I began to bring crystals
up; but I became very ill, and cannot do anything since."

_November, 1911_.


INTRODUCTORY NOTE.--It is impossible to provide a bibliography of so
vast a subject, even when first-class authorities only are referred
to; whilst selection must be arbitrary and invidious. Here books
written in English are alone cited, and those mostly the more modern.
The reader is advised to spend such time as he can give to the subject
mostly on the descriptive treatises. A few very educative studies are
marked by an asterisk. In many cases, to save space, merely the author's
name with initials is given, and a library catalogue must be consulted,
or a list of authors such as is to be found, _e.g._ at the end of
Westermarck's works.


GENERAL.--E.B. Tylor, _Anthropology_* (best manual); _Primitive
Culture_* (the greatest of anthropological classics); Lord Avebury's
works; _Anthropological Essays presented to E.B. Tylor_.

ANTIQUITY OF MAN.--W.J. Sollas, _Ancient Hunters and their Modern
Representatives_ (best popular account). Subject difficult without
special knowledge, to be derived from, _e.g._ Sir J. Evans (Stone
Implements); J. Geikie (Geology of Ice Age), etc. See also Brit. Mus.
Guides to Stone Age, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age.

_The Wanderings of Peoples_ (best short outlines to work from); fuller
details in J. Deniker, A.H. Keane; and, for Europe, W.Z. Ripley. See
also Brit. Mus. Guide to Ethnological Collections.

SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AND LAW.--J.G. Frazer, _Totemism and Exogamy_*;
L.H. Morgan, _Ancient Society_*; E. Westermarck, _History of Human
Marriage_*; E.S. Hartland, _Primitive Paternity_; A. Lang, _The Secret
of the Totem_; N.W. Thomas, _Kinship Organization and Group Marriage
in Australia_; H. Webster, _Primitive Secret Societies_.

RELIGION, MAGIC, FOLK-LORE.--J.G. Frazer, _The Golden Bough_* (3rd
edit.); E.S. Hartland, _The Legend of Perseus_ (esp. vol. ii); A. Lang,
_Myth, Ritual and Religion_,* _The Making of Religion_, etc.; W.
Robertson Smith, _Early Religion of the Semites_*; F.B. Jevons, A.C.
Crawley, D.G. Brinton, G.L. Gomme, L.R. Farnell, R.R. Marett, etc.

MORALS.--E. Westermarck, _Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_*;
E.B. Tylor, _Contemp. Rev._ xxi-ii; L.T. Hobhouse, _Morals in
Evolution_; A. Sutherland, _Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct_.

MISCELLANEOUS.--Language: E.J. Payne, _History of the New World called
America_,* vol. ii. Art: Y. Hirn, _Origins of Art_.* Economics: P.J.H.
Grierson, _The Silent Trade_.


AUSTRALIA.--B. Spencer and F.J. Gillen, _Native Tribes of Central
Australia_,* _Northern Tribes of Central Australia_; A.W. Howitt,
_Native Tribes of South-east Australia_*; J. Woods (and others),
_Native Tribes of South Australia_; L. Fison and A.W. Howitt,
_Kamilaroi and Kurnai_; H. Ling Roth, _Aborigines of Tasmania_.

OCEANIA AND INDONESIA.--R.H. Codrington, _The Melanesians_*; B.H.
Thompson, _The Fijians_; A.C. Haddon (and others), _Report of
Cambridge Expedition to Torres Straits_; C.G. Seligmann (for New
Guinea); G. Turner, W. Ellis, E. Shortland, R. Taylor (for Polynesia);
A.R. Wallace, _Malay Archipelago_; C. Hose and W. McDougall (for

ASIA.--J.J.M. de Groot, _The Religious System of China_; W.H.R. Rivers,
_The Todas_*; and a host of other good authorities for India, _e.g._
Sir H.H. Risley, E. Thurston, W. Crooke, T.C. Hodson, P.R.T. Gurdon,
C.G. and B.Z. Seligmann (Veddas of Ceylon); E.H. Man, _Journ. R.
Anthrop. Instit._ xii (Andamanese); W. Skeat (for Malay Peninsula).

AFRICA.--South: H. Callaway, E. Casalis, J. Maclean, D. Kidd. East:
A.C. Hollis, J. Roscoe, W.S. and K. Routledge, A. Werner. West: M.H.
Kingsley, A.B. Ellis. Madagascar: W. Ellis.

AMERICA.--A vast number of important works, see esp. _Smithsonian
Institution_, _Reports of the Bureau of Ethnology_ (J.W. Powell, F.
Boas, F. Cushing, A.C. Fletcher, M.C. Stevenson, J.R. Swanton, C.
Mindeleff, S. Powers, J. Mooney, J.O. Dorsey, W.J. Hoffman, W.J. McGee,
etc.); L.H. Morgan (on Iroquois), J. Teit, C. Hill Tout; C. Lumholtz,
_Unknown Mexico_; Sir E. im Thurn, _Among the Indians of Guiana_.

EUROPE.--Ancient: L.R. Farnell, _Cults of the Greek States_; J.E.
Harrison, _Prolegomena to Greek Religion_; W. Warde Fowler, _Religious
Experience of the Roman People_; _Anthropology and the Classics_, etc.
Modern: G.F. Abbott, C. Lawson (to compare modern with ancient),
Folk-lore Society's Publications, etc.


C. Darwin, _Descent of Man_ (Part I); W. Bagehot, _Physics and
Politics_*; W. James, _Varieties of Religious Experience_*; W.
McDougall, _Introduction to Social Psychology_.* And in this series
Geddes and Thomson, Newbigin, Myres, McDougall, Keith.


Adultery, 195

Africans, 41, 100, 118, 127, 158, 193, 194, 195, 199

Age-grades, 176

Alpine race, 106

Altamira, 52

Americans, 40, 97, 100, 110-114, 124, 128, 133, 138-147, 157, 163,
174, 192, 199

Andamanese, 160, 188, 193

Anglo-Saxons, 193

Animatism, 230

Animism, 228, 230

Anthropo-geography, 23, 84, 95-101, 115, 129

Anthropoid apes, 23, 37, 76-79, 81, 84, 111, 115, 117

Anthropology, 7-30, 186, 204, 227, 242, 244

Asiatics, 37, 59, 82, 99, 105-111, 114-118, 120-122, 128, 132, 133,
142, 150, 160-162, 183, 188, 194, 216-219

Athapascan languages, 112

Atlantic phase of culture, 102

Aurignac, 48

Australians, 39, 49, 51, 52, 54, 118, 120, 127, 147, 157, 162, 167,
174, 190, 191, 198, 207, 219-227, 231, 244-250

Bagehot, W., 84, 185, 187, 201

Baiame, 249, 250

Balfour, H., 40

Basque language, 55, 132, 134

Biology, 10, 13

Bison, 49, 51, 79, 100

Blood-revenge, 189-194

Boas, F., 75, 85

Borneo, 101, 184

Brandon, 56, 59

Bronze-age, 32, 55, 107

Bull-roarer, 125-128, 207, 226, 231

Burial, 35, 79, 177, 202, 206, 248

Bushmen, 39, 81, 87, 108, 119, 126, 160

Butler, S., 66

Buzz, 128

Calaveras skull, 40

Cannibalism, 37

Cartailhac, E., 34

Carthage, 105

Caste, 144, 179

Cave-paintings, 21, 47-53, 221

Chelles, 77

China, 106, 108, 115, 142

Chukchis, 110

Clan, 161, 171, 175, 189, 197, 203

Class (matrimonial), 172

Climate, 83-86, 101, 103, 117, 156

Cogul, 53

Collective responsibility, 189, 192

Colour, 82-86

Commont, V., 33

Confederacy, 174

Consanguinity, 163

Conservatism of savage, 113, 124, 183, 184, 213, 245

Counting, 25, 148, 150

Cranial index, 74

Cranz, D., 191

Creswell Crags, 47

Cro-Magnon, 80

Custom, 38, 183-187, 213-215, 223, 227, 238, 245, 247

Dahomey, 158, 194

Dairy-ritual, 216-219

Daramulun, 207, 226, 249

Darwin, C., 8-11, 22, 64, 65, 69, 132, 157

Demolins, E., 98, 111

Differential evolution, 121

Dog, 118

Dubois, E., 76

Duel, 191, 195, 198

Egypt, 102, 105, 107, 115

Endogamy, 165, 173

Environment, 69, 70, 75, 93, 94-129

Eoliths, 41-48

Eskimo, 39, 111, 190, 191

Eugenics, 63, 70, 93, 95

Eurasian region, 106-110

Europeans, 33-59, 75, 77-82, 93, 102-105, 108, 109, 124, 126, 127,
133, 185, 193, 202, 230, 241

Evans, Sir J., 42, 124

Evolution, 7-12, 14, 22, 61-72, 136, 205

Exogamy, 159, 161-165, 168, 169, 172, 173, 220

Experimental psychology, 23, 88

Family, 159, 160, 164, 171, 178, 196

Family jurisdiction, 196

Flint-mining, 56, 57

Folk-lore, 186, 210

Frazer, J.G., 163, 172, 200

Freedom, 130, 154, 181, 185, 238, 241

Fuegians, 138-140, 145

Galley Hill skull, 46, 80

Gargas, 47-50

Genealogical method, 147

Gesture-language, 134, 149

Ghosts, 229, 230, 248

Gibraltar skull, 78

Greece, 127, 157, 172, 185, 241

Greenwell, W., 56

Grime's Graves, 56

Haddon, A.H., 88, 127

Haeckel, E., 118

Hand-prints, 49

Harrison, B., 41, 44

Head-form, 73-82, 107

Head-hunting, 185

Heidelberg mandible, 77

History, 11, 13-15, 30, 97, 156, 227, 242

Hittites, 107

Hobhouse, L.T., 160

Holophrase, 140-152, 239

Horse, 37, 50, 100, 108

Howitt, A.W., 163, 231, 246

Humility, 212

Ice-age, 21, 33, 36, 38, 46, 106, 112, 132

Icklingham, 38

Imagination, 28, 213, 223, 234

Incest, 189, 200

India, 115

Individuality, 29, 241-250

Indo-European languages, 133

Indonesia, 116, 118, 121, 184

Initiation, 127, 174, 176, 211, 224-227, 246-250

Instinct, 23, 68, 71, 89-91

Intichiuma ceremonies, 51, 167, 220-223

Iron-age, 40, 119

Jacks, L.P., 246

James, W., 247

Jersey, 32, 36, 45, 243

Kellor, F.A., 91

Kent's cavern, 46

Kingship, 194, 195, 200, 202

Kinship, 163, 177

Knappers, 57, 58

Koryaks, 110

La Chapelle-aux-Saints, 79

Lamarck, J.B., 64, 65

La Naulette mandible, 78

Lang, A., 187, 226

Language, 24, 130-152

Lapps, 110

Law, 26, 181-203

Lecky, T., 102

Le Moustier, 38, 45-47, 79

Le Play, F., 98

Levy-Bruhl, L., 138

Lineage, 165, 168

Lloyd Morgan, C., 238

Local association, 177

Luck, 167, 200, 213, 215

McDougall, W., 90

Madagascar, 114, 158

Magic, 27, 51, 177, 202, 208-210, 224, 245, 247

Malaya, 114, 122, 126

Malthus, T., 69, 157

Mammoth, 37, 78, 111, 132

Man, E.H., 188, 198

Mas d'Azil, 54

Masks, 53

Matriarchate, 166

Matrilineal, matrilocal, matripotestal, 165, 196

Medicine-man, 246-250

Mediterranean race, 104, 109, 119

Melanesians, 116, 121, 128

Mendelism, 67

Mentone, 35

Military discipline, 192, 199

Miscegenation, 93

Mob-psychology, 92, 201, 239-241

Moieties, 175

Morality, 29, 235-241

Mother-right, 166, 169, 197

Myres, J.L., 102

Nation, 174

Natural selection, 68-71, 84

Nature, 15, 82, 155, 211, 230

Neanderthal race, 37, 39, 77-81, 87, 120, 206

Negative rites, 216-219, 234

Negritos, 81, 116-118, 120, 160, 188

Negro race, 80, 91, 116, 120

Neolithic age, 40, 53-59, 81, 104, 109

Niaux, 50-53

Nordic race, 109

Ordeal, 191, 195

Pacation, 192, 195

Painted pebbles, 54

Palaeolithic age, 40, 43-54, 108, 124

Papuasians, 116

Patagonians, 114

Patrilineal, patrilocal, patripotestal, 165, 196

Payne, E.J., 138

Persecuting tendency, 187

Perthes, Boucher de, 43

Phantasm, 229

Philosophy, 15-17, 72, 154, 223

Phratry, 172

Pictographs, 51

Pithecanthropus erectus, 76, 115

Policy, 17-19

Polynesians, 121, 128, 183, 194

Positive rites, 219-224, 234

Pottery, 33, 55

Pre-Dravidians, 120

Pre-historic chronology, 34

Pre-history, 21, 31, 97, 111

Pre-natal environment, 94

Prestwich, Sir J., 42

Profane vessels, 217

Property, 179, 192, 195, 198

Proto-history, 31, 97

Quartz crystals, 248-250

Race, 22, 59-94, 96, 99

Ratzel, F., 98

Reincarnation, 167, 221, 224

Reindeer, 37, 55, 78, 106, 110

Religion, 27, 49, 127, 166-168, 204-235, 246-250

Ridgeway, W., 107

Rites, 212, 219-224, 234

River-phase of culture, 102

Rivers, W.H.R., 147, 216, 219

Rutot, A., 41, 46

Sacramental meal, 222

Sacredness, 28, 52, 127, 168, 203, 213, 217, 218, 224, 226

St. Acheul, 33, 45, 46

Sanction, 195, 203

Savagery, 11, 158

Science, 12-15

Secret Societies, 177

Seligmann, C.G. and B.Z., 161, 243

Sex-totems, 176

Shaw, B., 66

Slander, 198

Slavery, 179

Smith, W. Robertson, 213

Snare, F., 57

Social organization, 24-26, 152-181

Solutre, 47, 108

Spear-thrower, 231

Spencer, B., and Gillen, F.J., 39, 163, 175, 220, 244

Spirit, 228, 229

Steinmetz, S.R., 197

Stratigraphical method, 31-36

Suggestion, 233-235, 237-240

Survivals, 186

Sutherland, A., 157

Sympathetic magic, 126, 233

Synnomic phase of society 236

Syntelic phase of society, 236

Taboo, 200-203, 215, 218

Tasmanians, 39-44

Thames gravels, 38-44, 46

Theft, 198

Todas, 210-219

Torres Straits, 88

Totemism, 160, 166-168, 175, 189, 220-223, 250

Tribe, 173

Tylor, E.B., 184, 228-230

Use-inheritance, 64, 93

Variation, 66-68

Veddas, 120, 160, 243

Wallace, A.R., 69, 118, 184

Wealden dome, 43

Weismann, A., 65, 66

Westermarck, E., 235

Witchcraft, 202, 210

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26. The Dawn of History.
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84. The Growth of Europe.
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98. Political Thought: From Herbert Spencer to the Present Day.

99. Political Thought: The Utilitarians. From Benthan to J.S. Mill.

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90. Chemistry.
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53. Electricity.
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54. The Making of the Earth.
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that coercion of opinion is a mistake.

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65. The Literature of the Old Testament.
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University. "A popular work of the highest order. Will be profitable
to anybody who cares enough about Bible study to read a serious book
on the subject."--_American Journal of Theology_

50. The Making of the New Testament.
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authoritative summary of the results of modern critical research with
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96. A History of Philosophy.

35. The Problems of Philosophy.
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44. Buddhism.
By MRS. RHYS DAVIDS, Lecturer on Indian Philosophy, Manchester.

46. English Sects: A History of Nonconformity.
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60. Comparative Religion.

88. Religious Development Between Old and New Testaments.
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thought grew between 180 B.C. and 100 A.D.


73. Euripides and His Age.
By GILBERT MURRAY, Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford.

81. Chaucer and His Times.
By GRACE E. HADOW, Lecturer Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; Late Reader,
Bryn Mawr.

70. Ancient Art and Ritual.
By JANE E. HARRISON, LL.D., D.Litt. "One of the 100 most important
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61. The Victorian Age in Literature.

97. Milton.

59. Dr. Johnson and His Circle.
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58. The Newspaper.
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62. Painters and Painting.
By SIR FREDERIC WEDMORE. With 16 half-tone illustration.

64. The Literature of Germany.

48. Great Writers of America.
By W.P. TRENT and JOHN ERSKINE, of Columbia University.

87. The Renaissance.
By EDITH SICHEL, author of _Catherine de Medici, Men and Women of the
French Renaissance_.

101. Dante.
By JEFFERSON B. FLETCHER, Columbia University, An interpretation of
Dante and his teachings from his writings.

93. An Outline of Russian Literature.
By MAURICE BARING, author of _The Russian People_, etc. Tolstoi,
Tourgenieff, Dostoieffsky, Pushkin (the father of Russian Literature),
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40. The English Language.
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45. Medieval English Literature.
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89. Elizabethan Literature.
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27. Modern English Literature.
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2. Shakespeare.
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31. Landmarks in French Literature.
By G.L. STRACHEY, Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. "It is
difficult to imagine how a better account of French Literature could
be given in 250 pages."--_London Times_.

38. Architecture.
By PROF. W.R. LETHABY. An introduction to the history and theory of
the art of building.

66. Writing English Prose.
By WILLIAM T. BREWSTER, Professor of English, Columbia University.
"Should be put into the hands of every man who is beginning to write
and of every teacher of English that has brains enough to understand
sense."--_New York Sun_.

83. William Morris: His Work and Influence.
By A. CLUTTON BROCK, author of _Shelley: The Man and the Poet_. William
Morris believed that the artist should toil for love of his work rather
than the gain of his employer, and so he turned from making works of
art to remaking society.

75. Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle.
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